Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nous observons chaque seconde #2


- saw 3 mostly solid wrestling matches on Superstars last week; don't know how you can ask for more than that. Dreamer- Christian had it's slow points and the finish was obviously story but the work was hard. Regal was roughhousing Kofi but the styles meshed particularly well. Regal himself says he's a good TV wrestler and this went in the direction of proving it. Jericho v. Punk has been done a lot over the last 2 years, and it's mostly all good. Some of their stuff looks unfinished and rehearsed, but they always keep it fresh with new spots and great reversals. Some fun escapes pushing towards the end really had me high on this show.

- caught the Furnas/Kroffat v. Sabu/ RVD 30 min. Draw also; it's one of those matches that you used to love and you still want to like but i wouldn't risk my journalistic integrity on it; I'd give it a 5, solidly. The first 15 minutes had some crisp tags and decent tag wrestling, Furnas playing nice powerful heel with Kroffat (who I found out in the Bret book came up with the Ladder Match concept) just busting out loads of nifty moves and spots. I loved RVD and Sabu bumping for them, being complete rag dolls. Last 7 or 8 mins though was a complete slop fest. All 4 men in the ring, going from move to move, all of it off the cuff seemingly, shitty weapon attacks left and right and really terrible moves being pulled off. They tried to do a lot of near falls to keep the drama up but everything was so lazily and haphazardly done it was hard to pull for a big finish. still some fun to be had here.


TNA Sacrifice '09 was pretty good, Meltzer said it overachieved, but I felt it pretty much met my moderate expectations. The six-man opener definitely felt like a throwback to the old, wilder days of TNA. It was a lot of fun. The women's "Monster Ball" was largely a joke but I liked the gnarly bump that ended the match where it looked like Daffney wrecked her spine. Stevie Richards' thumbtack bump afterward was a treat. They dropped the ball with the Daniels vs. Suicide match, after a botched match the re-start put the already numb crowd into hibernation. The stretcher match didn't feel like the payoff we'd hoped, and the following Nash vs. Joe match further dug the middle of this show into the ground. Beer Money vs. British Invasion was a step in the right direction, Doug Williams looked motivated for the first time since their debut. I was really looking forward to AJ and Booker, more so than anything else, and felt it was really delivering in a physical bout but a shitty non-finish occurred. The main event was fun, not really good, but entertaining and funny at parts (that it shouldn't be) with highlights being Angle's insanity including a somersault over the announce table onto a seated Foley.

Raw was patently insulting this week. I agree with all of the negative sentiment towards this show, in general, and especially last night's broadcast. The finish to the Maryse match was baffling. They shouldn't have let the fake Jack Nicholson talk in the backstage bit, he sounded more like a D-grade Joe Pesci impersonator. The thing about the main event that was lame for me was the deal with all the guys in jerseys. I get the heat politically with WWE and the Denver incident, but logically, why would any of these guys have any stake and/or interest in wearing jerseys during their match? Like, what's the scripted reasoning? Because McMahon made them? It just seemed incredibly dumb seeing this scathing sociopath Randy Orton in a teal jersey methodically walking to ringside. Out of all the wrestling TV (WWE, TNA, and ROH) I get I'd easily rank Raw at the bottom on my list of interest.

ECW was decent, glad to see Bourne back, and I always enjoy a Henry TV bout. Kozlov, what can they do to save their investment? He's fine in short bursts, but doesn't have the tools to work longer, more story-driven matches yet. The handicap main event was decent, not as strong as what we've come to expect from ECW, but Tommy showing some new found enthusiasm was fun and Christian continues his role of selling better than most in the company. I like the Hart Dynasty and was glad to see them get some mic time pre-match. I've also been watching Tuesday morning's 5+ hour DREAM show from my recently cancelled HDNet channel. It had the first round of the hot topic Super Hulk tournament. Bob Sapp got tapped in less than a minute by Minowaman, Jose Canseco tapped out to punches quickly by the gigantic Hong-Man Choi, Sokoudjou mercilessly beat Jan "The Giant" Norjte, and Mousasi made short work of Mark Hunt. The rest of the show is full of more credible, top-notch fights, including the second-round of their featherweight tournament, and Jason "Mayhem" Miller from MTV's Bully Beatdown in action. ROH on HDNet was good this past weekend, too; Necro took a super sick bump getting suplexed from inside the ring to the concrete and I liked the Danielson interview.

I've been downloading a lot of stuff this week. I got a tag from a recent DDT show with Ibushi and Kenny Omega teaming together, some stuff from the tenth anniversary of Osaka Pro show, and most of the recently posted BattleArts show (including Usuda vs. Yoshikawa, Otsuka vs. Yamamoto, and the main of Sawa and Yano vs. Super Tiger II and WrestlingKO's #1 wrestler of '08 Yuki Ishikawa). Tonight I'll be watching The Ultimate Fighter, some NWA Power Hour '90, and Tiger Mask IV.


I'd have to agree with raw, it was terrible- that whole goldust thing was as insulting as Sarah Palin's bid for Vice President. Way too much time was spent on the Denver thing; McMahon relished the chance to show he'd been the victim, but if shoe was on the other foot, wouldn't have made a peep.
let me know about that Osaka Pro Ann. show- has my curiousity peaked.
also got through Battle for Supremacy last weekend- here's some quick thoughts:

tank- Hagadorn v. Osiris/ Young- no leader, longer than needed to be, Heels looked ridiculous selling flat back bumps for tiny man Osiris
Delirious v. Black- decent back and forth; Blacks' stomping in corner w/ back turned is absurd, why would you turn your back on your opponent for that long
Briscoe v. Albright v. Claudio- suprisingly, i liked this; wasn't stretched out, lots of covers, some really stiff strikes and the flow was well done
Danielson v. Stevens- like both guys a lot, but something was missing here, Stevens is still a rookie and his selling, while done well, lacked real empathy, crowd was hoping Dragon would break his leg, finish was poorly done too
Necro v. Aries- turned into a story line after Necro fell around ringside; really glad i didn't attend this Dayton show
Steen/ Generico v. Jacobs/ Matthews- Steen/ Generico are an excellent team, compliment each other great; Age of were pretty lame. Long winded match with no good high spots that turned into the umpteenth brawl of the show
Roderick v. Hero- liked it more than I thought, still not recommendable. saw some good counter wrestling though, don't buy Hero standing up to Roddy's chops at all
Nigel v. Pearce- main reason we didn't attend this show; match was fine for what it was, 2 heels wrestling for all the gold is a sure fire way to make your crowd care less; Pearce held up his end though, but do you really want mid-level heel kicking out of your champs' finishers? and another brawl after the Dusty finish. As i said, glad i didn't attend this show!

WrestleMania X

1st Mania for Vince & Lawler commentating, end of an era, no Monsoon or Heenan, def. a lack in quality of broadcasting. WWE's celebrities have always been riding their 15 minutes of fame- Cy Sperling of the Hair Club for Men? Really? But this one's in MSG, so it does have a special feeling to it. Let's see if that's just too much cheesecake in my stomach.

1) Owen Hart v. Bret Hart- 9
2) Bam Bam Bigelow/ Luna Vachon v. Doink the Clown/ Dink- 3
3) Randy Savage v. Crush (Falls Count Anywhere Match)- 4
4) Alundra Blayze v. Lelani Kai (WWF Women's Title Match)- 3
5) The Quebecers v. Men on a Mission (WWF Tag Team Title Match)- 4
6) Yokozuna v. Lex Luger (WWF Title Match w/ Mr. Perfect as Guest Referee)-4
7) Adam Bomb v. Earthquake- 1
8) Razor Ramon v. Shawn Michaels (WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match)- 7
9) Yokozuna v. Bret Hart (WWF Title Match w/ Roddy Piper as Guest Referee)- 3

Our opener could be categorized as perhaps the greatest technical opening match that has ever taken place. Don't think either guy could know each other better; also see Owen's future character for years to come develop in a big way here. Every fall somehow they managed to get a near fall situation out of that the crowd bought and paid for. High German on Bret was great; then followed by the reversal into a tombstone was as smooth as anal gel; guess since Taker's not on the show they can use it. They pull out every pinfall attempt in the book during the middle part. Owen knows so many ways to work over the knee, really well schooled in that area and as far as selling pain, don't think Bret has a match. OH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES! Owen outdid Bret on the sternum turnbuckle bump- please re-watch this and see! Bret wasn't as limited as people think, had a fantastic real looking piledriver and loved to take a chance on that top rope superplex. Ending blew minds and loads then and still has a resonant quality now. Absolute classic- structure, emotion and actual wrestling. Next is our "mixed" tag after we stop over at Bubba Clinton's Presidential Box where they asked IRS more questions than the Prez. Huh??? Anyways, Doink had a good punch and pulls off the Mickie James DDT pretty well too. For comedy, Luna and Dink have some good spots, i like that she doesn't get all fake with it too; when she swings at him, she catches the little shit and doesn't lay him down nice and easy on slams. Kind of wanted to see both of these matches singlely. Ending and aftermatch turned into a badly planned community theater production of a bad Benny Hill romp.

Savage pinned w/in 1 min? from a sick guardrail shot to the throat. Rules of this match define logic; need an example? Savage hits the flying elbow for a sure 3 count, but first has to roll the large meathead outside to the floor, where he gets the 3. But all Crush has to do is stand up and roll back in, which incredibly takes the whole minute to do so. Gotta love that crumpled body sell of Savage's- sure we'll see plenty on his upcoming DVD. Ending didn't come off how they planned, Crush was too much babyfat to be held up by that dinky rope that could have held a fishing boat to a dock. Nice moment for Randy though.

Kai is hideous, but enjoy the Nakano-like eye makeup that no woman wears regularly. Bull should have had her own Revlon line. Kai didn't take it lying down nor show her age, which i believe was about 49 at the time (tongue in cheek, no, not her tongue!) She was really aggressive, but a spin kick slowed that down. Vince snickered when mentioning she was at Mania 1- a German wins but looks like a Play-Do figurine compared to the Statue of David next to Owen's from the opener.

Tag match was fine for what it was, but had some flaws. Pierre had Indy Wrestling Syndrome because he kept doing nonsensical flips every chance he got. MOM on offense aren't impressive in the least, but Mabel knows how to throw his weight around pretty well; liked his belly to belly suplex. Pace stayed quick though and their double team move where Mo rides Mabel's back like a dying bear down for a splash was fun in a mid-90's kind of way. Yoko and Lex stuck to a very safe formula which was probably best for them, but circumstances considered, I thought it came off better than Yoko and Bret later on. Luger got hot off the bat with big moves and Yoko had improved leaps and bounds from Mania 9. He always does his rest hold drawn out spots for much of the middle which was no different here, with the nerve hold. Built up Lex drawing power from the fans but the finish came quickly after that, didn't get them built up enough. Mr. Perfect provided foil for Lex screw job and the crowd was actually chanting "bullshit" which Vince delightfully pointed out to stroke his puppetmaster ego. Earthquake squashered Bomb rather quickly which was just a finale to a Wimppleman-Fink fued that I think lasted about 10 years in the company and never earned a single dollar.

Okay, so to me, to do a Ladder Match right, you need several components: 1) is to actually seem like you're trying to accomplish the goal, which is to climb the ladder to win something; not to just climb up and halfhearthedly swipe at the belt or whathave you, but to make an effort. 2) to use the ladder in either high risk or painful ways; doesn't have to be erected into a complicated structure, just a good old fashioned shot to the back will do or a simple splash from the top of it. 3) Tell a story; the struggle to gain the prize is the story so make sure it's conveyed to the audience; with the notion of these 8 person Ladder Matches at Mania's of late and 10 men TLC matches, the art of storytelling can be lost, or never attempted just in place of a wild brawl with some big spots, which are fun once in a while too but they're probably not going to be remembered. This match is still very well done and it was fun to relive it; sure crazier stuff has been done with the format now, but the crux of the match is still intact to make it a Mania classic. Hall's punches are like skin covered shotguns going off on Shawn's face. Hall is also just giving his body for abuse, takes a deathly back drop outside, repeated ladder shots to the back. They use the ladder mostly for a weapon not a set piece which I like. Michaels also puts on a show, making his stuff a little more bumpy than Hall's by the end, but I liked Razor's performance more, thought it was the solidarity that the match needed even though, attributed to a slingshot outside, where Shawn obviously was calling a lot of the spots here. The big desperation slam off the top should have ended Shawn's career even earlier and the sprint to the end was done well.

Really disappointed with this match overall, I think maybe Mania 9 was even better. It's not really their faults though; both men already gave most of what they had in earlier matches, Bret in an all time classic with Owen and Yoko in a mostly forgotten Title match. Bret just plays wounded animal mostly, with not a lot of fire on his comebacks. Yoko's instincts had improved leaps and bounds, can do a cutoff at the right moment. The crowd was deflated from the previous match, both men were gassed and the pace was slower than waiting for Keith Richards to die. Bret took a legdrop that should by all accounts have forced him to facial reconstruction and also a nice belly to belly right at the end. Yoko's near fall kick outs are never near enough to make you believe them; just too much mass. Such a silly ending too, almost as insulting as the salt finish from the previous year; Bret doesn't do anything to win the match; Yoko just falls off the buckle from his own stupidity before the Banzai splash, which probably never happened before or after and Bret rolled him up. Historic title change but i think the double duty really took it out of both men, who otherwise are top notch performers.

VIII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Sunday, May 24, 2009

WrestleMania IX

You have to give them credit, has to be the best "themed" Mania of all time. They got everybody in on the act, the robes, the Roman Colisuem, Cleopatra & Caesar, what a tremendous opening.

1) Shawn Michaels v. Tatanka (Intercontinental Title Match)- 5

They set a slow pace from the beginning, that way they can up or lower the momentum of the match or the quality of big moves or little moves they do, smart. Tatanka was like watching a poor man's Steamboat, he tried all of Dragon's old signatures, the deep armdrags, the flying chops, even the crossbody was bush league. Michaels is bumping like one of those Puttys from the original Power Ranger days. They blew a sunset flip and a victory roll badly, the roll they tried to redo, which is always a no-no. The two women at ringside, Sherri and Luna, looked hideous, almost like worried mothers of the Warriors, with thick makeup caked on. A "Sherri" chant was started near the end of the match; much more thrilling seeing her wrinkled funbags than the uninspired shoulder work in ring. Michaels picked and choosed when he would sell the shoulder despite taking some sick stuff to it, such as posted into steel and a near fall powerslam. Finish didn't do this any favors, had some potential but I think both men were off.

2) Headshrinkers v. Steiner Brothers- 7

This reminds me of Mania 2, where the Bulldogs fought Valentine/ Beefcake in that it feels seperate from everything else on the show. These guys just met head on and kept killing each other, actually remembered halfway through they were in NWA at the same time during that hot 80's tag period, so they knew each other well. Some highlights of this were a double clothesline from the top by the Steiner boys, Scott taking one of the most dangerous unprotected falls out to the floor ever done and Rick pulling off his crazy belly to belly off another guy's shoulders while someone is flying off the top rope at him. The announcers were just gaga over some of the insane stuff these guys were trying, and largely pulling off well. Hidden Mania gem right here.

3) Crush v. Doink the Clown- 2

How stupid did Crush look at this time in that singlet thing? His power game isn't that impressive when he can't pick up a 260 lb. dude and execute his moves on him. Crush's punches look like swipes from the disformed arm of the Elephant Man,and his kicks are on a equal basis of a 7 year old girl (with no soccer experience) Doink is making his setups so obvious they're laughable. Ray Charles could have called this match from behind the stadium. The whole Double Doink thing was big then, but now it's nothing to get excited about. The work here was borderline terrible, reminiscent of a show I can catch at the local Armory.

4) Razor Ramon v. Bob Backlund- 3

Didn't go too long, Backlund warming up with squats was funny though. Hall had that killer right hand, that big, sweeping punch, but he was quick with it and it could look like a million bucks, Backlund gave it $750,000. Hall being flipped on those hiptosses looked like someone pushed a septagenarian down a water slide. Bob looked good but I liked the surprise rollup to end it. Right guy went over.

5) Money Inc. v. Hulk Hogan/ Brutus Beefcake (World Tag Titles)- 3

God Brutus' mask was stupid looking- even Madonna's desperate ass wouldn't wear that thing! They do use it for some bad comedy spots though. Money Inc looks dumbed down here, offense is nothing spectacular. Were they ever a great team? 2 great singles, but over the last 2 Mania's haven't seen much from them. Some 911-style punches from Hogan, hasn't sold anything so far. They change the rules halfway through so Money Inc can't run out- hate when they deconstruct the simple rules of the game. Nobody but Irwin has any range here; he's playing classic heel- using tag rope for chokes etc. Brutus takes punches to the face and sells them like the sun in his eyes- WTF?! you fraggin' Bastich- play your role! You had facial reconstruction surgery, you're supposed to really sell that damn face, you freak! Jimmy Hart plays ref and this is completely Russo-fied. Then they let Jimmy beat up ref. Puke. Next

6) The Narcissist Lex Luger v. Mr. Perfect- 4

Subdued but interesting intro for Luger- by far my favorite of his roles over the years. Guys show chemistry with the opening sequence. Shinbreaker, good vocalization on pain from Luger. Fans are popping for Henning's chops, damn they are sizzling! Hennig goes down on his back at one point and never looks the same after- maybe legit hurt here. Hennig relies on the punches now, his AWA haymakers but w/o the meat behind them. Barely pulls off the dropkick from the top, his offense slowed tremendously. Cheap win is fine for what it was, fun brawl after match with Michaels hanging out by a pile of trash.

7) Giant Gonzalez v. Undertaker- 2

Sasquatch is lost w/in 2 minutes of match. Had a nice neck hang (as memorialized in WCW Wrestling for the NES) Taker bumps badly with Gonzalez in control of his body. He makes a face like he just bit into rotten tuna every time Taker gives him an uppercut. Reverse choke is sloppily loose, like a Tim Boesch version. The supposed "chlorophyll on the cloth" routine gets the DQ. More like Borophyll.

8) Bret Hart v. Yokozuna (WWF Title Match)- 4

Loved the flying dropkick to start, got the pace up right away, Bret controls first section to get the crowd into it. Yoko is also a smart worker, he builds up his power stuff right- starts with chops, kicks, then a clothesline, an elbowdrop. Never attempts a splash or legdrop till later on in the match. Bret got a piggy back ride at one point and looked about as silly as it would were they at an amusement park together. If there's anything we know of his work with Shawn later, he eats a superkick like it kills him, so there's that. Completely laughable it only takes the powder to pin him though; deserved better.

9) Yokozuna v. Hulk Hogan (WWF Title Match)- 0

Hated it then, hate it now. Another ego stroke for Hogan. You can throw this in a closet with his wedding album to Linda and burn it.

VIII= 43%
II= 43%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nous observons chaque seconde #1


- making my way through Raw- caught the brilliant V1 against Antonio Banks last night and i'm a little sick of all the Mattitude haters out there. Got someone saying he's bloated and can't work, guy's put together more solid performances than almost any other guy, night in, night out on the roster for a good chunk of his career- which is what 10 years or so in the E! Match was fine, not a lot of time, but like they acknowledge their long standing feud- liked the very first tie up, MVP seemed so smooth and in control like 2nd nature.

- also caught something from the "old ECW" as Tommy Dreamer put it to Brian at the airport, Doug Furnas v. RVD wearing some henious trunks that looked like it was ripped from wall in a Ponderosa dining room in it's heday. Furnas got mean on some spots, but the majority was a big disappointment; i liked that the match seemed off the cuff, as they were just coming up with spots, but most of it was sloppier than some of the rehab snatch James' scored last year. RVD got his ass bumped off too.


I got back from my vacation last night. I immediately started downloading stuff. First off, the debut of StrikeForce’s “Challengers” show—basically a “secondary” show to begin building up fresh talent and upcoming challengers. A novel concept. Next on my download queue is NOAH/Marufuji Produce #2 which looks tantalizing, including Akiyama/KENTA versus Go/Hashi, as well as Misawa, Kobashi, Morishima, etc. in action. I also want to get Kensuke Office “Take the Chance Vol. #1” which recently popped up online and has a cool six-man main with the unbelievable team of TAKA, Don Fuji, and Mochizuki.

I started working on things from my DVR last night. Last week’s Superstars was good—I really enjoyed Benjamin vs. Mysterio and Henry vs. Christian. I thought the following night’s SmackDown! wasn’t bad, either; especially considering the “thrown together” nature of last-minute booking due to Rey’s bum limb. I was intrigued by Jericho vs. Edge. Personally, I love Edge’s facials.

I watched Inside MMA, this week’s panel wasn’t the strongest, but “Stitch” the “one more round” guy was on and interesting, as well as two MMA journalists who were knowledgeable enough. Good highlights, as always, and discussion including some chatter about the Evans vs. Machida fight this weekend, especially how Machida has never lost a round in his entire career. I’ve got last week’s MFC show from Canada featuring Bobby Lashley’s third career fight, as well as the debut of the new M-1 show that I’m ridiculously stoked about to watch. M-1 is basically a dozen or so countries represented by teams of fighters competing in a 28-episode series of bone-crushing slams, strikes, and submissions. Fedor is coaching Team Imperial from Russia and they’re returning champions. The first episode is them versus South Korea and I’ll be cueing it up during lunch.

I started Impact! this morning, enjoy crazily goofy Foley, but thought Daniels was too expressionless in the opener against Sabin, a fault of his that I can’t overlook. I get a chuckle out of the animosity between Booker T and Nash’s respective women and their subsequent reactions to it. I will finish this tonight and watch last week’s Ultimate Fighter and ROH on HDNet.

I downloaded an HD version of WWE Judgment Day ’09 and will be watching it in the next night or two, and then I can get caught up on all of the following TV over the weekend. Other than that, I finished ROH Full Force and will be passing it on to Jessie, and next I’ll be tackling the second-half of the NJPW show I’ve started reviewing and will get that posted later this week. I’m going to try to knock out at least another couple episodes from my first stack of WCW Power Hour ’90 this weekend, too; as well as finally succumbing and watching the one-hour Bockwinkel vs. Hennig bout.


whoa dude, i knew you saw a lot, but i had no idea! seriously wish we had the HD Net channel at my house, or just plain HD TV in general because is there anything more primal or fun than two guys punching and hurting each other? it's the backbone of our nation. really wanted to see meatslab Lashley work some guillotines too.

how was Full Force, since I know nothing about it, but will def. check it out.

Love how you're "ridiculously stoked" to see that new MMA competition show, which sounds pretty neat actually. Like a souped up version of IFL, im' guessing.

Went to start a very plain titled "Best of Furnas & LaFon" last night, seriously praying for thier All Japan run, but found it was merely a collection of uninspired American work. Pity. Although it has the match against Sabu/RVD, with a 32 min. Runtime i remember from my teenage years; no way it will live up to my memory but am looking forward to reliving it.

glad your back man, missed some good old in depth discussion on the finer points of Dustin Rhodes career and laughing at bad Japanese hardcore, hopefully we can get together soon and do such things. And I think Edge is on an upswing- thought his 2008 was pretty stagnant, but possibly the LMS with Cena "revitalized" him, as Vman would say.


HDNet is pretty incredible—it’s changed my life. Wrestling is my original love but I have a ton of respect and interest in MMA now, too. Besides some of the stuff I mentioned earlier, they also air all of the big Japanese shows from DREAM, Sengoku, K-1, etc. so there’s always cool events to look ahead to.

That ROH show was called Full Circle now that I think about it. The other title was from FIP—my bad. I’m reviewing the opener featuring southern boys Damian Wayne and Chris Escobar in tag action for an upcoming “Burger Kang” compilation post. Aries debuted his nutty new character at this show and his overselling is incredible. He makes this face after he loses that just cracked me up. He’s bumping like a mid-‘90’s Michaels who just watched a slapstick comedy marathon. The main of McGuiness vs. Black was good, but allegedly, their match the following night (which I’ve got that show to watch next) was superior.

There are some similarities to M-1 and IFL for sure. I’ll be wearing my old IFL t-shirt while watching possibly. American Furnas and Lafon? Is that ECW and WWF? I’d prefer their Japan run, too.

You now I’m always up for discussing the finer aspects of Alex Wright’s offense and listing my favorite Kaz Hayashi bouts.


ECW from 5/19: Really fun show. I dig the Christian/Swagger feud and that gnarly bump Christian took off the ramp had a very odd landing. Speaking of Christian, his match with Burchill was fun. I love Katie Lea ... she's so into her character. Zach Ryder isn't doing a thing for me right now but over time, he may develop into something good. Koslov did another promo in Russian, why don't they have him wrestle in the army uniform? The main was really physical. Finlay's vocal selling was tremendous and really put Smith's submission holds over. The entire match was just unabashed physicality. Smith looked good, compared to the last time he was on TV, and Finlay's stiff clotheslines are always exceptional. The skull-cracking shot Smith gave Finlay with Natalya's boot was fantastic. Love the remixed Hart Foundation music.

ROH TV from 5/16: Started off strong with Claudio and Albright. Really enjoyed Albright's hard work in the match. Thought the tease with the same finish from their first match was an interesting touch. Dark City Fight Club is just great and the punishing double-team moves they do these scrubs on TV are just wonderful. The "buzz words" segments are stupid. It's corny and forced and really needs to stop now. It makes the wrestlers seem like they're talking to second graders. Hogewood said one of the single greatest lines in television history at the finish of the Jay Briscoe match, and I quote, "It's time to man up and slap the porpoise." Umm, ok. Let's file that under the Mike Adamle category. The main was decent with some teases of King and Titus pulling out the upset. Steen as a tag is great but under no circumstances should they let him wrestle as a single. Any personality he has is taken away by Generico's absence. The post-match table spot was ridiculous, with Richards taking most of the break. The four-way in a few weeks should be fun.

Raw from 5/18: Was rolling along at a pretty good pace until the bullshit with Vickie and Santina. I'm not sure where that program is going but I want it to hit a brick wall faster than Joe Pesci did in Home Alone. The diva battle royal was really awful. I was yearning for a Mickie/Maryse match to come out of it but alas we get Maryse/Kelly, which should still be decent. The Chavo/Santino match did nothing to excite me and served only as a purpose to set up the bullshit later on in the night. Not sure where they're going with Kendrick, should be interesting to watch though. I really hate The Miz, always have, although the Cena stuff is getting him over. Lawler using Bruno Sammartino as an example was funny until Big Show came down and beat up Lawler. Not sure why that was necessary. Always enjoy an MVP/Hardy match ... would've liked for it to been a bit longer. Main event was good, althought I'm not sure how the Batista feud right now is getting any heat. They're hinting at a Flair return but why now instead of at Mania against Jericho?

Upcoming: Starting the monster known as Wrestlerock 86 with a run time of some where near four hours. Finish my Superclash II review. Plus, starting in on the Power Hour (finally) tomorrow, and I'll find time to squeeze in Lockdown and a re-watch of Backlash. More goodness from Saturday Night 1995 as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wrestle Mania VIII in the Hoosier Dome

Walking along the trash-ridden streets of Indianopolis last year on our way to Summerslam, surrounded by Colts fans and derelicts, we happened by the now defunct (and I believe, destroyed) Hoosier Dome, nestled away in it's massive corner downtown. Adam remarked that Mania 8 took place there, my first reaction was "which one was that?" My memory is becoming horrible with dates and shows now, (not like when we used to do our fictional wrestling radio show and my name was "The Man Who Knows it all." Then he reminded us and I remembered that I fucking loved that show! I actually still have the original VHS tape we used as we pirated it right off of PPV. Still has my usual chicken scratch writing on the side label, although I tried to neatly and slowly print it out (at the ripe old age of 10 years old). I believe it also includes a tv version of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure alongside it. But, now in the midst of this massive Mania project, it gives me great pleasure to relive this show once again, for at a time, I knew most of the spots and commentary by heart and it's fun to see and hear it all again and know what's coming next, to a certain degree. I think memories like these are what truly makes someone a fan for life.

1) El Matador v. Shawn Michaels- 5

This is Shawn's 1st big rodeo, and they put him in there with a really capable hand so probably expecting good things here. This is the first Mania also where the card is not completely overstacked, less than 10 matches, first one since the original. So, everything gets a bit more time and I think it works out for the better that way. Tito is using near falls early, combined with his usual headlock routine. Funny watching Shawn hit a superkick halfway through with not even a count following. He used to do that old Orton spin sell a lot, although he more than likely stole that from Hennig. Pace was fast throughout and Michaels was doing exactly as he should have, bumping big, really selling that he's about to lose any moment then pulls it out in the end. Strange ending though, as he just holds onto the rope as Tito tries to bodyslam him. Commentary is fantastic on this whole show too.

2) Jake Roberts v. Undertaker- 3

The story going into this is pretty good, with both guys really creepy and mysterious. Roberts, i think , left the company shortly after this so it's surprising he's put over so strongly here. Smart heel, hits and runs and sinks 2 DDT's in near the end, but never covers. Taker hits a really exposing Tombstone on the floor where Jake's head was a good foot off the ground, kind of hurts the score with that unbelievable finish. Taker was super over as a face here as well.

3) Roddy Piper v. Bret Hart (Intercontinental Title Match)- 7

All the haters out there on this one can kiss Mrs. Hart's bologna sandwhiches! (see prematch int.) Even as the guys come out, this emits that big match feel. Piper has more than enough charisma to carry this with the crowd and Bret has the ability, it's a perfect combination. Also, has Roddy ever been in better shape, or more motivated? Some decent amateur stuff, just as Heenan calls Piper's Golden Gloves championships "Amatuer punk stuff" after he asks Monsoon if people get paid for that. They blew a spot trying to flip over the ropes but that's the only one I've spotted. Piper opens Bret up with a short jab, not sure if it was hardway or what but gives this match a little extra drama quotient. The Crowd is just ballooning with joy over this one, loud, raucous cheers and screams fill that Dome. Imainge how hyped those two must have been. Piper eats a stiff forearm that sends him outside that I really liked. Story fits too, didn't use the ring bell and it cost him whereas he would have normally. The chemistry is leagues better than most probably expected and the finish is a Bret signature. Please, people, get on the nuts of this match!

4) The Mountie/ Nasty Boys/ Repo Man v. Sgt. Slaughter/ Hacksaw Duggan/ Virgil/ Big Bossman- 3

Call me nostalgic for a local celeb, but I always loved the intros by Ray Combs at the beginning. We start out with a quadruple clothesline spot that looks like a drug rehab center's version of "Red Rover." I like seeing the Nastys take some receipts here, including a stomach breaker from Sarge that surely made Brian Knobs vomit out his X later that night and a crescent kick from Bossman that possibly made Jerry Sags even uglier than he already was....possibly. Just a lot of run-ins and no sells from everyone, heels try to slow it down but just keeps breaking apart, like when you buy those Dollar store Band-aids, those f'n things don't really work! Virgil loses his face guard and gets hit, subsequently selling it as if he was being killed off dramatically in a work of Shakespeares. Face go over for another fun crowd pop.

5) Ric Flair v. Randy Savage (WWF Title)- 8

this is just going to be verbatim from my notes......pure emotion here.....Savage is a nut, Flair takes a vicious high knee....Monsoon & Heenan are putting on performances of a career......giant backdrop outside, crazy, crazy bump.....Flair setting pace, beautiful vertical suplex.....working back over well, all Flair's strikes (chops, punches) accentuate his performance....Flair on defense, getting over an opponent, there's no equal......Flair over the top rope, down into clothesline awaiting, awesome near fall......Flair flop outside, nice to see some classic Flair, incl. floor bump w/ suplex.......Flair bleeds, heard Vince had heat over it, telling Flair not to bleed in big match is like making Deadpool a fucking scarred freak with combined powers; it just shouldn't be..........Perfect throws in knucks, old school heel tactics......Liz comes to ringside, emotional factor ratchted up even higher.....Shane O Mac, young and spiffy, already ejaculating to sister's budlings, tries to convince her to locker room......Flair winks at her, Heenan sees it and says she winked back.......Savage selling the knee is phenomenal.......Savage wins out of nowhere, fans buy it........after match stuff with Flair kissing Savage's lady all works.........Savage one of all time Mania legends, in my book.......2 outstanding aftermatch promos with both men.......should have been one of Flair's all time great programs, Vince dropped ball on this one........This match carries the rest of the show.........announcers reference it remainder of show............fuckin A'

I do want to say this is one of the rare instances in wrestling where the announcing really pushes this match into another level- Ross can do it on occasion but here Heenan, since he's supposed to be financially invested in Flair's career in WWF, just makes this one- so many ups and downs and he follows it with his emotional and hilarious commentary. Gorilla is also a great foil for him, just rubbing it in Heenan's face, and he references Flair losing the rest of the show.

6) Tatanka v. Rick Martel- 3

Really bad humor w/ Martel & Sean Mooney, saying Tatanka might not be in the match because he's still "scalping" tickets. Starts off with a brisk exchange and hiptoss leads to outside, gives you a small glimpse of the worker Martel used to be before he became a mailman. Crowd noticeably deflated after the last match and all it's hoopla, even though the Lumbee (or "Lumpy" as Brain calls them) are doing their war cries as they leave ringside. Tatanka's offense is solid, if not uniform and bland. Crossbody out of nowhere gets the duke. These two will have better matches later.

7) Money Inc. v. Natural Disasters (WWF Tag Title)- 4

Dibiase is a good ham, would have like to seen more, too bad he didn't come along in '99 so he could have gotten dropped in dog shit by the Rock, or in '09 where he could be in a singing contest with fake Britney Spears......on 2nd thought, glad he was in the era he was in. Quake's got a great lariat and he knows it because he breaks it out often here. Typhoon is supposed to go over the top rope but he looks like an idiot trying to hoist his massive frame over the top; and you thought Carrot Top looks stupid doing......well most anything. Typhoon was a wreck, falling the reverse way after double clothesline, guy never got it I don't think. Deliberate CO, instant blazing white heat. Also would have better matches than this.

8) Skinner v. Owen Hart- 2

Poor Owen, had to take that juicy chaw right in the face! God, hope his payoff was worth it. Skinner looks more like a homeless bum than an alligator hunter. Steve Irwin always dressed pretty nice. Stiff shoulder breaker, but Owen rebounds by skinning the cat and getting the win. They always have these quick matches right before the main, guess they ran out of time again.

9) Sid Justice v. Hulk Hogan- 4

so, there's footage of an interview with McMahon & Hulk beforehand with all these blown up pics from his career and it's a severly understated Hulk doing the interview, not the usual rampant psycho that talks about blowing up Trump Towers and back stroking to safety with the Trump family riding his back like a sperm whale. He doesn't even have a live interview on the show, but Sid does and he ridicules Hogan to no end. Hulk's entrance, there's this long crane shot that swoops right in on Hulk and he's just standing there enjoying the moment, after all this was billed as Hogan's last match. But, in the ring he's all business, he's more trim and cut than any year prior since Mania's been in business. He has good movement, hopping Sid over several times, crisp punches and takes meaty bumps like the awesome one handed Chokeslam Sid deals out. He even lets Sid overtake him in a test of strength and makes no comeback. Of all things, Sid kicks out of the legdrop too, never been done at Mania before. So, this is an interesting match, it's not long, or deep with content or story, it's like a free-form painting left up to Hogan to decide what will happen, as he does have his usual comeback spot but it doesn't end like every other one. Papa Shango meanders his way down to ringside, and the comeback of Warrior finishes the show off with no big sendoff for Hogan. There's a short pose down but that's it. If this was Hogan's last match, at least in his head, it was a completely modest send off which is really unlike the Hulkster. I think we all could have remembered his career a lot more positively if this perhaps was his last moment, and he still would have been a huge star, while helping to mold new ones, such as Sid and perhaps Warrior for a 2nd run. Not a stellar match to end this Mania, but a muted one that didn't try to over take some of the classics on earlier in the show.

VIII= 43%
II= 43%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
IV= 34%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Friday, May 15, 2009

Schneider Comp #23 - Disc #1

1) Freelance/ Pegasso Xtreme/ Rey Cometa v. Los Oficiales (IWRG 10/17/08)- 6

This is fun Lucha; 1st caida was really fast paced, some sweet dives that didn't look contrived and a crazy corkscrew shooting star splash from Pegasso that happened right before the finish nearly came apart. 2nd fall had a better structure as the Oficiales took control and showed some poise in the ring. There were a few miscues and an ugly splash that had to be redone for a diff. finish drug it down, but I liked the heel characters the best in this caida. Freelance was also pulling out some crazy armdrags. 3rd fall was def. the most exciting, highlighted by a spectacular dive sequence with Freelance going full Hardy with the Swanton into the front row. I liked the finish where the faces looked to have won, but the Lucha Coppers pulled out the win by pinning the captain. Makes me want to swig on some tequila and grab a phat Chicano's lady hump while wearing a flannel with only the top button buttoned.

2) Genichiro Tenryu v. Yoshiaki Yatsu (SWS 10/29/91)- 5

Yatsu hits a lariat in the first minute or so that had me rubbing my own neck from the pain. Both guys were dealing out the stiff in spades, really rough chops all night long and some flagrant no-selling coming from both guys too; felt more like a big NOAH main event during their hot period except for the really long headlock sequence that went nowhere. Structurally, this match lagged severely but the Japanese stiffness was there. I liked both times they traded enzugiri's, probably giving Inoki a boner somewhere and the powerbomb finish probably had oodles of geisha's wishing they could run their silken hands through that mess of hair Tenryu was sporting.

3) Larry Zybyzsko/ Bobby Eaton/ Arn Anderson v. Ricky Steamboat/ Dustin Rhodes/ Nikita Koloff- 2/3 Falls Match (WCW Saturday Night 05/23/92)- 7

You just don't see these kinds of matches on TV anymore. 1st fall was highlighted by Steamboat and Eaton's fluid work together, smoother than a $5 dollar milkshake, I'd bet, guess you can ask Vincent Vega. Arn comes in and shows great heel timing, especially while he plays smart heel and goes outside only to be clobbered by Rhodes jr. Cool timing on the first fall bodypress finish too. 2nd fall had less than the others but still marginally good; Arn throws a little Anderson trademark arm work in for all the 70's fanboys out there (JR) and Rhodes and Eaton do a comical yet bludgeoning spot where Eaton gets bounced from the ropes by punches like my old He-Man inflatable punching bag from childhood. I always wondered why Castle Grayskull in the background flew back with him? Oh, well. Final round is basically a selling clinic by Steamboat, leg twitches, finger crinkling, long, moaning faces, he can just do it all. Arn just brutally stomping his face is my new computer background; beyond brutal, beyond words really. All in all, a great match punctuated by Zybyzsko blasting Arn in the face with a forearm for heel mis-timing to give the good guys the win.

4) El Hijo del Santo v. Brazo de Oro- Mask v. Hair Match (UWA 01/13/91)- 6

1st round was quick but effective, Oro just comes in like a drunk 300 pound biker itching for a fight on a Sat. night and throws these really gnarly, vaunted punches that rock Santo's world more than that young, dumb blond from America that he boned the night before. 2nd round becomes a horror movie as Santo starts pussing gory thick blood through his mask as he continues to take a beating like a man. Finish comes with a big sprint from Santo, he may do it better than anyone else in the game, period, crazy comeback spot with huge dive outside and a camel clutch that would make the Sheik cut his nuts off and hand them to Santo in a box tied with a ribbon. 3rd fall was more of a crazy brawl with both guys pretty much even, now Oro juices like an irrigated stream. Some really slow points though, probably stretched it longer than need be, but the final rollup was cool. Didn't get to see the hair cut though; Awesome story telling even if Santo does bump like a bowling pin. Really strange but ominous skit in the middle of the match where some guy in a black mask grabs a little kid by the hair and deliver's a message for the masked legend. Don't think it was a love note.....

5) Terry Funk v. Homicide (JAPW 09/27/03)- 6

The thing about this match that made it succeed so well is that Funk wasn't his usual old wandering self where you pitied him and wondered why he's still subjecting himself to this inhumane treatment. He came out and was bouncing around and looked in good shape for a man of 62 years old and he performed better than most could or would at that age. Homicide was the perfect guy to be in this match with him; he seemed to motivate Funk to push himself and really pull out a great match. All the weapons and brawling didn't seem contrived and lackluster or like they were just throwing chairs and using barb wire because that's what you do in these matches, both guys looked to be trying to prove something. We saw great old school piledrivers from both guys on various surfaces, whether it be the ring, the concrete floor or a steel chair. Funk pulled out some fabulous stunners too on his way to a big victory.

6) Blue Panther v. Villano V (CMLL Mask v. Mask)- 6

This was the much balleyhooed Match of the Year, by most people's standards in 2008, so we were eager to see it. Overall, the emotion of Panther being the favorite and losing his mask (to reveal someone much more ancient than I would have thought, looked like an aged Gargamel), the surprise blood from the back of Villano's head (which was probably one of the highspots of the year) and the series of dives Panther hit in the 3rd caida all make this match certainly memborable. But, the rest is just empty void- i craved some action- 1st 2 falls (besides the suicido that busted open Villano) mainly consisted of both men ripping the other's mask off pre-emptive, but didn't come nowhere near the level of hatred or brutality as when Lyger & Samurai did the damn thing back in '92. Possibly me not knowing all the backstory to this downed some of the more major things people saw in this, but still for a well structured Lucha match, it's worth a look, but I wouldn't have it near a match of the year list.

7) Larry Sheen v. Golden Moose Cholak (2/3 Falls, Chicago 1950's)- 7

Now, this is something worth seeing- don't think too many of you have been privy to the golden era of the sport in the 50's. At this time our country was in a state of emergency from Communist threats, and North Korea was becoming the hostile power it is known as now, invading it's neighbor South Korea. It was the year of Baby Boomers, Cadillacs and Beetle Bailey. And apparently wrestling. The footage is quite pristine, seems to be beaming from Samurai TV- Cholak is a complete Baby Huey, this gigantic man wearing a singlet and the Rick Steiner head gimmick and Sheen is basically your Uncle Larry in short shorts. But these guys can work! Some of the highlights include knee and rib punches by Cholak, his fall winning side splash, his crazy and completely untrained way to hit the turnbuckles, Sheens' death defying dropkick over the ref's head, the rabbit punches he dishes out to Cholak while in a headscissors and so much more. 3rd fall is just a bar brawl and lacks the excitement and steam of the 2 earlier ones but as Brian said, this is completely watchable by even today's jaded fans. Do yourself a favor and dig this shit out of a vault somewhere because it's highly entertaining. Cholak for Prime Minister!

8) Los Cadetos de la Espacial v. ?- N/A

I'm not going to grade this one because I didn't get to watch it as closely as it deserved, mostly busy trying to administer my daugther's amoxocyllin and get her to bed which can def. be a chore. But, I did notice a guy looking very Santo like who had some nice strikes and performed a couple well done, if not perfunctory dives.

9) Terry Funk v. Mr. Wrestling II (WWF, 1985)- 3

I love Terry Funk dearly, always been drawn to him and his crazy antics, but this borders on his most chaotic and ridiculous performance I've caught in a while. I'm guessing Mr. Wrestling II was here for a nostalgia pop, as he didn't look to be in all that great shape, had slow movement and trouble performing simple spots, but Funk was just all over the place, like me trying to complete the 8th stage on Marble Madness. It's almost always fun to watch him in action but this was bordering the amount of goofball spots I like, with little to no wrestling backing it up. Finish of high knee came off well though.

10) Riki Choshu v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara- 6

This was extremely violent and hate filled exactly what I wanted to see. Fuji don't even let Choshu get down the aisle before jumping him like it's the riots in LA in '92 all over again. Choshu gets red early, i think from a knee drop, but he returns the favor later on by absolutely bludgeoning Fuji's head on the ring post. Just a stream of juice flowing down the whole front of his body, it was pretty grotesque. Both guys kept reversing each other's big fins until Fuji sunk the armbar in but Choshu quickly followed it with 2 big lariats, KO'ing the veteran. It wasn't long, maybe 12 minutes or less, but it was a great fight while it lasted.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wrestlemania VII

1) The Rockers v. Barbarian/ Haku- 5

Surprisingly, this was a great way to start off a show, opening sequence showed teamwork and fluidity between both teams, especially the strangely attired Barbarian who dealt out a deathly double clothesline then bumped out of the ring for a double superkick. Good psych on the assisted hurricanrana spot, worked once but the primitive heel team caught on with the 2nd attempt. Marty's selling is kind of inconsistent, sometimes he walks stuff off, sometimes he takes big spin bumps, or just crouches and cringes his whole body up but he does eat everything well. Haku is the better choice to lead the match and so far everything is clicking. Awesome powerslam by Barbarian near end, excatly the way the move was intended to look. Finish was good too, isolated one big man with a high flying move for the win.

2) Dino Bravo v. Kerry Von Erich- 2

I was hoping for a lot more here, with one of my childhood favorites in action. But, he was stumbling down the aisle, like a junkie. Bravo looked like a Butterball turkey, complete with honey glaze basted into his hair. Kerry was reacting to Bravo's punches like he was trying to pick up his car keys on the ground. Bravo also seemed to be moving at a quarter speed for some reason. Missed a couple cues on some simple spots, bump it up a grade due to the stiff tornado punch.

3) Warlord v. British Bulldog- 5

This was the surprise of the night. Warlord was so stiff in his movements, i thought he was going to tear a muscle just lifiting his arms up. Nice reverse on the crucifix by Warlord though. Davey gains momentum and Warlord shows he's been wrestling for many years and cuts off his momentum; if this big idiot had a personality, he wouldn't be half bad. Bulldog speeds up the pace and he's tremendously over which keeps the crowd into it. The Full nelson gimmick was the thing that the match was built on and Davey did a hell of a job selling how hard it was to break it. Finish was a big powerslam and I can't believe how well this came off.

4) Hart Foundation v. Nasty Boys (Tag Team Title)- 4

Nastys were a great heel act, the exact dudes you don't want to know in real life and what could make you boo more? They have great facials when they are selling anything, even disdain for an opponent. Hart's are widly popular here, Bret just looks like a pro, working the body low and then with scientific moves. Always loved Anvil's giant forearms. Once Nastys take over, match slows to a crawl, not a lot of tags and they work time killer moves for much of their section, hiding Bret's innate ability to bump for his opposition big time. Comeback spot wakes the crowd up but a motorcycle helmet ends the long reign of the Harts as a tag team.

5) Rick Martel v. Jake Roberts (Blindfold Match)- 3

I think in front of a live crowd that was full of kids, including the young version of Macauly Culkin, this was wonderful. As far as workrate, there's none there. It's a mix of comedy into a gimmick match where a little goes a long way. Roberts does a great job getting the fans into it and I think they did the most with what they had, but certainly you don't ever repeat this match because nothing good will come of it (should have told TNA that a few years ago after their atrocity)

6) Undertaker v. Jimmy Snuka- 3

Snuka wearing boots? Looks like the Chucacabra profiled on "MonsterQuest." Taker was hitting all his big moves extremely well, flying clothesline, a huge vertical suplex all the way across the ring. Offensively he looked good but at times it was like two guys wrestling different matches. Taker waits to catch Jimmy in a move, but Snuka jumps past him to kill himself ribs first on the top rope. Snuka looked like a Samoan Terry Funk sort of.

7) Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior (Career Match)- 7

First great thing here, and there were many, Heenan spots Liz in the crowd and his acting is just so serious it's funny. Were Warrior's tights a shoot? They had a picture of the World Title and said "Much more important than this" like he was shooting on the Main. Savage was playing so many heel roles at one time here, it was like watching an Eddie Murphy movie, he was sneaky, cowardly, aggressive, just so multi-faceted. Both guys using psych out stuff, Warrior catches him from the top rope, then sets him down and slaps his face brutally. Noticed some of the same spots from the Hogan match from Last Mania. Not keen on Warrior's bumps, looks like a tranqued zebra trying not to fall down. Sherri is liberally interfering whenever she darn well pleases throughout this whole thing. She worked harder than 1/2 the roster on this show.

After some sloppiness through the middle section, Savage hits 5, count 'em, 5 top rope elbows on Warrior and he still kicks out? Could you possibly put someone over any more than that? Announcers and crowd go bezerk when Warrior can't finish him- asking Gods if he's finished goes with the character, but crowd is shitting on it verbally, just like when Dave hosted the Oscars many moons back. Savage takes killer wipeout into guard rail outside then succumbs to multiple shoulderblocks. This has to be my favorite Warrior match of all time. Aftermatch was emotionally satisfying, over all one of the great moments from a Mania that actually felt genuine even though it was scripted out.

8) Demolition v. Genichiro Tenryu/ Koji Kiato- 2

Well this was shit. Kiato was greener than Nickelodeon slime, couldn't bring himself to sell anything nor did he know how. Demolition had progressed even more into shitty Georiga-indy offense at this time than earlier in their career, basically boiling down to wild forearms and shots to the back. Tenryu had some fans in the audience, but they didn't get to see his back elbow. We did get an enzugiri although that blown ending killed this one. Smash waiting for a good 2 minutes with Tenryu on his knee as Kiato just kept interfering not letting them pull off the ending spot. Ugly powerbomb and the boys from Japan were back on a plane, eating monkfish and slurping sake.

9) Mr. Perfect v. Big Bossman (IC Title Match)- 5

The towel, spitting and a slap all set this up to be extremely personal right from the get go. Both guys were super quick and I think they missed the boat on this being a long time feud. Henning is bumping like he has a trampoline implanted in his back. Nice abdominal stretch, locked the feet together, don't see that done anymore ever really. Heenan on the outside can sell anything, especially when something goes wrong. Hell, i'd probably buy an Iraqi bomber child from him he's so good. Andre wanders out near the end and the attention of the audience and participants completely switches to him, which it's great to see him but hurts an otherwise good back and forth match. Get to see some of his famous swipes though as the Polynesian powerhouses from our opening match drool over themselves to take a paintbrush from the legend. An unintentionally funny moment is after the match, Andre is walking away when Bossman comes up from behind him and puts his hands on Giant's shoulders; this freaks Andre out, he looks shocked then pissed and turns around with his hand cocked like he's going to knock whoever touched him out. I was laughing on my couch so hard I think my daughter thought I was upset, so she came over and hugged me. Andre's such a great man; still bringing families together 16 years after his death.

10) Earthquake v. Greg Valentine- 3

Hammer playing the fall guy here but he for damn sure isn't lying down. Really jagged elbows to Quake's upper neck and stuff. Valentine was just a bruiser, a true legendary toughguy. Quake posing is funny, esp. because he's not full of muscle mass, his arms look more like some quivering mass of alien from "Men in Black." Hammer didn't take the aftershock either, don't blame him. Wish i knew about this a few years back, would have asked him about it at the Butler County Fair while he was completely skinburned and chewing a tasteless hot dog.

11) Legion of Doom v. Power & Glory- 1

They give Roma a 360 in air with the Decapitation and that's it. Herc looked like a fucking rubbernecker watching Roma get pinned while standing on the apron.

12) Ted Dibiase v. Virgil- 2

Okay, good story but Teddy is wasted here, Virgil was greener than Easter grass, as evidenced by the structure of the match. Not built around any sequences, just strikes and a move here and there, nothing more than 1 move at a time, no series. Dibiase working as a good vet should and taking liberties with future Curly Bill. Did me and Brian, collectively known as the Waffle Mafia, the sickest musical group in badly recorded history, really dedicate a song to this stooge? Piper is stealing all the thunder here and plays up the wounded animal quite well. The countout thing sucked the rubber tip off of Piper's crutch and the match ended up being a vehicle for Piper to get over, which I'm all for but don't disguise it.

13) The Mountie v. Tito Santana- 1

Tito hits his finisher about 20 seconds in and then gets tazered by the goof in the red shirt. Damn, that's pretty disappointing. Guess they ran long on time.

14) Sgt. Slaughter v. Hulk Hogan (WWF Title)- 5

Starts out with a cat & mouse game around the ring, before Sarge gets his first bit of offense. He's extremely slow, but calculating, imagine if Mr. Magoo were a serial killer, how he'd clean up the crime scene is watching Slaughter go to work here. Hogan quickly assumes control, posting Sarge 3 times then beating his ass for a good 10 minutes in something very squash-like. You could say "he goes OJ on him," haha. Both guys are in slow motion now, as if Hiro has frozen time for his amusement again. Slaughter hooks in a vicious Boston Crab, but it's right in front of the ropes, which is really stupid. Even Regis, doing commentary, keeps saying "Grab the rope, how come he doesn't grab the ropes?" Because he's a wrestling genius, Reg. Adnan distracts ref while Slaughter has Hogan down in a stupefying move, and just because you read Stupefying, doesn't give you the right to recite the lyrics to that ridiculous song. Okay, you have the right, this is America, but don't torture yourself. Okay, Adnan blew 2 spots now, after missing his cue to knock Hogan off top rope. Same Hulk finish we see every Mania time, and this was so-so. Def. not one of Sarge's best but a successful performance for the "Immortal" Jailbait Hogan.

II= 43%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
IV= 34%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ROH on HDNet 5/9/09

1. Delirious and Daizee Haze vs. Jimmy Jacobs and MsChif - 3

The opener was pretty perfunctory, the heat was on Jacobs and Delirious, but their sections were short-lived and relatively uneventful. Haze, who usually looks bad, was the best thing going here, there was some nice armwork and reversals, plus she's not afraid to break out an old-fashioned heart punch which makes me heart sing. MsChif looked like a kid bored in study hall during one rope sequence, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt as I know she's better than that.

2. American Wolves vs. Orange Cassidy and Leslie Butterscotch - 2

The Wolves match was just a devastating squash, easily one of the more nasty squashes I've seen in arguably a couple years. I dig the new trunks, too; remind me of old school British Bulldogs gear. Orange Cassidy was the recipient of most of the damage, you felt for the chump, as in high-definition you could see his chest was completely chopped and kick into hamburger meat. A good squash and Mike Hogwood's disbelief on commentary was amusing.

3. Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black - 6

The main event was really good, I liked its build a touch better than their time-limit draw two weeks ago, but, the finish docked it some points. Danielson was in control for the bulk of it, really working methodical submission-based stuff, especially on Tyler's leg. Tyler's comeback was well done, too; you could see his confidence building in his body language which is important. Black powerbombed Bryan into the turnbuckles for a whiplashing good time. The finish saw Black on the top turnbuckle, but Danielson knocked him off and Tyler soared all the way over the guardrail into the crowd. Then, Bryan climbed up and did a wild crossbody all the way out onto Black in the crowd. They battled, trying to beat the count, which was cool as Danielson's facial stuff here was great, as was Black unceremoniously jerking Bryan back violently into the guardrail. But, the referee got to 20 rendering this a double-countout and a less than satisfying finish to what was shaping up to be another awesome entry in these guys' excellent series.

AWA Battle by the Bay - 6/28/86

1) Earthquake Ferris vs. Ali Khan – 3
2) Sherri Martel vs. Candi Devine – 3
3) Jimmy Snuka vs. Jay York – 2
4) Nick Bockwinkel vs. Nord the Barbarian – 4
5) Stan Hansen vs. Jerry Blackwell – 5
6) Buddy Rose, Doug Somers, & Alexis Smirnoff vs. The Midnight Rockers & Curt Hennig – 5

Watching all of the AWA re-runs on ESPN Classic has inspired me to dig out all of the AWA supercards that I have in my collection and take a look at them as an ongoing project. This particular show was a live ESPN special from Oakland and featured a lot of interviews with Bay Area musicians in between matches. The show opened with Larry Nelson, Stanley Blackburn, and Lord James Blears out in front of a throng of people at a so-called “tailgate” party with Blackburn, who was portraying the on-screen AWA president, stumbling over a lot of words.

Ferris and Khan kicked off the action and Ferris was way over, mainly because he was the hometown boy. Sheik Adnan made his obligatory appearance by managing Ali Khan, who kept scratching at his beard. I’ve been impressed with Ferris on the ESPN shows I’ve seen. He’s got good moblity for a 350-pounder and is really over. Khan, on the other hand, seems to be yet another standard evil foreigner, although his facials are great. The match did what it was supposed to do and got the crowd hot early on. The ladies’ bout was just about what you would expect from those two. Martel, who was accompanied by the recently departed Buddy Rose, did her best to help carry Devine to an acceptable bout. I was never a big fan of Devine’s work, especially those shitty matches in 1990 with Mimi, but to her credit she slammed Martel pretty hard on the concrete a couple times. Martel would go on to wind up winning the bout and with it, the AWA Women’s Title. York and Snuka had a total snoozefest of a match. Within second, York was controlling the bout and applied a cobra clutch for what seemd like an eternity. Now why would you have a schmuck like that apply the finisher of one of the top stars five seconds into the match and Snuka doesn’t go down. Doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, Snuka finally makes his comeback, finishes off York and achieves some hookers and blow. This first half of this show pretty much sucked, hopefully the second half is better.

Bockwinkel and Nord had a decent little bout. Bockwinkel was his usual self, having a good bout with someone who could be totally incapable of otherwise. Nord’s channeling of Bruiser Brody was sort of awkward, especially after they had teamed up a few months before this. In a really odd turn of events, Nord ended up pinning Bockwinkel, thereby becoming the #1 contender for the AWA World Title, in what Greg Gagne called “an upset” on commentary. Funny thing is, Bockwinkel was the one awarded the title the next night after Hansen walked out of the company. The match of the show for me was Hansen and Blackwell as the two big men brawled and bled something fierce. Hansen bled early and tried to slam Blackwell but it wasn’t happening. Blackwell just seemed like a giant obsese dude with limited wrestling skills with body splashes as the norm. The ref took a fall and Hansen nailed Blackwell with his boot, busting him open and leading to a DQ finish in a fine bout that just happened to be Hansen’s last AWA match. Closing out the show was a good six-man tag. The work between the Rockers and Rose & Somers would serve as a precedent for their bloody battles later on in the year, especially the one in Las Vegas. Hennig was teamed up with them because Rose and Somers had just beaten him and Hall for the tag titles. I’m not sure what connection Smirnoff had with the team, other than providing vodka and spirited bevarages afterwards. The hot finish was when Michaels slammed Jannetty onto Somers after Hennig hit a dropkick. Fun match to close out the show. I’m going to go with a marginal recommendation on this one, as you should probably check out at least one of the last three matches. The first half, though, can be skipped.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Best of WCW Power Hour '90: Preview

I just wanted to tell everyone about a project our three-man crew will be working on throughout the summer. We're compiling a list of the top 25 matches from WCW's show Power Hour from 1990. We've split up stacks of discs, are researching and compiling, studying the footage like hawks, ranking and writing, etc. When we're finished it'll be a nice retrospective look and a big article. I'd like to say we'll be finished by the end of summer, so we can move on to some other big projects that are planned, but don't want to make any guarantees too early. Well, off to go study some Tim Horner in-ring... as you were...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WWE SmackDown! 2/22/08

1. Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Shelton Benjamin - 4
2. Jesse and Festus vs. Deuce 'N Domino - 5
3. Big Daddy V vs. Shannon Moore - 2
4. MVP vs. Batista - 6
5. Great Khali vs. Kane - 3
6. Chuck Palumbo vs. Matt Jackson - 3
7. Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero - 4

Opener was a MItB qualifier so I go into it knowing Benjamin goes over. Shelton does some decent amateur stuff to start. Killer powerrbomb in the corner by Benjamin! Benjamin does that spot where he hops up on the top turnbuckle and overhead belly-to-belly suplexes his opponent--Wang flies across the entire ring in a sick spot. It looked great. Nice teases on some finishes, surprisingly, actually got the crowd to buy into a possible Jimmy victory. Good opener. The following tag was physical as hell, now, I'm not ready to write off early-'08 SmackDown! as a golden era, but, this show has been pretty damn good so far. Festus is just wild and reckless, lays in solid stuff, etc. Festus slams Jesse right onto Sim Snuka's fucking face--ouch! Holy shit, on the floor, Sim rips Jesse's fucking face off with a flying heel kick. I was right, as back in the ring, Jesse's nose is gushing blood--probably broken. Great match.

I forgot how shitty Coachman was on announcing, he should stick to giving Phillies boxscores. I really miss both the next guys, but especially Big Daddy V. V's chops in the corner, where he makes the "V" with his hand? Just abnormally awesome. Moore finally gets some stuff in, a dropkick, etc. but this is Daddy's prom night and Moore is just the dude handing out fruit punch. Man, Batista looks so much better here than he has since his recent return--but, I wouldn't look real stoked working Ted DiBiase weekly either. I'd heard a lot about these two's series during this era and how tits it was. MVP is selling the back from the PPV the week before where he did the ill somersault bump off one of the Elimination Chamber pods. This match is scarily good, especially in contrast to recent TV output, as they get time and just go, even Batista's selling is uniformly good throughout. Batista wins by capitalizing on Porter's back, and MVP sells each subsequent spinerbuster like more and more excruciating death. I really dug this.

I thought the next match was going to be as stinky as the pulled pork fart I just dealt, but, while it's not Triple H vs. Khali from Summerslam '08, it's near it, and I'd say easily Top #5 Khali (for those keeping lists at home). Khali starts with that shoddy way he eats punches where he puts his hands up like the sun is in his eyes. They start laying it in like they care and suddenly this is getting quite watchable. Say what you will about Kane, he doesn't have a lot of physical tools, but he sticks to character (during matches) about as good as anybody else nowadays. Neat finish where Khali is using the infamous KONA CRUSH but Kane kicks off the buckles which leads to Khali inadvertently pinning himself while squeezing Kane's skull.

My boy Chuck Palumbo against... Matt Jackson? Of PWG, Dragon Gate (saw the his last tour--good stuff), and Chikara fame? Seriously cool. Jackson takes a toss out of the ring by somersaulting right to the fucking ground for your enjoyment. All of Palumbo's stuff comes off beautifully as Jackson sells it all huge, he spasms about like the women in Ward 3 that were raped in Fernando Meirelles' Blindness. Rey comes out and does a promo about his injured bicep and how he can't work WrestleMania--I guess working Chavo in his hometown of San Diego is the next best thing. Well, that's a stretch. Rey clearly brings out the best in Chavo, always, but with his legitimate injury they were limited. Chavo's frog splash looks more like a tweener falling down on the skateboard Mommy bought him--just because you saw it on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater doesn't mean you have the innate coordination to pull tricks off. Big Show comes out afterword and kills Rey and the crowd.

An episode of TV where I like seven out of seven matches? Holy shit. Are you kidding me? I can't remember the last time a show has had such a large rate of success with me. Not everything is worth seeking out, such as the main event, but by and by this was a ton of fun and a really enjoyable watch. Much thanks to Adam as this came from the cornucopia of discs he burnt for me last year--they're going to good use!

Monday, May 4, 2009

CZW Tournament of Death 4 - 7/30/05

I recently sat down to watch a DVD that I picked up at a local flea market that gained my interest, a tag team death match tournament. The review of that particular DVD will come in time but since then, death matches have peaked my interest. I used to think death matches were just total slop and garbage, but after watching a few, I now know otherwise. In order to be a true purveyor of the sport that we all love so dearly here on NHO, I’ve decided to jump into the world of death matches by checking out CZW, an American company known for their hardcore ultraviolence, and their fourth annual Tournament of Death.

1) J.C. Bailey vs. Sexxxy Eddy – Barbed Wire Madness Match – 3
2) Mad Man Pondo vs. Toby Klein – Ultraviolent Light Tubes Match – 4
3) Brain Damage vs. Beef Wellington – Best of Three Ultraviolent Tables Match – 3
4) Necro Butcher vs. Ian Rotten – Home Run Derby Death Match – 5
5) Nick Gage vs. Spyder Nate Webb – Ladders and Light Tubes Match – 4
6) Eddie Kingston & Robbie Moreno vs. Zandig – Handicap Fans Bring the Weapons Match – 1
7) Brain Damage vs. Necro Butcher – Fans Bring the Weapons Match – 3
8) Toby Klein vs. Zandig – Best of Three Light Tube Log Cabins Match – 3
9) J.C. Bailey vs. Nick Gage – Panes of Glass Match – 4
10) Ultraviolent Rumble w/ Security Guard Sean, Andy Sumner, Whacks, Danny Havoc, Blood, Ravage, Heretic, Rick Feinberg, The Hellaware Assassin, Shawn Bishop, and D.J. Hyde – 3
11) Nick Gage vs. Necro Butcher vs. Zandig – Squared Circle of Fear, Pit of Pain Three Way Elimination Death Match - 4

This is an outdoor show set up in the middle of a field in Delaware and, unintentionally, given the stipulations of the tournament, it feels like a backyard garbage show. Sexxxy Eddy has popped up on all of the death match shows I’ve watched recently and I don’t know why. He begins the show with a long diatribe about his mammoth schlong and brings three girls in the ring to get all up in them, as the kids say. Bailey seemed as if he was the prototype for wasted youth, with facial piercings and a “trailer trash” type look. The match had stuff hanging from a barbed wire structure that you could climb a ladder and grab. Eddy is working the match in nothing but a faux leopard-skin jockstrap and wrestling boots. All of the plunder involved seemed to really get in the way if they were trying to execute a maneuver. The announcers were trying to hype the tension between Eddy and Bailey by claiming they’re former partners, but that heat was blown away faster than a campfire in last September’s windstorm. Eddy tried to do a moonsault while wearing a trash can and landed with a thud on the mat. Bailey won and then stripped Eddy’s jock away, leaving a visual that no one wanted.

Pondo and Klein had a good, fun fight. Light tubes were strapped to the ring ropes and leaned up in the corner. Klein came to the ring carrying a board covered in pencils. Damn, he’s hardcore! The match was mainly them smashing each other into light bulbs. I cringed at the part where Pondo placed som lights on Klein’s yambag and then threw a bowling ball into said area, thus neutering him. The end came when Klein slammed Pondo into the pencil filled board and. Aftewards, Pondo cuts a promo about Klein giving him six new assholes. The tables match was pretty terrible. Wellington is nothing but a stupid comedy character and Damage just really didn’t do shit in the way of impressive stuff. There was a pretty sick spot where Wellington landed neck first through a fire table. Wellington had something called the “ass punch” but I could care less about that shit.

Butcher and Rotten was tons of fun. The object of the match was to beat the shit out of each other with assorted gimmick baseball bats. The bats were loaded with your standard deathmatch fare such as barbed wire and thumbtacks. They brawled around the ring for the majority of the match with each man one-upping each other with just dehabilitating shots. Rotten whacked Necro so hard that thumbtacks flew everywhere! They get in the ring and punch and kick and bludgeon each other. Necro finally wins with the Asiatic Spike. You could tell they were having tons of fun and I had a lot of fun watching it. Gage was very intense and destroyed ol’ Spyder Webb in their match. Webb eats a table right off the bat. I hear table shards are full of fiber. The ring eventually filled up with light tubes and ladders and was very hard to manuever in. The finish was utterly sick as Gage superplexes Webb off a ladder through a log cabin of light tubes that causes the annoucers to simultaneously scream in their best Joey Styles impression “Somebody call 9-1-1”! A decent bout but all the shit got in the way of the match at the end.

The handicap match with Zandig was total dog shit. There was random interference from Ruckus which the referee did nothing about and a lot of bullshit that had me questioning if it was a good idea to continue watching. Alas, I did and then some dude named Joker ran down and joined the match to help Zandig. All five guys did very little and the Joker got the pin even though he wasn’t a legal participant to allow Zandig to advance. Umm … ok. It’s Zandig’s company, I guess he can book shit however he feels like. Butcher and Brain Damage had a decent little bout althought it seemed like Damage was overmatched working with an experienced death match veteran like Necro. The weapons were just totally ridiculous. Somebody brought some kind of fruit with thorns sticking out of it. The semi-finals concluded with a panes of glass match that was painful to watch because of the lights and glass involved. Gage has been impressive throughout the whole tournament with his no-nonsense style. Bailey still didn’t do much for me except bump painfully on weapons. Gage bridged some light tubes across a few chairs and hit a sick top-rope piledriver to polish off Bailey. Back to the drive-thru window for you punk, I’ll have a spicy chicken with no tomato, got that!

To give the tournament competitors a rest, we are presented with an “Ultraviolent Rumble” before the main event. This thing consisted of a bunch of dudes, who came in at 1-minute intervals, beating the crap out of each other to the delight of absolutely no one. I didn’t know a single person involved in this chaotic clusterfuck of a battle royal and there were too many weapons for anyone to even do proper stuff. One of the dudes, I think it was Blood, took a sick fall on a shopping cart of weapons during his elimination that put a giant hole in his leg that they showed close-ups on afterwards. That was completely un-necessary and utterly dangerous. To show how even more of a joke this match was, one of the ringside photographers (Whacks) ended up winning the match. Great … that was pointless.

The finals of the tournament closed out the show and was an unorganized mess because of all the stipulations. The announcers were acting like total idiots, asking themselves if Zandig would “pull a Triple H”. I guess they’re thinking Zandig would book himself to win the tournament because I know he sure wouldn’t be able to get to Stephanie. Zandig got eliminated early, allowing Necro and Gage to thrill, and I use that term loosely, the crowd with a main event. Oh, did I mention that the special ref was Gypsy Joe, who apparently forgot the memo about pants because he reffed the match in his wrestling trunks and a striped shirt. The old dude had trouble getting down to make counts and when he did, they were slower than frozen molasses. The big spot of the match was Gage setting some wild contraption on fire that was bridged between the rail and the apron and putting Necro through it. However, Gage would up the worst of it because he caught fire and had to be extinguished quickly. Soon after, the match was over and Necro was crowned the victor. For all its faults, death match wrestling has its moments but it’s not for everyone. If you have a weak stomach or are squeamish, I would avoid these types of shows altogether. However, if you’re sick and twisted, like us here, then these should be right up your glass-covered, barbed wire-lined alley.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wrestlemania VI

Skydome in Toronto, awesome sight to see the 65,000 people they had there as the camera pans back for the initial shot. Famous crooner Robert Goulet (Goulet!) gives us "Oh, Canada" in that brisk but heartwarming tenor and we're off to the ring.

1) Koko B. Ware v. Rick Martel- 4

Still wish they would have marketed "Arrogance" as a fragrance; would have done great business in the 31-40 gay man population. Martel is super aggressive right from the beginning but loses steam pretty quickly. Koko's high flying was quite underrated I believe, especially for a portlier guy. Awesome dropkick and Martel eats several of them fervently, like me eating cheddar bay biscuits at your local Red Lobster. Speaking of crustaceans, they do a really good tease of Martel applying the Boston Crab. Besides forearms, Model's pretty empty on ideas. Koko looked good the whole way through but tapped to a very underwhelming Martel performance.

2) The Colossol Connection (Haku/ Andre the Giant) v. Demolition (Tag Team Titles)- 3

Despite the painted men getting their "3-peat" as Gorilla put it, this doesn't have a lot more going for it, although I believe this had to have been near Andre's last WWE match. Andre was a big non-factor here, only coming in a few times for quick spots. I give Haku big props for working the whole match by his lonesome, but it didn't add up to anything. Pace was extremely slow and I just couldn't get into Demolition's spirited comeback, complete with stiff clotheslines and all. Heenan was good in his role getting slapped around by Andre, but wasn't much of a tag match to speak of.

3) Earthquake v. Hercules- 2

A vehicle for the big man to get over, i found myself wondering "Does a guy that big need to use a thumb to the throat as an offensive move?" Quake has good movement for a tractor-trailer w/o wheels though. Herc threw some nice jabs, but this one left my head feeling as numb as after I watched "Napolean Dynamite." And did I mention the 1,000 times I had to hear people quote the movie afterwards?

4) Mr. Perfect v. Brutus Beefcake- 4

This is where Hennig's winning streak came to an end. Beefcake never lived up to his potential, as what they saw for him. To me, just being able to walk to the ring straight exceeded it. It's apparent, oh about 2.3 milliseconds, that Hennig is the far superior worker here, as Beefcake has trouble keeping up with a simple spot in the corner. Perfect looks like a gymnast doing a routine, as he bounces and flips all over the ring to the delight of the 60 some thousand Canucks in the audience. Henning takes control after using the Genuis' metal clipboard but stalls for like 5 minutes afterwards until Beefer double legs him into a slingshot for the surprise victory. Match had some potential with Hennig in the driver's seat but I think the way it was planned, became a wasted effort. Hennig's got one hell of a reverse knifedge , or chop for those of you not familiar with Gorilla Monsoon's lingo.

5) Bad News Brown v. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper- 2

I think Piper may have just been legally insane. This is Piper wearing black face thing where he painted half his body black. If anyone else would have done this, their career would have been over. Match is anything but, a lot of punching, and using a lot of energy in doing it but no real structure whatsoever to it. Piper brings out the Michael Jackson glove at one point and Ventura ponders it's legality- it's a freakin' glove with holes in it, you can see there's no object! Ends in a melee and one of Piper's better left forgotten Mania encounters.

6) Hart Foundation v. The Bolsheviks- 1

20 second squash for the hometown boys. Loved Bret counting into the camera as they got the win. Showoff.

7) Barbarian v. Tito Santana- 5

Never seen a stiff crossbody before. Both guys have great movement and match up surprisingly well. Watching this with my cousin and he gets excited to see one of his favorite bad guys as a kid show up in Barbarian, even if he is wearing a deer carcass. Tito has some solid punches, always looks like he's trying to hammer a guy's head into his neck. They play up the big man stuff but Titos' dropkicks are too much. Heenan plays his role perfectly, costing Tito the match then the Mexcian sensation gets beheaded with a flying clothesline. Really enjoyed this one.

8) "Macho King" Randy Savage/ "Sensational Queen" Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes/ Sapphire- 2

Man this one was a big old load of that horse manure Dusty cleaned up in those old American Dream promos. Brings back Liz for a nostalgia pop but pretty lackluster. Watching Saphirre trying to work is like watching a drunk horse loaded on pills trying to stick it's cock into a sorority sister down in Mexico all hopped up on whiffledusters. Dusty takes the majority of the abuse, actually laying on the side of the apron for a good 4 minutes as Savage and Sherri just continue to pour offense onto him, as he does nothing. Fun novelty at the time but compare it to the intergender stuff World Class was doing with Austin & Adams at that time and it doesn't even stand in ankle deep water next to it.

9) Orient Express v. The Rockers- 5

Good opening sequence sets the pace for a frenetic match, but Orients slow it down. Tanaka is a hell of a worker, not familiar with his partner, but he's a short pudgy Japanese dude who can't fly so not high expectations. Killer stomach breaker by Sato and I eat my words, along with some crab rangoon i just cooked in the oven. Really tasty and ups my enjoyment of this match. Tag situations are done right, and Tanaka has a flying forearm that just scentillates, just go ahead and mark out for it sight unseen. Ending is a CO<>

10) Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Dino Bravo- 2

If you like seeing two ugly dudes exchange strikes and sell like cartoon characters, this is better than Bumfights but not as good as an old episode of WMAC Masters.

11) Ted Dibiase v. Jake Roberts (Million Dollar Title match)- 6

Ring placement plays such a big part in matches and it's really cool watching two guys who know what spot they need to be in to get the most out of their actions. Another aspect of this is control & confidence, two things that truly signify a veteran presence in the ring and both men exude both. Watch the part where Roberts has Ted down and starts dropping knees, over and over again into his folded back arm, same time he's working the crowd, just complete control over the whole situation. Roberts misses his big kneelift and takes crazy bump. Dibiase is so fun to watch because he has so much to play off of here, Damien and avoiding the DDT. Crowd makes this feel like a big match, a giant wave is started all over the arena during slow portion on upper and lower levels and makes the match feel that much more special. Ventura is loving it, calls it out several times. And with one piledriver Dibiase stops the whole crowd's momentum and brings them back into the match, giving Jake a ton of support when he mounts his comeback. The finish made sense with Dibiase's character, plus the big face payback after the match but wasn't thrilled with the countout thing. But, you know what, i still have to recommend this one, especially if your a student of the game. There's just so much to absorb here.

12) Akeem v. Big Bossman- 1

Dibiase still lurked at ringside and does a number on Bossman before the bell rings. Doesn't matter though because halfway through this, he "feels no pain" and starts no selling everything before hitting a decent Bossman slam for the win. Extremely short. I know Brian won't like this seeing one of his old school favorites jobbed out so quickly.

13) Ravishing Rick Rude v. Superfly Jimmy Snuka- 3

This played out a lot like Rude v. Warrior from the Mania prior, with Rude's athleticism and work ethic on display. Match felt really rushed, as if they were told to shorten their match way up. Both guys were just moving the whole time with quick sells for everything so they could move onto the next spot. Snuka seemed to get lost trying to pull of the fin. Won't see this on any upcoming comp tapes from the NHO crew, I would venture to say.

14) Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior (WWF Title v. IC Title)-

Whole beginning is Power v. Power, just a sign of the times. Would this match have played out as well if the steroid scandal was going on? Should have had George Zahorian as Guest Timekeepr (sorry, dated reference.) You can see watching this one was planned meticulously, so many loose ends that could go wrong if not. The crowd is eating it up though, hand over fist. Hogan plays smart for his end, goes for a lot of covers, hits a move, covers, then back to chinlock. And he starts selling his desperation later on- still not sure what the feigned knee thing was for, probably another excuse why he lost. Warrior's clothesline spree was weak sauce though. Layout was really simple but a lot of the filler was meaningless and meandering. The finish sequence was pretty routine but the crowd response was phenomenal. Has that big match feel still but still doesn't hold a candle to Hogan- Andre in my book.

II= 43%
III= 39%
V= 34%
IV= 34%
I= 32%
VI= 32%