Friday, January 8, 2016

New Jack vs. Rhino

ECW World Television Championship Match: Rhino (c) vs. New Jack - ECW November to Remember 2000 - 4

When first logging into the WWE Network with the veritable treasure trove of material to sift through one area I wanted to revisit was ECW pay-per-view hidden gems. Now I saw all of the ECW PPVs live back then but most if not all I only saw during their initial broadcast and not since. Browsing the listings on Wikipedia there's a dozen Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck vs. Full Blooded Italians bouts and other familiar pairings done to death but I wanted something I'd completely forgotten happened. Boom. Rhino versus New Jack? I had no clue that transpired. And via tech or alien plot I could watch this match on my cellular phone on the city bus.

Now, the score is pretty low, and it wasn't easy as I did like this but it's woefully short and sort of a mess but definitely a guilty pleasure for its brief duration but objectively I couldn't grade it higher. First bad mark is right out the gates as Rhino looks dumb leaning forward arching his neck out like a giraffe at the zoo just waiting for New Jack to slam an object against his cranium. What I dug so much is this is mostly just Rhino feeding himself to New Jack's weapon-based offense but I'll be damned if this isn't one of the better overlooked Rhino performances as does great as a base for Jack's garbage. Here Rhino is leaning into shots, bumping and writhing, and makes a great anguished facial after having a cane snapped over his back. New Jack is notably not so good at eating shots as his version of selling is akin to a drunken elderly man getting mugged outside a dive bar, stumbling and staring off into the distance. I also disliked the finish as it was supposed to be explosive but wasn't much. They claimed Rhino hit the "Gore" through a table that was leaning against the turnbuckles but in reality it appeared more like Rhino just carried Jack a few feet and dropped him like a gym bag full of Methandrostenolone.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Joey Janela vs. Lio Rush

This is from the recent CZW Cage of Death XVII. There was a patently awkward military tribute to start the show with a bunch of legit servicemen mid-ring while this terrible mall metal Star Spangled Banner rendition played. Never been a bigger endorsement to go AWOL.

1. CZW Wired Championship Match: Joey Janela (c) vs. Lio Rush - 6

Lio looks like Shameik Moore cosplaying as Manik. Joey has a bad Brian Kendrick hair-bun and is trying hard to make weird faces gesticulating and writhing like someone having a bad mushroom trip. I hope Janela gets a neck brace for Christmas as he took a hellacious bump on a reverse hurricanrana on the ring apron. Joey's moonsault off the top to the floor looked more like someone escaping a burning building. You know that spot where a guy on the apron acts like he's going to suplex his opponent who's in the ring out to the floor? But it never happens and gets reversed? Well, here it happened, but not only did Rush take Janella over the top and out wildly to the floor in mid-air it seemed he (whether intentional or not it's difficult to say) transitioned it into a Michinoku Driver but didn't have a proper landing assignment by the TSA running out of concrete to hurtle themselves towards and crashing into the steel guardrail. They both narrowly make it in before the 10 count to a legit huge crowd pop. Something I've never seen happen before: Janela plants Lio in a chair then scales to the top and does a Swanton, Lio nimbly dodges, and Janela lands on the chair completely bending the back of it in half! Now it's a stool! Speaking of stool I think Devon Moore left a specimen in someone's ratty gym bag in the back. Post-match Rush's Cheshire Cat grin make-up is more worn than one of my old back issues of Cahiers du CinĂ©ma.

Monday, November 30, 2015

WWE Main Event 11/10/15

1. Adam Rose vs. Jack Swagger - 3
2. Heath Slater vs. Damien Sandow - 2
3. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch - 5

When you regularly watch both Main Event and Superstars you see the same half-dozen guys pop up every episode and have seen them in every pairing imaginable (in fact I wrote about this very match-up previously). Our opener sees two prime suspects of this dilemma. Rose is wearing knee-high pinstriped leggings looking like a Nightmare Before Christmas metrosexual character that never made it past the script stage. Show’s in the UK as evidenced by the gigantic Union Jack flags hanging dourly by the entrance ramp as well as Captain Britain and the Knights of Pendragon sitting in the third row eating stadium nachos. Nice desperation counter belly-to-belly by Jack. Rare Tornado DDT out of the corner by Rose. Then Adam busts out what I’ll call Sweet Tummy Music. Later Rose does an odd diving headbutt from the top. A plus of these shows is the talent seems more comfortable to try new or different things in-ring then you’ll ever see under the stricter confines of the tightly orchestrated Raw. Patriot Lock, also known by cinephiles as the Benjamin Martin Lock, if you’re a Roland Emmerich fan, gets Swagger the win bonus.

Been awhile since Sandow has been on WWE programming. He’s back in hot pink tights and purple knee pads. More of a Lanny Poffo look than his more popular but short-lived “Macho Man” tribute act. Damien dusts off the Cubito Aequet corkscrew elbow. Slater plays a great slimeball millennial mall country/southern rock heel, type of guy who drives a big pick-up truck to fit the bill, seen often in your local WalMart parking lot, acts pompous but is always put in his place when it comes down to scrapping.  Sandow wins with a Modified Russian Leg Sweep and threw a few decent clotheslines. Nothing to write home from camp about. Main event pits two ladies in a rematch from an NXT MotY candidate. Sasha is legitimately one of the better heels in the company at this point. Becky should work some sort of LotR gimmick — maybe a cross between something elfin and an archer. Lynch (Becky, not David) gets distracted by Banks’ baddies at ringside leading to Sasha taking over. “It’s a shame Sasha acts the way she does” muses Michael Cole. We’ll politely disagree. Quite a catch I landed Banks in my fantasy league’s draft. Becky takes a nasty apron bump. Don’t start with you women in apron jokes sexists of the world! We ain’t got time for that when the WWE Network just added a bunch of old NWA TV episodes to the streaming collection. Paying the bills and cleaning my palatial estate can wait — I’ve got Tully Blanchard knucklelocks to examine. Nice finishing stretch as Becky checks a strike but Sasha transitions into a double knee backbreaker flowed seamlessly into the Bank Statement crossface for the victory. I enjoy these C-level shows, harkens back to my childhood where I spent far too many Saturday evenings watching WCW Saturday Night from the environs of home with a reassuring paper plate of Pizza Rolls.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Roppingi Vice vs. Briscoes


Roppongi Vice vs. The Briscoes - ROH Death Before Dishonor XIII - 5

Roppongi Vice sounds like an STD you'd contract from a Minato prostitute. Feel oddly comforted in the fact that Mark Briscoe and I share the same wild hairstyle presently. Strangely Mark and Rocky give each other Dap after the opening salvo. Baretta doing much better for himself on the indies and in Japan than he'd ever have working on WWE's C-level shows. I heard he even got invited over to one of Tommy Dreamer's famed pig knuckle stews after a recent House of Hardcore show. All the silverware was courtesy of Abdullah the Butcher's baggy pants. Jay goes from World champ to selling double shoulderblocks by RPG Vice. Some credit is due to WWE for improving their tag division this past calendar year but ROH really has the best tag action around. They just need to bring Disorderly Conduct out of retirement to be the grizzled old vets that take shit from no one

If this is Death Before Dishonor someone should shoot Kevin Kelly as that beige jacket is a dishonor to fashion. Anybody know if Veda Scott eats meat? I dig how Mark's camo shorts are all tattered and ripped in shreds looks like something the Rat King wore. Mark absconds Trent's yellow headband thus absorbing his powers and pro wres prowess. Really dug Romero's flying knee off the apron onto Jay. Like to see Ryback attempt that and tear his quad and be out 8 months. Briscoes deserve to be in some kind of HoF when it's all said and done for giving us over a decade worth of gnarly. Baretta bleeding from the eye like he just took a John Dodson elbow in the clinch. Unreal "Buff Blockbuster" off the apron by Mark on Rocky where he looked shot from a circus canon. Jay Driller + Froggy Bow combo on Trent ends this. Pretty damn fun mid-show bout.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Swagger vs. Rose

Adam Rose vs. Jack Swagger - WWE Main Event - 8/11/15 - 2

Two darlings of WWE’s C-level shows square off. Rose pops off some Reggie White-level forearms. Is Swagger or Miz the biggest fall from grace after losing a World title? Rose’s new vinyl trunks look like a stained glass rendering of a vagina from an anatomy textbook. Rose totally steals Delirious’ Shadows Over Hell finisher but doesn’t get the job done. Patriot Lock ends this one faster than it took Adam Rose to hit on the bartender in the faded Hum shirt at a dive bar post-show. If looking for a better Swagger match go back a week prior to the 8/4 episode where he and Big Show work a lengthy bout I found surprisingly good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday Night's Main Event 5/11/85 Co-Review


Brian and I are doing co-reviews of all the Saturday Night Main Event episodes. Here's the one that started it all!

Saturday Night's Main Event I - 5/11/85 - Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York

1. The US Express & Ricky Steamboat vs. George Steele, Nikolai Volkoff, & The Iron Sheik - B: 3  A: 3

Brian: If this was just a typical house show I may have knocked the score down another notch but this felt slightly more special and like a moment being the kick off of the beloved SNME run. The good guys were aces on offense and given the abbreviated time allotments the matches got on this show the heels weren't even given a heat section. Felt bad watching Ricky try to hiptoss Steele and Volkoff as they were clearly giant uncooperative bags of manure he had to imitate he was physically tossing as they really both just awkwardly rolled forward their foots barely leaving the mat if at all. You get the sense here with his size and look Windham could have been a much bigger star. Steele gets rolled up playing up his hapless buffoon character then eats a turnbuckle post-match in frustration. I think I'd rather see these six hitting the buffet at Ponderosa than in the ring together.

Adam: There probably would have been more bite here if, like Brian mentioned, the heels had a heat section, even if small. Otherwise, this was as about as one-sided as you could get with a six-man tag team squash as the faces dominated the whole match. As was also mentioned, Steel and Volkoff were extremely uncooperative on some hiptosses, about as uncooperative as the giant bags of mulch I threw down in my flower beds this past spring. Windham rolling up Steele after Sheik and Volkoff bailed pretty much made the whole team look like they were imitating old Keystone Cops routines. Not much depth here but worth a look as the first-ever SNME match.

2. Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Orton - WWF Championship Match - A: 4  B: 2

Adam: This was hot off the heels of WrestleMania and was a fun little scrum. Hogan has his usual assortment of punching and brawling. Orton hit a few couple good knees, an atomic drop, and attempted a superplex but that was about the extent of his offense. Also, what was up with the ring during this match? Everything someone bumped it sounded like a snare drum. For a six-minute match, this was about as good as you’ll get during this time. The ending was a bit weak with Piper supposedly interfering with a punch and then Mr. T getting involved. Hogan was then cornered but was saved by Paul Orndorff causing the heels to scamper like roaches when you turn on a light. 

Brian: Not the first to be confounded by Hogan's biting and face gouging and other villain-like tactics in lieu of more classicism and heroic posturing. Maybe marathoning a bunch of Jafar Panahi films has brought out the humanist in me but I found myself much more interested in watching the audience here than the participants. Crowds just believed so much more then. When Piper interfered there was a lady who's face got redder than a Scotch bonnet pepper. Today she'd be a meme.

3. Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah - WWF Women's Championship Match - B: 3  A: 2

Brian: Cyndi Lauper was forced to watch this match on as 9" monitor back toward the end of a darkened entrance aisle. Think I saw a guy in the crowd wearing a Peachfuzz mask. Title match gets 4 minutes so there's less meat to this thing than a black bean burger. Crazy to think how different women's wrestling is today. They'd never let an old, wrinkly, saggy lady be a top in-ring talent but Moolah was an asset here dishing out some mean offense like a short headbutt that looked brutal. Richter was all '80's hair and anguished facials but retained her title with a counter roll-up so as to keep Moolah looking strong as a perennial challenger.

Adam: I though Moolah was old in the 90s but she still looked incredibly old here. Moolah took a hell of a bump over the top rope and smashed on the floor pretty good. Seeing Lauper getting booted out before the match and then showing her watching this at the end of the aisle was pretty entertaining. Roll-up at the end felt pretty flat and the majority of this felt really choreographed.

4. Junkyard Dog vs. Pete Doherty - A: 2  B: 4

Adam: Not much here except your typical Saturday morning squash match, although Doherty has a bit more street cred than your Mario Mancini’s of the world. Since this was a Mother’s Day show, JYD brought his mom to the ring, who looked less than impressed at her son’s chosen profession in the pre-match interview. Doherty yelling when JYD yanked him up from the floor by his hair was a hoot and was pretty much the highlight of this. I’m guessing for the victory dinner, Dog and his Momma hit the local Denny’s on the way to the next town.

Brian: In an unforeseen plot twist similarly to the grandparents in The Visit not really being the kids' grandparents but escaped patients from a psychiatric hospital this shocked me by being my favorite match of the show. And while I wish I could give more credit to JYD and his momma's purple church dress I have to hand out MVP honors to Pete Doherty. This golden-haired jobber bumped and gesticulated with a fervor determined to stand out even if he was put in the death slot. Doherty took a superplex off the top so hard it made me incontinent. Sometimes JYD's headbutts can look lazy or dire but I loved how he kept his hands tightly in Pete's messy mop of blonde hair not letting him go and just delivering headbutt shots while Doherty made the fascinating acting decision to jiggle his pasty white physique after each skull rattling shot.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dutt vs. DJ Z vs. Tigre Uno

Sonjay Dutt vs. DJ Z vs. Tigre Uno - TNA X Division Championship Match - TNA iMPACT Wrestling 8/26/15 - 1

Horribly botched double-hiptoss early on Tigre dumping him on his smelly mask. Dutt wishing he was back working CZW shows in '07. DJ Z's manic blue mohawk screams Hot Topic discount rack and he sells an apron somersault not unlike one of that store's part-time employees might. "Hey man, I'm hitting up the food court on break, you guys want anything?" Some absurd offense. "Here, let me make you do a backflip so you can land face-first on my knee" which is overkill yet made completely meaningless when no contact was actually made. Dutt wrestles with the conviction of a kid playing one of the Three Wise Men in a Christmas pageant but has recently started to self-identify as Yazidi. The finish was real bad. The announcers called it a "Frog Splash" but it looked more like a kid splashing into a backyard pool, stiffly and awkwardly and as forgettable as that morning's Pan a la Catalana.