Sunday, March 4, 2018

Review: Duke Russo vs. Apollo 2 (Movimus)

It's a bit of deja vu as March starts off in similar fashion as February with a Movimus re-match here and a couple of Cason match reviews following on Tuesday and Thursday.

One month ago, Duke Russo showed rookie Apollo some moves then hit the mats with him. Now, we've got Duke Russo vs. Apollo II, the re-match. Has the new muscleman learned enough to challenge the reigning stud of Movimus?

Has Duke taught Apollo too well?

Both guys are in great shape. They're both built for submission wrestling with tight, hard muscles and a ton of stamina. Duke Russo is Movimus' Superman, but Apollo is definitely a hero, too. The rookie's eagerness and positive attitude are what every newbie should have, plus he's apparently a very fast learner. He grunts and sweats, but keeps going against very steep odds.

Duke's ready for another round with Apollo.

Apollo has every reason to be proud of himself.

In the first match, Apollo didn't always know what to do with Duke, even when he got on top. This time, he's figured out some stuff. And when you're as strong and solid as Apollo, that makes you competitive with anyone, even an unstoppable superstar.

You can actually tell the difference. Because Duke goes from encouraging banter in the first few minutes ("You can do it.") to taunting as things progress ("Know your shapes. It's triangle time.") to dominant trash talking by the end ("Where you going? This is MY world.").

This shift shows how the rookie gets the champ's respect and attention. Getting encouragement from your opponent is nice, but it's also a little condescending. Duke unleashing his inner bad boy tells us that Apollo has arrived. I remember CT had Duke in a couple of great holds, but he shockingly wouldn't give. This is up there with the CT rematch as the closest Duke has come to losing a fall.

Teacher Duke: "Come on, you can do it."

Apollo gets Duke's attention.

Dominant Duke: "This is MY world."

Chokes are the rookie’s big move and they work. Sort of. Unofficially. The official scorer might not give Apollo a fall here, but I will give him two. See, here's the deal. Apollo gets Duke in chokes several times. Two of them are particularly solid. These two last a long time (around 45 and 60 seconds), but the hairy hunk stubbornly won't give. Rookie Apollo does the right (i.e. safe) thing by not squeezing harder, even releasing one of them.

To me, that's a point to Apollo. Sure, Duke can eventually wriggle out, but he really should've tapped by my way of thinking. Refusing to give thereby daring a guy to knock you out is great in fiction, because it can always be done safely, but in a fun and casual real-life submission setting, it's unnecessary. Now, on Duke's side, I will say that it looks like he leaves himself open for them deliberately, so maybe he's testing himself. And he does seem like a cool opponent.

Either way, I'm giving Apollo the fall for controlling Duke for so long.

Apollo's found a new strategy.

Duke's red-faced in these tight chokes.

Duke's going nowhere.

The guys remain friendly, even as the intensity grows. A break in the action and filming has the studs talking about home remodeling and there's the customary handshake at the end. Duke wins convincingly, even with me giving Apollo a couple of falls, but the fast-learning rookie is justifiably proud of himself. Hopefully, Apollo is encouraged enough to try his luck with someone else soon.

Look Ma, no cavities!

Duke: "We're just gonna stay here awhile.
You're going to feel some pain."

Superman needs to work to win this one.

In the end, this is another great match from Duke and Apollo. They're stunning, charismatic, intense and share a smooth chemistry. And the rookie scores a huge win just by getting Duke's obvious respect for his ability. In fact, Apollo is probably Duke's best opponent yet, although I should re-watch his re-match with CT just to confirm. Either way, both guys deliver and are elevated in my eyes. Not that Duke has much higher he can go, but the fact that he keeps impressing me is incredible.

What are other bloggers saying?

So that's my take. What's yours?


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