Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report 2/16/13

These matches originally happened on the 2/8/13 Arena Mexico show.

1. Demus 3:16/Pequeno Violencia//Pequeno Olimpico vs. Bam Bam/Fantasy/Astral

Hey! A TV appearance from Fantasy! Demus vs. Bam Bam is one of the modern great lucha match-ups, so I always get excited when they're opposite each other. Demus' charisma is a cut above the rest of the minis division and it's a shame he didn't get to become a real boy the other year. Match is good junk food. No substance but goes down pleasantly. Fantasy is always good for some fun (his springboard moonsault while his opponent is hung up in the ropes is pretty nutty), Astral at least finally works with a shirt on to spare me from his topographical back, Bam Bam crashes and burns pretty spectacularly (though not as good as Demus), and the ending made me jump forward in my chair. Demus has Bam Bam up in a muscle buster, parades him around the ring, and Bam Bam wriggles free and drops straight down, catching Demus legs at the last minute and rolling him up. Sounds normal, but the way it looked flipped me out. Bam Bam just sheer vertical dropped, head straight down, and tucked at the very last minute possible. I thought he was just going to get spiked and die. Dude is crazy.

2. Namajague/Misterioso Jr./Okumura vs. Rey Cometa/Stuka Jr./Hijo Del Fantasma

Short but really fun match to build up to the eventual hair/mask match. Namajague is his awesome self here, blowing mist and ripping Stuka's mask, throwing nasty back elbows and taking a massive monkey flip bump on the rampway. Fantasma hits his really cool running ramp-to-ring clothesline and a massive flip dive. Cometa gets spectacularly bullied by Misterioso and does his great flip bump off a stiff clothesline. Misterioso beats him up good and it all builds to some beautiful ranas and the tornillo you want to see. Okumura looked great here, too working his low-rent SUWA/Dinamitas style. I dig all these guys.

3. Ultimo Guerrero/Terrible/Tiger vs. Atlantis/Rush/Shocker

This was alright but also was used to build up the UG/Atlantis mask match, which is a MASSIVE mask match right there. The UG resurgence these past couple years has been really awesome. He's a guy who was one of my absolute favorites in 2000-2001, and my the middle of the decade he kinda personified all my least favorite parts of lucha. So it's nice to see him so energized and awesome again. Speaking of guys who were amongst my favorites 12 years ago, Shocker looks soooo sloooow these days. He looks to be getting in better shape than last year, but he still tries to do all his old spots, just so much slower. Terrible is fun here slapping around Rush and I know I'm way down to see UG and Atlantis tear it up. UG levels him at one point in the match with a brutal baseball slide dropkick (basically did a Fuerza bump dropkick) that sent Atlantis flying. Best "through the ropes" dropkick since the Owen Hart/1-2-3 Kid KOTR match. I'm game for two dudes in their 40s bleeding and dying for their masks.

Also was I napping or did CMLL rock una caida matches this week?

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Worldwide 12/25/99

So what kinda program did WCW spit out on Jesus' birthday of my 18th year? A lot of collect call commercials apparently. At this point Worldwide was 40 minutes of recap with a couple (at least exclusive) matches tacked on at the end.

1. Mona vs. Brandi Alexander

I was a huge fan of Mona's WCW ring gear. The blue suede short dress/singlet was an awesome look, and wrestling barefoot is completely insane and badass. Match is about 80% Alexander, who has a couple nice suplexes and a bunch of soft kicks. Mona is a great seller so it never got too dull, but it wasn't great. Mona has great charisma so the match is at least decent, but the structure didn't really lend itself to greatness. Mona wins with a cool roll-up.

2. Silver King vs. Jushin Liger

Holy cow I had no idea this match happened. This must have been when Liger was around for the tequila match. I felt like such an idiot during this period, as Liger was one of my favorite wrestlers in the world at this point and when I heard he was going to be on WCW Nitro I was excited all day. I even got my friend Darren to watch (who hadn't watched wrestling in years) promising him that it would be amazing if Liger was involved. And then we got a 4 minute match ending with the tequila bottle. I felt like such a ripe asshole. But apparently Liger worked some other matches while he was over. Tenay must have been having a deceptively stocky orgasm during this as these two are two of the most deceptively stocky motherfuckers in wrestling history. For part of the match these two seemed on a different page, and just when it was starting to get good the match ended. Still, it was 5 minutes of two really good pro wrestlers doing their thing, so it never got anywhere approaching bad. Silver King seemed really focused on keeping his skull cap on, and Scott Hudson was oddly focused on pointing out a possible relation between Silver King and ref Billy Silverman, going way out of his way to call him Billy Silver Man multiple times. I'm sure these two matched up better a couple years later when Silver King had his awesome NJPW run. Worldwide aired from 1 - 2 A.M. on Saturday night in my area, so what an odd thing for someone to have run across on TV after coming home from the bar.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

2013 Lucha Roundup

Hair/Mask vs. Hair Mask!

Namajague/Shiego Okumura vs. Rey Cometa/Stuka Jr. 3/15

ER: So I had been pestering Phil about checking out some Namajague as he's consistently been my favorite "new" wrestler. I mean there have been other discoveries over the past couple years. Terry Rudge has been a recent obsession, but that stuff is also 30 years old. All of my other current favorite guys (Mark Henry, Arkangel, etc.) have been my favorites for quite some time. Namajague is a new guy in that sense, that I have an actual modern wrestler who I can add to my list of people to scour youtube for. So I've been building him up to Phil as completely insane and awesome, and I've been on a semi-roll recommending stuff to Phil lately (everybody needs to listen to the new Autre Ne Veut album. Concert of the year, hottest 1994 R&B jamz ever.) so we both dove into this one without having seen it prior.

And it delivered beyond the degree that I was expecting it to deliver. CMLL Arena Mexico main event style kinda blows. You know that. I know that. It's a dead horse. Any matches that work are usually in spite of the style. But whatever this works and it's really fun. Namajague looks awesome in it, bumping like mad all over the place and throwing stiff clotheslines. Cometa does a bunch of insane and spectacular stuff, spins around a bunch really quick, takes an amazing flip bump off a clothesline, etc. Okumura splats him into the floor with a giant cross body, and Namajague gets buried into the wall by a bullet tope. There's plenty of stuff that makes this work so it's kinda pointless for me to gripe about what I would have wanted instead. I got dumb bumps, crazy spots, and Okumura looking even more like SUWA with his head shaved.

PS: Solid entertaining match in a style I am ambivalent towards. Cometa has some really crazy dives, I remember losing my shit the first time I saw Hector Garza do a tornillo and Cometa spins around like an Ice Capader. Stuka wasn't much here, but the rudo team was pretty great, I am in on Namajague although I am bummed he lost his awesome mask, there was a weird spot where he eats a shining wizard by doing the splits which felt like something Eric Corvis and the card trick guy should steal for Beyond wrestling. Okumura broke out an awesome brainbuster and awkward awesome plancha, he was working like a guy losing his hair Wanted another kick out or two, and there was some slow spots in the Segunda but this was good stuff

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Low Can a Punk Get, How Low Can Daisuke Ikeda Get

Daisuke Ikeda v. Alexander Otsuka BattlArts 4/26/99-EPIC

Awesome match, probably the most off the wall legendary BattlArts match. First move is Otsuka landing a coconut headbutt which opens up Ikeda. A couple of minutes later Ikeda tries a Space Flying Tiger drop which had the look of the first and only time he tried that, Otsuka comes back with a rope walk armdrag and a giant swing, before they calm down and start killing each other with kicks and suplexes. Otsuka also has some beautiful take downs and submission attempts, he is one of the flashiest and trickest mat wrestlers in history. Finish run has all the neck compression and face kicking you want and all the early lunacy really adds to the deadly seriousness of the finish

Daisuke Ikeda/Takeshi Rikio/Takeshi Morishima/Takashi Sugiura v. Vader/Mike Modest/Donovan Morgan/2 Cold Scorpio NOAH 3/25/02-FUN

One of those matches which looks a lot better on paper then in execution. You have a murderers row of vicious fuckers in this match, but we mostly get the APW guys running through their comedy spots. Ikeda is pretty much a non entity here as was Scorpio, and that is the pair of guys I wanted to see hook up. Finish run is fun as Vader mercs Sugiara, but this was pretty throwaway.


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My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Worldwide 4/16/95

1. Meng vs. Bill Payne

So I called out Meng recently for being a shitty squash match worker, and he still sorta is. But here he was really fun. Maybe something happened between '95 and '97. I need to do a Meng depth chart to see when he started to get lame. His squashes are usually boring because he really has little dynamic offense. He throws a few chops, then he goes to Tongan death grip. But here in 1995 he has tons of offense. He throws these awesome knees from the clinch and hits a beautiful piledriver. He also does a couple cool superkicks that are less superkick, and more front kick right under the chin. They looked great. He also dished out an awesome running clothesline that he doesn't normally do, and in general worked as stiff as people imagine Meng works. We'll figure this out together.

2. Jim Duggan vs. Sledgehammer McGill

Holy shit Sledgehammer McGill?! I've never seen or heard of this guy before, and he's a pretty unassuming black 90s jobber (Steiners reject singlet, flat top), but he bumps like a freak for Duggan by dumping himself on his dome a couple different times on Duggan clotheslines, leaning way into Duggan forearms, even bumping over the top to the floor for one of them! Match went less than 2 minutes, but I want more Sledgehammer the bump freak!

3. Frank Andersson vs. (Not Thee) Manny Fernandez

Well I have never heard of Andersson, who looks like Sting/Tom Howard/Klaus Kinski/Rutger Hauer and apparently won the bronze at the 1984 Olympics in Greco-Roman. They talk during the match about him getting a title shot but I have zero memories of ever seeing him. He's kind of like a Glacier before Glacier, complete with blonde crewcut. But instead of karate offense it's all cool wrestling takedowns and suplexes. They're all rehearsed and really set up, but Manny got dumped on his head a few times by cool leg trips and an awesome deadlift belly to belly to end it. Did this guy ever work New Japan? I'd like to see him vs. Hashimoto.

4. Big Bubba Rogers vs. Kenny Kendall

Poor KK only gets a minute here. Poor guy had a good build and was as tall as Bubba, but it looks like he only ever got job duty for a few years in the 90s. How are there guys like Scott Putski or Jim Powers that get roster spots but guys like Kendall don't get a shot? I mean, none of them are any good, so why not Kenny? Why are there people like Frank!?

5. Marcus Bagwell/The Patriot vs. Dino Casanova/Romeo Valentino

Dino and Romeo were known as The Cream Team on the indy circuit. Ewwww. Oddly enough, The Cream Team was the name of an amateur gay porn Bagwell appeared in several years before this. This was 2 minutes and Romeo/Dino bumped like crazy for Stars & Stripes. I think if this was actually given 8 minutes it would have been a good match. As it was, Bagwell threw a nice dropkick, Patriot's top rope shoulderblock looked good, Dino did a full Jannetty bump off a clothesline. It was a fine squash.

6. Alex Wright vs. Arn Anderson

Boy, this finely illustrates one of the most obnoxious things about televised wrestling. The commercial break before the two guys even enter the ring, I already know the finish. As they cut to commercial after the Stars & Stripes match, Tony goes "AA vs. Alex Wright for Arn's TV Title is coming up next, and remember, TV title matches are a 10 minute time limit." I try and bet Rachel all of the money ever that this match is going to a time limit draw, but I show my hand too early and she doesn't take the bet. Back from break and they're all laying it on thick. Penzer is announcing the time limit which has clearly never happened in any other match you've ever seen that DIDN'T go full time limit, Heenan is saying "I don't think Wright could even last 3 minutes with the champ, let alone 10!" while Wright is walking to the ring. Just dogshit. Match isn't good, either, blatantly obvious finish or not. Wright seems reallllly nervous in there. It's kind of crazy. I don't recall many times seeing a wrestler and thinking, "Man this guy looks scared he's going to break something in there," but Wright seemed completely crossed up from go. You know his little trademark armlock/cartwheel mat transfer? Well they go to that, he slips, they start over, he trips on the kip-up spot and falls on his back, Arn stays with it, Wright gets up to cartwheel and ends up wheelkicking Arn across the face, Wright falls again, etc. Just unfortunate. But Arn tries his damndest and continues being a pro throughout. Who knows how much of an HBK shitfit would have occurred if he were in Arn's boots. Arn looks just fine here, doing all his cool offense that only guys like Finlay seem to do (scraping boot laces across the face, stomping hands). But holy lord the whole match is "HOW MUCH TIME IS LEFT ON THE CLOCK!?!?!?" and then Penzer does the 2 minute warning when the match is about 5:30 in and Wright botches the ending by hitting his finisher at the 10 second mark meaning Arn had to kick out instead of let the time expire. Just a total mess. To their credit the fans at Orlando Studios were going crazy with the time countdown so it worked to a certain degree live, obviously. But boy this couldn't have been more disappointing.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Worldwide 4/9/95

1. Alex Wright vs. Mark Starr

Well this was one damn fine 3 minutes of wrestling right here. Crowd is way into Alex Wright and Mark Starr is a guy who is good at adapting to just about any style. It's crazy to think that Wright is just 19 here. When I was 19 I was working on beating Ocarina of Time for the 3rd time (this time I'm gonna find ALL the heart pieces!). Wright leans way into a stiff shoulderblock by Starr and Starr returns the favor by leaning chin first into a dropkick. Starr dishes a couple cool elbow varieties in the corner and dumps Wright with a back suplex and nice neck breaker and suddenly I realize this is the most offense I've ever seen Starr do in WCW. Starr is really good at getting into position for Wright's kicks,  charging out of the corner and swinging low on a missed clothesline and turning around to catch a heel kick to the chin.

Awesome interview segment with Macho Man and Sting goofing around with Mean Gene on a C-show. They're pushing a match against Avalanche/Big Bubba but they just spend the whole time chopping each other and behaving like those old roasts where the Rat Pack would just drunkenly make inside jokes for an hour. Mean Gene calls Macho "gregarious" and Macho yells at him "Don't you ever call me gregarious again!" The whole thing was a riot.

2. Nasty Boys vs. Southern Posse

You know, people give Knobbs a hard time for being reckless and stiff when people don't expect it, but   that always seems to overshadow how awful Jerry Saggs can look in the ring sometimes. Still this is 2 minutes and Southern Posse are always game to job and even though I'm not sure they're actually any good I always look forward to seeing them.  Saggs does a nasty pump handle slam, Knobbs throws some reckless punches and elbows that look awesome, and then Saggs finishes the match with the absolute worst top rope elbow drop I have ever seen. It was stunning. He spends all his time doing a Macho Man elbow twirl as he's falling, but then he lands on his feet first and then just drops onto the guy. It was the worst and completely amazing all at once. Bobby and Tony are dying laughing, not even able to finish a "well it's not pretty but it's...effective?" sentence.

3. Avalanche vs. John Crystal

Not much of a match, pretty short, but I love Tenta as obese heel Ricky Jay. Fans were into him too, really booing him but also cheering him when he would do big moves. One segment in the middle saw him do a big elbow drop which heard a collective "Ooooohhh!" from the crowd, followed by big boos as he hammed it up. Then he did a big leg drop to more "Oooooooohhhhhssss!!" from the crowd and then flexed afterwards to get louder boos. Then immediately did an awesome big splash that saw tons of people noticeably jump out of their seats to cheer for, but then instantly got more booing. Just came off as a really great performer.

4. Johnny B. Badd vs. Rip Sawyer

Another short 2 minute match but Badd had really nice matwork to start, doing a nice headlock takeover and floating into a nice armlock before rolling back into a nice headlock. He also had really great punches here and a nice kneelift. Match ended on a great left hand, and really when you end a match on a punch you better make it look good.

5. Steven Regal/Robert Eaton vs. Brad Armstrong/Tim Horner

Pre match vignettes show Eaton getting training on how to be a classy, distinguished gentleman. This was apparently the first time the Blue Bloods teamed up, and it was a total blast as you probably could have guessed. They get about 9-10 minutes and it's all Regal and Eaton cutting off the ring, with Regal working schtick with the ref while Eaton stiffs up Armstrong in the corner. Eaton really brutalized both Horner and Armstrong in this match, throwing stiff elbows and his expectedly great punches. Horner's hot tag is really impressive with Regal and Eaton both flying around for his nice right hands, but Regal eventually catches him with a shot and Eaton hits a perfect Alabama Jam for the win. I don't know if I've ever seen a finer leg drop off the top.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

WWECW Workrate Report, 7/28/09

1. Tyler Reks vs. Paul Birchill

The rematch!! Were they really trying to get Reks over as "guy who likes extreme sports"? I'm shocked they didn't call him something like Tyler Cortese. And while I'm making shitty MTV Sports jokes, Burchill hits an absolutely SICK knee drop from the top that really is more vicious than any other WWE finisher. Holy shit that looked like it should have caved Reks' chest in. It sucks that it was literally Burchill's first move of the match as nothing will look more spectacular than that. Burchill continues to work over Reks' chest/abdomen with a nice body vice, some kicks, a nasty Saito suplex and his awesome running double knees in the corner. But then once Reks starts making his comebacks I realize that almost all of Reks' big moves (plancha, crossbodies) involve hitting his chest and abdomen really hard against his opponent, and since there was no chance he WASN'T going to hit those moves, it really makes all the cool Burchill body part offense a waste. Reks wins with his nice springboard dropkick, but this was really a 50/50 match where Burchill took his 50 to start and Reks finished with his 50. That's like the worst kind of 50/50 match. After seeing two matches between these guys I know there is a really good match somewhere in there. Last week's was almost it. Paul Burchill at this point is looking like the lost great worker of the last few years. The guy has been working like Regal but with twice as much offense. I doubt the feud will continue after this, though, which is probably for the best as I'd rather see Burchill against other guys.

2. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Bill Baine

Baine was nice enough to already be waiting in the ring for Kozlov. Between Kozlov, Big Zeke and Viscera, WWECW had some of the greatest squash match workers in all of wrestling. The matches are 90 seconds, the jobbers get crushed in fantastic ways, and the moves are cool. It's that easy. Kozlov looks just vicious here, bursting out of the gates with a running boot to Baine's chest, then blasting him with stiff headbutts to the chest and tossing him around with cool dead lifts into fireman's carry slams. Fuck Kozlov looks awesome in these short matches.

It has to be said, but Tommy Dreamer actually knows how to work a suit really well. For a guy with arguably the worst ring gear in WWE (or possibly even of anybody who's ever worked a semi-major program in a semi-major wrestling fed ever), he's backstage talking with Tiffany, and he's rocking the black blazer with conservative but properly fitted button up white shirt, and actual non-douchebag jeans. Blue jeans, white button up, nice blazer. And it's not one of those shitty Affliction-type white shirts and blazer (like the date rape asshole white button up Shelton Benjamin was sporting earlier), but just a nice simple white longsleeve button-up. A classic American look pulled off to perfection by Tommy Dreamer of all people. And the best part was when I was talking on the phone with Phil about it, and he was busy getting ready for a party, and I told him I wouldn't take up much of his time, and then I talked about Tommy Dreamer wearing suits for 7 minutes.

3. Sheamus vs. Goldust

Crowd is absolutely on fire for Goldust right from his entrance here, cheering loudly for him and starting up "Goldust" chants the whole match. And rightfully so as he looks killer here. Every single thing he does looks good, including things that you long accepted would just never look good, like his rope running. When Sheamus tosses 'Dust into the ropes he careens out of control into them and actually somehow makes it look like the ropes are making him bounce back into Sheamus. Rope running is just one of those things we all have to look the other way when it happens as it's almost always going to be goofy and illogical but it's just kind of a thing that exists within this dorky ass form of entertainment we've all become so obsessed with over the years. Goldust pumps his boot right into Sheamus' face as he charges into the corner, and follows it with an epic uppercut. Sheamus catches the next boot and dishes a great body blow and then locks on a cravate as the fans chant for Goldust and well you know this shit is awesome. Goldust makes people care during another resthold and they are jacked during his comeback punches. He also throws a cool yakuza kick that I've not seem him use often. Sheamus gets a little crossed up at the end but we forgive him because he's fairly green at this point (wocka wocka wocka!) but who cares, this is what every 5 minute match wants to be.

4. Christian vs. Zack Ryder

Christian dominates the first few minutes of this and Ryder does a nice enough job just taking offense. He takes offense like kind of a douche, but that really fits with his character I guess. He can't just land like a normal human being, he has to REALLY slap both hands against the mat. Can't just bump off the apron to the floor, has to take an overly dramatic fall and whip his palms into the floor. So of course you know he'll eventually bump the Killswitch like Rock taking a Stunner. He does something I really liked here when Christian went to the top rope, Ryder just ran away across to the opposite corner. It didn't work as Christian immediately jumped down and clotheslined him in the corner, but it's better than guys just aimlessly wandering into a dropkick. This was one of those matches that made people really get into WWECW while it was around. It was 12 solid minutes of nicely executed moves that had good nearfalls and nice believable back and forth. It also featured horrendous Matt Striker commentary, as he would drop gems like "Christian, finding success by employing his trademark offense" which sounds like either a generic sound bite you'd hear Cole repeat 3 times a match on a PS2 wrestling game, or like something an alien would say when he's trying to fit in with humans at a wrestling show. "That one human man certainly damaged the other human's torso yes?" But who cares about how shitty Matt Striker is, when Christian can make it seem like Ryder has a chance of upsetting the champion then you have something that works. And ECW really was delivering something like this almost every week.


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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cassandro Could Show You Everywhere You're Wrong/But He's Never Talking to You Again

Cassandro/Hijo de Pirata Morgan vs. Villano IV/Ray Mendoza Jr. - GREAT

ER: CASSANDRO! is back wrestling after a long layoff, and finally a couple matches of his have started popping back up.

This all starts as Texano Jr./Super Nova  vs. Mendoza/V4, in some sort of show-long mask/hair tag tournament on Mendoza Jr.'s retirement show. Losers advance to the next round and here we are, with both Villanos (Mendoza is the former Villano V but I assume most people reading a specialty column on an obscure lucha star would know that already) beating the hell out of Nova/Texano (posting Nova and hurling chairs, Mendoza dishing some sick punches, and doing more of their classic legdrop/elbow drop double teams). Things really ramp up when V5 accidentally clotheslines V4 over the top (with both spilling out in spectacular ways) before eating great dives from Nova/Texano. V5 goes spilling into chairs and V4 splats on the floor. Back in the ring and V5 is soaking it all in, working over Nova's cut and torn mask with punches, then biting the cut!!! And then spitting out blood!!! But then they lose moments later and....

Cassandro and his partner hit the ring with his partner. This is the finals. Either Pirata loses his mask and Cassandro loses his hair, or Villano 4 loses his mask and Mendoza loses his hair. V5 gets worked over pretty nicely by Pirata, bumping around the floor for him and letting Pirata blast him with a chairshot. I woulda liked to see what Cassandro and V4 were doing on the other side, but what we got wasn't bad. Cassandro is limping pretty bad (possibly from an earlier match?) but otherwise looks to be in incredible shape. He starts breaking out awesome JYD falling headbutts that I have NEVER seen him use before, and wouldn't you know that he does them better than anybody I've ever seen attempt them, really whipping his head into V5. His stomps are epic too, but he's always had incredible stomps, where he coils up and really gets full extension on his leg, right to the back of chumps' heads. When the tables turn Cassandro shows that he eats offense better than just about anybody, bumping viciously for a V5 clothesline (really whipped his head back into the mat) and then leaning in chin-first for V4's jabs. V4 hits him in the back of the head with a chair and good lord Cassandro is as insane as ever. He decides he hates his brain and whips his head into the mat again off a brutal V4 powerbomb, and then eats a brick wall clothesline from V5.

It should be noted that Los Villanos are just great here as well and it's incredibly fun seeing them stiff Pirata's son, but Cassandro keeps stealing the show from them (which is what we all expected going in). Cassandro can make a sunset flip look painful. I was hoping we'd get a Cassandro dive and we were not let down with Cassandro plowing through both Villano IV and the first couple rows of chairs.  Cassandro eliminates V4 with a beautiful rana, V5 eliminates Cassandro with a slick sunset flip, and I suddenly don't like Cassandro's hair's odds. Pirata does a couple aesthetically awful moonsaults on V5, but they work since even though sloppy they look painful as all hell, landing knees first on V5.

Cassandro even knows how to sell a haircutting properly, snatching the scissors away and forcefully snipping away while crying. Crowd totally gets behind him at this point and begins chanting his name. Awesome match that goes by in a flash, hopefully more and more Cassandro stuff keeps popping up. Hopefully we get some sort of revanche?

PS: Very good match, up there with the best stuff anywhere this year. V4 is incredible, he is brilliant as a wild old brawler clearing out a bar. Rey Mendoza Jr. has put on the pounds but he can still move around and brawl. Hijo Del Pirata isn't much and his performance keeps this from being the MOTY. However Cassandro comes limping in and we all remember why we love him, wild, violent and brilliant. I hope that leg injury isn't more serious, because with Finlay, Rey, Lawler and Dick Togo all stepping away last year wrestling needs Cassandro.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 Lucha Roundup

Apollo Estrada Jr./Eita/Tomahawk v. Black Terry/Chico Che/Freelance IWRG 2/28

Man that is a murderers row of technicos, three of my favorite wrestlers to watch ever. Too bad a really weak rudo performance keeps this from really getting going. Your Dragon Gate rookie pair are really bad here, blowing some spots, wandering around hitting weak chops and doing hack comedy spots. Freelance is nuts as usual hitting a great Orihara moonsault to end the second fall and bisecting Eita with a spring board splash. Che does his thing and entertainingly blasts Tomhawk in the mouth with a forearm when he blows a spot, Terry is pretty muted so this was a two man performance, between the DG guys and the Clowns Che and Freelance have been stuck with some chumps lately.

Black Terry/Eita/Tomahawk v. Chico Che/Saruman/Freelance IWRG 3/7

This is a better match then the week before. Terry is almost enough to carry a rudo team on his own, even while being saddled with the stinky DG guys. Still sort of a disjointed match, with several moments where Eita and Tomahawk just can't keep up. Still Terry nearly rips Saruman's arm off with a kimura to end the first fall. Terry and Che open up tiny cuts on their heads with potato headbutts and, Chico Che hits the dive of the year with an insane elbow suicida which looked almost Ciclon Ramirezesque. Plenty to love here and the post match attack by Silver King students was fun and chaotic. Please let Dragon's Gate retake their boys though, or at least have them feud with Veneno or someone else I don't want to watch

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Monday, March 18, 2013

CMLL on Fox Deportes Workrate Report, 2/10/13

Yay! I was hoping since it wasn't shown on Galavision that the Reyes del Aire would be shown on Fox Deportes, and they have not let me down! And it looks like no other matches will be shown on this episode so this should be a rock solid 35+ minutes of awesome, with likely zero minutes of awesome provided by Sagrado.

1.  Rey Cometa vs. Averno vs. Namajague vs. Felino vs. Stuka Jr. vs. La Sombra vs. La Mascara vs. Dragon Rojo Jr. vs. Euforia vs. Delta vs. Titan vs. Mr. Aguila vs. Hijo del Fantasma vs. Polvora vs. Tiger vs. Sagrado

I've been super high on Namajague after his killer performance in a recent trios, so was hoping for more out of him in this match and lo if he does not take a lunatic bump over the rail within the first 10 seconds of this match. Again, the Namajague bandwagon line forms to the left. First 5 minutes are pretty crazy with some assorted dives (Sagrado hits a nice bullet tope that Averno eats, big flip dive by Aguila, Rey Cometa hits a missile dropkick and then a gorgeous tornillo), but then Namajague comes in and steals things again by taking a wild out of control bump to the floor after getting crossed up by Stuka, and then gets bent in half into the rail on a Stuka dive. Mascara has the Brazos throwback gear and it looks incredible. Booking crew knows I'm watching as Sagrado gets eliminated early after clumsily running through some spots.

Rudos team is awesome as Fantasma hits a nice moonsault to the floor, and then they all jump him. Namajague is SUWA as he jaws with fans, pushes Stuka into Baby Richard and then kicks Stuka right in the balls. Felino is awesome as Namajague's cheerleader at ringside. Namajague is in for like 5 straight minutes and he kinda gets dumped directly on his head by Cometa. He goes all limp and Cometa seems totally oblivious as started picking him up by his head and then Nama is a total lunatic as he keeps kicking out of shit even though it seems like his head may not be connected to his spinal column any longer. What the hell is wrong with this guy!?

A few of the guys I like most are gone at this point but Titan is emerging as being pretty awesome as he flies into kicks and dishes swift kicks of his own that remind me of Black Terry. Euforia has also quietly become a very nice rudo base. He's never a guy that I think about but he really holds these kind of matches together. Although in the same match Averno is right there eating all the dives and taking head scissors off the apron to the floor, so Euforia is a pretty easy guy to overlook.

And the last part of the match is really just Averno doing his best to get in the way of La Sombra's unlikely offense, which Sombra always seems to doing kind of selfishly. He'll bump Averno to the floor mid-ring, and then immediately start to set up his "over the ring post" moonsault to the floor before Averno has even gotten up. So it makes Averno look like a total goon who has to get up and just happens to move 16 feet over to catch it. It's pretty hard to do that stuff convincingly.

This match was plenty fun but there's always that sense just a couple minutes into these things that Sombra is going to win no matter what, and that takes most of the drama out of them.

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All I Want From You Aoyagi Is To Be Satisfied

Masaji Aoyagi v. Jushin Liger NJPW 6/12/90-EPIC

A real example of the kind of match Aoyagi does as well as anyone in wrestling history. This is worked rounds, but is less like a UWF style shootfight and more like a toughman contest. They build the tension in the first couple of round with Aoyagi throwing kicks and Liger delivering some really powerful double leg takedowns. In the end of the second round Aoyagi rips Ligers mask and Liger comes out maskless in the third round and flips the fuck out. He takes Aoyagi down and splitsis melon with some nasty headbutts and we get a wild awkward brawl, with crazed Liger and Aoyagi with a blood colored Gi. A great spectacle which is what you want it to be

Masao Aoyagi/Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Koki Kikahara/Nobukazu Hirai WAR 3/5/93-FUN

Fun match that got really good whenever the kickers were kicking people. Aoyagi was great he laid in a bunch of cool kick variations, including some really nasty shots to the ribs of Hirai when Kobayashi had him in a abdominal stretch. Kikihara was also coming in and laying into people. He kicked Kobyashi's brain out of his nose with an enzigiri. Most of the match was focused on Hirai v. Kobayashi which was much less exciting, although I did like their finishing run. Match had a bunch of heat too, as the interpromotional deal really fired up the crowd. 


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Sunday, March 17, 2013

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 2/9/13

These matches all took place on the 2/1/13 Arena Mexico card.

1. Arkangel de la Muerte/Skandalo/Nitro vs. Hombre Bala Jr./Fuego/Super Halcon Jr.

First fall is kind of a mess as it all boils down to Nitro being the foil for Fuego and Halcon's double teams, and nobody does much of anything very well in the set-up. Arkangel is not surprisingly the highlight of the first fall, as his work with Bala looks pro. Even little things like locking up look engaging when Arkangel is involved. I did really like Fuego's sunset flip that saw him climb up and over Nitro. 2nd fall is all about some awesome Bala/Arkangel sequences. Arkangel has an expert way of falling into position for crazy and/or silly tecnico offense and he puts that to masterful display here. Bala does two weird dives that Arkangel falls for, one of them being a dive through the bottom ropes into a splash on the ramp way, the other being an AWESOME dive while Arkangel is sitting in the corner. Bala vaults off Fuego and goes torpedoing headfirst into Arkangel, coming in at a fierce diagonal. Crazy. Third fall is all about the rudos getting tecnicos into prone positions and then doing running dropkicks to their taints. It seriously happened like 4 times. At one point Fuego hits a balls out insane dive over the top to the floor, coming in completely vertical. Overall the match wasn't much, but definitely worth watching for all the cool Arkangel moments.

2. Amapola/Princesa Blanca/Princesa Sugheit vs. Dark Angel/Marcela/Estrellita

First fall is a pretty good shitkicking of Estrellita. Amapola in particular looked like she wasn't holding back very much , but then things got awesome when Estrellita made her comeback and didn't hold back on Amapola, wrenching her around by her hair and giving her a stiff as hell dropkick to the floor. All that continues into the 2nd with more stiff clotheslines and Amapola taking a brutal Cassandro bump through the corner ropes that saw her barely catch the turnbuckle. She basically did a suicide dive to nobody. Nuts. Dark Angel has some pretty ranas and Blanca is a gal who is great at taking ranas. Tecnicas win in straight falls but it's all action and really fun.

3. Ultimo Guerrero/Mephisto/Terrible vs. Maximo/Rush/Shocker

First couple falls were all angle and a total schmozz, but an awesome schmozz that saw UG attack Atlantis at the announce table and bust his lip open, and then Atlantis take off his belt and threaten UG. Maximo bumps big into the guard rail and Rush continues looking really great while Shocker continues to look slow and busty. UG will take a massive Jerry bump (here he wasn't going to get much height so clearly pushes off with his arms to fling himself higher. Crazy.) but he's mostly occupied with shit talking Atlantis from the ring in this match. Rush is probably the star of the whole thing, hitting a nutso running dropkick from the apron to the floor, timing a superkick great while Maximo is doing a do-so-do with Terrible, and generally jacking up the crowd. Maximo looked great here too as he and Mephisto match up really well together for complicated armdrag spots. So yeah, not much of a "match" as things are fairly short and chaotic, but I would say it's well worth checking out.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

WWECW Workrate Report, 7/21/09

1. Yoshi Tatsu vs. William Regal

This starts out being all about Tatsu eating a beating, with Regal dishing elbows all over, kicks to the chest, uppercuts, big suplexes (standing exploder and delayed butterfly), straightjacket choke...and also all about Striker being an annoying prick on commentary ("the modified Kanemoto strong style of Tatsu" "this is just the opportunity Piston Honda needs" seriously fuuuuuuuck you). This is basically 4 straight minutes of Regal stiffing Tatsu until Tatsu hits a nice Pele kick, and then a whole barrage of other kicks that were too fast for Regal. Regal catches Tatsu up top, and I *LOVE* Regal pulling his kneepad down before he goes for his running knee finish. I thought Greg Valentine moving his shin guard before he used the figure 4 was cool when I was a kid, and that kinda shit is still awesome. But Regal gets caught with a high kick running in and Tatsu gets the surprise win. Real fun match.

2. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Mike Williams

45 seconds, 3 moves, but they were all pretty great. Williams runs into a big boot, Zeke runs him over with a giant clothesline, and then spikes him with his brutal standing urunage. Kozlov comes in afterwards to hit his chokeslam/spinebuster on poor, poor Mike Williams.

3. Goldust vs. Shelton Benjamin

Man Goldust has a beautiful right hand. I think I like the uppercut more than the overhand but I can't decide. Shelton pusses out of taking the butt butt and we'll see if I enjoy 3 straight Benjamin matches in 3 straight weeks of TV. Shelton does do a cool neckbreaker cravate so I can get behind that. Goldust has such a cool run of offense with his snap powerslam, nasty kick to a prone Shelton, hard atomic drop and an honest to god proper bulldog. All of his classic offense sure makes a lot of Benjamin's indied up offense look ridiculous. Who started the idiotic trend where moves involve pulling or dropping a guy onto your own knee? All that shit looks stupid. Benjamin does some sort of springboard...something...into a Goldust uppercut, but it looked really bad. Shelton did his springboard and just landed on his feet in front of Dustin, as if he were supposed to miss a move, but he just jumped in and landed flat on his feet. He then does one of those horrible bits of Marufuji offense where he flings himself over the top to the floor while at the same time kinda sorta vaguely pulling Goldust neck first into the top rope. It just looked like Goldust's face bounced off the ropes while Benjamin went flying out of control and spilled nastily onto the floor. I'm not sure what viewer would get the impression that Goldust got the worst of that move. And then Benjamin wins with his "grab guy and pull them down to the mat, landing much harder than my opponent". Boy this was really bad. Really awesome Dustin offense interspersed with him having to get into position for Benjamin's weird masochistic offense. The whole thing just looked like Benjamin taking moves, and then doing moves to himself. Crowd was dead and confused. So Benjamin had two glorious weeks, and EVERY SINGLE THING that made him cool those last couple weeks was completely absent here. It's really hard to put into words how detrimental he was to this match.

4. Tyler Reks vs. Paul Burchill

I gotta root for my boy Reks here, now that he is a resident of my little 7,000 population town of Cotati, CA. If you see a tall jacked dude with dreadlocks down at Oliver's Market, the odds are favorable that it's Tyler Reks. This was apparently Reks' TV debut. And as much as I want to root for Reks here, this match is a pretty incredible match to showcase how great Burchill had gotten before being released. He has these cool punches to Reks' chest, really made Reks duck on some missed clotheslines that would have just leveled Reks, awesome running double knee spot in the corner, super high bump on a backdrop, etc. He even made the chinlock sequence look good as he lied down with it and really made it look like he was choking the life out of Reks. Reks' offense at least tries to be clever, but it all lands pretty soft. Nothing he did was bad in context, it just really didn't have much oomph. Any time a guy his size does springboard dropkicks and springboard crossbodies it can't help but look impressive, but I found myself being more impressed by his ability than the actual moves. Still the match was the proper length and peaked at the right spots, so all in all this was good.


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Cause Aoyagi is the Finest Picker to Ever Play the Blues

Masaji Aoyagi/Shiro Koshinaka/Kengo Kimura v. Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa/Koki Kitahara NJ 11/23/92-GREAT

TKG: This is kind of oddly constructed. Kengo Kimura is treated as the powerhouse of the New Japan team while Koshinaka is treated as guy in over his head who just gets wrecked by Tenryu. But their are large sections of the match where it really feels like Koshinaka is the captain( to borrow from lucha trios of his team). Koshinaka has a ton of awesome moments of selling, and comes off really sneaky and sadistic when he gets opportunities to take advantage of his opponents. Kimura looks like a powerhouse in everything he does, his flying knee kick which is a pretty weak looking move in the NJ80s set, here is superfast and violent looking. Kimura gets caught with an Ishikawa knee and then the three War guys take turns stomping his head in...essentially eliminating him from a large section of the match where Koshinaka has to take over for the NJ team. there is an awesome moment where Kohinaka gets Kitahara in the NJ corner and invites Kimura (still selling) to come in and give his receipts. And fuck I want to see Aoyagi v Kitahara as a singles match.

PAS: This was really a ton of fun. Tenryu takes a bit of a back seat as he often does in these trios match, and it was focused mainly on Ishikawa and Kitahara beating on the HI guys, and they are a pair of guys who can beat on someone. Kithara is the face in peril and he is way better at it then Orihara who usually plays that role. Koshinaka is awesome when he tees off on someones nose and he cracks Kitahara right on the bridge. Every Tenryu moment in the match was spectacular though and he is such a fucking superstar even standing on the apron. The NJ team was hurt by not having someone of his aura to play off of. 

Masaji Aoyagi vs. 
Genichiro Tenryu WAR 10/8/83-EPIC

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

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

Masaji Aoyagi/Terry Funk/Great Kabuki v. Leatherface/Metalface/Freddie Kruger IWA 1998-GREAT

Cool discovery, this is a HH from IWA and the kind of fun wild brawl you would expect from this group of guys. Not sure who was playing Leatheface but he was the highlight of the Monster team, pinballing around the ring for the babyface team including making Kabuki look like a killer, and taking big bumps into chairs. Aoyagi is a bit of a minor player in the match, but he definitely brings the violence whenever he tags in. Of course Terry Funk was great, it pretty much goes without saying, and if you can't enjoy Terry Funk recklessly throwing chairs at movie monsters, you should probably get a different hobby.


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Complete And Accurate Masaji Aoyagi

One of the more interesting under the radar guys in wrestling. Aoyagi came in wrestling in the 1980's as a Karate master in a feud with Atsushi Onita and he has kept that awkward wild style and it has allowed him to stand out for the last 20 years. He is a guy who does simple things very well, and has a knack for the big moment and the classic match. It will be interesting to see how many hidden gems are out there.


Masaji Aoyagi v. Jushin Liger NJPW 6/12/90-EPIC


Masashi Aoyagi vs. Masanobu Kurisu NJPW 2/5/91 - EPIC


Masaji Aoyagi/Shiro Koshinaka/Kengo Kimura v. Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa/Koki Kitahara NJ 11/23/92-GREAT

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 9/7/96

This show is being billed as a huge deal because it's the long-anticipated debut of GLACIER!! I cannot believe that people had to sit through months and months of hype vids for Glacier, and WCW debuts him on what has to be their weakest show. Were they just petrified of him botching a match on live television? Why couldn't they have at least debuted him on a Saturday Night ep? Or debut him on the next week's Pro, which was at least right before the Fall Brawl ppv. Anybody have any clue why they hyped his debut for so damn long and then just threw it out on the Pro?

1. Scott Armstrong vs. Alex Wright

Battle of a couple 2nd generation workers! But sadly this doesn't get the chance to stretch out as they seem to be held to a pretty strict 3 minute rule. Nothing at all inoffensive about this match, but this felt like a pretty standard house show run of start with some mat stuff, go into some exchanges, one guy gets advantage, other guy transitions to advantage, first guy gets win without ever really transitioning back. Here Armstrong got the knees up on Wright's little slingshot corner splash, but Wright basically just went to his German suplex moments later to end it.

2. Craig Pittman vs. Terry Davis

Terry Davis used to pop up as a jobber all the time on WWF TV when I was a kid. The guy looks like a baby faced Luke Gallows, with no facial hair and horseshoe haircut and the most unflattering singlet/tights combo you've ever seen. This was one of those awesome Pittman matches where he was basically working with a mannequin. Davis got no offense, never attempted offense, he was just like a life-sized wrestling buddy who you could try moves on. And that's what Pittman does. You get the sense from watching some of these Pittman matches that he makes up most of these moves on the fly, and it gives the moves a sense of originality.  At one point he takes Davis up into a torture rack and drops him into an atomic drop. Most of the time I got the sense that Davis was dead weight (or again, not sure at all what move Pittman was doing) so Pittman would just dead lift him and then slam him. At one point Pittman locked on a rad liontamer where he crossed Davis' legs. And I love Pittman's battering ram headbutt finisher. I'm genuinely starting to look forward to Pittman matches. This guy was the great lost worked shoot fighter of the 90s.

3. Big Ron Studd vs. Chris Benoit

Boy the only way you can describe this is "mismatch". Ron Reis is gigantic, and also not good at pro wrestling. Match still has a couple decent Oh Shit moments, like Benoit hitting a massive German on Reis, and then Benoit finishing with an enormous superplex (which is pretty stupid since Reis went to the top rope to get into position for it, and there's zero chance the guy was going to be doing ANY sort of offense off the top, but whatevs) that Reis baaaarely gets over for and practically spikes himself. Jeez. Benoit gets the pin and then stomps Reis' head after the pinfall which Reis clearly was not expecting.

4. Brad Armstrong vs. Dean Malenko

Cool short match ruined by the stupid, rushed finish. Both guys work super quick armdrag exchanges and the fans are jacked, Larry talks the whole match about the "Armstrong curse", and Brad gets to take like 80% of this. I'm into it, fans are into it, things are looking good. Then Brad hits the Russian leg sweep and instead of going for the pin instantly goes up top. So Malenko gets up from Brad's finisher after being on the mat only 2 seconds, as he has to be up in time to catch Armstrong. Armstrong hits a full impact crossbody off the top, Dean even did that bump where he jumps into the crossbody to take a huge back bump from it with Armstrong splatting right on top of him........and then Dean just rolls him over and pins him. What. The. Fuck. So Dean takes Armstrong's finisher, takes a massive crossbody off the top...and then just wins. I get that he was supposed to roll through the crossbody and use Armstrong's momentum against him, but then you'd think he'd take more of a rolling bump instead of a SPLAT back bump. Just garbage.

5. Glacier vs. The Gambler

So it has to be said that Gambler looks AMAZING here. Usually he comes out in just a satin little league coaches' jacket with "The Gambler" stitched into the back over a deck of playing cards. You know the jacket, because you wanted that jacket. But HERE he comes out decked to the nines as a riverboat gambler and it is INCREDIBLE. I have never seen him decked like this and here he full-on out-Robert Parkers Robert Parker! He's got a white button up ruffled shirt (tucked into his trunks), suspenders, pocket watch, black coat with tails, and dressed bowler hat. Amazing. The guy is doing card tricks on the way to the ring, has a cocky swagger and looks like an actual big deal. I love the Gambler. And I cannot imagine anybody else running into Glacier offense better than Gambler did here. All of the spots came off without a hitch and a lot of the set-up was fairly complicated. It would have been VERY easy for somebody to get lost along the way (though there was no doubt tons of rehearsal put into this), but Gambler made it. He sold all of Glacier's ridiculous 5 fingers of death strikes appropriately, ran into kicks like he was supposed to, and looked downright pro. Bowler hats off to The Gambler. I wish that guy had a job in wrestling today. Any clue what he is up to at all? For a guy who was a part of a major promotion for 5 years, I haven't heard anything about him in ages. Guys less famous than him have done shoot interviews.

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 8/31/96

1. Hugh Morrus vs. Johnny Boone

Man Morrus squash matches are just the worst. I haven't seen a good one yet. Half the moves miss and just look bad and he always looks really awkward and makes weird faces and stands around all clenched-butt. I actually don't remember Boone as a worker (just as a referee) but here he's pretty game and flies into turnbuckles and has awesome tassle tights and holy shit literally 90% of the crowd is wearing white t-shirts. How is this something I did not notice until like a week ago. When I think of 90s clothing I think of neon and shit, but the gear of the 90s was clearly white t-shirts a few sizes too large, with or without logo. It all makes so much sense now.

2. Scott & Steve Armstrong vs. Public Enemy

This was pretty cool as we had a face Armstrongs team vs. a heel PE team. I actually didn't realize PE had worked WCW as heels at any point. And really, their schtick works much better with them as heels. Instead of doing a goofy dance with a bunch of tourists, the dance instead took on an act of mockery. Hit a move, do the Cabbage Patch, get boos. That's really how it should be as PE are grown men wearing children's clothing ensembles. And I really like heel Public Enemy. They don't have much offense that looks good (although I like Rocco's elbow drop) so them cutting off the ring and working over the Armstrongs with simple punches, holds and stomps works better for them. And the Armstrongs are a great team at getting the crowd hyped for some hot tags. Great table fake early in the match where I thought the Armstrongs were toast, only for Steve to trip up Rocco to make an early comeback. End run was pretty hot as the PE get crossed up and I completely bought that Scott was going to get the win with a roll-up. Armstrongs don't really win matches though, but I was able to buy in. That means that this works, baby. What's crazy is this gets a little over TEN MINUTES which if you had told me prior to viewing that this episode had a 10 minute plus PE match, I would not have been enthused. But this was grade A tag teaming baby!

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Friday, March 08, 2013

2013 Lucha Roundup

Shocker/Blue Panther/Mascara Dorada v. Negro Casas/Felino/Mr. Neibla CMLL 2/12

The Panther v. Casas rivalry has been one of the true treasures in professional wrestling in this decade. For a while leading up to their mask match, we would get weekly trios matches were they would be beautifully beating the piss out of each other. This is quite a throwback, awesome kicks and punches square in the mush sold wonderfully, along with the nifty twists they always throw out against each other. Here I especially dug Casas using the ring rails to mangle Panthers arm, and Panther using the stage to brutalize Casas's leg. Would really like to see them have an IWRG style around the arena brawl. Your other guys were more hit and miss, Dorada had a very fun headscissory, armdraggy and divey performance including a lunatic tope con giro. The washed up guys were mostly washed up, although I did dig Felino and Neibla's doomsday device variation at the end.

Chico Che/Freelance/Centvrion v. Dave the Clown/Niko/Rothen the Clown IWRG 2/21

Not as bad as the clown match a week later, but the Clowns are still about the worst luchadores in the world. Still Freelance doesn't really need a live opponent to do his thing and as usual there are some sweet Freelance flips and dives. Chico Che looks lively too, as he busts out his awesome shoulder block. More of a slightly below average match, then a stinker.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 8/24/96

Good grief Larry is wearing an absurd button up tie dye shirt and really seems like he's attempting to look worse than any number of crowd members wearing t-shirts with Taz dunking a basketball. I'm also convinced that t-shirts were only made in color "white" during most of the 90s. Thinking back to all of my No Fear shirts when I was in 7th grade and those were all white. This is just a whole crowd of white shirted people in weird fitting pants. You can't see much detail, but I'm assuming there were at least 7 Big Johnson shirts in this crowd.

1. Mike Enos vs. Chad Brock

Shit yeah this sounds fun on paper, and it really was a fantastic Enos showcase. Not only does Enos tear into Brock but he also makes Brock's sub-par stomach kicks look good. Enos shows ass for Brock and misses a giant elbow drop. Enos also hits an insane standing overhead belly to belly which is really impressive since Brock isn't a tiny guy. Enos' strikes look great and he came off like an absolute mauler here.

2. Faces of Fear vs. Chip Minton/Billy Payne

You know what? I'm calling bullshit on the monster Meng. This dude was the Bruiser Brody of the 90s. Everybody has heard so many stories about Meng biting peoples' noses off and bar fights and Finlay backstage staredowns and they just think this guy is thee fucking shooter. But you know what? Meng usually looks like dog shit in the ring. His strikes usually look like garbage and he rarely stiffs up jobbers. Billy Payne had a jheri curl mohawk and a horrible singlet. Nobody deserved a stiff beating more than this guy. And it just didn't happen. Barbarian worked Payne's ass over something fierce. Booted his face, threw some crazy stiff chops. Meng just makes goofy faces and locks on his death grip. He does hit a stiff atomic drop on Chip Minton, but that seemed more like Minton getting his trademark crazy height on moves and launching himself balls first into Meng's knee. So that's it, this is the moment where I no longer get excited for Meng vs. jobber matches. The guy was just too much of a lovable teddy bear to hurt poor little jobbers. All rep no actual video to back it up. Yeah, it was amazing that one time he speared the cardboard cutout of Goldberg, but I need some nose biting or finger breaking before I come back on board.

3. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

According to Chris Cruise this is the first time these two have met, and that's pretty damn cool if true (and it's not unbelievable as I don't think Chavo really worked anywhere before WCW. If he did then I've never seen it). Rey takes a lunatic monkey flip bump that lands him into the ropes and he and Eddy are like the only guys I've seen do that spot regularly and it just seems super dangerous. Rey recovers and sends Chavo to the floor, and hits a somersault senton and just splats butt first into Chavo and Chavo lands with a brutal thud onto the unforgiving rotating platform that the Pro ring is placed on. And Rey comes up limping and holding his knee. Hmmmm. I mean, knowing what I know now it's not a stretch to think that Rey's knees were already feeling like a bag of potato chips that had been stomped on, but we'll see how this plays out. Back in and Chavo starts wrenching and elbow dropping the knee so thank god. Makes me just think that Dean was missing physical cues in that other match, but...naw I have no clue what happened in that match. And HOLY FUCK Chavo hits a plancha to the floor and Rey absorbs it halfway on the stage and half off and they splat right onto the edge of that stupid ass stage set up and Rey has those 2009 Misawa "awwww fuck that hurt" eyes going on. Back in and Chavo hits a beautiful moonsault press just like his daddy, but misses a springboard crossbody and Rey pins him. Chris Cruise says that was impressive because Rey showed that he can hang on the mat as opposed to just aerial attacks, but Rey literally did nothing whatsoever on the mat in this match. Still, match was plenty fun.

4. DDP vs. Craig Pittman

Well...that was an 8 minute DDP/Craig Pittman match. About 3 minutes of this was DDP holding a chinlock, building to him getting caught with his feet on the ropes. So that whole gag happened. Pittman is a real odd duck as sometimes he looks really cool in the ring and other times his style just does not mesh and he moves really clunky. Like here. DDP will bump big for an old man and Pittman ate a clothesline real nice and took the Diamond Cutter on the floor but...this just didn't work out.

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2013 Lucha Roundup

Chico Che/Dinamic Black/Saurman v. Niko/Dave the Clown/Rothen Clown IWRG 3/3

About as bad a Chico Che match as your are going to get. Your fake Psycho Circus are really bad, brawling stinks, they are in the wrong place a lot and can't even seem to catch basic offense, Saruman almost dies as one of the clowns doesn't catch him on a tope and he flies into the seats awkwardly. Chico Che does some Chico Che stuff and there is one fun spot where Dinamic Black topes a clown while he was holding a midget, but this sucked.

Angel v. Trauma 2 v. Oficial 911 IWRG 3/3

This was better then last weeks very good and violent 3 way, although a step below a truly elite match. 3 way part was a bit wanting, had some fun violent parts, this was a match full of nasty stomps to the head by all three guys, but I thought the 911 v. Angel part was a little draggy. This didn't need 911 and they should have gone for the straight mask match. The one on one portion was pretty gruesome and great. Angel is a damn good brawler, as everything he threw was violent and nasty. El Angel braining T2 with the bottle is lunatic, and I really like the Fujiwaraish way T2 catches him when he goes for another bottle shot. Still they didn't have nearly enough time to square off mano v. mano for this to go down in history. Well worth checking out though

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

WWECW Workrate Report: 7/14/09

1. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin

Well this makes two straight shows and two straight Shelton Benjamin performances I really liked. I watched very little ECW at the time (didn't have SyFy) so most of this I'm seeing years removed, but I still watched PPVs and Superstars and all that stuff and I didn't ever remember thinking "Hey Shelton is looking GOOD lately!" But damn if he hasn't been looking awesome in July '09 ECW. This was another trademark good Christian TV match with Shelton working over Christian's left arm in all sorts of cool ways, like hyperextending it over his knee and dropping knees on it while prone. Christian is a champ and sells it great throughout the whole match. Shelton is a real stand out here with his offense and overall viciousness that I've never seen him display at all. He hits a running knee lift here that looks just painful, and also finally utilizes his amateur wrestling that always gets talked about but never actually gets used in his matches. He had a couple cool takedowns and a rad Oklahoma roll that really felt like he could have shoot pinned Christian if he wanted to. His big leap to the buckles spot actually gets built to perfectly, with the first attempt failing and allowing Christian to transition back to offense, and the 2nd seeing him hit a great single arm DDT off the top on Christian's bum wing. Christian also is the only guy who knows how to take Shelton's goofy finisher, as Christian is always great at spiking himself on DDT-type moves. Color me a Shelton Benjamin fan. Who woulda thunk.

2. Paul Burchill vs. Yoshi Tatsu

I remember Burchill when he started as a pirate, when he wasn't very good and the only thing that people online hyped him for was his indyrageous Spanish Fly finisher. But somewhere along the way he apparently got really good and started wrestling like a Regal/Finlay hybrid. He drops a GREAT elbow, hits a mean senton and then starts choking and fish hooking Tatsu. Good lord. Yoshi blows a springboard spot and Burchill doesn't miss a beat by picking him up and planting him with a nasty Saito suplex. Ending is both disappointing and satisfying, with Yoshi reeling and hitting a flash head kick. The kick looked good and I like them pushing his kicks as lethal, but I wanted more than the 3.5 minutes they gave me. Bittersweet.

3. Goldust vs. Zack Ryder

Yessss. I'm been jonesin for some Dustin lately (one of the reasons I popped in some ECW discs) and he looks every bit as great as you would expect. The surprise is that Ryder looks pretty good, too. His stuff works much better as a heel than as a goofball face. He went over super clean and that's pretty lame, as if you thought Benjamin's finisher was silly then Ryder's is just ridiculous. It takes forever for him to set it up, holding his shin to the back of a guy's neck and then taking a back bump. It's like he saw an old Murdoch match and dug the Cattle Branding, and then thought "How can I take that concept, but make it look like absolute dogshit?" And man did he succeed. Rest of the match was cool with tons of great Dustin punches and a tremendous butt-butt. Way too short (barely over 4 minutes) but any Dustin on my TV is a very good thing.

4. Sheamus vs. Roman Cornell

This has to be pretty soon after Sheamus' debut as nobody seems to know who he is. Whoever Roman Cornell is/was, he looks better than Sheamus in this match. He threw some pretty nice punches and leaned way into the (not yet named) Brogue Kick. This was short and inoffensive.

5. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Tommy Dreamer

This will be a good test to see how good Kozlov got at this point. And you know? The match kinda works. Dreamer obviously tries and sometimes his stuff doesn't look good but he throws a bunch of shit at the wall. It's actually kind of funny how much different moves he busts out here, like a super chubby Rocky Romero. I like a lot of individual spots in this one though they don't totally add up to much. Great spot on the floor with Koslov dishing kicks at Dreamer, and then missing a high kick and nailing a ringpost. It made a real satisfying clang and Kozlov didn't hold back on it. It didn't really lead to anything, but in a vacuum it looked cool. Kozlov goes over nice and clean which was a shock as Dreamer was still champ and Christian won the #1 contender last week. Sets up a decent feud I suppose.


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Monday, March 04, 2013

WWECW Workrate Report: 7/9/09

So there seems to be some nostalgia lately for WWECW and I totally get it. Any fed that throws out weekly Finlay, Goldust, Mark Henry, Regal, Christian, and Matt Hardy matches and gives them plenty of time to work is something that I definitely miss. I liked that WWECW was booked in a vacuum as it gave it more of a WCW Sat. Night feel. I like Main Event, and I enjoy Saturday Morning Slam, but ECW had a real awesome feel and really did feel like it was booked separately from the other shows. That is pretty important because the matches have a little more weight than other syndie matches. You get the feel that weird things can happen like Yoshi Tatsu getting a push without Vince noticing. It brings me back to odd things like Stevie Night Heat with Stevie Richards coming up with a gimmick without office approval because nobody watched his show. In a day of micro-managed wrestling this is an important thing.

1.  Nikki Bella vs. Katie Lea Burchill

Seems like kind of a horrible show to start off on when this is the match that leads things off, but then Nikki takes a giant bump to the floor to start and I shut my mouth. Nikki doesn't seem to be very good but it works for her as it makes her bumps way more dangerous (one spot sees her supposed to land on the apron but she ends up tumbling all the way to the floor), making Katie's backbreaker seem more brutal and taking a neckbreaker more painfully than most girls would take it. The match was only 3 minutes long but you've seen way worse Diva's matches than this.

2. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Shelton Benjamin

So...when did Shelton Benjamin get good? I don't remember liking his stuff around this time, and I know I didn't like his ROH stuff, but he was pretty great here as a smug methodical heel (as opposed to his usual role of black guy who jumps high, which has since been filled by Kofi Kingston). I mean there are not many 8 minute Shelton singles matches that I enjoy, but this was really good. Tatsu's comebacks were peppered in nicely and Shelton had a cool fighter's way of trying to block Yoshi's kicks. And when Shelton would cut Yoshi's offense off it was always followed by him actually selling prior damage! The fans were getting way behind Tatsu here and that's just further evidence that Shelton was working as an effective heel. Match was also worked in a way that whenever Shelton tried any of his high jumping antics, they would always backfire and would lead to Tatsu getting the advantage, but when he stuck to clubbing and throwing Tatsu around he stayed in control (he hit a vicious standing overhead belly to belly which is like something Dave Taylor would pull out). Only complaint was with his finisher, which was that awful jumping leaping DDT-ish faceplant-y sort of thing that always looks like he's taking the move and the other guy is not sure how to land. That needs to go.

3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Jack Meridol

AWESOME squash match. Jackson just beat the snot out of this kid. All his clubbing shots sounded like Meridol was getting hit with a 2x4 and Zeke was tossing this guy around recklesssly and it looked awesome. He just plants Meridol with a urunage and my spine ached. Is Zeke even still employed by WWE? I haven't heard his name in over a year.

4. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Christian

Boy not quite 4 years later and this show is just a total graveyard of past WWE talent. Is Christian still with WWE? I don't remember the last time I saw him. This is a number one contenders match for Tommy Dreamer's title (boy the ECW title looks awful), and boy this match was awesome. I know Kozlov has been involved in matches I liked, but it seems like he had become a genuine good worker at this point (although Christian was really great at working TV matches during this period). The opening mat exchanges are all really good, and then Kozlov takes a great bump over the top to the floor after missing a charge. Christian was never one to allow somebody to top him with stupid over the top bumping, so a minute later Kozlov knocks him off the apron and Christian lands on his side in a nasty way. All Kozlov's offense looks cool and painful, especially his sit out torture rack that ragdolled Christian. Kozlov also leans into a missile dropkick head first and that's awesome. Match was really good.


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Sunday, March 03, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 8/17/96

1. Chip Minton vs. Diamond Dallas Page

This wasn't much and I'm kinda shocked that WCW never tried to push Minton at all. I mean, how often does an actual US Olympian get into pro wrestling? He was pretty raw but had some obvious talent. Instead we get a bunch of Larry Z griping about how bobsledding won't make him a better wrestler and acting as if Minton was leading a bobsledding invasion against WCW wrestling.

2. Jim Powers vs. The Gambler

Alright, I'll be honest with you: Jim Powers is not very good at pro wrestling. But what's even worse is that he's not very good in a completely boring way. He does hip tosses. He rams guys' heads into the turnbuckles. He throws a super light dropkick. He has just nothing going for him at all. You can't laugh at him for being horrible, your brain just goes blank for 4 minutes. So thank god for The Gambler, who tries his damndest to have a fun match with Jim Powers. He doesn't succeed, but he tried. This was at least notable for being one of the few matches where The Gambler controlled the match and took most of the offense. Powers was working comebacks most of the way through so Gambler got to control with Arn Anderson-meets-Chris Elliott charm. I wish actual good wrestlers would try and work a competitive match with him.

3. High Voltage vs. American Males

Hey, you know who used to be good? Marcus Bagwell. I really liked him in this, working the hot tag for Riggs. He had a really nice dropkick, cool shoulderblock and a great crossbody off the top for the win, and this was an enjoyable 7 minute tag. You know who wasn't good back then? Kaos (or "Chaos" as it was spelled here). He was just totally lost and it was a testament to how decent Bagwell was that this thing didn't fall completely apart. Kaos was totally baffled by rope running spots and got way confused during all those exchanges.

***Baseball Rambling Below***

So all through this show they've been showing an ad for an old Sega Genesis baseball game (World Series Baseball 2?) and what so odd about the commercial is Brad Radke is the guy they used as the sports star hawking the game. Now Brad Radke was one of my favorite non-Giant ballplayers of all time. He was a small market guy who played his whole career on the Twins and retired when he wanted to, while he was still a relevant player. What made me really like him was his numbers always looked worse than they actually were, and he regularly got overlooked as a really good player because of that (Matt Cain would later hold many of these traits Radke held, and Cain is one of my all-time favorites. What made me love him so early on was it felt like the Giants finally had their own Radke). I mean, in the last couple seasons before he retired, Radke had a 5+ K/BB ratio. That's great. But this was not later career Radke being featured in a commercial. 1996 was only his 2nd year, and what was notable about his first couple seasons was that he gave up more HR than any other pitcher in MLB over those 2 years, giving up 32 in '95 as a rookie and 40 in '96. His rookie year ERA was 5.32 (5.42 FIP, oooof). And this commercial was amazing because Radke was in it for just that reason: he gave up home runs. The commercial showed him giving up bombs and painted him as a bad luck loser. For a 23 year old player to make fun of himself like that just made me love Radke that much more, and even more awesome that he averaged 5 WAR over the next 5 seasons after this commercial. So not only did Radke make fun of himself, but he had the last laugh. Awesome.

***Baseball Rambling Over***

4. Scott Flash vs. Mark Starr

This could have been a really good jobber match, but Norton just absolutely refused to sell anything that Mark Starr throws. It was real bad. He just walked through punches and kicks and made it pretty clear that Starr was a doofus. It did show just how decent Starr's punches were, when they can look good even when somebody doesn't acknowledge them. Norton was a beast here, so I get it. But I felt bad for Starr. Norton's shoulderbreaker is a vicious, reckless move that looks insanely painful.

5. Chris Benoit vs. Joe Gomez

Jim Powers, why can't you be as hilariously awful as Joe Gomez? Gomez was just awful. Hilariously awful. Even Rachel noticed how often he tossed his hair back while horribly executing basic offense (did BJ Whitmer watch a lot of Gomez when he was younger?). Here he does an insanely slow backslide set-up, stopping midway to whip his hair back TWICE. By far the best part of the match was Gomez missing a running crossbody block off the ropes. What made it so great was the fact that Gomez clearly did not know he was missing the crossbody. This is what a missed crossbody looks like when Joe Gomez clearly thinks he's going to be crashing into Chris Benoit. But Benoit ducked, and Gomez flew hilariously/dangerously/awesomely into the ropes, and then rolled to the floor. It was spectacular. Later in the match Gomez goes up to the top and it looks like he's climbing ropes for the first time right here and now in front of the world. Every step up looks super shaky and he has to stop on each rope to regain his balance. Yes, he did not even climb up on the buckles, he climbed up on the ropes right next to the buckles. When he finally disastrously gets to the top, he leaps off with the worst top rope splash I've seen, coming in way forward heavy, like he was attempting to do the Worm by first leaping off the top. He just flops there hilariously, and then lies there on his face, a total failure pile. Even better, Benoit just kinda lets him lie there for awhile, face down, until casually walking over and putting on the crossface. Thank you, Joe Gomez.

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

My Favorite Wrestling! WCW Pro 8/10/96


1. Kurasawa vs. Jim Duggan

These vacationing Florida fans were going hog wild for Hacksaw (you see this show was the show right before WCW's Hog Wild PPV so what I did there was a little play on words). There was one woman in the crowd who was waving her hat around during his entrance who very clearly said, "Wave that flag, Hacksaw! Wave that flag!" I...kinda like the match for the first minute or so. Kurasawa muscles Hacksaw into the corner and laces into him, and that's kinda how it goes until Duggan decides it's over, reaches into the trunks for some tape, wraps his fist and wins with the taped fist punch. Dusty's gigantic red leather blazer looks like something out of Suze Orman's nightmares.

2. Eddie Guerrero vs. (not THEE) Manny Fernandez

Manny is kind of your 1996 jobber doofus, who always breaks out new offense in every match, but none of it is done very well so it just comes off hilariously inept. Here he busts out a northern lights suplex and a goofy double leg drop (springing off the bottom rope but still holding onto the top rope when he lands. Durp.). He's not good, he's not really awful, he's just not...THEE Manny Fernandez. Eddie slaps fives on the way to the ring and two white girls noticeably shrug away from him in horror. Eddie doesn't get much here before the finish but does throw some amazing corner punches which are some of the absolute hardest punches to make look good. Here he snaps them off right into Manny's neck. Froggy splash looks pretty and Dusty always squeals with glee when he gets to say "froggy".

3. Squire Dave Taylor vs. The Gambler

Holy lord this is like a WCW B-Sides dream match for me. There's no way it can live up to the hype I've already created for it in my brain's fantasy booking chamber. And it doesn't, although it's just about the most fun 2 minutes you could hope for. Gambler starts off with a hip toss and then a running back elbow, which Taylor takes a massive bump over the top to the floor for. Gambler chases him, and from there to the end Taylor beats the shit out of him. 5 nasty European uppercuts, a great yakuza kick to the side of Gambler's head, and finishes with Taylor's unreal fallaway slam which is arguably a top 5 finisher of this period, maybe ever. He holds guys up like he's gonna hit a simple bodyslam, and then just flips back into a float over/overhead suplex. Looks totally nasty and must take freakish strength to pull off. It's like a Spanish Fly variation on the fallaway slam. Taylor is so awesome.

4. Dean Malenko vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

This gets a full 11 minutes and starts off completely awesome, with Malenko keeping Rey in place with some nasty elbows in the corner (don't actually remember Malenko working this stiff), taking him down with a GREAT single leg and wrenching him around with a knucklelock. By the time he ran through Rey with a stiff clothesline (with Rey bumping lightning fast onto the back of his head), I was hooked. This didn't look like two guys remembering sequences, it looked like a competitive fight. What made that single leg so great is that it actually looked like Rey didn't want to go down, and Dean was actually taking him down. There was none of that far-off look certain wrestlers get where it looks like they're just thinking about the next spot, it looked like two guys making things look believable to fanny-pack sporting tourists (the only venue in all of wrestling where the fans wearing fanny packs outnumber the wrestlers wearing them).

And then around the 3 1/2 minute mark it just gets...not good. Rey appears to hurt his knee, so Malenko begins to work over every other body part except for Rey's knee, and it comes off really odd. Malenko locks on a Fujiwara armbar, Rey holds his knee. Dean hits a brainbuster (sick brainbuster, for the record), and Rey comes up holding his knee. At this point we go into some very long body scissor portions with Dean wrenching Rey's neck...which Rey comes out of holding his knee. But Rey's knee selling comes off far too campy for me to believe it, as he strongly limps around as if he's wearing only one platform shoe. He still hits high dropkicks and hits a springboard dropkick and beautiful springboard rana flawlessly, and also lands off the top rope onto his feet without his leg buckling at all.

So...if Rey was working an injury for 9 minutes of this match...why didn't Dean attack the leg at any point? It's very surreal to see a guy get his neck cranked on and then not act like his neck is hurt in the slightest but instead act like he can barely walk...until the moment of the match where he gets all his offense in and is suddenly fine again. I've seen countless matches where selling is ignored when a guy has to get his stuff in, and whatever. But I don't think I've ever seen a match where a guy sells a different body part from the ones being worked over, and then ignore his own fake injury.

Finish is a real dud here too as it was supposed to be Rey rolling through a samoan drop and getting the roll-up win, but instead Dean fucking PLANTS him with a samoan drop...and then Rey just rolls him over for the pin. In theory I assume it was supposed to look like Austin Aries' old samoan drop slam, but it just looked like Rey took a move, no sold it and instantly got the pin. Blech.

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