Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

NXT on USA Workrate Report 9/18/19

Since we have an old fashioned wrestling war again, I figured I would dust off the old DVDVR Workrate Report format. Eric and I are planning on alternating shows each week, we will probably have them up normally on Thursday, but I was home for this show and checked it out. I only did the USA portion this week, as that is what is relevant to this discussion.

What Worked

-I think overall the Woman's four way was a well worked wrestling match. I haven't been watching a ton of NXT before this, and did not realize Mia Yim was working a distaff Homicide gimmick. Her offense is way too elaborate to pull off gangster street brawler, she has neither the dead eyes or lacquered nails of real Korean gangbanger girlfriends I have known. Belair has a bunch of fun offense, and a really well developed look. This felt very WWE formula four way, right down to the near fall run. I guess Canadce hasn't been beaten by Shayna yet so she makes sense as a challenger, but I am going to have a hard time buying her as a threat.

What Didn't Work

-If you are going to do the 5 second squash match you are going to need to have a nastier looking finish then that double stomp. He didn't hit it clean and it didn't look like a KO blow. I am used to watching Trevor Lee matches which go really long, it is funny to give the guy best known for 70 minute matches a 8 seconds and out gimmick. Also what exactly is Cameron Grimes's gimmick, evil Jam Band Bassist?  Guy who sold you bad Mushrooms? Hippie panhandler?

-The main event had some moments, I really liked all of the early scrambling on the mat, and some of the back work by Roddy, but man it really devolved into a bloated 2.9 fest at the end. Dream has a lot of sauce, but he still doesn't hit his simple stuff cleanly. I can't believe that the final impression of the first show, is four 5'8 white dudes celebrating like they are the four horseman. I liked some Roddy and Kyle O'Reilly tag matches, but there is nothing cool or dangerous about those guys.

-Mauro's hipster Chris Berman act is one of the worst things on television, period. He is just so insufferable with his name dropping and bellowing voice. "Io Shirai is burning up the ring like Lizzo is burning up the music charts" get the fuck out of here.

-I assumed they would try to make their first show on USA special in someway, but this was a pretty basic episode of NXT TV. All of the angles were sort of joined in progress, and there was never a moment which will be remembered in a couple of weeks. Lio Rush coming back and Imperium invading all happened on the network hour, I am not super interested in either thing, but at least they were moments. Maybe they are saving whatever ammo the have for the first head to head show, but I can't imagine this show excites anyone.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday Shoot Indies - GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 2 9/14/19

PAS: I am starting to build a backlog of Shoot Indies which I am always into so I decided for a bit to alternate AIW Monday with Shoot Indy Monday, also this lets me jump right on Bloodsport after loving their Mania Weekend show so much.

ER: Being there second row with Phil and Tom for Barnett's first Bloodsport is going to be one of my great live wrestling experiences when my time is up, and there's still something I think Phil isn't telling me about how he got tickets. Day before the show it was sold out, next morning I wake up to Phil joyously saying "I got three tickets to Bloodsport! You know, three tickets, together, that ticket quantity that is super common for somebody to be selling. Oh, and they're great seats. Oh, and they were below list price." He refused to answer other questions. I don't know what Phil had to do to get us Bloodsport tickets, but he did something that we will never speak about, and I'm fine with that.

20. Matt Makowski vs. Rory Gulak

PAS: I thought this was great. Makowski is an ex-Bellator guy who is apparently working in Chikara now, I assume he is an old timey Gold Prospector or a sentient bag of pork rinds there, but working shootstyle he owns. Gulak comes in repping Catch Point, I assume he inherited the left over merch when his brother went big time. Gulak is really aggressive with his takedowns including a nasty Judo throw, and is always looking to advance his position on the mat. Makowski had a bunch of really cool stuff, climaxing with the O'Connor Roll into the cross armbreak which was incredible looking, the low kick/head kick combo which finished the match was nifty too. Totally delivered.

ER: Fucking Drew WHO? This was awesome, among my favorite 6 minutes of wrestling this year. This is the Rory I knew was there and I have seen hints of, and now I only want this uncut pitbull energy from him. No backsies. Makowski is fun as hell in a 2003 Z-1 kind of way, and his striking and arm twisting made for an awesome counter to Rory's wrestling. Gulak was really vicious on the attack, and the rolling was all awesome, peppered with bigger moments like Gulak's short belly to belly and big ass German, but with a bunch of tiny movements that all felt like they meant something. A match like this is just as fun for something like Gulak shifting his calf positioning to gain leverage than it is for the big throws. I dug Makowski landing a big hook kick to Gulak's jaw, dug how it felt like he was throwing it out as a lark and didn't realize it would land, and it served as a cool wake up for Rory rather than an instant KO. Makowski even had some stuff Sakuraba would have tried to steal, like a moonsault to pass guard (that could have looked stupid but I loved it). The armbar battles were all legit, Rory looked like he was clasping his hands for dear life while deftly maneuvering his hips, and that chaos theory armbar transition was just bananas. Rory shot straight up into the air like the skinniest kid getting bounced off the blob by the fattest kid at Camp Hope, I mean just a fantastic spot. Rory flew spectacularly into the air with Makowski grabbing that arm on the way down, absolutely one of the spots of the year. Kick feint finish was a good one, and this is the kind of killer match that makes a concept show like this such a bottomless well.

Sumie Sakai vs. Lindsay Snow

PAS: This was a bunch of fun too. Snow was listed as having a Gracie Ju-Jitsu background and lots of this match was Ju-Jitsu sparring on the ground. Sakai was really great with both her Ju-Jitsu and her Judo, landing a bunch of cool throws, and constantly looking to adjust and look for attacks on the mat. Snow was a bit more rudimentary on the mat, but used her size well. I loved the finish with Sakai countering each counter attempt and locking in the arm bar for the tap. Sakai has been around forever, but man did she look skilled here.

ER: I've seen Sakai work pro style a bunch (she's been working in the states for 15 years at this point) but not nearly enough of her like this. She was giving up about 30 lb. to Snow but was the clear aggressor here, to the benefit of the match. She didn't necessarily play it like she was more skilled than Snow, but would shoot in quick and bail early if things weren't going her way. This wasn't as explosive as our first match, but the finish run was cool as hell, loved all the counters and the quick tap when Snow knew she was caught.

69. Zachary Wentz vs. Anthony Henry

PAS: This was worked as a crazy sprint, like a worked version of those WEC Bantamweight fights early in the decade. It was a nice contrast to the pace most of these matches were worked at. I really liked how both guys kept frantically attacking limbs during all of the submission attempts. Henry would put on a kneebar and Wentz would bang away with hammerfists and try to escape. Wentz had two really cool choke attempts, one where he pressed Henry his body and flipped him into a choke, and one where he leaped into a guillotine. Finish was very cool with Wentz getting a knockdown and going for a diving punch, but landing right into a tight guillotine for the tap.

ER: This exceeded my expectations as I didn't know if either of them had any kind of fight sports background, so I was just going into this familiar with their indy wrestling. Wentz is a guy who has stood out to me as a big bumper, and Henry has been in matches I've liked, but I wouldn't have tagged them for something like this and came away pleasantly surprised. Phil hit the nail with his WEC Bantamweight descriptor, and it's hard to do that kind of style without it coming off like flash exhibition. A couple of the missed strikes might have, but those were small pieces of a fun sprint. I loved all the action getting into chokes, dug the Wentz missed punch into a side triangle, and thought the finish was fantastic: when Henry went down from a kick I clearly thought that was going to be it, but Wentz leaping in with a Superman punch (a callback to the Bloodsport show we attended where Kratos absolutely wrecked Grimm with that diving punch as the deserved finish) and I didn't anticipate Henry's triangle. Henry made it even more badass by rolling it over and twisting the trapped arm. This show has slayed so far.

JR Kratos vs. Erik Hammer

PAS: This was a pretty mixed bag, it had some stuff I really dug, and some stuff I really hated. Hammer is a shoot wrestler who worked some IGF and really has Zero-One energy, like a lost jacked up McCully. All of the mat stuff was pretty cool, with a pair of big dudes really struggling over holds. I thought the stand up, New Japan style chop, forearm and grimace stuff sucked, it was a bad version of a tired spot that was really inappropriate for this style. There was some good stuff later in the match, but they really lost me and never got me back.

ER: I saw people calling this the fight of the night, and I am not seeing that. There was a lot to like, and I would have loved it had they stuck to the intense grappling that much of the match was based around. I'm not opposed to strikes in these things, obviously, but the stand and trade forearms and chops building to a phone booth fight was so damn out of place. That kind of stuff is in several matches on every single wrestling card in 2019, Bloodsport is supposed to be presenting something different. And I don't think it was particularly good stand and trade, either, which is an additional problem. I really liked Kratos kicking a downed Hammer in the chest, feinting another one, and then punching him in the jaw. BUT, then it lead directly to some old bullshit. But everything on the ground was intense and that struggle was real. I honestly thought we were going to get a fairly early tap when Hammer was hyperextending Kratos' leg on a hell hook, and I loved late in the match how hard Hammer was going for that armbar, and how hard Kratos was trying to keep those hands together to block it, and I got fully wrapped up in the crazy struggle that was happening. Something like that is way more meaningful than some bad overhand chops and screaming.

Nicole Savoy vs. Allysin Kay

PAS: I like how the women on this show have hued strictly to shootstyle, this was almost all grappling and palm strikes, really no pro flash at all. Kay constantly was going for cool mat attacks, Imanari Rolls, Twisters,  which Savoy would either escape or counter. I loved how Kay went for the Imanari Roll one too many times and got blasted with hammer fists. Finish was really cool with Savoy going for an Omaplata and Kay rolling through into a crucifix and raining down elbows for the tap. Neither lady had the polish of an elite grappler, but they were trying cool shit and pulling it off and I am going to appreciate that, even if it was a bit slower and more awkward then Volk Han.

ER: I liked this even though, yeah, the skill level for this thing was quite there. This lead to a couple exhibition-y moments, but this style leads itself open to things like that. I'll always appreciate two wrestlers going for things that are maybe beyond them, rather then settling into the same old comfort zones. I dug both of them rolling through armbars and heel hooks, and really liked Savoy punishing Kay with mounted punches and hammerfists throughout, and I thought they made good frustrated use out of accidentally falling to the floor. The twister set-up was cool and looked like it could've popped one of Savoy's ribs had it been held longer. I really like what these two went for.

Anthony Carelli vs. Simon Grimm

PAS: Holy hell did Carelli look great here, talk about a guy who could have had a totally different career. He looked like a guy who deserved to run a BattlArts school. Super stiff strikes, just bounces Grimm's head off the mat with forearms, great looking judo takedowns, and some cool submissions. Grimm had his moments, and he really got some heel heat on a show without it normally, but this was a Carelli show and a great one.

ER: Calling Carelli a revelation here would not be an overstatement, because we have hundreds of his matches on tape and outside of occasional judo takedowns we saw none of this guy. I know he had early career Batt matches (that I've never seen) and has been running a Canadian Batt Academy (where I don't think he's wrestled), and here he comes out raining down some of the nastiest grounded strikes of the year while trying to leave with any one of Grimm's limbs. He was a genuinely gifted comedy wrestler who could still be making a killing working indy shows, taking no bumps, kids screaming for the cobra, powerwalking the ropes, easy; instead he goes down to Vegas and reigns supreme! I thought Grimm brought more to this than Phil did, even though this clearly felt laid out to show Carelli's (unseen?) abilities. I loved Carelli's downward elbow strikes to Grimm's chest, loved the hard shots to Grimm's body, and loved the fight over kneebars and armbars, and I dug how things ramped up. Grimm started besting Carelli and that's when Carelli hauls off and starts throwing open hand strikes to escape. And my favorite part of the match was probably Carelli locking in a great dragon sleeper, real mean, and Grimm having to get out of it by throwing a knee up over his head. the knee looked vicious and Carelli sold it appropriately. I wouldn't have guessed Grimm would be such a solid addition to these shows, but I like what he brings and hope we get to see more of Carelli.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Ikuhisa Minowa

PAS: I thought this was good but never broke into the great level. Thatcher doesn't really do worked shoot style on these shows, he really works more of a MUGA style heavy on hard forearms and more traditional wrestling submission holds. That worked well as a style break against Hideki Suzuki on the last show, a guy who is the best in the world at that style. Minowa is an MMA fighter who has done a handful of works, he is technically skilled, but he wasn't bringing a ton of flash to the match. I liked Thatcher grinding out submissions, including the finish where he pounded on Minowa's back until he gave up his neck. I also liked how Thatcher would spin out of one submission to another. This ended up being cool but dry, I think Minowa would have probably been better served against more of a shoot guy.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Tom Lawlor

PAS: I really enjoyed this. Smith is great in this format because of the heaviness he gets across. When he is on the mat he is a this dense ball of tendon strength you have to try to move off. When he lands shots, they feel and look like he is laying cinderblocks upside the head of his opponent. Lawlor was really good at fighting off the back foot, I loved how he threw peppery jabs only to land big leg kicks, and he had some slick counters off of his back. Smith kept rolling though and by the end he felt inevitable.

Killer Kross vs. Nick Gage

PAS: Fun little sprint which delivered what you want out of this match up. Gage is a fun Tank Abbott style brawler on these shows. I loved Kross dominating him with technical striking only to fall victim to a bar fight headbut, and a soccer kick to the mouth. Kross getting him down and choking him out felt inevitable, but Gage throwing up his set as he passed out was a great bit of theatre. I assume Kross is only making the Batista shoutout because they have that match signed, if the do it is a great bit of business.

10. Josh Barnett vs. Chris Dickinson

PAS: Really excellent stuff. All of the cool shit in the Barnett vs. Suzuki without any of the New Japanish shit. I loved the pace of this match with Barnett using his strength and technique to dominate, only to have Dickinson catch him with semi cheap shots to the back of the head or to the ear. Barnett wasn't fully prepared for shots that were legal in Bloodsport but would be illegal in MMA and Dickinson was able to make hay from that. I also loved Dickinson sneaking in a cross armbreaker after fighting for the leg. Finish was totally awesome, they both stand up after some grappling and Barnett tosses off his wrist tape in a very cool drop the strap way, they stand and throw and Dickinson lands first clipping Barnett in the ear and stunning him, Dickinson lands a nasty deadlift German, and some soccer kicks, Barnett is stunned swinging wildly and catches Dickinson in the temple, drops him with a powerbomb and a KO kick to the jaw. The match was slow paced before that and built to this great wild crescendo. Contender for a career match for both guys, and these are guys with great careers.

ER: What a showing from these two, and I'm especially blown away by Dickinson. He's become one of my very favorites over the past couple years, but this match was going to take something special. To look credible in a shootstyle atmosphere against a guy not only larger than him, but a former UFC heavyweight champ who has beaten a who's who list of heavyweight fighters. And he totally did. Barnett looked like Barnett, and Dickinson fought like a guy with nothing to lose, attacking Barnett with downright cruel closed fists to the body and face. Barnett was working him over with early MMA holds, lots of heel hooks, a can opener, and I loved how he would work an armbar and then catch a push off kick from Dickinson and then just twist his arm AND his leg. But Dickinson was aggressive as hell and the violent pace they kept up for 17 minutes was insane. Barnett was being a good guy and throwing open hands, working holds, and Dickinson was throwing big damn fists and trying to bull his way through, and it was working! Dickinson came off like such a major badass, really hanging with an MMA legend, actually flustering Barnett at points by sneaking in kicks. And the match long struggle built to an absolute explosion with the kind of stand and trade this show really needed. There was a killer moment earlier where Dickinson landed a shot to the back of the head and Barnett did this great lights out recovery, and now he was going to pay him back, peeling off and throwing down his wrist tape in an awesome visual. But Dickinson hits this wild German and just starts kicking the hell out of Barnett, sending Barnett into muscle memory winged shots, and we get a completely plausible epic gutwrench powerbomb with some mean follow up knees to Dickinson's face. The bell to bell action was the best, a major accomplishment and some of the best shootstyle fighting we've seen. A real gem, and a real reason to keep excitement levels high for these shows.


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Monday, September 16, 2019

2019 Ongoing MOTY List: Bryan/Rowan vs. Big E/Woods

15. Daniel Bryan/Erick Rowan vs. Big E/Xavier Woods WWE Smackdown 8/6

ER: WWE has a really great tag division, and there's no actual reason we aren't getting a match this good every week. There are good tag teams, give them some time and give us some cool main event tag wrestling. Bryan is a great guy to be leading a main event tag run, and Big E gives him a super intriguing opponent (and a match-up that I still want to see a ton more). Bryan is a guy the crowds are always invested in - New Day, too - so matches opposite each other are always gonna be hot and Bryan is someone who knows how to peak a crowd. Rowan and Bryan were fun cutting Woods off from Big E, and I especially loved Rowan hitting that big running crossbody (loved when Mike Knox started making that into a big man spot a decade plus ago) and working a big cravate, then setting up Woods to eat a big Bryan dropkick. But the match gets great when we finally get the Bryan/Big E showdown, Big E starts chucking Bryan with huge belly to bellys, big splash, Bryan kicking at him, a Big E stretch muffler, a LeBell Lock, and a Big E powerbomb. These two were dynamite in there, and it was all part of a huge final stretch. Rowan's spinkick hits like a construction worker getting hit with a swinging I-beam, Woods hits a big ropewalker elbow, Big E takes Bryan out of action with that big damn spear to the floor (that is still one of the craziest spots going), we get a great pinfall save by Bryan, and I don't even mind the DQ finish. A DQ finish done with style is still fun, and I loved Rowan just clonking Woods with the ring steps when things were getting out of their hands. Bryan and Rowan need to face the roster.

PAS: This was pretty incredible, we are a bit sensitized to TV matches these days. There is an obvious corollary between Rowan and Bryan and the Hart Foundation, skilled technical wrestler teaming with strong dude with a long beard. Did the Hart Foundation ever have a match this good? Is there more than a half dozen things Bret Hart did in his entire career as cool as the Stretch Muffler to LaBell Lock to Triangle Choke to Powerbomb sequence that Daniel Bryan and Big E pulled off? I am a Jim Neidhart high voter, I can't remember any Anvil spot as cool as that crossbody/forearm to Xavier Woods jaw. I am a curmudgeon about modern wrestling, I would much rather watch something from 1979, 89, 99 or 09 then current stuff today, but you got to give it up sometimes. WWE is putting out a minimum of 9 hours of televised wrestling a week (3 RAW, 2 Smackdown. 1 NXT, 1 NXT UK, 1 205 Live, with most weeks having a Takeover or PPV) with a transcendentally talented roster. It's the proverbial monkeys typing on the proverbial typewriters, you will get stuff like this, and it will be forgotten a couple of weeks later. I thought the beat down on Xavier was really cool (although we missed some due to commercial), the hot tag to Big E was great and your final finish run was about as good as that kind of WWE nearfall finish run gets, every spot built to a cooler second spot and the finish was nasty and brutal. This was awesome, totally worth trying to remember at the end of the year.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

WWE Clash of Champions 9/15/19

Lince Dorado vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Drew Gulak

ER: Fun match with typical problems that curse three ways. I don't know why Lince was added to the match, but I would have been far more interested in Gulak vs. Carrillo or Gulak vs. Dorado. But we got a three way instead, and it had awkward three way moments where timing was off or someone accidentally kinda took a move instead of dodging it, and of course disappearing for minutes. But it was genuinely fun, in spite of those accurate complaints. Dorado had a cool pescado with his arms at his side, following it up with a slick rana to Gulak on the floor, and then turns a potential silly hot shot bump into a dangerous tumble to the floor. I like Gulak against lucha guys, like how he can make flippy offense seem legit, and Carrillo is someone who tries a lot of things even if they don't always work flush. They try a wild tower spot with a Doomsday Device dive to the floor, I enjoyed the moment where Gulak got his feet up on Carrillo's moonsault but Carrillo anticipated it, Carrillo takes a great posting bump, Gulak breaks out cool things like a gutbuster, and then some other things don't work. But it was a fun opener.

Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles

ER: So, I enjoyed this, but I assume most people were thinking this one had some show stealing potential and didn't really want the WorldWide style showcase we wound up with. This was short, compact, and explosive, as good as you'd want a match this short to be. I dug how aggressive Alexander was and I bought that they might give him the early match surprise pin, totally thought that he was winning in a minute. The big spot counters were cool, dug Styles planting him with a Styles Clash on the floor, nice apron spot without going too crazy, Cedric hit a bitchin back elbow on the apron, and we got a fun quick action bout that I'll forget about by the end of the night.

Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode

ER: You know, if I'm going to watch Ziggler and Rollins, it's at least better that they're paired with a couple other guys. Although had they just been in a singles match against each other I would have skipped it. Huh. I guess that's the better scenario. And this was mostly pretty boring when 3 of the guys were involved, and really awesome when Braun was involved. If it was easier to skip ahead in matches on the New Network I would have skimmed like a motherfucker through this one. Braun's hot tag was the clear highlight, big corner charges, big shoulderblocks on the floor all around the ring, muscling up Roode for a big flapjack out of a DDT attempt, but Seth was shortly back in and whiffing on flying knees. The full extension superkick to Roode was nice though. They kept it economical, and that was fine by me.

Charlotte vs. Bayley

ER: This was a drag. I was getting into Charlotte wrecking Bayley without Bayley getting to come up for air, Charlotte starting with a big boot and not stopping. I dug Bayley's heavy bumps into the barricades, I was really getting into the one-sidedness and wondering where they would go with it. And then moments later the thing was done. Bayley didn't look great from the moment she took over, taking three tries to grab Charlotte into a sloppy small package, and messing up the timing on the drop toehold into buckle finish. I like the finish in a vacuum, but it needed a much longer Charlotte beatdown, and Bayley needed to either look actually good, or completely overwhelmed and outclassed. She didn't shine in the couple moments of offense, and her acting isn't good enough to play overwhelmed heel. Major disappointment.

The Revival vs. Big E/Xavier Woods

ER: Big E is wearing maybe the finest singlet in the great history of singlets. What an absolute masterpiece that is. This show has been wildly underwhelming, this one now has an even heavier load on its shoulders. And the match was really good! Easily the best on the show. The finish took a little long to set up, though I don't mind that they stretched out some time to make the Revival look like punishing sadists. The Revival presented strongly is a cool thing. I like that they switched things up and had Big E cut off from Xavier, even though Big E hot tags are among the best things in the WWE tag division. Big E can Ricky just as interestingly as he can Robert, and I loved the entire sequence of him getting left for dead on the floor: He stops the momentum of a Dash tope, fixes to toss him with a belly to belly, Dash headbutts out, he and Dawson try to shove him into the post, E blocks, then eats the shatter machine. Revival both sold the effects of doing the shatter machine on the hard floor, acting like they both took bumps on concrete to pull it off. I also dig that even though Big E wasn't doing his tope spear, he was still gonna take a big bump through the ropes to the floor. Xavier looked tight as hell on the hot tag, like he knew people were used to Big E fireworks and he knew he had to really be throwing clotheslines and kicks. His handspring lariat looked great, and that's the kind of thing that guys rarely make look good. I don't think the match reached the heights it could have, but Revival looked well-oiled, I dug their post-match victory promo, liked the idea of them targetting Xavier's knee even if took a bit long, but this was all good.

Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville vs. Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross

ER: Another under-delivery. Rose has been a great house show performer and I have a soft spot for her because of that, but she has been on the main roster a LONG time now and it has STILL not translated to a really good TV or PPV match. I am not sure what's missing. I like her and Sonya together, I've SEEN what both are capable of, and it just doesn't shake out to anything more than decent when they get a showcase. Now this did serve as background for a portion of the 24/7 chase, but I don't think they looked like total dweebs. Three of them did, but at least Bliss went for a roll-up on Truth. There was a decent nearfall save, but this whole thing felt like a time filler.

The Miz vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

ER: I don't really care about either of these two, but this was a good match. Miz always comes off a little too smooth and planned, and that's a big barrier for me, so I got a kick out of Zayn's King of Soft Style commentary. And I also got a kick out of him landing a really nice jab right when he was called King of Soft Style. I liked Miz's jumping knees in the corner to build to the corner clothesline, loved Nakamura going all jellyfish on a spike DDT, thought a couple of Nakamura's sloppy kick combos looked cool, it was a perfectly fine match.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

ER: I didn't think the match itself was great, but I liked what they did once they went to the floor and into the crowd. The staircase brawling was better in Sasha/Charlotte, and part of the time it was way too ECW Hold Hair Walking, but all the getting tossed into hard objects stuff looked good (Sasha is good at throwing herself into railings and tables and condiment counters), and it was great seeing kids sitting 35 rows up flipping out when two wrestlers were somehow right next to them. The initial chairshots were a little weak, and the chairshot that took the ref out of contention was nothing special, but I really liked the energy at the end of the segment with Becky throwing Sasha repeatedly into a set up chair. Within the match, the most engaging stuff was anything based around the Banks Statement or the Disarm-Her, but too much of this had no fire, and this needed more hate. I also thought Graves shoehorning a comment about Banks lying down and having a tantrum felt way too produced, took away from a match that didn't need it.

Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston

ER: Nope.

Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan

ER: Big boy battles are all the rage these days, and my god did this show need a big boy battle. This stood out especially on this show, but would have stood out most places. Both guys threw bombs, took bigger than expected spills, threw full weight into shoulderblocks and back elbows, Reigns crushed the Superman punch, and Drive-By looked great, and the crowd brawling was nice and dirty. Rowan missed a big awful charge in the ring steps, a hard running forearm, nice splash, and we build to him hitting a huge powerbomb through an announce table. These guys were really landing shots and it ruled. I had mentioned to someone a few days ago that WWE appears to be phasing out elbowdrops, and here's Rowan dropping his full damn weight into Roman's side with one. I dug the ringside brawling, liked the stuff with the crane, and then got even more excited when the lean as hell Luke Harper came back!! We got Amon Amarth and Enslaved represented, and I keep expecting Harper to turn, and instead we get a welcome reunion (for now). This was easily my favorite thing on the show, gave me exactly what I wanted out of these two, tons of great bomb throwing set pieces.

Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman

ER: Braun is at least someone who is gonna get me to watch a Seth Rollins match, and we established that twice in one night. Shameful. The match structure was good, even though I think Rollins looked pretty lousy in the parts that needed him. It's smart that they have Rollins double and triple up on his offense, as most of his offense doesn't look credible in any way against Braun. So you have him do a few superkicks, you have him do a few leaping knees (you know, the ones he threw tonight where on all but one of them Michael Cole had to throw out some kind of "well I don't think he hit all of that, but..." to cover for how terrible they looked), several dives, several curb stomps, etc. Almost all of it looked trash, but it was smartly laid out within the match. Now Braun, he more than held up his end of things, and completely made this match. He flew his body into offense (loved him not holding back on shoulderblocks), and he threw his body into everything to make Rollins' offense look lethal. He took a drop toehold into the announce table, took a tope into the table and broke it, worked a leg injury, did an insane looking splash off the top, I mean this was probably Braun's best performance in a year. Even with Rollins' kind of dim bulb performance, Braun's epic level performance and the strong layout made this whole show end on a high note, no small feat.

ER: Not an offensive show, but a fairly unmemorable show in terms of match quality. Nobody went out and stunk up the joint, but there weren't many matches that were lighting fires. There was stuff I enjoyed littered all throughout, and we ended on a cool high note, but I'm not sure how much of this show I'll remember by the next one.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

WWE Big 3: Lorcan, Gallagher, Gulak 9/7 - 9/14

205 Live 9/10/19

Jack Gallagher/KUSHIDA vs. Brian Kendrick/Akira Tozawa

ER: We're back to appropriate match length on 205, and this was a bunch of fun. I thought everything in this was great...up until KUSHIDA's hot tag. The opening scramble with Kendrick/KUSHIDA was really cool, and filled with little things that make me love Kendrick: blocked headlock takeovers, refusing to go down on a drop toehold until forced, clasping his hands on a hiptoss armbar until KUSHIDA starts throwing fists at his hands, even doing a leapfrog much more like he was jumping a hurdle in competitive track so that he lands in a more advantageous position. Kendrick is a great logic  wrestler and I love seeing his tricks. Gallagher and Tozawa are always fun together, and I dug what Kendrick did with a blind tag as Tozawa baseball slides to the floor making Gallagher think he had been too much for him, only to turn around and take a nasty posting from Kendrick. Tozawa trotting by on the floor and rustling Gallagher's hair while he was still hung around the post was an excellent touch. I loved Tozawa's short punch, and seeing Kendrick and Tozawa corner and isolate Gallagher was great stuff, but it all built to a KUSHIDA hot tag that I didn't think was very good. I don't think KUSHIDA's stuff looks very good when he rushes through things, as he's a guy who always looks like he's thinking too hard about the next part of the sequence, so all of his strikes looked more like someone practicing a sequence than actually doing the sequence. We still get Gallagher spilling to the floor and Tozawa pasting him with his cannonball off the apron (Gallagher always seems like the guy who gets smooshed into the barricade with that, and it always looks great), but overall I think things wrapped up way to neatly once KUSHIDA came back in, match could have used another twist or two.

PAS: I thought this was really good, I am not a New Japan guy, so my KUSHIDA experience was his not very good Gulak matches from NXT. I think he may be better suited as a tag worker, where he can do some cool opening mat scrambles, let his tag partner do the majority of the actual in ring work, and then tag back in for a hot tag. Gallagher was pretty great in this taking a huge bump into the ringpost, and taking a pasting from Kendrick and Tozawa. Kendrick has been a bit of forgotten man in 205 lately, but man is he great, I loved him escalating the violence, and his smaller stuff is about as good as it gets in wrestling. I thought KUSHIDA's finishing armbar was pretty great looking and the coolness of that allowed me to forgive some of his awkward moments.

Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese vs. Humberto Carrillo/Gran Metalik/Lince Dorado

PAS: This was a long trios match with some cool moments, but some real stinkers too. Nese is really bad in this, at one point he puts on maybe the loosest crappiest chinlock I have even seen, he might not have even been touching Dorado's body. Lince Dorado being shoehorned into the PPV title match is really weird. He isn't even a top 10 2008 Chikara roster member (Hero, Claudio, Quack, Colin Delaney, Brodie Lee, Whatever Ant Tracey Williams Was, Tim Donst, Jigsaw, Mitch Ryder and Kingston for sure would have a better match with Gulak) and the third best guy in his stable. Watching both him and Metalik in this match, it is even weirder that they are pushing Dorado. Apparently WWE bought the Dorado gimmick from Chikara, which is amazing. How much could they have possibly paid? It can't be more then a 100 bucks. I just imagine Quackenbush buttonholing Helmsley after Quack's training center gig "You know Hunter technically we own the Lince Dorado IP, you really should buy it from us, if you are going to use it on TV." and Helsmley just handing him whatever he had in his pockets "I got 67 dollars and a GMC gift card with an unknown amount on it, take it or leave it."

Gulak was good as usual, the crowd was clearly not paying attention to the match and chanting for a baby in the crowd. Gulak starts rocking Dorada like a baby as a taunt to get the crowd back in the match. Total pro move.

ER: I was hoping Phil hadn't noticed Gulak's extremely pro as hell reaction to distracted fans, because I was more blown away by that than anything that actually happened in the match and wanted something to talk about. Can't be much more of a bummer for wrestlers than a fully distracted crowd, and Gulak improvising and rocking Metalik like a little baby to instantly get all eyes on him was one of the more brilliant things I've seen. I mean, Tony Nese lost their attention like 12 seconds later, but I'm not letting Gulak get dragged down just because Tony Nese sucks. I really like Phil's 2008 Lince vs. Chikara exercise, and you can easily add Hallowicked, Sara Del Ray, Cheech AND Cloudy, Pantera, Larry Sweeney, Drake Younger, really Lince is nowhere close to 2008 Chikara top 10. He's a guy battling to get on the 25 man roster.

The match itself was too long, though the length did give it more time for nice moments, and there were plenty of nice moments. I don't think the whole added up to much, but you stick a couple interesting guys in an 18 minute match and something decent will shoot out the other side. There was some fun stuff on the floor, Metalik always breaks out a couple of impressive flips, Carrillo had a couple big dives, Metalik had an outright awesome rana leaping over the ropes to the floor, and Daivari took a fast splat bump off that rana. But there was also a lot of really awkward shifting into position for offense, lotta messy stuff, and Phil didn't even mention Nese's awkward loose body vice. I will say, that I think these guys are all at least trying to have bangers out there, and that counts for something. That enthusiasm can help lift up matches and I hope the show goes on a good run.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

New Footage Friday: Andre, Heel Tito, Funk, Baron, Hara, Jericho, Bestia Salvaje

Terry Funk/Ashura Hara vs. Baron Von Raschke/Killer Karl Krupp AJPW 12/12/81

ER: This was an okay tag made up of some doppelgangers. Hara seems like he's trying to look like Funk with their matching trunks and matching curls, Baron and Krupp look like relatives, and they have an okayish match that the crowd was rabid for the whole way through. Baron is always so weird to me, as he's a legit athlete who rarely moves with any kind of athleticism, and this is cool because it's one of the very few times he ever was up against Terry. Seeing a stumbly goose stepper going up against Terry's stumbly punch drunk style brings some joy, and there's a fun haymaker blowout that ends with both of them comically flopping to the mat. There were plenty of clawholds, Krupp throws some nice knees, Krupp takes a big bump over the top to the floor (where we see a ringside area with no guardrails, which is intriguing), Terry hits a nice piledriver as the major highspot of the match, and again the fans are into it the whole time, rabidly. But I've seen tons of Funk matches against dodgy opponents that I enjoyed more than this.

MD: This never quite got to where I wanted it, but it was interesting for a few reasons. First, I love watching Funk, maybe the best seller ever, sell one of the coolest visual tools in 70s-80s wrestling in the claw. It makes me want to see a whole bunch of Funk vs Spoiler and Funk vs Mulligan matches that probably happened and we just don't have. Second, him stooging against the Baron is one of those match-ups I never realized I wanted. Funk would have fit in very well in mid-80s AWA. Third, Krupp is a guy I've always sort of written off but between the knees and the hip toss bumping, he was pretty spry here. Any new Funk performance is worth watching. Any unique Funk match-up is worth watching. I'm glad there's just more to discover.

Andre The Giant/Chavo Guerrero/Tito Santana vs. Willem Ruska/Tatsumi Fujinami/Riki Choshu NJPW 5/16/80

ER: I was drawn to this by the allure of Heel Tito - something I have never seen - but this was much more Heel By Default Tito in the background of a superstar Andre show. We got one little stretch of Tito acting as an honorary Guerrero brother helping Chavo take apart Riki's leg, but Tito really is the 5th or 6th banana of this one. Really, everybody was the 5th or 6th banana, because Andre was all kinds of bananas. Andre is fast and aggressive and takes a ton of risks, and an Andre who will run at you and throw his entire body towards you is downright horrifying. Look at the enthusiasm as he misses a big splash...but then outdoes himself by climbing up the turnbuckles from the apron, all the way up and over to the middle buckle, to miss another splash. Did he really almost slip and fall off the turnbuckles backwards to the floor!? Did he add that in the same way a tightrope walker does a couple of slips just for show? Or did a gigantic man almost plunge to the floor with no parachute? Check out Andre setting up being trapped in the ropes, and look how far into the ring he was when he threw himself backwards full speed to get caught. He is 40% of the way into the ring, takes a couple of dropkicks, and flies backward so fast that I fully expected the ropes to completely snap. Imagine the trust he must have had in that ring crew! And my god look at that Rockette kick that he flat out stuck when attacked in the ropes! He sticks that leg as high as I've seen him and it just gets buried. Our tecnicos acted like cavemen to Andre's wooly mammoth, taking cover when he stormed around the ring and jumping on him all at once the second he showed any weakness, although the Fujinami double leg takedown to start was spectacular. I loved Chavo attacking Riki's knee, the spot where he pole vaulted with his leg and seemed to float was my favorite non-Andre spot of the match. But here's Andre with his cheat code, the ability to end the match whenever he wants, deciding enough is enough, throws a lifeless Chavo into the ring from the floor, wasting Fujinami with an spine rearranging atomic drop and treating Ruska like a child's backpack. I think I only want to write about Andre the Giant.

MD: So, as you guys must know by now, a lot of the footage we've watched over the last year is because people have navigated Japanese ebay successfully. This was on a NJPW 1980 TV set and if you want to see more, go head over to PWO and find my pal PeteF3. We'll get to some of that stuff eventually (like some cool Spoiler matches and maybe the best look at Keith Hart being really good we've ever had), but not for a bit, so don't wait for us. The version I was working off of didn't transfer well, thus the four parts and audio problems, but the disc itself is better. I'm just not all that great at transferring things. You get the gist of everything here though (we miss one Chavo leap into the ring move that I wish we had) and hey, it just gives you kids a sense of what tape trading was like thirty years ago, right? This is something that everyone needs to see though.

Yes, there's an appeal to heel Tito, the legwork towards the end (which was really cool from all three foreigners), him eating the fall as Andre's drawn away with Hansen, the quick tags with Chavo, some of his feeding, the flying forearm that was more of a sledge, but this gets dwarfed by the amazing Andre performance. The first chunk of the match is pure Andre as Fezzik, or maybe the world's best Colossal Connection Andre performance. He gets swarmed and shrugs people off. He demands people get down off the top rope instead of jumping at him. One touch is death, but he's able to move so much better. This is heel Andre, in a tag setting, with partners he cherishes (which was always part of Heenan family Andre), but with him fully dynamic. As the match goes on, though, he's just all over the place. He misses two splashes, one off the second rope. He hits two suplexes, the biggest suplexes in history. There's a pile driver! Throughout this, the other team is bouncing off of him and trying everything they can. I love Ruska constantly badgering Andre and then running away from him as he gets furious and charges in like this was some sort of old cartoon. This is all Andre, right down to the finish where he chucks Chavo (who just ate a dive) back into the ring and lets Ruska bounce off of him from the apron, ensuring the count out by being a one-man wall. Even with the slight technical issues, there's nothing in the world I'd rather watch than stuff like this.

PAS: This was the uncut Fentanyl Andre, one of the purest examples of what makes him an all time great. He was both totally out of control and totally in control. The spot where he almost falls off the top rope (where he would kill several members of audience I imagine) only to steady himself, only to empty pool smash into the mat, fucking perfection. I also dug how much he seemed to be into his role as the monstrous Guerrero that Gory kept in the basement. There is a great spot where he is giving double fives to his partners, and Choshu comes over and dropkicks him. Andre turns around with such fury "MOTHERFUCKER I WAS DAPPING UP MY HOMIES, I AM GOING TO FUCK YOU UP." Loved the heels losing the fall because of Hansen only for Andre to clean out the faces and tie it up. Even as the show was going off the air, he was celebrating with Chavo and Tito by carrying them around the ring. What a fucking legend.

Chris Jericho/Crazy Boy/Falcon de Oro vs. Bestia Salvaje/Poison/Principe Joel Compton Lucha 3/1/96

MD: There was a lot to like here. When I come into these things (we'll say a lucha match in an alien setting, only being familiar with half the guys) I tend to look for a few things, first and foremost, the framework for how to watch a match: how are the opening pairings? Where are the momentum shifts? Are the transitions interesting? How much effort do they put into the beatdown? Do they sufficiently ramp up expectations for the comeback? How's the moment of comeback? Where do they go from there? What's the finish? Specifics like the quality of matwork or whether or not there's a central rivalry in the match or coordinated tandem offense and crowd control in the beatdown or if there's an interesting dive train or what sort of crowd or wrestler-to-wrestler interaction are in there? All of that then fits in.

This hit a lot of those marks. The opening exchanges up to the tecnico primera win were all good. Great energy from the tecnicos. This was really good use of 96 Jericho: fiery, enthusiastic, throwing himself into everything, getting triple teamed and trying to fight back, game enough in his exchanges. I was honestly amazed that Falcon de Oro was able to hit something of the stuff that he did given his body type. The transition in the segunda was great, as it played up the Jericho vs Bestia central story and had the rudos act particularly despicable. That helped ramp up pressure for the eventual comeback, which was spirited, with fun dives and a nice bit of satisfaction snatched away as Jericho couldn't get his revenge. Presumably that set up another match, though with the really fun late run in, who knows?

PAS: This was house show HH trios match which hit all of the expected beats, but had enough cool wrinkles and great performances to push it up a level. Bestia is one of the greatest all time swarming heels, kind of like a lucha Buzz Sawyer. He really pushes the pace when he is in there with Jericho, and Jericho is game and willing to go there with him. All of your So-Cal regulars looked really good too, with Falcon De Oro being a really fun Super Astro style tubby flyer. They clearly all worked with each other a bunch and their primera caida exchanges were all super crisp. Principe Joel is Bestia's brother and he was very much in the spirit of the family, working just a little stiffer then you might expect. He apparently had (or has?) a wrestling school in Colorado, and I am guessing trained a bunch of local luchadores here in Denver (Luchawiki is the best). I liked the finish with the rudos going overboard until Misterioso (maybe, not super familiar with the booking of mid 90s Compton lucha) runs in and we get a nifty post match.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

2019 Ongoing MOTY List: Kingston vs. Drake

9. Eddie Kingston vs. JD Drake EVOLVE 1/18

PAS: This was a no DQ match for the WWN Title, but it wasn't a plunder brawl, instead it was worked more like a dirty bar fight. Kingston is almost like a legendary lucha rudo at this point like Negro Casas or Blue Panther, his greatness has basically turned him technico everywhere. However this was a throwback heel performance by Kingston as he is pretty vicious, going after Drake's eyes and biting at his ear. Drake has a tendency to get a bit cutesy for me, here he is pretty much focused on throwing hard shots, wrestling like a fat guy, not a fat guy showing off his juniors offense. We get some classic Kingston selling, as he dings his hand early throwing a punch, and it gets worse and worse as the match goes on, including a point where Kingston has to try to unjam his fingers. I thought the finish was a slightly flat, but most of the time this was a great thumping fight and another entry in Kingston's WOTY resume.

ER: Kingston is so good that when Phil sent me the link to a weird Chinese site to watch this match, I asked no questions and clicked the link. I literally took a 2 hour office computer security training less than two days ago, with full immersive section on not clicking any kind of links you don't recognize, but I hear "Eddie Kingston No DQ Match" and all my new training went right out the window. And it was so so so worth it. This was my favorite King performance of the year, and King is easily the #1 wrestler in the worth this year. This was a No DQ match, but zero time was wasted on props, no table set up, no messing around with chairs, no geek show nonsense, they just spent that stip getting unprofessional as hell with strikes. The first half of this was filled with some unbelievably nasty shots, my favorite being these two nuts throwing full arm open handed chops right to each other's neck tendons. God, man. Kingston shakes his fist out early on a punch, and that hand gets gloriously worse as the match goes on. He initially tries punching with it, but it slows him down more every time he tries, so soon switches to full open handed strikes: big chops and hard palm strikes to every part of Drake's torso. At one point Drake rolled back in the ring and on his way under the ropes Kingston shot putted a palm right into his kidney. Drake wisely changes paths to power offense, taking advantage of openings Kingston leaves him (Anthony Henry running interference on the floor doesn't hurt) and that allows Drake to land some shots of his own, the best being when he dishes a couple of kicks to King's back and then stomps right on that bad hand. King gets a uranage, Drake gets a couple big slams and a lariat, and King has one of my all time favorite strike combos I've ever seen him throw: Abandoning his bad right hand, he throws to hard closed fist lefty punches to stitch up Drake's side, and when Drake's head dips in recoil and Kingston anticipates it flawlessly, meeting Drake's face with an enziguiri. There was no overkill in sight, no shocked expressions after 2 counts, just deserving nearfalls and Drake hitting his moonsault that always makes me suck in my breath, his low angle whipping his body harder into his opponent while always looking like he's 2 inches from breaking his damn neck. This was an absolute classic, and my favorite Kingston performance in a year with almost too many favorite Kingston performances to count. This is a real legendary year for him.


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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Jerry Lawler Likes Sugar in His Tea

Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk USWA 11/3/90 - EPIC

ER: This is a tough one to rank, as it is not an EPIC match...but my GOD is it an EPIC beating! Funk absolutely annihilates Lawler here, just a criminal beating. Lawler gets one little strike in, which he only gets in by basically getting in the way of Funk beating him. Other than that, this is literally Funk laying down one of his meanest ever beatings. I recently watched Funk/Dick Slater vs. Barry Houston/Todd Morton, and Funk gave Barry Houston WAY less of a beating than he gave Lawler, and Funk beat the HELL out of Houston. Funk waits for Lawler during his entrance, and Lawler comes out dressed as a Trapper Keeper. Funk jumps him and proceeds to unleash hell on Lawler's face. This match was all about Terry throwing Futen level punches at Lawler's head. Shoot, this was Beyond Futen. Terry Funk's punches in this match were the hardest punches I've ever seen in wrestling. These punches made some of the absolute loudest knuckle on head contact noise that I've ever heard, and Lawler comes off like the toughest badass just for enduring it. I have no idea how in the hell these punches were worked. Funk certainly doesn't look like he's working then, just looks like he's punching Lawler as hard as he can. Look at the punches from the mount that Funk throws and question how the hell Lawler didn't stand up with a bloodied bruised and busted up face? Lawler is always great at bumping around ringside, falling into and over railings, laying out on tables, and Funk just never lets him get out of the gates. After getting his face beaten in for several long minutes, Lawler shows off a skill he doesn't get much credit for: The man takes and sells a piledriver better than almost anyone. He's so well known for executing a perfect piledriver, but he's clearly a guy who understands the physics of the move inside and out, and he always looks like he takes them on his forehead, and always lingers vertically, as if he was stuck into the mat. Soon after, Eddie Gilbert hits the ring to make sure Lawler sticks into the mat, assisting Funk with two spike piledrivers and holding Lawler straight in the air on his head after impact. Funk terrorizes refs, Lawler gets an awesome non-offense hope spot where he kicks out of the first piledriver twice (with Gilbert counting the pin, and then trying to fast count him), but it's too much. This whole thing felt like Ian Rotten making an example out of a trainee who didn't pay for nachos, just a cruel lawless beating. Funk's punches in this match are among the most violent things on the entire Network.

PAS: Pretty crazy to see Lawler cleaned out like this, I think his main problem was coming in to the match with just long trunks. He can't drop the strap if he doesn't have a strap to drop!! I don't think Funk was hitting him as hard as it looked, Lawler's face didn't appear to bruise and cut up, the way you might see Ikeda's face bruise up in a FUTEN match, so this had to be a form of close magic. Was ESPN sweetening the sound on their Global shows? The punches sounded like a wet leather slapjack cracking someone in the face, no clue how this whole thing worked, but man was it nasty. The Gilbert run in seemed both unnecessary and really necessary. It is a hard match to rate, because it was the most one sided match I have ever seen with stars this big, but if you are going to do something like this, do something like THIS.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Natalya: Mainstream Wrestling's Broken Clock

You know what they say about broken clocks, right? That they have much more value than a collection of Natalya matches, and are much less insufferable. BUT, they have also been known to be correct upwards of - but no more than - twice per day. Twice! Broken clocks are correct in one day as often as there have been uniquely memorable Natalya singles matches. I am someone who enjoys giving credit when it is due, so here are two Natalya matches that pleasantly surprised me, one from last week, one from 5 years ago:

Natalya vs. Lacey Evans WWE Raw 9/2/19

ER: Sometimes there is a match that overdelivers so unexpectedly that it really gets my attention, and you don't get much more unexpected than this. Natalya has been one of my least favorite TV workers for some time, and Lacey Evans has been in at best maybe one decent match that I've seen. I am not interested in a Lacey Evans vs. Natalya match, on paper. This match was on in the background while I was writing up something completely different, and it caught my attention. I love when that happens. Had I been actively watching I would have fast forwarded this one with no second thought, and yet because it was background noise it was allowed to exist. And somehow they managed to catch my attention as background noise. They kept a nice fast pace up for 5 tight minutes, and kept things chippy the whole time. There were little unprofessional pie faces and slaps, and a couple shots taken through gritted teeth. Lacey had a couple cocky little cheapshots that felt more like a heel in World of Sport, and that is something I'd welcome from her. Natalya does all the offense she usually does, but there are occasions where she tightens it up, and this was one of those times. Watch her ground Lacey with a high atomic drop tailbone to the mat, and then really stomp on the back of her neck to shove her down and set up the low dropkick. Her clothesline landed well, and I dug the way they set each other up. Lacey Evans misses a pretty great Mero-sault, and finishes the match by tossing her hanky in  Nattie's face and then popping her. It looked great, as a lot of stuff in this match did. These two are not two that I seek out, but they did something notable that caught my attention. I love surprises like these.

Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair NXT TakeOver 5/29/14

ER: This match was not at all what I was expecting. It was really, really good. I mean really good. Better than any match I have seen involving either Charlotte or Natalya. I was fully expecting the entire focus to be on Bret and Flair at ringside, and the bulk of the match be taken up by each person laughably aping the signature offense of their respective cornermen. Instead, they somehow filled an engaging 17 (!) minutes of time that never felt like it was dragging, felt like either woman could win, and left me completely impressed. Charlotte working a tribute act to her corpse father on Raw has been really bad this past year, and seeing her here doing none of that was eye opening. The match felt different right away, with tons of simple but really great matwork. It all felt really snug and felt like they both had to fight over holds. It all looked exhausting. Natalya pulls out a tricky single leg and every tight headlock or waistlock or kneebar or body vice felt like it meant something, and pretty soon Charlotte has Nattie in a nasty figure 4 choke, just squeezing those legs around her neck, and she stands up with it, doing a forward roll that sends Nattie flipping over and slamming onto her tailbone, and I am now totally in love with this grind. Natalya was making all sorts of great faces during the mat portions, grinding in elbows, laughing over her shoulder at Charlotte. We build to a figure 4 spot that could have felt derivative but I don't think did. It felt like a logical peak of the match, with both reaching out to slap and scratch at the other, both stubbornly refusing to back off, apparent it was never going to end the match but was merely taking them through to a struggle none of their prior matches have shown. Then rolling to the floor off it was a cool bit of desperation and being out of strategic ideas. It felt like when a fighter abandons his gameplan and just starts following the mood of the fight, often a poor choice. Natalya takes a big bump into the steps and back in Charlotte starts going for the figure 4 again, but then throws side eye at Bret before locking on a Sharpshooter. Natalya does a realistic looking counter but gets kicked in the face trying to get too cute and lock in a Sharpshooter of her own, and this leads to Charlotte hitting her rolling blockbuster. This match shot so far past my expectations, just totally unexpected. This really felt like it elevated the Divas title, which is a funny thought in the history of WWE. But this felt like two people who wanted nothing more than to win that belt.

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Monday, September 09, 2019

Monday AIW (Sort Of) - UXWA 25/8 1/12/19

UXWA is another Cleveland fed which uses a bunch of our AIW favorites and puts up matches on Youtube. Their January show is online and has a bunch of fun matches, so this is sort of AIW Monday digression.

PME vs. Weird World vs. Razor City Shooters

PAS: Oddball set up for this match, with Weird World apparently being heels in this fed, and Bishop and Barkley coming in as babyfaces. It is just odd to watch Wes Barkley doing babyface mirror sections with Mario T. Weird World are fun heels, good at taunting the crowd and turning their babyface spots into asshole heel spots, but this was overall a little disappointing. The timing seemed off in spots, and it is hard to work two babyfaces versus one heel team psychology. There were a couple of spots which were flat out missed, and these are guys who usually having their steps down pat. Shooters turn heel post match setting up a more sensible heel Shooters vs. face PME match at the next show.

Culmination vs. Production

PAS: This was a battle of Industrial kids verses Theatre Goths. Culmination didn't do much for me, very superkicky. This Production line up was Danhausen and Frankie Flynn, and they had some fun combos, and I liked Danhausen's reckless topes. Still, sort of a forgettable tag.

Zach Thomas vs. Brian Carson

PAS: I have enjoyed Carson as sort of a lower card crowbar in the past, but this was more weak sister New Japan then crowbar. Lots of not great elbow exchanges. Also, Carson wrestled the entire match with plumber's butt. I do like Thomas's cannonball in the corner, and he put some steam on his stuff later in the match. Thomas had a great match with Eddie Kingston in AIW later in the year and has a lot of promise. This wasn't much though.

PB Smooth vs. Big Twan Tucker

PAS: The parts of this that were big dudes pounding on each other was pretty good. I especially liked all of the early shoulder blocks and shit talking. They lose a little momentum when they set up a spot which involved running all around the arena to shoulder block each other. At one point Twan gets stuck behind a guardrail and has to extricate himself to keep running. For a match built on intensity it really gets hurt by killing intensity like that. They pick it up some at the end and Big Twan is able to hit his huge spear to win. Overall fun stuff, and I imagine this match-up will be great with a bit more seasoning from both.

ER: I am...kinda surprised at how little I cared for this. This match on paper was the first to really jump out at me when I scanned the card, but a lot of this just landed flat for me. The running was silly, and they really didn't do a ton with it. I assume they were trying to add some flavor to "tired" shoulderblock exchanges, but I hate when guys try to fix something that worked perfectly fine. Back in the ring things felt real sluggish. Obviously, I'm not talking about the speed the guys move - they're big boys - the whole thing just had a tired 75% feel to it. Even PB's big boots were missing past Twan the whole time. There were elements I liked, the energy at the very beginning, the spear finish, but this one really let me down.

Tre Lamar vs. Chase Winters vs. TKD vs. Paul Pierce vs. Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham

PAS: This was really not good, lots of do-si-do arm whips and complex attempts that didn't land. TKD had some amusing martial arts spots, and I liked Lamar's dives, but most of this match was a real mess. I think these kinds of matches need a veteran to work out the kinks and direct traffic. Louis Lyndon might have been able to salvage it, but he wasn't there.

Ryder Reid vs. Derek Director

PAS: This was an entertaining indy wrestling match. Director is a bunch of fun in this, adding a bunch of seasoning to the indy move exchanges. I really liked how he manipulated Reid's fingers so he would flip off a little kid in the crowd. He really came off hateable in this. Move of the match was probably Director fireman's carry flipping Reid over the top rope. Director also missed a leg drop and landed right on his tailbone. Nothing I'll remember at the end of the year, but the best match on the show so far.

Chase Oliver vs. Dominic Garrini 

PAS: This was the best match on the show, and a really fun bully Garrini performance. I liked him using big takedowns early to control Oliver, and he wasn't afraid to lay in some big shots, including some nice knees to the midsection. Oliver is a hell of an athlete (his kip up is one of the most explosive this side of Ricochet) , and while he is certainly built for crazy AIW multiman matches, I thought he was fun here. Liked his pair of topes, and the running death valley bomb in the corner was nasty. I thought the shooting star press which Garrini catches in a triangle was a really cool spot and probably should have been the finish, although the piledriver Dom hits is pretty nasty too.

ER: Oliver is a guy I have loved in AIW multimans, but if this match was my first shot of him I don't think I would ever go out of my way for more. He's always looked like a generic kickpads indy guy, but in unhinged AIW tags he would always stand out as a guy with expert timing and cool offense, here he looks exactly as uninteresting as every other generic indy kickpads guy. He had a match long run checking many of my "least favorite things in indy wrestling" boxes. We had an overshot moonsault, a half speed legsweep that looked like it wouldn't knock anyone off their feet, a Spanish Fly variation where you couldn't tell who took the move or why it caused them to bump, a crucifix bomb that saw Dom land on him full weight so it looked like he was pinning Dom after getting crushed by him (amusingly Dom did a senton not long after this - a good one - and didn't appear to land as hard on Oliver as he did on this move Oliver was supposedly doing), timed offense that felt out of time (including three straight awkward armdrags), lazy looking kick from the apron, just a real treasure trove of things that make me skip matches. His two topes looked nice, and the shooting star press into a triangle looked incredible and really should have been the finish. The landing was hard and his face looked like he had KO'd himself, was genuinely surprised when he got up out of it so quickly. And then that annoyed me, because the best part of the match was immediately moved on from. I did like Dom here, thought he was overly generous and a real pro, and if that triangle wasn't going to finish then that short piledriver is a suitable replacement. This might be my first Chase singles match, and he was like a night and day guy from his AIW multiman work I've seen. Watching one of those No Consequences matches right before this one would be like running a Coppola double feature of The Conversation and Jack.

PAS: I was hoping to discover some under the radar gems from AIW dudes on this show. It didn't deliver that, but I dug the main event, and everything was kept at around 10 minutes. Makes it a pretty easy watch, and at some point I will check out the other 2019 show they have on youtube (also they ran Manders vs Big Twan 2, and they need to let me watch it)

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Sunday, September 08, 2019

New Footage Friday Master List

1: May 25, 2018:
Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper NWA 7/9/83
El Hijo Del Santo vs. Leon Chino Tijuana 8/19/88
Vader vs. Ron Simmons WCW 12/30/92

2. June 1, 2018:
Giant Baba/Bruno Sammartino vs. Harley Race/Buck Robley AJPW 10/8/81
Ric Flair vs. Jack Brisco GCW 4/7/84
Austin Idol/Stan Hansen vs. Tiger Mask 2/Jumbo Tsuruta AJPW 8/28/87

3. June 8, 2018:
Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Osamu Kido vs. Akira Maeda/Nobuhiko Takada NJPW 3/7/86
Sergio el Hermoso/El Bello Greco vs. Naoki Sano/Hirokazu Hata NJPW 2/8/89
Brazo De Oro/Brazo De Plata/El Brazo vs. Robin Hood/Brazo De Platino/Kendo UWF 3/8/94

4. June 15, 2018:
Bob Armstrong/Brad Armstrong vs. Tully Blanchard/Lex Luger NWA 4/11/87
Kuniaki Kobyashi/Norio Honaga vs. Nobuhiko Takada/Kazuo Yamazaki NJPW 3/19/88
El Dandy vs. Shu El Guerrero IWA Japan 6/23/94

5. June 22, 2018:
Shinya Hashimoto/Riki Choshu/Ricky Steamboat vs. Big Van Vader/Animal Hamaguchi/Bam Bam Bigelow NJPW 10/11/90
Can Am Express vs. The Blackhearts AJPW 9/4/91
Dustin Starr/Din Thomas vs. Derrick King/Matt Serra 6/15/18

6. June 29, 2018:
Harley Race/Ric Flair/Masked Superstar vs. Blackjack Mulligan/Dick Murdoch/Wahoo McDaniels MACW 6/18/78
Salman Hashimikov/Riki Choshu/Kengo Kimura vs. Wayne Bloom/Brad Rheingans/Steve Williams NJPW 11/26/89
Terry Funk/Dory Funk Jr. vs. Cactus Jack/Texas Terminator Hoss AJPW 4/6/91

7. July 6, 2018:
Dan Kroffat/Doug Furnas vs. Kenta Kobashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi AJPW 6/1/91

Masashi Aoyagi vs. Masanobu Kurisu NJPW 9/21/91
Steiner Brothers vs. Mike Enos/Bobby Eaton NJPW 2/16/94

8. July 13, 2018:
Masashi Aoyagi/Masanobu Kurisu vs. Kantaro Hoshino/Kuniaki Kobayashi NJPW 1/4/91
Keiji Mutoh/Sting vs. Akira Nogami/Hiroshi Hase NJPW 9/21/91
Lord Steven Regal vs. Robbie Brookside WCW 1993

9. July 20, 2018:
Masa Saito/Animal Hamaguchi vs. The British Bulldogs AJPW 5/14/85
Masa Saito/Frank Andersson vs. Hiro Saito/Ron Simmons NJPW 9/23/91
Masanobu Fuchi vs. Terry Gordy AJPW 4/2/92

10. July 27, 2018:
Magnum TA/Randy Savage vs. The Mongolians 11/24/83
Ray Steele vs. Pat Roach WOS 4/87
Dan Kroffat vs. Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 4/2/92

11. August 3, 2018:
Buddy Rose vs. Tenryu Shimata Big Time Wrestling 1978
El Hijo Del Santo/Eddie Guerrero vs. Blue Panther/Negro Casas Juarez 1987
Masa Fuchi/Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Dr. Wagner Jr./Angel Blanco Jr. AJPW 10/24/87

12. August 10, 2018:
Terry Rudge vs. Ray Steele WOS 7/25/87
Jumbo Tsuruta/The Great Kabuki/Masa Fuchi vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Genichiro Tenryu/Ashura Hara AJPW 2/24/88
Fantastics vs. Eddie Golden/Jimmy Golden SSW 8/5/93

13. August 17, 2018:
Bruno Asquini/Gilbert Leduc vs. Les Blousons Noirs (Claude Gessat/Marcel Mannevau) French Catch 5/6/67
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar WWE 10/9/03
Guerrero Azteca vs. El Supremo Nueva Laredo 4/20/87

14. August 24, 2018:
Kevin Von Erich/David Von Erich vs. Hercules Ayala/Ali Mustafa WCCW 2/21/81
Fritz Von Erich vs. Kabuki WCCW 2/21/81
Fishman/Black Cat vs. The Cobra/Shiro Koshinaka 10/6/85

15. August 31, 2018:
Big Titan/The Gladiator/Dr. Hannibal/Ricky Fuji/Attila the Hun vs. Tarzan Goto/Grigory Verichev/Sambo Asako/Sabu FMW 2/19/93
Barbarian/Mr. Hughes vs. The Steiners ASW 9/3/96
Goldust vs. Curry Man 1PW 10/14/06

15. September 7, 2018:
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Greg Valentine NWA Charlotte 6/11/94
Death and Destruction vs. Ricky Morton/Dan Cooley SSW 7/5/96
Yuki Ishikawa vs. Daisuke Ikeda PWFG 8/12/95

16. September 14, 2018:
Michel Serdan/Moreto vs. Belo/Mumia Negra Luta Livre (Late 80s?)
Shinobu Kandori/Harley Saito vs. Dynamite Kansai/The Scorpion JWP 8/4/91
Mr. Gannosuke vs. Leon Spinks FMW 8/31/93

17. September 21, 2018::
Rito Romero vs. Danny Savich Dallas Wrestling 9/26/52
Pedro Morales vs. Blackjack Mulligan WWWF 3/15/71
Rey Mysterio vs. Super Calo WCW 9/23/96

18. September 28, 2018::
Jumbo Tsuruta/Giant Baba vs. Killer Karl Kox/Dick Murdoch AJPW 2/25/81
Jumbo Tsuruta/Genichiro Tenryu vs. Bobby Heenan/Larry Zbyszko AJPW 7/4/81
Jerry Lawler/Beau James/Dutch Mantel vs. Jimmy Golden/Eddie Golden/Jeff Tankersley SSW 9/18/10

19. October 5, 2018:
Wild Bill Longson vs. Lou Thesz NWA 6/7/52
Masked Russian vs. Karl Gotch/Rene Goulet WWWF 1/22/71
Danny Hodge/Jos LeDuc vs. Pak Song/Toru Tanaka CWF 11/12/74
Ted DiBiase vs. Jack Brisco Georgia 2/5/84

20. October 12, 2018:
Cactus Jack vs. Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 3/31/91
The Latin Fury vs. Juicer WWF 1/8/92
Beau James vs. Frank Parker SSW 9/27/14

21. October 19, 2018:
Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Killer Karl Kox/Harley Race AJPW 2/11/81
Dream Machine vs. Jumbo Tsuruta AJPW 1/15/82
Mr. Wrestling 2 vs. Bob Roop GCW 10/23/83

22. October 26, 2018:
Mighty Inoue/Ashura Hara vs. Dick Slater/Ricky Steamboat AJPW 5/14/82
Brett Sawyer vs. Jake Roberts GCW 10/23/83
Roddy Piper/Cowboy Bob Orton vs. King Tonga/Superfly Afi WWF early 1986

23. November 2, 2018:
Genichiro Tenryu vs. Tiger Jeet Singh AJPW 5/14/82
Mitsuharu Misawa/Kentaro Shiga/Satoru Asako/Kenta Kobashi vs. The Eagle/The Lacrosse/The Patriot/Johnny Ace AJPW 1/22/96
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Billy Black ASW 9/3/96

24. November 9, 2018:
Spoiler/Mark Lewin vs. El Halcon/Jose Lothario Houston Wrestling 6/1/79
Giant Baba vs. Buck Robley AJPW 3/19/82
Genichiro Tenryu/Hiroshi Hase vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Kensuke Sasaki AJPW 1/28/01

25. November 16, 2018:
Tiger Conway Jr./Tiger Conway Sr. vs. Mark Lewin/Gary Hart Houston Wrestling 5/9/79
Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ted DiBiase AJPW 3/21/82
Jumbo Tsuruta/Yoshiaki Yatsu/Masanobu Fuchi vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Genichiro Tenryu/Stan Hansen AJPW 11/20/89

26. November 23, 2018:
Mando Guerrero vs. Golden Boy Olympic Wrestling 5/80
Jack/Jerry Brisco vs. Jay Youngblood/Ricky Steamboat NWA 7/9/83
Ric Flair vs. Harley Race NWA 7/9/83

27. November 30, 2018:
Mando Guerrero/Carlos Mata/Al Madril vs. Twin Devils/Coloso Colosetti Olympic Wrestling 1979?
Dusty Rhodes/Junkyard Dog vs. Ted DiBiase/Matt Borne Houston Wrestling 2/11/83
Terry Funk vs. Abdullah the Butcher NWA-NJ 5/12/95

28. December 7, 2018:
Harley Race vs. Genichiro Tenryu AJPW 7/16/82
Carlos Colon/Abdullah The Butcher vs. Ric Flair/Dory Funk Jr. WWC 1985
Amazing Red/Ice XVII vs. Low-Ki/Stevie Lynn 3CW 11/11/05

29. December 14, 2018:
Billy Robinson vs. Jumbo Tsuruta AJPW 3/21/82
Solar vs. Canelo Casas UWF 1/19/92
Low-Ki vs. Murat Bosporus 2007?

30. December 21, 2018:
High Flyers vs. Jerry Blackwell/Sheik Adnan Al-Kassie AWA 12/25/81
Tito Santana/Hulk Hogan vs. Bobby Duncum/Ken Patera AWA 12/25/82
Nick Bockwinkel vs. Mad Dog Vachon AWA 12/25/83
Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig AWA 12/25/84

31. December 28, 2018:
Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. The Long Riders Pro Wrestling USA 12/29/85
Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard Pro Wrestling USA 12/29/85
Original Midnight Express vs. Midnight Rockers AWA 12/25/87
Greg Gagne vs. Curt Hennig AWA 12/25/87

32. January 4, 2019:
Dick The Bruiser/Bruno Sammartino vs. Ernie Ladd/Baron von Raschke WWA 8/25/73
Jerry Lawler vs. Rick Rude CWA 8/27/84
PG-13/Spellbinder/Tex Slazenger/Brian Christopher vs. Tommy Rich/Doug Gilbert/Jesse James Armstrong/Tracy Smothers/Koko B Ware USWA 2/6/96

33. January 11, 2019:
Billy Robinson vs Ray Stevens AWA 9/13/81
Davey Boy Smith/Bruce Hart/Keith Hart/Robbie Stewart vs Duke Myers/Kerry Brown/Dynamite Kid/The Great Gama Stampede 10/9/81
Gypsy Joe vs. Ashura Hara AJPW 2/4/82

34. January 18, 2019:
Tommy Siegler/Roberto Soto/Argentine Apollo vs. Hollywood Blondes/Assassin ASWA 12/28/72
Dusty Rhodes/Dick Slater/Ricky Steamboat vs. Black Bart/Ron Bass/Tully Blanchard MAW 12/25/84
Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Corino UWF 6/8/07

35. January 25, 2019:
Jumbo Tsuruta/Akira Taue/Mighty Inoue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa/Kenta Kob ashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi AJPW 3/31/91
Dr. Death Steve Willams/Big Bossman vs. Kenta Kobashi/Mitsuharu Misawa AJPW 11/24/93
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio WWE 4/8/05

36. February 1, 2019:
The Destroyer/Bill Dromo/Kurt von Stroheim vs. Giant Baba/Michiaki Yoshimura/Toyonobori JWA 12/1/64
Tito Santana vs. Razor Ramon 6/29/92
Rick Rude/Steve Austin/Brian Pillman vs. 2 Cold Scorpio/Ricky Steamboat/Sting WCW 5/6/93

37. February 8, 2019:
Magnum TA vs. Ernie Ladd Houston Wrestling 11/9/84
Bad News Allen vs. Ron Simmons CWF 12/16/86
Terry Gordy/Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. Big Bossman/Johnny Smith AJPW 7/18/93

38. February 15, 2019:
Lou Thesz vs. Johnny Valentine Florida 9/1/73
Ric Flair vs. Greg Valentine Mid-Atlantic 7/17/80
Hector Guerrero/Mando Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero/Eddie Guerrero vs. Negra/Crazy 33/Ari Romero/Bonzi WIN 11/26/89
Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Richard Slinger AJPW 3/3/91

39. February 22, 2019:
Sputnik Monroe vs. Jack Pesek 3/3/66
Junkyard Dog vs. Buzz Sawyer 9/9/83
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Masa Fuchi AJPW 7/11/00

40. March 1, 2019:
Dick Murdoch/Dusty Rhodes vs. Sailor Art Thomas/Ernie Ladd AWA 12/16/72
Ole/Gene Anderson vs. Bill Watts/Thunderbolt Patterson GCW 6/24/77
Franz van Buyten vs. Frank Merckx (Belgium 1984)
Toshiaki Kawada/Maunakea Mossman vs. Jinsei Shinzaki/Yuki Ishikawa AJPW 7/11/00

41. March 8, 2019:
The Destroyer vs. Abdullah the Butcher AJPW 5/23/80
Dos Caras/Canek/Villano III vs. Negro Navarro/El Signo/El Torre Infernal UWA 10/31/92
Bobby Ocean/Drake Evans vs. Bobby Fish/Fit Finlay IYFW 5/18/12

42. March 15, 2019:
Fritz Von Erich/David Von Erich vs. Harley Race Wrestling at the Chase 8/10/79
Tor Kamata vs. Tiger Conway Jr. Texas Championship Wrestling 9/10/79
Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Billy Robinson/Wahoo McDaniel AJPW 10/17/80

43. March 22, 2019:
WAR vs. Heisei Ishingun WAR 6/25/93

44. March 29, 2019:
Giant Baba/Antonio Inoki vs. Johnny Valentine/Gene Kiniski JWA 2/1/72
Tully Blanchard vs. Tatsumi Fujinami MUGA 10/29/95
Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin WWF 3/10/96

45. April 5, 2019:
Terry/Dory Funk Jr. vs. Invaders WWC 12/9/86
El Dandy vs. Bestia Salvaje CMLL 9/30/92
JBL vs. Eddie Guerrero WWF 6/3/04

46. April 12, 2019:
Nick Bockwinkel/Stan Hansen vs. Dick The Bruiser/Crusher AWA 3/4/84
Roddy Piper vs. Randy Savage WWF 12/13/86
Jushin Liger vs. Masa Fuchi AJPW/NJPW 1/28/01

47. April 19, 2019:
Negro Navarro/Claudio Castagnoli/Mr. Ferrari vs. Mike Quackenbush/Solar/Kendo LLM 3/9/09
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Paul Diamond NJPW 7/18/93
Shinya Hashimoto/Akira Nogami vs. Brad Armstrong/TNT NJPW 7/18/93

48. April 26, 2019:
Terry Rudge vs. Osamu Kido NJPW 5/20/77
Riki Choshu/Osamu Kido vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Kengo Kimura NJPW 10/22/77
Keiji Mutoh/Michiyoshi Ohara vs Shiro Koshinaka/Akitoshi Saito NJPW 7/18/93

49. May 3, 2019:
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ric Flair Pro Wrestling USA 8/16/85
Road Warriors/Paul Ellering vs. Fabulous Freebirds Pro Wrestling USA 8/16/85
Kintaro Oki/Michiaki Yoshimura vs. Johnny Valentine/Dan Kroffat JWA 05/29/72

50. May 10, 2019:
Antonio Inoki/Riki Choshu vs. Roddy Piper/Blackjack Mulligan NJPW 08/26/77
Bruiser Brody vs. Great Kabuki WCCW 6/7/81
Atlantis/Negro Casas/El Texano vs. Mano Negra/El Brazo/Gran Markus Jr. CMLL 11/10/94

51. May 17, 2019:
Andre the Giant vs. Jerry Blackwell AWA 11/2/80
Andre The Giant/Hulk Hogan vs. Bobby Heenan/Nick Bockwinkel/Bobby Duncum/Ken Patera AWA 11/7/82
Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd WWF 7/20/84
Bret Hart vs. Tom Magee WWF 10/7/86

52. May 24, 2019:
GCW 11/4/83Mike Jackson vs. Bob Roop
Johnny Rich vs. Chick Donovan
Ronnie Garvin vs. Cy Jennigan
Jake Roberts vs. Pez Whatley
Ted DiBiase vs. Buzz Sawyer
The Road Warriors vs. Buzz/Brett Sawyer
Ric Flair vs. Tommy Rich

53. May 31, 2019:
The Sheik vs. Juan Humberto Texas Wrestling 12/14/54
Wild Bull Curry vs. Danny Savich Texas Wrestling 2/22/55
Mad Maurice Vachon vs. The Amazing Zuma Texas Wrestling 3/19/57

54. June 7, 2019:
Jean Ferrer vs. Andre Bollet French Catch 12/8/68
Jake Roberts vs. Ronnie Garvin Georgia 4/7/84
Shinya Hashimoto vs. Michiyoshi Ohara NJPW 12/3/93

55. June 14, 2019:
Eddy Guerrero vs. Jushin Liger NJPW 12/9/92
Black Tiger/Dean Malenko vs. El Samurai/Shinjiro Otani NJPW 9/24/93
Eddy Guerrero/Fuerza Guerrera/Jerry Estrada vs. Blue Panther/El Mexicano/Mascara Sagrada AAA 11/13/93

56. June 21, 2019:
1986 Crockett Cup

57. June 28, 2019:
Dick Murdoch vs. Johnny Rodz WWF Kuwait 1984
Tsuyoshi Kikuchi/Kenta Kobashi vs. Doug Furnas/Dan Kroffat AJPW 10/7/92
Satanico/Rey Bucanero/Ultimo Guerrero vs. Villano IV/Villano V/Atlantis Tijuana 2001

58. July 5, 2019:
86 Bash
Charlotte 7/5/86

Denny Brown vs. Steve Regal
Robert Gibson vs. Black Bart
The Andersons vs. Sam Houston/Nelson Royal
Manny Fernandez vs. Baron von Raschke
Jimmy Garvin vs. Wahoo McDaniel
Ronnie Garvin vs. Tully Blanchard
Greensboro Coliseum 7/26/86
Sam Houston vs. Steve Regal
Denny Brown and The Italian Stallion vs. Black Bart and Konga the Barbarian
Manny Fernandez vs. Baron von Raschke
Jimmy Garvin vs. Wahoo McDaniel
Ronnie Garvin vs. Tully Blanchard
The Andersons vs. The Rock n Roll Express
Magnum TA vs. Nikita Koloff
Baby Doll and The Road Warriors vs. Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express

59. July 12, 2019:
Ed Wiskoski vs. Texas Red Big Time Wrestling 1979?
Masashi Aoyagi vs. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga NJPW 8/7/91
El Hijo Del Santo/Super Muneco/Angel Azteca vs. Los Payasos AAA 9/23/94

60: July 19, 2019:
Moondogs/Mr. Fuji vs. Pedro Morales/Ivan Putski/Tony Garea WWF Kuwait 1983
Ryuma Go/Masahiko Takasugi vs. Masashi Aoyagi/Mitsuhiro Matsunaga Pioneer Senshi 1990
State Patrol vs. The Can Am Express AJPW 6/4/91

61. July 26, 2019:
Pro Wrestling USA show
Larry Sharpe vs. Bobby Duncum
Wild Samoans vs. Tom Zenk/Steve O
Kendo Nagasaki vs. Jim Duggan
Baron Von Raschke vs. Jimmy Garvin
Freebirds vs. High Flyers/Tonga Kid
Kamala vs. Sgt. Slaughter - Ugandan Death Match
Bob Backlund vs. Larry Zbyszko

62. August 2, 2019: Race vs. Dory Funk Jr. AJPW 12/12/81
Bud Jenkins/Jean Sobek vs Gino Rossini/Eddy Warrant 6/11/88
Ciber Black/Emilio Charles Jr./Shocker vs. Mascara Sagrada/Super Mueneco/Villano III 10/5/08

63. August 9, 2019: Race/Bill Watts vs. Brisco Brothers CWF 10/8/74
Harley Race vs. Jack Brisco CWF 8/12/78
Ric Flair vs. Harley Race Mid-Atlantic 11/14/80
Masashi Aoyagi vs. Tatsumi Fujinami NJPW 12/3/93

64. August 16, 2019:
Boogie Jam 84
Dory Funk Jr. vs. Tully Blanchard
Ernie Ladd vs. Rufus R. Jones
Bob Orton Jr./Don Kernodle vs. Mark Youngblood/Wahoo McDaniel
Angelo Mosca Sr./ Angelo Mosca Jr./Junkyard Dog vs. The Great Kabuki/Ivan Koloff/Gary Hart
Greg Valentine vs. Dick Slater
Assassin #2 vs. Jimmy Valiant

65. August 23, 2019:
Roddy Piper vs. Riki Choshu NJPW 9/8/77
Roddy Piper vs. Antonio Inoki NJPW 9/22/77
Super Porky/Nicho El Millionario/El Hijo Del Santo vs. Rey Misterio Sr./Halloween/Damian Tijuana 6/2001 (?)

66. August 30, 2019:
Kader Hassouni/Claude Rocca vs. Bernard Caclard/Albert Sanniez French Catch 3/20/76
Rollerball Rocco vs. Marty Jones WOS 12/30/80
Antonio Inoki/Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Masa Saito/Riki Choshu NJPW 8/2/83

67. September 6, 2019:
Le Marquis/Black Shadow vs. Marcello Motta/Angelito French Catch 5/28/85
Mark Rocco vs. Marty Jones All Star Wrestling 8/20/88
Rey Misterio Sr./Ultraman/Piloto Suicida vs Mercurio/Fobia/Super Boy FLL 2/15/95


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