Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors Workrate Report, 10/22/11

Man, it's been a helluva ride.

I genuinely like Rebecca Reyes as a backstage interviewer. She knows when it's appropriate to take the spotlight, and she makes some pretty good facials.

1. Petey Williams vs. Charly Malice:

Kevin Kelly: "Stick around, because Petey Williams is up next!"

That has to be the worst hook to keep viewers watching since "Rocky Romero has a microphone!". Hey burglar, can you just wait right there while I go get my gun? I think I used to like Charly, but I assume he's suffered a lot of injuries over the years as he moves pretty slow here. I remember him splatting to the floor off a ladder (table was set up WAY too far away) in a AAA match, and I'm sure he's still feeling that one. First part of the match is greatest indie hits played slower, but match actually picks up before the commercial break with Charly snapping off a nice rana and then hitting a real fast dive, then Brewer comes out, then Petey Williams demonstrates more of his horrendous transition ability. The guy just has no clue how to get from one spot to the next, and when things ARE strung together, it works less naturally than an Eliminators spot. Just awkwardly moving into position, or telegraphing moves so insanely ahead of time that things just look strange. I'm gonna say it, Petey Williams isn't somebody that I would call good at pro wrestling.

Funny backstage segment with La Parkito and Pequeno Halloween arguing very fast in spanish, while Rebecca tries to translate. I thought the minis were good here and Rebecca made a bunch of funny faces. Her and Halloween were also wearing awesome matching cholo-on-Easter bowling shirts....and it turns out there were actually going bowling. So there's a bowling montage set to doo wop music. Parkita doing La Parka dancing to celebrate a strike is one of the better uses of La Parka dancing I've seen.

2. Magno vs. Jon Rekon:

Rekon is the debuting Jon Strongman who legit looks bigger than I've ever seen him here. Rekon at least hits full force on a shoulderblock. A lot of muscled up dudes tend to puss out of their shoulderblocks (likely due to a fear of tearing their pec, shoulder and triceps muscles all at once). I actually like Strongman's punches, too. Guy moves reallllll slow, though. Fun spot with Rekon clotheslining Magno to the back of the head off an attempted springboard. Eh. Match could have been much worse. Strongman looked worlds better than Petey.

3. Tinieblas Jr./Oriental vs. Rellik/Sihdeestychoh vs. San Juan Kid/PR Flyer:

Match was real fun and arguably the best match in the WHOLE 2nd season (!) of LLUSA. Starts out with London doing some sequences against Lyndon/Kendrick, so you know that was awesome. Rellik...may not be the elite-level worker I made him out to be in those other two write-ups. He was alright here, and threw a couple nice superkicks, but man did he stand around awkwardly while waiting to take offense. Tinieblas was definitely a pleasant surprise during these few episodes. I've seen him live a couple times and he was kinda lousy, but he was pretty good on these shows. Bumped well, really liked his rana, seemed a lot more motivated than other guys on this show. Trainwreck dive spot was good, Corleone threw a nice punch when he came out to fight Lizmark (and then wrapped him up in his own cape!), and then Tini/Oriental become the LLUSA tag champs FOREVER.

Man, maybe I should stop reviewing CMLL on Gala and LATV, since my reviews have been the kiss of death to ROH on HDNet and now this. Where will it end!?


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report, 10/22/11

1. Trueno/Bengala vs. Camorra/Zayko:

So CMLL loves me so much that they decide to throw up a rematch from the crappy match that happened two weeks ago....except the match was TOTALLY AWESOME THIS TIME! What the fuck happened here!? I've been seeing Bengala and Zayko all year, and these dudes have sucked in everything. Camorra popped up more recently and he was even worse! And yet here we have Zayko looking like a top notch rudo, taking a MASSIVE Jerry bump that saw him spill into the front row, stiffing up the tecnicos (when did he suddenly gain an awesome elbow drop?) and working a convincing mat sequence with Bengala. What the hell is going on here? Camorra doesn't look like a total goof either! In other weeks he's looked like a bad version of Bronco, and now he just like Bronco, which is a massive step up. Bengala is still kind of a chump, but you can pair up a fairly bland tecnico with a couple good rudos and suddenly you don't mind their sequences at all. Trueno is a guy with a bunch of potential, and again, good rudo just makes a decent tecnico even better. Man this was a pleasant surprise, especially Zayko. Sooooo many minutes wasted watching Zayko matches this year, and now he's tricking me into actively looking forward to more Zayko matches. I'm such a sucker. You need to watch this to see if I'm crazy. I was eating a donut while watching, so I could have just been basking in the warm glow of cake donut, chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

2. Electrico/Bam Bam/Astral vs. Demus 3:16/Pequeno Warrior/Pierrothito:

Well, this was fucking awesome. Who would have guessed it would be awesome when you have the two best rudo minis (Demus/Pierrothito), the best tecnico mini (Bam Bam), and one of the more underrated minis (Electrico). This was just as awesome as it looks on paper and you want every hot little second of it. For some reason Demus has only been showing up on all the CMLL shows that air in Mexico this year, and almost never showing up on US TV. He and Pierrothito bump faster than you can imagine, flying into and out of the ring and working intricate multi-level spots with numerous guys, always telling cool little stories, making the tecnicos shine and still looking like total badasses. Electrico gets time to shine here, working two GREAT sequences with Demus/Pierrothito, and basically everybody looks good here. Dive train in the 3rd fall is nuts with Astral vaulting off the ring post with a NUTS corkscrew dive, Warrior and Bam Bam flattening the first two rows of chairs (great visual with chairs and fans spilling out everywhere). There are too many great spots and sequences here (Bam Bam getting rana'd off Pierrothito's shoulders was crazy), and you seriously want every single bit of this. So awesome. One of the best minis matches of the year.

3. Ladies Cibernetico! Dallys/Lady Apache/Goya Kong/Silueta vs. Princesa Blanca/Princesa Sugei/Kiara/La Seductora:

This was really awesome, until it got to all the one and done eliminations. First half gave every woman a little chance to shine, including a nice long mat sequence between Apache and Seductora. Crowd is pretty quiet until Goya Kong comes in and then the crowd instantly wakes up, cheering and blowing air horns and going nuts. This gal is over. Between Goya Kong and Melissa McCarthy, 2011 is becoming the year of the BBW. My girlfriend Rachel warms my heart by recognizing Princesa Sugei, saying, "Hey, that's the one woman that works stiffer than all the other women!" Yes. She completely is. I have never seen Kiara and Silueta doesn't show up too much, so it was neat seeing them in longer segments. Blanca is really good and doesn't seem to get talked up that much by people who enjoy ladies wrestling. So yeah, first 10 minutes are really fun, but then once people start running in, getting eliminated by one move, someone else runs in and eliminates someone with one move, etc. it starts getting pretty meh. Still well worth checking out. This is a killer week of LATV so far.

4. Metro/Sagrado/Stuka Jr. vs. Virus/Euforia/Vangelis:

Looks good on paper, in practice it doesn't go very long. Tecnicos win in straight falls, pretty by the numbers in the limited time they got. Virus works twice as fast as everybody else, Vangelis has some cool vulture spots (where he just kinda swoops in and kicks a dude while he's distracted), and nothing bad's just super short.

5. La Sombra/Hector Garza/La Mascara vs. Rey Buccanero/Terrible/Texano Jr.:

Yeah! Now this is an ace main event! Garza is just killer here and the crowd is amped to boo team TRT. Buccanero clearly lost a hair match that I have not watched yet. Garza/Sombra with a sweet asai moonsault (landing on the feet) into an instant standing moonsault to end the first fall. Crowd shot of a cute woman in the crowd screaming her head off as Garza removes his shirt. Sombra starts to remove his and Terrible/Texano instantly kick the shit out of him. There wasn't a dull moment here and these guys all match up really nicely. 20 minutes breezes by and judging by a horrendous recent Observer poll, more people really need to get on the 2011 Hector Garza tip.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors Workrate Report, 10/15/11

Turns out it will be even easier to write up the complete TV run of this fed's 2nd season than I had originally thought. I would have to be either really lazy or really unmotivated to not finish up a whopping 3 episode run. LLUSA, your 2nd season was the Emily's Reasons Why Not of Saturday morning cable wrestling. I'm pretty sure more episodes of Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer made it to air.

1. San Juan Kid/PR Flyer vs. Oriental/Tinieblas Jr.:

Well, this was about as good as you'd hope a 4 minute match interrupted by a commercial would be. The PR team is Louis Lyndon and Flip Kendrick, who I like. Tini is way bigger than the PR team but he makes it work alright here, taking two big bumps to the floor and taking a Lyndon headscissors really well. It's good to see Oriental on my TV again. Lyndon is a better version of Brian Kendrick (hot tag offense looks better, better forearms, cool jumping knee instead of that flimsy flippy heel kick thing) and Flip Kendrick hits a couple big dives. 2 minutes on either side of a commercial ain't much, but what are you going to do?

Something about me likes Rebecca Reyes' on-the-nose backstage reporting style, as she tries tracking down the interfering hooded ninja from the previous match (oh yeah, previous match ended with a couple of hooded ninja's running in), is too late as one of them leaves in a speeding car...but she finds his cape, walking us through all of the motions. "I'm trying to chase down this hooded ninja....he just escaped into that car....hey, what's this, a cape? What are these initials on the cape...S.L.?"

I'm sure a fed who gives regular TV promo time to John Walters and Petey Williams every week is a fed who really wants to stay on TV for the long haul. I like how both of them need to act like heels, so they actually rub their chins when they're plotting something. They saw some sort of elementary school production of a Dudley Do-Right/Snidely Whiplash short and thought the 5th grader playing Snidely wasn't playing it "broad strokes" enough for most of the audience to get.

2. Siddyzteecko vs. Marco Corleone:

This...could actually be fun. And Corleone hits a hard shoulderblock that knocks London upside down, and it looks awesome. That's kind of the story of the whole match: Corleone hits a variety of shoulderblocks and clotheslines, and London does flat back bumps for them. I'm pretty sure London's only piece of offense is throwing Corleone into the post while he's distracted by Rellik. Corleone instantly recovers and it's more back bumps for London. Corleone hits his big springboard clothesline, hits a no hands running dive over the top onto London, Rellik and Lizmark Jr. London takes a spectacular bump, getting pushed off the top rope and crashing head/neck first on the apron and onto the floor. But it really never got super interesting because it was so damned one-sided. The rudos attack and Shane Helms runs out for the save. Was this stuff taped a year ago? Rellik takes a fast bump to the floor. I'm calling out Cubsfan on his irrational Rellik hatred. Dude is easily one of the top 10 jacked white guys in LLUSA.

Was being paired with Rebecca Reyes the main reason why Pequeno Halloween left CMLL to join this fed?

3. Hair vs. Mask!! RJ Brewer vs. Magno:

Magno actually makes a rope flip moonsault look like it has impact. That's impressive. Most guys rotate too fast and hit their ankles into the mat before their body lands. Magno's landed really even and looked good. Brewer takes a nice bump over the top, catching his feet and landing painfully on his hip (catching feet seemed somewhat planned, btw). Post-commercial break is all about Brewer holding chinlocks and doing suplexes while Magno seems most concerned with pulling his shirt down over his tummy. Magno does the Chaos Theory German suplex and I always like how that looks. Brewer goes sprawling in a nice way from it. Brewer throws a nice punch with a chain for a pinfall, but the ref finds the chain, restarts the match and Magno wins. Brewer gets his hair cut. It appears like it's been like 2 weeks since his last hair cut, so this was probably pretty convenient for him. This was OK. About what you'd expect, really.


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Monday, October 24, 2011

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report, 10/15/11

1. Pequeno Halcon/Aereo vs. Pequeno Universo 2000/Mercurio:

A bunch of minis who rarely make TV, I really like the two rudos though. Mercurio and Universo bump around great for the bland tecnico offense, especially Univero. He adds an extra snap to all the little armdrags and other things that could look really lifeless otherwise. Mercurio hits a boss corkscrew plancha and there isn't too much to this, all empty calories but it goes down super smooth. Suddenly 20 minutes goes by and you don't remember much of what happened, but nothing offended you and you had a good time.

2. Leono/Molotov/Trueno vs. Bronco/Rayo Tapatio I/Rayo Tapatio II:

Yes! The Tapatios finally back on my TV screen. This was like a throwback match to LATV a year ago, where they would just throw on these heatless openers with fun rudos who never make TV. This was from a Fan Appreciation show so the crowd is heated and it rocks. Los Rayos and Bronco are great old style rudos who don't do much on offense but they make so-so tecnicos shine and put over their offense wonderfully. The older Rayo is just the best, as he really works like my favorite type of rudo (like an Arkangel or Dinamitas type) who will throw a great back elbow, work the mat, and then take a bunch of armdrags. He blasts Molotov with a back elbow out of the corner that just made me squeal with glee. Bronco is like the Stevie Richards of lucha, as he has zero offense, but is always compelling in matches. All the tecnicos are just fine, but this was a great show for the rudos. I'm glad CMLL throws these guys on TV every so often.

3. Angel de Plata/Fuego/Pegasso vs. Hijo Del Signo/Nosferatu/Raziel:

Theme of the night is solid rudos who know their role. Pegasso kinda bums me out because I always think he's Rey Cometa when I first see him, but Cometa is way better. Pegasso usually hits a decent dive or rana or something, but whatever. Fuego keeps getting TV time and the more I see him, the more I like him. Signo seems like the kind of worker who is guaranteed to never get pushed. All the young fliers get pushed, and he's like a young Cien Caras, which is not what the young women and children want to see these days. I love you though, Signo. Plata hits a big dive, Signo boots dudes in the stomach, business as usual, nothing flashy nothing bad, fun solid 2011 lucha match.

4. Ephesto/Misterioso Jr./Vangelis vs. Angel de Oro/Black Warrior/Metro:

Too short to mean much of anything, but I like all the guys here. Vangelis inspires fans to bring a bunch of Nazi signs to Arena Mexico which explain to my girlfriend. This just went by so freaking quick that I hardly remember anything in this.

5. Atlantis/Hijo Del Fantasma/La Mascara vs. Mr. Niebla/Ultimo Guerrero/Volador Jr.:

Another super quick match as it goes by in two straight falls, but there is TONS of stuff to see in these quick falls. This was a total Volador showcase as he really makes Mascara work for his tecnico pops. Cuts him realllll low on missed clotheslines and really allows Mascara's spots to have maximum value. Niebla and Ultimo ain't no slouches here either, with Ultimo hitting his awesome butt splash in the corner and Niebla just blasting somebody in the corner with his awesome left hand. Atlantis is really a truly great tecnico as he was just on fire throughout all of this. But still, Volador, people. Volador. His timing is expert and he carries himself like a total superstar. It's hard not to get into everything that this guy does. He's like the best possible version of rudo Mistico. So yeah, super short match, nothing MOTY worthy, but there's tons of good stuff here crammed into a tiny amount of time.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 9/3/11

Had some lucha on my DVR, and CMLL has been the lucha fed I've enjoyed most in 2011, so I figured why not start writing some of this stuff up? Also big ups to Cubsfan. Not only did his team get an awesome GM that actually understands sabermetrics (and doesn't judge talent based on "gut instinct" or "grittiness" or "gamesmanship"), but he uploads a bunch of lucha to youtube that allows me to share it with you! So go check out Cubsfan's site. It's awesome and provides an insane amount of resources.

1. Misterioso Jr. vs. Hijo del Fantasma:

So up until this match I was digging Fantasma as a guy who knew how to pick his spots in a trios, and this was the first time I've seen him as a singles. I don't like him as much as a singles worker. There were many times during this that felt like Misterioso was working with a limp body, especially on the mat. It felt like an even weirder version of Weekend at Bernie's. Instead of trying to throw a raging party or taking a boat, Misterioso just wants to work mat transitions and headscissor spots. Fantasma does hit a few nice dives and a big moonsault off the post, but those spots work nicer as big spots in a trios instead of just having Misterioso constantly have to bump to the floor to get ready to catch him for more spots. Misterioso does wrap himself nicely around a turnbuckle, and since Cassandro isn't showing up more than once per year, I'm glad I get to see somebody take that crazy spot every couple weeks. Misterioso's tassles are fucking awesome, for the record.

2. Shocker/Hector Garza/La Sombra vs. Rey Buccanero/Terrible/Texano Jr.:

Garza shaved his goatee and I don't like it. It's like when your dad shaves his mustache when you're 17 and you're like, "Who the hell are you?" He has a soul patch now, which is also like when your dad grows a soul patch and starts wearing Tommy Bahama shirts. Careful, Hector. First fall is dominated by the rudos and they all have some really great triple team spots, with catapults into fireman's carries into cool sentons and general beatdown. 2nd fall is quick and nothing much happens until the 3rd...which is MONEY. 3rd caida is literally one of the best caidas of the year. Such a great damn fall with big action and everybody getting a chance to shine. A really great 8 minutes of lucha. To the surprise of nobody, Garza is a huge star of the 3rd. He was great all match, falling into all the rudos offense in the 1st, but the 3rd he just owns. Always in the right place, and just being a great general. His rope running against Rey is fast and more impressive than any vanilla indy midget you'll see, and the lightning fast rana spot off the middle rope was beautiful. Terrible and Texano get double points for beating him down during his shirt removal spot. Sombra hits his INSANE handspring dragon rana to the floor which will never cease to amaze me. Shocker works some great armdrag spots and is still firey (his weight makes it obviously difficult to get up quickly to work spot-spot-spot like Garza, but on the plus side Shocker does have the most motorboatable tits in lucha), and this fall just rules and I love everything about it. Again, one of my favorite falls of the year, and the match as a whole is well worth checking out.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011


Necro Butcher v. Mark Savior WVWA 10/1/11

Total gritty ass redneck brawl. Everything you want a Necro Butcher match in a West Virginia Church Basement to look like. He takes the toughest meth cook in town and beats him into a really entertaining match. We have a screaming fight between Necro's morbidly obese valet and a morbidly obese woman in the front row, Chairs to the face, Necro taking a lunatic bump off the apron and a really great finish. As much pure fun as any match I have seen this year.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report, 10/8/11

1. Trueno/Bengala vs. Camorra/Zayko

Well...this wasn't that good. I don't really like the two rudos, but I can see Zayko being OK in a couple years. I don't think Camorra has been doing this for too long so I don't really expect much out of him and don't get much. He's your pretty standard newbie rudo, backcrackers and all. He bumps in really slow motion and is just boring. Zayko can at least bump to the outside off headscissors OK. Bengala is a guy I've seen a bunch and he regularly shows why he is right where he belongs, working paint-by-numbers openers at Arena Mexico. He never shows any emotion and there's rarely any flow to anything he does. It seems like before he does anything, he says to himself, "OK, now I have to do *this*". "OK, now I have to flip him over. OK, now I have to put on a surfboard." There's that delay. Trueno is a good tecnico and seems to have more potential than the others here, though he has a problem overshooting things. This was the definition of a skippable opener.

2. Goya Kong/Marcela/Ray vs. Amapola/La Seductora/Mima Shimoda:

Quick and fun women's match. Goya Kong is always a blast as the crowd always loves her and she uses her size well (big butt attacks, and an awesome "trust fall" senton where she just fell straight backwards onto an opponent), but also does really nice armdrags and has a very nice springboard arm drag that looks impressive. Marcela always looks great and is arguably the best luchadora in CMLL, with Amapola the being the other one I would argue for. This is great because they match up a few times and look great. Ray is a Tajiri student who I had never seen, but had some fun flying offense, nice rana, silly little dive off the apron. I really dug Shimoda's axe kick to a seated Ray. Fun popcorn match with not too much substance, but plenty of fun individual moments.

3. Angel de Plata/Metal Blanco/Palacio Negro vs. Cancerbero/Nosferatu/Raziel:

Some good moments, some stumbly moments, overall fairly decent. The rudos trio are kinda hard to pin down into a "quality of work" hierarchy. Every match I see, a different member of the group looks like the better worker. I think it's called the "Los Oficiales Conundrum". Cancerbero seems to get better every match, and Raziel is probably the most consistent. Nosferatu has impressed me before but has had a pretty bleh 2011. So I'd go Cancerbero, Raziel, Nosferatu. Nosferatu also doesn't do anything remotely like a vampire. He doesn't even have fangs on his mask as far as I can tell. Blanco can be fun when his spots are on, but he seemed just a *little* off in this one. And his knees and ankles hate him for not being able to enter a ring without doing a springboard flip while landing on his feet. I do like Blanco's springboard "crotch myself, then bounce off the middle rope back to the top rope and do a rana" spot. Palacio Negro seems to get some praise around the internet, and sometimes his spots are cool, but other times there is a hilariously awesome amount of set-up time. It's like when Chris Hero was working his "2001 JAPW throwback" gimmick and the NOAH fans were confused. Negro can't just do a rana to the guy on the floor, he has to bounce off the opposite ropes, roll over the top rope to the floor, spin around, then do a rana. That being said, his ranas always do look nice when he actually finally does them.

4. Blue Panther/Super Porky/Toscano vs. Ephesto/Euforia/Vangelis:

This was good, and quite frankly if it had been nothing but the two minutes of Panther/Ephesto matwork then I would've loved it just as much. Panther is having one helluva year, and my favorite part of it is all the different people he's worked. When Panther comes into the match against an opponent I haven't seen him work so far this year, it's always a really exciting moment, and it seems like he always gets a solid 2 minutes against a bunch of these guys. So far when looking back at the year, when you think of who so and so matched up best with, Panther's name is always the one that immediately comes up. Panther, Virus and Arkangel all can hang their hats on certain workers' "best 2 minutes" this year. I'm pretty sure this was Ephesto's best 2 minutes this year, and he's always good. Panther seems to work the mat different with every single person he works, doing things I've never seen him do before each and every time. Him slowly getting out of an Ephesto headscissors was maybe my favorite mat transition of the year. All the bridging back and forth and fighting for leverage just looked totally great.

Toscano was wearing some absolutely ridiculous jorts that just came off too desperate. I just don't know what to do with you Tarzan Boy. Dude has to be one of the lazier workers of the last 10 years, and it's annoying because when he tries then he can totally rock it. His 3rd fall performance here (once he did a Garza and removed the stupid pants) was awesome, with him whipping off a great rana and a great missle dropkick. The more I see Euforia the more I love him, just a big bumping rudo who allows tecnicos to shine. Vangelis always stands out since he's a power worker and usually the only power worker in a given match. Here he hits a cool spear through the ropes onto the rampway and a nice dive into Panther. Also of note was Blue Panther getting a hot tag and starting to undo his pants, threatening to remove his tights while poking fun at Toscano getting a cheap pop from the ladies. Blue Panther, ladies and gentleman: Best wrestler in the world, 2011?

5. Atlantis/Hijo Del Fantasma/Mascara vs. Mr. Niebla/Ultimo Guerrero/Volador Jr.:

Niebla hides on the rampway to start and blindside Atlantis after he makes it down the stairs and while all of this is fun while it lasts, I knew we weren't long for this world (match started with about 11 minutes left in the show). Rudos get DQ'd 2 straight falls in a row, first one for taking Atlantis' mask off, 2nd for Niebla just punting Atlantis in the balls right in front of the ref. Volador was awesome trying to roll up Atlantis immediately following the ball shot, as if nothing happened. The rudos get fun runs with Fantasma in the 2nd, with Ultimo leveling him with a shoulderblock (great bump by Fantasma), Fantasma and Ultimo work a lightning fast segment where Fantasma charged, got tossed to the top rop by Ultimo, Ultimo gets his arm kicked away (love that spot) and then Fantasma snaps off a rana. Volador has the same luck against him, with Fantasma nailing him with a big enziguiri. Niebla figures out the Fantasma riddle by just punching him in the face and it rules. Super short match, but enough fun moments for me to enjoy.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yoshiaki Fujiwara Cometh, and They Shall Seek Peace, And There Shall Be None

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Kana v. Yuki Ishikawa/Carlos Amano Kana Pro 1/10/11-EPIC

A total out of nowhere awesome match. I have very little interest in current Joshi, I haven't seen Carlos Amano in years and I don't think I had ever seen Kana, but they were just killing it in this match. Their early grappling was very slick, with some really nasty ankle locks and armbar transitions. Very good stuff, as intricate and interesting as that kind of shoot mat work gets. Ishikawa and Fujiwara click together like puzzle pieces. There is a great moment where Fujiwara tags in and slaps Ishikawa in the mouth, and when Ishikawa tries to respond Fujiwara grabs his arm and wrenches in the namesake armbar. After watching and reviewing this many Fujiwara matches it is great that he still breaks out new neat shit. As good as everyone else is, this was the Ishikawa show. Every once in a while Ishikawa shows up on DVD or youtube and reminds you he is the best wrestler in the world. Starting out he is such a nasty fucker, smacking around Kana like Billy Campbell in Enough. However Kana fires back and his selling is so good that by the end we have a full on epic Ishikawa v. Ikeda finish with the role of Daisuke Ikeda played by a 97 pound girl. Kana is throwing bombs and Ishikawa is desperately fighting back. Excellent match as good as the best stuff from 2011.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Yoshikazu Yokoyama Zero-One 8/27/11-FUN

Yokoyama is a young guy testing himself against the wily veteran. This a story we have seen before and Fujiwara is great at working. He does a bunch of very cool counters, including a nice use of a crucifix and an ankle pick reversal out of an armbar. He also uncorked a nasty headbutt. Yokoyama didn't show me a ton although he was a fine guy getting worker over by Fujiwara. Worth your four minutes to watch

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Friday, October 14, 2011

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 10/8/11

1. Euforia/Misterioso Jr. vs. Dragon Lee/Stuka Jr.

Crowd is insanely hot for this from the very beginning, for reasons I don't totally know. The whole first fall they are just going nuts for everything. Misterioso is wearing an awesome watermelon colored outfit that's tassled to the nines. If you don't go tassled out for the anniversary show, then when else would you? Euforia owns the first fall by taking some big headscissors from Lee and Stuka and really whipping around for all of Lee's offense. Stuka's no-look reverse tope over the turnbuckle is just a nutso spot. Que Monito adds the splash off the apron for added humiliation.

2nd fall is absolutely insane and totally awesome. Euforia is going bonkers bumping in this, and the tecnicos are passing out ranas for free. Lee hits a crazy running springboard one into the ring, the runs and does one to the rampway. Then Stuka leaps from the top rope to the rampway with another rana. Tecnicos off the entrance way with stereo moonsaults...but it all leads to the rudos getting the fall back in the ring. Fun fall while it lasted, and again, the crowd is going nuts during all this.

3rd fall is hot again and they all try and out crazy each other. Misterioso takes the massive Cassandro ringpost bump to the floor, and then Lee monkeyflips his own partner Stuka off the rampway and into Misterioso. Lee stands up, runs down the rampway and somersaults over the top rope into a ring, doing a dragon rana to Euforia in the process. Euforia rolls to the floor, then Stuka gets used as a standing boost so Lee can do a massive moonsault to the floor onto Euforia. From the Misteriodo bump to the big moonsault, just a crazy awesome sequence. Pinfalls start coming next, end comes when Misterioso boots Monito
and goes up top to hit a giant version of his sitout guillotine driver thing.

Super fun match with tons of giant spots that looked great. Crowd was molten throughout the whole thing which really made everything feel more exciting. Highly recommended to people who love some big spots with their wrestling.

2. Torneo Cibernetico: Rey Buccanero vs. Felino vs. Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas vs. Rush vs. Terrible vs. Maximo vs. Texano Jr.:

This is kinda odd, as it's a cibernetico from two weeks before the Anniversary show cibernetico, that never aired when they aired the rest of the stuff from that card. This started fairly late, 45 minutes into the one hour block (and by the way, I'm not loving that Galavision is only giving one hour to lucha now. Is this a permanent thing? Getting two matches a week is not nearly as good as getting 4 matches.), and might have been clipped as it seemed a lot shorter than most ciberneticos they do (only 13 minutes or so), but then again it also has way less participants than ciberneticos usually have...sooo...

Blue Panther was really awesome in this, and he's pretty much the best worker in the world in 2011. His segment near the beginning against Negro was really fun with them slapping each other around like old grizzled vets. The crowd sounded notably amped when they got in against each other, kinda making a loud "Ohhhhhh no they didn't" noise in unison when they started to square off. Panther's segment against Felino may have been ever better as Felino kicks the pace up to 11 and starts working really fast. Rush hits his nice swanton to the floor (I love how much the crowd just hates Rush, as I agree with them fully. He's a guy I just want to see beaten. I want him to lose a hair match sooooo badly), Maximo gets a nice run of crying while getting his titties chopped, then hits a GIANT tope headbutt on Rush that sends Rush crashing throw the first row of chairs, and leaves fans laughing at Rush's pain. The eliminations come pretty fast and loose at this point, with people getting pinned by things they normally wouldn't. Not bad, but pretty short.

Fun show that flew by (there ARE always a lot of commercials on Gala, though, so with a DVR you can blow through this stuff pretty quick), and that opening tag was more than worth the price of admission.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg- TJ Lucha

L.A. Park v. Dr. Wagner Jr. Tijuana 10/7/11

Switching it up a bit for this weeks Wed. night bootleg, as we go to a big title match in Tijuana Mexico. Park and Wagner work a more standard lucha title match as opposed to the crazy brawl they usually do (although there are a couple of nasty spots with a wooden board). Pretty neat to see these guys work the mat and exchange suplexes and armdrags. PARK hits a nasty tope and they build to a neat finishing run. Very fun match.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors Workrate Report, 10/8/11

This was on TV and my DVR picked it up, so why not. They have some minis I like and I used to dig Corleone.

Lizmark Jr. out with a promo to start! And man, Charly Manson footage is all over this show. Isn't that guy going to be in prison for many years? Lizmark is awesome on the stick because he talks just like Antichristo. Lizmark hired a guy to paint a portrait of him at ringside tonight! So he's going to go start posing! So that means Sydistiko gets the mic. Sydistiko is really bad on the mic. So he talks a lot.

1. Magno/Rocky Romero vs. Treachery (Rellik/Sydistiko):

Oh man, and the announcer says what everybody wants to hear, "Rocky Romero has a microphone!" It goes about as well as you imagine it would.

Sydistiko is Paul London and holy lord 2 minutes later he is still horrible on the mic, now made worse by having a mic duel with Romero. He does a bunch of "crazy" laughing and while I don't think anybody does that well, London does it worse than most.

Everybody in the ring to start and it isn't very good. Announcers keep calling the ring "the hexalateral ring". That probably won't catch on as much as "The Octagon", and I am bummed they did not try and carve out their niche with a two-sided ring, but oh well. Call me crazy, but Rellik actually looked good for large parts of this. Everybody in it looked awkward a lot of the time, but Rellik looked...the least awkward. He threw nice low clotheslines, made Romero look good by taking all his ranas and armdrags great (including one nice bump where he threw Romero up for a flapjack and Romero swung it into a rana). Yeah, Rellik made Romero offense look really good, and that has to count for something. He also made a Romero clothesline look hard and made his preposterous Sliced Bread variation look good, so Rellik is my new favorite LLUSA worker. Romero hit a nice fast dive on London but then the last 2 minutes totally fall apart, some ninja interferes and kicks a chair into Rellik's face, who gets up moments later to do a rope run sequence with Romero anyway. Magno hits a nice corkscrew splash off the top for the win. Rellik all the way, baby!

RJ Brewer/Petey Williams promo! Their stable is called "The Right" which sounds...problematic. Brewer is a real old 30, and Petey Williams of all people talks about how much it makes him sick seeing these circus performers disgracing his sport. I'm positive that you can go to any small local circus, and every performer in it will show more performance acuity than Petey Williams. My family and I went on a cruise to South America years ago, and there was a misled white teenager on board with really bad dreads, who spent most of the trip practicing with his devil sticks. On the final night of the cruise the on board entertainment is "Talent Show" using volunteers from the passengers. Some frat boys did an acapella Boyz II Men song (seriously), two teenage girls from Texas did a dance routine to the song "Lightning Crashes" by Live (seriously), and that misled white teenager with bad dreads did a "performance" with his devil sticks with no music, minimal pre-planning, or any actual stick juggling skill. And he showed more chops performing in front of crowds than Petey Williams does.

Video is shown of Rebecca Reyes marrying Pequeno Halloween, then secret footage is shown of Tigresa Caliente roofying her drink, which made her forget getting married to Halloween. She sounds really disinterested as she does voice over of the footage: "Oh, you know what? She's putting something in my drink! I bet you that's why I didn't remember anything." I assume she sounds so disinterested because - being with Matt Hardy - she's likely had any number of things slipped into her drink and/or bloodstream that she just assumes this is what people do. I hope she's more convincing on the witness stand than she was during her VO work.

2. Pequeno Halloween/Tigresa Caliente vs. Octagoncito/Mascarita Dorada:

Tigresa has a weirder HGH belly than Scott Steiner. She seriously appears to be pregnant here. Announcers: "There is no woman alive who is built like Tigresa." I'll be honest you guys, you may find this hard to believe, but Tigresa ruined the match. I know if I was in the back laying out a match that featured three really good minis, and one uncomfortably shaped uncoordinated woman, I would write it out so that the uncoordinated woman was in the ring for every second of the match. Mini Halloween looked GREAT in this, though. I think the CMLL minis have suffered a bit this year without him as a base anchoring the rudo teams. Here he bumps all over (including the awesome Halloween bump sliding under the bottom rope) and really is just a perfect base for Dorada. I don't know if I've ever seen something more awkward than Tigresa working spots with Dorada. That had to be a rib. And speaking of ribs, Tigresa does a horrifying kneedrop to Octagoncito that appears to land full force and had to have hurt BAD. Then Rebecca gets in the ring and her and Tigresa work shirt tearing spots for what seems like many minutes. But hey...Pequeno Halloween worked like Pequeno Halloween!

Marco Corleone comes out and destroys Lizmark Jr.'s painting that he's had commissioned this evening. The announcers are stunned. In a week or two when someone brings out a cake, I assume they'll all unwittingly stand next to it with plates waiting to get a slice.

3. Petey Williams vs. Super Nova:

Heyyyy this was a Petey Williams match. He has a weird way of taking a big bump, and making it look like it didn't hurt at all. Here he gets thrown over the top and crashes to the floor, but it looks about as painful as stepping off a curb. Petey works the leg and it's just not very good. Then Nova gets a good comeback spot, until randomly just stopping the comeback after a spinning heel kick, selling doing the move just as much as Petey sells taking the move. Both of them, just lying there, for a loooong time. Super Nova adjusts his pants a lot. Match ends at some point.

Post match we get Magno and Brewer exchanging challenges for a mask vs. hair match NEXT WEEK! I take the clippers to my hair, and Brewer's hair is somehow shorter than mine, so that will be a blast!

So...Rellik? I liked Rellik?


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Saturday, October 08, 2011

You're His For The Taking, Pirata Morgan Is Making A Career Of Evil

Pirata Morgan, Babe Face, & Cien Caras vs. Rayo de Jalisco Jr., La Fiera, & Lizmark EMLL 1986 - EPIC

Hey, you know who's an all-time great worker who you almost never see get talked up as one? La Fiera. And even if this match had nothing else going for it, this would still be an EPIC performance for him. Fortunately, this does have other stuff going for it, mostly in the form of Babe Face, whom Fiera would have a hair vs. hair match with the following week, and man, do they ever psyche you up for it here. Match opens with Babe Face posting Fiera and Fiera doing a disgusting bladejob off of it, and Babe Face starts punching and headbutting the open wound. The rest of the match is spent on Babe Face beating the shit out of Fiera, and Fiera doing a truly sublime job of selling it before finally getting his opening and turning the tables, busting Babe Face open in the process. The one downside to the awesomeness of all of this, though, is that Pirata and the rest of the gang are mostly thrown into the background here. He does still get to do some cool stuff, including the first appearance of the Muta-style blood spit (Fiera's, natch) in this project, and a moment where he knocked Lizmark through the ropes so he was hanging upside-down by his feet outside the ring, followed by him kicking out his legs so Lizmark fell head-first onto the floor. They were in the middle ropes, so it wasn't that big of a drop, but still, ouch. There was also some great brawling outside of the ring from all six guys in the finall fall, which included Pirata taking a flip bump into the ring apron, and an awesome exchange between him and Rayo at the end of the match where Rayo picked him up and chucked him over the top rope to floor, and followed up with a huge crossbody suicida from the top rope. Still this is less of an EPIC Pirata match than an EPIC match that happened to have Pirata in it as a positive contributor.

Pirata Morgan, Satanico, & MS-1 vs. Dos Caras, Canek, & Voodoo Mulumba UWA 9/18/1987 - SKIPPABLE

There were moments where this threatened to creep into FUN territory. The second fall, taken on it's own, was kinda entertaining, with a good Canek/Satanico exchange, a solid Pirata/Dos exchange, and MS-1 bumping big for Mulumba. But this one was never gonna go far, because Voodoo Mulumba is one of the shittiest wrestlers I have ever seen in my life. Mulumba, for those who don't know, is the infamous Big Red Reese, the guy they brought into Memphis to feud with Bill Dundee after he beat Lawler in the '85 loser leaves town match, and he absolutely bombed on top. Here, he's in with five other guys, all of whom I like to some degree or another, so the suck is diluted a little. But he's still the center of the match, and that's not good, because he is to fat guy wrestlers what Giant Gonzalez was to tall guy wrestlers. He is the fat guy wrestler who can't even be called upon to do basic fat guy wrestling stuff effectively. He almost falls over doing the "sit-down splash out of a sunset flip attempt" spot. His teammates Irish whip MS-1 into him so that he'll get knocked down by Mulumba's girth...and it's Mulumba who's driven back. The only other worthwhile thing about the match - which is also Pirata's one notable contribution to it - is the post-match, where the defeated Infernales dare Mulumba to come back and face them again, including Pirata climbing on MS-1's shoulders to overcome his size advantage. Otherwise, this is the first actively terrible match I've watched for this thing.

Pirata Morgan, Electroshock, & Bestia Salvaje vs. Negro Casas, Felino, & Heavy Metal AAA/CMLL 6/17/2000 - GREAT

This was from the big interpromotional "Padrisimo" show at Plaza de Toros, and Los Hermanos Casas get to reunite nine years before they could do it full-time in CMLL. Pepe Tropicasas is also one of the refs in this alongside El Tirantes, and we get a sweet moment in the beginning where he hugs all of his sons. But Pirata isn't much for sentimentality, and this breaks down pretty quickly into an out of control brawl. Everyone is working double time in this, but unsurprisingly, it's Pirata and Casas who are the stars here. Both guys are fucking bulldozers, knocking down everything that gets in their paths with fists, feet, and lariats. And their exchanges with each other are what you would hope they would be, particularly the one at the top of the match where Pirata drops Casas with a nasty powerbomb, and their wild brawling exchange leading to a false finish spot near the end. Said false finish is one of the better uses of referees as active participants in a match that I've seen, with Casas procuring La Casita and Tropi going to make the count, but Tirantes shoves him over and breaks up the pin. Pepe's not having any of that shit, though, so he gets back up and socks Tirantes in the jaw, and starts wailing on him in a manner befitting his family. The refs are pulled apart by the wrestlers, both get ejected in favor of Roberto Rangel, and the match ends shortly thereafter with all three Casas brothers grabbing La Casita on their opponents simultaneously for the win. They celebrate with their dad while Pirata is held back by AAA compatriot Elctroshock from attacking Bestia, whose CMLLness clearly is what cost them the match. This is only a single fall match, and there is one egregious Heavy Metal highspot flub (he tries to leap onto the top rope to do a flip onto Bestia on the outside, but he doesn't land the jump to the top right, and Bestia has to stand there like a dope while Heavy Metal tries to get his balance), but otherwise, this all action with everyone delivering the goods, and a fun finish where Tropicasas gets to channel his inner raging dad at his sons' Little League game. Pirata vs. Casas is a match-up that I need to see more of.


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APW TV Workrate Report: 4/16/11

Looks like we finally get the big Derek Sanders vs. Poor Little Will Rood match tonight. I have been waiting AGES to see that little mooch Rood finally get what's coming to him. You talk about ingrates, then Rood's name will come up. "Boohoo. My boss got upset when I failed at my job over and over again." Puhhhh-lease. I recommended somebody for a job once, and they didn't show up on the 2ND DAY. They came in 5 hours late and said they had fallen off a ladder. They then forgot which knee they were supposed to be selling as the day went on, alternating between their left and right, or forgetting altogether. I felt like a fool for ever recommending that guy. How do you think the person that recommended Will Rood feels? What a disappointment this guy is.

Great Russia has welded FOREVER to STAND! Alexis Derevko is up first!

1. Alexis Derevko vs. Daniel Torch. Matthew Theall tries feebly to put over Derevko's "50 lb." chain that he carries to the ring. That chain, which is about 3' long and has about 20 links. 50 pounds it is then. Torch is officially the tiniest and scrawniest and greasiest of all indy kickers. Dude should use some conditioner, and not some of that cheap 2-in-1 bullshit. Long hair is a commitment, like pet ownership. If you're not going to take care of your long hair, and you're gonna let it get stringy and greasy, then why bother? Go to a nice salon (doesn't even have to be the classiest salon in town, just a nice one), and ask their advice. I know people think it's a sucker move to buy the products at a salon, but this isn't like buying the fucking extended warranty on your car, asshole. Ask their opinions. They're professionals. Tell them your issues (oily scalp? Split ends?) and ask their recommendations on a treatment for it. You should legitimately see results in 3-4 weeks.

He starts with a plancha and Derevko catches him and slams him on the apron. His chest gets nice and rosy after a few chops, and there's a great spot where he misses the corner Miz/Bourne clothesline, and while he's hung up Derevko clotheslines him to the back of the head. Yes!

And holy fuck, Jon Roberts. Derevko goes for a delayed vertical suplex, and Roberts calls it a "Stalling...Stalling...Stalling vertical soo-play!" STALLING. STALLING. Reallllly emphasized that "G", over and over again. Alexis Derevko is a fucking RUSSIAN! How could you blow a fucking Joseph Stalin joke!?!? That would have literally been a) the least offensive way to make a Stalin joke, and b) the ONLY way you could have smoothly insert anybody's name from Communist Russia into a wrestling pun. I guess you could have said "You know, Alexis Derevko was trained by Malenko. GEORGY Malenko!!" But that isn't fucking funny at all. Maybe after Derevko hits a senton you could call it "The Great Purge". I don't know. But Jesus, Jon Roberts is terrible. How could you fucking blow the Stalin joke?

They do kind of a crummy slap exchange (it always looks silly when two guys go blow to blow, shot for shot, and one of them is twice the size of the other), but Derevko hits a huge flying clothesline and Torch bumps it all ragdolly and cool. They do some more blow for blow chops tradeoffs, and Derevko finishes with a move Jon Roberts calls the "Lenin Bomb". Oh, brother. You blew it, Roberts. Let it go.

Will Rood interview, and he is soooooo excited to finally get his shot at his former boss, Derek Sanders. He put up with Sanders for TEN months!! He had to cheat, and lie! Gimme a break, Rood. Nobody was forcing you to work for Sanders. He hired you to do a job. You knew you would have to cheat, you knew you would have to lie. It was laid out in the job description! "I'm going to give you 10 months of my fist, down your throat!" You could have quit at any time! You were just lazy and didn't want to look for another job, admit it! Sanders does an interview and says how he chose Rood and was going to show him how things work, lead him to a title. Man, Rood is asshole! I want to see this guy get his ass handed to him so badly! You SO owe it to yourself to check out the embedded video up above and see Rood's "showdown" photo. He looks like one of those abused kittens they show in slow motion in those commercials, with the Sarah MacLachlan song playing, that always makes me want to buy 30 cats. But in the context of wrestling it looks wimpy as all get out. So basically Rood is playing the role of abused pussy.

2. Will Rood vs. Derek Sanders. I don't think I've seen Rood really wrestle before. I've just seen him be ineffective. Wait...I think he was actually in the January battle royal. I don't remember much about him. Rood started all feisty, taking Sanders down with a double leg and throwing some decent elbows. He sure does tug at his shorts a whole bunch. They do that spot that's pretty dumb with Rood standing on the apron, holding the top rope, and Rood slingshots him in by tugging on the ropes. Rood also falls on his butt while doing it. The only time that spot has been done well was by Mike Modest, who would always just let go of the ropes to avoid getting slingshotted in, and then just punch the guy. Rood tries winning me over by doing a fistdrop. It missed, but his form was good. I will give him credit for at least trying a fistdrop. At least he's attempting cool offense.

Sanders takes over with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that really looked like he was doing most of the work. His stomps and clubbing blows to Rood's back look real nice. Sanders throws on a half nelson camel clutch cravate that is pretty bad ass. A bunch of headlocks and cravates happen, and then some guy dressed in black wearing a black mask runs in for the DQ.

All cards on the table, this match was real bad. I give Rood a hard time, but he deserved it all here. This match was supposed to be a grudge that he'd been waiting "10 months to pay back". And outside of the fire he showed in the first 30 seconds, he looked completely lost the whole match. There were numerous stretches where it looked like Sanders was just waiting around for Rood to go on offense, and Rood looked completely horrified and clueless. He's new, and I get that. They probably waited this long to have them split because he was still getting trained. But good lord did this whole long angle fail in every conceivable way. Rood cannot hold up his end of this. He did some stuff that looked alright. Some of his elbows looked good. He did a crazy out of control dive from the top to the floor that just smashed Sanders. But I think it looked good in that same way that Vince MacMahon's punches look good: They're being done by someone who has no idea what they're doing, so they have a dangerous feel to it. Sanders spent the bulk of this 15 minute match working over Rood with headlocks and cravates and other holds, and Rood really just did not have what it takes to work any kind of match yet, let alone a "grudge match that is 10 MONTHS IN THE MAKING".

This was just a real basic, bland, boring young wrestler vs. veteran match, but if I hadn't been drug through this completely awful and backwards storyline over the last 6+ months then I would have no idea these two even had previous history or that Rood had a bone to pick with Sanders. This was just a total bomb of an angle, and judging from the DQ finish I have to assume that this thing is actually going to continue, which sounds like a HORRIBLE idea. I don't think Rood could even be hidden that well in a 6 man tag. I don't even know if APW realizes how backwards and awful this looooong angle came off. The only thing that makes Rood look like a face in all this is the fact that Sanders is more of a heel. They tried to do Dibiase/Virgil and they failed big time, but it was how the wrote it! They never gave Rood a reason to be stuck working for Sanders, just that he needed the money and Sanders gave him a job. Then 10 months later he complains that he had to cheat for Sanders. So? That's literally what he was HIRED TO DO. There was no confusion about that. He didn't HAVE to keep doing it. He could've easily quit at any point. But he didn't. He kept taking the money, and Sanders never even treated him horribly. He never humiliated him, he just was upset that Rood wasn't doing his job well. Why would I want to cheer for Rood in this situation?

They have booked themselves way into a corner here, by backing a horse that can't run. This was a bad episode and the longer this angle goes on, the worse it is gonna get. But...he did try a fistdrop, so I can't hate Rood TOO much.


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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Time Has No Meaning to SLL's All-Request

Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart (WCW, 5/17/1998)
Requested by Lacelle

You know, much is made of that one time Michael Buffer called Bret "Bret The Hitman Clarke". Off the top of my head, I can't remember if that was before or after this match happened, so I don't know if Buffer calling him "The Hitman Bret" and omitting his last name entirely is an improvement or not, but there you have it. Anyway, Bret is a member of nWo Hollywood and Savage is a member of nWo Wolfpac at this point, and well, that angle was really one of the more underappreciated stupid things that WCW did in this period. Once upon a time, WCW trying to fight off the nWo was a really, really big deal. And then, the nWo became sort of an inconvenience that WCW just had to live with (and constantly lose to). Now, we have the nWo fighting amongst themselves, so really, we don't need to give a shit about WCW's involvement in this at all. Still, if there was any good at all to come out of this angle, this match was it.

Roddy Piper is the special guest ref for this, and as special guest refs go, I think he gets a passing grade, though not a perfect one. There's a mentality amongst a lot of people that special guest refs are almost universally bad because they draw some degree of attention to themselves in a way that refs normally aren't supposed to do (I'm looking at you, Slick Johnson), and they usually don't call matches the way refs normally are supposed to. But that seems to me to completely miss the point - why would you book a special guest ref if they weren't supposed to come off as special? Not acting like a normal referee and drawing attention to themselves is the whole point of a special guest ref, otherwise you'd just have a regular-ass ref. And no, that doesn't mean special guest refs can't screw up a match big time. They can draw so much attention to themselves that it detracts from the wrestlers. Their reffing style can be so far afield that it becomes jarring. I'm just saying when you bring one in, it's usually for a reason. As far as this applies to Piper...well, he said he wanted a fight in the promos leading up to this match, and his character is a well-established wild card. If anything it would be dumber for him to play this totally straight, because that's just not who he is. In terms of how he calls this match, he mostly avoids the major pitfalls of the special guest ref - he gets his character across while keeping the focus on Bret and Savage, he calls it down the middle, he plays fast and loose with the rules, but not to the point where it seems far-fetched. I think he gets a little too hands on with the wrestlers at points - there's a bit early in the match where Bret is stalling on the outside, and Roddy gets fed up and throws him back in the ring. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but it keeps him from reaching Michael Hayes/Jackie Fargo/Ken Shamrock levels of quality special guest reffing. But he knows his job, and overall, he does it well.

So yeah, the match. I think the big thing that stands out to me here is that, off the top of my head, this may have been the stiffest performance I've ever seen from the Hitman. All of his strikes looked really hurty, including some nasty shots to the face and the back, as well as his usual hooks to the gut which he actually appeared not to be stomping for. I mean, there probably was some stomping in there, but he was throwing hands so hard that I couldn't really bother to notice. Mike Tenay epically misses the point, pointing out that Bret considers himself the best technical wrestler in the world and "hopes to use Randy Savage as a proving ground". But clearly Don West was the problem with the TNA announce team. Randy Savage isn't one to take this lying down, throwing some great shots of his own, but Bret regains control quickly, and they end up on the outside, including a cool moment where Bret tries to drop the ringsteps on Randy's head. Bobby Heenan picks up the slack for Tenay's earlier dopeyness, saying that Bret probably realized he had to turn up the heat just to combat Savage's wildman tendencies. Savage avoids having his noggin crushed and fights back, leading to a low-point in the match where Bret kinda struggles with an axehandle off of the guardrail into the crowd, followed by some shitty ECW crowd brawling that I can't really follow. They get back in the ring, and Bret starts working after Savage's injured knee, as well as busting out a particularly snappy Russian leg sweep and a big piledriver. The ending gets...weird. Bret has Savage in the Sharpshooter, but doesn't have it totally sunk in, so when Elizabeth runs out, Savage powers up and gets Bret in a Sharpshooter of his own. At this point, Liz runs into the ring and argues with Piper for no really adequately explained reason, which leads to Savage breaking the hold, and getting low-blowed by Bret. Bret would then attack Piper from behind with knux (which he later planted on Savage), allowing Hogan to run out, take out Savage's other leg, and when Piper comes to, Savage is back in the Sharpshooter and is forced to tap. Liz, what the hell were you doing? I mean, it's late-90's WCW. She might have been setting up a heel turn, but I can't be expected to keep up with that shit. Still, really good match, and Hogan sneakily crawling away from the ring afterwords was amusing.

Randy Savage vs. Ron Garvin (ICW, 1982/83)
Requested by Tim Evans

So, what did I write about the match during the 80's Memphis Project, again?

"I know this isn't a huge revelation or anything, but damn, was Garvin not afraid to kick a dude's ass or what? Potential top 30 pick."

Well, that's not very enlightening. And where did I actually end up putting this on my ballot....#22? Wow, that's surprising. Usually "potential top 30 pick" coming from me just means "it probably won't be in my bottom third", but this was one of the few that held up. Anyway, what I wrote wasn't especially informative, but it sums up my thoughts on this match pretty well. Garvin kicked Savage's ass. A lot. And it was awesome. The early jockeying for position was pretty cool, too, with the dueling front facelocks and Garvin's super-smooth looking schoolboy, but then Ronnie starts laying in the shots, and that's when shit gets real. All these punches and kneedrops and wonder the Garvin stomp developed. This dude's stomp was unreal. Are there still people who think the Garvin stomp was a stupid move? Cause those motherfuckers were dumb as shit. Garvin lays in everything full force, and it rules. Savage, meanwhile, eats the beating like a man, bleeding, selling it great, and taking some nasty bumps into the cage. His comeback has him throwing some hard shots of his own, and both guys just come off as total badasses. Fun finishing stretch with ref George Weingroff (I've heard of blind refs, but this is ridiculous) getting bumped just long enough for Garvin to steal his belt, and both guys get to make use of it. Right now, I'm feeling like if I redid my Memphis ballot, this probably would drop, but hell if I know how much. It's still an excellent match, regardless. The quality of the link does this no justice. If you don't have one already, hit up Will about the Memphis set, because it is solid gold.

Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Manabu Soya & Seiya Sanada (AJPW, 3/21/2011)
Requested by ダニエル

OK, so Seki & Oka vs. Soya & Friends is a match-up that's gone one for two for me so far. To be fair, the one I didn't like is empirically great, and I only bashed it because I bash everything that is highly praised, but that's besides the point. The important thing is that I've seen a good take on this match, and I've seen a bad take on this match, so this one could've split either way for me. And....I hated it. Actually, "hate" is a strong term. This match had it's moments, moreso than their February match. But there was also more actively bad than that match, and ranking the three, I feel comfortable putting this last. There isn't a lot of new criticism to offer that you can't find in my reviews of the other two reviews (and other recent-ish puro reviews, since those problems are emblematic of the genre as a whole right now), so en lieu of a traditional review, here's a list of things you can blame for my dislike of what very well may have been another empirically great match.

Blame it on Daisuke Sekimoto.

I've reviewed a disproportionately large number of Sekimoto matches here, and I think I've told the same story in all of them. The relevant part is that I used to not like him, and now I do. In the February match, he was the guy doing the most to keep me from totally hating it, and in the April match, he was a big part of why I totally loved it. I put my faith in him twice, and he rewarded that decision twice. In March, however, he comes up short. This really felt like a regressive performance for him, like this was more of the lame old Sekimoto of a few years ago than the more dynamic wrestler who's developed recently. In matches built around beefy guys hitting each other a lot, Sekimoto can usually be counted upon to be both beefy and hard-hitting, but his offense really lacked it's usual punch, and he just came off as another guy going through the motions. I will give him this much: he busted out a tope near the end of the match that totally caught me by surprise, and I dug that. He wasn't terrible, he wasn't even the worst guy in the match, it's just that he's usually the most reliable, and this time, I couldn't rely on him.

Blame it on Manabu Soya.

He was the worst guy in this match. Without the great layout of the April match to guide him, he's still stuck in February's "let's put on a show" mode, more blatantly than anyone else. And at least in the February match he ate offense really well. Here, with the Big Japan guys falling down on the job offense-wise, he's not going to be bothered to make their stuff look any better. MORE FOREARM EXCHANGES RARRRRRR!!!!

Blame it on Ryota Hama.

Seeing a guy actually dedicated to having a good wrestling match rather than a shitty simulation of what a good wrestling match is supposed to look like kinda spoils me here. I mean, not that I was willing to accept the substitute to begin with, but Hama's presence in the April match makes a world of difference, and gives me all the more reason not to waste my time on this.

In spite of the above, don't blame it on Seiya Sanada.

He's actually the best thing about this match. Noticeably smaller than the three other sides of beef in the ring, he seems to realize he can do something different with his role in the match and runs with it, being all energetic on offense and taking big bumps off of the Big Japan team's power moves. For that matter, don't blame Okabayashi for this, either. He doesn't have a great showing here or anything, but he doesn't embarrass himself like he did in the February match, either. His double team spots with Sekimoto like the double rack and the double German were neat, and I liked him throwing around Sanada a bunch. I think if they had booked a ten-minute Sanada/Okabayashi singles match here instead of a 32-minute tag, I probably would've dug that.

Blame it on the booking.

Seriously, who was the genius who thought it was a good idea to give this turd 32 minutes? I don't care how much Sekimoto has improved, he does not have 32 minutes of material, and neither do any of these other guys, and believe me, it shows. It's not surprising that they failed to book an epic here, but they even failed to book a wannabe epic. There's a little sense of build here, but not much, and this match just takes a very long time to say very, very little. If Punk vs. Hero spent 90 minutes doing what could have been done in 30, this spent 32 minutes doing what could have been done in three, and that feels like a far bigger crime. The finishing stretch is pretty uninspired, too. Normally, this is the kind of match that will drive me crazy with a shitty, overblown, unearned "epic" final stretch, but here, they switch it up and give me a stretch run so unremarkable that it feels wrong to even call it a stretch run. Again, very little sense of build, and you'd think in 40 minutes they'd have built to something. Instead, the match ends the same way it started: blandly.

Blame it on the crowd.

Outside of Cena/Punk from Money in the Bank, the crowd for the April match might have been the hottest crowd I've seen for a wrestling match in 2011. Again, maybe this spoils me a bit, and I don't expect every match I watch to have a crowd that hot, but man was this crowd every bit as bored as I was by this or what? Dedicate 32 minutes to these guys, and the crowd really doesn't treat it any differently than any other undercard match. Polite applause, scattered bits of cheering for the cool parts...that's it. I don't need a crowd telling me to care about a good match, but they certainly weren't encouraging me to care about this.

Blame me for watching these out of order.

So in the April match, I made note of this bit:

"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."

It's a great "flip the switch" moment, signifying the match kicking into a higher gear than it's predecessors. Well, it turns out they did it first here, only without the ref shoving and bum rushing, and I have to ask myself, is the fact that this spot looks forced and completely out of place here because I had already seen it in the April match, or is it because that match really did it that much better and got that much more mileage out of it? I'm pretty sure it's the latter, but I'll throw it out there for consideration.

Blame it on Savage, Hart, and Garvin.

If you're going to do 21st century strike exchange-heavy fighting spirit puro bullshit, at least lay that shit in. You're giving me literally nothing else. This was downright tame, and the fact that I'm watching it in the shadow of two matches where guys really looked like they were kicking each other's asses, that's not good.

Blame it on the rain.

OK, it's not actually raining, but the weather is pretty dreary, and I think my seasonal affective disorder is starting to creep in. I'm sure that didn't help, but I'm guessing this stunk regardless.

Kendo Nagasaki vs. Greg Valentine (BJW, 7/6/1995)
Requested by Cobra Commander

Well, that's something I wasn't really ever expecting to see. Then again, it's not like Valentine hadn't been in his share of bloody brawls before this one. Yes, folks, this is Greg "The Hammer" Valentine circa 1995 working a Japanese Death Match. Specifically, it's a no-rope barbed wire match, which is actually pretty tame by '95 Big Japan standards, but still not necessarily something I expected The Hammer to show up in. Still, Valentine could go pretty late into his career, and I think he acquits himself fine here. The bigger question mark is Nagasaki, whom I have never really gone out of my way to see before. My findings are...inconclusive. The guy throws hands really well and bleeds a ton. His crowd brawling is really fun, dumping chairs and tables onto Valentine's head. But when he's not on offense, his selling can create some problems. There's a lot of him lying around on the mat, not so much selling as awkwardly looking around for the next move he has to take. There's a Valentine elbowdrop with an extended windup that's especially frustrating. Still, the rest of the match is an entertaining brawl. It passes my first major test for barbed-wire matches - do wrestlers suddenly gain the ability to resist Irish whips - with flying colors, as they forego that move entirely and mostly try to just push each other into the wire. Also, Greg taking it to the mat early to avoid dealing with the wire altogether was a lot of fun. And the finishing stretch, built around a race to piledrive your opponent onto the chair, was brutal and well-executed, with the actual piledriver finish being fittingly nasty. All in all, I got a kick out of this despite it's more flawed moments.

Kengo Mashimo vs. YOSHIYA (K-Dojo, 6/12/2008)
Requested by Brandon-E

Somebody who was watching Kaientai Dojo in this period more regularly than I is going to have to explain YOSHIYA to me, because as it stands, I don't know that I'm really equipped to review this properly. I guess the big question is is this guy a comedy act, or am I actually supposed to take this seriously. Because if he's a comedy act...well, he's not an especially funny one, but the match at least makes sense. If not, he is a spectacularly shitty wrestler who kills this thing dead within seconds of it getting out of the gate. Basically, he is a really schlubby looking guy who gets booked as a super-powered badass, and it just takes me out of the match immediately. And I do mean immediately - the first spot of the match is a really overblown test of strength that YOSHIYA wins handily despite Mashimo being built like a brick shithouse and YOSHIYA being built like me if I let myself go a bit more. And there's a lot more nonsense where that came from. He also sells really weirdly. I don't know if I can properly describe it. When Mashimo hits him, he sort of groans loudly and starts staggering a little and staring wide-eyed off into space. Mashimo does look really good here, and at this point, he really strikes me as someone who had all the tools, but just needed actual good opponents to use them against, and he sure as Hell wasn't getting that here. I'll give YOSHIYA this much: he did work really stiff here. At least they gave the asskicker gimmick to a guy who could actually kick ass convincingly. But everything else about it...yeah, I'm not entirely sure this isn't just some joke that I'm not getting.

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