This review was commissioned by Garrett Kidney over on my Ko-fi account.

There’s a weird disconnect here between the match the build made me expect and the match that these two end up delivering. It might just be a case of me watching this so soon after the famous Cactus Jack/Triple H match too, but the hype video here paints PCO as this sort of undead avenger coming after the dastardly champion Maclin. The thing is that PCO doesn’t really play that role in this match here, and more importantly, his general skillset in this late career run doesn’t lend itself to that idea either. PCO’s not famous in this post-GCW world for dishing out punishment, he’s the guy absorbing it.

To that end, once the bell rings, they mostly get the idea right. It’s not so much that PCO’s this monster that’s going to unleash hell on Maclin, it’s more a question of him just being an unkillable freak that requires escalating violence from Maclin to put away. To that end, I think PCO mostly delivers on all the crazy bumps one might want from him. I’m especially impressed at how dedicated he is to that idea even early on for smaller moments–really throwing himself at a clothesline that sends both guys to the floor or taking a full back bump to the concrete when Maclin just tosses him out of the ring.

PCO as an unstoppable freak also has some cool moments here and there deep in the match. The obvious things that come to mind would be the apron bumps, but a much more visceral reaction comes from him prying the staples out of his lips after Maclin tries to staple his mouth shut. I understand that’s not a fun thing to experience, but I do also wish they’d stuck with the shut mouth gimmick a little longer before PCO started yanking them out in an admittedly gross image that suits his character here.

This is the champion’s match though. He’s far and away the center of attention, which feels about right for what’s booked here anyway. PCO catches him early with a cookie sheet to intercept a tope and Maclin gives a truly wonderful gusher of a blade job here. That man’s blood is leaking right out of his skull and it literally pools both in and around the ring. It’s a fantastic visual and at no point in this match does that wound even hint at sealing up, I just wish it played more of a narrative role in the bout. Maclin spending most of the match in control means that the blood plays a mostly superficial role here, he’s bleeding his guts out, but it never feels like it gets in his way or even affects him all that much.

Still, it’s nice to look at. And on its own, the blood can’t help but add an element of danger to everything on top of PCO doing all his wild bumps throughout. Not really a great match by any means here but just enough of a freak show to be watchable.

Rating: ***1/2

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