Calvin Tankman vs. Colby Corino (DPW You Already Know 1/28/24)

Match Reviews

Featured photo by CJ Downey

There’s a simplicity to this match that I appreciate a lot. At their worst, cage matches feel like just normal matches with an obstructed view. That’s not a problem here though as Tankman and Corino both commit to the base, simple qualities of the cage match. It’s not a hard thing to figure out: it rocks to see dudes rammed into the steel. There’s nothing too contrived they do in this match, instead sticking to an incredibly simple formula of Corino throwing himself at Tankman, and Tankman punishing him for that by catching him and tossing him into the steel. It’s a very simple thing really, but all those early throws that see Tankman just drive Corino into the steel are so, so effective. They’re helped too by an early bladejob from Corino, and some really good smaller man selling against a bigger giant.

But there’s structural tricks at play here too that help it all come together. I love just how hard Tankman makes Corino works for his comebacks. As promising as Tankman’s been in the first part of the decade, my main issue with his work has been a lack of urgency. I think he’s made strides to improve on that by putting a little more oomph and impact behind his cut offs, but he’s helped too by having an opponent like Corino who brings a more dynamic energy to his performance. Simply put, Corino’s the one who has to put in the work trying to knock Tankman down, and Tankman excels in a far more solid position of holding down the fort and laying a beating on Corino when he gets cut down.

There’s a real sense of restraint here too such as Tankman only running the blade himself when Corino earns it with that real brutal ramming of the cage door into the face. Later on too, the match’s most sensational spot sees Tankman nail a Spanish Fly off the top of the cage. But smartly, it’s built too with repeated attempts to climb the cage from both men, allowing the Spanish Fly to act as a climax, and even more smartly leading straight into the finish after that.

A real great thing that relies on the simplest ideas to boost up its more ambitious moments. The best cage match this decade since BK/Dom from a couple of years back.

Rating: ****

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