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December 15, 2013 / Bill Thompson

Oliver John vs. Jeff Cobb from PREMIER Wrestling 2013

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Thoughts from Bill Thompson:

This match is for Jeff Cobb’s PREMIER Wrestling Heavyweight Championship.

Jeff Cobb is an individual who wrestling fans should familiarize themselves with. He’s a very talented wrestler who has excelled whenever he has been put in the spotlight. His main claim to fame is his insane athleticism. I’m not the biggest proponent of athleticism. It’s a fine tool to have, but when it comes to the skills that make for a quality professional wrestler athleticism is near the bottom of what I look for. That being said, Cobb is able to integrate his athleticism into a very smart working style that emphasizes his athleticism but not at the cost of natural match progression. This match is a prime example of that, especially considering Cobb’s opponent.

Oliver John is not a household name, and he never will be. His gimmick is that of being Old School; in the World of Sport sense, not the Steve Corino sense. Everything about John is straight forward; from his basic trunks to his balding head. But what really makes John fit his gimmick is his wrestling style. He’s in the mold of Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak, and Jack Gallagher. He’s all about grabbing a hold and grinding his opponent into the mat. Unfortunately for John he stopped wrestling, at least as far as I can tell, right as the indie scene began to fall in love with a more grappling heavy style of wrestling.

Based on the wrestler breakdowns you’d think this match would be a back and forth technical struggle. It is that, at first, and then it becomes many different things. The initial approach of John is to grapple with Cobb. Falling back on his amateur wrestling roots Cobb is able to hold his own. The first seven minutes or so were a fascinating display of hold-for-hold professional wrestling. John plied his trade, but Cobb was very game.

Then Cobb started using his power, strength is the second thing Cobb is well known for, as he bullied John around the ring. Deadlift German Suplexes, Shoulder Tackles, and Delayed Vertical Suplexes became the steady diet Cobb was feeding to John. Unable to answer Cobb’s power, strength, and speed John turned to stalling. He really played it up for the crowd, repeatedly waiting until the last possible moment to get back in the ring to break the ten count. This was classic Memphis, and the live crowd ate it up with a spoon.

From there the match turned into a battle of big bombs. John approached Cobb like a tree needing to be knocked down. He attacked Cobb with Slaps and Kicks before going to a Sitout Powerbomb and a Backdrop Driver. Yet again Cobb was game and he threw his own bombs right back at John. The difference is that Cobb’s bombs were much bigger than John’s and John found himself running yet again.

The problem with this match is that, as you can tell from my writing so far, is that it played out more like a pair of individual performances than a whole match. The performances were really good, though Cobb did get too repetitive the longer the match went. John did a splendid job of mixing up his style and working in a way that made sense based on the successes of Cobb. But, after the opening five minute stretch it always felt like each man was doing his own thing versus working together towards a cohesive wrestling match.

I enjoyed Cobb versus John. It wasn’t great, but it was pretty good. John played the heel really well, while Cobb did fine work as the athletic face. There were some awesome moments in the match, like John’s stalling session or Cobb’s Powerslam into a stop motion and then a swing back the other way for a Reverse Powerslam. But, the match ultimately was two really good performances and some cool moments. As a whole match Cobb versus John fall short of being great, though what is present can easily be enjoyed.

Bill Thompson

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