Segunda Caida

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

Friday, December 09, 2016

205 Live 12/6/16

1. Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander

ER: Killer little match and probably the best Dar performance we've seen on WWE TV. He was pretty vicious in this one and I'd much rather see this side of Dar than the goof from the CWC who couldn't keep his fingers out of his ears. Here he went after Cedric's arm and stuck to the gameplan, and it made for a pretty exciting 10 minutes. Cedric was real nice with the comebacks, and both guys laid into each other pretty hard with some nasty elbow strikes (although Cedric's booming back elbow wins ALL). We do get a little of sillypants Dar, like when he hid from a tope, but I like the big rolling bump he took on the resulting kick, so call it a draw. I liked the ways Dar would cut Cedric off, with the best being Cedric admiring a mule kick for a bit too long, leading Dar to kick the snot out of him mid handspring. Killer moment. The match had a nice pace and the fans were into it too, and I kept waiting for the eventual Cedric victory as Dar kept being a german shepherd (Scottish shepherd?), just not wanting to let go of that arm. The win was a fun surprise moment, although maybe it will lead to a nice subtly racist angle where Cedric is a black man just too distracted by the ladies to fully concentrate on wrestling. Yay?

PAS: Dar isn't great, but I enjoy him as the poor man's 205 Live version of Terry Rudge, I can imagine he will eventually have a nifty match with Gallagher's rich man's Johnny Saint. His arm work was fun stuff, loved the knuckles into the elbow joint and the hammerfists to set up the Fujiwara. Cedric has really explosive offense, and is at his best when he is put in a match with some structure like this, where he can mix in cool spots. Didn't love the finish, as the whole match was about the arm, and having Dar win with a not great looking jump kick was odd. Still this got me more excited about Dar, who is a guy coming into this match I was completely indifferent to.

2. Ariya Daivari vs. Jack Gallagher

ER: So uhhhh...there are other guys on the rosters...right? I've now seen this match up 3 times in 8 days, and they're just trading wins while only advancing a "Jack's knee is getting progressively more hurt" story. This was probably the most interesting of their three matches, with Daivari going after the knee and posting it, and ripping bandages off is always a good visual. A lot of the knee work was good, especially liked a running pump kick to the back of Jack's knee. Gallagher broke out some cool stuff like a mat escape where he just kept widening Daivari's stance until he could wriggle out. Gallagher has super snug roll ups, his knee selling is really good throughout, and when he hit the headbutt I thought it was over. The Gallagher headbutt should be a Fatality, a total KO no comeback move, so I was bummed to see it not end the match. But this was a nice showing for both guys. Still I think Gallagher should be treated like a brand superstar. Daivari looks a lot better than he's getting credit for though.

PAS: Two rematches from the first show is weird booking, they could have had this same story by just having Jack beat Daivari on RAW and then have Daivari go after the knee. I liked this though, Ariya is pretty basic, but his basic stuff looks good, and the viciousness added something to the usual Gallagher showcase. The natural feud is Daivari v. Mustapha Ali in a Suni v. Shia sectarian battle, maybe an Aleppo death match, but this is a good use of Daivari until they pull the trigger on that.

3. Brian Kendrick vs. Rich Swann

ER: Another day, another high end Kendrick performance. He owned this whole match bell to bell, and then continued owning after the bell. Swann is fine but Kendrick straight ran this game. He's really become a master of body movement and relating it to the match. It's practically become an event whenever he possums a stumble to lure someone into a face kicking, or when he first gets into danger and rolls into the floor and tosses his hair back annoyed. But the guys is just awesome. He always makes it look like he's actively looking for openings and any little advantage he can get. He makes offense look real good, even though Swann's kicks were a bit off, and he's always making new things look good. Every match there's something he does that I don't remember him doing before. Here I really dug his missed knee drop. I've not seen him do a knee drop before, but he committed on the miss and it makes sense in a kayfabe sense, and also just makes a match tighter when the missed shit looks like they were actually trying to connect. All the stuff around the captains hook looked great, Swann hits a cool flipping moonsault off the buckles, Kendrick came up with a quirky roll up to counter Swann's standing 450 (still don't understand why he needs to drag them to the corner to do the 450. It's a standing move, isn't the benefit that he can do it at any time!?), and Kendrick's simple stuff like elbows and straight kicks always look good. They found the best way to integrate TJP into the match, although a brief TJP distraction being the downfall of Kendrick doesn't make Swann look great. We all know this is Kendrick's belt and Swann is just keeping that shit warm anyway.

PAS: Swann had a nice dive in this match, and I enjoy his drool selling but man is Kendrick so clearly the class of this show. That whole Captains Hook section was awesome and it really should have finished the match. I love how Kendrick throws in a nifty use his environment spot in every match, here the chuck of Swann headfirst into the ring post holder looked great, as did his sliced bread off of the barrier. Swann really needs to hit that kick harder if he is going to use it as his finisher though.

ER: I thought Kendrick's performance in the main was so great, one of my favorites of the year. Because of that the match landed on our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List.


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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Dick Togo's Stencil is Inspired by Kenzo

Dick Togo v. Luke Phoenix 4FW 10/22/16 - GREAT

This is Togo's first singles match since his return (not under a hood) and it is in a Liverpool gymnasium against a pasty british junior heavyweight. Phoenix was fine, his offense didn't look very good (he hit a superfly splash that looked like a 7th grader belly flopping into a pool), but his early matwork looked OK and he took a pretty big beating by Togo. Dick has become a true master at working matches around problamatic opponents, and he was great here, he smacks Phoenix around, slamming him on the floor, toasting him with a senton, and filleting his chest with chops. His dive off the ring apron onto Luke's chest was great, loved the finsh too, with Togo rolling around the ring and cinching in a crossface. Fun stuff, and I am glad Togo is back touring the world, looking forward to seeing him show up in weirder places.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE TOGO 

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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Styles vs. Ziggler

28. AJ Styles v. Dolph Ziggler WWE Smackdown 8/23

ER: Well I'm not sure what I expected, but I really wasn't expecting to like this. Ziggler was a guy I used to enjoy but I can't think of many people I've soured more on over the last two years. But I've really liked AJ's WWE run so thought I would check this out, and came away quite impressed. This was a sadistic Styles performance, and a match where Ziggler's bumps actually came off appropriate instead of just athletic. And while Styles was dishing out some nasty stuff, he was very giving in making some of Ziggler's less than nasty stuff appear nasty. But damn I love Styles the asskicker, and there was extra mustard on all his shots, all his front and back elbows, dropkicks, and most importantly the way he carried himself. Styles really acted like, and came off like, "The Man". Ziggler did his thing, took a crazy chest first bump into the buckles, picked some nice times to make comebacks, and this thing built into a satisfying The Man performance. I loved the surprise dropkick on Styles, loved him booting his way out of the first Clash attempt with his heel to Styles dome, loved the way both men actually made the Zig Zag look like a devastating move that could end a match, loved the way Styles whipped his head into the mat taking the famouser. But Styles as asskicker, it's really something I never thought I would see in WWE. I always thought he would just become Dolph Ziggler 2.0, but here he really looked the part of ace.

PAS: I also really dig Styles as a guy slowing down a match, rather then a guy speeding it up. Dolph has some nice amateur scrambling, and I loved him coming out and taking Styles down, and Styles responding by popping him in the mouth. Ziggler had some rough moments, his punch flurry looked pretty stinky, but mainly was fine, and I did love his Zig Zag and his athletic bumping. Styles has such good looking offense, he spends some time working an overhand wristlock and I thought "man what a nasty overhand wristlock, he should use that as a finisher." Styles as Johnny Valentine is way better then Styles working "this is awesome" matches with Cena.


2016 ONGOING MOTY LIST


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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

2011 Match of the Year

Dick Togo v. Antonio Honda DDT 1/30/11

PAS: This was right in the middle of the unbeliveble Dick Togo retirement tour. He was having brilliant match after brilliant match, often with questionable dudes who never reached those heights before or after. Honda is a comedy guy and used to be Togo's partner in the DDT Italian Horseman. This is clearly the match of his life, and I give him a ton of credit for stepping up and bringing it to Togo like he did. Early part of the match had Honda working over Togo's arm. Togo did a really nice job selling, and it makes total sense to give him a ding to make Honda's offense credible, still Honda's attack was a little pedestrian. Match really kicks it into gear when Honda hits a nice tope and comes up bloody. After that, the match morphs into a Mid South Coliseum main event, with Togo working over the bloody babyface and Honda making awesome valiant comebacks. Togo has him in the corner, smashing his head into the turnbuckle and punching him, and Honda does a full on Lawler 1986 TX Death Match comeback, dropped strap, 17 punch combo ending in a huge uppercut for a near fall. Such a neat moment, which Togo sold perfectly. We get a big near fall run, which is really something that Dick Togo does better then anyone in the world, and then take a trip back to TN with an awesome Lawler v. Mantel style toe to toe punch exchange. Hell of match, the kind of thing only Dick Togo could deliver in 2011.

ER: This is one of those all-time special matches that completely exceed any sort of realistic expectations, at least if they had seen prior Antonio Honda matches. He's a guy who looks like a Masao Inoue/Maximo puro lovechild, and the only reason you would go out of your way to watch a match he's in is if Dick Togo was also in it. And this really is the match of his life. I think the opening armwork is a step above cursory, and it was an important part of the story as otherwise the match shouldn't have been so competitive. And while Honda's end of the armwork isn't interesting at every moment, TOGO'S end of things is awesome. The screams of agony when Honda would start manipulating pressure points made Honda seem like Stu Hart, and Togo seem like a guy who showed up at the Hart mansion with a greeting of "Every wrestler I've ever met is a pussy!" Togo's anguish sounded real to me, man, made me buy right into Antonio Honda and his goof mushroom cut. Togo peppers in some brief comebacks but Honda is always smart to aim for arm and take back over. I have no idea how Honda got busted open, but Phil is right, things just change from that point forward. Togo starts working him over, like a Dick, punching his cut, raking his boot eyelets across Honda's head, just beating him up...and then Honda makes just the most awesome strap down Lawler comeback, throwing the biggest nastiest punches of his life and then the match kicks into an entire DIFFERENT awesome gear. This thing just keeps peaking and every time I think Honda is finished he makes another plausible comeback. Togo goes into awesome Togo overdrive, hits one of the all time great fistdrops, both guys keep emptying out the tool bag with some awesome offense, and misses lead to comebacks. Honda jams his fist into the mat on a missed middle rope fistdrop, Togo misses a senton, gets dumped with a huge suplex, this whole thing is just killer. Both guys go down in flames with maybe the greatest bombs exchange ever, both guys throwing blows simultaneously, just completely bonkers. But Honda goes down first and Togo plops him with the senton. What a special match.


ONGOING ALL TIME MOTY LIST


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Monday, December 05, 2016

Complete and Accurate Low-Ki



Low-Ki is the last of the indy legends. Tyler Black and Kevin Steen are main eventing WWE PPV, American Dragon is in the WON Hall of Fame, and Ki never signed with a major label (well he did but TNA doesn't count and that WWE stint was pretty negligible). He was pretty awesome straight out of the gate and still shows up a couple times a year and kicks ass. There is a fair amount of TNA stuff we ignored, and random indy classics to unearth.

2002

Low-Ki v. American Dragon JAPW 6/7/02- EPIC


2006

Low-Ki v. Necro Butcher IWA-MS 4/1/06- EPIC


2015

Low-Ki v. Drew Galloway TNA 3/16/15- GREAT
Low-Ki v. Chris Dickinson JAPW 3/21/15- EPIC 
Low-Ki v. Rey Mysterio JAPW 11/14/15 - EPIC
Low-Ki/Homicide v. Da Hit Squad Beyond Wrestling 12/27/15 - GREAT

2016

Low-Ki/Homicide/Eddie Kingston v. Dave Crist/Jake Crist/Sami Callihan AAW 11/4/16-EPIC

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2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Killer Cult v. Rottweilers

27. Sami Callihan/Jake Crist/Dave Crist v. Homicide/Eddie Kingston/Low-Ki AAW 11/4

PAS: This was the climax of a long feud between Callihan and Kingston, with Kingston bringing in Homicide and Callihan bringing in the Crists (including pulling Jake out of retirement), This was a six-man with Outlaw Inc. bringing in a surprise partner, and it had to be one of the best actual deliveries of a surprise in wrestling history. Ki comes out in a black suit, looking like video game Hitman and starts fucking dudes up. They have a really fun area tour brawl, throwing each other into the sides of walls, leaping off bars, chucking chairs. Callihan smashes Ki's knee inbetween chairs, and when the match goes into the ring, we have Kingston and Homicide battling the Killer Cult with Ki blitzing in on a bad knee to break up pins. There is a near fall and out of nowhere there is this crazy fuck in a suit leaping in with a double stomp. Ki sitings are so sporadic these days, that every time he shows up it is a treat.

ER: Yeah buddy this was good, and Phil is dead on in proclaiming this one of the greatest surprise deliveries in wrestling. I would have blown my buttons live. And I would have ran around the building following Ki's fight wherever it went. Both times I got to see Necro Butcher live you can see me on tape following wherever he goes, standing as close as possible and squealing with glee whenever he would do Necro Butcher stuff. At last year's WWN WM Supershow I ran all around the building watching Drew Galloway and Gargano hit each other from a few feet away, way harder than my chest or face could take, and later when I watched the show on tape there I was cringing and yelling and jumping around filled with joy. So there is no doubt in my mind that I would have been following Ki everywhere and losing it for every strike. Ki comes out in a suit like a Puerto Rican Jason Statham, and this whole match was a total 5 star Low-Ki performance, but I liked the whole crew here. Dave Crist draws the short straw and gets matched with Ki and does an awesome job getting kicked around the room, peaking when he gets planted head first into a chair and just sticking there vertically. Ki does all these great running dropkicks and both Crists are game to bump like they're getting blown back by an explosion. Also I'm pretty sure neither Crist is retired. Those guys show up in results seemingly more than anybody. Anyway Ki hits a crazy footstomp off the bar, and meanwhile we have Eddie Kingston tossing dudes into support beams and into the crowd. Killer Cult finally mounts some kind of comeback when the sturdy non-folding chairs come into play, smashing Ki's leg and Kingston's arm in mean ways. The Low-Ki nearfall save is a wonderful moment to cap a total blast of a match.

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MLJ: Brazo de Oro vs Gran Markus Jr. [DF HEAVY]

1995-08-15 @ Arena Coliseo
Brazo de Oro vs Gran Markus Jr. [DF HEAVY]


I wanted to go full on DVDVR with this one. FAT MAN WAR~~~!! BATTLE OF THE BULGE 1995~~! It's sort of warranted, too. This was posted last night and since I don't have access to the Network currently and didn't feel like dealing with the malware that you get from finding a stream, I went with it. Brazo de Oro was 98 on my GWE ballot, and while that was a gimmick/personal pick to a degree, that was only because of footage. I've enjoyed everything I've seen him in. Markus, Jr. is not someone I'm as familiar with (despite seeing a ton of Markus <unrelated> matches on NWAonDemand), but I've heard not great things so I didn't know what to expect.

This was for the DF Heavyweight Title, which I spent two minutes looking for a lineage of and couldn't find without actually trying. I'm sure it's out there. There are so many belts in Mexico, belts tied to the country, to a region, to a specific arena. They're all defended with a two week build and companies can't even remember who has what. It's charming in its own way, but I'm not going out of my way to figure out exactly what this thing was.

Title match formula more or less works. This felt a bit like a middle ground between 80s title matches and what we have today, where there are tiny primeras and segundas and endless laying about and nearfalls in the terceras. Everything was a little shorter here, but I think it was more to keep Markus from getting winded and so that the match didn't wear out its welcome. I thought it worked for what it was.

The primera was mostly matwork and some rope running, more fluid than you'd expect even if at a measured speed, and ended with this vaguely impressive spot as a reversal/cut off:



And a splash from the top by Markus. After some surprisingly good bullying from Markus, Oro came back at the end of the segunda mainly with this awesome armdrag and a Kane/Albert level rana to even things up.




Then they went back and forth in the tercera with two big topes from Oro, some nice callback spots, and an awkwardly graceful (sic) roll up to finish:




They highlighted each other's strengths well, able to pull off very unlikely spots with one another. Oro showed that Brazo athleticism you'd never expect from looking at him and had a real connection with the crowd, which were chanting for him most of the way through. I came out of this wanting to see Markus base for a high flying up-and-coming tecnico (though I'm not sure who that would be in 1995 CMLL except for Garza, and that's not quite what I'm thinking of). Between his bullying and the way he went over for some of Oro's armdrags, it theoretically should work. You pretty much knew what you were getting with this title match, but if it's something that interests you on paper, you should check it out.

Last takeaways:
1.) This is El Brazo, right? Why is he wearing this shirt? I'm not googling it. That's for sure.

2.) This dentist has the best bedside manner.


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Sunday, December 04, 2016

WWE TLC 2016 Somehow Ended Up Being a Live Blog

I'm not going to really attempt to stay live on this one, but still wanted to see the show. So I'll be a little more pokey than normal. The brand extension and its ushering in of seemingly weekly PPVs is the bane of Rachel's existence.

1. American Alpha/Hype Bros./Apollo Crews vs. Vaudevillains/Ascension/Curt Hawkins

ER: Leave it to Mauro to call out a battle of the Edgeheads. Mojo debuts a "Hammer Time" fist drop that is genuinely so stupid that it might be the very thing to get him over. Every single person in this match is super vocal. There is constant chatter going on. It's like every Barry Darsow gimmick having a multiman tag against themselves. Viktor still works really hard which is pretty impressive considering how things have gone for his team ever since the NXT call up. Him matching up against Gable was fun and the flapjack into a superkick looked impressive. Crowd is mic'd really well, feels like you can hear really strong reactions, but they all sound individual, not just bulk roars. It's like it's mic'd in stereo. I was really enjoying the scenic pace things were traveling at, but you can tell immediately when they got the "everybody's finishers" signal which is kind of a bummer. This could have easily gone 20, just trim some time from the kickoff show. Hawkins runs nicely into a Crews high kick and suplex from the ring to the floor was cool. Nice little kickoff match.

2. Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno

ER: Here's four guys I really didn't care much about several months ago, who I could see having a good match. And I love all the stuff with Slater on the apron. He gets totally upended by a lariat to his legs, and then gets almost alleyooped back into the ring right into an Orton powerslam. Rhyno looks super orange here. Curt Hawkins looked super orange in the first match. Are these guys trying to subtly play to Vince's Trump boner? Especially Hawkins, with his orange glow and swept back hair and spreading of facts that are in fact nothing close to factual. Oh and things ended while I was rambling. That felt quick.

3. Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

ER: Love people pointing out Nikki's MMA braids. So awesome. They both have their hands and wrists wrapped too. Carmella's figure 4 headscissors is a great spot, especially with her grabbing her own foot. Though Nikki's stick shot to break it up could have looked way way better. But she more than made up for it with that roundhouse kick off the barricade. Carmella ran right into it, too. The boot into Carmella's shoulderblades to set it up was gross too. Man Nikki really went out of her way to fire extinguish Carmella's ass and vagina. Her finisher was literally set up by an extended icing down of Carmella's asshole. Which, would probably leave someone fairly vulnerable, so, sure.

4. Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

ER: This starts nicely with a bunch of fast work, especially loved Ziggler trying to grab a ladder under the ring and getting blasted by a through the ropes dropkick. All of their stuff fighting around an upright ladder looked good too, and then Ziggler takes a great drop toehold into a ladder. This is good! We're almost 10 minutes in and haven't gotten any silly climbing spots, which is refreshing. This is more ladders being used as weapons, and guys taking spills into ladders, which certainly comes off more painful. Setting up the propped ladder in the corner spots was a little wonky, but the Ziggler elbow off the top looked nice. Once they start climbing and falling I lose some interest, thought things were going way better during the first 10. Miz hears me complaints and starts slamming Ziggler's knee in the ladder a bunch, then locks on a vicious figure 4. Ziggler gets a little medodramatic on the superkick attempt but I appreciate what he was going for and liked how it lead right to the SCF on the ladder. Miz dangling from the belt and getting a ladder smacked into him was novel and Miz sold the hell out of that knee. Maryse as a second has been really fun and I love her selling Miz' knee injury not with a flip out, but more of a "awkwardly sucking in through teeth". And I love that horizontal ladder in the corner callback spot, with Dolph getting powerbombed into it. This was good for 10 minutes, lost its way a little bit, and has now come rushing back to being real good. Miz limping up a ladder while Ziggler does pull ups up his ladder was suuuuuper overwrought but kind of wonderful pro wrestling. And Rachel predicted the finish before the match even started by saying "Well Ziggler never wins, so that can't happen right?" When she's right, she's right. This match was real good. And then Miz calls Maryse over to the apron to help him with his bad wheel, and that's awesome as Dolph is just fetal position crying on the ground in the background.

5. Chair Match: Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin

ER: The feud that's been driving all those new Network subs! This starts really fun though, with Kalisto using speed to stay a step ahead while Corbin sets up chair spots that backfire. The opening was really cool David/Goliath stuff with Kalisto trying to spin kick a chair into Corbin but Corbin wisely just letting go of the chair, then rushing Corbin with a chair but Corbin just holding his arms out to catch it. Corbin chokes him on the floor and wings him upside down into the barricade by his neck. Corbin hits a high slam in the ring and sets up tons of chairs, and Kalisto hits a short rana into the set up chairs, then hits a massive Thesz press off the top sending both through a bunch of set up chairs. This is unexpectedly really great. Kalisto flies to the floor with a dive and Corbin catches and just plants him with a brutal backdrop. We get some fun stuff with Corbin chasing Kalisto with a chair, and Kalisto dodging shots, but then Kalisto throws a chair at him and hits a nice rana off the barricade. Back in and Kalisto does a moonsault kneedrop onto a chair/Corbin and my god these guys are really trying out there. Crowd does not care. But they're wrong. Kalisto bashes Corbin around the ring with a chair, but then leaps into a nasty shot when jumping off the top, and Corbin hits a nasty end of days on a pile of chairs which had to be no walk in the park for him either. This far far far exceeded any kind of expectations. Both guys were nuts.

6. Tables Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch

ER: The rules of a table match seem pretty weenie after the two matches that just happen. Those matches had chairs and ladders being used as weapons, and people taking rough spills into both, and now this one is built around avoiding one bump through one table. But we shall see. Becky is good about bouncing her face off various surfaces for Bliss offense. Liked the mini curb stomps, and in general whenever a move requires a face to be whipped into a mat, Lynch goes in fast with a nasty whip motion. Tough for me to get into this one as it's based all around avoiding the one big bump instead of just taking tons of big bumps. It's the escape the cage vs. violent cage match problem. They do start winning me over with that sick DDT on a flipped over table, with Lynch technically taking it but Alexis going back first over the table brace. Becky is real nasty about bending Bliss' arm through the table legs in painful ways. And then Bliss flies ribs first into a table edge and on replay it doesn't look as good but I'll pretend I didn't see that. And yeah this mostly didn't work. Building to one bump that was not even a top 10 impressive bump on the evening just isn't a really satisfying match to be handed. They did about all they could with a kind of limp stipulation, but that doesn't make it any more interesting.

7. TLC Match: Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles

ER: Styles is working OT in this one. Everything in the first few minutes is Ambrose lightly doing things that requires AJ to fly recklessly into ladders, across tables and into chairs. Dean caps off the half-assery with the lightest running lariat to the back of AJ's head. I don't know how AJ even knew how to bump for that. But this does just continue to evolve into a real AJ show. He's bumping like mad and throwing himself so impressively through everything. But Dean amps it up about 10-12 minutes in. His jab/chop combo is the best it's looked in ages. But this is the Styles show, baby, and not just talking about the ever widening split in his tights revealing more and more of his buns. He takes a wild bump through a table but can't stop there as we also get him doing a balls out (maybe soon with those tights!) springboard 450 to the floor through a table, crashing through Ambrose and face planting into the floor. This dude is nuts. James Ellsworth comes out and gets booed as they liked the match just fine as it was. Styles takes a nutso fast flipping bump off the ladder and to the floor, and then Ellsworth turns on Ambrose and shoves Dean off a ladder through two tables, leading to the Styles win. Boy, Ellsworth. That guy is still around. It's weird when somebody good gets over on their own and WWE flips out and cuts their legs out, but then someone like Ellsworth gets over and WWE pushes them more than anybody ever actually wanted.


Well this ended up being a really great show that went by super quick. Some of these PPVs have been total never ending slogs but this one was paced just right. Miz/Ziggler and Kalisto/Corbin were great in totally unexpected ways, other stuff was kept inoffensively short, and really only the tables match left me sorta flat. Can't actually remember the last PPV I enjoyed as much as this one.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

All Time MOTY List HEAD to HEAD: Necro v. Klein V. Eddie v. Brock

Eddie Guerrero v. Brock Lesnar WWE 2/15/04

PAS: So great to watch Eddie again, what an electric performer, a guy who was so masterful at conveying emotion. It was also cool to revisit young Brock Lesnar, he has slowed down quite a bit, but 10 years ago he was such an impressive athlete, he had the kind of explosiveness I am not sure ever had a peer in pro-wrestling, watching him leap for a big knee or a shoot for a suplex is more like watching Russell Westbrook drive to the hole, or Von Miller shed a blocker then any other wrestler I can remember. Real cool story in this match, with Eddie trying to survive and just hoping Brock makes a mistake. When Brock takes this huge bump over the top rope on a flying knee attempts, Eddie bullseyes Brocks hurt knee with a bunch of nifty mat counter attacks and low dropkicks. This did go a bit long, and there were a couple of different moments where Brock had to slap on a sleeper to catch his breath, there was also a couple of strikes from Brock which looked more Big Slam Vader then Big Van Vader, still those are minor complaints.

The Goldberg run in, which is the glaring flaw in this match didn't bother me as much on rewatch he basically spears Brock to stop him from cheating, and it doesn't lead directly to the finish. We could have done with out it, but the actually finish, with Eddie reversing an F5 into a DDT on the belt, before hitting the frog splash was a really perfect moment.

ER: I've mentioned before that I was at this show live and this match still ranks as one of my all time favorite live wrestling experiences. You couldn't have asked for a crowd that wanted to see Eddie win more. Brock and Eddie were literally my two favorite wrestlers in the world when this match took place, so this was my dream match of that moment and I couldn't have been happier. And it was awesome. I got pretty much the exact match I wanted. Brock is an absurd athlete, and going back and seeing mid 20s Lesnar is like when you go back and see 80s or even 90s Negro Casas, a guy you've gotten so used to being good and athletic, that you see them at their physical peak and it's astonishing. Lesnar is in his own category, a guy that big, moving that fast. But beyond his size/speed Brock was an incredible bumper and excellent seller (his selling is still excellent and he's still more than capable of his nutty bumps). Brock starts out just steamrolling Eddie with Eddie having to scrounge for openings. Brock muscles him around with massive suplexes that everyone hates now, blasting him with lariats, even crunching up his body and Eddie wisely tries for dropkicks to the knee when he can. Early on Brock hits a killer high knee in the corner, and the crazy Jerry bump that it sets up is one of my favorite bumps in a match ever. There have been other big bumps, but the way they made that one fit into this match was really special. We've all seen big bumps for the sake of big bumps, and I like big bumps. Even non-sensical ones. But to have a gigantic bump like this worked so importantly into the match is special. Especially in this match. It gave Eddie the opening he needed as it tweaked Brock's knee. Continuing the match at the pace they had been working would have been unsustainable, and an Eddie comeback before this would have only come off as a comeback "because we needed a comeback". So Eddie works over the knee and there are a bunch of nice moments around that, and eventually we get the big Goldberg return. I actually liked the Goldberg return as the nearfall was outstanding, both live and on tape. Live I remember thinking that once Brock kicked out of that, Eddie had no chance. I thought that nearfall was going to be his big moment. But then we got that DDT reversal and one of the most pretty/painful frog splashes you've seen, and then one of the greatest moments of my pro wrestling fandom. Eddie winning the belt was sheer joy, and really unlikely even one year prior.

Now, the match itself dragged more than I had remembered. The Brock sleepers were really out of place and didn't make sense in the order of things, and were blatant rest moments. You can tell because the normal flow of the match would continue right afterwards, so you were in real time seeing someone just go "hey can we hold still for a bit?" And while I actually enjoyed the Goldberg run-in and how it played into the match, what I disliked was the stuff that happened earlier with Goldberg/Lesnar. Earlier in the show you had a Brock and Goldberg confrontation that ended with Lesnar laid out by a jackhammer and then scared off by Bob Holly while Goldberg got handcuffed out of there. It telegraphed Goldberg's return later and made Eddie seem like an afterthought. And to top it off, it never got acknowledged later that Lesnar ate a jackhammer. He wasn't selling hurt, so why did it even need to happen? Just a sloppily thought out confrontation.

Verdict

PAS: I really liked Necro v. Klein but I think this match takes the belt. It was the climax of the movie of Eddie's career, returning from getting fired, making his way to the main event and beating the unbeatable monster. Opening match of a dirtbag indy death match tourney can't live up to the scope of this. The actual work in this match is comparable, the Goldberg run in, bothers me less then the circus geek show weapons shots bothered me in the IWA-MS match. Close, but I am going with Eddie v. Brock

ER: This is really like the electoral college versus the popular vote right here. Because I'm going with Necro/Klein. Almost all of these head to heads are going to be tough comparisons. We're going to get totally different match styles with totally different match goals. Here we have an opening round death match against an all time fan favorite's ultimate career coda. The Eddie moment was impossibly huge. But as a match I think Necro/Klein is better. I do not think this will be a popular opinion, and it wasn't an easy decision for me. The Eddie match aged in ways I hadn't remembered and really dragged in ways I didn't think the Necro match did (while openly acknowledging that many think the Necro match drags). The big moment of the Eddie match was impossible to beat, but I found myself really waiting around for the moment, whereas I thought the Necro match had a solid burn the whole way through. Now here's where the popular/electoral comparison comes in: Phil and I agreed to do this as a simple "Win/Lose" challenge. Both of us have to agree on the initial MOTY, and both of us have to agree a challenger is better for that match to supplant the champ. So this one doesn't take over the top spot. NOW, if we were assigning points, I imagine Phil would have had it about 70-30 Eddie, and I would have had it 45-55 Necro, meaning it would have been 125-75 Eddie, a total blowout. But as Phil told me, "rules are rules, as we as a country are discovering". So Necro/Klein retains by survival.

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Friday, December 02, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Charlotte v. Sasha in a CELL

48. Charlotte v. Sasha Banks WWE Hell in a Cell 10/30

ER: Well hot damn I loved this. This felt epic, this had some gravitas. Charlotte jumping her before the bell was awesome, and both of them beat the hell out of each other around ringside. Sasha showed real fire when prepping the table, and you knew something bad was happening. But I somehow didn't guess powerbomb. Sasha got planted with that powerbomb, sprawled across the collapsing table fantastically. I loved the lonnnnnnng stretcher set up. It was taking forever, but I loved it. Every minute that went by made it look like Sasha had more and more of a chance to recover. That powerbomb was nasty but juuuuuust maybe...so when she gets off the stretcher and slaps the hell out of an EMT, I was way into it. And they had a real assbeating fight. Sasha flew into her with knees, Charlotte landed kicks, they laced right into each other. There was a certain sloppiness that actually added to the gritty fight feel, totally made the match. I had no idea who would win, no clue where it would go, was constantly waiting for a swerve of some kind. But the table coming in, Sasha getting tossed all over it, ragdolling into and off of it, felt like a really violent human breaking move. The whole match felt like a big deal (which is annoying to type after how much I know they're going to pat themselves on the back because HISTORY), and they shocked the hell out of me. I thought they would work stupid to justify their spot in the main event, but I thought they were smart in this - even with a couple crazy spots. Awesome match.

PAS: I didn't like this as much as Eric. I thought they were pretty ambitious which I appreciate, and I did like the violence, but it is pretty hard to work a 25 minute match that starts with a stretcher spot. I really liked everything leading up to the stretcher spot, the cheap shot, the brawling into the crowd, the powerbomb and the selling, but WWE match psychology demands a long near fall section and Sasha is throwing suplexes 15 minutes after having her spine destroyed. After the first five minutes, this was pretty much worked 50/50. But I did like the violence, and individually there were a lot of cool things. If this had an editor it could be a real classic match, unedited this match fell short of that level.


2016 ONGOING MOTY LIST


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