Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment: The Saga Continues (01-10-2016) Chip Day vs. Tommaso Ciampa
When the contact becomes too real…
People always seem surprised when I tell them I’m a big Tommaso Ciampa fan. I’ve had countless fellow wrestling fans tell me, “Really, he doesn’t seem like your type of wrestler at all?” I have trouble understanding that because Ciampa has many of the elements I look for in a pro wrestler. He’s charismatic, works stiff, can grapple, doesn’t overdo the high flying stuff, sells really well, and so on and so forth. Ciampa is a very good professional wrestler, and it shouldn’t really shock anyone that I am a fan of his work.
The first thing that jumps out about this match is how Ciampa is a star, and how easily he is able to make this Tomasso Ciampa versus Chip Day and the fans. Right away they launch into denigrating Ciampa with slurs and just bashing him in general. It never really lets up either, for the entirety of the match they are all over Ciampa’s case. Some of that is due to Day being a Southern favorite as well as the fans being, well, Southern. But, the way Ciampa carries himself deserves the majority of the credit. He walks with authority and his mere presence is enough for these Southern rasslin’ fans to hate his guts. It really is a lot of fun to watch the audience hate him more and more, pop for some of his antics, then go right back to hating him.
There is a brief moment near the middle of the match where I felt the interaction with the audience went a little too far. The running around the ring, grabbing a hat, giving it a Lung Blower, and then pinning it bit was for the live audience and not me. In that sense while I didn’t like the sequence, I understand why it is in the match and fully appreciate that it worked for the one hundred and fifty people in attendance. To be honest, that matters more than it working for me, because those fans coming back time and again is what is important to the viability of Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment. But, for the purposes of this review, and speaking for myself, I could have done without that entire sequence.
The rest of the match worked incredibly well, more than I expected it to in fact. Ciampa and Day work stiff, and the handheld nature of the footage allows for an intimate view of how stiffly they are working. Day doesn’t just hit an Enzuigiri, he smashes his ankle right into the cheek of Ciampa and it’s quite delicious to see and hear. The stiffness really comes across in this match, or perhaps snugness would be a better way to phrase it as I don’t think either man ever goes overboard in how stiff they are.
The intimacy works in other ways as well, such as when Ciampa puts in a small amount of arm work. He doesn’t do a lot, but he does enough to set up the finish and to lay a foundation for what is to come. The camera is on a level where Ciampa hitting a Double Knee Drop to Day’s arm comes across as absolutely vicious. That resonates and lingers. It’s why even when Ciampa moves away from the arm work the damage is remembered and it doesn’t create a problem when Ciampa goes after the arm again right at the very end.
Chip Day is not the name wrestler in this match, but he really should be. He’s a complete professional wrestler, able to work with whatever his opponent wants to do. On this night that means he sells a lot and limits his offense to hard hitting strikes. Day throws some nasty and very believable strikes. When he’s not doing that he bumps and sells at an elite level for the offense of Ciampa. He may not be a name right now, but a match like this should help Day’s ascension to the top of the Southern indie ranks because he really belongs to be there.
AWE is a fun promotion that puts on high quality shows. This match is emblematic of that, and while it is worth seeking out hopefully some will use Ciampa/Day as a bridge to watching more from AWE. 2016 starts off with a bang, for me at least, as Ciampa and Day bring the goods in this match. An intimate presentation reveals hard hits, stiff strikes, a riled up crowd, a deserved star, and a star in the making. The entire package is a great match, and a great time spent watching the pro graps. What more could I ask for to kick off the New Year?