Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

ROH Respect Is Earned PPV

PAS: I have been to a ton of ROH shows over the years, and I would like the company to be successful enough to offer guys I like contracts so I don't have to see them in TNA. If PPV being successful gets Samoa Joe out of that shithole, I will kick in my $15.

TKG: ROH (for better or worse) is completely built around your long tail theory where future of retail is built around "selling less of more"( was built this way before every music/entertainment marketing seminar was built around talking point that "future of retail is having lots of niche products for sale, instead of one or two really successful across the board products" and myspace stuff ( I don't think Gabe is a strategic marketing genius and think he's probably just lucked into the right thing at the right time. That said there are allot of indy promotions which are funded by DVD sales (promotions set up knowing that they draw more income from DVD/video sales than they do from attendance) Gabe comes across a lot savvier than those other promotions. Still as a viewer, it takes a while to get past the paradigm shift. I’m used to traditional model of wrestling fed that runs houseshows/TV in effort to entice you to go to the big supershow or buy the PPV. ROH is doing the opposite as they are running a PPV whose goal is to entice you to go to the houseshows or buy DVDs of their regular shows. It’s a complete flip as I’m used to “A” being advertisement for “B”, and not “B” acting as advertisement for “A”. There are things that an ROH show does very differently then WWE/WWF/ECW?WCW did because they have different goals. WWE will never mention that Angle once worked for them because selling DVDs of houseshows/TV.etc with Angle isn’t primary goal. ROH PPV is full of mentions of Low-Ki, Homicide, Samoa Joe, CM Punk,etc because their goal is to sell back catalogue. I’m not convinced that this PPV was particularly effective at selling their DVD back catalogue, but I think it’s important to remember that that is the goal.

Takeshi Morsihima v BJ Whitmer:

TKG: Whitmer makes an open challenge, Morishima answers and YIKES. Why is Whitmer getting this much in on the champ? Why is Whitmer doing KENTA's flying knee strike in an opener when KENTA is working the main event? I like your Vader v Hashi or Shiga type matches but this isn't one of those. You could have had Whitmer get a run of offense without Morishima having to leave his feet. Or at least built to Morishima leaving his feet. But no. Whitmer is easily able to take Morishima off his feet and gets two sets of two-count near falls on Morishima. Two sets of near falls on the champ before Morishima gets off a big offense run. Just fucking awful match where neither guy comes across looking like much of anything. Lenny Leonard is doing the "puts everyone down" line too.

PAS: I have no idea why Leonard is stealing shitty Gabe commentary lines, "Puts em all down" isn't even "Daaangerrooous" which at least has some kitsch value. This wasn't good, Whitmer getting to run through all of his offense before Morishima takes over is a terrible way to build either guy. Whitmer doesn't look good, because he hits all of his shit and can't put Morishima down, and Morishima gets bumped all over the ring. This stunk

PAS: I thought the RAW in ring segment was fine, does a nice job establishing all three guys, maybe watching all of this Mid-South lately biases me, but Morishima really could have used Skandor Akbar to do his mike work.

Rocky Romero v Naomichi Marifuji:

TKG: Holy fuck this is mind numbing. They do eight minutes of meaningless masturbatory circa 98 indy superstar exchanges (mirror missed stuff/face offs etc.) . I don't know if you can even call the first eight minutes masturabtory, as this was way too limp dicked to be called masturbation. They follow that up with about six minutes of Marafuji works Romero's leg, which is followed up by five minute finisher exchange section. There were large sections where it felt like they were walking through this, like I was watching a dress rehearsal practice run through. If the first two matches were my intro to ROH, I would say "fuck this shit" and never bother with it again.

PAS: Some individual pieces of offense looked good, and I get the sense that if this was on New Japan TV in the 90's and we only got the last four minutes you might think it was good. Unfortunately we got it all, the meaningless leg work, the awful strike exchange, the parts of the match where one guy was standing around clearly waiting for the other guy to hit his move. There was this point of the match where Romero is on the apron and Marifuji is in the ring, Romero throws an overhand right, which Marifuji blocks, it was thrown so slow and so obviously to be blocked, that we rewound it to laugh three or four times, honestly funnier then anything on the Flavor Flav roast except for maybe Greg Giraldo. This match was pretty much everything that is bad about ROH.

TKG: You could throw a rock at any NE indy and hit a match worked exactly the same. For a formula match this wasn't even well worked formula. This was followed by a backstage bit with Tank Tolland, Larry Sweeney, and Sarah Del Rey. I normally really like Larry Sweeney's wink-wink Andrew WK hipster homage to 80s mic work stuff...but for some reason here it came off less as homage and more like just second rate imitation. Tank Tolland's mic work was pretty strong.

Briscoes v. Matt Sydal/Claudio Castongnoli

PAS: This was your basic big match Briscoes tag with all that is good and bad about that match. This felt like it was missing some heel/face stuff which made the Murder City Machine Guns match. Both Sydal and Claudio are fun heels, and some shtick would have kept this from being just an exhibition of spots. Still it was a pretty great exhibition of spots, Sydal is just a total blast, bumping all over the ring and dying on everything the Briscoes do, he may be the most graceful bumper in wrestling. Still Sydal is great at playing both cocky heel and underdog babyface, here he was kind of playing random guy in a Dragon's Gate six-man.

TKG: This took a while to get going but once Marc got nastily dropped to the outside it just all came together and we were off to the races. Really liked Marc's goofy kung fu section with Sydal and think those two could have a really fun singles. Castognoli's new hair makes him look like a Dick Tracy villain. Unfortunately he wasn't working like a Dick Tracy villain. He wasn't working like a Basil Wolverton face either. Again random guy in a Dragon Gate six man. The post match pull apart was pretty fun. I could live without ever seeing announcers on camera, and for some reason Prazac and Leonard were in matching suits that made them look like they were in The Hives. Actually neither really has the stage prescence to be convincing as Sweedish garage rockers. Does Almqvist force his roadies into matching suits? They looked like roadies for the Hives.

PAS: I don't think I have seen Lenny Lenorard before, he really looks like Downs Syndrome Don West. The post match brawl was pretty great, and you have to give Deranged and Azreal props for just getting killed. Let's hope they keep them around as bumping Project 161 Adam Pearce disciples.

Delirious v. Roderick Strong

TKG: This was first match that had a real face/heel structure but it wasn't the type of face/heel structure that makes sense in an intro show. This was worked like your fired up underdog babyface gets his revenge match. So it is a face/heel match built on the angry underdog face really dominating the heel. Face comes in guns a blazing. You don't put the big revenge bunkhouse match on the first show, because the face dominating bunkhouse match doesn't really give the heel a chance to work heel. This went too long for that type of match as it moved from being a face gets revenge match into epic feud ending match. And I would have praised this highly if it had a good feud ending match finish. But instead it ended abruptly and then had the beat down and second face/heel everyone comes out in a row post match.

PAS: I have seen a fair amount of Roderick Strong and I don't remember him doing this many backbreakers in one match. It seems like he wanted to really get his Messiah of the Backbreaker gimmick over on the PPV so he did all of his variations. Tom really nailed the match setups problems on the head, the crowd was deadish for this which hurt the fired up babyface stuff too.

TKG: Adam Pierce's fake Raven mic work did a nice job putting over BJ Whitmer. Unfortunately the PPV had a BJ Whitmer match and no mic work was going to change that.

Bryan Danielson/Takeshi Morishima v. KENTA/Nigel McGuiness

PAS: This PPV really need a great main event to save it, and this really did deliver. I have read people complain about Nigel just throwing lariats, but I am a Choshu fan, nothing wrong with simplifying what you do, if you do it well, and Nigel was killing people with lariats here, from all angles. Nigel's big match restarts are always fun, and I loved him coming back in with the taped up arm, and the jawbreaker with the bad arm was a great near fall. You kind of forget how good Danielson is, but he was amazing here. KENTA and McGuiness are two of his best opponents, and all of their interactions were great. The multiple reversal finish is a staple of indy wrestling, but Danielson may be the only guy who can really pull it off. The whole finish section with KENTA was completely awesome. The match wasn't perfect, for guys who trained together and work constantly KENTA and Morishima don't interact well, and the points where they were matched up were the weakest parts.

TKG: Why isn't this being pimped more? This was really great and all about the pairings as Nigel pairs up well with both Morishima and Danielson and Danielson pairs up well with KENTA and Nigel. And the pairings deliver. This was also the one match where they really pulled off the face/heel dynamic. with Danielson working effectively as heel and Nigel's fighting back from arm stuff telegraphing "face". There was a section where Nigel lariated Danielson off top rope where Morishima just stood around twiddling his thumbs. Maan I'm beginning to think that the Double Takeshis stuff that I used to like so much was all Rikioh.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

WATTS 80's Project Stock Picks

So Kris, Tomk and I have been barreling through hours and hours of Mid-South/UWF footage to prepare for the next 80's project DVD (god bless Goodhelmet, he has been amazing at compiling and distributing footage and is the main reason the project isn't dead, go buy his comps), and here are some general thoughts about the era

Stock Going Up:

Magnum TA- Here is a guy who is clearly being protected when he arrives in Crockett, but he is pretty damn good pre-Crockett in Mid-South. The entire Wrestling II angle is pretty great, although I haven't seen a ton of it yet. He has two very good matches with DiBiase (which isn't always a given) and the Tag Title cage match with Butch Reed/Jim Niedhart v. T.A./Wrestling 2 is easily in my current top 5.

Jake Roberts- When it is all said and done, I think this project will cause a real revaluation of The Snake, he was one of the MVP's of the WWF set, and is spectacular here. Whether he is playing a nasty heel, or a super babyface he is consistently great and his Slater series is going to be front and center on the set. With all of the Rock and Roll Express stuff which will make it, maybe my favorite R+R's match so far is their match with Roberts/John Nord and it ain't cause of John Nord.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan- He basically only does one thing. STANDING TALL brawling babyface, but he is spectacular at that. Great looking punches, super timing, big bumps, blood and as much charisma as anyone in wrestling ever. Pretty much a guarantee of a good match with virtually anyone, as long as they were evil.

Fabulous Freebirds- Everyone knows they are awesome, but the UWF run really had the best in ring stuff I have ever seen from Micheal Hayes, and Buddy Roberts looked at times like the best wrestler in the UWF. Gordy is Gordy of course.

Stock Going Down

Ted DiBiase- Way too many pedestrian matches for a guy with such a big rep. I think he will come off better on the set, then he does watching all the available footage (I call it the Takada effect) , as he has some huge high end matches (v. Duggan, v. Sweetan with Doc v. Freebirds and Rock and Rolls), and the real dull DiBiase by the numbers stuff won't make the DVD, but it is there trust me. Tons of matches where he is clearly killing time waiting to load his glove. He may the first recipient of the technical worker booking meme as he was booked so long as a "great wrestler" that he fooled people into thinking he was actually great. For a guy who got into the WON hall of fame based on work, I don't see any point where he was a top 5 guy in Mid-South or UWF.

Midnight Express- Pretty much the gold standard for tag team wrestling, but the Rock and Rolls consistently have better matches with other teams (Dirty White Boys, Snake/Barbarian, Guerrerros) as do the Fantastics ( Dirty White Boys, Tatum/Victory). It isn't that they aren't good, its just that their rep is so high that they shouldn't be outshined by so many other guys.

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