Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bellomo, Smith, Sandman vs. Funk & Bad Breed

Sal Bellomo, J.T. Smith, & The Sandman vs. Terry Funk & Bad Breed (Ian & Axl Rotten) - ECW Hardcore TV 12/21/93 - N/A

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate staying up with current wrestling & MMA from across the globe, watching 700+ movies per year, and running RtW I’ve found myself digging into all the 1993 ECW stuff off of the WWE Network. Look at the names above. Closely. This was your main event just days before Christmas night 1993. Thoughts of glazed ham, stockings, blinking lights, and opening up your new WWF LJN figures raced through your head. Bellomo’s gladiatorial attire a nice contrast to Axl’s torn heavy metal shirt. The lights are flickering on and off in the arena. This transpired throughout the show and I assumed it was legitimate initially due to the bingo hall not being a state of the art production facility. But now it’s pure gimmickry. Weird spotlights adorn the men in the throes of grappling in a mostly pitch black arena as if Commissioner Gordon gave up the Bat-Signal in lieu of a halogen. All kinds of guys appear at ringside to enter the fray and its bedlam as chairs and tables are getting tossed like cornhole bags at a family picnic. Terry Funk is running the ropes in a mostly empty ring as if stuck on a loop.  Rockin’ Rebel is in the ring in stonewashed jeans with a BFG-sized mullet and discount rack Reeboks. Maybe Spielberg will get him a job on his next flick. The show ends in total pandemonium like the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Miz vs. Zack Ryder

The Miz vs. Zack Ryder - WWE Superstars 3/11/16 - 4

Ryder growing out the beard. His recent series with Stardust over on the “C” shows has been applaudable. He still didn’t sniff my ballot over on the PWO Greatest Wrestler Ever poll. On second thought guessing he didn’t even earn a nomination. Miz has been more handy lately helping get guys like Styles and Zayn introduced en masse to the bigger mainstream audiences. Still I think I’d rather be stuck in a cellar with a psychotic John Goodman than the Miz. I like that Miz takes time to rile the crowd although his stomps shortly after were Eli Drake bad. I shouldn’t be placing anything in my queue ahead of the near two-hour Trevor Lee match out of CWF Mid-Atlantic that everyone is going bonkers over but I like to stay current. Zack hits the “ElBro” drop which I sort of dug it’s like a tucked-in elbow off the top a la Eric Young but in mid-air before the tuck he taps his kneepads. It’s superfluous like some NBA Slam Dunk completion bullshit but I’m game for adding new twists on old staples. Miz gets the clean victory with the Skull-Crushing Finale in a short but spirited affair. Now I’m just waiting for Miz to rip his wife’s French TKO reverse roundhouse kick.

Friday, March 4, 2016

RIP Hayabusa

Woke up to news of Hayabusa’s passing. Since his career-ending injury he’d been largely wheelchair-bound until last year surfacing at a show and being able to rise to his feet amongst his peers. Growing up my brother was never more than a fringe fan but Hayabusa captured his imagination with his colorful characterization and fluid athleticism. He ordered both the black and red versions of Hayabusa’s mask and we’d take to doing springboard moonsaults in our backyard off a rickety chain-link fence onto a mattress we used for drafting our own $15,000 Body Slam Challenges. We trekked to ECW Heat Wave ’98 to see his own major US appearance live.

Hayabusa vs. Sabu - FMW 8/28/94 - N/A

Unfortunately this is clipped so I can’t fairly rate it. I believe the date is accurate. The thrust and precision of Hayabusa’s spinning kicks would leave even high-level MMA fighters in awe. Maybe it would end Anthony Pettis’ losing streak if he started wearing Hayabusa’s mask. These guys were compared to each other constantly and yes they’ve both got lots of bodily scars and baggy parachute pants but Hayabusa is such a smoother more seamless practitioner of the pro wres arts. Kudos to Sabu for innovative spots seen here somersaulting over a hunched referee out to the floor and later doing a crossbody out onto Hayabusa who was sitting in a chair. A 450° to the floor through a table is dodged by Hayabusa leaving Sabu to crash into the splintered furniture. It’s a move you rarely see Sabu do, here paying homage to the combatant he was at war with, and it’s the very same move (dubbed the Firebird Splash) Hayabusa later uses to secure that night’s victory. RIP Hayabusa. I’m sure he’s in the heavens now performing Falcon Arrows on the other legends.

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.