Segunda Caida

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Pierroth and Rush!

24. Pierroth/Rush/Rey Escorpion v. La Mascara/Terrible/Shocker CMLL 5/20/16)

ER: Hey look at that, a 10 minute violent brawl with father and son being untethered dickheads, and it's awesome! Rush and dad jump Mascara on the ramp and drag him to ringside, smashing him through the barrier. We get tons of brawling through this, with Pierroth throwing the best strikes. His chops looked brutal, and when he and Terrible matched up it looked like a slaughter. I loved him holding punks nice and snug so Rush could get cheapshots. Pierroth would really yank on arms and Rush would blast them with kicks, then make dumb faces at the crowd. It was glorious. I loved when their mugging would cause a momentary tide shift, like when Pierroth was goofing off and Terrible just ran past him in the ring to break up a pin. Rush is super violent with Mascara and him getting held by Pierroth and Escorpion as Rush rips his mask apart was vicious, like we were witnessing a scalping. It made Mascara charging out with a fresh mask in the segunda even better, hitting a spinebuster on Rush on the rampway. This was a total father and son show, and it was killer.

PAS: I really liked this, had the ragged violent feel of your best lucha brawls. One of the things I love about Rush is his mastery of pace, his fast stuff is really explosive and his taunting really feels like it is in the right place. Also happy to see Rey Escorpion again, he disappears and shows back up and is always worth seeing, he is in the background here but is wailing on dudes in the background. Pierroth was pretty great, he has a very Kurisu crowbar vibe which is awesome, every shot he throws is a little nastier then everyone else, loved his body shots and he had a surprisingly great powerslam. OG Pierroth was also a great old man brawler and new school Pierroth lives up to his legacy.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Matt Riddle Spent His Last Dollar to Buy a Sabrett

Matt Riddle v. Q.T. Marshall MFPW 3/28/15 - GREAT

PAS: According to cagematch, this is Riddle's third match ever, and while he hasn't really developed his own style yet, he is already pretty great as a white meat babyface. I really enjoyed Marshall who was a fun CW Andersonish southern heel, nice back elbow, good looking bumping, solid bald spot, everything you would want out of a guy like that. Riddle was very arm draggy and dropkicky but everything he did looked solid and he had a great spinebuster. Really loved the finish with Riddle countering a double axe handle with a jumping knee to the face and another jumping knee for the end.

ER: We thought this project would be fun because it would give us a chance to follow along with an active career almost right from the beginning, but also really pinpoint when Riddle got good. And well, that part of the project wasn't that interesting because here we are in his third match ever, and he was already doing things that I don't see from 10 year vets. Look at the expert poise when he locks up around the 2 minute mark on the video, watch how hard he bumps a vertical suplex and then lifts up on his heels to hold his back after, watch him run into corner boots and go down like a shot, as if he expected boots to not be there. There are certain things that you just get, and boy does he seem to get them. Also I only saw one armdrag and dropkick. That's not very armdraggy or dropkicky. I'd never seen Marshall before, missed his ROH run, but I certainly would like to see more of him. I really liked his back to basics approach, loved his bumping (man did he go down for a lariat on the floor), loved his strikes, loved the way he tried to take apart Riddle's knee with those sick drop downs. I don't even know what to call them. He would catch Riddle's leg and then just drop down, snapping Riddle's shin or knee down across his own shoulder or chest. It looked awesome. I also really loved the strike exchange, and strike exchanges in indy wrestling are one of the most overdone things out there. Here Marshall throws a shot and Riddle surprises him by charging back with a rough forearm, and Riddle's knees looked great throughout, the ones from a Thai clinch, the jumping ones, really nice piece of offense.

So this was really good, and now we have to figure out what wrestler has had a better match by match #3. I don't think Mayweather is an option as Riddle didn't have the same amount of build, nor smoke and mirrors. Mayweather working Mania sure was a weird and awesome and unique situation. Okay, I looked it up and Victor Zangiev's third match was the Hashimoto match. Soooooo, okay, it's probably Zangiev. If we assume all of the Pancrase stuff was definitely shoot, then Bas Rutten's first match was the Carl Malenko one. Hiroyuki Ito debuted on the first U-Style show, had a great match and then by his third match was part of that killer Sakata match. So......okay, there are guys. But man those are some pretty impressive names to be mentioned with, this early. There also appears to be a trend with those names...

(also, this whole time I thought the Beastie Boys were saying "buy her some bread". Sabrett really isn't a product us west coasters know much about, but man is their actual lyric much better)


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Complete and Accurate Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle may be the most impressive American pro-wrestling rookie since Brock Lesnar. The kid gets fired from the UFC for smoking weed and within a year is one of the most fun wrestlers in the world. This makes him a very neat Complete and Accurate candidate because we get to compile his rise as it happens. As usual Eric and I will be ranking matches on a scale of EPIC, GREAT, FUN and SKIPPABLE


Matt Riddle v. QT Marshall MFPW 3/28/15 - GREAT


Matt Riddle v. Fred Yehi EVOLVE 1/23/16 - GREAT
Matt Riddle v. Timothy Thatcher EVOLVE 4/1/16 - GREAT
Matt Riddle v. Tracy Williams EVOLVE 4/2/16 - EPIC
Matt Riddle v. Anthony Nese EVOLVE 5/6/16 - FUN
Matt Riddle v. Cedric Alexander EVOLVE 6/10/16 - GREAT

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Riddle v. Cedric

23. Matt Riddle v. Cedric Alexander EVOLVE 62 6/10

PAS: I am totally divorced from current ROH, so I am not sure I had seen Cedric Alexander before. His gimmick seems to be junior college linebacker who bought Schneider Comp 7 from me in 1999. He is undeniably a good athlete, but seems to be running through 90s Puro Spots, Kobashi chops, yelling braiiinbussstah, Michinoku Drivers. Very much not what I want to watch in 2016, still he has some real explosion with everything he does, that Michinoku Driver was really fast. I am sure I would hate Alexander v. Tony Neese but Riddle can do cool things with a clich├ęd guy. For example Riddle hits one of my favorite german suplexes ever in this match, he flips over on a suplex attempt by Alexander, grabs him from behind snaps him up in the air, does a slight deadlift pause and drops him lightning quick on his neck, fast, slow, fast just gorgeous. I also loved the finish with Riddle showing a bunch of different steps to set up the twister and then just cranks it for the pin. Ended up liking this a ton, Riddle is do no wrong for me.

ER: I *have* seen a lot of ROH Alexander, and I looked up all my reviews of previous Cedric Alexander matches, and every one of them had some variation of "so Alexander is not good, but..." Almost every match of his I've watched over the last year plus I did not like, and I often did not like him in them, but he always did a thing or two in them that I really liked. And it was always a different thing. The guy has never met a piece of offense he didn't want to add to his arsenal. In kayfabe terms you can put that over by saying that his opponents never know what to expect from him, but in practice you just roll your eyes when his Kobashi chops couldn't look more out of place. I also notice a thread through my reviews of him that I only noticed because I read them all at once and in order, is that I kept complimenting him on his "crumple" sell. I first saw him use it in a match with Moose, where Moose hit a big superman punch and Alexander just folded. But then in other reviews I saw he did the same thing, for more moves, and here he crumbles off a move really early in the match and now I'm just like jesus just take a flat back bump. It's like the first time you saw KISS and Ace Frehley shot a firework out of his guitar and knocked a light fixture loose and it seemed like the building was going to collapse. And then 15 years later you saw Bruce Kulick knock the same light fixture loose. And at a KISS show that hasn't even happened yet, it's just going to be a set comprised of Vinnie Vincent just shooting fireworks at equipment for an hour. Just play the fucking riffs. But Alexander is athletic and flexible, and Riddle can do a lot with a guy who is athletic and flexible.
Cedric does his thing and flips around and works like all of those other chest out/butt out indy guys, hitting a nice dropkick to the back of Riddle's head, but I bide my time and then Riddle hits THAT suplex, reminding me of Vader vs. Inoki, just alleyooping Cedric fast, up, over, and practically through the mat. I have no idea how he is not dead. But he somehow is not and from there everything is gravy. Riddle deadlifts him and tosses him Karelin style while Cedric tries to flatten out as much as possible, boots him in the back a couple times, and Cedric is always there with a couple of his super cool fast slams. Riddle made me hop out of my chair when he took that silly powerbomb-onto-knees thing and then sprung up halfway across the ring as if he had bounced off a trampoline instead of off a man's knees. Riddle is a total whirlwind, flying around with bare feet, leaping knees-and-ankles be damned off the ropes, throwing high kicks, just an overwhelming dude. Both guys move fast, jump high, bump wild, and they put as much into the last few minutes as you'll ever see. Fun stuff.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

NXT 227 6/19/14 Review

1. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss

Another match furthering the BFF angle, with Charlotte and Summer bickering at ringside leading to a distracted Sasha getting rolled up. Bliss is very much not good but she's clearly trying, she's just super klutzy and not ready for TV. She seems like she almost falls over on every move she attempts, just constantly off balance. Sasha looked good when the match allowed her to, loved her surfboard as she set it up by yanking on Bliss' hair and smacking her to get ahold of her arms. Other little "not actually offense" furthered her likeness to Stevie Richards, like her just grabbing a grounded Bliss by the back of the head and smacking her forehead into the mat. But yeah, there's trouble in the BFFs.

2. Mojo Rawley vs. Garrett Dylan

I was wondering when Jody Kristofferson was going to pop up, after they showed his dad in the crowd a show or two ago. This is not the first time I've seen a fed act like Kris Kristofferson just happened to show up at their event, without mentioning his son was wrestling. And Regal was amusingly harsh on Kristofferson, saying "Mojo Rawley versus...well, essentially a nobody" and pointing out that anybody who wears brown trunks surely doesn't care about their appearance. And this was your typical Mojo match, which is frustrating as it really doesn't do him favors to just work the same formula every match. His matches are always 2-3 minutes of opponent control, then him running through his moves to the end. If we mixed up the order a little bit we could have a more interesting ebb and flow, instead of just waiting until the point where he starts hitting moves. He is not good a taking a beating, although he at least attempted to sell body work that Kristofferson did, so that was welcome. Kristofferson threw really great body blows and had some nice old Arn Anderson type moves, like short knee lifts or stomping the mat while pressing Mojo's face to his knee. He was also real good about absorbing Mojo's stuff, and Mojo hit a killer flying shoulder tackle, really smacked into him. This was fine.

3. The Vaudevillains vs. Angelo Dawkins & Travis Tyler

This is the debut of the Vaudevillains and I love how absolutely giddy Regal is about guys essentially working carny strongmen gimmicks. Fans are flipping out too, and really it is a wonderful gimmick for these two. English is super talented so it will be great to see him actually winning matches. Gotch is a guy who I've actually seen from the very beginning, as I was there live over a decade ago for his very first pro wrestling matches as Psycho Seth in APW. He was terrible. He clearly didn't get it. Outside of a bad "psycho" gimmick (which only involved wearing Hot Topic jeans with an anarchy symbol on the leg while grinning "evilly"), there was an impression that he just didn't get pro wrestling on a deeper level. In maybe his first match he busted his lip open, and there was a little blood, and a couple people were showing some concern. And then he went on the APW message board and let everybody know he was okay, he had just bit his lip. Before that people had been wondering if he had taken a couple of stiff shots, gotten busted open hardway, but no. No he had to let people know it was just an accident. The only other post in the thread was somebody saying "Dude. Kayfabe." He jumped to Modest and Morgan's promotion PWI a year or two later as Ryan Drago, and still seemed like a guy who just didn't get it. Once PWI shuttered I completely lost track of him, and was absolutely shocked when I looked up who Simon Gotch was. I cannot believe he kept working for the next decade, plugging away, getting seen, and ended up in WWE. No matter what I thought/think of him as a wrestler, that's dedication and I have nothing but huge respect for that. This match is clearly a showcase for the Villains, I'm not even sure Dawkins gets tagged in. English looked really great, got crazy height on a legdrop, finished with a nice senton, and I love some of their double teams like the uppercut to back of the head into a quick snap Aiden neckbreaker. Excited to see them develop, although I wish we got more Aiden singles stuff, hopefully the team still allows for that.

4. Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze

Wonderful little match that felt like a tight short match, and then you realize it got 11 minutes. Both men were so good at their roles and it was paced so well that an 11 minute match turned into a 5 minute WorldWide classic. Kalisto gets matched up a lot with big guys, but Breeze grounded him better than any of them, and most importantly knew how to take Kalisto's offense the best I've seen. Breeze does some fantastic detail work, and there are two specific spots I want to highlight: Kalisto's kip up rana and Kalisto's handstand headscissors. Breeze made these spots look unexpected, stealth and effective, when especially in the case of a man standing on his hands before clamping a headscissors, is an impressive accomplishment. A handstand headscissors is something that requires boatloads of cooperation, and often looks very cooperative. Breeze was able to distract himself, look off balance enough, that the look of surprise when he walked into the headscissors was perfect. Later as Kalisto is on the mat, about to do the kip up rana, Breeze makes his way towards him and makes sure to throw a darting glance over at the crowd, so that his head is turning back towards Kalisto as he's throwing the rana. It made Breeze look totally unprepared and surprised by the move, even though it was clearly the spot, and those kind of details make a match click on such a higher level. And the rest of this is really good too, as Breeze grounds Kalisto with headlocks, and Breeze is a guy I've noted as being good at headlock work in a match. He was good at trying to smother Kalisto and Regal was good at noting that, even pointing out different names for the different kinds of headlock leverage he was locking in. Kalisto had some cool locking stuff, loved his fast tornillo quebrada. And some of his feints when evading Breeze were cool, like a silly little quick handstand vault off the top rope to sidestep him. Ending is killer as Breeze whips Kalisto into the ropes, Kalisto holds on, Breeze stutter steps as he notices Kalisto held on, and when Kalisto tries a quick springboard move Breeze blasts him with the beauty shot. I was way into this match, Breeze is really busting butt these last couple months.

5. Tyson Kidd & Sami Zayn vs. The Ascension

It's a shame this match was actually just an angle/Tyson Kidd heel turn because the match we got was really damn good, maybe Zayn's best performance in a match this year (which covers some nice ground) and definitely the best overall Ascension performance. And no, that's not meant in a backhanded way, I really liked both Ascension in this and Viktor especially looked great. The story goes, that Kidd and Zayn are teaming up because they've both had rough luck lately, so they got their little slumpbuster team, recognizing that the singles belts aren't working for them so maybe combine forces! It makes sense and it's a fine kayfabe reason for two guys to team up for the first time. But the way they have Kidd turn is stupid, as Zayn is taking quite a beating from Ascension, and Kidd gets jealous of Zayn's ring time, actually saying something dumb like "oh, so you want to take all of the match?" and then walking away when Zayn would have been able to tag. Before the angle kicked in we had a nasty fight between Zayn and Viktor, with Zayn hitting his stuff better than ever (his crossbody off the top was perfect) and Viktor working fast and vicious, throwing great strikes, planting Zayn with a back suplex when Zayn tries to tag. Konnor would come in with nice stomps and man now I'm really upset that it wasn't built up as a proper tag match. The first 5 minutes of this are so good! They easily could have had a full match, had Kidd and Zayn lose, and then Kidd flip out afterwards. Instead Kidd comes off lame, jealous of Zayn for taking too long of a beating. Have him turn on Zayn as he blames him for the loss, not because he was jealous that he wasn't in there hitting flippy moves. Zayn is distracted, Konnor hits an avalanche, Fall of Man is delivered and taken brutally, but man now I just wanted the actual match. What could have been.

Good show this week, and next week we get RVD!! Nobody wanted that. I had completely blocked his 2014 return from memory.


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Sunday, June 19, 2016

WWE Money in the Bank 2016 Live Blog

So to start the live blog, I'd like to address an extremely embarrassing and unfortunate coincidence. A few days ago I needed something to post for that day (still somehow keeping up with our post-per-day minimum almost two and a half years later) but I was at work that day and leaving directly from work to go to a concert in Oakland (John Carpenter LIVE!!! My god), so wasn't going to be able to write anything new. So I scoured my drafts for something and found several Jerry Lawler reviews that I had written 3+ years ago. I read them through, they seemed quality, so I posted a couple. The next day - to my horror - I went on PWO for the first time in a couple days and immediately saw a thread about Jerry Lawler being suspended indefinitely under accusations of domestic violence, news that would have been broken BEFORE I posted those reviews. Yeesh. So I just want to make it clear that I WAS NOT taking any sort of stance, no silent support for Lawler, nothing weird. I was just "lucky" enough to post something about him the same day as the news came out. I could have posted those damn reviews any day over the last three years, but I just happened to need content on the day THAT news breaks. Good grief. So, if for some reason anybody out there was icked out by my poorly timed Lawler post - and to be clear not one person to my knowledge has accused me of doing anything untoward - but if for some reason there is a reader out there who thought I was being gross, please know that it was just an unfortunate coincidence.

ER: I just received a text alert from WWE stating "The greatest Money in the Bank event in history starts NOW!" WOW!! The greatest PPV on the greatest night in the history of our great sport!?!? How can I afford to NOT watch and write about this!?

1. The Golden Truth vs. Breezango

ER: Breezango are working an extreme sunburning gimmick, playing up that they got roasted earlier while tanning their bods. This leads to Goldust amusingly working a chop heavy style while Breeze and Fandango scream. Goldust throws some amazing chops all throughout so it works, and for speaking for all the people who have ever lobstered themselves, you get it. The match wasn't much beyond that sadly. Goldust got to be the hot tag, which is nice since he's easily the best hot tag in the fed, but I wish I could just see an actual 8+ minute match between these teams.

2. Lucha Dragons vs. Dudley Boyz

ER: "Game of Thrones isn't the only show with flying dragons!" Ugh, Mauro's had that line in the can for weeks I assume. There are also ads on the bottom of the screen FOR the Money in the Bank PPV. How many people who subscribe to the Network, who happen to be watching the network LIVE at 4:47 PM on a Sunday, wouldn't know they are about to see Money in the Bank? There was a production person in the back who was paid to put these graphics up on the bottom of the screen. The only way they could be watching this match was if they clicked the large "Watch WWE Money in the Bank LIVE NOW" button on the homepage. These teams don't seem to gel very well, and the Dragons seem to be holding back on their flying offense. Everything is landing super soft. Bubba is still good but has lost a step, but he's doing a good job of trying to make up for any ability loss with an increase in shit talking. It works. But yeah the match as a whole really doesn't. The heat segments aren't compelling, the comebacks are light. There were a couple decent individual moments, but this was a throwaway pre-show match for certain.

3. Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The New Day

ER: Love the new waistcoat/vest/pocket watch entrance gear on the Villains. Entrances take a full 9 minutes for everybody so I magically leap forward in time. Anderson and Gallows have to wait almost that long as Enzo and Kofi set up dual crossbodies off the top. There's an annoying segment where Kofi and Enzo do a tug of war, each trying to tag out to their partners. So just a long segment of two guys just not fighting each other, while holding hands. Neat. Things "break down" just 4 minutes in, despite next to nothing happening. Kofi is really sandbagging the Villains. Anderson seems to be the only one who understands that it's a one pinfall finish, as he tries to tag guys whenever they get close. Kofi and English were fighting right next to Enzo and Cass and they just stood there thumbing their butts. Can't win the match from the apron, doodz. Cass and Enzo go on a run and Gallows looks late on a save, plus the ref did a bad double clutch count. Looked bad. They wisely have English take most of the finishers, as that guy is really good at taking offense. The last two minutes of this got good as WWE multiman structure is usually good at handling those big finisher trading runs, but this really wasn't that good for the time allotted.

ER: I really liked Owens during the MITB promo, even though they were just going for yuks instead of actually building to much of a match. "Perro means dog? You know Spanish now?" "No, I just learned that word because [Alberto Del Rio] always calls people that."

4. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

ER: When did the "super wet hair" scourge start sweeping through WWE? When did that start being a thing? Was it HHH? Is he the Wet Hair Mary? Did he start demanding everybody with hair just dunk their heads under a sink pre-match? Even Flair has been horribly sporting this look for years now, which only adds to his incredible melting man look. Let's all get together and try to pinpoint this wet hair outbreak. Corbin's work looks really good in this. I like his measured straight rights, even if the crowd is chanting boring at him. Did I miss something with Ziggler? Why is he wearing what appears to be an actual HBK outfit from 1996? That's weird, right? I get guys wearing their influences on their sleeves, but just dressing exactly the same? How is that even allowed? Ziggler takes a hot shot really great, really looked like his neck snapped across that rope. Also really like Corbin being a step ahead and countering all of Ziggler's offense, tossing him off from the famouser, blocking the follow up superkick. Oh god Ziggler is even stomping to set up sweet chin music? What the fuck did I miss? What a fucking dork. Corbin plants him with a nasty spinning back suplex, really twisting him right into the ground. I'm really starting to love all of Corbin's running punches, and I liked the superkick reversal off Corbin's finisher. I think Corbin might be quite good, but it's tough to tell since I've only ever seen him against Ziggler and even though I ended up liking this match, it's a match-up I'm already tired of.

5. Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya

ER: I really liked Charlotte's knees/cravate combo on Natalya, but there is really not much to care about in this match. Becky's hot tag offense doesn't look that good. After seeing her a few times I still can't get any sort of read on Brooke. She seems good at doing lackey type stuff, bitchily making saves for Charlotte, but nothing has stood out about her wrestling ability. Lynch doesn't do a lot for me either. Brooke does make me laugh postmatch by yelling "I'm the greatest protege ever!!" That's awesome. Oh and hey Nattie turned on Lynch, meaning there Lynch the only babyface in the division? Paige is a face, right? I think? Nattie's forearm to the back of Lynch's head was probably the best looking thing in the match. This was a bunch of nothing.

6. Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

ER: Crews doesn't do a lot for me but Sheamus is good enough to get something out of him, and they oddly seem like a good match for each other. I really really dug all the violent opening headlock takeovers, they all looked so good. Crews throws a nice tight elbow that knocks Sheamus to the floor and Sheamus snags him off the apron and hits a backbreaker. And I am into this. Sheamus knows how to work a compelling headlock as he keeps shifting his weight and position to build for Crews' comeback. Sheamus is really good bumping all around for Crews' lariats, and then takes a wild bump to the floor off a belly to belly. Holy cow then Crews hits an awesome moonsault off the apron to the floor, that really couldn't have hit any better than it did. Man I am into this match. Crowd appears to not give any one of their fucks about it, but they're busting ass in there. It's really quiet though. Can't blame them though as Sheamus really has been an afterthought for some time. Which is too bad, as Sheamus is awesome. OOF, lame as hell finish with Crews just getting a roll up while Sheamus argued pinfalls. Man that is a lame finish. Shame as I was into the whole thing, up until that.

7. AJ Styles vs. John Cena

ER: Cole on commentary also calls this "The greatest Money in the Bank event in history!" What is the actual justification for using this exact phrasing. It's a weird thing to say about a show before it happens, and then again before it's over. Is there a kayfabe reason? Like are they acting like the matches on this card are the biggest ever when compared to past MITB? Or is it just hyperbolic horseshit? Cena looks smaller, which is good. He was looking freakish for awhile there. And this is really good so far. I loved Styles punching him when Cena waved his palm, and Cena selling that punch was great. On the floor AJ gets tossed into the steps but ably leaps over them and then casually rolls back into the ring and man Styles is playing this up so great. Styles pacing in this match is perfect, and then AJ gets launched by a backdrop. But the structure kinda falls apart after that backdrop. And then Styles hits a plancha where...I didn't really know what was supposed to hit whom. It looked like AJ changed his momentum to purposely not hit Cena, but then Cena sold it. Styles does crash and burn spectacularly on a missed dive afterwards though. Boy the pace I enjoyed so much at the start of the match sure has turned quite methodical. Cena is working like he's hurt, not in selling injuries, but just in a way that feels like he's not fully healthy. We have hit the part of the match where finishers are hit followed by lots of lying around. Styles catches knees on a 450, which is probably because he waited 90 seconds to hit it after Cena kicked out of the Styles Clash. And more lying around. I'm all for selling, but they're not laying this thing out in a very interesting way.  A ref bump was not something I was personally hoping for, either. Club interferes, puts AJ on top for the win. At least AJ won? I'm sure they will have several matches so I understand not doing a good finish in the first match, but the final 5-7 minutes of this were just really boring to me. It felt like they were going for drama that they hadn't earned. The long lying around selling followed by getting up and running around felt like the worst terceras of the worst CMLL main events. Both of these guys are good, and I'm sure they have a real good match in them. This started out like that match, but it wasn't that match by the end.

8. Money in the Bank Match: Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

ER: Jericho is doing some of the more interesting character stuff than at any time over the last several years, but his ringwork has gotten so lousy, and he hasn't adapted his style in the least, that it makes me just hope he decides to stop wrestling. He just looks so slow and bad in there. There are some big moves to start, but also notice that everybody taking the big moves is REALLY bad at occupying themselves while waiting to take a move. Jericho just stands there holding a ladder forever while waiting for Cesaro to hit his senton off the apron, 4 guys just stand at ringside patiently waiting for Zayn to hit a flip dive, they just aren't even pretending they're doing anything other than waiting to get hit. Cesaro hits running uppercuts on everybody and Sami Zayn has been gone for like 5 minutes. Owens too. Ah, now Owens comes in a hits cannonballs on everybody, and then Cesaro takes a nasty running face first bump into a ladder set up in the corner.  I'm not sure what possibly kept Zayn hurt for so many minutes, because when he reappears he is a house of fire. But pretty soon we're back to 4 guys disappeared and selling injuries off camera. Man you expect that kind of stuff in these but it seems really bad here. But holy cow Cesaro jumping from the ladder into a springboard uppercut looked amazing. We do get plenty of big moves into ladders, but the layout with guys just waiting around doing nothing until it's their turn to do a stunt is just out of control. I get it, shit hurts. But the way they're playing it you can literally predict who's turn it is to come in and take their turn to do something painful.  I've only missed one of my guesses so far. We take a preposterously long time to set up all 6 guys fighting while standing on ladders. ADR takes a flat out lunatic bump off a falling ladder, trying to land feet first on the top and basically doing a split legged moonsault to himself. We get many minutes of guys failing to climb well, until Ambrose climbs better than them to win! Well, this stunk.

9. Rusev vs. Titus O'neil

ER: Lana's faces while standing behind Rusev are the best. And Rusev and Titus smack into each other really hard to start, and Rusev gets tossed into the barricade. Before long Rusev is smothering him in the ring while trash talking Titus's kids. Rusev throws a lot of really good knees. Rusev's high kick and superkick both look great, Titus looks like he's scared of tearing a lat most times he does a move. And WOW Rusev won clean in the middle on Father's Day in front of Titus's kids!! Holy cow, they brought in his kids to watch their dad lose!! That's vicious shit right there. Happy Fathers Day!!! Rusev couldn't have looked much stronger in victory. He mostly steamrolled Titus here. Back down the card you go, O'Neill. Shouldn't have touched Vince that one time.

10. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

ER: According to chants, Roman apparently can't wrestle. Which not coincidentally sounds like the feeble screams of hundreds of micropenises. This was worked a little slower than I was hoping for, and I'm still confused who is supposed to be booed and who isn't. Rollins has some pretty light offense here, but there are some nice sequences. Loved Reigns backdropping Rollins, Rollins landing on his feet, but then getting blasted by a Superman punch. Rollins countering a spear with a kneelift was nice too. Rollins is really working as gutsy babyface returning from a knee injury, and the whole announce crew is selling it as such. Except for Byron Saxton, who I swear is just most useless fucking body. The whole PPV all he did was occasionally loudly say somebody's name when it was quiet. It would go quiet and then in an over-annunciated speech you would just hear. "ROMAN...REIGNS." Saxton is such a fucking zero. Those spots where they fight endlessly on the turnbuckles really don't look good. I'm honestly pretty bored during this one. It just feels way too long. Certain sequences feel repeated. Some stuff is looking really impressive, like Reigns brutal missed spear into the rail. The brawling has looked pretty sloppy. The fighting on the knees spot was pretty flimsy, especially after watching Black Terry do an expert version of the same moment earlier in the day. They went out and tried to have an epic war, and there was a lot that worked. I think they should have consolidated things a bit, maybe trimmed like 25% of the match, got to some things quicker. But I do actually like how they handled the ending, as I definitely didn't expect Roman to lose. It seems like such an anti-WWE move to give a guy like Rollins the title after being laid up for 7 months. The Money in the Bank stip does nothing at all for me, but I like that Ambrose immediately cashed it in, as then I won't have to see any stupid months and months of suitcase teases, and a guy dorkily carrying around said suitcase. And it makes the main event scene more interesting than it otherwise would have been with a Reigns win. Maybe I'll have second thoughts after thinking about it for a bit, but this seems like a neat way to freshen things up a bit. And maybe Ambrose will start looking better now that he's away from Jericho, and into actual important programs.

ER: So, I didn't like the PPV. A lot of it was boring. The two big singles matches fell flat with me, and the ladder match was a bunch of guys killing themselves in a stupidly laid out bad spotfest. And the undercard matches weren't really put in a position to succeed. There were individuals I liked, but nothing at all that I really liked. BUT, I'm oddly optimistic about things going forward, as even though I didn't care for the overall matches I'm excited for a Styles/Cena rematch, excited for the various Shield clashes, excited to see different stuff from Corbin and Rusev, so it's an odd feeling to not really enjoy much of what I just watched, while being interested in what's to come. So I guess I couldn't call it a failure.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Big Time Wrestling TV 6/17/16

1. Beatrice Domino vs. Lisa Lace (12/4/15)

Love Domino wearing a "Black Friday" shirt. Her gimmick is tough to pull off, as being a black crusader is a noble thing, but she acts like a heel, meaning it comes off like people are booing black lives matter, which is sticky. But this was a decent enough match, though the crack announce team was muddying the waters over who was the heel and who was the face, making things come off flat. Domino is kind of a complicated character to call anyway, and they always flop by having one of the commentators call her like comedy, which is just really annoying. But Lisa Lace was billed as being from another promotion, so part of the time they were treating her like an outsider, other times they were treating her like an underdog. They can be real bad. Lace is still inexperienced but working a lot, and her stiff disjointed nature kinda adds to matches. She has a good intensity and brings a little something extra than some other girls. Domino has some cool stuff, I liked her blocking a Lace roll up by stomping on her chest, and I'd really like to see more from both.

2. Zach Muir & Pitbull Wellman vs. Andre LeVeaux & Chico Navarro (5/13/16)

This is LeVeaux's first match, and kind of a tough call teaming him with Navarro, who has worked for years and often comes off untrained. Muir has an amusing heel gimmick as a zen master, so he has a bunch of fun holier than though ways to get out of moves, like an ultra cocky yoga teacher who specializes in hands-on guiding women students into tough poses. LeVeaux seemed fine, and Navarro looked better than normal at points, but I also don't think I've seen any wrestler throw worse stomps than Chico. They are impossibly embarrassing. Pitbull didn't do a whole lot and it was up to Muir to hold this short match together and he gamely tried, even taking a headscissors from a female valet. Short, not that good, but mostly inoffensive. They should really pick a different guy to feature every week than Chico Navarro, though, especially if they want to constantly talk about how they have the #1 training academy in the country.

3. Will Cuevas vs. Will Roberts (12/4/15)

Seeing guys like Navarro really makes you appreciate the polish that somebody like Will Cuevas brings to Bay Area wrestling. He feels like a guy who can get gigs around the country, has a good look and a nice moveset. Roberts is pretty new but looks good, although they looked best here when they weren't doing obviously planned sequences. All of the reversal stuff looked overly rehearsed and it was better when they kept things simple. Cuevas at one point hits a neat knee to the face, but it hardly gets sold by Roberts because it came in the middle of a planned reversal sequence. I hate that kind of stuff. But Cuevas hits simple things well, like nice forearms, a real good vertical suplex, nie headlocks, nice basics. But that temptation to do more complicated stuff is always there...

Kind of a nothing show this week with three short matches. Three 6 minute matches isn't very satisfying as nobody in the fed has the skills to work a real expert 6 minute WorldWide match, so you're just kind of left with short unsatisfying work. Plus Hank Ranner Jr. is just really bad. His announce schtick appears to be a guy in his 30s working as if he were a 65 year old sports pro. The pork pie hat, plaid sports coats and faux exasperation just scream hack.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Each Time it Gets a Little Harder, Lawler Feels the Pain, and He'll Try Again

Jerry Lawler vs. Romeo Roselli, NEW 6/1/06 - SKIPPABLE

ER: Boy, this match. You know Roselli from his failed WWE run, where he was the HeartThrob who didn't get a giant goose egg on his forehead from Regal. Roselli was the other one. Neither were very good. This isn't too long after his release, and to the shock of many, he still is not good. Lawler and Roselli riff for seemingly ever on the mic pre-match, Lawler getting called a has-been in a variety of ways, Roselli flexing, Roselli's valet rubs his muscles and then hilariously wipes her now overly oiled hand off on the apron was incredible. That spot was clearly not planned, and to their credit I would have laughed if the spot was actually planned. But the valet did not have the acting chops to pull off the genuinely disgusted face she made while wiping off her oily hand. Match gets underway and I have seen the Lawler formula work on a variety of bad opponents. If Lawler is Lawler, it has to work, right? Well, Lawler worked about as well as Lawler normally works, but Roselli was such an absolute void of anything entertaining that the formula just had nothing to bounce off. They worked some amusing spots (Lawler going to punch Roselli in the face, Roselli begging not in the face, so Lawler punches his body) but mainly a lot of Roselli chinlockery, botched interference from Roselli's valet, a spot where Lawler has to threaten to punch the valet but ends up kissing her that went WAY too long because Roselli was way late with the save, all the match build focusing on the Lawler Stunner spot which sadly popped the crowd bigger than anything else. In maybe the worst spot of any Lawler match I've ever seen, he actually got on the mic to pop the crowd by saying he was going to hit a Stone Cold Stunner. I wept. This just didn't add up to anything good, and it took a long time to get there. Roselli had a nice elbow drop (I was taught to end on a positive note).

Jerry Lawler vs. Romeo Roselli, NEW 10/14/06 - SKIPPABLE

ER: Hey, remember the previous match these two had? Same fed, 4 months before, written about directly above this match? Well here they are with almost the exact same, identical match. They did almost all the same spots, in almost the exact same order. For whatever reason, this one was better. Roselli didn't dick around as much and the match felt tighter for that reason, the (new) valet was better and knew her spots better, Lawler didn't get on the mic announcing he was gonna hit a Stone Cold Stunner, etc. So things were better. They weren't great though.


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Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Casas v. Hechicero

1. Negro Casas v. Rey Hechicero Monterrey 4/24

PAS: This year I have watched a bunch of really fun on paper lucha matches that have been slightly disappointing, this however totally lived up to it's promise. The matwork opening up this match was sublime, Casas doesn't do a ton of matwork normally, but man is his stuff beautiful here, finding sensible awesome looking counters to all of the flashy stuff Hechicero was pulling off. I loved that rolling cradle hamstring stretch Hechicero pulled off, and adored how Casas's hamstring tightened up in the third fall costing him the match. This was a really great match, and they left some stuff on the table for a possible rematch. This is that lucha libre I love.

ER: This whole match was just lucha heaven for me. Wrestling heaven? Possibly. This is arguably my favorite mat stuff of the year, and I say that as someone who is fully in love with all of the things Gulak and Yehi and others are doing. This had the beautiful grace of the best lucha matwork, combined with some genuinely painful looking stuff, with all sorts of twists and sequences so neat that they could only be done by masters. They throw out plenty of neat counters, but never get cute, it always feels like two guys trying to slowly wreck joints. At one point Hechicero is working for a bow and arrow and Casas breaks free and kind of lifts out of Hechicero's clutches like Nosferatu rising from his crypt and all in one motion he spins while never letting go of Hechicero's ankle, and suddenly he's got a wrenching ankle sub. Both men were joined together throughout almost all of this matwork, like they were a one line drawing, with them moving in these weird rolling patterns. It was hypnotic. I could have watched for hours. Negro locked in one of the stiffer sharpshooters I've seen, locking in those legs and every time Hechicero would lunge for the ropes it would send Casas stumbling and bending Rey's back even more. Also loved Negro just slowwwwwly yanking Hechicero's arms behind his back, and the camera was just right in Rey's face with Casas over his shoulder just slowwwwwly pulling back, like he was waiting to get right to the point of shoulder dislocation. The tercera was when they got on their feet, and then they wowed me in entirely different ways. Hechicero does some of his great strength spots, doing the one arm lift with the fun wrinkle of Casas trying to roll through it (something we just saw in Hechicero vs. Cerebro) and here Hechicero somehow blocks Casas' momentum before flinging him up and over. At one point they fight on the apron and man, I don't know if I've seen better apron fighting. It reminded me of Dundee/Koko in their scaffold match of two guys finding cool ways to work on a slender surface. This was just a tight, extremely well executed match. The spots were gorgeous, but they weren't just getting up and moving to the next spot. They found perfect ways to tie things together, kept up the basics (Casas blasts him with elbows, Hechicero throws some nasty flat footed kicks to Casas' forehead), there's neat memory stuff like Casas screaming to the crowd for a clothesline only to turn around as Hechicero is kicking his clothesline arm, it's just jammed full of the best of lucha. Great match.


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All Japan Motherload...Resurrected? Giant Baba vs. Killer Karl Kox - AJPW 3/3/81, plus Bonus Baba!

[UPDATE] Months later the match showed up again online, but it will probably disappear at some point again. So anybody that didn't get to see Baba/Kox should go watch it, now.

ER: This match is so fucking awesome. And it's all gone. Our mysterious Japanese benefactor SKK and his glorious youtube page are all vanished and destroyed, and this match was the last thing I had written up from his stash. Looks at that blank youtube screen I'm leaving embedded on the page, itself an armband around our hearts. Perhaps some day he will be back. Perhaps some other dedicated loon will take over for him before the inevitable. Here's to this guy, and the next guy.

Because this match is so fucking awesome. It's also weird because it was the second to last match of Kox's career (he had a match in the states against Andre a year and a half later, which is also something I would pay money for the chance to see). So his final match in Japan is for Baba's PWF title at the age of 50. And it's really, truly great. Kox gets busted open from BABA CHOPS! And fires back with mean right hands and pointy back elbows, and his elbow drops actually look like they are going to crush Baba's giant ribcage. Kox really just plants them deeply, right into Baba's sternum. Kox looks like a million crusty old deans going up against a million lame fraternities, except this guy would destroy all Greek campus life. By the time it got to Kox giving Baba a brutal hardway brainbuster I was flipping out. This is flat out pro wrestling. Kox just picks up and drops Baba right on his giant head. Then Kox starts punching Baba with a loaded fist and playing hide the weapon, and sister you haven't lived until you've watched an old white man play hide the weapon, in Japan, against Baba. The falls go quick, Baba gets his same-size-as-Baba trophies presented after the match, Kox glowers, this is the best.

Giant Baba vs. Abdullah the Butcher - AJPW 4/7/79 - BONUS HAIKU

Two oddly shaped men
Baba chops to face break skin
Abby don't back down

Who are these two men
Abby blades his fucking ear
All from Baba chops

All great things must end
Fat guys have great elbow drops
Clearly a count out

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