Segunda Caida

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mesias Can't Count How Many Heads He Had to Sever

El Mesias/Electroshock v. Blue Demon Jr./La Parka AAA 8/9/15 - FUN

ER: Mesias coming out victorious over the Turks in the Vlad Dracula armor is one of the absolute coolest entrances ever. Juxtapose that with Demon coming out to modern Red Hot Chili Peppers and...yeah. And I actually quite liked this. Demon/Parka is a team of stiffs if ever there was one, but Mesias is great at dragging stuff out of Parka, and he does here. He baits him into a nice punch exchange (Mesias' overhand rights are some of the best in wrestling), brawls with him over the railing and into the crowd, eats a tope by safely catching Parka and slamming hard into the barricade; Mesias bumps big throughout and makes Parka look tough. Electroshock is a guy who is always a bit better than he seems. He's a guy that nobody goes out of their way to watch, but always comes off like a competent not-as-good Mesias when I do see him. He feeds Demon nicely here; I liked their opening older man lucha segment, working as smaller guys, rolling up into armdrags, and I liked their finishing run with Electroshock breaking out a big powerslam and powerbomb, before Demon taps him with a nice octopus. I think this was given just the right amount of time, didn't have that typical AAA overkill, and all guys complemented each other nicely. A nice little carry by Mesias/Electro.

PAS: Mediocre match, but it had it's moments. I really loved the initial Parka v. Mesisas section where they take the lock up all the way into the crowd. I would assume these two had a singles match, and I need to track that down as I imagine it is a fun budget version of Mesias v. LA PARK. Demon looked like Demon, but he didn't do anything egregious, and I liked his head scissors. Messias also hit a nice spear, still this was pretty forgettable overall.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE EL MESIAS 

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Bourgeoise Better Watch Out For Daisuke Ikeda

Daisuke Ikeda v. Masahito Kakihara Inoki Festival 12/30/95-GREAT

This is basically what it would have looked like if Fujiwara brought his guys to UWFI rather then forming PWFG. This was more technical shootstyle then boundary pushing violence. I always love watching Kakihara throw shots, he has maybe the fastest hands in wrestling history and it can be like watching prime Manny Pacquiao. There was some great struggles here, Ikeda gets put in a nasty heel hook and throws these cool frantic kicks to get out. Ikeda wasn't at Kakihara's level yet, and the hierarchy difference kept this from being an all time classic. Ikeda was pretty much on defense the whole match, and we never got to see him unleash his hell. Still a ton of skill in this match.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE IKEDA

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 26: A Fenix to a Flame

ER: Okay, so the first round of the most innovative single elimination #1 contender tournament in wresting history was kind of a bust. It had a memorable Paul London performance and I liked Pentagon/Argenis. That's...not a lot to come out of 4 weeks and 16 matches. Here's hoping we get some burners in the late rounds.

TL: Stoked that Vampiro doesn’t have Arau’s name to mispronounce now. Truly feels like a step forward in the commentary of the promotion.

1. Jeremiah Crane vs. Taya

ER: Really fun match, felt like they played the battle of the sexes at just the right level. Taya didn't take 75% of the match like every awful Sexy Star vs. Male matches, and what she did take felt earned. Her and Crane shouldn't be going tit for tat, and my favorite moment was the way Taya bailed and crumbled during a slap exchange. Once I saw them squaring up for a strike exchange I was fully prepared to eyeroll, but they handled it great with Taya slapping him around and then Crane blitzing her with far harder smacks and she immediately goes down. Taya can really take a mean beating, Crane didn't have to hold back, and there was some wild stuff: Crane hits his low tope suicida, cannonballs her into the chairs, Crane kicks her (har har). Taya gets in some logical comebacks, with a big furry boot to the balls making the most sense to block the facewash. She was nuts for taking some of this stuff, and the match benefitted greatly for it.

TL: Man, forgot where JC was billed from, as “The Last House on the Left” just doesn’t jive. Also, a fan in the crowd has a Rick Knox t-shirt, which, well, what ref t-shirts would you want to own? Tommy Young? Joe Higuchi? Definitely not a Hebner. Definitely not a Red Shoes. Anyways, this match begins on the outside a lot like the Killshot match and Taya already sells the beating way better than Killshot, especially considering she slapped him to start. I also like how Taya came back by outsmarting Crane with the balcony work, because in essence, the way this match is booked, she being a part of the Worldwide Underground means she can have some kind of tactical advantage. And the counter off the running boot is FANTASTIC. Took me a moment to figure out what happened, but man, this is a great match. The other part is that even though Taya is tactically sound, she’s also vain, which leads to her downfall in some ways. Don’t like her last minute counter after the powerbomb for the nearfall, but otherwise, I REALLY liked this match, and Taya’s selling and facial expressions were fantastic. Feel like she’s underrated, but that might be me being in the wrong circle, too.

TL: Aerostar being a time traveler makes me wonder why they don’t do some type of gimmick where he’s the LU bookie. I mean, we’re talking about a fed run by a dude who has hidden several murders in his life, including cops and government officials. You can’t tell me Aerostar being the LU bookie would be beneath this promotion.

2. Mil Muertes vs. Paul London

ER: Okay, 2nd round matches are delivering just fine so far. London pulls out all the stops against Muertes, Muertes gets to come off invincible by surviving tons of London's biggest moves and run-ins from his flunkies. I will say that after all that, the flatliner is a pretty weak "death move", but it's a testament to Muertes that he can make some 1999 offense like a spear/flatliner combo seem plausible as a death move. London is almost a decade removed from WWE and bumping as big as ever. And the rolling heel kick out of the corner is lands rougher than most flashy kicks. London superkicks Muertes around the entire ring, and why is LU so damn inconsistent with their one SLAP sound effect. London's first 5 kicks had the exact same sound effect, but then they don't use it on the 6th? Why use it on almost every strike, but then skip one? It already sounds ridiculous, but it sounds far more ridiculous to make every strike sound exactly the same, and then suddenly have one delivered in dead silence. The multiple superkicks are kind of silly, but I like how London kept stumbling his way into delivering them, and loved the payoff of Mil finally catching one and clotheslining his head off. London can still hit the SSP better than maybe anyone, and I like the Tribe's interference made it seem like London could feasibly advance. 2nd round is definitely 2/2 so far.

TL: I’m here for the cat and mouse game and Paul London taking crazy ass bumps for Mil’s power offense. The cat and mouse game was cute. The flip bump off the tackle was nuts. I actually buy London being on something to start the match, only for Mil to whoop him up so much that he comes to a bit and that’s how he makes his comebacks. Striker makes a “Dick Trickle” joke and I groan. I actually dug the London Ode to the Massie Brothers superkick barrage on the outside for its goofiness. The mushroom stomp is also an awesome move that I wish other folks would use more often. The Mil chokeslam is suitably gnarly here. And then the spear and the Flatliner (which London, a crazy person, takes like a DDT) finishes a fun match. Muertes rules.

TL: Never thought we’d actually see a cuckold situation on LU with the Famous B/Texano stuff but here we are. I mean, it's not 100% confirmed that Brenda and B are an item, but c'mon, if you're B, you have to at least try, right? Brenda’s right though: Texano’s dull.

3. Marty the Moth Martinez vs. Fenix

ER: Another winner, even with the...acting...abilities of Melissa Santos on display towards the end. Fenix made up for the size difference by picking shots, landing big kicks (a spinkick right under the chin and a full extension superkick looked great), big dives, and using speed to make Moth miss him and bump. Marty takes a predictably Marty bump to the floor after charging and missing, flipping through the ropes and splatting on the floor. I definitely like Moth more as a guy taking offense, as he's big but lands hard, and takes nice appropriate flops and tumbles off big strikes. His offense could be a bit more simple, there's always a lot of steps to his slams, but they always land big. He hits a german early and could use more simple suplexes, instead we get a crucifix into a Gory special into a dominator that sees him also take a back bump and land Fenix onto his knees...it reads as complicated as it sounds, but the end result usually looks good. I also like how Moth is always in character during pinfalls, kind of oozing onto his opponent. Finish is silly with Santos stopping more Mariposa interference like a mother telling her kids to behave at the market ("Stop it! You stop it!") but this match was killer. An easy 3/3 for the 2nd round so far.

TL: I get that Santos is cute and there’s a bit of a following there with LU fans but she’s not doing it for me in this little angle. Marty’s schizo athleticism plays up here with a guy like Fenix, who just does crazy things for fun. Mariposa is a great second here, which shouldn’t come as any surprise. This is also some really good traditional rudo work by Martinez with the mask ripping and just general nastiness. Fenix has some great comebacks, and that springboard spinning back kick in the corner was absolutely ridiculous and worthy of the ridiculous sound effect. Fenix also must have read my review of the last match because he does his own mushroom stomp variation and I pop like crazy for it. Mothra is convoluted as all hell but Fenix took it very nastily. In fact, I like a lot of Marty’s indyriffic offense looks because he looks like a killer against a guy like Fenix. Santos only being able to say “Stop it!” is basically Skinemax/Hallmark Channel-level acting and it somehow leads to Fenix moving on. The postmatch payoff makes sense since Santos got involved, but as far as Marty using a fork is concerned, he really needs to watch some Abby in Puerto Rico for proper usage.

ER: This was my favorite episode in some time, the wrestling all delivered and the flow was good. This actually got me interested in the tourney, which I had not been until now.

TL: So this seems like a tourney where LU had 20 guys they wanted to showcase but didn’t want to hand out a bunch of byes. Which means that after the first round, it was going to get good. Pro wrestling tournaments are hard to mess up, and it looks like this one is hitting its stride. Like I said a few shows ago though: They’re really telegraphing the winner in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I’m intrigued to see how they get there and see if they play with those expectations going forward. It’s the least they can do and they’re doing it well.

Also, Eric and I are totally in sync in this show in a scary way and we wrote our reviews separately, so that goes to show you just how good we thought this episode was after quite the barrage of stinkers.

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Lord Regal is Driving Your Girlfriend Home

Lord Steven Regal v. 2 Cold Scorpio 7/27/93-FUN

PAS: Kind of an odd match, it is a 10 minute time limit draw worked about 85% on the mat. That is right up Regal's alley, but it doesn't really work to the strengths of 93 2 Cold. Regal had some great looking stuff, but Scorpio's counters and hold work looked a little tentative. Also when 2 Cold finally flies, he hits a weak looking superfly splash. Regal did enough stuff to get it to FUN, but this on paper looked like a dream match, and instead it felt like Regal imposing himself on the match.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE REGAL

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Friday, January 19, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 134

Episode 134

ER: We get Pop-Up Video running throughout the episode, bringing me back to some Chikara tape I bought 15 years ago.

1. Mace Li vs. Jesse Adler

PAS: This match happened before Adler won the TV title, on the same show as Arik Royal v. Snooty Fox. These guys train together and clearly have some stuff worked out, but it is still the same Adler match which has been boring me for a couple of months now. He does some good bodypart selling, and if he could develop some decent offense he could do something with that, but as of now his TV title reign is dragging down the show each week.

ER: Yeah I'm beyond over this. Every freaking week with these Adler matches. That standing shooting star is easily one of the worst looking finishers in wrestling. There are plenty of guys doing the same kind of stuff, only gracefully executing it and landing it without looking like they're dragging themselves out of a creek. And that spinning back elbow/fist to the mid section has to go. I am so in the weeds on Adler.

2. Trevor Lee/Ric Converse vs. Lee Valiant/Aric Andrews

PAS This is an impromptu tag after Andrews interrupts a Lee promo. This is before the Andrew gimmick change, and I loved the sleazy Andrews and Valiant tag team. There is some fun crowd brawling to open including Lee dumping Valiant head first into a garbage can. Converse and Valiant have had a long history (one of the cool things about the pop up video gimmick is all of the history stuff, Valiant and Converse worked a one hour iron man!) and worked well with each other. Fun energetic tag with plenty of shtick.

ER: Man I miss bearded Andrews. It's cruel showing us this older match, with skeezy bearded Andrews, in his great team with Valiant. Man I'd love to see these two with the tag belts. But as cruel as it was, they could give me a hot 7 minute tag like this every week and I'd keep coming back for more. Valiant was awesome here, and he's a guy who needs to be featured more (and was clearly a bigger name in the "pre-TV" era of CWF). He knew just how to work to every age level of this hot Chapel Hill crowd, knew to comically kick his legs a bunch when Lee dumps him in a trash can as kids squeal with delight, but knows how to throw hard shots and bump big to get the adults into everything. Valiant takes a huge spill to the gym floor from the ring, and then gets awesome height on a big time Sky High from Converse, and really sticks himself on a DDT. Trevor Lee is in full gym shorts and tiny boots and I always like that Lee, and teaming with Converse is a natural fit. I second Phil with enjoying all the pop up history, really helps me fill in blanks and backstory. And finding out Lee was only 15 in 2009 made me feel old. as. hell.

3. Nick Iggy vs. Chet Sterling

PAS: This was fine, both guys are solid wrestlers, it was a bit hammy though. Iggy is a really expressive heel and Sterling is really expressive babyface and having two guys on 10 like that, got a little theatre kidish, I need one guy to play it a bit cool. I did enjoy the Pop Up Video run down of all of Iggy's terrible pun nicknames, Grin Balor? CM Hunk? Oof.

ER: I liked the running gag of half the match being taken up by Iggy's nicknames. And I really want to see Dandy Orton now. Just a foppish powder wig upper crust dandy, but with sinister date rape eyes. It would be difficult to pull off. Not many people have Orton's naturally rape-y brand of charisma, and of those people I'm sure even fewer of them would be caught dead in powder makeup, a trim blouson, or knickers. But it's right there for the taking. The Pop-Ups take a darker turn as they reveal that Iggy has an obsession with Jeffrey Dahmer, which is probably something to keep off your Tinder profile. You don't see Uber drivers listing Ted Bundy as someone they admire. The match itself I thought was good, really fun, and I didn't really notice a lot of the hammy aspects. Iggy takes a great DDT on a show where I thought Valiant was guaranteed to have taken the nastiest DDT, his fishhook camel clutch was nasty, and I thought Iggy especially was really lacing in shots down the stretch. I thought he looked great during the strike exchange, throwing a few different great strikes (nice big punch, sharp elbow, big slashing overhand chop), although Sterling has a habit of pulling away from his own strikes, whiffing on a couple of elbows that were meant to be cut-off spots, and holding back on a yakuza kick. Iggy was great at getting into people's faces, a gal who no sells him and a little kid that jumps, and we build to a great dive from Sterling that levels Iggy (after he had just bumped big to the floor) and threatens to crash into the front row, but damn if every person in CWF is great about keeping their fans safe. Fun match, fun concept show.

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Yoshiaki Fujiwara Reveals Mysteries From the Darkness

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Billy Jack Scott U-DREAM 11/12/98-GREAT

PAS: U-Dreams was a short lived attempt to do post UWFI shootstyle. Billy Jack Scott is an ex-UWFI gaijin who was trained by Billy Robinson (according to the website for his Kentucky shoot wrestling school.) This was a pretty classic Fujiwara grappling fight, Scott was really aggressive and Fujiwara was using that aggression against him, turning shots and submission attempts into nasty holds. Finish was pretty great with Scott throwing Fujiwara and really fighting for a cross-armbreaker, he yanks and pulls, and Fujiwara is able to scoot around and lock on a nasty facelock for the tap, really cool to watch him execute every step of it.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flick of Severn's Wrist and You're Dead Baby

Dan Severn v. Steven Regal NWA 10/24/98 - GREAT

ER: This is a fairly infamous match, as less than a month later Regal would be sent to rehab, and showed up for this match reportedly in no shape to perform, and all feedback from the show was that he put on a bad or embarrassing performance in a bad match. An oft repeated story was that he even had his boots on the wrong feet (which, at a couple different moments you can clearly see is true). But perhaps time has been kind to a match worked in this style? Matwork is a far more accepted thing in indy wrestling now than it would have been in 1998. It's a long match, 27 minutes, and there isn't a strike thrown until the 23 minute mark. Before that it's a lot of standing grappling, wrist work, headlocks, headscissors, amateur pins, and many in the crowd get restless. It's strange that they get so restless, as Severn is accompanied by Dory Funk Jr. (who got a nice reaction), and if any of them had actually seen any Dory Funk Jr. matches then this match wouldn't seem too out of place. Lou Thesz was in attendance as well, so for all I know they were trying to do their representation of a throwback 1950s Thesz defense. It may have been the wrong match for the crowd at the time, but I think the match has aged rather nicely. Regal looks more tentative than anything, but even then I don't think there are close to any moments where he looks embarrassing. Really the weirdest thing he does is shake Dory's hand before the match, and proceeds to have a couple minute close conversation while Funk clearly tries to pull away from the handshake at least three times.

The match itself is a hard muga style, and it's a slow burn, but I think they do a good job of establishing the pace and building to small peaks within that pace. I found the standing grappling engaging, with Regal always trying to find advantages by stepping on the back of Severn's knee, which Severn mostly avoids (and which pays off nicely down the stretch when Regal finally just stomps on the knee to set up the Regal stretch, and Severn lets out a great anguished yell that really sells it). Severn has the strength advantage and he's able to bull Regal around a bit, but Regal is always there to force a forearm to face or grab viciously at an ear. I really liked all the work around Regal's headscissors, thought all of Severn's escape attempts came off tough and Regal never looked like he was letting him breathe. Severn gets a couple nice amateur slams, and I love Regal's little blocks at Severn's mat momentum, hooking an arm around Severn's leg to prevent advance, using his leg to shift weight and change the leverage, they were really satisfying in the overall match build. By the time Regal starts throwing uppercuts it feels like a huge moment, and Severn sells the uppercuts incredibly, really some of the best strike selling I've ever seen. Severn is stumbling around, staggered, dropping to a knee, falling in a natural way instead of a flat back bump; it really made it feel like Regal was beating up the champ. Severn's comeback is good and I love how Regal sold his finish, working to break the hold but knowing when he was beat. I thought this was an incredibly satisfying match, but also totally understand anybody live who might have been impatient with it. I watched it 20 years later, in a vacuum, removed from the show and removed from what wrestling commonly was at the time. But in 2017, this match worked tremendously well for me.

PAS: I really enjoyed this too, I thought Regal was pretty great and it was one of the better in no condition to perform, performances I can remember (Jerry Estrada in his Javier Cruz hair match is and always will be #1). They grind it down and work a really deliberate pace, and Regal is a master at a deliberate pace match, I can't think of anyone in wrestling history who is better at showing every part of a hold from start to finish, and adding little micro beats to hold. They worked holds for long periods, but they never sat in them, there was always struggle and movement. Loved Severn selling the uppercuts too, he is a guy who has been hit with real shots and knows how your body responds. I also liked that nasty Fujiwara armbar, and Regal sold it like the pain sobered him up. They responded to the terrible Jersey indy crowd by keeping it slow, and I think there is something punk rock about G.G. Allining the audience like that.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE DAN SEVERN NWA TITLE DEFENSES

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE REGAL


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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Starr v. WALTER

79. WALTER v. David Starr WXW 3/10

PAS: This is your other big pimped WALTER match from the WXW tourney, and I liked it a fair bit more then the final. We open with both entrances including some WXW fans sieg heiling WALTER incase you thought all of my jokes about WXW fans were unfair. Starr spends the first part of the match cleverly avoiding WALTER and using his aggression against him. Whenever WALTER catches him he really lays into him, every one of his forearms and kicks lands with real force, he is also really great at throws, there is a real explosion when he chucks a guy, and his slap down german is one of my favorite signature spots. Starr has nice offense and his big shots seem plausible, his elbows to the back of the head are super nasty, and he hits a big clothesline. Still Starr is a complete ham, his dramatic acting is cringeworthy it is on a 10 on the Shawn Michaels cry face level and it takes me out of the match, it takes me out of the drama of a match when one guy is going "LOOK HOW DRAMATIC THIS IS." Still there is a lot to like here, and WALTER has really turned into a beast.

ER: I always used to be slightly disappointed in WALTER matches. I always wanted to like him more than I actually ended up liking him. But WALTER has definitely grown into a guy that does not disappoint. Starr wrestles like Drew Gulak, if Gulak kept the strikes but decided to be Johnny Gargano instead of work the mat. He's a good babyface that hits hard, which is great as you need to hit WALTER hard to make things at least somewhat plausible. WALTER swings big and misses early, although the hits hit big. I love his big kicks and I love how Starr flies around for them. I love his throws and I love how Starr flies around for them. Starr wrestles like a guy with bad offense, and every time he goes on offense I expect it to look bad, and it usually looks great. That consecutive topes spot ranges from looking terrible to being a huge moment depending on who uses it: Seth Rollins looks like he's barely nudging a guy, whereas Blue Panther is old and a great babyface and makes it feel triumphant. Starr's topes here were closer to BP than they were to Rollins, and WALTER did a killer job flying around and into chairs. Starr shoving WALTER into the ropes to blast him in the back of the head over and over was one of the nastier moments I've seen in wrestling this year. WALTER was selling it great (although I'm sure a lot of us would sell a shot to the cerebellum pretty believably) and Starr's shots kept looking meaner and meaner. We don't overdo things to build to the ending, with one giant kickout by Starr after a release German and a lariat that upends him. I agree with Phil that I really would have loved Starr to dial things WAY back down the stretch. That wide eyed open mouth scream selling, like you're fucking Andy Dufresne bursting out of a hole outside your prison in the middle of a rainstorm after you kicked out of a headdrop? Stop it. But the good in this was great and I want more WALTER.

2017 Ongoing MOTY List

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They Praying For Jail but Togo Mastered the Pen

Dick Togo/Takuya Wada v. Koji Iwamoto/Nobuhiro Tsurumaki Hard Hit 9/24/17-GREAT


PAS: This was on an all grappling Hard Hit show, and was worked with no strikes as a jujitsu exhibition. I enjoy watching great mat work, and was really impressed how credible Togo looked against a Shooto guy like Tsurumaki. The Iwamoto v. Wada sections were really great too, I loved the great Iwamoto judo throw, which Wada was able to turn into a shoot powerbomb. Finish was what really took this over the top and made it a nomination. Tsurumaki has a tight standing guillotine choke which Togo is able to escape and turn into a crossface for the tap. Looked totally legit and showed great skill. Fun diversion.

ER: I've never been too acquainted with "mat Togo" so this was a real treat. It would have been very easy for this to look like an exhibition and I don't think it ever did. We get a lot of really cool competitive grappling, some nice rolling legbars, cool work around headlocks, all the stuff you would want. Again, super impressed with Togo here as it's always awesome to see someone absolutely go on the mat who you usually love for completely different reasons. I really liked when Tsurumaki was weighing him down with a chest press working for a limb, and Togo kept bucking him and bouncing hips until he wriggled free. I also liked some of the playfulness, like Togo spinning free and standing during an exchange with Iwamoto, but Iwamoto grapevining his leg and almost tripping him to the mat while he stood. We build to a big ending with Wada hitting the lone highspot of the match, rolling through and hitting a shootstyle doctor bomb on Iwamoto that was as awesome as it was unexpected. The Togo gets in and maneuvers swiftly into a snug crossface for the quick tap. A nice treat.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 133

Episode 133

1. Jesse Adler vs. Ivan Ali

PAS: Ali is a really big guy, maybe 6'6 or 6'7, and used his size nicely although is clearly really green. I write this every week, but the Adler push continues to befuddle me. He had a nice baseball slide counter to getting whipped into the ropes, but outside of that, it is all bad looking highflying offense which barely connects. That 450 splash gets no height at all, and it looks like he is going to crack his patella one day. There are five or six guys in this RGL tourney, who I would rather see with this belt.

ER: This is my first time seeing Ali and it's pretty clear from just this match that if he wants to make it in  wrestling, he'll make it in wrestling. As Phil noted he's a big guy, tall with some size, and already has a good build. He's already got good offense, with nice long arm chops and tight forearms, delayed spinebuster, great falling clothesline, big fallaway slam, a good base of offense. Adler remains a true mystery. He did a couple things I liked, I thought his inside legs kicks were a smart strategy, and his flip over mule kick after sliding into the corner was timed great and looked smooth. Everything else looked landed somewhere on a sliding scale of "light and soft at best" to "looked terrible" at worst. His strikes all look bad, but there was a particular bad spinning backfist to Ali's stomach that just....wow. The 450 was sloppy, landed short, looked bad, the crossbodies looked like they wouldn't break the run through paper at a pep rally. We do write this stuff about him every week, but we reviewing these shows and he's always on, always earning these criticisms. We aren't really given much of a choice.

2. "The Pitbull" Steven Idol vs. Dirty Daddy

PAS: I really liked this, I have never seen Idol before, but he has a nasty hard hitting style, reminded me a lot of a smaller Rodney Mack. Didn't do anything super fancy, but every blow he landed had force behind it. Daddy is great at these short forceful sprints, and these guys really slugged it out. I loved Idol's sell of the brainbuster, really looked like he broke his neck.

ER: This was really great. I'd not seen Pitbull before and came away impressed, and I always come away impressed by Daddy. Pitbull threw nice shots including a great left hand in the corner, and I loved his elbow drop off the middle rope, just a heavy falling elbow that landed precise. Rodney Mack is a good comparison, this guy is like Rodnito Mack. Daddy always shows up and I always come away amazed by the force he gets with his shots. That standing lariat packed an incredible wallop and his running elbows are always well placed. I like the fireman's carry airplane spin into a brainbuster, disorient your opponent and then dump him on his head, mean.

3. Mace Li vs. Metallico

PAS: Good chance to see Li get a showcase match. He has been mostly been used as the comedy jobber of the All-Stars, but he had some fun offense here. There was a point where Metalico went for a tope and Li just wasted him with a jumping kick to the head. I also liked some of his joint manipulation. Metalico had some highspots which he barely pulled off, he might be better off as a tackling dummy for now.

ER: This is the annoying part of the review where Phil watched the show first, and everything that I want to point out about matches he has already pointed out. There's a benefit to being the first to watch something and I am being punished for my feet dragging. All that to just say that I also really liked Li's awesome pop up apron kick to block a Metallico dive. "Block a dive with a strike" is a thing we see in indy wrestling a lot now and it's tough to make it look good. Usually we see a guy noticeably slow down and poke his head through to get hit. The timing has to be precise, so you aren't expecting the spot to happen. You have to believe the dive is going to happen, and it's tough to turn off all your body tells knowing you're going to get kicked in the face. But this looked great. Li popped up and winged a kick at Metallico's head and Metallico did and awesome recoil. I liked Metallico's smooth lucha headscissors and Li's cool work around the elbow, and it was nice seeing Li presented as something other than "weakest member of his team". Satisfying stuff.

4. Mike Mars vs. Kool Jay

PAS: They are building more and more to a Cool J win, as he had his moments in this match, using his speed to squirm away from Mars multiple times. Of course he could only avoid him so long, and ends up getting smushed. Cool J lands so awkwardly on his bumps, it always looks like a car crash.

ER: Awwww yeah, real body Khal Drogo versus my favorite crash test dummy. I now get really excited when I see Kool Jay on the lineup, and I love how we've seen him 4 or 5 times now and each time he lasts a little longer, has gone from getting zero offense to at least throwing some kicks and evading, and continues to die for our pleasure. CL Party even mentions that people on twitter post about him dying and I hope that she was referring to me saying RIP Kool Jay with that gif of Donnie Dollars introducing him to his maker. Jay throws a nice dropkick even though Mars brushes it off, and we knew were this would inevitably end up, but I liked that Mars had to appear a bit frustrated when putting him away. Jay takes some wild bumps, even on something simple like getting swatted away he kind of tumbles onto the side of his head. He makes slams look incredible and yeah this was fun. I am going to cheer so hard when he gets a win. Not many people have successfully pulled off the Mikey Whipwreck storyline but I can see it happening here.

5. Movie Myk vs. Big Time Yah

PAS: This was a match up between two guys who have trained with each other, and that familiarity allowed them to pull off some fun stuff. First real look at Yah, and I really dug him, he worked almost like Chico Che, big tubby guy with shocking agility. he had a great rana and cool flip dive along with some athletic roll ups. Mykk worked over the arm nicely and has a nice gimmick with his entourage running interference. I would have liked to see Yah advance and face Mars rather then have this end in a draw, but I wouldn't mind seeing more of both.

ER: I thought this was awesome, took a cool angle for a 10 minute draw, and I think could be qualified as a breakout performance for both guys. Yah appeared way earlier this year on CWF - and looked good - in a short match, and we've seen Myk a few times but always in a tag or trios. Yah is a big powerful dude, and I thought Myk had no shot, until Yah awesomely lariats a ringpost and we get the real story of the match, Yah mostly unable to do any of his throws or power offense, even though he would attempt. Yah was really great selling his arm (hopefully this doesn't continue our trend of praising Negro Casas for his rib selling and Brian Kendrick for his broken face sell of the G2S. If I find out Yah tore his bicep here I swear...), and has some of the coolest big man offense around. Early in the match he hits an amazing huricanrana, and he's great about coming up with offense around an injury: His flying clothesline was practically finisher worthy. I liked Myk's boys running interference, and his manager (I keep forgetting his name...) is really good. Myk actually worked in a couple good filmmaking puns (a heel telling the audience "Quiet on the set!" as he locks in a chinlock is wonderful), and thought his work looked good. I would have preferred an actual finish as both of these two vs. Mars would be really fun (and I have to think CWF will eventually run Yah/Mars), but this was a great 10 minutes of wrestling.

6. Mace Li vs. Dirty Daddy

PAS: This was surprisingly short for a semi final. There was apparently a big feud between Daddy and Mace Maeda, but this wasn't very competitive. Li got in some cheap shots, but Dirty Daddy rolled through this match, and got a relatively easy win. Really liked the staredown between Daddy and Mars, DD can really bring fire to segments like this.

ER: This was fine, but I didn't like how easily Daddy handled Li, one match removed from Li actually looking valuable (granted he was against a tackling dummy, but the Metallico match was a dominant showcase which saw him take hardly any damage). I also didn't think Li looked really good in this one, you'd think he'd want to make a couple shots count if he knew he was being dispatched so easily. Daddy looked predictably good, he really is a legit contender for best clothesline currently in wrestling. His elbows looked good, Li had a nice nearfall moment (with a so-so savate kick), and I thought Daddy's match winning small package looked good. And damn I thought Mars/Daddy was happening on this show. It makes sense to be on BattleCade, but I was geared up. I thought they were giving Mars the quick path to the title, having Yah/Myk take each other out so Mars goes in fresh. Now I'm really pissed we didn't get Mars/Yah on this episode.

7. Trevor Lee vs. Darius Lockhart

PAS: They fade to black and come back with Lee making an open challenge to Lockhart after just watching the action in the audience. This was another really good Lee match, he has been on a roll. This was worked face v. face at the beginning, with a lot of initial stalemated grappling. Like a classic face v. face match tempers flared, and it got pretty nasty by the end. Finish was pretty great with Lockhart screaming at Lee to bring it to him, and they had a pretty great strike exchange, not you forearm me, I forearm you, but both guys throwing and landing at the same time. Lockhart absolutely decimates Lee with clothesline, and gets a close 2.9. When both guys get to their feet Lee offers his hand, when Lockhart takes it, Lee throws him to the ground and cranks an STF for the win. Surprisingly heel move from Lee, I was a little disappointed that Lockhart took the hug and respect arm raise at the end of the match, instead of punishing Lee for his Yakubian trickery. It was a little more Martin then the Malcolm I was expecting.

ER: I thought this was decent, and I always like the "old gym shorts casual Lee challenge" idea. I thought it went a nearfall or two too long, and thought Lockhart moved back to offense pretty quick at the end, but I liked a lot of how they got to that point. The slow build was real good, and I dug the tentative grappling. I like the idea of Lee offering this guy a chance, and then kind of silently regretting doing so and turning up the heat. Him bending around Lockhart's arm and wrist was rough, thought the work from both around a Lockhart headlock was really good, and I love down the stretch when Lee uses the threat of a finger break to open up Lockhart to eat a low superkick. I wonder if Lee has witnessed how willy nilly and awful Marty Scurll's finger break spots are and actually thought of great ways to use them but not go through with them. His use here (and in the Otto Schwanz title match to prevent him breaking the crossface) were perfect. I thought they built to the big spots nicely, though I did think they took kickouts too far. Ending was really fun and tied back into Lee's pre-match promo talking about how he had been watching the Flair 30 for 30 earlier. By hook or by crook, Lee took the opening to betray Lockhart's trust and get the tap. I do wish Lockhart would have told him to fuck off after the match though.

ER: Sorry I've been slacking on these reviews, but we'll get back into the swing of them. This was a fun episode that for whatever reason took me ages to get through. That's on me. And Yah/Myk was really fun and could have finished well up our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List with a decisive finish, as it stands we're still throwing it on there, towards the bottom.

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