As a general rule of thumb, I dislike most (not all) sixty-minute Ironman Matches.
There’s a bit of hypocrisy in this as I’m a professional wrestling fan who can really get into long drawn out battles. The issue is once I’m told that a match will go sixty instead of letting it play out as such a part of my brain has a hard time tuning and settling in. Many Ironman matches fall into the trap of blatantly trying to drag out the match without a depth of ideas or intrigue on continuing to make it intriguing. It would be unfair to say some of these matches have not succeeded in entertaining me The existence of these examples are few and far behind. I can count on half a hand the amount of one hour Iron Man Matches I have ever thought was truly outstanding to me.
Fred Yehi vs. Jeremy Wyatt can now be included on that hand.
For sixty minutes I watched as two wrestlers held me in the grip of their palms and kept me hooked the entire time without letting go. What succeeded at hooking me was the struggle and tension throughout the match. Every action each man committed felt important, felt earned, felt fought for. Even in some great matches this year that I absolutely love I didn’t feel the struggle and hard work that these two men conveyed in every action they dictated.
This was a match that could’ve easily been designed and destined for failure. Long matches in the pandemic area have been very hit or miss with a lot more miss. With minimal and at times no crowds to add reactions and vocal opinion in the background sometimes certain things get lost and/or don’t come off as well as it would with an engaged and supportive audience. Yehi and Wyatt swung and consistently hit with everything they did. Even Wyatt at one point in the match losing his calm and attacking Yehi with a chair giving up a fall felt earned and organic. It didn’t feel like a heel doing heel things just for heel sakes. Wyatt’s frustration and desperation felt earned, understood, and made sense long term. Yehi barely making the count of twenty is one of the few 20 count tease spots I’ve actually been hooked on.
I firmly believe it’s not the time you have but what you do with the time given and that’s true regardless of length. If you are given twelve minutes make the most of those twelve minutes. If you are given thirty, forty-five, sixty minutes you better gather enough ideas to last that length of time. It’s aggravating when a great fifteen-twenty minute match becomes hosed and watered down by fluff and filler. While a fan of longer matches if you are going to do a sixty-minute match it better engaged me and holds me throughout. I do not want meaningless limb work that goes nowhere and is drawn out over an extended period of time before you get down to serious business. I need the first few minutes to matter just as the final few dramatic moments do. If being asked to commit to a long contest of wills, I need those competitors willing to commit to making the match not feel like the amount of time it desires to go for. Yehi/Wyatt moves at a good pace and everything that is done and achieved feels like it matters and is not a moment wasted. This is sixty minutes of wrestling that goes by smoothly and crisply and does not feel like a match that is two/thirds vying for time and one/third finally getting down to business.
They achieve enough falls to keep it interesting and captivating but didn’t overdo too many falls where it got ridiculous or over the top. One of the major issues I always have with Iron Man matches is in the way of pinfalls there are too little or too many and Yehi/Wyatt found a quality balance between the two scenarios. Not to mention each fall earned or lost (even the Wyatt chair spot one) and felt like it made sense. This felt like a wrestling competition and not a wrestling exhibition which even some great matches of this year have felt like at times. The selling, the sweat flying off the body, the exhaustion and even burst of energies all added to the match that really deserved to have a more significant crowd in the audience watching it.
Just watched the Jeremy Wyatt/Fred Yehi Iron Man Match. Best match I've seen in weeks, if not months. Easy MOTY contender. Just flat out fantastic stuff. -J
— Voices of Wrestling (@voiceswrestling) July 29, 2020
Both men did a great job of selling both the damage done to them as well as the exhaustion adding to the competitive feel of the match as well as engaging me into believing their will and passion to win. With bare minimal knowledge of anything going into this match, both men worked and hooked me into believing and feeling the importance and stakes of this match. Charity, future title shots, respect were on the line and that gave this match meaning that always adds to a match. When wins and losses feel like they mean something to the competitors as well as the grand picture of things it always enhances a match. Both men made me feel that losing was not an option for them throughout this competition and through their actions established that I wanted Yehi to win and I definitely wanted Wyatt to lose. This accomplished with me knowing hardly anything about the histories of Yehi and Wyatt. They wrote their story in the ring and the wrote it well enough and clear enough I could follow it even though I may be missing a few chapters.
While I consider myself a writer sometimes the words I think and the words I type are not in synch or succeeding how I wish to be expressed. Emotion and investment go that way with wrestling sometimes. Sometimes the match you think you’re getting is disappointingly not the one you get when you sit down and watch. How you envision and how it goes down does not match up and you end up feeling wanting and underwhelmed.
Observing Yehi/Wyatt my thoughts were non-existence, my expectations were neutral and my mind was a blank canvas, and as I watched that canvas filled with opinions, ideas, and observations that all lead to painting one conclusion. I have watched two artists collaborate on a masterpiece, and it will hang proudly in my memory banks for a while. I will gladly display that with and maybe in front of the rare few ironman matches that I can say I loved. This currently is my match of the year, and I’ll be elated if I get another sixty minutes as beautiful as these gentlemen presented.
In conclusion, I would add they were both representing separate charities during this match. I think it would be wrong of me not to post the links to those respective charities below. Please consider donating to either whether you watch the match or not because in these times any little it that can be done in the name of positivity, is a thing worth doing.
- Wyatt wrestled for mlb.com/rbi Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities
- Yehi wrestled for oneheart.com/kcmi/ One Heart KC Mentoring Initiative
Read Joe Lanza’s review of Fred Yehi vs. Jeremy Wyatt on the VOW Flagship Patreon: patreon.com/posts/joe-tackles-yehi-39863674.