Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 30 Thursday - Other Japan #29. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara, UWF 7/8/85

This is real interesting as it comes just two weeks after the match that placed at #30 on the OJ ballot, which was Fujiwara getting kicked around by Super Tiger before sinking in a knee bar for the win. In theory Takada should be studying tape, remembering what Tiger did right in that match (pick Fuji apart with leg kicks that he couldn't catch), and what he did wrong (wing kicks into Fuji's waiting arms, allowing him to be taken to the ground and dismantled in Fujiwara's element). Takada is a kicker, so we'll see how this goes.

Takada actually takes it to the ground fairly early, locking in a side headlock, but you get the feeling that Fujiwara knows he's not in danger, and (as Fuji does) he calmly waits for his opening before getting an easy sweep and dropping down with a kneebar. Takada starts wildly kicking him with his free leg and that really does seem like a good way to get somebody to stop twisting you knee, and eventually just gets to the ropes. Fujiwara gets a great takedown and pretty much toys with Takada on the ground. Goes for a kimura from the bottom, then easily takes Takada's back when he feels like it. Takada gets to the ropes and Fujiwara shows he is the originator of the "I got 'til 5" as he just rests on Takada's back as Takada's face is smooshed into the mat, waiting for Fuji to get off him. THEN FUJIWARA STOMPS HIM AS HE'S STANDING UP!!!!

Oh that's fucking awesome. 2 minutes in and already Fuji is smacking this kid around on rope breaks. Takada gets up PISSED and rushes him into the corner and kicks the shit out of him, slapping him on the back of the head until Fuji is curled up in a ball letting the ref break it up. And Takada rushes around the ref and toes Fuji in the head!!

More grappling and Fujiwara does one of my favorite takedowns ever by just grabbing a leg and deadweighting it, forcing Takada to have to drop to the mat with him. Fujiwara is going to take that leg home and mount it in his fucking bathroom. It makes me think that Takada's kickpads and boots are probably working against him in this kinda situation. They seem to be giving Fuji something easy to grab onto and twiiiiisssst. But Takada keeps grabbing ropes and then standing up and leg kicking the holy hell out of Fuji's legs, making him curl up in a ball in the corner again. The ref breaks them up again and Fuji is so fucking awesome as he stoicly limps out to the center of the ring to meet Takada. He worked every goddamn day at that factory (double shifts when he could get 'em!) and you never heard him complain, not ONCE!

God those leg kicks all caught up at once and Fujiwara is a sitting duck. Orrrrrr he's playing possum and suckering Takada to get in close for some grappling. Look, I don't care how fucking cute that baby bear that you saw while backpacking looks, do NOT go near it. That fucker weighs 200 lb. and you know mama is lurking nearby. Just keep walking...or take it down with leg kicks. Fujiwara goes back to yanking the leg off and Takada barely makes those ropes this time, but Fuji just YANKS him back to the middle with evil intentions! The ref breaks it up though and Takada soccer kicks Fuji as he's getting up! These guys are breaking rules like motherfuckers and it is AWESOME!!

And 10 seconds later Fuji does Takada a favor. To get him from thinking about how sore that knee of his is, Fuji decides to just kimura the hell of that arm, trying to touch that hand to the back of Takada's head. Takada taps, and I pray Fujiwara stands up and does an exaggerated Vince strut around the ring on his bum wheels, but dude is hurting. We fade out with Takada being tended to as Fujiwara hunches over, massaging his swollen legs. Both guys are gonna be hurting in the morning.

80's Results and Reviews

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NWA Wildside- Throwback Review Episode 36

NWA Wildside was an awesome early 2000's promotion run out of a barn in the middle of nowhere Georgia. They really were one of the only promotions to pull off R rated sex and violence wrestling without devolving into puerile Russo humor. More Abel Ferrera then Dennis Dugan. Guys like AJ Styles, R-Truth and Abyss started out there, and they had a bunch of really fun Southern veterans, and the best promo guy in indy wrestling history in Jeff G. Bailey. Episode 36 is the earliest they have up, and I will do a couple of these a week until I catch up to them


Show starts with a Pulp Fiction style rundown of previous weeks. They are setting up a Shank v. Scottie Wren match, and Shank is as awesome as I remember him. He is working an Oz inmate gimmick, he has crazy tattoos, a creepy high pitched voice and tells Wren he has to bend over and take it like a man. We also get an quick intense Jim Cornette promo with the Cole twins talking about Bad Attitude.

Rusty Riddle v. Skyfire

Riddle is an 80's WWF job guy who was working a biker gimmick. I remember him in a pushed tag team at one point in Wildside, although this appears to be before that. Skyfire worked as EZ Money in ECW and Jason Jett in the dying days of WCW. This was kind of a mess, as they seemed to be on different pages for most of this. Riddle had an impressive rope walk, but no other big spots. Finish had an unnecessary ref bump.

We get a pretty generic Jeff G. Bailey promo, he does compare team NCW to the Cornelia chapter of Act-Up and call someone a dirty Mexican who wants to steal the hubcaps off of his Corvette, but this was mostly just a typical heel manager promo. I know I will see better from Bailey in the future.

Silky Boom Boom v. Ricky Noble

This was Noble's debut and he had a nice monkey flip, but kind of blew his finisher. Nothing to see here

Scotty Wrenn v. Shank

Shank is a better promo then a wrestler, but he did have kind of an enjoyable Ahmed Johnsonish green guy doing awkward highspots charm. He went up early for a plancha, slipped off and then just threw himself over the top with a nasty tope. Wrenn had some nice fatboy highspots too, although much of this match was pretty ugly. Finish comes with a Timber the Lumberjack chair shot to Shank, and then a save from champion Stone Mountain (currently stinking up TNA as Abyss)

Eddie Golden v. AJ Styles

Eddie Golden is a long time Southern indy guy, he is the nephew of Jimmy Golden and really great. Styles is a little green at this point, but an athletic freak and he and Golden work really well together. Golden works him over nicely with Styles bumping big and breaking out a nice highspot or two. Still will all of AJ's backflips, I was probably most impressed by Golden's nasty back elbow. Finish gets telegraphed a bit as babyface color guy Steve Martin (not working a Steve Martin gimmick) mentions that AJ Styles and Rick Micheals are the only two guys he can trust. Ref gets bumped and Martin slides in the ring to make the count on Golden (he has some sort of power in the company, I am just jumping in here), Styles gets up before 3 and attacks Martin, AJ then jumps his tag partner Jorge Estrada and we get a big AJ heel turn.

Very watchable overall show, the Golden v. Styles match and post match angle was definitely the highlight, but we really didn't get any of the transgressive weirdness or crazy violence that made Wildside so awesome.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Christian v. Orton

Christian v. Randy Orton Florance Italy 6/1/11

Very good WWE style main event. These are a pair of guys who work very well together, and you get all of the tropes you would expect in a WWE title matches. Orton jumps Christian at the bell and bumps him around. Orton misses a charge and takes a big bump to the floor. Then Christian works him over for a bit, and we move into a near fall section, with both guys doing multiple teases and reversals of their big moves. WWE main event wrestling can be super formulaic, and just like a good Southern tag or lucha trios it is fun to watch that formula executed well.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 8/10/97

High Voltage v. Robbie Brookside/Doc Dean

I wanted to like this, just because the British team was nice and tassly in it, and I think I'm kind of a closeted High Voltage fan because they are short and juiced and break out random springboard offense...but it was rather short and High Voltage didn't bring much to the table here. The Brits control section was fun and this was as good as any way to start the show.

Public Enemy v. Power Company

Oh goodness. If you polled a casual viewer and asked them to guess which team is dead today, I'd have to imagine that most would guess the team that looks like they consist only of protein shakes and pills and horse testosterone. Power Company are just ridiculous (that's Dean and Dave Power to you, though Schiavone doesn't know that so just keeps referring to them in the plural sense when one of them does a move: Power Company with a dropkick!). One looks like Joey Maggs at his most bloated (if Maggs lifted), and the other looked like a bloated Davey Boy Smith a couple days post-mortem. And to fill my quota for writing up late 90s syndicated wrestling: Bloated. There's the third. And their name is one of the more confounding names in pro wrestling history. I bet they made workout videos of each other that would make Halloween partiers in The Castro blush. As you can imagine this was not great, although Power Company had a couple amusing cheating spots, Grunge threw better punches than you remember, and the crowd shots of the yokels doing the hot steppa PE dance are always classic. Maybe this was actually good?

Steve Regal v. Billy Kidman

This was real good with it being a nice extended squash and Regal laying down a beating on Kidman. Kidman seems so scared to touch Regal, barely making contact on a headlock, a shoulderblock, and somehow barely making contact on a headscissors. Regal goes on a violent rampage of clubbing forearms, left jabs to the face, knees to the dome, takes out Kidman's knee with a NASTY chop block (tackling him to the front of the knee!) and the Regal Stretch was applied extra painfully. It was always a treat to see him apply it to a smaller skinny guy, as opposed to a larger, less-flexible juicer. Although the Power Plant juicers are their own special treat to see stretched (in a different way than skinny little guys). It's as if Regal's thinking "Let me make his back tits touch".

Dean Malenko v. Hack Myers

This was a ton of fun and I didn't realize Myers worked much WCW. It makes sense with the Florida connection and all, just didn't think it happened. I think he really could have caught on in WCW as a syndie-show face. Nobody in the crowd here knew about the Shah thing, but they could've learned real easily. He has an awesome look with his big scraggly beard and hair. He and Malenko worked a real nice match here that was as good as any Hack match I've ever seen. Hack threw a great uppercut and a badass falling clothesline and nice leaping elbowdrop. Dean looked real crisp and everything he did had a nice snap to it and this was nice and random.

Mortis v. Mark Starr

MEN AT WORK EXPLODE!!!! I don't think Men At Work ever got a blowoff match. I mean, the match here was real fun as Starr is a good worker who doesn't get his stuff featured a lot, and Kanyon was a generous worker who let guys get good runs in when they were jobbing to him. But we needed more backstory of WHY these two blue collar men at work ended up so differently just 18 months later. One is still tied to his construction roots, while the other is wearing a skeleton suit and skull mask. When Mark heard Chris was going to stop paying his union dues and "go find himself", Mark thought he was being an idiot. I mean, there was all that new construction going up for bid and they had plans to meet at the Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board to see what they would have to do to take the journeyman exam. Then it all went to shit.

Barbarian v. Jeff Jarrettt

Fun individual moments in here like Jarrett's right hands, Barbarian bumping over the top, Barbarian giving Jarrett a big powerbomb, Barb jobbing to the figure 4, but it didn't really gel into a good match. What happened was fun, but this is kind of a style clash and kept Barbarian from being as ass-kicky as he normally is.

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SLL's All-Request Tuesday Afternoon

The Southern Boys vs. The Freebirds (WCW, 1990)
Requested by Victator

This was the first of a best of three match series for the "Southern Tag Team Championship", which I had never heard of before, and which no records of actually exist. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'm guessing this was the Freebirds' Million Dollar Belt. It's not like I've ever gone out of my way to watch a lot of early 90's Freebirds matches, so I wouldn't really know.

Anyway, one of the big questions working on the Texas set left me with was how did Michael Hayes go from being so great in his '88 World Class run to being so bad in his '89/early 90's WCW run. This match does not provide much in the way of answers, though, because the 'Birds are actually pretty good here. Neither him nor Garvin are what they were in 1984, but they can both still throw hands and heel it up for the crowd, which is all either of them really need to do. Michael Hayes does that terrible "I will pin you by kneeling on your arms and posing so you can take me over in sunset flip position" spot, but other than that, no real complaints about their end of the match. The Southern Boys were a fun, high energy offensive team. Steve Armstrong had really pretty dropkicks, and Tracy Smothers made a great FIP. At one point, he eats a kneelift from Garvin on the apron and flew backwards into the guardrail. Nasty. Their finisher was pretty nifty, too. Not blowaway great or anything, but definitely a fun diversion.

Koji Kanemoto vs. Hayato Jr. Fujita (NJPW 5/26/2011)
Requested by Wrestling_KO Mike

Wow, I actually get to review a good 2011 puro match? It kinda figures, what with these being two really good wrestlers with a proven track record against one another. What's interesting to me though is that looking at it structurally (and taking away the expectations that come with the names "Kanemoto" and "Fujita"), I should have hated this match. It basically breaks down into two halves: one built around back-and-forth strike exchanges (the bane of 21st century puro matches), and one built around back-and-forth finishing hold exchanges (the bane of Kurt Angle-style workrate matches). You tell me that's how a match is structured, and I'll usually actively avoid it. So why does Kanemoto and Fujita trading forearms work when Sekimoto and Soya trading forearms in the match I reviewed last week didn't? For that, I direct you to something I wrote recently at the ProWrestlingOnly forums.

"Sell things the way you want people to buy them."

Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki doing their big chop exchange at the Tokyo Dome in 2005 was a big, spectacular moment in a big, spectacular match. The idea that you can just throw that spot into any old match by two guys cosplaying as Kobashi and Kensuke and it will make your match a bigger deal is moronic. Kanemoto and Fujita are two jokers trying to replicate a tired spot that's long since had it's meaning sucked out of it. Kanemoto and Fujita are two angry pricks who are going to keep charging each other until the other goes down, and unlike all the other pretenders, it damn well looks like it. The botched apron double kick spot aside, everything was laid in hard and sold appropriately. The technical exchanges in the second half were super-slick and entirely convincing. Kurt Angle spent practically every match he's been in since the Rumble '03 Benoit match trying to recreate it. Within a month, his routine went from revolutionary to old hat. This felt as fresh and vital as Angle's work doesn't. They took a formula almost perfectly designed to drive me away, and they had me reeled in the whole time. I had not been paying very close attention to the Super Juniors tournament this year, so Hayato Jr.'s win caught me by surprise, too. Looks like it even caught him by surprise. Offhand, it struck me as the least of their three matches, but they are three very, very good matches, so that should not be read as a criticism at all. This is the real deal.

Sheik Khan Abadi & The Suburban Commandos vs. Johnny Plinko & Circum-Sexy (DMW 6/18/2011)
Requested by FLIK

I don't know what a Devil Mountain is, but it sounds like a great place to have a wrestling match. That said, I don't know how I feel about this one. As the unofficial internet consultant to the United Wrestling Coalition, I've watched a lot of poverty row indy wrestling lately. But while these guys were able to pull off bigger spots than the UWC crew usually goes for, I didn't always get the sense that they were any more polished than them. Pretty comfortable saying no one in this match was as on point as 2011 Twiggy Ramirez. And that's not a huge insult or anything, but it's not necessarily a great honor, either. I do want to say I liked the Suburban Commandos. They didn't use "It's a Nice Place to Live (But I Wouldn't Want to Visit)" as their theme, which feels like a missed opportunity, but they had a lot of big offense that I really liked. They had some cool double team spots. The military press dropped into a gutbuster on the other guy's knee was a personal favorite, as was their finish, an inverted flapjack into a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. One of them also had a nasty snap backdrop. The finishing stretch was pretty suplex heavy, and I thought that was easily the best one. But they also had this one move where one of them had Johnny Plinko in wheelbarrow position, and Plinko willingly suspended himself straight outwards in the air so Sheik Abadi could come off of the ropes with a DDT. Business = exposed. And then there's the matter of the other four guys in the match. Sheiky baby threw some neat kicks and a running double knee, and broke out what I can only describe as a trust fall suicida, but he also had some really awkward moments, like a hot tag where he tried to get a little too fancy knocking the other heels off of the apron, and ended up rolling around out of place like a dolt. He wasn't awful or anything, but he left something to be desired. Then there were the heels. I didn't get the sense that any of them were terrible, but this was not a great showing for them. They tried to do this elaborate heeling shtick at the top of the match, but they had to choreograph it to involve all six guys doing the same thing at once, and the timing was way off. Really made it feel too stagey. They also were not afraid to stand around huddled together on the outside waiting forever to catch dives. That's not entirely their fault. I can understand the trust fall suicida taking too long to set up and them just being stuck waiting to eat it. But does catching one of the Commandos axehandles off of the apron require that much prep work? Beyond that, they seemed pretty non-descript. They also had a really superfluous manager. Seriously, he stood there the whole time during the opening micwork, and I don't think I even realized he was there until after the heels first got driven out of the ring. Even then, I wasn't sure he wasn't just the ring announcer or something. He did get involved later on, but I still don't know why he exists. Yeah, there was some interesting stuff going on here, but overall, it just didn't do it for me.

Eddie Gilbert vs. Ricky Morton (USWA 7/11/1992)
Requested by Tim Evans

Wow. So this is a roughly ten minute match between two really great wrestlers, who have kinda similar skill sets, though they tend to use them in different ways that would compliment each other. Two guys who are very much about dynamic brawling, dynamic selling, and dynamic playing to the crowd. This match is about dynamic nothing. I was genuinely stunned by how much this bored me. Did not see that coming at all. The match is mostly built around Morton keeping Gilbert trapped in an armbar, and these seem like the kind of guys who should be able to make that compelling. And well, it's not like either of these guys are Mutoh sitting around in a hold, but they're not what I expect from Morton and Gilbert, either. There really just isn't that much to talk about here, which is good in that it's Tuesday afternoon, and this was supposed to go up on Friday night, but not so good in that I want Morton and Gilbert to actually give me something to talk about. Kind of a strange finish, as the special TV time limit expires with Gilbert in control, but Gilbert wants five more minutes to put Morton away. He gets it, and is promptly flash pinned by Morton, who seemingly wins the USWA belt, but Gilbert never said anything about the five more minutes being for the belt, so he retains via Dusty Finish. It does, however, lead to a fun post-match angle where Eddie Marlin grants Morton a title rematch with any stipulation he wants, and Morton decides his dad Paul will be the special guest ref for the match (Gilbert: "I THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD!"). Shame the body the match itself wasn't as compelling.

Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Ryota Hama & Manabu Soya (BJW 4/28/2011)
Requested by ダニエル

Well, if nothing else, you've got to hand it to Big Japan. They got a hold of the All-Asia Tag Titles, and they make it a really, really big deal here, even playing the national anthem before the match. It's something that could've rung false, but I totally accepted it here. It probably helps that they were working in front of a really great crowd. Crowd chants "Dai Nihon", and I'm wondering when they last time the interpromotional aspect of an interpromotional feud in Japan actually felt significant. The fact they got over that angle in 2011 is really impressive. Also, damn, is Hase looking old. I mean, I know he was a wrestler and everything, but still, he just turned 50 in May. He probably shouldn't be quite this decrepit.

So the match starts, and it's not long before Sekimoto and Soya are doing the standard chop/forearm exchange. Again. It pretty quickly starts to like like this is going to be second verse, same as first, just with a better atmosphere, and I hunker down and prepare for the worst. And then, something strange happens. Sekimoto and Soya grabs each other by the hair, and Soya manages to push Sekimoto in the corner. Neither man will break, and Kyohei Wada actually has to step in between them, and when he can't break them up on his own, Okabayashi comes in to pull his tag partner off of Soya. Then, when Kyohei is admonishing Sekimoto, Soya pushes him aside and bum rushes Sekimoto. The crowd boos Soya's heelishness as he stomps a mudhole in Sekimoto, and it starts to dawn on me that I may be watching an actual good wrestling match. And then Hama tags in for the first time, and the idea is completely and totally confirmed. First of all, since the last time I saw him, Hama seems to have started taking some stylistic cues from Vader, only with a bit less of an emphasis on stiffness and a bit more on fatness. Secondly, good lord, is Ryota Hama ever fat. I know that's not a revelatory statement or anything, but seriously, that is a fat, fat man. He is built like a Moai head. It's amazing. Third, he kinda looks facially like a giant baby, and he only has one facial expression that he maintains through the entire match, yet he somehow manages to express every emotion he needs to with that one expression. I don't know if it's just some Sergei Eisenstein shit where I'm seeing the same face in different situations and projecting emotions onto it based on context or if he's really just that skilled, but I'm totally digging it. Look at his test of strength with Sekimoto and thrill as the expression he uses to display smug pride as he's winning shows surprise and alarm just as effectively when he's losing. Fourth, good lord, is Ryota Hama ever fat. And he knows how to use it. There are a bunch of great spots built around the fact that he is made entirely of sausages. Standing on Sekimoto's chest (with Soya pushing down on top of him), the rolling senton, the Abdullah elbow drop, the Umaga charging ass into an opponent slumped in the corner. He also makes a great brick wall. I mean, he is not as athletic of a brick wall as Mark Henry, but he definitely has his own thing going for him. Henry is a ridiculously built dude, so charging into him seems like charging into an actual brick wall, whereas charging into Hama is more "NOTHING MOVES THE BLOB!". His Vader Attack isn't as dynamic looking as Henry's Vader Attack, but he can two steps toward a charging Okabayashi, and you buy that the momentum required to move him two steps forward is all he needs to bounce Okabayashi right off of him. Also on the Vader tip, his punches aren't quite as stiff as Vader's (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, anyway), but he's throwing hands in sort of a Vader-ish way, and they do look pretty good, and the Big Van Crush on Okabayashi definitely looked like it could've been a credible match ender.

So this ended up being pretty fun, but it's not just down to pork vacuum Hama. Structurally, this is a massive improvement over the 2/6 match. That was a generic post-2005 puro heavyweight match, which is a shitty match formula that I almost never enjoy. However, most of the first half of this match is worked as an 80's southern tag, and most of the second half as a 90's All Japan tag, which are two awesome formulas that I almost always enjoy. Sekimoto was surprisingly effective working slab-of-beef-in-peril, and while I've already gone over what Hama brings to the table, I do want to say that Soya was very good here as well. He didn't play heel as overtly as a lot of guys do when working as interpromotional invaders, but he gave a hard-hitting, spirited performance, and came across way more determined and hateful here than the bland guy trying to convey fighting spirit in the last match. When he starts doing strike exchanges again late in the match, there's actually some emotion behind it, as opposed to just two guys going through the motions. Okabayashi is also way better here than he was in the previous tag. Admittedly, that's not hard, but he was fun coming in off of the hot tag (I lost my shit when he tried to rack Hama), and he gets a heat segment of his own that's pretty good before it breaks down into the 90's All Japan extended finishing stretch. Key to those is that you have to actually build emotional investment in the match during it's body so that the audience is hanging off of every nearfall at the end, something a lot of current puro matches forget to do. To that end, using the southern tag formula in the body to set up the long finishing stretch was actually an ingenious move, and I'm surprised it's not something that's done more often. This is another match I didn't know the outcome of going in, so Hama's Big Van Crush, Okabayashi and Sekimoto's awesome back-to-back top rope splashes, and Sekimoto's discus lariat (and probably a few other things I'm forgetting) all had me thinking it was over before it actually was. When the Big Japan crew finally does put down the invaders, Hiroshi Hase comes in with their belts and helps Sekimoto back to his feet, and they all hug, and it's one last big match moment that this little match that could actually deserved.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

APW TV Workrate Report: 3/5/11

Unbreakable Union of Freeborn Republics! Alexis Derevko starts things off!

1. Alexis Derevko vs. Sheik Khan Abadi in WORLD WAR III!!! It appears both guys are working heel, since one is from Soviet Russia and the other takes breaks in the match to bow to Allah. Those usually aren't the things that endear you to Americans. Especially American wrestling fans. Derevko gets kicked to the floor and Abadi does a corkscrew moonsault to the floor (pretty crazy when fans are seated 2 feet from the ring), then hits another back in the ring, then ANOTHER to a laid out Derevko. But Derevko outweighs him by 100 lb. and catches him with the Russian Leg Sweep and a big delayed vertical suplex. Derevko bumps to the floor on a missed clothesline and Abadi hits a somersault dive to the floor. Back in and Abadi hits a rana, but Derevko rolls through it and nails him with a falling clothesline. Derevko mocks Allah for heat, and the fans are supportive of Abadi's religious beliefs! And hates the guy from a socialist state that hasn't existed for 20 years! Derevko hits a pair of spinebusters (normal, and sit-out style). Derevko argues with the ref over the count, and Abadi hits the sliced bread for the win. Didn't really care for the finish, but match was going well up until that point. Abadi basically just took a bunch of moves, then just kinda stood up and finished the match. Abadi has a cool Sabu vibe, using his body recklessly as a weapon, and Derevko needs to go back to wrestling like Buzz Sawyer like he did a few weeks ago. I think I just happened to see Derevko's best match ever the VERY first time I saw him (a few weeks ago) and it's skewed my expectations for him a lot.

2. Billy Blade vs. OUT OF CONTROL Matt Carlos!! Blade used to work a Gangrel kinda gimmick but is now working a bloated Bret Michaels Rock of Love gimmick that he pulls of real well. Carlos hits a nice rana to start and Blade rolls to the floor, Carlos misses a baseball slide dropkick and Blade kicks him from the apron to the floor with Carlos taking a nice Race bump to the floor. Back in and Blade has really nice chops, and makes running kicks look really good (with a really nice running soccer kick to a hands-and-knees Carlos). Blade throws him off after a Sliced Bread attempt, they kinda stumble around a bit with Carlos whiffing a spin kick and time kinda standing still, and Carlos hits sliced bread to win. Match was short and fun, probably going around 5 minutes. Ending kinda sputtered, but it was worthwhile nonetheless. Would have gotten a full Worldwide point.

3. Reno Scum vs. Suburban Commandos Best of 5 Series!

Luster starts with some armwork but T-Rent can't give a shit and boots him in the face, then clotheslines Luster in the mouth. Both the Commandos hit a vertical suplex and then do the cabbage patch. T-Rent hits a nice senton and so far this match rules. Thornstowe tags in and hits a big springboard crossbody. Both Commandos (T-Rent and D-Unit) are two big fat guys who eat offense really well and have some really cool power offense. Both Commandos biel Thornstowe all the way across the ring, then hit a double team wheelbarrow suplex.

D-Unit goes for a tope and Thornstowe stops him dead in his tracks with a boot on the apron. Back in the ring and things start getting crazy with all sorts of double team moves from both teams. T-Rent takes Thornstowe up top with a fallaway slam, but Luster powerbombs him off, which sends Thornstowe flying off the fallaway slam into D-Unit. Awesome spot. Then Luster picked up one of the Commandos in a DVD, with the other still lying prone, and Thornstowe leaps off the top, off of the guy getting held in a DVD, and then sentons onto T-Rent. Then Luster Death Valley Drivers D-Unit onto him! Yes! Commandoes come back and hit some double teams of their own, ending it with a cool backdrop into a powerbomb/cutter combo.

This was insanely fun. Both teams are really great and I'm surprised they don't get any work at all anywhere other than the Bay Area. Maybe they have real jobs and don't like to go anywhere? That's the only reason I can think of why these guys don't get more work and aren't more well known. This match is WELL worth going out of your way to watch.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 30 Thursday - NJPW #15. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Vader, 4/24/89

Two of the greatest bomb throwing wrestlers of all time, throwing bombs. I really loved the late 80s period of the New Japan set. You had a lot of these kind of short violent sprints, with big powerful heavyweights going at each other like rabid bull moose. It is also great to watch Hashimoto and Vader, two of the greatest wrestlers of all time, truly come into their own, as this is one of the first truly legendary matches of both men's careers.

Very simple story worked perfectly. Hashimoto can't stand in front of Vader, too big, too powerful, even for Hashimoto. So he has to try to move to the sides, use angles and target the arm and shoulder. Vader meanwhile is going to throw his heavy hands and drop Hashimoto for good. Every shot in the match sounds like a sledgehammer going into a side of lamb, and is very cool to watch Hashimoto attack and avoid. To make me believe in a kick to the shoulder hurting a beast like Vader, you have to throw it with bad intentions. To make me buy a straight right or clothesline dropping a thick chested Samurai like Hashimoto, it also requires bad intentions. I bought every shot here.

80's Results and Reviews

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Mistico v. Ziggler

Sin Cara v. Dolph Ziggler Mexico City 5/13/11

This may have been billed as Sin Cara, but if you listen to the crowd this is clearly Mistico making his return to Mexico City. Ziggler was pretty impressive in this match, stooging well for Mistico, eating all of his spots perfectly and breaking out some cool offense. Much better then most of Cara's TV matches and a lot better then the PPV. This is clearly a match up they should have gone back to. Cara has some of the same problems he always has, questionable slaps and kicks and too much time setting up his finisher. Still nothing was blown and it was very cool to see Cara being treated as such a huge deal.


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Monday, June 20, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 12/10/95

Sting vs. Manny Fernandez

Talk about your let downs, but this was not THEE Manny Fernandez. The prospect of a 1995 Manny Fernandez opening match ass beating was instead rinsed down the drain by a pudgy guy who took Sting's offense, and that offense was just OK. I wish they had at least given this Manny Fernandez a nickname like "Boxcar Bertha" or something.

Bunkhouse Buck/Dick Slater vs. Scott & Steve Armstrong

Buck/Slater were so awesome as a pair of dirty prospectors. Just them doing their thing is so fun and the Armstrongs are good foils for them. This match probably could have had zero offense from either team, just Armstrongs getting the crowd pumped up while Buck/Slater jawed with the crowd, and then ended in a time limit draw, and I'd be like "This felt like a ***1/2 match."

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buck Quartermaine

This doesn't get much time, but I don't think DDP was very good then anyway. It's kind of shocking how good he got in just a couple years. And two guys named Buck on the same show, one match apart? I assume the fans were confused, but would have been less so had he been named Milton Quartermaine.

Dungeon of Doom promo

Good lord the Dungeon of Doom. Zodiac was just running around screaming over everybody's promo, King Curtis was spilling out of his robe (just teasing you with a bunch of side boob), then Taskmaster gave his father the gift of laughter (the gift being Hugh Morrus), and I have no idea what is going on here. And they're in a cave.

Hugh Morrus vs. Joey Maggs

You know what? This wasn't actually very good. But...

Chris Benoit vs. Big Train Bart

FUUUUUUCK Yeah! Benoit vs. Big Train Bart (whom you know as Black Bart!) was fuuuuucking killer. Bart stiffs the shit out of Benoit and also bumps HUGE for him. He take a big clothesline to the floor, catches a great dive, and just really puts over Benoit's strikes. When he takes over the offense, he transitions with HEADBUTTS and they are some GREAT headbutts. THEN he starts working over Benoit's fingers! He grabs Benoit's fingers and pulls them down over the top rope (wedging the rope into the webbing) and I have NEVER seen someone do that. While he's doing this, he's headbutting Benoit in the shoulder. So awesome. This is the man who trained Necro Butcher! And he's wrestling Benoit in his late 40s!! Did YOU know that Black Bart worked WCW TV in the 90s, wearing overalls and headbutting the shit out of murderers!? I did not, but thank you TV for showing it to me! You just picture -- right now -- Chris Benoit and Necro Butcher having it out in the middle of a bunch of families who are watching wrestling at an amusement park because they wanted to beat the heat indoors and rest their dogs for an hour....How can that be anything but 9 stars? Probably the best WCW syndicated match I've seen yet.

Steven Regal/Robert Eaton vs. Harlem Heat

The main event is going nicely until the Robert Parker/Sherri storyline took center stage, then we have Eaton getting the visible pin for EVER, like a 16 count, until Stevie kicks him off and then Eaton just gets pinned. Started strong and then just sputtered to the end. Shame. The more I watch, the more I think Harlem Heat is a really bad team. I think people automatically think they're a good team just because they last a long time, but they often looked downright bad in the ring. Stevie Ray always looked bad, but I don't think people remember how Booker looked in the ring before that series with Benoit in '98, and those miracle matches with Saturn and Martel.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lazing on a Sunny All-Request Afternoon...In the Summertime...

Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (WCW, 9/21/1992)
Requested by TimLivingston

This is your classic example of what Bill Watts was doing right in WCW. A 20+ minute free TV heavyweight tag match with four guys who could really go. We get about 10 minutes of both teams working very evenly, with the MVC in particular looking great. Williams is doing his cool amateur stuff that he liked to bust out in that period, and Gordy punches Dustin right in the face a bunch. Then Windham takes a spill to the outside, and we get something like seven or eight more minutes of him playing FIP while the MVC wails on him. There actually is a fair amount of downtime in the match - especially this part - considering my tendency to think of the MVC as a bomb-throwing, go-go-go kind of team, but everyone involved works their holds well. It's not just guys sitting around doing nothing. Windham hits an axe bomber-ish lariat coming out of the corner and manages to get the hot tag, and Dustin makes a great house afire before he ends up as the FIP for about five more minutes. Dustin eats a great beating, including some nasty chops and a legdrop to the side of his head from Doc, and a big elbowdrop from Gordy. I don't know that this match was reviewed as part of the Dustin of the Day project, but it's interesting to note that he looked to me to clearly be the better half of his team, and this was not a fallow period for Windham. They got to do all the same stuff and play all the same roles, and Dustin looked at least as good as Barry at dishing out offense, and better at eating it, better working FIP, better working hope spots, better on the apron, and better off of the hot tag. Not bad for the kid. Windham does get the hot tag, and fends off both heels for a while before hitting the Superplex on Gordy. Doc breaks up the pin, but as the referee shoos him out, Dustin recovers enough to drop Gordy again with the bulldog. Windham grabs the pin, and the crowd comes unglued to the point that I immediately suspect canned heat. I mean, the crowd is pretty clearly going wild, but the sudden change in decibel to a level we had not heard all much was pretty stunning, and it kinda sent up a red flag in the more conspiracy-minded part of my brain. This isn't the best match for either of these teams. It took little bit to get going, and Doc and Gordy generally looked better than Windham and Rhodes throughout. You'll see more action-packed and more dramatic matches from both of these teams, but this is still a winner in my book.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Billy Kidman (WCW, 6/13/1998)
Requested by Rocco

A while back, Eric was talking about the two sides of Kidman. "Kidman has some of the lightest possible offense, like 0.7 Lance. But then Kidman takes three different awesome insane bumps. A great bumper will rank higher with me than somebody with great offense. But I challenge you to find a wrestler with better bumps, and worse offense. I think Kidman represents the largest gap between those two skills." I tend to agree with that assessment. So yeah, I don't know who this guy is, but he's called "Kidman", he looks a lot like Kidman, but he looks really good on offense and is less reliant on his bumping than on eating Juvi's offense well, being a good base for him, and stooging for the crowd. Part of this is probably the fact that we're dealing with Flock-era Kidman here, and he's being called upon to do different things as a heel than he would as a face. On the other hand...Kidman opens the match throwing some nice forearms in Juvi's face. When did Kidman have nice forearms? He's all "how 'bout that, punk?", and Juvi fires back a few of his own. Kidman does take his requisite nice bump when he gets clotheslined over the top rope to the floor, but even then, I'm just as impressed immediately afterwords with how well he positions himself to catch Juvi's pescado. Kidman recovers and turns things around with a wheelbarrow german suplex. When did Kidman have any nice suplexes? Kidman keeps Juvi grounded and plays to the crowd, drawing a loud "Kidman sucks" chant at one point. When did heel Kidman ever know how to play to the crowd like that? Juvi grabs a sunset flip for two, but when he gets to his feet, Kidman blasts him with a Windham-style leaping clothesline. A great looking clothesline? From Kidman? What the hell? Kidman takes another nice bump when he misses a jumping axehandle into the corner and Juvi makes his comeback. There's a bit of back-and-forth leading to a kinda lame/kinda cool finish. Lame in that it has Juvi doing a Michaels-ish kip up no-sell to cut off Kidman on the top rope so he can go for the 450. Cool in that Kidman dodges the 450, but Juvi landed on his feet, which was nifty. He hits the Juvi Driver for the win, and this was definitely one of the better short-form matches I've watched for this. Pretty cool to see a different side of Kidman.

Manabu Soya & Seiya Sanada vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi (AJPW 2/6/2011)
Requested by Brandon-E

This was actually a dual request. Brandon-E brought it up first, saying it was "one of the best matches of 2011". The request was then seconded by ダニエル (Daniel, for those who don't habla katakana), because he disagreed rather strongly with Brandon-E's assessment. And after watching the match as an impartial judge, I think I have to rule in favor of Daniel. Simply put, this match stunk, and - not to bag on beloved SC reader Brandon - I'm not quite sure what inspires one to think so highly of this match. Yeah, it had it's moments, mostly courtesy of Daisuke Sekimoto. Sekimoto is a guy who's been pimped a lot in certain corners of the internet for a long time now. I remember back when the DVD 500's were still happening, there were people campaigning for Sekimoto saying that he had established himself as the next Kawada. I swear I am not making that up. That level of hyperbole quickly disappeared, but he's always had his supporters, and I've always checked out his work every now and then to see if he had grown into his reputation, and was always met with disappointment. But last year, the big baby-headed lug finally won me over, enough for me to put him on the tail end of my 2010 WKO 100 ballot, just by virtue of his Little Engine That Could determination to become a capable worker finally paying off. And he continues to deliver on his promises here. I dug his lariats, and the dueling torture racks spot made me crack a smile. But despite Sekimoto's improvements, he's still got real limitations, not the least of which is that you can't expect him to work for four, and that's exactly what he's called on to do in this match. I think this is the first time I've seen Soya and Sanada. Neither looked particularly good, but Sanada didn't look awful, and Soya ate offense well when he wasn't no-selling so he could do generic puro heavyweight strike exchanges. Okabayashi I have seen before, but has never left a strong impact on me one way or the other. That was remedied here - he very much left the impression that he sucked. I mean, I reviewed a Kidman match this week. If you are throwing the worst forearms I've seen all week in a week where I watched a Kidman match, it's time to go back to the drawing board on the whole "being a wrestler" thing. To be fair, he hits a nice lariat late in the match, and he was part of the aforementioned dueling torture rack spot. But that was too little, too late for him.

Basically, I just don't get why anyone would single this match out for praise. I mean, if you want to save yourself 20 minutes, here's the match: imagine 90% of the heavyweight puro tag matches you've seen since 2006. Now imagine the same match, only marginally worse. You just imagined this match. It's not just that I disagree with the praise, it's that I don't see a whole lot about this match distinct enough to praise. Hell, I'm having a hard time finding things distinct enough to complain about. Let's take a stroll through Purotopia and see if I'm missing something

"HOLY JESUS. Sekimoto is just ridiculous right now. It's not fair. No man should be this good at anything. Him and Soya just go at it, right from the get go. Sanada and Oka play their parts well but they were very much suppporting players here. This was a war. Perhaps the biggest war in puro in a few months. Go out of your way to watch this. Oh and yeah it's their first of three matches in the series!!! Top 3 for the year so far for me."

Alan4L freaking out over one of the blandest, most overused cliches in wrestling today. Of course.

"I wasn't blown away but it was pretty solid, I thought Sanada was a great FIP and should have had the match built around it more but Soya held up his own. Could have used more dickish offense instead of the slow and bland surfboards, camel clutches, etc, but there's still plenty of action and it's good they're saving stuff for the later matches. Lowed Soya's hangtime on his leaping lariats and the like. The fact that 10 minutes, a whole third of the match is clipped out will probably hurt this match towards the end of the year."

What's interesting is that Sekimoto going for the Romero special stood out to me way more than any of the other stuff that actually got praised in the above statement. It's really all just noise to me.

The rest of the praise was fairly generic and not really worth mentioning. Kinda like this match.

The Widowmaker vs. Terry Daniels (WWF, 7/19/1989)
Requested by Victator

Fun fact: I got into wrestling after Windham had left the WWF, but I saw his name in old magazines, and always misread it as "The Windowmaker". They had some damn strange gimmicks back then, that didn't seem too far-fetched. Anyway, this is a really fun competitive squash. Windham controls early, tossing Daniels around and then smugly offering his hand to help him back up. Daniels rejects it, which leads to Windham shoving him hard into the corner, and Daniels decides he's not going to take this shit and nails Windham with some right hands and drops him with a big bodyslam. Of course, this is all pretense for Windham to say "no more Mr. Passive-Aggressive Guy" and spend the rest of the match mauling Daniels, socking him hard in the face and dropping him with some nice throws, including a great inverted atomic drop. Daniels gets a brief comeback, but it amounts to nothing as Windham eventually plants him with the Superplex, rolling into pinning position on impact to score the win. People seem to be down on the Widowmaker gimmick. I'm not quite sure why other than the usual "WWF stole his name/won't acknowledge his past" thing, but he still got to be a badass, and their failure to capitalize on that seems a lot more damning than the gimmick.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

SLL's Perennially Off to a Slow Start All-Request Friday Night

Oh, man, I'm bad at this. This is a fun feature to write, but the problem is the format has me waiting until the last moment to get started so that all the requests have a shot at inclusion. And since I am a Lawleresque slow starter to begin with, if one major interruption hits during the day - as happened again this week - my whole timetable goes kablooie. Fear not, your requests are forthcoming. Here's one to tide you over while the other four get worked out of limbo.

Randy Savage vs. Yokozuna (WWF, 3/7/1993)
Requested by my buddy Chris

My friend has always been a pretty big booster of this match. Me, not so much. It's not bad at all, but there's not much meat to it, and it's definitely the least of all the Savage matches I've reviewed since his passing. This was from the March to Wrestlemania IX, and it's Yoko squashing his highest profile opponent to date en route to his title shot against Bret Hart...except for the finish, where Savage avoids a reverse avalanche and hits a top-rope axehandle on a staggered Yoko. He tries for another, but Mr. Fuji jabs his knee with the Japanese flag, and the Yoko polishes him off with a belly-to-belly suplex. Yoko is fine here as the hulking monster dominating Savage, and Savage is fine getting dominated and scoring his few flurries of offense. Still, these are both guys who have done better. I also kinda question the booking of the finish. If I'm remembering correctly, this was the first time Yoko was booked to show weakness in a match (albeit briefly), and he cheats to win. I'm not sure this is a smart thing to do with your challenger going into his big PPV main event title shot. Just a taste of things to come with Mania IX, I guess.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top 30 Thursday - Other Japan #30. Super Tiger vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara, UWF 6/24/85

Does watching Fujiwara pull out a buzzer beater ever get old?

These two always match up awesomely against each other, and they really represent UWF's two ideologies: more kicking vs. more submissions. I'm not sure there was anybody who put over Sayama's kicks as well as Fujiwara did, and Kicking vs. Subs is really the tale of the match here, with Fujiwara dancing away from kicks while Tiger occasionally leaves his neck out too far or Fujiwara can reach out and snatch an arm. Tiger takes him down with a DDT/suplex kinda thing, but doesn't seem to know what to do from the top. Fujiwara knows this and you can see him just biding his time from the bottom, that omnipresent half-smirk of his almost too telling. Sure enough he sweeps into an armbar but we're too close to the ropes. Back up and Fujiwara goes for the single leg only to have Tiger counter with an enzuigiri. It only grazes his head though, and Fujiwara being the greatest wrestler ever that he is, just kinda slicks his hair down and struts it off, showing Tiger that he only damaged a couple hair follicles. He struts around so awesomely afterwards that it makes me wish he had a long Snidely Whiplash mustache that he could twirl cockily.

Tiger fights fire with fire as Fujiwara tries grappling with him and Tiger does an insanely awesome suplex, like an arm-captured overhead belly to belly, bridging over and trying to snap Fujiwara's arm off. Fujiwara easily sweeps out again though, but this time Tiger nails a spin kick to the face (which Fujiwara sells greater than any man has ever sold a spin kick to the face, running himself into the ground like someone who just played that "spin around the bat and then try running in a straight line" game at a picnic).

That spin kick allows Tiger to start landing kicks way easier, as Fujiwara starts turtling up in the corner, getting picked apart by leg kicks, slaps to the back of his head, and snapping kicks to the kidneys. Fujiwara keeps trying for some desperation single legs, some more successful than others. At one point he gets Tiger down, into a crucifix and while transitioning to the Fujiwara armbar Tiger rolls through and kicks him right in the face. Tiger seems to be getting stronger as Fujiwara is getting caught more and more......until one mistake costs him the match. While picking Fujiwara apart with leg kicks that he just couldn't defend, Tiger decides to kick him right in the chest. Except his kick lands right in the waiting arms of Fujiwara, who then trips him down and locks on a kneebar right in the center of the ring. The look on Tiger's face is classic as he literally looks desperately at every single side of the ring, trying to size up which ropes are closest, before just screaming and tapping out.

I think I could watch these two wrestle each other just on a loop. They're a real yin yang to each other, and I think Fujiwara brings out the best elements of Tiger. Instead of flippy stumbly spots you get kicks with real bite and honest to god aggression. I don't ever remember writing up "aggression" as one of Tiger's traits in NJPW, but here there are plenty of moments where he just unleashes on Fujiwara. And what more can I say about Fujiwara that Phil hasn't said in 75-odd Fujiwara write-ups. It's just fascinating watching him work, really. Half the time it looks like he's shooting or calling a match and then tricking his opponent, I sit there and wonder how many times his opponent knew he was getting taken down, or if Fujiwara just shot in for single legs on a whim to see if he could catch someone sleeping. I wonder if he did this stuff on purpose during his matches, to kinda piss off his opponents, to make them more aggressive, to make me BUY THE HATE...because I do. Everything Fujiwara does looks real to me, and I don't care if that makes me a rube. He's one of the only guys that I can still have conversations like I did in the 4th grade, where we'd always wonder who was hitting "for real". 25 year old Fujiwara matches still make me suspend disbelief, and I love it.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Rey/Christian v. Del Rio/Clay

Rey Mysterio/Christian v. Alberto Del Rio/Brodus Clay 4/24/11 -Lyon France

Very good traditional tag. Mysterio and Christian are both great babyfaces and we get nice long Morton sections from both of them. I loved the Clay/Del Rio tag here. I haven't seen a ton of Clay, but he is a huge dude who wrestles like a huge dude. He has some really nice headbutts where he drives his spiky hair into the face of his opponent. Del Rio is super charismatic, really plays to the back row, and his jumping top rope enzigiri is a really spectacular spot. Finish with Edge was a little trite, but this is an excellent match, well worth checking out.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Saturday Night 2/14/98


Dave Taylor/Doc Dean vs. British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart

Taylor/Doc is a fun team and Taylor got to control a bunch early here, really picking on Bulldog. Even when he was bloated and pilled up Bulldog always kinda woke up against stiffer competition. Taylor rocks him with some uppercuts here and Davey made a chinlock look really good during this period of his career, as his face was so bloated and purple already that it really got over that he was having the life choked out of him. Of course you know who was going over here but it was a nice finishing sequence with Davey hitting the powerslam and Neidhart tagging in to hit his slingshot shoulder tackle (then running and tackling Taylor with a super stiff shoulderblock).

Renegade vs. Sick Boy

OK...something might be wrong, as I...kinda sorta liked Renegade vs. Sick Boy. Neither guy really looked good at all, but they were a couple of big guys exchanging big moves. Something about it worked for me. It was like a heavyweight X Division match, your move my move, but something about it worked. It was short and enjoyable. Renegade looked way less like Warrior at this point, and a lot like Lorenzo Lamas, TV's Renegade. Sick Boy had a bunch of stuff he usually didn't hit well, but kinda hits it well here (including a mean springboard back elbow that took Renegade's head off). Renegade hits a fucking plancha! Sick Boy even finished with a Can Opener! Like a couple years before Mark Coleman! Call me crazy, this wasn't bad.

Len Denton vs. Jerry Flynn

This had an odd set up, as Disco came out to face Denton, and gave him a Chart Buster (which Denton sold like a fish out of water, all flopping awesomely like mad). Then Disco left, and Flynn came out to face Denton. And the match started and Denton got up and worked a match like he hadn't just been hit with a stunner. Real odd. Flynn beat him real quick though, threw some nice kicks, and Denton took a sick DDT right on his head.

Villanos vs. Disorderly Conduct

Villanos vs. Disorderly Conduct is pretty much a Saturday Night B-Sides dream match. It will finally answer the question of who is higher on the WCW totem pole. I'm pretty sure I've never seen either team win a match, so the answer iiiiiiisssssss........Villanos! The Villanos are above Mean Mike and Tough Tom!! I genuinely didn't know how this one would go (again, one of my favorite things about WCW syndicated programming). Villano V was just super awesome in this, really beating the shit out of MM and TT. Favorite spot was when V5 was thrown into the ropes, and Tom kneed him from the apron as he hit the ropes. V5 just turns around, punches Tom in the face, then punches a charging Mike. Awesome. V4 hits a rad spin kick right to Mike's gut, then compresses Mike's neck with a DDT. God bless you for taking it that way, Mean Mike. V5 hits really great ambidextrous chops, equally brutal with his left or right arm, D.O. miss a tandem clothesline and FINALLY, for the record, the Villanos finishing move is a crossbody from the top rope, while the opponent is on one of the Villanos' shoulders. I don't know if it got used again, as I wasn't aware the Villanos ever won even one WCW match.

Yuji Nagata vs. Chris Adams

I really liked Nagata's WCW run, and his kick combos made him really fun to play as in WCW vs. nWo Revenge for the 64. This match wasn't long, but Adams really stiffed Nagata up with wicked elbow and forearm shots, they threw in a lot of spots, with both guys getting cool throws, and Glacier running in and blasting Adams with an Icicle Kick to the back of the head, allowing Nagata to get the Nagata Lock.

Kendall Windham vs. Meng

Kendall Windham is fast becoming my favorite WCW late 90s wrestler and this match ruled. There were no slams or nothing like that, it was all strikes for 4 straight minutes. Kendall throws a mean left hand Meng mixes up his shots with cool body blows. Both guys just throw punches for 4 minutes, roll to the floor and throw punches, back in the ring for more punches. Kendall dodges the Death Grip a couple times, but Meng finally just boots him in the face and locks it on. Awesome stuff. Why wasn't Kendall a bigger star? He had size and looked like a badass.

Frankie Lancaster vs. Marty Jannetty

On a roster that had some dated looking guys in 1998, I don't think anybody looked as dated as Marty Jannetty looked in '98 WCW. Match was pretty short with Marty looking good and Lancaster looking like the most gassed dad you've ever seen. Marty really planted him with the Rocker Dropper, too. If some dude had already sued a previous employer because of my finishing move breaking his neck, I personally would be careful doing it in the future. But that's me.

Silver King/El Dandy vs. Juventud Guerrera/Super Calo

OK, you got a match between Juvi/Calo and Dandy/SK. Juvi has a mask vs. title match with Chris Jericho in a week or two. Who goes over in this match? If your answer was "El Dandy pinning Juvi", then you would be correct. Of course nobody in a million years would have ever guessed Dandy getting the fall in any match, let alone over the Juice, let alone over the Juice in a match a week before the biggest WCW match of the Juice's career. What's more, the ref was out of position for the pinfall and distracted, so Dandy held the Dandy Roll for over 9 seconds and it still got the 3 count. One of the odder and more unpredictable finishes I've ever seen. I love you WCW syndicated TV. Everybody looks great in this and they all get to hit pretty spots. Cool headscissors galore, Juvi hits a massive springboard dropkick, Calo hits his rad forward roll headscissors off the top, Dandy takes a giant bump over the top to the floor, and Dandy gets to nail his great punch. Too much great shit to mention here, AND Dandy taking the fall? Too great.

Rick Fuller vs. Hugh Morrus

Morrus threw a stiff clothesline and nailed his "run up the ropes, turnaround clothesline", but then overshot his moonsault. I'm a big Fuller fan but he didn't get much here.

Konnan/Vincent vs. Steiner Bros.

Well Vincent looked AMAZING in the main, and boy did he take a crazy beating from the Steiners. Scott almost dumped him on his head with a belly to belly, Rick gives him the fasted and most dangerously painful Oklahoma Stampede I've ever seen (running him full speed stomach first in to the buckles, with Vincent's knees whipping over the top rope. If Steiner had been offline then one of his knees would've shattered into the ringpost), powerslam off the top, etc. It gets to a point where Vincent tries to tag out and Konnan backs away, and Vincent's face is priceless. He then gets bulldogged off Scott's shoulders for the loss. Fun match I wasn't expecting much from (since Konnan may be the worst in WCW...him or Stevie Ray).

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Friday, June 10, 2011

SLL's All-Request Friday Night Part the Second

Estrella del Oriente & Herodes vs Guerrero Negro & Super Parka (Monterrey 5/8/2011)
Requested by Tim Evans

Wow, 21st century Herodes? It's a good thing billion-year-old luchadors are awesome, or we'd be in a lot of trouble. Actually, we're still in a lot of trouble, as this is kind of a shitty match, but ancient Herodes is probably the best thing about it. He's fun taking a beating, reacting to stuff, getting fired up...there's a part early in the match where Super Parka is beating on him in the crowd, and Herodes takes a step back, psyches himself up, knuckles up, does a little nod to the audience like "yeah, it's on now!" Then Parka immediately starts smacking him around again and slams his face into a row of chairs. Super Parka pretty much holds up his end of the bargain here as well. He does a pretty good job of slapping the technicos around. Guerrero Negro is awful, though. He's a fat IWRG trainee who's been wrestling less than a year, and man oh man does it show. He eliminates the thoroughly unremarkable Estrella del Oriente from the primera caida with a top-rope splash, despite clearly not being able to balance on the top rope (the ref actually gives him his hand to steady him), and then drops a splash that was really more of a kneedrop to the space right next to where Oriente was lying. Segunda caida gives us some more good Parka/Herodes crowd brawling, including the great visual of Parka digging his fingers into Herodes' eye sockets while a woman in the front row reaches over to protect her nearby son. But then we get this nonsense with Parka and Negro throwing Oriente into the corner and Irish whipping the ref into him. The ref seems entirely cooperative with setting up the move, but protests afterwords, and outside of this and helping to steady Negro on the top rope last fall, he doesn't really behave like a rudo ref. And despite his protest, he very willingly lets himself get Irish whipped again into Herodes, though Herodes has the good sense to boot the dolt when he charges in. Technicos take the second fall, and the third starts with the rudos teasing dissention and then hugging for no apparent reason. It's bland than bad, at least until Super Parka rips off the shirt of young, slender Estrella del Oriente and starts spanking him. I think Dragon Gate just found their new go-to fed for Mexican excursions! Guerrero Negro tries a standing dropkick on Herodes despite being well out of range, and I just shake my head as the match mercifully concludes with a technico victory shortly thereafter.

The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, & Terry Gordy vs. Raven, Stevie Richards, & Brian Lee - Rage in a Cage Match (ECW 7/13/1996)
Requested by Jingus

OK, who wants to explain to me what the hell I just watched?

Here's the quick and dirty: before the linked video (Jingus provided another link in the Segunda Caida thread on the DVDVR board that has this in full, but the video quality in this link is much better), Raven and Sandman are in the cage for a title match while Stevie Richards hangs in the balcony. Raven says that he'll give Sandman his son back if he lets him be, but Sandman overthinks it and Raven jumps him. Then Gordy comes out for what appears for all the world to be a simultaneous falls count anywhere match with Stevie. This is not treated as being remarkable in any way, so I'm forced to conclude that was the plan all along for some reason. Then Brian Lee comes out and starts choking Sandman through the cage. Then Gordy carries Richards to ringside, but Lee jumps him. Then Tommy Dreamer hits the ring and starts brawling with Brian Lee in the crowd. As far as I can tell, they are not actually part of any match at all. They just happen to be brawling at the same time that two other matches are simultaneously happening. Gordy and Richards end up in the cage, then Lee, then Lee gets Gordy out of the cage, then Dreamer ends up in the cage and going for pinfalls on Raven. Then Beulah and Kimona show up to toss Tommy some handcuffs to recreate the Chairshot Heard 'Round the World, by Tyler Fullington gets in the cage and blocks the way. Sandman is hesitant about decking his six-year-old. Tommy sees no problem with this. They argue, and since neither of them have peripheral vision, they don't notice Super Nova hanging over the top of the cage with wire cutters to free Raven. Raven's gang sets up a big stack of tables outside the cage, which Brian Lee inevitably throws Dreamer through. Sandman pulls out a win anyway, but because Stevie Richards wasn't pinned, he doesn't win the title.


This maybe made sense in context, but I'm pretty far removed from that, so as it stands, this just left me baffled. Putting aside the structural and logical issues for a second, as far as the wrestling goes....Raven was basically fine here. Sandman wasn't at his best, but he wasn't at his worst, either. Gordy didn't blow me away, but as his post-mortem performances go, this was OK. Stevie bled a lot and ate everything really well. Dreamer and Lee's crowd brawling was awful, especially on Dreamer's end. They cut away from Gordy powerbombing Stevie to show Tommy carefully adjusting the placement of a freestanding door before Lee slammed his face into it. Then they cut away from a Gordy piledriver to show Dreamer and Lee just walking through the crowd. Honestly, even if I understood what was happening, it's not like what was happening was terribly exciting.


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SLL's All-Request, No-DailyMotion Friday Night

DailyMotion is choosing not to work today. Sorry, Tim Livingston. I wanted to review the MVC vs. Windham and Dustin, too. On top of that, my internet connection in general decided to throw a hissy fit, setting this back quite a bit. Still, just because they didn't show up to work doesn't mean I won't. It does mean I only have three reviews ready to print right now, but the other two shouldn't be too far behind. So, the wrestling....

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Ciclope (WCW 11/11/1996)
Requested by Mando > Eddie (no he ain't)

Listening to the latest edition of Segunda Caida Radio, I found myself wondering why Rey would've vouched for Damian 666 but not Halloween. I mean, it's probably nothing. I just tend to associate Damian and Halloween pretty strongly with each other. Like the Gildenstern and Rosencrantz of Tijuana wrestling. I kinda figure if you're tight with one, you're tight with the other. If you're forced to choose one, I don't know how Damian is the easy choice, but then, I don't know the ins and outs of their relationship, and I'm just projecting my own views as a fan onto the situation.

Anyway, this is Halloween's first appearance with the Ciclope gimmick, and man, I did not remember his mask being that trippy. I want one. The color scheme matches my homemade "Eddie Guerrero is My Favorite Wrestler; Cheat to Win" t-shirt perfectly. I could wear both at the same time and be completely rejected by polite society. For his own part, Rey is wearing his Spider-Man gear that he wore in "WCW vs. nWo: World Tour", but that I could never remember him actually wearing in real life until now. Match is a really fun sprint with some ridiculously big moves thrown out for a nine-minute Nitro match. I kinda feel like I should look back at more '96 Rey stuff, because one thing that struck me about this match is that the pacing is not really all that different the that of current Rey matches. The big moves are bigger (though it's really Ciclope who's throwing the biggest bombs here, and I don't get the sense that Rey is doing anything he can't do now, though he'd probably be wise not to do them on a throwaway TV match), but there isn't the rush from big spot to big spot to big spot that I kinda remembered. Both guys allow enough downtime between stuff to let you feel the weight of it. A big tope from Mysterio is what kicks things into high gear. Ciclope is thrown back into the ring, and Rey calls for the not-yet-West Coast Pop, but instead springboards into a clothesline, which looked a little contrived, but at least it was a nice clothesline. Ciclope works well as a de facto big man taking charge of the match. He breaks out a great sunset flip powerbomb to the floor, and later a super DDT, but Rey crotches him on the top rope and drops the biggest bomb of them all with basically a release victory roll from the top rope to the floor. It's probably not gonna get bigger than that, so grabs the West Coast Pop soon afterwords for the pin.

The other story of this match is that a lot of people were watching it, to the point that I found it a little amusing. Even before Rey and Ciclope come out, Ultimo Dragon is seated at ringside with Sonny Onoo and his eight belts, watching. Then, once the match starts, Cruiserweight Champ Dean Malenko comes out to watch from the aisleway, scouting potential competition. Then, while Ciclope has Rey grounded with a chinlock, we see Psicosis - Dean's opponent at the upcoming World War III PPV - come out to watch Dean watching the match from the entrance. And then when it's over, Dean turns around and sees Psicosis has been standing there the whole time watching him watching the the match, and Psicosis is all "I'm watching you watching them" and walks away, and the mind games are underway.

Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Little Guido (ECW 5/16/1999)
Requested by DylanWaco

This is hot from the get-go, as Guido is jawjacking Tajiri from the apron, and Tajiri throws a big kick to push him back, but Guido comes back in to slap Tajiri in the face and is totally in his showbiz mode, shadowboxing and taunting Tajiri with the crane pose while occasionally stepping behind Big Sal. Sal tries to intimidate Tajiri when he gets in the ring while Guido keeps goading him, but Tajiri ain't taking shit from nobody. EARTH TO WRESTLING PROMOTERS: THIS HOW YOU GET OVER SOMEONE WHO CAN'T WORK THE MIC. Match proper starts, and it is awesome, as the first half of this is like EXTREEEEEEEEEEEME BattlArts. Tajiri throws a hard kick to Guido's ribs, but Guido grabs a single-leg and starts throwing open hands from the guard while Tajiri tries to cover up. Tajiri turns it over, though, and manages to slap Guido around from the mount. Soon, he starts laying in the kicks, but Guido gets him in the corner and stomps the hell out of him. Tajiri ends up on the outside after escaping a Fujiwara armbar, and Guido tries to drop a pescado on him, but Tajiri narrowly dodges and Guido gets faceplanted on the floor. ECW crowd chants "You fucked up", because they were weird and random like that. Tajiri comes back with a leap off of the top rope onto Guido and Sal, as we mourn the passing of the BattlArtsian phase of the match. Fortunately, this phase still has Tajiri and Guido in it, so I can't really complain. Tajiri posts Guido. The ECW crowd shouts "Whoooooo!" What in the blue fuck is wrong with these people? Great spot as Tajiri tries to sunset flip his way back into the ring, but Guido holds onto the ropes to block it, so Tajiri pulls himself up and turns it into the Tarantula. We then get the second horrifying Guido faceplant of the night, as he gets whipped into the ropes but catches himself and headscissors Tajiri when he charges in, only for Tajiri to just push him over the top rope and splat him on the entrance ramp. Guido starts to get desperate as he retakes the advantage, distracting the ref so Sal can powerslam Tajiri, but that only gets him two. Sal further gets involved on the outside as he makes the saddest attempt at dropping someone throatfirst on the guardrail ever. Seriously, I don't think he even got Tajiri's feet off of the ground on that one. Tajiri hangs in there, and we get the whole finishing sequence leading up to the awesome tree of woe dropkick, including Tajiri waving bye-bye to Guido and giving him a ceremonial bow as he rears up to deliver the blow and Guido frantically begging off before getting his face caved in. Sal gets up on the apron, but Tajiri kicks him off before throwing a big heel kick upside what's left of Guido's head and dropping him with a brainbuster for the win. Million billion stars. Watch it now.

Larry Zbyszko vs. D.J. Peterson (AWA 7/23/1990)
Requested by Lacelle

God, even the ring announcer seems sad to be in the AWA in 1990. Aside from being for Larry's World Title, this was part of the infamous Team Challenge Series, though sadly, there is no funny gimmick attached to it. Lee Marshall talks about D.J. Peterson as "a guy who can hold a belt" and I laugh and laugh and laugh and then the match actually starts and HOLY FUCK WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? Peterson apparently owes Zbyszko money because Larry just beats the shit out of him, lacing into him with hard forearms, punches, and knees, and dropping him with these vicious slams and suplexes...Jesus, this is violent. And then Peterson kicks him away and starts tossing him around with some slams and suplexes of his own, plus a mean atomic drop on the outside. Larry gets thrown hard into the corner, but Peterson charges just as hard into a kneelift. Larry reconvenes the mauling with a big back suplex. He sinks in a tight chinlock, which gives us the closest thing to Larry's usual shtick in this match as he yells at the ref to ring the bell. Peterson rallies the sparse 1990 AWA crowd and guts out, leading to some great strike exchanges before Peterson drops Larry with a gutwrench suplex and comes off of the second rope with a nifty spinning back elbowdrop for two. Larry manages to shove Peterson into the referee, and unfortunately, the brutality is marred with a screwy finishing sequence. Peterson rolls up Larry for six, but by the time the ref comes back, he only gets two. Peterson keeps wailing on Larry in the corner, but the ref backs him off, and that gives Larry room to take him down and grab the Flair pin for the three. But Larry doesn't have the presence of mind to grab his title belt before he flees from the scene of the crime, and by the time he realizes his mistake, Peterson has already got the belt, daring Larry to take it from him. I like Larry a bunch, and I had never seen Peterson before to the best of my knowledge, so I didn't quite know what to expect from them here. But I certainly wasn't expecting this. This was a fucking war, and off-hand, and I think it's the best match I've reviewed in the short history of All-Request Friday Night. If you think Larry Zbyszko was nothing but stalling and shtick, watch this NOW.

To be continued....

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Top 30 Thursday - Memphis #5. Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (No DQ), 3/22/82

5. Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (No DQ) 3/22/82

I just adore this match up. Mantell v. Lawler is maybe the grittiest most violent feud of the entire decade. Everything they did felt like a bloody boxing match in a seedy Tijiuana arena. The early part of the match has Lawler on the attack quick. Lance Russell drops the classic "Lawler is normally a slow starter" talking point. I am not sure I have ever actually seen Lawler start slow, but when Lance says it, it really makes a fast start seem special. He is just tagging Dutch with jabs and right hands.

The match turns with the single greatest transition I have ever seen. Lawler throws a chair at Mantell, and Dutch wings it back at him catching Lawler hard in the ankles and knees. I am not sure if it was a planned spot, but it was perfect. Dutch goes after Lawler like a Badger smelling a Pine tree. Vicious stomps, punches, ringpost smashes, chairshots and other assorted brutality. Just laid in an epic beating, including a normally illegal in TN piledriver. We get an all time great Lawler comeback where he just lights into Dutch. A wild near fall run, and a shocking finish with Dutch pinning the King clean as a sheet with a sunset flip. I may even like Dutch v. Lawler better then Dundee v. Lawler, there is less fanciness, but both guys are so good at toe to toe epic brawling. I probably have used Lawler v. Mantell as a shorthand for great brawling in a dozen reviews and it is great to rewatch the original.

80's Results and Reviews

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Kaval v. McIntyre

Kaval v. Drew McIntyre-Koln Germany 11/12/10

(First video has better camera angle, but cuts off. Second video has whole match, you can start the second at about 10:20 which is the point the first video ends)

Low-Ki is a guy I saw live a bunch in the early part of the 2000's where he was one of the most exciting wrestlers I had ever seen. His WWE run was pretty (and unsurprisingly) disappointing, but this is a cool opportunity to see him work a long match against a good opponent. McIntyre is very good in this match, stooging early to establish Kaval's kicks and chops, delivering some simple and vicious offense when he was in control and working a pretty exciting nearfall section. Ki got a chance to throw some stiff kicks and chops and take a couple of big bumps. This was good stuff, but he wasn't really able to translate what made him so special to a bigger arena. Kind of like watching Sabu on Nitro, nice dive and all, but it wasn't Sabu in a high school gym.


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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

He'd Search His Soul, and Gamble With Death, The Rebel Black Terry

Black Terry/Romano Garcia/Dr. Cerebro/Oficial AK47/Comando Negro/Oficial Fierro/Cerebro Negro v. Rocky Santana/Robin Maravilla/Sadico/Yakuza/Herejia/Rambo/Terry 2000 AULL 5/15/11-GREAT

Cibernetico matches when done well are the ultimate popcorn matches. Nobody is in the ring enough to build anything too layered, but a bunch of guys get a bunch of chances to do cool stuff. Everyone in this match looked good (outside of Herejia who had an awkward moment or two), however there were some real standouts. Romano Garcia was a late replacement on the IWRG team, and why the fuck doesn't he work IWRG normally? He was totally awesome in this as one of the grumpy old maestros, he may be the fastest of the over 50 luchadores and threw some nasty shots. Black Terry wasn't going to be outdone, as he had a bunch of great exchanges with Santana, Yakuza and Terry 2000 and was dropping backcrackers left and right. Sadico was ripping off fast armdrags and headscissors and hit an absolutely insane tope con hilo. Terry 2000 got the win and he really looked awesome. Very little AULL shows up on the internet, but is a guy who looks great every time he surfaces. All of his exchanges looked great, he threw a crossbow bolt of a tope and his finishing mid air armbar reversal was slick as owl shit. Really made me want to see more of everyone, and got me excited about a bunch of singles and trios matches that probably won't happen.

Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Negro Navarro v. Judas el Traidor/Magnifico/Último Vampiro Coliseo Coalaco 6/5/11-GREAT

Really enjoyable match with the badass team of IWRG Maestros taking on a team of Coalaco regulars. Most of the first fall has Terry working a long matwork section with Judas el Traidor (I still have no idea why people continue to team with that guy, he pretty clearly can't be trusted. If he turned on Jesus, he will turn on Magnifico). That is the role traditional reserved for Navarro and it was cool to see Terry break out his twisting and torturing. I especially liked his figure four hammerlock variation. Judas (who was getting JUDAS! JUDAS! chants from the crowd...Too Soon) was right there hanging with Terry. We get a quick second fall, and then a pretty exciting fast moving Tercera. Ultimo Vampiro looks like he has been sucking on some high cholesterol blood, but was damn agile, flying all over the ring. They had a pretty amped up near fall section, which included Navarro murdering Vampiro with a nasty released German suplex, which is something I hadn't seen him bust out before. Navarro, Cerebro and Terry are three of the top ten wrestlers in the world and it is really fun to watch them work with new guys.


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Monday, June 06, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Saturday Night 6/26/99

Dave Burkhead vs. Van Hammer

God bless him, Burkhead and his "buff guy that got fat" body tried his damndest here, but Van Hammer. But, Van Hammer. A lot of men have tried, but, in the end, Van Hammer.

Al Greene vs. Barbarian

OK, this episode ain't starting off too hot. WCW had an odd habit of booking Al Green as a heel, then putting him against other heels. I like the Barbarian a lot, but he didn't look great here and Al Green looked better than I remember him being. TomK had a good story about a diner he goes to in New Orleans that has a wall of autographed celebrity photos, people like John Larroquette, James Gandolfini, Willard Scott...and Al Greene. I've always wondered where those pictures come from. Do the celebrities carry them around with them and hand them out to the restaurant when the owner asks? Or does the owner just have a large number of 8x10s of guys like The Dog Al Greene? I once was at the bad mall in my town, and saw Willie Nelson walking around. I went up to him and quickly found out it was NOT Willie Nelson, but it was Almost Willie, the world's #1 Willie Nelson impersonator. He had a bunch of 8x10s in his bag and signed one for me. So does The Dog Al Greene just carry a bunch of 8x10s around with him?

La Parka vs. Kenny Kaos

Well this was just too much fun, with Parka taking some crazy bumps for a bunch of Kaos clotheslines and actually getting in a whole bunch of offense (including punching Kaos right in the face a couple times). It's been beaten to death by everybody by now, but WCW really just did not know what they had with La Parka. Crowd is crazy hot for the guy in this match. He could have made them a whole bank full of money. Shoot, here we are 12 years after this episode aired and Park is currently my favorite wrestler in the world. Weird.

Barry Windham vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

Jeez, Barry Windham's SUUUUPER tight and SUUUUUPER short jean shorts are the most disgustingly distracting piece of wrestling attire I've ever seen. I would rather seen him in (technically smaller) trunks, as these awful denim shorts just looked like the most uncomfortably ball-strangling piece of clothing possible. Every time he moved or shifted I kept expecting a testicle to rupture. His whole outfit is completely preposterous, with the nut-strangling short-shorts (they were so short the pockets were sticking out the bottom!), cowboy boots, giant knee brace, tank top, and gardening gloves. WTF? Match was fun but ends prematurely as Kendall just runs in and starts beating Rey down, leading to K-Dawwwwg, Swoll, Chase Tatum all running down and getting their swell on and just kinda....looking like shitheads.

Bobby Blaze/Lenny Lane vs. Curt Hennig/Bobby Duncum Jr.

Hennig/Duncum were almost as awesome as the Kendall/Barry Rednecks duo. They just tore Lenny and Blaze apart. Duncum was decent in the ring, but his strengths appear to be his work outside the ring. His distraction spots from the floor or apron were done really great, and he does a bunch of cool stuff (stuff that seems to just not exist in modern wrestling) from the apron to keep the babyface on their toes (grabbing at them when they get close, yelling threats, being awesome). West Texas Rednecks stuff has really aged the best out of all the '99 WCW stuff.

Great exchange from Hudson/Tenay during the 2nd West Texas Rednecks match:

MT: You know, Larry Zbyszko loves this song [Rap is Crap]!
SH: Really? I wouldn't think Larry would listen to anything made past 1912.
MT: Well he told me during Thunder last week that his favorite music is Bob Seger!
SH: Larry Zbyszko loves Bob Seger!?
MT: Yep, BIG rock and roll fan. You'll have to start watching the Thunder broadcasts more often!
SH: Now why would I want to do that!?

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

You're All Right, You Put up a Good Clean Fight, I'm Afraid You'll Lose Tonight to The King

Jerry Lawler/Tommy Rich/Jerry Oates v. Rip Rogers/Bob Roop/Ted Oates GCW 10/31/84-GREAT

Truly enjoyable workrate TV six man tag. Just a menagerie of random awesome 80's wrestlers (plus the Oateses) moving at a fast pace. We get to see Lawler work against both Rip Rogers and Bob Roop, neither guy got any sort of Memphis run, but both matchups are really fun. Rogers is exactly how you remember him, athletic wild bumper who had a great pace. Roop didn't do as much of his awesome tricky mat wrestling in this context, but he threw some nice punches and he and Lawler had a great standoff. Tommy Rich worked face in peril and threw nifty elbows, the Oates's were perfectly fine, and the match breaks down entertainingly at the end. The kind of match you didn't know you really wanted to see.

Jerry Lawler v. Chris Benoit 1994-FUN

This is sort of dream match (well pre 2007), the best US based worker of the 1980s v. one of the best of the 90s. However it was pretty much Lawler plugging Benoit into Lawler's touring heel match. Lawler's touring heel match is a pretty great match, but in the role of heel Lawler opponent, Benoit doesn't have the charisma of Eric Embry or Tito Santana and it comes off flat. I imagine this would have been better as heel Benoit v. face Lawler. This had some stuff I liked, Lawler selling the diving headbutt like Fred Sanford coming home to Elizabeth was pretty great, but this was overall sort of a disappointment. Post match Benoit double nogging knocks Lawler and his valet, and it is hard enough to watch Benoit matches without him manhandling women. The rating is FUN, because it had too much good stuff to be SKIPPABLE, not because I had particularly fun time watching it.

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee v. Billy Joe Travis/Bulldog Rains MPPW 7/26/98-FUN

Only about five minutes and it needed another two minutes or so to push over the to the GREAT category, but man alive what we got of this match was pretty awesome. Bulldog Rains is a perfectly serviceable bald goateed guy with big arms and a gut, but holy shit did Billy Joe Travis look amazing when he was in the ring. Travis and Dundee just unload on each other with Travis's uppercuts vs. Superstars short hooks, BJ also takes one of his in the lights high backdrops. Memphis studio wrestling at its most energetic, Lawler looked good, although this style was always more suited to Dundee who shined. Mainly though this match made me want to do a BJ Travis Complete and Accurate.


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Saturday, June 04, 2011

We Can Go For A Walk Where It's Quiet and Dry and Talk About Regal

Lord Steven Regal v. Arn Anderson WCW 10/9/93-EPIC

This is the battle of the two greatest Television champions in a classic 15 minute TV Title main event. Arn works the arm Anderson style, cranking a nasty hammerlock, while Regal breaks out some slick WOS reversals. Including the Saint full nelson counter which is one of my all time favorite British wrestling moves. Regal takes over when he chucks Arn to the floor and Sir William pops him in the ribs with the umbrella. Regal then goes after the midsection including a sweet flipping senton, and a neck crank with a knee on the stomach which looked really nasty. This builds to a classic TV title time limit run, with Arn going full bore to get the pin and Regal trying to run out the time. That is a finish which can be hard to pull off, I have seen plenty of bad versions where the guys are stalling or timing their moves and pins badly. Here we have the two masters of the TV Title match, so the final desperate face run is timed great, and we get the spinebuster at the perfect moment, with the clock running down right as the ref counts two. Excellent match, great use of the gimmick and it really got me amped to check out more of the Regal TV title stuff.

Lord Steven Regal v. Great Muta NJ 8/3/97-FUN

Regal is clearly inspired and working hard, but Muta was fully in wander around and make faces mode, making this basically a one man show. When Muta is dogging it there is going to be a limit on how good a match is going to be, but Regal does a nice job working with a broomstick with cool facepaint. The first part of this match is all Regal working nasty arm submissions and takedowns while Muta lays around. Finish is pretty great, as Regal pins Muta's arms and pounds away with palm strikes, only to get a face full of poison mist. Half assed backbreaker, and a moonsault and Muta gets the duke. This definitely makes me want to see more New Japan Regal, although preferable against an opponent who gives a fuck.

William Regal/Finlay v. Bobby Lashley/Batista WWE 8/11/06-GREAT

This is during the awesome King Booker period on Smackdown with Regal and Finlay working as members of the King's Court. Finlay and Regal are a really fun bruiser tag team, almost all of the match is based around them beating on Bobby Lashley. They had married Lashley to Finlay at this point to turn him into a wrestler, and he was fine as a guy taking really nasty uppercuts and forearms. I forgot how much I enjoyed heel Hornswoggle, as the tiny monster living under the ring was a cool Cornette tennis racket. Team Strikeforce negotiations was a perfectly acceptable Road Warriors team and it was a testament to Regal and Finlay that they looked so credible going toe to toe with such giant roid monsters. Another cool WWF Regal discovery which is one of the big goals of this project.


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Friday, June 03, 2011

SLL's All-Request Friday Night

Rikidozan vs. The Destroyer - Best 2/3 Falls Match (JWA, 12/2/1963)
Requested by Jingus

The description on the YouTube page linked above says this is their historic match that drew the largest TV audience of any match in wrestling history. Assuming the dates are correct, that's not actually true. That match happened on May 24th of the same year, and to the best of my knowledge is still buried in the NTV vaults if the footage still exists at all. And that's unfortunate for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that - again assuming the dates are correct - this would be one of the last - possibly even the last - matches in Rikidozan's career. This match happened on December 2nd. Six days later, he'd be stabbed with a piss-soaked knife in a nightclub men's room. Five days after that, he'd be dead.

So let's send out Japan's greatest wrestling hero with a bang, as he takes on one of his greatest career rivals probably for the very last time. And I'm sure glad it's him, because while Rikidozan seems to have been mildly underrated as a worker, The Destroyer is one of the best, and at least half of this match's charm comes from him bitching at the referee. "Get 'im out of there! What's he gonna do, stay right there? Get 'im out of there! You don't see anyone in my corner, do ya?" There are kind of a limited number of Destroyer matches out there, but from what we have, he did seem to have a nice formula worked out that he executes here: attack, get countered, complain. This is something like 35-40 minutes, and he could build the bulk of a 35-40 minute match around stuff we usually think of as opening match bullshit. Rikidozan holds up his end of the bargain as the straight man in Destroyer's comedy routine well. He grabs a nice jumping headscissors takedown, and lord knows Destroyer is a guy who can work being in a headscissors. He tries to handstand out of it, but eats a mini-piledriver before eventually escaping. He clings to Rikidozan's leg and gets him backed into the corner, where he rams his shoulder into Rikidozan's gut while the ref was laying in the count before backing off ("I broke the hold, and I'll belt you, too!"). We get a lot of fun trading holds and complaining ("What's wrong with that? What's wrong?"..."I broke it! I broke it! I broke it!") before things start getting rough around the 20-minute mark. Rikidozan slams Destroyer and then busts out the double bootscrape on his face. Destroyer comes back with two big kneedrops. A third from the second rope misses, but he recovers and lays Rikidozan out with a pair of slams, getting the first fall with his feet on the ropes. There is hemming and hawing from the natives, but honestly, it was just his feet. He didn't actually lift his legs off of the ground to get added leverage. He just draped his ankles on the ropes. They should be hemming and hawing about how a wrestler as good as The Destroyer should be able to cheat better than that. Ah, well. It's a minor flub in an otherwise stellar match. Anyway, things get more aggressive in the second fall, including Destroyer shooting face-first into a kneelift, followed by Rikidozan's prototype Kawada short kicks. Destroyer comes back with one of his own, but he can't hold the advantage long before Rikidozan chops him in the throat to tie things up one fall apiece. Destroyer takes out his frustrations on the guy handing out bottled water between falls, and then really takes his frustrations out on Rikidozan when the third fall starts, immediately getting him in the corner and laying in big forearms and kicks. He grounds him and drops some more knees on him, including the nasty-as-fuck handstand double kneedrop to Rikidozan's face. Most of the rest of the match is The Destroyer trying to lock on the figure-four, which Rikidozan keeps countering by rolling with the stepover toehold onto his stomach, which was pretty clever,though I may argue that they dragged it out a touch too long. Eventually, though, Rikidozan kicks him off of an attempt and send him to the floor. He gives chase, and they have a nice little brawl until Rikidozan hits a backdrop on the concrete and makes it back in the ring just in time to beat the count and win the match. The crowd goes wild, blissfully unaware that their hero's most dangerous opponent of all was just about to strike.

Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino - Lumberjack Match (WWF, 2/7/1987)
Requested by Televiper

Pretty great for a sub-five minute match. Savage wastes no time, using Elizabeth to keep Bruno at bay before pulling the QB sneak around Liz and the ref to blast Bruno with an axehandle. He lays into him, but Bruno makes a fast comeback. From what little I've seen of Bruno, I think he gets a bad rap as a worker. Even this late in the game, he's a pretty capable brawler, though obviously it helps to have Savage bumping around for you. Savage comes back with the help of an imaginary foreign object, and gets Van Terminator-level distance on a top-rope axehandle, but Bruno fights back and tosses Savage out of the ring to Ricky Steamboat, who dishes out some payback before sending him back to a Bruno bearhug. King Kong Bundy runs in to break it up, getting Savage DQ'd, and Savage bails as a big brawl with all the lumberjacks breaks out with Bruno and Steamboat standing tall at the end. Nice.

Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage - Lumberjack Match (WWF, 2/17/1986)
Requested by J.H.

This is the rematch of the bout I reviewed last week. In the month since, Savage has won the IC Title and Hogan has had his ribs injured by King Kong Bundy. Beyond that, this match really picks up right where the last one left off, with Hogan rushing the ring and clocking Savage behind in payback for the post-match cheapshot from last time. He also gives Savage a taste of his medicine by repeatedly bashing him in the head with the title belt just as Savage did the month before. Hogan is on fire offensively. His punches all look great, and he also shows off a nice backdrop and a great running back elbow into the corner. This all gets cut short when Bundy trips up Hogan while he's running the ropes, which doesn't immediately turn the match around, but does seem to throw off his game enough for Savage to go to the eyes and then hit a running kneelift to the taped ribs. Savage does a great job working over the ribs, including hitting four top-rope axehandles to them. There also a great spot where Hogan gets thrown to the outside in enemy territory, and Don Muraco holds him in place against the post so Bundy can deliver a nasty avalanche to Hogan. They roll him back in, and Savage winds up for a big right hand...and then just pushes him down and rolls him back out where Muraco and Bundy do it again. Hogan sells the beating really well for the bulk of the match, barely getting his shoulder up on every pinfall. But, of course, we do get our requisite Hulk-Up after the top rope elbow. Match ends pretty quick after that, as the criss cross off the ropes, and since turnabout is fair play, George Steele grabs Savage's leg, and Savage trips and lands in perfect position to be hit with the leg drop. After Hogan's great early offensive run, I kinda hoped his finishing stretch would be a little longer, but I still liked this a bunch.

Marty Jannetty vs. Skinner (WWF, 11/9/1992)
Requested by douchebag

Man, there is some weird-ass commentary between Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes in this match. I'm trying to decide what the highlight was: Gorilla's off-hand comment about Sensational Sherri having been hit many times before "in numerous places", his implication that Hayes was into teen pussy, or him suddenly yelling that he'd belt Hayes if he disagreed with him over something and Hayes just laughing it off. When you're on a commentary team with Lord Alfred Hayes and you're out-weirding him, that's kinda impressive.

Anyway, match itself is pretty choice. This is one of Jannetty's first matches back after The Rockers' break-up, and he is all fun and athletic, and does a "block a monkey flip by stomping his face" variant where he does a fistdrop instead. That is one of my favorite stock spots in wrestling, and Marty has a good fistdrop, so cool to see him break it out. Cool spot where they fight to a stalemate, and the ref steps in between them, only for Skinner to reach around and smack Marty in the face. Not long after that, Marty takes a spill to the outside and tweaks his knee, and the second act of the match is built around Skinner: Master Technician working over the leg with various toeholds and kneebars. It's kinda brilliant at first, because you remember, "oh yeah, Skinner is Steve Keirn, he's a grizzled ring veteran who would know how to do this old-school stuff, and the fact that he's doing it under a silly early-90's WWF gimmick just makes it weirder and cooler". But then you remember "wait, I've actually seen a lot of pre-Skinner Steve Keirn, and I don't remember him ever doing any of this he calling back to his 70's work or something? What am I looking at?". Marty makes his comeback, and does a great job selling the knee all the while before putting the Fabulous Alligator Man away with the top-rope fistdrop. Marty looked really good here, and Skinner did a fine job putting the youngster over.

Masato Yoshino vs. Don Fujii (Dragon Gate, 1/18/2011)
Requested by Brandon-E

Yes, I will even review Dragon Gate matches. Don't expect it to happen often. Especially if they're like this one.

I don't like Dragon Gate. I don't think that's a secret. What might be a secret - if only because it just occurred to me while watching this match - is that Dragon Gate might be my least favorite wrestling promotion ever. And when I say that, that doesn't mean I think it's the worst promotion I've ever seen. Believe me, I've seen far, far worse than Dragon Gate. I mean, from it's inception to this very day, even with the intermittent bits of good they've done, TNA has to be considered a vastly worse promotion than Dragon Gate. But they do intermittent bits of good, and I can laugh at the large swaths of bad, and the embarrassing spin doctoring that goes on after the fact. I can look back at death bed WCW and laugh at their pathetic foibles while digging their final syndie matches and the last-minute resurgence of the cruiserweight division. AAA at their very worst always had something interesting going on somewhere, even if you had to dig for it. But Dragon Gate is a wrestling dead zone, producing nothing good enough for me to really enjoy, and nothing bad enough for me to really laugh at. Dragon Gate is a promotion whose matches I can review with a form letter. In fact, I've got one right here:

"After Scott Keith's "Netcop Busts", the first thing I ever bought when I got into tape trading was a Jack Epstein "Best of Sasuke Sekigun vs. Kaientai D*X" tape. It's been a while, but the last time I watched the "These Days" 10-man, it was '05/'06, and I remember writing on the late, lamented Happy Wrestling Land board how surprised I was at how few dives were in it. Seriously, for a match that often gets thought of as the pinnacle of spot-fu, I remember counting a whopping two or three dives in the whole match. Which isn't to say it wasn't still chock full of spectacular looking offense, I just tended to remember it as being a lot of in-ring action in the first half building up to the out-of-control dives in the second half, and there really weren't that many dives. Even when I first saw it as a largely puro-illiterate kid, I was able to pick up on the significance of that first half ("Oh, they're keeping the match in the ring and just teasing dives right now to build anticipation, so when they actually start diving, I will be extra psyched for it. Cool!"), but when I rewatched it that last time, it really struck me how important that was. It may have only been two or three dives, but I remembered it like it was 30. They knew how to build a match, how to create a sense of scale, how to make things seem important...stuff I don't get from the Dragon Gate guys. I try - with varying degrees of success - to stay on top of the current wrestling scene. To that end, I do check out Dragon Gate matches every now and then. At best, what I've seen has been clean, inoffensive, aesthetically pleasing, but also emotionally empty. At worst, it's...well it's pretty much the same as it is at it's best, it's just more structurally flawed. I can see why people like it, but when I watch it, I just don't feel anything. It's been an even longer time than since I last watched old M-Pro, but I do remember liking Toryumon in it's original form. That might not age so well if I watched it now, but I wonder if there's an issue with the later generations of wrestlers from the company. There was a sense of real wrestling fun and old-school competence in Toryumon that Dragon Gate just abandoned. The fun was replaced by metrosexual fanservice, and the classic wrestling structure by an endless series of mechanically fine and emotionally hollow spots done constantly until the match ends. This isn't what I look for in wrestling, to the point that I'm loathe to even call it "wrestling". This is a demo of wrestling moves meant to get Japanese teenyboppers to touch themselves, and that's it."

But that doesn't really fully describe this match, so I've got to add a specialized post-script to the above.

Yoshino vs. Fujii. Is it a great match? No. Is it a terrible match. No. How does it compare to the average Dragon Gate match? Marginally favorably, largely thanks to Don Fujii. Fujii is the last of the old-school Toryumon guys who hasn't sold out stylistically to Dragon Gate (I'm looking at you, CIMA), and consequently, he tends to be the guy most likely to make a Dragon Gate match watchable these days. Here's the thing: back in the day, Fujii was widely considered the least of the major Toryumon guys. While he was pretty much always good, he was never great, and he still isn't. The fact that the least guy from that era is now the best guy in this one is really damning him with feint praise, not to mention a really damning statement about the rest of the roster. Speaking about the rest of the DG roster, let's talk about them for a second. Here's the sum total of what I can tell you about them: Shingo Takagi is exceptionally bad to the point that fucking Danielson couldn't carry him, Masato Yoshino runs really fast, and Akira Tozawa is actually great when he's put in an actual wrestling environment. That's it. I can't even make any kind of specific comment about Masaaki Mochizuki in 2011, and I had been a fan of his for years. So what we have here is the best of what's left against one of the less interchangeable (but still not particularly good) younger members of the roster. And bless Fujii's heart, he tries to work the grizzled veteran going up against the athletic youngster match to the best of his ability. The nearfall off of the Gedo clutch actually had me going for a second there. And for a guy sold on his speed, Yoshino does deliver on that front. He does Marufuji's stupid, stupid "drape the guy over the ropes, slowly walk away, getting a running start, and dropkick them spot", only here, he goes the entire length of the aisleway, but he runs so fast that it actually doesn't come off as any less stupid than when Marufuji does it. Still comes off as stupid, though. In the end, this is structured a lot better than most DG matches, and I can see how it was supposed to pull me in, and I appreciate the thought put behind it, but these were just not the guys who were going to make it happen.

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