“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs David Starr
The Cockpit, Marylebone, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 03/02/2018) So I’m thinking back to four years ago or so to when I first saw Starr and who he was then and why he impressed me so much, long before he actually became the world class guy he is today. He was a heel in most places back in 2014 and 2015, or at least in the places I saw him most, and I quite liked him in that role. Lately, though, the talk among my friends and I is that we’ve not liked Starr’s recent heel efforts, with this match standing out as a notably bad performance, though I’m having some difficulty in putting a finger on why. I guess it’s because this heel work is so banal. Part of his work here is related to his over-arching persona that, heel or face, tends to be very proud and very petty, so for that reason it’s at least watchable, but when so much of what he does in this match is complaining about Speedball’s offense or applying half-hearted Marty Scurll sequences or winning with a cheap rollup/distraction finish or cutting a horrendous promo, it’s just boring. It’s not quite the same stubborn young man I fell for all those months ago or, if it is, my standards have changed since then and I expect a little something more out of this man. It’s all stuff I’ve seen before, done by a person who is so much better than this. Making this feel all the worse is that this goes hand and hand with the best Speedball performance I’ve seen in years, one where he’s focused and dangerous and endearing all at once. Sure, they go a little overboard by the end with kickouts as these two are constantly in danger of doing, but there’s an enjoyable core to this match that’s buried underneath a heap of the least interesting heel work this side of Cody Rhodes. Real shame to see.