Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Angels Pacing, Gently Placing, Roses 'Round Cassandro's Head

~Cassandro/Billy Boy/Fabi Apache/Mini Abismo Negro vs. Cinthia Moreno/Mascarita Sagrada 2007/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super Fly Lumberjack Match, AAA, 10/7/07) - GREAT

All of the AAA minis act as the lumberjacks here and it is just too much fun. Cassandro controlled the whole match, which I've never seen before. He is usually the guy in the role of stealing a match in AAA, not leading a match. He obviously needs to lead matches more, as he was just incredible here. Also, his outfit was an amazing black glittery Zach Ryder-style one-legged pantsuit with roses on it. So rad.

He really does it all here, playing up a maestro role that I've never seen him do, but still squeezing in great comedy moments. He'd roll through a submission sequence (and I've never seen him do many submissions, but he busts out a cool octopus variation and an awesome indian deathlock pin), but then also steals the show when he would get thrown to the floor and run screaming from all the minis trying to attack him. Just a total tour de force performance.

That is not to say the others weren't impressive here as well, as this is amongst the best Billy Boy performances I've ever seen. He shows a lot of passion and character here, and sometimes he can come off as just soooo bland. He has some real fine moments here, though; my favorite being when Super Fly was going for a pin, Billy Boy casually walks in, stops the ref's arm from counting, then turns around and just kicks Fly right in the stomach. Awesome. Fabi and Moreno are also really good in this. They're just so smooth at working spots in and out of all the craziness, and they match up well with both the male workers, and each other. Great, fun match.

~Cassandro/Intocable/Mascara Divina/Pimpinela Escarlata vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko (AAA, 12/14/07) - SKIPPABLE

Wow this was awful. I was looking forward to Cassandro and Pimpi teaming, and those guys were definitely NOT the problem in this match. Spice Boy Intocable is bad, but Mascara Divina is just absolutely awful. Every time he gets the chance to shine he just completely blows it. During the end run dive train he opts for a somersault tope and looks like a total load, holding onto the ropes for too long so instead of landing on anybody he just flips over the ropes, lands on his butt on the apron, not close to anybody, then to cover decides to throw a punch that whiffs by about two feet. It just totally falls apart here. Cassandro tried his damndest to hold the dive train together as while everybody is lying around he's the only one trying to catch most of the time. He catches three of the dives himself while all the other chumps are just lying around. Pimpi bails on his dive half way through as two of the Night Queens are just completely out of position. Just a whole big mess. Cassandro has a fun sequence with Yuriko and I'm consistently amused by Yuriko screaming whenever bailing to the floor. But just too little good to recommend this one.


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cassandro Was Always By My Side, and Never Tried to Leave

Gran Apache/May Flowers/Pimpinela Escarlata/Polvo de Estrellas vs. Cassandro/Alan/Billy Boy/Decnnis (AAA, 5/20/06) - FUN

Cassandro is wearing his completely awesome Wonder Woman outfit that I have never seen before. One thing about doing this project is that I can be completely amazed time and time again at the many different outfits of Cassandro. So far I have not seen the same outfit twice.

This match is full of dissension, as the Barrio Boys clearly don't agree with Cassandro's lifestyle choices and do not want to be teaming with him. Think about that: The BARRIO BOYS don't agree with Cassandro's lifestyle choices. So that's just not believable. I'm sure the Barrio Boys have made a boatload of bad life decisions. Gran Apache, on the other hand, has no problems whatsoever teaming with his group of exoticos, and is perfectly content to punch all the Barrio Boys right in the face (which I will never complain about).

This was all sorts of fun, as I always like May Flowers but he doesn't turn up too much anymore. Pimpi had a bunch of great moments including climbing the turnbuckle, back to the ring, and when Billy Boy tries to run in and stop him --> ass to the face, with a wiggle to boot! The Barrio Boys end up finally turning on Cassandro after a couple of miscues (that naturally involved some playful kisses), so then you had ALL the Barrio Boys, and ALL the exoticos ALL beating up poor Cassandro. It's just not fair.

La Fiera/Mocho Cota/Pimpinela Escarlata/Sangre Chicana vs. Cassandro/El Brazo/Espectro Jr./Pirata Morgan (AAA, 6/18/06) - VERY GOOD

This was so awesome. Pimpi and Cassandro were the young bucks in this match, and they were both in their late 30s here. Almost everybody else in this match is in their 50s. But I am in the camp who feels that a lot of luchadors need about 30 years of seasoning before they really come into their own. That seems to be how it's gone the last 3 years, at least.

So seriously, motherfucking Mocho Cota, making tape in the 2000s!!! That just doesn't happen that often. I don't think I've seen any other Cota match from the 2000s. Anybody else have a stash of Cota from this decade that they're hoarding? Because he looked quite awesome here. Threw some fine punches, did an AWESOME shoulderblock sequence with Brazo, bouncing off and staggering around, before manning up and just plowing through Brazo. He threw a nice dropkick and did a great tope during the sprint. He looked the same as he did in '96 CMLL, just slightly looser skin.

Sangre Chicana was also a total boss in this as well, with real nice punches and a great tope. Everybody really gets their chance to shine in this. Espectro Jr. threw some nice punches, Brazo got to do a bunch of fun belly bumps and Sangre/Mocho/Fierra all fell awesomely and hilariously into place for Brazo's big splash. Fierra can still bump shockingly well, and Cassandro and Pimpi are themselves, so you know that rules.

Cassandro had awesome hair and looked like Dustin Hoffman as Dorothy in "Tootsie". I would really like to see a lucha match interpretive adaptation of Tootsie. I think Mano Negra would make a great Dabney Coleman. He has more hair, and no mustache, but he makes the same great bug-eyed Dabney Coleman expressions. Brazo already kinda looks like a tan Charles Durning, and it wouldn't be too hard to find a couple of the blonde lady workers with low self-esteem to portray the Jessica Lange and Terri Garr roles. Make this happen, somebody.

The Night Queens run in at the end and it becomes a giant schmozz, with allegiances breaking down. Sangre Chicana wandering around and just punching Night Queens in the face was amusing. The Queens were also all wearing rainbow sashes, just in case you forgot they were, ya know, Queens. Cassandro gets suplexed into the 2nd row and this was all kinda of great fun.

Oriental/Chikayo Nagashima/Pimpinela Escarlata vs. Takashi Sugiura/Fabi Apache/Cassandro (AAA/SEM, 9/3/07) - GREAT

I assumed a lot of the guys would do it up pretty big since they were in Japan and don't tour there too often, and I was correct. This was a real unique mixture of talent in one match, and it worked out to be really awesome.

First off, Pimpi comes out in a full on bridal gown and tosses his bouquet to the crowd. It is amazing. Then Sugiura comes out and Pimpi gets all hot and bothered by his stocky physique and wants a piece of him, which causes Takashi to naturally freak out, lest his lips touch another mans'. I was not sure how Cassandro was going to be able to top it, and his entrance does not....but his amazing glittery Rising Sun singlet COMPLETELY does. This might be my favorite Cassandro singlet.

Fabi and Nagashima match up really nicely, and I haven't regularly watched joshi for most of this decade, but earlier in the decade when I was still checking out joshi with some regularity, she was easily one of my favorites in GAEA. She matched up even better with Cassandro, as they get into a hilarious slap exchange with Cassandro over-emoting to the crowd and the crowd eating it right up. She also takes a nice beating as at one point she's stuck in the corner, and Fabi does a great running kick right to her face, Cassandro does the most painful looking butt bump (aside from maybe Morishima, but Cassandro is literally half his size) right to her head, and Sugiura ends the trifecta with a nasty running elbow.

Cassandro ramps up the crazy for the Japanese crowd, getting an insane amount of distance on his "run full speed towards the corner and wrap myself around the turnbuckle" spot. I see the spot coming every time, but I always enjoy it more and more. So nuts. He also does the absolute fastest deadliest Jerry Estrada bump I've ever seen. Just a full on sprint into a flip right over the ropes. Just sheer madness.

This was like a random NOAH 6 man, and random NOAH 6 mans are one of my favorite style of matches possible. This one just had two really great lady workers and my two favorite exoticos. Well worth going out of your way to see. I wish Cassandro and Pimpi made it to Japan more often.


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IWRG 12/27/09

Unfortunately we only get one match from this show:

Gringo Loco/Maldito Jr./Samot v Exodia/Freelance/Eragon

TKG:This was basic lucha formula. First fall starts with Maldito v Exodia trying to one up each other to see who can throw the better arm drag. Then Gringo Loco and Eragon exchange armdrags into submissions or pin attempts and then Samot and Freelance work really entertaining Mike Knox v Rey sections. Second fall is each face winning exchanges opposite all three heels one after another until the heels start double and triple teaming. Third fall is the heels double and triple team to dominate until faces hit their highflying. First and third fall were a blast, and really dug Eragon’s weird inverted full nelson finisher in the first. Second fall had some good Freelance stuff but lots of flaws. This is my second time seeing the Maldito/Samot team and I get the sense for big bruising team they do not have their timing down on big guy collision stooging spots. They have a hard time doing the two big guys eat something at same time stuff and are out of place to string one big collision into the next.

PAS: Freelance was really, really great here. He was so much fun pin balling for Samot and Maldito Jr. The WWE is signing random luchadores, they really should sign Freelance and put him on ice to replace Rey when his knees finally blow up. Samot and Maldito Jr. are way more Awesome and King Kong then Mark Henry and Big Show, so I can only imagine how fun he would be against those guys. Solid trios match outside of that, with one excellent performance.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

IWRG 12/25/09

Black Terry Jr has put up three of the matches from this show. I am numbering them based on where they would be on the card in case he decides to ever put up the other matches.

2.Hijo del Signo, Vampiro Metalico v Gemelos Fantasticos

TKG: One of the Gemelos Fantasticos has gotten on the gas, which means I can now tell them apart. There is the bloated twin with thinning hair and the lanky twin with full head of hair. I think the bloated one is the better of the two. This is real basic undercard tag match. Three short falls. First fall mostly hip toss and arm drags leading to near fall section. There was some blown stuff here. Second fall fast rope running into heel double team stuff. Beginning of this is fast exchanges with one Gemelo getting the best of both heels in succession, then the other Gemelo doing the same. Vampiro Metalico cheap shots to offense and the two heels take over. I thought this was an actively good fall. Which is pretty shocking considering it’s the Gemelos Fantasticos and Hijo del Signo is still green. Hijo Del Signo is a lot more confident than the last time we saw him and his offense looked crisper and he ate stuff nicely here. Vampiro Metalico makes lots of Larry Zbysco like infuriated and slow burn faces that entertain me. They do an amusing spot where the faces try to get the chubby Vampiro Metalico to take off his shirt. Vampiro Metalico talks one of the Gemelos into doing a muscle pose which opens him up for chop. Feels like a spot Jwow should steal. Third fall had some good and bad stuff. Still second fall impressed.

PAS: I remember there was a point where both Harris twins were working TNA, but Ron had gotten weirdly in shape while Don had gotten fat (it might have been the other way around). Ron tried to work like a guy in shape, trying to do spots and stuff, which kind of sucked, meanwhile Don just punched people in the face and brawled. I didn't get a sense that either Gemelo was varying his offense in that kind of way. Although the Gemelos Fantasticos are really poor man's Harris Twins.

4.Hijo Del Diablo, Gringo Loco, Avisman v Ultaman Jr, Bushi, Angelico

TKG: Mixing it up a bunch here: with Angelico working Avisman in first, Hijo Del Diablo in second, and Gringo Loco in third; Ultraman Jr getting Hijo Del Diablo in first and third and Avisman in second; and captain Bushi getting Gringo Loco in first all three in second and Avisman in third. Lots of this match was messy and bad. But I was surprisingly pleased with Ultraman Jr. In 2008 Ultaman Jr was a skinny awkward highflyer, he appears to have eaten a bunch of Super Astro sandwhiches and had the feel of guy who knows where to be in a match. I dug his first fall mat exchanges with Hijo Del Diablo a bunch. Most of that may be Hijo Del Diablo but still. The two worked a really organic unrehearsed style going for takedowns, and turns. With this and the 11/26/09 match that’s two primera caida’s that I’ve enjoyed Ultraman Jr. When Bushi blew his rope climb toward a dive, Ultraman Jr was the guy who went over from the apron and kicked at the heels to help kayfabe why they’d still stand there waiting to eat dive. He also whipped out a nasty in ring reverse tope and a tope that either was ugly or had a bruising flying shoulder tackle feel to it depending on your mood.

PAS: Ultraman Jr. did look good, but this match was a train wreck. Avisman is very good, but he failed at semi carrying Angelico on the mat, as their exchanges looked way worse then your average Angelico v. Trauma or Navarro section. This was the worst Bushi looked in a while as he was blowing stuff badly. The normally solid Gringo Loco looked terrible too, as his timing seemed super off. Bad match with a couple of nice Ultraman Jr. spots

5.Los Terribles Cerebros v Los Oficiales

PAS: These are six of the best wrestlers in IWRG (and really in the world) and you are going to get a lot of good shit when they match up. Terry and 911 are wedded here and I really like all of their interactions. The opening matwork was very good, and all of Terry's arm and wrist manipulations were sweet looking. Still I think that these are teams who could use technicos. You can do rudo v. rudo if you make it a bloody brawl, or even a battle of one upsmanship with both teams attempting to battle technically. That was the template used in the excellent Dinastia Navarro v. Terrible Cerebros matches earlier in 2009, start with a battle of skill, move into a battle of rudismo. Oficiales aren't really that type of team though, and here though it felt a like both teams were working as bumping bases with triple teams. It needed balance, it was kind of like the flip side of all of the disappointing flyer v. flyer matches you might see on the indies. Also they really went into backcracker overkill here, IWRG desperately needs another move, jack the RKO or something.

TKG: I actively liked the template they used here and thought the balance was the key to how this worked. In the last match you had Angelico wins his mat exchanges with Avisman in the first fall, win his brawling exchanges with Hijo Del Diablo in the second and win his fast exchanges with Gringo Loco in the third. He worked as guy who is equal to (if not better) than opponents in their specialized field. In the Terribles Cerebros v Oficiales no one worked “guy equal to opponent”. First caida starts with Fierro v Dr Cerebro doing technical exchanges. Cerebro is the superior worker on the mat, Fierro is the taller guy with more standing leverage and that is the story of their exchanges. Again compare this to Angelico v Avisman trading holds where there is an even bigger size difference that never plays into how they work the holds. Fierro and Dr Cerebro’s exchanges were all about leverage with Fierro having an advantage standing and working from top half while Dr Cerebro is more likely to get a takedown by attacking lower extremities. 911 and Black Terry match up and again these guys aren’t equal; instead it’s 911 being stronger countered by Black Terry being cannier. It’s a really neat first fall which sets up the story of the rest of the match. The fall laid out both teams strategic advantages in rest of match. I’m used to seeing Terribles Cerebros as bad ass brawlers but instead we’re told here they will be the MX in essentially a Powers of Pain v MX match up. The second fall is essentially a Nikita and Powers of Pain v RnRX and Dusty match up, where the Oficiales absolutely dominate and the backcrackers acts as underdog dropkicks. Second fall works although I think they could have done better. Third fall is technical heels outsmarting, out-techniqueing and outmoving brawling heels, and getting a bunch of visual pinfalls ( I missed how the ref got bumped out) before the brawling heels get their win.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

IWRG 12/20/09

And so begins the great IWRG handheld revolution as the first half of this is available on handhelds on youtube and the second was shown on Teleformula

Handhelds are here

Commando Negro v Guizmo

TKG: I’ve written about Commando Negro before. Described him as the type of rudo who is all about shtick, eating stuff and loosing exchanges. Here he is working dominant heel vs. green highflyer, which is role that I didn’t know he could pull off. Does a nice job of it controlling offense for most of the falls and letting Pikachu get in his little runs. He also throws two of the best looking dropkicks I’ve seen in 2009. It’s IWRG so it’s always possible that this is a different guy given the Commando Negro gimmick (the mask looks different). But if it is the same Commando , nice to see him mix up his game, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him work from above more often.

PAS: Guizmo is one of the many green technicos who are filling IWRG undercards these days. I have seen him look better then he did here, as his good stuff didn't look that good, and his bad stuff was pretty bad. Commando Negro looked good here, although there was a couple of Guizmo armdrags he didn't save. Guizmo isn't really ready for a singles match, although I guess this is how he will get there.

Maldito Jr./Samoth v Alan Extreme/Miss Gaviota

TKG: Man alive does Samot have a beautiful mask. It’s like the eye design from Cobarde’s mask combined with the mouth design from Mano Negra’s mask. People these days are all about putting drawings on their masks or making the mask look like something else but this type of attention to typographical serifs is so much cooler.

PAS: Maldito Jr. and Samoth are both really big dudes, especially for lucha libre. Mostly a big guy squash with the technicos getting a couple of flashes of offense. Samoth had some nice power moves, and a big splash, and Alan Extreme had a nice dive, but otherwise this was pretty dull.

Black Terry/Trauma II/Veneno v Angelico/Bushi/Freelance

TKG: We are going to be writing lots and lots about IWRG at this point and I’d like to stop writing about the poor wrestling of Angelico. Yes his South African diamonds has bought him an inexplicable main event push. But I figure those same South African diamonds have paid for Black Terry Jr’s digital video camera. So I’ll take the bad with the good. It totally makes up for it. And I guess there are other things that I could write about in this match besides Angelico. Black Terrry almost lobotomized himself catching a dive, almost impaling his brain on an exposed post. I could write about how awesome Trauma II has gotten, how good his submissions looked in first fall (especially liked the Mr Mexico finisher spun into a leglock) and how he really seems to be stepping up the selling in submissions or how amazing his brawling has become. But instead I’ve got to talk about Angelico. There have been a bunch of people who have criticized Angelico for how awful his stuff looks. And I think that is all besides the point. I mean Malcolm Gladwell is an idiot. The Beatles success had nothing to do with how many hours they spent playing together in Hamburg. Revolver is their sixth album and Harrison recognized that he was a mediocre guitarist so he got Mccartney to play the solo on Harrison’s Taxman, and that solo mainly works for Mccartney’s unsteady wavering playing. There are lots of dumb oversimplisitc explanations for the Beatles success that make more sense than hours of practice; the military draft removing older male peers and their ability to exert social pressure telling their younger peers to stop listening to such wussy stuff, yadda yadda. All that said, practice does increases skills and does make for better performance. Angelico is getting lots and lots of experience and his stuff will look less awkward and more polished. He will probably have enough skill to look good when he leaves Mexico to become the top ethnic babyface in the Orania Wrestling Fed. But beyond Angelico's bad execution and goofy stuff is the fact that he seems completely uninterested in working a lucha match. I mean you almost get the sense that he's a guy who'se calling his sections. On some level I'm always impressed with Veneno's handling of Angelico. Veneno is not a guy who I think of highly, but he knows how to work Angelico or Ricky Cruzz. Veneno is a guy who can keep a Spanish speeking non luchador usefully occupied. And you get the sense that if you edited out everything but the Veneno-Angelico sections you'd have a fine Maryland Championship Wrestling main event. The best possible Corporal Punishment v Julio Dinero main event ever. I get the sense that Veneno v Bandido Jr in ECWA would be a really good ECWA match. But not interested in an ECWA main event when I'm watching IWRG. I'm watching a lucha match don't foul it up. In this trios match Angelico is working Trauma II, and Trauma II is one of the most improved promising guys in lucha, and Angelico manages to turn a Trauma II primera caida section into a Arik Cannon v Alex Shelley comedy segment where I kept on waiting for Bryce Rensburg to draw a hopscotch board on the mat and have both guys throw a rock and jump to the appropriate number before putting on submissions. Yes Angelico's execution has gotten better but he still wants to be in an Arik Canon match and here turns Trauma II into Shelley. I mean I was just getting used to Angelico fouling up main events (with guys who know better), but now he’s going to foul up the workrate semi-mains (with developing young talent)?

PAS: There was enough good in this match to mitigate the Angelico. Black Terry and Freelance have feuded in the past, with limited footage available. You get a nice section opening between the two here, and you can just imagine how excellent their title and hair matches must have been. Bushi also continues to be perfectly adequate. I think that Trauma II is one of the few guys who can do something with Angelico, I am with Tom on how their standing wrist lock exchanges looked. At one point Dave Taylor ran some camps for indy workers and guys like Chris Hero, C.M. Punk and Colt Cabana came back with British spots in their movesets. Then other indy dudes like Arik Cannon watched Chris Hero tapes and stole those spots, Angelico looks like he watched Arik Cannon tapes and tried to emulate him The actual mat work between the two however felt much more like a 1st Generation copy, he was doing Negro Navarro stuff he actually learned from Negro Navarro.

Canek/Hijo del Canek v Pirata Morgan/Hijo Del Pirata v Negro Navarro/Trauma I v Mascara Ano Dos Mill/Mascara Ano Dos Mill Jr v Olimpico/Exodia v Pantera/Hijo Del Pantera

TKG:Hey Exodia made it through a match without injuring himself. His father didn’t but still. Concept here is father-son elimination match. You start with all six sons working an everyone for themselves elimination match. Whenever a son gets eliminated he is replaced by an avenging father. It’s a match designed to be a clusterf*ck. I mean they do keep the action in the ring from ever getting too cluttered by having lots of participants brawl on floor. On the plus side: all of the fathers are charismatic enough to know how to keep this from getting completely unfocused and know how to work the kind of punch and kick stuff that you’re going to be doing in a battle royale. On the negative you have Canek, Pirata, Mascara Ano Dos Mill, and Negro Navarro and the everyone for themselves means that you never work face/heel spots; guys who know how to structure a match in a match that is formless by design. I did leave this really wanting to see a trios match captained by Negro Navarro v Masscara Ano Dos Mill.

PAS: Yeah this was kind of a mess, it was really hard to get sense of any of the juniors. Once Negro Navarro and Mascara Ano 2000 came in we got a couple of moments of brilliance. It was just a pair of bad ass old dudes smacking the shit out of each other, I can imagine how great matwork between the two would be. I would love to see the Capos get a run in IWRG, MA200, Universo and random fake son vs. Dinastia Navarro is my new dream match.

TKG: The final elimination with the sons interfering was kind of disappointing. This could have actually used Angelico/ Col Deklerk (RIP) team, Ted Petty knew how to put a big table spot at the end of a clusterrf@ck.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

SLL's 2010 MOTY List

1. Sangre Azteca, Dragon Rojo Jr., & Misterioso II vs. Mascara Dorada, El Metro, & Stuka Jr. (Mexican Trios Title Match) - CMLL 1/6
2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4
3. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7
4. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7
5. Centella de Oro, Blue Center, & King Jaguar vs. Ares, Alarido, & Crazy Black (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/11

5. Centella de Oro, Blue Center, & King Jaguar vs. Ares, Alarido, & Crazy Black (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/11

Another great bout from CMLL, although we can't really count this towards any possible CMLL quality resurgence, since it's from Arena Puebla, and that's really it's own little universe. This is a one-fall match, but not a Lightning Match, and not wrestled like one. It's wrestled more like a standard 2/3 falls lucha bout compressed into a single fall, and if you pay attention, you can even see how it would play out if decompressed. You have your primera caida built around kick-ass Centella de Oro/Ares matwork and King Jaguar/Crazy Black matwork that breaks down when the rudos get flustered and the technicos use it against them to score the first fall. That leads to your high energy, technico-dominated segunda caida that ends with the rudos rallying to take the next fall. And then you have your tercera caida where the rudos beat the shit out of the technicos until they get their comeback, leading to some big dives (most notably from the always fun BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CENTER~!) that leave the team captains alone in the ring to finish things off. And, appropriately enough, it happens with Ares tossing Oro off of the top rope, locking him up on the mat, and making him say "tío". So they took all of that and crammed it into a single 9-minute fall of action, and it rocked. Alarido didn't leave much of an impression on me, but everyone else looked really good here, especially the captains. Ares is a guy who has been working since the late-80's and never made it past Puebla undercarder status, and that seems a real shame, because he totally brings it in this match, and Centella de Oro is right behind him the whole time. May not be essential viewing, but certainly worthwhile.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

SLL's 2010 MOTY List

1. Sangre Azteca, Dragon Rojo Jr., & Misterioso II vs. Mascara Dorada, El Metro, & Stuka Jr. (Mexican Trios Title Match) - CMLL 1/6
2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4
3. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7
4. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7

1. Sangre Azteca, Dragon Rojo Jr., & Misterioso II vs. Mascara Dorada, El Metro, & Stuka Jr. (Mexican Trios Title Match) - CMLL 1/6

The old, classic lucha title match presented as straightforward athletic competition has been dead in the major lucha feds for some time now. This match isn't quite a revival of the style, but it was definitely a shock to see how close they got, and how well they did with it. You had a 10-minute opening fall based on long Stuka/Misterioso and Dorada/Rojo matwork exchanges. I thought they had laws against those ("Mistico Protection Act of 2007"). They really caught me by surprise, and looked really good, too boot. Second and third falls get more into the high-flying stuff and these guys do it without falling into the bad NJ junior wannabe style that a lot of your young Mistico-era CMLL workers fall into. This feels like actual lucha libre, and really good lucha libre at that. They crank things up in the third fall, throwing in the Poder Mexica contingent slapping the shit out of Stuka, a nice dive train that included an awesome turnaround crossbody off the top to the outside by Stuka, and a long finishing stretch that feels legitimately dramatic for a change. There was a certain novelty to this match. If it didn't quite match the old "lucha title bout" style, it at least came closer to it than any other CMLL match I've seen in a few years.

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Fab Five Friday: 1/15/10 - 1/21/10

Each Friday, sometime SC correspondent and constant indexer Nick Curley ranks and files his five favorite wrestling moments of the previous seven days in a segment we call Fab Five Friday. In the tradition of its namesake, hip-hop pioneer and Renaissance man Fab Five Freddy, the column (while not exclusive to grappling's current events) is aimed at the wrestling zeitgeist of the moment. Topical donnybrooks, pillar-to-post from soup to nuts: anything and everything that fell within Curley's pro wres week that was. It is Friday: he is in love. Nay: he is love.

5) TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: Tuesday on ECW, Segunda Caida stalwarts Christian and William Regal had their second fourteen TV match in five days. The first came Thursday on WGN’s Superstars: a solid if middle-of-the-pack outing in their now lengthy series of bouts. Such is present day WWE: a remarkably deep roster (if not as good as it was a year or two or five ago) filling so much television time that should two workers show any in-ring chemistry, they will square off in televised singles matches twelve to fifteen more times. In a preceding Royal Rumble promo, Josh Matthews reminds us that Christian is the longest running champion in WWE. Therein lies the rub for ECW: no heel with the exception of Regal has been worthy of usurping Christian’s crown, and even he failed in all four taped title shots he received last year. The crowd came alive for this non-title version from its outset, an unreleased collar-and-elbow tie-up test of strength more closely resembling a town square’s bell smattering clock tower walls. For people who complain about who does what in this company, consider that you’ve seen more Regal on TV this week than Hunter, Shawn, and Vince combined. This succeeded in part because Regal does a better kip up than Michaels. Why? Because Regal follows his with a stiff headbutt to the eye socket. Further nastiness came via outstanding punches: Christian’s hope spot of dazed and dizzying jabs that boxed Regal’s ears, and Regal cutting him off with a running roundhouse of sorts. Regal’s kick of Christian’s wedged head into the post was as good as it’s ever looked thanks to Christian selling it marvelously. For as good as Regal was, it was Christian who made this great, redeeming himself after the world’s most awkward announce booth commentary the previous week. His reactions to Regal’s onslaught, both here and in the Superstars match, were on par with any Gene Hackman Can’t Believe Life’s Folly or Beat Kitano Has a Bad Day facial reactions found on film. Even the lame, predictable finish works thanks to Regal’s exasperation and the joy Ezekiel Jackson takes in laying out fools. The best match I’ve seen in my IWRG-free 2010 to date, and one perhaps setting up a Jackson title win at the Rumble that would neither surprise nor displease.

4) GOLDUST AT 43 GOES GOLD DIGGERS OF ’39: While Christian-Regal was the far better match, ECW’s “Dave Scherer High Mark of the Week” came in the form of Dustin Rhodes’ house-on-fire adrenaline run in an earlier tag bout. Rhodes and Yoshi Tatsu challenged Trent Baretta and Caylen Croft, two pony-tailed Dynamic Dude proxies whose gimmick is that they dig video games, trophies, and other stupid shit that nerds like. Dustin as Goldust became ECW’s Bobby Eaton-style workhorse in ’09, getting over current Raw champ Sheamus with a series of fantastic Power Hour-style brawls. The degree to which a seemingly aged, out-of-place Rhodes is over with WWE crowds is surprising until one recognizes his utility and knack for nuances that engage fans in matches: selling visible from the arena’s last row, bombastic hot tags, and subtle revisions to a persona that ten years ago had him shimmying to the ring sporting green pleather, a Zimmer frame, and a ball gag. Watching the Dustin of today is not unlike watching Danny Kaye backflip off walls in Singin’ in the Rain, or Gene Kelly in An American in Paris. These were dudes who were as tough and rugged as they were graceful, whose fluidity of motion and agility were by-products of raw power and gusto. Dustin’s frustrated, noodle-legged sell of the cheap shot lariat that beat him was particularly great, as was Tatsu’s exasperation and their post-match miming to get the story across to even the most short-bussed of spectators.

3) REY KNOWS WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS: The former El Colibri this week showed why he is not simply one of the most charismatic and agile wrestlers of the modern era, but also one of the smartest. In a steel cage match with Batista, Rey Mysterio ably portrayed qualities we’re led to think it unwise for faces to show: fear, intimidation, and the desire to run from a fight. Rey’s strategy was at once the right dramatic choice and the most logical one: use his speed and size to escape the cage as quickly as possible. He went so far as to run up his opponent’s enormous back, treating it as a launching pad. We have seen in various other modes of storytelling the “thrill of the chase” concept. It takes a great performer to pull that story off such live, fifteen feet in the air. Whereas a lesser babyface would have garnered no such sympathy, Rey is the kind of David who can make a fool of Goliaths and still build them up as fearsome monsters. A worthy candidate for Best Wrestler of 2009, Rey has already begun making his case for 2010.

2) GET THIS MAN SOME JERSEY DINER ONION RINGS: This one goes against all I stand for. Show tunes? Fat kids? Internet puro geek memes? The post-Sopranos and championship Red Sox preponderance of Journey in our lives? 20th Century FOX on the whole? By all rights this should be a perfect storm of shithouse, yet I cannot look away. Decide for yourself which is the better incantation: I think it’s a toss-up between the David Fincher camera operation of the first and the delight I took from an obese man sporting such sunny business casual wear in the second:

1) STANISLAVSKI AND ADLER INVADE THE IMPACT ZONE: Of all the insane, wonderful, and insane again things about the Hogan-Bischoff era of TNA to date, the best is likely the curious earnestness that the show has developed. Nowhere is that felt stronger than in the David Lynch levels of peaceful surrealism found in many of the show’s promos. The iMPACTs of recent years have been plagued by a bizarre mix of brutally unfunny comedy, overrated high spot wrestling, and cynical unprofessionalism. This rebranding has at the very least produced train wrecks that are “must-watch” rather than “must-take-another-shower”, and mic work that’s often very funny, be it intentionally (D’Angelo Dinero) or otherwise (Kevin Nash’s naturalist approach, delivering lines as if making small talk with a slow-witted bellhop). This week was no exception, as the show opened with a Ric Flair promo that was embarrassing in the same way most modern day Flair promos are. Here he announced that he had been signed to TNA because, “on a cold, cold spring night” in Orlando, he had circumstantially met and had intercourse with Dixie Carter in a hotel bar. And goddamn do these nineteen year old waifs accompanying Flair and his new protégé “AJ Styles and Profiles” to the ring look uncomfortable. This was like, Eastern European human trafficking levels of discomfort. “They told me I was to enter pageant, I wake up in burlap sack and Mr. Ric is yelling about making virgins bleed and Stinger splash.”

In today’s TNA, all the major players are in roles they seemingly aren’t supposed to be playing at this point in their careers. Ric Flair probably isn’t gonna get booed as the maniacal rudo maestro he wants to be. AJ Styles, while underrated on promos, looks like a kid wearing his dad’s suit to a dinner party. The zombified forty year old cyborg that stole Kurt Angle’s skin is not your ideal Walking Tall babyface. Hulk Hogan is of late too tongue-tied to be your ideal Bill Watts “owner who’ll whoop you himself if he has to”. The exception is Jeff Jarrett, diving headfirst into the role of Nashville’s Sourpussed Sleaze of a District Attorney, a part he was born to play. No one yet has their character at the level that we want them to, or saying the things they should be saying. Yet this is still compelling TV, insofar as it’s different: a solar eclipse upon which we wrestling fans, the permanent elementary school glue eaters, cannot help but burn into our retinas with a longing gaze.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

XCW Midwest -November Pain 11/21/09

Mobile Homers v. Knuckles and Knives

PAS: This started as a singles match between Rudy Switchblade and Ted “The Trailer” McNailer and turns into an impromptu tag match which is an XCW booking staple. Match varied from good to bad, these guys are both OVW tag teams and parts of the match felt polished like you would expect a touring match to be, other parts felt way too sloppy for guys who train together. Ted McNailer felt like the keeper in the group as he was really fast in his offense, and stuff landed well.

TKG: I don’t know if the singles into tag is a XCW staple or just a Mobile Homers staple. The quick taggin face part felt really polished. The member of Knucles and Knives who wasn’t Rudy Switchblade seemed like he was a guy who always knew how to be in the right place and work the crowd . I also liked his run in and beat down on Mcnailer.

New Age Assassin v. “Black Diamond’ Kliff Hanger

TKG: I don’t think New Age Assassin is the same New Age Assassin we’ve seen on earlier XCW and XCW ground Xero shows ,nor do I think he is New Age Assassin Tim Renesto. He was kind of stocky and awkward. Kliff Hanger and the Assassin start this match with lots of amusing horseshit. I think they may have overdone the horseshit to the point that it became dull. The point of a cliffhanger is you don’t give away all your stuff at once, you save some of that so you have something new next time. Hanger goes up well for back bodydrops and has some nice jabs but there was a lot of the post comedy stuff which looked ugly.

PAS: For the first part of the match this was a perfectly fine King Cobra v. Dirty Rhodes comedy undercard match. They switched into their “wrestling” section, and it felt unnecessary. I think that is a big problem with current indy wrestling, guys feel like if they have stuff to do, they need to do it in every match.

Todd Morton v. Mitch Ryder

PAS: These guys had one of my favorite matches of 2008, and they bring it back in 2009 and have another super match. Morton spends the first part of the match with some world class stooging, watching Morton avoid locking up is like watching Miles Davis play the trumpet. With all the Memphis wrestling I have watched over the last couple of years, I didn’t think there was new shtick I haven’t seen, but Morton is doing some revolutionary shit. When Ryder finally catches him and unloads with his great looking punch combos it is truly satisfying. Morton transitions into asskicker, and he unloads with super nasty punches and mafia kicks, with Ryder coming right back at him. The finish was fine, with Ryder rolling up Morton after he is distracted by Gerald Lowe. Still epic finishes are what XCW is often missing, it is like watching 1980’s All Japan, matches are great, but then you get the double count out. There are plenty of great finishes in Memphis they could borrow, but they seem to only use the cheap ones.

TKG: You get the sense that Morton has an endless number of lazzi at his disposal, and almost get the impression that he never uses the same one twice. His dodge and move and bullshit at the beginning of this match didn’t feel like time killer so much as stuff that actually built up anticipation. The punch exchanges on the floor right in front of little kids were awesome: “here’s some fucking close up magic, Ricky Jay”” and it’s neat watching them move from the platform to the close up and back. Finish wasn’t epic but it was satisfying.

Flash Flanagan v Too Tough Tony

TKG: Too Tough Tony is in as I think a replacement for Bull Pain. There is some odd pacing to this match. Too Tough Tony is a guy who normally works a match built around walking and hitting, while Flash is a guy who does quicker exchanges. And at times it feels like the two guys are having timing issues and at other times the difference in timing feels like a cool feature. Flash starts going all out and Too Tough looks somewhat awkward as guy working at the initial pace. Flash then begins a long run after a leg take down of Tony into turnbuckle. Tony doesn’t do much from below as Flash is constantly moving. The end with the two guys going for moves off the ropes where Flash moves quickly to avoid Tony, while Tony moves more last minute I thought was real neat. And I kind of liked Tony’s soccer bicycle kick which felt plodding guy hitting hard out of nowhere (as well as move that slowed Flash down to Tony’s pace). There were other moments where it just felt awkward.

PAS: I didn’t like this as much as Tom, Flanagan has had a great run in 2009, and this was the least of it. It not only felt like the timing was off on the match, but also their spacing seemed weird, multiple times they felt like they were too close to each other to pull off the moves they were trying. Flanagan had some moments, but this wasn’t any good.


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IWRG 12/6/09

Bushi/Suicida/Zatura v Fantasma De La Opera/Oficial 911/Oficial AK-47

TKG: This was fun match as for the most part everyone mixed it up. First fall has Segura and AK-47 doing the opening mat work, later fall has Segura starting opposite Fantasma in a stand up section. All three heels looked good, Fantasma did a lot of nasty open hand face slapping and had a vicious looking baseball slide to Segura’s face. Segura looked awesome in what was essentially a secondary role. Zatura looked to be off as he kept on landing stuff on his knees, but just kept going and his awkwardness made him feel somehow more bruising. Bushi continues to be inexplicable worker. The match was essentially built as a Bushi showcase, Fantasma is the guy who feuded with him to turn him face, 911 took his mask, the heels are DQed for failing to release Bushi from a submission, Bushi gets to take out two of them with consecutive dives and gets the final pin on 911 but he made the least impression of anyone in the match.

PAS: I thought this was great, Tom is right about Bushi being the least impressive of the guys in the match, but that is no slur as everyone else was awesome. I though Zatura was spectacular, he is a pretty thick guy who can hit some impressive flying offense and it really lands with a thud. At one point he gets armdragged which he turns into a one handed cartwheel, switches directions into a somersault which he flows right into a rana, I rewound it three times, it felt like watching an especially confounding Monta Ellis layup, you think "bodies don't work like that." He also hits an awesome looking asai into the third row of chairs. I need to see more Zatura. One of the better Oficales performances too as they bump and stooge and do their stuff. They had a weak beginning of the year, but are really closing 2009 strong.

Angelico/Alebrije/Brazo De Plata v Pirata Morgan/Hijo Del Cien Caraas/Veneno

TKG: Angelico didn't really do anything to fuck this up and for the most part felt like his sections weren't out of place with the flow of the rest of the match. First fall was largely face comedy, second fall was rudos going "fuck this comedy shit lets tear folks up", and third was pissed faces coming back. On some level the ass biting chain (one guy bites the other guys ass, who then is bit by thrid guy, etc) I thought slowed stuff down in the third. But the midget blocking ass bite by turning around and stabbing his dick into Pirata's one good eye is a good payoff.

PAS: I liked this a bunch, Porky is really moving at slow motion at this point, but he is still super charismatic. Veneno can sort of work with Angelico, and he didn't ruin this match. Alebrije midget comedy spots were pretty amusing to me, I don't watch AAA so they were pretty fresh. Most of this was shtick, but there were a couple of moments where Pirata unleashed the menace, and he can be pretty intimidating, even in stuff like this.


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Then Cassandro Disintegrates Between a Wall of Clouds

Cassandro/Faby Apache/Mini Abismo Negro/Alfa vs. Pimpinela Escarlata/Cinthia Moreno/Octagoncito/Oriental AAA 7/15/07 - EPIC

I love these matches. Exotico/Lady/Mini/Dude matches always entertain me to no end. Everybody seems to work up a notch and their is always constant action. There always seems to be a game of one-upsmanship going on and this took place at Triplemania, so they were working in front of a pretty large crowd. Pimpi and Cassandro start and Cassandro has a crazy Justin Beiber haircut. He and Pimpi tie up and do a great hair toss sequence where Cassandro's Beiber 'do just comes right off!! Ah, that's right, he lost his hair the night before in a giant cage match that will never ever see the light of day. So Cassandro is totally buzzed under his Bieber wig. His fury and embarrassment over losing his beautiful locks drives him to completely OWN this match, putting on possibly the greatest performance of his I have ever seen. Every time he's in he just does the most insane things known to man. After his initial exchange with Pimp he takes a monstrous bump over the top to the floor at an incredibly fast speed. Later he charges right at Oriental and takes his trademark insane bump off the ring post to the floor. Throw in an out-of-control Asai moonsault and some great miscommunication spots and he was just on fire here.

Cinthia Morena is always really fun and always matches up with smaller guys impressively, and I always love Faby Apache. Mini Abismo Negro bumps all over the place for everybody and Octagoncito does a crazy hurracanrana to the floor. It's all action all the time and there is not one bland moment here.

Cassandro/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super Fly/El Angel vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko AAA, 10/26/07 - GREAT

Night Queens are wearing their ridiculous apricot-colored jammies and are all about coming up with new ways to smack the tecnicos with trash cans in this one. They start off by pummeling Super Fly and dumping him butt first in a trashcan, then putting the can up on the apron with him in it, then double baseball slide dropkicking it to the floor with him in it, landing him in all sorts of pain. Pimpi is the next to take the pain of the trash can, as he comes jumping off the ropes and gets clonked in the side of his head while his body goes splaying. We get some fun dive sequences, we get Cassandro and Pimpi doing their stereo sassy ropewalking into a hurracanrana and a flippy armdrag (respectively), followed by them doing an awesome hopscoth double-dutch tandem dance-off ending with a butt bump that makes you jealous that you don't have someone in your life to work on dance routines with you! Yuriko screams hilariously when he is about to take any sort of offense, Jesse wears the most garish pants ever made (some sort of apricot Zubaz pants with apricot plaid patches), and Cassandro KILLS himself at the end going for a dive as trashcans come back into play. Cassandro sets up a huge dive and one of the Queens holds up a trash can at the last second and Cassandro dives INTO the trashcan. He didn't get hit with it, he swooshed right into it and then got stomped while in the damn thing. Cold. Polvo kicks Pimp right in the balls to end it and this was all sorts of awesome.

Cassandro/Pimpinela Escarlata/Billy Boy/Mascara Divina vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko AAA, 1/19/08 - SKIPPABLE

Cassandro and Pimpi are wearing their totally awesome black widow spider outfits and Cassandro has the coolest headdress in the history of humans wearing cool headdresses. The match never really gets going. I don't much care for Divina, especially now that he no longer works his "awesome" Televisa Deportes gimmick (which would be the equivalent of a U.S. worker being named ESPN Sportscenter), and Billy Boy doesn't do too much here. Polvo can be kind of a load at times and while there were fun moments, there was also plenty of patented AAA "Show a shot of people in the crowd while clipping". Still, it does have it's moments, but it is rather short and forgettable.


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The Complete & Accurate Cassandro

So many many months ago Phil started the Complete & Accurate Fujiwara, wherein he began reviewing and ranking every single Yoshiaki Fujiwara match that has ever been committed to tape...EVER. It was a massive success. Through the DVDVR Other Japan Men's '80s set and Phil's philanthropy, I think it is safe to say that many people now view Fujiwara amongst the greatest wrestlers of all-time, let alone the 1980s.

Since the Fujiwara compendium has been a continued success, we've spoken about branching out and doing a series of wrestlers. We felt that we should profile a luchador next, and felt that Cassandro would be an ideal candidate for the first luchador to receive the illustrious Segunda Caida Complete & Accurate. Not only is he an elite worker, but he has the right amount of mystique.

He has this mystique because despite having been an active wrestler since 1989, there are only about 30 Cassandro matches that have ever been committed to tape, the bulk of them from his 2006/2007 run with AAA. While he's had a very active career, he also happens to work a lot of cool sounding shows that for whatever reason are not recorded. He's worked for Lucha Va Voom the last 3 years, and those matches haven't seen the light of day. He's worked all over Europe with Santo's fed, and little of the stuff has shown up (and what has shown up has been handheld footage). Don't even bother wondering about his stuff from the late '90s. It doesn't exist.

So I will review and rank all the available Cassandro, and hope that one day a little old lady from Yonkers finds a box in the attic containing a rare Bob Dylan white label test pressing of "Blood on the Tracks"...and underneath that vinyl is a video tape with Cassandro vs. Hijo del Santo wrestling at the Louvre. Someday.


~Pimpiniela Escarlata/Casanova/Sangre Chicana vs. Cassandro/Zumbido/Antifaz Arena Coliseo de (Monterrey 1/8/06) - FUN
~Gran Apache/May Flowers/Pimpinela Escarlata/Polvo de Estrellas vs. Cassandro/Alan/Billy Boy/Decnnis (AAA 5/20/06) - FUN
~La Fiera/Mocho Cota/Pimpinela Escarlata/Sangre Chicana vs. Cassandro/El Brazo/Espectro Jr./Pirata Morgan (AAA 6/18/06) - REALLY GOOD


~Cassandro/Faby Apache/Mini Abismo Negro/Alfa vs. Pimpinela Escarlata/Cinthia Moreno/Octagoncito/Oriental (AAA 7/15/07) - EPIC
~Oriental/Chikayo Nagashima/Pimpinela Escarlata vs. Takashi Sugiura/Fabi Apache/Cassandro (AAA/SEM 9/3/07) - GREAT
~Cassandro/Billy Boy/Fabi Apache/Mini Abismo Negro vs. Cinthia Moreno/Mascarita Sagrada 2007/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super Fly Lumberjack Match  (AAA 10/7/07) - GREAT
~Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko vs. Cassandro/El Ángel/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super AAA (AAA 10/18/07) - SKIPPABLE
~Cassandro/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super Fly/El Angel vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko (AAA 10/26/07) - REALLY GOOD
~Cassandro/Intocable/Mascara Divina/Pimpinela Escarlata vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko (AAA 12/14/07) - SKIPPABLE


~Cassandro/Pimpinela Escarlata/Billy Boy/Mascara Divina vs. Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko (AAA 1/19/08) - SKIPPABLE
~Cassandro/Pimpinela Escarlata/Pasion Cristal vs. Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko (AAA 4/10/08) - REALLY GOOD
~Cassandro/Hijo de Cien Caras vs. Incognito/Mascara Ano Dos Mil Jr. (Promociones Wagner 8/2/08) - SKIPPABLE
~Cassandro vs. Chuck Taylor (IWA-MS 9/26/08) - FUN


Cassandro vs. Villano III (Bull Terrier Match, Lucha VaVoom 10/30/09) - EPIC


~Cassandro/Lil' Chicken vs. Hector Garza/Mini Kissing Bandit (Lucha VaVoom 2/12/10) - EPIC


~Cassandro/Blue Demon Jr./LA Park vs. Halloween/Damien 666/Perro Aguayo Jr. (PDM 7/24/11) - FUN


~Cassandro/Hijo de Pirata Morgan vs. Villano IV/Ray Mendoza Jr. (3/16/13) - GREAT


Cassandro/Discovery vs. X-Fly/Skayde (3/26/16) - FUN


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IWRG 12/3/09

Only one match from this show has shown up. Pretty good match though

Oficial 911 v Bushi: Mask v Mask

TKG: Bushi opens the match with two huge dives right off the bat and a top rope armdrag. Bushi is going all out with huge make or miss moves from the start as everything is on the line. Of course the nature of all make or miss moves is you are going to leave openings for opponent and the stronger 911 has some spots but is unprepared for Bushi’s onslaught. He’s unable to take control as he can’t keep up with Bushi’s pace. Bushi wins first fall with backcracker into the same shoulderbreaker he used to win the title. Then he goes into the second fall working over that shoulder. The third fall is pretty epic with a crowd brawling section which includes a dive off the ring ramp, Bushi trying for another pin off the backcracker-shoulderbreaker combo, 911’s shoulder being so fucked that he faceplants off the apron brawling, 911 hitting a huge dive, 911 hitting his big bread and butter power move on the floor sending Bushi into the ring post and the floor and a bunch of other shit. I’m not a fan of most big move lucha, and this is big move lucha. But normally the problem with big move lucha is it’s just two guys trading moves. This match was all about actual guys dominated and controlling with the big moves, really neat transitions and openings for transitions, and lots of continuous selling of impact of the moves. It feels like a match that if I gave play by play description, or put it in some type of wrestling simulator game---would read like a MOTYC. But it didn’t feel quite that good to me watching it. It registered as really good but felt like something was missing. Often times when there is a match that feels like a MOTYC on paper but doesn’t register as such it’s because of poor execution. That isn’t the case here as the execution is all really good. Sometimes it’s because of lack of heat, and well this had heat. There is something about Bushi’s performance here that felt really emotionally detached and took me out of the match. He didn’t come across as emotionless or mechanical. Instead there is this Bill Murray in Lost in Translation feel to Bushi’s performance. He’s there but emotionally elsewhere. Bushi knows he’s leaving Mexico soon, and while he’s trying to save his mask, he can’t help but let his mind wander and worry about the child he’s leaving behind in Mexico and the child he left behind in Japan? His thoughts are on his garden? The lost dreams of his youth? He’s distant. The emotionally disconnected character is a great fictional type: the distant husband who has mentally already checked out of his relationship while still fighting to keep it; the guy who is mentally at home while at work; the guy mentally at work while at home, etc. I guess I can tack on backstory to make this all work. And on some level Bushi as a husk of a man whose soul is broken still trying to hold onto the dignity of his mask while his heart is elsewhere is kind of compelling and relatable. But I think wrestling may require that it’s characters be “in the present”. This is such an intangible thing that I may be seeing something that isn't there and I am curious to see what other people feel about this match, but everytime I watch this I get the same vibe.

PAS: I really love the highflyer going immediately for dives, it really gets across the recklessness of the techinco and his willingness to go all out from the beginning. Very cool start and engaged me right from the jump. I really wish that IWRG would steal a second move from the indies, as multiple backcrackers in every match can be a bit much, Sami Callihan's headlock driver seems pretty simple, steal that, mix it up a bit. I agree with Tomk on Bushi, I think the problem is that he throws pretty loose and weak kicks, elbows and punches. This match is set up to be this epic violent battle, but Bushi's shit is too dainty, and it takes me out of the match. Great performance by 911 though, and a pretty damn good match overall.


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Monday, January 18, 2010

IWRG 11/26/09

Miss Gaviota/Eragon v Vampiro Metalico/Carta Brava Jr.

TKG:Yeah this is TVC Deportes and not Teleformula. That said, this was pretty disappointing. I liked some of the rudo double team controlling the ring stuff, but all four of these guys have looked better before. Primera caida matwork was a step off, and there were moments where it started to come together and then something would get fucked up and it would fall apart again. The cameraman also was doing lots more crowd shots in the middle of action than I remember them doing before. Not sure if that was to hide blown stuff or just poor editing.

PAS: I liked parts of this, but it was a hot mess. The heels were fun in the first fall, the double dropkick with the technico tied into the ropes was awesome and should be stolen by an indy dude. It totally falls apart though as multiple things were blown and guys were constantly getting hurt.

Gringo Loco/Dr. Cerebro/Oficial Fierro v. Pendulo/Exodia/Ultraman Jr.

TKG: Now this is rewarding fun TVC deportes type match. The Officiales have one set of trios titles, while the Cerebros have the other set and so you have a heel team that isn’t all quite on the same page. Dr Cererbro is working more of a technical heel that doesn’t want to bother with the cheap shot rudismo of the other two, while the other two rudos question Cerebro’s lack of involvement in double teams. That type of stuff can turn into overbooking and distract from a match but it never does here. Technico team isn’t much. Pendulo I’ve liked in the past. Never thought much of Ultraman Jr and I don’t think I’ve seen Exodia in a match where he hasn’t hurt himself and needed to be checked out by ringside doctor. Thankfully, most of this match is built around long stretches of Pendulo with just occasional appearances by the other two technicos. Pendulo has a nice long mat section opposite Fierro in first fall and good stand up section opposite Cerebro in the second. I was surprised by how well Ultraman Jr worked with Dr Cerebro as the two have a good looking takedown, throw section in first and also work a nice standing section later. The technicos have a title match against Terry and the Cerebros the following week. I don't know if it made TV, and honestly this isn't much a technico team. Still this match was good enough that I'd be stoked to see the title match.

PAS: I though this was pretty great, really a Pendulo and Fiero show. Their mat section at the beginning was pretty slick. Pendulo flies around pretty great here hitting a nutty dive in the second fall where he is just thrown by Exodia over the top on to the rudo, then he ends the third fall dive train with a nice looking Orihara moonsault. Fiero is a total beast, he is making a case for the top Oficiales spot in 2009, he does it all as rudo in this match, good opening mat section, great job as a base for the flyers, some chippy little brawling, and he tops it off with some lunatic bumping.

Bushi v. Avisman

PAS: I wasn't expecting much from this match, Avisman has been completely hit and miss in the past and I haven't been impressed with Bushi at all. So I was pretty shocked at how great this was, I would put it up there with the Cerebros v. Navarros trios and Trauma II v. Zatura as the best IWRG match of the year. Avisman had always been a guy who was slick on the mat, but kind of useless standing, but here he pretty much put it all together. He did a masterful job playing the dominant champion defending against the outmatched upstart. One of the more Ric Flairish performances I have seen out of a luchador. The mat attack in the first fall was great, as he really used cool submissions not just to show off his technique, but to really rip and tear at Bushi, really violent looking stuff which was awesome. Bushi did a nice job countering while still looking out matched. Second and third falls built really well, I loved Bushi ducking a clothesline and wiping out 911 who had been interfering. The finish was pretty great with Bushi grabbing a flash submission after Avisman missed the top rope headbutt. Very cool out of nowhere move and it really felt like a big upset which was how the match was being worked.

TKG: This was really good. Avisman is a guy who I’ve seen both work too even with guys who he shouldn’t be trading with evenly and I’ve also seen give opponents so little that matches felt like squashes. Here he really hits the right note. He totally comes across as dominant champion v underdog. He absolutely dominates the first mat fall. Bushi gets in his own escapes and submissions, but he is just completely outmatched on the mat. And Avisman just comes off completely dominant in first fall. Second fall begins with Bushi moving away from surfboards/bow and arrow type holds and just going after leg locks. And again he is outmatched. Bushi realizes that he needs to go to his bread and butter, the only way he can beat Avisman is with speed and aerial offense. Third fall is Avisman going to the big throws (same way he beat Trauma II) and you being aware that this is questionable strategy since Bushi can always get an opening off the Irish whip. Title matches have a basic formula and basic sections. Here they felt less like guys working through sections and more like guys constantly regrouping and adjusting strategies. Impressive performance by Avisman in role of poor man’s Dr Cerebro. I thought Bushi for his part did a really nice job selling fatigue over the course of the match, which also helped make all the “sections” feel connected as one affected the next. That kind of selling over the course of match isn’t something he’ll be asked to do when he returns to Japan, but still nice. Ref bumps and seconds interference in IWRG can feel really tacked on and disrupt the flow of a match, but here the outside shenanigans felt pretty organic.

Oficial 911/Hijo del Pirata Morgan/Mascara Año 2000 Jr. v El Pantera/Angelico/Super Porky

PAS: Current main event IWRG is pretty much defined by how much Angelico ruins the match. This one had minimal Angelico horseshit and had amusing Super Porky so I dug it. Pirata and 911 were in a goofy bumping contest, as they seemed to have a bet to see who could take a more elaborate spinning bump on a Porky belly bump or shitty Angelico kick. It got a little Mr. Perfecty for my taste, but it was amusing nonetheless. This was Panteras anniversary match so he was the focus, and he was about 80% on, the 20% that was off was a bit rough. Fine trios lucha libre though.

TKG:I liked this a lot less that Phil. This had a ton of Angelico and match felt really unfocused. They do another trio with feuding heels on a team deal as the Oficiales and Piratas are rival trios. You have a match which in theory should be highlighting Pantera. Do a bit where the heels get heat on him and a bit where he runs through his signature stuff. And it felt like each of these things, feuding heels, Pantera anniversary, Angelico wrestling his own match (that had nothing to do with flow of anything else) were each taking place in separate vacuums. Never felt like one coherent match. Disappointing.


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

IWRG 11/29/09

Freelance v. Oficial Fierro:

TKG: Looking through IWRG results from the months we’ve missed, IWRG has been pretty stips heavy lately. IWRG on Teleformula is all about the stips matches. This was another parejas increibles match where the losing team faced off in a hair match. We get mic work from all four workers (Yack, 911, Freelance and Fierro) but only get the actual stip match.It is a really counterintuitive match as its kind of worked like a Dean Malenko v Rey match except here Dean is the face and Rey is the heel. Freelance is awesome as dominant guy sadistically working over opponents body part (Fierro’s taped arm). Everything he does just looks nasty and violent, and he has lots of varieties of ways of working over Fierro’s busted wing. I especially liked the lariats to the arm he threw in the third fall. Fierro works as heel selling arm, fighting back from below, throwing out heel hope spots, trying to exploit quick openings, going for the desperation make or miss moves ( a huge tope which Freelance sidesteps), and pulling out the against the odds small package victory. And at no point in all that did you forget that he was the heel. Fierro is the underrated Oficial. He is the natural power forward working power forward and thus doesn’t stand out as much as his partners. He’s pretty basic punchy kicky worker and can be forgotten next to the flashier 911 or the larger AK-47. But he’s the one I trust to bring something out of a big singles stip matchup.

PAS: Not a IWRG classic, but a pretty interesting match up, and a pretty tremendous performance by Freelance. He is a guy I have loved for a while, but I never predicted this kind of Black Terryish asskicker performance from him. No highspots, no fancy armdrags, just trying to take someone arm home with him. Also man alive was Fiero's missed dive crazy, just a full on head first crash and burn. Freelance isn't normally in a match where he is out spectaculared, but he sure was here.

Rayo de Jalisco Jr./Scorpio Jr./Angelico v. Veneno/Toxico/Oficial 911

TKG : It’s weird to watch Scorpio Jr. as a gregarious smiling to the crowd veteran babyface. It’s not just that he’s a face, he’s a guy working “crowd favorite face”. It’s the late 80s in Memphis and the Fabs can’t bring in Jackie so they bring in his Mexican cousin. That’s how he’s working and I have a difficult time adjusting to it. It’s fucking "El Principe Feo"; I keep expecting a heel turn. This is the 34th anniversary of Rayo as a wrestler. Rayo looked really awesome in 2008 but haven’t gotten to see much of him in 2009. This was him pretty much going through all his signature spots and doing his basic formula. No out of ring dive or slap to back of opponent bent over by apron and he fails to fully get Veneno up for the Romero special inside the star. I have no idea why Angelico is in this match. There is a real “Royal Stud” Adam Windsor feel to his push. Outside of Angelico’s shittyness this is fun by the numbers match.

PAS: I kind of dug your opening mat section with Angelico and Veneno, but man alive was Angelico's segunda caida kick offense atrocious. It looked like a little kid practicing Kung Fu on youtube. Man Angelico has some moments which need to be seen, he feels like he should become an internet meme. Rayo running through his signature stuff is always fun. Athletically Rayo and Scorpio are pretty shot, but they have a ton of charisma and really come off as stars.


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WWE TV That Wasn't Good Enough for Phil to Talk About, 11/2/09-11/19/09

So for a while WWE was putting out enough good-great matches every week to justify a "Fab Five WWE MOTW"...well, that stopped sometime in mid-October. The TV hasn't necessarily gotten bad, the matches just weren't up to the previous months' quality. So Phil lost interest in WWE TV (he's too busy watching that oh-so-difficult-to-understand brand of wrestling: lucha), but I kept on a-watchin'. So if you were wondering what WWE TV might have been worth checking out over the end of October to mid-November, look no further. I'll be doing one that also covers mid-November to the end of '09.

~Jamie Noble vs. Sheamus (Raw, 11/2/09)

Yeah, a lot of people don't like Sheamus. I have no issue with him, though. Yeah, he is really white and kinda transparent, and his hair sticks up and he has a manicured beard and is a creepy ginger. Yeah, that shit'll happen. Sometimes people bitch about seeing the same old guys in main events, then bitch when a creepy ginger guy gets pushed into the main event because he's smart enough to know who to fucking lift with. Whatever. This is just a squash, but I thought it was really great in establishing Sheamus. Noble was a freak here and it might have been his last match. He took a bunch of moves really dangerously, including a post match powerbomb on the floor that was really gross.

~Fit Finlay vs. Chris Jericho (Superstars, 11/5/09)

I think this ranks right up with the best of the Mysterio matches (and I was at the Bash match live). I think Jericho's best ring work since his return last year was his early-year matches with Jeff Hardy, and ever since then his work has been slowly dropping. I think he's a perfectly good worker, and he does his job fine, he's just not one I get as excited for anymore in singles matches (I do like the way he plays off Big Show in their tag team). But this was a fine singles match. Finlay is so damn good at making people's offense look killer, and really great at tiny little things. Jericho grabs a headlock takeover, Finlay doesn't just somersault into it, he goes down with some struggle, and really looks like he's fighting while in that headlock. Jericho grabs a dragon sleeper, Finlay punches his way out, like Couture stuck in Nogueira's d'arce choke. The way Finlay takes all of his offense really makes this work, and Finlay's fighting comebacks are a pure joy. This match gets almost 11 minutes, too, and Finlay for 11 minutes is guaranteed to rule.

~Mike Knox vs. Rey Mysterio (Smackdown, 11/6/09)

I love how these two match up. It's too bad Knox's little push seems to have evaporated. Rey is really great at having rad matches with really big guys, and this is no different. Knox mixes things up by absolutely leveling Rey early with his crossbody, this time on the floor. Every big move just levels Rey. Big shoulder blocks, big clothesline, abdominal stretch that really contorts Rey. And Rey is game for all the comebacks, and the crowd always responds. My beard is slowly but surely getting to Knox levels, much to my mother's chagrin (she wants to see my handsome face).

~C.M. Punk vs. R-Truth (Smackdown, 11/6/09)

Last year I was not a big fan of C.M. Punk. He was easily one of my least favorite workers in WWE. I could not get behind him and his really poor, ugly looking offense. But one heel turn later, and suddenly his ugly offense is totally awesome when combined with a bunch of smarmy looks and cocky mannerisms. Also like Scott Armstrong fast counting him because Punk was being a dick. Armstrong's facials were really strong.

~Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton (Raw, 11/9/09)

This was only 5 minutes and I wish Henry didn't have to lose so clean, but these guys matched up great for 5 minutes. When Orton tones down the rape-y stares and nose breathing he is really good, and Henry is just a beast. I'm constantly impressed by how great Henry makes opponents' offense look. Henry misses a huge elbow drop leading to the Orton stomp and that ruled. Henry also used a lot of really cool headbutts in this one. The finish was really neat, too, as Orton went for an improbable sunset flip, Henry grabbed him with both hands around the throat and dead-lifted him up, which Orton turned instantly into the RKO. Had that cool "out of nowhere" effect that people loved about the Diamond Cutter. Henry had this big smile like he was going to lay a furious beating on Orton as he dragged him up by the throat, then BAM.

~Matt Hardy vs. DH Smith (Superstars, 11/12/09)

Finally the return of the excellent 8-10 minute Matt Hardy weekly singles match! It's been all fucking year and they've only happened like three times, as opposed to 2007 and 2008 where they happened almost weekly. Hardy has had a kinda lousy year. Had a really great ECW match with Jack Swagger in January...then....a bland feud with Jeff? Maybe? I think there was a good match against Punk...anyway, THIS match was awesome and was right back to classic Matt Hardy TV Match Formula. Good nearfalls, good overhand rights, crowd heat. What more could you want out of a MHTVMF (<--no way is that catching on)?

~C.M. Punk vs. R-Truth (Smackdown, 11/13/09)

These two apparently match up well together. I don't remember enjoying any other Truth singles matches in WWE, yet here are two just a week apart from each other. I don't remember which one was better.

~Fit Finlay vs. Drew McIntyre (Smackdown, 11/13/09)

Yeah, it's kind of bullshit that it's only two minutes, but damn this was two hot minutes!! This felt far more complete than a lot of way longer matches. This was a heated brawl, and is Fit the only person on the brand who understands how awesome it is to punch your way out of submissions? Everybody else just kinda...stands up out of them, Finlay just fights his way out. McIntyre dishes the shillelagh beatdown afterwords and Finlay sells attacks to the stomach better than anybody.

~Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho (Smackdown, 11/13/09)

This was worlds better than their match a couple weeks later where Jericho applies the limpest chickenwing/chinlock I've ever seen for 2+ minutes of the total match length while Taker looks bored as shit while sitting in the worlds limpest chickenwing/chinlock for 2+ minutes. This had a bunch of fun moments and built nicely. I like Jericho cockily going for a tombstone, only to naturally be instantly reversed.

~Big Show/Chris Jericho vs. Undertaker/John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels/HHH (Raw, 11/16/09)

This was the best possible version of one of those "send the fans home happy" matches that I always leave early during to beat traffic. I would've stayed during this one, just to see if Show would get to punch Michaels. But this was fun, the fans were way into it, and we got some big time finisher exchanges. About as harmless as you can get, but it's nice when you can tell the workers are all having a fun time in a match.

~Mark Henry vs. Cody Rhodes (Superstars, 11/19/09)

Alright assholes, please find something to hate about Henry in this match. This match is based around Henry overpowering Cody, Cody working some real weak leg work (those stomps are some of the weakest in a major promotion), Henry making the leg work somehow look engaging, Henry selling a leg better than any other 400+ pounder I have ever seen (better than almost any person of ANY weight I have seen this year), and the crowd at MSG being CRAZY into Henry's perseverance. This was an awesome match, one of the best Henry singles of the year.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

IWRG 11/15/09

Flor Metlaica v. La Diabolica

TKG: LA Diabolica comes into this wearing a Renaissance Festival velvet top. Her and Flor Metalica look like chicks who would fight in a tavern over mead and a turkey leg. Unfortunately they were trying to work a title match instead. Maybe a straight brawl would have worked but this was a dull mess. I liked the spot where La Diabolica followed up a bronco buster by repeatedly bootscraping Metalica with the unshaven part of Diabolica's inner thigh. Both an innovative spot and nice stringing together of moves. The finish airplane spin was also impressive looking.

PAS: Yeah this wasn't much, Diabolica hit a really nice tope con hilo which missed Metalica and took out here second instead. Flor is a big girl and it was an impressive feat of strength when Diabolica power bombed her, she also had a real crash and burn feel when she took normal bumps. Outside of that though it wasn't much.

El Hijo Del Pirata/Fuerza Guerrera/Pirata Morgan v. Angelico/Olimpico/Bobby Lee Jr.

TKG: They do a skit to set this up where Pirata Morgan and Hijo del Pirata are working the bootleg CD table at a swap meet and Hijo Del PIrata scams Angelico into buying a reggaeton mix CD under the pretense that it is a Best Of Rock CD. I always assumed the Piratas were involved in boat piracy not music piracy. Angelico can do some passable mat work at this point but he is too pissed at being gringo priced and hustled to work the mat. Unfortunately he really can't do anything else.

PAS: Yeah Angelico is basically the worlds worst Avisman. He has had some decent llave exchanges with Negro Navarro and his kids, but man alive is he terrible when he has to stand. Just the gooniest looking backyarder shit you have ever seen. His rolling elbow was an special lowlight. Pirata and Fuerza went through some by the number rudo stuff which was fine, and I liked a couple of Olimpico arm drags but this was a rough episode.


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Monday, January 11, 2010

IWRG 11/8/09

Dr. Cerbero v. Mickie Segura- Cabellero contra Cabellero

TKG:This starts all out with Dr Cerebro really dominating first two fall. He just comes out and tries to wreck Segura. This is a big moves match but isn't a modern lucha back and forward big moves match. Cerebro absolutely dominates the first fall and is a beast until Segura's comeback in the second. Segura also is especially nasty with all his stuff. Post second fall he lays Cerebro's head across bottom rope and blasts it with a headbutt. You get a real sense in this of two guys trying to finish the other off. Problem in many current hair matches is the sense that neither guy wrestles it differently until third fall or that their really isn't anything on the line. Both guys here are trying to win this and treat it like it matters from go. The third fall starts really great and epic but falls apart as a result of way too much second interference overbooking. When Segura wins it almost was a letdown since I was still waiting for the Francine/Beulah cat fight.

PAS: I had a really complicated relationship with this match, I didn't love the first falls as it felt too speedy to me, I wanted them to slow down, do less and have it mean more. By the third fall though, they started really smashing each other with big cool moves and having dramatic awesome nearfalls. Segura hits a sick death valley driver, Cerebro lands a reverse backcracker which looks like it fractured Segura's jaw. If the match ended like this, the start made a lot more sense, and I regretted my earlier dislike of it. However then we get the ECW run in finish, which went way too long, and felt like the lights needed to go out a couple of times "OH MY GOD IT'S CICLON RAMIEREZ HE DOESN'T WORK HERE" , and my dislike of the first couple of falls felt vindicated.

Bobby Lee Jr./Jack/Olimpico v. Fuerza Gurrerra/Oficial 911/Pirata Morgan

PAS: On paper this looked like a match with a great rudo team against a useless technico team. Which it kind was, although we got way more out of the technico team then I was expecting. Unmasked Jack was flying around and had multiple cool moments, including an awesome looking double take down, Bobby Lee Jr looked fine, and even Olimpico looked sprier then he had in years. I wasn't expecting much, as these kind of heavyweight main event trios are usually the turd in the IWRG punch bowl, but I dug this.

TKG: My problem with the cage mach that ended with 911 v Yack was the real sense that you don't start the cage match with Dusty v JJ Dillon and end it with Steamboat v Arn. Here the 911 v Yack sections felt like they were placed appropriately, and I dug mst of the Yack interaction with the other two rudos as well. The first fall of pure rudo beatdown was neat as these are three good rudos. As they started to have to eat stuff I was pleasantly surprised by Pirata. Pirata really felt like a giant bump machine really going up high for everything. Pirata's been a giant bump machine for over thirty years. He isn't taking 1980s crazy Pirata bumps. But you'd think at this point in his career he'd stop leaving his feet. Instead he's flying all around the ring.


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IWRG 11/1/09

This was the real start of the glorious deluge of IWRG we have gotten in the last couple of months

Mickie Segura/Dr. Cerebro v. Trauma II/Oficial Fiero

TKG: This is a parejas increibles match where the loosing team has to face each other in a hair match. They do some early teasing of dissension between Trauma II and Official Fierro (technico isn't pleased with heel heelishness stuff) but both teams manage to hold it together. The first fall matwork was really nice as to be expected. I had forgotten how good Segura is on the mat and Dr. Cerebro is really great at making opponents mat work look good. I especially liked his sell and escape for the camel clutch. Second fall is more brawling intensive and Trauma II has improved a ton with his brawling. He used to be a guy with really fast accurate hands, but it never felt like he had a lot of strength behind his punches. You can't win pro-wrestling matches on Olympic boxing scoring. He has learned to make his punches look like they land with more force.

PAS: Mickie Segura was a real star of 2002-2004 IWRG but he has been really making only sporadic appearances in the last half a dozen years. It is good to have him back as he looked like a total superstar here. He hit a missile tope which flew Fiero backwards into the crowd, and moved around the ring with impressive speed and agility. The finish was really spectacular, Cerebro is choking Fiero on the ropes and Segura comes to apron dropkick him, but accidentally cracked Cerebro too. It looked super violent like an accidental collision between teammates on an NFL kickoff return.

Castillo Del Terror

TKG: Mascara Ano Dos Mill Jr points out that this match ends with two "undercarders": "como novatos son perdedores". And that really felt like the big flaw of this match. Over the last couple years the Castillo has ended with heavyweights brawling to a finish. Even if it's a heavyweight who you know isn't going to loose his mask (Rayo) there is some added drama that real stuff is on the line. The 2009 Castillo Del Terror really felt like a match with al heavyweights and two juniors. Toxico, Olimpico, Mascara Ano Dos Mill Jr, Bobby Lee Jr. Xibalba, Trauma I, Tinieblas Jr. Fantasma de La Opera and Yack and 911. Yack especially felt like he was working as jobber in a match desperate for a cheap escape and having nothing but hope spots against guys tossing him around. Perhaps a Tinieblas v Yack finish might have meant something with Yack fighting against odds (and Tinieblas looking like he really knew how to work this type of match). A Yack v Mascara Ano Dos Mill Jr finish might have worked well too. Mascara Ano Dos Mill Jr. as wrecking ball destroying final two guys with final two working as underdogs against the odds was interesting. But in the end you are left with 911(who can only win with help of his team) v Yack booked as battle of undercard losers.

PAS: There were a couple of individually nice moments in this match, Trauma I had nice headbutts, and Jack took some nice bumps, but this isn't a type of match I particularly like and there wasn't any individually great performances to mitigate the mediocrity.


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

SLL's 2010 MOTY List

Like Eric, there's no way I'm making it to the end of 2009. I mean, I'm giving it my best shot, but all told, I am maybe four months ahead of Eric with about eleven months more prep time. I kinda have to be realistic about it.

But why should I wallow in what internet wrestling luminaries have called the worst year ever for good wrestling? It is 2010. The future is NOW. It is time to put the past behind me and fully embrace this bold new decade, and it's bold new stars Hogan, apparently.

Fuck, we're really off to a great start, aren't we?

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4
2. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7
3. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4

This is all I'm really asking for from my wrestling matches. We've got this idea: Nakamura and Takayama both like to use kneelifts, but Takayama is a big huge guy with big huge knees that can be thrown with greater force. Therefore, Nakamura has to be careful and try to find his openings in between eating Tak's brutal offense and selling it like death. Big ups for Nakamura being left hanging upside down on the apron while Takayama led his countout. All this, plus he gets dumped on his head with the nasty apron-to-inside dragon suplex, and busts out a gnarly German of his own. Back in 2004 when this match-up first main evented the Tokyo Dome, I didn't see what the big deal was with Nakamura and thought they should push Tanahashi as the next top star instead. I'm rarely so happy to be wrong.

2. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7

Angelico kinda works like a CHIKARA trainee approximating your great lucha matworkers, which is to say he isn't terrible, but you look at any of the exchanges his teammates have with the Navarro family, and you see how far below them he is. That's all kinda beside the point, though. You are watching this match to see Navarro against Solar. The first two falls do a really good job building that up, and then the third fall is almost entirely that, save for Ultraman popping in real quick to get eliminated, and then Angelico taking the Traumas - and himself - out of the equation with a boss somersault tope, allowing our stars to finish the job the way only Solar I and Negro Navarro can. Great lucha matwork will not die so long as these men live...and so long as Black Terry's kid keeps filming these shows.

3. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7

This starts with Black Terry exchanging holds with Suicida and then getting trapped in the corner like he was facing a technico Anderson trio before his teammates run in and bring the hurt, with Dr. Cerebro being particularly vicious. From this point forward, the match is about Black Terry as old guy who doesn't feel like putting up with this shit today, as he and the Cerebros just paste dudes with nasty shots, and the technicos try to fight fire with fire. Pantera also tries to fight fire with armdrags, which look pretty nice. Third fall feels a bit like a restart, like cooler heads briefly prevailed after the technicos picked up the second fall, though Terry still holds nothing back. Even his courting hold is applied with aggression. And, of course, it all breaks down again soon enough, culminating in an odd little ending that starts with an unconvincing ref bump, but ends pretty cleverly with Dr. Cerebro standing behind the ref while he's admonishing Pantera, and then grabbing Pantera's leg and pulling it up into the ref's crotch, getting him DQ'd. Execution wasn't perfect, but still pretty neat.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The VAMPIRE DIARIES Pt 4: Callihan v. Havok

Danny Havok v. Sami Callihan - Devil Wears Prada Death Match 9/12/09

This was the start of their feud and a great way to start what I thought was the US Indy feud of the year. The gimmick was pretty amusing with purses hung on polls from the corners, and a board with high heeled shoes glued to it. The thing that really separates these guys from most death match dudes is that their brawling actually looks good. The best part of the match was when both guys were in the middle of the ring punching and headbutting each other. The high heel shoe board is a really cool idea, but I thought they used it too early in the match, it really should have been used closer to the finish and been a bigger deal. Havok does a sick blade job, which was old school bloody forehead style, rather then some weird gash in the side or arm like you often get in death matches. I dug the finish, both guys crawl for purses, Callihan gets a power drill out of onw, but gets cut off with hair spray to the eyes, and gets hit by Havok's finisher. Unfortunately that was preceded by a ladder and table bump which took way too long to set up and then got shrugged off. Post match really makes this match, Callihan pulls out his switchblade, unwraps Havok's tape and slits his wrist which causes the locker room to empty. It actually came off like a total crossing of the line, like Funk with the plastic bag or Shane Douglas shaking Pitbulls Halo, pretty impressive to get that kind of reaction in CZW of all places.

Danny Havok v. Sami Callihan- Cage of Death 12/12/09

This was the crazy blowoff to the feud, and CZW has done a nice job of making this gimmick a big deal. Setup was nuts, with two sides yellow steel, two sides barbed wire at a 45 degree angle with plates of glass, and to top it off you have a scaffold with panes of glass and electrified barbed wire, with two panes of glasses hanged between the scaffold and the ring. A truly insane looking deal and by the end of the match the ring had more glass then mat, it looked like Hans Gruber ordered his men to shoot the windows. The match lived up to the craziness for sure. This was absent most of the flaws of US indy death match wrestling, it looked and felt like a fight rather then an exhibition of stunts. It had big bumps rather then shit like needles and syringes, and the biggest bump ended the match.

Too many nutty bumps to list, Callihan going off a scaffold, face first through a pain of glass looked like something out of a Jackie Chan post movie stunt montage. I did think it got formless near the end, as the five minutes or so before the finish you had both guys kind of diffidently exchanging headrops. It felt unnecessary and took me out of the match. Ending was pretty great, they go back on the scaffold with Callihan pulling his switchblade, Havok blocks the first stab but gets slashed and falcon arrowed off the scaffold through the hanging glass pains and a table to the ring. Completely nuts, and it didn't feel super set up like those kind of stunts often do. I am not sure where I place this on a list of their 2009 matches, as the stuff pre finish was the worst stuff they did against each other, but damn did this feel like the way you end a feud, give me a good COD match up next year and CZW has sold me a ticket.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Tonight 11pm EST

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