Sid Scala vs Kassius Ohno
British Rounds Match
taped 09/01/2019, aired 09/18/2019
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/10/2019) This isn’t nearly so good as the other British Rounds matches I’ve enjoyed this year but hey, it’s one of my favorite wrestlers engaging in one of my favorite match types, so there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy this. And it’s certainly not bad, don’t get me wrong. Ohno is an absolute master at making inferior wrestlers look better than they actually are and this is yet another example of that. He mauls this Ben Shapiro lookalike in the most enjoyable way and then allows himself to be upended by Scala’s efforts without taking painfully obvious pratfalls. Certainly ain’t an easy thing to do, especially when you consider that this is Scala’s second ever match on NXT UK. The dude has not been presented as a wrestler on this show, so Ohno’s got to legitimize the work of a dude two rungs up from Jonathan Coachman. I love the selling of those efforts, both in terms of how Ohno registers the hits and also how he reacts to them in a general sense. The guy’s great at getting across what a headbutt to the sternum feels like but he’s also great at keeping his cutoffs desperate and direct, ensuring that they feel like the last frantic grasping of a guy who’s quickly getting the tables turned against him instead of the hokey dance routines of lesser workers. When he pulls a rolling fireman’s carry slam out of nowhere it actually feels like it’s out of nowhere, like it’s an opportunity he saw in the moment and immediately pounced on lest he continue barreling into certain defeat. Additionally Ohno does one of my favorite things, which is slowly illustrating an emotional arc over a series of mid-match breaks. You go from his steely seriousness after the first round to a few rounds of cocky exuberance to a final break where he’s suddenly on the wrong end of a big comeback and it’s just awesome. Ohno’s such a good goddamn wrestler, man. If you need further evidence, somehow, maybe this match will convince you.