Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

WWE Battleground 2016 Live Blog

1. Usos vs. Breezango

ER: Mauro forces in an overly long House of Cards reference and Byron Saxton's big contribution seems to be "_____ seem to be working well together!" We hit the hot tag 150 seconds in. Tyler Breeze is still awesome and takes three bumps from the apron to the floor in one minute. And for a 6 minute match this got really good. Everybody was hitting enziguiris to people on the top rope, an Uso hit an awesome tope past the turnbuckles, Breeze got knees up on a splash and then locked in a tight roll up. Crowd was really really hot for this. People wanting to see some wrestling! This must be the reason why that Nationals game I watched some of earlier was so sparsely attended on a Sunday.

2. Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley

ER: They pumped too much air into those inflatable tree things! They were just standing all rigid. Except for that yellow one going into business for himself, which was awesome as it flopped over like it was giving Bayley a high five. And this match was a real blast. Great debut from Bayley who worked like someone wanting to make an impression, Brooke was a big ol bumper taking these bouncy flip bumps all over the ring and floor. Loved all of Bayley's back elbows, loved the way her and Brooke flew into each other on a double clothesline, loved Bayley's sliding corner kick. Sasha drops the knees on Charlotte and Cole shits out "Vintage Sasha Banks". Yeah man, that's like...2014 Sasha Banks right there. Luckily Cole and Saxton exist in that level of terrible that mostly makes them easy to tune right out. Really fun match.

3. The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family

ER: Yeah this was awesome. This felt like a 2014 WWE trios with everybody utilized properly and all the cool shit stacked up in the best way possible. Bray looked and vicious and motivated as I've seen him in over a year, Rowan targeted Kofi and stomped the hell out of him (even walking over his chest post match), Kofi bumped all over including running ear first into a Bray lariat that knocked him ass over elbow, Big E has a major death wish and mah god does he take a vicious spill on his neck and shoulders doing his nutso spear to the floor. Even Bram gets some nice moments, specifically with a massive boot to Woods that, due to his clumsiness, sees him following through until he's just standing on Woods' face. Woods gets his biggest star moment yet (well, biggest star moment not involving a trombone) by getting to snap on Bray like he was Ralphie going after Scut Farkus. On first watch this felt like a total badass Rowan/Bray show, but I bet on rewatch a couple other guys will stand out as even more awesome. That's when you know you watched a killer little trios.

4. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder

ER: Lana is gorgeous but still hasn't figured out how to properly say "hand" or "true" in that pesky accent. And man this match was awesome too. Look at me, ol "Everybody Gets a Trophy" Ritz. This is about as excellently laid out as you can lay out a Rusev/Ryder match. Ryder worked up to Rusev and had some great snap on stuff, blasted Rusev with his corner kick, loved that crazy dropkick off the ring barrier, really planted that flying leg lariat. And then I found myself getting excited for Zack Ryder of all people when he started fighting out of the accolade. Rusev worked around Ryder perfectly, setting up some nice comebacks by missing stuff, hitting some nasty kicks to the back of Ryder's head, and yeah this was all real good. PPV of the year so far (he didn't expect to type when this show started).

5. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

ER: I am tired of these two fighting, but WWE promises me that this is the blow off! It is amusing that WWE isn't doing some sort of stip match for it, since they rarely advertise a match as the blow off. Usually they don't mention it's a blowoff, they just let the severity of the stipulation be the barometer for the feud. I like the beginning of this with the Owens cannonball and surprise pop up Sami lariat. But my lord Sami might need to retire that rope flip moonsault. At its best, it doesn't look very good. At it's worst, the ropes are too bouncy and you blow up your own shoulder. And damn they're certainly ramping things up to kill mode here, but if it is indeed the blowoff then more power to them, drop each other on all of your heads. Zayn just flat out snaps and breaks out all the exploders, all the corner kicks, fans go wild, and if this IS indeed the blowoff then it was the right match for them to have. Man this show has been really good. I have not liked the other WWE Owens/Zayn matches, but this one won me over.

6. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch

ER: Natalya working as cocky zillionth generation Stu Hart "stretcher" is far and away the most interesting use of her. Crowd is silent throughout this but I'm into it and Natalya as bully is the best. It lights a fire under Becky's ass too as she works as stiff as I've seen her, really surprising the tired crowd with a shot in the corner and a big kick on the apron. Nattie was great always trying to grab at Becky's legs, Becky was great firing back in the corner. Match was the perfect length, really well paced (though Lynch couldn't be bothered to even act like Nattie had been yanking on her leg), and man I must be in the best of moods tonight. Eric likes everything!! I'm just waving my pennant that says "Pro Wrestling" over here.

7. Darren Young vs. The Miz

ER: Jeezus how many matches are on this PPV? This is what I get for not knowing what the card is ahead of time.

*****I gotta go to a Gun Outfit concert right now, so will not be able to finish the PPV report until some time later. Sorry for the inconvenience (?)*****

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Digging in the Crates Podcast Episode #7

All Segunda Caida Episode with Phil and MattD investigating SC favorite Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Matt breaks his Fujiwara cherry with four great matches

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Super Tiger UWF 9/11/85
Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Riki Choshu NJ 6/9/87
Tatsumi Fujinami, Keiichi Yamada, Shiro Koshinaka, Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura vs. Hiro Saito, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Super Strong Machine, Masa Saito & Riki Choshu (9/12/88)
Yoshiaki Fujiwara v.  Bart Vale Miami Shootfighting 3/20/92
In addition Phil recommends the Whit Stillman directed Jane Austen adaptation Love and Friendship
Matt recommends George McDonald Frasers Flashman novels

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Big Time Wrestling TV 7/22/16

More matches from their training facility this week. I don't have any dates on these shows but they all seem recent (okay, got confirmation that they happened in June 2016).

1. Kimo vs. Dylan Bostic

This match was good enough, but it felt rushed. It felt a little more like an exhibition. Hank Renner Jr. annoyed and also begrudgingly impressed me by using "folderol" in a sentence without making it sound out of place. Both guys did some things I liked here, with Bostic impressing me more. I really liked the stooging bump Bostic took to the floor off a Kimo forearm. It was one of those fun 3 part bumps that reminded me of something John Tatum might do, where he flops through the ropes, rolls to the apron, flops off the apron to the floor, etc. Was also impressed by the height he got on a standing rana, nice cravate, and little things he would do like catching a mule kick to the shoulder but immediately holding his jaw, and how he would cheat when facing the crowd (the set up of the building means the crowd is all on one side of the ring), holding the tights specifically when the fans could see it. They were nice touches.

2. Rik Luxury vs. Tony Vargas

Short match, just 5 minutes. I was really hoping for a little more as Luxury is a guy who can work a fun 8 minute match. Vargas seemed to tire out early and I'm not sure if that factored into the quick finish. There was also some confusion as both guys worked heel for the first couple minutes. Luxury complained about a hair pull, but right after Vargas was biting him behind the ref's back. Renner awkwardly talked about how Luxury is the one who is always untrustworthy, but then had to act like Vargas flat out biting a dude's face was just business as usual. Luxury looked good here, love his spot where he locks up with a guy and then gets tossed face down into the mat. He threw a couple great right hands, nice eye poke, planted Vargas with a nice DDT off the ropes. Vargas for his part threw out a nice spinebuster bomb, and a decent enziguiri.

3. Synn vs. Devin Danger

I really liked this one. Synn is a big guy and while Danger isn't exactly small he's clearly smaller than Synn. So we did get some nice brick wall spots with Danger smacking into Synn, and this was maybe the best I've seen somebody work around Synn. I dug Danger's cannonball into the corner, and then he one-ups it by doing a crazier missed one right after, which then leads to Synn hitting a massive one! Danger had some nice straight right hands, loved him finding new ways to slam into Synn and then bumping off it, and the ways he would sneak in offense like snapping Synn's neck over the top rope from the apron and following that up with an unexpected slingshot twisting moonsault. Synn hits his standing splash and Danger kicks out, so Synn hits another and Danger kicks out of that. I was expecting that to be it so suddenly we have a nice fighting underdog on our hands! But Synn splats him with a nice powerbomb (apparently 12 feet in the air, according to Hank Renner Jr....Yeesh.) to end it. This was my first time seeing Danger and I really dug him, would love to see more. Synn is a really big guy, kinda shaped like Akebono (but not THAT big) and brings something different to these shows.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Terry v. Barbaro

1. Black Terry v. Barbaro Cavenario Cara Lucha 6/11

ER: Another awesome gem recorded by Black Terry Jr., this one is a kind of current dream match that has a kind of sickening level of violence. Terry and Barbaro don't hold back as they chop each other's chests raw, throw far too many shoot headbutts with both getting their heads busted open, and then applying fist to face. Terry matches always take on a new life after somebody starts to bleed. They work in some fun Barbaro trademark spots in ways I've never seen them, and I was howling when Barbaro rushed a slumped Terry in the buckles, Terry got boots up and Barbaro bumped it directly into doing his worm spot...and then Terry stops the worm by rushing out from the buckles and planting Barbaro with his great elbow drop. The brawling in this was tight, and it reached its peak when they brawled out to the floor (weird, a Terry match that gets great with floor brawling?), with Barbaro getting run into a support post super violently. Truly one of the great post bumps I've ever seen, and I've watched countless Lawler matches! There was also a perfect accidental moment, as Barbaro is beating the tar out of Terry and starts ripping Terry's shirt off and kicking at him, but Barbaro's foot gets tangled up in Terry's shirt while Terry is still wearing it, and Terry takes advantage of having his opponent stuck close to him and starts headbutting him. They even brawl on their knees, and this sounds like a weird thing to be the best at, but I think Terry is the best guy at making exasperated, tired, on the knees brawling look great. I even liked the ball shot finish, with Cavernario suckering in Terry with a fake leg injury leading to a boot to the balls, and then Terry paying him back with an uppercut to the balls. After the match Terry sells the ballshot more believably than most ball shots you've ever seen. Really evocative, and watching his selling immediately reminded me of every time I got hit in the balls so far in my life (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who can vividly recall every time that has happened). Really great match.

PAS: Holy hell what a war. Really felt like a lucha version of one of those peak Necro Butcher brawls. Terry is truly amazing, how in god's name can a man of his age work two violent wars like this and the Aero Boy apuestas match back to back? I loved the early matwork which was pretty slick, and Cavernario countering submission holds by biting Terry in the thigh makes perfect sense, that is totally what a Caveman training in ju-jitsu would do. After the matwork they get down to the violence with both guys just slamming their heads into each other Regal and Benoit style. The brawling in this was really frantic, big shots, thrown quickly from off angles. At one point Cavernario throws a forearm which almost knocks Terry off the screen. Ragged nasty stuff. Loved the finish too with ball shots feeling less like a cop out and more like the sensible way to end a battle like this.


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lucha Underground Season 2 Episode 18: Enter the Mundo

1. Joey Ryan vs. Mascarita Sagrada

ER: For some reason I didn't notice the other week that Famous B now has suit cuffs that match Sagrada. That's great. The match was harmless. Sagrada's big tope was killer, and he took a tornado DDT like a man. They milked a couple of decent nearfalls. Harmless.

PAS: I liked the tie with the Mascarita colors and the phone number on it. I was also a fan of Ryans flower tights and boots, the print looked very lush like the kind of thing Rag and Bone would put on a bomber jacket and sell for $1100.

ER: We get a Taya introduction video. Taya, who debuted over two months ago and has been featured every week since. Okaaaaay. I do like the reintroduction of Cuerno, who now has Muertes in carbonite. Hopefully they just erase all the stupidity they put his character through, because a Muertes/Cuerno big match can be goooood.

2. Chavo Guerrero vs. Cage

ER: Good match. I was hoping for an actual match but expecting a Cage steamroll, so was pleasantly surprised by a competitive match, and probably the best Chavo has looked in awhile. Chavo gamely took some of Cage's nastiest slams (that whip snap powerbomb off a suplex reversal was sick), got launched on a monkey flip, and I liked the nice false finish when Cage hit a big falling lariat but Chavo landed with his leg draped over a rope. I wish Cage hadn't no sold Chavo's big rolling kick as I really love that move, but whatever, this was good. Cage vs. Matanza could be wild.

PAS: Yeah this was really good. I am long time Chavo fan, and he has been really misused in this fed. Glad to see him actually get a chance to stretch out a bit and show what he can do. That monkey flip bump was really breathtaking, and that near fall on the frog splash was pretty great. I kind of hope Chavo gets a Rey match in Season 3, as those guys have always worked great against each other.

ER: Oh brother that Castro/Ryan segment was terrible. This awkward and shitty fusion of their non-existant comedy chops and their non-existant acting chops. Cisco's "You guys were robbing Jefe and didn't tell me!?" line attempted to save things, but then the scriptwriting yanked a rug out from under him by have him say he's going to tell Dario on them. What the fuck are these actual cop sketches supposed to be? Are they supposed to be engaging as cop action? Humorous? Amusing in their purposeful winking? Because nothing about them works. I just want to know the intent. If we know the intent we can at least figure out if they're succeeding in ANYthing they're attempting to do. But I really want to know who's baby this storyline is.

PAS: Eric pretty much covered it, but this undercover cop storyline is one of the single dumbest most poorly put together gimmicks in wrestling history. This is as bad, if not worse, than the midget speedboat stuff or amnesiac Cactus Jack or Beaver Cleveage. LU gets a lot of passes from folks who like the cool shit they do, but this is a bag of flaming poop, it is a crumpled coffee stained paper pulled out of Ed Ferrerra's trash can. Too bad, I actually like Mr. Cisco too, he deserves better.

3. Jack Evans, PJ Black & Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma, Dragon Azteca Jr. & Rey Mysterio

ER: Often sloppy, but almost always ambitious, so I overall dug it. There was a whole lot of things pulled off that seemed fairly physically impossible, so when some things weren't pulled of clean it made it easier to forgive. Azteca had a nice showing and damn did Evans hurl himself around the ring perfectly into position for him. Loved Black's superkick to a handstanding Puma, and I have no clue how Rey and Mundo tumbled to the floor with Rey managing to stay on Mundo's shoulders. I mean that was just freakish. We get some wild dragon rana attempt and reversal, Mundo awesomely catching an Azteca tornado DDT, stopping the momentum and tossing him overhead into Puma, tons of cool stuff here. Finish is pretty overblown with tons of kicks to the balls with a downed ref, Mundo celebrating a decade of overshooting his finisher, and a kind of anticlimactic finish considering some of the moves that landed throughout the match. Overall fun, but still feels like some of these teams have been underperforming and not churning out the classic trios matches I was hoping for and maybe unfairly expecting this season. So far none of the trios matches this season have come close to touching the big Crew vs. Ivelisse/Havoc/Angelico match from a year ago, even though most of these guys are better than most of those guys. I won't be surprised when we eventually get an all out banger, I just want it now!

PAS: Yeah this was a match which had some very cool moments but never got to that next level. We could have used more Rey and less Azteca. Rey was awesome for the moments he was in, that spot where he stuck on Mundo's shoulders was rewind worthy, but he only had a couple of moments, more of a cameo then anything else. Azteca had some cool stuff, but also was a step off in a lot of the things he tried, he is obviously the greenest guy in the match and it showed. Finish was really overblown and took away from the coolness of the match. Good but I think I liked Chavo v. Cage more.

ER: Good wrestling this week, which automatically makes it an easy step up from last week's trip to blandsville. This cop stuff is alarmingly terrible, though. Somebody please explain to me what tone they're going for. Also, reallllly excited for Cage/Matanza. I'm sure Cobb and Cage have matched up before, but never like this, in this environment. It should rule.


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Pat Patterson vs Bob Orton (MSG - 08/30/82)

Pat Patterson vs Bob Orton
MSG 08/30/82

39:40 in

Richard Land is a downright treasure of the community. He goes off and finds WWF rarities from foreign TV or obscure things that didn't heavily make the circles (or at least haven't been posted online). I can't be the only one out there who wants to watch "Ian Mooney" host D-Show Wrestling Spotlight with Sensational Queen Sherri (Or Vince host it with Elizabeth, just as surreal in the opposite direction). And yes, sometimes you just want to see the dark match from the first episode of Raw that only aired on Italian TV (It was Bob Backlund vs Damien Demento). He's also been posting longform shows from MSG and elsewhere. That's where I came across this.

It's a ten minute match that precedes Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid on a card with Buddy Rose vs Bob Backlund. Moreover, Orton's a guy who tends to be underrated and overlooked, though he does get great word of mouth from his peers and tends to come across well in every situation we have him in. Due to blackballing and just where he happened to be, we tend to have less of him in key situations than we'd like. We certainly don't have much complete footage of his team with Slater in Mid-Atlantic, which was supposed to be great. Patterson is someone I've learned to go out of my way for. No, we don't have much of him in the 60s, but what I've found is that post prime Patterson holds up far better than post-prime Ray Stevens, for instance. There's still a lot to appreciate and remark upon in his matches. So ten minutes of these two buried on a 1982 MSG card seemed like something worth watching.

Fiery forty year old babyface Patterson in New York always felt like an odd fit (maybe it shouldn't have) but he made it work through sheer effort and smarts. Here he took a huge chunk of the match, so much so that it probably shouldn't have worked. Orton was going over (albeit with a dirty but definitive countout), so given the relatively short timeframe they had to work with, it did make sense for Patterson to dominate. The challenge was for Orton to keep his heat throughout. He did, and in doing so, you can see hints and traces of just how good he was.

It goes back to selling, in the broader sense, to reacting. It wasn't enough that Patterson would block a punch and hit Orton. Orton sold it, and the meaning behind it, by winding up huge, letting the block linger, and then, once he was hit, stumbling across the ring to the outside and then falling back in over the top rope while swinging wildly. He ran into a bodyslam and bounced three times, waving his arms dramatically, and begging back into the corner. When he hit a shoulder block off the ropes, it was with his arms flailing in celebration. When he was rolled up off the ropes on a second attempt, he kicked out and flew under the bottom rope to stomp around in frustration. When he ate a sunset flip, for two, after some criss-cross running, he scooted back out and sat on the apron between the second and third rope in frustration. All of this massed until he had enough and rushed in instead of darting away, only to get outpunched by Patterson. When he finally took over, by using the ref as a distraction, it felt like the only thing he could do, but it still made him look good and crafty without hurting Patterson a bit. The finish, a crotching over the top rope that looked maybe a fifth accidental, did the same.

Both guys came out looking better than they came in. Orton only clowned for five or six minutes, but every second of that time was inflated in meaning due to how committed he was to his reactions (Patterson just as committed on offense). He only had control for a minute or two before the comeback, but they made the most of that as well. This isn't a lost classic, but it was a textbook example of how being committed to selling the importance of everything in the ring can make even a relatively short, relatively one-sided match richer and more vivid.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 7/20/16

1. Tajiri vs. Damian Slater

ER: I know nothing about the Australian indy scene, so again I love how far reaching WWE actually made this whole CWC. It's about the last move I expected from them when this was announced. And I liked Slater in this. There were really basic things that he didn't do very well, like he seemed tentative on wristlocks and lockups, seemed to be some hesitation during sequences. But he did some nice dead arm selling off Tajiri's kicks, hit a really slick and awesome fireman's carry roll through into a bridging pin, tossed out a tornillo that Tajiri caught kind of awkwardly, and most importantly he fed into Tajiri's trademark offense. Tajiri was sort of a let down as he ran through a standard 4 minute Tajiri Jakked/Metal match, even doing things in the same order as he used to, just a little slower. He just kind of skulked around waiting for Slater to get into position for his signature offense, when I thought he should have been a little more aggressive about getting Slater there. He felt a little sleepwalk-y. Plus all those teenage Tajiri fans watching ECW in 1999 went on to become indy kickers, so he kind of came off like a Jerry Lynn or Christopher Daniels, still working the same game that was novel in '99 but not as effective in 2016. That said, I'm excited to see how he looks in a non "showcase" setting in later rounds.

PAS:  I liked Tajiri way more then Eric did here, I loved all of his little carny counters like reversing the hammerlock by walking through the ropes and his hammerlock where he used the knee to hold down the opposite arm. Those kicks are still nasty looking and really nicely timed. Slater was fine, had a couple of slick moments, but had such a generic look and offense, nothing that made him stand out.

2. TJ Perkins vs. Da Mack

ER: Thought TJP looked really great here, didn't care much for Da Mack's 2000s indy tribute gimmick. TJP has tons of tricks to show off, so a showcase to potential new eyeballs works nicely. Him hitting his usual stuff so crisp only added to things. His spin kicks looked great, his roll throughs into subs looked good, the way he maneuvered off of and through the ropes looked kung fu flick smooth. Mack hits a really nice flip dive over the buckles and almost landed grossly face first on a spinning flapjack, but also threw a bunch of weak uppercuts, cribbed Human Tornado's old jive kicks (I get stealing spots from your favorite guys but man is that a super specific thing to lift) and overall didn't come off like a guy I'm going to seek out.

PAS: Yeah fine TJP showcase, I have seen a ton of him before so his stuff wasn't new to me, but for folks who weren't trading for NJ Dojo tapes 10 years ago I imagine it looked awesome. Mack had a really nice dive but his shtick was pretty bush league.

3. Mustafa Ali vs. Lince Dorado

PAS: This felt like an IWA-MS showcase match from 2005 with green indy guys busting out a bunch of their big spots to earn the post match Ian attaboy speech. The big spots were big spots, that reverse rana was seconds away from breaking Ali's neck, but looked awesome. Still the connective tissue of the match was pretty bad, these guys have been doing this along time and they really should have had better looking simple stuff.

ER: This match kinda won me over by the end, even though I fully recognized it as an Eliminators style "stand there and take my shit" type of match. Dorado has some big spots but usually doesn't hit all of them clean. So for him to go go go and not actually flop was pretty exciting. It made every spot seem bigger, wondering if THIS was going to be the one that was going to murder himself or Ali. Plus seeing a freaking springboard reverse rana and a double jump springboard Spanish Fly on WWE TV is just totally surreal. Ali almost lost me towards the beginning as his missed moves to get into position for Lince's shit looked flat out baaaad. That slow motion spinning backfist was so ugly that Danielson had no choice but to bring up how terribly slow it was on commentary. Then he missed a charge in the corner, when Lince jumped to the apron, so Ali somersaulted out of the corner and then just slowly stood up and turned around. It looked so terrible. "Well, gotta stand up and turn around and take some more offense I suppose." But Ali won me over by taking all sorts of stupid shit and missing some flying moves in ways that alllllmost look like he barely rotated in time. He flopped painfully on a missed moonsault and later on an inverted 450. The springboard reverse rana was nuts, dug Dorado's little sliding kick that planted the flat of his boot into Ali's forehead, Ali was a nutjob for taking that big ol' headscissors off the apron to the floor, and yeah. I knew what this was, but they busted ass and won me over at the end.

4. Akira Tozawa vs. Kenneth Johnson

PAS: Really dumb for both of the last match of the last two shows to have the exact same match layout. Japanese overdog having too much trouble finishing off green kid with lots of heart. Johnson is pretty sloppy and green and parts of this were actively stinky. Tozawa has a bunch of charisma and that final pair of german suplexes looked great, but I thought this was the worst match of this show.

ER: I...actually didn't dislike this. Johnson does do too much choreographed sexy dance fighting, has some offense where you aren't actually sure if he did a move or took a move, and good heavens that missed flipping whateverthefuck off the top (that landed 5 feet from where Tozawa would have been even if he hadn't moved) was atrocious. But compared to his first round peers I thought he showed way more acuity than Ho Ho Lun. I actually enjoyed the very opening with both men rolling wildly while in a wristlock, reminded me of when my cat accidentally got a paper bag hooked around her neck and ran wildly through the house to try to get the bag off. And even in some of his more aimless mat reversal segments he would surprise me by doing a competent hammerlock into side headlock. He ate Tozawa's stuff nicely, ate that nice high jump senton, took some kicks to the guts. Tozawa is going to be fun in later rounds, those scoop and delayed Germans are arguably spot of the show so far. The snap on that scoop one and the way Johnson folded through it was like the floweriest poetry. If someone had a looped gif of that as their sig it feels like something I would get stuck watching like 6 times through every time I scrolled past their posts. But then that delayed German where he just pops him over like nothing, just awesome. I liked Johnson here more than I've ever liked Killshot. That's not saying much, but it's not nothing.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 31: La Sombra, Marco Corleone, Shocker vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Último Guerrero, Volador Jr.

Aired: 2012-05-05 
taped: 2012-04-29 @ Arena Mexico 
La Sombra, Marco Corleone, Shocker vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Último Guerrero, Volador Jr.

I took some time off after hitting the two year mark. I'm hoping to keep up a 2x a week posting schedule on lucha and other things now, including the DVDVR 80s Puerto Rico set. Here, I'm going to try to push forward on the Sombra spotlight. It's been a bit, so I wanted a match to catch up before hitting the Dragon Rojo title matches. I was hoping for some Rojo/Sombra interaction too, but Volador was here so it wasn't meant to be.

This was lucha libre comfort food, a Guerreros match with a beatdown to start, heat, some comeback, and exchanges to finish it out. Matches like these are tough to watch as part of a larger show (especially if you're watching live on Friday, Monday, AND Tuesday) but in a bubble I really enjoy them. They're pure, distilled CMLL and as such, so much depends on how the rudos interact with one another (especially if there's a cog out of place, like Volador), how charismatic the tecnicos are in hope moments, how imaginatively they're cut off, and just how they manage the comeback. Finishing stretches are finishing stretches, of course, but that payoff means a lot less without a solid build.

And this was all solid. Volador fit right in with the Guerreros. I'll take him in a trios match over a singles match anyday, especially as a rudo. He's in and out, works well with his partners, and is a sufficient dick to his opponents. In a singles match, they probably wouldn't use his corner headscissors into a Canadian destroyer until the tercera, and then probably as a near fall to set up the finish. It's such a game-ender, though, that I like it here a lot more as the finishing move as the primera. The finish was perfect as Sombra and Volador did a bunch of that built-to rope bounce posing, only for Volador to rip his mask right off and deny the fans another heated athletic exchange.

Marco was used really effectively here. He still had a little more gas in his tank so he was able to supplement the great punches and size discrepancy spots with a few big dives and more frenetic exchanges. He had the comeback with a bunch of leapfrogs and a twisting top rope move. And I especially liked this exchange (which cuts off right before his clothesline doesn't look all that great. 

I could have used just a little more Sombra vs Volador here as it's endlessly more tolerable in a trios match, but the whole point was to put heat on Volador by denying it, and it was ultimately effective, so I was happy with what this was. 

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Monday, July 18, 2016

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

19. Timothy Thatcher v. Marcus Lewis PREMIER IX 6/7

ER: Well this was awesome. I had high expectations for it and it totally lived up to them. Lewis has been doing this for just a couple years, is a really nice guy and is improving really fast. One of my favorite local guys that I get to see on a regular basis. Thatcher has had an incredible last year and is now known nationally (I have to imagine his WM weekend EVOLVE matches were star making, the building was in love with him during the Hero match). I've never seen these two match up and it's been one of my little Bay Area "dream matches". The mat stuff is as good as expected, and Lewis brings more than I anticipated. At one point he does a mean scrambly boot scrape to avoid a Thatcher ankle pick, and Thatcher naturally works tons of tight cravates (one of them ripping out one of Lewis' dreadlocks, which Thatcher graciously hangs over a turnbuckle for him), and I like how aggressive Lewis is at fighting out of Thatcher's holds. My favorite little sequence was Lewis hitting a couple nice stomps, then a tight short knee to Thatcher's chin followed by a sick double knee drop to his stomach. After kicking out Thatcher dumps Lewis with a big release German and immediately pounces with a rough half nelson while scraping Lewis face with his wrist and forearm. Thatcher is always great at taking spills and he really made a lot of Lewis' strikes look great, leaning into uppercuts and kicks and doing nice Kawada falls for them. Really I like everything they do in this. Lewis hit one of the best missile dropkicks of recent memory, Thatcher does his badass floatover chickenwing into the Fujiwara (which was a nice nearfall since I've seen that sub beat tons of guys), some nasty stomps and elbows, his impressive deadlift Karelin suplex, really it's kind of crazy how much great stuff they cram into 12 minutes without ever making it seem like overkill. They just matched up incredibly well. I was even buying the upset finish, with Lewis throwing all of his weight into strikes and a big time shoulderblock, but then missing his 450 and bouncing his head off the mat. Thatcher's finish is gross as he does a headlock takeover (between he and Busick, maybe my favorite move of 2015) locks Lewis' arm and then traps Lewis' neck between his knees!! Great finish.

PAS: This was really great, totally should have been a star making performance for Lewis, feels like that this would have gotten him into the WWE CWC if it had been in EVOLVE (although HHH may have a quota). I loved his second rope missile dropkick which really had a GAEA girls level force to it, and his fireman's carry lift from the mat is a nifty feat of strength, the bump he takes on that missed 450 was gross looking. Great Thatcher show as well. I haven't really seen him work pissy veteran before, but he was really contemptuous, scraping his forearm against Lewis's face, driving his sternum into the ring apron, ripping out a dreadlock. Really felt like the kind of bullying stuff Finlay would do, but he also sells huge for all of Lewis's big moves, really does a nice job of putting over the kid's upset potential. Great stuff, and PREMIER is the best, we are going to start writing up all of their new shows.


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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Big Time Wrestling 7/15/16 TV

Looks like more matches from their recent student show they did at their training facility.

1. "Zen Master" Zach Muir vs. Chico Navarro

Boy Navarro is really not good. He's easily the weakest guy that shows up on TV, really has some of the most non-committal offense I've ever seen. He stops short on everything, as if he had super strength and didn't want to risk hurting his opponent. Everything that requires him to run through a move sees him just stopping at the point of impact. Stops on shoulderblocks, makes clotheslines look awful, whiffs on stomach kicks, threw an elbow drop where he straightened his arm past his opponent, just stopping short on every one of his moves. Muir has an amusing Zen Master gimmick which is present when he locks on holds. His stand up wrestling doesn't seem any different, but when he locks on holds while doing yoga poses, that's an amusing heel gimmick. Doing a sun salutation while doing an abdominal stretch? I laughed. Still, Chico Navarro, man. Not only is he the worst guy in the fed, but naturally he's a guy who seems to be pushed in his matches. It's a problem.

2. Shotzi Blackheart & El Guerrero vs. Beatrice Domino & Shane Kody

Shortish, formula match with Guerrero and Shotzi cutting the ring off by picking on Domino, while announcers Hank Renner Jr. and Dragon Dave just act incessantly shocked that the heel Guerrero is choking Domino in a pro wrestling match. It was terrible. "I've never seen anything like this!" A wrestler being choked in a pro wrestling match very much seems like something you would see in a pro wrestling match. Domino seems tough. It did not seem shocking to see her fighting Guerrero, especially now that we're at the point where practically every indy in the country runs an intergender match on many of their cards. This was okay for what it was, though I wish that Shotzi and Guerrero had done more with Domino while they were keeping her from tagging in Kody. Kody at least for his part threw nice chops. But then couldn't have been more awkward taking a bump on a roll up that ended the match. Really the best part of the match was before it started, with Guerrero talking trash to the crowd and doing a big build up to removing his shirt. Shotzi and Guerrero had funny mannerisms while removing their respective shirt and jacket. Shotzi may be green (har har) but her heel mannerisms are developing nicely and she brings great energy.

3. Dylan Bostic vs. Kenny K

Fun 4 minute WorldWide match between a couple of guys who I don't believe are BTW regulars. Bostic does nice heel things that need to be done more, like palming faces during pins. Love stuff like that. Both guys did a lot of modern indy stuff. We got our share of backcrackers and face washes. But the pace was hot as they worked a short match so wanted to fit stuff in, and the early match face wash did lead to a fun spot down the stretch where Bostic kept luring K into missing running kicks into turnbuckles to gain an advantage. So yeah, Bostic did some nice heeling, big dropkick, nice kick to the back, K threw a nice corner dropkick, and this was short and to the point.

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