It’s the third go-around in the Delfin/Murahama rivalry, this time under traditional pro wrestling rules. The shift in stipulations, plus the fact that Delfin won the previous bout, makes it feel clear that Delfin’s the one coming into this with the momentum and the clear advantage. It also sets up a natural extension of the story of the trilogy so far, this time with Murahama having to prove himself in Delfin’s domain.

Murahama’s the one forced to be a little smarter and a little more skilled in this match. It’s especially notable when they both get down on the mat where Delfin’s shown he has the advantage. Murahama busts out some neat counters and holds his own with some pro-style mat work. He employs some a strategy of attacking Delfin’s arm, but unfortunately no one told him that Delfin doesn’t really care for long term limb selling in the ring.

The arm work isn’t the worst thing in the world. Murahama does remain focused on it, and Delfin does sell it well in the moment, even if he does shrug it off in the comeback. It does offer some fun narrative opportunities though. Towards the finish when Murahama over commits to the arm, and becomes too repetitious, it allows Delfin openings to counter and get back in the driver’s seat.

That being said, this never even touches the heights of the last two matches. A big part of that is just the shift to making this a more traditional wrestling match. It allows Delfin to settle back into some of the more familiar rhythms that I don’t always love. At the same time, making this a pro-style match also means this never has quite the explosive novelty of the first two matches, even when these two are wailing on each other with some pretty great strikes.

Then there’s the tope botch. It really does stand out as particularly bad both for the botch itself as well as the recovery attempt. Murahama goes for a big tope over the top rope and just fully flubs it and gets caught in the ropes. Delfin has no choice but to drag him down to the floor and Murahama does a quick reset before finally nailing the move. Left as is, it might have told a neat little story about Murahama still being out of his depth. But doing it the way they do here, it’s clear it’s meant to be more of a triumphant showcase of the man’s abilities. Having him nail it on the second try just makes it feel a little cheaper.

Overall though, it’s still a good match and these two have a lot of chemistry with each other. It’s just that the ideas and presentation here having nothing on what they’ve already achieved previously.

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