Segunda Caida

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

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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