Segunda Caida

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Aja Kong vs. KAORU, Gaea 2/13/00



1. Aja Kong vs. KAORU, Gaea 2/13/00

Aja Kong is my favorite female wrestler of all time and this match is one of my favorite joshi matches of all time (at least it was when I saw it over a decade ago) so I had tons of excitement to rewatch this one. Up until 2000 I had not seen much joshi. I'd seen Bull Nakano in WWF and WCW, and the Kong/Asari Raw match, and the only women's wrestling I had seen that was actually *from* Japan were a couple matches from FMW tapes. So then young me sees this match and was blown to pieces. I haven't seen this match in years and years and it was crazy how much still seemed fresh in my brain.

KAORU is all on fire to start and running circles around Kong and it rules, until she bites off more than she can chew and gets cute, and misses a senton off the top to the floor TAILBONE FIRST through a table. And then we get a brutal (to the shock of everybody) Aja Kong ass beating. Kong tosses her all around the building and god bless KAORU for taking the insane beating. Kong starts bouncing the broken table pieces of KAORU's face, then a couple chairs off her face, then piledrives her on the floor and runs her face first into a wall. And KAORU is busted open and Aja Kong does not give a fuck. All the speed vs. brute strength stuff works great here, with KAORU going back to the plan and ducking around a bunch of Kong backfists and playing dirty right in step by smacking Kong a bunch with a trashcan. However, again, zero fucks were given by Kong. In a crazy moment KAORU goes for a moonsault and lands face first into Kong's boots (while somewhere, a young Mistico was watching and thinking "I like that so much I'm gonna do it EVERY match!") and then when KAORU charges Kong, Kong just alley oops her in one of the more spectacular spots in wrestling history, with KAORU clearing the ropes and just crashing and burning onto the floor. It's like Kong thought of going for a hotshot, but just launched her 15 feet instead. Amazing.

Now it's Kong's turn to get cute and it costs her too. She goes for a dive and KAORU matadors her right into a table, then proceeds to beat the life out of Kong with a piece of broken table and THEN hits her top rope senton through the table (this time with Kong actually on it)! And somehow things get even more sick, as KAORU blocks a spinning backfist with the broken table and then begins slicing and smashing Kong's arm with the broken table. Kong is BLEEDING from her ARM!! Even sicker than Vader blading his chest. And forgive me for flipping out about Kong throwing KAORU to the floor earlier, because KAORU then moonsaults directly onto Kong's arm...while holding that broken table piece. I mean it looked like it just legit crushed Kong's arm.

One of the great things about the match is that all the transitions happen when either worker gets to fancy or starts playing outside their comfort zone. Kong starts to pile on and get cocky, that's when KAORU starts peppering her with stuff. KAORU starts foolishly trying to do power moves or string too many moves together? Kong backfists the hell out of her face. Kong goes to the top rope? KAORU dumps her vertically on her head with the grossest Michinoku Driver you have seen in your life. Kong should have probably died. All of this was so violent. Both women dished out furious beatings, KAORU getting punched and kicked in the face (finished off with a double backfist!) and Kong letting KAORU shine.

This match was just completely brutal. There were so many stiff shots, nasty spills and yet at no point did anything feel like overkill. Everything built, all the shifts in momentum happened logically and it was just one awesome oh shit moment after another. One of the most violent spectacles in wrestling history. I LOVED this.


BEST OF JAPAN MASTER LIST

Labels: , , , , , ,


Read more!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Naoki Sano vs. Minoru Tanaka, BattlArts 1/30/00

Naoki Sano vs. Minoru Tanaka, BattlArts 1/30/00

Believe it or not, years ago *this* match was my introduction to BattlArts. Not Ikeda or Ishikawa clonking coconuts and essentially signing verbal contracts guaranteeing that by the age of 50 they will wander the streets aimlessly, forget to pay bills and not recognize family members. Nope. When I first watched BattlArts my favorite type of wrestling was juniors wrestling. Phil and I have joked that we used to buy WAR shows for the Ultimo Dragon matches, now we fast forward through those matches to get to the old lumpy fatsos punching each other. But when I was a teenager, it was all cruisers. I heard of Tanaka and was into the idea of a cruiser that did a bunch of neato kicks and fast spinny matwork, and this was a match of his that was talked about a lot at the time. I watched it a bunch back then, but have not seen the match in probably over a decade.

And boy, for a match with tons of cool stuff, it does not add up to a very satisfying experience. There were tons of awesome moments. You could have made a killer 3 minute music video set to a Jim Steinman song (erm, I guess half of a Jim Steinman song...) and I'd think it looked like an incredible match. But there was just no narrative and nothing tying anything together. Tanaka is a guy with a couple of cool tricks (I remember how much I flipped the first time I saw Sano catch a kick, throw a strike and saw Tanaka catch the arm into a rolling armbar) but now it comes off more like a guy who saw a Volk Han tape, like when American indy guys saw their first T2P or Johnny Saint match. Sano looked great and attempted to keep some consistency, throwing out clues to Tanaka by stretching his knee or rubbing it, but Tanaka would just stick to randomly throwing out flashy submissions to any random limb, just because they looked cool. Sano had some killer stuff in this, including a spring-loaded missile dropkick that launched Tanaka almost into the ref, and THEE nastiest spin kick you've ever seen in your life, just perfectly catching Tanaka right under the chin in the most brutal way possible. And in maybe the perfect way to encapsulate the entire match theme, Tanaka immediately no sells it and goes for an armbar.


BEST OF JAPAN MASTER LIST




Labels: , , , , ,


Read more!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates

We take a trip back to a couple of months ago to check out a rare bit of good Japanese wrestling

Osamu Nishimura v. Tajiri WNC 8/8/13

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1irq6m_tajiri-vs-osamu-nishimura-c-wnc_sport

Always happy to see either of these guys show up, and it is pretty cool to see them match up. Nishimura works a very specific kind of match, full of cool takedowns, grappling and stretching. Tajiri is mostly on defense in this match, Nishimura works over the leg with some awesome looking uppercuts right on the patella and cool indian deathlock variations. Tajiri spends most of the match selling and trying to escape, and he gets the win, but only by a flash rollup. I think this would have been even better if we had gotten a little more cool offense in, but I really enjoyed what we got.

Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hatred Stirs up Dissention, But Yoshiaki Fujiwara Covers Up All Wrongs



Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yoshihiro Takayama v. Atsushi Onita/Shinjiro Ohtani Big Fireworks Promotion 3/21/14-GREAT

PAS: This is a pretty nasty exploding barbed wire match.I can just imagine how awesome this would have been 20 years ago, and considering how old and washed up most of these dudes are (outside of our boy Fujiwara, he will never be washed up) this was damn surprising. Although when you think about exploding barbed wire matches they are really more about charisma and facial selling then insane bumps, and these are four guys with boatloads of charisma and expressive faces. Ohtani has gotten really bald and fat, with that gut and hairline he looks like he is working a Phil Schneider gimmick, he totally looks like a ringer for old FMW dudes like Sambo Asako or Kurisu, he isn't Kurisu great in this but he has some fun exchanges with Fujiwara and a great spot where he gets too enthusiastic with his signature boot scrapes and scrapes his way leg first into an explosion. Onita at one point gets caught in the Fujiwara armbar and has to set off an explosion to escape. Fujiwara gets a showcase after he gets smashed with an exploding chair, he comes out like an action movie hero covered in debris and mist and starts fucking dudes up. The stuff between the big spots was a bit meandering, but I enjoyed this way more then I should have.

ER: Man what a weird little match. I mean step back and think about this match. You have four guys who all had very successful and pretty damn unique careers. And here they are, with a mean age of 52, working an exploding barbed wire match. And it's super fun and just bizarre the whole way through. Fujiwara looks so damn great in this. He's 64!! But he shows the most fire of anybody and at one point takes a chairshot to the chest. Oh, and the chair was wrapped in exploding barbed wire. What the hell!? Takayama was one of the main guys who got me back into puro back in the early 2000s, but now he has the reflexes of a guy who went 0-10 in MMA or something. It's also possible that he's working a post-OD Terry Gordy gimmick. Onita looks like a deadbeat dad who also happens to really be into Eno-era Roxy Music. Onita grabbing the exploding barbed wire to break an armbar was an incredible spot. Just looking at Onita, mentally struggling with whether to let Fujiwara rip his left arm off, or save the left arm by grabbing the barbed wire and getting his right arm blown off; it was like something out of a Saw sequel. This match was both bad and awesome.

Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Giving TNA Credit Where Credit is Due

TNA is the Springfield tire fire of professional wrestling. It feels like it's been around forever and no reasonable person can justify its existence. At this point it just exists. It's there. It's stink can be smelled from many states away. It's useless. It's ugly. It somehow will not die.

But as the old saying goes, even a burning tire yard is right twice a day. And last week while watching TNA something happened to me that I'm not sure has ever happened to me while watching TNA: I was genuinely interested, engaged and excited about what was onscreen, for all of the reasons intended.

TNA has been around for a long time. I still lived with my parents when TNA began to exist. I own a home now. I was still in college when TNA began. I work for the government and have some gray hairs now. Beck came out with "Sea Change" around when TNA began. Now he just released "Morning Phase", which is his only other album that sounds a lot like Sea Change. Many of my friends have gotten married and had children since TNA's existence. Others have married and already divorced. My first pet, Inky the cat, did not live as long as TNA has lived. TNA has still not ever done anything as cool as Inky a) catching bats, b) catching a rabbit, c) learning how to turn on/off a light switch.

But they got me excited for 7 minutes. Last week the show started off with an Abyss/Eric Young brawl, and it was awesome. Abyss is clearly the worst worker in the world over the last decade. I'm sure there have been some individual performances that have been worse, but he has turned in a full 10+ years of shockingly horrible work. I'll save more Abyss talk for a future post dedicated to Abyss and nothing else. This "match" was all about EY and he looked killer. A lot of his shots really landed hard on Abyss, and TNA's stupid faux-NYPD Blue backstage camera work actually made this look, dare I say...cool? This felt like one of the most violent things in TNA history, culminating with EY getting choked out over the ropes with a chain. EY took nasty spills the whole match (including getting tossed face first into a chair) but good god his face was turning purple while getting choked. The whole thing actually felt unique and interesting, which is something TNA has NEVER felt like to me. It actually made me want to tune in the next week...

And they started the 3/27 Impact with 27 minutes of talking. Never change guys. We'll always have those 7 minutes on 3/20.



Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

10. Real Americans v. Rhodes Brothers WWE Main Event 3/19

PAS: Another absolute gem of a tag match. I loved the opening section with Goldust and Swagger, blindingly fast stuff. 44 year old 6'6 Dustin Rhodes is moving as fast as a 22 year old CMLL technico, the opening section felt like a first caida lucha exchange. We get a pair of great face in perils, I loved how Cody set up the disaster kick for the hot tag, and Goldust is a true master at timing near tags and big tags. If we didn't have the Rhodes Brothers, Wyatts and Sheild we would be talking about what a great run the Real Americans are having, I love how they have worked out their double teams, the big bumps they take and how Cesaro throws in fun twists in every match. I am a southern tag fan, and this had all of the halmarks of that style with crazy amped up offense. So good

ER: Awesome stuff. Just give these guys 10 minutes and color me happy. Love the way Rhodes Bros. work with each other, with not really double teams, but tons of moves that complement the others' offense. Goldust was on fire here, making everything look too easy. His powerslam, rolling senton, back elbow from the middle rope, etc. all look so great. It's like the perfect set of offense. Cody had a really great match here too. His hot tag clotheslines on Swagger were some of his best. I loved him hitting the Disaster Kick early, and then Swagger catching it late. His moonsault press was a nice false finish as well. These guys get me to buy into more false finishes than anybody. Loved the ankle lock and Cody rolling over and brutally kicking at Swagger's arm to get him to let go. I thought for sure Cody would tap and the cut to Cesaro pulling the rope farther away was nice. Again, 10 minutes of these guys, it's as good a sure thing as any.


2014 MASTER LIST

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When I Look Through the King's Eyes I Get Bitter

Jerry Lawler/Reid Flair vs. Trevor Murdoch/Brian Anthony NEW 4/25/09 -GREAT

ER: This was a really good tag match, much better than I expected. I've seen one Reid Flair match before this (against Chris Hamrick), but considering David Flair is one of the 3 worst wrestlers I've ever seen and Charlotte has all the charisma of a used mop, I was not expecting anything whatsoever from him (especially since he'd had less than 10 matches in his career at this point). But I thought Reid looked good and showed tons of potential. I think his floor would have been something like Cody Rhodes, with a higher ceiling. Lawler starts with Murdock and these two are natural opponents. I'm bummed Murdock doesn't wrestle anymore as there aren't many workers who do his style of stoogey asskicker. He stumbles all around for Lawler but looks like a monster against Reid. Not many guys can pull off both. Reid comes in and works shockingly stiff, throwing some pretty big bombs (nice overhand rights and a cool short left), nice chops and a real mean clothesline. His amateur background appeared to give him a cool power base, as he generated tons of POW on a clothesline that only had one step of momentum. I've seen plenty of guys with a full head of steam coming off the ropes that couldn't get as much power behind it as Reid did from a standing-still position. Reid is still obviously green in there and while he didn't look at all tentative, he did look a little slow and threatened to get lost at times. But Murdock and Anthony were both great at keeping things moving. Reid took their arsenal real well, leaning admirably into a meaty Murdock clothesline and leaning chin first into a couple Brian Anthony flying kicks. Lawler's hot tag was great and we get the elder Flair coming in post-match to clean house with Lawler.

PAS: This was a bunch of fun. I really liked how Reid threw those weird arms akimbo Ric Flair punches, he did take his bumps a little like first day of wrestling school but otherwise looked good. What I really wanted out of this is a long extended Trevor Murdock vs. Lawler feud. Talk about a guy born in the wrong era, Murdock looked like the Dream Machine or Dirty Rhodes, just an awesome hand who could have been slotted anywhere in a territory. Jimmy Hart looked perfect at ringside here, Murdock would have been an awesome member of the first family, and honestly I see no reason he can't play the Danny Crowe role for the Wyatt Family.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE LAWLER

Labels: , , , ,


Read more!

BEST OF JAPAN 2000-2009 MASTER LIST

So Ditch threw together a big giant Best Puro of the 2000s ballot with over 300 matches. I figured I could start watching them (with no realistic intention of getting to all of them any time soon) and keep a running ranking of my own. Phil will occasionally chime in with his thoughts. Project seemed like a fun way to revisit a bunch of matches from my late teens, when I was really getting hooked on all foreign wrestling. Some of these matches I've seen a bunch over the last decade plus, others I haven't seen since the year they happened, a few I've never seen at all. Should be a fun trip.


1. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jun Akiyama, AJPW 2/27/00
2. Aja Kong vs. KAORU, Gaea 2/13/00
3. Vader vs. Toshiaki Kawada, AJPW 2/17/00
4. Kintaro Kanemura vs. Ryuji Yamakawa, BJPW 2/20/00
5. Shinya Hashimoto & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Naoya Ogawa & Kazunari Murakami, NJPW 1/4/00
6. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada, AJPW 3/31/00
7. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 1/17/00
8. Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kensuke Sasaki, NJPW 1/4/00
9. Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Tomoaki Honma, BJPW 1/2/00
10. Vader vs. Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 2/27/00
11. AKIRA vs. Koji Kanemoto, NJPW 2/20/00
12. Naoki Sano vs. Minoru Tanaka, BattlArts 1/30/00

Labels: , ,


Read more!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Best of Japan 2000-2009: Shinya Hashimoto/Takayuki Iizuka vs. Naoya Ogawa/Kazunari Murakami, NJPW 1/4/00





1. Shinya Hashimoto & Takayuki Iizuka vs. Naoya Ogawa & Kazunari Murakami, NJPW 1/4/00


I hadn't seen this match in years and it's still completely awesome. Ogawa and Murakami are like the ultimate evil anime boss battle, with their high and tight fades and their super arched eyebrows. But I'm not convinced any wrestler in history has looked like more of a badass than early decade Hash. The shag, the sideburns, the fat karate bellbottoms. And he's got blood in his eyes in this one. Everybody here gets to shine, with Hash punting Ogawa around the ring, Murakami throwing wild Ralphie-on-Scut-Farkus mounted bombs, Ogawa bringing the dickheaded aloof, and Iizuka having maybe the best moments in the whole match. I love how dickheaded Ogawa can make the STO look, like he's just overpowering everybody and forcing them onto the mat. But I lost it when Iizuka flies in from nowhere with his dropkick, and him locking in the rear naked choke on Murakami, Murakami starting to fight up, and then Iizuka flattening him out was epic. The crowd was so damn hot for this, and it was so cool hearing a wave of jeers when a triangle gets held too long, or the excitement when Hash blocks a judo throw. So much great stuff here.


BEST OF JAPAN MASTER LIST


Labels: , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don't Be Afraid of Those Who Kill the Body but Cannot Kill the Soul, Instead Be Afraid of Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Tiger Mask IV v. Carl Greco/Yuki Ishikawa BattlArts 5/5/01-EPIC

Fujiwara v. Ishikawa is the on paper highlight of this match, and their brief showdown is pretty great. Still the blow away awesome part of this is the Carl Greco v. Fujiwara matchup. Greco is an awesome agressive matworker and it is great to see Fujiwara countering his counters. Fujiwara would grab a limb, Greco would have this great fast counter, and before he could sink it in, Fujiwara would counter again. Such beautiful grappling. TMIV was more of a bruiser, landing kicks and jumping knees to the gut, and they had some nice back and forth striking with Ishikawa. Finish was a Fujiwara classic. Greco gets a hot tag and comes in house of fire, overwhelming Fujiwara with punches and kicks in the corner. Fujiwara does a great dazed sell and the ref backs Greco out, and as he charges again Fujiwara quickly catches him in a leg trap armbar for the tap. Such an awesome possum job, just love watching the old master pull one out.

Labels: , , , , ,


Read more!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates

We take a trip to the Bay Area to watch a couple of guys hit the mat hard.



Mr. Athletic Jeff Cobb v. Timothy Thatcher Supreme Pro Wrestling 2/17/13

PAS: Really odd awesome match. This is as close to RINGS as US wrestling is ever going to get. Thatcher is a Billy Robinson trained Catch guy, and Cobb is on the Guam Olympic wrestling team and outside of a few highspots, this is all grappling. Thatcher mixes in some cool WOS escapes and Cobb throws some nasty suplexes. I loved the finish, which had Thatcher mixing in some very cool counter wrestling as he reverses a german into an armbar.

ER: Thatcher is my favorite Bay Area guy (though it appears he's getting a lot of gigs all over the country, which is awesome for him) as he does cool throws and stiff strikes like Cesaro, but since he works on the indies he can do a lot more mat stuff, and he's really good on the mat. Cobb is a cool freakish power wrestler who can do incredible deadlift type throws. Cobb throws some beastly suplexes in this, including a nasty deadlift German where Thatcher desperately grabs for the ropes or anything to prevent from getting tossed (it doesn't work). One of my favorite show-off moves that Cobb does (which really not many can do in wrestling since few have his strength) is doing a move or slam almost to completion, then stopping his momentum and doing the move back the other way. Starts doing a powerslam, stops before the slam, and then goes back the other way with it. Just a total awesome feat to show that he's running things.

Labels: , , , ,


Read more!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Uprising: Lucha Libre Workrate Report 3/9/14

These matches were from the 5/10/13 card in Sacramento that also had a Hijo Del Santo match. Here's betting that match mysteriously never airs.

1. Willie Mack vs. Phoenix Star vs. Brian Cage vs. Ultimo Panda

Cage is juiced to the gills (working a border patrol gimmick is pretty ironic since if I saw a guy crossing the border that looked as gassed as Cage, I would instantly flag him) and what's crazy is that I've seen him on two Bay Area shows within the last month and he's gotten even more massive. If you saw the TNA gut check match with him from a year ago, and then saw what he looks like now? He's put on a dangerous amount of muscle mass in one year. For some reason whenever they have Willie Mac in one of these elimination matches he's always the first guy eliminated, which is lunacy since Panda and Phoenix Star aren't very good. Mac is perfect for these types of matches, as he's a big fat guy who has a bunch of cool offense. I've seen him work long singles matches before so I know he has a decent gas tank. Here he does all his fun stuff like big flying heel kick and awesome standing moonsault. He's also really fun working lucha exchanges as he's just as smooth as tiny guys, but seeing a big guy do a rolling kip-up is way cooler. Now they actually did something right here and started the match at the actual bell time. Usually they show every second of each guy's entrance which is hilarious on a show they pay to air. But they do something that pisses me off just as much, as Mac's elimination happens during the commercial break! This is a taped show, and it's a match that happened almost a year ago. You couldn't figure out how to air this match in full? That is unspeakably annoying. Cage has to hold the rest of this together which he does well, able to take all of Star's armdrags and advancing each spot so it isn't just an Eliminators movez exhibition. Panda's offense never looks that great and he always does a lot of distracting mask adjusting and shorts hiking, but he takes moves well and gets blasted by a Cage clothesline that looked great. Finish was cool with Cage turning a Gory Special into a kind of Sister Abigail which was a nice lucha move with a modern twist. Fun match, but it's going to gnaw at me wondering how much was edited out...

2. Pequeno Halloween vs. Octagoncito

Really fun match that's needlessly shit all over because of a heel ref gimmick getting shoehorned into everything. Sparky Ballard actually makes for a good heel ref, but I have zero interest whatsofuckingever in seeing refs hone their character chops. Still, you ignore eyerolling slow counts and match interrupting bullshit and you focus on Octagoncito hitting a nutso high speed dive into the dirt (match took place in the dirt rodeo arena at a county fair) and Halloween hitting his awesome under the bottom rope sliding splash to the dirt. Pequeno Halloween is killer bumping around for all of Octagoncito's armdrags and flips and flops and I kinda regret not going to this show. I mean jeez, Peq. Halloween and Santo in an outdoor fair setting. Seems like a no brainer (a quick date check shows that I was seeing Yo La Tengo in SF that night, so that's kind of a pretty good excuse).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List



17. Necro Butcher v. Stockade SWA 3/1

ER: Necro doesn't work nearly as much as he used to, so I'm always excited when some new Necro shows up. I'd never seen Stockade before, but sight unseen based off his name I was crossing my fingers for a fat guy working a son-of-Roadblock gimmick. And well...I wasn't too far off. Stockade is short and fat and kinda looks like a county Parks Dept. employee. He wears the same kinda tights/singlet combo as Roadblock, too! And has a ponytail! I was sold on this before it began. Necro mixed up a bunch of fun offense to start, kicking out Stockade's knee to finally shoulderblock him down, then peppering him with tons of big chops, brutal right hands, a mule kick, and freaking Ricky Steamboat overhand chop. Stockade gets a long control segment and has fun stocky fatty offense (oh...is that his name because he's Stocky?). I especially liked his fat guy yakuza kicks. The best stuff happens when they brawl on the floor to end it, with both guys throwing bombs and headbutts and front kicks (Necro's barefoot front kick is always the grossest).

PAS: I remember digging Stockade when I saw him live at an EVOLVE show (he was my third favorite guy behind Finlay and Callihan). Necro is always great at slugfest matches, and Stockade is game to give him a slug fest. This took a bit to get going, but by the end it was a really great brawl.  We didn't get any big Necro bumps (I am not sure he has those in him anymore), but we do get a lot o great Tenryuish potato shots, and Stockade realizes where he is and fires back. I was pretty irritated with the countout, it seems so weird to book Necro on your show and end the match right as it is starting to get really good.


2014 MASTER LIST

Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yoshiaki Fujiwara Did Not Give Us a Spirit of Timidity, But a Spirit of Power

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Kazunari Murakami v. Egan Inoue/Yuki Ishikawa Riki Pro 8/14/05-EPIC

Holy hell what a war. This is the exact kind of match which Puroresu did so well, and rarely ever does anymore. A wild semi out of control faction war, where it doesn't feel like everyone is on the same page. Fujiwara and Murakami come out flanked by a bunch of Yakuza looking dudes and look totally badass. Murakami and Ishikawa immediately go to war just strafing each other with potato shot kicks and punches. I love this match up so much, every time they have ever interacted has been totally awesome and this is no exception. This match is filled with great matchups though, there isn't much Ishikawa v. Fujiwara out there, but that is student v. teacher and is always great, they mix up with some really beautiful mat work and some nasty slaps and punches too. Egan Inoue v. Fujiwara isn't a match up I have seen before but was also awesome, Inoue is a PRIDE dude with crazy tattoos and not much pro-wrestling experiences, and comes forward like a tank. Fujiwara is one of the best counter wrestlers ever, and it is great to watch him absorb the beast. Man Fujiwara vs. Brock Lesnar would have been the best thing ever. Not long, but this kind of thing shouldn't be, every second of this was great. Hell of a discovery.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

Labels: , , , , , ,


Read more!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

14. HARASHIMA v. Masa Takanashi DDT 2/23/14

ER: Hot match that threatens to go into overkill but doesn't, with some cool move sequences that I've never seen. I'd seen HARASHIMA before but definitely have not seen Takanashi, as I would have remembered him. He works fairly unconventional, not quite like the first time you saw somebody like Johnny Saint, but kind of like that. His unpredictable spark added to the match, but could almost just as easily been obnoxious. You heard it hear, Takanashi walks the line of innovative and obnoxious, in about as entertaining manner possible. HARASHIMA was the glue in this one but it was wild watching Takanashi climb all over him like a spider monkey. You've seen a million Code Red spots at this point, but I've never seen one where another man is literally clinging to another man's body, crawling all over him for leverage. Elaborate reversal sequences often come off far too choreographed, with the workers having vacant expressions as they try to remember the timing of 1-2-3 Duck 5-6 Jump 2-3 Knee 5-6 (indy spot monkeys clearly do moves in 6/8 time signature). But a lot of the misses and hits and memory spots here looked really cool. I really liked HARASHIMA committing to miss a Shining Wizard and flying knee first into the turnbuckle. I dug Takanashi putting a neat twist on the Lady in the Lake spot by turning into a nasty armlock (with his feet!). These two seemed to complement each other really well. I'm not sure they could have this good a match with other opponents, though I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

PAS: I really enjoyed this, it felt like something different which isn't something you get much in current wrestling. Wrestling Takanashi must be like wrestling a boa constrictor or one of those face huggers from Alien. He just hangs all over HARASHIMA and uses body contact to transition into submissions and roll ups. Meanwhile when HARISHIMA was able to get a little separation he would brutalize the little guy, there was some especially violent looking stomps to the chest. This never got no selly or excessively 2.9y which are the major flaws of current Puro. I am not sure this is a matchup that would survive lots of repetition as I am not sure if this would be as much fun if the newness was gone, but the first time it was great.

Labels: , , , , ,


Read more!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Daisuke Ikeda is Screaming at a Wall, Someday it's Going to Fall

Daisuke Ikeda v. Tamon Honda NOAH 9/1/01- EPIC

These are two of my favorite Puro workers ever, and this one of my favorite Puro matches. Honda missed his calling as a BattlArts guys, and all I want for my birthday is to see all of his FUTEN matches. This is the semi final match of a mini tourney for a GHC title shot and felt like a big deal. Honda is an Olympic wrestler and he has some really amazing takedowns, just tremendous speed and force. Meanwhile Ikeda is throwing nasty kicks and clotheslines. It was basically striker versus grappler as Ikeda had the advantage on the feet while Honda took control on the mat. Finish was great with Honda doing as nasty leg grabbed takedown and quickly shifted into multiple variations of Olympic Hells until he grabbed one that finished him.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE IKEDA

Labels: , , , ,


Read more!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

NXT Episode 209 Workrate Report 2/18/14

1. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Casey Marion & Mike Laboska

Apparently the Ascension are the longest reigning tag team champs in NXT history. They also have matching soul patches, but I'm unsure if their title reign also synced up to their twin soul patch reign. Laboska takes a big bump off the apron from a shoulder to the stomach. The announcers inform me that Ckonar and Vyktur refer to their style as "telepathic carnage" which is not quite as dumb as "controlled frenzy". They do a couple moves to Marion and call it a day with a Total Elimination type leg sweep/flying back elbow combo. Hard to judge any of these guys in a one minute match. I like squash matches, but NXT isn't really impressing me with their 60 second squashes. I'd like to see a little more. Give me 6 moves instead of three. If a match takes less time than the ring entrances, you've almost always wasted my time.

2. Summer Rae vs. Emma

Boy this was not very good. I appreciate that they gave them time (7 minutes) to have a good match, but these two do not have 7 minutes worth of material. They've done a strange job with Emma as all her wins have happened after being dominated for the large part of her matches, then winning on almost flukes. Her Rae controlled the first 6 minutes, then botched interference from the BFFs led to Emma getting the Emma Lock. Summer Rae has some decent offense as her pointy features make her knees, elbows and hip bumps a lot more credible. I can imagine her boniness cutting somebody open. But she doesn't have 6 minutes of offense, and Emma isn't very good at taking or selling offense. After 6 minutes of control Emma just kinda starts acting like nothing has been done to her, takes over after a missed charge and starts dancing. I'm pretty shocked she got called up to the main card already as she has not shown me a whole lot. It should also be noted how completely horrible and lost Charlotte is at ringside. She is a complete wasteland of personality. She has no idea what she's feeling out there, no idea what her motivation is. She kept peeking over at Sasha Banks during the match and copying her reactions. It's one of the more painful things I've seen in wrestling. If she was working a "girl trying to fit into the In Crowd" gimmick it would be one of the finest examples of a subtly brilliant wrestling character, but she's clearly just completely clueless as to what the hell she's supposed to be doing out there. What's funny, is that her clueless positioning and complete lack of body chemistry immediately reminded me of David Flair, who I still think is the worst wrestler to be in a major fed for 2+ years. Even if I had no clue they were related, her vacant eyes, phony movements and complete lack of stage presence just immediately reminded me of David Flair.

Tyler Breeze does a quick interview running down Adrian Neville's looks, saying that an uggo shouldn't be the face of WWE. Neville seems to be playing some sort of model but I don't think he's really done much research into how male models usually act. They're usually vacant and aloof. He's going for more of a preening intellectual thing. Plus his jaw is too strong for modeling, his cheekbones are too weak, nose isn't good enough, and he needs to trim the sides of his hair. Get your act together Breeze.

Then we get a backstage sit down interview with Zayn and Cesaro building to their big match. Cesaro is incredible in this, spending most of the time texting on his phone. Great moment when Cesaro asked Zayn about his knee and Zayn said his need was cleared for competition. Cesaro says that being cleared and being 100% are two very different things. Zayn is wearing an Operation Ivy shirt this week, so with his Me First shirt last week I assume he hasn't actively tried to discover new bands since high school. I'm going to predict Less Than Jake or a Mad Caddies shirt for next week.

3. Adrian Neville vs. Tyler Breeze

This was a real fun match. It was mostly a Neville squash, but with a great almost turning point thrown in towards the end. Neville has a bunch of cool offense with his spinkicks and flying and nice elbows and nice hanging powerbomb. Breeze was good at bumping and posturing, like a not-as-good John Tatum. Wrestling doesn't really have a John Tatum right now so it's a welcome thing. The turning point was really weird and I'm not sure if it was just a cool blown spot recovery or a unique plan. Neville was on the apron waiting for Breeze to get up so he could hit a springboard move. Well Breeze gets up and throws a random dropkick before Neville is even doing anything. Just gets up and dropkicks nothing whatsoever. So Neville just walks back into the ring and then Breeze levels him with a superkick. So either within the match Breeze purposely tried to confuse Neville and suckered him into a last-chance move, or Breeze completely messed up his timing of what was supposed to be catching Neville with a dropkick, and on the fly the came up with the superkick instead. And the cool thing is, I like *both* possibilities. Either it was a really smart way to set up a possible comeback, or it was one of the smoothest blown spot recoveries I've seen. So, awesome either way. Neville ends up winning anyway with the Red Arrow which is one of the most spectacular spots in wrestling history. Most people can't pull off a normal shooting star press, let alone one with a twist that almost always hits completely flush.


COLLECTED NXT REVIEWS



Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Night Digging In The Crates

This week we take a trip to an Armory in scenic New Jersey and watch Puerto Ricans beat the bricks off of each other



Da Hit Squad v. The Shaolin Wrecking Crew JAPW 6/7/02

PAS: I used to love watching DHS beat the ever loving crap out of little dudes, the one thing better might be watching them beat the ever loving crap out of giant dudes. This was basically like a Moondogs v. Moondogs match. Suba is a giant fat dudes and he takes a bunch of suplexes right on his ball park frank looking neck, and gets the leftover chili dog juice slapped out of his mouth by an especially nasty Monsta Mack. Might be a bit one sided, but a total blast.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 3/8/14

All of these matches are from the 2/21 Arena Mexico show.

1. Ultimo Guerrero, Barbaro Cavernario & Mr. Niebla vs. Valiente, Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr.

Primera is all rudo beatdown, with Niebla wandering around slapping people, peaking with Soberano getting clotheslined on the apron and getting dumped right on his head. Ouch. Soberano is becoming quite the bump freak. Tecnico comeback in the segunda is rushed, with Volador and Soberano suddenly hitting nice springboard ranas and big flip dives. Niebla catches both really nicely and then takes a big bump getting thrown into the crowd. Soberano has a crazy high dropkick, too. I'm starting to dig this guy. Although his rope running still trips me out, and I can't figure out why. It's like he's throwing in an extra turn or something. It looks like something your brain can't figure out the first time you watch World of Sport. Finishing run for this is real hot, with Soberano breaking out a nice inverted headscissors and his cool 360 crossbody, Valiente hitting his wild (formerly) fat guy tope, and Niebla tossing Soberano into a nasty missile dropkick from Cavernario.

2. Lightning Match: Diamante Azul vs. El Terrible

Well this was not very good. Azul hits a nice dive , but his rampway flip dive works way better in trios than it does in singles matches. It was beyond comical how poorly Terrible got into position to take the flip dive. While Diamante is getting ready by jogging down the rampway, Terrible picks himself up like "Well, time to go catch the dive" (I'm picturing him saying it in a "Time to make the donuts" voice). Just stands up, walks the length of the ring, and then waits in position. Just awful. To top it off the match ends in one of those lame "both men's shoulders down" double pinfalls that nobody likes ever.

3. Negro Casas, Shocker & Felino vs. Rush, Maximo & Marco Corleone

This was pretty disappointing for a match with Rush and Casas and opposite sides. All three falls were way too quick and the tercera ended with a DQ. Wah wah. We get some comedy with Felino licking armpits and begging off Corleone punches. Maximo hits a big dive, Corleone hits a kind of disappointing crossbody off the rampway (with his size it should be way more impactful). Rush and Casas start going at it in the tercera but for far too brief, with Rush kicking the hell out of Casas and trying to snap his arm over the turnbuckles. But all this is too brief to amount to much.





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


Read more!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

2. The Shield v. Wyatt Family WWE Raw 3/3

ER: Holy lord. This shit was wild. "Wild" isn't really something that WWE does. They're very structured and very micro-managed, so even the wildest matches from the fed tend to have some sort of order and disconnect. But THIS. This match felt like no other WWE match I've ever seen. We start with The Shield doing dives, Rollins dropkicking dudes out of the ring, Rollins hitting a huge flip dive on Harper then sprinting back in to do one on Rowan, then getting launched sideways into the barrier by Harper. There's just so much wild reckless shit in this. People are flying around the whole time working their own angles and stories while other exchanges are happening. Again usually even wild WWE brawls are clearly structured and this one felt like the best kind of sloppy. It came off like all of those great short 80s set matches that always place really highly. It felt like it was constantly breaking down. Harper looks like a beast in this, flying all over the ring (take a manly bump into the timekeeper's pen), big booting everybody off the apron, dishing nasty clubbing strikes, hitting a dropkick that looked like it should have caved Ambrose' chest in. Love Rowan's fist-assisted head vice, and I love Ambrose escaping it by yanking HARD on Rowan's beard. As a man with a large beard, this is a daily fear of mine. Ambrose brings the Nigel rebound clothesline out of the mothballs and LEVELS Harper with it. Harper leans so damn hard into every move every match, he just might have a lumpy Takayama face under that beard by the end of the year. Wyatt hits a Mike Knox cross body (why the FUCK is Mike Knox not rehired in the Wyatt Family yet!?), and then gets planted with a nasty Ambrose DDT that he took basically vertical. Reigns hits arguably his best ever Superman punch (or maybe Harper is to thank for it...) with Harper's head whipping back while his body crumbles in front of him, like half of his momentum was going one way while Reigns knocked the other half the opposite way. Reigns spears Rowan over the announce table and both tumble wildly over it, while Harper kicks Ambrose asshole over elbow back in the ring. This whole thing was just fucking AWESOME and felt entirely unique in a WWE setting. I mean, it felt entirely unique when compared to the 2014 wrestling landscape, and I hate hate HATE that I don't get to watch these two teams feud for eternity, with new members and shifting face/heel dynamics. I still can't decide which match I liked more. The Chamber match had a cool longtime story, and this one was them pissed their own tactics worked against them and just bringing the fight to the Wyatts. My heart says this one...

PAS: I think the Chamber match was slightly better, I am going to take a match with a clean finish over something that is undergirding for an angle when all else is equal. Still this was damn close, the work was great. I love faceish Ambrose he is like a crazy ECW Terry Funk, everything he does is the right kind of intense and out of control. His Thez press looks like a guy on PCP flinging himself at a cop. I loved his bridged figure four, and Harper's double stomp to break it up was disgusting looking. Plus that rebound clothesline looked spectacular, loved when Nigel did it, love it from Ambrose. I liked the 2 on 3 dynamic of the finish, but was a bit iffy on Rollins motivation, and his acting. Felt like he hit his lines a bit hard. Still when your only complaint about a match is the vocal acting, it is pretty damn great


2014 MASTER LIST

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


Read more!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NXT Episode 208 Workrate Report 2/11/14

1. Natalya, Bayley & Emma vs. Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks & Summer Rae

Oh weird. I saw Bayley wrestle a few times in Bay Area wrestling promotions as Davina Rose and dug her then. She was always a heel there, though. This was a really fun trios. All of the stuff between Banks and Natalya was really good. Banks bumps around for her in that fun Diva way where they don't look totally trained and it makes the bumps look nastier. She and Summer Rae play chicken nicely, both sprinting away from Natalya while Natalya gets to throw in her comparative power offense. Most of this is Bayley getting worked over by Fox and Rae, with Fox's work being much better. Rae threw a nice butt bump after choking Bayley over the ropes (and then had a really embarrassing slow crawl to the hot tag), but Fox is really great at building to a babyface comeback, as she really yanks in chin locks and actively taunts faces (also threw a mean Northern Lights with a crazy high bridge). Emma is kept out of this until the finish which is probably best. Emma did a nice sunset flip and I do dig the Emma Lock. She just doesn't do much for me yet.

2. Aiden English vs. Colin Cassady

Cassady looks a lot like Edge and wears a gigantic goofy gold chain. He's billed as being almost 7 feet tall but I don't know how accurate that is. I'm not sure how big English is so I don't really have any context for that height. Cassady seems alright but didn't get to do much. English looked really good here, with a nasty spinning neckbreaker, nicely elbowing his way out of a fallaway slam, and running hard into Cassady's (nice looking) punches and big boot. This was a short match and I assumed the guy being billed as 7' would go over, but was pleasantly surprised to see English get the win.

Big promo setting up Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro for the NXT live show a couple weeks after this. I have not seen any of their NXT matches, but I've seen Claudio vs. Generico live and was a huge fan of that, so I'm excited to see them again. Cesaro has obviously been one of the best in the world for some time, and while I was never as high on Generico as most, it's clear that these two match up nicely. I dig how they're setting up that big live show. Although seeing Zayn wearing a t-shirt under a baggy blazer made me want to see Cesaro dismantle him. Regal on commentary puts over how incredible their last match was and how excited he was to see the rematch. Regal is so fucking stellar on commentary, and a big key is because he doesn't force talking points, doesn't sound like he's shilling anything, everything about him sounds like he's just giving his genuine thoughts. Michael Cole is the shits as he just spews constant buzzwords and shouts in soundbites. It gets fucking unbearable. Regal is calm, doesn't shout out his phony sounding cliches, and just seems like he enjoys what he enjoys. Renee Young is really great too and sounds like she knows her stuff. Her interactions with Regal are gold. Although god is the Simpsons "Choo-Choo-Choose Me" line the only one anybody in WWE knows? Feels like I've heard it three times on TV this year.

3. Tye Dillinger vs. "Moonchild" CJ Parker

1 minute match which is a real bummer. There's no real reason to do 1 minute matches these days. Especially disappointing as both guys looked good. Well, Moonchild doesn't look good, he's horrible to look at. He looks like a man who refuses to leave an Umphrey's McGee show because they may come out for another set. "I'm not leaving until I get a Trenchtown Rock cover!" Dillinger hits the mat and looks great on it, and if Regal is putting over your matwork on commentary then you're doing something well. Things pretty much end here with Parker hitting a nice senton, airplane spin and then the most awesomely ridiculous palm strike called the Third Eye, which is basically a Shoryuken.

After the match Parker gets on the stick and breaks out some insanely great hippie heel work. "You people boo me? I should be booing you for what you're doing to the polar ice caps!" Talks about how his modified Ford Fiesta gets 40 mpg and how he always practices recycle/reduce/reuse. Yes! This motherfucker joins the loop and I want more heel hippie dirtfuck. "I was the guy picking up garbage at Reggae on the River, and now I'm the ones picking up wins in NXT!"

4. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan vs. two guys

Surprised to see the Wyatts here but their appearance is just a brief kiss, as Harper blasts one guy off the apron with a beastly running elbow and this doesn't really go 30 seconds. Just a mauling.


COLLECTED NXT REVIEWS






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


Read more!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Black Terry Sang A Song as he Rode, His Guns Hung on his Hips

Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Veneno v. Oficial 911/Oficial AK47/Tony Rivera IWRG 3/9/14-GREAT

Old fashioned IWRG brawl with an especially heated focus on Terry v. Rivera. Rivera jumps him coming into the ring and they spend the whole match beating on each other and bleeding, with Rivera posting him and making him bleed, Terry smashing Rivera with the lid of the beer cooler, and Rivera wasting him with a tope. Veneno bleeds too, although mostly wanders around Baba chopping people. More cameo performances from the Oficiales and Cererbo, although the good Doctor did whip out an awesome looking bullet tope. Didn't reach the heights of the brawling trios of yesteryear, but this was well worth watching and enjoying.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE BLACK TERRY

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 3/1/14

These matches are from the 2/14 Arena Mexico show, and feature the finals of the Gran Alternativa tournament.

1. Mr. Niebla & Barbaro Cavernario vs. Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr.

Oh god Volador and Soberano are dressed as the blue people in Avatar and it's one of the absolute lamest things I have ever seen in lucha. I already lean rudo, but nothing has ever made me lean more to the rudo side than this. How embarrassing. I mean, at least go all the way with it. If you're gonna dress up like a Pandoran, then your partner should be some sort of dragon that you can fuck with your ponytail. These two look like the creepiest cosplayers you can imagine, cruising the bars post ComicCon. This match is kind of a mess but has a lot of fun individual moments. Neibla looked really good in the first half but gassed toward the end and got lazy. Volador took a dangerous bump into the crowd, smashing his calves into some poor woman (Happy Valentine's Day!!)  but a lot of the match highlighted his poor match construction skills and dated spots (have you seen anybody since Kidman have his opponent balance himself on the middle ropes so you can get in your neat spot?). Soberano Jr. turned in a real nice performance with a couple wild dives and a massive bump through the ropes to the floor off a Niebla shoulderblock. Cavernario also impressed me here. He bumps big (took a sunset flip powerbomb off the apron and another to the floor) and hits some big moves. I dig his double knee drop and his giant splash from the top to the floor will be sure to turn his knees to dust. The match didn't have any sort of build and was a real muddled mess of moves (MMM?) but a lot of the moves worked, so it was perfectly fine viewing.

2. Lightning Match: Marcela vs. Dallys

Damn this was a nice, short, violent match. Dallys picks apart Marcela for the first few minutes after ambushing her before the whistle. Dallys works a lot stiffer than I remembered. Marcela's comeback is wild as Dallys eats a brutal dropkick through the ropes and Marcela hits a nasty running dropkick off the apron that sends Dallys flying. Both women looked great here, maybe my favorite lightning match of the year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyAGU-r1ggI&feature=youtu.be

3. Ultimo Guerrero, Euforia & Gran Guerrero vs. Valiente, Mascara Dorada & Mistico

I really loved this. Tons of crazy spots and big bumps, and not just crazy spots but some that I rewound several times. Mascara Dorada is a huge favorite of mine, really gives me a 2009 Freelance vibe which I think is massive praise. The match essentially starts with one of the nuttiest dives I've ever seen, with Dorada getting so much speed that he ends up going totally vertical, with his body gliding legs up directly through his opponent and into the barrier. It looked insane and if this were at Coliseo he would have been 4 rows deep. Meanwhile Valiente's feet hang up and he does a massive belly flop on the floor. Euforia is is the ultimate bumping lucha base GOD and here he catches a wild no hands Dragon rana running from the ring to the floor, takes a giant Cassandro bump in the tercera. Dorada is so breathtaking, not just hitting spectacular ranas and dives but doing them so effortlessly and flawlessly. Replacement Mistico looked good here as well, and usually he doesn't leave a major impression on me. This left me wanting to see these teams match up many more times, which has been a recurring theme in 2014 wrestling for me. Tons of guys I'm loving to watch, but specifically tons of match ups I'm loving. Go out of your way to watch this one.




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


Read more!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunday Night Digging In the Crates

We take a trip to Juarez as another in our sub theme of 80's Villano 3 mask matches which showed up too late for the 80's Lucha set.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMmteW-cAaw

Flama Roja v. Villano 3 3/17/87

Roja was a veteran rudo who according to OJ at Great Lucha had the awesome nicknames "The Lord and Master of Scandal" and "The Scourge of the Technicians" no fair for one guys to have two great nicknames like that. Good first fall with some nice mat wrestling by both guys, until V3 hurts his knee with a pescada and gets tapped. FYI There is a weird clip after the first fall to the middle of the third skip to 20:00 for the end of the segunda. We get a classic gorefest third fall with Flama cutting open V3's bandaged arm with a chair shot, and wasting him with an awesome tope. By the end V3 and Roja are on their knees covered in blood exchanging nasty head butts. I am bummed this didn't make the DVDVR set, but I am happy we keep getting Villano 3 mask matches showing up. May I suggest the lucha gods send us his Nacaulpan hair match with Perro Aguyao?

Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

NXT Episode 207 Workrate Report 2/5/14

So I am almost 100% unfamiliar with the NXT goings on. 207 episodes!? How the hell is that even possible?? Have I literally missed 4 years of NXT? Or does it work like weird TV season numbers and this is just the 7th episode of season 2. But yeah, I have haven't seen much of NXT, is what I'm getting at. I've seen the occasional Hero or Ambrose match and that's about it. Never watched a full episode, but I like the fact that exists in its own little bubble, in the same way that Saturday Night or WorldWide used to exist. So in a way this is like WWE B-Sides. I still wish there was a show like Velocity, but this is probably the next best version of that. So, what the hell, let's start reviewing NXT weekly shows!

1. Sin Cara vs. Alexander Rusev

First time seeing Rusev here. I dig the guy's old school powerlifter build. He....doesn't seem that good. But I'm not shocked that he's getting brought up to the main roster. He's not very good at hitting his marks. Cara had to shove him into position at one point when he was taking too long, and he backed too far away from a Cara moonsault press so it ended up hitting him like a backflip dropkick instead. His offense is pretty dry, with mostly power stuff and some random kicks peppered in. He did do a running dropkick at one point that looked really great, really felt like a John Tenta style dropkick. He works this match too evenly, and at one point holds Cara in an armlock for far too long. I get that most short WWE matches need to have that pointless moment where the heel holds a face in some sort of a rest hold to build for the comeback, but it felt more pointless than usual here. Needs more impressive power spots. Plus his average height will be exposed when on the main roster.

2. Alicia Fox vs. Emma

Fox has been the best Diva for some time now, does all "between moves" stuff a lot better than most Divas (and plenty of male workers). Nice stomach kicks, actually makes restholds look like she's working a hold, really nasty wristlocks that looks like she's manipulating joints, cool reckless forearms from the mount. Emma does not seem very good, and I'm already starting to turn on her as she's getting mostly tepid responses but announcers on the main brand and now NXT are putting her over as somebody the crowd just goes batty for and pretending more than 30 people in the crowd are doing her dance. Here she takes a year to do a reverse rolling cradle and just as long to try and set up the Tarantula. I do like her doing the Emma dance into her finisher submission, but most everything else she does doesn't look good.

3. Sylvester Lefort vs. Mason Ryan

Oh hey it's Mason Ryan. Forgot about him. This goes about 45 seconds but is done the way a squash match should be done. Dug Ryan's hotshot into a running big boot. Good follow through on the boot. Would have liked to see some more from Lefort as I dug his hiked-high tights and beard. His strikes didn't look very good though.

4. Aiden English vs. Tyson Kidd

English looks like tall muscular Screech, and when he's wearing that beret he looks like Screech from that Saved By the Bell episode where Screech was in a chess tournament, and Zack and Slater make a bunch of money by running a gambling ring to capitalize on Bayside's sudden and never-again-mentioned chess fever!! Kidd looks really good in this, missing a crossbody in the ropes, throwing nice kicks and doing a cool rana that sends English face first into the turnbuckles. Kidd gets the Blockbuster for the win after English is distracted by some guy named Big Cass who threatens to steal Screech's lucky beret. Couldn't get a great read on English but he threw some great Bret Hart style falling elbows.

5. Adrian Neville vs. Corey Graves

Neville used to be PAC (they still use his moniker The Man Gravity That Gravity Forgot) and Graves is the former Sterling James Keenan. Boy WWE developmental names leave a lot to be desired. Graves has a real good look, like an indie rock Chris Isaak. PAC's flying is always impressively effortless.  I cannot imagine having that much knowing control of my body. I mean I have alright balance and don't trip over my own legs when I go running, but seeing PAC hitting a running tope/moonsault press (picture what starts as a dive over the ropes but adds a twist in the middle to land like a moonsault press) is pretty stunning Most of this match is Graves working over Neville's leg, which he does well. I always like the DDT done to the leg, and he gets a real high cradle on roll ups. The guy looks like he has to actually kick out of pins, not just get let out. Neville is really great at selling the leg, too, which makes the leg work better. Crowd doesn't seem to give much of a shit though. Neville is still good at selling while doing his moves, which is not something you see often. He eventually makes his comeback and hits his killer twisting shooting star off the rope. I liked what happened in the match fine, everything looked solid. It wasn't terribly compelling, and it should have been. The story of "guy gets weapon taken away by wily opponent" usually gets people into it, but they certainly were not here. Now I know nothing of the history, or how the crowd normally responds to these two, but I would have expected them to be a little more receptive to this.


COLLECTED NXT REVIEWS


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


Read more!

Friday, March 07, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

12. Antonio Cesaro v. Daniel Bryan v. Christian v. John Cena v. Sheamus v. Randy Orton WWE Elimination Chamber 2/23

ER: The Chamber match has been my favorite yearly gimmick match for some time now. I love all the nasty bumps on the grating, I love the "guy gets thrown through pod" spots, I love how bruised all the participants are the next night on Raw. They always feel a different sort of violent compared to other WWE matches. Cesaro and Sheamus was a great choice to start, with their work in the Christian/Sheamus/Real Americans tag being what put that match over. They match up nicely. Sheamus doesn't seem like a guy that people talk about being really good, but he is really, really good. He always surprises me with cool new things. My favorite here was him slumped in the corner and kicking out Cesaro's knee as he approached, with Cesaro dropping down hard to his other knee. Sheamus and Cesaro were the best guys in this. Cesaro's strength spots are tailor made for a match like this, where you get to see him powerbomb Christian into a pod and toss Bryan and Cena with one suplex. Sheamus gets the spot of the match by Brogue Kicking through Orton's pod to get to him (while the crowd chanted "pussy" at Orton. Don't think I've heard that before...). Everybody's personality slotted nicely into this match, with Orton's time kept to a minimum while he taunted the crowd, Christian getting to be sneakily overlooked, Bryan getting tons of big spots to make the crowd go nuts (him catching Orton with the running knee was a big spot, since they'd shown him winning on TV numerous times with that move in recent weeks) and him getting to kick out of the RKO was huge. Some nitpicks aside, like Cesaro tapping super quick to the STF, this was a great, violent match that never lagged or felt stale. I also think it aged well as I liked it even more on rewatch.  Tough match for me to properly rank.

PAS: This is a match type I never get super excited for, but always really enjoy. We were missing Rey who is the maestro of the Elimination Chamber, but otherwise we had a damn good group of dudes. I am not sure why they have run 50 Sheamus v. Christian matches lately as the Sheamus v. Cesaro match up is one of my favorite match ups right now. Sheamus can get a bit repetitive but Cesaro seems to force him out of his comfort zone. Really liked Christian as he got to do all of the athletic spots which Rey normally does. His top of the pod dive was really nuts because he doesn't have the smoothness of other guys who have done that spot and it looked really out of control and nuts. The booking finish was pretty bad though, I suppose they were in a spot if they weren't going to give the belt to Bryan (which they shouldn't have, no reason for him to get it in a fluky multi man match like this before Wrestlemania) but the run ins have been so overdone, that it just killed the match dead. Still the vast majority of this was great, I can't in good conscious put it above matches with satisfying endings

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Weep Not Behold the Lion of Judah Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Steve Williams NJPW 10/27/88-FUN

Really wished this was better, Fujiwara runs down to the ring and it looks like it is on, but it only kicks into gear in the last couple of minutes. Fujiwara has had some great matches with very limited amateur wrestlers, and Williams is far from limited, so there was really no reason for this to be this listless. I did like Dr. Death selling Fujiwara's hard head and the crazy cross body over the railing by Fujiwara was unexpected, but this wasn't the hidden gem it looks like on paper.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yuki Ishikawa v. Mitsuya Nagai/Tatsumi Fujinami LEGEND 1/8/12-GREAT

Lots of really nifty match ups in this match. Fujinami and Fujiwara always match up well and they have some really nice early match grappling. It really kicks however when Nagai tags in, he is a guy who can be unwatchable, but put him in with guys who throw heat, he can throw back. He and Ishikawa have a little Battlarts potato fest, and then Fujiwara does some awesome countering of his aggressive attacks, including Fujiwara's twisting monkey flip counter and his leg catch armbar which are two of my favorite spots of his. Finish was slightly flat as Ishikawa went down a bit easy, that is a guy who can eat some horrific shots, so I wasn't buying a running knee, plenty to love here though.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lawlers Gotta Have A Lot of Nerve

Jerry Lawler v. Jake Manning NEW 3/23/12 - FUN

ER: I had earlier called another a Lawler match vs. Brian Anthony the most barebones Lawler match possible, but I was incorrect. This was a sparse Lawler indie match, going just 7 minutes. That has to be the shortest Lawler indie match I've seen by at least 5 minutes. I'm not sure why this was so short. All of the elements of your basic Lawler indie match were there, him getting slammed, him getting backdropped, the punches comeback, the piledriver finish. A lot of bullshit was cut out to trim the match time, which depending on the opponent can be a blessing. Jake Manning was a guy who felt like kind of a modern Gambler, decked out in scout troop uniform and short khaki shorts, calling himself the "Man Scout". He took all of Lawler's punches really hammy (in a way that I enjoyed) that immediately reminded me of Gambler taking Sting's offense. So the Man Scout was a guy I would've actually liked to see more bullshit from. You can take your 20 minute Romeo Roselli matches, give me some Man Scout bullshit! I picture him standing on Lawler's throat while reciting the Scout's Pledge, or tying Lawler to the turnbuckles with the tag rope, using knots that he learned for his Knots Badge. Really for every scout badge there is, there's bullshit you can easily associate with it. Get on the mic and talk about your Public Speaking badge, carefully climb the ropes and point to your Safety badge, ape a bunch of Tatanka tomahawk chops for your Indian Lore badge, etc. Endless. So I'm bummed we got none of that here. Still, Lawler gets smashed into the ringpost a couple times, and the finish was fun with Manning taking down both of his straps only to immediately get caught in a Lawler piledriver.

PAS: Yeah I would have liked to see this go longer too. Manning is a guy I have seen before and is a really solid wrestler. Not flashy, but does everything well. He doesn't have as much Scout shtick as Eric suggests maybe Eric should be ghostwriting for a Southern indy Chikara knock off. Lawler looked great in the things he got to do, the postings were super brutal looking and the punches and piledriver looked great but this was the indy equivalent of a WMC studio match.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE KING

Labels: , ,


Read more!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

The Shield v. The Wyatt Family WWE Elimination Chamber 2/23

ER: Fans are already chanting This Is Awesome before the match even starts, and I'm kinda right there with them. I've been excited for this one for weeks. And it's fucking great. We've seen a lot of great WWEDG sprints from these teams and here they get to have a long story driven match with elements the sprints didn't really have. My favorite was Luke Harper doing Bray's dirty work. Every time Harper would go manbeast on somebody (which happened a lot), Bray would be sleazily waiting there for the tag. It was never presented as a cowardly heel taking advantage of a situation, just a guy dutifully beating ass for his boss. Also loved all the teamwork of the Shield, from their early quick tags to their later saves and trying to have each others' backs. It was all so much fun and about 10 minutes in when Rollins hits a dive we never look back. Rollins can get overshadowed in other trios, but he really got to shine here, sticking and moving against all the Wyatts, ragdolling for all the power spots (loved him being sent flying from a Rowan fallaway slam). Harper has always been a big guy I really liked, but whereas I used to think he was a fun Necro Butcher tag partner, now I think he's one of the best workers in the world. He was an absolute monster in this. His big boot is one of my favorite current spots, although that may be because I love how Ambrose and Reigns each run into it. His suicide dive was massive (of course followed by Rollins folding him in half on a flip dive). Ambrose was so great in this, always flying into frame like a dirtbag on Cops who keeps breaking free of restraint. Him saving Rollins from a double chokeslam through a table was perfect, leading to Bray tackling him into the crowd and Rollins getting blasted through a table anyway. The Reigns/Rowan power spots were killer and they actually made me dig a double clothesline spot. This was just a beautiful match in terms of hierarchy and story and just great spots.

PAS: Super impressive match and a real testament to the WWE training program, no way Husky Harris/Thoruf/Brodie Lee v. Tyler  Black/Jon Moxley/Leakee would be anywhere close to this good. I really loved how the Wyatt's out Shielded the Shield, as for over a year the Shield would win by isolating people and picking off the weak link, and here the Wyatts did it to them. It was like watch a fast break basketball team run into a team who can out run them. Man did I love Ambrose here, he always kind of had a Piper feel in promos, but here he really was wrestling like peak Piper, an out of control lunatic who was always popping off and throwing wild hands. I think the RAW singles match showed it couldn't work in big doses, but the Bray v. Roman battle of the bulls was perfectly pulled off here. It is too bad they rushed this feud a bit, I would have loved to see this a hundred different ways, really the best heel v. heel match in US wrestling history, and the rematch wasn't far behind.


2014 MASTER LIST



Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Read more!

Monday, March 03, 2014

At Night Time the King Goes Out to Look at People

Jerry Lawler v. Slyck Wagner Brown NEW 10/3/04 - SKIPPABLE

ER: Woof. When was the last time you went out of your way to watch a Slyck Wagner Brown singles match? Because I just did. And if feels like I went out of my way to watch a Slyck Wagner Brown singles match. This match just goes on forever. Brown is not good at doing things related to pro wrestling, but I suppose we needed 20 minutes or so to let him tell his story. His story was not very good. You can't get back 20 Slyck Wagner Brown minutes. They're gone forever. Brown has no offense outside of kicks, punches and a moonsault, but even those things seem like maybe too much for him to handle as he's not good at moving from one to the other and seems to get frequently lost during the match. Here he's always repositioning Lawler in unintentionally funny ways. He'll be punching Lawler in the corner, then stop, then kinda grab Lawler by the shoulders and move him over to the ropes, as if to say "Okay, now if you could just stand riiiiight there...." Other times Lawler has to put himself into position for moves that Brown is already supposed to be doing. At one point it was clear that Lawler was supposed to get choked over the middle rope, but Brown was just kind of standing around as if Lawler was supposed to be the one to drape himself over the ropes! Sadly, Lawler does exactly that. Also, we have Mick Foley as the muggy guest ref, who at one point stops the match to go on a detective hunt when he suspects Brown's second may have interfered. I can't shit talk Lawler's performance in this as he tries to make do with all the garbage, but he is just one man. His dropkick was incredible in this, one of the highest I've seen him hit, but Brown and everybody else just drug this dooooooown.

PAS: I remember a period when Slyk Wagner Brown was in the same general discussion as guys like Low-Ki and Christopher Daniel and Homicide. He always stunk, but he would get booked as a worker on USA-Pro and NWA-NJ shows. He was kind of big and the kind of fake athletic, ie could do a moonsault and had a high leapfrog. Some of the Northeast indy guys who disappeared, I would love to have show up and face Lawler, how good would Lawler v. Xavier be? Lawler could have a good match against Cheetah Master, a fun brawl with Magic, he could be a nice base for Ric Blade. It is too bad we have to sit through Slyk (by we I mean Eric, I didn't watch this).

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE LAWLER

Labels: , , ,


Read more!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Spotlight on Japan


Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW) by JAHMAL1111

Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura NJPW 1/18/14

So early on in wrestling fandom I would get really excited when one of my favorite luchadors would work Japan, or one of my favorite Japanese wrestlers would work Mexico. And it almost always sucked. I loved Minoru Tanaka in 2000/2001 (boy how the years change things) and then Heat came to CMLL and bored me to tears. Often when they go to Japan luchadors just match up against another lucahdor also along for the ride. I've seen fun lucha matches in Japan (I'm thinking the great man/woman/tranny/mini match from Hustle 3) but the only luchador vs. puro match from the last 15 years jumping out at me as killer is Gran Apache's run from W*ing. I think LA Park worked a Tag League but I'm not sure any of it ever made tape. I don't know if there's a tough language barrier or a style clash or what, but it just doesn't seem to happen often.

So I saw Rush vs. Nakamura happened and I was instantly jazzed as Rush is one of my favorite luchadors and Nakamura is one of the only current Japanese guys who excites me. You never get top stars from lucha mixing up with top stars from Japan. It's not like Hijo Del Santo vs. Kawada was ever going to be a thing that happened.

And Rush/Nakamura went out and had a killer little 10 minute match. Nakamura looks like a complete nutbar with weird body paint and brings all the cool kick combos and knees and doesn't puss out on taking Rush's beastly corner dropkick. Rush also hits a brutal running dropkick off the apron that sends Nak flying and is one of my favorite spots of the year. Rush tries working heel by throwing out some silly "Mexico is best" chatter, which, well at least he tried working that dynamic.  There was no overkill (match may have actually worked better as a 2/3 falls match in CMLL) but this was a fun beatdown with nice hope spots. I'm a big fan of an easily digestible short match, and this match ticked a lot of fun boxes for me.

Labels: , , , ,


Read more!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Saturday Night Digging in the Crates


We take a trip to the glory days of 1992 WCW and get a visit from the co-founder of our little home



Nikita Koloff v. Vader 5/16/92

PAS: Vader is one of my favorite Clash of the Titans wrestlers ever. He is so good at those kind of Godzilla v. Mothra matches, although he didn't have a ton of them in WCW. Here he is matched up against face Nikita who was only five years removed from playing a similar unstoppable monster role. Dusty comes out with Nikita in a Superpowers reunion moment and immediately starts brawling with Race, such a cool random moment, as I don't remember Dusty and Nikita being aligned in 1992. Match it self is a total slugfest, with Nikita taking a big beating early and doing some really nice pained selling, lots of tensing up his hands to see if there is nerve damage. This goes out to the floor and they have a cool double countout, with Vader taking a nasty post shot. I am a fan of 1992 Nikita as he turned into a really fun wrestler and this was a match I could see getting way more hype if it happened on a bigger stage then a random Worldwide

TKG: Complete and accurate 92 Nikita? Are we going to do a complete and accurate 92 Nikita? That would be amazingly preposterous. Nikita comes back to WCW in April of 92 does a Ross sit down interview in a Hawaiian shirt where he apologizes for his 91 heel run and then asks for a shot at Vader. Nikita retires in November of 92 after getting injured in a Halloween Havoc match with Vader (where Vader replaces Rude, to prevent Rude from wrestling twice on same show).  The seven months that Nikita wrestles in 92 are a really fun little run where it feels like he puts it all together and figures out how to fill out consistently entertaining matches. It may not be as impressive a run as 89 Luger but probably more impressive than 00 Helmsley. Nikita isn’t really getting a big push (here he is announced as “#8 contender for title”) and it’s a year where lots of guys are having great to amazing runs of matches, so Nikita’s fun little run is going to get overlooked. This Vader match is all about the Nikita selling. Nikita really throws his body around both in and out of the ring for Vader (although I only remember one flat back bump). Nikita does a ton of wobbly winded selling where he needs to lean or rest on ropes, he’ll spasm and throw his body away from Vader to recover from eating moves. Nikita eats the first big lariat doing a Hennig style big spinning rotation into Kawada crumple sell, and then eats the big stiff lariat with a more realistic bump into another AJ sit-down style sell. The AJ 80s count-out finish also made me wish these two had a bigger program.

Labels: , , , ,


Read more!