Timothy Thatcher vs Gideon Grey
Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/30/2017) Here at the end of October, it’s abundantly clear to me that Tim Thatcher is the best wrestler in the world in 2017. Now, I’ve been wrong about my early picks before. In 2015 I was certain it was Roderick Strong until Chris Hero just piled up match after match after match that I loved. In 2016 I had a number of contenders ranging from Jonathan Gresham to David Starr, but again Chris Hero made the finish line. At this point, in no small part due to the fact that Chris Hero basically signed his serious career away before 2017 even began, I can say with complete certainty that there won’t be anyone making a late case against Thatcher. This match is a great example of why I think Thatcher is WOTY worthy, really. It’s a match in which he’s facing someone easily a dozen rungs below him in the kayfabe and legitimate hierarchy of wrestling. It’s a match that, despite the gulf in talent between them, is still competitive and compelling due to the way that Thatcher sells for and reacts to Grey’s myriad heel tricks (which are great, by the way; I quite like Gideon Grey and he’s certainly no broomstick in this match even if he’s far and away the worst man in it). It’s a match that sees tons of great character work from Thatcher as this world-class talent who is routinely frustrated by the underhanded tactics of his lesser opponent and can easily overwhelm his opponent if he’s given the chance but finds himself time and again on his ass, clutching at his knee, faced twisted less in pain and more in irritation. He also does well to adjust his various holds in subtle ways to make up for his bum knee that would otherwise factor into how well he’d be able to apply the submission, which I very much appreciate. It’s a dozen or so little touches like that throughout this match that make me love this thing, along with Grey’s full-throated commitment to just being an absolute rat-faced bastard, better than just about anyone in the world. This certainly won’t make anyone’s top matches of the year but it might worm its way into my top 100 and I’m glad I made time for it.