Anthony Henry vs Jay Freddie
Westbrook Armory, Westbrook, Maine, United States
(reviewed 08/29/2017) Being yourself as an artist is real hard. I’m fully aware of that. It takes years, sometimes, to find your groove and discover what’s really you. This match, sadly, feels like two guys who are a year into the business and are still trying to rip off the coolest spots they saw in a beat-up tape they got from a guy in Jersey. They open with the “best of Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko in ECW” sequence of knuckle locks and standoffs. From there it gets a little better as these two show the individual personalities I know they have. Freddie’s always been a sort of no-nonsense American junior heavyweight a la the aforementioned Malenko, but I think he does it better than most. Henry, likewise, occupies the familiar space of cocky, conniving, opportunistic strike-based heel but avoids most of the pitfalls of that style, usually due to better match layouts. But here they’re both doing the most inane shit. There’s leg work that either goes nowhere (Freddie on Henry) or comes out of nowhere to suddenly be significant for the finish (Henry on Freddie). There’s spots ripped right out of Super J Cup and WCW cruiserweight matches. There’s a bunch of nearfalls that don’t flow together well or mean much of anything when everything is switched in a minute’s time. It just becomes the most mindless, derivative sort of match that we’ve seen on the indies for 20 years now. This sort of shit was vaguely fresh in 1997 but in 2017 it’s just droll, and it’s a shame to see two guys who are better than this succumbing to the lowest common denominator.