Johnny Kidd vs Darrell Allen
British Rounds Match
Merton Arts Space, Wimbledon, London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 09/20/2019) I’ve had this bookmarked since it happened and it did not disappoint. Twenty minutes of quality European style grappling (with a rounds system to boot) is always going to interest me but the ways in which these guys translate that style into 2019 is what makes this so good. From the start Allen clearly has a lot of fondness and respect for the legendary Kidd and, at least early on, the veteran’s willing to humor him in a good-natured exhibition. As Allen pushes him more and more, though, Kidd’s forced to get feisty and bust out some stuff I’ve never seen before, or perhaps more appropriately bust out the old tricks in new ways. That change of tone leaves the last few rounds of this thing feeling pretty physical (more so than most of what you’d get in BritWres these days, I’d reckon) but I think the transition itself is also worth highlighting. It’s easy to escalate offense over the course of a match but harder to do so with the sort of arsenal that the World of Sport style dictates. Kidd accomplishes that by suddenly boxing Allen’s ears and going for quick kidney shots, refusing to let the younger man get in close like he could only minutes before. It might not shock someone who expects every match to feature head drops and suicide dives but it’s a great bit of work that changes the tone of the match immediately and naturally. What’s more Allen does well to stick with it, quickly picking up the pace and leaning on his youthful vigor to overcome the decades of experience separating him and Kidd. Appropriately that culminates with the finish, wherein Allen pulls out something that, while invented decades ago, is a fairly modern move that was unlikely to ever be used in WoS and it’s what gives him the edge he needs to win. Simple thing, sure, but it builds on what the match was doing, tied in with what this situation was like, and wrapped it up in a satisfying way. Find myself seeing finishes like that less and less these days. If you’re at all a fan of European wrestling, you owe it to yourself to watch this.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: This British Rounds match features an old dude who understands his limitations as a worker and does well to circumnavigate them, highlighting his skills without exposing his shortcomings. Shawn/Taker features two old dudes who throw their all into high drama without being good at it, like, at all.
VERDICT: Better than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25