wrestling / Video Reviews

Kayfabe! – Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution with Chris Hero

September 13, 2017 | Posted by Mike Campbell
Chris Hero
9.5
The 411 Rating
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Kayfabe! – Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution with Chris Hero  

Kayfabe!
Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution with Chris Hero!

I’ve always enjoyed this particular series, but, this is definitely a cut above its two predecessors. The backstory alone is really interesting stuff, and it’s the first time that a lot of this has been discussed in a public forum. But, the match commentary, which is usually entertaining, is the real highlight here. There are still the interesting tidbits, like Hero’s maroon trunks that he wears versus Timothy Thatcher were actually gifted to him by William Regal. But, Hero also more or less gives a seminar on intricacies of match layout, psychology, and explains why certain spots work for certain reasons.

Gabe and Hero have an interesting history with each other, going back to ROH where fans were always clamoring for Gabe to bring him in, but Gabe was apparently just not interested. Hero recalls being told that Gabe said that he liked Punk and he liked Cabana, but he didn’t like Hero. Hero doesn’t know if it’s true, and Gabe doesn’t confirm or deny. It wasn’t anything Hero was pining over, since he was already getting plenty of bookings. Things changed in late 2005, when ROH had lost several top names, like Punk, James Gibson, and Spanky. Hero was originally coming in as a one-time deal to play off the fact that he’d beaten ROH Champion Bryan Danielson in IWA Mid-South the week after he’d won the ROH Title. But, the whole CZW/ROH thing (the genesis of which was actually Hero’s idea) blew up, and Gabe was smart enough to run with it, and Hero earned himself a job.

The only real disappointment with the backstory portion is that it somewhat tapers off after the ROH/CZW feud ended. Gabe mentions that he and Claudio were supposed to have a long title reign, but Claudio getting signed by WWE, and the not being signed after all, ruined those plans. Hero does mention that he stared working for Gabe in EVOLVE when he’d gotten some heat in ROH (he doesn’t specify what caused it) and decided to make NOAH his primary home. Gabe was more than happy to book him in EVOLVE, and after the heat died down and he went back to ROH, he and Claudio both put their feet down and said they were going to keep working for Gabe.

If you’re at all interested in learning about things like match layout from the point of view of a wrestler, then you’ll want to pick this up ASAP. Hero even brings up something that has become a big criticism of his work, including from me, which is how often he throws out that elbow strike of his, which is supposed to be his knockout shot. His idea is to think of it like a boxing jab, where is might not KO the opponent from the get-go, but if someone is tired enough, and not ready for it, then they can go down for good. My opinion is that he’s not in a boxing match, it’s pro wrestling, and the advantage of not being legit, is so that certain moves can be booked as instant finishers. Nonetheless, I appreciate the fact that Hero addressed this, and not in the manner of “They don’t understand, because they’ve never wrestled!” He also points out little things that he does, like being unable to lift up Drew McIntyre for a standard piledriver, and when he can’t get him up, he switches to the Gotch-style cradle (think Cesaro’s Neutralizer) to hit the move. It’s great hearing him talk about the differences between working a midcard match with Bobby Fish versus a main event with Ikuto Hidaka, with how he works, lays things out, etc.

9.5
The final score: review Amazing
The 411
This is easily the best edition of the this series so far. Between Gabe and Hero's backstory, and the fascination of Hero taking us through each match.
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