Matthews, a man you should watch - Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
There are several men and women who shine as independent wrestling stars, almost as numerous as the stars in the sky. The ones whom we know, analogous to the stars that we can see in the night sky, are pretty numerous. Kevin Steen, Davey Richards, Sara del Rey, Eddie Kingston and Johnny Gargano, among others, all shine brightly for fans who don't really need to look all that hard. However, as with the night sky, many stars are obscured or are only visible to certain audiences. Kyle Matthews is one of those stars that you'd need to go to the Southern Hemisphere or use a telescope or look at a sky chart to see.
Matthews has been making his bones down South, a place where I've been wanting to look more anyway. He's done EVOLVE a few times, but to those who only follow the Northeast and PWG, he's still very much a rasa tabula. My one friend, Dylan Hales of the Wrestling Culture podcast, is very much in tune with the Southern indies (mainly because he lives in the South), and every chance he gets, he pimps Matthews to me. I had to check some of his stuff out, so I took to YouTube.
What I found were two matches that gave me a picture of what Matthews was all about. The first one was from Deep Southern Championship Wrestling in Georgia. It was a match against Bobby Moore, a schlub in a garish purple singlet. Moore, who actually was competent in this match and was only playing the role of a schmuck in character, endured the mockery of a crowd that wanted to compare him to Barney the Purple Dinosaur. Matthews joined in the taunting by plodding around the ring. The match itself was neat, but the pre-match stuff is an example of how Matthews gets it. Too many times, guys just go into the ring, do their moves, get to the finish and leave. There's no attempt to engage the crowd. Matthews gets the crowd going. Yeah, there are a smattering of chants for Moore throughout the match, but you're going to get that in a small crowd like that. The rest of the people are behind Matthews here.
The second match I watched had Matthews going up against Mike Posey for the NWA Pro South All Out Championship in Alabama. This crowd was solidly behind Matthews, and he used that energy to fight through his injured arm, which he was selling throughout the video. I'm not sure whether this was joined in progress or whether Matthews had been injured going into the match. Either way, he sold it perfectly throughout. In fact, the limb-selling wasn't the only thing done well during the match. There were some really big bumps, including Posey going from the outside, swinging around to dropkick Matthews in the tree of woe, only to miss after Matthews moved.
This is only really scratching the surface with Matthews, who has built a resume across the Southern states that has garnered him a following wherever he goes. He had a series of matches with Jimmy Rave that garnered high marks in 2011 among other things. And yeah, he's garnered enough attention that Gabe Sapolsky is booking him for EVOLVE now. That can only mean good things for a guy that I feel is only waiting for his shot to break out across the country.
Even if he doesn't get the widespread attention he deserves, he's still someone that people need to be seeking out. Those two YouTube matches are only the beginning. I plan on seeking more out, and I challenge all you Cagesiders to do the same. Independent wrestling, hell, wrestling in general, can only grow if the effort is put in to support guys who are good and to spread the word so their gospel can be spread. Matthews is one of those guys who deserves said support.