Feature image by Jordan Dobbs Rosa
2011 holds a lot of nostalgia for me and my wrestling fandom. I had discovered indie wrestling in 2009 but 2011 was when I really hit my stride in terms of seeking out new and exciting indie wrestling. It was also the year I first joined a pro wrestling fan forum and thus began to have a space to put down and articulate my thoughts on what I was watching. It’s a habit that continues to this day in the form of the blog you’re reading.
And in 2011, no feud on the American independent scene was hotter and more emotionally engrossing than the one between former tag team partners Kevin Steen & El Generico. For the longest time, this match was one of my favorites in their series between 2010 and 2012. I appreciated its quick pace, the character work, and the way it built to its finish. I recall posting on my first forum that it was a 4.5 star match.
But it’s not too far off. At least from where I sit now, it has lost a little bit of its luster. But it’s not a bad match at all and I still really enjoy this match. Now, instead of finding it a perfect little hate-filled brawl though, it’s actually just a very charming match. It might seem odd to describe a match that features both competitors spitting on each other as “charming” but that’s the impression this leaves on me.
Perhaps the element that leaves this impression on me would be how Steen and Generico both play off a small child in the crowd that’s wearing an El Generico. Steen is quick to antagonize the child, even going so far as to flip him off after laying a beating on Generico. And in a lovely moment, the child flips him off back. A literal babyface getting their comeuppance on a heel. Doesn’t get much more pro wrestling than that.
There’s even some decent psychology that ties in with Steen’s interactions with the child. Every time he gets carried away taunting the fan, Generico gets the time he needs to recover and reclaim the advantage. In a very literal way, the crowd helps Generico win this match. There’s something special about how that typically internal character element of babyfaces in wrestling gets externalized in this way.
The finishing stretch of this tight 13 minutes gives us all the great intensity that these two deliver at their best. Lots of hate and a great series of bombs to lead El Generico to his first Battle of Los Angeles victory. A compact package of everything that makes indie wrestling great–cool moves and a hot atmosphere.