Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SLL Reviews Things That Victator Uploaded

Victator is one of my favorite internet wrestling dudes. His love for the pro wrestling is positively Rasmussen/Naylor-esque, and I can always get down with that. He's also a guy who has an eye for wrestling obscurities or stuff that fell through the cracks for whatever reason. This is the guy who will point you to Dan Severn vs. Tarzan Goto from the IWA Japan King of the Death Matches Tournament. In the middle of one of the most watched cards amongst puro nerds ever is this match that no one ever talks about being great, featuring two wrestlers no one ever talks about being great, and it takes a guy like Vic to hip you to this match so you can see just how awesome it was. That's a good guy to have around. Anyway, he had this blog, "Legion of the Damned", where he'd post a lot of random matches that tickled his fancy for whatever reason, but he eventually fell out of it. Well, he's decided to start it up again, and I'm more than happy to help spread the good word. If you're any kind of obsessive wrestling fan at all - and if you're not, what the fuck are you doing on this blog? - you owe it to yourself to check out Legion of the Damned.

Ric Flair & Barry Windham vs. Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich
WCW - 1991

This is exactly the sort of thing that Victator is good for. It's the main event of a random Power Hour from '91 (and by the way, that is the best name for a wrestling TV show ever, FWIW), and even if you saw it at the time, odds are you forgot it even existed by now. But when an awesome match like this slips through the cracks, Lewis Black Victator catches it for a segment blog that we like to call Back in Black Legion of the Damned.

This is worked like your really old-school lengthy tag matches, where there's an extended heel-in-peril section at first, getting the crowd sufficiently fired up before the heels lower the boom. Morton punches the shit out of both Flair and Windham, which pretty much makes this match good by default. Rich isn't afraid to lay into the baddies, either, which is kind of a pleasant surprise, as you don't usually think of 1990 Tommy Rich being anything special. Flair and Windham eventually give it right back to the faces, and Ricky Morton ends up playing himself. This goes double after Rich gets mauled on the outside, and Big Josh takes him backstage to safety, leaving Morton with no house afire available. Crowd chants "We Want Sting!" and sure enough, when things are looking their bleakest for Morton, the crowd roars for the arrival of.....El Gigante. The referee is understandably hesitant to let Gigante just take Rich's place in the match - as are we all - but soon enough, Morton escapes the heels' clutches makes the rolling tag, and Gigante is.....actually kinda good? I mean, he doesn't get to do a whole lot before Sid runs in for the schmozz finish, but for a guy forever burned into my memory as a nearly immobile naked dude, he looked decidedly spry (and decidedly clothed) for the less-than-a-minute he was in action. Charging at the heels, throwing a pretty nice clubbing forearm at Windham....fuck, are we sure he was always bad? I know this isn't a lot of evidence to base anything on, but for a guy we often think of as being the worst wrestler ever, he looked totally OK. So anyway, Sid comes out, schmozz finish, then Big Josh comes out with his axehandle to run off the heels, and you actually want to see the logical six-man tag follow-up.

One Man Gang vs. Greg/Brett? Sawyer
WCW - 1991

Victator is also a man who can appreciate a good squash, and this is a pretty good one. I can't tell what the jobber's first name is. I want to believe it's Brett Wayne Sawyer, but I can't prove it. Anyway, he does his thing pretty well. He's got the openning comedy bit where he tries repeatedly to clobber Gang from behind, but Gang doesn't even notice he's there. Then when he actually goes to work, Sawyer gets bumped around plenty for his troubles. Gang didn't seem to bring the asskicking you'd hope for, but Sawyer held up his end of the bargain pretty well.

Stan Hansen vs. Larry Santo
WCW - 1991

This, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of asskicking you would expect from Hansen. Santo puts up a noble effort, getting a few nice looking shots in, but Stan mauls him and beats him without ever having to spit out his chewing tobacco. Maybe a minute long, tops, but that was one hell of a squash.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phil's Ongoing 2008 MOTY List

1. Yuki Ishikawa + Alexander Otsuka + Munenori Sawa v Daisuke Ikeda + Katsumi Usuda + Super Tiger II BattlArts 7/26
2. Jimmy Jacobs v. B.J. Whitmer IWA-MS 3/1
3. Floyd Mayweather v. Big Show WWE 3/30
4. Mike Quakenbush v. Johnny Saint WXW 3/8
5. Teddy Hart v. Eddie Kingston v. Homicide JAPW 1/19
6. Yuki Ishikawa v. Carl Greco BattlArts 6/1
7. Necro Butcher v. Predator IGF 6/23
8. Blue Panther v. Atlantis EMLL 7/11
9. Necro Butcher v. 2 Cold Scorpio IWA-MS 8//17
10. Mitsuhara Misawa v. Takeshi Morishima NOAH 3/2
11. Bryan Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness ROH 2/23
12. Erick Stevens v. Roderick Strong FIP 2/8
13. Trik Davis v. Sami Callihan IWA-MS 8/17
14. Nigel McGuiness v. Austin Aries ROH 3/28
15. Finlay v. JBL WWE 3/30
16. Shawn Michaels v. Ric Flair WWE 3/30
17. El Valiente + El Hijo Del Fantasma + La Mascara v. La Sombra + Volador Jr. + Sagrado CMLL 4/30

1.Yuki Ishikawa + Alexander Otsuka + Munenori Sawa v Daisuke Ikeda + Katsumi Usuda + Super Tiger II BattlArts 7/26

This isn’t just the best match of this year, it is right up there with the best things ever done in this style. This is an elimination match which goes 40+ minutes and was even more brutal and awesome then it looked on paper. Everyone in this was on their games, Ikeda’s team was working heel, and they spent the early part of the match abusing and cheap shotting the faces, especially Sawa who was really great in the role of spunky young guy eating an asswhooping and showing stones. Because this was a tag, you had a lot of submissions being put on and saves being made, and man the saves were just horrific, stomps directly to the head, kicks square in the face, I mean you start cringing as soon as anyone comes into the ring. I hadn’t seen much Super Tiger II before, but he ruled here, really capturing the kind of awkward recklessness of Sayama’s UWF kicks. Your BattlArts big four were as great as they have ever been, Otsuka just brutalizing people with suplexes, and ripping out awesome mat counters, Usuda both taking and dishing out ungodly stiff shots, and Ishikawa and Ikeda being Ishikawa and Ikeda. Their interactions with each other are all you could possibly hope for, and there are parts near the end that almost feel like the last rounds of the Rumble in the Jungle with two guys punishing each other past the point of human tolerance. I don’t want to talk about any of the eliminations specifically, this is a match I don’t want to spoil, but when you have such brutality dished out during a match, you can fall into the trap of everything looking like a finish, and when everything looks like a finish, nothing looks like a finish. Here every elimination felt like exactly the point at which the guy should have been eliminated. This is a match I can’t imagine anyone who likes wrestling not loving, get your hands on it ASAP.


7. Blue Panther v. Atlantis EMLL 7/11

This is Atlantis’s anniversary match, and is the type of lucha that EMLL and AAA don’t do much of anymore. We get to see Panther work on the mat, which is always a pleasure. There is large points in the first fall where they go minutes without breaking contact, every move is a counter to a previous move. Second fall was short, and the third fall had topes from both guys, which kind of isn’t what you want to see from either, but your near falls at the end were pretty great lucha near falls. I especially loved Atlantis escaping all of Panther’s submission holds in cool ways, the counter of the tapitia was especially awesome. This wouldn’t stand out as much in more lucha friendly years, but this was a ray of sunshine in 2008

8. Necro Butcher v. 2 Cold Scorpio IWA-MS 8//17

Necro is primarily an ROH guy now, but in ROH he hasn’t really broken out with the really unique matches he does in other promotions, I am not sure why, but nothing he has done in ROH captured my interest the way this match(or the second Low-Ki match, Super Dragon match or the Predator match) did. Scorpio is clearly unfamiliar with Necro, and there is this awesome point right after Necro blasts him with a right hand where you can see him mumble to himself something like “Okay this is the fucking game we are playing.” Scorpio is a guy who tagged with Vader and feuded with Daisuke Ikeda, he can bring the heat, and he sure as shit does here, punching and kicking Necro right in the face. Necro spends a bunch of the match working the kidneys with headbutts and body shots, which is a pretty smart strategy against a well know drug abuser like Scorp. This is more competitive then some of your Necro v. Big Star matches, as Necro gets some really big near falls before getting his face crushed by a Scorpio flipping leg drop. A total blast, I want a rematch, and I need to get my hands on more recent Scorpio.

12. Trik Davis v. Sami Callihan IWA-MS 8/17

Nifty little under the radar match, I had never seen Callihan before and it had been a long time since I had seen Trik, so I wasn’t expecting anything. Instead you had a really stellar example of formula US indy wrestling. Both guys had a bunch of nifty shit, and unlike most matches with unique shit, all of this looked cool, was executed well and made sense with what they were shooting for with the match. Davis jumps Callihan and they brawl on the floor, with Callihan lariating the wall, and Davis working over the arm with some cool brawling spots, including wrapping in Finlay style in the ring skirt and yakuza kicking it. Then you had Davis working over Callihans lariat arm, and Callihan doing a neat job of toughing through the pain and working from behind. Never fell apart into thousand finisher land, never did anything so goofy looking that it lost me. This would have never been anything I would seek out, but I enjoyed way more then a lot of more pimped stuff from bigger names.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Segunda Caida Gets an incomplete:ROH Road Report 5/13/08

Dean, Phil and I drive up to the ROH show in the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. Well Dean did the actual driving. We miss the first half of the show. Find Naylor, Pete and Ray. Then we find S.L.L. I drink grainy Russian beer. Good time had by all. We never finish writing the road report.


AMERICAN DRAGON v NAOMICHI MARIFUJI

TKG: Yikes Marifuji likes mirror sections in his matches. I guess Morishima did lots of signature Dragon spots as a taunt in their finale match so opponent does signature move may be a Dragon match layout. Still Marifuji is really shitty at executing Dragon signature stuff. Dragon is also a guy who normally is really good at setting up and being in place for elaborate highflyer offense. He's normally really good at not looking like a guy waiting with his thumb in ass for opponent to hit moonsault, Psichosis leg drop etc. But damn, Marifuji had a bunch of things that really made Dragon look like a guy waiting with his thumb in his ass. This was the least of the Marifuji v Dragon matches I've seen. Watching these two nights of shows and realize ROH really fucked up by not making a play to bring in W*NG Kanemura when he was recently blacklisted. I mean, I don't like anyone in The Noh Remorse Corps but really a lot of the blame for the Manassas main event should lie at the feet of the NOAH workers. Instead of bringing in rookie Japanese workers whose instincts may not be any better than Rocky Romero’s, Kanemura is a guy who has been main eventing for years and understands how to work big main event style. He’s a guy who can work big move, big bump style and yet smart enough to never do anything as bad as this match. Appeals to tape trading crowd who all have at least one W*NG tape in their collection. Being blacklisted means he’d probably be cheap for a main-eventer and sure you can put him up in Jigsaw’s Newark apartment or something. He would have been easy to book. Bring him in to work your Japanese guy v American, guy face v face, supermatch v Eric Stevens. After match you have Lacey come out and do her AOTF college feminist shtick complaining about how Kanemura is in America because he sexually harassed a woman in Japan and how ROH supports the patriarchy etc and suddenly you have the possibility of Kanemura v AOTF feud. Kanemura v Tyler Black, Kanemura v Necro, Kanemura v. Jimmy Jacobs, Kanemura v Mathews, Kanemura & Stevens v any version of the AOTF are all great matchups that can be run with a variety of different stips. You can work a ton of Dusty type spots where matches are built around Kanemura spanking, kissing or bowling balling the heel valet. Eric Stevens doing Team No Respect Dance would get over and lots of experience with a main event wrestler of Kanemura’s caliber would help elevate his game. For Florida show you can bring in Jimmy Jacobs mentor Kevin Sullivan “Who knows how to deal with Kanemura”. You can mix anyone else into that. Bryan Danielson, Jack Evans or Jay Briscoe doing the Team No Respect Dance in a six or 8 man would get a pop and sell some tapes. The pop for Bobby Dempsey doing the Team No Respect dance after a Stevens/Kanemura v Sweet N Sour Inc. match would be huge too. Dragon versus Kanemura would have been a lot better than this.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Segunda Caida Incompletes: WARD FAMILY ROAD REPORT 2005

Ward Family Promotions draws approximately 3000 people into a high school gym every year to attend what is essentially a Mid-Atlantic reunion show. In 2005 they headlined the show with Jerry Lawler v Bill Dundee which never was a Mid-Atlantic feud. Nonetheless they sold out the place and we had to bribe our way in. The whole show was a load of fun as we were packed in like sardines surrounded by a really appreciative crowd. Lawler blew his mic work and complimented the wrong college basketball team which turned the crowd on him; he also had a bunch of folks booing him for his WWF shtick. But as soon as Dundee got into the ring and acted an ass and punched Lawler in the face, the crowd knew who to cheer and who to boo. The redneck guy behind us spent the whole show explaining to his son how everything was fake “They don’t really hurt each other”, explaining how the cruisers were all “European”..”see this is how they do wrestling in Europe with these Europeans”…but as soon as the main event started he shouted “Holy FUCK, he just punched Lawler right in the jaw, those fuckers are beating each other up”. Lawler v Dundee as houseshow match is something I’m glad to have gotten to see live. Post show we drive into a ditch and end up with the entire front end of car falling off. We get a tow truck, put the front end into the backseat and turn the car into the rental company. “It got dinged up a bit”.

TKG: So earlier this year the Ward Family Card was being talked about as though the main event was going to be Rodney Mack vs. Jerry Lawler and I remember being pretty excited by that match up “Hey Phil that could be really good in front of a packed crowd, depending on what else is on the card we should probably go”…then late the main event was changed to Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee and well “Fuck it doesn’t matter what else is on the card we’re going”. So we planned on borrowing friends car and going to the Roanoke NWA Va show the week before and then the Ward Family Show. Unfortunately out friend ended up in hospital for some sort of stomach problem and we missed the Roanoke card…but we talked about maybe renting a car and still going to the Ward show. We never really finalized what are plans were and so I went out and got shitfaced the night before the show. Went out drinking about 6 Pm on Friday and really started pounding with a bunch of hardened Howard nurses who were bitching about how loud Camron screamed. “There was a six year old with a bullet in her belly guts hanging out…she didn’t scream…But Camron that was a hot mess”. Supposedly he spent most of his time yelling at his entourage for leaving him out to dry. I try to describe tertiary Byrd Gang members to deduce who was in the entourage:”Was he yelling at Stack Bindles? Un Kasa?”. I think I continued to drink with them for rest of evening but I have no idea…apparently I called Phil at 2:00 AM still drinking to find out the plans.

PAS: I am leaving work at 2:30 and give Tom a call to meet up. He is clearly wrecked and as I am trying to tell him what time to meet me, I hear "Shut the Fuck up Bitch, can't you see I am on the phone." I resolve to stop loaning Tom my Ant Banks produced mid 90's East Bay Rap (Spice 1, Too Short, The Delinquents, Mac Mall, Mac Dre, 415 ect), as he clearly thinks he is Dru Down (Original Ice Cream Man, and possessor of one of rap's great finger waves).


TKG: Apparently when shit faced I keep my pimp hand strong. I mapquest the trip and call Phil in the morning to figure out if we’re still doing this thing. And go off to MCI center to meet him at the Car Rental place where we are rented a car by the world’s least enthusiastic Eritrean woman.

PAS: First she tries to get us to rent a Jeep Cherokee, and then tries to sell me insurance, but I am too clever to get suckered into either of those things. Remember for later.

TKG: My quote when offered the jeep may have been.."What do we need a jeep for? small car". Phil’s exact quote may be "Insurance...that's for suckers" and then he rents car using his debit card. Somewhere along the way we decide to stop and get some food at the all you can eat Brazilian Barbecue. I call one of my friends to get the exact exit and he tells me “Its right across the street from the Footlocker Outlet” as though that’s a landmark that white people is aware of.

TKG:We just eat and eat and eat meat. It was kind of scary as I almost vomited trying to hold down the candy from the jar on the Thrifty rental sales desk…but somehow able to power through the meal. After the meal I went to the use the facilities. The thing about the bathrooms at the all you can eat barbecue place is...well they are bathrooms at an all you can eat barbecue and they smell like a horse's stable. To lessen that smell the doors to the stalls are floor to ceiling. I open stall #one and notice white milky stuff floating in bowl. “someguy actually polished one off in barbecue bathroom….how do you decide to do that. ‘well I guess I got all this meat grease on my hand don’t want it to go to waste’” I checked out a couple of other stalls and am assuming that the white fluid is some kind of cleaning thing that they put in all the bowls. Either that or a lot of guys toasted one to bacon wrapped chicken. HMMM Bacon Wrapped Chicken.

TKG: We drive and we drive. End up driving through Orange. We’ve been to Orange before to see NWA VA show. Unfortunately when the hackers destroyed the board we lost all of the Road Report other than the report for the pre-show stuff. We don’t see Big Daddy’s this time but instead pass a giant effigy of a crucified football player. I mean the thing was several stories high with a giant stuffed Bread and Puppets effigy in full football uniform arms outstretched on a cross. No holes in the hands but he may’ve been nailed in the knee.


TKG:We make it to Waynesboro and the town is dead. I man dead. Children of the Corn, No one on the streets. No loose dogs. Nothing. Complete ghost town. Turned out they were all at the show.


TKG: We squeeze are way into some bleacher seats and get ready for the show. A Ward relative sings the national anthem and a guy from the local VFW leads us in prayer. Then I think another Ward relative shakes her titties at the crowd in a Ward Family Show shirt in an effort to drum up more sales.


PHIL BROWN v. GREGORY CORSETTI v. DR STUDD v. JAY SINN v. CHRISTPHER SAINT v PRESTON MICHAELS

TKG: Is this a ticket sellers match? I assumed it was George South’s ring. As this really felt like the match you give the guy who owns the ring. This was my first time seeing Phil Brown outside of WWE squashes and he looked like easily best guy in ring. Which I guess isn’t saying much. But he looked actively good. Dr. Studd kind of looked like a cross between Slim Goodbody and David Bremmer and kind of wrestled like a cross between Slim Goodbody and David Bremmer. Him and Preston Michaels fought to the back and I’m not sure what the rules of this match were. Phil Brown eliminated Christopher Saint and it really felt like Saint should have also wrestled to the back as he didn’t look to know how to eat wrestling moves. You ended up with two on one as Jay Sinn (maybe J-Sinn, or some other indy spelling of Jayson) and Vercetti are the New York Street Sweepers “We sweep together every night”. Vercetti wins with low blow and the NWA VA ref who looks like Ted Knight gets chased to the back by an angry Brown.

SHORTSLEEVE SAMPSON v. TODD STONE

TKG: Todd Stone is midget that Jarrett piledrove before Puppett pulled a gun on him. Also the midget that had awkward match with Pierrothcito on Smackdown. The Smackdown match felt like both guys were catchers and not on the same page although I liked that match by the end. Stone has a great stone face half way between Buster Keaton and Public Enemy James Cagney although I think he was aiming for a no nonsense Benoit thing. There is a lot of Benoit in Todd Stone and really amusing to see a midget who was inspired by Benoit. He does neck slash and a real tight set of extended work the back offense a diving headbutt to back. Sampson doesn’t really sell the back. Stone has really weird bow legged midget knees that make it look like he is bridging up every time he stands. Short Sleeve Sampson gets enormous height on his Worm. He soars up into the air worming.

THE GRAPPLER v. GEORGE SOUTH

TKG: This was advertised as match pitting Grappler’s loaded boot against George South’s loaded glove and the only match outside the main event that I was really looking forward to. I’ve never seen the Grappler live before. Or at least I don’t think I have and his loaded boot is really odd as it looks like he’s wrestling with one lift on. Does Len Denton have a clubbed foot? As it really looked like one leg was shorter than the other or something. I’m used to seeing George South work heel and not really used to him as face. I originally assumed this was going to be heel vs. heel. But South is working face and took a little while for me to adjust to that. Some of the early South as face controlling felt awkward but I think that may have been more me uncomfortable with him in that role. Still the match got really good when Grappler loaded the boot cut South off and started working the arm. As Grappler was really good at working over the arm and South was really great at selling it. Third match in and it was psychology drenched slow body part work. South wins with super hot face roll up and the glove really never comes into play.

MIKEY BATTS v. SONJAY DUTT v. ULTRADRAGON

TKG: I think I may have sat behind Ultra Dragon at the Raleigh Lucha show I’m not sure. But he does a bunch of fun I’m crazy “Delirious/Will’O The Whisp”spots and gets tossed around by the other two Europeans in the early sections of this. He’s fun and really seemed unfortunate that he was first eliminated. As I think him as underdog overcoming Batts leading to him vs. Dutt in single might would have been better match. Dutt and Batts end up working a singles match. This really gets smoked by the Grappler vs. George South but amusingly Dutt and Batts work the exact same match except for Dutt doing more flips leading to his arm work and Batts instead of winning with a Sunset Flip wins with a Code Red style sunset flip bomb. Oh yeah and Batts isn’t as good at selling the arm work as South. And really Batts stinks.

TONY ATLAS, RANGER ROSS, THE PATRIOT, THE STO v. IVAN KOLLOFF, RUSSIAN ASSASIN #86, BORIS POPPOFSKI, KING KAHLUA

TKG: Does Tom Brandi think he’s going to get a WWF job? Holy shit is he tanned. He was darker than Tony Atlas. Ranger Ross is the lightest skinned guy on the face team. The Stro has aged a ton facially since I last saw him as facially he looks like the worlds seediest Brian Christopher. Koloff is old old old, Russian Assasin appears to be a 16 year old in pajama bottoms and a Russian Assassin mask. It’s unclear if he’s trained, King Kahlua has been working East Coast indies forever and maybe marginally worse than Tom Brandi. Boris Poppofski is a name I’m making up since I have no idea what the fourth guy on the heel’s team name was. Pretty much for the most part they kept the match to Stro and Poppofski doing wrestling exchanges with everyone else running in for everyone brawls sections. Stro vs. Poppofski sections were ok, when anyone else worked one on one sections it was a mess. Kolloff was surprisingly effective on the apron as guy who would grab face drape him over top rope and hit him. Despite his hunch back and being barely able to walk he really screams hard toughness. If Shimmer ever gets off the ground I could see him being really great in the role of heel manager: evil Bela Karyoli leading a stable of abused gymnast wrestlers, forcing Traci Brooks to exercise till she stops having her period “true athlete must never develop”, etc. This match wasn’t good but far better than it had any right being.

IVORY v JAZZ

TKG: Some huge woman blows her run in and has to redo it. She tries for the run in the first time and seems to just crash into the ring busting part of her top. She tries the run in again leading to the match being declared a no contest and the two ex-WWF women double teaming the indy woman and shaking hands or something like that. Why they couldn’t have a clean finish in this match? Neither Ivory nor Jazz was willing to job?

BILLY GUNN v. RODNEY MACK

TKG: Ok I’m a Rodney Mack fan and was kind of hoping he’d come out and do his JYD mic work and work face but instead they do the straight WWF face/heel stuff and this match is pretty good as Mack looks good and live you realize that Gunn has two punches that he actually throws well. A really nice short punch. And forgot what the other one was. His jab and hook is still as horrible as you remember it but this was perfectly fine wrestling.

MAVEN v. AL SNOW

TKG: This was originally advertised as a retirement match and I was scared as figured these two would try to do some sort of fake Guerrero/Malenko indy showcase match as retirement match. Then about a week before show it was announced on the Ward Family web page that it wasn't going to be a retirement match and I breathed a sigh of relief. That was a mistake. So before match starts Marvin Ward (the promoter) comes out in his signature black cowboy hat to his music THUNDERSTRUCK and sends the Ted Knight NWA VA ref to the back...Ward "This match harkens us all back to the days of Tough EENOUGH and so I thought it needed a special ref...and no one more TOUGH ENOUGH for the role than HERMIE SADLER!!!!" Is Hermie Sadler like ICP or something...such a mark that he shows up at shows and agrees to work for free? They try to work a student is teacher of student thing at a couple points they work face vs. face fake indy showcase at some point I think Al Snow turns heel at another point I think Maven turns heel. There may have been heel vs. heel sections of this. I think at some point Sadler works heel ref. At some point he turns back face. Heel vs. heel with face ref? Face vs. heel with face ref? Face vs. face with heel ref? Every possible combination they tried. This match was a mess. There were a couple points where they all just stood around like they were extraneous guys in a battle royale. Points they huddled up to try to figure out what they were doing. Al Snow works the North East indies doing a bunch of WWE tribute spots (people's elbow, stunner, worm etc.) I think at one point when crowd had turned on this match Snow decided to start doing NWA tribute spots...Garvin stomp a Flair pushes Tommy Young spot, etc. I don't think Sadler was familiar with the Tommy young spot so snow had to stop the match again to explain it to him. They talk it out and then go back to wrestling and do the spot. This match was awful. Crowd completely turns on this and well this is an easy crowd to please...but they shat all over this match and the match deserved to be shat on. Honestly this whole write up with footnotes would be done weeks ago if it wasn't for this match as just recalling it to write something just wore me out. Whole match wore me out my spine started to atrophy I began to itch. So awful that my body started to rebel against me for making it watch this atrocity.

PIPER's PIT:

TKG:So they follow this endless match with a mic work section. This was originally scheduled as Piper's Pit with the Hebner brothers but instead we get Piper solo doing his Hal Holbrooke one man show deal. And he just talked and talked. Eventually they brought out Phil Brown for Piper to put over only to have the New York Street Sweepers get on the mic and threaten the two of them. Piper gets to do some gay baiting mic work and the him and Brown clean house of the sweepers. Piper blows his double eye poke against Jay Sinn. Like eye pokes an imaginary head at least two feet from where Jay Sinn stood. Sinn sells it anyway and I'm not sure what a wrestler is supposed to do when there opponent blows an eye poke. I mean leaning into the eye poke would probably be a mistake. Next thing you know Bob Orton is out to go after Piper. Ooh man doesn't Juve "ride" with the Cowboy. I bet a Piper/Smart Bart Sawyer vs. Orton/Juve match would be really good. They could work it real All Japan style with the heavyweight on each team attacking the other guys junior as a taunt...and you'd really buy that Piper would be really upset if Bart was being hurt and you'd buy that Orton would be real proud of Juve if he fought back against Piper. Orton enjoying watching his junior get toughened up. God All Japan really made a mistake by never working exoticos into their tags. Fuck Bart/Piper v. Juve/Orton...they attach the midgets and the women and Ward Family Promotions could have the best fake AAA match in VA indy history. But Smart Bart Sawyer doesn't come out to make the save for Piper and Juve doesn't come out to have the Ace Cowboy's back....instead we all hear over the PA "ONE MORE SILVER DOLLAR" and fuck a fake AJ tag based built on homosexual couplings and fuck a fake AAA. Fuck all that shit... Well I've got to run to keep from hiding...I'm bound to keep on riding...I got one more silver dollar...ain't gonna let them catch the midnight rider. The crowd is electric.

DUSTY v. ORTON (special ref DAVID FLAIR)

TKG: Orton is in dress pants and dress shirt while Dusty is in his bunkhouse jeans and T-shirt uniform. Most of the match is built around Orton squeezing an arm wringer while Dusty fights back the impulse to escape through a punch. Every time he gets ready to punch his way out...Orton twists some more and Dusty winces and opens his hand in the wincing. Eventually Dusty gets his punch off Orton splays his legs, Dusty punches again flip flop and fly. Thus spoke Zarathustra plays in background. Everyone turns to curtain. Dusty is distracted and David Flair low blows him. This was good while it lasted but needed at least two other sections to be a good match.


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UWF 1/16/90

We are back on our 90's Indy kick, with reviews of al of the UWF shows from 1990 forthcoming.

Shigeo Miyato v. Kevin Kastelle

PAS: Kastelle was almost assuredly a Bart Vale trainee, and he had the South Florida service station black belt look, common amongst your Bart Vale guys. Miyato is a guy I remember from the late 80’s UWF as being really phlegmy although here he appears to have gotten some antibiotics. This was surprisingly good, I don’t remember caring for Miyato before, but he was bringing it here, with some really stiff kicks with an especially nasty Ringo Mendoza spin kick, and Kastelle sold pretty well for a guy who seemed to not know what he was doing.

TKG: Kkaselle is the taller of the two and they kind of work dominating American v underdog Japanese guy. Kastelle throws some mediocre kicks for dominating big guy. He has some really nice body shots to the belly and a couple of neat throws. There are a couple moments where he either does a nice job selling or is hurt. The match itself is bizarrely fun as it rally feels like a shoot match carefully scripted by DDP. Lots of spots that callback to earlier sections, things building toward payoffs in a really scripted way.

Minoru Suzuki v. Wellington Wilkins Jr.

PAS This was also really great. Wilkins spent a lot of time working a really nasty cravate variation, while Suzuki was dominating the stand up with some super nasty shots, including a totally potatoe shot dropkick which looked like it knocked Wilkins goofy. Suzuki also was really starting to develop his dickhead charisma, Wilkins isn’t the most demonstrative guy in the world but you were rooting for him.

TKG: Wilkins dominates large portions on the mat but Suzuki shrugs a bunch of his things off and keeps on knocking Wilkins down. And fuck is Suzuki a douchbag! At one point Wilkins is laying face down and Suzuki just stomps on his head. Wilkins has this complete “What the Fuck is wrong with you?” look. Suzuki knees Wilkins in the back during a rope break and Wilkins is just too much of a sportsman to have any enthusiasm in executing the receipt spot.


Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Tatsuo Nakano

TKG: Yeah this is the stuff. Nakano is great at this kind of hardhitting fast brawl. Nakano has gotten really slick and almost elaborate in his mat work. Whole story here is Nakano challenging and taking it to Fujiwara and Fujiwara catching Nakano with stuff. Nakano headbutts Fujiwara multiple times in the back and side of head. Fujiwara busts Nakano in the jaw multiple times with headbutts. The two trade nasty bodyshots. This was badass.
PAS: Nakano works this match like a guy in a boxing match down on the scorecards going into the last round. Not a ton of defense just a bull rush, Fujiwara is really great at countering and using his aggression against him, and there are also moments where he clearly gets pissed off and throws receipts. For a match built around body shots and headbutts, you got a pair of dudes who can throw a body shot and a headbutt.

Kazuo Yamazaki v. Yoji Anjo

TKG: When I last saw Yamazaki he could either work junior sprint or lethargic slow. Here he starts out fast and then moves into role of veteran guy who is pacing himself smarter than sprinting opponent. I think my favorite spot was Yamazaki eating a high Anjoh knee in order to catch it into a throw. Anjoh is really charismatic and does a fun post knck down grab-onto-the-bottom rope till the ref puts another distance between the two.

PAS: Yamazaki was in my top OJ 80’s ballot match, and some of my least favorite matches on the set. This may be the period he started to get good, as this wasn’t just Fujiwara dragging by the neck into something watchable. It is also possible that this was when Anjoh started getting really good and Yamazaki was yet again along for the ride, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Nobuhiko Takada v. Akira Maeda

PAS: This is a matchup that can be really great, but this wasn’t one of those times. Really listless for large sections of the match, with neither guy showing much emotion. Individual spots were okay, but this felt like they were sleepwalking. They heated it up for the finish, but at that point it really was too little too late. This was the worst match on the card which is pretty bad for you two biggest stars.

TKG: Both of these guys have bulked up. Takada looks like if Samoa Joe ate Dick Slater with Maeda looking like if Dick Slater ate Samoa Joe. Although that would be a more dynamic match. They do an eye-poke restart. Takada pokes Maeda in the eye, they have to stop the match and look at Maeda’s eye before they can start again. I like match restarts but this one left me feeling like the two were jus futzing around till the eyepoke to do the hot restart. Felt like shoot Pat Patterson should have spent less time laying out the body of the opener and more on the main. Creative finish isn’t enough.


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Friday, September 05, 2008

Segunda Caida Gets an Incomplete: NWA VA 2005

This show took place in Orange Va. It was right next to a skydiving club and there was a skydiving “performance” as part of the show. The space was really neat. It was essentially outdoors. Unfortunately it was hot as fuck and mosquitoes were mating in pools of sweat that fat wrestling fans were creating. Main event was Scotty Blaze v Preston Quinn in an absolutely epic fight, easily one of the best live wrestling matches I’ve ever seen. Before the show the NWA VA promoter ran a bunch of “dark matches” which he taped to be used as filler whenever needed.Unfortunately when the hackers destroyed the board we lost all of the Road Report other than the report for the pre-show stuff. We never got around to rewriting about the real show. So all we have is me taking shots at Dean’s comics and writing about the dark matches.

NWA VA

Hey we never did a workrate report for this show. I was waiting for Dean to start it off but I guess he’s to busy writing cartoons about all his lost loves. Once or twice I’ve tried to attach poignancy to my filthy stories but you add the pathos and it becomes both bullshit and pointless. You won’t see me writing cartoons about riding a train on some soccer chick while “White Nights” blared on the TV for people to watch between turns….well at least if I did I would be honest enough to have the final panel be my shit eating grin and not my saddened knowing eyes. If you can pull off the sensitive poet thing more power to you. But married guy with kids still playing the sensitive poet act….Just sad. So I’m stuck starting this thing off.

So when we first read this card, Phil sees the Midnight Mauler vs. Sugarbritches match and assumes its one of those NWA VA shows 8 hours from DC. I see that it’s in Orange and go “Fuck I’ve been to Orange…its closer than Richmond…Blaze vs. Quinn in the main lets go. So we get the car and we’re off. Pretty short uneventful drive as we pass strip mall followed by strips of churches followed by strip mall followed by strip of churches. Only thing that broke up the scenery was the sign for “BIG DADDY’S LEATHER (next right)” written in balloon animal font on the side of road. A block past the sign was Big Daddy's Leather which appeared to be an S&M supply store housed in a roadside fruit stand. There actually was a fruit stand sitting across from it and I think a kettle corn stand behind it.

We make it to the Booster Club and this is the shortest trip we’ve ever taken to a show. Booster Club is a big open air wooden portico with plenty of space for wrestling ring the barriers and the audience. We make it there on time to catch some of the pre-show TV taping which apparently started at 4. Catch the end of Big Tony vs. Chris Dramen, which I don’t remember anything about.

Rex Sterling vs. Dragon Frost

So the last match was face vs. face and this is heel vs. heel. Well maybe Rex Sterling was supposed to be face…but he has the chubby face of Silver Spoons era Jason Bateman and the crowd quickly turns on lil Eddie Haskell. If he was supposed to work face, he had the presence to work chickenshit heel with this crowd and he was really great at it. I don’t think I’ve wanted to see a snot nose kid get beat that badly outside of Nellie Olsen on Little House on the Prairie. Once he started mugging it up, he was that level of hate-able. Dragon Frost ends up de facto face as the crowd gets into counting along with his low blow based offense. I normally like Frost’s low blow offense but Sterling is young looking…If you’re going to hurt him where he loves you should be working over his hands. Sterling does a bunch of fun stalls and complaining and eats a beating well. That’s most of what he does, his two bits of offense a quick crossbody off the ropes and DDT both look really good and work as come out of nowhere offense. Sterling shouldn’t have gone over given the booking of the rest of the show.

Maxx Dynamite vs. Playboy Pete Jannings

And this is face vs. face with them working a low end veteran vs. young guy coming up thing. Pete Jannings is really useless as face tag worker as he isn’t good as face in peril and is lacking the fire of a hot tag guy cleaning house. That said this is the most I’ve enjoyed Pete Jannings in what I’ve seen of him. Singles match meant he didn’t have to eat offense for long period or show fire. Instead he just worked a basic undercard singles match and he was totally unobjectionable.

Bad News Johnson/Scotty Blaze vs. Extreme Outlaws

And you have another face vs. face match with the crowd treating Outlawz like the heels since they were working against the top face in Blaze and his partner. This was good when Blaze/Johnson were on offense. Blaze and Johnson are both really big guys who never do any Mcguire twins offense, no double splashes—none of that…just hard hitting wrestling. Johnson has some really nasty Choshu/Tenryu-ish lariats that I’ve always dug. He looks to have added the Kobashi chops in corner spot…and well everyone knows that better to study Tenryu than Kobashi. When Outlawz were on offense wasn’t pretty and there is absolutely no reason that the Outlawz should have gone over here.

And on to the real show.


Mike Vaughan vs. Rex Sterling
Dragon Frost vs. Max Dynamite (street Fight)
Kiley McLean vs. Lorelie Lee
Midnight Mauler vs. Sexxay Kavina
Xtreme Outlawz vs. Smallz and Big Tony
Chris Dramen vs. Mike Booth (alpha title submissions match )
OSE (Frank PArker/Damien Wayne) vs. Bad News Johnson/ Sean Lei (with guy in UNC colors)
Logan Knight/Pete Jannings vs. Revelations (Brandon Day/6d6 and the KROTCH)
Scotty Blaze vs. Preston Quinn


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Segunda Caida Gets an Incomplete: The Wrestling What I Watched in 2007 Pt. 6, by S.L.L.

Well, if there's one experience that I have intimate familiarity with from my brief college career, it's getting an incomplete. To add insult to injury, the first paragraph of this actually has the phrase, "an SLL promise is a promise for life", although I'm posting it now, so I guess I kinda fulfilled that promise, albeit in a half-assed way.

OK, note to self, don't wait seventy years after watching a wrestling match to review it. That goes double if those matches are lousy. Well, some of the matches on the first disc of the esteemed Goodhelmet's Best of 2007 set stink. Some are legitimately awesome. In either case, I promised I'd review them, and an SLL promise is a promise for life, whether I like it or not.

By the way, in keeping with my original plans for this series, I'm only reviewing the matches I hadn't seen yet before getting this. If you must know, Briscoes vs. Marvin/Suzuki didn't do it for me, Hardys vs. MNM and Cena vs. Umaga were obviously awesome, and I already reviewed Joe vs. Morishima earlier in this series.

Takashi Sasaki, Abdullah Kobayashi, Shadow WX, & MASADA vs. MEN'S Teioh, Jun Kasai, Jaki Numazawa, & Yuko Miyamoto
BJPW - 1/2/2007 - Tokyo, Japan
Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match

Oh God, this was painful. And not in the good "hot damn, Onita's dragging his back along barbed wire" kind of painful you want from death matches. This was more of the "hot damn, Zandig doesn't even know what a wrestling match is, does he?" kind of painful. Well, maybe not that bad, but still. I'd say something like "you know you're in trouble when MASADA is clearly the worker of the match" but....

1. I haven't seen a MASADA match since before he was in The Carnage Crew.
2. He was actually legit good here. In the midst of guys standing around to set up needlessly complex spots, odd patches of no-selling, and Abdullah Kobayashi throwing the shittiest strikes imaginable, MASADA actually comes off as a guy you want to see more of. Comes off as the guy you would actually need to be afraid of in a death match. He gets a lot of neat spots, including grabbing Miyamoto by the legs and dragging as back around on all the broken glass, and punching the seat out of a chair before using it as a weapon. I've written elsewhere about how the Finlay/JBL match from Mania was conceptually cool because they took the late-90's/early-00's "cookie sheets and garbage can lids" style of benign, mainstream hardcore wrestling, and made it look really hard and dangerous. Getting hit with just the seat of a crappy folding chair is about the same as getting hit with a garbage can lid (and the way Miyamoto no-sells it hammers that home) but the way MASADA sets it up by just punching the seat out of the chair makes it look like he's doing some seriously bad stuff. So there's MASADA's name next to the names of Finlay and JBL, for whatever that's worth.

Anyway, the rest of the match is pretty much ass. The post match with Miyamoto getting all up in Sasaki's mug and Sasaki beating the shit out of him, but Miyamoto refusing to back off, was kinda neat. Got me interested in their match later in the set. I didn't need to sit through Abdullah Kobayashi throwing punches that would make Rob Van Dam shake his head in disgust to get there, though.

Mistico vs. Averno
CMLL - 1/5/2007 - Mexico City, Mexico

This is match #1,998,246,767 in their Best of 4,000,000,001 Series, which Mistico is winning handily. If ever seen these two wrestle each other before, this exactly like that. Averno is really good, Mistico has some nice spots but can't put a match together, and he's also got that stupid "Asai moonsault to a downed opponent who gets their feet up to block it" spot, which is basically the flashiest, most high-risk version of the "top rope axehandle to a downed opponent who gets their foot up to block it" spot ever. That is all.


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Segunda Caida Incompletes: ROH RISING ABOVE PPV

Another school year has just begun and somewhere some student has already failed to complete his assignments. Here at segundacaida we start lots of writing projects. We probably finish 30% of them. We are left with lots of half thought out rough drafts and unfinished pieces that never make it onto the blog. Has the interernet made the concept of a “rough draft” or “not fully worked out idea” obsolete? I’m not sure. But felt I might as well share some unfinished writing. Maybe some of this will get worked up into something else, maybe it won’t. In the meantime, your new segunda caida feature: “Segunda Caida Gets an Incomplete”

ROH RISING ABOVE PPV

TKG: We’ve missed a couple PPVs and time to get back on the horse. Show opens with badly lit shot of Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazack introducing the show. Seems like a mistake to open with them as the face of ROH is the wrestling and not the announcers. One of the things I like about the team of Prazack and Leonard is that you don’t notice them. They aren’t over the top screaming hype men and can be easily tuned out. In the current world of US wrestling that’s really strong selling point. The crowds are mic-ed better and you don’t even notice the announcers. The face of ROH is the wrestling and not the announcers. We get some mediocre Kevin Steen mic work and a video of lots of highspots set to music and then the show begins with Delirious v Albright.

PAS: Yeah I have no real problem with either ROH announcer, but neither guy should ever be shown on camera. Watching a ton of wrestling from the 80's lately, wrestling was at one point primarily aimed at working class families. Look in the crowd of a Mid-South or Memphis wrestling audience, you see little kids, old ladies, mill workers, cute waitresses. Now with the death of work in America, wrestling has primarily become a pastime of creepy loner guys in their 20's. It is a limited demographic to grow around, and the fact that Prazack and Lenoard look like a pair of guy who moderate Jessica Alba fan sites doesn't help ROH break out of its demographic straight jacket. Doesn't Philly have a weatherman who could use a second job?

Delirious v. Brent Albright

TKG: This is a “grudge match” and Albright is wearing a stolen delirious mask. Felt like they should have used a quick video package to recap the feud leading to the grudge match. The purpose of these PPVs is to sell DVDs. A set of still photos of key moments with names and dates of shows would work too. Better use of time then the backstage bit. Match itself was surprisingly good. Delirious was really fired up and everything he did looked sharp. With his current long beard, Delirious kind of looked like "Charlie Brown From Out Of Town". Adam Pearce is a really shitty Paul Jones but Albright is kind of fine as Teijo Khan. Brent Khan does a lousy job at eating the Shadows over Hell and his 619 knee lift was laughable but nothing else was particularly objectionable. Match also didn’t have too many false finishes. First Delirious hot near fall felt like a legit finish, second one did too, and the third one was fine as well.

PAS: Delirious is wearing his red outfit, which is supposed to signify anger. This is a kind of angle you see alot in Japaneese wrestling, and I think you need to not understand the commentary to make it work. Listening to announcers explain how these colors make him crazier then his other colors really makes the angle come off stupid. Delerious also probably needed to crazier shit to get it over. This was a fine match though, although Albright really felt kind of immobile. It took them fifteen pushes to get rid of Whitmer so I imagine we will have to sit through a bunch more Albright matches before they give up on him too.

TKG: Post match Hangman 3 come out to attack Delirious. Steen and Generico then come out for the save. Then in come Age of the Fall who are then run off by the Vulture Squad which leads to an impromptu Scramble match. So I’ve never really cared for Ultimo Dragon‘s booking. I like well booked factions, liked Gaea booking. But even when liked the matches, didn’t care for Toryumon booking or Dragon Gate/Door/Highway booking. There is no hierarchy of which faction means more than any other. Briscoes should in essence be your top team and are doing mic work challenging Age of the Fall, yet Age of the Fall are shown running scared of Vulture Squad. No hierarchy means it doesn’t really matter in the end which faction gets the pin or which one eats the pin. Having a brawl turn into a match this way just is shitty. Hey what happened to Necro Butcher, Teijo Albright, Delirious, and all the other faction members who were brawling at the beginning of the match? They just stopped brawling and went to the back? Got chairs and started watching? Who is in this match? ROH could use lucha style graphic where they put up headshots of who is on each team? All that the Hangman Three team have going for them is that they are heels—why are they constantly paired up against Age of the Fall (the other heel team). No one was in here long enough for me to care or notice anything about them. Well Ruckus was in long enough to remind me that he stinks. Is he any good on the mic? Cause Uncle Ruckus v J Train might be an entertaining feud. Still nothing really blown.


PAS: This was pretty bad, these type of matches really need someone like Dixie to hold them together. Also this match has a million people in it, why is Tyler Black eating the pin when then next show is built around him as a title contender. You needed to protected Adam Pearce or Ruckus?


Sarah Del Ray v Lacey v Daizee Haze.

TKG:Not really sure why this was announced as being a “women of honor” match and not a “Shimmer” match. “Women of honor” really sounds like some sort of creepy Virginia Dare type, David Duke reference. girl in baltimore goes missing noone cares, but when a "woman of honor " goes missing in Aruba it gets round the clock coverage. Heat killer as third match on card is weird card placement.

PAS: I think these ROH womens matches are significantly worse then most TNA womens matches and not even as good as the best of the Michelle McCool v. Layla series, if they aren't doing it better, I see no reason to do it at all.

Erick Stevens vs. Davey Richards

TKG: They actually do a nice job of setting up that the No remorse Corps broke Eric Stevens arm and this is his revenge comeback match. It doesn’t take much to set these things up. And this starts well with two exchanging stiff blows. In terms of card placement (if they hadn't run the women’s match second), a match built around power spots and stiffness might be nice thing to do right after scramble spotfest. Stevens hits a really nice sidesuplex and there are a couple nice exchanges. Kind of makes no sense to have Stevens distracted by Puder in his revenge match. “YOU BROKE MY ARM! NOW YOU MUST PAY..but wait who is this other guy? What’s he doing here?” Is Stevens more upset by the guy disrespecting his match than he was by the guy who broke his arm? Or is Stevens just working an A.D.D. easily distracted gimmick. The Puder angle really only works if he’s distracting from a meaningless match. Makes no sense as part of a match with this type of back-story.

PAS: Yeah this was pretty bad, Stevens comes off like a total chump, would have been fine to run this angle as a way for Stevens to lose some four way fray, or even to have him get his revenge and then go after Puder, but working a victim of the Youtube generation gimmick seems like a dead end.

Chris Hero v Claudio Castanoli

TKG:The last match leads to Larry Sweeney trying to come out to recruit Puder, which leads to Claudio Castanoli which leads to Chris Hero attacking to start their match. Chris Hero’s shtick absolutely doesn’t work in this context. The whole ECW ish hurried every match leads directly to next impromptu match plays against Chris Hero’s strengths. Chris Hero is a guy who does lots of stalling and BS . He needs to come out with a ring entrance. Him running out to attack Castanoli with lots of stalling and BS nonsense just doesn’t work. Hero’s nonsense works as comedy shtick which he can move in and out of. Here it just comes across as no different than Ruckus’ nonsense as “wrestling”. These are both guys who I like and who I’ve liked as a team and liked against each other. But for ex feuding teammates in a match with a big stip attached this was really paced like a TNA Explosion five minute X-division match. Like a TNA Explosion five minute X-division match three way dance. I kept on waiting for Chasyn Rance to break up the pins and get in his stuff. This was bad.

PAS: Did these guys have a good match in Chikara or PWG? It seems weird that two guys who train together and worked as a tag team for so long have such shitty matches with each other. Hero is really good at worked a heated match, but they never seemed to figure out what they wanted to do here.


TKG: Tru and Mia X’s “I’m bout it Bout It” is a really great song that gets people fired up. So is Poor Righteous Teachers “Nobody Move”. I love both those tunes but a party where they just played nothing but those two songs back to back would be a shitty party. A DJ needs music that’ll get you fired up, and then he needs to do something with you once your fired up, needs to move the crowd up and down, transition to slower songs, romantic songs that you can grind on a girl to, contemplative stuff that makes you think, then stuff that picks you back up, stuff to get more girls on the dancefloor, stuff to get more guys on the dancefloor, stuff you’ve never heard before, stuff that makes you happy because its so familiar, etc. Pacing a show requires contrast and changes in pace. If everything’s paced the same it all floats together and becomes nothing. So we’ve made this point a couple of times writing about ROH PPVs. I wrote about Driven “ Part of the format of starting show with fast 6 man spotfest is that you slowly move away from that opening speed. Second match at same speed as first means they start to run together.”. Phil wrote “One of the problems with both PPV's so far has been that all the matches are too similar, they don't break up the high impact stuff with mat based matches or comedy matches”. Instead of fixing this problem they’ve made it much worse. The ECW “every match runs in to the next impromptu match” booking makes for even fewer breaks. Where before all the matches felt like they were running together due to being paced too similarly. Now they are running together because not only are they paced similar but they are literally running together.

Bryan Danielson v Morishima

TKG: This was a boatload of fun. I really liked the reckless Cactus v Dustin early table throwing spots, Danielson's Santo level blade job and the just reckless feel of the whole thing. I don't remember Danielson being this good at brawling during the Homicide v Danielson feud. He was out of his element and occasionally felt lost. He is lost no more. Normally not a big fan of the guy does opponent’s spot and this was filled with it. But somehow that really worked in the context of revancha match...as both a taunt and a revenge spot. I also really liked the "you can't touch the ref" finish. Even in relaxed rule environment the referee is still an authority figure is really old school. ROH has done ref bump before (Daniels v Punk) but ref can't be touched and wrestlers still fired up is nice finish.

Briscoes v No Remorse Corps

TKG: So in theory the idea behind booking the Briscoes to win 2/3 falls matches in two straight falls is that when they eventually lose a fall it will be a big deal that the audience will immediately recognize. It's not a bad theory per se. It doesn't work when the Briscoes lose their fall in a listless series of roll ups. For the fall to mean anything the wrestlers need to work like the fall matters. Second fall wasn't really worked like the heels had any advantage, or faces were fighting back from disadvantage either.

Austin Aries v. Nigel McGuiness

TKG: I’m not exactly sure when Nigel was supposed to have turned heel. I remember it being written as though he turned heel after this match (or crowd turned on him after this match). Whatever, he was clearly working heel here and was awesome at it. Nigel is a guy who eats huge huge bumps. At this point in U.S. wrestling, you’ve become really accustomed to seeing guys who don’t know how to work heel do really self aggrandizing “I’m a tough guy toughing through stuff”. It’s almost jarring to see Nigel eat these giant bumps in this non-self aggrandizing way. Nigel gets beat and you want to see him beat. Nigel works really old fashioned heel in the sense of guy moving backwards while face is always moving forward. Aries is guy advancing while Nigel is always just catching him in stuff. It’s not chickenshit heel, it’s not a dominant heel but it’s very clearly heel. And it’s heel work done on a level above everyone else working heel these days. There are moments where it approached Eddy in Eddy v Rey 05 period level heel work. This is a blow away great match.


PAS: No arguing with Nigel anymore, in 2007 he had four of my top ten matches, with four different opponents. This match is sitting at the top spot. Aries is a hell of an athlete, and put in a match with good pace, can be spectacular. Here he was amazing, taking enormous bumps, moving with tremendous speed, and hitting with real impact. This was Nigel's match though, as he has become really good at working a big main event style match. One of the things Nigel does during his big matches, is little restarts. Here Aries hits him with a tope to the back driving his head into the guardrail, and Nigel spend the next couple of minutes backpedaling avoiding Aries offense, it is a set of very cool counters and nice slowing down on a show which is all moving forward. Finish run is pretty great too, as there are just the right number of two counts, and it never gets into ROH overkill territory even with the huge moves. Just great wrestling.


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Thursday, September 04, 2008

DVDVR ROAD REPORT: ROH- MANASSAS, VA 5/12/2008

This was never posted here. I don't know why.

DHR= DEAN HENRY RASMUSSEN. Italian Hot Dog.
TKG: TOMK. Some sandwich thing.
PAS: Phil Schneider Peruvian Chicken
LB: Lee Benaka also Peruvian chicken

DHR: I get to Enterprise rent-a-car and they have upped me from ecomony to whatever the next step is. They ask if I want a Prius. Gas is $3.68 a gallon so I say, "yes". My salesman is young and smells a little too good. He asks where I'm off to and tell him about ROH in NYC. He speaks about his friend who is somehow conected with UFC and was just returning from Arizona. I notice this well-groomed metrosexual my actually cross over into gay Belgian Kickboxer territory of sexually preferring, but it is just a conjecture based on every single iota of my shootfight gaydar pegging the ceiling. The Prius is the finest car I will eventually die in from hitting a deer. That was standing still. I make a thousand CDs of my harddrive mp3s and drive to hideous and artless Northern Virginia.

TKG: Meet up with Phil and Lee in front of at Friendship Heights metro, and we’re off to Manassas. I had gotten a ridiculous haircut at with a Tarras Bulba style extra tuft of hair that made me look like a womyns studies major. And most of the trip was spent mocking my hair and listening to Lee’s latest band adventures. Lee can viciously tear apart all the flaws of an indy band in less than two sentences. Impressive. We hit no real traffic and make it on time to pick up Dean and get Peruvian chicken. I already had several jerk chicken sandwiches and so only bought an horchata and off to the show... The space was nice. Floor pretty packed and they had skyboxes that served beer. At several points in the show I went up to the skybox to see if I could find Mack and the Cooke brothers.

PAS: The best thing about Lee eviscerating a band is that he does it such a mild pleasant way that it makes it even more vicious. Tom and I are both caustic Jews, even our compliments sound like insults, meanwhile Lee can make the nastiest rip sound completly judgement free. Pretty good Peruvian chicken, fries weren't as good as Peruvian chicken place fries normally are, I should have gotten the yucca. As we are walking to the show from the parking lot we see a couple of guys we don't recognize running through spots in the backyard outside the space.

LB: I was pleased to no end to fine that Phil and Tom met me on time at our pick-up spot. It would have been annoying to have left my family earlier than originally planned (due to fears of DC traffic and thunderstorms that blew through earlier that day) and to have to wait around for 10 minutes for late Phil and Tom. But I am happy to say that these are Carpoolers of Honor. Have no fear offering them a ride. I'm not sure whether I would have noticed Tom's hair if Phil hadn't been mocking it constantly for the first 15 minutes of our drive. I appreciate Tom and Phil's discretion regarding my band mockery. I really shouldn't mock because I am in a band (the Starlingtons), and we are worthy of a lot of mockery and scorn at times. But we will be awesome when we open for the Waco Brothers at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on Thursday, June 5. I did order the yucca with my chicken, and it was good, although I'm glad I could share some with Dean. And that mildly spicy green sauce, yum! I instantly regret mistaking Dean for being 45 years old when he is actually only 4 years older then me. Old paunchy family men represent! (I'm mostly takling about myself here.)

TKG: Crowd was about 25-30% Black and I really don’t get running in VA with no blacks on the card. Then again I don’t get running Philly/New York with no Puerto Ricans either. Both Phil Brown and Ron Pharaoh were in the crowd. Brown may be too tall to work ROH but I imagine them two and Xavier could work a smarter match against the NOAH guys than the main. I don’t get not using Joey Mathews in his home state either.

DHR: I straight up ask the question that we have all been too pussy to ask Lee since we've known him. It is Ben-a-kuh. It isn't Be-KNOCK-ah. Lee is too cool and sensitive to have corrected us these last ten years. The arena reminds me of the Edison ROPH building but with more of 3 death Who concert stampede vibe going for it- as there is one entrance/exit and it's about 8 feet wide. It was a fun crowd stocked with 1-% Virginia indie workers. I spot Phil Brown and Pharoah and wonder why they weren't punching somebody in the face on this auspicious night.

LB: No worries about the last name, that mistake has been made for nearly four decades. It's a German name, and it is spelled and pronounced in a variety of ways at family reunions. If only I were the heir to the Binaca blast fortune. The exit to this place was pretty sketchy. And there were odd breezes blowing large curtains that surrounded the ring area that at times threatened to topple lighting stands. If it wasn't a Who stampede, it could have been a Curtis Mayfield-style crippling. Overall, the crowd was not too physically repulsive, or maybe my standards have lowered over time. And I did not feel mortally terrified to use this facility's terlit (although I held it regardless).

PELE PRIMEAU v. CHRIS HERO

TKG: I think I liked this more than anyone else. It’s an opener, Primeau takes big bumps and Hero is really good at eating ranas. Chris Hero is really good at eating ranas. He’s a guy who really makes it clear when he’s been taken down by the momentum of his opponents ranas and when his opponent has caught Hero’s momentum with a rana. I once played rugby when I was under 120 lbs and when you’re that tiny to tackle a guy twice your size you need to either hit him fast or catch him and sit down. Hero’s a guy who does nice job of really getting over which of those things is happening. I’m not sure if Pele has actually put as much thought into who is providing the momentum behind all his various ranas. And boy does he have a lot of ranas. To be working this type of tiny underdog gimmick, you need more than Ranas and neat roll ups. Pele really needs a self-propelled projectile spot ( a drop kick, Super Astro’s tope en reversa, Spike Dudleys battering ram to stomach, etc). Even Pele’s dive was a legs forward rana onto floor dive. Still fine lil opener.

PAS: I liked this a fair amount too, Pelle does need to mix in something besides a rana, but all of his rana's looked good, and when Hero would hit him, he would hit him pretty hard. I think this had one too many sections of Pelle offense, as it felt about 2 minutes too long, still perfectly adequate opener.

DHR: Waaaay too many ranas. Made it too backyardy. Luchadores figured out the cure to this syndrom ages ago- SUPPLEMENT WITH COOL ARMDRAGS.

LB: I am in Dean's camp on this, although perhaps that is due to the fact that I was sitting next to him during this match, when he said over and over with a world-weariness, "That's a lot of ranas." The match was a bit disjointed, and Chris Hero was not as impressive as I expected him to be.

RHETT TITUS/REX STERLING v. MITCH FRANKLIN/SEAN DENNY

TKG: Sterling is wearing new pants. I preferred his more douchey checkered shorts, but Dean likes the new pants which give him a Big Japan scummy rookie look. I think he’s better going for douche heel than scummy heel. Six of one and half a dozen of the other as him and Titus make an amusing scummy douches pairing. Both Va guys look good in this. The differences between your southern indy workers and your northern ones is really apparent when they’re on the apron as both Va guys are really good at interacting with the match and the audience when they are on the apron. Watching this and the main event realized that Todd Sinclair is not very good at reffing tag matches. During the ref is distracted by keeping face tag partner from interfering spots, Sinclair walks all the way into corner and really doesn’t give the face enough room to get into ring and do complaining spots.

PAS: So as Titus and Franklin come to the ring we recognize them as our backyarders from earlier in the evening. Their exchanges seemed to be crisper on grass, it is possible that when the moved to canvas their footing was off. Denny probably got over the best of all the VA guys on the card, although I question his new emo rocker haircut. I like Titus and Sterling as an undercard tag team, they should keep those two together, maybe give them a random Shimmer girl as a valet.

DHR: Sterling's pants were awesome. He should definately be taking a flourescent lightbulb shot to the head from Jakkie Numazawa in the near future. I dug this match though it didn't have enough Sean Denny. Denny's High Angle German was the probably craziest thing of the two entire nights- though the Jimmy Jacob's spear was close.

LB: I thought this match was fun and enjoyed Rhett Titus's retro pretty-boy schtick. I agree that he and Sterling should be kept together.

CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI v NIGEL MCGUINNES v. DAMIEN WAYNE v BRENT ALBRIGHT

TKG: YIKES!! I’ve seen Nigel and Claudio work shitty four corners matches before back when Nigel and Claudio were feuding over the Pure title. But Nigel now has the heavyweight belt and you’d think these things would be worked more meaningfully. I remember reading at one point about how Brent Albright didn’t like his ROH gimmick of guy who just does lots of power moves and complained to Gabe about how he was more well rounded than that and should be allowed to do more wrestling. But fuck I never want to see him work a hammerlock again. Where is Tank Toland? I remember a four corners match with Davey Richards that had better mat exchanges. Someone also needs to tell Albright that you can’t have a knee strike finish if you physically can’t lift your knee. Damien Wayne was the only guy selling in the match. He was also stuck spending way too much time matched up with Albright. Wayne’s offense has also looked better in the past but I don’t know if I should blame him or Albright for the clothesline, and the really bad looking set up for the Psichosis leg drop.

PAS: This was really dissapointing, I have seen a bunch of Damien Wayne in my life and this is the worst match I have ever seen him in. He is in with three of the biggest guys on the roster, which made him look kind of small, and he was really treated like Pelle Primeau. Neither Nigel or Albright really sold for him much, and he seemed slotted way below the other three. He sold and bumped well, but underdog babyface isn't really a good use of what he can do. Also crap did the Nigel v. Claudio sections look bad, rather then make me want to buy a ticket for their Saturday night main event, this made me want to explore other Saturday night options. Drive By-Truckers were playing the 9:30 club, Shear Madness was at the Kennedy Center, hell the Best of the Best was in the ECW Arena.

DHR: Hell, Old School Empire were wrestling the Hall Borthers in King and Queen County. We gauge all things having to do with driving throught the horrible North with saying, "Fuck it"- and driving to the NWA-Va show. In comes up at each of the 68 toll booths between the Maryland state line and the Lincoln Tunnel. This match completely sucked ass. I blame everyone, including Damien Wayne who I guess didn't want to show up anybody so opted to suck as much ass as everyone else. God, Brent Allbright needs to leave my WrestleView Experience forever.

LB: This was my first experience seeing Nigel, Claudio, and Brent, and they were OK overall. I wish Damian could have gotten more offense in as well. I was also disappointed that the crowd didn't rally around Wayne more. I think I looked at my watch a few times during this one.

ERIC STEVENS v AUSTIN ARIES

TKG: I missed this to deal with a business call.

PAS: You didn't miss much. This may have been the worst match of the show. Stevens is a guy they have been pushing, had him go over Danielson, Aries, he is main eventing the next Philly show. Here he was really treated like an afterthought jobber. Aries comes out in tight jeans and one of those weird tank tops he wears and calls out Jimmy Jacobs. He keeps dismissing Stevens, until Stevens slaps him, and then he basically squashes him while wearing Jeans. Aries has alot of atheltic spots which require flexability, spots he can't pull off in nuthuggers, so all of his stuff looked like shit. Unless they have given up on Stevens, I have no idea why he is stuck in this role

DHR: This really sucked ass. I'm glad we watched the Aries/Nigel match later so I wasn't going into the New York show with blinding hatred for half the ROH roster.

LB: I don't think I hated this match as much as my friends, but it was just kind of there. A lot of our discussion in the seats related to how short Aries was, as I recall. The post-match promo was too long, and not much of the crowd was buying it.

NECRO BUTCHER v JACK EVANS

TKG: Unfortunately no J-Train seconding Evans. Still this was just a blast and I want to see every match between the two. You have Necro who excels at working as never say die underdog whose sheer insanity makes him always dangerous opponent. He’s wrestling against Jack Evans who also rules in similar role and you might think this wouldn’t work. But both guys can also work from the top and while never worked even, both are really good at making the opponent always look credibly dangerous.

PAS: I would have liked to see this go a little longer, felt a bit abrupt, and I really don't know the rational behind putting two no holds barred matches on the same show, especially a show in VA where you can't bleed. Jacobs v. Briscoe was crazy enough, but this felt like it got the short shrift a bit. Still what they did was pretty fun, I loved Necro interupting a springboard move with a punch to the face and the finish was brutal. I wanted more though

DHR: I liked this a lot until I watched Jimmy Jacobs later do the same things as this match but crazier.

LB: This was fun. We chortled a lot about the fines ROH would face for Necro hitting himself in the head to bleed before the match started. Their styles were a bit different (punch-kick v. high spots), which added to the interest. I'm not sure I would have wanted this match to go longer. I'm sure the guys were pretty sore after the time they did spend in the ring.

TKG: They run an intermission. We socialize with Cowboy Wayne, Brian and Tim. I get liquored up and Dean tries to get me to hit on Baby Doll.

DHR: Tom is a moron. Baby Doll is looking great. Tom is a man who I ASSUME would fuck Aja Kong on the basis his respect for her body of work. What is it, Tom? Baby Doll's work in the Magnum/Tully I Quit match wasn't good enough you? Do you understand Professional Wrestling?

LB: Baby Doll is looking great? Have you really quit drinking, Mr. Rasmussen? But one does need to respect the career of the Perfect 10. I had no idea she came from a wrestling family as well, as mentiond in the recent Wrestling Observer obit of Penny Banner. I was almost tempted to at least go to the concession stand and offer to pay for her bag of Reese's Pieces. But I'm not a Man.

JIMMY JACOBS v JAY BRISCOE

DHR: This was my number 2 match of the night. Jacobs going face first into chairs when he had a gigantic match the following night is going the extra mile to make the fans get into the match- and that shouldn't be lost on folks. Considering how shittily the main eventers of the following night fucking mailed it in to a paying crowd, it made it even more poignant. He earned the money I gave him and I appreciate that. I mean , it was more that just "busting his ass". It's a love of the craft; wrestling is a sleazy, hideous business where guys kill their wife and son and then their employer tries to send a squad of people to spin it in their favor. It's nice to see somebody actually give a shit- especially since the last guy who seemed to really give a shit kinda killed his wife and child. Man, wrestling is fucked up. Jay Briscoe has a real Kerry Von Erich lovable dope vibe going now and I assume he started taking aspirin and shots of Everclear the moment this match was over to prep for the next nights match.

TKG: Yeah I don’t know how Jimmy Jacobs pulls off chicken heel and crazy recklessness at the same time. But everything he did just felt amazing. I don’t really get the ROH booking where he only gets to go over American Dragon cleanly and needs outside help for everyone else. But fuck he’s a guy who totally makes you believe in a brawl. Brawling spots with neat setups and neat payoffs.

PAS: For your ROH 4 pillars (Jacobs, Necro, Nigel, Dragon), Jacobs came out of the weekend of wrestling the best. I am not a huge Jay Briscoe fan, and this match being in VA took away the option to bleed himself into my heart, (although he made up for it in NYC) still this was a batch of fun. The in ring mike portions of the Aries feud really kind of flopped over the two days, but the wrestling portions were great. Jacobs is so nuts, and his stuff looks so good that you buy him as a crazy bad ass brawler even though he is half the size of Spike Dudley. I have made the Jacobs as modern day Eddie Gilbert comparison before, but Gilbert wouldn't have taken this kind of asskicking on a house show, Jacobs may need to learn how to hide a non existant chain to last untill he is 30, but Fuck was he killing it this weekend.

LB: I thought this match was great also. Jacobs was bleeding from the back somehow early on. The fellers recounted most of the awesomeness above, so I'll just mention that it was slightly disheartening to see Damian Wayne as part of the crew running out to ineffectively try to break up the post-match brawl.

AMERICAN DRAGON v TYLER BLACK

DHR: This was the best match of the night and maybe of the of the entire road trip. Tyler Black is deeply stuck in the second rope boomerang cresent savat kick X-Division Offense and its suckassity is really exposed when thrown up against the sheer brutal beauty of American Dragon's brilliant offense, but Tyler Black can do something that a lot of wrestlers can't do- Tyler Black can sell. That was the key. Dragon's submissions looked great because Black sold them like death and THUS the match becomes a rich tapestry of pain and horror and crying. It was fucking great.

TKG: Man alive you watch a match like this and realize how important Dragon is to ROH. He has absolutely mastered the role of gatekeeper guy in semi main. I can’t think of anyone who does it better. It feels like you can take anyone on the roster and put them in a series against Dragon and after two matches they’ll be credible main event title contenders. Dragon is a guy who can beat someone and in the process make opponent look strong. Dragon is a guy who can be beaten and still leave looking strong. Watching this made me reflect on Dragon’s title run. Realized that it was hurt by the fact that ROH really doesn’t have anyone else who can effectively play his role (guy who makes title challenger credible). You really need American Dragon working a series with Roderick Strong, Delirious, etc to elevate them to title contention. You need an American Dragon to work those guys to keep them elevated after they loose their title shots (not having two Bryan Danielson’s meant after title series the losers slipped out of picture completely). Danielson is a blast to watch playing other roles (drop kicking babyface teamed with Metal Master v Rene Dupree and Carl Oulette). But in role of gatekeeper, feels like there is no one better.

PAS: I am very much not sold on Tyler Black yet, he would do three cool things and one thing that looked like shit. He definitly needs to ditch all of his spin kicks, especially when he is in a match like this. I did really like his stomps though. This was of course a Dragon show, as he has so many different ways of making things look painful. Dragon is also really good at working the crowd, he has enough shtick now, that he doesn't need to do insane things to get over. This VA show felt like a show with some mailed in performances, I am not sure that Dragon wasn't also mailing it in a bit, but he is such a master at what he does, that mailed in Dragon is easily the match of the weekend.

LB: This was my first time seeing Dragon in person, and it was not a disappointment. If Bob Backlund had learned a thousand extremely painful submission holds, he would be as good as Dragon. I thought Tyler Black was a fine opponent. I never had a sense that he could win, it was more a matter of how long can he hang in there, which was a compelling story. Dragon's mugging and interactions with a Tyler Black fun was a lot of fun. I think it's hard to pull off the emotions of really having a good time at the same time you are in a really physical match causing someone a lot of pain. And Dragon's relentless kicks were pretty brutal.

NO REMORSE CORPS v TEAM NOAH (MARAFUJI, MORISHIMA, SHIOZAKI)

PAS: The first thing you notice about this match is how tiny all of the American guys look. Marifuji is a Japaneese junior and he towered over everyone here, and Morishima v. Richards looked like Big Show v. Maywhether. The first part of this match was worked smartly with the NRC doing tiny heel comedy spots, Romero is actually pretty amusing as Downtown Bruno, he should move to Memphis and feud with Corey Maclin. Morishima and Go were also pretty good at working as face foils against tiny heels. Marifuji however comes in and wants to work even with guys half his size, and then this match stopped being a comedy match and got into a 2.9 finish Please Don't Stop shitfest. I did get a bit of hope back when Marifuji and Romero tagged in and did mirror kick spots "Oh good they are back to doing comedy" unfortunitly I think they were serious. I mean Dragon Gate million finish six mans are bad enough, but doing that finish run when the heel team is a third of the size of the face team makes absolutely no sense. Especially when the first part of the match was built around the heels being overmatched, at one point they couldn't slam the NOAH team, now they were hitting released German suplexes.

DHR: All my friends are divided into two camps- the Virginia Contingent wet their polyester paunts in orgasmic glory over this match, while the DC Contingent threw their Battlestar Galactica painted miniatures to the ground and tore at their Nation Of Ulysses t-shirts in rage at the shittiness of this match. I enjoyed the comedy and assumed the shittiness of the Manami toyota vs Kyoko Inoue Channels CZW 1999 Five Thousand Pointless Nearfalls was going to happen straight from the opening bell, so I'm came away non plussed.

TKG: Battlestar galactica figurines? I wish I had hobbies that were that socially acceptable. Man that would be so much easier to explain than my collection of Eddie Cantor ephemera. And I don’t think Manami Toyota and Kyoko Inoue would really work that match if tagged opposite Lobo and Ruckus.

LB: I was happy to see that they boys were thinking of leaving during this match because that meant I could get home by around 11pm. The opening was fun enough with the homoerotic mirror pile-ons in the corner and Morishima acting like a playful and fanciful Terry Gordy. An OK match to think about leaving early on.

OVERALL:

DHR: This was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than we figured it would be going in. I can't wait for them to come back. And hopefully I can get bankrolled again.

LB: It was great to see in person a lot of wrestlers I had only read about or seen on tape. The company could not be beat, the drive was pretty easy, so I hope they come back to Manassas or the DC area regularly.

PAS: I have been to much better ROH shows, but have rarely had as good of a time. Plus you can't beat an hour drive



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