Saturday, September 23, 2023

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Isla Dawn vs. Ivelisse at AWE ROAR

Free Match Friday is a weekly feature from Diva Dirt. Every Friday, we’ll spotlight a great indie match available to watch for free online. Some of the best wrestling in the world is happening in high school gyms and sports bars and even, occasionally, in an appropriate venue for a wrestling match. This week, our free match is a no disqualifications match between Isla Dawn and Ivelisse at Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment.

This weeks’ match is a true piece of buried treasure in the wide world of independent women’s wrestling. Isla Dawn vs Ivelisse at Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (now Combat Entertainment) on August 28th, 2017. According to Cagematch, this match never happened: they erroneously list Dawn’s opponent as Kiera Hogan, who appeared earlier in the evening’s card. But it did happen, there’s a video of it right there (also, Combat confirmed so separately), and thank God, because it’s a hell of a match. Eighteen minutes of just the finest wrestling you ever did see, in front of a very game crowd.

Ivelisse is on terrific form, of course, which only amplifies the tragedy of the contract shenanigans she and others have alleged from Lucha Underground. It’s pretty low on the totem pole of reasons why such shenanigans are bad – denying Ivelisse the ability to work obviously being numero uno – but knowing she could be turning in matches like this on a regular basis and just can’t is lame as all hell.

This isn’t to sleep on Isla Dawn, however, who gives the best in-ring performance I’ve ever seen from her in this match. Her strikes have never looked so precise or powerful, and it suggests her underwhelming run on NXT UK is far more of a booking problem than a talent problem. Indie promotions across the world have booked Dawn to match her skill in the ring, but WWE somehow made her title opportunity against Rhea Ripley by far the worst of Ripley’s truncated reign. Hopefully Dawn will get the opportunity soon to shine on NXT UK, and we’ll all get to witness a bout as inspired as this. Until then, this will do nicely.

Check back in with Diva Dirt next week for another great free match from the world of independent women’s wrestling.

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