Rex Bedford vs Jett Bentley, Boot Camp Battle (88Wrestling)
Rex returns to face new recruit Jett, who doesn't know any better than to rib Bedford for being short (5'7" to Jett's 6'0"). What Rex isn't short of are wrestling moves, and he quickly puts Bentley in his place with a well executed body slam. But five minutes in, Jett takes over and proves that it's not smart to underestimate a rookie either, particularly one who seems comfortable playing mean. Twice he slams Rex face-forward into the turnbuckle, booting and dropkicking the guy between the shoulder blades, softening him up for greater punishments.
I like the match's nod to the military and wish the wrestlers had played that idea a bit more than they did. Bedford's camo tights cling nicely to his ass and legs, but I would not have minded if at some point Jett had stripped him down to his jockstrap and dogtags. Jett has a few things to learn about selling the drama of the battle, but by the second round (of three) both wrestlers have loosened up enough to put up a satisfying fight with tight segues and fierce tactics. They use the ropes effectively and display a command of pro-style flourishes like dropkicks and suplexes, along with the standard closed-fist punches (not always convincing), thigh stretches, crab holds, chin clutches, and satisfying arm bars (of which Rex is a maestro).
The match runs for three rounds, so obviously we get a chance to see both men win at least once. While I expected a rookie beatdown, I'm happy the fight is as close as it is, with Jett showing a facility for surefire classic holds and rough handling - so much better, to my way of thinking, than the usual new-guy hazing. But Rex, of course, is the man to watch. He's star material through and through.
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