Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Should Be While Before Black Terry Sees Dr. Death, So It Would Sure Be Nice If He Could Catch His Breath

Black Terry/Negro Navarro v. Trauma 1/Trauma 2 Lucha POP 8/27/11-EPIC

Not what I was expecting at all, and totally awesome for that fact. If this is followed up on, Navarro family feud is going to be the coolest thing in wrestling in 2011. The match starts with Black Terry and Trauma II doing some typical maestro style sportsman mat work. Both guys are very skilled at that, and it isn't something Terry does a ton of.

They tag in Trauma 1 and Navarro, and before they lock up Trauma cracks his dad in the ear with a drum shattering slap. Navarro does this amazing bit of selling, where he stumbles around trying to get his equilibrium, and stares up at his son with this combination of respect and anger. Terry is awesome on the apron too, he looks totally confused, he is just a guest at this family dinner and it has gone very off the rails. After getting his bearing, Navarro gets up and moves seamlessly into a vicious armlock, Trauma 1 is just screaming in agony. Navarro release his hold, still selling the slap, makes a little motion like "All right junior, you slap me, I break your shoulder." They lock up again and Navarro pulls a triangle and is just screaming at Trauma 1. They both stand up and work this great section based around ring placement and feints. Navarro picks an ankle and Trauma 1 responds with a fishook, fuck I am glad I never had Thanksgiving dinner at the Navarro house. We get another energetic II and Terry exchange, and we go back to I and Navarro. They are just unloading on each other with nasty shots, and I is able to hit his spinning leg lock for the submission. Pretty tremendous stuff, The Great Santini as a wrestling match.


Labels: ,

Read more!

2011 PWG BOLA Road Report, 8/20/11

So once Finlay got announced on a PWG card then my friends and I knew it was time to take a drive down to Reseda for a day. We've been to a few PWG shows before, but not for awhile (last card we went to was the Claudio/Danielson headlock match, which has to be 5+ years at this point). But hey, Finlay will get me out of the house and to the other end of the state on a weekend. So we rented a car, found a hotel room, and drove down the 5, stopping at Portos Cuban bakery (even brought tupperware with me to take back a boatload of potato balls, guava pastry, and medianoche sandwiches), then onto a long night of pro wrestling.

The line around the building was long and by the time we got in the building it was REAL full. There were still a bunch of people in line behind us and I have no clue where they all ended up sitting. They also did not allow food or drink to be brought in, so I had to put my massive bag of Sour Patch Kids back in the car. A gal by the door did allow me to take some licorice that they had taken from a little girl and her grandma, so long as I ate it outside. We managed to get four great seats together, right in front of the entrance curtain and opposite the hard camera. This should ensure plenty of shots of me running and screaming and pushing people out of the way as wrestlers do dives in our section...which ended up happening in practically every match.

1. Chris Hero vs. Willie Mack

This was one of the matches I was really looking forward to, and it did not disappoint in the slightest. I had only seen Mack live once before (as Chocolate Caliente at a Lucha Va Voom show), and he was an entertaining, chunky guy with a decent punch and some pretty great dives. Here he looked at least 30 lb. lighter and really toned up, and was wearing awesome trunks that looked like fishbowl computer wallpaper. This was probably the stiffest match of the night, and when you're on the same card as Fit Fucking Finlay, you deserve a doff of the cap. Opera gloves. I was expecting all the first round matches to go a little shorter, since some of these guys would be working three times, but this felt long, like 20 minutes. It never dragged and it really built to a nice pitch.

Hero throws some nice chops but Mack's chops had Hero's chest bright red by the end of this. Hero's stuff all looked so great up close: The cravate w/ knees, the punches (good lord he threw some great punches in the turnbuckle right in front of me), and FUCK the elbows. He hit some downright NASTY elbows on Willie Mack. Hero's rolling elbow is one of the nastiest things in wrestling today. He planted one right under Willie's chin and later in the match I literally jumped out of my seat when he came off the ropes with one to the back of Willie's head. That SMACK sounded like a gunshot went off in the building. That rolling elbow could have been a quicker way to put down cattle at a slaughterhouse. Also, Hero's rolling yakuza kick *should* look stupid. The move on paper just does not work. But somehow it works REALLY nicely when Hero does it. Hero also had 3 or 4 rad little sliding kicks right to Mack's cheekbones that had to sting.

But none of Mack's comebacks seemed the least bit silly. He always had the feel of a guy fighting from underneath, but a very powerful guy fighting from underneath, and therefore a very dangerous guy. Mack got crossed up on a couple rope running spots, but has a bunch of cool offense, and is really agile for a big guy. He throws a nice elbowdrop, couple big suplexes, hard clothesline, bumps big, has awesome bug eyed facials, has a boss beard (needs to be a bit bigger though), and even plays up how black people have the hardest heads in wrestling (or do Islanders? Any current Islander working a hard head gimmick?). Great spot as Hero threw a GREAT overhand right (everybody loves Hero's elbows but that right hand was thrown 6' away from me and it looked AWESOME) and then sold his hand after bouncing it off of Mack's noggin. Also loved the Human Tornado tribute spot with Mack breaking out the shuck n' jive corner kicks. Hero clearly had done some scouting in the tape room, as when Willie pointed for the ref to "look over there" so he could kick Hero low, Hero yelled "Please god don't look over there!" to no avail. Match was awesome, loved the backslide reversal Mack won with (floating over for extra leverage, never seen that before), and this match delivered BIG. I was really looking forward to it, and it far exceeded my expectations. Possible match of the night right here.

2. Fit Finlay vs. Kevin Steen

THIS was obviously the reason my friends and I drove down. Shoot, Finlay is working Portland in a couple months and I'll likely be going up for that, and that's 4 hours farther than L.A. And Finlay doesn't even have an opponent announced for that show. Fit Finlay is my favorite wrestler of all time, so if I get the chance to see him on some sort of tiny card then I will be taking that chance. The match itself was totally awesome. They started off with a real snug collar and elbow, Finlay went for a lightning fast go behind, right into a nerve hold, kicked Steen's knee out from under him, the grabbed Steen by his fucking palate, wrenches his head back and elbows him right in the fucking NOSE! Steen scrambled up, and then said something like "My nose is fine, by the way." That's just about the dumbest thing you can say to someone like Finlay. When I was a kid and would get spanked for being a little asshole, one time I made the mistake of telling my mom that it didn't even hurt. Guess what happened? Wooden spoon is what happened. THAT shit hurt. Every other time I ever had to get spanked, I sold that shit like I was Shawn Michaels selling to the back row against Hulk Hogan. My mom's hand couldn't hurt a fly? Did not matter. I was taking Psychosis bumps on my fucking head for that shit from that point on. Steen's parents obviously never gave him any boundaries, so it was up to Finlay to draw some for him. Allow me to cut and paste what happened next: Finlay went for a lightning fast go behind, right into a nerve hold, kicked Steen's knee out from under him, the grabbed Steen by his fucking palate, wrenches his head back and elbows him right in the fucking NOSE! How many times does it take a lab rat to learn that he'll get shocked if he pushes a button?

Steen gets up and SLAPS Finlay hard in the face to which Finlay chuckles at, takes him down with a drop toe hold, and instantly locks on across face with his forearm RIGHT across Steen's nose. This was framed perfectly 6 feet in front of my face and I have not wished I had a camera any more badly in the last year than I did at that moment. Finlay also does a picture perfect knee drop right across Steen's face and then the awesome bombs away butt splash, and then stomps BRUTALLY on Steen's fingers a couple times (and I imagine everybody in attendance wanted to see that). It's like when Modern English played my college and they did "Melt With You" three times. They knew what the fucking people wanted. From here we go into a bunch of nasty forearm exchanges, roll to the floor for more forearms, and back in for more that I could not imagine a human being not loving. Couple of great spots where Steen doesn't break clean in the corner, followed by Finlay suckering Steen into the exact same spot and clubbing him. Both men decide to dislocate each others shoulders with a nasty shoulderblock. Now THAT was a collision! Finlay came off the ropes about as hard as he could and just slammed right into Steen, and Steen stood right up to it. I LOVE a good shoulderblock spot, where dudes don't bump it until they've been hit. I fully understand guys that bump early for them, but I love guys that just dish them out and take them.

From here Steen starts working over Finlay's knee and that's the story for the rest of the match. Finlay on the apron and Steen on the floor, Steen grabs the bum wheel and just YANKS it, causing Finlay to take a really great bump on the apron, just legs out from under him and crashing down on his hip. Ouch. Steen wraps Finlay's leg around the corner post, stomps on it, just beats it down. At one point Finlay has his kneepad pulled down and he has visible black and blue marks on the inside of his knee. AWESOME. I like the idea of A) Steen stomping on Finlay's knee until it is black and blue, or B) Finlay noticing earlier in the day he had black and blue marks on his knee, and him going "Let's work this into the match". It works on either level for me. Finlay gets a bunch of little comebacks and Steen keeps beating him down. I get super excited when Steen goes up for a swanton, and lands HARD across Finlay's knees. Finlay hits the Celtic Cross, but his knee is too fucked as he climbs foolishly to the middle rope. Steen yanks his bum wheel again and locks on a tight cloverleaf and Finlay taps. Now, of course I was hoping to see Finlay win here, but it ended up making all of his comebacks really exciting. Between rooting on Finlay live here, and flipping out on every nearfall live when Jerry Lawler almost beat Miz, my lungs have gotten a decent live wrestling workout this year. Awesome match.

3. Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico

This was a kinda decent match that turned into an awesome match because of a botched spot. first few minutes are fine, Claudio working over Generico's back with some cool stretches and backbreakers. Sean and I talked about how funny it was that Claudio was using about 4 backbreaker variations one match before a Roderick Strong match. Generico is flexible so it looks real good when Claudio bends him in painful ways. The botch happens when Generico goes for a springboard rana with Claudio nowhere near a good position to take it. As predicted Generico hits him at an awkward angle and there is really nowhere for Claudio to bump it, so Claudio makes a snap judgment call that kicks the match into awesome overdrive: no sell the botch and just start beating the shit out of Generico. He just picks him up and gives him three straight gutwrench powerbombs, each one dropping him harder than the last. Generico keeps getting comebacks, but Claudio keeps coming up with awesome ways to violently make him pay. Big crossbody off the top? Claudio catches him and drills him with a backbreaker. Claudio also does his insane flapjack into a nasty European uppercut, which is basically the only example of Street Fighter II Turbo-as-pro wrestling that looks good, and it looks GREAT. Generico gets some cool crucifix counters and close roll ups, and there was an epic moment where they were both fighting on the top rope to see who could to a stupider move. Claudio goes for a top rope Riccola Bomb, Generico tries countering to a brainbuster, Claudio reverses that into a Riccola Bomb that almost gets pulled off but Generico hits a rana that Claudio rolls through, only to have Generico roll through that for a roll-up win. This was the best way to do a roll-up win for Generico as Claudio had taken 90% of the match and I just wouldn't have bought Generico being able to hold him down any other way. But this way really used a bunch of Claudio's momentum against him and the match overall was really fun with a GREAT finishing stretch.

4. Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong

Well this was what it was. Taken in 5 second random snapshots, it had a lot of impressive moments. But in the end they were all empty and meant nothing. All the spots looked good, but who cares when they don't build anywhere? Strong hit a brutal backdrop suplex on the apron, but it must not have been that brutal as 3 seconds later Edwards hit a vertical suplex on the apron and then did a moonsault off of it. And that's kinda the story of the match. If you're into lifeless move and hold exhibitions, then this is for you. I personally do not care to see somebody fight to get out of an ankle lock, then just stand up and hit a big move. Ending gets ridiculous as it completely kills the crowd. Edwards hit a fucking MASSIVE double stomp from the top rope to Strong lying on the ring apron, then Strong rolls into the ring, stands up, and gets hit by another stomp off the top from Edwards. Not only does this only get a 2 count (which was the point where the crowd went dead silent), but gets followed up with a Malenko/Guerrero roll-up sequence!! The same exact sequence YOU were tired of in 1998 (maybe earlier for some of you). I tell Rachel this would be an ideal time for her to use the ladies room. Big moves were hit, big moves were reversed, somebody won at some point.

5. The Dynasty (Joey Ryan & Scorpio Sky) vs. RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime & Johnny Yuma)

This match was kind of a hot mess. Some individual things worked, some things did not. I had heard some good things about Goodtime, but was not very impressed here. He would likely appeal to the types of folks who enjoy wink wink nudge nudge Street Fighter II Turbo moves-as-wrestling (the E. Honda 100 Hand Slap in the corner was mildly amusing, just not what I was looking for). Yuma didn't do much for me at all. He looked kinda like Vince Noir from Mighty Boosh and had some Young Bucks offense. BUT, he was also responsible for the best part of the match as Ryan chucked him into the crowd from the ring, and Yuma went SPLAT through a bunch of chairs and ended up splayed out in a real nasty way. I wish I would have gotten a better look at it, but the chairs he splattered through were the ones we were sitting in, so I got the fuck out of Dodge, screaming like a girl as I ran and shoved women out of my way. Match kind went off the rails at this point as all 4 guys were in at once and it was pretty cluttered. We get some stereo moves (dual frogsplashes) and some big suplexes (Ryan dumped Yuma with a pretty nasty pumphandle German) and the match ends in a roll up. At this point in the show I react larger to roll ups than any big head drops, since 4 of the first 5 matches have ended with one. The double stomp from the top to the apron? Sitting on my hands. No way that can finish a match. Small package? Oh snap, this could be it!

Young Bucks run out and start shooting about how they don't shake hands and it. is. horrible. Both Bucks are very punchable. This promo sets up KoW vs. Bucks for later which should actually be pretty good. I wanted Finlay to be involved somehow, because how much fun does Finlay vs. one of the Bucks sound!? A man can dream.

6. Willie Mack vs. El Generico

Match starts with a long dance contest. Not my cup of tea, but it didn't feel out of place here. I actually kinda figured that this would be a comedy match, since Mack worked a LONG match against Hero that was stiff as all get out. Plus he is kinda chubby. So yeah, we get dancing. Crowd seemed into it, so I can't complain too much. Comedy continues as they do dueling Human Tornado corner kicks. Eventually the match got rolling and Mack looked really good, busting out a bunch of cool offense that he didn't get to use in the Hero match, including a great knee drop. You know the kinda knee drop AJ Styles does? Mack did that, except he's bigger and thus it looks even more awesome. Mack has a bunch of cool throws and Generico bumped a clothesline really nicely. But eventually Generico cam back with a nice yakuza kick in the corner and ended it with a brainbuster. Match was the shortest of the night and enjoyable enough. It naturally wasn't as good as each guy's first matches, but I'd rather have two really good matches and one OK comedy match than 3 OK-decent matches. So both guys going long in the first match was way worth it.

7. Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Edwards

More comedy mixed in with some stuff I thought was silly in an unintentional comedy way. Match started off with a silly shoulderblock exchange. Now again, I love a real nice, hard hitting shoulderblock. They look nasty and it makes my joints and torso hurt by thinking about someone running into me at that speed. So Steen and Eddie just start exchanging them like they're chops. One guy would bounce off the ropes and hit one, and that would cause the other guy to bounce off the opposite ropes and hit one, and so on and so forth until the move was killed dead. Just boing shoulderblock boing shoulderblock boing shoulderblock over and over again and it was kinda dumb. Then we went into a long eyepoke segment that was pretty amusing. I can't ever hate on an eyepoke spot, though they kind of ran them into the ground here. There was a really fun spot where Edwards threw Steen to the floor, and made the crowd clear out of the way for a dive. You bet your ass I ran out of there. Edwards runs off the opposite ropes, does a fast baseball slide kick to the floor, and then just pokes Steen in the eye. Then they bite each other for awhile, and then they go into wrestling is serious strike exchange, while the fans are chanting Kill, Steen, Kill....and....this shit just doesn't work all together.

Sometimes Steen is really wrestling-as-serious business, and sometimes he's wacky guy hamming it up to the crowd, and sometimes it's both all at once, and I just don't buy it. It's like on The Office, when Michael Scott is such a buffoon and completely unrealistic, but then there would be an occasional episode where something bad happens to Michael and you were supposed to feel sympathy for him...but it was impossible to feel sorry for him because he was so unrealistic most of the time. Steen has this real obnoxious habit of just tossing off loud one liners to the crowd in a match. Not so much working the crowd at all, but just stopping a match to be Henny Youngman for awhile, and then restarting the match where it left off. There's working the crowd, and then there's just trying to get a chuckle, and he always goes for the latter no matter the mood of the match. So they are serious, then they get some yucks, and whatever.

Then since doing a long silly shoulderblock exchange wasn't enough, they do dueling superkicks. I'm...kinda speechless on that one. Eddie Edwards took a superkick...then just kinda hit a superkick back. Didn't sell it or anything, just kinda...did a superkick after being hit with one. I'm...confused? How can anybody be interested in two guys pretending to fight if at any point moves that we have collectively determined hurt a whole bunch can just suddenly not hurt anymore? Moves mean something because we know each worker's history with each move. And this wasn't even some fighting spirit nonsense or anything, just taking a move that's usually a big deal, and doing the same move back with no harm done. I guess I'm just really confused by what they were going for there. Like, will other wrestlers see that and go "Oh shit, didn't know that was an option." Is Eddie Edwards the annoying kid in elementary school who would just pretend he didn't get tagged when everybody was playing tag? I hated that fucking kid. Is he Michael Myers? Who got shot 6 times in Halloween and fell off a balcony and then came back for Halloween II and got shot a bunch more (including in the face!) and then burned alive and still came back? I don't know if Edwards has the acting chops to pull off Michael Myers. And so we get more moves, we get more counters, and I assume at some point for some reason one of these moves will keep one of these guys down for one more second than all of the other moves kept them down for. And so the world turns.

8. Kings of Wrestling vs. The Young Bucks

This was a comedy match that worked quite well for me, and I have to give a lot of credit to the Bucks here. I have never seen them play heel and they were really great at being big bumping, stooging goofy heels. Hero and Claudio work a bunch of double teams with them like the double rowboat spot and the Bucks bump into place hilariously and slip on banana peels and fall on each others' groins and it's actually pretty great. Now, they were not as entertaining when they went into their heel control section, and I actually fell asleep at that point so I can't really say why they were not as entertaining. I can't blame them for me falling asleep, as it was like 11:45 at this point and I had been up since 2:30 A.M. and drove down from the Bay Area and had a giant lunch at Portos....or maybe it was their fault and their offense is so boring it put me to sleep. Who knows. Either way we still get a bunch of fun spots from everybody, with Hero elbowing and kicking everyone in sight, and Claudio hitting an insanely long giant swing (with Hero booting them in the face to end it!). Matt gets the pin with his feet on the ropes and this may have been the last KoW indie match for quite some time. KoW hit their MASSIVE finisher on Matt after the match is over and he takes it like a champ.

9. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico

Final was pretty fun and had a lot of nasty moves that got kicked out of, but it all worked fine in context. Match started right away as Steen was in the ring and Generico ran out and they went at it. Generico really just burst through those ropes and almost took out a dude walking past the curtain and then almost plowed into the ringside cameraman. Crowd is real into this as everybody is standing at this point, they brawl all over the building, Generico overshoots a couple crazy dives, chairs get tossed, a kid in a Generico mask gets taunted while Steen locks on the cloverleaf (the move that ended his other two matches), both guys hit completely nasty package piledrivers, Generico boots Steen's head off a couple times, and wins with a NASTY brainbuster on the apron. The match was under 10 minutes, but was all action and in the moment it totally worked.

Great fun show overall, totally worth driving down for. Next show doesn't sound worth driving over from Burbank to see (Ricky Romero and Davey Richards!!!), but if Finlay is on a card again, you can count me in. Favorite match of the night might have been Hero/Mack, but Finlay/Steen, and Claudio/Generico were great as well. All other matches had at minimum some decent moments (Edwards spits really high and there was a fun moment in the Steen match where he somehow managed to spit on the same crowd member two different times from two different spots in the ring. That's some impressive spitting right there. It took Haruka Eigen's art and turned it into high art), and at minimum were very good.

I would recommend going out of your way to see this show, with three great matches and some real fun ones. Get on it.

Labels: , ,

Read more!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SLL's All-Request Something Something

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage (WCW, 4/6/1997)
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage (WCW, 6/15/1997)
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage (WCW, 10/26/1997)
Requested by DylanWaco

Dylan suggested I do all three of these as a group, since they're all really good on their own, but if you cobbled the best pieces of each together, you'd have a great match. Personally, I thought they all stood on their own just fine, though maybe the third less so than the first two, and, for that matter, the second less so than the first.

The first was actually about as good of a WCW main event match as you were going to get in that period. More than anything, this really struck me as a microcosm of what should have been happening with their main event scene but never really did because WCW was run by the dumbest motherfuckers in wrestling history. Two dudes who hate each other having a brawl is maybe the easiest match in the world to set up and execute, and probably the one WCW was bested suited to at the moment. Here, we get that from two really great brawlers, and they know not to stray too far from that as the base of the match. These are two guys who were notorious for the thorough planning of their matches, and this one in particular really comes off as a match that they nailed structurally. But a lot of what makes it work is that, until the finish, it's very stripped down. It's an epic, but it's not, as some of the net might call it, a "self-conscious epic", and these are two guys who did tend to be very self-conscious about their work. This was No DQ, they had a lot of tools at their disposal to fool around with, but they kept it simple, and that's really exactly what the match needed. Before the finish, the big "moments" that stood out to me were Savage attacking David Penzer and Mark Curtis. Hey, remember when the nWo were a major threat that WCW had to fight off instead of a permanent fixture that WCW had to tolerate? This match does. Even Michael Buffer remembers in probably the best non-ironic moment of wrestling career as he kneels beside his fallen comrade in ring announcing, looking like he now genuinely understands the true horror of the struggle. After years of not caring about this dopey little sport, he now realizes David Penzer is a man just like him, trying to find his way in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, and that no man deserves the indignity that he - and by extension, all of WCW - has been put through by the nWo. Then he'll drink that all away and come back fresh and ready to introduce Bret "The Hitman" Clarke and tell us how Karl Malone is going to deliver the mail as it has never been delivered before, but it was nice we had that moment. I also want to give props to Tony Schiavone, who had his game face on tonight and did a great job putting over the story of the match, DDP's scrappy underdog status, and how vile Savage and the nWo really were. There's one point after Savage has whipped and piledriven Mark Curtis where Tony is describing the action and asks "what have we become?", which really feels like it belongs next to "Hulk Hogan, you can go straight to Hell" as one of your great Schiavone moments. He's also doing this in spite of Bobby Heenan completely shitting on the match with an out of place heel routine. He snaps at the Brain every time he tries to force some unneeded levity into the match, and I think it's really effective at keeping a serious tone throughout. This is the Schiavone I would have liked to have seen all the time, but it was WCW know. At that brings us to the finish, which was the most "booked" part of the match, so to speak. But man-oh-man, was that a great fucking finish. Curtis gets taken out, nWo favorite Nick Patrick gets brought in with Kevin Nash coming out to supervise. DDP is beaten to within an inch of his life, Savage drags him to his fe-BANG! Diamond Cutter! Patrick - looking his Kenny Powersest - watches as DDP slowly crawls over Savage, shoots the half, and semi-official faction membership be damned, he goes down, and with as fair of a count as you'll ever see, gives DDP the win. A decisive, middle of the ring, clean as a sheet win against one of the biggest stars in modern wrestling history, and one that solidified him as a legit main event player. Did you see that WCW? That was called "creating a new long term star". It wasn't that hard, was it? WHY WERE ONLY ABLE TO DO IT TWICE IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS OF YOUR PITIFUL FUCKING EXISTENCE?! Post-match, the nWo loses their shit. Kevin Nash Jacknifes Nick Patrick. Savage freaks out and tries to attack Kimberly. Eric Bischoff desperately tries to get cooler heads to prevail so the team can regroup. There was a war here. Something happened. It was important. And the crowd wanted Sting. You knew that the crowd wanted Sting, right WCW? You knew that they wanted him to lead the charge and drive off the nWo once and for all, right? Not just to gain a pathetic non-victory over Hogan that would be completely undone in a matter of months before he settled into the new routine, right? Fuck you guys. You deserve TNA. THIS was what professional wrestling looks like.

The second match is a step down, but not a very big one. Loved the opening with Kimberly distracting Savage at the entrance so DDP could rush out of the crowd to attack. Really great, out-of-control start to the match, including a crazy DDP pescado as he pushes the advantage. Notably, we are now into the "taped ribs" phase of Page's career (which was really the last piece of the puzzle he needed to put together to become completely awesome), and he is selling the after-effects of the pescado appropriately. Savage also attacks the ribs appropriately. We need more guys with visible injuries in wrestling so clueless dudes can have an easy hint about what to do in a match. Most wrestling promotions are basically M*A*S*H units, anyway. It shouldn't be that hard. Anyway, this match is largely more of the same in terms of style and structure, and that suits me just fine. However, they do start to stray into out-of-place shenanigans a bit more here. In the late goings, they brawl towards a "VIP area" (do they even have a clear view of the ring from there) made up to look like a picnic area. As much as Dusty yelling "Right behind ya! There's a bar-be-cue pit!" amuses me, the silliness really felt unwelcome after they had done such a good job keeping the tone serious in the previous match.

This continues in the third match, and while it's still high-quality brawling, it's not quite as dynamic as it had been the first two times around. This time, we have a really great crowd brawling segment that leads into Halloween Havoc's graveyard set. It actually feels less silly than the picnic set brawl, I don't even really hold it against the match that much. I just feel like if that's the route you want to go, take it to the concession stand. Having a great brawl amongst a bunch of prop tombstones just isn't the same, especially when compared to the simple beauty of the first match. Also, all of these matches feature heavy use of glass (?) serving trays as foreign objects. That seems just plain odd to me.

Minor grievances aside, you can't go wrong with any of these matches. WCW's main event scene was shit for the most part, but this feud is a great look at what could happen when things actually went right.

Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant (WWF, 8/13/1988)
Requested by Victator

I have a lot of Savage matches left over from when the All-Savage Friday Night requests. I can't complain too much about the lack of variety, though, Savage fucking ruled. Andre also fucking ruled, and while this is older, broken down Andre, he was a guy who would often find ways to take what little he had left and make the most of it. He wasn't getting anything the level of his Hansen or Killer Khan matches anymore, but Andre can put a smile on my face more often than not. This is one of the better examples of that, and when you're in the ring with Savage, that's to be expected. Andre in this match is all about trying to keep Savage trapped, trying to negate the speed advantage, choking him out with his hands and the strap of his tunic. His way is not very sportsmanlike. Savage rallies, and bless Andre's heart, he can still fall backwards and get his arms trapped in the ropes. Savage goes to work, but just as soon as the giant gets free, he backs Savage into a corner and starts wailing away. He may not be as offensively dynamic as he used to, and he may be struggling a bit to stay upright, but if nothing else, Andre is still a huge motherfucker, and he still looks like a legit threat when he's pounding on some dude in the corner. When Savage finally fells him, it feels like a real accomplishment, but even after the elbowdrop, Andre still powers out at two. They brawl outside, where Savage continues to press the advantage, but when he gets back in, Elizabeth gets on the apron, and Andre grabs her ankle, causing her to collapse in pain. Savage goes back out to deal with it, causing a double count-out, which is weird since Savage had pretty clearly broken the count moments earlier. Whatever. I still had a lot of fun with this, dopey finish aside. The post-match makes up for it a little, as Savage carries a seemingly injured Liz in his arms backstage while Andre parades around the ring triumphantly with the WWF Title.

Low-Ki vs. Sami Callihan (JAPW, 3/26/2011)
Requested by Mando > Eddie

So I guess this is the last great JAPW match, huh? Shame. Still, this is a good note to go out on, one of my favorite indy matches of the year so far. After the awesome bit earlier in the night with Sami attacking Ki at the concession stand, the match opens with Ki doing his fancy slingshot roll into the ring and Sami just pouncing on him. Of course, Ki isn't going to give any quarter, either. He comes back quick and sends him out of the ring, and then dives out feet first into Callihan's face, which was just hideous. He spends most of the rest of the match beating the shit out of him, including one of the hardest slaps you will ever see in a wrestling ring. Callihan has a ton of nice offense of his own, including an out-of-nowhere backdrop driver. Still, the real story with him is the way he eats all of Low-Ki's shit and keeps sticking it out. Scrappy heel fighting from underneath is a weird role, and a tough one to pull off, but Sami is more than up to the task. When on offense, he is a violent monster you want to see get brought down. When he isn't, he's spitting in Ki's face, a constant reminder that he hasn't been put away yet, and you still want to see him brought down. The crowd didn't react to this the way you'd think they would, but I sure as hell did.

Labels: , , ,

Read more!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Eric, Phil, Dean talk about wrestling, Puerto Rico, two Sid Bream/Kent Hrbek references, and KrisZ, Bix and Dylan all join us to go over how Kris is going to vote on his Observer HOF ballot. We go into detail on each American worker (Japanese and Lucha coming next show!) and decide who should stay and who should go. Great show.

Read more!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg - Rey v. Rhodes

Rey Mysterio v. Cody Rhodes Lyon France 4/23/11

With Rey possibly winding his career down, here is a great example of the kind of great match he could have right up to the end. Lots of nifty cat and mouse stuff here, with Cody breaking out a bunch of quick athletic counters as well. His jump kick is timed perfectly and he pounces him out of the air with a dropkick as well. Lots of different ways to tease and set up the 619 until the final one (the pin is cut off unfortunately). Rey was taking some big bumps even at a house show, seems crazy to be doing the Pete Rose slide to the floor with no cameras. Man am I going to miss Rey.

Labels: , ,

Read more!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Black Terry Met a Beat and Broken Man, He Shovels Dirt but has No Land

Guerrero Maya/Guerrero del Futuro/Damian El Guerrero v. Los Metalicos (Oro/Plata/Bronce) CMLL 4/9/92-GREAT

Match started off solid with some good basic lucha exchanges between Futuro and Oro and just kept building from there. By the third fall we were really cooking with a great bumping clinic by the Guerreros, who were all over the ring with great pace on everything they did. Metalicos were flashy guys, but this was a rudo performance really putting them through the paces. Finish was really nuts with Plata holding Maya and Oro going for a tope, Maya moves and Oro overshoots his brother and goes face first into the armrest of a chair. He was pouring blood from his mask and may have broken his nose or really cut up his mouth. Unfortunate accident although in many ways it made for an exciting capper to the match.

Guerrero Maya/Guerrero del Futuro/Damian el Guerrero vs. Solar I/Aguila Solitaria/El Tigre Universitario CMLL 5/10/92-GREAT

Very entertaining classic lucha libre trios match. All of the traditional tropes. Long grappling section to open the first fall. Everyone looked good here, but Futuro and Solar were especially impressive. Solar would be in every argument for the greatest mat wrestler of all time, and Futuro is a perfectly serviceable opponent. I was hoping for a little more Solar v. Terry stuff, but what we got was fun. One of the things I especially enjoyed in this match is how it built in the traditional structure, but would revisit the grappling. They would move into armdrags or throws, and then they would hit the mat for a bit. Soliraria and Universitario were the kind of well trained journeyman luchadroes CMLL has always been loaded with. You can plug guys like that into any match and they will acquit themselves admirably. I was on the fence for much of this match, as it kind of felt like it was building into an EPIC level, but it never cranked into a final gear. Still any lucha fan could spend a very enjoyable 30 minutes watching this match.

Guerrero Maya/Guerrero del Futuro/Yone Genjin v. Fantastik/Ultimatum/Hijo del Solitario CMLL 8/9/96-FUN

We have another Guerreros trios, with long time MPRO comedy caveman Yone Genjin replacing Damian el Guerrero. Pretty strange to see Genjin work a basically straight match, hitting the mat with Ultimatum and bumping for armdrags. Fantastik is really athletic impressive hair chested luchador who seemed to show up almost exclusively in undercards of Japanese garbage feds. I can't actually remember seeing him work in Mexico before, he is always good for some cool spots, although he didn't break out his crazy Super Astro style tope atomico. Maya worked a bunch with Solitario, including a fun spot where Solitario lifts him up in a headlock which Del Rio should steal next time he works Rey.


Labels: ,

Read more!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Masters v. Swagger

Chris Masters v. Jack Swagger Hermosillo Mexico 5/11/11

I wanted to lament the release of the awesome Chris Masters by showcasing a fun heavyweight bombfest from the Mexico tour against the almost equally misused Jack Swagger. These guys were married on the house show tours and must have had 50+ matches against each other in the last year or so. They really have a nice match worked out. Swagger looked really good, I loved his fast impressive takedowns and he hit two nasty clotheslines, including one to the back of the head. Masters bumped well and unloaded some big power moves, and the Masterlock is still super over. No reason that big guys this talented are so underused.


Read more!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

With Satan's Hog No Pig at All, and the Weather's Getting Dry, Pirata Morgan Heads South from Altamont in a Cold-Blooded, Travelled Trance

Pirata Morgan & El Hijo del Pirata Morgan vs. Los Traumas vs. Pantera & Mascara Ano 2000 Jr. vs. Damien 666 & Bestia 666 IWRG 7/14/2011 - FUN

I am not one to conform to pro wrestling conventional wisdom if I don't actually agree with it. If I think the first Punjabi Prison match was better than the first Hell in a Cell match - and I do - I'll hold to that view regardless of how loony it looks from the outside. So it goes with my feelings on three/four/etc.-way matches. Conventional wisdom is that if you do them at all, you do them with elimination rules - as they do in this match - rather than a single fall. And well, I understand that line of thought and why it developed, but looking at it in practice, I could never bring myself to agree with it. It's a gimmick that tends to get in the way of a lot of basic wrestling psychology, and most wrestlers - even really good ones like some of the guys in this match - kinda strain to get around it in ways they don't with single-fall rules. Most obviously, there's tendency for wrestlers to break up nearfalls even though elimination rules mean that one opponent eliminating another will only benefit you. "Everybody wants to be the one to eliminate the Franchise!" Whatever, Joey. It's as dumb of a multi-man trope as the three-way's "one guy is dead on the outside while the other two have their turn", and I don't see a point in excusing one and not the other. But that alone could be accepted as a problem with the wrestlers rather than the match type, except I've seen an elimination rules four-way tag that was wrestled logically, and it made it wildly apparent that even when applied sensibly, the gimmick is just lame. The very first thing I ever reviewed on this blog was TNA's 2005 Unbreakable PPV, where a match of this type was wrestled without the stupidity usually associated with it (well, it had some of it's own unique stupidity, but nothing traditionally associated with elimination four-ways), and the result is that is that is was basically a glorified gauntlet match, so even at it's best, the gimmick is effectively useless. The only time I ever really got into an elimination-rules multi-man was Santo/Casas/Dandy, and that's really a Santo/Dandy match where Casas beats up both guys for a little while before leaving. By contrast, ROH's Four Corner Survival matches were rarely great, but they pretty consistently entertained me, since everyone involved was actually...well, involved, and it made sense for them to be. And again, it's a minority opinion, but it's still my opinion.

I say all this because I want to be clear that while I consider this match merely FUN, there are certain extenuating circumstances effecting that judgement. If those circumstances don't apply to you, I could see this getting the bump to GREATness. After the last 2011 Pirata match I reviewed - where he was good, but definitely showing his age - it was neat to see him all energetic and mobile here, especially in his exchanges with Damian. I also really dug his eliminations of Pantera and Trauma II. The rolling kimura to Trauma II was just plain cool, and the slingshot somersault senton to Pantera was a neat example of his lack of mobility actually being used to his advantage. Imagine an invisible Tully Blanchard doing a slingshot suplex to Pirata onto Pantera. There was also a lot of fun matwork early on from pretty much everyone, and a really fun, high-energy Pantera performance before his aforementioned elimination. For me, the structural problems still hamper the match, but for you, that might be less of an issue.

Pirata Morgan, Jerry Estrada, & Hombre Bala vs. Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Atlantis, & Alfonso Dantes EMLL 3/1987 - EPIC

This is a straight-up clinic on how to be an badass rudo trio. Los Bucaneros achieved a level of perfection in this field matched only by Los Infernales, which Pirata had also been a member of, making him sorta the Bobby Eaton of Mexico. Primera caida is built around the Bucaneros swarming individual tecnicos and mugging them, which is one of my favorite stock spots in lucha. They are fucking great at it, too. Really feels like a violent, out-of-control beatdown, which is what Pirata does best. They take the first fall after Pirata comes off the top with a great kneedrop onto Rayo, and then a badly beaten Atlantis gets thrown out of the ring, and it kinda looks like he's being forced to take a Jerry bump, like Estrada is giving him a taste of his own medicine. Second fall hits, and the technicos are all fired up and quickly retake control of the match. All three of the technicos are looking great. Atlantis has some beautiful exchanges here. Dantes - who I had seen nothing of before starting work on the Best of the 80's Lucha project - is a fucking tank, and is awesome bowling over the Bucaneros with his bulk. Even Rayo feels more serious than usual. He is still doing his comedy shtick, but it comes off less like silly fun babyface stuff and more like him using his quickness and unorthodox style to evade his opponents and keep them off-balance. And through it all, Pirata and his crew continue to work as a well-oiled machine, brilliantly setting up elaborate three-man stooging and bumping sequences like few other trios could. Really, just the fact that Jerry Estrada - one of the most coked up wrestlers in the history of the world - was consistently in perfect position to make all this stuff look right was amazing, and a tribute to their greatness as a team. The highlight comes after the technicos take the second fall, where the Bucaneros really turn it up. Let me see if I can walk you through this: one Bucanero (the lighting of the shot combined with the matching outfits and hairstyles makes it hard for me to see who is who here) holds Rayo while the other two try to double clothesline him. Rayo ducks, leaving the third Bucanero to eat the double clothesline. Rayo chucks one Bucanero into the ropes, but he catches himself and hangs in them a la T.J. Perkins. The second charges, but Rayo kicks out his legs, causing him to accidentally dropkick the first out of the ring. The third swings a wild lariat at Rayo, but he ducks and throws him into the ropes. He catches himself, but his legs still fly through and boot both of the other Bucaneros in the face on the outside. I guarantee my description didn't do the sequence justice. The Bucaneros take a moment to regroup after this, and after getting their minds right, they exact their violent revenge. A nasty triple dropkick to Atlantis' head takes him out of the match. Rayo makes one last valiant attempt at using his Rayoness to take back the match, but it's too little, too late, as the Bucaneros swarm him, pummel him, and then make him submit to the old Kaientai taunt where Estrada and Bala bend him over and hold him in place by his arms while Pirata stands on his back and taunts. They celebrate their victory by sending Rayo out of the ring with a big running dropkick, and then kicking at the fans surrounding the ring after the match. Could have used a more hectic finish, but everything up to that was hectic enough for my tastes. This is good old-fashioned lucha trios wrestling, just like mom used to make.

Pirata Morgan, Satanico, & MS-1 vs. Solomon Grundy, Mascara Sagrada, & Lizmark AAA 8/29/1993 - SKIPPABLE

The unlikely Pirata/Grundy war rages on, and you'd think adding Satanico to it would make it better than their last outing automatically. Sadly, this is not the case, as everyone other than Pirata and Satanico turn in sluggish performances, and even Satanico's isn't up to his lofty standards. Still, Pirata has a nice dive and a great bump. If I had my eyeball exploded because someone failed to catch me when I was doing a tope, I would probably be leery about ever doing them again, but Pirata was unafraid to dive headfirst into Grundy, so I was kinda impressed by that. Even more impressive - and something I'd be even leerier about doing - was his big bump of the match, as Mascara Sagrada hiptosses him over the top rope, and Pirata takes a no-hands back bump all the way to the floor. That was fucking terrifying, but in a very wrestling-appropriate way. One nice dive and one insane bump feels like it should be enough to get this match to FUN if anyone else gave a shit in this match, but they didn't, so it doesn't.

Pirata Morgan vs. Tiger Mask II AJPW 12/8/1984 - FUN

Pirata was a bunch of fun here. He wasn't afraid to smack Tiger Misawa around, both with standard brawling and with some flashier junior offense like his great second rope tope en reversa and another "so what if I lost an eye doing this" tope later in the match. He also isn't afraid to do some really neat bumping for Misawa. He gets a ton of height for a flip bump off of a back body drop. For his own part, Misawa shows some flickers of his future greatness (well, his tope rope somersault bodyblock isn't really indicative of his future, but it was indicative of greatness), but it's pretty clear he still has a way to go before reaching the legendary status he'd gain in the 90's. A flawed match, but still enjoyable, and another neat opportunity to see Pirata in a different setting. Definitely made me want to see him against some of the more substantive Japanese juniors of the era.


Labels: , , ,

Read more!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Louisville Street Fight

Christian v. Randy Orton Louisville KY 7/30/11

This was a Louisville Street Fight, although the only weapon which actually got used was a kendo stick. I do think the street fight aspect of the match toned down the Christopher Danielsish reversalism which can sometimes over saturate their matches which each other. Christian took a bunch of fun bumps, and Ortons offense looked really good, he has a really pretty powerslam. Finish was surprisingly clean with Legacy running in and distracting Orton so he gets hit with a spear. Well worth checking out, and better then their MIB match


Read more!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Saturday Night 4/1/00

Jeremy Lopez/Tommy Rogers vs. Dandy/Silver King

Dandy/King are wearing their insanely awesome full body suits that I never realized they wore. King's is a full body suit that shows no skin whatsoever, and it is glittery silver and black. Dandy opts for gold and black, but his is sleeveless. King even works the stick to start the match, saying they are Latin America's most wanted men, and slicks his eyebrows down. Match itself was totally awesome. Lopez is a Malenko trainee who I *think* has worked Osaka Pro most of this decade, and would apparently be the worst road trip buddy ever (copied and pasted from his website, Favorite Bands: Creed, Kid Rock, 3rd Eye Blind, Uncle Cracker, STP. Live, Hootie And the Blowfish, 3Doors Down). Here he throws nice chops and gets punched by Dandy (Dandy throws like 4 awesome punches in this btw). I thought Tommy Rogers was ancient here but turns outs he was only 38. He was spry and also threw nice punches. Dandy Roll is incredibly quick and I have now seen 3 WCW matches where Dandy takes the fall!

Little Jeannie vs. Mona

Little Jeannie appears to be working some sort of gun moll gimmick, and Mona still has her awesome tear away evening gown. I don't think I could ever put down a Mona/Molly match. That's like putting down kittens or bunnies. Luckily the match is really fun with a bunch of cool mat-based stuff, and Mona winning with a neat inverted surfboard.

Kid Romeo vs. Allen Funk

This wasn't bad, but felt like two guys that were trying to throw out a whole bunch of cool moves. Funk looked better, though, throwing a big clothesline and a couple cool suplexes. Romeo came out dancing with glow sticks which I guess was an OK attempt to try and tap into a certain type of youth culture. It would have worked better had they had them work the mat and Romeo just couldn't stop rubbing on Funk.

Frankie Lancaster vs. Lash LeRoux

Frankie Lancaster is Bob Holly. I mean, especially in this match. They look like the same person, except Frankie had a mustache. Hmmmm. Same bleached hair, same balding pattern, same gassed physique, nice dropkick, same fucking face...This is also about the best I've seen Frankie look in ring, too, really playing to the crowd and working stiffer than normal. I really hate Lash LeRoux's hair. Frankie takes almost all the match before Lash hits his inevitable finish.

Steve Armstrong vs. Hugh Morrus

I never remember Steve wearing tie dye and blue jeans while he wrestled. I remember Brad worked as Buzzkill a few months before this, but why was Steve doing the same thing? Was there some sort of angle where Steve was making fun of his brother for ripping off one of their other brothers, as a wink wink within a nudge nudge? Because the announcers weren't putting any of that over. They didn't even mention that it might be odd for Steve to be working in jeans and a tie dye shirt, just business as usual. Anyway, Steve doesn't get much offense here. Morrus always takes 95% of his squash matches. He was more entertaining here than he can be (throwing some nice elbowdrops, nailing the No Laughing Matter, pulling Steve on top for the false 2.9), but it would be nice to see an actual match from him.

3 Count vs. Shark Boy/Frank Paris/Elix Skipper

3 Count was really good on a sliding scale. Helms looked really great here and threw nice strikes and was super quick, Moore took some big bumps and was also quick, and Karagias had very nice abs. 3 Count stooge around for a lot of Shark Boy biting offense, and good lord was Air Paris (Frank?) bigger than I remember. He was the biggest guy in this match! Pretty short match, would've liked to see more. A few women in their late 30s were really into the pre-match boy band singing and synchronized dancing.

Chris Harris vs. Chuck Palumbo

Harris blows a couple things and we cut to random kids in the crowd to cover it. Still, he moved quickly for a big guy and that helped. Palumbo still threw an awesome right hand, even this early on. And good gracious his two jungle kick superkicks here were brutal, the last one just blasting Harris under the chin. Palumbo wasn't as good here as he would get, but showed potential. When did he make the jump up to "really really good", like 2003?

Cassidy Riley vs. HAIL

I liked O'Reilly (Riley?) in TNA as one of the Hotshots, but here he doesn't get to do much. Announcers were putting over HAIL as a giant (6'9" 350 lb!!!) which is completely absurd since he was only slightly bigger than Chris Harris or Chuck Palumbo in the previous match. But to get over his size Hudson was pushing Cassidy as being 6'2" 220 lb. which is awesome. This match was not much, although HAIL's jumping piledriver looked really good. His finisher was called Hail's Bells, which is both awesome and horrible.

Kory Williams/Ashley Hudson vs. Vito/Johnny the Bull

Vito actually looked really good here, with the Mamalukes finisher being a Hart Attack but with Vito doing a yakuza kick (so he had to do a massive yakuza kick way over his head and it looked really great). Kory Williams threw some alright punches and some really high & pretty dropkicks. He also gets his head kicked in by Vito. Match was kinda boring when Ashley Hudson was in, which was most of it. Hudson looked a lot like Crowbar, but had a silhouette of Australia on his singlet, and came out wearing a boomerang. Since he didn't get any offense, though, it remains unknown whether or not he has Australian-named gimmick offense.

Brian Knobbs vs. Adrian Byrd vs. Dave Burkhead vs. Rick Fuller vs. Norman Smiley vs. The Dog*

Yeaahhhh! Hardcore main event 6 man, title on a pole match! Dog and Fuller disappear through large portions of this, and the star of the match is probably Dave Burkhead. This was basically 6 guys wandering around a ring filled with garbage, hitting each other with chairs and trash cans and trash can lids and ladders, all while trying to grab the title from the pole. Burkhead is always seemingly right in the way of plunder here, so he wins best in match. He takes chairshots, trash can shots, a ladder shot to the back of the head (then takes a huge running bump from the ring to the floor), then while lying on the floor gets a ladder thrown from the ring onto his face! It all made me root for him and when he climbed to the turnbuckle to reach for the title I was actually getting excited. "Will Burkhead win the title here!?" But no, Knobbs beats him with a trash can and grabs the belt : ( It was fun while it lasted.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

APW TV Workrate Report: 3/26/11

Some camera guy is waiting outside Dylan Drake's house to ask him questions about his upcoming match against Corvus. You know, this was pretty smartly done. They had him coming out of a nice suburban house and driving off in a nice car, wearing a fashionable black shirt and nice sunglasses, using his nice rolling suitcase to tote his gear. It made him look like a big deal. They tend to make some guys look like chumps by putting them in situations that seem bush league, so it was nice to see somebody looking like they had some modicum of success in their life. Usually they have guys cutting promos in a broom closet or something.

Derek Sanders is out with his awful protege Will Rood. At least Rood's clothes fit better this week. Usually he's wearing baggy pleated slacks and a oversized button-up shirt that is always untucked. Really sloppy. Looks like a high school dropout going on a job hunt and trying to dress up. Today he's wearing black pants that fit and a nice purple v-neck sweater. Simple, but put together. He's improving.

1. Derek Sanders vs. Daniel Torch starts us off and APW really needed another guy who's name starts with "D". People hate on WWE for changing dudes' names to goofy shit, but APW has like 20 guys in the fed and 25% of them are Ds. Daniel, Derek, Dave, Dylan. Even the announcers get tripped up and call him Dylan Sanders. Torch is a REALLY scrawny guy billed as 150 lb., but that looks like a real stretch. Sanders bum rushes him and elbows the life out of him, then locks on a nice chickenwing cravate. Torch takes a giant backdrop bump and tucks really late, making it look super dangerous. He fights back with feeble little slaps to Sanders' chest, and then gets LEVELED with a shoulderblock "and bumps it in a neat and flippy. Sanders is really working stiff in this one, throwing nice back elbows and big clubbering blows. Torch has a really indie moveset, but it works for him and I like his big comeback (Miz/Bourne corner clothesline with a NICE follow-up high kick to Sanders head, then a big springboard leg drop). Sanders is too much though, and levels him with a type of DVD. This was my first time seeing Torch and I dug him, took a good beating and Sanders is always rock solid. He looked even better than usual here since he worked more snug than usual. Good short match.

Afterwards Sanders berates Rood for costing him the title a week or two ago, and Rood says it wasn't his fault and Sanders couldn't win his match on his own. Sanders makes THE SAME POINT I ALWAYS MAKE ABOUT THIS ANGLE, by telling Rood, "Who gave you a job when you were broke, when your woman was leaving you? It was me! I wrote out those checks! I gave you the chance!" Rood is so dry and bland on the mic, completely has no answer for that as it makes way too much sense. Crowd turns it awkwardly racist by chanting "He's no slave" and Sanders turns their awesome chants against them. They start chanting "Kick his ass" and Sanders is hilarious going "Yeah, you know what? You guys are right, I really should kick his ass." I mean, he's right. How is Sanders AT ALL the bad guy here? Rood's "months in the waiting" crowning moment finally happens as he punches Sanders and then whiffs on a shitty dropkick. Sanders is fucking AWESOME though as instead of selling the shitty dropkick he completely ignores it and just beats the shit out of Rood, then bails to the back when Rood starts to come back, then comes back out and beats him some more! I really really want Sanders to just kick the shit out of this guy. He gave him a chance, helped him when he was broke, and for what? Rood is indignant and just practically begs to have his ass beat. I want it. I'm with you, Sanders. I have never seen anything booked so backwards.

2. Main event is Dylan Drake vs. Corvus, and Corvus is a guy I like in tags, but have not seen too much long singles work. Drake is usually game, so this should be a good stage to see if Corvus is a good singles guy. Matthew Theall is really grating on commentary. He has a real frail, reedy voice that just doesn't work over a whole match. He talks too fast and it's like an obnoxious little hummingbird whipping around your head and doing a crappy Bobby the Brain impression. Jon Roberts has the opposite problem as it always seems like he's doing "announcer voice". Drake works the knee to wear him down for his finishing hold (The Bay to Breaker) and Corvus is fun working from the bottom and blocking Drake's feet. Drake does a long control section and Corvus eventually transitions to offense by dodging a big splash in the corner (that Drake had hit earlier) and then kicking him hard to the back. Darkness starts to win me over by choking Drake over the ropes and biting him. That's the first time I've seen her do anything but brood, and I like it. Blackwell is out now, too, so things are looking bad for Drake.

Blackwell and Darkness' goth looks need some work. Blackwell just kinda paints black lines on his face, which doesn't really happen in goth culture. He's already obese and pasty, they should have just had him wear a black trenchcoat. If they gave him any makeup it should have been acne makeup, not black lines on his cheeks. Darkness kinda of takes a "flowers in the attic" approach and acts like she's been locked away from society for a long time and doesn't have good social skills like talking or suspecting arsenic in donuts. She can't even wear a corset properly. Clearly has never seen a goth.

During Blackwell's interference, Mr. Wrestling IV runs in and does an awesome kneelift to Corvus behind the ref's back, and Drake gets the win. Solid but shorter than usual for an APW main event.


Read more!

Segunda Caida Radio Episode 5 Available for Download!

Phil, Eric, KrisZ and Bix talk about Thomas Magnum vs. Frank Reagan, Colt Cabana, Best wrestler under 25, Best wrestler over 60, best/worst tattoos in MMA, go through what we feel are the top 10 pro wrestling matches of 2011, and much more.


Read more!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Now Don't Think You're the Only One Who Harbours a Self Hate/Cassandro's Just as Guilty of Selling What His Sweet Soul Creates

It's been awhile, friends.

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

This is the first Cassandro match to come to light in ages, so I had to jump on it and throw this thing up. I think this took place at some kind of lucha expo where all the major promotions put on a show. This match was basically divided up into 3 sections: sluggish rudo beatdown, tecnico comeback showcase, and Park turning on his partners. The middle section was awesome fun, the sections that bookended that were not very good.

Entrances were fun, as all the guys acted like tecnicos. Cassandro was wearing an epic waistcoat/robe and mamboing to Gloria Gaynor, Blue Demon Jr. had an insanely ornate headdress, Park strutted to Thriller more than he usually does (he has to be sick of that song at this point), Halloween was dressed up as some sort of toddler Angus Young, wearing ski bib overalls over a cut off dress shirt with a child's necktie.

Rudo beatdown was the most energy-lacking thing I've seen in 2011 lucha. Taking a full minute to set up chairshots, walking while holding a guy's hair, tecnicos just idling in the corner waiting calmly for their turn to get hit. Just through-the-motions stuff. The ref actually shows more fire than Perro here, getting thrown by La Familia and "forced" to do a corner clothesline. Halloween throws the most listless clothesline that I have ever seen in this match. Blue Demon tried to throw himself into a chair interestingly, but it wasn't enough.

And then, as these things can happen in lucha, the tecnicos just suddenly hopped up and made a comeback. Cassandro was just on fire during all this, blasting Halloween into the corner with a dropkick, running down the ramp and dropkicking Perro, giving Damien an Attitude Adjustment on the ramp...then climbing the entrance way scaffolding and doing a massive dive onto everybody. Crazy.

Back in the ring and all three tecnicos get showcase sequences. Demon gets to do a couple fun headscissor spots with Damien and Halloween, and Cassandro gets to try and give everyone smooches (Damien takes it like a man, Halloween dodges it only to do his strut and turn around and catch one on the lips, and Perro fights his as if he were a child fending off his mom trying to give him a spoonful of cold medicine, just hands out, arms flailing, mouth shut tight with his lips tucked). Park comes in and does a bunch of distraction spots. He certainly seems to work harder as a main event rudo in AAA, where he's all stiffness and giant bumps. Here he was almost all schtick. Park is a guy whose schtick I love, but once you've seen main event rudo Park it's hard to go back.

Perro teases hitting Park with a chair, Park begs off...then turns on Cassandro and Demon. Bestia 666 (I think) also runs down to join the beatdown. Perro and Demon yell at each other a bunch on the mic. Last 20 seconds of video are pretty great with an awesome Demon/Perro slugfest, fighting each other down to their knees, and then exchanging low blows and then lying there holding their balls.

Seeing who was involved, this should have been way better, so in that it was disappointing. But once they got in the ring it was a good waste of 15 minutes.


Labels: , , , , ,

Read more!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- Punk v. Cena

CM Punk v. John Cena Oklahoma City, OK 3/13/11

Just a ton of fun. Wasn't the same kind of epic as their Money in the Bank match, but this was a great house show main event. Punk is a master of riling up a crowd. Mason Ryan yells in Welsh, Punk spends a minute dramatically removing his shirt, he tells the crowd he wants to buy property in OKC, he asks them politely to keep the noise down.. It was some Tully shit. Match had a bunch of neat moments, Cena rolls through on a bodypress and lifts Punk into a firemans carry which was a sick looking bit of strength. There was also a cool moment where Cena catches Punk knee on the GTS and tries to turn into a STF. Little kids were going nuts, we get a fun finish with a bunch of run ins and the good guy prevails. These guys work so well together, one of the better pairings in the last decade, can't wait for Summerslam


Read more!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Saturday Night 7/31/99

Only an hour for this week's episode, which is lame, but this episode took place almost exactly 12 YEARS AGO!

What were YOU doing 12 years ago!? I was mere months away from starting college, and I'm pretty sure this weekend 12 years ago I was actually at my future college doing a Summer Orientation weekend, staying in the dorms and having to attend lectures and gay skits put on by the drama club about shit like temperance and bullying and how it's cool to make friends and be different, and how it's insensitive and hurtful to say that things are gay. All 500 or so Orientation attendees were in Sonoma State University's big Pearson Theatre, and all the lights went out and it was pitch black...and then "Total Eclipse of the Heart" started playing REALLY loudly. One lone spotlight shone on the stage. A member of the SSU dance club was in a black leotard, and she did an interpretive dance to "Total Eclipse of the Heart", just flinging herself around the stage while the spotlight struggled to keep up.

That was the longest 6 minutes of my life.

It was the most uncomfortable and awkward I had ever been. I would rather watch my dad cry for 6 minutes, with our foreheads touching.

It was just me and 499 other future college students sitting in the dark, getting a little bit tired of listening to the sound of our tears. And I still ended up going to this school.

Disorderly Conduct vs. Jerry Flynn/Hugh Morrus

This was a real nice 4 minutes. This was right after the First Family had injured Finlay (when none of us expected Finlay to ever wrestle ever again, let alone return 6 years later to take back his title of best wrestler in the world), so I expected Regal and Taylor to be out for blood and do a violent run-in, possibly allowing DC to get a sneaky win. But it didn't happen. I think I've determined that Tough Tom is the better DC member...but every match I always forget which one is Tough Tom. They're always changing their hair slightly or changing facial hair. Though the guy that threw a great punch in this match had "Tuff" on his pants. DC get a nice long control section against Flynn and cut off the ring, which is more than I was expecting. Barbarian cheats from the floor (while holding the hardcore junkyard trophy!) though and Morrus splats one of them with the No Laughing Matter. And then Flynn locks on the worst looking armbar ever for the win.

Mike Enos vs. Van Hammer

This was alllll Enos for the first 2 minutes and he worked nice and stiff against Hammer (including just leveling VH with a shoulderblock), but then VH just cuts to his finishing run out of nowhere and looks bored doing it. Enos tried to make Hammer's offense look good, but VH didn't really care if it did or not.

Al Green vs. Curt Hennig

This was not great, and Hennig just looked sluggish and off in it. Green took a nice bump off a hotshot, and this just wasn't much. Hennig stumbled twice just trying to do the Perfect Plex. Crowd was into all the Rednecks, though, who were all grinning at ringside.

Kendall Windham/Bobby Duncum Jr. vs. Rey Misterio Jr./B.A.

Main event tag was an awesome 6 minutes. Kendall is the fucking greatest. His left hand seriously might be my favorite thing in recent wrestling that I've watched. Duncum has also aged really well in rewatch (his wrestling ability, not his "being alive" skills). He bumps really big and moves around with good purpose in the ring. Kendall and Duncum really bump around nicely for Rey, taking his offense in a way that does not look ridiculous (the way 6'6" dudes flying around for a 5'3" dude should look ridiculous). Eventually Barry and Hennig come in and beat Rey/B.A. down (Barry with the cowbell shot!) and then Swoll, Chase Tatum, and 4x4 (in his spaghetti strap camo tank top!!! I swear 4x4 is one of the most physically absurd guys I have ever seen. He's like 5'10" but 400 lbs., all in the arms and chest, and he always wears that damn tank top that looks like a tube top) chug down to the ring and the Rednecks bail. Awesome while it lasted. Kendall was seriously so damn good in '99, really carried himself like a total smug badass. Kendall, I know you'll never be the boy you always wanted to be, but you'll always be the boy who wanted me the way that I am.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more!

Monday, August 01, 2011

I Do Like SLL's All-Request Monday

Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WWF, 8/29/1992)
Requested by Jingus

Hey, it's that other Savage/Warrior match, and I tend to think there's a good reason it's the "other" one. This is a fine example of a match that's very easy to like, but hard to love, a lot of which is down to the angle surrounding it, which I'll get to in a second. The work itself is strong enough to enjoy, and certainly higher-end than your average Warrior match, but not particularly impressive for a Savage match, and overall, not enough to make this really stand out from the pack. If nothing else, Savage deserves credit for eating Warrior's typically shitty offense really well. I've written before about the nature of a good carryjobs, and whether or not a carryjob where you draw all the attention to your own performance while your opponent still looks like shit is really a carryjob. This is a match where Savage actually makes Warrior look like a competent - albeit flawed - wrestler. This is a good carryjob. Still, it is the Warrior. You can polish that turd a lot, but not often, and while this was a game effort from all involved, there was still some classic Warrior suck shining through. Most notably, there was his selling of the neck when Savage was working it over. I guess I should be impressed when Warrior sells a body part at all, but it was mostly him lolling his head around like Stevie Wonder, which just looked goofy. Speaking of musical references and Warrior looking goofy, I hadn't watched a Warrior match in a while, and I had forgotten how silly his no-selling comebacks looked. I had remembered him doing no-selling comebacks. I had forgotten he did them by dancing like Jennifer Beals did to "Maniac". He also blows a top-rope axehandle. I know Warrior didn't come off of the top rope regularly, but I seriously don't get how you blow an axehandle. He released his grip before it hit Savage, and essentially turned it into a tomahawk chop. I don't know how you fuck up in that specific way. On top of all of this, this was the period that Warrior was wrestling in his proto-Giant Gonzalez flesh singlet...ewwwww. Still, the match is pretty solid overall, with Warrior's problems present but minimal. Then the angle kicks in, and this is where they lose me (well, Savage drops Warrior with a sweet piledriver around this point, so it doesn't lose me completely). In case you missed it, Mr. Perfect had been telling everyone that he was going to be in either Savage or Warrior's corner, but wouldn't say who, getting into both guys' heads and making them paranoid (as if either of them needed help with that) over who had sold out to Perfect. So far, so good. Now, as I have heard it, the plan was that Warrior was going to be the one who would sell out, and that he would win the Title as a result, but Warrior nixed it and didn't get the belt as punishment. I can't recall how much of that is fact and how much is bullshit Scott Keith made up, but it seems like a believable story in light of what actually happened: neither man sold out to Perfect, and the match ends with with Savage coming off of the top rope to Flair on the outside with an axehandle, only for Flair to dodge and hit him in the leg with a chair. Well, that's what was supposed to happen - Savage actually appears to be pulling right of Flair, and Ric seems to stay in place as he hits Savage with the chair. Savage gets counted out (Hebner is really awful down the stretch here, too, with his bit where he gets hit and basically regresses to infancy, conscious and crawling around, but unable to stand upright and deliberately crawling as far away from the match as possible...this is not him unable to see what's happening because he's out of it, this is him actively trying to avoid involvement in the match), and Flair and Perfect work over his leg, and that does lead directly to Flair regaining the Title from Savage, but it seems like you don't need to stage this elaborate ruse to achieve that. "Flair playing mind games" was a shitty excuse for the Black Scorpion angle. I'm not sure whether or not the fact that this was a better angle until the payoff and that the blowoff match was better makes "Flair playing mind games" a more or less shitty excuse here. Either way, it's still a shitty excuse.

Tito Santana & Tony Atlas vs. Randy Savage & Jesse Ventura (WWF, 12/7/1985)
Requested by Lacelle

I don't know that I really had any clear expectations here, but I come away feeling disappointed regardless. We have Tito (who I like), Savage (who I love), Atlas (who is one of my favorite bad wrestlers of all time), and Ventura (who is one of my least favorite bad wrestlers of all time), so we have enough going on here that this could be really good, really bad, or some kind of mixed bag. I wasn't expecting boring, and that's what I got, so yeah, I guess that explains disappointment. Savage really didn't show up for this. Atlas was bad in all the ways he's usually bad, but with none of the enthusiasm that makes me enjoy him despite myself. Ventura was bad, but his stuff with Atlas wasn't as big of a train wreck as I kinda hoped. Tito was probably the best guy in the match. The Paso del Muerte looked really good. But he was the guy in the match the least, as they inexplicably booked Atlas as the face-in-peril, and Santana only gets to show up at the very beginning and very end of the match. There just wasn't a whole lot going on here worth noting.

Jun Akiyama, Yoshihiro Takayama, & Jun Izumida vs. Akira Taue, Takeshi Morishima, & Takuma Sano (NOAH, 3/6/2004)
Requested by ダニエル

This is a lineup that promises some clubbery fun. It doesn't really deliver on that promise to the extent I had hoped for, but still ends up being really enjoyable, largely on the efforts of another one of my favorite bad wrestlers of all time, Jun Izumida. Izumida is like the poor man's Masao Inoue. Not really gifted in any traditional aspect of wrestling, he is a guy who became watchable by wholeheartedly embracing suck. He never elevated it to a high artform the way Inoue did, but he at least made otherwise bad performances fun, and that counts for something. Akiyama and Takayama waste no time going on the offensive, and it's pretty fun, but nothing to get too worked up over. But then they start taking turns dropping elbows on Sano, and Izumida comes in, looking for a piece of the action. He gets completely ignored by his teammates, and I crack a smile as the poor dope stands there, waiting for the opening that isn't going to come. Then Akiyama makes the cover, and Izumida counts the fall, much to the bafflement of his partners. Izumida continues his zaniness for a while before Taue gets tagged in, and he actually has a really nice, energetic little run here, wiping out the opposition with kicks, slaps, and nodawas. Morishima also has some fun smacking Izumida around before Izu turns the tables and goes after Morishima's knee, which had been attacked earlier in the match, leading to him procuring a half-crab for the win. Afterwords, he grabs the mic and challenges Morishima to put the WLW Title on the line against him, while the audience applauds his teammates, who walk away without him. Awwww....

Kamui vs. MASADA (FREEDOMS, 12/25/2009)
Requested by Curt McGirt

Curt seemed to intimate that this match wasn't very good when he recommended it. I don't know why, because I thought this was off the hook. I don't think I've ever seen Kamui before unless it was under a different gimmick. He was solid, but nothing to write home about. But I do dig MASADA, and this is one one of the better showings I've ever seen from him, both dishing out and eating beatdowns. He throws some some shots with a cinderblock into Kamui's back and ribs early on that look suitably mean, and there's a lot of fun brawling through the crowd and into the concession stand/parking garage area. MASADA enthusiastically charges into a garage door when Kamui dodges an elbowsmash, and for whatever reason, the folks at the building decide to open said garage door, which allows Kamui to jack a car, drive it through the crowd to ringside, and into MASADA. Kamui's second attempt at vehicular homicide is foiled when MASADA chucks his cinderblocks into the front windshield, breaking it, but Kamui just continues the fight outside, throwing MASADA onto the trunk of the car and hitting a nice running splash off of a chair onto him for a nearfall in this apparently falls count anywhere match (in fact, every pin attempt in this match happens on top of the car...groovy). MASADA recovers and hits a running powerbomb that sends Kamui through the rear windshield, but that only gets two, and Kamui is able to fight back, knocking him onto the roof of the car and coming off the top rope with a roof-denting somersault senton. His top-rope rana gets countered into a borderline Sid-in-WarGames '91 powerbomb on the roof that's absolutely horrifying. It only gets two, as does the almost as horrifying brainbuster onto the roof that follows. And then there's a piledriver onto the roof that leaves it completely concave, which gets two...because MASADA pulls him up? Wha? Why would you go for the win twice in a row and then pull the guy up on the third attempt? He does a death valley driver on the roof for the win, and I know that's actually his finisher, but of the four moves he pulled in the final stretch, it was very much the least impressive. It was kinda odd, and a flat finish. Also, there was a little bit of blatant positioning done by MASADA to properly eat some of Kamui's flying offense onto the car. But fuck it, he looked great otherwise, I really dug the gimmick here, and this was a lot of fun to watch.

Shingo Takagi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto (Buyuden, 5/10/2008)
Requested by Brandon-E

This is a little tough for me to sort out my feelings on. Shingo is the one Dragon's Gate guy distinct enough for me to hate, and Sekimoto is a guy who grew on me, but hadn't done so yet when this match happened. I had pretty low expectations here, but this match...well, I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it, and I found things in it that I liked, and most of what I expected to go wrong didn't. This is a grudge match, and it is actually wrestled like a grudge match, with both guys really going after each other and putting some emotion behind it. You can tell that they both wanted this to deliver, and they went about it the right way...but while I appreciated the thought and the effort, most of what they did fell flat with me. This was structured like a match I would like, but they weren't bringing much to that structure to keep me interested, and they ended up losing me. About half-way through the match, Shingo turns up the dial, and I start to care a bit more. His lariats had some real force behind them, and I could get behind that. Sekimoto follows suit, busting out some really snappy German suplexes. One of the problems I always had with Sekimoto is that he is a guy who uses the German as his big move, but they tend to look really low-impact. Not here. He really planted Shingo with a few of them. But the finishing stretch is a really generic finisher kick out pop-up scream etc. fest, and my worst fears about the match were finally realized. They waited until the last moment to realize them, though, and the two Last Falconries that Shingo finished Sekimoto off with looked suitably nasty. Overall, not as bad as I expected, and something that I can see people getting into, but it wasn't really for me.

Labels: ,

Read more!