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    Sunday, December 20, 2015

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/20/15): The Drew Galloway/Grado Series

    The 31 Days of Wrestling continues as we go into the last 10 days of the year, and we cap off the third week with something a little lighthearted, but representative of the state of British, if not indy wrestling today.

    #20: Grado vs. Drew Galloway for the Insane Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship, April 11, 2015 / the rematch at Fear and Loathing VIII

    We'll be honest with you—this isn't the real Galloway/Grado match we wanted to put up here today. But it's the only full one we've got (which is fair, considering the actual one was at a big event and we don't have a copy of it online) and it's pretty awesome as well.

    First, a quick backgrounder. Drew Galloway, for WWE fans who don't venture out of Vinny Mac's and Triple H's shadows, is the former Drew McIntyre, and he's been doing pretty well for himself since leaving the WWE last year. Since then, he's become the EVOLVE World Champion, the DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion before the company folded, the Australian Outback Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, as well as playing around in the TNA main event scene as well. If he hadn't lived up to his Chosen One gimmick in the WWE, he sure is making the most of his potential outside it.

    Meanwhile, for those unfamiliar with him, Grado is... something that isn't for everyone. He's primarily a comedy character whose schtick is a happy-go-lucky wrestler who seems like he's really happy to be able to wrestle, his comedy a self-deprecating bit focusing on his bulbous look. Not everyone gets him because people would much rather see a super-serious badass wrestler than an out-of-shape guy who prefers to play up his out-of-shapeness, but let us tell you one thing—despite what he looks like and how he moves, Grado can go. There is talent and natural charisma hiding underneath that pudgy frame, and it's probably fair to say that 2015 was his breakthrough year, even making it to a match for the TNA X Division Championship. A lot of fans who don't have a full grasp of what it really takes to be a pro wrestler won't see what he's got, but we think that'll change soon.

    This particular match, their April 2015 title match, isn't actually that much to behold. It's a standard indy wrestling match, nothing special, just that it's between two of the most over British wrestlers in the indies right now. (Grado is over, trust us.) There is an interesting crop of young talent from the UK right now, and these two represent two different ends of the spectrum.

    Grado is an ascending millennial-generation Colt Cabana, while Drew Galloway is a castaway that is finally coming into his own. They're not the best—they're no Zack Sabre, Jr. or Finn Balor or Neville—but they represent the underrated depth of talent that's coming from across the pond. TNA has already recognized the potential of both men in their company, in varying degrees. We can see and understand why Grado isn't some people's cup of tea, but we don't doubt that he'll get even better as he goes along. And at the very least, WWE must be regretting that they stuck with Sheamus instead of Drew.

    For the record, Grado didn't win this match, but he ended up getting the well-deserved win half a year later anyway:

    We just wish we could find it.


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2015.

    Read our previous entries:

    #1: Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania
    #2: Kazuchika Okada faces Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9
    #3: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect
    #4: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences
    #5: The Rise of Kevin Owens
    #6: Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma, All Night Long
    #7: Jake de Leon vs. Bombay Suarez for the PWR Championship, Wrevolution X
    #8: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Impact Wrestling
    #9: Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal in the Battle of the Belts, Best in the World
    #10: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 9
    #11 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title at Royal Rumble
    #12: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, NXT TakeOver: Rival
    #13: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, The New Beginning in Sendai
    #14: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena, Champion vs. Champion, SummerSlam
    #15: Vampiro vs. Pentagon, Jr., Cero Miedo
    #16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, G1 Climax 25 Finals
    #17: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, Beast in the East
    #18: Peter Versoza vs. Ralph Imabayashi Quarterfinal Match for the PHX Championship, PWR Live
    #19: John Cena vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship, RAW July 6, 2015
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/20/15): The Drew Galloway/Grado Series Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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