Sunday, July 30, 2006

NWA Great American Bash 1987

1) Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, & J.J. Dillon vs. The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, & Paul Ellering – War Games Match – 9
2) Rick Steiner vs. Barry Windham (clipped) – 6
3) Lex Luger vs. Nikita Koloff – Steel Cage Match – 6
4) Dick Murdoch vs. Steve Williams – Texas Death Match (clipped) – 4
5) Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, & Buddy Roberts vs. Manny Fernandez, Paul Jones, & Ivan Koloff (clipped) – 4
6) Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard – Barbed Wire Bunkhouse Ladder Match – 3
7) Ric Flair vs. Jimmy Garvin – Steel Cage Match (clipped) – 7
8) The Midnight Express vs. The Rock N Roll Express – 6
9) Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, & War Machine vs. The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, & Paul Ellering – War Games Match – 7

The tape rushed right out of the gate with a fantastic match which was given the title of “Wargames I: The Bomb” on this tape. The horsemen and their manager J.J. Dillon, were at their heel best here. All ten men involved could be candidates for the mythical hall of fame. Dillon and Ellering not so much for their ring work, per se, but for their legendary roles as ringside managers. The match itself was incredible. The crowd was actually so loud that you could barely hear Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone call the action. Let’s be honest, JR and Tony weren’t really needed because the action spoke for itself. Anderson was busted open within five minutes and subsequently every other combatant, except for possibly Ellering was bleeding by the end of the bout. You really need this match in your collection as it’s quite possibly the best War Games match I’ve ever seen. The only other one that I can remember even coming close was the main event of Wrestle War 1992 which is a classic in its own right.

After our first foray into the war, we step back from the front lines and get a brief sample of a Rick Steiner vs. Barry Windham match. I can’t say I’m much for clipped matches as they’re hard to judge the full integrity of the match and therefore I have to give a rating based on an assumption of what wasn’t included and the brief snippet that was. Anyway, Steiner and Windham was joined in progress and from what was included looked good enough to warrant a decent rating. Luger and Koloff had a brutal cage match. Koloff entered the match with a neck brace on and therefore gave Luger a target for the whole match. It really wasn’t a classic match but it was still cool to watch. Only about five minutes of the Murdoch vs. Williams match was shown and from what was offered, it didn’t look that appetizing. The six man tag was clipped as well and it was probably for the better. It did feature the legendary Freebirds and some lesser known stars such as Fernandez and Koloff.

I’ve never seen a barbed wire bunkhouse ladder match so the concept itself sounded intriguing. However, Rhodes and Blanchard didn’t exactly tear it up either. When I hear the stipulations of this match, I expect blood, blood, and more blood so to say I was disappointed would be a major understatement. Well, at least the crowd was somewhat into it. Jimmy Garvin isn’t really the person you would expect to receive a world title shot. I was expecting very little out of it but it suprisingly delivered. The match itself had the beginning cut off so we pick up right as Garvin is chopping Flair. It was an awesome world title match and really had me on the edge of my seat. The Midnights and The Rock N Rolls once again personified tag team wrestling in yet another fantastic bout from their series of legendary matches over the years. These matches set the standards for what tag team wrestling should be with double-team moves and sequences that were at least ten years ahead of their time. If you’ve never seen a match between these two teams, seek out this tape because this is a good introduction.

And now, back into the line of fire for “Wargames II: The Explosion”! There were quite a few differences from this match and the previous wargames match. First, J.J. Dillon was replaced in the match by the mysterious grappler known only as War Machine. The other difference was the crowd. Unlike the first wargames were the crowd was extremely vocal, the crowd just seemed really dull. Perhaps they turned down the audio? I’ll never know. What I do know is that is was pretty much a carbon copy of the previous match. It ran at a much slower pace and didn’t really seem to have the emotion that the previous one did. I urge you to seek this tape out for the two wargames matches, Midnights vs. Rock N Rolls, and Flair vs. Garvin. After you watch this tape, you’ll realize one thing, WWE’s watered down versions of the Bash will never live up to spectacles such as this.

NWA Great American Bash '87

( a side note: I used to rent this tape as a kid and I was marveled at it then, and was really looking forward to revisiting it.)

1 4 Horsemen(Flair/ Anderson/ Blanchard/ Luger) & JJ Dillon v. Dusty Rhodes/ Nikita Koloff/ Road Warriors/ Paul Ellering- War Games- 8- You couldn't bribe a crowd with enough sex and money to make them scream like this one! It was unbelievable. And all the performers fed off it. There was blood, great punches, beatdowns, and brutal cage shots. All these guys really put on a great and classic match. Find it if you love wrestling.

2 Barry Windham v. Rick Steiner- 4- This was clipped but hard hitting and fast paced. Both guys were in their prime and definitely were not riding four wheelers at the age of forty something or arguing with a killer doll.

3 Lex Luger v. Nikita Koloff( Steel Cage)- 6- One of Luger's finest hours and Nikita's. The crowd was really into this match too and they both took their game up a notch.

4 Dick Murdoch v. Steve Williams( Texas Death)- 3- Another clipped match but when these two boys get in there, you know someone's getting a goose egg. Exactly as hard hitting as you would think.

5 Freebirds v. Ivan Koloff/ Manny Fernandez/ Paul Jones- 2- This was shorter than Buddy Roberts. Or Michaels Hayes singing career, whatever cheap shot you prefer.

6 Dusty Rhodes v. Tully Blanchard( Barb Wire Ladder Match)- 4- There wasn't a lot of action in this one, all the extras got in the way, but you can bet there was blood. Tully was dressed like a bad extra on a bad western( how about Lonesome Dove-the TV show?) and Dusty was the spokesman for fat gays scared to come out of the closet.

7 Ric Flair v. Jimmy Garvin( Steel Cage- NWA Title v. Precious)-6- Probably one of Garvin's finest matches. Flair made him look like a million bucks covered in chocolate and supermodels. It went at least twenty mintues too. Some great near cage escapes and of course, a Flair ass shot.

8 Midnight Express v. Rock n' Roll Express- 6- This may go down as one of the finest tag feuds in all of wrestling. This was a good match, good tags, good double teams and good psych, but I know they've had better.

9 Four Horsemen/ War Machine v. Road Warriors/ Dusty Rhodes/ Nikita Koloff/ Paul Ellering( War Games II- The Bomb)- 7- Another stellar match that showcased more brutality and bloody foreheads. They switched the order up in this one, showing that they had faith in all the talent involved. Usually when you see a War Games, you can predict the order of entry, but they changed it. I applaud them for that.

UPW Home of the Brave II - Blood Sweat and Glory

1. The Thrillaz vs. The Urban Outlaws - 2
2. Keiji Sakoda vs. Solo Sunka - 3
3. Skulu vs. Smelly - 3
4. Hardcore Kidd vs. Al Katrazz - No Holds Barred Respect - 3
5. First-Ever Vixen's Rumble - 4
6. Samoa Joe vs. Steve Corino - 5
7. Ballard Bros. vs. Native Blood - 5
8. "Future" Frankie Kazarian vs. B-Boy - 6
9. Tom Howard and Preadtor vs. Shinjio Ohtani and Masato Tanaka
10. DVD Bonus - Tom Howard vs. Shinya Hasimoto - Japan - 5

A store was closing down and getting rid of all of their product. I had a giftcard from the holidays and picked this up on a complete whim. It was a mistake. This was almost unbearable to sit through, it was lit terribly, and the one, boring ass camera angle did little to help matters. All you have to do is look at the names of the two tag teams in the opener and you'll know they'll never rise above this level. I wanted Sakoda and Snuka to be better than it was--thanks for letting me down, guys. Skulu and Smelly... again, all you have to do is look at their names and you know this is bottom of the barrel indy crap. Are we actually supposed to take a guy named Smelly seriously as an athlete? Would you actually want to put your title on and have your company represented by a guy named Smelly? The Katrazz versus Kid bout is some kind of convoluted hardcore mess, including a tame brawl outside. The women's battle royal is uninspired, and only entertaining in the same way a public execution used to be. Independent wrestling's two favorite sons, Corino and Joe, give us an unimaginative match. This was way below all expectations, but then again, Cornio has been calling in his performances since '01. Ballard Bros. and Native Blood is a more traditional tag team match, and not all together bad for what it's worth. Kazarian and B-Boy steal the show, which isn't saying much, and have a fairly enjoyable match to watch. The main event was disappointing, which seems to be a trend with this show. I used to be a huge Ohtani mark in the 90's when he was this spunky fresh-faced kid in Japan, kicking people's faces in. Now, he looks old, rugged, and like he lost that fire. Tanaka, who usually always delivers, gave an understated performance. They flew over to the states for this crap? The bonus match, from Japan, isn't that long nor special, but it's intense and a welcomed change from the rest of the DVD.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ECW Extreme Fan Cam - Pine Bluff, AR - 1/13/01

ECW’s final show ever … did they go out with a bang? Nah, it was more of a whimper.

1) Tom Marquez vs. Nova – 3
2) Joey Matthews & Christian York vs. E.Z. Money & Julio Dinero – 4
3) Super Crazy vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri – 4
4) Danny Doring & Tommy Dreamer vs. The Full Blooded Italians – 3
5) Jack Victory vs. C.W. Anderson – 4
6) Michael Shane vs. Oz – 2
7) Spike Dudley vs. Rhino – 3
8) Justin Credible vs. The Sandman – 2

Apparently everyone had figured out before the show that they weren’t going to get paid so no one put forth any effort. Marquez and Nova had a nothing match. The only highlight was when I accidentally spilled the pot pie I was eating all over the floor. Matthews and York had the standard fare against Hot Commodity, which not to say it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t that enthralling either. Crazy and Tajiri are know for superb matches against each other and this was not one of them. They kinda did some cool spots but it was mostly Crazy mugging for the camera. Doring and Dreamer teamed up to do battle against the FBI in a wrestling match that turned into a dance off that the referee won. Wait … did I just write that? My head hurts just trying to make sense out of that. Victory and C.W. had a rather sitff encounter which I would sadly describe as the best match that was presented on this show. Some interference at the end completely soiled any prospect this had of receiving a good rating. Accoring to various sites, a wrestler named Oz was Michael Shane’s opponent. That being said, he really sucked so we’ll move on. Rhino destroyed Spike, as if anyone would have ever guessed. Apparently Spike was the only person worthy enough to get a title shot. Credible and Sandman actually had two matches. The first was a normal match that Credible won with a roll-up. He got pissed and challenged Sandman to a rematch. So Sandman comes back out with a trash boat full of weapons. Yeah, it was that bad.

Survivor Series '04

1 Rey Mysterio v. Kidman v. Chavo v. Spike- 5
2 Shelton Benjamin v. Christian- 6
3 Kurt Angle/ Mark Jindrak/ Luther Reigns/ Carlito v. Eddie Guerrero/ Big Show/ John Cena/ RVD( Classic Survivor Series Match)- 4
4 Heidenreich v. Undertaker- 4
5 Lita v. Trish Stratus- 1
6 JBL v. Booker T- 5
7 HHH/ Batista/ Edge/ Snitsky v. Randy Orton/ Chris Benoit/ Chris Jericho/ Maven( Classic Survivor Series Match)- 5

Okay, this was a decent show. I wasn't really looking forward to it because over the last few years, Survivor Series has really sucked. The four way was better than most cruiserweight four ways but I don't like Spike, even though he looked pretty good here. Shelton and Christian both performed like they still cared, now they're just trying to impress a Diva and maybe some nerds who read their My Space. Team Angle v. Team Guerrero was reminiscent of an old Survivor Series match for a little bit, but the sides got really uneven and it turned into a comedy bit for Angle to get trapped. Before the match even started, Cena chased Carlito and his bodyguard in the blue pants out to the parking lot and he whipped that guys' ass! He was given him some good ole' Idahos all over the face area.

Taker and Little Johnny wrestled a long, slow plodding match like watching a cow chew cud. But, it wasn't all that horrible. There were a few good sequences, and Taker had his dancing shoes on because he knew he would be leading. Lita v. Trish was over before it began but did feature a sick ass chair shot to Trish. Oh, JBL, how you claim to be a wrestling (dramatic pause) God, yet your title programs were so un-cool. Nah, I'm kidding you, I love Booker T, but he was a midcarder at best at this time. Nevertheless, they managed to kickstart a decent match that didn't have much heat. The main event featuring Maven( my friend Steve regarded that as pointless as a clit piercing) Well, seeing him get blasted with a chair was about as fun as that extra vaginal accessory. The match was going pretty good, but then Benoit got taken out first. I lost some excitement watching it after that, but it picked up near the end and had a clean finish, which was surprising. All in all, one of the better Series I've viewed in a while.

WWE Survivor Series ‘04

1. Rey Mysterio vs. Spike Dudley vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Billy Kidman – 6
2. Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – 6
3. Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, Rob Van Dam, and John Cena vs. Kurt Angle, Carlito, Mark Jindrak, and Luther Reigns – 6
4. Heidenreich vs. Undertaker – 5
5. Trish Stratus vs. Lita – 2
6. Booker T vs. JBL – 5
7. Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Maven vs. Triple H, Edge, Batista, and Snitsky – 6
8. DVD Bonus: John Cena vs. Carlito – Smackdown! 11/18/04 – 3

I remember missing this pay-per-view when it originally aired, and frankly, I didn’t give a shit. Even after getting online that night and checking out the results, still I did not have a strong inclination to seek it out for viewing. Now, after viewing it on DVD, I can happily say I was pleasantly surprised – it was an enjoyable show. It’s not historical, nor groundbreaking, and ultimately, not altogether significant in any major way; but, the wrestling is largely consistently solid, which pleased me to no end.

The opening crusierweight four-way was fast-paced and a real treat. I had pegged it to be a sloppy mess, or the uninspired sort of match where the talent just goes through the paces, but it was exactly what it needed to be and an excellent opener. Christian and Shelton had a solid match, although the crowd seemed to lose interest in it, and were subsequently dead through most of it. The psychology was pretty old school, which suited the match’s context, and their chemistry together was satisfactory.

The first “Survivor Series” rules match was arguably the better of the two featured; at least, in some regards – for me personally, it captured the essence and energy of the Survivor Series’ I watched as a kid. It didn’t feature much to brag about performance wise, as even the talented workers involved seemed not far removed from autopilot, but the pacing and layout worked enough to warrant a decent grade. Undertaker carried Heidenreich through the best match I’ve seen him in. Not varying far from the usual Undertaker fare, little surprised or intrigued me, but they gave it enough time to not feel like a total squash. I was kind of looking forward to Trish versus Lita, but I think I recall that Trish was suffering an injury at the time; either way, the bout lasted all of a few seconds, as Lita wildly attacked and blooded the nose of Trish leading referees to throw the match out.

I didn’t put much hope into JBL being able to have a semi-decent singles match, even against the talented Booker T, but their match wasn’t bad, save for the interference-heavy ending that thoroughly disappointed me. This led to the main event, which contained some pros and cons of its own – the biggest problem coming from its lack of direction. I was also bummed that Benoit was the first guy from his team eliminated, but the surprisingly clean finish to the bout was satisfying enough to leave me soothed. The bonus match was a quick, fast-paced squash, as Cena pummeled Carlito in a couple minutes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

WWE Saturday Night's Main Event - 7/15/06

1) Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley, & Batista vs. King Booker, Mark Henry, & Finlay – 4
2) Johnny Nitro & Melina vs. Carlito & Trish Stratus – 3
3) Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. The Spirit Squad – Handicap Elimination Match – 4
4) Sabu vs. Stevie Richards – Extreme Rules Match – 2
5) John Cena vs. Edge – 3

This wasn’t quite as special as the last one they aired in March. Things felt a bit rushed with no real build-up to anything. That being said, it’s a TV special so it instantly gets higher points than your weekly episode of Raw, Smackdown, or ECW. Now then, during the six-man tag a miracle happened! Mark Henry injured his knee and is out for six months! The match itself wasn’t much to talk about, just a normal main event on SmackDown. JBL’s quote about booking Finlay’s leprechaun and Tazz in a step-ladder match was pure gold. The mixed tag match went about two minutes. I’d give anything to see Carlito and Nitro tear it up in a fifteen-minute encounter, instead we get an uninspired two minutes of nothing. D-X against the Spirit Squad was fun to watch just because of DX’s total dominance of the Squad but there wasn’t much else to it. Sabu squashed Stevie Richards in a two-minute disaster that had a huge botch where the table broke when Sabu tugged on it to put it in position. Speaking of botches, Edge met his monthly quota of botches again as he tried to set up Cena for a superplex but slipped off the second rope and they both crumbled to the mat in a heap. After the match, Cena gave Edge an F-U off of the ring steps through the ECW table for a subpar ending to a subpar show.

King of the Ring '97

1 Ahmed Johnson v. HHH- 2- Whoo! I almost forgot about Ahmed. How could I? He got such a big push. Well, it faded away, just like Julia Roberts sex appeal. One major fuck up occurred in this match, where Ahmed attempted a power move and just fumbled HHH like a backyard football player.

2 Mankind v. Jerry Lawler- 3- Uncle Jerry has been doing the same matches for the last ten years in WWE and I'm not buying it. I read his book too. It was not that interesting and not that funny, even though he regards himself as a comedian. Yeah, you're as much as one as Kathy Griffin. Hope that hurt. Foley took some devastating guard rail bumps to the back of his head, and for what? A match that no one in the world will be rewatching.

3 Goldust v. Crush- 4- An interesting match with no build at all. I remember when WWE used to put these on PPV. There wasn't a single botch in this match surprisingly and the finish was a stiff DDT. I give these two a golf clap.

4 Bulldog/ Owen Hart/ Anvil Neidhart v. Sid/ LOD- 4- A very interesting match up. Owen got bumped around the whole time and Sid did nothing but look like a seven foot tall sweating dildo. There was a close call when he went to the second rope and I begged him to do a flying boot, but alas, an axhandle. Bulldog did literally no offense when he was in and I found myself digging Anvil's work. Owen got the duke( and rightly so) with a flying sunset flip on Sid. Cool beans.

5 Mankind v. HHH- 6- The finals of the tournament. They really tried to put on a worth while match. I enjoyed watching it. The pace was a little off, but they did build up their big spots nicely, including Foley taking a pedigree on a table. Both men put on hard fought performances.

6 Shawn Michaels v. Steve Austin- 5- There were spurts of great basic scientific wrestling and chemistry. But, then throw storyline and ego into the pot and you've got one nasty tasting goulash of bad booking. At this time, Michaels was an ass and Austin was about to take the company on his back. And Bret sucked at promos, he cut one before the match and sounded like a nervous kindergardener showing off his bug collection at show and tell. I would've rather seen Michaels and Austin in a training session than on a PPV match.

7 Undertaker v. Faarooq- 3- Faarooq is like walking human Nyquil. The guy puts me to sleep. He did nothing but stomp the ground and feign a punch at the same time. And sell badly. This was a poor excuse for a main event and I would dump on this tape if it were mine.

WWF King of the Ring ‘97

1. Ahmed Johnson vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsly – 2
2. Mankind vs. Jerry Lawler – 3
3. Crush vs. Goldust – 4
4. Legion of Doom and Sid vs. British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and Jim Neidhart – 6
5. Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsly – 7
6. Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels – Last Man Standing Match – 5
7. Undertaker vs. Faarooq – 4

Ahmed and HHH, both tremendous physical specimens in their own right, had a well-paced match that fell apart largely to Ahmed’s inexperience and subsequent sloppiness. Mankind and Lawler was an improvement, although still just passably adequate, as they had no chemistry together whatsoever. Crush and Goldust was the oddest pairing on the show; even if the match lacked story and significance, it still was perfectly okay, and an amusing surprise. The six-man tag was pretty good, mostly due to Owen Hart’s contributions, and to a lesser extent, those of Neidhart’s. Sid wasn’t in it much, thankfully, and was even the imbecile who got pinned.

Mankind and HHH tried hard to make their match, the finals of the King of the Ring tournament, a memorable one – its arguable how successful they were, but it was the most enjoyable match of the show to watch. Mankind took some hellacious bumps, the pace was pretty good, and it bares some historical significance in that it was a springboard for Hunter’s eventual superstardom. I’d recommend procuring a copy of it for your personal collection. Austin and Michaels are generally hardworking guys, but their match here was too bogged down in bullshit story to be satisfying. I wanted hard to like the main event, and tried to rally behind Faarooq; but all he did was punch, punch, and punch some more – killing the crowd, and wasting his only opportunity at headlining a WWF pay-per-view.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

TNA Bound for Glory 2005

1) Alex Shelley vs. Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries vs. Sonjay Dutt – 6
2) Samoa Joe vs. Jushin Liger – 5
3) Simon Diamond, David Young, & Elix Skipper vs. Sonny Siaki, Shark Boy, & Apolo – 4
4) Monty Brown vs. Lance Hoyt – 5
5) Team Canada vs. The 3 Live Kru – 3
6) Matt Bentley vs. Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin – Ultimate X Match – 5
7) America’s Most Wanted vs. The Naturals – 4
8) Abyss vs. Sabu vs. Rhino vs. Jeff Hardy – Monster’s Ball Match – 7
9) Christopher Daniels vs. A.J. Styles – 30 Minute Iron Man Match – 8
10) Samoa Joe vs. Ron Killings vs. Abyss vs. Rhino vs. Monty Brown vs. A.J. Styles vs. Kip James vs. Lance Hoyt vs. Sabu vs. Jeff Hardy – Gauntlet Battle Royal – 4
11) Jeff Jarrett vs. Rhino – 2

There’s a lot to cover here so I’m not going to waste any time. The opening four way was a pretty cool match that eventually turned into a total spotfest. Strong hit some sick backbreakers and Dutt scored on some twisted aerial moves in a match that set a really good pace for the show to start on. The crowd was really into the match as well and proceded to be hot all night. Joe and Liger had a decent bout but it wasn’t really memorable. Yes, it was good to see Liger competiting in the US again but he looked a little slow, quit possibly due to his age, and didn’t seem like he was able to keep up with Joe. The six-man tag made me feel like I was watching an episode of Impact. Simon used to be one of my favorites in ECW, but now he just needs to shave and hit a stairmaster. David Young did a pretty cool dive for a guy his size but that was probably the only highlight for a match that seemed really out of place. For once, Monty Brown had a decent match with someone. While it wasn’t the greatest match ever, the crowd seemed really into it and Hoyt showed some amazing agility for a man his size.

What can I say about Team Canada vs. The 3 Live Kru? Since both stables have since been disbanded, I think it’s best just not to say anything and let the rating speak for itself. The Ultimate X Match was going a good pace until disaster struck. The big red “X” that was hanging from the ropes just kinda decided to fall right in the middle of the match leaving everyone dumbfounded. So the ring crew climbed in and put the X back up while the combatants fought on the floor. Mere moments later, the X fell again, this time right into the hands of a waiting Petey Williams who was declared the winner. Bentley and Sabin stormed off in disgust and everyone else, including Williams, was wondering just what in the hell happened.

The tag title match was mainly a brawl on the outside because apparently no one in Jarrett’s little stable knows how to work anymore. AMW retained the belts after handcuffing Douglas to the guardrail and hitting Stevens with a beer bottle while Gail Kim distracted the referee. Does any of this sound familiar? As a matter of fact it does! It’s the exact same finish to every AMW match since they’ve joined up with Jarrett. The same old lame shit title defense after title defense. Spare me.

The monster’s ball match was pretty cool to watch. It started off with the same old hardcore stuff that TNA does on a normal basis but then Sabu took some crazy bumps and Jeff Hardy damn near killed himself after jumping off the top of one of the sets. It was a crazy thing to watch and managed to add a few more points to an otherwise lackluster battle. Daniels and A.J. had the match of the night. No weapons, no skanky looking Asian chicks interfering, no giant letters falling from the sky, and most importantly, no Konnan anywhere in sight. Just good actual … gasp! … wrestling! They had one of the best Iron Man matches I’ve ever seen. Counter move after counter move, aerial wrestling, and more near falls than you can shake a stick at. Near the twenty-minute mark, A.J. was thrown outside and took a sick bump on the stairs which ended up bruising his thighs and affecting his performance some. At 29:58, A.J. scored the only fall of the match and capped off a brilliant match.

The gauntlet match was a mess. Most everyone involved was totally gassed, except for Kip James, who had no business being in there in the first place. Rhino came in near the end and was totally exhausted after he won. Then came the stooges. Jarrett brought down a casket for some reason and just totally dominated Rhino. Then AMW and Gail Kim interfered, Jarrett grabbed his old, worn out, lame-ass guitar and Rhino gets extra points in my book for being the first person smart enough to dodge the damn thing. Rhino scores the upset but then his title reign is buried when Jarrett and company stuff him in a casket. Team 3-D then comes down and a huge brawl ensues and I have flashbacks to WCW Nitro from the Russo era. I think that “Bound for Mediocrity” would’ve been a better title. The iron man match saved the show from what was otherwise a forgettable show.

DVD Bonus Match:
Matt Bentley vs. Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin – Ultimate X Rematch (Impact – 11/3/05) – 6 – This looked like pretty much the exact same match from the pay-per-view. All three guys bumped big to redeem themselves from the previous blunder they had. At one point, the infamous “X” came loose from one of the chains that was holding it onto the cables and the crowd chanted “Please don’t fall! Please don’t fall!” at it. I honestly think that it’s the first time I’ve ever heard a crowd chant at a letter of the alphabet before. Williams won the match, except this time it didn’t fall at the match gained an extra point for not having the world’s biggest botched spot times two.

TNA Final Resolution- Jan. 06

1 Team Canada v. Lance Hoyt/ Jay Lethal/ Kenny King- 3
2 LAX v. The Naturals- 3
3 Alex Shelly/ Austin Aries/ Roderick Strong v. Sonjay Dutt/ Matt Bentley/ Chris Sabin- 4
4 James Gang v. Diamonds in the Rough- 3
5 Hiroshi Tanahashi v. AJ Styles- 5
6 Sean Waltman v. Raven- 4
7 Bobby Rood v. The Truth- 5
8 Abyss v. Rhino- 4
9 AMW v. Team 3-D- 4
10 Samoa Joe v. Christopher Daniels- 6
11 Jeff Jarrett/ Monty Brown v. Christian Cage/ Sting- 5

This was a stacked card. The first four matches were all variations on tags, with the X-Division being the best, although morbidly I enjoyed seeing the James Gang try and work a real tag match, because they sure as hell can't work that fast style. The first two were short, but not that badly constructed. Tanahashi and Styles clicked well together, and given more time and elevation, could have been really cool. Waltman looked higher than Method Man and paler than Powder and he didn't do anything that cool. Raven was as sloppy as ever, but they managed a few sequences without fail. Rood and Truth had a decent match with an old school feel to it, except there was no emotion in either performance, thus brining the grade down. Abyss and Rhino went through the same motions and put on the same sub standard brawl. I haven't been liking the 3-D matches and expected another hardcore crowd brawl, but there was some wrestling, not good enough to give it a passing score, but enough not to bury it. Joe and Daniels brought a lot of intensity to the show, something it was lacking and put on a pretty good encounter. And the return of Sting, who looked better in his first match back than he has in any of his other ones. Another good tag match that was given some time and not rushed. A decent show all around.

TNA Final Resolution ‘06

1. Team Canada vs. Lance Hoyt, Jay Lethal, and Kenny King - 3
2. LAX vs. The Naturals - 2
3. Alex Shelly, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong vs. Sonjay Dutt, Matt Bentley, and Chris Sabin - 5
4. James Gang vs. Diamonds In the Rough - 3
5. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. AJ Styles - 6
6. Sean Waltman vs. Raven - 3
7. Bobby Roode vs. The Truth - 4
8. Abyss vs. Rhino - 3
9. AMW vs. Team 3-D - 4
10. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels - 6
11. Jeff Jarrett and Monty Brown vs. Christian Cage and Sting - 6

It’s been at least a month since I watched this, and I wasn’t at my apartment so I didn’t take any notes. From memory, I’ll try to justify the scores I graded the matches brought to us by the TNA execs. Off the bat, I can say it was a so-so pay-per-view, with a couple highlights, but on the other end of the spectrum a lot the stuff just didn’t work.

The six-man tag, and subsequent tag team match were both from the pre-show and ran a minute or two apiece. Both featured equal amounts of nonsensical and rushed wrestling. The show’s official opener, a rather fast-paced six-man tag definitely got the actual show off to a good start. It’s a shame that a few of these guys are now gone from the TNA roster, and the others are all not being utilized to their potential. The following tag match was your typical TV fare, and entirely forgettable.

I’d read reports of Styles not working well with Tanahashi, but I found their match to be largely enjoyable with only a few minor flaws. I applaud TNA for using foreign talent, something the WWE has never done justice with. I was looking forward to seeing Waltman, who drug addled as he’s been, has delivered some pretty inspired performances sporadically the last couple years. Here, he sloppily brawled through a mess of a match with slob Raven, who’s the most deteriorated worked in the industry.

Roode versus Truth and Abyss versus Rhyno – matches we’ve seen countless times before, usually for free on TV, and not given any thought or consequence. An utter waste of talent and time. What could have been the biggest tag team feud in 5 years, the AMW and Team 3-D program has been muddled and hampered by weak writing and unforgiving unimaginative brawling. Daniels and Joe scored the match of the night, with a hard-hitting and physical bout that’s the only thing I’d be too worried about securing for your personal collection on the show. However, the main event, which on the surface seemed like another cliché snooze-fest TNA headliner worked on a few levels, enough so that I immensely enjoyed it. There wasn’t any particular moments of interest; but the general feel and pace reminded me of early 90’s WWE stuff, in a positive way, and I found it hard to dislike for whatever that’s worth.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TNA Impact 12/24/05

This review is done a little differently than my others. We were kicking around the idea of doing some audio reviews, and fellow writer Jessie and actually recorded one for this particular show. It didn't pan out, but I had these shorthand notes in my notebook so I figured I'd share.

1. Matt "Bentley Claus" and Traci interview - Christian Cage comes out with his Jericho-like entrance - gives the gift of Jarrett's white pants from '85 as gift - Cage puts on blonde wig and sunglasses, and struts to "Double C" chant - he's no Jason Sensation - bad sexual innuendo - Brown and Jarrett run-in - Cage has trouble selling due to having a wig over his eyes

2. Christopher Daniels interview - will take what's most important to Samoa Joe @ PPV - according to Joe's online journal, that'd be comic books and Chipotle burritos

3. Eric Young vs. Christopher Daniels - 3
Shelly's out taping - maybe he should be in the back studying tapes instead - Shannon Moore is watching from a perch, too - very telegraphed match - including a bad punching sequence - quick and careless

4. "Bullet" Bob, Kip and B.G. James interview - could have been filmed in '94 - as they're leaving they say "thank you Shawn" to Shane Douglas - that made me laugh - a lot

5. Abyss vs. Chris Sabin - 5
Abyss still wrapped up in bandages from his barbed wire match - Sabin has loads of potential - nasty spot where Abyss slings Sabin into the ringsteps then drops him on his head on the floor - Dave Hebner taking mysterious notes at ringside - I guess they scraped that angle - nice springboard dropkick - Abyss' manager James Mitchell looks like a giant yellow squash - Abyss uses Sabin's momentum to do a Black Hole Slam for the finish

6. Kenny King vs. Ron "The Truth" Killings - 4
I wrote down "no limit" in my notes but I have no idea what it means - nice front layout suplex - an axe kick for a finish? - Killings opts to dance rather than talk to Armstrongs

7. Raven video documenting his feud with Larry Zybysko - this is a good time to go grab a slice of pizza and a razor blade

8. "Wildcat" Chris Harris vs. Christian Cage - 4
ax handle from top buckle sucked - Gail Kim looks tasty - Cage's frog splash makes Eddy Guerrero revert back to drugs... in the grave - Jarrett, Monty, and Storm all interfere - this was a huge mess like Sunny after gangbanging the Godwins after a house show in '93 in Mississippi - and after writing that, Chris Candido has now reverted back to substance abuse... from inside the grave

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lucha de Campeones DVD

A lucha libre DVD on the discount rack at Wal-Mart? Should be a steal, right? Then again, maybe not.

1) Lola Gonzalez vs. Lady Victoria – 3 – This match wasn’t half bad but it wasn’t really that great either. Lola is probably a bartender at a border cantina in between gigs and Lady Victoria probably blows her boyfriend who was at ringside in between gigs. There were some pretty cool moves but overall, it was a stinker. The funny fact is it was at least better than some of the women’s matches in WWE recently.

2) Tinieblas Jr., Espectro Jr., & Huracan Ramirez Jr. vs. Damien 666, Halloween, & Psicosis – 2 – The remaining matches are all best of three falls, which is the tradition in lucha libre six-man bouts. This match was so convoluted that I lost track of who was on who’s team by the time the third fall rolled around. The ring action was subpar to say the least. While watching this, I did get a little bit of an education on who Tinieblas Jr was. There were no trademark lucha libre dives and, well, it just plain sucked.

3) Super Porky, Villano III, & Dos Caras vs. P.G. Cobarde, Misterioso, & Cadaver de Ultratumba – 1 – Damn, it just seems to go from bad to worse. Aside from Super Porky, I have no idea who any of these guys are. This match was nothing but a big steaming pile of dog shit. Super Porky was super shitty and that’s about the only thing I remember.

4) Mil Mascaras, Rayo de Jalisco, & Tinieblas Sr. vs. Apolo Dantes, Scorpio Jr., & Rey Misterio Sr. – 2 – This featured some certifiable legends of Mexico here. The trio with Mascaras had an Ewok in their corner which we laughed at the whole match. Anyway, aside from seeing legends like Mascaras, Tinieblas, and Rey Sr. in action, this capped off 90 minutes of shitty wrestling with what else … shitty wrestling. The sad thing is the Ewok was the most enjoyable part of the match.

Lucha de Campiones DVD

1 Lola Gonzalez v. Lady Victoria- 4- Why a four you may ask? Well, it wasn't that I'd want to take either of these ladies out for a Friday evening. Victoria, I'd be afraid would jump into the nearest Chevy Van that held a taco out for her, and Lola would kick my ass, and eat more than I could afford. This was a match that wasn't good, really by any means, but I laughed more and was entertained more than by anything put on national TV by someone with the last name McMahon(that includes you, HHH)

2 Tinieblas jr./ Espectro jr./ Hurrican Ramirez jr. V. Psicosis/ Halloween/ Damian 666- 3- There were some decent strikes in this match but aside from that , there wasn't a lot to it. The heels were kind of hated, and the faces were not really cheered, and Damian did prove that Mexican men age worse than any other because he was as useless as an extra ball sack.

3 Super Porky/ Villano III/ Dos Caras v. PG Cobarde/ Misterioso/ Cadaver de Ultratumba- 1- This was a disaster. I really can't see why WWE wouldn't keep Porky around. He was entertaining( he farted on his opponents) and he bumped about as much as JBL. Can't figure that one out. Villano III showed why he's so well regarded, even in middle age but seeing a guy called Cadaver out there, and there was this little midget who looked like a snow blown Ewok that was just creepy beyond all belief.

4 Mil Mascaras/ Rayo de Jalisco/ Tinieblas con Alache v. Apolo Dantes/ Scorpio jr./ Rey Misterio- 3- A slow match with the only real highlights being seeing Mascaras still be able to get off the ground.

Lucha De Campeones DVD

1. Lola Gonzalez vs. Lady Victoria - 3
2. Tineblas Jr., Espectro Jr., and Huracan Ramirez Jr. vs. Damien 666, Halloween, and Psicosis - 4
3. Super Porky, Villano III, and Dos Caras vs. P.G. Cobarde, Misterioso, and Cadaver de Ultratumba - 2
4. Mil Mascaras, Rayo de Jalisco, and Tineblas vs. Apolo Dantes, Scorpio Jr., and Rey Misterio - 3

This was a DVD my amigo Adam found in a discount pile at a fascist Wal-Mart. He had no idea of its origin, and even sought out information from the God of wrestling journalism Dave Meltzer, who was also summarily stumped and equally clueless. It maintains balancing between being utterly horrible and unimaginably fascinating. It’s easily some of the worst Mexican wrestling I’ve ever seen; yet, I’d still prefer it to the majority of its American counterpart.

I think we all enjoyed the opener more than we expected. One of the girls looked like a raver/mall shopper/pregnant/junkie and her opponent looked like her tired Mother. They busted out some semi-decent looking armdrags and ran the ropes admirably, and put on arguably the best actual match of the show. Still, as morbidly entertaining as it was, neither of these women would last one week in Japan’s women’s wrestling scene – there they’d likely have their teeth kicked out and skulls crushed by fluent suplexes and the ridiculously cute hairstyles of their foreign opponents.

The second match I rated highest, even though it was largely awful and halfhearted. I gave it the charity points, though; because the heels were so lovable in their being complete dicks and Halloween had the most legit looking strikes of any wrestler featured on the DVD. The third match was absolutely horrible – filled with loads of unfunny comedy spots, tame brawling, and void of any actual effort or emotion. The main event is significant in only that it featured some Mexican legends; sadly, most of them wrestled better matches than this in their sleep two decades ago. After the complete bastardization of Mascaras, Dantes, and Misterio we bid this horrifying DVD farewell.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

NWF Aggression TV - 6/29/06

Low grade, local indy wresting on cable access TV? Yeah, it’s that bad.

1) Jay Donaldson vs. Malpractice – 3 – There’s maybe 50 people in the building so do I even have to describe this shit? Donaldson makes quick work of one of the dumbest bastards I’ve ever seen. The five people who actually care congratulate him.

2) Dr. Melvin Winkleman & “Dead Sexy” Matt Parks vs. Prof. Austin Meddler & The Zodiac – 2 – This is a joke. These guys couldn’t work a lawn mower. This match centered around the feud between Meddler, who’s a nerd, and Winkleman, who’s a mad scientist. Shoot me now.

3) Pompano Joe vs. Jeremy Hyde – 3 – I still have heat with Hyde who I used to work with at a run down movie theatre. It’s not my fault that he crashed into my car because the guy who’s girlfriend he fucked chased after him. Screw this shit, I’d rather watch paint dry.

Performer Analysis: Amazing Red Red, or Amazing Red, or El Rojo, or Airwalk Spriggun, or Fuego Guerrero, or Red Misterio, or Spriggun( this guy has more names than Terry Taylor!) was trained by Mikey Whipwreck, along with the SAT's, and debuted in 2000. He's one of the smallest pros wrestlers today, at 5'6 and 147 lbs. He is now a six year pro who has captured belts in ROH and TNA.

1) Innovation- 6- Red boasts a move list longer than most wrestler's resumes. He has the Infared, the Code Red, the Red Alert, the Red Eye, the Raging Red, the Bed Head Red, or any other clich'd Red named move, but they are all innovative and unique. His small size allows him to execute moves most men could not and this has gained him so notoriety.

2) Conditioning- 6- I haven't seen him in a really long match, but he's been in some wars with Low Ki and AJ Styles and has endured with great wind and stamina. I think his small body allows him to keep up the pace of a match quicker and longer than most could simply because of the breath his frame affords him.

3) Ring Skill- 7- For such a young competitor( he's only been a pro for six years) he has great presence in a ring. He knows where to come off the top and what exactly he can do right. He tries a lot of things, and granted some do not work, but if you don't try, you will never know. He has good selling ability and can take a decent bump. But, as with most younger guys, he takes bump after bump or performs high spots one right after the other without putting any thought into the psychology of them.

4) Character- 3- Red is still very young, and I've seen maybe one or two matches where the psychology was there. He should slow down once in a while and watch around him, see how the fans react and figure out how he should be reacting to the moves performed on him. He's weak in this category. And as far as character, he doesn't really have one.

5) Interviews- 0- I have never seen him cut one and in this day and age, when everybody that gets a push gets a microphone in his or her hand, he should.

6) Face/ Heel- 3- To my knowledge, he has worked mostly as face, and a little as heel, but his performances never changed. That's a problem. You need to know of the things you do, what works better as a face and what works better as a heel. He still has a ways to go in this category.
7) Basics- 4- Red knows his basics, I've seen some evidence of that and has some really cool looking kicks. And he definitely knows how to transition from spot to spot and make it look smooth, but he doesn't know what to do in between. I've seen so many matches where guys just sloppily punch or kick each other in between their crazy new moves they do, and that doesn't work. Don't think about the next thing you are going to do, do the thing you are doing so well, the fans will already be wondering what the next thing you are going to do will be.

8) Fan Reaction- 4- Red has a following in TNA, ROH, and Japan, but he's still young and has not found that tool that could make him a break through star. He needs to have a character and project a certain attitude. Red just works and that's fine if that's all you want to do in this business is be a body.

9) Match/ Opponent Diversity- 3- Red has traveled to Japan, which I think is great for any wrestler, especially the younger ones. It's a different style and one that is good to try, and he has worked most of the young good and bad independent talent available today, so he has a good start, but I couldn't name a single program that he's had that was at least given any time or effort by a promoter.

10) Gutcheck- 5- this is always a hard category to rate. I'll usually go halfway if a wrestler seems to care and puts off to me that they enjoy being out there. In 2003, Red suffered a career threatening knee injury, but he had the surgery and came back and gutted it out in this tough, tough business. I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

The PO: Thumbs Middle
Final Score: 41-

ROH Final Battle 2005

1. Jimmy Rave vs. Milano Collection AT - 5
2. Azrieal vs. Colt Cabana - 4
3. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Nigel McGuinness - 3
4. Alex Shelley vs. Steve Corino - 6
5. Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Christopher Daniels - 4
6. Davey Andrews vs. Ricky Reyes - 1
7. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinauro - 8
8. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bryan Danielson - 7
9. KENTA vs. Low Ki - 9

I haven't been satisfied with an ROH DVD in some time; it's not that the wrestling isn't largely proficient, but nothing's grabbed me or stuck out enough to be truly memorable and separate it from their other stuff. I'm glad to say that this DVD is the most fun I've had watching ROH in a long time.

Milano easily has one of the stupidest names in the industry, but he brings the Michinoku Pro '97-grade spunk that's sorely missed these days. Rave was actually carried here to a pretty fine match, although the finish, seeing Rave get the victory after doing an awful Pedigree was disappointing. Azrieal looked like he should be selling fruit in a shoddy Mexican marketplace -- not doing bad sequences with Colt Cabana.

Claudio looks like he should be listening to heavy metal in his parent's attic, and here he and Nigel are blowing spots like ROH creator Rob Feinstein blows little boys. I can't believe I actually enjoyed a Corino match -- I'm ashamed. Even though he was revoltingly chubby, his wrestling was perfectly competent. I liked the old school psychology of Shelley working a limb throughout, and ultimately, enjoyed this far more than I should have.

I usually don't particularly like four-way matches; but all of these guys are pretty good at what they do, so I figured this one might be an exception. Instead, they used this as an excuse to be lazy, delivering an uninspired match. I was really looking forward to seeing Davey Andrews stretch and pound Reyes, instead we got a clipped match, featuring a little over a minute of wrestling footage, much to my disgust.

I absolutely adored the tag team match -- quite simply, this is one of the best American tag team matches in the last 5 years. There was captivating near falls, neat double-teams, etc. It was really a pleasure to watch, and I highly recommend seeking it out. Marafuji and Danielson was interesting; it seemed as though they knew they weren't the main event, so they didn't work to the best of their capabilities. Regardless, even at 75%, they're better than a lot of the guys we suffer though watching on TV every week. I applaud ROH for bringing in foreign talent, too.

I really loved the main event -- it totally captured the essence of what I love most in my wrestling, and that's physicality, intensity, and passion. Both of these guys have paid their dues and deserved the top spot. There were so many cool moments in this match, including some crippling strikes by KENTA that had my freaking out. The finish was brilliant, as KENTA demolished Low Ki with a variety of knee intensive spots. This is one of the best matches in ROH history.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ECW TV- Week 4

1 Mike Knox v. Little Guido- 3
2 Test v. Al Snow- 2
3 Big Show v. RVD- 6

Kelly Kelly, you're so fine, you're such a slutty waste of time, go Kelly! Guido's offense was zilch and Knox hit one good move. Why is Heyman so high on him? Test and Snow was briefly stiff, thus at least garnering a small number. And the surprise of the show: DeVito claiming to have never been at an ECW show? CM Punk making it to the main stage? Joey Styles wearing a red, white and blue handkerchief? NO, silly rabbit, Big Show had a great match! He and RVD played to Show's strengths and the match was pretty good. The fans even chanted ECW, ECW, after a Show superplex from the second rope that was swank. Albeit the screw job finish, it was worth the time.

ECW TV 7/4/06

1. Mike Knox vs. Little Guido – 3
2. Al Snow vs. Test – 2
3. Big Show vs. Rob Van Dam – 7

Knox got a little more time this week, but still failed to impress anybody, save for his chubby Mom and her new sugar daddy, watching on an old TV in a trailer park somewhere. Knox’s offense looked extremely limited, but he did sell damage to his leg pretty effectively and didn’t just randomly stop selling the pain. Snow and Test was very quick, but registered a few points, only due to its physicality. I was never a big fan of Test’s work before, but I’m willing to see if he’s made any improvements towards his craft before writing him off once again. For the second week in a row, Rob Van Dam who’s usually about as consistent as the Atlanta Hawks had a really good match. With the wrong opponent, Big Show can easily look like a large pile of shit in the ring; but here, they worked towards Show’s strengths, having him toss Van Dam around and bully him. RVD would fight back valiantly, but the freakishly huge Big Show always thwarted his efforts. The context of the match had much more psychology than I’d anticipated, and they even won over the always tough Philadelphia crowd, which says a lot but how truly good this really was.

Monday, July 10, 2006

ECW TV- Week 3

1 Sabu v. Roadkill- 3
2 Mike Knox v. Danny Doring- 1
3 Rob Van Dam v. Kurt Angle- 6

Sabu and the angry Amish Chicken Plucker( who they didn't even introduce to the TV audience) had a decent match and their spots went off this week. Knox and his exhibitionist girlfriend don't entertain me and I wish they would leave my TV. Angle and RVD dragged a good match out of one another and the near falls were coming fast and heavy. I enjoyed this week as a whole more than the last two.

ECW TV 6/27/06

1. Sabu vs. Roadkill – 5
2. Mike Knox vs. Danny Doring – 2
3. Rob Van Dam vs. Kurt Angle – 7

This was one of the first times since the conceptually questionable rebirth of ECW that Sabu has had a relatively solid match, minus blown and botched spots aplenty. His punches were unmercifully stiff, and the usually hit or miss trademark table bumps worked as good as could be imagined. This was our first glimpse of Knox, who showed very little to nothing, in a short and ultimately forgettable squash against dummy Doring. RVD and Angle ended the show with the most inspired match thus far on the new ECW TV, keeping an entertaining pace and focusing more on athleticism than lame attempts at personifying some hardcore identity, that in fact is all something created by bored egoists in executive suites who’d rather run to Starbuck’s than actually sit through a Tommy Dreamer match.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

ECW on Sci-Fi - 6/20/06

1) Tony Mamaluke vs. Sabu – 3
2) The Sandman vs. Macho Libre – 0
3) Randy Orton & Edge vs. Rob Van Dam & Kurt Angle – 5

Sabu and Mamaluke had a pretty standard match but couldn’t really do much with the five minutes they were given. Sabu messed up a few spots and subsequently ruined any chance this one had of getting a decent rating. Macho Libre was a rib on either Randy Savage or Jack Black … possibly both. The match lasted about as long as Savage’s tenure in TNA. The tag match was a decent main event but didn’t really have any notable things going into or coming out of it. Orton did screw his shoulder up during the match and RVD took a couple of good bumps but that was about it. A pretty standard show, however it was way better than the debut episode.

ECW TV- Week 2

1 Sabu v. Tony Mamaluke- 1
2 Macho Libre v. Sandman- 0
3 RVD/ Kurt Angle v. Edge/ Randy Orton- 5

God, this thing is running into the ground, flushing itself down the toilet, Kiss my ass club horrible! Sabu( one of their biggest stars) missed all his usual highspots in this squash. The same ones he's been using for the last 15 years. Macho Libre was a comedic joke, although the tone of voice was pretty accurate. The tag match showed some fire, but it was pretty much all WWE guys posing as an ECW v. WWE match. Orton also hurt his forearm and hid from camera view for a few minutes. This was extremely bad.

ECW TV 6/20/06

1. Sabu vs. Tony Mamaluke – 2
2. Sandman vs. Macho Libre - 0
3. Rob Van Dam and Kurt Angle vs. Edge and Randy Orton – 5

I’ve officially given the “new” ECW the tagline “a new breed of prostitution.” I figured Sabu and Tony would be fun, as they’re both wirily pricks who don’t mind taking the occasional hellacious bump – instead, we got a quick squash, amounting in practically no offense for Mamaluke, and a couple badly blown spots by sloppy Sabu. The fiasco involving Sandman really chapped my ass, as they could have used this valuable TV time to, dare I say it, put professional wrestling on a fucking wrestling show? The main event was a tool serving a higher purpose, that obviously being to promote WWE’s upcoming pay-per-view offering. The action was mostly fast-paced, though; we were even treated to Orton landing awkwardly and legitimately hurting his arm. The main event’s energy was the only saving grace of another hideous episodes of ECW on Sci-Fi.

Friday, July 7, 2006

WWE vs. ECW Head to Head - 6/7/06

Dark Matches:
1) Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito – 6
2) Matt Hardy vs. Jon Bolen – 4
3) Jimmy Yang vs. Tatanka – 2

Shelton and Carlito had a fantastic match that went about 15 minutes. I would give anything to see these guys have a match like this on Raw every week instead of a two-minute encounter with no story behind it. Hardy and Bolen was a total squash. I guess Hardy needed momentum and there’s no better way to get it than to squash a jobber on the dark portion of TV. Yang and Tatanka was beyond terrible. Yang came out wearing chaps and a confederate jacket. Yeah, I don’t get it either. The match blew harder than Stephanie and I got some Dippin Dots ice cream (yum!). Dusty Rhodes made a special appearance between the second and third matches to shill his new DVD. I was totally in awe when he came out, as was everyone else and they greeted him with the one of the loudest ovations I’ve ever heard.

TV Matches:
1) Rob Van Dam vs. Rey Mysterio - 6
2) Mickie James vs. Jazz - 3
3) 20-Man ECW vs. WWE Battle Royal - 5
4) Tommy Dreamer vs. Edge – Hardcore Rules - 4
5) John Cena vs. Sabu – Hardcore Rules – 3

RVD and Mysterio had an incredible match. Yes, RVD blew a spot on the rail at the beginning but he rebounded quickly. Mysterio did a sick plancha into the crowd and it totally blew me away. I’m glad that RVD is back to his old cocky self like he was in the old ECW. It was everything I expected out of it and more. Mickie and Jazz had a throw-away match that had some potential to be a decent match. Jazz got no pop, lost, and was quickly buried. The battle royal was interesting to say the least. The one thing I don’t understand is why each WWE guy got his own introduction and the ECW guys got no introduction at all. Anyway, Big Show turned and joined ECW thus winning the battle royal for ECW and celebrated in the ring with Kurt Angle. Ah yes, the two men who are the total embodiment of ECW, Angle and Big Show. Huh? I could swear that this is turning into Invasion 2.0. Dreamer and Edge had a quick brawl that was marred by a total fuck-up on Edge’s part. It looked like Dreamer was trying to backdrop Edge off the turnbuckle but Edge missed the table and landed on the top of his head. Unfortunately for me, Cena didn’t get destroyed by Sabu like I had hoped he would. Cena hit his trademarks and Sabu hit his and Big Show hit the ring and the ref called for the bell. A little side note on the crowd, they were very pro-WWE the whole night but also appreciated the efforts of the big name ECW guys like Sabu and Dreamer. This was an awesome show and was an absolute thrill to attend live.

WWE vs. ECW - Head to Head

1. Rob Van Dam vs. Rey Mysteiro - 6
2. Jazz vs. Mickey James - 2
3. WWE vs. ECW - 20 Man Battle Royal - 4
4. Tommy Dreamer vs. Edge -3
5. John Cena vs. Sabu - 4

I attended this show live, but it's 4:00AM and I've been up for 22 hours so I'm not going to elaborate on details. RVD and Rey stole the show, in a quick match, where they threw storytelling out the window and just went from one cool spot to the next; a style that suits Van Dam fine, as his tired repertoire of offense induces nausea after 10 minutes or so. It was great to see Jazz back in action, not so great seeing her get beat in 2 minutes.

The battle royal was mostly forgettable; with the minor highlights being Finley's stiffness, some of the bizarre first time in-ring meetings like Tatanka/Credible and Carlito/Sandman, and little else of note. Dreamer and Edge shit all over extreme wrestling by having the most uninspired hardcore match since back when Steve Blackman was beating up the Mean Street Posse on a weekly basis. They brutally botched a spot where Dreamer was supposed to backbody drop Edge off the top turnbuckle through a table -- Edge barely made it over and was inches away from paralysis. The main event was fun but ultimately awful, as they rushed through a match void of any real psychology or skill. Sabu hit his careless trademark spots, Cena further cemented that he's one of the most untalented main event workers in company history, and finally, a screwjob finished topped this bad boy off.

WWE v. ECW: Head to Head

A huge monumental event that should have been heralded from rooftop to rooftop, conceptually even a bigger deal than an ECW return, but alas, it is only given a USA prime time slot. Let's see what they did with it.

1 Rey Mysterio v. RVD- Some good crazy spots ruled the majority of this match, which only was about 6 minutes, but still reigned supreme for effort on this interpromotional endeavor. 5

2 Jazz v. Mickie James- i have to say I was intriuged by this match, but it only went about a minute and a half, longer than Rodney Mack lasts in bed with Jazz, but it's her choice. Anyways, this had a lot of potential, but was squandered. 1

3 WWE v. ECW Battle Royal- This wasn't good by any standards. There were countless random, meaningless just throw me over the top eliminations and the last ten guys or so were all born and bred from WWE, regardless of what brand they were on. Kurt Angle was the only shining spot in this, as he was working pretty hard. 1

4 Edge v. Tommy Dreamer( Hardcore)- I knew neither of these guys would break out the big bumps for this one, since the PPV was Sunday, and I love being right so i was happy with the results. The only highlight was Edge falling right on his head after pussing out on a table spot. 3

5 John Cena v Sabu- An interesting match, to say the least, and the least said the better. Actually, there wasn't any back and forth in this match, Cena controlled the first part, then Sabu, then back to Cena then a huge cluster fuck brawl, that was stiff on some parts and then there was Mick Foley wondering around aimlessly, looking for the inspiration for his new book. I heard it's about suicide. 3

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

WWF Insurrextion 2000

1) Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn vs. Too Cool - 5
2) Bull Buchanan vs. Kane - 3
3) Road Dogg vs. Bradshaw - 3
4) The Kat vs. Terri – Arm Wrestling Match - 0
5) The Dudley Boyz vs. The Big Show & Rikishi - 3
6) Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit - 4
7) Crash Holly vs. The British Bulldog - 4
8) The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian - 5
9) Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero - 6
10) Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Shane McMahon – Triple Threat Match – 4

The opening tag was a decent match. Malenko and Saturn made a good team as no-nonsense wrestlers but were forced to job to the dimwitted duo of Too Cool. Now, I’m not saying that Too Cool wasn’t a good team, I’m only saying that white guys dressed like hip-hop artists seem out of place. It’s a shame that Buchanan’s talents have been wasted in the states. The guy can move like a cruiserweight and has amazing agility for someone who happens to be 6’8” and near 300 pounds. Road Dogg and Bradshaw was a disaster of epic proportions as was the arm wrestling match. Big Show was dressed as Rikishi for his tag match and it was not a pleasant sight. Edge and Christian did a run-in for some reason, perhaps Mae Young flashed her puppies backstage. I’ve seen great matches between Angle and Benoit but this was not one of them. Maybe it was the fact that they worked a really short match? I don’t know but the one thing I do know is that it sucked. Crash Holly did guest commentary for the Angle/Benoit match in order to set up his match with Bulldog. They worked a 3-minute garbage match in which Bulldog won the title only because they were in England. I believe that it was Bulldog’s last major appearance for the WWF as he was out of wrestling by the following month. The Hardys vs. Edge & Christian match was another rushed match that featured a Dudleys run-in. This time the run-in occurred because Rikishi farted backstage and they were trying to get away from the smell. By the way, the match stunk worse than Rikishi’s aforemention fart. Jericho and Guerrero was far from great but it was decent. It was the first match on the show to go more than ten minutes. It wasn’t anything special but did feature some good wrestling that could’ve easily main-evented SmackDown. The main event was terrible as it went on forever and there was constant interference from both Vince and Stephanie. I guess the only good thing is that Shane didn’t win the match. Then again, what good can be said about a show this terrible?

ROH Arena Warfare

1. Dunn/Marcos vs. Homicide/Reyes vs. Jason Blade/Kid Mikaze vs. Briscoe Bros. - Tag Team Scramble Match - 2
2. Roderick Strong vs. Jimmy Yang - 3
3. BJ Whitmer vs. Necro Butcher - 1
4. Matt Sydel vs. Austin Areis - 5
5. Irish Airborne vs. Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke - 5
6. Alex Shelley vs. Bryan Danielson - 6
7. Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana vs. Samoe Joe - 4

I've came to a realization. I've been to a couple ROH shows live, and they're generally a lot of fun. But, on video, they don't quite hold the same quality. Sure, there are some matches that are undeniably good. However, most of the guys currently on the roster have the same look, lack of character, similar sets of moves, and poor storytelling skills. As hard as I try to get into the shows on video, usually I find myself daydreaming of better stuff, like 80's tag team wrestling, or stunning early 90's lucha libre. (Editor's note: Recently after watching this I saw a different ROH DVD that blew me away -- check back next week to read about it.)

The opening tag team scramble was about as easy on the eyes as Bull Nakano fucking a sheep. So many moves happening, so little psychology considered. I was looking forward to Strong and Yang, but it was a total dud. Yang's working on a nice little gut -- true story, a few years prior when he was working HWA shows while under developmental contract with WWE, I saw him at a food court in a mall eating and admiring a Sex In the City box set he just blew his money on. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

This was my first glimpse of Necro, who looked like an alcoholic child rapist that digs Mountain Dew and his truck. Sydal and Aries was pretty solid, although not steeped in any hate or intensity, which would have helped the proceedings immensely.

Irish Airborne is known around here as Lotus and Crazy J, I made some scathing comments on them in a prior review, but I'm a sucker for swank armdrags and they have plenty of them. I like Sal and Tony, too; they're a lot of fun and one of the few legit tag teams in ROH.

I like Shelley and Danielson a lot, but their match was killed, as they had the buy time so main eventer Samoa Joe could arrive at the building; so they did about 20 unbearable minutes of cheap heat stuff, playing to the crowd, etc. This may have been tolerable live, but is painful to watch on TV. The three-way seemed forced, and not worthy of its spot. Cabana pinned Daniels, than Joe ran out in street clothes (looking like he should be bagging groceries) and pummeled Cabana in a disappointing finish to a disappointing show.

Ring of Honor: Arena Warfare- 03/11/06

ROH in the ECW Arena? Well, everyone else has done it. Christopher Daniels is a great wrestler, but he can't cut a great promo.

1 Briscoe Brothers v. Jason Blade/ Kid Mikaze v. Dunn & Marcos v. Homicide/ Ricky Reyes- 3- A lot of action, but overall a big mess. Briscoes had their team work down, but the other three looked supremely confused. It was just a vehicle to get over Homicide, who I don't think is all that great.

2 Roderick Strong v. Jimmy Yang- 4- these were the two top contenders to the ROH belt. Huh? What have they done? Strong was one half of the tag champs. I think they merely give out random contenders. The match was short, but hard fought.

3 BJ Whitmer v. Necro Butcher- 1- Necro looks like he belongs in the Hewitt family. This was hardly a match; but they were getting stiff on each other.

4 Matt Sydal v. Austin Aries- 6- Some outside dives and good action. Sydal is a great athlete, and I usually don't take to him because of Internet smarks, but against Overrated Aries, he looked fine.

5 Irish Airborne v. FBI- 5- the only person actually from ECW was Tony Mamaluke. What a tribute(heavy on the sarcasm). I miss Tag team wrestling. I keep hearing people talk about giving the cruiserweights or the x-division some time, but how about the tag division? Put together some good solid teams and let them stay togther. WWE hasn't had a tag feud anyone cared about since Dudleys v. Hardys six years ago!

6 Bryan Danielson v. Alex Shelly-6- They worked a good paced longer match, of course without all the stalling for Samoa Joe(who was late) this would have been TV length.

7 Colt Cabana v. Christopher Daniels v. Samoa Joe(in street clothes)-4- What a joke! You give the guy the win who was hours late to the show! That's backwards thinking and If I was one of the boys, I would have shit all over ROH for that decision. Get to work on time and quit buying towels just to put fake blood on them, you sweaty Neanderthal.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

WWE Smackdown - 6/2/06

1) Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio – 7 – I have to say that this match runs close to any Benoit/Finlay match as a match of the year candidate for SmackDown. I was expecting either a pinfall or a submission finish, but the count out finish they used protected both men. This was a rare face vs. face showdown and the crowd was really behind both guys. Aside from Flair vs. Edge on the 1/16 edition of Raw, this was the best match that WWE has aired on free TV this year.

2) Matt Hardy vs. Nunzio – 4 – A far cry from the previous match. Hardy pins Nunzio clean and Vito comes out in drag. Honestly, what is the creative team smoking? Nunzio and Vito feuding, yeah, that’s gonna draw big money.

3) Jillian Hall vs. Kristal – 2 – A waste of a match that was used as a platform to sell this year’s abomination known as the Diva Search. Wait … you, mean … why the fuck are they bringing that back? Not that I’m against scantily clad girls parading around on TV, but I just don’t want it mixed in with my wrestling. A note to Vinnie Mac: Since it seems that your Viagra has worked for more than four hours, I’d go see someone, preferably women your own age.

4) Mark Henry vs. Paul Burchill – 1 – Who are they trying to kid? Mark Henry as main event talent? The only talent that Mark Henry has is to eat a whole pizza. I like Burchill’s pirate gimmick but he would be better off main eventing Velocity, or better yet, teaming with Regal in the new ECW.

5) Fit Finlay vs. Caden Matthews – 2 – Can you say squash? The match itself sucked but the part with the leprechaun afterward made me laugh. Thus the reason for the inflated rating. Crazy leprechauns are funny.

6) Booker T vs. Bobby Lashley – 4 – It’s a shame that William Regal’s talents and integrity are being flushed down the toilet just so he can yell “All hail King Booker!” every five seconds while Booker is walking to the ring. It’s also a shame that I have to hear Sharmell speak on a weekly basis. Anyway, this was pretty much the same as their match from Judgment Day, only shorter. Booker, Finlay, and Regal beat up Lashley afterwards and all I can say is thank God that’s the end of the show.

WWE No Way Out '03

1. Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy - 4
2. Rob Van Dam and Kane vs. William Regal and Lance Storm - 4
3. Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy - 5
4. Undertaker vs. Big Show - 2
5. Team Angle vs. Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar - Handicap Match - 7
6. Scott Steiner vs. Triple H - 3
7. Eric Bischoff vs. Steve Austin - 1
8. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan - 4
9. DVD Bonus: Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble - 4

Chris Jericho had went from headlining Wrestlemania the year prior to opening the show and his opponent, Jeff Hardy, looked like a walking Expressionist painting with bird shit all over his face. Hardy managed to do a rolling senton and land only on Jericho's left hand. Hardy sells a bulldog like he slipped on a banana peel. This was about as sloppy as Yokozuna's underwear after a 12-hour flight. Jericho reverses a hurricanrana from the top and nails a sweet powerbomb. Hardy ends up tapping like he used to do in a North Carolina tool shed when his father would beat him for wearing his mother's lingerie.

Regal mentioned this match in his book, as he lost consciousness after being bodyslammed by Kane. RVD does a somersault onto Storm who's on the floor, and somehow ends up landing on the back of Storm's neck. The only things puffier than Regal’s thighs are Van Dam's eyes from smoking a joint before the match. I love Regal's half-nelson suplex. Regal selling Van Dam's awful offense looks as natural as Stephanie McMahon's fake tits.

Kidman took a neat ringpost bump in a competent but altogether forgettable match. I'd rather had watched their respective girlfriends at the time (Torrie Wilson and Lita) wrestling them over who was picking up the bill at IHOP.

Show and Undertaker was terribly hard to stay interested in. Albert and Heyman came out and totally didn't catch Undertaker when he tried to dive on them. Undertaker won with a triangle choke, and that's about the only redeemable thing about this one.

Team Angle, Benoit, and Lesnar all tore it up. The pacing and timing was good, and everyone worked hard in the best match of the show. I'd recommend seeking it out for your permanent collection.

Steiner and Triple H's couple of matches that year were heralded s some of the worst in company history by fans. Steiner ignores an atomic drop he receives, baffling the audience. There's a pretty rad top rope Samoan drop in there somewhere -- good luck finding it. Evolution comes down and looks like the fucking Three Stooges bumping around like idiots for Steiner.

Bischoff and Austin was a waste of time. They were both out of shape and would have rather been demoralizing women then pretending to be fighting each other. Rock and Hogan was a letdown, too. The finish saw the lights go out, which is so played out, and involved an evil referee (now hopeless mid-carder Slyvan) giving Rock a chair to cheat for the victory.

The DVD bonus from Heat was a fun match between Rey and Noble. It was under 5 minutes, so I couldn't rate it higher, but was totally fine for what little it was. The show as a whole was flawed -- with not much worth seeking out oustide of the Team Angle bout. The Canadian crowd was pretty hot, but the booking and performances were equally lousy.

Performer Analysis: Manami Toyota

Manami Toyota was born in Masuda, Japan on the island of Honshu on May 2, 1971. She graduated from wrestling school in 1986 and made her pro debut on August 5, 1987. She quickly become one of the most watched stars in Japanese women's wrestling. She worked for All Japan wrestling her whole career, and her legendary feud with Toshiyo Yamada, and their subsequent tag team made her a star beyond all women before her in that country. This is her analysis.

1 Innovation- 9- Manami Toyota stole the show from under all her veteran wrestlers during a tag team match on the Wrestlemarinipad show in 1989. She showed she had the style of long, building matches with great near falls mastered, but she added her own brand of high risk moves that she performed on a nightly basis. She also worked at a break neck pace, something that she changed the style of the way women wrestled in Japan at that time. Add in her wide variety of suplexes, some of which have never been attempted to this day in the States, and she was a pioneer for women wrestlers all over the world. I think the WWE should be showing their Divas her tapes if they want high class women athletes.

2 Conditioning- 6- I give her a six because she showed great physical stamina in the majority of her career, working many twenty plus minute matches with great excitement. But, towards her last few years, I saw a few matches that showed her rough spot for not establishing a pace that worked for her. She tired out more easily and add to that her small frame, which was tremendously strong for a woman, didn't add that much to her overall stamina.

3 Ring Skill- 9- After watching a four hour best of tape of hers, I would put her, as far as work rate, and match quality, up with any male wrestler in the world. She had a tremendous knowledge of what the fans liked: fast pace, high risk moves, and dramatic near falls. She always seemed to try and top her last match and as a wrestling fan, I love to see that.

4 Character/ Psychology- 5- I give her a five because her character, as I could understand it was the perennial babyface. It's a black and white character with not many dimensions, not saying she needs it. Her psych was good; she sold with her face as much as with her body, and every good wrestler needs that balance.

5 Interviews- 5- Unfortunately, as I am not bilingual, I do not understand any of her promos. And whether I like it or not, it is a major part of the wrestling world today. So, this could be the worst category for her. But, from what has been translated, she has a very vanilla interview style but speaks with a sweet voice and has kind eyes. i think she winked at me.

6 Face/ Heel- 5- I give her a middle score because as a face, she was a tremendous performer. She played the peril role well, and could get the people behind her in large unison. I did not see her play heel, and am quite sure she didn't during her career. I have to agree with Ric Flair when he says that the greats can play both, and she never had the opportunity to do that.

7 Striking- 3- I did not like her punches. They were the only thing that looked girly about her performance. And her kicks didn't have much impact behind them either. Her basics seemed comparable, and her move transition was really good.

8 Fans- 7- Yes, the fans did love Manami Toyota. She was a crowd favorite and they supported her one hundred percent. She didn't have to do much, just show her true character and show her true heart to garner their appreciation.

9 Match/ Opponent- 8- She ranks slightly above average in this category because she not only took on all of All Japan's finest women athletes, but also ones from FMW, New Japan, and WAR. Her most classic feud was with fellow trainee Toshiyo Yamada, as well as she had some classic battles with Aja Kong.

10 Gutcheck-7- Toyota was not lead by fear. She regularly performed her famous flying dropkick from the top buckle to the floor in every match I saw her in. That takes guts. She only suffered one major injury in her career; a broken foot in Mexico in '92, but even that did not stop her from attempting Asai Moonsaults to the floor with no mats. She fought with all heart, and it is very evident in watching her matches. She would seem a role model to me for young women, not just wrestlers, but athletes in general.
Final Score: 64

Ranking: Superstar
Thanks to Brian Wescott