Phil Schneider’s 3-Count – 6/16

Masha Slamovich vs. Killer Kelly

Knockouts DOG COLLAR Match – Masha Slamovich vs. Killer Kelly | Against All Odds 2023 Highlights – YouTube

We are in a bit of a dog collar resurgence in recent years, as The Briscoes and FTR had arguably the best Dog Collar match in March, and Mad Dog Connely has been having these ugly minimalist classics on the indies. Impact added to that over the weekend with a nasty fight between Masha Slamovich and Killer Kelly. I really dug the minimalism of this match, they didn’t bother with tables or chairs or anything like that, it was just two very hard hitting wrestlers and a length of chain.

Both Masha and Kelly have dabbled in shootstyle (Masha in Combat Fights Unlimited and Kelly in Bloodsport) and this resembled a joshi hard women style, the kind of thing that Yukimiko Hotta or Shinobu Kandori would do, with the added spice of a thick metal chain wrapped around the strikes and yanking on the submissions.

Masha started the match by wrapping Kelly’s hand in the chain and stomping on it, and it kept that violent energy throughout, there was lots of choking and whipping with the chain along with some really sharp and nasty forearms, stomps and headbutts. At one point Masha hangs Kelly on the outside and just thrust kicks her multiple times right in the jaw. The finish was some grody stuff with Kelly locking on a chain assisted rear naked choke, only for Masha to use the chain to belt her over and hit a Snowplow with the chair around Kelly’s mouth and head.

Really my kind of wrestling, and something which would have finished pretty high on my Ringer Dog Collar matches list.

Best Dog Collar matches in pro wrestling history. 

Orange Cassidy vs. Swerve Strickland

Did Swerve Strickland beat Orange Cassidy for the AEW International title? | AEW Dynamite 6/7/23 – YouTube

My Orange Cassidy super fandom is one of the more surprising things to me about the last several years of watching wrestling. I was pretty notoriously a Chikara hater, that particular kind of winking, smirking pro-wrestling always drove me crazy, and in my more contentious days, I would let people know it. I had someone try to start a fight with me at an indy show, mainly because of the Chikara shit I talked. (Ironically it was at a Chikara show. I wanted to see Johnny Saint, so I didn’t swing.)

Now we have Orange Cassidy, a Chikara original, an Ant, doing Chikara stuff on weekly TV, but somehow making it work.

Strickland is also some who tries a lot of off kilter things as well and they fit their awkward styles together really nicely. Strickland has a lot of swag and I loved how Orange was able to get under his skin more and more as the match went on, including hitting some of his weak slaps on Strickland who gave him this great “Look at this Motherfucker” face in response. Cassidy took some big spots, including a brainbuster on the floor, and Swerve’s big double stomp.

I liked how they teased the finish with Swerve pulling the jeans on a roll up, only for Orange to turn the tables on him and pull his tights for the finish. I really could watch Orange defend this title forever, but I do think they do need to do something with Strickland. He feels like a star in both his presentation and in the ring, but as much as I like Nana, it feels like they haven’t found the right presentation for him yet. Bringing back Rick Ross would be a start, but he needs different henchmen then the pair of original Mogul Affiliates guys and Gates of Agony and Brian Cage. Santana is coming back soon, and if he and Ortiz can iron out their differences, I would be into those three teaming up.

Gunther vs. Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens and Gunther deliver a BANGER: Raw highlights, June 5, 2023 – YouTube

Kevin Owens and Gunther BRAWL in a Brutal Match | WWE Raw Highlights 6/5/23 | WWE on USA – YouTube

This was a first-time singles match between a pair of guys who were from slightly different indy wrestling classes. Owens was more of an early 2010s standby, both were PWG World Champions with Owens (nee Steen) holding it in 2005, 2011 and 2012, and Gunther (nee WALTER) holding the belt for most of 2018. This was a pretty natural match up, I don’t really think of Owens as a super stiff worker, but he is a guy who scrapped with Super Dragon and Finlay and can ramp it up when challenged.

Gunther took most of the early match, controlling Owens with a headlock and then just unloading on him with kicks to the temple and chops which sound like a car backfiring. Owens landed some big chops of his own and put some more starch on his forearms, and that cannonball in the corner is as nasty as a WWE move can look. Owens’s indy era was before Misawa died, and he still takes suplexes like the toll never got paid, there were some real gross landings including one which he took on the side of his head. I hated the finish, that distraction roll up stuff was played out when Don Muraco did it 40 years ago, a match this hard hitting deserved them putting more thought into the ending.

Still, I am into this feud. Big Van Walter and El Generico had a three match series in Germany in 2010 and 2012, I would love for Sami Zayn and Gunther to run that back, and any combo of Imperium and Zayn and Owens in tags is pretty exciting as well.

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