Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: All of the Arena Mexico Dives

Cuatrero/Forastero/Sanson v. Soberano Jr./Rey Cometa/The Panther CMLL 8/4

ER: Good grief, you guys. This was on the same show as the Blue Panther/Sam Adonis hair match, and this was likely a bigger crowd than most of these men have ever performed in front of. And they fucking went for it. This was different than most Dinamitas matches, and while I like their out and out rudo tactic matches better, they also do spotfest really well. Soberano and Cometa are game to do some big spots, and so we got a match absolutely filled with wild spots. This probably had more dives and springboards than any match I've seen in a year. Soberano is really responding well to moving up the card, and he is coconuts here, like he wants to be CMLL's Aerostar. He hits a couple big dives and does a springboard into the ring by jumping about 8 times, from the rampway to the middle rope to the top rope to the inner middle rope, just Chinese acrobat stuff. Forastero is the standout Dinamita here, going toe to toe with Cometa and even showing off his own fancy flip ability. Amusing moment when Cometa is doing typical CMLL tecnico rope run handspring backflips, and at the end of the showing off Forastero does one of his own...only for Cometa to hit him with a big headscissors to get him out of the ring, and then hits another one to the floor. The crowd is piping hot and loud, everybody feeds off it, we get a springboard tornillo by Cometa, Soberano hits an absurd tornillo of his own, the tecnicos dive off the top of the entrance steps, Forastero flies into the front row from a tope, it's wall to wall insanity. It seems like on a big show you either get guys holding back so as not to outshine the main, or you get an atmosphere of enthusiasm where guys feel validated by their choice of profession. This felt like the latter.

PAS: Yeah this was total popcorn wrestling, but exactly the kind of thing you want from a match like this. I think there will be Nuevo Dinamitas matches I liked better this year, as they are fun when they slow it down and this was all action, there performance in this reminded me of the heyday of the Oficiales in IWRG, just excellent timing, huge bumping and cool double and triple teams. There was probably one or two dives too many, as they were really going for maximalism. Soberanos spin dives are beautiful looking, and he probably should have just done one big one so it is remembered. This was by far the most impressed I have been by him, as he really felt special, I also loved the Panther, sometime you want spins, and sometime you just want a bullet tope which lands like a punch in the mouth.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET: More Masked 80s Brazos

Los Brazos (Brazo De Oro/Brazo De Plata/El Brazo) v. Rocky Star/Eddy Guerrerro/Lizmark Juarez EMLL 1988?



PAS: Well the world is going to hell, but at least we waltzing on the deck of the Titanic to the sounds of new 80s Brazos matches. This was a great quality pro-shot Juarez show, which hopefully means that more stuff like this exists. This was the earliest Eddie match I can remember, although he is more of an afterthought to the El Brazo v. Rocky Star feud. That is probably the least interesting on paper focus of any of these six guys, although it is still great stuff. Both Rocky and El Brazo bleed buckets,and El Brazo takes some nasty post bumps, El Brazo was clearly a world class 80s bleeder. This was the most serious I have seen the Brazo's work, as they were straight violent rudos including flipping off the crowd and brutalizing the babyfaces. There was some fleeting moments of Super Porky agility including a punishing superfly splash and a dive off of the ring apron. More of a cool discovery then an all time great match, but what a cool discovery.

ER: This is earlier than any Brazos or Eddy match on the 80s lucha set, and I loved this. Brazos are unhinged maniacs in this, and I thought the tecnicos did a great job. I disagree that Rocky/El Brazo is the least interesting match up as I think Rocky was the best tecnico of these three at this point, with Eddy being so young, and Lizmark not being as good as Rocky. The women in the crowd go absolutely insane for Rocky, and the handheld (yet seemingly pro shot?) camera picks up all the screams. When Rocky is really bleeding in the corner there is one woman, voice cracking, dying every step of the way with Rocky. She gets it as by the end Brazo is just coated in his own blood, soaking into his chest and sprayed down his tights. Everybody got their moments: Lizmark had a fun monkey flip segment with Oro, Eddy got a dynamic armdrag sequence with Brazo, and Porky continued to look like a damn superstar. This guy has so much charisma and at 25 was built like a tank. Young Porky flexing, posing, flipping off fans and squashing dudes while leaping around the ring with as much agility as anyone else. Brazo finds 3 different ways to run nastily into a ringpost, Rocky is a great fired up tecnico (watch him leap to the floor after Brazo after finally getting an opening), and this was an excellent find. More 80s Brazos!! More!!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ALL TIME MOTY LIST Head to Head 1988: Hansen/Gordy v. Tenryu/Kawada V. Brazos v. Destructores

Los Brazos (Brazo De Oro/Brazo De Plata/El Brazo) v. Los Destructores (Emilio Charles Jr./Vulcano/Tony Arce) EMLL 1988?

PAS: God bless youtube as this tasty slice of lucha libre violence just shows up one day. I didn't even know Emilio Charles Jr. was in Los Destructores and here he is trying to open up El Brazo's head like a difficult coconut. Destructores lose the first fall by DQ by removing Oro's mask, and as he goes to the back, they take a 3 on 2 advantage on the Brazo's and really beat them badly. Brazo is leaking like Reince Preibus, and they tie Plata in the corner and work his ample belly like a heavy bag. Emilio Charles is so great to watch here, the other Destructores are great, but he is on another level, just an amazing explosive brawler. Loved Porky in this too, he may be one of my favorite high flyers ever, he is such a hippo that to watch him fly around is so incongruous, and he knows how to land everything with such force. My favorite kind of holy grail, a match I had no idea existed, which shows up like a surprise present.

ER: Unseen anything popping up is always exciting, feels like something that can just keep happening forever and ever. And when it's a young mid 20s Porky I will get a little extra exciting. Destructores are all really good and them taking apart Brazos was a treat. Arce was great at crowd riling, and Charles was a vicious beast, those punches to the side of Brazo's dome looked line crossing. But I came for the chubs and I rooted for the chubs. Porky at 25 is pure joy. His leaps from the apron are insane. He gets no kind of running start, just does a huge standing broad jumps and gets frankly absurd distance for a butterball. It's fun seeing younger variations on older, fatter Porky spots, like how he just plops immediately on a sunset flip attempt, and while you're laughing he then breaks out a handspring kip up like the fattest Dynamite Kid and you're in love. His big splash off the top early in the match is an all time big splash, and after 20 years of seeing him hold teammates' hands while climbing to the top it's downright shocking to see him fly 60% of the way across the ring and just crush a man. Great find, god bless unseen lucha.

Hansen/Gordy v. Tenryu/Kawada review

Verdict:

PAS: Loved the trios match, so happy it showed up and it was a great showcase for excellent wrestlers in their prime. I thought it was a slight step below an all time great match though, needed a more intense finish run to really put it over the top. AJ tag is an all time great and is going to need a classic to beat it.

ER: I really liked this, but I don't think this was very close to the AJ tag. I thought portions were kind of aimless, and admittedly the poor VQ made it a little difficult to see any emotion on display. It's admittedly cheap to complain about VQ when we otherwise wouldn't have seen the match, but emotion is pretty paramount in lucha for me. What we got was wonderful, but I don't think there were any points of this match where I had it over the AJ tag.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Panther v. Adonis Cabellera contra Cabellera

41. Blue Panther v. Sam Adonis CMLL 9/4

PAS: This a hair v. hair match between an all time lucha legend and a gringo with an American flag with Trumps face embroidered on it. This had all the heat you would expect from that pairing. This is probably Panther's last big CMLL main event, and he really puts in a great performance, including taking a nutty missed tope bump to the floor. Adonis gets a ton of heat, although the Trump flag is doing a lot of the work. This had a enough cool moments in the third fall to put it on the list, including an awesome Fujiwara armbar on the ramp, and Adonis draping Panther with the Trump flag and frog splashing him. Still Tirantes dropped his pants and pooped on portions of this, nothing I hate more then a heel ref, and he spent a lot of this match heat sucking, this match didn't need him to work, and watching a Trump supporter triumph over good with the help of undue collusion was a little close to home for me.

ER: Man, what the fuck with all the Tirantes? He's been in CMLL for awhile now and I don't remember him pulling his specific brand of bullshit...but I guess I hadn't had the privilege of seeing big match Tirantes. Every single thing about him was a total distraction, and I have zero clue why they thought they needed his gleeful pissing on this match. CMLL didn't draw their biggest crowd of the year because of Tirantes. The people came to see Panther whip Adonis' ass, and CMLL felt it would be best to regularly impede that whipping. You have a motherfucker who looks like Richard Spencer with Milo's shitty hair, wearing gloriously garish tights and waving a shitty trump flag on one side, and on the other side you have maybe the most sympathetic tecnico on the roster. But you know, we better jam this to the hilt with ref antics.

That the match was effective as it was is a true testament to Blue Panther: Great Wrestler, because Tirantes literally interjected himself into every one of Panther's great moments. First two falls are inconsequential (although right out of the gate we get BP pummeling Adonis, only for Tirantes to catch his hand on a punch. Good grief.), but the tercera brings the flames. The crowd is going bonkers by the time Panther nails Adonis with a tope, and then another one. Tirantes "inadvertantly" gets in the way of a third, and when Panther finally gets a clear runway he ends up taking a flip bump through the ropes to the floor, right on his tailbone. I wish Adonis had played more of a coward and used more cheapshots and hiding behind Tirantes, as he still came off pretty strong. But Panther was so nuts and his facials were so good that nobody in the match was going to hold this down. By the time they brawl to the ramp I was dying, and Panther's sympathetic facials while taking kicks to the jaw were great. Adonis ramps up the sympathy by bodyslamming nastily on the ramp, really splatting him. When Panther catches him in the Fujiwara it was a real markout moment. The big splash onto the draped-in-trump Panther was big, and Panther's kickout was grand. No way he's going out like that. At least Tirantes took a decent bump into the ropes to set up the end, but dammit Panther needs to take on Tirantes in a career vs. career match. CMLL needs to book The Panther vs. Adonis, mask vs. hair as a main, or BP/Panther vs. Adonis/proxy, with BP's career and Panther's mask on the line, and Adonis' hair and Tirantes' career (proxy wrestling for Tirantes) on the other line. Do it!


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

NXT Sacramento LIVE REPORT 8/12/17

I couldn't make it to the San Jose show on 8/11 (driving to San Jose during Friday rush hour traffic? It would have taken 3.5 hours), so Rachel and I drove to the Sacramento show on 8/12. I have the historic worst luck with driving to Sac. It's always something. Road closures, massive rain storms, accidents that cause huge traffic delays, literally every time I drive to Sac it's a non-stop stream of omens telling me to never return. Last night was no different, filled with accidents causing traffic delays, and getting trapped in Sac post-show due to freeway onramps being closed for construction. The detour signs literally lead in a loop around Sac. It was a disaster. It felt like we were being sealed inside Sac like some kind of Escape from NY colony.

But the show itself was great, and the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium might be my favorite wrestling venue. It's been around for decades, has killer concert posters from old acts that played there, such as "The Beach Boys - America's #1 Surf Band!" There were two Beach Boys shows, a "pre-teens and childrens" matinee with "one parents admitted free per child" and "25 FREE LPs given away per concert!" The tickets were $1.75 in advance and $2 at the door. WTF?? Even with inflation that's like $15! They also have great posters for other shows there, the Dead playing 12/22/70 (a show with no known tapes!), great blown up photos of The Clash and Zappa (not playing together, obviously), just a cool old venue, tons of original beautiful moldings, weird quirks like having to go down a few flights of stairs to use the bathrooms (people in wheelchairs had to use employee bathrooms!), genuinely classy and classic place to see pro wrestling.

We showed up right as the first match was starting, bought the cheap $20 seats, and really the balcony is a perfect view at this venue. We were lined up perfectly with the ring on the left side (looking from the entrance):

1. Andrade Almas vs. No Way Jose

ER: Good opener, Jose has been way over with live crowds both times I've seen him. Almas works almost nothing like he did as La Sombra, I don't think he even does as many highspots as Albert Del Rio. But he looked good and was almost playing up a low rent WWE Eddie Guerrero sneaky heel. He bumped big for Jose (including a great bump to the floor into the railing) and ate the pop-up KO punch great, made it look like a deserving finisher.

2. Ruby Riot/Sarah Logan vs. Sonya Deville/Mandy Rose

ER: This might have actually been my favorite match of the night (this or the women's title 3 way), which I wouldn't have expected had I seen the specific match listing before the show. But I came away really impressed with the Deville/Rose team. Deville may have actually been my favorite performer of the night, but both were great as a team. Both really knew how to work from the apron, better than almost anyone else on the show. Deville especially was awesome, always throwing cheap shots (even ones that weren't meant to land, just always keeping the idea there) and was smart at how she moved around the ringpost to attack. Rose kept fans in the front engaged while not distracting from the match, both had good timing on their sneak shots. I think a couple of Deville's nastiest strikes came while she was on the apron, namely Riot getting tossed into the ropes and Deville laying a kick right into her lower back. Riot was a great FIP and we got two versions of a spot I really love, the babyface trying to leap to the hot tag but getting caught in midair by the heel, and those seconds spent with the face caught but still tryyyying to reach for that tag but falling short. The way they handled it was great: Riot ran for the tag but Deville caught her, Riot coming really close to a tag (and Logan doing a great job of reaching for the tag while still being mindful of the tag rope), but Deville threw her off. Riot caught up and charged back looking to do the same, and Deville just speared her out of the air. Awesome spot. Rose bumps really acutely as a heel, she whips over super fast on armdrags, really making the faces look like superheroes. Logan I had never seen before (she appeared to be working a female Skinner Steve Keirn gimmick, or maybe a girl you would talk to at a small town tailgate party) and wasn't too impressed; she didn't really know what to do on the apron, and had a kind of stilted hot tag. But Rose worked around it fine and I came away really loving the match.

3. Oney Lorcan vs. Lars Sullivan

ER: Lorcan wasn't announced ahead of time for these shows (and they announced like 18 people), so I wasn't expecting him, so he was quite the pleasant surprise. He's definitely one of my favorites and the crowd was into him. Lars was a guy I had never heard of before, and the dude is a monster. He looks like Nate Diaz, if Nate Diaz had grown to hideous proportions by chugging Venom all day in Arkham Asylum. It was a fairly short match with Lars dominating, and while the guy is super green he still looked impressive. We got two different press slam spots (and I love press slam spots), with him pressing Lorcan from the floor into the ring, and him holding up a delayed slam in the ring. Lorcan gets a couple nice moments, like him switching his weight on a slam to maneuver into a sleeper, but the match peaked once he snapped and started going off on Sullivan. Lorcan started flying wildly into him with his awesome uppercuts, grabbed Lars by the beard and started slapping the hell out of him, but then flies off the ropes for another uppercut and gets demolished by a lariat. Sullivan wins with a huge uranage (does another after the match for good measure), but I was hoping for ONE more Lorcan hope spot; if he had reversed that uranage into a guillotine choke or DDT, before the inevitable Lars win, this could have been MOTN. As it was, it was still a blast.

4. Kassius Ohno vs. Killian Dain

ER: Ohno is rocking the Sac Kings gear and Dain...is another of those War Machine Hanson types who is big and burly and hoss-like but usually doesn't come off like a hoss. I keep getting tricked by this guy as my brain goes "OH GREAT a big fat hairy guy" but then I remember that I've never actually seen a Big Damo match that I liked. He doesn't have great strikes, but he still has a higher floor than most guys because he has moments where he uses his fat. Being fat and using your fat will get at least some reaction from me. Ohno was the reason to watch this and Hero as Buddy Rose is extremely entertaining. This could have been more of a bomb throwing hoss battle, but what we got was good stuff. Dain is kind of a lousy seller, and doesn't take very interesting bumps, but he leaned into plenty of elbows and kicks from Ohno, and as one would expect Ohno's elbows and kicks loosened jaws. Ohno had some fun show off moments, like his rope flip Misawa feint, and still nuttily busting out his handspring from in the ring to the apron to the floor. He does that and blasts Dain in the jaw, I flip out. I still don't know how Ohno makes his roundhouse pump kick look so good, but it always does. We get both men using fat guy sentons, Ohno does a great elbow pad removal before attempting a killshot (you all know how much I love Lawler taking down the strap, Valentine moving the shin guard, etc., so Ohno tossing the pad is 8 stars from me), Hero misses a great moonsault (and calls his shot by pointing at Dain through his legs from up top!), Dain finishes with a nice Vader bomb (got good and horizontal), and more good spots that I'm forgetting. I don't think we could have expected a better match from these two, so I was plenty pleased.

5. Nikki Cross vs. Ember Moon vs. Asuka

ER: This was my other contender for favorite of the night, even with the 3 way aspect kind of making itself known too often. I'll give credit to all the gals involved for busting ass and getting around the stip. Even though there WAS a lot of "person sells on floor longer than normal so other two can work", they got to those moments in quality ways. I hate in a 3 way where someone is in the ring having a normal match, then takes a move, holds their midsection and rolls to the floor for a few minutes. It's so unnatural. Nobody ever does that in a singles match. Here the attacks themselves actually knocked the person to the floor, with the best being Asuka doing a baseball slide dropkick on Nikki but Nikki catching her in the apron skirt and clubbering her to a pulp. All three women looked great, with Asuka looking like a superstar. She has awesome charisma, I like her moveset, great look, and she has no problem leaning into strikes. I did think Nikki's frayed bootcut jeans were a little amateur, but she seems like she wrestles like a female Dean Ambrose, so I guess it fits. And she's probably better than current Dean Ambrose so why not. Asuka landed some nice hip attacks and locked in a sick abdominal stretch/cravate, Cross and Moon both had some nice respective clubbing forearms and kicks, but surprisingly the real good moments of the match happened with all three in the ring. We got a superplex/powerbomb spots, which are a little played out at this point, but a superplex is always going to look nasty. Best spot was a beautifully timed moment where Cross was getting back into the ring but got nailed with a running butt attack by Asuka, knocking her into the guardrail. It leaves Asuka sitting on the middle rope (where she made contact), and one beat later Moon nails her with a superkick (and it was the nastiest strike of the night, even factoring in Lorcan and Ohno). The hit all the beats perfectly, sequence of the night. The end involving all three was also great, with Moon hitting the eclipse, really nasty finish that Cross made look like a whiplash inducing snap. Asuka runs in from the floor, attacks Moon, throws her to the floor, vultures the win. It doesn't sound special, but the timing was so exact that it was a great finish. The misdirection was strong, it genuinely looked like Moon could get the win, and Asuka made it in, tossed Moon, and stole the win in perfectly believable bam bam bam timing. Great stuff.

6. SAnitY (Eric Young/Alexander Wolfe) vs. Authors of Pain

ER: Well, Authors of Pain still stink. These guys are a bad Ascension, and you can see how well Ascension have done on the main roster (they do probably have better looks than Ascension, so that may help them). This whole thing started pretty ugly with a before-the-bell brawl that was supposed to look unhinged, but just looked like four guys throwing mostly bad punches. Wolfe's punches especially looked terrible. BUT he was redeemed later. So let's skip to later, because this match was dry as a desert. AoP had dud control segments, though EY is still a good face bumper. I had written most of this off, but then EY got the hot tag and Wolfe had an actual good hot tag run. His timing was on point and his energetic elbows and clotheslines and house on fire offense was surprisingly effective. We built to a couple nifty nearfalls, and AoP won the match by DQ by dragging ref Drake Younger out of the ring and punching him. So, pretty lame. BUT, then Wolfe hits a wild flip dive and EY hits a fast bullet tope, so for a match with a cheap finish it sure exited the ring better than it entered. Salvaged.

7. Hideo Itami vs. Johnny Gargano

ER: I'm sure many would say this was the match of the night, and I liked the first half, but once it devolved into sexy dance fighting and clumsily set-up signature offense I think it got a little cold. The early parts were worked slower, with Itami grinding in headlocks and playing an amusing "Budro not wearing kneepads" stalling house heel, avoiding contact and rolling to the floor to avoid stuff. I was digging it. Itami kept taking nice little bumps to the floor, landing in painful ways, falling into the railing, great bullshit. But at a certain point went into our rehearsed we're having a real WAR part of the evening, with unnatural spot set up and strike exchanges and dramatic kickouts that weren't dramatic. Itami still has a bunch of holdover 2004 offense, nowhere near as good as his stalling heel work. Gargano gets into the ring, Itami stops him with a nice kick to the chest. Then Gargano has to act like he's stuck entering the ring, hanging in the ropes, for 10 seconds so Itami can stomp him off the ropes. The stomp looked nasty, the landing rough, but the set up is just absurd in 2017. Gargano has a bunch of smaller versions of those moments, unnaturally rushing over to roll Itami over so Gargano can hit his sliding pivot kick, or getting kicked into place just so he can deliver a strike in a certain way. It's unnatural and silly. The finish was at least hot, as I liked the reversal. Itami went for the Go 2 Sleep, Gargano caught his knee on the way down and locked in the Gargano escape. The crowd even seemed to get more robotic during the "hot strikes" section, doing a lethargic "This is Awesome" chant (though this match was the first match back after intermission, so I don't think I can fully blame the crowds lethargy on their robotic match structure).

8. Roderick Strong/Aleister Black/Drew McIntyre vs. Riddick Moss/Tino Sabbatelli/Bobby Roode

ER: This really had to win me over, as entrances alone took 16 minutes. I knew I had a 2.5 hour drive back home, and it was already 10:15. Jesus, Aleister, walk a little bit faster to the ring. So the entrances take an eternity, I was ready to dump all over the match, but everybody really busted their ass. I expected nothing from Moss and Tino, two guys who you might recognize from their trick bartending work at The White Swallow, but they were really great at feeding all the face team offense and stooging around, nicely playing off Roode's stooging. They acted like Roode acolytes and it was amusing the way Roode kept throwing them to the wolves. Strong looked great here, and it's kind of wild to think that my favorite period of Strong's career has been the last 2-3 years. He's been around so long, I just think he's really finetuned his game. His chops blister and he's great at crowd control in a busy match like this. And those backbreakers still break. Aleister Black worked stiff and did some nutty stuff on a non-taped house show, peaking when he hit a moonsault to the floor on Moss & Tino. Roode kept trying to avoid McIntyre the whole match, rolling to the floor, even getting shoved back towards the ring by an older woman at one point (A STUNT GRANNY!?!?). All three heels did some inspired apron work, acting like great meatheads. We got a hot sequence where everybody hits their finisher, where one guy hits his, then he takes the next guy's and so on. WWE is always pretty shockingly great at the timing of those and this was no different. Tino makes it work by running fast into McIntyre's shotgun knee, but the whole thing was hot. Again, I was pretty tired at this point, just sat through an intermission and the two weakest matches of the night and THEN 16 minutes of ring entrance...but they won me back over. No small feat.

Another great NXT house show, I really hope they keep doing these so that I can see them once a year. According to special live guest William Regal, he was happy that they got 1,500+ people there, since early NXT shows "did 50 people on a good night". Is he acting like NXT used to play smoky bingo halls until they took them to the big time?? But this show was a great time, filled with a crowd that loves pro wrestling, watched in a great old wrestling venue. Yes, please.

Oh, and a final shoutout to the NXT ring announcer, who had no protected seat so had to sit right at ringside with the ring bell, and ran around ringside away from the action all night in very high heels. She put on a Julie Newmar-esque performance of high heel running and irked facials.


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Saturday, August 12, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 109

Episode 109

1. Cain Justice vs. Cecil Scott

ER: I was really excited for this one, and I think it totally delivered, though in a different way than I was expecting. I'm completely unfamiliar with Cecil Scott: Wrestler, but I know he's been only a couple match guy per year the last several years, and those matches are typically battle royal type appearances. So I expected this to be a clear underdog vs. a cocky current wrestler, with Cain taking 75% and Cecil getting a couple great moments before the expected loss. And I was excited for that as I've loved the build. But this match was Cecil basically working a straight match with Cain, without Cain working like he was underestimating him. On paper I would call bullshit, but in practice Cecil brought it and the match was a killer slab of 8 minute wrestling. Cecil looks fired off and pissed the whole match, and I like what he brings. Cain is great at being super annoying with cheap shot superman punches and eye pokes, Cecil throws some mean uppercuts, this whole thing started good and maintained. Cain is a loon for bumping around to the floor with no boots, and Cecil kept pouncing. Big moment of the match came when Cecil ducked a high kick but got caught with a sneaky spin kick right after, and I loved how Cecil sold it: He lurched forward angrily and then grabbed his head and fell back defensively. Really looked like when an MMA guy takes a kick and his muscle memory keeps him moving forward before his brain catches up to how hard the shot was. Cain has a couple nasty ways to take apart an arm, and I flipped when Cecil was getting back in the ring and Cain kicked his loose arm, then grabbed the arm and punted it. He goes to lock on the sure finish armbar and Cecil got a great flash nearfall roll-up off it, before Cain gets that arm back. Wasn't expecting this to be so competitive, and with the work this good I did not mind one bit.

PAS: Really impressed with how plausible Cecil Scott made his attack. The story of the match was Cecil Scott not having the cardio to work a long match, so he had to unload everything at once. His rush attack was really nice, including some really nasty looking uppercuts. I am also amused at what a puro mark Scott clearly is, stuff like the Hashimoto DDT, the attempted German Suplex into the crowd and the delayed Kawada sell, I often find that kind of thing aggrivating, but I found it kind of endearing here, and the delay sell of that high kick into a spin kick was a great holy shit moment. I also really dug the roll up off of the first twist ending attempt, Scott is an analyst so it makes sense he would have a sneaky counter ready. Cain is undeniable at this point, he has got to be one of the best rookies I can remember seeing and he is having great matches week after week with a wide variety of  different types of wrestlers.

2. The Carnies vs. Donnie Dollars & Kevin Ku

ER: I thought this was really good, my favorite Carnies match so far, just a great 10 minute clinic of teamwork. Iggy and Awful complement each other so nicely, they had me hooked from the moment Awful tagged in and headbutted Ku in the ribs. Later Awful gets desperate and clocks Ku in the back of the head with an elbow, and my love springs eternal. Ku had some nice strikes but too often fell into 2017 indy striker mode, but the Carnies showed they can working interesting stuff around an indy striker. The sequence setting up Dollars getting dumped to the floor was masterful from all involved, Dollars missing a charge into the ropes, Awful making a low bridge that was timed great, Dollars taking a wild bump to the floor, and Iggy hitting a nutso dive. Loved Awful's maneuvering in the corner to get Ku in a roll up, seemed like some trippy World of Sport stuff, except better than almost anyone currently ripping off old WoS videos. The boston crab/kneedrop is a great simple, effective double team, and I love how Awful's elbow earlier foreshadowed it. Great stuff all around.

PAS: This was a bunch of fun. Carnies are great, but I really dug the makeshift Ku/Dollars team too. Dollars was great as an old school wrestling powerhouse, he wrestled like JYD or Bruno, just big heavy shots and throws. I really liked Ku too, took big bumps and his strikes were really nasty, the head kick looked great, normally that is a move that is too leg slappy, but Ku looked like Low-Ki. I agree about how awesome the finish was, set up that boston crab kneedrop perfectly and it is a super nasty looking finish.

3. Aric Andrews vs. Mitch Connor

ER: Cain jumps Mitch before the bell, and Cain is really great at making me want to see every one of his next feuds. He'll start one feud before his other feuds are fully blown off, and it keeps me interested in his current feuds while also setting up new challengers. Yeah, feud with Cecil is over, but he didn't waste any time setting this up with Mitch, and always seems to have his hand in a couple honey jars, even clapping Stutts on the back on his way to the back. Connor sold the belt shot to the back of the head great, and Andrews was flat out vicious with Connor. All of Andrews' knee strikes looked great, the one that finished that match especially looked like a knee that should finish a match.

PAS: Nifty bit of wrestling business. Mitch returned to wrestling after a stroke and he really sells those head shots like he might have another one right in the ring. I loved the tough old guy refusing to forfeit, but still get steamrolled. His one forearm from the ground was great and the final jumping knee looked totally brutal, I loved his KO sell.

4. Brad Attitude vs. Nick Richards

ER: Killer match from these two. I wasn't sure they'd be able to fill time, but both did, convincingly. Attitude is so vicious and I loved how the match looked it would be almost an Attitude steamrolling, but then he got so aggressive that as he flung his body into Richards it sent him careening past the turnbuckles to the floor. That's a really cool way to give Richards some early space and recovery, and Attitude made both his attack and his bump look nasty. Richards doesn't seem like he should work. He's a good everyman, every one of us knows a guy who looks like him. Some of his offense doesn't seem like it should work, but it does (his weird shots to the chest always seem look terrible 80% of the way through delivery...and then they hit great), and he sells his ass off. Well, here he sold his arm off. Crowd stuff was simple and good, nice posting from Attitude. They overcome a dangerous moment where Attitude does his rope flip senton, adjusts to a rolling Richards and ends up basically torpedoing headfirst. But he tears at that arm and Richards sells that arm great the whole way (my favorite being when he let out an anguished yell while hooking the leg). Richards comebacks were nice, his cannonball crashed, and I loved how they built to him going for that wild elbow off the apron....right into Attitude catching him in a triangle. It was used interestingly in a non-stip match, as Attitude lets him pass out and hopes for the count out. Attitude takes DDTs and cutters great, which makes him the ideal opponent to help Richards' offense look its best. I do think Richards kicked out of a bit too many things, that low superkick after Attitude shrugged off a roll up attempt looked especially devastating (helped no doubt by Richards' fantastic crumple sell of it), and the finish absolutely did not work for me. They were going for something lofty, something difficult, and it just didn't work. It was supposed to be Attitude going for a moonsault and getting cuttered on the way down, it looked at most like Richards just slowed down his momentum slightly. After everything Richards kicked out of, I just didn't buy this finishing off Attitude. Still, overall the match was great, high end performances from both guys. With a better end I could see this winding up pretty high on a list.

PAS: I really loved this, what a performance by both guys. Attitude is such a star, his timing, selling and offense is so great looking. I loved all of his arm work on Richards, some of the arm work looked like something Negro Navarro would bust out. I liked the story of Richards being able to get an edge on the floor, but he was still outclassed in the ring.  The Richards Cactus elbow off the apron into a triangle choke is one of my favorite spots of the year, such a creative idea executed perfectly. Attitude choking him out and going for the count out is such an asshole move, fits perfectly with his character. I liked the finish, Attitude gets frustrated about not being able to put this kid away and goes for a cheap shot with a chair, a ref grabs it from him and it throws off his timing enough to get caught in cutter. I liked this more then any of the pimped Lee matches, it had great looking offense and big moves and great selling, and it never got into the overkill that the Lee stuff can fall victim too.

PAS: Tremendous hour of youtube. Every match delivered what it needed to, you had a nifty angle to set up the main event and the main event was a killer. Well done!

ER: Yeah this may have been my favorite episode of CWF yet, and we have obviously enjoyed several of them. Attitude/Richards is an easy entry into our 2017 MOTY List, and we though Cecil Scott/Cain Justice was too much fun to leave off, so that makes it too. Two matches on the MOTY list within one hour, yeah this was some great pro wrestling TV right here.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Bad News Berzerker Goes to Japan: Part 5, Brian Costello Edition

John Nord/Stan Hansen/Brian Costello vs. Steve Williams/Richard Slinger/Johnny Gunn (AJPW 1/20/94)

ER: It's kind of weird seeing six big white dudes wrestling in an All Japan ring. This will be a future post in our "Complete & Accurate Whitest Matches in Japanese Wrestling History". But, I mean, this match right here might be it. This match right here has a Johnny, a John, a Dick, a Stan, a Brian, and a Steve. Now I am doing zero research on this, BUT...I guarantee you that over the course of the smash television series Friends, among Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, they had to have dated a couple  Johnnys, a Richard, a Stan, a Brian and a Steve. Imagine the total number of cargo shorts that have ever been purchased in America. Now, what percentage of those shorts do you think were bought by or for somebody named Johnny, Richard, Stan, Brian or Steve. I'm putting the over/under at...3.5%. Brian Costello alone looks like the whitest guy to ever get an All Japan tour. And after these six white men deal with their collective gluten allergies and/or commit arbitrage, they have a really fun match! It starts with Doc trying to rough up Nord but getting caught with a nasty dropkick under the chin...and then 2/3 of the match is Doc playing FIP. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Nord tosses Doc to the floor and Hansen beats the shit out of him, slams him into the railing, throws a freaking table on him, kicks his arm, and continues wrecking that arm back in the ring (I love when Hansen drops his body weight onto someone's limb...basically every single way Hansen moves is pro wrestling). Costello even gets in on the fun, getting Doc in a Fujiwara armbar and yelling "ask him, ref!" I was rooting for the most shocking submission in AJPW history, myself. Slinger makes a nice hot tag and has a nice run against Nord. Slinger isn't a guy who gets talked about much but he was a real impressive athlete, always had super high kicks that landed hard, and a cool mix of offense. Here he comes in, lands a bunch of great kicks on Nord, and in an amusing moment kicks Nord so hard that it sends him stumbling backwards into a Hansen hot tag, who sprints in and flattens Slinger with a shoulderblock. Hansen really works Slinger like he has some sort of mean grudge, the best sequence seeing him catch a spin kick and just slam him backwards on his head, then stomp him right in the same spot on the back of his head. When Death tags back in he's all ablaze, wisely targeting Costello. Berzerker gets dispatched and takes a nice bump over the top (shock!) and also makes a great save, getting fully horizontal with a diving axe handle. But eventually Costello is left alone with Doc and eats the doctor bomb (but avoids getting dumped on his head, so, you know, small victories).

John Nord/Stan Hansen/Brian Costello vs. Akira Taue/Toshiaki Kawada/Takao Omori (AJPW 1/25/94)

ER: This is JIP, skipping the first 6 minutes, right into Taue locking in an abdominal stretch on Costello, pushing down on his head so Costello touches his knee with his own ear. This match has some longer stretches of both Costello and young cocky Takao Omori, which are two things that nobody has ever requested from a wrestling match. Omori dropkicks Nord a few times, and I would say Nord is generous for selling them. But Omori definitely has a cockiness to him here, which makes me excited for Hansen eventually coming in and beating the piss out of him, Hansen style. Hansen doesn't even wait until he's tagged in, instead rescuing Costello from a pinfall, throwing Omori to the floor, then beating him with a chair. Omori has an annoying habit - twice - of shying away from Nord's big boot, so Nord doesn't allow him to shy away from chops, a big legdrop, nice kneedrop and some boots to the back of the head. Omori hits what we'll call an axe bomber on Hansen, but Omori wimps out on it and Hansen bumps weird for it. Later, Hansen opts to not wimp out and instead opts to smash Omori's jaw with a match ending western lariat. Before that Omori gets a surprisingly effective nearfall off a roll up as Costello clumsily jumps in to cut off Kawada. Nord was plenty fun here, but this match was made by Hansen being Hansen.


COMPLETE & ACCURATE BERZERKER

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Villano Familia v. Black Terry and the Boys

51. Black Terry/Demonio Infernal/Diablo Jr. v. Villano IV/Kortiz/Villano III Jr. IWRG 5/3


PAS: This was a good old fashioned smash a head into a beer cooler Arena Naucalpan brawl. Villano III Jr. is a little green and a little slight for a Villano but I though he had good energy and he and Terry really went after each other. This was worked as local rudos vs. invading rudos which is always a fun lucha trope. The little moments of VIV and Terry brawling were sublime, at one point Terry starts bleeding and Villano IV just goes after that cut with a true bit of nasty focus. Kortiz looks virtually indistinguishable from a classic Villano, slightly different outfit but otherwise he would fit right in a UWA match in the 90s. The only downside of this match was a weirdly blown finish with Villano IV rolling up Terry but Terry clearly kicking out before three, no idea whether the ref just missed it, or it was supposed to be a weird rudo ref thing, it was deflating though. Otherwise this was well worth watching.

ER: The odds are pretty good that if a match literally opens with Black Terry and a Villano punching each other on the floor, that I'm going to like the match. And guess what? I liked the match. This was my first time seeing Villano III Jr., and he had a couple kinks (if you can't throw a decent back elbow, don't throw one at Terry, as he will demonstrate how to strike) and he's real lanky, like no Villano you've ever seen (compared to Kortiz, who may as well have been Villano V, just the same exact shape, even his face looks similar through his mask), but he takes some big bumps (that backwards flip bump into the crowd is quite the crazy lucha bump to be turning into a common bump) and he does have certain "Villano" things down like that "left left left right" strike combo, and I liked his kicks. He doesn't spam superkicks or anything, he just had solid "normal" kicks. That's a good sign for his future work. Diablo is getting better literally every match I see him, Kortiz too. They're becoming guys I need to seek out whenever they make tape. But if you're watching this, you're probably watching it to see Terry and V4 mix it up, and they certainly mix it up. As I said, the file literally starts with them punching each other, and they kinda stay at each other's throats for the first two falls. Terry gets buster open quick and bleeds the way Terry bleeds, scraps with everyone throughout the match, and Villano looks as badass as ever. V4 has slowed down a bit but throws some great strikes, barrels through dudes with a mean western lariat, really works like a bully. Finish of the match is total horse apples, with Terry kicking out well before the 3 but the ref counting anyway. Laaaaaame. The ref didn't even seem like he was working lucha heel ref, just looked like he kept counting and stubbornly stuck to his guns. In a year of lousy finishes, this might be the worst. Still, enjoy the journey and all that, there was tons of gold to be found.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Bad News Berzerker Goes to Japan: Part 4

John Nord/Stan Hansen vs. Akira Taue/Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW 1/12/94)

ER: This was two halves of two different, pretty great matches, that didn't totally add up when all was done. This goes nearly 17 minutes, and for much of the first 8 we see Taue and Kawada taking apart Hansen's lariat arm. Sadly, once he hot tags Nord, none of that match ever returns. The last half is some big slams and clubbering - which is what I expected the match to be - but I was really liking the match it looked like we were getting. Nord and Hansen both club away to start, with Nord breaking out some choice chokes, strangling Kawada and choking him over the top rope. Soon though Kawada begins twisting and yanking Hansen's arm, and we start going somewhere unexpected. The big surprise is Taue being a nasty MFer on the mat. He's sorta clumsy - which you expected - but it was a blast watching him maneuver Hansen into an armbar. I'm pretty positive I've never seen Taue do an armbar, and armbars looked especially weird in pro wrestling in 1994. The best is Hansen starts to escape, and Taue, lying on the mat on his side, starts kicking at Hansen's face and arm. Hell. Yes. Taue was looking more like an Inoki prodigy than a Baba ball washer and it was glorious. Hansen does eventually punish him for the arm work, smacking him around, grabbing him by the hair to do some great short headbutts, kicking him in the spine, dropping an elbow, and I've always been a huge fan of Taue's more realistic bumping. Taue was like a weird mixture of Inoki groundwork and Terry Funk stooging here, and...I mean it's fucking Taue so it's already good, but damn was he fun.

Nord gets the tag and sadly we never go back to that arm. The big hosses take over and you can really see Nord tightening up strikes working these hard hitters; his big boots are on point, he levels Taue with a shoulderblock (he still fits in a fast bump over the top to the floor, naturally), his slams land hard, his chops are blistering. Hansen had a kind of formula he would work with whomever was his big hoss tag partner on any given tour, and Nord mostly slots into Hansen Underhoss. They work standard big dude double teams, like your double shoulderblock. At one point Hansen holds Kawada  and Nord hits an actual stiff axe handle on him. Hansen even takes the bigger bump of the two, charging shoulder first into the corner and flying over the top with a boss Slaughter bump you don't normally see Hansen take. I really liked how Taue/Nord matched up, plenty of nice moments and I especially loved Nord missing a running Taue with a boot, but then catching him off the ropes with a powerslam. Nord eventually misses a big splash and HDA takes over with a nice backdrop/nodowa combo, Hansen makes a nice save for a quality false finish, and Nord gets finished off after another chokeslam (kicking out right after 3). The wrestling itself was really good (although Kawada has weirdly come off more clumsy on rewatch than I remember), but it felt like we got the beginning half of one match, and the end half of the other. It felt like we were only getting half of two different killer matches. The existing match is plenty fun, but it's cruel to see a glimpse of what it could have been.


COMPLETE & ACCURATE BERZERKER

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Brock v. Joe 2

41. Samoa Joe v. Brock Lesnar WWE 7/28

PAS: This was a house show version of their great PPV match. Lots of the same beats with Joe jumping Lesnar at the bell, although not nearly as big of a beat down. Couple of nifty little wrinkles, with Joe breaking a belly to belly attempt with a irish kiss headbut, and Joe successfully getting in the hooks on the choke, forcing Brock to have to fight to the ropes. I am really sick of seeing finisher spamming, but again Joe goes down to a single F5 after taking most of the match, I think I would have liked to see him absorb a couple of more big shots and get a near fall. Still these guys match up well, and I always appreciate seeing house show versions of PPV matches I loved.

ER: This is definitely a scaled back version of their PPV match, but it does hold one major advantage over the PPV match, in that we get to sit right in the middle of the fans and here bigger reactions and tons of kids flipping out for every single movement. Kids changed their allegiances by the second, and it was great hearing them scream for Joe, then flip out for suplex city. I thought Joe's attacks looked really great and while he technically controlled far more of the match, I like how serious Brock's suplexes are treated; him hitting a massive overhead belly to belly and a couple Germans is enough to even the odds. But Joe looked like a guy who could genuinely stop Brock, and the two big moments here felt HUGE: Joe headbutting Brock on a suplex attempt, and him slowly breaking Brock down from a choke. Joe set up that choke like Bill Dundee used to, really turning it from a lariat into a choke. And each step of it felt like a big deal. Brock fading, dropping onto a knee...and then Joe finally sinking in the hooks, that felt like a massive deal. The finish did seem sudden and I was hoping Joe would somehow get a foot under the ropes or something, but I love house shows and this was a quality slab of house show man event.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST

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