What I appreciate about Lee/Wilkins is that it's such a throwback. The build-up is masterful with Lee targeting Wilkins arm with the best arm-work I've seen, which isn't faint praise given how fantastic KUSHIDA can be. Normally I'd be scratching my eyes out if a match was merely about arm-work thirty minutes in, but they mix it up just enough and the execution is so strong that it's a credit to the match.
And just as the match is drawing to a close, the match descends into a sports entertainment blockbuster with all sorts of interference, near-falls, babyface comebacks etc. and the crowd is going crazy. The match builds back to more interference, except this time the babyfaces show up and they get their stuff in.
Then we get the big finish with a ton of near-falls that builds and builds. A lesser match would have just sprinted towards the finishing line, but both guys did a great job of staying true to the match. In the end, Lee regains control of the match by taking advantage of the arm, hits his finish and scores an emotional Wrestlemania esque victory.
The commentary was fantastic. Not only did he do a great job of covering every detail, he was incredibly passionate through out and through his emotion was able to sell the gravity of the situation. Unlike most commentators who rely on cliches and canned lines, the caller was living in the moment and channeled old school JR.
It's run-time is both a blessing and a curse. I'm never going to forget I watched a 100 minute match, so on that end it will stick out to me. On the other, if the match was half as long it would have been close to perfection, which is crazy given my bias against the independent presentation and style. I'll admit Trevor Lee isn't the greatest babyface of all-time, but it's worth noting he was playing against his type. Lee is typically a heel and unlike most independent talent, isn't afraid to get booed. When you see Lee have a match like that, and then watch him on Impact, it makes you wonder what TNA are doing.
Further, when I look at other 'epics' that came out in 2016, this match felt like it ticked more boxes. Where as most Okada openings are boring and there rarely seems to be any emotional element, this match had that covered. Cena/Styles relied too heavily on finisher spam and the Balor/Joe matches were vanilla as anything. The only match that can hold it's own is Styles/Reigns which was a fantastic bout and did wonders for AJ's career.
As an aside, I need to check out more CWF Mid-Atlantic. I've heard a lot of matches are in the same ball-park, if not better than Wilkins/Lee and at a shorter run-time would be a more enticing watch.
I should do that...but I can see myself watching more TNA and getting my fill on the Allie/Maria soap opera.
In the mean time, I've been high on every Rumble match given so far. I don't want ya'll to think I've grown soft. I'm going to check out Scott Steiner versus Triple H, and may god have mercy on my soul.