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.