Segunda Caida

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 11/7/15 Review

1. Huggy Cub vs. Cowboy Kid Quick

"Two of the hottest athletes in the world today". That might be a wee bit hyperbolic there, announce crew. Huggy Cub is a mini pimp, Quick is a mini cowboy. Cub calls Quick "Brokeback Mountain". I actually liked the first half of this, basically up until the point where both guys gas hard. First couple minutes they do some fun suplexes, nice armdrags, quick bumps, violent dropkicks, really good stuff! Then they kind of hit a wall and noticeably slowed down, Quick went for an awkward springboard asai...something, and slipped, then got hung up in the ropes, then hung there by his arms for awhile...then just fell backwards into the ring. The announcer at one point dropped that this was an "absolutely incredible" match. 1) He cannot say "incredible" without qualifying it with an "absolutely", and 2) He thinks that every single match is absolutely incredible. Everybody must know this by now. Huggy covered up the Cowboy blown spot...well, really as best as anybody could cover up a midget dangling by his arms in the ropes after slipping off the ropes, but both guys were pretty tired at this point. They recognized this and went home a short while later, but the bloom was off the rose.

2. Ethan HD vs. Crash Test Cody

This was a perfect little WorldWide match. HD is a good worker with a bunch of different tightly delivered strikes, and Cody has energy, bumps big (really it would be a massive disappointment if a man working a Crash Test Dummy gimmick didn't bump moderately big), normally really good in his role. HD ambushes him with nice short jabs, great left hands, throws in a knee to the stomach, a liver kick, all nice things to back CTC into the corner. Cody fires back with decent jabs of his own, and some nice elbows. HD throws in some nice short suplexes, one with a nice floatover, and CTC peppers in his comebacks nicely. He knows how to lock in a nice crossface, and at least the announcers didn't get all clammy about saying the word "crossface" this time. Last time they danced awkwardly around it, as if they were afraid that saying it would invoke Benoit, Candyman style, who would then murder their loved ones. Good match.

3. Gentleman Brawler Eric Right vs. Darin Corbin

Not bad, but kind of ruined by a silly finish featuring interference while two chubby girls texted right in front of the interference. They were the two closest people to the action and they hilariously could not be bothered to even glance up. They looked like two people being held captive, half-assing an obligation. Huggy Cub comes out and steals the miracle tonic, leading to Right losing. But the match was fairly short so it kinda made Right look like a wimp needing to go to the tonic so early. Both guys looked good enough, match just didn't add up to much.

4. Caleb Konley vs. Wes Brisco

This wasn't bad at all, even though it ended in a predictable double count out. Brisco usually has about 90 seconds of decent wrestling in him, and then a switch hits and everything he does after that 90 seconds looks comparably worse and worse. His mat stuff is actually fine enough, and he'd look a lot better if he just stuck with that. Konley had some pretty nice mat exchanges and I especially liked Konley bridging up on his neck, while Brisco then kind of swept his arm under Konley's body to knock him onto his shoulders. I also liked some of his arm work on Konley, like a legdrop to the arm and an armbar over the ropes (even though none of it goes anywhere, so it kind of comes off looking like "I saw somebody do this before and thought it looked kewl"). But then that 90 second marks and suddenly he's throwing wooden clotheslines and doing a real dumpy looking plancha to the floor. Konley takes a suplex on the floor in sick fashion, but once this went to the floor it was clear this match was not going to have a finish.

5. The Whirlwind Gentlemen vs. Hammerstone & Chamberlain

So by my count this is the Whirlwind Gentlemen's 4th shot at the tag titles. It actually feels like more. And this feels like a bad sign with a title match starting with just a couple minutes left in the show...and sure enough, less than two minutes into the match Hammerstone gets DQ'd for not breaking a 5 count. It wasn't like he was even choking him, just punching and kicking him in the corner. Maybe H&C paid off the refs!?!? Afterwards the whole roster empties out, making for a fun brawl that really just made me want to see more Sugar Brown punching dudes. Manley and Marcel do big running swan dives into the throng of Paragon, making for a great visual. But wait, didn't they do this exact same thing like...two weeks ago? Was I in some sort of sleepy/drunk haze where I imagined both members of WG doing a dive off the ramp onto the whole roster? I'm not crazy right?

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

MLJ: Negro Navarro, Trauma I, Trauma II vs Felino, Puma, Tiger

2015-11-22 @ Arena México (Elite)
Negro Navarro, Trauma I, Trauma II vs Felino, Puma, Tiger

I'm playing catch up from Thanksgiving here. I have more Sombra for later in the week, including a really fun trios match that I need to watch the end of and the start of his singles matches against Felino, the first of which I can't watch the end of because it's not online. I think they'll give a good look at his development over the years, however.

This was from last week's Elite show. I know we get fancams pretty quickly on these from one of my favorite uploaders but the vantage isn't always the best. This, on the other hand, is a pretty nice shot of it all. Unfortunately, I still can't tell the Traumas apart. Them matched up against Puma and Tiger is absolutely ideal though, and Felino, while having devolved into a body humor-centric comedy act over the years, can still go in short bursts making him a great potential Navarro foil. And this was a blast. I think I liked it more than what we saw of the Panthers vs Navarros match from a few weeks ago, as while the initial matwork between Navarro and Felino wasn't as good as what he did with Panther, everything else was just a lot of fun.

I'd say the weakest part of the match was the primera. There wasn't quite the sense of struggle that I look for in matwork on the level that this should have been at. There was a lot of showmanship, first between Felino and Navarro and then between the kids, and I even think there was an escalation balanced by some timely working of the crowd to help make things matter, but the weight just wasn't there. They cycled through a couple of times before escalating into an awesome spot where Tiger dropkicked a Trauma on the way out for a dive and Puma powerbomb position lawn-darted him into the guardrail.

Felino locked in the reverse figure four on Navarro shortly thereafter and it felt secondhand earned because his kids pulled off something so devastating.

I'm not a big spot guy but there is a joy in watching Puma and Tiger, and it's enhanced somehow when they get their dad into the act. Felino's much more enjoyable with them than he is with Niebla and his brother. Case in point, this spot during the cats' momentum holding into the segunda:

There was a lot of that sort of thing in a short period of time, including Puma and Tiger's usual shtick with superkicks and dragonball posing. We have a few cuts in the match, but just a few. You still get the sense of what's going on and where the transitions are. Here after a sense of superior teamwork from the cats to keep control, one of the Traumas put a hand up to stop Puma so he could posture (and thus stop beating on them). I'd like to say this was deep psychology centered around their need to play to the crowd, but that's a bit of a reach. Anyway, the other Trauma grabbed his leg which let the Navarros come back (with Negro Navarro winning with am STF to make for the parallel structure).

The tercera was pretty much what you'd want for a low stakes, high action match like this. They cycled through with guys going in and out, with spots and cutoffs and playing to the crowd and the Traumas taking it with tandem submissions. The best part about the end was Navarro's pride. It's more fun than great but I'm glad that we have it to watch even though it was on an Elite show.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 11/25/15 Review

1. Moose vs. A guy with the last name Carter

Silly flipping spear, match over. "What a way to kick off this hour of ROH television." Okay, Kevin Kelly. Elgin comes out after prompted by Stokely Hathaway. and gets in Moose's face. Moose says "we can do this right now". Never before has anybody who said that, actually done something right now. Truth Martini says a bunch of stuff I don't listen to. Any Truth Martini is too much, but it sets up this match...

2. Moose & Michael Elgin vs. Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel

And it's not bad! It's brisk, almost worked tornado style. Everybody except Moose looked good. Moose had these terrible standing headbutts to Diesel's shoulder, and Diesel looked like he had no idea what he was supposed to be selling. Elgin hit a fun somersault senton off the apron, Diesel took an absolutely disgusting spinning back chop to the face from Elgin (that one got a couple rewinds), Dijak takes a crazy Psicosis ropes bump off a lariat, Taeler Hendrix looked like a weird plastic monster, Dijak's 360 pump kick is goofy but resulted in Moose getting kicked in the neck (even though Moose doesn't get that whole selling thing at all). So yeah, this was good. Moose is not good.

3. Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal

Damn this was goooood. I strongly dislike most of this Jay Lethal touring heel champ run, as he has terrible offense for a main event heel, the worst finisher in wrestling, and just doesn't have the persona for the style he's trying to work. Strong I like, but wasn't expecting anything when I dislike 50% of the guys in a match. But the match kicked ass. It's probably, easily, the best match from the whole run of shows shown on Destination America. Strong beat Lethal's ass the whole match, tossing out big elbows and nasty chops, really working him over all around the ring.  There was a minor blown spot that I think helped things, where Strong tried to pick Lethal up to drop him with a backbreaker he dropped him. BUT then he muscled him up hardway to redo the spot and planted Lethal over his knee. I'm not usually the biggest fan of immediately redoing spots, but it just made Strong look determined. Least favorite part of the match was Lethal hitting the Lethal Injection only to have Strong kickout. The kickout itself was really well done, nicely placed, made sense in the match, but Lethal made this impossibly goofy face afterwards to express "shock" and the camera just lingered on this awful face. He had half his lip tucked into his mouth and was doing these exaggerated stage breaths, like the community theatre cast of Godspell coming out for a minorly deserved curtain call. His horrible facial expression, with that weird tucked lip and heaving breath, looked like he was doing an impression of Oklahoma doing his impression of JR. I'm not sure what face he thought he was making, but it couldn't have possibly been that face. Lethal did keep going for his bad offense, his wimpy dives, his horrible finisher, but Strong just kept beating ass. His knees are a thing of beauty. He's got the timing down pat, and I've seen few better jumping knees. The finish run was great with Strong throwing every single thing at Lethal, one right after the other, and you knew it was building to something big, like when they shoot up tons of fireworks right at the end of 4th of July, all at once, with Lee Greenwood playing somewhere. Strong hits some big ass knees, a big gutbuster, his running kick, backbreaker, really just stacking up all his offense for one big blowoff. By the time he locked on the Stronghold Lethal tapped almost to just make it stop, which was the proper finish. Really really good match, not just because it exceeded expectations, but because it was legitimately good. And also, because that means less Lethal in big title matches, some distance for Strong and Lethal, and puts everybody in a better place.

If this was the last episode on DA (and I think it was) they at least went out on a nice high note.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

MLJ: Villano III Interlude I: Black Warrior, Satánico, Villano III vs Felino, Negro Casas, Tinieblas Jr.

1998-07-28 @ Arena Coliseo
Black Warrior, Satánico, Villano III vs Felino, Negro Casas, Tinieblas Jr.

There are certain luchadores that I still feel I don't have a great handle on. Topping this list is Villano III. There was a lot of recent talk about him for the WON HOF ballot and he's supposed to be one of the all time greats. We don't have a lot of him in his prime though, just bits and pieces, as he spent a lot of his career in the UWA. I think we do have more than enough of him to get the sense of just how great he was, though. I just have to do the legwork, interspering his matches in the midst of whatever else I'm focusing on.

Like any wrestler, I'm not familiar with, I'm going to start in a wrong but familiar place, when he was already deep into his 40s and against opponents I feel very comfortable watching. Satanico and Negro Casas are two of my favorite wrestlers and, in my mind, two of the best wrestlers ever. This is a match with the two of them, and more than that, between the two of them, during Casas' late 90s tecnico run. The central program here was Casas vs Villano III, but I see no sign that it ever led to a singles match. It was a great showing for pretty much everyone but Tinieblas, though (and he, at least, played his role and was a good foil for the others), and a very strong match.

It started with a rudo swarm. The tecnicos tried to create distance and fight back but didn't have a chance against the rudos' ability to work together. Black Warrior held Negro Casas and V3 tossed Felino's head into his brother's gut. After that, they separated, with Villano destroying Casas using the side of the ring and down the rampway, finishing it up with a DDT on the floor. Meanwhile, Satanico was guiding Black Warrior around the ring to demolish the other two tecnicos. Warrior was constant motion and fluidity, darting around the ring during the beatdown. He finished Felino off with the nudo as Satanico patiently held Tinieblas until the time was right for he and Warrior to lock on a double submission, which made sense given Tinieblas' size. Satanico was excellent at knowing exactly how long to wait. No one was ever better at directing mayhem than him.

The beatdown continued on into the segunda. Tinieblas tried to help Casas but got booted in his head for his ineffectual trouble:

Villano was focused and heated and Casas is as good as garnering sympathy during a beatdown as anyone. He was really reveling in his role as tecnico and the crowd loved to be behind him. Here he ate a legdrop over the ropes by Villano and then an axehandle while draped over the apron by Black Warrior:

Villano dragged Casas around the ring and started on his leg on the floor. The ref argued, buying Casas a moment and the mandate of heaven shifted. It's one of those symbolic elements of lucha. If the tecnico who is the focal point of the match is able to start to fight back, his partners will as well. Here Casas started back impassionately, and his partners followed suit. This ended with Villano retreating and a reset into the ring. Felino and Black Warrior were matched up so well. I'll have to try to track down more of them from this era. Here, Felino caught him off a springboard rana and dove forward with a powerbomb in a really spectacular spot to take the segunda for his team:

They reset again in the tercera, with Villano trying to beg off and Casas having no part of it. Casas basked a bit too long after hitting a tilt-a-whirl slam and Villano started to chop back. Even at this relatively late stage of his career, he was gritty, effectively cruel, and had great timing. That's obvious. I love how Casas shut him down though, with a few leg kicks, a stomp on the foot, and his spinning back kick. The stomp on the foot was what made it:

From there, they went towards the last round of exchanges, with Satanico using Tinieblas as prop to be clowned off of and more quick sequence between Felino and Black Warrior. The finish was great too. Tinieblas hit a plancha on Satanico (who caught it admirably), leaving Felino and Casas with Warrior and Villano. The tecnicos reversed a double whip (after Casas charged headlong into his brother to dampen the first rudo attempt), and then hit tandem Casitas, the rudos' heads crashing into each other mid move:

Even though it was past his prime, I thought Villano III showed a lot here, given that he was the focal point of the match. I hate that there was apparently no singles match this led to though, but I already have a slightly better sense of him moving forward. Good match, worth watching.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/31/15 Review

1. Espiritu vs. Crash Test Cody

"You talk about integrity, Crash Test Cody has a LOT of integrity. He's a guy who is very respected in the locker room." Why does everybody have to have a thing? He's a wild guy working a crash test dummy gimmick, why are we talking about locker room respect? It's like when Jim Ross would talk about how Rico Constantino used to be a cop. Who could possibly care, and how is it helping his character? Cody has had better showings before, he's usually one of the guys I look forward to seeing. But this was designed to showcase Espiritu for some reason. And that doesn't start as a terrible thing. Cody guides him through some decent mat stuff, Espiritu hits a real nice dive, and things are going great! But then Espiritu goes on a run of offense and it's just kinda sloppy, falling a little short on a senton, setting things up awkwardly. Cody got dragged down a bit too and both guys did those kind of moves where both men fall and you're not totally sure who was supposed to be taking the worse end of the bump.

2. The Bonus Boys (Sugar Brown & Clutch) vs. The Whirlwind Gentlemen

This is the first match here for Clutch, but I'm stoked to see Sugar Brown back on my TV! Both are billed from The U, wearing gold and black U letterman jackets. And this match is good. This may have actually been the best tag that PPW has shown. Bonus Boys are clearly the best team in the fed, but neither guy makes TV much and usually only as enhancement. But their control segments over WG were good, and each guy's offense complements the others. Clutch worked an old linebacker gimmick, so had some nice shoulderblocks and a big cool standing Thesz press, looked like Vader's old bear attack. Manley is a good FIP and pinballed around for the Boys, and WG's little comebacks were all good (they sent Brown flying with a really great tandem dropkick). Every time I see it I like Manley's top rope clothesline more, and I bought it as a nice way to get a flash pin here. Fun match.

3. Darin Corbin & Huggy Cub vs. Gentleman Brawler Eric Right

Huggy Cub is a little person, whom they refer to as a "micro" which seems infinitely more insulting than calling someone a midget. This was supposed to be a mixed tag but the cowboy "micro" was medically unavailable. And this whole thing was pretty short. I did not intend that as a pun but recognized it as soon as I wrote it. Right goes for the tonic just a minute in, not much happens until Right locks on the sleeper. This was really thee definition of time filler.

4. Mikey O'Shea vs. Tyshaun Prince

Pre-match we get a long, awkward, uncomfortable sit down interview with O'Shea where he stumbles over all his words, talks about how his father ruined their family with his addictions and when he gets in the ring he takes out that aggression (but also said his father "wasn't a bad guy"). I'm not sure who this Pat Kelley interviewer is but he's a weird creep sometimes.

Also, I kept track throughout the show, and the announcers stated that this match was going to be "absolutely incredible" five different times. One of them also said it was going to be unbelievable. They also said the previous match, the two minute handicap match, was going to be "incredible". These guys are a restaurant owner's Yelp review dream team right here. There is nothing that does not impress them.

Tyshaun Prince has his standard slow, plodding brawl. O'Shea tries some new offense that doesn't look great (sliding clothesline to a seated Prince, low dropkick to the knee), but I'll give him credit for trying out something new. Prince's manager Christian Cole interferes at one point and jabs O'Shea in the head with his vape pen, which I have to say is a pretty great modern update of the spike to the head. O'Shea hits a pretty awesome crossbody off the top and something gets messed up and it looks like a 3 count, the fans chant that it was a three count, the announcers try to ignore it. Finish looks good though, as O'Shea goes up to hit the crossbody again, but Prince grabs him by the throat with both hands and turns it into a giant sitout powerbomb. So that looked cool.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 2: Euforia, Nosferatu, Virus vs. Brillante, Leono, Stuka Jr.

2007-05-11 @ Arena México
Euforia, Nosferatu, Virus vs. Brillante, Leono, Stuka Jr.

Now we've got Brilliante/Sombra in CMLL proper, albeit very early in the card and still in his original gimmick. The mask had developed more almost into a negative of the Sombra mask. Euforia is 40 now. I hadn't realized that. Nor had I realized that Virus more or less headed up the post-Satanico Infernales. Someone should do an infographic mapping out the connections between Los Infernales/Hijo del Infierno/Guerreros del Infierno/etc. I haven't seen Leono in a while but he's still opening up on Arena Mexico cards.

This was a pretty good opening style match. The tecnicos were tecnicos. The rudos were rudos. Structure was rudos swarming in the middle of the primera exchanges, tecnicos coming back to win the fall, rudos taking back over in the segunda, and the tecnicos coming back in the tercera but ultimately getting cut off for a rudo win. The little wrinkles were appreciated. The pace of the primera was great and the heat, though short, felt weighty enough.

The rudo trio was pretty solid here. Virus directed traffic like he was the heir to Satanico. They didn't linger long in any single portion of the match but it still felt like they did a lot of stuff. Some of it was good, like the double clothesline/German that ended the segunda:

Some was less good like this mess of a contrived flip up, flip down, clothesline double team:

And Stuka was younger and more spry too. I promise that this is only a little sped up:

And the big question: how did Sombra look? Promising. He looked promising. He had a lot more to do than in the earlier match I saw him in. I think the fans were hesitant to cheer him as he was still very green, but there was potential. Some of his execution was still getting there. This monkey flip didn't entirely work:

He took a bit of extra effort to turn around on this rana, but followed it up with a really nice dropkick and then this goofy get stuck in the ropes thing he seemed to be doing at this time as his signature dive fake:

So there were cracks that I think the fans did pick up on, but he played his role well enough and was starting to come up with some signature spots. He was developing, but I think was slightly limited by the interchangable, flying tecnico gimmick as Brilliante.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fire Fundraiser: Andre in Portland

Andre the Giants & Hack Sawyer vs. Rip Oliver, Dizzy Hogan & Matt Borne 5/8/82

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only Andre in Portland match that exists to the general public. I haven't seen anything else pop up in matchlists. And really I just wanted to see this because I love the idea of Andre wandering around Portland. It's such a wonderful little city, and yes I do realize I'm picturing Andre wandering around CURRENT Portland, going to great breakfast places, drinking Stumptown, going to a bar that makes their own bitters to try a house Manhattan; just picturing "local weirdo Portland celebrity" Andre makes me smile. Like if he wasn't Andre the Giant, legendary wrestler, and instead worked at a hardware store and lived in a cottage near Burnside. Andre as the owner of an Air BnB. Andre as local guy ordering one of everything off the Pine State menu. Portland Andre just sounds wonderful.

And the match was good! It was really smartly laid out, and while I didn't get as much Andre running amok as I wanted, I was still satisfied. First fall was mostly Hack and Andre, with Hack trying to keep the heels at bay and the heels all dying once Andre tagged in. The second fall was really great, with Andre stranded on the apron as the heels cut off the ring and took apart Sawyer. There were a couple really great spots of Sawyer coming so close to tagging Andre in, with one spot seeing him reaching out but Oliver grabbing Sawyer's close arm and pulling him away. Also a great spot of Andre leaning WAY in on the right part of the screen to tag Sawyer practically halfway across the ring. Rip is great and crazy, taunting the giant, and I loved Borne going up top for a splash on Sawyer only to catch knees. I didn't see that coming. Sawyer was really good as a babyface fighting from under, knowing his gigantic get out of jail free card was looming over on the apron. Sawyer was a really important factor here, as the focus of most of the match was on him and his struggles to get to Andre. And yes this was a fine fine babyface performance from him. His hope spots were good, the alllllmost tags to Andre were good, the selling was good. This is maybe the most I've loved Hack Sawyer. Third fall sees the heels wisely draw Andre away from the ring, with Borne and Hogan luring him out into the crowd. Andre going wild down the aisle of the Portland Sports Arena, bodyslamming dudes while tiny humans looked on, while Oliver held Sawyer into a full nelson that would surely end the match. Andre fights his way back and every time he'd roll in to save Sawyer would believably get drug out by Hogan or Borne. Andre would ram them into each other, kick them off, but both men were really good about just holding all their weight onto Andre's legs since Sawyer's time was running out. I was excited to see how it would end but alas, it ends with men running in. I don't know why heels would run in when the heels would clearly have won anyway. I guess because they're jerks? Probably because they're jerks.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 1: Black Diamond, Brillante, Principe de Oro vs Charles Lucero, Susto, Tigre Universitario

2006-04-02 @ Gimnasio Nuevo León
Black Demond, Brillante, Principe de Oro vs Charles Lucero, Susto, Tigre Universitario

I rarely do things that are actually topical, but I thought it'd be interesting to chart Sombra's career over a number of years to look at his development. It'll also point to a few matches for people unfamiliar with him that want to check him out now that he's headed to NXT.

A few points to start:
1.) My impression (and part of this is to see if it's true) is that he improved a lot over the years and he didn't really come into his own until he became part of Los Ingobernables over the last couple of years and with the rudo turn. These early matches, while interesting, probably aren't the best indication.
2.) I'm just going with things that look interesting to me. I'm planning on mainly looking at singles matches. Usually I like to see the trios' build as well, but we'd be doing this for three months if I did that. Sometimes it was hard to pick. He had a ton of matches with Dragon Rojo, jr. for instance.
3.) No Volador singles matches. If you are interested in Sombra and new to Sombra, you should check some of them out, though. It's a feud which really shows off what he can do from a physical standpoint if not a psychology one. I'm not going to cover them here, however.

So this isn't the first match we have online with him, but it's one of the first. He was working the Brilliante, Jr. gimmick after his father. He was sixteen here. I went with this one over the other one because this had Lucero as well, and I really do want to see as much of him as I can as he's a more than solid indy mainstay. Unfortunately, this wasn't really a good match to see him do much. The tecnicos were all precious metal themed. Black Diamond is not someone I've found a lot of information on, but he may have ended up in prison for 25 years after killing someone in 2010. I'm really going to get better at Spanish at some point, I promise. The three years of high school classes just aren't cutting it. I have no idea who Susto is, but wiki says his name translates to: "a cultural illness primarily among Latin American cultures described as a condition of being frightened and chronic somatic suffering stemming from emotional trauma or from witnessing traumatic experiences lived by others." so that's pretty cool for a gimmick, I guess.

This was second to last on a card that ended with Damien 666 and Garza vs Pierroth and Super Parka. Hechicero was in the second match up against Panthro, Jr. and "X-Man." It's a shame we don't seem to have that one too. It felt like an indy match. That's pretty much what I'll say about it. Immediate beatdown, eventual comeback, reset and tecnico shine and cutoffs heading to the finish. The central story thrust was Black Diamond vs Tigre Universitario but I don't see a singles match between the two that it led to. The beatdown was heated enough, with a lot of triple beatings on Diamond. I liked Susto's over the top style of selling. Here's a gif:

There was a heel ref, liberal amounts of weapon shots, and a pretty good finish, so far as bs finishes go, with a double ref bump, a weapon shot, and a roll up out of nowhere despite that. So far as indy-styled matches go, it was a controlled mess but contained enough, with heat and some good spots. I wish Lucero had gotten to do more (or was caught on camera more. He didn't get much focus).

So, what about Sombra? Well, Brilliante didn't get a ton of focus either, but he let himself get pinballed and kept out of the ring well enough during the beatdown. The focus was on Black Diamond but he certainly didn't get in the way. He had a good corner dropkick and a bad legdrop. He could already do the back handspring off the ropes and a backflip, but he was a half step slow in making some of his spots actually live and breathe in the match. His big moment to end the segunda was an internal springboard moonsault, and he very gingerly got up to the top rope for it (keep in mind the gif is sped up so it doesn't seem as bad. I should find a better way to make gifs at some point):

Later on he'd have a pretty clumsy 619 set up, but then followed it up with a nice enough (if still a big hesitant) headscissors on the outside. Definite potential as a spot-hitting, high-flying tecnico, even at 16:

Really, though, you could only tell so much here. I'll probably hit one more trios and then move on to singles matches, where we can get a better sense of things.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

WWE Survivor Series 2015 Live(ish) Blog

So I basically have not been watching any WWE television. If I remember something is on then I'll flip over to the channel, see if anything catches my eye. The product is not doing a whole lot for me right now. I'm going into this not knowing literally any of the matches on the card. That sounds like a terrible idea.

1. Traditional Survivor Series Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz, Titus O'Neill & Goldust

ER: Kind of hilarious that we get a "traditional" Survivor Series match on the pre-show of Survivor Series. Can't have this Survivor Series shit getting in the way of Survivor Series. And woof that is one dogshit 5 man team right there. I mean good lord. The team name should be "The 5 guys Eric would switch channels to avoid". I mean come on. I'm watching you BLIND Survivor Series, and this is what you immediately do to me!? But I cannot skip it, because they had to throw Goldust into the thing. And he was the 10th guy announced. If it had been pretty much 90% of the rest of the roster, it would have been skippable. But I gotta watch any and all Goldust. And he immediately eliminates Viktor with his gorgeous powerslam. I'm not too broken up about that. Titus' corner strikes on Konnor look really good. Konnor's jumping elbowdrop on Ray looked pillowy soft and terrible. Neville gets a fun flurry against Stardust and then gets pinned by a bulldog. We're going into dumbshit quick pin mode. This is mostly awful. Cody punches Goldust in the ear and things get better. Bo Dallas has a shitty chinlock. Match ends awhile later. Nothing to see here. Goldust looked good. None of the eliminations had any build or meant anything. This is clearly a horrible idea of mine.

Byron Allen (?) says that match reminded him of all the Survivor Series matches from when he was a kid. Yeah. There's zero chance this match reminded anybody of anything.

2. Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio

ER: Roman is getting what they call a "Cena reaction". Del Rio looks like a star. He looks like he's in the best cosmetic shape of his career. He looks pretty massive. I didn't realize he was larger than Reigns. Del Rio looks really good throughout this. Dug his hotshot and enziguiri, then he takes a nice thud on a Fuerza bump. Reigns takes a nice ringpost bump. ADR makes me buy his missed double stomp off the top. He did a real great knee buckle stumble sell. JBL tries to make it out like he faked that knee buckle as part of a strategy, but faking a knee injury to take a superman punch sounds like a pretty fucking stupid strategy. I liked ADR in this, and the match got about 14 minutes to do something, but didn't do much for me. They tried to make the stretch run dramatic, but really they just had ADR lock in the armbar a couple times only to have Roman power out. Kinda made all the babbling about a weak shoulder come off as a shrug. Nice individual moments. Pretty unfulfilling as a whole.

3. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens

ER: There's a fat guy in the crowd clearly telling his woman the back story on every match so far. You can totally tell. He's pointing at each guy and leaning in, you can just picture him saying "alright so this guy beat a guy named Dolph Ziggler. I know, right? I don't know. Yeah it's probably not his real name. But Ambrose. Yeah the skinnier guy. He beat Ziggler. This is a semi-final. There's a whole tournament." And boy this isn't doing a whole helluva lot for me either. And as I type that they start to win me over. Owens hits a mammoth superplex, Dean hits one of his best ever rebound lariats, Ambrose eats a couple nice superkicks, takes a gross slam into an announce table. But the build for these matches has done absolutely nothing for me. Both have come off like guys doing moves with no consequences. I mean jesus even though I thought they looked nasty, in the last minute of the match Dean got slammed into the announce tables, took two superkicks, and then still got the pin.

The SNES commercial for TLC looked really great. The Reigns superman punch animation was perfection.

4. Ryback & The Lucha Dragons & The Usos vs. New Day, Sheamus & King Barrett

ER: Unhip Sheamus made me chuckle saying they were gonna get jiggy on these poseurs. Big E avoiding eye contact with him afterwards was perfect. Woods has an amazing James Brown pompadour with a ducktail mullet. The construction of the whole thing is really impressive. Sadly it will probably all tumble down after one bump. Sheamus takes a couple really great bumps to the floor working Sin Cara: one nice tumbling one landing on his side, and taking an enziguiri and bumping on his knees to the floor. Ouch. Ryback hits one of the ugliest dives ever, but we'll just go A for effort on that one, like when Road Dogg tried to moonsault off a cage. This whole thing is pretty fun. Big E's spear to the floor is such a brutal spot. New Day is probably the best possible use of Kofi ever. He doesn't have to do tons of offense and let Big E carry the load. New Day ditching Sheamus kinda makes sense, and Sheamus works shockingly well with smaller workers. I loved him stomping on Kalisto's hands. Sheamus did about as good a job as possible holding down the fort without a team. This elimination match was a massive step up from the garbage one on the pre show.

5. Paige vs. Charlotte

ER: Charlotte has never impressed me before. Paige has a really great abdominal stretch, pressing down hard on the side of Charlotte's head every time she wrenches it in. Paige also takes a mean electric chair bump onto the apron. Charlotte's rolling headscissors was both goofy and painful looking, so it gets a pass. But it's not as nasty as Paige's surfboard lock or her great knees in the corner. But those were not as nasty as Charlotte's scream and face after hitting a so-so spear. Match overall was pretty decent. Charlotte still doesn't do much for me. I don't think she has much body charisma, and a lot of her offense feels very dependent on somebody leaning way into her offense.

6. Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler

ER: Ziggler has an updated look on mid 90s cruising attire Shawn Michaels. Even has those same awful boots. Kenny Omega douche hair + Shawn Michael lube guy at the fisting station gear = profit?  Match itself was decent enough for a completely heatless affair. Both guys did some things that looked cool, also never made me care about the things they were doing. Some of this may be the announce team. The announce team is the ultimate limp dick tonight. They sound rehearsed to say what is happening in front of them, while also not making it important or interesting or dramatic. It's a brutal combo. Breeze bumps into Dolph's stuff well, flying into a dropkick and planting himself on a flapjack. Announcers push this as a HUGE win for Breeze, but really it would have been far more shocking to everybody if Ziggler would have won. That dude loses to everybody, and has been doing so for years.

7. Wyatt Family vs. Undertaker & Kane

ER: Undertaker's slow menacing walk to the ring looks less doomy and more accident victim learning how to walk again. But in the ring he looks spry enough against Harper. Kane takes an awesome bump over the announce table. Cole is desperately trying to push every single Undertaker movement as "ANOTHER CLASSIC #UNDERTAKERSURVIVORSERIESMOMENT!!!" He's beyond insufferable. Braun takes a fine bump through an announce table, Undertaker impresses me by getting Harper up for a Tombstone eventually, and really this was Undertaker going through some greatest hits so Cole could cream his jeans and scream VINTAGE!

8. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns

ER: This was pretty easily the best match of the night, but that wasn't really saying a whole bunch. I almost always like it when Shield guys match up, and this match was short for them (about 10 minutes) but was worked at a quick 10 minute match pace. I don't care for the spear as a death finisher, but Ambrose is great spilling all around for Reigns, and I liked the kneeling punch exchange. Also thought Ambrose looked badass with his torn shirt from the previous Owens match, made him look like a hero towards the end of an action movie.

Sheamus cashes in MITB afterwards, and yeah that concept is pretty beyond played out. It's an amusing dick move to cash in on Reigns while Reigns was celebrating in his massive confetti pile Good lord whoever ordered confetti accidentally checked the "case" measurement instead of individual confetti packages, so on the "Confetti Celebration Dial" instead of getting "Tasteful World Title Celebration" we ended up getting "Rip Taylor Just Died Two Days Before Pride Weekend and We Must Celebrate His Memory".

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Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/24/15 Review

1. Espiritu vs. Remy Marcel

This worked as a fun 5 minute Marcel showcase, who normally just gets a scant amount of time as the Whirlwind Gentlemen hot tag. Espiritu doesn't really do tons here, locking on two separate chinlocks. For a guy who hasn't been on TV for 2 months you'd think he'd try to go out of his way to impress. I liked his missed senton? Anyway, the beginning was real cool with all their standing wristlock exchanges. I especially liked Espiritu rolling through the wristlock, but Marcel rolling with him at the same time so both ended up back on their feet where they started. Looked cool. Espiritu hits an okay vertical suplex, Marcel hits an okay crossbody, really liked Marcel's out of control frog splash. Marcel looked good in this, and that was the point.

2. Greg Romero vs. Jack Manley

Now Manley gets his 5 minute showcase, and it's also fine. Other WG showcase match was better, but this was good enough. The important thing is the fed is actually establishing hierarchy, showing two members of one of their top tag teams easily beating two guys who aren't on TV that much. That seems like a super obvious thing, but this fed is obsessed with presenting every worker as a very accomplished mat grappler who is one step away from the title! Romero works a Danny Zuko gimmick in 2015 which is...pretty annoying and very pointless. He's also not that good, throwing slo mo punches, attempting complicated roll-ups he saw on TV once, taking slow back bumps, just a pretty big bleh. Manley works better as a FIP and here he was more aggressor, but I like his back elbow so that's something. This was what it was.

3. Mike Santiago vs. Mikey O'Shea

It's weird that the fed pushes every single match as if it's going to be an incredible match. Seriously, before every match starts they'll say something like "this is going to be an incredible match", or one minute into a match they'll talk about what an amazing match we're experiencing. But they never ever put guys into position to actually have an "amazing match". Matches usually run 4-7 minutes, most of them are worked in a vacuum, and things usually just don't stand out. But they keep talking about how incredible the matches are, and they say it during almost every match. Here they talk about what an amazing match this 3 minute match was, and then talk about the main event which is "sure to be an incredible high stakes match". Everything is super important, everything is super incredible, it's just misguided and tiresome. O'Shea is morphing into a Bigelow rip-off, and Santiago tries bumping around for him but O'Shea just isn't that interesting. Incredible match though.

4. Tyshaun Prince & Caleb Konley vs. Gangrel & Exile

Hey, I liked this! It was probably the best I've seen Prince look. Gangrel matched up nicely with Konley, Prince was a good bully and did a good job trapping and punching Gangrel in the corner, the announcers kept referring to Exile as "mysterious" but really how mysterious can a guy wearing pleather pants be? Konley adds speed to the match that would have otherwise been completely absent. I kinda like Gangrel's short straight right hands, and Exile/Gangrel make a good team. This whole thing didn't really have the "high stakes" the announcers promised, and I am beyond tired of Prince matching up with Gangrel, but this worked.

And after the match we get a huge pull apart brawl with the boys from the back all separating Hammerston, Chamberlain and the Whirlwind Gentlemen. WG each do big running dives off the entranceway ramp into the big schmoz of people, and the far away shot of it looked really cool.

Also, Joey Ryan - new champion - is missing.

And I found out this show is getting bumped off Pop! in favor of TNA (blecch) so we'll just ride the rest of these shows out (4 more?) and then sit in satisfaction that I wrote up every PPW broadcast. Maybe we'll do some kind of rundown of the best matches or something? I don't know.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/17/15 Review

Show starts off with the commissioner announcing one of the most dangerous matches IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY, to punish Joey Ryan for using the brass knux last week. And what is the most dangerous match? A Coal Miner's Glove match!!! He takes this white glove sloooooowly out of his suit jacket and explains how there's a metal bar IN THE GLOVE and this glove will be hung OVER THE RING and whomever gets to it first can USE IT. I mean, Joey Ryan used brass knuckles just last week. I'm failing to see how this glove will be more dangerous than that.

1. The Whirlwind Gentlemen vs. Hammerstone & Chamberlain

They did it again!! I love it! I keep thinking the fed is going to put the belts on the Whirlwind Gentlemen, and they never ever do! They've gotten so many chances!! As in, from the first episode of television they've been built up as the rightful holders of the belts, and they keep failing! Because Hammerstone & Chamberlain just love cheating too much and it is glorious. Match itself was decent enough. Hammerstone and Manley work well together and Manley is a guy I'm finally digging as a FIP. Hammerstone was nice tossing around Manley, and had a cool moment where he faked right and then back elbowed Marcel off the apron. Marcel's hot tag offense leaves a lot to be desired as he just does roll up type stuff instead of fiery ass kicking. The WG are building to the inevitable title win, when suddenly the bell rings! Everything stops in confusion, and then the camera cuts to Chamberlain ringing the bell, which then allows Hammerstone to get the win! Hammerstone and Chamberlain love cheating to win SO MUCH! It's become my favorite thing on the program now that Joe Graves stopped showing up occasionally. A combo of H&C cheating to win every single week, while The WG keep failing over and over just tickles me.

2. Mike Santiago vs. Wes Brisco

"We're hoping for a good clean match here" well, sadly you're going to have to wipe all of that Brisco film off the mat after this one. Although I gotta say, Brisco was not the problem in this one. There were times he didn't look great (man does he take a wimpy header into the turnbuckles) but Santiago was disappointing here. He's been one of the more consistently solid guys in the fed, but he just didn't have it here. He kept winding up out of place, trying to toss Brisco into the corners but being lined up wrong, so there were a few awkward physics defying rope running moments that always look obnoxious. For his part, Brisco's mat stuff looked really good, and I liked him going for quick armbars a couple times. He had a quick, strong fireman's carry, grapevined the arm in a cool way during one of the armbar attempts, and I'd actually prefer he stayed on the mat in his matches. It all kinda goes to pot once he's up running around.

3. Tyshaun Prince vs. Exile

Exile: The worst single word name in wrestling (tied: Neville)! He's even announced as being from the Pacific Northwest. Is that where he's exiled from? There are several other Paragon workers from the PNW, why is Exile the only one feeling exiled? I challenge you to find a dumber single word wrestler name. UPDATE: Turns out he is from Richmond, VA. So has he been exiled from VA, and then Oregon? I am normally a fan of big hoss battles, but Prince really isn't a very interesting hoss. They do some fun hoss shoulderblocks and clotheslines where neither man goes down, Exile does a nice front kick, we kinda brawl around a bit with neither guy's strikes looking very good. Tyshaun goes into slo-mo mode so much. Eventually Konley runs in for the DQ, and then of course Gangrel runs in as well because THE GANGREL PRINCE FEUD OF 2015 CAN NEVER END!!! The worst thing that happened to this fed was decades ago when that Gangrel boy played a prank on that Prince girl, and both families brothers got involved and things escalated into a kidnapping and now decades later the families are still feuding, all over a simple misunderstanding about some land rights borders, with the Princes feeling they owned the rights to all the huckleberries right down to the edge of Burke's Glenn, and the Gangrel's thinking THEY owned the rights to all the bramble thickets right up to the pass of Willow's Craw. A simple misunderstanding being played out mercilessly on cable television and in front of Nevada tourists. Shame.


Okay, it wasn't dangerous at any point, other than that general danger we as humans all experience every moment of our lives. Each man could have been struck down by an aneurysm at any moment, after all. It also, at times, wasn't that good at all. Since it was a pole match you got a lot of focus on guys yanking on legs to pull someone away from the pole. Matches advertised as violent should have a focus on violence, not a focus on literal leg yanking. We get leg yanking away from the pole, and then when the coal miner's glove is pulled down we get yanking away from the grounded glove. In between yanks, the match had its moments. Sorensen tightened up some of his strikes for the violent match. At least one out of every three punches he threw looked actively good. This is an improvement. Joey threw some lousy clubbing forearms, but threw nice punches. Joey at least attempted some pole match strategy, leading Sorensen away from the ring and slamming him on the entrance, trying to create some distance so he could climb for the GLOVE. Joey eventually does get that deadly glove, and then Sorensen steals it and the announcers squeal (even though the Commissioner clearly stated that whomever takes the glove down from the pole gets to use it), but it doesn't matter as Sorensen elbows the ref wresting the glove away from Ryan, because he is a boob, which allows Joey Ryan to POP Sorensen with his brass knux! Joey wins the title, the announcers weep, no lame 2nd ref runs out, I'm sure there will be shenanigans.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 10: Delta, Dragon Lee II, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus

2015-02-08 @ Arena México
Delta, Dragon Lee II, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Kamaitachi, Puma, Virus

I've tried to avoid the Kamaitachi feud because it's been covered well elsewhere, but this has Virus in it, so I'll do a brief shot here. I think by now it's obvious that spotty wrestling isn't my favorite wrestling, in and of itself, but when someone is good enough to make those spots matter and resonate, as opposed to just rushing to the next one to get the oohs and the ahhs out of the crowd, then I love it as much as anything in wrestling. It's marrying excitement and drama with logic and meaning and big monents that makes lucha amazing, and I think, even so early into his career, Dragon Lee is well along the path of getting that. Working so much with Virus probably helped, but for his experience level, he's come a long way.

Then you have a wrestler like Delta, who has 1-2 really fantastic dives, can garner some level of sympathy in getting beaten down, and can be led in early matwork or exchanges, but ultimately doesn't seem to be able to put it all together. He was fairly well exposed during this year's Busca and it was frustrating because his big spots are so good. Guerrero Maya, Jr., on the other hand, is someone who I think we only see part of what he can do in the CMLL setting. I was very impressed with his quasi-rudo work against his father earlier this year on the indies. I could see him as the person NJPW selects to go over there for a year as he's as capable to manage a Mil Mascaras impression as anyone on the roster under the age of 50.

This was another fun trios, feeling like one of the older style tecnico spotlights until about midway through the match and ending in a way that kept the momentum going for the Kamaitachi/Dragon Lee apuestas match which was about a month and a half away. Virus was paired with Delta, Puma with GM, Jr., and Kamaitachi with Dragon Lee. The primera had  relatively brief exchanges that escalated in speed. Delta did a good job hanging (or being strung along) with Virus. They rushed to the spots here, with Kamaitachi flying in.

and a really nice flip dive by Delta:

It ended with GM, Jr. cinching his head crusher on Puma and the double stomp on Kamaitachi. The crowd (which was surprisingly rowdy; I think there was a give away or something that night) booed the tecnicos going over.

The segunda was more of the same, a tecnico showcase, right up until the point that Dragon Lee showed some hubris. You can't keep the mandate of heaven if you're a tecnico who goes to mask ripping first in a match. The second he started on Kamaitachi's mask, the rudos ran in and made short work of things, including a nasty Virus vertebreaker.

The tercera continued the beatdown, including Virus being all sorts of great, doing some tandem spots with Puma as if he was Tiger and having a really fun moment of winding up with one hand and smacking GM, Jr. with the other. The late match comeback really felt like the tecnicos just being too much and the rudos not able to beat them up fast enough, which was effective.

I usually try to gif things other than the dives, but GM, jr.'s dive on Puma to set up the finish was just too good:

That helped clear the ring for Kamaitachi and Dragon Lee and the subsequent foul and mask pull right in front of the ref. Effective. Just another fun trios. It's great to be able to pick and choose and keep up with CMLL when they're putting out matches like this (nothing groundbreaking but so easy to watch) just about every week.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 11/18/15 Review

1. Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser vs. War Machine

So now instead of overtly passionate men now we just get jokey segments with Young teaching the Boys about being men. It's all still clearly gay, I mean it is at a highway rest stop, but now it's getting too winky and hokey. This basically felt like Slick teaching Kamala how to bowl. But the match was real good so *shrug*. We get a lot of meaty bodies crashing into each other and War Machine actually felt like hosses instead of the usual hoss cosplay (hossplay?) that especially Hanson comes off as. I loved the early shoulderblock exchanges with Hanson eventually sending Bruiser flying, we got avalanches, cannonballs, big splashes, the kind of stuff you'd want. Rowe kinda whiffs on a superman punch but makes up for it later in the match. I dug Beer City Bruiser here, he really dumped himself on suplexes a couple times, hit a big frog splash, a wild cannonball off the apron into The Boys, and yeh this was good.

Steve Corino gets in the ring with Nigel wanting to reinstate him, but Corino talks about how 79 tours of Japan (but who's counting!) have left his body broken, and he needs serious neck surgery so will not be able to wrestle. He really should have thought about that before working so many non-ROH indies this year.

2. Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Lee Davidson

Booooooooo. Davidson is a big lumpy fat guy who I immediately get excited to see, and the match ends after one okayish clothesline. Elgin as HHH is tired.

3. The Addiction vs. The Kingdom

This match can kind of be summed up by one Daniels missed corner charge. Daniels threw Taven into the buckles, watched as Taven stopped himself by kicking his legs up and back. We see Daniels watching Taven, waiting for the right moment to run underneath him while not getting kicked in the face, because that's how the spot goes. So Daniels watches Taven kick up and over, runs towards the buckles and ducks WAY low to avoid Taven kicking him in the face, and then, when arriving into the turnbuckles, he stops and confusedly looks around, flabbergasted how he ended up chest first in the buckles instead of bumping dicks with Matt Taven, or whatever move he was pretending to do while just running towards the turnbuckles. Dur durdur where did he go General Daniels?? You threw him into the buckles, but when you arrived in the buckles seconds later, he was gone! Look around some more, did he sneak past the ring pole? You watched him not hit the buckles, you ducked really low to run underneath his body, but then his body was not in front of you! That body that you just ran underneath!

We got all four guys realllllly showing off their comedy chops in this one. It was terrible. Tons of yuks. Daniels looked so bad. The guy telegraphs everything to an insane degree. We got a dive train spot where nobody knew how to catch anybody else. Ref bump. Comedy spots. Contrived double teams. A real triple threat!

And to think, I won't even get the privilege of watching this on television in a couple weeks.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/10/15 Review

1. The Amerikan Gunz (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago), Hammerstone & Chamberlain vs. The Whirlwind Gentlemen, Gangrel & Mikey O'Shea

Well this is strange and/or pointless. This was set up as Amerikan Gunz (ugh. spelling.) vs. Whirlwind Gentlemen for the #1 sontendership to the tag titles, and then Hammerstone & Chamberlain run in, and then Gangrel and O'Shea, and the commissioner makes it an 8 man, still for the #1 contender spot on the line....but....the tag champs are now IN the match. Gangrel and O'Shea have teamed up one time, so I'm not really sure what place they have in a #1 contender match. Ethan HD has teamed with O'Shea as many times as Gangrel has. So right out of the gate this is a pretty terribly conceived idea for a match. You would think Ethan HD or Santiago would never tag out, as it wouldn't benefit them if H&C get the pin for their team. The only way to get the #1 contender is to get the pinfall so why would you tag someone who wasn't your partner? Match itself is basically good until it wasn't. It's hard for a match to be good when the general psychology of the whole thing makes no sense. Manley was a fine FIP, liked his comeback top rope clothesline and he hit a whip fast fivearm. Of course the announcers put over every Manley comeback as a "desperation move". I'd love an explanation on how a guy going to the top rope to do a clothesline is desperate in any way. Anyway, I was enjoying this with the heels cutting off the ring, but then they did that lame telegraphed ending where 6 guys all fall to the floor at the same time, guaranteeing the match will end moments later. So now we're going Whirlwind Gentlemen vs. H&C round 4. I really hope H&C continue to retain by cheating against stupid, stupid babyfaces.

2. Caleb Konley vs. Gentleman Brawler Eric Right

I like how these two match up, and here we get an actual match where both guys aren't equally talented, we have Right fighting admirably until just plain getting beat. It's important to actually establish a hierarchy in this kind of weekly episodic TV. This was one of the more satisfying PPW matches they've aired, with some nice engaging mat stuff to start before Konley starts dishing some nice short elbows, and Right is a guy who's now shown he has no problems leaning into a beating. Right's comebacks are always good and I like his strikes too, and then lo and behold, Konley wins because he's better (and yeah there might have been a weapon involved, but thems the breaks). It's weird that such a result is shocking, but I'm so used to everybody in this fed treading water around each other that this felt like an important step (so I fully expect Right to just get a random unannounced title shot in like two weeks).

3. Kevin Kross vs. Mercurio Jr.

I really liked this too. Kross looked like a beast throughout, tossing Mercurio with a couple deadlift suplexes, doing nasty things like stomping Mercurio's calf and ankle, kicking him in the back of the neck while lying prone on the apron. Mercurio goes for an ill-advised Asai moonsault and Kross posts him for his troubles. Mercurio hits a tornado DDT on the floor that Kross doesn't really do justice to, taking it really gingerly. But he does threaten an old man by staring him down for way too long. The old man played along, but also deserved to be smacked. Back in and Kross catches a rana attempt and dishes more beating. I like Kross not caring about getting the pin over some scrub like Mercurio and instead locking a nasty can opener on him in the ropes until he gets DQ'd. This show hasn't been too shabby.

4. Joey Ryan vs. Jessy Sorensen

You'd be shocked to know, that both men are "excellent mat grapplers". Jessy holds a loose north-south choke and does some gator rolls, and that looks pretty silly. Joey takes it to the mat and that looks better. And this really doesn't go long, but that's for the best . Sorensen is just the blandest, while also not being good. A real double threat! Brisco is bad but at least he has the whole rapist without remorse vibe to set him apart. Ryan hits a great close fist hidden weapon punch on Sorensen and gets the pin as the announcers moan "Noooooo not like thisssssss". And we get an excited unexpected title change.....until the we get a second ref down to explain what happened so Jessy could retain his title. Maaaaan I hate second referees. It's such a lazy crutch.

But I still can't complain much as I liked Kross in his match, and liked Konley/Right. That's a decent episode of TV.

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MLJ: Dragon Lee vs Virus/Casas 9: Puma, Tiger, Virus vs Dragon Lee, Esfinge, Pegasso

2015-01-13 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
Puma, Tiger, Virus vs Dragon Lee, Esfinge, Pegasso

I finally made it into 2015, so from here on in, with the Dragon Lee spotlight, consider this sort of a secondary look at his year. Keep in mind, I'm only looking at matches where he's up against either Casas or Virus. The way I see it, everyone else has the Kamaitachi stuff covered. This is all additional evidence one way or another. Plus, Virus and Casas are my two current favorite guys in CMLL, so it's win-win. Anyway, this is kind of like comfort food to me. I don't know if I have a lot more to say about CMLL trios in general, but I can delve into specific performances.

Here, the rudo team was just so much fun. I like Puma and Tiger, but I especially like them when Virus is there to ground their tendencies a bit and to direct traffic. This had a ton of time in the primera, or at least it felt that way. Some of that was a testament to Virus, and to Pegasso, who he was paired with, keeping up with him. This was in front of an absurdly hot crowd. Looking back, there might have been some sort of corporate give away of tickets or someting. Some sort of promotion. I have no idea what they're chanting or who they're rooting for but they were into this thing from the get go.

Again, the get go was Virus and Pegasso, with Virus looking like the best wrestler in the world, working an inside armlock from a standing position with Pegasso flipping and twisting and hitting to get out and Virus just hanging on. Yes, he was controlling the flow of this and moving Pegasso around, but I thought it wasn't entirely apparent. It certainly wasn't even from a presentation point of view. By having Pegasso continue to fight, even as Virus remained in control, it made both of them look good.

The other pairings were pretty good too. Tiger was with Esfinge and they picked up the pace a bit. The real strength of that pairing was Tiger's personality, complaining about his mask whenever he lost an exchange. Puma and Dragon Lee brought a ton of energy to the match from the second they stepped in to face off. All good stuff. The fall ended with things breaking down and Virus and Dragon Lee going at it (after holding off from that the entire primera). Virus would catch Lee off the ropes, reversing the second slidekick of the match with his legs into a submission. Very novel spot:

Puma and Tiger are always a blast to watch. The beatdown continued into the segunda, and just watch Puma's dickishness with teasing Pegasso's corner with the tag:

They're the spottiest guys in CMLL but since things follow the usual structure, it adds instead of distracts from the procedeeings. When you add in other players like Dragon Lee and Virus, you end up with fairly elaborate spots:

Anyway, this churned a bit, with a few false moments of comeback. Eventually, the tecnicos were just too much. The rudos could withstand one attempt, but eventually they fell behind and lost the momentum, leading to flip dives by Esfinge and Pegasso on Puma and Tiger and the first real Dragon Lee/Virus exchange of the match. Thanks to some clever positioning knocking Virus off the corner, they actually made the dangling double stomp look pretty natural, which is always a plus.

The tercera was pretty much what you'd expect. Tiger and Puma acted sufficiently rudo, teasing handshakes and trolling the crowd to get heat. Pegasso and Esfinge hit their stuff. They cycled guys in and out. Dragon Lee and Virus faced off again, with Lee getting the clear visual victory, hitting his dive. The tecnicos lost the war, though, as Puma and Tiger were able to get Esfinge and Pegasso down, setting up the flip splash on both and a double pin. Too many talented wrestlers here for this not to be fun and enjoyable, even if it was low stakes.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's OK For Lawler to Look Outside, the Day It Will Abide

Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk Wildfire Wrestling 10/24/15-GREAT 

ER: So these two jokers are at it again, now with a median age of 68! The median age of my parents is 64, and they seem like they're old now. So add some time on to that, add punches and broom shots, and you have the worst Thanksgiving possible. Funk and Lawler are insane. Nuts. And this match is pretty much exactly what fans of two loons would expect. Between the two of them they have had one heart attack, have 3 bad knees, and still come off slightly more athletic than I do. I went into this expecting schtick, nice punches, no bumps. I got more than that. In fact Lawler starts with some great punches (you heard it here first!) and Funk takes an awesomely stupid bump to the floor off them. Funk gets dumped through the middle and bumps backwards to the floor without holding onto the ropes. Sheesh. These guys. Back in and Funk throws nasty rights to Lawler's chin, and from here we go into brawl mode. Spill to the floor, and oh shit Lawler appears to brain Funk with a soda can or something metal he found on the floor. It made a great thud so Lawler gave him another for good measure. We got a tour of the arena, Funk is like 4 year old me getting dragged out of church for being too noisy: grabbing trashcans, yelling, really making a show of things. Lawler gets a can dumped on his head but in a nice twist on the spot (I assumed Funk was gonna start hitting the trash can) Funk just waits for Lawler to remove the can and is waiting for his peekaboo face with a fist. Funk starts looking around for anything to hit Lawler with, some stage siding, a couple of brooms, and then we get several nasty broom shot exchanges from both men. This is a mean old man fight, and ref Jerry Calhoun knows this, yet keeps getting in the way and therefore must understandably take a haymaker or two from Funk. Lawler sets up a fireball, Funk clearly gets his face lit on fire, ironically gets DQ'd for punching the ref shortly after having his eyebrows singed off. This was pretty crazy for 136 years of crazy going at it. This was like the best possible Gypsy Joe vs. Gypsy Joe, and I eagerly await the match in 2025 where both men sit in folding chairs facing each other, taking turns throwing perfect punches until the time limit expires.

PAS:  Lawler takes a crazy bump to the floor too in this, but of course he does. You forget Lawler is super old too, when even older Terry Funk is taking this kind of beating. I loved the soda can shot, and Funk is so good at winging blind punches, he still comes off as dangerous even though he is as old as Patti LaBelle. Finish was a fine kind of BS finish, with fireball looking pretty cool.  I really like how this was worked as two guys who hate each other, rather then the semi comedy matches Lawler will work with Dutch or Dundee.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

MLJ: Carístico, Negro Casas, Valiente vs Black Warrior, Ephesto, Mephisto

11/15/2015 @ Arena México
Carístico, Negro Casas, Valiente vs Black Warrior, Ephesto, Mephisto

This might have been the single most straightforward, simple, disposable lucha trios match I've ever seen, and that's saying something. It was there just to tease Cibernetico's arrival, to do a bait and switch with Black Warrior, to let Caristico do his stuff against some familiar opponents, and to give his side a solid win before the post-match beatdown. They had subbed Valiente in for Volador earlier in the week, moving Volador down into a tag against FdT, in a match that might actually lead to an Apuestas, and frankly, that was fine because you didn't really need Volador here.

Despite the simplicity, this was still fun. It just definitely wasn't must see by any means. I think they new they were going short due to the most match angle, which was about as long as the match itself. It meant that none of the exchanges were particularly long and that the beatdown was stilted. From a structural level, it's sort of interesting how they did things then.

For instance, they went A-B-A, with the tecnicos taking the primera, the rudos the segunda, starting a beatdown that lasted a couple of minutes into the tercera until they went home almost immediately with the dives and comeback. The wrinkles were that they slipped the "tecnicos vs the world" section into the primera, made sure that Caristico got to do his dive to set up that finish, had the segunda end with just Caristico getting pinned (by a second rope devil's wings after kicking out of the standard version), and teased a brief reset before continuing that short ambush-laden beatdown.

I'd love to make a statement on how Black Warrior looked, for instance, but there just wasn't much there. He did have a nice exchange with Casas, who seemed to be enjoying playing tecnico (so did Zacarias, for what it was worth; he's a natural anyway). They traded blows, with Casas eating his stuff and rousing the crowd until he caught the second attempt at a big boot. Later on, the only really memorable part of the beatdown was Warrior just smothering Casas with grounded knees and clubbering. The other standout part of the match was Casas' chance to go vs the world in the primera, fighting off Mephisto and Ephesto in the corner. It felt weird because the other tecnicos didn't help. Usually, that makes sense in the tercera when everyone's getting knocked out of the ring and recovering but here it was just a portion of a match moved around due to time issues. Casas was still great in the role though.

Anyway, everyone was eager to work the crowd and try to get them into it. Between that and the brevity, it didn't have the standard CMLL feel. It felt more like a spectacle. It was just a fairly forgettable one, the sort of match that would have made it less special to see Caristico again the next time, were it not for the fact that no one will remember it relative to the post-match angle.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paragon Pro Wrestling 10/3/15 Review

Okay so I fell a bit behind on this once I lost my man Dean's support, and also because of all the Wes Brisco eyeball assault that was happening weekly.

1. Mikey O'Shea vs. Kevin Kross

"O'Shea could be the Harvestor of Sorrows for Kross" and "It's all about for Whom the Bell Tolls for Kross".....okay? Apparently the two announcers just got their first taste of speed metal and gotta shoehorn it into conversations? Neither man has any sort of connection to Metallica that I can see. I mean shit I love Ride the Lightning as much as the next guy but this just came off like Awful Announcing and two guys pulling each other's puds. O'Shea is finally starting to work MORE FAT with senton attempts and corner avalanches and belly to belly slams. Also dug O'Shea's corner body blows and big chops. Kross usually comes off better and he seemed to be holding back a bit on O'Shea. Wasn't expecting O'Shea to come away with the clean pin here, but this fed has also backed themselves into an annoying little win trade/parity corner.

2. Ethan HD vs. Mercurio Jr.

The announcers have a real annoying habit of pushing every single wrestler in the fed as a "real student of the game" and saying things like "Mercurio has a proclivity to start fast". They use just so many unnecessary words, really filling every single bit of empty space with just WORDS. Every single guy is a "student of the game" or a "ring general" or a "technician" with no regard to what those words mean. Mercurio can just be the resident luchador, he doesn't need to also be a student of the game who is a technician who is in the middle of having a phenomenal see-saw match up. Every goddamn match is a "incredible match up" or a "phenomenal match up". This got called both of those things within the first three minutes. They are just so terrible. HD is a guy I like, always leans into offense, and Mercurio doesn't have great offense so he really works hard to make Mercurio look somewhat competitive. YES that's problematic because not every worker deserves to look competitive, but again this fed is obsessed with every worker splitting every match 50-50, every win getting paid back, every guy looking like he has a shot in every match, so HD fits the fed's needs. He also takes a real nice delayed bump over the top to the floor. Mercurio has lousy faux lucha (faucha?) offense, dropkicks that don't land flush, slow arm drags. They do a silly rolling cradle section with a bunch of nearfalls counted despite nobody's shoulders ever being down, and then the match terribly ends in a double KO, despite neither taking anything that should keep either down for a dual ten count. This was just all around poorly conceived. But sometimes that's what happens with real students of the game.

3. Gangrel vs. Darin Corbin

We get an amusing pre-match vignette of Darin Corbin celebrating out on the town with his American Title, eating dinner with it and dancing down the streets with it. Tim Sylvia would wear his UFC belt to the grocery store, so this seems more believable by comparison. This match furthered Corbin as a guy who keeps his title by either fluke or nefarious means, as Gangrel controlled the whole match until Corbin bailed, looked at his shiny belt with adoration, and clocked Gangrel with it for the DQ. Corbin looked good bumping around for Gangrel, and Gangrel threw some nice punches and was able to do non-stop offense for a few minutes without gassing out or taking a chinlock break. That sounds backhanded, but it's important. Gangrel has been a guy with decent offense but no perfect way to tie it together, so really this was a fine use of his structure. And I am starting to dig Corbin as goofus who knows how to keep a belt.

4. Jessy Sorensen & Wes Brisco vs. Hammerstone & Chamberlain

I keep getting scared they're gonna load Sorensen and Brisco up with title belts, and yet H&C keep awesomely retaining the belts by cheating! I love it. It provides actual drama for me, since I don't want Brisco walking around as a champ, and they regularly have authority call out H&C for cheating (actually had a funny pre-match promo where the Paragon president or CEO or GM or booker or whomever calls them out on how they win matches, and they sheepishly say they do it through hard work, watching tape, etc.). A key to why their cheating works so well for me, is that they aren't really portrayed as guys who cheat because it's their only way to win, they clearly cheat because they just like to cheat. The other week there was a No DQ match where they tried to cheat, and then it threw them when cheating wasn't called out by the refs. It seemed stupid at the time, but seeing how much they love to win by cheating, it kind of works within their characters. Nobody in the match is necessarily GOOD, though Hammerstone has potential. I liked his low clothesline on Brisco and an even cooler deadlift pumphandle fallaway slam. Brisco has a lousy crossbody block. But I just kinda love H&C controlling a lot of the match, and the first moment things start going wrong they just hit a guy with a belt or - in this case - hold down Brisco's legs so he can't kick out of a pin. What will the federation do to stop it?? It's weird and good that I actually care about the answer to that.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ring of Honor on Destination America 11/11/15 Review

1. Cedric Alexander vs. ACH

Kevin Kelly puts over the unique concept of the wrestlers in Ring of Honor shaking hands before and after matches. God is that something they're still trying to promote? This match didn't do a whole lot for me, honor or no. It felt like a back handspring contest. I'm not sure who won, but there were a lot of handsprings. Also a lot of hiptosses with guys landing on the apron on their feet, a lot of "well-scouted signature offense". It all kinda runs together when there's no breathing room in a match. Veda Scott was really good in this, using herself as a human shield to block ACH's punt, allowing Cedric to hit a nice STO on the apron. She also held her ground when Cedric almost flip dove into her, with him having to hold the ropes to avoid hitting her "by mistake". I woulda got out of dodge and she stuck right in for the spot. There were a couple things I liked, ACH hit his cool rope run flip dive, Cedric throws a real nice running dropkick, and Cedric's blown springboard leading to the finish was really cool. I don't know if it was supposed to be blown, but he blew it spectacularly, catching a foot on the top and then bouncing chest first on the other side. It reminded me of all the great planned Hamrick blown spots. But the bulk of the match wasn't even move exchanging, it was reversal exchanging. At times it felt so far up its own ass, like actual moves weren't even being done because they were just focusing on reversing reversals of other reversals.

2. Will Ferrara vs. Caprice Coleman

This is maybe the quietest I've ever heard a ROH crowd. My were they silent during this. Coleman was real slow on offense. His standing leg drop and sliding leg drop to a seated Ferrara looked nice, but the set-up for all his stuff was slow, sluggish. Ferrara is blandish but Coleman didn't give him much to work with. For his part Will took two real nice "shoulder to the post" bumps in the corner, one on a missed charge and the other with Coleman tossing him. He's also good at putting over submissions. Last week against Strong he made me believe Strong was stretching him, and this week he made something Coleman did look deadly, so clearly this is just a great skill of his. Ooooooooo and after the match Nana gives him an envelope! It could possibly be coupons and newspaper clippings, like Rachel's mom cuts out and sends to her.

3. All Night Express vs. Briscoes

Hey, this was an All Night Express match that I liked! That isn't a thing that happens. But it happened right here! And it wasn't even all because I love the Briscoes, ANX also did some things I enjoyed! Titus hair flips a bunch but this might have been the best I've seen him. His share of the double team offense looked good, took Briscoes' stuff violently, flipped his hair some more, did some Martin Starr cosplay, hit a nice standing splash, more hair flips. I dug Mark starting things with some grappling. I want to see a character shift where he masters his redneck kung fu so moves on to a new challenge, and becomes a redneck RINGS worker. Mark's dives get crazier every week, dude really plays lunatic better than anybody else right now. I really liked the structure of this as ANX control Mark for awhile, Jay tags in and he and Mark go on a tear, King gets a run of kicks and suplexes, finishers get blocked, and then Jay hits a wicked Jay Driller and Mark hits a lung collapsing Froggy Bow. It's an easy way to fill 12 and both teams have the formula down. King took a weird bump off the apron and did a strange phantom knee injury for like 3 seconds. But yeah this was good. More stuff like this.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

MLJ: Misterioso/Volador 8: Misterioso vs Volador I [IWC MIDDLE]

1994-03-24 @ Cancún, Quintana Roo
Misterioso vs Volador I [IWC MIDDLE]

This was really my sort of title match. Don't get me wrong. I like the gamesmanship and mat mastery and slow and steady escalation of maestros as much as the next guy, probably more so, but this had a lot of character, and underlying grudge, and was built to big moments. There was a real sense of spectacle to it, even though it was apparently on the middle of the card and really was just the start of a feud, not the climax of it.

First of all, this was the IWC Middleweight title. Misterioso was the first title holder, beating Huichol. Rey and Misterioso would feud over it later. They actually have minis as seconds, with Octagoncito in Misterioso's corner. That was pretty surreal to see and sort of took away from the seriousness of the match to me, even though it would play into the finish in a clever way.

Misterioso came in not wanting to engage. He was selling the rudo turn pretty strongly and went out of his way to make Volador look good early on, getting plenty of heat in the process. Any time that Volador went for a hold, he'd make for the ropes instead of countering. That doesn't sound much but it really runs opposite to what you'd see in most title matches and the crowd responded in kind. Moreover, after the rope break, he'd go overboard in the selling, much as he did in the preceeding trios. It likely started out as a mind game or as a way to mess with the fans, but as Volador continued to keep the advantage, you got the sense watching that it became more and more genuine. When Misterioso did finally lock in a hold (including a really nice rolling leglock), he tantrumed a bit to Volador getting out, pushing him, which led to the final escalation of the fall. Ultimately, Misterioso missed his back tope off the inside second rope and Volador locked in a rolling tapitia for the submission.

The segunda continued the story with a nice transition and some solid selling and rudo work by Misterioso. First of all, here's the leg sell post-tapitia, and Volador going right back to it:

It's nothing earth-shattering, but he was committed to it. Eventually, though, they did a nice little spot where Misterioso was able to get his legs up, rear-facing, during a corner whip, and just roll backwards, mainly to put some distance between himself and Volador. He capitalized with a clothesline and followed up, still selling the leg somewhat, with two hotshot-style drapes over the corner turnbuckle and double leg front (alabama) slams. He was taking his time here, still limping, and playing to the crowd. Finally, he'd go to the top, hit a splash, and lift up Volador TWICE, before putting his foot on him for the pin. That's how you commit to a heel turn.

The beatdown continued into the tercera, leading to a big comeback moment, the finishing stretch (dives included), and a pretty perfect finish for the role this match was playing in the budding feud. Misterioso kept up the cocky act, doing the Hogan ear-cup after corner whips and clotheslines. He went for it one too many times, though, and Volador hit a big quebradora off a whip reversal and then followed it up with one of the biggest clotheslines I've ever seen in lucha:

They started to go back and forth a bit, but with Volador holding the advantage, leading a suplex to the floor, a vault into the ring, and then a really nice tope. Good exchange all around:

Both of them sold on the way in, allowing Misterioso to come back into the ring with a headbutt and a plancha off the top rope (which was still a bit of a technico move, really). He followed it up with a dive of his own and they headed on to the finishing stretch. Both missed top rope moves. There was a sense that Volador held a slight advantage, and Misterioso seemed to sense it as well, resorting to the best possible rudo tactic in this scenario: he went out of his way to attack Volador's mini second. Then, when the ref was distracted, tending to him, he hit a blatant foul and took the pin. Post match they brawled and started the mask challenges that would take a year to payoff.

This was worked exactly as it should be in the early stage of the feud. It was shine/heat/comeback, allowing Volador to really start to get back after the weeks of Misterioso's bad behavior. Even though he put on the superior performance from a kayfabe level, Misterioso had no intention of playing fair and cheated to win. Good action, great selling from Misterioso in the early-middle stretch, just the right amount of fire from Volador, and the perfect finish for the match. I liked this a lot and I liked it even more for having seen the matches building up to.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fire Fundraiser: Fit Finlay vs. Marty Jones

Fit Finlay vs. Marty Jones, World of Sport 11/84

Fellow SCer Matt D kindly and gently donated money to the cause, but then has such a good heart he asked me to watch and review a Finlay match. That's like buying a guy dinner or paying for his tank of gas. "Here's money for your friend, now YOU have to go watch FINLAY!" And it was awesome. Watching Finlay matches from 30 years ago is like watching old Negro Casas matches, in which you've grown accustomed to how great the elder versions of Finlay/Casas are, that you forget they were awesome in entirely different ways back then. They were super fast, bumped differently, moved differently, threw strikes differently, just different versions of the same awesome wrestlers. Finlay even has his John Oates permullet here so he and Casas even had the same old curly exotico hair. So yeah, "young" Finlay is a total treat. He bumps like mad, really fast and low, like he's aiming to hit the mat as quick as possible. He was always good at taking offense, but this was different. This was like Dynamite Kid with match structure. Marty Jones is a good hand. I think a lot of people use that term really low, tantamount to a guy being mediocre (while at the same time using mediocre as tantamount to bad), but I think being a good hand is impressive. Jones knows when to lay back and let Finlay be Finlay, knows when to step up and get the crowd into himself. He has great instincts and  knows his strengths, really seems like a guy who would be able to work with anybody (you know, like Finlay).

My favorite thing about this was the pinpoint strikes by both men. They did plenty of strike exchanges throughout, but none were mindless, and most were attacking specific body parts to then capitalize on different body parts. A Jones kick to the knee would buckle Finlay, allowing Jones to sweep Finlay's other leg. A Finlay front kick would drop Jones right into a Finlay elbow to the jaw. Both men threw gorgeous and violent elbows. They cut low, kept arms close to the body and exploded on follow through. At one point Jones hops on a buckle for momentum before launching his elbow low at Finlay's chin and sending him sprawling. Finlay bumped all over for him, a couple huge ones to the floor, a lightning fast one through the ropes after Jones' awesome dropkick (Jones may have a top 3 all time dropkick if you didn't know) that looks like Finlay got shot out of a cannon, super high backdrop bump, a flapjack bump that sent him down dangerously headfirst, just Finlay as wild Dynamite bumper. Finlay still does all my favorite "not letting a guy rest on his laurels" type stuff, constantly kicking and goading and smacking Jones while Jones is on the mat, little annoying mocking kicks to the cheek, temple, rib points; at one point Jones is on his hands and knees, and Finlay casually strolls up and kicks out Jones' left arm, the same way you'd kick out a kickstand on your bike. Holy shit. We also get Finlay's leaping knee to the head established as a near fatal move, with him taking an early fall by blindsiding Jones with one. And it was truly a beautiful flying knee strike. Finlay is a dick the whole time, really playing smart with his use of public warnings. Weighing the damage you can do to make it worth a public warning is smart business. If you can do something illegal that does more damage than something legal, it's kinda worth it as long as you don't care what the fans think about you (which Finlay clearly does not). The World of Sport fans themselves are glorious, women in their cable knit sweaters, men in their sweater vests. The whole lot is just so impossibly British and it's really my favorite thing about territorial era wrestling, that feeling of being part of a community while watching it.

Anyway Finlay abuses his public warnings and even risks doing things that could easily get him warned, like headbutting Jones immediately at the end of a fall trying to do things behind the ref's back. Finlay also does some hilarious things to goad Jones into snapping, like always dilly dallying at the start of each round, making sure to kiss Princess Paula while Jones is just waiting to gallantly fight.  Eventually it does lead to Jones snapping and getting TWO public warnings (though Finlay gets himself DQ'd right after, which is a rather LAME way for a match this awesome to end). These two matched up really great, which is not a shock as both guys match effortlessly up with most wrestlers, and really the only downside of the match was that it was JIP in the 4th fall (couldn't find a full version) and had that lame DQ title change ending. But this was all great pro wrestling. There are dozens of things I didn't even mention, as literally every exchange looked great and many of them had notable moments. It would have been a full novelization had I gone into more detail.

Thanks again to Matt for not only his donation, but for FORCING me to watch one of my all time favorite pro wrestlers.

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