Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Bad News Berzerker Goes to Japan: Part 8, Giant White Men


Steve Williams vs. John Nord (AJPW 3/5/94) - EPIC

ER: I'm not sure what the thinking was behind have Nord work singles matches against all the other gaijin on the tour, but I like that it happened. You don't get many gaijin on gaijin singles from All Japan, especially from someone like Nord who was only there previously to tag with big white guys and not actually work against big white guys. This match isn't even part of the Champion Carnival, most of which appears to be not on tape and is a colossal shame as it has singles matches against practically every single native you could possibly want to see Nord matched up against (Kawada, Honda, Taue, Akiyama, Kobashi) and hopefully some man was sitting in the crowd with a camcorder. No, this singles is the very end of Nord's second tour with AJPW (Champion Carnival was his third and final), and Nord goes alllllll the way out and works like a maniac who is going to have a couple weeks off to rest his body. Dr. Death is also a lunatic in this, and this match is definitely the closest we've come to the classic Berzerker style in All Japan. In even the best of his All Japan matches we've so far seen him work as a fairly normal member of a tag team or trios. Here he is unleashed Berzerker, lariating Death as Death casually jogs to the ring and begins running the ropes. Lariating Death: The John Nord Story. The whole opening is great, as Death pops up pissed and the smack each other around the face a bunch, Nord hits his huge dropkick to send Death into the ropes (I imagine getting hit by that is like getting hit by an Ewok log trap), rushes at him and takes a massive backdrop bump over the top to the floor. We haven't gotten a ton of Nord bumping big to the floor in AJ, and as I'm thinking about giant dudes flying, Dr. Death hits a tope through the ropes that crashes Nord back of head first into the barricade, and then plants Nord with a Oklahoma Stampede on the concrete (after moving back the mats, naturally). Holy cow. That's what happens when you ambush Dr. Death, I suppose.

BUT Nord gets to break out his own craziness, and Doc takes maybe the craziest bump I've ever seen from him. He has Nord on the top buckle, about to suplex him, and Nord just throws this brutal, full arm, Hansen style lariat, and Doc flies off the top rope and tumbles all the way to the floor. Good god. AND for the very first recorded time since mid-1991, Nord breaks out his wild plancha to the floor, wild not just because he's 300 lb., but because he does his plancha to people who are lying down! And it's not typically a splash, it's a giant man flinging himself to the floor and landing all of his weight on his opponent. He's dropped knees, elbows, done Bombs Away butt drops, all because he's mostly out of control flying to the floor. Here he lands on Death and steamrolls over his body, then tears the mats away, kicks Death in the head a bunch, keeps comedically rolling back into the ring to break the count while Higuchi tells him to not do what he's about to do...and then piledrives Death on the concrete. For some reason, the camera crew totally AAAs it and right as he's about to hit the piledriver they just drift off to the right, showcasing nothing. We think we saw a piledriver, he has traditionally hit a piledriver there, but we didn't actually see a piledriver. I few presume that a large white man piledrove another large white man, but none of us actually saw the piledriver...did this piledriver happen? No matter. The match starts with big fireworks and some wild "last night of the tour" moments, and we cool it down, Berzerker drops a few slams, hits a splash, goes up to the top rope...and missing a gigantic kneedrop in absolutely brutal fashion. I mean, I get it's the last night of the tour, but there is zero reason for a 300 lb. man to leap off the top rope onto his patella. Nord grabs at his leg, and I always like his selling as he always flops around and yelps like a dog that got bit by a raccoon. Death plants him with a backdrop driver, and until this post I never thought of all of the stupidest pulp noir paperback potential in just describing Dr. Death's actions. "Death Wins in 9", "Never Count Out Death", "Death Falls to the Floor". This match slayed.

PAS: Totally awesome big man spotfest. This feels like the kind of thing that if it happened on a Wrestlemania weekend indy show, would be legendary stuff. Reminds me of some of the awesome Williams vs. Gordy stuff from UWF. Dr. Death breaking out kind of a half plancha, half tope was nuts, and the Nord plancha to the floor is still one of the nuttier spots in wrestling history, add that to his missed top rope knee drop, it is like Nord had some long term vicious vendetta against his own knees.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE BERZERKER



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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Pro 6/22/96

Billy Kidman vs. Jushin Liger

ER: Weird little match that I did not remember happening. Does anyone remember heel Liger working a mini run on the WCW D show? This is short but plenty of fun, Kidman was a good guy to get beat around, and Liger had no issue beating Kidman around. We get some slippery wristlock roll throughs to start, but Liger tires of that pretty quickly and lands a handspring elbow and drops him with a great brainbuster. It is kind of odd that he worked the brainbuster into the match so early, as he ends up winning the match with a superplex/bodyslam/top rope splash, which all looked tough but that brainbuster is a thing of beauty. He also hits that fantastic rolling kick into the buckles. Perhaps the oddest thing about the match is right smack in the middle of it, Kidman hits one of the best shooting star presses he's ever hit. It was short, quick to the mat, and landed really nicely right across Liger's chest. The fans went nuts, right when it was hit, Liger kicked out at 2. I didn't realize a shooting star press (done against Liger!) in 1996 was a kicked out of move in the states, or anywhere. Also odd that Liger immediately went back on offense right after such an awesome move. So the structure and layout was all over the place, but the match itself was really fun, which is basically what I watch these shows for.

Disco Inferno vs. Johnny Boone

ER: I love when Boone shows up, he's a big bumping jobber and he usually looks like a slightly cleaner cut Jamie Dundee. That has never been more true than in this match. He's wearing turquoise tights/singlet top, and the tights have purple and pink tassels. He has the same kind of shaved sides short mullet, but no dirty mustache, instead the beginnings of an IT guy goatee. Boone is a great guy to have on a roster though, he'll take a Hot Shot painfully, he'll throw a dropkick that's one of those great Memphis dropkicks, like Lawler's, and he'll hold a schoolboy tight. I should think of a different way to phrase that last part, so that SVU crimes bots don't find this site and begin tracking down me AND Boone. So let me explain that when Johnny Boone really holds a schoolboy tightly, what I mean is that he holds that schoolboy so deep and tightly that it's very difficult to escape or kick free. Fixed it.

Steve Armstrong vs. V.K. Wallstreet

ER: "Let me talk to you about Mutual Bonds, Steve Armstrong." There's nothing that confuses these Florida tourists more than one of those stock market tycoons. Wall Street was in theaters so many years before this match. Armstrong is really great here. He's the same size as Wallstreet and works like it, which is a nice twist on a jobber match. Armstrong holds a snug headlock, takes a big bump through the ropes and that hard stage, big flipping bump on the low knee. Steve Armstrong is also a man who holds schoolboys tightly. This match is fantastic because Wallstreet does all his most bullshit bullshit, holds an abdominal stretch in the ropes at weird time, holds a couple of nice chinlocks, but the fans respond in a HUGE way! ALLLL of Wallstreet's stuff gets the crowd absolutely rabid for Armstrong, which is wonderful. The fans are going crazy for an Armstrong sunset flip and a roll up, and is going nuts when Wallstreet eats boot in that stupid spot where a guy is apparently going for an axe handle to a lying down opponent. Armstrong even hits a great stiff arm southpaw lariat for a nearfall. But Wallstreet quickly ends the fun and just hits a big samoan drop for the win. Fired up fans for heavyweight Steve Armstrong? Yes please. Match ruled for that.

Nasty Boys vs. Public Enemy

ER: Did the Public Enemy live in the studio where they taped Pro? I swear these guys never leave, they just haunt MGM Studios in Orlando. And this is babyface Nasty Boys, which is weird but it's kind great to see them coming out and slapping hands with fans. Sags is even chatting with fans in the front row. He totally makes this chubby white kid's day, leans in and asks him "how are you doing buddy?" while rustling the kid's cap (white shirt with a white baseball cap, like he had been out whitewashing fences earlier that day) and the kid excitedly yells "ALRIGHT!" This kid's eyes were beaming, totally made his vacation. The match itself wasn't great. It's weird seeing Sags as a face in peril, with Rocco working wristlocks on him. It gets plenty of time and it wasn't awful, but it PE weren't very interesting on heel offense, you get clumsy moments like Knobbs not really rolling out of the way of a Drive By, but everybody acted like he was. Plus, if you're watching a Nasty Boys match you kind of just want to see them be unprofessional. I don't want a very sympathetic Nasties team. They're from Nastyville. The breakdown was pretty good, with Knobbs finally in and throwing a big lariat to both PE. But the out of the ring stuff that ended the match was great, with both teams brawling to a double DQ, and Knobbs getting hiptossed off the apron through a table, but instead bounces off and over the table, onto the stage, and down the two steps of the stage to the floor. Knobbs hits like 5 hard surfaces on his way down, then got up punching. So we ended as strongly as possible.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE WCW B-SIDES

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Crane vs. Cage vs. Muertes

20. Jeremiah Crane vs. Cage vs. Mil Muertes Lucha Underground 6/26/16 (Aired 10/18/17)

ER: My god the insanity! This match delivered beyond what I was hoping for, turning into an epic big boy X-Division spotfest, that also had tons of blood and crazy weapons usage and really ended up ranking among the best of the crazy LU brawls. This would have been awesome without the weapons, just three big lugs working stiff and crashing into each other, but the weapons were crazy and the spots around them nuts. So you get Crane's great yakuza kicks, you get all three crashing to the floor like big Nitro cruisers (Crane with his great low-pe, Cage with a big flip dive, Muertes diving off the tope), Muertes slams Crane shoulders first on a chokeslam, Cage drops people with his awesome driver combos, all great stuff. Once Crane brings in a heavy trash can then all hell breaks loose. Everybody takes rough can shots, Crane starts gushing blood, Crane gets chokeslammed through a table on the floor, and back in the ring Cage keeps bouncing around like he's 100 lb. less, pulling off a big rana and a perfect Asai moonsault (and Muertes pulls off a flawless spinning headscissors on the floor, so these guys are all just the lightest heavyweights). Things get crazier and grosser when Crane slams a bunch of wooden stakes right into the top of Cage's head. I've never seen anything like that before. It's like two dozen chopsticks were just sticking stright out of Cage's head, with blood starting to leak out down the sides of his head. My god. He even takes a DDT to hammer the stakes DEEPER into his head. What the hell, you guy!? Muertes goes through a sheet of glass and comes up covered in blood, but they decide to go for ultimate crazy and we get Crane getting superplexed off the top THROUGH Muertes and a couple tables. Holy cow. The singles match portion (with Crane eliminated) between Muertes/Crane was a nice cooldown, with two big tiring dudes beating each other up. I dug their strike exchange, love that Muertes snap powerslam, and love Muertes getting the win to return to dominance. He really should be the top monster in the fed, but damn I really love Cage in LU. Awesome battle of the Kongs.

PAS: Lucha Underground has a lot of things about it I think are really stupid, but they do these kind of maximalist brawls really well. This match had a lot of stuff in it I normally hate, big guys flying around like crusierweights is often really irritating, I normally hate matches which require long set ups for car crash spots and that skewer spot (which Eric has never seen before? That thing is in a million dumb death matches) is usually geek show stuff which takes me out of a match, but in this case all of it worked. The flying worked because these guys are all weird comic book monsters, and it is impossible not to love the beauty of that headscissors is hard to deny. The three way aspect of the match allowed all the setting up of stuff to work, because we still got action when people were constructing, and the skewer spot felt less like some hipster side show spot and more like the kind of thing a psychotic murder would do in a fight with two movie monsters (like this match was Frankenstein vs. The Wolf Man vs. Ed Gein).  This calmed down a bit during the one on one section, and I really think we needed a more violent finish then a flatliner on a chair, but glad to see that LU can still break out the Mil Muertes classics.


2016 ONGOING MOTY LIST

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE MESIAS 

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Monday, May 28, 2018

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Pro 6/15/96

Jushin Liger vs. Eddie Guerrero

ER: Sheesh you throw on a disc of Pro without looking up match lists ahead of time (pro tip: if you're looking at match lists before popping in ANY TV wrestling from 20+ years ago, you're doing it 100% completely wrong. Not knowing what's next is almost all of the fun). Liger is wearing his sick black/gold/silver gear, and tons of fans in fannypacks are super excited by Eddie. And this completely owns. They start off with a bunch of quick stuff, and then Liger takes over with a great rolling capo kick, fat somersault senton, an actual fast and violent looking handspring back elbow, big powerbomb, throws nasty palm strikes to back Eddie into the corner, really dishing out a beating. Fans are amped for an Eddie clothesline but Liger plants him tailbone first over his knee with a backbreaker. Liger is a total dick in this and it's great. Sadly we cut to finish shortly after that, with an Eddie frog splash. That's the one micro downer about syndicated WCW, the finishes are usually pretty sudden and/or predictable. But all of this was awesome. This kind of thing isn't really a hidden gem, as any time someone like Liger turned up on TV, that was going on comps and getting traded. This was a match an internet wrestling fan would have booked in 1996.

Kensuke Sasaki/Masa Chono vs. Steiner Brothers

ER:  Well this episode hit banger status pretty quick. The layout of this was cool, as the evil Japanese team jumps the Steiners and gets an early advantage by being sneaky and cheating, but the Steiners each hit painful belly to belly suplexes on them and Scott hits lariats. So we start with a bunch of big dudes crashing into each other, and then Chono tells everybody to calm the hell down and we start working a nice southern tag with Team NJ cutting off the ring, Chono working a nice cravate. I dug things slowing down and driving the Florida white shirts crazy, and it built to a nice Steiners comeback. Rick catches Chono up top and hits a big suplex, Scott hits the Tiger Driver and an awesome Frankensteiner, fans go nuts. Steiners against a team who has no problem taking a beating is always gonna be fun. Chono was a real hoot in this, stooging around holding his back, bumping for stiff Steiner stuff, crazy episode so far.

Scott & Steve Armstrong vs. Public Enemy

ER: I swear Public Enemy is on every fucking episode of Pro. But then I always end up kind of enjoying them. So many people in the crowd have fannypacks, it's insane. But this is fun. Armstrongs throw a zillion dropkicks, and PE kind of suck but they also have no problems trying stupid shit. Some of their stuff doesn't work, but they try it and shrug it off pretty well if it doesn't. Scott takes a big bump to that hard Pro stage, and they tease Rocco giving him the Drive By through a table on the floor, but Scott scrambles away and Rocco does the Tiger Mask feint, and I bet if I was a little younger when Public Enemy came into WCW I would be WAY into them. If I saw them putting someone through a table one time, single digit age me would flip out. Rocco does do the Drive By to Scott, but not through a table, just on the mat, and he protects him really well which was something I didn't realize PE did. So that's pretty cool. I liked this.

We get a big WCW Motorsports infomercial, with Sting and DDP hanging out in a pit crew, an announcer running down how Car 29 has done in some recent races, how cool Diamond Ridge Motorsports Inc. is, and the WCW pit crew getting face paint like Sting. I bet when WCW bought (leased?) a racing team, one of the pit crew guys made a joke about how they'd all have to wear face paint, and the other crew members laughed because how stupid would that be? And then a month later nobody was laughing.

Scotty Riggs vs. Ric Flair

ER: I always love seeing Flair working small studio matches, though it is an eternal drag to see him accompanied by Woman and Elizabeth. The whole match you have Cruise, Dusty, and Zbyszko selling the Great American Bash (airing the next day) with a main event of Arn/Flair vs. Kevin Greene and Steve McMichael, and Larry is going on and on about football players with big mouths who think they can be wrestlers, and brings up Alex Karras getting beat by Dick the Bruiser and crying and limping all the way home, and Dusty cuts him off with "You're still talking about that 20 years later!?" You know he is. And this match rules. It goes 11 minutes, and Flair bumps around the whole time for Riggs, and any momentum Flair gets is because he cheats or has Woman cheat. It's so ridiculous and so awesome. Flair takes two big backdrops, tons of back bumps off shoulder blocks, flops on his face after getting punched, works the mat with him, gets beat in a knucklelock, basically a guy in the main event of the next PPV giving 80% of a long TV match to someone who doesn't get on PPV. It's great. Woman claws at Riggs' eyes after he takes a super fast bump to the floor, Flair jabs a thumb into his eye and throws great headlock punches, and Flair drops a clean kneedrop. Riggs gets some pretty great nearfalls, the best coming from a roll-up when Flair attempted the figure four. And the finish was fantastic, with Riggs going up top and Flair falling into the ropes, causing Riggs to take this painful as hell looking Hamrick bump where he falls off the ropes and catches his knee on the way down. Flair immediately goes in for the kill. This was a tremendous TV main event, easily comp tape worthy, and totally surprising. I had no thoughts on Riggs before this match, and suddenly Flair gives me an affinity for him in 11 short minutes. This is a total WCW syndicated classic.

Easily one of the best episodes of Pro you'll ever see, the 4th most important WCW show at this point of 1996.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE WCW B-SIDES


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Action Wrestling 4/27/18 Cherry Picking

This was the debut of this promotion, they showed it on Powerbomb and it has a couple of on-paper bangers in its two main events

Arik Royal vs. Michael Spencer

ER: This is one of those matches where it isn't really fair to criticize, as Spencer didn't really look like someone who should be in a pro wrestling ring, but he was, and the match happened. I feel for the guy, because there were some early exchanges that he got totally crossed up on, an awkward headlock exchange, a really poor wheelbarrow into an armdrag that threatened to fall apart every single step of the way but was muscled through by Royal, and peaking with the moment where he hits his one highspot of the match...and he just fell off the ropes and missed Royal entirely. I think he was going for a leaping back elbow, but he ended up elbowing the mat. He at least attempted a type of superkick after. It's a relatable bad situation, where you're in front of a crowd and you just fall on your face (literally in this instance). I played trombone in high school and college, and I was good, but never got VERY good. But I was good enough to get solos and some standout melodies. And one day after doing a workshop all day and having to play a concert that night, my lip was completely dead and I tanked it, couldn't hit some of the higher notes, not as crisp of a sound, not my best. It was embarrassing, even if I'm not sure anybody else cared, or possibly even noticed, but it was a humbling moment. This match was probably humbling for Spencer, but he did it. He'll do better. He probably won't do a lot worse. I hope he was able to laugh about it backstage. Arik Royal looked great here, and turned some lemons into lemonade. It felt like a fun 1996 WCW Worldwide squash. Royal threw a punch of palm thrusts to Spencer's body, used the middle rope as a weapon by shoving Spencer kidney's first into it, hit the grounded shoulderblock and the big upending running tackle (Royal's versions are two of my favorite moves in modern wrestling), and you know what? Spencer bumped these two different shoulderblocks really great. They aren't easy moves to bump, and his bumps looked good. I hope he focuses on that.

Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. James Brady vs. Donnie Dollars vs. Adrian Hawkins

ER: I gotta support my CWF guys, and I thought they were the standouts in this, but this was pretty short for a "first pinfall wins" kind of match. You'd think you could get an easy 12 minutes just from guys making saves, but this was barely 5 minutes. Dollars looked great with some nasty knees to the gut and a big double clothesline, there was amusing spot where the other three pinballed Sharpe around with strikes, Sharpe pulled out a really awesome headbutt on Brady, just grabbing him with both hands and smashing that head downwards, even selling double vision and straightening his nose afterwards, and Brady had a nice flying kick to the back of Sharpe's head. Fun, but inconsequential.

Cain Justice vs. Fred Yehi

PAS: By far the biggest non-CWF match of Cain's career, and 2018 is clearly going to be the year he branches out to other places. Since leaving WWN Yehi has been under the radar (no Wrestlemania weekend bookings was pretty surprising), so I am glad to see him again. This really delivered what I was hoping for, these are two of the more interesting offensive wrestlers around and they mixed well together. Yehi really dominated the opening section of the match, hitting Cain with his weird stomps and low dropkicks, they spill to the floor and Cain accidentally chops a refrigerator and takes a bump over a merch table. Cain is able to get a bit of an advantage and jam Fred's hand into a hook on the ring post and do a unique looking finger break spot. Then we have a cool story with Cain working the hand to get an advantage and Yehi landing big shots with his other hand. We get some cool submission attempts by both guys and cool finish. Great stuff, and I am excited to see Cain work outside of his comfort zone.

ER: I was really excited to see Cain work outside the Sportatorium, outside of NC, and it's clear he's confident enough to work in front of any crowd. He carried himself with the same swagger, and this was a big match. I loved how the first part of the match was Yehi just totally outgunning him, one step ahead, Cain stumbling away from him as Yehi focuses in all his attacks. Cain is really great at selling the Yehi Stomp, and I love that it started when Cain slid back into the ring and Yehi just stomped his hand. Yehi is smart about setting up a piece of bigger offense with a stomp, like stomping on Cain's inner knee before hitting a low dropkick off the ropes, and he's good at making some reversals feel natural, like when he chopped a Cain elbow attempt out of the air. The brawl around the crowd was really fun, with Cain missing a chop and chopping a refrigerator, then getting tossed over tables and into some wrestling mats. Stumbling Cain is really good, he's not someone who will just do a wandering brawl, walking and holding each other by the hair; he'll fall, lash back unexpectedly, leave his opponent openings, really makes a crowd brawl interesting, and he really shows he's great at reading a room. It's an impressive skill to have so early, as plenty of good wrestlers don't ever really have that. Getting your face smacked on the edge of the apron 10 times in a row could come off hokey, but they read the room and the fans are counting along with all of them. There are a ton of CWF guys who are great at a through the crowd brawl, better than any Japanese garbage fed or old ECW guys. I'm pretty tired of finger breaking spots, but those ringposts were so gnarly that they had to be used in SOME way. You know if Finlay were working a card, and the ringpost had hooks sticking out like that, he'd find a way to hurt his opponent with them, so I totally get Cain jamming Yehi's fingers in there and snapping. Yehi for his part actually remembered what had happened (many guys don't) and Cain kept going back to that hand to torture him. Yehi is really quick in grabbing the Koji Clutch, and I liked Cain grabbing him in a triangle but immediately having to let go due to his shoulders being down, and Yehi rolling into the clutch. Excellent opportunity for Cain, and he delivered.

Gunner Miller vs. Dominic Garrini

PAS: First time matchup between two up and coming indy stars. Garrini has gotten really good at using his ju-jitsu as a surprise attack, Dylan compares him to Fujiwara on commentary (which is a little like calling Harold Minor Baby Jordan) and there are some similarities to the way Garinni attacks from odd angles, and suckers his opponent in. Miller is a naturally aggressive wrestler and there are a bunch of neat spots where his aggression backfires. He turns a test of strength into a monkey flip crossarmbreaker, goes for a flying armbar, turns a shoulder block in the corner into a guillotine choke. Miller uses force and power to get an advantage, hitting some big shoulder blocks, and powering out of Garrini's submissions, including an awesome jackhammer out of a flying guillotine. Just a great match, and I could see this being a long term feud.

ER: This might have been my favorite overall Garrini performance. Sometimes I think he gets a little too stuck hitting strike combos, and those can come off really robotic and slow, here he was just a sentient bear trap working to snap his jaws on Gunner at every chance. Garrini uses his strength to turn a knucklelock into a triangle, dragging Gunner down by dropping to his back and maneuvering into the choke, knuckles locked the whole time. Later he pops up and I think he's going to hit a rana, and instead he just hangs off Gunner's arm to try to twist it off. Gunner was great at using his power, and I loved how a Garrini reversal was always lurking. The guillotine attempt off shoulders in the corner was really cool, and not something you see a lot. There are a lot of pro wrestling spots that are just done through the motions, and it's great for Garrini to remind people that he's not someone who is always going to sit around through typical spots. Garrini does start doing a slow strike combo, and it has a great twist because Gunner blocks a slow spinning back elbow and hits a huge pounce, with Garrini bumping spectacularly into the ropes. The finish was absolutely fantastic. Gunner hits a big time spinebuster but then lingers, so Garrini springs up and grabs a guillotine. Gunner powers to his feet and grabs for the ropes, Garrini kicks them away from the ropes, holding the guillotine the whole time, and Gunner pauses and then muscles Garrini over for an insane jackhammer. Awesome, awesome moment and a fitting finish. Killer match.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE CAIN JUSTICE

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: PARK Invades the Cathedral

41. LA Park/Volador Jr./Flyer vs. Rush/Terrible/Bestia del Ring CMLL 5/25/18

ER: This match left me weirdly flat. It wasn't really what I was expecting from the first big Park/Rush showdown in CMLL. I think the match went way, way too long. It felt like the longest non-mask match CMLL main event I've seen in years. And I think it would have been far more effective to have both teams go in there, tear it down for 8 minutes, DQs all around, get things started off nice and rabid. This went on for so long that it left me feeling as if I'd already seen way too much of the feud. After one long match, I'm already not very excited to see more of them. That's not good. It's still recoverable, but a lot of this match felt really uninspired and lazy, tons of guys just walking around casually past guys on the other team, with nobody reaching out to attack. This thing meandered, and really should have been half this length. Leave them wanting more, you know?

I thought Rush looked fantastic in this. He brought the magnetism and came off like a megastar. I loved that big bump he took into the front row after a Park dive in the primera, and the match energy seemed to hinge on whatever he was doing at the time. Most of the Park/Rush stuff was great, especially the tercera. The others seemed to be holding back. We've seen Terrible be sadistic in other matches, and there were prime opportunities for him and Bestia to really bully and mess up Flyer, but that didn't happen. The big Rush/Park moments all landed, though. Park beats Rush with a rolling suitcase (why have I not seen that done before 2018, and why have I now seen that twice? Brad Attitude is an innovator), Rush rips Park's mask and soccer ball kicks his head into the stands, Park absolutely squashes him with a fantastic crossbody off the top to the floor (filmed amazingly, really looked like Park flew 15 feet), but even then I didn't love how Rush was right back in the ring on offense after he just got flattened by the fattest skeleton. I liked Volador resorting to a chairshot for the finish, but overall the tecnicos didn't really looked fired up, and the rudos didn't look mean enough. These men wrestled like it wasn't a very special occurrence, like it was just another Friday night main event. An inauspicious start to the feud, but I think it can be recovered. Perhaps I went in with hopes too high, and I just expect more from these guys. I'm sure if this was a trios with 6 guys I like less, I would have been a higher vote. Park and Rush got a lot of time across each other, and that's almost always going to land on a list.

PAS: I liked this much more then Eric did, although I am probably still a bit of a low voter. I agree that these matches are better off as quick 10-13 minute brawls, there was no reason to watch Flyer and Bestia Del Ring exchange armdrags. I get why this went so long, this was a big shift in CMLL modus operandi and was clearly a big draw.  There was a lot to love about this match though, I really like the Ingobernables coming from the crowd to jump the technicos from behind, while sporting awesome letterman jackets. The others in this match didn't deliver much, but Park vs. Rush is why we are here, and their stuff was great. I loved the rolling bag stuff, especially when it broke open and someones undies ended up all over the filthy floor.  That top rope plancha was incredible, Park is so graceful for an old fat man, and he always lands with such a thud. His spear on Rush was an all time great spear, it was the kind of thing that pre-CTE would have been a highlight shown on every Inside the NFL show. As an opening to the feud I thought this did it's job for sure, and I am looking forward to weekly wars and an all time apuestas match.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE LA PARK

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Friday, May 25, 2018

New Footage Fridays: Vader, Santo, Piper

My favorite thing in wrestling in 2018 is the fact that new previously unseen classic footage is being unearthed everyday. Random New Japan Handhelds, Andre matches from the 60s, old school lucha, matches we thought we would never see or classics we didn't even know existed are showing up. With the news that the WWE Network would be uploading new Hidden Gems every Thursday, we figured we would review some of the new cool shit showing up every Friday.

Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper NWA 7/9/83

PAS: My god what a incredible all time great brawl. Honestly the striking in this match is up there with Lawler vs. Mantel and Satanico vs. Chicana for the best stuff I have ever seen. It is a really fun dynamic with Valentine hitting harder and Piper hitting faster. There is this great moment early in the match where Valentine lands some clubbing forearms and forces Piper out of the ring, but before Valentine can get a breath Piper bounds back in and unloads with cat quick flurry that sends Valentine reeling. There is another moment where Valentine covers up against the ropes and Piper just unloads a thousand punch combination of body and headshots. I loved how dirty Piper was in this match, he would gouge at the eyes, punch the ear, karate thrust the throat, bite, he was so great at being a babyface and the most low down streetfighter ever. Piper comes in with a bad ear, and things really get vicious when Valentine starts working it over, he posts Piper right on the ear, and then grinds it against the bolt connecting the post to the ring. Then the match is Valentine mauling the ear and Piper selling vertigo and firing back. Both guys are bleeding and firing shots back and forth. Finish was just brutal, Piper snaps and grabs the barrier rope and wraps it around Valentine's throat, even working the rope back and forth to give Valentine a rope burn on his neck, he hangs him and Greg starts foaming at the mouth in a really gross way. The locker room empties to prevent a murder, and Piper is in the ring screaming at Valentine to keep fighting. What a discovery, this was an absolute classic war, with this and the Dog Collar Starrcade match, this looks like an all time legendary pairing. Must watch match, and one of the best brawls I can remember.

MD: If you watch this match and argue that Piper was the best babyface in the world in 1983, I'd have a hard time contesting that. The crowd, absolutely molten, lived and breathed with his every movement. His punch drunk selling and comebacks has always been amazing but I'm not sure I've ever seen it better than here. Valentine was just a machine as his opponent and tormentor. The contrast between Valentine's stalling on the outside and Piper's mad rush back into the ring told a story just by itself. The focus on the ear utilizing the post on the outside was brutal. It's amazing how organic all of it felt given the pace that they were going. The muscle memory involved in some of the ducks and timing on Valentine eating Piper's combos feel impossible. It's so obviously collaborative without feeling that way at all. You don't see the strings. All you can see is the hatred. If they have this, what else might they have?

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Leon Chino Tijuana 8/19/88

PAS: A previously unseen 1980s bloody El Hijo Del Santo match is pretty great treat to wake up to on a Wednesday morning. This starts out a bit awkward with Santo taking a weird off bump into the turnbuckle, and Santo beating up the ref. Business really pick ups when Santo gets posted, as he has a classic Santo bloody stain on mask which keeps growing throughout the match. Chino really gets the crowd riled up and both guys brawl into the crowd, with this HH you can only catch snatches of them through the standing crazy crowd, but you can get glimpses of Santo getting chucked into chairs or Chino getting posted. Third fall is a blood soaked classic, both guys are drenched and pounding on each other, Santo is a brilliant brawler and is a great mix of force and grace. Chino takes a couple of huge bumps (one a crazy Fuerza/Hamrick, one a beautiful Estrada bump) to set up pair of gorgeous Santo dives, including an amazing plancha which leads to Santo rolling up Chino to capture his mask. Santo is pretty much unimpeachable in mask matches, and Chino delivers a die on his sword performance while losing his mask. Crazy drama, tons of violence everything you want from this.

MD: This was a very straightforward Santo apuesta brawl. A very straightforward Santo apuesta brawl is still one of the best things possible in wrestling to be unearthed. Leon Chino was about as meat and potatoes a rudo as you could get here. He ambushed Santo before the announcements, which you rarely see, and then cut him off for a good chunk of the match, really just tossing him around and clubbering, with one dubious arm submission and lots of working the crowd. That was fine. Instead, the major blemish on this one was the ref involvement. I don't even think it was a heel ref thing so much as him wanting Santo to wrestle like a tecnico and stopping punches when he'd allow them for Leon. He still dq'd Leon in the primera for a low blow (which was necessary as Santo was finally coming back and outwrestling him). That let Leon have the advantage for most of the segunda. Outside of Invader I and maybe Kobashi, there's no one in the world who's Santo's equal in selling damage and garnering sympathy on the outside. The finish to the segunda was jarring in the best way with Leon turning the third or fourth back body drop in the match into a (totally legal) pile-driver. The tercera escalated into craziness with Santo's visceral comeback, crowd brawling and dives, both missed and hit. We don't get the actual finish, save for the pin, so the last meaningful thing we see is Santo, in the background of the shot, flying off the top rope with a plancha to the floor. It's the only aesthetically beautiful thing in the entire match and really a perfect last image. Post match there's all the populist pageantry imaginable in front of one of the best crowds you could ever want. Too much ref involvement for the cutoffs and I would have liked to see the finish.

Vader vs. Ron Simmons WCW 12/30/92

PAS: This really lived up to pre match expectations. You never really know how a previously unseen house show match is going to go, but these two went all out, the way a world title switch should be fought. Really great big guy slugfest, Vader is an all time hard hitter, and he really rocks Simmons with big clotheslines and slams. Simmons hits back just as hard, including a couple of big meaty clotheslines and a nasty flash spinebuster. He also had a great energetic beat down in the corner, where he ended up pounding Vader down with big over hand rights and then big headbutts. I really liked some of the near falls, both guys have such big moves that you buy a big powerslam might end it. The finish itself was a little odd, Vader has a cool shoulderbreaker, but it isn't one of his traditionally huge moves, and I was a little surprised that it would be the move that would win him the world title. Great performance by both guys, and I am hoping we get some more 1992 WCW house show stuff, that was one of my favorite eras in wrestling history, and I imagine there are some more great Vader matches and awesome Dangerous Alliance tags sitting on hard drives in Stamford.

MD: It struck me here just how thoroughly Simmons had grown into the role of babyface champion. We never really see him in that role again as he falls down the card so sharply and quickly in 1993. Here, though, he was hard hitting, engaged and felt the crowd, drew sympathy, and was fiery in his comebacks (especially the revenge beating in the corner) and seemingly superhuman in his strength. Vader was absolutely his equal, down to his great selling (even while on offense) and shouts of "no pain." I had some structural issues: I thought the power slam catch off the second rope should have come later in the match, maybe instead of the powerslam where Race intervenes. It's a move that should have been escalated to. While the chinlock/abdominal stretch might have been necessary for the pace they were going, a babyface hold at the part of the match that they should have been within the heat didn't work; Race shouting on the house mic was awesome, but in the moment, it made Vader feel more like a babyface. As someone whose peak WCW watching as a kid was 91-92, it was great to hear period-Tony call an unearthed main event match from that era. Really, it's a shame people didn't get to see this match at the time.







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Inside La Parka's Burning I Can See Clear Through

La Parka/Psychosis/Villano IV vs. Juventud Guerrera/Silver King/Hector Garza WCW 6/30/97 - GREAT

PAS: This was a dark match for a Nitro and all six guys just went all out for seven minutes. Everyone was moving at a pretty breakneck speed, Villano IV is a stout guy, but he is flying all over the place, and even hits a great looking tope. La Parka comes off like such a big star in matches like this, even when he isn't the guy doing the most work. I like how they mixed in some classic lucha trios spots like the Star and everyone missing dives from the top. WCW Lucha trios were so much fun I really wish they ran them on every TV show and we had hundreds to watch, cool that a HH showed up though, I imagine there are dozens of house show trios which were just as good.

ER: So many of us were so lucky to have been exposed to lucha through WCW trios matches, just a bunch of unselfish guys trying out material, knowing they weren't even making tape but still going all out on a Nitro dark march (though I guess there's a chance they didn't realize it was dark...). What I loved about these guys going all out in a Vegas dark match, was they structured the match so that 2/3 of the moves missed. I don't know if I've seen that before. By the end of the match we got a few big dives, bullet topes from Villano and Juvi, Silver King's plancha, and a huge hangtime crossbody from Psychosis; but outside of the traditional multiman lucha spots (the Star, the tandem surfboards while Juvi crawled underneath everyone for a nearfall), most of the moves were designed to miss! We had a huge section where everybody misses splashes and sentons off the top rope, and the crowd gets more and more excited the more guys dive into an empty pool! But it's not just missed top rope moves, a lot of spots are set up by guys missing everything: missed dropkicks, missed clotheslines, missed spinning heel kicks, all misses! Most of the bumps in this match come from guys missing their moves. I've never seen a match so built around offense completely missing. La Parka and V4 were my favorite guys in the match. V4 threw a couple hard lariats and was working like a little bulldozer. Parka gets easily the best reactions of the match, that guy could have been a real superstar in WCW. Phil is right that he always stood out in matches like this, even with everyone doing crazy things, he had such a style to his hits and misses. Here he's taking bumps bigger than 1997 Psychosis, which are indeed huge bumps. Watch him violently miss that upside down in the buckles bump, and listen to the crowd get louder everytime he runs in and cuts someone off. Silver King took a big spill early to the floor, V4 and Parka had a contest to see who could take a bigger backdrop bump, and it really is a shame that so many other matches just like this just weren't recorded. There is no excuse for WWF/WCW to not be setting up a hard cam at house shows for the past 30 years. No vision.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE LA PARKA

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Psicosis and Rey are Never Sweating Your Girl Cause She's a Skeezoid

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

PAS: This was a cage match at a AAA sold show in Arizona which all of these guys worked after they had already left AAA. This was a total TJ style cluster fuck, with everyone hurling weapons at each other and taking silly bumps. In some ways it is a waste to have guys as talented as Rey and Psic working Tommy Dreamer matches, but if the guys are as talented as Rey and Psic they are going to be really good Tommy Dreamer matches. Psicosis especially takes a bunch of really nuts spots, he does a missed somersault legdrop with a chair underneath, which I am sure wasted his tailbone. Lady Victoria was in the cage the whole time and ends up getting VCR chucked right at her head. There is a dozen run ins at the end, including Halloween getting a pumpkin placed on his head to get chair shotted, the pumpkin falls off and he eats the chair full on the top of his dome. Enjoyable chaos, although the ECWizing of lucha was a bit much

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE RIVALS

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Pro 4/6/96 & 4/13/96 Redux

ER: Rachel and I had some drinks on a Saturday, and played Tokyo Jungle, then I got the craving to watch some WCW syndicated pro wrestling. What I didn't realize, was that I grabbed a disc of WCW Pro that I already reviewed, three years prior. I obviously had no memory of it, it all felt new to me, but I went through two full episodes of Pro before finding the old reviews. So I thought it would be fun to post both of my reviews side by side, with drunk me from Saturday night, reviewing the same matches as (presumably also drunk) me from 2015. It's kind of fun to see me comment on different things in the matches, comment on things I possibly missed, but also make some of the exact same jokes, and act like I'm saying something profound and for the first time (when I turns out I had some of the same revelations years earlier, apparently). Oh, and also, I skipped the Konnan match. Once I knew I had already watched it, I decided that in life there's just no need for a man to double up on Konnan matches. Here are the musings from the two viewing sessions:

4/6/96

Barrio Brothers vs. Craig Pittman/Jim Duggan

ER15: I have no memory of Sierra and Santana actually being called "Fidel Barrio and Ricky Barrio". I mean I have no memory of Ricky Santana in WCW, let alone as Ricky Barrio. And this was not good.   Sierra leaned out of all of Duggan's clotheslines (which were not thrown with much authority anyway), and then Pittman/Duggan just worked arm wringers on Sierra for what felt like 3 minutes. This has a classic WCW syndicated finish. The call to go home happens right at the 4 minute mark, except only the ref and Duggan know about it, so Santana breaks up the pin at the 2 count and Nick Patrick just calls for the bell anyway. This really seems like it happens every few shows. I mean Santana literally pulled Duggan by the leg off of Sierra, and Patrick didn't even count the 3, just called for the bell after 2. Usually it seems to happen in Konnan matches.


ER18: Whoa I had no idea Pittman and Duggan were ever a team, and this starts the night off with classic innocent 90s jingoism. A flag waver and a drill sergeant taking on a couple of mulleted ambiguously brown people. But it's strange to me that a team of Cuban/Puerto Rican workers wouldn't be huge territory babyfaces at the Florida tapings. If they did there shows in a Florida neighborhood and not a theme park for white families, you would get a totally flipped reaction running this match. I want the entire fucking series. Duggan throws some big meaty fists and I am much more of a Duggan apologist the older I get. This was fun, though I wish it had a bit more clubbering and less "Pittman holding an arm". Still, there were some nice shots, Santana takes a big backdrop bump, you'd dig this.

Scott Norton vs. One Man Gang

ER15: I had no idea these two ever matched up, and right when Gang came out I realized it was a match I REALLY wanted to see without having ever thought about it existing before. Like, Norton walked out and I was like "oh okay, a Norton singles match. Didn't realize he was getting singles matches this early in WCW." and then Gang came out and I was like "I WANT TO SEE THIS SO BAD!!!" I had no idea Gang was still working WCW at this point. The Konnan US Title loss was a few months before, and I don't remember much of him after that. So was surprised to see him pop up here. And it was awesome. BUT only 3 minutes long. Heartbreaking. But these 3 minutes are really good with both men working stiff with big clubbing blows and punches. Gang towers over Norton here which shocked me. I mean Gang looked enormous here, a good 6" over Norton. Rachel, not knowing the size of these two relative to others, thought Gang was Big Show size. Really carried himself like a giant, but worked really quick here. He took a huge bump off a Norton lariat, hit a super fast avalanche in the corner, really able to both bully Norton around while also look vulnerable. Norton will never have a problem clubbing a dude, and the match-ending powerslam he hits on Gang was epic. Picture Norton doing his normal fast high arc powerslam, but to a guy as large as Gang. Crazy finish. Two more minutes, shoot probably even one more minute and this would be a great find. As it is, it's wonderful, and they cram a lot of stiff action into three minutes, but just needed a *bit* more.

ER18: Ohhhhhh shit this is a big boy banger right here! One Man Gang is such an undeniable wrestling badass. He throws these hard downward elbows, big fists, and has a couple different super nasty face rakes on Norton, ripping at his nose and clawing at his mouth. No more than one minute into the match, this turns into a straight up shoot, as Norton stands up and punches Gang right in the fucking ear a couple times. This cruelly only goes 2.5 minutes, and you want 5 more minutes of these two beating the shit out of each other, but Norton hits a big ass rotating powerslam for the win, and I can't complain too much. But with even 2 more minutes this match would be legendary status.

Men at Work vs. Public Enemy

ER15: Boy there were a lot of Public Enemy tags on syndicated WCW TV. Many of them not good. This one? This one totally worked. PE just throw out nothing but clotheslines, and Mark Starr and Kanyon bump all over the place for the clotheslines. Men at Work would gain a minor advantage, stop and mockingly do the PE dance for all the white-shirted losers, and then PE would hit another clothesline. Clotheslines all around! Sometimes double clotheslines! There were no less than 13 clotheslines in this match. Clothesline, flat back bump. Then Rocco hit the asai moonsault on both guys, and put it away with the Drive-By. There must have been some kind of in-joke here. Or, Grunge and Rock just wanted to throw all of the clotheslines, and Men at Work had no problem with that. Men at Work did throw a nice double elbow drop at one point. Whatever, this all worked for me. Most of these guys are dead now.

ER18: Well, when you watch wrestling from 20+ years ago, you're going to eventually hit a match where everybody in it has been dead for 5+ years, and it takes the mood into total Bummersville. But these guys ain't dead in April '96, and this match rules. There must have been a backstage bet going on at these tapings because we've seen some nice stiff work from everyone tonight. Men at Work were a fun team that probably never had the chance at a great match, but they worked as really fun fake Barry Windhams. PE kinda suck but Rock's somersault senton lands hard, and the match was good.

Shark vs. Pez Whatley

ER15: Tenta...doesn't give Pez a whole lot here. There's a good leapfrog segment that allows Pez to show off his hops, Tenta crushes him with a nice elbow, hits a real nice falling slam, steps on him a bunch. After Shark gets the never-in-doubt win, Chris Cruise says "Well...it would appear...that maybe Pez Whatley never had a chance." It would appear so.

ER18: Pez goes for a single leg and Dusty freaks the fuck out and starts screaming that Pez is trying to bite Shark in the knee. Shark's singlet is one of my favorite outfits in wrestling. I love Tenta. Shark hits a big elbow drop and leg drop, big avalanche, hits the Shark Attack reverse bulldog (a pretty cool finisher that was only used a short time). We're on a pretty bleak run of dead guy competitors, and Pez really didn't offer a ton, but I always love seeing Tenta.

Ice Train vs. Lex Luger

ER15: So before you know what happens in this match, let me ask you how you would have guessed this match going. I would have guessed "test of strength, couple of shoulderblocks where neither man goes down, Ice Train gets a miniscule advantage, Luger calls for it to go home out of nowhere 2 minutes in." That sounds like exactly what you were picturing, right? Don't act like you expected this - what actually happened:

The match went almost 10 minutes, Luger gave Ice Train practically the WHOLE match, Ice Train won by DQ when Jimmy Hart attacked him with the megaphone, then Luger got punked out by Norton and Train after the match. Seriously. That's what happened. Luger stooged for Train the whole match. Train worked over Luger's arm and Luger put it over huge, sold his left arm, clutching it to his side, even setting up runs for Ice Train by doing things like missing a corner charge with his bad shoulder/arm. He gives Train everything. He even puts over Train's strength by going for a pinfall and then comically launching himself off of Train on the kickoff. And Ice Train really really really does not make the most of this gift. He looks so bad throughout so much of this. His punches are just impossibly bad. His arm work and Fujiwara armbar are surprisingly good, even tossing out a legdrop to Luger's wing at one point. But then he went and hit the worst drop toe hold I've ever seen. Luger didn't know what it was supposed to be. None of the announcers had any idea what it was supposed to be.

Actual exchange after the alleged drop toe hold:

Chris Cruise: Well I...believe that may have been some...maybe a drop toe hold?
Larry Z: Well we might never know unless we get...Quincy on the case.
Cruise: Quincy!?
Dusty: Quincy!! Quincy hasn't been on the air in 10 years!
Cruise: Maybe 20!
Larry Z: Look...with 80 cable channels you can find anything...
Dusty: Quincy Adams! Quincy Jones!
Larry Z: You know what...

Norton runs in after the interference, Luger clubs him and Norton completely no sells it, then Luger BEGS OFF!

I mean, this was awesome. Luger just totally stooged the whole time for a guy who really didn't deserve it. 1996 Luger has been just so consistently good.

ER18: Luger in '96 was really good, and I'm not sure why a bunch of us were such idiots back then. Was it always uncool to like Luger, like it would take points off your smart cred? Luger in '96 was like Big Match John Cena, if he embraced a heel side. Luger had this cocky smirk and gave Ice Train 4 straight minutes of big bump selling, getting leveled by shoulderblocks, stumbling and falling on his face, begging off, and after that he starts raking Train's face on the ropes and dropping big man elbows. He grabs a bearhug on a guy bigger than him, AND IT LEADS TO AN ICE TRAIN BEARHUG REVERSAL!! Ice Train pulls of a credible press slam kick out. Luger hits a big backdrop slam that Ice Train has the balls to stand right up from and Ice Up. And Luger generously shows more ass, taking a backdrop bump, getting DQ'd when Jimmy Hart hits Train with the megaphone, begging off from Scott Norton postmatch and eating a double clothesline. Luger was a fucking god in 1996. He is so much better than people ever gave him credit for.

4/13/96

State Patrol vs. Fire & Ice

ER15: This was really fun, and according to Chris Cruise the debut of Fire & Ice!! Historic!! Parker is a guy who won't back down and he jumps Train and immediately stiffs him up. It doesn't last long as Train gives Buddy a massive backdrop and a lariat right into Parker's throat, then Norton tags in and steamrolls him with a shoulderblock. State Patrol get to double team him for a bit, choking him out on the ropes and clubbing him, until Norton does a cool double vertical suplex on them. Finish is Norton hitting his nasty shoulderbreaker on Parker followed up with a huge standing splash from Train. Really fun tag.

ER18: Chris Cruise is saying this is the first time we've seen the Fire & Ice team, I am on such a great run of Pro because you know all of these dudes are gonna beat the shit out of each other. State Patrol are probably a team worth of a Complete & Accurate (though I'm leaning Beverly Brothers), and Parker is great. A C&A Buddy Lee Parker really should happen. He stiffs up Ice Train with elbows, takes a ridiculously high backdrop bump, eats a shoulderblock from Scott Norton that would separate my shoulder, but work convincing double teams and strike hard. Fire & Ice dish it right back though, and Norton hits an absolutely world shattering shoulderbreaker on Wright (rough enough that Rachel asked if those were illegal now), and Train laid it in with a super high Big E style splash. This was really damn good.

V.K. Wallstreet vs. Cobra

ER15: This was maybe the most offense I've ever seen Cobra get. He throws a nice dropkick, some decent-ish punches, threw a really nice high arc powerslam. A lot of guys threw pretty nice powerslams during this era WCW. But Cobra really was a guy who seemed green for several years. I once saw somebody selling a "Super J" comp tape from their tapelist. I assumed initially that it was some Super J Tourney Comp, but no, it was legitimately a Jeff Farmer comp, just during the time he went by Super J. That is probably the weirdest comp tape I've ever seen.

ER18: Cobra is a guy who really should have better, but he was a fun generically handsome 90s straight to video hero, the kind you'd see opposite of Lance Henriksen and think "Man why doesn't this Lance Henriksen guy get better gigs?" Wallstreet has a rep as a boring guy who would hold an abdominal stretch too long, but he's popped up for me in a few weirdly good performances these last few months. He had an awesome IRS/Kerry Von Erich match that I'd never seen before, that had this cool section with KVE fighting for a claw and IRS trying to tangle him up in the ropes. And here Wallstreet is throwing sharp back elbows and big shoulderblocks against a big dude, planting him with a powerslam, really looking like a tough guy. There are some good Rotundo performances out there, and I'm happy for him.

ER18: We get an amusing promo from Ric Flair, sitting with champagne in front of a lavender backdrop, with Woman at his side and Elizabeth lying down behind him like Simone Simon in Cat People, and Flair just talks about what a lucky guy he is and how much he loves women and how jealous Randy Savage must be of him. This guy needs a beating.

The Giant vs. Butch Long/NOT THEE Manny Fernandez

ER15: Manny Fernandez is announced as Vern Henderson here. I always feel for jobbers when they get their name announced wrong. But an onscreen graphic to boot? Ouch. So Manny and Long didn't actually get any offense here. I'll give you time to collect yourselves. Giant threw a nice corner clothesline, and (recurring theme!) a big powerslam. Cool spot where Manny was trying a single leg on Giant, Long flew in with a crossbody that got caught, Giant did a huge kneelift to Manny and then a fallaway slam on Long. This maybe went 90 seconds.

ER18: Manny and Butch have sorta matching tights. Were they going to be a regular team that ended up forgotten and lower on the totem pole than Disorderly Conduct? Sadly for Mr. Fernandez, the prematch graphic said he was Vern Henderson. Chris Cruise does him right during the match and calls him by his true name, but man that's gotta be frustrating to show up on TV and not even get to see your name. Giant shows off some cool stuff, a big powerslam, a great kneelift, throwing a guy like a basketball into the other's face, a fun throwback squash. Both guys were big enough that it looked extra impressive.

Men at Work vs. Brad Armstrong/Steve Armstrong

ER15: This was awesome. It's a fun example of WCW syndicated hierarchy, as there are still matches that surprise me with who's going over. I didn't see Norton going over One Man Gang, and here it was more of a toss-up. Armstrongs don't win a lot, neither do Men at Work. Armstrongs won this one, but ask yourself if the result wouldn't have been different if it were Scott and Steve instead of Brad and Steve. Steve/Scott seems like a team that could feasibly lose to Men at Work. But man this was good. Starr and Brad had glorious slicked down tightly curled mullets, you got a shit ton of dropkicks (and Brad is a guy with a great dropkick), Kanyon showed off a beautiful piece of underrated pro wrestling by nailing Brad with a big right hand coming out of an arm wringer (think about it, picture a guy doing an arm wringer, twisting up and under, only to be met with a right hand on the other side. You love it.), Steve continues the TREND by hitting a big rotating powerslam on Starr  (seriously, EVERYbody did a powerslam and it's the best), Kanyon predicts indie wrestling 15 years into the future by hitting a urunage onto his own knee, and that early match urunage leads to a great finish where Brad scouts it, reverses it later when Kanyon goes for it and slips right out the back into a dynamite Russian legsweep. This was just wonderful classic tag wrestling.

ER18: Armstrongs were so safe and wholesome and professional. They're working axe handle to arm spots, they're throwing armdrags and dropkicks, they're setting up miscommunication spots with Men at Work colliding on a rope running spot, and the white middle class fans are eating it all up! Steve hits this great high angle powerslam like he was Rick Steiner, but Kanyon drops a pitch perfect elbow drop across the back of Armstrong's head while he's pinning Starr. Seriously the perfect elbow. We get a nice long FIP section with Starr capturing Steve in a body vice and Kanyon dropping knees. We get a cutaway that makes Scott Armstrong look like a real weirdo: He's been out there the whole time at ringside, rooting for his boys, and wearing black windbreaker pants and a turquoise Universal Studios shirt tucking into them. And 3 minutes into the match we get a camera angle way from the back of the studio, a crane shot moving away from the action, the kind they use to get a look at the crowd...and all of the ring crew visible in the shot (camera man on the apron (a role that doesn't exist in modern TV wrestling), camera man on the floor, guy in charge of how much slack cable a camera operator needs)...are wearing the exact same thing as Scott Armstrong. They all got tucked in Universal Studios shirts, tucked into their black workout pants. Why did Scott Armstrong come out to ringside, wearing the exact same gear as the WCW ring crew? He could have worn anything. You don't want to be the guy wearing a red polo and khackis to Target. Did the Universal Studios security not believe Scott Armstrong was a wrestler so he had to sneak to ringside as a member of the ring crew? I'm so in the weeds on this clothing choice. Earlier in the match Steve Armstrong went for O'Connor roll and Kanyon broke it up by waiting for Starr to kick out, then hitting a uranage backbreaker on Armstrong. I thought it was dumb, as it was a bit too much of Kanyon's NOVA-ish side, but more that he was just assuming Starr would kick out. "I'm gonna hit this big innovative move once my partner kicks out of that plausible pinfall." BUT at the end of the match Brad gets an O'Connor roll on Starr, Starr kicks out, Kanyon grabs Brad in a uranage...and Brad reverses it to snap off a Russian leg sweep for the win. That move that I thought stood out as stupid, paid off in the end, and I left this match a happy man, other than the fact that I will never ever get an explanation for Scott Armstong's attire.

Lex Luger vs. Vern Henderson

ER15: Henderson is a fun old roided guy who pops up a couple times of year in WCW. He always tries, attempts offense he probably shouldn't, and takes at least one big bump a match. I always smile when Vern pops up. Luger is a little more controlling here than he was against Ice Train, but he still gives Vern a lot. Vern breaks out a neat little floatover armdrag that you wouldn't expect him to, and as advertised gets tossed to the floor and takes a big back bump without getting slowed down by the ropes. His punches are bad and Zbyszko calls out how awful his hammerlock is. "Luger must just be letting him put that thing on to be kind!" Luger hits a powerslam (THEME!) and runs nicely into Vern's corner boot. But then it's torture rack time. Fun little match. Luger was like Bill Dundee in terms of 1996 WCW studio taping mastery.

ER18: We get two straight weeks of Luger main events, and Vern Henderson gets his name graphic on two different matches AND a main event slot. Vern Henderson is having the best week ever! But then Dusty calls him Florence Henderson, and that good week window slams shut. Henderson is an older musclehead that I always end up liking, he bumps big for a guy who looks like he can't move his torso much, and he always tries new offense that he's probably too big for. Luger is way too generous in these matches but it's awesome, he gets a couple of early elbows and throws Henderson to the floor through the middle rope (with Vern taking a nice no hands bump to the floor), and the rest of the match he totally gives to Henderson. Henderson does this very slow but very awesome Tim Horner armdrag, rolling over Luger's back. He also hits a big flying back elbow that looked nice, all of this with Luger bumping all over for him. The only actual drawback to syndicated WCW is that the finishes can get lazy (which is a dumb statement coming right after the fun ending to the previous match). With the big stars you often get them showing ass until it's time to go home, and then just hitting their finisher. Macho Man obviously did this a lot, Flair not shockingly as well, and here Luger bumps all around for Vern until he just kicks him and gets him in the Torture Rack. Still, we got a fun match up until that bit of uninspiration.

Barbarian vs. Konnan

ER15: Woof. What a waste of Barbarian. Let me be the first person to talk about how awful a wrestler Konnan was. At this point he had been given the US title, yet still clearly had no idea how to take offense. He had no idea how to fall, and many times came off like a totally untrained wrestler. At one point Barbarian hits a lariat and Konnan puts his arms at his side and just tips over. Later he spun around twice before hitting a kick to the stomach. I can't actually figure out a way to type what he did, to properly convey how misguided it looked. Barbarian was in the ropes, Konnan right in front of him, in place, just spun around clockwise - twice - on his feet, and at the end of the second spin just threw his leg out, so it was like a sidekick to the stomach. Barbarian sold it properly, like a confused man who kind of got flicked in the nuts by a good friend. Just holding his stomach and looking up at Konnan, confused. Later Konnan has problems getting up on a powerbomb (didn't seem like he intentionally sandbagged Barb, just looked like he was clueless) so Barb muscled him up and planted him anyway. The finish is Klassic Klueless Konnan, as Barbarian goes for another powerbomb, Konnan is supposed to do a rana, but Konnan instead manages to completely brain himself, just awkwardly dropping right onto his own head and neck. Barb tries gallantly to roll through it, and Konnan ends up sitting on Barbarian's chest holding his own head for the pin. A true champion.


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Complete and Accurate WCW B-Sides



Syndicated WCW is my anytime mood brightener, my absolutely favorite wrestling to watch and absorb. Gassed up Power Plant guys, one off appearances, matches from guys you didn't know were under contract, theme park tourist fans in a rolling sea of white shirts, just the easiest to digest wrestling. This will cover the syndicated programming airing during the Nitro era.

WCW Worldwide

4/9/95
4/16/95
11/5/95
11/19/95
12/10/95

6/23/96
6/30/96
8/4/96
8/11/96
9/15/96
9/22/96
10/27/96
11/3/96

5/4/97
5/11/97
8/10/97
11/9/97
11/16/97

5/30/98
7/4/98
8/1/98
8/9/98
12/5/98
12/12/98
12/19/98

2/13/99
2/20/99
2/27/99
3/6/99
3/13/99
3/20/99
3/27/99
4/3/99
12/5/99

WCW Saturday Night

2/7/98
2/14/98
6/13/98
6/20/98
10/17/98

1/16/99
2/13/99
6/26/99
7/31/99
9/4/99
11/27/99

3/11/00 Pt. I   3/11/00 Pt. II

WCW Pro

3/23/96
3/30/96
4/6/96
4/13/96
6/15/96
6/22/96
8/10/96
8/17/96
8/24/96
8/31/96
9/7/96

WCW Main Event

6/23/96
7/7/96
7/14/96
7/21/96

5/24/97
5/31/97
9/6/97
9/13/97


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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

All Time MOTY List Head to Head: Parka vs. Santo VS. Tijuana Trios

Rey Mysterio Jr./Damien 666/Vampiro vs. Rey Mysterio Sr./Halloween/La Parka Tijuana 10/26/01

PAS: I assume this is a relevos incriebles match with Mexicos Most Wanted on different teams, and dueling Mysterios, but I will admit I am not totally versed in the angles of early 2000s Tijuana lucha. Rey Jr. was post WCW pre-WWE and was in the midst of baggy pants Rey, he still knocked off some cool moves, but kept having to pull up his pants after every move.  I actually enjoyed Vamp and Rey Sr. in this too, they had some energy and Rey Sr. actually based really well for his nephew.


This was mainly focused on Damien 666 vs. La Parka and it was totally awesome stuff. There are fans burning Parka gear in the crowd, and he riles up the crowd right to the precipice of a lucha riot. He throws Damien into the crowd and starts mashing him with a chair right in front of the guy who burned his pennant. He also gets some giant piece of wood and smashes Damien with it and powerbombs him through it. We also get an awesome Rey Jr. vs. Parka section where he pinches him on the cheek like a little baby, before getting ranaed in revenge. Parka is a fucking superstar in this match, and plays the chaos of this match like a master conductor. I really loved the finish too, with Parka burying Damien under a Parka flag and then getting rolled up when he gets too preoccupied with taunting.  I forgot how much I loved Tijuana chaos and this was a great example of it.

ER: This is just a nearly perfect lucha match for me, and really takes me back to seeing live Tijuana lucha cards from this era 15 years ago. We saw some wild stuff (oddly just missing all of these participants, but involving adjacent performers like Nicho and Super Parka) but the brawls never got this wild and the work never felt quite as mean, and the matches I saw didn't have as many highs. Everybody gets and delivers big moments in this match, even Vampiro. Even before the bell sounds Mysterio shoves his nephew and shows they won't be effing around. Of course this was the La Parka show, but no one man owned this match. Parka in 2001 was so skinny (compared to what we've gotten used to) that I'm going to start spreading misinformation that this was actually an all time great performance from AAA La Parka. You get all the stuff you love out of current La Parka, but against fresh match-ups, like a spry Damien and a having fun free agent Rey.

We've seen Damien as a slow guy with a big belly hitting people with a kendo stick for over a decade now, it's great to see him snapping off fast ranas on Parka, taking a crazy bump into the crowd (followed by getting pelted with chairs from Parka), and it's cool to see how wildly the crowd gets behind him after his beating at the hands of Parka (considering there are some major names in the match, I wasn't expecting Damien to emerge as the hero). Damien paying Parka back for his beating was huge, and the great thing about violent, chair throwing, table launching, drink smashing La Parka is that he always takes back whatever he gives. Parka gets tossed through a table, Damien hits a big senton on the table, Parka gets tossed into the crowd, pelted with chairs, really gives back generously. We never got a ton of Parka/Misterio in WCW, just a handful of tag matches and one singles (which I basically need to seek out tonight), and in AAA they mostly were on the same tecnicos side, so the whole match I was salivating at the chance for a Parka/Rey clash, and it totally delivered. Parka acts like the cocky older brother and shoves Rey back about 6 feet before Rey starts outwitting him with speed. Yep, gonna need those WCW tags tonight, thank you.

Halloween is the lost super worker of the 2000s, never got much of a chance to shine in WCW, emerged post-WCW as a big bumping asskicking heavyweight, and was at the peak of his powers here. He gets mostly paired with Vampiro, which could have been a disaster, but totally makes it work. Vampiro was kept to his nice spinkick and nice full leg extension superkick, Halloween flew fast to the floor off the spinkick, leaned in chin first on the superkick, throws great knife edge chops, and late in the match hits this great jumping kick. Misterio Sr. was a guy who never really got talked up by the people buying lucha tapes, so either this match was a career performance or there is more cool stuff out there to mine. Him shoving his nephew really set the tone for the match. You typically don't get that kind of start to a match when guys are planning on dogging it, and he was always a great presence throughout the match with stiff right hands. Finish was fun with Damien getting to be the unexpected tecnicos hero, after getting buried in all kinds of Parka gear (and it should be noted that before the match, someone was literally BURNING a La Parka pennant in the crowd!) and catching a pose-happy Parka in a roll up.

Hijo del Santo vs. La Parka review


Verdict:

PAS: The Trios match was awesome stuff with an all timer Parka performance, but the Santo match also had an all time Parka performance, and also had classic Santito so it gets the win for me.

ER: This trios was basically everything I love about lucha and an excellent collective performance. I love those lucha trios where not only are the individual parts good, but the whole rises above as well. This was way WAY closer to the Santo/Parka bloodbath that I would have guessed, and there were parts of this trios where I was flipping out and was definitely planning on voting for a new king. Really the only thing that dropped it down for me was the odd moment where Vampiro almost punched Halloween/Misterio's valet in the face (though I liked her overall interference, it's odd that the tecnicos was literally going to punch a woman in the face, when she had just been chopping him in the chest). It's a small moment, but a weird one, and we're still left with a match that easily would have finished in my top 10 for 2001. But, the champ retains.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE LA PARK

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Complete and Accurate LA Park



With his recent invasion of CMLL and build to what should be a world destroyingly awesome apuestas match with Rush, it feels like there is a chance that the legendary LA Park might be dropping his mask and winding down his incredible career. He is a guy who has been kicking out classics for 25 years plus, and we are still discovering unseen bangers.

1997

La Parka/Psychosis/Villano IV vs. Juventud Guerrera/Silver King/Hector Garza WCW 6/30/97 - GREAT
La Parka/Psicosis vs. The Headhunters Tijuana 11/14/97 - FUN

2001

La Parka/Halloween/Rey Mysterio Sr. vs. Rey Mysterio Jr./Damien 666/Vampiro Tijuana 10/26/01- EPIC
La Parka vs. El Hijo del Santo Tijuana 11/16/01 - GREAT
La Parka vs. El Hijo Del Santo Monterey 12/23/01 - EPIC

2016

LA Park/Super Parka/ Hijo de LA Park vs. Rush/Pierroth/Toscano Liga Elite 4/27/16 - GREAT
LA Park vs. Rush Tijuana 6/3/16 - EPIC
LA Park vs. Rush Liga Elite 7/14/16 - EPIC
LA Park v. Caristico Lucha Elite 10/21/16 - FUN

2018

LA Park/Damien 666/Psicosis vs. Garza Jr./Bestia 666/Mecha Wolf 450 The Crash 4/5/18 - FUN

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Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: Casas vs. Soberano

32. Negro Casas vs. Soberano Jr. CMLL 4/13

ER: Casas is back and it seems like his new goal is to just break out any offense he can think of and go speed for speed with youngsters. We get tons of Casas maestro submissions, I love how he goes after a leg and stretches hammies, and it looks cool on Soberano's long legs. Casas is equally adept and bumping appropriately for offense, I love how he takes an armdrag, and I liked how he escaped and hot stepped out of the way of Soberano grabbing for an ankle pick, but then didn't notice the legsweep that knocked him on his butt. We've seen a lot of work on the apron in recent years, but I think Casas is the best at making apron stuff seem epic. The whole shot looked really great: Lucha being filmed in HD, the expanse of Arena Mexico growing behind the two competitors, shot from low on the ground making it seem like they were having a scaffold match; Casas is great at milking these moments, leaning way back and hitting his straight kicks, working tiny moments of drama, and eventually planting Soberano with a DDT (which Soberano takes vertically and sticks there frozen in time). To add insult, Casas bends Soberano's arm over the corner of the apron. We get a nice nearfall section with Casas getting more and more exasperated while not being able to put the kid away. Everything about Soberano's surfboard hold was great, with Casas doing all sorts of great things, like gripping his arms close to his body to keep them from Soberano, to reaching quickly for the ropes but snapping them back to keep them from being swiped, to fighting mightily when they do get swiped, to then paddling his arms in the air to try to swing his momentum over. I wish we would have gotten an actual finish, but the fans did seem genuinely excited when they realized Soberano went the distance, and we got a nice false finish with just a couple seconds to go, when Casas gets a high tight roll up after Soberano had missed a cannonball and dropped on his head. I'm not sure what it would take for me to not love a 10 minute slice of singles match Casas.

PAS: Casas is a really amazing TV worker, I can just imagine how great Casas would have been in 90s WCW working random dudes on Saturday Night for six minutes. Soberano is about Super Calo level talented, but Casas can find enough fun things to do with him to make an entertaining match. I really enjoyed all of the apron stuff, and Soberano's bump on the DDT was totally goofus and uncalled for. Time limit draws are always a bit deflating, but it does nicely set up the revanche match, which I am excited to check out.


2018 MOTY MSATER LIST

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Shinya Hashimoto will Lay his Burdens Down by the Riverside

Shinya Hashimoto/Shiro Koshinaka vs. Tiger Jeet Singh/Kim Duk NJPW 10/17/91 - FUN

PAS: You kind of know what you are getting with a Tiger Jeet Singh match, some crowd brawling, lots of hidden foreign object stuff, no bumps. We did get some fun fired up Hashimoto when he got a hot tag and laced in to both of the heels, I also enjoyed Kim Duk taking an upside down bump in the corner, but this was mostly just the Tigers doing their thing.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 146

Episode 146

Arik Royal vs. Dirty Daddy

ER: Damn what a keg of dynamite this match was! Ferocious Royal is an absolute king, and this was some of my favorite Royal stuff ever. He worked this as an aggressive Junkyard Dog, lunging in hard at Daddy with diving shoulderblocks and booming headbutts, jumped him at the bell with big punches, just kept on him the entire time. This is some of the more vicious work I've seen from Royal (and makes me more grumpy we got robbed of TV champ Royal doing this stuff every week), and then he ramps things up with a crazy spinning backbreaker, then yanks Daddy's limp body off the mat into a short arm clothesline. I don't know if I've seen someone pull a guy off the mat into a lariat before, and I loved it. Daddy's comeback was a good one (he's a great babyface), and I loved him beating down Royal with chops and forearms and a big running elbow. Daddy always has what looks like a weak delivery on chops and elbows, usually no big wind-up, but they always land hard and look like something that could drop a big guy like Royal. Royal kept at those grounded attacks, and the big upending shoulder tackle is a favorite of mine. Awesome battle.

PAS: Yeah this was a really great compact brawl, this kind of six minute fight is something CWF does really well. Royal is so good as a stooging, shit talking, stalling heel, but he is also really great as a focused killer and he was brutal here. Daddy is also great at intense brawling and I loved his chop and punch beatdown in the corner and his diving clothesline which really hit with a thud. Royal has great explosion, he would have been an awesome middle linebacker, his tackles and cut blocks look great and part of the reason is that he can go from 0-60 so quickly.

Mace Li vs. Snooty Foxx

ER: Fun match and a fine Foxx performance, impressive that he can make someone like Li seem credible, and not just credible because of Coach and Royal at ringside. It's an important distinction. Li is still a hard guy for me to pin down, he'll do something great one moment, then get lazy a moment later. There was a weird moment where Foxx hit a back elbow but Foxx was the one who sold it, and Li went right back on offense. Not sure what happened there. Foxx is really good at big man leapfrog exchanges, love seeing him move quick and time that leaping back elbow, always looks great. I also thought the fight through the crowd was fun, these fans are always right on top of the action and it's always cool to see the workers not hold back right next to them. Finish was probably better on paper, with Royal holding Snooty's boots so he can't kick out, even though his boots were practically hanging off the apron. He's breaking the plane of the ropes, ref! The aftermath is simple match building, Li and Royal jumping Foxx all building to Foxx crushing a huge spear, instantly made me excited to see them fight back in Chapel Hill.

PAS: This was a match where both guys had good ideas, but still lack the execution to pull everything off. The idea of defensive wrestler Li catching a break and damaging the power guys knee. There were parts of this that looked great, but then Foxx would throw a dodgy punch or mostly miss on a clothesline, or Li would really poorly apply an Indian deathlock and I would be taken out of it a bit. These guys are basically still rookies, so the fact that they have good ideas is promising, and I am sure the execution will come.

Cain Justice vs. Cam Carter

ER: I could easily see the Cain/Sharpe team making a nice long run in the Kernodle Cup. Let me rephrase, I want Cain/Sharpe to make a nice long run in the Kernodle Cup. I don't believe we got to see their match from earlier this year, but it's no surprise that these two match up nicely. Carter is slippery and Justice has no shortage of mean tricks, so it's a fun combo. I dug all of Carter's flips out of Cain's wrist control, and Carter has a bunch of precise kicks and knees, and Cain is always game to lean into a kick or knee (that flying knee off the top looked like it bounced right off his jaw). This is a bit different than most Cain matches, as he has Ethan Sharpe running interference on the floor, and I don't recall him ever having someone interfering on his behalf before. I like how Cain typically structures comebacks in his matches, so the interference took away from that a bit and made the result less in question, but the action was good, and I liked Sharpe giving him leverage on an armbar. I don't think I've ever seen someone lock in an armbar and then hold it with one arm while grabbing his partner's arm with another. Carter sells the arm nicely and we get some fun moments, like Cam dodging a crane kick, sidestepping Cain and tripping him into the ropes to set up the 336. Cain is really great at removing or shifting gear to accentuate a beatdown. When I was a kid I would always get a kick out of Greg Valentine turning his shinguard before locking on the figure 4. I had no idea the significance of it, but it seemed cool to me. Cain is good at shifting a kneepad, removing a shinguard, something to signify that this next knee or kick would be somehow even worse. I loved Cam holding onto the ropes while Cain yanked on his arm, and the Twist Ending is always especially mean when he holds the arm and kicks it before locking it in. Tons of fun.

PAS: Cam Carter comes into Square Biz by Teena Marie and immediately vaults hugely up my favorite wrestlers list. This was another great Cain match against a relatively limited opponent. Carter has great athleticism, but doesn't always hit everything cleanly (I know I sound like a coded racist Sports Announcer right now, but he really does get great snap and height on his moves), Cain feeds him some big comebacks and is great cutting off the ring and really doing some vicious arm work.  Justice landed some vicious short kicks on the arm to loosen it up, and he is really great at violent focused attacks. I love how he varies the speed on it, he does the methodical Arn style arm work, but will also be frenzied, and the set up to the twist ending here was great. The commentary mentioning a rumored leg submission he is keeping secret got me excited, I can't wait for him to pull that out to win a huge match.  I do agree that Sharpe was a bit OTT on the outside, and some of the ref distraction spots didn't make a ton of sense. still I loved this match it made our 2018 Ongoing MOTY list and continue to be 100% all in on Cain.

Zane & Dave Dawson vs. Matt Houston/Louis Moore

ER:What a weird, unnecessarily long match. We have now written up over 60 episodes of CWF, and this tag is the 2nd longest tag match during that time! Why did this match go over 20 minutes!? There was not nearly enough happening to fill 20 minutes, and the last half felt like tired tubs lying around gathering their breath for their next move. Having a match this long really played up every participant's weakness: The Dawsons don't have enough interesting offense to be in control for that long, and they're genuinely bad at setting up opponent comebacks, so they took forever to get to the Outlaws' run of offense, and when it finally arrived they didn't do them any favors. This match dragged so much that when the 20 minute mark was announced I called my computer a damn liar. Houston is a guy I want to like. He's a spitting image of Dick Murdoch, skinny legs and an even bigger belly and even facial similarities, and his moonsault was surprising as hell. But the Dawsons have no clue how to set up his hot tag. Seriously they are terrible at finding ways to occupy themselves while waiting for spots, so they end up just standing frozen still, or awkwardly wandering. I had never seen Moore before and I liked how he bumped for a big chop in the corner, but man did he eat it on a rolling somethingorother to the floor: Houston had been "caught" by the Dawsons on a plancha (they dropped him, but he was kind enough to be lifted and held into position, and Moore rolled into everyone with a senton...except he corgi legged the jump, barely hit them, and splatted directly to the floor. I like a couple Dawsons eyepokes, liked Zane's big lariat for a nearfall, but this was just way too long and way too slow. There is no reason to have the Outlaws be the toughest opponents yet for the Dawsons. I'm pretty sure the crowd at one point even started a "This Match Sucks" chant, which is stunning coming from the familial Sportatorium crowd. This really felt like one of those rookie matches where they repeatedly miss signals from the back to go home, and the fed has to start flashing the lights in the building to get their attention. I have never watched the Hero/Punk 93 minute match, and I'm not totally sure how time and space works, but I bet I could have watched Hero/Punk in the time it took me to watch this match.

PAS: This was really ponderous, it felt like they were waiting for someones flight to arrive, like one of those WWF house show matches where Ron Bass and Tito Santana sit in a chinlock for 8 minutes because there was bad weather into Tulsa. Eric talked about Zane's lariat, but I thought Houston straight armed the taking of it, so it looked bad, Zane responded by straight arming the belt shot a second later. I did like the finish, really great looking accidental head smash into your partner and the double powerbomb looked good, but if you just showed me pictures of these four guys I would be totally jazzed for this match, and instead they basically laid an egg.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE CAIN JUSTICE

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