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ShittyLittleBoots

[2018-04-07-PROGRESS-Chapter 67: Bourbon Is Also A Biscuit] WALTER vs Zack Sabre Jr

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Watched this 2 times back-to-back, and MY GOD.

First of all, both guys looked pretty banged up & tired from the weekend at this point. It didn't affect their performances whatsoever, but I think it actually added to the match. The match starts with a little feeling out process, where WALTER establishes that he is the stronger of the 2 (as usual). He overpowers Zack in every position they're in, but eventually Zack bridges up while WALTER is on top of him. That gives Zack some confidence, he is like "YEAH, AREN'T I THE SHIT, MOTHERFUCKER?" & as they get up, he SLAPS WALTER. A friendly competition gone wrong; WALTER then is like "why you did that, man?" & starts chopping the crap out of Zack. Zack always bumps for WALTER's chops like they are shotgun blasts & it's a joy to watch. I freaking LOVED him being all dizzy & stunned by WALTER's chop on the outside, but still taunting & slapping WALTER, asking the "big boy" to give him more of those. After a while of Zack pissing WALTER off more & more w/ giving him the finger & slapping him in the face + receiving those chops in the process, he manages to catch WALTER's hand on one of the chop attempts, which leads to ZSJ attacking that arm, the way ZSJ usually attacks the arm. And it's fantastic. There is a moment in the ring where WALTER chops Zack w/ the arm Zack had been working on - Zack sells it fantastically, but he also has this cheeky smile on his face, knowing that WALTER must be hurting like hell from that. Another fantastic moment was ZSJ once again pissing WALTER off & firing him up by slapping him in the face a couple of times, which lead to WALTER chopping the crap out of him again & throwing him out of the ring; as WALTER was coming outside the ring to continue the beatdown, Zack sneaks back into the ring, gives him the finger, paces around him while going "come on big boy" with a complete dickhead smile on his face. Unbelievably great. After that the match essentially kicks into it's finishing gear w/ some superb counters, Zack still going after that arm by kicking it a few times & busting out the Octopus + another FANTASTIC moment when Zack goes for the cocky pin w/ one foot on WALTER's chest. MY GOD! WALTER's again like "you goddamn kidding me?" w/ his facial reaction to it. He gives Zack an absolute deathstare all the while Zack is once again smiling like the biggest dickhead in the world. WHY IS THIS MATCH SO GOOD. After that it's them slugging it out w/ WALTER on top - he mouths something to Zack, almost like giving him a chance to still be respectful about the warfare they're currently in, and Zack's answer to that? He shoulder/chest bumps WALTER w/ a cocky look on his face & then SLAPS him once again. That of course leads to WALTER killing him with chops, but Zack still gets one last SLAP + a nice European Clutch nearfall in before WALTER chokes him out. PHENOMENAL psychology. Amazing match. ****1/2

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Man... these two just can't have anything other than a great match. This was a ton of fun. I would say it is just a half notch under their PWG match last year (haven't seen their recent Evolve match). It starts hot with Walter getting aggressive and establishing that we are dealing mauling bear Walter. Sabre fires back with strikes that he knows well and good aren't going to down the big man, but he is trying to piss him off and get him to make a mistake/wear himself out. It establishes the entire tone of the match right off the bat. The match features lots of big strikes and brutality. It also features some really cool counters as Sabre baits Walter into the aforementioned mistakes and really works over the arm. I like that they go back to tease the finish from PWG. This time though Walter is a step ahead and catches Sabre. You can see it in his eyes that Sabre knows he is caught immediately. The timing of the finish was really great stuff.

 

****1/2 for me right now. I came away thinking this was one of the best two matches I saw live and one of the best three matches of the weekend. Seeing it on tape, it really held up nicely. I think the lack of commentary helped it. You could feel the crowd following this one a little better. I will watch this one again down the road. I don't think it will wind up with top marks from me, but it might bump up

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I think Sabre is having the best year of any wrestler in the world right now and I loved their PWG match but, while I certainly like this match much more than I dislike it, the story of "Zack thinks he's going to win by, on purpose, taking a bunch of chops from the hardest choppin' man in the business" just isn't super compelling to me. I get that the arrogance of the character in thinking that he can get WALTER to eventually make mistakes is a motivation, but it just doesn't grab me (maybe if there were more examples of WALTER actually paying for those chops somehow?). All that said, WALTER chopping people is fun, Sabre's bumping is terrific, and any matwork that actually takes advantage of the size difference on the mat (as opposed to the more commonly used format where the small guy can wrestle on the mat and the big guy just wants to get back to stand up) is great. I love the pop Sabre gets just by being able to hold the neck bridge early on.

 

It's good, but I don't love it like y'all seem to.

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It doesn't matter what country they're in, both men know how to put on an awesome match with their insane chemistry. Zack doesn't usually get to work heel in Progress, so seeing him being such an annoying prick to WALTER was a refreshing take on his character in this specific promotion. The match was just as physical and intense as their usual matches are with WALTER chopping Zack into the next dimension, and the latter having to stray from his usual technical antics and go for a more diverse move set. Though the match was short, and not their best, this was still a fun watch from start to finish, ****1/2.

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