It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Yes, it’s Voices of Wrestling Secret Santa time again, everyone. The brainchild of JR Goldberg (@wrestlingbubble), VOW Secret Santa sees all participating website contributors give their fellow contributors, the greatest gift of all: wrestling matches!

All VOW contributors that wanted to participate were entered into a randomizer and given the name of another contributor to gift a wrestling match to.

There is no instruction given regarding what type of match to give and every contributor as their own objective and goal: some choose to be naughty, others choose the be nice, some go out of their way to find a match that the recipient has never seen before while others gift matches they absolutely know their fellow contributor will love.

At the end of the day, we hope that you can experience the joys of the season along with us while also watching some wrestling matches.

Writers were encouraged to review the match however they wanted so there will not be a universal review style or rating system throughout the series. Also, we asked each reviewer to try and guess which VOW contributor gave them their gift. Enjoy! -Rich Kraetsch

VOW Secret Santa Archives:


Low Ki vs Bryan Danielson
February 24, 2001

Reviewed by Ewan Cameron (@ewanwcx)

Gifted by JoJo Remy (@jojo_runs)

So this was actually the perfect Secret Santa gift for me. I’d grown up watching Wrestling in the 90s and quit at the climax of the Monday Night Wars. By the time I returned in 2013-ish, both Low Ki and Danielson were well established in the top tier of wrestling, and while I enjoyed watching both, there’s always been a part of my mind that knows that I was missing the context, like missing the first act of a play. Watching this match has gone some way to making up that deficit.

My first thoughts were how modern the wrestling was. When I think back to the wrestling I was watching at the turn of the century in WCW, WWF and ECW, I can’t really think of anything that compared to this. Sure there were others out there doing moves like springboards, dragon suplexes and 450 splashes, but this match was not ‘movez’, everything seemed to progress snugly, as if stitched together, keeping the entire sequence of events within the boundaries of wrestling’s magical realism.

What was also astounding to me was that only a few years into their careers, both Danielson and Low Ki appeared polished and rounded as wrestlers. I’ve always thought a good test for whether a wrestler transcends his contemporaries is the extent you could recognize them even if they wore a mask. Both these wrestlers, even at this early stage would pass this. Low Ki has an instantly recognizable gait and is pure coiled tension as he cuts the ring in two while Danielson’s bursts of focused ferocity elevate him above more formulaic wrestlers of his generation.

I don’t know much about the Super 8 tournament, except that it’s been seen as a future showcase, and I’d be interested to know from people who watched this at the time, whether this match was seen as revolutionary or notable as things like Low Ki and Amazing Red’s Matrix Minute or Danielson’s later run in ROH.

For me, this was a great match and at around 10 minutes was far more enjoyable than a lot of latter-day epics.

Thank you to the clandestine Claus that gifted me this!