Jake Jenkins vs Steel, Mat Rats 73 (Thunders Arena)
Thunders Arena has wasted no time following up on Jenkins' debut, pairing him against another promising new hire, Steel. It's a classic big-vs-little scenario, not my favorite setup, especially not when the point is either a no-shit-Sherlock demolition of the little guy or a believe-in-miracles demolition of the big guy. In this case, however, Steel's size and power are believably matched by Jake's cunning and speed, and the face-off delivers give and take to the bitter ... whatever it is that it delivers instead of an end.
Jake ignores Steel, then he informs him that he (Jake) is "the greatest underground wrestler you will ever meet," and then he flat-out mocks Steel's name, his muscles (Jenks calls it "fat"), and his poses. Once they get past the preliminary meet-and-greet, the 20-minute video brims with fast-paced action, with both wrestlers packing some surprises and well sold pain. There's plenty of grappling in the mix, too--an improvisation always worth the effort even when the rest of a match follows script.
Steel shows more speed and grit than Jake or probably anybody expected. Jake is stronger than his size might suggest. It's a rugged battle that intensifies from one minute to the next. Once or twice I worried somebody might actually hurt himself. (It's been known to happen at the Arena, especially when the wrestlers pressure themselves to wow the fans.) Each suffers hard (just listen to the vocals of Jenks' exquisite agony!) and recovers quickly to even things out ... or go down trying.
Wherever the battle takes these two next, I will be along for the ride.