I’ve been writing about great matches on my personal blog, Blue Thunder Driver, for some time now. I’m not abandoning that blog, but it’s purpose has changed. I’ve decided to post all of my content at Wrestling with Words from now on. This is my home, this is where I feel that my work is the best, seen by the most eyes, and is able to be buoyed by the great work of others. While each and every great match I watch will still have a review filed at Blue Thunder Driver, that will be for archival and backup purposes only. That means the first place you will see the reviews of every match I watch that I think is **** or better will be right here at Wrestling with Words in this column, The Great Matches.
I’m not going to write much about Timothy Thatcher in this review. My opinion on Thatcher is well known, and has been well voiced many times over. I’ll say this much, Thatcher is great in this match. He wrestles a match of positioning in an attempt to counter the functional strength of Jeff Cobb. Thatcher is on point here, setting up moves to come down the line, working with what openings Cobb gives him, etc. All the while he provides his usual top level selling, some actual great strike exchanges, and he adds to the believability of the match in how earned he makes every moment come across as.
Thatcher is great, but I want to spend the majority of my time writing about Jeff Cobb. Here is a guy just waiting to break out, and a match like this highlights all the things he does so well in a professional wrestling ring. Cobb is big and beefy; though he may not be the tallest dude he looks and impresses with his bulkiness and the way he still moves despite said bulk. The reason so much of what Cobb does lands in impressive fashion is because of the way he bases his offense around functional strength. There’s probably nobody stronger in pro wrestling than Cobb, and man does he ever make sure to let the world know that in this match.
Cobb spends the first part of the match avoiding submission attempts from Thatcher and laying the ground work for the rest of the match. He uses facial expressions and body language to convey that Thatcher has his number on the mat. He starts taking little pot shots here and there, and then, wham, he levels Thatcher with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. We’re talking a complete thing of beauty here, with perfect arch, extension, hang time, and maximum impact. Cobb plants Thatcher into the mat, and at that moment the match changes. It’s now a battle of Thatcher’s positional wrestling versus Cobb’s functional wrestling. Both men still dabble in the other’s arena in certain moments, but there is a clear dividing line in how both men are trying to win the match.
What makes Cobb’s performance so great is how believable his feats of strength are. When he hits a German Suplex the feeling I got was that Thatcher may legit be dead from the impact (which was aided by excellent bumping/selling from Thatcher.) More than that though, what impresses me the most is how Cobb is able to weave these functional moments into the natural flow of the match. Things don’t stop so that Cobb can power out of a Cross Armbreaker. Rather, Cobb hits his power moves when he has openings, and he melds them seamlessly into the positional game that Thatcher is playing.
The match ends at just the right time too. Not just from a time perspective either, but also from weighing damage in as a factor. Cobb turns it up down the stretch, laying out Thatcher with his patented brand of stop dead movement reversal moves. It may sound confusing, but Cobb has moves that rely completely on him stopping a throw in one direction and then rotating completely the other way. Imagine him holding Thatcher in position for a Sidewalk slam, spinning in that direction, stopping himself, rotating completely the other way so that he ends up hitting some sort of Reverse Powerslam. It’s hard to describe, but trust me, when you see a move like that from Cobb your reaction will be, “Wow!” After he hits a few of those moves on Thatcher the match needs to go home, and it does.
I was excited for this match, I’m not about to deny that. Cobb and Thatcher are two of my favorite wrestlers, who happen to wrestle styles I love, and match-ups between them are usually top shelf. I didn’t expect the match to be this great though, as this is easily the best match I have seen between the two. Jeff Cobb is about to be unleashed upon the world through Lucha Underground, and Timothy Thatcher has become a well-known indie talent thanks to EVOLVE Wrestling. But, long before they entered those two promotions they were already great, and doing fantastic things against one another. This is a match worth going out of your way to see, trust me and your momma on that one.