Who’s the scariest man in Contra Unit? Is it Jacob Fatu? Mads Krugger? Daivari? For my money, that title goes to Simon Gotch. If you only know Gotch from his time in WWE with Aiden English as the vaudevillians, then I’m sure you still like his work, but question my decision. If you’ve been watching MLW for a while then you’ve seen more of his vicious side, but not enough in my opinion. He’s competed at Bloodsport multiple times and in 2018 fought Timothy Thatcher(go watch it right now). But the reason I believe Simon Gotch is the scariest man in Contra Unit comes down to a company you may never have heard of: Zelo. In Zelo Pro Wrestling Simon Gotch, or Grimm, as he was known then, competed in a feud with Pat Monix that culminated with an I Respect You match. That match is why I’m writing this article today. Having seen that match, and watching where MLW is going, it only makes sense to me that Contra Unit versus Injustice needs to have an I Respect You match.
Most people know the I Respect You match for one kayfabe shattering sentence in the 90’s. At SuperBrawl VI, Brian Pillman was placed in a strap match with “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan where in order to win you had to make your opponent say “I respect you.” The match is essentially just an I Quit match with a different winning phrase, but Pillman made sure everyone would remember the match. At the end, Pillman said “I respect you, bookerman,” calling out the fact that Sullivan was the booker of WCW and breaking kayfabe in a very big way. Despite this moment being famous, for over two decades this would remain the only I Respect You match. Eddie Kingston would face Claudio Castagnoli, now known as Cesaro, in a Respect match, but this was a normal match where the loser would have to say “I respect you” after the match. From everything I could find, it wasn’t until April 2019 when another true I Respect You match would happen with Simon Grimm facing Pat Monix.
This match was the end of a feud lasting an entire year, and as such, it had to live up to the intensity the two of them had brought to the rivalry. As such, it was decided to just saying “I quit,” wouldn’t be enough. This was personal and bitter. They didn’t want the other to quit, they wanted the other’s respect. This match saw brutal chairshots, people being thrown down stairs, and even suffocation by plastic bag. The match came down to Pat Monix laying face down on an open chair with his head through the back of it. Grimm stood above him with a chair held sideways, ready to decapitate him. He swings the chair and just misses Monix’s head as Monix doesn’t even flinch. He passed the test. Grimm shakes his head in disbelief and grabs the mic “I respect you Pat,” he says as the crowd cheers. “But I still don’t F--ing like you,” he adds with a kick to the head; but it didn’t matter, Monix won. This is one of my all time favorite matches because of how it uses the stipulation to tell the story. This match proved that not only can the I Respect You match work, it has its own place alongside the I Quit match.
So that brings me back to Contra. If there is one thing that Contra does not do, it’s respect people. To be fair, they don’t respect anyone in MLW, but at the moment they don’t respect Injustice. Injustice has been struggling a little since losing half their roster in Kotto Brazil and Rich Swann, but it seems that Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed have found a new spotlight in this feud with Contra. Somewhere down the line, I think we can all expect a four versus four war chamber match between Contra and Injustice with probably ACH and maybe Calvin Tankman joining them. While we begin to build to a larger Contra versus Injustice match, however, I think we need at least one more singles match between Gotch and Oliver. Their grudge match was good, but I really think they can do more together, and MLW would be wasting their talent to not give them another match. We’ve already talked about Gotch and his brutality, but could Oliver go in an I Respect You match? On Saturday January 30th, Oliver will fight Tony Deppen in an hourlong ironman match at GCW Fight Forever, and if he can go for an hour straight, I think he can do this too. Oliver is a younger talent who hasn’t had as many chances to prove himself, but the kid has got talent, heart, and most of all, brutality. Oliver was trained in the CZW dojo, and one of his main trainers was Joe Gacy. As someone who watches deathmatch wrestling I can attest that Joe Gacy is a scary man, and I believe that Oliver has to have learned a little bit of how to survive in a no DQ hardcore environment from Gacy.
So both men can do the match and it would probably be pretty great, but why should it be an I Respect You match instead of another stipulation. Sure, Oliver and Gotch could have a Street Fight, I Quit match, Bullrope match, Last Man Standing match, or any other hardcore stipulation, but this match must be an I Respect You match. This feud isn’t about who’s the best in MLW. This feud isn’t about titles. This feud isn’t about just getting revenge. This feud is about the simple fact that Contra, specifically Gotch, does not respect Injustice. They don’t like the fact that Injustice is in the same company as them. They don’t like that Injustice are still standing. Most importantly, they don’t like that Injustice exist. Oliver and Reed don’t just have to prove that they are good wrestlers, but that they are to be feared. Oliver and Reed have to show Contra that they don’t need to like them, but they sure as hell need to respect them. Would Gotch end the match the same way he did with Monix? Probably not, because he’s speaking for all of Contra in this match, but Gotch has proven that he can make this stipulation powerful, shocking, and most importantly, memorable. We need another Gotch vs Oliver match, and we need it to be an I Respect You match.