Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 9/23/15 Review

1. Silas Young vs. Michael Elgin

Elgin hasn't been on TV in awhile so he goes over pretty strong on Silas here, but Silas is more of a regular so might have been nice to give him more. Although when he did get more his stuff looked kind of weak, including an incredibly goofy slingshot double foot stomp...thing, that doesn't really look like it touches Elgin. But Young at least takes Elgin's stuff nicely, especially a massive powerbomb on the floor into the guardrail. Kevin Kelly was doing his horrible style of announcing, where he doesn't so much do play-by-play as he does just yell out random nouns that he sees. When Young went for a backbreaker on Elgin, Kelly just yelled "Surgically repaired KNEE of SILAS!" Not anything about the backbreaker, just decided to point out Young's knee, which had nothing to do with any part of the match. It's like he spends 80% of the match looking elsewhere, and then occasionally looks up and points out the first object he notices. Maybe it's some sort of creative writing thought exercise? Needed more underlying homosexual shame and rage, like the other Silas Young matches.

2. Caprice Coleman vs. ACH

Well this didn't do a whole lot for me. All thigh slaps all the time. Just a buncha slappy sounds with legs extended in kick like motions. Legs not touching opponent's bodies, but slappy sounds happening anyway. If a superkick missed in Philadelphia, would it still make a slapping sound? Always. Always.

3. RPG Vice & Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto & Briscoe Bros.

This started out not very good, and by the end I was on board. Jay started with Okada and it's not shocking that Okada had bad looking strikes, but Jay looked like he was holding waaaaay back. No clue what was going on here because a few minutes later he's beating the hell out of Trent. Maybe Jay was just being a slow starter, because by the end he's tossing out headbutts and big lariats and looking like a monster. But if this match works, and eventually it does, it's because Mark was absolutely on fire throughout the entirety of this. I couldn't take my eyes off that crazy caveman. Yeah Trent can take a big bump and Goto threw a nice spinning heel kick in the corner, but this was the Mark Brisco show. All of Mark's palm strikes looked great, he flung himself into offense, all his combos looked cool while also looking like he was just making them up as he went. He looked awesome, one of my favorite Mark performances. And after Jay's stumble early with Okada, he went out on a wild note just killing Baretta. Briscoes make everything better.

This week's show went by quick, even if looking back I didn't love a lot about it. That's...good, right? All worth it for Mark Briscoe.

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MLJ: Puebla Hotshot: Negro Casas, Barbaro Cavernario, Kamaitachi vs Dragon Lee, Maximo, Blue Panther

2015-9-28 @ Arena Puebla
Negro Casas, Barbaro Cavernario, Kamaitachi vs Dragon Lee, Maximo, Blue Panther

1:15:00 in

I'm messing up my schedule for the next couple of weeks (again) in order to hotshot this. It was from the Monday Puebla show this week and I was higher on it than most of the comments I saw live, comments that I'll get to and that I think were fair and don't even disagree with. Two hundred-plus matches into this project, I've learned some things about myself and my own proclivities, however, and this is a good match to look at for the sake of generalities.

First and foremost, the match was a disappointment. Of course it was. On paper, this is one of the best trios matches that CMLL can put on right now. Unfortunately, it was put on with no real stakes, no major program to build to (though maybe they'll run Casas vs Maximo again?), in front of a really sparse crowd, and on a stilted 2 hour show. They played around with the pairings so that other than a far too brief opening exchange (more on that in a moment) we didn't really get Blue Panther vs Negro Casas, and there wasn't the sort of spotfest destruction we've come to expect from Kamaitachi vs Dragon Lee. There wasn't even a lot of standout character moments between Cavernario and Maximo (though there was a promising moment between Cavernario and Kamaitachi). It was a match that, in another setting, should have been spectacular. That said, for a match without much of a primera and with a rushed I do think it was very solid and I want to talk about why I feel that way.

I'm very forgiving on CMLL trios matches in general. I think that has to do with what I look for in wrestling. A lot of people want brilliant matwork or lightning fast sequence in a primera or spectacular dives and spots in a tercera, and I like that stuff too, but it's a means to an end for me, not the end in and of itself. I'm into this for the build up and the pay off. That can come in a number of forms in these trios matches. It can be in the primera as an escalating series of mat exchanges or rope-running sequences leading to the tecnicos gaining advantage and picking up the fall. Alternative, the pressure could start building that way leading to an underhanded rudo swarm. It can be in the segunda, with a beatdown stemming from either the start of the match or the end of the primera and culminating with a big tecnico comeback. Or, it can be in the tercera, with the whole match building to a specific pairing, the dives clearing the ring of the tertiary luchadores so that the match can end on its real focus.

That's the part of the journey I love, and the best matches give us multiple iterations. That's something I've noticed watching 90s footage relative to now. They'd often give us a really complete primera (for isntance one with escalating tecnico shine), a really complete segunda (with a long beatdown), and then a comeback into a really complete tercera, with a lot of action, a lot of cuts off, and a finishing stretch which highlighted an ongoing feud and paid off the emotion of the entire match.

Rarely now do matches get room to breathe in all of those ways. Personally, if a match is only going to breathe in one, however, I want it to be the beatdown. I think this speaks to my background in wrestling. I love southern tag matches. I love that heat building and building, with hope spots and cut offs, with false tags and ref distraction and cheating heels and overzealous babyfaces. Lucha is generally broader than that, with its own tropes more focused on widescale momentum shifts, but wrestling is wrestling and there are more commonalities than differences.

I thought this match had a good beatdown, one that got enough time and led to a solid comeback (though not an ideal one). I don't love how they went into it. Casas and Panther had really just started to show their maestro wares when the rudos swarmed. That can work, even so early in a match, but it has to be the right situation. I think Ingobernables' title matches are a good situation, for instance, because they're spitting in the face of title match tradition when they do it. Here, it felt more due to time constraints, or because in 2015, for most trios matches, something has to give. You just can't have a complete primera, complete segunda, and complete tercera. I suppose the card has to have variety and this was only second from the top.

No matter how they got into it, it was a good beatdown. Casas, Cavernario, and Kamaitachi are great at keeping things moving and engaging. There was even a little cut-off-the-ring face in peril section on Panther, who's someone skilled enough to pull that off. It took me a long time to really figure out the tendency for these, but so long as there's just one rudo in the ring, they can play to a hot tag instead of just cycling tecnicos in and out. It's a subtle difference but it works. Usually it lasts for a few minutes focusing on one tecnico and sort of provides the best of both worlds. Once he's sufficiently beaten down without having made the tag, they cycle him out and start the double teaming in more force since they have the numbers game. That's exactly what they did here and I think it was effective and compelling, even if there weren't a lot of big spots or moments.

I can't say I liked the comeback quite as much, but some of that was down to familiarity. I made two real comments while watching this (and it's nice that CMLL on Youtube or Claro lets a number of us watch this at once. It adds to the sense of community), the first being that they really needed to let the beatdown go for a while (and they did) and the second being that I really didn't want the comeback to be centered around Maximo's butt stop spot (where a rudo runs into his ass as he runs up to the second rope). It's fine once and a while but Maximo goes to that well far too often. Well, that's what they did. I think it made the crowd happy, that, the Dragon Lee dive that followed, and the tercera which was heavily focused on Maximo's spots, but there were a number of more interesting ways they could have gone with it.

And that's the most damning thing about the match. It could have been more interesting. It should have been more interesting. Still, I'm glad I watched it and I'm glad I watched it live. There's something primal about the ebb and flow, the build up and the payoff, the beatdown and the comeback that really draws me to trios matches, even the disposable ones. There's something broad and mythic about it, and even a match that doesn't live up to its promise can tap into that just by the nature of its structure. Plus, while this was paint-by-numbers, it was some of the best paint CMLL has to offer and numbers that almost always come through.

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Fire Fundraiser: Buddy Rose/Curt Hennig vs. Dynamite Kid/The Assassin

Buddy Rose & Curt Hennig vs. Dynamite Kid & The Assassin - Portland Wrestling 11/12/83

Another 2/3 Falls Portland tag, requested by Pete who was nice enough to donate to my co-worker Jan's cause.

Last Portland match we watched saw Dynamite looking like a fairground demolition derby speed dealer, here he looks more like the sergeant at arms for the Creativity Alliance. He has a bulked up body, Bic'd head and red lightning bolt tights (ohhhh so close to having two little lightning bolts right next to each other), but it was another fine Dynamite performance. His work with Hennig was real good, especially once he started with the leaping headbutts. He hits his perfect middle rope knee drop, really probably has the greatest flying kneedrop in pro wrestling, and here it actually wins a fall! That was wonderful. I've seen plenty of matches where he hits this skull crushing knee drop, far and away the most violent thing on the whole card, and it gets a two count. Here he launches into camera frame with a middle rope kneedrop right into Hennig's stomach, really looks like Hennig is going to start coughing up blood. And - as it should - it ends a fall.

Assassin was a real revelation here, again. I did some digging and realized it was likely not Jody Hamilton, but more likely David Sierra. That would make sense as Assassin is super spry in both these matches, really flies into moves at a crazy speed. I doubt a 45 year old could be moving like this...but I've also never thought "Cuban Assassin? Oh yeah, super fast bumper." But I've also never seen Sierra when he was 23, so maybe he had a young masked deathwish. I am more used to differently enjoyable chubby bullshit artist Sierra. Either way 1983 Assassin was awesome.

We really don't get a whole lot of Buddy in this, which is disappointing. We do get him during the smart/unique/horrible finish. I didn't really understand what happened during the finish, or more what was *supposed* to happen. Depending on what was supposed to happen it was either executed perfectly, or one of the worst ways to end a match. It started awesome. Assassin grabbed Buddy in a waistlock, with Buddy ducking just in time to allow a Dynamite missile dropkick to nail Assassin right on the point of the chin. It looked brutal. So Buddy locked Assassin in a waistlock after dumping Dynamite, then Hennig hit his own dropkick. I assumed Buddy would then German suplex Assassin, but instead he just fell backwards and awkwardly lay there with his legs in the air while Assassin lay on top of him. So, either Buddy was supposed to act knocked out, which is kind of a good finish even if it looked awkward...or it was supposed to be a "both men get their shoulders counted down" and instead it was just Assassin lying on Buddy. It looked weird. I don't get it.

Sandy Barr, like he does, looked like a dental lab technician showing up for work.

Also, one of the announcers had a call that made me laugh just because it was such a failure and he still kept committing to finishing the horrible train of thought. Hennig launched Dynamite into the buckles and the announcer went "THAT'LL reset your...uh...clock...back to uhm...daylight savings time...or whatever." I love how he started out excited for his declaration and by the end, just one sentence later, he just kind of loathed it.

Thank you again PETE for the donation! You're awesome.

***I'm still desperately trying to raise money for my friend and coworker whose home burned down. The donations are coming in and the requests are getting weirder and I fear they're going to start purposely torturing me. BUT NO MATTER! I'm matching every contribution and will continue writing above and beyond for those who donate. This means a lot to me and you all are making me so happy***

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Digging in the Crates Podcast #4

Will returns for a special all NWA Classics 24/7 episode of the show.

Digging in the Crates #4

We talk about Andre v. Harley, Fantastics v. Midnight Express, Jose Lothario v. Hecto Guerrero and JYD v. Butch Reed chain match. If you haven't subscribed to NWA Classics, what are you waiting for???


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Monday, September 28, 2015

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Main Event 7/7/96

If that date sounds familiar, it's because this is the pre-show to Bash at the Beach, where something *kind* of huge would go on to happen.

1. The Steiner Bros. vs. Harlem Heat

This match works just fine, until it inevitably turns into the continuing saga of Col. Robert Parker and Sherri, as practically every Heat tag from this era did. In rewatching a lot of this era it was surprising how terrible a lot of the Heat matches were. I remembered them as a decent team but man were they sloppy and man did their tags have horrible structure. But Booker was on during the first part of this, flying into Scott with a huge shoulderblock, working him over with a nice bearhug that Scott turned into an even nicer overhead belly to belly. Rick came in and hit a great powerslam on Booker, and things (shockingly!) slowed down quite a bit once Stevie Ray tagged in. Stevie hits a nice elbowdrop, and then locks on a neverending chinlock until the Parker interference. For his part Parker takes a big hip toss bump into the ring from the apron. On the previous show they were advertising Steiners vs. Rock n Roll Express which would have been awesome. Instead we get this. And this...was probably better than I expected.

2. Billy Kidman vs. Hardwork Bobby Walker

So let's start off by saying that this match gets 90 seconds. Let's go on to say that these guys clearly knew they were only getting 90 seconds, and proceeded to do as much as they possibly could in 90 seconds. Something seemed up right from the beginning as both guys are just working lightning fast. It looked like things were on double speed and I'm thinking "man how are these guys expecting to work a full match at this pace??" Oh, they weren't. But it was fun seeing a noted schlub like Walker going fullspeed, with both guys doing these super quick dropdowns and leapfrogs, Kidman taking a wild bump to the floor off a dropkick, and both working in kooky offense I've never seen either do before. Kidman hit a quadruple jump Asai moonsault (follow me here) starting on the apron, leaping to the middle rope, then the top rope, then the inside middle rope 90 degrees to his left, and then the moonsault. It's like a crazy Aerostar move, with about 70% of the grace of an Aerostar move. Walker jumps to the middle turnbuckle, leaps BACKWARDS from the middle buckle to the top, almost loses his balance and falls backwards to the floor (because it's fucking crazy to jump backwards from the middle to the top) and then hits a crossbody/headbutt block from the top to win. Weird little match with the circumstances dictating unique work.

3. Rock N Roll Express vs. Fire & Ice

Another 2 minute special that really could have been a good tag match if it had been given just a few more minutes. Norton rushes Ricky to start and hits some pretty stiff shots, a couple pretty big slams. Ice Train tags in and hits a rough avalanche. This Morton guy is pretty decent at playing Ricky Morton. Finish is clever but would have loved for it to come after more of a match, as Norton tags back in, picks Ricky up in a gutwrench and Ricky's legs hit Ice Train on the apron causing Norton to stumble. Gibson runs in and takes out Norton's knee allowing Ricky to hit the backslide. That's a pretty decent finish, but yeah didn't get a whole lot of match before it happened.

4. Eddie Guerrero vs. Steven Regal

Now this is the kind of thing you hope for when you pop in an old WCW disc. Is it too short? Yes. Does it have a lousy finish? You betcha. Is everything awesome before that? Well of course. Regal looks so damn good here, with he and Eddie doing all sorts of cool grapples and take downs. Eddie lands on his feet after a monkey flip, hits a cool armdrag off a Regal butterfly suplex attempt, Regal starts lacing in elbows and then Eddie takes a super fast bump to the floor off a Regal toss. Weirdness ensues when Regal fakes a knee injury, suckers Eddie in for a double leg for what you think is going to end it. But something weird happens as Nick Patrick just stops counting at 2, even though Eddie didn't kick out. It looks like Regal was supposed to have his feet on the ropes, but he never puts them there, so Patrick just has to stop the count for zero reason instead of stop the count after witnessing the cheating. The Eddie just rolls up Regal for the win. Folks you won't see a finish worse than that one. But god that first 90 seconds of the match was all the stuff you want in pro wrestling.

Okay, Cubs, that one was a whole lot more...interesting as an episode. Still waiting for an actual good match as so far we've gotten some big time potential that was cut short with bad finishes. We'll keep trying until I think your donation has been worth it for you. Again, thank you SO MUCH for your help.

***I'm still desperately trying to raise money for my friend and coworker whose home burned down. I'm matching every contribution and will continue writing above and beyond for those who donate. This means a lot to me, guys***

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MLJ: Misterioso/Volador 4: Ice Killer I, Karis La Momia I, La Parka vs Misterioso, Solar I, Volador I

1992-06-05 @ León, Guanajuato
Ice Killer I, Karis La Momia I, La Parka vs Misterioso, Solar I, Volador I

Obviously, at some point Misterioso and Volador found their way to AAA. This was really early for the company. It was founded in May, 1992. If I had more time, I'd delve into the WONs from the era and try to trace things a bit more. I don't, so I'm just going to look at the text of the match.

Karis is a mummy. Ice Killer is a hockey themed monster in black. La Parka actually had been wrestling for ten years already (at least according to Wiki) but was new to the gimmick. What stands out, almost immediately, was that he was just another monster in a trios of monsters. I'm going to liken it to Undertaker debuting as part of a trios with Papa Shango and the Berzerker or something. I see Parka as such a force of nature and such an icon, but he had to break out of this fairly interchangeable group of monsters to get there. Visually, he wasn't all that different from Ice Killer, actually. Karis is awesome. He had a mummy mask and under the mummy mask was ANOTHER mask. Also the monsters' valets were great (Parka's was in a funeral shroud). I love the theatrical aspects of early AAA. I don't have a ton else to say about Ice Killer. He was the head of the union, according to luchawiki, and apparently he has a young son now (talking age 3-8) who dabbles, and that might be amusing to check out on youtube.

The match itself was fun, solid tecnicos vs stooging monsters. There's a joy to that. The rudos played more for laughs than any outright fear or violence. They had the usual exchanges to start, Mumia vs Solar, Ice Killer vs Misterioso, and Volador vs Parka, all of which had a slight tecnico advantage. On the second time around, they started playing tecnico vs the world, including this a fun bit of rudo goofiness, where Parka ended up on Ice Killer's shoulders:

The tecnicos finished things up shortly thereafter, leading to rudo regrouping for the segunda. It was pretty straightforward. They hung out outside until the tecnicos came after them and then ambushed. Simple but effective. The beatdown continued into the tercera, with some simple tandem offense (and some more complicated, like a Hart Attack from the turnbuckle), and the usual glorious fake-handshake-ambush-from-behind heeling to keep the advantage. In the end, Volador managed to redirect a kick in a cute comeback spot and the tecnicos swarmed back for a spirited comeback.

Parka already showed signs of what he'd soon become, spirited, charismatic and agile, even while taking a beating:

The tecnicos really got to show off towards the end (though Parka snuck out a roll up win). Volador and Misterioso had a great act. That's my take away from all of these matches. By this point in their careers, they had worked with each other for so long that they could do things like set one another up for a moonsault or some other spot, and do things which felt way ahead of their time, but that also fit into the sort of narrative they were trying to tell. Nothing seemed outlandish even if a lot of it felt breathtaking. It's too bad we have such gaps in between their stuff online. This match didn't really have any sense of stakes but it was a lot of fun and, I think, a good look at what early AAA was presenting.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Main Event 6/23/96

So CubsFan requested I write up some 1996 WCW Saturday Night, but I couldn't find any in my stacks. SOOOOOO to make up for that I'm gonna write up a whole batch of 1996 Main Event, WorldWide and Pro. Hopefully that makes up for it.

1. Squire David Taylor vs. Sgt. Craig Pittman

Oh damn on paper this is like a WCW dream match for me. Taylor is a guy I like more than probably anybody else, and you can probably say the same about Pittman. Sadly we only get 150 seconds and neither guy gets a chance to stretch out. I could see an 8 minute match between these two achieving Legendary Syndicated Status. Still what we get is fun. Taylor is the third wheel of the Regal/Finlay gang, but like those men knows how to make some mundane spots seem colorful and meaningful. Here Taylor locks on a chinlock at one point, but also yanks at Pittman's nostrils. We start with about 45 seconds of mat scrambling, with Taylor taking long looping bumps to put over Pittman's arm drags , even taking a nice face first pratfall of an abandoned test of strength. Finish is smart as Taylor starts lacing in European uppercuts and Pittman catches his arm on one of them to get a backslide. But damn if they just got even TWO more minutes it could have at least been some degree of special. As it was, it was just a fun tease.

2. V.K. Wallstreet vs. Scotty Riggs

And just like that first match is an on paper dream match for me, this match on paper could not be further away from that. Rotunda is the Friday afternoon impromptu office meeting of pro wrestling. But he isn't really the problem in this as Riggs breaks out the airiest, lightest, weakest offense imaginable. Wallstreet had some nice looking stuff, threw some cool short uppercuts that I didn't remember him having, and really Riggs should have just stuck to bumping. He was one of those classic bad-offense-nice-bumps workers, which meant he looked great taking bumps to the floor, but when it came to his comeback offense it was cover your eyes bad. He barely makes contact on a dropkick, throws punches 6" below Wallstreet's face, and hits one of the worst crossbodies I've ever seen. It makes so little contact on Wallstreet that V.K. literally has to hold Riggs on the landing to keep him from just bouncing away painlessly. To top it all off, Bagwell has to interfere to help his fellow American Male win. Just a couple of good ol' babyfaces, cheating to win. To the surprise of everybody, Rotunda works in a spot where he locks on an abdominal stretch and holds the ropes for leverage. This match got 6 minutes. Taylor/Pittman got 2.5. That's just...cruel.

Okay, that's a rough episode. I'll keep reviewing more 1996 syndicated WCW until I feel Cubs' donation is justified. Still, thank you for the donation. Like Carl Lewis singing the National Anthem, I'll make up for it.

***I'm still desperately trying to raise money for my friend and coworker whose home burned down. I'm matching every contribution and will continue writing above and beyond for those who donate. This means a lot to me, guys***

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fire Fundraiser: Buddy Rose, Curt Hennig & Billy Jack Haynes vs. Dynamite Kid, The Assassin & Rip Oliver

Buddy Rose, Curt Hennig & Billy Jack Haynes vs. Dynamite Kid, The Assassin & Rip Oliver (6/25/83)

I am a Portland novice, familiar with the guys who worked other territories, unfamiliar with the local heroes. But Portland is a city I've been to many times over the years, as we've always had friends who lived there and it made for a great excuse to go visit. I love the town and would have loved to have been alive to experience the territory days in such a neat little community. Territory wrestling always takes these large cities and makes them seem like little bubble communities, when you can see the same fans showing up each week, the same families sitting together. Portland just seems like the perfect place for a territory. And this match was a real hoot. I'm a guy who really strongly disliked a lot of Dynamite Kid as "New Japan revolutionary junior heavyweight" but as scummy shitheel with bad skin and bad hair and who bumps like a loon? Yeah, I'll take that Dynamite. Here he looks like a dude selling weed in the parking lot of a Molly Hatchett concert. His elbows look great, he throws nice kicks to the stomach, he always has one of the finest kneedrops, takes a mammoth backdrop bump, flies to the floor off a big Rose dropkick. I'm kinda loving stateside Kid. Assassin looked great in this, and if this is the same guy I'm thinking of (Jody Hamilton) he must have been in his mid-to-late 40s here. You'd never know it by the way he was moving. He had a real immediacy to everything, threw a great kneelift, really knew how to bump around for the good guys, went fast at Hennig and Haynes. Billy Jack is a guy I never enjoyed much in WWF, but here you can tell he has his place with the Portland crowd. He's got a crazy build and knows how to connect, Dynamite throws himself into a stiff arm BJH clothesline, and Haynes even takes a backdrop bump of his own. Hayne's powerlifting Dynamite up into a press slam was impressive as all hell. I didn't remember Haynes having such a gorgeous press slam, and I'm a guy who LOVES press slam spots. He drops Dynamite down from a crazy height, onto a mat that doesn't give an inch. Ouch. Buddy had unreal agility and he clearly loved showing it off, leaping over the top to the floor, throwing out some kip ups, cartwheeling, really trying to show off his speed. You could tell he loved working Portland crowds. This says it's 2/3 falls but I couldn't find the other falls. What we get is a blast though. It should also be noted that Sandy Barr looks like every single photograph of everybody's father.


***I'm still desperately trying to raise money for my friend and coworker whose home burned down. I'm matching every contribution and will continue writing above and beyond for those who donate. This means a lot to me, guys***

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Friday, September 25, 2015

MLJ: Misterioso/Volador 3: Blue Panther, Emilio Charles Jr., Fuerza Guerrera vs Blue Demon Jr., Misterioso, Volador I

1992-01-10 @ Arena Coliseo
Blue Panther, Emilio Charles Jr., Fuerza Guerrera vs Blue Demon Jr., Misterioso, Volador I

Going off of the almighty match finder, this was the third match in a three match series pitting Misterioso and Volador against Fuerza Gurrera at Arena Coliseo. This followed the title match (and matches that built it) a month prior in Arena Mexico. I covered the second match on Wednesday but the first one isn't online, which is a shame because it had Nitron, and I can only imagine him taking Volador and Misterioso's stuff. Anyway, this was a pretty weird match, but if it was a blowoff to help Fuerza get his heat back, I can sort of understand it. That said, there's almost no one in the history of wrestling who feels as Teflon when it comes to losses as Fuerza.

I've seen extremely little Blue Demon Jr. He was around 25 here, so my guess is that a lot of his more negative tendencies I've heard about developed later. Granted, most of what he had to do was get beat on and some rope running. He did take some good bumps for Charles and I wouldn't be against watching a title match against Blue Panther from this era if it existed (it doesn't) but he was a supporting player here.

Like I said, weird structure. Unless it was clipped, and I saw no sign of that, it went two falls, with the rudos taking both, and a tecnico comeback in the middle. There wasn't any sort of shine or feeling out at the beginning either. The rudos just swarmed in after a bit of Fuerza vs Misterioso. Then there was a lot of post match brawling and posturing, including a face off between Fuerza and Misterioso once again. Looking at results and Observers, this didn't go anywhere. It was just it. Fuerza started teaming with Satanico and Panther against Vampiro, Dragon, and Octagon.

The opening swarm was effective enough given the guys you had on the rudo side. The tecnicos cycled in and out to get beaten on and there was a decent amount of tandem offense with the highlight being Misterioso lifted up onto two rudos' knees for a triple gutbuster. My favorite spot, however, was an electric chair splash by Panther and Fuerza. I always like how they work together. They really balanced one another:

Also, while we're at it, check out this pretty mare by Panther:

The comeback wasn't too much to write home about (just a quebradora out of nowhere). Really all you need to know about it is Emilio Charles' sell of a later quebradora:

He also took a back body drop bump out. The match ended with Misterioso getting slammed off the top by Fuerza and put into a double underhook backbreaker/submission by Panther. It was very sudden, but I guess it set up the Fuerza/Panther tandem to be at the top of the card for the next month (except for this was at Arena Coliseo and that was at Arena Mexico and frankly I'm probably looking too deeply at CMLL booking, even old CMLL booking). In short, I have no idea why this went two falls, why it ended with brawling and posturing. The previous match was better since it was more complete. I'm pretty sure that this was fine for what it was. I'm just still not sure what exactly that was.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 9/12/15 Review

1. Whirlwind Gentlemen vs. American Guns (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago)

Probably the best WG match, though I'm not sure what that says. A lot of Ethan HD in this, and he's a hard guy to nail down. One moment he throws this awesome lunging back elbow, followed immediately by kicks to the back so weak than Jack Manley didn't even notice them to sell them. Did he connect too hard with the elbow, making him tentative on the other stuff? No clue. Santiago looks much better. I dug him against Gangrel a couple weeks ago, and he clearly has the basics down. He knew how to cut off Manley and did a nasty catapult to him, snapping his chin under the turnbuckle. WG work a really boring version of the RnR formula, with Manley always getting beaten down until it's time for Marcel to tag in, and the matches almost always end less than a minute later, with Manley immediately shrugging off any of the beating he took while all four men go at it. Marcel hits a nice enough crossbody, but WG are just a really stale team. They've worked the same match every week, and they are featured a LOT. Also, the commentary crew pushed this weird angle for most of the match, where HD and Santiago used to team, hadn't teamed up in "years", but apparently talked on the phone last week and decided to team up again. A 3 second search shows that these guys are a regular Portland team. I have no idea how it hurts anybody to just tell the truth. Say they team up in Portland, came down to Vegas to make it on their own, it didn't work out, so they decided to team again. That makes tons of sense, and it's much better than "They haven't teamed for years, but talked on the phone last week and decided to team again." I...don't see the point.

2. Wes Brisco vs. Darin Corbin

Could Brisco be from any place other than Florida? I mean this guy just IS Florida. Somebody who never considers it a bad idea to have so many awful, distinguishing tattoos. I'm stunned he doesn't have his name across his forehead. I think the theme of these "American Title" matches is "horrendous finishes". We had the one finish where a sleeperhold was deemed an illegal choke. This week Corbin lightly tossed Brisco into the ref, and the ref called for an immediate DQ. I mean this ref barely got grazed. Some casual viewers may have even though the ref just accidentally got in the way. But wow this was one horrible finish. Match itself was okay. Better Brisco match than normal, but he's still bad. His gator roll was decent. Corbin sold it by screaming. Probably got too much time for what was actually accomplished.

3. Joey Ryan & Caleb Konley vs. Crash Test Cody & Gentleman Brawler Eric Right

The commentators call Cody and Right the "Crash & 'Stache Connection" which is...pretty excellent right there. And this was a good tag. Even the match ending interference by Lisa Marie was done well. Cody and Right make for a nice thrown together team, with Right breaking out underused offense that should be used more (like atomic drops) and even goofier old stuff like airplane spins (and Joey Ryan is at least a guy who knows how to sell an airplane spin to a casino crowd). Cody always has an intensity to his bumps and strikes, moves quickly; he and Konley had a nice forearm exchange with CTC landing a nice shot, and Konley dropping him with an even harder shot. It was so much more interesting than two guys jerking off and dishing out 7 or 8 back and forth elbows. There was another nice moment where Konley went for a Thesz press and Right countered with an atomic drop. Made sense, looked good. Lisa Marie grabs Right's leg as he runs into the ropes, and it looked so much more natural than the spot usually looks. So many times you see a guy noticeably look and switch the direction he's running, telegraphing the interference. Here Lisa was a non factor until Right got near her, perfect positioning from her, and it led directly to Ryan hitting the finishing superkick. Good tag. Crash & 'Stache should stick around. That's actually a marketably catchy gimmick.

4. Chamberlain vs. Jessy Sorensen

The number of title matches in this promotion is absurd. Every show has at minimum two titles being defended. The only time they've ever actually built somebody up to a title match was when they built Whirlwind Gentlemen's EPIC two week journey to a title shot. Everybody else just gets a match with no reason, no build, no prior week announcement. Chamberlain is here wrestling for the top singles title, despite never even been featured in a singles match. It makes no sense. This match was pretty lame. Lots o' headlocks, many of them not good. As they do, at the first sign of trouble, Hammerstone ran in to interfere and end the match in a DQ. What made no sense, is that he attacked Sorensen, meaning Sorensen won the match. Wouldn't it make more sense to come in, do a couple stomps to your partner, get him at least a DQ win? That way he could still claim that Sorensen didn't defeat him, he was the victim of unexpected interference, still deserved his title shot, etc. It makes no sense. It's all to set up what's sure to be a lousy tag match as Wes Brisco came out to save Sorensen, and also proceeded to throw some downright embarrassing right hands. They were slow, they were a foot shy of the mark, and he didn't even close his fists. These were bad. These were Chris Chetti working House of Hardcore reunion shows level bad. Yuck.

***And of course for the foreseeable future I'll still be running a fundraiser for a very good cause. I've already gotten a couple of donations and their requests will be fulfilled as soon as I get some time in front of a TV!***

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Segunda Caida Fundraiser

Less than two weeks ago a massive fire destroyed the town of Middletown, CA not even 40 miles away from my own house. 76,000 acres burned, the entire town destroyed, 1900 buildings gone, including hundreds of homes. They're completely gone, devastated. The area has tons of livestock and many residents had to evacuate so quickly that they were forced to just open their gates and hope their animals escaped to safety. Late yesterday President Obama officially declared the fire a major disaster. Some of the stories I've heard are just terrible. This is arguably the closest proximity I've been in my life to a major disaster.

One of the people who lost their home is my co-worker Jan. This house has been in her family for 80 years. This home meant everything to her. She had told me before that she would do everything in her power to hold onto that home. And as if mocking her, something far beyond her power completely erased that home. When news of the fire first started to spread I immediately thought of Jan, if she was okay, if her family was safe, if all of her pigs and other animals were safe. I found out two days later that while everybody (including animals) had evacuated to safety, everything else was gone. Jan is so, so kind. This is the woman who will bring me homemade plum jam, or homemade croutons, and then also talk about Tarantino movies or Breaking Bad. She is always pleasant - something you don't always get in a large office - and I cannot imagine the devastation she has gone through and is still going through, and will be going through for years. A lifetime of her memories gone, with zero time to grab any of them.

I began thinking of services that I could offer, things I could sell so that I can give her money to give her even a miniscule part of her life back. But I don't have many special skills. I'm a governmental accountant, which will help none of you unless you happen to own your own city and need me to reconcile your Fixed Assets. But, I do write about professional wrestling. Perhaps too much. I've written more words about Mark Starr and Bobby Blaze than many of you have time to read about Mark Starr and Bobby Blaze. But I love watching and writing about wrestling, and some of you love reading it.

So I ask you - IF YOU CAN - please donate some money to my coworker and friend Jan. One of her daughters has made a GoFundMe page which I linked to below.

Now, what's in this for you? Well, if any of you donate ANYTHING to help Jan get back on her feet, not only will I match your contributions, but I will write about anything you want to see written about on these very electronic pages of Segunda Caida. GoFundMe accepts donations as little as $1. I do not care how much you donate. If you donate a dollar, I'll put up my dollar and write wholeheartedly whatever you would like to see written. If you donate $50, I will match that and write some more.
For purposes of soliciting the most possible donations, I won't even limit the selection to pro wrestling. You want me to write about my top 10 albums of 2015? Sure. You want me to rank my favorite Robert Forster performances top to bottom? Sure. You want financial advice? Sure. You want to hear about the time in 5th grade I laughed so hard that I peed my pants, and before anybody saw what happened I soaked my entire person with water from the sink and then claimed the sink went haywire and soaked me, just to cover up the terrible secret of my peed pants? Sure, I'll write about that (although.....yeah I guess there isn't much more to that story).

You can be as boring as you want with your requests ("Here's a match. Watch it and write about it." "Watch this PPV and talk about it." "Do podcasts more often.") or you can really micromanage what I write about and turn this into a whole Lars Von Trier/Jorgen Leth 5 Obstructions type deal ("Watch this Fit Finlay match but only say true, negative things about it." "Watch this Edge match and only say honest, nice things about it." "Analyze how many white No Fear shirts are worn by the average WCW mid 90s WorldWide crowd.") I figure it's your money, you might as well have some say in what you're reading. I will probably even be able to talk Phil into writing about something if you really don't like what my writing brings to the table. 

So please, donate. You don't have to tell me how much you donated if you don't want to (for purposes of me matching your contribution I would LIKE to know, but really I'd just be happy if you donated anything so I don't really care). You can leave your name anonymously (both on Segunda Caida and on the GoFundMe page) if that's more comfortable for you. I figure you donate, then leave a comment on THIS POST saying "Hey I donated $$, rank your favorite Lawler punches."  
I appreciate anything you guys can spare. I love you, tender readers. It gives me great joy to be able to contribute in some way to this strange niche passion that we all share, for professional wrestling.

Thank You,
Eric Ritz

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MLJ: Misterioso/Volador 2: Huracán Sevilla, Misterioso, Volador I vs Fuerza Guerrera, Kung Fu, MS-1

1992-01-03 @ Arena Coliseo
Huracán Sevilla, Misterioso, Volador I vs Fuerza Guerrera, Kung Fu, MS-1

Once again, the idea behind this one is to look at the Misterioso/Volador team and the big matches of their eventual feud. So far though, though it wasn't my intention, I'm stumbling behind the look at Emilio Charles I took a few weeks ago. That turned into a look at the Misterioso vs Fuerza Guerrera title match and this and the match following, through no real planning on my part, will be a look at the aftermath of that.

Sevilla worked as Ramirez II before this and as DARTH VADER before that:

I really don't know a lot about him. Kung Fu had turned rudo at some point and worked a grumpy nunchucks gimmick here. The match started with the ref running around trying to find his hidden weapons. MS-1 had just lost a hair match to Maskare (which sounds fun but I don't think we have it).

Anyway, the rudos took right over here due to all the hullabaloo over the nunchuk search. There was a distraction. They took advantage. General pairings here were Volador and MS-1, Kung Fu and Sevilla, and, of course, Fuerza and Misterioso. The ambush created a numbers advantage for the rudos and they cycled the tecnicos in for the primera. Misterioso, especially, seemed like he knew how to get the crowd behind him and to look strong, but whenever he started to fight back he was double or triple teamed. Kung Fu's stilted leg drop was ridiculous. I'm not even going to gif it.

I will gif this though. It's Fuerza being a total dick to Sevilla and yanking him around by his hair:

Also, this sell of a corner shot by Sevilla:

All in all, it was a good beatdown. They kept things moving and the rudos were just unrelenting. It was a little unfocused, but that seemed to add to the feel of it, not subtract. It felt like grumpy violence for the sake of it.

The rudos took the primera and left the tecnicos convalescing on the outside. After a bit of miscommunication, however, we'd get a pretty spirited comeback that almost immediately moved into tecnicos vs the world. It began well, however, with MS-1 stooging it up in preparation for a faceoff with Sevilla:

and Fuerza falling out of the ring in retreat for no reason:

and ended amazingly with this awesome monkey-flip-your-own-partner-into-a-sunset-flip spot. It's a cool enough spot that you figure that they had to use it fairly often. Look at Fuerza sell the shot on the top too:

So that evened up the caidas. The tercera was a lot of what you'd expect, very paint but numbers, but executed well. I'm not going to say that trios matches from 91/92 just feel more "right" than what we get today but there's some element of comfort in them, which is a funny notion for me since I'd never seen any of this stuff before two years ago. This was heated with a solid beatdown, some good tecnico shine, some fun spots and moments, and a great post-match brawl. What else can you ask for in a random trios match from twenty five years ago?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Digging in the Crates Podcast #3

It is an all Segunda Caida show as I am joined by Eric to discusses some matches for a future Schneider Comp.

Digging in the Crates #3

Here are links to the matches

Spoiler v. Wahoo McDaniels NWA Houston 4/21/79

Bradshaw/Terry Funk/Dustin Runnels v. Too Much/Jerry Lawler 7/25/98

Giant Baba v. Killer Karl Kox 3/81

Carlos Colon v. Stan Hansen 2/87

Also check out

Shock Cinema Magazine 

The Mynabirds

And stay listening past the theme song for a post credit scene!! Marvel style!

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NOT All Japan Motherload - Funk/Kabuki vs. Sabu/Chono

Terry Funk/Great Kabuki vs. Sabu/Masahiro Chono - NJPW 5/17/95

ER: This match was immediately intriguing to me, as LOOK AT IT ON PAPER, but also because it's Terry Funk in NEW Japan. That immediately sounded like a mistake to me, as I don't recall him ever working NJPW before. There has to be some story behind this. A quick check shows he only worked 4 total matches for them, two in May '95, and the other two more of an old man glory tour in the 2000s. So this is weird, and I didn't know this match existed. Why did Funk work two matches in NJPW in 1995? This match right here at least seems like a marquee, unique match. The other one seems utterly pointless (Funk/Koshinaka vs. Fuyuki/Chono. Why bring Funk in for that match!?), but there has to be a reason why a total All Japan lifer like Funk worked two seemingly random matches for NJPW in '95. I WANT ANSWERS!

The match itself is awesome, full of all four men stiffly punching each other for the duration. Sabu especially has no problem just shoot punching Funk several times in the face, but in addition to that his worked punches looked really great. Kabuki is also a total beast in this. Some early stuff with Chono is a little tentative, but mid match when he tags in he just goes AFTER Sabu and hits the most gorgeous and brutal uppercuts you have ever seen. Chono works the match fast and hard, the stuff with him and Terry spilling to the floor is great, with Funk kicking his ass into the crowd and Sabu blindsiding Terry with more awesome punches. Terry has a mean gusher at this point. Sabu shoehorns all his Sabu offense in, including a wildly misguided moment where he tries balancing a folded chair on the top rope, with a seated chair ON TOP of that chair, and then thinks he could somehow balance on top of that chair to do a flying move. Pure glorious idiocy, and it sees him flop tailbone first off on a table. Funk goes for a moonsault later (didn't actually realize he was doing moonsaults as early as '95, thought he added that some time around '97), and this whole match is just weird and painful and incredibly fun. Post match we get an awesome Funk promo where he says he and Kabuki aren't as young and fast as they used to be, but they got heart, and then Sabu jumps Funk again. Sabu is screaming the entire time, calling Funk a motherfucker (yeah, apparently Sabu talked a lot in his Japan matches, which might surprise fans of his U.S. work), really lacing into Funk with nasty shots, then Funk takes over and goes for the spinning toe hold, yelling "Let's break this fucker's leg Kabuki!!" and he and Kabuki start kicking at Sabu's leg, then Kabuki walks off camera and mutters "son of a bitch". Fuck yes for all of this.

***As an added thought, Pee Wee Moore is arguably the most self-serving, obnoxious, fucking terrible referee I've ever encountered. That douche wanted so desperately to be the star of this entire match. He spent the ENTIRE MATCH shouting as loudly as possible, every single moment. You should really watch this on mute as Moore just spouts a near constant stream of completely useless dialogue the entire match. If Funk grabbed Chono, Moore would just start yelling things like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TERRY? TERRY? WATCH IT. WATCH IT TERRY. TERRY. WHAT ARE WE DOING TERRY?" He does this kind of shit the entire fucking match. He does it to everybody (except really his bestest buddy Sabu) and it's horrible. The guy so desperately wants attention the entire time. He really tries his best to make every single spot about him. I've never seen anything quite like it. It's the worst moments of Red Shoes and Earl Hebner doubled. Really, really awful.

PAS: Yeah this was totally boss, Kabuki was an awesome old man tag partner to old man Funk, this was the best version of Last Vegas ever. It really made me want to search out more mid-90s Kabuki. Sabu was about as sharp as I have seen him, hitting all of his crazy shit in that endearing nutso Sabu way. Funk bleeds and wanders around and acts nuts. Totally exceeded all expectations.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

MLJ: Misterioso/Volador 1: Mano Negra, Misterioso, Volador vs El Supremo I, Espectro Jr., Javier Llanes

1991-05-31 @ Arena México
Mano Negra, Misterioso, Volador vs El Supremo I, Espectro Jr., Javier Llanes

The gameplan for the next week or two is to look at Volador (Sr.) and Misterioso (Sr.). This was inspired in part by the Between the Sheets podcast talking about their mask match and in part by Super Parka getting his Arena Mexico booking. I figured the best way to do this is to take a look at what's online, watch some matches with them teaming, watch some matches with them feuding and end with the mask match. There's not that much online so we'll jump around and cover a span of years.

This first one had Mano Negra, Misterioso, and Volador vs El Supremo, Espectro, Jr, and Javier Llanes. Negra's gotten play lately as an Atlantis mask victim. Llanes, the son of Enrique Llanes (and maybe cousin to the Guerreros?), was a guy I wasn't familiar with at all, but I liked him so much here that I went and watched his 92 title match with Dandy which is online and is top notch. You should check that out if you haven't already. El Supremo was a long time vet who took the mask of Robot R-2 (the fiend!) and Lawrence de Arabia (because of course he did). Pierroth, Jr. would take his the next year.

This was a pretty typical early 90s trios match in all of the best ways. Lots of tecnico shine, some solid heat, perhaps not the comebck that one would hope for but a very fun finishing stretch in the tercera. A dynamic, feel good match, and while this might be a stretch, I think it's the sort of match you don't get a lot now from CMLL due to a simple contradiction. Early match wrestlers aren't supposed to do quite as much as they do here and upper card rudos don't generally want to give as much as the ones here do. Sometimes you get something right smack in the mid card that approximates this, but not as often as you'd think. That's my impression at least.

The primera started with feeling out and ended with a bunch of rudo miscommunication and clowning. Llanes showed me a ton of personality here. Like, so.

He did that goofy post arm drag dance twice, which made it mean more when Volador really got him with one. And then there's the world's most subtle foul:

Lots of good, quick action here with all of the tecnicos getting to shine and flip and fight against the odds. This gif of Volador leaping over the rope after Supremo and then casually whacking him in the face as he walked past sums things up well.

Anyway, the tecnicos picked up the fall and they moved into the segunda with more of the same. Eventually the rudos took over with Espectro cowering in his corner, the tecnicos all charging in to crush him, the refs pulling two of them back, and Espectro pulling the third in. It was servicable, at least. Generally there are two sorts of acceptable rudo beatdowns. The first is when all of the rudos are in and the tecnicos cycle in and out only to get ambushed or swarmed. The second is when one rudo is in, the rudos do quick switches, and the tecnicos are stuck hoping for a tag on the apron. To me, the problem is when you have all of the rudos in at once and the tecnicos stuck on the apron. Thankfully, this match didn't have that. It was the latter which segued into the former, ending with a nice double submission on Mano Negra.

Unfortunately, the comeback transition spot was just okay. Basically, the tecnicos just had enough and then regrouped enough to make a concentrated offensive. Nothing clever but nothing egregious either. At least the comeback itself was good, with the tecnicos wanting revenge. Volador tossed Supremo into the ring cover. Misterioso punched Llanes in the corner. Then he kicked out his flipping gutbuster and Llanes sold it like his stomach had just gotten inverted as well.

This led into the finishing stretch with cut offs, a few dives (including a crazy one by Volador), and a roll up by Negra on Espectro. I'm not sure this match led to anything really. I don't see a big Mano Negra vs Espectro, Jr. match or anything, but it was a lot of fun for what it was.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

WWE Night of Champions 2015 Live Blog

ER: So I have watched maybe an hour total of WWE TV in the last couple months? I'm pretty uninterested in the product right now, which I don't think makes me very unique right now. As I understand it that's how many people feel right now. I mean as recently as last year I was DVRing Raw and Smackdown and watching all the PPVs, now I can't even remember the last time I watched Raw or Smackdown. Rachel watches Total Divas, but that is probably months behind actual current TV. So I don't know any of the current stories, don't know who current champions are, don't even really know the card. I'm basically going in blind. We'll see how that goes.

1. Cody Rodes/The Ascension vs. Neville/Lucha Dragons

ER: "You call them henchmen, I call them two dangerous cosmic dark horses", gawd fuck off Michael Cole. Boy, commercials during the pre-show match seem pretty pointless. And this match was nothing to blog about, that's for sure. The Ascension are still somehow a thing, Cody isn't very good without his brother, Dragons are really fun but seeing Ascension take their offense looks pretty ludicrous. Neville (arguably the worst ever "one word" WWE name ever) tags in towards the end and he and Cody don't seem to click very well. This was one forgettable TV match right here. Cole was abysmal throughout.

2. Ryback vs. Kevin Owens

ER: I thought this was really good. Steen goes after Ryback's arm and Ryback does an admirable job selling it throughout (loved little moments where he had it clutched tight to his body). Early we get a cool press slam spot with Owens taking a big drop to the floor. Steen trapping Ryback's arm and ramming it into the ringpost looked sick, Ryback really flew into it. Steen wrenched that left arm in a few painful looking ways, really bending it around. Ryback had some cool spots powering out of the arm work, and it didn't overstay its welcome. Finish was sort of cheap, but also really smartly set-up. Ryback had Steen up, Steen raked his eyes leading to a roll-up title win, but Steen smartly raked the eyes while the ref was behind him so it looked good. And I imagine it will lead to an immediate rematch (probably on Raw since they love doing that).

3. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

ER: Oooooo we get some earring drama. God what has happened to this storyline? Match itself was really good with both guys bumping around for each other, Ziggler more obviously, a lot of big moves that hit, and then an amusing finish. Ziggler really flew into stuff, which is not very surprising if you've seen a Ziggler PPV match before. I was more surprised he leaned out of a Rusev boot before bumping off the apron into the railing. Rusev has a great looking spin kick. I dug how quick all of this was worked, and I actually dug Summer Rae's involvement. She throws her high heel and banks it right off Rusev's face (announcers speculated she was trying to hit the ref, but I have no idea what this storyline is so who knows what she was doing), but Rusev really got a shoe banked off his head which lead to Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag. Disappointed nobody said "Summer turned heel".

Between them using replay to show how Steen raked the eyes away from the ref, and how Dolph had his head smack off the mat, I have to give huge credit to whomever is directing this PPV. I've seen so many replays just expose something that looked good at normal speed, but tonight they're all specifically helping further get over the participants. There was a moment where Ziggler spikes him with a DDT and Rusev's head is clearly several inches off the mat, and I fully expected to see a replay of it, but they just moved on. Good work boys.

Between HD Terry Bradshaw and HD Ric Flair, I'm not sure which towheaded blonde good ol' boy is aging worse on my TV screen today.

4. New Day vs. Dudley Boyz (still going with that "z" spelling)

ER: As a jazz minor trombonist, I am 100% fully behind Xavier Woods using a trombone for ringside heat. Except it's clearly just getting them over as not heels. I had no idea the Dudleys were even back.  Quite the coup for WWE to nab the TNA hall of famers. Woods is kind of dangerously TOO "on" on the floor. He's got funny material ("they don't even have the same color camouflage, and I STILL can't see their legs), but he's kind of a constantly running faucet down there. He needs some more contained bursts. Here he's yelling during down time, but also yelling during the big moments of the match. It came off simultaneously entertaining, and more grating than Chris Tucker screaming his way through every second of Fifth Element. Director deserves more props for replaying Big E's nasty apron splash on Bubba Ray. That looked tough. Match itself was good. Dudleys still have gas in the tank, even D-von threw out some nice clotheslines (including a great flying one on Kofi), Kofi took a nice high backdrop, and (except for the limp finish) this was all super solid tag work.

5. Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella

ER: Charlotte has an impossibly non-existent butt. She's like Masa Chono. It's just lower back right down to legs. Charlotte apparently reminds JBL of Mildred Burke. Really? I guess he's seen tons of film footage from the 40s. Because obviously she's more of an Ed Strangler Lewis. I really liked this match, up until the finish. Nikki looked awesome here. Her leg work was really smart and well done, and she had a surprising amount of leg based offense. There was a great moment where Nikki kicked Charlotte's leg before suplexing her into the corner, then we had other cool stuff like a dragon screw from the apron to the floor. Nikki was relentless in this and was just all over Charlotte. But the finish kinda blew and really felt tacked on and totally independent of anything that had happened in the match. Nikki hardly took anything from Charlotte, but then Charlotte was able to effortlessly lock on her finisher, bridging up on her bum wheel for extra leverage. Felt like they suddenly had to go home and couldn't properly build to a real finish. Charlotte really doesn't do tons for me. Nikki however looked really really good. The strut postmatch was amusing but at this point I would be 100% fine with never seeing Flair on TV again. He just bums me out at this point.

6. Wyatt Family vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, annnnnnnnnnnnnd Jericho

ER: Some guy in a flak jacket jumps into the ring when they're about to announce the mystery opponent, Bray was really great with a "Is that your guy!?" reaction. Dean was trying to hold back laughter and that's probably not what they wanted, but I'm amused. Michael Cole is in full desperation "What a moment!" selling Jericho's participation. JBL mentions Jericho working for "Riki Tenryu" as a junior heavyweight. Match itself was plenty of fun. I had never seen Strowman before and he was a kick. I'm kind of a sucker for big lugs and this guy is pretty mammoth. Really impressed me standing next to Harper. That is a team I wouldn't mind seeing more of. I loved Strowman's finisher as it really looked like he was squeezing the life out of Jericho. Jericho's legs dangling was a great visual, like fucking Darth Vader choking out a dude. Luke Harper is so damn good, he really should have been given the ball. These teams work together nicely and it always just serves to piss me off that they broke up both teams as we could still be in the middle of awesome trios, with some new members being added or cycled out.

No matches have blown me away this show,  but everything has been good (outside of the meh pre-show match, but technically that shouldn't count against a PPV).

7. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

ER: Surprised they're running each Seth match back to back, but we'll see where it leads. His white get-up is both cool, but also like one chest piece away from him being the White Ranger. I wish white tights in WWE meant the same thing as white tights in lucha. I think Rollins hits a demonstrably worse Slingblade than Tanahashi. This match was fine. They did some stuff I really liked, some stuff I disliked. I liked Cena's rana off a running powerbomb, with Rollins taking a nasty bump into the buckles. The big move overkill Cena certainly had a short shelf life of enjoyability. I'd be more interested in these guys toning things down instead of this PWG stuff. Although one point in their favor is that the matches only go half the length of PWG matches. So yeah, this was overall fun and didn't overstay.

8. Seth Rollins vs. Sting

ER: So I have no interest in Sting, he's never been a guy I liked, rarely saw WCW growing up so don't have any sort of nostalgia for him. But I really loved this. This is probably more entertained than I've ever been by a Sting singles match. Once he took that wild bump into the announce table I was fully on board. Then Rollins takes that lunatic bump off the top into the barrier. Sting flies into the buckles on a powerbomb, then must be insane as he does a really great crossbody off the top to the floor. I mean that was a great crossbody right there. Just splatted right into Rollins. At this point the match was beyond just "worth watching", it was actively really good. But then I'm not sure what happened with the medic coming in. Maybe I missed something. They were speculating on him maybe getting hurt on that corner powerbomb. But we just sort of had a major stop to the match, which had to have been due to actual injury, which kind of blows a hole into every single match where a guy has a hurt limb and makes Sting look wimpy for the entire match needing to be stopped. Everybody else has to "survive on their injury". Took a lot of steam out of the thing. I still got sucked back in as Rollins put over the Deathlock nicely but this was a weird way to end things.

And then Kane. Because of fucking course Kane. Kane is that fucking herpes sore you're constantly dreading flaring up. You know it's gonna flare up and you keep hoping it won't but you have fucking herpes and you're always going to have herpes.

(I don't have herpes)

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America Review 9/16/15

1. House of Truth (Dijak & Diesel) vs. reDRagon

Kevin Kelly puts over J. Diesel's "golden gloves background" as he's doing a dorky jerkoff screaming forearms in the middle of the ring exchange. He would be much more interesting if he actually attempted to use this background, instead of jacking off in tribute to Japan. It's like facing Mecca while you pray. You have to face east while doing jackoff forearm exchanges. Overall this was a pretty fun match. Fish - the guy I like the most out of these four - was kinda off the whole time, worked pretty sloppy. But Dijak? This was the best I've seen Dijak look. First part of the match was him tossing Fish and O'Reilly around, including dumping Fish with a cool back breaker into just hurling him over the top to the floor. All of the stuff Dijak was involved with was fun, loved him getting chopped down by reDRagon's leg kicks. Fish caps off his match long sloppy run by landing on Diesel's face while doing a samoan drop, busting his nose open. Still, fun overall match. Lethal was loud and grating on commentary. He just shouted so much.

We get an Epic Brisco Bros. promo to hype up their PPV match against mystery opponents. These guys are the best. "Let me take it for a bit Jay". Talking about how they can be scouted, but Briscos can't scout them because they don't know who they are, and how the Briscos gameplan is just going to be to punch them in the face. Their chemistry and interplay and style is perfect.

2. Cedric Alexander vs. Dalton Castle

Oh man, Silas Young on commentary is talking about how he's going to make Castle's boys into men. "Oh I got a lot of things to do to these boys, coming out here with their greased up bodies". THESE GUYS ARE GOING TO FUUUUUUUCK and it's going to be glorious. The fans want it soooo bad and they hate how good it makes them feel. "These boys need to be taught how to be men." Young is actually talking about teaching them how to properly urinate. Match is fast paced and fun but I was admittedly distracted by Young's wanton desire on commentary. Castle's delayed German always looks killer, also liked his spin around rana from the apron. Veda Scott knows how to work a crowd, and I really liked the timing on the one spot where Cedric hides behind her, and she ducks just in time for Cedric to punch Castle over her. I'm normally not a fan of "opponent distracted, gets rolled up" finishes, but Cedric did one of the best roll ups I've ever seen here and leveraged all of his weight on Castle. It really looked like a pin that would be impossible to kick out of, so it totally worked. Fun stuff.

3. The Kingdom vs. War Machine

Another fun match. Seems like if they keep these things under 10 minutes then nobody gets stretched out beyond their worth. Most in the fed can fill an 8 minute match without making too many logic gaps. I think the more time Hanson gets the more he does stupid cartwheels and the longer matches go the more likely Taven is to do really bad flying offense that misses by a mile. But this is to the point, plays to everybody's strengths, and totally works. Rowe is clearly the better member of War Machine and he does some cool stuff here. The best was his running double knees with Bennett bumping hard into the buckles. Taven doesn't mess himself here, Hanson actually works like a big hoss instead of a large fat Kofi Kingston. This is a War Machine I could get comfortable enjoying.

And then we get a Dalton Castle promo talking about celebrating his victory by having quiche and mimosas.

Overall this was probably my favorite episode of ROH TV since they've started on DA. The matches didn't expose anybody and in fact played up a lot of strengths, and adding a Briscos promo will liven up any situation. More of this stuff, ROH.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 8: Virus © vs Dragon Lee for the CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship

Aired: 2014-12-13
Taped: 2014-12-09 @ Arena México
Virus © vs Dragon Lee for the CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship

Virus is great. Virus with a game opponent, one that he can really do something with is even better. I'll admit that this entire mini-project is something of a cheat. I'd learn a hell of a lot more watching Dragon Lee against inferior opponents, but what is very much apparent through a match as good as this one, is that either he was a very quick study, Virus is simply that good, or the nature of the lucha title match, in and of itself, simply makes wrestlers look better. I think it's a good chunk of A and a ton of B, though probably a little bit of C as well, as it pertains to storytelling.

This was a blast. I know that Kamaitachi and Dragon Lee have had some big matches over the last year, but I can't imagine myself liking them more than I liked this. That's wholly on me, though. I was going nuts not for the big spots but for how both wrestlers were using little punches and little leverage moves to get in and out of holds in the primera. Stuff like this:

How cool is that? He didn't have to do that. I can't speak of why he's doing things like this, if it's due to his training or just due to working with Virus, but that he finds them worth his time in a setting like this is something that actively excites me for the rest of Dragon Lee's career. It's not the sort of thing you unlearn. If he finds it valuable and worth doing now, he'll probably still find it valuable five years from now. That, to me, is as exciting as any of his big spots or dives. Striking a balance between the big things and the little things is what makes a wrestler great, and he showed the potential for that in this primera.

It was absolutely good, with the sense of struggle that you need in something like this. They were making each other work for everything and through doing that, it makes everything mean something more. Everything escalated. Struggle and escalation, meaning and direction, suspension of belief and purpose behind what's being done; this is the stuff that makes for a great title match primera and they had it here. Finally, they picked up the pace, with a few counters and teases before Dragon Lee locked on his spider arm-bar.

The segunda was relatively breif but still good. I liked that Dragon Lee started with the distinct advantage since you usually see a reset here. Virus had to really fight his way back, with escapes, like this one, which I thought was worth gif'ing:

counters, retreats, and ultimately a dodge during rope running. It was a very incrimental transition, leading into a pick up/drop down and a stump puller. I really liked the way they chose to do it.

Then the tercera was all out action. Once again, they didn't start with a reset, instead making Dragon Lee work to regain and even footing. It wasn't an outright beatdown like you'd get in a mask match but there was a distinct advantage from Virus up until the point that Lee was able to string together a series of counters (see below), punctuating it with a tope.

If the first half of the match was Virus dictating the tempo and Dragon Lee keeping up on the mat, then the back half was Lee really getting to show off and Virus being there to feed into his offense and serve as his base (while still being admirably showy himself). They brought things up and down, trading counters and building to things like the following: I don't usually gif dives, but here's the slow motion version of this one because it was spectucular:

Really, I don't want to write up too much of the tercera. I'd rather people who haven't seen it yet see it for themselves. It had call backs and paralleled moves, and it all led into an exciting finishing run that ended with Virus pulling it out as it just wasn't Dragon Lee's time yet. He came out looking stronger than he came in though, even in defeat, which is one of the very best things wrestling can ever accomplish. Instead of me going more in depth than that, let me sum it up with Virus' second, Disturbio, showing you how he felt about everything:

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 8/29/15 Review

1. Tyshaun Prince vs. "The Gentleman Brawler" Eric Right

So Tyshaun Prince got a pretty long TV match, and it wasn't actually that bad! This felt like the best possible singles match to have against Prince. Right outruns him for a bit, and it actually gets good when Prince gets ahold of him. Prince threw some cool body shots in the corner, loved him holding up Right's arm before dealing a shot to the ribs. Then Prince does some elbow drops and while he doesn't drop the best elbow, he lands close to the body and that's at least half the look. He loses the point of the elbow as maybe he's scared of the landing or something, but it's a big body smashing into another body so it looks fine. Right fought out of a backbreaker with some knees to the side of the heard, and this was fine! It was fine. It was a long Tyshaun Prince match and it was fine.

2. Fruit Loops vs. Hammerstone

Ohhhhhhh boy we got Fruit Loops. Fruit Loops is a chubby masked guy in pajama pants and tie dye shirt, billed from the Haight Ashbury district. Ugh. But we can't just have a character named after a cereal, because REAL sports has to be integrated. Marvel as the announcers put over Fruit Loops' STRONG amateur wrestling background, and really Fruit Loops does not come off as somebody who has done anything athletic in his life. It's like when Jim Ross would talk about Rico Constantino being a cop. Who could possibly care? Are we trying to get a guy named Fruit Loops over as a game competitor? I'm not the one who decided to throw a chubster in tie dye. Your company is the ones who chose to use this character. It's like they did this and went "You know I'm getting worried people aren't going to take the guy with a handmade necklace made out of the cereal he's named after seriously enough...adding in some amateur credentials will surely make people realize that Hammerstone has his hands full." Hammerstone proceeded to have plenty of room on his hands. Match is notable for seeing Fruit Loops take a clothesline bump for the first time in his career (presumably. I hope that wasn't something he had actually practiced).

3. Mike Santiago vs. Gangrel

Surprisingly competitive match for (Portland area worker) Santiago's debut. The announcers talk about how Gangrel is "fangin' and bangin'" and how fangin' and bangin' is apparently a 24/7 lifestyle. Yeesh. Santiago doesn't bring anything noteworthy to the proceedings, but he has polish and knows where he needs to be in the ring and that goes a long way in this fed. Gangrel does his cool corkscrew elbow (including an even nicer bump for a missed one), and there's some satisfying little things in this like a nice back elbow from Santiago, and Santiago going up a bit early on the Impaler but Gangrel recognizing that and delaying a bit, making it looked like Santiago was really fighting it. The whole match they keep building to a casket match between Gangrel and Tyshaun, but WWE must own the rights to "casket match" as they have to call it a "Pine Box" match here. They said the words "Pine Box" so many damn times during this match.

4. Caleb Konley vs. Mikey O'Shea

O'Shea needs some fat guy offense. He's tall and fat (or "stacked" as the announcers refer to him. Yuck.) but always ends up working FIP during his matches, no matter the size of his opponent. I liked all of Konley's knees to work over O'Shea's back, liked O'Shea's missed somersault senton, but I just need more fat guy. I mean O'Shea won with a fucking schoolboy. A guy billed as 350 lb winning with a roll up? This is a problem. O'Shea needs to start working fat and stop working like babyface Torie Wilson.

5. Jessy Sorensen vs. Joey Ryan

I literally remember nothing about this. Watched it, remembered nothing writer afterwards. It was short. Jessy Sorensen was most likely one of the guys in it...that's the most information I can comfortably recollect.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 9/9/15 Review

1. Young Bucks vs. The Addiction

Kazarian's vest is still one of the more embarrassing pieces of wardrobe you've seen, but I actually like Daniels' General's Jacket, even though I assume it means something dorky like RING fact now I'm stunned it does not just say RING GENERAL in large letters across the back. The jacket does have tons of little badges, most likely awarded to him for "Most Times Overshooting Your Finisher" and "Overuse of Abdominal Stretch Behind Ref's Back" amongst others. This was a match of two different parts, separated by an ambitiously terrible piece of Daniels offense. First half was fine, but it was the same Bucks match you've seen before, and Daniels/Kazarian don't take their offense as well as other teams. The Bucks' stuff looked good, I just really hate how Daniels takes offense. The finishing run was real hot though, with superkicks (duh) all around, some well timed interference with the Kingdom, guys leaving and entering the ring, working spots in and out. The Bucks' timing kept it all together and it all built to the Meltzer Driver with Daniels pulling the ref out and just the last moment. Great false finish, actually got duped into thinking the Bucks were winning it. Daniels later runs in with some horrible belt shots, and it all led to the announcement of an awful sounding triple threat tag match....but that finishing run was hot and ain't nothing gonna change that.

2. Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal

New Japan main event epic as Ring of Honor main event legendary classic. Did not work. 2015 Jay Lethal feels a lot like 2003-05 HHH. He has his idea of a main event epic, and he's going to do it all, even if he's not terribly good at it. The few "stand in the middle of the ring" punching segments were awful, Lethal looks like he's been getting worked punch training from Matt Bentley. I mean they were bad, Girl Scout gently knocking (or TAPPING for you crossword enthusiasts hung up on  "gently knocking". Also, later in the puzzle, the game played with curved wicker baskets is "Jai Alai") on a door, and he insists on doing these standoffs a lot. Too much. We get the House of Truth frequently interferring which was odd since a major part of the first match was Chris Sabin immediately getting tossed the first time he interferred. House of Truth aren't that good, but Dijak at least took a great bump into the rails off a Strong dropkick. Strong was not great in the match, just not as bad as lethal. Strong has had a fairly must see year so far, but here he looked off, punches looked weak, some of his knees which often look brutal looked more like thigh slaps accompanied by a kneeing motion. And this match got some tiiiiiiime. That added to the 2005 HHH NWA touring champ epic SLOG as it goes almost 25 without having anywhere near enough happening to fill that time. Lethal kept transitioning back to offense with a superkick, all match long, and it just feels weird to have this many superkicks per show, when we're supposed to buy them as 2 counts while also viewing them as transitional. Lethal got kind of famous aping Macho Man, and now that he's established he's started aping Shawn Michaels and HHH, which is an impressive step backward. And just like that I realize Lethal's horrible punches remind me of Michaels' horrible punches. Lethal should keep doing that superkick, change his name to Shane Lethal, and work a 1997 east coast indies tribute gimmick. The Lethal Injection is an impossibly preposterous finisher for anybody to be using, let alone your figurehead singles champion. Nobody can look natural standing around that long waiting for a handspring. Well, maybe Finlay could. But how upsetting would it be for Finlay to return to pro wrestling only to wrestle Shane Lethal? Awful moveset, misguided match, Corino on commentary is horrible. Bluucch.

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MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 7: Dragon Lee, Fuego, Valiente vs Ephesto, Mephisto, Virus

Aired: 2014-12-06
Taped 2014-12-02 @ Arena México
Dragon Lee, Fuego, Valiente vs Ephesto, Mephisto, Virus

More set up to the Lightweight title match the following week. Valiente and Fuego are both guys who I think shine most in trios matches where they can play a role. I'd rather see Mephisto in a trios match than in a singles match too, certainly. I actually don't have a great sense of Ephesto. Let me go take a look at wiki:

I like that his first persona was based on Blue Panther having trained him. Geez. He's 50? How old is Mephisto? Mephisto is 46. Ok then. Anyway, Ephesto debuted in 1982 according to this. That's nuts. Blue Panther's only a few years older than him anyway. Ah, he was Safari. I don't think I actually knew that. I mean, I did but I forgot at some point. Then he followed the Lucifierno path of being Hombre Sin Nombre for a while before CMLL let the fans come up with a new name for him (being after Hephaestus). That sounds like CMLL. As an aside, I miss Averno, especially given how little Rey Escporion had been used before the Guerrero feud started. They need more rudos who are really rudo and not cool heels or whatever.

On to the match: on paper, I think this should have been good. Some solid flyers/spot guys with personality on the tecnico side, competent beatdown rudos who can eat offense and were anchored by Virus on the other side, a title program shaping up for the following week. Etc. For the most part, I'd say it delivered for what it was trying to do.

Pairings to begin were Mephisto and Valiente, Fuego and Ephesto, and Dragon Lee and Virus (they didn't delay that too much). Lots of methodological and competent matwork to begin. I think it was a conscious pacing decision as the build was for Dragon Lee vs Virus. Once they got to it, the pace picked up and the crowd got into things, only for a Mephisto cheapshot from the outside to cut things off right when it was getting exciting. They did a good job of taking the fight out of Lee here, but the swarm on the tecnicos was a bit too delayed. Usually that happens right on time and we don't get a half minute of them looking like idiots on the apron. Here we did. I kind of like how Ephesto just uses a shoulder-breaker, by the way. It's refreshing, especially in a match with the frigging Valiente Driver.

The beatdown flowed into the segunda. There was a moment early on where Mephisto seemed to be going into business for himself on Dragon Lee's mask and Virus made sure to come over and join in to keep the focus where it should have been. This was a fun diversion of a beatdown because it played more into a traditional FIP. The tecnicos ended up back on the apron and they kept one rudo in at a time for the most part. They even played some southern tag tricks with the tecnicos being held back by the ref which allowed illegal changes by the rudos. So long as there aren't three rudos in the ring, I think this does work in lucha. Usually it doesn't pay off well and after a few minutes of it they just let the tecnico out of the ring anyway, but here that didn't happen. Instead, Dragon Lee did his usual handspring off the ropes/heel miscommunication comeback and the tecnicos ran in. Lee hit his big dive here but then Fuego slid out of the ring for no reason in the world except for to have Ephesto hit a dive on him and set up Valiente beating Mephisto. Blatantly bad wrestling there, but it was just a blip in the stream, really.

The tercera was mainly a reset, lots of action, and then a focus on Virus vs Dragon Lee. It's a great pairing, surely less dynamic than Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi but with enough familiarity by this point that they were able to switch up things (kicks, for instance), and in some ways I like it more as there's more of a contrast. Fuego and Valiented played their roles well, including Fuego dancing about and Valiente hitting the fireplug tope. Virus locked in this awesome submission on Fuego:

and said tope took out Mephisto to leave things as Virus vs Dragon Lee. Lee was challenging the following week, so he had to take the win here, and he did after a pretty good exchange: check out this roll-up counter spot for instance,

Anyway, this was good stuff with just a few iffy moments and I'm looking forward to seeing the title match.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It Was Once Said By a Man Who Couldn't Quit, Super Dragon Please Can I Have Another Hit

Super Dragon/Kevin Steen v. The Young Bucks PWG 12/10/11 -EPIC

This was the first of Super Dragon's return matches, as he had been out of wrestling for the previous three years. It was a Guerilla Warfare match, and actually reminded me of a horrifically violent Stagger Lee/Bill Watts v. Midnight Express from Mid-South. Super Dragon was the returning tubby promoter bad ass coming out of retirement to pummel the jerk pretty boy tag team. Opening minutes have Dragon and Steen just brutalizing the Bucks, open hand slaps to the face, recklessly thrown chairs to the sides their heads. It looks like a violent squash early, but the Bucks are able to frog splash Super Dragon through a table and take over by viciously beating on Steen with chairs on his bad knees. Bucks can be pretty nasty when they want to be, and they do a nice job as opportunists. Super Dragon took a pretty big beating in this section too. One of the major criticisms of Dragon is that he potatoes the guys he wrestles, and he sure does, but he takes as much as he dishes out here. Finish is probably overkill, with one Buck getting psycho drivered through a table, with the other Buck getting a double stomp package piledriver combo. Still this kind of match needs the heels to get decimated, and I guess a Psycho Driver through the table is a 2010s version of a Bill Watts right hand.


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