Doc Gallows is one of the most polarizing figures among “smart” fans today, as his personality is beloved nearly as much as his in-ring work seems to be reviled by the same audience. As discussed on this week’s podcast, I was impressed with his performance alongside “Southern Savior” John Skyler and decided to make Doc the subject of the first written accompaniment of Making Towns. I watched this match as the bonus feature to Doc’s appearance as Sex Ferguson on Cliff Compton’s Wake Up, Time to Die – however it also available courtesy of HighSpots’ new on-demand service.
Premiere Wrestling Xperience (PWX): January 19, 2014
Kevin Steen is on commentary for this match, which automatically elevates my engagement level while watching. Steen is as expected, hilarious, and does a great job of adding to the proceedings. Gallows is not yet using his Bullet Club entrance domestically, but is wearing what can only be described as a preposterous number of bandannas tied to his pants. Caleb Konley appears much more raw and frenetic here than his recent work in Evolve, and it is impressive how much he has evolved over the past 23 months.
The match begins with little feeling out as Konley immediately goes for a top rope attack that is met with a big boot by Doc that sends him crashing to the outside. Doc hits the first of many chair shots throughout this match before taking his assault into the ring. This features the Gallows barrage in the corner, a series of 12-to-6 elbow strikes to the collarbone, and a huge pumphandle slam. My biggest personal criticism of Doc’s NJPW performances (specifically those in the G1 Climax tournament) is that he isn’t physical enough to truly realize the “monster” potential he has in singles matches. This match stands in stark contrast as Gallows shines as a brawler against Konley.
Konley works well within the style as well once the action spills to the outside, scoring with a cross-body from the apron and following that up with a axehandle off of an eight-foot speaker. The two brawl around the bar area, which is aesthetically unique and adds to the chaotic feel of the match and Konley wraps a chair around Doc’s skull. Doc rallies by whipping Konley into a row of chairs and proceeds to throw nine consecutive chair shots, including a final punctuation mark that careens directly into his opponent’s face. Steen is overjoyed on commentary at this point and the moment is equal parts hilarious and brutal.
The match eventually returns to the ring and Konley unleashes a series of stiff kicks that climaxes with an absolute kill shot to the side of Doc’s head. A double jump moonsault results in a great near fall, and the finish comes when Konley reverses a last-ditch chokeslam attempt by Gallows into a sudden roll-up to take the victory.
Overall, this was a solid, fun brawl that was timed well and executed in a manner that told an effective story. This version of Gallows is very close to the one I witnessed against John Skyler and is absolutely worth checking out for those of you who may not appreciate the big man’s work in general.