Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Baszler v. Shirai

12. Shayna Baszler v. Io Shirai Stardom 2/23

PAS: I really enjoy Baszler, she came over from UFC with a really fun asshole charisma, she was working more straight heel then in the AIW match I really loved and she reminded me of a distaff Minoru Suzuki. She has also clearly improved a bunch as she has a bunch of cool moves I haven't seen before, there was an awesome top rope gutwrench chained into another gutwrench and a great falcon arrow right into a choke, she also isn't pulling her stuff anymore as there was a nasty headkick, and some really killer bodyshots. I also liked her selling Shirai worked over her back and there were moments where she couldn't fully execute a Kimura because her back seized up. Shirai was fun too, she has a bunch of cool highspots, and it felt a little like a better version of Sabu v. Taz. I did think the finish was a bit abrupt, as Shirai just kind of ran through some big moves and pinned her, but outside of that I really dug it.

ER: Not the match I was expecting, in a good way. So far I've mostly seen Baszler in shorter matches as a crowbar and instead they work a pretty terrific pro style match, perfectly incorporating Baszler's cool tricks with Shirai's crazy energy. There's been talk lately of how important body part selling really is to a match, and I would say this match is a nice feather in the cap to the strengths of it. Baszler has a million ways to take apart an arm, but it probably wouldn't have been as interesting without Shirai constantly showing just how hurt her arm was. I thought her selling hit all the right notes, wasn't showy, was never forgotten, and was present without getting in the way of things. Shirai responds to Baszler's arm violence by unleashing hell on Baszler's back. She hits a crazy moonsault stomp with precision and accuracy, and it pays off great down the stretch. Baszler breaks out some nasty stuff, especially liked her hanging rear naked choke while sitting on the turnbuckles, and her kicks all land with some mean thuds. Shirai has some big comebacks, does a couple chair attacks on the floor, hits her pinpoint moonsault, and we build to that great moment of Baszler going for the kill with a bridging kimura, but unable to bridge because of those earlier stomps to her back. She knows this move will finish it but can't convince her back that's the case, and eventually relents and attempts to roll through to a traditional armbar, allowing Shirai an escape. I wish Shirai had gotten a little more clever with the finish, as after that great build with the selling paying off, and Shirai fighting for and getting a big trapped arm german, Shirai just hits a tombstone and moonsault. It felt like an oddly tacked on finish which was a downer since everything else in the match was executed and built to so nicely, but the match was still super satisfying, and an overall great performance from both. '


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