Athena vs. Heidi Lovelace from Absolute Intense Wrestling 2014
Post by Aaron Bentley:
A common criticism of the acclaimed NXT women’s matches is that they are too rehearsed. As I understand it, the complaint stems from a preference for matches that are called in the ring. However, each of those performers is talented enough, like an actor performing the same play eight times a week, that the repetition isn’t obvious in the performance. As Athena works her way to television in NXT, she may need further refinement in the art of rehearsing a match without making the match appear rehearsed.
In this match, while the intrigue picked up as Lovelace and Athena approached their finish, it was nearly impossible to invest in the performances because you could almost hear the two competitors thinking, considering what spot was supposed to come next. The crowd seemed to want to get involved but the bout’s momentum was too often foiled by stilted spots or poorly worked offense.
Despite those complications, Heidi and Athena did a couple of things very well. First, they told a logical story. Heidi had apparently hoped to use the help of her valet, Sammy G, to capture the AIW Women’s Championship but she didn’t camouflage her shenanigans well enough and was banished to the locker room early in the match. Afterward, Heidi gave nearly everything she had but simply didn’t have enough to finish off Athena. Clearly frustrated, Lovelace crotched Athena, who had previously been planning some top rope offense, then tried to get the extra leverage she plainly needed by putting her feet on the ropes for a pinfall.
That sequence also fed into the other thing these two women did very well in the match: they didn’t give in to the frustration they must have felt. They kept working hard and kept trying to get the crowd behind them, with varying success. As a consumer, it was impossible to give up on the match and move on to something else because the competitors wouldn’t. Even with some of the negatives, when Athena hit a fisherman’s suplex and finished Lovelace with the Red Wedding, I felt like I’d watched a pretty good match featuring two hard-working wrestlers. (**1/2)