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!

VOW Secret Santa Archives:

Jay Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong
January 15, 2011

Reviewed by Alex Wendland (@AlexWendland)

Gifted by Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994)

This. Rules.

I’m dropping into ROH a decade after this match took place, into a promotion that might not exist anymore, and one I definitely wasn’t engaged with at the time. I would come to love ROH a few years after this match but I’ve never had the opportunity (or time) to dive back much further.

So without commenting on the history or background of this match, it has so many things I love. First and foremost, it’s worked with an intensity rarely seen even in the highest stakes of matches in 2021. Both wrestlers know what’s on the line and they’re ready to fight for it. In the same vein, this match is pushing 30 minutes and stunningly little of it is spent with the wrestlers pretending they’re exhausted. This match makes the “wrestle for seven minutes then spend three overselling” look foolish. Briscoe and Strong performed as if they were two world-class athletes competing against each other until one couldn’t anymore, and it was great!

The other defining feature of this match is the S-tier gusher Briscoe struck within the first five minutes of the match. It hit the perfect tone; Strong was covered in Briscoe’s blood coming out of holds and further established himself as a shitheel champion by combing Briscoe’s blood through his hair.

What surprised me about this match, however, is how much of it was owned by Strong. He beat the brakes off of Briscoe for three-quarters of this match, only interrupted by Briscoe’s Last Stand in the final five-minute closing stretch. And what a go-home it was. Briscoe led it off with an absolutely insane Jay Driller through a table outside the ring (including an incredible facial expression from Strong as he was about to be dropped through), and the run from there to the final bell was a great back and forth. Despite some weird face/heel dynamics for me personally (no babyface to me is wearing the stars and bars on their way to the ring, even in 2011), the match itself is a must-watch.

Check it out!