DEFY Pro Wrestling is Here to Stay: Look back at “DEFY Never Dies”: 2nd Anniversary

On January 19, 2019, DEFY Pro Wrestling celebrated it’s 2nd Anniversary at the event DEFY: Never Dies.  In retrospect, that was the greatest DEFY Pro Wrestling event I’ve ever attended live.  Usually at DEFY (like every other pro wrestling event) there will be a slow or a lull in the action, a “bathroom break match” for example.  Last weekend, it felt like every match just “hit”.

In front of a crowd that would rival the packed house that attended PROGRESS Wrestling weekend, DEFY proved once again why they are the current leader in professional wrestling in the Pacific Northwest.  Here’s some quick notes and observations from last week’s show.

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Match 1: Moose over Big Jack
This match was the first surprise of the night.  As far as match announcements went, both Moose and Big Jack were not announced for the show.  In terms of storyline this match made sense.  At the first DEFY event, Big Jack had begun a campaign to establish himself as the main “big guy” in the DEFY locker room.  Having him take on a well known powerhouse like Moose was a great throwback to that campaign.  The match itself was a great opener.  The crowd was energized and it set the stage for the evening that followed.

Match 2: One Percent over Amerikan Gunz
If there was any tag team that was “DEFY’s tag team” it would have to be the Amerikan Gunz.  This was easily the best Amerikan Gunz match I’ve seen live.  Personally, of the matches the Gunz have contested in Washington Hall, I’ve only really been impressed by 2 or 3.  I felt like the crowd was always really being generous with their love.  This match changed my opinion, and a lot of the credit has to be given to the One Percent.  One Percent brought out an exciting performance for the Gunz that had a lot of the crowd cheering the whole match.  Jorel I’ve seen perform before and knew he was solid, but this was my first time seeing Royce and if there was a standout in this match, it had to be him.  Seeing the One Percent get the win over the Gunz I think is a good thing.  Like Shane Strickland losing the DEFY title at the last show, in a kind of shallow division, it doesn’t place the Gunz as the sole standard bearers and it opens the division to more matchups and pairings.

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Match 3: 10 Man “DEFY 2 Survive” Elimination Match
Team 1: King Khash, Judas Icarus, Sonico, Leon Negro, and Caden Cassady
Team 2: Guillermo Rosas, Eli Surge, “The Catch” Carl Randers, Guerrero De Neon, and Golden Boy Travis Williams
Winner: King Khash
With how much the show had nailed it so far, I really thought this was going to be the “bathroom break match”, but was I wrong.  This match on paper was a showcase of DEFY talent, and was just that.  What I didn’t expect was the amount of high spots everyone tried to fit in the somewhat short match.  It was fast paced and high risk.  Everyone in the match had moments, but to me the standouts were Judas Icarus (took a crazy spill to the outside in the close of the match), King Khash (always a solid performer, and if you catch him after his matches, you have to appreciate his fashion sense), and Sonico (from when I first saw him perform to now, he’s made huge leaps in ability in the past year or two).  If these guys are the future of DEFY, and we continue to see variations of these ten in match ups at future shows, I believe DEFY Is in good hands.

Run In by the Young Bucks
The big news of the night came when The Pride (King Khash, Guillermo Rosas, and Carl the Catch) attacked Joey Ryan who was acting as the interviewer.  The Young Bucks made an (unpaid) “unannounced” appearance providing back up for Joey Ryan and saving the interviewer.  This moment is huge.  The Young Bucks have set themselves as the top independent talents currently on the market, and for them to make an (unpaid) “unannounced” appearance in Seattle, validates DEFY and the Pacific Northwest as a major stop for performers. I look forward to whatever the Young Bucks will do at a future DEFY event.

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Match 4: “Swerve” Shane Strickland, Schaff, and Randy Myers over SoCal Uncensored (SCU) (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky)
Nothing against the main event, but this was the match of the night.  Three of the company’s standard bearers taking on three pillars of pro wrestling for the west coast pro wrestling scene.  I can’t tell you how excited I was personally to see Christopher Daniels perform.  When I first started watching independent wrestling, he was always a name I would look for on match listings.  I remember his match specifically from an old DVD I had of the first ROH show where he competed in the main event against Low Ki and Bryan Danielson.  Just being able to see Christopher Daniels perform live, already had me excited for this match.  Each team had moments, but I think the DEFY trio came out more impressive as a whole than SCU.  The combination offense of the DEFY team especially in the close of the match was just more compelling than the offense of the SCU team, who really acted more like three individual talents as opposed to an experienced unit.  Overall, this match was a great way to keep the show momentum going after the intermission.

Match 5: Robbie Eagles over Cody Chhun
This was a great debut for Robbie Eagles.  His style and demeanor just seemed to gel with the DEFY audience.  The crowd seemed to love him almost as much as they did Cody Chhun.  Speaking of Cody, of all the high profile matches he’s been given at DEFY, I felt he really rose to the challenge and knocked this one out.  His clumsy gimmick really gave him an out for his one or two actual botches in the match, but really how could anyone tell?  It’s just “Classic Chhun”.  Cody Chhun is already a hometown favorite, but I think we wouldn’t mind a few more Robbie Eagles matches in the future.

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Match 6: Artemis Spencer over Desmond Xavier
After a crazy night of action that saw some of the best performances from local and out of town talents, the main event closed the show in the perfect way.  This was the first title defense for the new champion Artemis Spencer, and it did not disappoint.  If anything it set the stage for what we can expect from an Artemis Spencer title reign.  If I were to even try to characterize it, I would say Spencer wrestled a style that was more Seattle Strong Style, methodical and hard hitting, than previous title holders before him.  I felt Shane Strickland’s strength was his ability to heighten the pace of a match at the drop of a hat.  Spencer’s strength lies in the drama of his exchanges.  Each time he trades blows with an opponent, you can’t help but think he’s putting everything he can into those shots, and in return his opponent is giving him everything they can muster right back.  At the same time, Desmond Xavier provided a great first time title defense for Spencer, in that he was able to keep up and at times add more danger to the match.  Xavier’s tope from the stage to the floor was something that you had to witness live.  This match was the perfect way to close the night, and also a great preview for what we can expect from future main events from our current heavyweight champion Artemis Spencer.  Excitement.

When people look back at this event, I want it to be remembered for more than just when the Young Bucks made their first appearance for a Seattle/Northwest based pro wrestling promotion.  I want people to remember that at this point this was the greatest pro wrestling event from the top pro wrestling promotion in the Pacific Northwest.

You really set the bar high with that one DEFY.

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