Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

APW TV Workrate Report: 12/11/10

So APW has been kinda testing my patience the last couple weeks. They have wrestlers I enjoy watching, and none of them are making TV. Add to that an abundance of Jeckels all over my TV screen, and suddenly this has gone from "trying to support my local indie" to an arduous effort making it through an episode. They showed a "classic" match last week that was a 4 minute long squash, which is a very strange choice since they have 15 years of shows to choose matches from. It's wrestling, it's on my TV for free, so I'll watch it. I'm a simple man who's fairly easy to please. So let's work together here.

1. We start with Mr. Wrestling IV vs. Brandon P. Net (already waiting in the ring!) and 4 takes it to the mat and works a cool wristlock takeover and they trade arm locks and they go into some rope running with 4 hitting a nice Thesz press and a rolling Polish Hammer and stops to hike his trunks up over his tummy. Brandon P throws some so-so punches but then he shakes his fist out afterwards which is one of my favorite things in wrestling, so I am torn. I will give him the benefit of the doubt despite his lime green trunks w/ matching bandana. 4 seems really uncomfortable in his mask, as he's always adjusting it. 4 gets a jawbreaker and rolls into a ankle lock but Brandon escapes, misses a kick and 4 gets the ankle again and moves into a figure 4. Mr. Wrestling IV goes for a backslide, Net reverses and 4 hits the big kneelift...and the announcers don't put it over at all, and of course it gets the pin. Just a note, but if one of your workers has been working a Mr. Wrestling gimmick for a few years now, it might be a good idea to bone up on "kneelifts-as-finishers".

We flashback to Rik Luxury punching the uber bland Matt Carlos in the FACE, right after Carlos' title win! And now earlier in the week Matt Carlos wants that match! He's talking with the commissioner and he robotically tells him that there is nothing he wants more than to be a fighting champion. I personally want to see Rik Luxury punch him again.

2. We get the debut of Levi Shapiro, a young Jewish man just trying to make a name for himself against the Italian Vennis Demarco ("the fan favorite of APW" apparently!). Shapiro gets a dropkick to start but gets whipped into the ropes and Shapiro takes a crazy high bump off a backdrop that looked great. Vennis grabs a headlock but Shapiro pushes him off and Vennis helps him out big by leaning into a dodgy spinning heel kick. Vennis has some goofy right hands and Shapiro responds with a slightly better right hand in the corner and after some walking around and punching we go to a chinlock. Shapiro gets a legdrop and hits the chinlock again and both guys look to be sucking wind. Shapiro misses a missle dropkick allowing Vennis to take control with a slingshot somersault legdrop. Vennis throws more of his questionable slo-mo overhand rights, Shapiro gets a fisherman suplex, Vennis gets a DDT, then hits the Stroke for the win. Well...we had a real nice backdrop bump in this one. Real nice bump.

3. YEAAAAHHH! Rik Luxury is out for his title shot and this should be a good one. I've seen Luxury live a few times and he throws nice punches and bumps really well and knows how to work a crowd. He's getting the shot at "Out of Control" Matt Carlos who seems to be actually very much in control and polite. He went through the proper channels to fill out all the necessary paperwork to make sure this title match was official. That seems to be fairly in control of things. I mean, this is a match for the World Wide Internet Title!! You gotta keep your paperwork in order.

Carlos starts with punches and they leave a lot to be desired, but Luxury takes a breather to the floor, regroups, comes back in and Carlos tackles him and blasts him with some nice elbows. Carlos is just working too fast for Luxury here and gets a real cool roll up. He continues working over Luxury until Luxury eventually uses his size to take control. Luxury controls for a bit and then does a spot I love where he snapmares Carlos, leaves him in a seated position, looks to the crowd to get them hyped up for what he's about to do, runs off the ropes for momentum...and slaps on a chinlock. Awesome. Somewhere in here Carlos had a cool somersault single leg takedown that while he was in the middle of doing it I was thinking "Boy this is not working" and then he did it and it looked awesome.

Finish was real lousy as Carlos goes for a splash in the corner and Luxury pulls the ref in the way, taking him out of the picture. Luxury then gets the win, only to have a 2nd ref come out and reverse that decision, restart the match, and see Carlos get the immediate pinfall to retain. So the crafty heel tricks the babyface to splash the ref, then pins him clean with his finisher, and the face only wins because the heel was caught off guard with the restart. And I was really hoping they'd put the title on Luxury so I can see him on TV more.

I was real disappointed that they didn't have any of the newly turned goth Larry Blackwell on TV this week. His big splash finisher can be called the 45(0 lb.) Grave.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Nobukazu Hirai vs. Shigekazu Tajiri

TKG: This is a match between a guy in a gi and a guy in wresting trunks (Hirai). First round was feeling out round with Tajiri getting lots of ankle locks. Second round has Tajiri really dominating with Hirai doing lots of weeble selling till he can come back with a bunch of elbow strikes to back of head and a stiff wrestling running knee.Third round again has a near knock out from Tajiri at start and then , Hirai getting a big dramatic half crab. The match goes back and forth enough that it ends up feeling pretty even. In end Tajiri gets in two super hard knock out kicks in end to score the win .Although neither knocks Hirai out, instead just dazing him enough for a pin.

PAS: This was weirdly long for this kind of match placed here on the card. I figured it would either be a short brutal squash to build up Tajiri for someone higher on the card, or Hirai getting a quick squash to build a match between him and Saito or Aoyagi. This kind of match is usually going to establish one guy or another, and this really established nobody.

Masao Orihara vs. Akitoshi Saito

TKG: These two had a really great match in NJ. This wasn't that. Another match between guy in gi (Saito) and guy in wrestling pants (Orihara) worked rounds style. First round feeling out; second round Orihara dominates with wrestling moves; third round Orihara dominates after going from a lariat into a choke. Saito spends bulk of round trying to get Orihara off his back and escape the choke. Orihara won't let go of choke at end of round untill Saitos corner comes in and brains him with chair. Orihara starts next round with a chair show, and we get big hot moment where Saito ditches gi and then two rounds of lots of trading near falls till the final bell. I was super stoked about this match and it ended up super disappointing.

PAS: I am not even sure this was better then the previous match, which is pretty surprising considering how good Saito is and how much more heat this had. Orihara really dominated this match, which is weird because at this point Orihara never dominated anyone. I really enjoyed all of the pull aparts at the end of rounds, and some of Saito's offense, but this kind of stunk.

Ricky Fuyuki vs. Black Cat

PAS: OK, this is more like it. Cat jumps Fuyuki at the bell and they brawl in the crowd chucking chairs and tables at each other. Just a great intense brawl with a pair of barrel chested pot bellied dudes pounding on each other. Black Cat is just made for WAR. He gets really cut open and blood is spraying out of his male patterned baldness. Finish is exactly the kind of reckless disregard for your opponent you would expect from an interpromotional match.

TKG: Yeah neither of these guys were going to be wearing gis. Black Cat is super roided and we spent first minute of this trying to determine if this was really Black Cat or what other roided guy from that period had similar face. These two pretty much take it to the streets from the start just tossing each other into tables and chairs, wrecking each other with audience members umbrellas, etc. They manage to make the in ring sections as violent looking as the streetfight sections. Black Cats eye patch of dark blood looked gnarly on the hand held.

Mil Mascaras/Takashi Ishikawa vs. Tatsumi Kitahara/Yuji Yasuraoka

TKG: This is pretty much straight tag formula with four awesome wrestlers. Ishikawa and Mascaras both come into match with bandaged shoulders ( perhaps jumped by the Ole/Zan Panzer team). Ishikawa and Mil control the first couple of exchanges. The Mil v. Kitahara mat section out of knuckle lock put a big smile on my face. Kitahara starts kicking at Ishikawa's bad shoulder and they work a neat Ishikawa in peril section, with Mil coming in for the hot tag. Yasuroka is great at eating Mil topes and then gets stretched by Mil for a bit. Kitahara and Yasuroka are still able to go after Ishikawa some more and they build to a real hot finish sequence.

PAS: Yeah this was really great stuff, I knew I was going to dig Kitihara, Mil and Ishikawa, but I was really impressed by Yasuraoka. He looked very comfortable working holds with Mil early, had a couple of moments of impressive athleticism and really took both Mil's topes and Ishikawa's awesome chokeslam really well. Ishikawa with a wounded shoulder was a match I hadn't seen him work before and he was great at it. Really combined violence and vulnerability really well. He is a guy who can do so much.

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Masaji Aoyagi

TKG: Tenryu is so amazing at facial selling. This is a hand held and not one of these ringside handhelds either, and you can still make out all of his facial wincing as he gets kicked in the face by Aoyagi. This is another guy in a gi vs. wrestler match but this time there is no feeling out round. Just two guys beating on each other from the first bell. Tenryu stops Aoyagi in first round by yoking him in a nasty choke. Second round ends with Tenryu eating kicks and then getting kicked some more after the bell. They do the big Aoyagi throws gi to crowd moment that always gets the drop the strap pop. And third round ends with a series of disdainful Tenryu powerbombs as Aoyagi's corner gets more and more pissed.

PAS: This was as good as it looks on paper. A pair of guys who don't pull punches not pulling their punches. I loved the spot where Aoyagi kicks Tenryu in the face with the toe of his boot, only for Tenryu to get his revenge the next round by returning the eye kick. I also loved Tenryu saying "fuck the niceties and hurling the corner stool at Aoyagi during the break. Finish was great as Tenryu's "I don't give a fuck" powerbombs were totally brutal looking.

Stan Lane/John Tenta vs. Ultimo Dragon/Super Strong Machine

TKG: I have no idea why this is in the main spot. I had seen the Tenryu/Stan Lane v Ultimo/Mil from a couple days later and enjoyed it a bunch. This isn't as good as that but has some fun stuff. Tenta's cat and mouse stuff with Ultimo is fun and Stan Lane is a guy who you always look forward to watching in Japan. Lane has a neat bit of armwork on Stong Machine , does a nasty eat of a DDT, and makes Ultimo's end run look good.

PAS: Super Stong was the real weak link in this match as he hit some offense which really didn't look good. There are only a handful of puro Stan Lane matches but they are all spun gold. I also enjoyed all of the Ultimo v. Tenta interactions, there has to be a fun WCW Pro match somewhere between the two. Kind of a uneventful, but fun match, Lane should have really been wearing a Gi.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

There is No Such Thing as Bravery; Only Degrees of Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Tatsumi Fujinami NJ 2/3/01-FUN

This was the great lost singles match of the 1980's. These two matched up in tags and gauntlets during the NJ v. UWFI feud and it was always amazing and heated and intense. For some reason sadly there was never a singles match between the two that made tape. This is 15 years or so past the point that this would really have relevance, and although the ship has definitely sailed a bit, it is still nifty to watch a pair of masters do their thing. Both guys worked in and out of holds. There was a great knuckle lock sequence, and I really dug the finish which was Fujiwara applying his boston crab reversal twice, and Fujinami rolling with it and putting on a figure four. More of a taste of what could have been then a truly great match.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Kohei Sato Zero-One 3/3/02-GREAT

Awesome grappling match, in the style of the classic PWFG and UWF Fujiwara matches. Pretty much all on the mat with both guys desperately fighting for counters and reversals. Sato is very comfortable in this relm and does a lot of cool shit. You don't often see someone who looks comfortable rolling with Fujiwara in this way. Most guys even if the action is worked even, appear carried, while Sato looks like he has his own ideas. Sato uses his height well on the mat, sort in the way someone liked Kendall Grove does in shoots, he has long legs and uses their length to extricate himself and get advantages. Of course no one in wrestling history is as comfortable on the mat as Yoshiaki Fujiwara and all of his attacks are very fluid too. Finish was slightly abrupt, Fujiwara has done good KO finishes in the past, this one didn't feel as much like a finish, the kick didn't land as solidly as it needed to, and I think it dropped the match a bit. Still well worth checking out and I uploaded it on youtube for everyone to watch.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Minoru Suzuki v. Osamu Nishimura/Masa Fuchi AJ 10/24/10-FUN

This was more comedy spot Fujiwara then I was hoping for. We did get a nice short grappling section between Fujiwara and Nishimura, but we never got to see Fujiwara really hit the mat with either of his opponent. We got a lot of mugging and face making from Suzuki and ring bolt exposing by Fujiwara which is all fun stuff, and all of the shtick was well executed shtick, this is super intriguing on paper match up, which didn't deliver a ton in practice.



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ROH TV Workrate Report: 12/13/10

Opening Davey Richards promo. They show upcoming still photo line-ups of KOW vs. American Wolves and Davey vs. Roderick, and a lot of these guys are pointing at the camera during their photos, which I don't really understand. Davey talks for awhile and the crowd looks bored. There's a guy right up front that looks like a cross between Stephen King and Tim Heidecker's character Jan from The Only Married News Team. As the promo goes on, the camera slowly pans up this man, and the higher it pans the more androgynous it becomes. We start at man, then slowly we start to question ourselves, and by the time we're at just glasses and up we're convinced it's Janet Reno. Davey says "shit" and he can't even swear very well. It just wasn't very convincing. Like when Michael Cole says "dammit" and it sounds like an alien that's just trying to replicate human swearing to fit in to society. Roddy and Truth Martini are out and Truth's look just screams indie wrestling, but I liked Strong here. "How will it feel to let down your dead grandfather?" My grandpa is awesome. He took me to baseball games and gave me candy and once got thrown out of one of my Little League games for heckling other kids. I would want to win an indie wrestling title for him.

1. Daizee Haize vs. Taaeyleor Hendrix is up and I like Haze's drop toe hold. Decent chops by Haze and this is basically an extended squash and it just kinda gets sloppier as it goes on. Some parts seemed to be in slow motion

Papa Briscoe is awwwwesome. I want to see him get his hands on Hagadorn. Shane's dad obviously never gave him a proper whooping, so Papa Briscoe is gonna do it for him!! YES!!

2. Kory Chavis vs. Kevin Steen is OK as they both slam into each other with hard shoulderblocks, and Chavis throws a decent right hand and a great back elbow. Chavis takes a hotshot like a man. Steen has a crummy kick to the stomach. Chavis goes for a rad looking rana and Steen plants him with a powerbomb, F-5, and package piledriver. Done. Chavis really made Steen look devastating here, but also played up a couple weaknesses that Generico might be able to exploit.

3. Aries/Strong is starting at the halfway mark of the hour and I'm not really in the mood for a 30 minute match, but maybe they'll pleasantly surprise me. Aries is real nice on the mat and has a cool arm takeover that Strong squirms out of. Aries has nice punches and the feeling out process is engaging. Truth Martini gets on the apron and he is just lousy and so damn bush league. But he makes me regret typiong that as he TOTALLY redeems himself by bumping SO damn awesome from an Aries punch. With his bug-eye glasses he looked like a fly cruising at full speed into a spider web and violently springing back and forth.

Strong gains control from there and hits a brutal chop in the corner, charges but Aries gets a nice sunset flip. Strong starts throwing Aries around and Aries eats offense so fucking good and this match is getting awesome. Crowd really seems into Aries here, too. The match starts getting insane with Aries reversing a backbreaker into a DDT and going crazy on offense, hitting a crazy twisting body press and a quebrada, then a missile dropkick inside. These guys are working off each other really well here and the match just keeps building in a nice way. Strong hits some backbreakers, Aries gets some roll-ups, Aries gets the crucifix bomb and a particularly nasty brainbuster, and then NAILS the 450.

And Strong gets his boot under the ropes. I'll be honest, I really thought that was the end. Of course that sounds crazy that they would change the title and completely derail the Davey storyline less than a week before the iPPV, but it made me doubt my rational thinking. "Maybe it was announced as a non-title match and I didn't notice?" Awesome nearfall. The final 2-3 minutes of this are just red hot and the crowd is going insane. Strong hits this unreal vertical suplex, but as he's falling back he gets his knees up and turns it into an unbelievably painful looking backbreaker. After that he just hits his running flying kick for the pin.

I don't always like Strong, but I always love Aries and these two really worked together great here. The match never turned into spotty overkill and they worked kickouts really smartly so that they never felt ridiculous. Instead of just kicking out of everything they smartly laid stuff out near ropes so they could do some feeble rope breaks and it just worked great. Aries is so killer with all his transitions, coming across really natural in his execution. A guy like Davey Richards always seems like he's thinking of what move was planned next, getting those Polar Express dead eyes. Aries just is so great at rolling with things, giving some things a nice "sloppy" look. Sloppy in a good way. Not every move needs to be executed perfectly, the same way every time. This isn't a video game, and Aries gets that.

I gotta give ROH a lot of credit here. This had to have been filmed 4-6 weeks prior to airing, and they managed to build to the PPV really nicely. If I was actually around that weekend, I probably would have ordered it, and I have only ordered two PPVs in the last 10 years. I mean shoot, they got me interested in finding out who Sara Del Ray's mystery partner was! Great job. Now I just hope that the TV show remains good with no Necro or Aries.


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Black Terry Will Have a Blue Blue Christmas, That's For Certain

Black Terry/Cerebro Negro/Dr. Cerebro v. Guerrero Negro/Mike Segura/Veneno CMLL 12/25/10-FUN

Our IWRG guys filling up the undercard of a CMLL show, and doing what they do. I haven't seen Suicida Segura in a while and he provided all of the cool moments for the technico team. The match opens with Segura and Black Terry hitting the mat and really ripping up some sweet looking sequence. We also get Segura hitting some nice headscissors and ranas on the Cerebros and a cool looking tope. When Suicida wasn't in the ring it was less interesting, the majority of the match was built around Veneno throwing Baba chops as a comedy spot. Veneno has a bunch of charisma, and the crowd was into his shtick, but I was enjoying the non-Veneno stuff a lot more. Terry takes a Baba chop really well though.



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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Through The Fire and The Flood, Clung To The Tree, Black Terry is Redeemed By The Blood

Black Terry/Negro Navarro v. Solar/Black Shadow Jr. 12/18/10-GREAT

We have had a great end of the year run of maestro lucha libre and this is another banger. I haven't seen Black Shadow Jr. in 20 years, but he fit right into this crew. Navarro and Solar do the thing they do, and it is great as usual. I love their rolling tapitia counters which is a spot they don't break out much, and Solar's headscissors chicken wing submission is spectacular. Still I think the show was stolen by Shadow and Terry, very cool countering and matwork with Shadow also breaking out some crazy athletic flips for a elderly looking guy. Terry was right there constantly attacking limbs and getting big air on all of Shadows attacks. I would have liked to see more mixing of the opponents, but I am jazzed we now have dueling indy lucha HH providers.


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

APW TV Workrate Report: 12/4/10

1. Timothy Thatcher vs. Adam Thornstowe starts us off and Thatcher is British, comes out to London Calling, and has a good build. Thornstowe is in Reno Scum working a punk stable kinda gimmick. Thatcher starts with some nice arm work (including stomping on Thornstowe's arm really nasty like) while the goofball announcer makes vague allusions to Rancid's song "Hooligans" ("a certain well known Bay Area punk rock band..." Not really sure why they had to dance around Rancid.). Thornstowe had tights and a shaved head last I saw him and now he has a goofy Mantaur haircut and silly skull shorts and kick pads. Thatcher is pretty engaging working the arm, dropping knees and elbows on it and bending it all over the ropes. Thatcher misses a corner charge and Thornstowe takes over with some soccer kicks to the face, but Thatcher comes back with a German suplex (and the announcer again calls it a total cringe-worthy "suplay", so apparently that's a thing).

Adam transitions back to offense after another missed charge and hits a pretty great stomp off the top rope to the back of Thatcher's head. We do a headbutt/chop exchange and then the two of them awkwardly mistime a superkick spot.....twice....but Adam covers for it somewhat with a stiff kick to Thatcher's chops. But Thatcher kinda just shrugs it off and gets the tap with a crossface for the win. Entertaining match and Thatcher cuts a condescending promo afterwards showing off his very British teeth.

2. We get a "classic" match now from 2/19/05, Kafu vs. Cheerleader Melissa. Melissa starts with elbows to stun him and follows up with a missle dropkick. Kafu levels her with an elbow and does some throws as the crowd feebly and uncomfortably chants "No means no". Kafu is doing things like pulling her up for 2 counts and then blasts her with a lariat. The announcer giddily exclaims that we might get some blood here. If they're gonna have a cute athletic girl in a skirt get beaten bloody, Bay Area TV 50 might also be interested in showing some apartment wrestling or crushing videos. I mean, if you're going to target a demo, might as well throw out a wide net. Kafu lands a ridiculously loud chop and gets the 3. A four minute man-on-woman squash match is a really odd choice to showcase as a classic match-up. It's like VH1 Classic showing a Tin Machine video highlighting Bowie.

Interview with Jeckels the Jester makes me magically skip forward in time using the power of DVR!!

APW Boot Camp students are in the back putting up some insulation (Diante is apparently the best at it! Sorry, Maria!) but they're interrupted by a doughy heavy breathing goth guy with a lip piercing and anal bead necklace who spits green stuff in some woman's (Tina!) face and she starts making zombies sounds.

We flashback to a goth stable promo with CORVUS (the spitting guy) who is with a couple other doughy goths wearing vinyl and brooding and holding candles and LARRY BLACKWELL interrupts and wants to join!!! Yes!!! The fattest, palest guy in the company wants to go GOTH (why fight it amirite?!) and he gets SPIT ON and Blackwell is IN!! He made a fucking rad mixtape with Birthday Party and Christian Death and Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy and it was actually really fucking good you guys. It wasn't some greatest hits mix OK? He threw on some Theatre of Hate and a really choice cut from Juju and the real treasure was all the memories they made while listening to it in their BLACK CAR and drinking Dr. Pepper (probably the gothiest soda). I hope they recruit Dana Lee because the goth movement is actually looking for some diversity and could really use some chubby Asians to kinda balance things out.

3. And we get a match with the goth stable member OMEGA (accompanied by CORVUS and DARKNESS (yeah I know right?)) vs........Jeckels. Aw come the fuck on. They have to have a deep enough roster so that they don't have to give this chump match AND interview time each week, right? Right? Omega is the definition of a chubby dude who had money to either go to video game design school, or wrestling school, and he based his decision on which school would let him wear shitty face paint.

We start with a shockingly awesome elbow exchange and every buttery curve of Jeckels is on display thanks to his old friend "torn mesh top". Jeckels hits a vertical suplay (good lord) and apparently the guy working retarded carnival of souls employee is the babyface here. Omega throws a decent left hand and Jeckels responds with a really really shitty right hand and then Omega does Jeckels a favor by bumping big for a really lousy clothesline. Despite his embarrassing appearance (think of something Peter Murphy might be wearing in 2020...only baggier) Omega might actually be good. And then he goes and makes me regret typing that by doing the most preposterous triangle choke in the history of the indies. There was no hyperbole used in that last sentence. Think for a moment on all that entails. I mean he sets it up using a Shining Wizard (we here at the "Indiest Moves Committee also would have accepted it being set up with a Facewash) and then fumbles with it for a really really long time and man oh man MMA moves in wrestling are getting awful. Corvus interferes and cheats to Omega's transition and we get some knee work and Omega brings some real nice attacks to the leg, great kicks and a nice dropkick. But the ref sees additional interference and that's all she wrote. DQ finish and Jeckels is left in the ring making the shittiest faces you can imagine.

OK. APW. You have wrestlers that I like. But those wrestlers are not ending up on your TV for some reason. We better get some GOTH Larry Blackwell SOON and please stop with the Jeckels stuff. Please. It's really not good in any way.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

All Japan Real World Tag League 11/20/10

These Puro tourney Project always tend to flame out (SLL's G1, my attempt to get through the BOSJ), but this is a tourney with Joe Malenko and Tamon Honda so we might make it.

Dark Ozz/Dark Cuervo/MAZADA vs. Kaz Hayashi/Shuji Kondo/BUSHI

This had its moments, but it was underwhelming at the end. There was some pretty lucha exchanges with Hayashi and one of the fake Charlie Mansons. I have been watching a bunch of MPRO six mans and back in his Shiryu days he was one of the best at quick armdrag and rope running. Ozz (or maybe Cuervo) has a really nasty finishing piledriver. Still much of this was pretty sloppy and awkward looking. It kind of sucks that AJ sends their rookies to IWRG but brings over AAA guys, this match would have been much better with the Terrible Cerebros or Oficiales as the rudo team.

TARU/Minoru/Voodoo Mask vs. Masanobu Fuchi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi/Tamon Honda

Not a long match, mostly comedy stuff with Kikuchi making faces at TARU. I am always happy to see Honda as he got to break out some Olympic Hell and his great deadlift German. This was undercard trios match, and really worked that way. No one was going to stretch out, they were going to do some shtick and hit some spots and go home.

Hiroshi Yamato vs. Keiji Muto

This was Muto diffidently squashing a young guy. He looked kind of bored and it resembled the laziest of Inoki New Japan matches. I remember Yamato kind of stinking up Black Terry matches in IWRG, but he seems to be someone they are pushing and I don't see any point in something like this.

KENSO/KONO vs. Seiya Sanada/Manabu Soya

I hadn't seen any of these guys before (outside of Kenzo Suzuki), and was pleasantly surprised at this ending up decent. First part of the match wasn't much, mostly Soya throwing clotheslines and KENSO choking folks with his scarf. The match built to a nice exciting finish. KENSO has a really cool looking dive and he hit it twice, and Soya and KONO did a cool near fall exchange with KONO hitting a nasty knee drop, not sure if I recommend the match, but I dug the end.

Masakatsu Funaki/Minoru Suzuki vs. Osamu Nishimura/Joe Malenko

This was as fun as I was hoping it would be. Malenko didn't look like he missed a step. We got a long awesome Malenko v. Funaki mat stand off in the beginning of the match which really had the feel of watching Navarro or Panther work holds. Suzuki and Nishimura had a really cool mat opening too, I loved the twists they put on the MUGA headscissors stuff. The match was pretty good when it sped up too, Malenko and Suzuki throwing headbutts on the floor was sweet. The draws you end up getting in these kind of tournaments can be kind of a buzzkill, but the finish run was awesome with Suzuki trying to lock on his sleeper and Malenko countering it with an ankle lock and both guys fighting over it. Really good stuff and I am hoping all of the Malenko shows up.

Taiyo Kea/Akebono vs. Suwama/Ryota Hama

Wow, I was pretty shocked at how much I dug this. Really had the feel of a solid WAR tag with a bunch of big heavyweight dudes pounding on each other. I always love battle of monsters and while I don't really get the sense Akebono or Hama are very good, their exchanges really felt like a pair of Bison smashing into each other. I was also really into Suwama v. Kea, their opening mat work was pretty great, with Kea doing some awesome amateur rides. The middle portion of the match was just guys pounding on each other, there is a great spot where Suwama just slams Akebono with short lariats until he finally chopped him down. Finish was really cool, Suwama had a very cool wobbly sell of a suplex, and you buy Kea getting the pin as a big moment.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dick Togo Avalanche The Alpine Shake, The Coupe's Vanilla Bean, The Seats Poundcake

Dick Togo/Katsushi Takemura v. Kaz Hayashi/American Dragon NJ 8/17/04-EPIC

A lot of talent in this match, and it pretty much lives up to it. What fed ran the KDX break-up bloodfeud, because I need to see any time Togo and Hayashi match up. They just went after each other tooth and nail. I remember Danielson being disappointing in this New Japan run, but he looked like American Dragon here, really viciously ripping at Takemura's arm, laying into people with uppercuts, and pulling off actual intensity in a way a scrub like Davey Richards can only dream about. Togo and Takemura do a really nice job working over Dragon and building to a big hot tag and a great end run. There is a big blown spot here, as Danielson is attempting a superplex and both he and Takemura tumble nastily to the floor, it was actually the rare blown spot which makes a match better. First of all the bump looked nasty, then Danielson did a nice job coming back getting the advantage and hitting the suplex again, almost making the redo of the spot a moment of triumph. He goes from that into the Cattle Mutilation which gets broken up by a Dick Togo senton onto the bridge, which comes off as cool as it sounds.

Dick Togo/Masao Orihara v. Rasse/Great Sasuke MPRO 3/17/07-FUN

I am just not digging the 2000's Togo tags as much as the 90s stuff, although I don't think it is because either Togo or his opponents have gotten worse. Structurally this just wasn't as satisfying. The rudo team does a lot of chair shotting and power bombing, and we never really get to see Togo and Rasse work lucha segments, which is really the most on paper intriguing part of the match. We did finally get to see Sasuke and Rasse fly around a bit and Togo looked like Togo looks, but this wasn't the match I wanted this to be.

Dick Togo/Yasu Urano v. Extreme Tiger/Jack Evans NOAH 10/26/10-FUN

I think a tag match with 2006 Dick Togo v. 2006 Jack Evans would be amazing, but Evans seems to have taken a big step back since going to AAA. I think the stuff I liked the most in this match was the initial Yasu Urano v. Extreme Tiger matwork which was a nice start, but shouldn't be the highlight. Jack will still take a big beating and stretching, and I really dug Togo yanking out his neck with the crossface, also the last couple of minutes was pretty cool with a nifty Extreme Tiger dive and Jack hitting the 730 which is still spectacular. However most of the lucha exchanges between Evans and Togo were pretty disappointing, Togo is historically so good with flashy flyers, but none of this stood out, and most of Jack's offense kind of looked like crap. Match was worth checking out, but I expected better.



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Friday, December 10, 2010

ROH TV Workrate Report: 12/6/10

1. We start with Colt Cabana vs. Eddie Edwards and they take it to the mat and it's goofy but fun. Colt has some silly reversals that make me smile and Eddie does a real nice transition into a kneebar. Cabana reverses into a wristlock and really BENDS that hand back and it looks real painful. We're up and Edwards hits a dragon screw that Colt makes look GREAT by planting his knee directly into the mat and rolls to the floor. Eddie hits a big tope and this is pretty damn good. Cabana nails a clothesline to the back of Eddie's head lands some nice jabs and absolutely obliterates Edwards with his butt. Full on butt-butt right to the chest, just awesome. I can't decide whose jumping flying butt-butt I like more: Cabana's or Goldust's. It's like the difference between a lariat and a clothesline. Cabana runs at his opponent and leaps at them butt first, but Goldust throws his opponent in the ropes and lets their own momentum work against them by leaping up and making them run right into his butt. Ahhh I can't choose. We can just agree that butt offense is great.

Cabana goes for a butt-butt in the corner and Edwards hits a big flying knee and we go into a kinda sucky chop exchange but it doesn't matter because this is still good. Colt nails the corner butt and hits a really great moonsault. Match starts to go a little too long before Edwards' comeback and I think it's gonna go time limit but they SWERVE me and go to the finish. Plenty of stuff to like here, Colt looked really good throughout.

Christopher Daniels' eyeliner makes him look cross-eyed and he's still overshooting that moonsault. For a guy who was one of my favorites to see live in 1999, I sure don't want Daniels on my TV in 2010.

Corino and Steen are in the ring and Corino is in a SUIT and looks great. Steen is Henchman 21 pre-badass transformation and I'm still not loving his "I will destroy" promos about Generico.

Haze and Sara Del Ray have a backstage sit down interview and ROH does a good job of putting them in attractive lighting and they're fighting soon in a tag and Del Ray is cocky but realistic and Haze is likeable and affable and sick of Del Ray not giving her respect. Both gals did their thing and I want to see them fight. It's that easy.

2. Generico is out and DARK and BROODING and is a man on the edge. Bobby Shields looks like young Jerry Lynn and throws shitty elbows like present Jerry Lynn and then Generico throws two really lame yakuza kicks that graze Shields' shoulder and then gets the pin with the brainbuster. This wasn't much. Steen and Generico aren't convincing me with their spittle-beard promos and angry eyes.

3. KOW with Shane Hagadorn are in the ring and Shane is wearing basketball shorts and Claudio is wearing AWESOME dickish white slacks and suede slip-on loafers and a perfectly too-tight ref's shirt while drinking a latte. They do a public workout and bring in a short juiced up orange-tanned guy name Blaine Rage (wow) and Prazak is fucking terrible parroting every fucking thing Hero yells over the mic. Rage has the shittiest "intense guy about to snap" face you've ever seen and he SNAPS due to all the unfair cheating going on and that lasts about 1 second before he takes the KRS-1 and Hagadorn does a great shuffle with a little elbow drop for the pin.

4. And now the main event, Davey Richards vs. Erick Stevens. We start with some waistlock reversals and Davey does a cartwheel out of an exchange then waits in the middle of the ring goofily just so Stevens can run at him and get armdragged. Listless slap exchange follows and Davey at least brings some stiffness with kicks. Stevens misses a charge to the floor, Davey misses a baseball slide dropkick and Stevens slams him into the guardrail back first, looked really rough.

Back in and Stevens keeps working over the stomach and back with some convincing shoulderblocks in the corner and some decent knees. His knees in the clinch looked really good and Richards sold them nicely, really looking like the wind got knocked out of him. Stevens has gotten kinda skinny and it's done weird things to his face as he's all crazy eyes and jawbone. Stevens goes to the top and of course it wouldn't be a Davey match without a strike exchange. Davey does 8 or 10 really awkward headbutts as they battle up top, just kinda headbutting his own hand over and over. Maybe a better camera angle could have saved those.

We head into an extended run of Richards offense, with him hitting a nice running elbow to the corner, a silly handspring knee, and a diving headbutt. We go into a moves trade off for a bit with Stevens hitting a Dr. Bomb, Richards getting a big kick, Stevens hitting a release German suplex, then Davey turning a caught kick into an ankle lock (which Kurt Angle has flat out killed at this point. Once every single one of your opponents reverses your finisher numerous times per match, it's time to move on), Stevens fights for the ropes with his crazy eyes and what seems like a lot of teeth, and they kinda futz around for a bit until Richards locks on a totally bad ass Cloverleaf/Ankle Lock combo (starts out as a Texas Cloverleaf and then sits down with it, still grapevining the legs while grabbing and twisting the ankle. Really cool and painful looking) for the instant tap out.

Match wasn't bad but wasn't good either and seemed really really planned out. I have no ill will against guys planning out their matches to a tee (in fact I really loved a whole bunch of DDP matches) but I really think Davey could benefit from having a little more organic feel to his matches. Too many times during this match he had a blank expression (like Tom Hanks' Polar Express eyes) as if he was concentrating too much on the reversal sequences. Instead of missing a kick and then wisely countering with an enziguiri, it came off like he already knew he was missing that initial kick and following up with the enziguiri.

It has to be very tough to work a sequence when you know how you planned it out, and still make it feel like you don't know what's coming next. When a guy knows he's missing a splash off the top, it's hard to do the splash as if you're hitting it. You know it's a planned spot to miss the splash, so you naturally brace yourself and do the move slightly different.

A big key to why so many of Necro Butcher's matches work is because even though he has spots he regularly hits, all his matches have the feel that they can careen out of control at any minute. Nothing looks rehearsed, and Necro rarely awkwardly shuffles into position for something because he was out of place for a rehearsed sequence. He always seems like he's flying by the seat of his pants, and Davey could really benefit from a little of that spontaneity. He really comes off like a robot that's been programmed to approximate wrestling.

I'm not saying I want Davey to wrestle the same style as Necro, I just really wish he wasn't so rigid and set in his sequences.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

APW TV Workrate Report: 11/27/10

I used to go to APW shows a bunch at the gym in Hayward, but stopped after the gym got kinda creepy. I checked out a live show they did in my neck of the woods earlier this year and had a good time, found out they had TV on a local station and decided to start dvr'ing it. I'm not too familiar with a lot of their talent these days, so you will learn as I learn.

Steve Stamp starts us off on the STICK and he has tattoos and is caucasian and doesn't have an opponent tonight so the OPEN CHALLENGE is ONNNN!

1. And Jeckels the JESTER is out wearing his mesh tank top that always makes the best bodies in the world look like buttery fluffy rolls. And when you have a buttery body like Jeckels then every nook and cranny is on parade. You got love handles? Let mesh top highlight each supple curve for you. His body is not bad, but so far Trent Reznor is the only person in history to pull off mesh top and still look fuckable. Maybe Right Said Fred. Jeckels is unhinged and CRAZY and makes all these really awful muggy faces and I know he's a clown, but this dude looks like a clown. He's been at this wrestling game for like 6 years now and still isn't what you'd call very good.

Stamp I've never seen before and he seems fairly inoffensive in that ROH date rapist lacrosse player kinda way. He shouldn't do a knee drop though. That didn't look too good. Stamp is on offense most of the match and Jeckels is really lousy at selling because he does a lot of goofy mugging and slithering. I'm not sure what his gimmick is but he's a clown of some sort who is sorta...dark? Jeckels pulls off his reverse chokeslam out of nowhere and that may have been the one piece of offense he hit all match and this was not that good.

It should be noted that these matches took place during APW's yearly Halloween Hell show, where the crowd is encouraged to wear their best Halloween costume. The results are usually less-than-inspiring, as you get a couple people in V for Vendetta masks, a busty woman in devil horns, a fat guy as a Dudley (**note, may have just been a fat guy wearing a Dudleys jersey), a lot of Kevin Steen costumes, pretty standard stuff. BUUUUTTTTT, two guys went as Weekend at Bernie's!!!! One guy was doing a so-so Andrew McCarthy of Jonathan Silverman (or might not have been wearing a costume), but the guy playing Bernie Lomax NAILED it. The other guy was controlling Bernie's movements and making Bernie's arms limply cheer and it makes me believe. IT makes me believe that this wrestling fan may actually be the owner of a corporation and he is cooking the books and fooling around with a mafia boss' woman. And watching wrestling. GREAT costume.

Will Rood is a smaller frame black man in a suit, and builds up his fight with Jody Kristofferson (Kris Kristofferson's SON!!) by saying his boss scolded him for botching some interference. Scolded him. His white massa boss SCOLDED him. That is the saddest thing to say in a promo. "I'm gonna beat you because it's your fault my boss SCOLDED me." My boss scolded me. What the hell is that? I get scolded by my boss DAILY. But Rood makes it sound like his boss rolled up a newspaper and swatted him on his shanks a couple times. He literally says he got "scolded" 4 or 5 different times during the promo. I've never hear that used in a promo before, with good reason. So this fight is gonna be ON because Rood screwed up at work and his boss sat him down and told him he was gonna need to kick it up a notch. He got a scolding. Nobody but nobody reprimands me verbally, and it's YOUR fault it happened mister!

2. The match itself really doesn't do much for me. Rood had a nice dropkick. Kristofferson's dad gets mentioned constantly by the fed and he does throw a nice overhand chop. He hasn't been at this wrestling too long, and Rood looks scared out of his wits when Jody picks him up for a powerslam but doesn't quite lift him well and starts to lose him and Rood's life flashes before his eyes and he just tucks his chin to his chest and holds the fuck on for dear life. That was what I took away from the match.

Celebratory title win promo backstage from Matt (something) is interrupted by Rik Luxury who is just totally awesome. Gets in his face, he's coming for the belt and I am instantly intrigued and want to see that match. Luxury leaves and the camera centers back on Matt and Luxury PUNCHES BACK INTO FRAME with the best right hand of the evening (and we watched a Necro Butcher match before this, so that is some high praise right there) and then just bails. I want to see this match.

3. APW has a ridiculous amount of alliteration in almost all of their worker names and it's a bit much. Annnnnnd our next match is Dylan Drake vs. Dave Dutra. They start on the mat and it's pretty nice, good struggle and Drake is looking sharp. Sadly we get a bunch of Dutra offense which is really crummy. Real stumbly sunset flip convinces no one and then the announcer calls Dutra doing a "suplay" and we all groan and anticipate him calling a "lariat-o". Dutra transitions to offense really awkwardly all throughout and we start to fall apart. Dutra hits a real bad bulldog and then completely BRAINS himself not rotating properly on a horrible missed split-legged moonsault. I mean he just WHIPS the back of his head DIRECTLY into the mat and it looks GROSS. Match should probably just be called as Dutra could legit have a concussion, as the back of his head whipped WAAAAAYYYY too fast into the mat off the top rope.

But this is motherfucking wrestling, so instead...

The announcer puts over the missed moonsault by saying "He could've given himself a CONCUSSION".........RIGHT as Dylan Drake gives him a fucking ALABAMA SLAM!!!! The SAME FUCKING MOVE that Great Khali KILLED a concussed APW student with!!!! In the SAME RING!! Do APW wrestlers not spend any time in the tape room!? "He could have a concussion!! --> Alabama Slam. Can you think of another move that could be WORSE to give somebody who had just moonsaulted onto the back of his head!? "Oh shit, this guy may have a concussion, I'ma gonna whip the back of his head into the mat again!!" Is the Alabama Slam after a guy gets a concussion APW's version of Survivor Series '97? And of course it doesn't get the pin. Jesus this is horrible. This is just a means to end the match with a Sharpshooter. Yeah why not. I was hoping for some unanswered punches to the back of the head, or maybe a couple spike piledrivers.

Well that happened. Let's get some Larry Blackwell and Rik Luxury on future shows, please?


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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

ROH TV Workrate Report: 11/29/10

Just noticed a month ago that I get HDNet now, so figured I would check out the current ROH product.

Homicide wants BLOOD from the Necro Boootcher! Violence is coming! Carlos Colon vs. Abby! He's going to be more crazier than EVA!

Corino is on the stick and his shirt is GREAT with a bloody El Generico mask on top of a folding chair, dripping blood down the legs of the chair. Great, great shirt. Steen is going CRAZY (Steen doesn't do "crazy" very well, cutting shitty Horatio promos on Generico's mask and doing lame kooky stuff like licking steel cages) and that Generico is out of control (cut to Generico looking really non-threatening with his mask inside out making growly faces). Generico is OUT and he is PISSED and Corino offers to give him a free pass and avoid an assbeating if he gives him his mask, but Generico takes his shirt off and THROWS it at Corino and silently declines with a SLAP!!

1. And we're on, and Corino laces right into him on the outside with great right hands, then we roll back into the ring and Generico wins with a small package. Ohhhh burn that's disappointing. Generico continues to brood and make statements and be REAL dark, and Corino leans way into the yakuza kick and stumbles down to a knee, selling it really well. Prazak working heel is pretty fucking unbearable on commentary.

I'm excited about Papa Briscoe getting his hand on Shane Hagadorn.

And now the Prodigy is out without the Prodigette but I have no idea who this guy is. Brutal Bob is a really crummy Burgess Meredith and this is the least captivating shit ever.

Lots of Michael Buble ads. Moms are moist everywhere.

2. Rhett Titus vs. John Davis is on the way after the break! And they run through some listless and none-too convincing matwork. We run ropes, we do Edge offense, Davis hits an alright powerslam and more Edge-y stuff and then Rhett Titus hits the finish which is somehow a worse version of The Play of the Day. It's like Titus saw Elix Skipper and ran a workshop on "How to be worse than Elix Skipper". Man this wasn't good.

We have a Davey Richards promo that might be a SHOOT because he's SERIOUS and he's getting that belt! The American Wolves are the HUNTERS and opponents are the PREY. Durrrr. The promo photo of Wolves vs. KOW is the worst thing ever as Davey is pointing at the camera with a Billy Idol scowl and it is as goofy as you can imagine.

3. Adam Cole/Kyle O'Reilly vs. Grizzly Redwood/Mike Sydal is on and Sydal has some really lousy tattoos and bad highlights on his perm and some uninspiring kicks to the stomach. Grizzly Redwood really ain't too bad and throws his tiny little self into a lot of moves. One of the guys takes a tornado DDT really nice, bounces off his head and doing a little 180 and it's the right level of goofy. Sydal got none of Evan Bourne's ability. This match was not much.

4. Necro looks so awesome with the shaved head and scraggly beard and bedazzled pants and super boss robe. Chairshots start us off and Homicide cracks him in the ear and Necro slumps over holding his ear like his eardrum just exploded. Homicide throws some awesome punches and Necro is busted open. Homicide is tearing off metal from ringside barriers beating Necro with it and Necro is still selling the ear like he has the nastiest case of swimmers ear ever. His ear might legitimately be busted. Necro gets tossed through some set-up chairs and flattens them painfully with his body because this is what he does, this is the path he's chosen. He's bleeding all over at this point and Homicide suplexes him through a table and Necro is just taking a beating here. I'm as shocked as you are.

Osiris runs in and takes a nasty Cop Killer allowing Necro to punch Homicide and it is BACK ON! Necro sets up two chairs back to back and plants Homicide with a backbreaker and MAN does it look painful. Necro folds up Homicide with a powerbomb on chairs and we rewound 4 times because man that was a nutty bump. It ain't over though and Homicide is pissed and Necro is pretty damn beaten up as it is and of course the Embassy's interference screws up and Necro takes whatever Homicide calls his Diamond Cutter for the pin.

This match was awesome!! Homicide just lit Necro up. I can see why ROH needs to not use Necro for awhile to let his character "freshen up" a bit. Lord knows we won't miss his completely awesome matches. His character was just too stale. He looked like all the other guys, wasn't bringing anything fresh to the table. Whatever. This fucking ruled and is well worth going out of your way to find. Necro bled and took a beating, Homicide took some nasty bumps on chairs, and this was all intensity, all the time. Great match.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

A UWC Sampler or: How to Be an Internet Contrarian on Something Nobody Has an Opinion About in the First Place

So beloved internet wrestling stalwart Cox has some kind of loosely-defined affiliation with the UWC, an indy indy based out of the wastelands of New Jersey. He's filmed their last few shows, uploaded them to YouTube, and asked my personal opinion of them to get a fresh set of eyes on the fed. And well, for poverty row indy feds that I've watched in support of friends, I'd place UWC comfortably ahead of Mikey Whipreck's fed, and the NYWC show I went to had goddamn Dave Taylor on it. I don't know that there are any Dave Taylor-level performers here, but there are some surprisingly strong ones, so I thought I'd share them with you, partly to make sure my fresh set of eyes are functioning properly, and partly to let you in on something you probably wouldn't have looked out for otherwise if they are.

First and third matches pit UWC champ Twiggy Ramirez against Biggie Biggs. These are both guys who have been slumming around the indy scene forever and have presumably worked each other a billion times, so not entirely surprised that they come off as the the two best guys in the fed and have the best match-up. Honestly, Twiggy feels like a guy who could sneak onto the tail end of my WKO100 ballot. He's a guy who I typically think of as a late 90's dance partner for Reckless Youth and Surfer Ray Odyssey and whatnot, and all that entails, but in 2010 he is working as back-to-basics local hero champion who throws a hard right hand and sells to the back of the room. Not that it's a terribly big room, but he does it, and he does all this stuff really well. Also is a smallish guy who uses a spear as a finisher against a larger opponent and makes it look totally credible by just launching himself at Biggie like a torpedo. For his own part, Biggie is a capable brawler, which comes through more in the rematch than the first. He's called on to play kind of a tricky role here, as he goes into this as a heel, but prior to the first match, top heel Joe Rules attempts to recruit him for his new stable, Devastation LLC (oh, yes). Rules attempts to win Biggie over by bringing in Reckless Youth - now working as a Bentley-riding jet-setter who forgot his roots - to act as his personal adviser. Biggs balks, wanting to do it on his own, but in both matches, Reckless shows up at ringside anyway to interfere on his behalf, much to Biggie's consternation. It's more present in the first match than the second, but in both cases, Biggie does a really good job of working as a heel in varying stages of a face turn while still being a capable foil for Twiggy. The finishes to both feel kinda off to me, but on the whole, I enjoyed them.

In between those matches, we have The Unholy Alliance vs. The Secret Society. The idea here is that The Secret Society is a stable of masked heels - represented here by Mighty Mo in the red Masked Superstar mask and Fierce Fuego in the Ultimo Guerrero mask - who are trying band together all the masked wrestlers in the company to...well, win more matches I would assume. The Unholy Alliance is made up of The Ripper - who is masked - and Billy Lassiter - who is not. The Society attempted to recruit Ripper at the last show in the middle of a match, but as Ripper was focused on the match, he didn't feel like listening to their pitch, witch led to them costing the Unholy Alliance that match, and, in turn, led to this one. This is apparently a company that does heels in mid-face turn well. The Unholy Alliance are still not totally bayfaced yet. The Ripper kinda looks like a dime store Felino, and the audience is still getting on his case for looking like Barney the Dinosaur. He is really the star here, though. He is a dumpy-looking fat guy who lays in his shots and is really agile for his girth. Being an athletic fat guy who can brawl is one of the easiest ways to punch your ticket to greatness in the Segunda Caida aesthetic, and while The Ripper isn't exactly Chico Che, he is still an unassuming tubby dude who will get crazy distance on a top rope kneedrop. Fuego and Lassiter are also guys who can brawl, and Mighty Mo has some slick looking stuff and a fun heel act. But I am really digging the shit out of The Ripper right now.

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