Segunda Caida

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

Friday, June 08, 2018

New Footage Fridays: Boatload of Brazos, Fujiwara, Maeda, Exoticos

MD: When WWE gives you Kane vs Leviathan, you go forth and find other things. In this case, that would be unearthed Brazos, unearthed exitocos, and unearthed Fujiwara. I think we've done pretty well for ourselves.

PAS: Boy talk about the importance of lowered expectations, we went from "wow the networks is dropping 20 awesome matches a week including multiple unseen 70s and 80s house show matches!!" To "well they are going to only drop one a week, but it is still completely unseen and legendary!" To "suck on a Kane match which has already been on youtube for a decade." Well fuck them, if you give us lemons we will make Fujiwara and Brazo flavored lemonade.

ER: Fujiwara and Brazo flavored lemonade would just taste like drinking frosting and lard out of an ashtray.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Osamu Kido vs. Akira Maeda/Nobuhiko Takada NJPW 3/7/86

MD: Despite Phil's best efforts, I still have some blind spots that I shouldn't have for someone who writes here. While I've seen my share of Fujiwara, I haven't seen as much Maeda and Takada as you'd think. My biggest takeaway here, other than it's great that this was unearthed, was the electricity in the air whenever Fujiwara was in. While Maeda and Takada working with Kido was fine, with them smartly moving from one hold to the next, there was a certain spryness and even manic energy when Fujiwara was in there. Everything felt more visceral. Maeda might toss a kick at Kido, but Fujiwara was going to catch that kick and smack his face off. There's a difference between working a half crab spot and pummeling someone with high/low combos in the corner. Both are fine but I'm going remember the latter more than the former tomorrow. Then you have the angles that Fujiwara comes at you. He had this great double leg takedown with his own legs, for instance, or the precision leg stab that set up the finish. I thought he looked brilliant here.

PAS: After reviewing so much awesome Fujiwara over the years, I am so happy there is still more out there to watch. Fujiwara is pure pleasure in this match, the only guy in this who wasn't content to work a house show match. He works over Maeda he strafes him with body shots in the corner , it really reminded me of Piper in the Valentine match which opened this project up, then he catches his kick and drops with with a huge overhand slap, we are fighting motherfucker. The finish is an all timer Fujiwara finish too, with a brutal quick knee kick dropping Takada and then slapping on a brutal knee bar for the tap. That low kick was such a great fast KO move, totally unexpected and brutal. There was a bit of meandering from the other three which kept this being from a true epic match, but still getting more classic Fujiwara at his peak is such a gift.

MD: I'm so glad this showed up. I'm pretty certain the only time I've ever seen Sergio and Bello Greco before was in that amazing Ola Lila vs Space Cadets match from 84. Their act was so good and we've got so little of them online. This is a great handheld match because you get such a sense of the ambient noise of the crowd. They're laughing at every spot and they're right to do so. Bello Greco is a bruiser exotico base, there for everything Sano and Hata do (and they do some fairly complex rope running and armdrag sequences). He's there to stooge, bump, catch, and clobber and he does it all very well, underpinned by the exotico character. Sergio, on the other hand, is 110% over the top and he's brilliant and dynamic in the role. He has a reaction for everything and it hit every single time. He gets more out of leaping over a dropped down opponent than anyone I've ever seen. Someone could loop a gif of him going back and forth with dropdowns and it'd be its own blend of wrestling perfection. The crowd cracked up every time he pranced over even after they'd seen it six or seven times. Just watching what he does with his hands on routine spots is fascinating. Sano shined here, working as fluidly as possible with the exoticos, and Hata was fine. This had some heat towards the middle and then ended hot enough, though I get the sense this was placed fairly low on the card and they held back a bit on spots and dives. They didn't need them. The crowd was more than happy to cheer for Sergio and Bello Greco as they were recovering post-match and you can't blame them in the least.

PAS: This was a blast, what a perfect match to have low on a card. The exoticos are total pro performers, with the Brazos match this was a great week for classic lucha comedy. I imagine Sergio and Bello were performing their greatest hits, but this is the one of the few times we have seen them do Freebird and it is pretty spectacular. Sergio looks like a superstar, he feels right on the level of Cassandro, Pimpinela and Adrian Street, comes off like a guy who will leap right off a Pride float and whoop a homophobes ass and go right back to dancing to Nikki Minaj. I was also super impressed with Sano, what an all time adjustable wrestler, he is just as comfortable working exotico comedy spots and fast rope running as he was ripping Liger's mask and working hard shootstyle with Ken Shamrock, is their nothing that guy couldn't do, I would have loved to see him work as Sumo Sam in Memphis throwing salt with Tojo Yamamoto.

Brazo De Oro/Brazo De Plata/El Brazo vs. Robin Hood/Brazo De Platino/Kendo UWF 3/8/94

MD: The Brazos act is timeless. How do I know? Because their antics here with Kendo at the start of the match, stalling, playing with the crowd who loved to chant the tecnicos' names, pretending to leave, crashing into each other, falling off the apron? They did all of that stuff back in 1990 in a match that we have against Kendo/Asai/Hamada. It was still entertaining here. The crowd still loved it here. The only difference was that the super soakers they came out with probably didn't exist back in 90. My favorite moment in all of this was the lucha ring announcer announcing that five minutes had passed despite the fact that they hadn't even locked up yet given all of the comedy posturing, and the crowd popping for the announcement. Obviously they're all used to working with each other and obviously they've done this hundreds of times, but it's still striking how wild and adaptive the physical movements are. That's the joy of the Brazos. It's like they're riding this wave of comedic wrestling, their sheer girth carrying them along with unstoppable inertia. If the crowd reacts in a way that they couldn't possibly expect (though so often it's the crowd reacting to their expert priming), they just get swept along with it, some how twisting the physical comedy to make it work like the most natural thing in the world. Robin Hood and Platino were, unsurprisingly, fitting cogs in the machine and Kendo was just a blur of color and motion and charisma. His connection with this specific crowd over a span of a few years is way too under the radar.

PAS: Kendo crashes an Alvarado family BBQ and we get a nifty trios title match in Japan. Rob Bihari has been on an absolute uploading tear lately, and I am not sure what counts as an unearthed gem, but he told me he "found this on a random disc" and handheld UWF Hamada Rob found on a random disc seems gemmy enough for me. This is a trios match which really ticks all of pleasure centers. We get some classic Brazos shtick at the beginning, including a great spot where Super Porky accidentally bumps his head on the ring post and starts crying, we get some great rope running exchanges (which is something Kendo excels at), a cool dive train, a Star and a pretty great finishing run. Platino is the ultimate little brother at the end of the match, he actually kicks out of the Porky top rope splash, which feels almost blasphemous in a a way an irritating little brother wouldn't follow the rules in a game of tag, Porky then hits him with a standing senton for another two count and then absolutely flattens him with a top rope Togo senton where he landed flush, just powdering Platino's ribs. It is exactly the kind of unnecessary escalation you might do to a little brother who keeps kicking out of your Hogan legdrops when you are play wrestling on your parents bed.

ER: A bunch of Brazos and a chubby veteran Kendo (trying to get into Brazo shape) match up in Japan, and everyone in the crowd somehow understands the jokes better than I do. Bullshit is the universal wrestling language. We now have a great sample of Rip Rogers getting a Japanese crowd eating from his hand before his matches even start, and here we get a bunch of chubby guys shooting Super Soakers, leading to other chubby guys shooting water gun bows and arrows (did they bring those on the flight, or did they find them while in Japan and think "we need to work in some pre-match water gun spots"), and a bunch of clapping and chanting and pratfalls. Watch the Rip Rogers, clapping and pratfalls work. We get some good pratfalls during the match too, my favorite being Oro (or Brazo? It's tough to tell sometimes in this) slingshotting into the ring but just doing a back bump, not rolling through. That's a good gag. This is a great era of Porky, as the thick muscular athletic young man from a few years prior is gone, that metabolism took off and didn't even leave a note, but he's still just 30 so still has athleticism. By 1994 he would reach the size he'd basically be for the rest of his career, but hadn't lost much of the agility. Porky has some great moments here, I giggled at him selling Robin enziguiris as if he had lost a contact (I also assume that he didn't bother selling kicks to the back of his head because under that sick as hell mullet he's rocking some equally impressive hot dog neck, so attacking the back of Porky's neck is akin to headbutting a Samoan), and I really liked Platino in this. He's the baby of the group and he acted like a total pro, and I can't even begin to describe what happened between he and Porky as well as Phil did. But we get an awesome dive train (none as wild as Robin Hood's nutty dive earlier that sent him rolling into the crowd), with a great rolling dive off the apron from Oro (or Brazo?) and a killer hands free lawn dart from Kendo, and of course we build to a mammoth Porky dive as our payoff. Imagine how steel nerved Porky was. He was always the most athletic of the group, and the fatter he got the more of an attraction he became to their trios team. So before, he was the muscular stocky guy who took big bumps and did big dives, but as he got fatter the desire from the crowd to see him continue diving just kept increasing the fatter he got. So every single match he's placed into the clean-up role, the guy who always has to deliver the coup de grace, always has to do his dive after the crowd has already seen several dives, knows that if he fucks up his dive then the most eyes will be on him. BUT, that's the beauty of the clutch performance of Porky, in that he knows he can deliver the gorgeous fat guy dive, but everybody in the matches also knows that he has the best comic chops to salvage the moment if he does somehow fuck up his dive. The finish is fantastic, with Platino deciding to show Japan just how ironclad his sternum is, starting by attempting a sunset flip on Porky that ends with a fat butt sit, then eats a big splash, a senton, and a freaking high hang time top rope senton that made me cover my eyes. My eyes were expecting to see Platino's intestines shoot out his ass, and we are all winners because they did not. Phil completely nailed what Platino was doing here, made me think back to poor David Lochmann in high school, who always sandbagged everyone when we were acting like wrestlers during P.E. Dave refused to roll with a Texas Cloverleaf I was trying to apply, just staying on his back as I tried to turn him. So, Dave ate a few kicks to the back and then got treated to a Cloverleaf way more painful than the one I would have applied had he followed the script. Platino knew what this was.

Leviathan vs. Kane OVW Christmas Chaos 1/31/01

ER: The match that I have been waiting nearly half my lifetime to see! This hidden gems project has been a total flop thus far, but now that they are filling up that ring with 640 pounds of primo steroid era grade A prime things are starting to look up. Could I have seen this match before this moment? Well, sure, if I wanted to sit through a 5 second Dailymotion ad and watch it in slightly worse quality. I'm not going to dig out and watch my VHS copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey that I taped off PBS in the 90s, I'm watching my blu ray. Thus, I'm not watching one match between two guys I don't really like from a Christmas show that was being held 5 weeks after Christmas. Imagine how devastated you would be if Christmas came and went, and you had to wait another 5 weeks to get your presents? Well, WWE knew that fans had been waiting near 18 years to see this Battle of the Titans on their Network screens, and they unleashed this Secret Santa Surprise with a fireplace warmed holiday grin on their faces. Two larger than life pro wrestling and film mega stars at their most gassed, with film quality that looks somehow worse than the batch of early 80s handhelds we just got. This match is going to be like the sound that a giant side of beef makes when someone drops it on a sidewalk. Cornette calls these two Mastodons of the Mat who "move like junior heavyweights" which is like an over the top positive lie you tell a friend who you just witnessed shitting the bed at an open mic.

And if your friend had this match you'd probably tell them some over the top positive lie right after you witnessed it. Leviathan was newish, Kane was bad, but this was a decent poor man's Van Hammer vs. Chase Tatum. If this were on the Pro with at least one mullet and no belly button tattoos, I'd probably call it a win. I appreciated that they took a lot of risks on their punches. Both were throwing big hooking right handed haymakers, which are tough to land consistently, and when they miss they look like fake grade school punches. But when they hit, they look good, and Leviathan threw a few to Kanes cheek and one to the head that I thought looked real good, and Kane threw two rights to Leviathan's jaw that looked good, and looked better than Kane's easier to land short uppercuts. Leviathan took nice bumps on chokeslams, hit a nice and sudden spear and a big hang time spinebuster. Both men threw some horrendous clotheslines. Leviathan had one knocking Kane to the floor that was so so gentle, and Kane's "flying" clothesline is one of the worst signature spots in wrestling history. Kane's flying clotheslines always look bad, but the two in this match are some of his very worst. One is so gentle that Leviathan doesn't really know just went to bump it, and both men kind of tumble softly to the mat like two roughhousing friends falling in the backyard. I bet one of them was making "brassssshhhhhhhhh" sound effects while landing. I really hope we get Van Hammer vs. Chase Tatum next Thursday.

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Blogger Davey C said...

There's something quite amusing about Phil and Matt reviewing lost Fujiwara gems, and Eric taking the hit to review Kane/Batista

4:04 AM  

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