Fit Finlay v Sami Callihan (EVOLVE, 7/26/11)
This. Was fucking great. I had really high expectations for it and it totally lived up to them. God damn Finlay is the fucking best. His WWE revival is one of my favourite runs in wrestling history, and I honestly thought this was fucking with the best stuff from his incredible 2006. Story of the match is basically Callihan trying to step up to the plate and prove he's capable of hanging with The Man. In the end, Finlay respects him for it and gives him his props, but he sure as shit makes him earn it first, stretching him all over the place (some of the leg submissions looked super nasty) and generally beating the tar out of him. The very first spot of the match might have been the best of the whole match, as Callihan tries to come out like a whippet and Finlay just shuts him down by DRILLING him in the face with a forearm. "Do you know who the fuck I am?" There were points of this where it felt like a pro-wrestler showing up to a bar fight. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight, don't bring a death valley driver to a bar fight. Wield the knife properly and you'll do some damage, but in the end, the shotgun always wins. Callihan's chops are nasty and a few of them land right on the throat (Finlay's post-match raspy voice putting them over was awesome), but knife-edge chops are pro-wrestling. Headbutting someone on the bridge of the nose is a bar fight move. Guess who comes out worse? Finlay puts a stop to a flurry of chops by just picking Callihan up, sitting him on the top rope and shoving him out to the floor. Callihan wants to go strike for strike "like men", but Finlay responds by shouting "How can we fight like men when I'm the only man here?" (he actually said that word for word, and yes, it was as great as you'd think) and kicks him right in the kneecap. Callihan tries to hit a baseball slide at a couple points. But that's pro-wrestling and this is a bar fight, so Finlay just catches him and chucks him into the guardrail. Callihan goes for a tope, but Finlay casually sidesteps it and Callihan careens into the guardrail throat-first. "Tope suidica? In a BAR fight? Does not compute." Finish is awesome, too. Callihan is on his last legs, but he's defiant to the end and refuses to stay down after a Celtic Cross. Finlay gives him another, but Callihan is still breathing. He knows he's fucked, but he won't go quietly and flips him the bird, so Finlay picks him up and plants him with a tombstone. Just a tremendous match.
Callihan gets a ton of hate in some places, but I'm honestly not seeing why. His facial expressions are pretty hammy, sure (although this is a guy who wrestles on the same indy circuit as Davey Richards), and this IS probably a career match, so it's not fair to expect something as good every time out, but he was still great in it. Take Finlay out and stick someone else in and you don't get something nearly as special (Dave seriously looked like one of the best in the world here), but Sami is clearly holding up his end perfectly well, eats a HUGE ass stomping, fires back with plenty of nasty looking shit, and best of all punches Finlay directly in the fucking teeth (THAT spot was tremendous). Feel like I should watch some more of the guy and it's just the hardcore indy nuts spewing bullshit. Anyways, strong MOTYC and I need to get my hands on more Finlay ASAP. What a fucking king.