Not Today, Junior
I can't wipe the smile off my face this morning. UCW-Wrestling's latest release [#276] is amazeballs. Newcomer heel Quinn Harper is amazeballs. Infuriating, unpredictable, raging, fearless, sadistic, and crazy. This guy's a star! You see it in his eyes: He wants to fuck somebody up right now! Promising Michael Hannigan that "I'll bend you and break you in half," he all but literally fulfills the promise in this riveting 38-minute match you could not find anywhere else but UCW. Harper also brings some crisp, raw moves never before seen at UCW. He uses the intentionally claustrophobic space like no other wrestler has thought to ... and I say space to include his opponent's body, which he twists gleefully and maliciously, disregarding any pain it might cause himself. At one point, he splits Hannigan open with a figure-four and asks, "How does that feel? Bone against bone. It hurts me, but I like it." Almost poetry, to my ears.
Quinn totally dominates Michael for the first eight minutes, until Michael rolls over to reverse a cartilage-popping figure-four, proving that Hannigan is more, much more, than just a pretty face. Lest you think this is Quinn's show alone, let me state unequivocally that Michael Hannigan is fully 50% of what makes this match awesome. Hannigan shows sides of himself I never saw before. He not only suffers more and better than he's ever suffered before, but also shows spunk and resourcefulness previously unsuspected. Just when I am ready to write him off with a "better-luck-next-time-kid," he finds some entirely innovative and out-of-nowhere tactic for causing his heel opponent such intolerable pain that the contest suddenly swerves upward to a whole new level of pandemonium.
The badinage in this fight is way above par, too, rising to the levels of Joker's and Eli Black's wisecracks. When Hannigan's got him tied up in a particularly nasty little knot, Harper exclaims, "Argh! you're squishing my balls as you choke me. So unfair!" Improbably descriptive dialogue anywhere but on a radio show or the Shakespearean stage, but it's weirdly effective here. Then Michael very nearly pins his shoulders for a clean finish, but Quinn powers free after the two count and declares, "Not today, Junior. Another day." A dry quip that loses a bit of its impact in print, but most effective and surprising as delivered by this obviously seasoned heel. When Quinn shouts "I'm in control!" (while his fingers tear into his victim's eyes--not for the faint of heart, by the way), the exclamation is rapturous and predatory--pitch-perfect villainy.
The action here is crazy intense. When he's not delivering well-turned phrases like a mosh-pit Cyrano, Quinn Harper explodes into hot-tempered rages, covering Hannigan's body with stiff blows like a swarm of hornets. His fury knows no limits, and it is speedy. You don't turn the tables on this guy as often as Hannigan does without nerve-jangling blowback. When trying to escape an especially tight clench midway through the match, Harper reintroduces the "stiff-thumb anal-intruder" (I await the official wrestling terminology for this ... um ... hold), an eye-popping tactic he introduced in his first match against Axel [#271]. Michael exacts retribution, pulling the bad guy up by his ears to beat him back down to the mat with a trio of well-placed dropkicks. Then he throws him to the wall for some typical UCW gut torment. Quinn fights back, driving Michael all the way to the other side of the room with a volley of jabs, all delivered while Quinn is still on his knees! Past the midpoint of this brawl, the give-and-take action accelerates with a series of brisk two-counts, attesting to both men's will to dominate and the parity of both men's wrestling skills. There's no telling how this shocker is going to end, but I can't imagine anybody wanting to fast-forward through even a minute of this sweaty, edge-of-your-seat shitkicker.