Segunda Caida

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)

Disc 1: Match 14: Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)

I'm not even entirely sure what to do with this. To begin, it's amazing. It's just wonderful wrestling spectacle and a beautiful and appropriate way to end the disc. It feels like something that could only exist in Puerto Rico. It's not really a conventional match by any means. Realistically, I should be ranking the disc at this point, but I'm going to duck that for now, precisely due to "matches" like these.

The Sheepherders had a reign of terror in Puerto Rico, injuring people, insulting the natives, causing havoc. This was them getting their comeuppance and being driven out of the territory. It was about the most definitive version of such a thing that I've ever seen and past certain key title changes or hair matches, this could possibly be the happiest a crowd has ever been sent home in wrestling.

It's not really much of a match. There's not much of a sense of danger for the babyfaces. They get worked over for a few minutes and then some of those poor souls that the Sheepherders had injured come back and beat them with weapons for about three times longer than the match had been at that point. It's basically a bloody tarring and feathering (but not a literal one, save for the blood part).

The crowd goes absolutely nuts for all of this, with the very best moment, and maybe the best single moment on Disc 1 being someone in the crowd swiping at Luke and a security guard with a big stick threatening him. Holy crap. I think in front of most other crowds, the sheer length of this would have almost made the Sheepherders sympathetic. I was feeling bad for them by the end. That wasn't a worry here though. This was as one-dimensional as it gets, but it's a dimension you'll never forget.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

WWE Clash of the Champions 2016 Live-ish Blog

1. Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax

I liked the little build we got to this one, as Alicia flipping out on Jax in the hallway seemed like it had an unexpected moment in it, with Fox seemingly accidentally smacking Jax in the face with a box. You look at the reactions of both when it happened, and I genuinely think it was an accident. But it lead to that super violent shove and I was interested in seeing a match. I really liked Fox not long ago when she was a big bumping heel, but almost right after I wrote something praising her work she got buried in 6 mans and wasn't really face or heel. She was just around. And this match went just about as it should. I love monster heels and Fox was given just enough, and I really liked how they transitioned to Jax finishing her off. Fox was smart and jumped her with kicks, but I loved when they went into Jax hitting her with bigger, more damaging kicks. Jax tossing Fox around was great, as Fox has these long limbs that make her ragdolling look even better. She's also just a good ragdoll bumper in general, so it's almost disappointing that this basically ends their feud. I could watch her get tossed around at least a couple more times. But Fox's comeback crossbody was great, loved how Jax leapt into it. Also love how they set up Jax's butt splash in the corner, with Fox slipping out of the Samoan drop and falling back into the corner, only for Jax to be on it. Fun opener.

2. New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson

Damn this was really good! It's one of those wonderfully constructed hot 8 minute tags. It's short enough that nothing stupid needs to happen, but long enough that it feels like it has some substance. Nobody has time to deal with their shortcomings, it's just a hot match that keeps the crowd up. This may have been Anderson's best performance in WWE so far. He really came off like a badass whose moves all ended with an exclamation point. That spinebuster was sick. And the match was obviously tightly constructed, but had a nice chaos to it, with interference and brawling on the floor not being the moment the match breaks down, but being integrated nicely into the match. Big E looked good as usual, both teams clicked, this was a real nice "opener".

3. Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins

Well TJP clearly has a barely rejiggered version of the best parts of Mega Man 2, and I can't help but flip out for that. And WWE putting up the purple ropes for this match is an awesome attention to detail. Phil and I each compared Kendrick in the CWC to Finlay, so it's appropriate he's the one who gets to bring Finlay's great apron skirt trap back into play. I'm picturing Finlay blessing him with the spot backstage in a gruff but touching moment. Perkins is kind of awkward in this one. His double chickenwing just looked like Kendrick fell on top of him with all of his weight. And then he whiffed on that neckbreaker (but Graves had a nice cover for it saying him drug Kendrick down by his hair). TJP hits a wild rana off the apron that sends both men splatting. I think Kendrick's scrappiness is kind of a good way to cover up for any accidental sloppiness. He does some stuff that's unpolished, throws some timing off, it adds an element of uncooperation without ever coming off unprofessional. There was an moment where they abort an Irish whip and it landed in a neat moment of "guy changing his mind on a spot vs. guy just shifting his timing to keep opponent on his toes". The match overall was a step below the CWC stuff, but still plenty fun.

4. Sheamus vs. Cesaro

Cesaro comes out dressed like a badass maitre'd who is actually just a hitman disguised as a maitre'd. I will never have a moment in my life where I look that cool. I love both of these two but weirdly liked the very first match in this series more than the others, and that was buried on a pre-show. Cesaro seems weirdly light in the first half of this. His uppercuts had a little less mustard, that crossbody landed like a Petey Williams crossbody, and that 619 should never see the light of day again. AND THEN THAT HAPPENED. THAT happened. Cesaro takes one of the most grizzly bumps in wrestling history, and the look of fear on his face after his spikes himself on a dive was horrifying. And WWE make sure to show 5 angles of it and it keeps looking uglier, keeps looking more like something a man shouldn't live through. I assumed immediately they would call an audible and just end on a count out. And somehow they didn't. Somehow it kept going. I wake up some days with a kink in my neck just because I slept wrong, and here Cesaro just basically leapt into the air and  landed on his head. We had a swimming pool growing up, and a diving board. And there was a sticker on the side of our diving board with a cartoon man diving into an empty pool, with a red circle and line through it. And when they showed Cesaro's dive in slow motion, he was in the exact same position as the man jumping into the empty pool. But somehow things continue and the crowd's disbelief leads to the crowd getting way into this match, and the drama seems huge afterwards because it doesn't even seem like Cesaro should be walking anymore. I had no problem with the double count out, because after that dive it's like the rule book went right out the fucking window. This wasn't either man not wanting to get pinned, this was two dudes fighting and not caring about a count. Great stuff that all built from a very, very scary moment.

5. Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho

Somehow the slight facial hair has massively improved Jericho's look. He went from looking like old lesbian Denis Leary to more of a Timothy Olyphant type. A massive improvement. And his walk to the ring is very much perfect. The ring work and execution isn't the great in this, but it feels nicely laid out. Jericho is just really bad at taking offense at this point. He essentially bails on Sami's flip dive and baaaaarely catches that through the ropes DDT. Sami wins me over by appropriately selling his genitals and groin after missing the yakuza kick in the corner. The blue thunder bomb was a big moment and Sami added an extra spin, but I thought the finish was extremely lazy with Jericho just standing up and hitting the codebreaker. We can do better than that, right?

6. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

Not a big fan of three ways but I dug the way the early part of this was worked. I must have missed why this is No DQ though. Sasha and Charlotte match up really well, loved how Sasha bumped face first into the bottom buckle off a Charlotte kick. Bayley seems like she's been disappeared for 6 minutes. Sometimes Charlotte has a really goofy way of getting into position for the next spot. Like she's just doing a zombie sleepwalk. It's weird that it's No DQ but Dana Brooke has only interfered one time. Shouldn't she just be working this like a tornado tag if it's No DQ? Charlotte is just being booked like a beast throughout this whole thing. No move can hurt her, she's hardly needed Dana's interference despite being 2 on 1, and she gets big spots like that moonsault onto both women. You would never know the Bayley to Belly was used as a finisher, because Charlotte didn't even take a moment to act like a move had been done to her. Bayley was just a total afterthought in this whole match. Gone for much of the middle, never made to look important at any point other than the first 10 seconds. This got an insane amount of time and was just a total mess.

7. Rusev vs. Roman Reigns

This was a little deflating, as I really like Roman, but the whole thing was handled so poorly and obviously by the announcers that I just couldn't get into the match. The end felt inevitable. No matter how good Rusev looked, all you would hear about was just how brave Roman was for surviving, or how "Roman just needs to...." or "Is this Roman's moment..." It just sucked all of the drama out of everything for me. Though I was genuinely surprised by the big reaction to Roman's match winning spear. Crowd really exploded for it. I liked the Lana yanking the ref false finish, but I just didn't think this was one of Reigns' better performances. He seemed sluggish throughout, seemed tentative on offense.

8. Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens

I'm really liking Owens in this, liked his shit talk as he caught Rollins' leg and kicked him, liked him dropping the elbow out of the apron and working a snug horizontal chinlock. I get a little burnt out by PPVs though. I don't think I have proper stamina for them. I don't know if it's how WWE paces their shows, or if I can only just watch 2 hours of wrestling at a time, but matches just take more to get me involved in them the longer a PPV goes. The crowd seems with me. They all seem super quiet. Owens is trying. That missed cannonball looked great, and the gutbuster off the top was wild, and Owens is so wanting to get ANY kind of reaction from the crowd that he even does crotch chops before missing his announce table senton. That feels barely one step removed from people using a stunner on 1999-2003 indy wrestling shows. And I'm so sick of that moment every PPV where one or all of the announce team goes "Not like this!" This match felt an hour long.

It seems like all of these PPVs start out exciting and just get more and more arduous the longer they go.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Phil Cherry Picks MAW

I got my hands on a bunch of MAW shows from the early 2000s, this was a Milwaukee area indy which used a bunch of IWA-MS guys. Since these are dozens of long ass early 2000s indy shows I am going to cherry pick some interesting looking matches.

CM Punk/ Jason Kronnan/Dave Prazak v. Dino Bambino/Bobby Bambino/Sherri Martel 2 out of 3 falls Tables and Ladders match 7/23/00

Punks team comes into Kid Rock which should strip him of all of his straight edge scenester cred. WWIMKT (What Would Ian MacKaye think). He also has a stringy blond front rattail and cut off jorts, his look didn't exactly scream future PPV headliner. This was a total shitshow trainwreck but a pretty entertaining one. Sherri was awesome stiffing Punk and Prazak, and even taking a bump off a ladder through a table which is nuts for a lady in her 40s in front of 100 people. Dragged a bit in the middle, but the end was pretty nutso with Prazak going head first through a table and Dino doing a shooting star press through a table which looked really dangerous, he barely rotated enough and looked like he almost spiked himself headfirst into the concrete.

Ian Rotten v. Peter B. Beautiful 6/3/01

This comes off of a KOTDM match between the two of them where Ian crowbarred this kid in one of those weird quasi shoot IWA-MS angles. I have no idea why Peter signed up for this a second time, as again Ian gives him nothing and just brutalizes him with lightbulb tube shots and chairshots. There was some angle where the MAW owner runs in a ineffectually chokes Ian with a pool cue, this leads to PBB's one cover which Ian kicks out of and then Rotten goes right back to mauling him. The end got downright Kurisuish with Ian throwing wind up kicks to this kids eye and punching him square in the cheek. I like meth BattlArts Ian a lot, but this was a different sort of thing and I didn't enjoy watching it.

Ian Rotten/Necro Butcher v. Corporal Robinson/Bull Pain 9/21/02

On paper this is just a murderer's row lineup of early 2000's brawlers. I don't think any match could have lived up to the match I had in my mind, but this was still really entertaining. First part of the match is worked as a southern tag with the heel Pain/Corp team working over Necro. Necro is a guy willing to get worked over and Pain and Corp are awesome guys at beating on someone, awesome punches and stomps and nasty chair shots. Pain is amazing at baseball bat shots, one of the best magic tricks in wrestling history, he really looks like he is braining people with bat shots. Corp has these amazing fast punch combos where he looks like he is beating on a guy in fast forward, man what a heel team those two were. Instead of a hot tag Ian just beats up the ref, and we then have about twelve minutes of straight brawling. I did think that not having the hot tag was a bit deflating, and while the brawling was super nasty looking it got a bit repetitive. Still this was violent nasty stuff executed well and fun to watch. First MAW hidden gem

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Friday, September 23, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

Disc 1: Match 13: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

I'm a little ahead on when these get posted on SC, a couple of weeks h. I just wrote two thousand words on Nick Bockwinkel vs Tito Santana. That was the easiest thing in the world. I could have probably gone twice that if I had the time. I'm struggling to find two or three things to say about this match, which was new to me as well.

If you've seen this match, you've seen it a thousand times. If you've seen one Ric Flair match, you've sure seen a lot of them. They're good, but this was painful, especially so because I saw it in context. Puerto Rico has amazingly cool crowds, right? It's the mix of lucha and Memphis, of brawling and stooging and heat and just wonderful bs. The crowd is part of the match, part of the equation, an ingredient in the mix, and you can do things with the Puerto Rico crowd that you can't do elsewhere.

In this match you had Dusty Rhodes, who is a master of crowd manipulation and Ric Flair who, if nothing else, is one of the most natural foils in wrestling history. I wanted them to play to their audience, to use the unique nature of the crowd to help build their match, as an architecetural component. In short, they didn't. There was a single moment, a single shot, where you thought that maybe, just maybe, Flair would play hide the foreign object. Dusty had one or two comebacks that got everyone going, with maybe just a little more in the way of engaging brawling than usual. Then the finish, with Flair attacking the ref in frustration, could have played into the chaotic nature of the promotion, but it really didn't. They didn't set it up well enough (but then when does much of anything get set up or foreshadowed well in a Flair match? That's just not his strength).

A match doesn't need to be interesting to be good, but it helps. This was just a waste.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic: Dark Matches

Oney Lorcan v. Cedric Alexander

PAS: Orney Locan is the ex Biff Busick, it is a pretty oddball name, but Biff Busick is also a pretty terrible name, it sounds more like a NXT create a name then the name that got created. After loving the Ibushi match, I am back to being unimpressed with Alexander. All of his stuff looks good, but he is more Tony Neeseish then an actual great wrestler. Lorcan was a nasty fucker in this, his leaping headbutt was awesome as was all of his different uppercuts, would have liked to see him break out some grappling, but he was great as a guy hitting hard. Worth watching just for him.

ER: Biff Busick at least sounds like the name of a human man. I personally have never known a person named Biff, but I have known two different men named Butch. But Oney Lorcan sounds so alien that you assume that it's an anagram or spells something foul backwards or rhymes with a dirty expression (Boney Porkin'?). But whatever, he's still awesome. His chops sound like they are getting the Lucha Undergound sound sweetening, he tosses out a bunch of uppercut variations that could look silly but instead look brutal, and then tosses out THAT headbutt. Cedric really does come off as "athletic guy doing athletic things" too often, but he also knows how to deliver some cracking strikes, and Lorcan takes some nasty stuff from him like that big suplex into the buckles. I thought most of this was super fun, and only kind of highlighted the additional awesome matches that could have happened if Lorcan had been in the CWC instead of a couple of the duds. Oh, and "It's hard not to get excited with action like this!" wins Daniel Bryan the award for "Vaguest Soundbite That Comes Up 4 Times Per Match While Playing Smackdown vs. Raw". You know you can picture Michael Cole saying it after you just did a snapmare as Trish Stratus.

Drew Gulak/Tony Nese v. Kenneth Johnson/Lince Dorado

PAS: Perfectly fun little tag match. Johnson is pretty green, but does have a nice underdog charisma, and plays nicely off of Gulak as jersey dirtbag Fuchi. Gulak is a beast, I loved his  JYD headbutt to break up a pin, Gulak is pretty much always worth watching no matter what he does. Neese is still kind of a lame-o, but he and Gulak had some fun double teams and I could see them as a nice team. If they end up doing something with Crusierweight tag wrestling I could dig this tag team.

ER: With the color scheme and makeshift team setting this had a feel of an early 2000s Velocity match, which gave it an almost inherent likability, even though I don't really like three guys in this match. Gulak is a favorite of mine, but Nese is more of an RVD without the dangerous bumps. Dorado has some of my least favorite offense, and Johnson just isn't very good. BUT, despite his badness Phil is right that there's some kind of charisma there, something to like. He may have done one of the worst double leg takedowns I've ever seen, but I oddly likely Johnson throughout this. Nese could only improve by working with Gulak, and I did love the two of them cornering poor Kenneth. Gulak locking on that nasty lucha sub was a highlight, as was Nese doing the one arm powerbomb to the floor, onto Dorado. Also liked how Gulak literally brushed off Dorado's strikes, because, yeah, those strikes looked brush-offable. Nese continues his streak of almost 450ing his face into the mat. This was just one of those odd matches that I didn't really think was good, but enjoyed watching it for the duration. It's not so much that I'm a complicated person; burdensome would be perhaps more appropriate.

Ariya Daivari/Sean Maluta v. The Bollywood Boyz

ER: I was prepared to dislike this one, but by the end it pretty easily won me over. That seems more like a testament to a simply worked traditional tag formula, but it won me over nonetheless. Bollywood Boyz definitely play better as a team than as singles, and Daivari is now seeming like the best guy in the tournament that got the most silent reaction. I started out groaning as I don't really care for the whole Bollywood dancing routine. It feels like actual guys from India doing an Indian minstrel show. But that died down as the match went on, and as they started working like an Indian Fantistics I got into it. Daivari bumped all over for them which helped them out a bit, as he made a double team battering ram in the corner look great and later flew recklessly and painfully to the floor. The Bollywood Boyz tandem offense kind of makes up for the looseness of some of it, although Gurv (?) throws a nice elbowdrop and had a fine hot tag. Plus, they're all tasseled out which is bonus gravy. Maluta didn't look great, seemed really lost at how to get into position for double teams, and capped it by throwing a really bad and awkward dropkick off the middle. Still, fine formula tag which showed the Boyz as a team wouldn't look out of place on the roster, and that Daivari is certainly the better Daivari.

PAS: Daivari did look great here, bumping around, being kind of a contemptuous dick to the Bollywood Boyz shtick, felt like a guy who should stick around, maybe team him with Prince Mustafa Ali in a Saudi prince who comes to college and uses coke and BMW's to bang sorority girls gimmick. Bollywood Boyz clearly have a ton of experience working basic tag matches, and know when to work a hot tag, when to get heat ect., it felt very professional without really inspiring me.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

All Time MOTY List HEAD TO HEAD: 2014: Cesaro v. Zayn VS. Shield v. Wyatts

Cesaro v. Sami Zayn NXT Arrival 2/27

ER: Awesome, awesome match. This is not news to most of you. These two match up so well, and this was just a wonderful match to start the big "introduction" event for NXT. There are great matches, and then there are matches that are not only great, but perfectly slot into their time and atmosphere. There were several nice callbacks to their 2/3 falls match from August, starting with Zayn going for his turnbuckle dive DDT and Cesaro lying in wait with a beastly uppercut. Cesaro just manhandles Zayn the entire time using his freak strength. We didn't get anything quite as freakish as the 2/3 falls finish, with Cesaro literally running around the ring holding Zayn above his head and then tossing him even higher, but there were still plenty of awesome freak moments. Everytime Zayn would leave his feet I'd wonder if it would end with Cesaro catching him in mid air and then tossing him painfully, and it often would. Cesaro leveled him a couple of times with uppercuts, the best being a brutal running corner charge. We also get Cesaro working all over Zayn's knee, wrenching it in some cool ways, doing his nasty double stomp to it (later we even get a double stomp literally to Zayn's face), and Zayn gamely plays up the knee injury throughout, showing that some moves take longer to set up because of the knee, and when he follows through with the move anyway it almost always backfires (like Cesaro catching his split legged moonsault and splatting him on the rampway). Zayn's flash roll-ups and pins are all convincing, and Cesaro is great at getting into position and launching himself into Zayn's hope spots (Cesaro taking the sunset flip powerbomb is a thing of perfection). The fans rightly flip out for this one and I was hanging on all of the nearfalls with them. I love that Cesaro never actually went full heel in the match. Crowd was into him and more into Zayn's comebacks, but Cesaro didn't outright cheat or work in an underhanded way, and he didn't need to. This was just a classic match with flawless execution and an awesome, unexpected build. I couldn't see wanting anything more.

PAS: This was a pretty awesome version of a indy juniors style main event. All time great Cesaro performance, which was really a bridge from Claudio to Cesaro. He really broke out a bunch of his great rudo base work which was his signature as CC, as he is just awesome at bumping for high flyers which is something you rarely see him do anymore. He also just chucks Zayn around the ring with crazy power throws, I especially loved his throwing uppercut, and that cut off dive was one of the coolest versions of that spot I have ever seen. I thought Zayn was a little fighting spirity at the end, that kind of "look at my determination" face can get hammy at times and I think it crossed that line. Still minor point, for what was otherwise a great match


PAS: I think this is a pretty convincing win for Wyatts v. Shield. I really dug the Sami v. Cesaro match it was about as good a version of a NXT/PWG juniors main event. Cool execution, impressive near falls, great individual performances, I loved how they did all of the call backs to the 2013 match and the big spots were sufficiently big. Still the Wyatts v. Shield match was the climax of a one year plus story with the emergence of the Shield and the emergence of this new big gang on the block to challenge them. Awesome build, great payoff, the best heel v. heel matchup in wrestling. That kind of thing done well is always going to trump a great juniors match for me.

ER: I love this match, and I think it has a convincing argument as the best singles match of 2014. But those Wyatts/Shield trios and that glorious Hardy Boys/Young Bucks tag (my favorite tag match of the last 5 years, at least) are going to be tough to overcome.

2014 MOTY Master List

All Time MOTY List

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DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

Disc 1, Match 12: Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

This was more enjoyable minimalist fare, the sort of thing I expected from the set. I've seen a decent amount of Brooks in Houston lately, and he varies with his opponent. Some of it has been in those nigh-impossible to watch two-ring six man tags where you never know where to look and the wrestlers' have a hard time building a narrative. Ayala, after two matches, feels like the definition of a large body that has his opponent orbit around him and create the motion and the action. In that, Brooks did an admirable job here, using the gimmicks to full advantage.

The story of the match was that Ayala would beat Brooks to a pulp with the taped fists and Brooks would stooge and sell and beg off. The few advantages he got were due to low blows or cheapshot kicks. It's one of those matches that could have used a real heat segment but, at the same time, didn't suffer quite as much as it should have because the beating was thorough and consistent enough. The fans paid to see Brooks trapped in a cage with Ayala and for Ayala to punch him a lot, to open him up, to focus on the wound, and then, towards the end of the match to slam him into the cage, hit a few power moves, and win. That's what they got and it's hard to fault the match too much for it.

I liked the double gimmick aspect of the match. It meant that they didn't have to go to the cage early, instead focusing on the punching and the power of the taped fists. They get that over immediately in a very clever way with Brooks missing an early punch, hitting the cage instead, and not selling it at all, a testament to how hard the tape made the fists. He'd indirectly use the cage later on to hit the second and top rope more than he would have otherwise, but it really didn't come into play until the end of the match, when blood had already been introduced.

This is going to be another hard one to rate as it was very one-sided. Still, Ayala played his part well. His 'comeback,' if you want to call it that, after about twenty seconds of actual heat, felt impassioned enough to make up for the short time. That paired with Brooks' reactions was just potent enough to make the match feel like more than it was, which is the magic of pro wrestling. I just don't think it was quite magical enough to rate well on the set as a whole.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2001 Match of the Year

Shinya Hashimoto/Tadao Yasuda v. Tamon Honda/Masao Inoue Zero One 4/18/01

PAS: Nothing I love more then a inter promotional Japanese brawl. Team NOAH is undermanned and are awesome fighting from below. Serious Inoue is great, he is such a shlub, and I love it when he steps it up and goes to war. The Yasuda experiment was a pretty huge turn of the century failure, but this was his crowning achievement, he is a great bully smacking around Inoue with sumo thrusts and chucking him to the ground. In one of the cooler moments Yasuda has Inoue mounted and Honda runs in and chucks him with his awesome german suplex. Finish was totally boss, Hashimoto is a serial killer in this, he comes in a demolishes Inoue with these brutal looking over hand chops, they have to stop the match because his shoulder is so damaged. Has everything you want in this kind of match, bad feelings, great character work and  big time violence.

ER: Yeah these type of matches are bread and butter for me. All time asskicker, former sumo, former Olympian, chubby little loser. That's a winning combination for me. There's a lot to love in a short amount of time here, and I loved it all. Inoue gets his own ring entrance and he really soaks it up, but Hashimoto's entrance is just charisma beyond compare. A top 10 favorite of mine at the peak of his all time badass powers, sideburns with the Paul Weller shag, truly The Jam of assbeating. I'm a big fan of former sumos in pro wrestling, even the ones that aren't too great. The crowd seems to get extra electric for them, their sumo spots always get a big reaction, and they bring a "legit athlete" credibility to matches. So I'm excited right off the bat as Yasuda rushes Honda and bullies him into the corner, and then does it again with Honda catching him in a choke, followed by Honda tossing the ref aside so the can grapple. They keep coming to stalemate but the intensity burned. And then Inoue - like a 13 yr old boy trying to kiss a girl way out of his league- rushes Hash and begins blasting him with elbows, even dropping Hash down to a knee. Inoue staggering Hash is an all time great moment, but Hash has to spoil the glee by standing up and throwing the meanest overhand chops to Inoue's neck and trap and shoulder. Yasuda gets to pick on Inoue, chucks him with his underhook suplex and rolls right into mount, blasting Inoue several times. Honda breaks up the punches by coming up behind Yasuda and lifting him up and over with his great great great German suplex. We get a wonderful Honda/Hash throwdown, with Hash getting overzealous and headbutting Tamon Honda, the way a fool might. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't open attachments from parties you don't know, and you don't try to headbutt a man with a noggin like Tamon Honda. Honda smirks at Hashimoto's headbutt and then drops Hashi to the mat with his gigantic sledgehammer of a dome. But we knew who the weak link was before we even saw a visual of the match, and before long Hash has Inoue all to himself, kicking and chopping, and Inoue's shoulder - to this day - probably sounds like a rock grinder every time he moves it. And on rainy days he is reminded of Shinya Hashimoto.


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Monday, September 19, 2016

Dick Togo is in the Same Project as Candyman Still Doing Hand to Hands

Revolucion v. Argos MPRO 9/16/16-FUN

Known marxist revolutionary Dick Togo comes into the MPRO mask tournament in a Cuban flag outfit to wrestling Mistico's mediocre tag along brother. Not much of a match, Argos is pretty dull and Togo wasn't busting out all of his cool spots, possibly to attempt to conceal his identity. Togo still looked really crisp, and I would be very excited to see a Togo/Fidel Sierra tag team. Hopefully his later round matches have a bit more pop.


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DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)

Disc 1, Match 11: Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)

There's such a wonderful purity to Colon vs Abdullah. The match up shows up a number of times on the set, and I wonder if I might grow sick of it. Somehow, I don't think so. It already feels familiar here, or more accurately, it feels seeped in familiarity. It's chemistry. Colon and Abdullah unlock something in one another, unlock something in the crowd. After two matches with them, I can already see it.

It's streamlined to some degree. There's no preliminary posturing. Sure, in this match Abdullah has JJ with him. Yes, Colon comes out out to We are the World. I actually thought this was Abdullah vs Dusty for someone reason (a match up that's not even on the set). I was groaning at the "branding" Dusty must have done ("The 1985 We Are the World tour, Daddy"). But no, it was Colon, and that familiarity bleeds through. There's a glorious bit of dissonance as the music is still playing even as he takes it right to Abdullah again. Then, when the first assault doesn't work and Abdullah just gawks at him after headbutts in the corner, it's back to the ear. This doesn't feel repetitive. It feels like the most natural thing in the world.

From there, it's how you'd expect, a lucha brawl with Memphis trappings, Colon taking it to Abby, Abby bleeding, eventually firing back, Colon's comeback with low blows and the little jump, a multi-angle assault from the ropes. There are moments that shock and surprise, like Abdullah's courtly bow after an even brawling exchange, like the Monkey Flip and the suplexes and the Santa Isabel Jam. There's a hugely cinematic moment, after the comeback where Colon hits a knee lift, creating distance that allows the crowd to really see him and the fact that he'd been opened up even more. They gasp, and Colon and Abdullah are such masters of their environment that they take advantage of this, working in another little bit of heat and comeback. If it was planned, which seems unlikely, they're masters. If it wasn't planned, they're even more so.

There's a strange feeling in watching these two, like nothing I've ever seen outside of maybe some of those interminable AJPW 90s classics. There's no natural sense for when the match should end. It shouldn't end. It can't end. I'm curious to see if there's an actual finish in any match between them on this set, because I almost can't imagine it. Even here, they do an elaborate finish with a ref bump (and trash thrown in because the fans know) and JJ blading and it all leads to crowd brawling, people scattering, and a count out. It's such a testament to them, to how they turn familiarity into a strength, that they're able to present this primordial struggle, Autumn giving way to Winter and Winter giving way to Spring, one that simply can't end, and yet it is still, somehow, fulfilling.

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