Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brian Pillman: The Loose Cannon (WWE Productions)

I have one thing to say about the actual film about Brian: There is way too much loud rock music blaring throughout the thing. It is too fucking annoying. It needs to go from future productions. Okay, I've vented. To the matches.

1 Bad Company v. Midnite Cowboys (Stampede; 04/23/88)- 2

This was only five minutes of a longer match; one I very much wanted to see. Pillman flew like he had rocket propellers in his feet and was at his most daring in Stampede, with aireal offense. The Cowboys looked more like the Midcarders in Pink.

2 Lex Luger v. Brian Pillman (US Title; Halloween Havoc; 10/28/89)- 8

Yeah, this is my highest rated Luger match of all time. In the feature, Jim Ross said Pillman brought the best out in Luger and I'll be damned if that lying Oklahoman wasn't telling the truth. Let's list all the goodness in this match: Luger and Pillman were both young and in phenomenal shape; they built a great story; Pillman was terrorizing Luger with chops like he was about to take his lunch money; the crowd was fidgeting they were so crazy in love with this match; and it had a good finish to the match. Both men were using great facials and besides a few bad Luger sells( they are unavoidable) this was a perfectly worked, wonderful that I would show any young and up coming wanna be wrestler to watch. Also, it only went about 16 minutes; they didn't stretch themselves.

3 Brian Pillman/ Tom Zenk v. The Freebirds (US Tag Title Tournament Finals; 02/12/90)- 5

Pillman and Zenk were really on and showed a ton of energy, not that the Freebirds didn't, but there sells were off. It wasn't their best work, but they needed it to be to make this a real classic, but it wasn't.

4 Brian Pillman/ Sting/ Steiner Brothers v. Ric Flair/ Barry Windham/ Larry Zybyzsko/ Sid Vicious (War Games; WrestleWar 02/24/91)- 7

War Games if done right, is an awesome match and this was no exception. All the right ingredients were in it (great wrestlers, great brawling, streams of blood) Pillman brought a big energy to this match and helped it much more than hampered it. There were a few bad notables: Sid (just overall), some miscues, some no sells, and Sid using 2 Powerbombs on Pillman to win when the first was devastating enough and the 2nd just looked sloppy. Not as good as the '92 version we reviewed, but stellar in it's own way.

5 Brian Pillman v. Richard Morton (WCW Light Heavyweight Title Finals; Halloween Havoc; 10/27/91)- 5

I actually reviewed this show from a tape from Adam, yet this match was left off so I was glad to have gotten to see it. This is nothing that you would expect it to be. It was all ground work and not the best I've ever seen. Pretty basic stuff, very low impact. Pillman lit up Morton's chest with some chops, but that's it.

6 Brian Pillman/ El Gigante v. Barry Windham/ Arn Anderson (Loser Leaves Match; Clash of the Champions XV 06/14/91)- 2

Pillman and Anderson put together a brilliant 90 seconds of work and then a minute or so later, it was over. Gigante never lurched himself in, merely "chased" both heels on the outside.

7 Brian Pillman/ Barry Windham v. Tom Zenk/ Johnny Gunn (WCW Saturday Night; 12/26/92)- 4

This was a TV match, although not an altogether waste of time. Both teams seemed in good spirits and had a short, yet fast paced back and forth tag. It was fun to watch while on.

8 Hollywood Blondes v. Ricky Steamboat/ Shane Douglas (Steel Cage; WCW Tag Team Title; Slamboree 05/23/93)- 6

I really loved the Blondes. They are probably one of my favorite teams of all time, even for such a short run. Their potential as a tag team, I think, was unlimited. You had what would have been 2 of the brightest stars in wrestling had Pillman not died so young, then look at Austin and his success. One thing detracting from this match was that The "Dragon" and the "Franchise" were in masks, playing a Mexican team. What is even stupider is Steamboat unmasked( before he performed an awesome leap from the top of the cage). Why even wear the masks if you don't need them on? But, alas, the Blondes, Austin especially looked like they were made specifically for taking nasty cage bumps because that's all they did in this one. The fun factor was really high in this match.

9 Brian Pillman/ Sting/ Dustin Rhodes v. Rick Rude/ Steve Austin/ Paul Orndorff (Thundercage; Superbrawl 02/20/94)- 5

As a cage, Thundercage blows meaty chunks. It's too big and wobbly and the bumps into it don't look good. There wasn't a lot of quality material in this match, even though they was no end to the supply of quality workers involved in it. I think this would have been a much better regular six man tag than in that floppy gimmick.

10 Brian Pillman v. Jushin Liger (1st Nitro; 09/04/95)- 3

This is a great 20 minute match squeezed into 6; but that wasn't the only problem. I don't think these two had worked in 3 or 4 years and it showed. Both were bulkier and not all of their light weight spots were still crisp. Not a worthy outing for either.

11 Brian Pillman v. Dean Malenko (Nitro; 01/22/96)- 2

On paper, this looks pretty fantastic, yet it was no more than Pillman stalling, then a cheap finish. Malenko did sport a rugged manly beard though.

12 Brian Pillman v. Eddie Guerrero (Clash of the Champions XXXII; 01/23/96)- 3

When the two actually locked up, there were some good sequences, yet it was more about Pillman trying to freak out the crowd, and Bobby Heenan, who lost his cool and dropped a "fuck" on national TV.

13 Brian Pillman v. Steve Austin (Raw; 06/16/97)- 4

This was a sloppy brawl peppered with some pretty intense punching. Of course, neither guy was punching very well. Pillman did get his nose busted open with a chair pushed into his face, though. Austin looked half asleep during some of his brawling.

14 The Hart Foundation v. Steve Austin/ Ken Shamrock/ LOD/ Goldust (Canadian Stampede; 07/04/97)- 8

THIS CROWD WAS INSANE! I can't stress that enough! I think two late 80's WWF Wrestling Buddies could have made this match at least a 5 if for nothing else than this crowd. They were majorly pro-Harts and all the faces were booed unmercifully. Most of them were used to being the bad asses(except for Goldust) so I think it was a reality check for them. Bret's ovations especially rival anything I've ever heard in wrestling; I think other planets probably registered the noise level. Most of the wrestling was good, but they're were some bad performances, notably LOD, Bulldog, and Anvil. One highlight was Pillman beating Shamrock worse than Tito Ortiz ever did every chance he got.

15 Brian Pillman v. Goldust (Ground Zero; 09/07/97)- 6

I upped my score on this match due to my low expectations and then these two topping them. For Pillman being in very bad physical condition, he bumped like a true man including a very nasty guard rail spot from the top turnbuckle. This match had good back and forth and was very physical. I enjoyed it immensely.

16 Brian Pillman v. Jushin Liger (WCW Light Heavyweight Title; Superbrawl II; 02/29/92)- 7

I also reviewed this video and the version of this match I saw was only 7 minutes; missing nearly 10 from it. The extra footage turned this into a worthy encounter. The pacing, the highspots and the overall just plain good face vs. face wrestling made this a very watchable and hard to not like match.

Brian Pillman DVD - Disc 2

1) Brian Pillman, The Steiner Brothers, & Sting vs. Ric Flair, Larry Zbyszko, Sid Vicious, & Barry Windham – War Games Match – 7
2) Brian Pillman vs. Ricky Morton – 5
3) Brian Pillman & El Gigante vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham – Loser Leaves Town Match – 3
4) Brian Pillman & Barry Windham vs. Johnny Gunn & Tom Zenk – 4
5) The Hollywood Blondes vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas – Cage Match – 6
6) Brian Pillman, Dustin Rhodes, & Sting vs. Rick Rude, Paul Orndorff, & Steve Austin – Thundercage Match – 6
7) Brian Pillman vs. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger (9/4/95) – 5
8) Brian Pillman vs. Dean Malenko – 4
9) Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero – 4
10) Brian Pillman vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – 5
11) Brian Pillman, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, & Jim Neidhart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, The Legion of Doom, & Goldust – 8
12) Brian Pillman vs. Goldust – 5
13) Brian Pillman vs. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger (2/29/92) – 7

I really miss the days of the War Games match as this was one of the best that WCW ever presented. Flair was selling great, the Steiners were tossing everyone around the ring, Sid was powerbombing everyone in sight. The finish came when Sid damn near broke Pillman’s neck after a botched powerbomb. It’s an awesome match and I strongly urge you to seek it out. The match with Morton was clipped off the commercial tape of Halloween Havoc 91 and I was really pissed about it when I saw the tape. The match itself was pretty simple with very little high-risk. It was a fun little match but nothing groundbreaking outside of Pillman becoming the first light heavyweight champion. The tag match with El Gigante was from a Clash episode in mid-1991. It offered nothing aside from Pillman losing the fall which would lead to the useless Yellow Dog angle which isn’t even covered on the DVD. I’m not sure why the tag match against Gunn and Zenk was included. I’ve seen Pillman and Zenk tear down the house but this wasn’t it. The cage match against Steamboat and Douglas is timeless. Austin and Pillman were bumping big, Steamboat was flying off the cage, and Douglas was working the mat game. The six-man thundercage match was also fun to watch as is anything that involves any of those involved. Austin was really bumping big into the cage and lost the fall after Pillman was slammed onto him by Sting. The match with Liger from 95 is the first ever Monday Nitro match. Pillman blew two headscissor takeovers right in a row and seemed to be off his game a little bit. Perhaps it was because they were working a TV match, but I definitely wanted more out of it. The matches with Malenko and Guerrero were right at the end of Pillman’s WCW run and really the only highlight of these two is were Pillman rips off Bobby Heenan’s jacket in the match with Guerrero and pisses him off so badly that Heenan drops the “F” bomb on live TV.

The singles match with Austin has some intensity to it and featured Pillman busting his nose after Austin shoved a chair in his face. This also set up the big ten-man tag match which is probably one of the best all around main events that the WWF(E) has ever presented. There was incredible storytelling, the Calgary crowd was super-hot, and everything was executed flawlessly. I strongly urge you to seek this match out as well. The match with Goldust was his final high profile match before his death. There wasn’t much there but it was some good storytelling and Goldust looked motivated. The last match presented is the historic match from WCW SuperBrawl II that put the light heavyweight/crusierweight division on the map in the United States. Both guys worked really hard and had a fantastic twenty minute match and it’s hard to imagine where wrestling today would be without it. While some of the matches that were on this set weren’t the best, I would still place this in the recommended category because of all the great WCW footage that is involved.

Brian Pillman DVD - Disc 1

Disc 1:
1) Bad Company vs. The Midnight Cowboys – 3
2) Brian Pillman vs. Lex Luger – 5
3) Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk vs. The Freebirds – 5

After a very good documentary and some other intriguing tidbits, a tag match from the olden days of Stampede Wrestling kicks off the bonus features on this disc. Pillman was teaming with Bruce Hart in this one and didn’t offer up too much and the opposition looked sloppy. I would’ve liked to have seen the whole match because only five of an apparent twenty was presented. The match with Luger from Halloween Havoc 89 was kept suprisingly simple. Pillman was just starting out in WCW at this point and the match itself ran about fifteen minutes. I definitely think it’s one of Luger’s better efforts as well. The final bonus match was the finals of the 1990 U.S. Tag Title tournament. The Freebirds really know how to work a crowd. Pillman & Zenk score the upset in a very satisfying tag match to close disc one.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

WWF No Mercy- Oct. 21, 2001 St. Louis, Missouri

1 Hardy Boyz v. Lance Storm/ The Hurricane- 4

Okay, we've all been to Storm's website, (well, then again, maybe not) but we know how big of a pedestal he's been put on by his fans and so forth. Well, after watching this match, at least in WWE, Storm isn't so great. He bumps well and puts together great spots, but as far as anything emotional, he's as cold as a corpse. I hate to say it, but WWE looks for that and it's the big time, so you need to put some damn emotion on that face, boy! Oh, that's right, you're gone. Hurricane was extra goofy, like he sucked in some helium before the match, there was a LAME 3 way catfight, but for the most part, The Hardys beat their asses like they were Matt Huges from GSP. Plus, the fans were lactating for them.

2 Test v. Kane- 3

Test has graduated to this generations' Lex Luger: big physique, no brain. Plus, he has a horse face. Possibly the worst spot of the night was Kane throwing a chair to Test, Test catching it, then Kane trying to dropkick the chair into his face, but coming up at least a foot short on heigth. Yeah, Test, in his infinite wisdom sold it. The only thing positive I can say is that both men were throwing some stiff shots at each other, even if they were sloppy as hell.

3 Torrie Wilson v. Stacy Keibler (Lingerie Match)- 1

There was a giant sham hanging over the ring for this match. You didn't actualy have to strip your opponent, the gimmick was they merely wrestled in the underwear. I have to admit: I'm a fan of nice breasts and nice legs, and these girls had them both, but do I want to see them wrestling in lingerie? what I mean by that, is putting together badly contrived spots and doing something they both are not good at, in lingerie. While I'm sure a certain part of my libido does, I watch wrestling for the athleticism and brutality; these girls are better off at ringside, in lingerie, not taking up valuable performing time. Or learn to wrestle. There, I went on my tirade. (I'm sure a friend of the site, Tim, is basking in this outforth show of opinion formed into a long rant. I've seen several of his. I know he approves of the artform.)

4 Edge v. Christian (Ladder Match)- 7

GOD DIZZLE, JAY RESO WAS BUMPING LIKE A FIEND! While I enjoy a nice, simple, scientific wrestling match once in a while, I also love to see a car crash and this was one. I can't say I cared for the overall structure of it, or Edge's lack of having balls enough to bump, but just watching the punishment Christian took was worth every bit of trouble we had going out into the rain, driving to Family Video, and pondering on renting the Piper DVD (even if it was $2.59 a night?! Are you fucking kidding me!)

5 Dudley Boyz v. Big Show/ Tajiri- 3

I pondered giving this one the prestigious 2, but I think calling it the equivalent to Tom Green's "Freddy Got Fingered" of the wrestling world is harsh enough. Tajiri and D-Von stayed in the majority of the time and worked well together. As for the other two: Bubba, the camoflauged buffoon, was as stale as last weekends' beer and pizza and his bumps were so over the top, selling a Big Show clothesline a good 2 seconds before he was even touched, looking worse than a Michael Richards pratfall( I could say more on that subject, but I'll stick to the wrestling.) And Big Show, he looked and smelled like a French whore's turd laying on a American business man's chest. He simply had nothing to give to this match, or fashion.

6 Undertaker v. Booker T- 6

This match had enough good stuff for me to like it. This was both guys trying to figure out the next moves in their career. Booker was just working his ass off like a soldier, and Taker was developing his pseudo MMA style. Plus, he was a retail store customer prick to Book in this match. Taker was dropping soup bones directly onto the top of Booker's head like he was trying to nail him into the ground. Of course, Dead Man went over but the content was highly enjoyable.

7 Chris Jericho v. The Rock- 7

I really was high on this match when it first happened (being a Jericho mark) and was pretty pleased with a 2nd viewing. These guys whipped the crowd into a lusty frenzy during this match. Rock probably could have slept with any woman in the crowd that night, and Jericho could have gotten into a bare foot street fight with any of them merely by looking at them wrong. But, some fans were cheering him as well. Most of the action was good; both men were guilty as charged of overselling, but at least they had some emotion on their faces, unlike half of the other guys I saw on this tape. Stephanie "Big Boobs McGee" McMahon interfered, needlessly, in the never dying farce that the McMahons matter to the title picture in wrestling.

8 Kurt Angle v. RVD v. Stone Cold Steve Austin- 5

I had my eye on that crafty Rattlesnake during this match, and was morbidly curious as to why he acted as if neither guy was there half the time. He no-sold several dozen shots from both men, merely to get in his own rushed offense. I thought Angle and RVD worked well together, but it wasn't enough to string together a good match. Vinnie Mac busted the back of Austin's head open with a chair, at which point it seeemed he quit the match. I expected more out of these guys for this main event. I kept hoping my VCR would magically inject something historical and wonderful into this match, as if the machine had some Jumanji-like qualities, but instead it just ended the show like a normal RAW: scared heel skittering off, McMahon claming the ring as his throne, like the toilet in his master bathroom and Sable's over used pussy in 2003, while the cameraman cuts back and forth between them, trying to create more tension than is there. And, then it ended, showing us just a little mercy. FALSE ADVERTISING

TNA Impact - 2/22/07

1) Team 3-D vs. LAX – Belting Pot Match – 3
2) Voodoo Kin Mafia & Lance Hoyt vs. Robert Roode, Eric Young, & James Storm – 1
3) Jerry Lynn vs. Austin Starr vs. Senshi vs. Jay Lethal vs. Sonjay Dutt – Ladder Match – 3

The belting pot match was ludicrous and the name itself it just as bad. Brother Ray was lazy as hell and D-Von’s shirt may explode if he doesn’t back off the roids. From what I understand, Ray is pissed that LAX is more over than 3-D. I think he’s just jealous that despite the fact that Konnan is in a wheelchair, he can still cut a promo ten times better than Ray can. If I were Team 3-D, I would retire now and stay the hell away from wrestling. The six-man tag was a minute or so of slop. The whole match was Young playing that he didn’t want to team with Roode. Why the VKM and Hoyt were teaming together, I’ll never know. Finally, the ladder match wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Lynn won after about 5-6 minutes of “action” half of which was taken up by a commercial. TNA really needs to concentrate on putting quality matches on TV instead of lame five minute bouts and meaningless skits and promos. I was a Russo supporter when he came in because I thought that he would give TNA a kick in the nuts. He’s raised the ratings on TV but has ultimately ruined the product.

WWF No Mercy ‘01

1. Hardy Boyz vs. Lance Storm and Hurricane - 4
2. Kane vs. Test - 2
3. Torrie Wilson vs. Stacy Keibler - Lingerie Match - 2
4. Christian vs. Edge - Ladder Match - 7
5. Big Show and Tajiri vs. Dudley Boyz - 3
6. Booker T vs. The Undertaker - 7
7. The Rock vs. Chris Jericho - 8
8. Kurt Angle vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Rob Van Dam - 5

The Hardy Boyz were hotter than Godzilla’s atomic breath and spicy wings combined, where their opponents, Hurricane and Storm were as stale as Umaga’s asshole after a twelve-hour flight. Kane and Test was an abomination; Test was blatantly feeding himself to Kane, but still won, and Kane’s powerbomb on referee Nick Patrick afterwards was an eyesore. Wilson and Keibler looked superb, an as pointless as this was, Stacy’s my all-time favorite woman in wrestling, so I can’t totally shit on it, but I would like to take photos of her taking a shit. Christian and Edge brought the bumps in their ladder match, well, at least Christian did. The story was nonexistent, and nobody remembers this match, but it’s worth seeing for nothing else imagining how damn sore Jay Reso was the following morning. Show and Tajiri wasn’t a good idea for a team, and Bubba’s pratfall-like bumps are shitty. Booker and Undertaker was a lot of fun, just a good back-and-forth encounter between two veterans, and a solid match. Rock and Jericho was really good, too; the crowd was livid, and they both put a lot into this one. It’d have been nice to see a clean finish, but we definitely didn’t. The main event was disappointing, Austin being the biggest problem, as I never realized how poorly he was possible of working. He didn’t sell anything, and constantly grabbed guys and lead them around, regardless of what offense they were trying to do, and it sucked. Neither Angle nor RVD got a chance to shine, but Austin sure got plenty of time to brawl sloppily. This show was a mixed bag, half of it was rancid like Stephanie McMahon’s cooter, and the other wasn’t bad at all.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

WWF MSG Show- 02/23/92

1 Berzerker v. Jim Brunzell- 3

Hardcore Holly does not have a great dropkick; he has a decent one for being over 45 and suffering several career threatening injuries( when will he get the point?). Now, if you start a campaign for Jim Brunzell for having the best dropkick...i'm sure you'll find a few old die hard fans that will agree, but not I: my vote is probably either Pillman or Kidman, leaning towards the guy who wrestled a plastic pencil and it was more entertaining than anything in the new ECW.

2 The Nasty Boys v. Bushwhackers- 1

SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP FROM THIS SLEEPING ZOMBIE ANT FEELER MODE! (or whatever that thing was from "Waking Life") I know there were some insightful points in that movie, but I just didn't pick them up and I wasn't a fan of the animation- Brian, I know this disappoints, but I love the 5th Element and you don't', so I guess our mostly similar movie tastes branched off somewhere in between those two films( I wonder what years they came out?) The Bushwhackers had a far too long shelf life and God, I hate their sells. They are worse than old West stunt doubles.

3 Chris Walker v. Warlord- 2

If anyone tries to tell me that Chris Walker did not venture into the world of early 90's soft core porn/ romance novel cover model, I will slap you across the face with the remains of his shredded 80's jungle hair. He has a swank ass cross body from the top rope- he showed a lot of gumption with it, but Warlord------let's just say this website has less material without him currently competing.
4 Hercules v. Sid- 0 Herc no sold every move in this match, the three punches, the boot, and the finishing powerbomb! I wish every wrestling fan in the world could see this because it was so fucking poor, he should have came into the match wearing shopping bag socks and pleading for $5 to give to his estranged daughter, who just happens to be a 5th of gin at the local corner market.

5 Repo Man v. Roddy Piper- 1

Let me say two things pertaining to the 2nd person in this title line: 1) I wish him the greatest luck in beating cancer 2) His stalling 2 finger eye poke remains one of my most marked out spots in my life!

6 British Bulldog v. Undertaker- 2

Have you seen the scores of these matches? Well, go ahead and look back if you haven't. I'll wait. Okay, now, do you get the sense that these guys aren't really trying? Congrats! You win the prize to read the rest of this review.( by the way, if you are a fan of British Bulldog, you need to read "Pure Dynamite" by Tom Billington, the Dyamite Kid. He crushes all your hopeless mark dreams of thinking he was the shit, because Kid could always outwork him and reveals all his truly prickish, heelish backstagish behavior.)

7 Rick Martel v. Big Bossman- 3

I thought this match had potential, but it wasn't given any decent time. The combination of Bossman's white knuckle street justice punches and Martel's real life looking mouth grabbing sell send me into a frenzy and I keep watching this shittiful excuse for an MSG show.

8 20 Man Battle Royal- which included B*rz*rk*r, Br*t*sh B*lld*g, R*ck M*rt*l, H*rc*l*s, Th* B*shwh*ck*rs, Sk*nn*r, R*p* M*n, W*rl*rd, Chr*s W*lk*r, K*t*, J*m Br*nz*ll, R*dd* P*p*r, Th* N*st* B*ys, *nd*rt*k*r, B*g B*ssm*n, S*d, R*c Fl**r, H*lk H*g*n- 3

All you need to know is that this match was downright plodding (like the plot of a Kevin Costner movie), boring (like any Politican's autobiography), asshole ugly (like Barbara Streisand and her concerts), and Flair went out during the middle while being World Champ- that kind of idiocy can only be reciprocated by me for taking the time to eliminate all the vowels from the wrestlers names.

ECW on Sci-Fi - 1/16/07

1) C.M. Punk vs. Matt Striker – 3
2) Marquis Cor Von vs. Cassidy Reily – 2
3) Elijah Burke vs. The Sandman – 1
4) Rob Van Dam vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Test – 4

The opening bout with Punk and Striker was pretty technically sound and planted the seeds for a future program between the two. The real story of the match was the return of Kelly Kelly and her continued infatuation with Punk. Monty Brown of TNA fame debuted with the new moniker Marquis Cor Von and made quick work out of fellow TNA alum Reily. He did the same gimmick he had in TNA and looks to be a major player on the ECW brand. Burke and Sandman was a pile of suck and ended just as quickly as it began. The main event three way could’ve been way better but to me nothing really seemed to click between them. After watching I realized that Test may be a better choice as champion than Lashley mainly because he’s a monster heel and Lashley still needs the tiniest bit of work. The ECW product has really taken a hit since Heyman’s departure after the December pay-per-view and you can see that it really lacks both motivation and direction.

WWF – Madison Square Garden – 3/23/93

1, Tatanka vs. Colonel Mustafa – 3
2. IRS vs. El Matador – 6
3. J.W. Storm vs. Rick “The Model” Martel – 4
1. Nasty Boys and The Mountie vs. Bushwhackers and Bret Hart – 3
2. Jim Brunzel vs. Warlord – 2
3. Virgil vs. Shawn Michaels – 5
4. Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice and Ric Flair – 5

Tatanka and Mustafa, the former Iron Sheik, had a rather slow-paced methodical encounter, but it tells its simple story effectively. IRS and El Matador went to a surprising twenty-minute draw, both guys were drenched with sweat at the end, and put forth a solid effort, especially for a throwaway show. I’m not sure whom Storm was, kind of looked like a younger Mike Awesome, but he held his own against crafty veteran Martel. The six-man tag didn’t have a lot of potential, and didn’t materialize into anything notable. Bret tried at times, but I’ll be damned, I never realized how utterly useless the Bushwhackers truly were. I figured Warlord would squash Brunzel quickly, but they actually drug it out for a while. Warlord was so muscular he was almost immobile, and as much as I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, he’s a pretty shitty worker. Shawn and Virgil had a decent bout that went nearly fifteen minutes. Virgil was sporting some heinous protective face-gear, which eventually got knocked off his head, which he subsequently sold like someone doing a scene from a Shakespearean play. The main event featured four huge stars, which was kind of neat, but the match didn’t amount to much itself. Flair was pinned cleanly, via a weak clothesline, nonetheless, in a poor finish.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Performer Analysis: Ultimo Dragon

1) Innovation- 10/10

Dragon has innovated wrestling in so many ways, and been apart of so many different facets of the industry, it’s really quite amazing. First off, being the final student of Bruce Lee, the master himself, is quite a feat. Secondly, when the Japanese promoters didn’t like his style, he didn’t lag through the opening ranks; he did something not many before him had attempted- he relocated to Mexico, and became a huge superstar. Dragon was also intricate in the formation of the Super J-Crown, the combined tournament of eight different junior titles all over the world. He was among the first wave of cruiserweight wrestlers to invade WCW and re-energize light weight wrestling in America. And to top it all off, he created his very own promotion: Toryumon, which in it’s inception, was one of the most innovative and exciting promotions in the world; not to mention, there is a move named after him- the Asai moonsault, the backflip bounding from the 2nd rope to the outside!

2) Conditioning- 7/10

Dragon has been trained in the martial arts, and there fore has great stamina. He has always had a decently thick midsection and always looks top heavy, especially with all his Dragon gear on, but he is a very athletic man, and has worked many long tag matches in Mexico, Japan, and in WCW. He has been drug free and was rarely injured in his career.

3) Skill- 8/10

Dragon gained many great skills in his coming up in Mexico, often wrestling in long six, eight and ten man tag matches, learning to work many different sizes of opponents. Being able to think quickly on his feet and keep up with the lightning quick pace of the Luchadores helped him in Japan, where he was lucky enough to work some of the greatest competitors of the late 90’s and early 21st century. Great Sasuke, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, El Hijo del Santo, Dean Malenko, Jushin Liger, and many more top opponents helped build Dragon’s abilities to have awesome matches, which he used to build his fed, Toryumon and it’s stable of great wrestlers.

4) Psychology- 7/10

Dragon wrestled some of the top names in wrestling in the late 90’s, guys who were building the future of wrestling. In Japan, psychology is very important, as it is in Mexico; the only difference is the subtleties in the different styles. They emphasize different things, giving Dragon a very well rounded look on the subject. When he came to America, the point is to entertain the fans and give believable performances, with facials and body language, something he was well prepared for.

5) Character- 5/10

Dragon has always played the upstanding face; a role that suits him. He has a great character and a great customer, but he has always been light on personality, something that possibly hindered him from becoming a heel. Or perhaps it’s his strong bond to the fans, which he has always had( barring that WWE run.)

6) Interviews- 2/10
Obviously, as is the case in the past, I do not speak Japanese, but I have seen some of his promos in translations and he doesn’t stretch beyond obvious points( I am going to beat you tonight!, or I will get my revenge!) and doesn’t use much emphasis on any points. Pretty plain interview skills.

7) Fans- 7/10

Again, Dragon has built a cult following during his career. His time in Mexico and Japan built him a world wide fan base that enjoyed watching his work, which is one of the reasons he was picked up by WCW. He usually got pretty good reactions there as well despite the fact he wasn’t given a lot to do but have good matches. His notoriety and influence in the Japanese wrestling picture had to be a selling point to pull him out of retirement and get one last chance, in WWE.

8) Strikes- 8/10
Dragon was a tremendous scientific wrestler and I would have to say that is probably his favorite style to work; or so it seemed in his later days. He had great kicking skills and implemented them very well into his arsenal every where he worked.

9) Match/ Opponent- 5/10

There’s no doubt that Dragon has faced off against the greatest lightweight stars, and well some of the best workers in the last ten years during his career. That is the reason for his score, almost solely, because he hasn’t had any red hot fire feuds that sometimes push a person’s career. He is usually a journey man, meaning he has worked in a number of promotions over his tenure, including AAA, New Japan, CWA, WCW, WWE, and Michinoku Pro, also having a number of matches in his own fed, Toryumon. Even though he has traveled all over the world, and competed against so many varied styles, he never really had a feud that will be remembered.

10) Gutcheck- 7/10

Dragon being a smaller guy, was never going to be a world Champion; at the time, he came into the industry, no one was. Even his own country didn’t see anything in him. But, he never gave up; he journeyed into Mexico and made himself a star. During his time in WCW, he chipped his elbow, an injury that would retire him for four years, but he didn’t sit idly by- he formed his own wrestling company, and opened a training school. When the opportunity came to him to achieve one of his own person goals in wrestling, he jumped on it: a chance to compete in Madison Square Garden and at a Wrestlemania. He joined the WWE in the summer of 2003 and stayed for one year and accomplished those goals. Dragon has had a tremendous love for this sport and it’s very evident in the length of his career.

Final Score: 66
Ranking: Superstar
PO: Thumbs Up

ECW December to Dismember 2006

1) The Hardys vs. MNM – 5 – This was decent. MNM looked a little sloppy, probably due to the fact that they hadn’t tagged together since Judgment Day back in May. Jeff’s sells were really sloppy and lazy and naturally Matt did all the work to carry the team. There were a few cool spots but nothing that was really noteworthy.

2) Balls Mahoney vs. Matt Striker – 2 – Typical TV match. Nothing too notable or interesting here except if you want to see Balls Mahoney chain wrestle. Striker had a picture of himself on the back of his tights and looked utterly ridiculous.

3) The FBI vs. Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay – 3 – Decent tag match but in reality was a total squash for Burke and Terkay. I wish FBI would get more TV time.

4) Tommy Dreamer vs. Daivari – 3 – This was probably Dreamer’s best match in the last few months. He bumped good and did his part. Khali got ejected after some interference and Daivari won by pulling the tights. Khali slammed Dreamer on the stage after the match and we move on.

5) Mike Knox & Kelly Kelly vs. Kevin Thorn & Ariel – 1 – I think the rating speaks for itself. Knox walked out on Kelly and the crowd, which had been dead since after the opening match, pulled out razor blades in an attempt to do a mass suicide.

6) Bobby Lashley vs. The Big Show vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Hardcore Holly vs. C.M. Punk vs. Test – Extreme Elimination Chamber Match – 6 – This was different than the other chamber matches in the fact that it had weapons involved. I haven’t seen a chamber match in a while but from what I remember they were pretty dull. This one was pretty crazy though because everyone put forth an effort and the weapons added a lot. The booking, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. Twice there was one person in the ring when the timer went off and right after RVD got eliminated, you could pretty much tell that Lashley was going to win the belt.

The show as a whole will be forgotten in the grand scheme of things and will probably never be spoken of again in certain circles. The chamber match was a decent capper to an otherwise bland pay-per-view.

Never Hand Over Hall of Fame – Class #1 Comp.

1. Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair – 7
2. Afa, Sika, and Ernie Ladd vs. Andre the Giant, Dusty Rhodes, and Junkyard Dog – 3
3. “Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman – 4
4. Tatsumi Fujinami and Kimura vs. Dos Caras and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka – 4
5. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiasevs. Jake “the Snake” Roberts – 7
6. Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant vs. Heenan’s Family (Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Nick Bockwinkel, Ken Patera, and Bobby Duncam) – 4
7. Manami Toyota vs. Yamada – 5
8. Owen Hart vs. Savio Vega – 6

This was a DVD compilation made by Jessie to honor the first inaugural class of our Hall of Fame that we recently inducted – let’s see if our picks make us proud. Flair starts off showing besides technical prowess, he could brawl with the best of them, too. It’s a wild match, with a frenzied crowd, and great feel to it. Almost as fun as the match itself, is the aftermath, where Great Muta and Sting get involved, in a sprawling fight that takes place all over the arena. Andre’s six-man tag match was as fantastical as Lord of the Rings, that’s to say, it was completely unbelievable. It resembled a sideshow carnival attraction more than a fight; still, it was nice to see all this talent together at once. Ernie Ladd is an ugly dude, lookling like the African American equivalent of Sloth from The Goonies.

The next match was the first meeting between Pillman and Austin after their highly successful team The Hollywood Blondes fell apart. Sadly, Austin’s performance was benign and flaccid, like a neutered dog’s penis. Pillman carried this match, with his brutal chops and tireless work ethic, but it was ultimately a disappointment. The tag match, from Japan, was a treat to watch, even though it was filled with its own problems. The footage we saw was clipped, yet still, the structuring of the match left much to be desired, and the finish was about as climatic as having sex on the couch only to be interrupted by your visiting grandparents.

Debiase and Roberts worked an immaculate match, as old school as public executions, and a true joy to behold. DiBiaseworked over Jake’s arm, trying to prevent him from later using his signature move, the DDT; while Roberts was busy pulling the crowd into caring about the bout with his masterful selling and psychology. This appeared to be from a house show, so, they weren’t worried about running out of TV time, and gave themselves ample time to tell a satisfying story. Seeing Heenan and his boys, all adorned with yellow hair and embarrassing waistlines, bump all over the place for megastars Hogan and Andre wasn’t a bad way to kill a few minutes.

Manami Toyota was my first pick, personally, into our Hall of Fame. She’s a phenomenal talent, an amazing worker, and has more heart than most who’ve put on a pair of wrestling boots. Here, we were treated to highlights of three matches against Yamada; even though they just gave a taste of the matches themselves, it was enough to get one excited, with Toyota’s breathtaking moonsault on display, and her willingness to absolutely kill herself to get someone else over. The last match I ranked high, because, in its context, it was a throwaway match on a major pay-per-view, Summerslam ‘96. However, Savio and Owen worked hard, and delivered a great little match worthy of more recognition. Especially cool to me, was the finish, seeing the major heel Owen score a clean victory over the fan favorite via a submission, it’s something to this day that’s unquestionably rare.