Calamari Catch Kings (Chris Brookes & Jonathan Gresham) vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
York Hall, Bethnal Green, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 11/30/2018) Easily one of the more enjoyable tag matches of the year, to me. While this isn’t quite Gresham’s first trip back to Europe following several years away, this match in particular feels like his long-awaited return both in terms of his reception and his performance. Simply put he’s sort of marvelous here as this tricky little technician who can’t stand up to the physicality of the Aussie boys but knows a few dozen little ways to make this match a living hell for them. I’ve seen this guy wrestle for years and years and years and I’ve been a big fan of his for much of that time but never can I recall him being so fun as he is here, celebrating the tiniest achievements and stooging around like a cartoon character anytime he’s challenged in any way. A few times over the summer and fall his comedic efforts have felt all too hackneyed, especially with certain British chucklefucks, but here it fits in within the obvious elements of his size and style and it brings such a refreshing twist to what is otherwise a fairly routine matchup in Brookes + partner vs Aussie Open. And hey, those other three guys are real good here too. I like this match less and less the longer it goes on and the more it digs into a relatively endless finishing run, but it’s never anything close to bad and stands out to me as one of the better examples of that sort of third act in 2018. It certainly helps that my dude is a great ragdoll and takes a few wacky piledrivers towards the end. If you’re a fan of the Octopus or have been meaning to see what those dudes from down under are all about, do give this match a watch.