Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Hops and Monsters Podcast
This is not wrestling related, but I was a guest on my best friend Charlie's horror podcast "Hops and Monsters" to loosely talk about David Cronenberg. As it goes with drinking and friends, the conversation rarely stays on topic, but is always fun. The episode is titled High on the Fly, and it should be the first part (with more to come). It's an hour, we also talk about Get Out and I'm sure I ramble about plenty of other things. Enjoy it!
ER: A perfectly fine tag match suddenly ramps the hell up with a cool build to a hot tag (which seems to be what these two teams have done best over the last several months). Gable is fighting to tag out, and Uso has his leg and is struggling to hold him back, and Gable finally makes that final leap to Jordan...just as Jordan is getting yanked right off the apron. The rest of the match is hot with a big eventual Jordan hot tag with big suplexes, Usos get a good nearfall off a superkick and big splash, Gable hits a moonsault to the floor and gets launched into the crowd afterwards, an Uso eats a suplex on the floor, and we just keep building to that hot finish. They really had a great way of always keeping everyone busy, separating AA from each other, and not backing themselves into any unbelievable kickouts. Crowd got nice and hot for two teams that they really haven't done much with in the last few months.
PAS: This was really fun stuff, I don't think Gable is a great wrestler yet, but he throws in some fun stuff in every match, I loved his arm wringer here, never seen it done like before and it really looked like it dislocated Jay's elbow. Uso's have been good at putting together hot finish runs for years, they were one of the better Shield opponents back during their run, and this was another example. That suplex on the floor was super nasty looking and I really liked the semi clean finish. One small thing is that I wish the Uso's would dump the basketball shoes, superkick with Jordan's don't look very good.
2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Janela v. Speedball v. 2 COLD!!
41. Joey Janela v. Speedball Mike Bailey v. 2 Cold Scorpio C4 5/27/16
PAS: Powerbomb.TV delivers with this barrel of fun 3 way dance. Janela gets a great heel reaction from me by turning a singles match into a 3-way, always my least favorite booking move, but bumps his way into my heart, with a missed top rope senton on the ring apron which looked chiropractic. The low celling was clearly fucking up his flying, but outside of that 2 Cold looked awesome, he is wrestling like an athletic Gypsy Joe at this point, as he mixes in shoot punches and chops with great looking flip kicks right into faces. I really enjoyed all of the karate sparring face offs with Bailey early, and Scorp isn't afraid to take a shooting star kneedrop right to his kidneys. This had some of the 3-way awkwardness, but man alive did I love watching it.
ER: What a ridiculous match, that I very much loved. Janela is an actual weirdo, and I like weirdos, and while I hate 3 ways, I like weirdos getting jammed into 3 ways. And 3 ways with 3 lunatics are probably the best kind of 3 ways. So we get three loons doing loony stuff and it's pretty wonderful. This is one of my absolute favorite Bailey performances, just goofy and nasty all at once, with moonsault kneedrops and dropkicks running from outside the building and on point spinkicks and kicks and kicks and kicks. Scorp had a minor flub that really didn't matter to the overall match quality, and was also wearing some absurdly aggressive dick pants. They may as well have had arrows on the front of them. He's in his 50s now and still really good, and gets tremendous power behind his chops and strikes. I loved all his kicks, his vaulting legdrop out of the corner, and his willingness to lean into both guys' attacks (jeez that shooting star kneedrop to his kidneys!!). Janela worked this smart in terms of the match structure, bringing big bumps and some nice saves instead of jamming himself into convoluted 3 way spots. That somersault senton off the top to the apron was just stupid times ten, and I loved seeing his arm get redder and redder as Bailey kept kicking it. This is a weird instance of the 3 way being possibly better than any combo of singles match between these guys. I'm sure all the possible singles matches would have been awesome, but I don't know if they would have upped the crazy to these levels. Hopefully they test this theory in 2017, because I'd still watch it.
I thought this was totally awesome, CWA is the most recent iteration of Kingsport TN indy wrestling which is a tradition which goes back decades. I loved the opening section of this with Robbie Cassidy bumping around and busting open Chase Owens. Cassidy was fucking great in this, classic southern punches, big cage bumps, an awesome top rope fist drop, I had watched bits and pieces of Kingsport indies before (Tony Givens used to send me DVD's) , but this match made me want to search out more Robby Cassidy. James and Logan are a classic fat guy southern heel team, lots of great looking punches and cheap shots, sort of next generation Dirty Rhodes and Don Bass. This built nicely to a pretty crazy ending, with the faces locked in the cage another heel group comes out and menaces an injured member of G1 doing commentary, Winters does a nutty plancha off the cage onto the floor to break it up, and then there is a wild brawl on the floor and in the ring. The heels throw all of the faces out of the ring and focus on Givens, until Robbie Cassidy does another nuts dive from the cage to take out Logan, the only thing I didn't love was the finish with Givens getting a stoppage on James with MMA elbows, they didn't look great and they added some unneeded 2000s to a match that was gloriously 80s. Still this was a fucking blast, everything you want a War Games to deliver.
PAS: Inoue as ineffectual schmuck is one of my favorite wrestling characters. Here he is in his ultimate challenge. Inoue is perfect as the lovable heel loser getting his improbable big match. It starts with Inoue (who has visable indentations from his reading glasses) jumping Akiyama at the bell and hitting a big suplex and a roll up. Akiyama is established as a guy who can get upset quickly and the crowd buys the near fall. Akiyama locks on the choke, and you also buy Inoue going down quickly. Inoue then spends the next couple of minutes with some awesome stalling, and then some really great eye rakes. When Akiyama responds to the eye rakes with rakes of his own, the crowd starts booing him unmercifully. Akiyama is great as a guy who can't deal with the crowd booing him. There is a point where he just decides "fuck it, you want to boo, boo this" and just murders Inoue, including a calf branding into the steel barricade. Inoue is working as a guy with a limited number of options, he can't go toe to toe with Akyama, and he can't out quick him, out wrestle him, or out power him. He needs to either catch Akyama in a mistake or outsmart him. The rolls ups, and the stalling fit into that, and he keeps getting near falls by tricking Akiyama into almost getting counted out. Including a great figure four on the ramp which he just held it until the last possible second and sprints into the ring. Near the end Akiyama is just killing Inoue, but Masao won't go down. It isn't no-selling because he is so tough, it is more like he knows this is his only shot and despite all of his flaws wants to die on his sword. Not a ton of cool moves or fancy sequences, but still the best match of the year.
ER: Ahhhh, the match that made me love Masao Inoue. He's my absolute favorite chubby little loser. You know he has to be tougher than every one of us, but he's so convincing as himself that it's almost impossible to imagine. I would love to see footage of him training in the dojos, and I'm already laughing at the mental image of all the different fatigued faces he would be making. Tons of those faces are on display here, the full color wheel of schlub. He jumps Akiyama at the streamers with a lariat and a big sleeper suplex and gets about the most convincing nearfall of the match. He locks on his torture rack but Akiyama immediately grabs a choke out of it, due to Inoue being a schlub, and you buy that Akiyama could basically just hang out in that choke until Inoue passes out. Akiyama, for possible sportsmanship reasons, let's him go. Inoue spends the next several minutes recovering on the floor, hilariously rolling like a log out of the ring when Akiyama tries throwing him back in, and devotes a great deal of time to having the ref back Akiyama off so he can safely get back inside.
Inoue does all these great eye rakes, digging his fingers into Jun's eyes, and violently scraping his wristbands over the bridge of his nose. The second Akiyama does the same the crowd boos him, and he has this perfectly incredulous face, as the camera cuts back to Inoue rubbing his eyes, like your little brother after you got him to stop crying by saying the word poop a lot. Inoue somehow reverses Jun's attempt at a suplex on the ramp, hits his own vertical, then casually walks to the ring before going "oh shit wait!" and doing a funny run back to Jun, just to lock on a sloppy figure 4. The anticipation building in the crowd was tremendous as they catch on to his plan, as the ref count keeps getting higher and higher, and Inoue breaks the figure four at 17 to rush back to the ring, limping along the way as his own knee was hurt during the submission. But Akiyama makes it back in, and the beating commences. The crowd keeps booing Akiyama in a "why ya gotta pick on him" way, and Akiyama embraces his Legend Heel persona for the match. The calf branding into the guard rail was disgusting, not sure how Inoue came out of that one without a busted nose or mouth. Akiyama is pretty coolly vicious from this point, being cautious to not slip up and allow an opening, but knowing that he can coast. Inoue still surprises him with a couple great cradles, getting a really high scoop and honestly making it seem like Akiyama will be "the doof who keeps losing the title to cradles and roll ups", and nobody wants that moniker. So he starts killing Inoue not because he needs to, but because he can, and he wants that potential embarrassment buried FAR below. We get a bunch of knees to the back of the head, some exploders, and then one final, unnecessary wrist clutch version that we could have gotten a 15 count on. Very unique title match, and we basically owe it to ourselves and the world to go back and review tons of Inoue matches.
ER: Phoenix Pro Wrestling is a local Bay Area fed that I have been involved with since its inception, over two years ago. My good friend Josh is the owner/operator, and my good friend Tim Livingston and I do commentary/play by play, respectively. It's the only fed that regularly operates in Sonoma County, and it's exciting to have our own little pro wrestling fed. This was our biggest show in our 2+ years, both in importance and attendance. We had a year long build to a main event cage match, and the fans turned out in droves, shattering our previous attendance high. It was a really special night.
Boyce has been wrestling in the Bay Area for almost 20 years (well, with a 6+ year break in the middle), and was part of some pretty pimped "indy wrestling boom" matches of the late 90s/early 00s, I think even landing on a Schneider comp or two, and he's been on almost every PPW show. Fatu is the son of Tonga Kid, and I think he's only been wrestling a few years, but already looks ready for prime time. The crowd was hot all night and this match put everyone over the top. Both guys worked stiff, and Fatu has some ridiculous speed and leaping ability, totally unexpected if you haven't seen him before. The way he whipped over the ropes to land on the apron blew my mind, but that springboard lariat? Forget it. Boyce has spent the last 2 years getting over his big falling lariat as his "PPW finisher", so Fatu kicking out of it was a pretty big deal in our fed. Crowd wasn't expecting it. Fatu building to hitting his handspring moonsault was big, and I flipped for the pop up Samoan drop. I thought we were getting a legit title change, and couldn't think of a good way for Boyce to come back, so I quite liked the almost desperation "get the knees up" finish, with the more inexperienced Fatu beating himself and Boyce escaping with his title. My personal favorite PPW match so far, from a fed I couldn't be more proud of.
PAS: I came at this match without any emotional investment and really enjoyed it. I missed the middle 18 years of Legrande's career, saw him as a skinny rookie enjoyed him, and am now enjoying him as a more solidly built veteran. Fatu has some fun spots, is really agile for such a big guy, but this was clearly Legrande building an exciting match around those spots. Really loved both near falls and the finish was a great way for a crafty veteran to escape with the belt. Makes me want to watch more of both guys.
Weekend Wrap-Up: Matsunaga! Otsuka! Dibiase! Freebirds! Casas Family vs Ola Blanca '97!
I watched wrestling this weekend. Here it is:
Alexander Otsuka vs Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (BattlARTS 11/09/1999)
This is probably the most Segunda Caida-y match I've ever watched and I'm amazed it's never been on the site before. It's been out there (being on the 99 Yearbook, for instance), but doesn't seem to have gotten a ton of talk over the years. I'm watching this at the prompting of PWO's Elliott, who just covered it with Stacey on their podcast. Check it out. While I enjoyed this as much as they did, I had a slightly different take on it (and I'd insist that people watch it before getting spoiled by my take. You deserve to be surprised):
So Matsunaga comes down to the ring, sword in hand, terrifying the businessman-laden BattlARTS crowd, attacking the seats, and knocking one guy out of his chair and onto his ass. He's full of bluster. Otsuka comes down and immediately begins killing Matsunaga with a multi-front attack. He leads with forearms, chokes him with his own belt, posts him on the outside, gets revenge for the furniture by tossing him into the chairs, bites his burgeoning forehead wound, and brings him back in to suplex him. If life was a video game, Otsuka would be a create-a-wrestler who was the recipient of some sort of cheat code that gave him full attributes in every area. All of this is brutal and highly uncooperative. The suplexes are borderline deadlift. At one point on the outside, Otsuka slams his own forearm into the metal while trying to post Matsunaga and he just shrugs it off and keeps going. He's a force of nature. At this point, he wasn't even playing to his distinct advantage by going to the mat. He's just a force of nature.
What can Matsunaga do in the face of this? Really only one thing. He goes full Memphis. They reset and he garners a handshake. He makes a clean break. I'm expecting some wonderful bit of heeling at this point. What I'm not expecting is a fireball followed by minutes of hide the object with a giant "Asiatic Spike." That's what we got and it was glorious. He's up against this wrestling dynamo and he basically sheiks him as the only possible equalizer.
Otsuka quickly becomes a bloody mess. When he comes back, it's because he's able to duck a shot and lock in one of the world's most dramatic abdominal stretches, key because it locks up basically all of Matsunaga's limbs. How does he follow it up? With the god damn craziest flip dive to the floor, just because he had to check off that one last pro wrestling attribute he hadn't shown off yet. It turns his comeback into an impassioned hope spot though as he does as much damage to himself. Matsunaga's able to take back control, still utilizing his object, which builds to an even bigger comeback where, of course Otsuka gets the spike, which is absolutely perfect retributional pro-wrestling. His revenge is swift, bloody, and decisive. And this is a truly special match.
Ted Dibiase vs Terry Gordy (Steel Cage)/Ted Dibiase vs Michael Hayes (Steel Cage Country Whipping Match) (UWF - 10/17/1986) NWAOnDemand
The latest gem from NWAOnDemand. We'd had the cage match JIP, but this is the whole package: pre-match mic-work to set things up, the cage match, the crowd buzzing afterwards as Ted heads to the back and then comes back out, the whipping match in the cage, and then post match backstage promos (including some pre-post interview moments that serve as outtakes). Thirty-two minutes of great Watts-style wrestling.
This is the penultimate encounter of the Freebirds vs Dibiase/Doc feud, which also included some really great Doc vs Gordy matches and the awesome Hayes vs Doc cage match, which people need to sign up for the service and see if they haven't yet. Doc is supposed to wrestle Gordy here in the cage but Ted claims that they injured him. I assume he's on a Japan tour instead. Hayes wants them to give the match to Gordy but Ted takes it for himself, even though he's booked right after in the whipping match.
The cage match is pretty much everything you'd want it to be. Gordy, like always, is an absolute beast in using his body mass to control the match. He uses the ring, and in this case, the cage, so well, bullying Dibiase around, fighting out of the corner, using the turnbuckles as weapons. He has such a natural physical presence. Dibiase, on the other hand, is such an ideal mid-south babyface, a triple tough brawler who can take punishment, who can and will sell (both his back to Gordy's offense and ring utilization, and his face from the sheer power of Gordy's blows), but that'll come back with his fits and guts alone. I had never realized until watching this match that the true, absolute point of Dibiase's signature fistdrops is to work over a bloody wound. They're amazing here.
In the end, he escapes to the back with the win and the belt, causing Hayes to rant and rave and the crowd to buzz elatedly for the few minutes before Born in the USA comes back on and Dibiase makes his way back out for round two. This is simple, straightforward, and effective. Hayes wants to steal back the belt and escape the cage and whatever punishment he can muster is just to allow enough space to manage that. It (along with the fact that Hayes is seen as much as a manager as anything else) helps rationalize how a worn down (and ambushed) Dibiase can fight back. Every time Hayes gets a real advantage, he goes for the belt. Every time he does, Dibiase recovers and battles back. It's short, sweet, and effective and leaves the fans buzzing and happy, all preparation for the Gordy vs Dibiase blow-off match on Halloween night.
The post match Gordy promo is a horrorshow of blood and fury. It's great to watch on its own and very cool to see the few seconds of him getting ready to talk in the "outtake." Just classic stuff all around.
Dr. Wagner Jr. & Silver King vs. Felino & Negro Casas (CMLL - 5/9/1997)
Here's another one that was bouncing around but that just got uploaded in a more complete form. This is "sangre contra sangre," the Casas family vs the Sons of Dr. Wagner, and there's a lot of pomp in this version of the footage. There's a video recap to set it up, pre-match promos, shots of the family, Bestia Salvaje in a wheelchair carted out by Black Warrior for some reason. It all feels like a big deal and is a cool presentation.
The match itself is very solid but not quite as good as the other ones I watched. Here's something it has going for it, though: Negro Casas is always brilliant, but when you give him specific things to work with, he can take them so, so far. Here he has the family situation and Felino to protect, but he also has a gaping wound on his knee. Wagner and Silver King are absolutely game rudo bases, both of them going the extra mile, Silver King with his over the top expressions and Wagner by making sure to take wonderfully overdramatic bumps into the crowd to make sure everyone is paying attention to him.
Structurally, this has a few fun wrinkles, with both Felino clowning the rudos and a full heat segment and comeback/elaborate rudo cut off in the primera. There's maskwork and revenge maskwork, more beatdown heat into the start of the segunda that culminates with a fiery Casas finally recovering enough to burst into the ring to save his brother and a finish which keeps the feud going by making the Casas brothers look strong even as Wagner outsmarts Felino.
Oh, and like just about every Casas match I ever see, he pulls out something I haven't seen him do before (that doesn't mean he hasn't done it before, just that I hadn't seen it in the hundreds of matches I'd seen with him). Check out this little rope running exchange with Silver King:
Very fun novelty that felt special; definitely a good way to spend a half an hour.
Now I need to get back to watching Lucha Underground S3 so we can catch up before the show comes back in a month or two. We're lagging because of me, not Eric.
PAS: Epic match with everyone playing their parts perfectly. Onita replaces his normally psychotic masochistic hurling of his body into barbed wire, with psychotically and mascochistically allowing himself to be toe kicked in the temple by Tenryu and shoot headbutted by Hara. Tenryu is a mean nasty prick roaming around the beginning of this match unloading on both guys. Both Goto and Hara are awesome as the bruiser tag partners whose job is to beat on the opposing teams big hitter. Hara brutalizes Onita early with headbutts busting him open, while Goto cracked Tenryu with lariats, superfly splashes and a a face first piledriver on the table. Then they clear out and let the two megastars match up. The finishing run may not have been the smoothest wrestling I have seen, but holy shit are Tenryu and Onita pair of charismatic motherfuckers who know how to draw you in a match. Tenryu's selling was brilliant here, at about the ten minute mark of the match he gets caught with a big DDT from Onita, and he is never able to shake off that shot. He goes back on offense, hits some big moves, but he has this awesome thousand yard stare even when he is firing back. When he finally goes down, it is a huge monster deal, but I buy Onita getting the win, even without explosions. The main event interpromotional WAR tag is one of the greatest thing in wrestling history.
ER: This was so great, and so different than what I was expecting! FMW coming into WAR's turf, yet Goto is the never say die bullied babyface, Onita makes puppy dog eyes, and Tenryu is the guy wandering around being a stoic asshole. I love this match though. It's so messy, really not pretty, but builds so cleanly and satisfyingly. Goto and Hara are the bulldogs being sicced on the opposing side's big dog, and the way we get there is classic. Stiff headbutts and lariats to the side of everybody's neck ensue, and Tenryu kicks Onita in the eye and forehead a dozen or more times. It's fairly routine in the beginning, until Goto has the nerve to break up a pin, and then Tenryu flips out on him, tosses him to the floor, and slaps and chops him into a pile. And it's a tasty moment, because Tenryu flying off the handle and getting so distracted by Goto doing his job leaves things wide open for Onita to recover a bit and DDT Tenryu as he gets back from jumping Goto. Just as Rick Rude sells an atomic drop finer than any other man before or since, Tenryu has always done the same glory to DDTs and piledrivers. His body always curls up a little as one hand holds his neck and the other focuses on the hot pain on top of his head. He eats another, manages to kick out, and also manages to tag Hara in. And brother, Goto does NOT forget about that beating that Tenryu gave him for saving Onita. As Onita is tangling with Hara, Goto storms into Tenryu's dwelling and blasts him with a chair, and spends the rest of the match making Tenryu pay for that early extra aggression. He really targets Tenryu and leaves him softened up for Onita. That piledriver slam on the table was ridiculous. I never even considered that the FMW boys might pull this off, but the longer this went I kept thinking "man a WAR comeback at this point would be just silly!" but that Onita pin was still super shocking.
PAS: Verdict, I loved this, WAR inter promotional tag is a style which resonates way more with me then All Japan main event puro classic. Still Misawa v. Kawada is the apex of that style, while this is an awesome interpromotional potato WAR, but a step below the incandescent stuff between WAR and NJ. 6/3/94 by a hair
ER: This match felt really unique, with some great strategy and several little stories running throughout. It's messiness was part of its shaggy charm, but it was also going up against something trimmed of fat and immaculately executed. So very different. But 6/3/94 is the peak of its own style, whereas we have seen better interpromotional wars (basically all of which I love), and I have to give respect to the king. 6/3/94 wins again.
PAS: This was a fine big guy battle, Smooth is tall which will get you pretty far, it is unclear whether he has much else at this point. I really like Schwanz as a big boy veteran, although this had less stretching then the last time I saw him, really want to see Schwanz versus either Justice or Garrini, at some point I will review a WarGames with PB Smooth in it for WarGames Wednesday morning, hope it is better then this.
ER: This was what it was, which was basically Schwanz muscling around a limited guy his own size and setting up some decent spots for him. I really like Schwanz, he has a really timeless style and I think his look is even better now than when he was an actual mainstream guy. He's a little too nice to Smooth here though, as you get the sense before the match that he's going to make an example of this other tall dude coming into his turf. I don't really understand the point of billing Smooth at 7 feet tall. Schwanz is a really big guy, probably 6'3" to 6'5", and we can all see with our eyes that Smooth has maybe an inch on him. It's weird to be billing one guy as 7', while not in the same breath billing the other guy as 6'11". Is Redd Jones now the 6 feet tall referee? Is Statmark the 6'6" camera man? We all have eyeballs, and 6'6" is huge! No shame in calling a man 6 1/2 feet tall. So, I don't see the point, but I liked Schwanz, and Smooth at least cuts low on lariats and falls properly on slams. That might seem like low praise, but it's a good start for him.
2. Dominic Garrini vs. Cain Justice
PAS: Holy hell, what is this match? I have loved Justice before, but this felt like him taking the next leap, and fuck is Garrini fun to watch. For two rookies, this was off the charts, it felt like watching Minoru Suzuki and Masakatsu Funaki in their first UWF and Pro-Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi matches. Justice has Judo training and Garrini is a ranked Brazilian Ju-Jitsu competitor and they do an awesome job of showcasing those skills in a prowrestling context. The early mat rolling was really cool, I loved the kneebar countering and how smoothly Garrinin shifted from a rear naked choke into a twister. This was still a prowrestling match, and they both did cool things where they would be rolling for submissions, and one guy would catch his opponent in a cradle for quick pin attempt, getting small packaged isn't something Garrini has to worry about in Abu Dhabi grappling tourneys, and I liked how Justice threw in some pro-wrestling flavors. Justice nearly gets finished by a bunch of submissions and decides to get a little dirty, by banging Garini's arm off the ring post, and then we get a thrilling end run with Justice baring down on the arm while Dominic tries to catch him in chokes.
ER: During Garrini's hype vid last week I was getting really excited for this match, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I wasn't expecting this. This was awesome. I was excited for the match, but didn't want to hype it up in my head too much, but it delivered far more than I could have expected. Both men try to roll the other's ankle, plant knees in calf muscles, hyperextend knees, a bunch of nice looking rolling that looked like it would be far too easy to end in an accidental achilles injury. Both guys twist in and out of danger, and we get some surprises. I loved Garrini pushing Cain off him with both feet and grabbing him in an armbar on the way down. But I really loved Cain being the one to start integrating pro wrestling elements into things, turning the probably more skilled Garrini into a fish out of water. Cain swinging Garrini's arm into the post was a great turning point, and we still got some great arm work from both guys after, with both forcing the other's arm behind their back. Everything looked extremely painful here, and outside of a sorta hinky running corner charge by Garrini, this was some unexpectedly high end stuff. These guys need to form a stable and call it UWF Mid-Atlantic.
3. Alex Daniels vs. Chip Day
PAS: Really fun workrate sprint match. Both guy unloaded with big shots from the start, Chip Day damn near split Daniels nipple with a chop and Daniels hit a great spin kick. Daniels is working a Ben Affleck gimmick where he yells out Affleck film names when he does moves, it is a little try hard, but I enjoyed his work. He hits some insane looking brainbuster into the turnbuckles which landed Day right on the top of his head, match falls apart a bit there, because there is no way that shouldn't be a finish, and Daniels had to take an inordinately long time setting up a top rope follow up just to get rolled up for this pin, it was similar the one problem in the Dirty Daddy/Cain Justice match at Battlecade, especially in a fed like CWF Mid-Atlantic huge head drops like that should be finishes, if you aren't getting the finish, leave it at home. Still I really dug most of this, reminded me of a fun first round Cruiserweight Classic match.
ER: I'm not sure I understand the Ben Affleck gimmick, as Daniels doesn't really look like Affleck other than being a white male. But it probably gets him more laughs than working a "young David Morse" gimmick. Just as Chip Day shouldn't start working as a vinyl shorts Chris Eigeman gimmick. But this was good, until the ending which Phil already covered. And I think it was good because this is typically a style we see worked in 14 minute matches, and it turns into boring overkill, and here we got it for a hot 6 minutes. The 6 minute length worked, and we got some cool stuff that didn't have time to wear itself out. Chip Day gets a little bit hand clappy during certain strikes, but he throws a nice double knees and his strikes at least look good, and I REALLY like Daniels' spin kicks. That headdrop move into the turnbuckle was ridiculous (Stutts says it's one of the craziest moves he's ever seen in a ring, and he's right...which only highlights how stupid it is to not be the finish), and they ably work some fast sequences. Quality match.
4. Arik Andrews v. Cool J
ER: They do a fun "fan draws Andrews opponent out of a fishbowl" gimmick before the match, and I love CL Party announcing "Cool J" to silence and groans, with one man audibly groaning and eyerolling out a "what the christ". Cool J is super tiny and I believe this is his debut. Announce crew does a great job of putting over just how tough it is to even get to a CWF debut, going over actual numbers of just how many people drop out of the dojo, how many people quit the grueling school because it's too hard, and how there are far more people who quit than people who make it to their debut. It's a way more interesting and honest way of putting over someone's debut than saying rote things like "He brings a lot of skills to this and is very talented" while he's getting massacred. This is an Andrews squash though, as it should be, and Cool J takes a nasty slam on his shoulders.
PAS: Cool J takes some big bumps which is what you want out of a rookie getting squashed, and I did really like the commentary, but this was a 3 minutes one sided squash, not much to say about it
5. Xsiris vs. Smith Garrett
PAS: Short heated brawl which nicely moves along this feud. They kept it intense, and I liked how Garrett used Xsiris's aggression against him to get the roll up. I think I may have liked some of the pull aparts better, but I am sure this is leading to a big blow off, which I am excited for.
ER: This was so awesome, Xsiris is one of my favorite current guys and his aggression is off the charts. All his simple stuff looks great and super painful, and I've really enjoyed everything these two have done so far (except Garrett's weird lip licking thing. That really needs to stop), and this was more good stuff. I know it's going to lead to a killer blowoff. Xsiris has been messing with Garrett, jumping him and beating the hell out of him, and then turning around and leaving, and when Garrett got the roll up win here I instantly thought "Xsiris is going to go nuts eventually". CWF has several of these larger bruising bully puncher types, with Attitude and Schwanz and CW Anderson as well as Xsiris, and it's one of my absolute favorite styles, and one of the reasons this fed is so appealing. Great stuff all around.
ER: Well, Cain Justice vs. Dominic Garrini pretty much blew both of us away, easily earning a spot on our 2017 Match of the Year List. And, after talking it over, Phil and I both decided that it's our current #1. People should be on the lookout for these two.
Thinking of Installing Solar Panels? Read This Berzerker Review First
"Berzerker! Mr. Fuji! It's Summerslam, and Mr. Fuji if you try to interfere, the great spirits will let me know, and I will get you! And Berzerker, I am going to scalp you with a tomahawk chop!" ~Tatanka
The war between two different historical savages, both fighting to prove whose God is more powerful. Berzerker, representing Odin, versus Tatanka, representing....well, I have no idea what specific God Tatanka's tribe worships so we'll just assume Tatanka is a godless savage. Odin versus NOTHINGNESS! Noted lovable Romanian scamp Emil Cioran once said "The deepest and most organic death is death in solitude, when even light becomes a principle of death. In such moments you will be severed from life, from love, smiles, friends and even from death. And you will ask yourself if there is anything besides the nothingness of the world and your own nothingness." Holy shit! That's what Berzerker is up against!?!? AND I didn't even realize this match existed until today! And this makes me feel real bad for Berzerker, as it means his Bulldog match got scrapped from Mania, and THEN his Tatanka match got scrapped from Summerslam! That's cold shit right there. There are four PPVs a year and he's the only guy to get scrapped from TWO of them! But the match was taped and it's a hoot! It's only 5 minutes, but they use the time well and craft a super fun match. Tatanka was insanely protected during his WWF run, so Berzerker spends much of the match putting over Tatanka. Berzerker was very generous when he was against a top babyface. They open with a knucklelock test of strength, and it ends awesomely with Tatanka muscling Berzerker back, leading to his fast backwards bump to the floor. Later he gets his leg kicked out and does his splits bump that fills me with such joy. His control segments are a blast as it's in Wembley so there's tons of people and the ring is up on a platform, so Berzerker drags him to ringside and down the platform into the aisle and slams him (and then later on gets slammed himself), and in the ring plants him with his great falling slam. When Tatanka starts being filled with the strength and spirits of all his vanquished ancestors, Berzerker is great about flopping around for tomahawk chops, but once Tatanka goes into his Indian trance in 1992, brother there is zero chance he's being beaten.
54. Berzerker vs. Bret Hart - WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/13/92
This match could have been so much better! I mean, they had a great match a year before this, and this was a matter of not just time constraints (it was 4 minutes, the other match was 11), but also Bret being fairly lazy with the match structure. He didn't give Berzerker a lot of offense, but had to get all of his trademark shit in: the atomic drop, the back breaker, flying forearm, russian legsweep, elbow off the middle, Sharpshooter; he got all of it. Berzerker got hardly any of his shit in (though he did get in a wicked delayed piledriver, which was admittedly the best), but he bumped like Bret was a king. His best bump was early on when Bret grabs him by his mane and throws him out backwards over the top to the floor; but it's easy to appreciate how he bumps for moves, like the way he arches his back in pain after taking the back breaker, flopping for a forearm, held his balls after the atomic drop, etc. He could have been much more selfish with his size, but he's just too much of a nice guy. No. No, Bret's the selfish jerk here.
55. Berzerker vs. Buck Zumhofe - WWF 10/26/92
Classic AWA rivalry resumed! After six dormant years! They retired it, buried it, but the fan demand was TOO HIGH and they practically OWED it to the fans to revive it. It would have been rude to NOT give them this match, this match what they wanted so devastatingly. Also, this officially makes Berzerker the Conqueror of the Child Molesters. We saw him beat down ginger kid diddler Dave Millison in July '91, and now he puts the boots to an arguable Top 3 shitbag in pro wrestling history (#2 tops)!! Buck Zumhofe can die a miserable death, and it made me wish Berzerker had stiffed him more. Berzerker goes fairly gentle on him, as it's probable that they are friends from AWA, so Berzerker throws him a bone by not doing his meanest moves to him. It must be tough to go from being treated like a top guy, to a few years later losing 2 minute matches. Berzerker was too nice. He did slam him back first into the ringpost though, so that's a nice concession.
If you showed up to these reviews for as much HUSSing as you could possibly handle, then this is the match for you. I'm confident that this is Berzerker's highest HPMS (Huss Per Match Second) I've seen. John Paul is merely handsome window dressing, there to eat a couple of big boots to the side of his face. No, this match was much more about Berzerker fully engaging the crowd with HUSSes, almost getting to a WHAT level of call and response, just working that free jazz call and response aesthetic with his HUSSing. John Paul would get pinned by a long delayed falling slam (I wonder if certain jobbers informed the office or Nord that they couldn't take a bump to the floor, and that's what lead to them being pinned? Who knows!? I need to figure out a way to interview Nord for this project), but the fans wanted the HUSS action, and the fans got HUSSed. Tonight, HUSS was for the people.
"My Berzerker is ready for YOU Crush! He's made to crush you apart" ~Mr. Fuji
"YEAAAHH CRUSH! You really like to crush things! Well I'll tell you what I'm gonna do to you, is I'm gonna slam you on that cement, and I'm gonna crush your back, and we're gonna see if you can get up! And if you do get up Crush, I got a sword, and I'm gonna use it!" ~Berzerker
Oh my god this was GOOD! Kona Crush was one of my least liked guys in WWF. I hated his look, hated his fluffy frosted mullet, hated his chubby baby fat face. Crush was not a wrestler I looked forward to seeing. But this was arguably the most I have enjoyed him, and we can point directly to Berzerker as the reason. Berzerker put over Crush's strength HUGE, and it was great. They do a couple tests of strength, one ending with Berzerker getting thrown backwards and taking his fast backwards bump over the top to the floor, and then a shoulderblock exchange sees him also quickly whip himself over to the floor. I love that bump. Berzerker comes back in with a big boot and the Crush admirably takes his own bump to the floor, opting to go out through the middle ropes but taking it more like a luchador, which looked weird but cool. Berzerker controls things with these great annoying boots to the head, not letting Crush get to his feet, just stalking around him and needling him with these push kicks. He hits a big delayed piledriver, and it's a shame (and also logical) that he didn't break out the piledriver more as he has a nice one. He misses the big kneedrop which gives Crush an opening, and Crush hits a really nice atomic drop and a side slam, before squeezing Berzerker's head until he passed out. I was realllllly hoping for one minor Berzerker comeback during the head squeeze, such as him looking as if he might fight out of it, before eventually succumbing. It did take Crush awhile to finish him with the vice, so perhaps we were supposed to be interpreting that as Berzerker fighting through it, but I would have liked that visually represented better. Still, this match was so good, which is a strong upgrade over every single online review I found. Those reviews collectively described this match as essentially the saddest fart sound in the world. And they were wrong. If anything, this was a joyous, confident, trumpeting fart sound, delivered in front of your friends and family, who would go on to share in your joy.