365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
Earlier this year, I was thinking of some ways to get the word out about the blog. And so I bought the URL you see today. I even bought the variant, inmorehousewrestling.com, since my name gets misspelled so often that way. I also spent a little money sponsoring some independent shows. One of those shows is ACTION Wrestling.
I chose to support ACTION with my wallet for a few reasons:
-Friends of mine spoke highly of them.
-When resuming running shows last year, they took COVID-19 seriously, restricting attendance and requiring masks, unlike so many other shows, especially elsewhere in the Southeast.
-They made it clear what i was paying for, and what I would get in return.
Not once in the process did I feel like I was getting worked or conned by a carnie.
I probably would be reviewing at least a couple of ACTION matches regardless of any sponsor involvement. I’m starting with a good one, though: Ben Carter against B-Boy from February 7 of last year.
Carter is just 22 years old and signed with WWE last year after making appearances during the pandemic for AEW and Impact. He’s currently part of the NXT UK brand, going by the name Nathan Frazer.
Before any of that happened, this import from the United Kingdom was primed for big things in ACTION, which joins with a few other promotions in the Southeast — Southern Underground Pro, Scenic City, and TWE in Chattanooga — to form a quasi-galaxy of shows in the same booking continuity.
The plan came together at the end of 2019, and Carter cut a brief promo challenging B-Boy:
A product of the wrestling school co-owned by Seth Rollins, Carter already was building a strong reputation wrestling for various promotions in the U.S.
B-Boy, meanwhile, should be a familiar name to anyone who has followed indie wrestling in the past two decades. He was a fixture for the highly influential Pro Wrestling Guerrilla promotion in southern California. He’s also enjoyed significant success for Combat Zone Wrestling and is in the CZW Hall of Fame. He’d made a few prior appearances in the ACTION/SUP/SCI/TWE sphere previously, highlighted by a pair of highly-regarded and highly-violent matches with Brett Ison. He also spent some time on Lucha Underground as Bael, who has the distinction of being the first character killed off that show.
The young star on the rise facing the wily veteran is a storyline we’ve seen play out across the sports world. Here, we have a contest that starts with a handshake of respect but quickly devolves into violence… in a good way. An early taunt by Carter, though it responds to one of B-Boy’s own, upsets the veteran and triggers a nasty forearm that Carter sells like a knockout blow. That’s just the start of what’s to come.
B-Boy chains a La Magistral into an ankle submission, then starts flinging his foe around the ring, with the most stirring of these a death valley driver into the corner. B-Boy’s vaunted strikes also do damage, and Carter sells the punches in particular like death itself. My personal favorite spot? When B-Boy sets up Carter outside the ring, then does a full lap around the squared circle ending with… an eye poke.
The structure of the match seeks to elevate Carter, a young upstart who takes a beating but keeps coming back time and time again. It succeeds in telling that tale, in large part because Carter does an excellent job fighting from underneath. No matter what B-Boy does to him, Carter keeps stirring and struggling. After the second of B-Boy’s punches, which are meted out in sporadic doses to emphasize their lethal effect, the competitor known as the New Age Punisher screams for Carter to stay down. He does not, and it sets the theme for the entire match.
Carter makes his comeback not in one major series of moves, but in bursts. Not long after the eye poke, B-Boy rolls Carter back into the ring and the upstart explodes off the far ropes and launches with a dive with such depth and height that he almost overshoots. Carter hits that next gear as quickly as anyone I’ve seen, unleashing some explosive offense in an attempt to narrow the gap and overwhelm B-Boy.
The action builds to a compelling and believable series of false finishes. We see powerslams. Tiger Drivers. A Canadian Destroyer. A cutter delivered to an opponent flying in midair. The action is something that would be standard business in a PWG ring, but in this environment — a rec center in a small Georgia town on the periphery of Atlanta — it stands out, and it’s outstanding.
When the result of the match comes, it does so seemingly out of nowhere, with Carter scoring after a lightning-quick victory roll. The entire crowd comes to their feet in a standing ovation and, despite the violence he just engaged in, B-Boy can’t resist a smile as he approaches Carter for an embrace. This match ends as it began, with a show of respect.
–As shared by Matt Griffin, the promoter of ACTION Wrestling, and Dylan Hales, the lead commentator, this win by Carter was supposed to be the start of a major push that never happened. COVID-19 shut down events for months, and Carter signed with WWE, never to return to ACTION.
Hales elaborated: “The following day Ben was going to win the Scenic City Rumble but that show ended up getting cancelled due to weather so a chunk of the weekend was designed around that. B-Boy was supposed to wrestle Brett Ison in the third match of their trilogy the next day but that was also cancelled obviously.”
Griffin noted he was “so happy for [Carter] when he got signed. We knew it was likely.”
–Hales, who was also lead commentator for the SUP match watched as part of the January entries, has a different sound and vibe here. He’s also got an extra year’s experience in the booth by the time this match happens and it shows.
–Kudos to the commentators as well for laying out entirely during the postmatch.
–This match happened about a month before the pandemic really started affecting the U.S., and was the last ACTION show before the pandemic. Seeing a packed building was both gratifying and off-putting, for me.
Final Rating: 7.6
This is a very good match and, according to Griffin, one of the best matches in ACTION history. It’s definitely worth seeking out and watching. Even if you’re seeing both wrestlers for the first time, the story is easy to grasp, well-told, and executed with barely a hitch.
A snob turned wrestling champion and a zombie funeral director walk into Penn Station. Hijinks ensue.