WWN Style Battle Season 1 Finale
Saturday, April 7 (8:00 p.m.)
New Orleans

Gabe Sapolsky’s track record in pro wrestling speaks for itself: Ring of Honor flourished creatively under his watch, his work with Dragon Gate USA helped close the gap between American independent wrestling and the Japanese puroresu world while EVOLVE has become one of the pillars of the current indie scene.

There’s also Style Battle.

First announced in November 2016, Style Battle was a new promotion idea from Sapolsky aimed at adding more content to Sapolsky and WWN’s then-streaming partner, FloSlam. The concept was based on one-night only tournaments starting in January 2017 culminating in a Style Battle Final at WrestleMania weekend 2018.

“Tournaments can provide drama and excitement unlike anything else in wrestling,” Sapolsky said. “This will be a unique opportunity for upcoming wrestlers, today’s stars and veterans looking to prove something to showcase their wrestling style.”

Much has happened between Sapolsky, WWNLive and former streaming partner FloSlam in the time since Style Battle was dreamt up. The promotion—which will have what is assumed to be its final show this weekend—felt less like an asset during the tumultuous breakup of WWN and FloSlam and more like a pet nobody wants in a divorce. Let’s say, the pet iguana.

EVOLVE simply moved back to its old streaming home on WWNLive, has gone on new dates, got back into shape while enjoying its refreshing single, free life.

Style Battle, the iguana, sits on someone’s bedroom dresser, languishing. Sure, it still gets fed from time-to-time but only out of obligation. Nobody really wanted the iguana.

Since the breakup of FloSlam and WWN, Style Battle has lingered in a sea of uncertainty, wondering where exactly it belongs or, if it does at all.

Four months separated Style Battle Season 1: Episode 7 and Season 1: Episode 8. Now, another four have passed since Episode 8.

Finally, (mercifully) Style Battle’s Season 1: Series Finale is upon us. Don’t expect a Season 2.

The finale features, of course, the conclusion of the Style Battle Season 1 tournament with Keith Lee vs. Nick Gage and Matt Riddle vs. Dave Crist on end of the bracket while Anthony Henry vs. Jason Kincaid and Darby Allin vs. Tracer X occupy the other end.

Only six of the eight remaining Style Battle participants (Matt Riddle, Dave Crist, Anthony Henry, Darby Allin, Jason Kincaid and Tracer X) actually won a one-night Style Battle tournament. Keith Lee and Nick Cage are both alternates replacing tournament winners Fred Yehi and Jon Davis.

The tournament promises some interesting matchups (Keith Lee vs. Nick Gage, anyone?) and remains pretty open-ended. Would it be more beneficial for a somewhat unknown wrestler like Tracer X to win the tournament or should WWN’s poster child Matt Riddle come away with more accolades?

The top half of the bracket features far more star power than the bottom which means we’ll very likely see an Established Star vs. Young & Hungry/Up & Comer in the finals which is ideally how Style Battle should end.

I can’t give you a good guess as to who will win because the unknown nature of Style Battle’s future makes it difficult to know just how important the winner is going to be. Will the Style Battle Season 1 champion be a crowning achievement for a young wrestler or merely a footnote?

In the lone non-tournament match, WildKat Sports & Entertainment’s Curt Matthews and Jared Wayne take on Chicago-based Freelance Wrestling’s Matt Knicks and Stevie Fierce. I can’t tell you much about Matthews and Wayne but having seen Knicks and Fierce live numerous times, it should be a fun match. Knicks is a solid veteran hand and Fierce is one of my favorite young wrestlers with a gimmick that’s sure to elicit reactions.

Understanding its place in the weekend, Sapolsky and WWN have made tickets to Style Battle very affordable ($10) however the show runs head-to-head with tough competition in both NXT TakeOver: New Orleans and Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor.

  • Style Battle Bracket A – Match #1: Keith Lee vs. Nick Gage
  • Style Battle Bracket A – Match #2: Matt Riddle vs. Dave Crist
  • Style Battle Bracket B- Match #1: Jason Kincaid vs. Anthony Henry
  • Style Battle Bracket B – Match #2: Tracer X vs. Darby Allin
  • Style Battle Season 1 Finale: Winner of Bracket A – Match #1 vs. Winner of Bracket B – Match #2
  • Curt Matthews and Jared Wayne vs. Matt Knicks and Stevie Fierce