Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Reigns vs. Braun: A Match History, Part III

9. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho (Raw 11/7/16)

ER: Well this probably shouldn't have worked as well as it did. It was a wonderful mess but really nicely structured. Yeah there were some moments where guys disappeared for long-ish amounts of time, but the showdowns were all good. We got a lot of great Roman versus everybody, and Braun versus everybody. This was probably the biggest early Braun star performance. There's a really great early staredown with he and Roman, then Owens/Jericho get in and back him up, with Jericho clapping him on the chest and directing him towards Roman. But Braun don't need no allies and he nastily back elbows Jericho, while Owens hilarious bails to the floor. Braun/Roman really knew how to build to them throwing, amping up the anticipation before Roman beats him to blows. The early gang ups on Braun were really good, with him chokeslamming Roman on his face, Owens throwing stiff blows at his temple before getting leveled by Braun, and eventually all four just clubbing him. It leads to an awesome moment of Braun throwing all four off at once, and they wisely stack offense to knock him to the floor (Owens superkick followed by Jericho enziguiri followed by really great Rollins springboard knee and ending with Roman superman punching him through the ropes (while Braun takes a great sprawling bump in the process), and then getting hit by one of Rollins' best dives. Really excellent sequence. Everybody brawled around the floor, with Owens splatting Reigns with the cannonball into the barricade, Roman threw uppercuts, Jericho got powerbombed through a table with Braun on it, Rollins crashes and burns on a frog splash, and the finish was flat out awesome: Jericho eats a pedigree, Owens kicks Rollins out of the ring, Roman superman punches Owens, who falls onto Jericho, pinning him. What?? It was silly and I loved it. The interruptions and layout of this match was top notch. You need some primo layout to make a goofy match with odd number participants work, and this nailed it. The double teams were smart and everybody's individual psychology made tons of sense.

10. Braun Strowman/Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns/Sami Zayn/Seth Rollins vs. (Raw 1/16/17)

ER: Killer match, one I somehow already forgot about. This has a bunch of good undercurrents flowing throughout, with Roman/Braun played up big, Zayn getting to stand up to Braun, Rollins having a finer outing than I'm sure people gave him credit for, and Owens/Jericho helping each other out. Roman did a couple things I don't see him often do, like a straight right boot to Owens' jaw, and I liked how the heels kept foiling him when he was about to go on a run, like the moment he was lining up Owens for the superman punch and Jericho held his leg, allowing Owens to hit a superkick. Braun being taken down was a huge deal, with the faces layering attacks (Reigns with the big punch, Rollins a nice running knee that Braun sold excellently, dropping down fast to all fours) before Zayn got to knock him off his feet. Zayn standing tall against Braun was the big part of the match, and the crowd ate it up. Zayn hot a huge nearfall off a crossbody (as Rollins hit a massive crossbody to the floor), but it wasn't long before Braun killed him with a lariat and then wandered around holding him up for a powerslam before slamming him through the mat. Everybody got little shine moments throughout, Owens got to control Reigns for a long stretch in the middle, Braun showed that it takes three men to even approach bringing him down, Zayn had a huge flip dive on Owens, just a fun fast paced match. Everybody came off nicely here.

11. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns (WWE House Show 2/17/17)

PAS: Awesome big boy brawl, kind of a house show version of Roman v. Brock. Similar dynamic with Strowman using his power to chuck Reigns around, including an awesome looking spinebuster out of the corner. Roman mainly used his speed to beat Strowman to the punch, catching him coming into the ring, countering a big throw with a punch. I liked the finish as it felt crazy and out of control, and obviously you weren't going to get a clean finish. Really got me excited for their PPV match.

ER: Wow what a match, awesome performance from both guys in front of a crowd that sounded like it was 90% children (who were losing their collective minds for Reigns). They worked the simple story of Braun overpowering Roman, and Roman having to get clever in how he gets in his attacks. Braun hits a meaty back elbow and tosses Reigns to the floor, then knocks him off the apron when he tries to get back in. When Braun tries to knock him off again, Reigns anticipates it and yanks Braun throat-first into the top rope. Reigns is smart about suckering him into missed charges, but when Roman gets greedy and punches on him too long, or tries an Irish whip, that's when Braun smashes him. Reigns threw a bunch of great strikes, big cartoon uppercuts thrown from his waist that really played to the back row, but also nice body shots in the corner, desperately trying to soften up Braun. Every time Braun does catch hold of Roman, he makes the most of it, with a cool face first chokeslam (like Taue used to do) and another variation into the buckles, a cool headlock he turned into a cravat, and a big over the shoulder slam. And what was cool was after he hit that first slam, Reigns found ways to slip out of subsequent ones, even hitting a cool superman punch off a flapjack attempt for a great nearfall. The fight on the floor was great and lead to one of the great set-ups for the drive by, with Braun about to crush Roman with the ring steps until the ref intervenes from the ring, and as Braun is being forced to put down the steel step Reigns vaults off the remaining step to hit the kick. The kids screaming for Reigns really added to this, my favorite being the one that was genuinely concerned they were going to be counted out, screaming "Get back in the ring!!" And while the eventual DQ is expected, they paid it off great with Reigns hitting a huge spear through a table. Killer match. I would have been flipping out for this one live.

12. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns (Fastlane 3/5/17)

ER: This was awesome, even if it had a result that will get dumped on. Braun throws himself into everything, really acting like this match is his WrestleMania, so his hits AND misses are huge. He breaks out a great standing splash, but misses a charge into the ring post, nails a crazy powerslam through an announce table, but takes a huge bump to the floor off a missed big boot. Braun came off like a shark, always moving forward, and Reigns was scrambling from go. Roman is really good at surviving damage and making space for comeback shots, an update of the style John Cena has worked the last decade, dodging Braun and sending him into the steps, hitting a Samoan drop after Braun hits the post, and these two are really going at it. I'm sure plenty of people will be pissed that Roman went over, but Braun stood up to a couple superman punches, a spear, and then did an insane big splash off the top before taking a final spear. I'm sure when people think about this match the visual of Braun standing tall on the top rope will seem like a bigger deal than the fact that he got pinned. He'll get his.

PAS: I really enjoyed this, Braun has gotten really good at Godzilla v. King Kong matches and this was a more extended version of their excellent house show matches. Reigns flying somersault to avoid the ring steps was really pretty, you forget sometimes what a breathtaking athlete he is.  Love how much force Stroman throws in his slams, that Spinebuster felt like he might have broken a slat in the ring, and he really powers Roman with those beal throws.. I did think they could have skipped the chinlock section, this would have been better as a 10 minute bomb fest, not everything has to go 15+.

ER: Both singles matches were good enough to land on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List. There's a few more house show matches that have been recorded, so we'll see if any of those belong. At that point we may do some list rearranging, as I don't want several version of a match on the list (assuming all the house show matches are following the same formula. If they're different enough than we will have no problem adding multiples, but if it's the same match each time out, we'll just place the best of the four).

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Unicorn Gimmick Matches - Cell Block Match

Shank v. Timber the Lumberjack - NWA Wildside 7/1/00

Shank is one of my favorite gimmicks in wrestling history. He was a guy working a babyface convict gimmick where he would threaten to rape and murder his opponents. He set up this match by laying in wait outside of Timbers family's house and discussing how his grandmothers body would never be found. The Cell Block match is a cage set up in the unpaved parking lot outside the Wildside arena, no ring, just a cage on dirt. This is a match I have wanted to see since it happened, so I was amped that I unearthed a copy. The match has amazing opening, Timber is in the cage screaming for Shank to get in there, and Shank appears from out of a hole with sod placed over it and jumps Timber from behind. The punches and kicks in this really felt like a pair of guys fighting over weight time in a yard. Shank really stomps like his trying to mush someones head. They also both land some really brain damaging unprotected chair shots. Finish was kind of silly, but nutso, Shank pries Timber's axehandle into the top of the cage and uses it a platform to hit an moonsault where he hits his knee into Timber's temple. Shank then just squeezes his way out of a hole in the cage, before he is jumped by Terry Knight and Jeff G. Bailey.  This wasn't long, but really violent feeling, and Shank rising from underground like a raised vampire was one my favorite freakshow spots ever.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Reigns vs. Braun: A Match History, Part II

5. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins (Raw 10/19/15)

ER: If I had to choose one word to describe this match, I would choose "sluggish". It was 10 minutes, but really draggggged. This continues the trend of Braun hardly getting involved in matches, as he did nothing in the match for the first 8 minutes, and by the end did no actual moves. He pulled Roman down off the apron, threw Ambrose to the floor, then got Roman into a choke. I really liked how he looked before this, so I'm unsure why they suddenly had him stop working. This was mostly Ambrose working Bray, playing FIP, leading to Rollins leaving with a fake knee injury. Dean was on fire the first minute of this, but just a few minutes in was already airmailing punches a foot past Rowan's head. When Bray locking on a grounded side headlock is the most interesting part of the match, you just move on with your life, admitting to yourself and your family that you chose the dumbest fucking hobby.

6. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose (WWE House Show 10/31/15)

ER: Really fun No DQ house show match. There's tons of loud kids in attendance which makes house shows the best (really the only life situation that loud excitable kids add to my enjoyment of something), just tons of kids screaming for Reigns and yelling at Wyatt. At one point Ambrose gets put through a table and then gets caught with sister Abigail off the rebound lariat. Reigns leaps in from the floor to save him at the last second, and one kid - not trying to start any kind of chant - just screams out "THIS IS AWESOME!!!" And it was pretty awesome. Braun worked slow methodical monster in this one, with some nice moments like standing on Ambrose's knee and ankle while soaking in the boos, then stomping on it. Bray introduced chairs and a kendo stick, all of which got used by everyone. Roman had a bunch of fun superman punches including a great one saving Dean from another sister Abigail. The whole match built to Braun getting speared through a table, which feels like a big spot on a house show. But this whole thing was fun, definitely sent people home happy.

7. 16 Man Elimination Tag: Braun/Wyatt/Harper/Rowan vs. Reigns/Ambrose/Usos vs. Rhyno/Dudleys/Dreamer vs. Sheamus/Rusev/Barrett/Del Rio (Raw 12/7/15)

ER: What kind of a weird mess of a match is this!? Tommy Dreamer was in WWE a year ago? They were actually collectively called Team ECW?! This is such a weird match. It was the opening segment on Raw, and starting Raw with a match is weird enough, but starting it with some sort of 1997 Gang Warz elimination match is even weirder. And then The Wyatts are the first team eliminated when Dreamer pins Rowan with a DDT. But this thing is a total cluster, a kind of fun cluster, but a total cluster. A member for each team is in the ring at all times, so there's bodies just constantly getting in the way of each other. Del Rio is oddly spirited in this, stiffing up Team ECW with these cool low yakuza kicks (like a yakuza kick, but thrown to a seated opponent) and taking a couple big bumps. Rusev sells way too much for everybody, the Dudleys do a bunch of old bad spots (I like when Bubba is unprofessionally stiffing people, not so much his "working a minor league baseball stadium" style), Usos work stiff as well with some nasty uppercuts, Reigns has a fun/silly segment where he does a superman punch to three different guys on the apron. Not all at once, but Wade Barrett would get on the apron, and get punched, then ADR would climb up on a different side of the ring, and get punched, and so on and so on. This match had over half a Royal Rumble worth of dudes, and it happened, because.

8. Braun/Wyatt/Harper/Rowan/Sheamus/Rusev/Barrett/Del Rio vs. Reigns/Ambrose/Ryback/Usos/Dudleys/Kane (Tribute to the Troops 12/8/15)

ER: A much, much, much better version of the 16 man match from the day before. We drop the elimination stip, make it 8 on 8, Kane and Ryback replace Dreamer and Rhyno, and everybody works pointlessly stiff for the least watched WWE TV special of the year. This isn't really a Roman/Braun show, as they only have one moment together (Roman superman punching him while he gets Kane in his standing side triangle) but it's a hot 10 minutes. Harper was a standout here, throwing beastly palm strikes and ambushing Ambrose with a great superkick, Kane throws his nice uppercuts and gets out of the way, Ryback is dressed like the most gassed Bushwhacker, I don't remember any moment where any League of Nation member is in the ring, and out of everybody that could have taken the pin, Luke Harper takes it. Also, the Dudleys are still around, and take up time in 2015 doing the Wazzup drop, and it occurs to me that at this point there are thousands of fans who have never see any of the Wazzup commercials, and only know this as a thing that the Dudleys do. The reference is so old, it has now become their own. It would be like a team in 2000 doing a Where's the Beef double team flapjack, with a crowd of children screaming Whhhheeerrrrreee's (as the guy went up for the flapjack) THE BEEF (when he hit the mat). It would be like someone considering retiring their Austin Powers catchphrase-based offense in 2012, but then taking it out for another spin. Though I do look forward to someone doing a Borat "My wiiiiiife" bronco buster in 2022.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Terry/Navarro v. Panthers

15. Black Terry/Negro Navarro v. Blue Panther/The Panther CMLL 4/11

ER: The old dogs make one of their couple-times-a-year Arena Mexico appearances and work a fun exhibition-y match with some nice scrapes and solid drama down the stretch. Each caida had some time to breathe, and while there were some holes in the game at times, this was plenty fun. Navarro and Terry come out to a nice reaction, both men looking like they could teach a trade school class titled "How to Wear a Championship Belt". Terry and Panther son start and have probably my favorite matwork of the match, fighting over arms rolling through things not gracefully, but assuredly, Terry almost feeling like he's testing the young member of the match, his dad more of a known commodity. Terry gets caught a couple times early and by the time their partners get involved Terry is bending arms and working indian deathlocks in a more painful way. Navarro and Panther Sr. have more of a spry-off, trading arm drags, Panther gets a nice short arm scissor and makes Navarro yell with a nice ankle lock, and Navarro locks in this awesome hold, like he folded a figure 4 while holding his own legs for leverage. The arm lock he taps BP to end the primera was simple and wonderful, and then Jr. goes for a roll up and Navarro catches it, hoists him up and wrenches his neck in nasty fashion. Drama ramps up in the tercera with Terry hitting a big Thesz press, and everybody doing a fun and silly "everybody trapped in a hold" spot, but instead of stacking a superplex or holding a 4 man abdominal stretch, they all lock twisty lucha holds on each other. It's dumb, but I enjoyed it. It comes down to Terry/Jr. and I liked this, with Jr. hitting a huge dive but comes up limping, and that limp leads to him taking too long to hit a moonsault, so he catches knees. Panther hits a seated dropkick waaaaay across the ring (his second of the match) for another nice nearfall. Maybe my favorite moment was right after this, when Navarro and Blue Panther are both getting as close to possible to the action from the apron - with both even getting inside the ring - knowing they won't be able to physically save their partner but recognizing how close each man is to a loss. Nice emotional moment to cap a fun match.

PAS: I really loved the first fall of this match, it is what you want when you see this matchup on paper and Navarro and Terry are clearly excited to be plying their trade in a title match in Arena Mexico. Navarro and Panther do some really intricate stuff, I especially loved how Navarro tapped Panther with a short arm scissors, I was expecting them to do the Backlund Deadlift spot, but instead Navarro just shifted his weight and got the tap. The roll up counter was awesome looking too, he catches young Panther and stretches him out like he is on the rack. Second and third falls were fine, although that was closer to a normal CMLL tag match as opposed to the maestro stuff which you never see in big arena lucha.

2017 Ongoing MOTY List

Complete and Accurate Black Terry

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Complete and Accurate Wednesday Morning War Games



I have been doing a series of reviews of Indy Wargames match on Wednesday Morning War Games for the last couple of months. Like other C+A's I will be rating these matches EPIC, GREAT, FUN and SKIPPABLE. I have already found some gems, and hopefully I will turn up some more.

1991

Ric Flair/Barry Windham/Sid Vicious/Larry Zbyszko v. Sting/Brian Pillman/Steiner Brothers WCW WrestleWar 2/24/91-EPIC

2001

NWA Elite (Justice/Jason Cross/Adam Jacobs/John Phoenix) v. NWA Wildside (AJ Styles/Onyx/Air Paris/Stone Mountain) NWA Wildside 7/7/01-SKIPPABLE

2005

Team IWA-MS (Ian Rotten/Chris Hero/Axl Rotten/Corporal Robinson/Bull Pain) v. Team NWA (Tank/Eric Priest/Chandler McClure/Sal Thomaselli/Vito Thomaselli) v. Fanin Family (Eddie Kingston/BJ Whitmer/JC Bailey/Mark Wolf/Steve Stone) IWA-MS 7/2/05-GREAT

2006


2007


G1 (Tony Givens/Robby Cassidy/Moe Jenkins/Wayne Adkins) v. The First Family (Brian Logan/Beau James) and The VSS (Alyx Winters/Chase Owens) CWA 3/21/09-EPIC

2011

Urban Assault Squad (Nemesis and Shadow Jackson)/Kimo v. Hate Junkies (Stryknyn and Dany Only)/Azrael NWA Anarchy 10/29/11-GREAT

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Wednesday Morning War Games: NWA Wildside Team NWA Elite v. Team Wildside

NWA Elite (Justice/Jason Cross/Adam Jacobs/John Phoenix) v. NWA Wildside (AJ Styles/Onyx/Air Paris/Stone Mountain) NWA Wildside 7/7/01

This didn't do very much for me. This was less a violent fight and more a chance for athletic guys in jnco jeans to do backflips. I liked the opening section with Styles and Adam Jacobs, it was juniors wrestling, but well worked. Styles took some nutty bumps into the cage, which is something he is still doing 16 years later, and Jason Cross has a nice brainbuster, but otherwise this was forgettable. Justice is Abyss and looks even dumber in an Andre the Giant singlet. Finish has Stone Mountain return to the fed as the Wildside team's surprise partner, he then turns on his team and they have a long beatdown section with Jeff G. Bailey yelling over the microphone. Wildside did War Games a bunch of times, hopefully I will find a great one, this wasn't it.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All Time MOTY List Head to Head 1983: MS1 v. Sangre V. Piper v. Valentine

Roddy Piper v. Greg Valentine 11/24/83

PAS: My goodness, I haven't seen this match in years and the brutality really stands out 30 years later, I can't remember a more violent focused attack then Valentine trying to destroy Piper's ear. Piper's ear is just oozing blood as Valentine beats on it with a length of chain, harrowing stuff. I really liked the opening of this with both guys almost doing a test of strength with their neck muscles and slowly inching forward to attack. Piper had a bunch of really creative uses of the chain early, wrapping it around Valentine's mouth, pulling it taut and smacking it into Valentine's eye, using at as a wench to lock him in the corner, just a ton of neat flourishes. Once Valentine gets a chance to attack the ear though, it goes to another level. I always love Piper's wild brawling, he just throws hands with such abandon, they don't always hit, but a crazy fuck like him will throw five to land one. That style of brawling and his crazy selling really work for a guy with a damaged equilibrium. Finish felt a little abrupt, which is my only criticism, I think Piper really should have unloaded with some bigger shots then a yank off the ropes to get the pin in such a war. Still the 80s were a decade with amazing brawls and this is right at the highest level of them.

ER: I also hadn't seen this in probably 15 years, and my god did it hold up. Any 30 second segment of this match would have me laid up for days. Somehow they worked 3 more dog collar matches over the next few weeks which...could not have been THIS violent, right? I would never want to see a dog collar again after working this match. I'm sure we have zero footage of those other dog collar matches, right? Anyway, the neck muscle strength makes this unique and painful enough for me. I sleep wrong and get a kink in my neck for two days. But these guys are leaning back with their full body weight, whipping their own neck around to damage the other's neck. It all looks so nasty. And then the chain shots start. Caudle and Solie did a good job putting over the bulk of the chain links, even pointing out that it was a "cow chain". Because all the chain shots are gross. A lot of the shots WITHOUT the chain are gross. But the chain shots are gross. The chain gets whipped into each man's head, neck, arm and shoulders, and bless these men because it looks just as great when they're just punching each other in the face. Valentine shows he's not messing around in the least when he clubs the side of Piper's neck with his fist. The shots are so great, and they'd get tired of throwing blows, then go back to the chain. Both guys sold the chain so perfectly, and sold the ricochet effects of the chain so perfectly. Probably because they were both getting hit with a fucking chain. But Valentine raking the chain over Piper's eyes while also wrapping it around his ears (you can see the blood getting cut off to Piper's ear!!)? That's freaking pro wrestling right there. Piper puts over the ear injury great, stumbling around like only he and Funk can pull off, And Valentine drops all kinds of great elbows and knees. That leaping knee to the chest was a killer spot I don't remember him doing even a few years later. The wench spot was awesome and something I've never seen, with Piper teaching a science class on simple machines, wrapping the chain around the ring post and giving Valentine slack before choking him back, just so damn cool. The ending was confusing and felt like something additional was supposed to happen: Piper yanked Valentine off the ropes face first and looked like Valentine was supposed to land throat first on a punch, but doesn't really put that over well. Piper beats him some more with the chain and even hooks Valentine's leg with the chain, but Valentine sells the whole thing kind of strange considering how he was acting moments before the pin, and moments after the pin. A finish with just either man bloody and getting KO'd would have made this a GOAT contender, as is it's a match that's "merely" a MOTY most years.

Chicana v. MS1 review

Verdict:

PAS: Piper v. Valentine would win a lot of years, but MS1 v. Chicana is the greatest match in wrestling history. There were moments when Piper v. Valentine approached those heights, but it had kind of a weak finish and a match will have to be perfect to take down MS1 v. Chicana. Champs retain.

ER: It doesn't matter, but I'm going to go Valentine/Piper. I love stipulation matches executed at the peak of their stip: The Dundee/Koko scaffold match was my #1 Memphis match, Panther/Villano mask match is my favorite match of all time, Colon/Hansen strap match is my favorite of that year, Kabuki/Adams superkick match was my favorite WCCW match. I freaking love stips matches executed to the limits of the stip. I didn't actually realize that until I saw the Colon/Hansen match. And I don't think it's possible to have a better dog collar match than this one. I mean, Piper does a fist drop with a chain on his fist! This takes it for me, but champ retains on the split.


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Monday, April 24, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 101

Episode 101

1. Arik Royal/Roy Wilkins vs. Dirty Daddy/Snooty Foxx

PAS: Just a great, compact, formula southern tag match. Daddy and Foxx are already very good at the babyface role in a tag match, Daddy bumps big, sells well and times his comebacks, Foxx is a good power hot tag, kind of babyface Nikita Koloff (which is a total compliment BTW). Royal and Wilkins are great at cutting off the ring, having an interesting set of beat down offense and talking shit. This has a nice Daddy in peril section, good Foxx tag, a great cut off of Foxx (Royal obliterates him with a nasty lariat) and a nice short finish run. This is everything you want from an Elite 8 seven minute tourney southern tag match.

ER: This wasn't the match I expected, and that's a good thing. Fox really impressed me as he worked a long control segment with Wilkins, and he had mainly been seen as a hot tag guy before this. He's clearly improving, given more and more responsibility each match, and I liked him roughing up Wilkins. Royal was great when he tagged in, sending a tired Wilkins running towards Fox to distract him, then blasting Fox with a killer western lariat. And that finish by the All-Stars is absolute murder. Also, forget when exactly, but Wilkins did a dropkick to Daddy while Daddy was lying down and it looked awesome. Pretty sure that's a spot we've seen from him before, but this is the best I've seen It look. Really dug this, good showing by all.

2. The Carnies vs. Ethan Alexander Sharpe/White Mike Jordan

PAS: This opens with a long dance off and a section where White Mike plays cornhole, oof, it felt like a college improv troupe stuck in a bad idea with no way to get out. When the match finally started it was OK, until the end where Sharpe stops in the middle of the match to start lecturing Jordan on his behavior, as they are doing a poor mans Bobby Eaton with the Blue Bloods gimmick. I like Jordan and the Carnies (could do without Sharpe) but this was overall a stinker.

ER: I'm watching this cornhole segment thinking "Phil might be letting me review CWF shows solo from here on out". This is an accurate approximation of Schneider wrestling hell. The fact that we don't even get the cornhole story paid off with a winner is another problem entirely. I wanted to see how legit White Mike's shot was. But it was a way for the Carnies to eventually jump their opponents, which ehhhh fine whatever. Loved the Carnies here once the match got started. Awful especially had some big moments, huge chops, stooged around nicely for a shot, hits the best bombs away butt splash in the biz, really starting to come across like a Dick Murdoch son who has at least two Avenged Sevenfold CDs. I wanted more from the match overall, but the Carnies finisher is legit and I'm glad Sharpe got punished for wasting everyone's time.

3. Ugly Ducklings vs. Joshua Cutshall/Tracer X

PAS: Fun tag which is the most workratey match of this round. Lots of pretty complicated spots which were timed well, fun dynamic with three little flyers and Cutshall as a big heavyweight cracking everyone. I really enjoy Lance Lude, he seems to be made of jello on his bumps and hits some pretty elaborate armdrags and ranas. Didn't think the interlude between Stokely and Coach Mikey was needed, and the end might have had one reversal too many, but I mostly enjoyed this. Would like to see WWN use Cutshall with Tracer X as a team in FIP or EVOLVE, they really have nice chemistry.

ER: I'm pretty much with Phil down the line on this one. I like both these teams and liked how they matched up, Ducks bring the bumps and Killjoy even throws some surprisingly stiff shots. I love matches that have dives right next to a barrier-free crowd, always seems crazy to me. I really liked all the workrate-y exchanges, though I think Cutshall's wind up elbow should be more of a KO blow, felt like they moved on from that shot too quickly. The manager moment of the match I guess allowed for some recovery time, and while it was overall pointless I didn't mind too much as I like Mikey's look. Didn't expect the upset and I have a feeling this might set them up to be crushed by the All Stars...

4. Tripp Cassidy/Cain Justice vs. Sandwich Squad

PAS: Really fun five minute potato fest. Basically all four guys just laid into each other. Cassidy and Biggs had a really fun exchange of shots with Cassidy using throat thrusts and backfists and Biggs laying in headbutts. The finish was nasty with Biggs obliterating Justice with a pop up forearm, before the Hero's sandwich. I really enjoyed Justice's KO selling, as he really looked like a boxer or an MMA fighter who didn't know what arena he was in.

ER: I wanted more of a showing for Justice/Cassidy in this one, they both got in shots (especially Cassidy with a bunch of cool strikes to Biggs) but it never totally felt like Sandwich Squad were taking them seriously. I thought the heels deserved better, especially Cain who got a little steamrolled. I don't typically mind the Squad steamrolling guys, but I wanted a bit more competitiveness. Nice showing for the Squad, though, they at least looked like killers.

5. Sandwich Squad vs. The Carnies

PAS: Carnies jump the Sandwich Squad at the bell and they have a short violent sprint. I like how they are building this feud with The Carnies getting more and more desperate. The Aaron Biggs running splash felt like a KO blow and I loved how it was sold. I have a feeling a big blowoff is coming between these two team and I am excited about it.

ER: If you're going to blow things up in just a couple minutes, you do it like this. Carnies jump the Squad right after their win, Cassidy sticks around to help with the beatdown, Awful locks in a mean leg submission, but this short match was ALLLLL about Biggs' running Thesz Press. Holy shit that was a finish! It felt like a bullied high school fat kid finally just snapped and just ran body first into his antagonizer with the goal of crushing him through cement. These teams should have a good feud down the line.


6. All-Stars vs. Ugly Ducklings

PAS: Lance Lude comes into this match with a bad knee, and the All-Stars work a great "guy with a bad knee" tag match. Brutalize Lude, until he gets a hot tag, let hubris get the best of them and almost lose, and then do some cheap shit to pull out the win. Ducklings are great in ring bumpers and were flying around for all of the All-Stars big moves. Short and perfectly worked for this situation.

ER: Yeah yeah yeah this was easily my favorite match on the show, really loved this. I found myself really rooting for the Ducklings to advanced and surprised myself by how pissed I got when Gemini interfered, leading to the All-Stars win. Lude turns in an awesome performance, limping around and taking vicious bumps, fighting like mad, standing up like a man, scrambling for that hot tag. Killjoy comes in and lands some great shots, but also takes a brutal lariat. Perfect amount of time for what they were going for, and while I still REALLY wanted that upset, I'm sure All-Stars/Sandwich is gonna be a killer. Damn, just can't get over all the awesome scrambling here, those early parts where Royal was just trying to contain Lude. Great short match.

PAS: Another great round of tourney matches, I really did not like the White Mike cornhole horseshit, but otherwise all of the matches were good, and different and smartly worked. We set up a sensible final which should be an excellent match.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 100

1. Smith Garrett vs. Darius Lockhart

PAS: This was a rematch from Episode 1 of the CWF Worldwide and was a spirited little affair. First time I have seen Lockhart, and I am a little uncomfortable with a heel wearing #blacklivesmatter trunks, especially in the South, especially against a white power looking babyface like Smith Garrett. Troublesome politics aside, match itself was hardhitting and fun, Lockhart really laid it in, and Garrett is a fun brawler, I especially liked Lockharts stomps in the corner, really felt like they were going to crack a rib.

ER: I liked simpler parts of this, like the fast missed chop exchange, but move trading portions kinda turned me off. But the shots landed hard and that will go a long way. I didn't love the finish of Garrett taking a running knee straight to the face and just responding with an elbow. If I had a nice running knee I wouldn't want someone shrugging it off. But Garrett throws a nice elbow, and he had some big overpowering throws, including an Angle slam that practically flipped Lockhart over. Like what I saw of Lockhart and I second those corner stomps. As usual Cecil and Stutts fill me in on all kinds of personal history which really helps accelerate my acclimation to all the indies that CWF pulls from.

2. Percy Davis vs. Tripp Cassidy

PAS: I am continuing my warming to Cassidy. I am embracing the corniness of the character and trying to appreciate the commitment. The story behind the match is that Davis was a former member of Cassidy's IWA-MS invading army and turned his back on evil to become a dancing babyface. Cassidy is trying to punish him for that and bring out the brawler, I liked how Davis got more vicious as the match went along, and his KO selling on the finish was great, he really looked unconscious.

ER: Cassidy is really winning me over too. I don't love the shining wizard finisher (but love how Davis sold it), but the rest of the work, the cheating, the cheapshots, all that is totally working for me. All of the stuff outside the ring was great, him undoing a turnbuckle pad, wrapping Davis' head in the ring skirt and kicking it, throwing weird open hand strikes; he moves with a nice confidence and that's important when doing a character like that. No matter how cheesy I think it is, committing to it 100% at least raises its floor.

3. The Carnies vs. The Sandwich Squad

PAS: The Carnies are both really great at making that switch from clown to killer, it isn't an easy transition, but something which is critical for being a great heel wrestler. Early in the match they are stooging around for the Sandwhich squad, Awful is selling an open hand chop like he is having heart palpitations, Iggy is in midair screaming to be let down and getting bodyslammed. However when they flip that switch they really lay in an asskicking on Mecha Mercenary, including some great looking full weight drops, it has to really suck to have a porker like Kerry Awful drop right on your breastplate. When Aaron Biggs makes a hot tag they are back to stooging, just a great heel tag performance, the kind of thing you might see from Arn and Tully or the Midnight Express.

ER: Man this was great, just constant moving and constant squishing. The first couple minutes are mostly comedy, and then Iggy just smacks Biggs and does a nice dropkick to Mecha on the floor, then gets Irish whipped into a dive onto Mecha (that gets him slammed onto the apron), then Awful comes barreling in with a wild flip dive. And then the Carnies take over with all sorts of great attacks to Mecha's gut, big sentons, double stomps, Awful does a couple great bombs away butt drops, really working the big guy over, Awful even breaks up a pin attempt with a diving headbutt to Mecha's nether regions. Phil is right that they know how to flip the switch from stooge to nasty, and it's huge. Iggy can do amusing do-si-do spots with Mecha one moment, and the next he's hammer punching him in the back of the head. Carnies leaped way up the list of my favorite current tag teams with this match, but I dug both teams.

4. Joshua Cutshall vs. Nick Richards

PAS: This was a rematch of a match we loved from earlier in the year. It was Three Stages of Real, which had the first fall submission or KO, second fall you had to win with your finisher and the third fall was falls count anywhere. First two falls were pretty disposable, the match would have probably been better off as a straight falls count anywhere, but that final fall was a hell of violent brawl. Both guys take some really nasty bumps, especially Richards who finds lots of ways to fly kidneys first into the sides of chairs. Richards clearly has Cactus Jack influences, and this felt like an ECW era Cactus brawl. Cutshall was right there throwing big shots, and taking some pretty nasty bumps of his own. The finish was especially great, with both guys brawling on the bleachers, Cutshall throws his big elbow and smashes the wall full force, Richard then cutters Cutshall off the bleachers into a bunch of chairs, he didn't get the cutter full, but it was an insane bump by both guys. Nasty stuff and I continue to really dig this matchup.

ER: Yeah they didn't really make great work of the 3 falls format, they run through those first two falls like they were working an Ultimo Guerrero tribute match. But I liked Stutts putting over not only the submission, but attempting to add some psychology to Cutshall tapping so early, saying he's like someone who works better when they're cramming for a test, a guy who works harder when he's under the gun. Third fall is where the money is at. Most of it takes place outside the ring and there's a ton of unnatural and painful bumps. Richards lays down chairs and is the first to get knocked off the apron on to them. There's a kid in the front row chanting "Let's go Nick!" and the two of them make sure to do some close up magic right in front of them, really laying in the strikes. I always like Richards' strikes, they're kind of weird as he doesn't have much of a wind-up but they always land with a thud. Both guys take some gross spills across chairs both in and out of the ring, and the brawl through the crowd was a good one, loved them brawling up through the crowd (past more kids) and the spots into the wall were really satisfying. I really like how these two match up.

5. Slade Porter vs. Cain Justice

PAS: This was the least of the Cain Justice matches I have watched so far. Porter has a bunch of Chikara style comedy spots he shoehorned in, and alternated between comedy spots and headrops and stiff elbows, lots of current indy tropes I don't like. Justice did some cool stuff, I love his finisher and some of the armwork to set it up, but it felt like he needed to force Porter to work his match, and instead it felt like he worked Porter's match. Did really like the post match angle with Justice ripping up Cecil Scott's bad arm, although I was bummed we didn't have Scott on commentary for the main event.

ER: I still thought this was more of a Cain match than Phil, and there weren't really head drops in the match (just one snap German suplex), but I still didn't love Porter's comedy offense, it all felt pretty forced. I laughed before the bell when he built to exposing his nipples, only for Cain to chop him right when they were exposed. But I hate comedy workers who go in there with bad strikes. If you're gonna work comedy spots, at least work stiff enough to give your opponent a reason to be selling while you go through your comedy routine. But Justice brought some nice kicks and some of his nasty subs, loved him joining Porter's hands behind his back  and then throwing them past his shoulderblades. I liked this, but it could have lowered the level of silly.

6. Ric Converse/Trevor Lee/Chet Sterling vs. Arik Royal/Brad Attitude/Roy Wilkins

PAS: CWF MA does this kind of big star trios matches well. Gives everyone a chance to shine, sets up future matches and doesn't burn through too many singles matches. I really loved Attitude in this as he is great at timing cheapshots, he also is a great slimly corner man, he is really expressive. I could use a picture in picture of just Attitude reacting to all the action, while the main match was going on. I also really enjoy the Wilkins and Royal team, and they are great at both the slow down cutting off the ring parts of the match, and the big time fast exchanges. I don't know the history of Converse in this fed, but Stuttsy did a great job explaining why his presence in this feud was a big deal, and the Converse and Attitude showdown felt big time

ER: All-Stars & Attitude are a hell of a trios team, and those other guys ain't too bad either. This match looked better on paper than in execution, but these guys have higher floors than most, so even with some out of sync spots and time that maybe could have been used better, this was still good. Attitude comes off like such a star, and the Converse/Attitude interaction was my favorite thing in the match. Sterling was off on a bunch of his stuff. I know I've been higher on him than Phil has been, but I understand those prior complaints now. I dug all the "All-Stars/Attitude slowing things down" parts, and Lee always bring impressive everything (he had a killer thrust kick here, much closer to one of Kabuki's old throat/chest jabbing kicks than the more modern slappy kick), and this was a perfectly fun match.

ER: Really fun, suitably epic episode of TV for their big 100. We thought the Richards/Cutshall match was good enough to land on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, meaning that every single damn one of the 2017 Cutshall/Richards matches (both of them) have landed on our list. I need to figure out which episode their 2016 match aired on...

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

1963 Match of the Year

Golden Moose Cholak v. Larry Chene Chicago Wrestling 3/15/63

PAS: Cholak holds the Chicago version of the world title and is sort of an incubatory Vader, he is a giant dude just as comfortable cracking Chene with headbutts and clubbing forearms and he is taking big bumps to the floor and stooging. Cholak opens the match with some really fast leg takedowns which were awesome looking. Chene uses some tricks to get minor advantages, tying Cholak's boots together, leapfrogging the ref for a dropkick, but most of the match is Chene trying to survive Cholak's onslaught. Chene keeps coming forward face covered in blood and starts to turn the tide as Cholak begins to gas out. Finish has a real epic slugfest feel to it, Chene doesn't have great punches, Cholak's selling still made it feel like the last round of 15 round title fight.

ER: What a treat! Cholak is gigantic, looking like John Goodman in Barton Fink, and then blowing me away with these gorgeous super fast rolling single legs. His single leg takedowns would look awesome if Timothy Thatcher did them. Now picture John Goodman doing them. I'll wait. While you're picturing John Goodman doing awesome fast takedowns, Moose is punching Chene in the hamstring. Moose gets his laces tied together and takes a big stoogy bump off it, and Chene grabs a headlock and throws some great uppercuts. The announcer says that "Cholak steamed across the ring like a baby hippo" and you're in love. And then Moose hits a couple of standing splashes while in north south position, and yo've never seen that, and now Golden Moose Cholak is the only wrestler you ever want to watch. Chene works a nice headscissors and they build to a ridiculously awesome spot where Chene leapfrogs the ref to dropkick Moose. I thought Chene was going to give the ref a reverse frankensteiner or something. Chene gets busted open by Moose, Moose takes a nice backdrop, and Chene does a cool flying scissors takedown to win the segunda. Moose stops messing around in the third and absolutely brains Chene with a headbutt. "The Moose is mean tonight," says the announcer. The announcer puts over all the blood in Chene's eyes, saying he doesn't even know where to punch, he's just throwing at the large object heading his way. Chene somehow throws a shoe right at Moose's face, and what the hell is happening!? Chene is a real fighter and keeps throwing no matter how damaged he is, some missing, some landing, but always flying towards Cholak's head. Sadly we end in a time limit draw, but Cholak really made this feel like an epic war, with Chene playing his end admirably. This is a great 20 minutes.

ALL TIME MOTY LIST


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Wrestlemania Weekend Cherry Picking

Way too much wrestling Wrestlemaina weekend to watch, but we cherry picked some non EVOLVE indy stuff that looked good

Matt Riddle v. Dan Severn GCW 3/30/17

PAS: Really fun match with Riddle and Severn just in there rolling with each other and laying in every time the threw. Severn is a little awkward, but mean old football coach is really the best wrestling role he has had, I loved his knees to the kidneys and how he would walk through Riddle's shots to grab him. I really think Riddle doing his fighting spirit german no-sells was weak shit, especially in this kind of match, but I liked everything else. Finish was especially awesome with Severn landing these nasty knees to the spine, getting a really close near fall with a bodylock dragon sleeper, only to have Riddle squirt out, land some vicious elbows to the temple and lock on the twister. This really makes me want to see more 2017 Severn, totally fun stuff.

ER: "Old man grappling" sounds like a top contender for the Segunda Caida masthead, so I was expecting to enjoy this, and it delivered. Severn is pushing 60 and pretty stiff in the ring (as in, inflexible), but he's got the size and the strength and the literal decades of muscle memory bore into his brain, so he's a fun lug within the current grapple-heavy style. He's also pale, which made Riddle's knee and palm strikes read terrific, as Severn had tons of pink and red areas minutes in. Severn kept bullying through Riddle's finesse while Riddle just wanted to land strikes in bunches. I liked the commentary as they brought up things like Severn being a part of MMA infancy and how far it advanced by the time Riddle was brought in, but they also made me genuinely laugh out loud a couple of times (talking about Severn's "dad strength", which is funny and true, and as Severn is fishing for "Beast" chants one of them points out his crowd work, calling him "the Todd Barry of wrestling". That's funny). I really hated the Riddle German no-selling, and I was hoping it was leading to Severn just destroying him with those knees to the spine into the dragon sleeper he was going for, like Phillip Jennings breaking that dude's neck on The Americans. This was all fun stuff.

Dominic Garrini v. Martin Stone PPW 3/31/17

PAS: I thought this was pretty disappointing. Garrini is a new Segunda Caida favorite, but lack much of the style which made the Cain Justice match so special. Stone is a guy with a positive rep, but I thought he was pretty terrible in this, this was Garrini forced to work a Stone match, full of tough guy elbow exchanges and goofy finger breaking spots. Garrini had a couple of leaps into triangle chokes which were cool, but this did very little for him. Finish was lame with Stone just breaking a triangle choke from a Ju-Jitsu world champion and putting on some sort of weak crossface for the tap, totally lame, the equivalent of Shane McMahon out wrestling Kurt Angle.

Low-Ki v. Shane Strickland WrestleCon Supershow 3/31/17

PAS: My Killshot thoughts are well documented, so this wasn't an ideal Ki opponent for one of his 6 or so matches we might get this year, still they worked this mostly as a quasi-competitive squash and Strickland is a perfectly fine guy to get squashed. Ki is in the Game of Death gear and no matter what he is wearing he will kick a dude hard in the chest, his downed elbows looked especially nasty here, thought they might slice Strickland. Stricklands moments of offense looked kind of dumb, but they were few and far between. Really liked the finish as both guys fought on the top rope, until Ki set up his hanging double stomp onto the ring apron, which was a finish for sure. Ki's base match is so high right now, not sure this was anything more then his base match, but I enjoyed it.

Jay Lethal v. Cody ROH 4/1/17

PAS: This was a bullrope match with a member of the Rhodes family, so I figured I would check it out. I mostly enjoyed this especially when they were hitting each other with cowbells. Cody breaks out a nice blade job (wasn't at the level of Dusty or Dustin, but not bad for a first time), there was a great moment where Lethal went for the Lethal injection but Cody pulled the rope causing Lethal to piledrive himself. I thought this got a bit move tradey at the end for a match which should be all about gouging and choking, but I still enjoyed this more then I would have any other version of this matchup.

ER: Decided to add Riddle/Severn to our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List. What other WM weekend matches should we look at for possible inclusion?

Complete and Accurate Matt Riddle
Complete and Accurate Low-Ki

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reigns vs. Braun: A Match History, Part 1


I've really been loving all of the Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman feud, and am really excited for their upcoming match at Payback. I thought it might be a fun idea to go back and look at all the times these two crossed paths, leading up to the Payback match (which is sadly happening in the bay area, on a weekend I'll be visiting my sister in Phoenix).


1. Braun Strowman/Luke Harper/Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Chris Jericho (Night of Champions 9/20/15)

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

2. Braun Strowman/Luke Harper/Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns/Randy Orton/Dean Ambrose (Raw 10/5/15)

ER: A match that could have been much better, but was plagued by some sloppy performances (Orton in particular), some guys getting in the way (more guys altering their "run path" than normal), but a really terrific early Braun performance. Braun is definitely the best thing about this, as the faces regularly team up on him to try to take him off his feet. There's a fun early sequence where Orton dropkicks him, then Reigns/Ambrose do a double shoulderblock to knock him through the ropes to the floor. Later, as the match is breaking down, he eats a dive from Dean, then a superman punch, then Ambrose leaps onto his back from the apron; Braun stands up with Dean on his back, then runs him over the rail and into the timekeeper's area. Ambrose took some big bumps off lariats throughout, there were some nice cut off spots (really liked Reigns setting up the spear but getting punched in the back of the head by Bray), Braun also takes a great post bump, Harper times a superkick *perfectly* on Reigns, and the match ended up being really "house show" fun.

3. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns/Randy Orton (Smackdown 10/6/15, Aired 10/8/15)

ER: A continuation of the "how do you even take Braun off his feet!?" story. Orton and Bray match up nicely but briefly, with Bray stiffing the hell out of him while Orton is draped on the ring apron, blistering his back with a clubbing shot and hitting a yakuza kick to the temple. Orton basically disappears from the match after that, as we get an extended run of Braun/Roman. Roman hits a bunch of lariats to try to knock him down, then goes for a samoan drop which Braun escapes from with a heavy back elbow. Roman manages to kind of trap Braun in the ropes, and begins wailing on him, hits a great kick to the chest and then hits the superman punch to knock Braun to the floor, and Roman follows by attacking Bray and hitting the drive by on Braun. Bray ends things quickly by lobbing a chair at Roman, getting the DQ. Not actually sure where Orton went as everybody just forgot about him, but this was more fun.

4. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns (Raw 10/12/15)

ER: Watching all of these back to back really highlights how often JBL talks about Bill Kazmaier and Jeep Swenson when talking about Braun, and how he always acts like he's coming up with those names on the spot. "The more I think about it, the more Braun reminds me of Jeep Swenson...except I don't think Swenson had the athleticism of Strowman," JBL says for the 4th Braun match in a row. It's like a decade ago when I was chapter skipping through the Lesnar DVD and realized every Brock entrance started with Tazz going "Well...Here comes the pain!" in the exact same way. And this match didn't not work, but it didn't totally work. They repeat a lot of stuff from their prior week Smackdown tag showdown, and there were a couple clunky spots in the middle of really great spots. It's weird as in his Night of Champions match, and that Raw trios up above, Braun does a lot of offense, but in these last two matches he's basically in the Giant Gonzalez or Zeus role of taking all offense, and just staggering around in place without going down. And Braun isn't really great at staggering around, he's way better at explosive short burst offense. Braun does lock on a nice cravate (that kind of kills the crowd for a bit), and the ending is great with him taking a huge backwards bump over the announce table, spilling nastily to the floor and getting counted out. The bump was really wild and pretty unexpected, but the match weirdly felt like a step back.


We'll get to Parts 2 and 3 before Payback on 4/30!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

All Time MOTY Head to Head + Wednesday Morning Wargames : ROH: Team ROH v. Team CZW Cage of Death

Team ROH (Samoa Joe/BJ Whitmer/Bryan Danielson/Adam Pearce/Ace Steel/Homicide) vs. Team CZW (Claudio Castagnoli/Chris Hero/Nate Webb/Necro Butcher/Eddie Kingston) ROH Death Before Dishonor IV 7/15/06

ER: This was sooooo good. The very first 90 seconds kind of annoyed me as Claudio/Joe worked a standard rehearsed indy sequence, and then with no warning Joe punted a trash can into Claudio's head and they never looked back for 40 minutes. There was a lot of this that I had totally forgot, and it was stuff that had I been told, really wouldn't have sounded good: "Danielson turns on Joe, ROH gets to use an extra man because I guess we feel bad that one of their men turned, BJ Whitmer is in it..." It has tons of stories happening all at once and could have been a complete mess, but all the bullshit of the match works really great, and a lot of guys have arguable career performances.

Potential career performances include: Chris Hero, Nate Webb, Homicide, Ace Steel, and Adam Pearce. Chris Hero was such a perfect smug jerk, setting up potentially violent moves only to end them with uncomfortable cravates (jumping off the middle rope with two of his men holding someone, setting one up on top of a chair), disappearing when things would get messy, but really the whole match - which had already been violent as hell - kicked into an entirely new gear when Hero got on the mic to start the CZW chant, and really inciting a lot of hate. "It's going to take a lot more than that to take out Chris Fucking Hero!!" is a great thing to scream maniacally at a ROH show, and the shots of he and his invaders ruling the ROH ring as trash gets thrown in is a pretty unique indy wrestling visual. They really did seem like conquering kings in that moment and without Hero I don't know that they get that.

Nate Webb is a total bump freak and he broke out some of his all time craziest stuff here. He and Kingston were the guys who truly felt like outsiders here, and Webb looked like a dirty, unhinged version of clean cut ROH fliers. Webb takes a disgusting Pearce press slam from the ring through a table, hits an absurd coast to coast moonsault mule kick into a trashcan, and he's right there at the end battling with Homicide, taking a horrific cop killa on a bunch of barbed wire. Necro brings all his great Necro attributes to this, never really standing out as the main guy, but always around to get wrapped in wire, take a shot to the ear, literally RUN through thumbtacks barefoot (in an all time great Necro psychology moment), just doing all of the things you would hope he'd do in a match like this. Pearce comes out dressed like a man who belongs in a match like this, and does his big part by brawling and bleeding all over the place, hitting a big piledriver on the floor and that press slam on Spider. Ace Steel had a real superstar performance, really feeling like a "big stage" performer the whole time. The cowbell he brought out was a great prop, but his facials and movement came off big league and he had a grounded performance that the match needed. Homicide enters because of a strange rule and the crowd is going crazy, while he immediately pulls out forks and spikes and a freaking boxcutter, and in that movie the ringside area resembled the orgy of violence in Event Horizon.

There's tons of violence and tons of crazy spots (Claudio's Russian leg sweep off the cage through a table!?), JJ Dillon hams it up extraordinarily at ringside, the crowd is riled up the entire time, everybody bleeds all over the place, and this is just the best wrestling.

PAS: This felt like a super violent version of one of those Pat Patterson produced WWF Attitude brawls. They build so many different story lines in this match, the Danielson and Joe confrontation, the Homicide surprise, the Eddie Kingston v. Chris Hero feud, the beginning of the Homicide v. Cornette fued, and even little things like J.J. Dillion being the master of the coin toss or the Necro thumbtalk run, I have pretty mixed feelings about Gabe as a booker, but if he put this together this was his peak. The ROH team minus Homicide ended up being kind of a scrub squad, but this was pretty much peak Steele, Pearce and Whitmer, I loved Steele coming out with the cowbell and waylaying everyone, Pearce achieved the Arn Anderson he had been shooting for his whole career, and Whitmer took some horrid bumps. Nate Webb was an underground favorite of mine from his IWA-MS days, so it was cool that he got a semi-big stage showcase, and man alive does his kill himself with insane bumps. Hero was such a great prick too, I loved him getting smacked in the head in the middle of his speech, jumping up stomping fools and yelling "It will fucking take more than that to stop me." I did think this went a little long in the Match Beyond section, Homicide's entry was such a huge moment, and I think they should have rid that wave into the finish quicker (also no way should a Wargames end on a pin.) I would have also liked to see Nick Gage or even Zandig in this match, a real CZW original would have made it even hotter. Great match though, one that I remember loving in 2006 and loving again on rewatch.

Verdict:

ER: That NWA Anarchy WarGames is a real revelation, a true classic that deserves praise and a bigger viewing audience. Cage of Death edges it out though. It sustained the fever pitch violence almost twice as long, everybody contributed in big ways, you had tons of storylines and successfully converging (which almost never works in wrestling), and front to back you're left with an all time classic hour of pro wrestling.

PAS: This is a style preference thing the ROH v. CZW match is an slickly produced studio album, and the NWA Anarchy match is more of a gritty live recording. I am a guy who will always prefer the rougher version, so I am sticking with the champ.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY LIst: Lorcan v. McIntyre

13. Oney Lorcan v. Drew McIntyre WWE NXT 4/5 (Aired 4/12/17)

PAS: Great 4 minute sprint which reminded me of some of the great WCW syndie matches, kind of a new age version of Raven v. Kaz Hayashi or Finlay v. Villano V.  Just a boatload of great spots, McIntyre throws some insane overhead belly to belly suplexes which hurls Lorcan 3/4rs of the way across the ring, the spot where he catches the plancha in a gutwrench was a spot of the year contender. I really loved Lorcan in this, his tenacity is one of the things I loved about him on the indies, and he is constantly coming forward here, huge uppercuts, crazy slaps, he felt like a rabid dog trying to grab the last turkey leg.


ER: Yeah yeah yeah!! This is my kind of jam. I've been missing the hot 4-5 minute match. Best we've gotten this year has been Braun/Henry (and before that the unexpectedly great Curtis Axel/Bo Dallas 4 minutes from 10/24/16 Raw), but this match was the stuff! Lorcan was like a feral animal, like Sonny Boy let out of his cage. He flew into McIntyre with fast and forceful uppercuts and hit an out of control flip dive, then got caught on a plancha off the top because of course Drew is fucking ridiculous and slams Lorcan on the apron. Ye gods that whole sequence. But Lorcan can't be put down and keeps coming, really liked all the running spots in this, the constant movement, Lorcan evading Drew by somersaulting off the top, Lorcan about to grind Drew's knee up top before McIntyre tosses him off by the ears, Lorcan paying him back with some devastating cupped slaps, then a cool finish with Drew catching a big boot to trap Lorcan over his shoulders and whiplash him face first to his doom. Glorious classic syndie action. This was Renegade/Sick Boy good.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST



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Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Thatcher v. Sabre

3. Timothy Thatcher v. Zach Sabre Jr. EVOLVE 79 2/25

PAS: Really great match with Sabre trying to finally be the guy to solve Thatcher, and a rabid crowd wanting Thatcher to go down. Really great early grappling leading to a super hot finish, with Thatcher pulling out counters to counters, before finally falling to a crazy abdominal stretch version. The announcer mentioned Thatcher watching Johnny Valentine, and I see his title reign almost like Johnny Valentine as he trained the crowd to respect and loathe his style, Thatcher had more real heel heat then anyone I can remember seeing in EVOLVE, and he did it all with a sneer and an armbar. Really exiting match, that I especially loved watching live not knowing about the title change.

ER: I loved how this was worked, really the most interesting way to work a 50/50 match, with neither guy out of the running at any point but either able to put it away at any moment. I've loved Thatcher for quite some time now, and his win over Hero at the 2015 WWN Supershow was one of my all time favorite babyface moments. The crowd was so electric for him and it was such a special moment that I've just never thought of him as a heel. But Phil is right, this is the most genuine heel heat I've seen a guy get in Evolve. Shoot, earlier on this show fans were still chanting for that oaf Ethan Page while he beat up a guy half his size who had his hands cuffed behind his back. But the fans start to turn on Thatcher and he soaks it up, and it's pretty great. The whole match was counters and both guys just nibbling at the other. Thatcher grabs an ankle while also kicking at Sabre's shoulder, Sabre does the same and kicks Thatcher in the face. Thatcher chokes Sabre with a boot to the throat, Sabre craftily uses the ropes and his positioning to turn it into an ankle lock so Thatcher immediately abandons the choking. All of the reversals and counters never came across like a rehearsal, they all felt like organic counters within each man's skillset. One guy would come in too hot with an armbar attempt, which would allow the other to use the momentum to roll through to a crossface, but in the haste of rolling through the grip wouldn't be tight which would lead to another counter, etc. It was all very satisfying, and we had very few pauses or breaks in the action, just both men fighting in the trap, both willingly put themselves in constant danger by fighting right within the other's wheelhouse. There aren't many "highspots" in this, with Thatcher's two Karelin lifts and maybe a Sabre running kick, and there wasn't necessarily any escalation. This was two guys wearing each other out, and by the time Sabre was attempting to lock on his octopus hold I was fully rooting for a title change. The slow application as Thatcher fought through, but Sabre kept locking on another dangerous piece of the puzzle, was awesome. That rings of Saturn/octopus hold looks like it should have dislocated several parts of Thatcher at once and was an excellent way to change a title. Great match.


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 99

Episode 99

1. Stokely Hathaway's Dream Team (Tracer X/Joshua Cutshall) vs. Da Powah (Ian Maxwell/Big Time Yah)

PAS: Great five minute tag match, we had some big spots from the rookies, including an insanly high assisted leg drop by Maxwell right on X's face, and some great looking belly to belly throws by Big Time Yah, but they eventually got smashed. That running KO forearm by Cutshall is awesome looking he really looks like he puts folks to sleep with that shot.

ER: Two fun teams right here. I had never seen Da Powah before but came away really like Big Time Yah, he's a big boy who apparently is trained by Cedric Alexander and George South, which would make for a pretty fun combination of abilities. He throws two mammoth overhead belly to belly suplexes here and seems to have a good command of the ring, good size, I like it. Earlier he backdrops Maxwell, who lands disgustingly onto the face of Tracer X. Cutshall/X are a really good team, and I especially think Cutshall is really really good, and that finisher is lethal. Good stuff right here.

2. The Insiders (Ace Perry/Slade Porter) vs. Cain Justice/Tripp Cassidy

PAS: This is the most I have liked Cassidy, I still think his Raven act is a little corny, but I thought jamming his used mouthpiece in Porters mouth was pretty gross in a unique way, and he unloaded this KO punch which was really nasty. Didn't think much of the Insiders, as Perry seemed like he had trouble running the ropes, but they did take a beating which is what was required here. I really hope Justice doesn't become a full Cassidy disciple, he is way too talented to be Lodi.

ER: Cassidy and Justice make an awesome team (fully agree with Phil, praying Justice doesn't become an acolyte, no matter how entertaining he would probably make it), and The Insiders seem to try a lot of stuff. Not all of it works, but they try some spots you don't regularly see and they bump around fine. Also agree that this was the best we've seen Cassidy, his crossfaces were good and that mouthpiece spot was gross, but also had a violence to it like a lucha mask ripping. Having his woman lick it before he puts it back in his own mouth is an amazing piece of character work showing his weird control over others, while also being completely revolting. Justice was far and away the best in this, at one point he hit this brutal running thrust kick, and he's really fun working a more indy workrate style as he works it like a fish out of water, able to convey being completely turned around crossed up by rope running, while still having his bearings to do a throw or grab an arm. I really liked this.

3. The All-Stars (Arik Royal/Roy Wilkins) vs. Mitch Connor/Nick Richards

PAS: This was basically an competitive All-Stars squash, Connor is a tubby old dude recovering from a stroke, and Richards is his surprise partner (Boogie Woogie Man Rob McBride had four flat tires which is a shame). I am turning into a Richards fan, as he took some big basic bumps off the ring apron and threw some nice shots. Looking forward to seeing more of the All-Stars in this tourney.

ER: Feel good performance for Connor, while establishing the All-Stars as merciless favorites. I loved the way Wilkins took out Richards with his own body, and how they not only cut off the ring but kept Richards knocked to the floor almost the entire match. They would tee off on Connor and any time Richards would show his head one of them would fly across the ring and knock him to the floor. Richards took nice bumps back down each time, my favorite being when he caught his chin on the apron. Connor gets knocked all around by the All-Stars but fights the whole time and all the way down, always throwing elbows. The outcome was never in doubt, but all Connor had to do to make this work was fight hard, and he did.

4. So' Time (Dirty Daddy/Snooty Foxx) vs. Zane Dawson/Dave Dawson

PAS: So' Time are both rookies, but have turned into a fun tag team. Daddy can take a real thumping and times his comebacks well, Fox is pretty green but is a good big dude hot tag. I enjoy the Dawson's, a pair of fat greasy bikers are right in my wrestling wheelhouse, and they have some really nasty looking double teams and Zane has a great jumping knee drop. I thought this went a bit long for what they were trying for, but I enjoyed it a bunch

ER: I was a little disappointed in this. For a team who looked pretty strong to me, and went toe to toe with the Sandwich Squad, I thought both Dawsons kind of got handled by Dirty Daddy for a bit too long. I was really hoping the Dawsons would advance but So' Time are featured as much as anybody on the TV eps. But I like Daddy and Fox so I can't get too worked up about it. I just wanted as many bigguns in the tourney as possible.

PAS: Great tourney first round, I would give a thumbs up to every match, and it set up some good matchups for the second and third rounds.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

1988 Match of the Year

Stan Hansen/Terry Gordy v. Genichiro Tenryu/Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 12/16/88

ER: This whole thing is great in every way: Great performances from all four, great story, great build, great everything. Kawada is overmatched from go but he gives a super gutsy and super sympathetic effort. He's up against two of the hossest hosses to ever hoss, and he gets the shit kicked out of him. But damn does he go down swinging. Just watching Hansen barrel down a human makes me afraid, and Kawada just stands up to it, throws his spinkicks that he wouldn't be using a couple years later, and eventually hits one of the hardest lariats I've seen. Eventually Hansen has enough of it and drags Kawada to the floor, stomps his knee into dust, and continues doing so for the rest of the match including one all time brutal spot: Hansen is standing on his foot, kicking at his knee, all the way to the apron, and then gives Tenryu a lariat, knocking both to the floor at once (and Tenryu flying over the railing). Kawada is basically toast at this point and the match then shifts to gutsy Tenryu performance, fighting back against two beasts and doing so gamely. Crowd is LOUD cheering on Tenryu, and he throws some of his all time stiffest chops (think of the ground that covers!), gets a great nearfall by catching Gordy with a small package, hits a gorgeously high arcing elbow drop, wings enziguiris at Gordy (such a great sell by Gordy), bitch slaps freaking STAN HANSEN, but can't overcome the odds. Gordy was tremendous here, putting across just HOW bad he wanted this win, regularly appealing to Hansen but still running this game, always free to drag Tenryu around and  dish nasty overhand chops. But Hansen is the show here, man. It's pretty impossible to take your eyes off him here, he just never stops. He's constantly kicking either Tenryu or Kawada, he's storming around ringside, he's breaking up every pin in nasty fashion (I don't think it's debatable that Hansen breaks up a pin better than any wrestler in history, always crushing with an elbow drop or kicking a guy in the legs or just dragging them away and beating them for having the gall to pin his boy), dropping his better-than-anyone-ever elbows, dropping his better-than-anyone-ever knees, just a total wrecking ball. I love how he noticeably slows during the second half, getting George Foreman'd into tiring himself out by destroying Kawada, but he's still a guy who can pick his shot, and the shots are always devastating. This is elite tag team wrestling right here.

PAS: This was a hell of a fight, it was more simplistic then the classic 90s tag, but if simplistic means Stan Hansen stomping Tenryu so hard that he splits his head open, I'll take simplistic. I am so used to stoic samurai Kawada it was really weird to see him as fired up underdog babyface, but he is really great at that role too, his anguished knee selling on the floor was powerful, and his glee at his big save was very charming. Tenryu is lauded for his brutality, and he was brutal here, but I think Tenryu's greatest skill is his selling and he was awesome here fighting valiantly against the odds, but showing how much each big shot took out of him. This however was a Stan Hansen showcase, a real entry into his GOAT resume, he felt like young Mike Tyson in this match just a primal force of terrifying violence. After he broke up Kawada's german suplex pin, he beats on Kawada and Tenryu and a ring guy, it felt  like he was going to beat up every person in the arena at once.  That final lariat was a show closer, it felt like an explosive posterizing dunk, Tenryu got Mosgoved.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Allin v. Page

4. Ethan Page v. Darby Allin EVOLVE 79 2/25

PAS: Great match, easily the best I have seen from either guy. Allin is truly insane, he gets presslamed from the stage into a post, and then gets his hands handcuffed behind and takes multiple bumps on his handcuffed wrists. Page has been trying to do Franchise Shane Douglas and this is the first time I thought he got there (not that I love Shane Douglas, but Shane was way more effective at his stuff then Page has been so far). He came off as such as a hatable prick and laid in the kind of beating you need to get this match over. Allin's comeback was insane, he is hitting rana's and dropkicks with his hands cuffed one of the craziest wrestling moments I can remember, like something out of a Jackie Chan movie.

ER: What a dangerous and unique and unbelievably fun match. I've been wanting to get an Allin match on our MOTY list for awhile now, he's so damn nuts but the work didn't always add up to a great match. Now THIS match is like nothing I've ever seen before. Page attacks to start but before long Allin is doing his great cannonball into Page and his Gatekeepers, but Page drags him up on the stage and literally press slam throws him perpendicularly into one of the ringposts. My god. It was almost like Bigelow press slamming Spike into the crowd, but if he had done it into a ringpost instead. Totally nuts. And if that wasn't crazy enough, things get crazier. Page handcuffs Allin's hands behind his back, and launches Allin upside down into the buckles. Seeing him bump without being able to use his arms and hands to break his fall was kind of sick, and completely insane. They work a lot of impossibly cool visual spots, like Page missing a charge because Allin did a flip off the middle ropes, or Page hitting a pump kick and Allin having no way to protect himself. The Allin comeback is glorious as he hits a gorgeous swinging rana and hits all these great JYD headbutts, and as the Gatekeepers get up on the apron Allin flies feet first into both of them. This is insane. He even grabs the ropes with his teeth to pull himself up! It's like watching a Zach Gowen match, except, you know...no arms. But from there Page just destroys him. He hits this vicious powerslam off the top rope and...I mean, I have no clue how Allin's arms just didn't snap. They're bent back behind him and he's just getting slammed right on them, and again as he eats a powerbomb. Completely crazy spectacle, again like nothing you've seen.


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 98

Episode 98

1. The Dirty Blondes (Mike Patrick/Leo Brien) vs. Sandwich Squad (Aaron Biggs/Mecha Mercenary)

ER: I dig the Sandwich Squad, but then suddenly CWF presents me with a couple of new chubsters and I'm like a raccoon with a shiny object when it comes to new fat guys in wrestling. So they present me with two new chubs, with a great team name, and expect me to not root for them!? So I was rooting for an upset, but this was mostly an extended Sandwich Squash. The Blondes got one little run in the middle, and I really like Brien definitely bringing the Dusty vibes and he threw a great overhand right (that kind of right hand that has a downward trajectory on it, like he's punching down across the nose bridge). But the Squad is too tough, loved the drop down to trip Brien followed by the Mercenary splash. Ending had a couple hitches but this was fun.

PAS: Dirty Blonders were a bunch of fun, tubby, bleach blond hair, big bumps, multiple Dusty elbow combos, just a blast to watch. Would like to see them in a long competitive grudge match. This was a squash, which is literal when you are talking about the Sandwich Squad. Love all the different ways the Squad has to land their flab on someone.

2. HIM/SIS vs. Ethan Alexander Sharpe/"White" Mike Jordan

ER: I didn't care for any of the "Sharpe wants to bang SIS" part of this, as I think it took away from a lot of the cool stuff SIS did, and it's a shame as I liked her more than anyone else in the match. Her low crossbody in the ropes was awesome (and look how expertly she rolls out of the way), she had a cool fast standing splash, and I always love her headbutts. Now the HIM/SIS gimmick is incredibly goofy, but it's tough when they have a goofy gimmick AND their opponents treat them like jokes. White Mike gets to run the home stretch, and he whiffs on a double neckbreaker, then does a can opener neckbreaker finish that just looks like he DDTs himself.

PAS: I liked this a lot more then Eric did, I think both HIM and SIS have really nasty offense, and considering how bad they stiffed Jordan and Sharpe I don't think they were treated like jokes. I also think White Mike's finish looks awesome, and it is impressive he pulled it off on a chunky dude like HIM.

3. The Lynch Mob (Joey & Matt Lynch) vs. The Carnies (Nick Iggy/Kerry Awful)

ER: This was fine, though the Lynch Mob didn't do much for me. It felt like for every one nice thing they would do, you'd get something meh a moment later. Carnies don't totally feel authentic to their gimmick, but I liked them in-ring. So I didn't care much for the early parts with Lynch Mob controlling, but once Awful cheapshotted and Iggy followed it up with an awesome dropkick on the mat I was into it. Iggy hits a sick full weight senton, and the finishing stretch was particularly brutal: Iggy disposes one of the Mob to the floor in nasty fashion, Awful hits kind of a sloppy powerbomb on the other and locks in a Boston crab, as Iggy hits a killer kneepad-down kneedrop off the middle buckle to the back of the head. That's a good finisher.

PAS: Lynch Mob felt a little PWGish for me, but I thought the Carnies were killer in this. Awful is a pretty great fat dude and has a bunch of fun ways to throw his flab into people, Iggy is really vicious and I like how he ties in his crazy gimmick with some really violent assaults. The ending was really nasty with Iggy driving his full weight with a knee drop into the back of a Lynch's head and then follows it up with really nasty ground and pound forearms for a stoppage. I want to check out the three way now, as adding Iceberg and Tank can only be an improvement.

4. Lee Valiant/Aric Andrews vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude/Rob Killjoy)

ER: This had a lot of moving parts, and I think it didn't work because of that. It felt like the whole match was one guy running at another guy, that guy dodging, and then doing a kind of clunky move in response, and then a new guy running at them. It came off too busy, without much substance happening. I liked the last Ducklings appearance, as unhinged big bumping loons. This didn't have as much of that, Lude came off crazier in his last appearance. Killjoy took a big bump off a lariat, and both did dives (into the Hales contingent), but this was all worked pretty even. There was a lot of hinky move set-up by the Ducks, and I just don't think much of it worked this time. Andrews threw a great cut off punch down the stretch, and Valiant always comes out with a great aggressive attitude, but this landed short.

PAS: I liked all the cutting off of the ring that Valient and Andrews did, and if the end run was a bit shorter and polished I would have really dug this. The Ducklings monkey flip senton thing is really cool, as is Valient and Andrews Doomsday device backcracker, this just felt like it kept going though with the cooler stuff more in the middle then the end, it built to a creshendo and then kept going past its natural end point.

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This Happened a Year Ago and I Didn't Know: Keith vs. Cobb

Keith Lee vs. Jeff Cobb (Limitless Wrestling 5/28/16)

I just got done watching Cobb chuck Jaka around, and Lee chuck Tracy Williams around, and it occurred to me that these two must have crossed paths by now. And sure enough, they matched up in Beyond just a week or two ago. AND also matched up in Maine almost a year ago. And I'm sure their match that just happened recently is better, but we still get plenty of fun with their year old match-up.

As you click on the link, excited for the match, suddenly you notice something even more exciting: This is probably the biggest wrestling crowd any of us have ever seen. I mean, the attendance is small...but the crowd is...BIG. Almost every guy in the crowd looks like they're heading to an audition to play Kate's new love interest on This Is Us. Almost every guy in the crowd looks like they're heading to an audition for the new Pig Champion biopic that surely must be filming in Maine. The fed is called Limitless Wrestling, but I bet one of the limits is "the building needs to have an accessible scooter ramp". I had hoped the crowd would be more into the action, but these people clearly have too much on their plate. I mean the crowd is just so damn serious, many of them need to seriously lighten up. I've been to Mexico where there are "rudo" and "tecnico" sections for the fans to sit in, but at Limitless Wrestling I'm pretty sure I saw sections for "Gout" and "Considering Getting Gout".

Sooooooooo anyway, the crowd is amazing and I love professional wrestling. It takes place in a bingo hall/cabin, the kind of place where you play board games and sip cocoa when the ski slope conditions are too dangerous, and it's a couple of big hosses slamming into each other with abrasively terrible match commentary. What more could you want? Lee powers around Cobb early and throws some of his awesome big swinging body shots and launching Cobb with a German. Cobb wisely starts suckering him into attacks and dodging, capitalizing when Lee misses. Cobb hits his standing moonsault and crazy SSP that always looks like he's going to break his neck, and even tosses Lee with an absurd deadlift clutch suplex! That suplex my god. Lee comes back and grabs a double powerbomb before collapsing himself, and Cobb ends up getting a roll up for the win. Short match, but satisfying, makes me really want to see their most recent one.

And watch out Alabama*, Maine is coming for you! Slowly.



*I mean, I assume Alabama is fatter. It has to be Alabama, right?



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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday Morning War Games: IWA-MS- Team IWA-MS v. Team Fanin v. Team NWA

Team IWA-MS (Ian Rotten/Chris Hero/Axl Rotten/Corporal Robinson/Bull Pain) v. Team NWA (Tank/Eric Priest/Chandler McClure/Sal Thomaselli/Vito Thomaselli) v. Fanin Family (Eddie Kingston/BJ Whitmer/JC Bailey/Mark Wolf/Steve Stone) IWA-MS 7/2/05

This was a three team, two ring War Games with ownership of IWA-MS at stake. While it was a little overstuffed (Team NWA seemed superfluous, and were the first team eliminated), this really shows the value of having great brawlers and letting them brawl. War Games are always going to have section where lots of guys are just wandering around kicking and punching, Corp, Ian, Eddie Kingston, Bull Pain, Tank, these are all time great punchers and kickers. Watching Corporal Robinson hurl those half punch/half forearms is just pleasurable. We also had the Chris Hero v. Eddie Kingston feud weaving through this, which is one of my all time favorite indy feuds, there is a great moment near the end where Hero just unloads with crazed elbows. Steve Stone was my favorite under the radar guy in the match, his brawling looked on the level of the legends, he bled a ton and he took some nasty bumps. I didn't love either finish, Tank seemed like he went down a little early, and having JC Bailey turn on Fanin seems like a weird finish for a face team to win. Still this is a violent bloody brawl which was very entertaining and worth tracking down.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2008 Match of the Year

Villano V v. Blue Panther CMLL 9/19/08

PAS: I remember this being a totally shocking result when it happened. Villano V wasn't really wrestling super regularly, and it felt like he was being brought in specifically to get a mask loss payday, plus Panther had one of the iconic masks that you figured he would keep forever. Panther is a guy best know for his llave, but this was a straight up brawl which had some of the greatest topes in wrestling history. Villiano V delivers an insane dive bumping performance, he is flying recklessly back on every Panther tope. There is the iconic moment in the first fall where he smashes the back of his head on an armrest leading to a grisly bloodstain, but also he hurls himself into the crowd on another tope, and takes a full force back bump on the floor on a third, Panther has a great looking tope but Villano made it look like a cruise missile. Loved the finishes of all three falls, Villano is woozy from blood loss and tries a rudo trick by swiping Panthers mask, and rolling him up before he can recover, before he could steal a fall, the ref sees the maskless Panther and DQ's V5. Perro Jr. is V5's second (which is kind of weird, he's Villano 5, aren't Villano's 1-4 available to second their brother?) and he spends much of the fall break pouring water on the bloody back of Villano's head, including loosening his mask. Panther rips the mask to work the cut and his slips right off in his hand giving V5 the even up fall. Third fall is awesome with more great topes and a sneaking old school finish, Panther nearly gets the tap with his snap Fujiwara, but when he goes for it again, Villano counters with a crucifix pin. This match had a odd pacing with the Villano injury, but man did it build to an epic climax, worthy match for Panther drop the hood.

ER: This is actually my favorite all time wrestling match. I remember being shocked and almost heartbroken at the result when it happened. Blue Panther's mask is my favorite in lucha, and he's one of my favorite luchadors. This match seemed like an impossibly obvious result, like when I went to see Super Parka challenging for Santito's mask. But if Panther had to lose his beautiful mask, at least it happened in an all time match. We don't see any matwork or smooth headscissors here, these guys come out ready to fight, with V5 throwing some of his classic lefts and even suplexing BP on the floor. But soon we get to one of the sickest spots in pro wrestling history, with Panther hitting a big tope that sends the back of V5's head into the point of a metal armrest. By the time he gets up from being attended to there is already a large blood spot forming on the back of his head. They replay the shot from every angle and every one of them looks bad. You know V5 has to be seeing triple. Back in the ring Panther immediately hits a sidewalk slam and the crowd sounds shocked that he would immediately slam the back of V5's head into the mat. Panther was this close to babyfacing a Villano. Perro immediately cheats by grabbing Panther's leg, almost to get the crowd back behind Panther. Both guys go after the other's mask, ripping at them and each getting DQ'd a fall.


By the time the tercera starts Panther is in all out win mode, and Villano is in all out "let's guarantee I concuss myself and forget math" mode by taking tons of bumps on the back of his head. Panther hits a couple crushing dives that Villano bumps wildly for (seriously some of the best bumps you've ever seen off a dive, flinging himself backwards into the crowd like a man being blown back by an explosion), and this time when Panther delivers another sidewalk slam, the crowd loudly cheers. Panther goes for a plancha and we get one of the only great spots involving a prone opponent getting a leg up in the nick of time. In the 80s and 90s you saw that absurd spot of a heel jumping off the middle buckle in to the boot of a lying down opponent, and it never looked good. What was the guy going for, an axe handle on a horizontal opponent? Then in the 00s we graduated to the moonsault into boot, which looks spectacular the first time and then when it becomes a trademark bump it gets silly real fast. Here Panther flings himself to the floor and Villano desperately gets that boot up to catch Panther, and it totally works. Villano is crazy and hates his brain, so he delivers a couple superplexes, and misses a flipping senton for a great nearfall. Panther almost gets the tap with an armbar, and sensing that he goes for it again and gets reversed into the pinfall that sees literally 30 years of his mask vanish in 3 seconds. Probably the most shocking upset in wrestling history. Panther is the man though, and a true gentleman competitor, and he graciously parades V5 around atop his shoulders.


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Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Big Keith v. Hot Sauce

7. Keith Lee v. Tracy Williams EVOLVE 79 2/25

PAS: Another good Keith Lee match, unlike the Sabre match the night before, Williams tried to stand toe to toe with Lee hitting him with hard shots, but standing in front of a bigger puncher is never a good idea, and he gets smashed. Williams really bounced on Lee powermoves, huge powerbomb and got smashed with the firemans carry jackhammer. Lee is not working as a heavyweight with highspots in EVOLVE, he is working as a smashing machine and that works better.

ER: I really liked how this was worked. Hot Sauce is the promotion vet by comparison, but he's the underdog in every way, but facing a newcomer gives him an almost inflated sense of ability and he foolishly stands with this wooly mammoth. And Lee straight pummels him for the first several minutes. Williams keeps taking it to him but keeps eating all these shots to the back of the neck and big ol' clubbing blows, Lee even shows off and does an AJ Styles style fast drop down/fast flipping dropkick and it is insane. Finally Lee misses a corner charge (and misses it really great, jacking his chin into the buckle) and Williams takes over with all sorts of nasty shots. To buy into the size difference Williams really had to lay it in, and boy does he, laying in wicked elbows to the neck and some brutal lariats that looked like they should dislocate his own arm from his shoulder; his standing lariat to Lee's neck was especially nasty. Williams even hits a nice Angle slam for a good nearfall, grabbing him off the top to interrupt a moonsault that would have been sure death. But Lee keeps catching him, and Williams keeps bouncing higher and higher off the mat with each slam; Last ride powerbomb that makes the whole front row flip out, and that firemans carry jackhammer to finish things is just devastating. Killer performance from both.


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