Shaun Tempers vs. Ace Rockwell from NWA Anarchy 2011
From Dylan Hales:
On August 7th and 8th, the first ever (and hopefully first annual) Scenic City Invitational tournament will be held at the Empire Arena in Rossville, Georgia.
In an effort to get people excited for this tournament and Southern independent wrestling in general, in the weeks leading up to the event, this blog will be looking at matches from each individual participant in the tourney. We hope you follow along, enjoy the matches, and find some new favorites along the way.
For more information on the Scenic City Invitational check out their Facebook page.
Post by Bill Thompson
This is the finals of a tournament for the vacant National Wrestling Alliance North American Championship.
I’m sure that some will view it as a cop put when I categorize this as a good, old fashioned wrestling match. Sure, there are modern elements to this match, but this match would be right at home in any era because it is built around tried and true pro wrestling concepts. Moves are built to, a foundation is laid, there are callbacks to previous spots/moments, and the heel/face dynamic slowly erodes as the chase for the title in a hard fought battle becomes paramount. You can find that sort of stuff just as easily in 1972 as you can in 2011 or 2015. That’s why this is a great match, because two competitors took their time in telling a compelling tale of wanting to win a championship belt.
There are some promotions in modern wrestling where the idea of fighting to win a championship belt would be a foreign concept. Yes, this is true of World Wrestling Entertainment, but I’m not exclusively thinking of them. There are many indie promotions where the belt has become secondary as well. Instead of the belt being of the utmost importance it’s having the best match that has become the driving force. It may seem odd to highlight such a notion when I run a blog that is about the great matches. But, more often than not a great match is a great match because it buys into the idea of pro wrestling being a contest to win a match, or to win some prize. Remove that from the equation and the result is often a lifeless construct, an exhibition without substance or value.
That is not the case with this Shaun Tempers and Ace Rockwell encounter. They spend their time constructing a match that is just as logical as it is exciting. Build and build and build is the plan brought forth by these two gentlemen. There’s a clear direction to the match and a meaning behind what they are doing that gives importance to the little moments just as much as it does the big moments. Because of the way that Rockwell and Tempers build the match there is also the feeling that the match could end at any moment. This is a long epic sort of match, but it never has the feel of the bloated drawn out epic. There aren’t a lot of nearfalls, and when they do happen they give the impression that this could be the moment when the match is won.
Rockwell and Tempers are equally great in this match. This is a back and forth affair, though upon first viewing it felt like Rockwell was in control more than Tempers. On the surface that feels odd, what with Rockwell being the face and Tempers the heel. But, the longer the match goes the more that Tempers and Rockwell become wrestlers chasing a title win as opposed to a heel or a face. That’s why, despite Rockwell being in control for a larger chunk of the match, it never truly feels that way. There’s no true face in peril segment, or a heat filled comeback. Rather, there are ebbs and flows in the action with both men having stretches where it feels like they are legitimately in control of the match.
When Rockwell/Tempers ended I felt content. I knew I had watched something great. A match that had drawn me in, made me care about the wrestlers involved as well as the stakes at hand. Whether they are known as National Wrestling Alliance Wildside, Anarchy Wrestling, or National Wrestling Alliance Anarchy Bill Behrens and company are great at crafting matches that are full of heat, exciting, and a joy to watch. That’s a damn fine trifecta right there, and a reason why Rockwell, Tempers, and any iteration of this promotion remain must watch professional wrestling.