Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 Live Blog

Been a while since we did one of these, EC is usually my favorite WWE gimmick match, and while I don't know the card outside of Cena/Owens, I'm stoked.

1. Zack Ryder vs. Stardust

ER: This was on the kickoff show, and man I'm glad I rewound to see what I missed. Who could have missed out on a Ryder match!!?? They had a pretty tidy little 6 minute match, didn't make me regret watching it. I don't understand one iota of the Stardust character, but I like Cody as a wrestler more than most people, it would seem. I like the little things he adds to moves, takes a couple extra steps that others don't. For his reverse roll the dice finisher I dug how he pinched Ryder with a nerve hold to make him drop a bit to put him in better position to do the move. Most guys would just awkwardly and cooperatively bend the guy back right out of the gate. Ryder has some decent stuff in this, really liked his dropkick off the apron. Fun little match.

ER: Just saw Macho Mandow and Axelmania for the first time and.....wow. The last thing on my TV with less legs was Oscar Pistorius (take that Pistorius! I knew we'd get some use out of the 2011 Unused Segunda Caida Joke Folder).

2. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons vs. Ascension vs. Cesaro/Kidd vs. Prime Time Players

PAS: Kind of mess, but a fun mess. Loved Cesaros tribute to Nick Gage face wrap, just kind of made me wish Nick Gage was in this match. Rey was always the king of these Elimination Chamber matches, and Kalisto is no Rey, he kept climbing and almost falling. He kind of looked like Homicide when almost fell off a cage on the first Monday TNA show. Really liked the couple of crazy El Torito dives, probably should have left the highspots to him. Match probably could have used Rowan and Harper, they would have been way better then the bush league Ascension (as would the H8 Club, hey WWE sign Nick Gage) in the role of team who cleans house before the main event run. Really liked the New Day v. PTP section, Titus was wrecking people, and the PTP flew around for him. Finish with everyone chopping him down was really cool. Would have loved this back last year when the tag division was really killing it, think about how much better this would have been with Rhodes Brothers, Wyatt Family and Shield.

ER: Out of all the teams that could have started this match I must say that Ascension was right at the bottom of my wishlist. If we started with Cesaro/Kidd opposite the Dragons they could have done some big things. They've been tearing up TV lately. I love Torito standing on top of the Matadores pod, like a little gargoyle. Sin Cara's swanton off the pod was impressive but took forever to set up, and then Kalisto sold on the New Day's pod for days. But we got a wild Cesaro uppercut and superplex out of it at least. I thought the Kalisto spot was awesomely goofy, much better than Homicide literally getting stuck at the top of the TNA mouse trap cage. I was hoping Kalisto would just spider cling to the top of the cage for the whole match. It would have been the greatest twist on the old "Jimmy Hart hiding under the ring during the battle royal". The strength to climb upside down like that is just nuts. Serious question: have there ever been more than 5 black dudes in a WWE ring at once? New Day vs. PTP may have made history, people. It depends how many members the Nation had and if they ever went up against a team featuring Ahmed Johnson. Overall I thought this match was pretty bad, really disjointed. I think New Day looked pretty awful, although most of that was Kofi. I don't think the tag team chamber concept worked very well. It just leaves too many guys in the ring and too much waiting around for spots to happen.

ER: Rusev is apparently out with a broken foot so WHO will replace him in the chamber?! I'm hoping for Savio Vega myself.

3. Nikki Bella vs. Naomi vs. Paige

PAS: This is not the WWE Women's wrestling everyone is talking about right? Awkard mess of a match with a couple of nice potatoes by Nikki Bella, and some really awkward bumps on the head. Kind of reminded me of a IWA-MS rookie match where meth-heads would try puro moves they couldn't do to impress Ian Rotten. Didn't look like something that belonged on a professional stage.

ER: I don't think a 3 way dance is going to make anybody look that good, so I personally wouldn't rush to judge the "new and improved" Divas division. Also, Naomi works much better as a face. She had a great face moveset. Her heel stuff isn't nearly as good, though the Rear View while Nikki had Paige in a fireman's carry was nice. Ending was super awkward with the botched reverse rana and then Nikki just hitting her finish. I've seen all three women look way better, and yeah, 3 ways stink.

4. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena

PAS: Man Cena may be the best indy dream match worker ever. He is really great at putting over the ROH roster. Owens deserves a ton of credit, the trash talking and stiffness really added a ton to the Cena formula, and I loved that crazy throw off the top rope, and his almost package piledriver. It has been a long time since every WWE main event was guys doing their opponents finisher, so those spots were still novel, and fit nicely with what Owens was trying to do. Cena is a master of working his formula, like Flair or Santo or Choshu he can plug someone in, and let them provide the flourishes. I thought there was a decent chance of Owens going over, but clean as a sheet in the middle of ring was a bit of a surprise. Wouldn't think a guy who according to my wife looks like a slightly fitter Kevin Smith, would be the indy guy who would get the full push, but it seems to be working.

ER: I really love matches where Cena works from under, as he's really great at taking moves (that DDT with him bumping it the way Christian used to bump DDTs??) and selling. So him vs. modern indie workers is a pretty satisfying match up since many of these guys have large movesets. It's a trip seeing Cena take all these big indie moves and it's so obvious he would be colossally over in PWG or Evolve. Owens was put in a big spot here as he controlled like 80% of this and always knew what he was doing next, always building to things, and his execution was spot on throughout. Owens going over clean in the middle was awesome and I will always love shocked and said cutaways to fans in the crowd. Steen broke out tons of cool things and I loved Cena's little comebacks: him grabbing Owens' leg when Owens was mocking him with the fistdrop, dropping butt first on Owens from the top, Owens leaning face first into a Cena lariat, and I really really love Cena's springboard stunner. It's kinda goofy, but I think it works and is a good addition to Cena's moveset. It's still wild to see Steen in the ring, still looking like Steen, gym shorts and a sleeveless T, wrestling exactly like Steen. Just not something I thought would happen, and I couldn't be happier that it is. Great showing from both guys here, really every step of the way in the match.

5. Bo Dallas vs. Neville

ER: Boy "Neville" has to be the stupidest example of WWE shortening names to one word. Who would want to buy a shirt that just said "Neville"? And boy this was a dud. Bo Dallas has come back to absolutely no heat, and people did not care to watch him for 8 minutes. Him working his schtick to total silence is uncomfortable, like when a SNL sketch is really dying. Neville obviously has some cool offense but one minute in he's already hitting a chinlock. Dallas took a nice bump to the post, but seemed to gas real early. This was not worthy of being on the PPV. Stardust/Neville would have matched up better, then Dallas could have been relegated to the kickoff show.

6. R Truth vs. Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. Mark Henry vs. Wade Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler

PAS: Oof what a mess. We had some ok big man brawling and Ziggler bumping, but the match completely fell apart when Sheamus couldn't get out of his pod. You would think veterans would be better at improv-ing. Always happy to see Mark Henry, but he didn't do a ton here. When Sheamus got in he beat on some folks, but this was long off the rails by then. They did some tired Ziggler v. Sheamus counter wrestling, and a Sheamus v. Ryback section, which was really nasty but weirdly paced. I can't ever remember seeing an Elimination chamber this bad.

ER: WHY WAS THIS SO BAD!? I have seen Chamber matches with far worse guys than this, and I believe this was the only chamber matched I've ever actively disliked. God this was boring. That Sheamus stuff was laaaaame. Especially since we've seen guys break out of their pods before, and we've seen pods get broken by guys getting thrown into them. But there's Sheamus, lightly smacking the pod with his palms and begging refs to let him out. Just kick the fucking thing down, man! This whole thing was worked half speed. Watch Ryback feebly pump his arm while the crowd tepidly mumbles "Feed Me More". Everybody lies around, other times people just stand watching each other.  Dolph flew into some stuff the way Dolph can fly into stuff, Henry as the replacement could have been a big moment but he hardly did anything and also spent tons of time just lying on the apron, waiting. A lot of times guys would be lying around selling after not even taking offense. They would do a move to somebody else and then get out of the way, but couldn't think of a better way to get out of the way than lying on the side breathing heavily. Cole says "Sheamus has never won the IC championship, says it's on his bucket list!" and just picturing anybody saying that winning the IC title is on their "bucket list" makes me laugh, but in a sad kinda way. Just imagine Sheamus cutting a promo going down a checklist "Kiss a girl at the top of the Empire State Building", "Tour the Old Bushmills Distillery""Win the IC Championship". Ryback, Sheamus and Henry looked like somebody ground up a bunch of Somas into their protein shakes. Ryback's powerbomb into the ring on Sheamus looked good, but man this really was the worst Chamber match ever.

ER: I'm taking a break before the main to watch Grace Helbig. My spirits need to be lifted in some way.

7. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

ER: This Corpus Christi crowd has been silent death almost the whole night. The only thing Corpus is good for is going fishing, and making sure you get yourself seen around town while a shady P.I. back home is murdering your estranged wife and her lover/your bar employee. I wasn't feeling this match BEFORE they went to some throwback Malenko/Guerrero 2 counts (is there any move sequence that needs a retirement more than that?) but they brought me back in with that Ambrose dive and both tumbling over the table. But then they lose me again by doing a stretch where they kept going for pins after each move. We still get some nice moments, like Rollins bumping the rebound lariat, and Ambrose hitting his wild elbow to the floor on Rollins' goons, but this just never gelled for me. I think TV length singles matches just seem to work best for some of these guys. This was maybe my least favorite Ambrose singles match in a year, and I just typed that BEFORE they announced the fucking horrible finish. Oh man. Fuck this show (props to Owens/Cena though, a nice little gem hidden in a massive pile of shit).

PAS: Yeah this wasn't very good, this went the extra 10 minutes that the Owens v. Cena matches avoided. It really felt like those guys were trying to work a PWG match which really sucks when you are just waiting around for the bad finish to happen. I really liked the tope and some of the bumping, but it all felt formless and meaningless. A straight Dusty Finish did make me kind of nostalgic honestly. They should have brought out Tommy Young just for the hell of it.

ER: Hopefully Silicon Valley and Veep continue to deliver tonight, just so something doesn't feel like a massive waste of time for me tonight.

NOTE** Cena/Owens was good enough to nab a spot on our 2015 MOTY list, so I'll just go ahead and link to that:

2015 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 28: Shoots and Ladders Review

1. Marty "The Moth" Martinez vs. Prince Puma

ER: This wasn't bad. Moth has an annoying face, and his pratfalls are a bit too dramatic, but he did a good job of involving himself while Puma set up a springboard, and he threw a nice lariat, also threw some poor looking superman punches in the corner. I'm curious where they go with him as debuting him in a (non-title) match with the champ and having it worked fairly even *should* be a big deal, but I don't see his jokester persona as a main event gimmick. Konnan was good at ringside, "He wants to joke? Treat him like a joke!" but Vampiro working his "feud" with Konnan is always lame.

PAS: I like Martinez better as a unnerving creep, then a happy go lucky Colt Cabanaish dude, and that seems to be the direction they are going with him, sort of a wrestling version of Jake Gyllanhall in Nightcrawler. Nice clothesline, and I am surprised how much offense he got.

ER: Mundo was kind of a dud during the interview, but thankfully he had Vampiro there who completely made the segment. It's actually shocking how good Vamp is during this interview segments.

PAS: Yeah Vampiro is awesome as an interviewer, I am a guy who once made $100 writing a magazine article about Vampiro, he is a guy I find fascinating so I am glad he has found a role which keeps me from having to watch him wrestle.

2. Delavar Daivari vs. Texano

ER: LU has a kind of odd habit of putting bigger marquee matches into the middle segment of the show. Daivari cost Texano's team the trios titles, the two went at it last week, but here they're tossed into the middle of the show in Daivari's debut match....and they work a match with no hate, as if it were mid-show filler. Whatever heat these two had during that initial run-in is just G-O-N-E. For two guys that hate each other we start with a dull arm wringer segment and really never get that hot. There's a punch exchange that is just brutal. Texano eventually tightens up, but the first several punches from both men were just winged a foot wide. Daivari looked awesome during his debut run-in, but that is seeming like an outlier performance every time he appears. Also damn, Ryck is really getting around. He'll put out for anybody with money! Odd they turned him tecnico by having his eye get burnt out, but then just have him shack up with Daivari.

PAS: Yeah this was a stinker, this feud is probably the most disappointing in ring feud in this fed. I like Davari's gimmick, but he really should just be a manager at this point, his in ring stuff stinks.

ER: Loved the Catrina/Dario segment, and loved that Dario didn't act like a weenie; just calm, practical. "I can make that happen" as he grips his key. Really well done.

PAS: Dario as evil psycho works better then Dario as ineffectual stooge. Awesome re-intro of Chavo too, I don't know how this Matanza and Black Lotus stuff will actually turn into a wrestling match, but it has been pretty cool so far. Who is playing Dragon Azteca? It would be a cool role for a Villano or Negro Navarro if he gets in the ring.

ER: Chavo is back and this show must have gained some sort of whiskey sponsorship. Everybody on this show was constantly holding a rocks glass. Whiskey sponsorship on Dario's office would be great, and I would kill to listen to Dario insert ads for Woodford Reserve.

3. The Crew vs. Ivelisse, Angelico & Son of Havoc (Ladder Match)

ER: This was super fun and featured the absolutely most crazy wrestling spot of the year. Angelico running and doing a Crouching Tiger dropkick of Dario's office to send Castro flying off a ladder will be burned into my brain. So crazy. The camera pulling back really showed how fucking far he leaped, it looked amazing. Castro also deserves full credit for hanging in there until Angelico actually made contact. The urge to bail early must have been strong. I did a slo-mo back and forth frame by frame Zapruder film study of it. What's great about the spot is that it would have worked well if Castro had bailed early. Angelico would be hurt from the miss, Castro would be hurt on the fall. Still could have taken both men out. But Castro hung in and everything looked awesome. This should play over and over on Lucha Underground commercials. Angelico looked great throughout this, throwing some actual nice whipping punches, connecting on all his leaping knees (including a weird one where he jumps up the apron and into a ring like a praying mantis), also had a rad flip dive onto a ladder that squashes Castro underneath (while Bael escaped. Hmmmm a theme of Castro leaning into everything. Good for him). Cisco has been a top three guy in this whole fed which I wouldn't have guessed going in. His table bump was huge, his offense looks great. I'm a big Cisco fan. Ivelisse limping down the stairs was a good moment, Havoc hits a crazy asai moonsault and then catches chin on an attempted shooting star through a table....this was just plenty crazy and too much fun.

PAS: Yeah this was way better then the trio title tournament final. Mr. Cisco is so great, the bump into Dario's office followed by the crazy tope through the window, might have been my favorite spot of the match, even more then the lunatic Angelico dropkick. I also loved how vicious he was starting the match out, he just throws Havoc into the stairs and starts pounding on him. It would have been nice for the shooting star to be hit more cleanly, but otherwise the finish run was near perfect, just a great build to the big moment of Ivelise crawling up the ladder to grab the belts. This fed is really great at doing gimmick matches, which is not really something I normally like in lucha.


LUCHA UNDERGROUND MASTER LIST

**NOTE: That ladder match was easily good enough to nab a spot on our 2015 MOTY List, so I'm gonna go ahead and link to that:

2015 MOTY MASTER LIST






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Friday, May 29, 2015

MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 6: Ángel de Oro, Stuka Jr., Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Felino, Pólvora

Aired: 2015-01-04
Taped: 2015-01-04 @ Arena México
Ángel de Oro, Stuka Jr., Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Felino, Pólvora


The next two matches have Angel de Oro, which is good since I don't have a great sense of him and I always like broading my luchador base. This one has Polvora and Stuka Jr. The next one has Negro Casas and Dragon Lee. I have to admit I'm looking forward to the next one more, even if I'm not exactly dreading this one. I'll be able to have a better sense of Oro after next match so I'll hold off judgment of him til then. For now, I find the wings on his crotch a little dubious. On the other hand, I love Felino and Cavernario dancing on the way in. Felino has his problems but I'll take him over Niebla for the most part.

The pairings for the primera were Stuka vs Cavernario, Felino vs Titan, and Oro vs Polvora. I thought Cavernario looked good against Stuka, making things a struggle and moving himself and his opponent around well. Titan had to feign annoyance and frustration at Felino's antics (probably wasn't very hard actual). Ultimately, he lost a cheer off, which is not uncommon for poor Titan. Insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Polvora played much more of a traditional rudo role in this and the fans booed him accordingly. My gut says that so many of CMLL's problems would be solved by turning Pesta Negra tecnico and Ingobernables full on rudo but who knows. Some of CMLL's problems seem to stem from the sheer fact that it exists in the first place.

Anyway, the primera turned the corner when the rudos tried to swarm, but it all felt a bit off. That's because instead of being a tidal shift, it just led into an Oro vs the world section and some tandem topes from Titan and Oro. This left Stuka to hit a fireman's carry drop onto Felino and his big splash. After the fall Cavernario tried to eat the camera, which was awesome.


In case I hadn't established this yet, Titan and Cavernario work well together. They did the fun back monkey flip spot. At some point in the last year, Cavernario developed a really nice superkick out of nowhere to cut off his opponents' athletic bs and he hit it here (and then recoiled at Felino's armpit so yeah). Titan (during his "vs the world" exchange) went for the Titanics on Polvora but turned it into a headscissors instead. Little switches like that make the world go round and make it a little less egregious. The crowd still booed him and that's starting to get painful though. Eventually Stuka and Felino picked up the speed with Stuka getting the best only to get swarmed by Cavernario and Polvora. Check out this flurry:


The beatdown led to the Polvora Bomb and the alley oop Cavernario dropkick to let the rudos take the segunda.

The tercera had some mask untying, good control of the tecnicos by the rudos, and some fun comedy with Oro doing a Three Stooges routine in the corner getting chopped. Stuka eventually reverses a double armdrag off the ropes and  ducks a double clothesline to allow tecnicos fight back. Everyone goes down one after the next and this leads to Titan majestically moonsaulting Felino from a springboard. I'm not a big high spot guy or dive guy. It's one of the least important parts of lucha to me, but I like Titan's huge moonsault. He usually works out ways to be clever about it or to set it up well (or to set up the decision on which way to go at least) and then he just gets a ton of hight from the apron out. Anyway, this had followed a Stuka roll up of Polvora and leads to Oro turning a roll up into his swinging suplex on Cavernario.

The fans boo the finish since they weren't really behind the tecnicos, but that's a shame because they deserved some acclaim here.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

SEGUNDA CAIDA DECLARES WAR!!! NJPW 10/23/92, Pt. 2

Genichiro Tenryu/Koki Kitahara v. Shiro Koshinaka/Kengo Kimura

PAS: This is your first Tenryu vs. NJ match in this feud and it was a barnburner. Neither Koshinaka or Kimura are super workers, but they are pretty great a being nasty shits and kicking someones ass. The NJ team were clearly the heels in the crowd even though this was a NJ show, and they start out by mauling and double teaming Kitahara. Throwing him into chairs and tables, dropping him on his head. We get an awesome hot tag from Tenryu, who gets so excited he almost falls out the ring on a clothesline, but eventually he gets overwhelmed and busted open. When the WAR team gets the advantage they lay in a beating too, including Tenryu lacing Koshinaka with chops and kicks to the eye. We also get great moments where all of the seconds start brawling with each other. Finish has Tenryu powerbombing Koshinaka, and continuing to powerbomb him after the bell, until Masa Saito gets up from his commentary desk to put a stop to it. Such great stuff, why isn't wrestling still like this.


ER: Holy shit Phil is right. Why isn't wrestling still like this. This is one of those matches I feel like I can show someone with minimal interest in wrestling, and then watch them get instantly hooked. No language barrier, no idea who the combatants are, just soaking up the bitch glares and ass beating and body language and crowd noise. This is probably my favorite performance ever from Koshinaka and Kimura. They are both just spiteful little pricks throughout this, especially Koshinaka. The glances that he shoots Tenryu are frightening in their lack of fear. And then we cut to Tenryu and he is expressionless, no doubt staring off at a middle distance thinking about what horrors he will unleash once he's tagged in. Kitahara is an able babyface throughout this, and Koshinaka/Kimura really lace into him. His hot tag is great and Tenryu just mows down Koshinaka with an all time great lariat (who, as Phil mentioned, hits Koshinaka with such crazy speed and force that he himself almost flies over the top to the floor), but K&K start double teaming him, and soon we get the great visual of Kimura holding Tenryu while Koshinaka busts him open with straight knuckle shots to the forehead and eyebrow. Of course this whole time we have all the opposing ring crews at each others throats, looking like a Slayer mosh pit with a gi dress code. We get a couple of boss showdowns between Tenryu and Masa Saito (who I still think looks like the most unfuckwithable man in wrestling history), who looks impossibly badass in slacks, button down blue shirt and suspenders. This kind of shit is just flawless pro wrestling. The best. 

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 En Busca De Idolo Qualifying Cibernetico

Not as excited about this years lineups as I was last year, but I figure I will cover it again, and see if anyone breaks out. Like last year, I am going to rate everything either Must See, Spare Moment and Don't Bother

Blue Panther Jr./Boby Zavala/Canelo Casas/Delta/Disturbio/Esfinge/Flyer/Guerrero Maya Jr. v. Akuma/Cancerbero/Gallo/Joker/Pegasso/Raziel/Sagrado/Stigma-Spare Moment


This was less lunatic then last years qualifier, it had less awkward blown stuff (really the only awful thing was Maya Jr. blowing a dive, which is weird because he is the most experienced guy here), but also less holy shit moments. I liked Joker's brawling, and Cancerbero is always good, they were the two stand outs for the non-qualifiers. Flyer looks like he will take the Star. Jr./Dragon Lee role of young guy embracing hot death, will be interesting to see if he has anymore to show. Casas, Maya and Panther Jr. have the genetics and Maya has been pretty good for a long time, although he did look off here. Hard to get much of a sense of anything in a match like this, but I am going to remain optimistic.

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MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 5: Blue Panther Jr., The Panther, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Boby Zavala, Mr. Águila

Aired: 2015-01-03
Taped: 2014-12-23 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
Blue Panther Jr., The Panther, Titán vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Boby Zavala, Mr. Águila


I'll admit that I came into this one with some hope for a fun match. Titan and Cavernario obviously pair off with each other well. I wanted a look at Zavala since he might be in the Busca this year, and hey Panthers are Panthers, right? Plus Aguila is a game veteran. It was all a bit of a mess though, with one of the most brutal (in a bad way) comebacks I've seen.

All of the problem stemmed from Blue Panther, Jr. I've seen him in just a few matches where he's not paired up against an opponent he's very used to wrestling or in matches where he didn't have his father to help direct traffic. Or maybe he just hadn't been given too much responsibility as he was here. Or maybe I just don't pay enough attention. I know there wasn't a lot of excitement for him being in this year's Busca, potentially, and you can kind of see why here.

I'll talk about the things I liked first. Zavala was very earnest with his character. There's an eager jock rudo feel to him. Not everything he did was good, but everything he did seemed to fit a character and a personality and that's a great base for everything else. Aguila rounded out the rudos and I don't get to see him all that much in 2015. He brings a lot to the table, generally, a sort of off-beat offense and way of handling things that isn't quite what most of the CMLL rudos do. He played well to the crowd but he also brought the biting and mask pulling that you rarely see in a match on this part of the card. Maybe they can get away with a bit more at Guadalajara too. That's the stuff I wish I'd see Cavernario do a bit more though. He also did my favorite thing that I've seen all year, something I was actually begging for, but we'll get to that later.

The match was structured well enough. They ran through the pairings and everyone looked well enough, with Panther, Jr. having just a few clumsy moments, like a leg pull against Zavala. The rudos swarmed when he locked on the Fujiwara and it all felt a little more disjointed than usual, not that clean tidal shift. The rudos took it with the Caveman Vader Bomb.

The comeback in the segunda was where it all fell apart. The rudos had been controlling things with double teaming ambushes. Zavala and Aguila were in the ring here, Aguila having just ambushed Panther, Jr. They tossed Panther, Jr. into the corner. Aguila charged after and Jr. went up too soon.


Aguila had to stop, wait for Jr. to run around him, and dive into the corner shoulder first for no reason as Panther lamely charged into the other rudos. A botch is a botch and it's not the end of the world. It just goes to show the level of difficulty in spots that we take for granted all the time. A lot of times, a good recovery can even seem more impressive than if they hit what they meant to the first time.

This was not a good recovery. Everything just fell to chaos after that. The fans turned against it. Aguila ran into a terrible quebadora. Cavernario whiffs way too big on a missed clothesline. Titan hit his nice moonsault in the midst for this. Maybe more on that next match, but it was followed by Cavernario being sort of clumsy again though hitting his run up plancha out of the ring well. All of that left the ring clear for Jr. to put a lifting submission on Aguila.

They tried but the match never really recovered. I'll admit that it came closest to recovering due to Titan hitting a lot of stuff nicely and having some good sequence. Zavala seemed absolutely winded throughout this caida, but to his credit, not only ate a lot of offense with gusto but really played his character well throughout. Cavernario even did a bit of mask pulling which is what I wanted forever out of him.

Then came a moment that made the match almost worth it despite it all. The Panther hit a huge tope on Cavernario who had just gone out on a body scissors over the rope. That wasn't it, though. Following that, Titan went for his Titanics, getting in his goofy late match handstand. Aguila dropkicked his gut in half. So great. Maybe they've done that spot thirty times but it was the first time I saw it and I loved it. One moonsault later and the rudos picked up the very satisfying win. I was satisfied at least.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 27: Ancient Medallions Workrate Report

1. Aerostar vs. Jack Evans

ER: Vampiro informs us that Jack Evans literally worked 385 dates in past years, by working Japan and Italy as well as Mexico. No doubt Jack Evans has access to Hulk Hogan's magical space time continuum machine. I enjoy Jack Evans, even though he does focus so much more on spins and twists than on actual landings or selling or the point of it all. But really this fed has some guys that do flips and flops, and while his actual flips might be more impressive, and flops are often to far up his own ass. There's a hesitance, a disconnect. Moves rarely look like they are causing him to flip, rather, he often looks like he decided to do a bunch of flips after he happened to receive a move. There was some neat stuff here, the Evans 450 off the raised seating railing, Aerostar selling his knee fairly convincingly, but it was pretty jerk-offy. Every person watching thought the flipping piledriver from the top was going to get kicked out of. That it ended the match, was a pleasant surprise.

PAS: I agree with Eric about Evans selling, his fall to the floor was disconnected from the move, it almost looked like one of those awful Bob Backlund bumps. Still a lot of crazy shit, in a match designed for crazy shit. I think Jack will end up being big in this fed. Also this match ended when it should have, that means a lot to me in these spotfests, knowing when to take it home.

2. Pentagon Jr. vs. King Cuerno vs. Cage vs. Killshot vs. Sexy Star vs. The Mack vs. Fenix

ER: Maybe it's not this way, but I've been conditioned from decades of wrestling TV that the big stars get the entrances, and the losers are just waiting in the ring when we come back from commercial. So not only are Pentagon and Cuerno tossed into a random 7 way, but they're waiting in the ring with a scrub like Killshot while Sexy Star of all people gets an entrance. This is for one of Dario's "Aztec medallions" which is really getting a little too close to Legends of the Hidden Temple. Will Pentagon win a trip to Space Camp or an Eastpak backpack? Also, WHY IS KILLSHOT ON TELEVISION SO MUCH!? Who is going to the wall for this guy for him to be getting so much damn screen time!? He is completely dreadful through much of this, with his trademark offense that always ends with him taking a bigger fall than his opponent. You've never seen worse waistlock go behinds during a mat sequence. It was stunning. It looked like an uncle wrestling with a nephew he hadn't seen in a couple years. BUT, I will give him credit for two things later in the match, as even though he landed on his face his wild dive into Cage (who was suplexing Fenix) was a glorious sprawl, and after that he manned into Cuerno's tope. I fully expected him to wuss right out of the way. And he didn't. Sexy Star also existed horribly in this match. Every time things reallllly got going there she was, trying her damndest to muck things up and slow things to a crawl by falling over when she was supposed to land on her feet, making others futz around while she tries to gain her balance before hitting a trademark sloppy rana, and somehow always managing to sell offense less than any other person in a match. So those two are horrible. But 5 out of 7 ain't bad! I mean, if it were a test you'd have a C-, but here you can mostly work around it. I thought Fenix looked GREAT. All his kicks looked cool, his flying was crisp, he leaned into everything, really came out looking like a big deal in every exchange. It's easy to get shuffled over in this type of match, but he managed to stand out. The booking was tough as there were guys in this (Pentagon, Cuerno) who should really be kept separate and not tossed in with a bunch of guys, as Cuerno especially seems generous to a fault and really gives guys tons while kind of disappearing. We will see where the booking goes with this. For all of my complaining, the match was a real blast. There were tons of great spots, tons of neat sequences, and while a couple of duds hogged too much time, there was more than enough great stuff here.

PAS: I thought the guys that are good, were really good in this, Pentagon and Fenix looked awesome, Cuerno got to shine a bit and Cage hit his big spots and looked cool. The Mack was a little subdued for a guy who had been a world beater in his previous outings. Killshot and Sexy Star sucked but this kept moving enough to hide them a bit, and Pentagon trying to kill her does add a craziness to his character. Fenix has had a hell of a 2015, he seemed like an overpushed dude when this fed started, but he has been killing it this year, along with some fun indy stuff he may be growing into his push.

ER: Dario slapping Ivelisse down with some logic was awesome. "I only need my arms to beat their punk asses." "Yes...well, you will also need your legs if you want to retain your trios titles."

ER: So Catrina's plan was for Fenix to bury Muertes...so that he can come back stronger than ever before...I'm probably going to need more of an explanation. I am fairly clueless to the restorative powers of losing casket matches. Although I guess within wrestling Undertaker *did* always come back stronger, so....is this like the Reviving Elbow Logic or something?

3. Hernandez vs. Albert el Patron

ER: I figured something was up when the match went on with just 5 minutes left in the program. My Nitro Main Event red flags were going up. Match really wasn't much until Mundo comes out and launches AdP through Dario's office window. The move got actual heat and it looked awesome. Dario played it unexpectedly, but awesomely, laughing at AdP before walking over to his bar to pour a drink. Awesome segment to end the show. Plus Mundo's excessiveness works better as a smirking asshole than as a giving it all he's got babyface.

PAS: I thought the match was fine before the angle, I wouldn't mind watching those guys hook up for a real match. Angle was pretty awesome, looked super brutal, and I loved Dario in the office. Just basic wrestling booking at its best and it got me really excited to see a Alberto Del Rio v. Johnny Mundo grudge match and I wouldn't have guessed that a month ago.


LUCHA UNDERGROUND MASTER LIST


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Monday, May 25, 2015

Segunda Caida Watches the Troops

It's Memorial Day, I'm a government employee so you KNOW I'm not working today. So far all I've done is eat a banana, watch Price is Right, and an episode of Wonder Woman that had Harris Yulin as a movie producer and Debra Winger making one of her few appearances as Wonder Girl, watched the Giants beat the Brewers, and ate some eggs with coffee. Phil told me that he was making a pipe cleaner diorama to honor the troops, I figured I would watch a couple things with wrestling's most popular Sergeant. I challenge you to think of a more popular Sgt. in wrestling. It can't be done.

Craig Pittman vs. Aleksandr Karelin, 1989 FILA Wrestling World Championships

Karelin had just won his first gold medal a year prior, and here he was 22 years old, going up against a 30 year old Pittman. Karelin looks like a machine manufactured to separate heads from bodies. We get a couple good minutes of grappling with the smaller Pittman showing impressive speed and not getting completely bullied around by Karelin. Things are actually pretty even for awhile, but before long Pittman gets tossed onto his stomach and Karelin latches on. Pittman tries his damndest to just sandbag his body, practically clawing at the mat while Karelin begins to deadlift him. Karelin has him held up in the air for several seconds before taking him up and over, and then immediately grabs him again - this time in a gutwrench -  and dumps Pittman straight up and over onto his head and shoulder. Karelin wins. Pittman stays down for a loooooong time.

Here is another video where Pittman claims to have "unofficially" beaten Karelin in a later match that took place in Sweden, you know, due to them only giving him only 1 point after THROWING Karelin. It's a shame no video or record or any other witnesses of that match exist. Also, Karelin was 6'8" apparently. Also not found on YouTube: video of Pittman plowing prime Phoebe Cates, video of Pittman intimidating a police officer into not giving him a speeding ticket, and evidence of Pittman ghostwriting much of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors.

Ric Flair vs. Craig Pittman, WCW Saturday Night 3/23/96

I thought this match was awesome, and a lot of things happened in it that were just perfect within the context of their characters. A lot of Flair's signature bumps made more sense opposite Pittman's offense, and a Pittman no sell made tons of sense when you think of who he was. So, let me explain. Match starts cool with Pittman grabbing a knuckle lock and Flair selling it as if Pittman were breaking his hand. My hands hurt just watching them. Pittman has really impressive throwing strength, and so whenever Flair would Irish whip him into the ropes Pittman would easily reverse it and send Flair flying. There was none of this ridiculous "Shane MacMahon out-grapples Kurt Angle" business. Every time Flair tried to throw him, it would backfire, because of course it would! This was one of the only times I've seen Flair's over the turnbuckles flipping bump to the apron make sense, as Pittman whips him so hard into the corner that it actually looked like something that would cause you to flip over the buckles. Flair is also completely powerless against Pittman so regularly has to go for eyepokes, which makes sense as something that would immediately stop the Pitbull. Flair takes a couple big bumps here, first with the turnbuckle bump and later when Pittman grabs him and does a deadlift suplex, ending with Flair getting crumpled up and landing on his side. Gross. Right before that Flair had given Pittman a back suplex of his own that got immediately no sold by Pittman, but it makes sense within the context of Pittman's character. I mean, this guy got up after Karelin slammed him into the mat! Of course he's going to get up after taking a suplex from Flair! Finish looks great and also logical, with Flair taking another nasty whip into the corner, and Pittman charging in with his flying shoulderblock. Flair moves and Pittman takes a cool horizontal chest first torpedo bump into the top turnbuckle, like Mike Modest's old Ray Stevens bump into the buckles, and then Flair rolls him up for the win. Both guys characters and styles meshed real nice here. This was easily one of the best Pittman matches. Also of note, this was the peak foxiness of Woman. Post match she takes all the focus off Flair's promo by just staring at the camera, even while Ric is taunting Macho Man by screaming about shagging Elizabeth. Just could not stop staring at Woman.


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MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 4: Titán © vs Cavernario for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship (2014)

Aired: 2014-08-02
Taped: 2014-07-29 @ Arena México
Titán © vs Cavernario for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship


This match received a lot of praise last year and it deserved it. It ranked fairly highly on year end polls and what not. I liked it a lot, but it had some flaws, and I think that it received a bit too much credit for the spot and bump heavy tercera when it was the segunda that really shined.

Part of the problem is diminishing returns. The modern CMLL title structure has an even primera with someone getting a slight advantage in the matwork, the pace getting picked up in response and then a flash pin, a very brief segunda with usually another flash pin (or submission) to even the falls, and then a very long, selling-heavy tercera with lots of near falls, submissions, and the dives. It means that even a spot-filled tercera, while admirable and exciting, doesn't stand out as much as it could otherwise. This match had a good version of one, with some crazy spots and pretty good selling that wasn't just senseless laying around. Cavernario and Titan worked very well together by this point and when there were slight physical miscommunications, they added to the match because it just made things seem more genuine somehow. A lot of times, instead of things being super smooth, it felt like the wrestlers were jockeying for position.

What really made the match work, however, was the segunda. I've seen enough title matches, both current and older to understand how they work. They're cleaner, generally, there's less heat and more sportsmanship. There's an art to them, and that leads to more subtle matches. Well, Cavernario is a freaking Wrestling Caveman, and it's not his goal in life to be subtle. It's his goal to beat the crap out of people with fury and chaos in his heart. That was the segunda and it added emotion and stake and meaning to the match. Without it, the tercera would have been just another spotfest.

Primera did what it had to do. Titan does the little things fairly well on the mat, peppering in punches or utilizing the hair. He is a good package in that regard, since he can be flashy but also bring enough to the table when it comes to substance. That's my sense of him so far. He tries to work the crowd a bit too but they're not really buying what he's selling. This was set up as you'd expect, just with the volume turned up a bit. Matwork, picking up the pace, and ending with a big split legged Asai moonsault to the outside. I really like when they do this spot because Cavenario always tries to charge in first and has to get kicked a few times to create the distance. He makes Titan earn it. The fall ended with Titan flying too much too early and getting caught with a powerbomb followed by the Vader Bomb off the ropes.

That started an outright beatdown that was the segunda. There was no quick recovery pin to even things up here. Cavernario did what he does, moving around the ring, working the crowd, picking his spots, methodologically tearing Titan apart, including a bit of mask ripping. He had an awesome stomp in the corner, a really deep STF, repeated clubbering and paintbrushing, this great arm trap suplex. Titan sold all of it really well and that increased the tension and built up the anticipation for the comeback. A title match doesn't need that necessarily, but if it has it, especially when combined with the better part of other title matches, you can get something pretty special. I'm not sure if this match completely made it there, but it definitely came close.

Eventually, Cavernario got cocky, putting Titan up on the top rope and setting up a rolling leap of some sort. Obviously, this backfired and Titan spent a minute using his own body as a weapon, leaping from any direction he could, before hitting the split-legged moonsault in the ring for the fall.

As I said, other people have focused a lot on the tercera. I won't say much. It was what you'd expect, spot-filled and exciting. I really liked that the crazy over the top to the apron DDT didn't actually connect to the apron this time. It worked more as a takedown than something that should have ended the match. It was followed shortly thereafter by Cavernario's death splash to the floor. Maybe they did these two moves a little bit early into the fall, but I think it was important to sort of justify Cavernario's selling being on the same level as Titan's for the nearfalls to come and it did the job. I'm not going to run through everything else. It's far better to see these submissions and nearfalls and big spots than for me to write them, but it was all well done with some of it being clever call backs and some moves you don't usually see. The finish was a Cavernaria block followed by the Titanics.

I really hate Titanics. I've made a gif or two of it, but the idea is that Titan does a flip to surprise his opponent and a backflip from a handstand to catch his head so he can sort of short victory roll him. I actually think it's a very solid way to end a primera or a comeback segunda in a throwaway trios match. Not every one he's in, but now and again it's a move he can surprise an opponent with. I don't think that Titan should be ending the tercera of a title match that had been an absolute war with a goofy handstand. Wrestling is symbolic but some symbols are more appropriate than others.

That aside, they got a huge score for excitement and effort. I think Titan won over the crowd. It was a war but the escalation was paced well and the near-falls were believable. These guys were young. I think Titan was 23 at the time and Cavernario was 20. So to put on a match like this was a huge feather in the cap of both guys. It has me looking forward, in a big way, to getting to watch their recent match. Also, good on CMLL for giving them the time in the segunda. That makes all the difference in the world and it's one of the thousand things I wish the promotion would realize when it comes to these matches.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 2/6/15 & 3/22/15

Ultimo Guerrero, Euforia & Niebla Roja vs. Mistico, Volador Jr. & Valiente (2/6/15)

Fun quick and dirty spotfest. Ultimo has been so much fun ever since losing his mask. I love when guys get a new lease on life like that. I love how the match starts with Volador taking the Sombra bump asshole over elbow into the crowd, then Ultimo high jumping the barrier to crash into the recovering Volador. Rudos mostly set up nice spots for the tecnicos in this. Volador actually looked much better here than usual. Roja was doing the lord's work catching some Mistico ranas and making them look good. Euforia is always an admirable bumper. Valiente has one of those matches every several months where he just has no balance, and that was this match. Poor guy. Everybody else looked about as on point as possible, and he fell a couple times and seemed rattled. Nice recovery though for the big finish as the Valiente Especial looked wonderful. This is 3 falls in well under 15 minutes, and as lucha junkfood it worked just fine.

Virus, Okumura & Bobby Zavala vs. Dragon Lee, Pegasso & Fuego (3/22/15)

You see that team of tecnicos and instantly think "those are three guys I like watching opposite Virus"  and that is not only accurate, but fun. I would have liked to see him opposite Pegasso more, as they don't seem to pair off that much. But Virus/Lee is a guarantee win and he usually brings some extra spice out of Fuego. Bobby Zavala is a unique presence who never really gets talked about, but he feels like he has Rush breakout rudo potential. He always has the false modesty to him, a real "who, me??" face. He plays to the crowd using some old Hector Garza tactics and that attitude has been missing from CMLL. Okumura works really nicely with Pegasso here, taking some complicated armdrags and flinging himself into the barricade off a rana from the apron. We get some big dives, and while you know these same six guys could have an epic match, they weren't given the time to do so, but still had a fun one. Come for the opening Virus/Fuego matwork, stay for the rest!




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Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV Episode 14 Workrate Report

1. Taichi vs. KUSHIDA (6/8/14)

Well, these two have a bunch of offense that doesn't look very good. KUSHIDA almost seems to be working a parody of high flying gimmicks, as he'll do a springboard but just lightly tap Taichi with a chop on the way down. He also busted out some amusing double axe handles. It's like he's a junior flyer implementing a 70s territorial heel offense. Before the match Taichi attacked KUSHIDA with a chair in some pretty convincing ways, and the match had tons of interference from TAKA, then Alex Shelley came out to even things out. But that pre-match interference led to some good early pinfalls as KUSHIDA wasn't as beaten down as Suzuki-gun thought. A lot of KUSHIDA's strikes don't look great, but he oddly has a bunch of great missed strikes where he cuts close and looks like he woulda just knocked Taichi's block off. At one point we get a nasty moonsault where Taichi gets his knees up and KUSHIDA basically crashes his knees and shins into Taichi's knees and shins. It looked sick. Buuuuuuuut it wasn't a part of the finish so neither man really acknowledged how painful it looked immediately afterwards. Eh. This was what it was.

2. Ricochet vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (6/8/14)

Taguchi took most of this which made it pretty clear that Ricochet was moving forward to the finals. Taguchi looked good in his moments, with a big dive, nice kicks, couple big vertical suplexes, took Ricochet's kicks on the chin. But he also rushed through his moves the way a guy losing a short match rushes through his moves. I've seen Ricochet look better than he looked here, but hey, this was short and designed to make Taguchi look strong in a loss so whatever.

3. Ricochet vs. KUSHIDA (Best of the Super Juniors 2014 Finals)

Hey this was fun! Not that I was expecting it to be bad, but for a 24 minute match this thing just cruised right on by. I enjoyed it all, too, just a fun little match. The opening felt like early 2000s indy stuff, but in a good way, like the first time I saw Low Ki vs. Red. And the handsprings and backflips actually got integrated well, instead of feeling like a well-rehearsed dance routine. And it led to our first great moment, when Ricochet went for a handspring elbow and KUSHIDA hit a low dropkick right into his arm mid-handspring. Great spot, followed by KUSHIDA hitting a massive and accurate flip dive over the buckles (and Ricochet did a good enough selling his wing the rest of the way). KUSHIDA's Hoverboard Lock is a cool/goofy/fun/effective submission and I dug how it kept playing into the stretch. Ricochet goofed around maybe a little much during this, but that is his personality and the fans over there like him so it's probably a nitpick. Tons of good stuff in this, a real satisfying addition to a tournament that used to be one of my favorite yearly things and is now something that I don't really care about.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

66. Rey Hechicero v. Caifan 7/5



PAS: Hechicero is a master, we have gotten to see him work on the big stage in shorter matches, so it is a treat to see him in a garage work a longer crazier match. This was against his long time Monterey opponent and tag partner, and was kind of the equivalent of Dean Ambrose going back and working a crazy match with Sami Callihan in IWA-MS. The mat work here was awesome lots of cool twisty counters and takedowns that had real violence to them, every leg lock looked like it was going to rip out a knee, every takedown looked like it was going tear out a shoulder. The finish run was a little indy, but Hechicero smashing a plastic chair with a powerbomb, and the finishing armbar were pretty spectacular. Great match, so happy this showed up.

ER: This match had a pretty difficult task, which was filling 33 minutes of time with no real rest or breaks, and it did that admirably. 30+ minute, una caida lucha matches are pretty rare. Normally you get the breaks in between falls to kind of reset things, but these guys really just go go go for the duration. It's pretty impressive. At times it did give the match a kind of aimless feel, not quite filling time, but more that there was no real ebb and flow, not always rhyme or reason for the comebacks or dominance transitions. But this was quite a nice little feather for Hechicero. He plays into Caifan perfectly and finds plausible ways to deal with some of his stumbles. Caifan takes far to long to get Hechicero into a pendulum? Hechicero bides his time, waits for it to be locked on, and then immediately grapevines a leg, hooks Caifan's arm and reverses things. Caifan taking a bit too long to do a rope walk rana? Hechicero busies himself with his own hubris. Hechicero's subtle hubris led to some logical Caifan comebacks throughout this, with Hechicero easily having the upper hand, but waving Caifan to keep going, to come at him. I really loved all of the submissions throughout this, especially the first 8 minutes. Hechicero really gets to show off his full arsenal of subs and I get the feeling he could have kept going. Caifan eventually brings strikes, using some Moe Howard type stuff, like grabbing Hechicero's nose and smacking downward. The powerbomb tease was awesome as there was no way I thought Hechicero would take a powerbomb on the floor, and he made the struggle look sooo great, really clutching those ropes and hugging them tight. When Caifan finally broke him free and planted him through a chintzy plastic chair it felt like he had just plain worn him out. Good match that never lagged, impressive with what they had to fill. The referee had the worst pants.


2014 MOTY MASTER LIST

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MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 3: Marco Corleone, Máscara Dorada, Titán vs Cavernario, Rey Bucanero, Terrible

Aired CadenaTres: 2014-07-26
Taped 2014-07-22 @ Arena México
Marco Corleone, Máscara Dorada, Titán vs Cavernario, Rey Bucanero, Terrible


Alright, a match without Niebla in it. He serves his purpose, sure, but a little goes a long, long way. This was to set up Cavernario's challenge for Titan's Mexican National Welterweight title (which he earned, if I'm not mistaken, from winning the Busca), so the goal here would be to have Cavernario getting heat on Titan to set up the challenge.

The match had some MLJ all stars, Marco and Rey. I came in really wanting to see some Cavernario vs Marco (which we didn't get much of). Rey Bucanero is very good at what he does now, a lot better than he was when he was more athletic. He's very savvy in 2014-15 and able to do a lot of little things that he just didn't have the ring experience and presence to do back during the GdI heyday. He's less "workrate-y" but that's just about the last thing I care about so I'm usually glad to see him in a match. Dorada is a bit like Titan in that I just haven't seen a lot of him. I'm the one guy in the world who isn't in this for flashy tecnicos, I guess. I'm all for them when they can ground their stuff into a match with resonance and meaning but if I want to watch spots, there are youtube clips for that. I don't really have a sense yet exactly what Dorada and Titan bring to the table, but I'm watching matches to find out.

Primera was exchanges. Dorada and Rey did good, simple, competitive stuff, looking for openings and teasing clean breaks. Marco vs Terrible was shtick. The girls screamed for Marco, who was a little clunky on putting his head down for a presumed Back Body Drop to eat a Terrible kick, but he did hit some fun armdrags to make up for it. Then Cavernario and Titan picked up the pace. They had a spot where Cavernario moved out of the way of the TITANICS (Titan's endlessly stupid backflip victory roll finish - more on that next time), but that in avoiding it, became vulnerable to a pick-up/drop down (and Titan likes to do his out of a fireman's carry). He followed with his other finisher, a split-legged moonsault from the middle of the ropes, but Cavernario got his feet up. They run this spot occasionally and it always looks good, so good on them. This led to Cavernario's Vader Bomb and the pin. Clever set up to the finish that showed strong familiarity. The caida could have used another minute or two though.

The segunda followed from the primera, with a beatdown. The rudos worked very well together, with a triple flip powerbomb and tandem boots. Here's the powerbomb, posted mainly so you can see Cavernario go into hyper rage mode afterwards:


This lifting kick assault was a lot of fun too:


They even did a Terrible Giant Swing/Rey Dropkick. Rey was there to beg off every time a babyface came in so that the ambush could come into play. The comeback was cute. Titan hit a rope climb rana out of nowhere and a huge flipping dive. Then Dorada tried to hit Air Italia  from the ramp, was caught and tossed away, only for Marco to follow with the same move and score the pin.

The tercera was really a lot of fun. There was a lot of focus on Cavernario and Titan, with Cavernario playing canny early on and leading Titan into an ambush. This was where we had some Cavernario vs Marco (and a GdI huddle with Rey and Cavernario too which made me happy). At one point Marco smacked the bone off of his head which was a great visual. They kept things moving towards the end, with guys breaking up pins and slipping in and out of the ring. It all built to a massive dives (a hilo by Dorada, an Asai moonsault by Titan), and Marco diving off of the apron. Dorada moonsaulted himself onto Rey's foot, and got pinned that way. Rey got taken out after he and Cavernario tried for the old GdI double wheelbarrow. When Cavernario turned his back to celebrate, Titan rolled up Rey. It's a great finish so long as it's used sparingly. This left things with Cavernario and Titan, with Cavernario needing to go over to set up the title match. They did a quick minute of work, culminating with Titan getting cocky after getting the best of a strike exchange, playing to the crowd (a crowd that was still sort of booing to him) and getting locked in the Cavernaria from behind.

I'm a few matches in now and I'm really enjoying the Cavernario/Titan pairing. That said, I think Cavernario is what makes it work more than Titan. I didn't watch their title match last year so I'll see if my opinion changes there next.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 26: The Best in the Business Workrate Report

ER: I liked Mundo calling him "Fernandez" and Dario casually correcting him. Still seems odd for Hernandez to be a guy instantly pushed over most guys upon debut. I know most of these things can be explained by "but Dario!!" but sometimes it just feels like a weird choice for the fed.

1. Mr. Cisco & Cortez Castro vs. Angelico & Son of Havoc

ER: Everything in this match was just...off. It seemed like every move by every wrestler *just* missed. Angelico flies over the Crew with a flip dive, Havoc whiffs completely on a split legged moonsault to the floor (taking a way more painful looking spill into the seats), most of Angelico's knees squirt off to the sides, Havoc breaks out all sorts of feather light leg sweeps, even Cisco's spill to the floor sees him going through the wrong ropes...everybody just seemed to be working on different pages. Some of the Crew's double teams looked decent, but this was arguably the worst Havoc and Angelico have looked, and it came in the same match at the same time. Poor showing. It is impressive how over Havoc has gotten, although in this match the crowd seemed mostly interested that Ivelisse was sitting with them.

PAS: I liked this better then Eric did, I thought the Crew looked really good, and had less problems with Havoc and Angelico. I really liked Angelicos kick combos, the leg sweep enzigiri was cool. Mr. Cisco is one of my favorite guys in this fed, he is such a great combo of violent and stoogeish, kind of a short hispanic Arn Anderson.

2. Delavar Daivari vs. Texano

ER: Boy any of the viciousness these guys showed during their trios altercation was out the window here. That was some bad looking brawling. Like Abyss level strikes lobbed a foot past each guy's head. Cow bell shot look decent, but man. This looked bad. I did like Melissa Santos' scrambling "oh SHIT" while Texano rushed the introductions.

PAS: Yeah this sucked, I loved the brawling during the trios match but this was some weak shit. I like the Shah of Sunset gimmick Davari is working, but this was weak shit.

3. King Cuerno & Cage vs. Prince Puma & Hernandez

ER: Hey this was amusing even though it didn't get much time. Cuerno and Cage are good at feeding Puma, Cuerno hit his big tope which we haven't seen in a bit (even if it had a pretty dumb set up since  it required Hernandez to push Puma into the tope, meaning that when Cuerno started setting up the move there wasn't anybody there to actually do the move to). Cuerno is really great at putting over Hernandez. His bumps all look super painful, and speaking of painful bumps how about Puma getting powerbombed on the apron? Yikes. Also, Vampiro needs to stop trying to feud with Konnan.

PAS: That apron powerbomb was nasty, super happy that Cuerno got his tope back. Would like to see him actually have something to do in this fed. Isn't there someone else he can hunt? Do they need to bring in Los Thundercats?

4. Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Mundo

ER: This was fine, probably the best possible non-gimmick Mundo singles match. Vampiro really needs to stop pushing "knee injuries" in Mundo matches, as he's never going to listen. I get the temptation as Mundo took a nasty spill to the floor, his leg crashing off the wood ring steps in a loud way, even breaking through and splintering one of the steps in a great visual. I loved AdP capitalizing and immediately smashing him with a tope. AdP brings back the Finlay ring skirt spot, and it's crazy that nobody immediately stole that once he retired. Also loved the AdP arm bar after he was playing possum. Mundo actually sold that surprise armbar nicely as it continued to play into the rest of the match (even while Vampiro just kept bringing up his blown out knee. Seriously every single match Vampiro thinks Mundo's knee is just blown the fuck out.), and the match was capable. They filled the allotted time just fine.

PAS: I liked this more then Eric too, what a grump. This felt like the kind of undercard match which would steal a WWE PPV. Nothing remotely lucha about it, but a bunch of cool little additions which put it over the top. Don't know if the ring steps thing was planned, but that into the tope was an awesome bit of wrestling improv if it wasn't. Also really enjoyed the possum armbar and ring skirt spot. Patron is just killing it this year, loved all of his LU stuff and he had a stone cold classic with Roderick Strong in ROH. Totally reinvented himself, makes me think about what similarly misused WWE guys could do with a release. Is there a big time Carly Colon run waiting for us?

ER: Hopefully they explain why Katrina is back with Muertes, or what her plan was from the beginning. It's a little convoluted if we end up getting "it was her plan all along to latch onto a guy and have that guy kill Muertes....so she could then bring him BACK".


LUCHA UNDERGROUND MASTER LIST


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SEGUNDA CAIDA DECLARES WAR!!! NJPW 10/23/92

This card was the beginning of the WAR v. NJ feud and had the frantic riot feel that you would want an inter-promotional blood feud to have.

Akitoshi Saito v. Masao Orihara

PAS: This is a young gun v. young gun match to open the feud and was a total barnburner. Saito will always be known as the guy who killed Misawa, which is a shame because he has had a great under the radar resume of matches. The crowd is a GOP Debate audience (pro-WAR..yeah daddy I gots the jokes), and they want the heads of the karate army. It is worked kicker vs. grappler and both guys do an amazing job of getting that across. Orihara is desperately grabbing for leglocks and suplexes, while Saito is kicking his lungs out. They never seem to be fulling cooperating with each other which adds to the match, I don't want good execution, I want this to feel like the end fight of a kung fu movie. Great in ring acting from both guys, Orihara comes off desperate and bought in, this is life and death for him, while Saito is great as the emotionless killing machine. Wrestling rarely has this kind of intense sentiment from a crowd anymore and it can make an average match great, and a good match epic. The same match hold for hold would have been a nifty undercard match on a WAR card. You put it in this Korakuen, on this night and it is a truly memorable piece of history.

ER: Damn Saito has just always been this size, hasn't he. He probably weighed 240 as a 12 year old. Both men are shaved head punks here, Saito yet to grow out his bleach blonde mullet and Orihara yet to disgrace his family by becoming a yakuza button man. And I love this type of match, where some shots miss, and then other shots hit so hard and so awkwardly that you swear it's real. The crowd is crazy hot for this, at one point cutting to a tiny man angrily flipping off the ring, which is not something you really see in Japan. I love these types of matches, they feel like they could end at any time. Every time Orihara leaps on Saito with a sleeper, or Saito plants his heel into Orihara's dome feels like a potential ending with legions of jogging suits and karate gis waiting to swarm. Inter-promotional stuff with karate guys always seems to add even more of an edge, as you already have wrestling promotions feuding, but then it adds this whole new level of wrestling vs. "real" fighting and the fans always seem to get up in an electric lather for all of it.

SEGUNDA CAIDA DECLARES WAR

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MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 2: Cavernario, Euforia, Mr. Niebla vs Máximo, Titán, Valiente

Aired 2014-07-19
Taped 2014-07-15 @ Arena México
Cavernario, Euforia, Mr. Niebla vs Máximo, Titán, Valiente


If the trios with Blue Panther and Cachorro leaned gallant, this leaned goofus. It was the following Friday from the previous match with Felino subbed out and Euforia subbed in. CMLL does that all the time, just mixing and matching their rudo factions, but it felt particularly odd here. To be honest, Euforia didn't really do much so it hardly mattered (which was especially damning since he and Valiente got the focus of the finish).

Structurally, this actually had a lot going for it. There were two heat segments, one in the primera with a cut off with a comeback that let the tecnicos go over and then from the end of the segunda into the tercera which lead on towards the finish. Despite Cavernario's intensity, and Maximo and Titan generally being sympathetic, it was hard to take any of it seriously though. Matches with Niebla spanking Maximo are generally not the ones to utilize a double heat format on. While double heat generally means double comebacks as well, this was a match that needed much more in the way of shine.

Instead, it started with a rudo ambush, including Zacarias doing the 619. Cavernario's great in this role. He charged in with his staff and stomped away. It's also not a bad role for Niebla. He's good at crowd control and has those big, broad strikes. It's just when he does anything else that any possible meaning gets pissed down the drain. The comeback came with a Maximo butt spot, one of Valiente's huge Jim-Neidhart shaped topes, and Titan doing the handstand backflip headscissors cradle, again. Twice in two weeks was probably a bad choice for that move. It's just too contrived to do too often.

We did get some of that shine at the beginning of the segunda, with the tecnicos going vs the world. The crowed wanted absolutely zero of it though. Even Maximo, who was usually over, was getting boos. Niebla was more than happy to do the cheer-off with Titan and this time, there was no Blue Panther to turn the crwod back. Instead, Titan did some backflips, a headscissors, and then a pose, and the crowd booed the hell out of him. Maybe a pose wasn't the right move there.

What was the right move was this really cool reverse monkey flip backflip thing. That was pretty cool:


Which leads us to this apron ddt spot, which (and hey, maybe Titan and Cavenario do this a dozen times and I just don't know it yet) would be one of the spots of the year, easily, if not for the fact it didn't even end the frigging fall. It was too big a spot to use in the middle of such a throwaway match like this. At the least they should have saved it for their title match. Geez:


After that, Niebla would pull Maximo around by his hair and spank him. Great tonal cohesion there. A submission on Maximo followed shortly thereafter, with (of course) Cavernario back up to beat on Titan. I'm pretty certain Titan was double crotched on the outside by Niebla and Cavernario which led to him being counted out.

I do think that Niebla helped Cavernario a lot one with one aspect of his game, namely the playing to the crowd. Cavernario is so over the top and into his character and if I tried to capture all of his flourishes and temper tantrums, we'd have twenty gifs. There's a limit to the effectiveness of this though, and Niebla doesn't know the first thing about limits.

Instead I'm going to post a couple of gifs from the tercera, which had some of the fun, tecnicos heavy spirit that the match should have had more of (after Cavernario missed a corner charge which let Valiente come back).

This great monkey flip:



and this pretty clever Kiss of Death:

All that led to tandem topes by Maximo and Titan, which was to set up Valiente vs Euforia A blatant (frustrated) foul by Euforia led to the mostly unsatisfying DQ. It led to a trios defense and a singles match, but the focus was off earlier in the match to make it mean anything here. Titan was fine, dynamic, with the apron DDT being an amazing spot (albeit one that wasn't worth nearly as much as it should have been), but he sure was illiterate when it came to reading the crowd.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

5. Speedball Mike Bailey v. Trevor Lee PWG 4/3

PAS: One of the best turn the dial to 11 indy matches I have ever seen. I watched Mad Max Fury Road earlier today, and in many ways this was that kind of wrestling match, never has Speedball's nickname been so apropos, cause I felt like I did a speedball before I watched it. I hadn't seen much Lee before, but he was great, he has this Clay Guida look, and kind of wrestles like Guida, intense always attacking and with great closing distance speed, when an opening presented itself he would leap right on it. He had some really brutal stuff, too, nasty running forearms, great dropkick, crazy judo throw. Bailey has some fun fancy shit, crazy kung fu movie kicks, and great highspots, and was awesome as a guy trying to fight off a wolverine. Finish run had spot of the year, don't want to ruin it, but it was fucking lunacy, and then Bailey hits this great looking double knee shooting star off the apron, but by the time he rolled him in and set up another shooting star, Lee had been given enough time to plausibly recover, and he got his knees up and hit a nasty small package driver for the pin. Most PWG matches have endless 2.9 sections which eventually just lose him, this had a killshot, but it was outside the ring, so I bought the recovery, and then instead of a bunch more near falls Lee just grabbed him and smashed him. Awesome stuff, that I can see both Segunda Caida people and people who don't love us agreeing on.

ER: I had seen Lee a couple times before and didn't think much, and Bailey is a SC favorite at this point, but Lee in this match is a wholllllle nuther son of a bitch. This guy was relentless here. Everything he did seemed so natural, even some spots that I've never seen look like anything but two guys being verrrry cooperative with each other. Comparing him to Clay Guida isn't very nice, as Lee is way more interesting than Guida, and does way more than headbang and dry hump his opponent to death. I apologize in advance for Kenny Omega eventually adopting a "dry hump opponent to death" gimmick. Lee threw some of the best running forearms I've seen, exploding late and looking great. He tossed Bailey around in some really impressive ways, rolling naturally into a nice Karelin throw. Bailey is a great underdog babyface and feeds nicely off of Lee's constance. Phil was kind and didn't spoil the spot of the year, but I'm cruel and will say that it was a beautiful, certifiably crazy, dangerous nasty reverse rana on the ring apron (and the apron was reallll narrow). As stupid as it might read, the move came off real organically and was just epic. Bailey tops it off with a shooting star kneedrop off the apron onto Lee's back. His freaking back! Also, it should be noted that Bailey wrestles barefoot, which means he's one of the rarest lunatics. How easy would it be to break a toe, crush your heel, damage one of those couple dozen little bones in there. Bumping barefoot just sounds...stupid. The finish, as Phil mentioned, is logical, satisfying, and original. We were watching it together and I wouldn't stop babbling about it. Bailey goes for a shooting star, Lee gets the knees up, and while Bailey is hunched over from landing on knees Lee grabs him in a small package, fluidly rolls through it and in one motion hits the package driver to end it. The whole sequence looked great. This match goes just the right amount of time, delivers some great, constant action (even the chinlocks had nice character stuff, as Lee undoes his hair so it hangs down in Bailey's eyes and mouth) and was a real blast.


2015 MOTY MASTER LIST


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Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

15. Eddie Kingston v. Silas Young AAW 3/21

PAS: Big match Eddie Kingston is still definitely an awesome thing. This is the kind of nasty fist fight wrestling he excels at and I love. They have an awesome set up video for this match establishing how Kingston attacked Young's wife when he was a heel, Young won the feud, Kingston came back to AAW as a babyface and Young turned heel on the fans because they were cheering him. Such a cool angle, the classic wrestling trope has everyone ignore the sins of a guy when he turns, I loved that Young couldn't do that. Kingston also cuts one of his greatest promos ever before the match talking about taking Zoloft to stay centered and how he worries about getting shot every time he walks out of his house. Match itself was really violent, but not from weapons shots, or even stereotypical stiff wrestling, but just every blow seemingly landed with a little bit extra thud and hate. Kingston torches his ribs on a guardrail early and spends a lot of the match selling shortness of breath and rib pain. Young seethes the entire time, he does a great job of conveying distaste and hate. Only really quibble was them setting up a avalanche Finlay roll as a huge spot for Young, and Kingston coming back to win pretty soon after, felt a little abrupt, otherwise this was right up there with the best stuff in the world. Its actually good enough to make me go watch the previous months Davey Richards title defense.

ER: I knew nothing about their feud before watching the pre-match video, and after just 3 minutes of video I was pumped for this match like I've been for few this year. Kingston is my favorite promo in wrestling ("You think I could work a 9 to 5 job!?"), and I liked Young's heel turn, yelling at the crowd for cheering a guy like Kingston. Young was pissed and Kingston is a guy who seems to thrive on people being pissed at him. As Phil said, big match Eddie Kingston is an awesome thing. Now, a couple complaints: Young cuts this mean promo beforehand, rightfully pissed at Kingston and rightfully pissed at the fans for still cheering him. It's a good turn that made a lot of sense. And so we cut straight from that to Young making his entrance to "Don't Stop Believing", even waiting for the drums to hit before coming out from the curtain. This is just pure eyerolling idiocy. You can't change your theme music? You can't come out to NO music? Or any other music? Your wife was injured by Kingston, you turned your back on the fans for still supporting Kingston, but you still come out to years-beyond played out, drunk sorority girl scream bait? Completely absurd. Is the song that important to your character of "The Last Real Man"? Is it so important, that after your wife was left injured, and the fans turned on you, you still thought "I'm coming out to MYYYY Journey song, and I'm going to sit behind the curtain until Steve Perry's first vocal break!" It honestly makes me mad just thinking about it. It seems SO OBVIOUS to not do ANY of this, but there it is. My other, second complaint, is that he didn't really seem to work the match any differently than any other Young matches I've seen. There were a couple of moments, one good one in particular, that tied into his angry promo, but other than that was just normal Silas Young. Also, the announcing was noticeably horrible for this match. Yeah, yeah, complaints about indy wrestling commentary. But for a match clearly positioned as a serious grudge, it was just so bad, and it was mostly from the guy whose voice I didn't recognize. Even beyond the usual horrible "shades of" calls (just yelling out Kobashiiiiiii during a series of chops) he kept trying to shoehorn in a horrible "SAVE ME JEBUS" gag throughout and just...no. I'm sure there's a time and place for yelling the same 15 yr old Simpsons reference numerous times, but out of all the matches on the card to do it...man it was just so bad.

Anyway...

So THANKFULLY Young was against Eddie Kingston here, who knows how to have a hateful brawl. Kingston knew what it took to make this seem like a blood feud and Silas brought it enough to make this work. The Young moment I really liked (and mentioned above) was when they brawled to ringside, and he fishhooked Kingston and said "This is the guy you cheer!?" to the crowd. It tied into the anger he showed in his promo, and in a great moment, Kingston used that break to pop him right under the eye. Kingston's selling throughout the match really makes Young look good. The way Kingston flies into the railing, his facials when Young has him in the modified surfboard, him holding his sides before charging into the corner, those kind of things really made me think Young was giving him a merciless beating, and I cringed every time Young smacked him in the ribs. Kingston brings some mean shots throughout this, I loved his mixed up punches to the head, the headbutts up top, his wild dive to the side of the ring with hardly any room. He set up a lot of Young's stuff real well, making it look like he wasn't just hanging out waiting for Young to hit something. Just a real nice match.


2015 MOTY MASTER LIST

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MLJ: Cavernario vs Titan 1: Blue Panther, Cachorro, Titán vs Cavernario, Felino, Mr. Niebla

Aired 2014-07-12
Taped 2014-07-08 @ Arena México
Blue Panther, Cachorro, Titán vs Cavernario, Felino, Mr. Niebla


I'm dropping everything I've been doing for this. Thus was the power of the recent Barbaro Cavernario vs Titan title match. People really talked it up and while I haven't had a chance to see it yet, I figured it was about time I did a focus on something very up to date.

I'll be honest that Titan is a tecnico that I've seen a bit of, but just a bit, and in what I've seen, I didn't really have the strong need to look for more. I know I'm less high on people like Valiente than most (and certainly Volador, Jr., but I think none of us are super high on him).

I'm sure he hits his moves well, that he's smooth, that he's dynamic. What I don't know is whether he hits the marks I really care about too though, his character work and making those moves matter, and storytelling. I haven't seen enough though, so I don't know, but hey, he's touted highly by a lot of people and I'm looking forward to figuring it out.

I wanted to start after the Busca last year because that's been covered heavily and some of these mid-card trios haven't as much. I'll probably be avoiding tournaments because no one wants to watch tournament lucha. So the plan is to watch everything that they've done  together in the last year or so ending with their recent title match.

First on the docket is Blue Panther, Cachorro, and Titan vs La Pesta Negra. I'd rather we have Casas in this instead of Felino or Niebla, but neither were too offensive here. Felino had his working boots on and Niebla's stooging was a little more tightly focused than usual due to Panther reining him in.

A lot of these matches are going to be fun, mid-card lucha trios and that was the case here. The primera was enjoyable enough. Felino and Cachorro did well together, with a few leglocks and clean breaks. BP and Cavernario did as well (And I liked that they put the young guys in with the vets instead of just matching them up), with their share of limb grabbing and positioning. The second Blue Panther got the advantage the rudos swarmed (Starting with a nice Niebla punch). Titan didn't get a spotlight here save for his bump into the railing on the outside as Cavernario hit his mid ring Vader Bomb to pin BP. This was a pretty standard start, some game, competitive matwork and rudos being rudos.

Between falls the rudos goofed about, with Felino kissing a woman and Cavernario doing goofy kissy faces. Goofy but kind of awesome too:


The lucha equivalent of southern tag ref distraction is absolutely "goading the tecnico in and having your partner ambush him from behind." And Pesta Negra does it really well in the segunda. At one point Felino drew Titan in only to roll away so his partners could get him. At another, Panther came in only to immediately get double teamed by Niebla and Cavernario; then they danced:


Niebla is a bad example for Cavernario. Case in point: the tecnicos come back because Niebla's so busy slapping everyone that he accidentally hit his partner. To make it up, he kissed Cavernario. This distracted everyone in a two mile radius and let the comeback begin. Titan didn't get to do much here, just a plancha into the ring, but he did finish it with a great headstand into a roll up.


And I think that's evidence towards quality. The body language of Cavernario made that work but he couldn't accomplish it without something worthwhile to react to. I think it does show why the two of them are potentially so great a pairing.

They reset for the tercera and there were a number of pairings. Cachorro and Cavernario worked well together with a lot of elaborate but organic stuff. Titan vs Felino was interesting since Felino, more or less went into business himself, trying to get the crowd to boo Titan. The payoff here (and I'm not convinced this payoff would exist without Panther in the ring to control things) was BP working with Titan and getting the crowd to boo Felino big. I'm sure they've done that spot a lot of times, but I think without Panther as the equalizer, Titan's crowd-favor would have been eaten alive by Felino. Panther in general showed me a bunch of character, containing Felino and then clowning for Niebla's strikes:


Especially masterful is how BP manages to sell his belly after getting punched in the face a bunch in order to do a Shocker-Style pulling of his tights. A real maestro, folks. As you can imagine the spit spot followed and then BP clocked Niebla, because that's what he does. It's amazing how much the crowd loves that stupid spot.

Titan vs Cavernario followed and I thought Titan worked the crowd well in a chop exchange. This was followed by an awesome ducked clothesline/hangman's clothesline, crazy stomping and even crazier Cavernario-ing. Great stuff:


Cavernario ended up the top rope but was bicycle kicked off by Titan who then had to contend with Niebla (he did this by matrix-ing under a clothesline so Niebla could go sailing through the ropes). It was a fun little Titan vs the World Segment tht ended with him backflipping over the top rope for fun (which was impressive bug cognitively goofy).

The finish was fun. I always like when it looks like it's going one way and veers another. Here, the tecnicos had set up an estrella, with Titan about to victory roll Niebla in the middle, but Niebla dropped him right on his partner in sort of an unintentional assisted splash. The falls came quick after that, first with a rudo double press slam and Felino elbow drop, then with a Cachorro Fujiwara arm bar out of nowhere, and then, finally due to the numbers game, the press-up into a Cavernario missile dropkick, which is probably the most underrated finisher of 2014.

This was definitely good for what it was, which was a sort of disposable Pesta Negra match. I was impressed by how well Titan and Cavernario worked together, with Titan's impressive agility bouncing well off of Cavernario's outlandish ferocity. Both of them showed a good deal of charisma too.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 5/16/15

Brian Cage vs. Bestia 666

This is the last match from the 2/28/15 show in San Francisco, milked to its entirety (with 6 matches stretched to fill FIVE WEEKS! of programming), so I'm excited to see what we get next week. This was a good match, the best match on that 2/28 card, and could have been a very good match if not for  rudo ref shenanigans, or if Cage had sold anything whatsoever. There was a little awkward miscommunication towards the very end, but mostly they worked together really well, except for Cage not selling anything whatsoever.

I'm not sure why but Cage always looks so much more gassed when he works this fed. His Lucha Underground body looks slightly leaner, and his PWR body looks significantly more bloated. I don't understand it. And let me explain what I mean by Cage not selling Bestia's offense: He would take moves, and do little things afterwards such as shake his head, stumble around, etc. to show that the moves has done SOMEthing to him, but then he would always immediately go back on offense. I don't think there was any point in the match where Bestia hit two moves in a row. He was working from underneath the whole match, which made the awful heel ref schtick even worse and more pointless since Cage was never in any point in danger of losing. So we get Cage dominating, and being cheated for, but we never get to see any sort of Bestia comeback. Just a slow plod towards the inevitable. And what is life but a slow plod towards the inevitable?

I liked how they started, with Bestia trying to shoulderblock Cage a bunch. I like when guys don't back down on shoulderblocks. Bestia quickly realized he wasn't going to budge him, so led him into some cat and mouse which led to a great spot, with Cage chasing him around the ring, Bestia rolling back in and fluidly hitting Cage with a legdrop off the middle rope while Cage was rolling back in. It was timed perfectly, with Bestia fluidly hopping up to middle rope and legdropping him right as Cage was rolling in (so Cage in theory wouldn't have seen it happening). Usually that kind of thing seems much more cooperative and here they nailed it. Bestia also had several cool armdrag variations throughout, which Cage took really nicely. Cage himself had a pretty nifty legdrop, working in a couple of quick sliding legdrops like Waltman used to do. The "big slams" portion of the match is fairly uninteresting, and the heel ref stuff kills any interest in the home stretch of the match, but there was good work within, and you could tell the framework of a good match was in there somewhere. I enjoyed it.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

54. Biff Busick v. Speedball Mike Bailey CZW 7/12

PAS: Not a real mat based match like the Thatcher or Gulak series, but more of spotfest indy title match. Really fun example of that match though. Busick does a nice job of mauling Bailey and is a pretty good base for some of Bailey's highspots, and Bailey has really great looking highspots. I liked his spin kicks and his rapid fire switch leg kicks. His big run of offense including catching Busick in mid air and hitting a backflip powerslam, a spinning splash and a top rope shooting star double knee, it is hard to be impressed by spots in 2014, but that was impressive. Cool finish run by Busick too, and that head throw choke by Biff is one of the best finishers in wrestling

ER: The more I see Bailey the more I really dig his kicks, and as much as I love those matches it's awesome to see Busick in against non-Thatcher/Gulak types. The guy really has a nice adaptable arsenal and can hop into any match type. Phil is right that Busick's headlock takeover slam is one of the best things in wrestling today. Every time I see it I keep imagining the guy's head getting popped off like a grape. Busick is a real bully to Bailey and it was a great visual to see him holding one side of Bailey's face while smacking him down with the other. Big, rough 45 degree downward smacks. Phil also mentioned my favorite spot (easily one of the coolest wrestling moments of the last year), when Busick runs full speed at Bailey with that old gigantic Mike Knox crossbody, but comes in too high, and Bailey uses the natural momentum to flip over into a kind of moonsault powerslam for an awesome near fall. I'm really getting used to these "Bailey vs. indy asskicker" matches.


2014 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Friday, May 15, 2015

MLJ: Guerreros del Infierno B-13: Atlantis, Satánico, Shocker vs Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

2002-02-01 @ Arena México
Atlantis, Satánico, Shocker vs Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero


This match was 11 minutes or so of awesome. I almost missed it in going through the GdI comp and I'm so glad I didn't. It's got two things going for it most of all: atmopshere and character. The crowd was super hot. The tecnicos were intense. Shocker was downright gallant. The rudos were evil. Tarzan Boy was as chickenshit as chickenshit comes. And this was true for the beginning, the middle, and the end. Even Satanico seemed to revel in being on the tecnico side.

That's a bit peculiar. He was still with Averno and Mephisto and this was at Arena Mexico so it wasn't like it was some local thing where he got to cross the line. During this period, when placed against GdI in a trios, sometimes he was with tecnicos and when he was, he had that standing. The week after this he might have faced off against Atlantis. It's actually true for Shocker as well, I think. Satanico was there to fight GdI and Shocker was there to fight Tarzan Boy.

That was the main story of the match. The tecnicos (and de facto tecnicos) charged right in to start. Even Atlantis was whipping Ultimo Guerrero around ringside with his jacket. Shocker and Tarzan Boy were captains. Tarzan Boy immediately tried to ambush Shocker, but was held back by the tecnicos. Shocker, however, wanted to face him in a fair fight and told them to let him go, which the crowd loved. A moment later, however, in a bounce off the ropes, the rudos kick Shocker in the back from the outside and start to swarm. That brought the heat in a huge way. It was a great start to the match. Shocker looked noble. Tarzan Boy looked like scum. Maybe best of all, the tecnicos kept fighting even as they were swarmed. This wasn't a case of one guy just standing around as his partners get destroyed. The rudos made sure that no one could make a save.

There were some specifically fun spots too, like this crazy wheelbarrow:

and this great triple pin:

and a double corner clothesline which I swear in my years and years of watching wrestling, I'd never seen before(bonus awesome UG suplex included):

That lead to a double diving headbutt and the end of the fall. GdI were so cool and so sleek and so dickish. This was just a few minutes but it was an awesome few minutes of rudos gang warfare, smooth, brutal, and violent. Tremendously effective and they got all the heat they deserved for it.

As (almost) always, I wish there was just a bit more heat to the segunda, but it's okay here, because the primera was so definitive and because when the comeback happens, the fans want it and it actually means something. That said, I just think of how much more it could have been a minute or two later. Here, they went right to the heart of the match. Shocker's the one who fights back, who ducks a corner attack and causes some heel miscommunication. He stood tall allowing his partners to rush back in. Instead of immediately going to the fall and resetting for the tercera, they ran "tecnicos vs the world" here. That had everything to do with the stunted third fall but it made for an interesting formula. I liked it a lot actually since it began with the sense that maybe Shocker wouldn't be able to maintain the comeback. He had to fight off all the rudos, and when he finally ended up out of the ring (after being ambushed again by Tarzan Boy, a sign that the match was really on focus), Satanico came in and fought them off. The crowd was behind him and he seemed elated in his role. First, Rey Bucanero kept taking this crazy knee first bump for Satanico's back body drops, and then Ultimo Guerrero ate his stuff like a king. Atlantis was in next and maybe he was a half step behind what had just happened but made up for it by innovating awesomely with this spot, which I loved:


He followed it up with a tope which led to a Satanico backslide on UG and Shocker finally getting his hands on Tarzan Boy with the world's hugest bulldog on the floor(it's even better not sped up but I can't get any other gifmaker to work here. Just trust me):


They started the tecera with what seemed to be the payoff, resetting to Tarzan Boy vs Shocker. The former tried to assert himself like the jerk that he was but the latter was just too much. They delayed the ultimate payoff though as Shocker was overzealous and missed a senton, letting Tarzan Boy escape to the outside. This let them close off the other pairings, with Satanico hitting a big plancha from the top to the outside on Ultimo Guerrero and Atlantis rocket launching Rey and then locking him in a rolling submission.

This brought us back to Shocker vs Tarzan Boy and Shocker mercilessly tossed his rival across the ring twice with "urinages." He went in for the kill but Tarzan Boy, hugely desperate, tried for a mule kick foul. Shocker caught it though. This led to an even more desperate kick to the head by TB, followed immediately by him pretending he was fouled. The ref was having none of it though and dq'd the rudos.

The tecnicos got to win. The rudos got to be vile and heelish and chickenshit, but didn't lose so definitively that the crowd wouldn't want to see Shocker get even more revenge last time. Great, functional match, especially in the time it was given.

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