AR Fox vs Matt Cage – AAW The Art of War 2016

AR Fox (c) vs Matt Cage

AAW Heritage Championship

02/19/2016

115 Bourbon Street, Merrionette Park, Illinois, United States

(reviewed 01/13/2017) On paper, this is quite an interesting match, with Fox quietly becoming a very good talent in the past few years and Cage being one of the most underrated dudes in the Midwest. Fox hits his usual bit of highflying in the opening minutes, but a tope con giro goes south and sends him crashing back-first into the guardrail and neck-first into the floor in one of the grossest spots I’ve seen in a very long time (Kenny Omega who?). Thankfully, he doesn’t appear to be too hurt from it, though it certainly slows his roll for a bit and gives Cage the opening he needs to turn things around. He keeps thing fairly simple, taking to the air when he needs to (most notably with a great dropkick), reversing a Swanton attempt from the champ with a pair of knees, being sure to sell his knee afterward. Fox’s speed and reversal game ensures that he quickly regains control, getting a solid nearfall out of a 450. Looking to cut off that momentum, Scarlett Bordeaux, Cage’s manager, tosses the Heritage title into the ring to distract Fox and the referee, allowing Cage to hit the Lo Down for a two count. On the apron, Cage connects with a straight right hand but Fox is able to roll him up with a small package when they return to the ring, and after Cage kicks out, he shoves Fox’s feet out from under him to send the champ face-first into his knee. Awesome sequence there. Cage avoids the Lo Mein Pain, hitting a DVD off the middle rope and a single knee codebreaker for a nearfall. The challenger continues to target Fox’s face, but Fox is able to reverse the Money Clip into a Skayde Special to steal the victory. Fun stuff here, two talented guys putting on a compelling midcard title match that is elevated by a botch early on that gives everything following it a sort of desperation. Not worth going out of your way for, probably, but certainly worth a watch if you’ve got the show.

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