RADICAN’S REVIEW SERIES: Swerve Strickland vs. Nick Wayne from Defy Wrestling’s “Defy 50” event (2-26-22)

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)

Photo credit: Defy Wrestling


FEB. 26, 2922


The crowd is red hot for Shane Strickland’s return to Defy. This his first match there since he was released by WWE. Nick Wayne was recently signed by AEW. He is currently 16 years old, but the deal doesn’t begin until he turns 18. Strickland taunted Wayne early and put his hands behind his back. Wayne went for a quick combination of kicks and Strickland managed to avoid them all and they came to a stalemate. The fans chanted “Defy” as Stickland looked out into the crowd. Wayne went for a dive and Swerve caught him, but Wayne slid out from behind and shoved him into the ringpost. Swerve fired back a short time later and he tripped Wayne from inside the ring and nailed him with a superkick. He then hit a running stomp to Wayne’s head from the apron and he spilled to the floor.

The fans chanted “Who’s house? Swerve’s house” over and over. A big Nick Wayne chant then broke out. Swerve put Wayne’s mouth around the bottom rope and put pressure on it. Swerve put a beating on Wayne for several minutes and the announcers talked about how he wanted to send a message to Wayne. Wayne fired back and made a spirited comeback. Wayne suddenly caught Strickland with a spanish fly and Strickland kicked out at the last second. The fans applauded as Wayne recovered for a moment after the kickout. Strickland hit some vicious body shots as he worked him over. Wayne went up top, but Strickland nailed him with a chop to the throat. Wayne fired back and sent Swerve to the mat with a big slap to the face. He went for a senton and missed. Swerve lifted him right into a big suplex for a two count and the fans applauded. Strickland sat down and hit Wayne with light slaps and then kicks. Wayne glared at him and Swerve slapped him across the face. Wayne fired back with a huge slap to the face. Swerve sent him to the floor and went for a stomp, but Wayne caught it and tripped him hard into the apron. Wayne then went up top and hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor! Holy s–t!

Wayne followed it up with a rolling code red, but the ref wouldn’t count because Swerve was in the ropes. Swerve fired back and went up top. He set up for the Swerve Stomp, but Wayne rolled to the apron. Swerve adjusted his footing and hit a double stomp off the top to the apron. Swerve rolled him back into the ring and hit the Swerve Stomp, but Wayne kicked out! Strickland sold shock and then took his wristape off. Wayne struggled to get to his feet. The fans fired up and Swerve waited for him in the corner before charging and hitting a running kick to his head. They showed Wayne’s mom, who looked really distressed about the situation. Strickland hit another kick to Wayne’s head. Strickland looked at her and laughed. He sat Wayne up, but he collapsed. Strickland lifted him and hit another kick. The fans chanted “F–k you” at Strickland.

Strickland set up Wayne so he was facing away from him. He then got behind him and talked some trash before nailing him with another kick to the head. He made the cover and Wayne kicked out at the VERY last second. WOW! This is INSANE! Strickland set up to break Nick’s arm and his mom ran down to the ring and begged him to stop. Strickland went up top and jawed with Wayne’s mother. Wayne suddenly popped up and hit Strickland with a frankensteiner off the top and a cutter, but Strickland kicked out!

The fans went insane and chanted “This is awesome.” This time Wayne got in Strickland’s face and held his head and pointed at his mom and hit Strickland with a superkick. The fans chanted “One more time” and he nailed Strickland with another superkick. Wayne held up Strickland by the head and hit another superkick. Wayne went up top and Strickland was on the floor. Strickland popped up and got Wayne on his shoulders, but Wayne countered it and hit a headscissors to the floor. Wayne went up top and hit a senton off the top. Wayne then got an armbar, but Swerve managed to grab Wayne’s face to break free.

Both men began trading kicks. Swerve faked Wayne out and hit a kick to the back of his head. He went to lift Wayne up, but Wayne countered it into a dragoncanrana for a nearfal. Strickland caught Wayne with a big knee moments later. He then hit the JML Driver for the win.

WINNER: Shane Strickland in 23:40. (*****)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was simply an amazing match. It’s hard to believe that Nick Wayne is just 16 years old and is already this good. Swerve Strickland put on an amazing performance as he got the Defy crowd, which favored him big time with him making his first appearance in the promotion since his WWE release, to boo him with his heelish actions by the end of the match.

This match was gritty and intense. Wayne’s mom getting involved down the stretch only escalated things further. Nick Wayne is the real deal and people are going to be talking about him, but watch Shane Strickland and how he tells a story with his facial expressions and striking here. This was vicious at times. When Strickland is on he has a big time charisma about him. Go out of your way to watch this match.)

After the match, Swerve sat over Wayne and shoved the ref away. He then backed off and sat in the corner. He got on the mic and said the demise of Swerve had been bothering him. He said the Who’s House? Swerve’s house was for anyone that needed an opportunity. He said he got in the ring with anyone that needed exposure and became stars after facing him. Swerve said he left and what the f–k happened. He asked where Arty Spence was after he had lost the Defy Championship to him. Swerve said he’s learned in the past three years that it’s not about giving, but it’s about taking. He said he was back in Defy and he’s not giving anyone opportunities anymore. He said this is Swerve’s throne.

Strickland went up to Wayne and said there are tons of promoters that will book him and get him his reps. Strickland said he would get better, but every time he comes back to Defy, he will lose. Strickland said Wayne will get back up and his mom will give him a pep talk, but when they wrestle, it will be the same result. He said by the time, Wayne will be the best in the world. Strickland said by the time he’s 18 and shows up on TV, he would be waiting for him.

Jim Valley interviewed Swerve backstage and he said he had been disappointed with the direction of Defy. He said he will pop up whenever he’s needed. He said that spooky season had arrived.

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch

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