TJ Perkins vs “Speedball” Mike Bailey
LaBoom, Woodside, New York, United States
For some reason, there’s this purple ambient light over the whole venue here, and it’s sort of cool and sort of not. Crowd’s chanting for both men here at the outset as they feel each other out, and Speedball is taking a bunch of shots at the young veteran, who sweeps his leg and takes him to the ground. TJP grapples around a bit and grabs a headlock before Speedball sends him off the ropes. TJP reverses it and Speedball springboards off the ropes for a headlock takeover, and TJP quickly wriggles his way over into a cross armbreaker. Speedball likewise wriggles free and hits a quick chest kick that really floors TJP, who shoves Speedball into the corner to make the ref break it up and cause some separation. Very energetic beginning to this match, and it feels very natural and not like interpretive dance. Kick attempts from both men are blocked before Speedball clips TJP’s head with a roundhouse for a quick two count. More strike attempts back and forth, these feeling very choreographed, and Speedball hits a rana out of a roperun spot. TJP is sent into the ropes and holds on, baiting Speedball in, and he drops to the mat when Speedball rushes him. Speedball stops himself and stomps on the young vet, and TJP rolls out onto the apron. The Canuck goes for a roundhouse over the ropes and TJP ducks it, slinks under the ropes and Speedball’s legs, brings him over with a sunset flip, and locks in a nifty sharpshooter variation. He transitions it into an STF and Speedball gets the ropes. TJP continues to target the young man’s legs, switching to a headlock when Speedball tries to kick his way free. Good technical work here from TJP, who’s making do with what Speedball gives him to do damage. His finer points are fantastic too, like selling his own head a bit after snapping Speedball’s leg back with a DDT. More legwork from TJP, real lucha-centric stuff. Speedball reverses a hold into a quick small package, but TJP springs right up and dropkicks his leg out to keep the advantage, continuing to work over the young man with some slams and legwork. Speedball reverses a shinbreaker into a sunset flip and avoids a corkscrew senton from TJP, hitting the moonsault double knees for two. Enzuigiri and rana from Speedball, followed by an indy kick, and he flips out of a German suplex to do his somewhat sloppy repeating kick flurry spot and a standing shiranui for two. He hits a few chest kicks in the corner, but TJP blocks a third and turns it into a cross armbreaker, transitioning into a kneebar when Speedball tries to fight his way free, but they’re too close to the ropes and the ref breaks it up. TJP tries to grab his opponent and Speedball turns him over in a quick victory roll for two, following it up with a weird kneedrop when TJP lifts him for a Detonation Kick. TJP reverses a waistlock into a sort of top wristlock from behind, and Speedball backs him into the corner, sits him up on the top rope, and hits him with an enzuigiri. He comes charging in and takes a boot to the face from TJP, who comes off the top with a crossbody, but Speedball ducks out of the way and hits the running corkscrew SSP for a two count. Speedball tries to follow it up with his SSP double knees, but TJP rolls out of the way and hits a double chickenwing codebreaker for a nearfall. The young veteran climbs to the top, looking for a frog splash, but Speedball catches him in a triangle choke on the way down. TJP fights to his feet and reverses it into an ankle lock, dragging Speedball away from the ropes when he tries to escape. The young Canuck flips him over and grabs in a kneebar, but TJP again fights up to his feet and bridges back, still in the kneebar, with a bit of a prawn hold to keep Speedball’s shoulders down for the three. Cool little match with a fun, different finish. Speedball maybe was a bit out of his element here, but both guys covered their bases well, and it comes across as an enjoyable bout in the end, which is what matters.