Jay Spade vs AT Brooks, 23 March 2011 (IWA Unlimited)

Jay Spade (in long tights) stands out as an extraordinary takedown artist in this match that Jim from Nashville recently shared with me. The bumps have grandeur and snap. Both wrestlers have an instinct for making the ring a percussive instrument you can almost "hear" even in these silent GIFs. Although the match is carefully choreographed, Spade and Brooks lend enough passion to make each move feel spontaneous and momentous. The advantages of intensive training and youthful exuberance are obvious here. No amount of parading around the ring could take the place of raw energy like this.

I don't like the way the fight ends, but the ride to anticlimax has never been bumpier or livelier. My preferred wrestling style - even in the ring - involves more mat grappling, but Christ how I do love a thunderous body slam! And with this level of salesmanship and athleticism, I don't so much mind the absence of scissor-holds and figure-fours. And the arm bars are sweeet!  The aggressive way these guys toss each other about puts me in mind of Ospreay and Ricochet. Fitness and training carry a match only so far. This level of performance is achievable only through deep-rooted appreciation for pro-wrestling traditions and an instinctive and untempered appetite for roughhouse. You can't phone in shit  like this.

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