Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

1. Nigel McGuinness v. Samoa Joe ROH 3/3
2. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
3. Nigel McGuinness v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 4/14
4. Chris Harris v. James Storm TNA 5/13
5. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer ROH 3/4
6. Samoa Joe v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 2/16
7. Shawn Micheals v. John Cena WWE 4/23
8. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer ROH 3/31
9. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
10. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
11. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
12. John Cena v. Great Khali 5/20
13. Finlay v. Undertaker 3/6 WWE
14. Briscoes v. Kevin Steen/El Generico ROH 4/14
15. Colt Cabana v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 2/24
16. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
17. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1
18. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
19. Matt Sydal v. The Man Gravity Forgo PAC ROH 3/4
20. Davey Richards/Roderick Strong v. Jack Evans/Delirious ROH 4/14
21. Mitsuhara Misawa v. Takuma Sano NOAH 4/28
22. Chris Benoit v. MVP 4/10
23. Nigel McGuiness v. Jimmy Rave ROH 3/4
24. Yuji Nagata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJ 4/13
25. Matt Hardy v. Ken Kennedy WWE 3/13


Previously on the list

Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16
BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
Samoa Joe v. Eddie Kingston FSM 3/17
Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v. Jun Akiyama/Takeshi Rikio NOAH 4/1
Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1

4. Chris Harris v. James Storm TNA 5/13

I have been watching TNA off and on from the beginning of the promotion and for the most part it has been a steaming cauldron of liquid shit. AMW have been some of the only exceptions, they are a pair of guys who started in a Prentice fed so they had plenty of opportunities to wrestle Well Dunn and and Wolfie D and learn how to work. They were really great as a babyface tag team, although they weren't as good in Orlando as they were in Nashville, I had mixed feelings going into this match, I had some confidence in both guys, but it is Russo TNA, plus tag team explodes matches usually are disappointing. I liked Gibson v. Morton okay, but I can't really think of any matches that were great. Here is the exception that proved the rule, as this was spectacular. Sometimes Texas Death matches can be hurt by having too many falls, but here every fall felt like it should end the match. Plus unlike a lot of current feud brawls, this really felt like a fight, this was the best I have ever seen Harris's punches look for example. The catapult into the bottom of the table was crazy and the pools of blood were sick. I also really loved the finish with both guys throwing bottle shots at the same time and Harris hitting first. The quicker and straighter shots will land first, and getting hit while you are throwing a punch is exactly how you get KO'ed, plus the bottle and all.

8. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer ROH 3/31

I was anticipating this match as much as any match I can remember, so I was bound to be a little disappointed. Jacobs was spectacular as usual, as he is really the only guy fucking with Cena for the first part of 2007. Much like the Cabana match this started out amazing, but seemed to fall a little flat. The Frye/Takayama spot with the spikes was one of my favorite spots in the history the promotion, just so awesome and violent. Jacobs creepy blood fetish stuff was super too, licking Whitmer's face, combing his hair with the barbed wire bat, stabbing himself with the spike, just gruesome. Plus those fucking tights with one crying eye and one bleeding eye were just off the chain, if it wouldn't effect my burial, I would get that as a tattoo. The senton from the top of the cage is a hell of a way to finish the feud and both guys looked completely destroyed. Still this match had some problems. Having Nick Diaz come from the back with weapons to slide into the cage was terrible, both guys have seconds, they could certainly grab things from the bottom of the ring. You would think if Diaz was going to bring them anything it would be a one hitter so they wouldn't feel pain. This was also the first match of the series where Whitmer was all Whitmerish. He busted out his shitty suplex combinations, and there were parts of the match where it felt like they were doing a "hot indy wrestling 2.9 section." Which is exactly the wrong thing for a match like this. Still in a year with a bunch of spectacular brawls this was right up there with them.

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Smackdown Workrate Report May 25,2007

PAS: All good matches this week, although nothing particularly blow away great.

WHAT WORKED:

PAS: Regal and Taylor v. Kendrick and London was perfectly fine, but a little disappointing. I really enjoyed all of Taylor’s press slam variations, but this never really got going the way it should have.

TKG: I don’t care how many times I saw it Dave Taylor press slamming Finlay was one of the biggest wrestling watching HOLY SHIT moments. Dave Taylor press slamming Kendrick is less physically impressive. Still Finlay never took the press slam to the floor. This was fun and I wish they had run the Regal/Taylor v Kendrick/London match at Armageddon instead of adding the Hardys, MNM and the ladder.

PAS: Man alive was Miz v. Matt Hardy great, I think it was better then Hardy v. MVP from last week for your long stiff Matt Hardy singles match. I think the first Hardy v. Kennedy long TV singles was the best of your Hardy long TV singles match with NOVA generation guy based around body part selling. That was really a one man Hardy show, this was the second best and Miz was much more then just a passive bystander. Stiff offense, good bumping, a couple of good looking signature spots, really Miz is pretty much all you could ask for guy in his position.

TKG: Yeah this was awesome. Miz has the best cravate of all of your NOVA generation workers(Punk, Kennedy, MVP, Miz). They all use it but Miz makes it look like a sugar hold, and the rolling through stuff while holding onto the cravate was choice. Commentators were harping on how Miz is developing and is no longer obnoxious guy taunting and teasing but instead has become “tough”and serious. Miz does the Matt Sydal lariat taunt in the corner but instead of making his usual smug face tries to make an “ARRGGHH” tough face. Miz has some great obnoxious frat boy heel charisma and trying to make him drop that is stupid. Get the sense that Michael Hayes thinks you can either be Gino or Ole. If you’re going to be working obnoxious pretty boy you have to be chicken shit, if you are working tough style you have to be mean and angry. Miz works stiff/tough but he can’t pull off snarling Ole. It’s stupid to try to force him to. The world isn’t split between Ginos and Oles.

PAS: The four way was both better and worse then it should have been. The opening sections were pretty bad, but they built to a nice “Please don’t stop finish.” Kane seemed way more energetic then usual, maybe house show matches with Regal have actually taught him how to wrestle. I loved the spot where Finlay shillieghliegh shotted Henry and he didn’t fall, also Henry took an amazing bump on Batista’s spear. Still Batista didn’t look like much, even with everyone bumping huge for him (Finlay took a ganzo bomb bump on the Batista bomb) and I have no desire to ever seen another Edge v. Batista match

TKG: I dug Chavo vs. Jimmy Wang Yang a bunch. For some reason this was a non-title match. In the world of combined PPVs, I assume there won’t be PPV cruiser title matches. No idea why you run this non-title.I also don’t understand why Yang is working this gimmick without mic time. I mean the gimmick makes no sense unless you listen to him on the mic. This was built around the mat which was pretty awesome as Chavo manhandles Yang and Yang ekes out neat escapes. Is the WWE now editing out “Eddy”chants? It felt like they turned off the crowd mic during the three amigos.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

TKG: The Hives still exist? Who knew? Did they replace their bassist with the bassist from the Exploited? Or did their bassist just get fat? The Hives still exist? And they’re doing Timbaland tracks? Man that was bad. I mean I imagine if Teddy Riley produced Thee Milkshakes, it might be a mess but it would be so much better than this. I mean “Give it To Me”is awful but “Throw it On Me”may be worse. The Jazzy Phe tune with the stars of the IFL so smokes this. Which is ridiculous as Jazze Pha should not smoke Timbaland and Igor Zinoviev should not be a better musical front man than Pelle Almqvist.So the song itself stank. The actual video was embarrassing. I don’t know if I could say that the IFL one was better, but at least IFL was kind of a self aware lark. I assume the reason for using WWE Divas is so you’d have women who would do stunts. But it looked like the wrestling scenes were all done by stunt doubles. If you’re not going to have them do stunts, whats the point? These women can’t pull off walking sexy. The scenes of the Baby Faces and Extreme Expose walking provocatively were ridiculous. Is Layla the only one without busted up knees? Or is she just the only one with actual modeling/stripper/dancer experience. They looked like they were struggling to walk. If you’re going to use stunt doubles for the fights, why not hire actual dancers. Did they want WWE Divas just for their haggard man faces to play Frank Miller style haggard whores? I saw Sin City. Mickey Rourke played Marv. He didn’t play Gail or Nancy.

TKG: Phil is being generous with the main. Mark Henry’s spear eat was spectacular, Finlay’s Batista bomb eat was spectacular, the what will it take to knock down Henry stuff was nice and Kane was running around working hard. Still it was a mess for large chunks. Kane looked like he cared when matched up with Batista or Henry but really looked like he was resting opposite Finlay. They did the TNA commercial break after a minute thing. The “Please don’t stop” section wasn’t really a finish so much as just something tossed in, in the middle. It’s Smackdown, I expect better.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

1. Nigel McGuinness v. Samoa Joe ROH 3/3
2. John Cena v. Umaga WWE 1/28
3. Nigel McGuinness v. Takeshi Morishima ROH
4/14 4. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer ROH 3/4
5. Samoa Joe v. Takeshi Morishima ROH 2/16
6. Shawn Micheals v. John Cena WWE 4/23
7. Solar 1/Mano Negra v. Negro Navarro/Black Terry Lucha Libre VIP 3/10
8. MNM v. Hardy Boyz WWE 1/28
9. Briscoes v. Ricky Marvin/Kontaro Suzuki NOAH 1/21
10. John Cena v. Great Khali 5/20
11. Finlay v. Undertaker 3/6 WWE
12. Briscoes v. Kevin Steen/El Generico ROH 4/14
13. Colt Cabana v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 2/24
14. Takeshi Sasaki v. Yuki Miyamoto BJW 3/14
15. John Cena v. Shawn Michaels WWE 4/1
16. Shinjiro Ohtani/Takao Omori/Kazunari Murakami v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi/Yoshiro Takayama Zero 1 1/19
17. Matt Sydal v. The Man Gravity Forgo PAC ROH 3/4
18. Davey Richards/Roderick Strong v. Jack Evans/Delirious ROH 4/14
19. Mitsuhara Misawa v. Takuma Sano NOAH 4/28
20. Chris Benoit v. MVP 4/10
21. Nigel McGuiness v. Jimmy Rave ROH 3/4
22. Yuji Nagata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi NJ 4/13
23. Matt Hardy v. Ken Kennedy WWE 3/13
24. Samoa Joe v. Eddie Kingston FSM 3/17
25. Undertaker v. Batista WWE 4/1

Previously on the list
Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16
BJ Whitmer v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH 1/27
Takeshi Morishima/Mohammed Yone v. Jun Akiyama/Takeshi Rikio NOAH 4/1

10. John Cena v. Great Khali 5/20

I remember when Khali came in, he did this destruction of Undertaker which looked super shitty, as his stuff didn't look violent at all. I think may have improved a bit, but Cena made him look like a total killer. Just taking giant bumps on all of the moves. They weren't Hennig or Micheals style athletic bumps which are all about the bumper, they were the kind of whiplash bumps that make the guy applying the move look like a total monster. Cena is also amazing at timing all of his comebacks, as the crowd went nuts for the catch of the chop, and the shoulderblocks, the finish was real great. I don't know about Khali tapping out in the first match, but they set it up really well. I get the sense Khali may be unable to take a bump, so kicking the stairs into the knee, and landing a legdrop is devastating enough to buy the STFU being put on. I am really straining my mind to think of a more impressive carry job then this. Fujinami v. pre WCW Sid was great, but wasn't as good, Savage v. Rodman and Bigelow v. Taylor were awesome too, but at least those guys were athletic. This really does need to end all arguments about Cena.

19. Mitsuhara Misawa v. Takuma Sano NOAH 4/28

Misawa is amazing as Eastwood in Unforgiven. He had retired to a comfortable life on the farm of undercard six-mans, and he gets drawn back for one final gunfight. Sano just mauls him early, the spin kick to the stomach is such a nasty move, it looks totally painful and Misawa does an incredible job of selling like he is passing a kidney stone. When he finally makes his comeback it wasn't really a no-sell, it was more like a boxer who tastes a guy power in early rounds, he knows he can survive it now and can make the decision to keep going They did an amazing job in all of the set up matches establishing the spin kick to the head as a killer move. So the crowd was big into every time it was teased and Misawa really tried to avoid it. Unfortunately when it finally gets hit Sano kind of hits him with the inner part of the leg, not with the foot. It sort of denied Sano the big hot nearfall he needed. The ending did fall a little flat, Sano really beats on Misawa from pillar to post, and it really seems like he went down kind of early. The neckbreaker was pretty nasty looking, but Hirayanagi was kicking out of things that looked as bad in the opener.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

FULL Show #1 12/93 HH

- Handhelds 12/93
12/16 Tokyo
1. Incognito vs La Flecha

TKG: I dug this a bunch. Started with the two exchanging nutty armdrag/hiptoss variations with each one cooler than the last. No really springboardish stuff but still a million ways to do armdrag throws. My favorite being essentially a hiptoss across the back. They then move into a leg lock and leg lock escape section, favorite being Incognito putting La Flecha into a scorpion deathlock variation and then dropping down to turn it into an inverted figure four. Incognito is really fun at getting the crowd into the stuff, taunting them into starting a "Flecha" chant. Both guys look like they may have blown some stuff but really do nice job covering for each other and making it all look smooth. Incognito has a nice quebredaora and they work a work the back section into a throw opponent out of ring for dive thing. The section setting up the dives was kind of weak but the actual dives were super spectacular.

PAS: This is pretty much all you want from a one fall opener. You get the sense that this is a 1993 lucha indy touring match, as both guys have a lot of things to do with each other. The finish was a little goofy as it seemed that La Flecha submitted to a sunset flip, but it's lucha shit doesn't always make sense.

2. Villanos IV/V/Rokambole vs Dos Caras/Gran Hamada/Ninja Samurai

PAS: I am assuming Ninja Samurai is an Japanese indy scum junior, maybe a Kageki guy who ended up playing a google monster in Osaka or something. He was pretty much 50/50 with cool stuff and blown stuff. His cool stuff was really cool, but his blown stuff was really blown. Dos Caras and V were pretty fun, Dos had the best looking kip up I have ever seen and a reat Greco throw belly to belly. This was setting up the IV v. Hamada singles match later on this tour, so those two were the focus and man alive did they sell me on that. IV is working stiff as shit, killing Hamada with his Sano spin kick. It looks really great on midget ass Hamada as it hits him in the throat rather then the belly. Hamada is amazing as usual, as he may be the fastest wrestler ever, and is spectacular in everything he does here.

TKG: I'm not sure if the match focus was really on Hamada vs. IV so much as my focus was on that matchup. In the first fall everyone pairs up for a mat section a strike section a fast section and then switches partners for the end run. And really Hamada v IV is the pairing that you want to watch; the mat section with IV looking like a beast with takeowns while Hamada just rules on the mat, IV wastes Hamada in the strike section and well Gran Hamada gets some Yossino on crystal meth speed when given opportunity to work a fast exchange section. Dos gets some fn matchups with IV in the second round but what you want to see is IV v. Hamada match ups. First two falls end with your lower tiered guy eating fall (Rockambole, Ninja Samurai) last fall ends with Gran Hamada eating the pin form IV. Hamada destroys IV with an in ring tope and tries to follow it up with a rana only to get low blowed for the pin.

3. Kendo/La Sombra vs Guerrero de la Muerte/Oriental
12/17 Tokyo

TKG: This is some sort of weird parejas increible match where each team has one luchador with an Asian gimmick and one luchador with a bad omen gimmick. Naither guy with the fake Asian gimmick does any of their fake martial arts spots, the guys with bad omen gimmick trade punches and their is a lot of pareja increible accidental collision with own partner spots but they lead nowhere. Sombra has a nice dive but this was a nothing match.

PAS: I think this had one amusing comedy spot, but I can't really remember what it was. It went really long for a match with one amusing comedy spot, lucha is a formula that can be entertaining with anyone, this should have been, even though it wasn't going to be much.

4. Gran Hamada vs Villano IV (UWF Super Middleweight Title vs WWA Light Heavyweight Title)

TKG: OOH this is a title unification match and its Gran Hamada vs. Villano IV and I'm so stoked that their is no way the actual match was going to live up to my hopes. It was still excellent. I was kind of expecting it to be worked like a lucha title match but instead worked really like a Japanese indy main event title match with Hamada as babyface wrestler v. Villano IV as brawler. Villano IV wasn't a brawler in the Perro Sr mold, more like Nick Bockwinkle in Memphis. He just wastes Hamada with all of his offense, throws Hamada into rows of chairs nails him with chairs and then takes him into the ring to hit him with some of the best leg drops you've seen, big throws, am attempted top rope bombs away knee drop and nasty powerbombs. Hamada fights back with everything he has. This is also a single fall match and is full of neat near falls where you think this can end at any minute. They do a really neat tease of the All Japan count out finish. IV tries to keep Hamada on the outside , Hamada makes it to the ring and then does a crazy quebrada at the 15 count and you don't think either are going to make it back in. Hey it's a title v title match, those things are supposed to end on double count outs.

PAS: This had a great start with Hamada trying to lock up, and V IV just chopping his arms down. When they finally do lock up Villano forces him to the ropes and bucks him. Just comes off like a total bad ass and then just starts beating the shit out of Hamada. Hamada is amazing as a underdog babyface, he really is perfect at timing his comebacks, and his highspots really feel like brawling spots. That quebrada looked like the most insane thing in the world. You got the sense that Hamada felt he needed to really pull something out of his ass, to keep his belt

5. Oro/Plata vs Rocky Santana/El Bronco

TKG: This is a one fall match that for some reason gets money thrown at it. Oro was really spectacular in parts. Plata less spectacular. Rocky Santana eats all of his Oro's stuff really well and does a bunch of comedy bumping. He has about three different ways to trip through ropes. One through bottom ropes, once gets caught on middle ropes, etc. I think Heenan only had one rope trip spot, but I got the sense that Santana probably had enough tripping in the ropes spots to fill an entire three falls. He also has a pretty good looking silla. Bronco did nothing for me, a couple comedy spots with maybe one of them being way too broad comedy with the others being way too understated.

PAS: Oro was really amazing in the first exchange, just remarkable height on everything he did, and both rudos were bumping around a ton. Honestly nothing else in the match came close to living up to that opening section. Plata really looked like a lesser guy, and would drag the match down a bunch whenever he was in. The money was inexcplicable, as I thought this was kind of below average, although I could see Oro blowing you away if you had never seen him before


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Monday, May 21, 2007

WWE SMACKDOWN WORKRATE REPORT 5/18/07

TKG: So every so often WWE decides that they need to retrain their audience to some aspect of wrestling. So you'll have a 6 week period where every match will be built around bodypart psychology. Then there will be a new backstage mandate and it will all be forgotten. Apparently this week’s new mandate is "referee's need to be booked stronger" and fuck every ref on this show was all about asserting their authority. It’s nice to book refs as not being weak, but I don't want to see tough guy refs either. Almost every match (including at least one of the squashes) had a wrestler backs down from ref spot. Booking every ref as tough ref is goofy. I don't want MVP to manhandle Charles Robinson, but I don't want MVP to be cowering from him either. I should point out that the timing of this mandate was perfect. As this only works with an injured Undertaker.

WHAT WORKED:

PAS: Jesus is Matt Hardy on a sick run lately. He seems the defacto guy to lead NOVA generation guys through long TV matches. Smackdown is full of green guys, but at least it is all green guys working stiff. Whoever is the road agent is having everyone lay it in. So instead of daylight punches, you have MVP dropping mounted elbows to the back of peoples necks and kicking them in the face. Hardy's concussion selling was great, I loved the little hesitation on climbing the ropes. I don't know what the weird backstage thing behind basing two 20+ TV matches based around worked concussion selling the week Nowitski is on REAL SPORTS talking up Post-Concussion syndrome, but I can't buy it as a coincidence.

TKG: The two concussion based matches in a week thing was weird to me, hadn’t thought about the Nowitski interview. This was by far the better of the two concussion based matches as Hardy can sell without scenery chewing. Speaking of selling, it still is really odd that aside from selling a fire spot, I can’t recall MVP ever being put in opportunity to sell which worries me as he may turn out to be the most NOVA’ish of all the Nova generation of workers. I think Phil’s giving MVP too much credit for the stiffness as Hardy was really full on leaning into the Mafia kicks. Of the Nova generation of Smackdown workers, I think Miz is the only guy who actually works consistently snug, Kennedy and MVP will have moments of snugness followed by moments of 80s non-contact WWFishness.

PAS: Six man tag was fun but Deuce and Domino are pretty stinky. Domino seems able to take bumps to the floor, but can't actually execute anything in the ring. Is he a stuntman or something? What wrestling school teaches out of ring bumps before they teach in ring bumps? I don't get why they have this new thing of bringing in second generation guys and sticking them with corny ass gimmicks. I mean why would you hire a stink bomb like Duece if you weren't going to use him as Jimmy Snuka Jr., he has been wrestling for 7 years, and is completely terrible. Why would you hire tiny ass Ray Gordy, if not to have him wrestle as Terry Gordy's son, you could throw a rock and hit a indy midget just as good to play a hillbilly. Are they going to make Harry Smith a chimney sweep or something?

TKG: Killer Karl Krupp was a guy who took really great bumps to the floor but couldn’t take in ring bumps particularly well. This match was really all Chavo and built around keeping Deuce and Domino out of the way. Still the best Deuce and Domino match was the Brian Kendrick vs. Deuce one where Brian Kendrick channels Johnny Valentine and works a 14 minute match around keeping Deuce in a headlock.

PAS: Whatever you think of the WWE, you have to love them for running Finlay v. Benoit every six weeks or so. This wasn't high end for their series, but that still makes it better then pretty much anything else in the world. This was worked around a bodypart way more then most of their matches, and Finlay knows how to rip apart a leg. Finlay does a great job of using Hornswoggle, he is a guy who wrestled for years with an Indian princess seconding him. He has a million nifty ways to work spots around a second. This got about 11 minutes, but at this point you are pissed when these two get less then 20 on TV.

TKG: I think I liked this much more than Phil did. Most of your Finlay vs. Benoit matches like your Regal v Benoit matches are worked around KO or submission. Here they work a bodypart. Last time these two matched up on Smackdown they also did a bodypart match but that one was almost an extended squash (Finlay worked over Benoit’s leg until distracted by Boogeyman and Benoit gets rollup). This one was a lot more competitive and Finlay is really great at ripping apart Benoit’s leg while Benoit is really great at selling the leg while still making his comebacks. So I’ve been really struck lately by how versatile Benoit is. I mean I guess that’s an obvious thing to say as it’s Benoit and well we all know how versatile he is. But their have been points where felt like he was coasting on formula. The long April Benoit v. MVP was almost completely controlled by Benoit, and MVP got very little in. Benoit controlled 89% of the offence yet it was still worked to make MVP look competitive. Following week I think Benoit had a match with Gregory Helms where Benoit let Helms control about 70% of the offense and yet worked where clear that Benoit was a level above Helms. Following week Benoit works Miz in a Finlay v. Barry Houston stiff guy vs. young stiff guy, where I think Miz got 40% of offense. Miz got to look tough opposite Benoit with again being booked as lower tiered. Here he works tough underdog fighting against the odds. Struck at how good Benoit is at playing multiple in match roles, and how those roles are built around layout and not percentage of offense.

PAS: We can add Regal to the short list of people who can drag something out of Kane (Daisuke Ikeda and Ricky Morton are the other two). Regal just worked him over, and Kane was pretty much just throwing his uppercut which is the only thing he does well. Regal has such great combos, and he was unloading with them, really fun match. Although having a finish based around a heel attacking a midget, on the same show you have a finish based around a face attacking a midget seems like the kind of lazy booking usually reserved for TNA.

TKG: Phil dug this more than me. I didn’t I liked this as much as Regal vs. Boogey. Smackdown is weird as they’ve been pushing this big Monster vs. Monster feud on top of card and also have this really undercard monster tag team. I mean when Lawler would get into his silly “Famous Monsters of Filmland” nerd booking, he didn’t have Freddy and Jason on top of the cards while the Mummy and the Wolfman where working openers. Weirdest thing about the new “workrate” WWE is the lack of mic work. Michael Hayes is supposedly the guy behind pushing the new paradigm. MICHAEL HAYES is pushing for less mic work!?? WHAT THE FUCK. I mean Kane isn’t very good on mic so yeah leaving him to do nothing but bemused facial selling makes sense. But Boogeyman is a guy who is great on the stick. Known for not being very good in the ring but great on the stick. When’s the last time he’s been allowed to sing? When’s the last time he’s been given a mic? Would Hayes book the BoogeyWoogieMan vs. Les Thorton and not let the BoogieWoogieMan work the mic? This feud has a guy who can work the mic in it, why isn’t he working the mic?

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:

TKG: The Ozzie thing was odd. I think I first saw a Ramones show in about 87. I remember being pressed up against the front of the stage and looking up at Joey Ramone and thinking he was one of the ugliest men I had ever seen live. I remember there was a point in the early nineties where I was a t a Ramones show and noticed that Joey Ramone was starting to look less like a really ugly man and more like a really unattractive woman, he was starting to look like Cher. I think the last time I saw the Ramones may have been in 95, I pushed myself to front looked up and Joey full on looked like Cher without the surgery. So watching the Ozzie performance I was struck by how much 2007 Ozzie facially looks like Cher. Do all 70s drug casualty rock stars eventually turn into Cher? Has anyone seen recent Bootsy?

PAS: I have really been enjoying Miz lately, as he has been kind of nicely going toe to toe with Finlay and Benoit in recent weeks. I was kind of looking forward to him potatoing Christian York, but it didn't really happen. I think a Dave Taylor v. Miz series would be a good use of both guys if Regal goes to Smackdown.

TKG: I didn’t really see the purpose of either of the competitive squashes. Did both of them have jobber transitions to offense after missed elbow drop? Layout of matches felt too similar. Mark Henry has gotten kind of fat since we last saw him. I mean when he was last on TV he had these nasty defined abs which no longer are there. The big collision spot where Henry walks through Funaki’s crossbody was nice but really not a lot to it. Miz using the Matt Sydal clothesline-hang-on-top- ropes-and-mug spot is great. But it requires that the camera film him from the front to show him mugging. Filming it from behind ruins the taunt.

PAS: Mark Henry's promo was completely awesome, but his sqaush wasn't really violent enough. Great looking clothesline, but not much else. Funaki isn't really a big bumping jobber, this feels like it would have been a nice place for Shannon Moore or hell they were in Baltimore call up Chad Austin.

TKG: I don’t think it’s that Mark Henry needs a bigger bumping jobber so much as he needs a physically bigger jobber. Henry is huge and being huge standing next to Funaki doesn’t mean anything. There’s a reason you book Luger or Giant to squash RoadBlock. Picking up Roadblock is impressive. There is a reason you book Hogan to bodyslam Rusty Brooks. Does Kelly Bell still work Maryland?

PAS: The druids carrying the Undertaker is always stupid, but is especially dumb with current Undertaker. With his abs, old face and shooter gloves he is basically working a current Ken Shamrock gimmick. Would druids really come for Ken Shamrocks soul?


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WWE Judgment Day 07

Judgment Day

PAS: I made a shitload of money in Karaoke bribes last night, so on a whim we decide to get this PPV.

TKG: I found a twenty on the street and told Phil, yeah go ahead spend your money.

Ric Flair v. Carlito

PAS: This was shockingly good. I mean no reason for anyone to expect this to do anything but suck, Flair maybe old and semi shot but he can still deliver on PPV. I really liked the kind of story they were telling here as Flair had been trying to inspire Carlito to show some fire, but it took Carlito turning on him to actually do it. Aggressive Carlito was fun, I liked how he kept moving forward, while Flair spent most of the match trying to keep him off of him. Flair doesn't do a lot of things anymore, but everything he does looked great. He landed some beautiful straight right hands, his chops were brutal, and the chop block, stomp on the knee, knee to the knee, figure four combo looked like it should have ended the match. This felt like it went a bit too long, as they seemed to lap themselves a bit. They did the Flair gets armbared, fights through the pain to throw an east coast armdrag, then takes over with chops sequence twice. It is a great sequence, but it really was repeated.

TKG: They intro Carlito as "From the Carribean"...Afraid that there are too many Puerto Rican's in St Louis? So the story on Carlito is he sucks as an X-division babyface especially since he works an X-division babyface who is doing Kevin Nash " I am cool and indifferent" gimmick. He's a lot better off working as heel. He had a couple of questionable looking bits of heel offense. Him saying "ask him ref" for a keylock is goofy. He released the hammerlock before the hammerlock slam but that ended up making it look like it hit the shoulder so that was fine. His lariat was a Pierroth of Puerto Rico style lariat that hits right at the chest (instead of throat) but hits hard enough that it just looks like a nasty strike. But his timing was consistently good and even the questionable stuff ended up looking good, and I liked all his heel dropkick stuff. I think they only did the Flair powers out of keylock with hiptoss sequence twice. So it didn't feel like it lapped itself so much as the second time it was bigger deal. First time it was holy shit “that’s awesome" spot, the second time it was a "now he's in position to mount an offense" spot. Phil covers allot of the Flair stuff but my favorite thing is Flair can no longer do the rolling knee to the face as well as he used to, so he replaced it with just stomping the flat of his boot right on Carlito's face. The end where Flair struggles to raise his own hand was sweet.

Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga v. Bobby Lashley

TKG: Did I miss the WON where they explained why vain Vince McMahon is wrestling with a shirt on? I mean it's Vince. Is he dying? Does he have the AIDS? Is he considered talent? Does he participate in the "wellness program"? No way that cokehead gets tested. He's wrestling with a shirt on. Maybe it’s a tribute to ECW authenticity. Guy with title has to wrestle with shirt on. His ill fitting boot cut pants could have passed for Sandman style Tubas. Yeah that makes sense; Vince represents the true spirit of ECW...no wellness testing for him. The fat backyarder in the hockey jersey really is an accurate representation of the true spirit of ECW too. Fat backyarder, druggie and Samoan in a three on one match for ECW title feels like a legit ECW booking. The shitty finish feels authentic too. Lashley is too cut to be authentic ECW and there really wasn't enough horseshit in the match. Where's Linda to dyke out and then go through a table?

PAS: This was a nothing match, but they are doing a nice job of making the matches I don't want to see short, and giving everything else way too much time, so god bless them.

C.M. Punk v. Eljiah Burke

PAS: Inexplicable match. My guess is that C.M. Punk was showing everyone backstage his Samoa Joe series again. Talking up how great he is. Mike Graham must have been backstage taping one of those legends roundtables. "I remember when Pillman was running his mouth like this, give this Brooks kid 30 minutes on PPV with that green black guy who throws punches, we will see how good he really is." Is there any other explanation for this going this long? This is a secondary feud from your tertiary show. It almost felt like an IWA-MS match where it would have been good if it was ten minutes shorter. They did have some cool stuff and your finishing run was pretty good, with some nice near falls. I just watched an Ultraman match followed by a Kelly Pavlik fight, so body shots and combinations wouldn't normally impress me, but Burke's looked really good.

TKG: This was actually saved by going long. Started really mediocre. For smart guy without a ton of physical gifts and taped ribs I'm not sure if the first ten minutes were laid out as well as DDP would. For black guy with good combinations Burke doesn't really impress me as much as OJ did. And watching first ten minutes, I imagine that OJ and DDP have had better matches on Korean Air Force bases. Opening kicker vs. puncher stuff wasn't much. The match gets good for a bit and then for some reason they have the babyface put the heel in a long headlock, then it gets good again. I mean it goes from bad to good to bad to good. You do sense that the length of time was meant as a taunt, but the length is what made it work. The big complaint I had about the Batista vs. Undertaker Mania match was that the big near fall tease of finish finishing run felt really thrown on and artificial. Match wasn't building toward that and felt like a desperate attempt at pops that the match didn't need. With CM Punk v. Burke it really felt like the match was building toward a near fall end run and the crowd responding to it made sense. When CM Punk went to top rope for superplex I did briefly think he was going for Pepsi Plunge...ROH now has contracts, that would be a spectacular way to get yourself fired from WWE. I mean CM Punk is this straight edge indy guy, what's he doing in WWE? Fugazi never signed with Capitol.

Shawn Michaels v. Randy Orton:

TKG: Phil tells me that HBK is supposed to be selling a concussion. It looked to me like he was just trying to recreate one of his 90s era no condition to perform house show performances. I've fallen on my head before and I've snorted lines off past out girls' cooters before. He wasn't selling the former.

PAS: At least we didn't have to watch a long Shawn Michaels match. It seems a little divaish to run your injury angle on PPV. Run it on RAW so I don't have to pay for it. No long Helmsley matches in addition to no long Michaels matches means I am going to be wasting more money on WWE PPV's.

Hardy Boyz v. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

PAS: Them running this match like a lucha Dia de Los Ninos match where the rudos wrestle clean for the kids is hysterical. The three RAW guys are kind of running through their stuff and Matt Hardy who is on stiff ass Smackdown just wastes Cade with a forearm, I mean one of the more brutal forearms I have ever seen. After that Cade and Murdoch sort of wake up and the rest of the match is pretty asskicking. Murdoch is great as sincere babyface, when Matt makes the save, he goes "Hey we're playing by the rules here." I figured this would be the show where Cade and Murdoch get the belts, but I don't mind them running this back in two weeks.

TKG: That Matt Hardy forearm was nasty. I was expecting Cade to end up legit concussed on show where they had a worked concussion angle. At minimum I was expecting him to come up with a busted cheekbone. And when did Matt Hardy get the best back elbow in the biz? I cringed every time he threw it. Cade was wasting folks with lariats and even Jeff Hardys swanton looked like it hit with force. Cade's dropkick was fucking Jindrack beautiful. For a Dia de los Ninos match this was paced well with neat opening section leading to the regroup leading to the big Jeff Hardy bump, etc. Best match on show thus far.

Edge v. Batista

PAS: Ick, this was a total mess. Batista seemed to come in with tuberculosis, as he was hacking and coughing during the opening minutes. In a show, and really a promotion, where everyone is working tight, everything was done really gingerly. It felt like they were killing time to the finish, and outside of the double spear nothing stood out. Worst match on the show, and Edge needs to realize he isn't on RAW anymore and needs to step it up.

TKG: Yikes this was a mess. I remember liking the Christian vs. Batista series...but this uggh.. Why are you booking an undercard face-with-taped- body-part when the title match also involves a face-with-taped-body-part? They also are running this right before MVP v. Chris Benoit where the set up is that Finlay and MVP have injured Benoit's leg. Edge ends up working the arm and his arm work is realy sub Carlito. Edge and Batista do the same spot Carlito and Flair did with armlock reversed into hip toss. It gets no response here. The real chickenshit cheap finish doesn't help anyone ether. The double spear spot was cool but this was worst match on show by a lot.

MVP v. Chris Benoit

PAS: I think I liked this more then Tom. This was really hurt by running the leg injury match before it, but MVP impressed me more then he has before. Benoit clearly led him nicely through this, but all of his semi-goofy stuff was done in context. The leg selling by Benoit was great, and both finishes were niftily set up. It did seem a little one sided which is why I think the crowd was sort of dead. Benoit really got very little offense in, with everything he did getting countered. It would have worked a lot better if you didn't have Flair with an injured shoulder, Punk with taped ribs, Michaels with a concussion and Batista with a taped quad. Too much of the same thing kind of kills the gimmick.

TKG: Montel Vontavious Porter?? Marcus Cor Von? Who's the guy in charge of "Negro Naming"? How hard is it to just call him Toby? Yeah Phil liked this a lot more than I did. MVP had some cool stuff. In first fall, the rolling attack that knocked Benoit down was neat, as was the dragon screw variation, plus the electric chair into Play of the Day reversal was great finish. Second fall he had some neat reversals, nasty leg stuff, and the almost Fuller leg lock style roll up finish was awesome. Still the match was made by the greatness of the Benoit leg selling. But for match built around heel working over Benoit's leg, MVP was never going to come across as violent as Finlay did in the Smackdown match that set this up. Disappointing.

Great Khail v. John Cena

PAS: Wow was that spectacular. I remember when Khali came in, he did this destruction of Undertaker which looked super shitty, as his stuff didn't look violent at all. I think he has improved a bit, but Cena made him look like a total killer. Just taking giant bumps on all of the moves. They weren't Hennig or Micheals style athletic bumps which are all about the bumper, they were the kind of whiplash bumps that make the guy applying the move look like a total monster. Cena is also amazing at timing all of his comebacks, as the crowd went nuts for the catch of the chop, and the shoulderblocks. Khali tapping out seems like a finish of the feud, and I think they could have easily run it back at the next PPV.

TKG: And fuck everything else this was the match of the night. Phil's point about athletic v. whiplash bumps is really made when comparing this to last years Judgement Day. Last years Judgement Day had an Undertaker v. Great Khali match that was worked around Undertaker taking really Michaels style athletic bumps. It was as good of a performance if not better than Michaels vs. Masters. But the match was flat because no matter how much Undertaker flew around, the bumps were about the bumper and at no point did you buy Khali's offense. Cena is a superstar here making all of Khali's stuff look dangerous and hurty. I get the sense that Cena could get Tom Magee a WWE job. Instead of Cena selling everything by flying and doing melodramatic soap actor dying selling, Cena sells each piece of offense like its different from the last. And so instead of remembering athletic bumps you remember Khali's offense: his first lariat, his straight punch, his headbutt, his leg lariat, his elbow in the corner, his leg drop, his second big lariat, etc. What you remember is how devastating it all was. And well Khali is big enough and immobile enough that just having him lift his leg was a surprise. Khali is clearly still delicate as Cena really pulls his stuff more than he has in ages. I also don't know how he's done it but somehow even working delicately Cena has made me like the slingblade. I don't know if it's that Cena has better execution than Tanahashi or if it's that he just has better in ring timing. But I can't stand when Tanahashi pulls that out and I totally popped for it here.


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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

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


Previously on the list

Necro Butcher v. Toby Klien CZW 1/13
Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero WWE 1/16

4. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer ROH 3/4

The first third of the year was Jimmy Jacobs time. They had been building his feuds with Whitmer and Cabana for months, and he had been the best character in wrestling for most of 2006. Then they wrap it all up in the first part of 2007 and he gets to absolutely rule it in the ring. I haven't watched the cage match yet, but this was the best of the Jacobs brawls so far. This was a falls count anywhere match, and Jacobs gets thrown through everything in the arena. He goes through chairs, down the bar knocking over drinks, head over heels down stairs. He pretty much touches every part of the arena with his head. Jimmy also does a crazy looking plancha off the balcony. When they get into the ring, they have the great Shiek sections of ever Jacobs brawl, where he stabs Whitmer in the head, and then wipes his face in Whitmers blood, and lays underneath Whitmers bleeding head and yells "BLEED ON ME BJ". It feels less like a move to gross out the fans, then something a legit depressed cutter emo kid would do in a fight. Whitmer was along for the ride, but much like their January match did nothing to irritate me. I would love to see Jacobs in a feud with a top notch brawler like Necro or Homicide, but BJ at least didn't fuck it up. Your finish run was nasty enough to buy it ending the match, but not so nasty that it felt like a feud ender. Man I can't wait to watch that cage match.

15. Matt Sydal v. The Man Gravity Forgot PAC ROH 3/4

Matt Sydal maybe the best underdog babyface in wrestling, this match however he was playing arrogant heel champion, which I figure wouldn't work. Man was I wrong, as he was completely awesome. He took all of The Man Gravity Forgo PAC's rana's and headscissors great, caught all of his big dives well, and had a bunch of signature bumps which would work with anyone. I especially loved his attempted top rope rana, which he missed and crotched himself. For a guy who works so well from the bottom, he is also really great working from the top and controlling, you rarely see someone who can do both equally as good. I would love to see him take the Open The Brave Gate title around the horn and work as touring heel champ against other green local juniors. The Man Gravity Forgo PAC had some nice spots but you get the sense Sydal could have the same match with "The Ethereal" Sean Alty in North Carolina, Kid Mikaze in Boston, Ricochet in Chicago or Mistico in DF.

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TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 5/3/07

OK so last week’s episode was an actively good show. All three matches were laid out smartly and showed in full. Actively good in ways that made you think that there might be some internal changes with the promotion and that might be the start of a string of good shows. But apparently that show was just an anomaly as we are back to the full time SUCK.

WHAT WORKED:

-Once in a while Don West gets to demonstrate why he still rules. Here he does a nice job explaining why Sting and Angle would be going for their finishers in the first 30 seconds of the match. “Both of these guys are trying to finish off the match early, get a quick surprise win. This is a good strategy as both are such veteran greats that are used to long matches….”Actually explaining the rushed nature of the work as being “strategy” in a fed where matches don’t go over two minutes anyway was awesome.

-Rare that I like a TNA video package, but the TNA video package recapping the Roode/Eric Young angle was good. Well I don’t know if the package was that good so much as I really really liked the fake James Bond/Elevator Action spy jazz soundtrack that they played behind it. Someone needs to use that as entrance music.

-Eric Young’s really 80s style babyface mic work may have been better than Jeff Jarrett’s babyface mic work from the week before. The “Eric friend” angle went from being mentally slow John Heidenreich looking for “friend” comedy to a real serious discussion of loyalty. I mean I had no reason to believe that Young was capable of that but he really pulled it off. “Sometimes you need to fight your own battles; no matter what the consequences…my word is never broken”. It came off natural and unscripted, and he wasn’t derailed by the audience claiming that they were “His friend”. The beat down on Young for heat was also good and the Jarrett interaction was fun. I’m not the biggest fan of Jarrett hitting a woman with guitar shot for face pops. Felt out of place next to the type of babyface mic work Young was doing. Really I prefer your traditional southern babyface either laying a big kiss on the heel woman or putting her across his lap for a spanking to north east pattern of Hogan stripping and then beating Sherri Martel for pops and Dudleys putting girls through tables. But it may be too late to turn back that clock.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

-So last week all matches were laid out well and shown in full. This week all matches were laid out so poorly that it felt like a shot at last week’s road agent:

-Both Sting matches were booked to feel really throw away and really a misuse of Sting. Last week Kurt Angle claimed “Having less than 8 years in the business, means I’m still in my prime”. Watching Angle vs. Sting really exposed that lie. So I recently watched 66 year old Chvao Guerrero Sr vs. 54 year old Tatsumi Fujinami. Chavo Sr. still looks great when he’s on offense but really struggles to eat anything. He takes all his bumps really awkwardly. Angle took one flat back bump fora lariat and looked like Chavo Sr. taking it. and really doesn't have Chavo Sr.s offense. Meanwhile Sting eats an overhead belly to belly and takes a nasty bump into retaining wall. They end the match after about a minute of wrestling with Christian’s team attacking Angle. Sting comes to Angles aid yelling”we need someone out here”. Fuck where was Sting last week when Abyss needed help? Later in same show Eric Young eats a nasty beating where Tenay and West talk about how bad a beating it was and how it reminded them of last weeks beating on Abyss. Didn’t remind anyone of the beating on Angle. There were some nice punches by Tomko but really an unimpressive Angle beatdown that made the seriousness with which they treated it seem silly. You can’t do two beatdowns of a face like this in same show as there is no way for the audience to figure out an ordinal scale to measure which beating means more. Stupid. Sting got to work a less broken down wrestler in the main event. The Christian Cage vs. Sting match looked like it might have been good live, had some nice bumps, nice big spots looked like it was paced well etc. But really the commercial in the middle really fucked up all that and turned what might have been a good match into a real nothing match. The big SWERVE of Angle who earlier “had to have his neck stabilized” running out in the end didn’t really accomplish much either. Stupid show lay out.

The other matches weren’t much better. Team 3D vs. Tomko/Steiner was really laid out poorly. Tomko’s a guy who eats stuff well and can bump around ring well. Steiner can’t. For some reason this match was built around Steiner eating stuff, missing clotheslines to transition and bumping around ring. He can’t do that at this point and the whole short match looked awkward. People on the net lately have been praising Devon while shitting on Bubba, which is ridiculous as Devon has sold as little if not less than Bubba and looked as shitty on offense. So I should point out that the Tomko/Devon exchanges of forearms is the best Devon stuff I’ve seen in ages. I should also point out that Konnan on commentary called Devon an “eggplant”. "Eggplant"!!! I guess Konan isn't running for Virginia Senate seat, but still. ...Konan never worked UWA so I don’t think he ever shared a locker-room with Allen Coage.

-And well then there was the FOUR CORNERS SUICIDE STAMPEDE!!!! Four Corners Suicide Stampede!!!! Awesome it’s a match with a stupid name and ridiculous rules. Yeah last week was a complete anomaly. This is what TNA is all about. It’s a four way tag match where winning tag team gets to challenge X division title holder in a three way. Think about that for a second. Oh yeah and they’re wrestling with rule that you can’t tag your own partner. This was one of the most transcendently bad and stupid things I’ve seen in TNA. I mean think about the purpose of the match, think about the stipulations. I mean reverse battle royale was awful in execution but the actual idea wasn’t this dumb. Don’t get me wrong this was also awful in execution. Why are Shark Boy and Senshi a team? Kazarian and Alex Shelley? How did they decide how to put teams together? If you’re not allowed to tag own teammate why would you ever want to tag out? Alex Shelley tags self in while his partner is in ring and asks for the finger point finish, exposing the stupidity of the entire concept. First couple tags are done as accidental tags: Shark Boy accidentally tags out by high-fiving Williams. But then pretty much everyone goes “fuck this, this makes no sense anyway" and just come in and out without bothering to tag. At one point it was like they were using lucha rules, except instead of “wrestler can enter ring whenever another wrestler goes to floor” they were using “wrestler can enter ring whenever another wrestler takes a flat back bump”. If someone takes a flat back bump, that’s signal for you to enter and replace him??? God this was a fucking mess.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 4/26/07

WHAT WORKED:

-Wow this was a shockingly unobjectionable episode of Impact. Actively good show. Tenay’s shitty facials hurt the opening mic work butI dug Jeff Jarrett’s humble babyface opening mic work. Really played well into his initial reasons for leaving. I really liked the stuff about “All Sting has done since coming back is give and give and give. Time for me too to give back.”. The whole Sting as model of babyface behavior that inspires Jarrett really elevates the whole Sting/Abyss angle. Sting gave an example of heroic self sacrifice that inspired. Angle coming out as selfish face might have worked if Angle were better on the mic. Also Angle standing next to Jarrett really exposes how short Angle is.

-Ok who the fuck was in charge of laying out matches and time management on this show? Normally you get a minute of a match followed by five minutes of commercials followed by closing two minutes of match. This week we got all matches in full. They showed you introductions of wrestlers pre-commerical, then went to commercial then gave you matches in full. That makes a tremendous difference. And I enjoyed all three matches on this weeks show. All three worked differently, all three with good finishes. Weird.

The four way was basically worked as a tag with face/heel structure emphasized. Samoa Joe is a guy who has looked really bad when booked as back up muscle, but is really great at working role of ace. Here he worked role of ace and fit him like a glove. Styles and Daniels worked heel. Worked heel as guys who eats face offense, not heel as guys who cuts off face offense…and it worked. Daniels took a great eat of a spinebuster and I really liked the everyone out of position baseball bat finish. The Roode v Harris match was worked with Roode not as bumping heel but as heel who constantly cuts off faces run of offense. Wow Roode needs to get away from the endless feuds with ex-Team Canada members. This was the most I’ve enojoyed him in ring in ages. Gail Kim comes to ring with the handcuffs and I hadn’t seen her do that since AMW split, still the actual handcuff finish was a cool handcuff finish. Outisde of Abyss leaping up into the 3D the main was also good. Long time since I’ve seen Dudleys work opponents who they sell for and well that improves any match and the Cage and Abyss try for Doomsday Device leading to Cage taking giant bump was neat finish.

-The final beatdown on Abyss was plenty grizzly.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

- Is Nash supposed to be parodying the stupidity of Russo? Last week Tenay explained the Nash angle as “Nash is lending a hand to many of the X division wrestlers, giving them suggestions on how to expand their character and fanbase.” This week Dutt comes out in Nash’s Diesel costume and they mock it as shitty gimmick. The gimmick that got Nash over is mocked as being as shitty as OZ, or Vinnie Vegas. The message of the segment being that it’s the performer and not the gimmick that gets a wrestler “over”. Of course this is followed up by Lethal coming out and continuing to do his Savage impression. Nash tells him he’s booked them in a three way and Lethal makes some joke about how "Machismo is a One woman Man”. Fucking pussies won’t let him joke “You mean with Steph and Shane again. Oooh yeah”. Promotion wants to do parodies but doesn’t have the balls to make them edgy. Speaking of the stupidity of Russo, AJ Styles continues to be booked as guy who takes a giant death bump on every PPV and then sells no damage on the follow up Impact. Its like wrestling doesn’t hurt. Christopher Daniels with the tails and Sting mask looks like the gayest thing that ever gayed. If they didn’t tell me it was a Sting mask, I would have thought he was working an Eyes Wide Shut perversity gimmick. Sting announces to Angle that next week “you and me, winner gets Christian Cage”. Did he check that with the NWA committee? Get Cornette’s approval? The PPV match stipulation was winner gets title shot? And the follow up show has Sting say “that PPV stip is now null and void”. That’s how you kill match stips. And damn Russo must have had a horrible highschool experience as the show motif of slow witted guys getting manipulated is played too hard. James Mitchell taunting Abyss by blowing in his hair really makes no sense for the character but felt like it had to be autobiographical. Really you can’t have slow witted guy being abused be both the main event angle and the midcard angle. You run the same angle twice in one show and they cancel each other out. When Mitchell wasn’t blowing in Abyss’ hair he was threatening to call the police to have Abyss’ mother arrested for “perjury, obstruction of justice, and attempted murder”. “Perjury”? “Obstruction of justice”? Abyss’ mom testified against Abyss? Really? He’s protecting the mother who testified against him? So in the end when Abyss fucks up did Mitchell call the police? Or did they just beat on him without having his mother arrested? The final beatdown on Abyss was plenty grizzly but it went way too long and this type of thing really needs Tony Zane and Mike Jackson to try to run in and stop the beatdown before getting tossed out of the ring. Or at least TNA security. Where’s Sting? I thought Sting was about giving and giving and giving. Sting isn’t going to come out. You need to have someone try to stop the carnage even if security, Tony Zane, Mike Jackson and Sting are all thrown out of the ring, you need to have someone make an attempt to save. If no-one cares enough to try to stop the beatdown, the message to the audience is that no-one cares. If no-one else cares, why should the audience?


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TNA iMPACT wORKRATE rEPORT 4/19/07

Damn I have a lot of work to do to catch up. This is the 25th post Russo return Impact I’ve written about. If I’m right and I only missed 2 pre-Russo Impacts, that would make this the 75th episode. My 75th workrate report will be two from now and I’m not sure what I want for that diamond anniversary. If anyone wants to contract either K Thor or El Jefe to do one of those 80page super Jimmy Olsen covers for my 80th Impact Workrate Report that would be nice gift. Jeeze I’ve watched 25 Russo episodes!!!

WHAT WORKED:

-Spike Dudley is absolutely insane taking a shoot tazer shot and it was a pretty cool visual. It’s nice attempt to get over the electricity gimmick but I don’t think it actually works. People have seen enough goofball Mountie shockstick bullshit that unless you have actual experiences with tazers it isn’t going to register as being unique. As result it felt completely unnecessary and the booking is really stupid. Mike Tenay shouting “This time they’ve gone too far” is ridiculous. LAX have attacked Spike before. Really at this point attacking Spike is cliché. LAX already tried to gas Bubba’s uncle. They’ve attacked Johnny Rodz. Tazering just doesn’t feel like an atrocious act at this point. Not really an obscene escalation of violence. But according to Tenay “This time it’s over the line”. It probably should go on the bottom but I liked the visual enough to keep it up here.

-BLACK MACHISMO is an awesome name. Dutch Mantell is the guy who gave Steve Austin his ring name and I should’ve trusted his judgment. Having a wrestler do this type of impression gimmick is just really indy and bush league. If you do an impression of another wrestler you have under contract, than it’s a taunt. Having a guy do an impression of a wrestler that they don’t have under contract means your just second rate. Lethal is a guy who doesn’t work like Macho Man. One of the stupidest things bookers due is try to make wrestlers work style that isn’t natural to them. Lethal’s offense is built around chops and suplexes. If he is going to be given an impression gimmick it should be of someone with similar offense. Up till this episode I was in the awkward position of agreeing with Russo. But in the end names matter. Ring names can either make or break a gimmick. Dutch Mantell is a guy who comes up with great ring names while Russo is a guy who comes up with shitty ones. Dutch’s Black Machismo smokes Russo’s Nig Lad Booty Caddie. I’ve actually watched a bunch of 80s Macho Man recently and was really impressed by the work of Miss Elizabeth as a second. I didn’t remember her really bringing that much to the table but on rewatch she is just spectacular at acting the role of abused wife struggling to maintain a happy face for the outside world. Vallerie Bertenelli and Farah Fawcett have played this role a million times but have never captured the sense of struggle, the sheer will to keep up appearance despite abuse. You watch Elizabeth as a second and she is able to both convey a character who absolutely hates her lot in life, and also a character who refuses not to smile. Just a spectacular performance. Monsoon and Mcmahon are just blown away by her “acting” here. Mcmahon gets all super-queenire discussing her make up and appearance: “ Look at how nice her make up is, how careful she is to even out the rouge so no one will notice the black eye” and Monsoon will respond ” That’s the mark of a classy lady”. And you leave the match going, damn her acting really made that match work. Every match you watch you notice more and more about her performance. It comes off less as acting and more as real. Macho Man himself for guy with weird vocal inflections always comes off as though that’s his legit coked up voice. Doesn’t feel like a performance it feels real. Jay Lethal is playing an imitation and no matter how good the imitation it’s not real. . Every Macho Man match you watch you notice more and more nuances to Elizabeth’s performance. Jay Lethal’s Macho man imitation may be a funny imitation the first time but once you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it…It isn’t an Ebessan gimmick where he does lots of different imitations. He only does this one. Black Machismo is a good enough ring name that maybe there is a possibility of Lethal figuring a way to make this less an impression gimmick and do more to incorporate a “real Jay Lethal” into it. The gimmick has no potential but the name is far cooler than the gimmick. For debut of parody gimmick Black Machismo v. Chris Sabin wasn’t as good a match as Disgraceland v. Shark Boy. But there were enough things in it to entertain me: Lethal threw some nice jabs and a good elbow; Sabin did a Garvin stomp into a senton; and Don West called the top rope axe handle as “High risk move”. Really indyest part of the actual in-ring work was Lethal’s shitty backbreaker into stroke move.I’m not sure if it actually worked for the live crowd. West does a nice job covering for the crowd’s disinterest “the crowd sits in deibelief”.

-So I enjoyed Sabin vs. Lethal as rib disguised as a match. I’m not sure if Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles was also a rib or not. Felt like they were ribbing on Keller. They open with a fun K-1 section than go to 3 minute commercial break and come back to build rest of the match around a back rake. State of the art back rake. Tenay does a huge sell of the backrake on commentary: ”AJ dug his nails in Samoa Joes back” “You can see the tracks that he left with that backrake”. So this weeks show had X division workers using a top rope axe handle, Garvin stomp and a back rake. At one point in the match Samoa Joe throws a Polish Hammer!!! What the fuck?? Lately Samoa Joe has looked bored and been content to do nothing but jabs. Here he looked like he actually cared and mixed in combinations including some great uppercuts. AJ does a fun heel struggles with body slam comedy spot. The ref bump was shitty but I liked the pulling trunks roll up as a set up for Kokina clutch. I got the sense that Samoa Joe v. chickenshit heel AJ Styles could be a really good PPV match. Felt like I might like it better than their earlier TNA PPV matchups.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK:

-This wasn’t a very good show. Doesn’t WWE own the Vinnie Vegas gimmick? I always liked Vinnie Vegas. The Vegas/Mr Huges tag team were actually pretty fun and it was amusing gimmick. It might actually be a good gimmick for Sonjay Dutt. University of Maryland South Asians who wear a lot of Gucci and have deluded themselves into thinking that they’re high rollers because they do lots of internet gambling and go to Atlantic city on the weekends are a real contemporary subculture. There are a ton of South Asians pretending to be stereotypical guidos after reading too many Mario Puzzo novels and convincing themselves that there are real parallels in their immigrant experience. I imagine Dutt has enough experience with that subculture that he should be able to pull it off. But it’s TNA and they aren’t smart enough to do that. I’ve already covered the stupidity of the Jay Lethal stuff; Black Machismo is a great ring name but the actual gimmick is bad and has no legs. And covered teh stupidity of the LAX/3D angle; Spike is crazy but electricity stuff doesn't work and the violence in this angle has been escalated to a point where another attack on Spike is meaningless. Is Daniels now working a silent gimmick? Jeremy Borash tries to talk with Daniels but Daniels says nothing. I mean I’m no fan of Daniels mic work but they’re giving him a mime gimmick? Damnit when will Sting get to work someone who can do mic work? The show ends with everyone on the PPV (other than Daniels) doing mic work to hype their matches. And damnit, Angle at this point is a shittier mic worker than even Jerry Lynn. Shelley, Aries, Low Ki. Konan, Bubba, Jerry Lynn, Christian, and Angle all hype their matches. Jerry Lynn says explosion too many times but at least his stuff makes sense. Angle's mic work consists of him announcing a bunch of times that his team has five members.”We will beat them because we have five”. That’s the talking point to get me to see the match? Why not just announce“See the match because the teams have even members”!!!? Oh yeah and I almost forgot, YIKES was the Roode/Jackie vs. Petey Williams/Gail Kim match fugly. So WWE ran mixed six person Melina/MNM v Kendrik/London/ and Ashley matches to set up the Mania match between Ashley and Melina. The best parts of those matches were the MNM v. Kendrik/London stuff (but those guys weren’t booked for Mania) but the matches did a nice job of protecting Ashley and Melina. In Tna this best parts of the match are the Jackie Moore vs. Gail Kim sections. Kim has a nice knee drop and bumps well, and all of Jackie’s stuff looks good. But HOLY SHIT didn’t Petey Williams and Robert Roode train together??? For two guys who train together these two looked like they were on completely different pages This match stank because too much time was spent with the male workers. The finish with all the run-ins did nothing to hype anything. Since when did Roode start using the “It pays to be Roode” line ? Yikes that’s embarrassing.

-But all the shitty booking pales before the shitty booking of the WARGAMES match. Wargames should be an easy gimmick to book and in many ways it’s a booking machine, an assembly line operation that should be difficult to fuck up. I’ve written about how the machine works when done well here : http://board.deathvalleydriver.com/index.p...mp;#entry690391But lord do they fuck it up. The actual pop for the return of Jeff Jarrett’s 80s babyface hair was cool. And was kind of signature Dutch Mantell stuff. Wargames type matches are a big attraction in Puerto Rican booking (and I’m not someone who will argue that Dutch is a better PR booker than Barabas, Luke Williams, Youngblood, or Invader I); book to wargames as major event with babyface team finally getting heel turned face as last member. This requires long term booking and part of the reason that the Jarrett turn works is because he was gone for awhile. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The show starts with Sting on the mic . Last week Sting talked about how he was going home to think his life through and then ten minutes later showed up to clean house. Real lack of absence. This weeks show starts with Sting explaining that he was able to recognize in the ten minutes that he took for contemplation that “I am who God made me and that is a pro-wrestler who loves this company”. That might work if Sting had been gone for a month, two weeks or even one week. But that decision has no meaning when you just take off for ten minutes. All of the quick swerve booking of the last month really stools all over the long term booking of the Jarrett face turn. It exposes the flaws of Dutch’s booking strategy. Three weeks ago Angle wanted Tomko to join team, Tomko turns on him at the end of show; two weeks ago Angle wanted to recruit Abyss who also turns at end, and this week Angle recruits Jarrett. Four weeks where every show ends in a surprise swerve weakens the final swerve. If you spread that story out over 6 months it might work. But when you do it in four weeks, the audience is left with the impression that there are no meaningful TNA faces. Why does Angle keep on trying to recruit heels? Angle thinks team 3D are unworthy of consideration as allies? VKM? What about Petey Williams, that young man who Tenay thinks has demonstrated real heroism? Do the angle in 4 weeks and it makes all of your faces look like second-rate midcarders. Taking a booking strategy that works for long term booking and compressing it into a month exposes all of its holes. And then of course there is the “winner gets title challenge” Elimination chamber stip grafted on the Wargames format which completely fucks up the logic behind the match. Samoa Joe rightly points out that this has now become a multiperson match where the fewer people in it, the better the individual odds of winning. Angle claims he’s trying to field a full team, but the logic of the match is that fewer people better odds. Why should Angle announcing tenth person in match mean anything when the match is essentially everyman for himself. Wargames is a machine, they’ve really fucked up that machine. As badly as the Warrior OWN Wargames? Unclear. And that's a real indictment. As Angle is a drug addeled delusional space case but there is no reason booking around his nuttiness should compare to booking around Warrior. And the bad booking doesn't feel like it was done to protect delusional druggy in the match. It feels like it was just decision of dumb writers/bookers. Russo doesn't even have painkiller addiction as an excuse.


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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

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

16. Chris Benoit v. MVP 4/10

The conceit behind this Benoit v. MVP feud is kind of cool. MVP comes in as kind of a joke character, who is now trying to prove he is the real deal by taking it to the legendary veteran. Benoit starts out disdainful , but is learning to respect him. Of course this would work better if currently every angle in the WWE wasn't basically the same.

I don't understand WWE at all. I watch ROH and they have this long involved angle based around spurned love and manipulation and hate. Meanwhile everything in the WWE is based around babyfaces earning each others respect through long grueling wrestling matches. Micheals doesn't respect Cena, Cena wants to prove he is the better man. Will they shake each others hands? Batista doesn't respect the legacy of the Undertaker, but he needs to prove his toughness against the legend. Hell even on the undercard, here MVP wants to prove he belongs in the ring with Benoit, on RAW Carlito is tired of being disrespected by Flair. When the fuck did the WWE become 2001 ROH? Hell even look at the Vince v. ECW feud, it is all about Vince not respecting the legacy and hard work of the ECW originals. Vince as Christopher Daniels refusing to shake Balls Mahoney's hand is just bizarre.

Supposedly Michael Hayes has a bunch of power and that is why there is more wrestling lately. That doesn't make any sense either, Michael Hayes is a guy who became a legend by smearing cream in a giant black guys eyes, and making ghetto New Orleans folk pull guns on him. He beat up Fritz and gave him a heart attack, he wasn't trying to earn Kevin’s respect.

The match itself was pretty much a one man Benoit show. For NOVA generation wrestlers, MVP has better execution then Punk or Kennedy, but this is still Benoit as Fuerza. I really dug the post shot Benoit took, and I like how MVP doesn't seem to know how to tuck his head on German suplexes. The finish was pretty awesome too, with MVP teasing the insane German from the ring to the floor, and countering the inevitable Benoit counter. It does a nice job of establishing the learning curve.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

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

9. Finlay v. Undertaker 3/6 WWE

Finlay cuts a promo before this match claiming to show no fear of the Undertaker. Usually that means the guy cutting the promo will end up making cooning terrified faces, but Finlay actually wrestles the match like he isn't afraid. This was pretty much a slugfest, like Undertaker v. Batista, but with better slugging. I have never seen the Undertakers punches look better, and I assume that is because of Finlay was leaning in. You actually kind of buy this guy as the best pure striker in WWE history. The other crazy thing about this is how good the Undertaker's selling was. Finlay's offense was built around working over Taker's ribs and everything he did was labored, he still executed his moves but he had clearly fight through the pain. Finlay even gets a visual pin on Undertaker which is pretty unprecedented. Finlay hasn't really had the opportunities this year, like he had in 2006, but when he does get a chance to go 20, you can still see how awesome he is. Also super in shape Undertaker is really creepy looking, he has the tan and definition, but with an old man face, he looks way more like current Vince then someone who is actually scary looking. Would the personification of death really be this cut? Are their Ballys Total Fitness in Hell?

17. Matt Hardy v. Ken Kennedy WWE 3/13

One of the more amusing WWE stories in recent years is the elevation of NOVA of all people to the head of talent development. You can really see his influence in the new batch of young superstars, as MVP, C.M. Punk and Kennedy all really wrestle a late 90's indy wrestling tape watcher style. They all do lots of moves, with the moves not being executed particularly well or done in context. Matt Hardy is a guy who had a bunch of good matches in Super 8's so he knows how to do something with a guy sloppily applying an indian deathlock. Hardy was great here spearing Kennedy to the floor, taking big bump and completely handholding Kennedy through opening matwork. It actually kind of looked like Negro Navarro working green AULL guys. Hardy's selling made this, Kennedy worked over the leg and Hardy was limping badly through the whole match, even having to be held up by the ref post match.

16. Nigel McGuiness v. Jimmy Rave ROH 3/4

This was a Fight Without Honor, which is ROH's big feud ending stipulation, and is basically a No DQ match. What it normally means is that guys are going to huge bumps, and huge bumps were absolutely taken, especially by Jimmy Rave who really died a couple of horrible deaths and ended up with a broken jaw. They worked a bunch of stuff based around a guardrail, Rave takes a Estrada bump on the rail, and ends up getting the Tower of London on the rail which is completely insane looking. Nigel was also really fun, he was playing an enthusiastic regional babyface, and was almost playing a Lawler role. Still despite all of the hot death, I never really got the sense of hate and violence, that I got from your Jimmy Jacobs ROH garbage matches, it felt a little like an exhibition of insane bumps and sick clotheslines. Also Rave really shouldn't have gone back on offense at all after that Tower of London on the rail, that should end a match, you shouldn't have a guy throwing headbutts afterwards. Rave also took enough of the lions share of the beating, that it almost babyfaces him. Any offense he has in the end part of the match feels more like a hope spot, then any sense of danger for Nigel.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY List

Phil's Ongoing 2007 MOTY LIST

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



1. Nigel McGuinness v. Samoa Joe ROH 3/3

Nigel is a guy who I first noticed in IWA-MS as maybe the first indy guy to do old Johnny Saint spots. When he was the only guy doing it, it was pretty awesome. Then it became an indy cliché, as you would get cards with Lady in the Lake in every match. Nigel though has really changed his style completely, as he is now a guy who does some very simple things, very well. He has a set of good looking offense, and bunches of different ways to hit it, and bunches of ways to have it countered. A lot of this match was built around Nigel setting up the Tower of London and the rebound lariat, and Joe finding different ways to work around it. All that stuff was great, but what made this match was two big dudes pounding the shit out of each other. Nigel is Hansen level killing people with clotheslines now, and the outside the ring rebound lariat he does was sick. Plus he apparently has decided that home country appearances are going to be all about sick bumps. Joe whips him head first into a post, and muscle busters him on the ring apron, both of which were totally insane. Joe is really great here too, as he knows he is going to be stuck working Rhyno in three minute matches for the next 2 years, so he goes out with a bang.

The finish was really great, Joe hits the insane looking apron muscle buster, and the refs come out to help an unconscious Nigel. Then you have the really cool in match angle, where Nigel is being carried to the back, and Joe calls him out over the mike. “Come back and shake my hand you British pussy.” The in match restart seems to also be a British Nigel match specialty, and when he comes into the ring the crowd, which had been split, gets totally behind him, and they have a great final run. I especially loved the one big Nigel nearfall, as he had been setting up the rebound lariat, and he bounds off the ropes, but instead of going for a clothesline, he does a slick little roll up. Nigel really needs to be the guy who takes the title off of Morishima, he is the best guy on the indies right now, and would have a spectacular title run.

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