Segunda Caida

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

BattlArts 8/03/09 - Show 1

PAS: This is the first of two shows they ran that day in the B1 Climax

Alexander Otsuka/Bison Tagai v. Satoshi Kajiwara/ Yuki Ishikawa

PAS: Kajiwara is a Toryuman Mexico guy I have seen work Negro Navarro before, I am not the biggest fan of Ultimo Trainees, but if you can semi hang with Negro Navarro doing lucha exchanges and semi hang with Yuki Ishikawa doing shoot matwork you might have some promise. Tagai can look flat out awful at points, but here he mostly looked fine, and the Tagai v. Kajiwara section, which you would expect to stink, kind of didn’t. Otsuka and Ishikawa were Otsuka and Ishikawa, there was an especially awesome exchange which ended with Ishikawa landing a nasty sliding enzigiri. One of the better BattlArts tags of the year.

TKG: TAGAI is super hit and miss. Here he was hit for the most part, as even when he was grabbing for nonsensical stuff he did it with purpose. There were a couple of weak moments in the Tagai v Kajiwara sections but for the most part those were fun. Ishikawa was a real blast here and came off really charismatic. I especially liked one of his rope breaks when he forced opponent to give up hold and then immediately latched on to him. Otsuka was doing more Mafia kicks than I remember him ever doing before. Lots of straight forward kicks, not really nasty stiff kicks but more like hard shoves.

Tiger Shark v. Ryuji Walter

TKG: I had no idea what to expect going into this match. I kind of like both guys but am unsold on either being able to really put something good together by themselves. This was kind of fine, sometimes the Tigershark highspots felt like they weren’t paced well and this fell out of Battlarts and into being a real standard indy match for big chunks. This wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Futen undercard and is as good as the best stuff on the Futen undercard we saw. But I wantd a Battlarts match.

PAS: Right before this match I made the comment “Ryuji WALTER may not be a great wrestler, but you always want to see him, because you know he will punch someone brutally in the face.” I must have jinxed the match, as they have a perfectly fine under ten minute match which does not feature any violent face punching. I liked this okay, but it is not what I wanted to see.

Super Tiger II v. Katsumi Usuda

TKG: This was made by Usuda’s sell of the finish run. The fatigue sell of locking in and holding onto that near fall ankle lock after Tiger gets the break really makes the next couple of minutes. As exciting an end run as you’re going to get.

PAS: This is another tremendous Usuda performance, I am unsure how we are going to rank the Super Tiger II and Tiger Shark on the SC 500, as they have both been in very good matches where they were clearly carried by great wrestlers. We will have to see how this tourney shakes out. This was a match made by Usuda’s selling, he does an amazing job putting over Tigers kicks, finish run was about as good a last two minutes as anything I have seen this year. Tiger is killing with big kicks, and Usuda is able to catch the kick for an awesome near fall ankle lock, before finally getting knocked all the way out of the ring where he can’t answer a 10 count.

Keita Yano v. Yuta Yoshikawa

TKG: Did Yano get a hold of a PWG tape with a Disco Machine v Hook Bombery main event? I was actively dreading this match up and for the most part they avoided living down to my expectations. Worked a pretty simple Yano works the arm, Yoshikawa fires back with kicks storyline. Nothing too complex. Yoshikawa hits really hard kicks and does a really great job with the arm selling. Yano doesn’t fuck much up as the arm work keeps him from getting too elaborate. You keep on waiting for the match to derail but the simple story keeps it from falling apart. Then they do a neat nearfall play off the last match and then all bets are off and they try for an extra six minutes of rope running exchanges or something. It just falls off. I was shocked that they had a solid 11 minutes in them, but they should have ended at 11.

PAS: Yeah if this match had ended right after Yano gets knocked to the floor it would have been close to a miracle match, but man does it go to shit soon after. They had a good 9 minute match and then went another 9, this was less Hook Bombery v. Disco Machine, then a current PWG big main event (has Davey Richards wrestled Chuck Taylor?) in that it had no sense of timing, it just kept going and going, finishes weren't finishes, near falls were the same for weak shit and cool shit. They do lots of simple cool arm work and then Yano says fuck it and starts doing shitty top rope dropkicks on the elbow, a terrible looking rebound lariat and jacks a Danielson finish. While there was plenty of blame to go around for their first match, I thought Yoshikawa was pretty good here. I am dropping this at Yano’s doorstep.

Munenori Sawa v. Yujiro Yamamoto

TK: Holy fuck is Yujiro Yamamoto amazing. I mean Sawa didn’t do a ton in the early sections where he was working from below, and his offense here was limited to his signature dragon screws, superman punches, an octopus and a shinning wizard. These are spots that I’ve seen look really mediocre. But Yamamoto made all that work. He eats the fuck out of the dragon screws and makes you buy them as really game changers. And when Yamamoto is working from above he is just destroying Sawa.

PAS: I really liked the way this was paced, they built nicely from the opening matwork, which was pretty slick, to some totally badass standing exchanges. They were just popping each other in the mouth with rude slaps. There was also tons of shitalking, both guys yelling at each other as they went at it. Really ended up a total fight. This was a damn good card with pretty much everything except the last 10 minutes of the Yano match being good.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

IWRG 7/30/09

More Slambamjam IWRG

Eragon/Sexy Gladys v. Carta Brava Jr./Heavy Boy

TKG: Eragon is a guy we’ve seen before and looked pretty green. Sexy Gladys is an exotico who I assume must have blown all his spots in the only other IWRG match I’ve seen with him in it (as they edited him out completely). Carta Brava Jr is a solid if unspectacular rudo and Heavy Boy is a guy who does lots of innovation. Eragon looks to have developed a ton. I really liked him throughout this. Him and Heavy Boy work a mat section in the first fall that felt almost like boxers infighting as all the exchanges were moved in and out of in really tight space. I just liked the way Eragon would get up off the mat after executing a rana would do a leg trip or push down opponent’s head in sub. He’s just gotten really crisp. Carta Brava is able to walk Sexy Gladys through some basic stuff, Gladys and Heavy Boy can’t do as much with each other. In the end they try to do a finish that seemed out of place in the undercard.

PAS: There were more good parts in this match then most undercard matches, but also had some awkward shit. Sexy Gladys is not very good at all, and with a mask and short hair he looks nothing like an exotico. I don’t understand the point of an exotico on the down low. Finish was super complicated for an opener, as they did a double pin and a final showdown Eragon and Carta Brava Jr. It the kind of finish you expect in a mask match not a random fourth from the top tag.

Chico Che/Rigo vs. Bushi/Fantasma de la Opera

TKG: This was surprisingly short for an IWRG match. Three quick falls filled with action. Almost a spot fest by IWRG standards. A lot of those spots where really cool. I especially dug Chico Che’s missile shoulderblock. They were running a goofy Fantasma de La Opera is feuding with his tag partner angle which almost overshadowed the match. The angry forearm exchange between the two was really ugly looking. Still RIGO~!!!

PAS: Fantasma de la Opera is one of the more problematic guys in IWRG, he does some things really well, he has nice timing, bumps good, pretty tope, will bleed,.However sometimes you get stuff like his awful elbow exchange or his incredibly terrible looking missed clotheslines. He was 50/50 in this match, the greatness of Rigo and Chico Che made the match entertaining. Rigo has preposterous hops for a guy who looks like he does, not a guy you would choose in a pick up hoops game, but just flies around the ring.

Barba Roja/Hijo de Pirata Morgan/Pirata Morgan Jr. vs. Oficial 911/Oficial AK47/Trauma II

TKG: Is Juvi booking this show? Feuding tag partners explode in third from top. Second from top has a face reluctantly coming into a match with an injury and reluctantly tagging with heels, a heel run in (by Fierro)and a heel beat down on the face partner which leads to a face run in (by the Navarros) which leads to match challenge (Dinastia Navarro v Officiales) interrupted by faces getting jumped by the Guerreros starting impromptu brawl leading to match. And then the lights go out and Sabu points to the sky, WTF??? Just ridiculous ECW booking in IWRG. I blame Juvi. Who else can I blame. Is Gertner in the Sexy Gladys mask? Match itself was kind of underwhelming. I think Officiales v Piratas could be something fun, but it really wasn’t much of anything here. AK-47 continues to be the 2009 Officiale MVP, as he is really fun and flamboyant in this. Does a great job of selling for all the elaborate Pirata stuff (flying crotch to face, double arm bar, etc.)

PAS: I think the Piratas might not be very good, I have enjoyed them as bases for flyers, but if you are fake sons of Pirata Morgan you should be able to fucking brawl. This had a some triple teams, some looking good, some looking not so good. Trauma II had some nice headbutts and punches, but this wasn’t much.

Fuerza Guerrera/Juventud Guerrera vs. Negro Navarro/Trauma I

TKG: We are middle of IWRG v SUPER X. The first two falls are really underwhelming, Juve wrestles the first fall in Kanye West style plastic Venetian blind sunglasses, and he second is very rudo ref heavy. The third fall really kicks in with a cool Juve v Navarro section built around Navarro being a bad ass and Juve being an amusing pussy. Nice Fuerza v Trauma I, and surprisingly entertaining Juve v Trauma I sections leading to final face off between Navarro and Fuerza. Really fun third fall. Post fall challenges are laid out. Navarro thinks the Guerreros are only good at talking should go back to the US and just be “[US style]SHOWMAN” but if they ever want to try actual lucha he or his son will take them on in singles.

PAS: This was a pretty disappointing show overall and the whole show really only got going during the third fall of the main event. Navarro looked amazing in his exchange with Juvi, smacking him around like a punk. I could see those two having an amazing singles feud at one point. Still more booking then wrestling, and overall I think IWRG probably improved when the Super X guys left.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Pt 1: IWA Deep South Carnage Cup 9/26/09

I haven’t watched a death match tourney in a while, so when this showed up. I figured I would give it a chance

Sexxxy Eddie v. Drake Younger- Carpet Strips+ Barbed Wire Boards + Chair

Eddie is a Canadian death match worker (universal health care) who is best known for spraying a fountain of blood out of his arm at a TOD (my one live death match show), Younger is an American Kickboxer trainee and the current CZW champion as well as a ex TPI and TOD winner. Kind of a hit and miss match. Both guys took some big bumps, but their counter wrestling looked kind of shitty. Carpet strips probably really hurt, but they don’t look that impressive. Eddie is wrestling in a banana hammock with his cock semi erect, it is pretty damn uncomfortable to watch especially when he gets carpet tack strips smashed on his dick. Biggest bump was Eddie eating a suplex on a chair wrapped in barbed wire, smashing the top of the chair with his back, unfortunately that was really early in the match and nothing after it was as brutal looking.

Scotty Vortex v. Thumbtack Jack- Exorcist deathmatch

Vortex is another Kickboxer trainee and Jack is a creepy German guy best known for the repellent Saw death match in Germany and threatening to kill Ian Rottens children. The gimmick saw crosses made of lightubes, some wrapped in barbedwire, some with lit candles. I liked this match, the actual wrestling in it looked pretty good, with both guys working pretty stiff, including a Kikuchi style headbutt by Jack. Both guys took some crazy bumps, including Jack nestea plunging through a lightbulb tube cross with lit candles and Vortexx getting dropped knee first in an upside down ladder with tubes. Jack yelling things with his German accent really adds to the snuff film feel of his matches. They kicked out of too much for a first round match, and after all of the big bumps, the finish was some goofy JAPW style suplex on a knee. Overall solid stuff though

Christian Faith v. Danny Havok- X marks the spot

Faith is a Midwest guy I have enjoyed on Hybrid shows, while Havok is the CZW Ultraviolent champion and a staple of death match tourneys. This had its moments, it started out pretty cool with a knuckle lock, with Faith bringing Havok’s hands down to the floor and stomping them into lightubes. Parts of this got a little sloppy though with Faith attempting to add a light tube into his signature offense and only pulling it off about half the time. I did like that the biggest bump ended it (DVD from the top onto a ladder and tubes).

Freakshow v. Insane Lane v. Nick Gage- Home Run Derby

Freakshow and Insane Lane are southern deathmatch workers, Freakshow looks almost exactly like a white Monsta Mack, Nick Gage is a CZW mainstay who looks like he has downs syndrome. This was basically three fat guys wandering around hitting each other with stuff and bleeding. Most of the punches, kicks and wrestling moves attempted looked pretty awful and Gage and Freakshow blow the finish badly. There was a bunch of blood though, so that is something. All three of these guys were replacements, and it felt like a match between some guys you can get to bleed on short notice.

Shaun Tempers v. Jacob Ashworth

This is a non-tourney match. Tempers is a NWA-Anarchy guy and comes to the ring with the awesome Rev. Dan Wilson who had been doing a great job on commentary. I have no idea who Ashworth is, and neither do the announcers. Semi competitive squash, with Tempers kind of laying a beating on this guy. Match didn’t seem to have much of a point, although I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Tempers.

Sexxxy Eddie v. Danny Havok- Barefoot Thumbtacks and Tapai Deathmatch

Not really a gimmick which allows for much wrestling, as it was mostly Jackass style mutilation. They did have some clever ways to drive tacks into each others body, I especially like Eddy throwing Havok feet first off the top rope onto the tacks. I would have liked to see what these guys could have done with a less restrictive gimmick.

Nick Gage v. Thumbtack Jack- Cinder Blocks and Barbed wire

The one positive thing to say about Gage in this tournament is that he gets heel heat, which breaks up the genial camaraderie of most of these matches. All the hugs and respect knuckles really takes you out of the violence. I liked the beginning a bunch with Jack diving on Gage while he was distracted by jaw jacking with meth heads. Finish was super nasty too with Gage eating sort of a Michinkou driver on a cinder block which drove the small of his back into the side of the block and left both guys entwined in barbed wire. Middle part wasn’t much and Jack driving syringes into Gages head was both gross and really stupid.

Mike Levy v. Maniac Mike

Levy is best known for getting hit with a barbed wire baseball bat by Ian Rottens little kid at the Queen of the death match, Maniac Mike appears to be a fellow backyarder. This was a shit show, I have no idea why you would run a death match tournament and then put on a non tournament match with untrained clowns trying crazier stuff then anyone else. They were using razor wire and a giant lightube cabin and taking awkard violent looking falls into it. A lot of this kind of death match stuff stretches the definition of wrestling, but this didn’t resemble it at all.

Chrisjen Hayme v. Slim J v. Vincent Nothing v. Chip Day

This was a four way for the IWA-DS title. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this random indy dudes four way. I haven’t seen Slim J in years, but he looked really great, totally quick and smooth with everything he did. Chip Day who is another Anarchy guy also looked pretty good, and I need to see if they have any singles matches against each other. Nothing and Hayme were a little more ragged, but they hit each other hard, and I liked some of the things both guys did.

Sexxxy Eddie v. Thumbtack Jack- Fishooks, lightbulbs, other stuff

Pretty good final, the second best death match of the night. This had a little too much piercing and poking for my taste, as that stuff doesn’t really do much for me. The wooden needles seems especially dumb, the announcers telling us that Thumbtack Jack works as an acupuncturist as he puts the needles in Eddie’s head really damaged the gimmick, is it supposed to hurt or is he curing his lower back pain? These guys were working pretty damn stiff, and Eddie brings back his Kikuchi head butt which is a cool spot in this. I want a death match to feel like guys are trying to kill each other, rather then “putting a show all you great people out there”, and while this did have the hugs afterwards, during the match it felt like a fight. Finish was a sidewalk slam through a lightube table, and that felt like a finish.

Overall it was an okay show. I really prefer something like Sami Callihan v. Danny Havok from CZW, where the death match seems to have a purpose, rather then this kind of Mickey Rooneyish “Let’s put on a show” tourney stuff. For that subset though it was pretty good, with only one tournament stinker. Wouldn’t mind seeing more of Thumbtack Jack.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Fab Five WWE Matches of the Week 10/19-10/25

Randy Orton v. John Cena Bragging Rights 10/25

Because their previous series of PPV matches have ranged from pretty bad to pretty good, I wasn't really expecting their hour match to be their best. I am at a point in my wrestling fandom where I would rather watch a 12 minute match then a 60 minute match, and I just didn't think that those two guys could fill the time. The WWE however can still put together a main event match with enough bells and whistle to fill an hour, and this felt like career level performances from both guys. Cena is really great at using his power in impressive ways, there were a bunch of little moments like that, ripping Ortons hands apart on a waist lock, dead lifting him from the floor into a fireman's carry, even the way Cena lifts the stairs, he looks like a powerlifter hoisting a world record lift. For a guy who gets booed a bunch Cena has some off the charts babyface charisma, listen to the crowd right before the FU through the table, it was like the entire crowd forgot they were supposed to boo him. Orton gets a bit hammy again, but it didn't hurt the match nearly as much as it hurt the Hell in Cell, and he otherwise was pretty great. I love how he dissects a guy, the way he pauses before moves really makes them look violent. I also love how loose he makes his body on big bumps, he had a real rag doll feel when he went through the barricade. Great finish run, both guys were in the middle of the ring exchanging punches like Lawler and Dundee, and the final STF was super twisty and nasty looking. Outside of some minor quibbles (really think they should have saved the top rope FU for later in the match, shouldn't have done the bump through the lighting grid and the attempted explosion, either one would have worked, both seemed stupid) this was about as good a match as these two had in them.

Rey Mysterio v. CM Punk v. Batista v. Undertaker Bragging Rights 10/25

Fun match with all of the stars hitting their stuff. Punk was awesome in a match that really wasn't about him. Cheap shotting folks, pussying out of fights, trying to steal pins. Just a total dick. Of course the match was a bit of backround noise for Batista's heel turn which was pretty great. I liked the teases in the match, Batista came off like Nick Stahl in Bully, he would throw Rey around while whining about how they were supposed to be friends. I almost expected for Rey to turn on him instead. I also totally buy that a guy with arms that big might be susceptible to bouts of irrational rage. Also what is going on with Rey? He seems like such an amiable guy, but this is the second time his best friend has violently and brutally turned on him. I know it looks like Eddie and Batista are the bad guys, but you have to look at Rey here too. It is like the Shaq and Kobe breakup, everyone sided with Shaq, because he is funny and Kobe is a rapist who has the emotional disconnect of a sociopath. However if you look at it, Shaq couldn't get along with Penny in Orlando, Wade in Miami and Phoenix dumped him for parts and Steve Nash ended up suing him for stealing Nash's reality show idea. My argument is that like Shaq, Rey must be a secret asshole, who drives his friends to violent rages.

Undertaker v. CM Punk Smackdown 10/20

These two haven't had the great match I was kind of hoping for. This might have been the closest, all the work was good. Punk was his weasily best, and Undertaker looked more mobile then in their other matches, taking some big bumps. His missed big boot into the ropes was pretty great (although hurt a bit by Knox taking a similar even nastier bump earlier in the show), as was the armdrag counter off the ropes. I also really liked their back and forth punch exchange. The finish was pretty cool Undertakers reversal into the gogoplata was damn slick, I am shocked at how much better he has gotten at applying that move. All of the mishigas with Scott Armstrong and Teddy Long hurt the match a bit though, although not as much as in the Montreal match. I am not sure where either guy goes from here, although I do think Punk should be the one to take the title off Undertaker.

Vladimir Koslov/Ezekial Jackson v. Tommy Dreamer/Goldust Superstars 10/20

Last weeks awesome Jackson v. Goldust match seemed to be a huge Dustin carry job, but after watching this match, I think Jackson maybe getting really good. Most of the match was Jackson working over Dreamer, and he has some super nasty looking offense, I especially loved his Vader splash in the corner and body shots. He is pretty damn great at coming off like a beast, and does the really great Henry and Vader job of selling while still looking unbeatable. Dreamer took a nice beating in this, and Goldusts hot tag was super. Seems kind of weird to have Jackson and Koslov lose clean at this point, although the way they did it made it seem like wily veterans pulling out a flash win.

Team Smackdown v. Team RAW Bragging Rights 10/25

It is pretty hard to fuck up big tags like this, by the time a wrestler gets into the WWE he will have enough stuff to fill a two minute role in a multi man tag like this, and everyone performed well. Even with my long stated aversion to DX, I did enjoy watching Finlay work with Michaels, it was like Segunda Caida vs. Rest of the Internet. Helmsley doing his patented shitty hot tag where he runs in and starts irish whipping everyone was amusingly bad, although I did like the stack up spinebuster. The ending was pretty obvious but the KO punch on Helmsley was awesome.

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Episode 3

11pm EST

Eric and Phil with possible guest stars. We will talk about things

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eric's Working 2009 MOTY List!!

Eric's 2009 MOTY List!!

I'm officially in trouble, as this list keeps growing exponentially larger, and I really didn't think there would be this much wrestling that I love when I started this project. Is 2009 an awesome year for wrestling, or are my standards just really really low?

1. Last Man Standing Match: Sami Callihan vs. Greg Excellent (CZW, 1/10/09)
2. Mitsuharu Misawa/Takashi Suguira vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Hirooki Goto (NJPW, 1/4/09)
3. Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto vs. Volador Jr./Mistico/La Sombra (CMLL, 1/9/09)
4. Masao Inoue/Mitsuo Momota vs. Jun Izumida/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (NOAH, 1/12/09)
5. Bryan Danielson vs. Scott Lost (PWG, 1/10/09)
6. Osamu Nishimura/Masa Fuchi vs. Minoru Suzuki/NOSAWA (AJPW, 1/3/09)
7. Undertaker vs. Shelton Benjamin (WWE Smackdown, 1/9/09)
8. Necro Butcher vs. Bill the Butcher (IWA-MS, 1/3/09)

1. Last Man Standing Match: Sami Callihan vs. Greg Excellent (CZW, 1/10/09)

Wow. I went into this assuming it would shatter the Sami Callihan myth. All last year Sami Callihan looked great, but he also only faced high-end talent: 2 Cold Scorpio, Necro Butcher, Ian Rotten, Chris Hero, Trik Davis, Jimmy Jacobs. All of those guys rank towards the top of my "favorite workers" list. But Greg Excellent? Never heard of the guy, never seen the guy, have no idea what to expect from the guy. For the record, my guess was he was a Chuck Taylor-type smiling indy goofball whose offense had kitschy names like "Excitebike" or "Final Fantasy" or "Funky Cold Medina" or "Avoid the Noid". I was picturing some bad announcer yelling, "He hits the Final Fantasy ON A CHAIR!!!" But no. Greg Excellent was fat, with thinning hair and a patchy beard. He looked like Chris Hero, if a couple years ago instead of getting in real good shape Hero had instead opted to go the opposite direction and throw on 40 lb. This was going to be the true test of Callihan's mettle.

And holy cow did he deliver. This is a Last Man Standing match, and it was brutal. Both guys took some crazy shots and completely retarded bumps. There were at least 4 moments I had to rewind while jumping off the couch. Sami, slumped against the guardrail takes an awesome cannonball senton from Gregcellent, Sami overshoots a nutty dive that bends him and Greg over the guard rail in really uncomfortable ways, and the finish is the real coup de grace: Sami setting up three chairs back to back, seats facing out, and sunset-flip powerbombing Greg off the top onto them, then just beating the crap out of him with one of the chairs until he can't get up.

This was worked really well, and while Greg didn't always look amazing, he more than held his own and the end result was a really fun, really awesome brawl. I'm not saying to go out and check out a bunch of CZW shows, but you'd be well off checking out the Callihan matches from CZW shows.

4. Masao Inoue/Mitsuo Momota vs. Jun Izumida/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (NOAH, 1/12/09)

I went into this with higher expectations than likely anybody else that has ever watched this match, and it completely exceeded them. My fondness for each of the workers in this match ranges from "like like" all the way up to "completely in love with".

Inoue/Momota have to be the front runners for tag team of the year at this point. I cannot remember a team that was this much fun to watch. Masao Inoue has my favorite gimmick (gimmick?) in all of wrestling: The Chubby Little Loser. He is the ultimate dork. He's chubby, has a dorky haircut, a goofy smile, the least main event offense of anybody ever, and a general sad sack appearance. And I want to watch every second of it. His awesomeness begins before the bell even starts, as when he is introduced and some people throw streamers, one of the streamers hits him in the head and he flinches then kinda flails like you would if you walked through a spiderweb. Throughout the match he is just awesome, hitting all his wimpy offense (eye rakes, rubbing opponents' eyes with his wrist tape, raking opponents' eyes over the top rope, noogies, etc.) and costing his team pinfalls (one great spot where Momota has the likely pinfall ending, and Inoue walks away prematurely celebrating, while IZU casually walks by him and breaks up the pin. The "What the Fuck?" look Momota gives him and the general constant look of shame and regret coloring Inoue's face is just classic.).

Momota is amazing as well. I've always been a big Momota fan, but this is my first glimpse of LEGEND HEEL Momota. He's now shaved his head, still has his old man mustache, and now wears black trunks that say "Legend Heel" across the back. There was a great spot where he's working over Kikuchi with closed fists, and referee Mighty Inoue admonishes him for using the closed fist, and he just points to the "Legend Heel" printed on his tights and shrugs. Like, "This is the life I chose. I'm a legend, and a heel. Of course I'm gonna use closed fists." Momota takes offense nicely for a 61 yr. old man, and every move he takes he elicits the most hilarious "Uuuggggghhhhh" sound.

Kikuchi is still one of the finest salesmen in all of wrestling, really putting over Inoue's eye rakes and noogies. He sold an eye rake like he just found out he was bleeding from the eyes: lots of rubbing, concern, pain. No need to do any Shawn Michaels "sell it too the back row" type of sell, he's doing it all for those with a keen eye. IZU has some really fun offense in this as well, doing these fun throat thrusts to Momota and just kinda...falling on people at awkward angles, like IZU does.

So go watch this. Revel in a match where Inoue is the youngster, a match where the average age of the combatants is 47. You need all of this.

5. Bryan Danielson vs. Scott Lost (PWG, 1/10/09)

Scott Lost is a guy I've enjoyed for quite a while now who nobody outside of L.A. really talks about. He looked really good here, throwing some really nice punches, and a nice spin kick. He and Danielson spend a good amount of time outside the ring, and numerous fun "getting thrown through chairs" spots ensue. Lost hits an awesome super spear that involved diving over a few chairs. Both guys looked good here. I can't wait until Danielson starts unleashing badass 8 minute matches on Superstars or ECW. Like, I'm REALLY excited to see how Danielson's syndicated match structure works out. I was there live when he worked the dark match against Lance Cade, and it went almost exactly 8 minutes and it was awesome. I really love 8-16 minute match Danielson.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eric's Working 2009 MOTY List!!

Eric's 2009 MOTY List!!

Yeah, my list is paltry and I have awful taste in wrestling, but give it some time. Heck, in a couple weeks it might have EIGHT matches! I mean, it's already quintupled in size since the last list, so get on the bus!

1. Mitsuharu Misawa/Takashi Suguira vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Hirooki Goto (NJPW, 1/4/09)
2. Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto vs. Volador Jr./Mistico/La Sombra (CMLL, 1/9/09)
3. Osamu Nishimura/Masa Fuchi vs. Minoru Suzuki/NOSAWA (AJPW, 1/3/09)
4. Undertaker vs. Shelton Benjamin (WWE Smackdown, 1/9/09)
5. Necro Butcher vs. Bill the Butcher (IWA-MS, 1/3/09)

1. Mitsuharu Misawa/Takashi Suguira vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Hirooki Goto (NJPW, 1/4/09)

A lot has already been written about this match, so I won't bore you with the gory details, but this is some must-see viewing right here, as it may be the last great Misawa match. Despite Meltzer writing that they had to load up the match with "good" workers to carry the match for Misawa (you see, because he's fatter/slower/older than he used to be, he's no good by this point), nobody could actually believe that's true, right? This match is the Misawa show right here, just obliterating guys with elbows and working maybe the best facials in all of wrestling. Goto looked kinda lousy to start, but even he picked it up and had some fun exchanges with Suguira. This built really nicely and the heat was pretty huge by the end.

2. Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto vs. Volador Jr./Mistico/La Sombra (CMLL, 1/9/09)

Guys like Mistico don't really get talked up much on this site. Phil actually hits me whenever I talk about Mistico. Not hard, but like, hard enough. We live across the country from each other, but he tallies them up, then whenever he makes his way out west, hits me in the arm for each mention. This is me being the brave abused housewife on Segunda Caida, boldly standing up for what I believe in the face of more physical abuse. Some day it may be a made for TV movie titled "A Cry for Help: The Eric Ritz Story" or "Shattered Dreams" or "Lies of the Heart" or "Men Don't Tell", and Phil might be played by Treat Williams.

This was a really fun match, with all the tecnicos hitting some spectacular spots, and Los Hijos del Averno making them look like the smoothest babyfaces in the world. Volador looks really great in this and hits some big spots, and Mistico gets his standard gigantic height on backdrops and offense. This was Mistico's big Arena Mexico return from Japan and the crowd is super hot for him.

But it's the rudos that make this, and each one of them looks like a star. Averno might be one of the more under-appreciated guys in wrestling as he has looked awesome in everything I've seen of his this year. His base work is incredible, as he makes catching Mistico and Volador look too damn easy, and both of those guys always fly at him from crazy heights. Averno looked like a giant star in the NJPW 1/4/09 6 man, taking something like three of four crazy Mistico spots from the ring onto the rampway. Here he looks just as great. Ephesto is always a good hand, also underappreciated, and Mephisto -- who usually looks like the easy 3rd runner up in trios -- hangs with everybody here and at times stands out huge. It's really hard to pick a favorite in this match.

4. Undertaker vs. Shelton Benjamin (WWE Smackdown, 1/9/09)

What the hell happened here? Shelton Benjamin has been firmly rooted in my "Guys I Don't Need to Watch" list for the last few years, and then *BOOM* he goes and looks THIS good in a match. Suddenly he had great punches and his leg work was really cool and I was like "Fuck, am I going to have to start watching a bunch of Shelton Benjamin matches now? Great." Thankfully, Shelton only had one other good match this year (against the Undertaker), so he took it easy on me. He really worked the speed vs. power angle well, rattling off a few punches while dodging Taker's big shots. Taker sold the leg well, even his little tea for two soft shoe sell on the outside was amusing. Taker is really good at selling now, which is strikingly different than a few years ago (I remember an amusing spot where he sold his leg by kicking it with his other leg, as if his leg had fallen asleep), now due to his injuries and improved selling he looks way more legit when he hobbles into offense. My friend Sean pointed out that guys seem to step it up when they're in the ring with Undertaker, the same way guys tighten up when they work with Finlay, and it's true. Is that the reason for Shelton's one match coming out party? Did the newest SmackDown vs. Raw game focus on having good punches, and Benjamin subconsciously absorb it or something? I am baffled by what I saw here, but in a good way.

5. Necro Butcher vs. Bill the Butcher (IWA-MS, 1/3/09)

The battle of the butchers! This was just about exactly what I was hoping for: Two guys with wild hair and bad bodies punching each other in the face. Both arms swinging, no defense, just swinging. I really like punch exchanges where half the punches don't land, not these picture perfect your punch-my punch kinda exchanges. Necro gets the early lead from face punching, but Bill comes back, misses what would have been the nastiest Wanderlei punt ever, throws some nasty headbutts, but in the end Necro is still too much. I really love missed strikes. Punches, kicks, clotheslines. You can really separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to how great a guy misses a strike. Some guys really aim for the fences with their missed strikes, which look awesome. Finlay aiming for throat and forcing the guy to duck as opposed to Edge throwing a missed clothesline like he's throwing a fastball with a high arm slot. Butcher's kick would've sent the tip of Necro's nose to his far cheek, and was just one of the reasons this short but explosive match worked well.

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BattlArts 7/26/09

BISON TAGAI v. Super Tiger II

PAS: Tagai is pretty terrible, and Tiger is very hit and miss. There is two or three kind of cool things in this match. I liked how TAGAI tauntingly went for a Tiger suplex and got met with a nasty mule kick, but still this was four minutes and it didn’t feel like he had four minutes in him.

TKG: TAGAI just kicks the shit out of Tiger’s shin early in the match, and Tiger hits a nice mule kick but lots of this was just sloppy. Huge parts were entertaining stiff trainwreck sloppy. Unfortunately those parts were broken up with really dull standing sloppy punch exchanges. And then there were Super Tiger’s embarrassing senton-leg drops. This was the worst Super Tiger II has looked,

Keita Yano v. Ryuji Walter

TKG: I didn’t expect Walters to sell this much. But Yano exposes Walters’ ankle and Walters spends whole match struggling with it. Walters beats the fuck out of Yano and I think as a result Yano is forced to throw better than usual uppercuts. Either Yano does a spectacular job selling guy knocked the fuck out or Walters legit knocked him into laying fetal and instinctively cupping what was left of his own manhood.

PAS: This match may have redeemed Yano a bit for me. I was just hoping for Walters to beat him hideously, and we certainly got that, but there was more to the match. Yano cut down on his fake PWG offense and focused on working over Walters leg, including some pretty good looking submissions. When it was Walters turn to fire back, he fucking fired back throwing some jaw jackers, Yano looked like Jermain Taylor at the finish.

Katsumi Usuda v. Yujiro Yamamoto

PAS: Really great match. Really had sort of unique feel. Both guys fought kind of tentatively, with neither guy wanting to make a mistake. There was also a chippyness with both guys kind of throwing shots on the break and waiting a beat to release submissions. They were also both kind of throwing these Nick Diaz style punches, a couple of range finder weak shots and then a hard shot. It felt like it was building to a more epic finish then it had, but I really enjoyed it.

TKG: I’m used to seeing Yammamoto work underdog v veteran. Here instead when they weren’t working even they seemed to be working sections of Yammamoto as athletic youngster v cagey less athletic veteran. Usuda went for a bunch of short cut chokes , hair pulls etc. and worked lots of guy overwhelmed by opponents athleticism stuff. Usuda as guy outgunned working to slip something in was neat and I’m not a guy who needs a 2.9 finisher run but like Phil said this felt to me like it needed a couple more minutes.

Yuki Ishikawa v. Tiger Shark

PAS: This was a Fujiwara student and a Sayama student doing a really great version of Fujiwara vs. Sayama. Much like those matches you have the crafty veteran maestro trying to catch and stretch the freak athlete kickboxer. It was a great match in 1985 and it is pretty great 25 years later. Ishikawa is awesome here, he carries the match, leaning into Sharks kick, throwing lots of little cheap shots and smirks. The armlock he finishes him with is awesome, you can see him shift, set it up, twist and crank. Beautiful stuff and my working BattlArts match of the year.

TKG: BattlArts match of year? It didn’t have the epic feel to it that parts of Ryuji Walters v Ishikawa achieved. And I don’t know if I ever fully bought the danger of the freak athlete kickboxer. I mean I dug Tiger Shark a bunch here and he is clearly the better of the Sayama trained Tigers. But I never bought him as being so nasty and dangerous that Ishikawa needed his cunning to defeat him. It wasn’t Fujiwara v Sayama. Still this was really good and this is two really high end matches in a row with one pretty fun match before those---and this has become the best BattArts show of 2009.

PAS: I agree that Shark doesn’t deliver the kind of horrific beating Sayama laid in (or Watlers did in the Ishikawa v. Walter match), but he certainly dominated the stand up, knocking Ishikawa down multiple times with some cool looking kicks. Outside of some tricky shots, Ishikawa really has no answer on his feet. This really is one of the most Fujiwaraish Ishikawa performances ever, which may be why I dug it so much. There is moment where Ishikawa gets smacked with a spin kick, which he sells like death, he gets up at seven, and does this really great waving off of the ref, like he was saying “Fuck it I can take this punk”

TKG: Yes I probably was underselling this match to combat Phil overselling it. And this is a pretty great Ishikawa performance as he does sell the fuck out of Tiger Shark's stuff and there are a bunch of neat exchanges and spots. Still I think this match felt more like the story of a great dramatic Sirus v Adam challenge then a Fujiwara v Sayama matchup.

Kyosuke Sasaki/Alexander Otsuka v. Yuta Yoshikawa/Muenori Sawa

TKG: This was odd. Kind of really middling match. I remember liking the Sasaki/Usuda ass kicking tag team. Sasaki/Otsuka work very differently together. They kind of work like Hamada/ Shinsaki v Kaeintai. As Otsuka works guy being disrespected and kicked in the balls a bunch while Sasaki works charismatic guy with over spots. Their was lots of comedy spots and the fast elaborate hand speed exchanges between Sasaki and Sawa might have been more entertaining on a regular indy show but felt really weak and b.s. in the context of this show.

PAS: Yeah this felt like a DDT tag rather then a BattlArts tag. Otsuka has been kind of AWOL in 2009 and I was really looking forward to seeing him, but he doesn’t do much. No real violence, some lame comedy spots. Not what I want to see.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath: but Grievous Words Stir Up Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Johnny Barrett UWF 5/28/90-GREAT

PAS: Super enjoyable match. Fujiwara almost feels like a master Jazz trumpeter who is just riffing. He tries out a bunch of neat little concepts in this match, but it feels very experimental. He had multiple very cool ankle locks, one where Barrett was in the mount, and Fujiwara locked his ankle with his feet, and another when Barrett had his back and he countered by twisting Baretts foot. They also did a bunch of spots taking advantage of Baretts size, with Fuiwara climbing all over him like a kid on a jungle gym. Barrett is really great in this match too, there are multiple moments where Fujiwara is dancing around enjoying himself, where Barrett responds with a nasty forearm or a knee, he is in a fight and doesn’t want to be treated contemptuously.

TKG: Barrett was smoother on the mat then I remember him and even his standing knees to the head felt organic. I kind of wish Zero 1 brought him in when Matt Gaffari was doing his superheavyweight schtick. I mean there wasn’t this kind of matwork in WAR but he feels like a guy who would have had neat matches in WAR as well. The real problem with him in this match (and the flaw that kept this from being an epic showdown) is that at no point did I feel like he had anything that was going to end the match. All of his matwork, strikes, punishing moves…even his chokes and submissions felt like stuff being used to wear Fujiwara down to build to a pinfall finish and not a sub finish.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Riki Choshu/Tatsumi Fujinami v. Hiroshi Hase/Shinya Hashimoto/Keiji Mutoh NJ 7/9/94- GREAT

A big star six man tag which totally delivers. Starts out a bit slow, but it kicks in gear when our man Fujiwara tags in, he has great exchanges with both Hashimoto and Hase. A great strike exchange with Hashimoto, with Fujiwara landing nasty chops to the neck and Hash laying in kicks. Super cool spot with Hase catching a Fujiwara headbutt and turning it into a uranage. Finish is totally awesome, Hase hits his giant swing on Fujinami , but it makes him dizzy so he stumbles into a Riki lariat. From there you have a big run of moves with everyone hitting their signature stuff, until finally the 80’s stars get triple submissions and the win, The old guys team is totally awesome and I need to see more of them.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yuto Aijima v. Giant Kimala/Jinsei Shinzaki AJPW 6/8/01-SKIPPABLE

Not much of a match, luckily we get very little Aijima because he is one of the worst ever. Mostly just Fujiwara running through his basic comedy spots. I enjoyed him biting Kimala on his titty, and how Shinzaki kept hurting his hand when he chopped him, but nothing that hasn't been done better other places.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Shinya Hashimoto v. Kohei Sato/Hirotaka Yokoi Zero-One 8/15/04-EPIC

Here is the first really spectacular 21st century Fujiwara match I have found. This had the feel of a classic BattlArts match,yuy nothing fancy just all four guys trying to beat the ever living shit out of each other. Fujiwara gets isolated for a part of this match and eats a pretty big beating from the young guys. Yokoi wears MMA gloves and unloads with nasty full strength punches to the face and body. There is this awesome section where he is unloading on Fujiwara and Fujiwara fires back with his jumping shoot headbutt. They also have a great early mat wrestling section, with Fujiwara showing the kind of slick counters that are his forte. Of course Hashimoto is a fucking tank, when he gets tagged in he just murders people, axe like chops to the neck, thudding kicks, big suplexes. There are several points in the match where Sato tries to stand toe to toe with Hashimoto and it is like trying to brawl with late 80s Tyson. I love this kind of gritty violent stuff and this match totally put a smile on my face.


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fab Five WWE Matches of the Week 10/12-10/18

Goldust v. Ezekial Jackson ECW 10/13

The miracle Dustin Rhodes run of 2009 continues. Motherfuck was this an awesome little sprint. Reminded me of the Dustin v. Vader matches in the mid 90's, which is pretty impressive considering the Jackson is very much not Vader. Dustin was using his speed to pop and move, really great counterpunching, as he wasn't wherever Jackson was. When Jackson did hit it was thudding, his clothesline looked totally decapitating. I also loved the way Dustin worked the crowd during the Jackson chicken wing, his the back kicks to kneecap were great. I am totally blown away with how great Dustin is in 2009, you can put this year up against any year of his career.

Finlay v. Mike Knox v. Dolph Ziggler Smackdown 10/13

This is the second time they have run this match, and these guys work a three way really well (man there is no way to write that without sounding creepy.) I think Ziggler looked better in this match, in the last match his dainty offense really stood out, here he was laying in way more, including some really nice stiff dropkicks. Either Knox was really busted up when he crotched the ring skirt or he did a great job of selling. Finlay was just amazing here, so many nifty little spots. I loved the grunting effort when he lifted Knox for the rolling slam, also there was a point where he cleared Ziggler off a pin with a nasty JYD style crawling headbutt, everything he does is so awesome. Had a bit of a problem with the finish though, I love the cruise missile Shillelagh shot, but I though Ziggler really needed to hit Finlay to get him off, he just kind of easily rolled him off without landing a move. Still a small quibble with an excellent match.

Tommy Dreamer v. Vladamir Koslov Superstars 10/13

This match doesn't look like much of paper, but it was shockingly good. Koslov is an awkward wrestler, but everything he does looks like it hurts, Dreamer is a guy who is pretty good at being hurt so they work well together. The thing that made this match was Dreamers elbow, Dreamers dives on to the announce table and busts his elbow, inflaming the bursar sack. It looked like he was smuggling a pomegranate. Koslov does a nice job of improv as he goes right after it. It really added some drama to the match as I was really wondering whether the sack would burst and spray puss all over the ring. Fun little finish too.

William Regal/Zach Ryder v. Christian/Yoshi Tatsu ECW 10/13

Pretty much a one man Regal show. I just love watching him so much, as every match he does something great. I especially liked the cover my stomach, cover my head sell he did of Christians punches in the corner. I also loved how during the uppercut exchange with Tatsu, he popped him in the stomach to take advantage. Christian and Tatsu looked fine although they didn't stand out. Ryder I thought looked actively bad, some of his offense looked sloppy and he took every shot to the face by throwing up his hands and eating the move on his forearms, it especially made Tatsu's rolling elbow look like shit, but he did it a bunch of times. You are tagging with Regal, stop being such a pussy.

John Morrison v. CM Punk Superstars 10/13

Punk has gotten really great at working main event matches. This however was kind of a midcard ROHish match, the kind of thing that would be 3rd from the top on a Friday Dayton show. There was some fun stuff, Morrisons bump on the stairs was nasty, as was his spinning kick counter. They have worked each other so much that they can get into a perfectly fine groove. Still in 2009 I expect more from a Punk match that is given some time.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

FUTEN- 4/9/09


TAKA Michinoku vs Shoichi Uchida

TKG: Hey it’s a TAKA match with no superkicks. This is our first taste of Futen. Stylisitically it is worked as a basic undercard indy juniors match with no rope running and a bit more matwork. While there was no rope running, there still was lots of running offense. I don’t think I’ve seen Uchida before, and TAKA does a yeoman’s job of selling for his power offense and lots of really loose crossfaces. I can’t imagine wanting to watch Uchida v a guy who can’t sell as well as TAKA.

PAS: Yeah I didn’t get much of a sense of Uchida, but he didn’t do a ton for me. Most of the match was worked around Uchida’s crossface and TAKA’s facelock. I guess you don’t need a really tight crossface to buy it as a finish in 2009, but it had the look of a Helmsely crossface.

Kengo Mashimo vs Shinjitsu Nohashi

TKG: I was kind of expecting more Mashimo stiffness. Surprisingly, Nohashi was the guy who brought more stiffness to the table for the body of the match. Nohashi had some nasty face stomps and running headbutts. Got the sense that these guys have a touring match worked out and instead of doing something different here, just tried to force it in.

PAS: You don’t expect the midget Shinzaki to be the guy laying it in, but his stomps were by far the highlight of the match. I do prefer these kind of modified Indy juniors matches to whatever Keita Yano is supposed to be doing in BattlArts undercards, but it isn’t anything special.

Mitsuya Nagai & White Moriyama vs Shu Sato & Kei Sato

TKG: Nagai hasn’t had a good match in ages and he looked like complete crap running in for his hot tag fired up offense. Thankfully he wasn’t in this match much. I kind of liked White Moriyama here as his offense was good looking and he was good at working the face in peril role. The Satos are odd in that their stuff can either look super super gentle or absolutely nasty with no middle ground.

PAS: Moriyama comes in with a bandage on his face, and by the first couple of minutes it gets kicked off, and you see a nasty gash on his cheek. It nicely adds to the violence of the Sato’s kicks. I really liked the early Moriyama mat work, he had really fast amateur rides. The Sato’s were pretty good at bringing their indy shtick and working it in this environment, they landed a really stiff top rope dropkick for example.

Koichiro Kimura vs Hayato Jr Fujita

TKG: This was mostly Fujita bringing it to Kimura with Kimura occasionally catching and twisting the fuck out of Fujita. I don’t remember Kimura working like this before. He sold Fujita’s stuff well and when he put him in a sub they were some of the most twisting dislocating subs you’ll see in pro wrestling. I especially liked the half crab he put n for a near fall in the middle of match.

PAS: Fujita is a guy who I have really enjoyed in the past, but he seemed to be pulling his kicks a bit. Kind of weird thing to be doing in Futen of all places. The violence of Kimura’s submission made up for the lack of violence in the strikes though.

Daisuke Ikeda & Takeshi Ono vs Manabu Suruga & Takahiro Oba

TKG: So the thing with Hara is he’s always been a guy who doesn’t sell on the level of the top level BattlArts guys. But here he is really spectacular in role of underdog babyface. I mean this is the best I can ever remember Hara looking. I don’t know what really to make of Oba. He’s really charismatic and has lots of awkward ogreish offense. Not sure if he’s over in a legit Rufus R Jones way or in a more ironic Hack Myers way. But his stuff amused me. But for lots of this it didn’t feel like it mattered who the faces were. As this was just a spectacular Ikeda/Ono as MX performance where they whipped out all their shit allowing both faces to work long in peril section. Ono for a guy who I haven’t seen in forever was as nasty and disdainful as I remember him.

PAS: Just a totally spectacular match. Ono and Ikeda are an amazing heel tag team, like a super violent Anderson brothers as they spend much of the match isolating each guy and murdering them. Ikeda is so great at stopping people from making saves, when Ono is torturing Oba, Ikeda and Suruga(Hara) have this mini Greco pummeling brawl while Hara tries desperately for a save. The finish run with Ikeda and Suruga is as great as any Ikeda v. Ishikawa struggle. They have this spectacular finishing punch section, which combines a violent BattlArts punch exchange with a almost Lawler v. Mantel fatigue war. I don’t remember seeing Oba before, and he had some super goofy shit, but in some way it worked well. He kind of kept throwing himself at the heels in weird way, including smashing Ikeda in the face with his taint. And don’t forget about fuckin Ono who was as huge a cunt as he was ten years ago. He may have been the best guy in the match, stomping, kicking and twisting guys in pretzels. I am going to want to watch it again, but it feels on first watch like the 2009 MOTY.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fab Five WWE Matches of the Week 10/5-10/11

1. Yoshi Tatsu v. William Regal ECW 10/6

ECW is my favorite of the WWE shows, it really is presented like this little territorial wrestling show with a self contained roster of greenish guys with three really great wrestlers. It is like watching Memphis TV with Christian, Regal and Goldust in your Lawler, Dundee and Mantel roles with Ryder, Tatsu et all as your New Generation and Brickhouse Brownish guys. It is so awesome that in 2009 I get to watch a TV show built around William Regal. This was a pretty fun match, first part was kind of an entertaining train wreck with Regal constantly tying his shoes, and several awkward moments. Still I love watching Regal perform so much, that I will take an ugly Regal match over a perfectly executed John Morrison match any day of the week. I love how Regal is perpetually aggressive, he doesn't do a move and then do another move, he is always grinding his elbow across the jaw, throwing short little shots to the body, just constantly moving. Post commercial break, this got really good as both guys just started laying into each other, I am not a huge Tatsu fan, but he knows that if he is in a match with Regal he had better bring it. Finish was pretty cool too, they have really gotten over the high kick as a finish, but Regal comes out of the match with a legitimate gripe. Wouldn't mind seeing this match a bunch more times.

2. C.M. Punk v. Batista Smackdown 10/6

This was a match all about distance. Punk was able to keep himself on the outside and maneuver Batista into uncomfortable parts of the ring. Trapping him between the ropes and landing the jumping knee, or tricking him into losing by countout. Punk would dart in and out landing shots, but when Batista caught him he would get punished. He caught the bodypress for a powerslam, caught a high knee for a spinebuster. You don't often see these kind of David v. Goliath matches worked with a face Goliath, but it was done really well. I thought Batista looked great here, picking his spots, executing his stuff well, hitting some big power offense. These guys clicked, I want to see some main event matches between the two.

3. Ted DiBiase v. Evan Bourne Superstars 10/5

One big advantage of the WWE adding Superstars to their line up is that when wrestlers like Bourne disappear into the RAW pit, they still can occasionally show up and have a good match. DiBiase has spent much of his push matched up against Helmsley and Michaels and those guys are pretty much automatic FF material for me, but I enjoyed him here. Pretty basic offense, but Bourne is one of the better bumpers in the world. Man that clothesline take was insane. Good timing on all the comebacks, and there were definite moments where I bought the upset. I hope Bourne gets stuck here a bunch more times.

4. Christian v. Zach Ryder ECW 10/6

This is the third match these two have had, and they have developed a nice rhythm with each other. This was a little more back and forth then the other two, without a really long Christian body part selling section. I enjoyed the back and forth though, as we got some cool moves we hadn't seen before. Ryder's quick Tiger Driver, the cool plancha by Christian, the big over the top rope bump. We didn't get a clean finish, but I did love the Regal crew coming in and demolishing everyone. Badass way to keep the story going.

5. Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho Smackdown 10/6

This really had the feel of a Malenko v. Guerrerro match on a random WCW Thunder episode. Two guys who have worked each other a ton, including some big time matches, having an entertaining, but sort of meaningless match. During their feud, you really got a sense that both guys were coming up with interesting cool things to do in every match. Here the just cribbed a bunch of older spots together. I think Jericho may be hurt, as he as looked way slower in the last couple of weeks, I also thought there was a bit too much somersaulting, it got a bit dancy at points. Still it is Rey Mysterio, the best wrestler under 40 in the world in a longish singles match. There is a lot to love, I especially dug the finish, nasty temple kick, 619 and awesome looking springboard splash, he just floated in air. Still more excited to see what Rey does with Batista next week.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Tonight at 10pm, SC 100 talk, possible DEAN appearance other stuff.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

SEGUNDA CAIDA #100 for 2008

After a bit of a wait (this list had kind of turned into the Chinese Democracy of dweebs talking about wrestling on the internet) here is the Segunda Caida list of the top 100 wrestlers of 2008. Compiling the thoughts of Nick, EricR, Tomk and Phil. Links to summaries of the top 25 are below. Check it out.

1. Yuki Ishikawa
2. Blue Panther
3. Fit Finlay
4. Black Terry
5. Negro Navarro
6. Cassandro
7. Alexander Otsuka
8. The Necro Butcher
9. Katsumi Usuda
10. Rey Mysterio
11. Freelance
12. Todd Morton
13. Mitsuhara Misawa
14. Daisuke Ikeda
15. Bryan Danielson
16. El Hijo Del Santo
17. 2 Cold Scorpio
18. Negro Casas
19. Big Show
20. Solar I
21. Villano V
22. Matt Hardy
23. Mark Henry
24. Jimmy Jacobs
25.Oficiale 911
26. Ephesto
27. Evan Bourne
28. Sami Callihan
29. Randy Orton
30. Bull Pain
31. Super Astro
32. Valiente
33. Virus
34. William Regal
35. Chris Hero
36. Eddie Kingston
37. Ian Rotten
38. Nigel McGuiness
39. Atlantis
40. Carl Greco
41. Pequeno Damian 666
42. Fuerza Guerrera
43. Arkangel de la Muerte
44. Festus
45. Chavo Guerrero, Jr.
46. Bam Bam
47. Chris Michaels
48. Officiale AK-47
49. Tamon Honda
50. Satanico
51. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
52. Johnny Saint
53. Joey Matthews
54. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
55. Homicide
56. Tracey Smothers
57. Austin Aries
58. Low-Ki
59. Jaime Dundee
60. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
61. Damien Wayne
62. Mike Quackenbush
63. Yoshihiro Takayama
64. Erick Stevens
65. Jun Akiyama
66. Hijo del Perro Aguayo
67. Yujiro Yamamoto
68. Dave Taylor
69. Undertaker
70. Mitch Ryder
71. Jerry Lawler
72. Mascara Ano Dos Mil
73. Officiale Fierro
74. Pimpinela Escarlata
75. Osamu Nishimura
76. Trik Davis
77. Villano IV
78. Averno
79. Chuck Palumbo
80. Naoya Ogawa
81. Shu El Guerrero
83. Felino
84. Jay Briscoe
85. John Cena
86. Pierrothcito
87. Great Sasuke
88. Dixie
89. Rayo de Jalisco, Jr.
90. Preston Quinn
91. Trauma II
92. Teddy Hart
93. MVP
94. Dick Togo
95. Takeshi Morishima
96. Manabu Hara
97. Super Tiger II
98. Mascarita Dorada
99. The Miz
100. Shockercito

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#1: Yuki Ishikawa

by Eric

Number One!!! We did it!! We beat this thing almost into next year, kicking and screaming every bit of the way, and in honor of beating this thing, comes our #1 favorite wrestler of 2008.

Yuki Ishikawa takes worse beatings than anybody else in wrestling, period. Like, beatings so bad that he must sincerely enjoy taking them. That's the only reason I can think of to explain what he goes through in any given match.

Ishikawa has a real knack for making bad offense look good and making great offense look deadly. Every Ishikawa match seems to feature a couple different moments of him taking a beating in a more painful way than anybody else. He'll get punched in the eye, or kicked in the mouth with the point of a boot, or punted in the liver. And then he'll fight back, and I LOVE Ishikawa comebacks. They usually start with some sort of bloody tooth grin, and then he'll rush the guy, sometimes successfully, sometimes only to fail worse. He'll throw a enziguiri that misses and then get caught again, or successfully beat the guy in the face.

He can go on the mat like few, and almost all of his matches are geared towards him being able to take tremendous beatings, but due to his mat skillz he is almost *that* close to getting a flash submission. I don't know how his body can keep taking these beatings, but I'm glad he forces himself to get back in there. Eight matches in one year from a guy like Ishikawa in a post-BattlArts world is tantamount to getting weekly syndicated TV matches from him. Let's hope just as more keep cropping up in 2009.

Recommended 2008 Matches:

~vs. Carl Greco (BattlArts, 6/9/08)
~vs. Alexander Otsuka (RJPW, 6/18/08)
~w/ Alexander Otsuka/Munenori Sawa vs. Daisuke Ikeda/Katsumi Usuda/Super Tiger II (BattlArts, 7/26/08)
~w/ Yuta Yoshikawa vs. Ikudo Hidaka/Munenori Sawa (BattlArts, 8/31/08)
~w/ Mitsuya Nagai vs. Yoshihiro Takayama/Alexander Otsuka (RJPW, 9/18/08)
~w/ Yuto Yoshikawa vs. Alexander Otsuka/Super Tiger II (BattlArts, 9/21/08)
~vs. Super Tiger II (BattlArts, 10/25/08)
~w/ Munenori Sawa vs. Super Tiger II/Manabu Hara (BattlArts, 11/26/08)

Recommended Career Matches:

~vs. Carl Greco (BattlArts, 2/20/97)
~vs. Alexander Otsuka (BattlArts, 2/28/97)
~vs. Daisuke Ikeda (BattlArt, 5/26/98)
~vs. Daisuke Ikeda (BattlArts, 8/29/99)
~w/ Carl Greco vs. Kazunari Murakami/Mitsuya Nagai (BattlArts, 10/1/00)
~vs. Kazunari Murakami (BattlArts, 11/26/00)
~w/ Mohammed Yone vs. Gedo/Masato Tanaka (BattlArt, 6/2/01)
~vs. Hiroyuki Ito (U-Style, 10/9/04)
~w/ Carlos Amano vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Mariko Yoshida (Chigusa Pro, 3/25/05)

2009 Outlook:

I don't think he'll get back up to #1 this year, as the competition is really stiff this year. I don't see him dropping too far, though.


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UWF 5/28/90

Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yoji Anjo

PAS: Weird match, after about ten minutes they moved into this super hot brawling near fall section, and both Tom and I were talking about how great the match was. Then they seemed to slow down, and meander a bit. The actual finish was pretty hot too, but this went about five minutes too long. Some very cool stuff here, as Anjo is great when he gets pissed off, and Funaki has really fast hands and feet the combination of those things can be pretty exciting.

TKG: Surprised by how even this felt at times. About eight minutes in, both guys do superslick escapes from chokes, where Anjo almost cartwheels out of essentially a cravate followed by Funaki more or less forward rolling out of one of Anjo’s choke attempts. Funaki was getting the better of the early parts of this and Anjo is pretty great as guy regrouping, and when he does get his stuff in it really less like desperate fighting from below and more like “Oh shit he’s found the hole he can exploit”.

Akira Maeda vs. Minoru Suzuki

TKG: So you are always worried with Maeda v a guy beneath him matches, as Maeda is a guy who is quite capable of working really indifferently and sabotaging a match. Instead this was a blast. Suzuki starts off really relentlessly going after Maeda, working lots of fast attempts to grab one thing after another, and slapping Maeda a bunch. Maeda gets Suzuki in a corner and just unloads with knees and starts to assert himself big time. There is an awesome section where Maeda is mounted on Suzuki and punching him in the ribs to get Suzuki to let down guard. Suzuki gets a really hot nearfall and then goes for a dropkick and a flying knee and a judo throw only to have the judo throw reversed into a choke.

PAS: Maeda’s indifference almost worked better for this match. He seemed contemptuous of Suzuki in the beginning, so when Suzuki started to breach his defenses it was a big deal. Suzuki is so good as a dick currently that is shocking to see what a good underdog babyface he can be. I also never realized how little Suzuki is, he looks like Rey v. Randy Orton. The first match went too long, but this was the perfect length. It really feels like shootstyle should only go 10-15 minutes.

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Tatsuo Nakano

TKG: Damn Takada has gotten fat. He’s listed as going into this at 220 lbs to Nakano’s 208. But I think they’re working his weight down, as he looks like he has 30 lbs on Nakano. He’s a foot taller and an Ikea entertainment center heavier than his opponent, the heavier hitter and he guy with better leverage on the round. The only thing that keeps this competitive is that Takada is working kind of pussyish. He works the whole first half of the match as guy who doesn’t want to exert himself too much and really wants to avoid eating strikes. Nakano is a guy who is willing to throw and willing to eat some in order to give. Nakano just pounds on Takada with headbuts, knees, headbutts to the back of the head, and punches and Takada works as guy who just doesn’t want to be any part of a standing match. At one point Takada does a full on Zbysco roll out of the ring stall which I’ve never seen before in UWF. There is an awesome segment where Takada finally reluctantly concedes that he has to stand and exchange: he hits this nasty flurry and then walks away without even checking to see if Nakano actually went down. Nakano doesn’t go down and just rushes Takada from behind.

PAS: Nakano may be the best non Fujiwara guy in the promotion at this point. He has such nasty brawling offense and great intensity with everything he does. I really don’t know what is going on with Takada here, like Tom mentioned he doesn’t seem to want to work a Nakano style match at all, his hesitancy worked well with the match at points, but I really didn’t like the finish. Takada, eats a flurry in the corner, but does kind of a lazy takedown and slowly moves around and puts on a facelock. Really deflating the crowd and the match.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Johnny Barrett

PAS: Super enjoyable match. Fujiwara almost feels like a master Jazz trumpeter who is just riffing. He tries out a bunch of neat little concepts in this match, but it feels very experimental. He had multiple very cool ankle locks, one where Barrett was in the mount, and Fujiwara locked his ankle with his feet, and another when Barrett had his back and he countered by twisting Baretts foot. They also did a bunch of spots taking advantage of Baretts size, with Fuiwara climbing all over him like a kid on a jungle gym. Barrett is really great in this match too, there are multiple moments where Fujiwara is dancing around enjoying himself, where Barrett responds with a nasty forearm or a knee, he is in a fight and doesn’t want to be treated contemptuously.

TKG: Barrett was smoother on the mat then I remember him and even his standing knees to the head felt organic. I kind of wish Zero 1 brought him in when Matt Gaffari was doing his superheavyweight schtick. I mean there wasn’t this kind of matwork in WAR but he feels like a guy who would have had neat matches in WAR as well. The real problem with him in this match (and the flaw that kept this from being an epic showdown) is that at no point did I feel like he had anything that was going to end the match. All of his matwork, strikes, punishing moves…even his chokes and submissions felt like stuff being used to wear Fujiwara down to build to a pinfall finish and not a sub finish.

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shigeo Miyato

TKG: I have no idea why this is the main event. When does the bullet train stop running, did they need to book a main where the crowd would go to concession stand one last time before show end? The crowd seems to stay in their seats. This is almost a Clash type show filled with guys wrestling folks on a level below them where the end isn’t in doubt, and well Miyato has always been the lowest of ranked guys. But the basic kickboxing parts of this were worked totally even and were really fun. Miyato absolutely nails Yamazaki in the gut and Yamazaki sells it way past the down, going for the ropes on a weak sub since his wind is still out of him and then going down a second time (almost taking a knee) from the initial kick.

PAS: This was really kind of a career performance for Miyato. He normally doesn’t have the charisma of Anjoh or Nakano but the match was put together in a way to make him really over with the crowd. I don’t have any idea why this was the main event, but it kind of felt like a main event. Credit has to go to Yamazaki, as he did a great job putting over Miyato as a dangerous guy. He isn’t a guy who I thought had this in him, so I was pleasantly surprised


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

#2: Blue Panther

by Phil

One of the interesting things about lucha libre is how luchadores can move in and out of prominence. A guy can basically disappear for five years, then get a push and be amazing. There aren’t a ton of feature Blue Panther matches in the 21st century, but in 2008 we got a shocking 7 singles matches, from technical masterpieces, brawling revanchas, and the cherry on top, a legendary Mascara contra Mascara MOTY. Panther is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Probably my fondest wrestling memory is sitting next to Cham Pain in a warehouse in Monterey Mexico calling Play by Play as Panther and Satanico tore the mat to pieces with Solar and Super Astro. He is the definition of a maestro. Give him the chance he will embarrass and hurt you, but he is primarily concerned with the art of lucha libre. Current CMLL is a damaged style, but give Panther a chance and he can still deliver greatness. It is so cool he got a showcase year. Give him that showcase and he will give you a year like 2008.

Recommended 2008 Matches:

~vs. Atlantis (CMLL, 7/11/08)
~vs. Negro Casas (CMLL, 8/3/08)
~vs. Villano V (Mascara Contra Mascara, CMLL, 9/19/08)
~vs. Villano V (CMLL, 9/28/08)
~vs. Villano V (CMLL, 9/29/08)
~vs. Averno (CMLL, 11/4/08)

Recommended Career Matches:

~w/ Sergio El Hermoso vs. Super Astro/Solar (WWA, 10/25/87)
~vs. Atlantis (CMLL, 8/9/91)
~vs. Super Astro (10/9/92)
~w/ Psicosis/Fuerza Guerrera vs. El Hijo Del Santo/Octagon/Rey Misterio Jr. (AAA, 7/15/94)
~vs. El Mariachi (AAA, 10/30/94)
~vs. El Hijo Del Santo (CMLL, 4/9/00)
~vs. El Hijo Del Santo (CMLL, 5/28/00)

2009 Outlook:

It is back to random trios matches for Panther in 2009. He is still Blue Panther, and he won’t ever drop too far, but lucha is all about opportunities, and he isn’t getting them in 2009.

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IWRG 7/23/09

PAS: More Slambamjam IWRG, man we need a new youtube source bad.

Goleador/Guizmo vs. Blasfemia/Keshin Black

TKG: This was bad. Guizmo doesn’t have much of a Gremlins style mask. He has what looks like raccoon eyes on the back of his shirt and raccoon foot prints down one leg of his pants? The other leg of his pants say Pikashu down the side. Is he working multiple Asian themed small creature gimmicks? Is he wearing the wrong gear? Both rudos do amusing shtick. Keshin Black begs off in the crowd after his run ins and Blasfemia milks his scummy looks as he struts around ring. I liked the way Blasfemia eats bumps always landing sitting up and dejected and Guizmo has a real wide variety of kip up variations. But nothing else in this looked good, and almost everything in the second fall looked blown.

PAS: Blasfemia takes a really nice high backdrop, but this was not good. In part really had that Ants v. Egyptians feel of green rookies trying way too much and only pulling every fourth thing off. If this was run in Chikara they would have had a spot where they throw water on Guizmo and he would go crazy, so at least we didn’t have that.

Black Terry/Capitan Muerte/Fantasma de la Opera vs. Exodia/Jack/Pendulo

TKG: This is a stacked rudo team. Exodia has looked awful in the past but looked fine getting walked through stuff by the rudo trio. I think he may have hurt his knee at one point and his final dive seemed really dangerous but I got the impression that he made it through match pretty intact. All the Black Terry v Jack sections were awesome as Terry starts with a really cool handshake into takedown, refuses to do Jack’s KidnPlay comedy spot and does a bunch of cool mat and brawling exchanges. Pendulo is clearly the best of the technicos but doesn’t do a ton in this. I dug all of his sections and he had the coolest dive, but never had the sense that he was anchoring his team. That’s a silly thing to nitpick in a match with three really good falls.

PAS: I also need to add a bit about how awesome Captain Muerte was in this match. He was matched up with Exodia who is the greenest of the techinco team, and he was a huge part in Exodia looking competent. He also broke out his ridiculous signature Flair bump to the floor where he torches the back of his neck on the apron. I want to second the awesomeness of Black Terry, Jack is a pretty terrible normally, but I came away from this match wanting to see a Jack v. Black Terry singles match which is pretty ridiculous.

Chico Che/Rigo/Trauma II vs. Avisman/Bushi/Dr. Cerebro

TKG: Phil and I argue over whether Rigo qualifies for Observer rookie of the year. I mean he clearly has been wrestling for ages but this is the first year he’s showed up in a major promotion (well if you count IWRG as major). I mean I gues he could have been a Scarecrow in AAA or something but if he qualifies for rookie of the year, he deserves it. He carries Bushi through some nice opening matwork and does a real neat job covering for some of Bushi’s awkwardness, bumps like a freak for Dr Cerebro through the first fall, des a huge dive in the second and matches up against everyone in the third.

PAS: This match happened during the period where Trauma II and Avisman were feuding over the Welterweight title, and much of this match focused around them. Avisman is a flawed guy, good on the mat often awkward everywhere else. Here he looked good throughout, really cool brawling with Trauma II on the floor, nice matwork, really cool eating of Trauma’s awesome armdrags and a nasty backcracker finish. He was really a guy on a hot streak, and I am hoping some of his Freelance feud turns up. Chico Che is another hit and miss guy, in the March show we recently reviewed he looked awful, blowing everything he tried, here he was totally on fire, especially in the third fall, running threw complicated headscissors and armdrag variations with speed and precision. You have to love a fat dude who can be so graceful and he was a pleasure to watch here.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

#3: Fit Finlay

by Eric

This guy is the ultimate no-brainer for me. Finlay has been my favorite worker going on 10+ years now. When he went down injured and retired I was really bummed. I mean, I moved on. There were other favorite workers. Brock Lesnar. SUWA. But it always came back to Finlay. I would be going through old tapes and come across a random 4 minute long Finlay squash match from WCW Saturday Night and I would be enraptured again. And then somehow, at 46 years old, after 6 years on the shelf, he came back as good as ever. If Doc Brown had burst through my door in 2005 and told me that Fit Finlay was coming back full time in 2006 and he would get long TV matches and work as good as ever I wouldn't have believed him. And then it happened, and it's been happening for a few years now. Even now I'm pessimistic about it. "Aw, he's almost 50. How long can he keep going at this pace? He never gets time off and has never gone down with an injury!" Well, he's still doing it.

What I like most about Finlay matches is no matter the pace of the match, he never lets the guy off easy. His opponents seem like they're working hard every match because they know they'll get stomped if they are being too lazy. In the Saturday Night days every match of his started the same: side headlock sequence into rope running/leap frog/hip toss section. He would work it really fast and try and trip the guy up. If the guy didn't blow anything (like in the Barry Houston match), Finlay gave him some offense and sold big for him before putting him away. If the guy leapfrogged and landed on his head (Lorenzo), or blew the hip toss (Johnny Swinger), then you knew it was going to be a real painful 5 minutes for that guy.

He still works things similarly, but WWE is a bit more tightly run ship, so he can't just get away with popping jobbers in the chops. You can tell that he still won't let opponents rest on their laurels though, and those moments lead to the stuff that makes Finlay so much damn fun. Somebody's too slow getting back to his feet? Stomp on his hands. Someone's laying in wimpy elbow shots? Drill them with a hard clothesline. His selling is the best in the WWE, whether selling individual body parts or fatigue or just the way he takes moves. He's one of the few people I watch regularly (Santo being the other that immediately comes to mind) who just never seems to do anything wrong. The execution always looks great, and he pays it back by taking offense great.

I could go on and on gushing about him. Just remember to enjoy every minute of him. I mean, really, how much longer could we be blessed with this guy?

Recommended 2008 Matches:

~vs. JBL (Belfast Brawl, Wrestlemania 24, 3/30/08)
~vs. MVP (WWE Smackdown, 5/9/08)
~vs. Chuck Palumbo (WWE Smackdown, 5/23/08)
~vs. Chuck Palumbo (WWE Smackdown, 5/30/08)
~vs. Matt Hardy vs. The Miz vs. John Morrison (ECW, 7/22/08)
~vs. Mark Henry (ECW, 9/16/08)
~vs. Matt Hardy (ECW, 11/11/08)
~vs. Mark Henry (Belfast Brawl, Armageddon, 12/14/08)

Recommended Career Matches:

~vs. Steven Regal (Parking Lot Brawl, WCW Nitro, 4/29/96)
~w/ Dave Taylor vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro, 2/16/99)
~w/ JBL vs. Chris Benoit/Bobby Lashley (WWE Smackdown, 2/16/06)
~w/ JBL/Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio/Chris Benoit/Bobby Lashley (WWE Smackdown, 2/23/06)
~vs. Rey Mysterio (WWE Smackdown, 3/20/06)
~vs. Chris Benoit (WWE Judgment Day, 5/21/06)
~vs. Chris Benoit (WWE Smackdown, 11/24/06)
~vs. Chris Benoit vs. MVP (WWE Smackdown, 3/2/07)
~vs. The Undertaker (WWE Smackdown, 3/9/07)
~vs. Matt Hardy (WWE Smackdown, 6/22/07)
~vs. Kane (Belfast Brawl, WWE Smackdown, 9/14/07)
~vs. Rey Mysterio (WWE Smackdown, 11/9/07)

2009 Outlook:

High. Right now he's easily top 5 in WWE (with Rey, Regal, Goldust, and either Christian or Punk), and just recently he's had awesome series with Mike Knox and Dolph Ziggler. I expect another easy top 10 finish for him.

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An Overflow of Good Converts to Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Keichi Yamada NJ 9/23/87-EPIC

Real hidden gem from your random bad VQ HH Japanese webpage source. Great story with Yamada as this aggressive little bulldog who was never going to stop coming forward. Fujiwara was countering his attacks, but he could never slow him down. It reminded me of a Clay Guida UFC fight. Yamada didn't have the teqnuqie, but he was going to overwhelm him with pace. I never thought of Yamada as much of a mat wrestler, but he was super fast and impressive in the early exchanges. Fujiwara was totally spectacular here too, taunting Yamada when he would come in recklessly, smacking him with slaps and countering his moves. He also did a great job selling fatigue as you could tell he was frustrated with inability to put this little fucker away. Finish was awesome with Fujiwara countering desperation shot after desperation shot with the Fujiwara armbar, but Yamada would survive, get to the ropes, and charge right back ahead. Until finally Fujiwara trapped both arms and ended it. Too bad this only exists as a tiny poor VQ avi file, as I could see this finishing pretty well on my NJ ballot.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Dan Severn NJ 8/2/96-GREAT

Very cool power vs. guile match up. Severn really comes off like a monster here, throwing around Fujiwara with big time suplexes. This reminded of the kind of match ups Fujiwara would have with random Russians in PWFG, as he really worked an entertaining contest around Severns limitations. There were a couple of awesome looking Fujiwara counters, Severn shoots for a firemans carry and Fujiwara catches him in armbar using his legs. There is another move where Fujiwara counters a double leg with an mid air armbar while locking the legs as well. Totally beautiful move which I really bought as the finish. The end was just Severn throwing a bunch of overhead tosses, with Fujiwara finally being too weak to kick out. Felt like the finish run was a bit repetitive, but this was about as good a non Tarzan Goto match I have seen from Severn.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Dan Kroffat v. Steve Williams/Mike Rotundo AJPW 11/19/00- SKIPPABLE

Nothing much here, total squash with Williams and Rotundo jumping their opponents at the bell, hitting some big power moves on Fujiwara and pinning him after a top rope powerslam. The whole match was just over a minute. Under other circumstances, I would have been intrigued to see Fujiwara work the mat with Rotundo, but not here.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Riki Choshu v. Ryuji Sai/Kohei Sato Zero-One 10/17/04-SKIPPABLE

This was during the period where Z1 was running all cage match shows, so this for in a cage for no reason. Pretty much a nothing match, with a couple of decent exchanges from Sato and Fujiwara, but this felt perfunctory and Choshu finishes it rather quickly with a lariat.


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Friday, October 09, 2009

#4: Black Terry

by Phil

Much like Negro Navarro, Terry is one of your old school UWA luchadores who disappeared for a decade and came back more awesome then ever. You know there was some no-tape Mexican town where all of those guys were fucking owning it for years. Thank goodness for the twin gifts of youtube and IWRG as Terry re-emerged with a vengeance in the last couple of years. He combines the ability to work the mat like a king, brawl like a motherfucker with really great classic rudo bumping and catching. He is one of those wrestlers who has the ability to transform from buffoon to killer, which in some ways makes him even more versatile and valuable then Navarro. He can be pretty hateable, you want to see him get his ass kicked, as well as be blown away by his maestroness.

Recommended 2008 Matches:

~w/ Cyborg/Veneno vs. Fantasma de la Ópera/Freelance/Multifacético (IWRG, 2/14/08)
~vs. Multifacetico (IWRG, 2/28/08)
~w/ Capitan Muerte/Shu el Guerrero vs. Solar I/Super Astro/Ultraman (IWRG, 8/30/08)
~w/ Negro Navarro/Hijo de Pierroth vs. Pendulo/Freelance/Fenix (IWRG, 10/3/08)
~vs. Negro Navarro (NWA, 11/1/08)

Recommended Career Matches:

~vs. El Hijo del Santo (UWF Hamada, 3/10/91)
~w/ Negro Navarro vs. Solar 1/Mano Negra (VIP, 3/10/07)
~vs. Cerebro Negro (IWRG, 11/22/07)
~vs. Fantasma de la Opera (IWRG, 12/2/07)

2009 Outlook:

Pretty damn great, the Cerebros Negros vs. Dinastia Muerte feud was my favorite thing in wrestling this year, and he has had a bunch of other opportunities to rule it as well. He seems like a lock for a second top 5 appearance and I am sure we will uncover another couple of gems before the end of the year.


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Episode 2 is on deck. Join Phil and Eric and possibly guest stars Tuesday at 10pm

Episode 2

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Eric's Working 2009 MOTY List!!

I've decided to hop on the neat trend of compiling an ever-changing MOTY list, so as I watch more and more stuff I can still remember the stuff from the beginning of the year that I enjoyed. Phil decided he was too good for his list a long time ago, and the blog has been feeling kinda empty and sad because of it. It's been like a best friend's funeral around here and I'm gonna spice it up with my super list of wrestling that I enjoyed from 2009. Then we can get rid of that death smell. Maybe.

Eric's 2009 MOTY List!!

1. Osamu Nishimura/Masa Fuchi vs. Minoru Suzuki/NOSAWA (AJPW, 1/3/09)

This on paper looked like it had potential to be really fun. Whenever 75% of the workers in a given match are old and surly types that wear tiny black trunks, that's almost guaranteed to be awesome. And this was completely awesome. Nishimura keeps getting older and his European uppercuts keep getting more and more painful. He would have been such the wonderful Claudio replacement in the Team Uppercut trios. Masa Fuchi is right pasty and every chop makes his chest redder and bloodier. NOSAWA comes in selling a leg injury, and I imagine his leg must have been legitimately hurt, as I didn't think he could sell a leg this well. Suzuki is one of my favorites. At the end of every year, when looking over the matches he had, he very rarely ranks in my favorite matches of the year...but damn if I don't look forward to every single Minoru Suzuki match I see. I love everything about him. His ridiculously unique charisma, his hair that only he could pull off, his refusal to rope run, sticking his tongue out when he's getting the duke. Every snotty movement reminds me of that moment of the Backlund/Funaki match where Backlund is just teasing and making faces at Funaki.

These guys beat the shit out of each other. Fuchi's selling is absolutely stunning in spots, it was really fun seeing him not as the veteran picking on younger guys (although he does stretch NOSAWA's leg at all sorts of unnatural angles), but as the Osamu Kido-ish old man being picked on by Suzuki. Fuchi falling down and struggling up after taking Suzuki's beating was great.

Nishimura destroys NOSAWA's bum leg and again, if NOSAWA actually had this leg injury then Fuchi/Nishi are supreme dicks. IF he was working it, then kudos to him, cuz I bought it.

This was too much fun.

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Fab Five WWE Matches of the Week 9/28-10/4

1. Batista/Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho/Big Show Hell in a Cell 10/4

Rey Mysterio continues his amazing 2009 run here, as his performance was just off the hook. Rey and Jericho have had some great matches in 2009, but I thought Jericho looked off here. The real highlight stuff was Rey v. Big Show as they just looked amazing against each other. It is always super impressive to watch Big Show feats of strength and the one hand head lift was as awesome as it gets. Rey's constant water bugging around the ring was great, as was his springboard DDT. Batista looked fine as well, energetic hot tag, and the double spear was a pretty big holy shit spot. Finish totally ruled, I love the right hand out of nowhere as a finish, and goddamn did he snatch Rey out of the air.

2. Christian/Tommy Dreamer/Yoshi Tatsu/Goldust v. William Regal/Vladimir Koslov/Ezekial Jackson/Zach Ryder ECW 9/29

I love 8 man tags like this, really is the perfect way to set up programs and keep limited guys looking good. This is the kind of thing they should be running every week. I know we have been talking about Goldust a ton in these, and he wasn't in this much, but man was he awesome on the ring apron, during the Christian face in peril section he was on the floor pounding the mat, such a cool little moment. This match had lots of little things like that, working over Christians bad ribs from the week before, Tatsu all in green rocking a rolling elbow, Regal being fucking Regal. Finish had the cool out of control feel to it, with the dives, and the surprise ending. Totally enjoyable match, I am digging ECW so much lately.

3. Randy Orton v. John Cena Hell in a Cell 10/4

There was lots about this match I really liked, and some stuff I didn't like. Orton is really great at making simple stuff look really violent. He has some really nasty looking stomps in this match, where he pauses, measures and drives his foot into Cena's neck or stomach. The point where he drove the chair into Cena's neck was super nasty. Both guys also have tremendous timing, I liked the placement of all the moves in the match, the comebacks and momentum shifts all felt like they were in the right places. Still this was a match with problems, I mind Orton's faces less then some people, but there were points where his mugging looked like Chris Kattan doing a skit about an overacting Soap Opera actor, it kind of took me out of what was otherwise a gritty violent match. I also didn't love the finish, good finish on paper, but the execution wasn't great, the choke looked like a chinlock, arm wasn't against the throat, it didn't look like he was squeezing him too bad. Also the punt looked pretty shitty, Orton has really kicked the fuck out of peoples heads in the past, this almost looked like a whiff. Still after kind of hating the match two PPV's ago, this is two in a row I have enjoyed, and I am tentatively optimistic about their Iron man match.

4. Undertaker v. C.M. Punk Hell in a Cell 10/4

Any PPV with three cage matches, one of them is going to get short shrift, and it is too bad Undertaker is so busted up, as this feud hasn't lived up to it's potential. Still pretty good for a 10 minute match. Punk is really good at working intelligent heel, I liked how he positioned Taker into getting the steps smashed into his knees, also I like how he is constantly reversing any attempt at the old school. Taker did a nice job of bodypart selling, which was probably helped along by his Piperish hip. Punk also looked pretty good bumping around, still you never got the sense Undertaker was in any real danger, and there was no real use of the cage.

5. Chris Jericho/Big Show v. Mark Henry/MVP RAW 9/28

This is the best match these two teams have had against each other, and a ridiculously long match for RAW. Like always the highlights were the Henry v. Show interactions. The Show spear looked like two school buses in a head on collision. Outside of that you had a basic tag match given some time. MVP had been looking kind of shitty lately, but he had some moments of competence here, Jericho looked fine too. Still I kind of want to see a Show v. Henry feud to piss off Bryan Alavarez.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

#5: Negro Navarro

by Eric

Sometimes in life things change for the better. Bands exist like Mission of Burma, who had a short but amazing run in the early 80s, went on side project hiatus for the next 20 years, then re-emerged with three great albums (more output than during their first run!) within the last 5 years. Negro Navarro was part of one of the greatest trios of all-time in the 80s, but was not the best member of the team. He all but disappeared from tape trading circles for much of the 90s, starting popping up and looking great in IWRG around 2000, then re-emerged within the last couple years in amazing physical shape, and finally ditching the balding Caesar look and going with a clean shaved head. The end result was the most badass possible Ed Asner who would punch you in the chest, tornado clothesline your boots off, and tie your limbs up in knots. His speed and agility belies his 52 years of age, and it's a shame that while much of his best current work has been delivered to us by IWRG, plenty of matches from his European tours with Santo have gone unseen. A true tragedy. His style is a gracefully aging style that seems to be disappearing from modern lucha, and one that he does better than anybody. Appreciate it while you can.

Recommended 2008 Matches:

~w/ Arkangel de la Muerte vs. Daisuke Hanaoka/Satoshi Kajiwara (Toryumon Mexico, 5/11/08)
~w/ Shu El Guerrero vs. Solar/Super Astro (Monterey, 5/18/08)
~w/ Shu El Guerrero vs. Super Astro/Ultraman Jr. (Monterey, 5/25/08)
~w/ Hijo del Cien Caras/Mascara Ano 2000 Jr. vs. Pantera/Mano Negra/El Halcon (IWRG, 8/21/08)
~vs. Black Terry (Thank you youtube! NWA, 11/1/08)
~vs. Solar vs. El Engendro (FMLL, 12/13/08)

Recommended Career Matches:

~vs. El Dandy (IWRG, 11/18/01)
~w/ Pantera/Bombero Infernal vs. El Dandy/Ultimo Vampiro/Fantasma (IWRG, 3/4/02)
~w/ El Signo/Texano vs. Solar/Super Astro/Ultraman (IWRG, 2/10/05)
~w/ Villano IV/Villano V vs. Solar/Heavy Metal/Dos Caras Jr. (AULL, 11/2/06)
~w/ Rambo vs. Villano III/Villano IV (AULL, 7/1/07)
~w/ Mano Negra vs. Solar/Super Astro (Monterey, 10/14/07)

2009 Outlook:

High. He's had a lot of awesome matches this year, and repeating this spot or higher is highly likely. It would take a mind-numbingly bad final 3 months to counterbalance his first 9 months. He is a top contender for the #1 spot.


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