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[2017-12-23-wXw-17th Anniversary Show] John Klinger vs Ilja Dragunov


Edwin
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I didn't find this excessive, not really. It didn't seem worse to me than a lot of matches that get high praise and have buckets of blood. That is just me though.

I actually felt like parts of this match were incredible. I loved the brutal cutoffs of Ilja's comebacks. I thought that added a crossup to my expectations that kept me interested. It also kept Dragunov doing what he does best, selling and firing up. Bad Bones top heel work is really next level brutal here. The chair shots were cringe-worthy. Dagunov throws his body into everything and Bones uses that against him here. He stays one step ahead of of Dragunov and uses the challenger's strengths to defeat him. The results are an undeniable and visceral dynamic. I feel like someone could come in cold to this and would be invested in Ilja by the end of it. That is good wrestling. I am ultimately sort of torn on the match. On one hand, this feels like a it is part of a bigger story that we haven't seen the end of yet. It could really be an interesting turning point in the evolution of Ilja, a place where he must learn to evolve to hit the next level. I can see this coming back in hindsight as a really important piece of a larger puzzle for a guy wXw is investing heavily in. On the other hand, this left me flat. The beating in this match drew me into really wanting to see Ilja's comeback and his crowning here. I wanted to see Bones get what was coming to him. We got none of that. There was no payoff to the brutality. They did nothing with it in this moment. It is sort of the double edge sword of looking at things on the match level. Obviously matches are just one way of looking at and thinking about wrestling. As a snippet of the bigger story, I sort of love what they did, not quite giving me what I want and making me want more. As a match though this felt incomplete. It told only part of the story. As such, it doesn't get the marks it COULD have if it were the blow off or if they closed the narrative at the end, but it gets a pretty high rating for the nuance they achieve in the brutality and how they keep me wanting more.

 

****1/4

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