Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Marcus Ares vs. Michael Hannigan (UCW)

I've blogged about Marcus "The Spartan" Ares of UCW before. I raved about him in my reviews of the three videos that I'd seen (against Quinn HarperAron and Axel). And I noted that with apparently no new Ares content coming, I'd probably buy the remaining two, in spite of some reservations that lowered my interest. Well, I did break down and buy the two remaining matches, so I'll be reviewing them today and tomorrow.

First up is Ares' match against UCW staple Michael Hannigan.

I usually sum up at the end, but today, I think I'll do it at the start, instead. I want to make my bias clear, so folks who I think might like this won't be put off.

If you're interested in seeing Michael Hannigan get totally squashed - punished, bent, slammed, splashed, etc., you will probably love this match.

If you're interested in seeing Marcus Ares just thoroughly dominate a guy while wearing a knee-length skirt, you will probably love this match.

I, however, am not in either camp, so this was my least favorite of the five Ares matches. It's not bad, it's just not something I'd ever re-watch.

Similar to the Quinn Harper match, it's a little weird to me to see the bigger, stronger, better looking guy dominate a ... more 'ordinary' looking opponent, especially without any storyline behind it. I guess this match could play into the soft-bellied jobber milieu, but Ares doesn't act sufficiently heelish to pull it off. I'd need more viciousness, more trash talk and more helpless suffering for that.

A heel does more of this
And more of this
So what about the match?

This is really Hannigan's match more than Ares'. The narrative is designed to showcase his resilience and ability to take punishment. He is the defiant and determined underdog, refusing to submit or be pinned. Hannigan is dominated for virtually the entire time. He has four reversals, but none last more than a couple of moves for maybe a minute each.

All the power moves you'd expect are here, along with multiple submission holds. The action is fast, the moves are executed well, the camera work is solid and the value is great, as always. There are multiple cuts/fades in the video, but they're pretty smooth. After a couple of the stiffer slams, I was hoping they were pausing to check on Hannigan's well-being, but it was probably just to run through how else he could be abused.

Ares' role is to serve as the conduit to seeing this guy punished. The Spartan looks strong and skilled, executing the punishing moves with authority. When Ares unleashes on Hannigan's stomach, he leaves actual red marks on the soft white belly. When the big man slams, he really slams.

Gut punches you can see

With results that remain

It's completely one-sided, so the only time the handsome muscleman really gets to sell much is during a reversed figure-four. The rest of the time, he's relentlessly focused on destruction.

Sell! Sell! Sell! to get me to Buy! Buy! Buy!
I called the Ares/Quinn Harper match "The Squash". I'll revise that to "The Dirty Squash". This is "The Clean Squash". There are no wedgies or low blows. Ares does pull up on the front of the Hannigan's trunks and he applies one ball grab near the end. Hannigan uses no dirty moves.

The match is marred by Ares' unfortunate gear choice. The big guy wears a horrible, knee-length black skirt. Sadly, it remains on for the entire match pretty much. I'm all for guys wearing skirts if they want to, but remember the business you're in and make it short! Ares has thick legs and a nice ass and this is the place to proudly show them off.

We only get rare glimpses of what's under the skirt

And it only comes off with 90-seconds left in the match!
I'm really not a gear fetishist where I only like one thing, but the skirt is bad. In fact, I will declare it the single biggest gear tragedy in the history of underground wrestling. THE BIGGEST!

However, it goes to my overall point that this is primarily a Michael Hannigan match, not a Marcus Ares match.

The ending of this match is almost exactly like the ending of another match I've blogged about. I won't spoil it, but it both excited and disappointed me. It's very cool, but unfortunately I've seen it done better. Here, it happens a little too fast and there's nothing after it.

That's it. That's my POV on Ares vs. Hannigan. What did you think? Agree? Disagree? Anyone want to defend the long skirt as a gear choice? Got a worse example that I'm forgetting? The comment box is just sitting empty, waiting for you!

Anyway, so that's it on this one. Tomorrow is Marcus Ares vs. Eli Black in the final of the five UCW Ares matches. Ares is wearing the skirt again and he's wrestling an opponent I'm not the biggest fan of. Uh oh. My expectations were low, but SPOILER ALERT ... I liked it a lot! Find out why tomorrow! Dun-dun-duuuunn.


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