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By Stephen Platinum on 3/30/2020 7:52 AM

n a time when every day, every news report, every wayward post about anything from the people you know are filled with trepidation, surprise and a heaping helping of the unknown, Anarchy Wrestling emerged with the biggest shock of all on 3/28. They pulled off greatness and significance and perhaps most importantly, triumphantly found a way to make an argument that they are the MOST relevant and MOST adaptive wrestling group in the state of Georgia at a time in the 20 plus year history of a version of the promotion seemed well out of the game.

Well, they are in the game. And they have raised the standards of expectation of pro wrestling in the era of no crowds and storytelling above a mindless pop. Whatever pro wrestling is becoming when there are no live crowds present and match psychology hinges on connecting with an unknown audience out in the world, Anarchy on one night showed that with production that makes sense, talent and coordination between moving parts beats all conventional and most modern notions all to hell.

My expectations were limited. I admired the promos and storytelling leading up to the match between Anarchy Champion Griff Garrison and the man that would be king, Shane Marx. I loved the obvious fingerprints all over things from Matt Hankins and Bill Behrens. I loved that Anarchy alone seemed to successfully make their empty arena part of the story instead of weak justification (Jericho claiming that he banned AEW fans for the foreseeable future) or just having no crowd be a glaring liability that had to be adjusted to (everybody else including the WWE). But what I got and the viewing audience got was a whole lot more.

Watch the show at this link -- Anarchy Wrestling's "Undeniable" Night 

The countdown itself on the well-promoted live event on YouTube was something in an of itself. Anarchy could have been said to run two steps and ten years behind what the best indy groups were doing production wise. At one point they had a primitive one camera set-up, and the contention that they had internet T.V. seemed like the same pitiful claim that most everyone made. But last night they shone. The countdown clock was dare I say it, cool. But more than that, showed that Anarchy would have their stuff together as far as production went. They would be ready. And that was important.

Then the opening video package played. It portrayed Anarchy in the best possible light. There was a heavy dose of “we’ve got great new talent.” There was a smattering of “we’ve got a real history that is years old.” There was a note of “our production isn’t shitty any longer.” And an overall presentation of “you are about to witness an event and it’s most assuredly worth your time.” Again, all important.

There is Gentry (sporting a Hardcore Hell XXII shirt already – I see you) and John “The Body”. Good voices, and only a few seconds hitch of silence when they went live. I would have dressed up more. But whatever.


(Marcus Kross was interviewed by Gentry.  Marcus announced he required surgery for a torn acl and other knee issues and relinquished the Anarchy TV Title)

We went to Matt Hankins cutting a great foundation-setting promo. He was trying to get someone else to be in charge, and wanted Bill Behrens to see his latest offing. Here was Bill Behrens. Small things – their body language towards one another was a nice mix of “I won’t back down to you,” “I don’t like you,” and “Yes, this whole thing is strange but what I am here to say supersedes all of this.” Kudos to the camera work in case I don’t point it out later. In a day and age where even the once-vaunted WWE seems to miss shots and make terrible decisions on what to shoot and how close, the camera folk and on the fly producing was on point all night long. I will say it again, their choices (from pulling in on promos to make sure we thought about who was talking instead of no crowd) and the varied choices of shots and having a real “oh my God you have to see THIS” feel of the shots and choices really created an energy and an event feel. Bill entertained the video job application for top dog at Anarchy, which was a refreshingly smarmy but poignant pitch from Southern Honor’s Godfather, Gary Lamb (“I would make Anarchy into a movement. You’ve made it into a monument.”). Bill, unsurprisingly, was not keen on Gary being the head honcho (“I’ve created a more impressive movement in the morning after a cup of coffee.”) any more than he was okay with an even better looking and stalwart candidate that has been proposed on a previous Anarchy show. But the surprise came in the form of a match made through a back and forth exchange between Matt Hankins and Bill Behrens for the power in Anarchy! This was well done. At first I thought the debate back and forth about stipulation was running a bit long, and the end effect a bit disappointing (for a while it appeared that a cage would be the stip, but instead it was that Bull Buchanan would be the ringside enforcer) but in retrospect it worked. Anarchy gets kudos of restraint in their decisions instead of over the top for it’s own sake. It would be a night ruled by logic, personal relationships emphasized, and surprised that felt natural instead of Russo-esque swerves for Bill Behrens versus Matt Hankins for the power in Anarchy itself with Bull Buchanan at ringside. And yes, Gentry, I see that Hardcore Hell XXII shirt again.

A half hour in, and we’re now about get into the match. I no longer feel like this is a one-match stunt just to keep Anarchy in our mind’s eye. This is a full show, with the actual match in question the true main course in what has proved to be a complete meal. 

Shane Marx is introduced, and his gear looks great, a sharp contrast to the casual look of the commentators and ring announcer (I know, I know, I’ll quit harping. I feel that it was an opportunity missed is all). Matt Hankins is there talking his talk to a focused Marx, and the look was a good one – firing up his guy, big fight feel, the champ better bring it because the Undeniable absolutely was ready for this moment. 

Next came the Anarchy Champion Griff Garrison with a pumped up, energetic Behrens behind him. And then…chaos. Brian Blaze attacks, driving Behrens into the rail. The production choices here were great – reaction shots from all present, then back to Behrens in a pool of blood. Hankins pulling Blaze away for plausible deniability, but clearly this is the first big chess move of the match and Undeniable has already taken Griff’s queen off the board. 

We don’t have an official match yet, but we do have a hellfire brawl on the outside between Marx and Garrison. The commentators were good. Marcus Kross after helping Behrens to the back was perhaps the BIGGEST surprise of the night. His commentary was really, really, good. He realistically had an undying belief in his partner, was invested in the match, reacted in place of the missing crowd so they were truly NOT missed by the viewing audience, and was equal parts exposition when needed and Greek Chorus when appropriate. 

The brawling action around the snack bar was particularly great. Marx has some of the best strikes and punches in the wrestling game and they were on full display. We saw early that Griff’s punches were not good, but his forearms were. The hotdog machine throw that Marx narrowly avoided that led to an exploding machine to spectacular effect. A series that led to Griff doing a flying clothesline off of the snack bar. But this great brawl ended in another surprise (and a well-earned an pivotal one) as Hankins cut off a running Griff assault with a perfectly timed strike with his man-purse. Everyone sold this well – commentators, referee Triston Michaels, and most of all the Anarchy Champion.

In this chess game, team Griff was down a queen and a couple of rooks now. And so with that the match officially started with Marx stalking a prone and hurt champion in Griff Garrison.

Shane Marx pinned Griff Garrison in 19:17 to become the new Anarchy Heavyweight Champion

Shane Marx went for the cover right away, but Garrison managed to barely kick out. But it was obvious – the combined effect of the various machinations of the Undeniable plan had Garrison down 28-3. (Sorry, Atlanta. I live in Florida now.) Garrision attempted the first of many comebacks, but his ineffectual kicks and rather weak punches were appropriately barely acknowledged by Marx as he clubbed away with a primitive but effective offense. It was one of my few nits to pick – Garrison’s punches were pretty awful. But his forearms were very good, and his kicks when enthusiastically applied were good as well. Marx, however, a former wrestler of the year is a perennial great wrestler. And he was great here.

Marx with a neckbreaker that the person I was watching the match with STILL won’t shut up about. Brutal. On commentary they noted that Garrison likely has a concussion, keeping up with their stellar storytelling and putting more and more chips on the table. Marcus especially kept up a realistic energy, and assured the listeners and watchers that Garrison would never quit, never be beaten. As the match wore on this took on the feel of whistling in the dark, which was the proper tone set in the match by Marx and Garrison.

Marx with a knee drop and cover. Garrison doesn’t die and continues to struggle. Marcus with the call of the night as he notes that the empty arena helps Marx, “The lack of fans, their cheers, it’s hurting Griff. He counts on the cheers to push him through and he doesn’t have it.” Shane Marx with a dropkick and celebration. Marcus takes the live mic in house and taunts and distracts Marx. Griff with a series of forearms that finally seem to hurt Marx. A reverse elbow by Marx stops that, but it’s clear that Marx is now hurt and possibly vulnerable for the first time since he brilliantly looked terrified at the hot dog machine that almost ended all of this before it really began. Griff with a series of leaping punches and forearms. Shane Marx with a quick, swift kick to the knee that drops Garrison. 

At the 11-minute mark, Marx and Garrison are fighting at the top rope. A desperate Garrison is flailing away which came across as appropriately desperate. The story was clear. This is where the line had to be drawn or Griff would fall for good. Griff manages a superplex and both men are laid prone. Griff has the pepper and clotheslines and bumps Marx all over the place at last, and a weight is lifted. Two Stinger splashes in opposite corners and Marx is rocking. A great spinebuster and Marx is DOWN. Marcus decides to go for that spear. Marx with an uranage as a counter that was tremendous. Griff continued to fight back, a series of effective strikes cut off by a Marx jumping knee and a Falcon Arrow from Marx. Marx now going for the win – an attempted elevated DDT countered, a Marx kick leading to Griff’s spear! Marx barely escapes the three count. Now they are going for broke, and Griff improbably and surprisingly gets Marx in a calf-crushing leglock! 

The energy picks WAY up as everyone around is going crazy. Marx is near the ropes, but isn’t going to reach them. Undeniable leaps into action. Hankins is intercepted by the referee. Blaze pulls Marx to the ropes. A bloody, beleaguered, bandaged Behrens (say that 10 times fast) wallops Blaze with a…tennis racquet (ugh, 100 times ugh. My only other knock on this. Fucking tennis racquet.) Blaze is DOWN. Hankins doesn’t have the ref any longer. Bill is slapping the mat and willing Griff to victory! Griff picks up Marx for the move that led to him being champion! Marx is helpless! Then…Behrens begins to collapse…the blood loss…the strain…the activity…a heart attack? It’s unclear. But it’s clear that Bill Behrens is in trouble and Griff sees him collapse and drops Marx while pleading for Bill to be okay. Marx rolls him up, gets a grip on the tights and….

Marx wins. He wins.

Bedlam. Master and Machine tend to their fallen, noble father figure. Marx and Hankins celebrate. And Billy Buck…well, Billy Buck slides into the ring, Buckshots Marx, and Hankins cowers in the corner and Buck staring him down as we go to black.

Notes: The event has over 500 views as of this writing. Rumor has it that AJ Styles called and talked to Griff and Marx, really cool.