Chris Andrews vs Chris Masters, Heroes and Legends (Pro Wrestling Pride)
The out-of-ring brawl that starts this 2015 match aims for an epic spirit and hits it, muscles pumped, sweat cascading, fans pissing their collective pants. Legendary muscle god, U.S. edition, vs heartthrob muscle god, U.K. edition, this is one of those matches (and there are many) I wish I had had a front-row seat for. The performers' ability to build this kind of intensity and excitement is what modern pro wrestling's all about. Some achieve it through pyrotechnic razzmatazz or grandiose harangues on the microphone; these two go the route I prefer: full-body collision in Armageddon mode.
The Paignton crowd already hates the American, and Masters does absolutely nothing to move them from that prejudice, employing a full range of cowardly assaults and evasions. Local-boy Andrews is their hero, young, handsome, and strong as the noonday sun. The gestures, like the men, are bigger than life. Every move is deliberately telegraphed and punctuated at the end for emphasis. Everything is calculated to make viewers feel the action in their bones. No wonder the ring can barely contain the energy.
Two narrative points are reiterated throughout the 15-minute match: one, that Andrews is the underdog, lacking his formidable adversary's experience or bulk, and, two, that Masters has feet of clay and can be defeated if only Andrews can persevere and muster his resources to take the titan down.
One last note, the 60-second swinging full nelson and the sweaty-as-fuck piledriver finish are TASTY!
The full YouTube video is available on the ProWrestlingPrideUk channel.