Style Battle #1.1 (Review)

WWN launch their brand new promotion, Style Battle, where eight men compete over one night to be crowned the winner of their Style Battle event. Eight events, with eight winners, all destined to compete to become the Style Battle champion at the end of 2017…


Darby Allin
vs.
Dave Crist
(1st Round)

The announce team put over Crist’s 14 years of wrestling experience, compared to Allin’s 2 years. Started with a little bit of chain wrestling, until Allin started speeding things up in his attempt to get control of the match. Less than three minutes into the match, and Allin had already come off the top turnbuckle to the outside, taking down Crist.

Crist had a definite weight advantage, which began to come into play when he started hitting strong counters whenever Allin tried to fly high against him. That didn’t dissuade Allin, however, who continued to attempt the high risk moves and work at a quick pace.

The win should’ve come for Crist when he hit a cutter off the turnbuckle, but somehow Allin kicked out, which almost defied all logic for this writer. Crist did get the win soon after though.

Logical winner, especially given the size advantage, and it was good to see that Allin’s exposure on EVOLVE programming didn’t lead to him getting the win. Crist put Allin over big time in his post-match interview, which seemed unnecessary.

Here’s my problem with Allin: he can jump around well enough, but there’s no logic to what he’s doing. The guy uses no ring psychology, and just rushes around the ring jumping around and jumping off things, hoping that some of his moves connect. Problem is, they don’t always hit their target clean, and that’s because he rushes everything he does. I get it, he’s meant to work fast and be a bit crazy, that’s his gimmick and so on, but it’s at the expense of his match quality. It’s all good flying around, but if all you are doing is flying without purpose, then there’s not a whole lot of depth to what you’re doing. He needs to work on that side of his game, because somewhere in there is a guy with serious ability, he’s just not managing it appropriately, in this writers opinion.

Decent match, as an opener. Per the name of the show, there was a battle of styles here, and it was enjoyable enough without bringing anything special to the table. Was given good time.

2star

Dezmond Xavier
vs
Sammy Guevara
(1st Round)

The start of the match was worked at a very quick pace, which resulted in both men being a bit out of sync with each other. Xavier looked slick as hell though, and very accomplished.

Guevara showed some nice heel mannerisms, and the crowd were firmly against him. The action was back and forth, particularly as the match neared its conclusion, with Xavier getting the three count following a corkscrew senton.

This was a very nice match, but Guevara wasn’t very smooth in the early minutes, and it detracted from the match. Xavier put in a great performance though, and I was very impressed with him, having never seen him wrestle previously. Did what it needed to for an opening round match.

2star

AR Fox
vs.
Austin Theory
(1st Round)

 This one carried a big fight feel that hadn’t been seen in the matches prior, and things kicked off at a quick pace, with AR Fox hitting a sweet springboard somersault senton from the top rope to the outside in the early goings.

Theory eventually took control of the match, dominating AR Fox whilst very much playing the heel. It looked like AR Fox might have had it won when he hit a swanton, but he only got a two count. Theory was back in control after that, and a lot of near falls followed. The ref was counting damn fast on them, too!

Theory looked really impressive, and generated some loud “Holy Shit” chants when he dropped Fox hard on the edge of the ring apron. He then followed it with a nice moonsault to the outside. Given Fox soon after missed a 450 splash, there really were some crazy moves on display given this was just a first round contest.

There was an exchange of stiff forearms, which started with both men on their knees but carried on as they slowly made their way to their feet. That looked good, albeit giving the impression that this match was a “war,”, which for me it wasn’t . AR Fox then grabbed the win with a Foxcatcher and the three count.

Much more like it, and finally an enjoyable bout. Austin Theory impressed me a lot, but both men worked hard. Really rubbed me up the wrong way when they shook hands in the middle of the ring though, as it ruined the good heel work Theory had done throughout. All three matches had ended with the winner putting over the loser, and it wasn’t necessary.

2star

Fred Yehi
vs.
Anthony Henry
(1st Round)

This wasn’t so much a wrestling match, as it was a striking contest. Both men worked damn hard, delivering some brutal punches and kicks, with any grappling being done just to transition into more strikes. It was very deliberate, and left a good impression.

Yehi had control in the early stages, with the commentary team putting Henry over as the rookie with something to prove on the big stage. When Henry eventually turned the tables, he went in hard on his kicks and proceeded to just hit his opponent, and hit him hard. It was a nice change of pace. Yehi looked to match Henry’s style, but without question it was the latter who had control when it came to the heavy blows.

We did eventually see some wrestling, with Yehi trying to change the match to a style that suited him better. He hit a series of release german suplexes, which knocked Henry for six, and was able to keep Yehi in control until Henry dropped him crotch first onto the ropes.

There was genuine surprise from the audience and commentary team when the ring announcer warned that there were only two minutes left of the the 30 minute time limit. Henry still had the upper hand at this point, but he was unable to capitalise, and the match ended in a draw. It was then announced that both men would be eliminated as a result.

The match did not feel like a 30 minute contest, so they both deserve credit for that, but it was an interesting choice to eliminate both men after giving them so much time. Clearly, there’s a longterm plan in mind with these two so one would expect them to meet again in the near future for another WWN promotion. This was the only time when it made sense for both men to shake hands afterwards, which they did, but with added aggression.

Good match, and I liked the style used. That said, at 30 minutes in length, perhaps would’ve liked to see both men mix it up a bit more, but that wasn’t to the detriment of the fight itself. Some great strikes throughout.

3star

Dave Crist
vs.
Dezmond Xavier
(Semi-Final)

Fast paced opening, Xavier using his speed and high-risk style to take out Crist. Unfortunately, when Crist did take control, that was it for Xavier and he soon lost.

Similar story to the first Crist match, with him using his size and weight advantage against a smaller high-flyer. Disappointing to see them repeat what they’d done in the first round with Crist, if I’m honest.

2star

Special Attraction ‘Fray’ Match

Started off with two men in the ring, with a new entrant joining them every sixty seconds. Wrestlers were eliminated by being pinned or submitted. About 12 men took part, all in all.

This is a gimmick that probably is better in theory than practice. The match itself was a mess, and watching men get pinned so quickly in a match, when we’d just seen two other guys go 30 minutes, was outright ridiculous. Everyone in this match came off as a jobber, and unimportant. Everyone.

Jason Kincaid got the win, which was obvious from the moment he showed up, but it did nothing for him. When the match ended, I was left wondering just what exactly the point of it was? A waste of everyones time.

0star

Dave Crist
vs.
AR Fox
(Final)

The fans were certainly behind AR Fox right from the start, and their pick to win certainly didn’t disappoint them in the early minutes as he did a lot of high flying. It was similar to Crist’s earlier matches, except this time he genuinely looked like he may be in trouble.

It turned out Crist had saved all his big moves for the Final, as he started coming off the turnbuckles, and even hit a standing moonsault at one point.

AR Fox thought he had it won when he hit the Foxcatcher, but Crist kicked out. Both men ultimately failed to win the match with the finishing moves they’d used to win earlier in the show, which was good storytelling.

The end came when Crist hit a very impressive cutter after springboarding from the ropes. The three count followed, and Crist became the winner of the first episode of Style Battle.

Decent match, certainly better than Crist’s earlier ones. There’s almost a feeling that he was taking it easier in the earlier bouts so that he could go the distance, which can make sense from a storytelling perspective, but from a fans perspective it meant sitting through some less than stellar performances earlier in the night.

Preferred Crist to AR Fox, so happy that he won, but one can’t help but think that the most worthy winner of the night probably wasn’t even in the final.

3star


Final Thoughts

This show was a real chore to watch, from start to finish. The only highlight was Yehi vs Henry, but we never got to see either man again that night so there was a feeling of being left with subpar competitors.

This was bigger up as being an event and brand that would change pro wrestling, but nothing on show suggested anything of the sort. The wrestling was pretty standard, the venue an awful choice for a first episode, and a small crowd that just added to the feeling that this wasn’t important.

I wanted to enjoy it, but I just really didn’t. There’s a lot of work to be done to make this a brand that is viable, that’s for sure. Whether I’ll watch any future Style Battle events will now probably be wholly dependant on who is wrestling on the card. Disappointing.

Match of the Night

Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry

Style Battle #1.1 Final Score

2star

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