Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pro Wrestling Revolution Road Report 3/9/19

ER: Jun Akiyama has been wrestling for 27 years, and he decided to work his first ever match in the United States on a Saturday night in San Francisco high school for a lucha fed that doesn't have any actual lucha on it. Why not? We hit up Papito on the way down, me, Tim Livingston, and our friends Sean and Jason. A good crew for a wrestling show. Papito is this great Mexican place owned by a French guy who makes fantastic food. I foolishly had a late lunch, so just sat there sipping sangria and munching chips while Tim got shrimp tacos, Sean got a pork/duck meat combo, and Jason got a great big burrito. I was jealous, but it was my choice and being gluttonous at 38 isn't as fun as it was at 21. That chorizo hamburguesa with queso fresco, avocado, and caramelized onions was staring me in the face on the menu, tempting me with greasy memories. But eating that close together would have had me feeling like total trash through a 3 hour show, so I sad eyed my way through it. We got to the show a little late, and then there was a very long line for being 20 minutes past listed door time. Our saint from above, our friend Brian was inside having come from a different direction, SAVING four other seats. This show was genuinely PACKED and that move probably got him a couple aggressive stares. It was loud as hell throughout a large portion of the night, real cacophonous gym with a full crowd, lots of air horns.

We got there late from dinner and the long line in, so we missed a 6 man scramble match. Our friend Brian - who had saved FOUR seats through a 20 minute late start time AND a full match - when asked about his opinion of the scramble match, wrinkled his nose and narrowed his eyes, and tilted his head a little. A wordless, unimpressed dismissal of six men's nights' work.

Papa Esco/El Dinamita vs. Viento/Rey Leon

ER: This was a perfectly fine tag. One of the tecnicos comes out to Sweet Child of Mine which is one of those cheesy things that means your brain is wired to become of professional independent pro wrestler. Papa Esco is a fun fat guy with a singlet that even says Fat Boy. He has a good fat guy build, nice and sturdy, bald head and big beard. He's not mega fat, but he looks like someone left Monsta Mack in the dryer a little too long. Viento appeared to be the better of the tecnicos as far as fluidity, but he was also in there more with Esco, who is the much better base. Dinamita was really clumsy during some sequences, especially poor at taking offense (which is not a good sign from a rudo), but Esco is really good at taking armdrags, has that great chubby base pendulum style bumping down. This was fine. Esco is one of the PWR homegrowns that I like, so was at minimum hoping for a decent showcase for him, and got it.

Puma Negro vs. Sonico vs. Arkedy Federov vs. Matt Fury

ER: Matt Fury was originally supposed to be Jungle Boy, but due to the week's circumstances Jungle Boy was obviously not here. I didn't catch the name of his replacement, but he was a black flier who my friend Sean kept referring to as "athletic" and wasn't sure why Jason and I kept giving him a hard time about it. He didn't repeatedly refer to Federov as "hard working" so the likely scenario is that Sean doesn't know sports code. Fury got good height on some things and hit a pretty spectacular springboard shooting star press into the entranceway onto everyone, but felt like he put more thought into ways to do high leapfrogs instead of transitions. My favorites in the match were Puma Negro and Sonico. Federov was okayish, but had some really clunky set up on indy offense. There was a moment where he did some awful 9 step set-up kind of move, grabbing an arm, dipping opponent back into a backbreaker, pulling them to feet before locking into a pumphandle, you know one of those moves that needs someone to be perfectly still while you do your 9 point pre-check before dropping them on their face. But Sonico was a real pleasant surprise, a guy I'd love to see again around here. He got real high height leaping off the ropes for ranas and had a really great fast dive. Puma Negro was an Arkangel type rudo, had a nice stiff arm southpaw lariat just like Arkangel's, good base for Sonico's ranas, had a cool sunset flip variation. Federov ends the match with an awful waffle that looked super dangerous. Overall this is what you'd like from a 10 minute 4 way.

Nicole Savoy vs. Heather Monroe

ER: A 13 minute match that probably would have been much better off settling in around 9. Monroe showed a ton of charisma and personality during her ring entrance, really looked like someone who owned the ring and would be a great heel. Once the match started that completely vanished. The way she was stalking the apron and dismissing the crowd during her entrance felt like the kind of confidence that would immediately translate to the match, but the bell rung and she was completely silent. The middle of the match was a long Monroe control segment that was easily the most quiet the crowd got all night, and her stuff didn't look great. Savoy's moments where much better, nice high kick, even better German, tough fisherman buster, big tope (that Monroe caught nicely) but Monroe took way too much of this. It's only a matter of time before Savoy is in NXT, and she's super easy to root for, but the structure of this was all off.

ER: We had an ongoing bet over how long the intermission would go. I had 33 minutes, I laughed at Tim's guess of 25 minutes. To my shock they ended up coming back right at the 25 minute mark. I HATE intermissions, while begrudgingly understanding their purpose, and PWR's intermissions are filled with incredibly loud music blared into a cramped gymnasium. If I sound old, I genuinely don't care. So I leave to stretch my legs and in the hallway I run into Roy Lucier. Roy has been the true MVP of the online wrestling community these past few years, as he's been uploading a wealth of rare and unique wrestling footage in easily searchable categories, at an incredibly fast pace. Old tape traders seem like they always get along when meeting, and he and I got to chat for a good 20 minutes. He told me about a few things he's recently received that are VERY exciting. We even talked about saving it for Christmas because some of it is a gift that has been seen by very few of us. Talking about wrestling with people is fun, real glad we bumped into each other, been a long time coming. You'll be seeing plenty of Roy's uploads written about by us over the next several (!) years.

Tajiri vs. Super Crazy

ER: This feud was pretty important to late teens me, really was some of my absolute favorite stuff at that time and really worked as one of my gateways to wanting to see more and more wrestling from Japan and Mexico. It was cool seeing them run it back now that both are in the back end of their 40s, and this felt like a fun take on the familiar Tajiri/Crazy matches only done by guys in the back end of their 40s. The speed wasn't going to be there, but the ability to work a crowd was there and they knew what they could get by with. Tajiri was getting good reactions just stalking the ring, and he amusing worked the match like a Repo Man match. Tajiri kept going for headlocks and it was pretty great, due to their expert veteran timing. It really could have killed a crowd, as the buzz would be building, fans would start loudly anticipating a Crazy comeback, and right when the comeback was about to happen Tajiri would trick him into a headlock again. Every time the crowd reaction would get louder before the headlock, before Tajiri would quiet them. Tajiri doesn't do fast roundhouse wheel kicks or high kicks anymore, but instead threw a few nice front kicks, just pushing off with a couple stiff kicks to Crazy's chest or chin. Crazy is definitely chubbier these days, but he still gets the exact same height and rotation on his spinkick, hit a moonsault off the middle that looked just like a moonsault of his from '99, and even missed a moonsault off the top that had some of the absolute best arc and grace of anyone to have ever done a moonsault. His form is still that impressive. The finish was really fantastic as the ref gets briefly bumped, and in that brief moment where the ref isn't looking, Tajiri swings off Super Crazy with a cool armdrag...and mists Crazy while midair in the middle of the armdrag. Great visual.

Jun Akiyama/Ultimo Dragon/Misterioso vs. Vinny Massaro/Colt Stevens/JR Kratos

ER: So before the match they ran around passing streamers to ringside fans, and then promoter Gabe got on the mic and explained to the crowd how to throw streamers, and I think it comes off pretty silly to do a quickie "okay Japanese wrestlers only know you respect them if you throw neon garbage at them". Akiyama does come off like a boss during his ring entrance, wearing a large robe, clearly a guy who felt like a big deal to people (actually many in the crowd) who had no idea who he was. But damn if those streamers didn't look cool during his ring introduction (poor Ultimo was a Japanese man who was apparently shown zero respect, streamers for Akiyama only. We felt bad for Ultimo). Bay area indies have been kicking around "Border Patrol" teams since at least the mid 90s and I'm thankful as hell we don't get any bad "build the wall" shtick from Stevens and Kratos. Vinny is in for a lot of this and the fans are way into Akiyama, which felt great. This wasn't going to be some wild match, it was going to be worked like a NOAH house show match, which was just fine, all that was needed. The rudos worked over Misterioso nicely, especially loved a long full arm lariat from Vinny, and a big release snap suplex from Kratos (a snap vertical suplex, but he let go so Misterioso flew across the ring, looked great). Akiyama came in on two occasions, laid in some nice knees including a great leaping knee into Stevens, and you knew we were getting at least one exploder. They mix it up and don't just go straight for the finish when he tags in the second time, and we even got a cool surprise nearfall from Stevens. I would have loved to see the reaction if Akiyama got pinned. But of course that wasn't REALLY going to happen. This was a perfectly fine crowd pleasing main event, and nothing more, and it didn't need to be.

ER: I've still yet to see a GREAT match from PWR, and they've been around for at least a decade now. But this was a packed house, a genuinely sold out show, with a crowd that stayed loud and invested throughout the whole card. That's a special thing.

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