ECW Hardcore TV is coming on Wednesday (Just need to type up my written notes) but to fill a bit of a gap until then I thought I’d review this match. This came about because I read in the daily update over the weekend that Impact wants to main event a show with Eli Drake Vs Tessa Blanchard in an inter-gender match (Although apparently Eli isn’t up for doing it according to his Twitter)
I saw it mentioned that this match was an especially good example of an inter-gender match done right, so I decided to give it a look seeing as WrestleCircus have officially uploaded it to their own YouTube channel.
I’m not an especially big fan of inter-gender wrestling, mainly because I don’t like watching blokes beat up women. Call me old fashioned if you will, but I’m off a generation that was taught that hitting women just isn’t cricket, eh what, and I find it a tad uncomfortable when big burly blokes batter much smaller women whilst crowds roar along. Just seems a bit Roman Coliseumish to me.
I don’t really subscribe to the argument that it isn’t especially realistic for a woman to compete with a man in a wrestling contest, mainly because any suggestion of size really destroying immersion was done away with when Rey Mysterio Jr became a big star in the 90’S.
If Rey can give up to 150-200 pounds on some of his opponents and still have a good match, I can’t see why a smaller woman can’t then hang with a bigger man if the match is structured correctly. The weight difference in this match seems frankly ridiculous however. It’s one thing for Blanchard to trade moves with a guy Dave Crist’s size, but Cage is an absolute monster in comparison. Still, I’ll go into it with an open mind. There’s no doubting that both are more than capable of having a good match, so hopefully that translates here.
WrestleCircus Ringmaster Champion: Brian Cage Vs Sideshow Champion: Tessa Blanchard
The opening video seems to suggest that this company is all about insane high spots and wild weapon chicanery. I wonder if we’ll see some of that in this match? Hey, Gavin Loudspeaker is doing the ring announcing! This is apparently title for title, although Blanchard is also the Women’s Champion so she could conceivably end up with three belts by the time the night is over with. Cage seems to be working this match as a heel if his posturing during the ring introductions is anything to go by. (You’ll have to forgive my ignorance, I know nothing about this company and am just going off my first impressions)
Scorpio Sky is hanging around ringside to start, but Cage sends him to the back. Cage wants a test of strength to start, and actually goes onto his knees just to be a dick about it, so Blanchard kicks him in the face for his insolence. Blanchard fires off some leg kicks, which don’t seem to do any damage to Cage, but do serve to annoy him. Cage actually pulls Blanchard’s hair, getting mad heat in the process, and then boots Blanchard in the face.
Blanchard tries for an arm drag and then a backslide, but Cage is just too big and muscles her up into a powerbomb, but she’s able to counter it into a rana to send him outside. Blanchard tries a suicide dive onto Cage, but he catches her with ease and then F5’s her onto the apron to more heel heat from the crowd. Cage presses Blanchard into the ring and then mugs for the crowd. He takes too long though and gets drop kicked off the apron. Blanchard comes off the apron with a seated senton and actually puts Cage down.
Blanchard heads up top and dives from the top rope onto Cage on the outside, before piling chairs onto him and adding a sick unprotected chair shot to the head. Yup, this is a silly Indy company alright. Cage flings Blanchard into the chairs and then drags her back in for a big superplex. Cage lifts Blanchard up for a blockbuster slam, and actually does some curls with her before completing the move. If there was even the slightest chance that this man would piss clean then Vince McMahon would probably not only sign him but give him all the belts as well.
Blanchard keeps fighting with forearm strikes, but Cage shrugs them off and then goes for a one handed press slam. Blanchard slips out of that, but then runs into a big tilt a whirl slam, which Cage celebrates with some push ups. Blanchard won’t give up and drop toe holds Cage into the middle rope before adding a big dropkick. Blanchard heads up top and goes for double knees, but Cage dodges it and goes for the tilt a whirl again. Blanchard is able to counter it into the DDT this time though and manages to get a two count from the referee.
Blanchard gets another DDT, but Cage once again manages to kick out. Cage replies with a wheelbarrow neck breaker, but Blanchard is able to kick out at two. Cage is like a video game wrestler come to life. Cage looks to be going for an F5, but Blanchard is able to counter it into a Canadian Destroyer out of nowhere for a big pop from the crowd. That was actually really smoothly done for such a contrived spot. Blanchard goes for the cover but Cage is able to just about kick out at two. That was a cracking near fall I must say!
Blanchard actually tries to lift Cage up into a firewoman’s carry, but Cage shrugs that off and hits a pumphandle face buster for two. Cage sets Blanchard up on the top rope and goes for a Splash Mountain from up there, but she counters it into a rana and then comes off the top rope with a seated back senton splash for two. Blanchard tries a guillotine choke next, but Cage powers out of that and then hits a big power slam. Cage flings Blanchard from one corner of the ring to the other and sets up for that Gory Bomb into a Knox Out move he likes to do, but Blanchard kicks off the ropes to counter it and gets a big knee in the corner before actually managing to muscle Cage up into a Go To Sleep!
She didn’t get him that high up to be fair, but wow, to do that so late into a match was pretty impressive considering the size difference. Cage is able to kick out at two and hits a big buckle bomb, but Blanchard gets a pair of Code Breakers before heading up top for a third one for a big near fall. Man, fans were BUYING that near fall! Blanchard heads up once again, but Cage catches her this time and hits a powerbomb, followed by an F5 for two. Blanchard’s selling really is fantastic, as she exudes pain, exhaustion and defiance all at the same time. It’s really impressive.
Cage goes for what looks like a Meltdown, but Blanchard counters that into a roll up for two, before eating a big discus lariat. Cage gets two from that, so follows up with an Emerald Frosion to pick up both belts. Heck of an effort from Blanchard though.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BRIAN CAGE
Blanchard was great as the gutsy babyface fighting from underneath, which is kind of crazy when she’s also such a good intense heel as well. She really is pretty great at this wrestling stuff. WWE’s loss is any other companies gain, as she’s got a great look, can cut a promo and is also supremely talented in the ring as well. Her selling in particular here was great and it really helped with getting me invested in the match result.
Cage worked well as your typical monster heel, but I don’t think I’d want to take any of his moves, as he does quite literally fling his opponents about with absolute reckless abandon at times. I wouldn’t say he’s bad or anything, but he’s pretty one note for me and I’ve never been especially into his act. He’s kind of like a modern day Mike Awesome, in that he can have good matches with good workers but he’s very spotty when left to his own devices and often blows his load when it comes to the big moves early on in a match. He worked better here with an actual story to tell and a good opponent who sold for him.
Overall I enjoyed the match and thought it was an entertaining spectacle. Blanchard didn’t look especially out of place in there with such a big man and the match told a good story of her being gutsy and fighting against the odds to almost win. The size difference wasn’t that much of an issue and I didn’t especially struggle to get immersed in the action. I’m still not crazy about the inter-gender stuff, but if you’re going to do it then I think this worked well enough.
You can watch the match in full by clicking right HERE
I’ll see you all on Wednesday for Hardcore TV and punch and pie*
Take care till next time!
*Punch and Pie will not be served