Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY Round Up

Recently we reviewed a full Evolve and PWG show, as well as the two Evolve representatives for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. We felt 4 matches from the shows deserved placement on our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List, so thought it might be a good idea to present them below with a link to our list (starting to get fleshed out at 25 matches). Enjoy!


3. Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher PWG 1/2

ER: How weird, these two guys having a match I enjoyed! This was all built around each guy trying to rip the other's arm off, with some painful and convincing selling from both. Both break out cool arm stuff I haven't seen much, with Thatcher Irish whipping Gulak a few times but then yanking him down by the arm. Thatcher's curb stomp to the wrist is always a gross spot, and here he ups the ante by grabbing a kimura on Gulak and then lifting him up in the air by his damn arm! Gulak punishes Thatcher with annoying painful stuff like yanking on his thumb while grabbing a wrist, throwing open palm strikes to Thatcher's ear, throwing fast and low dropkicks to Thatcher's shoulder, snapping off a quick piledriver, wanting to compress Thatcher's neck in the same way Thatcher tried to do with his earlier north/south knees. I loved the ebb and flow of the arm stuff as each guy would push the other a little further, but there was an undercurrent of respect where neither wanted to go too far over the line...but then they'd keep pushing. Both guys sell the arm really nicely, doing some nice dead arms, not wanting to bend them, rubbing them out. There was one point where both were on the mat recovering, and both were independently holding their arms kind of straight off the mat, not putting weight on it. They still manage to snap off some throws and immediately regret them, with Thatcher pulling off a big gut wrench, and there's cool moments like Thatcher bridging out of a pin with his neck while keeping his arm motionless. The finish was so damn good with Gulak finally lacing in with slaps to Thatcher's ear and side and then starts with nasty elbows, and Thatcher just DROPPING him with his thrust headbutt as Gulak is whirling around with a rolling elbow. Gulak crumples better than maybe anybody, and that headbutt sent him into a nasty fold. It gets a surprise kickout but Thatcher locks on the kimura right after for the win. Awesome stuff. Not a shock.

PAS: This was a really great version of this match. They sped it up a bit for a PWG audience and I enjoyed the sprinty style of this a ton, it was almost like the Wrestlemania 3 version of Steamboat and Savage, all of the hits in less the time. That Kimura lift by Thatcher was honestly one of my spots of the year, just an unbelievably violent piece of business. Awesome performance by Gulak who maybe my 2016 Wrestler of the year, I loved his wide hip counter into this weird regal-plex where he through Thatcher by his chin, he also made Thatcher short headbutt look devestating, that is a really hit and miss spot, and Gulak sold it like he had been hit by Gennady Golovkin.


10. Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. EVOLVE 4/1

ER: I went into this one expecting to not like it much, assuming that each man would bring out the worst in the other. BUT it actually turned out to be an awesome match (that went on a couple minutes too long). To me this felt like a cool modern twist on classic World of Sport, with both guys (especially Sabre) pulling from a bottomless bag of tricks with fast exchanges and updated WoS transitions. I loved all the slippery headlocks, with one going for a headlock and it seamlessly getting reversed into a wristlock and back into a headlock. We also had reversals based out of snapmares which is something directly lifted from WoS. They would often do a snapmare with a guy handspringing forward onto his feet, here we get Ospreay turning a snapmare into his own handspring elbow, and it was done quick enough that it looked great. Sabre was killer here, dropping Ospreay with a couple of rough suplexes, including a wheelbarrow roll through turned into a tiger suplex. Then he would come up with all sorts of ways to work over Ospreay's neck, legs, arms, whatever. Ospreay worked a lot of flying moves to counter and Sabre was often there to catch him with something. This was incredibly fun, incredibly quick counter based wrestling. It's something that doesn't work but damn did they make it work here. Where I wish it would have ended was when Sabre caught a triangle choke while Ospreay was going for a standing shooting star. Right before that Ospreay had kipped out of a tornado DDT which I think is an exceptionally stupid spot that athletic wrestlers do. All it does is show how a DDT is just rolling through at the right time. "See? My neck wasn't impacted at all! I was able to just hop out of it!" It's needless. But it would have been great if he had done that, tried his SSP and immediately met his doom in a triangle. Buuuuut we get a 80s WWF hulk up as his arm doesn't drop (since when does Evolve even do that spot? Don't they just call submissions as if they were MMA?), and we have to see some Ospreay tropes like trapping Sabre's head against the turnbuckle. The finishing sub by Sabre is absolutely vicious and almost made the match continuing worth it, as Sabre ends up sitting down on Ospreay's head and neck while yanking both of his arms up and behind his back. It's something Negro Navarro would be jealous of. Even with the extra pointless final two minutes, match was still awesome and a great representation of this style.

PAS: I was also not expecting to like this very much, and was looking forward to shitting on Eric for digging it, but I confess it won me over. A match like this is all about doing cool stuff and not wearing out your welcome, and they did a bunch of cool stuff and kept from dragging on. I loved Ospreys shooting star press, it a spot I haven't seen in a while and he added a cool tuck in the middle of it, I also liked a bunch of the quick counter which is something can bug me. Finishing submission was truly awesome, as was the Liger bomb that set it up. I am still not sold on Osprey, some of his stuff is still pretty stupid looking but I think I need to give up the ghost and embrace Sabre.


12. Drew Gulak v. Tracy Williams EVOLVE 5/7

PAS: Awesome match, really a showcase for the style of wrestling these guys represent. Violent mat wrestling with William using his power to get advantages, while Gulak played the role of the more skilled veteran. The match then built to some pretty great bomb throwing, with William really unloading some huge lariats and throws, and Gulak throwing some thudding chops and dropping him with his great bodyslam into the ropes. Williams gets rolling and it looks like he is going to overpower Gulak before Drew snatches him out of midair with a dragon sleeper, just an awesome flash finish and a capper to a great match. Catch Point is my favorite thing in wrestling right now.

ER: Gotta second Phil on this one, Catch Point is definitely my favorite thing in wrestling right now. I love that sometimes their matches don't necessarily have a coherent story or narrative, not necessarily follow a "work the knee, guy fights through knee pain, knee eventually gives out" type line, but more just two talented guys with a bunch of tricks, who are always prepared to catch somebody with an unexpected trick. Gulak is probably my #1 guy in wrestling right now, running a tight race with Hero,   and I just adore all the tricks he breaks out in a match. He doesn't put the blinders on and go for one way to the finish, he really blends into a match and takes opportunities as they come, while commanding an awesome control over all these little things. All of his pinfall roll-ups feel like things that could legitimately pin a man. His sunset flip is killer, his crucifix is great, they look like actual pinfalls. He does stuff every match that I'm not sure I've seen, and not in some sort of dorky innovator of offense way, but neat little wrinkles to his work. At one point he put his arms up to block a Williams forearm and caught the forearm with his forearms, but then dropped his left arm to shake it out as the strike likely hurt, which led to the left side of his face being opened up to Williams' next forearm. He easily just could have taken two forearms in the strike exchange, but he decided to make it more interesting. He's really great at fighting to the ropes, looking for openings, reversals, hits one of the greatest spinning lariats, hits one of the greatest headlock takeovers where it just looked like he locked in a super snug headlock and went right over, with Williams having to decide if he's going over too, or if his head is going to get popped off his shoulders like an action figure. But Gulak also breaks out awesome, more complicated things, like the sub where he has Williams' left leg grapevined and is grabbing his right leg and bringing it down with force over his own shoulder, like a cross between an indian deathlock and a stretch muffler. Too bad we'll likely never get to see Gulak get a lucha run as I would love to see him against guys like Virus and Blue Panther. I don't get too into fantasy dream booking but damn would 10 minutes of those matches make my year. I've spent this whole time talking up Gulak, but Williams keeps getting better too, and I liked all of his pump dropkicks and like how he represents a more traditional "pro wrestling" style within Catch Point. Who's gonna get me my Catch Point shirt!?


16. Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher EVOLVE 4/1

ER: Awesome stuff from these two, which shouldn't be too surprising. There are some moments where you see a couple seams in their style with split seconds of waiting for one another, but I'm stunned that type of thing doesn't happen more with these guys. Thatcher dominated most of this and was really mean, throwing big strikes to Riddle's ribs and neck and ear, tossing him with gut wrenches, making his ankle bend at a disgusting angle with an ankle lock, locking on a brutal sub where he yanks Riddle's leg back while pushing into his knee with his boot. Damn that should be a finisher. Riddle doesn't overdo the selling, but he doesn't no sell either. Watch him lift his ankle after nailing Thatcher with a fisherman's buster. I'm sure many will hate the finish, which I get, but I liked Riddle hyperextending the arm after Thatcher thinks the ref broke the hold. It's a nice Gerard Gordeau dick move that adds another wrinkle to the Thatcher/Catch Point feud.

PAS: I really loved all of the infighting in this match, both guys laid in some vicious shot to the ribs and stomach and I am shocked that none of the shots to the ear popped an eardrum. Both guys come off as naturally tough dudes and parts of this felt like they took it a bit far. I thought the multiple arm bar reversals at the end might have been a bit much, although I did love how each guy found a different way to reverse and counter. Finish was pretty cool, although I think both the ref and Riddle needed to be a bit more demonstrative. I can totally see how it would have come off confusing to the crowd, Riddle need to wait a beat before torquing the arm, so it was obvious he wasn't breaking clean, and the ref really need to over emphasize that he needed to break the hold.




2016 MOTY MASTER LIST



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Monday, May 30, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic: EVOLVE Qualifying Matches

Drew Gulak v. Tracy Williams EVOLVE 5/7

PAS: Awesome match, really a showcase for the style of wrestling these guys represent. Violent mat wrestling with William using his power to get advantages, while Gulak played the role of the more skilled veteran. The match then built to some pretty great bomb throwing, with William really unloading some huge lariats and throws, and Gulak throwing some thudding chops and dropping him with his great bodyslam into the ropes. Williams gets rolling and it looks like he is going to overpower Gulak before Drew snatches him out of midair with a dragon sleeper, just an awesome flash finish and a capper to a great match. Catch Point is my favorite thing in wrestling right now.

ER: Gotta second Phil on this one, Catch Point is definitely my favorite thing in wrestling right now. I love that sometimes their matches don't necessarily have a coherent story or narrative, not necessarily follow a "work the knee, guy fights through knee pain, knee eventually gives out" type line, but more just two talented guys with a bunch of tricks, who are always prepared to catch somebody with an unexpected trick. Gulak is probably my #1 guy in wrestling right now, running a tight race with Hero,   and I just adore all the tricks he breaks out in a match. He doesn't put the blinders on and go for one way to the finish, he really blends into a match and takes opportunities as they come, while commanding an awesome control over all these little things. All of his pinfall roll-ups feel like things that could legitimately pin a man. His sunset flip is killer, his crucifix is great, they look like actual pinfalls. He does stuff every match that I'm not sure I've seen, and not in some sort of dorky innovator of offense way, but neat little wrinkles to his work. At one point he put his arms up to block a Williams forearm and caught the forearm with his forearms, but then dropped his left arm to shake it out as the strike likely hurt, which led to the left side of his face being opened up to Williams' next forearm. He easily just could have taken two forearms in the strike exchange, but he decided to make it more interesting. He's really great at fighting to the ropes, looking for openings, reversals, hits one of the greatest spinning lariats, hits one of the greatest headlock takeovers where it just looked like he locked in a super snug headlock and went right over, with Williams having to decide if he's going over too, or if his head is going to get popped off his shoulders like an action figure. But Gulak also breaks out awesome, more complicated things, like the sub where he has Williams' left leg grapevined and is grabbing his right leg and bringing it down with force over his own shoulder, like a cross between an indian deathlock and a stretch muffler. Too bad we'll likely never get to see Gulak get a lucha run as I would love to see him against guys like Virus and Blue Panther. I don't get too into fantasy dream booking but damn would 10 minutes of those matches make my year. I've spent this whole time talking up Gulak, but Williams keeps getting better too, and I liked all of his pump dropkicks and like how he represents a more traditional "pro wrestling" style within Catch Point. Who's gonna get me my Catch Point shirt!?


WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CLASSIC GUIDE

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

RETRO Segunda Caida- TomK's Impact Workrate Report 2/1/07

Another classic Retro report from our late lamented friend Tomk

WHAT WORKED:

Miss Tennessee~!!!! Miss Texas forearming Gail Kim in the back of the head was the single best wrestling sequence on the entire show. You had to go back and watch that in slo-mo. Eveen if you ignore the wrestling goodness, Miss Texas pairing with James Storm is the best non-wrestling thing on the show. Drunken belligerent cowboy James Storm encourages Eric Young to get some tail followed by Miss Texas telling him to “BRAND THAT STEER!!” put a big smile on my face. It’s a shame that the James Storm/Miss Tennessee pairing are stuck on this poorly written show as you really get the sense that they could be a great anchor for a Porter or Corey Maclin booked fed.

Homicide on the mic! I love me some Homicide mic work. I dug violent knife wielding Homicide. Liked the cross-eyed angry Devon delivery too. The delivery by both guys was good. 

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

A Few Good Black Men?? Oh see the joke here is that black entertainment is just watered down second rate copies of the stuff that white people come up with. Did Patrice O Neal cuckold Russo when they both worked in the WWF? “HA, HA Blacks have no ideas of their own, they aren’t creative. See I’m creative that’s what I always explained to Vince”. So they have Ron Killings in a spoof of Maverick distributed direct to DVD black movies, where Ron Killings is riffing on Jack Nicholson in front of cheap graphics and the boom mic falls on him. “Ha Ha Black entertainment is second rate”. One can argue whether this is a good way for TNA to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month or not. But one can’t argue that it’s not a good idea to spoof cheap production values of Bad News Ballers when you had your announcers reading from scripts on camera last week. Nothing in Master Ps filmography is as poorly written as the Abyss prison story. You’re running Chris Sabin doing an old man impression and yet you’re doing spoof’s of bad movies. “Ha Ha that movie is bad, unlike this comedy bit where Chris Sabin is using a walker…see its funny because Jerry Lynn is old. I mean I don’t think people will get the joke so Chris Sabin will have to say ‘Hey I’m Jerry Lynn. I’m Jerry Lynn’ again and again so people get it but it’s still brilliant”. There’s nothing wrong with doing a comedy segment but doing a comedy segment mocking cheap second rate knocks-off’s when you are a cheap second rate knock off is a mistake. TNA isn’t even the “Orca”, to WWE’s “Jaws”. For a cheap knock-off“ Orca” showed far more creativity. 

And well this show was all about advertising that "TNA is second rate". Tenay announces “Are you looking for a PPV quality main event?” and then promises one. Instead he delivers a two minute match with a run in DQ. AJ mugged his way through this and Samoa Joe seemed to be sleepwalking. But even if they were going at iton all cylinders, don’t promise a PPV main event and deliver a two minute match with a run in. That’s a TNA PPV quality match? Well shit I can’t see any reason to buy there PPVs. I can see better longer matches on youtube. Derrick King vs. Bill Dundee’s BamBam tribute match smoked this. Fucking Sean Waltman carrying Vampiro through a five minute WSX main event was better than this. Why would anyone want to buy a TNA PPV? Post match they have Angle eat a meaningless chair shot, lazy Russo books Samoa Joe to give Christian the double birds (jeezus is Joe as Austin going to be awful…write some new material you lazy hack) then Styles and Chirstian double team Joe. Where is Rhino? I thought Rhino runs out any time there is a Styles segment? Rhino was chasing him a minute ago. 

And well the undercard? Again, you can watch indies on youtube with longer better matches than anything on Impact. I liked some of the early parts of the X-Division five way. Starr and Shelley work as a heel team working really basic offense against Jay Lethal. Lethal works face getting beat on, getting comebacks (including chopping Starr’s chest beat red), getting comebacks cut off and it really feels like the start of a good well paced tag match. Then Jerry Lynn is tagged in. And it's Jerry Lynn on fire doing "on fire" shouting and Lucky Pierre doublejerking handmotions. Lynn’s house of fire offense looks shitty, he attacks everyone face or heel and we move from the slow early build straight into a really shitty dive train. No midrange section to match, just early slow build and then shitty Jerry Lynn and dives. And well these were unimpressive dives too. Maan poor Robert Roode is stuck in an endless series with his former Team Canada partners. Petey Williams isn’t good at eating offense or selling but manages to be unobjectionable in the parts of the match where Roode was on offense, and Roode is good enough at eating ranas that the Williams multiple rana sections where ok. But really Petey Williams should stick to ranas, as everything else was cringe-worthy. I don’t know why people spend so much time mocking the Canadian Destroyer when his floatover to Russian legsweep, may not be as preposterous but looks far worse. At least with the Canadian Destroyer (like the rana), its move that a good opponent can make look ok. Moves where execution/set up matters more than the opponents’ bumps…uugh! Sometimes watching Williams wrestle is like watching a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy pretending to be a guy wrestling. Wrestling is two guys pretending to fight. Backyard wrestling is people pretending to be guys pretending to fight. So imagine a mime trying to mime “Backyard wrestling”, now imagine a kid whose first grade class went to see that mime. That kid taught Petey Williams how to execute a Russian leg sweep.

Abyss and James Mitchell chased down Sting’s ambulance and all that was left of Sting was his bat. They chased down the ambulance on foot? They’re shocked that he isn’t in it anymore? How bad do they think healthcare is in Florida? People just sit around in the back of ambulances waiting to be allowed into Hospitals. They’re surprised that his bat is left behind? What hospital lets a patient in with a bat? A middle aged burn victim shows up in tights with pantomime makeup on, I would hope they wouldn’t let him take his aluminum bat into the ER. Did they go to a hospital or just the First Aid Station at Universal Studios? This makes the Oz episode where they were unable to find Luke Perry’s corpse seem like good writing. And Christian asks Tomko to “Take one for the team”. Timmy Kirk doesn’t send Jaz Hoyt out to blow Manny Yarborough. That’s not how it works. Speaking of the workings of prison, James Mitchell does a meandering soliloquy setting up the Prison Yard match. Lots of lines reminding the audience that Abyss is a fat cow, some stuff about why it is that Mitchell isn’t pressing charges against Sting for kidnapping (they decide to have them explain why they aren’t pressing charges in one angle while doing a knife wielding assault in an other), and a bunch of stuff about the hard life of prisoners while an ominous monolith is lowered into the ring. The covering is pulled off the monolith and Mitchell reveals one of those racks for stacking your trays when you are done eating.
“In prison you have to buss your own trays!!!!” evil laugh…

So last week I suggested that Brother Ray/Brother Devon vs. LAX feud really was going to need more relatives: Brother Brother, Dances with Brother, Sign Guy Brother, Little Snot Brother, etc. Instead they introduce some random uncle who gets attacked by Homicide. Who is this guy? Favorite uncle? Uncle on which side? They’re brothers of a different mother and all. Is the uncle friends with Samoa Joe’s girlfriend? Hey what happened with Samoa Joe’s girlfriend? Introducing loved ones of wrestlers and then having them attacked in same episode is some hack writing. They didn’t actually even bother to introduce the loved one. One time where “explaining” Tenay was useful. Good storytelling shouldn’t need Tenay to explain it. Devon doesn’t usually do mic work because he’s cross-eyed and thus whatever he says comes across less menacing and more “slow”. Family feuds are the type of things that always rile up the most slow witted so it didn’t really hurt his micwork that much. He explains to LAX “When you go after family you go too far”. Wait didn’t this whole feud start when LAX went after Spike. The mic work from four weeks ago was about how they attacked Konan in retaliation for attack on Spike. Didn’t LAX already go “too far” by going after “family”?? I guess I’d rather see these two teams do week after week of Paparazzi productions where they retaliate and counter retaliate going after different relatives then see them in the ring again. LAX and Team 3D had a shitty PPV match where the road agents where furious with 3D for not selling anything for LAX. To make nice with the road agents 3D had another match with LAX where they promised to put them over. In that shitty match 3D sold nothing. So yeah rather watch the Paparazzi productions. Mustachioed uncle sells better than Devon. 

Oh yeah and why are they doing this serious assault angle with Paparazzi productions? Paparazzi productions is comedy gimmick. Having Shelley supposedly filming this is stupid. Can’t Homicide get his own fenced camera? Comedy relief cameramen shouldn’t be filming you’re serious angle. While Alex Shelley is videotaping a serious assault, Sahadi is doing a serious deadpan video recap package for the Eric Young/Traci Brooks angle. This is a comedy angle!!! Why are they doing a serious video package? And if you are going to do a serious video package for this angle, where is the griot? The TNA Griot was made to narrate this type of coming of age story. C’mon TNA!!! If you’re going to do something this goofy, give me the TNA Griot telling me about “Eric Young’s quest to become a man”.

Back in November I talked about how much I dug the Sting promo where he talked about his personal battle to escape the temptations that come with wrestling and his dedication to the Truth of the Maker. I praised the promo and the whole direction they went with Sting. This week they do a “Fallen Angel” video promo with Christopher Daniels talking about how the wins and losses in wrestling have no meaning, Christopher Daniels questions “What’s the meaning of it all”, talks about how he is merely “treading water”, and that there “has to be a Higher Purpose”. And it just doesn’t work for me. Christopher Daniels Christian mic work just doesn’t come off as sincere as Sting’s, and you really need strong mic work to get over the Fallen Angel seeks Purpose/Redemption angle. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to have two wrestlers with the same gimmick. Two wrestlers grappling with the Truth of the Lord and the search for Higher Purpose? Just feels like one wrestler too many. I don’t think you can do two Christian faces. You can have one Christian face or you can have three who are actually one…but not two.

I’ve spent three months writing about how it is dumb to have the fans surrogates portrayed as bumbling incompetents. But FUCK!!!. Lance Hoyt tells me that disrespecting him is disrespecting the TNA’s fans. Wait he's supposed to be the fans surrogate? I’m no fan but I’d rather be thought of as a bumbling incompetent than a femme exotic dancer... Has Hoyt always had that chin piercing? I could make out a tongue one too. Guy with a tongue piercing announcing “You have no idea what I’ve done, professional wrestling is my life” made me cringe. Kip James explained that “If you want to go up in the biz, you first have to go down”..but don’t need to remind the audience of that in the angle with the mainstream celebrity. “ [Dale Torborg/] AJ Pierzynski] you want to cross that line, then cross it. Step into my ring and do what I do.” Do what you do? How many prison themed matches are they booking? 

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

RETRO Segunda Caida- DUSTIN OF THE DAY #19 Bunkhouse Buck v. Dustin Rhodes Slamboree 94

Eric is on a cruise with his parents and I am in a NYC hotel room with not great internet for streaming so I am posting a TOMK Dustin of the Day from back in the day


Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck-Bullrope Match (Slamboree 94)

In the last Dustin vs. Buck match I reviewed, Buck won by DQ when Dustin was caught with the knucks. Parker gives Buck the knucks, Dustin atomic drops Buck, Buck drops the knuck, Dustin starts hitting Buck with knucks only for ref to see and Dustin to be Dqed. Pretty classic finish really well done as Dustin is really good at milking the crowd pop for “you guys want me to hit him with it???” before punching and Dustin instead of going to head just hits a bunch of really narsty looking bodyshots with the knuckledusters. The PPV Bunkhouse match before that had a knucks finish. Now we have a bullrope match where both wrestlers are tied together so that neither can bail and both share opportunity at same weapon, cowbell in the middle of ring.

Last time I reviewed a Buck vs. Dustin Rhodes match I talked a lot about Bunkhouse Buck's Darkness Muga and his great abdominal stretch work in the context of a brawl. There will not be any abdominal stretches here. This is a bullrope match and is about old style American lynching spots, ain't gonna be none of them Frenchified standing guillotines here.


Just as an aside, no one I’ve contacted who have the 1990 Dustin vs. Gary Young bullrope match from the Sportatorium listed has gotten back to me yet. So, if anyone has it, please, either contact me or put it up on the matches board. Thanks

This Bunkhouse Buck match is on the 94 Slamboree, Legends Reunion Show. The other really memorable things from this show was an opening match between Terry Funk and Tully Blanchard and the teasing of a possible Hogan vs. Flair match. The Funk vs. Tully match really has the feel of being Tully's ECW audition in front of a Philly crowd as the two work a real ECWish match with Blanchard channeling Kobashi (taking a DDT on the ring apron, among other places, multiple piledrivers both on chairs, floors, etc and keeps on coming).. The teased blonde wolrd champion turned out not to be Hogan but instead a really fat out of shape Barry Windham. If I was treated to a fat out of shape Windham, when I was expecting Hogan...I would have been stoked...but still it is a stupid booking and the crowd really turned hard on the bait and switch.

I am going to split this Bullrope match into four parts:

First part: the hot opening.

Dustin comes in with the bullrope attached to his hand. Buck, the heel of course wants no part of the bullrope. Dustin stands in the ring swinging the bullrope around his head, and buck comes in charging Dustin hoping not to get hit by rope. Bullrope knocks Buck to the outside and Dustin just wraps the thing around Bucks neck and they do a whole series of hanging and dragging by neck spots. Philly crowd thinking they're gonna be treated to a lynching is stoked. Dustin eventually straps the rope onto Buck's hand. and Dustin stays in control with a bunch of pulling the Buck into strikes spots (spots that otherwise might require opponent to run ropes). Buck still sells being out of it after escaping the hanging.

They do the big formula bullrope spots here early in the match. The face crotches heel with rope, the face smashes the cowbell on heel's penis, etc. I was talking about how good Dustin is at milking the crowd in the "should I do it???" spots and he does that really well here for the early formula bullrope spots.

Second part: Body part work.

Again, I wrote earlier about the knuckles exchange section in the Pro match between these two...Dustin instead of going to the head deviates from formula and took the knuckles to the body and it looks more violent than the normal formula.. Again he does that here as, we expect a bullrope match to have lots of cowbell shots to head...and instead Dustin uses cowbell to work over Buck's leg and it comes across like Dustin really wants to hurt Buck.

Dustin just starts slamming buck in the leg with the bell, grinds the edge into leg, and just really work the leg with the cowbell. 

Dustin goes to post Buck's leg and as seen in the Pro match, these two guys really know how to work a crotching opponent into post section. Here Buck sits up to prevent being crotched and they work a punch exchange to set up the posting. Dustin just pastes Buck in the face, and then can post leg. Buck sells the posting by swinging his upper body forward only to be pasted by Dustin with an uppercut and a right.... and then Dustin goes back to grinding the cowbell into the leg, dropping knee on leg etc. Buck is unsuccessful at breaking this up with eye rakes, etc.

Part three: Buck uses his knowledge of clothing to go back on offense.

Buck tried to escape the leg work by pulling on back of the hair and raking Dustin's eyes, but that didn't slow Dustin down much, so Buck grabs at the back of Dustin's shirt and pulls it over Dustin's head. Dustin has to stop to undo this so he can see. But before he can get the shirt off his face, Buck is back on offense punching the blinded Dustin from different angles. Buck than takes off his own belt and whips Dustin with the belt with one hand while using the other hand to smack the cowbell across Dustin's face.

The shirt, the belt, the cowbell...and Buck is in control and can take Dustin to the floor where he posts Dustin and then ties him to the ring post. Dustin is pinned to the post by the rope...no need for guillotine. With Dustin immobilized, Buck can kick and punch him at will. Then Buck takes off his suspenders and chokes Dustin with them. I really dig the clothing use to get back to offense section. Surprisingly he doesn't take off his boot, and disappointed that he didn't shove his kerchief in Dustin's mouth.

I'm used to Dustin trying to create distance so he can hit his strikes...instead here you have Dustin tied up trying to close distance, clinch to protect himself. With his movement limited, Dustin is able to trade some on the inside and any time these two trade punches it rules. Buck is getting the better of the punch exchange and eventually one of his punches drops the tied up Dustin. Dustin drops and low blows Buck on the way down.

Buck has this great stunned low blow sell where he just lays back dazed. Dustin is able to loosen the ropes a bit and hit a bionic elbow, loosens some more and hits a nasty heart punch with the bell..loosens some more and a series of bell shots to the heart. Dustin teases the bionic elbow to the bell on bucks head but instead just knocks Buck with the bell to head...This is Dustin's first use of the bell to the head in the match and gets a big pop...but this is Philly so that’s immediately followed by We want Blood chants..

Buck was really great selling during that whole section dazed from low blow enough to be rocked by elbow...rocked by elbow enough to be knocked back and out of breath by heart blows...and eventually knocked down by blow to head which allows Dustin enough time to completely unravel himself from post.

Part Four: Finish

So we're now building toward finish as both guys are really out on their feet at this point. Dustin had taken the long section of being tied up, Buck just ate the series of Dustin offense and his leg still ain't doing too well. Buck gets off first offensive move preceded by eye rake and tries to go for a big top rope move. But Buck's leg still taken pounding and Dustin punches buck on top rope, Buck falls seated crotching himself on top turnbuckle.

And we get your face punches heel on top rope while audience counts along section. I don't know if we've talked about how good Dustin is at this spot but he's really good. Its a spot that can often times look really shitty but Dustin punching a guy on top rope is something you always look forward too, as it always looks like his knuckles are connecting with either the forehead or the bridge of the nose. Here he does a bunch of shots to bridge of nose and ends the series with a really stiff flip flop and fly.

Buck is out but instinctively keeps climbing the ropes only to be gorilla pressed Falir style into the ring. Dustin is in control and goes for a bullrope assisted Irish whip and then pulls back on the rope. Nick Patrick is caught out of place and sandwiched between Buck and Dustin as we essentially have a triple collision spot.

It is a cool ref bump that also knocks both already weakened wrestlers loopy. Dustin while loopy goes for a vertical suplex that takes both wrestlers to the mat. Dustin is consistently good at playing a guy who is out of it doing things almost instinctively…he is the natural, naturally. His instinctive offense allows him to get of stuff while not being in control of match at all. .and this is real neat instinctive attempt at offense. 

The instinctive suplex doesn't scare off Col. Parker who sees the ref out and both wrestlers out..and Parker goes into the ring to get at Dustin...this is a mistake as Dustin is first to his feet and back Parker into the corner...this of course gives Buck enough time to get up and attack Dustin from behind. Buck puts Dustin in a full nelson, Parker gets out of corner and does this really cool "yeah now I'm gonna get my licks in" face and grabs the cowbell. 

Fuller is used to working Tennessee so the first thing he does when he has the cowbell is makes sure to wave it to get the metal sound...make sure the crowd knows that its real and not some aluminum bell. He does not really need to do that for this crowd because these are not stockyard workers who understand what being hit by a cowbell means. This is a Philly crowd who accept aluminum frying pan shots as long as it makes cool noise. It is unnecessary here but cool old school thing to do. Fuller again with his "ooh now I'm gonna get to hit you" smile while waving the bell in front of his pants and....

HOLY SHIT!!!

Miss. Sylvia always looked very comfortable handling that kendo stick. But NO WAY ...

HOLY SHIT!!!

I mean HOLY SHIT!

That has to be the cut of the pants.

Although I cannot imagine why you would put a rounded vertical twisting pleat on one side of white dress pants.

I mean DAMN!! 

Dustin Rhodes has one of the more infamous big schlongs in wrestling…

We have now reviewed more than thirty Dustin Rhodes matches and not mentioned it once cause it really has yet to distract from any of the matches. I mean, I wrote earlier in this review about how great Dustin's second rope punches to heel on top turnbuckle are. The point is that they are good enough punches that you overlook the fact that his hog leg appears to be pinning his opponent down and occasionally stabbing heel in the trachea during that spot. Punches are good enough that what you remember is the punch spot not the hog leg.

But God Damn,

The Robert Fuller tripod legitimately distracts from this match. Just imposible to get past the image. I don’t want to ever see the Tennessee Stud do the ten punches spot, I imagine Bullet wore the mask to keep Fuller’s gun from busting up his chin.

Fuller swings the bell at Dustin who jumps up in the full nelson hitting a Morton style seated drop kick while weight from kick and back elbow gets escape from full nelson. Cool spot not cool enough to make me forget…

Dustin with reckless cowbell swing for the pin and post match crazy Terry Funk attacks Dustin with the brandingiron and Buck, Fuller and Funk attack the rag doll like Dustin. Its sweet old school Tennessee keep the heat on heels booking where face gets the win, but heels leave face bloody and beaten. And well Dustin bleeds and bleeds and bleeds. The image of all the blood on the mat helps you to forget the other disturbing image in the match.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

NWA Classics Price Tag Review

Dick Slater v. Mongolian Stomper 7/9/82 $3.00

I was excited to check this out when it showed up. Mongolian Stomper is a legendary figure who I really hadn't seen work in anything but TV matches and clips, here we get to see him in a long 2/3 falls title match, and it was pretty awesome stuff. 1st fall was a bit slow, with Stomper doing some stalling and covering his ears to make the crowd boo him, Slater controls with armbars and takedowns, until the Stomper escapes and starts stomping,and man did he have great looking stomps,  he busts Slater open and puts on a nasty looking claw for the submission, second and third falls were pretty awesome with Slater bloody and brawling finally turning the tables and busting open the Stomper. Wild violent stuff which totally took the crowd along for a ride, really makes me want to see more of the Stomper.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

PWG Lemmy 1/2/16 Review

1. Brian Cage vs. Chris Dickinson

ER: Fun match with some absurd overkill, and some big power guys working cruiser spots. One sentence can kind of sum up this match: "A burning hammer gets a 2 count in the first match of the show". That's kind of what you need to know. Once you know that, and get that in your brain, you can enjoy or hate the rest of this. These are two power guys, and the power spots all looked good. I liked the running story of Cage trying to go for bigger and bigger power spots, that would allow Dickinson to slip out and do damage. One time Cage went for a powerslam off the top and Dickinson slipped out and eventually hit a huge rana, and another time he slipped out, kicked Cage's leg out and hit a big back suplex. Cage is a complete psycho taking burning hammers and dragon suplexes and doing big flip dives with all of his mass. One match in the future is going to see every single muscle in his body simultaneously tear. I really liked Dickinson in this. He appears to have more actual strength than Cage which lead to some pretty wild stuff, like a deadlift powerbomb and deadlift wheelbarrow suplex, and then he'll break out a crazy accurate spin kick. I also liked his little detail moments like stomping on Cage's foot to get out of a go behind, and standing on Cage's wrist while Cage is on the mat and Dickinson is transitioning to a new position, and the inverted Boston crab looked really great. Cage is just a weird worker as he's very agile, while also being slowed down by his bulk. So he does fast indy sequences but doesn't have the flexibility of the guys who typically do these spots, so they look strange. I wish he'd dial things back a bit but also understand these show off tendencies on cards like this. Match was ridiculous and structure was kind of out the window, but as a collection of big spots it was fun.

2. Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher

ER: How weird, these two guys having a match I enjoyed! This was all built around each guy trying to rip the other's arm off, with some painful and convincing selling from both. Both break out cool arm stuff I haven't seen much, with Thatcher Irish whipping Gulak a few times but then yanking him down by the arm. Thatcher's curb stomp to the wrist is always a gross spot, and here he ups the ante by grabbing a kimura on Gulak and then lifting him up in the air by his damn arm! Gulak punishes Thatcher with annoying painful stuff like yanking on his thumb while grabbing a wrist, throwing open palm strikes to Thatcher's ear, throwing fast and low dropkicks to Thatcher's shoulder, snapping off a quick piledriver, wanting to compress Thatcher's neck in the same way Thatcher tried to do with his earlier north/south knees. I loved the ebb and flow of the arm stuff as each guy would push the other a little further, but there was an undercurrent of respect where neither wanted to go too far over the line...but then they'd keep pushing. Both guys sell the arm really nicely, doing some nice dead arms, not wanting to bend them, rubbing them out. There was one point where both were on the mat recovering, and both were independently holding their arms kind of straight off the mat, not putting weight on it. They still manage to snap off some throws and immediately regret them, with Thatcher pulling off a big gut wrench, and there's cool moments like Thatcher bridging out of a pin with his neck while keeping his arm motionless. The finish was so damn good with Gulak finally lacing in with slaps to Thatcher's ear and side and then starts with nasty elbows, and Thatcher just DROPPING him with his thrust headbutt as Gulak is whirling around with a rolling elbow. Gulak crumples better than maybe anybody, and that headbutt sent him into a nasty fold. It gets a surprise kickout but Thatcher locks on the kimura right after for the win. Awesome stuff. Not a shock.

PAS: This was a really great version of this match. They sped it up a bit for a PWG audience and I enjoyed the sprinty style of this a ton, it was almost like the Wrestlemania 3 version of Steamboat and Savage, all of the hits in less the time. That Kimura lift by Thatcher was honestly one of my spots of the year, just an unbelievably violent piece of business. Awesome performance by Gulak who maybe my 2016 Wrestler of the year, I loved his wide hip counter into this weird regal-plex where he through Thatcher by his chin, he also made Thatcher short headbutt look devestating, that is a really hit and miss spot, and Gulak sold it like he had been hit by Gennady Golovkin.

3. Sami Callihan vs. Trevor Lee

ER: This was below what I was expecting, but I'm also starting to realize that one of the first Trevor Lee matches I saw (vs. Mike Bailey) is still clearly the best match I have seen him in. And so every Lee match I watch I still think of him at that level, and that may not be fair. I need to recalibrate me Lee expectations. They don't really have much of a gameplan here so the first half of the match is pretty unfocused. The spit right in each other's face which is freaking disgusting. I mean Sami especially can muster up a LOT of spit and he just projectiles it right into Lee's beard. It's fucking gross, guys. The match picks up when Sami catches Lee's apron punt on the ground, and back in the ring starts his brutal face wash kicks, throws a couple bicycle stomps and kicks, gets Lee tied up in the ropes and kicks him some more. Once they commenced with the kicking it got good. But overall it fell short.

4. Drew Galloway vs. Jack Evans

ER: Well this was really fun! Evans comes out running everybody down with a promo and then doing some show off breakdancing, and Galloway dropkicks him while Evans is doing a handstand. And then we go on a wild run of Evans taking ridiculous bumps off of Galloway kicks, lariats, punches and more. At one point Galloway no sells two dropsaults and when Evans goes for a third he plasters him with a lariat. Later as they brawl on the floor Galloway catches a crossbody off the apron and chucks Evans into the ringpost. Good god. Evans gets a couple nearfalls on flash roll ups but this was mostly him getting tossed by Galloway, and Evans is really good at getting tossed by Galloway.

5. Adam Cole vs. Speedball Mike Bailey

ER: Really good match, and amusing in the ways it factored the shittier parts of Adam Cole (moves with ridiculous set ups, cringey taunts) into a match story. Every time Cole would take time to taunt (like the embarrassing "Suck My Dick!") Bailey would meet him with a kick. Cole sets up his stupid bunny hop rolling piledriver, and it's Bailey suckering him in with a roll up. Bailey, that barefoot psychopath, looked really great and really crafted a great little match around Cole. Not a shocker that Bailey had some great kicks here. I especially love his Karate Kid crane kicks and his multiple rotation roundhouse kicks. And to Cole's credits he leaned right into them, and took a bunch of other nasty stuff like Bailey's moonsault knee drop right to the lower abdomen. Yuck. We don't get any overkill and things end when they should, and there was a nice nearfall with Cole grabbing the ref's arm. Really good stuff overall.

6. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Akira Tozawa

ER: Well, a lot of this ate shit. I'm not a big fan of "comedy striking" or "comedy grappling", and this match had an abundance of both. A problem with Tozawa is that a lot of his normal strikes already look shitty, so when he throws purposely shitty strikes it doesn't really land as comedy, it just lands as him looking slightly worse than normal. Sabre does some cool submission stuff, but also spends way too much time looking for yuks. Locking in a sub, making a face at the crowd, breaking the hold, repeat. We get some bad strike exchange moments, then some bad "this is supposed to be bad" strike exchange moments. We get suplex tradeoffs. It ticked a lot of the "this is bad" boxes. Sabre had some nice kicks, loved him kicking Tozawa's leg out while climbing the ropes, and at least the penalty kick finished the match, but I was bored and loathing this one pretty early when it was clear what they would be doing.

7. Chris Hero vs. Roderick Strong

ER: This was a long, boring match between two guys I like. It just didn't work. We got bumped refs, we had weak title belt shots, it was poorly paced, and it was a waste of two guys stiffing each other. They had an interminable section with Hero sitting on the top rope and Strong fighting to suplex him off. Hero looked tired really early and had zero steam by the end. There were spots where he was supposed to be tired and beaten down, and other spots where he just looked flat out gassed; not kicking high enough on kicks, elbows thrown noticeably slower. Roddy pulls the ref into the path of Hero offense a couple times, and I get it, he's a heel champ. But he does stupid nonsensical things related to the ref bumps. He pulls the ref into the way of a Hero elbow, and the ref goes down like a shot and rolls out of he ring. Right after, Roddy hits a brutal tiger driver.....and then pins Hero. HE was the one that purposely got the ref KO'd! He SAW the ref roll out of the ring! WHY would he cover?? Ohhhhhhh, because a second ref was running down to count a nearfall. Roddy didn't see this second ref, but he pinned Hero, because why? Too much of that garbage in this one. Way too long, horribly laid out, majorly disappointing for these two.

ER: Overall a mixed bag of a show. It was definitely front-loaded, but the last two matches were not only the longest of the night, but easily the worst of the night, so it's hard to not end the show feeling like it was worse than it was (especially when I watched the first half several days before the second half). Still, a great match, two very good matches, and some fun stuff in between....it's hard not to like that. But man those last two matches blew.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

EVOLVE 58 4/1/16 Review

1. Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano vs. Caleb Konley & Anthony Nese

ER: This is one of those tags where guys run in random directions for the sole purpose of setting up somebody's offense. After awhile you find yourself asking for the 10th time, "what was Konley's plan if Gargano hadn't been there to cut him off with a kick?" Galloway is wasted in stuff like this, which is a shame. Nese takes a nice bump to the floor and I love how he takes a DDT. But this match was victim to some poor move set up, with again, guys going where they shouldn't go just to take offense. On top of that the promotion appears to have totally lost their ring bell. I noticed it at the beginning when the ref called for the bell multiple times, and when it didn't come Gargano just started the match. Well the big finish comes and Konley taps and the Premier Athlete Brand is forced to break up...except there's no ring bell, and half the wrestlers don't know what's going on, and the crowd doesn't know what's going on. Galloway is confused, gets in and immediately repeats the finish and now he makes Konley tap. And the ref says the match is already over. But there's no ring bell. And the fans, being shitheads, all chant "This ref sucks" even though somehow a major promotion started a show with no ring bell. Really embarrassing stuff all around. Post-match Galloway does a decent job saving things by doing a reenactment of what the dramatic climactic finish was supposed to be like, calling in some bearded goober who's trying to ape the legendary style of Dylan Hales. Match wasn't good, but Galloway at least got the fans to stop being assholes.

2. Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher

ER: Awesome stuff from these two, which shouldn't be too surprising. There are some moments where you see a couple seams in their style with split seconds of waiting for one another, but I'm stunned that type of thing doesn't happen more with these guys. Thatcher dominated most of this and was really mean, throwing big strikes to Riddle's ribs and neck and ear, tossing him with gut wrenches, making his ankle bend at a disgusting angle with an ankle lock, locking on a brutal sub where he yanks Riddle's leg back while pushing into his knee with his boot. Damn that should be a finisher. Riddle doesn't overdo the selling, but he doesn't no sell either. Watch him lift his ankle after nailing Thatcher with a fisherman's buster. I'm sure many will hate the finish, which I get, but I liked Riddle hyperextending the arm after Thatcher thinks the ref broke the hold. It's a nice Gerard Gordeau dick move that adds another wrinkle to the Thatcher/Catch Point feud.

PAS: I really loved all of the infighting in this match, both guys laid in some vicious shot to the ribs and stomach and I am shocked that none of the shots to the ear popped an eardrum. Both guys come off as naturally tough dudes and parts of this felt like they took it a bit far. I thought the multiple arm bar reversals at the end might have been a bit much, although I did love how each guy found a different way to reverse and counter. Finish was pretty cool, although I think both the ref and Riddle needed to be a bit more demonstrative. I can totally see how it would have come off confusing to the crowd, Riddle need to wait a beat before torquing the arm, so it was obvious he wasn't breaking clean, and the ref really need to over emphasize that he needed to break the hold.

3. Fred Yehi vs. Marty Scurll

ER: Another awesome Yehi performance. Truly one of the must see workers today. This match had plenty of his weird, quick grappling and odd movements that you don't see from others. He finds cool ways to do spots we might not think much about. The way he slides into an ankle pick while Scurll is running, or grabs a single leg off a go behind, it's unexpected and almost foreign and so awesome. I loved all of Yehi's stomps here, loved him stomping hands Finlay style. And I love how him stomping Scurll's hands eventually leads to Scurll finally being villainous and going after Yehi's fingers. Yehi has shown he's a great salesman, and he puts over a finger break really excellently. And then Scurll finds amusing ways to work that hand and finger, even throwing in a thigh slap off a finger break, and then wedging Yehi's finger in between his boots before kicking. I love the trend in Yehi matches of limb work or body work not leading to the finish you expect, but instead leading to someone's focus being drawn away so that they don't see the real finish coming. Yehi is dealing with his hand injury which allows Scurll to leap on him for a nasty falcon arrow into chickenwing submission. Really cool stuff, really awesome finish.

PAS: I thought the beginning of this match was a bit formless, Scrull has never done much for me, his Villain stuff always felt like a big put on, more Chikara then Regal. Yehi is always going to be worth watching, and his weird stomps are some of my favorite things in wrestling. The last couple of minutes were truly excellent though, I loved all of the hand break spots and though Yehi's selling was awesome. I want to second Eric's observation about the coolness of the finish, loved how it came out of nowhere. Yehi really can do no wrong.

4. Ethan Page vs. Sami Callihan

ER: Not bad but below your standard Callihan match. Page isn't really defined enough as an opponent. He does a lot of big moves but tends to be better when he plays up his frat charisma more. This was odd as they seemed to skip several steps to get to the "we're in a war" moments, but they ran really hollow and undeserved once they got there. Callihan screams "QUITTTTT!" at Page, when up to that point it had been a very even match, and the announcers tried putting over the "what is it going to take to put him away!?" when really it was just 8 minutes into the match. I liked Callihan's powerbomb with him already grabbing Page's ankle to set up the stretch muffler, and thought Page's selling of the muffler was impressive. It was just strange and felt like 6 minutes had been clipped out of the middle, suddenly Callihan is lying on the mat begging off Page, one minute after screaming at him to quit. They kept jumping around like that, and everything up to that had essentially been move trading. This felt more like a thigh slap faux epic, even if parts were good.

5. TJ Perkins vs. Ricochet

ER: Sometimes guys like this do so much stuff that it's easy for me to get lost. I prefer Evolve to PWG as they have no problem having matches go 10 minutes. I think an excellent match can happen in 10 minutes. In many cases I think you're asking for trouble if you go too far past 10 for a singles match, as I don't think most workers are capable of filling that much time without things getting at least somewhat problematic. Ricochet is a super talented guy and I'm sure I'm in the minority when I say I don't care about the extraneous goofing around and mugging he does in his matches. It's always the reason I prefer him as Puma to just being himself. Just being himself always adds too much bullshit to matches, matches that I think would be tighter without the bullshit. And that's why I eventually liked this, because Ricochet did his bullshit, and TJP got pissed at the bullshit and wanted to kick his ass. He didn't play along and have a comedy circle jerk (though I guess with two guys it would just be a straight line jerk), he took offense at the jerking around and took it out on Ricochet. These guys both do super fast sequences effortlessly, impossible to keep up with as a viewer. But I loved how TJ kept going after that leg. And how it kept paying off. His grapevined heel hook is a really nasty sub and Ricochet set it up great by doing a show off missed moonsault, landing on his feet, and having that worked over knee buckle. It's a simple formula, take the legs out of the flier, but usually indy guys aren't good enough to pull it off, because they still want to get their shit in. But the match structure was tight enough that it allowed both guys to get their shit in, and still be truthful to the story they were telling. And I appreciate that. I appreciate your wrestling, TJP and Ricochet.

PAS: This was pretty solid, it got a little dancy at times, which is to be expected with these two guys. These are two of the most polished, athletic wrestlers in the world so if we have to watch a dance this is a pretty good dance. Ricochet has one of my favorite kip ups in wrestling, he flies up so fast it ends up looking barely human, like CGI or something. I enjoyed the knee work by TJP it did give the match some structure, although Ricochet really only sold it at the end.

6. Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

ER: I went into this one expecting to not like it much, assuming that each man would bring out the worst in the other. BUT it actually turned out to be an awesome match (that went on a couple minutes too long). To me this felt like a cool modern twist on classic World of Sport, with both guys (especially Sabre) pulling from a bottomless bag of tricks with fast exchanges and updated WoS transitions. I loved all the slippery headlocks, with one going for a headlock and it seamlessly getting reversed into a wristlock and back into a headlock. We also had reversals based out of snapmares which is something directly lifted from WoS. They would often do a snapmare with a guy handspringing forward onto his feet, here we get Ospreay turning a snapmare into his own handspring elbow, and it was done quick enough that it looked great. Sabre was killer here, dropping Ospreay with a couple of rough suplexes, including a wheelbarrow roll through turned into a tiger suplex. Then he would come up with all sorts of ways to work over Ospreay's neck, legs, arms, whatever. Ospreay worked a lot of flying moves to counter and Sabre was often there to catch him with something. This was incredibly fun, incredibly quick counter based wrestling. It's something that doesn't work but damn did they make it work here. Where I wish it would have ended was when Sabre caught a triangle choke while Ospreay was going for a standing shooting star. Right before that Ospreay had kipped out of a tornado DDT which I think is an exceptionally stupid spot that athletic wrestlers do. All it does is show how a DDT is just rolling through at the right time. "See? My neck wasn't impacted at all! I was able to just hop out of it!" It's needless. But it would have been great if he had done that, tried his SSP and immediately met his doom in a triangle. Buuuuut we get a 80s WWF hulk up as his arm doesn't drop (since when does Evolve even do that spot? Don't they just call submissions as if they were MMA?), and we have to see some Ospreay tropes like trapping Sabre's head against the turnbuckle. The finishing sub by Sabre is absolutely vicious and almost made the match continuing worth it, as Sabre ends up sitting down on Ospreay's head and neck while yanking both of his arms up and behind his back. It's something Negro Navarro would be jealous of. Even with the extra pointless final two minutes, match was still awesome and a great representation of this style.

PAS: I was also not expecting to like this very much, and was looking forward to shitting on Eric for digging it, but I confess it won me over. A match like this is all about doing cool stuff and not wearing out your welcome, and they did a bunch of cool stuff and kept from dragging on. I loved Ospreys shooting star press, it a spot I haven't seen in a while and he added a cool tuck in the middle of it, I also liked a bunch of the quick counter which is something can bug me. Finishing submission was truly awesome, as was the Liger bomb that set it up. I am still not sold on Osprey, some of his stuff is still pretty stupid looking but I think I need to give up the ghost and embrace Sabre.

7. Chris Hero & Tommy End vs. Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams

ER: Great tag between two teams who complement each other wonderfully. Hero at this point is like the big fat king of the indy scene. He worked hard to get to the top, and some that want to dethrone him point to his cosmetic laziness, and so he gamely gets off the throne to demonstrate why it's still good to be the king. And Hero absolutely is king at this point. He and End are a great team and Hero especially makes it his point to pick on Williams as the weak link, as if he were the Kikuchi of Team Catch Point. And damn do they murderize him. I love End/Hero's spin kick/elbow smash double team, and after that at one point Hero is just toying with him; kicks, chops, elbows, and always capped off with his killer roundhouse pump kick. I loved little moments like Williams finally catching a Hero kick, only for Hero to laugh before dropping back and kicking Williams with his other leg. But Williams would keep coming back and fighting and it was awesome. The match was long and because of that they were allowed to stretch out and do some fun stuff. The opening lucha armdrag stuff with Hero and Gulak was a trip. Hero does a sweet 360 armdrag off the top and Gulak follows with a beautiful tilt-a-whirl variation. We get a couple nice cut off the ring sections with both teams, plenty of cool double teams on Williams (loved when Hero kicked him off the apron onto End's shoulders, and then kicked him again), and great apron performances from both Hero and Gulak. Hero was great rooting on End, Gulak was great pleading for Williams and sneaking in for saves when needed. Hero is cocky but he's smart with his cockiness, and it never came across like Catch Point was only making comebacks due to his own cockiness. Catch Point looked strong by making their own comebacks, on their own merit. And that's important. There was plenty here that you could trim and make it a tighter, better match. But you could trim out a good portion of the White Album, too. Part of the fun is in its bloat. And I'm glad we got the extra minutes of bloat.

PAS: I didn't like this as much as Eric, I love Hero and Catch Point, but I thought the bloat was a bit too much. The long section of Hero and End using Gulak and Williams against each other was a bit SATish. End is a guy who looks cool and has awesome looking strikes until they land, if he could hit his stuff cleanly more I would love him, but a lot of his shots look violent as hell on their way and gentle when they get there. I thought Gulak was awesome as usual, his lucha armdrag challenge against Hero was nifty, and I love his out of nowhere dragon sleeper. Still this lost me by then end, which kept it from being great.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

PWF 5/22/98

ER: PWF was a Carolinas based 90s indy operated by Italian Stallion (probably). PWF stood for Pro Wrestling Federation which is almost impossibly adorable. This was a handheld of a show they ran in West Virginia, with Eddie and Hector Guerrero inexplicably working a tag match, while Eddie was still very much employed by WCW and to my knowledge not suspended. 1994-2000 indy wrestling is kind of a fascinating thing, as once the change to DVD happened a lot of these cards never got transferred, so there's an absence of this era online. It was also a time when main federations were far more innovative than indys, and indy feds were still trying to be more like territory feds from years before instead of figuring out what the next big thing was going to be. So you have crowds with mullets watching wrestlers with mullets, wrestlers who all kind of wrestle like bad body WWF and Crockett jobbers, while actual bad body WWF and Crockett jobbers were working the main events.


1. Russian Assassin vs. The Breeze

ER: One immediate thing of note is entrance music hadn't gone through that terrible period of change, with the change happening just a year after later. Here we have the crowd getting excited listening to Assassin (who has nothing whatsoever Russian about him) coming out to late period Alice Cooper and Breeze (looking like Opie from Sons of Anarchy, but wearing a tie dye shirt) coming out to Skynyrd's cover of JJ Cale's "Call Me the Breeze". A year later nu metal would hit and half the workers of every southern indy would enter the ring to "Down With the Sickness" for the next 16 years. It's like that song immediately replaced "When the Levee Breaks" for all of the lamest reasons possible. And let's be honest, this guy is only called The Breeze because he really likes that Skynyrd song. I'm sure he's been a part of a tag team called The Street Survivors (which, isn't a terrible tag team name). This match is 3 minutes long and starts with an alarmingly bad punch exchange, and a missed clothesline where Assassin looks like he's miming throwing a football, poorly. It was the kind  of exchange where neither punch lands and The Breeze holds up his arm to block Assassin's punches long before the punches are thrown. And then, somehow, Breeze has really good corner 10 count punches, a shockingly good delayed powerslam, and drops two legdrops, with at least 50% of those legdrops looking good! Then he hits a kind of cool diamond cutter with him coming off opposite ropes like he was setting up The Pounce. 


ER: There's something really wonderful about the simplicity of indy names 20 years ago. I mean, The Bodyguard? Plenty of men have worked a bodyguard gimmick, but nobody has just said "you know what? My name ain't important. Just my duty." He comes out to Bad to the Bone, because someone had to. Ted Dibiase is his manager. Or client? We don't know because we're too busy being disappointed he could not choose one of the multiple smash hits from the eponymous soundtrack as his entrance theme. Gibson is coming off his ill-fated WWF run, still rocking his NWA duster. Oddly I recently (within the month) sought out Gibson vs. D-Lo Brown from Shotgun Saturday Night, as one night I got curious and wondered if Ricky/Robert had an singles matches during their few month late 90s WWF run. Turns out Gibson worked D-Lo Brown, Ricky worked Marc Mero. Just one singles match apiece. Couldn't find Ricky/Mero, but the Gibson/Brown match was plenty fun. Anyway. I'm not sure who the Bodyguard is but he has height and a workably decent build, the kind of guy who you'd think get a shot at some point. But Gibson was really great in this. He found a bunch of cool ways to work around Bodyguard's limitations. Bodyguard did not have a great shoulderblock, but Gibson sure made it look good. First one he takes a standard back bump, next one he does a great sell I've never seen where he runs into The stationary Bodyguard and just drops straight down to his knees, just hitting that brick wall and crumpling. Another shoulderblock sees him take a great bump through the ropes to the apron and floor. We get a couple bearhug spots (which I love) with Gibson escaping them first by boxing the ears and second by biting Bodyguard's forehead. Seriously Gibson was awesome here. Bodyguard has one surprisingly decent punch, some silly overhand tomahawk chops (I don't think I'd personally employ a Bodyguard who used overhand chops in a fight situation, but I am just one man). Dibiase grabs Gibson's leg and holds onto it for the finish, so that's his payday. And now I want more late 90s indy Gibson.


ER: What a weird little match. Meng was still in WCW at this point, but apparently has bills to pay. The Overlord looks nothing like what you'd expect any kind of Overlord to look like. For starters, he's wearing a singlet. He has that late 90s gassed Power Plant look, but also kind of lean around the waist. Think James Earl Wright. And the Overlord is not as good as your average gassed Power Plant guy. Gassed Power Plant guys always had at least one thing they did shockingly well, like a nice press slam or nice elbow drop. The Overlord had nothing that looked good. Early on he botches an arm drag and tosses Meng into the ropes, the type of thing that Finlay would have wrecked him for in front of a Universal Studios audience. But Meng plays along and even sells for this guy. Meng is really fun in his parts, throwing an axe kick to the downed Overlord's balls, and hitting a brutal overhand chop that sounded like it had Lucha Underground sound sweetening. And then, suddenly, 6 minutes in, The Overlord reveals his gift: He can bump really great on the floor!! I mean, really, really great. So I had him pegged as gassed Power Plant grad, but really he was a gassed UPW grad this whole time! Meng casually tosses him through the ropes to the floor, and Overlord decides to just wildly fly through the ropes and onto concrete. Meng follows and chucks Overlord into the announce table and he flies violently into that! Overlord tries to get back in the ring and Meng punches him on the apron.....and Overlord does an awesome Harley Race "feet catching the bottom rope" bump landing back first on the concrete. Who the hell is this Overlord!? Once he gets back in he continues to suck, but damn, we'll always have that minute of awesome bumping.

4. Jimmy Snuka vs. American GI

ER: American GI doesn't seem like your typical indy heel gimmick. The guy has an Army shirt, a crew cut, doesn't bark orders at the crowd like a drill sergeant, is just a standard issue army guy wrestler. One who is clearly booked as a heel because the crowd isn't going to boo Snuka. Is West Virginia against the troops? Is this a smart local gimmick playing off of Virginia's world renowned Antimilitarism? This feels like a pretty standard 90s Jimmy Snuka indy match. It goes about 4 minutes, GI takes most of it. GI didn't look that good. I'm not sure who GI's manager was, but HE was good. He violently choked Snuka in the ropes, and later took a vicious bump off the apron from a big clothesline from GI. So Snuka took some middling offense, and then decided to go home: Hit a backbreaker, then went up to plaster him with the Superfly Splash, totally unprotected because his knees were shot at this point, brudda.

5. Eddie & Hector Guerrero vs. Black Angel & Super Ninja

ER: Holy cow. You guys. Eddie. Eddie Guerrero wrestled so damn well on a strange Virginia indy show. Also, Hector! Man what a killer match with essentially just 2.5 out of 4 wrestlers. I have no clue who Super Ninja or Black Angel are/were, but Black Angel gets a real nice reaction coming out. He gets kind of mobbed by fans, truthfully. Why? I do not know. He takes a snapmare nicely? Super Ninja is a guy who is at least workable. He has better timing than Angel, has better ring awareness (seems like every move Angel did would either wind up with he or his opponent lying in the ropes), and did a couple decent spin kicks. But you guys. Eddie. Holy cow. He was so damned good here. Fans are on him right away with the Eddy Sucks chants that were all the rage at the time, and he feeds them great. This match was a wonderful example of his stooging ability, showing genuine frustration (watch the intensity as he slams his hands on the apron after getting armdragged out of the ring), his comedy (watch him get excited and slap Hector after getting too fired up, then immediately beg off), and just his incredible wrestling ability. The way he took offense, the way he would slyly get into position for stuff, the way he would work the crowd from the apron, the big bumps he took to the concrete, the snap he would deliver his own offense with, the way he would feed the offense of people with pretty bad offense. Eddie was just really special. I'm not sure what circumstances lead to him working this show, but I'm glad those circumstances happened. And in all this Eddie talk it would be easy to forget about Hector, but Hector busted ass in this too! Hector was doing all sorts of cool suplexes, trying to set up complex roll ups that Black Angel would botch, and playing a great toned down second to Eddie. Eddie is a marvel down the stretch, taking increasingly impressive bumps to the floor while Ninja/Angel try to finish Hector, with Eddie's best bump coming as he takes a superkick on the apron and bumps backwards from the apron to the guardrail. Seeing kids leap in shock as Eddie flies into the rail in front of them was glorious. No clue why the Guerreros worked this show, no clue why they won the tag titles which I would guess were never ever defended by them, but I'm so glad that some guy sitting in a balcony decided to record this.

6. George South vs. Italian Stallion

ER: Man, I love George South. I watched a current George South match within the last 6 months and I still love super old even more Jesus-y George South. I love that he's a God fearing man, but also a bad guy. Like Jesus loves him, and he loves Jesus, but he's a bad guy. George South was one of those guys you could slot into a suddenly empty spot on the 500. "We have Black Buffalo on there twice? I guess put George South at 205." Italian Stallion gets a stunningly loud reaction coming out to the ring. Everybody wants to slap him five. He and South have two of the most incredible faded glory mullets you have ever seen. And I really liked this. It doesn't take much for me to like a South match, but Stallion was surprisingly game too, and I always love a couple of old dudes fighting. South is so good at the little things, he throws a couple of different great punches (really like his short uppercut), bumps big on armdrags and clotheslines, and can brawl. Stallion threw a shockingly good overhand right, cut really low on a missed lariat, had a big press slam and nice powerslam. And this was good! We get some amusing wandering brawling on the outside, as South would punch Stallion, Stallion would wander halfway around the ring, Stallion would punch South and South would wander back around a couple lengths of ring. But man I dig this kind of stuff. If I could be guaranteed a match as decent as South/Stallion on every indy card I went to, I'd be a happy live wrestling fan.

What a neat little time capsule of late 90s indy wrestling. I could watch stuff like this all day.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Satanico v. Ultimo

20. Satanico v. Ultimo Guerrero Cara Lucha 4/23

PAS: Infernales explode!! Satanico in his late 60s and looks as good here as any footage we have of him. Guerrero continues his fun indy run, he still wrestles most of his CMLL matches exactly the same, but when he works indies he mixes it up a bit. Loved how smooth Satanico is on the mat, it is more basic then the tricked out stuff Navarro or Virus does but the execution is stellar. I also loved the out of ring brawling, Satanico still throws a hell of a punch. Finish was a bit goofus, and this was a bit short, but so awesome to see Satanico still rocking it out in his twilight years.

ER: Satanico is the same age as my father. Several years ago my father finally bought a riding lawn mower because he was sick of physically pushing his regular mower. And here's Satanico, looking limber as can be on the mat against a 45 yr old youngster. I really liked the mat game here, nothing was super flashy, but nothing looked rehearsed and still showed the old man could go. There was some amusing silly stuff, like Ultimo's weird crucifix surfboard, but Ultimo on these indy shows is awesome. He always breaks out little tricks he doesn't do at Arena Mexico. The last year of Ultimo indy matches has probably given us more Ultimo matwork than we've seen in his last decade in CMLL. And it's clear he's a guy who should be incorporating more matwork, because he wears it well. But I liked the pace this advanced, and I loved I spilling to the floor with Satanico dodging out of the way as Ultimo ends up doing his flying hip attack to a fan. Reminded me of when I was second row at an indy lucha show headlined by LA Park vs. Shocker, and two fans in front of me hightailed it out of the way right as Super Boy and his massive body crashed through their plastic chairs and onto my leg. It was awesome. Back in and Ultimo really headhunts Satanico on a lariat, and I actually liked the finish. Satanico was the maestro of the faulta when I first started watching lucha, seems like every week he was ending a fall of his trios matches with a nasty ball kick, so here we get a nice Cats in the Cradle moment with Ultimo kicking him in the balls to drop him, and Satanico returning the favor from his knees, then both guys lying there holding their balls for a few minutes.


2016 MOTY MASTER LIST


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Sunday, May 22, 2016

THE MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET- Baby Fuerza v. Baby Casas

Negro Casas v. Fuerza Guerrera WWA 9/20/86



Dataintcash delivers again!! Here is two of the all time greats popping up with a previously unseen match which is the earliest footage we have from either guy. It is a little strange to watch a pair of consummate rudos work this kind of fast paced juniors style, but no surprise, they are really great at it. Two pretty solid initial falls with Fuerza doing some especially nifty armdrags where he never loses contact with the arm, and then a final nutso fall. Fuerza takes his signature bump to the floor at warp speed, and Casas follows it up with an out of control tope. They then exchange electric chair drops and bow and arrow counters, before Casas hits a Rita Romero slam and Casita for the pin. This is the kind of match which would have blown minds in 1986, although this kind of highspot juniors wrestling doesn't age as well as other styles. Still a true out of the blue treat and a great chance to see a pair of legends as athletic young guys.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic: Yehi v. TJP

Fred Yehi v. TJP EVOLVE 5/7

PAS: I really like that EVOLVE booked Catch Point explodes matches for these qualifiers, love all four guys and love when they wrestle each other. This felt a little like a TJP showcase which makes sense with him going over in the match. Yehi was awesome, but took a bit of a backseat so TJP could shine. TJP has a different feel to these kind of grappling heavy EVOLVE matches, he can hang with the guys on the mat, but throws in some more luchaish counters. Love his Santo headscissors and how he slips it in to counter a harder edged series of takedowns. Yehi really had his moments, I love his stomps on the cuniform bone, just vicious looking and he is great at using them to chain into other cool stuff, he also has some really explosive takedowns, I am really enjoy watching Yehi improve week after week

ER: I love Yehi, but was really not into TJP in this one. I'm officially tired of him shoehorning his "stuck in the ropes" feint into every match, because then everybody just has to charge at him. They always miss. What was their plan if he hadn't moved, to just do a running headbutt for the first time in your career? I've seen him insert it more organically into matches before, but here it was glaring and felt disconnected from the rest of the match. The worst part about TJ in this match was his constant spot calling during all of the mat stuff. It was first year John Cena bad. He was just making ultra casual conversation the whole match, sometimes leaning right into Yehi's ear, other times just leaning back in a hold and suggesting the next reversal to Yehi. And lo and behold, then a reversal would come. It was a level of not-giving-a-fuck that I haven't seen in some time, and something I haven't seen at all from any of the other Catch Point guys or Thatcher or others who use more grappling.  Yehi really can't do any wrong at the moment and I really liked him here. His body part specific stomps are great, I love how he just plants the foot, and I love how he uses stomps to distract a guy while he's about to lock something else on.  I dug his sub that got the (inadvertent) false finish, and the ring bell miscue actually added a little accidental drama for me as I avoided knowing who advanced. So once the bell accidentally rung in Yehi's favor I thought maybe the timekeeper knew Yehi was winning but wasn't sure when. But then I also thought it may have just been a mistake. But it made the finishing run a little more interesting. I also thought Phil made up "cuneiform bone". I thought Cuneiform was an experimental jazz record label.


WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CLASSIC GUIDE


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Friday, May 20, 2016

IWA Mid-South Top 18 Matches, #8: Chris Candido/Steve Stone/Nigel McGuiness/Claudio Castagnoli v. CM Punk/Ace Steel/Danny Daniels/Matt Sydal 10/22/04

Chris Candido/Steve Stone/Nigel McGuiness/Claudio Castagnoli v. CM Punk/Ace Steel/Danny Daniels/Matt Sydal 10/22/04



ER: IWA-MS advertises this match as "the funniest match in the history of [the promotion]". "Funniest" and "pro wrestling" are typically words I don't care to seek out when they're together, like "saltiest cocktail" or "silliest guitar solo" or "leakiest gas tank" or "most pleated khakis". And it's tough going into a match knowing that it's advertised as "the funniest pro wrestling match", because it's definitely something that is going to work better in a live setting, within the context of the other wrestling you had already seen that night. This match was the THIRTEENTH MATCH of this specific card, some type of "Strong Style Tournament" (whatever that means) that also featured non-tourney matches such as an Abyss singles match and a Chad Collyer 3 way. Fourteen matches on the card, and this match went on thirteenth. So it was probably a long night of wrestling, and we can assume that with a name like "Strong Style Tournament" all of the tourney matches were probably pretty serious business. So live, at the end of a long night of wrestling on a Friday night (Friday night is the night I most often crash early, tired from the end of the work week), the crowd got a comedy match that was probably much needed. For me at home, watching the match in a vacuum, it was merely okay. We get a pre-match pat down where several forks, a dumbbell, and a jumprope are all found on member's of Candido's team. Candido gets his trunks pulled down (dangerously low) on a sunset flip, and stumbles around getting bodyslammed by everybody, including ref Bryce Remsburg. There is a chicken fight with Sydal and Claudio fighting on top of Punk and Candido's shoulders (ending with Claudio taking an unexpectedly nasty bump on the back of his head), Nigel had a bulky foreign object stuffed in the bulge of his trunks that eventually backfired when he got atomic dropped, and we got some yuks involving multiple guys assisting an abdominal stretch. Truthfully the only time I actually laughed was seeing Ace Steel dance to "Early in the Morning" before and after the match. But Candido was really on fire throughout, his passion for all the bullshit of wrestling really shining through. He stooges like the best John Tatum you've seen, takes some big bumps while still horsing around, worked the apron and the overall match gimmick better than everyone else, a real showcase. Steve Stone looked much better than I remember Steve Stone looking, CM Punk looked much worse than I remember CM Punk looking, and I wish we got more Ace Steel vs. Candido during the match.

PAS: I could have sworn I did a draft of this, Eric wrote this up and I am in the unenviable position of having to watch this match twice. I enjoyed Candido in this, as he worked this more like a SMW match then a indy winkathon. Outside of Candido I also enjoyed Steve Stone doing World of Sport armwork and forcing Nigel to give himself the finger. Otherwise I found this rather mirthless. Sydal's actual wrestling looked cool, but otherwise this was long and dumb

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Rush v. Casas

20. Negro Casas v. Rush Elite 5/4

PAS: So much fun to watch these guys back and mixing it up again. They had one of my favorite feuds in years back in 2014, but haven't really matched up since. This had some of the same dynamics as those matches, Rush as the cocky muscle bound bully and Casas as the tough wily veteran. Casas takes a thumping here, the final corner dropkick was totally brutal looking, but is so great at sneaking in shots and playing the role of the game, but outclassed old guy. Rush is still magnetic, and I loved him posing and being a dick, tossing a drink in Casas' face, cussing out Shocker, just a marvelous asshole.

ER: This is a fun "greatest hits" WorldWide match, only 6 minutes, but you get all your favorite spots and a hot crowd and the energy these two bring opposite each other. Rush is really a force of nature in these matches, his posing and posturing, spitting water, it's really larger than life. He's like if HHH wasn't so insecure. Rush will drill Casas and then take an exaggerated back bump just because, just constantly taunting the crowd with his body. Casas always works stiffer with Rush, and this was the first time these two have caved in faces in a singles match since their hair match almost 2 years prior. They've matched up in trios since then, but not like this. The dropkicks to the face are just a sick spot, and these two always just go in hard.


2016 MOTY MASTER LIST



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