Segunda Caida

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

Friday, July 31, 2009

NWA Fusion Episode 1

NWA Fusion is the new incarnation of NWA Virginia and this is the first episode of their new web TV show. This about the twentieth attempt to do this over the last couple of years, they usually last about a month. So for that month I am going to review the shows here.

Episode 1

"Memphis Mofo" Mark Bravura v. Damien Wayne v. Amazing Sanchezz v. Krotch

This is for the Alpha title and was a bit rough. It was basically Damien Wayne vs. three guys that stink. So when Wayne is in, you go "Man look at Damien Wayne kind of carry this crappy guy" and when he is on the apron you go "Boy I hope Damien Wayne comes in pretty soon." Everything Wayne did was really solid and he has one of the prettiest diving elbows ever. Bravura is the champ and is clearly getting a big push here, he starts with some fake Mr. Kennedy mike work where he proclaims himself the next generation of Lawler, Dundee, Idol, Fargo and Monroe. There is no excuse for someone working heir to Jackie Fargo in a promotion promoted by Preston Quinn to have punches that suck that much. For fuck sake, PQ is in the back, have him show you something. Krotch was I guy I enjoyed in the past as a stooge who takes big beatings, he has bulked up, is working a Great Muta deal and is all about really convoluted offense. Sanchezzz had the worst looking offense in the match, and didn't really take big enough bumps or eat a big enough beating to make up for it. Not the best match to restart a show on, I am hoping if we get a next week it will be better.

There is a promo with the Da New Bloods Da Gift and Da Curse, don't know how they are in the ring, but I am digging the fuck out of their gimmick. It is like Skinny Pete and Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad formed a tag team. They make the Briscoes look like Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers.

The Hatriot v. TomKat

I am not sure whether TomKat is working a crown prince of Scientology gimmick, as he was basically a jobber here. I got the sense from the pre-match promo by your bargain basement Akbar that the Hatriot was doing your classic Don Kernodle turn on your country gimmick, but they never really specified who he was before he became the Hatriot. He was way too good to be Tom Brandi. Really nasty squash match, slick powerslam, firemans carry throw into the turnbuckle and the GAS MASK as a finisher. Totally brought me onboard with NWA Fusion, don't care for the manager, but I would buy a ticket to see America defended against THE HATRIOT.

The show finished with your RAW mike segment between Sean Denny and Mark Bravura and a Mike Booth appearance. This is all to set up Booth v. Denny next week, and it did a perfectly okay job of doing that. Booth has a Tully like ability to make you want to kill him by just standing there, and he does more just walking out then Denny and Bravura do talking for five minutes. Still I am on board for Booth to get his comeuppance.

The big match on this show was a disappointment, but this is a promotion with enough really great guys that I will keep watching as long as this keeps showing up.


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

IWRG 7/16/09

PAS: Lucha Libre Nation is still AWOL, but this episode was put up by WarriorsX2000 at http://www.youtube.com/user/warriorsX2000.

TKG: It’s time for IWRG's annual Rey Del Ring. This is a thirty man tourney that normally goes between an hour and half and two hours. My memory is that originally it was worked like a cibernetico starting with four men where new participant came in any time someone was eliminated. It has slowly been evolving into pretty much a straight up Royal Rumble type match with guys getting added in every couple minutes. This year the evolution is really pretty complete as no cybernetic feel at all. It’s a Royal Rumble where guys eliminated through pinfall or submission. And it had a real U.S. style feel with the first half being your lightheavyweights and then the second half being the actual heavyweights.

Half way through the match Super X come in and invade the commentary booth. Juvi explains that Super X has a contract available for the winner of this tourney, whoever he may be (the best contract in the business with potential for movie deal,licensing for a video game, a toy, etc). This is a real U.S. type angle and Juvi is really great at selling it. Juvi’s dad is better at selling more traditional Mexican angles (his anger at Trauma II showing disrespect by trying to rip his mask), and when faced with this type of U.S. angle kind of just goes “well we know the only possible winners are these three guys”.

You normally hope in these things to get some more random primera guys or just guys you haven’t seen in ages but unfortunately no Radamantis appearances. Megatronic is the only guy I had never seen before (he seemed too thick to be Cyborg but he felt really familiar). It was also more of an everyman for himself match than it has been in the past. There really didn’t seem to be guys allying themselves along technico/rudo lines or attacking each other based on long term feuds. The two Officiales work together but that’s about it when it comes to cooperation. Dr Cerebro eliminates Negro Navarro which felt like a big deal but that was it. Captain Muerte eliminates former partner Xibalba. One would think that Ricky Cruz and Arlequin Amarillo would have long term issues with Mascara Ano Dos Mill 2000 Jr but when three in the ring together Cruz and Arlequin fight. Veneno is the one representative of invading fed Super X but never get the sense in the match that the IWRG guys have any interest in allying against him. Technicos feuded with technicos, Rudos feuded with rudos. Still they do a nice job at keeping the match moving at a fun clip where there are no real long downtimes till the end.

No Freelance this year. Freelance is often one of the big highlights of the Rey Del Ring as he’ll come in and do seven absolutely insane spots and then be eliminated. The real stars of this match ended up being the Cerebros/Terry team. Never in the ring with each other but when they are in the ring, they absolutely dominate it, each one acting as ring general to keep their section of match together.

The match can really de divided into four sections : Dr Cerbero section, Black Terry section, Cerebro Negro section, and the post Terrible Cerebros section.

Dr Cererbo is really the star of the first third of what was aired as he just runs around punching folks, kicking folks, eating topes, topeing people,tossing people around and eating peoples offense better than you'd think possible. I really liked the section where Captain Muerte had Dr Cerebro draped over top of ring post punching him while Dr Cerebro fought back throwing body shots.

Once Dr Cerebro is eliminated you have this sketchy period where you have Angelico, Exodia, Buschi, Mascara Ano Dos Mil Jr, and 911 in the ring by themselves. Then Black Terry comes in and tries to save the match.He transitons the match from that kind of green guys and 911 start to the real heavyweight brawlers section. As when he leaves the participants in the ring are all heavyweights Arlequin Amarillo, Olimpico, Mascara ano Dos Mill Jr, Ricky Cruz, Olimpico, AK-47, and again 911. They almost work this transition period like a Steiners/Nasty Boys or RNR/Poffos match where you have guys brawling on the outside and guys wrestling in ring. Exodia v Angelico is the world’s crappiest Gibson v Lanny Poffo/Scott v Saggs. Terry is the guy who moves back and forth between these two worlds and tries to keep them both watchable.

Once Black Terry is eliminated again you have this kind of sketchy all heavyweight section where Arlequin Amarillo appears to be carrying the interactions with Olimpico and the Officiales are double teaming the Dinamita to keep him busy. And then Cerebro Negro runs in to save the match. He just runs in and is small guy in heavyweight match who sticks and moves, blasts folks and then moves. He's the one guy who will get tossed around and eat stuff in a ring full of guys reluctant to leave their feet. They add Toxico who I never realized was that big, Veneno and Trauma II who really has no idea how to work opposite heavyweights.

Post Terrible Cerebros all you can hope for is interactions between IWRG regulars Rigo, Chico Che, and Fantasma de La Opera to keep you distracted from the stink. Then once they’re all gone just avert your eyes. I can’t decide who looked worse Olimpico or his green awkward son Exodia. The final singles match up between Cruz and Veneno didn’t do a ton for me but I think might appeal to people who dig Taker v HBK stuff. On some level that’s the story of the entire match: it felt like the type of Royal Rumble that gets a bunch of praise but I was left disappointed.

PAS: Tomk covered this pretty well, a couple of things he didn't mention. For the best wrestler in the world, Negro Navarro didn't look good here at all. He wasn't bumping, didn't really brawl like he is capable, and wasn't bumping. This was the worst Navarro performance in 2009 by far, still think he is #1, but we will see how Rey does against Dolph Ziggler tonight. There were a couple of nice double teams with Captain Muerte and Dr. Cerebro and I would much rather see Captain Muerte in the mix as a replacement Terrible Cerebro then Fantasma De La Opera. I am still on the fence with the Super X angle, I like the Navarro family as defenders of IWRG, but Ricky Cruz doesn't do much for me in the Sting role of top recruit. Also behind the Guerrerra's the Super X side is pretty thin, it is all Horace Hogans and Bryan Adamses left there

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Hybrid Wrestling -Theory of Evolution 12/6/08

I was sort of sold on this show by the youtube video of the main event , for some reason it took them six months after releasing the video to release the show. I felt like someone anticipating The Dark Knight after seeing the first preview. I have enjoyed parts of the other Hybrid I have seen, although it has been hit or miss as you might imagine. Bummed that there was no Dave Logan on this show, as he was the guy who impressed me most in the other stuff I had seen.

Robert Paulson v. Cody Adams

Rough opener. Paulson kind of looked like an 1990's USWA jobber, with man boobs, greasy hair and shitty metal tattoos. Adams was your generic 22 year old indy worker with kickpads and ideas. Some of the ideas worked okay, some didn't, but his in between kicking, punching and stomping was Fire Ant bad. Paulson did a Code Red which is pretty bad show layout. In a fed full of spectacular athletic guys, a really unathletic guy in your opener shouldn't be doing big highspots.

Luis Diamante/Eric Ryan v. Bleeding My Breaking Sunset

This was hurt some by not having any commentary, this is clearly part of a long term angle with Diamante breaking up with his tag partner, calling out Ryan as a replacement and then his ex-partner has a guy come from the back, who was clearly making a return. I don't know how much a deep understanding of the backstory would have helped me, as the actually wrestling in this was pretty terrible. So far on the show there have been six guys, and none of them can throw a punch or forearm, ominous portent for the remainder of this show.

Corvis Fear v. Starless

Corvis Fear is a JAPW guy who is the better Garden State God and the last Doghouse student. He is a guy I have dug a bunch in the past, as he is really good at taking flippy guys and beating them into good matches. Starless is one of the lesser Hybrid flippy guys and this is pretty much a squash. Still after the first match it is good to see a guy who's stuff looks painful, and I imagine Fear vs. guys like Kendrick, Cockstrong and Brian Lyndon will rule.

Flip Kendrick/Johnny Cockstrong v. A-Team

This is by far the best match on the undercard, it is worked face vs. face. I don't get much of a sense of the A-Team, but Cockstrong and Kendrick are both pretty fun. Cockstrong's gimmick is that he has a steel hard dick, and uses it the way JYD uses his head. I have seen him before and he seems to come up with new variations every match. At one point one of the A-Team gets a bloody mouth after a cock shot, which added a bit of grizzly reality to the gimmick. I also really dug the Go To Sleep with a dick shot replacing the knee. Kendrick was a little subdued here, although he did hit a crazy twisting quebrada.

Myke Quest v. Billy Taylor

Weird match, I used to watch a ton of mid-90's indies and they would pretty much all have fake Tommy Dreamers doing fake Tommy Dreamer matches. Taylor comes out with his Hard Core Cafe t-shirt, beer gut and shopping cart full of weapons, but its 2009, Tommy Dreamer doesn't even wrestle Tommy Dreamer matches anymore. This was pretty bad, Myke Quest is your lesser Garden State God, and while he is willing to take some bumps, he can't carry a guy through a match like this. Taylor is pretty lacking in charisma for a role which requires a ton of charisma, and takes hardly any bumps in a role that requires you to take a bunch. Not good at all

"MDog20" Matt Cross v. Vincent Nothing

Matt Cross seems to have developed sort of a Bryan Danielsoncito gimmcik here, and it was super painful to try to watch these two guys work a technical juniors match. I have a feeling I might enjoy Nothing in a different context, but watch these guys hit the mat, and work dramatic nearfalls was pretty bad.

The Best Around v. Cut Throat Crew

I have really enjoyed The Best Around in JAPW, as they have worked some pretty great spotfests with the Garden State Gods and DNA. Here they are working as stooging heels and it doesn't come off nearly as well. They have a couple of nice heel spots, but Bruce Maxwell isn't very good at clubbing a guy and he does a bunch of clubbing. There was a long beatdown of Morty Rackem, and while he can take a face first bump into a rail well, he isn't particularly good as a face in peril. T.J. Cannon may be the best highflyer no one talks about, so it is a bit of waste to have him grounded. He did hit a shooting star double stomp here, which is a totally lunatic move, however he immediately gets hit with a swanton by Rufio Rapier, so we never get a chance to process the spot. Really poor pacing, very different from the main event, where every big spot and move was sold and appreciated.

Marion Fontaine v. Dave Cole v. Christian Faith v. Brian Lyndon

This is a four way ladder match to crown the first Hybrid championship. Most of the Hybrid shows in the second half of the year had mini tourney to get to these four guys. Most new ideas in wrestling are pretty bad, but the new idea here is awesome, each guy in the match won a bracket of a tourney. Dave Cole is Mr. Blonde, Marion Fontaine is Mr. Pink, Brian Lyndon is Mr. Orange and Christian Faith in Mr. White, there are four ladders around the ringside each ladder is a different color, and you can only grab the belt if you climb your correspondingly colored ladder.

It is a gimmick which solves a bunch of the inherent problems in ladder matches, people can be knocked off ladders and you don’t have to explain why someone doesn’t just scamper up that ladder, you also don’t have to explain why someone would set up a ladder for a dive instead of just grabbing the belt. It also added a new nifty bit of psychology with guys attempting to damage their opponents ladder, and breaking up slams onto set up ladders to “save” their ladder. Near the end of the match Lyndon’s ladder gets broken and he has to place it over the top of another ladder to attempt to climb up.

I enjoyed all four guys here a bunch. Faith is indy big with a mask, and has a bunch of cool power moves on the smaller guys. He also isn’t afraid to take some nasty bumps. Lyndon does a Last Dragon gimmick, he had some moments I didn’t love (he has an opening juniors face off with Cole which is the weakest point of the match) but probably takes the biggest bumps. Cole seemed like kind of strange guy to be getting the big push, he was solid but definitely didn’t stand out the way everyone else did. Marion Fontaine was my favorite, he is another indy guy with a mustache whose gimmick is all about being amused at his mustache, but he owned here. He was playing kind of a pussyish heel who is going to use trickiness and cheap shots to win a match. He eventually takes such a beating that he comes off as a tough fucker. Great execution on his moves, cool innovative spots and a bunch of crazy bumping, he is my Hybrid guy to watch.

For a match that I had been anticipating for a while, this really lived up to my expectations. Cool new concept executed well, which really rescued a poor undercard. Got me excited to watch more Hybrid.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

IWRG 7/9/09

TKG:Luchalibrenation has disappeared for a bit and luckily this episode showed up for downloading. We hope luchalibrenation will return soon. He is missed. IWRG followers may also want to watch handheld Avisman v Trauma II for number one contendership to Trauma II’s title (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GaSm92Dq64).

Avisman + Bushi + Judas El Traitor v. Rigo + Chico Che + Yack

TKG: Avisman and Buschi aren’t really the most dynamic of brawlers. Avisman is odd in that he’s a guy with just one facial expression (hostile confusion) and it works when the match calls on him to make that face and doesn’t when there is no reason for him to be making that face. And then there is JUDAS. Judas El Traidor is a guy who I don’t think I’ve ever seen work anything but openers. Really solid rudo with Ronnie James Dio style hair (long stringy hair that hides balding). Last year during Chanukah I had planned to do eight days of Golem (IWRG undercard worker) matches and was all excited to write about the Golem v Judas as Hebrew avenger v blood libel as acted out through basic opener mat work. Then 24/7 ran the same gimmick and I dropped the idea. Judas really stepped up to be the anchor of the team and was the highlight of the rudo team. There is no reason to keep him in primarias. And then there is the technicos and RIGO!!!! So looking up Rigo Tovar on Wikipedia tells me that he was a guy who suffered from blindness starting in his twenties, vitiligo, and diabetes dying at 59 from “diabetic complications leading to cardio-respiratory failure”. So not a guy known for his health. On the other hand, Rigo the wrestler is a beast. Just an absolute bump machine getting tossed and falling this way and that taking a nasty posting etc. Pretty solid brawler with all his shots looking tough and having a crazy into guy standing in third row tope. Both Cumbia guys looked good here although Chico Che keeps on catching his feet on his tope. And rather than complaining about how underwhelming the normally mediocre Yack looked let me say that looking for more stuff on cumbia on the interweb I discovered the world of cumbia rebajada which is essentially cumbia slowed down; one might say screwed (more slopped than chopped). According to the Austin Chronicle there was a guy making screwed cumbia as early as the 60s (http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A106216). But you can find stuff looking through youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMlqguPNYBo) or I really liked this mix (http://www.siebethissen.net/Dr_Auratheft/Mom_Radio/Rebajadas_El_Maldito_Acordeon.mp3).

PAS: I only remember Judas El Traitor working singles opening matches before. It sort of makes sense, he doesn't seem like a guy you would want to tag with. "Look I really need to be able to trust my partner, and well you know." Apparently Avisman and Bushi are believers in the second chance (well Bushi may be a Buddist) and they go into battle. This was the RIGO show though, he was constantly flying into the audience, taking crazy bumps into chairs, and really breaking out one of the crazier topes I have seen in a long time. Really one of those performances in which you come away needing to see everything he has ever done.

Negro Navarro + Trauma I+ II v. Fantasma De La Opera + Black Terry + Cerebro Negro

TKG: It’s been a while since we’ve seen this type of full on Black Terry match. The Cerebros are enough of a solid unit that Terry can often times take a back seat.The Fantasma/Terry/Cerebro Negro unit is less polished as a unit and Terry fully takes over directing traffic, bumping attacking,:always the center of the match. In many of the matches in 09 Terry’s seemed to be a step below what he was in 08. But this is the full on Black Terry show. Pre match Terry says he wants to test the new title holder Trauma II and the match is all about the match up between Terry and both Trauma II and the match up between Terry and Navarro. All that Cerebro Negro and Fantasma need to do is keep Trauma 1 busy while Terry does the rest. First fall involves the heels triple teaming to pin both Truamas. It’s problematic fall, in that you don’t really buy the Fantasma/Cerebro Negro attacks as having taken Navarro out of the match allowing for the triple teams on the kids. I don’t know to what degree that’s the fault of Fantasma/Cerebro Negro’s lack of credibility and what is the way Navarro is unconvincing bumping and eating their stuff. Probably a little of both. Fantasma doesn’t know how to eat Trauma I’s finisher, and while I really liked his heavyweight face off with I, it felt like he worked his faceoff with II exactly the same way. But the point of match was to keep the attention away from Cerebro Negro/Fantasma and Trauma I and let Terry do his thing. And Terry did his thing and was awesome facing off with Navarro and Trauma II. And you leave this match actively wanting to see a Trauma II v Terry match and worrying that Trauma II may be out of his league.

PAS: The Traumas have been on quite a run in the last couple of months, but man when the team with their dad, you see the difference. This is bad ass brawling Navarro, he is pissed at Fuerza talking shit, and he comes out like a B-movie hero who has been pushed too far. Terry is such a great foil to that kind of fury, as he is much more of a B-movie villain, a tough guy, with tough backup, but fundamentally lacking the moral authority of our hero. I love all of the hierarchy stuff these tags do so well, and Terry v. Trauma II could be incredible if they run it.

Dr. Cerebro + Ricky Cruzz v. Juventud Guerrera + Fuerza Guerrera

TKG: Juvi comes into this match with his back taped up supposedly as a result of the hair v hair match with Dr Cerebro. First time we saw Juvi in IWRG in 09 he was a guy who ate stuff well but all his offense looked like crap. Here his offense all looks really nasty but it’s unclear if he may be legit too banged up to eat anything: the heel collision spots look off, he taps before Dr Cerebro can fully put on his sub in order to protect his back and after that never gets back into the ring.

PAS: Juvi has this Yellow plaid hat with a matching plaid scarf which he wears to the ring, and man does he know how to be hatable. This was really a WCW Nitro main event, the show was about the Super X v. IWRG feud and this match was killing time before the big run in. The big run in was pretty great though as Dinastia Navarro runs in for the save and holy fuck is Negro Navarro the best Bill Watts walking tall asskicker in wrestling today. He just comes in killing fools with rights and lefts and I am just amped to see every match in this feud.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

BattlArts 4/12/09

Ryuji Walter -vs- Sanchu Tsubakichi

TKG: Hey it’s Ryuji Walter. Haven’t seen him in a while. He’s kind of a pro-style heavyweight who crowbars folks. I wouldn’t mind them using him instead of Sekimoto. He will beat a guy up and all his stuff looks absolutely nasty. Tsubachiki is along for the ride.

PAS: Ryuji Walter is a guy who will always entertain you. Haven’t really seen him in a ton of competitive matches, but in these kind of opening match squashes, he will hit someone really hard in the side of the neck. His matches may not be good, but they will be memorable.

Chihiro Oikawa -vs- Esui.

TKG: And the first came forward red like a hairy garment so they named her Esui? She kind of looked like the kind of flat chested lanky girl who would have hairy forearms but try as I might I can’t figure out how to do a Biblical telling of this match. Pretty basic submissions v kicker story. Esui doesn’t do any strikes but has some neat submissions including a really nasty choke with her thick forearm. Chihiro’s kicks have gotten really vicious and you really buy them as finishers.

PAS: I am starting to really enjoy these Oikawa matches, she seems to have graduated from the stupid B-Rules matches into normal wrestling matches. Her kicks really look better then her matwork and she does beat the crap out of Esui.

Munenori Sawa/Fujita Jr Hayato -vs- Tiger Shark/Akifumi Saito.

TKG:I dug the Real Japan team of Shark and Saito a bunch here. Saito feels like a guy with a nice upside. Tiger Shark feels more polished than Super Tiger. His kicks feel more pro style and less reckless. That may not always serve him well, but it was fine here.

PAS: This was a really good match, right up there with the best of the new generation of BattlArts matches. It was really worked at a nice pace with everyone showing a ton of intensity. I especially dug how Saito and Sawa would constantly take cheap shots at each other, I don't know if that is currently an indy Japan feud, but I bought into it and wanted to see a singles match between the two. Hayato continues to impress me to, and he may be getting on my list of guys where I watch all that they do.

Yuta Yoshikawa -vs- Keita Yano

TKG: So Yano has had a series of ok matches recently but those may have been all smoke and mirrors. Really these two guys are not at all ready to have a singles match with each other. This was unwatchably bad. For some reason they scream more than the joshi match earlier on the show and well none of the mat exchanges or strikes looked as good. The whole pacing didn’t work and this went on forever. Not only was Yano awful but I have never seen Yoshikawa look this bad either.

PAS: Tom is underselling the awfulness of this match. I have been watching BattlArts since 1995 or so, and have probably seen 95% of the shows that exist on tape, and I have never seen a BattlArts match this bad. Yoshikawa was on the bad side of mediocre here, but Yano was just atrocious. There is a section where he is throwing his gingerly uppercuts that I actually screamed at the TV “YOU ARE IN BATTLARTS, FOR FUCK SAKE.” Near the end of the match he has a comeback where he actually throws Lisa Simpson style windmill punches. Honestly out of all the effeminate Japanese juniors who closeted UK Figure Four board posters mark out for, he may be the shittiest. This is a match which is clearly booked to be the two young guns giving us a glance at the future, and man was it a dystopian glance, I felt like I was reading The Road.

Yuki Ishikawa/Katsumi Usuda -vs- Super Tiger II/Yujiro Yamamoto

TKG: While the earlier tag was worked more all out, this started slow and built up. The earlier building parts were really neat and I get the sense that Ishikawa and Yamamoto have a really great singles match in them. Super Tiger has added a bunch of new kicks to his offense and he really looks like he’s figured out how to control his old ones. Usuda who has been spectacular of late, is surprisingly underwhelming in this. Still his sections with Yamamoto were really cool and he ate SuperTiger’s kicks well but you almost don’t notice him in those exchanges.

PAS: I am still waiting for the blow away 2009 BattlArts tag, this had some really nice parts to it, but I didn’t get the dopamine rush that really awesome BattlArts will give you. Yammamoto continues to look like the real deal, I loved every time he squared off with Ishikawa, as he came after him like a puppy after a piece of chicken skin. Those two are going to have a great singles match sometime soon. Still this was the most understated Usuda I have seen, and while it had lots of cool stuff, it never got into that intense violent mode that your truly great BattlArts tags achieve.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

When Wrestling Was PUNK!

By EricR

I recently had the privilege of attending WWE's The BASH live in Sacramento for zero dollars (Vince is a big fan of the IWRG reports so we here at SC have a hook-up), and it was a blast. The show was real fun, and as always, the crowd had some real cut-ups. Sure, there were your standard replica belt champions (the more belts on the shoulder the lower the self-esteem), and even a guy who looked like a redneck Paul Jr. from Orange County Choppers, complete with underbrush camouflage Carharrt hat.....but ALSO wearing Jeff Hardy torn armbands!! YES!

But my FAVORITE wrestling fan of all happened to be seated right behind me. Thee Know-It-All-Who-Happens-To-Know-Little-But-Is-Desperate-To-Keep-Talking-For-Fear-of-Losing-His-Listening-Audience. I LOVE this guy! I just can't stop listening to him, as I know there will be minimum 6 verbal gems by the time the show is through. And he did not disappoint.

Oh, sure, he had his opinions on the first half of the show, but it wasn't until C.M Punk came out that things got REAL heated.

"This guy isn't fucking PUNK. I hate this fake punk shit. Man, back in the day, Johnny Only - the lead singer of the Misfits - he had the WWF title man, and it was just fucking wild. THAT guy was punk. But what the fuck does C.M. even stand for?"

Yes. YES. Yes. This guy is right. I mean, never mind that the dude's name is Jerry Only and he mainly played bass and wasn't really the singer for the first 20+ years of the band (and when he did sing, he kinda sounded like Brad Garrett), or that he had never actually spoken to anybody in WWE, or that the last good Misfits album came out over 25 years ago...those are just DETAILS. Details that only a NERD would know, and book learnin' AIN'T PUNK. Punk is all about Devilocks past the age of 40 and just running rampant in the WWE holding the title and just PUNKing it the fuck up.

Is C.M Punk punk? I don't know. Maybe if the C.M. stood for Christ Mangler or Cunt Monster or Comic Manga or Cock Master or something. Maybe THAT would be punk. But that's neither here nor there, because this isn't 1999, when REAL PUNK was running wild on the pro graps.

Who doesn't want to wax nostalgic for the halcyon days of 1999 wrestling? The true glory days of punk rock just giving wrestling the middle finger and just having butt sex with it and stuff. Just getting all rebellious with Manic Panic hair dye and leather jackets and a devil-may-care attitude.

But WAS that the glory days of punk and wrestling? Sadly, it was mostly the end of punk and wrestling. So many PUNK memories...but while you can't put your arms around a memory, you can always relive the good times.

I remember when Johnny Thunders came in to Southern States Wrestling, managed by Robert Quine. He was blasted out of his fucking mind on horse, just making crazy grandstand challenges and nodding off during promos while Quine was wearing these bad-ass cop shades. THAT was punk.

Or back in '96 when Ian MacKaye was scheduled to work a death match tourney, but it was held in a bar, and then some 13 yr. olds tried to get in and they couldn't, and Ian threw a FIT and was like "I remember how much it sucked when I wanted to see a show and there was nothing anybody could do about it because it wasn't all-ages" and he just walked right out of the tournament! Never wrestled again.

I saw D. Boon work as Man Mountain Boon down south, and he had to be the most uncoordinated big man around! He only got like 4" of air on his big splash!

I remember getting excited when I heard Bruce Gilbert from Wire was getting into wrestling, but then remember being disappointed when all of his matches were like 90 seconds long with abrupt endings.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tom Verlaine used to just go broadway out there! His matches would just never end, and they always started and ended great, but the middle was filled with all sorts of stalling and general dicking around.

All that shit was soooo PUNK! But those days are gone.

Will we ever see another punk-wrestling revolution? We may, but as long as WWE keeps hiring these FAKE ASS PUNKS and passing them off as the real thing, we'll just have to rely on these tales and more, passed on by fat assholes sitting behind us at wrestling shows.


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The Wrestling What I Watched: Week of 6/29/2009

This was the first week in a while that I was actually able to make time for non-Memphis/Texas wrestling, so thought I'd take another shot at this.

WWE TV

DVR still won't record Smackdown. There doesn't seem to be anything overriding it. I guess I could just try to watch it live, but I am a slave to technology now, so that's probably not happening.

Well, if nothing else, the "special guest host" thing is a pretty fresh idea for the GM role. I could do without Batista in that role, but DiBiase should be fun.

Most of this show was kinda unremarkable. I was all set to complain about people complaining about Miz getting "buried", but I read the tea leaves wrong, and people generally seem to agree that Miz looked strong in defeat.

The gauntlet was really well put together, and probably the highlight of my wrestling watching week. Orton and Bourne did some really nice stuff, with Bourne looking like he could've taken the champ if Orton hadn't found that one key opening at the last moment. Swagger goes down without looking weak by intentionally getting counted out after dropping Orton once "just to make an impression", which was really well done. Swagger is a guy I have complained about having a lot of great matches that happen around him rather than happening because of him, but this actually got me interested in seeing what they do with him. And then of course there was Mark Henry and THE WORLD'S STRONGEST FACE TURN! Again, kinda misread the tea leaves, as I was ready for prople to be outraged at the potential of another Henry WWE Title program, but he really seems to be largely accepted now. And well, I dug mean and angry heel Henry, but also remember when he World's Strongest Slammed Chavo before WresleMania 24 and thought that face-turned Henry vs. Chavo for the ECW Title could've been fun. Babyface Henry was really fun here, too, and the beauty is that when he wins, he doesn't look like a chump who beat a guy who had been worn down by two prior opponents. Swagger's countout and subsequent promo gave Orton a breather, and Henry's promo and subsequent teasing of getting intentionally counted out as well gave him a bit more, which certainly helped matters. But really, it's mostly down to how both men carried themselves - Mark Henry didn't come off as a guy Orton should be scared of because Orton was worn out, he came off as a guy he should be scared of because Mark Henry will fuck you up. Yeah, they nailed this.

I really had no way of reading how people would react to the 15-man trade - and specifically how it would impact ECW - ahead of time. And well, reaction seems to be split down the middle between the two most likely possible reactions. You have your guys talking about how ECW got raped with all the talented guys getting sent away and replaced with FCW call-ups. It's kind of a silly complaint, because ECW has been established as WWE's AAA league for a while, even making it a selling point in recent months ("youngest and hungriest locker room in the WWE"), with all their developmental call-ups, a couple of good veteran hands to lead the way, plus various lower midcarders sent in from other brands where they couldn't think of anything else to do with them. Bourne, Swagger, and the Hart Dynasty weren't going to be in ECW forever, though I kinda expected Bourne and the Dynasty to stick around a bit longer than they did. Henry and Finlay got subbed out for Regal and Goldust, which is probably a step down, but not a showbreaker. Not sure if Benjamin qualifies as a good veteran hand yet. My estimation of him has gone up quite a bit in the last few months, but still. Not sure they ever got around to actually figuring out what to do with Paul Burchill, but he did take some big steps forward in his ECW run. Shelton might be his replacement in the "guy we ran out of ideas for" category. I don't know. Point is, it's the same story it's always been, just with different names. There's also a group of people who seem to understand this, and are OK with it. But the outrage is there, and I just don't get it. At least we're past the point where people were getting outraged over Vince McMahon raping Heyman's brilliant vision of pure wrestling genius or whatever. That was really embarassing.

So, first episode of newer look ECW was pretty good. I never saw any of Naofumi Yamamoto's New Japan stuff, and kinda hard to get a read on a guy based on that match. Looked good getting outraged at Benjamin's awesome racebaiting (yes, not only did he figure out how to work, he actually has a personality now!), and his kick was nice. So far, so good, I guess.

Abraham Washington seems like a guy who's gimmick should be pretty straightforward, and yet, it took me a little while to wrap my head around it. And really, I get the sense it took a while for Washington himself to figure out what his gimmick was. I mean, yeah, "talk show host", I think that much was easy to get. But then I start wondering if they are actually being topical and referencing the Tonight Show changing of the guards. OK, so he's Conan O'Brien. But wait, this is WWE. Since when has the WWE been topical? Surprised if Vince McMahon even knows Conan just took over as Tonight Show host. Surprised if Vince doesn't still think Jack Paar is behind the desk. OK, so he's Jack Paar. Then comes the monologue, and good God almighty, that hurt. I was having nasty flashbacks to nWo Nightcap watching that mess. I was actively cringing at that stuff. OK, so he's Magic Johnson. And this is the guy who was doing the Barack Obama gimmick in FCW, and he's still delivering his shitty monologue with the cadence of an Obama speech. And I am kinda amused at how shook Vince is over having a black man as president, but not enough to save this. Fortunately, the actual interview with the Bella twins finally starts, and I think Washington finally figures out that he's supposed to be Arsenio Hall, and I think he might've saved the segment when he asked them where they got their weaves. From that point on, he was actually pretty fun. Still, jury is out on him.

Christian vs. Regal is a match-up that I am really super-psyched to see more of. Dreamer vs. Kozlov.....not so much.

Akiyama vs. Sasaki

Finally finished watching this card. Last wrestling show ever on NTV, and it is the story of 90% of big NOAH shows ever: really fun undercard, shitty overblown title matches at the top of the card. I saw the really fun undercard months ago, so I can't talk about that. And really, not much to say about this match other than that it was dreadfully dull. So, um, yeah. Let's move on.

Chikara "Revelation X": First Couple of Matches

I had seen the Equinox/Gerard ladder match that main evented this show and really liked it, so I thought I'd check the rest of the card out. Much has been made about the merits - or lack thereof - of Chikara, and the last full card of their's that I saw was the 2006 Tag World Grand Prix, so hopefully now I can give a more informed opinion about this than I could have otherwise. Really, it only takes one match for me to be able to do it: the opener with FIST against The Future is Now. I want to quote two points by TomK here:

"Anyway, he comes out and announces that Chikara has the right to remove anyone from audience who uses foul language because this is a family friendly promotion. Which brings me back to my original point. He says this and you look around and notice “Family friendly? This audience doesn’t have the age diversity of a CZW show” CZW show will have pudgy ponytailed guys from 15-70 plus a bunch of future pudgy pony tailed guys in the 11-15 range. Chikara crowd is almost completely missing the 15-18 year olds that normally attend CZW shows (both as fans and well backyarders admiring fellow craftsmen), the older guys and fewer kids. Show dominated by one age bracket. It felt odd like I wasn’t actually at a family friendly show but at something along the lines of “The Real Live Brady bunch” shows. Not a show aimed at audience of families but aimed at audience of adults who fetishize youth."

"I got early Chikara tapes with the pop up video commentary and have been watching indy wrestling tapes for ages. I think Ikarus was in the first class, Akuma maybe second, Cannon may have been wrestling a year before Ikarus started. So guys who've been wrestling 7, 8,9 years. Player Uno something like five or six years. On the other hand: Lince Dorado who I liked has probably been wrestling 2 or three yearsand RicOshea/Heliso something like 5. I don't think there was a complaint about green wrestlers so much as guys who've been wrestling longer than other wrestlers but who still stink."

I'll preface this by saying that I thought this was an OK match, and also that I liked Icarus' pre-match promo. His face and his delivery reminded me of Toby from The Office, and I kinda felt that laid back, matter of fact style worked for him really well. But then he comes to the ring and gets in the faces of various people in the audience. GLF and his crew...guys like that. And they all respond in kind. They get into the act. Then he gets in the face of a little kid in the front row, and the kid just doesn't react at all. Just gets nothing from this guy. And well, that's basically how I feel about FIST. Lince Dorado and Helios have a similarly manic entrance, but it connects with me more. Match has a lot of big moves from both sides. I think The Future is Now's stuff is more impressive. Really liked Lince's in-ring tope to break up a pin. In any case, FIN's stuff connected with me, whereas FIST's largely didn't. I don't think it was just a matter of execution, although FIN's execution was better. I just found them very easy to connect with, they made me want to root for them. FIST was just very vanilla, despite desperate attempts not to be on their way to the ring.

Daizee Haze and Sara Del Ray actually had a pretty great match. I mean, it kinda feels like their touring match, but it is about as good of a touring match as you could hope for. It is a match between two of the Shimmer girls, and on a certain level you go into US indy women's matches like it is the Special Olympics. They're not actually good, but you applaud them anyway because they're trying really hard. This wasn't that. This was the Little Mr. T vs. Little Tokyo match I nominated for the Texas set. If I were working on a hypothetical DVDVR Best of the 00's Non-ROH Northeast US Indies set, match I probably wouldn't have nominated if two dudes were having it, but might give the go-ahead to because it is legitimately great wrestling coming from a place you don't really expect to get it. Particulary from Daizee Haze, who I remember first seeing in '04 and thinking was absolutely atrocious. Looked like one of the worst wrestlers in the world. Kinda charismatic, but blew every other move, and couldn't even connect with me on sex appeal, as she looked as emaciated and worn out as the worst of the WWE Divas. It is five years later, and she is still really scrawny, but at this point seems more like a girl who is just kinda scrawny by nature, rather than a bulemic model getting eyed by John Laurenitis. But more importantly, she has made huge strides forward in the ring, and this is really her match. Bout is largely technical, with a lot of stuff on the mat, and the story of Sara trying to overpower Daizee but Daizee being quick and evasive, finding counters to all of Sara's stuff. Great looking takedowns, a nifty escape from a front facelock where she gets a headscissors and turns it into a victory roll-style pin, really cool looking stuff. Really great working from underneath in general, both in finding counters, and later in just selling Sara's holds. Sara, for her part, looks like a beast here, dropping Daizee throat-first on the guardrail, headbutting her shoulder while holding her in an armbar, cranking on an abdominal stretch while clawing at her side, and then turning that into La Swastika. The whole abdominal stretch segment is really great, actually. Sara has her more "powerful" versions of the hold, and then Daizee manages to counter it into an octopus hold, but Sara is able to roll that over into a pinning combination. All sorts of neat stuff here, and it actually makes me want to see them in something that isn't just wrestling in a vaccuum.

Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw vs. The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple was another really strong match. I dig Quack and Jigsaw. Not really surprised I enjoyed their work together here. Like the opening bit with Quack working over UltraMantis' arm while interrogating him about giving the secret of the Chikara Special to Dr. Cube (I won't even pretend to know). Crossbones is kinda bad here, but I was really pleasantly surprised with UltraMantis Black. Heels take over after that initial face run, and Crossbones is set up as the real bruiser of the team, but it's UltraMantis that comes up with the strong offense. Nothing fancy, but he throws a spinebuster better than anyone in the WWE, and his gutwrench suplex was nothing to sneeze at either. Pretty contrived bit near the end with Crossbones inexplicably putting UltraMantis on his shoulders on the outside and Quackenbush hitting him with a Doomsday tope. Looked good, but the set up was baffling. Still, they otherwise kept this simple and it worked great. Really enjoying this show so far.


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Monday, July 06, 2009

IWRG 6/18/09

TKG: Boo! We missed a week. I was stoked to see Black Terry opposite Fuerza, Trauma II v Zatura in a superlibre and if Pendulo was as charismatic when teamed with heterosexuals. Instead we get a week of IWRG with no Negro Navarro, Black Terry or Freelance. Thankfully everyone else stepped up their game.

PAS: Apparently the station showed a repeat, so that stuff may be lost in the mists of time. As always the goodness is provided by the amazing

Lucha Libre Nation

PAS: Folks should check out the two opening matches from this weeks Puebla show too, good shit.

Azoka/Sauron v Jack/Exodia

TKG: I assume Azoka and Exodia are Ultimo trainees. They announce this as Exodia’s debut match and he really had the feel of guy in a ring for the first time. I don’t think Sauron’s really the rudo who is going to elicit the best out of this type of green rookie. Where is Paramedico? Azoka is now working heel and he is still really green but still a guy who I kind of like as sells guy struggling out of mat work and submissions well. Surprisingly Jack does a nice job of walking him through some violent mat work. Selling struggle isn’t a skill that’s particularly in demand among Japanese lucharesu feds, and I imagine when he goes to Japan it will be drilled out of Azoka, but it’s nice touch in actual real lucha.

PAS: Sauron seems like he is on enough roids that he should be in AAA, rather then stuck working IWRG openers. He isn't even mediocre, but still better then Groon XXX. Too bad Growth Hormone can't make you grow. He looked decent taking an armdrag or two, but throw those awful looking Davey Boy Smith "trying to avoid a bicep tear" clotheslines. Despite the matwork Yack's fake La Parka is still painful. This was one of those matches where the IWRG willingness to give everything 25 minutes bites you in the ass a little.

Chico Che, Rigo, Trauma I v Barbra Roja, Hijo del Pirata Morgan, Pirata Morgan Jr.

TKG: RIGO~!!! OK this is hilarious. Rigo is a guy working a Rigo Tovar (70s Mexican Cumbia star)look alike gimmick. I’m really bad at explaining music nerd jokes and this requires alot of context. Chico Che is also a guy working a 70s Cumbia musician look alike gimmick. His new short hair hurts the gimmick but on some level he's always been a guy who dresses like Chico Che doesn't so much look like him. Still there is something really amusing about the guy who hands out gimmicks in IWRG doing this type of Cumbia look alike gimmicks. As though the WWE had a Deep South tag team with one guy working a Giorgio Moroder look alike gimmick tagged with a Barry White look alike with neither working a musical gimmick. I can’t come up with anything better than the disco comparison. Part of the weirdness is that while a really popular music in Mexico, Cumbia is a genre whose roots are foreign (Columbia and Panama). It doesn’t have the volk kultur connotations of Los Folkloricos in AAA.
http://www.cuarteto-continental.unlugar.com/cuartetocontinental/cumbiamexicana.html has a nice history of cumbia in Mexico plus youtube link to Conjunto Africanos singing "Los Luchadores". So all that contributes to the humor of the Rigo lookalike gimmick, but really what puts it over the top is the degree to which Rigo actually has the emaciated look of a 70s musician who has shocked everyone by living into the new century.I don’t know how old Ringo is but he doesn’t have the emaciated look of 70s era Joe Perry, Dee Dee Ramone, Ozzy or Iggy so much as he has the emaciated look of late 90s era Joe Perry, Dee Dee Ramone, Ozzy or Iggy. I really liked the way Riggo sold for the Pirata Family’s stuff and liked his tough brawling offense. He had a dive and a couple of rope assisted flashy spots that had a real tough awkward look to them. It’s possible that against lesser opponents, that stuff would have just looked blown. But for now I am a Rigo fan. Trauma I is getting the hang of his bruiser gimmick and I liked the whole three tough brawlers as a face team deal they had going.

PAS: I am still a little unsold on the Pirata kids, they were guys with lots of nasty triple teams, but also some not so good looking triple teams. Came off a little Thomasellish at times, however I still dug this match and will certainly be willing to give them a bunch more chances to impress me. I am amused at Tomk's explanation of the Rigo gimmick because I was on the phone with Dean when I first watched this, and described him as looking like current Gene Simmons. He kind of wrestles like you might imagine Gene Simmons would wrestle if instead of starting a rock band he moved to Mexico and became a luchadore.

Zatura VS Trauma II [Campeonato Mundial Peso Ligero]

TKG:This wasn’t an organic match, it was very much a match of guys who had “ideas” they wanted to try out, but the ideas were really good ones and left this enjoying the match and thinking both guys are smart and have more promise than I thought going in. I mean this wasn’t Pareja Toxico lots of “innovative” spots, so much as smart ideas. Match still exists very much in the world of matches between guys who watch a lot of tapes and have a bunch of “innovative ideas” that they want to work in. While that often can lead in bad directions, I really enjoyed it here. Trauma II and Zatura are young guys who have good execution and timing on this stuff, the actual ideas they have are actually really smart and creative, they understand how to fit them into the title match structure well, and you get the sense that this will become organic for them pretty quickly. Both guys come in with taped shoulders and Zatura does some nice arm selling in first fall with Trauma working it over well, while Trauma tweaks himself leading to nice selling and work later, first fall had lots of rolling into locks with lots of stuff put on near ropes setting up escapes that felt like someone had watched some PWFG Shamrock with lucha eyes and really understood it, they worked in a smart handspeed exchange section that made sense in context, some huge spots including a powerbomb into corner followed by a top rope dive that again didn’t feel back and forward so much as everything set up well. My favorite thing was the way they moved from one body part to the next. First fall starts with both guys working extremities (leg locks followed by Trauma moves up to work the arm of Zatura) with both guys being able to either reverse the holds or reach the ropes with extremity that isn’t in a lock. Zatura wins the fall by putting Trauma II into essentially a neblina variation. As soon as he did it, you knew he had won the fall. Neblina isn’t a move that I think of as an answer to reversals or rope breaks-being a way to capture and put pressure on all the extremities at once. But they made it make sense. Second fall has Trauma II use a sub with a choke as the answer to not being able to tap opponent by working arm or leg. Third fall has Zatura put Trauma II in a Romero Special and fuck you pop for the Romero Special cause he’s got all the extremities locked up, and then II slips out and grabs the Romero Special with a choke and you want to get up and do dance with noisemaker. The “innovative idea” was a way to build a match to set up and get you to pop for a Romero special. So smart. Face v face title match isn’t the easiest thing to pull off to begin with, that they were able to workshop this many outside ideas into it was pretty impressive.

PAS: This kind of felt to me like the ECWA Low-Ki v. American Dragon matches or the AAA Juventud Guererra v. Rey Mysterio series. You were watching a pair of really talented young guys work out a different way to wrestle. This didn't look like a traditional lucha title match, or a bad US Indy style current CMLL title match. It felt like they were trying to find a third way to do things. Trauma II is the son of Negro Navarro who is currently the best wrestler in the world, but one who really works in an archaic style. As much as I dig what he does, Navarro doesn't wrestle like current lucha libre stars. Which is good because current lucha libre is pretty terrible, this match felt like Trauma looked at what was present and now, and said "How can I do this and still be a Navarro." The take downs in this match weren't as slick as your Maestros, but they were neat looking and the execution of the holds was very violent looking. This also had some slick reversal stuff although some of it looked like it needed to go a beat faster. I was pretty blown away by Zatura here too, look back four or five reviews ago and I was dissing him as a guy not worthy of a third spot on the Chico Che, Freelance team, now he is more them holding his own in a tremendous title match. Just a huge leap in my estimation of him. You can never really tell in lucha, as I remember a point where both Shocker and Rey Buccanaro finished top five in a DVDVR 500, but I do get the sense that these two are going to having matches this great for decades to come.

Juventud Guerrera VS Dr. Cerebro

TKG:CEREBRINA DRIVER!!!!!! Holy fuck. They follow the face v face match with this heel v heel one. And really no one does heel v heel better than lucha. Juvi is great as really strutting pretty sissy style heel while Dr Cerebro at this point is a complete vicious bull who will bowl right through people. Juventud’s execution was really questionable the last time we saw him in IWRG but his stuff looked good here and he sold in ways that reminded you of how great Juvi can be. For this type of tough heel vs sissy heel who can still fuck you up, this wasn’t anywhere near as good as the best Shocker v Tarzan Boy stuff from the beginning of the decade. But it’s been a bunch of yeara since then and no one is really doing this these days and I am stoked for the hair match.

PAS: I really dug this, Juvi is so hateable as a sleazy little prick. You really want to see Cerebro kill him, and he totally does. This had the feel of a hypothetical Manny Fernandez v. John Tatum match, and was as good as you would expect that to be. Juvi must have been on a different combo of drugs here vs. the last match, he actually looked like he belonged in the ring, and wasn't just the worlds greatest Johnny Fairplay. And holy fuck was that finish a finish. With the spotty broadcast of IWRG lately it would be a tragedy to miss this hair v. hair match.

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