American Alpha vs. The Revival
NXT Takeover: The End
8th of June 2016
Full Sail University – Orlando, Florida , USA
The Match: What am I, your Mum? Do you want me to cut the crusts off your sandwiches as well? Just go watch it.
Why Does It Define 2016?: On the face of it there’s not much to The Revival: their gimmick is that they are wrestlers; they are a million miles away from your usual WWE Meatball Hero with Extra Meat. In fact they are two guys so average that at Takeover London, the crowd started two different chants about how they couldn’t tell them apart – one intentional and one completely oblivious – despite them not looking like each other in the slightest (slow clap, London).
Even the name is kind of ridiculous. The Revival? I mean I get it, sort of; they are a revival of old school southern tag team wrasslin. Somehow it took Creative four attempts to come up with something that dull after using then rejecting the dumb-but-ace Dash & Dawson (first name of one, surname of the other? C’mon guys…), the perfectly serviceable The Mechanics (sailing a bit close to the profession-but-wrestler-on-the-side thing maybe), and my favourite Orlando Wrecking Crew (presumably too much of a revival?)
Any year between now and 1997, all of this might have been enough for these guys to be overlooked. However, this is 2016, where you can Get Ahead in The Fed without abs and biceps so long as you have something else that Dash & Dawson have by the bucketload.
Here are two guys who tell amazing stories, making the matches look like real sporting events. They cut the ring in half and work over single body parts, they whisper tactics in each other’s ears, they only cheat when the ref isn’t looking, diligently following the rules the rest of the time – look for Dawson at Takeover: Dallas making it REALLY FUCKING OBVIOUS that he’s holding the tag rope at the final tag-in after spending the whole match blatantly cheating. This might be Brainbusters 2.0 but they are taking that blueprint and bringing it forward 30 years, like a souped-up Chevy given a turbo-charged engine.
And yet, every time I went to a show, I was non-plussed that I was the only person wearing a Revival shirt. Was I the only one who saw it? I felt a weird pride at being the contrarian but a bit anxious that they’d get dropped because merch sales weren’t high enough…
My Thoughts: To be honest, I could have picked any of their matches this year; there’s a bawhair between all of their Takeover matches, and I have the sneaking suspicion that the 2 out of 3 Falls match on the 6th July might actually be better. But as mentioned in the first match of this series, wrestling at its best gets you so invested you forget that it’s a form of theatre. The last few minutes of Marty Scurll vs Will Opsreay at RevPro High Stakes was a perfect example of this, and I didn’t give a fuck who won that one. But this match, this was my generation’s Brainbusters vs The Rockers. I sat on the edge of my sofa for the majority of it, certain the (very deserving) American Alpha were going over but that I’d have to suffer those smug Full Sail fucks (self-) congratulating while my underdog champs became the new Blake & Murphy. Instead I saw what I think is a pretty flawless match between two incredible teams with very different yet complimentary styles. Most of all this was the one when I realised that someone had seen what I had seen. My guys, my Top Guys were safe.
Oh and they went over and the crowd fucking hated it. So get it right fucking up you, Full Sail.