Segunda Caida

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yoshiaki Fujiwara's Power is Made Perfect in Weakness

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Antonio Inoki NJPW 5/20/87-GREAT

Another previously unseen HH gem from Max Lanicault. These guys have two of my favorite matches of the entire 1980's. This isn't at that level, but it is another example of their great chemistry. The early parts of the match are fun bits of grappling mixed in with bursts of temper. They grapple, and every once in a while pop each other in the face. My favorite example of that is Fujiwara doing a MUGA style headscissors counter and cuffing Inoki hard in the ear. The finish run is pretty neat, it starts with Inoki escaping a knee bar and bounding off the mat into an enzigiri. Fujiwara is stunned but still able to counter a suplex into a Fujiwara armbar. Finish is pretty cool with Inoki hitting a back suplex and then stomping the shit out of the back of Fujiwara's head, add a couple of enzigiri's and Fujiwara gets stunned enough to get pinned. I liked it conceptually, but I was hoping for more of a finish run, it felt a little abrupt especially considering how amazing their finishes usually are. Very happy this showed up though, and very cool to see.



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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Top 30 Thursday - Mid-South #23. Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase (Street Fight), 7/29/83

This is the first of the trifecta of legendary Dibiase/Duggan Mid-South brawls, and it really hints at the greatness to come. This is pretty much my favorite kind of match, just short and to the point, tons of asskicking, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. It's sloppy as hell and that sloppiness only adds to the match. Not every punch lands, not every spot is clean, and that just helps make things feel more chaotic than normal. This is just a couple of sweaty dudes in jeans, choking each other with their hands and torn shirts, whipping each other with belts, smacking each other in the ribs with a chair, missing elbows, winging punches that alternate between hitting face, missing face, awkwardly hitting collarbones, etc. Everybody can make time to watch this.

BEST OF THE 80'S Results

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

If It Weren't for Fit Finlay My Dear, With You I'd Gladly Stay

Fit Finlay vs. Killer Nikkles, TCW Arkansas

ER: This was a really great match worked a little differently than most of the Finlay indie run. A lot of those matches have been early Finlay offense leading to a knee injury spot, followed by Finlay selling for most of the match and working occasional offense into the match. This match started with Finlay beating the shit out of Nickels, and continuing to beat the shit out of Nickholtz. I had never heard of/seen Nichols before, but he had a good showing here. He was a big guy (not just indy big, either; He was a tall guy with a good build), and his bits of offense looked really nice (especially a mean big boot while Finlay was on the apron). But the most important thing is that he could take a beating nicely, as Finlay was waiting to dish a beating. All of Finlay's combos looked great (I love his nasty short-arm clothesline into arguably the best elbow drop in da biz today), and he really laid everything in rough here (wouldn't be shocked to hear of Nikkuhls' ruptured spleen after the bombs away butt splash). Probably my favorite thing about it was it really highlighted how awesome Finlay is about not letting opponents rest on their laurels mid-match. Nikkulz is taking too long to get up? Finlay stomps his knuckles. Neekkolz in a loose abdominal stretch? Finlay starts working it and actively make it mean something (trying to kick off ropes, trying to grab his own arm to counter the leverage - something I had never seen done before but made all the sense in the world), and really made things seem more special than they could have been. Match also had some great false finishes which had me fooled. Great match, well worth 12 minutes of your time (****NOTE: Match starts around the 12 minute mark of that youtube link up above).

PAS: Like Eric said, this was a great example of Finlay as an action wrestler. You don't think of him as a workrate guy, but he is great at always giving you something interesting to look at. I also dug Doink finally getting his revenge for his mid 90's Austrian loss. Giant clown shoe as a weapon is pretty great. I don't think I have ever seen Finlay work this kind of 90s WWF heavy interference match. He times everything really well, and you get the maximum out of each shmozz spot



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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 8/18/12

1. Lady Apache/Princesa Blanca/Princesa Sugehit vs. Goya Kong/Dark Angel/Luna Magica

These 6 are really good so it's no shock that this match delivered. And it warms my heart that Goya Kong is so over, the fans really go nuts when she tags in. Her working arm drag, arm twist, arm wrench, arm wringer spots with Blanca was hypnotic and awesome. It was like some weird dance that got cut from "Beat It". And I was drunk.

2. Mistico II/Atlantis/La Mascara vs. Ultimo Guerrero/Dragon Rojo Jr./Euforia

Now this was just super fun. Great showing by new Mistico, and an awesome showing by Euforia (who I suppose is going to be the Averno in this relationship) and UG. Euforia and UG bumped wildly all over the place and set up new Mistico very nicely to look spectacular. And boy were there a couple spectacular moments, including another awesome ran from the ring to the floor, which saw UG vault Mistico over his shoulders, over the top rope, into doing a rana on poor Euforia on the floor (who again, sticks the catch awesomely and continues vaulting up my rankings). One of my favorite things about Mistico originale was how high he would bump for everything. He would get insane height on backdrops and bumps to the floor and press slams and all sorts of stuff, and always do really great belly flop bumps as he came back to earth. Lee has started trying to bump that way and it kinda works for him. There was a great press slam spot on the floor with UG pressing him into the guard rail and Mistico spilling out all nastily (I do love press slam spots though). Also there was some really well done team tension with Rojo and UG. both of them want to do their corner offense on a upside down opponent, they argue, UG pie faces him (which I foolishly thought looked too "real" to be part of the match, like Rojo was just in the way and UG got pissed and acted unprofessionally and pulled rank), and then when UG is doing his headstand buttsplash Rojo runs over and shoves him over the ropes. It all looked really awesome and was a great example of team miscommunication adding to a match. Well worth checking this one out.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 8/11/12

1. Ultimo Guerrero/Dragon Rojo Jr. vs. Atlantis/Diamante Azul

I really like the opening section with Atlantis and Rojo. As many of you know, a major problem with CMLL main events the last couple years has been them rushing through the first two falls in 3 total minutes to get to a your move/my move 3rd. But here the first fall gets some good time with Azul pairing off with UG and Atlantis pairing with Rojo. I *loved* the Atlantis/Rojo pairing getting to work some nice engaging mat segments. Rest of the match was OK. I liked Azul more when he was Metro. He was a youngish tecnico that would bust out some cool spots, and now it seems like they have him working more as veteran maestro...but he isn't a veteran maestro. So now he's just kinda more boring. UG and Atlantis always match up great (I don't think anybody makes Atlantis' rolling monkey flip look better than UG. His bumps to the floor are always majestic), and Atlantis just owns the 3rd. He has a couple minute run that is just pure awesome and shows yet another luchador who should own a "Life Begins at 50" shirt. 50 years old and he starts with a rad low and fast crossbody, and then rolls through a few different roll-up combos that look really cool, smooth, fluid, graceful, etc. Match did not blow me away but had plenty of cool moments and was fine for a big tag main event.

2. Ephesto/Mephisto/Euforia vs. Mistico/Valiente/Angel de Oro

So this is the debut of Dragon Lee as the new Mistico. The results were...mixed. The crowd actually seemed way into him, so that is a plus. I do not follow much lucha "news", as in attendance or booking decisions, or that kind of thing. Why was this done? Why did CMLL resurrect a supremely popular character a few years after his peak? Do they pass him off as the original? Do they play it off like a guy getting to play James Bond for the first time? In 20 years will people have their favorite Misticos? I go back and forth on my favorite Bonds all the time. Rachel likes some combination of the aloofness of Roger Moore and and look of Connery, I like all Bonds but Brosnan, with an odd fondness for Dalton.

The easy Dragon Lee/Mistico joke to make is that they needed someone who would accurately replace Mistico, so went with a guy who would blow a couple complicated armdrags and botch a springboard move per match. That being said, I like the choice of Lee as Mistico. I still need all the intentions explained to me as to WHY they resurrected Mistico, but he seems like a good choice. He's a risky flier who takes a lot of chances, and because of that will blow some spots. But when he spots hit holy GOD can they look fucking killer. In this match he hits an unreal rana to the floor that had me rewinding over and over again. Euforia was on the floor, Lee bounced off the opposite ropes, ran up the ropes and came vaulting over the top into a rana. It looked insane. Euforia jumped up a lot in my rankings as well by catching that rana like it was nothing. Later in the match Lee hit a springboard shooting star press to the floor. Nuts. Valiente and Ephesto are two of my favorites, so seeing them working all fast and reckless is always a treat, and Oro is a guy who has grown on me a lot over the last couple years. This match was all sorts of fun and the crowd seemed pretty hot for the debut. It had some botchy moments but so what, I would recommend watching it (even if you just fast forward looking for the rana spot!).

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The King Could Go Right Insane, Cause He Can't Buy The Time

Jerry Lawler/Brian Christopher v. Precious/Derrick King WFW 6/2/12-EPIC

Derrick King travels the south ruling it at professional wrestling. He is a master at the old school Memphis style wrestling match, and here he is working opposite Brian Christopher and the GOAT Jerry Lawler and it is awesome. Precious is a black guy working a purple wigged exotico gimmick, and is a fun stooge with pretty good punches. Christopher looked good too, although the money stuff was obviously Lawler v. King. They square off early with King taking a Rock level crazy bump on a stunner. They have a longer section in the end which feels like a classic Lawler v. Dundee style matchup. DK is throwing hands and Lawler gets fired up right back. Finish is pretty great with Precious smashing Christopher with a not in 2012 chair shot. A contender for MMOTY, Memphis MOTY.

ER: I think this is a legit contender for MOTY, not just Memphis MOTY. This may be the best Brian Christopher match ever (this or the '93 Jarrett match), the Lawler/King segments are somehow even better in practice than you would assume they'd be on paper. One of their jab exchanges was one of the greatest punch exchanges I have ever seen. Every person in the match has a battle to see who can take a better looking backdrop. Precious wrestles exactly how Vicki Lawrence wrestled in the Mama's Family wrestling episode, but with better punches. This match is just awesome, amazing stuff

Jerry Lawler v. Dutch Mantell NWA-ME 7/1/12-SKIPPABLE

Not much of a match, Dutch may not have much left. We get a long monolauge from Lawler to start where he talks up how he and Dutch are 244-244 in records (it is a Lawler shtick, he did the same thing with Dundee), and how this would be the ultimate tie breaker. Match doesn't come close to living up to that lofty set up. Dutch spends a lot of the match putting on an armbar, until we get a big schmozz ending with the fake Sheik manager. A couple of Lawler punches, but not much else.


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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Just Call Me Pirata Morgan, I'm Sure To Be The Lucky One When Destiny Assigns Wisdom

Pirata Morgan, Herodes, & El Hijo del Gladiador vs. Perro Aguayo, El Satanico, & Ringo Mendoza EMLL 12/17/1989 - SKIPPABLE

There is no reason for a match with this line-up to be this mediocre. Pirata vs. Satanico is a match-up that should tear down the house, and they were good, but a big step down from what you would expect. Really a step down even from lesser match-ups. Everyone else was just kinda there, save for Gladiador, who was outright shitty down the stretch with his "comical" selling. Yeah, this isn't much of a C+A entry, but there's really not a whole lot to say about this one.

Pirata Morgan, Arandu, & El Verdugo vs. Super Astro, Panterita del Ring, & Blue Demon Jr. Monterrey 1991 - EPIC

Now, this one I do have a few things to say about, not the least of which is "holy shit, this match is motherfucking AWESOME". This match had a little bit of everything: a great first fall built around the rudos destroying the technicos and rubbing it in their faces, a second fall built around more high energy technico offense and comedy routines, and a disgustingly violent third fall where Super Astro spews a load of plasma all over himself while he and Arandu try to kill each other. I don't think I've ever actually seen Arandu before, but he was really good in this, possibly the best guy on his team, which isn't a small feat, even if he was the one most heavily featured. He has a great look with his caveman singlet, tasseled boots, and giant poofy hair. He also seems to be working a forehead-based offense, as he spends at least half the match either punching Astro in the head, clubbing Astro in the head, headbutting Astro (which looks extra cool with his giant hair), or biting Astro in the head, which pays dividends in the end. This is really Super Astro's match, though. He doesn't have a big dive, which is a little surprising (though Panterita del Ring - the young Safari/Ephesto - comes through on that end), but it does show the full complement of other stuff he can do - his bumping, his brawling, his selling, his slick offense, his characterization, and in case I haven't mentioned it already, his blood. God, does he bleed a lot in this. There is a great shot of the mat at one point that looks like a Pollack. But yeah, this is a great match if you want a sense of Astro's depth as a worker, as they mostly ground the flier, and he still looks terrific. Pirata is mostly here to act as Arandu's heavy, it would seem, but he is very good in that role. He looks effortlessly cool as he is kneeing Panterita in the balls is the first fall, and then working bumbling rudo comedy in the second where he accidentally shakes Blue Demon Jr.'s hand and makes this big surprised face when he realizes what he's doing, but he actually transitions between two extremes of character very smoothly, so it never seems out of place. Also have to give some props to the crowd, who took dead aim on Arandu's head with their trash after he fouls Astro leading to the win. There were at least two soda cups that landed square on his noggin during the closing moments of the match and the post-match stuff. I was genuinely impressed.

I should note that Tim Evans - who uploaded this match and a lot of the other matches I've reviewed for this project - made a slight error here. The video linked above only shows the first two falls of the match, but the third fall is in another video labeled "Atlantis, Super Astro & Lizmark vs. Arandu, Pirata Morgan & Angel Blanco". Just wanted to point that out in case anyone else - like me - got confused by that. Fortunately, his mistake is an easy one to work around, and considering he's making a match this good readily available to us, it's not like we'd have much room to complain, anyway. Thanks, Tim!

Pirata Morgan, El Hijo del Pirata Morgan & Eterno vs. Angelico, Veneno, & Toscano IWRG 2/9/2012 - SKIPPABLE

The first couple of minutes of this, entrances included, are actually worth checking out. Veneno's entrance is hilariously goofy. I didn't realize until after the fact that he was supposed to be a joke to begin with (more on that in a second), and I have watched enough AAA to just take it for granted that this guy I haven't seen since he was one of Pierroth's cronies in CMLL is now working a babyface Benny Hinn gimmick, as he places his hand on the foreheads of fans as he walks to the ring. There is one point where he comes up to a fat chick in the first row that everyone around her is pointing to, and it looks like a scene from Magic Mike or something. Then he puts his hand on her forehead, and she puts her hand on his forehead, and he ends up being driven back by the power...Antonio Pena would've wept. Or came. Or both. Toscano's entrance is like what John Cena's entrance must look like to people who hate John Cena. The camera aggressively zooms in and out, he grabs his junk with one hand and waves the other in the air like he just doesn't care, he plays air guitar, he signs the cross on his chest before grabbing his junk again...and then Hijo del Pirata charges down the ramp and punches him in the face. And I'm surprised Pirata didn't spend the rest of the match weeping openly over how proud he is of his son. So the first few minutes have some fun, nasty brawling in them from the rudos, and it's looking pretty great, but then Veneno decides "Hey, you know what this violent brawl really needs? Me working the match like an Osaka Pro comedy undercarder." Veneno is bad. Veneno is really, really bad. I'm at kind of a loss to describe his badness accurately. Apparently, he is working some kind of comedy gimmick, and when it doesn't involve televangelist healing techniques, it involves no-selling literally every bit of offense that comes your way while making the shittiest "funny" faces imaginable and often bursting into laughter. Before too long, any sense that you're watching an actual wrestling match is gone, and you are just watching some guys shitty slapstick comedy routine. Seriously, Kevin Steen would complain about Veneno detracting from his match with bad comedy routines. And shock of shocks, Angelico is still absolutely terrible, too. Toscano was pretty game, and the rudos were all giving it their best effort, but there was no saving this from Veneno, let alone Veneno AND Angelico. This felt like a match where Pirata potatoing Veneno for ten minutes while his son and Eterno chanted "RESPETO!" at him would have been perfectly acceptable.


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Your Adversary Yoshiaki Fujiwara Prowls Around Like A Roaring Lion, Seeking Someone to Devour

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Super Tiger UWF 1/16/85-EPIC

This is a previously unavailable HH I picked up from Max Lanicault and it is another classic from this series. I think these two work so well together because of what they do different. Fujiwara is going to take you down and rip at your extremities, Sayama is going to throw fast nasty kicks and punches and knock you silly. Both guys can hang in the others world, Fujiwara throws some very cool punch combos in the corner, Sayama counters some on the mat, still they want to get the match where they need it to be. Sayama tries to punish Fujiwara when he gets it to the ground by slipping out and landing huge jumping knees on his prone body, Fujiwara gets some very nasty throws when he can get inside of Sayama's kicks including a cool shoot piledriver. More then almost any other great wrestling matchup, this is a battle of gameplans. This version has Fujiwara coming out ahead. Sayama comes very close to snoozing him out, but finally Fujiwara is able to grab hold. The finishing submission is awesome, we get to see Fujiwara work through every step of the hold, before finally snapping the elbow which causes Tiger to very quickly tap, the submission was a great combo of fast and slow, much like the whole match.



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Sunday, August 05, 2012

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 11/5/95

1. Nasty Boys vs. Buddy Valentine/Johnny Swinger

I did not realize Swinger worked WCW this early. And here he had a mullet and mustache!!! That means for essentially 6 years in WCW, whenever a worker went to management and said "Hey, I really feel like stiffing a guy," then WCW management would say, "No problem! We'll give you Swinger!" And the Nasty Boys were guys who would stiff up jobbers occasionally. Although they don't really stiff up Valentine or Swinger here. They squash 'em good, but no real taking advantage of, which is what everybody watching at home (me) wanted.

2. The Shark vs. Vern Henderson

Rachel totally guessed that Tenta would be in the next match. She is fully immersed in WCW B-Sides now. It is a part of her. Tenta looked good here and call me crazy but I thought he looked cool with the balding up top/ponytail in the back look. Most human beings don't look cool with this look. Match was super short.

3. DDP vs. Cobra

Did anybody predict DDP becoming a massive star 2-3 years after this? Here he looks like an weird old dude with annoying hair and a bad singlet/tights combo, and 2 years later he was an old dude with annoying hair and tight jeans...but a totally deserving gigantic star. Just looking at these two, I would have guessed Jeff Farmer being a way bigger star. But then again I have no idea what I'm talking about. I thought Cobra had a cool look when I was 13. I love after this match when Craig Pittman comes out to distract Cobra and start a feud. The thing is, I don't remember ever seeing Cobra win a match EVER, so it's odd for a guy who is a strongly booked TV presence to come out and start menacing a consistent loser. Seems a bit like piling on. Like the Yankees bunting and doing a double steal against the Astros in the 9th inning of a game they're winning 9-1.

4. Steve/Scott Armstrong/Tim Horner vs. Brian Pillman/Arn Anderson/Ric Flair

These kind of matches are probably the best thing possible about these sets. You have three guys who nobody has ever seen take a pin on TV, vs. 3 of the bigger stars of the 90s, and 75% of the match is the Horsemen showing ass for Armstrongs/Horner. I don't know if it's because hierarchies aren't as strong today or the egos of the guys on top are just that much bigger that they don't want to look weak, but these type of matches just don't exist any more on TV. I think I was so confused by the Armstrongs running roughshod over Arn and Pillman that it took me like 3 minutes to realize Tim Horner was not in fact Bobby Eaton. I'm pretty sure for 3 minutes I was just non-stop talking about how I didn't realize Eaton ever wore trunks this late into his career. "I don't remember the last time I saw Eaton NOT wearing tights, you know? I assumed he had hideously scarred legs, but they're just normal super white Eaton legs you know? you know?!?!" Then Tim Horner came in and threw an arm drag and I was like Ohhhhhhhhh. Because only in wrestling can you have a guy with the worst haircut possible, and have there be another guy in the same room with the exact same haircut.

Anyway, the match was fucking boss because it's not the Armstrongs and Tim Horner getting squashed by Kevin Sullivan and Hugh Morrus, it's the Armstrongs and Tim Horner getting to squash the motherfucking Horsemen while the Horsemen have to desperately cheat to scrape out a victory, so who couldn't cheer like mad while watching it!?

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Finlay has Traveled Far and Wander Wide

Finlay v. Davey Richards AAW 7/21/12

With Finlay returning to the WWE this is possibly his last wrestling match ever. It is rough to end such a great career with a fucking Davey Richards match, but it is a testament to his greatness that he was able to get something pretty damn great out of Davey. Richards isn't a guy without positive attributes, he works stiff, will take big bumps and is a pretty good athlete. Finlay takes what he does well and doesn't indulge his nonsense. Match starts with some very cool basic mat wrestling, with Finlay grabbing tight holds and Richards keeps active trying to counter. Richards goes for his running kick on the apron and Finlay grabs his leg and dumps him on his face. Then Finlay kicks his ass like Davey was chanting RESPECT during the undercard, forearms to the throat, uppercuts, knees to the nose, the whole Finlay catalogue. Fit misses a corner charge and Richards takes over and it was mostly fine, although he did do a crappy fast kick combo. I did like Richards diving headbutt, which didn't look like any I had seen before for a derivative guy it was pretty unique. The finish was pretty cool too, Richards runs at Finlay after a rollup and gets totally wasted with a knee lift, Finlay cracks him a couple of more times, goes for a Tombstone, but Richards wiggles out and locks on a kneebar which Finlay does a Regal style quick tap. Very good match, probably the best Richards match I have ever seen, and a surprisingly effective swan song for Finlay.



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