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

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

ALL TIME MOTY LIST Head to Head 2002: Ki vs. Dragon VS. Ki vs. Red

Low-Ki vs. Amazing Red PWF 11/10/02

PAS: Breathtaking stuff, I think there is a solid argument for this being the best juniors rivalry in wrestling history. The stuff they were doing felt like the future of wrestling while it was going on, but it turned out that they were the only guys who could do it. The opening Kung Fu movie battles between these two are always incredible, this was one of the coolest, I loved Ki head butting Red's fist on the punch, who the fuck thinks of that,   but they kept it up the whole match. Just mind bending physics throughout, there is this crazy knuckle lock sequence which has Ki throwing elbows in the corner, while having his knuckles locked, Red hits a La Mistica style DDT as fast as I have ever seen it. There is some real textbook Ki brutality, he obliterates Red with a kappo kick and nearly rips his body in half with the Ki clutch. The two lost legends of 21st century wrestling, this should have been on a Dome show or at Wrestlemania, but it was great to see in a random gym in Pennsylvania.

ER: Phil brought up the idea of these two having the greatest juniors rivalry of all time, and it's an idea that on mention seems kind of ridiculous, but really only because that early 2000s New Jersey indy scene doesn't get the same level of respect/adoration/acclaim that lesser stuff seems to get. Is it because it happened during the VHS/DVD transition period, so it was not only seen less, but also didn't see as much of it survive a widespread media transfer? I'm not sure the reason both men aren't more acclaimed, but Red is one of the more underrated wrestlers of the last couple decades, and Low-Ki has consistently been one of the best workers in the world for two decades. Their matches together felt revolutionary at the time, and I still think they're just as exciting. Their style was imitated often, but rarely as interestingly. In fact a lot of the modern awful sexy dance fighting that would be direct descendants of these two are actually missing a lot of the parts where you're trying to actually hurt and pin your opponent. This match was choreographed, but there were no moments where either guy was showing off who had the better handspring backflip pose off the ropes, instead the choreography was used to block hard strikes or do violent leg sweeps. Ki is one of those wrestlers whose stuff always looks great, but always makes opponents' stuff look the better than ever. So he'll kick Red square in the chest a few times, but also get totally upended on a leg sweep, flip fast on a Code Red, rotate dangerously fast into the mat on La Mistica DDT (no clue how you go that fast and not crash chin first into the mat), or whipping himself face first into the top buckle off a Red headscissor counter; and while Ki took a lot of this match, he took Red's offense so great that Red always looked in it. The countering really is breathtaking, so many cool moments like Ki blocking a fast punch with a headbutt, fast kicks getting blocked by forearms or caught into dragon screws, and not one time do we ever see that vacant look in either man's eyes, that moment that you see a lot in wrestling, when guys are thinking of the next sequence. These sequences are all so quick and pulled off so convincingly that it's amazing how unplanned all of the planned stuff comes off.

Ki vs. Dragon Review

Verdict:

PAS: Ki vs. Danielson is always awesome, and the JAPW match is especially to cool to watch them torture each other, but I have seen RINGS and BattlArts, I never saw this. Red vs. Ki is a style that only they did and I think this was their best match. I am giving it the win.

ER: This is a special match, and a special feud, but I gotta go with Dragon/Ki. That match hit a level of violence that this one didn't quite reach, and while we've seen RINGS before I don't think any part of that match came off as Japanese imitation, in fact there were elements of that match that I don't think have been duplicated by anyone since. Both matches still feel innovative, I just think Dragon/Ki has even more substance. Split vote, champ retains.

NOTE**Feel free to watch this match on mute or while listening to some favorite tunes (here's a cool EP by a band called Flat Worms, with a song called "Red Hot Sand", you know, because you're watching Red) so that you don't have to suffer through the racist commentary stylings of Gino Giovanni. His portrayals of Asians make Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's look woke.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Brett said...

Too late, I HATED that commentary!! I would've been happier listening to anything else than those fuckheads! But, I do appreciate the links to the matches and recommendations. Cool match, but I liked Danielson/Ki a lot better.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Patrick McGovern said...

among the worst indy commentary I've ever heard. and that covers a LOT of ground. great match though, I find Red hit and miss but he always hit when he was with Ki.

5:49 PM  

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