Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Ultimo Dragon/Nobukazu Hirai v. El Samurai/Rio Lord of the Jungle

TKG: This was joined in progress but still felt longer than it needed to be. I can't decide wether the length allowed for a lot of cool moments in amongst the mess or the if the length caused a lot of the mess. This has a bunch of blown stuff and never really comes together.The El Samurai/Rio team is an amusing team. Rio shockingly doesn't blow up in a match where guys are moving at a fast pace. He does an ok job eating Dragon's stuff, throws more suplexes than you'd expect him too, does a really awful Fuller leg lock and manages to not blow up. Samurai looks pretty great until he falls out of the ring running the ropes.

PAS: Ultimo hits an awesome tope, but otherwise has some moments of awkwardness. Hirai looked pretty bad in parts too. Someone could make the argument that Renegade was the second best guy in this match. I am not going to make that argument, but someone could.

Koki Kitahara/Masao Orihara v. Shiro Koshinaka/Kuniyaki Kobayashi

TKG: When Shiro Koshinaka wants to beat the shit out of someone he will do it. Every punch he throws looks like he's trying to break his opponent's nose or cheek bone. After watching Hirai do a lousy job at this type of larger WAR tag partner in peril, it's really awesome to watch Kitahara sell as stronger partner taking a beating. The point where the smaller Orihara has seen too much and puts his all into throwing strikes at Koshinaka (while Koshinaka is holding Kitahara in a crab) is bad ass.

PAS: I love Koshinika potatoing people, there were multiple moments where I though he smashed the bridge of Kitihara's nose. Which is pretty much WAR in a nutshell, lots of guys potatoing each other. It is worked exactly the way you expect a Tenryu fed to be worked. There was a really cool camera angle for Orihara's Orihara as he just flies out of the corner of your eye.

Ashura Hara/Earthquake v. The Great Kabuki/Haku

TKG: Yeah this is four guys hitting each other as hard as they can, all trying to stay standing. The last match had a section where guys took it to the floor for a streetfight. Here that would have just seen excessive. What could they possibly do on the floor that would look more violent than what they did in the ring? Hara just eats an absolute beating and well he dishes one too. I haven't watched the Texas set yet, or seen the early stuff that people are watching on the All Japan set, so kind of still think of Kabuki as a guy with a great superkick and a bunch of nerve holds. But fuck, Kabuki is way more awesome then I could have imagined. Tenta is great at coming in and looking tough and also doing a slow topple and well Haku will throw a superkick that will make you cringe.

PAS: With the WAR Kabuki, All Japan Kabuki and Texas Kabuki I think that soon it will be time to ask if Kabuki is actually a better wrestler then Muta. I loved Hara in this, his headbutts are super nasty, he always aims for the soft part of his opponents head. This is really the perfect match for Haku, as it a match with tough bad ass guys throwing stuff as hard as they can and limited selling. It is basically Haku teaming with Meng to work King Tonga and his partner Uilii Fifita.

Hiromichi Fuyuki v. Shinya Hashimoto

TKG: They do a big pull apart at the start of this and I was totally expecting a real Choshu style heavyweight sprint. Instead they do a neat slow building match. Starting with some leg work which they sell nicely. You forget once they start laying in the bombs, but the crowd stays heated throughout the mat work as they get excited for the build.. For interpromotional match this had a ton of selling which both of these guys do really well. At one point Fuyuki drops Hashimoto with a nasty DDT and you get giddy with excitement. No one does a nastier DDT than Hashimoto, and Fuyuki has laid down a challenge.

PAS: Yeah this has a lot slower build then most of your WAR matches, the structure of the show is very similar to the April show I already reviewed with a nasty stiff tag, slower paced singles match and crazy hot main event inter-promotional tag. It is a really great way to pace a show, and this was even better then Fujinami v. Kabuki. The pull apart built me up (much like the Kabuki mist in the other singles) and then they did a really nice job slowing it down, only to build it back up to a great finish. Awesome selling by Fuyuki at the end as I really bought that Hashimoto knocked him cold (unless he actually did knock him out, then it wasn't selling)

Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa v. Riki Choshu/Osamu Kido

TK: HOLY SHIT!!! WRESTLING AND ROMANCE!!! WE ARE REVOLUTION! I love big match Kido and this was big match Kido. I don't have any memory of Ishikawa but he and Kido are essentially working guys on same level ( beneath Choshu/Tenryu) but are able to step it up to face the higher ranked guys. Choshu and Tenryu are as amazing as you expect them to be against each other and the sections with the B guys against the A guys on the opposite team rule really hard as well. They do a long finish run with Kido just looking awesome and getting stomped on every time he almost gets a fall. Post match pull apart is also really great with Tenryu running over and kicking Choshu in the eye multiple times with the toe of his boot.

PAS: Yeah this was amazing. Tenryu and Ishikawa are both so great as cheap shotting dicks too, no one stomps a guy from behind as nastily as Ishikawa, and Tenryu short punts are as violent as anything in wrestling history. Choshu is Choshu and I loved all the different ways Choshu set up his lariat, my favorite is when he shifted direction and just blasted Tenryu on the apron. This was really Kido's career performance he is so spectacular in the end run of this match throwing out counter arm bar after counter arm bar, you get the sense that he wants the win more then he ever wanted anything. Another match which really compares to anything being done in your more acclaimed puro promotions.

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Friday, July 30, 2010


Wahoo McDaniel v. Greg Valentine 9/7/77

This is the Mid-Alantic title vs. 2000 silver dollars which is such an awesome old school wrestling stipulation. Bob Caudle said that "Both men are standing toe to toe exchanging" which is pretty much a perfect description of this match. Everything land with such force and such a thud. Valentine's forearm smashes are so uncalled for, you can see them crumple Wahoo with each shot. There is one point where he just cracks Wahoo square in the ear with the point of his elbow. Of course Wahoo hits probably the stiffest chops in wrestling history as a receipt. It isn't a long match but it just keeps getting nastier and nastier by the end Wahoo is hitting over hand chops to the bridge of Valentine's nose, and when Greg breaks his leg with the kneebar, it seems like a perfectly reasonable response. If that motherfucker chopped me in the face like that I might try to break his leg too. Man Valentine comes off as giant badass in this match, he doesn't double team him, or hit Wahoo with a chair, he just grabs a leg and snaps it. Such a gritty violent spectacle.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

A PIG DEVOURED WHOLE: Some Thoughts on GENOME 12 (Inoki Genome Federation, 5.9.2010).

Inoki Genome has the most professional looking presentation in wrestling today: cool looking rings, dimmed lights, and a fistful of (mostly if not entirely kayfabed) business acumen. They continue to draw crowds of 4,000-5,000, suggesting how much more over wrestling stars of the 80s and 90s were in Japan than the stars of today are in their primes. I say this not to rag on the New Japan of today, or suggest that Inoki’s the sagest of bookers. But it is cool to see a lot of the best workers in history thriving long after gravity took its toll on their physiques, particularly with a hodgepodge undercard of weird, available indie workers from around the world. Inoki’s vision of wrestling is nothing if not global and multicultural, so let’s see who’s banging their shoe on the desk of this proverbial United Nations.

Munenori Sawa vs. Akira Jo: The New Japan DVDVR set has me looking for the next rookie year version of Akira Nogami or Tetsuo Nakano: a trainee mopping Ribera vomit off the locker room floor who gets thrown a pair of black tights and told that it’s party time. My girlfriend is a photographer. She just got back from China. In Beijing she shot a roll of paunchy, poolside teenagers roasting a whole pig. They grimace for the camera, pig chunks clenched in their teeth, not bothering to suck their guts in over their Speedos. Akira Jo seems more timid than them. He’d suck it in. He’d fetch a plate for his pig, while the Nogamis and Nakanos bite the hog’s face, fang it raw and wave devil horns at the American girl. When Sawa went to the mat for him, the kid grabbed him flimsily by the waist and head, attempting no moves. It’s as if he was briefly miming matwork in the middle of relating a story. “We went like this, rolled around, you get the idea.” This is the curtain jerker in a modern Inoki fed, so it goes under four minutes. But then, so did a lot of matches on this card. Sawa wins with a slowly applied combination choke/grapevining of Jo’s arm. Post match, Sawa sports what looks like a right-eye shiner. Either Yuki Ishikawa went balls out in the dojo that week or it is leftover mascara from a Lingerie Muto gig, ‘cause Sawa’s face made no contact with anything here.

Alexander Otsuka vs. Iron Prings: Prings looks like the head of Buzz from Home Alone was put onto Tyson Tomko’s most roid-ridden physique. Throughout this show various guys are wearing light orange mouth guards that make them look like they have meth teeth. Prings is the guy on the show who you think is wearing the guard but may actually have stopped brushing his chompers after 9/11 hit him hard. He’s an MMA fighter trained by Lesnar who looks more like a guy who watched Tim Sylvia and decided that he also wants to get paid to bore people. While all of the announcers call him Iron Prings, it’s such an weird name that I’m assuming he’s from Iron Springs, Arizona, and that as a subtle dig at that state’s immigration reform, the Japanese gave him the Ellis Island treatment. He’s a big dude who throws some decent kangaroo headbutts early. He quickly proves to be every choad in Afflictionwear brooding through your gym. Inoki’s approach of fast matches with stars vs. scrubs is interesting in that you never know who of the new guys will be good or improving, or when a match will.end. The finish blows: Otsuka applies a sleeper, Prings gingerly falls back onto Otsuka, who releases the hold and takes a punt from Prings that looks more Randi Rhodes than Randy Orton. Otsuka sightings are too rare to be wasted on inventing this year’s “Strongman” Jon Andersen.

Masayoshi Kakutani vs. Hidekazu Karube [Kickboxing Match]: Tale of the tape has Kakutani at 6 foot 5, 115 kg (253 lbs). Karube, an amateur Shooto champ, stands 5’11’, 90 kg (198 lbs). In spite of these advantages, Kakutani is the Montezuma shits, throwing glorified windmill punches and footwork learned from Dance Dance Revolution. Karube in comparison seems a machine, if only by showing some focus and strikes that find their mark. Once round two hits, even with Karube bleeding out of a busted nose this is still on the Piper-Mr. T side of the worked shoot spectrum. After more dabbling punches Kakutani suddenly runs the ropes to throw a clumsy lariat, and for a moment you think it’s breakin’ down in Osaka, until the feeble fists keep flying. Karube completely outclasses Kakutani, then takes a weak-chinned dive after missing a spinning back fist and selling a KO right hook from Kakutani that doesn’t connect in the slightest. Three matches in and I’ve already had my fill of low grade shoot style.

Ultimo Dragon vs. Rocky Romero: It’s interesting to watch a mediocre or even bad performer who sustains moderate success for a long period of time. Comedy seems to have a lot of them, as stand-up and improv develop stubborn shells of resistance against heckling. Such hacks may then delude themselves into thinking their talent has been undiscovered, and perpetually believing that things are beginning to happen. We’re all scared that we are these people, which made me wonder watching this match if Rocky Romero knows who he is and why. If he is self-aware, wrestling adds another dimension to it, in that self-awareness and attempts to get creative aren’t everything. You also have to be naturally athletic and coordinated on some level. I don’t know if I’m suggesting Romero grow a shaggy mane and start carrying a fork in his tights exactly. But I do know that the warmed-over 90s New Japan juniors stuff that he does with utter malaise, mechanical rendition, and what often looks like a mind-distant contempt is awful. And I do wonder if he’s aware that he’s his chosen profession’s Kevin Meaney. I could give you the move-by-move rundown but it would be as tedious to read as it would be to write or perform. Ultimo Dragon wins with a stupid, arbitrary, illogical move. And yet there is an upside: Romero seems to have started growing out his hair.

The Predator vs. Taka Kunou: This opens with clips of a Predator-Takayama match I wish I’d seen. Predator heads to the ring doing the gaijin crowd flogging and bearing a real resemblance to present-day fatty Scott Hall in a fright wig. This fake Brody on the way gets his chain stuck around the guard rail, which I think might have happened to the real Brody in a shitty match with Inoki. This is a culture clash anomaly special wherein a Judoka wearing a gi fights a brute working a Mongol gimmick. What separates this and makes it actually interesting rather than “interesting” is that the Mongol is Sylvester Terkay, an NCAA champion on Kurt Angle’s level who had some good K1 wins and too clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to chain wrestling. When they go to the mat, Kunou grows butterfingers while Terkay is giving him awesome Regal-style forearm face washes. He also hits a pretty decent muscle buster and an Alabama Jam. These are “wow” moments not because they’re great but because of who Terkay is, and Kunou looks pretty awkward when trying to work spots, but Predator’s performance and Necro Butcher’s upcoming outing proved the show’s highlights.

Bob Sapp vs. Necro Butcher: This is the match I most wanted to see on this show. Pre-match a video plays of Necro’s match with Minowaman, which I haven’t seen due to a Springtime wrestling hiatus but looks absolutely amazing, both dudes doused in blood while trading savage punch flurries. Necro coming out here to “Freebird” is pretty fun, and it’s a testament to how dead this crowd is that his juking and jiving gets zero reaction. Sapp enters with "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and a cheap version of a Flair robe. His giant baby head looks ready to pop off at any moment. The match begins with Necro almost instantly bleeding, seemingly off of a turnbuckle shot or jumping the gun on blading himself. He may just have one of those wrestling foreheads that instinctively starts bleeding as the bell sounds, like an automated bathroom machine dispensing soap or towels. Having not seen much Sapp I was surprised by how bad he was here, looking untrained despite having done this stuff off and on for years. Necro takes Sapp’s weak sauce leg drops and bear hugs and sells them magnificently. He’s like prime Hulk Hogan if portrayed by prime Stacy Keach. Which almost could have happened as they have the same baldness pattern and their peaks nearly crossed over. The strangest part of Sapp’s work here is his loud, weird moaning and grimacing. He actually seems to be straining to pick Necro up for basic spots, which is strange given how game the Butcher is to help: he gigs so hugely for a post shot that Sapp’s follow-up headbutts leave his own head doused in Necro’s blood. Necro finds a plastic bag and attempts asphyxiation, up for playing ’89 Funk in Sapp’s kooky Flair LARPing. The match, like each on the card save Terkay-Kunou, ends with a whimper. What’s that much more unfortunate about this one is that it gives fodder to the idea that Sapp is what racists dismiss Mark Henry, Bobby Lashley, and Nelson Frazier (or Ray Candy, Ernie Ladd, and Bearcat Wright before them) as: a big black oaf. What was wrong then and remains wrong now is to paint all of these guys with the same broad brush, confuse their pace for lethargy, or to dismiss Sapp’s celebrity in Japan and inimitable mic skills. None of that excuses a shitty performance with a worker as great as Necro, but it does make me want to see this guy doing schtick somewhere for somebody.

In between matches they show footage of Inoki and Hansen hopping out of a limo in tuxes. Hansen speaks to the crowd, and seems in good health. He looks and even sounds like what Jeff Jarrett will be at 70 if he can stay alive while continuing to bone other people’s wives. Inoki follows this by cutting a weird promo where he talks for several fast forwarded minutes, shows off his WWE Hall of Fame ring, paints some Japanese characters onto a big tablet, and has assistants show off the tablet to the crowd. He then picks up what looks like a gardening ho and smacks it against the canvas, laughing to himself. The lights then fade to a dim blue, a saxophonist enters, and Inoki begins crooning some morose jazz vocal I’ve never heard before. Can’t make this shit up. He’s about as good a singer as I would guess Vince McMahon is, which is to say, pretty damn terrible.

Tatsumi Fujinami/El Gran Hamada vs. Tiger Mask/Yoshiaki Fujiwara: This is billed as the Inoki 50th Anniversary Match, and after the aforementioned DVDVR set, these do feel like four guys recontexualized into New Japan mythology, even if Fujinami was the only one to do his best work there. I’m torn about Fujiwara being in this, in that while I love watching him work, there was more of an air of legitimacy to this promotion when he was Ogawa’s cornerman in matches with Mark Coleman than when he’s the spriest worker in your semi-main. I’m a huge advocate for old guys wrestling, but when your 60+ vets show up every new blood guy in the company, it’s tough to feel “of the moment”. But then, aside from BattlARTS the same is true of every promotion in Japan. Sayama comes out and early on destroys Fujinami with limb kicks, only to get Dragon Screwed. Once Fujiwara reluctantly gets in he lays a vicious bunch of slaps and chokes on Hamada, who unfortunately seems the one of these four who’s lost the most since his prime, but still proves an endearing Ricky Morton Complete with Spiked Mullet. The too brief Fujiwara-Fujinami interactions are fun, both still expert in their positioning and countering. Much of this is built around Sayama and Fujiwara as bickering partners, slapping each other upside the head with disapproval. The finish devolves into wacky, mildly amusing vaudeville. While we’ve seen much better performances from all of these guys in recent years, they’ve all more or less earned the right to fuck around and make the puroresu equivalent of Starbucks producing a late-career Elvis Costello bluegrass album.

Josh Barnett vs. Masked Ultimate: Pencil in some room on your year-end top ten list: Masked Ultimate has arrived. Just kidding, he’s a frightened d-bag who’s here because Iron Prings needed someone to carry his bags. Staggering how much Barnett’s let himself go since being popped for steroids. But the Baby Faced Assassin turned Baby Back Rib Faced Assassin should feel no shame in sporting some Maeda Belly, or for playing the story of this match just right. He’s disappointed that his Takayama match got cancelled, dismissive of the scrub he’s being put against, and takes a few surprising leg sweeps before tapping this goon out. I don’t recall every being so grateful to see a wrestler collecting an easy payday, which he totally earns by selling huge for this money mark’s sloppy brawling, then cobbling together a Magnum T.A. comeback of slams, suplexes and supremely gritted teeth. If the Strikeforce deal never pans out, he should consider collecting more money for nothing in TNA as Lacey Von Erich’s long lost Uncle Dieter.

Minoru Suzuki/Naomichi Marufuji vs. Naoya Ogawa/Atsushi Sawada: This is the first Marufuji I’ve watched in what feels refreshingly like years. Years in which foods tasted better, my libido rose, and the sun shined brighter in ways that may or may not correlate to this lounge act being out on the shelf. People get on Marufuji for a lot of things, but they always forget his pubed-out goatee, one of the worst facial hair choices around in an industry that truly innovates shitty beards. Sawada is an ex-Judo champ and Ogawa’s trainee who like Ogawa has worked for IGF almost exclusively since ’07. If they’re going in this direction they should buy up Akira Shoji, who looked awesome in a worked setting against Otsuka last year and is said to be nearing retirement. That’s a move not altogether surprising for a guy who’s said to clean his house and prepare his will before every fight he takes just in case he dies in the ring. The mindset of a guy like that is way more interesting than watching an adult infant trade slaps with the David Arquette of the East. More interesting than watching Ogawa, a guy capable of creating nuclear heat in any arena in the country, look like he wants to be anywhere but this match. More interesting than seeing Suzuki do his smarmy no-selling “naughty naughty” gimmick for the five thousandth time.

We still live in a world containing forests, dogs, espresso, power-pop, film noir, psychedelics, and fucking. I urge you to learn from my volunteered error in judgment, and enjoy any and all of those small wonders before surrendering to this hastily thrown together pony show, showcasing so many of Japan’s present wrestling shortcomings in a tepid, condensed pile.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So one of the crazier things we did here at Segunda Caida is get a bulk buy of all the WAR ever. So over the course of the next decade we will be reviewing WAR for you. This is one of WAR's first big shows in their feud with New Japan, and is pretty spectacular from start to finish.

Jushin Liger/El Samurai v Ultimo Dragon/Masao Orihara

There was a time where people used to get WAR tapes for the juniors matches, I am pretty sure that this project will be all about rediscovering the great Heavyweight slugfest and less about Lance Storm tags. Still an interpromotinal tag with Liger acting like a fucker is a good way to start the juniors. Samurai is rocking the awesome baby blue tarheel gear, which I don't remember seeing before. Ultimo and Orihara had a classic at the end of 1992 with Liger and Kanemoto, and this wasn't at that level. Still some fun stuff thought. Match kind of went back and forth at the beginning, it had some nice character moments from Liger and Orihara, but it felt a bit like time killing. They moved into a really great looking criss cross dive train, Orihara's moonsault to the floor is still breathtaking even in 1992. After that they had a nice finish run with Orihara eating a nasty little beating, it felt like it ended a bit flat though, Orihara had a dramatic kickout, makes a comeback but then just gets rana'd and pinned. Good match, but not a great one.

Haku v Dick Slater

This is the kind of match which puts the Romance in Wrestle and Romance. Unfortunately this didn't live up to its awesome promise. They spent the first part of this match working holds, and that is not what you want to see out of Haku and Dick Slater. They break it down and chop and punch each other, and Haku throws Slater into some chairs, and I started to get into it, but then Slater works a leg for a bit, and it ends with a Haku belly to belly. It wasn't terrible or anything but the match in my mind was awesome, this was mediocre.

John Tenta v. Rio Lord of the Jungle

Surprisingly entertaining short match. Tenta hits really hard, and all of his sledges looked like they knocked the wind out Rio aka The Renegade. I liked Rio running from turnbuckle to turnbuckle to hit flying axehandles, and Tenta did a great weeble wobble sell. Full Worldwide point.

Shiro Koshinaka/Kengo Kimura/Michiyoshi Ohara/Akitoshi Saito v Super Strong Machine/Ricky Fuyuki/Ashura Hara/Koki Kitahara

THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE, THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE IS WAR!! Eight lumpy dudes potato shotting each other, crazy crowd heat, great pace, lots of violence. This is what makes WAR great. The crowd seemed really behind the Heisei Ishingun team, which was weird for invaders. I imagine lots of NJ fans showed up. The WAR team was a total murders row of WARish dudes, Hara is great with his pedo mustache and awkward crowbar clotheslines, fat Fuyuki has a ton of charisma and great timing, we all know how great SSM can be from New Japan Set, and Kitahara is one of the great mulleted face kickers in Puroresu history. Akitoshi Saito is pre-mullet, but those two just go off on each other and their match ups are the highlight of a match with lots of highlights. There are no lulls like in the juniors tag, this thing is pretty much a semi-riot from the first bell, until Kitihara gets a chair chucked at him while he is going to the top, falls off and gets planted by a Koshinaka power bomb.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs Great Kabuki

This was a bunch of fun too, with the Texas set and the upcoming All Japan set Kabuki is ripe for a critical revaluation, and he was damn fun in this match. Fujinami comes in gun blazing, but gets cut off with the red mist to the eyes. Kabuki controls a lot of the middle part of the match, throwing his weird hunched over uppercuts, and landing a nasty superkick. They do a bunch of nice stuff around Kabuki working an armbar, this was a much more deliberate match then the matches preceding and following it, but both guys are so charismatic that it worked well. Finish was awesome as Fujinami is working for a sleeper and when he finally gets in locked, Kabuki sprays green mist as he loses consciousness. Just a beautiful visual.

Riki Choshu/Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa

Tremendous, tremendous match. Three of the all time great asskickers in professional wrestling history kicking major ass, and Ishikawa desperately trying to hold up his end. Really spectacular performance by Ishikawa, he was excellent as the burly, lumpy overmatched guy who was going to jump right into the fray. He was constantly cheap shotting the NJPW team from the apron, running in a stomping then in pin, clubbering them for behind. He both absorbed and delivered a beating worthy of the other three guys in the match. We get an awesome opening Tenryu v. Hashimoto scramble with both guys working crazy fast to grab and arm or leg. The match hits another gear when Choshu gets posted and starts bleeding, Tenryu may be the greatest "blood in the water" wrestler of all time, he just lasers in on the cut, punching and kicking Choshu right in his bloody head. Then we get a spectacular Hashimoto hot tag where he just splits guys in half with kicks, ending in a super hot finish run. I honestly though this was par with your high end All Japan tags of this period. Same level of heat and drama, just replacing the headrops with lariats and kicks to the eye and throat. Highest recommendation, WAR MOTHERFUCKER WAR!!!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Black Terry Grew Up Quick and He Grew Up Mean, His Fist Got Hard and His Wits Got Keen

Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Cerebro Negro v. Los Officiales v. Freelance/Gemelos Fantasticos v. Trauma I/Trauma II/Zatura IWRG 4/2/09-FUN

PAS: Total train wreck and a total blast. 12 guys just throwing it all at the wall, some stuff isn't hit cleanly, but there is more great shit then you can demand. This is the kind of shit Freelance is made for, and he is just flying around the ring with abandon, he does three dives into the crowd, each crazier then the last, and is just constantly diving into the ring ranaing the fuck out of dudes. Officiales looked great here, as they ate all of Freelances stuff well, and did I nice job covering for some of the lesser lights (the less I say about the Gemelos the better) Terry is great too, but this was a little chaotic for him to be at his best. This week goes to Freelance.

TKG: Yeah this was a wreck. The whole concept of elimination trios match where you can tag anyone else into the ring is almost TNA level stupid. Hey its two twins forced to wrestle each other in an elimination match, isn’t that clever? Dumb. You also had a couple of awkward Zatura v Freelance sections where both guys looked like they need a rudo. Some spectacular looking Freelance highspots. Plus you get the Zatura “Hey I’m in a match with Freelance I have to do even crazier out of control dives and possibly injure myself” stuff that you get when those two are in a match together. A fun clusterfuck but a dumb match.

Black Terry/Cerebro Negro/Fantasma De La Opera v. Negro Navarro/Trauma I/Trauma II IWRG 7/9/09-GREAT

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

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

Black Terry/Chico Che/Dr. Cerebro v. Avisman/Hijo del Diablo/Gringo Loco IWRG 3/7/10-EPIC

TKG: The booking to add Chico Che to this feud was super smart and really well executed. Adding a tecnico to this feud totally changes the dynamics and Chico Che was really the right tecnico. The feud went form being a rudo v rudo feud (which IWRG is great at running) into a native v foreign team feud (where nationalism unites heels/faces). That change effects the way everyone works. There is a fun vibe that adding a tecnico brings, and you really got the sense that Black Terry/Cerebro were actively enjoying having Chico Che with them. There are these awesome moments where both of them stand back with shit eating grins and direct Chico Che into abusing the foreigners. There is a point where Terry is punching Gringo Loco on the floor and then Chico Che lands a punch of his own on Gringo Loco. Terry lights up “hey you got this, let me do something else”. First fall is mostly Gringos dominated as they leave Cerebro, Terry and Che all bloody, this stretches into the second fall which develops into a real isolate and triple team one guy while keeping other faces away from action fall (except done on the floor instead of in the center of ring) until the tecnicos see an error and take advantage bloodying Avisman and Diablo and then a third fall which starts with tecnicos beating rudos in one on one exchanges (with Che beating the shit out of Avisman on floor, Cerebro really laying into Diablo and Che running through his big spots) back into a section where rudos try to remount control. Part of what makes this kind of classic lucha fight work is that there are not a lot of changes in momentum. Just long periods of one sided action where both teams look strong (for both dishing and eating beating). I imagine if you were to watch this match with a stop watch and a calculator, the heels would have taken more than 75% of the offense in a match where the heels win clean. But this is the furthest thing from a competitive squash. Part of that is the selling which is all about guys toughing it out by taking a giant beating waiting out an opening Chico Corrales style. When it works it works and here it really worked. The actual match finish with everyone but Diablo and Cerebro taken out by dives and Diablo reversing a rana into a desnucadora/slam was also a super cool clean finish that still left you wanting more.

PAS: Man was this filmed spectacularly. This is a gruesome gritty fight, and pretty much every camera shot looked like the cover of a 1987 issue of Wrestling Eye. Black Terry his great exhausted beaten bloody facial expressions. He looks like William Munney at the end of Unforgiven. This is a match with six great performances, Gringo Loco is on fire, beating people, bleeding and taking one of the craziest corner post bumps I have ever seen. It is the kind of thing Cassandro would wince at. Diablo is also great as kind of the rudo glue. He has been in a million seedy Tijuana brawls in his career and this kind of thing is right in his wheelhouse. Then we have Chico Che continuing his June '09 to June '10 run as one of the five best wrestlers in the world. He is just stupendous in this match, as the victim and the deliverer of beatings, and his signature rope running is a little bit of beauty in the ugly.


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Monday, July 26, 2010

IWRG 3/7/10

IWRG on Segunda Caida
Black Terry Jr.'s Youtube page COME BACK SOON

Heros v Alan Extreme

TKG: The really awesome thing about watching these rookies workshop their match is you get to see them try things and fail then try again and succeed. Last show Alan Extreme and Heros tried to work a slower more deliberate version of their opening technical exchanges and they really failed. This week they totally pull it off. Some of this is helped by Eros’ awesome selling which really puts over the deliberate submission work. I think starting with the big throws and working into submissions also helped get across the sense that these things weren’t cooperative/required force. Also there was a sense of guys actually breaking submissions instead of letting go. They also do a nice job of changing speeds as they move form the slow technical stuff to the faster technical armdrag section. Also Eros does an amazing job of selling for Alan Extreme’s signature “toss opponent in air and then do seated double kick as they fall”. Just a super solid first fall. Second fall has a huge Alan Extreme tope and Eros tope eat. But Eros blows a move and looks to tweak his shoulder and struggles not to botch stuff after that.

PAS: Yeah I am with Tom, the first fall was pretty solid, although I am not sure that these two are best served by long matwork sections. Probably better off going with armdrags and rope running. I understand that these guys are rookies working things out, and in 2010, I am not going to complain about matwork. Alan Extreme's tope into the stands was a legit "HOLY SHIT" moment (you can see Dhani Jones in the crowd looking pretty surprised), and the match was cooking along at a nice pace. Unfortunately the third fall was pretty sloppy and brings down the match quite a bit.

Oficial 911/Trauma I/Trauma II v Freelance/Jack/Ultraman Jr

TKG: This is one of the bigger Freelance performances of 2010. I haven’t seen an IWRG first fall worked like this in a while, where everyone matches up doing their own specialty (Coco Blanco works old school mat stuff with the mat worker of opposite team, Coco Rojo works powerhouse exchanges with opponents powerhouse, and Coco Verde does his green highflying with the highflyer on opposite team). This is how I would have liked to have seen the Eragon, Suicida, Freelance v Gringos VIP worked. I guess all three technico’s could have worked the technical exchange section but Jack isn’t a guy who you want in the brawling section (part of me would have liked them to have switched Ultraman and Jack’s role) and you want Freelance in your fast exchanges. So you get 6 minutes of Yack and Trauma II doing technical exchanges (about four minutes of them working and selling the legs and then two minutes of them switching up to working the arm/shoulder) with Trauma controlling the majority. This is followed by Freelance and Oficial 911 doing their fast exchange stuff followed by Trauma I lariating Ultraman jr dead. Trauma I also gets to do a nasty Argentine backbreaker into military press into quebradora drop on Freelance. Second fall is the rudos streetfight into isolating and double/triple teaming one tecnico at a time. Freelance is of course a guy who will fly around for this type of stuff. The big tecnicos come back spot here is supposed to happen when 911/Trauma I whip Ultraman Jr into ropes and he turns it into a tope to Trauma II. It is a super “HOLY SHIT” awesome spot. Unfortunately Ultraman Jr busts his jaw on the guard rail in the process. Third fall has tecnicos man down but Freelance calls for one on one matchup and the rudos are good sportsman, so Freelance gets one on one matches with each rudo where Freelance just hits everything at full blast. The Traumas win with a ridiculously nasty double team on Jack. Post match the Traumas beat up 911.

PAS: The way the acting category Emmy awards work, is that actors will submit individual episodes for consideration. If wrestling awards worked the same way this would be Freelance's submission for Flyer of the Year and Wrestler of the Year. Just a balls out awesome show. The difficulty, speed,height and agility were pretty much off the charts. Especially when he was matched up with 911, who felt like the Psicosis to his Rey in this match. I was also really impressed how well Freelance took over the match when Ultraman Jr. broke his mouth, I have seen plenty of trios matches collapse when a guy goes down, but the third fall was as on point as the first two. Freelance hasn't really had the kind of showcase matchups in 2010, he has disappeared for a while, his matches haven't always been recorded, but this was why you are excited to see him show up.

Dr Cerebro/Black Terry/Chico Che v Avisman/Hijo del Diablo/Gringo Loco

TKG: The booking to add Chico Che to this feud was super smart and really well executed. Adding a tecnico to this feud totally changes the dynamics and Chico Che was really the right tecnico. The feud went form being a rudo v rudo feud (which IWRG is great at running) into a native v foreign team feud (where nationalism unites heels/faces). That change effects the way everyone works. There is a fun vibe that adding a tecnico brings, and you really got the sense that Black Terry/Cerebro were actively enjoying having Chico Che with them. There are these awesome moments where both of them stand back with shit eating grins and direct Chico Che into abusing the foreigners. There is a point where Terry is punching Gringo Loco on the floor and then Chico Che lands a punch of his own on Gringo Loco. Terry lights up “hey you got this, let me do something else”. First fall is mostly Gringos dominated as they leave Cerebro, Terry and Che all bloody, this stretches into the second fall which develops into a real isolate and triple team one guy while keeping other faces away from action fall (except done on the floor instead of in the center of ring) until the tecnicos see an error and take advantage bloodying Avisman and Diablo and then a third fall which starts with tecnicos beating rudos in one on one exchanges (with Che beating the shit out of Avisman on floor, Cerebro really laying into Diablo and Che running through his big spots) back into a section where rudos try to remount control. Part of what makes this kind of classic lucha fight work is that there are not a lot of changes in momentum. Just long periods of one sided action where both teams look strong (for both dishing and eating beating). I imagine if you were to watch this match with a stop watch and a calculator, the heels would have taken more than 75% of the offense in a match where the heels win clean. But this is the furthest thing from a competitive squash. Part of that is the selling which is all about guys toughing it out by taking a giant beating waiting out an opening Chico Corrales style. When it works it works and here it really worked. The actual match finish with everyone but Diablo and Cerebro taken out by dives and Diablo reversing a rana into a desnucadora/slam was also a super cool clean finish that still left you wanting more.

PAS: Man was this filmed spectacularly. This is a gruesome gritty fight, and pretty much every camera shot looked like the cover of a 1987 issue of Wrestling Eye. Black Terry his great exhausted beaten bloody facial expressions. He looks like William Munney at the end of Unforgiven. This is a match with six great performances, Gringo Loco is on fire, beating people, bleeding and taking one of the craziest corner post bumps I have ever seen. It is the kind of thing Cassandro would wince at. Diablo is also great as kind of the rudo glue. He has been in a million seedy Tijuana brawls in his career and this kind of thing is right in his wheelhouse. Then we have Chico Che continuing his June '09 to June '10 run as one of the five best wrestlers in the world. He is just stupendous in this match, as the victim and the deliverer of beatings, and his signature rope running is a little bit of beauty in the ugly.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Black Terry is Caged By Frail and Fragile Bars

Black Terry/ Kraneo/ Fantasma De La Opera v. Star Boy/Kid Tiger/ Ave Fenix IWRG 7/5/07-FUN

Match had its moments, but primarily existed as a set up for the Terry v. Opera feud. I liked the opening Kid Tiger v. Kraneo mat work although it was nothing exemplary. As expected Terry was the rudo standout, as he spend much of the first two falls kicking the shit out of Star Boy, including ending the first fall by impaling him with a fisherman DDT. Most of the second fall Star Boy spent having a doctor look at his neck, but when he finally comes back Terry hits a spinning neckbreaker and starts kicking him in the head. It almost felt like a Finlay WCWSN level asskicking. Star Boy gets his revenge when Opera and Terry miscommunicate leading Opera to hit Terry multiple times.

Black Terry/Cerebro Negro/Dr. Cerebro v. Negro Navarro/Trauma I/Trauma II IWRG 4/16/09-EPIC

PAS: This is the first match in the Naculpan run of this feud (the Arena Xochimilico series is here and and is worked as a technical battle of one upsmanship. You have two veteran maestros each bringing in their young charges to determine superiority. The structure of the match was a little unusual especially in the first fall, as guys would lock in a submission and would release it, just to show they could get their opponent. This is the best I have seen Trauma 1 look, he was always the Solar 2 to his Trauma 2's Solar 1, but his mat section with Black Terry was the best of the three long opening mat sections. It had more countering then the others, and Trauma I also gets the first fall with an awesome spinning leg lock. Navarro surprisingly looked stronger in the third fall which was exchanges and brawling, then he did in the first two matwork falls. I loved his handshake takedown, but the Terry v. Navarro on the mat was a little underwhelming. However the Terry v. Navarro brawling was great especially his infighting, a sick headbutt and punch countering. The Cerebros also looked great. I think this was the best of three matches between these teams, but I still think their classic encounter hasn't happened yet. They are working each other twice next week, lets hope our youtube peeps hook us up.

TKG: Trauma 1 is still the Solar II of the Traumas as that was all Black Terry. One of the big differences between the stronger mat guys and the weaker ones in this match is the way the stronger ones will wrench the lesser opponent into the submission. Trauma I and Cerebro Negro are guys who will move one leg here and another leg here and an arm here and “look a cool looking submission”. Terry, Trauma II, Navarro and Dr Cerebro will take their opponent down directly into a sub. Their subs all feel like they’re set up by dragon screw moves as they just absolutely wrench a guy to the mat and wrench them into a tight sub. These aren’t so much cool looking subs as they are absolutely nasty ways to put those subs on. I think my favorites were the sub Terry set up in the first fall that’s set up by kicking the inner thigh and then steeping on the hand; and the application of Dr Cerebro’s sub on Trauma I in the second fall which was amazing, as I’ve always liked his goofy submission but I don’t remember any other time where it looked this much like he was applied with this much force and torque. The one point where Trauma I actually sneaks a sub in, it’s the only time any of his stuff has any torque behind it.

The neat thing about getting to watch this match workshoped around is how different the Naucalpan version of the technical match is from the Xochimilco version. In that match they hid Trauma I by having him not have a mat section at all in the first fall. Instead he worked a Coco Verde v Xibalva fast exchanges section. Here he gets walked through the mat stuff with Black Terry. Both matches have the exact same finishing sequence to set up the rematch. But everything before that is completely different. The Xochimilco match starts with both maestros matching up and working pretty even sections with the stronger junior member of the opposite team. Terry and Navarro worked as Mantell v Lawler, two tough guys who can go toe to toe on the mat and standing. They worked a long Trauma II face in peril getting double and triple teamed until Navarro came in upset about the liberties taken with his son and was attacking folks like Bruno after someone got his Italian up. The Naucalpan match is worked nothing like that. The Naucalpan match is worked with no sense of their being any parity in the matchups. Both teams are trying to set up the match up to take advantage of the other team’s weak side. First fall has the two strongest junior members (Dr and II) match up in a long really cool even section, while each maestro gets to work against the weaker member of the opposite team. They play this up and there is no real attempt to hide that Truama I and Cerebro Negro are outmatched. The Terry/Trauma I, Navarro/Cerebro Negro is not the only mismatch that they play up. Terry isn’t working Dutch in the Naucalpan match he’s working almost Gino. There is nothing Mantell v Lawlerish about the Terry v Navarro matchups. Instead they’re really worked like Tully v Hashimoto. Navarro is an absolute beast and Terry is a guy in over his head but a dangerous shitkicker when given the opportunity. First fall is Black Terry toying with Trauma I, Dr Cerebro working even with Trauma II, and Navarro toying with Cerebro Negro until he decides to submit him. Black Terry comes in to even it out and ends up underestimating Trauma I and gets caught in a submission. The playing up of the mismatch makes this feel like a big deal. Second fall has Navarro toying with Terry, Dr Cerebro avenging Terry by subbing Trauma I, and then Navarro underestimating Terry and getting caught in a sub. Third fall is the stand up section and the cheat to win finish. Pretty great match up and completely different than the Xochimilco one. As the announcer says “Si usted, si usted quiere a la lucha…Aqui, aqui esta la lucha” I like the lucha.

Rey Del Ring IWRG 7/16/09-SKIPPABLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Japan 80s Top 30 Countdown! Match #23

Match #23: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Dynamite Kid, 2/5/80

Dynamite's stock has fallen a bunch in recent years, as DVDs have made having every single match ever in existence easier than ever before, and people can finally go back and reevaluate "classic" matches. Dynamite's main supporters used to give him and Tiger Mask ridiculous credit for their "innovative" offense. Hindsight shows that all they innovated was current indie main event dream match style, replete with pointless/endless move counters/pinfalls/big moves, horrible pacing, no selling, etc. Dynamite was one of the best examples of a .gif wrestler. Somebody having him taking a massive bump to the floor as their avatar or crushing somebody's face with a kneedrop would only be telling 6 seconds of Dynamite's story, and that story would look amazing. Within the context of one of his juniors matches, though, that crushing kneedrop would lead absolutely nowhere and it would probably result in his opponent just transitioning right back to offense.

But this match. THIS match RIGHT HERE is the finest example of all the things people like about Dynamite, all rolled into one awesome match. The Tiger Mask series looks horribly dated through 2010 eyes, but this is the kind of match that I can see looking better and better as the years go by.

Dynamite is at his hate-filled, prickish best here, starting with some nice European uppercuts and really slamming Fujinami on a bodyslam. He goes to a smarmy, mocking octopus hold like 1 minute in and chooses to gain leverage in a test of strength by headbutting his way out of it. Forget silly flipping knucklelock counters, I'm just gonna bang my head against yours while tying up your hands! A couple more headbutts and some kicks to the stomach, followed by a nasty clubbing forearm to the back has Fujinami fighting from the bottom right out of the gate.

DK throws two punches right at a bandaid on Fujinami's forehead, and Tatsumi is already checking to see if it opened up on him. He rattles off a couple armdrags and locks in DK's arm to try and slow down the beating, but DK merely stands up and throws some sick elbows to the face, then boots him right in the head. He goes to the octopus again, but Fujinami bails through the ropes.

DK forces him to the mat and starts lacing into him with some great knees to the ribs and forearms to the chest, the type of things you normally do not see when juniors work the mat. DK tries to break Fujinami's bridge by coming down full weight on top of him, and Tatsumi catches him in an awesome body scissors on the way down. DK just grabs Fujinami by the hair and throws some non-pulled punches right at that same cut, which soon after opens right up.

DK goes right back to working that cut, throwing in succession: a punch, an elbow, a kick, a stomp, and two kneedrops, followed by one fucking BOSS fistdrop (and I'm a man who luuuuuuvs his fistdrops!!). This clearly isn't graphic enough, so he just starts BITING the fucking cut!

Fujinami gets a flash roll up for a nearfall and the fans get way into it, and it was really nicely done. It was fast enough and snug enough that you bought that DK could be held down for the three count. Instead, though, DK kicks out, elbows him to the mat and stomps his face from the middle rope!! Good lord!

Fujinami is still trying to use his speed to counter, but it's failing miserably because Dynamite is equaling him in speed. They rope run and Fujinami goes for a dropkick, but falls to the mat as DK does the manliest fucking saunter right out of the way. Does it blow the physics of all the other rope running he does? Of course it does, nerd, but fuck YOU for being such a geek for pointing something out like that. Wrestling needs more Lucy's pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown.

DK heads to the top and puts every one of Chris Benoit's diving headbutts to shame. That wimp just turned his head to the side and aimed for the shoulder! DK decides "What's the WORST that could happen if I just do a shoot headbutt here? What could possibly go wrong over the next 25 years? How bad could the effects REALLY be? Who will be foolish enough to use ME as their life's example?" And then he just lands forehead to forehead with Fujinami. I want you to go back and pause the match during the moment when DK goes for the pinfall. The smile spread across his face is one of sheer madness (and this sequence really would actually make a great fucking animated .gif).

We continue with more elbows right to the face, and Fujinami gets a feeble sunset flip that nobody believes. The dude is barely hanging on at this point. DK has controlled about 98% of this thing and Fujinami is a mess. DK slams him and heads up for headbutt #2...and Dynamite does the most INSANE faceplant that I've ever seen a man PURPOSELY do.

I love missed moves in wrestling. It's something that doesn't get talked up that much, but it's something I always look for. I love it when somebody is supposed to miss a clothesline, and they REALLY make their opponent duck under that clothesline. They throw it as if they were gonna take somebody's head off, but it missed. I hate when a guy is supposed to miss a clothesline, and instead of throwing it like normal, he throws it as if he's throwing a fastball. People, you need to throw your missed clotheslines like Dan Quisenberry, not like Nolan Ryan. More Kent Tekulve, less Roger Clemens. A missed move should look like it would look any other time you try it, but some moves are much more insane to miss on purpose.

To miss this headbutt, DK plummeted to the mat and broke HIS OWN NOSE by choosing to go face first. He knew he was missing it! And he CHOSE to go FACE FIRST into the mat. I can't really endorse it, but I would be lying if I said I did not rewind it 7 times.

This is the PERFECT time for Fujinami to transition into offense (really his first offense of the whole match), and he unleashes on Dynamite, sending him to the floor. Fujinami has him reeling, so FLINGS his body over the ropes to the floor...only for Dynamite to casually saunter away again, sending Fujinami face first into the floor with limbs flying every which way. Two of the greatest intentional missed moves I've ever seen, 45 seconds apart from each other. Fujinami's miss was so spectacular that for all I know it was supposed to hit DK square in the face.

We go back inside and Fujinami takes far too long to just roll up DK for the finish. Well, that was a poor finish. BUT I can't stay mad at this match. Would it have been infinitely better if DK had just dickishly rolled back into the ring, leaned against the ropes smiling like a huge cock and gotten the count out victory? Yes, yes, god yes. This was one of the few times I was rooting for a count out finish. but Fujinami goes over with his least "out of nowhere" roll up of the match, and that's that.

I did end on that flat note, but it also had 15 minutes of severe ass beating preceeding it, so what more could you want? This is the ultimate Dynamite Kid showcase match. Maybe it's better that most indie workers decided to emulate the DK/TM series instead of this one, as we already have seen what happens when a nutbar emulates THIS Dynamite Kid. But holy cow, this match was awesome. Fujinami took an insane beating, and DK was game to keep dishing it out. So, so awesome.

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THE MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET: 60's Lutte Libre- Gilbert Cesca v. Billy Catanzarro

This is a new feature on Segunda Caida where we take a road trip down the information superhighway and find weird and awesome wrestling matches that we would never get to see without the wonders of the World Wide Web.

Gilbert Cesca v. Billy Catanzarro

PAS: Some awesome guy is uploading 60's French Wrestling and this match is legitimately spectacular. I feel like I am being a little hyperbolic, but on first watch this felt on the level of an all time classic professional wrestling match, like Cesca v. Catanzarro needs to be in the conversation with Flair v. Steamboat or Dandy v. Casas or Tenryu v. Hansen. Thanks to an info video I can tell which guy is which, I can't promise the same in future New Wave Wrestling reviews. The first 12 minutes of the match was matwork and exchanges. It felt like a combination of lucha and british wrestling, it was really fast and really intricate. One of the really unique things was they way they locked up, it was kind of mix of a collar and elbow tie up and a knuckle lock, and they both had a ton of really interesting ways to work out of it. Catanzarro was the first to mix it up, as he counters a wristlock by flipping over and blasting Cesca with a really stiff forearm, he then quickly hit almost a snap ganzo bomb for the first big throw. The match was worked like that, mostly slick counters, ranas and monkey flips, with an occasional explosion. So much cool matwork, including the Santo spinning headscissors spot by Catanzarro, which gets countered into almost an Indian deathlock. By the end of the match fraternité has broken down and they are on their knees blasting each other with really stiff forearms, it had a real Lawler v. Mantell, exhausted brawl feel. Cesca is also hitting these great half pounce half topes off the ropes where he is just running full speed and smashing his head into the side of his opponents face. FInish was really great Cesca is viciously wrenching a hammer lock, with Catanzarro attempting multiple cool counters which are cut off, until he is finally able to flip over and land in almost a flash pin postion. I am exited to watch everything on this guys channel, because if the rest is even half this good this will be a goldmine of Black Terry Jr. proportions.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Between Heaven and Hell Black Terry Fell In The Deep Crimson Dew

Black Terry vs. Matematico vs. Ultraman vs. Kahoz vs. Cuchillo vs. Astro Boy Jr.vs. Brazo de Plata Jr. vs. Daisuke Haonaka vs. Hijo del Fantasma vs. Toshiya Matsuzaki Toryuman- GREAT 5/3/06

PAS: Ridiculously fun match which was a total train wreck but in a really entertaining way. You got to see a bunch of old luchadores who never see the light of day. Black Terry had an awesome punch exchange with Ultraman. For an ex-high flyer Ultraman has really turned into Jose Luis Castillo in his old age. Cuchillo and Kahoz are guys I haven’t seen in years, and they looked like guys I hadn’t seen in years. Kahoz especially looked shitastic, as he was completely unable to bump over the top on his first attempt, so he has to run to the other side of the ring to bump to the floor Also that actually looked like the real Matematico who must be 70. Total blast.

TKG: Black Terry looked to be guy holding this entire thing together working fun sections with Hijo del Fantasma, Matematico, and Ultraman and one of the Japanese kids. Gran Cuchillo comes out and stretchers the other Japanese kid just smacking him around with the butt of his gun, suplexing him on the ramp and then dropping elbows. Cuchillo hitting opponents with the butt of a pistol may expose the business more than Tiger Jeet Singh hitting opponents with butt of sword. But Cuchillo is way more fun. Cuchillo and Kahoz are really too old to pull off their miscommunication heel double team stuff. But fuck all that other shit: BLACK TERRY~!!!

Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, Dr. Cerebro VS Trauma I, Trauma II, Zatura IWRG 6/4/09-FUN

TKG:I dug this a lot although I don’t know how good it actually was. I left this thinking these two teams match up really well and have a really good match in them, this has hints of it but isn’t it. That’s the same feeling I have leaving every Jumbo v Billy Robinson or Backlund v Adonis. I may have ridiculously high standards. It’s kind of ridiculous to say I liked this match for its sloppiness. I don’t know if Trauma I legit busted his arm up or if he was just selling over the three falls. Don’t know if Trauma II legit fucked up Cerebro Negro’s neck or if that was a match element. Either way the match was constantly broken up by medical staff checking on guys pulling them out of the action and eventually letting them back in, while the rest of the luchadors had to continue to work ignoring the downed guys and medical staff. I’m assuming that this was all guys getting legit tweaked but I really enjoyed the weird pacing and general dynamic (of guys getting pulled out and reinserted) that it created. Not a dynamic that I think they’ll ever be able to recreate. I imagine if they rematch these teams, the rematch will be smoother and not sure if that’s necessarily for the better. Anyway the real shocker of this match was how good both Cerebro Negro and Zatura looked; and how well they matched up opposite each other. Cerebro Negro was a guy who I enjoyed a bunch in 08 as kind of the best of the “flashy innovative offense” IWRG rudos. But he’s really underwhelmed in the Terry/Cerebros v Dinastia Navarro stuff. And well Zatura is a guy who always struck me as being nothing but insane out-of-control dives. But here the two match up shockingly well and felt like working spotty highflyer lit a fire under Cerebro Negro. I get the sense that people are starting to get a better sense of what they can do with Trauma I and really liked both all the Terry work on Trauma I’s arm and how Terry set up and sold all the Trauma I comebacks. The Trauma II v Dr Cerebro interactions were really the least version of that match up and shockingly the most uninteresting part of the match.

PAS: I don't think anyone would look at this match up on paper and think that Zatura and Cerebro Negro would come out looking the best. Their long mat section was very cool, I especially loved all of the countering based around Zatura's arm. Zatura also broke out a great looking dive, and Negro was probably the top brawler during the brawl section. There is a moment where Trauma II is on his stomach and Cerebro Negro is just unloading with right hands, it really looked like a guy violently finishing someone in MMA. There is such a great mix of trios right now in IWRG, now that it looks like the Trauma's turned on Zatura, I hope we get Negro Navarro back soon, because Dinastia De La Muerte v. Officiales, Juvi/Fuerza/Pirata or Zatura/Chico Che/Freelance all could be incredible

Black Terry/Cerebro Negro/Dr. Cerebro vs. Barba Roja/Hijo de Pirata Morgan/Pirata Morgan Jr. IWRG 8/27/09-FUN

TKG: The Piratas really felt out of their league here. First fall has Dr Cerebro matched up opposite Jr, ,Black Terry matched up opposite Barba Roja and Cerebro Negro opposite Hijo. Black Terry strained his arm on an armdrag had a doctor check it out and then had Barba Roja work over his arm. Terry is really good at the wounded tough warrior stuff and that may have been the best first fall interaction. The other Piratas looked completely lost working technical mat based offense. Second fall was rope running move fall where everyone switched up partners and third fall was all about the big moves where member of team runs in to prevent the fall. Piratas were way more comfortable in those settings. The second fall where they were most comfortable was short, and the third fall felt kind of mechanical.

PAS: Black Terry cuts a post match promo basically saying “It is good for young guys like that to get experience against wrestlers like us.” The match really felt worked like that, with Cerebros being polished professionals, carrying some green rookies through a match. There was individual moments of competence from the Piratas, but this match was 90% Cerebros


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Monday, July 19, 2010

New Japan 80s Top 30 Countdown! Match #24

Match #24 Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Akira Maeda 2/5/86

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

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

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

BattlArts 1/17/10

Takeshi Takeshima v. Sanchu Tsubakichi

TKG: This is super short with Takeshima working amateur rolls and Tsubakichi fighting from below for subs. Fine mat exchanges but nothing that will make you forget RPW.

PAS: Yeah I liked this fine, but it was only about four minutes and had nothing that stood out

Bison TAGAI v. Akifumi Saito

TKG: WOW! This was super fun. Saito is turning out to be really good and does these real U-style like submissions right up against the ropes making the forced breaks and sub feel like a bigger deal. This also had a shockingly lot of cool things from TAGAI. He kept on going for headlocks into attempted throws (and never pulls it off till the throw that leads to finish), and he does a real neat turtle in par tier avoiding a lift thing earlier.

PAS: This was tremendous, it really felt like a fun first round of a WEC bantamweight match between two good Ju Jitsu guys, lots of counters and escapes done really fast. The rolling guillotine finish was Negro Navarro level awesome.

Yujiro Yamamoto v. Yoshinori Narita

TKG:I don't think I've seen Narita before but Yamamoto is a guy who is super at scrambling and Narita did an impressive job moving and avoiding that scramble. He gets a couple of takedowns and a bunch of neat attempts to get the back and some really nasty subs from the back. And they do an awesome spot where Narita is doing really cool butt scooting to avoid Yamamoto's attempts to grab hold of an extremity.

PAS:Another really fun match. Narita was especially impressive at moving between holds on the mat. He does this beautiful transition from a triangle to almost a crossface. Yamamoto is of course off the chain. The finish was tremendous with Narita on his back upkicking to avoid Yamamoto, Yamamoto does a spin, catches an ankle, locks up the other leg and twists Narita's foot off.

Keita Yano v Sanchu Tsubakichi

TKG: Keita Yano starts with a choke in the ropes and I was really worried hat we were going to get another Keita Yano "Ultimate Opportunist /Master of the B Rules Rules" match. And I have no desire to try to figure that stuff out. Instead they do about 6 minutes of mat work with a couple of rope breaks at start. Nothing bad, you always got the sense that the two were trying for finishes (not just time killing) and the actual finish was neat.

PAS: Yeah this is two perfectly acceptable Keita Yano matches in a row. This didn't have the highs of the previous two matches, but didn't have any Keita Yano lows either. I am enjoying this tourney a lot more this year, as they haven't been focused on the stupid rules.

Bison TAGAI v. Yujiro Yamamoto

TKG: This was a TAGAI power v Yamamoto scramble type matchup. Tagai has some cool bowling a guy into a takedown stuff and some cool power stuff including a giant swing into a leg lock, and Yamamoto is always good at working from below. This was probably the longest of the matches thus far and it felt like they were really building up to something. Again another neat finish.

PAS: This is the matchup I wanted to see coming out of the first round, and it didn't disappoint. The finish was really good, I liked how Yamamoto was able to use his leverage to negate some Tagai's power and sink in the triangle.

Yuki Ishikawa/Alexander Otsuka v. Tiger Shark/Super Tiger II

PAS: Not really the match I wanted to see, but a really good match nonetheless. Ishikawa and Otsuka are kind of the BattlArts Megapowers, but the work most of the match selling a beating from the Tigers. Both Ishikawa and Otsuka are really great at selling beatings, timing comebacks, throwing in little shots, evoking sympathy. Still this is BattlArts and if these guys are going to sell a big beating, the beating better be bigger. The Tigers need to bring it, and for the most part they didn't. Still they built to hot tag really well, and we had a pretty hot finish, with Otsuka dumping Tiger Shark on his neck.

TKG: Phil pretty much covers this. I kind of want to see Ishikawa and Otsuka working from above but they are guys who are awesome working from below. For old vets vs younger athletic opponents. I would like some of that athleticism to look like it hurts. Still if you close one eye and just watch the vet's selling this is pretty awesome. Both Otsuka and Ishikawa are really awesome at throwing in hope spots when working from below that ar just absolutely nasty. At one pint Tiger Shark is in the mount throwing hands and Ishikawa just jets a punch upward that made you go "Holy shit". I kind of expected it to be followed up with a rolling tag.

Keita Yano v. Yujiro Yamamoto

TKG: This does have a weird B rules finish but could be enjoyed without any understanding of the rules. Yano continues to be unobjectionable and Yamamoto is able to deliver the fire to keep you interested. And they pretty much keep this moving. No real stoppages, just both guys countering and moving around the ring till they get to a finish.

PAS: Yeah the workrate in this match was impressive, a mat sprint with a pair of athletic guys moving a million miles an hour, constantly trying to grab arms, legs and necks. I wasn't paying attention to the rope breaks, so I didn't understand why the rope break didn't count, it was still a cool finish. Really enjoyable show, for something I wasn't looking forward too.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

SAW Workrate Report 6/16

So I got a new HD cable box, and I apparently now have a channel which shows weekly SAW wrestling from Nashville (Along with some fed running out Canada with Billy Gunn, U-Gene and Arik Cannon, probably won't keep Tivoing that one). SAW is a fed I have dug in the past with some guys I like, so I figure I will throw up a workrate report

What Worked

Chase Stevens has the belt and they do a nice job setting up next weeks match with Kid Kash with a pull apart brawl. His competitive squash wasn't much, but I got jazzed about next week.

Maniac Marc Anthony seems to be working an out of control violent brawler gimmick, so he should really have better punches. I did like him going nuts post match and throwing bar stools and bar tables into the ring, chucking a bar stool at the face of the bouncer. It really felt like a drunk redneck fucking up a bar.

Teen Excitement Drew Haskins had a pretty amusing vignette, cutting a promo on Justin Beiber and being pissed about being carded at the bar where the show is held.

Derrick King v. Wolfie D was as good as you would expect a six minute match between those two guys would be. Not a ton of fancy moves, but really great punches and bumping. King takes an especially great high backdrop, the finish is full on great horseshit with a run in by a black midget and Sister Ophelia before Derrick King waffles Wolfie with a boot. This is exactly what I want this show to be.

What Didn't Work

Both John Michael Worthington and Ryan Genesis are indy tall and indy roided, but neither of them are particularly good. Genesis kind of looks like the Cheetah Master and has a nice spinebuster. Not much in the match did a ton for me outside of the spinebuster. We get a run in by a mystery guy in purple dress shirt and vest, who does hit a nice spear.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

New Japan 80s Top 30 Countdown! Match #25

Match #25: Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vader, 4/24/89

April 24, 1989 had to be one of the most awesome nights in wrestling history. This show produced three matches that made this set, all of which made the top 30, all of which made my top 20, and two of which made my top ten. This was one of them, earning the #9 spot on my ballot for it's classic, perfectly executed take on the old "gutsy hero fighting overwhelming odds" storyline. Yeah, Fujinami had beaten Vader before, but c'mon, it's Vader. Unless it's late-90's WWF, he always represents overwhelming odds. He also typically represents a big, bad, evil motherfucker who will smash you into a pulp and use your skull as a novelty beer stein when hosting parties at the White Castle of Fear. Vader ain't nothing to fuck, and when he rolls into town, you stay the fuck away, because he won't think twice about caving your face in just for fun.

But that's what makes this match unique. You see, this bout, for the most part, is built around Vader the sportsman. He's stripped of his usual associated pageantry (including, sadly, the awesome helmet ritual), and one moment aside, he's not being overtly heelish. Hell, he even shakes Fujinami's hand and the start of the match. You'd think this might be a strike against the match, but it's not. Vader may be playing by the rules, and he may not be showboating much, but it's still a wrestling match, and he's still well within his right to beat the ever-living fuck out of Fujinami. Which he does. Almost immediately, in fact - it takes but a few seconds for Fujinami to grab a side headlock, and for Vader to turn it into a brain rattling backdrop. And that's the beauty of this match. It's your classic Vader bout stripped down to it's bare essentials. He delivers a massive beatdown, the opponent hangs tough, he sells the comeback without looking weak. It's something he does better than most wrestlers ever, and it goes on full display here.

Vader delivers a big headbutt and an open-hand chop, but he makes the mistake of trying to put Fujinami into his own side headlock, and Fujinami counters with his own backdrop. It's not as impressive as Vader's, but that's kinda the point - Fujinami is still in a weakened state, Vader is still fresh, but he did show that he could catch the big man by surprise, and that he won't go down without a fight. Vader is undeterred, continuing to control the match, but Fujinami would counter a vertical suplex into one of his own. Vader's still quick to his feet, but so is Fujinami, who delivers a big dropkick that send the monster tumbling backwards over the top rope to the floor.

With both men having taken some lumps, they find themselves back on equal footing. Vader goes for a test of strength, but sneaks in with a drop toe hold, which was pretty interesting to see. He works a deathlock for a bit before they end up in the corner. And well, being cornered by Vader isn't a situation you want to be in. He lays in some hard shots to Fujinami's face, but Fujinami ducks one and starts laying in a few of his own. He fights out of the corner, staggering Vader, before closing in to start the armwork that will be the focus of his offense for the rest of the match. Vader tries to shake him, managing to knock him off and deliver a belly bump at one point, but a tackle attempt just leads to him eating a hiptoss and Fujinami going right back to work on his arm. Vader tries to escape again, but ends up eating another, bigger backdrop from Fujinami, who sinks in the top wristlock even deeper. Watching Vader's slow burn here is impressive. Again, I am kinda used to him being angry from the get-go. Here he's a guy doing his job and starting to lose his cool ("GODDAMMIT!"), and it's a place I'm not shocked he can go to, but you don't see him go there often.

Finally, he works his way to his feet, and turns the wristlock around into a big ipponzei. He smacks Fujinami around before whipping him off the ropes and delivering a big Choshu-style lariat. Fujinami's sell of the move is pretty great, as he looks like he's just out on his feet for a few moments after taking the hit, staggering around before collapsing in a heap. Vader drags him back up, looking for another lariat, but Fujinami grabs the ropes when he gets whipped, and back body drops Vader to the floor when he charges in. But he's still stunned, and Vader is quick to regroup, grabbing him by the feet and dragging him outside.

This is the point in the match where Vader does seem to go into full heel mode, at least briefly, proclaiming "Welcome to your last [unintelligible]!" before posting Fujinami. Once they get back into the ring, it looks like Vader has the edge, but Fujinami starts throwing kicks to the injured arm, culminating in an enzuigiri to the arm, and then another to the back of his head, flooring the big man. Fujinami gets back to work on Vader's wing, and again, Vader is finding it tough to shake him off. He manages to whip him into the corner and hit a big Vader Attack, but when he tries to do the same in the opposite corner, Fujinami dodges, and Vader stumbles out into an armdrag. He makes it back to his feet, but eats a dropkick and a bodyslam that looked impressive even on a set with two matches where Andre the Giant got slammed.

Fujinami is on a roll, and says "screw the arm...I'm putting him away NOW!" He climbs to the top rope, but when he leaps off Vader catches him in mid-air, backpedals across the ring, and drops him with a hotshot. Both men end up on the outside, where Vader posts Fujinami again, and charges in for a lariat. But Fujinami dodges, and Vader ends up wrapping his already hurting arm around the cold, hard steel. Fujinami grabs Vader's arm and slams it into another post, before sending him on a ride into the guardrails. Once they're back in the ring, Fujinami sinks in a Fujiwara armbar, hoping this will finally be enough to take Vader down. It's awfully close, but Vader reaches the ropes. As he pulls himself back to his feet, he headbutts Fujinami hard, and then whips him off the ropes for a back body drop. He telegraphs it, and Fujinami leaps over it, looking for a sunset flip, but it's nothing doing, as Vader drops his 400 lbs. bulk down on Fujinami's sternum, and then runs off the ropes to deliver a big splash that brings Fujinami's night to an end.

This was fantastic. Fujinami was awesome as the double-tough native stalwart gutting his way through the pain while looking to take out Vader with his wits and wrestling skill. Vader's performance may have been reduced to it's basic elements, but that's really what we watch him for, isn't it? He gets in the ring and beats people up. He knows how to show weakness, and he's not afraid to do so, but you never forget that even after all the punishment his arm took, all it takes is one (or two) big moves for him to put Fujinami's lights out. This was Monster Brawling 101, and it ruled.

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RIP POPITEKIS-Los Brazos v. El Dandy/Super Astro/Popitekus 5/5/91

With the death of excellent fat boy luchadore Popitekus (luchawiki profile) I figured I would throw up a review of my favorite Popitekus match. Go download it from Sendspace and check it out

Los Brazos v. El Dandy/Super Astro/Popitekus 5/5/91

This is worked technico v. technico and is a pretty sweet version of that classic lucha formula. We get a first fall of indvidual matchups, all of them were solid, with the highlight being the Super Porky v. Popitekus battle of the Rhino's. They smash into each other and it looks like a compact car crash. 1991 may have been the point where Porky's fatness intersected with his agility perfectly, and you could tell he was inspired to match up with fellow elephantine highflyer Popitekus The second fall mixes up the match ups and ends with one of the greatest dive trains in wrestling history, Super Astro leads it off with his crazy somersault senton, then we get topes from El Brazo, Dandy, and Brazo De Oro, each one knocking the receiver into the seats, then Popitekus unloads a tope which looked like Superman threw a couch at a group of robbers. Then to finish it off, Porky hits a plancha which felt like Superman added the refrigerator. The third fall was fun although anything would have a hard time following up that train. Porky's silla to win the match was a sight to see though, can you imagine the smell?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Japan 80s Top 30 Countdown! Match #26

Match #26: Antonio Inoki vs. Dick Murdoch, 6/19/86

OK, cards on the table: I had this match at #107 on my ballot. For a Murdoch singles match, I thought his match against Fujinami from 7/6/82 blew this one out of the water (I had that one at #31, it finished #68). But this shit right here is a democracy, and the people spoke and they thought this was #26. Maybe Disc 9 was just really bad (it DID have to follow the unreal asskicking festival that Disc 8 delivered to us), but maybe I just got distracted by some shiny objects (raccoon-style!) during the 30 minutes of match #26.

But that was then, and this is with fresh eyes. We're going at it a 3rd time. Unbiased, unaffected, ready and willing to give YOU your 26th favorite match of New Japan's 80s (and 6th favorite from New Japan's 1986).

Inoki doesn't have his slick pompadour here and instead has a buzzcut. Huh. Opening staredown/circling was pretty entertaining, with Murdoch pointing at him to cut the crap and engage him (I assume). Dick snaps and starts with the bodyslams, then the knees in the tree of woe, then a BOSS elbowdrop across the throat and who CAN'T get behind that!?

Inoki's hair is buzzed but Dick's is getting long and kinda combed forward. While working Inoki's arm he kinda resembles a crazy Capt. Kangaroo, just clubbering and working that arm. Inoki has to take a 2nd breather, stretching out said arm and selling it pretty admirably. the fine selling continues as he rubs his elbow a bit while attempting to grasp a chinlock.

Dick continues just hanging onto that arm for somewhere between 1 and 9 minutes, and finally Inoki just kinda scoots into the ropes and takes another powder. Murdoch is sick of the constant breaks in his "holding Inoki by the arm" clinic and follows after him, throwing Inoki arm first into the guardrail (which wimpily gives way and totally minimizes the impact and Murdoch has a disappointed look on his face that reads "should have thrown him into the ringpost").

Inoki beats the count and hits his first offense, a nice enziguiri that places foot to face, and dammit if there's one thing Dick fucking Murdoch knows how to do, it's sell awesome head-based offense. He wheels around 180 with the impact and faceplants, legs splayed. Inoki starts bringing the straight rights and Murdoch goes spaghetti leg and crumbles in neat new ways after every one of them. Another enziguiri and things and looking up for Inoki, but he cockily goes for a brainbuster only to have Murdoch wisely small package him.

Dick bails to the corner and Inoki just runs and kicks him right in the face. Inoki tries it again and Dick shows how much more awesome his straight right hand is and socks Inoki in the gums.

My FAVORITE spot in the match comes immediately following, when Murdoch goes for an immediate fistdrop only for Inoki to counter with a NASTY upkick which staggers Dick. Yes, please.

Inoki foolishly goes for a knee off the top and Dick rolls out of the way, gives him a big back suplex, and starts bringing the even bigger rights and Inokie starts firing back and the cameraman truly hates me as Dick staggers all the way across the ring into the opposite corner after one of them, but he HAD to show Inoki reacting to Dick staggering, INSTEAD of Dick staggering. That's like porno flicks that show the dude's face during the money shot. I have to imagine the demand for that is very little, so why does it happen? Do NOT cut away from Murdoch stooging!!

Murdoch ramps up the arm work at this point, really wrenching in a Fujiwara armbar to the point Inoki's arm is perpendicular behind his body. Inoki tries to whip him into the corner, but Dick throws a fine back elbow, drops another on him, and goes back to that arm, ELBOWING Inoki with the same fucking arm he's using to armbar him! THAT is awesome. Inoki tries rolling to the floor again, and Murdoch calmly follows and just SLAMS Inoki's arm into the apron. Ouch.

We roll back in and Inoki gets a flash dropkick, and the cameraman learned his lesson as Dick does a full-on arms flailing, backpedaling semi-circle around 2/3 of the ring before flopping. Thank you. Inoki chops Dick in the face and nails the vertical suplex and then starts kicking at the leg (which Murdoch staggers and limps around on very believably. Dick's desperately trying to drag Inoki down by his bum wing, but Inoki's just picking the leg apart while Dick won't let the arm go.

Dick eats some rights and the spit goes flying, so Dick suckers him into the ropes and bumrushes him to the floor, and then just POSTS Inoki while running with him over his shoulder. Inoki's busted open and Dick starts punching the cut and then nails the Cattle Branding.

Dick misses a dropkick and Inoki capitalizes with some kneedrops and Dick is a toothless sweaty mess at this point. He keeps getting more and more gassed, while Inoki seems to always have some energy in reserve! He tries to post him again but Inoki escapes out the back and shoves Dick hard into the post! Dick's on his last legs and we go to the Octopus, but Inoki sets up too close to the ropes and Dick hiptosses him over!

Back in and Murdoch hits the most beautiful delayed brainbuster for a great nearfall. Inoki staggers him with some kicks and Murdoch does a hilariously awesome delayed somersault bump. It went enziguiri...stagger...stagger...somersault and it ruled!!

Somebody blows something and Murdoch doesn't kick out or something and the ref just stops counting and the fans go apeshit at Inoki's....uh....victory (?) and streamers are thrown, and then they do the actual finish to almost dead silence. Hmmm. Well that's a shame.

Inoki's still selling the arm afterwards and gets handed about 13 different certificates, belts, trophies, giant checks, yellow blazers, participation ribbons, tubs of rice, and has to shake hands with a bunch of people. I have no clue what's going on. Murdoch is just kinda lingering in the corner waiting to be acknowledged or something while reps from every local business give gifts to Inoki.

You know, this was a good match, but I really wish the arm work went somewhere. It's not the Inoki didn't sell it, because he did, really nicely. But it didn't really affect anything other than the length of the match. It didn't prevent Inoki from hitting any moves, and it didn't make him think twice about even attempting to hit movies. Murdoch was like a fighter who goes in with a strategy and even after 10-15 minutes when that strategy has proven ineffective, he still stubbornly sticks to his guns. It's amusing to watch those guys get tooled, but doesn't always make things exciting. If we trim some fat and throw in some more clubbing and bleeding and stumbling, I would have dug this even more. Even so, it was a real entertaining match.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Like a Bird on a Wire, Like Black Terry in a Midnight Choir

Black Terry v. Blackman UWF 3/1/90-FUN

TKG: This was really short but fun. Black Terry absolutely rules and was surprised by the degree it felt like Blackman was deferring to Black Terry and really letting Terry lay out match. Match builds in odd but really neat way. They start off kind of exchanging slams, arm drags eaten as slams, monkey flip as a throw/slam. Just everything eaten as a slam until Blackman eventually is able to monkey flip and project Terry out of ring. Terry avoids the countout gets back in and they start doing all spots that throw each other big distances. Its like a match built on building up trajectory of throws. Spots that project your opponent across ring section also ends with Terry getting monkey flipped and projected out of ring. This time Blackman follows it up with a great dive and Terry is counted out.

PAS: I kind of have trouble adjusting to these kind of singles matches. Lucha singles matches are usually either title matches or Super Libre brawls. This kind of syndie TV one fall match really isn't done much outside of tourneys. This was longer then a tourney match, but not worked like either a Super Libre brawl or a title match, so it just seemed odd. I imagine I will get used to this kind of stuff the more I watch H-UWF. Black Terry looked really great and you could tell he had really awesome chemistry with Blackman

Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Cerebro Negro v. Trauma I/II/Negro Navarro IWRG 3/28/09-EPIC

PAS: IWRG ran this series twice in Arena Xochmilco before running it twice in Naculpan. This was the feud of the year in wrestling, four great matches between six great wrestlers. We get a long opening mat section between Terry and Trauma II which was really spectacular stuff. One of the problems with IWRG matwork is that is often worked too even, here Terry is clearly superior, II is able to get some reversals using speed, but Terry is the veteran tooling him. There is this great moment where Trauma II tries to lift Terry and can't execute it because his arm has been shredded. Navarro comes in and does a similar job on Cerebro Negro and it really has the feel of the Maestros punishing the lesser members in an attempt to show the other guy up. I would have liked that to lead to a battle of matwork, but instead those two brawl it out, and goddamn is it spectacular. There is a punch exchange between the two on the floor which rivals your best Todd Morton v. Mitch Ryder exchanges. I really loved the finish too, with Terry stealing the fall, after Trauma II had Dr. Cerebro beat. Perfect example of the crafty rudo always being one step ahead.

TKG: I wrote a lot about the Xochmilco match in my review of the Naucalpan one. And I pretty much stand by what I wrote before. The Naucalpan one was built on mismatches with Terry matching up with Trauma I (weakest matworker in Dinastia Navarro) and Navarro working Cerebro Negro (weakest mat worker in Terribles Cerebros). The Xochimilco match is far evener with the two maestros matched up opposite the two stronger non-maestro members of the opposite team. You still get a sense of it mot being even, but it’s not as stark as in the Naucalapn match, and it doesn’t affect the match flow as much. The Trauma II v Terry match up is really neat as you have Trauma selling the arm to the point where he needs to release a hold, and Terry doing the same with the leg. Terry’s leg sell is a really neat realistic working through a pain sell. This match isn’t as good a match overall compared to the Naucalpan one but you still want to see it just for the Terry v Navarro street fight section.

Black Terry/Shu El Guererro v. Negro Navarro/El Signo 2/14/10-EPIC

This was in one of the best settings I have ever seen for wrestling, it was outdoors in what looked like a basketball court covered in graffiti. It looked like something out of the Warriors. This was the best Signo has looked in years as he rocks out a nice mat section with Terry and then starts kicking the crap out of him, opening up a nasty looking hardway cut on the side of his head with brutal headbutts. We also got a chance to see Shu v. Navarro which is not nearly as prevalent as Navarro v. Solar, but may be as good. I love when Shu just goes into a stance and dares you to move him, and Navarro hitting the mat hard is still as good as wrestling gets. We only get tastes of Navarro v. Terry which is a little disappointing, they knuckled up and it looked rad, but I want to see them really get a chance to shine opposite each other.


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