Welcome back to the Sermon on the Mat, your weekly one-stop shop for news from the wider world of wrestling beyond the big cable TV monoliths that get all the coverage.
I’m doing a little something different this week, folks.
It’s been a long strange journey in indie wrestling over the last couple years and I have some things to get off of my proverbial chest.
WWN’s WrestleMania weekend offerings are flying high. Two Evolves, Mercury Rising, the return of King of Indies, they all made for a weekend packed full to the brim of wrestling as I entered the beginning of the peak of my indie wrestling fandom.
One man stood out head and shoulders above the fray, Timothy Thatcher. I had first encountered him back at Evolve 31 the summer before and his match against Drew Gulak was an instant classic. And then, that March, his six matches across those five shows cemented it for good— Tim Thatcher is my favorite wrestler, and, with some trepidation, I decided I wanted to share my fandom with you all.
So I went to the fanposts, and I ginned up this bad girl, and it lead directly to first Evolve recaps and then the Sermon on the Mat you read every week.
And for a few years, it was great.
I have just moved to Philadelphia to be with the woman I would one day marry.
It’s been a hectic year, with three moves in six months, and my attention span for pro wrestling has dropped incredibly, but I’m sticking it out the best I can. Delays have become commonplace, it’s always been hard for me to find words worth writing to review a match but now it feels like my brain is stuck in molasses and it can take upwards of eight hours to write a recap for a two hour show.
Evolve 137 & 138 would be the last two shows I’d review. I contemplated an Evolve post-mortem for months afterwards, to bare my soul and talk about how we fall in and out of love with wrestling promotions, but I just didn’t have the heart, especially not after the pandemic hit and Evolve closed down for good.
We’re three months into the pandemic and Speaking Out hits.
The facade crumbles.
Wrestling has always been a carny business but now all of its worst excesses are brought to daylight. The movement has some success, some high profile names are ejected from the business for their bad behavior, but pulling the curtain back all at once is crushing.
I take a week off from Sermon on the Mat, much like I’m doing today, to write a few words talking about my feelings.
The present day.
Writing Sermon every week has become a stress bomb of impostor syndrome.
I haven’t watched an indie show in full in almost four years.
More than half the names on any given card are new to me.
I still believe the words I end every edition of Sermon with, but I struggle to find the hype in my heart.
Over the last few months I’ve been cutting corners and phoning it in, accepting that I’m just going to run a few cards out and call it a day.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine, the same friend who once upon a time hyped up Tim Thatcher to me as “William Regal in Cesaro’s body,” he points out to me that Chris Hero, gone from the ring for some time after getting released from WWE this last time, is making his return on Friday, November 17.
My pulse quickens. One of my favorite rivalries, renewed, and it’s going to be free on YouTube after SmackDown?
Clearly it’s going to headline Sermon!
And... for a moment... I considered that maybe it should headline the last Sermon.
But impostor syndrome or no, I’m not ready to give it up just yet.
So starting next week, we’re gonna have a slightly different format. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to go, but I think I’m gonna pull back a little and focus on presenting more shows in less detail.
But this week, it’s all about this one, so let’s list ‘em out!
WCP Whiplash (Nov. 17, 7 pm PT)
- Jiah Jewell vs. Kevin Blackwood
- Rachael Ellering vs. Sandra Moone (WCP Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match)
- Derek Dillinger vs. ???
- Beef Tank (Calvin Tankman & “Big Beef” Gnarls Garvin) vs. Prisoners of Society (Steve Maclin & Westin Blake)
- Los Suavecitos (Adrian Quest, Danny Rose, & Ricky Gee) vs. South Pacific Savages (Jacob Fatu, Journey Fatu, & Juicy Finau)
- Alpha Zo vs. Bryan Keith
- Johnnie Robbie vs. Masha Slamovich
- Chris Bey vs. Starboy Charlie (WCP Championship)
- Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher
Where to watch: Free on WCP’s YouTube Channel!
A History of Violence
In lieu of freebies, since I’m focusin on this one match on this one show, we have a music video recap of the Hero/Thatcher feud.
Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher: A Rivalry Breakdown
And here’s a match-by-match breakdown of their feud over the years!
Remember folks, no matter what type of wrestling you like, no matter how down you feel about the state of WWE, AEW, Impact, ROH, or any other “big-time” pro wrestling, there’s something out there for you. There’s a pro wrestling product that can hit you in the right spot and make you love wrestling like you thought you’d never be able to love it again. It’s there, I promise. You just gotta reach out and find it, and that, my friends, is what the Sermon on the Mat is all about.