There’s no going wrong here. Lorcan and Thatcher have fought each other up and down the independent scene for much of the last five years and the pairing never fails to deliver. The story on commentary and in the ring is that Lorcan has heavier hands which Thatcher has to try to neutralize on the mat.

To that goal, we have the great mat grappling from both guys down on the mat to start. Lorcan more than keeps up with Thatcher although most of the fun here comes from Thatcher finding small ways to put pressure on Lorcan’s arm in an effort to get rid of his striking power. Lorcan has his own highlights though such as leaping into a headscissors combo on the mat, something so simple in idea but so unseen in modern wrestling that it can’t help but stand out.

Lorcan spends much of the early match trying to create openings by striking Thatcher on their feet. Thatcher keeps out of it for the most part until he’s forced to engage leading into the commercial break. Sad to see that they waste some strike exchanges on the picture in picture but we have a delightful stand off and exchange for the third act.

Lorcan does a fantastic job with subtle selling on his hand in the finishing stretch. He’s still trying to chop Thatcher down but the hand work has begun to pay off in small but significant ways. It all leads perfectly into the Fujiwara armbar finish as a culmination of little details spaced out throughout the match. It’s encouraging to see that Thatcher hasn’t lost anything in coming to NXT and he’s still generally working the same style that’s made him such a success on the indies. I can only hope that his dedication to that craft endures past any attempts by the WWE to undercut him. Let the man wrestle and things will be fine.

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