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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 11/25/15 Review

1. Moose vs. A guy with the last name Carter

Silly flipping spear, match over. "What a way to kick off this hour of ROH television." Okay, Kevin Kelly. Elgin comes out after prompted by Stokely Hathaway. and gets in Moose's face. Moose says "we can do this right now". Never before has anybody who said that, actually done something right now. Truth Martini says a bunch of stuff I don't listen to. Any Truth Martini is too much, but it sets up this match...

2. Moose & Michael Elgin vs. Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel

And it's not bad! It's brisk, almost worked tornado style. Everybody except Moose looked good. Moose had these terrible standing headbutts to Diesel's shoulder, and Diesel looked like he had no idea what he was supposed to be selling. Elgin hit a fun somersault senton off the apron, Diesel took an absolutely disgusting spinning back chop to the face from Elgin (that one got a couple rewinds), Dijak takes a crazy Psicosis ropes bump off a lariat, Taeler Hendrix looked like a weird plastic monster, Dijak's 360 pump kick is goofy but resulted in Moose getting kicked in the neck (even though Moose doesn't get that whole selling thing at all). So yeah, this was good. Moose is not good.

3. Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal

Damn this was goooood. I strongly dislike most of this Jay Lethal touring heel champ run, as he has terrible offense for a main event heel, the worst finisher in wrestling, and just doesn't have the persona for the style he's trying to work. Strong I like, but wasn't expecting anything when I dislike 50% of the guys in a match. But the match kicked ass. It's probably, easily, the best match from the whole run of shows shown on Destination America. Strong beat Lethal's ass the whole match, tossing out big elbows and nasty chops, really working him over all around the ring.  There was a minor blown spot that I think helped things, where Strong tried to pick Lethal up to drop him with a backbreaker he dropped him. BUT then he muscled him up hardway to redo the spot and planted Lethal over his knee. I'm not usually the biggest fan of immediately redoing spots, but it just made Strong look determined. Least favorite part of the match was Lethal hitting the Lethal Injection only to have Strong kickout. The kickout itself was really well done, nicely placed, made sense in the match, but Lethal made this impossibly goofy face afterwards to express "shock" and the camera just lingered on this awful face. He had half his lip tucked into his mouth and was doing these exaggerated stage breaths, like the community theatre cast of Godspell coming out for a minorly deserved curtain call. His horrible facial expression, with that weird tucked lip and heaving breath, looked like he was doing an impression of Oklahoma doing his impression of JR. I'm not sure what face he thought he was making, but it couldn't have possibly been that face. Lethal did keep going for his bad offense, his wimpy dives, his horrible finisher, but Strong just kept beating ass. His knees are a thing of beauty. He's got the timing down pat, and I've seen few better jumping knees. The finish run was great with Strong throwing every single thing at Lethal, one right after the other, and you knew it was building to something big, like when they shoot up tons of fireworks right at the end of 4th of July, all at once, with Lee Greenwood playing somewhere. Strong hits some big ass knees, a big gutbuster, his running kick, backbreaker, really just stacking up all his offense for one big blowoff. By the time he locked on the Stronghold Lethal tapped almost to just make it stop, which was the proper finish. Really really good match, not just because it exceeded expectations, but because it was legitimately good. And also, because that means less Lethal in big title matches, some distance for Strong and Lethal, and puts everybody in a better place.

If this was the last episode on DA (and I think it was) they at least went out on a nice high note.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

MLJ: Villano III Interlude I: Black Warrior, Satánico, Villano III vs Felino, Negro Casas, Tinieblas Jr.

1998-07-28 @ Arena Coliseo
Black Warrior, Satánico, Villano III vs Felino, Negro Casas, Tinieblas Jr.

There are certain luchadores that I still feel I don't have a great handle on. Topping this list is Villano III. There was a lot of recent talk about him for the WON HOF ballot and he's supposed to be one of the all time greats. We don't have a lot of him in his prime though, just bits and pieces, as he spent a lot of his career in the UWA. I think we do have more than enough of him to get the sense of just how great he was, though. I just have to do the legwork, interspering his matches in the midst of whatever else I'm focusing on.

Like any wrestler, I'm not familiar with, I'm going to start in a wrong but familiar place, when he was already deep into his 40s and against opponents I feel very comfortable watching. Satanico and Negro Casas are two of my favorite wrestlers and, in my mind, two of the best wrestlers ever. This is a match with the two of them, and more than that, between the two of them, during Casas' late 90s tecnico run. The central program here was Casas vs Villano III, but I see no sign that it ever led to a singles match. It was a great showing for pretty much everyone but Tinieblas, though (and he, at least, played his role and was a good foil for the others), and a very strong match.

It started with a rudo swarm. The tecnicos tried to create distance and fight back but didn't have a chance against the rudos' ability to work together. Black Warrior held Negro Casas and V3 tossed Felino's head into his brother's gut. After that, they separated, with Villano destroying Casas using the side of the ring and down the rampway, finishing it up with a DDT on the floor. Meanwhile, Satanico was guiding Black Warrior around the ring to demolish the other two tecnicos. Warrior was constant motion and fluidity, darting around the ring during the beatdown. He finished Felino off with the nudo as Satanico patiently held Tinieblas until the time was right for he and Warrior to lock on a double submission, which made sense given Tinieblas' size. Satanico was excellent at knowing exactly how long to wait. No one was ever better at directing mayhem than him.

The beatdown continued on into the segunda. Tinieblas tried to help Casas but got booted in his head for his ineffectual trouble:

Villano was focused and heated and Casas is as good as garnering sympathy during a beatdown as anyone. He was really reveling in his role as tecnico and the crowd loved to be behind him. Here he ate a legdrop over the ropes by Villano and then an axehandle while draped over the apron by Black Warrior:

Villano dragged Casas around the ring and started on his leg on the floor. The ref argued, buying Casas a moment and the mandate of heaven shifted. It's one of those symbolic elements of lucha. If the tecnico who is the focal point of the match is able to start to fight back, his partners will as well. Here Casas started back impassionately, and his partners followed suit. This ended with Villano retreating and a reset into the ring. Felino and Black Warrior were matched up so well. I'll have to try to track down more of them from this era. Here, Felino caught him off a springboard rana and dove forward with a powerbomb in a really spectacular spot to take the segunda for his team:

They reset again in the tercera, with Villano trying to beg off and Casas having no part of it. Casas basked a bit too long after hitting a tilt-a-whirl slam and Villano started to chop back. Even at this relatively late stage of his career, he was gritty, effectively cruel, and had great timing. That's obvious. I love how Casas shut him down though, with a few leg kicks, a stomp on the foot, and his spinning back kick. The stomp on the foot was what made it:

From there, they went towards the last round of exchanges, with Satanico using Tinieblas as prop to be clowned off of and more quick sequence between Felino and Black Warrior. The finish was great too. Tinieblas hit a plancha on Satanico (who caught it admirably), leaving Felino and Casas with Warrior and Villano. The tecnicos reversed a double whip (after Casas charged headlong into his brother to dampen the first rudo attempt), and then hit tandem Casitas, the rudos' heads crashing into each other mid move:

Even though it was past his prime, I thought Villano III showed a lot here, given that he was the focal point of the match. I hate that there was apparently no singles match this led to though, but I already have a slightly better sense of him moving forward. Good match, worth watching.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/31/15 Review

1. Espiritu vs. Crash Test Cody

"You talk about integrity, Crash Test Cody has a LOT of integrity. He's a guy who is very respected in the locker room." Why does everybody have to have a thing? He's a wild guy working a crash test dummy gimmick, why are we talking about locker room respect? It's like when Jim Ross would talk about how Rico Constantino used to be a cop. Who could possibly care, and how is it helping his character? Cody has had better showings before, he's usually one of the guys I look forward to seeing. But this was designed to showcase Espiritu for some reason. And that doesn't start as a terrible thing. Cody guides him through some decent mat stuff, Espiritu hits a real nice dive, and things are going great! But then Espiritu goes on a run of offense and it's just kinda sloppy, falling a little short on a senton, setting things up awkwardly. Cody got dragged down a bit too and both guys did those kind of moves where both men fall and you're not totally sure who was supposed to be taking the worse end of the bump.

2. The Bonus Boys (Sugar Brown & Clutch) vs. The Whirlwind Gentlemen

This is the first match here for Clutch, but I'm stoked to see Sugar Brown back on my TV! Both are billed from The U, wearing gold and black U letterman jackets. And this match is good. This may have actually been the best tag that PPW has shown. Bonus Boys are clearly the best team in the fed, but neither guy makes TV much and usually only as enhancement. But their control segments over WG were good, and each guy's offense complements the others. Clutch worked an old linebacker gimmick, so had some nice shoulderblocks and a big cool standing Thesz press, looked like Vader's old bear attack. Manley is a good FIP and pinballed around for the Boys, and WG's little comebacks were all good (they sent Brown flying with a really great tandem dropkick). Every time I see it I like Manley's top rope clothesline more, and I bought it as a nice way to get a flash pin here. Fun match.

3. Darin Corbin & Huggy Cub vs. Gentleman Brawler Eric Right

Huggy Cub is a little person, whom they refer to as a "micro" which seems infinitely more insulting than calling someone a midget. This was supposed to be a mixed tag but the cowboy "micro" was medically unavailable. And this whole thing was pretty short. I did not intend that as a pun but recognized it as soon as I wrote it. Right goes for the tonic just a minute in, not much happens until Right locks on the sleeper. This was really thee definition of time filler.

4. Mikey O'Shea vs. Tyshaun Prince

Pre-match we get a long, awkward, uncomfortable sit down interview with O'Shea where he stumbles over all his words, talks about how his father ruined their family with his addictions and when he gets in the ring he takes out that aggression (but also said his father "wasn't a bad guy"). I'm not sure who this Pat Kelley interviewer is but he's a weird creep sometimes.

Also, I kept track throughout the show, and the announcers stated that this match was going to be "absolutely incredible" five different times. One of them also said it was going to be unbelievable. They also said the previous match, the two minute handicap match, was going to be "incredible". These guys are a restaurant owner's Yelp review dream team right here. There is nothing that does not impress them.

Tyshaun Prince has his standard slow, plodding brawl. O'Shea tries some new offense that doesn't look great (sliding clothesline to a seated Prince, low dropkick to the knee), but I'll give him credit for trying out something new. Prince's manager Christian Cole interferes at one point and jabs O'Shea in the head with his vape pen, which I have to say is a pretty great modern update of the spike to the head. O'Shea hits a pretty awesome crossbody off the top and something gets messed up and it looks like a 3 count, the fans chant that it was a three count, the announcers try to ignore it. Finish looks good though, as O'Shea goes up to hit the crossbody again, but Prince grabs him by the throat with both hands and turns it into a giant sitout powerbomb. So that looked cool.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 2: Euforia, Nosferatu, Virus vs. Brillante, Leono, Stuka Jr.

2007-05-11 @ Arena México
Euforia, Nosferatu, Virus vs. Brillante, Leono, Stuka Jr.

Now we've got Brilliante/Sombra in CMLL proper, albeit very early in the card and still in his original gimmick. The mask had developed more almost into a negative of the Sombra mask. Euforia is 40 now. I hadn't realized that. Nor had I realized that Virus more or less headed up the post-Satanico Infernales. Someone should do an infographic mapping out the connections between Los Infernales/Hijo del Infierno/Guerreros del Infierno/etc. I haven't seen Leono in a while but he's still opening up on Arena Mexico cards.

This was a pretty good opening style match. The tecnicos were tecnicos. The rudos were rudos. Structure was rudos swarming in the middle of the primera exchanges, tecnicos coming back to win the fall, rudos taking back over in the segunda, and the tecnicos coming back in the tercera but ultimately getting cut off for a rudo win. The little wrinkles were appreciated. The pace of the primera was great and the heat, though short, felt weighty enough.

The rudo trio was pretty solid here. Virus directed traffic like he was the heir to Satanico. They didn't linger long in any single portion of the match but it still felt like they did a lot of stuff. Some of it was good, like the double clothesline/German that ended the segunda:

Some was less good like this mess of a contrived flip up, flip down, clothesline double team:

And Stuka was younger and more spry too. I promise that this is only a little sped up:

And the big question: how did Sombra look? Promising. He looked promising. He had a lot more to do than in the earlier match I saw him in. I think the fans were hesitant to cheer him as he was still very green, but there was potential. Some of his execution was still getting there. This monkey flip didn't entirely work:

He took a bit of extra effort to turn around on this rana, but followed it up with a really nice dropkick and then this goofy get stuck in the ropes thing he seemed to be doing at this time as his signature dive fake:

So there were cracks that I think the fans did pick up on, but he played his role well enough and was starting to come up with some signature spots. He was developing, but I think was slightly limited by the interchangable, flying tecnico gimmick as Brilliante.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fire Fundraiser: Andre in Portland

Andre the Giants & Hack Sawyer vs. Rip Oliver, Dizzy Hogan & Matt Borne 5/8/82

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only Andre in Portland match that exists to the general public. I haven't seen anything else pop up in matchlists. And really I just wanted to see this because I love the idea of Andre wandering around Portland. It's such a wonderful little city, and yes I do realize I'm picturing Andre wandering around CURRENT Portland, going to great breakfast places, drinking Stumptown, going to a bar that makes their own bitters to try a house Manhattan; just picturing "local weirdo Portland celebrity" Andre makes me smile. Like if he wasn't Andre the Giant, legendary wrestler, and instead worked at a hardware store and lived in a cottage near Burnside. Andre as the owner of an Air BnB. Andre as local guy ordering one of everything off the Pine State menu. Portland Andre just sounds wonderful.

And the match was good! It was really smartly laid out, and while I didn't get as much Andre running amok as I wanted, I was still satisfied. First fall was mostly Hack and Andre, with Hack trying to keep the heels at bay and the heels all dying once Andre tagged in. The second fall was really great, with Andre stranded on the apron as the heels cut off the ring and took apart Sawyer. There were a couple really great spots of Sawyer coming so close to tagging Andre in, with one spot seeing him reaching out but Oliver grabbing Sawyer's close arm and pulling him away. Also a great spot of Andre leaning WAY in on the right part of the screen to tag Sawyer practically halfway across the ring. Rip is great and crazy, taunting the giant, and I loved Borne going up top for a splash on Sawyer only to catch knees. I didn't see that coming. Sawyer was really good as a babyface fighting from under, knowing his gigantic get out of jail free card was looming over on the apron. Sawyer was a really important factor here, as the focus of most of the match was on him and his struggles to get to Andre. And yes this was a fine fine babyface performance from him. His hope spots were good, the alllllmost tags to Andre were good, the selling was good. This is maybe the most I've loved Hack Sawyer. Third fall sees the heels wisely draw Andre away from the ring, with Borne and Hogan luring him out into the crowd. Andre going wild down the aisle of the Portland Sports Arena, bodyslamming dudes while tiny humans looked on, while Oliver held Sawyer into a full nelson that would surely end the match. Andre fights his way back and every time he'd roll in to save Sawyer would believably get drug out by Hogan or Borne. Andre would ram them into each other, kick them off, but both men were really good about just holding all their weight onto Andre's legs since Sawyer's time was running out. I was excited to see how it would end but alas, it ends with men running in. I don't know why heels would run in when the heels would clearly have won anyway. I guess because they're jerks? Probably because they're jerks.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 1: Black Diamond, Brillante, Principe de Oro vs Charles Lucero, Susto, Tigre Universitario

2006-04-02 @ Gimnasio Nuevo León
Black Demond, Brillante, Principe de Oro vs Charles Lucero, Susto, Tigre Universitario

I rarely do things that are actually topical, but I thought it'd be interesting to chart Sombra's career over a number of years to look at his development. It'll also point to a few matches for people unfamiliar with him that want to check him out now that he's headed to NXT.

A few points to start:
1.) My impression (and part of this is to see if it's true) is that he improved a lot over the years and he didn't really come into his own until he became part of Los Ingobernables over the last couple of years and with the rudo turn. These early matches, while interesting, probably aren't the best indication.
2.) I'm just going with things that look interesting to me. I'm planning on mainly looking at singles matches. Usually I like to see the trios' build as well, but we'd be doing this for three months if I did that. Sometimes it was hard to pick. He had a ton of matches with Dragon Rojo, jr. for instance.
3.) No Volador singles matches. If you are interested in Sombra and new to Sombra, you should check some of them out, though. It's a feud which really shows off what he can do from a physical standpoint if not a psychology one. I'm not going to cover them here, however.

So this isn't the first match we have online with him, but it's one of the first. He was working the Brilliante, Jr. gimmick after his father. He was sixteen here. I went with this one over the other one because this had Lucero as well, and I really do want to see as much of him as I can as he's a more than solid indy mainstay. Unfortunately, this wasn't really a good match to see him do much. The tecnicos were all precious metal themed. Black Diamond is not someone I've found a lot of information on, but he may have ended up in prison for 25 years after killing someone in 2010. I'm really going to get better at Spanish at some point, I promise. The three years of high school classes just aren't cutting it. I have no idea who Susto is, but wiki says his name translates to: "a cultural illness primarily among Latin American cultures described as a condition of being frightened and chronic somatic suffering stemming from emotional trauma or from witnessing traumatic experiences lived by others." so that's pretty cool for a gimmick, I guess.

This was second to last on a card that ended with Damien 666 and Garza vs Pierroth and Super Parka. Hechicero was in the second match up against Panthro, Jr. and "X-Man." It's a shame we don't seem to have that one too. It felt like an indy match. That's pretty much what I'll say about it. Immediate beatdown, eventual comeback, reset and tecnico shine and cutoffs heading to the finish. The central story thrust was Black Diamond vs Tigre Universitario but I don't see a singles match between the two that it led to. The beatdown was heated enough, with a lot of triple beatings on Diamond. I liked Susto's over the top style of selling. Here's a gif:

There was a heel ref, liberal amounts of weapon shots, and a pretty good finish, so far as bs finishes go, with a double ref bump, a weapon shot, and a roll up out of nowhere despite that. So far as indy-styled matches go, it was a controlled mess but contained enough, with heat and some good spots. I wish Lucero had gotten to do more (or was caught on camera more. He didn't get much focus).

So, what about Sombra? Well, Brilliante didn't get a ton of focus either, but he let himself get pinballed and kept out of the ring well enough during the beatdown. The focus was on Black Diamond but he certainly didn't get in the way. He had a good corner dropkick and a bad legdrop. He could already do the back handspring off the ropes and a backflip, but he was a half step slow in making some of his spots actually live and breathe in the match. His big moment to end the segunda was an internal springboard moonsault, and he very gingerly got up to the top rope for it (keep in mind the gif is sped up so it doesn't seem as bad. I should find a better way to make gifs at some point):

Later on he'd have a pretty clumsy 619 set up, but then followed it up with a nice enough (if still a big hesitant) headscissors on the outside. Definite potential as a spot-hitting, high-flying tecnico, even at 16:

Really, though, you could only tell so much here. I'll probably hit one more trios and then move on to singles matches, where we can get a better sense of things.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

WWE Survivor Series 2015 Live(ish) Blog

So I basically have not been watching any WWE television. If I remember something is on then I'll flip over to the channel, see if anything catches my eye. The product is not doing a whole lot for me right now. I'm going into this not knowing literally any of the matches on the card. That sounds like a terrible idea.

1. Traditional Survivor Series Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz, Titus O'Neill & Goldust

ER: Kind of hilarious that we get a "traditional" Survivor Series match on the pre-show of Survivor Series. Can't have this Survivor Series shit getting in the way of Survivor Series. And woof that is one dogshit 5 man team right there. I mean good lord. The team name should be "The 5 guys Eric would switch channels to avoid". I mean come on. I'm watching you BLIND Survivor Series, and this is what you immediately do to me!? But I cannot skip it, because they had to throw Goldust into the thing. And he was the 10th guy announced. If it had been pretty much 90% of the rest of the roster, it would have been skippable. But I gotta watch any and all Goldust. And he immediately eliminates Viktor with his gorgeous powerslam. I'm not too broken up about that. Titus' corner strikes on Konnor look really good. Konnor's jumping elbowdrop on Ray looked pillowy soft and terrible. Neville gets a fun flurry against Stardust and then gets pinned by a bulldog. We're going into dumbshit quick pin mode. This is mostly awful. Cody punches Goldust in the ear and things get better. Bo Dallas has a shitty chinlock. Match ends awhile later. Nothing to see here. Goldust looked good. None of the eliminations had any build or meant anything. This is clearly a horrible idea of mine.

Byron Allen (?) says that match reminded him of all the Survivor Series matches from when he was a kid. Yeah. There's zero chance this match reminded anybody of anything.

2. Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio

ER: Roman is getting what they call a "Cena reaction". Del Rio looks like a star. He looks like he's in the best cosmetic shape of his career. He looks pretty massive. I didn't realize he was larger than Reigns. Del Rio looks really good throughout this. Dug his hotshot and enziguiri, then he takes a nice thud on a Fuerza bump. Reigns takes a nice ringpost bump. ADR makes me buy his missed double stomp off the top. He did a real great knee buckle stumble sell. JBL tries to make it out like he faked that knee buckle as part of a strategy, but faking a knee injury to take a superman punch sounds like a pretty fucking stupid strategy. I liked ADR in this, and the match got about 14 minutes to do something, but didn't do much for me. They tried to make the stretch run dramatic, but really they just had ADR lock in the armbar a couple times only to have Roman power out. Kinda made all the babbling about a weak shoulder come off as a shrug. Nice individual moments. Pretty unfulfilling as a whole.

3. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens

ER: There's a fat guy in the crowd clearly telling his woman the back story on every match so far. You can totally tell. He's pointing at each guy and leaning in, you can just picture him saying "alright so this guy beat a guy named Dolph Ziggler. I know, right? I don't know. Yeah it's probably not his real name. But Ambrose. Yeah the skinnier guy. He beat Ziggler. This is a semi-final. There's a whole tournament." And boy this isn't doing a whole helluva lot for me either. And as I type that they start to win me over. Owens hits a mammoth superplex, Dean hits one of his best ever rebound lariats, Ambrose eats a couple nice superkicks, takes a gross slam into an announce table. But the build for these matches has done absolutely nothing for me. Both have come off like guys doing moves with no consequences. I mean jesus even though I thought they looked nasty, in the last minute of the match Dean got slammed into the announce tables, took two superkicks, and then still got the pin.

The SNES commercial for TLC looked really great. The Reigns superman punch animation was perfection.

4. Ryback & The Lucha Dragons & The Usos vs. New Day, Sheamus & King Barrett

ER: Unhip Sheamus made me chuckle saying they were gonna get jiggy on these poseurs. Big E avoiding eye contact with him afterwards was perfect. Woods has an amazing James Brown pompadour with a ducktail mullet. The construction of the whole thing is really impressive. Sadly it will probably all tumble down after one bump. Sheamus takes a couple really great bumps to the floor working Sin Cara: one nice tumbling one landing on his side, and taking an enziguiri and bumping on his knees to the floor. Ouch. Ryback hits one of the ugliest dives ever, but we'll just go A for effort on that one, like when Road Dogg tried to moonsault off a cage. This whole thing is pretty fun. Big E's spear to the floor is such a brutal spot. New Day is probably the best possible use of Kofi ever. He doesn't have to do tons of offense and let Big E carry the load. New Day ditching Sheamus kinda makes sense, and Sheamus works shockingly well with smaller workers. I loved him stomping on Kalisto's hands. Sheamus did about as good a job as possible holding down the fort without a team. This elimination match was a massive step up from the garbage one on the pre show.

5. Paige vs. Charlotte

ER: Charlotte has never impressed me before. Paige has a really great abdominal stretch, pressing down hard on the side of Charlotte's head every time she wrenches it in. Paige also takes a mean electric chair bump onto the apron. Charlotte's rolling headscissors was both goofy and painful looking, so it gets a pass. But it's not as nasty as Paige's surfboard lock or her great knees in the corner. But those were not as nasty as Charlotte's scream and face after hitting a so-so spear. Match overall was pretty decent. Charlotte still doesn't do much for me. I don't think she has much body charisma, and a lot of her offense feels very dependent on somebody leaning way into her offense.

6. Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler

ER: Ziggler has an updated look on mid 90s cruising attire Shawn Michaels. Even has those same awful boots. Kenny Omega douche hair + Shawn Michael lube guy at the fisting station gear = profit?  Match itself was decent enough for a completely heatless affair. Both guys did some things that looked cool, also never made me care about the things they were doing. Some of this may be the announce team. The announce team is the ultimate limp dick tonight. They sound rehearsed to say what is happening in front of them, while also not making it important or interesting or dramatic. It's a brutal combo. Breeze bumps into Dolph's stuff well, flying into a dropkick and planting himself on a flapjack. Announcers push this as a HUGE win for Breeze, but really it would have been far more shocking to everybody if Ziggler would have won. That dude loses to everybody, and has been doing so for years.

7. Wyatt Family vs. Undertaker & Kane

ER: Undertaker's slow menacing walk to the ring looks less doomy and more accident victim learning how to walk again. But in the ring he looks spry enough against Harper. Kane takes an awesome bump over the announce table. Cole is desperately trying to push every single Undertaker movement as "ANOTHER CLASSIC #UNDERTAKERSURVIVORSERIESMOMENT!!!" He's beyond insufferable. Braun takes a fine bump through an announce table, Undertaker impresses me by getting Harper up for a Tombstone eventually, and really this was Undertaker going through some greatest hits so Cole could cream his jeans and scream VINTAGE!

8. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns

ER: This was pretty easily the best match of the night, but that wasn't really saying a whole bunch. I almost always like it when Shield guys match up, and this match was short for them (about 10 minutes) but was worked at a quick 10 minute match pace. I don't care for the spear as a death finisher, but Ambrose is great spilling all around for Reigns, and I liked the kneeling punch exchange. Also thought Ambrose looked badass with his torn shirt from the previous Owens match, made him look like a hero towards the end of an action movie.

Sheamus cashes in MITB afterwards, and yeah that concept is pretty beyond played out. It's an amusing dick move to cash in on Reigns while Reigns was celebrating in his massive confetti pile Good lord whoever ordered confetti accidentally checked the "case" measurement instead of individual confetti packages, so on the "Confetti Celebration Dial" instead of getting "Tasteful World Title Celebration" we ended up getting "Rip Taylor Just Died Two Days Before Pride Weekend and We Must Celebrate His Memory".

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Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/24/15 Review

1. Espiritu vs. Remy Marcel

This worked as a fun 5 minute Marcel showcase, who normally just gets a scant amount of time as the Whirlwind Gentlemen hot tag. Espiritu doesn't really do tons here, locking on two separate chinlocks. For a guy who hasn't been on TV for 2 months you'd think he'd try to go out of his way to impress. I liked his missed senton? Anyway, the beginning was real cool with all their standing wristlock exchanges. I especially liked Espiritu rolling through the wristlock, but Marcel rolling with him at the same time so both ended up back on their feet where they started. Looked cool. Espiritu hits an okay vertical suplex, Marcel hits an okay crossbody, really liked Marcel's out of control frog splash. Marcel looked good in this, and that was the point.

2. Greg Romero vs. Jack Manley

Now Manley gets his 5 minute showcase, and it's also fine. Other WG showcase match was better, but this was good enough. The important thing is the fed is actually establishing hierarchy, showing two members of one of their top tag teams easily beating two guys who aren't on TV that much. That seems like a super obvious thing, but this fed is obsessed with presenting every worker as a very accomplished mat grappler who is one step away from the title! Romero works a Danny Zuko gimmick in 2015 which is...pretty annoying and very pointless. He's also not that good, throwing slo mo punches, attempting complicated roll-ups he saw on TV once, taking slow back bumps, just a pretty big bleh. Manley works better as a FIP and here he was more aggressor, but I like his back elbow so that's something. This was what it was.

3. Mike Santiago vs. Mikey O'Shea

It's weird that the fed pushes every single match as if it's going to be an incredible match. Seriously, before every match starts they'll say something like "this is going to be an incredible match", or one minute into a match they'll talk about what an amazing match we're experiencing. But they never ever put guys into position to actually have an "amazing match". Matches usually run 4-7 minutes, most of them are worked in a vacuum, and things usually just don't stand out. But they keep talking about how incredible the matches are, and they say it during almost every match. Here they talk about what an amazing match this 3 minute match was, and then talk about the main event which is "sure to be an incredible high stakes match". Everything is super important, everything is super incredible, it's just misguided and tiresome. O'Shea is morphing into a Bigelow rip-off, and Santiago tries bumping around for him but O'Shea just isn't that interesting. Incredible match though.

4. Tyshaun Prince & Caleb Konley vs. Gangrel & Exile

Hey, I liked this! It was probably the best I've seen Prince look. Gangrel matched up nicely with Konley, Prince was a good bully and did a good job trapping and punching Gangrel in the corner, the announcers kept referring to Exile as "mysterious" but really how mysterious can a guy wearing pleather pants be? Konley adds speed to the match that would have otherwise been completely absent. I kinda like Gangrel's short straight right hands, and Exile/Gangrel make a good team. This whole thing didn't really have the "high stakes" the announcers promised, and I am beyond tired of Prince matching up with Gangrel, but this worked.

And after the match we get a huge pull apart brawl with the boys from the back all separating Hammerston, Chamberlain and the Whirlwind Gentlemen. WG each do big running dives off the entranceway ramp into the big schmoz of people, and the far away shot of it looked really cool.

Also, Joey Ryan - new champion - is missing.

And I found out this show is getting bumped off Pop! in favor of TNA (blecch) so we'll just ride the rest of these shows out (4 more?) and then sit in satisfaction that I wrote up every PPW broadcast. Maybe we'll do some kind of rundown of the best matches or something? I don't know.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/17/15 Review

Show starts off with the commissioner announcing one of the most dangerous matches IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY, to punish Joey Ryan for using the brass knux last week. And what is the most dangerous match? A Coal Miner's Glove match!!! He takes this white glove sloooooowly out of his suit jacket and explains how there's a metal bar IN THE GLOVE and this glove will be hung OVER THE RING and whomever gets to it first can USE IT. I mean, Joey Ryan used brass knuckles just last week. I'm failing to see how this glove will be more dangerous than that.

1. The Whirlwind Gentlemen vs. Hammerstone & Chamberlain

They did it again!! I love it! I keep thinking the fed is going to put the belts on the Whirlwind Gentlemen, and they never ever do! They've gotten so many chances!! As in, from the first episode of television they've been built up as the rightful holders of the belts, and they keep failing! Because Hammerstone & Chamberlain just love cheating too much and it is glorious. Match itself was decent enough. Hammerstone and Manley work well together and Manley is a guy I'm finally digging as a FIP. Hammerstone was nice tossing around Manley, and had a cool moment where he faked right and then back elbowed Marcel off the apron. Marcel's hot tag offense leaves a lot to be desired as he just does roll up type stuff instead of fiery ass kicking. The WG are building to the inevitable title win, when suddenly the bell rings! Everything stops in confusion, and then the camera cuts to Chamberlain ringing the bell, which then allows Hammerstone to get the win! Hammerstone and Chamberlain love cheating to win SO MUCH! It's become my favorite thing on the program now that Joe Graves stopped showing up occasionally. A combo of H&C cheating to win every single week, while The WG keep failing over and over just tickles me.

2. Mike Santiago vs. Wes Brisco

"We're hoping for a good clean match here" well, sadly you're going to have to wipe all of that Brisco film off the mat after this one. Although I gotta say, Brisco was not the problem in this one. There were times he didn't look great (man does he take a wimpy header into the turnbuckles) but Santiago was disappointing here. He's been one of the more consistently solid guys in the fed, but he just didn't have it here. He kept winding up out of place, trying to toss Brisco into the corners but being lined up wrong, so there were a few awkward physics defying rope running moments that always look obnoxious. For his part, Brisco's mat stuff looked really good, and I liked him going for quick armbars a couple times. He had a quick, strong fireman's carry, grapevined the arm in a cool way during one of the armbar attempts, and I'd actually prefer he stayed on the mat in his matches. It all kinda goes to pot once he's up running around.

3. Tyshaun Prince vs. Exile

Exile: The worst single word name in wrestling (tied: Neville)! He's even announced as being from the Pacific Northwest. Is that where he's exiled from? There are several other Paragon workers from the PNW, why is Exile the only one feeling exiled? I challenge you to find a dumber single word wrestler name. UPDATE: Turns out he is from Richmond, VA. So has he been exiled from VA, and then Oregon? I am normally a fan of big hoss battles, but Prince really isn't a very interesting hoss. They do some fun hoss shoulderblocks and clotheslines where neither man goes down, Exile does a nice front kick, we kinda brawl around a bit with neither guy's strikes looking very good. Tyshaun goes into slo-mo mode so much. Eventually Konley runs in for the DQ, and then of course Gangrel runs in as well because THE GANGREL PRINCE FEUD OF 2015 CAN NEVER END!!! The worst thing that happened to this fed was decades ago when that Gangrel boy played a prank on that Prince girl, and both families brothers got involved and things escalated into a kidnapping and now decades later the families are still feuding, all over a simple misunderstanding about some land rights borders, with the Princes feeling they owned the rights to all the huckleberries right down to the edge of Burke's Glenn, and the Gangrel's thinking THEY owned the rights to all the bramble thickets right up to the pass of Willow's Craw. A simple misunderstanding being played out mercilessly on cable television and in front of Nevada tourists. Shame.


Okay, it wasn't dangerous at any point, other than that general danger we as humans all experience every moment of our lives. Each man could have been struck down by an aneurysm at any moment, after all. It also, at times, wasn't that good at all. Since it was a pole match you got a lot of focus on guys yanking on legs to pull someone away from the pole. Matches advertised as violent should have a focus on violence, not a focus on literal leg yanking. We get leg yanking away from the pole, and then when the coal miner's glove is pulled down we get yanking away from the grounded glove. In between yanks, the match had its moments. Sorensen tightened up some of his strikes for the violent match. At least one out of every three punches he threw looked actively good. This is an improvement. Joey threw some lousy clubbing forearms, but threw nice punches. Joey at least attempted some pole match strategy, leading Sorensen away from the ring and slamming him on the entrance, trying to create some distance so he could climb for the GLOVE. Joey eventually does get that deadly glove, and then Sorensen steals it and the announcers squeal (even though the Commissioner clearly stated that whomever takes the glove down from the pole gets to use it), but it doesn't matter as Sorensen elbows the ref wresting the glove away from Ryan, because he is a boob, which allows Joey Ryan to POP Sorensen with his brass knux! Joey wins the title, the announcers weep, no lame 2nd ref runs out, I'm sure there will be shenanigans.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 10: Delta, Dragon Lee II, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus

2015-02-08 @ Arena México
Delta, Dragon Lee II, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus

I've tried to avoid the Kamaitachi feud because it's been covered well elsewhere, but this has Virus in it, so I'll do a brief shot here. I think by now it's obvious that spotty wrestling isn't my favorite wrestling, in and of itself, but when someone is good enough to make those spots matter and resonate, as opposed to just rushing to the next one to get the oohs and the ahhs out of the crowd, then I love it as much as anything in wrestling. It's marrying excitement and drama with logic and meaning and big monents that makes lucha amazing, and I think, even so early into his career, Dragon Lee is well along the path of getting that. Working so much with Virus probably helped, but for his experience level, he's come a long way.

Then you have a wrestler like Delta, who has 1-2 really fantastic dives, can garner some level of sympathy in getting beaten down, and can be led in early matwork or exchanges, but ultimately doesn't seem to be able to put it all together. He was fairly well exposed during this year's Busca and it was frustrating because his big spots are so good. Guerrero Maya, Jr., on the other hand, is someone who I think we only see part of what he can do in the CMLL setting. I was very impressed with his quasi-rudo work against his father earlier this year on the indies. I could see him as the person NJPW selects to go over there for a year as he's as capable to manage a Mil Mascaras impression as anyone on the roster under the age of 50.

This was another fun trios, feeling like one of the older style tecnico spotlights until about midway through the match and ending in a way that kept the momentum going for the Kamaitachi/Dragon Lee apuestas match which was about a month and a half away. Virus was paired with Delta, Puma with GM, Jr., and Kamaitachi with Dragon Lee. The primera had  relatively brief exchanges that escalated in speed. Delta did a good job hanging (or being strung along) with Virus. They rushed to the spots here, with Kamaitachi flying in.

and a really nice flip dive by Delta:

It ended with GM, Jr. cinching his head crusher on Puma and the double stomp on Kamaitachi. The crowd (which was surprisingly rowdy; I think there was a give away or something that night) booed the tecnicos going over.

The segunda was more of the same, a tecnico showcase, right up until the point that Dragon Lee showed some hubris. You can't keep the mandate of heaven if you're a tecnico who goes to mask ripping first in a match. The second he started on Kamaitachi's mask, the rudos ran in and made short work of things, including a nasty Virus vertebreaker.

The tercera continued the beatdown, including Virus being all sorts of great, doing some tandem spots with Puma as if he was Tiger and having a really fun moment of winding up with one hand and smacking GM, Jr. with the other. The late match comeback really felt like the tecnicos just being too much and the rudos not able to beat them up fast enough, which was effective.

I usually try to gif things other than the dives, but GM, jr.'s dive on Puma to set up the finish was just too good:

That helped clear the ring for Kamaitachi and Dragon Lee and the subsequent foul and mask pull right in front of the ref. Effective. Just another fun trios. It's great to be able to pick and choose and keep up with CMLL when they're putting out matches like this (nothing groundbreaking but so easy to watch) just about every week.

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