Featured image by @RobertCollard
Despite winning out as my 2019 Wrestler of the Year, I did have some problems with a few of David Starr’s performances towards the end of the year. The 5th Anniversary match against Devlin was confused and a bit melodramatic, the title defense against Mike Bailey was bloated. He basically leaned into the worst habits of the OTT main event scene with an over reliance on ref and title belt spots.
Which makes this match so refreshing.
Away from the intrusive story beats of the OTT main event scene and no championship belts to have morality plays over, David Starr gets to focus on just structuring a great match with a simple narrative. Starr plays the more technically adept heel trying to pick apart the big man with the heavy hands.
This might be one of my favorite Starr performances in a while. He works well in control on the mat, throwing in some smarmy heel characteristics like slapping the back of Dickinson’s head to taunt him. He throws in little touches like using the ropes for more leverage on Dickinson’s ankle before breaking the hold. Then when the bombs start falling and Dickinson throws his strikes, Starr sells them like absolute death. If Jay White didn’t exist in this world, those would have been the most satisfying crumple spots from a strike exchange in a long while.
Dickinson doesn’t do much for me in general but with a heel like Starr to play off of, his strikes and big suplexes come off really well. And he even takes a pretty cool suplex bump into the turnbuckles as well. All around inoffensive and serves his role in the match. He shows some good fire too which helps the escalation of intensity towards the bomb throwing finishing stretch. Really good stuff here, definitely seek it out.