Featured photo by Harry Aaron
This match couldn’t have happened at a better time for me. As the year wraps up and the effects of COVID-19 continue to bear down upon the entire world, the enormity of how horrid 2020’s been began to wear on my mind at last. I’ve been in a lucky enough position that the worst aspects of the pandemic don’t affect me but even the most fortunate among us have struggled with the past year. I couldn’t outrun 2020 forever and the weight of it finally began to really exert its pressure on me.
All that to say that today wasn’t the best day and something like this cheered me up even a little bit. Perhaps I’m fonder of it today than I might have been any other time but I think that if you look under the hood, there’s a lot here to substantiate my love for it.
This is a great match. Lee Moriarty has been one of the most promising prospects on the independent scene this year. He’s a highlight on practically every card he’s on but even better than that, he’s been blessed with the opportunities to work with all the right people to highlight his best strengths. This makes him the perfect contrast to Daniel Garcia. I can’t say I’m familiar with Garcia’s work outside of a single match earlier in the year against Oswald Project, but he left a wonderful impression with his work here.
The characters get established quickly. Moriarty’s the hot technical wizard with all the buzz and Garcia’s the equally proficient heel with a mean streak. They start out with some well done chain wrestling here but things get real fun when both guys get to settle into their respective roles as heel and face. A series of shoulder blocks from Moriarty start messing up Garcia’s shoulder, the first major element of the match. Garcia works a perfect balance here of making his shoulder selling prominent but emoting in a way that still makes him easy to detest as a heel. It’s such a fine line that he walks with ease.
In retaliation, Garcia creates an opening by knocking out Moriarty’s knee from under him. The leg work is so effective here. Garcia’s offense comes across so well and looks genuinely threatening and painful. Moriarty also does well to sell it, keeping the leg as a constant problem he has to cope with throughout the match.
Things ramp up wonderfully in such an organic way. It doesn’t feel quite so formulaic or forced, just like a natural escalation of everything that had come before it. That they show the care to incorporate small details into the match that enrich it even further makes this such a rewarding watch. My favorite example comes late in the match when Garcia locks up a Sharpshooter but leans too far back on it, allowing Lee to grab the bad arm and go for a Fujiwara to escape. When Garcia locks up the Sharpshooter again for the finishing stretch, he keeps his bad arm close to his body, to avoid the same counter from Moriarty. Fantastic stuff right there.
I really loved this match, it’s probably the best American independent match in a while. And when it comes to top level American independent matches, Lee Moriarty’s quickly becoming the guy that can be relied upon to deliver. This also made me quite the fan of Daniel Garcia. What a performance that guy puts in here as a malicious heel trying to pick apart the babyface. There’s not a lot here that doesn’t work and it never wastes your time which is about as high a compliment as I can give. Seek this one out, I can only hope there’s more to come from this pairing down the line.