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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Black Terry Lives Only to See the Lights of the Town

Black Terry v. Tony Rivera IWRG 4/4/14-FUN

A match which certainly had it's moments but was ultimately disappointing. This was a Terry apuestas match with brawling and blood and a game opponent and when that was the focus it was very good. There was some really nasty Terry punches in the corner, and an awesome moment where both guys were covered in blood on their knees pounding each other. That stuff was as good as anything I have seen this year. Unfortunately the lions share of this match was seconds from both guys interfering and brawling with each other, and the interference wasn't interesting or particularly well done. I get that this feud has been about dueling wrestling schools, but here was a case where the booking really brought down the match and interfered with the excellent work. Probably still worth watching for Terry completists, but one of the bigger let downs of the year.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 3/29/14

These matches were from the 3/16 Arena Mexico show.

Blue Panther, Guerrero Maya Jr. & Sagrado vs. Puma, Boby Zavala & Tiger

Good match that got tons of time to stretch out. Puma is really emerging as a guy who I'm actively excited to see, Tiger too, to a lesser extent. They've been CMLL undercarders for several years now, but they've never done too much to stand out to me. Lately though they've clearly upped their game. Extra snap to their offense and putting over tecnicos with big bumps. Tiger ate a fast Sagrado dive and Puma took a big spill into the barricade on a spot where less would have been acceptable. Speaking of guys standing out, Sagrado actually looked really good here, and he's been consistently one of my least favorite CMLL guys for several years running. Here he hit a big dive and had some nice mat stuff, and never got lost or tangled during big sequences as he usually tends to do.

Negros Casas, Kraneo & Niebla Roja vs. Rush, Maximo & Marco Corleone

Killer short match that delivered everything I hoped it would. You get all the nasty Rush and Casas sequences, with Rush stomping and kicking the life out of Casas (it's beginning to happen so often that I'm thinking getting kicked by tassled boots is some weird wrestler fetish that Casas is into). Kraneo continues to be the best big company worker that nobody talks about. The guy is like a lucha Buddy Rose in that he always looks like the most agile guy in the match, while also having a 2 out of 10 body. I mean just a horrible, awful body, stuffed into a too tight outfit that gives him two butts and a lot of weird bulges. And then he goes out and takes awesome armdrags, huge bumps to the floor, and has the best stomach kicks. Niebla Roja is impressive matching up equally nice with Maximo and Corleone, which is not easy. Maximo has an epic new LEGO shirt. I want a LEGO Maximo shirt. What friend of the blog will hook that up? This only goes about 12 minutes but is so damn fun. Watch it for the awesome fatness of Kraneo, stay for the Rush/Casas ass beatings you love.

Reaper vs. Volador Jr.

Better than I thought it would be but Volador is still mostly terrible as a maskless no selling tecnico. None of his matches have any consequences as no matter how bad a beating he's taking, he can just pop up at any moment to fit his moves in. It's pretty pointless getting invested in anything done to him as none of it matters. Reaper looked good, leaned into Volador's flip dives and superkicks. I liked him working over Volador's knees, hanging him in by the legs and kicking him. Again, didn't matter since nothing slows down Volador. What makes all this so consistently stunning to me is that last year Volador was one of my favorites. I thought he was almost always the best guy in a trios. And now he embodies almost everybody characteristic I hate in a wrestler. I don't know if I've ever turned so hard on a guy. But seriously, fuck Volador matches.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Night Digging in the Crates

We take a trip to Japan to watch Russians fight

Volk Han v. Andrei Kopylov Rings 11/22/94

Very cool shootstyle match that feels like what Soviet Pro Wrestling would have looked like. Han is a mat savant, and Kopylov was very cool in using his strength to force his way out of armbars. I loved the RINGS nasty slapfight and the finish was very cool with Han trying one too many counters and almost twisting himself into a submission. I love all Han, but I feel like I should go on a Kopylov run too.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 3/22/14

These matches were from the 3/7 Arena Mexico show and is part of the Parejas Increible tournament, where a rudo and a tecnico team up, one keeps the apartment messy and one's a neat freak, but they end up learning a lot about the other, they learn to live, they learn to love. They learn how to be a man.

Reaper & Mistico vs. Titan & Felino

Zacharias is sitting creepily in the background this whole match, on the entranceway steps. A creepy child-sized man in a bird mask sitting on steps like he's being punished seems like something you'd find by opening the wrong door at the Overlook Hotel. For the most part tournament lucha is the worst lucha. But I always kind of dig the PI tourney as you get some unique tecnico/tecnico and rude/rudo match ups. So while you still get mostly short una caida matches you get to see something a little different. That being said this doesn't linger too long or give much of a sense of any one guy. Boy sometimes Felino really busts ass and then turns around one second later and looks like the laziest guy in lucha. Reaper started out the year as a crazy bump freak and now it's been a couple of months since I've seen him take wild bumps.

Rey Cometa & Polvora vs. Rey Escorpion & Maximo

Tournament lucha! This is pretty nothing although Maximo gets some good moments. Within the last 24 hours I've now seen Porky, Goya and Maximo all do the exact same leap off the apron. Cat's in the cradle and all. Cometa does his springboard tornillo and catches Escorpions knees on the floor. Ouch.

Valiente & Vangellys vs. Ultimo Guerrero & La Sombra

See this had a couple cool match-ups, with UG pairing off with Vangellys and Valiente pairing with Sombra, so it was kind of a trip seeing them trade sequences. But we get basically nothing. No substance. Valiente takes UG's top rope reverse suplex nicely, really skidding across the mat. But this was short and blew.

Averno & Volador Jr. vs. Ephesto & La Mascara

Damn this was the Ephesto show right here! That guy is so damn good and he really needs to be on TV more. Here he did his killer ram's head tope and all his tricked out armdrags with him whiplashing all over the ropes. This is lucha. There needs to be more tricked out armdrags in lucha. Where have all the tricked out armdrags gone!?!? Me loving Ephesto so much ensures that his team takes the loss.

Reaper & Mistico vs. Rey Escorpion & Maximo

Mistico hits the epic rana off the top to the floor that Escorpion takes like a freak. He also takes a mean one back inside. Maximo is one of the only guys in this tourney that is actually embracing the concept, as he goes rudo on Mistico and starts trying to unmask him. He also hits his awesome tope, so Maximo is the current one-minute match tourney MVP.

Averno & Volador Jr. vs. Ultimo Guerrero & La Sombra

UG kinda works tecnico and it's weird seeing him hit dives onto guys on the floor. Never really been his style. Sombra's wheelbarrow suplex looks cool. Two longtime rudos like UG and Averno going toe to toe feels like something that should get time. Naturally this gets not much time.

Rey Escorpion & Maximo vs. Ultimo Guerrero & La Sombra

The Pasion de Maximo almost blows it for their team, as he plants an accidental beso on Escorpion. They win confusingly anyway, with Escorpion planting Sombra with a double underhook piledriver (I thought those things were illegal...). Pretty underwhelming way to finish off an expectedly underwhelming episode.

Ahhhhh tournament lucha.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

Hechicero vs Cavernario CMLL 4/8

PAS: This is a En Busca de un Idolo match which is a tourney for young guys which is run with fan and judge voting. So on one hand we have a shortish match, but on the other had we have both guys going all out to impress. Hechicero is amazing and I am so glad he is going to show up more. He takes the first part of this match with a bunch of really cool twisting submissions and matwork, even breaking out some sort of reverse monkey flip. Then we have one of the nuttiest back to back spots I can remember seeing, Hechicero almost tops his chair tope bump of last year with a crazy version of Psiciosis neck compression corner bump on the floor, which Cavernario follows up with a Superfly splash to the floor. We get some nasty Cavernario brawling and a pair of fun spinning submissions by Hechchiro. Is too compressed to really deliver the ebb and flow of a great match, but holy hell were the individual parts fun. 

ER: Hechicero is a great pick up by CMLL, a guy who gives off a kind of Finlay/Arkangel vibe, somebody who is really great at filling in the gaps of a match, but who has an impulsive streak that sets him apart. He's great on the mat, working really rough instead of smooth and flowing. When he yanks on a leg, he really yanks on a leg. He takes nutso bumps (his dropkick attempt from ring apron to barrier ending with him braining himself should make him a known name to the uninitiated) and throws out cool things like selling while rope running. Simple stuff that makes sense when you see him do it, but which also makes you realize most wrestlers don't do that stuff and we let them off easy. Cavernario is wild, too, which makes sense as he's a caveman who doesn't understand our modern world. His top rope splash to the floor is insane and his style is fresh in a world of wetsuit top fliers. All of this was really damn good. 


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 3/23/14

These matches were from the 3/9 Arena Coliseo show.

Lightning Match: Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Sangre Azteca

Maya is awesome because he breaks out the matwork in a lightning match. Fight the good fight, my man! Also there's a woman in the crowd marking out wearing a Maya mask. YES! They go through some cool indian deathlocks. Stuff kinda gets aimless from there as we go through some various slams and ranas and missed dropkicks and it doesn't really seem to be going any place. Maya does hit a great dive past the turnbuckles (I love Coliseo as there are no barriers so guys fly right into scrambling fans of all ages). Maya ends it with a boss submission, like a standing Rings of Saturn while also trapping Azteca's leg.

Rey Cometa, Delta & Super Porky vs. Misterioso Jr., Puma & Tiger

I don't know how I've made it 3+ months into 2014 without seeing any Rey Cometa. He's become a guy I actively seek out over the last couple years after graduating from mere Arkangel whipping boy, but apparently I'm not seeking that hard. I'm glad Porky finally has his mustache back. It makes him look like Jon Polito got hair plugs. Or what I assume present day Ron Jeremy looks like. Cometa gets a fun opening sequence with Puma, and Misterioso gets a nice roll with Delta. Tiger bumps big to the floor off a running Porky belly bump. He does an equally impressive spill after a Delta dropkick so it appears Tiger is separating himself from the pack here. Cometa runs face first into a Puma superkick and gets folded in half in nasty fashion. Because of lucha camera work reasons, we cut to a girl in the crowd shouting something that requires her mouth being blurred out. Cometa has no problem eating kicks or bumping on the metal entranceway. Cometa breaks out his crazy rana from the top to the apron, with Puma eating floor below, while Misterioso takes a big Cassandro bump, Delta hits a lunatic rope walk moonsault to the floor and Cometa crashes and burns on a tornillo. Even Porky gets in on the action hitting his "dive" off the apron which is essentially him falling on Misterioso (doing the lords work by catching it alllll the way to the floor). This was a bunch of fun.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Kintaro Kanemura vs. Ryuji Yamakawa, BJPW 2/22/00

3. Kintaro Kanemura vs. Ryuji Yamakawa, BJPW 2/22/00

Kanemura is always a sleazy favorite of mine and man he is a monster to start this one, doing the most plausible RVD "throw chair you catch I kick" possible, flattening Yamakawa with two nasty fat sentons (one big one off the top, the other off the top to the floor right after Yamakawa gets tossed from the ring through a folding chair fort). But Kanemura just plays big in general. He's like Adam Dunn in that he hits big when he hits, and misses big when he misses. Yeah he crushed Yamakawa with a couple sentons, but he also caved in his own chest on a missed turnbuckle charge and flew horizontally like a frisbee into the ring post in one of the greatest postings I've ever seen. Picture Sandman taking his trademark ring barrier bump, but into the ringpost. I need to start tracking down current Apache Pro.

There is so much brutality in this and like a total sicko I kept wanting more. Kanemura drops Yamakawa on chairs with the Axe Driver? Mooooore. Yamakawa gets powerbombed off the stage through a table below, except he's lined up poorly so basically only the back of his head goes through the table? Yesssss. I will rewind. Both men are savagely stupid in this, with Kanemura never quite topping his ringpost bump but still leaning way into clotheslines. Yamakawa throws one that really knocks Kanemura sideways, like a drunk guy running face first into a lamp post (and only kinda makes up for getting concussed through a table and getting dumped through tons of chairs). Aside from all his cool offense, Kanemura is also Necro Butcher-precise with his chair shots and table shots. For a man who looks like he has zero muscle, Kanemura swings a full table at Yamakawa's face with the strength of Giancarlo Stanton hitting a ball into the upper deck (jeez can you tell baseball season has started? Maybe these comparisons would fit better if I were reviewing Osaka Pro).

I was praying for some stupid spots and reckless behavior in this one, and it beyond delivered in stupid sleaze. And while the whole thing was overkill, it never felt like overkill to me. It felt like two freaks REALLY wanting to win and I thought the build was great. Plus there's just something beautiful about the waves created by a man in tight white pants getting thrown through dozens of shiny folding chairs.


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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 3/16/14

So, apparently I have CMLL on LATV again. It's nice to see non-Arena Mexico matches on my TV. You get a different kind of crowd and atmosphere for these shows. These matches are from the 3/2 Arena Coliseo show.

Amapola, Dallys & Princesa Sugheit vs. Marcela, Goya Kong & Estrellita

They're building to a hair vs. hair match with Dallys/Marcela, and Dallys runs out ready to beat her ass.  Dallys never stood out at all to me in prior years, but this feud has sparked a new energy into her. Marcela has some really cool offense, and Dallys took her nasty Rush style delayed dropkick like a champ, knocking her ass over crown through the ropes to the floor. Goya Kong is super over and hits her big splash off the apron, knocking down all the rudas like bowling pins. This match was mostly angle and pretty short, but made me more excited for the hair match.

Kraneo, Reaper & Mr. Aguila vs. Atlantis, Marco Corleone & Volador Jr.

This trios isn't much, but I love the Kraneo/Reaper/Aguila team. Kraneo is the king in this match as he's just a total bully who isn't afraid to run into a couple of big rights from Corleone. Marco doesn't really return the favor as he weenies out of Kraneo's running butt splash in the corner. Aguila slaps Volador right down the bridge of his nose and that makes me smile. Kraneo though. He throws some great kicks to the stomach, all sorts of cool headbutts, a neat short uppercut, bumps impossibly well on armdrags. He's the guy you follow when all six guys are fighting at once.

La Sombra vs. Dragon Rojo Jr.

Not sure I've ever seen Rojo in a singles match, let alone a main event title match, so lets see how that goes. Primera ends quickly and one of these days somebody is going to roll *towards* Sombra when goes for his asai moonsault, and then when he does his little follow-up backflip he'll eat mat. That feels like something Finlay would pick up on, but he may be the all time best at getting great matches out of guys while also getting them out of their habits and comfort zones. Segunda is even shorter with Rojo winning with a quick sit out powerbomb. Ladies and gentleman, your CMLL main event singles style. And it doesn't take long before all moves in the tercera lose importance, as we go into an extended "get my stuff in" section where nothing has any consequence. Sombra hits a couple big moves to the floor, but Rojo is first into the ring. Rojo hits a mean spinning powerbomb but who cares? Certainly not Sombra, who's up running around to do more moves mere seconds later. Rojo hits a sick swinging neckbreaker on the floor, draping Sombra's ankles on the apron. But it must not have been that sick, as Sombra is back running and doing ranas immediately after. Crowd is hot for it and the kids love it, so what the hell do I know? They at least do a callback spot with Rojo getting the knees up on Sombra's moonsault backflip, but Sombra literally reverses the very next move Rojo attempts, so he may as well just let Sombra hit that moonsault next time. This may be my least favorite match format ever.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: AKIRA vs. Koji Kanemoto, NJPW 2/20/00

AKIRA vs. Koji Kanemoto, NJPW 2/20/00

I knew something was gonna give. The work was too good, they were kicking and stomping each other too hard. And then in the lamest Shyamalan twist possible, it turns out that Kanemoto has BIONIC KNEES! AKIRA is stomping away at them (and AKIRA is a guy with some great stomps), tearing Kanemoto's kneepad off, stomping some more and Kanemoto is feeling it. He hit knees on a moonsault, and AKIRA started after that poor knee of his and didn't let up. Kanemoto is screaming and clutching his knee...and then, it turns out, kicking at his knee makes him STRONGER! Suddenly he's begging for AKIRA to stomp on his knee, even turning it and adjusting it so AKIRA can stomp on every single part of it. All those joints and muscle fibers, he wants every one of 'em stompled! Stomping on that super vulnerable and easily injured part of the body would seriously cripple most humans, but it gives Kanemoto ENERGY! So AKIRA keeps stomping, and Kanemoto keeps getting stronger, and everything about it is the dumbest thing ever. And then it doesn't matter as Kanemoto gets shoved into the ref, dropkicked (brutal dropkick with insane height from AKIRA) and dragon suplexed for the loss anyway. Wah wah.

It's quite a shame, as 80+% of this match is really great. Really the first 6 minutes are totally awesome. Kanemoto and AKIRA go at it like Wild Dogs (or erm Mad Dogs I suppose) with Kanemoto dishing nasty leg kicks and ripping AKIRA's forehead appliqué off (with AKIRA screaming like in a dubbed Shaw Bros. flick) and hits a beastly corkscrew moonsault. AKIRA is a great heel in this and really puts over the knee work well. It started falling apart on AKIRA's comeback, as the match had been all Kanemoto, and then he (sorta) hit knees on a moonsault, then AKIRA got up, hit a bodyslam and then a big splash and was fully in control. A missed moonsault and bodyslam seemed a little too light to get Kanemoto selling just as much as AKIRA up to that point, who had taken a 5 minute beating at that point.

It's too bad the structure went from hot to questionable to laughable, as the actual execution from both guys was top notch.


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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 3/15/14

These matches were all from the 2/28 Arena Mexico show.

Rush, La Sombra & Diamante Azul vs.  Terrible, Rey Bucanero & Shocker

More angle than match, building up the Rush/Shocker hair match (Rachel hates Rush's hair so wants it IDO) but I do really love how Rush and Shocker match up. The whole Rush dynamic is pretty fascinating to me, as it seems like Rush turned rudo a year ago yet he's been a tecnico the whole time (technically) but the guy is just a total cock. Every dumb party douche gesture is great because it's always followed by a cut to the crowd of a pissed off older lady just p'shawing the whole thing and talking to their son or daughter about how disrespectful that young man is. Hector Garza was the last guy to really get that kind of "anger the oldest fans" heat although Garza was really forward with it and would openly flaunt it right to all the old ladies in the front row. Rush ain't there - yet - but he was still great here. Shocker brought the heat too, dishing some big knees and showing more energy that he normally has over the last couple years. Terrible threw in a nice background performance, Bucanero did the worst dive catch possible by completely whiffing Sombra's flip dive, and Azul's cool apron flip (he does every match) looked especially reckless. So, all angle, but very worthwhile. Plus you need your weekly fill of Rush corner kicks.

Lightning Match: Stuka Jr. vs. Vangellys

Fun little match highlighted by Stuka getting planted into the ring barricade by a big Vangellys tope and  then throwing out a move that shows he is clearly insane: a moonsault over the ringpost to the floor, all the while with his hands glued to his sides. Think about your body momentum for a moment, and how difficult it would be to do something like that with your hands held at your sides. Stuka also adds a cool  new wrinkle to the Cesaro/Nigel rebound clothesline, doing a cool rebound headscissors against the barrier on the floor. I've not seen that one before.

Mascara Dorada, Valiente & Mistico vs. Ultimo Guerrero, Euforia & Niebla Roja

Well this was awesome. Tons of great spots at a breathless pace. You get all your alley-oop spots with Roja getting tossed into a tornillo and vaulted into a rana, Mistico gets vaulted into a rana, everybody gets to show off their high jump rana skills with Dorada naturally winning. Euforia is still your base god and he makes Mistico look godly here by taking his ring-to-floor dragon rana and there's such a great moment where Mistico tries the same thing in the tercera, Euforia catches it and powerbombs him into the ringpost. Yessssss. Dorada is maybe the most spectacular flier in wrestling today. His tope is one of the best, his ranas are beautiful, he really just dances all around on those ropes and it's pretty stunning. He's really becoming a guy I go out of my way to see. Roja has never stood out tons to me but he looked good here and is clearly a better UG/Euforia partner than Gran Guerrero. The dive sequences here were all amazing, the rudos were working as a well oiled machine doing a bunch of little things that can get glossed over when going through standard rudo sequences (like actually making kicks look good on the triple team kick spot, UG picking up tecnicos by the mask holes, guys making their forearms look good when they're not the focus, etc.) and you should really check it out.

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