Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 35: Cien

ER: I cannot believe there has been 100 episodes of this show, and I really can't believe that I have officially written about 100 episodes of this show. My goodness that is a lot of words written about Lucha Underground, with 3 different people. Props to Tim for crossing this threshold with me.

TL: Happy to have been here for the handful I’ve done. Always loved the work Eric, Phil, Matt, and all the other contributors have done on the site. I am definitely stunned that this show made it to 100 episodes in a way. Makes me wonder how many other feds could do 100 episodes of wrestling with such huge variations of quality. Hell, CWF Mid-Atlantic is blowing this out of the water on a regular basis and they’re about to do episode 150.

Sexy Star/Fenix/Cage/Prince Puma vs. Taya/PJ Black/Johnny Mundo/Marty "The Moth" Martinez

ER: This match had a comical amount of "I make your partner do a move to you" goofy mousetrap offense, but I liked it. It was just a 6 minute atomicos match but had a lot to like with all the goofiness happening. I liked all the moments where Mundo uses Taya as operation human shield, like rushing to tag her in when Cage gets into the match, or blatantly throwing her right into a big Cage lariat so that he is in a better position to attack Cage. The double teams were all goofy but they fit well into the match just because they were pulled off seamlessly, with both Puma pulling out some ridiculous combos, a crazy spinkick out of something that started like an armdrag, a big springboard kick, plenty of fun bits. We get a couple good DDTs, both Moth and Puma really took them on the side of their heads, really outside of Moth having to bump around for Sexy Star this was plenty fun. Also looking forward to Crane/Cage if it ends up happening as more than just a backstage beatdown.

TL: So, this is some really basic quibbling with wrestling booking. Okay. You have Fenix in a blood feud with Marty that is building to an apuestas match. Marty starts off the match with Sexy Star. He shows ass and basically has to tumble to his corner for a tag because he can’t handle Sexy Star. So this means, with Fenix going to a standstill with PJ Black in the next section of this match…that Sexy is being booked stronger than all three of them? Really? I just wanted to expand on Eric’s point about Marty bumping around for her because it’s just one of those things that seems really out of place with all the stories they’re trying to tell in this match. When everyone pairs off into the feuds they’re in at the end, it’s really fun, and I dug Puma doing a gainer off Mundo’s springboard kick. Looked really sick. A good little match, if not something that felt rushed.

TL: I’m such a huge fan of the corny-ass backstage segments that LU has. It’s really amazing that they even exist in a universe where Being the Elite is also a thing. I’ll take this overacting over tongue-in-cheek inside references at wrestlers being better than “The establishment” any day of the week. Also, if it becomes a three-way between Muertes/Cage/Crane, I’m in. Just don’t give Crane a bat.

Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Pentagon Dark

ER: They're keeping the matches to 6-7 minutes this episode, which keeps things fast and avoids bloat. You know you're likely not getting a great match, but you don't get guys working themselves into corners either. I thought this was really fun, even though I'm bearish on Pentagon he's still a really nice base for Azteca, and I loved all of Azteca's crazy height and balance he would display, every time Pentagon would toss him into the air. Him landing on his feet on the top was super impressive, and I loved him getting tossed up onto the stage and running back and immediately hitting a beautiful rana to the floor. Azteca hit a big skytwister press to the floor not long before that, and back in they did some nicely done sexy dance fighting. Pentagon would cut off Azteca when he got too cute (like making him pay for a handspring attempt by hitting a double stomp), and the package piledriver was nicely planted. Azteca gets launched a few times postmatch by Matanza, a sure curse when an employer knows how great you take big throw offense. This episode is nice and brisk.

TL: One of my favorite things in lucha when I first started watching it was Hector Garza’s tornillo. It was so amazingly graceful and also looked like it completely wiped you out when it landed. Azteca hits a great one here, mainly aided by the camera angle, but it also gave me a reason to talk about one of my favorite moves. This is better than most Pentagon matches this season because Azteca’s offense is good and Penta knows how to take it, and Penta can be a good transition guy. Azteca landing on top in an ode to early Rey stuff was awesome, as was Penta hitting the Fear Factor to finish off it. Matanza tossing around people never gets old.

Matanza vs. Rey Mysterio

ER: Good match, as you'd expect. Rey sticks and moves until Matanza sticks him, and then we get a nice long Matanza beatdown, slamming the back of Rey's head into various surfaces, clawing at his eyes, cutting him off with a nice straight leg big boot, Rey tries to tangle him in the ropes and Matanza keeps beating on him with Vader-like full arm blows. The Code Red was a nice comeback and then we go a classic Rey run, big springboard senton and legdrop, big DDT, Matanza gets a chair kicked into his face in nasty fashion a couple times (I wonder how hard front of his mask really is? It doesn't seem pliable but I'm not sure it's protective), and I love Matanza finally just taking Rey out at the knees with the chair. End run was big with a couple large Matanza throws, a nice missed charge into the post, but Rey moonsaulting into the Wrath of the Gods. This match didn't necessarily seem like a huge deal, which is a shame since you had without a doubt the biggest wrestling star in the company versus a murderer who has never been beaten in a straight match, but in a vacuum the two of them matched up predictably well.

TL: Rey’s barrage to start this was fantastic and really made the match have a sense of urgency that can sometimes be missing in LU. Of course, Matanza is a great base for Rey’s offense, including snapping over on a springboard rana with a tight window. The baseball slide Rey bump is one of my favorite lucha bumps ever, right up there with the Estrada bump. Matanza just slamming Rey into whatever he finds appealing is great stuff, just overpowering him in every way possible. The Code Red off the top was nasty as all hell and a great way to get Rey back into it. Why does Matanza need a chair, though???? As Eric said, he’s literally killed a guy. Like he needs a damn chair. The rotating German Suplex is still an awe-inspiring spot even though I’ve seen it done so many times. Cool finish and I liked that Cueto made sure Matanza won. I do think it was treated like a big deal, but it didn’t get the pageantry that you expect from a monumental episode since it was rushed into from the previous match. It was definitely worked like a big match, and I liked the postmatch beatdown with the chair more than the chair stuff during the match due to there being more intent there, but I’ll like anything these two do together, really.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Briscoes vs. EYFBO

76. Briscoes vs. EYFBO wXw 10/7

ER: Tons of fun, just go go go go with no stopping for breath, great way to start off night 2 of this tournament. Even though the Briscoes aren't too much bigger than EYFBO, they are able to convey a super overpowering aura in their matches, always coming off faster, stronger, crazier, and I thought EYFBO was good at finding their moments and bumping big for the Briscoes. We start with a kind of lucha style opening, arm drags and rope running and ranas, but once they kick into the next gear and start chaining together big moves and double teams they never look back. Match really got great once Jay got the hot tag and started throwing savage lariats, really throwing from the shoulder with huge follow through. Both teams keep one upping the other, everyone is throwing huge dropkicks in the corner, Draztik hits this crazy swanton into Mark slumped in the corner (vaulting off Ortiz), they set up some loony cutter in the corner with Mark stretched from the turnbuckle to the shoulder of Ortiz, and Draztik runs the length of Mark and flies off with a heavy crossbody on Jay. Mark takes out Ortiz with a cannonball off the ring apron, and Jay crushes Draztik with his best lariat of the match (which is saying something), and they really knock Draztik's block off with the Doomsday Device. This match couldn't have been more than 12 minutes but was a fantastic spotfest, not a second of slow down. I would have been burnt out already had I been there.

PAS: This was the best EYFBO match I have seen, as they have always felt like a team I should love but always fell short for me. This was total go-go stuff, reminded me of the great Garden State Gods JAPW matches in the mid-2000s. I have been watching the Briscoes since their earliest matches, and man have they fully gone in on their scraggly militia look. They look like they should hijacking Federal land for grazing rights. All of their stuff looked great, they have gotten so good at making little things look impactful, big highspots, but also great looking elbows and clotheslines. I haven't watched ROH in years, but I need to check out some more recent Briscoes.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Rottweilers vs. Nationalists

23. Low-Ki/Homicide vs. WALTER/Timothy Thatcher wXw 10/7

ER: I love a good style clash, and they don't get much clashier than two small Puerto Rican lunatics going against two large Euro clubbers. There is no chance Homicide has crossed paths with these two, Ki definitely has never fought Thatcher, and apparently Ki matched up with WALTER a decade ago, but this is about a fresh and weird a match up as you can get. In a fair exchange stand up battle, the Rottweilers don't have much of a chance. Thatcher tosses Homicide around with ease, and Ki matches up against WALTER...and awesomely suckers him into eating a kick on a test of strength. You knew this would roll to the floor early and I love how Thatcher and WALTER had no hesitation playing into the Rotts' game. WALTER especially looked like he would have fit great into JAPW, not hesitating to brawl through the crowd and jump over chairs to grab Homicide in a choke, Homicide's only hope is cheapshots and eyepokes (which I'm fine with). Ki and Homicide are two guys who can keep a match interesting outside of the ring, really felt like we needed a split screen, but I'm glad we caught Ki hitting a mammoth running dropkick on a seated Thatcher. Ki is awesome reversing WALTER power offense, loved him getting press slammed into the ring but landing on his feet to set up his shot out of a cannon dropkick, then he absolutely crushes WALTER's sternum with a crazy double stomp to the narrow rampway (and wrecks his knee in the process). You need something big to conceivably keep WALTER out of a match long enough to isolate Thatcher, and that was it. Ki is insane as even with a torched knee he still opts to lift Thatcher up on his shoulders so Homicide can hit the match finishing cutter. It's a shame the injury robbed us of Rottweilers/Briscoes, but still happy we got this.

PAS: This was a total blast, the kind of dream match you never even thought about until someone booked it. I loved how this went Bayonne, with the crazy crowd brawling, we just needed WALTER to press slam someone into a wall. Thatcher is known for his technical stuff, but he is a great brawler and isn't afraid to wade into a street fight, I loved him uppercutting Homicide mid tope con hilo. Homicide is really spry here, he feels like he has caught a late career second wind. Ki is so great, loved his insane reverse shining wizard and how great he is working David against WALTER. That double stomp on the apron was nuts, and the fact he lifted Thatcher on his shoulders with a blown out knee is totally bonkos. Heck of match to close out a pretty great Ki year.



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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lucha Worth Watching: CMLL in Japan, 1998

Somebody uploaded a few matches from a 1998 CMLL Japan tour, and none of them have been released before now. Let's check 'em out!

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Fishman  CMLL Japan 8/22/98 

ER: Wow what a treat. I don't think this match has ever seen the light of day before now, it's the only listed singles match between the two, and it's really good. Fishman is in his late 40s and spry, Santo is in his mid 30s and the greatest. Santo is so fluid and graceful, but hits hard, lighting up Fishman with great chops the whole match. Just a couple minutes in and Santo already hits a gorgeous dive to the floor, landing far away from the ring, just crazy distance on a dive you knew was going to land you on a gym floor. I wish we could have seen more of the crowd brawling, as it's filmed semi-handheld style and the guy doesn't move, so you hear a bunch of crashing but only see bits and pieces. Still neither man hesitates to throw stiff blows and what we can see is good. The in-ring work is gold, with Fishman taking a nice backdrop bump to start (and Santo later taking an even higher, more graceful one), and I was really struck by the violence of Santo's knees, just the best kneelifts and flying knee strikes, done with a luchador's grace but the end result still being a sharp knee getting driven into Fishman. We get an awesome battle over the camel clutch, with Fishman bringing excellent struggle, twisting to get his arms free, Santo working for it and turning it into a twisting cravate, rolling it back into a nasty seated surfboard, all great stuff. And after another crowd brawl Santo even hits a rolling senton off the apron to a freshly bodyslammed Fishman. The finish is a great one, as Fishman is beating Santo in the ropes, undoes his mask, ties it to the top rope, and continues beating on him. He walks away to soak up the boos, and Santo merely removes that mask to reveal that he was wearing ANOTHER MASK, and gets a surprise roll up. Dude just wrestled a match wearing two masks, just for a cool finish. Legendary status.

PAS: Fishman was always a guy with a great reputation, who looked completely washed every time he showed up on tape. I remember when I did commentary on a lucha TV pilot in Monterey around the time of this match, Fishman was the worst guy on the show. Here though he is the spriest I have seen him, he is throwing pretty hard shots and bumping around. It is a little glance at why he has such a great reputation. Santo is of course brilliant, people mainly think of how graceful he is, but he isn't afraid to brawl and really lays it in Fishman. Loved that finish, what a fun BS twist on a wrestling trope. Feels like the kind of thing Eddie Guerrerro might come up with.

El Hijo Del Santo/Atlantis/Lizmark/Mr. Niebla/Rey Bucanero/Mano Negra Jr./Tsubasa/Ultraman Jr. vs. Satanico/Arkangel de la Muerte/Ultimo Guerrero/Fishman/Black Warrior/Tortuga/Super Cacao/Pirata Morgan  CMLL Japan 8/23/98

ER: A lot of this wasn't very good. It was not a cibernetico, instead it was worked like an All Japan battle royal, only it didn't have the alliances of the best AJPW battle royals, and the comedy didn't land as well. We did get an amusing early dogpile spot, with Arkangel and Santo really leaping up on top of a big pile only to have Tortuga eventually crawl out of the bottom unscathed (I assume because he has a tough turtle shell). Santo is probably the most active throughout, but the eliminations all come immediately from guys either taking one move or getting in one loose sub. BUT, Atlantis and Santo are the final two, and we get a 5 minute sprint between the two of them, and they aren't guys who ever had a singles match at this point (and I still think their only singles match is the 2005 Leyenda de Plata finals). So we get a big Santo dive and a somersault senton, and the handheld up close camera work really shows how damn hard those bodyslams are. Every bump is loud and painful, and the struggles over the camel clutch are all great. But my favorite moments is after the match, when Santo finally traps Atlantis in the clutch, and Atlantis is lying on his stomach holding his back......Santo then begins standing on Atlantis' back and buttocks to help with his back pain!! THAT is an awesome wrestling moment that I have never seen before, making all of this totally worth it.

Arkangel de la Muerte/Ultimo Guerrero/Fishman vs. Atlantis/Lizmark/Mano Negra Jr.  CMLL Japan 8/23/98

ER: A fairly by the numbers trios that picks up a bit down the stretch, but is mostly kept to the same marriage partners throughout (Arkangel/Negra, UG/Lizmark, and Atlantis/Fishman), working what feels like a CMLL house show match. But that's not a bad thing. My favorite combo was Lizmark/UG as it was fun seeing UG work some mat tricks that he basically stopped doing after 2002, he had this neat takedown where he wrapped Lizmark's arm around his own neck and then rolled backwards, taking Lizmark down with him, he takes a super high late rotation backdrop, and late in the match he even goes for a moonsault (and almost lands on his shoulder). Arkangel working with Negra is fun with both hitting cool leaping armdrags, and peaking with Negra hitting a mammoth tornillo over the ringpost to the floor that I really didn't think he had in him. Late 40s Lizmark and Fishman were far more lively than I remember them being, and while this never attempted to go into 3rd gear, it was solid work and a fun historical piece.

Now let's just hope this person uploads the Hijo Del Santo/Rey Bucanero match that happened on this tour...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 34: Career Opportunities

ER: Slapbak is pretty much the house band at this point. Vampiro is trying to bang the girl in Slapbak, isn't he. Future Lucha Underground champion: Girl from Slapbak.

TL: Slapbak is no Tsunami Bomb, man. I’m all about Lucha Underground champion Emily Whitehurst, man. And then have Kristin McRory, mega-babyface, come after her for the belt. She can even be Agent M! This concludes our Petaluma, CA Phoenix Theater-based punk rock references for this review.

Drago vs. The Mack

ER: I thought Mack was really great in this. His armdrags and rollthroughs were really impressive, his throws look great, his demeanor is impressive. This is probably a really obvious observation, but this match just really opened my eyes to how underutilized Mack has been in LU. I know we've seen him used in higher profile spots, but we've mainly seen him as Sexy Star's best bud, and playing second fiddle to Sexy Star is just way below his level. The way he carried himself in this match made him feel bigger than most guys in the fed. I thought the ending was about as weak as you can get, though, with Drago hitting a dashed off kick combo and winning with his sloppiest ever rolling crucifix.

TL: A Mack showcase match that ends with seriously weak shenanigans to end the match leaves a sour taste in my mouth, no matter if he gets his heat back in the end. It’s obvious that he has basically found his niche as he has a true confidence to him that he didn’t have before. I have absolutely no idea how he hasn’t gotten any other ways to shine since the Johnny Mundo feud, and that’s one of the issues with such heavily pre-produced TV. You can’t really change things up midseason like that. Too bad. It’s almost like they have to wait until Season 4 to do something with him, and there, it might be too late.

Five-O Street Fight: Joey Ryan vs. Cortez Castro

ER: I'm already unexcited about this match, and almost immediately Striker has to turn it into a political statement, just wanting to make sure those boys in blue know that "some of us" really appreciate what they do for us. What a piece of shit. Vomiting all over a show with shoehorned references and blatantly overscripted jokes is one level of dogshit, but outing yourself as an All Lives Matter asshole is an even deeper ditch. I will just mute Striker for the rest of this. On mute these two do a pretty great job with a pretty goofy concept. I mean the idea that Dario just lets Castro still wrestle after finding out he is a cop trying to bring him down is just ridiculous. Dario has had far lesser people murdered just for not winning a wrestling match. But they make a body cavity spot more amusing than I would have thought, Joey breaks a riot shield with his head, Castro misses a crossbody and crashes through a riot squad guy, they do a well done missed sledgehammer shot into a cop car, Joey gets hot coffee dumped down his trunks, Castro smartly uses a riot shield to give him stronger shoulderblocks (I mean that really is a smart spot), a bunch of not-overly-clever moments. I actually think this was the best of the non-Muertes props fights in the series history, and I was NOT expecting that on paper.

TL: Cortez Castro being billed as from “The Streets” is laughably bad. Then Striker says his piece on respecting the police and I really want to reach through the TV and slap the taste out of his mouth. As the only one who watched this match with audio working, I can only add that the racial undertones of a Latino/Caucasian matchup surrounded by “police” on the outside was alluded to on commentary, and I’m ready to fast forward. Screw a mute. Vampiro asks Matt what he’d do in this match and I almost expect him to say, “Ask a cop to help.” Oh, wait. THEY HAVE SIRENS ON TOP OF THE RINGPOSTS. I’M LOSING IT. The setting for this match is such a damper on the match itself that it’s hard to really review it. Then Striker says he wishes folks would fight more in person than on Twitter and I’m out on this. Thankfully, we’re coming to the end of this one, and the match starts being louder than Striker on commentary. Lot of simple stuff looking really good. WHY DOES THE RAT COP WIN???? This was sure something else. I don’t know if I enjoyed it as much as Eric did on mute, which means I’m making terrible life choices.

The Rabbit Tribe vs. Matanza

ER: I would really love a London/Matanza singles match given 10-12 minutes. This was more messy than that made up match would have been, but that's to be expected in a 3 on 1 match where 3 of the people are on LSD. Cobb isn't really a bulldozer in the same way Andre was, so I don't think 3 on 1 is a situation that plays to his monster strengths. 1 on 1 throwing a guy around looks much cooler. He's already a shorter guy (though obviously stocky as hell) so 3 on 1 tends to dwarf him. I did really like the Tribe's rabid rapid rabbit dropkicks in the corner, just all running in on top of each other throwing dropkick after dropkick. It looked like a video of a bunch of bunnies just jumping all over each other in a pen. Still, I wish they gave London more of a platform to shine. After his quality big bumping miracle work in the year and a half long Cueto Cup, I think he's someone who could really shine when motivated. Give him goof off leash, and he'll take it and run. Treat him like an actual guy and he may still work big.

TL: Some cute stuff, but nothing overly great. I think it would have been cool to see this like a gauntlet like the Lotus stuff earlier in the season, but this should have had way more Matanza crazy power stuff to it. Instead, it was oddly more of a Rabbit Tribe showcase. If Festus can get off the craziness and go straight edge, Paul London can, too. Okay, maybe I wasn’t done making Phoenix Theater-related references in this review.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

C.W. Anderson: Man Who Doesn't Always Quit

C.W. Anderson has been a favorite of mine since ECW, and recently I thought his promo work with Ric Converse was his career best, and all used to build up a Career vs. Title I Quit match. The match totally delivered the goods (here's our review and a link to that match), and I loved how CW treated the I Quit stipulation as something he had never gotten over, as something that has haunted him for 15+ years. I haven't watched the Anderson/Dreamer I Quit match since it originally aired on the final ECW PPV, so I thought it would be fun to revisit. In doing so, I found that Anderson had worked a couple other I Quit matches since that first one (including a couple against Dreamer, which I sadly could not find), so of course I will be checking those out as well.

C.W. Anderson vs. Tommy Dreamer  ECW Guilty As Charged 1/7/01

ER: Boy, going back and watching this with 2018 eyes and I'm really happy that I willingly and proudly associated myself with ECW fans. I can't think of too many places that have gathered 2500 more undesirable people into one building. It's truly the trump rally of wrestling crowds. As they panned the crowd I get expecting to see a black man dressed like he was ready for a soft shoe routine to come out and yell "GET OUT!" to any women in attendance. But the match is good! CW is great in brawls and really put over everything Dreamer tried, got big height on a Sky High, though weirdly was able to use a rope break when Dreamer had him in a Boston Crab. Wait you can use weapons and gouge someone's eyes out to get them to say I Quit, but a rope break is still the rule of the land? You could use the ropes to choke someone and get them to say I Quit. This makes no sense. But the stuff on the floor is good, Dreamer kicking CW's arm in a chair, setting the ring bell against CW's head and hitting it with a wrench, and CW comes up bleeding. But I will say that I must not be a true ECW fan, because I don't remember Towel Boy. Was Towel Boy some skinny indy worker that found a gig as a guy taking bumps? I remember Dick Hertz but don't have any memory of Towel Boy. But Towel Boy attacks Anderson with Christmas wrapped cookie sheets so CW hits a huge delay superplex on Towel Boy. You know, Towel Boy. Towel Boy also brought Dreamer a roll of razor wire, and I get my wish when CW gives Dreamer a spinebuster on the razor wire. Dreamer also takes a suplex through two set up chairs which is hell on the kidneys. But Dreamer hits a big Death Valley Driver off the middle rope through a table, and the table explodes in a pretty spectacular way. Dreamer gets him to quit by wrapping the table banding around his eyes and tightening it. I had pretty much only remembered the finish, so the rest of the match was a treat. It wasn't as good as I remembered it, but it had blood and some good violence, a ton of scuzzy meathead fans, and built nicely. Good match.

C.W. Anderson vs. Dewey Cheatum  SCW 5/30/02

ER: I'm not sure what events happened that made it necessary to have an I Quit match, but I'm glad those events happened. Dewey Cheatum was a fun early 2000s Carolina guy with some of the absolutely worst indy wrestling fashion. He looks like Ken Rosenthal filming a parody of a 1999 Mountain Dew commercial. He's wearing baggy red parachute pants, a red mesh tank top, and one of those printed button ups that seem to be exclusively worn by fat gamers or guys who play Warhammer at comic book shops. It was the only button up a mother could get her teen son to wear to family dinner night at Outback after she peeled him away from a 13 hour marathon World of Warcraft sesh. And CW punishes him for that outfit. Cheatum is a guy with decent punches and some nice bumps, and shows here that he will bleed in a match. Anderson was never in a ton of danger, as whenever Cheatum would get any headway he would be cut off shortly after by Anderson. Anderson is a great bully, and he punches and elbows and slaps Cheatum around the ring and ringside, runs him balls first into the ringpost, grates his face over the turnbuckle bolt, and finds a hunk of sharp metal on the floor (that the guy filming adeptly zooms in on, making up for him earlier filming a nice strike exchange while being blocked by the referee's track pants) that surely won't come into play later. Cheatum fights back and throws nice punches to the mid section, but gets folded by a super quick snap German suplex. Even him setting up a superkick out of the corner gets cut off by a surely more brutal Anderson superkick. Cheatum eats chairshots and jabs a piece of bleeding metal into Cheatum's head to get the I Quit. Anderson crushes the ref with a spinebuster after the match, probably for wearing track pants.

C.W. Anderson/Jack Victory/Bar Room Brawler/David Young/Guillotine LeGrande/Ronnie Stevens vs. Dusty Rhodes/Homicide/Iceberg/Becky Bayless/J-Train/Louie Ramos  ROH Epic Encounter 4/12/03

ER: Well this was flat out great. Total chaos, tons of blood, someone who may have never wrestled before or after, giant fat dudes, small slender ladies, random one off ROH appearances by some, just a whirlwind of violence. We get some MVP performances from CW, Jack Victory, and Iceberg but really everyone adds to this as best they can. Jack Victory looks completely unathletic (and usually wrestles like that) but is a monster here pairing off and warring with Homicide, smashing through a table like the Incredible Hulk to use pieces of it as a weapon, getting launched through that table by Homicide (who then jumps on the table with Victory underneath), later he acts like a real thug and holds Becky Bayless by the hair so Ronnie Stevens/Simply Luscious can smack her, and quits for his team after getting his face and mouth forked and spiked by Homicide. This was my favorite Jack Victory performance. CW is expectedly great, always awesome in a brawl, has probably the best punch exchange of the match (with Homicide), smashes him with the spinebuster, and is the biggest stooge for Dusty (even taking a kick right between the uprights). Iceberg was mountainous and was not only the largest man in the match (by far) but took the craziest bumps (big drop toehold into steps on the floor, taking a nutty German suplex from David Young) and flattens Young with a BIG splash. Dusty is fun, tricks everybody by sending a fake Dusty out as the Midnight Rider (who the heck was this guy, he was taller and larger than anyone in the match other than Iceberg) and then sneaks in while the rider is miming Dusty elbows on the apron. Guillotine LeGrande is stiffing people, some juiced doof named Bar Room Brawler comes in throwing accidental stiff shots like someone who took a one day Power Plant seminar, J-Train (the future Julius Smokes) does a crazy dropkick off the apron and splats on the floor, the whole thing is just great. It was preceded by a 40 minute London/Danielson match that I'm sure is awesome, but at this point in my life I can't imagine enjoying it more than the slab of bloody sleaze that followed it.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shinya Hashimoto is the Prettiest Thing I've Seen, But He Treats Me So Doggone Mean

Shogun/Samurai/PY Chu Hi vs. Jed Grundy/Brian Lee/Jim McPherson CWA 3/4/89 - FUN

PAS: Since it's a SC project we have to open up with something a little goofy. This has Hash managed by Tojo Yammamoto in Memphis teaming up with Phil Hickerson in yellow face and guy who instead of returning to New Japan stayed in Tennessee and opened a restaurant. They are teaming agains Jungle Jim McPhearson a black guy in loincloth with one nice dropkick and a couple of bad ones, Jed Grundy who is one of your lesser known 80s hillbilly gimmicks and a bleached blond blowjob babyface Brian Lee. Match is a classic Memphis TV expiration of time main event. Babyfaces bump around the heels a bit until Tojo clips Brian Lee with the Kendo stick. Then Hickerson and Hashimoto do a pretty nice job of banging on Lee's knee, including a nasty full weight Hashimoto smash on the ropes. Hot tag and ref distraction leads to Hashimoto smacking Jungle Jim with a spin kick for the finish. I really wish we had arena Shogun and Samurai matches because they are fun team.

ER: I love Memphis. Here you have Shinya Hashimoto - one month away from having an all time great match with Victor Zangiev - stooging around for Mike Shaw as a hillbilly and Brian Lee at his most Danny Spivey. But Shogun/Samurai are a simple, quality team, and I actually like Hickerson as PY, liked the low kicks to Lee's knee. Grundy disappears most of the match and McPherson pretty much does a leapfrog and three dropkicks (almost dumping himself on his head on the first one). Hashimoto takes a great bump into the corner, like a chubby guy Psicosis bump, hitting the top buckle with his butt while his legs were higher than the ropes, flipping himself over. The spinkick finish was big, and I loved the heels putting the boots to the faces post-match, and I love the sight of the heels fleeing when Tracy Smothers and John Paul storm the ring. This whole thing was pretty inconsequential, but I love this kind of stuff.

Shinya Hashimoto vs. Rick Rude NJPW 8/10/92 - GREAT

PAS: This was a G1 climax match and a fun chance to see Hashimoto work a Rick Rude match during the peak of Rude's powers. Early on Rude takes a big back drop and does his great clenched ass cheek sell. Hashimoto works over Rudes back with some spine kicks and backbreakers, which Rude sells awesomely. Rude fights back and actually bloodies Hashimoto's nose with a knee lift. Finish run was pretty great with Rude getting plastered with a DDT, but he gets his foot on the bottom rope. We get a Madusa ref distraction which lets Rude catch Hashimoto on the top rope and absolutely spike Hash with a top rope DDT, he then hits a big top rope knee for pin. Really neat to see Rude throw his big bombs and Hash throw big chops and kicks. Really nice chemistry between two guys matching up for the first time

ER: This is neat and kind of weird, as it's worked like a Rude WWF match, but he never had an opponent quite like Hashimoto to work off. I was expecting Rude adapting to a Hash match, but this felt more like a match called by Rude with Hash along for the ride. And Hash is a good guy to have along for a ride. Rude always took the best backdrops, and I think it's consensus opinion among wrestling fans that his buckled knees clenched cheeks atomic drop sell is the best in wrestling history.  Here he puts that selling style to good use selling his lower back while Hash kicks it, plants him with backbreakers, and drops knees on it. Rude transitions back to offense when Hash misses a huge spinkick in the corner, and it looks great with Rude ducking at the last minute and Hash bouncing off the buckles right above him. It's odd seeing Hash working American spots in Japan, like getting the boots up when Rude comes off the buckles, but Rude's back selling is convincing throughout. It really looks like Hash muscles a dead weight opponent over on a back suplex, and we get a great false finish when Rude gets his leg draped over the ropes at the last minute after a Hash spike DDT. The finish has probably the two wildest parts of the match, with Hashimoto taking a DDT off the top, which is a crazy spot for anyone, like taking a superplex but instead deciding to just drop straight down on your head. Insanity. And I always love Rude's top rope kneedrop. He always gets such great height and distance, it always looks majestic.


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Complete and Accurate Shinya Hashimoto

This one is long overdue. I remember the first Hashimoto match I saw, outside of wrestling magazines I knew very little about Japanese wrestling. My one chance to see them would be when they would show up in WCW, I remember watching the 1992 Bash and seeing Hashimoto come out swagger on 10, and kick the every living shit out of Jimmy Jam Garvin. Totally opened up my head, and watching him kill three guys in a tiny Pennsylvania rec center is still one of my favorite live experiences ever and I still have the signed bandanna I caught. Still I think there are a bunch of Hashimoto matches I either haven't seen or haven't watched in years and I am looking forward to digging in. Tomk and Eric will be on a bunch of these (Eric is all in going forward) and as always matches are ranked SKIPPABLE, FUN, GREAT, EPIC.


Shogun/Samurai/PY Chu Hi vs. Brian Lee/Jed Grundy/Jim McPherson CWA 3/4/89 - FUN
Shinya Hashimoto vs. Vader NJPW 4/24/89 - EPIC


Shinya Hashimoto vs. Masanobu Kurisu NJPW 8/3/90 - EPIC


Shinya Hashimoto vs. Rick Rude NJPW 8/10/92 - GREAT


Shinya Hashimoto/Michiyoshi Ohara vs. Takashi Ishikawa/Kodo Fuyuki WAR 3/5/93 - EPIC
Shinya Hashimoto/Keiji Mutoh/Hiroshi Hase vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Riki Choshu/Tatsumi Fujinami NJ 7/9/94 - GREAT

Shinya Hashimoto/Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi Zero-One 8/15/04 - EPIC

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lucha Worth Watching: Dinastia Villano! Traumas! Chico Che!

Villano IV/Villano V Jr./Rocambole Jr. v. Trauma I/Trauma II/Sharly Rockstar IWRG 12/3/17

PAS: Big old fashioned Villano brawl. The two baby Villanos (Villano V Jr. and Rocambole Jr. are the sons of V5, formally Kaving and Kortiz) look exactly like their father and uncle and wrestle just like additional Villanos (they really dropped the ball, by not just naming the Villano VI and VII). They dominate early eventually getting DQed for ripping off T2's mask. The second fall has the Traumas and the former Charley Manson (RIP) firing back and smashing the Villanos with chairs. Rocambole starts leaking and it gets more frantic. I think a slightly better finish would have gotten this on a MOTY list, but it was a bunch of fun nonetheless.

Hair vs. Hair: Chico Che vs. Ovett IWRG 1/1/18

ER: For some reason IWRG thought it would be a cool idea to do their whole new years show in a cage. It's probably because they just didn't want to assemble the cage for the main event, which makes sense because sometimes I just drive home from work with my emergency brake on because I know I'll just be using it when I get home anyway. Brother, you ain't seen dumb until you've seen the annual Reyes del Aire...inside a cage. I would prefer to see literally any match on this show not inside of a cage, but this one probably works the best within the stip. The cage match does spoil the winner, as one look at Ovett and you can bet when his choices are between "get a haircut" and "climb a tall cage", dude is not climbing that cage. The cage means that we don't get a classic Chico Che dive, but you get classic Che stiffness, big headbutts, big bleeding forehead, big overhand chops, and his huge torpedo splash. Ovett made this a garbage match, literally, by going for a chair, twisting off some sharp metal piping to stab Che in the head with, and dumping out thumbtacks. Ovett hits a huge fat guy senton, and later misses a fat guy moonsault right into those damn tacks. Match hits peak gross when Che stomps on the back of Ovett's head, right into the tacks, and Ovett comes up with a forehead full of thumbtacks. That's a flat out dumb and bonkers spot. While getting his head shaved the barber attempts to pull a couple tacks out of his hairline and Ovett understandably does not look like a happy camper.

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Friday, March 09, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 143

Episode 143

Aric Andrews vs. Cam Carter

PAS: Yes! Andrews is growing back his facial hair! These guys have really good chemistry with each other, with Carter being really great at being elusive and kind of climbing Andrews like a tree fort. Andrews is great, I loved how he sets pace, the violence of all of his moves and how well he uses height. I loved Carter's missed superkick that he spun right into another one, it felt like how a boxer would throw combos with only the last shot being meant to land. One thing that is weird, is they kept talking about Andrews and Carter having a TV title match, and how close Carter came, and then they made a huge deal about his upset win, "That might be the biggest win of Carter's young career" but they already did this match. Carter already had his big non-title upset win over Andrews a couple of months ago. It almost felt like when WCW would have Terry Taylor turn on Dustin Rhodes on Worldwide, The Pro and Main Event. For a fed that normally pays such attention to its history, this felt weirdly off.

ER: I've liked the other two Carter/Andrews matches quite a bit, love how they match up, but Phil nailed it here. Carter has had his big moment against Andrews, and they really rubbed it in because they easily just could have had Carter have his big moment by actually taking the TV title off him. This felt more like Andrews' status getting lowered than it felt like Carter's status getting higher. But the match in a vacuum was a good one, maybe their best, and if not their best then definitely their most straight ahead match. Their other matches had Lee Valiant running distractions, this was just the two of them. This also might be the most Andrews offense we've seen in a match, and I dug that. The stuff I like most from him is his close game, twisting a guy's neck and jaw, dropping a heavy elbow, planting a knee in Carter's back, and he's always good at stumbling into Carter's offense. Carter, for his part, has nice offense, snaps off a 450 from the middle rope, lands a couple nice kicks, this was a great WorldWide match. Andrews needs that facial hair back. It is his Samson hair feature.

Dirty Daddy vs. Donnie Dollars

PAS: Doesn't really get started, as Ray Kandrack comes out and basically squashes both guys. Kind of a bummer as I like both dudes, and it is especially weird that Daddy has been turned into a member of the Bad Breed for 911 to chokeslam. He was a real highlight of last year, but with Snooty Foxx seemingly set up to team with Aaron Biggs, and him getting punked like this, I am not sure where he has to go.

ER; Yeah Daddy really feels like he's getting shuttled down the card, which I don't understand. He was always reliable last year, then suddenly lost the RGL title in 2 minutes (that he spent the year building towards winning), and now he looks like that level of jobber who doesn't even get to look pissed after his match is interrupted and he's attacked; he's one of those guys who just lies there while the cool guy hits his spots and cracks jokes while leaving. Kandrack throws a great headbutt and is a guy who can still actually make a Frye/Takayama stand and trade look compelling in 2018, but I wanted to see Dollars/Daddy. I don't think I've seen a Dollars match on CWF TV in 6 months, and this looked like a compelling match-up for both guys. The little we got was more compelling than the Kandrack run-in.

Jesse Adler vs. Cain Justice

PAS: This was clearly an attempt to do a big young lions, future of the company showdown, and it was a truly tremendous performance by Cain Justice, in basically a broomstick match. Cain was just great, unhinged, vicious, crafty and violent. I loved how he got the advantage on the floor and just hurled Adlers arm into the ring post a half a dozen times. Just brutal looking, it really looked like he might have broke Adler's wrists. Justice screaming at the announcers when they were talking about how he felt overlooked was a great character moment, as was spitting and flipping off Adler to lure him into a dive, which Justice met with a kick. Adler just wasn't close to holding up his end of the bargain. Not a single bit of his offense looked passable, he threw the worst shoulder blocks I have ever seen, none of his high flying moves looked like they landed with force, I am blaming him for that embarrassing hockey fight spot too. Cain was up for it, he wanted a classic, I just wished he got a more game opponent.

ER: I liked this more than Phil, but thought it wasn't as good as it could have been, and overstayed it's welcome a bit. Adler was the same as he has been, although I think he's looked worse in other matches. He's at his strongest when he's selling damage, which was most of this match. His offense rarely looks good, and that was consistent here. Both of them are to blame for the hockey fight spot, it's okay to call Cain out on stuff that was a bad idea, and really that spot just came off silly within the context of the match (and before the hockey fight, I thought Adler's slaps looked better than Cain's). But the meat of the match is all about Cain taking apart Adler's arm. Adler isn't a very interesting salesman to be sure, and I don't think his selling ever matched the savagery of Cain's attacks, but watching Cain find different ways of killing an arm was awesome. Everything centered around that ringpost was killer, thought Adler took a great shoulder first bump into it from the apron (nudged by Cain's foot), and ye gods Cain wrapping that arm around the post was just beyond painful. It looked violent enough that it almost tanked the rest of the match, as someone really shouldn't be able to last that long with their wing being put through the ringer like it was. All of Cain's twisting looked tough, and then he's kicking it, dropping knees on it, and expertly (and cruelly) bending it before quickly dropping an elbow on it. But I don't love the direction the last quarter of the match went, with Adler still attempting flippy offense. Now it could have been worse and he could have fought back against all odds and won, so I like the end result, but getting there could have been smoother in spots. Still, an excellent Cain Justice performance, and an overall good match.

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Red vs. Ki 2018!!

4. Amazing Red vs. Low-Ki House of Glory 2/3

PAS: I have made an argument that this could be the greatest juniors feud in wrestling history, so it is pretty awesome to see these guys face off fifteen years later. This is worked very differently then their matches in the early 2000s, here Ki is working straight vicious heel, and is this is more like a Tenryu match then Rey Jr. vs. Psicosis. Ki seems to be trying really new things in his big singles matches, the awesome Callihan match had all of the crazy spots around Sami's broken jaw, and this match had a crazy kung-fu battle on a stage. The didn't open with the Wushu, they built to this really cool showdown on a stage which not only had their cool martial arts feints and counters, but also had Ki and Red having a weapons battle with a pair of sticks and a chair. I did think the Ki beatdown went a little long, and the ref stuff seemed a bit unnecessary (although Ki punching the chair into the ref's head was awesome), but this was a nifty spectacle and both guys are still really great.

ER: A totally blown out epic take on the match they pioneered over 15 years ago. They go for something different, crazier in some ways, more reserved in other ways, and bizarre in ways their feud never has been. Ki makes offense look so spectacular and he immediately bumps huge to the floor and then into the guardrail, and nobody will make you look more devastating than Ki. A chair gets involved, and things get weird right out of the gate as Ki punches a chair right into the ref's face and the ref stays knocked out for the entirety of the match - over 20 minutes - so that man is clearly dead at this point. Low-Ki  killed a man and nobody removed his corpse from a ring while people are crash landing around him. But this allows the match to be No DQ-ish, and then it's Red's turn to take a crazy bump over the top to the floor. The crowd brawl is really cool, using their weird timing and understanding of the other's movements, and once Red gets backdropped onto the large stage of the venue, things get downright weird. The two of them basically break the 4th wall and put on a kabuki performance of their kung fu movie scenarios, right on the stage, only playing to one wall of crowd. It's so strange, like they're in 2D working as Street Fighter avatars. Things normalize once they get back to the ring, although Ki beats him down for a LONG time before Red starts coming back. But they put so many cool moments to build to the comeback that it's always satisfying. I love how big Ki hits, but I might love how big he misses even more, and the big miss in this match is Ki leaping for Red in the ropes, missing, and Ki bouncing off the ropes. I have no idea how this guy isn't a mess of knee and ankle injuries. Home stretch is really huge, with Ki hitting a couple brutal double stomps, and Red pulverizing him with a few tornado DDT variations (again, Ki makes a DDT look absolutely skull crushing). The knocked out ref was flat out stupid, and there's overdone drama with a new ref (why is this new ref counting so slow?), but everything between the two of them was gold.



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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

ALL TIME MOTY LIST Head to Head: Ki vs. Dragon VS. Ki vs. Red

Low-Ki vs. Amazing Red PWF 11/10/02

PAS: Breathtaking stuff, I think there is a solid argument for this being the best juniors rivalry in wrestling history. The stuff they were doing felt like the future of wrestling while it was going on, but it turned out that they were the only guys who could do it. The opening Kung Fu movie battles between these two are always incredible, this was one of the coolest, I loved Ki head butting Red's fist on the punch, who the fuck thinks of that,   but they kept it up the whole match. Just mind bending physics throughout, there is this crazy knuckle lock sequence which has Ki throwing elbows in the corner, while having his knuckles locked, Red hits a La Mistica style DDT as fast as I have ever seen it. There is some real textbook Ki brutality, he obliterates Red with a kappo kick and nearly rips his body in half with the Ki clutch. The two lost legends of 21st century wrestling, this should have been on a Dome show or at Wrestlemania, but it was great to see in a random gym in Pennsylvania.

ER: Phil brought up the idea of these two having the greatest juniors rivalry of all time, and it's an idea that on mention seems kind of ridiculous, but really only because that early 2000s New Jersey indy scene doesn't get the same level of respect/adoration/acclaim that lesser stuff seems to get. Is it because it happened during the VHS/DVD transition period, so it was not only seen less, but also didn't see as much of it survive a widespread media transfer? I'm not sure the reason both men aren't more acclaimed, but Red is one of the more underrated wrestlers of the last couple decades, and Low-Ki has consistently been one of the best workers in the world for two decades. Their matches together felt revolutionary at the time, and I still think they're just as exciting. Their style was imitated often, but rarely as interestingly. In fact a lot of the modern awful sexy dance fighting that would be direct descendants of these two are actually missing a lot of the parts where you're trying to actually hurt and pin your opponent. This match was choreographed, but there were no moments where either guy was showing off who had the better handspring backflip pose off the ropes, instead the choreography was used to block hard strikes or do violent leg sweeps. Ki is one of those wrestlers whose stuff always looks great, but always makes opponents' stuff look the better than ever. So he'll kick Red square in the chest a few times, but also get totally upended on a leg sweep, flip fast on a Code Red, rotate dangerously fast into the mat on La Mistica DDT (no clue how you go that fast and not crash chin first into the mat), or whipping himself face first into the top buckle off a Red headscissor counter; and while Ki took a lot of this match, he took Red's offense so great that Red always looked in it. The countering really is breathtaking, so many cool moments like Ki blocking a fast punch with a headbutt, fast kicks getting blocked by forearms or caught into dragon screws, and not one time do we ever see that vacant look in either man's eyes, that moment that you see a lot in wrestling, when guys are thinking of the next sequence. These sequences are all so quick and pulled off so convincingly that it's amazing how unplanned all of the planned stuff comes off.

Ki vs. Dragon Review


PAS: Ki vs. Danielson is always awesome, and the JAPW match is especially to cool to watch them torture each other, but I have seen RINGS and BattlArts, I never saw this. Red vs. Ki is a style that only they did and I think this was their best match. I am giving it the win.

ER: This is a special match, and a special feud, but I gotta go with Dragon/Ki. That match hit a level of violence that this one didn't quite reach, and while we've seen RINGS before I don't think any part of that match came off as Japanese imitation, in fact there were elements of that match that I don't think have been duplicated by anyone since. Both matches still feel innovative, I just think Dragon/Ki has even more substance. Split vote, champ retains.

NOTE**Feel free to watch this match on mute or while listening to some favorite tunes (here's a cool EP by a band called Flat Worms, with a song called "Red Hot Sand", you know, because you're watching Red) so that you don't have to suffer through the racist commentary stylings of Gino Giovanni. His portrayals of Asians make Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's look woke.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Matches from EVOLVE 99 1/14/18

Darby Allin vs. Brody King

ER: Darby is one night removed from getting his tendons and joints rearranged by Zack Sabre, so now he's punishing himself by putting himself in the opener to get the beating that he deserves. That Sabre match was painful as hell, so this guy is really cementing how nuts he is by going out and wrestling just as crazy as he usually does. King is a beefy guy with tons of tattoos, growing out a dye job. He looks like Steve Corino, if Corino was raised in Portland. This goes to a 10 minute draw, which isn't a very exciting finish, but the crazy we got from Allin during those 10 minutes cannot be denied. I love things that he adds to traditional crazy, like he doesn't just hit a screaming tope con hilo through a seated Brody, he does so while also swinging fists; so he crashes through King and then punches him with both hands until he gets to his feet. He hits a Coffin Drop from the buckles into the crowd (through King and some chairs) and also hits one in ring that gets turning into a nasty German by King. Allin takes several rough bumps, getting tossed from the crowd back to ringside (no padding) and also takes a huge clothesline. Allin is nuts and I can't imagine not going out of my way to see this guy.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Fred Yehi

ER: This never really got into gear, which happens with these kinds of matches. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of disconnect to make the whole thing feel like an exhibition, which I think this felt like at several points. Nothing ever felt at stake, the trading never really went anywhere satisfying, and the move escalation had no real drama. Thatcher works to throw Yehi a couple of times with big deadlift suplexes, but Yehi is up suplexing him in no time so why did we go through that pantomime of struggle? I liked how Thatcher went to throwing strikes early while grappling; so many times we get the same "this was a professional grappling exchange until x started losing and went to strikes", so I liked that they were getting those out of the way. But I don't think it really went anywhere worth following.

The End (Odinson/Parrow) vs. Catch Point (Tracy Williams/Dominic Garrini)

ER: This one definitely sounded cooler on paper than it ended up being. It's a tornado tag that ended up being kind of a mess, probably because Odinson and Parrow are not as good as I thought/hoped they would be. Parrow (apparently pronounced like Agatha Christie's Poirot) especially looked lost at a few points, and was constantly bugged by minor hesitations, made it look like he was holding back and wrecked some flow. He would throw a strike and then kind of look around before doing his next move, slam someone and then look around. It didn't read as ruminating monster, it read as confused. I thought he looked really good the night before against Dickinson, but maybe Dickinson is just that damn good at this point. The match still had plenty of cool, by no means a waste of time, I just had (perhaps unrealistic) expectations. Rightly or wrongly this was the on-paper match I was most excited about. Odinson had good fire, loved him obliterating Hot Sauce with a vicious pounce, and it set up the best spot of the match later, when Garrini caught him in a triangle in mid air while he went for another pounce. Odinson charged hard into the ringpost, took a huge German from Garrini, was really ripping around the ring while Parrow was missing a lot of the spark he showed the night before. Really the Garrini triangle should have been the finish, but they got a little cute with having Williams get a triangle on Parrow, and The End powering up and powerbombing them into each other. It looked cool, but I'd rather have Garrini's sub skills treated more seriously. If a black belt in jiu-jitsu can't tap a couple big muscle-y guys, then what really is the point of being a black belt in jiu-jitsu? This was a miss, but I'm still optimistic for future match-ups.

Matt Riddle vs. Jaka

ER: A match with no shortage of really great stuff, and also it's fair share of stupid stuff, that overall went a bit too long. It started off with a kind of cool grounded pace, and once we got to the silly suplex trading and on-my-knees bomb throwing I was wishing it stayed there. Riddle throws a bunch of cool kneelifts right to Jaka's face (one of them causing an instant nosebleed) and Jaka has a bunch of fun Kamala-as-taekwondo-student strikes, and they come up with some cool counters around those. I love Jaka's headbutts and standing spinning heel kick, and he really levels Riddle with it at one point (with Riddle doing a fun and goofy wobble leg delayed sell), or when he caught Riddle's Pele kick and just started biting Riddle's heel. Riddle hits these hard to watch heel kicks while Jaka's arms are trapped, just unprotect shots to the face that were nasty enough that we could have gotten a stoppage finish. Earlier in the night Yehi did his silly kicks to Thatcher's chest from his back, and Thatcher sold those as much as these absolutely nasty shots were sold. We get a surprise kickout after Riddle messes up Jaka's face with a knee and hits a tombstone, but the actual finish is great: Jaka goes for that fast spin kick and Riddle catches him and just smothers him with the Bro Lock. Sadly, in the middle of the match we got a super goofus German suplex exchange, with both men taking turns selling the actual throwing of the suplex far more than the actual suplexes they were taking. Riddle suplexes Jaka, slowly gets to his feet with back to Jaka while Jaka stands up and suplexes Riddle, Riddle gets to his feet while Jaka slowly stands to his feet, back to Riddle, etc. It sucks. And the Hack Myers cosplay strike exchange was maybe dumber. So yeah, a lot to love, annoying stuff to hate.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. WALTER

ER: Good match, with Sabre foolishly, pridefully, continually trying to stand with WALTER, and WALTER continually slapping and chopping him down until Sabre could no longer stand. WALTER kept throwing these huge right handed chops all match that wouldn't just knock Sabre down, but also send him flying. Sabre still found ways to tie WALTER up, and that was going to be his only chance to win. Every time he would slap WALTER I would cringe, because I know he was about to get blasted. The grappling was really fun as you'd have Sabre trying to lock on complicated holds and WALTER gracelessly bulldozing his way through them. I loved the knuckelock sequences where Sabre legkicks WALTER to his back and gets into mount while still throwing kicks to WALTER's inner leg, and WALTER powers up on his neck. Then WALTER flattens Sabre but somehow Sabre is able to power up on his neck. Nuts. Sabre was always smartest when sidestepping WALTER's attacks, dodging the dropkick to land the punt, throwing a cool fakeout legsweep that WALTER bit on, leading to a nice rolling ankle pick from Sabre. But every time Sabre would lock something on, that means WALTER was in striking distance, my favorite moment of that being the final stretch where Sabre starts to lock in a triangle, and WALTER just starts hammering down on Sabre's chest with chops. WALTER just starts powerbombing him afterwards and after three Sabre is down. I'd love a rematch where Sabre does a lot more stick and move, puts pride aside and plays to strengths, throws leg kicks, that kind of thing. We got a glimpse of it with that great late stretch of Sabre beating WALTER to the punch, literally. WALTER would throw punches and 2 or 3 in a row Sabre countered them with kicks. I want more of that kind of stuff, and I think there are a few ways to work a cool rematch.

PAS: I thought this had a lot of fun parts to it, although it could have used some editing. I really liked all of WALTER's early contemptuous throws, he really chucked him with disdain. The knuckle lock sequence was great, Sabre getting smushed on his first attempt was almost a comedy spot, and it was a big moment when he was able to then bridge up, crazy neck strength, and really impressive, I think I would have liked them to save the bridge up for closer to the ending of the match, make it an epic moment, as opposed to something in the beginning. I did think the strike exchanges were a bit superflous, I guess the story was Sabre foolishly standing in front of WALTER, but I though it seemed silly anytime WALTER sold anything he did. I loved the WALTER counter of the triangle attempts, and I liked how Sabre just went down after getting smashed with a bunch of powerbombs, I thought we were going to have a bunch of comebacks still and I am happy we didn't. They did build on a bunch of stuff for a rematch.

Keith Lee vs. Chris Dickinson

ER: I really liked how this started, with Dickinson attacking with leg kicks, all building up to him hitting that huge Pazuzu Bomb out of the corner. That's such a big moment, and Dickinson pulled it off with some struggle, like me lugging heavy antique furniture up the stairs at my parent's house. And Dickinson keeps going right after those legs, locking on a nasty cloverleaf variation where you can see him bending one of Lee's calves over the other, and kicking at his legs in various spots to knock that tree down (I especially loved in the corner when he kicked Lee in the front of the thigh, right over the knee). But I don't think it went anywhere really interested, as Lee going on offense felt sluggish, but not in a way related to his legs being worked over. He just seemed kind of sluggish and after seeing a match where Sabre kept trying to stand with WALTER, it was a little same-y to see a match where Lee kept trying to go to the top rope over and over, getting caught almost every time. Lee hits a nice moonsault from the middle rope, but there were too many moments of Lee slowly climbing the ropes only to get caught by Dickinson, and once Lee kicks out of a freaking top rope reverse rana then all bets are off. Literally anything can happen once a 300 lb guy can get dumped on his dome and still be interested in going back to the top. I liked Dickinson reversing the Ground Zero with a smooth roll up, but Lee just didn't do tons for me here. I thought Dickinson was awesome throughout, but Lee came off bored, either he wasn't conveying his selling strongly enough, or he was just tired. He's super talented and Dickinson worked the match around him in a cool way, so it had a real high floor, but after a promising start I don't think it lived up to its promise.

ER: This show underwhelmed compared to the prior night, as this show more had neat individual performances but in flawed matches. Still, we thought Sabre/WALTER was good enough to land on our Ongoing 2018 MOTY List, and it set up some good potential rematches.

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Dick Togo's Out Here By Himself, Ask Steve Jobs Wealth Don't Buy Health

Dick Togo/Sho Funaki/Men's Teiho vs. Masashi Aoyagi/Azteca/Tarzan Goto Indy World 7/22/98 - EPIC

PAS: Wild bit of violence which starts crazy and gets nuttier. Opener has Goto choking Wally Yamaguchi (Kaentai are in full WWE gear) and Togo comes out of no where to wipe him out with a dive. Goto is a rampaging beast in this though, hurling Togo through chair, busting him open, wasting him with clotheslines, just kicking his ass. We get some nice karate offense from Aoyagi, but this was basically a Goto vs. Togo singles battle with cameos from the rest. It is a trip to see Togo, a guy who normally is a dominant bully, play the tiny underdog. Man is he great at it too, Togo is such a versatile talent. Finish is awesome, Goto ties Togo to the ringpost by his throat with the ref's belt and and breaks a beer bottle. Aoyagi decides he didn't sign on for a murder, and makes the save, allowing Togo and crew to take out Azteca. I really need to get my hands on the Goto vs. Aoyagi war that this clearly sets up. Props to Jetlag for finding this, it was a blast.



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Sunday, March 04, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Gresham v. Yehi 1

49. Jonathan Gresham v. Fred Yehi NOVA Pro 5/19

PAS: Awesome grappling battle between a pair of sawed off Mr. Hughes trained mat killers. Pretty basic grappler story with Yehi working the knee and Gresham attacking the arm. As you might expect in a Yehi match there was some awesome weirdo attacks. At one point he rips Greshman down from mid air while Gresham was attempting a leapfrog, and Yehi uses the counter as a way to put on a leglock. Yehi also has this great yank the arm German suplex which was one of the coolest German set ups I can remember seeing. Gresham is really skilled too, he chains stuff together in a really interesting way, and has some great counters on his own. I didn't love Gresham going for a dive and a shooting star press, felt like it belonged to a different match. Gresham countering the figure four by rolling both guys to the floor was super nasty, just a hell of an unprotected fall by both guys. Finish may have been better in idea then execution, Yehi throwing multiple up kicks until a KO is a cool idea, but they really needed to be nastier for me to buy a knockout finish. I really dug huge parts of this, and can't wait for the rematch to show up on

ER: I really liked how these two matched up, doing mirror sequences without really seeming like mirror sequences, unique counters that didn't feel overly mapped out and never got too cute, innovative but also painful. There were cool variations on spots you've seen, and this was definitely the most I've ever enjoyed Gresham. He was a natural match for Yehi. They manage to do dance-y stuff without making it look dance-y (seriously, it must have been really difficult to get that standing go behind reversal sequence to look cool instead of silly), doing these cool fluid roll throughs or catching an arm, ducking under and using it for leverage to try something else that might get reversed, often ending in an exclamation point stomp to a tender area. There were many sharp and fast stomps and kicks to inner thigh, inner bicep, ball of the ankle, rough stuff. At one point Yehi grapevined Gresham's leg and stomped on the inner thigh of the leg he was grapevining. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Gresham has several great roll up counters, getting really snug cradles and high leverage pins, so that every time Yehi made it out of one of them it felt like a big deal. There was none of that "I pin you but push you away on the two count so we can get into position for our next spot" nonsense that is tough to unsee once you see it. No all of Gresham's cradles looked potentially match ending. I actually really loved the dive, it was out of nowhere, and did feel like it belonged in a different match, but I thought that's why it was so effective. It was perfectly timed and hit flush. Yehi got sidestepped and took a big bump around the ringpost to the floor, and with two seconds Gresham was already flying into him with a fast dive. The shooting star looked effortless and was also done with no time wasted. So I agree that they looked out of place, but I liked how Gresham used them. Plus doing the shooting star left Gresham pinning Yehi in the perfect position for Yehi to pop in the Koji Clutch, which leads to a great Gresham cradle (with Yehi having to break the clutch or else get pinned). I did not like the finish as Yehi's kicks to the chest from his back always look silly to me. It looks just as close to giving your nephew an airplane ride as it does aiming to hurt someone, and it's the weakest part of Yehi's large set of offense. The stoppage makes logical sense as Gresham couldn't defend himself and was getting kicked in the face, but the kicks from that position just don't look like they have much mustard on them. If they DO really hurt, they shouldn't be used any more, because they read like the weakest strikes of the match.


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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Matches from MLW Road to the World Championship 2/8/18

MLW Road to the World Championship

ER: I saw there were several intriguing match-ups on a free MLW show (and Tony Schiavone? Has Schiavone always done commentary for MLW?!) so why not dive into the ones that interest me!

Destino Negro vs. MEGA Danger

ER: I had skipped this match but Phil bullied me into going back and watching it, even though he didn't want to watch it himself. "I think you should check out the lucha match too." "Why am I the one who has to check it out?" "You did the rest of the show. Figure we should keep it consistent." He had also asked me to watch it the day before. If I pushed it further he would bring up that I made him watch a couple New Japan matches, which is truth. BUT FOR CONSISTENCY'S SAKE here we are.   Tony Schiavone brings up Salina de la Renta a lot, who is not someone I was familiar with before this match, but every time he starts talking about her I keep hoping he's talking about Selena. Especially the first time he brings her up, as he says "You know whenever these lucha stars are around that Selena...." and he hits a long-ish pause, and I genuinely think he's talking about tejano legend Selena because his tone sounds somewhat somber, and I fully expect him to finish the sentence by saying "You know whenever these lucha stars are around that looking down on them from the heavens, their hearts filled with the love that her music bestowed to their generation." But instead he just keeps talking about Salina de la Renta being in attendance or something.

And the match was fine. I'm unfamiliar with them, but this was clearly a match they'd worked before, definitely a touring match. It had a few flipping piledrivers, because modern luchadors like shitting all over old luchadors, and yes many of these flipping piledrivers were then used to just transition into the guy taking the piledriver getting up and doing something else. You know the drill. I like some of the stuff, like Danger throwing a chair at Negro to block a dive, and especially Negro doing a crazy springboard Coffin Drop to the floor that almost saw him fly over and past Danger (and if I was Darby Allin I would have been pissed watching this, thinking "goddamn I already do tons of stupid stuff and then one of these assholes goes and does my finisher just as crazy as me? Guess I gotta do another one with my hands tied behind my back."), and they work smoothly together, the way guys familiar with each other will work. This felt kind of like when Mike Modest and Christopher Daniels got a tryout match on Nitro, and just condensed all of their matches into 7 minutes.

Seth Petruzelli/Simon Grimm vs. Jason Cade/Jimmy Yuta

ER: I like Petruzelli and Grimm as a team, both are kind of sloppy but both can hit hard, making for a fun combination. Grimm looks better here than at any time during his main roster WWE run (or really any time I've seen him over a decade plus run) and I really dug he and Petruzelli beating down Yuta. Yuta entered with a nice slingshot senton and was soon eating a pretty mean beating, including getting tossed by a vicious half nelson suplex (Grimm tossing something like that out 25 minutes into a big show feels about right), and they both hit Yuta with stiff spinkicks. I'm used to seeing Petruzelli bigger (I think he wrestled heavy and light heavy in MMA), but here he comes off like a smaller and less experienced Chris Dickinson, which is a good thing. Cade had a nice hot tag and throws a nice right hand, but Simon & Seth ain't having it. Their finisher is awesome, with Grimm holding a piledriver, Petruzelli launching a soccer kick at Cade's hanging head, and the Grimm planting him with the piledriver. I'm in. Add in Robert Fuller coming back in full Col. Robert Parker get-up managing the Dirty Blondes, and that is a tag match I will 100% want to see.

Low Ki vs. Kotto Brazil

ER: Very quick match, about 3 minutes, with Ki jumping Brazil on the entrance steps and Brazil never really finding his way into the match. I'm sure Brazil wrestles without a mask as somebody else (his tights had MM on the back), but he was fun as a big bumping Kool Jay type, with Ki beating him around ringside and around the ring, and Ki is a guy you like to see beating a guy around a ring. He hits a mule kick out of the corner that sends Brazil flying across the ring, they do some fun springboard ropes dodging with Ki eventually finishing it with a precisely aimed kick off the ropes, and Ki ends it with a nasty necktie camel clutch, really wrenching back on Brazil in a gross way. I'll always want more time in a Low Ki match, but Free Ki is good Ki, so I'm good.

PAS: Such a weird use of Ki. He is a fly in, I assume (I don't think he moved to Florida) and a pretty big name, so he can't be cheap. Why bring in Ki and have him work a quick squash match. It was a cool squash match, Ki will always bring the ass kicking and that finishing move where he uses his own leg to grapevine Brazil's leg was totally awesome, but MLW could have run the first Ki vs. Cobb match or the first Ki vs. Riddle match which would have been big deals, instead they run the 50th Riddle v. Cobb match and waste Ki this way.

Mike Parrow/Barrington Hughes vs. Al Sabah/Vandal Ortagun

ER: Okay, this only goes like a minute, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT CARAMEL COLOSSUS BARRINGTON HUGHES!?!? Everybody has seriously let me down. He's billed as 469 lb. and it feels like an accurate classification. He's huge, and super duper ROUND. It's the best. Sabah/Ortagun jump Parrow before Hughes is even out, and that's all they get. Parrow hits a big sit out powerbomb on Sabah and Hughes flattens him with a splash. We're gonna need an investigation into Hughes.

Tom Lawlor vs. MVP

ER: This was a ton of fun, easily would have landed on the list with a better finish. MVP is not working a shame-filled post WWE career, and he and Lawlor are a surprisingly good match. MVP gives Lawlor a lot of the match, and Lawlor makes the most of it. Lawlor and crew are a cool stable, he and Petruzelli/Grimm in their cool tights with Onibaba demon mask on them, plus two young boys in track suits (one who gets on all fours and acts as Lawlor's bench while the other vaselines up Lawlor's brow). I'm pretty much going to need to see them against Catch Point NOW. But this match rules. MVP has no problem leaning into sharp elbows, and Lawlor dumps him with a great German. I really liked Lawlor taking apart MVP's legs on the mat, really working a nasty heel hook while grapevining a leg, and all the standing was good. Lawlor throws big chops, a nice elbowdrop, and we even get a nice chop/jab combo from him in the corner, as well as top notch dickhead moves like ripping MVP's omnipresent breathe right strip off his nose. And MVP without his breathe right strip is weird, like when your dad shaved his mustache he had your entire life and your dog was like "who the fuck is this stranger in my house". MVP throws Germans of his own, and Lawlor takes the ballin' elbowdrop like it caved in his chest. But I loved how it was used within the match, as it was kind of out of place considering the toughness that had been happening, and while MVP got to do the signature move, Lawlor was able to go back on offense with a keen reversal once MVP got him to his feet. Lawlor throws another German and then in an awesome spot fakes throwing a German so MVP's body goes slack, then drags him down for a rear naked choke. That's a great spot (it's also very possible that MVP blew up and fell over, and Lawlor covered for him, kind of tough to tell watching on my phone). Ending has interference from Stokely and Low-Ki (setting up a Ki/MVP match), but what we got in the match was tasty meat gravy.

PAS: I really didn't like this. I thought MVP was pretty much a load, the German's he were throwing in his creepy Benoit tribute, barely got Lawlor off his feet, and all of MVP's offense looked labored. Lawlor is a guy I have enjoyed, but he isn't experienced enough to carry a gassed washed guy to anything worth watching. I did like Lawlor ripping of MVP's breathe strip, Lawlor has a fun dick head charisma and is always going to add something to a match, I also did really did his keylock submission. That german suplex spot Eric mentioned clearly was a nicely covered botch, Lawlor didn't fake a german, MVP was too blown up to go up for it, and Lawlor was able to adjust into the rear naked choke, props to him for not falling apart when things didn't work, but it wasn't some clever planned bit of wrestling.

Jeff Cobb vs. Matt Riddle

ER: Wanna see a match with one guy throwing another guy around a bunch, and that other guy fighting back with a bunch of flying knees? Of course you want to see that, and they really bring home the groceries. We get cool amateur scrambling to start, and Riddle gets cocky on a go behind, lifts Cobb and unceremoniously drops him stomach first. This gives Cobb full license to spend the next several minutes spinning and rotating and throwing Riddle as far across the ring as he can, like the world's most violent street corner sign spinner. Riddle is a big guy, and Cobb just hoists him up, shifts his weight around, gets him thinking he's getting tossed one way, then throws him the other way. Many times. Every time Riddle is launched he makes these great stunned faces. Riddle comes back with a cool choke, as he's seated and Cobb comes roaring in with a low diving uppercut, but Riddle shifts hips and tries to lock in a rear naked, and eventually comes back with some brutal knees to the chin, including an awesome Bro2Sleep/German suplex combo. We get a great moment where Riddle hits a glancing Pele kick (which Cobb sells with a perfect zombie stagger), and as Riddle is still seated when Cobb hoists him up and over with a killer low angle German. These guys both took a beating, and the finish was suitably nasty: Riddle hits a mean powerbomb and rolls Cobb's legs over his head, and right when Cobb is rotating into a kneeling position it's too late to see Riddle running at his face with a knee. Awesome match.

PAS: These two have matched up a bunch of times and this was the best of the bunch. Man was Cobb impressive in this, just huge inhuman throws. I love strength based wrestling spots, I was the original driver of the Mark Henry bandwagon, and it is my favorite thing about Lensar and Cena matches, and this was one of the coolest strength based spot matches I can remember seeing. Riddle is a legit 240 probably and he gets slung around like he is Weird Body or Spike Dudley. There are also some pretty cool suplexes by Riddle, and I liked how he decided that his solution to getting tossed was to try to drive his knee threw Cobb's skull. By the end of the match Cobb was bleeding from his nose and he probably took five more hard knees to the honker after he already was leaking. Great stuff, I still think these guys have an all time great match in them, this wasn't it, but they are getting closer.

Darby Allin vs. Sami Callihan

PAS: Allin continues his awesome 2018 by having a nutty no DQ match with Callihan. Allin is really great at elusive springboards and cool roll ups along with insane bumps, he is a mix of 1994 Rey Jr. and 1994 Sabu who are pretty much two of the coolest wrestlers ever. There is a moment in the match which epitomizes how cool Allin is, he does this crazy flipping stunner and then goes for a springboard off the rope and Callihan shoves him off and he flies insanely ribs first into the side of the balcony, one of the coolest and craziest bumps I can remember seeing. Callihan hits really hard in this and rips off his cool low bridge tope, but this was an Allin show. I didn't loved the finish which is going to keep this out of a top 10, but Allin is running away with wrestler of the year in the first part of the year.

ER: Predictably crazy and awesome stuff from these two. Callihan is typically the guy in a match to crash through obstacles, but when you're opposite Allin it's best to just hang back and let him crash through everything in site. And lo, Allin does not disappoint. Allin crashes into Callihan's arm, chairs, walls, balconies, the violence that gets inflicted on him is just shocking. At one point the announcers are expressing honest shock that Allin isn't literally broken in half, and it doesn't actually sound like hyperbole. The first time skin makes contact with skin, it's Callihan hitting a full follow through lariat on Allin, and Allin has this way of taking a lariat not like he's prepping to take a flip bump from it, but more like he's Wile E Coyote running into a steel beam and flipping around it by his chin. Callihan pastes him through all of the chairs with a tope and gets up to celebrate, only to have Allin quickly run into the ring and hit him with his own tope, although before long Callihan is bouncing thrown chairs of Allin's back and legs. Allin's speed spots work great and he always takes a licking and keeps on ticking, always coming off as someone who cares about winning far more than he cares about his own well being. The flipping stunner was really awesome, never seen that one done before, as it doesn't start out like a Diamond Dust, but more just Allin jumping over Callihan's shoulder like he was getting himself into position to be powerslammed, but then rolling through it and completing the stunner. And then we get into THAT balcony spot (which might not even be the most painful bump in the match, considering Allin took a Falcon Arrow through a seated chair), which was such a trippy visual, seeing Allin leaping to the top rope and getting his footing, only to get shoved right into this ornate balcony and drop to his doom. I always loved how Finlay used various parts of the ring and surrounding area as a weapon (in fact I've always wondered if he came back to working full time because he thought of that cool "trap a guy in the ring skirt" spot and wanted to be the first to use it) and Allin is that way with the terrain of a venue. He's grabbed onto balconies, gotten thrown into balconies, leapt from a stage, gotten tossed from a stage into a ringpost; he just finds cool new ways to make the venue a part of his pain. Allin has cool offense (loved that fast twisting springboard splash he hit) but it's the pain he endures that makes him so damn great. And wouldn't you know that Callihan finds some duct tape and tapes Allin's hands behind his back. I can't believe this guy takes bumps without arms, it just seems like a guaranteed way to snap a wrist or something. We do get some silly run ins from Jimmy Havoc and Priscilla Kelly, but the Coffin Drop off the top rope (with hands tied behind the back!!) is a crazy finish, just wish we could have gotten there in a more interesting way than interference. Still, this whole thing delivered the goods, and I'd love to see what they could do in a rematch.

ER: So I skipped around on the show, but really really liked everything that I opted to watch. I never thought I would be seeking out MLW as a fed to watch in 2018, but MLW is clearly going to be a super fun fed to watch in 2018. We added Cobb/Riddle and Callihan/Allin to our 2018 Ongoing MOTY List, which shouldn't be too shocking.

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Friday, March 02, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 33: Havoc Running Wild

TL: Really enjoy when Dario can show off the acting chops, as he gets all into making Rey vs. Matanza finally happen. As well he should.

Son of Madness vs. Mascarita Sagrada

ER: Quick match to set up the main event, which is fine as I don't have tons of interest seeing Sagrada face guys in a singles match. Havoc runs out to jump Madness, which isn't very honorable. Madness wasn't unprofessional during or after the match, feels weird for Dario to give Havoc a chance at an Aztec medallion. And they clearly had tons of ideas for Madness, as they brought him in, immediately had he and Havoc fight...then nothing until bringing him back a couple months later to fight Havoc again. We don't really know WHY Madness has it out for Havoc, other than they dress the same and he's the only guy we've seen him against. This is pretty dumb.

TL: Mascarita Sagrada wearing a biker vest is one of the most Lucha Underground things ever. Very happy they didn’t have him come out on a Big Wheel, which is something I would have 100% expected. Madness needed a win somehow, and a regular old vertical suplex (it was supposed to be a brainbuster, but it looked like a damn suplex more than anything else) gets the job done. I GUESS there had to be a blowoff between Madness and Havoc, but did anyone really want it?

Marty "The Moth" Martinez vs. Argenis

ER: I really liked the Argenis/Pentagon Dark match (from Ep. 22, the last time we saw Argenis), and especially like Argenis in that match. His stock continues to rise as he works another match that - just like that Pentagon match - could have been a squash match but instead was turned into something more memorable and meaningful due to Argenis. Here he bumps big for all of Moth's big slams, and I loved his comeback, snagging Moth's foot during a leapfrog to make him faceplant, then kicking him in the chest while he recovers. Argenis hits a big flip dive (and I still get scared thinking someone is going to bust open the back of their head on those temple steps) and a nice rana on the floor. Mariposa throws him into the post, and he takes a nice post bump, and comes up bleeding. We don't actually get a lot of blood in this fed (or wrestling in general anymore), so it really made the match feel like a bigger deal to me, and made Argenis look tougher for lasting as long as he did. I'm game for a Fenix/Moth Mascara contra Caballera.

TL: I don’t know when Argenis became one of the better transition guys in Lucha Underground, but he wrestles the way I want guys to transition on offense. He comes up with nifty ways to get back on offense from basic things (huge sucker for a trip off a leapfrog attempt) and then, as Eric says, he’ll bump HUGE to feed the heel. It’s really basic stuff, but he does it in really great ways. I mentioned Dario’s acting chops earlier, but the cutaways to Melissa saying, “Marty! What are you DOING?” is cringe-inducing. Argenis bleeds buckets because he just wants us to like him that much more before Marty finishes him off. Really happy to see Marty booked like an honest-to-God rudo and actually make him bleed and take a mask. An apuestas match I can really get behind.

Joey Ryan vs. Sexy Star

ER: How does the sound effects guy sleep at night after adding those ridiculous sounds to Sexy Star's slaps? She knows her way around some awful offense (I cannot think of someone with a worse legdrop), but I did really like her throwing Ryan by his chest hair. Striker gets all giddy talking about areolas, but the joke was her clearly throwing Ryan by grabbing clumps of his chest hair. I didn't hate this. I expected to hate this. That has to count for something.

TL: So Sexy Star gets 80% of the match, and then eats a superkick and loses. And when Joey DOES win, Striker calls it “The biggest win of his LU career.” I also expected to hate this more, but it was just there. That’s better than most Sexy Star matches I can talk about.

Boyle Heights Biker Brawl: Son of Madness vs. Son of Havoc

ER: The feud that continues, for reasons we might never know! I really liked the first half of this, both guys took dangerous bumps to the floor, stiff trash can shots, Madnes hits an insane slingshot double stomp to the floor (and Havoc was not lying close to the ring, Madness really went a long way to stomp a hole in him), Havoc getting shoved into the crowd, Madness bumping down the riser seating, big dive from Havoc. All of that kind of stuff has contributed to the best kinds of LU brawls. So I really loved all the stuff that went to the floor, but I didn't love a lot of the stuff in ring. Havoc has really weak offense, which tends to look weaker - and sillier - in the middle of a wild brawl. The driver on the trash can was pretty rough, but the stuff with a hammer and beer bottle just comes off ridiculous. If they had given me some more reason to actually care about why Havoc was willing to hit another guy in the face with a bottle, it could have been a major moment, but other than knowing that these two likely have some kind of a past, that's all we know. They've had two matches, the second one ending with a bottle to the face. It feels like I should know more about those motivations.

TL: That double stomp over the top to the floor made my eyes wide. That’s a ridiculous idea and it looked absolutely rough as all hell. A lot of this stuff looked reckless, which adds to the fact that it’s a street fight. The footprints on the back from the Havoc double stomp was a cool aesthetic. The back body drop into the steel grating was sick. It does lose a lot going back into the ring considering what the first part of this match brought on, and Havoc bouncing around as if he didn’t take a bunch of punishment is par for the course for him. At least the Mushroom Stomp looked good this time. This ended up being a good match, but they could have done a lot more if they made the end of the match look more like the first half of the match.


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