Segunda Caida

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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 1/25/14

These matches are from the 1/10 Arena Mexico show.

1. Negro Casas vs. Volador Jr.

Not a very good match at all. This is a match-up I would have gone crazy for last year, but Volador has changed and I'm not sure what it will take to get the old Volador back. He's limp and really no different than La Mascara now. It would be easy to blame this match on him, but Casas was not great either. Very much going through motions and out of place for tons of Volador stuff. It just wasn't good. Bad layout, lazy work, blatantly set up spots, just kind of a mess. It threatens to get good early on when Casas starts smashing Volador's leg into the barrier and kicking at his knee, but literally the next thing Volador does is a springboard. Then he did that obnoxious thing where he sells his knee whenever he's lying on the mat, but doesn't let it ever get in the way of any of his offense. Match had some alright individual moments: I'm still convinced Casas has a weird fetish about getting kicked in the face while he's slouched in the corner. A lot of Volador's superkicks whiffed but then when Casas was slumped in the corner Volador hit that one square in the jaw. Volador's regular spot of taking boots to the face off a missed moonsault is so weird. It's like the most indy version possible of Flair getting caught on the top rope. Man this was so disappointing.

2. Averno, Ephesto & Mephisto vs. Atlantis, Maximo & La Mascara

Kind of a paint-by-numbers Arena Mexico main event, although Maximo had a nice standout performance hitting a variety of cool ranas and really building to his kiss on Averno (which eventually led to Averno losing the final fall). Atlantis is really great at getting a crowd jacked, and I have no idea how his knees aren't powder after all those violent backbreakers. Mephisto had some nice right bombs that I don't remember him throwing before, Ephesto takes a big Jerry bump, Masacra wears a tiny powder blue hoodie like a teen girl going to the beach. This was fine.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

King What Are You Doing, You're Driving Me to Ruin

Jerry Lawler v. The Barbarian TNT 5/20/06 -FUN

ER: Woof. This was the match I assumed both Kamala matches would be. Barbarian could not have been more listless, just sleepwalking through this. The match starts with a nerve hold, and for 8 minutes we get a variety of Barbarian "body work", which was just him kind of holding onto a part of Lawler. Chinlock, nerve hold, abdominal stretch, you name it. There are ways to make holds compelling. Lawler is good at looking like he's not in a rest hold. Barbarian just sat there and held onto him. He didn't even look gassed, just super bored. Lawler gets to throw his great kneeling punches to a downed opponent, and Lawler leans into the Kick of Fear (and sells his face great afterwards), but Barbarian really only takes one bump in the match and calling it a bump is generous. Match ends awful, with Barbarian's morbidly obese second Mr. Terrific hitting one of the weakest one arm swing kendo stick shots you've ever seen, then Barbarian doing that goofy spot where he swings a chair, it bounces off the ropes and he hits himself (which nobody ever makes look any good), and then a Lawler roll-up. Just a real disappointment all around, especially now that I've seen what other of wild indy brawls Lawler has been involved in the last decade.

PAS: I liked this slightly more then Eric did. The rest hold stuff and finish was pretty bad, but at least the match was pretty stiff. Barbarian's opening punch looked great as did Lawler's comeback. Still this is an on paper awesome looking match, Lawler really worked some loads in the indies in the 2000s and was almost always able to do something more. Really an issue of poor structure. I expected more from Barbie for sure. Still the potato parts of this get it up to the FUN threshold, although just barely.


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lawler's Real, So Real

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee v. Gary Young/John Tatum USWA 8/31/90-GREAT

PAS: Total blast we have two of the best Memphis style babyfaces against two of the stoogiest Memphis heels and it's all you want it to be. Man I could watch Tatum make funny faces all day and he makes some very funny faces when Bill Dundee punches him. Mostly just Lawler and Dundee running through great face shticks while Tatum and Young bump around. I loved the knuckle lock variations where Dundee and Tatum would match up and Lawler would keeping crawling through legs to pop up and punch someone in the grill. Better finish and another five minutes would have gotten this to Epic, but I had a smile on my face the whole time

ER: I may be the biggest John Tatum fan in the world. He's far and away my favorite stooge in wrestling history (Smothers is up there, but still not close to Tatum). I think I even had an Chris Adams/Tatum match #1 on my Mid-South ballot, which is one of the main reasons my ballots are always so perfect. I love his big pout face, I love his pratfalls, I love when he kind runs in place for a bit after getting sucker punched. Tatum sells a punch like a cartoon cat getting his nose stuck in a moustrap. He's like the greatest possible Alpha Beta permanently reacting to being outfoxed by the Tri Lambs. It's the absolute best bullshit in wrestling.

 Literally 8 of the match's 12 minutes were spent on Lawler/Dundee finding ways to hit Young and Tatum in the dick, and then Young and Tatum selling their dicks and selling the fear of getting hit in the dick. Dundee stomps Tatum right in the taint at one point. Much time is spent with Lawler/Dundee trying to pull Young/Tatum balls first into a ring post. I love Lawler tossing big haymakers in wild brawls, but it's just as satisfying seeing him surprise Tatum with a downward glancing punch right onto the bridge of his nose. Dundee and Lawler threw some hilarious sucker punches all throughout this. Whichever one of Young/Tatum were on the apron would be holding their genitals either to massage feeling back into them or to protect them from future stompings, and Lawler or Bill would sneak up and coldcock them. I imagine if I was there live I would have had sore cheeks from laughing so much.


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lawler and Me We're Free

Jerry Lawler v. Steve Corino JAPW 8/10/02 -EPIC

ER: Man Lawler had quite a run in early 2000s JAPW. The unreal Kamala match, Funk match, inexplicably great 3 way with Maff/Shane Douglas, and now we can add this Corino match (we'll pretend the Slyck Wagner Brown match happened somewhere else). I assume a match like this must have been a huge treat for Corino, as he gets to work a hide the chain match with the master of hide the chain. Corino spends the pre-chain portions bumping all over for Lawler (including a big one over the top from a perfect Lawler dropkick). Lawler was also throwing these cool left hooks that he really doesn't do anymore. He usually sticks to the left jab to set up his right hook or uppercut these days, so the boss left hooks stood out as being especially awesome. The chain stuff is all fun. I've said before that Lawler gets choked in the ring better than most. He really puffs up his face and sputters. I actually bought the finish when Corino hit his piledriver. I thought Lawler was too far from the ropes, but him barely draping the leg at the last second was a great moment. It all builds to the strap drop which makes Corino instinctively panic and drop the chain. And after that you can't ask for more of a finish than Lawler braining Corino with a piledriver ON the chain.

PAS: I liked how this was worked more violently then a lot of the Lawler 2000s match. Parts of this were worked like a nasty fight. The chain choking wasn't a stoogish spot it felt like a mean fucker choking a guy. I also loved Corino's stomps to the head. Lawler was great as well and his comeback was a fist fight, Lawler's flying fist drop was like Dr J, flying from the free throw line. That piledriver by Corino was totally badass and I also kind of bought the near fall even though in my mind I knew Lawler wasn't losing. Man I wish Lawler worked other JAPW guys during this run I can imagine how great 02 Homicide v. Lawler would have been.

Batman vs. Dr. Frank vs. Wolfman vs. Bill Clinton vs. Bulldog Rains vs. Killer Klown vs. Popeye vs. Grave Digger, MPPW 10/31/98 - FUN

PAS: This is a studio elimination match where everyone is dressed up in costume. Has some amusing nonsense with guys wrestling in goofy costumes, but no one seemed to work the gimmick particularly. Finish was kind of fun with Popeye (Brian Christopher) trying to brain Batman (Lawler) with the can of spinach, before smashing him with a pumpkin. Still mostly weak stuff, only misses skippable because of all the goofiness.

ER: Boy...this happened. This was a goofy, only-in-Memphis, studio elimination match that happened on a Halloween morning. Part match, part advertisement for a local costume shop. Not a joke. Most of the guys in this looked bad and until they started getting unmasked upon elimination I assumed most of them were not even wrestlers but perhaps maybe employees of the costume shop. But, no, these were actual workers. Kid Wicked was Killer Klown, and he had downy soft Petey Williams offense. Dr. Frank wore Zubaz pants. Wolfman didn't even howl (and I also can't figure out if he sold a DDT really nicely or was just trying to keep his mask from falling off). Clinton's pants split up the backside. Spellbinder/Streak was shockingly much better than I remember him being. He was Grave Digger and actually knew what he was doing in there. You know a match is really something when Spellbinder is the guy I'm playing up out of all the participants. Christopher's pumpkin shot looked like it hurt. Likely won't have to type that sentence too many more times in my life. The real winner of the match was probably Stacy Carter decked out in her vinyl Catwoman suit. Most of the workers here couldn't really pull off their look, but I can't imagine too many viewers having a problem with her costume.


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Monday, January 27, 2014

Once Again The Kings Let Me Down, Broke My Heart and Turned Me Around

Jerry Lawler v. Joey Mercury NEW 11/3/07-EPIC

PAS: Just a gem of a Memphis match in Connecticut. Mercury at this point looks and wrestles like Brian Christopher with his weird tan, and he looks like the lost hidden Memphis heel master. We get a classic slow start from Lawler with Mercury taking over early with big bodyslams and awesome corner punches. He does this super douchy deep curtsy and Lawler unloads with punches and gets his revenge with multiple bodyslams of his own. Then we get a great hide the chain bit from Joey, he was super expressive here making sure the crowd saw every bit of his chicanery. Finish was awesome with Lawler eating a big backdrop, Mercury trying for a second and Lawler just spiking him with a piledriver, which Mercury sells with a great twitchy leg sell like he was knocked cold unconscious. So much fun, I wish there was still a touring Memphis fed were a healthy Mercury could be having classics with Drew Haskins.

ER: Man I miss getting Mercury matches on TV every week. Great worker. I love him going toe to toe with Lawler here (some of his right hands were making Lawler squint and sputter), and I dug all the chain stuff. Lawler is really damn good at making "Good lord I'm choking to death" faces. Really funny spot with a looooong build up to whether or not Lawler should accept it, ending with Mercury kicking him in the stomach...which Lawler angrily reacts to by kicking him back multiple times. I loved the slow, angry strap removal and Mercury's legs going spaghetti just seeing it. My favorite part of the match was Mercury hitting a brutal punch off the top rope. Lawler crumbled, there was a shockingly loud smack, and Mercury shook his hand out and felt his knuckles like it was broke. Man I wish this was a feud that had just started to play out.


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Regal is Sorrow's Son, He Will Not Rise For Anyone

Lord Steven Regal v. Larry Zbyszko WCW 6/2/94 - EPIC

This is one my favorite Regal feuds. Larry came out of the announce booth and they had a hellacious four match series. This was their short violent brawling sprint. Zbyszko jumps him at the bell and beats the hell out of Regal with forearms and spin kicks, even getting him down and smashing his head against the mat like an abusive husband in a Lifetime original drama. Regal takes some control when the Superstar brains Larry in the back of the head with his umbrella. So many little bits of nastiness: Larry blocks a drop toe hold with a choke, Regal smashes him into the bottom turnbuckle, Regal loosens Larry's dentures with an uppercut and then peppers him with palm strikes to the forehead. Not very long, but a wild fight for all of it. Certainly the least seen of their matches, but up their with the best stuff all year anywhere.


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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates

We take a visit to the the British Isle for a hidden asskicking gem from one of my favorites Terry Rudge

Terry Rudge v. Lenny Hurst,  WOS 10/31/85

PAS: Man do I love Terry Rudge, he is clearly in the genus of guys like Regal and Finlay who are some of my all time favorites, he brings the mastery of simple holds and sickening violence of those guys, and adds some 70's/80's grime. Hurst was listed from the Bahamas and was more of a flashy good guy, he had a nice headscissors take over and dropkick and a bunch of nifty ways to work in and out of a Santo headscissors. The first couple of rounds were simple but excellent, basically working in and out of top wristlocks. Rudge can make a wristlock look like a vicious submission, both by the nasty way he puts it on, and the pain and sense of urgency he shows when it is placed on him. Hurst surprisingly is the first guy to throw hands, but he regrets it as Rudge unloads his uppercuts and the amazing Rudge signature bit of nastiness where he traps his opponent arm with a front hammerlock and uses his other arm to pummel the guy with forearms. It looks like he is beating out an especially dusty rug. By the end of it I wouldn't be surprised if Hurst organs had the consistency of Ice Cream left in a hot car trunk. Don't love a draw finish, but loved everything else.

ER: Two-thirds of the match is worked in some kind of lock-up, which a lot of guys couldn't make very compelling but totally worked for these two. Rudge is such a smug badass, he's like a cool Roger Ward villain. Whenever he'd cockily turn his back on Hurst it felt like a mannerism that Minoru Suzuki stole and turned into his whole character. I loved his use of hand/thumb work as a dick heel move, and I loved the way the crowd identified the small joint manipulation as utterly classless. I'm a sucker for brawny jerks stomping on hands, and Rudge always brings that. I can't believe his brutal trapped-arm shoulder block/forearm spot hasn't been stolen and made to look worse by some indy goober. I dug Hurst here in all this, nice valiant babyface who refused to play dirty (but was tempted and had to resist the urge at one point to do a Three Stooges style eyepoke). Fun stuff.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Inexplicable Unironic Enjoyment of a Divas Match

Wednesday was a pretty normal day for me. I listened to Jay Reatard while driving to work, and while at work. I had a meeting with my boss. I made toast. I had an apple. I spent time dicking around on fangraphs. I dealt with  Fixed Assets tracking. I spent my lunch break reading a magazine in my car while listening to John Fahey. I used words like "sub-object" and "ledger". I drove home from work while listening to Pharmakon. I played with my cat, Tacos, and kissed my girlfriend, Rachel, when I got home. This is a Wednesday for me. Or a Tuesday. Any weekday.

But then I eventually watched and enjoyed a WWE Divas match. I enjoyed it enough to text Phil to go out of his way to watch a Divas match (I assume Phil has not watched a Divas match since Aja Kong vs. Chaparrita Asari). I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a Divas match. It may have been a LayCool match. It was likely a Layla match of some sort. Or a Cherry match. It was probably Layla vs. Cherry.

We start with Aksana making fun of Brie's hair, and when she goes to touch it Brie slaps her hand away and elbows her face, then dishes out nice knees from the clinch. Brie also has a shockingly nice missile dropkick. But when Aksana takes over is when it gets real, as she throws a nice shot to Brie's stomach, and then drops three really great elbows. Fox tags in and Brie does a nice sly drop toe hold on the advancing Fox, which Alicia takes great by spilling dangerously face first into the ropes. Aksana cuts off Brie's attempt to tag out with another nice elbowdrop, and holy cow does Aksana throw great knees at Brie's face in the corner. Alicia Fox works one of the most compelling chinlocks I've seen in months (which is painfully obvious when most matches in WWE have to include a face-in-chinlock spot as the transition to final babyface comeback), and then locks in a nasty Can Opener. She seriously looked like she was choking her out. Fox really knows how to bump for Bella offense and really throws herself into bumps and spills. She really runs hard into a missed turnbuckle charge. Nikki comes in with some flashy indy offense (I take your face and kind snap it into my knee!) which is made to look not actually preposterous by Fox, who whips off that knee and snaps back. Nikki finishes it with a sick sit-out torture rack, with Fox ragdolling afterwards.

Okay. A couple things:

~This match was like 3 minutes long. It shouldn't be impressive that 4 wrestlers went 3 minutes without screwing anything up. It was likely more impressive because Main Event sucks now. It used to guarantee a long Cesaro match but now it's always got a super long Kofi or R-Truth match instead. Divas matches are going to look better after Kofi or R-Truth matches.

~There were some weird things that I would call out in a second in other matches. Aksana, for as good as she looked on offense, took one of the worst bumps off the apron I've seen. She fell off the apron like somebody dipping their toe into a cold swimming pool, and then getting pushed in unexpectedly. She also, midway through the match, got obsessed with adjusting her onesie over her butt. You know, the way Samoa Joe used to pull his trunks up over his tummy, well Aksana was constantly tugging on her trunks like that. Major pet peeve from me, for whatever reason. I can handle rope running, but don't adjust your gear! Derp derp.

Whatever. Fun Divas match on a Wednesday.

PAS: I did not watch this match.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 1/18/14

These were matches from the 1/3 Arena Mexico show.

Phil and I already reviewed this first match as part of our ongoing 2014 MOTY list. Read about it and watch it here:

1. Negro Casas vs. Titan

2. Averno, Ultimo Guerrero & Mephisto vs. Mascara Dorada, Volador Jr. & Valiente

This match had not yet popped up on youtube so it's nice to see it here (although I just noticed Cubs has an Arkangel match from the same card so...yeah, might have to watch that). Giant rudo beatdown to start with Dorada trying to outbump Volador (Dorada gets crazy height on a flapjack, Volador flies recklessly ass over elbow into the front row). The beatings continue into the segunda with Valiente getting baseball slide dropkicked and splatting from apron to floor, and then Dorada getting yanked out of the ring, then pulled and flung by his legs into the ring barrier. Good lord. Tecnico comeback is fast and spectacular with Volador planting Ultimo with a tope (UG flings himself into the barrier and then recoils with a back bump) and Dorada runs down the ramp and no-hands vaults WAY over the ropes into the ring with a sweet rana. Both falls have been short but the action has been money so far. 3rd caida and Valiente starts tearing it up with Averno hitting a big Asai moonsault armdrag and following it up with a beautiful springboard rana. Of course then Dorada comes in and hits a succession of three beautiful ranas while also booting Averno off the rampway and okay this is killer. We go through a series of finishers leading to broken up pins, including Dorada going for a tope en reversa only to catch a dropkick to the back from Mephisto. We hit a couple different dive trains that peaks with Valiente hitting his mammoth springboard moonsault to the floor and then Dorada immediately one-upping him by vaulting off the middle rope and getting insane air to the floor. We do get into overkill here, with Volador getting his head bounced off the mat by a nasty powerbomb, and then immediately reverses a second attempt. But the end run is so fucking balls to the wall with incredible spots that I couldn't help but leave impressed. Great showing by all the guys here.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Uprising Lucha Libre Workrate Report 1/18/14

This is another match from the 7/28/12 Watsonville show. Looks like this will likely be the only match shown on this episode, which is fine. You bring in two different workers from Mexico, you should be highlighting them (although they really should have had some sort of bumper the week before running down that this match would be shown next week). They are getting better, as in the new year they've at least been advertising upcoming live event dates. They even had a promo for an upcoming February card in SF, but seeing as the main event will be a Blue Demon Jr. singles match I can't really see heading out for that one personally. Still, they're smart and they get a bunch of local Mexican restaurants to sponsor them and I'm sure Blue Demon Jr. as a name plays well.

1. Lady Apache vs. La Diabolica

It's a bummer they have a 30 minute show and stretched a 13 minute match out to fill all that time. It made the whole thing feel pretty chopped up. Also, this struck me odd: The in-ring announcer announced Lady Apache as "One of the best wrestlers I have ever seen...Lady Apache!" Which is true. I can't think of many female workers, let alone luchadoras, who have had a better career than Lady Apache. But it seems bush league and fanboyish to have the ring announcer say "Gee this wrestler is good at wrestling!" Have the announcers do that all you want (although they were really busy doing their trademark move of pointlessly talking about the referee most of the match. I have no clue why they are making that a thing), but a ring announcer shouldn't be opinionated. I've never heard them do that for another worker, so why now? Feel free to announce credentials for a worker, but why give personal thoughts during ring intros?

Anyway, opening matwork was real good and the best part of the match. Apache has some cool leg picks worked in with smooth floatovers and Diabolica works with it well. The control segment gets kinda hacked up. It feels like we got all of it, just commercial breaks cut into the flow. Diabolica hits a big bronco buster and scrapes her shin across Apache's face. Tides turn with Diabolica taking a Cassandro bump around the post and then getting hit with a big Thesz press off the apron. Back in and Apache hits some alright backbreakers before Diabolica gets the win with a Gory bomb. Have to say I did not see them putting the title on Diabolica. I mean, she's in her late 40s and lives in Mexico City and won't actually draw too many additional fans to a card. I'm not even positive she's worked for the promotion after this, which would just continue a long indy tradition of putting a title on a non-regular. Match itself was perfectly fine, but again too bad it couldn't have been edited into the show format better.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

2. Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Big E Langston v. The Shield (Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns) WWE 1/20/14

ER: Well, so far Phil's prediction of Rhodes Bros. MOTY list dominance is coming true. This match was a 7 minute sprint that was just spot-spot-spot but done better than most juniors matches worked similarly. There was a lot to love here. Dean Ambrose is my favorite worker since Finlay to make guys work honestly. If Finlay was working somebody and they weren't keeping up, or spacing out thinking of the next spot, he'd send them a nice little reminder that just made the match better. My favorite was when somebody was lingering on the mat he'd stomp their fingers. It's a much better way to move the match along that just bending down and picking them up. Ambrose does that too, and my favorite in this match was when Cody was running back into the ring with The Shield chasing, he made sure to keep chasing until Cody was back in and safe. This meant that Cody actually had to roll back in and get out of the way, couldn't rest on his laurels. It's a little thing that makes it seem more legit, and Ambrose injects every match with that stuff. Really this match had too much stuff to mention, but aside from Ambrose I loved Cody's surprise run-up-ropes plancha, Goldust's somersault senton off the apron and his bomb snap yakuza kick, and Big E hit one of the all time greatest splashes I have ever seen. Awesome stuff from everybody, though.

PAS: Yeah this was a totally awesome workrate match. Kind of a WCWSN lucha match if all of the guys were really big. Cody was great here, that double jump plancha may be one of the prettiest signature dives in wrestling, and Goldusts flip senton was crazy too, he got some nutso height and speed for a 6'6 guy in his mid 40's. This kind of Dragon's Gate is so much better when the guys sell and land their stuff with force. Reigns did this great head trauma sell of the disaster kick and looked like he splatted Cody with the Superman punch. Would have liked a little more time before the finish, but that was as good a spotfest as I imagine we will get this year.

Ongoing MOTY List

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kensuke Sasaki, NJPW 1/4/00

2. Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kensuke Sasaki, NJPW 1/4/00

Just as the match yesterday was the Kawada show, this match was all Tenryu show. Sasaki's offense hits hard like it should but if his opponent isn't game to take all his dangerous/sloppy offense then the match will suffer. But Tenryu is a man and more than holds up his end and ends up crafting a good match. Tenryu's selling in this is epic, especially when they start throwing punches. Tenryu starts peppering Sasaki with jabs and Sasaki just starts throwing haymakers (that look like something Sasaki has never tried throwing in a worked setting before, so many of them look like they hit Tenryu flush on the jaw). The way Tenryu spends parts of the match with wobbly legs, squinted eyes as he lightly feels at his jaw, grabbing his head and neck after getting dumped on his head, are just a master class in selling. Both dudes hit hard and that's what everybody wanted to see. Even Tenryu starts shying away from Sasaki's chops by the end. I can't tell you if that was because his chest was ground lumpy meat at the point, or if he was actually beginning to realize a longer match story arc of Sasaki finally overpowering him. Tenryu is a complete lunatic in this getting brainbustered and dumped on his head with the Northern Lights Bomb. Sometimes set-up takes longer than I remembered (like Tenryu's top rope German especially) and there was more lying around than I remembered. Sasaki kinda gasses out early and often so we hit a few different breathers in the match, but both guys are at least good at making the moves look like they're doing something. But Tenryu man. That guy was the goods. His selling was epic here, but I loved his two desperation enziguiris, loved his full elbow drop to back of neck onto a kneeling Sasaki, just a great performance.


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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 1/17/00

1. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 1/17/00

Really dug this match even though Kobashi stuff kinda bugs me more now than it used to. It felt like there was some hierarchy stuff here which kinda made the match structure odd. Kawada got what felt like 2/3 of the offense but the way Kobashi sold still made the match feel like an extended squash. No matter what Kawada did it would eventually lead to Kobashi just popping up and going back in control. No matter how much he temporarily sold offense it always had the feeling that there was no way Kawada was going to win. Kawada, however, was just as awesome as you remember Kawada being. Kawada's running yakuza kick is one of my all time favorite moves. He has his awesome haircut with the neck fringe and the shaved sides and parted top. He looked like he could play percussion in M83 or work as a barista at the downtown Stumptown. All his kick combos were amazing, his glazed eye stares were a good as ever, and some of his individual moments of selling were all time classic. At one point Kobashi levels him with a manly clothesline, Kawada kicks out and struggles up to his feet, and as Kobashi comes off the ropes to deliver another Kawada's knees buckle and he collapses to the mat before Kobashi makes it to him. Beautiful. Even if his selling lapsed when convenient, there's no denying Kobashi took a furious beating here, and bumped big for a large guy. Him flying off the apron and into the guardrail from a Kawada yakuza kick was epic. But this match was all about how awesome Kawada was. Big strikes and really knew how to put over Kobashi's big moves, whether it was getting bounced off the mat with a massive powerbomb, or not backing down from that infamous match ending short arm lariat.


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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Night Digging In The Crates

We go into the 90s AAA and find this awesome hidden gem of a trios match, matwork, flips, dives and mask ripping

Super Astro/Angel Azteca/Solar v. Blue Panther/Rambo/La Parka AAA 8/21/92

AAA was the lucha of choice for a lot of fans in the 90s. In some ways among lucha fans today it has switched back with the great CMLL matches being more well known (outside of some of your big Rey Jr. matches). This is a great classic trios match with awesome luchadores. We open up with exactly what you want from a first fall with these guys. Panther and Solar hit the mat hard with some of the best exchanges that pairing has produced. I just love the way Panther hangs on to a body part even as Solar tries tricky things to get him to let go. Then Astro and Rambo tag in, and we get to see Super Astro fly around the ring like a superball while Rambo bounces around with bumps. Second and third falls flip the script a bit, with the rudos getting rudoish, tearing mask and violently beating the technicos. Azteca and Panther are setting some stuff up, and Azteca takes a big beating including a huge bump to the floor off of a posting. Comeback is great with Astro breaking out his awesome flip senton. A little heel ref goofiness is the only complaint, just great classic lucha.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Ikeda Gonna Swim Across the Atlantic Cause That's the Only Place He Can Go

Daisuke Ikeda v. Yuki Ishikawa, BattlArts 9/1/97 - EPIC

PAS: This is a match I don't remember seeing before and if I had it had to have been around 97.  This is one of my 2 or 3 favorite in ring feuds in wrestling history and this is exactly the kind of uncomfortable to watch, transcendently violent spectacle the marquee promises. One of my favorite nifty new things in this match was Ishikawa's knee lifts, I don't remember him breaking out the worlds most violent Mr. Wrestling II knee lifts before and they were molar loosening. The mat work was pretty great, Ikeda had an especially nice reversal from the bottom, and every choke and armbar was tight and nasty. The great thing about these matches is the start out so violent you don't think they can go up, but the crescendo always delivers. That clothesline Ikeda nails Ishikawa with has got to be as nasty as anything Hansen ever threw and Ishikawa's glassy eye selling was perfect (or he was really KO'd, you can never tell). A little shorter then many of their other classics but this was a tight brutal masterpiece.

ER: Man these guys are just brutal. It's nice being able to watch this knowing that they're at least functioning human beings 16 years on. It's not too hard to imagine a scenario where watching an old match these two is followed by an Amityville Horror type postlude graphic of "They never remembered what they ate for breakfast that morning again". I'm grown so accustomed to Ishikawa as a defensive wrestler, taking furious beatings and looking for any signs of light to take his shot, that I mostly forgot about his turns as a vicious mauler. There have been a lot of Ikeda/Ishikawa matches, and my memories of most of them have Ikeda taking 2/3 of the offense. But a lot of this is the Ishikawa show with flashes of the nasty Ikeda beatings you'd expect. Instead of the Ishikawa throwing a shot while he's retreating, you get Ishikawa the aggressor, which is fucking killer. Here he chases after Ikeda and throws nasty punches at his eye, all while tearing limbs apart. Ikeda has no problem fighting back, with leg kicks and dropkicks to the knee cap that would have left a lesser man bed-ridden for a week (and very well could have for all I know) and one of the most horrific clotheslines you've ever seen. Ishikawa sees it coming and tries to turn out of the way, but that means he gets a rangy violently swinging arm to the side of his neck, face and ear. His selling afterwards made me think of Sterling Archer after an explosion goes off around him. It goes without saying that this match is great, just a super war with many possible finishes coming at any time.


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fujiwara Will Restore You The Years the Swarming Locust Has Eaten, The Hopper, The Destroyer and The Cutter

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Akitoshi Saito vs. Alexander Otsuka & Daisuke Sekimoto, Dradition 11/19/13 - EPIC

PAS: WARish slugfest which was one of the more enjoyable Puro matches of 2013 (which is admittedly a low bar with FUTEN being MIA). We open up with Fujiwara and Otsuka ripping it up on the mat, with Fujiwara doing some very cool arm escapes. After that they get up and try to bust each others eardrums with slaps. Saito and Sekimoto pretty much spend the match exchanging crowbarish forearms and clotheslines. Sekimoto has some selling issues as usual, but was mostly fine and he and Saito pounded on each other into my heart. Otuska did a dope snap german suplex on Saito and every time he and Fujiwara were in the ring together was great. Could have used a better finish, but this was a blast to watch.

ER: I'll be honest, two minutes in and I kinda already knew I was going EPIC on this one. It would have to have royally fallen apart, but it didn't, and ended up being one of my absolute favorite matches of the last year plus. Fujiwara is 64 here (and really looks older, visually) but he sure doesn't work like he's elderly. The mat tradeoffs between he and Otsuka looked as fast and prime as anything he did 30 years ago. Otsuka is really fun on the mat when he gets caught in something as he always rolls and thrashes around wildly, and Fujiwara is always so good at holding onto somebody's limb for dear life, knowing it may be his way out of the match. Once they got into a punch/slap exchange I was off my rocker! Fujiwara was really dishing some blows, and when Otsuka reared back to slug him Fujiwara stopped his momentum with a battering ram headbutt right to the stomach. Such a great momentum killer that somebody needs to steal (now that Spike Dudley hardly works anymore). He gave Sekimoto one later in the match that was maybe even better.

 We all knew Sekimoto was the likely reason if this match ended up being a letdown, but he doesn't gum up the works too bad. He had a couple eyeroll-y "pop right up screaming after taking offense" moments, but most of the time he was tossing off stiff clotheslines, deadlift suplexes and getting chopped in the neck by Saito so for the most part he was fine. Saito looks just as good as his NOAH prime over a decade ago. His spin kicks are sharp and on point, and really deliver so much more force than any other wrestler's spinkkick. He and Sekimoto have some beastly exchanges including an extended stiff shoulderblock sequence. My favorite exchange between them was Sekimoto going for a big clothesline and Saito blocking it with a single overhand right chop, like he was aiming to just cut that arm off. Then he delivers two open-handed chops to the side of Sekimoto's neck to bring him to his knees. So badass. It looked like he was breaking down and dismantling him with one arm. Fujiwara at one point comes in with the coolest block I've seen, as Otsuka was aiming to break up a pinfall and Fujiwara flies into him, taking him down by the arm into an armbar. I've never seen anything from Legend The Pro-Wrestling so this is the first I've seen of Fujiwara opposite Otsuka and it was magnetic. Two guys that matched up perfectly together. That the rest of the match stands up quality-wise is just a sweet bonus. Go watch this now.


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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Uprising: Lucha Libre Workrate Report 1/11/14

According to Pro Wrestling Revolution's website, this 7/28/12 show from Watsonville, CA was a show "that Watsonville, CA will never forget!" So either Watsonville had their socks knocked on their ass by some awesome wrestling, or there was a horrible tragedy that will necessitate in memoriam t-shirts printed up so that they never forget that one horrible, tragic day in Watsonville.

1. Kafu & El Dinamita vs. Rik Luxury & Famous B

Man Kafu just brings nothing to the table. He's sorta big, he has no presence whatsoever, almost all of his moves are horrible 2008 Roderick Strong backbreaker variations (a chokeslam into an over-the-knee backbreaker is so fucking stupid that he deserves crippled arthritic knees in his late 30s. That is the most indy-riffic move I have seen in a looooong time. I'm surprised it wasn't a chokeslam into a backcracker), he throws some wimpy clotheslines, he constantly telegraphs his spots, etc. He's just a bad worker, and he's not only been working for over a decade, but he's been pushed as a top Bay Area indy guy for almost as long. He was signed to WWE developmental  and worked as a doofus Brody clone for awhile. He wore big fur boots and did every trademark Brody spot, and then hilariously claimed in an interview that he had never heard of Bruiser Brody. I wish I could find some Brian De Palma interview circa-"Body Double" where he claimed he had never heard of Hitchcock, never seen "Rear Window, only heard of "Vertigo" in reference to dizziness. It should be noted that I *LOVE* Brian De Palma, and have never enjoyed a Kafu match in the slightest, so any "Blow Out" fans out there don't get all worked up thinking I was making a direct De Palma/Kafu comparison.

Pro Wrestling Revolution seems really obsessed with getting over their referees. The announcers talk about them constantly, way more than they mention the workers by name during a match. Sparky Ballard and Tom Castor, Sparky Ballard and Tom Castor, Sparky Ballard and Tom Castor. Tom Castor is a hispanic referee who works like a totally normal referee, but the announcers talk about him so much during the match it comes off really strange. You would never even notice him as a referee if they weren't constantly talking about him. It's so bizarre. A tecnico will take a big move, kick out, and the announcers will praise Tom Castor for being in position to make the call. Can you imagine CM Punk kicking out of the RKO and hearing the announce team put over Mike Chioda for counting? WWE has fucking Scott Armstrong as a ref and he's only even been referred to by name a few times over the last 8 years on TV. You know why? Because nobody watching pro wrestling gives a flying fuck about who is refereeing the match, even if it's somebody fucking killer like Scott Armstrong. Refs are fucking wallpaper. Keep that shit in the background.

Tag match itself was pedestrian. Kafu stinks, and Dinamita is a slightly better Kafu clone (they look really similar, Dinamita seems more athletic). Match structure is kinda killed as Famous B/Luxury have to act like Kafu and Dinamita are giant monsters, but Kafu and Luxury are essentially the same size, so you get a lot of fear stooging, but Kafu doesn't have an ounce of fearsome presence so this is kinda dead on arrival.

Also, not one second of lucha libre in this (there was an armdrag, so...there you go). I may have to retitle these "Uprising Lucha Libre: Not Sure What They're Going For Here" since I find myself saying that outloud whenever I watch it.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Early One Mornin' While Makin The Rounds Black Terry Took a Shot of Cocaine and Shot His Woman Down

Black Terry/Bombero Infernal/Dr. Cerebro v. Apolo Estrada Jr./Avisman/El Hijo del Diablo IWRG 12/22/13-GREAT

It has been a rough year for IWRG but they close it out with a flashback brawl. Cererbo and Terry had a series of awesome wars with Avisman and Diablo a couple of years ago. Our two new additions Estrada and Infernal acquitted themselves great. Estrada especially ruled he was wandering around bleeding out of his forehead and unleashes two crazy topes in the ending run where everyone in the match is just trying to jam his opponent through the back of the arena with dives. Cerebro is such a bull and he is throwing people around and sneaking in headbutts.  Terry wandering around and throwing punches and chairs is one of my favorite things in wrestling and it is even more awesome with his slick mustache. I did miss the Black Terry Jr. camera work, which added such a grimy awesome look, still lets hope this is more of what we can expect in the new year.


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Monday, January 13, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Tomoaki Honma, BJPW 1/2/00

1. Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Tomoaki Honma, BJPW 1/2/00

This match was what got me back into death matches years and years ago. I'm pretty sure the first tape in most tape traders' collection was some sort of death match. Either the IWA Death match tourney, or some FMW tape, or a W*ing comp, or the Sabu/Funk Born to Be Wired match, or something like that. My first tape I traded for was a compilation of all sorts of death matches, from fire to barbed wire to one with a live snake. The tape blew my mind. I don't know what I was expecting, but the tape was weirder in ways I hadn't thought about. I thought the matches would be big spectacles, not sad little events in half empty gyms fought by pudgy guys in jeans, with no production value. It may have been foolish to expect glamour from something called "death matches", but somehow it was seamier than I expected, not so much due to the violence, but for the realization that the payoffs for rolling around in glass couldn't be that big when the promotion appeared to be holding its show in a parking lot and didn't seem to have an actual ring. So I had bought into the gimmick of death matches, and quickly realized it was a gimmick . Although good lord in retrospect I should probably be thankful I wandered into something as harmless as Japanese death matches. It's hard to say why death matches appealed to me yet something like Faces of Death or Mondo Cane sounds like my worst type of nightmare that I wouldn't be able to unsee. But whatever the appeal, it faded fast as the matches just didn't have enough substance to hold my attention. And then Yamakawa and Honma arrived and added death match insanity to the strong style of wrestling that teenage me was becoming obsessed with.

Feeling out process here is really good as they both really struggle around the barbed wire boards. Soon Honma gets thrown into one of the boards, but awesomely runs up the board and backflips away from it, then throws Yamakawa into it. Honma has a really great running elbow, too. We go wandering through the crowd for awhile, getting tossed into some chairs, wandering while grabbing each others' heads...and then Yamakawa gets powerbombed on the stage...and then gets brainbustered...and is busted open. And things are getting awesome. Yamakawa has really great kicks to Honma's dome.

Back in the ring and they fight on the apron, and Honma is great as he throws his full body into preventing his bod from getting suplexed from the ring to the floor, breaks free and blasts Yamakawa with a running elbow (all of Honma's roaring elbows were brutal in this, which is nice since I had no problem buying them as a finish) that sends him flying to the floor and Honma hits an out of control somersault tope. And we then get a series of absolutely insane spots, like powerbombs into barbed wire, Yamakawa takes a rana to the floor into barbed wire, a fucking rana off the top to the floor through barbed wire, and the whole time that giant nail board is looming at ringside. This whole thing is just nuts, and just as much fun 14 years later.


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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rifling Through the Trash: The Unfinished Segunda Caida

We here at Segunda Caida all watch a lot of wrestling. We also start a lot of projects. More projects than we can ever ever possibly finish. We start watching something, write about it, don't finish writing about it, and there it sits. We have about 80 unfinished drafts dating back 4 years. Some of them may get finished some day (IWA-MS show reviews, WAR show reviews), others are kind of pointless to ever finish (old CMLL TV write-ups, reviews of WWE Superstars episodes). Still these write ups all took at least SOME time out of our schedules, and it's only fair that we get SOME use out of them. I literally forgot Go Shiozaki was a person.

~Started (and not finished) by SLL on 6/1/08:

Takashi Sasaki, Abdullah Kobayashi, Shadow WX, & MASADA vs. MEN'S Teioh, Jun Kasai, Jaki Numazawa, & Yuko Miyamoto
BJPW - 1/2/2007 - Tokyo, Japan
Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match

Oh God, this was painful. And not in the good "hot damn, Onita's dragging his back along barbed wire" kind of painful you want from death matches. This was more of the "hot damn, Zandig doesn't even know what a wrestling match is, does he?" kind of painful. Well, maybe not that bad, but still. I'd say something like "you know you're in trouble when MASADA is clearly the worker of the match" but....

1. I haven't seen a MASADA match since before he was in The Carnage Crew.
2. He was actually legit good here. In the midst of guys standing around to set up needlessly complex spots, odd patches of no-selling, and Abdullah Kobayashi throwing the shittiest strikes imaginable, MASADA actually comes off as a guy you want to see more of. Comes off as the guy you would actually need to be afraid of in a death match. He gets a lot of neat spots, including grabbing Miyamoto by the legs and dragging as back around on all the broken glass, and punching the seat out of a chair before using it as a weapon. I've written elsewhere about how the Finlay/JBL match from Mania was conceptually cool because they took the late-90's/early-00's "cookie sheets and garbage can lids" style of benign, mainstream hardcore wrestling, and made it look really hard and dangerous. Getting hit with just the seat of a crappy folding chair is about the same as getting hit with a garbage can lid (and the way Miyamoto no-sells it hammers that home) but the way MASADA sets it up by just punching the seat out of the chair makes it look like he's doing some seriously bad stuff. So there's MASADA's name next to the names of Finlay and JBL, for whatever that's worth.

Anyway, the rest of the match is pretty much ass. The post match with Miyamoto getting all up in Sasaki's mug and Sasaki beating the shit out of him, but Miyamoto refusing to back off, was kinda neat. Got me interested in their match later in the set. I didn't need to sit through Abdullah Kobayashi throwing punches that would make Rob Van Dam shake his head in disgust to get there, though.

~Snippets from TomK reviewing ROH "Take No Prisoners" (left unfinished by Phil on 6/23/08):

Tyler Black v. Delirious v Claudio Castagnoli v Go Shiozaki

TKG: This is a four way for a title shot at the end of the show. Not normally a fan of this type of spotfest four way and so came in with some trepidation. Shocked by how effective this was. Delirious who gets shit on a lot lately really looked like the best guy in this match and everything he did looked solid, but that was beside the point. Whole thing was aimed at getting Black over and no-one was trying to upstage him. Black had two big spectacular spots. The dropkick attempt landing on his feet was especially cool. Unlike most of the time with this match format, there wasn’t any excessive kickouts and match ended in a real satisfying way right when it felt like it should.

Notes for Phil: If you can’t come up with anything else leaving you to talk shit about the everyone stares into the mic and cuts a promo shit, or Nigel on commentary.

Kevin Steen v Roderick Strong

Notes for Phil: Them stealing your idea for how to ue Kevin Steen from DVDVR 166:

I haven't had much to say about the IWS guys before, and I have actively hated Steen, but he seems to have ditched most of his crap and just become a fat asskicker. With his bad skin and flabby body he does look like every single guy in the audiance though, I am guessing ROH books him for the same reason you book Pedro Morales in NYC, he is the regional babyface for fat wrestling dorks. With that I think this match was hurt a little by him working heel, you don't book Putski as a heel in Pittsburgh.

~Snippets from Eric reviewing random matches from 2009 (left unfinished 1/15/10): 

1. Roderick Strong vs. Necro Butcher (IWA-EC, 2/4/09)

I don't really know what the internet opinion is of Roderick Strong. I don't know if he gets talked about as "good" or "bad", or if I would actually trust the opinions of the people that would be calling him good or bad. I know he's blandish, but he's a guy I really don't mind. I can picture him walking down the street wearing khakis and a letterman jacket and some white sneakers, and not everybody can pull off something so clean cut All-American like that. Of course depending on what state you might be in, Necro is also a pretty accurate representation of American society. This isn't about all that, though, this is just two dudes hitting each other pretty darn hard for a good 20 minutes and I really can get behind that.

Roderick takes Necro's corner "punch/chop" combo in the corner better than anybody I've seen. Instead of just flexing up his chest like he's taking Kobashi chops, he acts more like Ali on the ropes [match review just sorta...ends there]

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates: Eric Embry vs. Invader #1

We go back sifting through the chaff to find you the wheat. Puerto Rico is a blind spot for most wrestling fans and this classic brawl will certainly end up on the DVDVR 80's set, but outside of the prep circle for that, isn't something folks have talked about.

Invader #1 vs. Eric Embry, WWC Summer 1986

PAS: Insane epic brawl, which was just worked at a breakneck pace. This was like the crescendo of a Lawler v. Mantel brawl extended over 10 minutes. Embry was amazing here just pinballing around the ring on defense and being a total vicious bastard on offense. His snap piledriver is totally awesome looking, I love it as a transition move, just stops his opponents momentum cold. Invader #1 is probably only second to Benoit in the wrestling Pariah category, but he has a ton of charisma and you can see why he was so over.  Wild stuff which feels on the level of the best brawls of the decade. All SC readers will love this match

ER: Cool brawl, fun seeing Eric Embry pre-WCCW. I didn't recognize him as I've only seen his WCCW stuff where he's bearded and about 40 lb chubbier. Invader has a bunch of cool strikes and mixes it up nicely between throat thrusts and downward punches that look like they're banking off Embry's nose. They brawl out in the crowd which seems crazy in PR as numerous fans seem to have no problem just getting right in the way. A large elderly woman in what appears to be just a nightshirt literally kicks and tries to trip Embry as they brawl by her!!!! Embry gets great color from flying face first into a metal roll-up door, Invader takes a piledriver through a table, and this was all good.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 1/4/14

These matches all aired on the 12/20 Arena Mexico card.

1. Leyenda de Plata semi-final cibernetico: Virus, Averno, Okumura, Olimpico, Felino & Tiger vs. Titan, Stuka Jr., Atlantis, Delta, Triton & La Mascara

This had the right amount of big spots to work well for me. I had some friends over while watching it so it's kind of the perfect thing to throw on while you're part watching/part chatting as you don't have to follow any sort of psychology or match storyline very closely. It's just guys coming in and doing their thing, so big spots stand out to you and stop the conversation, and the rest of the stuff kinda flies by the subconscious. Atlantis had a nice run in the middle, giving out spinning backbreakers to anybody that got close. Averno bumped all around for flippy juiced up tecnicos, including a painful bump off the apron from a nutty Titan somersault headscissors. La Mascara splats on the floor with a flip dive that doesn't quite get caught. Stuka's hands-free body press over the turnbuckle is absolutely breathtaking and completely insane, as is Delta's crazy flip dive that sees him run up the turnbuckles from the apron and vault over the other side. Also, Virus is Virus. This match was a blast and was made to look infinitely better when I stopped my DVR and Impact was on and killed the entire room.

2. Reapper vs. Volador Jr.

Boy, I am just not feeling Volador ever since the tecnico turn. He feels just totally neutered now. He used to work real well as a tweener, and he had great body charisma. That seems almost completely gone now, and getting to see his smooth pretty boy face doesn't really help things. The mask match basically killed any sort of rudo believability in him. I also used to think it was cool when he would do something goofy like come out dressed as Darth Maul, but now dressing like Spider-man -without a mask - just makes him look like a kid wearing his Spider-man jammie jams while his mother screams at him to stop doing flips on the couch. "But moooooommmmm, I'm practicing almost killing Reapper with a Spanish Flyyyyy!!!!!"

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

The King Got Kind of Lost, Lost in Giving

Jerry Lawler vs. Sid Vicious NEW 8/25/07 - FUN

ER: Frustrating match as Lawler turns in an epic performance but Sid works the match at half speed. I'm always a sucker for matches where the mean age of the participants is over 50, but damn if Sid had hustled things up a little bit this could have been great. "Methodical" is how announcers politely refer to the pace Sid worked this match, and because of that it felt like it never really got going. If you cut out all of the Sid downtime this match instantly becomes awesome, and that's including Sid's weird punches (alternating between politely knocking on a door with your knuckles, and pounding on a door with the side of your fist). So, about that Sid downtime. It basically forces a match restart every 90 seconds, completely grinding any momentum to a halt. There would be a lock up exchange, Lawler would sneak in a punch, and then Sid would lean on the ropes for 20 seconds, staring. There was a great exchange where Lawler snuck out of a lock up in the corner, started wailing on Sid and then started stomping the life out of him, getting the crowd completely fired up. So Sid rolls to the floor, walks around for awhile,  then eventually rolls back in and we start all over again. At one point Sid also locked on a looooong d'arce choke that looked more like when my cat is sleepy but wants his mouse, so he lies on his back stretching his arms above his head to grab for it. But hot damn did Lawler look great in this with cool corner stomps I've never really seen him do and built to a super high dropkick to knock Sid off his feet for the first time. He also did some nice callback stuff including hitting a bodyslam to a huge pop, that he had earlier attempted and failed at. He also threw some of the best punches I've ever seen him throw (I'm sure you know the ground that covers), lobbing them right at Sid's nose. I think Sid was trying to sell them with intense seething anger, but he came off as more lethargic than intense.

PAS: Yeah it was too bad such a great Lawler performance was wasted on such a dogshit Sid performance, it feels like Lawler would have a better match with an enthusiastic ex-Huskies center. I imagine if it was Lawler v. Haseem Thabeet it would have had more heat and Thabeet might have tried. Nothing Sid did suggested he was a trained wrestler and he looked like he couldn't give a shit. I did love Lawler though, the set up to the big dropkick and the big bodyslam were perfect, and his offense and selling were great looking, but man Sid, fuck that dude.


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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Every Night Lawler Tells Himself "I Am the Cosmos, I Am the Wind"

Jerry Lawler vs. NY Mauler USWA 4/28/90 - GREAT

ER: Limited, simple match with a silly stipulation tacked onto the ending that Lawler makes completely work. This is Lawler after his mid '89 heel turn so he comes out and announces since technically he's only required to defend his title every 30 days, he's sick of working himself ragged putting his belt up all the time, so it's time to sign up for some easier competition. So Lawler signed a contract to fight some "jabroni" (is this the earliest recorded use of that term on a wrestling broadcast? I certainly don't remember anybody in the 80s sets getting called a jabroni) named the NY Mauler. Lawler is great here talking about how he's smarter than other jabronis, because the NY Mauler wears a mask. That means his identity would be hidden so that kids wouldn't be coming up to him on the street and calling him a loser every week. So the Mauler comes out and it's clearly Jimmy Valiant under a mask and Lawler is furious as he didn't agree to put up the title against Valiant. The match against Valiant is really fun and quite the testament to Lawler that he was able to work a compelling match and story with a near 50 year old Jimmy Valiant. Lawler makes Valiant look great and flies around for punches and generally puts over how off guard he was taken by not preparing for anything other than a jabroni. This goes the full 10 minute TV time with Valiant getting some close nearfalls (but Lawler always being too close to the ropes) and that's when it's revealed that there was some goofy new USWA rule that in a sudden death portion of a draw, that the first person TAKEN OFF THEIR FEET will lose the match. I've never heard of such lunacy, and Lawler is furious. But this is when the match gets fucking awesome as Lawler and Valiant are both great punching each other and staggering around and alllllmost falling over. For me the first 10 minutes were a fun time, but once we go into OT with the ridiculously stupid and ridiculous "first guy that falls over loses", I couldn't help but get way into it. Lawler was so awesome about falling and landing on the middle rope, barely avoiding the mat, not wanting to lose his title. It took an absurd concept and really engaged me.

PAS: Lawler is such a douche in his interview it is pretty amazing that he was such a beloved face. There was a youngster named Ben Jordan talking about getting a title shot and Lawler just comes out and stands right in front of him. I didn't get a ton out of the first ten minutes of this. Valiant has a lot of a charisma and I enjoy Lawler v. Broomstick, but there really wasn't much going on. I did love the goofiness of the sudden death period. It is a testament to Lawler that he pretty much invented a match formula on the spot. This feels like a blueprint for working this gimmick match, all of the creative weeble wobble near falls, the way Valient gets the win. I could see hundreds of matches being put together with this match as the basis. Still a goofball stip, but really well done.


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Tuesday, January 07, 2014


1. The Shield v. The Wyatt Family WWE Elimination Chamber 2/23
2. The Shield v. The Wyatt Family WWE Raw 3/3
3. Hardy Boys v. Young Bucks NEW 8/2
4. Atlantis v. Ultimo Guerrero CMLL 9/19
5. Daniel Bryan v. Bray Wyatt WWE Royal Rumble 1/26
6. Chris Hero v. Eddie Kingston AIW 12/26
7. Cesaro v. Sami Zayn NXT Arrival 2/27
8. Antonio Cesaro v. John Cena WWE Raw 2/17
9. Virus v. Titan CMLL 1/28
10. AJ Styles v. Chris Hero ROH 3/22

11. Daniel Bryan v. HHH WWE WrestleMania 4/6
12. Biff Busick v. Drew Gulak CZW 4/27
13. Minoru Suzuki v. AJ Styles NJPW 8/1
14. Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins WWE RAW 8/18
15. Rey Hechicero v. Black Terry Chilanga Mask 10/26
16. Rush v. Negro Casas CMLL 8/1
17. Brazo Jr. v. Kortiz WMC 8/24
18. Tomoaki Honma v. Katsuyori Shibata NJPW 8/3
19. Damien Wayne v. Preston Quinn Fusion Wrestling 5/24
20. Virus v. Dragon Lee CMLL 12/9

21. Cavernario/Dragon Lee Jr./Negro Casas v. Virus/Hechicero/Cachorro CMLL 5/23
22. Hardy Boys v. Briscoe Brothers OMEGA 4/26
23. Biff Busick v. Timothy Thatcher Beyond Wrestling "Secret Show" 4/13
24. Kongo Kong v. Danny Cannon IWA-MS 5/1
25. Meiko Satomura v. Hiroyo Matsumoto Fortune Dream 6/8
26. Yuki Ishikawa v. George Terzis Battle Arts Academy 6/14
27. Timothy Thatcher v. Joe Graves PREMIER 11/29
28. Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton WWE Raw 2/3
29. Sheamus/Christian v. Real Americans WWE Raw 2/10
30. Drew Gulak v. Timothy Thatcher EVOLVE 8/7

31. Rey Hechicero/Black Terry v. Negro Navarro/Trauma 2 Chilanga Mask 10/25
32. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose WWE Survivor Series 11/23
33. Preston Quinn/Pat Busick v. Damien Wayne/Mike Booth Fusion Wrestling 9/27
34. Ultimo Guerrero/Blue Panther v. Black Terry/Solar CMLL Sanchez 11/15
35. Rey Hechicero v. Black Terry Chilanga Mask 11/23
36. Arkangel De La Muerte v. Gallo CMLL 6/24
37. Tomoaki Honma v. Katsuyori Shibata NJPW 8/3
38. Bobby Fish v. TJ Perkins PWG 8/29
39. Heidi Lovelace v. Jordynne Grace IWA-MS 2/8
40. The Shield v. Evolution WWE Extreme Rules 5/4

41. Wyatt Family v. Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Rey Mysterio WWE Smackdown 2/18
42. Sheamus v. Cesaro WWE 9/21
43. Sheamus/Daniel Bryan/ Rey Mysterio v. The Shield WWE Smackdown 1/28
44. Dragon Lee/Stuka Jr./Star Jr. v. Belial/Extreme Tiger/Impulso Chilanga Mask 11/23
45. Biff Busick v. Drew Gulak CZW 9/27

54. Goldust/Cody Rhodes v. Antonio Cesaro/Jack Swagger WWE Main Event 3/19
55. Charles Lucero v. Silver Star ACM 3/2
56. Daniel Bryan v. Antonio Cesaro WWE Smackdown 2/18
57. Kota Ibushi v. Tomohiro Ishii NJPW 5/25
58. Negro Casas v. Titan CMLL 1/3
59. Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Big E Langston v. The Shield WWE Raw 1/20
60. Antonio Cesaro v. Sheamus v. Christian v. Daniel Bryan v. John Cena v. Randy Orton WWE Elimination Chamber 2/23

61. HARASHIMA v. Masa Takanashi DDT 2/23
62. Blue Panther/Black Panther/Cachorro v. Felino/Puma/Tiger CMLL 3/24
63. Goldust/Cody Rhodes v. Antonio Cesaro/Jack Swagger WWE Raw 1/6
64. Biff Busick v. Speedball Mike Bailey CZW 7/12
65. Big Ryck v. Prince Puma Lucha Underground 9/27
66. Rey Hechicero v. Barbaro Cavernario CMLL 6/20
67. Negro Navarro v. Virus 11/5 
68. Daniel Bryan/John Cena/Sheamus v. The Shield WWE Raw 1/27
69. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins v. Cesaro/Jack Swagger WWE Raw 3/24
70. Corporal Robinson/Heidi Lovelace/Mickie Knuckles v. Kongo Kong/Randi West/Jordynn Grace IWA-MS 3/9

71. Kevin Steen v. Speedball Mike Bailey C*4 5/3
72. Dean Ambrose v. Sheamus WWE Smackdown 5/9
73. Guerrero Maya Jr./Hechicero v. Traumas 1 & 2 CMLL Sanchez 11/15
74. Rey Hechicero/Barbaro Cavernario v. Veneno/Negro Navarro Cara Lucha 11/29
75. Tomoaki Honma/Yuji Nagata v. Katsuyori Shibata/Hirooki Goto NJPW 6/21
79. Mark Henry/Big Show v. Luke Harper/Erick Rowan WWE Raw 8/18
80. Cachorro v. Barbaro Cavernario CMLL 4/18

81. Virus v. Dragon Lee CMLL 9/2
82. Aerostar v. Argenis v. Angelico v. Cage Lucha Underground 10/18
83. Blue Panther v. Ephesto CMLL 6/22
84. The Shield v. The Wyatt Family WWE Raw 5/5
85. Villano IV v. Chessman AAA 3/16
86. Yuki Ishikawa v. Sansyu -Battle Arts Academy 11/14
87. Negro Casas/Puma/Tiger v. Guerrero Maya Jr./Atlantis/Delta CMLL 1/26
88. Dean Ambrose v. Randy Orton WWE Smackdown 8/8
89. Chris Hero v. Colin Delaney 2CW 5/16
90. Diamante Azul/Dragon Lee/La Sombra v. Rey Hechicero/Barbaro Cavernario/Negro Casas CMLL 9/16

91. Rey Hechicero v. Barbaro Cavernario CMLL 4/8
92. Solar v. Negro Navarro 10/11
93. Blue Panther/Valiente/Diamante Azul v. Terrible/Vangellys/Rey Bucanero CMLL 4/11
94. Freelance/Arez/Micke Segura v. Los Tortugas Ninjas 12/13
97. Blue Panther v. Negro Casas CMLL 1/2

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2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

2. Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro/Jack Swagger, WWE Raw 1/6/14

ER: So it's been no secret the last few months that week in, week out the most consistently great thing about Raw/Smackdown has been Goldust performances in tag matches. This match is another awesome tag sprint on what's now a pretty impressive list for the Rhodes Brothers. Obviously the other participants are no slouches as Cesaro has been one of the best in the world over the last year, but these tags are all about the Goldust show. When he's in he's arguably the most electric performer in the world. When he's on the apron I find myself watching him and waiting for him to either tag in or just bask in his apron work. The match is a hot 10 minutes with a couple great nearfalls (WWE spent so many years having guys use a roll up as a finish that it's now one of the more believable nearfall tricks they can pull on me) including Cesaro leaping in from the floor with a glorious battering ram headbutt to break up a pin. Great callback spot with Goldust taking a mammoth yakuza kick that sends him spilling off the apron, climaxing with Dust roaring back in to save Cody a couple minutes later with a bigger yakuza kick. The Goldust swinging rana off the top is probably the coolest move a wrestler has added to his arsenal past the age of 40. Cesaro is such a great catcher that it's no shock it was Dust's best rana since adding the move. Expect more Rhodes Bros. tags to show up on our list as the year goes on, as Dustin hot tags are pretty much the most exciting thing in wrestling for me right now.

PAS: Yeah this was really fun. If they keep the team together I could see this list as 60% Rhodes brothers tags, as they have a really fun group of heel teams to work against, always seem to get enough time and are maybe the best working babyface tag team since the Rock and Roll Express. I am going to write ad infinitum about how awesome Goldust is, but I really think Cody is the most improved wrestler in the world. He has a set of impressive offensive moves which he has different ways of executing, takes big bumps and sells great. Honestly the coolest spot in the match was Cody freaking out and trying ten different counters before Goldust ran in with that awesome Yakuza kick.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

One November Spawned a Monster, In the Name of William Regal Who Later Cried

William Regal v. Antonio Cesaro NXT 11/21/13-EPIC

PAS: It is pretty neat that Regal is given this forum to have one or two classic matches a year. I would love to see him get a more regular role, but it feels like this gives him a ton of artistic freedom which he wouldn't have on RAW or PPV. I thought this was structured early like the Regal v. Beniot match from the Pillman memorial as they pretty much stuck to the middle of the ring. Very nice grappling with Regal still looking like a master. Cesaro is really great at doing spots which showcase his strength and the lifting snap mare was awesome, as was the standing stretch plum.  I really dug the uppercut exchange too, with the big Cesearo uppercut being a really believable KO move, Regal is one of the best knocked loopy sellers in wrestling history. The dramatic melencholy regret finish was a little hokey, but was better without the hammy overacting Michaels or Helmsley brings to the spot.  Just excellent stuff lived up to its on paper promise, and it promised a lot.


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Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

We are going to be doing a running MOTY list this year. Eric and I will reach a consensus on a match and do a combo write up.

1. Negro Casas v. Titan CMLL 1/3

PAS: Casas was my wrestler of the year in 2013 and so it is fitting that he drops another gem to open up 2014. Titan is basically another in the long CMLL line of semi-interchangeable flashy technicos, but Casas is the guy who can slot in one of those dudes and have a great match. First two falls were fine, with Casas throwing in some little tricks here and there to liven it up (I loved his front face lock, where he just sort of DDTed Titan in the second turnbuckle.) Third fall picks up a bunch with Titan working over Casas's knee in some nifty ways and getting some dramatic near falls, until he goes to the proverbial well and catches a double boot to the face on a moonsault. Casas is rumored to be turning technico, but this was a marvelous bit of rudismo. Just his shit eating smirk as he trots around the outside after armbreaking Titan was beautiful. Viva Casas!!

ER: You heard it here first, the BEST MATCH OF THE YEAR (5 days into the year) is Negro Casas vs. Titan. CMLL really does have a glut of juiced up young flippy tecnicos, and like 15 of them went through a name/gimmick change over the last couple years so it feels like there are a million of them. Titan is the former Palacio Negro, who used to be all silly flash (still has that headstand headscissors) but he seems to have matured quite a bit and I think he brought a lot to the table here. And Casas may be the best guy at leading a young tecnico through a great match. Titan brings some big bumps to the first couple falls, including a nasty spill off the top to the floor off a Casas dropkick (which Casas then one-ups later in the 3rd by crashing and burning to the floor) and dumps himself on his neck on the apron after a Casas clothesline. I loved the submission Titan locks on to end the first. It started as a cool indian deathlock and kept morphing into a brutal twisting octopus hold. The application was fast and effortless, and actually looked painful. Each guy is really great at feeding the other's offense with Casas continuing his brutal trend of taking corner dropkicks directly in the face, and Titan flying into Casas's dropkicks to the knee and majestically flying face first into Casas' boots off a match-ending failed moonsault. Really fun start to the new year.

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates: Lightning Kid vs. Wellington Wilkins Jr.

The purpose of this project is to do a deep dive into the muck of the internet and pull out the hidden gems. Find a match which hasn't really been talked about and shine a light. This match is on one of Goodhelmets yearbooks, but outside of that it is pretty much unknown.

Lightning Kid v. Wellington Wilkins Jr.  PWA 11/90

ER: Man this match was such a blast. Wilkins is a stocky cruiserweight who's built like Backlund and spends 20 minutes ragdolling Waltman around the ring with awesome throws and weird matwork. Not many people in wrestling history have played the role of ragdoll better than early 90s Waltman. Wilkins is a guy who I admittedly have not seen much, but this match has me excited to break out all my M-Pro and see how he roughs up guys much tinier than Kid. Here he takes the full 20 minutes to stretch and smash Kid, starting with all sorts of trippy leg and arm grapevines, like Volk Han crossed with how you thought Dean Malenko actually worked when you were a teenager. Then he goes into all these wild bridging suplexes and powerslams that must mean he has the neck strength of a gorilla. He would just grab Kid by a convenient appendage and toss him, sometimes into a crazy bridged suplex, another time into a nasty over the shoulder backbreaker. Kid is always a good comeback worker, and here he gets to break out a bunch of desperation strikes, and if any of them whiffed he was great about selling a limb that Wilkins had just worked over. Awesome find, this.

PAS: I love a violent torturer as a heel gimmick. Wilkins is nicknamed "The Mystic" and is basically working as Olivier in Marathon Man. He is just ripping and tearing at the joints and muscles of a 14 year old Waltman and it periously close to watching child abuse. Waltman is actually a heel coming into this match but is a such a great sympathetic babyface that he turns himself during the match. The fact that this was a draw bites into it a bit, as the Kid just looks like a badass for surviving this beating but it doesn't build to a crescendo. Still incredibly violent and compelling for a random US indy match in 1990. 

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Friday, January 03, 2014

King is Going to Dance at a Bar, He's Going to Fight on the Floor

Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Sane NEW 4/19/08 - EPIC

ER: Cage match blow off to their match the month before. I don't actually remember seeing too many Lawler cage matches before (I know I've seen a Savage one and an Austin Idol one, and I think clips of a Dundee one in a music video. I'm sure there have been others), and definitely haven't seen him in a cage post '87 or '88. So this is a real treat just seeing how he adapts his modern indy style to a cage match, and he really makes sure to fly into the cage in nasty ways and get his face smashed and rubbed into it a bunch. I loved the psychology of Lawler being the one to demand a cage match, and it immediately backfiring on him as he gets tossed all around and smashed into the cage. Lawler is somebody with good enough body language to put over that kind of regret. I thought this was really good and had some cool stuff like Lawler going for the kill with a top rope fist drop only to get caught in a chokeslam, and Lawler using an awesome Jean Claude Van Damme uppercut to the taint that I've never seen him do before. Seeing Lawler punch somebody in the balls kinda ruins it for everybody else, as I can imagine other guys backstage going "He already makes our haymakers, jabs, corner punches and punches from the mount look business-exposing. Couldn't he have at least left us ball punches?"

PAS: Sane was really good in this too, he doesn't have too many fancy moves, but does a nice job working a super generic indy psychopath. His facial expressions and fits of rage aren't too hokey and his offense is really violent looking. Classic slow starter Lawler as he gets violently beaten early before he could come back. I loved the nut shot as it did come off as a truly desperate attempt to escape a hellacious beating. Lawler unloaded all of his great punches, including a knuckle out straight right that might have been trying to split an eyebrow. Very good, nifty little mini feud. Would have liked to see more match ups between the two.

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Thursday, January 02, 2014

The King will Steal a Car and Bring it Down

Jerry Lawler v. Michael Sane, NEW 3/15/08 - EPIC

PAS: Great out of nowhere wild brawl. The kind of thing a deep dive project like this is great for. Way more intensity then you normally see out of a 2000's Lawler touring indy match as he goes right at Sane from the beginning, and they have a classic Lawler v. Monster heel brawl. We get Lawler hurling a chair Moondogs style at Sane's head, Sane touring the whole ringsized smashing Lawler into each ringpost and some great punch exchange. Never seen Sane before but he looked like he belonged here. I imagine this is what the best Lawler v. Leatherface matches felt like. They did a really nice job of setting up the cage match as the ref gets between an awesome tee off punch exchange between them and they both waylay him. Crowd was super into the restart tease which I have no problem believing, as I was really into it too.

ER: This really was intense for a random Lawler vs. indy guy fight. Lawler throws a chair nastier than Necro and finds a few neat ways to get slammed into a post without resorting to Nigel idiocy. I had never seen Sane before but I really dug his throat thrusts. Lawler puts over his stuff well by doing little things that you never see, such as rubbing his hand over the back of his head and checking his hand afterwards after taking a few bodyslams. That's a level of detail you normally only get in somebody like Finlay, and it's pretty stunning to see on a random indy show. The crazy brawling over the final two minutes until the match is thrown out stand up with any crazy Lawler brawling you've seen.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The King Reads Idea Books and Has Pretty Looks

Jerry Lawler/Austin Idol Jeff Jarrett v. Moondogs/Big Black Dog USWA 2/10/92 - GREAT

ER: Out of control brawl that these guys can have in their sleep. Lawler looks awesome in this and Jarrett does the lord's work by getting paired up mostly with the debuting Big Black Dog, who is a large black man in his first match, who wrestles as if he's a large black man wrestling his first match. Jarrett makes a Dog clothesline look way better than it was, holds on for life on a bodyslam where Dog looked unsure how to drop him. The other Moondogs break out some nice spike shots and everybody gets hit with chairs and trash cans and upended tables.

PAS: I pretty much love all of the Memphis Moondogs clips I have seen from this period and I am jazzed a full arena match has shown up. This doesn't have any structure or anything, pretty much all six guys wander into the ring and throw chairs, garbage cans and tables at each others heads. I loved Richard Lee having the chairs with RIP Jeff Jarrett and RIP Jerry Lawler painted on them. Big Black Dog gets the pin over Lawler but it doesn't really matter as everyone just kept brawling. Totally fun.


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