Sunday, October 23, 2016
The Eternal Return
Eli Black vs Axel, #495 (UCW)
Remember how long it took for Axel and Eli to finally face each other on the mat? Nowadays, they can't stop themselves from tearing into each other at the drop of a hat. Axel stretches for a few seconds--then BAM! Eli tackles him and starts blasting away at his midsection. Within a minute, the two-time champion reverses and punishes Black like I've never seen him punish anyone before. It's vicious and calculated, almost as if the blindsiding was expected and prepared for. Then two minutes later, Eli's the man in charge again, and thus the match proceeds at a breakneck pace, back and forth between two UCW legends.
What has it been now? Eight, nine, ten times that these two have faced off in singles or tag team competition? Both have held the UCW championship belt in recent years. Eli held two belts at the same time, counting the shoddy cardboard and duct tape creation he dubiously credited to some intellectually disabled fans. His previous match pitted him against the current champ. Recently when I was pondering the fact that Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat faced each other over 2,000 times in the squared circle, it occurred to me that some of the best matches are between guys who have wrestled each other on multiple occasions. Fans might tire of the repeated pairing, but I think it's a safe bet that matches pack more heat the better the opponents know each other. Intimate knowledge of one's opponent's habits, style, strengths, and weaknesses gives rise to gutsier give-and-take matches and greater and more daring tactics, not to mention the passions raised by a prolonged feud.
Aspects of this match can't even be hinted at without spoiling the surprise. Suffice it to say, then, Eli and Axel rev up one hell of a 30-minute brawl, neither man holding anything back. It may or may not be either man's best match, possibly not even their best match against each other, but it's still something I would not have missed for anything. With wrestling this stiff, who would?