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November 24, 2008 / Reed

Tyler Black vs. Silas Young from AAW’s Windy City Classic 2008

Review by Reed Benson:

Even though I like Seth Rollins, the prospect of watching a Tyler Black match doesn’t usually excite me. Maybe it’s his lack of pants. Similarly, even though his current “Last Real Man” gimmick seems to be working in places like Ring of Honor, Silas Young’s name on a card often fails to pique my interest. And yet, somehow, this match managed to excite me even on multiple viewings!

It comes across as a true title match. Black is protective of his AAW title belt before the ring announcements, yanking it from Young’s hand as the ref keeps them separate. After the announcements, the ref holds the belt high to all four sides of the ring and gives Young the chance to gaze on it before handing it to the timekeeper. The belt matters.

The atmosphere is near-perfect. The crowd is split. Normally, I yawn at the feeling out process at the beginning of a match, but in this setting, it’s mesmerizing. The lock-ups, the arm wringers, the headlocks…all of it is compelling because both men seem like they’re working towards a goal. The belt matters.

Just as Young goes for his crossface variation, a wrench is thrown in into the mix in the form of Young’s nemesis Josh Raymond. He tries to get Young to give up his title match by telling him that Young’s ex-girlfriend is in labor, about to have his baby. Is he telling the truth? After much deliberation (as well was input from Black), Young decides that the only reason for him to be at the hospital would be to support a woman he hates, so he chooses to stay and fight. Questionable morals aside, the belt matters.

Nevertheless, the urgency picks up at this point. Young seems like he wants to get the belt and get out of there now. He and Black start really bringing the fight to each other, breaking out the moonsault, the hard kicks, and plenty of counters and reversals. There’s a particularly nice leg-catch-into-fisherman’s-suplex and a well-done dropkick to counter a springboard crossbody.

Raymond stays at ringside cheering on Black, but Black doesn’t care for him any more than Young does. Both guys actually team up to give him a short beating, and late in the match, Black might have the win with the kneeling superkick, but he decides to take a smug Raymond out with a dive.

The finish is kind of disappointing – Black wins with a sunset flip after a series of pin reversals – and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rooting for Young after Raymond’s shenanigans. Black looks pretty strong, able to dive onto Raymond, avoid getting pinned, and get the victory himself. Young isn’t able to take advantage of the distraction, so he looks a little weaker, and the way the match plays out, I don’t think he can blame Raymond for the loss. He didn’t interfere after the initial interruption, and Young didn’t seem to be paying any more attention to him during the finishing stretch.

Maybe you’ll have a different reading of the ending. Regardless, I think this is a match worth checking out. It certainly makes me want to see more of Silas Young from this period.

– Reed Benson

My match review site is here.

I don’t often tweet about wrestling, but I have a Tumblr gimmick for it here.

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