Segunda Caida

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Matches from WXW 16 Carat Gold 3/6/20 - Night One

Mike Bailey vs. Chris Ridgeway

ER: This match never really grabbed me, because they kept showing throughout the match that there weren't going to be any real consequences for any of the actions they chose. These guys both do plenty of things I love, but it seems like their default style is something that I do not love. So we get a long elbow exchange, we get enough knee work by Ridgeway that you think it would have slowed down Bailey a tiny bit (it didn't), and we got a few Both Guys Down moments (which is too many for an opening match that only goes 12 minutes). You could make some really great gifs of all this, like Bailey's big middle buckle moonsault to the floor, and number of kick combos (although I was getting sick of guys selling a big kick by just doing a big kick), and several awesome body shots by Ridgeway. I didn't realize until the tag match opposite Ikeda/Ishikawa, but Ridgeway has a fantastic body shot, set up with him throwing a dummy distraction strike. He lands a couple here and they were both right towards the top of the things I liked about this match. There was also a great moment where Bailey went for the shooting star kneedrop only for Ridgeway to get his knees up...into Bailey's knees! Give me the choice of knees landing on my guts or knees landing on my knees, and I'm taking my guts every time. There was a real nasty clonk sound from their colliding knees too. Luckily for both of them, while they were down recovering from their clonked knees, it didn't actually bother them in the least once they were standing. Bailey's Ultima Weapon off the top directly into Ridgeway's back is such a disgusting move that it really should have been the finish, but by the time it got to that point I didn't much care.

2. Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Makabe

ER: Here's another Kingston dream match being brought to us by a Europe fed, and this is the match I pictured when Kingston vs. Makabe was announced. I would have loved to see Kingston forced more out of his element and into a mat battle, see how he handles things, see how he brute forces his way through other things, and we do get a little of that. I dug Kingston working Makabe into a head and arm choke and how Makabe kept his hands clasped to force separation before Kingston could take it further. This was always going to be Kingston aiming to land shots and other cruelty before Makabe could take him down and tap him, and we got some good moments of Makabe getting slick single legs and a nice takedown where he slid to Kingston's side and swept the leg. But when Kingston lands, he lands, and the first time Makabe mixes it up and goes for the Big Unit, Kingston hits one of the coolest strike combos of his career when he smacks Makabe in the stomach and right behind the ear with a quick 1-2. We get big Kingston STOs and a nice lariat, all leading to a uranage and suplex so cursed (a beautifully cursed high arcing Saito suplex) that I thought for sure that was the match, wasn't expecting the kickout. Makabe makes sure to pay that forward with one of his best Big Unit punches I've ever seen him hit, really accurately pasting Kingston's chin, and Makabe's figure 4 German suplex dumps Kingston on his shoulder in an ugly way. The finishing exchange was a real fun clash of their signature strikes, with Kingston immediately shrugging off a great Big Unit and whiffing on a backfist before catching Makabe with a backfist as Makabe was going for another punch. I would have liked to see more style clash moments, or fish out of water moments for both (Kingston forced into matwork vs. Makabe forced into strike trading), but these two bring such a high floor with them that of course this was good.

PAS: I thought this was excellent, one of the coolest things about Kingston is his variability. We saw him work as Fuerza Guerrera in an LA Park match, and here he is working like Kawada in a Daniel Makabe match. Eddie is a sneaky good matworker and I liked all of the early matwork, including Eddie with a power takedown and working into side control. I want to second the greatness of the Kingston big punch counter, the quick shot to the ribs and palm to the ear was totally awesome stuff. I love when wrestlers beat someone to the punch instead of just exchanging. All of the suplexes in this match were super nasty, both guys were landing hard on shoulders and necks, nothing was a flat back bump. I also love the backfist as a KO move, and this was an especially great one. Kingston almost left his feet, and Makabe slumped like his lights shut off. Makabe has been on a big run for the last couple of years, and this was one of my favorite matches of his, and Kingston continues to be the best.

Black Taurus vs. Shigehiro Irie

ER: This was definitely stiff heavyweight wrestling, and had some incredible moments, while also having plenty of moments that minimized the impressiveness of some of their best attacks. This had plenty of those moments that are the lamest version of something cool: instead of just hitting hard shoulderblocks like Scott Norton, they have to hit hard shoulderblocks that bounce them back into the ropes and spring back into another shoulderblock that sends the other guy bouncing back into the ropes; instead of Irie using a elbow smash to repel a charging Taurus, they just stood there and traded a dozen of them. You don't need to throw 3 western lariats to win, and Eddie Kingston on this same card shows the value of having a killshot (his spinning backfist) instead of hitting hard but demanding no consistent selling. Hitting hard is cool, but hitting hard sold by standing back up like nothing happened and continuing to hit hard? That just undersells what punishment they're actually dealing.

These two undeniably have a ton of cool tricks, no shortage of cool shit to make people leap out of their chairs. Early on Irie hits a tope while Taurus is seated on the apron, crashing both of them into the guardrail with a visual like nothing I've seen. And I can't stand that they did so many things that approached "nothing I've seen" and all of those things got sold exactly the same as everything else. Taurus has some great stuff, a high rotation powerslam, big agility spots like a springboard corkscrew cannonball, and the fearlessness to really run right through Irie. Watching Taurus run full weight into and through Irie is a treat. Irie has a wild set of offense, from cool little things like his slingshot standing splash, to HUGE things like that bananas springboard samoan drop he pulled. Just attempting something like that is pure madness. We got heavy cannonballs and a perfect spear, and plenty of these two crashing into each other at full speed. But there's a strong can vs. should aspect to this, and some restraint would have made the work pop more.

Jeff Cobb vs. Alexander James

PAS: This had some moments I really liked. James was working straight heel, which is refreshing in a tourney setup like this. It is good to have some character work instead of just a series of guys working "great matches." Cobb is one of the most explosive wrestlers in the world, so it is tough for a guy to try to go toe to toe with high impact moves against him. I liked James dropping Cobb on the floor with a Tower of London and dragging him up the aisle to try to get the count out. I really would have liked that to be more of a focus of the match, but they just went back to a back and forth match after that.


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