Featured photo by Adriana M Photos
I was going to check this match out because Fred Yehi was attached to it and it was free on YouTube anyway. I had my concerns going in. I had seen the match these two had in Journey Pro last year in a pure rules match for Wyatt’s Gateway Heritage Championship. It was a good match but one that left me wondering a little why it got as much praise and hype as it did at the time. So while I thought this match was going to be good, I worried about the Iron Man stipulation. Sixty minutes is a lot of time for things to go off the rails.
The match wasn’t good. It was pretty damn great.
Things start out with some really engaging mat work from both guys. They infuse a lot of struggle and attention to detail into the work which keeps it from feeling like an extended time killer on the mat. One big issue with Iron Man style matches is that people often get lazy in the opening because the wrestlers have a kayfabe excuse to bide their time. Wyatt and Yehi pace things out but they do it in an interesting manner that doesn’t put anyone to sleep.
Yehi takes the early lead with two falls, similar to their title match from 2019 where Yehi took away all of Wyatt’s rope breaks early on. It’s at this point that Wyatt escalates things by bringing a chair into the mix, dropping Yehi’s knee onto the steel. For a 60 minute Iron Man match, it would have been easy to have this lead to a count out fall for Wyatt to help him even the score. The fact that it doesn’t adds a lot to this match for me as these two continually play with your expectations as the match unfolds.
There’s so much good action in this match, it’s difficult to encapsulate it all. It covers a dynamic range from the subtle struggle to lock on a crossface on the mat to the sudden and brutal piledriver that allows Wyatt to even the score.
With matches like this, there’s always the fear that things begin to fall apart at around the forty minute mark. Sixty minutes is a hell of a lot of time and it’s not hard to run out of ideas. Somehow Yehi and Wyatt are able to escape that trap. Deep into the match, they still have the energy and creative to continue escalating the violence that they’ve built up. My personal favorite moment comes with Yehi and Wyatt clinging to each other and driving each other into the walls and the guardrails and the apron continuously around the ring. That gave off a real sense of primal desperation and was the perfect illustration of how much the match had broken down for the better.
The accidental cut over Wyatt’s eye from their strike exchange towards the end was the perfect little wrinkle to add to the finishing stretch. It gave a lot more importance to the small moves Wyatt made to try to regain control like raking the eyes or smothering Yehi with a forearm. Thrown in some gruesome brainbusters and a few nifty superplexes and you’ve got a hot finishing stretch that never feels repetitive and plays perfectly on the time element.
A staggering accomplishment from both these guys, my favorite 60 minute match in a long ass time. I’d go as far as to say it was even better than last year’s Janela vs. Creep Americanrana main event. Check this one out, it’s well worth the time you invest, and it’s free too.