Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Every Second Word Dan Severn Swore

Dan Severn vs. Franz Schumann NWA Eddie Gilbert Memorial 2/28/98 - EPIC 

ER: Schumann is a weird guy to be on this show, I wasn't aware he had worked anywhere in the states. But I'm not complaining as he matches up in a fun way with Severn. Severn here is all about aggressive takedowns and crazy shows of strength. Early on he levels Franz with a tremendous stiff arm lariat (late in the match he throws a brutal one in the corner, he really throws a burly lariat) and Bockwinkel is really interesting on commentary the whole match, probably the best guy to be commentating a Severn match in 1998. He's really good at putting over Severn's strength, and before long Severn is deadlifting Schumann off the mat several consecutive times and slamming him, and deadlifting him into an awesome double underhook suplex. Schumann looked like a guy trying to prevent being thrown, and Severn looked like a guy determined to throw. We spill to the floor and Schumann hits a great tope, two big guys flying down the entranceway. Severn grabs Franz in an electric chair as he tries to get back in the ring and drops him throat first over the guardrail. Back inside and Severn plants him with the waterwheel suplex into an armbar. I'm not sure why the match happened where it happened, but I sure am happy it happened.

PAS: Loved the story of this match. Schumann tries early to wrestle with Severn and gets thrown violently. I mean he just hurls Schumann to the mat like he was a punking a first day trainee. I also really liked Schumann putting Severn in the guard and Severn constantly lifting and slamming him. I am sure Severn has bad Royce Gracie associations being stuck in guard, and certainly wasn't going to let a random German guy Brazilian Ju-Jitsu him. Franz realizing he was out gunned broke out some 1980's highflyer offense to stymie Severn, "My ju-jitsu may not be up to par, but I bet no one ever gave you a standing dropkick in the octagon,  fine you have a better double leg takedown, but how about this tope." Really loved the finish with Severn deciding he had enough and just tossing Schumann and trying to rip his arm off. Great stuff.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 127

Episode 127

1. Dirty Daddy vs. Cain Justice

ER: Cain comes out with Young Boys! Really, just make Cain the punk leader of a dojo and watch them lay waste to CWF. Gi entrance with Young Boys, match was already 7 stars before the bell. These two obviously always match up well, and this is their final match over the RGL title. These two are always on top of each other, never letting up, and know each other's next move. There's a lot of that in wrestling, but these two actually know how to keep it tight and not spiral into a self-conscious epic. The matches are always 10 minutes or under, and they know how to craft cool little sagas in that time. There has never been one whisper of overkill with these two. Here they break out some things that are tired indy tropes at this point, and make them actually work, like that running back and forth buckle to buckle routine: Dirty was dishing it to Cain in the corner, landed a few shots, went to get a running start and as he turned around Cain was running it to blast him. Usually that spot just looks like guys running back and forth because that was the plan and it looks kewl. Daddy went for the twist ending submission, failed quick, and never went back to it. That's smart, and a cool touch to these matches where guys constantly go for their opponent's finisher. Daddy's elbow shots all looked good, and I love how he mixed up their landing spot, working the jaw and the back. Cecil Scott was great on commentary bringing up a Cain back injury, nothing overblown, but mentioning that he's definitely dealing with an injury; Daddy goes after the back and Cain sells it like a guy who slept wrong and has been dealing with picking things up off the floor differently the last couple weeks. It's enough to make me buy that Cain's reaction time was slowed just enough to have lesser reaction time, and lent credence to Daddy's two vertical suplex/brainbusters as the finish. My only (minor) complaint was that this was a blowoff, and didn't really feel like a blowoff. It just felt like another one of their very good matches. I'm okay with that, but it would have been elevated anymore if it felt like something major was at stake.

PAS: It is amazing how these guys can do stuff I would normally hate, and I enjoy here. There is nothing more tired in indy wrestling then an elbow exchange, here they vary the speed and force nicely and end with Daddy landing body shots and Cain cleaning his clock with a front kick, took a cliche and mixed it up just enough. These guy know how to add just a little spice to a basic match.

I loved their work on the flood with Cain trying to smash Dirty's arm into the ring post (even kissing the post before the slam which is a beautiful bit of wrestling assholeness), Dirty blocks it once, Cain yells "Gimmie that arm" Dirty blocks it again, and smashes Cain spine first into the ringpost, setting the bad back story for the rest of the match. I slept weird on my back last week, so I feel Cain's suffering as he tries to work through a tender back. I loved how he hit the TBD (which should be a kill move in any fed, but especially here) and how the back wouldn't let him pin him quick, spamming that move was my only complaint in their Battlecade match and I liked how they dealt with it here. I agree that the finish felt a little weak for the end of a feud. I thought Cain did an awesome job selling fatigue, but the two brainbusters weren't brutal enough to close out the feud. Still a hell of match, and if they keep these guys apart for a while, I can imagine their match over the Mid-Atlantic title is going to be awesome.

2. Ethan Alexander Sharpe/Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham/Frankie Flynn vs. Ian Maxwell/KL3/Bobby Ballentyne

PAS: Kind of a messy trios match. A lot of the RGL stuff I have really liked, and AIW's kids 10 man is one of my favorite matches of the year, but the flip side with young wrestlers is that sometimes things won't click. Everyone seemed off here Maxwell slipped off the top rope, Dr. Dan nearly killed him with a botched finisher, some of the rope running was hinky. I continue to like Flynn as he might have been the smoothest guy in the match.

ER: That's funny, as outside of Maxwell's slip on the ropes I thought this was really good, especially for a quick trios. I thought it was one of the better Sharpe performances, and it feels like we've been saying that a lot over the last couple months. He had a bunch of big strikes that all landed great: his standing clothesline had tons of power for something that's basically all upper body, his sliding lariat looked good, real nice shotei, and bumped big for Ballentyne. Ballentyne didn't look good in his other CWF appearance, and looked much better here. His flying back elbow reminded me of Corey Edsel (but Ballentyne will need another 100 lb. before it looks that good). Flynn is good at working fast ropes exchanges, a good guy to be opposite someone like Maxwell. I didn't like a lot of Maxwell's stuff in here (seemed to focused on the dance rather than the contact) but I get the sense that it wouldn't have looked even as good as it did without Flynn opposite him. Rockingham's finish was probably supposed to be a backbreaker, but he straightened his leg so it just looked like a weird Dr. Bomb. And the man is a fucking doctor, why isn't he just using a Dr. Bomb? The move that looked like it should have put Maxwell in traction was the lawn dart he gave him to the middle rope, the angle and landing looked gross. Really, outside of the springboard slip (which was passed by easier than normal since it came at a point where everybody was gonna fill the ring anyway) and the Classic Indy Match Finisher ("I don't know what it was, but it may have been botched, and both men may have gotten hurt") I really liked this.

3. Sandwich Squad vs. Zane & Dave Dawson

ER: A match that I think worked a bit better as a concept than it did in execution. The Squad wait by the lobby curtain to jump the Dawsons, but the Dawsons sneak in from behind and just waste Mecha with a chairshot. Biggs has to go it alone, and I like how seriously they treated the chairshot. It appeared to be safely delivered to Mecha's (very broad) back, but it was treated like a huge deal. Cecil and Stutts turned in another good show talking about how Biggs has noticeably lost weight over the last several months, and how he might not have the strength to go it alone for very long against the Dawsons. Biggs is good in this, especially liked his big full arm shots to the gut. Dawsons (specifically Dave) can be lazy on strikes and missed clotheslines, and there is that, but the match progressed nicely thanks to Biggs' selling. Mecha coming back was the big moment of course, and I thought his selling was great throughout, hitting some big moves and swinging his clubbing arms, and always showing how his neck was affecting him. I was into it. But I thought the ending was a total flop, manufacturing what felt like phony drama wrapped around a rarely enforced rule. Zane and Biggs are down, ref is counting them both down, Biggs is crawling towards Zane to pin him...but the ref counts to 10 and that's the match. It felt pretty damn stupid to count a guy down who was actively crawling towards his opponent to pin him. I've never seen that in a match before, and it immediately became apparent why. It felt cheap, and this fed is way better than cheap.

PAS: That chair shot at the beginning of the match was super nasty, I loved how the back of the chair flew off when it landed. ECW et al have desensitized me a bit to chair shots, but that one felt like it should have felled a giant man like that for the entire match. I thought the match was really made with Biggs and Mecha's selling, as both guys really felt like they were gutting their way through a war. I loved the huge superplex as a double knock out spot. I agree the crawling count out seemed weird. Still that is the rule, if you aren't on your feet by 10 you get counted out, I certainly didn't hate it as much as Eric, and thought it was a semi-clever BS finish. I am still waiting for a Dawsons v. Sandwich Squad match to blow me away, it is always slightly worse then it feels on paper.

4. Aric Andrews vs. Jesse Adler

ER: Whoa, this was not what I was expecting. I am mostly unfamiliar with Adler, only knowing what the announcers tell me and what I saw from him in his return a couple weeks ago (which I didn't care for). So my gut reaction is that I really don't like this move. I guess I'm always more of a fan of a heel champ with a strong babyface chasing him, and in one episode we just shifted to the three singles titles all being held by babyfaces. I'm really bummed, just because I really liked both Justice and Andrews lording those belts over people. Obviously you can't keep everyone champ forever, but I really liked the dynamic we had. Based on the match I've seen, there are a few guys in this fed (and tons more throughout the rest of indy wrestling) who do Adler's style better than Adler, and I'm not exactly going out of my way to seek out more of that style match. These title changes really feel like they could completely change the tone of the program going forward, in a way I'm not as excited for. Obviously it opens up more challengers, but I'm knocked down a peg at the end of the episode. My favorite moment was Cecil Scott calling Lee Valiant a bag of piss.

PAS: Yeah I am out on this, Andrews and Valiant are a great act with the belt, and Adler doesn't show me much. Both of his big highflying moves didn't look that great and highflying babyface is a completely over done act.  I mean this fed still books Andrew Everett, and Adler's stuff doesn't even come close to what Everett can do. Maybe if I see more Adler, I'll learn to like him, but this fell completely flat for me.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Doesn't Make the List: Miyahara vs. Ishikawa 1 & 2

Kento Miyahara v. Shuji Ishikawa AJPW 5/21

Kento Miyahara v. Shuji Ishikawa AJPW 8/27

ER: Phil and I recently talked about how our MOTY list is very heavy on a certain North Carolina indy, and light on essentially everything else. Is it light on puro because we hate Japanese wrestling? No. Well, maybe. If it was 1994 then our 2017 list would have tons of Japanese wrestling. But this year we have 5 on our list. There are 4 others that Phil and I have each written up and are waiting on contributions from the other, so by the end of the year we may end up with almost 10! That seems low. So I asked some folks for 2017 Japan recommendations to see if we can add to the list a bit more, and we came back with these two matches. And I think if we took the best parts of these two matches, we have an easy list match. But the way each of the matches is actually constructed? I don't see it. There's a lot to like, some stuff to dislike, and at minimum we all learned a little bit more about the 2017 All Japan title scene.

Ishikawa is a guy who not that long ago would have been referred to as indy sleaze: He's wrestled in some shootstyle indies, he's wrestled in death matches, he has probably wrestled on a show that had no ring. But in 2017 he is a Triple Crown challenger, and that just shows how weird Japanese wrestling is in 2017. Miyahara was a NOAH guy who started around the time I stopped watching as much NOAH, and now he's kind of what mid-2000s Tanahashi was for New Japan, only for current All Japan.

There is nothing profound about my thoughts on these two matches, but let's go through my brief thoughts on each:

On the first match, the length felt right but they also took a long time to get going. Ishikawa worked over Miyahara's back in a kind of half-assed way. The stuff he did to the back sounded dangerous on paper, but Ishikawa's delivery is sloppy and disinterested: slam into the ringpost, powerbomb on the apron, chair to the ribs, stomp off the middle rope; the thought is there, but none of it looks very good. Ishikawa seems like maybe a top 5 wrestling Ishikawa. The back work doesn't really go anywhere, as Miyahara just decides to start making a comeback at some point. And I don't really buy his comeback. He had absorbed a lot of punishment, then just hit a dropkick to the knee, then made Ishikawa wait around bent at the waist for too long to hit a so-so shotgun kick. Halfway through, not loving it. Then we had some standing forearms and some fighting spirit convenient selling and I was feeling pretty duped. But the end run is a scorcher, 5 super hot minutes. Shoot, the match would have made list as a year of the sprint top contender if someone had just sent me the final 5 minutes and told me that was the match. Ishikawa starts throwing hard knees under the chin that look like they would break a neck, dumps him with a couple gnarly thunder fire drivers, we get some big kickouts, nice lariats, Ishikawa eats some big kicks, it's still a blast to hear Japanese announcers excitedly call a Splash Mountain, and Ishikawa getting the win was a genuine surprise. The last 5 created some goodwill, but not enough to get it to list.

The second match definitely had the better start. Ishikawa leaned into being Triple Crown champ and was now wearing actual trunks, ditching his garbage bag pants. His attack on Miyahara was focused and more dominating than the first match, with Miyahara taking some rough stuff including leaping off the apron and getting ole'd chin first into the guardrail. I thought Ishikawa looked more consistent in this match, but they peaked things way too early when Ishikawa gave Miyahara a thunder fire driver on the apron. It was a callback to them fighting on the apron in their first match, with this go 'round ending differently. But here it was used to essentially restart the match, and before long Miyahara was on offense for the first time in the match and the playing field was level. It was one of those shifts where Miyahara was selling 10 minutes of a beating, and suddenly Ishikawa delivers his biggest KO blow....and now Ishikawa is tired and Miyahara is invigorated. Shame, as the early match work was really satisfying. Sometimes I think Miyahara's big offense is a bit too flimsy, but there were some nasty moments down the stretch, notably when he caved in the back of Ishikawa's head with a shotgun kick. But Miyahara's fighting spirit spots come off as almost parody, and Ishikawa has a very expressionless face and uninteresting selling, which doesn't really help a fired up babyface like Miyahara. Both guys brought big bombs down the stretch, but really Ishikawa's knees and the thunder fire drivers looked nastier than almost anything Miyahara brought (except that brutal kick, which I would have bought as a finish). I didn't like how this match took a more satisfying journey to basically get to the most unsatisfying parts of the first match.

Both matches were fine, and it didn't feel like wasted time watching them. That sounds backhanded, but it's not meant to be. I'm happy I watched the two title matches. If we had the first 10 minutes of the second match, and the last 5 of the first match, I probably would have flipped. I saw they had a 15 minute match recently, which could be just what I need, but I could not find a copy of it. Someday, maybe.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Complete and Accurate Shinobu Kandori

Joshi has been a pretty underrepresented style on Segunda Caida. So I decided to a deep dive on the awesome Shinobu Kandori. Bierschwale at PWO called her a mix between Lesnar and Onita which is a pretty perfect description. Mixes killer violence with tremendous charisma. Both a great crowbar and a great seller. I am looking forward to re-watching the classics and also hopefully finding some new gems. As always matches are broken down into SKIPPABLE, FUN, GREAT and EPIC


Shinobu Kandori v. Desiree Peterson LPWA 2/23/92-FUN


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Kandori Mapped out Your Lie and You Aren't Good For Her

Shinobu Kandori v. Desiree Peterson LPWA 2/23/92-FUN

PAS: LPWA was a Joe Pedicino run GLOW competitor which ran the same Vegas casino which had dying day AWA tapings. They had some deal with LLPW and brought in Kandori to work ex WWF Womens tag champion Peterson. Kandori had some really nice moments in what was a short TV match. Opened with a pretty stiff dropkick, put on a nasty abdominal stretch and ended with a Tiger Driver. Peterson looked pretty bad though, she looked like a low end hair whip and stomach kick 80s WWF women's wrestler, I imagine this would have been better with Velvet McIntyre or Rockin Robin. Still not a lot of chance to watch Jim Cornette call a Kandori match.

Shinobu Kandori/Mizuki Endo v. Yumiko Hotta/Kumiko Maekawa AJW 8/22/97-GREAT

PAS: This is a classic Puro tag set up, with a veteran teaming with young boy (or girl in this case). The structure is pretty classic, the veteran will beat the shit out of the younger wrestler while taunting their rival. We start with the Kandori and Endo team nastily working over the knee of Maekawa. I hadn't seen Endo before, but she was pretty good, she had this great half lariat/half STO, and is willing to get kicked hard in the head by Hotta and Maekawa. Maekawa has this harrowing thrust kick and she looks like she loosened some teeth on both Kandori and Endo. Kandori is at her mugging, smirking best, at one point she drops Maekawa with a palm thrust and does this little palm thrust dance which was super dickish. Your big star showdown section was pretty awesome, Hotta hits Kandori with a couple of low kicks and Kandori taunts her to take off her kick pads, both ladies go to the corner and remove their boots and kick pads and get into some MMA style sprawling which looked awesome. Finish was great with Hotta just wheel kicking Endo unconscious and getting right in Kandori's face to stare her down. Two matches in, this feels like an all time great rivalry.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Reigns v. Jordan

37. Roman Reigns v. Jason Jordan WWE Raw 9/11

ER: Essentially a repeat of Jordan's match with Cena the week before, no less fun, better executed in some ways, lesser due to similarities. I thought Reigns was really great at looking beatable here. When Jordan had him in the crossface it looked like it could legit end the match. But I liked how cocky Roman started this, laughing about how long it took Cena to beat Jordan last week. Roman even looked like he had scouted Jordan's wrestling, not letting himself get muscled around the way Cena did the prior week. But that just made it a bigger moment when Jordan finally hit that first overhead belly to belly. When Jordan took over it was really exciting: That dropkick was insanely high and Reigns took it right to the jaw, I'm always going to flip for a singlet straps pulldown, the rolling northern lights is a crazy spot, and that running spear in the corner looks nasty for Roman, and looks like an all expenses paid neck fusion surgery for Jordan in 3 years. Jordan's big comeback was hot and Roman was tremendous at making him look like he had a chance. Jordan nailed that corner spear so forcefully that you knew it had to set up an even bigger miss, and him missing through the buckles and falling to the apron was a clever way to set up for the drive by. I liked how the Cena match ended more out of nowhere, but it was amusing watching Roman notice the moment that the fans realized he was going to be winning.

PAS: I really enjoyed this. Roman is great as a cocky alpha dog, he reminded me a bit of how Lebron James acts around younger basketball stars "nice try kid, but you are a long way from the King." I really liked how he avoided the initial takedown and sneered at Jordan. I never really thought that Roman Reigns had much in common with Tenryu, but this reminded me of how Tenryu would work lower ranked guys, punk them a bit, but then sell huge for all of the near falls. I bought that Anjo might beat Tenryu, I bought that Jordan might beat Reigns. Loved how all of Jordan's early offense came in counters of Reigns signature stuff. Reigns goes for the corner forearms, Jordan hits him with a belly to belly, Reigns tries the superman punch, Jordan turns it into a crossface. I also love how suddenly this ended. Jordan makes one big mistake, Reigns unloads the kitchen sink and pins him, This didn't need a big PWG 2.9 count ending to make Jordan look good.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Do Your Best To Present Yourself to Yoshiaki Fujiwara as a Work With No Need to Be Ashamed Rightly Handling the Word of Truth

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Satoru Sayama Rikidozan Memorial 3/11/00 - GREAT

PAS: This is worked more like a Fujiwara v. Karate guy mixed match, which is always a fun match up. Sayama was basically all tubby spin kicks. Fujiwara was awesome in aggressively taking Sayama down, basically Sayama would throw big kicks and Fujiwara would absorb or dodge the kicks until he could grab a single or double leg and drag Sayama down into a submission. Sayama would drag himself to the ropes and get stood up and we would restart. The match came down to whether Fujiwara could tap him before Sayama knocked him out. The finish was a super brutal ankle pick which felt like a finish. Sayama was a little tubby and rusty, and the match needed a more dramatic ending to put it up there with their classics against each other, but it was a fine addition to the canon.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Dan Kroffat v. Mitsuya Nagai/Masahito Kakihara AJPW 12/6/00 - GREAT

PAS: This is a JIP match from the All Japan tag league, we get about 7 minutes of a 12 minute match. Really fun Fujiwara performance as one might expect. Early part of the match Fujiwara works almost like a heel manager, cheap shotting Nagai and Kakihara from the outside, including doing a figure four on the ringpost while Kroffat distracted the ref. Finish run was pretty great as both Nagai and Kakihara try to KO Fujiwara with kicks, and no one is better at selling and countering big then Fujiwara. Finish was a Fujiwara classic as he caught a Nagai kick and turned it into a leg catch armbar for the tap.


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Sunday, November 12, 2017

1998 Match of the Year

Shinobu Kandori v. Yumiko Hotta LLPW 3/21/98

PAS: This was a KO or submission match for the WWWA title, and merciful fuck was this a war. Kandori opens up by tackling Hotta to the floor, after they get back into the ring, they scramble and it ends up with Hotta field goal kicking Kandori right in the head. Hell of a way to open a match and it really lets you know you are watching something special. This match has the greatest guard work I have ever seen in a pro-wrestling match, Kandori is basically a distaff worked Demien Maia. There is this great section early in the match where Kandori is in rubber guard and Hotta, frustrated with her inability to pass, just rains down headbutts splitting her own head open. For the rest of the match Hotta has blood streaming down her head which totally adds to the crazed aura. Of course with these two quasi unprofessional ladies everything is thrown with reckless abandon. Hotta is just unloading KO shots with every kick, Kandori is trying to crack jaws with every slap. Finish was great, Hotta lands two big bombs, a double underhook piledriver, and a nasty liger bomb, but clearly weak from blood loss, she forgets the rules and goes for a pin. This allows Kandori to catch her from the bottom with a great tight triangle choke for the tap out. It was basically a worked version of the Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva finish 12 years before that fight. Such a masterful piece of violence and a Segunda Caida match through and through

ER: There's nothing quite like a big wrestling title or stips match, the best ones just have an aura of something bigger. Hotta punts a prone Kandori in the head less than a minute into this, so you just knew what kind of scrap this was going to be from go. Hotta is a total savage here and Kandori leans into one of my favorite roles, underdog who is nasty herself and also resilient. Kandori can take a beating and keep her eye out for openings, like Fujiwara or Ishikawa. Hotta is mean and her face looks like she wants nothing more than to keep her title. She's the one going for less dignified attacks first, the one immediately trying to put Kandori away. She throws in that punt, locks in a quick sleeper choke, and starts jamming headbutts from mount, busting herself open immediately. Blood will always ramp things up, and Hotta's blood-covered face makes her look simultaneously more savage and more desperate. There's a moment where Kandori goes for a pin, looks up at the ref whwn she realizes the ref isn't counting (due to the KO/Submission stips) and while she's looking Hotta grabs her arm for a sub attempt. I loved that as it came into play on the finish, with Kandori getting that same benefit of Hotta waiting for a pin count, allowing her to lock on the finishing triangle. While Kandori is going for submissions as a way to victory, Hotta is going for knockouts. At one point Kandori is seated, and Hotta walks up behind her and just wraps a kick around her face. The callback finish was great, with Hotta hitting a nasty snap piledriver and then rolling through to deliver a vertically spiking tiger driver; she waits for a pin, and a loopy Kandori locks on a triangle that the exhausted Hotta can't escape. This will be a fun inaugural champ for a year with no obvious champs or challengers.


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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lucha Worth Watching: Soberano Jr. + Bonus Negro Casas

1. Soberano Jr./Guerrero Maya Jr./Fuego vs. Felino/Ephesto/Luciferno (CMLL 8/8/17)

ER: Hot Arena Mexico trios where Soberano comes off like a star and Felino has one of those matches where it's suddenly 1997 again. You never know when Felino is going to have one of those memory lapses and slip back into actual awesome worker, but it happens a couple times a year and it's always awesome when it does. Felino was rudo extraordinaire here, showing off by working super fast armdrag sequences with Soberano, showing him up by doing fancier forward rolls, handsprings and rope running tricks, then turning mean and dropkicking him low, stomping him out with his buddies, and sticking him with a powerbomb off the turnbuckles. I have no idea what motivates Felino at this point, but when he shows up, he still shows up. Fuego and Maya hang back more but still get nice moments, Fuego ends the segunda with a trippy little roll up, Maya hits a fast and accurate tope, but the fans are going ape for the Soberano/Felino interactions. Tercera is when Soberano breaks out, flinging Luciferno with a cool slingshot armdrag on the ramp, hitting his Fosbury Flop on Felino. This whole thing is kept simple and everybody works quick. You get smooth work from the tecnicos and classic rudo misdirection worked at actual non-lazy speed, and the fans love it all. I love a hot lucha crowd more than most things in wrestling, and this was a crowd pleaser.

2. Negro Casas/Barbaro Cavenario/Ultimo Guerrero vs. Rush/Valiente/Mistico (CMLL 8/8/17)

ER: You know Casas wasn't going to get shown up by his brother on a hot Arena Mexico card! All of La Peste Negra were busting butt tonight, with Felino turning in his performance of the year, Niebla turning in his most spirited performance I've seen from him this year in the next match, and then Casas turning in a typical great Casas act in the main. The teams are all weird because Rush is on the tecnicos but and Casas is on the rudos, but the stuff between them is gold, peaking with Casas throwing tons of stiff kicks in the corner on Rush. Not long after Rush gets Casas prone in the corner, stops short on the dropkick, waits for Casas to peak out from his fingers, then pops him in the cheek with the toe of his boot. What a jerk. Valiente takes some big spills and works the match essentially nude (his tiny trunks are like awful early 80s bodybuilder Kevin Sullivan levels of yuck), UG acts as a great base for Mistico, Barbaro turns in a wonderfully hammy performance, and the best part of his ham is when it turns suddenly violent, like in the tercera where he catches a Casas Thesz press off the apron and powerbombs him into the ringpost. I don't know what got into the crowd tonight, not sure if a hot crowd made the workers all kick it up a notch, or the hot workers got the crowd going bananas, but this was one of those Arena Mexico night where everything clicked.

3. Barbaro Cavernario vs. Soberano Jr. (CMLL 8/25/17)

ER: Two wild and crazy guys pulling out all the stops in a 10 minute lightning match? Yes, please. The first 6 minutes of this are a total Barbaro mugging, setting the tone right out the gates as he bullies Soberano around the ring with his chin. There's something awkwardly intimidating about him just jamming chin into jawbone and shoving a guy around the ring with it. But Barbaro is totally coconuts and hits this flat out amazing tornillo through the ropes, I mean just a crazy spot for a bulky guy to do. Soberano takes a mammoth back body drop on the floor and the beating continues, with Barbaro hitting some double stomps and a big reverse springboard splash. Even Zacarias hits a 619 (a 55?). Soberano comes back when Barbaro misses a splash on the rampway, and Soberano superkicks him down the ramp (with a big spit take from Barbaro). Soberano - as you might expect - hits a bonkers tornillo off the top of the entrance way, does one of his effortless double springboard ranas back in the ring, and follows that up with a gorgeous Fosbury flop dive to the floor. Crazy. We get some nice nearfalls and reversals: another tornillo crossbody from Soberano; a vicious package vertical suplex by Barbaro that whips Soberano into the mat; a long, uncomfortable slow zoom shot of Zacarias plaintively looking at the action; a super dangerous looking crucifix bomb gets reversed into a rana by Soberano, and then reversed convincingly into a nice roll up nearfall by Barbaro. Sadly the finish features a vintage Tirantes fuck up (seriously get this guy the hell out of CMLL), as Barbaro goes to dropkick Soberano off the top and gets stuck with a powerbomb, which Barbaro clearly kicks out of. Tirantes calls it the finish, even though the two continue with the actual finish. Ugly stuff, all because of one doofus. But this was the best lightning match in a year or so, and not just for the nutso spots. Barbaro was gluing things together nicely and not just moving from spot to spot. Every pin saw him lay a hard fist or forearm across Soberano's jaw, he moved him into position with big strikes and kicks to the back of the head. This wasn't just guys putting on an exhibition, this stuff had meat.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 126

Episode 126

1. Cain Justice/Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. Dirty Daddy/Faye Jackson

PAS: Faye Jackson is a thick African American lady who works the thickness into her style. Early in she is kind of toying with Sharpe until he loses it and slaps her, I really like how Sharpe has been slowly getting meaner every week, and loved how Dirty Daddy went ballistic and started kicking his ass. This was primarily another showcase for the great Daddy v. Cain feud, and although they didn't have a ton of interactions, they were all great. I imagine the next week is their final singles for quite a while, and when they pick the feud back up in a year or two (maybe over the CWF title?) it will be epic stuff. Two intergender matches is two weeks is a little much, although I liked Jackson more then Alley Cat

ER: I like how Phil still hasn't noticed that Allie Cat is a pun name. Really Cat just needs to find a partner like Faye Jackson who can go by the name Junkyard Dawn and I'd happily seek out their tag matches. This match was a real good time, with comedy used the right amount and nicely balanced out by fast, heavy work. A few months ago Sharpe the whole match would have just been based around Sharpe going googly eyed every time his face would up in either sets of Faye's cleavage. This was a much more satisfying version of what could have been. With her assets you KNOW Faye is going to bring some butt offense, and it looks good, dropping that bombs away and really snapping that running hip attack in the corner. And I chuckled at Cecil Scott's "down with the thiccness" line. That's a t-shirt right there. I love the build to Sharpe snapping and just belting Faye with a huge chop, leading to a righteously pissed Daddy tagging his way in. Sharpe/Cain's interactions with Daddy were all good, with Cain dropping stomps and knees on Daddy's limbs, and Sharpe doing a nice necktie neckbreaker, a simple, cool move that looks like it could hurt the neck and the shoulder. Daddy's fiery comebacks are some of the best, and I love him flying into Sharpe with a headlock takeover that cared more about doing damage than looking pretty. His elbows down the stretch were suitably hard, you can buy each guy getting stunned by them. Real fun tag, obviously cannot wait for the singles blowoff.

2. Joshua Cutshall/Otto Schwanz vs. Sandwich Squad 

PAS: Really disappointing match. On paper this should be a blast, four big dudes smacking the crap out of each other is smack dab in the Segunda Caida wheelhouse. This however was mostly booking with Cutshall attacking his own partner, it seemed like he was working almost a Missing Link "doesn't understand wrestling" gimmick, which is sort of silly and something he doesn't need. I think Schwanz v. Cutshall could be great, but we could have gotten a good match and a post match angle to set that up, instead we got this waste of potential.

ER: Yeah this was a downer, and Phil is right that we could have at least gotten a good match that deteriorated at the end and blew up post match, instead of what we got. This on paper looks like a match that Segunda Caida would book, and those hurt the most when they end up wildly undershooting their mark. Cutshall as a guy who doesn't comprehend tag team wrestling is a bit much since we've seen him in plenty of actual matches where he clearly understands the rules. I'll give them some leeway, as they've earned it, and maybe it will eventually break down that he doesn't understand the concept of trusting another man and therefore thinks every tag match is just a 4 way. But I'm sure there are also tons of tags that he's performed normally in that I haven't seen. But they could go deep with this, explore his history of abuse that lead to his personality and his distrust, opening the doors for a face turn when someone actually reaches out and gets to the heart of his problems, allowing him to trust society again. That's probably a bit too heady for a pro wrestling show, but I'd have confidence in them pulling it off. I felt sorry for Biggs in this one, as he had the tough task of having to sell for an extended length of time while all the partner fighting unfolded, despite him not having taken much of a beating. I was hoping for a lot more from this, but we'll see where it winds up.

3. High Profile (Shea Shea McGrady/Will Demented) vs. The Gymnasty Boys (White Mike Jordan /Timmy Lou Retton) vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude/Rob Killjoy)

PAS: I totally loved this, it was just a balls to the wall crazy guy sprint, nobody outstayed their welcome, the big spots were big ass spots and everything was hit cleanly. First time I have seen the Gymnasty Boys and they are fun as shit. White Mike is great of course, and surprisingly at home in this kind of high difficulty spotfest, Retton is a big dude and insanely agile, he looks like a smaller Big E, but can flip like Red. I had never even heard of High Profile, but I dug them too, they look like Harmony Korine characters, and take crazy bumps. White Mike hits the best can opener I have ever seen on Shea Shea, who is 130 at most and thus really gets spun . Ducks are of course bumping like lunatics, and hitting nutty spots, I loved them hitting duel poison ranas on Retton and just spiking him on his head. I could watch a version of this match over and over again.

ER: Yes Yes Yes! A total burner that doesn't overstay its welcome, every guy playing to their strengths, all killer, yadda yadda yadda. This was everything it could have and should have been. I've loved the Ducks since first seeing them in CWF, and this was the showcase match for them, Lude especially. Lude keeps looking grimier and grimier and keeps wrestling crazier and crazier. Within the first minute he had hit a wild dive out to the floor past the turnbuckles, later he hit a big flip dive, got launched on Launchpad McQuack (that monkey flip into an insanely fast cannonball in the corner was my favorite spot of the match) and late in the match gets shoved far off the top rope into Coach Mikey on the floor (also, it's nice to see Coach Mikey back, I love that guy's look). Never seen High Profile before but would happily see more: big bumps, nice headscissors, cool combos (Demented went on a quick 15 second run ending with a whipping spinkick that all looked good). McGrady is lean and takes some big shots, and I might need to see him teaming with or matched up against "Weird Body" Evan Adams, Team Heroin Chic. Looking at them I wouldn't guess that White Mike and Retton would work so well in this kind of match, and if they did you'd think they'd be the bases for assorted craziness, but they work just as quick as anyone.\ and know how to integrate their big spots. Retton gets dropped by consecutive reverse ranas, Mike hits a huge sitout powerbomb, and Mike's can opener seems to defy physics as he spins McGrady around 10 times before snapping it. This whole thing was a bank full of money.  

4. Brass Knuckles on a Pole: Arik Royal vs. Snooty Foxx

PAS: Snooty Foxx main events in Chapel Hill are my favorite thing in 2017 wrestling. It is just a testament to the value of an engaged crowd with a rooting interest. Snooty is a home town hero, born and raised a block away from the community center where they run the shows. The crowd is clearly filled with friends and family who aren't looking for five star matches, but instead are looking for their cousin to whoop this guys ass. Royal is a master in this atmosphere, he has the cultural rhythms of a southern black crowd in his veins, and knows exactly how to roil them up. It is like watching Bernie Mac work his first Def Comedy Jam show. The work in the match was pretty basic, but the timing on the big spots was perfect, and I loved the brawling on the hoops court. The basketball right to Royal's head was awesome. They did some great teases of the brass knuckles, and a nifty BS finish with Royal using a second illegal pair of brass knuckles to KO Foxx, and then does a slight of hand switch out of the bad knucks for the good knucks. Standing ovation to whomever came up with burying Foxx under the Duke flag, just an incredible bit of troll theatre.

ER: This didn't hit me as hard as the Foxx/Wilkins Chapel Hill match did, but these Chapel Hill shows are total gravy. Royal knows how to play the crowd like a conductor, and Foxx doesn't need to play at all, just soak up all the love. Not much in wrestling beats a hot crowd, and while I liked the stuff in the ring (and you can see a lot of Foxx's improvements, things are getting a lot tighter, here he really cracks Royal with a flying back elbow), I was dying for them to take it to the floor. Sure enough, on the floor Royal knows exactly where to direct the action, knows exactly who to taunt. He tosses Snooty into a woman who doesn't break her absolutely furious staredown with him the entire time. Purse clutched to her lap, I probably would have lobbied Phil for this to be #1 on our MOTY list if that woman had stood up and cracked Royal with that purse. Royal is clearly directing traffic out there and you can see him tell Snooty just where to toss him into the crowd, and Royal is awesome at stumbling through chairs and falling into people, threatening to throw Snooty into a little girl who runs off hiding, just great stuff. The outside brawl is tons of fun, walking around the gymnasium and building to a great spot where someone throws Snooty a basketball and he banks it off Royal's head with a perfect chest pass (wish I hadn't seen a gif of that ahead of time as I would have lost it). Royal takes a nice bump into the fence around the basketball court, and there's a hundred fans crowded around them all losing it. Carey looked legit concerned that the crowd outside was going to start throwing stomps to Royal. Back inside and we start going after the knux, with both guys taking big knocks off the top (loved that big Snooty powerslam) and the final sneaky knux shot was finish worthy, both men played it huge. The fans get loud as hell and Royal starts chomping on a bag of sweet tarts as Foxx gets buried in the Duke flag. That's some cold business. Royal struts on our of there and still talks trash on his way out, heel through and through. This one didn't land with me like the Wilkins match, and I thought it had a few lesser moments (Royal was feeding Foxx and directing traffic a little too blatantly, and the Carey/Li attack to Snooty on the floor was some of the absolute weakest looking interference I've ever seen) and it didn't have that impossible frenzy of the babyface squad throwing actual money to the crowd, but this was a 20 minute smile for sure.

ER: We were told to be excited for the Chapel Hill episode, and I guess people are getting an idea of what we're into. The tag and Foxx/Royal landed on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, which is now ridiculously weighted towards CWF.

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