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June 10, 2015 / Bill Thompson

Conor Claxton vs. Joe Gacy from Combat Zone Wrestling 2015

Post by Bill Thompson

Twitter: @MOTYPod

Joe Gacy continues to be impressive in 2015. I’m not sure exactly when Gacy turned the corner, but since at least 2014 he has been a wrestler on my radar. At first I wasn’t sure if it was Gacy, or if I was looking at a case of a guy being helped out by facing the likes of Drew Gulak, for instance. But as 2015 is nearing its end I have seen Gacy look great against a variety of opponents, from Frankie Pickard and Conor Claxton, to Joey Janela and George Gatton. Put bluntly, no matter the opponent I have come to realize that the majority of the time I can count on Gacy to deliver a quality performance.

This match up is no different, as Gacy is at the top of his game. He works this weird hybrid of #GrappleFuck and King’s Road. Now, I’m not saying he’s comparable to Mitsuharu Misawa or anything like that, but he does do a nice job of incorporating hard hitting offense in with a grappling base. That’s where I get the King’s Road connection from, although I haven’t seen enough 2000s-2010s indie to where he may be repping another style that I’m just not familiar with it.

Be that as it may, the point is that Gacy works from a grappling base to get to hard hitting spots. He’s not reinventing the wheel, but what he is doing is taking that approach and becoming a great wrestler as a result. There’s also a roughness to the grappling of Gacy, he’s not as smooth as a Timothy Thatcher, Jonathan Gresham, or Zack Sabre Jr. But, the roughness fits Gacy’s character, and it adds to his allure as far as I am concerned.

I don’t want to sell Claxton short, because for a relatively green wrestler he is quite good in this match. He’s able to hang with Gacy on the mat, and he takes what Gacy feeds him and runs with it. There’s one sequence where Claxton pulls Gacy out of the corner in a Wristlock, Gacy seamlessly transitions to a Cravate, and then Claxton is just as smooth as he switches to an Armlock Takedown. Later in the match Claxton bumps big for Gacy’s heavy offense, but he lays in his offense as well. Claxton runs both ends of the spectrum in this match, and he does so very well.

There are some issues with this match. I felt they went to the “staggering around and trading shots” spot one time too many. I also would have liked a little more focus to the arm work done by Claxton. The work is present, there just needed to be a bit more of it and a slightly tighter focus on it. The staggering spot is the bigger blemish on the match, but ultimately neither is all that damaging.

Claxton is really good, and Gacy continues presenting his case as a top wrestler in the world. They fall just short of a great match, but what they do present is a really good, almost stripped down match. I’ve said it before, but Dojo Wars are shows that people need to be seeking out. Or at the very least cherry pick the matches that some of us are pimping online. Combat Zone Wrestling is doing good things with Dojo Wars, and it deserves to be seen by more people.

Bill Thompson

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