365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
In addition to focusing this project on matches I haven’t seen, I’m also aiming to spotlight wrestlers who I feel don’t get enough credit for their work. This match involves two of said wrestlers, Joe Black and Will Huckaby. I’ve worked as a commentator or “authority figure” at shows involving both, who put together a memorable feud in 2019 in Southern Honor Wrestling that culminated a year ago today in a Dog Collar Match. You can watch this match on IWTV
Let’s dive in, shall we?
This match culminates a feud that lasted about six months. Black issued the throwback challenge for a dog collar match, and SHW held a special contract signing at a prior event, where Huckaby slices his arm and signs with his own blood. Gruesome, but compelling. An excellent video detailing the rivalry runs right before the match and does a better job explaining the issues between Black and Huckaby than I can in words, so I recommend you just go watch that before checking out the match. Both men are underrated talkers and Black especially shines through. This line stands out: “Your blood that you signed the contract with is gonna be the same blood I coat my hands with and wipe on my chest as war paint.” Oh my, that’s good stuff.
I’ve talked about a big-fight feel for several of the matches thus far in this project and it’s in full effect here as well. The video recapping the feud primes the pump and the entrances add extra sizzle, with Huckaby and Black both dressed as homages to famous Marvel characters (the Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, respectively).
What follows is nearly 30 minutes of one of the most physically intense matches I remember seeing in quite some time. Black and Huckaby start out at a slower pace than I expected given the “blood feud” build, but this merely allows more time for the violence to escalate.
There are two referees assigned to the match and Huckaby immediately sets a tone, delivering a KO punch to one of the officials when the bell sounds. Huck is in full heel mode for this match. After Huckaby powerbombs Black twice through a table at ringside (watch the table explode on the second, and half land on Joe in what could have been nasty), he threatens the referee still standing with the chain until the official agrees to unlock him. Huckaby goes wild, dismantling the ring to expose the boards underneath the canvas. Then, when a package piledriver fails to produce the three count, Huck starts removing boards, flinging them across the ringside rail in a melee reminiscent of watching Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen run amok in All Japan.
Black more than holds up his end as the gutsy, undersized, fan favorite. He’s definitely got the crowd behind him and he summons the spirit of the character who inspired his gear for the match, taking a serious beating but rallying or “regenerating” each time. Along the way he busts out one of my favorite moves from Black’s arsenal, a suicide dive into a tornado DDT on the floor. His offense is just as physically punishing, if not moreso, than Huck’s. Once the boards are removed to reveal the metal substructure of the ring, Black dumps Huckaby on not one but two front suplexes into the abyss.
Both men end up getting released from the chain linking them, which takes away from the hype surrounding the stipulation, but they compensate for any disappointment with–you guessed it–more violence. We see blood. We see weapons. We even see green mist. Things spill out of the ring and into the parking lot, where hostilities are capped by a protracted brawl around and on a car in the parking lot before Black finishes it with a Falcon Arrow onto the front windshield.
— I got chills twice before the match even began: once from the video chronicling their feud and once from Joe’s entrance.
— At one point in the build to this match, Black blasted Huckaby in the head with a glass bottle, leading to an eye injury that had Huckaby wearing an eyepatch, even on shows for other promotions or in different states. That type of storyline continuity is rare on the independent level, where two guys could be embroiled in a hated rivalry one night and then teaming together the next and it all ends up on YouTube by the following Wednesday.
— The production values on this match and the entire event video were excellent. The commentary? Not so much. Black and Huck are killing each other in the culmination of a long-running feud, but the commentators just seem detached, and lacking emotion on their call.
Final Rating: 7.0
As said for other matches in this ring, this is a very good match that is worth seeking out and watching. If you’re not familiar with the promotion or the story Black and Huckaby have told leading into the match, the video on this IWTV stream does an excellent job encapsulating their rivalry. Even as televised promotions continue to gobble up talent on contracts, there’s still a treasure trove of untapped, unsigned talent on the independent circuit. Black and Huckaby, and the match they have here, all serve as testaments to that.
Got a match you’d like me to watch as part of this 365 Wrestling project? Agree or disagree with my take on this match? Let me know by using the contact form on this site, or reach me on Twitter.