Jared Jerusalem vs. Machado
I am taking notes as I read through them, your gradings will be my notes, the verdict will have any pertinent information
So off the bat, I like the story you’re telling, the way you’re presenting Machado as being the superior of the two physically, being able to kick Jared’s ass handily with his MMA skills. However, I still think the description can use a liiiittle work. I’m not as anal about description, since there’s only so many ways you can describe a punch, but there are certain things that do feel a little rushed. Maybe not even ‘description’ per-say, but rather the wording of certain things. For example, “Machado strikes his much taller opponent with a backhand” could be better worded as, “Machado spins swiftly, extending his arm and thwacking the much taller man across the jaw with a backhand” etc. It’s not necessarily a huge difference, but it helps keep the flow going a bit. It helps me get a bit more immersed. Later in the paragraph I see another example of this, with the “Jared rushes in only to get greeted with MMA strikes” part. Not everyone watches MMA! Some of us don’t know entirely what that would entail. Maybe something like “Jared slides in, Machado leaps up and catches him with a stiff knee to the jaw before covering Jared’s head with his arms and striking at the base of his skull with a few MMA-style sharp right hands” or something like that ya know? I DO like you mentioning how Machado’s MMA expertise helps play into certain moves like the armbar segment later. The cocky pin transitioned into an ankle lock was very well done. Even if it didn’t get fully executed since Jared countered it. Jared throwing Machado at the crowd was hilarious, though they’d definitely need some plants for that spot! The following spot suffered a bit from my earlier criticisms about your wording. I find that I need to re-read some of your spots to try and make sense of them. I was wondering how they want from Machado being outside the ring, to coming in, Jared coming out, and Machado hitting the suicide dive. It was a good spot but slightly weird transition that would have seemed better if it was worded a bit better. Commentary was fine, my favorite bit was when they argued about Kirk Sampson and Jared poking Machado’s eye. The ending was a bit confusing, perhaps I need to keep up with some of the storylines but Kirk and Jared working together is interesting. From a purely entertainment POV, it was good. I just wonder what I missed beforehand!
You had a lot off the bat really quickly. Which was fine, but also seemed a little rushed pacing-wise. I liked your spots though, the two guys firing off right at the start made a lot of sense considering their blood feud, Jared out-wrestling Machado was a little weird since Machado is supposed to be a threatening physical force, Jared out-witting him would have worked too. But I did like Jared using his power advantage to toss Machado around, like the suplex on the apron. The spot where he threw him into the camera was creative too. But again, seemed a little rushed since that was super early on. Your pin seemed a bit rushed too, saying ‘he lays on him for a pin but Machado kicks out at 2” could have been worded/done a lot better, I imagine that may have to do with rushing it a bit. I liked the reference to the suplex when you talked about Jared working the back later in the match too. Machado’s entire comeback was done well but had a lot of the same stuff I said above. Seemed very rushed, written very quickly, not much pacing, the pins were quick, but also the spots themselves were good. The entirety of the ending, also the same. Can’t say much else about that, great idea, great spots, very rushed on the execution. Had to re-read the axe kick to see who hit who with it cause I was trying to visualize it out and couldn’t up until the third read-through. The very last part itself was done well, I enjoyed the quick Undertaker-like triangle choke finisher. Again, could have been worded better, but also good spot overall.
Not gonna lie my boys, I feel like you both kinda rushed your matches. I think you’re both capable of better. You both had a lot of positives too, don’t get me wrong. You both had interesting ways to go about your matches, Jared’s focused more on Jared being sneaky and out-smarting Machado repeatedly to make up for Machado’s threatening force – which I liked more in the two matches. That just makes more sense to me. Machado had Jared use his physical dominance, being the much bigger man, to out-power Machado. Which works as well. You both had a lot of the same issues and criticisms I had, where it seemed you guys rushed the heck outta your matches. I will say I liked Machado’s wording a bit better, I only had to read most of the match once through to understand, Jared’s I had to re-read a few times cause it was a liiiittle bit confusing at some points. The matches themselves were both fine spot-wise. You both had very rushed flows, but lots of interesting spots and storytelling. While I preferred Jared’s story a little more, I did prefer Machado’s match in terms of “If I were a fan watching this, which would entertain me more?” Endings. Jared’s was very interesting since I have no clue what’s going on with Kirk Samson in terms of storyline or if they’re in cahoots. I’d like to see that play out a bit in the future, or keep up with that. Machado’s was just good, straightforward wrestling that ended with a good counter for a surprise ending. Kept both men looking strong, and I enjoyed Jared taking advantage of Machado’s hurt back, was just good storytelling and stayed true to what he was doing with his match (fuckin up Machado’s back). Jared’s match was also much shorter, which isn’t a bad thing in most cases, but in this case it was like… a few minutes worth of wrestling. If this were a PPV match IRL I’d be disappointed by how quickly it went by. You both had fine matches, you can both do a lot better in terms of the execution of the matches, but I’m giving this one to Machado since I had less complaints about his. I hope you two continue this storyline, I’ve enjoyed it, but also I hope if you guys do compete again you guys will have more time to not rush em. I hope I wasn’t TOO hard, but I wanted to be thorough with ya’ll on this!
Your winner … MACHADO!
Albion Gale vs. Mark Storey
The match kicks off pretty much how you would expect, knowing the Storey character and his history of pre-match attacks(including this same tactic on Albion in the past). Outside of the attack though, the actual in-match action started off with a complete bang with the champion not allowing her attacker to get the upper hand and instead nailing her Darkened Skies signature in the opening seconds. After the pre-bell attack I was expecting Storey to have the upperhand to start off the match, but instead Albion got her chance to take control quickly and I like the way subverted my expectations there.
As we transition from the opening, your arguable biggest strength is on full display; the character work. We establish immediately that Albion is the more noble fighter that any first-time viewer would be getting behind, while painting Mark Storey as a coward whose face you desperately want to see get caved in by the end of the match. Having another renowned scumbag at ringside to stack the deck for the bad guy just adds to that. Though I will say, and I’ll get into it more later, the lack of Seiji being by ringside to counteract Danny’s interference was a bit puzzling. But otherwise, the character-building you do really helps set up a good story as the match goes on.
The action itself throughout the match was entertaining and progressed in a wonderful back-and-forth affair throughout. It looked like Albion was gonna ‘steal’ the match early on with her Deathblow only for Danny to get involved and help Storey ease back into it, and was the blueprint moving forward; any time Gale appeared to be taking control, Danny would insert himself into the match in some form as a way to stunt her progress. This strategy built up to one of my favorite parts of the match, where Albion goes for the over-the-top-rope suicide dive and Storey pulls Danny into the line of fire instead of himself, a comical part that also helped Mark gain the upper hand again quickly. The entire out of the ring section was entertaining.
Everything continued progressing nicely and then we reached the conclusion, which was a nail-biting roller-coaster ride throughout. The feigned interference from Danny with a chair, slipping him the title shades of Mark’s first victory over Albion, her avoiding it and locking in her Koji Clutch as a call back to her victory, the barrage of elbows, and another teased Danny interference, all leading up to the perfectly timed MAS. It was all excellent. The elbow barrage on Albion was written so well that it actually made me a little uneasy reading it(which isn’t at all a criticism).
Your match was incredibly entertaining. It told a great story, in my opinion, for both wrestlers, including Albion who looked very strong while dropping the championship. The pacing/flow was very logical as well. The match started off with a fast pace which can be very tough to build off of properly, but I think you managed to do so. The description and selling, again, just kept getting better as the match went on. Little parts like Mark nailing a low blow, second nature to him, on an unaffected Albion helped add to the “fun” factor as well. As far as your writing detail and the entertainment factor goes, I think you knocked it out of the park.
Now, some things that caught my attention a little bit and I think could have been improved on; the first one, as I stated earlier, was that Albion’s partner never came to ringside while it was effectively 2-on-1 a majority of the match. However I can’t really fault you for that one considering I went back to check, and Seiji hasn’t been used in a couple months and wasn’t involved at all in the last Albion promo. Additionally, I think Jack Tickles, being the senior referee of the Supreme Championship match, should have laid down the law and banned Danny from ringside part way through the match, as he was getting involved practically every few minutes. That is admittedly kind of a nitpick though.
But my biggest issue overall, is that Mark Storey did not look strong at all throughout this match. I understand that, being a scumbag heel, you have to make the face look remarkably stronger and are going to resort to underhanded tactics from time to time, but nearly every single time Mark gained any kind of upper hand, it seemed to be a direct result from some kind of cheating; be it Danny doing something cheap, or Mark taking advantage while Tickles has his back turned… I don’t know. I get it. It makes sense with the characterizations/story telling, but I think the interference and cheap tactics overall were overused and Mark didn’t come out of this match looking at all strong.
Much like Mark Storey’s beginning, you went with the safe and logical option of a pre-match attack, but done from a completely different angle by having Danny attack her backstage and Seiji immediately coming to her rescue before Bella Quinn steps in to ban Danny from ringside. A good way to get in started off and to establish that even though Storey got a headstart over Albion, it’s the only one he’s going to get. The post-bell action started off remarkably different from Mark’s as well, with the challenger instead taking control with a slow-paced technical/methodical approach, and the opening works wonderfully given the full story.
As with your opponent’s match, the natural progression and character-building is spot on. A little bit of back and forth as the suspense builds, having Storey resort to some cheap-yet-legal tactics, such as grinding his forearm against Gale’s nose, targeting her wound, grating her face across the apron, etc. I thought it was innovative to have Storey modify basic submissions for the sake of trying to squeeze more blood out of her head. Again, a good way to build contempt for the heel early on and get the reader fully backing the champion.
The outside of the ring action is usually a good transition period for matches, and I think it came at a great spot here. After a good starting pace of, for the most part, mostly strikes and technical moves on the inside, the action spills to the outside where we get some nice action like the Darkened Skies off of the apron and the shoulder thrusts into the steel steps. Some very entertaining stuff out there. And like I said, ringside action usually helps set a bigger tone moving forward, and not long after the two get back inside the ring, Albion surprises him with her Koji Clutch. The timing was superb, and you did a great job of describing and selling the submission; honestly, you did a great job of describing and selling all of the submissions in the match.
From that point on, it was a suspense building back-and-forth affair, including the false-finish MAS and Storey tearing the turnbuckle padding apart in an attempt to modify his flapjack elbow strike immediately afterward. Albion reversing it by planting on the top rope and hitting a moonsault on an unsuspecting Storey was great. Leading up of course to Deathblow Kick and the second attempt at the Koji Clutch to get the job done. Not a super-flashy finish, but written very well and helped cap off the story for Gale.
Overall, this was another great post with little to complain about. Even with a pre-match attack, I feel the match had proper pacing from the start and maintained a good progression as it moved along. You did wonderful at portraying both characters in my opinion, making Storey look like both a great wrestler and a bastard heel at the same time, while portraying Gale as the badass baby face that had to overcome all sorts of odds to pull it out. The action itself, also, was entertaining, especially once the competitors left the ring. From there on out it was mostly a constant back-and-forth battle between the two.
I guess if I had one thing to nitpick, it would be that the action tended to be a bit too fast-paced at times. I already praised your selling during the submissions, but there were moments in the match where I feel it could have slowed down a little and taken some more time to let the toll of the moves set in on the wrestlers. For instance, the moonsault toward the end of the match. After all the hell the two put each other through, Albion hits a top rope moonsault and both are immediately back to their feet. Being that deep into the match, every move counts toward the selling.
Oh boy. This isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t usually easy comparing two great matches, but in this case the matches being compared had an entirely different outline to them, outside of the pre-match attacks.
Where it was about equal - I feel both of you did an equally good job at storytelling, and characterizations. Both of you incorporated the history of your feud into the match, and it was about equal in regards to getting both your own character and your opponent’s personas over.
Where Mark Storey had an advantage - Description, entertainment, and finish. The detail that went into this match made it such an easy and vivid read, being able to visualize basically every moment. With the hot start to the match, it managed to be entertaining throughout, not dulling down at any point. And the finish, as I discussed earlier, was a fantastic sequence that kept looking like it was going to go in another direction.
Where Albion Gale had an advantage - Flow/progression and submission use. Given this match started off with a more methodical approach, it has an advantage for the progression, as you could see the intensity building up over time and waiting for it to boil over. The detail that goes into your submissions, while seemingly minor, help tremendously with the selling aspect.
While I found his match more entertaining from bell-to-bell, I did take issue with what I considered excessive interference from Danny Diamond because a) it started to become predictable whenever Albion started to get a serious strong hand, b) As XWA head official, Jack probably should have taken control and done something about it, and c) Mark didn’t look very strong by the end of the match in my opinion, which him being a heel I completely understand to a point, but still would like to see the Supreme champion look a bit more legitimate than just someone cheating for 20 minutes. My only issue with Albion’s match as I stated earlier, I just think the pace was a little rushed at times.
This truly is an agonizing decision to make, and there is a legitimate case for both of you. Given everything there is to consider, with it at basically a deadlock, I have to ask myself a question; as a wrestling fan, which match would I like to see more? Despite the issues I voiced with Mark’s match, it was a fun roller-coaster ride that would be super enjoyable to watch, with a wild final few minutes. And while Albion Gale certainly had a wonderful match as well, I do think Storey had enough of an edge in the entertainment factor and a fantastic ending to seal the deal.
Your winner and NEW XWA Supreme Champion... MARK STOREY!
Razor (Jared Jerusalem vs. Machado)
Caleb (Albion Gale vs. Mark Storey)
The annual tournament comes to a head while a challenger slithers his way into a title shot.
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