Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Fuerza vs. Demus

6. Fuerza Guerrera vs. Demus 3:16 Innova Aztec Power 2/4

PAS: Demus deciding he wanted to leave CMLL to have filthy brawls in warehouses can't be good for his overall life, but it has made mine better. This is a nasty brawl with both guys spurting blood. It is falls count anywhere, while I don't remember any actual pin attempts there is a lot of brawling around this dirty floor with open cuts. There are some real grim visuals like Fuerza biting Demus's bloody head while try to close his nostrils and smother him. The lucha exchanges were a little clunky, which isn't surprising consider how old Fuerza is, but he wasn't afraid to fly into chairs and bleed a bunch. Sleazy lucha indy wrestling at it's best.

ER: Jeez what a grimy little brawl. It's in a dank warehouse, it's dark so there are a couple bright lights focusing on the brawl (which makes it look like footage from a night raid on an episode of COPS), they bleed a bunch, and they attack each other's balls seemingly constantly, and a large batch of pork rinds gets wasted as a delicious weapon. Fuerza is officially a senior citizen, no need for him to be bleeding in a dirty warehouse while being assaulted by a bridge troll. But once the brawl around the warehouse starts it's impossible to look away. Demus beats him all around the arena, at one point literally grabbing Fuerza by the taint to keep him from getting away. I'm not making that up. Fuerza is walking away and Demus casually reaches up and under and just...holds him, and holds him longer than necessary. They punch each other into some really nasty tumbles through chairs, Demus gets thrown into a fan and practically armdrags him, they both knock a 10 year old down, Fuerza gets his mask ripped and pays Demus back by HOLDING HIS NOSTRILS SHUT while biting and ripping at his forehead. I have never seen that, Fuerza is a freaking monster. The stuff in ring never threatens to compare with the awesome violence that happened all around the ring, but it's good stuff, with Demus crushing him with his cannonball, and especially when the straps come down and Fuerza belts Demus, sending him down hard to the mat. The match finishing crab was sunk in deep and looked like something that should finish a match.


2018 MOST MASTER LIST





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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Muertes v. Crane

11. Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes Lucha Underground 5/15 (Aired 8/9/17)

ER: YES! This was the match I was waiting for. After hearing all season from people who attended the tapings that "this season was the craziest yet" I have now spent 29 episodes being mostly disappointed. And it wasn't due to high expectations, the action just seems nowhere near as good as the first season. This match felt like the closest we've come to the best brawls of the series. I just love Mil in these crowd brawls. He's bigger than the guys we typically see moving through the crowds, so these shots from above feel more like helicopter shots of Godzilla wrecking everything in his path. The match starts at the top of the temple steps and there might not be anybody better than Crane at violently flying through rubble. He can bring violence, but he's best at inviting violence onto his own person. Muertes throws him through the bleachers, brutally through the chairs, in a fun moment he flapjacks Crane on the stairs' handrail and Crane slides all the way down to the floor bent at the waist. Muertes is a beast, and as he beat Crane with meaty fists I actually liked Stryker pointing out "this is why middleweights typically don't fight heavyweights". Crane goes for his bottom ropes tope and Muertes literally doesn't budge, Crane just bounces off of him. We get a bunch of chairs involved including hard shots to the side of the head and nasty spills into them. In an absolutely nuts spot Crane sets up a table on the floor and takes too long leering at Catrina, allowing Mil to come crashing to the floor with a spear. And the spear doesn't actually break the table! Crane goes flying and Muertes just bulls grossly into the table, later slamming Crane through the bent up table. Crane doesn't go down easy and I wouldn't expect him to and didn't want him to, and we get an appropriate amount of violence. This was everything I wanted out of it.

PAS: This was great stuff, Crane is so good at pushing pace, he is like Thomas Hearns, he absorbs punishment and keeps moving forward. I agree with Eric he is great at flying through stuff, just seems to have no regard for landing safely, and it looks awesome. Muertes is the best monster in wrestling, he knows how to lay in huge shots, menace just with movement and bump and sell just enough to seem like he might lose. That table spot was gross, what a loon Callihan is.


2016 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Sasha, Dead?

4. Sasha Banks vs. Asuka WWE Raw 1/29

ER: Sasha Banks has this weird - and you would think untenable - habit of turning an okay match into a really fun match by merely almost dying. This started innocently enough, some nice armdrags, Asuka with her great hip attack, Asuka laying in some kicks, Banks hitting her nice knees in the corner, a Banks Statement tease, all things that were expected. But then Banks goes for a dive, gets kicked in the face for her troubles and crashes straight damn down onto her head. Banks always finds new ways to fall on her head and it should not be sustainable, but here we are. From here out everything seems stiffer. Banks almost dies, so Asuka rewards her with an Aja Kong tribute back in the ring, dropping Banks face first into a brutal knee lift, peppering her with a couple spinning backfists, and finishing it off with a high kick. Sasha is a loon and leans way into a missile dropkick, and Asuka takes a big bump to the floor herself off a missed hip attack, and Sasha hits a couple wild flying knee attacks. I actually bought the Banks Statement false finish as it's finished many before Asuka, and it felt plausible that Asuka could win the Rumble but get handed her first loss the next night. That might have been a neat way to set Sasha up as a challenger, but alas, Asuka reverses and finishes. One day Sasha will work a good match without threat of death, but thankfully for us she has dozens of lives.

PAS: Yoyza, this went from a solid TV match, to a hellfire and murder classic. The match was chugging along fine during the first pre-commercial section, Asuka has really great body control, and it melds nicely with Banks semi-out of control offense. That missed dive was completely nuts, bump of the year territory, and I loved Asuka pushing down the pedal and trying to finish her with that knee/backfist/high kick combo. Really nasty stuff and way stiffer then the stuff she was throwing earlier in the match. It takes something big to have a plausible comeback after such a bump, but Asuka crazily flying back first out of the ring on her hip did it for me. Finish run was really exciting, and that final Asuka lock looked like it would rip all the muscles in Banks body.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 Live Blog

Bo Dallas/Curtis Axel vs. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson

ER: Pre-show matches deliver more often than not, at minimum they give some guys who only get 3-4 minute matches a chance to stretch to 7-8. It starts like an 80s WWF tag as we get an Axel heel in peril section, with Gallows starting a "nerd" chant while punching him (I would have assumed Mojo Rawley would have been the one to get the Ogre gimmick), and Anderson giving him a weird jumping kick to the head. But things pick up when Dallas shoves Anderson off the top and he bumps to the apron, then we get to the part I want, a Bo Dallas heel control segment, and he drops some really great knees and cuts the ring off. Gallows hits a fine standing splash and Anderson doesn't have a great spinebuster but I'll always appreciate a guy at least using a spinebuster. This never amped up to a next level, but it was decent on a pre-show.

Elimination Chamber: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Bayley

ER: Oh wow we're starting with a chamber match! I'm okay with that. I'm Team Rose in this one, and they better not do any shenanigans with her and Deville costing each other the match. Rachel mentioned she wanted to see some one spider monkey up the side of this chamber, and Bayley almost delivers the goods. Much better, obviously, was Deville just clotheslining Bayley right in the stomach, and Bayley brings a nice crumple sell. Totally called the Absolution double team section, and I'm also okay with that. Bayley is the right babyface to fight off both and both Rose and Deville can be great bully heels. And as I type that we get Rose slapping Bayley right into a Deville spear. Yes. There's also something cool about heels wearing white. Rose hits an awesome knee off the top, and Absolution are like two badass girls smoking in the girls locker room and then shoving around the valedictorian. Rose tags a face first bump into the buckles and Deville gets hiptossed into the cage, but Rose cuts low with a nice lariat to Sasha. Mandy gets eliminated first which is officially bullshit, though it lead to a cool moment of Bayley cutting off Deville with a knee. Bayley gets kicked off the cage by Mickie and takes a nice spill, and James hits the big Thesz Press off a chamber to eliminate Deville, cool visual. Booking is all screwy as we're left with Bayley/Sasha versus Alexa, making the last heel, and the smallest person in the match, the underdog. It doesn't help that Bayley/Sasha waited out the countdown without fighting, getting booed for doing so. But we get an awesome moment as Bliss escapes by scrambling up the cage, with Sasha catching her on a pod, and as Sasha helps Bayley climb up she then grabs Bayley's arm and stomps on her neck, knocking her off the pod. Yesss. Bliss commits to Twisted Bliss and bounces right off Sasha's knees, and Bliss has been great in this. Also, it's weird that these matches aren't Falls Count Anywhere. And it makes even less sense when Bliss hits Twisted Bliss outside the ring and tries to pin Sasha. And Sasha does an ugly reversal of Twisted Bliss, which is just her taking the move flush...and then sloppily rolling over into the Banks Statement anyway. The drama over the Statement was decent, but she's usually much better about setting them up. That took some steam out of the finish for me, but Sasha took the DDT as crazily as you would expect. This was good overall.

And MY GOD the Alexa turn during her post-match promo was FANTASTIC. She was full on getting the "You Deserved It" chants and tearing up and I was bummed out as I don't want face Alexa and they were showing little girls holding WWE Women's Title replicas and....then she yanked the rug out. The best.

Apollo/Titus O'Neill vs. Sheamus/Cesaro

ER: A school shooter apparently took the Crews from Apollo, which I guess makes sense? At least one elderly Republican changed something after the shootings. Was Apollo getting booed when he was working his comeback punches against Sheamus? I dunno. Something feels weird. But I like the Bar cutting off the ring. They're both good at giving Apollo hope spots, I think we've gotten four different moments of Apollo almost getting to Titus, getting closer each time. Cesaro has bumped nicely all match, to the floor, off a backdrop, taking a huge Titus biel, and he's always on point with saves. Sheamus almost slips climbing the ropes and the crowd starts laughing, but he recovers and mockingly wags his finger to say they were laughing too soon. But it totally works in kayfabe as he gets caught by Titus (Coachman actually picks up on this psychology, pointing out that he took time jawing with fans and got caught. Nice work, Coach), and I thought the match was just getting started but it ends shortly after Apollo hits a flip dive. This could have kept getting better with a bit more time.

There appears to be a mom in the front row with Road Warrior Animal facepaint. And the Andre documentary looks TREMENDOUS.

Nia Jax vs. Asuka

ER: I could see this match going either way, and I'm a big fan of both. Nia working as fast monster is so much fun, her twisting elbowdrop was killer, and I loved the sequence around Asuka grabbing for an ankle and Nia hoisting her into a bearhug (and running her into the buckles). Asuka is nice and tenacious and good at putting over the size difference (struggling even to lift a Nia leg for the pin cover), and Nia misses a banzai drop in the corner with tailbone shattering speed. Man she came down hard on that. Asuka doesn't roll enough to get missed by the senton, but she's cool enough that she just adds it into the match and starts selling her leg. The sudden finish kinda works and kinda doesn't, as the flash rana makes sense as Asuka kind of narrowly escaped with a win while only taking 25% of the match, but it didn't quite work for me just because I wanted a couple more minutes of match. Still, what we got was really good, Nia took a great ringpost bump to set up that finish, and the flash pin was well done. Post match rules too, as Nia wrecks a the timekeeper's barricade by using Asuka's body as a battering ram and storms out of the arena. Cool with that.

Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt

ER: Well we've all been more excited for a match. And the crowd is actually giving Wyatt some heat, and a decent crowd could make this work. And really this isn't bad. Wyatt locks on an early chinlock for heat, and it works. Usually chinlocks in WWE matches just take place on TV right before a babyface comeback, here it actually draws a reaction. I liked their brawling on the apron, both feed the other's spots nicely, and I thought the finishing stretch was nice and didn't overstay its welcome: Wyatt hit a big avalanche, tried setting up Sister Abigail, Hardy reversed and got kicked in the face, but hit the Twist of Fate. There were no surprises, but this was a fine house show match.

Hey, this Rousey signing is sure taking awhile. I usually like a good contract signing, but Rousey is the weakest part of this and it's more about sniping among the adults (which we probably expected), although Angle the informant was pretty amusing. And I did enjoy the Ronda/HHH interactions. HHH looks like the coolest possible Dana White and eats a suplex through the table well, but I really wouldn't have very high hopes for an Angle/Ronda vs. HHH/Steph match.

Elimination Chamber: Elias vs. Braun Strowman vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

ER: A Balor/Miz/Rollins triple threat sounds like just about the worst combo of all these guys, so at least we get 5 full unspoiled minutes of it. And they're having a boring triple threat match as if they weren't actually in a giant cage. This whole thing really isn't doing it for me. All men are down when Roman comes in, but nothing really noteworthy has happened. Everything has been really broad. Everybody is selling death WAY too early. Miz standing in the middle of the other four, all breathing heavily on their knees, went on so long that it really stretched believability. Literally seconds later they are all up and rope running, yet just seconds earlier they were all so famished that they couldn't make it to their feet while Miz played a call and response game with the crowd. This is pretty lousy. Michael Cole breaks out "Many people believe this has been one of the most evenly matched Chamber matches EVER." So I guess the verdicts are all in? "I've heard things. Many people are saying." This is sluggish. Braun catching Miz on top of a pod and smashing his face into the plexiglass, before tossing him onto everyone, was the first cool thing to happen in this match, 20+ minutes in. But cool is cool. This is - from memory - the clear worst Chamber match in the gimmick's history. Braun made it slightly more interesting, and Elias has made it better, but it is still nap city. Strowman is eliminating everybody so far, which is smart. At least they'll be able to make a cool Braun highlight package out of it, so it's not totally worthless. The Rollins frog splash was nice, and I'm very happy about it coming down to Braun/Roman instead of Roman/Rollins. Braun crashes through a pod nicely, and the fans are hating Roman as he takes Braun apart. I was happy when this ended. It defeated me.

ER: This was a real fun show with a real yawner of a main event. Nothing like ending a show with an absolutely flat 45 minutes. Hard not to put a downer on the evening.



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Saturday, February 24, 2018

ALL TIME MOTY LIST Head to Head 1997: Santo vs. Casas VS. Panther vs. Atlantis

Blue Panther vs. Atlantis CMLL 12/5/97

PAS: Just a tremendous match, arguably the best Panther match I can remember, and right up there with Atlantis vs. VIII for Atlantis's career match. The stips of this match were a little strange it is the finals of a tournament where Panther need to win one fall, but Atlantis needed two straight falls. The match was worked mostly on the mat and is a true clinic. So many nifty adjustments by both guys. Atlantis wins the first fall with an awesome Fujiwara armbar takedown, when he goes for it in the segunda, Panther has multiple counters and blocks to keep him from executing it. There is another great spot where Atlantis applies an Octopus hold, Panther is able to free an arm, but Atlantis immediately locks on a kimura while keeping the Octopus. The fast sections of this were great too, Atlantis has some of the coolest armdrags in wresting history and Panther is a great base for them. Really exciting down the stretch too, with multiple holds and roll ups which I thought might end the match. Such a cool example of maestros wrestling and a great chance to see two legends at their best

ER: What a great match, truly embodies the grace and sudden violence that made me fall in lucha, well, not too long after this match took place (the first time I found lucha on Galavision was a Virus/Oriental match that would have had to be some time in 1998). Both men are in their physical prime and snap off several unexpected sequences, and at one point in the segunda they are hardly separated for 9 minutes. It's filled with the beautiful fluid grace of lucha: a roll up that gets rolled through into a counter roll up, arm drags held onto and reversed, Panther breaks out a couple different headscissor variations I've not seen him use, arms get bent behind necks, really the whole primera is great lucha rolling, ending with an awesome Atlantis Fujiwara armbar that should certainly win a fall. And that makes for an intense segunda (Phil mentioned that Panther just needs to win one fall, so now they were essentially evened up) with Panther absolutely going for broke on submission holds. Atlantis catches him in an armbar that looks like it may finish, and Panther just starts taking Atlantis apart at the joints, not just locking on great subs but also selling the fatigue that comes with using all of your muscles to hold a submission. It's part of what makes the ending so great, with a tired Panther trying to rally the troops, while Atlantis sneaks up behind him and lifts him up into La Atlántida for the win. Panther didn't even see it coming. Beautiful, wonderful match.    

Santo vs. Casas Review

Verdict:

PAS: This is tough. I loved Panther vs. Atlantis, really no complaints about the match at all, thought it was beautiful. Santo vs. Casas has a real argument as the greatest match in wrestling history though, and the violence delivered by that match edges it out for me.

ER: This was a great match that I had not seen before, and I'm not sure I've seen a lucha match structured this way before, let alone by two masters in their (young for great luchadors) mid 30s (we'll need to do Dandy/Navarro as a MOTY challenger for more mat lucha). But as much as I dug this, Santo/Casas is truly unique, just a total dogfight filled with nasty upkicks and general meanness. This was great, but Casas/Santo is truly incredible.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Santo and Casas Close Like Bethlehem and Nazareth

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Negro Casas CMLL 11/25/95 - GREAT

This is a HH from the LA Sports Arena and a stellar example of the beautiful music these two can play with each other. I loved the knuckle lock monkey flip spots, which they always pull of flawlessly. Santo does his awesome headscissors counters too, which are always great. We get Santo's beautiful tope which Negro takes right into the chairs. This felt like very much a Santo match, with Casas more in the role of rudo base, he is incredible at that role, but I like it when he is a bit more front and center. Match was really chugging along, but I am not sure the low blow finish really worked for me. It is classic rudoism, but didn't feel like it belonged to the same match I was watching, otherwise this was a really great example of their magic with each other.

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Mini Complete and Accurate RIVALS: Negro Casas vs. El Hijo Del Santo


Our buddy Rob Bihari is killing it lately, and as part of his uploads he has thrown up a couple of rare Santo vs. Casas matches, so I figured I would watch and review all of their legendary series.

1987

El Hijo Del Santo/Eddie Guerrero vs. Blue Panther/Negro Casas Juarez 1987-EPIC

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 141

Episode 141

Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. Chet Sterling

PAS: Sharpe continues to impress, as he really lays it into Sterling with hard shots, including a great diving clothesline to the back of Sterling's head while Sterling was tied up in the ropes, and a big time lariat which flipped Sterling around. I liked Sterling getting pissed and yelling at Sharpe to keep talking, but honestly Sharpe is the much fresher act at this point, and probably should have gone over. I feel like I have seen everything Sterling is going to show me, he is like CWF Randy Orton at this point.

ER: I thought both guys looked really good here, and loved how it devolved. We start out kind of expectedly fun, with Sharpe showing off his new merch and Sterling blowing his nose with it, but Cecil Scott was strong at pointing out the strides that Sharpe has made (and I also liked him bringing up the cold NC winters, which have been known to affect breathing the longer a match goes). Sharpe keeps adding cool offense to his repertoire. I kinda liked him as a Stevie Richards heel type with maybe two simple moves that look bigger within context of his matches, like his great jawbreaker. Here he just blows through Sterling with a great diving lariat, and later hits a crossbody/lariat while Sterling is draped over the middle rope. Those things added to simple vertical elbows can fill a match nicely. Sterling takes a super nasty bump through the ropes to the floor, like a trained version of Vince always almost hanging himself when he would get tossed, and I liked how Sterling goaded Sharpe into getting overly aggressive, clearly a trap, and a good enough one that I bought the roll-up nearfall. I get Phil's point about Sterling being the CWF Randy Orton, but I think Sterling continues making strides as well: The last half of the year Sterling matches appealed to me far more than the first half, he's been utilizing his genuinely good right hand at the right moments of matches, and it's working. Real good, satisfying match.

Mike Mars vs. Aaron Biggs

PAS: Fun slugfest to intro Biggs back into the singles realm. Very simple match which delivered what was promised. I thought Mars's somersault escape was a fun big man agility spot which was more like a Kamala leapfrog then a Donovan Dijak juniors spot.  I really liked the finish with Mars hitting the headbutt which staggers Biggs only for Biggs to bounce back with a huge Thesz Press for the KO

ER: This was good, I believe it was my first semi-extended look at Mars against a larger opponent. Since it was only going a few minutes I wish we had more of a big meaty slugfest (it was grounded for a bit in the middle) but I liked what I saw. It was basic, it was good. The finish was what made this super memorable though, as Mars surprises Biggs with his great thrust headbutt, and Biggs counters that surprise with one of his own, just flattening him with a Thesz Press as "out of nowhere" as a 375+ pound man can be. I was expecting Biggs to stagger, was not expecting him to come flying flush with a massive press. The win was a given. Truly one of the greatest Thesz Presses of our days.

PAS: Not sure what is going on with Mars, he has this big undefeated run, including just crushing Dirty Daddy in 120 seconds at BattleCade. Then they have Mars immediately lose the RGL title to Kool Jay, which is a win that they have been building too, but having that big win not get shown on their show really stinks. I get that there was a bunch of turmoil, and maybe there are reasons the footage got black holed, but it really screws up Mars and it stinks that Kool Jay's big moment is disappeared. At least show highlights with re-dubbed commentary if they don't want Bishop Magic Don Juan on their shows anymore. Now Mars goes from sqaushing everyone to losing his title in a dark match to losing to Biggs clean in a shortish match, the booking around this makes no one look good.

ER: Man I was so confused by this, and thinking about it doesn't make it any less confusing. Mars was a beast, running through everyone, including Daddy which was super shocking. I was really looking forward to a longer RGL title from Daddy, so the 2 minutes and change Mars victory was a shock. But to have Kool Jay turn around and beat Mars for the belt....and we don't even get to see it!? That is just stupid. Kool Jay has hardly even snapped off a single piece of offense during his CWF run, so for him to show up with a title suddenly feels like we jumped ahead 4 months in booking. I was really enjoying the slow burn, and CWF is a fed who knows how to do a slow burn. I thought Jay would start getting more and more offense, get a banana peel win, slowly move him to being more than just a bumping death machine, maybe have him cut a promo about how he had died so many times in the ring that he was on his last life and needed to start winning. But instead he shows up with a title that - last we saw - was Mike Mars' title, that Jay apparently won the week before. There was turmoil, it was the holidays, but that just highlights more reasons to NOT do a title change. I wanted to see Jay's journey, and I wanted to see Mars dominate for awhile. This is a bummer.

Roy Wilkins vs. Kool Jay

PAS: I really enjoyed this. The shtick here is that Wilkins has stolen the Mid-Atlantic belt and is now defending it against other champions. Since Kool Jay has the RGL title, he is the joke opponent. Big star treating a youngster like a joke and getting his comeuppance is a great match structure. Wilkins is really great as a contemptuous prick, and Jay is a really great underdog. I thought the opening section of Wilkins dominating went a bit long, this match type is better at 13 minutes rather then 22, but once Jay made his flurries of offense it was pretty great. Jay has a great dropkick and Wilkins really flies out of the ring, both tope's were big moves, and the sliced bread was a great near fall. They tried to make Kool Jay in this match, and mostly succeeded, although he already got his big career defining win and it isn't being shown for some reason.

ER: This was a good match that I think was really tanked by the fact we never saw Jay's title win. And I couldn't help but think the entire, long match, just how much different I would be reacting to this match had Jay been merely building off of the last time we saw him. He hadn't won a match at that point, he had barely been seen on offense, and because of that Wilkins was treating him like a total joke. How big would this match have looked? Instead, we went in knowing that he beat Mike Freaking Mars, a man who before this same episode we had barely seen look weak. Somehow, Kool Jay beat Mike Mars cleanly to win a title. Kool Jay beat a man who had been treating him like a complete punching bag for months. Kool Jay went from not being able to compete at all against Mars, to beating him for a title. And knowing that, makes Wilkins' entire attitude towards him not make any sense whatsoever. Cockiness is cockiness, I get that, but this mystery title change really sucked a lot of the drama and interest out of this match for me. It being overly long didn't help things. Kool Jay beat Mike Mars in less time than it took Wilkins to actually get actively involved in this match. And the final half was really good, really exciting. I don't think the latter half was made any more exciting because of the extended first half, but again the last half was really good. Even when he's on offense Jay tries his best to die (luckily Wilkins reeled him in before he destroyed a few rows of chairs) and I love the multiple tope spot. The interference from Caray and Coach was great, timing was always on point, and I especially loved when Caray grabbed his leg before the first tope, Jay backed him away with a 619 before hitting the second tope. We get a couple nice nearfalls (which again, would have been incredibly exciting without the knowledge that Jay had beat Mars for a title), but the strange programming decision really made this a misfire.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 32: The Cueto Cup

Mask vs. Mask: Veneno vs. Sexy Star

ER: Is this an unannounced MASK MATCH!? I honestly don't remember. I guess it's possible they announced it, but it seems crazy to start off a random episode (an episode where it's not even the main focus! The episode is about the Cueto Cup!!) with a freaking mask match. Oops and it's Cortez Castro. It's Cortez Castro everybody. This mask was mercifully short and we're all thankful for it. Can't these two shitty cops just kill each other in an ineffective standoff?

TL: It was announced, but it was a Joey Ryan skit, so I can understand Eric forgetting it. Might be the best Sexy Star match in LU history because it lasted 45 seconds and barely had her involved in it at all. I’m trying to think of the worst cop standoffs in movie/TV history but I’m drawing a blank. This is way up there, though.

TL: Okay, so Johnny’s manager/agent/stooge, whose name I’ve already forgotten, tries a power play on a guy with multiple homicides under his watch. Smart move. Johnny threatens to take the belt elsewhere, which obviously means down the interstate to Reseda. To be frank, there have been worse title defenses there considering Elgin’s been a champ there. And Adam Cole.

Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark

ER: The stock has dropped pretty big for both of these guys, for me at least, so I had low expectations. The whole Cueto Cup tourney has been mostly disappointing filler programming (we need to pad out some episodes of a longer season...let's do a huge tournament!!) with a couple standouts, but a finals is a finals and there should be excitement over them. And if anything, this was a match that was totally made by the crowd. The crowd was in love every step of the way, even when things got completely stupid. If you watched this on mute, you would miss out on the unironic love that the Believers have for these two. The match itself was a lot of things that I don't like about modern wrestling, peaking with a dueling Mexican Destroyer spot. I thought Pentagon looked bad through half of this; it was very noticeable at the beginning how they were trying to hide his poor looking offense by switching off to gimmick camera angles, and later he would do annoying little things like charge into Puma's boot in the corner...and come about a foot shy of boot. But again, the crowd loves these two and this felt like the right match for the setting. I liked a couple of the little moments, like Puma rolling through with a nice armdrag after Pentagon went for his driver, and the camera angle to catch the winning 630, Puma's northern lights rolled through to a deadlift vertical suplex looked insane, and outside of that silly dueling destroyer moment we didn't get any overkill. "Right match for the audience" may sound condescending, but that's not my intention. It wasn't my bag, but it felt right in the moment.

TL: First thing I notice here is that Pentagon Dark, who has this presence that plays bigger than he actually is, is SHORTER than Puma, who’s listed at 5’10”. I know wrestlers are generally shorter these days, but I got a kick out of it. It’s billed as a match that was three years in the making (which is true) and yeah, the crowd is definitely into it. I did like that there was a fight for the Pentagon Driver (aforementioned armdrag was slick as all hell). That dueling Destroyer stuff killed me, too. Just, okay, I want to make this clear to today’s pro wrestlers: Just because you can trade moves to build up heat doesn’t mean ANY move will do. Yes, even your precious Canadian Destroyer. Yes, when Misawa traded neck-breaking Germans with Kawada or Kobashi or Akiyama 20 years ago, it was just as dumb. It makes NO sense. NONE. I’ll say this about Striker: He did EVERYTHING he could to put this thing over as more than it was. Presentation matters, folks. But this fell flat in so many ways for me. I’m glad the crowd found a way to enjoy it, but it’s just not my thing.

Rey Mysterio vs. Johnny Mundo

ER: This was a pretty wonderful match with some pretty historic levels of bullshit. My memory is spotty (as this show has somehow existed for a few years now) but I think this is the first time Dario has actually gotten physically involved in a match (I think he fought with Catrina but I don't think he got in the ring to alter an outcome), and I think this was the first time we had an appearance from Lucha Underground Security. The match itself was really fun, with Rey coming out fast as the aggressor and really pasting Mundo out of the ring and following to the floor with hard elbow shots. and Mundo was really great about using his body as a twisting, crashing weapon. Vampiro takes about 3 minutes and digs his heels in on a really terrible analogy about a jukebox, where I guess Mundo is a jukebox and Rey is a song on the jukebox and the analogy isn't working but he's convinced that the more he talks about the analogy the more the analogy might make sense, and it's the quietest we've ever heard Striker as he's completely letting Vampiro die on the vine and Vampiro just keeps rolling with it. The bullshit gets really fun, with Dario stopping a ref's count and then pie facing Mysterio. This has to be the first time he's gotten physical with a non-Matanzas wrestler, right? Rey sets up the 619 on him, but Mundo gets to Rey and splats him with his finisher that usually overshoots. We get big Dominic running out to double leg Mundo, then paste a member of Lucha Underground Security with a running elbow smash on the escape. Love it.

TL: Holy crap. Vampiro sets this one up as Rey as LeBron James, saying he’s “come home” to get back to his roots. That is a hell of a statement. And Vampiro’s made a lot of statements. Between that and the jukebox thing, along with Striker in the previous match, I’m looking to see if there’s a SAP feed. Rey plays his hits pretty well, with the face-first bump under the bottom rope and the slick baseball slide into the headscissors. He even pulls out the Dragonrana suicida he used to do with Eddie. It was not the pace I was expecting, to be honest. Was expecting more of a control segment from Johnny, but this being a 50/50 match was pretty good for me. I have no idea how there was a Rey Mysterio Canadian Destroyer in this match, but here we are. The worst security in the history of pro wrestling can’t even deal with Dominic. The Dario stuff was at least funny, and Johnny wins on a bullshit finish, which is 100% on brand. Definitely entertaining, definitely creative.


COMPLETE GUIDE TO LUCHA UNDERGROUND

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rey and Psicosis are Playing MC's Like an Old Accordian

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis AAA 3/15/96 - GREAT

Cool hidden gem, as we get a handheld of a AAA spot show. With the hubris of youth both guys pretty much keep the pedal mashed down. We do get to see some matwork early, I especially liked Psicosis's reversal of a tapatia. Finish of the first fall was a little abrupt though as Psicosis just got done with the mat work, picked Rey up, hit a rana off the top, hung him in the ropes, legdropped him and tapped him with a sharpshooter, felt like they just wanted to move on. Otherwise the pacing in this match was good, we got a couple of big dives for a house show including a quebrada into some chairs, and a baseball slide headscissors. Really liked the finish of the tercera as Psicosis was rolling but just gets caught with a flash rana for the pin, really established Rey as a guy who can catch you out of nowhere.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis WCW 7/27/96 - GREAT

These syndie matches between the two are just like popcorn, disposable, delicious and easy to binge on. This was relatively early in Rey's run, and this was pretty much a Rey showcase against maybe his best base ever. It is a trip to watch early feather light Rey, when you are used to current solid Rey. He moves so fast in this match and the timing of his headscissors are just great. We don't see anything super nuts, although he does hit a flipping senton on that weird elevated WCW Pro stage. Psic hits a couple of nice powerbombs, but is mostly there to make Rey look good.

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Mini Complete and Accurate RIVALS: Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.




Our old friend Rob Bihari has been on an uploading frenzy lately, and has put up some pretty rare lucha gems, including some Rey v. Psicosis matches I don't remember seeing. With the addition of lots of WCW Syndie stuff available on youtube, I figured I would take a look at all of their of available matches against each other.


1996

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis AAA 3/15/96 - GREAT
Rey Mysterio Jr./Konan vs Psicosis/Damien 666 AAA 7/5/96 - GREAT
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis WCW 7/27/96 - GREAT

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Monday, February 19, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Demus vs. Wotan! Beard vs. Hair!

89. Demus 3:16 vs. Wotan Generation XX1 12/18

PAS: This was a hair v. beard match which adds to Demus's under the radar wrestler of the year candidacy. Wotan is too enamored with goof lightube shit to really be on a list of the greatest wrestlers in the world, but a couple of times a year he puts that to the side and just has these filthy hellacious brawls and they are awesome. We open in the crowd and Wotan is already bloody and Demus is throwing him recklessly into walls and chairs. I love how Demus uses his tiny body, he will just hurl it at whoever he is fighting, at one point they are both on their knees throwing punches and Demus just pounced forward into Wotan with a tiny tackle. I didn't love the finish, lots of setting up a particle board on some chairs and the Demus misses a splash and gets pinned, still there was plenty of this to love, and I am super sad about Demus shaving his awesome beard.

ER: I don't believe I have ever seen a mask vs. beard match, so it was weird seeing "Barba vs. Cabellera" at the top of the screen. It's also weird that a guy with a mask is putting up his hair, and a guy with hair is putting up his beard. Did Albert ever work a back hair match? If Lucha Underground never does a beard vs. beard match with Mrs. Madness and Mrs. Havok's sons then they're idiots. Joey Ryan feels like someone who should have already been touring with a "I shave ALL my body hair if I lose" match. Santino could have worked a unibrow match. Really, now that we know that a beard match is a thing, it just highlights how uncreative every other apuestas match has been, with proper credit given to Bill Dundee putting up his wife's hair.

And aside from an absolutely terrible, woeful ending, this match was awesome. Both guys are big bleeders, and the first shot we get of Wotan is him already covered in that deep, dark cherry blood that luchadors wear so well. We've already seen Wotan in maybe the best brawl of the decade, and sadly for him his best performances seem to come when he's opposite a total powder keg who will bring a beating to him. And Demus is certainly the most powder keg guy around these days. Demus-as-projectile is a guaranteed win, he's like this heavy medicine ball getting thrown at opponents. His cannonball always crushes, he flies into splashes and sentons, and he looks exactly like one of the aliens in Critters (seriously, tell me I'm wrong). Wotan has some nice offense (I really like his ankle roll senton, like Brad Attitude does, but with a little more lucha flair) and is a huge bumper (watch him fully commit to a massive missed dive as Demus sidesteps him). Both guys bleed buckets and throw big bombs into cuts, and really this match could have ended with both men just punching each other out and it would have landed in our top 25. But my heavens this ending was bad. We had an interminable prop set up, with the flimsiest board getting set up limply on 6 chairs, with the REF getting involved to help Wotan set up this spot that was never going to look good. Demus is selling this whole time, finally gets up and punches both men, then Demus takes time to readjust the awful prop, tries to splash Wotan but crashes through it and gets fast counted. What a terrible finish tacked on to a tremendous brawl. We would have been so much better off getting the video cut off and missing the finish. The match would have gone down as this legendarily clipped brawl and "Oh my god if only the match was complete!! Who knows what greatness we missed!?" Sometimes it's just better not to know.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Corleone & Kraneo CKlash! Diamante Vanquishes Terrible!

9. Kraneo/Vangellys/Terrible vs. Marco Corleone/Diamante Azul/Caristico CMLL 1/12

ER: I love this kind of Godzilla vs. King Ghidora match in wrestling, and it's especially weird and cool in Mexico where you don't really have many "monsters". But they don't come much larger than Kraneo and Marco, and I always love when they cross paths. This seemed more violent than past confrontations, which always had more Kraneo stooging for Marco. This was much more them kicking each other's ass. Diamante Azul is a strong tecnico and probably underrated, and Vagellys is a great heavy who occasionally really steps up, Terrible is always a reliable asskicker, Caristico still has his value to a trios. That's a great lineup of guys for a quality trios. We get a couple nice fired up Diamante moments and Terrible beating him around ringside, Vangellys beats Caristico around ringside and hits a brutal atomic drop on the barricade, and when Kraneo starts mixing in this thing gets great. He punches Marco hard in the face, knees him in the gut, then really chokes him over the ropes while Mije kicks the shit out of Marco's face from the apron! Holy shit!! Terrible keeps smashing Azul into things at ringside, and Kraneo continues to mug Corleone, violently running in with a corner hip attack that whips Marco's neck.

The segunda has an awesome Diamante tecnico hero sequence, with Kraneo and Vangellys holding him while Terrible punches him in the face, and Diamante breaks free just to rip Terrible's shirt and throw it on the ground, only to get beaten back down by all three. Marco gets triple teamed next and his comeback is awesome, flying through the giant Kraneo and Vangellys with a shoulder separating shoulderblock, and Azul fires into the ring with an awesome superkick on Terrible, following it up with hard low dive. Tercera is filled with great moments, like Mije giving his best match performance of his life, with those earlier kicks on Marco, now grinding in his face and then slapping him in the tercera, allowing Kraneo to shoulderblock a distracted Marco (and then later Mije gets absolutely launched onto Kraneo by a Marco press slam). We do get great Kraneo stooging, taking a big bump to the apron that sees him slowly go high up and over, then he wobbly knee sells on the apron before getting upended by a Marco haymaker. Tercera is just packed with great tecnico/rudo showdowns, Azul getting great comeuppance against Terrible, plastering him with a flying elbow and putting him away by catching him midair and dumping him with a deadlift German. Vangellys does a lunatic spear to Marco on the entrance ramp, taking both out of the match. Kraneo catches a Caristico rana better than anybody you've seen take one, whipping over fast and sliding to the floor, then Carisitco flattens him with a heavy crossbody to the floor. This trios was all so awesome, you could realistically build three quality singles feuds off this one match, that's how good everyone matches up. Here's to more of this kind of lucha in 2018!!

PAS: There were a lot of really fun performances in this, I especially loved Mije, his Kawada kicks were awesome, he really laid it in for such a tiny human, I also loved Marco hurling him in the air like pizza dough. Kraneo has a great hip attack, he is a super fat dude, with a but that is outsized even for his big body, so it really looks violent when he smashes Marco with it. Last minute was really awesome and what got this match on a list for me. I loved Marco's ramp running in ring plancha, and the Vangellys intercepting it with a spear felt like the kind of thing that would be on an NFL films highlight before the league got all squeamish about head trauma.  Also really love Azul's German, he isn't a great luchadore, but that is one great German.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 140

Episode 140

Arik Royal vs. Jesse Adler

PAS: We have Royal putting together about the best possible match you can have with Jesse Adler. Royal is so good at getting a crowd roiled up, and Adler is pretty good at selling, so having Royal dominate and talk shit, while Adler sells is a good match layup. There were a couple of fancy spots which Adler didn't fully pull off (with the reverse rana in the Ultra J match, Splash mountain semi botch in the Attitude match, and Dragon Rana here, maybe they should stop trying to jack 1993 Rey Mysterio spots without 1993 Rey Mysterio). That final cut block looked great with Adler flying and a big impact

ER: The reign of terror is over! The match was the best match involving Adler that I've seen, although you had to buy into Adler being at minimum on an even level or higher than Royal, which I just could not do. I kept getting worried that I jinxed he result, as I stated when the match was set up that I just couldn't see any way that Adler beats Royal. And I was so adamant about it that it felt like I was giving the universe prime opportunity to show me why I specifically don't deserve nice things. But even with way too many shenanigans (far more than it should have taken for Royal to leave with the belt), I was not let down by the result. Some of the equivalency spots were cringe, like Adler somehow German suplexing Royal (i.e. Royal just leaping backwards on his own) or really any of Adler's big shots being treated as equal. Royal was great and Adler took a nice beating, and sold the leg admirably (after Royal catches a plancha and just whips him leg first into the ringpost). The leg injury made a couple things problematic, as really Adler shouldn't be able to suplex Royal with two good legs, let alone with a bad wheel. I weirdly thought the dragon rana spot worked, even if it was ugly. The ugliness kind of worked to its advantage, as this was no liquid smooth Rey flip into a faster Eddy flip, this was an ugly flip caught by Royal, and then forcing his body to roll through it as Adler's weight hung around Royal's neck. We get the visual pin from the standing shooting star press that I assume is supposed to connect, and it's silly we need Coach interference to get Royal a win over Adler, but this whole reign has come off kind of silly. That said, I thought the structure of the match worked, you just had to buy Adler as equal to or better than Royal, which....well there I go again.

Trevor Lee vs. Roy Wilkins

PAS: There was a bunch of individual stuff I really liked in this match (it would be hard not to have some cool stuff with guys this good), but as a match it never really came together for me. It is hard for me to be that engaged in a 3 on 1 match, especially because it made no sense that no one would ever come out to help Trevor. All Stars have run wild on the fed for years, and no one feels like evening the odds? Lots of triple and quadruple teams with Lee fighting out. When it was down to Lee v. Wilkins it was good stuff, but then the interference would come again. I really didn't like the finish either, having the main event of your biggest show determined on the Coach missing and hitting his own guy is pretty lame. I did like Lee's intensity, coming out with "No Matter What it's Still Going to Hurt" painted on his body was pretty badass, I also really dug all the hand work, it made a bunch of sense to stomp and crack someone's fingers if they are going to be using brass knucks. Still I thought this was pretty disappointing, the overbooked main event worked last year, but here it really hurt the flow of the match.

ER: CWF does overstuffed and overblown main events better than anyone else, but this never worked for me. First Blood matches are just about my least favorite stip match (out of stips that are used regularly), so I'm really eager to know if there are actual good ones out there. They seem so backwards. They really should do WarGames rules, where once one of the participants is bleeding, THEN the match officially begins. All the best brawls happen after the guys are already bleeding, so a First Blood match is essentially a "Match Immediately Stops Once Something Cool Happens". Additionally, they don't allow guys to make much sense psychologically, as 90% of things done in a First Blood match wouldn't draw blood. A First Blood match should pretty much be a 90 second long Frye/Takayama punchfest, with guys trying to bust open a nose or brow. That wouldn't be very interesting, so you have to work a mostly normal match, that just ends with no actual build to blood, just "Oh he's bleeding, match over!" So it already had things working against it, and the interference just made no sense to me. Sometimes they would wait until Redd Jones' back was turn, other times they would just all run in at once. It's why southern heel cheating rarely made sense in ECW. You have Coach setting up a cool timed spot where Jones gets distracted with Trevor on the top rope, Coach clips him in nasty fashion and Lee takes a nasty spill...but a few minutes later they're all just in anyway. If you have three guys interfering for you and that's fine, then why weren't they all four just brandishing chairs and gunning for Lee's head? Why didn't Wilkins/Royal/Li hold Trevor down while Coach takes a boxcutter to his forehead? If you're going to give a tainted title reign to someone, don't blue the lines. Now, I don't know if this actually will be a title reign or if it's just a "Wilkins stole the belt but Lee is the champ" situation, and if it is, who wants that? If they had pulled the trigger, had the All-Stars cheat like hell to get that belt, you could have Lee seeking sick sadistic vengeance on every one of them as he fights back to the title. Instead we might just get promos where someone is claiming to be champ but isn't. Everybody involved is good, and the match had several "main event of big show" moments. The final stretch battles of all the brass knux, with knux getting kicked out of hands, knux getting scrambled for, Lee baiting Wilkins into crawling for knux only to catch him in a powerbomb, and Brad Stutts leaving CWF on a high note with a great call of "Just how many pairs of knux we got in this place!?" The Cincinnati Destroyer spot was insane, and would have been a huge moment in a normal title match...but since this is First Blood, again, wouldn't it have made sense to just beat the holy hell out of your opponent's face with one of those chairs, instead of setting them up for a big spot? Why didn't Wilkins come out wearing a crazy Otto Schwanz face mask to protect his head? There were just too many things that didn't add up, and because of that I could never connect with any of it.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Hechicero vs. Satanico

7. Hechicero vs. Satanico Lucha Memes 2/5

PAS: This is such a fun match up, Hechicero is clearly a huge Satanico fan, and sets out to bump like crazy to get the old man over. Match opens with Hechicero knocking Satanico off the ring apron and going for a tope, only to take out the ref. Satanico pounds him a bit including hurling him into a great posting. We get some mask ripping, some really heavy blows by Satanico and Hechicero being a total pinball. At one point he places Satanico in a chair and goes for a running dive over the ring barrier and eats it on ten chairs. I think Satanico may have lost some steam at the end (this was really fast paced and he is in his 60s) as the finish was a little flat. Still this was a total blast, and I really hope they do the mascara contra cabellera match they were teasing.

ER: This is the second time these two have met in a singles, and this match is a better version of their 2017 match. After seeing that first match I noted that Hechicero seems like a younger, modern Satanico, and that's no different here. You can tell he's a fan and he goes out of his way to put over Satanico's legendary toughness. Satanico isn't as spry, but Hechicero makes up for it by missing big, flying all around the ring (and ringside) and letting Satanico work his close quarter game: He may not be as quick as he was, but get close and he'll still wallop you (his punches to the chest are still one of my very favorite strikes in wrestling). The dive spot on the floor was great, with Satanico laid out in a chair, seconds from being obliterated, Satanico moves at the last minute, and Hechicero goes sprawling through every chair in the section. I thought Satanico slowing down towards the end played into the match nicely. He got a great nearfall with a high leveraged backslide (with ref reappearing to count the close fall), and fought over a couple other great roll-ups, but it's played up like his last bit of strength. Hechicero starts picking him apart, hitting a big springboard lariat, a springboard dropkick, throws Satanico into the corner and he stumbles on his way there, leaving him prone to take a running Hech knee to the back of the head. Satanico is in it until the end, always threatening to catch Hechicero, in the same way you know Fujiwara is never quite out of a match, but it's too much. Afterwards we get a mask vs. hair challenge and man would it be great to see Satanico in one last apuestas.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 31: The Cup Runneth Over

ER: Did we know that Dario knew that Veneno was an undercover cop? I don't think we did. So Sexy Star gets another big stips match, though I doubt I'll be so offended by seeing Cortez Castro have to sell for her. This needs to end with Castro being unmasked, and the rest of the season spent with Dario holding him captive in some secluded shack, beating him with chains Vic Mackey style. This season feels like it has lacked Dario nefarious corporate takeover machinations. It is also revealed to us that we, the viewers, have lost a "Loser Still Has to Listen to Slapbak" contest.

TL: See, I again wonder why Cage just doesn’t do EVERYTHING with the glove on. Imagine him running the squat rack with that thing. Katrina doesn’t really convince me that she should have it, to be honest. And yeah, Sexy Star getting an apuestas match just seems like a giant trap to me. Like, they want me to care, but I have no reason to.

Fenix vs. Prince Puma

ER: I don't know if I really liked this match, but it felt like the exact big indy main event epic that they needed to have in this spot. It didn't really feel like an LU epic main event, definitely felt more like a modern indy big match epic, but "big match epic" felt right in this spot. I think it was more enjoyable than a lot of big match epics as it really only went around 10 minutes, even though these two can fit a lot of stuff into "just" 10 minutes. At minimum it was high energy even if it didn't totally add up to much, and I would have rather had Fenix get the big win. The crowd was going nuts through the whole thing and that added to the atmosphere (and Steve Agee fondling a large photo of Marty Martinez also added...something...to the atmosphere), and the speed they worked made played out spots like the (Mexican?) destroyer look really good. Naturally we get a standing strike exchange, but both guys were really laying it in and clonking each other in the head with hard elbows, and the double KO spot looked really good. Fenix hits a killer fast German suplex and a great kick to the back of the head, but hits Moth with a moonsault to the floor, allowing Puma to take over. Puma's finishing run all looked good, and lead to the huge nearfall where Fenix kicked out of a nasty captured leg driver.

TL: I’m all about this right here if they DON’T go the route of Puma/Fox, but we shall see. And 90 seconds after some neat chain stuff, they go right into the strike exchange that makes me want to turn off all indy wrestling. Just because both guys are over doesn’t mean you need to do a strike exchange. However, after that, things actually settle in and it really turns into a better match than the opening moments told for me. I'm getting really sick of Vampiro being a part of anything in 2017, and Muertes having to stare him down seems like an affront to everything Mil has become. Great finishing stretch, the Puma 630 where he pops up right after he hits it reminds me of all those times Barry Bonds stole a base and popped up after he slid. Just so athletic and smooth. Yeah, didn’t think I’d like this, but ended up being pretty fun.

Pentagon Dark vs. Mil Muertes

ER: Muertes is jumped by Cage backstage and gets his ribs smashed with a weight plate, which feels like both a great 80s angle and also like the only natural way that Cage can attack a man. If Cage were a video game boss you know you would have to dodge weight plates that he was throwing. So Muertes goes into the match with hurt ribs, which is good as I can't buy Pentagon as a threat to Muertes at this point. His stock has fallen way too much in my estimation, so giving him injured ribs to attack is a good use of Pentagon. I thought Pentagon looked pretty sloppy to start, stumbling into an armdrag attempt (which Muertes then refuses to go along with finishing the armdrag in an awesome spot) and throwing some slow kicks to the ribs (Pentagon may be the guy who the SMACK sound F/X are used most for). But his flip dive is nice and Muertes absorbs it all on the catch. Back in the ring and Muertes hits a great chokeslam and roughs up Pentagon on the floor. A fat Canadian stares down Muertes but Muertes still gets to spear Pentagon, powerslam him and continue roughing him up. Pentagon gets a comeback way too easily after all the damage he took, and he even superkicks Catrina from the apron (he looked more like he tried to shake toilet paper off his boot, but that sound F/X gunshot says otherwise) and hits the double stomp on those injured ribs for the win. I thought Pentagon looked mostly pretty bad here, and even with the rib injury I didn't buy him holding up through Muertes' offense. But, can't deny the crowd reaction for him. I just want more big deal Muertes main events.

TL: I agree that Cage using the glove to sneak attack Muertes was well done, although the weight stuff just makes me want to watch Enforcers matches. Cage as new-age Bill Kazmaier works to an extent. And yeah, I get what Eric is saying about Pentagon, but he’s basically done what all wrestlers who get over do: Minimize effort to their most over spots and only turn it on when the atmosphere dictates it. He’s been obviously coasting during this season, so the hope is that he turns it on in a big spot against Mil. I agree that Pentagon got a bit too easily back into the match, but I bought it a bit considering Mil came in hurt. At least more than I would have had Mil not been hurt. Sucks that’s Mil is not in the finals and that he’s onto a Cage match instead. Pentagon has phoned it in big time and it’s sad to see, to be honest.

ER: Dario says he wants Mysterio and Mundo out because he loves when guys talk shit about each other (his words), and Mundo gets some pretty good digs in at Rey ("Dominic must have gotten his size from his mother" is a pretty sick burn). Eventually we devolve into a pretty great locker room clearing brawl. Moth gets kicked down the stairs, Cage wrecks Mundo with a powerbomb, Vinny Massaro gets TV time by punching Joey Ryan around ringside, Rabbit Tribe eat carrots, Killshot and Fox look shitty while brawling, Puma hits the 630 onto 20 guys. I would have been fine with 10 more minutes of this.

TL: Absolutely howling that the security folks just let Rey not only knock Mundo out of the ring, but then LET HIM DIVE ONTO HIM, and THEN they go get him. And then one of them has to take a bump for Sexy Star. I’ve seen some bad professional wrestling security before, but that takes the cake. However, everything that happened after that was AWESOME. One of the best locker room clearing brawls I’ve ever seen. Just madness from start to finish and you get the pair-offs that will most definitely look towards Ultima Lucha III. Great stuff.




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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dick Togo's Killa Season Cam, No Lives Matter, Blam

Dick Togo v. Masao Orihara GUTS World 12/2/17 - FUN

PAS: This is an awesome on paper match, but it never delivers it's promise. Orihara, jumps Togo at the bell and the brawl into the crowd with Togo getting busted open. Orihara works him over until Togo gets an advantage and returns the favor and cuts Orihara. They then do this big punch and clothesline exchange until they both get KO'd. It is a cool match structure, but they never really deliver the intensity and execution to pull it off (which is weird for pro's like Togo and Orihara), it just feels like they are going through the motions. I mean you really should smash a guy if you want a KO finish, and this never felt like it got there. Still had some moments, but overall it was kind of a bummer.

ER: I liked this more than Phil, although I thought they probably needed a few more minutes to convey the kind of violence they were going for. This was a really cool, stiff body, hurts to bend down in the morning, old man brawl. Both guys are pushing 50 and I love a good old man brawl. I think the only real setbacks in the match were that we had some time spent in the dark where you can't really tell what violence was being inflicted on the other; for all I know they were doing some crazy stuff that would have easily bumped this up. At one point Orihara comes back from the dark bleeding, same with Togo. They may have been working a piranha death match, with all the killer fish stored in the dark. So we couldn't see some of the action in an already short-ish match, and the other setback was Togo not really bringing it at the same level as Orihara. Togo worked a lot of this like a young boy vs. a vet, really getting bullied around by Orihara. And Togo is great at that, as he always bumps big, so we had him bumping fast to the floor and taking a big backdrop and getting punched in the face, and Orihara continued his awesome "I can't bump much anymore so I'll hit you harder" brawling style, just kicking away heel to Togo's forehead, throwing great punches, big elbow drop; Orihara is basically healthy weight Abdullah the Butcher at this point, and I think he's great. So we had Orihara beating Togo down, and it was a good long beating, really building for a nice Togo fiery comeback. But when it came time for Togo's comeback, it didn't really explode like I was expecting. Togo is obviously good, but he used maybe too much of a "worked" style during his comeback, when the match was calling for more of an unhinged wild comeback. And because of that I don't think they ever really got to the point where the earned their KO finish. I couldn't call the match a bummer, there was too much great stuff that happened throughout - the first 90 seconds alone keeps this out of bummer territory - but it kind of played out like we were missing 7 minutes of the match somewhere (it's possible they went through a wormhole when they ventured to the dark parts of the building).

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE DICK TOGO

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 139

Episode 139

Logan Easton Laroux vs. Andrew Everett

ER: Good match, my favorite Laroux performance in CWF, and a damn impressive Everett performance. Everett is like a classic luchador: He started wrestling when he was practically too young to drive, has been doing it for ages even though he's in his mid 20s, has a soft body but pulls off incredibly graceful flying. Here they craft a super fun match around Everett flying around, wrecking his arm and shoulder on a risk, and then commits to selling that damn arm to the bitter end. Everett hits a huge Asai moonsault into the crowd, laying out both of them into chairs, but back in they do an expertly timed springboard spot that sees Laroux knock Everett off balance and crashing shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Laroux is really great condescendingly going after the arm, the best being simple push kicks to a downed Everett, hard enough to really rub it in. Everett straight commits  to letting everyone know his arm is killing him, and I love all that great theatrical wrestling, it's got an  awesome early 2000s indy charm. I remember seeing Mike Modest getting his arm worked over during a match and when he won and the ref raised his bad arm, Modest cringed and made him lift the other arm instead. Love it. Everett does all that great stuff like start to grab the ropes to climb them, then opts to pull himself up with one arm. It felt like Laroux should have really gone after the arm more viciously, but I still really liked what they went for here.

PAS: This was a more vicious Laroux performance away from being a really great match. Loved the bump on the turnbuckles which Everett took to set up the arm work, and Laroux's chicken wing using the ringpost was really nasty looking. Outside of that though, the punches, kicks and stomps by Logan needed more mustard on them to work with Everett's great selling performance. I need him to be more of a mauler, but I never felt the violence. Everett is a hell of a highflyer, he has tremendous explosion on all of his moves, that pele kick was as good as Meiko Satamura, which is high praise, and his SSP is really pretty. I hope him winning the belt means that he shows up more in CWF, I think an Everett v. Cain match could be really special.

Brad Attitude vs. Chet Sterling

ER: Another good one, although with an uncomfortable botch that's tough to ignore, and felt unnecessarily dangerous. Overall the match was a blast, with Sterling stepping up his brawling game and Attitude being the star that he is. All of Attitude's shots look great, and he does little dickish things during a beating like carefully re-smoothing his hair tuft. Sterling has a nice short right hand, good snap, and shakes the fist out nicely after the best ones. Fist shaking after a punch is something that will bump you up a hundred points on the SC500. The crowd brawl was fun, with Brad Attitude falling all over Dylan Hales in the VIP Suite, and Dylan being a good soldier by holding one of Attitude's arms back to make it easier for Sterling to get some chops in. Sterling pays him back by hanging him out to dry on a brutally long high five offering. Match threatens to derail when Attitude goes for an ill-advised splash mountain off the top, and it was supposed to be a Sterling reversal, but somehow both guys get dumped on their heads. It wasn't pretty, but it could have ended up a lot uglier than it really was. Still, Sterling has to sell like he reversed the bomb and didn't also get dumped on his head in nasty fashion, and it's hard to look past not selling what looked like the most insane (accidental) move of the match. But these two match up really well and I thought everything else in the match looked good. Attitude has great follow through on all his stuff, nice low superkick, spine shifting buckle bomb, and we had several convincing nearfalls. Finish was fun Attitude bullshit, with him distracting the ref to mule kick Sterling low, and Sterling catching the kick, leading Attitude to continue grabbing and shaking the ref to get his leg loose and kick Sterling low anyway. Sterling moves up the 500 even more by selling his balls while getting pinned after the match finishing shotgun kick.

PAS: I really liked this, and Sterling continues to have matches I enjoy, it is like he is going to force me to like him, I RESIST! Attitude is such a treat to watch. Honestly he is one of my single favorite guys in wrestling right now. I can't think of a better heel performer, he is such a naturally detestable guy, and is so great at both the little and the big things. He has an awesome spring board senton and flying kick, and a great forearm to the back of the head and flabbergasted sell. I love how he uses the ring apron powerbomb as a momentum changer, and how it sets up all of his future attacks. I didn't mind the botch that much, as it did look like Attitude took the worst of it. Finish was classic horse shit and the perfect finish for Attitudes character.

Cain Justice vs. Nick Richards

ER: I was wondering if Cain would kind of steamroll Richards, to show he was more than ready to step up, but I wasn't sure. We already saw a super quick Mike Mars win over Dirty, didn't think they'd go with another short match. But they did and I think they handled it great. Just like Daddy/Mars it was high energy bell to bell, with neither man holding back for any kind of stretch. They came in throwing, with Richards getting an early advantage and dumping Cain with a nice throw, but Cain catching him with a Crop Cop like high kick, just the heel of Cain's foot to Nick's neck. Cain hits his awesome pump kick, and in a flat out killer reversal Richards goes for the cutter but Cain catches him in a disgusting armbar. Richards' arm really looked hyperextended and I'm surprised he hung on as long as he did. Post match is great with Cain celebrating and Richards pissed, getting helped up.

PAS: This was great, I loved how intense both guys were, they figured if they were going to go three minutes, they were going to press down the pedal. I loved how Richards sold that big high kick, it totally scrambled his brains and he never was able to recover. Finish was my favorite finish of 2018, just a beautiful mid air reversal and Justice just wrenching the armbar, such a cool idea perfectly executed. I love both of these guys and hope we get a longer match down the road, but this was a hell of a three minutes.

C.W. Anderson vs. Ric Converse

ER: Two weeks ago we got the excellent show closing segment with CW cuffing Converse to the ropes but Converse holding the ace of an I Quit threat over CW. This week we get another set of excellent promos where CW talks about how saying "I Quit" 18 years ago has haunted him ever since (goddamn I need to go back and watch that Dreamer/CW I Quit, I haven't seen it since it originally aired) and CW is just SO so great in this promo, really a perfect wrestling promo. If his motivations were different, it could even be read as a babyface promo, confronting demons from his past. CW is the total complete package, one of the best in the world. Converse cut a great promo too, running down his history in wrestling and all of his memories and accomplishments. And you know he's torqued for this fight because he's sporting trunks!!

PAS: That promo was great, I love the idea of I Quit being the ghost that haunts Anderson. CWF does history better then any other fed in the world, and this is such a great setup of a hell of a match.

ER: And this match is awesome. They don't waste any time building to the violence, and within a minute CW is wearing a chair around his neck and getting beat with another chair. The match went quick and the violence ramped nicely. But CW had some nice tricks, including a bucket he brought with some weapons (a chain, barbed wire, a bottle) that would all get involved. CW was awesome as a Finlay type punisher, really feels like he's as good as any wrestler in the world these days. When he was in control he wouldn't let Converse rest for a second, kicking him hard while he was down on his way to get more weapons. CW integrates his wrestling well into a nasty match like this, firing off some perfect left and right hands (arguably best punches in wrestling today), wrenching Converse's arm in awful ways (beating it with a chair, bending and twisting it behind his back), sharp back elbows, his world class spinebuster, all paced perfectly. As often happens, the weapons one brings to a fight can be used against, and CW eats a huge rydeen bomb through a table, gets choked with a chain, Converse really gives as good as he gets. Cecil Scott on commentary was good at pointing out that they were far better off going for pain that a KO blow, how hitting a KO shot could work to your disadvantage in an I Quit match, how causing pain is better. And the finish couldn't have looked more painful, with Converse jamming a roll of barbed wire into Anderson's eye, getting a quick and fully understandable I Quit out of him. I loved this, just a great throwback brawl from a couple Carolina legends.

PAS: Totally great stuff, they come right out wailing, and they do some really violent work with chairs, including CW getting chair shotted while wearing another chair as a neckless. CW does some really painful looking arm work, including an armbar that looked nearly as nasty as Cain's the match before.  This was just two rawbone old pro's throwing bombs, no elaborate prop set ups, just a fist fight with occasional hurled chair or chain shot. I loved the finish with CW violently choking Converse with a chain, only for Converse to pull out a beer bottle from a mail bin like a close up magician and smash CW in the head. The barbed wire to the eye socket is a perfectly reasonable finish to an I Quit match, even one where Anderson vowed never to give up.

ER: Hard to get a better episode of wrestling TV than this. Three of these matches landed on our ongoing 2017 Match of the Year list, pretty neat from one hour of episodic wrestling and not just some "Greatest Hits" show.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Yoshiaki Fujiwara Died to Those Chains That Imprisoned Him

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Kazuo Yamazaki v. Antonio Inoki/Nobuhiko Takada Inoki Festival 12/30/95-GREAT

Nifty discovery, basically a UWFI tag with Inoki and Fujiwara on opposite sides. This was 2/3 falls and mostly focused on Yamazaki v. Inoki, which is an odd on paper match up. We open with a long Fujiwara v. Inoki grappling section which was the highlight of the match for me, those two have such good charisma, and while Inoki isn't on Fujiwara's level he has the credibility to stay with him. Fujiwara tags in Yamazaki and he Inoki kid of bull rushes him for the pin. Second fall has some Takada v. Yamazaki stuff, which is well executed but not my thing, and they have another Inoki v. Yamazaki showdown which ends with a Yamazaki kick to the face and him pinning Inoki. During the break between rounds Hashimoto comes out and yells at Takada. I kept waiting for the third fall to kick it up a notch, but the second Inoki v. Fujiwara face off wasn't as cool as the first, and Inoki sits in a Fujiwara armbar a bit too long before reversing it into an Octopus for the win. Overall a nifty match which feels a bit out of time in 1995.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 30: Bloodlines

1. Paul London/Mala Suerte/Saltador vs. Ricky Mandel/Taya/PJ Black

ER: This is just the goofy mess it should have been. Rabbit Tribe kept trying a bunch of silly double teams, with some of them working and some not (which, due to their gimmick, some of their stuff really shouldn't work all the time), but they're approaching it the right way. I usually dislike the "man wrestler turned on by woman wrestler" spots, but I was amused by London diving to get in the way of a potential Taya bronco buster. Maybe it just felt like he fully committed to the spot, really gleefully wanting it. So I suppose charm and committment is the key to making assault funny! I dug Jack Evans' sign ("If I was in the match we would have won by now") and Mala Suerte hits a kind of tornillo dive from the apron over the ringpost. This was fine.

TL: Wait, did Striker seriously say about Paul London, “He took the pill that made him bigger?” Like, he accused him of doing steroids or something? And then he immediately redeems himself by dropping WINK MARTINDALE’S name, which I know popped Eric like it did me. Just wait till I help turn SC into a “High Rollers” blog. We’re really close to becoming a Supermarket Sweep blog, anyways. On to the match, which is indeed a Rabbit Tribe trios match. The aforementioned Taya corner spot sure is something. Jack Evans as a character in a Looney Tunes episode with his signs is right up my alley. Enjoyable to say the least, as Rabbit Tribe has found a way to make the goofiness work. In the postmatch skit, really wish Evans had his whiteboard with him.

2. Jeremiah Crane vs. Mil Muertes

ER: YES! This was the match I was waiting for. After hearing all season from people who attended the tapings that "this season was the craziest yet" I have now spent 29 episodes being mostly disappointed. And it wasn't due to high expectations, the action just seems nowhere near as good as the first season. This match felt like the closest we've come to the best brawls of the series. I just love Mil in these crowd brawls. He's bigger than the guys we typically see moving through the crowds, so these shots from above feel more like helicopter shots of Godzilla wrecking everything in his path. The match starts at the top of the temple steps and there might not be anybody better than Crane at violently flying through rubble. He can bring violence, but he's best at inviting violence onto his own person. Muertes throws him through the bleachers, brutally through the chairs, in a fun moment he flapjacks Crane on the stairs' handrail and Crane slides all the way down to the floor bent at the waist. Muertes is a beast, and as he beat Crane with meaty fists I actually liked Stryker pointing out "this is why middleweights typically don't fight heavyweights". Crane goes for his bottom ropes tope and Muertes literally doesn't budge, Crane just bounces off of him. We get a bunch of chairs involved including hard shots to the side of the head and nasty spills into them. In an absolutely nuts spot Crane sets up a table on the floor and takes too long leering at Catrina, allowing Mil to come crashing to the floor with a spear. And the spear doesn't actually break the table! Crane goes flying and Muertes just bulls grossly into the table, later slamming Crane through the bent up table. Crane doesn't go down easy and I wouldn't expect him to and didn't want him to, and we get an appropriate amount of violence. This was everything I wanted out of it.

TL: So this match is supposed to be one of the highlights of this season from what I heard coming in, but that’s really all I heard. No specifics. This has also had a nice little build and is the first thing I saw when starting up these reviews with Eric. The fact it starts with Mil jumping Crane from behind during his entrance makes it stand out immediately. Then, they just absolutely beat the crap out of each other from that moment on, and as much as I’m hot and cold on Crane, when he decides to bump big and sell, he’s as good as anyone on the planet. This match basically requires it since Mil wants revenge for the cheap win earlier in the season, so Crane is from underneath and takes a great beating. The bottom rope tope suicida where Crane just bounces off Muertes is one of the best spots I’ve seen in quite a while. Muertes no-selling the spit chop gets a pop from me, and an even bigger pop when Crane readies the cannonball only for Muertes to freight train him. I mean, this is an absolute mauling by Muertes. Considering what we had seen Crane do in the tourney matches before this, it’s as if the bookers made this match to force him to sell. The best thing this match does is reinforce that Crane just keeps coming forward, but you just can’t do that against Mil, and when he goes down from the chair shots, it’s a big deal considering what Crane had absorbed all match. Then, as Eric mentioned with the table, Crane got a bit too happy he was finally on offense and took that nasty bump through the table off the spear. And then another powerbomb through the half-broken table. Crane’s comeback with the choke and then the cannonball through the table was well earned, but good lord almighty, THIS is the Crane I want. Mil Muertes is amazing. One of the best matches in LU history, and while the All Night Long match was definitely surprising in a way that made it better than it probably was, this match is right there with it, maybe even more so.

TL: FBI agent coming into Cueto’s office and it ISN’T Burt Macklin? No dice.

3. Texano vs. Pentagon Dark

ER: This was fine considering the dropped stock of both guys (for my personal viewing), and I'm happy Pentagon advanced as I actually could have seen something ridiculous like Texano advancing to the finals. The Famous B stuff feels far too distracting considering they have seemingly been involving Pentagon in "serious" angles. So having him out in a serious fight with Brenda screaming at ringside for most of the match feels off. But I liked the horseshoe finish and Pentagon made the punch count. The arm breaking stuff is pretty stupid at this point, and having Pentagon break Brenda's arm to a huge babyface reaction makes a lot of the "under-advantaged women fighting for themselves" stuff they've done seem pretty pointless (if it hadn't already felt that way). Sexy Star has taken up too much time on TV being "a superhero to abused girls everywhere", and a bunch of dudes still jumping up and down while Brenda screams in pain seems like we went through countless bad segments for nothing. But I guess it's kewl because Pentagon has zero fear? I'm glad he was able to finally stand up to Brenda.

TL: I guess they had to figure out a way for Texano to basically go 50/50 with Dark considering how he was booked in the tourney, but this match didn’t really do much of anything for me considering they had to get Famous B and Brenda involved. Have no idea why Pentagon of all people needs to be winning a match with a foreign object, but that’s what this match ended with. (I agree that it was a good shot, though.) Just one of those matches that advanced nothing. Postmatch was disturbing and rendered Sexy Star pointless, so at least that happened.

TL: Eric absolutely no-selling the amulet stuff with Katrina that’s obviously a rip-off of Legends of the Hidden Temple is beyond me. Considering he’s the only person I know who loved that show more than me, I would have at least expected a Purple Parrots reference or something.


ER: We are now slowly transitioning into a Legends of the Hidden Temple/Supermarket Sweep blog. Gotta do a crowd opinion poll and see how many people would be down for show reports. We can count how many awkward high fives occur between the pre-teen members of the opposite sex, chart the disappointment on partners faces when they get stuck with a dummy partner on the Steps of Knowledge, report on Kirk Fogg's improv abilities as he stretches for time while interviewing contestants about their crystal horse collection....this feels like a dangerous suggestion.




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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Eric Views and Hollas for Suzukawa

"Disgraced Sumo". I'm not really sure if there are two words, when coupled together, that would make me want to watch a wrestling match more than those two. Off the top of my head I can think of several coupled words that would certainly make me prioritize a match:

"Fat Guys"
"Necro Butcher"
"Unseen Berzerker"
"Lucha Blood"
"Upset Hansen"

If someone describes a match to me using those two words, I'm going to watch that match really damn quick. But I think Disgraced Sumo might be at the top of the list. You're going to get a guy who at minimum seems uncooperative, who has gone through psycho training and is showing how tough he still is, and immediately has an aura of being a bad guy. Suzukawa has cornrows and large kanji tattooed across his back (which seems weird, I thought we were the only ones dumb enough to do that?), a bored expression permanently etched across his face, and he fought Cro Cop in a dangerously revealing mawashi. But sadly, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of Suzukawa wrestling matches available to watch. I loved him in his match against Josh Barnett, which sent me searching for more, only to find out that NEW - the offshoot of IGF that Inoki supposedly set up to make Suzukawa a star (which is weird in itself, as you'd think Shinya Aoki would be a bigger star) -  is no more, as Suzukawa opted to leave. So this is what we have for now. Let's dive in to the last of the Disgraced Sumo.

Shinichi Suzukawa vs. Super Tiger (IGF/NEW 5/12/17)

ER: This is disappointing, only because due to the file size (8 minutes) I assumed we were getting their 5/27 match, which was under 8 minutes. But it's merely the last 5 minutes of their 5/12 30 minute draw, and then we get clips of their other two matches, including 5/27 (which took place outdoors at an amusement park!!). We get some cool stuff, like Suzukawa hitting a nice rolling kick and slapping Tiger around, Tiger hitting a cool hook kick, but for this being the final 30 minutes of a draw it didn't feel like much of anything had been built. It felt like the first 5 minutes of a match, with a bell ringing suddenly to signify that it's over. I wish we had the amusement park match, I really liked the visual of Suzukawa hitting a bunch of nasty sumo slaps in the corner while a roller coaster goes by in the background.

Shinichi Suzukawa/Keisuke Okuda vs. Kazunari Murakami/Kohei Sato (IGF/NEW 6/2/17)

ER: This is not what I was hoping for (I wanted more of a Suzukawa showcase) but what we got was weird, unprofessional, and ended like a badass Seijun Suzuki movie. Sato and Okuda are out first, and stand opposite each other in the ring for a bit too long waiting for the other two. Murakami comes out in a weird shark skin suit (with fighting gloves) and just Murakami's all over the place. Everything just got all Murakami'd up. He sulks in the corner and makes his awesome disgusted bad guy faces, then he drags Okuda out of the ring and dishes a beating on the floor while nobody does much to stop him. He tries to break Okuda's arm by forcing it around a ring barrier, tosses him into the post, banks his face off the barrier (cutting him open big) and rubbing the seams of his gloves in Okuda's cut and choking him in front of some ladies in the crowd. Suzukawa steps in and gets beaten with a chair, Sato takes some shots at Okuda, it's all very one-sided. Suzukawa is mostly a non-factor, this was all about Murakami and Sato roughing up Okuda, and the match ends about 6 minutes in with minimal opposition.

BUT!

BUT!!

Suddenly, Murakami is confronted at ringside by FUJIWARA! Fujiwara is also wearing a suit, and looks appropriately, expectedly badass. Murakami is still, Fujiwara's fist is clenched. Fujiwara is shaking. Fujiwara's anger builds...and then, he extends an open hand to Murakami, who shakes his hand! Fujiwara reaches into his suit jacket and hands a folded note to Murakami, who eyeballs it and laughs before walking away.

WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY WILL WE NEVER SEE THE CONCLUSION TO THIS ANGLE!?

This was the coolest Lucha Underground angle ever filmed, Yakuza Boss Fujiwara paying off noted asskicking grump Murakami to destroy those who have done wrong. Phil and I talked earlier today and he said he watched a 2002 Z-1 show where Murakami and Ogawa get into it after a match and people have to hold Murakami back. Phil excitedly looked to skip ahead to see a Murakami/Ogawa blowoff that nobody has ever talked about...only to find Murakami didn't make it back to Z-1 for another 3 years! Murakami is officially the master of starting the greatest angles that had no kind of finish. Murakami was The Higher Power. Murakami was the Hummer Driver. Murakami was behind GTV. Murakami is the absentee father who convinces you that THIS TIME he's going to be there. Murakami is cruel.

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Friday, February 09, 2018

BCW Pro Wrestling North Carolina 10/8/17

ER: This is the kind of show I would be attending if I lived in the southern United States, the kind of show where the ring is set up outside in the backyard of a bar, nice balmy October day, a bunch of kids sitting on chairs in gravel, cars parked everywhere, just great aesthetics for a southern wrestling show.

1. Kool Jay/Labron Kozone/James Ryan vs. Chris "TNT" Taylor/"Big Bite" Martinez/Semi Mutina

ER: I'm mostly unfamiliar with half the guys in the match, and this isn't a very essential trios match, but it's good for making mental notes on guys you haven't seen much, filling in blanks on guys, forming opinions and giving you a history when you see them in other matches. Semi Mutina looked like Big E, only a foot shorter and instead of a powerlifter build he had more of a "fat guy who has really been working out" build, and a cool Afrika singlet. Sadly he seemed really lost whenever he was in there, so I'll have to let his actual ability catch up to his cool fat guy charms. Big Bite was tall and lanky and pulled out some smooth exchanges, nice high vertical leap enziguiri, and hit a huge splash off the top. Him I'd like to see more from. I finally got to see Kool Jay in a longer match, although once he was in with Mutina who ended up out of place and kind of hung Jay out to dry on a flying something-or-other off the top. But Jay had an awesome full leg extension superkick and the flat out greatest chop block I've ever seen, just flying across the ring. It was cool seeing Jay as more of an offense guy than as a big bumping guy, though even with that chop block he's still probably best as a big bumping guy.

2. Snooty Foxx vs. Tre G

ER: First time seeing Tre G and I am definitely down for more. He's a great guy to have on an indy card, with some good shtick and nice basics. He jumps Snooty before the bell, throws nice punches (including some blistering lefts down the stretch), mule kicks Snooty down low, throws a decent spinebuster, drew heat with a somewhat scattered quiet crowd (including from one woman who absolutely would not let up on him the entire match) and bumped great for Foxx. Snooty looked good and had a very impressive rookie year. I like that all the things he can do, he can do against guys his size. That's important. It's easy to look good squashing little guys, Foxx gets regularly put opposite big guys, and it works. He doesn't wimp out on lariats or shoulderblocks (and G leans way into a mean shoulderblock here), has that great back elbow, and plants G with a powerslam. Good match, would love to see more of G.

3. Cain Justice vs. Number Dad

ER: Number Dad is Kamakazi Kid in full "work furlough Call of Duty marathon" gear, gym shorts, too tight shirt stretched over ample belly, Nike cross trainers, white socks. He's certainly in dad mode. But his work is good! He's a guy with great basics, and that's a guy Cain can play off nicely. Dad cuts low on clotheslines, hits some meaty clubs to the back, takes a nasty flip bump on a Cain lariat, throws a nice back elbow, good old school stuff like raking Cain's eyes across the top rope, good banter. He's a local guy you'd look forward to seeing on shows like this. Cain is as fun as you would expect, and it's great seeing him work armbars and throwing mean kicks on an outdoor daytime show, getting beaten into the crowd, rolling in gravel, all fun stuff. The match noticeably kicks up a notch halfway through: Dad does a comically bad Fargo strut and misses a really high standing legdrop, then Cain wastes him with a punt, and hits a brutal flying knee off the top, just right to the chin. Dad is great at leaning into all of Cain's strikes, and Cain throws a couple of KO kicks down the stretch. Dad gets a cool reversal by rolling through one and hitting a fireman's carry slam. Cain finds a nice way to get to the Twist Ending, throwing Dad off the top turnbuckle by the arm and locking it in for the insta-tap. I thought this would be a kind of goof around fun match, and it got a lot meaner than I was expecting, to all of our benefit.

PAS: Pretty strange to see Cain working as full babyface, he is pretty good at it and I imagine when he turns in the CWF Sportatorium it will be like babyface Buddy Rose levels of awesome. Number Dad has a really nasty eye poke, he really looks like he puts his whole wrist into it, I liked how they set that up as a big move which Cain reversed at the end to lead to the twist ending. This isn't as good as the Mitch Connor or Cecil Scott match but you can tell how great Cain is at working veterans, I want to see Cain work Michael McAllister, Ric Converse and Boogie Woogie Rob McBride.

4. Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. Mitch Connor

ER: Sharpe has some real good crowd work to start, telling the crowd about his $12,000 robe and personally walking it to the back because he doesn't trust the people to not steal it. Match was goofy fun although it got way too silly at the end with Sharpe challenging Connor to a rock/paper/scissors contest that went on too long before an abrupt finish. But we got fun moments, like Connor battering Sharpe in the ropes like a teeter totter, clubbing him every time he would spring up. We got some Dusty moments from both, with Sharpe floating like a butterfly and nailing punches, and Connor hitting big elbows. I like Sharpe's over the shoulder jawbreaker, liked Connor taking him down with a choke and Sharpe yelling while trapped, but the silliness was a flat note to end on.

5. Cam Carter vs. Jesse Adler

ER: This wasn't bad, and probably better than all the Adler matches I disliked in CWF. That's probably because Adler didn't have a belt here, and his offense wasn't treated like somehow better than his opponent's because of that belt. Adler feels like a good indy worker from 1998, a guy that you'd see on tape and think he had potential to be a Kidman type, and then it never happens. His style feels dated, but he's okay at some things. Carter bumped around big for his Superman punch comeback, and Adler seems athletic for a guy who can come off sorta unathletic. But I'm glad Carter got more of a shine here, liked his Angle slam and some low key flying, but I also can't deny that the crowd was far more into Adler. Sometimes guys connect with crowds for reasons I can't understand, but connection is connection, and it's important.

6. Lee Valiant vs. Nick Richards

ER: I like Richards' goofball charm, slapping fives with practically every person in attendance, not even waiting for people to want the fives, just walking all around the lot fiving and fist bumping. Valiant is good at getting under people's skin, and this was good until it suddenly ended. It was really short, maybe three minutes. Everything in the three minutes was good, but we could have at least extended it out to a decent Worldwide length. Valiant always does little things I like, chokes guys in the ropes, yanks them by the waistband into the buckles, a good stooge. Richards is a good babyface and Valiant flew into the cutter, but this needed more time.

7. Arik Royal vs. Chet Sterling

ER: I love Royal entrances on shows like these, he's a good "trash talker in passing", teasing older ladies, selectively slapping fives, knows how to appropriately trash talk kids, it's always a treat. We also sadly only get part of a conversation between two women in the crowd who say "No he's the daddy but he takes care of him." That's a wrestling show conversation snippet right there, baby! This match was a blast, perfect kind of match for this audience. They brawl all through the crowd and Royal is GREAT at safely brawling through crowds. He's so good at it. He falls all over everyone, gets punched into ladies, gets hit by kids, chopped by women, and Sterling awesome tightens things up for the close proximity fans. They brawl under every canopy, Royal slams his head into every table in the backyard, they brawl up to the patio and hit each other amongst all the t-shirts stretched over beer bellies. Sterling throws some nice short right hands all throughout, and Royal takes shots into a table better than most. Sterling throws great right hands during the crowd brawl, at one point shaking out his fist for a good 8 steps after punching. I'll always love that. We do get some silliness for the finish, with Sterling hitting the People's Elbow (like 18 years after its peak), but does amusingly undo his wrist tape (since he wasn't wearing elbow pads). I liked their struggle over finishers back in the ring, usually those reversal struggles can seem too dance-y but here they somehow made fighting over an Overdrive look like they were getting arms bent in nasty ways. I will always go out of my way to watch Royal in a situation like this, but Sterling delivered too.

8. Trevor Lee vs. Lance Lude

ER: I really dug this. Trevor came out in gym shorts and wrestling shoes mode, and Lude worked as a tiny ragged heel. Lude's physical transformation is one of the better ones in wrestling. He used to be a kind of tinier Matt Sydal, now he's hairy and scruffy and has drunken sailor eyes. They brawl around the yard just like Royal and Sterling before them, a risky move since it literally had just happened, but they add some new twists and make it feel a little more reckless, sending a mother scrambling to shield her youngsters. Trevor gets the crowd to count a long on the outside while he holds Lude in a vertical suplex, but it takes so long that Lude is able to knee his way out of it. Main event Trevor Lee is a good formula at this point, and Lude might be the smallest guy we've seen work the formula so far, and it still works. Lude attacks with quick dropkicks and a big double kneedrop off the top for a good nearfall, and I liked him working heel (just as I also like his babyface Ducks work). Lee is always good at comebacks against heels, not hesitating to match jerk moves. Here he's good at running into Lude's boots, but also has no problem doing a finger break, does an awesome press slam (ending it by flexing one bicep while holding Lude up with one arm) and absolutely crushes him with a match ending double stomp. Fun main event to cap off a fun no frills show.


COMPLETE & ACCURATE CAIN JUSTICE



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