Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, May 26, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 103

Episode 103

1. Darius Lockhart vs. Cain Justice

ER: This was fun, haven't really seen much of Justice in a workrate-y setting, so it was fun watching his style mesh with more of a Cedric Alexander style. What most impressed me was how deep Justice's bag of tricks seems to be. They work a lot of stuff into these 12 minutes, a fairly exhausting pace, and I don't think he repeated a single idea. Fast sequences, kick combos, different ways to attack an arm, a bunch of cool stuff that he mined. I do think things got a little too thigh slappy at one point (Lockhart aims to hit them on every move, and I really think a lot of them would be fine without), and while I appreciate their kick exchange towards the end for trying to be a bit different (staggering, off balance attacks instead of stand and trade) I don't think the match needed it. Lockhart has some nice knee attacks, both guys work nicely on the mat, a real fun match that crammed a lot of content into its time.

PAS: I thought this was really good, I agree about the leg slapping, but Lockhart had some really nasty shots which looked great, I loved his knee to the back of Justice's head, and he had some nasty looking stomps to the back. Justice is getting so good, he comes up with cool new shit every time I see him, I loved his thigh stretch submission early where he stretched out Lockhart by driving his knees into the sides of Darius's legs. I also really loved his jumping straight right hands, version of the superman punch I hadn't seen before. Totally loved the ending too, with Justice using submission attempts to open up Lockhart for big shots, and then using those big shots to hook the twist ending.

ER: I was disappointed by the Brad Attitude Q&A segment, only because it could have been really great. Brad had a humorous demeanor but was able to still show elements of his character, but as with most talk to the audience segments (Ugh, this part is always death), the talker just isn't quick enough on his feet. If he didn't have a quick retort to something he would just do a non-answer and move on, but he also wasn't out there to tell potentially interesting stories, so by the end it felt like something that would happen to kill time while they fixed the ring ropes. The vibe of the whole FanFest looked really fun, with the wrestlers hanging out watching the show with the fans, but this felt like a segment that made way more sense to the vibe of the live crowd, and not a lot of sense on an episode of TV.

PAS: You really shouldn't have White Mike ask a question about rats and have Brad Attitude duck it.

2. Lumberjack Match: Aric Andrews vs. Mecha Mercenary

ER: Papa Hales gets to pick the opponent for Andrews (and takes an amusingly long time getting there) and is given a bucket to draw names from, but refuses it as he doesn't want someone to luck into a chance. To give you an idea how far Papa Hales has come, this was on while Rachel was reading, and she looks up during his promo and goes "Why do I recognize that old guy?" I explained the connection, we went to an NXT show with Dylan (and Lana and Tim) and this was Dylan's wrestling lunatic superfan dad. I have no idea how she recognized him, but she somehow knew this once I explained it. Match itself was fine but kind of messy with the lumberjack stip, and I think they have a better match in them in a different setting (not at a FanFest). Andrews just has to last 10 minutes and it seems like it should have been a bigger deal, as the odds were weirdly stacked against the heel. The consequences really didn't seem there though. Notably, Papa Hales got to throw some Kobashi-esque chops (ermmmmm, maybe Veda Scott-esque) chops at Andrews. The first match did a lot with 12 minutes. I don't think this did much with 10.

PAS: I like Andrews as a weasely creep, he looks like such a dirtbag and is good as working as a guy trying to stall out 10 minutes. Mecha is a big fat dude with great fat dude offense, I love his clothesline and black forrest slam. Still this match dragged a bit, lots of stuff with the lumberjacks was time killing, Mecha didn't seem to get down to business until about three minutes left. Honestly the most exciting part of the match was the brief brawl between Mecha and HIM, that had the most sauce, I left this really wanting to see that tag matchup.

3. White Mike Jordan vs. "Chuck Taylor"

ER: I don't know any of the inside jokes within this group, but Chuck Taylor is actually Stokely Hathaway here, not Chuck Taylor. Is this a CHIKARA thing? Hathaway is wearing a ribbed turtleneck with rolled up sleeves and tight paisley pants, like he just completed his gig as touring Deee-Lite keyboardist. This is a comedy match. Comedy is subjective. This match was not for me, and the people who enjoyed it, enjoyed it a lot. Hathaway hits a real nice kneedrop. At one point many people take Hathaway to suplex city. I still have no clue what Mike's finisher is. Looks like he spins a guy by the neck and then violently DDTs himself. White Mike is a funny guy. Sometimes I think he reaches to far for jokes, but there were two genuine big laughs in this: 1) him coming out with a white valet and saying "Finally found me a snow bunny". That's funny. 2) His retirement post-match. He couldn't have handled this better, landing every trope. He took the boots off and left them dead center, he took the singlet off and draped it over the boots, he hung the NWA shirt over the ropes, he took the overshorts off and draped it over the singlet, all with a quivering lip and a despondent "I won't be back, gotta hang 'em up", making those awful faces that old man Hogan would make to milk a standing ovation. The match was what it was. Comedy mileage varies depending on the viewer. The retirement had me in stitches though.

PAS: Not sure what is up with the Chuck Taylor thing either. Stokely isn't really a wrestler, but I would still rather see him then Chuck Taylor V1. I am amused by White Mike in short burst, but this was really long, and it really dragged. The retirement was funny although ruined a bit by Stuttsy and Coach Mikey dancing, the bit really needed everyone in the audience to be on the verge of tears.

PAS: This show was really for the live audience, and I imagine they had a blast. I did really dig the opener though.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Ultimate X, Still a Thing

6. Low-Ki vs. Trevor Lee vs. Andrew Everett Impact Wrestling 4/23/17 (Aired 5/18/17)

ER: It's 2017 and one of the stupider match gimmicks is still being done by the stupidest wrestling company. But goddamn was Low-Ki so freaking good in this match that I got sucked right in to enjoying this pile of stupid. Low-Ki making a ropes course interesting is tantamount to Bill Dundee adding more drama to a scaffold match than anyone in history. Swinging and climbing for the belt is dumb, but these guys are all nutty, and their chaos saves the stip. Ki pulls everything off with such snap, his body movements don't always seem human. He's able to do crazy fast offense and crazy fast bumps while seeming totally in control. Watch him crash into the guardrail from the apron, take a couple bumps off the ropes to the apron to the floor to perfectly set up Lee's punt, hangs off of scaffolding in great ways, just owned that whole silly American Gladiators set. In fact, it made me pissed that I never got to see Ki competing on American Gladiators. I want to see him running for cover while Blaze or Lazer shoot dodgeballs at him. All three guys get moments in this (watch Ki punch a fucking CHAIR seemingly as hard as he can, and props to Pope for talking about how that would affect his climbing ability), even Helms comes in to help Lee and shows he can still bump big. The finish was pretty inspired for this convoluted concept, with all 3 men arriving at the belt at the same time, with Ki scrambling up all of the scaffolding and dropping down onto them from above, stomping them of the team building exercise to their doom. Much better than it could have and probably should have been.

PAS: Ki does feel like the master of this kind of match, like Rey in the Elimination Chamber. He takes a bunch of crazy bumps using the scaffolding, including hanging off the metal with his feet, really made the whole dumb gimmick plausible and cool. This really made me want to see Ki work non gimmicked singles with either Everett or Lee. Loved the missed Ki double stomp into Lee's own version of the move, kind of the student outdoing the master. It is also nice to be reminded of what a nut Everett is, his signature bump into the turnbuckles is crazy and that top rope springboard shooting star press is really breathtaking. I loved the finish with Ki having the damaged hand, so he couldn't scale the rope, so he climbs the scaffold and drops on both Tar Heels from above, really cool creative use of the gimmick, and an awesome Ki performance, really makes we want to track down all of his Ultimate X matches.

Complete and Accurate Low-Ki


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Baszler v. Shirai

12. Shayna Baszler v. Io Shirai Stardom 2/23

PAS: I really enjoy Baszler, she came over from UFC with a really fun asshole charisma, she was working more straight heel then in the AIW match I really loved and she reminded me of a distaff Minoru Suzuki. She has also clearly improved a bunch as she has a bunch of cool moves I haven't seen before, there was an awesome top rope gutwrench chained into another gutwrench and a great falcon arrow right into a choke, she also isn't pulling her stuff anymore as there was a nasty headkick, and some really killer bodyshots. I also liked her selling Shirai worked over her back and there were moments where she couldn't fully execute a Kimura because her back seized up. Shirai was fun too, she has a bunch of cool highspots, and it felt a little like a better version of Sabu v. Taz. I did think the finish was a bit abrupt, as Shirai just kind of ran through some big moves and pinned her, but outside of that I really dug it.

ER: Not the match I was expecting, in a good way. So far I've mostly seen Baszler in shorter matches as a crowbar and instead they work a pretty terrific pro style match, perfectly incorporating Baszler's cool tricks with Shirai's crazy energy. There's been talk lately of how important body part selling really is to a match, and I would say this match is a nice feather in the cap to the strengths of it. Baszler has a million ways to take apart an arm, but it probably wouldn't have been as interesting without Shirai constantly showing just how hurt her arm was. I thought her selling hit all the right notes, wasn't showy, was never forgotten, and was present without getting in the way of things. Shirai responds to Baszler's arm violence by unleashing hell on Baszler's back. She hits a crazy moonsault stomp with precision and accuracy, and it pays off great down the stretch. Baszler breaks out some nasty stuff, especially liked her hanging rear naked choke while sitting on the turnbuckles, and her kicks all land with some mean thuds. Shirai has some big comebacks, does a couple chair attacks on the floor, hits her pinpoint moonsault, and we build to that great moment of Baszler going for the kill with a bridging kimura, but unable to bridge because of those earlier stomps to her back. She knows this move will finish it but can't convince her back that's the case, and eventually relents and attempts to roll through to a traditional armbar, allowing Shirai an escape. I wish Shirai had gotten a little more clever with the finish, as after that great build with the selling paying off, and Shirai fighting for and getting a big trapped arm german, Shirai just hits a tombstone and moonsault. It felt like an oddly tacked on finish which was a downer since everything else in the match was executed and built to so nicely, but the match was still super satisfying, and an overall great performance from both. '


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2012 Match of the Year

John Cena v. Brock Lensar WWE 4/29/12

PAS: You often here this match compared to the best Sting v. Vader matches, but rewatching it, it actually reminded me more of the Cactus Jack v. Vader series. The beating Lesnar lays on Cena breaks the boundaries of pro-wrestling, in the opening seconds Lesnar slices open his face with MMA elbows and lands downed knees which look like they broke Cena's ribs. Lesnar felt truly dangerous, something completely other, the MMA gloves and Jimmy John's shorts were like nothing anyone had seen in the WWE, and that flurry at the beginning signaled that this was a different thing. Cena was great as the foil for the monster, he was overwhelmed and destroyed, but you always believed he had a punchers chance. His powerbomb from the Kimura is one of the great strength spots in wrestling history, and I loved how the kept teasing Chekov's bicycle chain, until that final big punch. Lesnar is a total nutball, he leaps full sped headfirst into a fist covered with a chain. Totally crazy one punch KO, Lesnar starts leaking immediately, and is a glassy eyed mess. Great finish, to arguably the best match in WWE history

ER: I don't honestly understand how a lot of this was allowed to happen. A giant man was basically allowed to give brain damage to the company's top money maker, and do all sorts of moves that looked like they could have severely damaged any of Cena's limbs. Cena is a lunatic, and Brock is a monster. This is Batman without his utility belt going up against Bane hopped up on Venom. Cena takes an absolute thrashing, genuinely getting hard to watch at times. Lesnar busts him open early with an elbow to the side of the head, clobbers him around like nothing, and then lands one of the grossest knees to the ribs you've seen. Cena is lying fetal and Brock just rears that knee back and blows right through him, it looked like Cena's entire torso collapsed, then Lesnar pushes him out of the ring with his feet, as if he were shoving a bag of Quikrete out the back of a truck. And it just keeps getting worse. Lesnar continues caving in Cena's insides.

At first the crowd is belting out dueling chants. And at one point it just gets quiet. People are suddenly just watching an elephant slowly drown. A mom is holding her kids in the front row. All you see are open mouths, everywhere. Brock is wiping Cena's blood on himself, kneeing him more, raining down isolated fists that look the same size as my head. Cena takes a couple of lariats that look man-killing. At one point Charles Robinson takes a nasty bump into the ropes and to the floor, which all leads to Lesnar tying Cena's legs with his own dumb chain. Lesnar rips at Cena's arm - and I do mean rips, as it looks like he can literally rip Cena's arm from his torso. With his feet chained, Cena gets hung from the ring post by his ankles, and it comes off incredibly organic. We've all seen lame "tie a guy's hands to the ropes" spots, and they're always a major mental stretch. Here it seems like Cena had no say in the matter, Brock was going to hang him by his fucking ankles. Brock goes on the bang Cena's arm into the apron a couple times, with Cena's pain being palpable the whole time. We get an all time insane moment when Lesnar does a flying hip attack to knock Cena off the apron, and comes in too hot and too high, flying totally protected over the top and crashing HARD on the floor. We rarely witness a flying wrestler not in control of their own body, but here was 300 pounds of mass that had no clue where it was headed. This sounds dramatic, but he literally could have died. Seeing him unexpectedly fall, he just as easily could have dropped straight onto his head. Finish is flat out perfect. Cena's chain has been teased as a weapon all match, only coming into play when Lesnar wrapped up Cena's legs earlier. But Cena eyes that chain on the floor, discreetly wraps his fist, and when Lesnar goes for another leaping shoulderblock Cena just clocks him right between the eyes. Lesnar goes out like a light and the crowd erupts. Lesnar just Wile E. Coyote'd himself into Cena's tunnel-painted-on-bricks. An AA on the ring steps makes this academic, and perfect. I'm with Phil, as at the moment I cannot think of a WWE match I love more. A true, unduplicatable masterpiece.


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Monday, May 22, 2017

WWE Backlash 2017, One Day Removed from Live Blog

1. Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger

ER: I'm happy to see English doing his theatrical singing again, his whole act and in-ring was one of my favorite things about 2014 NXT. Dillinger's giant collared vest looks like something one of the women might wear for a PPV title match, cosplaying the Evil Queen. Whereas English has some amazing Van Gogh Starry Night tights, which is probably just the second instance of fine art being used on tights, after Rick Rude used Renoir's A Portrait of Cheryl Roberts. And I really dug this match until the exchange of bad looking finishers. The opening go behind stuff was really good, loved English yanking Dillinger's arm and shoulder into the top rope. After spending his whole intro song running down Chicago, I appreciate English yelling "This is my town!!" before whiffing a punch. Dillinger has a bad flying forearm but some shockingly nice corner 10 punches. If your gimmick is the whole "10" thing, you may as well perfect the move most associated with a 10 count. English hits a silly flipping neckbreaker and then starts breaking down afterwards, with JBL saying English is a true method actor, who can turn the tears on and off on command. Obviously JBL has no clue what method acting is. If English was a method actor they would have needed 27 takes on him crying, broken up by a 45 minute call to his Stella Adler-trained acting coach (or, someone who talked to someone at a party once, who they thought was Stella Adler). Dillinger's finisher is terrible.

2. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

ER: This wasn't really the match I was expecting them to work, but it was probably better than the match I was expecting. Ziggler actually works like a heel and it's not just a Nakamura showcase. He does get to through a bunch of knees, and instead of working a counter-heavy style they work a lot of spots where Ziggler is almost as quick to the shot, Nakamura's shot was just stronger. I never once put it past WWE to have Nak lose his debut main brand match, so the Ziggler near falls resonated huge with me. Did I really think a Zig Zag would end the match? Not totally, but again, it didn't seem unbelievable. I liked Ziggler using actual amateur things here and there, like his desperation single leg that saw Nak sprawl. I don't think people know quite what to make of Nakamura's facial selling, but I imagine it catching on big. When someone takes a superkick to the back of the head, I just don't think most are expecting someone's eyes to cross and body to curl up like they just got pogo'd by Scrooge McDuck. But this was good, thought the nearfalls worked, all the big knee strikes looked good, nice match.

3. Breezango vs. Usos

ER: Anybody griping about the brand extension can just stop. I get to see Tyler Breeze in an actual PPV title match, and no way was that ever happening pre-extension. Here he's undercover bossing as a janitor, and I for one hope he mops the floor with the Usos (*soundbite*)! And if the Nak/Ziggler match was not what I expected, then this match really was not what I expected. WWE likes to keep their bad comedy to the backstage skits, rarely working actual outright comedy matches. Indy wrestling is lousy with comedy matches, WWE pretty much just had Santino and Michael Cole overlaughing at jokes (although Santino was still getting fairly regular laughs out of me through his tenure). Not all of this comedy works, but getting over with comedy is pretty much the only chance Breezango has, and it certainly seemed like it was working. Breeze still brings painful looking bumps, and the fans seemed to buy his nearfall. His turnbuckle head tuck/superkick spot on the Usos is one of the only times I've seen that spot almost work, as he held onto the tucked head until the other one threw the kick, and the kick looked like it was aimed at Breeze. The spot with the Usos catching a Breeze dive and tossing him into the barrier was killer, with Breeze almost crushing a couple kids. Fun match.

4. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin

ER: This match should have worked better for me, but there was something that didn't click. I think it might have been because Sami was the underdog babyface working an injury, but the match was worked with Corbin almost always fighting to come back. The announcers acted like Sami was the one fighting back, and Sami's body language acted that way, but it felt like Sami controlled 70% of this match. If he wasn't actively doing a move, he was reversing a move. So it took a genuinely impressive selling performance from Zayn, never overdone in an ohhhhhhh my baaaaaaaack kind of way, but more in the way I get up in the morning and carefully pick up a pair of socks from the floor. For all his well played back clutching, Zayn somehow just never seemed that much in danger. He would pull off a move with a bad back, but then when Corbin would counter with a slam it would get rolled up. I dunno. I thought it made Zayn look strong, but the layout didn't work for me.

5. Carmella, Tamina & Natalya vs. Becky Lynch, Charlotte & Naomi

ER: Tamina has been on the main roster for SEVEN YEARS. I'm sure I'm missing some people, but is there anybody else you can think of who's been around for 7 years and still gets a "new phone who dis?" reaction every time she comes out? Now with her new gear she just looks like a less stacked Nia Jax, like when a curvy girl loses weight but it all gets lost from weird areas. Tamina is actually wearing a more slim fit version of Viscera's old gear. That's what it is. Tamina - after seven years - still doesn't seem like she totally knows how to walk through ring ropes. Carmella yanking Lynch off the apron was a great spot, Natalya doing a stomach kick 2' away from Naomi, less so (Natalya has looked really, really awful in-ring the last couple months). My my what a poor match. It wasted so much time getting to the finish, only for the finish to feel incredibly rushed. Lynch was hardly in the match but was apparently completely worn down in seconds by Natalya's sub. Carmella was the only one who came out of this looking any better, and they've already established that Carmella has no chance of going anywhere (which is a shame, as I think they rushed her debut so badly that it ruined what could have been with her).

6. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens

ER: Really, really good match with a couple of incredibly satisfying spots based around an injury. Styles' knee buckling on the springboard and the finish where his leg gets dropped through a vacant announce table monitor hole while setting up a Clash, were awesome, well played moments. Normally a count out finish would be a major let down, but I thought the set up throughout the match for something like this was so good that it totally worked for me. Owens smothered him nice to start, locking on snug headlocks and trying to ground Styles, and once Styles started to break out I like Owens immediately going for the fat attacks (the big senton, the bigger cannonball, and then the awesome cannonball with AJ's leg prone). The knee gets played up nicely the whole match, the announcers say really bizarre things during AJ's comebacks ("Pele kick to the face of America!" What the fuck!?), they do a couple pretty lunatic spots (that driver off the top and that apron suplex), but all that knee stuff kept this nicely grounded in meaningful reality. Clever finishes sometimes get way too clever for anybody's good, but this finish worked. Awesome stuff.

7. Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

ER: I should have been flipping out for this one, but maybe this whole feud just feels way too late. Harper felt like he could have broken out over a year ago, and here he is. Both guys do stuff I like, and Harper is still my boy, that back elbow out on the floor was sick...but this just felt so low stakes. This felt like a Smackdown match that gets cut away from.

8. Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton

ER: Well I ended up loving this one more than I thought was possible. Fewer things move my needle less than "Randy Orton main event title match", but I was sold on this match from before the bell. Orton jumps Jinder and knocks him to the floor, and Jinder takes a couple nasty bumps over the table and into the announcer chairs, and the match hasn't even officially started. And once it does it becomes somewhat clear that Jinder doesn't have great offense, but that's okay! We can work around those things. I'll give more credit for trying a nice kneedrop to the chest and not really succeeding, than trying some kind of convoluted offense. Jinder works over Orton's shoulder in engaging-enough ways, and Orton mostly commits to selling it. Things naturally pick up once the Bollywood Boys start running interference, and both of them take insanely stupid bumps on the announcers table, especially Gurv. Orton makes a long and unmistakable "ohhhhhhh shittttttt" face after he watches himself dump Gurv on his head, but he's over it by the time he's DDTing both of them. And then, Jinder improbably gets the win! I have no takes on Jinder, don't care about any of the outrages surrounding him. It's a bold move to immediately push a guy so brazenly on the gas, yes. Wrestlers are on gear. It's a thing. We know that. And Mahal doesn't seem like a great wrestler, but it's a new face in the mix, AND he at minimum knew how to work as an intense heel. That can go a long way. Orton was weirdly motivated here (which he has not been in a year), and I say they just go all the way and work a juice angle. Because right now Jinder has one of those gross 1999 WCW power plant juice bods (though truthfully needs more bloat and HGH belly), like someone who just found a stash of 20 year old anabolics and is now a title winning superstar. Make that his gimmick. Instead of Homer finding a can of Billy Beer in his fringe jacket, Jinder finds a bunch of expired juice in some BodyPUMP gear he picks up at Salvation Army. I hate giving away money like this.

Good show, wasn't expecting much of anything from the listed card. Women's tag was the only outright bad thing on the card, and that match was pretty meaningless in the grand scheme. The card was worth watching a day later, pleased with my decision.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Boy Super Dragon was a Friend of Mine, Till I Caught Him in My Car Trying to Steal my Alpine

Super Dragon/Disco Machine v. TARO/Mr. Excitement Rev Pro 6/19/02 - GREAT

I had seen Mr. Excitement's name in results before, but I am not sure I had seen him wrestle before. His opening matwork with SD was fun stuff, with Mr. Ex doing some nice rolling kneebars and guillotine chokes. They both tag in their partners and TARO and Disco have an arm drag section with some fun flippy arm drags by TARO. They both shake hands and bask in the crowd applause and Super Dragon comes in to shake Disco's hand and offer a hand to TARO only to crack him right in the neck. We then get a long beat down section on TARO and no one beats a guy like Super Dragon, and few take the kind of beating that TARO takes. No surprise that TARO retired early, because he is hellaciously beaten every time I see him. Some of the suplexes he takes would make Misawa's ghost cringe in horror, during the final run he takes a backdrop driver straight vertical on his neck like Kobashi or Oro, and he takes four or five other really nasty fold up neck bumps on germans. TARO doesn't really have the offense to fire back in this match, although he does use his rana's really well as momentum shifters, and hits a big dive. There was a bit of a lag right before the end where, Super Dragon piledrives Mr. Excitement and then puts on a chinlock seemingly to let him get his bearings together, but otherwise this was a great all action tag with some huge violent highlights.


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

All Time MOTY List Head to Head: Onita/Goto v. Kurisu/Dragonmaster V. Rougeau Brothers v. Super Medicos

Rougeau Brothers v. Super Medicos WWC 7/7/90

PAS: This is basically the Rougeau brothers running through all of their classic heel horseshit while being pelted with a hurricane of puerto rican fan trash. Jaques does a kip up, gets pelted by greasy Wendy's bags and soda bottles. Raymond an Jaques hug and beer bottles and poop diapers rain down. Medicos had some nice punches, but this was all about the Rougeaus enraging the fans right up to the edge of violence.

ER: Yesssss I had no idea this was a thing!! I never realized the Rougeaus worked Puerto Rico, let alone still decided to work a lot of their bullshit. I have no idea where the fans even found that much throwable garbage. At one point a kid throws 8 straight items without stopping to ready them. He just had 8 things, ready to throw. The Rougeau's mere existence drives these people insane, Jacques' kip ups couldn't have been higher arcing or more obnoxious, Raymond's distractions couldn't have been more drawn out, Jacques plants a super high kneedrop onto the back of a Medico neck while Ray had him in a crab, and Jacques probably found out right afterwards just how many people in the crowd had expired A batteries. Both Rougeaus take tons of back bumps into garbage and  exchange several comforting hugs without flinching from garbage, and both of them get the fuck out of Dodge post match when a chair gets hurled into the ring. God bless this.


PAS: Both matches are super heated tags, but your FMW match is also sickeningly violent, and that will take the cake every time.

ER: I love so much that this exists, and know that it's impossible that whatever payday they got made it worthwhile, no matter how good their mofungo dinner was. But the FMW tag not only had the special weirdness of this match (with every man wearing the worst possible ring gear - except for Onita), and the FMW match had unprofessional violence and the feeling of a deal gone wrong. Wonderful challenger, but champ retains.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

6. Chris Hero v. Eddie Kingston AIW 12/26/14

PAS: This is one of the great indy wrestling feuds of all time, and oddly this was the only time these two matched up during the time in between Hero's WWE stints, you would think this would be a matchup indy feds would be falling over themselves to book. This was worked very similarly to a New Japan style Shibata/Ishii stiff fest, but I enjoyed it so much more those or their US Indy dopplegangers. That was mainly due to how great Kingston is at selling and conveying hate. Early in the match he is getting pounded and responds by being furious at his body for failing him. Hero is beating him to the punch and he is mad at himself, he has some awesome KO sells too, slumping, glass eyed and defeated. Kingston is maybe my favorite ever slugfest seller, too bad he never got to work Hashimoto, Sangre Chicana or Lawler. Hero is great too as an arrogant star who has always hated this guy and desperately wants to put him down. His popping up after the suplexes was less no-selling and more determination to not let this piece of shit beat him. I really loved this, makes we want to seek out all of their earlier matches and makes me bummed that we didn't get another bunch of rounds of this before Hero went back to NXT.

ER: Strike exchanges are the most played out thing in online wrestling fandom, and this match starts with that very thing. And seeing Kingston and Hero actually express interesting character through body language and facials only illustrated how terrible everybody else is at this played out match function. It really doesn't seem that hard to add some personality or character into guys hitting each other, but seeing every single chest puffing time killing exchange would prove otherwise. Here Kingston is able to effectively show within 30 seconds that he may have bitten off more than he could chew, and the fact that it ends with him splayed on the mat after an awesome Hero tornado pump kick would back that up. Hero flat out hits harder than Kingston. That's it. Kingston has plenty of intangibles, but Hero hits harder. It never stops Kingston from hitting Hero, and the results are always great. Kingston's selling really makes this so much more. Watching Hero eat several chops, only to perfectly time a right jab to the jaw as Kingston goes foggy, or seeing Kingston slump into the ropes after Hero throws a right hand to the temple, you just know Kingston is going to keep coming forward, but his selling brings an extra level of "bless his heart" sympathy that most of these slugfests don't have. Kingston really did a great job of using the ropes as a method of support, that pride of having both your feet still planted on the mat, even if it means your butt is resting on the bottom rope. We get a great little moment of strategy with Kingston throwing weaker and weaker shots, Hero smelling blood and ramping up the strikes, so Kingston yanks the ref in the way to momentarily distract Hero, enough to headbutt him in the guy and hit a nasty Saito suplex. That suplex is what leads to the end for Hero, with Kingston landing some big fists, including a nasty backfist to the back of the dome. Great story, great match, these two never disappoint.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Most of EVOLVE 83 4/23/17

1. Tracy Williams vs. Chris Dickinson

ER: This was no good, real disappointing. These two looked half asleep out there, had no plan, did some stuff, much of it poorly applied. Half nelson suplex forgotten a moment later? Check. Obligatory apron fight? Check. Having an epic war elbow exchange? Check (with bonus "forehead resting on opponent's chin because we're dead on our feet from warring"). The build was non-existent, the light behind the eyes was turned off, their focus seemed elsewhere. Perhaps, they were accomplishing something deeper. Perhaps, both realized that Catch Point was nearing a conclusion. Perhaps this was two partners, nearing the end of their relationship. The good times had been great. Later, long after both of you had moved on - willingly or unwillingly - you'd find an old archived email, with the two of you expressing written, verbal, courtship-like impossible love and devotion the likes of which you didn't ever remember happening. The desire to make small-but-necessary changes to appease the other, those changes both important to the longterm standing of your love and maybe also early unacknowledged cracks in the foundation of your at-the-time genuine love. Those words you were now reading seemed to be from another lifetime. The feelings were too much, making your body temp rise that you actually moved someone to feel this way about YOU, while a pit formed reminding you of all the bad times that came after. The fights were sometimes easier to remember than the beautiful, shields-down adoration the two of you had for each other. Both painful to think too long about. This match, these two partners, having this by the books argument, the kind of argument we've all had, the perfect microcosm of a failed relationship. Two people so beyond saving that they can't even get it up for their arguments any longer. Their words are meant, but the teeth are removed. Nothing can hurt them now, because - perhaps without even realizing it and DEFINITELY not ready to admit it out loud - there are no longer any stakes, and they've both begun the process of moving on.  These two have done this before, and they've done it better, and they both know they've done it better. But the listless, failed relationship ennui that they captured was breathtaking. This, the gorgeous sadness of still caring enough about someone to just be willing to go through the fucking motions with them. If they didn't care, they just wouldn't do it. But both have been hurt, and both are still hurt by the idea of hurting the other, even as they're hurting the other. Love is rare. It shouldn't be a surprise that true love ever dies, but it does. And we should celebrate that love, no matter how brief. We should celebrate that we've ever had someone that loved us enough to go through the motions with us. 10 stars.

2. Keith Lee vs. David Starr

ER: YES! This was what I wanted. Lee acted cocky without really acting too cocky, and Starr went right at him like Lee wasn't 120 lb. bigger than him. There were nice little things by both guys, and I really liked how they accurately sold shots: If a shot was supposed to hit the face but landed shoulder,  each guy sold neck and shoulder. It brought an honesty to things that helped things as it escalated. Starr hits Lee hard, throwing nasty chops and elbows, dodging a couple Lee punches and then surprising the big guy with a slap. The two lariats that follow are brutal, crashing into the side of Lee's neck. That neck takes a major beating as Lee eats a backdrop into the buckles (crazy bump) and then gets planted in gross fashion with an apron DDT. It looked like his head disappeared into mat. And after that DDT Starr just runs through Lee with another lariat, finally taking him down. But Lee is mammoth and he does not quit, and before long he remembers his size advantage, running through another lariat attempt as if he was trying to rip Starr's arm off his body, pulling off an awesome/silly/surprising/probably ill-advised rana, and flat out crushing Starr with a couple of impressive slams. Starr impressed the hell out of me here, tons of guts, real fearless, and Lee is just a physical freak. Great stuff all around.

PAS: This was pretty nifty stuff, I think Starr is kind of a goof, but facing a guy this big keeps him from falling into too much indy move trading. I could live with out ever seeing his elbow smash/chop combo again though. Both apron moves were huge and nasty, Lee absolutely murders Starr with a powerbomb on the apron, which led to Lee in control for a long time, and the apron DDT by Starr gave him a plausible run on top as well. If you are going to do crazy stuff like that it should matter. Lee is really good at selling for such a big guy, and he really makes me buy a little guy like Starr could hurt him, if only briefly.

3. Fred Yehi vs. Kyle O'Reilly

ER: This was a good showing from both, with O'Reilly attacking Yehi's arm and Yehi going after O'Reilly's knee. The knee stuff was the most compelling work in the match, some of those early knots Yehi was tying were pretty sick, really looked like a guy with dozens of ways to take apart a knee. I don't love O'Reilly doing the Catch Point grappling, as there are always too many cracks, too many moments where Yehi has to hold still waiting for O'Reilly to get to where he's supposed to be. O'Reilly makes up for some grappling clunkiness by throwing some really nasty shots, raining down on Yehi from mount, and starts trying to yank that arm off. They lose me once they start going into some strike exchange stuff, the exchange came off a little too silly for what they were going for, and for how hard they were hitting each other. We hit bottom once we got to a Scooby Doo spot where both men backed into each other, startling each other, and turned to slap the other. The spots seemed really contrived. O''Reilly also isn't good at selling nuance. Working an early bum knee was probably a mistake. He does overall much better than I expected, but when he does something like trying to run and just faceplanting because "his knee gave out", it just comes off too ham. But they win me back with some pretty nasty shots, really liked O'Reilly stubbornly holding an armbar while Yehi is realigning his jaw with knees, dug O'Reilly choking him to his knees with a standing front choke, liked the finish with a brainbuster into some nasty arm twisting. Overall I liked the match, just wish they had dropped a couple things.

4. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Lio Rush

PAS: I really like 8/10ths of this, it was worked kind of like a 2010s version of Mysterio v. Malenko, with Sabre grounding and torturing Rush. Rush is really flexible and gets twisted into some nasty violence pretzels, he does some especially nasty things to Rush's ankles, violently wrenching them and stomping on them in weird nasty ways. Sabre was a real nasty prick in this match, which he is actually pretty good at, his contemptuous sneer is much better then his goofy babyface faces and torturing a tiny guy is a pretty mean thing to do. Finish run lost me a bit, no reason for this match to have a tough guy elbow exchange, I hate the fact that is in every indy match, and it is especially dumb here. Rush had some cool flying spots, but he could have been more explosive, I did like Sabre escaping with a roll up pin and cutting off Rush's big offensive run.

ER: I really loved Sabre in this. I didn't have a whole lot of use for Rush's offense, so I was a-ok watching Sabre bend him around in all sorts of evil ways. Rush was pretty great at getting 4 limbs pulled in different directions at once, and for that I thank him. Sabre breaks out some of his best stuff here, the octopus hold was ridiculous, the drop toe hold on left leg/ankle lock on right leg/crossface choke was sick, plenty of nasty wrist manipulation, always digging elbow points into tender muscles while locking in holds, all really great stuff. I thought the set ups for everything were really well played, a lot of stuff that could have flopped came off organic, like catching an ankle lock when Rush tried a Pele kick. I've never seen that spot (I'm sure it's happened somewhere), and it came off unexpectedly and well timed. The fighting spirit strike exchange was silly (even though I liked Sabre's shoulder shrug uppercuts) and felt just totally out of place, but the finish was killer with Sabre just locking on a tight roll up and holding the pin several seconds after the bell. Loved that.

5. I Quit: Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle

ER: Quite a violent spectacle, that kinda comes undone in the final few minutes. I think the match would have greatly benefitted from being a No DQ or Texas Death Match, as Drew Galloway's strategy didn't make a whole lot of sense with the I Quit stipulation. He kept going for KO offense and then making the same shocked face when Riddle would just gurgle into the mic. At one point he hits three future shock DDTs and then a 4th on a chair, and then just lies there while Riddle gurgles. You'd think with Riddle selling being barely conscious that Galloway could have just kneeled on his balls or something to get the quick "I Quit". The violence is at least big up until that point, with both guys throwing super nasty shots all match, Drew taking a suplex on the floor, Riddle getting bounced off the mat with a gorgeous snap piledriver...but then we hit a kind of goofy patch. We have a too long "Drew tying Riddle to the ropes" moment, with Riddle apparently being so beaten down that he couldn't struggle, and then Drew delivers tons of great punches to a tied up Riddle (the headlock short punches were so great they would make people forget about Nolan Ryan/Robin Venture). But then...Drew for some reason sells more than Riddle, apparently tired from beating his fists against Riddle's skull. Riddle gets untied by the ref and goes on a rampage, despite being so beaten down that he couldn't struggle against getting tied up moments earlier, and took nothing but damage since then. Drew is tired from dishing a beating, and Riddle is moving with more energy than he has all match. It all felt very dumb. Galloway ramps up the dumb by pulling out a sledgehammer (We know what that means!!!), hits Riddle in the balls with the handle, but Riddle's balls recover and he makes Drew quit with the bromission. I dunno. The violence was real and I liked the first 75% of the match (despite, again, thinking things would have been so much better with a simple No DQ stip), but they lost me pretty good by the end.

PAS: I agree that the stip hurt this match, way too much stuff with the ref holding microphones in peoples faces, it made it very hard for the match to have any pace or structure. There were some individually cool moves, I loved the snap piledriver, and the DDT's looked good, but all of it was followed by Riddle lying there while Galloway yells at the ref. The sledgehammer was too clever by half, although I really liked the final finish with the twister being so violent that it can force a submission from any point.

ER: Decent show with a couple standout matches. Lee/Starr and Sabre/Rush were good enough to land on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List. I had higher hopes for Galloway/Riddle. The action was there, but the stip was a flop.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Morning Wargames: NWA Anarchy: Team PCW v. Team Anarchy

Team Anarchy (Shadow Jackson/Bobby Moore/Stryknyn/Logan Creed ) v. Team PCW (BJ Hancock/Jon Williams/Lars Manderson/Brian Blaze/Geter) NWA Anarchy 8/22/15- FUN

This was stip laden as these indy Wargames matches tend to be, if team PCW won Stephen Platinum would win control of Anarchy (I love the indy wrestling universe where these money losing indies are so valuable multiple nefarious outfits are always trying to wrest control), if Anarchy wins Jeff G. Bailey (Babyface Jeff G. Bailey!?!) would get five minutes in the cage with Steven Platinum. Match itself was solid violent stuff without any real standout performance or huge memorable moments. Creed gave Hancock a full nelson slam off the top rope which was nasty, and Strykynyn spit a fireball which was cool. Geter is a huge fat dude, basically a black Iceberg and he was fun throwing splashes and clotheslines, there was some booking with him turning on his partners leading Anarchy to get the tap. The Bailey v. Platinum stuff was fun when they weren't doing wrestling moves on each other and just punching. Lots of horseshit and runs in there, and the match ends with Jeff G. Bailey giving a rah rah babyface speech thanking the fans, what a world. 

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