Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lucha Worth Watching: IWRG and the Stiffest Punches in Puebla

Dr. Cerebro/Cerebro Negro/Relampago vs. Imposible/Odin/Pantera (IWRG 2/12/17)

ER: Fun rudo beatdown that wouldn't have taken much more to land on our MOTY list. The rudos are all total bullies and it leads to some nice comebacks from the tecnicos. Los Cerebros are the perfect complement to each other: Dr. brings the mean striking and Negro brings the fast bumps that look great on a tecnico comeback, just try not to fall in love with them while they hold a seated Pantera's arms and chop/kick him to a pulp. Both of them lay a beating on Odin - who I had never seen before - but Odin seems like a guy who can take a good beating, leaning into a nasty avalanche from Doc. He had my heart when he got launched by a backdrop, and his gorgeous pop up headscissors in the tercera sealed the deal. While Cerebros are doing damage in the ring, Relampago is dragging Imposible around and throwing him through the crowd, Imposible taking some great bumps through chairs, getting those hard plastic chairs thrown at his head. Later Imposible gets revenge and it's Relampago bumping through the crowd and getting beaten with chairs, Relampago even takes a funny stooge bump getting into the ring, "botching" a springboard and screaming at the crowd, and I loved Relampago's wild Ong Bak-esque headscissors on Imposible down the stretch. Really the only thing holding this back is a few clunky moments in the middle with Pantera, but it's minor and even those were saved by a alley oop dropkick (sending Negro flying super fast to the floor) and a nice armdrag on Doc. Everybody was really busting butt in this one. You could see stuff happening off in the periphery, like Doc slamming Pantera into a post or Relampago flying off the ring barrier with a legdrop, stuff done when the roving camera wasn't even on them. That kind of energy always sets something like this apart.

Negro Casas/Rush v. El Terrible/Sagrado (Puebla 1/8/17)

ER: A 5 minute match on a free show, how good could it be? Well, it fits in several little stories, has the stiffest punches I've seen from any of the 4 men this year, and it's under a circus tent. So, pretty good. Rush and Terrible trade at the start, both men hammering opposite fists, both throwing serious blows. Within any given Terrible match you'll see Terrible punch someone in the head with a wicked stiff punch, and then also throw one of the prettier worked punches you've seen. And you don't know which is going to be which. Rush gets them both. Rush is under a circus tent and he's surely aiming to  be the greatest show on earth here. He hams it up nicely with the crowd, lies in his Burt-Reyonlds-in-Playgirl pose, smacks Casas and yells at him to hit Terrible harder, kicks Terrible so hard in the back that you don't need any Lucha Underground sound sweetening, a real showman. The Casas/Terrible showdown in question is awesome. Terrible, towering over Casas, wants a strike exchange and even allows Casas to have the first few shots. Casas throws a few good ones, then blasts Terrible in the neck and throat with a couple HARD elbows, but they still somehow don't faze Terrible. So Casas awesomely falls back on the middle rope to spring up with the hardest forearm yet, knocking Terrible down. Terrible then gets up, squares up, and breaks Casas' face with a left hook. Casas ends up coming back and hitting a huge Thesz press to the floor to the approval of a loud crowd. Maybe the stiffest lucha match I've seen this year.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Dan Severn Has a Good Thing Going Now; Don't Do It

Dan Severn v. Chris Candido SMW 2/24/95 - GREAT

ER: This was really fun, different than the Tajiri/Blaze matches, this is more Candido working a pro style match against a crowbar, and then occasionally breaking down and trying to play his game. Early on Severn plants him with a big suplex and Candido bails to the floor, which is the proper reaction. But Candido is game and he'll play, and sometimes that goes well for him. Candido gets to lock on all sorts of painful stretch Plum variations, just jamming his palm into Severn's jaw and neck while yanking his arm in the other direction. Other times he'll grab a waistlock and Severn will just chuck him and grab his arm on the way down. At one point Severn tosses him across the ring with a belly to belly (and I love how we've now seen Severn use the ropes to set up his belly to belly, backing a guy in and then using the spring of the ropes to add momentum to his throw) and Candido gets up, shakes the cobwebs off, and punches him across the face. Candido was really good at overmatching Severn here, mixing up his attacks, dropping legs, even hitting a rana. A real satisfying match that nicely mixed pro style with some subs and throws.

PAS: I really liked Candido trying to bring the south to Severn. He slaps him in the face, runs out of the ring, and pearl harbours Severn when he comes back in, he pokes him in the eye, stomps him in the head and even hits him low. Candido knows in his heart he can't grapple with Severn so every time he loses a wrestling exchange he goes low. I really enjoyed all of Candido's grounded octopus holds, they looked nasty and I enjoyed how Severn powered out of them. I would have liked a better finish as the armbar kind of came out of nowhere, and Severn has been so good at violent impressive finishes. 

Dan Severn v. Benson Lee Steel City Wrestling 3/19/95 - GREAT

ER: Lee is a black belt karate guy who stuck to Pennsylvania indies, possibly working a son of Bruce Lee gimmick, and I'm really loving Severn as touring shooter bringing legitimacy back to the NWA title. It's a reverse Inoki, instead of bringing in wrestlers and black belts to beat, Severn just tours the nation throwing dudes across rings and choking them out. Lee is in full gi with kickpads and comes at Severn with low kicks. It doesn't last long as Lee throws a kick at Severn's liver, Severn deftly catches it and just HACKS downward on Lee's leg, dropping him with a fast single leg. Severn threw that downward strike like he was the bear in The Revenant, it looked so violent. Lee spent much of the time understandably scrambling towards the ropes when he was taken down. Severn backs him into the ropes and launches him across the ring with a double underhook suplex, really a gorgeous throw. Lee makes a nice comeback as Severn charges and he catches him in the breadbasket with a kick, then throws a few more as Severn gets to his feet, including a running sidekick right to the gut that  buckles Severn. It leads to an awesome moment of Lee expertly aiming to lock in a dragon sleeper, and Severn responds by violently snapmaring his way out of it. And he turns that snapmare into a monster of a gutwrench suplex, getting incredible arc and immediately locking on the armbar. Killer little mid 90s shootstyle in a high school gymnasium. You can picture John Darnielle writing an evocative song about it.

PAS: I am questioning the legitimacy of that Benson Lee black belt, his karate looked very Eric Bischoffish. My god though 2 minute Dan Severn maulings are my new favorite thing in wrestling, it is like watching Youtube clips of Tyson fights. When Severn catches Lee's kick and rips down on it, it looked like it should have shattered Lee's knee cap. If I was Lee I would have rolled out of the ring, walked straight to my Toyota Tercel and driven home. Lee's little Dragon sleeper was cute, but Severn countering that with the worlds most violent snap mare right into a gutwrench suplex was awesome. Call the EMTs.


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 117

Episode 117

1. Snooty Foxx/Dirty Daddy vs. Zane & Dave Dawson

ER: Killer match up, easily my favorite Dawsons match and I think definitive proof that So' Time are legit and among the best tag teams in indy wrestling. They complement each other perfectly, come off genuine, unabashed babyfaces, and that's important. Snooty has some of my favorite current hot tags in wrestling, always treating it like the hot tag was the thing he wanted most in the world. It's hard to look convincing when running back and forth corner to corner hitting moves on both opponents, but he makes it convincing. This was the meanest I've seen the Dawsons, and it was great to see. It felt like every spare moment one of them had was jamming their thumbs into eyes. They cut off the ring nicely, ate Snooty's comeback really well and really committed to some of their strikes. The clothesline to set up a german suplex was a fitting ending; it had this slight reckless or sloppy feel to it that made it read more effectively. Also, a negative note: Dirty Daddy has genuine skill and is a naturally likeable babyface. He does not need a fake winky Chikara back story of being a 30 year ver starting over. He doesn't need a gimmick of "worked Carlos Colon in 1982". We don't need to make up a fake title tournament he won in Rio de Janeiro in future episodes. He's doing just fine as Dirty Daddy, 2017 babyface. But I still loved this tag, and would like to see more of this match-up.

PAS: I enjoyed the Kernodle Cup match between these two teams, and they have had some fun interactions in battle royals and things, these are just guys that match up well. Dawson's were appropriately nasty in this match, cheap shotting, hitting hard, punishing Daddy. Loved the hot tag section, especially Daddy's wreckless dive over the top to cut off Dave. Finish was cool, with So Time setting up their elbow/spear double team, Foxx getting cut off, and the Dawson's hitting their double team lariat and german finisher. Man does CWF have a lot of great tag teams, Dawson's may be the least of the big teams and they are pretty great.

2. Priscilla Kelly vs. SIS

ER: I liked their other match against each other, and I like that at the bell Kelly goes back to that low running kick to the patella. She used it later in the first match and I like it a lot as an ambush or evasive move. This match doesn't go very long, and it doesn't really need to go very long, because they both go at it hard. Once Kelly kicks the legs out from SIS she comes in with more low kicks, until SIS catches one from a seated position, drags her to the mat and starts firing off brutal looking side control elbows to the head. And when SIS takes over a match it's always fun, and these two stay close almost the whole time. Everything felt like a struggle. SIS chokes Kelly in the ropes but in a neat twist Kelly is facing the ring, so her neck is being bent back over the middle rope, and this sets up the awesome SIS crossbody. Kelly escapes this time with a win and already - even though their two matches have been less than 9 minutes total - this feels like a good feud. I hope we get a big rubber match showdown. Without Ethan Sharpe coming out unfurling a stack of rubbers.

PAS: This was a nasty stiff fight. Kelly has won a SHINE title since their last match and seems to have really improved. Her kicks really looked like they were really cracking SIS here, and I remember them being a bit more flash then substance before. This felt a little like a southern fried Yamada v. Aja.  SIS is just so great at using her bulk, I loved her in the ropes cross body, and the second rope stomp to the head. I didn't love Kelly semi-no selling the german suplex and the end, but besides that, this was good stuff.

3. Aric Andrews vs. Trevor Lee

ER: I've seen Andrews work over a dozen times now, and my favorite - and first - match of his involved him taking apart a guy's knee, so once I saw him targeting Lee's knee I was game. Now, I assumed it was going to go the way of a lot of the Trevor Lee main events, but they flipped it and totally surprised me with the direction the match took. The build was really unique and avoided any of the predictable back and forth. Andrews did his stalling routine to start and seemed hesitant to lock up with Lee. When they did finally lock up, Lee tooled him on the mat a bit and frustrated him. It wasn't surprising when Andrews went after the knee. What WAS surprising was that The Leg was the whole match. There were no valiant comebacks and convenient lapses in selling, it was Andrews beating the shit out of Lee's knee, and continuing to beat the shit out of it until he tired himself out beating the shit out of it, and got exhausted and frustrated. Andrews was good at ramping up the attacks, and I'll always flip for a guy ripping off a kneepad or bandage or something. Andrews stomps it, locks on a rough kneebar, and then locks Lee into the STF, a move Lee has used to dispatch tons of guys. Andrews locks it on just as mean as Lee, arching him in all sorts of painful ways. And he keeps trying to wrench it in, and Lee somehow never quits. It looked like he should have quit, but he never did. And Andrews sold the equivalent of a fighter who has punched himself out, only this is pro wrestling, so he up and grabbed his belt, grabbed Lee's belt, and threatened to just walk out. But he goes back into the ring with the belts, trash talks Lee, and gets surprised by a great spin kick. Lee locks on a brutal STF and that's all she wrote. This match took some awesome and unexpected turns and made for a great journey, totally class.

PAS: I knew Eric liked this match a lot going in, and I figured I would like it a bunch too, but I was shocked at how great it was, right up there with Richards and Attitude matches, and this didn't have the same tricks and shortcuts those had. I have been waiting to see the breakout Aric Andrews performance and here it was. He was just excellent here, as a vicious nasty prick who was going to do permanent, serious damage to Trevor's knee. The opening amateur mat scrambling looked great, as good as any mat rolling I have seen this year. The Andrews chop block which set up the long knee work was really violent looking as was all of the simple work on the knee. I loved Andrews punching the side of the kneecap, him really twisting on the kneebar, just the focus of what he was doing. Lee's selling was great too, at no point did he shrug off the knee to get his shit in, and he used counters to Andrews knee attacks to mount offense. I loved how he dodged the third cut block attempt, Andrews hit him with it twice, but the third time he dodged it and hit a german suplex. I also loved his sell when he stomped Andrews elbow, that is a typical early match Lee spot, here he didn't get to it until late and when he did it looked like it did more damage to his knee then it did to Andrew's elbow. Loved the finish, Lee has such an awesome STF, he never applies it the same way twice and is always looking for different ways to alter it and crank it in better, he he figure foured the leg first and hooked the arm behind his back. Most wrestlers always apply a move the exact same way each time, and I appreciate him mixing it up.

ER: Andrews/Lee was some choice wrestling, landing easily (and quite high) on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List. This one was right up there with the best episodes of wrestling TV this year.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dan Severn Turned Away From it All Like a Blind Man

Dan Severn vs. Bobby Blaze SMW 5/20/95 - GREAT

ER: I had no clue that there were these awesome Pancrase indy matches happening in North Carolina or New Jersey in the mid 90s. This was such a cool scrap. We had never seen Tajiri break out shootstyle before, and I'd never seen Blaze work that style either. Blaze was a guy who always had cool suplexes and wore kickpads when a lot of guys didn't wear them, but I've never seen him do what he did here. Just like the Tajiri match this is a 5 minute, violent scrap. Severn backs Blaze into the ropes and throws him with a belly to belly 45 seconds in, and we're off the races from there. Blaze is fighting from underneath in most of this, but he never looks too far out of the race. After that throw he goes more on the defensive, throwing distance keeping kicks and locking on a cool choke in the corner, which Severn reverses by judo tossing Blaze over his head. The whole match is breathless, quick breaks leading immediately back into both men scrambling, Severn constantly targeting Blaze's arm and Blaze always rolling through looking for any kind of opening. Blaze is tough but as it goes on he shifts a bit more into survival mode, conscious of the ropes, knowing he probably doesn't have the tools to take apart this steamroller. This is another match I probably would have been tricked into thinking was a shoot. The scrambling on the mat felt just unpolished enough that it wouldn't be farfetched. All the mat rolling was cool, Severn breaks out a deadlift snap gutwrench at one point that was Karelin-esque, we get a great dual ankle lock moment with both guys really twisting and wrenching it in and  refusing to let go (was Don Frye cosplaying Dan Severn in that 2002 Shamrock fight!?), the whole quick match was awesome.

PAS: I had no idea that there was an underground RINGS on random US indies. This show had a Thugs v. Gangstas race riot and a Al Snow/Unabomb v. Rock and Rolls cage match main event, and before that Dan Severn is throwing Bobby Blaze around the ring and working armbars from the guard. I did like Blaze catching Severn with a kick when Severn went for a second shoot, but Severn is just relentless. I don't remember UFC Severn being this explosive, but he just explodes into suplexes and throws. That deadlift gutwrench was awesome looking. A little more from Blaze I could see this joining the Tajiri match in the EPIC pile, it was easily GREAT though.


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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 116

Episode 116

1. Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. Mitch Connor

ER: Cool match, never threatened to overstay its welcome. Connor stuck close to Sharpe (love the E# boots, by the way. Have I just not noticed these before? I remember his boots having $$ on them, but my brain could have just filled in that lie) and kept clubbing with chops and meaty fists to the neck, and best of all he keeps doing all these short butterfly suplexes. I've never seen Connor use them in this way before, just bullying his way in close to E# and chucking him low. Sharpe was scrambling and mean, and I like him much more when he's mean than when cracking jokes. His jawbreaker was really great, and the hard uppercut flash finish was deserved. Fun stuff.

PAS: Between this and Cain Justice match I am becoming a Mitch Connor fan. He kind of wrestles like a UWFI American, like Dan Bobish or Gene Lydick. Lots of grinding wrestling, short throws and clubbing shots. I loved how he smothered Sharpe and how Sharpe used distance to be able to land shots. I loved the big uppercut finish and it really felt like a KO blow. Kind of bummed we didn't get to see a Tom Watson at the British open old man run from Connor, but this may have been the best I have seen Sharpe look, so no beef.

2. Cam Carter vs. Smith Garrett

ER: It's not bad to have an occasional surprise finish like this in a tournament. I'm disappointed as I was interested in seeing these two match up, but the big uppercut looked good.

PAS: I read ahead a bit and know where this is going, and I don't care for it at all, outside of that it was a fun 30 seconds.

3. Cain Justice vs. Chip Day

ER: Well this one had me cursing the 10 minute time limit of these 1st round Weaver Cup matches. These two have a pretty great 9 minutes, but then have to play beat the clock in the final minute, so it shifts the tone of the cool match we were getting into forearm exchanges and played out indy wrestling Frye/Takayama fighting. I'm at the point where even if the Frye/Takayama spot looks good, I'm just over it. They did it well, but I thought it was a dumb finish as there wasn't any immediacy to the match for any of the previous 9.5 minutes. Before that finish (and not just how the finish was handled in the closing moments, but the fact that it means neither guy advances, which sucks) I was loving this. Cain is the guy I pretty much want to see against everyone right now, and Day is an especially fun opponent for him. Cain has no problem eating Chip's strikes, not playing along with hold set-ups (loved him rolling out of the ring before getting his elbow stomped, both guys really building to the stomp like a rollercoaster that slows down as it approaches the summit) and still throwing in at least one crazy bump to the floor (with no shoes!! This guy is nuts!). My favorite move of the match was Cain's figure 4 stump puller. The stump puller is an underutilized move. It's really painful, just lifting a few inches and you feel it all up the back of your leg. But I don't think I've seen anyone lock the other leg in a figure 4 before, just adding extra leverage and preventing the person from somehow striking with the free leg/knee. The fact that he eventually rolled back with it was even cooler. So we had that finish, and then we get a long tease for a match restart. Day says that Johnny Weaver wouldn't want a match ended this way, Stutts gets involved, Cain claims he doesn't care about the tournament and walks out. BUT then he runs back in and cracks Day in the back of the head! I'm immediately flipping out for the restart overtime match...but that's it. Match over, no actual restart, neither man still advancing. A real letdown of the finish. I wanted Cain to make a run to the finals, not be used to give someone a Bye.

PAS: I also was a little bummed that both of these guys got eliminated (if they wanted a draw, there were plenty of "eliminate both guys" candidates last week), but I dug this match. Cain has set a pretty high standard for his matches lately, and the tourney format kept this from being at the level of the top tier Cain matches, still it was a nifty little scrap. I loved Cain switching up his attack and going after the knees, and how that slowed down Day's kick attack. Figure four stump puller was cool, but I am intrigued by a possible new leg submission he is concocting, he should steal the Trauma's spinning figure four. Finish was a little lame, but I get why they kicked in gear for the last minute, the commentary kind of sold it as a rookie mistake by Cain, he lost track of time and had to accelerate his attack recklessly. During this match I figured out that Chip Day looks exactly like Chris Eigeman which was pretty distracting.

ER: Chris Eigeman crossed with John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees

PAS: The preview for the documentary looks pretty cool, I was a big fan of Richards v. Lee and the idea of a documentary about a single match is pretty great.

4. Roy Wilkins vs. Chet Sterling

ER: Not a bad match, and normally I'm the guy who is all about the under 10 minute matches, but somehow KNOWING that matches are only going 10 minute max kind of takes me out of them a bit, especially knowing that things just end in a draw at the 10 minute mark. 10 minute matches are great, but 10 minute matches with the Beat the Clock stip seem more forced. Still, both guys know each other and know how to craft a professional match. I didn't think a lot of strikes looked great in this, but the match was kind of made by the bumps and the misses. Wilkins missing a big crossbody, or Sterling getting totally upended by the golf swing uppercut, both guys being generous with the other. I thought the finish was really good, with Wilkins locking in a really nasty cross-legged stretch muffler, really bending and cranking on Sterling. Stutts was good at putting over the time relative to the submission, saying there was no way Sterling could last 90 seconds in it. And Sterling knows this, scrambles to free himself and convincingly reverses the sub into a pinfall.

PAS: I liked this more then Eric I think. I am not a Sterling guy, but I thought this might have been the best CWF match of his I have seen. I thought he bumped and sold really well, and I liked the draw tease roll up finish. The Wilkins missed crossbody bump to the floor right into the Sterling dive was awesome looking. Wilkins has a bunch of cerebral attacks, I love how he uses ring placement to trip up and disorient his opponents.

5. Shane Helms/Chet Sterling vs. Arik Royal/Roy Wilkins

ER: Royal comes out after the match and lariats Sterling in the back of the head, but is then surprised by a Shane Helms surprise return. I assume he hasn't been back in the Sportatorium in a few years (but I was also surprised to see him taking big bumps in TNA earlier this year, as last I heard was that he had been in a bad accident and could no longer wrestle. Obviously my information is dated). And usually impromptu matches aren't this good and aren't this much damn fun. Helms can clearly still go, still bumps hard for shoulderblocks, still throws some of the absolute best corner punches in the biz. Usually impromptu tags end short and unsatisfying, this one actually gets plenty of time and has a nice build. Royal and Wilkins stooge around plenty for the returning star, but they still get to hold onto their local mean streak. Sterling has a nice run as a fighting FIP; he wasn't just strictly selling for a Hurricane hot tag, he was holding his own but coming up short, but still firing back with punches and eventually hitting a nasty DDT. Royal can really come across big time, and that Face Jam is an awesome move, loved how they set it up like the Hart Attack. All Stars know how to deliver a feel good ending without actually coming off weak, and that's a testament to their quality. I was expecting a light breezy match and it ended up being my favorite of the show, all four guys brought it.

PAS: In 1998 I remember seeing Shane Helms and Venom fight Madd Maxx and the Gemini Kid in a street fight at an OMEGA show. Helms did a plancha off a soda machine and Venom chokeslammed Madd Maxx through a couch that I had been sitting on. So it was fun to see Helms two decades later in another fun tag match against a team lead by the now Coach Gemini. Two matches in a row I have dug Sterling, he was a great face in peril and led to a really fun Helms hot tag. I loved him catching the Slaughter/Kernodle Cannon to set up his chokeslam. All-Stars are a great heel team, I could see them having a fun regional run in the 1980s, All-Stars v. Fabulous Ones would have been awesome. I do think the All-Stars have been losing a lot lately, they really need to lay some folks out.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Super Medico vs. White Knight (9/19/86)

Disc 3, Match 2: Super Medico vs. White Knight (9/19/86)

This was a match where both guys looked good and the feud felt hot but where I wish the commercial break had been positioned a bit differently. It also presented two academic examples of chinlock utilization: how one that is well worked can enhance a match and how one that's barely worked and is misplaced can screw up an otherwise great match.

Bit of background because PWO's El Boricua was kind enough to provide it to me. Medico was Jose Estrada, Sr., hugely energized by the mask. White Knight was Pat Rose of all people (which, once you realize, actually helps a lot in telling the two apart). The angle was Knight coming in to interfere in another mask vs mask match (against the Original Medic, being Dusty Wolfe). They revealed that Knight was a former Medico partner from the mainland who had come in for revenge.

Both men seemed enhanced by the stage and the setting (being night one of the Anniversary weekend). The brawling to begin was nuts. One thing I've noticed out of the big WWC babyfaces (Colon, Invader, Estrada) is just how great they are at taking back offense during an early part of the match. Knight, here, would come back in and get a few shots in, but it's downright triumphant how Medico would fire back and the crowd responded with appreciation. Really, this left me wanting to see a lot more of Estrada in the Medico gimmick; it's a shame he's not on the set more with it as it really allowed him to channel his charisma. As a whole, the match was very much what you'd want out of a first encounter between these two. The biggest things to complain about here would be the finish and the lack of blood, which I usually don't care about, but when you have two guys with white masks, you end up with an expectation. This was early on a card with tournament matches where clean finishes would likely be necessary so something had to give, and it was the finish here.

The chinlocks then. Knight utilized one a few times to constrain and contain Medico. They worked the hell out of it, engaging the crowd, Medico working big to the last row as he slowly fought his way out and back on to offense (he'd use a nervelock to the same effect later). Later on, however, Medico locked in a babyface version and it killed the match dead. This is where I wish they went to commercial because then i would have never really known. They just sat in it, and really, what else could they do? Knight wasn't going to work his way out of it like a babyface. It's not the sort of revenge hold that makes the crowd feel like they're seeing the heel get punished. It was dead space. I can't imagine this was something Estrada did often but if it was, it would be a mark against him as it was a mark against an otherwise ok match. I do want to see more of Estrada in the Super Medico gimmick though.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 "Live" Blog

1. Elias vs. Apollo Crews

ER: I really like the early headlock work in this, like Elias walking up the buckles and floating over in a headlock, Crews holding a tight headlock on the mat. Crews pops up with a handspring and hits a huge dropkick and grounds again with the headlock. Cole relays a story about Elias walking 45 miles just to see Neil Young in Austin, which if true is a better Neil Young story than me telling him I loved "On the Beach" while standing in line next to him at Great American Music Hall's bathroom. Elias sweeps the leg and Crews takes a big bump on the apron. I also liked Elias's mule kick, thought Crews went to comeback too quick but I liked his comeback. Elias has no problem leaning into a yakuza kick, Crews has maybe the nicest kip up in wrestling, and this was another in a long line of perfectly fine pre-show matches. I need to start watching Main Event to see what gems might be on there.

2. The Miz vs. Jason Jordan

ER: I really loved Jordan's recent TV matches with Cena and Reigns, hoping he can continue being a nice 10 minute match superstar. And this starts off good, especially liked Jordan getting dropkicked off the apron and then slammed into the barricade. Rachel is always excellent at spotting Mamrie Hart/Grace Helbig at ringside and also points out Hannah Hart. Women are funny, get over it. Miz has a nice cravate and Jordan bounces on his dome off a DDT. Jordan throws a real nice top rope clothesline, which is not an easy clothesline to do. Most people have a terrible top rope clothesline. Miz gets launched by a belly to belly, the rolling northern lights are still cool, and on the floor he tosses Dallas into the rest of the Miztourage with a belly to belly. Crowd is super hot for Miz and clearly want him to retain, and sure enough when Axel interferes on his behalf the crowd literally leaps to their feet knowing he was winning. These Hollywood Elites just looooooove the A-Lister. Jordan complains ineffectively after the match. He's clearly going heel, soon.

3. Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor

ER: Bray jumps Finn and we get minutes of anguished faced Finn selling his tummy down the ramp whle referees who all look bigger than him offer their support. It's cruel that they're making me watch this match, but also delaying the start of the match. Rip that bandaid off, jerks! But, Finn has a decent baseball slide dropkick, Bray does a tough superplex and Bray headbutting him off the ropes looked cool. Bray weenies out of the follow through on the apron DDT, but Finn gets credit for still winging himself head and shoulder first into the apron. Balor traps Wyatt in the apron and kicks him, and really there aren't many guys less cool than Balor to be allowed to do the Finlay apron skirt spot. But really this whole thing didn't do much for me. Their whole "feud" has been completely missable and pointless.

4. Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus/Cesaro

ER: This feud also hasn't been doing it for me, but I like Cesaro going after Ambrose, swinging him into the ring steps and booting him in the face. But I lose interest when Rollins tags in, throwing top rope clothesline over Cesaro's head and hitting a light plancha. Cesaro has a bloody nose or mouth (maybe from hitting the ring post?), and he's really been a nut this match. He even takes a huge backdrop to the floor and yeah he's making this match. Cesaro is also awesome while trying to tap Ambrose, working to keep him away from the ropes, rolling into a crossface. Jeez it looks like Cesaro got his front teeth knocked out. Cesaro powerbombs Rollins off the middle rope ONTO Ambrose which looked killer and really could/should be a finisher. I dug the spot where Sheamus set up the brogue kick but Ambrose fell over before he could hit it. But I didn't really buy the finish of Sheamus being put down by a knee and an okay DDT. Cole/Booker/Graves seem to think this was the tag match of the decade, it felt more like an inspired Cesaro performance and a typical solid Sheamus performance. I still thought Ambrose and Rollins had weak offense and in Ambrose's case it's always set up the exact same way. I thought Cesaro/Sheamus really admirably carried this.

5. Bayley vs. Emma vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss

ER: The rule of matches with odd numbered participants still applies here for sure, but I like the people involved so we'll see if they can have a good match. I love Bliss/Nia interactions, Bliss always cops the best faces during them. Nia being the awesome boss with huge running avalanches corner to corner. The double samoan drop spot is never really believably set up, but the results are satisfying. I love Nia blocking Alexa's DDT and not going down for Bayley's guillotine. Nia takes a bonkers powerbomb bump off the apron and she is officially the boss. How can people still hate Nia? Finishing stretch starts getting hot when Bliss goes for the double knee moonsault and Bayley catches her with a suplex, and we get some good saves. I wish we had gotten a bigger Nia comeback as I was hoping she'd factor into the finish, but I like Bayley being the one making a ton of the saves and then ultimately being the one not saved.

6. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

ER: The fans are really cool and I believe they start off with a "You Both Suck" chant. It sets up a nice start to the match as Cena plays along and threatens to leave, which allows Roman to jump him on the rampway. Cena is always great at taking bumps around and into the ring steps, so we get some of those to start which allows Roman to start with the advantage. But by the time they go to strike exchanging I realize that I have really gotten into this. It's been fine, but it's been under expectations. It felt like we got to the big kickouts a little early, although the AA off the middle rope looked pretty spectacular. JEEZ Roman reverses the AA on the announce table and spears Cena, but Roman looks like he took the WORST DDT possible. I mean he folded in a totally gross way on that landing. I admit some of the AA finisher spamming has sucked me in, mainly because of how the crowd is reacting to it. I love Cena rolling through the 3rd AA to deliver the 4th, and the crowd reactions are really good. Camera finds a great shot of a kid cheering Cena's inevitable win and then being stunned when Roman kicks out. I thought this was fine, but delivered under my expectations. The finisher spamming was really only satisfying because of the hot crowd.

7. Enzo Amore vs. Neville

ER: I still don't understand why Enzo is on TV as much as he is, but here we go. I have really liked wrestlers with no offense before (like Stevie Richards, or Virgil) but Enzo does very little for me. I enjoyed him a few times as a FIP during tags, but he doesn't bring enough to singles matches for me. I mean, the Beetlejuice suit is cool and all, and he doesn't shy out of taking a beating, but I can't buy him as a threat to anybody. Still, he brings the bumps, leaning into a shotgun kick, flying into the timekeeper's area and upside down into the barricade. His DDT of the top rope was great as Neville returned the bump favor and planted himself. The finish took a long time to set up, but was pulled off effectively. The punt to the balls looked like something that would keep a man down, I just have zero interest in seeing Enzo in more singles matches.

8. Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar

ER: Braun is an incredibly credible challenger to Brock, and him tossing around Brock is great. That powerslam always seems to completely rattle the ring. Lesnar uses that kimura on Braun so effectively, really feels like a great way to attack him. Braun gets suplexed a bunch and I think both men are great at selling both power and fading stamina. Lesnar is good at selling fatigue from the suplexes, Braun is good at selling the suplexes. Graves is good at keeping attention on Braun's arm during Braun's powerslam, and (this sounds like a cop out) but the crowd genuinely seems to be in awe. And then an F5 finishes it WAY earlier than I expected. I was still getting into the match, excited for where it was going...and then it stopped, just like that, and it felt really flat. I assumed there would be shenanigans of some kind, and instead Braun just kind of lost.

ER: The show moved quick, and it managed to be a breezy viewing without me really loving the show. I was banking pretty heavily on the two big matches delivering, and they did not. So the show seems far more disappointing to me than it might have actually been. I had just watched the Braun/Brock/Joe/Reigns match again a couple days ago and was too stoked for that main. And it felt like we got just half a match. It's crazy to me that they've ended SO MANY PPVs this past year on crap non-finishes to main events...but this one ends clean as a sheet. And RIP Cesaro's beautiful smile.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 115

Episode 115

1. Mick Moretti vs. Lucas Calhoun

ER: This got pretty decent once they got through all of Calhoun's brand of comedy, but the comedy took up as much time as the actual wrestling. I'd never seen Moretti before and at minimum, I gotta give him credit for specifically getting a bad haircut to be more convincing in his gimmick. That's a level of commitment a lot of wrestlers wouldn't have. They still have to go to restaurants and the post office and a day job, so having Bozo hair gets him an extra commitment point for sure. AND, if he dyes it white he has a pretty great Rick costume (especially if he finds a semi-decent Morty). Beyond his hair I really really liked all his nasty nose twist offense (and appreciate that Calhoun was still selling his nose after the match). Calhoun would bring silly karate, but I'd much rather see a guy locking onto a nose and yanking. I was even amused by the flip bump Calhoun took after a particularly violent nose yank.

PAS: I would have enjoyed this if they had dispensed with the Chikara horseshit at the beginning, nothing I hate more in wrestling then forcing an opponent to sell a a make believe comedy move (invisible grenade, slow motion, ect.), Calhoun's six inch punch was dangerously close to Chuck Taylorville. Once they get into wrestling it was pretty fun, I liked Moretti's bottom rope trip, and all of Calhoun's fatboy sentons. Calhoun is almost a guy I want to see more of.

2. Aaron Epic vs. Matt Knicks

ER: Unfamiliar with Knicks and only have seen Epic once or twice, and the early sexy dance fighting sequences didn't get me excited to see much more. Knicks had some nice armdrags, but every time he had to "miss" a move, he would suddenly throw in slow motion. If a kick was supposed to miss, or a strike was supposed to be duck, suddenly he was throwing through cement. It was really distracting. Epic seemed better but he probably should be as he's been around for awhile. Knicks looked good when doing lucha type stuff, looked bad when doing striking. He should run with that. But there was one punch exchange that looked pretty decent, so maybe I'm just a grump. Finish was at least good, as Knicks misses a moonsault and Epic spikes him with a really great piledriver. A really great piledriver will go a long way with me.

PAS: Epic had some stiff shots, I liked his Tenryu jab and open handed chop. I also loved that the piledriver is illegal in CWF so Epic had to distract the ref to hit it. Maybe Knicks would have been better with a guy he was familiar with, but he was breaking out all this elaborate stuff and always seemed a beat off. This whole show is all about bringing in another big batch of new guys to CWF and it is one of the few things that frustrate me about this fed. They have a big roster of guys I like, but seem to bring in vans of new guys every couple of shows, a lot of times those guys will never be seen again or disappear for months. Epic was fine, but he is basically doing the exact same fake Raven shtick as Tripp Cassidy, right down to the skinny goth valet. Is Cassidy still in CWF? Are you going to run Cassidy v. Epic like Nature Boy v. Nature Boy?

3. Logan Easton Laroux vs. UTAMARO

ER: This match is notable for featuring maybe the flattest comedy spot I have ever witnessed. I honestly don't think I've ever witnessed a comedy spot in wrestling that took longer to set up, and got a quieter reaction. It was absolutely brutal. It was David Brent trying to think of a joke on the spot level of awkward. The spot in question is: UTAMARO (an actual, honest full time wrestler for Wrestle-1) applying the Nieblina/Paradise Lock, pausing over Logan for a photo opportunity, and then kicking Logan while he struggled to get out of the move. And UTAMARO fails at every single step of the joke. First, he doesn't seem to know how to lock on the submission. It's easily the worst I have ever seen that move applied. So essentially, right out of the gates he starts his routine by saying, "What's on First? Oh Wait..." So he already lost the crowd with his execution. Then the language barrier and general unfamiliarity with the wrestler kick in. He crouches over Logan and just shrugs. And that crowd is fucking SILENT. I mean it sounded like UTAMARO called for a 10 bell salute to all the wrestlers we've lost in 2017. I mean Ernest Miller could watch this match and exclaim that his 2004 Royal Rumble entrance officially got a louder reaction than something. I mean the room got so quiet that every single person in that room was suddenly left entirely alone with their own horrible thoughts for the entire duration of that spot. And UTAMARO is just frozen there, shrugging, paralyzed, and the crowd is motionless, treating UTAMARO as if he were a fucking T-Rex and if they hold still and stay quiet enough then none of them will get ripped in half. Then he started doing photo taking pantomime, but he wasn't even good at doing "I'm using a camera!" charades and for several long seconds it just looked like he was voguing.

My dad used to tape all of the Saturday Night's Main Events for me, as I was too young to stay up that late. I would be too excited to sleep the night of, then eventually wake up when it was barely getting light outside to watch them. I watched those tapes so many times, that after a few viewings I would know what happened, so to mix it up I would occasionally put a match on in slow motion. So I'd watch Hulk Hogan doing the legdrop in slow motion and you'd see occasional frames filled with camera flash.

There was no camera flash for UTAMARO.

We've all dealt with language barriers in our lives. It's disarming, no matter how expected they might be. And no matter how vast the language barrier, there will almost always be familiar body language. And if you pause at the right moment, you can see the exact moment where UTAMARO recognizes the crowd's body language. He knows he's bombing. He knows he's the Best Man, and he's telling stories about the groom fucking other chicks in college during his Best Man's speech. So UTAMARO stands up - and Logan has been selling this hold for an eternity at this point - and in a stunning moment of obliviousness, UTAMARO continues the bit. He does. not. bail. on. the. bit. We all know he's going to kick Logan in the butt. And he thinks he needs to build to the kick to that butt. And he builds it. And nobody wants it. And the spot does...or does not, happen.

Here's the funny thing...nobody actually knows if the spot happened or not. Nobody actually knows if the match ever finished. In that moment, the eyeballs of the room were collectively shut. Those eyeballs were shut TIGHT, because nobody in the Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium could take seeing another second. Indiana Jones' eyes weren't shut this tight when the Ark of the Covenant was opened. The crowd's scarred faces looked like the kids in the nightmarish final scene of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" video: They all knew they had just witnessed the worst moment of their collective lives, and they all simultaneously knew that the only chance they had of moving on in life was to try their best to forget this one, horrible moment that one, hot July evening.

PAS: It is too bad that comedy spot was such a turd in the punch bowl, because the rest of this was pretty OK. UTAMARO has a really nice dropkick, and I enjoyed his comedy spot where he made Logan run the ropes until he blew up. Still that Nieblina was rough, and I am not sure I buy Logan winning with a single cutter. I am still holding on to some Logan stock from the NOVA pro show, he did put his hands on me in a really dickish way before the show and I appreciate that kind of dedication to being a heel, still he is 0 for 2 so far in CWF and I am hoping he justifies his push.

4. Alex Daniels vs. Stevie Fierce

ER: I really do not get the "Real Life Ben Affleck" gimmick. Alex Daniels looks nothing like Ben Affleck. Is it really just a social commentary that all white males look alike, so we all are real life Ben Affleck? Is "Real Life Joel Edgerton" just not marketable enough? Did he want to do a "Real Life Joel Edgerton" gimmick but somebody was already using it? Is Ben Affleck even a funny reference? There was a funny "All white dudes look like Ben Affleck" joke in the movie "Role Models", but that was NINE YEARS AGO. "Real Life Channing Tatum" would at least match the hair color, and while Affleck movies maybe gross more on average than Tatum's, Tatum is probably a much better current "hunk" example. Affleck moved past hunk status years ago. At this point he has a marriage that ended in scandal and is over a decade removed from hair plugs. Referencing Affleck as a hunk in 2017 is almost as topical as a "Real Life Bobby Sherman" gimmick. Would Daniels have the charisma to pull off a "Real Life Bobby Sherman" gimmick? Because a sweeth-toothed safe grinning popstar would be a really great gimmick that could work for a face or heel (like 3 Count, but way, way more dated).

And man I really don't like Alex Daniels' shtick. Maybe it would play better if it weren't so prevalent?  But he really does seem to be always "on". There was a lot of stuff I liked in this: I thought the opening roll-up/sunset flip spots were really well executed and actually looked like plausible pinfalls, not just brainless Malenko/Guerrero pin flash; I think some of the kicks both guys used were creative and looked good; I liked Fierce's overhand right>kick to the knee>DDT combination; and overall I liked how it built. This read like a good match. But I couldn't help being annoyed by the constant attempts at jokes and yuks the whole damn match. Daniels feels the need to come up with his own David Caruso CSI opening punchline before hitting most moves. He can't just hit a knee, he has to point out to every one that Ben Affleck's face is on his kneepad! Class clowns rarely know when to pick their spots. They want as much attention on them as possible, so they feel the need to constantly show people just how funny they can be. I don't like ham on pizza, but I don't always mind it in my wrestling. I think Metalico is a really great ham. Hector Garza was a REALLY great ham. Alex Daniels just wants to tell jokes. I came away impressed by Fierce, someone who I don't believe I've seen before, as he came off closer to an early 2000s JAPW guy than a modern Kyle O'Reilly type. Also, I did chuckle when Stutts no sold Cecil Scott's "Alex Daniels is smart, like an Accountant" joke, and Cecil Scott knows that's what it deserved.

PAS: I agree that the puns felt really forced here, his previous two matches in CWF were a workrate sprint and a main event epic, here in a first round tourney match he felt he had time to land all of his hack punchlines. Stevie Fierce had some cool moments, and the finishing reverse rana into a corner brainbuster combo by Daniels was super nasty. Still I wasn't impressed by any of the 8 guys in this side of the tourney bracket, and would have rather they just use CWF regulars.

5. 7 Team Gauntlet: Ethan Alexander Sharpe & Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham vs. Percy Davis & Frankie Flynn vs. AC Hawkes & Zicky Dice vs. Colby Redd & PB Smooth vs. Donnie Dollars & Mike Mars vs. Arik Royal & Cool J vs. Darius Lockhart & Caprice Coleman

ER: This was a tag scramble for a shot at the Dawsons belts, but the format of the match made it pretty difficult to have an actual good match. It was a weird set-up, as it was basically Royal Rumble rules, but with pinfalls allowed as well. So within a few minutes you had 8 guys in there and it was kind of a mess. No teams were in the match for very long, so nobody really stood out as an actual contender. I actually liked Sharpe and Rockingham in the opening minute or two, they were showing a mean side that should come out more. The whole thing was meant to build up a win for Royal and his thrown together partner Cool J (man is J tiny!). Royal makes a killer entrance by doing this huge leaping face palm to Dollars (I think Stutts called it Face Jam) and then upending Mars with a low shoulderblock like a killer whale ramming a boat. We get a surprise team of Lockhart and the long absent Caprice Coleman, and these two teams going at it were fun. Coleman and Lockhart complement each other nicely, especially liked their drop toehold/legdrop combo. Coleman is a guy who can throw a nice legdrop. Royal does "flustered" really well and I loved him bumping to the floor and crashing through some front row regulars. It was a good way to keep him out of the finish, which saw Cool J bump huge for the surprise team. This Cool J has a death wish and I'll enjoy him while I can see him.

PAS: I am upset that they teased a Cool J v. Donnie Dollars rematch and we didn't get any interaction between the two. I kind of want a best of 5 series of Dollars murdering Cool J. Loved Lockhart's awesome Rustin & Newton & Shakur & Carmichael & Hampton & Lockhart T-Shirt, shows that the historical context for this gimmick runs deeper then your normal indy gimmick. I have been a Coleman fan back since the Ice days in OMEGA, and I am really amped for the Lockhart and Coleman tag team. The final 5 minutes were pretty great and the eventual All-Stars v. Militants tag feud is going to be epic.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

They Say Dan Severn Has a lot of Water on His Brain

Dan Severn v. Yoshihiro Tajiri NWA New Jersey  6/24/95 - EPIC

PAS: This was probably a bad match to start this project with, because it really sets an impossibly high bar. This was on a high school football field in Williamstown New Jersey, and Tarzan Goto is sitting on a folding chair on the track watching the match. This is worked like a super amped up PWFG match, with Severn aggressively shooting in for takedowns and suplexes and Tajiri throwing kicks and using his speed to counter Severn's power, it feels like I was watching an Earth 2 Tajiri where he ends up trained by Funaki and fighting in Pancrase. Tajiri hits a plausible shootstyle enziguiri. Severn is awesome in this, he is totally amped up and just hurls Tajiri with suplexes, he reminded me a bit of peak Brock here especially in the where he walks through a low kick by Tajiri, hurls him with a belly to belly suplex, right into a german suplex, right into a choke. I couldn't believe how good this was, I would have lost my shit watching this in the bleachers at a 1995 indy show.

ER: I don't think my brain would have actually understood this match had I seen it live in 1995. I'm almost positive I would have thought it was a UFC fight. Just think how much this match must have stood out on this card, which was likely littered with Ace Darling and Tommy Cairo and Metal Maniac and Johnny Gunn matches. Those matches would have looked like normal pro wrestling to me. In comparison, this glorious 4 minutes would have looked like something vaguely unprofessional was happening. I had no idea these two ever even crossed paths, had no clue Tajiri even worked in the states in '95, and felt bad for the promotion since apparently they only sold one ringside VIP ticket and it was to Tarzan Goto. I assumed Severn just worked local heavyweights, or top heavyweights for whatever promotion brought him in. And I've never seen Tajiri work anything close to shootstyle, and from this match he seems really good at it! The whole thing is perfection. The ring is outdoors on a high school football field, Severn is warming up on the track in between the ring and bleachers, an old woman who looks like an overly nosy neighbor is holding Severn's belts, and the camera lingers on Tarzan Goto - arms crossed, pantless - sitting ringside. God, what if Goto fought Rockin' Rebel on this card?? The match itself is hot, Tajiri throwing low kicks, Severn throwing his major size advantage into takedowns, and some of the best grappling I've seen all year (and right now we're not exactly lacking in guys working a grappling style). Severn tries to sandbag Tajiri to the mat and seeing Tajiri reverse was really exciting, felt like seeing Royce maneuvering guys into danger. The enziguiri was really great and reminded me of shootfight nonsense that Sakuraba would pull. The final roll through was awesome with Severn trying to choke and roll, moving to mount, and then we get a couple Lesnerian throws with a huge belly to belly and a low fast German, locking in the choke for good measure. I had not heard one note of this match's existence until now, and here we are, witnessing 90s indy greatness.

Dan Severn v. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart 10/28/95 NWA New Jersey - SKIPPABLE

PAS: This would be sometime in between the Anvil's two WWE stints, right after his brief WCW run. This was pretty basic stuff, Severn out powers Neidhart, Anvil stalls a bit, takes over with a cheapshot, hits some forearms and more cheapshots, eventually gets caught and beat. Severn didn't really do anything to distinguish himself outside of the final throw and armbar. Most of this match was worked like Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart v. the masked WHO. Anvil does have really nice forearms and the finish was ok which almost kept this out of the skippable realm

ER: That other match felt beamed from another dimension, but THIS match feels like a perfect representation of what 1995 indy wrestling was all about. Neidhart works like a name guy who doesn't really want to bump, and Dan Severn's part really could have been played by any half trained meathead babyface. It felt like a minimal bump veteran working against a local popular former football player who set the state high school rushing record 15 years prior, or a match against the owner of a popular local chain of pizzerias. But that's not really a bad thing. I've watched and enjoyed plenty of those kind of matches. Neidhart wants to avoid getting thrown by Severn, and there were a couple moments of him scrambling for ropes once Severn gets his mitts on him. I wish after getting to the ropes Neidhart had thrown more cheap shots instead of stalling on the floor. The match could have used much more of either guy in control, or more of either guy doing anything. The finish is great though, as Severn upends Neidhart with a big throw and locks in a side choke and armbar.

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Bite Sized Complete and Accurate Dan Severn NWA Title Defenses

So there is a crazy YouTube channel which has uploaded a bunch of Dan Severn NWA title defenses. If Segunda Caida doesn't watch a bunch of Dan Severn NWA title defenses and rank them, then what are we even here for. As usual, they are going to be broken down by EPIC, GREAT, FUN and SKIPPABLE. If this works out I might do all of the Ogawa NWA title defenses he has uploaded too.


Dan Severn v. Chris Candido SMW 2/24/95 - GREAT
Dan Severn v. Benson Lee Steel City Wrestling 3/19/95  - GREAT
Dan Severn vs. Bobby Blaze SMW 5/20/95 - GREAT
Dan Severn v. Yoshihiro Tajiri NWA New Jersey 6/24/95 - EPIC
Dan Severn v. Tarzan Goto IWA Japan 8/20/95 - EPIC

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lucha Worth Watching: Panthers & Dinamitas & Metalico, Oh My!

Blue Panther Jr./The Panther/Blue Panther vs. Sanson/Cuatrero/Mascara Ano 2000 (CMLL 6/6/17)

ER: I love this feud! New guys are always stepping up depending on the match, you never know who the star is going to be but they always treat the match up like a big deal. BP was fired up crazy eyes tecnico, Mascara was amusing rudo stooge, and all the sons ramped up the meanness. My favorite thing about this match was all of the great pinfall saves, especially from the Panthers. Panther runs in to break up a pin by kicking Sanson in the eye, Jr. runs in and just fully double stomps to break up a pin, and it went on like that the whole match! I loved 2000 playing chicken, actually running around the ring and hiding behind the ref to prevent being touched. BP looked like he was having a blast during their showdowns. All the Panthers hit dives, but they always do that. This might have been the most impressed overall I've been by the Panther clan, as the kids brought more than just dives and really seemed to be gelling as a team. Cuatrero dialed back the crazy bumps and instead worked in and around all the Panther clan's offense, and I think he's really great at that type of thing. Sanson brought more offense, thought the clip towards the end of he and Jr. running to attack in opposite corners came off great, that kind of thing can usually seem cheesy. They also structured falls differently that you see from most CMLL trios matches. You didn't get three pinfalls/subs happening all at once, you would get scattered pinfalls that didn't mean the end of a fall, which is far more exciting. Like Brazo kids vs. Villano kids, this is a match up I'm always going to go out of my way to see.

Metalico/Sangre Azteca/Arkangel vs. Oro Jr./Principe Diamante/Star Jr. (CMLL 6/13/17)

ER: Metalico gets us off on the right note by driving out on a constantly stalling motorcycle (that gets pushed at one point), dressed up like a highway patrolman cosplaying Mussolini. His entrances are wonderful low budget Sakuraba. And in the primera we get some fun and uncommon matwork with him working over Diamante, and he shows that his grudge against Oro for taking his mask is not any less than it was 3 years ago. Sangre Azteca ties Oro up in some really great knots,  my favorite being his backpack full nelson maneuvered into a nasty octopus hold. And every time Oro starts to reverse the tide, Metalico comes in and kicks or slaps him back into Azteca's advantage. Diamante and Star each try springboard moonsaults to the floor, but Azteca yanks Star's legs and Metlalico clotheslines Diamante right in the shins, both of them take great chin first bumps into the apron. The segunda is filled with rudos holding tecnicos prone so Azteca can dropkick and elbow drop them in the taint, and we get other fun moments throughout the tercera: A neat midair flip headscissors from Star, a tornado lariat from Arkangel; I especially liked a little moment where Star went to snapmare Metalico and Metalico held onto the ropes to reverse it. I love that kind of stuff. It all builds to a showdown with Metalico/Star Jr. in the tercera. Every time Metalico had battered Oro, Star had run in at his defense, always backing Metalico down. When they finally go at it it's really fun. Metalico ends up hitting a weird bearhug overhead suplex to get the win, and while Oro sits on the mat in disbelief at the loss, Metalico helps him out to the floor by booting him in the chest.

Blue Panther/Rey Cometa/Titan vs. Hechicero/Morphosis/Rey Bucanero (CMLL 6/13/17)

ER: I'm sure I've seen Panther and Hechicero match up before, but it feels like something I haven't seen in several years, and even then I don't know if I've ever seen this much of them together. Hechicero is super generous and Panther looks like he belongs, and the two have a few of the most fun sequences I've seen in a couple months. The primera ends with those two going at it, Hechicero being the aggressor with Panther rolling through with cool counters, getting some slow counter matwork with Hechicero showing off his strength, Panther holding onto armbars even while Hechicero is standing up and propping BP on his head, culminating in Panther rolling through to wristlock that bends Hechicero's forearm back over his bicep, and Hechicero is still smarting from that lock in the segunda. We get some fine Cometa headscissors and a nice rana off the apron to Bucanero. Bucanero looks extremely sluggish but still catches fine. It's obviously been a day since I've seen Morphosis, since I haven't seen him unmasked until now. He mainly stays out of things, throws some big time chops at Titan, and then catches a huge top rope springboard moonsault to the floor towards the end. But I was too busy waiting to see more Panther/Hechicero, and we got another nice run with Panther again showing he can keep up. Hechicero grabs a waist lock, Panther runs him into the ropes, sends him rolling with a back to front armdrag, gets run into the corner and hits a pretty headscissors that sends Hechicero rolling to the floor, and completes a happy Saturday morning for me. Those two were the center of the match, which naturally makes it essential viewing for me - and hopefully you.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 114

Episode 114

1. Garrison King vs. Carlos Gabriel vs. Pat Monix vs. Tracer X

ER: Short and sweet 4 way scramble with enough cool spots thrown out that it didn't really matter than some of them didn't totally work. I hadn't seen three of these guys before (only Tracer X) and came away enjoying Monix, and appreciating King and Gabriel's willingness to slip a disk in a showcase match. Monix had some fun combos that land with some thump, is able to work these kind of fast sequences with guys on every side without getting crossed up, and will hit a crazy tope con hilo through the middle ropes and into the front row. They eventually get to one of those stupid "four guys hitting each other at once" spots that always happen in these matches, but I gotta say, at least these guys were clunking each other with hard elbows during that moment. I also thought Cecil and Stutts were in peak form here, tossing out jokes, covering up some dodgy spots, attempting to add substance to a spotfest. Cecil starts talking about Garrison King's "kicks" and how "hype" and "lit" they are, Stutts calls him out for using words he saw on Twitter, Cecil takes the hit and without missing a beat he covers for a botched rana by saying "King went for a rana but shifted to turn it into a legdrop!" which was a quick and convincing cover. They're a good team and matches like this benefit from them.

PAS: This was a bunch of young guys breaking out all of their crazy spots to try to get booked again and it worked for that. Tracer X seemed like the most polished of the four although King's top rope cutter won the battle of craziest spots. I would be fine seeing any of these guys again, although the roster is already super overloaded, and they seem to be bringing in a whole mass of new guys again for the Weaver cup.

2. Boar of Moldova vs. Joshua Cutshall

ER: This one fell short for me. It was one of those big slugfests where none of the slugging really reads. If Boar's chops were lighting up Cutshall, they didn't seem to be. Cutshall throws some nice shots, but also throws some hinky open handed punches that soar over Boar's head. If they were Japanese and in the Tokyo Dome, maybe we could pretend that the bad strikes were there on purpose to cover for injuries and it was actually some next level striking, but few people are stupid enough to actually believe that. Boar needs to tighten things up as I like the look but his execution just comes off weak. Props to Cutshall setting up his elbow to the back of Boar's head by pulling him into it by the tail.

PAS: Boar is a new guy I would rather not see anymore of it. Nothing worse then a big guy working a clubbering gimmick who doesn't clubber. I didn't think Cutshall looked great either but I have liked plenty of Cutshall before so I am blaming the Boar. I did like the birdcage on Cutshall's head and the tail yank into the elbow, but this was forgettable.

3. Aspyn Rose vs. Jessica Troy

ER: Troy is from Australia and seems pretty new, but probably not nearly as new as Rose. So they both seemed a bit green (Rose extra green, what with her mermaid scales and all), but they both showed some promise. They probably bit off a bit too much here, but they went at a fast pace and threw a bunch of things at the wall. Rose hits a corner elbow that lands right in Troy's throat, and Troy tries some World of Sport knucklelocks and go behinds that Rose stooges amusingly for, also liked Troy tripping Rose up on a drop down, with Rose falling into the ropes. Troy had a high bridge northern lights and a nice fisherman's suplex, and I liked Rose selling things like missing a face wash in the corner and jamming her knee. Cecil adds to things by squeezing in little bits of character, like putting over Troy's running double knees by mentioning that Rose had previously injured her clavicle. I do think both have a ways to go, Troy threw a couple lariats awkwardly below Rose's chest, and Rose seems like she actually has no idea how to run, she seemed like she was powerwalking into all over her rope running spots, it looked really strange (a lot of rope running looks really odd in ladies matches, why is that? Do they not have enough weight to get spring off the ropes? Serious question), but I liked what they were going for here.

PAS: I thought this was kind of a mess and went too long. With the Mae Young Classic I have watched more US women's wrestling this month then I have in my life before, so I really didn't need to see more of it. Both of these ladies would be in the bottom 10th of MYC competitors (while SIS for example would be in the top fourth easily), and the match suffered from not having anyone to tie it together.

4. Zane Dawson/Dave Dawson/Cain Justice/Aric Andrews vs. Snooty Foxx/Dirty Daddy/Chet Sterling/ Smith Garrett

ER: Satisfying, crowd pleasing 8 man with a kinda bummer finish. Even with the finish we got 20 minutes of good action, even starting before the bell with Dawsons/Andrews getting in a strategy huddle and boxing out Justice. I could have stopped watching the match then and left happy, as Cain's irritated faces while trying to get in the huddle were hilarious to me. Totally nailed the little brother "You guyyyyyys, let me playyyyyy!" vibe. His opening scramble was also some of the best work in the match, but we also got two nice FIP segments with Snooty and Sterling. I thought Fox was surprisingly adept at being in peril, and the heels were all good at keeping the tags fresh. Later we get a fun comeback run from him, with he and Daddy doing synchronized leaps off the apron, and a great Daddy elbow/Fox spear combo (and Fox has a real nice spear). Finish is kinda wonky, as Sterling is getting the pin and Garrett is letting him get the pin, but Justice shoves Garrett into Sterling to break it up...even though Garrett looks like he barely grazes anybody. Then we get some standing around time as Sterling is in disbelief, before Andrews gets the roll up. I guess that Andrews' TV title was on the line here? But I didn't realize that while the match was going on. And even so, the execution of the finish was lacking. Side note, got a brief - maybe unintentional - glimpse post match of heel Sterling, and I think I could really like him as a heel. I say unintentional because he merely looked frustrated, and any guy is allowed to be frustrated. But in the moment I could see him turning hard on Garrett, and I would have been down. Intentional or not, it's a thought.

PAS: The gimmick of this match is that if any of the heels lost they would have to defend their titles against anyone who pinned them. That is why Justice is sent out there and invites Garrett to pin him, if Garrett or Sterling pinned Cain, they couldn't get a title shot because they were aged out of the RGL. That also explains why Garrett and Sterling were arguing, Sterling though Garrett wanted the pin. It was a clever bit of booking and led to some fun twists to a normal 8 man. I really loved Cain in this, he had some great character moments, and had a ton of cool wrestling moments as well. That opening bit of mat wrestling with Garrett was totally boss, and I loved his nasty armbar. This match also got me excited to see the Dawsons v. So Time and I have been pretty down on the Dawsons lately.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

When Black Terry Has Learned To Really Live, He'll be Old Enough to Die

Black Terry/Diablo Jr. v. Black Warrior/Black Warrior Jr. IWRG 9/3/17-SKIPPABLE

Black Warrior was a guy I was really into when I first started watching CMLL in the 90's he had a cool tope and an awesome mask, age has not been kind to our man though, he is 15 years younger then Terry but looked 10 years older. This was by far the weakest Terry/Diablo tag I have seen and it's a bummer that they dropped their belts to this team. BW Jr. is OK, but is really green and isn't even wearing the cool black and orange mask. Terry and Diablo try, Diablo hits a nice tope, and Terry really cranked his Primera Caida submission, but at some point even they start looking for the exits. 25 minutes or so, I watched this so you don't have to.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 113: Absolute Justice

Episode 113: Absolute Justice

1. Cain Justice vs. Mitch Connor

ER: I thought Cain was awesome in this. Connor is someone with some physical limitations and Cain figured out some pretty crafty ways around those limitations. Cain stayed on him the whole match, and it was great. Connor looked like he was struggling to get some space but Cain would stay on him, lock in hooks, throw shots to Connor's cerebellum, lock on different triangles, kinda showing off while being mean. Connor would get a pinfall, Cain would grab his leg on kickout. Connor goes into the ropes, Cain dives in and trips him. The guy couldn't catch a break. He started playing along, you can see him throwing creative shots at Cain (loved when Cain was locking in a triangle and Connor starts dropping his knee onto Cain's inner leg), and I like how Cain staying so close played into the finish with Connor flash cradling him. Cain has shown how great he is at working with several different styles, and it's pretty damn impressive to watch. Also, shout out to Cecil Scott for pointing out the he (Cecil) went after Cain aggressively in their match, and Cain learned from that and wasn't letting Connor do the same thing. Smart storytelling from a wrestling and announcing standpoint.

PAS: I loved this, loved how Justice would attack with his fancy Ju-Jitsu only to be met with an old fashioned Connor clubbing forearm. It reminded me of the way someone like Tank Abbot would deal with a ju-jitsu guy in early UFC. Cain tries a rubber guard, Mitch punches him in the thigh, Cain goes for a sugar hold, gets met with a forearm. Connor gave my favorite interview of the decade setting up this match where he mentioned having a really damaged neck, so Cain throwing these really nasty rabbit punches to the back of the neck was especially brutal. It really felt like he was crossing a line, trying to paralyze a guy rather then win a match. Also really loved the finish with Connor using Cain's aggression to roll him up, felt like exactly the right way for a wily veteran to beat a overenthusiastic rookie. Another awesome Cain performance, what a rookie year he is having.

2. Jakob Hammermeier vs. Chet Sterling

ER: I didn't love this, but it was only 5 minutes so I can't complain too much. Sterling seems to get sloppier the longer matches go. I was liking some of his stuff early on here, but by the last minute he was quitting on elbow strikes halfway through, and could only do offense that started with him running off the ropes. The action is quick, but not very satisfying. Hammermeier seems like a better talker than wrestler, but again this whole thing was short and inoffensive.

PAS: I am amused at these two feuding over who came up with their hack "I'm wacky" vest and necktie. I actually thought Jakob looked like the better of the two, he had a nice neckbreaker and elbow smash. I just don't get Sterling, he is the one pushed guy in this fed who does nothing for me, and he wasn't much here.

3. HIM/SIS vs. Otto Schwanz/Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. Sandwich Squad vs. Zane & Dave Dawson

ER: This was billed as an "Everything to Lose" match, with each team putting something on the line if they eat the pinfall, which is a cool idea. Squad put up "no title shots for a year", Dawsons put up their titles, Schwanz had his career on the line, HIM/SIS put up their masks; those all feel like pretty big things to lose so the match has a lot of extra gravity. Now, you could also ask "why would anybody want to tag in and risk losing?" and...well, that would be a good question. But I also like that means that Sharpe technically has nothing to lose, feels like a nice weasel move. And outside of the moment where the Dawsons ended up in the ring together, they had a nice go go go 10 minute match. My favorites here were Otto and SIS. I love how SIS goes after guys with headbutts and never forces any ridiculous "size difference" spots into her matches. She goes toe to toe with the guys that make sense (like Sharpe) but gets steamrolled by someone like Schwanz. And Schwanz was awesome here. He was back to working like an unfrozen nazi Berzerker, really aggressive and vocal. Everybody was good at getting in and out to keep the action going, and the action was indeed good. We got some wild spots like a Dawson getting launched off the apron into some guys, and Biggs doing the world's biggest Thesz press to SIS. HIM eats the pin and thus loses his mask. I know Michael McAllister is a longtime CWF guy but I've only seen him as HIM, so this didn't really hit that hard with me. But I always thought the whole HIM thing was silly, so I'm glad SIS just walked off and moved on. It felt like the best way to handle things.

PAS: Really loved Schwanz in this, he had his career on the line and he was wrestling with real desperation, he jumps into the Dawsons before the bell and just throws hands, and is at 100 the entire match. Sandwhich Squad are always worth watching, Biggs had an especially nasty powerslam, and this was basically just burley dudes (and a burley lady) throwing hands for ten minutes or so which I am going to enjoy. HIM really wasn't in the match much which is surprising because he lost his mask, if I guy is going to lose his hood, it feels like he should have been showcased a bit more.

4. Aric Andrews vs. Ric Converse

ER: A really fun match with a disappointing but understandable finish. CW Anderson comes out to distract Converse so Andrews can roll him up. It keeps the CW/Converse feud in the foreground so I get it, but it's a finish we've been seeing for awhile in wrestling and this was kind of a bummer as we were well on the way to seeing maybe the most complete Aric Andrews match. Still, what we got was good. I've described Converse as an actual good version of Tommy Dreamer before, and I really think he showed that here. His elbow strikes looked awesome and he's able to bump believably for guys smaller than him. Andrews had a bunch of quick, logical attacks, whipping body shots, smart stuff like neckbreakers, moves going with Converse's natural momentum. It was only 5 minutes but a quality 5.

PAS: This was a nifty fight, Converse took it to him from the beginning, and a minute in Andrews had welts and bruises on his back. Andrews is such a great sleazy dude, like the junkie who sneaks a switchblade into the rehab center, that energy meshes well with Converse's suburban cop who is a little generous with the nightstick vibe. The whole match felt like an allegory for the opioid crisis. Andrews is always entertaining, but I really want to see him get a chance to spread his filthy wings a bit.

5. Dirty Daddy/Snooty Foxx vs. Roy Wilkins/Darius Lockhart

ER: This was fine I guess, but seemed more like a filler match on a big show. But, you gotta have matches like that, and they found a way to get a lot of amusing bullshit into a show. Gemini is barred from ringside and at one point a giant Super Chicken mascot comes out and starts conferencing with Wilkins, obviously supposed to be Gemini. So of course at the end of the match we get actual Gemini running out to drop a fist on the back of Snooty's head to get Wilkins the win. Gemini was dressed in a gross trump wig and "45" jersey, but I'll at least give him credit for being a heel and dressing like a heel. I couldn't get too into the match since it was clear there was going to be a shenanigans ending, but it had some killer moments. Wilkins caused a massive Daddy bump to the floor by holding the ropes, in one of the best versions of that spot I've seen (and Daddy takes a great reckless bump that still keeps the crowd safe - I really love the attention to family friendly crowd safety in this fed), and I loved Snooty's Oklahoma Stampede powerslam before the finish. This was fine.

PAS: I am a Lockhart fan, he is a heel because he is doing a BLM gimmick in North Carolina, but that doesn't mean he is going to do all of the cheap shot stuff that the All-Stars do. He is a man of principles whether you agree with him or not. I am an unabashed So Time fan, but Snooty is still a little green and there were moments here where he seemed a little out of place, still lots to like about this, and I always enjoy Wilkins when he is about his bullshit. Excited to see the All-Stars v. Lockhart as a feud, Wilkins as Jason Whitlock talking down to Darius as Kaperneck could be really great.

PAS: Hanging out with Dolph Ziggler at a pool is about the most heel thing a guy can do in my eyes. What a marvelous prick Brad Attitude is, his bigshotting asshole veteran is my favorite character in wrestling right now.

6. C.W. Anderson vs. Smith Garrett

ER: CW is a flat out beast, and I loved this. I think this match is one of CW's greatest performances, just new levels of mean, knowing his opponent and effectively meshing styles. Right from go CW has his number and they work some hot sequences. Garrett throws some stiff as hell shoulderblocks, CW cracks him with a brutal forearm and then Garrett barely ducks a diving lariat. They spill to the floor and CW takes a killer shot to the post, then Garrett chops the ringpost (which is a spot I love - admittedly overdone - but this one was a cut above) and CW begins thrashing that arm, wrapping it around the turnbuckle supports. Both guys were in sync as CW looked vicious, and Garrett's selling was top notch. Inside and CW continues taking apart the arm, I really liked Garrett going for a sunset flip but CW reversing into an armbar. We get some real good false finishes and twists, stuff we've been conditioned to for years; Ric Converse's music plays and distracts CW when he's setting up the superkick, leading to a convincing 2 count schoolboy (and we've all seen that exact sequence finish so many matches that it's a super effective near fall). CW hits the gorgeous spinebuster for another great nearfall, and we get some really well done "signature offense" reversals, with Garrett slipping out of a spinebuster and CW slipping out of a couple driver variations. Finish was great with CW getting Garrett onto his shoulders, then just tosses Garrett back to a standing position to nail the superkick. This was a hot as hell 10 minutes, CW is world class and Garrett worked as a great babyface, knew when to pepper comebacks and sold great.

PAS: This was a very Anderson style match from CW. CW has always been more of an Arn inspired guy, but this was straight up nasty Ole stuff. He just ripped and tore at the arm in violent and interesting ways, all the while trash talking and pie facing Garrett. I am not totally sold on Garrett as a wrestler (I think his finisher is Nova level goofy, and that tongue thing he does grosses me out) but he is really good at bringing intensity to a fight and selling a beating and that is what was needed to fill out the edges of a great Anderson show.

7. Nick Richards vs. Trevor Lee

ER: Big show, and these two go out and predictably murder each other in the main event, and I feel bad that it didn't totally land with me. I like both guys and appreciate Lee's ability to try to bring something different to CWF title matches, but sometimes I think there's a more more more aspect to them that isn't really present in the very best CWF matches. Lee can take some unconventional routes to selling, but I'm having trouble reconciling how he sold the two cutters at the very beginning of the match. We've seen Richards' cutter treated as a sneaky killshot before, so it was odd seeing Lee just stand up after them. He treated it like Tazz taking a finisher and it just came off odd to me. We got tons of big spots throughout, like Richards getting DDT'd off the top through several set up chairs (and watch the back of Lee's head go crashing through those same chairs just as violently), and Lee takes a cutter with an opened chair wrapped around his neck, which seems like an excellent way to get your neck broken. Absolutely brutal spot. These two have no problem making things look nasty. I'm just not sure what it added up to was worth it. You've seen more overkill than this, and I'm not sure that I would even call this match overkill. It's the main event of a big show, Richards is in his biggest opportunity and wants to prove to himself and fans that he belongs, and Lee is the stubborn fighting champion, so I expected some craziness. The build within the match to the craziness just didn't work for me. I liked the home stretch where it finally became apparent that Richards was in over his head and Lee was setting him up for kills, and Lee locking on a bonkers inverted STF for the tap, but as a whole the match didn't stick for me.

PAS: Couldn't disagree with Eric more, I thought this was excellent, and it is right up there with the Brad Attitude match in my list of favorite Trevor Lee title defenses. I loved the opening with Lee egging on the pro-Richards chants by the crowd, singing along with his intro and walking right into a cutter.  I thought Lee's pop-up was less of a Taz/Hawk no-sell and more like a boxer shaking his head trying to deny he got hit with a big shot. The first cutter gets a pretty close 2 count, Lee gets up pissed and throws some potato slaps and runs right into a second cutter which gets another close 2 count and leads to Richards being in control. I loved Lee working heel here, he figures if he is going to be an overdog he was going to play an overdog, and he was really vicious. Richards as a Tommy Dreamer disciple trying to ECW his way to a title was fun, usually I don't like trash can lid shots, but here as a way to bust Lee up and make him mad they worked well, I also really dug the Trash can shot as a way to break the STF. Your big stunts worked well too, the cutter with the chair was awesome, loved the way it got set up, it looked killer and I bought it as the end to the match. I also liked how right after the move instead of going for the kill Richards tried to set up an even bigger stunt, which ended up being his downfall. It felt like the kind of Icarus move a raised on ECW kid would do. Lee finally realized that this kid was in his league and a really threat so he snaps and unloads, great way to end it the match, that jumping knee was some FUTEN level violence, and the final kick to the shoulder looked like it popped his collarbone, that STF variation was the cherry on top. Really made Richards look awesome dying on his shield like that. My one issue is that is kind of felt like Richards should have won, it felt like his night, and I am not sure how Lee loses that belt a this point.

ER: After finding myself the clear low vote on this match I decided to give it another spin. I don't really like being the low vote on things as I'd much rather enjoy something than be a party pooper. And as someone with a fairly low attention span I can admit that I'm prone to missing nuance on things. Plus there's a chance I watched this match on mute in the bathroom at work, maybe not an ideal match appreciation environment. And, I liked it more on rewatch. I'm still not as over the moon for it as everyone seems to be, but some things definitely landed far more with me on rewatch. I still don't love the two cutters to start, don't love the trash can lid stuff, loved the chair-around-neck cutter....but as much as I loved that cutter it also took the wind out of the match for me, as I have zero clue what could possibly beat Lee at this point. That move felt too big. It looked amazing. It's one of the more dangerous things I've seen this year. But it is apparently not match ending. Phil makes some great points about the structure, and I still liked the end stretch as much as I did the first time, but I still thought there were things that didn't work. As the main event to a special show, it absolutely worked in full, and felt like a natural epic.

PAS: What a great show, I liked virtually every match, and we had three matches hit our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List. CWF really knows how to deliver a supercard

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Regals Mentality Catches up With His Biology

Lord Steven Regal/Dick Slater v. Davey Boy Smith/Sting WCW 11/28/93-GREAT

PAS: We get a nifty chance to look at Regal work a house show tag match along side fellow classic heel stooge Dick Slater.  This is mostly the heel bumping and clowning for the faces and these are a pair of great clowns. Regal and Davey Boy had a great PPV match full of WOS spots, and they break out a bunch of those tricks here. This stuff has been spammed a lot by indy dudes lately, but it is pretty crazy to watch them do wristlock cartwheel counters in 93 WCW. Sting and Regal have a really fun knucklock sequence, with Sting doing a super impressive bridge with Regals weight on top of him. The finish came a bit abruptly after a long heel kneework section on Davey Boy, but that was my only quibble. Fun stuff and a great out of nowhere upload.


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Saturday, September 16, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 112

Episode 112

1. Zane & Dave Dawson vs. Tommy Dreamer/Nick Richards

ER: Man this stunk. Everybody looked completely sluggish and every strike landed short or light. Add to that a bunk finish and poorly done interference by a new manager, and this added up to a real poop sandwich. Dawsons get put over on commentary as huge guys with crushing offense, but then you see them throw weak clotheslines and pillow soft avalanches and light stomps and it's all a mirage. Dreamer looked flat out bad, fully going through the motions and not caring what any of his offense looked like. His punches looked atrocious and everything he did was just so damn slow. I normally like Richards' odd strikes but here he must have drank the same water as everyone else. At one point he throws some chops that, well, if they hurt, maybe they just didn't read well on camera. Dawsons had a manager I'd never seen named Clayton, and it seems like he was always out of position. Finish was a real stinker, with Dreamer/Richards getting the win and Clayton getting Dave's foot on the ropes late. Ref awards new champs the belts, then long after the pin he notices the boot on the rope, so restarts the match. I hate things that make refs look like total buffoons. For all he knew that boot could have been put on the ropes 30 seconds after the bell. So the match gets restarted and a weak as hell lariat to Dreamer immediately ends it. This threatened to get compelling in the middle when Dave Dawson was working over Richards, but there was just too much bad almost the whole way through. Post match the fans chant Thank You Dreamer like it was his last match...And of course we end with a Dreamer "boys in the back" promo. Yuck, all of it.

PAS: I thought this was fine. Dreamer has learned to work a match around shtick and two bumps. I am a guy who saw plenty of no knee pads Buddy Landell indy matches in the 90s and have no problem with Dreamer winding down his career as no knee pads Nature Boy. I am amused at Dreamer doing Dusty spots as Dusty was one of those guys ECW was rebelling against, kind of like all of those ex-Hippies voting for Reagan. I also thought Dreamer did a really nice job at selling surprise when it looked like he won the belts, he had this facial expression like "I didn't think I had it in me anymore" Sure not much of the actually wrestling looked particularly good, but it very much served it's purpose.

ER: I oppose DACA: Dreamer As Cody's Antecedent

2. Trevor Lee vs. Michael Elgin

ER: Feel like I'm going to end up being the low vote on this one. It really did not work for me. Elgin works his boss monster style where he can't be killed by conventional wrestling moves, except for those convenient moments where he suddenly needs to sell for an extended period. Lee also works these long matches with him getting a second wind, and then a third wind, and then his tank is on empty and he gets a fourth wind. It's not usually going to be my favorite kind of match, as it's really tough to build something with multiple peaks. The first match peak is almost always the best, and the more you try to fit in the more tiring it gets to keep peaking the viewer. I think they relied on the apron for drama far too often, and after awhile I just got numb. Both guys are impressive as hell and always break out stellar athletic feats, but these feats, in this order, did nothing for me. I didn't end up buying Elgin going down the way he did, and the moves that did put him down weren't effective for me (the overuse of punts to put him down seem like it came way early, as he still had to power through a lot of things later). Again, some things were impressive as hell, Elgin's falcon arrow pulling Lee up and into the ring, Lee's sell towards the end where he takes a shot, goes to return it and collapses forward in a heap; stuff like that worked for me in isolation. I just didn't like the match they were attached to. And the guys got to the end at different times, as I think Elgin came off way too fresh for the finish to work, and Lee came off way too dead for the finish to work.

PAS: I actually liked the finish here, as it was Elgin pummeling Lee with huge shots, talking shit to him about losing in his home arena, and Lee pulling off a tricky inside cradle to steal the win against an over confident monster. I do agree with Eric that it took too long and Lee took too much for it to work totally for me. I am just so numb to matches where the story is "how much can each man take", and lots of spots like the opening forearm exchange felt totally trite. I would have rather this been a quickish sprint with the same ending, but the fact that Elgin did 10 killer finishers for two counts in the middle of the match, really hurt his killer finishers at the end of the match.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Invader I vs. Ron Starr (Street Fight) (8/17/86)

Disc 3, Match 1: Invader I vs. Ron Starr (Street Fight) (8/17/86)

Well, I'm not regretting starting the PR set back up. That's for sure. This was a blast. There wasn't a whole lot to it structurally or narratively but when you have a set piece like this, you don't really need much.

Here you had a retreating Rambo Ron Starr and a pressing Invader I brawl around a baseball stadium. That's pretty much the match. Starr took it to him from the start. Invader fought back and got the best of him. Starr started running, mounting rear offenses when he could manage, and they ultimately ended back in the ring, trading punches, kicks, stomps, belt shots, and finally more punches, all with escalating selling, paying off with one of the most believable, well-executed double KOs in wrestling history.

Past Invader's selling (with Starr dancing backwards and in heels to match) and the sheer consistency of the driving and retreating pressures, the stadium was the star here. It's just cool to see two guys brawling across a diamond, let alone up into the stands with fans swarming and no real security to be found. I appreciated that Starr didn't break out the belt as a weapon until he was clear of the fans' hands on the dugout roof (and smart that he did since that brought out the bottles). At one point they even end up on top of a truck, somehow trapping the camera in a place where it can't reach the action. You just hear the banging of blows and see distressed WWC employees (I assume) until it finally catches up with things and you see the two of them going at it up there.

This was a war that, instead of crescendoing, diminuendos, the two of them wearing each other down until there's just the still of broken, exhausted bodies and the stretchers to go along with them. I can't wait to see their September match.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 111

Episode 111

1. Sandwich Squad vs. Cam Carter/James Ryan

ER: Yeahhhhh this was a real meaty Sandwich Squash, a real Dagwood. The whole episode starts with a flat brutal Mecha clothesline and things don't really slow down from there. Both guys were working overly stiff the whole time, big splashes, crushing avalanches, thundering chops, just squishing these two into the mat. Carter and Ryan stood up to it and gamely took the worst of what the squash dished out.

PAS: The Culture is a really great tag team name, and they did there job here, hit a move or two, but get mauled by a pissed off Sandwich Squad. Holy moly did they get mauled too, not at Cool J v. Donnie Dollars level, but fans of fun violent squash matches will dig this a bunch. I am excited to see mad Sandwhich Squad go on a rampage.

2. Zane & Dave Dawson vs. Lucas Calhoun/Proletariat Boar of Moldova

ER: Calhoun and Boar are down from Chikara. Calhoun's fat Elvis get-up and gags don't do a lot for me, but at least his strikes land with a nice thud. I actually like Boar's look, and he's got some size, but his punches and boots land light and he ends up working like a not very good Berzerker. The match felt like it wandered a bit too much. Calhoun acted like a heel, and the Dawsons are heels, so the fans weren't really that interested in showing sympathy for Calhoun's knee getting worked over, and the leg work didn't really go anywhere compelling anyway (though I did like the kneebreaker on the apron to start it). Again, at least Calhoun had some hard shots (which makes sense as he teamed with Kingston and Jacobs for awhile), because most of this didn't move the needle. I hate how Zane is billed as a guy with "the best" lariat, when he doesn't even know how to throw a halfway decent missed lariat, and his actual lariat looked nowhere near as devastating as Mecha Mercenary's just 20 minutes prior.

PAS: I didn't love this either, I was on board for Calhoun, I liked his rockabilly sleaze look and his Elvis Karate landed well, Boar didn't do much for me and the Dawsons kind of sucked. I do think the Chikara kids were working face, but I am not sure their brand of goofy shit works with the audience, it sure doesn't work with me.

ER: Phil and I were just talking on the phone earlier this week about Cain Justice, how high he'd go on a 500, with Phil comparing him to some of those U-Style guys who came in and immediately understood wrestling, and we talked about other guys who just came in and were already this good. I don't even think Cain has wrestled 25 matches, which is just nuts.

PAS: Very cool promo package. Is Cain working outside of CWF-MA? Is there tiny NC indies I need to track down so we can do a C+A Cain Justice?  I am totally in the bag for the kid, he is so much fun to watch.

3. Logan Easton Laroux vs. Chet Sterling

ER: Are they cross-promoting a Chikara show or something? That's not a direction I was hoping for. And I did not like this match. It felt like apartment wrestling where the guys were afraid to touch, or if Matt Sydal cloned himself into two lesser wrestlers who proceeded to have a lesser Matt Sydal match. The 1% gimmick just doesn't work for me, especially in indy wrestling, because you can tell when someone doesn't actually have money. So here's a guy who is in the 1%, with the same gear as every other indy wrestler, who wrestles like every indy wrestler I already avoid watching. Laroux seems kind of afraid to bump, there was always a delay before taking a clunky, tentative bump. Maybe that's the 1% in him coming through? Afraid to get his hands dirty? It's possible that he's just not that good. I think there was a good forearm in here.

PAS: Laroux isn't a Chikara guy, he is one of the top guys in NOVA pro, and I saw this matchup live earlier in the year and thought it was awesome. That match was built around Laroux faking an injury and being a total smarmy dick, this was much more their touring athletic exhibition match and was less effective. I still liked this a fair amount more then Eric did, I thought the Sterling bump into the ringpost was really nasty as was his bump into the turnbuckle. I also liked when Laroux let his inner asshole shine, the viscous eye rake, the shoving of the ref into the turnbuckle. It did feel a little dancey at times, and there was some questionable punches, but I thought it was slightly above average, and am optimistic about Logan in CWF going forward.

ER: I had not seen Logan before, but he has worked a LOT of Chikara. I'll try to keep an open mind. He *did* put his hands on Phil in a threatening way, that counts for something.

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