Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
2 John Morrison/ The Miz v. Shannon Moore/ Jimmy Wang Yang- 5
3 Kelly Kelly v. Layla/ Victoria- 2
4 Batista v. Elijah Burke- 3
I (obviously) don't see this team of Punk and Kane lasting and i'm glad for that becuase they seem to not have any chemistry or anything in common at all, unless you count their monthly subscription to Justice Society of America. The Greasers are effectively a one legged team- Deuce took some nasty kicks from Punk and sold well for Kane on big spots, and looked like the leader where as Domino sold for Punk as if he were bored on a Friday night, making no attempt to convey any kind of emotion on his really grotesque face. Their double finish at the end was cool, but that's about as far as it goes. The following tag was fun and fast paced; Smackdown's cruiserweight division looked really inspired and this was probably the most work i've seen Moore do in a few years. Yang continued to impress and meshed well with the unorthodox style of the champs. As high as Vince was on Morrison, i continue to like Miz better, although the monkey flip from the corner sell by Morrison was as exciting a prospect as mounting Melina's backside, which is to say would be pretty nice. The ending got a little rushed, but all the performers hearts were in the right place. I gave this an extra point for being an unexpected surprise of a good match.
As happy as i was about the preceding tag, this handicap bout was as enticing as eating moldy bread. Victoria, who is a competent performer, didn't even seem to care and she was the only one who could have dragged this to a decen score. Kelly Kelly looks highly untrained and i wouldn't recommend her getting back in the ring. The main was built up to be a big match for Burke and Batista seemed willing to take his licks for him, including a stair bump and a great high kick. This didn't go very long and their chemistry isn't top notch, but i would like to see them have more time to work a singles and Burke taking the Batista bomb looked much like the guy who fell out of Top Gun at Kings Island all those years; straight down on his dome!
1) Innovation- 5/10
While a very skilled competitor, Storm's contributions to the overall progression of wrestling can't be measured very high. He was a big part of ECW as it broke through to the mainstream and was recognized as one of the company's most solid performers. He was part of the contingent that got some very valuable experience in Japan before making his foray into the US indy scene. Other than that, I'd say one of Storm's biggest contributions is his website, even though it came online years after the Internet had blown up and become a major part of the wrestling world. And he was the first guy to strike a blow for the Alliance, or the Allegiance or whatever the hell that shitty faction was when WCW invaded.
2) Conditioning- 10/10
Storm has always been in excellent shape, not bulky or super muscular but trim and cut. His body frame isn't built to hold mounds of muscle, but his cardio is peak condition, even though i'd say he rarely wrestled long matches in most of his US stints. His cardio workout (published, again on Stormwrestling.com) is pretty comprehensive and intense. One thing you'll notice in Lance's matches is his ring pace and that comes from good stamina, he rarely ever works a slow pace, even if the match is taking place on the ground. Another factor to consider is the ever increasing steroids and drug abuse factor, to which Storm is not known for taking any other than prescribed and it shows in his work. His best category.
3) Skill- 8/10
Storm is an excellent ring technician. His move set has been fine tuned over the years, including his superb superkick and his rolling boston crab. His athleticism is pretty high grade too, with his leaps to the top turnbuckle and planchas to the outside with showing a lot of grace. Storm is also quite a bumper and makes guys look pretty good, no matter the skill level or lack there of of his opponent. Most importantly, he's a ring leader and perfectly comfortable being one. The only gripe I have is his sometimes robotic bumping method, where he blankly looks straight ahead, throws his feet out and falls to the mat and quickly gets up again several times without showing any damage.
4) Psychology- 10/10
Storm knows his ring psych, a less is more kind of school of thought. Storm is a high risk taker but he's never been that flashy one. He has a great facial expression on his sells that really show the pain and he knows how to work an armbar. In WWE style, he was a perfect mid card guy because he knew how to make his opponent appear like a great worker without overshadowing him, and in many cases, he clearly could have. Storm's timing is also impeccible, a great asset to him in the ring; it helps moves come off looking great and good timing makes the audience react positively.
5) Interviews- 7/10
Storm was presented as a guy who was pretty boring, but he was very adept at speaking in front of crowds. He did some great stuff in ECW, where his presence seemed as if he were a professor and had something intelligent to say to the crowd. He was often the mouthpiece for factions he was involved in, ex. Team Canada, Impact Players, Anti-Americans and he did well in the role. His famous catchphrase "If I could be serious for a minute, " was pretty smart and worked wonders for him, when he was actually given the chance to speak. His mic time was severely diminished during his WWE stint, but hey, who's wasn't?
6) Character- 7/10
Typically, young, technical wrestlers are always portrayed as a heel, and Storm was no different, rarely ever straying to the face side of this large equation we call wrestling. But, he was a pretty effective one. He received great heel heat, using a cocky side to himself without being over the top with it. You knew he was a great wrestler, probably a better one than the guy he was facing, but that made you want him to lose all the more. His characters have generally been a version of Bret Hart's heel in '97, a proud Canadian who likes to rub his country's positives in any American's face who will listen. It's garnered him a lot of success and he has been a great wrestling heel. He's only shortly played a face in his career, and it was nothing to write home about, but man, did i have a good laugh at seeing him do the Cabbage Patch and the White Man's Overbite with Goldust on Raw.
7) Fans- 6/10
While Storm has been a great heel wrestler over the years and a well known name in one of wrestling's biggest boom periods, I'd say he still doesn't have that superstar quality that the average fan will pick him out of a crowd and really be excited or the name that a huge crowd would pop big for should he return, although he got a great reception at the ROH show he competed at. I think more smart fans and older fans appreciate Storm more than the average fan and those would probably be the ones that would cheer him. But, he's definitley not a person that would go unnoticed.
8) Basics- 10/10
Storm got his training in the Dungeon of Stu Hart, a wrestling legend known for stretching young students and teaching them the fundamentals of the wrestling business, which is wrestling holds. Storm is an expert on his ground game and can hold his own with anybody, i'd say, in the business today besides maybe Angle or Lashley. His punches are nothing you'd use in a real fight, but their sharpness is perfect for pro wrestling. His reversal and counter wrestling are also very good and he can work sequences with anyone.
9) Feuds/ Opponents- 6/10
Storm has traveled the globe and fought many of Japan's top stars in WAR, like Liger, Samurai, U. Dragon and more. He worked probably every top guy that came through ECW, like Dreamer, Sabu, RVD, Taz, at least got in the ring with every top guy in WCW during his short tenure there , like Sting, Goldberg, DDP, and gotten to work a variety of people in WWE, like the Rock, HHH, Hulk Hogan and Edge, but as far as feuds, Storm's been pretty light on them. He had a lengthy feud with Tommy Dreamer in ECW and a lengthy feud with Hugh Morrus in WCW, but that's been about it. Storm was deserving of more money programs and could have even been a bigger star than he was.
10) Gutcheck- 7/10
In the wrestling business, guys work till they die. That's just a fact. Lance Storm was smart and saved his money and can work when he wants to or when there's a great opportunity. In a business that heralds you when you're on top and walks on your face when you're down, Storm managed to avoid most of the pitfalls that hit superstars of yester-year. It's a sad time in the industry for me, personally right now because all the great performers i saw when i was a kid and loved are dying, or in bad shape, or looking for that next big break and the industry that made them who they are doesn't have a bit of compassion for them. A lot of guys, i think, have a hard time letting go of their career, maybe they didn't accomplish all they wanted to, but Storm bowed away gracefully, even though he may not have made that Wrestlemania stage like he should have or become a World Champion like he should have. He'll join names like Brian Pillman, Owen Hart and Arn Anderson who never won World Titles when they so richly deserved them, but he still stuck it out in the business that mostly forgets it's fallen sons and that takes guts and heart. Another aspect of this category is Character, which Storm has a lot of, never having been arrested or caught with pills in his gymbag, so i give him extra points for that as well.
Final Score: 76
PO: Thumbs Up
1 Christopher Daniels v. Eric Young- 2
2 Abyss v. Chris Sabin- 4
3 The Truth v. Kenny King- 1
4 Chris Harris v. Christian Cage- 4
Daniels and Young, while 2 talented guys, can't make much happen in 2 minutes. Young's backne was quite disturbing. Everything looked crisp in this squash, and Daniels doens't unleash his whole arsenal in a throwaway match, which is smart. Sabin is good at getting built up and Abyss will probably be an enhancement talent for years to come. His timing is pretty good with powerspots, but his sells are pretty absurd. He gets kicked in the head and pulls his hands up to his face in a cringing motion. Truth comes out and does the same 3 moves he always does and puts away King in a completely forgettable waste of time. Cage really doesn't look like he could beat anybody up, but he effectively vanquishes Harris and his Spanish swordsman's moustache. Both guys have a good rhythm with each other but ultimately there are no high spots in this match and the finish is pretty flat. Can't recommend it.
1 Monty Brown/ Jeff Jarrett v. Kenny King/ Shark Boy- 1
2 Rhino v. A1- 2
3 Roderick Strong v. Samoa Joe- 3
4 James Storm v. AJ Styles- 4
Man, i hate this Jarrett squashes nobody shit but i kind of long for it with all the nonsense Russo has on his show. Monty effectively explodes into King's body with a Pounce and i wonder why he wasn't made a star, because lots of people have gotten over with less. Shark Boy bit Jarrett's ass as he was hanging over the guardrail at one point. Love to hear the backstage story on that one. If you've seen one Rhino squash, you've seen this one. A1 doesn't really sell anything as much as just takes a move and falls down. Strong gives Joe a spirited squash and dishes out some brutal chops. He takes all of Joe's stuff the way you should: hard and painful. This is short but fun while it lasts. Meanwhile, back when AJ was still taken seriously.....He stiffs it up with Storm, TNA's perennial jock strap, in a well paced main event that has a DQ finish. Storm is 207th on the list of all time best superkicks but AJ's kick-ass sell of it could shoot it quickly up near the #76.
1 America's Most Wanted v. AJ Styles/ Christopher Daniels- 5
This was a fun tag match that spanned 3 commercial breaks on TNA's New Year's special. The storytelling was pretty good, as Daniels and AJ had apparently pinned both of these guys on seperate shows in singles matches but they couldn't match up to them in a tag atmosphere. AMW was a pretty good team, they could read each other and they knew how to build to some great spots. AJ was the stiff one here, laying in killer forearms to Storm's face at one point. Daniels was the glue of the match and took all his licks very professionally. I believe this was the start to a pretty good feud, and i would like to have seen this have a little more time, although it wasn't your usual AMW crowd brawl, or your usual AJ spot fest, just a basic tag match with sweet cutoff sections and a Daniels' moonsault that made me cry in my Fruity Pebbles.
1 MVP v. Rey Mysterio- 4
This match started out at fast pace, with Mysterio flying early and MVP doing some ground work. Rey hung with him for a little bit, then took back to the air where he botched a flying splash and i got my first laugh of the night. I could see age taking a toll on Rey, as now he has to grab the guy's neck before he can execute his famous hurricanrana, although he did pull off a really awesome one off the apron to the outside. MVP's big boot and Rey's sell of it looked a Rey got pulled back by a giant steroid magnet. They worked a really fast pace but the ending ruined it; a shitty countout where MVP just left. One of my biggest rules when watching a match: The finish is supremely important because it's the last thing that happens and how you will remember the match. Bad finishes would become a theme for the night.
2 Mark Henry/ Big Daddy V v. CM Punk/ Kane- 5
Henry and V looked like 2 hulking gorillas foraging in the Amazon looking for food. Punk worked well around them, kicking at their legs like he was trying to knock water out of a Redwood. Kane was throwing some stiff uppercuts, but when all 4 of them got in, it was a mess. It looked like people mis-directed in an airport, just guys milling about not knowing where to go. Punk had an awesome hot section where he was handing out kicks and big knees to the gargantuans while Kane and Henry took a nasty spill to the outside. The finish was pretty sweet: Punk springboarded into a Samoan drop by V, and i was surprised this match wasn't bad, and it had some time to it too.
3 Shawn Michaels v. Mr. Kennedy- 4
I'm a Michaels mark from way back, so it's always a treat to see him work, although it seems hard pressed to pull anything good out of Kennedy and I'm proven right for the 2nd time (the 1st time is when i knew there was no possible way to get up that closed off staircase in Maniac Mansion for the NES.) Michaels took some really nasty bumps, including one where they both spilled out of the ring and he hit his back on the apron. I loved when he was doing some '97 heel stuff, like stomping Kennedy's fingers on the steel stairs. The crowd seemed to be asleep during this match, especially when Kennedy took control. i still hate his punches. This should have been a 5, but the finish was ridiculously business exposing, as Michaels was a good 3 feet from connecting with the superkick. Guess no replays of this match. Shucks!
4 Jeff Hardy v. HHH- 3
This was supposed to be Hardy's big breakout match and it flopped bigger than David Caruso's film career. Hardy was just off; he was stumbling around the ring, just fell off of the railing outside for his big dive spot, and all his offense looked completely inferior to Trips. HHH gave him a pretty hellacious slap at one point, which i took as saying "get your fucking act together." HHH barely bumped in this one and for a pretty good run since his comeback, this was a bad performance. They had a DDT sequence that worked and Hardy gave some aftersell on a few things, but the finish was a quick rollup that wasn't very quick at all.
5 Finlay v. Great Khali- 2
Thank god this was short. Finaly could get a good match out of a dead horse, but call Great Khali a rotting corpse of a horse because this was pretty awful. Luckily it only lasted a few minutes. Khali trying to get his leg up for a back kick was funnier than Dane Cook's Tourgasm and seeing it flop right onto Finlay's head and him sluggishly slump over had me groaning and wishing i had ordered some food to distract me from this mess.
6 Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho- 6
I had been looking forward to this one for a while, Jericho isn't as fast as he used to be though. These guys had some great chemistry and Orton continues his reign as King of Selling in this match, ex. Jericho does a crazy splash to the outside and Orton holds his head after wards because that's what hit the ground first. The Walls is just as good of a high spot as it always was and Jericho still knows how to use it well. Jericho runs into that oversized ego in a cowboy hat JBL on the outside and gets a laugh out of me. Orton's dropkick rivals any i've seen in this match, perfect, right on the button accuracy. Hardcore Holly can go sit on a fork and spin if he thinks his limp-dick of one is any good compared to Orton's. Jericho took a nasty corner bump and i think KO'd himself for a second. Jericho finally brings the crowd out of it's nap since Big Daddy V won and he locks in the Walls and drags Orton away from the ropes. Jericho is just seconds away from winning WHEN THAT WASHED UP DICKWEED JBL drags his 50 year old tired saggy ass into the ring and kicks Jericho for a DQ win. Orton hits an RKO post match and the camera gets a close up of Jericho's face, which everyone around the world can read: "Why did i come back for this shit?" and you could actually see his push die right there on camera. This would've been a 7 easily, but i have to knock it down for that.
7 Beth Phoniex v. Mickie James- 3
This was 5 minutes of fun, these two work well together, but Mickie's usually stiff kicks came off looking really weak against Phoniex. She had a crazy submission hold that hurt Mickie pretty good and we all enjoyed seeing her nipples through her velvet costume. Then, we were discussing how she makes Trish and Lita on last week's Raw Anniversary look like old hags. Phoniex hits a weak ass brain buster for 3 and it's over. The crowd wasn't any more dead than for this match; everytime the women played to the crowd, you could hear crickets chirping and if you really listened, you could hear Dean Malenko's voice behind that.
8 Batista v. Edge v. Undertaker- 3
This was a really unfunny joke of a match. Batista couldn't have hurt a fuzzy bunny rabbit with the really weak strikes he was utilizing in this match. Taker still knows great spots and was playing up really well how badly he wanted to kick Edge's wretched ass. Taker in a cool spot, missed the legdrop on the apron and hit hard on his back. Edge looked like Captain Jack Sparrow selling Taker's punches and i wished he find World's End and take a leap off of it. About halfway through this turned into a singles match where Edge was just laying on the ground outside staring up into the ring. He wasn't even selling anything or pretending to be hurt; I was thinking "This is one of your fucking stars?" Meanwhile, Taker and Batista try to pick things back up again and do their usual stuff (spinebuster from Old School, and Taker's nifty triangle choke) then Edge has 2 lookalikes (presumbly the Major brothers) and he misses a chair shot at Batista's head and wins the belt. Thinking back, 3 points is generous but it's Christmas, so i guess i'll let it fly.
Tully Blanchard vs. Mike Nichols – Georgia Wrestling ’85 – 3
We’re in a dimly lit studio and Blanchard’s accompanied by his “perfect ten” Babydoll. Tully starts it off with some fantastic amateur-based stuff; it looks realistic because it is, as he clinics Nichols on the mat. Back to their feet, Tully delivers a few hard forearms; Nichols sells them like absolute death as he falls backwards like a tree toppling in a forest. A devastating knee to the gut makes Mike roll backwards, rolling on his head, and shortly after Blanchard finishes him off with the slingshot suplex, his signature move, done to near perfection. The match lasts under two minutes, but is sheer beauty as it makes Blanchard look like a brash badass who can back up his boasts.
Well, that’ll do it for this edition of The Contents of Tully’s Pockets; we’ll see you again next time for more analysis of one of wrestling’s premier icons.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
2. Kelly Kelly and Balls Mahoney vs. Victoria and Kenny Dykstra – 3
3. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jimmy Wang Yang – 3
4. Jeff Lewis vs. Kevin Thorn – 1
5. CM Punk vs. Mark Henry - 2
This was a fairly fast-paced and relatively enjoyable episode of this perennial loser of a show. The opener was a decent competitive tag match, with highlights being Brian Major’s exquisite dropkick, Miz’s facials during sells being particularly good showcasing the pain, and Brett Major making Morrison’s corkscrew neckbreaker actually look hurty. The mixed tag was kept thankfully short. Dykstra kneed Balls hard right in the face early, which I loved, but later, Kenny had trouble executing a tilt-a-whirl headscissors that looked nice until the release, where he got all tangled up like a snotty kid on a playground in his shoelaces. Balls got the win with an inside cradle, I suppose to keep some of the heels’ heat, but I’m puzzled as to why even bother?
Shelton cut a promo trying to make himself seem like an impact player in ECW. He did throw a boot at one point against Yang that’d make Hiro Matsuda blush, if he was still alive. Benjamin busted out a powerbomb into the buckles that was devastating. Shelton countered Yang’s aerial arsenal by blocking a flying crossbody with a gutbuster. Shelton’s finisher was bizarre, the announcers coined it as a “bulldog into a DDT” but it looked nothing like either maneuver to me. Jobber Jeff Lewis looked like former NBA player and current Chicago Bulls head coach Scott Skiles, while Thorn, sporting his new look, came off like a guitar tech for Monster Magnet. This sucked, but the tortue rack/backbreaker finish was painful enough to warrant a satisfactory smile. The main event didn’t go long. Henry was selling Punk’s leg kicks like he just snorted some wasabi. Big Daddy V interfered, ending this utterly forgettable atrocity, and ending the show.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
1 Donovan Morgan v. Navajo Warrior- 3
2 Evolution (Kazarian/ Tech 9) v. Cubanitos (Ricky Reyes/ Rocky Romero)- 4
3 Texas Outlaws v. Shchwag's Army (Keiji Sakoda/ Drunk Irishman)- 1
4 Mikey Henderson v. Taka Michinoku- 5
5 Ballard Brothers v. Smelly/ Chris Bell v. Tom Howard/ some muscle bound roid freak- 1
6 Vic Grimes v. Hardkore Kidd (Hardcore Match)- 4
7 Smooth Billy D v. Damien Steele- 2
8 Prototype v. Bad Boy ?- 2
9 Samoa Joe v. Staj the Russian Nightmare- 2
10 Kurt Angle v. Christopher Daniels- 6
This show opened with the owner dancing around with a midget and 2 Ho's (one was Victoria) in a daunting red light. If i wanted a hallucogenic experience, i would have paid good money for it from this guy i know who gets his shit from downtown- but i wanted wrestling, damn it, so bring someone out who will punch another guy in skimpy shorts in the face!
The first match featured perennial NOAH grappler Morgan against the latest stereotypical Indian warrior. The match was centered around both guys trying to work the other's legs but nothing was done with crispness or with any emotion. The following tag was really fast paced and had tons of innovative moves and double teams. Nice to see the Rottweilers pre-ROH. Schwag's army was a joke- Sakoda has had far too much time in the sun for so little skills and his partner was actually called the Drunk Irishman- as if he had no other name. He stumbled around the ring like Scott Hall in his holding cell waiting for his wife to come bail him out so he can ulimately slap her around and get incarcerated again.
It was nice seeing Taka in action and he got a lot of musclebound Mikey, who could fly and bump pretty well. Makes you wonder where he is today. Taka's palm heels are a must see, but the cheap finish was pretty indy. The 3 way tag featured a manager, some token Canadian hockey players in the wrong sport, a musclebound circus freak who belongs on the show "Carnivale" and a guy named Smelly in track pants. This made me want to shut mouse traps on my pupils. This was a fucking insult to wrestling fans everywhere to try and pass this off as a Tag Team Title Match. I nearly turned off the DVD. Vicious Vic tries to squeeze what's left out of the Hardcore scene in wrestling and finds....an Ironing Board! Congrats, Vic,you schelp! He grabs an overweight foozeball Champion right out of the "Ultimate University" this fed's training school and parades him through a few weapon shots. All in all, Grimes bumped well but this match was about as fresh as Grandma's diaper.
"Smooth" Billy D looked like Shelton Benjamin's lankier brother who sits at home and plays World of Warcraft all day. His gimmick is he wears a fake Afro and it gets him pumped up to do a top rope dropkick. Steele is a pretty plain villain with not much going for him, so he can't lead this rookie punk to anything resemebling a good contest. A chair shot finish wins. My God, Cena is so incredibly juiced up, i can't even believe it's the same person. He has definitley cut back since making it to the big leauges. Cena is so large he's nearly immoblie and his opponent looks like they've shared a few needles. This barely resemebled an athletic contest. I'm going to steal an line from an old UPW review i wrote: "Just because he's wearing a tropical shirt with palm trees on it, are we supposed to believe this guy is Samoan?" Guess i was wrong because he actually is. This Russian prick is all kinds of pumped, like a young Brakus and Joe is bumping all over for him like his name was Mikey Whipwreck circa '96. The Schwag Army was at ringside, making fan boys all over the arena feel manly. Joe hadn't figured out his bad ass character at this time, instead opting for college hippie messed up haircut and thrift store ring gear. This was short and pretty devoid of anything fun. Daniels and Angle meshed supremely well together, as you would imagine, and this was one of the few matches missing interference or foreign objects. They actually let the guys do their damn job! Both men have great reversals and they put together some nice sequences. They looked like professionals, where as most of the talent looked like green, wet behind the ears rookies. It probably went around 12 to 13 minutes, which could have been longer, but they didn't really work much technical, so it paced out nicely. One of the sole bright spots of this pretty wretched show.
The Guerreros were the focus of the match; it was built around what amazing feats they could pull off on the heels. I didn't think they were that extraordinary; Chavo looked pretty spry for a tan guy and was the most impressive. Foley took a concrete bump, per usual. The RPM's didn't do much of anything besides show no teamwork, no continuity and no fashion sense. This didn't take long but served it's purpose as a fast paced opener.
2 Eric Embrey v. Jeff Jarrett- 4
I would be willing to be that there is a line of heels in wrestling that would pay good money and crank to be able to have the demented facials that Embrey has. plus from what Foley says, he's packing some heavy sausage. Besides that he and Jarrett have a pretty good wrestling match full of counters and quick pin attempts. Embrey's a pudge, but his weight doesn't slow him down. It was interesting seeing a young Jarrett, who was a pair of boobs away from being a Barbie doll with his long feathered blonde hair. The match ended though before it really picked up steam so i couldn't rate it too high.
3 Wayne Bloom v. Jimmy Valiant- 1
Why is Valiant getting squash matches when he's 92 years old?
4 Brick house Brown v. Iceman King Parsons- 4
I don't know if i enjoyed their dance moves or their wrestling more? Parsons is one of my old school favorites but Brickhouse isn't bad either. They kept this pretty simple, but both men could fly (Brickhouse's dropkick, Iceman's Butt-Butt) We had a cheap ending but this kept my interest.
5 Derrick Dukes/ Ricky Rice/ Wendi Richter v. Bad Company/ Madusa- 4
Bad Company were bumping pretty well and having seen some Tanaka recently, he was a pretty good heel, he just didn't get much heat. DDP was managing at ringside, rat's nest mullet and all. The women were pretty lackluster and Madusa was wearing a outfit that only had one leg on it. The faces were pretty bland too, having nothing in common as far as styles. Dukes looked like he had just taken a bath in Soul Glo.
6 Greg Gagne v. Ron Garvin- 3
Normally i'm a sucker for Garvin and his punishing right hands, but he had already put a stamped envelope on his career because he didn't bring the pain here. Gagne never had it, just got it handed to him by his decrepit old papa who was doing the world's worst color at ringside. This had a BS finish too( becoming a theme of the show) and was pretty much a waste of time.
7 P.O.W.W Lingerie Street Fight Battle Royal- 2
I give this points only out of morbidity. There were some real hags in this one and the wrestling was at an all time low. The Terrorist (imagine this gimmick today; a women speaking in foreign tongue, planning her next attack) won the thing, but by the time it was over, we had all lost. Peggy Lee Leather, the poster child for big dicked biker Lesbos came out of her shirt in a massive pile of bodies that were all dumped over the top rope at the same time. Her breasts flopped up and punched her in the chin in one of the stiffest shots of the night. This also had us laughing our asses off because one of the announcers sounded dead on Larry David.
8 Sgt. Slaughter v. Col. Debeers (Boot Camp Match)- 3
I was really hoping for one of those classic Slaughter bloody boot camp brawls, but what we got was a one sided pummeling. Debeers was pretty pathetic and Slaughter had to bump around him, which he did exceptionally well. There was a bunch of interference and Slaughter fought them all off successfully. This was pretty short, just like Adnan Al-Kasie's member
9 Samoan Swat Team v. Michael Hayes/ Steve Cox- 5
Watching this, i started realizing that the SST's were an overlooked team in the overall scheme of great tag teams. They worked snug, had good timely tags, and traveled multiple promotions and had varying degrees of success. Hayes was playing the crowd pretty superbly as usual and then you have Cox, another mullet wearing blonde babyface, but this guy had a lot of fire! He was very aggressive and worked well with the Samoan's style. The swerve ending, again, was a little repetitive but both teams had good chemistry and you have to love Hayes' left hand if you love anything about wrestling at all.
10 Manny Fernandez v. Wahoo McDaniel (Indian Strap Match)- 5
This was a good old fashioned fight. Both men were way past their hey day, physically, but they knew how to tell a good story within the confines of the match. Both guys could chop a fencepost in half and they both knew that red equals green because the blood was flowing. The pace worked for this too because every match on this show seemed really short, except this one. Fernandez was great when Wahoo dragged him to the corners, wrapping his feet around the ropes, but Wahoo would just stomp his face like a remorseless Nazi. good stuff
11 Kerry Von Erich v. Jerry Lawler- 5
First the good: Both men could punch like they had been fighting for food since they could learn to bawl a fist together. That part I enjoy. Both men give brain busting piledrivers too and Von Erich bleeds as if no one had ever seen a match from Puerto Rico. Now, the bad: Techincally, there wasn't much wrestling in this match. They pretty much punched around, then went into finishing moves with very little substance. There was tons of confusion near the end and in the middle a little bit, as well as the ref looking as lost as me on a road trip. Now, the strange: Von Erich appears to slice into his arm before the match even starts!? He stares at it multiple times in the first few minutes as if he needs to go home and get a Band-aid and a popsicle from his mommy, then he forgets it's even there. I wanted to like this, but it just didn't have what it needed to be a good match.
(Note: i copy and pasted my review for this match from the Spectacular Legacy of the AWA DVD set review i did back in Sept.)
12 Stud Stable v. Rock n Roll Express- 4
Not sure why this main evented but it had the makings of a classic tag match that the R n'R's do so well, with great bumping heel team playing to their every whim. Golden and Fuller were quite the ugly pair but they were a perfect poor man's Midnight Express except they didn't do those funny spots where they would slap each other really hard or give hugs in the corner. This ended in a big shmaze less than 10 minutes in and ruined any aspirations of a lost classic
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
2 Roddy Piper v. The Mountie- 3
3 Bushwhackers v. Beverly Brothers- 1
4 Legion of Doom v. Natural Disasters- 3
5 30 Man Royal Rumble- 8
I love a good tag match, the back and forth, the cutting the ring in half, the matching tights; there's just something very appealing about it to me. This one wasn't bad. It had all of those elements integrated into it, but it felt like the Orients were outmatched through the whole thing. Anvil never struggled with them at all and even though Owen played great face getting beat down, he seemed over qualified as well. Tanaka threw some nasty kicks but his partner Kato ( a guy in mask with really wrinkled skin) looked like a gangly teenager from off the street. He didn't have any good offense and his team suffered for it. Piper's first singles title win is a major milestone even if it comes from this 5 minute dud with perennial goofball Mountie. Piper's punches are real enough, but Mountie's sells are more like he's running from an angry wasp than selling real pain from getting a knuckle sandwhich in the cheek bone. Jimmy Hart tries to get some "heat" by attempting to take a bump, but he looks like a scared child in the process.
I love a good tag match and that's why i hated this one. All 4 of these guys were pansies! Despite all the obvious Bushwhacker homoerotic comedy spots, you still had two teams in there that should, by now, know what they are doing but the Whackers were selling forearms to the back like they slipped on a banana peel. The Beverlys brought absolutely zero realism to their movements as well, opting instead to perform at least 4 double ax handles from the top buckle (which was the fin). the only moment that got a rise out of me was when The Genius slapped Jamison and he sold it afterwards by looking at the camera and saying "He slapped me...really hard....and it hurt." Sometimes the most obvious things can be funny. Animal and Hawk were continuing their dominant ways and just bulled over the Disasters. Both of these big mammoths brought no teamwork to this match, but Quake effectively sold everything being done to him with believable facials. A countout finish where Typhoon outsmarts two other men doesn't fly on this place i like to call Earth.
The famous 92 Rumble match where Ric Flair went over 60 minutes and wins the WWF title- it's a damn fine Rumble and has some really good ebbs and flows during it. It essentially broken up into 2 sections- you have a lot of midcard guys coming in at the beginning, then they all go out except Flair then your top tier guys all fill in during the 2nd half of the Rumble. Some highlights from the first half were Haku's piledriver on Bulldog, Tito's flying forearms, the close up on Flair and Kerry Von Erich when they face off, and Bossman's homicidal elimination, probably one of the sickest in Rumble history. The 2nd half featured a lot of big brawny brawlers, including Duggan, Snuka, Undertaker and Piper. Slaughter took a great elimination during this section and Flair giving Taker a low blow and him no selling it was a funny moment. Hogan and Sid's chemistry was lacking at the end and even though Flair wins, it's almost as Hogan gives it to him, so it's a little soured to me, much like Hogan's marriage and his daughter's proverbial "cherry" after WCW's the Demon popped it like a bubble backstage at a Nitro in Lowell, MA.
Show’s working the effects of an angle where Kane tried to take his eye out a couple weeks earlier, so they’ve got make-up making it look all pink and enflamed, like the girl next door’s in the summer of ’91 when I told her if she poked herself in the eye with my penis it could change her eye color. She was hoping to go from brown to green – but had to settle for red and watery. Moxley gives some effort, eating some of Show’s shitty spots. Big Show does the big open hand chest slap to both in the corner, steps on the guys, dishes out short clotheslines, and eventually chokeslams the piss out of them to end this.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
From where else but Orlando, Florida ... your hosts are Tenay and West ... as usual.
1) Team 3-D & Johnny Devine vs. Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, & Jay Lethal - Tables Match - 3
This started off okay with Team 3-D running down everyone in the arena and on pay-per-view. Bubba looks like a bloated fish and D-Von looks so roided that he can't bend over to wipe. I just couldn't get excited about this mainly because we've seen 3-D in these matches over and over and over. It's starting to become a nasty habit. TNA production sucks because they missed a ton of stuff, most notably a dive to the outside that was missed by the first camera and had D-Von's shoulder blocking the view of the other. The finish was lame with Devine going through a table and then 3-D putting Devine on top of Lethal on the broken table after a ref bump. Ref calls it in favor of 3-D. Decent bout but the stupid finish cost it a point.
2) Roxxi Laveaux & ODB vs. Angelina Love & Velvet Sky - 1
The crowd reaction to ODB was about as big as her funbags. This was all comedy and I wasn't laughing. Love tags in near the end and cleans house. She looked the most competent of any of them. Velvet Sky looked terrible and her ring attire and entrance are blatant rips on Stacy Kiebler. Love and Sky score the upset win. Yawn.
3) James Storm vs. Eric Young - 3
This went a little too long for my tastes. Jackie wouldn't let Storm have any beer until after the match with apparently puts Young at the advantage. Storm takes a nice bump on the ramp. They keep it pretty simple and mainly worked armlocks and rest holds. The finish saw Storm chug a beer for courage and then Jackie standing on the apron for the finish spot in which she inadvertenly spit beer in Storm's face. A pretty standard match with no one really putting on a standout performance
4) 14-Man Feast or Fired Battle Royal w/ Senshi, Christopher Daniels, Elix Skipper, Sonjay Dutt, Shark Boy, Lance Hoyt, Jimmy Rave, Petey Williams, Chris Harris, Voodoo Kin Mafia, LAX, & Scott Steiner - 3
The object of this brilliant brainfart is to climb a pole and grab a briefcase that is atop the pole and then climb back down to the floor with said briefcase. The briefcase will contain either a shot at one of the three titles or a pink slip. Kip James looked like a peppermint bitch and I was so hoping that either Scott Steiner or Senshi would beat the queer out of him. People were getting thrown out of the ring left and right but they don't get eliminated. That's dumb. Those who grabbed cases were Steiner, B.G. James, Petey, and Senshi. And who got what? We don't know because we were told to watch Impact for the payoff. What an abortion. The worst part? This ran 22 minutes.
5) Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong - 5
This is the best match of the night. Kim was bumping her ass off and making Kong look like a legitimate monster. Kong was no-selling Kim's offense. The crowd is hot! Kong was throwing stiff clotheslines and Kim couldn't knock her down. Three dropkicks from the top rope finally knock down Kong and hits a fabulous senton. Kong beats down Kim in the corner and throws the referee aside for a DQ finish. Fantastic match but the finish cost it a point. Afterwards, Kong continues to beat down Kim. Velvet Sky and Angelina Love run-in and get destroyed. Kong powerbombs Kim on a chair and surveys the damage.
6) Abyss & Raven vs. Black Reign & Rellik - 10,000 Thumbtacks Match - 3
Raven is a last minute replacement for Rhino. This was a bloodbath. There are four beds of tacks laying around the ring and also a bag of tacks on a pole. What is it with TNA and putting crap on poles tonight? I wonder if there are actually 10,000 tacks. Wouldn't you hate to be the guy who had to count all those? This was the standard TNA arena brawl with tables and crap. Reign takes a bump through a table with a bed of tacks on it. Rellik actually looked the best out of everyone in the match. Abyss slammed Rellik on a pile of tacks for the win. Another near fifteen minute match.
7) Booker T & Kazarian vs. Christian Cage & Robert Roode - 4
Kaz works the first half of the match mostly by himself and gets beat down by Cage and Roode. This feels like an Impact main event. Kaz hit a nice springboard, though. Booker doesn't get involved until the last five minutes. He pretty much destroys Christian and Roode and then gets the pin. The match was pretty much a paint-by-numbers thing and very, very long for a match so simplistic. I can't even think of one outstanding thing that happened that I didn't have to look up.
8) Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, & Tomko vs. Samoa Joe, Kevin Nash, & Eric Young - 4
Joe cut a pretty controversial shoot promo before the match started to explain Hall's absence and then introduce Young as the third man. A.J should never be allowed to have promo time ever again. He's got the same problem that Mike Awesome and Chyna had ... no, not drugs ... but, it's the fact that his voice doesn't really click with his look. I find it really hard to take A.J. seriously with that southern accent he has. I digress. The story on team Joe was that Joe would only tag in to Young because he was pissed at Nash. Young didn't really do much to get the fans interested, probably because he had fought James Storm earlier on. The only people in the whole match who seemed motivated were Nash and Joe. The finish saw Joe pin Tomko following a muscle buster. A dud of a main event to cap off an ever bigger dud of a show.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
So, anyway, Harley Race does the ring introductions and even he, a legend in his own right, and also a chili wizard, says that this is one of the biggest honors of his career. Then, Benoit comes down to the ring, sporting what can only be described as an Owen Hart t-shirt that was designed and created using a teenager’s desktop computer. Bret comes down to ringside, in the arena that, gasp, his little brother died tragically in. The poetry of this is too good to be written, which is all right, because this drama isn’t scripted, unlike a ten-minute in-ring promo by The Rock that was likely airing on another channel at the same time.
They start off doing some amateur wrestling, jockeying for position, etc. There are some good reversals, realistic cinching on holds, and so forth. I kind of look at this match like a three-act play. The next act is when they start ratcheting it up a notch, tempers start flaring, and things take a more physical tone. Strikes are being used now, and we’re starting to see these guys’ competitive urges manifest themselves. For me, the third act is ushered in by a scintillating suicide dive to the floor by Benoit, that just absolutely drills Bret in the face, and Hart flies backwards about ten-foot down the entrance aisle.
There’s a lot of money stuff in this last section, namely a picturesque superplex that gave me back pains by proxy. The whole time Benoit’s just drilling Bret with chops, showing no remorse for the grieving Hart. The finish is sublime, transcendent some could argue, as Hart finally sinks in “The Sharpshooter” and Benoit taps in the middle of the ring. After the match, Bret looks up at the rafters that his younger brother Owen fell to his gruesome death from, and in that moment, this is cemented as one of the most priceless pieces of wrestling footage ever. Thank you Bret and Chris, as well as Harley for the priceless introductions, and most of all, to Owen.
1) Michael Hayes/ Tracey Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell/ Jimmy Garvin- 2
We have the Freebirds on opposite sides in this one. They tied up a couple times and tried to really play up that they were wrestling and the fans actually seemed to eat it up. Smothers just got off the very unsuccesful comedy tour The Original Kings of Stalling, featuring himself, Larry Zybyzsko, Jerry Lawler and Paul Orndorff. I mean, it took forever for this match to ever get physical. You could tell this match was thrown together because no one wanted to do anything because no one knew what to do. Bagwell does a pretty good hiptoss/ dropkick/ armdrag combo (which we'll see in almost every match on the show) but Smothers does a bad job of selling it. I was watching his face while he was being wrenched in an armlock and he was biting his lower lip like he was trying to remember if he took the trash out at home or not. The finish was appalling as the Freebirds bickered over a miscue in timing and Bagwell hit a ugly Perfectplex.
2) Steve Austin/ Rick Rude v. Big Josh/ Van Hammer- 5
The heels carried these two walking sideshows to a respectable match, and probably the best tag on the show. Austin and Rude had stellar team work and knew how to effectively keep both men in their corner when they wanted to. But, they also sold big for the Village People rejects and made it look believable. Van Hammer trying to do an escape on a armlock was pretty comical. There was a silly spot where Josh was attacking Rude's abs and it didn't faze him because he's in such good shape. The finish came off a blind tag and they didn't drag the match on longer than it needed to be.
3) Dustin Rhodes/ Richard Morton v. Larry Zybyzsko/ El Gigante- 1
This was one of the more bizarre matches of the night, there would be many. Gigante barely did anything besides choke out his partner 5 minutes into this. I thought Morton was a great prick heel, coming in on a tag then immediately U-turning when Giganted tagged in. Then, after the match the 7 foot bowl cut shook Dustin's hand then went to shake Morton's but he was already down the aisleway. Nothing really happened in this so there's not much of a grade to give out.
4) Bill Kazmaier/ Jushin Liger v. DDP/ Mike Graham- 4
Wow, interesting match. The pacing was all off, Liger and Graham had some good chemistry together, Liger was throwing some great kicks and Graham was kicking it old school with fireman's take overs and single legs, but he couldn't keep up with Liger's rollups and stuff. Then Kazmaier who was slower than a salted slug and DDP had no chemistry and it's like each pair would tag in and out and the pace would go from fast to slow. A double team press slam using Liger as a torpedo was the finish.
5) Lex Luger/ Arn Anderson v. Terrence Taylor/ Z-Man- 4
Anderson is really just as good as you remembered. He was already sweating and grinding away on restholds like he was going an hour broadway not even 5 minutes into the match. Z-Man was a really good face in peril and probably tied with Steamboat for best dropkick. Luger was pretty shitty as he refused to sell any of Taylor's offense. Taylor went on an offensive rip against Luger at one point and Luger just horsefacing it the whole time, making everything look really weak. Arn hit a DDT that made my breeches warm with joy. Damn, that should have been the finish.
6) Ricky Steamboat/ Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack/ Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker- 2
Parker was already standing up waiting for his name to be called before they even announced him.Then he got thrown around the locker room like Stevie Richards' penis pump. then, in the aisleway, he got worn out by Abdullah the Butcher with a giant cane. I'm talking about mulitple shots,all to the head and FOR FUCKING REAL! it was a spectacular beating. This left Cactus alone; he and Steamboat had no chemistry together and Champion didn't look like he had chemistry with anything. Steamboat did a pretty cool suicide dive but that was the highlight of this dud.
7) Sting/ Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman/ Bobby Eaton- 3
Abby was the star of this show! He came running down the aisle, smiling ear to ear, really excited to be Sting's partner, then he just started beating him down. Pillman was next down and he tackled Abby then took his cane and beat the Sudanese piss out of the fat bastard! It was crazy! Eaton and Sting worked the whole match together, and they had some good spots. Eaton's right hand is pure sex. Pillman bodyslams Abby and the camera doesn't even show it- i wanted to see a best of 7 between those 2. This wasn't the best match by far, but probably one of the funnest.
8) Rick Steiner/ Nightstalker v. Vader/ Mr. Huges- 2
I wanted to rank this higher, but it's pretty hard considering the finish. Vader and Steiner were absolutely killing each other with clotheslines and suplexes and it was fun as hell to watch. Nightstalker (wearing tan colored trunks and boots?) did one move and fucked up the ending. He was pretty useless.
9) Scott Steiner/ Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd/ Arachnaman- 5
This match had a really good pace to it and it was given some time. Steiner was the superstar here with Badd being built up as someone with potential and Chip and Arachnaman audibly being called the weaker links of their teams. This was done pretty well as everyone had a definable role in the match. Steiner was just killing guys with his power moves, Badd was knocking out everyone with hooks and Chip was selling pretty well for a guy who had the stupidest name in the business. Arachnaman was wearing a Spider Man costume but instead of being red and blue, it was yellow and purple. I don't know who came up with this gimmick, but it was pretty pathetic, although he had a good dropkick. Not worth seeking out, but a decent enough match.
10) Ron Simmons/ Thomas Rich v. PN News/ Steve Armstrong- 4
I've read a lot of places that people don't agree with putting the belt on Simmons years ago, but after watching this show, he was the most over on it except Sting. Anytime he tagged out, they were chanting "We Want Ron!" As far as his work, he doesn't figure much psychology into it, he just pummels people. It was fun when he and News got in because they weren't pussy footing around, they were going toe to toe. News had some really credible offense for such a big guy. Armstrong was a poor man's Tracey Smothers for the stalling (can't begin to describe how desperate that makes him) and he and Rich basically just punched each other like it was a Raw main event anywhere from 99- 03. Again, no real pacing in this match, but fun while it lasted.
11) 2 Ring Battle Royal- 3
This wasn't very good at all. Some highlights were Vader, who was pummeling everybody, and even took a few people outside. Steamboat and Arn were "wearing each other out like rawhide" as Jim Ross called it, yet the camera was nowhere near them so we couldn't see a damn thing. Liger and Morton had some good sequences, but Morton thought he was 20 years younger because he tried keeping up with Liger, but to no avail. Trying to throw a guy between 2 rings in the first place is an asanine task but some of the jokers involved in this made it even harder to watch. When it came down to the 2nd ring, the final four guys put together some good spots, who were Sting, Rude, Steamboat, and Austin. Other than that, this was probably worse than your average battle royal.
12) Lex Luger v. Sting- 3
For some reason, this wasn't a match, the only way to win was to throw the guy over the top rope? i didn't write it, i just watched it. anyways, they did some decent brawling out in the aisleway and Luger even took a ramp bump, albeit a pretty shitty one. This was short and not a lot happened, but the crowd was 100% into Sting and helped make what would probably otherwise be an eyesore and 7 minutes i'll never get back become something i'll just promptly forget and not be the worse for.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
2. Mike Knox vs. Nunzio – 2
3. Miz vs. local worker – 1
4. CM Punk vs. Matt Striker – 3
This was a fairly enjoyable show as far as ECW on Sci-Fi standards go, at least as a momentary amusement, but per usual, was void of much actual substance. It started with some momentum but that faded prematurely. Burke and Thorne had some miscommunications early in their bout. Dreamer looked ridiculous wearing a red bandana, but it was obvious why the new choice in wardrobe, as after it was knocked off it revealed the most unsightly balding spot these eyes have ever seen. The opener did feature some nice, physical work, as there were a handful of decent shots and bumps. Dreamer drilled Thorne with a DDT, but Burke, ever the opportunist, tossed Dreamer’s carcass out of the ring and capitalized getting the pin. Knox made short work of Nunzio, whose body is quite odd to watch when he’s bumping around and selling. I’d rather watch Nunzio wrestle with his inner-demons over bad career decisions and squandering his chances at leaving a mark on this business.
Miz beat a local worker, and even on the official ECW website, they’ve simply got the guy listed only as “Local.” Miz delivered some pretty nasty stomps in the corner, but otherwise, this was real short and forgettable. Punk and Striker was our main event but was basically used to springboard the impending Big Daddy V versus Punk feud. My favorite botch was when Punk tossed Striker over the top rope where he was supposed to land on his feet on the apron, but gravity intervened and he slipped and landed awkwardly. After getting the victory with the “Go To Sleep” Punk stood around waiting for Big Daddy V to attack him, thus giving us our one moment of poetry in this whole show as a ferocious Big Daddy V stands over the fallen body of champion Punk.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Kobashi is about to make his grand return from his tumor-removing surgery on Dec. 2. I felt there was no better time to look at his career.
1) Innovation- 9
Kenta Kobashi was chosen, years ago, as the heir to the Japanese wrestling throne by Misawa himself. When Misawa branched off and created Pro Wrestling NOAH, he brought Kobashi with him to further cement his legacy. Kobashi and Misawa's feud in All Japan created and distinguised Kobashi as a star on par with Misawa, but one with a brutal style and thirst for competition. The fans embraced him and he took NOAH on his back after defeating Misawa in a instant 5 star classic. After that Kobashi did what so many great Japanese wrestlers have tried to do and traveled to America to cement his legacy. He succeeded and he did so by changing his wrestling philosophy and style very little. His match against Samoa Joe showed the wrestling world that the Japanese athletes and Kobashi could main event in America and that their style is the true strong style of Pro Wrestling. Kobashi was the forefront of the the current generation's strong style wrestling in Japan and will continue to be, I predict, for many years to come.
2) Conditioning- 10
His stocky frame isn't the most toned, but it works for him. He is incredibly muscular, but not so much that it bogs him down and makes him slow. He has incredible stamina, especially for working at such high levels of competition. He often goes 30 to 40 minutes a night, doing things to people's bodies and his own that should be criminal just to watch. He's even worked longer matches than that. Kobashi at 40 years old isn't getting any younger, but he also doesn't appear to be slowing down. He works great with younger talent as well and keeps great pace with them. He is a real thoroughbred.
3) Skill- 10
His wrestling acumen is unparalleled. He has had classic matches with almost everyone he has stepped into the ring with in Japan from Misawa, Akiyama, Kawada, Vader, Williams, Taue, Takayama, and Samoa Joe. He is hard hitting, has a great move set and knows it well. All of his stuff comes off looking real and incredibly painful. He will take a bump, a huge bump sometimes and works pain very realistic on his face. And he can fly, at 40 years old, despite all his injuries, he can still pull off a clean moonsault. He's had nearly 20 5 star matches in his career as rated by Dave Meltzer and has won Wrestler of the Year as voted by Wrestling Observer for the last 3 years. His resume speaks for itself, but his matches speak even louder. Probably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, bar none.
4) Psychology- 10
Japanese pyschology is so different from the way American performers utilize it. Kobashi has mastered the Japanese art. He knows the fans like hard hitting action from him and he delivers it to a tee. He knows pacing very well and knows when to be explosive and when not to be. There's something about the way the Japanese put a match together when it's done correctly, the back and forth, the will, the guts, the strength to absorb 6 blows just to get one in, the passion to finish an opponent, Kobashi knows it and uses it almost better than anyone.
5) Interviews- 6
Thankfully, NOAH releases all their DVD's with English commentary and subtitles. It's not that Kobashi is a bad interview, the thing I like about what he does is shows a lot of passion and anger and enthusiasm even though he's not particularly enigmatic like a lot of performers. He's the strong silent type and his promos don't linger on or meander. In his world, there's nothing much to talk about besides fighting and I like that.
6) Character- 9
In Japan, it's all about character, not a guy dressed in a goofy jump suit, or wearing a chicken costume, or a catchphrase, it's about your character. Kobashi is the man who has succeeded Misawa; that's who he is. He was a young upstart that had potential, then he became the "Burning Hammer" a man whose passion was undeniable and whose attacks could break bones. Harley Race has now dubbed him "Mr. Pureoseau" which means Mr. Pure Wrestling, a namesake reserved for Genichiro Tenryu now passed on to Kobashi. He is a fighting spirit and fights for the fans of NOAH. He never has an off day, or mails in a performance. That's his character and I actually can get behind this more than 90% of any other gimmick out there.
7) Fans- 10
"Ko-bosh-ee! Ko-bosh-ee!" You can hear the rafters come unglued and hear the fans screaming his name in those 3 famous syllables when he enters an arena. He has earned the respect of the Japanese fans and fans worldwide. He is a huge star there and garners massive reactions anytime he walks the aisle and sells out major arenas all over the company. Even when he came to the states to ROH, the fans erupted upon seeing him and had waited for hours and weeks and months to get to see him compete. I think at this point, only your most surface fan doesn't know who Kobashi is, despite the face that he is one of those "foreign wrestlers" and if you claim to be a wrestling fan and don't know who is, you deserve to be the next guy in line to get crabs from Lita.
8) Basics- 9
Kobashi knows his stuff. He went through the grueling All Japan dojo and was trained by one of the great scientific wrestlers of our time, Dory Funk jr. He doesn't go to submission moves a lot, even though it's a way of life in Japanese wrestling, but he has some good transitions. His chops and ridgehands are among the most brutal strikes in all of combat sports anywhere. Kobashi is spot on and can do almost anything he wants in the ring.
9) Feuds/ Matches- 9 All I need to do is give you a list of matches that were voted their respective matches of the year and you need to seek them out, IMMEDIATELY:
92- w/ Kikuchi v. Furnas/ La Fon
95- w/ Misawa v. Kawada/ Taue
95- v. Kawada (1 hr. draw)
98- v. Misawa
99- v. Misawa
03 v. Misawa
04 v. Akiyama
05 v. Joe
And the list could go on and on, he's feuded with the biggest names to ever grace Japanese wrestling. The only drawback is he missed competing with a lot of the great wrestlers that have come from New Japan Pro as those would have been classics.
10) Gutcheck- 10
Simply put, the man has more courage than most competitors out there. He just underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in his brain. The man survived brain cancer and now, less than year later, he's climbing back into the ring. Just the guts and love of this sport to do such a thing is miraculous, to bounce back successfully is iconic. It's an inspiring story of a man who is trying to fulfill his destiny and that is to be remembered as one of the greats of all time. And he's well on his way.
Final Score: 92
PO: Thumbs Up
(Thanks to Wikipedia for the info and good luck to Kobashi Sunday Dec 2 on his return)
1) SAT's v. Christopher Daniels/ Donovan Morgan- 4
I love tag team wrestling and when done right, there's nothing like it in the world. I was praying for some really good tag action but the whole show was filled with ROH singles matches thrown into tags. The SAT's were looking like they've had one too many churros lately and were off at points. We got to see Trinity make her debut and moonsault onto Daniels and his current roadhouse slut, whatever her name was. The SAT's had some good teamwork but they have the RVD problem of using every single tag move they have in one match and therefore burning themselves out.
2) Ikuto Hidaka/ Dick Togo v. FBI (Mamaluke/ Guido)- 4
I was liking different sections of this match because Mamaluke really wanted to work over the Japanese contingent's arms and was doing a commendable job. Unfortunately, they were doing a arguing partners angle with the FBI and it was going nowhere. Guido looked a step below what he's capable of, no doubt readying himself for his WWE run, which due to my dismay, still continues. I tried liking this and Togo's back senton is always a treat.
3) Tony Mamaluke v. Guido Maritato- 2
Right off the bat, Guido takes a brutal fall on the piece of fencing ROH was using as guard rails in a nasty spill. This lasted all of 50 seconds of two little guys doing a sloppy brawl. It meant nothing and was better left off the card.
4) Chris Divine/ Quiet Storm v. Bryan Danielson/ Michael Modest- 5
I loved Modest laying in forearms like he was in a Scorcese flick in the corner. He was brutally stiff here and continued the trend throughout the show. Danielson was still young and it's funny to see him in his rookie days. He was definitley loaded with potential and put a hurting on the jobbing tag team, who didn't look bad. Storm and Divine were good bump guys and even had some good tag stuff they used. I was pretty happy with this match overall.
5) Da Hit Squad v. Natural Born Sinners- 0
This never got started. I couldn't even tell who was in either team but I did see that meathead DeVito from ECW out there.
6) Christopher Daniels/ Donovan Morgan v. Ikuto Hidaka/ Dick Togo- 5
This had a great pace to it and everyone was working really hard, except Morgan who looked like someone just slipped him a Ruffie. He was pretty sluggish during the match, which I think Daniels picked up on because he worked most of it, including the guy getting beat down for long periods of time. There was some pretty good near falls and the Japanese guys seemed really comfortable with Daniels and Morgan.
7) Dunn v. Alex Arion- 1
A squash for a cronie of Nana. Nothing noteworthy to say here except Arion is probably making Frulatti's at a mall food court somewhere.
8) Low Ki v. Xavier- 4
What a disappointment. I'm convinced that Xavier is garbage. Everytime I see him I see bad work and I was wondering why he had such a bad rep as a shitty ROH champion but now I see why. Low Ki hooked his dragon sleeper from the top and seconds later, Xavier was standing up as if nothing had happened. What a fucking moron. These two had problems communicating the whole match, with several plain as day blown spots. Low Ki is rare to have such an off match, but Xavier was lost. And the Daniels interference with the block of cement was really Indiana farmhouse-indy level shit and it had no place on this show.
9) Takao Omori v. Sonny Siaki- 5
This was a pretty basic back and forth match with nothing really offensive at all. They seemed like they had just met behind the curtain, therefore neither really went out of their way to make this match stand out. Omori had some pink face paint under his eyes like a bad extra from Hook. He threw some pretty swank kicks to Siaki's face though.
10) Amazing Red v. Jay Briscoe- 5
I've never been of that mold that says "that wrestler is too small to be a star" but I found myself wondering how Red saw over the steering wheel to drive to the show. He looked like a little child with corn rows. They had a awesome sequence of reversals on the ground and the Code Red from the top rope was pretty cool. This match didn't have a lot of substance but it was a sight to watch and pretty entertaining. Red's strikes looked as competent as OJ's alibi.
11) Michael Shane v. Paul London (Street Fight)- 8
This was a crazy ass fight! I'm not really a Shane fan (except for the Bentley bounce, which I break out as often as I can) but I am a London supporter and he just went balls to the wall in this one. Both men did juicy blade jobs and took some crazy risks; Shane by flipping out onto London's head with a chair in the middle and London doing an absolutely skitso flip from the top rope halfway down the damn aisleway! DO THE DAMN THING, BOYYYY! I was pretty fired up for this match. Shane's supposed "picture perfect elbow" would look better as a child's Crayloa drawing. London winning with a shooting star from the ladder was about as cool as you could get for a finish. It wasn't all brawling, and some of the spots told a good story like both men doing their finishes normally and the other kicking out, so then they both did them from the ladder. See this match.
12) Christopher Daniels/ Donovan Morgan v. Bryan Danielson/ Michael Modest- 6
Before this match gets started, we see a CM Punk and Colt Cabana promo which I promptly fast forwarded through. They looked like two goofy high school kids talking shit to each other. Punk looked strung out. But, onto the main event: This was a good finals for the tag tourney. All 4 guys seemed really familiar with each other which really helps the dynamic of the match. Danielson was really great at selling his knee being hurt, even when he was getting in offense. They had a good tag dynamic going for a while and Modest continued his streak of dealing out punishing forearms while I sat and ate Oreo's and milk with glee. The dive section was pretty sorry and could have been left out. Modest and Morgan slinging each other into the guard rail half heartedly was piss poor and lazy, but Daniels and Dragon worked out the finish in ring nigh any major problems. I enjoyed this as a main event but ROH in it's early days had many, many problems that needed to be worked out.
1) The Quebecers vs. Marty Jannetty & The 1-2-3 Kid - 5
This is for the tag team titles. The story behind this is that two weeks ago, Quebecers manager Johnny Polo cheated to beat Jannetty in a singles bout. Last week, Jannetty and the Kid forced Polo to make the match we have before us. Jannetty and the Kid are like a second coming of the Rockers. Their fast paced style throws the Quebecers off guard. During the commerical break, there's a false finish and the crowd goes apeshit. The Quebecers controlled the late stages of the bout but eventually Jannetty and the Kid regained control. The finish saw Jannetty and Kid win the titles with a vertical suplex/top-rope cross body combo move and the crowd explodes! It was as good as you could get on Raw in 94 and no one gave Marty & Kid a chance in hell to win the gold.
2) Ludvig Borga vs. Brad Anderson - 2
I really can't believe how hard Borga was getting pushed by the WWF! He makes quick work of Anderson with a torture rack type move for the finish. Borga would eventually sustain a career-ending ankle injury during a match with Rick Steiner at MSG a week before the Royal Rumble. He would eventually pop-up in the early days of the UFC where he managed to suck even worse.
3) The Undertaker vs. Ray Hudson - 2
Is it wrong to feel sorry for the jobbers because I really feel sorry for Hudson right now. The poor scrub has to fight the Undertaker for God's sake! Vince makes mention of a weird smell being either formaldehyde or Hudson. Taker wins with one of the most vicious tombstones I've ever seen. Hey Hudson ... what do you want on your tombstone? Me personally, I'll take pepperoni and extra cheese.
4) Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bastion Booger - 2
So this is it, huh? This is the big main event on Raw. Believe it or not there's actually a story behind this. Bastion and Bam Bam teamed up last week and Luna began to rub Bastion's hump after he got beaten up by the Smoking Gunns. Bastion started to hug Luna, Bam Bam got pissed, and they starting brawling. There wasn't really much to note except for the fact that Bigelow took a sick bump on an Irish whip into the buckle. Booger was pretty immobile and Bigelow made quick work of him and blew him into a snot rag.
We wrap up with Vince and Randy preparing to cut the cake when they are interrupted by Irwin R. Schyster. IRS runs down Savage in preparation for their match next week and Savage throws the entire cake in his face. Wait ... the candle was still lit!!
Next week, it's the final Raw before the Royal Rumble and Savage takes on I.R.S. in the main event!
Monday, November 26, 2007
1) Innovation- 7
Lynn's contributions to innovation in the wrestling world are sometimes underplayed, mainly because they haven't always affected the industry as a whole. When he first started in professional wrestling, there was no junior or cruiserweight division to speak in the States (Japan was already promoting the smaller athletes) until he and Sean Waltman (the Lightning Kid) began a feud down in Texas that really encapsulated what smaller men were capable of doing inside the ring. Probably one of the more respectable things to come out of Global (we won't talk about Mike Davis' moon rock). Then in the midst of the biggest boom in wrestling history, in a small fed running out of Philly, Lynn and RVD start a feud that everyone in the world turns their attention to mainly because of the style of matches they were having. And of course, Lynn was there in the hey day of the X division and helped birth that style as well, with the likes of AJ Styles and Low Ki.
2) Conditioning- 7
Lynn has never had a bodybuilders physique but that's okay because I don't think his body would look right with it. He wasn't built to carry that kind of weight. He has really high stamina and previously a long, lanky physique, now padded in the midsection as all men do as they grow older. He's worked tons of longer matches in his career and can hold his own in a longer paced match. If steroid or drug use was part of his career, I don't think it's factored in very much.
3) Skill- 8
Lynn is a great worker, and has excelled in match quality, above all else in his career. His work ethic is very strong and he knows how to implement lots of little things in matches to help the overall quality. I'd say his lack of charisma doesn't always help point out these intricacies but as far as his in ring performances, usually very high quality. He sells pain very well, and takes great bumps and is not afraid to take a risk for the overall sake of the match. He works well with a great many number of opponents, although smaller workers around his size is his forte. He works very well from underneath and doesn't mind doing a job to put someone over. He's a great journey man competitor and an invaluable backbone player anywhere he works.
4) Psychology- 10
Experience counts for something in this business. Lynn has picked up tricks of the trade wherever he goes, whether it be from his trainer Brad Rheignens, former opponent Lance Storm, or former fellow Heat jobber Scotty 2 Hotty. Lynn knows how to implement great psych into his matches, such as nagging injuries from previous matches, desperation comebacks, and moves that can finish someone. He doesn't have a giant ego, or a Superman physique, so he knows his limitations and works within them, in a realistic sense. Lynn is a fan of near fall pins (as am I); his only down fall is not sticking to the age old adage, "less is more" and tries to combat the younger talent with a barrage of innovative moves when a good old fashioned small package near fall can pop a crowd more if done correctly.
5) Interviews- 5
As with most technically proficient athletes, Lynn's weakness is on camera although he's not as bashful as most, but he's also not very polished. Lynn can cut a feud fueling promo, but not a money one. Not one that will get the crowd behind him or the people watching on TV at home behind that feud and think "I need to go pay money to see this match when they come near us!" His obsession with death metal always seems to creep his way in to his earlier work and I really was appalled at some of his TNA stuff, playing up as being like the grandfather of the X Division, but I guess it worked for him, oh that's right, it didn't,he got canned so Pacman Jones could stand on the ring apron like an idiot for 3 months.
6) Character- 5
Jerry Lynn has pretty much always played Jerry Lynn, a hardworking guy who loved to compete. We've seen flashes of a sadistic side to him, such as painting his chest with blood like war paint which has been done to death now. Other than that, he's been a face nearly all his career, except that wretched run with Cyrus as a guy who only competes in main events. As my cousin Melissa used to say when she was a teenager, "Gag me with a fork."
7) Fans- 5
It's hard to judge how a real crowd would react to Jerry these days after seeing him in the TNA Asylum so long. There are only 150 people there and they drone like zombies to whoever comes out so that's not a good indicator. I would say he is a recognizable guy, but not overtly so. I think the fans appreciate his hardwork over the years and would get a great reaction due to respect. But, he is not a guy that's going to draw waves of fans to see him, not a money player at all. I'd say large scale crowds and fans would be indifferent to him, maybe even shit on his wrestling style were he to be in front of a WWE crowd again, just as they did when he was there the first time.
8) Basics- 9
Lynn has a great understanding of most basic wrestling holds and when to apply them in a match. He's definitley old school in that he doesn’t just fall on the mat and grab a body part, that when he cinches in an armbar he knows exactly where to put the pressure at to make it look real. He can work a training school match pretty well I would say, but I really hate the way he hits the ropes. It's pretty exposing because he looks like he is afraid of getting hurt and as a fan, I watch and wonder "that shouldn't hurt should it?" his punches are decent (actually I think he's a forearm guy.)
9) Feuds/ Matches- 7
Lynn has had 2 feuds that will be remembered once he is long gone, the first one being with Sean Waltman. Their matches in Global were unlike anything that was around in the States because they were working a New Japan Juniors style that hadn't been brought to America yet. TNA capitalized on this feud nearly 20 years later, bringing both men back in for a long awaited return match and even though both men's best days were behind them, they put on a 4 star match that was among the best in 2005. His 2nd was with "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam. RVD was known as a showman and loved to put on the best matches of the night, but when Lynn started hitting his stride in the land of Extreme, fans took notice and clamored to see these two go at it, which they did many, many times. They seemed to have a chemistry together that was far beyond that of any other 2 men in the promotion and the feud caught the attention of wrestling fans worldwide during the height of wrestling's mainstream popularity. I would say this feud is among the many reasons ECW propelled itself out into a bigger spotlight at the time. He also had minor feuds over the years with Justin Credible, AJ Styles, Low Ki, and more recently Chris Sabin. Lynn unfortunately has missed out on many great matches with top superstars over the years that surely would have been treats, so his rank is a little lower than most.
10) Gutcheck- 7
In an interview on a TNA DVD release, Lynn basically said he just loves to compete and that's what drives him. It's not the money,(although without that, who would really be doing this job?), or the fame, or the women it was the desire to compete and have a better match than his last. If that is what drives the man, there are certainly worse things. I think my finding his name amongst a small local indy show in PA proves that point. Lynn has never acquired superstar status in the industry, he's had few t shirts, or action figures, but he has been a World Champion (ECW) and he has put on some classics to be remembered. He's a quiet figure on the wrestling landscape, but certainly a positive influence for younger competitors and a treat to watch for fans.
Final Score: 70
PO: thumbs up
WWF Monday Night Raw - 1/3/94 ...
Taped in Poughkeepsie, NY. Your hosts are the always dapper Vince McMahon and Johnny Polo.
1) Yokozuna vs. Dan Dubiel - 3
From the get-go, Polo is hamming it up on commentary with such witty comments as "Dubiel or not Dubiel, that is the question". Vince pulls him back on track as Yoko takes some massive liberties on the scrawny youngster Dubiel. Hard kicks to the face and a bonzai drop that crushes Dubiel's larnyx ends it. The match was nothing but points are awarded for the sick bonzai drop.
2) The Smoking Gunns vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Bastion Booger - 3
I guess you could call this the marquee match-up of the night. Booger can hardly move and looks pretty much repulsive. Polo quips about Booger's "hump" on commentary. The Gunns were still fairly new to the WWF at this point, having only been there about six months or so. It was painfully obvious when Bart severly botches an over-the-top spot. The finish sees Luna massaging Booger's hump (ewww!) and then Booger hugging Luna and the summarily getting beat-up by Bam Bam.
3) Jeff Jarrett vs. John Chrystal - 2
Chrystal gets in the most offense I've ever seen from a jobber in a three-minute beatdown. He gets at least three near-falls on Jarrett in the first two minutes. I guess good ol' Double J took him kinda lightly. Jarrett rebounds and wins with a sloppy DDT. The match itself was solid but nothing notable. Afterwards, the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty challenge the Quebecers to a tag title match next week.
4) Shawn Michaels vs. Brian Walsh - 3
It's main event time! Walsh is sporting a teal ring jacket with stones and I will refrain from homosexual jokes here. Michaels has his way with the young jobber. Walsh gets in a bit of offense but winds up on the wrong end of a superkick and a sick piledriver.
Closing out, Vince hypes next week's show as the one-year anniversary and announces Kid & Jannetty vs. Quebecers for the tag titles and Bam Bam vs. Bastion Booger.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
7 time WCW Tag Team Champion
2 time WCW US Champion
1 time WCW TV Champion
1 time AWA Tag Team Champion
1 time USWA World Champion
1) Innovation- 8
When Hall showed up on WCW Nitro back in June of 96, the wrestling world stood up and took notice. What followed was arguably the most successful wrestling "angle" of all time, the New World Order. To make it work, it took Hall and Nash as the backbone of the group, on camera, to be stirring the pot. What happened is they created a whole legion of fans who thought they were the real stars of WCW. They had the cool catchphrases, they were trendy, they were fun and they were innovating every week. Now, we know there came a time when the NWO got staler than the bag of potato chips under your bed, but for a long time, they were on top and Hall was at the forefront of that. Hall was apart of the new trend of revealing what was going on behind the curtain, to show the fans that everything wasn't as real or fake as they thought it was. And don't forget he helped popularize the ladder match with Shawn Michaels after their historic Wrestlemania encounter.
2) Conditioning- 4
If you've seen Hall on a recent edition of TNA Impact, you know what i'm talking about. The guy used to be ripped and have some stamina, but that has all but disappeared. What we have now is a near 50 year old man trying to compensate for the tools he used to have. Hall's physique is gross and his stamina is near non existent. His addled drug and alcohol abuse have taken a horrible toll on him and have dampened his stature amongst the wrestling community, especially in light of all that has happened in the last year.
3) Skill- 6
Hall is a competent perfomer, or at least he was for most of his career. He knows how to pace himself and not burn out everything he can do in the first few minutes of a match. He has had some really great matches with a wide variety of opponents over the years. He used to take some serious bumps in his younger years, but i don't think that's relevant anymore. On occasion, he is known to "over sell" and over act to the utmost degree, which is completely ridiculous. Even a two year old can determine he looks more like a cartoon character than an athlete when he's in that mode. Hall had some really devastating moves that he used regularly, especially the Super Back Suplex and the Razor's Edge.
4) Psychology- 7
Hall has a great psych game. His limited offense only goes so far, and that's when you need time and skill to build a match upon. Hall knows exactly how to pull a crowd into a match, whether it's against him or for him. He also is very adapt at working over a body part and making it look halfway legit. He doesn't sell pain well on his face and his over the top comedy act gets pretty redundant, but he strays over to the comedy side quite often, especially now since he's getting older, he's having to use more tricks up his sleeve.
5) Interviews- 10
"Hey, yo!" That one line has made him a lot of money. Hall has been using his Scarface-wannabe accent for years and it has always paid off. He has a quick wit that makes him fun to listen to and an unpredictibility that makes him fun to watch. It could be argued that Hall is more entertaining when he's talking than when he's wrestling. Hall has always had a handle on his Cuban trash talker gimmick and lived it up to it's potential, therefore nearly adapting his own persona as Scott Hall into a Cuban.
6) Character- 8
As Scott Hall, in his early days, he pretty much floundered. As the Diamond Studd, he failed miserably being a character who nobody really knew what he was supposed to be. As Razor Ramon, he flourished under the guise that i'm sure many Cuban refugees who came to America pretened to be: Tony Montana, a tough guy, a guy that was going to get his and become rich and powerful. It was pretty identifiable and i'm surprised WWE didn't have a bigger following down there because of Ramon. Hall played this part better and more convincing than he does as himself, which is saying something. Hall teters between face and heel most of the time, easily able to bat between the two roles, as his is pretty much undefined.
7) Basics- 5
I know early in his career Hall was pretty well versed in the basics but ever since his first WWE run that has pretty much went out the window. His abdominal stretch is pretty sweet though. He has a great punch, although it has a tendency to turn into a blantantly open hand slap a lot of the times. His ring style has slowed down to a lethargic crawl these days, but that doesn't condemn him with a low score.
8) Fans- 9
Hall gets a reaction, everywhere he goes. He's a big name in the sport, due to his run in WWE and in the NWO. Fans love a catchphrase too, and Hall has several in his aresenal to unleash each and everytime he returns. I'd say Hall makes returns more than anything because he only ever has a short run no matter where he turns up. Even as a heel, Hall will still get cheered simply due to the NWO association when that kind of fan response was so common.
9) Match/ Opponent- 7
Hall will forever be remembered for his ladder match at Wrestlemania XX with Shawn Michaels which was a classic.
But, he has had some other great matches and feuds with the likes of Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Goldust, and Sting. Hall has gotten to compete with the biggest names in the wrestling world during his career and has held up decently with most of them. I don't know the last really great Scott Hall match i've seen and i'm sure he doesn't either ,but he's still had a handful of great matches with some of the biggest names in the business.
10) Gutcheck- 3
Very few guys stick around the wrestling business because they have a honest passion for it and love doing it. A few more guys stick around because they have never done anything else and like the traveling, the backstage gossip and the comraderie. But, i'd say 90% of performers that stick around past their prime do it because of the money or hope of money and i'd put Scott Hall in that category. Despite all the great things he's done for the business, he's also been one of the blackest eyes on it with his famed drug and alcohol abuse. It's even been the subject of numerous wrestling storylines. I think there should be another factor when weighing a performer's grade in this category and that is Integrity, and call me out if i'm wrong on this one, but Hall has zilch as far as i'm concerned.
Final Score: 67
PO: Thumbs down