Illmaculate vs. Pat Stay: Post-Battle Breakdown

A deeper look into one of the best KOTD title matches ever.

Just like that, King of the Dot once again has an American champion. The chain now lives on the West Coast with Illmaculate, but three-time defender Pat Stay (obviously) put up a hell of a fight.

If you follow Pat Stay at all, you probably know that he’s not into losing first rounds. Every single time, he takes over the room with his presence and humor, and it very much seems like Illmac understood and accepted that. He chose to go first, and his jokey, angle-previewing round, though great, immediately cast doubt on whether he had enough to beat Pat. Maybe I’m reaching, but I got the sense that Illmac was actually 100% okay with losing Round 1, sacrificing it to set up later content. He seemed so self-assured and comfortable that it all seemed part of the plan.

Photo by @NBDYNWHR.

Pat’s first round did not disappoint. He had Round 1 won about eight bars in, kicking off with how Illmac was too short to ever be considered a man, in surreally blunt fashion. He was his typical self, bouncing effortlessly from comedy to aggression with masterful pacing. You just can’t really beat this guy in Round 1 (unless you’re The Saurus).Back on Illmac. It was win this round or lose the title match, and he seemed well aware of that. This was by most accounts the round of the battle, and the challenger was simply untouchable. Astute fans (and BR staff) already had the must-have angles pegged — Pat was tough against timid opponents but peaceful against Calicoe, and so on — but Illmac wove them into a masterpiece. The precision of his approach was insane, and he exploited the wealth of shit-talking material against Pat to its absolute maximum. With this round, Illmac practically set the bar for future character breakdowns.

Photo by @NBDYNWHR.

Much like his second versus Charron, Pat’s Round 2 was strong, but too stilted to get the job done. He seems to have a tendency around mid-battle to indulge his own humor a little excessively, often delving into niche topics for too long to hold the crowd’s attention. It was still a solid round, though, and it’s hard to imagine what could have possibly topped Illmac’s second anyway.

1-1 going into the third. This was the deciding round, and frankly, it went how many people figured it would. Illmac, although he didn’t reach the surreal heights of his second round, continued his vicious pursuit of the chain while Pat distanced himself from it.

Pat spent most of his third round battling the culture’s pressures, politics, and most importantly, the title itself. One got the sense after Illmac’s third that it could be beaten, but probably wouldn’t be. Call it what you like — a façade, genuine disinterest, or something else — but Pat seemed to be cushioning the blow of defeat with every word and mannerism. For example, he informed/reminded everyone that he’d soon be battling Hollow Da Don in the U.K. (although he was less committal in the post-battle interview) meaning the title was far from the be-all and end-all.

The final result was a 3-2 split decision, but many, especially Illmac himself, felt assured that the chain would change hands. The battle is a lot to take in, but it lived up to the hype and is easily one of the best KOTD title matches ever.

Photo by @NBDYNWHR.

All photos by Christian Andrabado. Follow him on Instagram for more.

Thoughts on the battle? Let us know in the comments below.