The story behind Ace Austin vs. Jordan Oliver's first ever singles match, told by Synergy reporter Lizzy Flanagan.
The Match: Ace Austin vs. Jordan Oliver
The Event: Synergy's 3rd Birthday (#Synergy3), September 2020
Ace Austin, at only 23 years old, has already begun to make his mark on the wrestling world. He is a former IMPACT X-Division champion who walks with an unmistakable air of star power about him. Jordan Oliver, on the other hand, has a great charm in the fact that he’s a lot like anyone else. He has a zany, boisterous attitude that makes you want to root for him (at least, it makes Synergy fans want to root for him). The dynamic between them lends itself perfectly to their match; Austin comes in as the clear favorite, and he knows it. Oliver, though, isn’t even remotely dissuaded by what is undoubtedly his greatest challenge in Synergy to date.
The match starts pretty slow, as Austin takes a moment to get out of the ring and re-tie his trunks. Oliver then chimes in with some childish teasing: “Now get out of the building!”
The ace isn’t amused, to say the least. The two then lock up and start grappling in an unexpected display of technical wrestling. I say unexpected because technical strategies are unusual for Oliver, whose strong suit is his high-flying. Oliver definitely does incorporate his personality into his technical wrestling though; he escapes a wrist lock by rolling four times, and then stands up, feeling clever. Austin’s clearly getting annoyed. The ace’s next move is to yank Oliver to the mat by his hair and go for a cover.
Commentary remarks: “Perhaps a bit of that frustration, maybe he took Jordan Oliver a little too lightly in the beginning of this match up.”
Austin’s now trying to shut Oliver down with brute force. He shoves Oliver to the ground, but the younger competitor quickly kips up. Austin takes a moment, and then offers Oliver a handshake in what is seemingly a show of respect. As soon as the offer is accepted, Austin delivers a sharp kick to Oliver’s thigh.
This is a very telling moment. Despite only being about two years older, Austin carries himself with much more maturity, and is already much better at putting up facades. Oliver, on the other hand, seems to be incredibly genuine and innately trusting, at least in this instance. It’s an interesting dynamic to see play out.
The action is then taken out of the ring, where the unorthodox style of Jordan Oliver has the advantage. Oliver quickly gains the upper hand, and sits Austin in a folding chair before taking a lap around the ring to deliver a dropkick to Austin’s gut.
Then the pair move to beside the ring and have, what I think, is the best exchange of the match. Oliver’s on the ground, and Austin gets up on the apron. They catch and counter each other’s strikes, until Austin traps Oliver’s head between his feet, and stomps onto the side of the apron, face planting Oliver and sending him sprawling to the floor. This exchange is a perfect microcosm of the match’s overall story; Austin starts with the upper hand, gets caught up in Oliver’s unorthodox, zany style of wrestling, but soon regains control and shuts it down.
As Oliver lays on the ground, trying to recollect himself, Austin grows impatient; he rolls Oliver into the ring and stomps him in the gut.
Austin is firmly in control, now that they’re back inside the ring. He traps Oliver in a fujiwara arm bar, pulls the ace card from his sleeve, and slices a paper cut between Oliver’s fingers.
The ace keeps up his momentum; he moves like a machine that has every possible counter programmed into it; he dodges Jordan’s clothesline and moonsault like he predicted Oliver would throw them weeks ago. Oliver seems to realize this, too. Luckily, though, much of his strength lies in the fact that he can be incredibly unpredictable. He attempts to win by surprise roll up, and gets three two-counts in a row. Though it’s not enough to close out the match, Oliver starts to get some momentum back on his side.
The two start exchanging blows and running the ropes. Oliver then hoists Austin up for a big backdrop, but as Austin hits the canvas, Oliver collapses from exhaustion. It seems he’s hitting a wall.
Austin quickly seizes the opportunity, and takes the momentum back. He hurls Oliver into the corner, and shoulders him in the gut repeatedly before delivering a sharp, echoing chop to Oliver’s chest.
The blow awakens something in Jordan; he runs out of the corner, turns back to drop kick Austin, and lays him out. He then grabs Austin by the hair and screeches with as much determination as there is desperation in his voice :
“I’m gonna beat you, Ace! I’m gonna beat you!!!”
The two then climb to the tops of a corner turnbuckle. Austin holds Oliver in a double wristlock, and the audience starts holding their breath as it becomes clear that the only thing stopping the pair from falling is the fact that they’re fighting for top grip on each other’s wrists. Both give up at the same time, and simultaneously go for a headbutt; their skulls collide, and both collapse to the apron and then the floor.
Both slowly drag themselves back to the ring, and lay in opposite corners. Suddenly, Jordan pops to his feet with a wild kip up and gives a loud battle cry. Austin quickly follows suit, and they meet in the center of the ring.
Oliver and Austin then have a slap fight that has about as much technique as a scrap between two stray cats. The audience, understandably, gets a chuckle out of it, but the spot is pretty meaningful; Austin, who came into the match incredibly dignified and certain of a quick victory, has now resorted to desperate, haphazard slaps to Oliver’s face and midsection.
After missing a push kick, Oliver drags Austin out of the ring by his foot and runs to climb the turnbuckle, trying to seize the opportunity for a high-flying maneuver to finish the match. Austin, though, reads his play, and shuts him down with Blockbuster, squandering Oliver’s momentum. The ref counts to three, and Ace Austin is declared the winner.
Oliver stays on the canvas, exhausted. Austin offers him a handshake once again. Oliver, once again, accepts the offer, only to receive a boot to the chest. Clearly, Austin hasn’t gained any respect for Oliver after the fight he put the ace through.
Austin laughs and shakes his head. He leaves the ring, joking with the audience:
“He really thought. He really thought he was in my league.”
I was really surprised to find out this was the first singles match these two have had with each other. They have incredible chemistry, especially for first-time opponents. In my opinion, this was Synergy’s match of the night; it had great displays of technical wrestling, high-risk maneuvers, and incredibly captivating storytelling. I hope we get to see Jordan Oliver and Ace Austin in a ring together again someday. They’ve got the potential to have one of the best rivalries on the Indie scene.