Segunda Caida

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Wrestlemania Weekend Cherry Picking: WWNLive SuperShow - Mercury Rising 2018

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Munenori Sawa

PAS: Sabre actually worked a FUTEN show in 2015, and seems to be really excited to work a BattlArts guy. He keeps this mostly BattlArts style, with the matwork being pretty shooty, and really dialing down his flourishes (in fact any of the goofy stuff in the match was done by Sawa). There is some really nice grappling early. With Sawa working for leglocks, and Sabre attacking the arm. They exchange some nasty slaps to the ear which is the stiffest I can remember Sabre working, he really laid into Sawa and bloodied his mouth. Finish run was awesome, with Sabre yanking Sawa out of the air on a kick attempt and putting on a nasty STF variation. After Sawa gets to the ropes, they exchange some shots, and Sabre does another cool counter as he ducks the Ohtani punch and drags Sawa down into a sleeper which he quickly transitions into a banana split for the tap. I really liked this, it was one of my favorite Sabre performances, it wasn't his best match, but I thought he maximized the cool shit, and minimized the dumb shit in a really entertaining way.

ER: This was maybe the most savage I've ever seen Sabre work, and it's on the same card that will later see Riddle work like a total lunatic. I had thought of skipping this match as I thought they would bring out bad tendencies in each other, but I was wrong. The rolling is really fun and springy and you get the sense that Sabre can just grab a limb whenever he wants. Really I would have been cool with it staying there, but we forget that Sawa came back after 7 years to get his body and face attacked. Sabre brings his best ever smacks and uppercuts, and before long it looks like Sawa has a port wine stain on his neck and chest. Sabre can come off cocky even when facing guys way larger, so it's fun watching him be so smug and jerky to a guy smaller than him. He was really picking on Sawa, but I loved how he sold for Sawa's stuff, love how he crumpled on the Ohtani punch, loved Sawa yanking and twisting his leg and ankle on the apron. But Sabre was pretty relentless, really seeming like he could bully Sawa around and grab an octopus whenever he wanted, and the banana split finish was a real trip. Sawa looked like he was tied to two trucks driving in the opposite direction, and Sabre soaks up the adulation from fans afterwards. Great performance, a real smug cad, and a fun note to go out on for Sawa (unless this is him back in wrestling?). Killer match.

Dominic Garrini/Tracy Williams vs. Anthony Henry/James Drake vs. Parrow/Odinson

ER: Big old sloppy weapons brawl between teams that I'd rather just see in a straight match. This was fun, except for all of the moments that were dumb. Really the problems all could have been avoided by just having a straight tag match with any combination of the teams. The best moments of the match were always when one team was gone missing for several minutes. The End may have spent more of the match hiding in the entranceway - which is weird for the two hulking gladiators of the match to be doing - or selling injuries on the floor from moves meant to take them out of the match. But they were also the victims of cruelly rigid tables, absolutely refusing to cooperate. Parow gets powerbombed through a table, only to slide off as the unbroken table gets pushed away. Odinson gets double stomped through one, but just eats a double stomp with no breaking table. The dumbest parts were always setting up a 3 way spot, peaking with "stereo" top rope suplex/powerbomb spots that the crowd groaned through. I don't think anyone wants to see tower spots anymore. Tower spots are over. The risk of injury never feels worth the end result. The match did have a bunch of guys throwing hard. Williams was really pasting guys with elbows, so was Henry. And the chair/ladder shots were actually pretty great in a reckless Eddie Kingston way. Drake and Garrini throw ladders hard at Odinson, Parrow eats a couple chairshots to the chest, tough stuff. Garrini was part of a couple great moments, hitting a somersault dive off the top, getting his feet slammed in a ladder and hit with chairs, and getting pounced through a set-up-in-the-corners table by The End. Henry & Drake do a huge extended beatdown of the End before finishing the match, it actually made them come off totally badass. The End never even attempted a comeback, just Henry & Drake beating them with chairs and ladders and a big fat Drake moonsault. Between hiding in the entrance for the first several minutes, and getting a few minute beating to end the match, The End didn't exactly come off like contenders. A gif of this match would be really fun, but there really was a lot I liked about it.

Keith Lee vs. Daisuke Sekimoto

PAS: Pretty much exactly what you want out of this match up, a pair of big corn fed dudes throwing chops and forearms at each others chests.  Sekimoto may make some goofy faces for no good reason, but he is a crowbar. He was throwing really nasty meaty forearms and big chops, and Lee was pounding him back. That double over hand chop spot by Lee is really something to see. I thought this fell off a bit when they started doing top rope moves, but that closing german suplex by Sekimoto was gorgeous.

Timothy Thatcher/WALTER vs. Chris Dickinson/Jaka

ER: A good tag match that felt like it should have been hitting me harder than it actually did hit me. I enjoyed all of it and obviously like both teams, but I kept getting weirdly distracted wondering why it wasn't totally connecting with me. I'm really like Jaka right now so I was into his beatdown building to a big tag out to Dickinson, liked his big kicks and German suplex to Thatcher before Dickinson came in and roughed him up more. Dickinson hot tags are some great pro wrestling, he always comes in fast and swinging. Jaka has a fun twist on Islander striking, and even goes for a Kona Crush head squeeze which...yes I just confirmed, Hawaii is an island. We get consecutive hot tags, as Jaka builds to tagging Dickinson, and they isolate Thatcher which builds to a big WALTER tag. WALTER, you may have noticed, has some great hot tags. WALTER comes in on a chop rampage, and I love when he goes for a double clothesline, only gets Jaka, rebounds off the other side and meets Dickison with a boot. The match peaks with my favorite moment, WALTER getting Dickinson in the Gojira Clutch only for Jaka to save him with a huge full force splash off the top. But I kept wondering why I was never fully hooked, and I think it was just because there weren't really defined face/heel roles, just four good wrestlers who are capable of working both (though I suppose when in doubt, just assume Dickinson is the least likable one), and while they built to tags there was still a lot of this that felt like a Texas Tornado. The work looked great, but it felt cluttered and compressed. I think it needed more of a peaks/valleys set up. At minimum it was four guys I like, working hard in a tag match, and that will have a lot of value.

Will Ospreay vs. Matt Riddle

PAS: Riddle continues his incredible Mania weekend with a wild sprint with Osprey. Osprey comes in with his neck taped from a gif worthy blown spot in New Japan, and Riddle just viciously attacks him. He really feels like he wants to knocks his blocky yellowed British teeth down his throat. Osprey gets his neck wrecked with Riddle just crawling all over him and landing sick elbows right to the KT tape on his neck. The spot where Osprey climbs to the top rope with Riddle on his back, only to get murder deathed off the top rope was truly nuts. I honestly would have been fine with the match ending there, it would have established Riddle as a vicious killer, and Osprey as a tough guy with a death wish. The post restart stuff was great though, the crowd gets totally behind Osprey and his comeback and it ends up being really frenzied and great. I wouldn't think these guys would work well together, as Riddle against flyers is often iffy, but this was a hell of war. Loved it.

ER: Man, do I like small occasional doses of Ospreay?? He's got an overly sleek athleticism that annoys me sometimes, but he also is like a super gymnast Chris Hamrick in his dedication to going through painful spots for the sake of a worked injury. That's a pretty big thing. His match with Liger got a little ignored compared to other matches on that card, but his injury in that was super convincing and hooked me in. And here he gets dumped on his neck early with an exploder and is squeezing and rubbing that neck out from there. And Riddle aims to just wreck Ospreay's neck in as many ways as he can think of. Riddle was pretty merciless, really hitting too damn hard with elbows and kicks, and punishing Ospreay's neck. The fans get way behind Ospreay as some of the damage starts to feel almost uncomfortable at a point, due to Riddle relentless attack and Ospreay's selling. Ospreay gets one big run that Riddle treats like a big deal, but before long Riddle is tossing him with rolling gutwrenches, wastes him with a powerbomb that gets followed up with a knee (that really bends Ospreay back over himself in painful fashion), and things peak with Riddle going for a sleeper and then the Bromission, throwing a bunch of elbows at Ospreay's head, and we get this crazy moment of Ospreay climbing the ropes with Riddle holding a sleeper....and Riddle does a Crucifix Driver off the top and several people clearly jump up as if they've just witnessed the death of Will Ospreay. The stoppage was nice as Riddle comes back and destroys Ospreay with knees, rips at his tape, hits a huge senton, plants him with a jumping tombstone, looking completely deranged. We do run a little crazy with all the kickouts down the stretch, but I did really love Ospreay's triangle couter to Riddle;s piledriver. Riddle was great at struggling to escape, rolling around, trying to stand, trying to strike at Ospreay, then gets just totally laid out by an Ospreay lariat and snapped in half by a sitout powerbomb. So the last couple minutes of this were insane, most definitely overkill, but the savagery in Riddle's face woke this crowd up HUGE. If all this came at the end of a 24 minute match, I'd be out, but here I liked how the insanity just kept ramping up. You got the actual sense that the match would continue until one guy was actually injured.


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