Terminus 3 (7/21/2022)- Atlanta, GA
Your commentary team tonight is Dave Prazak and Ian Riccaboni.
KAUN vs. CHEESEBURGER- 4.75/10
Cheeseburger is exactly the kind of person I didn’t want to see in Terminus.
They started the match with a spot playing off the first spot of their match at Supercard of Honor 2022. I normally like things like that, but the way Cheeseburger played his part was too cartoony for me. I’d probably have been fine with it in most other promotions, but it (and Burger himself) is the sort of thing that I watch Terminus to get away from.
Terminus is now up to a ten-count on the outside. Burger got some offense in by working on the knees, but Kaun overpowered him to get the win.
MIKE BENNETT vs. INVICTUS KHASH-6.75/10
This was a really fun and competitive seven minutes, complete with a little story (Khash working over Bennett’s arm). It reminded me a lot of very early EVOLVE… and like with the matches on those shows, “great for a match that only went seven minutes” is a complement to the abilities of the wrestlers, but if too much of the show feels like that, the show winds up feeling disappointing because it feels like something that could have been a lot better than it was.
BARON BLACK PROMO- AWESOME!
He says he had Lethal beat at Terminus 2 but the clock ran out on him, and then he lost to Lethal in overtime. Then Lethal tried to praise him during their post-match handshake by telling him he was “good,” but he’s sick of hearing that. He knows he’s good. He wants to make that everyone else’s default assessment of him, not something he has to constantly prove over and over. He wants to beat Lethal here in this rematch to cement his place in the wrestling business.
JAY LETHAL vs. BARON BLACK- 6.5/10
Lethal had a special introduction written specifically to get into Black’s head. Part of that intro involved him being referred to as a “future Terminus World Champion.” This is the first we’ve heard of any sort of title, but it’s also possible that kayfabe management has no plans for a title and this is just something else Lethal is saying to annoy Black (who I believe is acknowledged to be one of the two owners of the promotion).
They did a decent job of telling the story of Lethal doing things to get into Black’s head, but they seem to have gotten lost by being split between wanting to tell this story but also wanting to have a match that had a decent work-rate. I think the Terminus rules really got in the way here, as this sort of story works best in a longer match where you can keep coming back to the idea as needed to cut Black off several times early on, but those times also need to be spaced out so it really feels like the issue is Lethal in particular getting in his head rather than him just being outfoxed by the opponent, who just happens to be Jay Lethal. The five-count on the floor also makes it hard for Black to go take a powder and walk around and visibly regroup himself on the outside, which is an important part of illustrating that story to the audience.
Black getting a pin on Lethal and the ref counting three but immediately waving it off because he saw Lethal’s foot under the bottom rope and Black becoming exasperated was a great way to set up the finish, the execution of said finish just didn’t work for me. It felt like Black was selling exasperation and trying to regroup himself at first, but then when he bent over for seemingly no reason as Lethal was getting up and then took the Lethal Injection, it looked like he was purposely setting himself up to get hit with the move. There must have been a better way to set that up. Or maybe the issue was Black’s acting. Either way, it looked pretty hokey.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- mostly good
Black cut an impassioned promo about how he had Lethal beat again and Lethal got lucky once again. He challenged Lethal to one more match… and Lethal simply said “no” and walked off. Lethal was a good heel here and Black’s passion was tremendous, but his insistence that he actually had Lethal’s number was too strong for me. Maybe Lethal would have tapped last time… but maybe he would have found a way out of the hold, too. I found it a little off-putting that he was so certain he was the superior wrestler to someone he hadn’t actually beaten yet, and who is also a much more established name than he is.
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA- 7/10
Ian calling this match a “dream match” was quite the stretch to me. That being said, it was quite great. Gresham always creates interesting finishes, and he did so here as well.
THE FACTORY (Aaron Solo & Q.T. Marshall) vs. C4 (Cody Chhun & Guillermo Rosas)- 5.75/10
There was some tag team structure here, but the match was not much. I assume they only got this spot to break up the monotony of singles matches to make the main event feel a little fresher. So far on this show, they’ve been a little more lax on the rules, by which I mean the referees have noticeably been using a much slower cadence for the count-outs (which are only five seconds here in Terminus). That’s fine as long as you’re consistent with it (and they have been), but it’s a clear sign the promotion isn’t quite as happy with their rules as they thought they were, and you’re sending that signal and then do a match where the heat is based off of illegally throwing someone over the top rope to the floor behind the referee’s back here in 2022, it makes the match hard to get into. Credit where it’s due, fans actually did boo Q.T. when he did this, but then they cheered him for doing a Davey Richards handspring enzugiri, and then booed him again for calling for a Diamond Cutter, so I’m really sure whether that’s a credit to the way Terminus has educated their fans, or if it’s just the fans doing whatever they want.
QUEEN AMINATA vs. MASHA SLAMOVICH- 7.25/10
This was my style of match, built around grappling and strikes, with moves being used only for big moments, making sure everything mattered. These two were put in a make-or-break spot for the show, and they certainly delivered, although once again I am left disappointed by the fifteen-minute time limit. Aminata got the win, as she is not only the regular, but is the first person we’ve really seen move up the card in any way that feels like something more than just a coincidence of positioning, so giving her the win makes sense.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- great
Aminata (not “Amidala,” as Ian Riccaboni made a Freudian slip and called her) cut a generic but still great babyface promo saying she was here to fight and wanted to fight the best, etc. This led to Serena Deeb coming out, which was the only part of this I didn’t like, as it made it feel a little too staged. Why is she here if she wasn’t booked? If they had made a comment earlier in the show that one of the wrestlers on the show was a student of hers or something then it wouldn’t bug me so much, but it felt like she was here just in case the winner of the main event happened to make an open challenge in her promo. I suppose the promotion could have brought her in and told her “get in the face of the person who wins the main event,” but setting up that sort of conflict feels very at odds with a rules-heavy promotion like Terminus. I’d have much rather just had her cut her promo, and then have Deeb step up and answer her challenge on Twitter the next day (or a few days later, so as not to steal thunder from the ROH PPV that Deeb, Lethal, Q.T., Solo, Takeshita, and- at the time- Gresham’s boss was promoting the next day).
This was a decent show from Terminus, but a lot of what drew me to the promotion has started to fade. The rules feel like a smaller part of things, and while that might seem like a positive to many, to me it makes the matches feel like matches in any other promotion, except with enforced shorter time limits, which can get in the way of the matches reaching their full potential, as it did in several of the matches on this card. I’ll watch the next show, but without a real storyline hook or some kind of grapplef*ck dream match to keep me around, I doubt I’ll be back for show #5.
PWG, MLW, AAW, WWN, etc
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