Jim Cornette had high praise for one match in particular from NXT TakeOver: Stand And Deliver, the NXT United Kingdom Title match between WALTER and Tomasso Ciampa.
Speaking on a recent episode of his Jim Cornette Experience podcast, the legendary manager shared his views on the match. Cornette was surprised it was not the Night One main event.
Jim Cornette stated:
“This is the match I wanted to see but it’s halfway through the programme, I’m thinking ‘this is not the main event?!’ For the NXT UK Championship, WALTER vs. Tomasso Ciampa. Let me just spend a little time on this for all the people who say I don’t like anything – and then, of course, nobody will pay attention to this anyway. But once again, it’s not hard to see what professional wrestling is supposed to look like when there’s actually once in a while [people] still doing it. And these guys did it.”
“This is the best professional wrestling match I’ve seen from any company in months and months and months. Honestly, going back to WALTER and Ilja [Dragunov], which was memorable also but a completely different style of match. That was more strong style, this was more guys working, and working snug.”
“Both these guys have great entrances, they have a presence, they look like stars. Ciampa’s gear looks good; WALTER’s lack of gear really looks good because he looks like that f***ing square-jawed SS officer in a Nazi war movie. They walk like they’re serious. And Ciampa is incredible shape. We’ve talked about some of the injuries he’s had in his career; major neck surgery, major knee surgeries. If Tomasso Ciampa was a serial killer we’d all be in trouble because the determination that he has is f***ing frightening. To come back from injuries, keep himself in shape, do what he wants to do, whatever. You could have sold his look in any era and the same with WALTER.”
Cornette then discussed how this match could have been a classic at any time, in any place:
“[…] You could have put either one of these guys on Starrcade ’86 and they could have had this match in front of a Crockett crowd in that time period and it would have still torn the house down. When I went back and watched this again after it was done I watched the match again. Imagine them being in Florida in 1978 or the Omni in 1986 and having this match, it would have still gotten over. And you can’t say that about almost any other match. If you took most modern matches and you put them in front of those crowds, in those environments, in those time periods. They would have booed the f***ing thing out of the building.”
Jim Cornette then discussed the match itself, noting that to him everything both competitors did made complete sense:
“I love the in-ring title introductions that they do, it makes it look like a big deal. I’m not sure about the female announcer, I’m not hearing Howard Finkle or Bruce Buffer. I’m not hearing some stentorian, authoritarian voice. From the time they got started with this, it just felt different. When Tomasso was ducking and evading the bigger guy. I was kinda wincing along with it like ‘oh sh*t, he almost got him.’ The first big chop from WALTER, he sold it like a gunshot and it f***ing popped. They actually did an intelligent, different desk spot. Instead of just throwing one another through the desk, they put WALTER’s chop over by having him chop a f***ing hole in the Goddamn top of the desk.”
“They had a great fight. There was a heel and a babyface. Everything was logical, it was a struggle. They never lost sight of a contest. It was obviously two serious men. If you were a guy you’d think ‘well I don’t necessarily know I wanna f**k with these guys’ and if you were a woman you’re thinking ‘hmm grown men.'”
“They were making contact and they were working stiff but it wasn’t reckless or unprofessional at any point in time. Neither guy did anything that they wouldn’t do if they’re really who they’re supposed to be just because it would be a cool thing to do. Tomasso Ciampa didn’t suddenly go ‘hey I can moonsault off the top rope out onto the floor and this guy’s big enough to catch me’ because Tomasso Ciampa wouldn’t do a f***ing moonsault.”
Cornette did find one mistake during the match but says that both combatants dealt with is so well, it was almost imperceptible:
“They went back and forth in a believable way where you felt that the momentum was changing in a struggle. Instead of guys just trading the opportunity to do moves. It was well thought out, excellently executed. […] Tomasso had great facials. WALTER what a worker, what a beast he is with those hands. There was one point they made a mistake. I will just say this, Tomasso forgot something briefly and WALTER went with that. And Tomasso went with WALTER going with that and it was worked through so masterfully that I won’t even say what it was because nobody else noticed it. That was the only f***ing thing I could find wrong with this thing.”
“When Tomasso gave WALTER his finish, it was off the top rope which is obviously a big deal but they both f***ing sold it like grim death. It wasn’t just doing stupid moves off the top rope. Boom, they caught one, and boom, they sold it. Then there was the spot where Tomasso bridged with WALTER on top of him which was amazing. WALTER then stomped the bad neck. Two powerbombs gets a two count. But then the big overhead suplex on Tomasso’s head and hits him with that big chop, one-two-three.”
Jim Cornette then reserved special praise for WALTER saying he’s one of the best ever:
“I think WALTER for his gimmick is one of the best in-ring workers I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t do anything that he shouldn’t f***ing do. Everything looks good and he’s got the way of laying hands on people that makes it violent instead of working without being dangerous. Anyway, I thought this was a masterpiece.”
If you use any quotes from this article please h/t and then link back to Inside The Ropes.