Max Ryder vs Quinn Harper, Match 555 (UCW)
With his longer hair, Quinn looks like he just stepped off the Greyhound bus from 1971. All he needs are some love beads, paisley shirt, and flared pants with a worn Castaneda paperback tucked in a back pocket. Being of an age that allows vivid memories of '71 (senior year of high school), I can't help but have warmer feelings than usual for Quinn. No doubt he's a vicious man, always was, but the guy knows his wrestling, and that wins my confidence and respect, and as he patiently looks on as Max dabs his torso with baby oil, Quinn looks world-weary and unimpressed, ready to get the ass-kicking over with.
Only 20 pounds separates the two men, yet somehow Max looks much bigger, heavier. Still, right now my money is on the more experienced Harper, but my eyes are all over Ryder, bright and shimmery as a boiled egg, freshly shelled. When Quinn offers to oil Max's back, he assures the guy that he means no harm (yet). Max needed no assurance. He suspected nothing more than what was offered. It's almost as if he'd never faced Quinn on the mat before. He returns the favor, his touch a little too gentle for Quinn, who tells him to put some muscle into the massage. Max docilely obliges.
Soon as the bell sounds, Quinn is climbing all over Max. dragging him down onto the mat. Ryder looks dazed, like a buffalo beleaguered by a lion, but in a matter of seconds he has Quinn's head locked between his thighs. Quinn finds the hold surprisingly secure despite the oil slick, and he escapes by grabbing the guy's crotch (this won't be the last time). For the next 22 minutes, the two scramble to gain a secure hold, each success so short-lived that the video appears to be running in fast-motion.
The fighters are more evenly paired than I initially thought. The fast-paced give-and-take swirls - think "tornado," though, not "ice-skater." Max is straight-edge and high-road the whole way, but Quinn predictably aims low, seemingly more bent on causing Ryder irreparable damage than winning the match. Victory, when it comes and for whomever it comes, arrives in a sudden flash of desperate fury, the victor busting his opponent's head and shoulders against the mat and then, asses high in the air, pressing him down for the three count.
This is Quinn's best match in almost two years, outfighting even himself in recent contests against Chase Michaels and Erik the Viking - and Max has PLENTY to be proud of, too. I've been saying all year that 2017 is looking great for UCW, and here we are in the final stretch and the company keeps upping the ante.
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