Anthony Henry vs. Adam Priest (ACTION & IWTV Southeast First 1/21/22)

Match Reviews

I’ve seen Anthony Henry do this before. In 2020, he had a really great match against Ben Carter centered around punishing the young kid and presenting him with a mountain to climb. It’s a match structured around picking apart a single body part and how the babyface works to overcome that. That’s what we get again here.

In this match, Anthony Henry centers an attack on Adam Priest’s neck and punishes the man, taking Priest into deeper waters than ever before. I saw a good handful of Priest’s matches in 2021, a lot of which I enjoyed, but this I don’t think anyone has tested him quite like Henry. In Priest’s two Gresham matches, he was tasked with taking on a smarter, more technically sound opponent, but now here Priest has to take on someone who can just fully overwhelm him with violence and intensity.

Everything Anthony Henry does in this match looks like absolute violence. It all kicks off with how the neck work begins in the first place, with him just throwing Priest neck-first into the bottom turnbuckle. From there, he’s just cruel in all his offense. It’s the little things like wrenching Priest’s neck back and forth down on the canvas, but also the big stuff like spiking Priest’s whole body weight onto his neck with a brainbuster. Everything Henry does looks like it hurts and it’s a fucking miracle that Priest survives any of it.

Luckily, Priest can be real explosive in his own right. There’s this shining, brief early comeback he makes just as Henry’s getting into the heat segment that feels like such an energetic burst of offense from the guy. It’s actually genuinely frustrating–in the best possible way–when Henry cuts him off again and only returns the brutality in kind.

About halfway through the match, Henry pulls the top turnbuckle pad off from one corner of the ring. It almost halts the momentum since Henry actually had to attack the thing with pliers but he’s a smart enough guy to throw in a dropkick on a downed Priest so it doesn’t look Priest is just waiting around for his turn to do something. In the finishing stretch, the turnbuckle finally comes into play when Priest is finally able to send Henry back first into the thing. It makes for a great nearfall, but what makes it even better is that having seen it already used after being teased the whole match, one assumes that the exposed turnbuckle’s use in the match is done with.

That only makes the eventual finish all the more brutal and shocking. Henry has Priest on his back for an Ode to Steel but first drives Priest face first into the exposed turnbuckle before hitting his finish. The angle of the camera is vague enough that the imagination fills in just how gruesome the turnbuckle bump is. A perfect end to something so rough and violent as this was.

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