Roderick Strong vs Drew Galloway
Steel Cage Match
The Sportatorium, Deer Park, New York, United States
We’re told that this is a non-title match that can only be won via pinfall, submission, or knockout, so no escaping the cage here. Roddy’s out first and grabs a mic, saying that he started this feud with Drew to help him out , to make sure Drew lived up to his potential. He does well to cover it when the mic keeps cutting out, and goddamn am I so glad he’s a heel most everywhere these days. He tries to get in the ring, but due to the fucked-up way they have the cage set up (not actually on the ring itself, but on the floor around it) he has trouble getting between the ropes, and says that this match is an unsafe work environment and goes to leave, but is cut off by Drew, who comes out and knocks him around ringside. I want to say this is only the third or fourth match I’ve seen this year where Roddy was notably smaller than his opponent, and it’s interesting to see that dynamic come into play here. Roddy runs into the cage to escape and Drew follows him, and the match finally starts. Roddy rushes the big man and is tossed to the top rope, and eats a big tilt-a-whirl backbreaker when he’s caught in a crossbody. Roddy finally gets some momentum by avoiding a big boot that gets Drew’s foot caught in the cage and snapping him back with a lungblower. He lays in some chops and boots to Drew, and Drew fires back with a few chops of his own at one point but can’t follow up, and eats a sliding dropkick from Roddy for two. Really like the dynamic this match has, of Drew being this massive, scary (albeit face) monster that can mostly match Roddy’s speed, but Roddy is resourceful and nasty in everything he does, such as when he reverses a whip into the corner and sends Drew chest-first into the turnbuckles hard. Roddy drags Drew up to the top and they trade strikes back and forth and crotch each other on the top rope. Drew rushes at Roddy fear a spear, but Roddy avoids it and Drew crashes into the cage and Rod-dog puts the boots to him, hitting a nasty double stomp over the ropes and a somehow nastier baseball slide for two. They two men trade strikes in the middle and Roddy hits a whopper of a suplex into the cage, just fucking tossing his giant of an opponent for a two count. Roddy climbs up the cage for something, not to escape because that’s not the point here, and eats a big Russian legsweep off the ropes for a quick double down. They trade punches again, with Drew getting the advantage and backing Roddy into the corner. Drew whips him across the ring and follows him in, but Roddy gets a boot up. He tries to do it again but is caught, and Drew muscles him up for a whipping electric chair facebuster that’s pretty convoluted. Drew slams Roddy face-first into the cage repeatedly and gives him a big boot for two. Drew goes to toss him into the cage yet again but Roddy wriggles free and onto the top rope, and Drew joins him. They trade elbows in another pretty convoluted spot and move over into the corner for a big superplex. Roddy’s selling of giving it is real nice, but he only gets a two count for it. A high knee, elbow in the ropes, Angle Slam, and big backbreaker gets Roddy another two. He goes for Death by Roderick but Drew wriggles free and goes for his double underhook DDT, but Roddy likewise wriggles free and is tossed yet again into the cage for a double down. Both men trade elbows and boots, and I quite like their selling here. High knee and Death by Roderick leads into a big ol’ Gibson Driver that gets Roddy a two count. Roddy puts the big man up top and chops away at him, but Drew gets up and chops back. He goes for a superplex but Roddy sweeps his legs out, trapping him in a tree of woe, but Drew shoots right back up and hits a spider belly to belly that sends Roddy across the ring. Roddy boots him as he stalks over and goes for a high knee but Drew catches him and tosses him with a powerbomb into the cage, and for like the eighth time in this match, it nearly buckles beneath him. A big piledriver afterward can only get Drew a two count. The ref checks on Roddy and Drew pushes him out of the way, strangely, and takes a kick to the dick from Roddy. Pair of high knees and a rolling elbow put Galloway on rollerskates, and a surprisingly clean End of Heartache (considering Drew’s size) gets Roddy a two. He smashes Drew’s face into the cage and turnbuckle, busting him open, and he refuses to quit when the ref asks him. Roddy responds with a trio of high knees while Drew’s caught between the ropes and cage, and he yells at Drew to stay down. The champ fires back with a slap, and Roddy throws four or five dropkicks right in his face, actually trapping him between the cage and the ring, and follows it up with a series of mean baseball slides before the ref calls for the bell. I quite like the dynamic these two have, and think they work together a lot better than I figured they would have, but this match is a lot of silly or not terribly enthralling spots, and is likewise hampered by a real dogshit setup for the cage. Get it the fuck together, Gabe.