Let's Go Backwards When Forward Fails
Milad Akbar vs Ron Reeves vs Deron Banks vs Matt Vine, PPW 26 - 3 May 2014, Woodstock, IL (Premier Pro Wrestling)
Until I discovered Premier Pro Wrestling a little over three years ago, I thought the kind of wrestling that first drew me to professional wrestling was extinct, squashed beneath the overblown heel of WWE. The wrestling I'm talking about involves a mix of grappling and brawling, with meaty brutes and matches consisting of a distinct short story, complete in itself, without the long narrative arcs and Medici-like alliances that have absorbed most promotions, often in imitation of the hugely profitable WWE. For me, Milad Akbar and Matt Vine exemplify this retro style of low-attitude high-technique wrestling performance, a part of a national trend (happily, for me) of reclaiming regional wrestling's humanistic charms and sideshow con-artistry.
PPW matches are heavy on collar-and-elbow lockups, takedowns, side headlocks, scissor holds, armbars, knocked-out refs, cowardly heels, corner mounts, comeuppance, and pliable segues. The tone is not quite as somber gray as the early television days of wrestling, when there was still a pretense of genuine athletic competition. There's room here for some color. Vine is a peculiarly buoyant bad guy (see the 7th GIF below), and even a consummate ring technician like Akbar takes time to mock Vine (sixth GIF) and to slip and slide down Deron Banks's sweaty back (ninth GIF).
This 2014 four-way features Akbar (metallic blue trunks), Ron Reeves (leopard print), Vine (black with green print), and Banks (black with gold print). The goal, as most of you know, is to be the man who gains the first pinfall or submission. The winner takes the title of PPW world heavyweight champion. Although it's fairly clear that each man fights for himself, a strong moral divide separates Akbar (one of the best babyfaces in pro wrestling) and Vine (one of the best heels), with the other two wrestlers in the middle, Reeves leaning towards clean and Banks leaning towards dirty. The match is always good when either Akbar or Vine is in the ring - always riveting when the two of them are in there together.
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