Segunda Caida

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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Queens Lucha Libre ROAD REPORT 11/23/09

PAS: I wake up at 6am (7 hours earlier then I usually get up on Sunday) and head down to the Greenbelt metro station to meet Childs. Tomk is surprisingly only 15 minutes late and we head off to Queens.

TKG: It is Sunday and it took me longer to get to Greenbelt than I expected. At every bus stop there is an old lady carrying a full grocery cart on to the bus. We get to Queens with plenty of time to spare. Every time Phil says ”we’re making good time” I tell him not to jinx us and we immediately get caught in a goofy detour or mess. We find the location, confirm that the show is taking place and get some food to eat. We are all Allen Iverson fans.

PAS: Long line snaking around the block, it gets split into two lines and the start of the show is completely disorganized as people don't even start getting in until 2pm.

TKG: Security seemed surprised by the size of the crowd. There were three levels of tickets sold ( $85-75, $50, $40), plus people who were buying tickets on day of show. All of them were in the same line. To keep the line from snaking around the block they separated into two lines and then couldn’t figure out order of people. They seemed to be letting in ten people at a time. There also was a required coat check which slowed stuff down. It was a large dance hall space (approximate 800 capacity without ring-700 with the ring), with good lighting rig and sound system set up (they had the guys from Sonido Caluda running the sound), a mask table inside, two bars, a food vending area, beer girls walking around, girls running a clamato promotion, girls offering you prices on pictures with the wrestlers (back room set up for pictures), a bathroom with a really fancy trough urinal ( I don’t think I’ve seen a trough that elaborate at any baseball stadium) and a bathroom attendant, and Super Porky in sandals running a gimmick table in the back.


TKG: First match was advertised as local v local. Phil predicts this will be Danny Demanto v either Azriel or Bandido jr. It turns out to be Demanto v Azriel and Bandido Jr.. They then introduce heel ref Jaquetas. I got the sense that the JAPW guys intended to work a three way dance and Jaquetas forced them instead to work an elimination triangular. When we went to the Delaware show I talked about the misscomunication between U.S. indy ref Brice Rensburg and the Mexican workers. That was nothing compared to the misunderstanding between US indy workers and heel Mexican ref. This match was totally defined by that misunderstanding. The JAPW guys tried to have a match whithout getting sidetracked by Jaquetas stuff. Jaquetas would try to set up heel ref spots, pulling Azriel’s hair, holding back his punches, fast and slow counts. The JAPW guys didn’t know how to work those spots and tried their damnest to keep it from throwing them off their game. I don’t think Bandido Jr was supposed to eliminated at the point he got fast counted out of match.

PAS: I enjoyed Danny Demanto as tubby stooging heel, a lot more then enjoyed him as tough guy kicking out of burning hammers in JAPW. Despite that this was a total mess. It felt like you JAPW guys were trying, but it didn't matter what they did this match was going to be about Jaquetas. I really can't stand heel ref lucha, I remember five years ago or so, Alfredo would get in DVD's of Arena Coliseo Monterrey shows, and they would have these amazing looking match ups. You would be excited to see Blue Panther v. Felino and what you would get was Blue Panther and Felino working spot with El Mulatto the heel ref. Azreal and Badido Jr. are not Blue Panter and Felino, but I still would have liked to see what they could have done without Jaquetas shitting all over the match


TKG: Swat Kat and Bazoocaa are both Chicago luchadors and got the impression that they have lots of experience working matches with lucha heel refs. No culture clash here as they really knew how to work those heel ref spots and work a match around the heel ref being the real star. It doesn’t make it any better but they knew that formula. They hit some nice stuff early on: Swat Kat hit a huge tope into a woman holding an infant, followed by rana’ing the large heavyweight Bazoocaa into a woman holding a newborn. But this match went on forever (2/3 falls) and really was completely formless. Not completely formless…just totally built around Jaquetas. Non ref interaction sections had any rhyme or reason and there was a lot of bad execution. At one point Swat Kat decides the match needs blood and raises some bruises on Bazoocaa’s forehead and then squeezes them the way you would squeeze a pimple. Some of the Jaquetas spots might make for amusing comedy but three falls of it was really dull and had drunk patron attacking him.

PAS: I thought this was close to the worst match I have ever seen live. Not only did we have more endless dull Jaquetes horseshit, but the execution on the wrestling the guys actually did was abominable. It must have gone close to 30 minutes and outside of the rana into the baby there wasn't a single redeeming moment. Some real awkward obvious moments of cooperation and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to when El Jaquetes would count fast and when he wouldn't.

TKG: After this we go to intermission, and Blue Demon’s merch table is set up. Show advertised Cassandro v Aguila del America, Mascarita Sagrada v Octagoncito, Super Porky v Hurricane Ramirez Jr. Two matches and an intermission, I don't know how they'll make it through the rest of card and still get to Jersey.

PAS: There are scantly clad waitresses coming around with free shots of Clamato. I have done some nasty things before for and to pretty girls, but I can't see why you would drink the clam juice in shot form.


PAS: Aguilla de America comes to the ring with his kids, one about 4 and one about 8 in matching gear. The 8 year old is pretty much the third guy on the rudo team and significantly better then his father. Aguila de America has to be the loosest wrestler I have ever seen live. I mean nothing made contact at all. The match was pretty much built around Porky and Tzuki sticking their nuts in the rudos faces, lots of different variations of nut facing dudes. Pretty uncomfortable to watch a match like that, when one of the rudos is 8 years old, added a weird tension I really felt like I was about to witness a molestation, it was like watching the scene in Happiness between Dylan Baker and his son. Porky is charismatic as fuck, but seems to have lost a little something off his athletic fastball, he was getting no height on his splashes and was moving way slower then last time I saw him. The mini were really mailing it in too, mostly working comedy spots and not athletic spots at all. It was like Tzuki remembered Vince bringing him in and told Octagonicto "this is how midgets work in NYC."

TKG: Porky tried to hold something together by working blue on the mic and doing his filthy vaudeville spots in the ring… but yeah the whole match was being built toward child molestation spot, to where you were actively surprised you didn’t get it. Every other heel in the match got repeatedly fondled, teabagged, covered in soda and spanked with a belt, etc. Eight year old thankfully manages to avoid that fate. The eight year old does do a dive on Porky who then chucks him into the crowd. Perhaps he was manhandled by the audience then. Tzuki and Octagoncito are essentially doing nothing but Cuije v Chuukky house show spots. But its Tzuki, and he’s one of the fastest wrestlers in the world…so his teabagging spots are really fast and vigorous.


TKG:Oliver John comes out first as Border Patrol gets on the mic talks about all the illegals in the audience and how they all need to show him there green card and how some people say Blue Demon is a legend but he is just another illegal who needs to be deported. Basic cheap heat gimmick that works at riling up the crowd. Then Blue Demon as Mexican Savior with the Mexican Flag comes out to great musical fanfare and does some mic work, then Hijo Del Santo comes out and the announcer poorly explains the concept of a triangular match. Santo has to ask for mic and then explains the rules of the match to crowd. Referee is Jaquetta and while normally your rudo ref will not engage in shenanigans to help a foreigner (nationalism comes before rudoism) here he seems to interfere against Blue Demon no matter who the opponent. Demon and Santito do their awesome opening matwork exchanges and Santo whips out his scarecrow climbing stuff that I really like (standing choke into octopus variation etc), Oliver John does a bunch of stooging bumping and flies around for Blue Demon’s hand clapping strikes. John gets eliminated and then comes back out in Santo mask to cheer on Santo and interfere in match on Santo’s behalf which pisses Santo off. Post match Blue Demon challenges Santo about how he can’t win without outside interference andis always running from facing Demon one on one or in a mask match, challenges for a mask match back in NY, Santo counters with challenge for MSG and actually does a nice job convincing me that I should call all my friends so we can fill up MSG for that match, Blue Demon accepts and calls for the support of his Blue Demonites and then Blue Demon challenges Oliver John to a title match. Oddly booked match where Santo does all the work and gets the win but still is booked as secondary star.

PAS: This felt like a show money marked by Blue Demon, as Santo came off as an attraction, but not the big deal. The way Beastmaster Rick Link might bring in Wahoo to tag with him, Wahoo is the star, but Rick Link is the focus. It really makes no sense, nor does flying in Oliver John to work your generic Border Patrol heel. If for some reason you have to make this a triangular, just stick Danny Demanto in Border Patrol gear, it isn't like John did anything Demanto can't do, and then maybe you could have flown in Cassandro like you fucking advertised. Santo is always worth watching, this was Santo by the numbers, but they are awesome numbers. We got the Santo tope and plancha, plus some pretty sweet mat exchanges with the carriable on the mat Blue Demon. Demon isn't worth a shit on his feet and has some of the most obvious hand clap punches I have ever seen. Still as much as he sucks I would still be all about MSG. Maybe put Bruno v. Perro Sr. on the undercard.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

The VAMPIRE DIARIES Pt 3: IWA East Coast Masters of Pain 11/07/09

WHACKS v. Mad Man Pondo

WHACKS is the Smartmark video camera man with the distended ear lobes, who has carved out a niche as a last minute fill in for death match tournaments. Which has to be one of the top 5 strangest niches in all of entertainment. WHACKS isn’t really a wrestler so this was just a collection of bumps, he seemed to have trouble locking up. Pondo pretty much squashes him, and cuts him up really bad. Pondo debuts a new move, smashing a cinder block on his opponents head with a sledgehammer. For some reason WHACKS kicks out which seemed to piss Pondo off, as he smacks him with the stop sign and quickly pins him. Nothing to see here.

Drake Younger v. Supreme

I hadn’t seen Supreme in years, but he was a guy I always dug in XPW. This was pretty short, but pretty good. Both guys were really beating on each other, with Supreme having some especially nice looking hooks. Drake hits a sick looking DDT on broken glass and Supreme really starts bleeding badly. Finish had Drake hitting a DVD through a pain of glass which is a finish for sure.

Sami Callihan v. Danny Havok

This is shaping up to be one of the feuds of the year. I didn’t like this as much as their two CZW matches, but it was still damn good. This had a bed of nails and boards with nails on the ropes which is a super nasty gimmick. Doesn’t really cause a lot of blood, but I would not want to get slammed into nails. They had a fun crowd brawling section with Callihan taking a spectacular bump on the bleachers. The end got a little overkilly, as they had three or four points that could have ended the match. They were doing a good job of selling the moves, but I thought it went slightly past the crescendo.

Devon Moore v. Yuki Miyamoto

First part of the match was both guys using a staple gun. Then Moore brings in a table and tries to hit a Michinoku Driver off a scaffold through a table, the table doesn’t break, but Moore’s tailbone might have. Moore then hits a shooting star press off the scaffold again failing to break the table. They do some more stuff and eventually Miyamoto staples Moore to a second table and moonsaults him through it off an even bigger scaffold. More of a stunt show then a wrestling match, but it did have some crazy stunts, still everything in between was the wrestling equivalent of plot development in a porno.

Drake Younger v. Mad Man Pondo

Basically a comedy match, as both guys hit each other with ridiculous contraptions put together by the sociopaths in the audience. High point of the match was Pondo slamming Younger into the thumbtack strewn titties of a rat in the audience. Pondo also dunked Drake through a lightube nerf hoop and the finish saw Pondo powerbombed on a spinning light tube cabin. Amusing match.

Danny Havok v. Yuki Miyamoto

This was a zipline and lightubes deathmatch. First time I have ever seen zip lines used (maybe the first time they had ever been used) and they worked pretty well. Miyamoto used them as assists on dropkicks and they looked pretty cool. Lots of pretty crazy bumps into lightube bundles and by the end of the match the ring looked like a Basra marketplace after a suicide bombing. Danny Havok is really good at taking headrops on lightubes, it is always super nasty looking, and he eats a Rikishi driver on a dozen lightubes for the finish. Better then the first Miyamoto match, and Havok is the man of the tourney so far.

Drake Younger v. Yuki Miyamoto

No rope barbedwire match with lightubes and barbed wire boards propped between the ring apron and the guard rails. Match was worked like a Big Japan title match, building around big spots and two counts rather then brawling and hate. Not a style I am in love with but they did it well. The running Michinoku Driver through the barbed wire boards to the floor was one of the crazier looking spots I remember seeing, and the match was hurt a bit by that being too early in the match. Finish run was pretty dramatic with Drake surviving some big moves before falling victim to a lightube moonsault off a ladder.

Pretty good show overall, with some crazy looking gimmicks. Still a little too genial for me, with Havok v. Callihan being the only match which felt like a fight. It might be a bit before I review the KOTDM and the first TOD, as I a bit lightubed out, but I will get there eventually.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UWF 6/21/90

Mark Rush v. Tetsuo Nakano

PAS: Mark Rush is a burly amateur wrestler who has a real Bear look which you would figure could get him a current ROH booking. Match opens with some pretty solid matwork between the two which isn’t normally Nakano’s thing. It gets chippy and Nakano is awesome at getting chippy as he unloads with some punches to the back of Rush’s head and some nasty bodyshots. Not a great finish which is the only thing that keeps this from being a totally high end Nakano match.

TKG: This was a real Mark Rush showcase as he has lots of really nice looking slow lift suplexes. He doesn’t really put Nakano down hard but still impressive. Rush isn’t really a guy with great looking strikes but he has these really light kicks which feel like the kind of kicks an amateur wrestler in the UFC would have. Kicks that annoy and distract setting him up for his next move. Match is all about showcasing Rush while Nakano tries to fight back and looks tough for hanging on. Right as they went to the finish this had the feel of something on the way to being epic.

Yoji Anjoh v. Minoru Suzuki

TKG: This was really fun in the beginning as it was two guys working really evenly fast scrambling. It never really settled into anything and was just two guys doing fast scrambling for whole match. Suzuki had the cooler spots: nasty looking throw, a cross arm breaker with a leg drop, an almost figure fourish kneebar, and an awesome turn. But worked evenly. I was surprised that Anjoh won, but nothing in this would lead me to believe that it was an upset.

PAS: This was a great 7 minute sprint which got bloated into 17 minutes. Felt like a PWG match.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Shiego Miyato

PAS: Really fun extended squash with Fujiwara putting on a super impressive squashing a guy performance. This is the most Bernard Hopkinsy I have ever seen Fujiwara look as he was all about using distance to blunt Miyato’s attack. There was this great moment, where Miyato makes his big run off offense, he gets Fujiwara in the corner and Fujiwara dodges and parrys his attack until Miyato punches himself out and gets winded.

TKG: This was completely one sided as Fujiwara worked as guy who completely outclasses his opponent. Your long one sided worked shoot matches can often be dull as higher tiered worker will just work disinterested. Fujiwara instead works guy having fun, and playing around. He gets hit a couple times cleanly in the Miyato’s corner run and does some spit selling but for the most part dodges the shots and puts Miyato away easily.

Kazuo Yamazaki v. Masakatsu Funaki
TKG: Wow I had no expectation that this was going to be as good as it was. They start off with some fast exchanges and then Yamazaki unloads with super fast handed shotays. And I don’t remember either of these guys really trading hands before, but it’s a great addition. They slow it down for a bit and then get to some kick exchanges and then it’s back to the hands. The whole thing is paced nicely with the action moving up and down and the final exchange that leads to the stoppage is super hot.

PAS: I was not a big fan of most 80’s Yamazaki, but he was damn good in the 1990 stuff so far, and this was right up there with his career performances. This was a pair of athletic young guys, but they did much more of a brawl then a juniors shootstyle match. Goddamn was the end choice too, as they just go toe to toe throwing blows, before Funaki catches him and drops him. It felt like Castillo v. Coralles.

Akira Maeda v. Nobohiko Takada

TKG: These two have had some great matches against each other. I don’t think this was one of them. Both guys came off really bloated and slow. They didn’t look beat up and slow but more like the kind of tired and slow you feel after eating a big steak. All the downs and near falls were really neat looking and exciting but the stuff between them really wasn’t much. On some level there slowness made the near falls even more exciting as it was like they were shooting from nothing. I really liked an early Maeda knockdown where he hit several uppercuts to the gut and then broke through to Takdada’s jaw. Takada’s kick to Maedas eye was also crazy. The submission attempts also had the same kind of feel of really hot moves that they really had to work past the food fatigue to apply.

PAS: I liked this a bunch more then Tom did. I liked how Maeda came into this fight like 2008 Misawa, an old sort of broken down guy who was going out on his shield. I will admit the dynamic was hurt a bit when the young guy also looks broken down and fat. They big strike exchanges didn’t have the speed of the Yamazaki v. Funaki exchanges, but it had the desperate feel of the 14th round of 70’s boxing slugfest. Tom is right that the stuff in between the near falls wasn’t great, but exciting dramatic nearfalls will get you pretty far in my book, and this felt like an epic main event


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Monday, November 23, 2009

SLL Flies Under the Radar: Part the Second

Evan Bourne vs. Zack Ryder - WWE 6/11

"Long Island was once a place where good people lived for hundreds of years. Our history is rich with accomplishments. From the first submarine base in New Suffolk to Charles Lindbergh's historic trans-Atlantic flight. From the humble origins of Grumman and the building of the Lunar Module (the ship that landed on the moon) Long Island has had a glorious history. Good and hard working people made long island what it is today, but that existence is being threatened by the growing "Guido" phenomenon. As many of us know, the social fabric of Long Island is crumbling. A new self centric and materialistic attitude originating from the boroughs of New York City has been pushing its way across the island. The result of this push is an influx of vain and materialistic teens and young adults who feel that the key to life is spending their parent's money, tanning themselves and giving people attitude wherever they go. Those of us that know the phenomenon best like to call them Guidos. Below is a brief overview and description of a typical Guido, taken from the Webster's Urban Dictionary: "The Guido is an entirely American phenomena, with its epicenter in the New York/ New Jersey metropolitan area. Most individuals become Guidos in an attempt to achieve an identity- in fact any identity. The Guido is highly recognizable by his attention to muscular development, status symbols, and regional dialect. Their shortcomings include a tendency toward alcoholism, legal problems (usually related to assault, reckless driving, noise violations), and an inability to compete in legitimate business. Fortunately for them, they usually live an exciting, care-free existence. They are easily satiated by tacky mall attire, drunken nights with similar-minded women, and nightclubbing. In the end, although they maintain a unique sense of identity and pride, their superficial lives often leave them empty. The tolls of excessive grooming products, STD's, and alcohol abuse age these specimens quite poorly. The time spent in fitness clubs is usually far offset by their lifestyle choices." The shear number of Guidos on Long Island has grown exponentially over the past decade. And the problem is only getting worse, as lost teens across Nassau and Suffolk county fall victim to this plague in an attempt to achieve any type of identity."

I have spent pretty much my entire life on Long Island, and consequently, Zack Ryder's new gimmick resonates very strongly with me. I have known this guy. In fact, I have known several of this guy, and I've spent a good deal of time and effort trying to avoid them. Most of them are harmless and well meaning, I grant you. They're just unlikable, and I'd prefer not to hit the tanning salon with you, bro. Ryder's "guido" (not my choice of terms...the first time I saw someone with a "Guidos? Not on my island!" bumper sticker in my neighborhood, I was stunned at the balls you would have to have to openly proclaim your hatred of Italians around here) act has been well recieved across the board. Still, it probably hits hardest with people like myself who have experienced that phenomenon firsthand. Evan Bourne is a great wrestler, and he delivers the goods as usual here. But this match is almost a Ryder one-man show. Your eyes and ears (his in-ring talkativeness is one of his best traits, bro!) are always attuned to him, which is saying something considering how eye-popping Bourne can be. Woo woo know it.

Finlay vs. Zack Ryder - WWE 6/23

"We can only offer an educated guess as to why the Guido Phenomenon is growing, it is a vast collaboration of issues that we will try and sum up the best we can. We would like to begin with this quote - Joseph Chamie of the UN Population Agency recently stated: "People today are more concerned about their appearances, [rather than family and moral values]" (Buchanan 2002, 99). This effect is not only present and flowing through the western world but is growing in each progressive generation as the average American two-parent family breaks down as it has over the latter half of the 20th century. With the growing absence of something such as parent's attention to their child or merely a simple dinner family conversation, the younger generation looks to television, media, and the culture around them for what they want and what they strive to be. Unfortunately, the message being pushed on us today through television, the mass media, commercialism and advertising leans much more on what is good for the individual rather than the group. Harmless on the surface it would seem, but the underlying effects of this surge in materialism and hedonism are more frightening. The basic values of love, friendship and family are being replaced with material possessions and an illusion of self-importance. We believe that this is why the Guido Phenomenon grows. The individuals that young people look up to are no longer their family, but extravagantly rich and vain athletes, rappers and music stars they see in the media. On a more local level, they see this phenomenon being portrayed in their Guido classmates, their attention to their looks and attitude are looked up to by lost children searching for an identity. This phenomenon is the seed that has created the vast surge in the Long Island Guido population that we see today. Those who turn down the Guido's road to happiness strive for three things: vanity, materialism and attitude."

I have hit this talking point hard on other boards, but pretty sure I haven't said it yet on Segunda Caida, so here goes: the story of Finlay in 2009 is that he is a guy legendary for having great matches built around him beating the shit out of his opponents, who is now building his great matches around his opponents beating the shit out of him. Other story of Finlay in 2009 is that he went to SmackDown, and now JR keeps calling him "The Quiet Man of WWE", either because Finlay killed an opponent and retired back to Ireland in despair, or because JR thinks all movies about Irish people are the same. "Bah God! It's Finlay...the Darby O'Gill of WWE! Business is about to pick up In the Name of the Father! Celtic Cross from the Informer of the WWE! FRUITY DELICIOUS BARRY LYNDON!" But go back and watch the Finlay/Tyson Kidd match they were talking up on the podcast (seriously, that match was awesome, check it out if you haven't). They are talking about Finlay beating the shit out of Kidd - which he does - but it is also a match built largely around Kidd ripping up Finlay's leg and Finlay really getting it over with his selling. That's largely what's going on in this match as well. Finlay delivers a Finlay-grade beating early on, but then re-aggravates his eye injury, and now we get a match built around Finlay being hit in the face. Ryder's strikes are not something I ever really gave a lot of thought to before, but they are pretty good. He makes a lot of use of his knees, throwing a lot of good kneelifts and kneedrops that really look they're fucking Finlay up good. The finish seemed a bit off, and it still feels a little bit like a carryjob, but it's not like Ryder is getting smoked here. Finlay is just creating the opportunity for him to look good, and in '09, that's really what Finlay does best.

Kofi Kingston vs. Montel Vontavius Porter vs. Matt Hardy (US Title Match) - WWE 6/25

I love Matt Hardy, and I still hold some small degree of fondness for MVP. That said, this is not a match I go into with high expectations. I'm not a big fan of three-ways, and Kofi Kingston stinks. On top of that, I prefer four-ways, and had already seen the four-way from Extreme Rules that had these three guys and William Regal, and that wasn't really any good. So no reason to expect that a three-way that cut out the four-way's best worker would actually be a major improvement. But that's why I watch the matches. Every now and then, you get taken by surprise. I think the key here is that this is not worked in the usual three-way style where one dude is unconscious for a ridiculous period of time while the other two "have their turn". Much of the match is worked like a game of King of the Hill, where the wrestler in control is trying to put down one opponent in the ring while keeping the other opponent out as he constantly tries to get back in. It makes more sense and makes for a more compelling match. Also important is that Kofi actually gives a pretty good performance here. He's been in matches that I've's just been a while. Here, he is a fine fired-up babyface who's high energy never turns into meaningless spot-fu. As the lone heel in the match, Hardy keeps the story moving nicely. Heel-turned Hardy wasn't delivering as consistently as he was beforehand, but he didn't exactly suck, either. He is masterful at playing King of the Hill here, and there are several spots where the guy on the outside (usually Kingston) makes it back in and hits him with a surprise attack that are very satisfying. MVP is sort of the odd man out. His contributions to this match are not that big, but he generally looks good, and that boot he delivered to Kofi near the end was brutal. All told, this delivered.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The VAMPIRE DIARIES Pt 2: CZW TOD 8.5 10/25/09

Figured since I reviewed the Carnage Cup, I might as well give this a run too. I am a pretty big Switchblade Conspiracy fan, and have enjoyed some other guys in this tourney as well. So LIVE FROM DJ HYDE”s BACKYARD, it the Tournament of Death.

Sami Callihan v. Danny Havok- Caribbean Spider Net

This is the kind of death match I like, no good natured sportsmanship, no respect knucks. Just two guys who hate each other trying to kill each other. Callihan jumps him before the bell, and this is a heated nasty little fight. Callihan was my discovery of 08, and while he hasn’t had the opportunities he had in IWA, his death match run in CZW has been pretty great. Both guys take some grizzly bumps into the Spider Nets, although Havok totally wins the bump contest, by flying off the tope rope into some metal contraption with barbed wire and glass. Callihan was a real prick in this, throwing broken glass in Havok’s face and jamming it into his mouth. Finish was nasty as fuck with Sami hitting his headlock driver on a giant bundle of tubes. Bump of the show, and absolutely the right thing to end the match on.

Thumbtack Jack v. Jon Moxley- Dog Collar and Four Corners of Fun

This was another pretty sweet match. Pretty great old school dog collar spots, with both guys getting yanked around by their neck and smashed with chains. Moxley is really great at regular wrestling bumping, as he really makes all of the falls and trips with the chain look awesome. Finish run got a little into the Jackass self mutilation stuff I don’t like about current death matches, but Moxley is such a dick he kind of makes it work. Imagine Tully putting a mousetrap on Scott Casey’s tongue. Finish was pretty brilliant, Moxley gets tied into the ropes with a chain, Jack grabs his stupid acupuncture needles and relives Moxley’s cluster headaches, then he lifts a cinderblock, but before he can smash him with it, Moxley quits. Totally awesome dick heel move for this kind of Jersey sociopath audience, he came off like such a pussy, especially when the whole point of this stuff is to take punishment to prove what a tough guy you are.

Masada v. Brain Damage- New Age Texas Death Match

Pretty disappointing, as these are the two big dudes who hit hard, and I was hoping for a Necroish brawl. This however was a bit meandering, there was a big bump or two, and guys got punched in the face, but both guys looked sluggish. I think Damage may have hurt his knee, which explains it, but this never got out of first gear.

Zandig v. Nick Gage – Pain in the Glass match

Zandig has a cueball shaved head, and all those roids he took when he was a fake Ultimate Warrior have left him with gyno and a giant gut, he looks like Ronnie P. Gossett. This was basically both guys awkwardly flying through glass windows. Zandig kept having to pull up his acid washed jeans after big bumps. Gage makes these ridiculous faces, he gets presslamed through a pain of glass and table, and he just lies there crying with his Trig Palin face and meth teeth, I have no idea why he isn’t bigger heel, is super hateable . Despite myself I actually kind of enjoyed this match, both guys stink, but they were trying hard and it had some real face v. heel stuff. I don’t know if Zandig is as good as late 90’s Kojika, but he does have similar charisma.

Scotty Vortex v. Greg Excellent v. Rich Swann

Basic indy highflyer 3-way. A couple of cool spots, and I got the sense that all three of these guys were decent. Greg Excellent looks like a young David Crosby, which makes his cannonball look really nasty. Vortex had nice kicks, still fuck a 3-way.

Sami Callihan v. Thumbtack Jack- Casket Match

Sami Callihan is really great at these kind of toe to toe brawls. Both guys go straight at each other, throwing punches and forearms without out ever taking a breath., reminded in parts of the awesome Necro v. Sami match. Both guys took some big falls on the casket which looked nasty. Finish was the only issue, they both end up in the casket together which looked a little like a pair of emo boys exploring their boundaries in seven minutes of heaven. Callihan comes up with a knife, and Jack comes up with a needle, and Callihan gets stabbed and they close the lid.

Masada v. Nick Gage- Home Run Derby Match

This wasn’t very good, both guys pretty much wandered around and hit each other with lightubes and thumbtack bats. Gage took a bump or two, but nothing special. Masada throws some really shitty elbows for a guys who throws a bunch of elbows, the strong style tough guy exchanges were pretty bad. Gage passing out in a clover leaf was shit on by the crowd and a real weird way for a heel to lose a match like this.

Devon Moore v. OMG

Moore comes out with a Barbed Wire Board, I don’t get the point of running a non-tournament deathmatch during a DM tourney. This really seemed pointless as the barbed wire board stuff served no purpose in the match. Outside of the couple of board bumps this was a below average juniors match.

Masada v. Thumbtack Jack – House of Pain

Large parts of this were pretty great, lots of times Death Match tourney finals under whelm a bit, guys are just too busted up to really go crazy, but this match had some of the nuttiest bumps of the tourney. I was especially impressed by Masada getting monkey flipped on a chair and barbed wire bat, and Jack getting slammed on broken pieces of ciderblock. Masada also hits a big powerbomb on a lightube and cinderblocks which really should have been the finish. Most of the stuff after that move wasn’t very good, they start sticking things in each others heads, and jabbing syringes through cheeks. That kind of thing is both gross and low impact, it just kind of grinds the match to a halt. They never really regain the momentum they had before and it ends up a bit flat.

Pretty good show, the Switchblade Conspiracy matches were better then anything on the Carnage Cup, and I want to see everything those guys do.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BattlArts 8/03/09 - Show 2

Alexander Otsuka/Bison Tagai vs. Ryuji Walter/Satoshi Kajiwara

TKG: Ryuji Walter is a guy who I enjoy doing standup, but for the most part he was doing matwork here. Really undynamic matworker. There were a couple moments where Kajiwara looked like he was anticipating spots too early but for the most part I dug his sections with Tagai. This match was kind of just there and never kicked in to a second gear.

PAS: I thought as usual Otsuka was the highlight, pretty by the numbers performance by him, but he is a top five guy in the world, so his numbers are pretty high. There was an especially cool moment where he backs Kajiwara into the corner and forearms him in the kidneys, and his delayed german suplex is one of the best moves in wrestling.

Tiger Shark v. Keita Yano

TKG: In the morning show Keita Yano was able to pull off a decent inoffensive work the arm strategy. Here he tries to work the back and it is painfully ugly. Ole could work a match around working an arm or work a match around working the back. Yano really can only pull off the arm stuff, not as multifaceted as Ole. I mean everything Yano did looked crappy and awkward. And this was a match built around him controlling. Yucky.

PAS: Yeah this was all of the worst aspects of Yano, I could imagine this match worked hold for hold on the undercard of an EVOLVE show and getting good reviews by indy wrestling fans, but this was a pile of shit. It did have an awesome finish, with Shark hitting a nasty kick from his back, KO Yano right into a omaplata. Still the first 9 minutes of this 9:12 match sucked.

Yujiro Yamamoto v. Super Tiger

PAS: Spectacular match, add this to his match earlier in the day, and Yammamoto pretty much cements himself as one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. Whole match is built around Tiger being this nasty brusier punishing Yammamoto with kicks and punches, and really using his strength to control parts of the matwork. Meanwhile Yammamoto is using his speed and technique to pull off some amazing looking reversals and counters.

TKG: Yeah holy fuck this was amazing. Yamamoto is awesome at selling a beating just splaying and fighting back weakened. There is a point where he sells a kick to the chest while Super Tiger II does a bunch of weak looking spots, and he really gets over the idea that the wind from the kick made al the other stuff worse. He sells a Super Tiger awkward elbow drop as though his neck is really fucked…which makes the follow up tease of a german super tense. He is also a guy with tons of really intricate ways to get in reversals and change momentum. There is an awesome reverse kick at one point and a ton of heel hooks that are just really dramatic.

Yuki Ishikawa v. Yuta Yoshikawa

TKG: Yuki Ishikawa aged 15 years since his morning match. He looked like current Great Kabuki. This was really great Ishikawa performance. This was less Ishikawa standup and more him as superstar on the mat.Yoshikawa is doing a move and hit deal where he’s trying to avoid getting caught on the mat for any length. Ishikawa suddenly looking geriatric kind of makes Yoshikawa’s strikes seem more vicious.

PAS: Ishikawa did look awesome here. Yoshikawa really needed to bring the pain more for the amount of selling Ishikawa did. It was really awesome selling though. Finish was sweet with Ishikawa eating knees to the head, and grabbing a really great armbar for the desperation submission. Don’t really understand why he needed a desperation submission, but it was a cool moment.

Katsumi Usuda v. Munenori Sawa

PAS: Pretty disappointing. Usuda has had a monster year, but he couldn’t do anything here. Individually cool stuff, but Sawa was indulging his worst impulses. There was a moment in the corner where he unleashed this totally corny punch combo, totally took me out of the violence. Really nasty leglock finish, but the worst Usuda match of the year.

TKG: Apparently Sawa and Usuda are on the same tier or at least they are working this as though the two are really even. I almost expected a two count roll up exchange. This wasn’t good.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Flying Under the Radar: SLL Pimps the Unpimped

Every now and then, I like to at least try to actually contribute something to this blog. With the Segunda Caida 500 officially announced, I am now watching a shit-ton of wrestling trying to make myself a valuable member of the team, so I thought I could use that as an excuse to create content.

Basically, it occurs to me that Goldust is apparently having this awesome year of work, but the only thing that really gets talked up is the Seamus feud. I mean, it is kinda incredible that Dustin would just roll into ECW and turn a random midcard feud with a green FCW alumnus into something epic. You watch it and you know that Goldust in '09 is the real deal, but that by itself probably doesn't translate to a guy who will likely land in the top 20 of the 500. You have to dig a little deeper than that. Phil does his part with the Fab Five WWE Matches of the Week, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to have one more guy digging up rad matches that no one else is really talking about.

John Cena vs. Chris Jericho - WWE 2/2

Cena is right up there with the best workers in the WWE this year. He is still a guy who eats a beating spectacularly and makes great babyface comebacks, but he's made real strides with his offense in 2009. No big additions to his arsenal, but his brawling looks so much better now, and he can actually carry a match on offense as a result. Guy who used to do his best work against monsters who would beat the shit out of him, and can still do that as the awesome Big Show feud proved, but now also looks really at home in matches with dudes like Michaels and Jericho where he is beating the shit out of them. Cena rushes the ring and is just absolutely pummeling Jericho. He always had good wild haymakers, but now he's throwing big overhand blows, some nice shots to the face, and a lot of great body shots, which not a lot of other wrestlers use. He gets backed off by the ref, which allows Jericho to charge out of the corner and blast him with a forearm in the back of the head. Then Jericho does this great bit where he pulls Cena's shirt over his head and beats on him like a hockey fight. First half of the match is all about these two just wailing on each other. Second half is more like your classic Cena match, as Cena eats a nice back-first bump into the announce table and now has to work from underneath, but even here it feels a lot more evenly contested, with both guys finding counters and escapes for stuff and neither man holding an advantage for very long. Cena finally manages a nifty counter of the Walls of Jericho into the STF to get the win, and I guess one could question the booking wisdom of giving Cena the win in a non-title match leading up to the Elimination Chamber title defense that Jericho was in, but fuck it. I'm starting to think Cena's '09 may be almost as good as his '07.

The Undertaker vs. John Bradshaw Layfield - WWE 3/20

Kinda weird that the main event of Smackdown's 500th episode special goes overlooked. Well, main event was an angle with Cena, Edge, and Show, but whatever. I guess I was just the only one who liked it, in which case the rest of the world has shitty taste in wrestling. This is a match between two old guys who are really good at punching people in the face, and it is built around them punching each other in the face. JBL hits the ring, IC Title in hand, holds it up defiantly in front of The Undertaker, and Taker socks him. Punches the shit out of him all over the ring until JBL manages to land a shot of his own, and starts knocking Taker across the ring. I think the first time it really occured to me how great JBL was and that he wasn't just an Eddie creation was a match he had in 2005 with Taker. Undertaker was a guy who worked a lot of feuds with people who would cut promos about how they weren't scared of him, how his mind games wouldn't work on them, but in the end they always were scared. JBL was the first guy I saw say he wasn't afraid of The Undertaker and then have a match where he actually wasn't afraid of The Undertaker, and spent most of the match on the offensive, which was especially surprising since he had been booked as a guy who worked cowardly heel against faces half his size. JBL still isn't scared, and he takes nasty shots at The Undertaker every time he gets an opening. There is also a lot of stuff with JBL working over Taker's leg after he dodges a big boot on the outside and Taker gets hung up on the security wall. Despite being off TV for much of the year, '09 has seen Taker undergo a bit of an interesting transformation as a worker. Apparently there was a plan to bring up Hade Vansen - a British FCW cruiserweight working a "Fallen Angel" gimmick - and put him into a feud with Taker for Mania this year. Vansen got released, so obviously it never happened, but it still seemed to get the idea into Taker's head that he would have to figure out a way to work big matches against small opponents. The result is that he now will have matches against guys like CM Punk and Shelton Benjamin where he is still presented as this big scary asskicker, but where his seemingly overmatched opponents will put up a game fight against him, and where he will allow himself to show some degree of weakness to get them over as credible threats. JBL isn't exactly Punk or Benjamin, but we see here that Taker's change in style has been carried into other matches as JBL works over his leg. Since when does Taker do body part selling? Well, he does it now, and he does it pretty consistently through the rest of the match. Yeah, he still does the snake eyes/big boot/leg drop combo, but he is limping to the corner to deliver the snake eyes, he loses his balance and staggers into the ropes after the big boot, and he comes off the ropes slowly to deliver a leg drop that doesn't get much height. We see he's beatable. Indeed, the previously dopey Devil's Gate now becomes useful as a flash submission to get Taker out of a jam in several matches, including this one. JBL doesn't instatap like people usually do, but on a certain level, that seems fitting. This will, after all, probably be JBL's last great match, and it felt right that he didn't go down easy.

John Morrison & Cryme Tyme vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team & Ricky Ortiz - WWE 5/22

Going into this year, this is not a match I would have been particularly excited about. But 21st century WWE may be the most schizophrenic wrestling promotion ever. They will make moves almost completely at random, and the guy who is brilliant one week will be completely overhauled the next for no real reason at all and re-emerge as something you no longer want to see. The opposite can happen to, and for equally flimsy reasons. In December '08, John Morrison is an awesome heel who works stiff and has a lot of nifty highspots, Cryme Tyme has developed into a perfectly fine tag team with JTG looking actively good and Shad being passable, Benjamin is pretty much useless outside of Money in the Bank matches but gets fawned over because of his track and field skills and superfluous workrate matches, Haas is working a gimmick based around impersonating other wrestlers that is not particularly funny and doesn't make him any better in the ring but does at least get the crowd to respond to him for the first time in his life, and Ortiz is a babyface who is not completely terrible in the ring but is so douchey and unlikable that you have no desire to watch him. Fast forward to May 22, 2009. Morrison was turned face and started working pretty loose, though the highspots remain nifty. Cryme Tyme is still a perfectly fine tag team, but JTG has slipped and Shad has stepped up to become a real solid hand, really holding the team together. Benjamin had by far the most bizarre transformation. After spending much of his run going in and out of the doghouse because of his failure to live up to his potential, he was suddenly declared by the powers that be to be a great wrestler, without really changing anything about his work at all. Not only that, but MVP - who was really over as a heel and was consistently delivering big in the ring - was thrown in the doghouse because he now didn't know how to work despite being pretty much exactly the kind of wrestler that the WWE loves (except black), and that he should be more like Benjamin, the kind of charisma-free workrate-for-workrate's sake wrestler that the WWE always hated. MVP made it out the other side as a babyface, with his charisma intact and his talent semi-intact, but he's never really been the same since. But the insane kicker to all of this is that somewhere near the end of MVP's fall from grace, Benjamin - who had been ordained as a great worker that others should aspire to be like - completely changed up his game. He dropped the pointless athletics, he developed an actual personality, he even learned to throw a punch, for God's sake! He is not as good as MVP once was, nor is MVP as bad as Benjamin was, but they came pretty close to swapping places, and Benjamin is now a guy I enjoy watching. I still don't get much from Haas, who dropped the impersonations bit and went back to being the dry Benjamin tag partner that he was being routinely mocked for in the first place. And while Ricky O's douchebaggery made him unwatchable as a face, somebody had the decent sense to turn him heel. Everything that made you hate him as a face now makes you love him as a heel, and he is probably the star of this match. Then he got fired. Whatever. This is a really cool match featuring six guys at really weird intersections of their careers in 2009.

John Morrison vs. Umaga - WWE 5/29

I kinda feel for Umaga. Not so much in regards to him getting canned. He really dug his own hole on that one. Just his career arc in general. He had this huge, year-long undefeated streak that effectively established him as an unstoppable monster. It culminated in a pair of matches where he got to beat the shit out of John Cena, and then a match that was realistically the main event of the biggest card in professional wrestling history where he got to beat the shit out of Bobby Lashley and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. And then...that was kinda it. I mean, I guess you have nowhere to go but down from there, but they really did kind of a mediocre job of sidedraining him after those feuds, sorta leaving him in that Kane status of "you must be able to beat this man in order to be a main eventer". I mention all of this because one of the reasons I continue to defend the brand split is that it creates an easy mechanism to sidedrain guys, almost replicating the territorial system of days gone by where a wrestler could come in, run his big angles, and then head somewhere else before he wears out his welcome. After Mania 23, they had three opportunities to use this mechanism with Umaga, and they waited for the very last one, at which point he only had two months left before he got busted for the final time, and I question their decision to wait so long to pull the trigger on that one. I realize this is an oversimplification of the situation. It was a decision effected in large part by a lot of other questionable booking decisions, and if we were to take a look at all the questionable booking decisions made by the WWE over the last few years, we'd be here all month. But it's regrettable that there are two years worth of Umaga/Rey and Umaga/Taker matches that we never got. The last few months of Umaga's WWE run are our consolation prize. This is basically a one-man show. Umaga is forced to sell Morrison's dainty offense - and when you're up against Umaga, you really get to see just how dainty the offense is - early on, but Umaga comes back strong with an eye-popping military press into a Samoan drop and dominates the rest of the match. There's also some nerve-lockery here, and while I'm not opposed to nerveholds, they are kinda dependent on how they are sold, and Morrison is not really up to task. Still, Umaga is a guy who delivers a hell of a beating, and the one he delivers here is enough to sell me on this match. The post-match beatdown with the Samoan Strap is great and CM Punk running in for the save is a lot of fun, too.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Bryan Danielson Final Countdown tour Report #1

I was live at the 2001 Super 8 tourney, where American Dragon blew on to the indy scene. Having watched some TWA, I remember commenting "This Dragon dude sucks, they should have gotten one of the Board of Education." I was live for the Ki v. Dragon ECWA rematch, the King of the Indies win, and tons of his big ROH matches. It is certainly time for him to move on, but I figured I would review his final Indy run.

Bryan Danielson v. Chris Hero PWG 9/4

These are a pair of guys who have wrestled each other dozens of times over the last 6 or so years, and have never really had a great match. This had its moments, came close, but ultimately fell short. This had the classic PWG flaw, it was a great 25 minute match stretched to 40. Lots of times that means you stick 10 superfluous minutes at the end, or have 10 time killing minutes at the beginning, but this felt like it had 10 meaningless minutes in the middle.

The opening mat work was really great, these are probably the two best US mat wrestlers, and they did a bunch of nifty things to start out. I especially loved all of spots they worked around the punch to the ear. You had this super hot section near the end with Danielson diving face first into a chair, getting busted open and Hero working the cut, and you last couple of minutes were pretty sweet with the triangle choke turned into a nasty stretch. Lots to love about the match, but it had some big problems. Hero’s young KO kid elbows are awesome, they are really nasty sounding, and he has a bunch of different cool variations. Still they are better used sparingly, there were too many moments were he cracks him with a viscous elbow for a close two count. First couple of times are cool, you do it too much it stops mattering. If Hero is going to work 40+ matches he needs to save the elbows, you don’t see Hansen hitting a lariat at minute 6, minute 12, minute 22, minute 25, minute 30, minute 32, minute 38 and minute 40 of a match. It stops being so deadly when you see it so much. That was kind of indicative of a lot of this match they had cool ideas but seemed to be doing basically the same thing multiple times. I didn’t kill me like overstuffed PWG sometimes does (I gave up on the Hero v. Tornado cage match), but I am looking forward to seeing what they do in a hopefully less expansive ROH Match.

Bryan Danielson v. Naruki Doi DGUSA 9/6

I thought this was an actively bad match. Danielson had some pretty cool armwork at the beginning. I especially liked the really awkward looking wrist lock. Still it isn’t like the arm work meant anything, as he switched to the leg in the second part of the match, and Doi didn’t really sell either body part. Dragon had some other nifty individual moments, I thought the ankle lock into a german suplex looked cool, and I though his Goodrich elbows looked pretty badass, still those were small moments in an otherwise poor match.

I don’t get Doi, I really don’t care for the style he works, but even with that caveat he really showed me nothing. I thought there were some moments where he looked physically awkward, especially in the two count roll up series. I also thought his shots looked pretty loose, especially in your big strike exchange. Shit he didn’t even have any cool moves. That Doi fives thing looked like Nova and Kanyon sat around a waffle house table with a sketch pad and some action figures. I mean if we are going to have mindless spot wrestling at least give me some cool spots. This reminded me of watching Eddie Guerrero vs. Adam Flash, with Doi not being as good on the mat as Flash was. Danielson trying to work a indy classic with a really limited guy, and not really pulling it off.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Segunda Caida Radio Tonight!! 11:00 P.M. EST.

Episode 5!

11:00 P.M. EST

Phil and myself will talk about wrestling, teach you how to fight, how to love, how to be a man. We will discuss Twilight: New Moon, Phil will make already-dated Corzine/Christie jokes, my phone might not work again so it'll be Phil and Will being loud and blustery.

Catch it!

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Refrain From Anger and Turn From Wrath; Do Not Fret it Turns Only to Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Kazou Yamazaki UWF 4/15/90 – GREAT

PAS: Not a Fujiwara classic, but match of the show for sure. This is Yamazaki’s big win, so Fujiwara worked from the top more. This also had a lot of dueling leg work, with Fujiwara really struggling and cranking for each submission. Yamazaki was landing a lot of body blows which Fujiwara sold with some of his awesome drooling sells. Still this was a match with a similar story to Nakano v. Maeda from the same show and Nakano was way more demonstrative and energetic then Yamazaki. I liked the post match show of emotion by Yamazaki, but it felt like I needed more of that in the match.

TKG: The vibe I got from this was oddly different than the one Phil got. This was worked the opposite of Takada v Fujiwara from the last show. There Takada is the younger guy who is stronger and faster and Fujiwara needs to be defensive. This match was all about Fujiwara being fast and relentless on attack with Yamazaki placed in position of guy who wants to slow it down and work more deliberate. Yamazaki comes off as heavier hitter but not the more active fighter. The more deliberate young fighter beating the fast and relentless veteran is an odd story.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Ryuma Go/Tatsuo Nakano v. Yoshiaki Yatsu/Hiroshi Itakura/Shigeo Okumura Indy World 7/22/98-GREAT

Man remember when Japanese Indy wrestlers looked like tubby asskickers instead of thai lady boys? This was a pretty spectacular WAR style main event. Lots of hard hitting violence with everyone looking great. Go especially was awesome here, as kind of a poor man’s Fujiwara, dumping people with suplexes and landing nasty headbutts. We get a couple of very cool Yatsu v. Fujiwara exchanges which sort of had that wrestler vs. jujitsu feel you get in MMA sometimes. The Fujiwara team isolated Itakura for a while and layed in a nasty asskicking. At one point Fujiwara was in the mount and was punching him really hard in the temples and ears. We also got duel Fujiwara and Ryuma Go headbutts to the sides of the dudes head. Finish was fun too, with everyone hitting big moves and Go getting the dragon sleeper tap out. Exactly as good as it looks on paper.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Tiger Mask v. Tatsumi Fujinami/Ultimo Dragon IGF 11/3/09-FUN

Nifty little match which was pretty much a showcase for awesome fat Sayama. After watching all of the early 80’s juniors Tiger Mask, current Chris Christiesque Sayama smokes his overrated slim incarnation like a cheap cigar. He can still execute all of his athletic moves, but it is way more impressive when such a lardass does a kip up or a leap frog. Plus his kicks have some Hashimoto style heft behind them now. Fujiwara has a couple of spirited exchanges with Ultimo and Fujinami including a sweet knuckle lock sequence with Tatsumi which had a real MUGA v. UWF feel to it. Still you watch this to see Hortio Sanz hit a Tiger fake and it delivered that.



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Saturday, November 07, 2009

WELCOME TO ATLANTA- Juster Lucha Retro Road Report

Weeks in the writing
TKG: I got prose in different area codes.
PAS: Don't Start No Shit Won't Be No Shit
TKG: So I’m vomiting when Phil calls me up to ask when exactly we’re meeting : “We meet when I see you” click “BLAUUURGH!”

PAS: I am an LSAT tutor and the test was in a week, so this trip was really ill advised. But it's lucha so sacrifices must be made. I tutored from 10am - 4pm after DJaying till 2:30ish the night before. So I was suffering a bit, clearly not as much as my compatriot.

TKG: So I get to what used to be George Washington National Airport, meet Phil who looks worse than I feel. He looks completely pale and pasty. He really looked like a nervous Greek terrorist, planning to bomb the Embassy of Majorca. I decide it would be a good idea to get him to eat something before we go through security-so its California Pizza. I struggle to eat my Pizza, and call Dirty Wayne for location of the black strip club with a barbershop that he recommended. Wayne can’t remember name of place, and I’m pissed… I really wanted to simultaneously get a high top fade and a lap dance.

PAS: I spent the wait time reading Ghetto Celebrity by Donnell Alexander and listening to the new Outkast album, in an attempt to get into the ATL spirit, Big Boi section of the album owned, the Andre 3000 disc mixed some 80's Prince funk with 2000 Artist formally known as Prince useless artistic embellishments. Reagan airport California Pizza Kitchen is worst California Pizza Kitchen ever.

TKG: Somehow both Phil and me manage to get through airport security and we’re off. Flight marshals leave us alone… uneventful flight. We meet Wes at the Airport and wander around trying to find where he parked.

PAS: Pre midnight portion of Saturday night really had a holiday appropriate wandering the desert feel to it. Wes makes a really amusing Moses.

TKG: On the airplane we realized that we should have checked McGrath’s column to see if there were any Atlanta area shows Saturday night. I would be pissed if we were in the area and missed Stro vs. Ray Lloyd, or Buddy Lee Parker vs. Dave Taylor , or Zbysco vs. Iceberg, etc, etc. Phil calls Dean and gets him to act as our personal wrestling concierge.

PAS: There was a Bull Buchannen v. Tank headlined show at a fair about an hour away but decided against the attempt, as we had already missed the undercard, and that would have had the Scotty McKeever match.

TKG: We laugh and laugh as Dean fights the 1wrestling pop-ups.

TKG: Wes had mapquest directions to Abby’s which of course fucks him up. FUCK MAPQUEST. We drive and drive and drive. I’m convinced that Atlanta is ginormous based on the amount of driving we do. Wes is really amusing during the entire drive, and we mocked all of you…yes each and everyone of you.

PAS: Exodus 16: "The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

TKG: We did the crosscultural music exploration as Wes put on the awesome Youngbloods album. Favorite track being “Damn!” with the hook of “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit”. I also was amused by “Tequilla” as the song sounded like it could have been a Motorhead tune. How many rap tracks can you say that bout?

TKG: We find Abby’s after its closed. But was still thrilled to see Abby’s. We decide to come back Sunday. Then I comment “Wait, I bet Abby is religious. Doesn’t he seem religious? He’s probably a deacon. I bet he’s not open on Sunday” we look and unfortunately, I’m right. I keep on picturing Abby as a Sherman Helmsley at beginning of “Amen”; parking in his parking space in the church parking lot marked “Reserved for Deacon The Butcher”, jumping in the middle of a double dutch game, arguing with his daughter Thelma, etc.

PAS: The menu looked amazing, there was this incredible mural of Abby holding up a title belt, with light shining in the back. The kind of setup which stimulated salivial glands. Really the only disappointment of the whole trip and the missing of Abby's will probably get us back to Atlanta, even with the shitty Parkas v. Santo + Perro Jr. main event of the next Juster show.

PAS: After a greasetastic meal at Waffle House we decide to head to a gentlemans establishment. Wes said he knew of two strip clubs, he says that there is one near his house but it was "pretty ghetto" we say PERFECT and we head off to the Pin Up in scenic Decatur GA. The security was significantly tighter at the Pin Up then it was a Reagan National so there is no way that Al Qeada can hijack Tanisha and drive her implants into the CNN center or something.

PAS: There was a drunk guy in a RIP DeMarcus memorial T-Shirt who greeted us in the Def Comedy Jam white guy voice "Hey fellas, how ya doing." I found this odd, if we were gleefully going into the Pin Up at 1:30 am we were clearly comfortable enough with the African American experience to be unfazed by this 5'7 guy attempting to intimidate us with his blackness. Save that shit for the white ladies buying scalped Falcons tickets from you.

TKG: The strip club rules hard. I’m used to being the only white person in a place, I’m not used to being the only person without metal plated teeth. At one point me and two guys who looked like Fresh Kid Ice’s illegit kids with full gold teeth and chardonnay glasses filled with Cisco, stood at the round stage admiring this dancer who was able to yoyo a sliver of juice lower and lower and up and down from her vagina. I didn’t think vaginal control like that was possible. If you put a couple dollars on the round stage she’d put her stuff right up in your face and you could try to dislodge the liquid strand by blowing on her cootchie. The stripper in the Anthony Mason jersey, the DJ playing nothing but local records cut by Trick Daddy’s cousin’s neighbor…yep after all that driving, now I felt like I was in Atlanta.

PAS: The DJ patter was amazing. He would cut the songs out mid hook to berate the patron's. " I thought we had some playaz in heaer, yall ain't nothing but some bustas, we need to get 6 dollars on the round stage" "If you at the bar and ain't drinkin you need to get to a table, if you ain't buyin a drink or gettin a dance you need to hit your car." I have already appropriated large chunks of it to use on cheapskate non-tipping Karoke Bar customers. The only other white guy in the place was this creepy current Mikey Whipwreck looking meth head bouncer, who was way smaller then almost anyone in the place, but really looked like he could carve his graffiti tag in your chest with his butterfly knife before you could even lift your fists.

TKG: So a stripper with two gold plated teeth and a large “DADDY” tattoo across her belly offers to give us lap dances in the VIP area, where you’re allowed to touch. Mya lays out the prices for a half hour, 45 minutes and an hour but strongly recommends that I go for an hour.
“If you pay for an hour I’ll make you cum”
Me: “Don’t worry, I’ll only need 45 minutes”.
I tell her that I’m going to need more money and have to go the ATM. At which point Mya says “If you want I can do that for you”. Do I look like I’m from Kansas????

TKG: There are no lap dances in DC so I have no real experience, but at the point she asked “Do you have a condom” I am really unclear as to what’s allowed in this type of dancing. It’s really odd when you don’t know the rules as I was left feeling really gentle. I’ve never felt like a “gentleman” before. But here I was with a girl who could rhythmically alternatively pulse her vagina and her asshole to the music and I felt gentle and cautious. Didn’t want to cross any lines. Was concerned that I didn’t want to do anything that would surprise her. Felt like I had to ask permission before doing anything. I mean this is ME, I’ve never done any of that before, never been gentle before. I just do things, I don’t ask for permission or have any concern. I’m the guy who’ll gleefully piss in your Brita cause you refused to swallow…and here I am being gentle and concerned. I’m not used to feeling like a gentleman. Gentle. I mean there I was worrying about not acting inappropriate. I was asking for permission before I did anything “Can I slap your ass?” “ Can I pinch your nipple?”, “Is it ok if I stick my thumb in your asshole?”….it was like I was at Antioch.

PAS: I am such a neurotic Jew that the only thing I was thinking during my turn was that I only brought one pair of pants for this whole trip.

TKG: I leave the VIP area dehydrated and rejoin Wes in the main area. The strippers leave Wes alone, while me and Phil look like mark white guys in glasses. More strippers keep approaching me asking if I want a dance. I’m worn out at this point. “Not to this tune, I’m waiting for a foxtrot”

TKG: We meet Wes in the morning and head off to find Gladys Knight and Ron Winans Chicken and Waffle. I call to make sure they’re open. There’s something great about the fact that Abdullah the Butcher’s is closed on Sunday, but the restaurant owned by actual Gospel stars stays open.

PAS: Abby's belief in Jesus is clearly untainted by the commerce aspects of Gladys and Ron. He makes his money with the devil but his heart is with the lord.

TKG: Gladys and Ron’s is on Peachtree Street which means we have to pass Peachtree Road, Peachtree Battle Road, Peachtree Ave, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Memorial St, Peachtree Industrial Road, Peachtree Circle and about fifteen more variations of Peachtree in order to get there. I swear the most uncreative city planner named the streets, as every other street is some variation on Peachtree. I don’t think we ever saw any peach trees.

PAS: At some point the drive really feels like a bad section of an episode of Family Matters, the Winslows go to visit Erkels southern cousin, and just know he lives on Peachtree.

TKG: Gladys and Ron’s was really tasty and cheap. But it had a very upscale look to it. Not just upscale compared to the strip club and Abby’s but actual legit upscale. Again the only other white person there was a knomeish looking guy. It was like Atlanta is filled with Jim Norton nephews. We were the most underdressed folks there, be a nice place to take a date. I ordered the “Midnight Train”and the “Uptown”.

PAS: The creepy knomish waiter really looked like the meth head bouncer in disguise, I think it is possible Kate hired a P.I. to follow me around Atlanta, I then think of what kind of explanation I can think up for Mya.

TKG: Arrive at the Gwinnet Center on time to see Santo and a Villano doing radio interviews. Santo wears a neat silver gym suit. Villano V wears a striking beige guayabera. And so begins an evening of wrestlers with great sartorial taste.

PAS: Man I need to go shopping at what ever shirt store is next to Arena Mexico

TKG: At ticket booth I ask this country ass white lady for “tres para admission general”. She asks “You want general admission?”. I am fool. Me and her strike up a conversation as she has never “seen anything like this before. Its wild”.

TKG: Doors open at 4:00 show scheduled to start at 6:00, no merchandise tables. Just one T-shirt and some smiley face and Mexican flag pins. Shit there were about 4,000 people at the show---you need to have shirts, masks and posters for every worker there, let alone a overpriced program for the event.

PAS: Wrestling is alot like a indy music festival, all real money should be made at the tables. There is no way I should have left Atlanta without a Villanos Gym T-Shirt.

TKG: They let us into actual seating area about 5:00 and keep us from getting too restless by repeatedly playing Mexican Anthem. The ring is bouncier looking than most lucha rings and really small. A set of ring crew guys come out with fork lift to put mats around ring. These were thick about 6 inch mats that they lined whole outside of ring area with. Aw fuck how are they gonna catch dives on that shit. Then out comes Brazo De Oro looks at the mats disgustingly and then kicks at them in anger. He points to a ring crew guy and then jumps on the mats and then mimes a guy slipping on a moonbounce “Get rid of this shit”. Brazo de Oro single handedly saves show. The ring crew removes the mats. Even if all the matches sucked, the whole trip would have been worth it just to watch Brazo de Oro take charge of the ring crew.


Masda vs. Sicodelico Jr.:

TKG: I often mock indy and WWE workers who wear lifts but it was odd as hell to see both of these guys in their absolutely flat wrestling boots. Not only did they not have lifts…they didn’t even have soles.

TKG: The Villanos must have took everyone aside before the show started and lectured them: “Ok you’re in Atlanta this is how you work Atlanta crowds…stiff chop sections” Every match had stiff chop sections but this wasn’t the Omni, and not a “whoo!” was heard. Actually this entire match started like it was an opener at the Omni. As it started real slow deliberate with simple single body part work and real telegraphed face/heel stuff. Masada was great at the heel stalling. Sicodelico did some face stalling that I thought was also good. The whole first half of match really felt like it was layed out by Jim Cornette. Sicodelico Jr does a first rope tornado in ring plancha. And I began to wonder if they were running with Watts top rope rules. I mean not even a second rope move but a first rope move.

PAS: I could see Steve Armstrong and Rip Rogers working the exact same first five minutes of this match as the opening of a Flair v. Luger main evented show in 1990 or so. Or Mike Jackson and Shaska Whatley opening a Flair v. Dusty in 1985. I could also stretch and see Shaska and Rip bumping as big as Masada does at the end.

TKG: The slow start actually built as then they moved to a bigger impact section and the move seemed really smooth. It wasn’t like “well here’s the low impact body and heres the hot finish”. It built nicely from one part to the next. A couple suplexes, Masda takes some HUGE bumps. Goes for a plancha to only get superkicked before landing…to splat on the pavement. They brawl on outside. And Masda takes a big powerbomb on floor. Match ends with Sicodelico doing a top rope cross body which really felt like a finish. When’s the last time you watched a match that ended with a crossbody and you said to yourself “No way he’s kicking out of that”??

PAS: Masda is crazy charismatic and plays a great evil Japaneese guy. He does some 2003 Japaneese generic moves like the facewash and the Tenryu chop + punch combo. Those really feel like the 21st century version of thrust kicks and mist for the generic Nipponeesse offense. Masda does both really well

Pierrothcito vs. Pequeno Violencia:

TKG: Before we walked in I heard the radio announcer going through card mention that there was going to be a Boricua on the card, but I wasn’t able to make out who. I was like “aw fuck” , and then it turns out to be the one EMLL Boricua I really dig. Pierrothcito. Pierrothcito comes out and does the whole Volkoff….I want everyone to stand so I can sing the Puerto Rican National Anthem bit. Pequeno Violencia (who oddly is in the boricua colors) defends Mexico and gets people to try to drown it out with the Mexican anthem.

TKG: They do a ridiculously stiff chop section for midgets. It felt less like a chop section than a New Japan dueling clothesline section. Fuck stiffer than that. They also work superfast pace series of exchanges. They do a knucklelock section with the Mexican mini getting the best which leads to mini-Pierroth doing push ups. Someone in the WWE needs to steal Mini-Violencia’s push up comedy spot. Mini-violencia does the Nicho bump in the corner and goes for a huge top rope plancha to floor but Pierrothcito is really the star of this match. Moments where he looked Espectrito like in his Kinglyness. He wins with a series of nasty arm drags that looked Zangiev shoot style and then cranks an arm and back submission on the lil Violencia getting the tap.

PAS: Based on this match and some EMLL I think Mini-Pieroth is probably pretty close to the top midget in the world. If you just count U.S. midgets, I think he is definitely better then Little Bobby Dean, Tony Kozina or Quiet Storm.

TKG: After the match they do a long mic section so mini-Violencia can get his heat back. Is anyone that worried about mini-Violencia's heat?

Mascara Sagrada vs. Arkangel de La Muerte:

TKG: They announce that this is the original Sagrada and I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a good thing or not. We joke as to whether Sagrada is Borne, Apollo or Lombardi. I vote that its Mutoh as he wrestled a lot like Mutoh. Opening poor matwork (that thankfully Arkangel was able to move around and make interesting) . Sagrada manages to do a crossbody with his feet barely leaving the ground . It was a shining crossbody as he kind of climbed up Arkangels knee to execute it. Then he does a couple dragon screws and goes for dueling stretch plumbs. Dueling stretch plumbs in a lucha match!!! I swear it was Mutoh. Best Mutoh match I’ve seen in ages.

PAS: Arkangel was really great in this as he totally held it together, really nice in ring and out of ring bumps. Juster is definitely paying these guys pretty good, because Sagrada was busting his ass, taking big in ring bumps, hitting a tope, all while huffing air so badly that you could see it through his mask. They did a mascara contra mascara challenge which I would be into.

TKG: Man was Sagrada huffing air. You could watch his entire chest cavity fill up and empty out through his outfit. I thought he was gonna inhale his mask he was sucking air so hard. Most impressive performance by blown up wrestler of the year.

Hamada vs. Princess Sugieth:

TKG: Wow these women are tiny. Tiny tiny women. It was like a battle of women small enough for Phil to date. Masda comes out seconding Hamada and rules as heel enraging the crowd. Hamada needed to have ropes tightened inorder to execute her springboard dives and Masda is able to turn her demand for rope tightening into a pussy heel stall. Pequeno Violencia comes out to second Sugieth in flip flops black slacks and a striking red guayabera with black lace work.

PAS: Combined with his anthemising is the first match, Pequeno Violencia was clearly booked in the Hacksaw Jim Duggan patriotic defender role. I know Mexicans are short, but I don’t understand booking a midget as defender of Mexico. I also was really amused about seeing the big red belt defended in a comedy undercard lucha match in Atlanta.

TKG: This started with some nice mat work. And then it fell apart into a brawl for large sections. Sugieth mostly did a bunch of US style knee slap kicks..for knee slap kicks they were good looking knee slap kicks. Hamada was real fun and impressive selling big for them. Ayako sold more for the knee slap kicks to the butt them than most joshi wrestlers sell for shoot kicks to the face. Ayako was fun stooging and bumping around for Sugieth. On the other hand, outside of her big dives, Hamada for the most part didn’t look good on offense as she did a lot of sloppy looking drop kicks. The last five minutes of this were real good as was real hot finish and I bought the near falls and almost believed that they might actually switch the title in Atlanta.

PAS: I thought this was seventy percent shtick and there was some really sloppy spots. Still this was much better then any of Kaoru Ito Red Belt Defenses I have seen.

TKG: I liked this more than Phil did. Still the weakest match on the card.

Villanos IV & V/Negro Casas vs. Brazo de Oro/Brazo de Plata/Sicodelico Jr.

PAS: Just amazing match, one of the most enjoyable live wrestling experiences of my life. Villanos come in with awesome Mexican flag panchos and Casas is just exfoliating charisma. Brazos get a big ass pop, and Porky takes off his kimono and flosses his ass with it. Juster's daughter or whoever the ring girl was, holds the robe by the tip, selling the disgustingness of Porky’s crotch the whole way back to the locker room.

TKG: Not only did the Villanos have panchos with the Mexican Flag on the front. They also had the Virgin of Guadalupe on the back. Yep the Virgin Mother on their entrance robes and they were the heels. This was the only three falls match on the show and after all the one falls matches you could really feel how much of a difference a three falls match makes.

TKG: . Villanos vs. Brazos was the big draw for me on this card as its always a match that rules. For history of the Brazos/Villanos feud check out . Somehow we end up on the technicos side of the arena as the other side was clearly the porro rudo. But fuck I liked everyone here enough that I was willing to be in the face cheering section.


TKG: Super Porky and Villano V go for amateur wrestling in the partier. Porky imitates Rulon Gardner as well no way is Villano able to reach around for any kind of leverage. Villano V takes partier and is CRUSHED. Negro Casas is on fire. Him and Brazo de Oro exchange great forearms. And really work well together on the mat. Normally I find De Oro’s mat work to be lacking something but it always comes across better when he’s matched up with a Villano and well Casas and him worked super tight with each other. . Casas dismissively shadow boxes at the young Sicodelico J. Sicodelico Jr comes back with some hard punches leading to Casas stooging it up for the young technico. Later he comes back with front chancery on Jr…in a real surly old man on young disrespectfull young punk spot.

PAS: Casas really looked like the best wrestler in this world in this match. It wasn't just that his work was flawless, it was that every interaction, every facial expression, every bump, every pantomime was done perfectly. He did an amazing job in this fall getting the crowd to give a shit about Siclidelico Jr., who was a last minute fill in with no history with anyone. By the end of this match he was as over as anyone and that was all Casas. There were sections of Porky comedy and sections of Casas comedy, but they didn't detract from the force and violence of the wrestling. This was markedly different from the Parka comedy in the main event, where you almost felt like you took a break from the match to watch Parka shtick.

TKG: Between caidas Casas is great interacting with fans drinking their beer, etc.. Really I’d love to get a dvd of this match where you could choose to watch only Casas for entire match. Hell I’d be psyched for an only Porky only Brazo de Oro or only Villano IV or V feature. It just really great as even when not involved in the action they were all constantly doing something. Reacting to action anticipating getting in ring, selling, whatever.


TKG: This was just rudos beating shit out of technicos and technicos beating dogshit out of rudos. I LOVE ME LUCHA BRAWLING. Casas flies out of ring with amazing silla that slams him and opponent into chair. Villano IV does a hanging suplex into a floatover and Brazo de Oro breaks up the pin in the greatest pin break up ever. He just steps on back of Villano IV’s ankle. Next time Dean starts up with his “Did I ever tell you the story of the time I saw Dick Murdoch punching Harley RACE right in the face…” I’m gonna get to reply with “Did I ever tell you about the time that I saw Brazo de Oro recklessly step on Villano IV’s instep to break a pin.”

PAS: God that Silla was amazing. This match was really about Porky and Casas, but Oro is really great at doing little things which make his sections of the match really great. He is like a great character actor, who doesn't upstage the stars, but really makes the piece.


PAS: This had the dive train which was really freaking great. Oro hit a nice over the top tope where he overshot Villano V and had to adjust to belly buck V’s head in mid air. Villano IV justs kills Oro with one of those dives that really looks like it would hurt like shit, not just pretty, but the top of Villanos head right into Oro's jaw crazy fast and hard. Then Casas motions to the crowd on the floor "HERE I COME MOTHERFUCKER" he is saying with his body motion, meanwhile Porky is right behind him, he runs into a Porky belly block, which sends him to the floor, and then Porky his an amazing fucking tope which must have been like Superman throwing a piano at you. Casas wins the battle of wits though, as he runs away and goes to sit on a chair as everyone else gets crushed. Just beautiful professional wrestling.

TKG: The match had a bunch of fake fouls which actually were really neat as they acted as transition. One team had too much momentum other team would use a fake foul to slow the match down get back in control of the match pace. You fake a foul the ref has to slow everything down decide if its legit or not everyone has to argue their case, etc. The fake foul was like those matches where the heel will complain about pulling of tights after losing a series of exchanges, inorder to go from complaining to ref to transitioning to offense…. except with infinitely more variations. Also they transitioned from the fake foul (which usually a comedy spot) to the violent brawling really well.

Santo/La Parka vs. Felino/Pentagon Black

TKG: They announce Felino as one of the fastest luchadors working. I laugh as that was probably true in 94 but hasn’t been true for a while. Then fuck that, Felino proves me wrong and works fast as all fuck. Santo is Santo and super crisp at everything he does. Parka was mostly schtick and enziguris.

PAS: Parka was good during the heat segments, but outside of that he was disappointing. Felino and Santo’s sections were amazing, but there wasn’t enough of them to save this match. Ref comedy shtick was amusing but doesn’t belong in the main event. The midget match had significantly less comedy then the main event, and that ain’t right.

TKG: This match needed to have multiple falls. It had really nice parts. Long hot tag section with Felino and Pentagon Black cutting off ring working over Parka’s shoulder. Felino did a great top rope headbutt to shoulder and Black had some nice quick punches to shoulder while stretching Parka ( real low-rent Regal stuff from Pentagon Black with the strikes in submission…but low rent Regal is more than what I normally expect out of Black). There was a overly long ref comedy section which if isolated wouldn’t have hurt the match that much. There was a nice finish. But the match really had trouble moving from one section to the next and fell apart. It really needed to be split into falls.

TKG: Santo and Parka go into long section of mic work. Santo channels Helmsley vs. Booker and a million Ole speeches… Santo talks about being a wrestler while Parka is just a showman….since when is Parka black? After all that, Santo challenges Parka to mano a mano match for next show. And I’m stoked. Santo says fuck that lets make it mask v mask…and well I know that ain’t happening so I’m let down. . Parka counters with “I’ll get Super Parka and you can get a partner of your choice even Perro Aguayo and we’ll have it out” Bah! Santo must be a big GCW fan, I’ve never heard his mic work sound that much like Wildfire…I fully expected him to challenge Parka to a cage match at the Omni.

PAS: I had a freaking blast in Atlanta and was ready to take the trip back, but I don’t think this match is getting me to come back. If you give me a rematch of the semi-main though Juster gets my $20 and United gets my $130, I am not sure if Mya will get my $200 though.

TKG: Wes was fun to hang with and real fun to watch the lucha with. Wes doesn’t really follow lucha and it was neat seeing him get into it. Neat listening to him comment on how smooth Santo’s execution of everything is. Neat to see a jaded East Coast indy fan, marking out for Negro Casas and the lucha brawling. This was about 4000 people who showed up and were entertained by EMLL old style lucha. This wasn’t the AAA 94 stuff that tricked all the WON readers into creaming their pants. This wasn’t the currently overrated lucharesu matches where GDI and Wagner decide to sell like NJ wrestlers. This was old style classic lucha and it had the crowd by the balls. I’m not to psyched about Perro Jr and Super Parka. But if they bring in the Dinamitas or run Rayo vs. Canek….I’m so there.

PAS: After the show we went and ate a bunch a food at a cheesy mall fake Caribbean place. Good wings though. Let me give another shout out to Wes, who was one of the best hosts I have ever had on a visit. Truly king sized effort on his part and a great guy to hang out with

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lucha Va Voom Road Report, 10/30/09

by Eric

My girlfriend Rachel and I had the honor of being special guests of Cassandro on the most recent Lucha Va Voom run through San Francisco. Neither of us had ever been to a LVV show before and we were all kinda nervous that it wouldn't be that good. I was going in thinking "This stuff is wrestling performed for people who weren't wrestling fans." Would it be dumbed down? Would it be all unfunny comedy? Would the crowd be more interested in the burlesque performances than the wrestling performances? Would the wrestlers be the equivalent of Kaiju Big Battel's "costumed backyarders" who mimmick what they've seen other real wrestlers do? I had many questions, and was nervous how it would turn out. I was worried the stripteases would marred by "back row Shimmer" types chuckling and touching their patchy mustaches. I was basically preparing for the worst.

Well, it was completely awesome, and I would go again in a heartbeat. The crowd was hot all night and might have been the best crowd I've ever watched wrestling with. Everybody was ridiculously respectful and appreciative and impressed by EVERYthing that was done. The ring was mic'd to infinity, so every bump sounding like it would bring the Fillmore down, and the crowd responded accordingly. I won't go into too much detail about the burlesque portions, as I have no experience criticizing stripteases, so can't really tell you if one is good or horrendous.

1. Lux La Croix & ?? danced

These gals danced to the Cramps "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog".

2. Maquiavelico/Zeus vs. Tony Cassanova/??

The first two guys are chubby rudos squeezed into some lime green tights and Tony Cassanova and his partner are babyfaces who can pull off nice ranas. This match - while not super flashy - at least confirmed that the guys were trained wrestlers, so that was a plus. There was a nice plancha to the floor. LLV cleverly has a security guard posted at ringside to act as a base, and it ends up making dives look cool, as there are more bodies strewn about after the dive.

3. Lucy Fur danced

Rachel thought this gal looked like Rachel McAdams.

4. Las Calaveras vs. Dirty Sanchez/Chocolate Caliente

Los Calaveras had cool skeleton get-ups, Dirty Sanchez is a really foul guy in dirty tights, wearing a merkin, and he has a pretty spectacular mask with a Rollie Fingers mustache. Chocolate Caliente is a fat black guy with an afro pick. This match had a bunch of fun spots, including an awesome dive train sequence, with a big flip dive from Chocolate, all capped off by a crazy tope from the 50+ yr. old ref. Match ended when Dirty Sanchez dropped his drawers, there was some admittedly funny miscues resulting in Chocolate and the ref getting dirty sanchez'd, but ultimately Las Calaveras rolled him up.

5. Moana Santana danced

This girl did a naughty nurse/crazy sexed-up mental patient routine, and I got no complaints. A cute gal dancing to Napoleon IV's "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa" (Dr. Demento show, Sunday nights when I was 13, FTW!), transitioning into one of the greatest garage rock songs ever, Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction". Awesome. She also was able to remove her underwear with her high heels. Again, I'm not familiar with this stripteasing, but that move seemed pretty impressive. Maybe it's old hat around the burlesque community, but I thought it was cool. Veteran burlesque viewers might have been watching it with their monocles and spats and whatever else they wear and saying "P'shaw. That tired old gag." But I personally enjoyed it.

6. Cassandro vs. Villano III (Bull Terrier Match)

This was probably the most violent version of "Liza with a Z" I've ever seen. Cassandro is over HUGE with the crowd, as he came out wearing one of the most awesome robes ever and plays to the crowd better than most of the stripteasers. Villano III looked totally bad ass in his black and red get-up, wearing a rad leather-looking mask. They got right to it after getting tied together (none of the usually rudo stalling to get dog collared), and Cassandro instantly starts ripping at Villano's mask. He gets the mask off with a bulldog spot and does a nice little celebratory salsa. Villano gets pissed though, wraps the chain around his fist and starts beating Cassandro in the face.

Things get nastier after that as Cassandro must have taken no less than 6 or 8 bumps directly onto the balled up chain. So damn painful looking. Villano takes a spill to the floor, and Cassandro does a completely nutty dive (could not even get full momentum, as they were connected by the chain and Villano had most of the slack, so Cassandro did a dive with only about 4 feet of runway before takeoff. Insane.). Back in the ring they did a bunch of great near fall spots, with Cassandro's facials really shining through. Most Cassandro matches I've seen have been on grainy camera phone or fan cam footage, so while he comes off as ridiculously charismatic, I'd never gotten a clear read on the facials. The desperation and frustration conveyed on getting and/or kicking out of two counts was just awesome.

He goes up top, does a great missile drop kick (landing RIGHT on a mass of chain, again), few more roll-ups and we're out. Awesome match. After losing Villano goes on a tirade, yelling at fans and posing. One of the commentators (Blaine Kapatch) had a good line: "I don't speak Spanish, but I'm assuming he said don't step to me or I'll fuck up your forehead as badly as mine."

7. Michelle L'amour danced

She seemed the most professional of all the ladies. A quick google search says she has won awards for her burlesque work. I'm assuming Tina Fey won the same award. She wins everything.

8. Los Crazy Chickens/Lil' Chicken vs. Chupacabra/Dr. Maldad/3 (!) Chupacabritas

This match was just too much damn fun and had too much going on to begin to describe. I think the chickens are PWG's Los Luchas, but not sure. If they are then they showed way more charisma here than when I've seen them as Los Luchas. One of them moved like TJ Perkins IMO, but who knows. Lil' Chicken may have been Mascarita Dorada, as he moved really similarly, and did some spectacular spots that few are capable of doing. The rudos were all really fun and this was total chaos, with 8 workers, 4 of them minis just going nuts the whole time with ridiculous spots. The dives started from the ring to the stage, and then went from the stage to the floor where all of the crowd was standing. Everybody in this match (including that same 50+ yr. old referee) did 1-2 dives, whether from the ring, or into the crowd, or from the freaking balcony to the floor (minimum 15 ft. drop). This was insanely fun and had great comedy, great spots, and crazy dives. Mascarita's (?) around the world headscissors was infinitely more amazing here, as his chicken feathers were flying everywhere as he did it. This was 20 minutes of nonstop fun.

So go see Lucha Va Voom. It was 2.5 hours and it was never boring. The time flew by and not only was the wrestling a blast, but the gals were cute, the pacing was great, and the crowd was appreciative. What more could you want!?


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There is no Faculty of the Human Soul so Persistent and Universal as that of Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Akira Maeda NJ 2/5/86- EPIC

Maeda may be Fujiwara’s best opponent ever and this may be their best match against each other. It is a match broken up into two sections, the first part is worked mostly on the mat, it is Fujiwara’s domain, and there are a lot of cool little transfers and exchanges. For example the way he drives his elbow into the ankle bone, nothing was fancy, but it was all great looking. Fujiwara does this neat thing where he tries to grab kicks being thrown at him, but still sells the impact. There is a point where Maeda is laying into him and Fujiwara catches the kick, just to be rocked by an enzigiri. The first part ends with both guys rolling out to the floor while locking each other in leglocks.

If it ended with a count out there it would be a hell of match, however they do a restart, and it moves to the next level. It gets chippy right after with both guys popping each other with bodyshots while doing some nice Greco pummeling. Fujiwara comes after Maeda trying to lock on the Fujiwara armbar viciously from a bunch of different angles. I have seen Fujiwara go for that armbar quite a few times throughout this project, and this was the most furious. Then damn was that a finish, Fujiwara is grasping the ankle like a dying pit bull while Maeda is choking him out, Fujiwara starts drooling but Maeda can’t hold out, and he submits right before Fujiwara passes out. Spectacular stuff, and this match is a contender for the top spot of my NJ 80’s ballot.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Osamu Kido/Nobuhiko Takada/Kazuo Yamazaki/Akira Maeda v. Antonio Inoki/Tatsumi Fujinami/Kengo Kimura/Umanosuke Ueda/Kantaro Hoshino NJ 3/26/86-EPIC

One of the most famous matches in Japanese history this is the first major collision in the New Japan v. UWF feud. It is an elimination tag with to the floor eliminations allowed Tremendous match, great performances by everyone involved. Our man Fujiwara was great, his section vs. Fujinami was yet another cocktease for the 80’s singles match which never happened, and I loved how he and Hoshino would pot shot each other. Inoki is so over, and comes off like a huge star, any time he tags in the crowd goes bananas, same with Maeda, sort of criminal we never got a big singles between those two as well. Most of the eliminations were really great, including Fujiwara and Fujinami just tearing it up until they both going tumbling over the top. We then get one of my favorite spots in wrestling history as Ueda (who is an ex-garbage guy who barely wrestles at this point) tags in to square off with Maeda, Ueda hadn’t been in the match much at all, and was playing the role of the outclassed older legend. He locks up with Maeda, eats a kick or two, realizes he is out of his league and tackles Maeda to the floor eliminating them both. Just such a cool moment, with Ueda sacrificing himself for New Japan. I could totally see Eddie Marlin in the same role in a big Memphis v. Knoxville 10 man. Finish is the only down part, as Inoki is left with Kido and Takada and I don't really buy him in any trouble, even down 2 to 1.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Volk Han RINGS 8/11/01- GREAT

This was an exhibition on an otherwise all shoot card, and is Han’s last wrestling match. This is a battle between the two greatest non lucha matworkers of all time, and is as slick and tricky as you would expect it to be. You have counter after counter, with both guys finding answers and escapes. At one point Han got this sort of shoot figure four, which Fujiwara slipped into a kneebar. Very cool character moment where after a series of moves turned into a stalemate, Fujiwara offered his hand. Han took it, and Fujiwara shot straight for a takedown which was awesome. This was clipped a bit, and was a bit short and exhibitiony, still so cool that these two maestros got a chance to hook up.


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