Style Battle Season 1 Episode 3 on March 12, 2017
The Orpheum – Ybor City, Florida
I want to start this review with talking about FloSlam and their streaming service. This isn’t going to negatively affect how I look at the show but it needs to be talked about. FloSlam was exactly 1 HOUR late when starting their Style Battle Episode 3 Stream and when asked about what was happening they claimed that people were “still filing into the venue”. When the show started it was apparent that that couldn’t have been the case because there weren’t that many people there to begin with. When people started to ask Gabe Sapolsky (Co-Owner of WWN and Booker of Style Battle) he said that he had nothing to do with the problems and wasn’t even at the show. He said it was entirely FloSlam’s fault and that he was sorry. Now I wouldn’t be as mad if this weren’t the first time that this has happened with FloSlam and their streaming service. This has happened on multiple occasions, whether it be them just straight up starting late or them putting out the wrong times like they did with SHINE on Friday. I don’t want to talk about it but its a continuing trend and FloSlam need to fix their service. With WrestleMania weekend coming up there are going to be over 10 events streaming on the service and if their service is anything like Style Battle both the fans in attendance and the people watching at home will be left dissatisfied.
Style Battle First Round: Kyle Matthews vs. Jason Cade
The first match for this episode of Style Battle featured two new participants to the tournament, that being Jason Cade and Kyle Matthews. If you’re a fan of FIP or ACW you’ve certainly seen Cade, and Matthews frequents the Georgia indie scene. This match was a good opener as it highlighted the strengths of both men. It showed that while Matthews was more of a technical wrestler he could be agile, and it showed the flashy style of Jason Cade. The match ended when Cade hit a really great Frog Splash for the victory.
Style Battle First Round: Anthony Henry vs. Martin Stone
During the whole mess that was FloSlam’s streaming service Gabe Sapolsky decided that to make up for it he was going to tweet booking notes that he gave the guys in the matches. For Henry vs. Stone he said:
Henry vs Stone were given free reign on this one (hint this match isn't meant to be short). Let's see what they come up with? #StyleBattle
— Gabe Sapolsky (@BookItGabe) March 13, 2017
So, going into the match we already knew not to expect something fast pace or short, and for that that kinda spoiled it a bit. When I’m going into matches I don’t want to know what to expect, unless they’ve fought before you should be allowed to be surprised by what is going to happen. This match was good as it showed both Henry and Stone’s technical prowess. Henry has also been in all three Style Battles thus far and keeps putting on great performances whether he’s in the finals or in a time limit draw. If they continue to put him in these I wonder if they’re going to eventually have him win one, or just have him lose to set up Season 2. The match was a little awkward at times but by the time it was over they had really found a groove and the match really started to ramp up. The match ended when Stone pulled Henry’s leg off the rope during the pin following the London Bridge (Hanging DDT).
Style Battle First Round: James Drake vs. Jon Davis
For me this was the best match on the entire show. Gabe hyped it up as a “Heavyweight Battle” and after the match was over I could see why he called it that. This was fast paced and extremely rough from the beginning. This was my first time seeing James Drake and I was super impressed with him. I had seen Jon Davis before and he had even been apart of the first Style Battle (during its EVOLVE iteration). These two didn’t pull any punches and they pulled out a lot of big moves and during most of the match it seemed like it could go either way. The match ended when Jon Davis hit the “Siberian Bearcrusher” which is a Pop-Up Powerbomb, into a German, followed by a Lariat! I love combination finishers and that one made me yell a little bit, awesome move. If you can’t watch the whole tournament and need to see just one match, I would recommend this one because it was awesome. I’m definitely going to be looking out for both Jon Davis and James Drake more in the future.
Style Battle First Round: Jon Cruz vs. Parrow
There’s not much to say about Jon Cruz vs. Parrow. It was meant to be a squash and that’s what it was. Parrow destroyed Cruz while Cruz got in some offense. The only thing I didn’t like about this match is that a lot of the small things about Parrow aren’t that great. He’s big, but not massive and he doesn’t have anything unique about him except the fact that he’s an intellectual monster. He’s kind of awkward in the ring which can sometimes work for someone his size, but it doesn’t work for him. Almost everything he does is very telegraphed and you can tell whats coming next because he always braces well before it happens. The match ended with Parrow hitting a big Powerbomb for the win. I think someone the size of Cruz is perfect for Parrow and he can have good matches with smaller guys but I think Cruz got a little too much offense in this situation.
Style Battle Semi-Final: Jason Cade vs. Martin Stone
The next match up was Jason Cade vs. Martin Stone and there was something kind of off about this match, I don’t know what it was but I expected something a bit more from this match. It started off really fast as Cade was trying to get through the match as fast as possible. He even hit the ‘All Hail’ Pedigree in his attempts to win. Once we got into the nitty gritty of the match it picked up a little bit more, but the turn of the match came when Stone tried to cheat once again by pulling his opponents leg off the rope but this time the ref caught it. Following that Cade rolled Stone up for the win. During the interview Cade declared that he was “Undefeated in WWE UK Tournament Competition” which I thought was funny. This was a decent match, if they were given more time and really hit a groove I think it could have been great.
Style Battle Semi-Final: Jon Davis vs. Parrow
After Jon Davis’ first round match Parrow had a lot to live up to when it came to hoss battles. One of my favorite things about Jon Davis is how he always looks so focused, he has a target and he’s not going to stop until he destroys them. Parrow also looked extremely focused and before the bell rang I was excited because I could tell this was going to be brutal. The match looked super stiff, like they were actually trying to run through each other as fast as possible and I loved that. I think Parrow is at his best when he is just beating on someone. During the match Parrow hit a big fall away slam into the corner and for a couple of seconds I thought he was going to win, luckily Davis kicked out. Davis was really great at playing dead here and selling just how powerful Parrow is with his strikes and offense. I don’t know why he never had a big break. Now that he’s 37 I think him in the WWE or NXT has passed but I would love to see him more frequently in EVOLVE. Parrow hit a nasty looking sit out tombstone that I thought was surely going to end the match. Davis won the match when he hit a crazy impressive Siberian Bearcrusher. Following the match Parrow snapped and threw chairs everywhere, I guess he was mad about his loss.
ACW Tag Team Championship: The Lacey Twins (c) vs. KRAKEN vs. The Dirty Blondes vs. Champion & Amir
This was the last match before the Finals of Style Battle Episode 3. I had seen a little bit of ACW before but hadn’t seen any of the guys except KRAKEN (Or the Hierachy). Going in I had no expectations and I was pleasantly surprised because this was a pretty good match. I think Chip Day and Murder One were the highlights of the match but everyone in it was impressive. The Dirty Blondes were old school territory style heels while The Lacey Twins had a big and little dynamic. I couldn’t quite peg Champion & Amir as they didn’t have a lot of offense in the match but everything they did looked good. The match ended with Chip Day getting pinned following a 630 by one of the Lacey Twins. This was a good match and everyone got in some good offense, I’ll be looking out for everyone in this match in the future.
Style Battle Final: Jon Davis vs. Jason Cade
The Finals of Style Battle started off pretty unique. During Jon Davis’ pre-match interview Cade tried to dive at him and Davis simply, walked away. I laughed for 2-3 minutes because it showed just who Jason Cade and Jon Davis are. I really liked this match because it was a big vs little match but Jon Davis wasn’t monstrous and could keep up with Cade if they wanted to do a fast sequence. It was competitive and provided some great action. There was a point in the match where Davis was willing to “spare” Cade and take the count out victory but once Cade made it back in the ring he sort of chuckled and started laying in on him again. This was a great back and forth match and neither man looked weak in it. The finish was Davis hitting his signature Siberian Bearcrusher for the win. This time it looked particularly brutal because Davis finally had someone little to do it on. Gabe revealed on Twitter that the winner of the match was entered into the WWN Championship match at Mercury Rising, I am excited to see Davis interact with Matt Riddle. Martin Stone was also on commentary during the whole match and after the match they set up a FIP Florida Heritage title match at the #BrokenTailGate in Orlando.
STYLE BATTLE SEASON 1 EPISODE 3 ON MARCH 12, 2017
Good - 7.5/10
I think this was the best Style Battle tournament so far because it featured a bunch of diverse talent and it truly was a STYLE battle. I'm glad that Davis won and got a shot in the WWN title match come Mania weekend. I am looking forward to seeing if WWN use James Drake again because he also wowed me and it was the first time I had ever seen him. This got me excited to see Mercury Rising even more and I hope that Davis kills it in Orlando.