The show opens about fifteen minutes after the scheduled bell time with Trevin Adams and Timothy Barr welcoming us to the show.
AR Fox vs. Tracer X (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket B First Round Match)
A clash of the high flyers, feeling out with mat grappling and light lucha libre, the temperature turns up and Tracer gets the advantage, forcing Fox to the floor for a breather! Back inside, AR strings a bunch of offense together, takes the advantage back, running senton, and he decides to go back to grinding X down, locking a reverse chinlock on.
Trading small packages and other pinning attempts, clubbing away at each other and stereo enzuigiris leave both men down and out! Tracer running hot with strikes, 540 enzuigiri lays AR back out, only a nearfall! Fox blocking a whip, reversing, pumphandle, X Gonna Give It to Him... NOPE! Trying for a second, AR blocks, Matrix evasion, enzuigiri connects, capture DDT... NOT ENOUGH!
Tracer to the floor, Fox going for a dive, stops himself short, gamengiri knocks him off hte apron and X hits a suicide dive! Back in, slingshot swinging reverse STO... CAN’T PUT AR FOX AWAY! Headed up top, AR cuts him off, Tracer hits the 450 splash anyway but nobody’s home and he rolls through! Lo Mein Pain lands true, Fox heads back up top...
AR Fox wins by pinfall with a 450 splash.
Really fun flyer-on-flyer opener, X with a lot of heart but ultimately unable to end a veteran like AR Fox.
Fox is interviewed after and is confident about winning the whole tournament.
Anthony Henry vs. Jason Kincaid (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket B First Round Match)
Kincaid with a legsweep into wrist control, Henry reverses, Jason gets a side headlock takeover, into a headscissors counter, no double stomp and a headlock takeover from Anthony leads to kip-ups and a stalemate! Trading slaps, the Gift with a knee to the face, a second one, sunset flip over the ropes but Henry blocks the powerbomb! Legsweep wipes him out, Kincaid rolling, off the ropes, slingshot double stomp!
Snapmare to a kick to the back back in the ring, Henry in control, trading strikes, corner dropkick but he can’t put Jason away just yet. Uppercuts send the Gift stumbling but he’s able to go for a clothesline in the ropes. Anthony caught up in the ropes, able to duck the attack, STO on the apron! Kincaid takes his time getting back in and Henry immediately takes it to him with kicks and chops!
Low bridge, Kincaid hits the forearm this time, lariat and a back elbow, slingshot corkscrew neckbreaker, handspring knee drop, slingshot inverted DDT... NOPE! Henry back into it with a hip toss into the turnbuckles, he climbs up top, nobody home on the double stomp but the pump kick lands flush, Kudo Driver denied, reversed, Kincaid hits a loose back drop version of a Kudo Driver... HENRY WON’T BE PUT AWAY BY HIS OWN FINISHER!
Jason with a chop, looking for an inverted crucifix powerbomb, Anthony hits a German suplex, big roundhouse kick... NOPE! Calling for the end, powerbomb reversed into a slap rush, Jason ducks a lariat, victory roll, no good, crescent kick misses, roundhouse connects, southern lights suplex into the bridge... NOT ENOUGH! Headed up top, double stomp... KINCAID GETS HIS FOOT ON THE ROPES AT THE LAST SECOND!
Disdainful kicks from Henry as Kincaid tries to crawl back into it, trading chops, Anthony bringing the forearms, the Gift with an uppercut but he gets caught with a boot and a lariat. Jumping knee strike in return, to a pin, to a grounded octopus hold, back to a pin, to a crossface, this sequence is cool as hell, and Anthony Henry will not give up! To his feet, fireman’s carry, TKO over the ropes!
Off the ropes for a dive, Kincaid counters with a Stunner! To the top of the ringpost for the stomp but Henry moves away! Pop-up Tenryu powerbomb, only a nearfall but he goes right to a half-crab! Elbows to the back of the head... IT’S OVER!
Anthony Henry over Jason Kincaid by referee stoppage with a half-crab and repeated elbows to the head.
What a match! Henry has been called the MVP of Style Battle and this match proves that’s the absolute truth. Super intense, back and forth, the exchanges... this would have been a perfect finals for the whole thing and it went in the first round. Great match.
Post-match, Henry admits he’s hurt but nobody’s spent more hours in a Style Battle ring than him and that makes him the man around here and he’s gonna win!
Matt Riddle vs. Snoop Strikes (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket A First Round Match)
Strikes starts hot with a dropkick, eager to prove that he deserves this spot replacing Dave Crist! Suicide dives! Back in the ring, crucifix driver... SO CLOSE! Huge slap from Riddle and he gets back into it but Snoop isn’t giving an inch! Into the charging forearms, the exploder suplex, the high jump senton, only a nearfall! Karelin lifts ahoy!
Strikes gets a crazy boot into a swinging shiranui... NOT ENOUGH! Thinking Yoshi Tonic, countered with the Bro 2 Sleep, powerbomb connects, roll through...
Matt Riddle wins by pinfall with the knee strike.
This ruled. I was initially disappointed at Dave Crist being replaced but Snoop was really impressive here. Absolute making the most of your opportunity situation and he excelled at it. Granted it helps being against a guy as good as Riddle, but even so, my hat would be off if I were a hat-wearing lady, sir. Just a good violent intense sprinty match.
Riddle is interviewed and says Snoop beat his ass but he was the first WWN Champion, the reigning Evolve Champion, and he will be Style Battle Champion.
Keith Lee vs. Nick Gage (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket A First Round Match)
Gage blindsides Lee when he takes his jacket off! Leg kicks, trying a snapmare but the Limitless One blocks so Nick shifts to chops and bites his ear! Continuing to work the ear, wrenching and tearing, he goes for a takedown but Keith blocks, scoops him up, float over, up and over, Lee runs through a lariat... POUNCE! Stomping away but Nick comes back with punches and chops, clubbing away.
Looking to pick him up again, denied and Keith clubs him to the mat! Stepping on the King’s head, he comes back with more strikes, a headbutt, Lee with forearms and an overhead elbow and Gage is down and out. Returning the favor, and now he’s biting Keith’s nose! Wicked elbow staggers him, Lee puts him in the corner and takes him out of it with a huge biel!
Lining him up, Nick sidesteps, more forearms, bringing it to the former WWN Champion, taking him to one knee and he finally gets the spinebuster! Charging back elbow, facewash, trying another but Keith catches the boot! Big slap stops him but he’s fired up and lays Gage out with a lariat for a tight nearfall! Fired up, Nick back into it, chops and forearms, both men roaring, Lee with a strike combo ending in the double chops!
He demands Gage bask in his glory and gets the bird, fireman’s carry into the rolling elbow... NOT ENOUGH! More elbows from Nick, the huge spinebuster knocks him down... SPIRIT BOMB!
Keith Lee wins by pinfall with the Spirit Bomb.
Really good match, classic David and Goliath action but David was MDK gang-affiliated and Goliath was smooth as hell. One of Nick Gage’s most underrated strengths is his vulnerability and that’s on full display against a guy capable of pummeling him like Lee did here.
Post-match Gage attacks Lee with a steel chair, he wraps it around his leg... PILLMANIZED! A second time! A representative of the commission gives Nick a choice of going to the locker room or having his license suspended and Gage spits on Keith and leaves.
AR Fox comes out and introduces a WWA4 six-way scramble match for our first non-tournament action of the evening. AC Mack comes down and cuts a promo, improvising by just yelling when the mic doesn’t work, which I always appreciate. He wants the camera to zoom in on him
AC Mack vs. Adrian Alanis vs. Alan Angels vs. James Bandy vs. Kavron Kanyon vs. Shawn Dean (Scramble Match)
Down to Bandy and Alanis after the opening chaos, James slides outside, dropkicks Shawn Dean, back in with Adrian, back body drop, ducking kicks, enzuigiri lands but gets a pump kick in return! Alan in, repeated double jawbreakers, rolling elbow, hesitation dropkick, slingshot double stomp and a somersault senton off the apron! On a roll, Mack takes Dean out, Kanyon in, double jump forearm connects!
Kavron fighting Angels in the corner, struggle for position, everybody in at once... stereo towers of doom teased but they’re denied and instead we get a pretty cool sequence of exchanges. Ace Crushers left and right! Seriously, like a solid ninety seconds with no offense but Ace Crushers, it’s a bold choice and I’m kinda into it. Angels with a Spanish Fly but Alanis breaks it up!
Crash Landing backbreaker... SO CLOSE! Emerald Flowsion on Mack... NOPE! Big dropkick from AC, follows it up with Meteora, Kanyon deadlifts him up... BUCKLE BOMB! Wicked reverse STO variant... NOPE! Duck a lariat, Kavron denied, Bandy with a high angle flipping fisherman buster... NOPE! Shoulder thrusts from Shawn Dean, small package, underhooks...
Shawn Dean wins by pinfall with a butterfly backbreaker.
Whenever AR Fox’s kids show up for a scramble you know two things-- one, it’s gonna be fun as hell, and two, everything is going to happen all at once. This was no different.
Anthony Henry vs. AR Fox (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket B Semifinal Match)
Henry sidesteps a pump kick and starts with the chops! To the floor, Fox in control but when they go back inside Anthony gets back into it with his kicks. Overhead elbows from AR, going after the neck, using his speed advantage but Henry’s come this far and he’s not giving up! Fox looking for a piledriver on the apron, Anthony blocks... AIR RAID CRASH ON THE APRON!
Henry fired up, headed up top, nobody home on the double stomp and AR comes over with a boot. Fox sets him up top for Lo Mein Pain, countered with a boot, Henry comes off the top... COUNTER ACE CRUSHER! SENTON ATOMICO... ANTHONY HENRY KICKS OUT! AR perches up top again, 450 splash, Anthony rolls aside, enzuigiri, sheerdrop brainbuster... NOT ENOUGH!
Henry with the kicks, vertical drop brainbuster... FOX KICKS OUT BEFORE ONE! MORE KICKS ON KICKS, AR REVERSES TO A BRAINBUSTER OF HIS OWN! Both men on their knees, forehead-to-forehead, rising to their feet, trading forearms, pump kick from Fox, rolling elbow from Henry, Matrix evasion, enzuigiri connects, springboard Ace Crusher, AR up top, 450 splash... ANTHONY HENRY WON’T LET THE DREAM DIE!
Foxcatcher countered, duck a lariat, pop-up powerbomb, rolling to the half-crab, Fox rolls him out of it, small package, reversed... HE DID IT!
Anthony Henry wins by pinfall with a small package!
Another really good match, building on stuff introduced against Kincaid and pitting Fox’s own natural Gumby-like resilience against Henry’s refusal to lose.
Henry is interviewed after and says he just has one more to go!
Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Bracket A Semifinal Match)
Lee hobbles past officials, he’s gonna fight! Trading forearms, Keith manages to pull ahead, he sets up the pounce... HE CAN’T DO IT! Riddle capitalizes...
Matt Riddle wins by pinfall with the knee strike to the face.
Short and sweet, I love when wrestling promotions are bold with the storytelling like this and just let a guy face the consequences. Good stuff.
Post-match, Riddle apologizes to Lee for doing what he had to.
Aero Boy & Crazy Boy vs. Black & Wild (Blake Wilder & Purple Haze) vs. Chance Champion & Omar Amir vs. Jimmy Lloyd & Tony Deppen vs. Matt Knicks & Stevie Fierce vs. Pump Patrol (Curt Matthews & Jared Wayne)
Forgive me if I’m a bit fast and loose on the recap with this one, folks, I’ve called a lot of wrestling in recap form over the last few days and a six-way tag scramble full of dudes I’m unfamiliar with is... tricky.
Deppen and Lloyd ahead early, Pump Patrol double team them out of it, the luchadors are in, hip toss knee and a dropkick and now it’s Black & Wild in running them off in turn with dropkicks. Champion and Amir clear them out, Pump Patrol back, lariats, AMIR THROWS SKINNY VINNY OUT OF THE RING AS A WEAPON! A couple dives, Crazy Boy with a ripcord knee into the TKO and a sliding Ace Crusher!
Team Freelance at it, double teams, the GCW lads return the favor, Wilder in with kick combinations, Haze joins him, spinebuster / leg drop inverted bulldog combo! Pump Patrol at it with Knicks...
Pump Patrol win by pinfall with a full nelson slam on Matt Knicks.
Fun scramble, not a huge amount to say about it but everybody looked good and the action kept coming.
Andrew Jackson vs. Blanco Loco vs. Francisco Ciatso vs. Joey Ozbourne vs. Logan Creed
Logan Creed fending off two guys at once but he gets clobbered. Jackson throwing dives, Loco tries to join him and Creed goozles him, denied, kick to the gut, Stunner! LOGAN WITH A SUICIDE DIVE! Ozbourne and Blanco, springboard Ace Crusher, Andrew breaks it up! I had something come up and got distracted but the match carries on...
Logan Creed wins by pinfall with a full nelson facebuster on Francisco Ciatso.
Solid match. Odd numbers made it a little awkward and as mentioned, I got distracted so I don’t want to be too definitive, but a good showcase all the same.
Anthony Henry vs. Matt Riddle (Style Battle Season 1 Finale Finals)
Circling, waistlocks, standing switches, jockeying for position, neither man can pull ahead and they stalemate in the ropes. Henry gets an armbar but Riddle gets the ropes and forces the break. Side headlock, Matt counters wtih a back suplex, Anthony lands on his feet, German suplex, Riddle pops up and eats an enzuigiri! To the apron... STO ON THE APRON!
Back in, double stomp off the top connects this time... BUT RIDDLE IS TOO FRESH TO DEFEAT SO EARLY! Chest kicks, Bro wants more and Henry does his best to give it to him! Riddle picks the leg, Pele kick connects and into the runnign forearms, the exploder suplex, the high jump senton... NOPE! Another senton, still no good but it was closer than Anthony Henry would like!
NOW HENRY DEMANDS MORE! Chest kicks follow, Anthony catches one and initiates a palm strike exchange! Crescent kick, German suplex, Death Valley Driver... NOT ENOUGH! Going for the Kudo Driver, Matt lands on his feet, judo throw, powerbomb, roll through, knee strike connects... HENRY REFUSES TO LOSE! Fireman’s carry, elbows to try and block but the Bro 2 Sleep hits, bridging German suplex... AGAIN NOT ENOUGH!
High jump senton, another, a third, only a nearfall! Henry gets the powerbomb and turns it into the half-crab! Elbows to the back of the head but Riddle rolls out and kicks him in the face repeatedly! Fired up Henry lands blow after blow but Riddle turns it around... BROMISSION! IT’S OVER!
Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission, winning Style Battle Season 1.
Anthony Henry’s Style Battle story is the best story in wrestling over the last year or so to have the least buzz. But good lord, it was great. Everything built to this across all five or six of the shows he was on. Each match building on the last, each tournament taking some of what went before, changing it out and escalating it... and he couldn’t do the deal. And not even in a way where I can be upset about it as a fan that wanted to see him win it all, that’s just the story. Riddle is, now that he’s beaten Zack Sabre, Jr. for the Evolve World Championship, There was no other way this could have ended.
In a lot of ways, it feels like a riff on Rocky, it just so happens that the tournaments leading up to this were all Rocky Balboa’s early career, and finals were the first movie, where the best victory was simply going the distance with the champ.
The match was excellent, to boot. Just to pick out one small thing, the way Henry finally connected with the double stomp only for it to be too early to finish Riddle off with it? Brilliant. Special shoutout to the finish as well, where Anthony let his emotions get the better of him and put himself in a position where Riddle could catch him and lock on the Bromission.
Riddle cuts a promo talking about how he can’t be signed and isn’t going anywhere!
Style Battle Season 1 got the finale it deserved. The shows have always had strong match quality and match-to-match storytelling, but here, in New Orleans, on a big stage, and even though the building wasn’t exactly full thanks to running opposite NXT and Ring of Honor the crowd that was there was fairly well into it. And of course, match-wise, Henry and Riddle had two hellaciously good runs to the finals that make for a really enjoyable watch.