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More than any other wrestler so far I had to work extra hard to not just grab the ten most recent matches on cagematch because honestly? Arik Royal is having the best run of his career right now. Everytime he steps in the ring he puts on an amazing match. But you know I like to look at a wrestler's entire career. Royal has over 400 matches listed on cagematch, making him on of the most experienced wrestlers we've looked at. Royal has truly become associated with Action Wrestling as of late, and as such we'll be looking at a lot of his work there. From big feuds with Matt Sells to pure dream matches with the likes of Suge D, we have some great matches to discuss, but first, some background.

arik royal 2

Arik Royal has been wrestling longer than I've been watching wrestling, having debuted back in 2008. For many years Carolina Wrestling Federation Mid-Atlantic was home for him. From 2008 to 2019 Royal wrestled over 300 matches for CWF, and you don't spend 11 years wrestling in a company without enjoying it. Even as he began wrestling other places CWF was always his biggest company every year. As tends to happen when you wrestle somewhere for 11 years, Arik Royal became a triple threat champion. He won the Heavyweight Title three times, the Tag Title three times, and the Television Title twice. While his tag runs and TV runs are certainly nothing to sneeze at, his time as Heavyweight Champion would prove to be the best. He would fight regional stars like Zane Dawson and Cam Carter in amazing matches, and defend against wrestlers like Trevor Lee(now Cameron Grimes) and Cedric Alexander. Also while in CWF Royal not only became the only two time Johnny Weaver Memorial Tournament winner, he beat his own record winning it a third time. I don't think it's a stretch to call him the all time greatest of CWF Mid-Atlantic, and so I had to include a match from there. While I love his Action work, and it is very well represented here, I encourage you to check out more from CWF Mid-Atlantic. 

Arik is a good dude!

Arik is a good dude!

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that Arik Royal won the 2018 Sadie Hawkins Invitational for NOVA Pro with Faye Jackson. I mean they won a fatal four way to win including beating the AristoKats of Allie Kat and MJF! That's awesome! Most recently, Arik Royal won the Action Wrestling Championship, but we'll talk plenty more about that as time goes on. Arik Royal is a seasoned veteran, and the fact that he's getting national attention is so deserved. He's one of the best on the independent scene, and over a decade in I feel he's just now maybe peaking. I say maybe because next year he could top all the matches on this list. Royal is absolutely great, and without any further ado, ten matches of Arik Royal. 


#10: The Clusterduck

I've talked about this match before on my review of the show, but Arik Royal plays the foil so well in this match. This took place at the Ducks Fly Together Benefit Show for Lance Lude. For those who don't know, Lance is part of the Ugly Ducklings tag teams, and has unfortunately been diagnosed with cancer. This show was a benefit to raise money for his treatment, and this match took place with permission from Janela for the name. Coach Mikey, part of the Ducklings, entered third, and from there became the clear winner. When Arik Royal entered however, he had a serious challenge. Royal was impressive throughout the match, but as the wrestlers in the ring dwindled down, it became more and more clear what was coming: Mikey vs Royal. The road to get there was great, but I want to focus on that final stretch. Mikey tells Royal in the ring he needs it, and Royal tells him to show him he needs it. Royal isn't going to just hand Mikey the win, but he knows how much it means to him. These two face off in what could have easily been a great singles match, until Royal finally goes out of the ring. The Duckling rush the ring hugging Mikey, and it's easily one of the best moments of the night. 

friday night fights

#9: Arik Royal vs Hoodfoot

 This match was fantastic. Two absolute hard hitting Hosses going at it. Hoodfoot is one of the biggest strikers in wrestling today, as his incredible Paradigm UWFi Rules record shows. Seeing these two match up you just knew it would be a good fight. Hoodfoot is almost impossible for Arik Royal to keep down. He's a big guy, and incredibly strong. It takes about six attempts for Royal to finally lift Hoodfoot high enough to powerbomb him, and even then Hoodfoot gets right back up. Hoodfoot stays in control a lot of the match, and it's so important because this is Royal's arena. Royal has the home field advantage so to speak, and he's not going to let Hoodfoot forget that. Hoodfoot's chops are going to legendary in a couple of years, and if you've never heard one in person, it's a cannon going off. The main story of the match though, is Royal trying to just get Hoodfoot off his feet, but he can't. Hoodfoot stays up on his feet most of the match, and when he's actually flat on his back it's shocking. It's an incredibly simple story but executed so well. 

#8: Arik Royal vs AJ Daniels

  This was a great find. These two were competing for a new title, and they brought the kind of energy that a new championship needs. I hadn't seen AJ Daniels before, but he absolutely rocks. The crowd is loving the match and Royal shows that he can't be stopped. We get the very cocky side of Royal as well in this match. At one point Daniels leaps over the ropes almost takes out the entire stage itself. Royal really puts in some great work here, hitting a backbreaker that made me shudder. It's a fantastic performance from two very talented wrestlers. Royal gets the win and the championship, and it's hard to say he didn't deserve it after such a great match.

boogie nights

#7: Arik Royal vs Dominic Garrini

 No Violence is Forever on this list, just a rematch four years in the making. Royal beat Garrini in the first round of the 2017 Scenic City Invitational, and this is their first singles match since then. Royal is much more grounded in this match than we're used to seeing, but he is able to keep up with Garrini in that situation. It's a great change of pace from a lot of the Royal matches we've been looking at in this list, and Garrini really gets to show how strong he is. At one point he is able to lift Royal off the ground using his legs before going for a triangle hold. These two don't hold back, just as you'd expect from two of the best on the indie scene right now. Giving Royal this chance to show his grappling ability against someone known for his mat work was incredibly smart, and Royal twists Garrini into some really painful looking moves. Late in the match, Garrini hits some big offense, including a muscle buster, and for a couple minutes I genuinely thought Garrini had it. He hits an elbow so brutal I'm shocked Royal was even standing. It's a great faceoff between two of the best in the game. 

arik royal vs ac mack

#6:Arik Royal vs AC Mack

  The biggest match in Action wrestling history as this was the main event of the first show to stream live on IWTV. This No DQ match is massive, as AC Mack has very slowly become the face of Action Wrestling by simply being a great wrestler, but Arik Royal wants that title, both the championship and the accolade, for himself. There are many, many ways that No DQ can be used, and this match takes advantage of the stipulation in ways we don't always see. At one point, Mack goes for the rope break, but the ropes offer him no protection. He's left to either reverse the submission or get all the way to the floor to break the hold with leverage. This is an intense match that knows the stakes and knows what fans want. These two are willing to do anything to win, and that keeps the audience invested. Once the turnbuckle gets removed the match begins to focus on that corner. Both wrestler try to take advantage of the exposed steel, and Mack does a really cool roll out of the way to the side of the steel in one of the best reversals to that spot I've seen. Contrary to popular belief, despite how much deathmatch wrestling I watch, there are some bumps I still don't like seeing, and Royal getting shoulder tackled off the stage, against the ropes then smacking the floor was not pretty at all. Graham Bell gets involved towards the end, and the entire story right now involving AC Mack, Graham Bell, Alan Angels, Arik Royal, Matt Sells and Jaden Newman is just bonkers. Crazy ending to a crazy match, but damn is it a good match.

royal vs sells

#5: Arik Royal vs Matt Sells 1

 Easily Royal's most famous feud at this point, these two have such great chemistry in the ring. I love when indie matches channel the old territory days, and this match does that beautifully as it is a $2,500 vs hair match. If Sells lost he'd get his head shaved, but winning netted him $2,500. Sells really dominated in the early part of the match, using his legs to slam Royal face first into the mat repeatedly, and then hitting a diving attack to the outside. This actually cost Sells as this injured his hand, and Royal was able to begin taking control. The whole crowd wants to see Sells win, and Royal just wants to get the clippers to Sells's head. As I mentioned, this is a very old school match with old school stipulations, and the commentators even reference that, comparing this to when Lawler got his head shaved back in the day. When Sells get the win here the crowd goes wild, and it's just a truly great match, but not the pair's best.

arik royal vs sells 2

#4: Arik Royal vs Matt Sells 2

Let's run it back, 13 months later. That first match saw Matt Sells end a year long losing streak in Action, and it turned everything around. Since then both wrestlers are very different men. Sells had a much better 2020 than he did 2019, and even had a show named after him(two if you count this one). Meanwhile, Royal became champion in very controversial fashion after his match with AC Mack. This is Royal's first title defense, and as such, the entire tone of the match is different. Sells is looking, not to defend his hair, but to win the title, and he is somehow even more aggressive than the first time. Sells hits Royal face first into the mat even longer than he did the first match, and seems even more ferocious. Royal gets thrown off balance by this attack, but when he ends up agitating an old injury to Sells's knee, the match becomes a war of attrition. Despite being much shorter than their first encounter, this match ranks higher on the list for this elevated aggression. You don't want to see this match go twenty minutes, because both men wouldn't have a career anymore. Another eight minutes and these two would have killed each other. The amount of hatred and energy in the ring is palpable, and that matters so much more than how long a match is. Late in the match we get an example of pure storytelling as Royal begins to throw Sells around the ring by his hair: hair that he wouldn't have had he lost to Royal in the first match. Royal wins by shenanigans, but still you know more good matches are on the way.

#3:Arik Royal vs Fred Yehi

 I mean do I have to explain why this match is good? It's Fred Yehi. It's Arik Royal. Of course it's good. Throughout this match you'll see the commentary referring to Royal putting out a $2,500 bounty on Yehi, and man that $2,500 really just surrounds Royal doesn't it? The bounty here, the bounty on Mack(that Alan Angels placed, but we thought it was Royal), the $2,500 vs hair match with Sells. Yehi faces impossible odds in this match, and the entire crowd is behind him. Royal plays heel so well, and while he's the heel in many matches on this list, this crowd has more kids and man nothing is more authentic than little kids booing the heel. It's an atmosphere we just don't see a lot anymore, especially in the shows I usually watch which are either A: in a bar, B: deathmatch, or C: Deathmatch in a bar. Now, while the show is definitely family friendly, this match is brutal. These two beet the absolute hell out of each other. These two spend over twenty minutes just battling through the bleachers, through the halls, all over the arena. At one point they both go through a table and spend minutes down. The ref rules we have to have a winner as Yehi finally rolls over and covers Royal. Royal somehow kicks out, and the circle that had formed around them was shocked. Yehi then rips the metal frame off the table and several frightened children back away slowly. The law few minutes incredibly tense until Yehi locks in the Koji Clutch while beating Royal in the head with pliers. Just wow, what a match. 

#2: Arik Royal vs Cedric Alexander

I told you I'd include a CWF Heavyweight Championship match, and I figured we'd go with a big one. Cedric Alexander is a phenomenal wrestler as we all know, and this match is one of the best of his I've seen. This was all the way back in 2013, so the two men were on a fairly even playing field as far as fame. Royal shows off his mat game quite a bit in this match, really targeting Alexander's arm. Alexander is able to lift royal in this match, but actually sells the pain of suplexing someone so much larger than yourself. We've seen in a lot of matches on this list good storytelling and pacing, and this match is a fantastic example of it. Alexander really looks like he might win a few times in this match, but Royal is resilient. I wanted to make sure I included a match of this vintage to show the very building blocks of Arik Royal. Show how he is still ultimately the same wrestler at his core, but that he has simply evolved. He has grown and gotten better, but that spark was always there. Alexander takes Royal to the limit in this match, and the match runs a solid twenty minutes before Royal finally retains the belt. Arik hits a gorgeous European uppercut knocking Alexander out of the air that I thought would end it, and that's the kind of intensity you get in this match. You absolutely have to watch this match, it's number two for a reason.

arik royal vs suge d

#1: Arik Royal vs Suge D

  I didn't have to watch this match to know it would be on this list, but after watching it I knew it had to be number one. Suge D aka Pineapple Pete aka Sugar Dunkerton, taking on the AceGawd Arik Royal in Action Wrestling, it just had to be great. Suge D is on his A game here, and the match is paced just so well. There is a lot of slow, intentional holds and moves in the match that show that old school wrestling never died, it just evolved. There is not a single moment in this match that doesn't add to the story and build it into something bigger. Suge D is one of the best wrestlers there is, and watching his submission holds is like nothing else. Royal is a great heel throughout the match, breaking the count well so he can spend more time outside the ring, dominating for stretches of the match to build tension. Suge D finally regains controls by literally striking the inside of the knee, and that's the kind of brutality we get in this match. The biggest reason I made this match number one though, is that Royal wins clean. He decimates the knee, and gets the pin. No interference, no bounty, Royal beat Suge D, and it was earned.  

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