Segunda Caida

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 6: La Máscara, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs. Bárbaro Cavernario, Negro Casas, Shocker

Taped: 03/17/2015 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
La Máscara, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs. Bárbaro Cavernario, Negro Casas, Shocker

As best as I can tell, this is my 200th MLJ. I might be one or two off, but I'm close enough that I'm going with it. That's a lot of them. I've kept up the 3x a week schedule which is a minor miracle. Once again, thanks to Phil and Eric for letting me do this. I'm not sure if we've kept up the everyday posts over this year like we did for last, though we've got to be close. In the midst of the kerfuffle over my first Volador match last week (and I finally got to look at things on Twitter a few days after the fact, even though I don't have an active account), one thing that Rob (and still, no hard feelings, Rob, I mean it) said stood out. He likened what I was writing and the impetus behind it to Segunda Caida not being on the Mistico bandwagon years ago. I got a kick out of that. I write here because I like and generally agree with what's been written on this site over the years, so thanks, Rob, for doing more than anyone in making me feel like I belong here.

So, we've got a throwaway 10 minute trios match as my 200th. That's great. Some of it was the timing. I tried to tack on the Leyenda hair match too but I just didn't have time, and you know what? I'm okay with that, because this match sums up a lot of things I've written about so far and a lot of things that I associate with CMLL.

First off, the rudo side is Shocker, Negro Casas, and Cavernario, who I have spent a ton of time on collectively. It features Shocker and Casas vs an Ingobernable in Mascara. It also represents, so very well, just how screwed up and nonsensical CMLL is. Mascara is a tecnico who is absolutely a heel. It has Casas and Shocker who are rudos that are cheered. Shocker went rudo just to be able to fight with Rush. He didn't really change anything he did, just who he teamed with. Casas is probably the most over babyface in the company.

And maybe there's something to all that. On paper, there's something interesting about the lines drawn and the contradictions inherent in Mascara teaming with Mistico and Volador, about Mascara being booed because he acts like a terrible jerk and Mistico being booed because they just don't like him and the whole dynamic therein. The problem is that over time, and this has run over so much time, everything becomes muddied and things that might stand out and snap just become an ooze of meaninglessness.

It was true in this match too. Mascara, for his failings, has done much better in his role as an Ingobernable, maybe not as well as Sombra has, but still, he's such a dick in this match. He spends the initial beatdown in the crowd with the fans. He teases going up against Shocker and then ducks right back out of the ring. He argues with his partners. When Shocker finally gets his hands on him, it's a big moment, even in such a small match. Except, then everything inverts again because Mascara's in the tecnico role. Shocker getting his hands upon him is a near catalyst for the tecnico comeback and almost immediately thereafter, Mascara gets to have a pure tecnico "vs the world" segment where he rope runs and ranas and faces off against hardship as he goes through the rudos one at a time. It's maddening, because the character needs of the match are absolutely different than the structural needs and the match tries to fit both. This isn't something that would happen anywhere but CMLL because at some point someone would step in and point this out and explain how it doesn't make any sense, how it is painfully (as in it causes someone pain to watch it) dissonant.

Yet I kind of say it with love, because even after months and months of it, it's this amazing trainwreck, and one where everyone does his job as he's supposed to, but it's like building an underwater bridge, or a stairway to nowhere. It's this incredibly misguided construction, one that is just fulfilling old contract obligations, worked hard upon, with some artist flourish, but without direction or thought. An earthquake changed the landscape two years ago and they keep on building like nothing's changed. That's CMLL. It's wrestling for wrestling's sake, but it's glorious in its own excess.

Anyway, this was ten minutes long. The rudo side was great, hard hitting, with Cavernario perfect in his role. Casas took a couple of bumps that no one his age should take. The tecnicos were spirited. I thought Volador was very good at fighting against odds during the beat down, which is something he often does well, though it doesn't usually translate into the comeback. It had the world's worst backcracker on Shocker, which in and of itself wouldn't matter but CMLL, wonderful CMLL, showed it THREE times from three different angles. In slow motion. Just amazing. There was even a callback spot to transition with Zacarias which I thought was very well done.

Of course this wasn't a great match; it's ten minutes long and deeply flawed, but it was a match with so much to love. Love's the right word too, because following CMLL is an act of love. There's so much to have affection for, to have feelings for, to be engaged with and that will make you happy, but you don't get to pick what you love most of the time, and there are so many traits that you wish would change but probably never will. Love is hard. CMLL is a brutal mistress.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 7/29/15 Review

So last week was a real dud of an episode. Let's hope for a wee bit better show this week? I already had a laptop blow up, fiscal year end kicked my butt, and I need a good show here.

1. The Kingdom (Mike Bennett & Matt Taven) vs. Corey Hollis & Jonathan Gresham

This was a decent enough extended squash, got over the Kingdom as it intended. Gresham took some nice bumps into the railing, and man is he tiny. I kind of hate how Hollis bumps. I had never seen him before. I'm okay with that. We go through a long awful stretch where Bennett is repeatedly duped by Gresham essentially running back and forth in the ring. Taven on one side, Bennett on the other, Gresham running between them and getting grabbed by Taven, then slipping out with Bennett chasing him back and forth. It looked terrible, just an awful run of cat and mouse. They did it so much it looked like the moment when you noticed HHH set up every single one of his moves with an Irish whip. But, that was just the middle. It was fine. Not fine to the literal dictionary definition; but fine, as it's most commonly used. Which is to say, it was okay.

Destination America regularly pushes a show called "Killing Bigfoot" which...I gotta say I do not understand. Destination America has (no less than) 9 shows dedicated to Bigfoot. A cursory check of some well known science journals confirms that as of this writing we have still discovered zero Bigfoots. But apparently there is an entire show dedicated to killing a Bigfoot. I am looking forward to watching "Sanding Down Unicorn Horns" or "Shitting Down the Long Neck of Loch Ness".

2. Caprice Coleman vs. Brutal Bob Evans vs. Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Moose vs. Dalton Castle

God hearing Kevin Kelly try to explain Silas Young's gimmick is the worst. "He's in a baaaad mood...and...he's angry...and he thinks people like Dalton Castle are what's WRONG with society." Really? That's what you got? This wasn't that good, but really who was expecting it to be with these participants. I liked some of Castle's cut off spots. Coleman had some nice moments like a weird little moonsault to the floor that Bob and Cheeseburger whiffed on catching. Moose is one of those guys like Uhaa Nation who is a large impressive black man who has improbably soft offense. His little flipping spear looks so super gentle (and really to use that as the finish directly after Mike Bennett used his spear to set up the finish, come on). Highlight was pretty easily Castle hitting his hardway German on Moose, really slooooowly lifting him up and over. Really impressive spot. Cheeseburger continued his run of terrible by being way late for a pinfall break-up, so Sinclair had to stop the count for no reason before the 3. Evans had his feet on the ropes, but Cheeseburger was clearly supposed to break up the pin. He was way late, Sinclair just stopped counting the pin. And it was immediately before the finish. Tough spot for Sinclair to be in, and after he tried pretending like he had seen Evans' feet on the ropes, but he clearly stopped while still looking down. Yuck.

Corino and Kelly are so bad during these Whitmer segments. I don't know what they think they're going for when they do reactions shots, but they're failing. Kelly is sub-Tenay when it comes to expressing realistic outrage, and Corino does some sort of weird fake cry/trying not to laugh face.

3. ACH vs. Bobby Fish

Hey this was fun, and pretty easily the best match on a show with zero competition for that title. ACH's apron kick looked great and his handspring moonsault was crazy, also liked a couple of his kicks to Fish's calf. End got a little sloppy with kicks landing when they were supposed to miss and then subsequently not sold because they were supposed to miss, and things getting overall way too cooperative. But, I like Fish and ACH has some fun athletic spots, and for a short little TV match this was much more of what I was hoping for.

Better show than last week, but it would have to be historically bad for that to not be the case.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 5: Rey Bucanero & Volador Jr. vs Máximo & Terrible in a National Parejas Increible Tournament match

Aired: 2015-03-21
Taped: 2015-03-06 @ Arena México
Rey Bucanero & Volador Jr. vs Máximo & Terrible in a National Parejas Increible Tournament match

I thought about skipping this, and really skipping everything up to the hair match. I had for the title trios after all, but A) the hair match was a bigger main event so I should try to catch some of the build and B) I'm a sucker for the parejas increibles stuff, especially with this line up. The matches aren't conventionally good and if you're watching them in sequence, a whole bunch at once, they're a lot of the same. Thankfully, I'm not, and because of that, I can catch some fun character stuff and not be overwhelmed by crummy tournament lucha.

I mention this pairing because three out of the four guys, being Maximo, Terrible, and yeah, Bucanero, are really solid with their shtick. I like Rey best when he's being a dickish, chickenshit heel. Terrible's sort of a gruff straight man but he's had a thousand matches with Maximo and they do their stuff well together. Maximo is talked about so little, but he does what he does so well. I think part of the problem is that exoticos in the past probably do tower above him, but likewise, he towers above a lot of the tecnico roster. He hits his stuff cleanly, makes things matter within the context of the match, but most of all, is actually over with any crowd he gets in front of for being a good guy (albeit an exotico one) when most of the tecnicos aren't over at all.

So the Leyenda match was already set, putting an odd spin on this. Were it not for that, you'd expect the rudos to care more about who won. As it was, what mattered was getting one over on their upcoming opponents. It was hair match upcoming after all and that's serious business. This started with Volador vs Maximo, with some quick-paced matwork and I actually liked it a lot. It felt more organic and natural than usual for Volador. Some of that was the bits of routine Maximo was tossing in and Volador having to respond to them in a way that he doesn't usually have to. I liked it though. It's always a bit of a novelty, whether in a match like this or in a cibernetico to see tecnico vs tecnico and both this, and when they did it again later in the match, was fun.

Of course, when Terrible and Bucanero faced off, they refused to wrestle and immediately attacked the tecnicos, and in this, both here, and later in the match when they teased it again but instead hugged, I thought that the match very much served its purpose in building to the apuestas main event at the bigger show. Almost every other match I've seen like this eventually has the rudos break down and dissent. This didn't and their solidarity was very welcome. I'm not going to say it put into question the result of the Leyenda match, because that was never in question, but if CMLL's booking was better (or existent) in general, it might well have, just through the ringwork alone. In fact, the back half of the match had Terrible and Bucanero trying to give each other the win with the partners breaking it up, like so:

including a very funny moment of Rey hitting a foul and then dropping down himself so that he could let Terrible pin him.

Shortly thereafter, after a Commandante leg pull, Rey interfered again, distracting Volador and letting Terrible pick up the win. I thought this was a bit of a mess, but really quite fun given expectations, and it set up the rudos as being absolutely on the same page for their upcoming match, which was a worthwhile idea on paper at least.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 34: Gold and Guerreros Review

1. Delavar Daivari vs. Texano

ER: These two always manage to do some of the absolute worst phone booth fighting that I've seen. Daivari especially just throws the most mournful strikes. Things get a little better with the knee work portions, as I liked Daivari's repeated dropkicks with Texano tied up in the ropes. But it's all a fairly big waste of time as Texano just brushes it off to do a bunch of moves that involve lifting with the legs. Daivari is dead in the water as a character and even worse as a worker, and Texano going over even with Ryck's interference should hopefully spell the end of him in LU.

PAS: I liked some of the chops and Texano's powerbomb but otherwise this was a big batch of nothing. This feud started out with some real promise and ended like a wet fart.

2. Hernandez vs. Drago

ER: Weird running this the week immediately following Drago's brutal beatdown from Muertes. I mean he really got the piss kicked out of him, and then he's just back to normal and getting revenge on Hernandez the next week? They tape this shit months in advance, just bump the match back a week. He certainly didn't work the match any differently than he would normally work. I'm not expecting him to do Kikuchi levels of selling long term damage, but Hernandez jumped him last week, causing him to take a nasty beating from Muertes, and here he is like nothing happened. Pretty poor. He looked really good, his tornillo was incredible, but within context this was all just dumb. Hernandez really does not hold back on him here though, with the apron powerbomb really smarting and then then cool spot with him stealing a belt from a ringside fan and whipping/choking Drago to DQ. I really dug the match in a vacuum, but within story it was foolish.

PAS: I don't have a huge problem with Drago not selling for a week like Eric, it's wrestling, you usually don't see long term weekly selling. Match itself is clearly just setting up the fans strap match, and I think they did a nice job making me want to see that. Hernandez does a nice job as a smarmy prick, and I want to see a bunch of fans strap the shit out of him

3. Marty The Moth Martinez vs. Alberto El Patron

ER: This was exactly what it should have been. Moth has got kind of a surprising amount of offense in his other matches, but really AeP needed to steamroll him here and I'm glad they let it happen. And then he follows it up with arguably his best ever promo (his promo work in LU has really been high end). I mean this was really one of the best wrestling promos you will hear. It was simple, well worded, got over his motivations perfectly, had nice little touches ("Juanito Mundo"), really just all you would want out of a pro wrestling promo. Awesome stuff.

PAS: Yeah this was an asswhooping. I am surprised they used Martinez who they seem to be pushing as the squashee rather then Vinny Massaro or Famous B, but it does make Alberto looking like a bad motherfucker that he cleaned a semi-pushed guy out that quick.

4. No DQ: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Prince Puma

ER: Well this wasn't much. Chavo looked like he hyperextended his knee pretty early in the match, then we had The Crew and Texano coming in to essentially work their own match for the next couple minutes, leading to the 630. Seemed like this could have been edited down, not sure. If the knee injury was not planned it certainly looked legit.

PAS: It was a bummer Chavo got hurt as this was building to kind of cool match, and Chavo hurting himself kind of blew any future angle with Texano. Mess of a match, and kind of weak sauce show.

ER: The closing segment with Chavo and Blue Demon was bittersweet, as I actually really really loved it. Demon actually came off like a badass, had some nice lines ("I don't attack people who are hurt...I'm not like you"), Chavo got to laugh him off and call him a has been, Demon lifted him up in the air with a choke like he was fucking Darth Vader. Loved all of this. Buuuuuuuuuuut it means that there is still a Chavo vs. Demon feud. It means Demon is still here. It means we have to see more Demon in the ring, still vs. Chavo. This promotion does a good job of getting me psyched to see things that are certainly going to be horrible.

PAS: I dug it too, it isn't setting up a Chavo v. Demon feud, it is clearly setting up Demon v. Texano as Chavo was using mind games with Demon to get him riled up, which is why Chavo was smiling. I liked Demon saying "I am a good man" like every shades of grey protagonist in a cable drama. Low Winter Sun would have been a lot more watchable if all the cops were wearing lucha masks.


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2015 Indy Wrestling That Caught Our Eye(s)

Iceberg & The Highwaymen v. Tama Tonga/Luke Gallows/Meng SFCW 4/11

PAS: This was a falls count anywhere match in Gallows GA indy fed with the Bullet Club as hometown heroes. This was a handheld so the main problem was that he could only focus on one match up at a time, so you end up thinking "This Gallows v. Jake Davis punch off is great, but I want to see Meng and Iceberg hit each other with chairs."  Very simple southern brawl, where guys wander around and throw each other into walls and banks of chairs. Meng makes a totally awesome "Walking Tall" Bill Watts, as you totally believe he is still by far the toughest guy out there. Nothing mind blowing, but the kind of out there fun match which this list is made to discover

ER: I know what Phil's saying, you see something fun happening but somewhere off camera you hear a nasty CRASH and the sound of scattering chairs. It felt like Homer getting pulled inside during the big Mafia/Yakuza showdown and just listening to what he's missing. I like weird indies, and this had an odd feel to it. It's in a large gymnasium that looks more like a bathhouse or mausoleum, and if you look the entire front rows are made up of children under the age of 7. All the adults are in the bleachers, and it's all tiny children lining the ring. Tiny children, lining the ring, for a falls count anywhere match featuring Meng. This was short and sweet, Meng looked great for a guy near 60. Dished one of the prettiest piledrivers I've seen this side of Lawler, and could still hit a mean Kick of Fear. Gallows was a fun guy to follow though it's a shame we didn't see more Tonga. Iceberg is still a guy I dig (who I'm surprised is still going) and I love little moments like him going up into the crowd and seeing people scatter. God bless tapers man, so happy little tiny moments like this pop up amongst the YouTube morass.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 4: Volador Jr. vs Último Guerrero

Aired: 2015-02-28
Taped: 2015-02-24 @ Arena México
Volador Jr. vs Último Guerrero

This was an interesting match with a few wrinkles you don't usually see in an Ultimo Guerrero singles, but that was ultimately flawed. I think it was a fairly good showing for both wrestlers, despite the flaws, especially compared to the singles with Bucanero, which was more balls to the wall action but ended up meaning a lot less than this did.

The biggest problem with the match was the end of the primera. Volador was going over. Because Volador was going over (and I'd assume he was going over to help build him up for his Leyenda main event, but it's CMLL so who the hell knows) and Ultimo Guerrero is a very savvy wrestler who understands how to keep his heat, sometimes to the detriment of matches,
there had to be some BS. Here the BS came in the form of UG (who had carried the whole caida after taking an early advantage) getting DQ'd at the end of the primera for stomping repeatedly in the corner. Now, the stomps looked good, but the camera didn't catch the ref admonishing Guerrero and frankly there just wasn't enough of them, so it all came off as very disjointed. The moment came after the stomps as well, as he was going for the Senton de la Muerte in the corner and ended up hanging, upside-down, in limbo, as the ref pulled Volador out of the fire to raise his hand.

The moment was redeemed immediately thereafter, at least to an extent, as UG went right back for the move again to start the segunda. That's the sort of clever usage of the two out of three falls format you don't see a lot and I would have actually, for once, been happy if the segunda pinfall happened immediately like that. It sort of reminded me of the Rick Rude ironman match where he hit a top rope move, drawing a DQ in Watts' WCW, only to immediately get a pinfall thanks to the move that had gotten him DQ'd. This wasn't quite the same, but I still thought it was interesting. In fact, I would have expected an immediate pin in a UG singles match, which are generally known for short segundas. Here, they went around with it a bit, staging the sort of comeback that's only possible in a match where the rudo is DQ'd in the primera but maintains the advantage. It was sudden, with a whip reversal and a couple of superkicks, but I can let it go as UG seemed to be playing with him too much.

The finish leads me to the second problem with the match. There was something like five to seven ducked clotheslines. It went from being frustrating, to feeling clever (at this moment, actually, as Volador ducks one, maybe the third or fourth in the match at this point, but Guerrero is ready for him, does a pick up/drop down and locks in a sub), to being way over the top. I don't get how two guys who are so experienced couldn't figure out more ways to transition from one spot to the next. The third problem would be that there was just too much jumping up in the tercera. Volador was the main culprit. He went from laying to leaping to the top rope to counter maybe three times and that was probably two too many. It was a good attempt at selling out of him but he shot himself in the foot in the name of getting stuff in and really, you can't do that against Ultimo Guerrero or you start to babyface him a bit.

I thought Guerrero looked good in general. He really portrays himself as a power wrestler but not an outright gimmicky one in a way that's made him stand out over the years. I think that, the bandit attitude (and yeah, the cool mask), were what kept him as a top level player for so long. He feels like he belongs in ways a guy like Jon Anderson or Marco or even Thunder never do but he really is able to be distinct in what he does. The problem is that he can be lazy, either in execution or, more often, in design.

And then sometimes he can do something like this (or change his usual segunda structure around) and surprise you:

I wish the finish had been a little hotter. The jumping up hurt it and it came on yet another ducked CL. All in all, this was one of the stronger Guerrero singles performances I've seen in the last few years and Volador matched up against him better than he had Bucenaro a month previous.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

15. Tomoaki Honma v. Katsuyori Shibata NJPW 8/3

ER: So, so, so so great! I loved every second of this one. Honma is just the best and really gets that underdog mentality over to an insane degree. Here he got just as much offense as Shibata, but always came across as the underdog. And it's not like he kept lucking into his offense, he's just really great at conveying his character. Shibata was great here too as a more skilled, cold asskicker who is not necessarily underestimating Honma, but at the same time almost in disbelief that he is having *this* much trouble with him. The crowd is just so into Honma here and it's incredibly infectious. I can't remember an underdog character I get this invested in, get this genuinely excited about the outcomes of his matches. Honma just commits to everything, and it makes all the difference. His shots hit big, and they miss bigger. His headbutt flying straight into Shibata's boots was heartbreaking; his hooked legs and high cradles are the most hope-filled pinfalls possible. Shibata hits tons of nasty shots in this, and his elbows with a dropkick follow up in the corner was just brutal. But it was key that he did not view Honma as a joke, and he most definitely made Honma look like a competitor here. He sold a Honma slap like Kawada taking the nastiest Misawa elbow, actually showed struggle when kicking out of Honma's high cradles. And I could have sworn he hesitated just a moment before nailing Honma with the match-ending Penalty Kick. I really did love every second of this. One of my absolute favorite matches of the year.

PAS: Yeah this was really fun, it is about the best possible version of a New Japan forearm exchange match. Both guys have established characters and hierarchies, so it isn't just two even guys 50/50ing it, it is a sprint so it doesn't out stay it's welcome, there is selling, it is just two guys standing there and making faces and both guys lay it in which distinguishes it from what ever Okada and Tanahashi are trying to do. Homna is awesome here, although he does the same kind of thing in every match which can wear a bit thin, still this is about the best Homna formula match I have seen. Loved his in ring tope to take control, and him trying to go all out for big moves and failing. Meanwhile Shibata was really good as the overdog, kicking his ass convincingly, and still portraying those moments of doubt and fear.


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Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV 7/24/15 Review

1. Tomoaki Honma vs. Katsuyori Shibata (8/3/14)

So, so, so so great! I loved every second of this one. Honma is just the best and really gets that underdog mentality over to an insane degree. Here he got just as much offense as Shibata, but always came across as the underdog. And it's not like he kept lucking into his offense, he's just really great at conveying his character. Shibata was great here too as a more skilled, cold asskicker who is not necessarily underestimating Honma, but at the same time almost in disbelief that he is having *this* much trouble with him. The crowd is just so into Honma here and it's incredibly infectious. I can't remember an underdog character I get this invested in, get this genuinely excited about the outcomes of his matches. Honma just commits to everything, and it makes all the difference. His shots hit big, and they miss bigger. His headbutt flying straight into Shibata's boots was heartbreaking; his hooked legs and high cradles are the most hope-filled pinfalls possible. Shibata hits tons of nasty shots in this, and his elbows with a dropkick follow up in the corner was just brutal. But it was key that he did not view Honma as a joke, and he most definitely made Honma look like a competitor here. He sold a Honma slap like Kawada taking the nastiest Misawa elbow, actually showed struggle when kicking out of Honma's high cradles. And I could have sworn he hesitated just a moment before nailing Honma with the match-ending Penalty Kick. I really did love every second of this. One of my absolute favorite matches of the year.

2. Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (8/3/14)

Hey this was better than I expected. I don't love either man, but Yujiro was pretty good here. I really liked his delay german, but then did not like how slowly and feebly he fell into the corner after a Okada dropkick. With these guys it seems like for everything they do that I like, they do something not long after that I dislike. Rainmaker looked good because Yujiro flew into it gloriously, but right before that he holds a tombstone too long which only makes it clear that Yujiro's head came nowhere close to the mat. These two give, and they immediately take away. But, it was better than I expected, and was overall perfectly acceptable televised pro wrestling.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (8/3/14)

This was pretty much the match I was expecting, with fine execution and problematic layout. Tanahashi talks about his injured neck before the match and how that will affect him and how he'll have to change his style, but nothing about the way he worked this match made it seem like he was changing up his style in the least. It's like those horrible band interviews where they're talking about recording their new record, and how they've been listening to a lot of Neu and Harmonia and Phil Manzanera guitar patterns, and how they're really getting influenced by these sounds....and then the album comes out and it's the same trash they've released on their previous two records. I mean Tanahashi did not do one thing differently. I hate that.

Nakamura seemed a bit hesitant in spots, and Tanahashi is clunky about getting into position for things at times. Sometimes he's just sitting there, arms at sides, waiting to be kicked. I will give him credit for always leaning face first into Nakamura's mean knees and kicks, so there's that. Finish run was pretty bad with a rote forearm exchange, then Nakamura hitting a nasty Bom Ba Ye that looked match finishing, but Tanahashi was up doing his moves just seconds later. That was a repeat trend. This was real disappointing.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 7/22/15 Review

Episode 200 is a pretty special accomplishment no matter the program. Looks like we're going to look back on some very special clips to remind us of all the magic we've experienced over these 200 weeks.

Hanson vs. Styles seemed pretty fun from the highlights. I really liked the logic behind the Styles Clash set up, with Hanson up top and Styles hitting the Pele kick, then being able to grab Hanson in position from the top rope.

But they also show some real weird highlight clips to celebrate a 200th episode. They showed a Lance Storm singles match! Was Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett a real highlight of the previous 4 years of television? That's...terrifying. Also, two ReDRagon matches. And a Donovan Dijak singles match. Those all seem like weird things to show as highlights of your prior 200 episodes. I know these are all guys still affiliated with the promotion, I get that. But...this did not make it look like I missed a whole lot by not watching the first 195 episodes of ROH TV. 200 episodes is clearly something worth celebrating, so it's just odd that they didn't actually do anything to celebrate it at all.

1. House of Truth (Jay Lethal, Donovan Dijak, J. Diesel & Truth Martini) vs. The Briscoes, Roderick Strong & ODB

"A match that could main event any building in the world"~Kevin Kelly

Yep. I mean, I guess it technically *could* main event any building in the world. He did not use any sort of "and also make money and/or be successful" qualifier.

And this match really was not good for the time allotted. Martini could have stolen any Jimmy Hart schtick to stooge while being stuck in a match, but really he brought nothing to the table. It shouldn't be a shock that Truth Martini brought nothing to an appearance, but this should have been a shining moment. How easy is it to be the puny manager forced into a match? You've seen all these spots a million times and they always work, but he just does nothing. He's like any other guy in a multi man, he's just not good and can't actually wrestle. Major missed opportunity. Roderick Strong looked really great in this, so things weren't a total waste. I always love seeing Briscoes but they were just kind of killing time here. We get each guy hitting a flip dive and Mark crashing into the guardrail, and then the match climaxes with House of Truth all surrounding ODB and awkwardly implying some sort of weird rape vibe as they all lick their lips and high five. Then she just hits really piss poor forearms to everybody's chest and *spoiler alert* she doesn't actually get raped on TV guys! Man most of this match stunk.

This was pretty easily the worst episode of ROH I've seen on Destination America. I'm sure there have been worse over 199 other episodes, but man this clunked.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 3: Euforia, Niebla Roja, Último Guerrero © vs Mistico, Valiente, Volador Jr. for the CMLL World Trios Championship

Aired: 2015-02-21
Taped: 2015-02-13 @ Arena México
Euforia, Niebla Roja, Último Guerrero © vs Mistico, Valiente, Volador Jr. for the CMLL World Trios Championship

This was a tough one. Normally, I'd have watched the 2-3 matches in the build to this one and really get a sense of things. I just don't want to spend a month watching these matches though. I have other things to watch. I half thought I'd do a Kraneo trios today and then two of the matches to set this up but that'd mean a second week of things before I even got to this. I'll just for the highlights instead.

This was a trios title match with the new, assumedly quite marketable Sky Team getting the big push. Granted, I don't get why they were all in Ingobernables black. That sort of defeated the purpose of appealing to kids. Los Guerreros Laguernos had them since the previous March (almost a year) and had beaten Valiente and Mistico (along with Mascara Dorada) to get them. Volador, Jr. had actually never held them before. I'm not saying that the outcome was really not a big question coming in, but it sort of wasn't. That said, this match had a ton of time, and for the most part was something I'd go so far as to call borderline great.

The primera started with Guerrero vs Valiente and they did a really strong job setting the mood of a title match. There was a real sense of feeling out here, as well as struggle, and frankly, I was surprised. I know UG's had some good indy showings in the last year when it came to this sort of thing, but it's some of the best title match primera caida work I've seen out of him. I liked Volador vs Euforia less, with Volador putting him in position more and having more of a sense of moving on to the next spot, which I didn't get nearly as much with the other pairings. They ran through said pairings before UG swarmed and by doing so and giving things time, it all felt weighty. That's so, so important in a title match and CMLL Gets it wrong more often than they get it right (Though I feel they've been better about it lately. That might just be a selection of what I've watched though). It ended with this silly but still awesome UG spot (And I'm stealing cubs' gif on this one because I actually found his review of this:

Again the segunda got just enough time to go over the line between not mattering and mattering and it was hugely appreciated. Too many of these modern title matches have a flash pin out of nowhere after thirty-five seconds to even things. This had a real comeback. It meandered for a moment but got me back too. There were two GDI alley oops first including a twisting one on the floor and then the comeback came with a dodge after a whip and the sky team diving (Valiente's fireplug tope, Mistico's huge shooting star press, and then Volador finishing things up). They meandered back into the ring after that, but it was to hit the superkick, backcracker, Valiente Special combo which really worked for me once I realized what they were going for. Could have used another minute but that's almost always the case.

They reset with a ton of time left in the match for the tercera so I was a little worried but they delivered. I'd call Ultimo Guerrero both the star and the biggest perpetrator of the tercera as he hit some great power stuff, had an awesome sense of weariness in his selling, and was generally in the right place at the right time all the time, including an amazingly timed corner knee out bump to help set up the finishing stretch, but he also fought against the odds a little too much for a rudo and took just a bit too much which meant that I was inclined to cheer for him, not the response you want in a match that's there to set up your tecnico superstars.

Volador hit his stuff and was a cog in this high spot machine. My only real complaint about his work here past him draging down the primera matwork a bit was that he, more than anyone, recovered too soon to get the next spot in. Usually that's not a huge issue in a trios match because, by its nature, guys sell and take a breather so that the next person could hit a spot, but he took some crazy, crazy things and recovered way too soon. Maybe it's because I'm watching him with a closer eye, but he seemed the one to do it the most. There were a few two-count kickouts that I wish had been broken up by a partner, but more often than not, they did that, protecting everyone's moves while still maintaining a hugely exciting bunch of nearfalls.

If you haven't seen this one yet and like high-octane title matches, you should go out of your way for it.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 2: Máximo, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Rey Bucanero, Terrible, Último Guerrero

Aired: 2015-01-31
Taped 2015-01-23 @ Arena México
Máximo, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Rey Bucanero, Terrible, Último Guerrero

I realize I'm taking some heat for Monday's match, but I'm going to keep going. There is a method to this. I'm moving chronologically and I thought the first singles match of the year we have posted online with a luchador isn't a bad way to start an examination of his work. I plan on hitting a number of matches, more than ten. The idea that you would just look at the most heavily regarded matches of a wrestler in order to understand how good he was in a certain year is completely and utterly against the way I look at wrestling. You look at a broad spectrum and try to get a total picture. I'll watch as many singles matches as I can. On the docket through his March work is this trios, the tag title trios, a singles match with Ultimo Guerrero, the Parejas Increibles finals, another trios vs Casas and Cavernario, and then the hair match. Then I'll see what we have online after that.

In general, I'm going to make sure to find things that interest me as I move chronologically. A 2015 GdI reunion interests me. It happens, not often, but it happens. Really, more often than not they're on opposite sides but sometimes Bucanero and Guerrero do team together. This is one of those times.

I have another theory about Volador, and it's that he's a lot more functional in trios than he is in singles matches. That's true with almost anyone though (Valiente is a great example of that). Guys who are good at hitting their stuff, getting beat upon, and having spectacular (if emotionally wooden) comebacks, are better off in trios than in singles matches. Other people can carry the other things. The only problem is if they're the focus.

Anyway, this delivered what I wanted it to, a GdI nostalgia fest. UG ambushed Mistico on the way out, and that I didn't mind in the least because after seeing that start to a match a thousand times in 2013-2014, I just haven't seen it that often lately. When you only see it once in a while, it's fine. From there Guerrero whipped Mistico with his jacket, Maximo got beat on in the corner, and Volador got thrashed on the ramp. This led to the GdI special body splash and while they didn't do the huddle, at least Rey got to do his repeated arm thing. This led to a triple corner attack ending with the Senton de la Muerte and a pretty hilarious triple submission (watch Volador just give his limbs up like usual) and as three minute beatdown opening falls go this was about as enjoyable as it gets and really brought back what made GdI so effective in that scenario.

The segunda wasn't quite as much beatdown as I would have liked but the comeback had zip to it, and it had some solid moments. My absolute favorite was Rey Bucanero holding Maximo down and taunting his partners so Maximo couldn't tag. You rarely get little face-in-peril moments like that in Mexico but it's the sort of attitude that Bucanero brings to the table when he's at his very best. Terrible kissed his hand, touched Maximo's face, and punched him which is a sign that they've worked together a thousand times, but it was also welcome. UG even went after Mistico's mask a bit. Eventually though he missed a corner charge, basically due to his own hubris, and then ate a superkick and a rana and the tecnicos just unloaded, culmanating with a flying top rope Maximo rana, doubel topes, and the Mistica on UG. Good stuff, and even better, Kemonito got to terrorize UG between caidas (with Maximo almost kissing him too).

They reset for the tercera, and we got a lot of rope running and cutoffs. I like how Terrible portrays a bully when he has the advantage and a coward when he does. It's solid stuff. There was a lot of tecnico showcase here but it was perfectly fine and really quite enjoyable given the setting. The rudos were all great bases for it including eating double flip dives towards the end. The biggest problem I had with the finish was that the tecnicos got a pinfall on a non-captain but it wasn't evened up, so it meant that the last exchange, Maximo vs Terrible was really obvious. It all would have been better if Terrible was the captain since then there'd be some question on the finish. Regardless, he ate MAximo's top rope armdrag for the pin.

When I say "I could watch fun, throwaway trios like this all day," I mean a match like this. It was no match of the year contender but everyone did what they were supposed to and it was good, fun candy, with high flying tecnicos and underhanded, cruel rudos. This is the sort of match that Volador looks his best in.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 33: Death vs. The Dragon Review

ER: Kinda lost a little interest in LU for a couple weeks, got a little burnt out. That episode with Sexy Star vs. Pentagon kinda took a bit out of me, made me more interested in checking out other things for a few weeks. So naturally, Sexy Star is in the first fucking match when I decide to dive back in. Super Fly is good in the pre-match interview, talking about how he wanted Pentagon to break her arm, to feel the pain that he felt, but then Vampiro had to get into the ring and stop him.

1. Sexy Star vs. Super Fly

ER: And this was not good. Super Fly worked pillowy soft gentle on Sexy Star, really pulling back on every single thing he did. Even the end powerbomb looked like he was gently setting down an antique nightstand while helping his mom move. Every elbow drop, senton, thigh slap kick, all of it looked like fake fighting John Cena would do when visiting a Make-a-Wish kid with Brittle Bone Disease. Sexy Star for her part looked predictably garbage. She fell way short on several of her moves, requiring Super Fly to run towards her to catch the move. I don't know how he managed to save one of her top rope armdrags. She was going to land nowhere near him, and he managed to sprint ahead, catch her arm and believably take an armdrag. He worked a miracle right there. So yes, we get Sexy Star getting handled like a delicate Faberge egg, and Fly having to push the boundaries of believability just to take any of her offense. You know, it was a reallll Sexy Star match!

PAS: I liked Super Fly's outside of the ring bump, he is a pretty bland guy, but a solid wrestler. Would have been a good guy to throw under the Disciple of Death gimmick rather then the guys they are using. Still Sexy Star is atrocious and this was by far her longest match and worse performance. She would be a bottom five WWE diva, and there are tons better luchadoras who could have this gimmick.

ER: So Pentagon is going full force into a feud with tubby Vampiro. Super Fly just beat Sexy Star fairly easy. Pentagon needed Fly's help to beat her. Now he's going to feud with a guy who can barely move. I'm not loving the direction for Pentagon right here, especially considering where he was just 4-6 episodes ago.

2. Aerostar vs. Cage vs. The Mack vs. Marty the Moth

ER: Those medallions reallllly look like the Legends of the Hidden Temple medallions. If they bring in some Temple guards to lurk in the shadows, I'd go full thumbs up. I'm not even asking for Olmec here. Just give me some Temple guards jumping out and scaring kids. This fed really knows how to work satisfying 4 way matches, and this was no different. Even with The Moth's brand of "comedy" and some lesser stuff from Cage, this still easily worked. Mack had maybe his best LU showing yet, every single thing he did looked awesome. His strikes put Cage's to shame, his bumping was great, all of his impressive spots looked impressive. I mean dear lord that overheard belly to belly he gave Cage on the apron was just crazy for both men to pull off. Willie Mack is like the perfect 4 way spotfest worker. He is truly the ideal LU guy. Aerostar hit some nice stuff including a wild triple jump flip dive. Moth almost took a header on his dive and I guess takes a beating okay. I dunno. His brand of comedy was not really what I was looking for from LU.

PAS: I really liked this, and didn't even mind the Moth as much as Eric did, I thought his dive was pretty cool, and I dig his sleazeball comedy, he is less Colt Cabana then John Tatum. The Mack was incredible here and I am really looking forward to his big Cage match as those guys clearly have worked each other a ton, and are going to go crazy on a big stage. Cage is a hit or miss dude with me usually, but he was pretty dope here, I loved him doing curls with Aeorstar before chucking him over the top.

ER: My god. The lightning in that segment. Lightning which grows slow moving wrestlers with ABS. That happened. Catrina is good in these kind of segments, though it feels like if I were an acting coach I would regularly be telling her "you're acting through your nostrils too much. Less nostrils."

PAS: It was pretty dumb, I hated Papa Shango, and I don't like this either.

3. Drago vs. Mil Muertes

ER: Hernandez jumps Drago before the bell and looks really vicious doing so. Really got over how weak Drago was going to be going into the match against Muertes. Hernandez' hammer blow to the back looked especially brutal. So Drago is weakened for the match, and because of that the match was merely decent. It was certainly not bad. Muertes looked like a monster, hitting a ridiculously awesome spear/double leg, tossing Drago into chairs and bouncing chairs off his body, nasty powerbomb onto the announcer table, etc. They got a little crossed up in the middle and were doing some awkward walking around to get into proper position, but they eventually got nicely back on track. I dug Muertes being the one to roll through Drago's (up until now) sure thing victory roll-up, and his blows to Drago's back after rolling through looked tough. Good for the goal it set out to do, and I'm definitely down for seeing Muertes/Puma.

PAS: This was an extended squash, but Murtes is really great at these squashes where a guy gets in a couple of big hope spots before getting murked. There was a little awkwardness, but the violence of it totally made up for it. The stuff with the chairs was next level awesome, all the broken wood and shards made it look like an earthquake hit the set.

ER: At least the show got the shit out of the way early, but my oh my was that Sexy Star match shit. Easily a contender for worst match in LU history. There have maybe been shorter matches that were more offensive, but this was given a little time and my god did she just look so horrible. But we got that out of the way early, and the rest of the show was a keeper.

PAS: 2 out of 3 ain't bad at all, and both of the good matches were very good



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CMLL Worth Watching 5/10/15 & 6/19/15

Comandante Pierroth, Tiger & Sagrado vs. Fuego, The Panther & Blue Panther Jr. (5/10/15)

Man I dug this. Pierroth has been one of my favorite CMLL guys this year, real high energy ass kicker who always wings nasty clubbing shots, stomps guys into oblivion, jumps all over them while stomping them, breaks out some nice slams, etc. He's like a throwback Dinamita. As in, if you've been missing Mascara Ano 2000, Cien Caras or Universo 2000 on your TV (and I have been), Pierroth has been an oddly, unexpectedly great fill-in this year. Sagrado as a rudo is the only worthwhile stuff he has done in his entire career. This guy was just a clueless tecnico, always tripping over himself, and now suddenly he looks capable, has nice presence, takes a tope like a man (god did Panther just snap Sagrado's back over the barrier on a tope) and hits a mean piledriver to end the primera (say aren't those things sorta illegal down there?). BP Jr. is pretty green and can't really work long sequences, but he hits a nice dive in the tercera, and the greenness of BP's kids works to the match's advantage, as the segunda has a satisfying finish with the rudos getting cocky, chasing BP Jr. and Fuego up the ramp, allowing Panther to get a surprise roll up on Pierroth as he roots on his goons. Tiger sold the loss great, like he could not believe they lost even one fall to these wimps. Real satisfying story here, and the work fit the match nicely.

Blue Panther, Maximo & Marco Corleone vs. Euforia, Niebla Roja & Gran Guerrero (5/10/15)

You've probably seen some combination of this trios a dozen times, but sometimes guys show up a bit more spirited than other times, and this was one of those times. I always love Panther but spirited Panther is just the best. Here he works a nice long opening mat sequence with GG, which was arguably the most interesting thing GG has ever been involved in. Panther has a million reversals and the way he rolls through into various grapevines and leverage moves always leaves me slack-jawed. We don't get any dives in this, and the falls go quick, but the tecnicos amusingly must have decided before the match to see who could throw the nicest/neatest arm drag. Panther throws more in this match than I've seen him in years, including one where he gets tilt-a-whirled by Roja into performing an upside down arm drag on Euforia; Maximo throws some nice rolling ones too, one springing high off the top rope and another rolling over Roja's back. Even Marco throws a shockingly good one while rolling over Euforia's back. Marco's punches have been looking kinda lackluster this year, and here he breaks out some nice ones as he pinballs his fists back and forth between Roja and Euforia. Kind of a one sided affair for the tecnicos, but everybody busted ass and it's stunning to see Panther so spry at 54.

Stuka Jr., Angel de Oro & Super Porky vs. Barbaro Cavernario, Felino & Okumura (6/19/15)

So I'm not sure this is very good, but "worth watching" and "very good" are two different things, and I thought this was worth watching, more for its parts than its sum. Firstly, Porky takes FOUR bumps in the primera. This feels noteworthy to me. Porky is a guy who goes to great lengths to avoid bumping. Yet here he's splatting all over the mat for shoulderblocks and lariats. Think of the effort it takes him to stand up from a back bump!!! And here he does it 4 times in about 40 seconds. I admittedly starting writing this up right after witnessing that. I had made up my mind to immediately include it in a "worth watching" list. Beyond that we got one of the better Oro performances, as he hits a couple very impressive flying spots, and then spikes himself on an Okumura apron DDT. We get a Kemonito apron splash, Porky doing a seated senton to the rudos on the rampway, Felino not acting like current Felino (including getting heat from starting the match wearing his mask and jawing with the Arena Mexico old people) and Stuka Jr. doing his awesome bullet splash. It's like 8 minutes of your life, and it will bring you joy.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 1: Volador Jr. vs Rey Bucanero

Aired: 2015-01-10
Taped: 2015-01-06 @ Arena México
Volador Jr. vs Rey Bucanero

Volador's been getting a lot of hype this year. A lot. People are bandying around the idea of "Wrestler of the Year" and I am hugely dubious. I'm not going to go out and say he's the babyface Miz of CMLL, because that might be going a bit too far, but he is not a wrestler I like much. He's technically proficient, in that he can hit his stuff quickly and well, but there's never much purpose or meaning behind it. He's a guy who tends to get a lot in, to have action-packed matches where the moves are competent and well-executed, but matches that lack soul. Lucha is about the anticipation, the build up and the payoff, and he's terrible at portraying the emotion behind what he's doing. He's okay at taking a beating but not okay at making that beating matter in the grand scheme of a match.

But, people have been high on him this year and maybe there's something to that. Sometimes things just click. Maybe they have here. I'm going to watch some things, selected. I'm not going to watch everything in 2015, only things that interest me, and I'll tap out when I decided I had enough of him. This was a good place to start since it was so early into the year and a singles match.

He started the year teaming with Maximo against Rey Bucanero and Terrible. Rey was coming off of a sort of inexplicable cage match hair win over Felino so it made sense that he was going to drop a hair match of his own, and he did in March, so there's a decent amount of this pairing for the first few months of the year. Rey's a sentimental favorite of mine, even if I think he's fairly flawed as a luchador. I probably like him more in 2015, older and broken down, than I do in the 2001-2002 matches I'd been watching. He's more seasoned now and tends to get the point behind things better. It's just that if you put him against the wrong opponent, you get a match like this. Regardless, he had Bullet club pants and Sting's facepaint and Zacarias in an awesome turban thing, so those were all pluses, I suppose.

The match itself was of a certain sort. Rey ambushed Volador on the way out. The next few minutes were a beatdown with Volador getting a blip 'rana pin to end a short primera but not actually gaining the advantage and Rey undoing the turnbuckle and slamming Volador's head into it, distracting Tirantes long enough for him to hit a pile-driver to end a short segunda. It's modern CMLL stuff but a bit more heated and meaningful than usual. The pile-driver actually had the crowd sort of pissed, for instance, and they could have built the start of the tercera into something worthwhile. Volador could have really come back and instilled some emotion into the match.

Of course, that's not what they did. Rey pretty lamely put his head down, ate a kick, and the first of far too many superkicks in the match, and they pulled a reset. Volador followed it with a few dives, which in and of itself, would be ok. I've seen matches where the tecnico uses the dives to turn the tide. They just seemed to be there for show here. There wasn't really any selling. Rey was right back in the ring hitting moves. That'd be the story of the rest of the match. They didn't really sell anything, not even in that "you hit a move and then we both lay down for a while" sort of way. They just rushed on to the next spot.

Some of he spots were good. I liked Rey's multiple reverse headlock backbreaker/flipped facebuster thing. Volador hit his backcracker. There was a nice but empty moonsault to the outside from the top by Volador. Rey hit a fisherman's neckbreaker and then a splash from the top. Volador kicked his legs out on the top and then hit this massive top rope rana. Etc. Some of it wasn't so good, like Rey leaping from the apron to do god knows what (a double axe handle?) and eating a superkick in a hugely contrived spot. More was good than bad but the problem was, nothing mattered. Instead of selling anything or showing the cumulative damage, they'd go back to trying to hype the crowd or just on to the next move. I know this wasn't a heavily pushed for match or anything, but I have a real feeling it's going to be endemic of what I'm going to see in watching 2015 Volador. Good action but frustrating fluff.

The top rope Rana was really the signal that things were over. It was big enough that it took Zacarias to charge in to save things. I was probably too excited by that. He even hit his 619 after breaking up the pin, but a bit of miscommunication later (Rey dropkicked the poor parrot), Volador hit another backcracker for the win. By my metrics (which are probably not your own) I didn't really see any sign here that Volador was a good wrestler, let alone the best of the year. But I shall watch on.


Reaction to the piledriver/pin in the segunda:

Zacarias' reaction:

And this guy's reaction too:

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

WWE Battleground 2015 Live(ish) Blog

ER: So even if the shows aren't always good, the live blogs are always fun. They break me out of my usual writing style of watching something and then writing about it from memory, more thoughts as the show is happening and I haven't had time to process things fully. So in that regard even a bleh show can be fun for me. I truthfully have watched minimal WWE TV since the last PPV. There is a lot of stuff I've missed, and I don't really know current storylines. I'm sure some video packages will catch me up, and if there's any WWE TV matches that people think are MOTY worthy, tell me in the comments so I know to search for them.

1. R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett

ER: Man cutting to commercials during the throwaway pre-show match is LAME. What is not lame, but hilarious, is JBL casually talking about T.I. and Yelawolf like these are people who he just knows. This probably got more time than any other pre-show match in the last year, and boy did they not fill it in very interesting ways. Things happened, Barrett wins, we learn little about life, somewhat about ourselves. I learn that I still find it necessary to watch pre-show matches. Does Michael Cole ever sound less genuine than when he is talking about somebody "having fun"? Whenever he talks about how much fun somebody is having he sounds like a man who has never experienced a day of fun in his life.

2. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

PAS: Pretty good match which ran a bit long. Watched this with my wife and her main comment was that they had too many kick outs.  Which was accurate, this match could have used an editor to clip out two or three minutes in the middle. It is more fun to watch Orton matches in St. Louis where people give a shit about him, and I am a Sheamus fan, if a wrestler takes a beating and gives one I will forgive a lot of sins. RKO out of nowhere was a little boring, as he can hit it out of cooler places and in cooler ways.

ER: Orton is a guy who always makes me groan when I see I'm about to watch a Randy Orton match, but then it seems like I usually like his PPV matches. Yet I still end up dreading Orton PPV matches. I can't explain it. This takes a while to get rolling, gets good around the 8 minute mark, and then kinda gets uninteresting again. My interest grew when Sheamus took his great Cassandro bump, and from there bumped all over for Orton's stuff and made it look legit. Nice bump to the floor off a clothesline, big superplex bump, big bump off the rope drape DDT. Cruisers don't put over Orton's stuff this well.And really Phil (and Chelsea) are right about this being too long. Sheamus is one of those traditional WWE guys like Christian or Matt Hardy who kind of learned to work the perfect 11 minute WWE match. The finish was flat, but I'll HAPPILY take Randy Orton's standard RKO after seeing Jay Lethal's shitty handstand one and Killshot's even shittier somersault one over the last couple days. Seeing just a normal RKO was like a fucking glass of ice water after running a marathon.

3. New Day vs. Prime Time Players

PAS: Another pretty good match, Kofi works so much better as a big bumping heel and Big E v. Titus big man battles are pretty great, that splash on the apron by Big E was really cool got a ton of height. I am not sure where they can go with this feud, but I enjoy all of their matches with each other.

ER: These teams are such good uses of everybody involved. PTP work so great together and New Day takes 1 guy I like and 2 I don't and makes it work. Rachel is amused that practically every black man in the fed is shoved into the same match. Darren Young is one of the best bumpers in the fed and I loved his corner bump into the cameraman. Big E's apron splash was epic, gonna be tough to beat that for my favorite spot of the night. He got insane height and it landed with so much more impact than any fat man who does a splash. This match wasn't bad but I'm sure they've had better TV (or even house show) matches.

4. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt

PAS: Well no more doubting Roman Reigns, as this was yet another awesome singles match, he pretty much can do no wrong at this point. He is just breaking out classic after classic. I really loved this, as it was just two giant dudes beating the shit out of each other. The clothesline counter of the dropkick was a total holy shit spot, as was the counter of the spear. Finish had a minimal amount of bullshit for the first part of a feud, and I am all in favor of a Wyatt Family reunion.

ER: I really dug both guys in this. It's become kinda popular to dump on Bray but I always end up digging him in matches. All his stuff landed (his crossbody is beautiful), he bumped huge for Roman, he is one of the only guys in WWE who knows how to work a side headlock (his shit talking took it to another level too, with stuff like "He's giving up on you!"). Wyatt and Shield guys have really developed a nice sense of timing with each other, and now I feel like a dummy for ONE MATCH AGO saying that Big E's splash will be spot of the night, because like 15 minutes later we get Wyatt knocking Reigns out of the sky on his apron dropkick attempt. Oh my stars. Wyatt looks really great throughout this. Loved him kneeling on Reigns' chest while punching his face, and Reigns is great working underneath here. Both guys are coming out of this one looking damn good. I loved Bray turning the crab walk into an Undertaker sit-up spot. Reigns repeat corner clotheslines could use some mustard on them. He should tighten them up or drop them. They never look that good, like when Batista's crappy corner shoulderblocks to the stomach. Just club him, Wyatt can take it! And YES Luke Harper coming back with Wyatt. GOOD. I wish it didn't lead directly to the finish, but oh well. Rachel during the match even said she wished they'd just throw the Wyatts back together. Awesome match that filled its long running time well. Again, both guys came out of this looking better.

5. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

PAS: Feels like the booking of the Divas invasion is going to guarantee a lot of 3 ways which is going to be problematic. This was a bit sloppy which is to be expected, still this had a lot of energy, and the crowd seems willing to get into the NXT girls. I think Sasha can do better, and hopefully will get a chance to have a singles match which builds a bit. I actually thought Brie looked better then Charlotte, as she was laying it in, and clearly doesn't want to be lapped. Dive train was a mistake as none of those dives looked good at all.

ER: Sasha has clear superstar charisma and I really hope they give her a nice long singles run. It sucks for the Divas that it seems like they always get dumped into 3-ways on the PPVs. Sasha "breaking boards" in the corner with the other two was amusing, and Charlotte is really good at throwing herself face first into things. Her apron bump was great. The 3 way rears it's ugly stupid head as Brie is out selling a knee drop for a preposterously long time. Rachel watches Total Divas so during this she was filling me in on how Brie wants to have a baby, and how Rachel is glad that Brie doesn't feel pressured to get boob implants, and then jokes how Charlotte should consider hip implants so her body isn't as mannish, and then says how Charlotte must have played volleyball, and then looks it up and informs me that Charlotte was apparently a high end high school volleyball player. She is doing this while playing a Zelda game on Game Boy Advance and drinking a Lagunitas Lil Sumpin. crushing her Sunday, essentially. I kind of liked the dive train, in the same way I liked Vince taking bumps, as it always looked really dangerous. Brie's trust fall bump was scary as she kind of overshot, all the dives saw limbs all flying where they shouldn't be. It was ugly, but compelling. The figure 8 is such a great sub. I've never seen a figure 4 look more painful. Surprised to see Charlotte go over, and the match went probably too long, but this was good enough and it's a nice sign that it went long as at least that's them getting a chance.

6. Kevin Owens vs. John Cena

ER: This is kind of a lame response to this match, but I really don't know how I feel about their feud at this point. We've kind of seen them have a variation on the same match three times now. I loved the first one. Second one was fine albeit a little sloppy. This one also seemed fine but left me a little cold. Moves happened, moves were kicked out of, eventually a move ended the match. At one point after a kickout Cole asked "When will it end?" and while he didn't mean it this way, that's what I was feeling. It never felt like they were ever building to anything in this one, just felt like they were doing every move they knew to fill a certain amount of time. Maybe that's not fair. Maybe there were subtle things I was missing because I was typing about it. Maybe this is a flaw in the "write as you watch" format. I thought Owens looked great in it. But for whatever reason nothing in the match moved me. Nobody ever looked very vulnerable, they both kinda just looked like supermen who did a lot of moves to each other. Many of the moves looked like they really hurt, but nothing about how they treated the moves made me think they hurt. I'm not sure where they go with each man now. I haven't been following WWE TV so not sure what is being built for Owens after this, not sure which direction Cena is going with his US reign. This whole thing just made me feel like I was watching a modern Christopher Daniels match, and that's a shame because I clearly like each guy more than Daniels. But hey, maybe I'm wrong.

PAS: Yeah I was out on this too. I really liked Owens cutting Cena off with a nasty punch to the mouth, and I was hoping they would mix the match up a bit and make it a little nastier, but then they shot into finisher spam, the big problem with this match up is that they never mixed it up, it felt like two guys taking their match to a bunch of different indy shows. The first match was their IWA-MS match, the second was their EVOLVE match and then they did their 50 finisher PWG match. Tough to watch those basically all in a row in front of the same audience. Also man did they overdo the stare unbelievingly into the lights, I am not sure how many wide eyed glazed eyed stares we got, but it was a ton. At one point Cole said "I haven't seen that look in Cena's eyes since he wrestled the Rock" I was thinking you saw it three minutes ago when Owens kicked out of something else.

ER: Ryback sacrificed his leg so that I wouldn't have to sit through a Miz match. And a 3 way no less!! Thank you, Ryback.

7. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar

ER: Few modern workers (or, let's face it, workers in the history of me watching wrestling) get me as excited for a match as Lesnar. Just a natural excitement for his matches. And WAIT THAT'S THE END!?!? Where did the referee and Rollins go?? Did Undertaker's magic make them disappear?? I...don't even know what to say. I hadn't heard Undertaker was coming back (not sure if this was common knowledge or anything, I haven't been following the rumor mill), and I'm a-ok with him being a part of this match.....but for NOTHING to happen afterwards??? The match just ends?? Did Rollins just leave, but duck out of the camera? Were we supposed to think he vanished? I honestly have no clue what the fuck happened here. I mean, the referee must have vanished into thin air. He already counted two, does a three count not matter if it's done in the dark? I don't get it. And I'm not sure what WWE wanted me to think about Undertaker, but all I felt was "Oh god his knees must be killing him after that Tombstone. Oh shit he's doing ANOTHER one? God his knees are gonna be barking." I don't want to see another Taker/Lesnar match. I was LOVING Lesnar/Rollins. Loving it. Rollins was getting tossed all over, bought into him landing on his feet out of a German and tossing out all the superkicks, loved him hitting multiple topes to try and just gain SOME ground.......and then people just poof vanished.

PAS: This stunk, Lesnar v. Rollins was something they had been building since Wrestlemania, and we didn't even get a match. It was like Hogan v. Piper on Nitro ending in two minutes so the NWO can spray paint everyone. What a waste of a Brock match and a main event.

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New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV 7/17/15 Review

1. AJ Styles vs. Minoru Suzuki  (8/1/14)

Well this one isn't exactly a secret, as it was one of the best wrestling matches of 2014. Everything clicked, we all learned to love, laugh. Young men went to war, came back forever changed. Here's a link to our review that placed it on our MOTY list. Also, the TV version here completely edits out all of the awesome and brutal arm work that Suzuki does. Clipped matches are for the birds in 2015.

Bright, Shiny Original Review

2. Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (8/1/14)

Wow. This was just a...shockingly great match. I don't remember the last Tenzan singles match I liked. I don't really like Goto. And the heavens converged and both men were interesting, and a fascinating little underdog story developed where the whole crowd started wildly pulling for Tenzan and Tenzan responds in great little ways, showing actual emotion that is rarely present in his matches. I can't remember a match where he throws tighter strikes. Usually his strikes just don't look good. The Mongolian chops look like silly arm flapping, the headbutts look like a man stomping his foot while throwing his head somewhat towards his opponent. And now suddenly he's lacing into Goto with chops, throwing cool headbutt variations (never recall him throwing an awesome headbutt to the stomach, and the thrust headbutt where he catches a Goto kick from his knees, stands up and just blasts Goto with one was killer). Goto drops him over a knee with a death valley driver for a nice nearfall that surely seemed like the finish. After Tenzan kicks out you can hear the crowd just pick up huge, and the Tenzan Driver kickout has people losing their minds. Finish run is really great and I loved the Anaconda Buster here. I went into this match skeptical that they would clip the hell out of Styles/Suzuki just to squeeze in a freaking Goto/Tenzan match....and then this match goes and kicks all kinds of ass.

3. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (8/1/14)

Man, what a great night of wrestling. This was another awesome match, and the first Ishii match I have seen live up to his online hype. People whose wrestling opinions I trust seem to enjoy Ishii a lot, but he always leaves me a little flat relative to the praise he receives. He comes off as the 7th or 8th best guy on an old WAR show. He's got that great Masa Saito burly asskicker vibe to him, which makes me always WANT to think he's awesome, but then he always falls short. Not here. Here he had these wonderfully timed comebacks, some absolutely nasty shots, and some impressive selling. This match was much more about the impressive selling and development. Ishii was just the perfect foil to Nakamura's schtick here and this match just kept getting better and better the longer it went. How many matches can you say that about? Ishii put on a real selling clinic, his sell of the draping DDT was Tenryu-esque, and seeing Ishii sell being loopy after taking knees to his head is a real treat after seeing hacks like Davey Richards attempt the same. Ishii also doesn't put up with Nakamura's usual shit, chopping him in the throat and at one point hitting one of the greatest cutoff spots as he blows up Nakamura with a dropkick while Nak is arching his back in the ropes. Nakamura was excellent here as well, throwing all sorts of big time knees, and leaning so far into Ishii's lariats and suplexes that I don't know how he was able to walk afterwards. Ishii looked like he flat out broke Nak's neck on a couple different occasions, some of the nastiest lariats I have ever seen. Nakamura kept coming up with plausible ways to sell the lariat damage, and then doing the same with all of Ishii's great suplexes. That superplex was tremendous. This match felt like the first time I've understood the "Please don't stop" chant, as I just did not want any of this to end. Both men matched up perfectly, and this was flat out great.

What an awesome hour of wrestling TV. Easily the best show they've aired on AXS TV. Three really great matches, albeit with some really foolish clips. It would have been far wiser to just air more of each match instead of a lame backstage Styles promo or full entrances for guys like Goto. Who would would rather see 1 minute of entrance when they could be seeing an extra minute of a match? For the record, my reviews are of the FULL version of each of the three matches, which I just went and found elsewhere.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 7/15/15 Review

1. Adam Page vs. Matt Sydal

This match happened, some stuff was good, other stuff was not good. Starting to think Adam Page is not very good. BUT his shooting star "shoulder block" off the ring apron always makes me laugh. It's just so stupid and impossibly indy. It makes next to no contact, looks really dangerous, would be confusing to explain what was happening to a non-wrestling fan, it just checks off all the boxes of hilarity. There was a real nice moment where Sydal hits a huge baseball slide dropkick that accidentally takes out Colby Corino. Colby really leans into it and takes a big bump off it. Steve Corino was horrible (but also unintentionally hilarious) on commentary, saying really forced things like "My son! My son was sacrificed for the benefit of Adam Page!" Just...the worst read. This whole match just left me a little flat. I liked things both guys did (although the more I see him the more I think Sydal peaked during his '09 Superstars/ECW run), liked Page's pumphandle fallaway slam with a bridge, liked a Sydal spinning back kick, and really loved the baseball slide I mentioned, liked Page's slingshot flipping lariat (Page is really a guy who does a lot of stuff, some of it even good!) that Sydal flew into. It just didn't add up to anything for me. Each guy did things until it was time for the match to finish. There was no actual flow, just a series of moves in a bubble.

Veda Scott is a marginally more attractive Chelsea Peretti. Maybe slightly more than marginally. Marginally x2. She's pretty. But Chelsea Peretti would clearly be better at riling up a wrestling crowd.

2. Silas Young vs. Will Ferrara

Ah Silas Young. The man who looks like James Gammon yet wrestles like Chris Sabin. And for a 5 minute Velocity match this was pretty fun. It had a played out finish, with Dalton Castle's eunuchs distracting Young leading to Ferrara's roll up victory; but the match had tons of cool stuff, like Ferrara's cool armdrags including a real nice one into a short arm scissor. Then Young did the awesome Backlund lift all the way over to get out of the scissor. Ferrara took a big DDT and planted vertically. Young worked some nice headlocks where he would refuse to get pushed off. I love stuff like that. This was probably the most interesting I've ever seen Young look, so maybe his work is catching up to his mustache? We'll see, but I liked what I saw from both guys here.

3. Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal

Wow, Jay Lethal is a really really boring wrestler. He just really does not do anything for me. His control segments were so bland here, and while he made Mark's offense look good, Mark has offense that's really easy to make look good, and Lethal never made it mean anything. Briscoe looked great, all his stuff was on. He made Lethal's shots actually look like they had something behind them (which, ehhhh), but I love all of Mark's offense. He throws some really great elbow drop variations, nice big boot, amusing uppercut strikes, etc. The match turns pretty messy when Lethal's untalented goons get involved, and then ODB comes out, and then Jay comes out to make things actually interesting. I defy anybody to come up with a stupider finisher than Lethal's handstand into a diamond cutter. I mean come on. How can anybody take that seriously. A finisher that requires the recipient to wander independently into the middle of the ring, wait in position while the gymnastics takes place, and then just take a move that looks far less devastating than if he had just done a diamond cutter without a dorky handstand. I cannot see any argument for that move being improved by adding that handstand. It feels like Lethal is trying to work more "serious", like he's a touring NWA champ. But it really isn't a style that suits him, and it's not one that he's capable of pulling off.

I had been excited for the main this week, but Briscoe just couldn't lift it up to his level. Ferrara/Young was a pleasant little surprise, though. This episode was filled with guys executing things nicely. But move execution doesn't mean a whole lot to me when it goes nowhere.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 5: Dragon Lee, Pegasso, Rey Cometa vs Kamaitachi, Okumura, Virus

Aired: 2014-11-29
Taped: 2014-11-21 @ Arena México
Dragon Lee, Pegasso, Rey Cometa vs Kamaitachi, Okumura, Virus

Well, on paper, this looked to be a really fun match, and sort of the reason why I decided to go about this the way I did. I could have just done Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi, but I think that's gotten enough play and frankly, I just wanted excuses to watch Casas and Virus matches while feeling DL out. I like the sides here a lot. Cometa and Pegasso aren't necessarily wrestlers I'd want to watch a lot of singles matches with but part of the joy of trios is that people play their roles and you don't necessarily need to be strong in all aspects or well-rounded in all aspects to contribute to a match.

The rudo side was a lot of fun. I just don't give Okumura enough credit. He's been in Mexico forever and works the style very well. He's more solid than dynamic but if I had to choose between solid but not dynamic or dynamic but not solid, I'd take the former anyday. He makes a good mentor for younger Japanese talent, though he did kick out a rudo quebadora in the segunda here which was very offputting. Just saying.

Structure-wise, this was just a fun trios match. A primera of feeling out with the tecnicos finessing a win, a segunda of matching up that led to the rudos catching the tecnicos, and then a tercera with just a little bit of heat before a comeback and the finishing barrage. I like matches with more heat, generally, but this was a showcase and that's certainly as fun as any sort of lucha.

I won't run through all of it, but there were little things I liked up and down. Cometa and Virus had a nice exchange, including Cometa trying to do a headscissors takedown from a grounded position and Virus just shrugging him off.

Aberrations in normal spots are hugely important to me because they add an air of logic to the proceedings. Sometimes, things that always work, shouldn't work. The finish was cute. The rudos had tripped the tecnicos from the outside and they paralleled it with Pegasso doing it to Virus which set up a Cometa roll up.

Dragon Lee and Kamaitachi were obviously paired up and I think this was relatively early in their feuding. It showed. They were spirited and exciting but pretty thoroughly sloppy. I've seen enough of their recent work to know that they've tightened things up. Here they get an A for effort and the out of control feel of some of their spots actually does convey a sense of immediacy but it's not like that was the intent. Even still by November, 2014, it was really a world of difference when Lee is up against someone who can contain and guide him like Casas or Virus.

My favorite spot of the tercera was Cometa going for a dive and Kamaitachi holding the ropes open from the outside so he'd fall through. I love stuff like that. Anyway, the finishing stretch was just as exciting as you'd expect and the match is probably worth watching just for it. I so, so much prefer when Lee uses the spider suplex as a finish instead of the double stomp. Just a good, fun trios. And very gif-worthy too:

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NWA Classics On Demand - Price Tag Review #4

We got some new stuff today, nothing that got me super excited, but definitely new footage.

Bruiser Brody v. Rocky Johnson 9/8/78 -$0.25

This was a 2/3 falls taped fist match for the Brass Knuckle Title. Rocky came to the ring with 70's Heavyweight Cleveland Williams who they said was in charge of taping his hands, cool old school touch. The match itself was well laid out, with Brody doing more selling then I am used to seeing from him. Still the execution just wasn't there, if you are going to do a taped fist match, I am going to need to see stuff land, and both guys punches were really loose. I liked Brody ripping up the turnbuckle, and was surprised to see Rocky go over, but this wasn't nearly violent enough. Brody continues to be the biggest old school lie.

Dusty Rhodes/Bad Leroy Brown v. Killer Karl Krup/Gary Hart 9/8/78- $0.10

It is always fun to watch Dusty dance and shtick it up, but this was a pretty bad heel team. KKK is by far the lesser KKK, and Gary Hart is a great talker, but a crappy wrestler. Pretty much a one man Dusty show, which is fun, but makes for a rough 25 minutes

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

2015 Indy Stuff That Caught My Eye

You know how it goes: You're on YouTube watching something, and then something in the corner scrolling menu catches your eye so you follow that link, and then you see something else that sounds good, and you realize you've been watching wrestling on the toilet for 2 hours and you're legs have gone numb. Wait.

Biff Busick vs. Colin Delaney (Empire State Wrestling 5/16/15)

This immediately leapt out at me as I love Busick, and hadn't seen a Colin Delaney match in several years. Delaney has to stand as one of the weirdest WWE signings in history, definitely one of the weirdest guys to get his own action figure. I don't even think he had 30 matches in the company. Okay, I looked it up and his action figure is certainly weird, but in the *same* series that his action figure was in, there was a Cherry action figure. Cherry is probably a weirder person to get a WWE action figure. So goddamit, Delaney isn't even the weirdest person in his own series to get a figure. Wow. I would have loved to see the marketing roll out for that action figure series. "We're expecting a big quarter, we got action figures coming out for Festus, Katie Lea AND Paul Birchill, Colin Delaney.....Cherry......At this time we're going to skip all questions regarding this quarter's action figures." And hey this was fun! It wasn't quite up to Busick's normal level, but it was fun seeing Delaney in the Busick style, working over headlocks (all the front facelocks, side headlocks, and all the fighting over them) and getting battered with uppercuts. I loved Busick's big uppercuts to cut off Delaney. He had one like a missile as Delaney was coming off the ropes, and another as Delaney was coming off the top rope. I wish things hadn't ended on a Malenko/Guerrero roll-up sequence - even if theirs looked more plausible than most - but I dug this.

Jeff Cobb vs. Vito Rea (Wrestling For Charity 6/14/15)

This was a catch style match and the match (show?) had the bottom rope removed. I had never heard of Rea before but he is apparently an Italian who has represented Italy several times at the FILA World Championships for Grappling, Pankration and Amateur MMA (most commonly known throughout the nation and your parents as the WCGPAMMA, one can only assume). So you have two guys with legit amateur experience and we get 10 fun minutes of them battling over leglocks. We get some fun hard-earned reversals and we build to a nice butterfly suplex from Rea, but Cobb fights for a waistlock on the mat and turns that into a completely flat out great deadlift German. He fought it all the way from the ground to a low crouch, all the way up and over. Looked so awesome. For whatever reason the match is a 10 minute time limit so ends in a draw. I really would have liked to see this build to a finish, but what we got was fun.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 4: Diamante Azul, Dragon Lee, La Sombra vs Cavernario, Hechicero, Negro Casas

Aired: 2014-09-27 
Taped: 2014-09-16 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara 
Diamante Azul, Dragon Lee, La Sombra vs Cavernario, Hechicero, Negro Casas

This is lucha comfort food. Sure, it's got a few twists and folds (Sombra being a tweener) and one pretty glaring weakness (Azul), but in general, it just felt right. Sombra was aloof and a little impatient but not over the top in his Ingobernable rudoness. This didn't feel like a revelos increibles match or anything. Azul was stiff and wooden but played his part and, most importantly, the rudos he had to work against were so good that they did all the hard work. It's probably my ideal 2014-2015 rudo side. Cavernario, Hechicero, Casas. You don't get better than that right now. This was right after Casas' hair loss too so he was extra grumpy. 

Then came the segunda, and after some nice back and forth (including Casas and Dragon Lee trading paralleled moves, Cavernario feeding well for Azul, and Sombra and Casas having another intense exchange, with Sombra cutting his legs out as he went for the running apron senton, as he does so well), they finally had the rudos take over with a great spot of Lee going for a hanging sleeper on Hechicero only to get clocked by Cavernario, which led to the arm hook spinning backbreaker. Good stuff:

This led to the rudos taking the segunda. My favorite thing about Sombra as a rudo, past his wonderfully dickish attitude, is how he always goes for the little thing, grabs from the outside, for instance. Here, he tried to break up the Cavernario bomb, but couldn't. It was a nice little touch. Then he really didn't want to get back into the ring to eat the fall but ultimately did. 

Anyway, the beating continued into the tercera, including this awesome tandem goardbuster onto the top rope/dropkick combo:

The comeback was mild at best, which is a shame. I blame Azul even though he had a good moment of tossing Cavernario around by his hair (which was set up earlier in the match). At least hit had a great finish with Sombra embracing his partners, hoisting Dragon Lee up for a dive and hitting a parallel suplex/slam with Azul:

All in all, this was good. Azul was frustrating. He reminded me a bit of Dos Caras, Jr., just without the connection to the crowd (albeit quizzical) that Caras had. He had some good spots but there was nothing meaningful behind them. They teased Sombra vs Hechicero twice and didn't deliver, which was frustrating too. Worst of all, though, were the endless chopfests. They just went at each other the whole match. It's okay when Sombra and Casas do it, with intensity and hatred, but everyone was doing it. They just went to that well way too often. In the matches with Rush and Casas, it always felt like a big moment when everything stopped and they tore into each other. This match was the exact opposite. Those criticisms aside, it was a good one though.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 5/5, 5/17 & 5/24/15

1. Blue Panther & Atlantis vs. Negro Casas & Shocker (5/5/15)

This was like a fun little house show touring match, without too many big moves or dives or bumps, and no real large build up to any of the falls, just four professionals who have been working each other for over a couple decades. We get a lot of grappling and mat stuff, and really what more could you want than that? Casas and Panther especially get long goes with each other, and while it's not as tripped out as they can get there are still plenty of satisfying exchanges. Both men fight over headscissor takedowns, and the best part of the match is Panther running around with Casas in a Gory Special, and Casas eventually fighting out of it and becoming an aggressive backpack on BP's shoulders, attacking him while BP fights him back. I was hoping for more with these 4 in a title match, but it was enjoyable seeing what they would do in a barebones tag on a Tuesday.

2. Ultimo Guerrero, Terrible & Vangellys vs. Rush, La Sombra & Super Porky (5/17/15)

So, this kind of immediately flies in the face of what the actual post is called, as at the time of me writing this Cubsfan did not have it uploaded, so there is no actual way for most of you to watch this match. So maybe Cubs will see this and DO THE RIGHT THING. Do the right thing, Cubs. Upload this match for fans of pro wrestling. Do the right thing.

Usually when starting a Super Porky match you can tell if it's going to be one of those times where he shows up. It happens less and less every single year, so they become easier and easier to spot. And right out of the gate this seemed completely different from every other Porky trios. He and Ultimo lock up immediately and while they're in a collar n elbow they start dishing out short headbutts to each other, and then Ultimo is grabbing Porky by the nose and punching him in the head and THINGS FEEL DIFFERENT. Porky and UG are working headlocks and Porky hits a splash, goes for another and UG gets his knees up (when have you EVER seen anybody get their knees up on Porky!?). Porky spills to the floor after UG keeps sneaking in little stiff shots, and UG barrels into him off the apron with his cool diving hip attack. Porky drew some dud partners as Rush and Sombra hang on the floor while the rudos all triple team Porky and stiff the shit out of him. Porky is trapped in the corner and all the rudos are punching him in the face and neck and head at the same time. It's brutal and finally Porky breaks free and starts punching guys, like the little fat kid pushed too far by a bully. And then they punch him a bunch more, and he runs off crying. BUT IT WAS A RUSE! Once Porky runs crying onto the rampway, he then doubles back and runs belly first into UG, sending his team down like dominos, and then runs and does his jumping taint attack on all of them. At this time Rush and Sombra opportunistically sprint in and begin kicking the shit out of the rudos. This was all awesome. Porky is great at earning sympathy, the rudos were stiffing the hell out of him, and Cubsfan just really needs to do the right thing. Do it for the boys in the back.

**UPDATE: Cubs has now uploaded it. Watch and enjoy.**

3. Blue Panther, Blue Panther Jr. & The Panther vs. Felino, Tiger & Puma (5/24/15)

Okay, so this was pretty sloppy...BUT it had plenty to love. Especially the familial aspect. Family feuds are great, and while this is probably closer to Steve Harvey than Richard Dawson, we still had moments. Panther working the mat and wristlocks with Tiger to start things off is probably the highlight, as I dig how both guys move and really any match that starts with 3-4 minutes of BP grappling and doing his thing is going to wind up getting written up by me in a "worth watching" link dump. Panther's sons are not as good as Felino's sons. Not even close, really. Panther's sons usually seem pretty bad, actually. They did not look great here. They're kinda stumbly. Felino's sons are easily better than Felino at this point, and both (especially Tiger) can come across as fairly savvy vets. Felino always shows up for these non-Casas family feuds, and although he mostly hangs back here and lets his boys do the dirty work, it's great when he gets in and starts smugly running the ropes super fast, bouncing off the bottom rope to show off that he's not always some goof. BP Jr. knocks himself stupid by hitting a sloppy rana off the apron and landing head first. Elder Panther gets to foil the youngsters, and shoot, I dug it.

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