Zack Sabre Jr. v Darby Allin (EVOLVE 98, 1/13/18)
Killer match. I'm still finding my feet with Sabre, but this was the first truly awesome performance of his that I've seen. It's the first time I've seen Allin in any shape or form, and I wasn't sure what I was expecting from him but this wasn't really it. He was pretty great here too, though. His roll-ups out the gate were really sharp and fluid and I like that he tried to take it to the mat with Sabre. He was never going to win like that, but I bought him being too stubborn to actually know it. The story of someone trying to prove himself by taking on an opponent at his own game can sometimes come off as forced, but this didn't and a lot of it was down to Allin's selling and wild reactions. Sabre just abused him for like 85% of the match. Any advantage Allin managed to take was fleeting, as Sabre would continually grab him and torture him. Some of the joint manipulation was absurd, bending an elbow here, fingers there, twisting a wrist, digging knuckles into ribs, moving onto an ankle, driving a knee hard into the mat, often doing two or three things at once. There was a point where he'd tied Allin up in some preposterous fashion and afterwards he celebrated by flexing his flimsy biceps like a big idiot and it ruled. Allin was great trying to fight out of all this, punching himself in the face like he was trying to deviate all that pain from having his limbs contorted to a spot of his choosing. He was coming out of this hurt, but it would be on his terms. The longer it went the more condescending Sabre became, kicking and slapping Allin in the face as the commentators kept noting how out of character it was. You could see him growing annoyed, but Allin wouldn't quit. Maybe it's because he's a moron, but he didn't know how to and eventually it led to openings where he almost scored that upset. The finish being the most brutal piece of misery Sabre inflicted upon him was a pretty fitting way to cap the whole thing off.