Timothy Thatcher vs. Kevin Kross from FSW 2016
Post Bill Thompson:
This match is for Kevin Kross’ Future Stars of Wrestling Heavyweight Championship.
I haven’t written an honest to goodness review of a wrestling match in months. I’ve been busy, things came up, whatever, and etc. None of you care about any of that, but for me it was a big deal to finally sit down and watch a wrestling match and then write about it. For that very reason I decided to go with something that I figured was bound to at least make me smile, a match from one of my favorite wrestlers; Timothy Thatcher. My frown quickly turned upside down, and I became, yet again, the curmudgeon that no one likes.
I don’t have anything negative to say about Thatcher in this match. Don’t read that the wrong way. The faux Brit isn’t spectacular in this match, but he’s what Thatcher is on even his worst days, a good and solid professional wrestler. He puts the work in, even if it becomes clear very early on that there’s very little he can do to raise this match above the level of his opponent. Perhaps had Thatcher put in an all-time great performance, nah, you know what, I’m not foolish enough to finish that sentence. Thatcher could have been the love child of Jumbo Tsuruta and Buddy Rose in this match, and the end result still would have been the same.
Here’s where the curmudgeon in me comes out. I know that the topic of selling has been beaten to death. Or at least back when I was regularly writing about wrestling I know that it had been killed twice over. From what I gathered I missed a rather lengthy wrestling Twitter kerfuffle over the selling, or lack thereof, in a recent Ricochet & Will Ospreay match. Let me tell you, am I mad I missed out on that Twitter hoedown, said no one ever. However, the curmudgeon that is Bill Thompson is going to bring up the topic of selling in wrestling yet again.
Maybe it’s too much to ask for in this day and age of pro wrestling. We do live in an ADHD crash television world, and perhaps pro wrestling has become so enveloped in that world that asking for sustained and logical selling is asking for too much. Call me what you will, and I know the two of you who read this will call me plenty, but I still care about selling and think it has a place in the modern pro wrestling landscape. That’s why I became increasingly frustrated with Kevin Kross and his inability, or flat our refusal, to sell arm damage in a sustainable and believable fashion throughout this match.
In this case the selling is integral to the finish. The story that Thatcher and Kross want to get the audience to buy into is one of the valiant babyface champion overcoming a beating and winning even when his body has been left battered beyond use. The first problem with that story is that Kross looks like a generic Randy Orton wannabe, and it took me fifteen minutes into the match to realize he was supposed to be the babyface and not some charismaless void. That’s a pretty big hurdle to clear, but for the sake of argument let’s say I was able to clear said hurdle.
What’s left is a story where our hero has his arm worked over in pretty vicious fashion for the first eight or so minutes of the match. When he makes his first comeback he ignores all the damage to his arm and executes plenty of offense that requires him to use his damaged arm for leverage and power based moves. That’s awful selling all on its own, but it only gets worse as the match progresses. Because you see, Thatcher is our sort of heel (I’ll admit that good ole Timothy could have heeled it up in a more convincing fashion) and thus he gets back on Kross’ arm and again destroys it for another six or so minutes. That’s where the story comes to its climax. The hero rallies, hits a quick offensive burst and locks in a Rear Naked Choke for the victory. All hail our beloved hero, or maybe not so much.
There’s no reason to feel for our hero’s plight or to care about his triumph over adversity when he never bothered to sell the adversity in the first place. If he is executing Power Bombs, Dragon Screw Leg Whips and Backdrop Drivers with his damaged arm, then why in the hell would I buy into his miraculous comeback victory? Obviously his arm was never all that damaged in the first place, because if it were actually damaged then he would have sold it the entire time instead of forgetting about it every time he went on offense. He did hold it tight against his chest as he locked in the Rear Naked Choke, but that bit of selling was too little too late for this wrestling fan.
Am I asking for too much? Is believable selling that leads to a story I care about asking for too much from a pro wrestling product in the year of our nonexistent lord 2016? Is anyone going to read this and give one iota about what I have written? The answers to those questions are obviously yes, yes, and a resounding no. I’m just a curmudgeon swimming upstream against the growing wrestling tide I suppose. But hey, if Timothy Thatcher is going to work your god damn arm over for almost sixteen minutes maybe you should fucking sell the damage in a believable and sustained manner! But what do I know, I’m just someone who likes good stories.