WALTER (c) vs Matt Riddle
PROGRESS Atlas Championship
Elmcor Center, New York City, New York, United States
(reviewed 10/04/2017) Coming into this one, both men were tied in this series with a win apiece, though WALTER also defeated Riddle over in wXw. They start off here rather politely, trading headlocks, walking in and out of tie ups, each man aware that speeding in too early could prove their downfall. Riddle does so first here and pays the price, with WALTER manhandling him for the early portion of this match. Riddle, proud, exuberant, capable young man that he is, quickly reverses his fortune and takes control of the match. Slowly it morphs into more of an evenly-matched affair, with both men trading some vicious strikes in and out of the ring. Fun stuff all around but then it just sort of… keeps going. And going. This isn’t a long match by any stretch of the imagination, being 16 minutes long, right around my ideal length for most matches. But somehow this really drags to me and by the end of 16 minutes it feels like these guys have unloaded everything possible. Which, hey, they great pretty close to that, what with multiple top-rope moves in a fucking WALTER match. I’m not making out like this is the next Okada vs Omega or anything, but this match, even in a relatively short run time, feels really excessive and it undermines the strengths of the person I consider to be the best wrestler here. It’s not even unenjoyable, really; just less so than what I’ve seen these two do before with less ambition and more focus.