taped 01/13/2018, aired 02/07/2018
Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium, Gibsonville, North Carolina, United States
We kick things off with a recap of last week’s TV title match before we join the first match in the ring.
Cam Carter vs Aric Andrews
Cam is fast and can fly! Aric is ornery and uses dirty tricks! Real basic sort of match but fun enough for what it is. Andrews managed to turn my opinion of him around at Battlecade and he continues that trend here with a straightforward strategy of smothering a younger highflyer with cheap shots and headlocks. I’m not sure if I buy into the talk about Cam being the next big thing but he’s perfectly enjoyable in this role as he connects with a shiranui for an upset win.
Dirty Daddy vs Donnie Dollars
Daddy is still pissed off about his loss at Battlecade, losing the RGL title he worked so hard for so long to win, but he can’t do a lot to take out that frustration on a huge veteran like Dollars. After slamming the smaller man down once, Dollars looks to be leaving the match but he’s interrupted by Ray Kandrack, who beats him down and tosses him back in. Daddy gets some offense in on Dollars but in the process of dancing around with excitement he crashes into Kandrack, who then attacks Daddy as well. Despite all of this happening in full view of the referee (and in fact Kandrack interacting with the ref after all this goes down) there’s no DQ or anything and everyone just sort of leaves after a while.
To make all that worse, in the transition to the ad for the wrestling school that acts as a buffer between segments, there’s a few frames of Snooty Foxx and Aaron Biggs from last week for no particular reason. Like what the hell’s going on, guys? I know you just lost your booker and your main (maybe only) video producer but this is just needlessly, purposefully bad. There’s no need to be putting together two minute non-matches with people who have big things brewing (Daddy’s newfound aggression, Kandrack’s return) and to be including unnecessary clips on a show that airs weeks and weeks after it’s taped.
Cain Justice vs Jesse Adler
As if to immediately assuage my concerns, this match straight up rules. You don’t often see a 17 minute match described as “long”, but this feels long in a good way, the sort of methodical, slow-moving match that takes plenty of time to punctuate its points clearly and thoroughly. Cain’s now completed his first full year of wrestling and isn’t a rookie anymore in the strictest sense of the term. Likewise he’s lost the RGL title that has defined his time in CWF thus far. He has to find who he’s going to be moving forward in 2018, which is not only an exciting and daunting task but a frustrating one, as we see here with his petty aggression, lashing out at Adler, at the referee, on Smith Garrett doing commentary. Despite being about the same age, Adler was able to wrestle full-time long before Cain was and thus he’s got a bit more experience, even accounting for the year he took off between summer 2016 and fall 2017. His recent return came with it a brief TV title reign, ending Aric Andrews’ 480+ day run, but he’s yet to really establish who he is now. Despite his explosiveness, Adler basically can’t contend with Cain when Cain keeps the fight close and goes after his opponent’s arm, so Adler has to bide his time and wait for big opportunities basically, but as the match progresses he shows the ability to adapt to the various tricks of a much smarter and much craftier opponent. Likewise Cain continues to grow stronger and tougher, qualities he lacked in big time matches against more seasoned opponents in 2017. So much of this match is about establishing these two young men as transitioning between the first part of that phrase and the second, which is helped along quite a bit by the aforementioned Garrett’s great commentary. Whether he’s singing the praises of these two men or decrying Cain’s tactics or getting behind Adler’s comebacks, he’s fired up and invested into this match like so few other commentators genuinely are these days. Between his energy and the work in the ring, this evens out to a high quality match between two works in progress of varying levels. Any match between two guys who can’t yet legally rent a car is going to be rough around the edges as this match surely is, but as far as matches between those sorts of youngsters go there’s not a lot better than this in 2018.