Sunday, January 25, 2015

WWE Superstars 1/23/15

1. Naomi vs. Cameron - 4
2. Fandango vs. Sin Cara - 4

The Funkadactyls dissolution was the wrestling equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down. Cameron got her mouth busted open and Naomi's extensive ass-based offense including a new spot where she trapped Cameron and twerked on her face would have had Jerry Lawler going skeet skeet skeet all over his Coca Cola memorabilia collection. Fandango would be better suited in Lucha Underground (and Sin Cara too for that matter) or as a member of The Kingdom in ROH but first-half of this was laid out nicely with some grappling and transitions at half-speed then they sort of truncated the last act to a quick finish stretch where Rosa flirting with a guy at ringside who runs a Jeffrey Jones fan site was more interesting than what was happening in the ring. Fandango's diving leg drop from the top is a 3.7 on the Bobby Eaton scale but I'm still glad to see someone using it regularly.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

NHO Podcast Sneak Peak!

Excited to give you all a sneak peak at some of the show concepts we're kicking around for future episodes of the newly minted Never Hand Over Podcast. If any of these shows look especially cool or interesting to you let us know! And feel free to kick us any other ideas you might have for future shows.

February
Ep 6 - WWE Wrestling's Greatest Factions set - Disc #1
Ep 7 - WWE Wrestling's Greatest Factions set - Disc #2
Ep 8 - WWE Wrestling's Greatest Factions set - Disc #3

Future Episodes


Ep 9 - IWA Mid-South Top 18 Matches

Ep 10 - Chikara King of Trios 2014
Ep 11 - Living Dangerously 2000 (Alternate NHO Commentary Track)

Ep 12 - Wrestlecade 2013 & House of Hardcore VI
Ep 13 - CZW Tournament of Death 8, 9, 10
Ep 14 - UFC 21: Return of the Champions & ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds

Ep 15 - Pro Wrestling Syndicate Supercard 2013 (Nights 1 & 2)
Ep 16 - PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2014
Ep 17 - Fall Brawl 1993: War Games (Alternate NHO Commentary Track)

Ep 18 - "Young Angry Poor Dangerous" Best of Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose) in HWA
Ep 19 - CZW Tournament of Death 12, ToD v. Gorefest, ToD Europe
Ep 20 - 3PW Raven's Rules & Pro Wrestling Superstars (Toronto 4/14/12)

Ep 21 - UFC 26: Ultimate Field of Dreams & Triplemanía XI
Ep 22 - In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks (Alternate NHO Commentary Track)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TNA One Night Stand: Knockout Knockdowns 2


8 Knockouts versus 8 outsiders. The winners advance to a gauntlet finale. I'll be reviewing sans pants.

1. Veda Scott vs. Gail Kim - 5
2. Scarlett vs. Angelina Love - 3
3. Reby vs. Velvet Sky - 3

I've enjoyed Veda in her various ROH roles and having her pair off with Gail Kim was an inspired choice. Scott worked quirky librarian until the bell rang then pounced revealing the guise. Don't think they'd ever worked together previously and there was some less than flawless figuring out of spots but call it bias I tossed this an extra point. I was excited by the match-up and it was a good opener. Scarlett is working a drunk party girl gimmick complete with red plastic cup. This was pretty one note, some interference stuff with Velvet at ringside, lots of Angelina stomps, but nothing worth noting. Scarlett has a marketable look and did well in her backstage promo so I'm surprised TNA hasn't offered her a contract. Too bad Cute Kip wasn't in attendance to do a Beautiful People reunion. Reby's married to Matt Hardy so we know at least one thing: she doesn't mind spare tires. 

4. Havok vs. Madison Rayne - 5
5. Karlee Perez vs. Taryn Terrell - 2
6. Mia Yim vs. Brittany - 4

One of the first looks at Havoc as the new monster of the division. Rayne played a nice Krystalak to her Godzilla (come on I know you guys got Unleashed on your DS). Karlee was actually in WWE for 3 years under the name Maxine but don't feel bad if you've already forgotten her. Her father doesn't. Taryn's sort of diving RKO variation came off faker than her wedding vowels to Drew McIntyre. Next match was actually quite good and worked more competitively than anything else thus far. Knocked off a point for one striking sequence where Yim looked like she was working at quarter-speed and for Brittany being more vanilla than those wafer cookies in your grandma's pantry.

7. Deonna vs. Brooke - 2
8. Marti Belle vs. ODB - 4
9. Rockstar Spud vs. ODB - 0

Deonna working painfully shy girl gimmick. For Hooters Girls gone legit Brooke is no Yurizan Beltran but she actually put forth some effort pre-match to play a heel role buy dumping on her opponent and the crowd. This was a bit lost with Brooke leading and some shoddy work therein such as Brooke's attempt to cheat using the ropes for leverage on a pinfall which was so apparent Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu could have seen it. Marti Belle I dig, she was good in an opening in-ring bit with Rockstar Spud, but man did she ever draw the short straw getting booked with ODB. Belle made ODB's repugnant offense look better than its ever had. Spud's got some of the best facial expressions around. Spud gets stripped down to his shit-stained undies (no I'm not kidding) and spanked mid-ring.

10. Entrant #1: Gail Kim vs. Entrant #2: Brooke vs. Entrant #3: Mia Yim vs. Entrant #4: Reby vs. Entrant #5: Angelina Love vs. Entrant #6: Madison Rayne vs. Entrant #7: Marti Belle vs. Entrant #8: Taryn Terrell - Gauntlet Rumble Match - 6

Better than the '99 Royal Rumble. Pretty smartly laid out and when it came down to the final two (Madison and Angelina) it reverted to pinfall or submission. This match within a match was quite good with some good teases. The tired botch interference with the hairspray by Velvet was insipid and uninspired but the hot finishing stretch bolstered this enough to be the only thing off this show to land in the vaunted NHO recommended category.

Podcast Notes for WCW Starrcade '89



(Author's Note: As a supplement to episode 5 of our podcast covering Starrcade '89, I figured since my notes were so long, I might as well share them for your reading pleasure to follow along with as you listen. - Adam)

Starrcade 1989 Podcast Notes

December 13, 1989
The Omni - Atlanta, Georgia

This show is based around two one-night round robin tournaments, one singles tournament, and one tag team tournament. 

We’ve got Jim Ross on commentary with Terry Funk delivering commentary on the singles and Jim Cornette on the tag.

Tag team participants:
- Doom
- The Road Warriors
- The Wild Samoans (aka Samoan Swat Team)
- The Steiner Brothers (World Tag Champions)

Singles tournament participants:
- Great Muta (TV Champion)
- Sting
- Ric Flair (NWA Champion)
- Lex Luger (US Champion)

1. Doom vs. The Steiner Brothers - 5
So many fans masquerading as empty seats. Scott ate a serious knee in the corner from Simmons (aka Doom #1 as JR calls him). Rick got a nearfall off a big powerslam. Cornette hypes on commentary how innovative the one night round-robin tournament is. Well, it was only done once and never again. I guess that says how successful it was. Anyway, digging the physicality thus far as both teams just lay into each other. Backbreaker by Scott was sloppy. This random Nitron dude in Doom’s corner lays into Scott after he takes a bump to the outside. Who in the hell was Nitron? Not sure but his punches look like shit. Hot tag to Rick with only a few minutes left in the time limit. Doom looked good to start but about halfway through it seemed like they started to conserve energy. Chaos at the end with a huge brawl on the floor but somehow Rick snuck in the ring to avoid getting counted out. Fun match though.
Score: Steiners - 15, Doom - 0

2. Sting vs. Lex Luger - 4
Lots of fire from Sting to start off with, brawling in the aisle, stiff clotheslines, and a big flying splash into the ring. Luger has gotten in roughly zero offense in and we’re about halfway through. First offensive move from Luger was about 10 minutes as he countered Sting flying off the top rope with an atomic drop. Noticed Luger a few times blatantly calling spots. Not sure what happened when Luger was tied up in the ropes and Sting stopped and just started choking him. One minute left and they are doing a meandering brawl outside the ring. Cheap pin by Luger and a shitty spot where both guys fall over the top back in the ring ends this.
Score: Luger - 20, Sting - 0

3. Doom vs. The Road Warriors - 4
Two straight matches for Doom. Can’t imagine they have a ton of gas left in the tank after the war with the Steiners. Another hard hitting match so far with LOD just starting out hot. Hawk goes hard into the ringpost. Some good rotation on a powerslam by Simmons (aka Doom #1). Having a 15-minute time limit on each match in each tournament has made this an easy, fast watch so far. Doom looking gassed towards the latter half. Nitron seems to be mysteriously missing from Doom’s corner, not that he was really missed anyway. Top rope clothesline finishs this off after a scrum.
Score: LOD - 20, Doom - 0

4. Great Muta vs. Ric Flair - 2
Ok, so there’s Norman the Lunatic dressed as Santa Claus at ringside randomly. Don’t really remember these two ever tying up so this should be interesting. Liked chop exchange. What the hell is going on? Arn and Ole get into a huge brawl with Buzz Sawyer and Dragonmaster at ringside, who show up after Muta gets trappe in the figure four. Really sad this only went a few minutes.
Score: Flair - 20, Muta - 0

5. Road Warriors vs. Steiner Brothers - 5
JR calls an enziguri a “savate kick”. Does he even know what a savate kick is? Some stiff clothelines, including one that rocked Animal’s night. So far, this has been nothing but a fight. Scott nearly gets decapitated by Animal on a clothesline out of the corner. Loved Corny’s line that the biggest beneficiaries of this match will be Blue Cross Blue Shield. Good lord, Scott hit a really rough belly-to-belly from the second rope that dropped Hawk directly on his neck. Ugh, the Doomsday Device looked like shit but a guess it played well into the finish as they did the old double shoulders on the mat finish.
Score: Steiners - 20 (35 total), LOD - 0 (20 total)

6. Great Muta vs. Sting - 4
Two guys here that are winless thus far in the tournament. Liked the nice story the set in the beginning with both guys really needing a win, made this feel important. Muta locks in a Cattle Mutilation of all things in a submission attempt. Sting reverses in and starts nailing Muta with “American right hands” as JR calls it. Pace felt a little slower than some of the previous matches thus far. Sting looks completely gassed. Big superplex rattled the ring letting Sting get the win. Not really a great match, but not bad either. Felt like both guys were saving themselves for later in the show.
Score: Sting - 20 (20 total), Muta - 0

Here’s the leaderboard at halftime!
Singles:
Flair - 20
Sting - 20
Luger - 20
Muta - 0

Tag Team:
Steiners - 35
LOD - 20
Doom - 0
Samoans - 0

7. Wild Samoans vs. Doom - 4
This is the last we’ll see of Doom, they’re 0-2 and mathematically eliminated from winning. First time the Samoans have appeared in the tournament. Nitron is back. Fatu and Reed exchange headbutts and both guys stagger backwards. Samoan Savage crashed and burned on the mat after attempting a flying headbutt. Some jawing by Doom as I clearly heard Simmons yell “come on island boy”. Some nice psychology and basic by Doom, cutting the ring off and isloating Samoan Savage. Collision spot and having Fatu randomly land on Doom #2 seemed like a lame spot to finish this off. 
Score: Samoans - 20, Doom - 0 (Final Score: 0)

8. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair - 6
JR says that Flair loves to use the chop and says that “Luger’s chest is as wide as the interstate”. Some stalling to begin with. Damn, Flair chops the living shit out of Luger in and out of the ring. The pace seems to be a bit slower than the other single matches, wonder if they are just working towards a draw since they only have 15 minutes? I have a feeling they are because Flair is working rest holds (a hammerlock) and Terry Funk just referenced a draw on commentary saying “it wouldn’t do either man any good”. Flair gets some nearfalls on a series of roll-ups halfway through and goes back to working on the arm with seven minutes left. Big gorilla press by Luger send Flair to the outside with less than five mintues left. Luger’s punching looked like shit. Vicious clothesline caught Flair in mid-air coming off the top rope. Good tease at the end with Luger locked in the figure four and trying not to submit.
Score: Flair - 5 (25 total), Luger - 5 (25 total)

9. Wild Samoans vs. Steiner Brothers - 3
Final Steiners match of the night here as we approach the end of the tournament. Two teams here that just seem to enjoy hurting people. Lots of stalling and general complaining by the Samoans. Ten minutes in and there really hasn’t been a whole lot I’ve liked. Samoan Savage works a bearhug trying to get a submission win. Yep, don’t think thats gonna work on Scott. Please tell me this isn’t going to a draw as well, two straight draws would not be cool. Good face in peril segment by Scott but Samoan’s offense consisted of mainly clubbing blows to the back. Ref loses complete control as everyone is confused. Steiners get DQ’ed but it’s never explained why.
Score: Samoans - 10 (Total: 30), Steiners - 0 (Final Score: 35)

10. Great Muta vs. Lex Luger - 3
Final match for each guy here. Luger at this point has 25 points and Muta has a big ol’ goose egg. Luger definitely favoring the knee, playing into the last match where he was locked in the figure four by Flair. Muta spends the majority of the match working over the knee. Funk mentiones on commentary that this is a match where the fans don’t care about it. Good observation, didn’t even realize this was heel vs. heel. Luger really favoring the knee but hits a clothesline that levels Muta. Super awful hip toss by Luger. Muta spits the green mist and gets DQ’ed for his troubles.
Score: Luger - 10 (Final score: 35), Muta - 0 (Final Score: 0)

11. Wild Samoans vs. Road Warriors - 4
Final match in the tag team tournament. Animal completely no sells a piledriver. Awesome moment where Animal tries to bound off the ropes but barely hits them, walks up to Samoan Savage and just hits him really damn hard with an elbow. Both teams looking completely gassed, as I don’t mean on steroids. This also seemed really disjointed at parts, especially the end where everyone was in the ring and Hawk hit a top-rope clothesline for the win.
Score: LOD - 20 (Final Score: 40), Samoans - 0 (Final Score: 30)

Tag Team Final Standings:
LOD - 40
Steiners - 35
Samoans - 30
Doom - 0

12. Sting vs. Ric Flair - 5
Pretty obvious that this would go on last. Also interesting to note that this was the last pay-per-view event of the 1980s and it was headlined by these two. Sting seemed a lot less fatigued than Flair. Interesting pin attempt as Flair hooks in an abdominal stretch and rolls it into a nearfall. Big vertical suplex get a two-count. Sting no-sells a bunch of chops on the floor. Some good back and forth at the 10-minute mark and Sting starts gaining control. JR says both men are fatigued. Well, not only them, but me as well as I’ve just sat through 3 hours of seeing the same 4 singles and same 4 teams wrestle each other. Sting’s rat tail looks ridiculous, just thought I’d point that out for the record. Action was kind of slow in the beginning but ramped up after the ten-minute mark. Flair got overly confident and got caught in a small package to close out the match, the show, and the tournament. Game, set, and match.

Singles Finals Standings:
Sting - 40
Luger - 35
Flair - 25
Muta - 0

Final Thoughts:

Well, after watching three hours of the same four teams and same four singles people wrestle each other the whole night, I feel like I’ve been run through a gauntlet. Maybe doing one of these tournaments on the show would have been fine, but not both. Props though for WCW having the balls to put on a wild show like this. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NHO Podcast Episode #5: WCW Starrcade '89 "Future Shock"



It's a new year and a new episode of the podcast! On this episode, we examine Starrcade '89 "Future Shock" which featured two round robin tournaments in the span of three hours. Join us as we dive head first with a look the full 12 match card from top to bottom featuring Sting, Ric Flair, Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, Great Muta, and more! We do apologize for some of the audio difficulties during the show.



Download in MP3 here!

Find us on iTunes!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/never-hand-over/id944100920

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Email Us!
nhopodcast@yahoo.com

As a supplement while you listen, here are co-host Adam's notes on the show.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lucha 2014 MotY Candidates Vol. #1

Rush vs. Negro Casas - Hair vs. Hair - CMLL 8/1/14 - 7

This was pretty great. Awarded high points not entirely for polished ring work but for dramatics and aura. Rush didn't even let the veteran Casas get down the aisle. Rush winning the first fall by charging at a crumpled Casas in the corner and crushing him with a dropkick directly in the face was terrific. The match-ending field goal punt to the phallus was a nice touch. I was on the edge of my seat at Car X in the lobby while they were changing my car's oil watching this on my phone.

Negro Navarro vs. Virus - 11/5/14 - 5

Speaking of cell phones this match was recorded on one. You wouldn't want to run into these two in the Early Bird Senior Sunday Brunch line. I'm a big mark for the kid with the dual faux-lightsabers that keeps walking in-front of the camera. This is human chess wrestling and we don't see Virus getting to work the canvas like this in CMLL so a treat. Virus Taps like Timothy Hutton. Falls a point shy of of NHO "recommended" status but still a fun rarity.

Friday, January 9, 2015

House of Hardcore VII


House of Hardcore VII - November 15, 2014 - Philadelphia, PA

1. Danny Doring vs. Stevie Richards - 3
2. Brian Myers vs. Christian York -5

Stevie looked in great shape. Danny wore the significance of being back in the old ECW Arena on his face and in his eyes, and while a few steps off, and guilty of some exposing "ring talk", he did hit a swank top rope legdrop. Knocked a point off as they mistimed the Stevie Kick finish and it whiffed but Doring still took the bump and fall. Myers is the former Curt Hawkins of several failed WWE tag teams (with Ryder, Reks, Archer, Croft, etc.) fame. I was ready to write this match off but gave it a "5" just on York's performance alone. Christian really had his working boots on, busted out some great kicks like a spinning thrust kick and Rolling Koppo, nimbly leapt onto the steel guardrail then moonsaulted off, and hit a crushing cannonball senton onto Myers in the corner. Post-match Alberto El Patrón makes a surprise appearance to a "Fuck McMahon" chant and gets over on Myers as well because why the hell not?

3. Anthony Greene, Ben Ortiz & Vik Dalishus vs. Team Tremendous & Guido Maritato - 4
4. Eddie Kingston vs. Eddie Edwards - 5

Man, the harsher critic of me from ten years ago would have tore the six-man tag apart but while admittedly ridiculous it captured a particular type of goofy charm really synonymous with old ECW Arena undercard bouts and the crowd at the old Arena approved. Not sure what, or more specifically whom, was the eyesore most difficult to peel your eyes away from. Team Tremendous were two guys work 1970's NYC movie beat cops complete with mustaches, suspenders, etc. then there's Ben Ortiz who looked like a 500lbs. man poured into one of MVP's old bodysuits, lastly Vik Dalishus, a portly white guy literally carried out to the ring horizontal like royalty led by his valets two African American women with breasts the sizes of small Pacific islands. And in proper ECW fashion the referee even got involved including a moonsault off of the top onto the wrestlers on the floor -- again, why the hell not? So, Matt Striker just put Chris Benoit over on commentary. Yeah . . that just happened. Kingston is in rare company with the likes of Necro Butcher, Billy Ken Kid, and Don Kernodle as oddballs I'd like to see wrestle just about anybody because of their idiosyncrasies. Somewhere under a stack of back issues of Ebony in my closet I've got a Best of Eddie Kingston three-disc set I've been meaning to watch. If only Eddie hit the treadmill as hard as he hits Del Taco and his opponents. A head drop exchange got zero reaction. I enjoyed their attempt at delivering a hard-hitting affair and had the crowd agreed with me and responded this would have gotten knocked up into recommendable status.

5. Alex Reynolds vs. Lance Anoai vs. Tony Nese - Elimination Match -  5
6. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. Team 3D - 4

Maybe I'm feeling generous but I'll toss the three-way elimination match a "5" too. Anoa'i, a fourth generation member of wrestling's grandest family, looked real good. He did a Samoan Drop on Nese while simultaneously dropkicking Reynolds which I'd never seen before. I hope WWE calls him up sooner than later. Reynolds looked the least polished of the lot, Nese we know from DGUSA & TNA, and the set-up here was "let's just throw everything we have out there" which led to a fun sprint with a few legitimately impressive highspots like the match-ending Super Reverse Frankensteiner off the top. IWGP champs in the house! After dethroning TenKoji in NJPW and claiming that WWE, TNA, & ROH were scared of them, they ended up in the ECW Arena but were interrupted by Team 3D and Bully said they were "in the wrong place, at the wrong time!" Mild brawl to start, Dudley's working on autopilot, tepid formula affair that I found a bit disappointing. I would have liked to have seen KES get some shine but this was a Dudley reunion in the Arena complete with table bump finish.

7. Austin Aries vs. Drew Galloway - 7

During intermission some cool stuff with Stevie talking off the cuff about how not just matches but shows themselves have psychology. How each match tonight served a specific purpose, etc. Galloway better known as Drew McIntyre needs to get signed by ROH or Lucha Underground so I can see him on my TV semi-regularly. Drew follows up a very stiff chop with a . . . crotch chop? Tilt-a-whirl slam onto the hard ring apron by Drew a standout spot. Galloway does cool Finley homage. Aries' chest is purple and welted. Austin busts out some top-shelf stuff too including his patented huge air double-ax handle off the top to the floor and Heat Seeking Missile suicide dive. Finish was good, wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, seemed too sudden, but upon a re-watch I was satisfied. I really liked this. I'll be seeking out some of Drew's stuff in EVOLVE.

8. Tommy Dreamer vs. Bobby Roode - Extreme Rules Match - 4

Tommy's bringing Beulah down! Seems a bit on the nose that instead of holding up hands for high fives people in the crowd are holding up food and beverage for Tommy to devour. "I'll never forget the night Tommy Dreamer took a bite out of my turkey panini!" Roode a surprise replacement for an injured Ethan Carter III. Velvet Sky does a run-in leading to Beulah getting involved and Striker doing old pastiche screaming "Cat fight!" like Joey Styles with bronchitis. Dreamer looks in terrible shape but damn it I'm not mad at him. If he wants to work meandering brawls in his own vanity fed that's alright  (just if you're reading this, Tommy, keep booking Young Bucks, and maybe bring Low Ki in?). CW Anderson interferes leading to a Sandman run-in and then one by Spike Dudley for good measure. Striker says it looks like Spike's been cooking meth. Then weakly tries to clarify it was only a Breaking Bad reference. Another buxom bimbo I don't recognize gets in the ring and does a moonsault off the top onto Dreamer which he no-sells like Undertaker wearing a stupid ash gray Phantom of the Opera mask. Finish sees Tommy eat a Death Valley Driver onto a barbed wire board. This was the definition of overbooked but Dreamer's such a class act it's too hard to find much fault in it. Dreamer does a sweetly sentimental promo post-match with wife Beulah and daughters the Twinovators of Violence.

9. Young Bucks vs. The Hardys - 8

This next match I'm going to put down the pen and notebook and just watch and marvel. Two of my all-time favorite tag teams. I'll be back with my collected thoughts -- and here I am returned from my superkick sojourn. Loved hearing the Bucks coming out to "MMMBop" again. Strikers said Bullet Club shirts are the biggest things in wrestling merch since Austin 3:16. Loved Matt Hardy's Elmer Fudd expression after Matt Jackson crotch chopped him early. Nick and Jeff's early parity exchange was fluid. Loved Jeff eating a superkick mid-springboard to the outside and selling it by taking a "Trust Fall" backwards onto both Matt's. Nick sells a Twist of Fate like he just ate some bad tamales. I once bumped into Matt Jackson buying a smoothie in Palo Alto. Who do you think wore their VHS tape of the Razor vs. HBK ladder match out more -- Matt J. or Matt H.? Tommy please book this as a Best of 7 Series. Not too many other people would bump for a neck snap on the top rope by spinning off the apron and leaping chin-first onto a steel guardrail but we thank Matt Hardy for it. Matt Hardy looks like he's working a kangaroo gimmick with that pouch. Nobody strings offensive flurries together like the Bucks. Loved Jeff doing a headstand on the top buckle like Ultimo Dragon only to eat a superkick. The Bucks busted out a Twist of Fate/Swanton combo on Jeff for a gripping nearfall! Soon after I totally bit on the Meltzer Driver ending it. I won't detail each step of the finishing act but it had some nice peaks and valleys and I was genuinely surprised that the Bucks won clean with More Bang For Your Buck. This was a few steps behind one of my 2014 MotY candidates Briscoes vs. Hardyz but that's not feint praise. Hell of a main event!