Zack Gibson vs Dan Magee
Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/30/2017) Gave this a watch since it happened to be up first on this show and I’ve been meaning to see what Gibson was like in a smaller room. For the most part, this is a lot of fun. It goes longer than it really should at 11 minutes, being that this is one of the UK’s best against a guy who doesn’t even have a Cagematch profile, but that’s sort of the point. Before the match, Gibson cuts his usual promo, adding a lengthy portion running down his very green opponent, talking about how this match is a “foregone conclusion” and a “night off” for him. The match unfolds in that same vein, with Gibson taking charge, but Magee is able to surprise him in a number of ways. For one, he’s able to exploit the fact that the crowd has gotten under Gibson’s skin and are heckling him RELENTLESSLY, especially in regards to his Scouse accent (many a “in the weirld!” shout here, with the highlights of this match being Gibson’s reactions to such heckles). What’s more, he just sticks to his guns and doesn’t let Gibson give him shit, flooring Gibson early on with a slap after Gibson slapped Magee when the kid tried to shake hands at the outset of the match. This is all well and good but gets long in the tooth by the end, especially considering that Magee is just no good at this stage of his career. Gibson’s great, but he gives this kid too much and isn’t quite sure how to bump and sell for such weak offense from his opponent as of yet, so while he holds the whole match together it’s far from his usual stellar performance. The veteran’s able to take charge and looks to have the match finished with the codebreaker, but Magee’s second, a young man named Rob Lias, slips his friend’s foot on the ropes. Magee takes umbrage, looking to win the match on his own, and tensions are high when Lias gets up on the apron, trying to save his friend from Gibson’s Shankly Gates hold. Gibson confronts him, followed by an indignant Magee, and Gibson wastes no time in taking advantage of the situation, trapping his young opponent in the Shankly Gates once more for the win. Not great, not the sort of high end hand-holding I wanted to see from Gibson, but something that’s fun all the same and fun exclusively due to his efforts.