Time for another dip into random indies, and a match out of the St. Louis area from this past weekend…

The Spirit of Spaulding is St Louis Anarchy’s G1-style tournament – and if you’re wondering “isn’t it a bit risky to be running a lengthy round robin tournament in the current circumstances?” Well… you’re not alone. Anyways, this was the main event of the first night of block A matches, coming from Spaulding Hall…

Quick Result
Thomas Shire pinned Fred Yehi in 23:16 (****)

Block A: Thomas Shire vs. Fred Yehi
Yehi’s coming off of an epic iron man match with Jeremy Wyatt about six weeks earlier – a match that I still need to get around to watching – and Shire’s one of those names that’s slowly bubbling up on the indies. The last time we saw him was in a loss to Daniel Makabe at the Strong Style Series in the before times…

Shire absolutely towers over Yehi, but they start with a lock-up as they end up trading places in the ropes. Yehi cheapshots Shire, who strikes back… but chops take the big back backwards before he dumped Yehi to the mat with a slam. A brief pause leads to a knuckle lock that saw Shire power Yehi down with, but Yehi manages to slip out as he took Shire to the mat and into a stretch, rolling Shire into a pinning attempt. Another waistlock sees Shire escape, but they’re right by the ropes… so Shire takes it back to the middle as he ends up eating some more chops. Yehi grounds him again, using a side headlock… before the resulting push-off led to Shire just bouncing the former EVOLVE tag champion to the mat with a shoulder tackle.

A drop toe hold keeps Yehi there, but he escapes out, having tied up Shire’s legs in a deathlock… which ends with Yehi kicking Shire away after a break had been called for. From the stand-up, Shire picks the leg and drills Yehi’s knee into the mat, before busting out some bodyscissors to keep things on the deck. Yehi tries to tweak the ankle to get free, so Shire rolls him down for a pinning attempt, only for Yehi to get free as it’s back to the chops. Shire decks Yehi with an European uppercut, before an uppercut to the back of the knee set up for another submission attempt, this time in the form of a Trailer Hitch. After a rope break, Yehi pulls himself up and begins to kick away at Shire, before a leg sweep led us to the Garvin-ish stomps. Some bodyscissors from Yehi give Shire something to fight out of, which he does as a spinning toe hold was quickly kicked out of by Yehi.

Shire returns to the strikes, blistering Yehi with an uppercut… but he’s quickly taken down as a low dropkick from Yehi made sure that no momentum was built. Uppercuts from Shire just turn into a German suplex from Yehi, who rolls Shire towards the ropes for some more stomps, sending him to the apron… giving Shire time to recover as he returned in with a low dropkick and some stomps of his own. Another slam bounces Yehi as Shire went up to the middle rope for a knee drop, before he trapped Yehi in the corner with more chops. Yehi returns the favour, before he launched himself off the ropes with sit-out stomps that sent Shire to the outside… and in the blink of an eye, the match turned on its head. Yehi teases grabbing a chair, but ends up taking things back inside for more chops, before some scrambling led to Shire uncorking some more European uppercuts.

An uppercut to the bank sends Yehi sailing outside, as another one connects off the apron, which led to a double count-out tease, but they make it back in… with Shire finding a second wind as he sprints into another uppercut, before a double underhook suplex threatened to build momentum. Yehi comes back with more stomps and a knee strike, following up with a Flatliner and a Koji Clutch that looked to force a submission. Shire’s height means he’s able to scoot towards the ropes for a break, but Yehi tries to stay on top of him. It doesn’t work as Shire’s back with a clothesline and a German suplex, before he responded to a small package by just blasting Yehi with a leaping knee. He follows Yehi into the corner for some shots as the two looked spent, but instead Yehi opted to restart things in the middle of the ring as we entered the final ten minutes of the time limit.

They tee off on each other with elbows, with Shire busting out a chokeslam… but he stalls and gets caught in a Koji clutch briefly as both men looked to finish things. A roll-up from Yehi comes to nought, as Shire comes back with a barrage of lariats… but Yehi wants more. That suckers  hire in for a brief airplane spin, but another lariat is the result. More strikes keep the pair at close quarters, before a leg sweep and a short-range knee strike inched Yehi ahead, before a brainbuster almost ended things.

Yehi goes in with a choke on Shire, before he gets shoved off into the ropes… Shire rebounds with a sleeper suplex before a spin-out torture rack looked to get Shire the win… which came seconds later as he sat down on Yehi’s leg pick attempt to score the three-count. Shire closes out the first night of the Spirit of Spaulding with a big win – in match that almost felt like it was entering “epic for the sake of an epic” territory. Regardless, this was a cracking match with a little bit of everything – strikes, submissions and brawling – which could well be a difference maker by the end of the tournament. Keep an eye on Shire, but this match just reinforced a long-held belief I’ve had: promotions across the land are increasingly missing out by turning a blind eye to Fred Yehi. ****