Fred Yehi (c) vs Brian Cage
FIP World Heavyweight Championship
The Orpheum, Ybor City, Florida, United States
(reviewed 12/08/2017) A speedy and spirited little title match that makes great use of the tools at hand. Cage isn’t all that versatile and has a number of bad habits but he’s a big guy with a lot of energy and wind. Yehi is sort of this perfect jack of all trades who almost always elevates his opponents and he does a hell of a job here with Cage, making sure that the big man sticks to his guns and utilizes his freakish strength and stamina instead of trying to do the coolest flips a guy with more HGH than blood in his veins can muster. They keep up a rather impressive pace for 15 minutes as Cage dominates the match and Yehi scrambles for openings and his signature strategies like only he can. Yehi, who’s always a fiery guy, slowly builds momentum via frantic desperation and is able to string together a few good shots and top it off with a Koji Clutch in the ropes, something Cage doesn’t have an answer for as a big musclehead, for the win.
I actually find it sort of hard to describe this match, as while I don’t think it’s all that spectacular it’s still a really impressive match. It’s not my favorite Brian Cage match but I can say with some certainty that I think it’s the best Brian Cage match, the Brian Cage match that is best put together and most well-executed. So much of that comes directly from Yehi, who’s pulling out a pretty typical Yehi-led match here, full of his various quirks and eccentricities that make him a delight to see. This doesn’t click with me quite the way I wanted it to but I guess that’s because it was just a well-done bit of professional wrestling geared towards the live crowd that eats it up like half-priced leftover Valentine’s Day candy. It’s a match that wasn’t so much built with an online or worldwide audience in mind. It’s meant for the people in the building. Even with things like buckle bombs, this feels like an old school match in some ways and it’s certainly commendable for that.