Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

TNA WORKRATE REPORT 11/16/06

WHAT WORKED:

-I liked Eric Young’s suit. The whole Pied Piper of TNA gimmick is really shitty. But the suit and the blonde faux hawk is a good look. If Wrestling Society X gets off the ground I imagine Jimmy Jacobs vs. Eric Young worked as a Chris Carrabba vs. Paul Weller type feud might be really fun.

-“ROWDY PIPPER”~!!!! TNA puts together a video package advertising their “best moments” A.K.A. moments involving guys who no longer work for the promotion. Hey I remember that time Chris Rock showed up. Hey “ROWDY PIPPER”.

-I liked Buh Buh’s back stage mic work setting up the Naturals match. Fine intense mic work. Not sure if it’s the lighting but D-Von appeared to have two differently colored aureolas. Kind of distracting.

-Lou Thesz is such a carny.

-I really liked the Christian vs. Rhino cage match. In the past I’ve talked a lot about the WWE bloodless televised feud ending cage matches…where feuds end in spotfest cage matches. Here this wasn’t really aspotfest cage match. It was an “escape the cage”rules cage match but both guys were working it as though primary purpose of cage match was to beat the shit out of opponent and winning the actual escape”part was secondary. I kind of liked the whole ridiculous Worlds of Warcraft/Dungeons and Dragons style booking. It was very Russo but on some level really also felt very much like the type of gimmick booking KevinSullivan would have done in Florida. And while Russo matches are built around finishes, this was about the beatings..this garbage match wasn’t about the final garbage spot it was about the bloody match body (failure of the Naturals vs. 3D was failure to get this). Christian was really great in this taking some nasty garbage bumps (including crazy one on the chair ) nice basic wrestling bumps (high back drops, etc) showing a ton of passion and really doing everything in his power to make Rhino’s stuff look good. Commercial break was shitty as Christain coming back from commercial break bloody is really anticlimactic. The first shot that draws blood is a big spot in this type of brawl…doing that over commercial break is like doing transitions over commercial break..it fucks up match flow


WHAT DIDN”T WORK:

The 11/9/06 Impact was bad in interesting ways. It was filled with stuff that on paper are no brainers, stuff that should be impossible to fuck up and yet they fucked it up. This week most of the bad stuff was predictably bad.

-Two Hours??? TWO HOURS??? HA! One of my favorite goofy TNA apologist talking points is “all these problems would be eliminated if they were given two hours”. You know if only the Clippers were allowed to play twenty four minute quarters. If the NFL moved to a forty week season then people would notice how great the Lions really are. “Unhappily Ever After” has a really great cast, but what can you expect them to pull off when they only have a half hour show to work with. The problem with “Mama’s Family” is that they really can’t get off the comic bits in the 30 minute framework. If they were only given an hour “Mama’s Family” would be really funny. That’s not the way it works.

-Other general presentation things: If you want to make the Impact Zone look more like an infomercial shoot lots of confetti. Even Ephesians 6:12 couldn’t save the embarrassing Sahadi video packages.

-With the exception of the cage match there really was no good wrestling on this show. Samoa Joe v. Jay Lethal is normally a good match up as they’re both really good at eating their opponents stuff, but tonight it just laid there and was a nothing and really you shouldn’t be working a competitive squash in under two minutes. If you’ve got a squash that goes under two minutes, that isn’t enough time to work it competitive. Dutt comes in to make the save and Sabin refuses to make save. Is Samoa Joe supposed to be a heel now. Or is this one of those there are no face-heel type things. Naturals vs. Team 3-D should be better than this. Well this wasn’t a match just was a finish. Neat finish with the Shane Douglas sacrifice but still for a tables brawl to mean anything you need to have a big brawling section before you move to the interesting finish. You need a big bloody brawl for the table spot to feel like a climax/finish (whatever). You kill the tables gimmick if it takes place after under 2 and a half minutes. Chris Sabin working heel spots is better than Chris Sabin working wrestling spots but damn that three-way X division match was all about preposterous “all three guys executing moves at the same time” spots. It was like I was watching a Comedy Sportz team do an improve warm up exercise. The MC “all three of you are connected as part of a machine, now there’s a power surge, the machine goes into overdrive. Good job now give Daniels a belt”. And well YOWZA! Remember when people were pimping Abyss as being better than Mark Henry. I don’t remember an Angle v. Henry match this bad. I mean there was really no reason to believe Abyss vs. Angle would be any good…but I thought it might be a poor man’s Abyss vs. AJ Styles. I mean I guess the lesson of Whitney Houston is that if all you are is you’re ability to do histrionic vocal singing, you should stay away from crack…as it will ruin your voice. Angle throwing Abyss isn't as impressive as Angle throwing an actual tall wrestler: Tomko or Edge. Its about as visualy impressive as Angle throwing a chubby Charlie Haas. Does Abyss normally throw suplexes? I can’t remember him ever throwing a suplex before…amused that he adds a suplex to his arsenal when working an Olympic gold medalist. Is Abyss'character a guy who understands move reversals? The Orlando TNA crowd is a very generous group and Angles in ring debut was met with the same sustained pop that they had used for the TNA in ring debut of Spike Dudley, Sting and Christian. The Orlando crowd did surprise me by being more critical than one would expect, and there was no “You still got It”’chant. This stank. The booking of having Abyss loose cleanly before his PPV match is dumb. The post match lots of commotion happening didn’t really heat up anything.

-This Voodoo Kin Mafia thing is bad. I mean Voodoo Kin Mafia segment was so bad that you forget the stupidity of the opening section where Johnny Devine topes a steel chair for no reason. So bad that you forget the ridiculousness of Kip James'' red died hair. So the James Gang quit two weeks ago and they come back with “creative control”…Who gave them “creative control “? And when given “creative control” instead of setting themselves up for title shots, they use it to get on the mic to try to settle personal grudges. And they declare “War” on “dx” and VINCE Mcmahon. The actual story of DX and the James Gang is an amusing story. HHH and Vince when they restarted DX wanted to bring back the New Age Outlaws, but then they found out that the Outlaws had been talking all kinds of shit. No one minded that they were talking about Vince but when Helmsley found out that they were talking about him, his ego was bruised and he nixed bringing them back. Its amusing story that makes Helmsley look pathetic. Some how they totally fail to get that across and instead make themselves look pathetic and silly. Why can Nash call HBK Shawn Michaels but the James Gang can’t? Why did they set up a Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Serotonin match for the PPV without ever mentioning that Michael Shane was Shawn Michaels’s nephew?

I figured that I really covered all the structural background on shoot angles last week. I was kind of hoping that I’d cover it thoroughly one week and just be able to repost it every week that Russo ran another poorly executed shoot angle. But watching this angle it’s clear that I missed a bunch of structural points. The general point from last weeks report still stands. “Speaking truth to power” doesn’t automatically create fan loyalty to wrestler. There needs to a motivation for why the wrestler is “shooting” and why the audience should trust that that “shoot” is the “shoot” truth. This angle failed to do that. But it also failed in lots of other ways.

1) Brand loyalty is often won by painting self as put upon underdog. WWF painted itself as underdog being attacked, ECW painted self as underdog. WCW was "trying to put WWE out of buisness" by "stealing all their talent" but "not having the creativity"...WCW and WWF were trying to put ECW out of buissness. We fans must ally ourselves aginst them. Painting yourself as defending your own company hopefully will create a sense of alliance between the wrestler and the audience. Attack on the fed is attack on the fans of the fed. The fed and the fans are defending their way of life-- fighting for same cause thus also giving audience an investment in the fight.

2) If you’re going to take shots at opponents company, they need to be tasteless. I mean maybe Gillberg isn’t tasteless but to get the audience to think “Ooh that’s below the belt, the WWE is going to have to respond or they’re pussies” it needs to actually be below the belt shot. Again this is an underdog move. May not be as rich as your opponent may not be able to fight back against their advertising budget but you can hit them where it hurts.

The Voodoo Kin Mafia gimmick is not about WWE hating TNA and going after it. It’s about TNA bringing the “WAR TO THEIR FRONTDOOR”. It’s a pathetic attempt to get recognition, instead of an attempt to defend against attack. And really there is nothing the least bit tasteless about the Voodoo Kin Mafia gimmick.

I don't particularly care for "shoot angles"where you make fun of the opposition in an effort to create fan loyalty. But if thats the goal this was just poorly written. The James Gang aren't the most talented guys out there but damn this really feels like a waste of their talents.

-Wow. You know the Petey Williams LAX angle was bad when it was clearly actively dumber than the Voodoo Kin Mafia segment.That LAX. Petey Williams angle may have been one of the top ten most embarrassing things in the history of TNA booking. I keep on reading about how TNA wants to run border town shows with LAX main eventing, but damn the whole LAX angle is written by idiots. I mean I thought the LAX (when it was two Puerto Ricans and a Cuban) vs. LA Migra match made people look stupid. Flag burning is not just immoral, but also a “federal offense”?? Petey Williams soap boxing “this flag may stand for politics and greed and war but it also stands for opportunity”… They’re going to run a Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt good immigrant vs. LAX bad politicized immigrant feud?? Mike Tenay gets serious and I start cracking up. “I want to get serious for a moment, I want to take a moment to say something about Petey Williams. The kid who wouldn’t succumb to peer pressure, you’re the real hero”…Disappointed that they didn’t have a chorus humming the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” behind Tenay. Fuck that should be a weekly segment. This week on “Tenay Gets Serious For a Moment” while a chorus sings “His truth is marching on” in the background. Glory, glory, Hallelujah!!


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PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #18 12/5/92 BYE BYE PANCRASE BOYS

Yuki Ishikawa v. Mark Ashford-Smith

PAS: Mark Ashford-Smith is Mark Starr of Men at Work fame, your WCWSN fans will remember that he had a great series against Steve Regal so we know he can work the mat and take a whipping. Here he works the mat and takes a whipping, although he lays it in too, I especially loved the forearms to the back of Ishikawa's neck. There was a great straight punch by Ishikawa into a running knee which was straight out of the Diego Sanchez v. Joe Riggs finish, although Mark Starr is tougher then Joe Riggs as he only took an 8 count.

TKG: Mark Ashford-Smith is Mark Starr of Wildside fame, your USWA fans will know he can work a crowd and work a brawl. He didn't really do any brawling here as this was mostly on the mat. This goes 21 minutes and never drags as you feel like only six or seven minutes have passed when they put up the time. You want to see this.

Ryushi Yanigasawa v. Bart Vale

PAS: Yanigasawa kind of proves his toughness by taking a beating by Vale. By 1992 Vale can actually lay in a beating so it looks really great. His straight kick to the face is especially nasty.

TKG: The straight kick always lands with his foot flat on his opponents face. Its great. Vale dominates the mat and Yanigasawa just hangs going for rope breaks and Vale dominates standing just beating Yanigasawa and stepping away from Yanigasawa's strikes. Vale is up three downs (with two rope breaks) to none when Yanigasawa eventually has to tap. So one sided, Vale looks like a bad ass and Yanigaswa looks tough for having hung that long.

Kazuo Takahashi vs. Alexsei Medvedved

TKG: This is kind of conceptually interesting as Takahashi has to build a thirty minute draw around Medvedved. Medvedved brings nothing to a match. He doesn't have good takedowns. He doesn't have good shoots for takedowns. When on the mat he doesn't do anything to press the advantage. He seems unclear on the concept and so will occasionally try to execute turns to get opponents back on the mat. Doesn't sell at all and is just confused and inept. Match eventually becomes Takahashi realizing that he is going to have to press the action. so he goes in for takedowns, Medvedved defends against Takahashi's takedowns, Medvedved than lies on top of Takahashi untill Takahashi can get to ropes, stand up repeat. Takahashi sells the fatigue of being unable to execute takedowns combined with the fatigue from having opponent lay on top of back. The match fatigues me as much as it does Takahashi. amusing way to work a thirty minute draw around a guy who brings nothing...not an entertaining way but amusing.

PAS: Takahashi is a guy who is really great at selling and eating moves, he is a guy whoever who needs something to react to.Medvedved gives him nothing to react to, nothing at all. Takahashi can't really work around someone, so it was just endless takedowns and rope breaks. This was like watching a worked Rashad Evans fight, if Rashad Evans was athletically unimpressive. Medvedved's takedowns were so slapdash that you don't actually buy him taking anyone down with them. Really exposed what you were watching. Dull and fake looking, but at least it was really long.

Minoru Suzuki v. Jerry Flynn

PAS: Flynn was a guy who used mostly kicks in his early PWFG matches, he does alot more matwork and is much more balanced in later stuff. In some ways it makes his matches a little less interesting, as he works the same style as everyone else now. This match had a bunch of really nice exchanges and counters, and was bascially a fine match. I still get the sense it would have been better if Flynn was a little more one dimensional.

TKG: I liked this alot more than Phil. The basic thing about Flynn is that he does allot of defensive stuff. Allot of his kickboxing is very defensive oriented. And a big chunk of his mat work is defense based. Suzuki is constantly a flutter on the mat constantly sprawling trying something new. Thats the contrast that this match is about. As this match really had no stand up, but it was Suzuki on the mat trying to advance past Flynn's defenses while Flynn is looking for Suzuki to overreach and make a mistake so Flynn can catch Suzuki. Suzuki is taking risks, while Flynn exploits those risks.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Ken Shamrock

PAS: Very cool match, Shamrock is really athletic and has great spots, you get a guy like Fujiwara or Sano to put that into a match it will be really great. The first part of the match has Shamrock using that athleticism to take Fujiwara down and get him into submissions, but Fujiwara has an answer for everything, and keeps doing awesome reversals into submissions. I really think Fujiwara is the greatest counter wrestler ever. Shamrock finally gets fed up with taking him down, and starts kickboxing. He gets a quick down, and then knocks him out with an enziguri to Fujiwara's face. The match feels a little truncated, especially considering how rarely Fujiwara loses. The standup section really should have gone a little longer, as Fujiwara kind of got squashed as soon as they stood.

TKG: I don't have much to add to what Phil says here other than I really liked the process of Fujiwara getting escapes. As he goes from guy caught to guy struggling to guy coming up with something in a visually exciting way When Fujiwara is beat you can tell he's beat as he seems just completely unprepared for the change in tactics.

Masakatsu Funaki v. David Gobedjshvilli

PAS: This is Funaki's swan song to overtly worked wrestling as went off to Pancrase after this match. This was better then most Funaki matches, as it had a cool story. Gobedjshvilli had some giant looking takedowns, which Funaki couldn't stop, but Funaki was picking him apart standing, I especially loved Funaki working low kicks dropping his guard to land a big high kick. Funaki finishes with an ankle submission which is counter to what they were doing, but it's Funaki you can't expect everything.

TKG: Gobedjihishivi really works like a guy who has no idea of how to defend against the kicks. At one point he tries a karate kid crane stance. He tries to shift to a southpaw stance. Gobedjihishivi spent his childhood watching bootleg kung fu movies poorly dubbed into Russian and damnit he was going to try every crouching stance he could remember. You can watch the Russian's childhood illusions crumble as one drunken tiger stance after another fails him.


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Pro WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #17 10/4/92 THE DOME~!

Ryushi Yanigasawa v. Yuki Ishikawa

PAS: This really had all the heat of a Dome show opener. It is possible it was happening while they were setting up the chairs, although we might have heard chairs being set up. It seems to go to an 8 minute draw and was a batch of nothing.

TKG: Phil is being generous. Although I think I liked the opening minute, but after that this didn't really happen.

Joe Malenko v. Georgui Galdava

PAS: This was great as Galdava is quite an awesome fake Volk Han, and Joe Malekno is Joe Malenko. Lots of nasty leg twisting counters, and Galdava had some really great amateur throws. The finish was awesome too, as Malenko nearly touches Galdava's foot to his head.

TKG: Good gawd the finish pretzel hold was narsty. They did a bunch of meaningful rope breaks for a fed where no one has ever lost due to rope breaks. Still both guys worked "frustrated" by opponents ability to escape to ropes. This was filled with neat shifting of levels as one guy moved from bottom to top and then was moved back to bottom again.

Naoki Sano v. Jerry Flynn

PAS: Sano was the show stealer for a bunch of the 1991 PWFG so I am amped to see him back. The opening was basically kickboxing, and Sano has some great leg kicks, just tremendous velocity and force. There was some really nice mat stuff too, and a really hot finish. All you would want from an undercard shootstyle match

TKG: Yeah these two match up nicely. Last time they matched up it was more Flynn as the better striker vs. Sano as better mat guy. Here story a little more complicated as both bring different types of skills to the stand up game and different types of skills to the mat one. And you have a sense that either can play into the hands of either wrestler. the throw into the finish was super great too.

Bart Vale v. Aleksei Medvedved

PAS: Medvedved has shaved his chest hair so he looks a little less Boratish then he did last time. He was still rocking the lemon lime unitard (I call it a Sprite). The Russians were really wearing more candy paint then Young Joc's Cadillac on this show. Vale has gotten so good, and this had the illusion of being competitive with Medvedved really being unable to do much. Aleksei did have an almost Takahashish ability to sell a knockdown though.

TKG: The shaving of the chest may give Medvedved a less Boratish look. but his arm swings and gait really give him a Borat/Eugeneish feel. Vale keeps on pasting him in the forehead as Medvedved prances around circling. Last time we saw Medvedved he was pretty much squashed here he's in this competitive match where you really get a sense of how good Vale is. At this point I think Vale has pretty much lapped all the guys who are about to go to Pancrase as workers. The mat stuff was sweet and the standup was filled with super nasty Vale kicks.

Duane Koslowski v. Naniev Olegg

TKG: I was expecting this to be the least of the Florida guys vs. Russians but this was surprisingly good. Olegg brings alot more to the table than Medvedved and this actually is nicely paced with both fighting for advantage as this really felt like a high scoring RPW match. The finisher with Olegg putting a reverse figure four on Koslowski's left leg was spectacular.

PAS: Koslowski had been consistently been a guy with cool spots in search of a guy to put a match together. He never got a singles against Fujiwara who I think could do it, one wouldn't think a match against a Russian would be his best, but this was really good. It really felt like a RINGS match, with alot of countering and shifting on this mat. The finish was just amazing.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Zaour Chabadze

TKG: So Chabadze is a Russian champion Arm Wrestler and I was going into this fully expecting a hard head vs. claw match. While that would have been spectacular this was every bit as good if not greater. For an arm wrestling champ Chabadze isn't built like Scott Norton or Big Daddy Goodridge. Instead he has just this huge apelike wingspan as his arms look twice the length of his torso and are filled with just multitude of muscles. Match is really all about Chabadze dominating Fujiwara on the ground through arm strength. Fujiwara tries to keep his arms together and tries to manipulate his center of gravity to keep from just being thrown around by Chabadze' s wings. And eventually Chabadze gets fed up and asks for a standup. there's this huge pop as guy who dominated on ground needs standup. Fujiwara goes to corner wipes the sweat off his body by rubbing himself against turnbuckle. And slaps Chabadze across the face. Man this match rules.....

PAS: The reason this match was better then anything on the show was the way Fujiwara can establish hierarchies. While Malenko v. Galdava was alot of fun as was Koslowski v. Olegg, they were basically worked as two even guys rolling on the mat looking for advantages. Here Chabadze is a monster, he can take Fujiwara down at will as is so strong that Fujiwara is helpless on the mat. So the crowd is super hot because it looks like the aging legend is going to get steamrolled, does he have any tricks left this is the worlds greatest Rocky 4.

Kazuo Takahashi vs. Suppaman Sattasaba

TKG: This may go a minute. Sattasaba is a thai Kickboxer and Takahashi is really good at selling kicks, but I don't think Suppaman got a single kick off.

PAS: Most of these Thai kickboxer matches suck, but I was kind of looking forward to seeing Takahashi eat some Thai knees. I'll take short though.

Wayne Shamrock vs. Don Neilson

TKG: I think this may have gone thirty seconds.

PAS: I don't get the point of this being this short, but had no problems moving quickly through this part of the card.


Minoru Suzuki vs. David Gobedjishivili

TKG: Gobedjishivili controls the first minute throwing a cautious Suzuki around. Suzuki figures he can take Gobedjishivi's throws, gets less cautious and wins this at about the three minute point. Not as good as the Fujiwara match or any of the Florida guys matches but whatever.

PAS: Suzuki had some nice dickish head bobbing, which is something he does a ton of now, but didn't really do in PWFG much. Gobedjishivilli has some nice throws, but this was again short and squashish.

Masakatsu Funaki vs. Maurice Smith

TKG: This is worked three minute rounds with Mo Smith controlling most of them. Dominating standup and blocking all take down attempts. Smith gets one knock down on Funaki in third round and Funaki gets off his first successful takedown. Funaki gets off a couple take downs in final round but this seems to be an exhibition match as their are no judges and both guys hands are raised at the end.

PAS: I don't get the lack of judges, and I don't understand having the Japanese guy dominated for so much of the match if it was going to end in a draw. Was it a moral victory for just lasting with Mo Smith? I could see a moral victory if Smith was fighting Ishikawa. Moral victories seem weird for a main event.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

WWE 24/7 SHORTIE

Cactus Jack v. Sabu ECW 12/23/95

PAS: This was during a period I was watching and following ECW pretty closely, and during a period where Cactus Jack was my favorite wrestler and Sabu was top 5, yet I have no memory of this match existing. I really wouldn't have figured that this would have held up as well as it did, but fuck, you kind of forget how much both guys used to rule. This was advertised as an Olympic rules match but, 911 comes out chokeslams the ref, and turns it into ECW rules, and man alive are both guys not afraid to die. Foley especially takes a huge beating, eating Arabian facebuster on the nose and eye, and getting Flair tossed to the floor. In an especially crazy moment, he does the hangman spot, which I always figure he dumped after Germany, but doesn't just do it, he has Sabu dive on to him so he slides out in the exact same way he slid out when he lost his ear. He turned losing his ear into a signature bump.

TKG: The whole Olympic rules gimmick amuses me as its essentially Cactus Jack vs. Sabu working same story as Bobby Hill v. Connie Souphanousiphone. Bobby and Connie worry about potentially embarrassing themselves or the other in an amateur rules match. They avoid that by working a "real" wrestling match. For fat guy who pathetically sees himself as a funny stand up comic, I find Bobby Hill not just more endearing but also funnier than Foley. As an actual wrestler...well that's the only Bobby Hill match I've seen and well I had forgotten how much fun Foley can be in this type of brawl. I'm not sure about the Khan, Khan Jr relationship vis a vis Sheik and Sabu...But Sabu is really facially young here, has nice punches and is the reason you used to watch Sabu matches. He hits this Arabian facebuster at almost a Yohshino speed. He lands hard and it looks brutal and Foley gets up and you have the whole great Sabu everything is out of control feel where you don't know what's deliberate and what isnt.


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WWE 24/7 MIDGET REVIEW

Hati Kid v. Butch Cassidy 12/30/85

TKG: So I'm watching this WWE 24/7 on demand MSG show. Second match on the show is a surprisingly good B Brian Blair vs. Jim Neidhart 15 minute draw. Immediately after that there is a Jose Louis Rivera v. Hercules Hernandez match where Hercules works so loose it feels like almost a rib. Follows that up with a Poffo vs. Adonis match, a Hogan vs. Savage match and a Tony Atlas vs. John Studd match. so eight matches in and its time for the midget match. Haiti Kid is short dwarf like guy in black trunks and ridiculous house slippers. Butch Cassidy looks like a 14 year old Mathew Lesko. The ref appears to be only a couple inches taller than Cassidy and they work this match pretty straight, with maybe one comedy spot. Early parts of this are all Cassidy bumping as Haiti won't leave his feet. Haiti does do lots of Kevin Sullivan inspired midget strikes and one weird midget put opponent on head and spin him spot. Nasty chops to neck, shots to the sides, and encephalitic skull head butts (with both front and side of head). Cassidy runs Haiti into one corner and goes after him with elbow strikes throws him into opposite corner follows up with knees. And Cassidy gets a run of offense where he starts throwing suplexes and they do a "what will it take to put him away" section. I spent the first part of match thinking that haiti Kid couldn't leave his feet but FUCK. Haiti does this really great eat of a drop kick where Haiti leaps up so he can eat the dropkick right in the belly, folds himself in half and hen drops. Haiti's finishing run of offense is awesome lucharific finish, where he goes for Atlantida into this leg takedown roll up. The 80s WWE DVD set really should have included this as spotty as Hart vs. DK, just cooler spots and better execution.

PAS: This really was almost a mixed match, as Cassidy is a midget but Hati Kid is a dwarf. In Mexico one would be in the Micro's division and one would be a mini. Cassidy would have had a great lucha run as AAA gringo mini throwing silver dollar sized tortillas at the audience, as he ate all of Hati kids athletic spots really well, and also had a bunch of fun offense of his own. Tom mentioned all of the suplexes, but my favorite bit of Cassidy offense was a beautiful looking amateur take down. I also loved all of the announcing, as Gorilla and Lord Al Hayes got all pensive and nostalgic for the midgets no longer with us.


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Friday, December 22, 2006

Pro WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #16 9/2/92

Yuki Ishikawa v. Diuseul Berto

TKG: Berto works more like a shoot fighter and less like Koko Ware in this match. The crowd for this whole show is a real UFC crowd completely dead for mat work and only popping for standup. This match has a lot of mat work, lots of Berto rolling Ishikawa around. Berto low blows Ishikawa, Ishikawa needs to take a knee and then comes back house of fire and the crowd picks up for the end of this.

PAS: This was probably the best Berto match so far, the opening stuff was kind of listless, but it had a really hot last couple of minutes. I especially loved Berto throwing Ishikawa with a suplex where he lands neck first on the ropes, which really looked like something Billy Roc or Ricochet should steal. This kind of made me want to see a Diuseul/Andre Berto v. Ishikawa/Fujiwara tag.

Duane Koslowski v. Ryushi Yanagisawa

TKG: This was mostly kept on the mat and had some neat things in it. But crowd was really disinterested and Yanigasawa really hasn't learned how to sell submissions well.

PAS: Koslowski will always do a couple of cool things every match, but his matches rarely amount to much. Yanagisawa isn't the guy who is going to reign him in and add substance.

Naniev Olegg v. Jerry Flynn

TKG: This is first actively good match on the show. Its a worked shoot show, and sometimes you forget that. Here the two guys really felt uncooperative in a real way that made the whole thing more dramatic. Both guys doing stuff with a type of indifference to opponent. That kind of aura combined with what felt like lots of receipt spots and super nasty finish made this for a fun match.

PAS: Olegg was rocking the pink singlet and pink wrestling boots, Camron style. I am looking forward to watching the entire Soviet Dipset on the dome show. Flynn was great in this as he was the guy really controlling the match, as Olegg seemed to occasionally not understand what he was supposed to do.

Bart Vale v. Kazuo Takahashi

TKG: HOLY SHIT, this ruled. Takahashi is a guy who could make Stan Lane's kicks look devastating. Meanwhile Bart Vale has learned how to kick. Bart Vale has actually gotten pretty good as all his offense looks really sharp, his defense (when he's on the bottom in a mat sequence ) is really engaging, and his pacing is just solid. The best Takahashi is when he's working as underdog trying to hang with a guy above him. Bad Bart Vale is bad because he's worked as though he's higher echelon worker while his actual stuff looks garbage. Here he actually felt like a high level guy. And Takahashi can sell scrappy guy taking a beating like nobody else.

PAS: This was spectacular, Takahashi may be the guy I am most bummed about leaving for Pancrase. He has gotten almost 1993 Kikuchi great at selling and taking a beating. Vale was a real stink bomb for the UWF2 and the early PWFG, but at this point he may even be better then Shamrock. There was a great exchange where Takahashi is desperately trying for a leglock, and gets cut off by a highkick which he sells like death. You can see Fujiwara in the corner totally marking out, and making Fujiwara mark out means something.

Masakatsu Funaki v. Aleksei Medvedev

PAS: Medvedev was wearing a neon green one piece and had a really amusing mustache and smirk on his face. Kind of like a Russian comedian doing a Burt Reynolds impression, match was short and underwhelming.

TKG: Medvedev kind of looked like Benson era Rene Auberjonois. He kind of wrestled like Benson era Rene Auberjonois.

Wayne Shamrock v. Minoru Suzuki

PAS: Where the fuck was Fujiwara on this show, this isn't Pro-Wrestling Suzuki-Gumi goddamnit. This was there typical 30 minute main event draw, there was a bunch of individually impressive stuff, including some great takedowns by Shamrock. Still it all added up to nothing, as it was clear five minutes in they were working a 30 minute draw.

TKG: These two match up really well but whole match felt like they weren't going anywhere. Never felt like it was building to anything other than a standoff draw. Not a major show draw either. This wasn't the draw they do in the Omni, this is the one they ran in Gainesville. Shamrock was wearing new shoes for this match and he kept on hopping around on his toes making squeaking noises which added a weird Lil Scrappy produced dynamic to the match. there also was a fly flying around the ring for the whole match. At about the twenty minute point the ref walks over and catches the fly one handed. The crowd pops for the flies death.


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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Phil's UPDATED 2006 MOTY LIST

Here is the current list, reviews for the older matches are in previous DVDVR's

1. Chris Benoit v. Finlay WWE 5/21
2. Jun Akiyama v. Masao Inoue NOAH 4/23
3. Rey Mysterio v. Randy Orton WWE 4/4
4. Chris Benoit v. William Regal WWE 10/8
5. Briscoes v. Austin Aries/Roderick Strong ROH 8/12
6. Chris Benoit v. Finlay WWE 5/3
7. Finlay v. Rey Mysterio WWE 3/20
8. Chris Benoit v. JBL WWE 4/11
9 American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness ROH 8/12
10. Homicide v. Necro Butcher ROH 5/13
11. Chris Benoit v. William Regal WWE 5/8
12. American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Samoa Joe ROH 8/6
13. Ric Flair v. Mick Foley WWE 8/20
14. El Hijo Del Santo v. Perro Aguyao Jr. 8/25
15. American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness ROH 4/29
16. Mistico/Negro Casas v. Averno/Memphisto CMLL 4/15
17. Chris Hero/Necro Butcher/Super Dragon v. Samoa Joe/B.J. Whitmer/Adam Pearce ROH 4/22
18. La Mascara/El Hijo Del Santo v. Blue Panther/Tarzan Boy CMLL GDL 1/1
19. Rey Mysterio v. Mark Henry WWE 1/15
20. Damien Wayne v. Sean Denny NWA-VA 5/6

Previously on the list


- Juventud v. Kid Kash WWE 1/3
- Samoa Joe v. Necro Butcher IWA-MS 1/12
- A.J. Styles v. Matt Sydal ROH 1/14
- Samoa Joe v. BJ Whitmer ROH 1/14
- Chris Benoit v. Randy Orton WWE 1/24
- Shadow WX/Mammoth Sasaki v. Abdullah Kobyashi/Daisuke Sekimoto BJW 1/27/06
- Finlay v. Chris Benoit WWE 1/30
- HHH v. Big Show WWE 2/13
--Finlay/JBL v. Lashley/Chris Benoit WWE 2/16
-KENTA/Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v.Kenta Kobashi/Yoshinobu Kanemaru/Tamon Honda NOAH 2/17
- Undertaker v. Kurt Angle WWE 2/19
- Rey Mysterio/Bobby Lashley/Chris Benoit v. JBL/Finlay/Randy Orton WWE 2/23
-KUDO & MIKAMI v. Yoshiaki Yago & MIYAWAKI Chikara 2/24
-Milano Collection AT/Skyde v. Claudio Castagnoli/ Chris Hero Chikara 2/26
-Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara Big Mouth Loud 3/22
-Low-Ki v. Necro Butcher IWA-MS 4/1
-Yuki Ishikawa v. Hiroyuki Ito Big Mouth Loud 5/4
-Finlay v. Bobby Lashley WWE 5/8
-L.A. Park/Marco Corleone/Johnny Stamboli v. Dr. Wagner Jr./Dos Caras Jr./Lizmark Jr. CMLL 5/19
-Meiko Satomura v. Aja Kong Sendai Pro Wrestling 7/9
-El Hijo Del Santo/Negro Casas/Mistico v. Atlantis/Black Warrior/Ultimo Guerrerro CMLL 8/4
-Rey Mysterio v. Finlay WWE 9/5
-Sadico v. Terry 2000 AULL 9/13

14. El Hijo Del Santo v. Perro Aguyao Jr. 8/25

Santo shows up on tape about 8 times a year, and reminds you who the fuck he is. Perro is a guy who is pretty useless in the Coliseo six-mans I have been watching all year, but he is a guy who knows how to work a big main event. The first fall is all Aguyao brawling as he and El Terrible jump Santo and pound on him. Choking him and tossing him into seats. Getting the duke in the first fall with a great looking double stomp. Santo comes back in the second fall, hitting some awesome headscissors, an amazing in ring tope (which Aguyao takes better then anyone in wrestling) and winning the second fall with a crazy submission I have never seen before, kind of a reverse tapitia with a neck vise. Third fall starts with Santo chaining really great looking neck submissions before he breaks out the dives, hitting a tope to a prone Aguyao, tope to a standing Aguyao and a crazy plancha. They have a bunch of fun near falls, and a nifty little ref bump finish. I wouldn't put this on a list of classic Santo singles matches, but a big Santo singles is enough to place pretty high on a MOTY list.


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Saturday, December 16, 2006

TNA IMPACT WORKRATE REPORT 11/9/06

http://www.smugmug.com/photos/89764338-O.jpg

11/9/06

Yeah yeah yeah I know, this is over a month old. And with Russo in charge I assume a million things have happened in the last four weeks making the belated report seem even more dated. Hopefully what I lack in timeliness I will make up for with thoroughness or some such.

WHAT WORKED:

Hmmm? What actually worked on this episode? Well there was a bowtie, a beatdown, and a look in Stings eyes:

I. The Bowtie

-I need to get a scanner so I can draw a picture of Mike Tenay’s bow tie. He had this two tone bowtie that ruled. It was symmetrically split on front between grey half on bottom and black half on top, and you could also make out the back layer off the bowtie where the color pattern was reversed. I can’t do the bowtie justice. Imagine an 80s highschool movie where the nerd tries to score the ska chick.

II. The Beatdown

-The LAX beating of AMW during autograph signing was great. Loved the attack on Harris’ hand. The wall bump by Storm was pretty great. Luckily more people haven’t watched Jersey All Pro.. As while the beatdown was great the wall ride just reminded me the degree to which Hernandez is a poor man’s Monsta. Which only reminds you that Abyss is a poor man’s Suba, that Konan is a poor man’s Johnny D, that Rhino is poor man’s Magic, that Sabin is poor man’s Dixie, Senshi is a poor man's Low-Ki, Lethal is a poor man's Rainchild, Dutt is a poor man’s Insane Dragon and Petey Williams is a poor man’s Elax. Are Killings/Hoyt supposed to be working a poor man’s J-Train/Laithon gimmick or a poor man’s Buff E/Mace Mendoza gimmick? Either way pale imitations.


III. The Look In Stings Eyes

-I liked the look on Stings face in the rafters at the end of the show. In the last Impact workrate report, I wrote about the idea that I might like the Russo Christian booking. The Crow character has always been a character that brings down judgment. The Sahadi videos of Borden re donning the Sting make up where all about Sting as creature of the rapture and judgment. Christian pop culture built around rapture readiness doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me and really doesn’t work within the context of wrestling storytelling. As modern rapture pop- culture seems to be concerned with God’s judgment at the expense of a complete lack of interest in God’s grace (the grace that should be the road to salvation). Stories of redemption without grace. Sting tonight sat in the rafters not looking down in judgment. Instead he seemed to have a melancholy look on his face. He was looking down in contemplation. Was he contemplating his own burdens: the dangers of the temptations that lay in the ring below? Was he contemplating the burdens of the wrestlers in the ring below? I don’t lip read but it looked to me like he may have been contemplating Galatians:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1)

Was it Galatians? I’m not sure. But he definitely did not see himself as an instrument of God’s judgment. He was instead looking to God for guidance. Or perhaps for escape (Psalm 55:6)

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

The easy Russo criticism is to say he does too much stuff: tries to squeeze so much into each show that in the end nothing stands out. The problem with the criticism is you miss the fact that its not just that there are too many things happening but also that none of the things “happening” are any good. You could split the show into five major happenings: (I) Douglas v Bubba interaction, (II) Fight for Right tourney, (III) LAX beatdown on AMW (IV) X Division three way and LAX/Petey Williams mic work, and (V) Angle/Joe promo package for PPV. Of those only the LAX vs. AMW beatdown made the top.
Not just that too much happening, but everything that is happening is poorly conceived or poorly executed.

I. Douglas v Bubba interaction

On paper, one would think it would be impossible to screw up the Shane Douglas v Bubba Ray confrontation. I mean this has a lot of things going for it:

(1) Shane Douglas is delusional. Shane Douglas delusional and bitter is one of my favorite things in all of wrestling. So I’ve been thinking a lot about wrestlers “shooting” on the mic lately as have been reading a lot about the behind the scenes story of the development of the Loose Canon persona. The WWE DVD plays down the drug use and suggests that Pillman died from a “broken heart”. Meltzer writes about how great the gimmick was and if only Pillman wasn’t so drugged up. Somehow this all misses the point. The Loose Canon gimmick wasn’t a gimmick based on a guy “shooting”on the mic. The loose cannon gimmick worked because the gimmick was there is this guy who is completely coked out of his gourd and thus unpredictable. The “shooting”was part of the unpredictability. But the gimmick was “unpredictable coked out of his gourd”. “Shooting” wasn’t his character, it was symptom/ of his character. Shoot angles by and large suck. They suck because the “shoot” isn’t a manifestation of the character, instead the shoot is the end in of itself. The essential premise is wrestling is a carny hustle---wrestling fans know it’s a carny hustle and thus don’t believe a lot of the angles being pushed---that when a wrestler tells the audience the behind the scenes truth, the audience will then trust the wrestler and his angle. But for the most part shoot angles end up being an excuse for lack of character development. Great, so Rob Van Dam is speaking truth to power, so what? Why should I care? What’s his motivation? What does him sharing the backstage gossip say about his character? Speaking truth to power doesn’t always make you honest, sometimes it makes you a whiner. Shane Douglas’gimmick at his best is that he has a huge ego and is delusional. My all time favorite Shane Douglas angle was the one he did with Terry Funk in XPW. Terry Funk and Shane Douglas did this “Who made who “ angle with the premise being that the two were arguing over backstage slight where both were taking claim for making the other. Nothing is more entertaining than Shane Douglas shoot mic work where he explains how he “made”a guy who had the NWA belt in the 70s. Shane Douglas accusing other wrestlers of resting on their ECW legacy, is about as hilariously delusional as you get and should make for entertaining TV.

(2) Bubba accuses Shane Douglas of being bitter and holding a grudge. In general nothing is stupider than wrestling angles built on perceived backstage slights. I really don’t care who rubs who the wrong way by failing to shake hands in the locker room. I’m not a wrestler; I don’t care about backstage rules of etiquette. On the other hand Bubba Ray Duddley and Shane Douglas worked for ECW. EC fn W!!Breaking backstage etiquette in ECW isn’t about hand shaking. It’s ECW. Breaking the backstage code means you either failed to share drugs or you failed to share a ring rat. I can actually understand an angle built on either of those sleights. I mean I don’t know who is face and who is heel in an angle between a bitter guy and a guy who bogarts drugs/ring rats. But I can see it motivating a feud.

(3) The angle makes the Naturals heels again. The Naturals are far better as heels than they are as faces.

So in summation this angle has a lot going for it in theory: (1) it plays into Douglas’character of being delusional, (2)it has the potential to set up realistic motivated feud as it plays into what the audience understands as being the backstage environment in ECW, and (3) it makes the Naturals heels. This should work and work well. But NO. You get small hints of (1) and (2), but those are buried in long Russo “mystery”mic work. “What is the mystery of what Douglas whispered to Bubba”. The majority of the mic work was built around the awkwardness of the two referring to “what I had to say when I whispered in your ear”, “what you had to say when you whispered in my ear”. The mystery of “the whisper” became the center of the mic work. Mic work wasn’t about motives, or grudges, that should make me care. Mic work was about “mystery”. What’s my motivation for caring about that? And well (3) wasn’t really accomplished as the beat down was kind of half assed. They barely beat Bubba, and D-Von (who is really good at bleeding and selling guy jumped) is only seen in backstage video. Tenay is shown the backstage video and tells us that the camera man tells him that “That’s the dirty work of Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas”. Cameraman caught the Naturals beating down D-Von backstage and wasn’t able to tell anyone tell after they came out and beat of Bubba? This whole thing was just incredibly poorly executed.

II. Fight for Right tourney

-On paper booking a tourney should be pretty easy. I’m not the biggest fan of tourney style wrestling at this point but still. Was this aired the same week as the push-over competition on Real World/Road Rules Duel? Simple tourney where you watch Derrick move his way through it. Derrick smallest guy, works underdog constantly sprawling. Has real competitive first round match against tall lanky CT. He goes in low and takes advantage of the height difference. Second round match he’s paired up against Eric who has about 280 pounds on Derrick. Derrick manages a couple shuks and go behinds in order to get Eric off the plank. Brad has an easy first round against Kenny, a competitive tough fought second round against Evan (who is booked as your other big athletic scrapper). You’re actually stoked to see the finals as you have a sense of what both guys bring to the match. A couple weeks back I watched the GDR episode with the one night tag tourney where they squeezed an entire tag tourney plus a qualifying battle royal into a one hour episode. No match went over three minutes and honestly watching it, it feels less like a tourney and more like a gauntlet match. If this was edited into a tag cybernetico it would get nominations for match of the year. They ran seven matches in the course of an hour and I can probably tell you the teams and who went over which match. It did a nice job even in that constrained time establishing tiers/levels of wrestlers. So Texano Jr./Heavy Metal beating Hombre Sin Nombre/Olimpico and Terible and Misterioso II defeating Blue Panther/La Mascara left you stoked to see the final match up. I wanted to reference The Duel and GDR “tourneys” because they are both tourneys where every match took place in under three minutes. But every match told a story about the qualities each “wrestler” brings to the ring. And so in the final match up the viewer knows the skills that everyone brings to the table and it is that knowledge that makes you anticipate the final. That’s what tourney booking should do.

TNA’s Fight for the Right tourney failed to do that. TNA actually had longer matches than either Real World/Road Rules Duel or Guerreros Del Ring. This isn’t about the match length. This is about the booking of the match finishes gave you know sense of what the skills the wrestlers bring to a match. If you don’t know what each contestant brings to a contest why do you want to watch the next round?

The three way collision stunk. Slick Johnson refs. Killings has a nice dive and Aj Styles tried to tell an in-ring “overcoming hurt” story but what was the point? Every one came out with a second and the body of the match was focused on the interactions of the various seconds eventually leading to Bobby Roode’s removal from the match. Oddly the seconds didn’t lead to the match finish. Match finish being a really flat Killings misses a move and then is rolled up finish that really had nothing to do with the whole structure. And after match that part of the finish was completely secondary. Post match is all about the seconds. Backstage Bobby Roode complains to Brooks about the match. “I need crowd control and an image consultant”, You need to start interviewing people: crowd control person, pr person and an image consultant”. For a second I’m excited as “crowd control”? Could it be Curtis Hughes? Terry Runnels is leathery enough to be a pr person. But fuck. Its Russo, so I figure P.R. person means they’re bringing back Apollo.

Fight for your right final is Abyss vs. AJ Styles. Again AJ Styles tries to make a match of it. And fuck his performance tonight has been really impressive. Abyss stinks. His offense stinks but he’s big enough that it’s impressive when he eats offense. He’s essentially Rochester Roadblock with a push. I mean it’s always impressive when Luger racks Roadblock. Actually that is unfair as Roadblock had better looking offense. The problem with Spike vs. Abyss was that while Spike had much better looking offense than Abyss, Abyss would eat the offense and then no sell it shrugging it off, and well too much of the match time was wasted on Abyss’ offense. Here this is worked not with AJ as underdog but AJ as the man. Remember back to the Hashimoto vs. Nathan Jones match, imagine a poor man’s Hash vs. a poor man’s Nathan Jones. AJ pretty much controls most of this on offense with Abyss cutting him off a couple times. AJ does a really impressive job over rotating to sell for Abyss’shitty stuff, as he really makes the Black Hole Slam and retard run to corner spots look devastating. Then they do a ref bump a Christian run in with a chair shot, double count, ref conference restart, James Mitchell run in, Christopher Daniels run in, and Chris Sabin run in. Um the finish of this match was worked like a “Please Don’t Stop”match except they replaced multiple giant finishers into two counts with multiple run ins into two counts. First of all the body of this match really wasn’t building to a please don’t stop finish. Second the idea that an audience might chant “Please Don’t Stop Running In”is hilarious. Felt like the bookers had no confidence in the wrestlers ability to convey “big match”and so instead threw out every booking device to give the audience an edge of seat” experience. Unfortunately this absolutely shat on the match. Plus how does this set up the final? Fight for right tourney earns you a championship shot. I want to see Sting vs. a guy who can beat AJ Styles after eight false finish run ins? What does Abyss bring to the ring in a match with Sting? The ability to win a match when there is a ton of extraneous shit happening? My favorite “booking”to give this a “big match”feel was camera focusing on Sonjay Dutt exaggeratedly shaking his knees nervous on the edge of his chair. Dutt was so focused on the match that he didn’t realize that Sabin had left his chair to run ringside. The whole thing was just poorly conceived.

IV. X Division three way and LAX/Petey Williams mic work

X-Division three way stank. I’ve liked about 2/3 of the backstage Kevin Nash/Shelly bits. But Kevin Nash comes out ringside and damn he looks old. I mean 2006 Kevin Nash looks older than 2006 Warren Beatty. Nash gets into commentary booth and 2006 Kevin Nash’s commentary jokes are about as relevant and hip as 2006 Warren Beaty. Perhaps less relevant. I haven’t seen Bullworth in a while. I mean Tenay is right there trying to say “sic” as many times as possible: “He’s going for his sic flip piledriver, that’s just sic” Nash is sitting next to square looser Tenay and Nash still came off old and uninteresting. Match itself was pretty shitty. Why is Hebner reffing an X-Division three way? Why are they pushing Petey Williams as a face? Really he was working face in this match. Someone thought that the problem with the shitty Sabin/Williams series was the face/heel structure. “Yeah these matches would work a lot better if Williams was the face and Sabin was the heel”!!! Meaningless three way that goes under three minutes. Half of the time spent setting up the heel miscommunication finish. Post match Konan comes to the ring and delivers a shitty promo where he invites Williams to join LAX. Doesn’t the L A stand for Latin America. He tells Williams that “Yo Petey. You are an immigrant like us…we will show you how to deal with the white boy”. Umm. He tells Petey that the Latin American “immigrants”(Hernandez in Mexican colors, Konan in Cuban colors and Homicide in Puerto Rican) will help Petey (Canadian) learn how to deal with the “white boy”??? Not how to deal with the “gringo”or the “Yankee” but with the “white boy”. “Yankee”would have probably been the best choice of words for this angle and it still wouldn’t make sense.

V. Angle/Joe promo package for PPV

I’m not exactly sure when it happened but somewhere down the line “MOTY” became the functional equivalent of a little girl singing “Greatest Gift of All” at a talent show. Lots of kids will perform at your talent show. There will be a kid who manages to do an impressive ballet piece to Ciara’s “Oh”, there will be a kid who does a comedy act where his Jesse Jackson impression has a fat woman laughing so hard that she goes into apoplectic shock, there will be a group of boys doing a step dance routine so complicated that people will talk about it for days. None of those things will win. The little girl singing “Greatest Gift of All” will always win. It will be the least memorable performance, it won’t get talked about after the show, it won’t have the emotional connect that some of the other performances will have but it will always win.

Hey remember when Samoa Joe was threatening Scott Steiner ““I’m gonna make your children cry”, and Steiner was calling Joe a “half breed”? Samoa Joe gets on the mic and guarantees Angle “I will crush you”, and Angle says “My match against Samoa Joe I guarantee it will be a match of the year”. You know I kind of was enjoying the pull aparts between these two but this promo package kind of killed my desire to see that match up. These two guys apparently don’t want to crush each other. Samoa Joe wants to crush; Angle just wants to have an athletically impressive match.

I think it was 2003, Tenzan had just won his first or second IWGP Heavyweight title, and Kobashi had started his GHC title run and I started writing about my dislike of a type of Clash of the Titans main event wrestling that I referred to as “Jim Steinman/Meatloaf” booked wrestling. I liked some of the actual man vs. Mythical God matches (Kobashi vs. Ogawa, Kobashi vs. Honda) but most of the two Gods meet left me feeling as unmoved as “Bat Out of Hell.” So the Steinman/Meatloaf riff has been something I’ve been using for about three years now. The problem with that particular talking point is that I actually like matches between two “bigger than life” wrestlers. I just don’t like when they’re Jim Steinman productions. I like Gospel music. If you look at my Ipod I’d say about a solid third is gospel or gospel derived music (Little Richard, Carter Family, Aretha, Erma, and Carolyn Franklin, etc.). Music about the “bigger than life”: God, commitment to God, trying to let God into ones life. At its best, more than any other musical genre it’s a genre about the artist having strong convictions about the material. The material matters more than anything else. And I believe in Samoa Joe. I think he has the skills and the conviction to be a Mahalia Jackson type performer. But Angle is Whitney, who puts vocal histrionics above everything else. And well let’s be honest Kurt Angle is the Whitney Houston of wrestling: lots of natural gifts, no real ability to put those gifts together in a meaningful way, and an embarrassing drug casualty. Is it possible that with the right material, the right arranger, with Joe in the control booth these two could have a good collaboration…where Whitney’s talents can be put to work for a solid song?? Yes.

But Angle announces “I can guarantee one thing, my match with Samoa Joe will be match of the year”…and well he’s guaranteeing that it’s going to be Whitney style histrionic meltdowns and melismas for cheap pops. Fuck the last time Angle built a match around delivering “the best in ring performance” was 2005 where people heaped praise on him and Bette Midler harmonizing on “The Greatest Gift of All”. I have no desire to see Samoa Joe dragged into that type of shit.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #15 8/15/92

Jerry Flynn v. Yuki Ishikawa

TKG: Ok they have been using this down scoring system where three rope breaks equals a knock down for almost a year know and still no one has won due to the scoring, but here Ishikawa gets his third knock down after already having two rope breaks and there is a pop for the third rope break that gives him 4 knock downs. So I'm assuming that it takes five knock downs to be a technical KO as the crowd just starts to stir.They don't go to 5 but really crowd stirring suggested to me that that was the goal. First time I can remember the crowd really popping for the scoring in PWFG. This is short and pretty one sided but Flynn's stuff looks good. Ishikawa's scrambling looks good and there may be no one better than Ishikawa at standing up at nine.

PAS: Ishikawa is still working like outclassed rookie, I assume when everyone leaves and forms Pancrase he becomes more competitive. I enjoy him as a spunky underdog, but I can't wait until he starts dishing out the beatings instead of just taking them.

Georgi Galdava v. Johnny Barett

TKG: I'm guessing Galdava is a Russian who wasn't good enough to be used in New Japan. Perhaps he was just Hashimikov's personal assistant making money on the side. He has this parted haircut that makes him look like a cantor. He is wearing a singlet with full on Borat chest hair. Just giant rat pubes coming off his chest. Barett is Barett. And this is competitive Baret match. This is kind of worked like a gaijin version of a Nakano v. Anjoh match. Galdava is constantly taking cheap shots throughout this. He gets caught in ahold goes for rope break. they are forced to break and Galdava cheap shots Barett on the break. Galdava gets Barett in a hold , Baret goes for ropes. they are forced to break and immediately Galdava cheap shots Barett again. Either way Barett is going to get hit with a cheap shot and Baret is just awesome with his slow burn. This is really fun and I look forward to seeing more Galdava.

PAS: The opening parts of this were really like worked amateur wrestling, and were very cool. Then Galdava keeps cheap shotting Barett untill he explodes and lays in some really nice looking headbutts and slaps, and then it is mostly Galdava fending off Barett until he catches him in a crucifix choke for the tap. I really want to see the boot camp rematch.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Mark Rush

PAS: When I got all of this Fujiwara-Gumi I was hoping that the promotion would be like WAR, a fun undercard headlined by a big main event, with Fujiwara in the Tenryu role. Instead for the most part Funaki and Suzuki have been main eventing and Fujiwara has been working mostly fun midcard matches. This however was a midcard match worked like a big main event. Rush is an amateur guy who kind of has a circus strongman look, and this was worked like a match against a circus strongman amateur. Rush could take Fujiwara down at will, and really punish him on the ground with strength holds, chokes, body vices, bear hugs. While Fujiwara would be trying to maneuver him into joint locks and submissions. Very cool story and really well executed, the first time I have seen Rush in a complete wrestling match, and a really hidden gem for Fujiwara fanatics.

TKG: Yeah this had a real main event feel. And I like Phil's mention of carny circus stuff as this was built all around chokes/sleepers/front chanceries like a battle for Weaver lock. There is this one odd section in it where Fujiwara is caught in a choke tries to escape and then just starts to drool, and it's amazingly dramatic and you think that its a finish but for some reason its counted as a down and Fujiwara is given a ten count to get back to his feet. Fujiwara gets back up and its on again. Odd to count passing out in a sleeper as a down but once you get past that, it really works nicely in this.

Ken Shamrock v. Kazuo Takahashi

PAS: Takahashi is more Sam Houston and less George South here as he gets a couple of jobber near falls, before succumbing to Shamrock. Takahashi continues to be awesome at selling a KO as he has to flex his knees after the first knockdown to see if he can stand.

TKG: Yeah so earlier I was pimping Ishikawa as guy who was great at standing up at nine. Then I watch this where Takahashi stands up facing the wrong direction and has to flex his legs. Shamrock has cycled down a bit from last couple of shows.

Masakatsu Funaki v. Ryuji Yanagasawa

PAS: This was more boring Funaki. He looks completely disinterested here, as he is Scott Hall at a 1999 WCW house show level disinterested. There is one mat shift that really looks like he is demonstrating it in slow motion to a white belt ju-jitsu class.

TKG: This was listless. I mean short and one sided. But well Shamrock vs. Takahashi was exciting and engaging. This was like watching someone knit. Not like a novice knitter who has to concentrate and count stitches and slips and curses. More like watching an old woman do it by rote just to keep fingers busy while watching TV.

Joe Malenko v. Minoru Suzuki

PAS: Joe Malenko baby. Malenko is so smooth in everything he does. Just awesome to watch him roll on the mat. His selling of kick is really awesome too. The match is broken up by rounds, and I think that hurts the flow of the match. Feels like it would have been better as one match, although they did a nice job of having the rounds break up near falls.

TKG: I liked the rounds as they did a couple of one guy loosing momentum saved by the bell stops, followed by the next round starting where no one has advantage at the start. . Malenko and Suzuki working each other on the mat was just neat to watch. And well Malenko sells stuff like he's frustrated. It's not that he's just in pain but that he's also frustrated that body can't take the pain. like he expects more of himself. Neat.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #14 7/27/92

Diuesel Berto v. Ryuji Yanigasawa

PAS: Berto's son Andre is currently a top boxing prospect at 140 pounds. His dad needs to learn to keep his hands up, as Yanigasawa KO's him in 1:30 with a nice high kick.

TKG: Dieusel looks tiny next to tall Yanigasawa. Deiusel starts this working stiffer than he has before and lands some nice looking kicks. He then gets absolutely walloped by Yanigasawa.

Yuki Ishikawa v. Kazuo Takahashi

PAS: This was Ishikawa's first awesome match in an awesome career. Takahashi really brutalizes him in the way you should brutalize rookies, including some nasty shoot headbutts, and hard slaps. Ishikawa fights back and lands some big shots of his own, and it actually gets pretty competitive for a minute, until Takahashi nearly rips his leg off with a one leg boston crab.

TKG: Yeah, Ishikawa vs. Suzuki started more competitive. This was awesome as Takahashi absoutely disrespectfully abuses Ishikawa. Shoot headbutts, face slaps, grinding his elbow into Ishikawa's nose, grinding his fist into Ishikawa's mouth, slow on rope breaks, nasty nasty punches to charlie horse the thigh, refusal to lock up when standing etc. Ishikawa just takes it and eventually comes back with a nasty shot to Takahashi's kidney and all of a sudden its on. Ishikawa tries to return the headbutts in kind. Takahashi starts to kind of punch himself out and really the kidney shot slows him a bunch. All of a sudden Takahashi is forced to accept Ishikawa and agrees to lock fingers when they get back to their feet. But the moral victory doesn't mean an actual victory. Still fucking neat neat story told through really brutal shots.

Johnny Barrett v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

TKG: Barrett has gotten huge. I mean he was big before but now he looks like Tugboat Taylor. He also has balded some more and grown some facial hair. His face has grown really dignified. Like a head chef at a fancy restaurant. His body meanwhile looks like a fry chef at a bowling alley. They do this opening section where Fujiwara counters a judo throw into an ankle lock which was awesome. They do a Super Porky in the partier section where Barretta rides Fujiwara and Fujiwara can't get out from under the weight while Barrett isn't able to hook in anything. Fujiwara takes Barrett down. Barrett tries to get up from partier but crafty Fujiwara slips on arm bar using his leg. Whole thing is just awesome 4 minute match.

PAS: I think Barret looks less like Taylor then a mix of Mukhan Singh and Dean Rassmussen. Both PWFG Barrett v. Fujiwara matches have been really short and fun. I get the sense they could have a really great 20+ minute main event. I think Barrett has had a pretty interesting career, he went from Florida indy guy, to WCW jobber, to shootstyle guy, to Chicago indy luchadore. Goodhelemet really needs to make a 10 DVD Johnny Barrett comp.

Wayne Shamrock v. Jerry Flynn

TKG: This had just a bunch of cool things going for it. Flynn's defensive stuff is always neat. there's this point where Shamrock has Flynn down and tries to grab for something. Flynn is able to defensively block every Shamrock attempt at a grab. Shamrock goes for a suplex and Flynn manages to defend while in the air. When Shamrock does have Flynn caught, Flynn makes one or two attempts to break free but always ends up going for the ropes. Flynn can defend but once Shamrock has him he struggles to escape. Its a kind of neat little thing they have going. There also is neat stand up section where Flynn gets a fall which only makes Shamrock more aggressive.

PAS: This was a really fun Monday Night Wars Nitro v. RAW match. I would have liked to see the Dan Severn v. Glacier match that would semi-main this show. Shamrock's body is getting even weirder, his abdomen has weird lumps on it, like his six pack is bottles not cans. Flynn's stand up stuff looked really great here, and I love Shamrock's KO selling.

Duane Koslowski v. Minoru Suzuki

PAS: Koslowski is an Olympic amateur wrestler, and all of his greco pummeling and throws always look good. I have never really seen him adapt to this environment though, so the match was just kind of there. Still at least he doesn't try to call the match.

TKG: I think this was better than Phil is giving it credit for being. but most of the coolest stuff in this was built around stalemate moves. guys trying for things being blocked and then stuck. I remember enjoying this while it happened but really remember nothing other than the way Koslowski is starting to look like what would have happened if you mated Lex Luger and Jack Wagner. And I'm haunted by images of Luger singing "All I Need". I think i'd have better things to say if I wrote this after the match. but I've been writing after every two matches and well.all I need is a little more time to be sure..

Maskatsu Funaki v. Bart Vale

PAS: I have decided that I don't like Funaki, I like the Rock and Roll Express, I like Cena, I like Ricky Marvin, but something about Japanese blow job wrestlers just rubs me the wrong way. There are some fun things in the way too long match, but they are pretty much all delivered by Bart Vale. Funaki is sleepwalking through this, not really selling, not really doing anything interesting with his offense, not engaging me in any way. Vale is fun, I think right around 1992 he turned into a pretty good pro-wrestler. His selling and moves were cool, and he has finally figured out how to throw a nice looking worked kick, but Funaki was killing me here. He did have a nice Jheri Curl though, his hair looked like Eriq Le Salle's from Coming to America.

TKG: I don't like all U.S. blowjob babyfaces. Not a big Von Erich fan. Although I imagine Mike vs. Killer Khan would be better than this. And at this point Vale is pretty good in the Khan role. Yep Vale has learned how to be a pro style wrestler and does enough compelling selling and struggling to make this interesting from about the 20 minute mark to the 25 minute mark. Funaki drags down the other 25 minutes.


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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Phil's UPDATED 2006 MOTY LIST

Here is the current list, reviews for the older matches are in previous DVDVR's

1. Chris Benoit v. Finlay WWE 5/21
2. Jun Akiyama v. Masao Inoue NOAH 4/23
3. Rey Mysterio v. Randy Orton WWE 4/4
4. Chris Benoit v. William Regal WWE 10/8
5. Briscoes v. Austin Aries/Roderick Strong ROH 8/12
6. Chris Benoit v. Finlay WWE 5/3
7. Finlay v. Rey Mysterio WWE 3/20
8. Chris Benoit v. JBL WWE 4/11
9 American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness ROH 8/12
10. Homicide v. Necro Butcher ROH 5/13
11. Chris Benoit v. William Regal WWE 5/8
12. American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Samoa Joe ROH 8/6
13. Ric Flair v. Mick Foley WWE 8/20
14. American Dragon Brian Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness ROH 4/29
15. Mistico/Negro Casas v. Averno/Memphisto CMLL 4/15
16. Chris Hero/Necro Butcher/Super Dragon v. Samoa Joe/B.J. Whitmer/Adam Pearce ROH 4/22
17. La Mascara/El Hijo Del Santo v. Blue Panther/Tarzan Boy CMLL GDL 1/1
18. Rey Mysterio v. Mark Henry WWE 1/15
19. Damien Wayne v. Sean Denny NWA-VA 5/6
20. Meiko Satomura v. Aja Kong Sendai Pro Wrestling 7/9


Previously on the list


- Juventud v. Kid Kash WWE 1/3
- Samoa Joe v. Necro Butcher IWA-MS 1/12
- A.J. Styles v. Matt Sydal ROH 1/14
- Samoa Joe v. BJ Whitmer ROH 1/14
- Chris Benoit v. Randy Orton WWE 1/24
- Shadow WX/Mammoth Sasaki v. Abdullah Kobyashi/Daisuke Sekimoto BJW 1/27/06
- Finlay v. Chris Benoit WWE 1/30
- HHH v. Big Show WWE 2/13
--Finlay/JBL v. Lashley/Chris Benoit WWE 2/16
-KENTA/Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v.Kenta Kobashi/Yoshinobu Kanemaru/Tamon Honda NOAH 2/17
- Undertaker v. Kurt Angle WWE 2/19
- Rey Mysterio/Bobby Lashley/Chris Benoit v. JBL/Finlay/Randy Orton WWE 2/23
-KUDO & MIKAMI v. Yoshiaki Yago & MIYAWAKI Chikara 2/24
-Milano Collection AT/Skyde v. Claudio Castagnoli/ Chris Hero Chikara 2/26
-Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara Big Mouth Loud 3/22
-Low-Ki v. Necro Butcher IWA-MS 4/1
-Yuki Ishikawa v. Hiroyuki Ito Big Mouth Loud 5/4
-Finlay v. Bobby Lashley WWE 5/8
-L.A. Park/Marco Corleone/Johnny Stamboli v. Dr. Wagner Jr./Dos Caras Jr./Lizmark Jr. CMLL 5/19
-El Hijo Del Santo/Negro Casas/Mistico v. Atlantis/Black Warrior/Ultimo Guerrerro CMLL 8/4
-Rey Mysterio v. Finlay WWE 9/5
-Sadico v. Terry 2000 AULL 9/13


13. Ric Flair v. Mick Foley WWE 8/20

This was the legendary Funk v. Foley match they never really had. Flair was an amazing Terry Funk, taking insane uncalled for bumps, bleeding like a freak and totally pulling off psychotic old man. Psychotic Funk was always kind of funny, there was nothing funny about Flair covered in blood screaming "I'll fucking kill you too Bitch", something pretty awesome, but nothing funny. Although I enjoyed Flair v. Big Show, they really shouldn't have done it, as the second time you see Ric Flair take barbed wire and thumbtack bumps doesn't mean as much as the first time. I imagine without the Show match this might of ended up higher on my list. Foley took a couple of crazy bumps, including the bump at the end which was insane enough to buy the false ref finish, but this was all about Ric Flair, whatever shots people might take at him, he still knows how to do big match wrestling as good as anyone.


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

PRO WRESTLING FUJIWARA-GUMI SHOW #13 6/25/92

TKG: Soronaka had just passed away and this opens with ten bell salute.

Jerry Flynn v. Ryushi Yangisawa

TKG: This wasn't as good as their last match up. I really like Flynn's defensive stand up. But last time Yanigasawa was way more active. Here he's really tentative so combo of tentative offense with Flynn's defensive stuff made for dull opening sections.

PAS: I didn't like this as much as their match on the last show either. This feels like a match up that should have lots of great kick exchanges, their first match was about 70/30 on the mat. This was really closer to 85/15 on the mat. It feels like if the match was closer to 60/40 it would be really good.

Minoru Suzuki v. Yuki Ishikawa

TKG: Ishikawa does a bunch of neat escapes and float overs and this is far more competitive than I was expecting. Once Suzuki got in his submission it was over.

PAS: This is the first Ishikawa rookie match where he got kind of beaten the way a rookie should get beaten. There is one point where Suzuki reverses the submission by raking the fuck out of Ishikawa's face.

Masakatsu Funaki v. Kazou Takahashi

TKG: This was weird as Takahashi was going down and selling for some weak looking offense. On the other hand these two guys were potatoeing each other and not really selling it. Match was really messy but filled with nasty stuff that had nothing to do with the actual match. Finish was narsty.

PAS: Takahashi lands a headbutt early where you can actually hear Funaki's brain rip itself from its padding. Funaki doesn't even sell it. Later Funaki is in the mount where he is laying in some sick headbutts himself that Takahashi wasn't really selling either, if all of the brutality was part of the actual match it would have been really good, but it wasn't, so it wasn't.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Bart Vale

TKG: This was really great. Opening was like a mat sprint as Vale has to go for four rope escapes and eats on KO in opening five minutes. Never felt one sided but it was all about Vale and Fujiwara having exchanges on the mat with Fujiwara winning the exchange. Next ten minutes were more competitive but still felt like Fujiwara always able to win no matter how much Vale controlled. By end Vale really was finally able to outwrestle Fujiwara's guile and gets three knock outs leading to the final KO. This is the best Vale has looked in these things as he had really neat submission attempts, vices, mat work, etc and his KO strikes looked like they were actual KO strikes.

PAS: This was awesome, each mat exchange didn't just have one reversal, it had reversals reversed into a reversal. Alot of Fujiwara's signature reversals got modified as Vale countered their initial move. I don't know what the politics of the promotion were, but Fujiwara doesn't job to anyone but he does two straight jobs to Vale without ever getting the win back. This really was the only match where Vale actual looked good enough to deserve to go over Fujiwara.


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