Gavin McGavin vs. Marcius Pitt
EPW Collision Course
April 17, 2021
Gavin McGavin vs Marcius Pitt
EPW Evolution 2021
June 12, 2021
The main purpose of this series is to raise the profile of matches that should be on people’s radar when it comes to their MOTY lists. It could be a stand-out match from a TV wrestling show that’s been lost in the shuffle of 52 weeks of programming, an excellent match that’s marred by technical failure or a classic from the start of the year that’s lost buzz under the wave of recency bias. Once again, I am using my platform here to try to elevate the profile of a match from my hometown promotion, Explosive Pro Wrestling.
Gavin McGavin and Marcius Pitt are two of EPW’s top-tier talents, however, they had never faced off one vs. one before this year (okay, so there was a match in the short-lived Pro-Wrestling Darwin promotion but that one can pretty much be retconned out of existence as they had to work around a sudden injury that McGavin suffered). The pair had been circling around each other since March 2020, when McGavin officially turned babyface by interfering in Pitt’s Coastal Championship match against Davis Storm. The long (drawn out by COVID) build meant that their personal conflict was allowed to simmer for the better part of a year before we finally got to a match.
I reviewed Collision Course; EPW’s April show with my colleague ScorpioCorp earlier this year. I tend to prefer not to include star ratings in my reviews; to be one of the unfortunate aspects of Wrestling Culture is a fixation with star ratings. Whatever a reviewer says about a match itself is kind of ignored as people look directly towards the snowflakes at the end of the paragraph. To me, star ratings can be a useful shorthand for summing up your feelings on a match but can also be received in a reductive way that makes it more difficult to actually make an argument regarding how good or bad a match is. Anyways; since Scorp likes to use star ratings, I included mine as well for aesthetic consistency throughout the review. This paragraph is a very long-winded way of saying that I went five stars on the first McGavin vs Pitt match.
I am not going to spend much time reiterating what I said in my earlier review – past that it’s an intense and violent match that doesn’t rely on gimmickry or shtick to get a reaction. Both men are tremendous workers and the finish, with McGavin’s crossface failing because of the damage he did to himself via his own rage is just perfect storytelling.
So now let’s address the sequel, which I haven’t had the opportunity to write down my thoughts on yet. Is it a Spider-Man 2 to Spider-Man situation; where the sequel is a bigger and better expansion on the original? Having taken the time to go back and revaluate both matches; I still prefer their first meeting but a lot of that goes back to the specific memories I have of seeing both matches live. The second match is still a phenomenal match (which won EPW’s fan-voted match of the year award and was the only match from 2021 nominated for their best match of the first 20 years of EPW award) but didn’t speak to me on quite the same emotional wavelength.
The match is very smartly structured in response to their first meeting. This time McGavin tries to work the match smarter and play to his technical wrestling strengths rather than getting emotionally manipulated into a brawl. There were higher official stakes to this match, with the stipulation being that if McGavin lost, then he would never be able to challenge Pitt one-on-one again. The sequel runs longer and feels more consciously set up to be an epic, rather than the dirty fight that the first match was. Highlights include Pitt dropping McGavin on his head with the Ibushi dead-lift German and a small package near fall that 100% got me on the night.
Watching the match back; I can see why most people in Perth Wrestling saw it as the superior match. So much of why I prefer the first match though is my own subjective experience of being at that first match; leading the Marcius Pitt cheer section and my total shock and relief as the bad guy won. Whilst polls, star ratings and awards can be fun to talk about; ultimately the subjective experience and reaction to a match (or any work of art) is going to be the most important thing as to why a match is great to me (or you).
I didn’t intend to turn this into a diatribe on the limits of trying to objectively review wrestling/art; but I suppose it is pretty on-brand for me that it ended up there. To sum up – these are two great, vicious matches from two world-class performers. The matches have been slept on by wider wrestling public because of the limited reach of Australian indie wrestling (and when it comes to getting international eyes on their product, EPW still struggles because ultimately they weren’t able to book dates with Will Ospreay in 2017, thus didn’t get on the radar of international viewers). They both have my highest recommendation.
And McGavin vs Pitt III is coming January 8, 2022. So expect me to be writing one of these again in a year’s time.