Timothy Thatcher vs TJ Perkins
Barnett Park & Gym, Orlando, Florida, United States
I like these two, who are technical wrestlers and very good in very distinct ways, so I’m interested to see how they operate here. We start things off with a bit of grappling on the ground, and TJP tries to do a bit of flashy chaining to free himself from a wristlock, but Thatcher really clamps down on it and won’t let him go. TJP is eventually able to fight free and wrestle a circle around the big man, but Thatcher’s brutality gets the better of him throughout, and he has to hit a dropkick to even the playing field. Good selling from TJP following a finger breaker spot. Thatcher’s a bit more spotty here and moving faster, which is neat to see. He tries to toss TJP out of the ring and TJP holds on and baits him in with his usual spot, but Thatcher, too smart to fall for such trickery, refuses to charge at him. TJP simply lets go and offers his hand for a handshake in a show of respect to this intelligent opponent. Thatcher shakes and TJP uses the leverage to sweep his legs down and transitions into a headlock in a fun little spot. TJP grabs a double knucklelock and uses it to try and pin Thatcher repeatedly, and it’s real fun to see how TJP has to adapt to this match larger opponent who is just as technically versed as he is. Thatcher fights his way free of the knucklelock, doing the weird “one foot behind the arm, the other kicking into the elbow pit” spot that I really need to learn the name of, and Thatcher continues to go after the arm, slamming it to the ground and wrenching at it with a sort of top wristlock. TJP tries to hit a headscissors takedown to reverse it but Thatcher doesn’t go down, just holding him in a bit of a fireman’s carry before TJP wriggles free and grabs a headlock and a successful headscissors takedown into a grounded headscissors. Thatcher goes for a headstand to free himself, but TJP transitions into a cross armbreaker before Thatcher scrambles to the ropes. TJP continues to work over the big man’s arm, and Thatcher has to exert his size to escape, lifting TJP off the mat while he’s still got an armbar cinched in, but TJP flips him back over into the armbar. Thatcher repeats the spot and lifts TJP off the mat, over his head, and back into an electric chair slam for two in a very impressive spot made a bit less so because I saw Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks do it before this (though this match takes place before that one) and they are much smaller, less muscley women. Thatcher goes after the arm himself before hitting a series of rolling gutwrench suplexes, and TJP fires back with a pair of rolling vertical suplexes and a hell of a back suplex. TJP climbs to the top and comes down with a frog splash, but Thatcher gets his knees up to stop him and locks in a Fujiwara armbar before TJP gets to the ropes. They trade strikes back and forth in the middle, with Thatcher clearly having the advantage, sending TJP into the ropes time and again. TJP hits the Detonation Kick for two before flying in with a springboard nothing, and Thatcher hits a Euro out of the air for two. Tower of London attempt from Thatcher is reversed when TJP slinks off his back and tosses him into the corner, flipping him over with a cross armbreaker. Thatcher rolls over into a Fujiwara armbar and TJP wriggles free to grab an STF into a Fujiwara armbar of his own. Thatcher rolls his way over into a pin repeatedly with TJP time and again working his way into an armbar until Thatcher is finally able to muscle his way into a Fujiwara armbar just far enough from the ropes, and TJP has no choice but to tap. Not a great match by any means, but a fun one, and an interesting one to see how Thatcher adapts his style to a worker who brings his own lucha-centric flair to technical wrestling. Give this a look if the idea of it intrigues you in any way, or if you’re not too familiar with TJ Perkins, which strangely a lot of people I know tend to be.