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Friday, December 19, 2014

MLJ: 2010: A Garza Odyssey 8: Taichi, Terrible, Texano Jr. vs Blue Panther, Brazo de Plata, Héctor Garza

2010-03-26 @ Arena México
Taichi, Terrible, Texano Jr. vs Blue Panther, Brazo de Plata, Héctor Garza

4:09 in
http://youtu.be/JFKLRFZKNRk
http://youtu.be/NTJVeefCBeA
http://youtu.be/KrQCJ5FnCBE

I'm definitely bumping into Porky a lot in these 2010 Garza matches. To be fair, he's sort of hard to avoid. Because he's fat. See? Sorry. You can hit your limit of Porky matches pretty easily, but it is fun to see him against different opponents to see how they utilize him. He's a prop, really, albeit a charismatic one. He was used pretty well here, to be honest. We'll get to that.

So this is actually my first Texano, Jr. match ever. He's obviously on top in AAA so I probably should have seen some more of him by now. I haven't. Maddeningly, this is a panned out shot for most of the match and the only way I can easily tell him apart from Terrible is that he has tassels on his boots. They were both in Averno's stable here. Taichi still has the awesomely goofy jester mask that he comes out with. It's a shame he couldn't wrestle with it on. He's about good for a dropkick and not much else, unfortunately.

There was actually a lot to like here. I just with there was a little more of it, which is a feeling I've had from a lot of these 2010 matches recently. For instance, the primera didn't give us all three match ups again. I'm okay with a beatdown from the start and I'm okay with a cheap cut off after the match-ups, but I do sort of feel cheated if they only give us one and a half before starting the beatdown. On the other hand, it's probably better, in context, if they change things up as much as they can. I still feel a little cheated. here, I liked Terrible and Panther's matwork starting out. I keep thinking that I might go back to Panther again sometime soon, but I doubt with Terrible. If I'm still doing this in six months, I'll definitely look at the Rush/Terrible series, though. I came up with a match list and everything. Also to be fair, they teased the beatdown before it happened. Panther got nailed from behind and rolled out but Garza got to fight back for a moment before the Commandante(?) grabbed his leg from the outside; when he was looking at her, he got taken out. Little twists make the world go round.

The beatdown was fine but not super memorable. Texano's fireman's carry into a backbreaker was really nice and I like it a lot more than similarly contrived things like Valiente's facebreaker finish. I actually thought Texano and Terrible worked really well as a unit and I'd be open to seeing more there, certainly. I could have used a couple more minutes of beatdown. Porky only got in there very briefly, for instance. It ended, nicely enough, with Panther hitting a sunset flip and rolling through to toss his opponent into a Garza shot from the outside. I hadn't seen that before and it's a spot that should be used more. Unsurprisingly Porky falls on everyone (after kissing the valet after a Garza tease of it) and the tecnicos take the segunda.

The tercera was your standard reset so everyone could hit some stuff, but the stuff was good. Terrible made a great foil for Porky, flying around the ring for him and it was pretty funny. Garza has to be the best wrestler in history at doing stupid things like taking bits of clothes off and playing to the crowd that get him clobbered. He manages it, on average, three times per match. It's impressive. Charismatic though. This all went rather briskly with guys going in and out of the ring, including a Panther vs the world segment, and Taichi hilariously running into Porky. In the end Porky sits on Terrible for 3, but he still manages to interfere from the outside in to reverse a sunset flip and let the rudos win. Fun for what it was, but it needed to be a bit more.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

IWA Mid-South Top 18 Matches #15- Necro Butcher v. Toby Klein 8/1/03

#15 Necro Butcher v. Toby Klein 8/1/03



PAS: This was the first real breakout  Necro Butcher match, I remember totally freaking out the first time I saw this.  I think re-watching it a dozen years later it may stand out a little less, mainly because Necro had so many awesome matches with a similar structure. Klein was right there going toe to toe with him, but Necro took the craziest shots, including a VCR to the dome and a cinderblock. I am burned out a bit with light tubes but there was certainly some nutso shots with them. Before rewatch, I might have put this in the top 5 IWA-MS matches ever, it will be interesting where it stands after checking out others.

ER: Awesome fight, just a crazy sprint through beating another man down. This is only 7 minutes and clearly in the running for best under-10 minute matches ever. You don't get the pause for effect and wandering that you get in most weapons matches, these two just take off hitting and throwing shit at each other and expect you to keep up. Or, judging by how little regard they give to the (fairly close seated) fans, they don't care what sinks in with viewers. These two just go right at each other and never let up. Both guys are relentless. Both have nasty chops to start and then Necro breaks things open with a running headbutt. Before long Necro takes a toaster with no give to the dome (thought not as bad as later when he would take a heavy VCR), both guys get way cut up with glass (with glass exploding with inches of tons of fans). Tube shots did get kind of played out in death matches over the years, but here they're used more like transitions and stuff to do between nasty fighting. Usually they're built to as bigger spots, but here instead of wandering from spot to spot they stick glass into each other's backs instead. The visuals of sheets of blood running down each guy was pretty sick. Necro caves in Klein's head and ribs with punches after taking some nasty bat shots, Klein fires back with some nasty punches to Necro's spleen. And that is kind of the key to why this match is so great, there is more substance in the fighting and the "in between" stuff than in the actual weapons shots. These guys had a fight that happened to involve weapons, not a stunt show where they just voluntarily moved from prop spot to prop spot. The finish is one of the great indy finishes, with Necro locking on a rear naked choke, Klein grabbing for a light tube/barb wire bundle, but passing out before being able to swing it towards Necro's head. Awesome match.









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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

IWA Mid-South Top 18 Matches #16 John Wayne Murdoch v. Davey Richards 7/17/14

John Wayne Murdoch v. Davey Richards 7/17/14



PAS: It has been a long time since I watched a Davey Richards match, and I would like to make it along time since I watch another. I got the sense I might like Murdoch more when he wasn't jammed in the Davey Richards match structure, but he didn't do much for me here. All of the obnoxious Richards stuff was here, but mainly what stuck out to me is what an awful in ring actor he is. All of his selling was so hammy, he looked like a bad 1st year UCB improv student doing a pro-wrestler gimmick. Just utterly takes me out of the match, in the past he has been a guy with good execution, executing everything wrong, here his execution didn't even look good. This wouldn't even be a top 20 match for a random month of cards in 2002 IWA, much less top 18 of all time.

ER: I actually liked this match more than Phil, while at the same time seeing zero reasonable way that this match could be considered anywhere close to a top 20 of any individual year of the promotion's existence. I really loved Murdoch in this, made me want to see a lot more of him. He leans into kicks, has no problem being punched, does these cool backhand chops to the face, throws weird elbows, great knee drops to the arm, has some nice mat stuff, and really does have that pasty Murdoch skin, skinny arms and the exact same torso as Dick (with the face of Trevor!). But holy fuck what is Davey Richards!? Please do yourself a favor and watch him around 14:55 and 18:25 of the linked video. Please tell me what in the actual hell he is doing. In this first clip he is in the middle of a strike exchange, but I have never seen a human move the way he moves here. It's like he's trying to do wobbly legs but the example of wobbly legs he was trying to mimic had a bunch of missing frames or…something. I have no idea what he thinks he looks like when doing that. At 18:25 he's trying to prevent a sunset flip, in just the ugliest dorkiest pee pantsingly hilarious way possible. If Shawn Michaels had done this against Hogan in their match people would still be talking about it today as the most memorable instance of Michaels telling Hogan to fuck off. When I saw Murdoch was working Davey's arm a bunch I groaned - not because I thought the arm work would get forgotten and no sold, but because I knew Davey WOULD try and sell the arm. And his selling is just the most awful selling possible. Phil likens it to a 1st year UCB student, but NO 1st year UCB student has this much unwarranted hubris. To get your arm worked on and respond by going "OH GOD NOOO! GOD! OH MY GOD NO!" is just the worst fucking possible read. If that shit was in Troll 2 it would get one of the loudest laughter reactions at showings. Just…what the hell is this guy?

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MLJ: 2010: A Garza Odyssey 7: Héctor Garza, Máximo, Negro Casas vs Atlantis, Rey Bucanero, Último Guerrero

2010-03-19 Arena México
Héctor Garza, Máximo, Negro Casas vs Atlantis, Rey Bucanero, Último Guerrero

6 minutes in
http://youtu.be/qQqlghV6Lxo
http://youtu.be/OeFEEy6dFd4

This was second from the top for the 2010 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show (technically third from the top I guess but the last two matches were linked and culminated with Felino losing his mask). Casas was a rudo so I'm not entirely sure what the build to this match looked like. Garza was the captain for the tecnicos but don't be fooled when it comes to card placement. This match was really just thrown on there and the entirety of the build (much like the recent cage match where Felino lost his hair, ironically) was about the four way mask match.

I can understand someone in 2010 being totally and absolutely burnt out on los Guerreros del Atlantida. Rey and UG had been together for the better part of a decade at this point, even with Rey's tecnico turn. Later on in the year, he'd morph into more of the Jack Sparrow gimmick with Perico (not yet Zacarias), and they even had an little bit on the showing of this (which i think happened months later) with him in there. By that point he'd joined La Pesta Negra. Atlantis' rudo turn was probably two years stale by this point. Here, in 2014, having only watched them this year and in bits and pieces, I get pretty happy when I get to see this unit in action. There's just this air of professionalism. Maybe it makes things rote and lazy. You know you'll see the same things (the alley oop body drop, the catapult onto the knees followed by Rey's back senton, the triple corner moves ending with the senton de la muerte, them going to the well one too many times with one of those causing the transition), but it's fine. All of it worked. The beatdowns were generally good, and the three of them, despite being near the top of the card for years were still totally willing to show ass. I have the luxury of not getting sick of it because I jump around. I didn't have to live through it. That said, it's a lot less interesting to see modern UG/Gran Guerrero/Euforia matches, even if there is something refreshing about the fact that they're full on rudos as opposed to La Pesta Negra or Los Ingobernales (though since they're feuding a bit with Los Ingobernales now that's becoming skewed).

This match had a few things going for it. I'd much rather have Rey in the rudo trio than, let's say, Niebla. He wore a green bandanna coming out to match Atlantis and UG. Casas in trios is interesting to me. He's very good at blending in. Maybe less so today, but I found this to be true both in 2006 and 2010, and maybe even back in the 90s. If he's not the featured feud, he plays his role, holds up the match as a structural element, and you don't even always notice him. That's both good and bad. He doesn't ham and distract in the way Niebla or Wagner might but you almost want him to because he's so good and so enjoyable. Here, he played his role as the rudo slumming with the tecnicos, kissing a shocked Maximo on the cheek pre-match and then eating a well-wished kiss from Kemonito later on and selling it big. He also had a nice little exchange with UG to start the match. I don't remember having seen the two of them match up too many times before, so I was glad to see it.

This was a little bit paint-by-numbers, a feel good trios match for a big show and even then just a little stilted. In the primera, we only had that first match up and a little bit of Rey/Maximo before Maximo ran into a knee from the outside and the swarming began. It ended in a triple submission. The comeback was one of Maximo's usual step ups and those always go well but we missed a chunk of it due to a poorly timed replay, which really happens more rarely than you'd think. It hurt the match flow as a viewer though. The tercera let everyone hit their stuff with the tecnicos coming out on top.

Like I said, it wasn't anything I hadn't seen before, but the ringwork itself was well timed and well executed and hit the right marks. If it just had about 20% more of everything, it would have been pretty good. As it was, it did its job and left long before it wore out its welcome. There really is a simple joy to a perfectly competent trios match.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IWA Mid-South Top 18 Matches #17 JC Bailey v. Mad Man Pondo 2/23/03

17. JC Bailey v. Mad Man Pondo 2/23/03




PAS: This wasn't even a match really. It was the first ever US circus death match which was a scaffold and a ring wrapped in barbed wire to simulate a circus net. They basically take three bumps, Pondo gets thrown off the first rung, and Bailey dives on him, then they get cut out. Then Pondo Russian leg sweeps them both into the net, and they get cut out. Finally they both climb to the top of the scaffold and Pondo suplexes them both into the net. A three bumps are crazy, but there was no real attempt to build any kind of match around the bumps. It was a total exhibition, memorable but not good. I can see why they put it on their list, but it wouldn't go anywhere near mine.

ER: This plays more like something that would make an ugly music video on Ridiculousness or something. Phil's right, it's three bumps. Three fucking INSANE spots, but for the most part Bailey and Pondo don't even pretend they're fighting each other in between spots. They fake it for a little bit, there's a collar & elbow tie up, sometimes they punch each other a bit. For the most part thy willingly climb and then kind of do trust falls into the wire. Then they get painfully pulled out of the wire, and then willingly climb up on different sides of the scaffold before jumping off again. You know there's nothing worth talking about between the 3 spots when there's a fairly spirited debate among the announce crew regarding the durability of the scaffolding. "I mean, this is a legitimate 18' high structure." "It seems rickety." "Well it does, but what do you expect? Without it being fastened to the ceiling we're talking about four poles going 18' up." The three spots were insane and dumb and not at all pro wrestling, but the lay around time does actually add to the match as it really does soak in how the awful part isn't going into the wire, but getting pulled out of it. If they had just maintained some semblance of hating each between, during and after the spots it could have been lunatic brilliance. But each of the three spots felt more like a Thelma & Louise "Let's do this!" moment.

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IWA-Mid South Top 18 Matches- #18 Heidi Lovelace v. Jordynne Grace 2/8/14

IWA-Mid South Segunda Caida's favorite scumbag indy is putting up their top 18 matches on youtube. I figure I would review them and see how my ranking fits with there rankings.

18. Heidi Lovelace v. Jordynne Grace 2/8/14



PAS: I enjoyed this really felt like something filmed on someones phone and uploaded on Baller Alert or Worldstar, especially when the wandered out and started brawling in the snow. Felt like a Moondog brawl if the Moondogs were strippers with needle marks between their toes. There was a crazed tope by Lovelace, Grace smashes a tool box into Lovelaces head, their is a spinebuster into the snow, smashing each other into trucks and it ends with both girls getting smushed by Kongo Kong. There have been a metric ton of great matches in IWA and I don't think this was top 20 or anything, but it was pretty fun in a very IWA kind of way.

ER: Man this was killer. After this and the six man I'm really loving Jordynne Grace. These girls really take some nasty falls and spills. The stuff in the snow was the worst just because the conditions making everything worse than it normally would have been. You get a single arm DDT in the show, a freaking uranage on a picnic table, I mean good lord. But Grace has real nice strikes, some of the best shoulderblocks of anybody male or female. All of her shoulders to Lovelace's stomach throughout the match had a sick thud to them, whether they were also slamming Lovelace into the apron or outside ramming her into some fat guy's 4 Runner. Grace's tope was so awesome, just full impact crushing Lovelace. And I just love both of their commitment to taking seemingly normal stuff on painful surfaces. Even something like a snapmare is more brutal when taken on a gymnasium floor and these two clearly went all in. Big fan.

PAS: We are also putting this at 27 on our 2014 MOTY list. IWA-MS lives!!!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

MLJ: Cavernario Spotlight 6: Black Metal, Metálico, Stigma vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Hijo del Signo, Hooligan

Aired 2013-06-29
taped 2013-06-25 @ Arena Mexico
Black Metal, Metálico, Stigma vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Hijo del Signo, Hooligan


This was sort of fun for a few reasons. First and foremost, it was Cavernario's debut at Arena Mexico. It was about a year and a half ago and he was just in the headlining trios match for the Tuesday show last week. I think that's a pretty good ascent. I've not seen a modern CMLL match without commentary, but that's what we have here. It was a little jarring, to be honest. Thankfully, I'd seen most of these guys in the previous matches so I was able to pick them out for the most part. I'll say this, the crowd seemed interesting in seeing Cavernario at least. He had a chant at one point when he was on the apron and when he played to the crowd, they responded.

This was also Metalico's debut and it could have gone better for him. There was a downright brutal exchange with Signo late in the match where I don't even know what they were going for. I'll call it an unfortunate and unnecessary flip followed by a really sad missed drop kick and then Metalico not really skidding out of the ring well to set himself up for a clumsy Signo tope. From what I've seen of Signo so far, he's best when he's playing a poor man's Fuerza, just sort of a dickish goony rudo. He really wasn't doing that here. Stigma did well mostly matched up against Cavernario and Hooligan was fine as a physical presence. I think, maybe, he didn't give enough in the match, including just hammering down after Black Metal's big moment (a tope from the inside onto the ramp) but I can kind of understand why he wouldn't.

The match itself was fairly subdued. It has to be hard to put together an Arena Mexico card, especially one with a bunch of trios, especially when you're doing it week in and week out. I rarely watch whole shows, though I do tend to follow things week to week when I can. You can only go to the same well so many times on a card without burning out the crowd. Therefore, the end to the primera was very abrupt: after the back and forth of the initial pairings, Signo came in, slammed Metalico, and splashed him for three.

Likewise, the 'comeback' was barely there at all. The beatdown was the best part of the match. Both Hooligan and Cavernario were well suited to just beat the crap out of their opponents and it was the brunt of the segunda. They cycled in one after the next with clubbering and triple kicks and one brutal groin corner dropkick by Hooligan. It only lasted a few minutes but they were good minutes and by the end of it, I was ready for a hot comeback. I didn't get one. Metalico reversed a triple team into a quick 'rana on Signo for three. It was one of those moments where the other rudos were supposed to be celebrating since they thought the move went their way, so they missed the pin, but Hooligan was staring right at it embarrassingly. The crowd was somewhere between bemused and confused about it.

Even though he ultimately went out in the tercera to a Stigma double underhook powerbomb, it did feel like Cavernario's debut party. He had a solid, if a bit rehearsed, showing on the mat with Stigma in the primera. He was front and center in the beatdown, really getting a chance to show off his sudden strikes that can make a rudo beatdown compelling. Then he got to hit a few of his big moves, the alley-oop dropkick in the segunda and a jump-back second rope splash and the clothesline backbreaker in the tercera.

It was only as good a match as the card placement and what we'll chalk up to nervousness in Metalico would let it be, but it was a good showing for Cavernario in a match where he really had to deliver. By this point it was pretty safe to say that he was well on his way.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

WWE TLC 2014 Live Blog

No idea if Phil or Eric are watching this but we've got a streak going on big shows, so screw it. I'll have to put the baby to sleep at some point so I'll be lagging behind, but here goes:

Star and Gold Dust vs Kofi/Big E

MD: I am kind of a sucker for Big Guy/Little guy Hart Foundation style tag teams. I liked the Stardust/Big E segment actually. It seems somehow like Big E is working a freakish strong man gimmick more than before. Kofi's a fine enough hot tag and Big E can sell well enough so the first half of the double FIP worked fine. I liked the Kofi half of the FIP less though the set up was good. Stardust's stupid paint (I liked the blue last month) rubbing of on everyone was a highlight. The second hot tag was timed really well and Big E as a world-destroyer house of fire is pretty great. I know this is a terrible gimmick but I think it's a good in ring role for him. This was perfectly fine but I really wish Goldust would use a hold other than a chinlock more. That was one of the big problems with his heel run in 95-96 too. He's one of the best guys on the roster on working from underneath so he might not get that most of the other guys just can't make it compelling.

Harper vs Ziggler (Ladder):

MD: It felt like there was a decent amount of setting ladders up here but Harper's good with little touches, for instance, the haphazard way he just dropped the ladder on Ziggler after the big toss-him-in spot, or the way they drew out the power bomb on the ladder to make it mean more (and the pivotal reversal spot later on even more). I feel like most ladder matches are pretty even between workrate-y guys, so to have a monster vs an underdog in one felt sort of fresh. When you add in that the monster is also a machine who's willing to kill himself dead on a chair-blocked tope and it was a fun spectacle. Vince had to blow a gasket with all the lacerations, but it felt like a war. This was the sort of candy with substance that would have worked great on a PPV where it could stand out. It's unfortunate it was on TLC where it's so much harder not to make everything just blend in.


Usos vs Miz/Mizdow:

MD: This was the Mizdow show. I loved watching Aaron the Idol Stevens in Chaotic Wrestling in MA back in 2000 during my freshman year in college. He would do a toned down version of this where he was the junior comedy relief third man in the One Night Stand goomba jock frat freebirds team. There's not much of that online, just one promo with his Britney Spears cut out, but he'd sell on the outside to whatever was happening in the ring and it was the best part of a show where the second best part was generally a near-rookie Hurricane John Walters, which might tell you something about the show. I'm glad he's getting some spotlight for that now. I don't get the physics behind this though. During a backslide, Mizdow has to mimic it. During the pin that followed a minute later, he was able to break it up. What gives? The Tequila Sunrise is a perfectly fine Usos submission move, and obviously they have way more storyline stuff to do with Naomi so it makes sense for a BS finish here. Perfectly fine Sports Entertainment.

Rowan vs Big Show (Stairs):

MD: I like that the Stairs got a Tale of the Tape. Coming in I thought that Rowan was going to work his ass off because this is basically the biggest chance he's going to get. Show's really good at imaginative layout so the idea of doing a new match is the sort of thing that he'd probably put a lot of thought into. Ultimately, there was a lot of set up here and while they worked hard, the payoff didn't always live up to it. I think Rowan ended up looking at least as good as he came in but not necessarily better in the loss.

Cena vs Rollins (Table):

MD: Well, the good news about this is that they're giving Ambrose another main event, which is funny since Punk wasn't even getting them when he was champion. Cena was wearing Stardust's shoes. Noble makes a great Jerry Brisco since his kayfabe character could totally have an auto shop with Nidia as receptionist. They add so much to Rollins' act. Cena should do that uppercut more. This is going to be a weird compliment but on a PPV full of sameness, the best thing about this match is that it felt different, with less set up, the interference and WWE storytelling feel. Of course next year we're going to have to have a Guardrail Match. I thought, coming in, that the point of this was to have Cena foiled by interference repeatedly until Orton ran out to counteract it, but they went out of their way to make Rollins look like a threat with the briefcase and the great jumping over the table spot and the tope splash through the ropes, etc, so that was something. There's nothing worse than ref bumps in table and first blood matches though. The refs all conferring was sort of bullshit since at least one of them would have logically mentioned Rollins going through earlier. It was kind of worth it for the Michael Cole bump. Ah, the point was Reigns, not Orton. I guess it was kind of Cena to share his showcase this way. That all got pretty silly at the end though. It'd do Reigns a world of good if they keep letting him come in through the crowd.

Bella vs AJ:

MD: It does sort of bug me that they're not explaining Stockholm Syndrome Bella well. I hate to think what that says about me. I liked Nikka's spinebuster. The spine-on-the-post yank looked sick. The way AJ got up for Nikki's offense sort of made me disappointed that we didn't get Monster Steph vs AJ at SummerSlam instead, but only for a few seconds. This would have been better if Nikki stayed on the back more. It probably needed another minute or two after Brie got tossed. They manage to almost always work in a few good looking spots in these but the throughline is rarely there. Just imagine that Phil said something funny here.

Ryback vs Kane (Chairs):

MD: I needed more dueling chair fights. The top rope splash/chair counter transition was pretty goofy. We know Ryback IS that stupid, but come on. I have to admit that by this point, I'm pretty burnt out on weapon shots and hoss fighting. Considering the amount of WWE Main Event Bullshit we've gotten too, I'm a little worried about recharging for the main event, which was a match I was kind of looking forward to. Hopefully Swagger vs Rusev works for a recharge. Kane actually looks pretty good here. He's working hard and I doubt he'll get much credit for it. I wonder if it's just that he doesn't have a ton of physical charisma or what? Maybe he has the most when he's passive aggressively impatient with life and all the insanity he's encountering and the corporate character allows for that. This match is giving me too much time to think. You know, it has to be terrifying to be in a chairs match with Ryback. You know, I liked the finishing stretch. The projectile chair was a good moment when I thought the match was basically over. They had teased the chokeslam enough and that made he need for the Tombstone escalation worked within the match, and then they went right to the finish without anymore silliness. Still, I'm not itching to re-see that anytime soon.

Rusev vs Swagger:

MD: I thought I'd have the time of a feud recap to get the toddler laying down and switch over to my tablet to wait out her going to sleep. We were away for two days over the weekend though and the cat totally gnawed upon my headphone wire, killing them. Long story short, I only saw the last minute or so of this. I'm guessing this wasn't a repeat of their match with the killer Rusev selling.

Wyatt vs Ambrose (TLC):

MD: This I caught without sound. For an Attitude Era style around the arena match with lots of weapons and what have you, I thought this was about as good as you could get. Dean needs to keep his tongue in his mouth more. I did like his selling like the ring was lava though. The escalating ladder dives were aces and Ambrose pretty seamlessly worked the weapons into his offense like a good CZW  alum. I wish they had played up the eye injury on the kendo stick more but I guess that'd be too cutesy given the ending. I don't think Ambrose loses any heat for not winning this but if they were going to go this route, playing up the eye injury more and then finishing with a Wyatt fireball would have been a million times better. Even a japanese photographer using a trick flash would have been about sixteen times better. Ah well. All in all, I think this was a better show than most people were expecting coming in.


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2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

14. Brazo Jr. v. Kortiz WMC 8/24

PAS: This is the son of a Brazo vs. the son of a Villano  and it is the kind of gritty a old school bloody lucha singles match which would have been right at home on the 80's set and something which does the legacy of that family feud proud. Kortiz is great, really a nasty asskicker truly in the family tradition, he mauls Brazo Jr. early with nasty punches, and post shots until Brazo Jr.'s gear is covered in blood. Very traditional structure for this kind of match, with one sided rudo domination early, until Brazo ducks a punch and unloads with an over hand slap. He then takes over and bloodies Kortiz by smashing his head into the top of the metal post. Then we get more of a back and forth match including an awesome section with both guys on their knees unloading everything they have. The finish was a little goofy, with Brazo's second faking a towel throw, and then Kortiz gets distracted, his mask pulled off and rolled up, but for a bs finish it was pretty clever.

ER: This was a 3 part match for me (well, erm…I suppose most lucha matches are). I loved the first two parts, right up with the best stuff I've seen all year, and the third part was good but lost me a little by the end. But damn those first two parts. Kortiz comes out not rocking the Villano name, but unmistakably rocking the Villano body and viciousness. You realize what kind of match this is going to be around the 4 minute mark, as the action had spilled out in front of the camera and Kortiz punches Brazo a lot right in the ear, and Kortiz is really mean throughout all of this. His overhand chops sound like the sound-sweetened versions on Lucha Underground. Brazo looked like kind of a pushover (I really appreciate that somebody somewhere taped this, but you get the feeling the match would be that much better if filmed up close so we could really get inside Brazo's selling and comeback) until a missed Kortiz strike and then it was on! Possibly my favorite lucha moment of the year (and think of the ground that covers in 2014) sees Kortiz climbing up the ropes but getting caught by Brazo, and with both men facing out towards the corner, Brazo starts bashing Kortiz's face into the edge of the ring post. I've never seen that before and lucky us it was happening on the post closest to camera side, so we could see all the glory of a guy getting smashed into a ring post. We get some nasty leg work from Brazo in the tercera, the worst when Kortiz has his leg draped over the bottom rope and Brazo just curb stomps right through it. They lost me a little with some move and submission trading, but upon rewatching the match it wasn't really nearly as bad as my initial impressions. There aren't wild lucha brawls with blood anymore so I should really have been focused more on how exciting THAT was, instead of getting a little lost with some mostly pointless "but he didn't sell the knee long enough" type stuff. As a whole picture the match was great, total hidden gem that - thanks to Phil's OCD about searching for obscure wrestlers every day on the internet - totally pays off.

2014 Match of the Year Master List

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lucha Underground Episode 7 Workrate Report

Danny Trejo is in the house for this episode!

1. Super Fly vs. King Cuerno

PAS: Super Fly shows up on Lucha Underground with a mask four days after losing it in Mexico, they should probably coordinate that stuff better. This was a fun match, with Super Fly being good in the role of enhancement guy. His Space Flying Tiger Drop was pretty great looking. Pretty much just a set up for more Cuerno v Drago, but I liked it

ER: This was a fun extended Cuerno showcase. Cuerno has nice stomps, which is not really something anybody has anymore. When you think about it the stomp used to be a pretty common thing for a bad guy to do, but you just don't see many guys using them anymore. At least the guys doing them are apparently doing them with pride. So I didn't have much problems with it in the past episodes, but pretty sure we can officially get rid of the vertical hanging camera. I don't think it adds to any shots, and often it takes away from them. Here Cuerno took what looked like a cool bump to the floor but you couldn't really get a feel for the gravity of it with the overhead shot.

PAS: Pentagon Jr. vignette was fun. I don't really get violent Ninja warrior from what he is doing so far, but I liked the Kung Fu B-Movie feel.

ER: Oh man the zoom in on the victim when Pentagon Jr. breaks the poor guy's arm during a sparring session was hilarious. He's like a villain in Bloodsport or something. Also laughed at the dual superman punch by two Aztec warriors on a sunset hillside.

2. Fenix v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

ER: Did not love this, although it actually had a bunch of individual moments that I liked. I loved the spot where Fenix was taking Chavo apart with leg kicks and Chavo levels him with a clothesline. Fenix took the clothesline great. Loved Chavo twisting his boot on Fenix's mask. Loved Pentagon's interference. But it was very disjointed and at the end felt like a bunch of things happened, but it didn't add up to a lot. We've talked about how Fenix has trouble stringing his big spots together as he doesn't seem to know what to do between the big moments. We had the return of the overhead camera shot as I had no idea what happened with a miscommunication spot, as both men ran towards the ropes but Chavo ended up falling through them to the floor or…something. It looked clunky from that camera, and it's possible it was a bad looking spot that looked worse than clunky when shot normally, so they opted for the overheard traffic cam, but either way I'm no fan. Also did not like the Chavo reversal spot on Fenix's big double knees from the top. Almost every reversal spot I've ever seen from a top rope move looks bad, as the reverser ends up taking the full brunt of the move, then just rolls through to do his thing as if the move didn't happen. Here Chavo takes the double knees, then just grabs a half crab. It "looked cool" but it also made the double knees (which I thought was a pretty great spot) look like garbage. I get those moves being risky, but the risk shouldn't be "ah HA! You hit the move flush but *I* just chose to ignore that even happened!!"

PAS: I really enjoyed Chavo in this, as I think he is pretty good in the rudo base roll against high flyers, and I liked the double knee reversal thing, I buy if you know something is coming you can brace yourself and prep a roll through. Fenix is sort of a mess though, he has some cool highspots, but they aren't any cooler then Drago or Puma and he looks very lost in between them, and that is with a vet like Chavo and editing, he is obviously being built for bigger things in this fed and I am not sure he can live up to them

ER: We get a Cage vignette which is really nothing more than a throwaway UFC pre-fight video, with him flipping tractor tires and doing bicep curls. Brian Cage is a huge gassed up guy who 18 months ago was about 50 pounds of muscle lighter. This is an extreme case of wrestling body dysmorphia. He still has some surprising agility that occasionally breaks through the layers of mass, kind of like early super gassed era Scott Steiner. You know, how most of the time he looked like a guy who couldn't properly put his arms down at his sides, but would from time to time break out some impressive things the way he used to. I've seen Cage look good in matches, and I've seen matches hurt by his newfound physique. Curious to see how he does here.

PAS: I had kind of assumed the key was to unlock the Brian Cage, but him in this vignette seem to suggest that he is going to be used in a different way. With Cage and Big Ryck it is weird that this lucha fed has more roid monsters then the WWE.

3. Big Ryck vs. Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma ($100,000 LADDER MATCH)

ER: Ladder match is starting at just the 30 minute mark of the episode which seems kind crazy, but intriguing (but made more sense when the show went off the air at the 54 minute mark). But by the end of this match I was still just kinda bored. Everything I loved about the street fight a couple weeks back was lacking here. All of the run ins and garbage spots in that match felt very organic, and here the run ins operated much more on super obvious spot set up. All the garbage spots were integrated really seamlessly into the street fight, and here the set up for all of them was clunky and obvious. Plenty of great individual moments, such as Puma's cool dive through the ladder, and an ESPECIALLY  awesome Steamboat Bill  spot with Puma and a falling ladder. Never seen that before outside the magic of the cinemaplex and I fell in love all over again. Puma and Morrison both pulled out some pretty crazy stuff, with Puma breaking a ladder in half by falling through it on the way to the floor, Morrison making a slingshot spot look brutal by going in nose first. But I thought almost all of the run in moments were bad, as opposed to them being a strength like they were in the street fight. The match still had its strengths, and I really liked Big Ryck in this. While the set up for the crazy spots was at times bad, the crazy spots themselves all looked great. The worst thing about the match was the run in. Phil told me afterwards on the phone that it was B-Boy, who I have seen live a bunch (jeeeeez dating back over a DECADE!) and when he ran in Striker was all "who is this some sort of fan or something? Jesus get security out here" and I was rolling my eyes because it sounded like "That's Lance Storm!! HEEEE doesn't work HEREEEE!!!" but then all of this mystery man's strikes looked insanely bad , like he was fake fighting a little kid with progeria and had to be extra gentle, and then he took the worst ever bump off a Mundo superkick, kinda pausing for a goofy "Did I do that!?" look at a camera that wasn't there before falling the wrong direction. After all that I thought "oh shit that HAD to have been a fan, Striker was right!! because clearly a guy who had actual wrestling training wouldn't have looked that bad." But again, Phil told me it was B-Boy. Now, in fairness to B-Boy, maybe he's a method wrestler and really got into his character and thought "okay, you have to look bad. Bad enough for the announcer to confuse you for some lowlife fan. Wear cargo shorts. Pooch out your belly a bit. Throw punches that wouldn't break wet paper. Look like a man who has not had formal training in any sort of occupation, least of all pro wrestling. BEEE that possible fan, running in, confusing announcers." So that's a possibility.

PAS: I liked this but didn't love it. Mundo has looked pretty bad brawling during this entire show, and it was rough when he had to exchange punches. I also thought this went long, I like that give main events this long without commercial breaks, but this dragged a bit. Also kind of silly to have a surprise run in, have it be a guy nowone knows, in a match where there are already lots of non-surprise run ins. Did love all of the big bumps, which were totally crazy, that Puma fall into the ladder was bonkers, and Ryck was great, the set up for the nut shot where he tries to climb two ladders ruled. I always like Big Show in ladder matches and Ryck played a similar roll of a monster totally out of his element, but still dangerous. Nice bump by Cuerto in the post match angle too, that guy is just awesome.

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