Billy Roc vs Mike Quackenbush
Indiana City Brewing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Thanks to Robert Starkz-Bellamy (@Mouse3911) for the header image.
(reviewed 10/13/2019) Hard to be objective about this one, not that being objective has ever been my aim with this blog. From the start this platform has been all about celebrating what I love and repudiating what I hate. Thankfully this match is something worth celebrating.
If you’re not a Hoosier you probably don’t know who Billy Roc is and it makes the reaction to him here a puzzling one. He’s a short, plain-looking C-tier indie guy who never really made much of a name for himself, who has less than 200 documented matches on Cagematch, so why all the fuss? Why this sort of a reaction for him beating a mostly-retired Mike Quackenbush?
It’s because he’s ours. It’s because he means something to the people here in the great state of Indiana. It’s because he wrestled here for years and gave it his all, despite the fact that it was never for more than a hundred odd people in some Salvation Army center. It’s because he trained Ruby Riott, Mance Warner, and Tripp Cassidy, the people spreading the word of our state all across the world. It’s because he’s a stand-up guy, the sort of person you were proud to watch and work alongside.
That doesn’t mean he was some unheralded great or even that he’s all that great here, but on some level that works to the match’s benefit. Billy retired in November of 2016 and hasn’t wrestled since, so he’s understandably pretty rusty. Mike Quackenbush is more than good enough to cover up for that but even still, Billy looks rather rocky at points, fumbling through pin sequences and backflip attempts. Thankfully the hybrid lucha/puroresu/Lancashire style that these guys excel in functions well as a warmup, even for someone who hasn’t done it in years. Before long Billy’s pulling off his signature moves like it’s 2007 again:
And that’s the central thing that makes this match so rewarding for me, being able to bear witness to someone finding their groove again, returning to form like their best days aren’t a decade behind. Billy’s never gonna be widely regarded as an indie darling and this match doesn’t attempt to convince anyone that he is. Instead, it gives the people who are already true believers what they want, what they need in a world like this. It gives them—as Percy Davis, one of Billy’s many trainees, repeats throughout the match—the feeling of dad being home, of the paternal figure who helped create so much of what you hold dear finally returning to your side after what feels like so long. There’s real value in that, even if this isn’t some incredibly slick, 40 minute finisherfest. It’s not ambitious or even all that impressive but it’s warm and comforting and utterly joyous, like a hug from your favorite person in the world. Lord knows that means everything to me. Mostly that’s because I’ve sucked down a Duane Purvis at Triple XXX, because I’ve chanted “INDIANA ÜBER ALLES” with the Brickyard Battalion, because I’ve seen the moonlight fair along the Wabash. Even if you haven’t, I hope this can mean something to you too.
Also Quack says fuck and that’s amazing.