Segunda Caida

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

TnA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 4/12/07

WHAT WORKED:

This was an oddly good post-Russo Mark II iMPACT. I mean all the booking was stupid but the actual work was solid.

-I really dug the 8 Mile Street Fight between Tomko and Rhino. Tomko has developed really nice punches, the Irish whip into the retaining wall spot was nice, they went to commercial break in the middle of this match but returned with same guy on offense as when they left. For a streetfight in theme park, this stands up nicely opposite Max Pain v Simmons from Disney. The finish with Abyss run in was idiotic and having Rhino pin Tomko after a week of building up Tomko is incredibly dumb. Post match Tomko hits a nice lariat on Angle. Work solid, booking idiotic.-VKM vs. LAX was short but, after weeks of Dudleys matches watching BG actually sell for LAX and work the face in peril spot for them was nice. The post match where the Dudleys toss around fifty LAX members was dumb. Work fine, booking idiotic.

-The work in the Austin Starr v. Senshi submission match was also good, as they eat each others stuff well and there was a pretty great eat of a chop block among other things. Tenay on commentary says “It may be too early to go for a submission” which cracks me up. It’s too early to go for a move in a fed with three minute matches? The point to the sky Arnold Skaaland tribute was stupid. Backlund is an absolute beast for doing the step test for two hours straight but that really is a disappointing finish to the test step set up. I mean Cornette’s right there. He booked Rip Rogers Harvard Step Test in SMW. He knows how to do a Harvard step test angle. Booking a guy to just do a Harvard Step test for two hours and then just stop doing it, is a really flat dumb way to end an angle. Again work was solid, the booking was idiotic.

-Stings interview with Tenay was also really good performance. He really pulled the whole “ I want to apologize, I thought by dealing with past I could set you free…I need to go home [and put my life back in order]. A really neat humble acceptance of mistake by Sting. Sting has history of going into stuff without thinking through consequences. But you never really get to see Sting humbled by mistakes…” maybe I shouldn’t ally with the Horsemen, maybe truth of past can enslave you, maybe I was wrong”. It was really neat and kind of a classic Dutch Mantell reflective face booking. Sting was able to pull this interview off despite the shitty ambient music. Of course the booking of having Sting change his mind and come right back out at end of show shits all over it. “Yeah I was going to go home and spend time with my family and reflect on my mistakes, put my life in order, and start thinking through my actions more carefully. I was going to learn from mistakes and take a more measured approach. But instead of spending time with my family, I’m going to come out at end of show for a swerve pop. Fuck my family. I’m just going to do more headstrong unreflective shit”. What kind of pay-off is that? Sting’s work solid, booking idiotic.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

So yeah this was a show where the performances were good but the Russo booking was idiotic. Every match had an idiotic finish; Abyss run-in, or more like amble-in, Dudleys clusterfuck, and Aarnold Skaaland tribute finish. Finishes that shit on the matches.

-The booking of the non-match sections was equally idiotic. The show ends with a Cornette town hall meeting. Pre-Russo these used to be really fun as Cornette would explain the thinking behind all the matches. Post-Russo there is no thinking behind the matches and so no real explanations. Cornette is reduced to just standing there and reading off the card.

-And they’ve added the “whoever gets the fall gets title match” to a WARGAMES match. It’s like they don’t understand the idea behind WARGAMES gimmick. So you have the Wargames format which is a team format and have grafted on dissention in the teams and those shitty three way dance spots where one guy stops another from getting the pin. Wargames is a really great gimmick, but booking it like an Elimination Chamber match suggests a complete misunderstanding of the gimmick. So last week they tried to book Tomko as Batista, this week they announce that the Wargames match will essentially be worked Elimination Cage Style. It’s one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying the post-Russo booking and doing it poorly is just sad.

- Oh yeah the team Christian backstage segments built around abusing Abyss STINK. Abyss is now Eric Young? You can’t book a retard forced against his will into a heel stable as both a comedy midcard angle and as a main event angle. One or the other, but you can’t do both. Watching those backstage Christian and his team segments really drove home the point that Christian is a poor man’s Jarrett. And well Christian isn’t saddled with the suck that was D’amore. Really what the fuck? Let’s write Scott Steiner as Bluto Blutarsky? Oh that Russo such a comic genius. Christian playing Jarrett surrounded by gang of fools just stank. It’s one thing for Russo to endlessly recycle his own WWF booking, but copying Post-Russo TNA booking and doing it poorly is just sad.

-And it’s the second show in a row built on a big swerve finish. It’s like someone explained serial writing to Russo without him ever you know actually reading or watching a serial. A swerve isn’t a cliffhanger. Serial writing is built around characters. Making the audience care about those characters. If they’re constantly swerving the audience , why should the audience care about a bunch of inconsistent fickle characters? Why should care about Sting or Tomko if their actions seem completely arbitrary?

-It’ been a long time since they showed the full LAX entrance video with the United Farm Workers and Castro. For some reason they did it in full this week. So I just spent six days in Orlando. And my experience there pretty much confirmed some of the stuff that I had written before. I didn’t go to either of the Haunted House themed parks but I did go to the Holy Land Experience, Biblical theme park and Orlando is filled with part time non-union actors who can do Evil tool of Satan better than either Raven or Mitchell. Going down Orange Blossom Drive, it’s pretty clear that fake titted Korean stippers who are willing to take garbage bumps are a dime a dozen. Fuck you cold build a whole Menace II Society based division around Jackie taking on a new Kim sister each month. The local Hooters also had enough trannie faced strippers both working there and as customers to build a WWE DIVA army. No reason to actually go out and hire ex-WWE DIVA rejects. Well I could see bringing in Linda Miles just because she's a Rutgers alumn and feuding her with Backlund feels like the type of “hip”and “relevant” Russo booking that Keller admires so much.Did Panther Claw play for the Lady Vols? Really that’s pretty dated by now. Of course it’s Russo and a year from now Tanahashi will be booked as an anti-social student who writes disturbing screenplays. So despite Keller's protestations, it’s not like Russo has ever shown any grasp on relevance. But that’s all beside the point. While some of my stereotypes were confirmed, others were really changed. I had made fun of the LAX angle and joked about them needing to do Haitian vs. Cuban angle. I had been to Miami before, never Orlando. Never driven through the Orange fields outside Orlando.There is a large middle class Mexican, Columbian, Guatemalan, and Peruvian population in Orlando. A great Guatemalan Bakery. A couple Columbian pastry shops. Separate shopping malls that appeal to people from each country of origin. Multiple car dealerships aimed at ex-pats from each country. Mexican rock band MANA sells out.The LAX angle of course isn’t marketed to those people, it’s marketed to the gringos who hate immigrants. I’d like to believe that those gringos are at least savvy enough to realize that Puerto Ricans aren’t immigrants..but whatever. Point is that more than likely there is a real local audience that the angle would appeal to. Following the local Spanish language papers a lot of attention is being given to efforts to mobilize around helping protect female H-2 farmworkers from sexual violence and harassment. Making sure that these women know that sex slavery isn’t part of being an orange picker or tomato canner. Apparently there has just been a settlement in a sexual harassment case brought by Haitian women who were working in a Naples cannery and as the President talks about increasing the number of H-2 guestworkers, its important to build institutions to protect them and educate them to their rights (however limited they may be). So I’ve written before about how the LAX entrance video package is the most racist thing in wrestling today. Message of entrance video is that all "political" Hispanics are of the same cloth, all trouble, they should just shut up and pick the oranges. But knowing that the major "political" farmworker initiative the Latino community is pushing is designed to help farmworkers who are victims of sexual harassment and rape, affects the way I view it. Context on the one hand makes the LAX video package even more offensive. ” Damn those Latinos, where do they get off organizing against rape!!!” and on the other hand less shocking it’s just Vince 'rape is a victimless crime cause all them bitches want it' Russo" demonizing someone who stands between him and pussy....He's probably mad that his maid quit when he tried to forcefully sodomize her. Russo isn’t racist, he’s just for decriminalizing rape.


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Saturday, April 28, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 4/5/07

So I haven’t done one of these in ages and damn this is an awful episode to get me back on the wagon.

WHAT WORKED:

HOLY SHIT did this show suck. I can’t think of anything nice to say. I guess Christian got off one semi amusing line with “Of all the Booty Daddies I know, he is definitely the biggest and baddest” and James Storm had one neat jumping kick. And well watching the Dudley/Konan electric cage match LEGACY video package did remind me that I really do like lucha cage matches where the top of ring is electrified for first five minutes, and Konan was the “brains” behind the Star of Death Cage Match. Devon may be marginally better than Cibernetico, Bubba Ray may sell slightly more than Rey Sr., Konan is even more broken down than Perro Sr. (and well Konan in his prime was never really anywhere near Perro), I like Spike and Homicide but they’re no Juve/Rey and well Hernandez is no Damian 666…but still its lot of garbage and you can have a million random LAX members, Italians, and street thug indy workers running in doing stupid shit. If there is anyone who can make a match built around lots of extraneous meaningless shit for pops, it’s Konan. That really isn’t a “WHAT WORKED” moment so much as it was a moment where I went “Hey this might have some potential”…but there was nothing in the promo package itself that made me think that. The idea of Team 3D being in the same line as the Funks, Briscos, LOD, Arn/Tully, and MX is as ridiculous as HHH being in line with Harley Race, but honestly that’s the formula on how you’re supposed to do the promo.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

Did I mention that this show sucked? Because it SUCKED.

-Matches all stank.

-Yeah there was one nice leaping kick in the Young v. Storm match but damn was that bad. And Eric Young has a mystery “special friend”? Holy shit are they that stupid? Could they possibly be thinking of doing a Scott Damore face turn? You can’t have Damore and Jarrett turn face in same month. This stank.

- Wow was that 6-way match a stinker: Alex Shelley works the bulk of the first section and then gets eliminated. Petey Williams Russian leg sweep is shitty enough without a Shark Boy assist. Jerry Lynn is booked as Dusty where everyone lines up to take the STAR’s elbow, except Dusty had good looking bionic elbows and Lynn just has an armdrag. Someone decided to have a two faces bat around one heel section with Austin Starr having to bounce around for Williams and Lynn’s jabs. Yeah that’s right, someone thought it would be a good idea to build a section of a match around two guys who can’t throw jabs, throwing jabs. The whole premise of the match is that its pinfall or submission to start and then the last two guys have to wrestle escape the cage rules, but there is no escape the cage teases, no cage escape near falls…just two guys racing out and then one landing first. About the flattest ending you could possibly have. This stank.

-And holy fuck was that main event a mess. Ok the whole booking behind the main event is stupid. Angle and Abyss are wrestling with the winner getting Tomko’s services? The whole show is built around this premise. Trying to book Tomko as Batista to Christian’s Helmsley is incredibly stupid. Tomko has never been protected before in TNA. Never presented as anything special. He was never presented as being Chrisitan’s muscle, Christian’s Batista. Tomko has been Christian’s flunky, his Stevie Richards, his Virgil. You can tease the muscle (Hercules Hernandez, Batista) turning on the “manipulative evil mastermind”, reclaiming his manhood and becoming a threat. You can’t really do that with the flunkie. Virgil had to wear a dress and hang out with Piper as Virgilina to become a face. That may have been a racial thing that sullen black flunkee can’t actually reclaim manhood but rather needs to be emasculated again before he becomes a face. Fuck what the hell was going on with Virgil in drag thing? The point is becoming a face doesn’t make the “flunkee” character into a credible threat character. Just doesn’t work that way. They did nothing to establish why Angle would want Tomko’s services. Nothing to sugest why he feels they’d be useful.So Abyss and Angle wrestle with the winner getting Tomko’s services. Part before the commercial with Angle working the leg while Abyss fought back with power actually was surprisingly watchable for Abyss v. Angle. But that may have been only a minute long. We come back from commercial break and holy shit this may have been worse than their first matchup. For some reason Angle needs to do these complicated ROH finishes with tons of reversals. They look awful and he isn’t capable of doing them. Luckily the giant monster from the insane asylum knows mat counters. That was part of physical therapy program at the asylum. Angle hits a German that looks absolutely ass, they do a ref bump and for some reason Abyss (the heel) is given a visual fall..this whole thing was a fucking abortion. And not one of those good abortions that frees you from having to marry the girl. No. Just a horribly botched abortion where no one leaves the better. Angle wins the match, winning Tomko’s services and of course Tomko turns on him. Why is turning on Angle now a good strategy? Why do the swerve now instead of at the PPV? It might have meant something if he actually waited for the Wargames match to turn, but no. The only logical reason for the swerve is that Russo feels a show has to end with a swerve. Why didn’’t Tomko just sign contract with Christian’s team at the beginning. Is he still a guy with questionable loyalty who just wants a title shot? So they’re continue the angle where the heel team is made up of people with questionable loyalty. Someone’s watched too much HHH written wrestling where heel is booked to be fighting the odds.

-That was the main story of the whole show. Tomko has questionable loyalty, Abyss and Angle fight to win Tomko’s contract and Tomko swerves angle. It was idiotic but I’m not sure if it was the dumbest booking on the show. This is a show where Cornette is booked to set up the Abyss vs. angle match by announcing “This is a wrestling program, not a debate, not a soap opera”. Three segments later Christie Hemme and VKM are booked in a televised debate. Oh yeah and if you thought Hoyt's dancing was bad, wait till you see his eye rolling and signifying. Show starts with Sting and James Mitchell doing a “My Dinner with Andre “ segment. Mitchell explains that Abyss’ mother was the shooter and Mitchell is controlling Abyss by threatening to tell the truth to the police. Sting tries to make the most of this segment. Sting is guy who has been pushing a whole “truth will set you free” argument for last month and here he is faced with the social consequences of the truth. Traditionally a babyface wouldn’t keep a crime secret, as he’d worry that not helping the police makes him complicit. But Sting is forced to grapple with the social structures behind the Stop Snitching ethos. And he seems to understand it better then Anderson Cooper. Still the whole segment was dumb. James Mitchhell is a horrible actor, and the whole premise of “I’m going to tell you a secret about a crime” is ridiculous. They’re on TV. I mean I realize no one watches this show. But still they’re on TV, it’s no longer a secret. Even if we were supposed to pretend that the “My Dinner with Mitchell” segment wasn’t being watched by national audience, Mike Tenay clearly watched it as he explains the premise of it several times. Is Mike Tenay wearing a Stop Snitching shirt under his tux? I mean Tenay knows about an unsolved crime and isn’t calling the cops. How am I going to take Tenay’s moral outrage seriously anymore? Petey Williams needs to sit Tenay down and explain moral courage.


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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY LIST

1. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
2. Nigel McGuinness v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 4/14
3. Samoa Joe v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 2/16
4. Shawn Micheals v. John Cena WWE 4/23
5. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
6. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
7. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
8. Briscoes v. Kevin Steen/El Generico ROH 4/14
9. Colt Cabana v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 2/24
10. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
11. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1
12. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
13. Davey Richards/Roderick Strong v. Jack Evans/Delirious ROH 4/14
14. Yuji Nagata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJ 4/13
15. Samoa Joe v. Eddie Kingston FSM 3/17
16. Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1
17. BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
18 Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v. Jun Akiyama/Takeshi Rikio NOAH 4/1
19. Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
20. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

2. Nigel McGuinness v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 4/14

I had been down on Morishima a bit as I really hated both his KENTA and his Homicide matches. Working juniors you almost got the sense he almost works as a tall fat junior, and he is a shitty giant Super Astro. Here though he was in there with another heavyweight so you actually bought him eating offense, and he wasn't doing mirror sections with guys half his size. He was also great using his weight, as he had nifty variations of fat guy sit downs. Him crushing Nigel on the apron was amazing and it really looked like Nigel was going to allow himself to be paralyzed to add drama to his title match. I love how McGuinness has simplified his stuff, and his lariat variation were spectacular. They had really established the rebound clothesline as a killer, and I loved how it kept getting cut off, until he finally hit it. I knew that they wouldn't give Nigel the belt yet, but I believed that was the finish. This had a little bit of NOAHing up, but I kind of mind it less when it is a monster like Morishima, he really should be booked as larger then life, so when he shrugs off something, it makes it mean more when he finally sells.


3. Samoa Joe v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 2/16

This was much more of WAR style heavyweight slugfest then the epic title match style of the McGuiness match. A pair of big dudes pounding on each other. In some ways this was a really good way to introduce Morishima. He doesn't work well with juniors at all, but has always been good at this kind of nose to nose asskicking match. I remember loving a Takeshi v. Takeshi match from four years ago. Joe hasn't had a ton of matches like this, but he was great here, and I got the sense that he would have had a great match against Tenryu if TNA didn't fuck it up. Joe is also really good at working the role of top guy, as Morishima has to come in and make his bones against the toughest they have. Still I did think Joe was a little too dominant, which is why this is a bit lower on the list. Morishima never really got the big near falls, you never got the sense that Joe was close to loosing. He worked this more like he worked Kingston or Necro, where Morishima comes off tough for being able to hang with Joe, but clearly a notch below him. That really isn't the way you want him to look right before his run as dominant champion.

4. Shawn Micheals v. John Cena WWE 4/23

I was shocked at the greatness of the Wrestlemania match, which I figured would be a clusterfuck, and I also figured the ubiquitous "Michaels gets his pin back on TV" match would be even worse. Instead the Wrestlemania match was great, and the TV rematch was even better. Shawn was the real surprise here. The opening chain wrestling section was embarrassing, and I don't know how a guy who has been wrestling for 20+ years can't execute a fireman's carry, and there was a section where they were going toe to toe with strikes which is a terrible idea made worse with Shawn's awful knife edge chops. However outside of those two things he was basically inoffensive. After all of the back work and bumps near the end of the match, I kept waiting for the heat killing Resurrection (you think the Romans could have drawn money after Calvary?) and his long offensive run. It never really happened, instead of dominating, you got the sense the match ending superkick was a last gasp effort, he is guy who has the equalizer in his feet and is never out of a match. It almost felt like Diego Corrales's big comeback in the first Castillo fight, a guy who looks dead landing that one big flurry. I also really loved his crawl for the ropes in the STFU, one of the first times his desperation selling didn't come off as cartoonish.

Okay enough of that shit, because this match was still 1000% John Cena. Starting with his awesome reversal of a go behind, his crazy Dustin bump to the floor, selling the hell out of the arm, talking shit to the ref, ropes course crawling after the first chin music and right up to his KO selling for a 1/8 Chris Adams superkick, he owned it here. The catching the plancha spot is pretty standard, but Cena made it look like he was Charles Atlas. He also really came off like the top guy, like he was the man that needed to be dethroned, while Michaels was the underdog trying to dig deep for one more unlikely win. It was subtlety heelish, but if they keep it subtle it will continue work. I they need to finish with Micheals and put him in a feud with Mark Henry or Orton, someone he can really be a total face against again, but I like how he can play both roles so well.

6. Briscoes v. Kevin Steen/El Generico ROH 4/14

I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this. I haven't had much to say about the IWS guys before, and I have actively hated Steen, but he seems to have ditched most of his crap and just become a fat asskicker. With his bad skin and flabby body he does look like every single guy in the audiance though, I am guessing ROH books him for the same reason you book Pedro Morales in NYC, he is the regional babyface for fat wrestling dorks. With that I think this match was hurt a little by him working heel, you don't book Putski as a heel in Pittsburgh. The opening was great as Jay and Steen cheap shotting each other ruled, and Stevens was a total monster. The NO REMORE CORE beating up Stevens was fine, and the Rock and Rolls hurt partner comes out, is a great match layout. They did have the two on one go way too long, and really wasn't the beating it needed to be for Mark to risk his health. Jay has to be beaten to death, instead the match was 60/40, doesn't work if your brother defies doctors orders to turn 60/40 into 50/50. Still that was the only flaw as the end section was nuts, and Mark took the kind of sick bumps you need to get this over. Steen was great as a total fucker too, I think I am 180ing on that dude.

7. Colt Cabana v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 2/24

This is one of the two blowoffs for the best angle in wrestling in the last decade, one could make an argument for Rey v. Eddie feud, but this was an amazing story executed amazing, while that was kind of stupid story executed amazingly. Cabana does an amazing opening promo which was like a serious Ric Flair promo mixed with a Hyman Roth speech. Jacobs and Lacey are then interviewed by ex Jacobs girlfriend Becky Bayless which added a little creepiness to it. As an aside, what happened to Becky Bayless? She was able to survive being an ECW rat and still have some youthfulness and prettiness in her, but apparently a semester abroad took it all out her, what happened to her in Paris? Did Chiwetel Ejifor cut out a kidney or something?

Match just starts amazing with both guys going after each other. Cabana busts open Jacobs with a dusty elbow and he reveals scissors in the elbow pad. They then really have the worlds greatest Tiger Jeet Singh match as they stab the shit out of each other with bunches of cool shit in cool ways. Jacobs breaks Cabana's Chicago flag over his back and stabs him in the face with the jagged wood and then wipes the blood off his face with the flag, which is a great "disrespect your local scene" spot. Also earlier in the match Cabana misses Jacobs and stabs the scissors into the turnbuckle getting them stuck, then about ten minutes later he gets whipped into the corner and is able to pull the scissors out and uses them again, to counter a Jacobs attack it was a really nice piece of match layout.

While we were watching this, I said "This is going to be my number one, unless they have Brent Albright run in or something." Moments later in comes shitty HGH belly, tribal tattoo Albright to stink up the match. Whitmer runs in too, and we have shit city briefly, as Whitmer throws Lisa Simpson windmill punches on Albright. The match never really regained its momentum after that, as they moved from a Sheik match to a Sabu match, while the big table senton off a ladder was crazy, it took too long to set up, and didn't have the intensity of the parts that involved stabbing.

10. Davey Richards/Roderick Strong v. Jack Evans/Delirious ROH 4/14

Both Delirious and Evans are really great at simple face in peril tag wrestling, both in the ring taking beating, on the apron firing up their partner and coming into the match as a house of fire. I also love Evans street fight highflying, it wouldn't make any sense for him to be throwing blows so he comes right out to try to kill the guy with dives. I have to give NO REMORE CORE credit, as they were the only heels all night who didn't get face pops. Roderick especially is really great as PROVEN INNOCENT lacrosse date rapist. Davey still looks like he is performing pro-wrestling, rather then pro-wrestling. Still his "look at me I am a heel" stuff is less aggravating then his "look at me I am PURO JUNIOR SUPERSTAR" stuff. Built to some big near falls and I really bought that the underdogs were going to take the win.

12. Samoa Joe v. Eddie Kingston FSM 3/17

This match was built around Eddie Kingston proving his toughness, and man alive does Joe make him prove it. Kingston is able to get off some surprise suplexes and hang for a bit throwing hands with Joe, but eventually he is just mauled, Kawada kicked brutally in the eye, socked square in the face, dumped directly on his head. Joe is really great at being a bad ass, and Kingston does soulful guy dying on his shield about as well as anyone in wrestling. I don't think this is as good as either of these guys first singles matches against Necro Butcher, but if you liked those, you will like this a ton too.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY LIST

1. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
2. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
3. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
4. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
5. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
6. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1
7. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
8. Yuji Nagata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJ 4/13
9. Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1
10. BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
11 Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v. Jun Akiyama/Takeshi Rikio NOAH 4/1
12. Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
13. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

8. Yuji Nagata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJ 4/13

This is a match where coming in I didn't like either guy. I am not sure going out I like either guy much more, but this was a pretty good match nonetheless. I really liked all of the legwork, the dragon screw over the top rope to the floor is a very cool looking big move, and I dug all of the different dragon screw variations Tanahashi had. Nagata also did a good job of selling here, and he kept a lid on the over the top facial expressions which always take me out of Nagata matches. Still outside of the legwork Tanahashi has some of the shittiest looking offense in wrestling. There is a point where he does a very cool legsweep counter to a Nagata high kick, and follows it up with an elbowdrop and senton combination that was so dainty it would make 2002 M Dogg 20 scoff. His big run of suplexes at the end of the match looked Momoe Nakanishi level bad, and I have no idea what the fuck the Slingblade is supposed to be. So this match was really hurt by the dramatic nearfalls all coming off such crappy looking stuff. Still Nagata looked as good as I have seen him in years and it was a dramatic exciting main event match.

11. Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v. Jun Akiyama/Takeshi Rikio

This didn't have the deep story that your real high end NOAH tags have, but for big guys pounding on each other it was pretty class. They really did a lot of matching up, with Yone and Akiyama really pairing off, and the double Takeshis really going after each other. I always enjoy fat guys slapping each other and these were a pair of fat guys throwing slaps. Yone and Akiyama came off their awesome 4 minute match on the last big NOAH show by going after each other here. There were a couple of off parts, the big running spot in the crowd took to long to set up and didn't come off good, and there was a section where Rikio and Yone were brawling on the floor where both guys looked completely lost. Your big run was pretty great with the highlight being Rikio countering the doomsday divice spinkick by crushing Morishima with a short arm lariat.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 3/25/07

WHAT WORKED:

-“You almost took my eye out bro”---Ok I actually dug Steve Borden’s macho Steven Baldwin extreme sports Christianity mic work this week. It helps that he’s actually now a death match worker. I should have mentioned it after last weeks show, but Holy SHIT King of The Death Match Sting is NUTS!!!!! Every post-PPV Impact, they show clips of Sting doing another insane garbage bump. He took a light bulb candelabra to the eye!!!! Light bulb not light tube. Bulbs with little wires and shit inside. Sting is nuts. I mean Flair owes alimony and money to IRS and is essentially an indentured servant at this point…he can’t turn down bookers when they tell him to work thumbtack spots and garbage matches. But Sting could turn this stuff down. He has no reason to be working death matches. It’s a shame Sting is stuck in endless feud against such a shitty brawler. I imagine Sting v. Corino could be spectacular. I mean there are a ton of really great U.S. death match workers, while Sting is stuck working Abyss' poor man’s XPW era Kronus. Maybe the poor man’s XPW Kronus is harsh..I could see someone arguing that Ryder is a nastier garbage bump than Nicole Bass. So maybe not "poor man's". "Sting is stuck working the functional equivalent of XPW Kronus."is probably the fairer statement. Point is mediocre deathmatch worker like Supreme or Pogo the Clown would be better. Could Pogo achieve Christian redemption or are there some things beyond the possibility of redemption? Sting’s parts of the main event tag match were really the only good parts of that too.

-The Miss Tennessee vs. Gail Kim pull apart brawl smoked all of the Kurt Angle vs. Scott Steiner pull aparts. Jackie is stiff as shit just walloping Gail Kim. Kim isn’t really stiff at all but Jackie still sells big time for her. Jackie picks up tennis racket and nails Kim with it, Kim responds by hitting Jackie with a mouse pad. Chris Harris’ mic work is fine but real mistake to have him do “I almost lost my eye” in a worked angle mic work on the same show you have Sting do his shoot “I almost lost my eye”speech.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

-This show sucks and well these reports really don’t capture the degree of suckitude because on some level it is more amusing to me to write the “what worked” part. Trying to find the one semi good thing that I can sort of give a backhanded compliment to is perhaps more damning than listing all the things wrong anyway. More amusing to find the one silver lining in the turd than it is to catalogue every single piece of feces. Still this show is a turd.

- I have mixed feelings about the Eric Young vs. Austin Starr match. Part of me was really tempted to put it on the top side. Essentially it was match that the announcers couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to. Completely ignored until the run ins. And it was worked like a match that was going to be completely ignored. Basically worked like a match where one guy puts his opponent in headlock and sits in it waiting for run in finish. This is a fed filled with matches where the wrestlers are trying to squeeze in 20 storyline talking points into three minutes. Matches where guys are doing a million meaningless moves to pop crowd in a four minute match. And so it was kind of refreshing watching two guys just futz around doing nothing. I mean it wasn’t like they were laying in a headlock, this was a workrate version of laying in a headlock (although that would have been more emotionally satisfying than average TNA match too) …doing lots of stuff for the purpose of not getting pops. Starr did a second rope springboard back rake. Guys futzing around deliberately trying to keep the focus away from themselves. If this match was held anywhere else it would obviously go on the bottom side of the What worked/What didn’t division, but in TNA it comes off more natural and meaningful than the rest of their shitty matches and junk.

- The show had a million and three sports entertainment and backstage segments and outside of the Sting, Chris Harris and Miss Tennessee v. Gail Kim ones they all sucked. They’ve repackaged AJ Styles as flabbergasted flustered Barney Fife, Jerry Lynn mutters endlessly, Bob Backlund brings in a urine sample as though anyone believes that TNA drug tests, 3D talk about their high school football days, Abyss’ mother shows up and Abyss sells “torn/conflicted man in need of direction” by grabbing at invisible balloons. The show opens with Angle on the mic while Rhino and Samoa Joe stand behind him in the role of Angle’s muscle. Angle is the least mic worker of the three at this point and he’s the guy on the mic!!! It should be pointed out that this is a fed that also gives Jerry Lynn and Raven extended mic segments but still. Regimmicking Rhino and Samoa Joe as Jindrak and Horshu is insane. Rhino doesn’t have the ring skills of Jindrak and I like Joe on the mic but he’s no Horshu. Angle does some sort of Voltron “three parts of machine” mic work and its one of those booking committee talking points where Tenay has to repeat “three parts of machine” again and again. The Team Angle v Serotonin match is a squash but it’s a dull really unimpressive squash. Johnny Devine does a great eat of a gore but really shockingly unathletic, unintense looking squash match. Samoa Joe once did an interview explaining how Hashimoto explained that the most important part of wrestling is the eyes. Watching the squash, Angle’s eyes look glazed over like he has no idea where he is, Rhino’s eyes look confused like he’s trying to remember where he left his keys, and Samoa Joe’s eyes just look bored as he’s struggling to stifle a yawn. Post –match Raven “tortures” Serotonin in a backstage segment. They need to stop putting Raven on the mic. This week he directly rips off Florida era Kung Fu Billy Graham mic work and totally fucks it up. And then for some reason they have Raven “torturing” Serotonin with hot wax. He’s been pasting them with cane shots for months and now he’s using hot wax? This is completely backwards. You introduce hot wax before you start strapping her with canes and paddles. What is he going to do next week? Lite spanking, gentle choke play? Completely backwards.


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Sunday, April 08, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 3/16/07

I haven’t done one of these in ages and I maybe burned out on this shit. Again Thunder down under acquired this for me. Thanks

WHAT WORKED:

-So I mocked the Chris Daniels rebirth angle and all the “Fallen Angel Rises” video promos that set up the Chris Daniels as funhouse mirror version of Sting angle. But I was wrong. Don West on Daniels: “Again he’s doing it with no emotion”Mike Tenay: “Absolutely methodical, absolutely emotionless”.Repackaging Daniels with gimmick of mechanical emotionless performer is the smartest booking move in the history of the promotion.

-The Shelley and LAX mic work was fun and the match was mediocre but better than the normal LAX v Dudley Impact matches. Konan is actually working the Rodz as Hispanic sellout angle w/ Machete waving the Puerto Rican flag in Rodz’ face. The whole Rodz as Puerto Rican sellout thing is a cool detail that really feels like something that Konnan came up with on his own without any involvement from booking committee. If bookers were in on the angle I would expect Tenay to do more to explain it.
Tenay: “Sell-out is a term that is often used by evil members of a race to denigrate those who have achieved”
Whatever one wants to say about Bubba, he shows up selling the PPV match. Sting nearly looses an eye, nothing is mentioned. AJ Styles falls twenty feet and is booked to be FAKING an injury. Meanwhile Bubba comes out with the taped arm. Bubba is or was at one point really good at body part selling. He doesn’t do a ton of selling here but more than any of the other Impact matches between these two teams. I really dug Bubba selling the arm pain while trying to aggressively clap on ring apron. Match also had Spike to sell/work FIP. The idiots who run the fed had the entire FIP section take place during the commercial break. So we get clips of Spike beaten on. As a result pacing is all fucked up and match feels like another Dudley competitive squash. Devon looked like he didn’t even know how to run the ropes during his hot tag section. Instead of doing the hot tag where fresh partner comes in and wastes opponents with fiery offense, they did hot tag where fresh partner is fresher and able to reverse and evade all opponents’ offense. Instead of Devon comes in and hiptosses and lariats everyone, he came in and actually worked sequences: ducking clotheslines, reversing moves, etc. He looked completely awkward and untrained doing that.

-So first couple months of ECW on Sci-Fi they ran these segments where they introduced one over the top stupid gimmick each show. Guy would come out lay out the premise of his gimmick and then Sandman would play the role of Showtime at the Apollo Sandman and get the hook. About the second episode or so, they had Tony Devito wearing a Nacho Libre costume with stunner shades doing a Mexican Macho Man Randy Savage impersonation. At the time I remember complaining that they should have put together a cheesy Norteño version of Pomp and Circumstances. It wouldn’t take much work…is there a Norteño setting on Casio? Jay Lethal’s “Pomp and Circumstances” Remix was pretty good. If you’re going to do a gimmick like this the details matter. This was nice attention to details. It is that attention to details that is missing from the poorly executed Killings movie parodies. Did Mantell book the Macho Warrior Ric Hogan angle?

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

- WHERE IN FUCK’S NAME IS HECTOR GUERRERO????? They brought him in last week’s episode. This week I get a comedy bit with Backlund and a ringside appearance by Rodz but no Hector. If you go to youtube you can watch Hector work Benoit for a ridiculously competitive ten minute Nitro match, a really awesome five minute Hector vs. Eddie Nitro match where Hector controls most of the offense and Eddie sticks to cheap shots and shortcuts, a fun Hector/Chavo Jr vs. Jeff Jarrett/Dean Malenko match, a Joined in progress Hector/Chavo/Budro v Jose Lothario/RocknRolls and a joined in progress Hector/Chavo v Fantastics match. All of these matches infinitely better than anything that’s aired on TNA in last several months. There also is Hector Guerrero magic hair removal cream comedy mic work from Memphis that is funnier than any of the comedy bits Russo has ever written. Where is Hector??? Fuck if you don't give me new Hector why should I watch this shit show when I can watch an hour of Hector on youtube?

-Christian is working chickenshit/undeserving champion and eeked out a win at PPV. Tenay refers to Christian as being “The Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”. Does Tenay even understand that quote? Christian is lucky like Lou Gehrig? What the fuck? Dumbest thing Tenay has ever said. Think about that for a minute. Really this show sucked ass and made absolutely no sense and I really don’t have it in me to explain all the ways in which it was awful. But do you need more than Tenay saying “After the last PPV, Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”. Is there anything I can say about the rest of the show more damning than just quoting Tenay? Do I even need to say "the show overall was stupider than Mike Tenay's dumbest quote" or is that implied?

- So first couple months of ECW on Sci-Fi they ran these segments where they introduced one over the top stupid gimmick each show. Guy would come out lay out the premise of his gimmick and then Sandman would play the role of Showtime at the Apollo Sandman and get the hook. Yadda yadda. In TNA putting Devito in a Macho Libre costume wouldn’t have gotten the hook…it would have been considered a push. Lethal needs to “get out of his shell”?? This strikes me as dumb. Doesn’t quite make me nostalgic for the Jackass fan gimmicks but still. Criticism of X division workers is that they’re not “real” wrestlers—just guys pretending to be wrestlers. Repackaging one with gimmick of “guy pretending to be a wrestler” is stupid. I realize Rich Little is performing for the White House Correspondents Diner and all but really is the lowest form of comedy. Stupid and what in fuck’s name is that backbreaker into a stroke finisher that Lethal debuted? Yikes that was indyriffic.Meanwhile, the whole Raven dressed as character from Clockwork Orange beating Serotonin in ring post-match was kind of a neat look. But it all involved no mic work. This week they do the beating segment backstage with Raven doing his third rate Kevin Sullivan with Jersey accent mic work: “What I care about is inflecting psychological damage”…You can find 15 fat fake Wiccans at the Orlando Torrid who can do better Kevin Sullivan mic work. Immediately after they run the “spooky” Raven segment they have Jeremy Borash say “I’ve seen things in my day, but this is unbelievable”. Borash is more shocked by Eric Young cleaning a toilet than he is by Raven caning his charges. Well I mean its Borash so …still they shouldn’t have run the two segments together. And fuck, Eric Young has a MYSTERY friend?? Not another mystery. Does anyone want to see them do another mystery and did I mention that Mike Tenay said “Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”? He said that and you still go "Mike Tenay is smarter than the idiots booking this shit".

-The whole premise of the show was nonsense. AJ fell from a 20 foot scaffold but it turns out he was just PRETENDING that that hurt him. What’s point of running a scaffold match if you’re booking that the bump doesn’t actually hurt the guy who takes it. AJ takes off his neckbrace and crutch to attack Rhino from behind. For some reason the idiots behind this show think that heels should only have the advantage during commercial breaks. LAX gets in all its offense during the commercial break, we come back from commercial to see 3D’s comeback offense. AJ attacks Rhino during commercial break and we come back to commercial to see Rhino’s comeback brawling. If you never see heels get better of faces why should you want to see a PPV match between them? Rhino and AJ have been feuding for months now. Their first match was a last man standing match. The feud started with a last man standing match!!! AJ is unscathed from falling off a scaffold!! Why should I believe the next match stip is going to mean anything more? Cornette makes the Lethal Lockdown announcement that they are going to have a fake Wargames type of match with Angle as captain of one team and Christian captain of the other. There was a PPV the weekend before this show. No real mention of the outcome of PPV, no explanation as to what the reason they’re having this Wargames match, no explanation of why these guys are captains..nothing. Wargames is for ending feuds, not an excuse to build stables. Wargames in't for “Hey you guys put a team together and wrestle”. Its a blowoff match and Cornette is booked to essentially tell Angle and Christian to put together a softball team for the company picnic. Christian wants Abyss on his team, Sting says Abyss is his own man…and Cornette says “we can find out which side he’s on by having a tag match with Abyss/Sting v Styles/Christian “. WHAT??? Meltzer was once heavily criticized for referring to Russo’s booking as retarded. And I’ve met plenty of mentally retarded people who have put together meaningful lives and actually contribute positively to society. I really don’t know what word to use to describe the incredible mindless stupidity of Russo booking. Oh yeah and did I mention that Mike Tenay said “Christian must feel like he’s the Lou Gehrig of professional wrestling, the luckiest man alive”? He said that and still watching this show you go "Mike Tenay is smarter than Russo".


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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Phil's Updated 2007 MOTY List

1. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
2. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
3. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
4. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
5. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
6. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1
7. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
8. Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1
9. BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
10. Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
11. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

6. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1

This was really the match that ends all arguments about John Cena. Shawn Micheals is personally the most loathsome thing in wrestling. I have such a visceral hatred of him, the fact I enjoyed this match as much as I did was pretty much a miracle, and it was all Cena.

Micheals comes out in this preposterous Christian stripper outfit with goofy crosses hanging down and mingling with his chest hair, he looks like a Ted Haggard rent boy post Protease. Then while Cena is coming to the ring he is making faces like a drag queen doing Cher. He is like Paul Lynde at this point, I have no idea how anyone can take him seriously. The first part of the match is all about crafty Micheals outsmarting Cena. Micheals is pretty terrible in this part, ducking punches like he is bowing to a Japaneese lady, throwing wrestling school trainee level chops and mincing around the ring like a less masculine May Flowers. Cena was great though, showing frustration through his face, struggling against poorly executed holds, and bumping big for whatever those punch like things were supposed to be. At one point Micheals had Cena in a loose headscissors, and Cena must have held his breath because his face is turning purple. Micheals does hit a nice Asai, although even the coolest thing about that was how Cena catches it against the table so it looked like his back was broken.

The next section was Micheals working the leg and he basically used stomps and chop blocks which he can pull off. People are bitching about the leg selling, but I thought it was fine, Cena sold it a ton when it was being applied, and also sold it during the first part of his comeback, until he was able to shrug it off. He didn't just stop selling, there was a transition. Somewhere in this Micheals takes a shitty looking posting and blades, but still basically controls. The piledriver on the steps was pretty great looking, although I don't get why Ross kept calling it a spike piledriver. Who was the spiker? I guess Jesus is his Arn.

You normal Micheals formula match has the opponent control the match, destroy Shawn's surgically repaired back, hit all of his finishers, Micheals then Resurrects hits his superkick and pins his opponent. It is a match structure that makes his opponents look like shit,. Here he controlled the match, while he doesn't really have enough stuff to control a match, at least he doesn't make all of Cena's stuff look like shit, by ignoring it.

The finish run was a lot better then in the other title match, you had the kick outs of the finishers, but they weren't just running through their finishers for two counts, they were mixing it up. I loved the constant drop toe holds by Cena, they looked great and it is a very cool set up for the STFU. Cena's fatigue selling was awesome, and I liked them laying on each other at the end, although Micheals rubbing Cena's cock was pretty fucking uncomfortable, I guess jerking Cena off was a match strategy "Hunter is always spent after I do this."

Pretty amazing one man show, it seems pretty crazy to say, but Cena may be the best wrestler in the world right now. No one around works big time main event wrestling better. He may not do as many cool things as say Austin Aries, but everything he does counts.

8. Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1

The disappointing Batista v. JBL matches always started with great big man slugfests, but they would be main eventing and have to go 20+ so you would have long chinlock sections. This wasn't a main event, so they could work a brawl the whole match. I really liked most of this match, big guys going after each other, and some big moves sprinkled in. The tope was awesome looking, and pretty crazy to do with only one guy catching. The match fell apart a little at the end though, as they really did this obligatory WWE main event finish. A guy hits his secondary finisher for a dramatic two count, then the other guy hits his secondary finisher for a dramatic two count, rinse repeat. It is pretty cliched and it really looked tacked on here. Still this was damn fun for a match nobody expected anything from.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

1. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
2. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
3. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
4. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
5. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
6. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
7. BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
8. Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
9. Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

2. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10

God bless the internet, because in previous years all of these spot show matches with old fat luchadores ruling it on the mat were lost forever. Now they are starting to seep out and end up on the computer where I can watch them. This isn't as great as last years "let's show these punks how lucha libre is supposed to be" match (Villanos/Negro Navarro v. Heavy Metal/Dos Caras Jr./Solar) but was still pretty brilliant. The match starts out matching Solar and Navarro, and we know what those two bring to the table, suprisingly their first caida matwork is out shined by Black Terry and Mano Negra ruling it.

I knew all of the other guys could still go, but I had no idea Mano Negra still could work at this level, he had this awesome poofy hair that made him look like the corporate villain in an 80's sex comedy ("This is the only mountain that will let us snowboard, and they want to shut it down), and he and Terry do some awesome leverage standing stuff, and some great matwork counters. The second caidia mixes up the pairings and again both matchups are great. Black Terry is amazing, he is 54 years old, but in great shape and moves and bumps like he is 30 years younger. I think you could throw a mask on him and stick him Guerreros Del Inferno and people would think he was some hot shot young indy guy CMLL repackaged. The third fall, they match Navarro and Solar up again and they do a fast roll up section which was incredible, slick, quick and amazing. I also liked how they ran a draw finish with two double eliminations, rather then a time limit or a double DQ. At one point Coloso Colesetti on commentary yells out "They wanted the lucha, here is the lucha." Can't say it any better then that


7. BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27

I think there is an argument to be made, that, for basically the same guy, current Jimmy Jacobs is better then Eddie Gilbert ever was. Tiny guy with great wrestling mind who was best in crazy brawls. The entire Jimmy loves Lacey angle was truly brilliant, I can't think of a better angle in the last ten years, and it was pretty much all Jacobs. This was part of that saga, as Jacobs tries to get revenge on Whitmer who he blames for disfiguring his love, turning him from Emo to Screamo. Even without the backstory this was a great brawl. Building from chairshots and spikings to insane spears into guardrails and Jacobs flying headfirst into chairs. Both guys spray blood out of their heads, and land wrong on their necks. Weirdest thing about the match is BJ Whitmer doesn't actually do anything that bothers me. Even the BJ Whitmer matches I have liked, there are moments where I go "Fuck this guy." Here he was completely inoffensive and bled and bumped enough not to drag down the Jacobs show. The ending was pretty ass, as that fake Benoit guy from Smackdown with a muscle queen back tattoo comes in and Exploders Whitmer through a table. I forgive it, because this wasn't the end of a feud so you need a reason for these two to keep killing each other, but it dropped the match below your other high end 2007 garbage.

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