This was the finals of the 2017 16 Carat Gold Tournament.
While this match told the story of Ilja surviving a massive beating, overcoming the odds, and slaying the giant in epic fashion to win the 16 Carat, the big take-home message of this match was that Walter REALLY needs to be exposed to more and more audiences. This is a big fucking boy who really can fucking go.
The way he dominated Ilja was truly impressive. It was not just the mauling that you would expect. He managed to combine several different elements of a great beatdown. He was always a step ahead of Ilja. He was moving with a pace of a much smaller man. He treated every moment like it was crucial to his success. It was beautiful.
It was the kind of performance that makes you immediately question how badly the rest of the wrestling business is fucking up if they are not actively seeking him out. This is the kind of guy who clearly needs just the right break to truly unleash whatever his full potential is as a performer.
Could he be a major gaijin star in Japan? Could he be the ROH World Champion? Could he a PPV main-eventer in WWE? I have no fucking idea, but I would really like to find out. Ilja managed to win after hitting the dreaded leaping headbutt again. (****1/4)