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December 9, 2012 / Bill Thompson

Chris Masters vs. Kris Travis from Preston City Wrestling 2012

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Thoughts from Bill Thompson:

I’m a big fan of Chris Masters, have been for some time now. He’s a guy who didn’t really blossom during his time at World Wrestling Entertainment until his run there was just about over. Since heading to the indie scene Masters doesn’t make tape a heck of a lot. But, when he does, he almost always puts in a great performance. Masters is top notch at selling, bumping, facial expressions, psychology, move placement, and so on and so forth. Masters is one of the underutilized gems of the indie scene, except for in the United Kingdom where he is used quite often.

Wrestling in the United Kingdom as much as he does Masters has been able to ply his trade against a good number of high quality opponents. One of those opponents is Kris Travis, and this is the first of a trio of matches the three have had in Preston City Wrestling. Travis is a faster paced wrestler, not really a high flier, but a guy who isn’t afraid to toss his body around the ring. He’s also a fiery babyface, and in that regard he makes for a nice compliment to Masters.

This is the first of their trilogy, and it’s built around Masters using his power game against the speed of Travis. What immediately struck me about the match was the ability of both men to switch roles with relative ease. At the drop of the hat Masters went from dominating on offense to selling the quick strike offense of Travis. The same would hold true for Travis as he would go from stringing together a series of fast based offensive maneuvers to bumping and selling big for the strength moves of Masters. I expected as such from Masters, but I was very happy to see the same from Travis.

Travis is really at his best when he’s hitting some sort of flying strike. There are a series of Jumping Knee’s from Travis that have subtle snap to them and look very awesome every time they make contact. It helps that Masters is great at leaning into strikes and making them seem like they have more behind them than they actually do. This is important later in the match when Masters makes what would have otherwise been some mediocre Punches from Travis look like they carry legitimate pop.

Masters is at his best in general, but specifically he’s very impressive when it comes to move selection and how he puts together the match. Every move that Masters hits means something. He builds to his power moves, meaning that when he hits a Spinebuster late in the match the crowd buys into it as a killer move that could spell the end of the match. Of course his ace in the hole is the Master Lock, and the way he applies it, executes it, and uses it to elevate Travis in the fans eyes is a thing of beauty.

This match falls just short of being great, just short. Most of my nitpicks are minor, but they add up to a match that is really good and not great. For as much credit as I’m willing to give Masters for match structure I would have liked for the Forearm shots to Travis’ back to have gone somewhere meaningful. They looked great, were hit well by Masters and sold excellently by Travis. But, they didn’t factor into the end run of the match and I feel that was a mistake in Masters’ match structure. I also would have liked for Travis to have hit his babyface comebacks a little harder. Some of that was on Travis for forgetting his environment, such as when he had to come up short on a Missile Dropkick because he forgot that the ceiling was really close to the ring. In general though, the nitpicks are minor, and though they knock the match down a few pegs they in no way stop it from being a really good match.

I liked this match a lot, it made me happy as a pro wrestling fan. I’m looking forward to seeing more from Travis; he has all the makings of a top level babyface. And I still hope that Masters will be given higher level bookings on the indie circuit. He has turned into a complete package of a professional wrestler. The smart veteran in Masters and the talented youngster in Travis got together and did some very enjoyable things. They have two more matches in PCW, and I very much look forward to what they are going to offer in those contests.

Bill Thompson

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