Monday, November 30, 2009

Trent Acid v. Jimmy Rave (Iron Man Title- CZW Cage of Death 5, 2003) - 3

Was checking this show out and decided to really give this unique match a look, contested under 20 minute Iron Man Rules (which couldn't that be more considered Polyuerathane Man?) Anyways, this match showscases a classic example of a guy who is way better than he thinks, meaning Acid. Rave came out, head down, like a disgraced journalist vouyered upon, starting a babyface slow clap. Acid comes out with 6 pack abs, silver bright indy wrestling pants, grabbing his crotch more than a homie with crabs. They did the perfunctory armdrag exchange to start off with. Acid consistenly drew attention to his crotch during the match and you could tell this dude thought since he got blown so big in his home fed he was making it to the big time. Still looking for ya? He threw some of the sloppiest most inconsistent kicks this side of a Final Fight thug. Outside brawl was going as Acid tried a couple guardrails to move them back until he realized they were bolted to the floor. So he tries his asai moonsault anyways, but instead of just trying to hit the move and go balls out, he short shots and totally misses, looking like the steroid filled sleaze ball he really is. Also gets the first fall with a somersault legdrop that would make Scorpio quit smoking pot. Rave was constantly on defense, which wasn't all bad, but his face was a blank canvas and not in a good way, like before Frida Kahlo got a hold of it, but more like Jeff Hardy before a new piece for I Magi Nation. Crossface 2nd fall had decent heat and good finish. The final few minutes of this fell apart faster than Large Philly Cheese Steak from Penn Station. Rave was trying to hit his running knee while Acid was sitting down but missed, and then tried it again unsuccessfully a 2nd time as Acid stood there dumbfounded not knowing what they were doing. They looked like two people trying to finish a Sudoku puzzle in a pitch black cave. We got some bounus action until a pinfall was scored, and they had some cool rollups and reversals and stuff but a tacked on finish that came off well doesn't make up for the previous badly worked 20 minutes. Please, next time you run into Trent Acid on the streets of Philly, grab your crotch and thrust it at him, just don't be surprised if he tries to bargain his next meal for servicing it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

TNA Sacrifice 06

1) Jushin Liger v. Petey Williams- 3
2) America's Most Wanted v. AJ Styles/ Christopher Daniels- 5
3) A1 v. Raven- 0
4) Bobby Roode v. Rhino- 5
5) The James Gang v. Team 3-D- 4
6) X Division Gauntlet- 6
Team USA- Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, Alex Shelly, Jay Lethal
Team Canada- Petey Williams, Johnny Devine, Eric Young, Tyson Dux
Team Mexico- Puma, Magno, Incognito, Shocker
Team Japan- Jushin Liger, Minoru Tanaka, Hirooki Goto, Black Tiger
7) Jeff Jarrett/ Scott Steiner v. Sting/ Samoa Joe- 4
8) Christian Cage v. Abyss (Full Metal Mayhem)- 5

It's always fun to see Liger in the states, although his TNA stuff has been largely disappointing, much like Dixie Carter's "Work Hard and Sleep with the Boss" program she's tried to implement. No Takers? Petey sells the Palm Fist like death, but did we really need a blantant low blow for the finish, like this was a McMahon match or something? Too short to be anything worth seeking out....

I felt like this match had promise, really good old school tag scenario developed here, the Wanted boys did a great job melding solid team work and heel stooging to keep this together. Daniels was off here, some miscues with his opponents, he struggled to get off some of his showy offense and was just largely a step or two off. Just for the pure and simple fact of doing it, Daniels took Harris outside, threw him over the guardrail so AJ could do a crazy dive into the crowd, had nothing to do with the match at all. Meanwhile, Daniels and Storm brawl tepidly around the ringside area with as much vigor as two septagenarians fighting over the ripest kumquat at the grocery store. The did the AMW really close near falls and one of them worked well, the BME / splash combination. But it was overdone and the match went on longer than it needed to. Still marginally good action.

Raven had the physique of Batman's arch enemy Clayface here. He looked like a melted popsicle of a man. His hair looked like the remnants of a wolverine attacking a jello mold, or more appropriately, the latest in Troma Films new line of soup products, Cream of Toxie. Onto the match, or as I referred to it, "4 minutes God took from me." There's nothing redeemable about what happened here. A1 did a bunch of sloppy corner splashes, then posed as if he wasn't on the Gas. Raven does his knee lift, but the real impact came from the loud slap on A1's back, because he sold it before Raven's knee ever came near his neanderthal face. This is the kind of match that would make you revert to being a full time Water Polo fan and never look back.

Surprisingly this was a decent piece of work. There's been some banter going around about Rhino being more stale than a Wheat Thin, which I'm not debating at all, but he stuck to the game plan of wounded face here and it worked. He also took two precise hurty looking bumps that went a long way in building Roode's offense up. Roode stayed busy as well, stalling in good moments, aggresively working rest holds (even though Rhino sold them by blowing his hair out of his face) and D'Amore was his usual jolly rulebreaking self. For some reason I miss John Candy watching him. Rhino's shoulder in the buckle is as useful as the hair on my balls.

Bubba comes out in jeans and a Red, White and Blue TNA shirt. When I think Patriotism, my mind goes right to a 2nd string wrestling outfit. Kip shows some spring in his legs, as all 4 dudes take turn hitting dropkicks, Bubba's was the most laughable. Lot of punching in this, but not a lot of selling, even D-Von was light on the facials here. Kind of a blase affair that never really picked up. Ending actually more resembled a backstage social mixer than a wrestling match, as everyone was kind of milling in the ring trying to hit their signature spots. Lame weapon finish didn't do this any favors either.

This I enjoyed. You have to give TNA credit for one thing, they spotlight, or used to, their X Division guys in good spots on their ppv's. Most of the workers involved here had never been in the company before, and were pretty unknown but they were dropped into a position to help a withering show from dying on the vine and they did a good job of it. Lots of highlights here and not many lowlights, Shelly, Liger, Shocker, Tanaka, Puma, Lethal, Magno and even Dutt all had big moments in this followed by a believable and fun ending.

This was the beginning of the Pussification of Joe. His first chance in the ring with main eventers and he totally dumbed down his style and move set. Steiner and he traded some nasty shots and suplexes though, which would translate well into a heralded singles later on. Sting went on a hot streak that could have easily been time traveled from 1989 in the beginning but he seemed to fizzle after that. Hated his terrible scorpion leglocks, just really loose and flaccid. Jarrett was pretty bad with Joe as well, just sandbagging a lot of his offense and not giving anything back, selling wasn't really there either, he took flat back bumps but gave nothing to the crowd. Pretty tame for the expectations I would think. Definitley won't be screened at a Borden Family Christmas.

This was kind of a mock TLC match, where anything metal was legal. I was dying to see someone use a '01 Dodge Stratus. First move of the match was a spear from Christian? So i'm completely disbelieving everything I see here. Luckily the brawling was kept to a minimum, much to my surprise. Christian hadn't yet developed his really nasty smack yet as a strike, so his punches weren't anything to write home about. Cool Killswitch face first on the ladder to Abyss. Mitchell brought in the tacks then was rearranging them with his gargoyle walking stick like he was Jeremy Blake, in a strange, long camera shot, only for him to go into them with a half ass Rock Bottom. Christian was always known for taking a brutal spill off the ladder, this was no exception, split legged and bounced to the outside like someone leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge. This totally isn't one of those big ladder matches you remember because of lack of big spots, but it's also one that works more because the excess is kept more to a minimum so it's a Catch 22 that way. Both guys were also just kind of figuring out how to work a main event because there was a tendency to go to known moves right away, and some dead air during other spots but overall it was a commendable effort.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HWA Drake Younger's Psycho Circus - 7/31/09

It needs to be noted first that HWA still has not figured out how to make a basic DVD menu on a computer. Instead, each match is a separate title on the disc and after each match, the disc reverts back to the title menu. Also, it seems like the matches were shot in widescreen, so therefore instead of where the black bars would be, they have red and yellow vertical stripes which get really annoying. There is also no commentary, probably because the people who put together the DVD didn’t know how to dub it in.

1) Bunkhouse Battle Royal (Notable participants: “Lightning” Tim Lutz, Kid Fabulous, V-Radd, J.T Stahr, Aaron Extreme, Matt Taylor, and Dave Crist) – 1
2) Aaron Williams vs. Chance Prophet – 3
3) Relentless Ron Mathis vs. Dameon Daniels – Thumbtack Match – 2
4) Jon Moxley vs. Scotty Vortekz – Dog Collar Match – 4
5) Drake Younger vs. Christian Faith – Four Corners of Fun Match – 5
6) King Vu vs. Vincent Nothing – 3
7) Matt Taylor vs. Brian Beech – Leather Strap Match – 2
8) Drake Younger vs. Relentless Ron Mathis vs. Jon Moxley – Fans Bring the Weapons Elimination Match – 6

First up out of the gate was a battle royal touted as a bunkhouse match which featured the most random mix of low-level indy dudes ever. Pretty sad when Dave Crist is the biggest name in your battle royal. Not much substance in this match with people walking around the ring. V-Radd has about as much street cred as Jamie Kennedy did in that shitty “Malibu’s Most Wanted” flick from a few years ago. Stahr looked decent, even though he seems to be stuck in the same spot he was in three years ago. V-Radd and Stahr were the final two with some nice elimination teases that didn’t amount to jack shit. V-Radd took a bump on the apron while suplexing Stahr to the floor for the finish. Next up was a match that was announced as being fought under “american luchacore rules”, whatever that means. Prophet looks like something that came out of a Mortal Kombat game. You’ve heard people say that certain matches “never got out of first gear”, well this never got out of neutral. Williams totally pussed out on a bump over the top rope and followed that up by moonsaulting off a railing on the floor that’s next to a makeshift merch table which featured a Randy Savage n.W.o. poster in the background. The brawl on the floor next to the seats was good. Prophet caught Williams running down the aisle and dropped him face first on the apron. Aside from that spot, Prophet looked really bad. Williams was far too reliant on his strikes and kicks although he did break out a nice German suplex. Back on the outside, Williams got his head run into a makeshift wall. Weak finish in this where Prophet gets pulled off the top turnbuckle. Match wasn’t really all that great but it was worlds better than the terrible opener.

Drake Younger, doing a gig where he’s HWA president for a day, comes out next and sets up an invitational tournament. First match up in said tournament is Mathis and Daniels. Aside from the finish and a dive over the top, Daniels spend the whole match just beating on Mathis. There’s a crowd brawl sequence which ends with Mathis taking a crutch to the throat. Mathis took a few nasty tack bumps but nothing that really meant anything in the end. One major flaw I had with this match was that since Mathis continually kicked out of spots on the tacks, how is it that it only takes one bump on the tacks and a frogsplash for Daniels to be pinned? Next up was Moxley and Scotty Vortekz so this could be good. Moxley’s verbal taunting throughout the bout added a nice touch. Moxley took a wild bump over the top after he threw Scotty over and the forgot he was attached to him. Another crowd brawl and they go up to the completely empty second level and wail on each other there. Back in the ring, Mox sticks Scotty with these pencil like spikes and nailed him with some hard weapon shots. Scotty took an ill facebuster into some tacks that were leftover from the previous bout. Moxley looked pretty good here but I haven’t seen enough of Vortekz to form an opinion yet. Final tournament bout was Younger himself taking on a dude dressed in black with a white mask. I wasn’t expecting much out of this after seeing the previous two bouts but they really surprised me here. Drake began the bout wearing out Faith with a water jug. More brawling into the crowd and Faith took a sick pan shot. Since Faith has a mask on, you instantly know that Drake is going to bleed. Faith gives Drake the ol’ cheese grater to the forehead and proves my point. Faith got a bit of nice offense in with the big spot being smashing Drake in the corner. End of the match saw Drake go after Faith’s biceps with a pizza cutter and then pin him following a vertebreaker.

Next two bouts were shit. First up, we get King Vu and Vincent Nothing in a match that amounted to nothing. Vu comes out with his hand stuck out forcing people to kiss it. I’m not sure I buy this just yet. How did he become king? I didn’t vote for him. Vincent’s MMA style arm-bars were a nice touch but were the only thing of note that he did. He sure wasn’t as good as his partner was in the previous match. Vu’s verbal taunting helped him get over as a heel and finished off Vincent with a shitty forearm smash. To quote the landlord from the movie The Mask, “That’s what you are Ipkiss, a big nothing!” A post-match angle leads into the strap match that was eight minutes of awful. Beech and his blonde highlights need to go back to selling car speakers at the flea market. For some reason, there was zero audio for the first two minutes of this bout. Taylor is wrestling in jeans and an AC/DC t-shirt and looks ridiculous. I’m not sure why it was a strap match, aside from somebody in the back decreeing that it be. Beech choked Taylor in the stands and repeated rammed him into the ring post. Moments later, this was over. Thank God. The finals of the Drake Younger tournament closed out the show and was a really fun match. Mathis took a sick splat on the floor after missing a plancha. All kinds of weapons were involved in this match such as keyboards, pans, light tubes, chairs, fake legs, and barbed wire. Mathis was eliminated after a facebuster from Moxley on some light tubes. The final act with Moxley and Drake was fantastic. They exchanged some ill headbutts on the top turnbuckle before Drake took a flat back bump off the top buckle through another batch of light tubes. The finish was Moxley working in the chicken wing submission and making Drake tap out in really the only recommendable match of this show.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Davey Richards - FIP Heatstroke '07 Night Two - 5

Davey gets criticized a lot for not knowing his mechanics in-ring and being a veritable Dynamic Kid clone. An aspect of his work I think has been overlooked is his ability to rile up a crowd. On his way to the ring he calls one kid a bastard, another young boy tries to reach his hand over the rail for a high five and Richards hastily kicks at it. Hotty is the complete opposite, slapping hands incessantly on the way down, making sure to give the children their moment. This is easily one of the loudest FIP crowds I've heard. Richards bumps for a Scotty shove like a torrential wind just blew him away--hope he had insurance. Richards is reveling in the crowd heat, the old school heel reaction he's receiving here rivals even his loudest ROH reaction. I think I'd rather be working for passionate kids and families than middle-aged comic book nerds that won't pop for anything for the same reason they didn't attend dances and other social gatherings. Scotty removes his shirt to a molten reaction. They go to tie-up but a loud "Scotty! Scotty!" chant distracts Richards who bails to the floor to jaw with the kids in the crowd. In this environment I could see Richards being the perfect fit for The York Foundation had he been around back then, give him some Buddy Holly glasses, a golf shit, and a pocket calculator and he'd have been a nice pairing with Terrence Taylor in tag bouts. Davey stooging for Scotty's goofy offense is somehow much more satisfying then him playing tough working Tyler Black in a fifteen-minute derivative throwaway bout. You've really got to see this as its remarkable how over 2 Hotty is. This is actively better than anything in the Malenko/2 Hotty series in 2000, not so much a compliment to Richards' work, but to the maturity and timing of Scotty in-front of a drastically different crowd. Davey retreats, trying to leave through a curtain but Hotty spins him around and belts him in the face with a couple right hands. Davey finally gets the advantage, beating Scotty into the ring and stomping him upon entering. After a knee to his mid-section Hotty does a really great job of selling anguish on the mat. Scotty reverses a "Camel Clutch" by biting Davey's hand, the same hand that alternately rewinds a Benoit VHS comp. on his 12-inch Panasonic and yanks his manhood. Davey's chinlock is less than convincing. Davey does a snap suplex, Scotty thinks, "I've had your idol's and it was much crisper". Scotty does this real wild flying clotheslines that'd be ideal in CMLL. Could a Scotty 2 Hotty world tour be what this business needs? After seeing this I know I'd pay to see him work Jun Akiyama. A ref bump sees Erick Stevens run out, he tosses Davey with a huge German suplex, but Richards scrambles to get into position for the next spot without even selling any damage. Scotty capitalizes on a downed Davey and hits his patented "Worm" for the finish. Without the crowd heat you couldn't call this much of a match, but, this had an old school energy that was palpable and Scotty worked much better in this context and setting than he did on the big stage in WWE. I also enjoyed Davey more as a stooging, impatient heel; with better timing, I think that might be his calling, but instead we're generally supposed to buy him as a colossal ass-beater.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

WrestleMania XIX

the rundown continues in McDreamy's here

1) Matt Hardy v. Rey Mysterio - 6
2) Undertaker/ Nathan Jones v. Big Show/ A-Train- 4
3) Victoria v. Jazz v. Trish Stratus- 5
4) Team Angle v. Los Guerreros v. Chris Benoit/ Rhyno- 5
5) Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho- 7
6) HHH v. Booker T- 6
7) Hulk Hogan v. Vince McMahon (Street Fight)- 4
8) Steve Austin v. The Rock- 6
9) Kurt Angle v. Brock Lesnar- 6

For a 6 minute match, you really couldn't ask for much more than this. Really creative and fluid spots using both guys signature moves, abbreviated version of much better paced match later on in the year. Matt hurts his shoulder but forgets to sell it 3 seconds later, much like promises to fans at an autograph signing of showing up to a high school party later that night. A nasty twist of Fate blows me off my couch and Matt's crazy face afterwards shows way more depth than Skeet Ulrich ever has. It sucks it was so quick, but I can't not recommend this one for a fun spot fest.

This in actuality is a handicap match as Jones was taken out earlier in the locker room......hmm, will he be back? Train takes a huge chokeslam right off the bat but is okay again after 20 seconds. Cool leapfrog from Taker but follow up hiptoss was unsightly, much like Show's physique and naughty one piece slipping down his shoulder. He looked like a buffoon in this one, waiting for moves and punches constantly, falling awkwardly over the top rope like a blind rhino careening down a ravine. He sells pain very well, with loud brutish screams. Show's best contribution was an abdominal stretch but Train does one seconds later and gets it more over with the crowd. Taker playing around with some armbars is a fun visual, especially since he's wearing leather pants. Jones Does come back, oh my, I"m shocked and throws a spin kick not seen since "Double Impact" that ko's Show in the aisle. Good riddance, someone throw a giant diaper around that turd. Ref also allows Jones to freely interfere in the match, not sure why. Think Taker v. Train singles would have been much better.

Jazz has an elegant float on her dropkick, much like the Princess did on her jump in Mario 2. Trish's punches have missed the mark, but she takes a lovely apron bump. Victoria kind of a non-factor here, except for the ocasional big move (slingshot legdrop, super kick). Jazz is running this match, loved her intensity leading up to a slap to the champ. Highly skilled backbridge by Trish, so many thoughts running through my head at that point. Jazz's double chicken wing was Steamboat-esque and that's high regards. Match finished well and the slop was left in the locker room along with the Miller Lite Catfight girls and their shitty acting in promos.

I loved the death stares Team Angle were giving to their opponents on the way to the ring, with the hoods over their heads, looked like evil Jedi warriors. Benoit and Eddie dominate all the portions of this that worked, no surprise. Benoit, as he was known for, brings the sickening chops and constant covers after his crisp moves. Saw little to no teamwork with him and Rhyno though, whose only pop of the match was 2 gore's. Whole match had an issue with using sloppy punching and brawling as transitions to their planned moves, resembled a local show with overweight hacks in Tulsa. Huge Germans to Chavo but hated how he didn't sell them instead made a timely tag on one of the travels back. Eddie hit a Frog splash uglier than Melissa Rivers at the end, elbows first, as if trying to avoid a belly flop into a community swimming pool.

Jericho, character wise, is totally in the zone here, way so more than Shawn, who's laughing to himself and making silly jokes. Opening is easy going stuff, but at least they didn't wait for applause, ECW style after a simple headlock routine. Both guys very vocal in everything they do, helps connect the match to the large crowd, but not a fan of either man's strikes, be it Shawn's wussy punches or Jericho's lazy forearms. The spot with the Walls of Jericho (and before hand, Michaels trying a suicide dropkick in the aisle) are mind-numbingly stupid. The match stays technical instead of degenerating into a brawl, which is refreshing. I like Shawn's spit sell, albeit hygenically disgusting, it just looks real unless he does it too much in one match. I'm not a fan of the "copying moves" routine but it works for the story here, Announcers are really hitting a stride with being excited as the match builds up. Shawn is off and on with selling, showing the cumulative pain on his face is here and there. They do a good job of coming up with nearfalls that don't kill all their top shelf stuff too, common atrocity most wrestlers commit. The superplex reversal looked painful but fans don't buy it as a finish. Whole place comes unglued for the superkick, good close out to quite a unusual WM match: clean wrestling.

I liked this match because it was different, but I could see how it wouldn't click with the general audience. Tremendous job building Booker as a worthy challenger and cool backstory. Both men come in bringing the heat, Trips with solid straight punches and Booker with wild streetfighting swipes. Armdrag off the top rope for no reason 2 mins. in? That's a Dealbreaker! The Game's kicks look flimsy, as if he was going to stick a rock on the ground, but his spinebuster must have made Arn do a slow clap in the back. Booker hits an awesome kick as Trips comes off the top rope, really great timing and his selling is personal, very vocal, and sympathetic, he plays underdog well. Here is HHH's famous Indian Deathlock that Jim Ross blows him for, as if he was the greatest technical wrestler of all time. It's basically an upside down Trailer Hitch that Knoble used for years, it comes off like it's a secret weapon that helps him win. Flair didn't do much here, but was good in his role. Insert classic JR line here, as Lawler notes Flair was trying to "help" Booker back in the ring when he dropped him knee first on the steel stairs: "Help him back in the ring? That excuse hasn't worked since 1982!" The finish is unique because there's no Finisher 2.9 section the finisher just works, which helps the move (which needs no help) but hurts the loser.

20 years in the making, brotha- So was the new Star Wars trilogy, but does that mean it still should have been attempted? I'll let you be the judge of that one. Onto the work, Vince can barely run the ropes, so they quickly avoid that pothole. Hogan actually made Vince's lariat look credible, and that alone is enough of a reward coming out of this. I liked Vince driving his knees into Hogan's arm, you need no skill to pull it off, but it's vile, very Dick Slater, although not in execution. Hulk looks more worn than an old armchair, but can connect with a crowd like no other. God, Vince is a nasty looking freak, he pulls an obvious bladespot as Hogan creams his yellow and red jeans blasting Vince's overblown back and shoulders with a chair. Vince is better on D than Hogan, a ridiculous ladder spot that was nauseating in it's overindulgence but came off well. I was just waiting for the garbage can lids because if you're in a blood feud in wrestling, that's what you want to tear your rival's head off with! Nope, it's a generic looking pipe this time. Creepy Camera shot of bloody freak Vince coming up from outside and I"m even scared. Piper gets a massive, no I mean Massive, fuck that, MASSIVE, pop for his surprise appearance. I liked the 3 legdrop finish, not a lot of meat to this, no surprise, but fun nonetheless, Shane O Mac gets a payday by walking out and doing nothing, was he planning on leaving the company here or was he waiting for Dad to croak? Only his bruised and mentally raped pysche will ever know. I have a feeling Shane knows exactly how the Balloon Boy feels.....

Opening of this titanic struggle is a throwback to the old "Attitude" days with the sloppy ringside brawl, it's pretty passe by this point, but I guess revamping it was part of the nostalgia in this match. It is Austin's last professional match and for that reason there's some sentimentality here, even though he doesn't have the same intensity he once did and moves more sluggish than ever before. Rock is on, antagonizing the crowd, overselling like a mother fucker and just being this charismatic beacon of attention. He attacks the knee, which he's not known for, and it shows because it all leads to a sharpshooter, which in actuality is more back based. Double clothesline worked, even though that's from a different era. When they start hitting finishers, you see a real magic between them, because it's all about hitting their big spots and involving the crowd and what they're doing. No one past the 3rd row could see Austin's weak swipes in that opening brawl so no one could connect to what they were doing but the finishing stuff is gold. I loved Rocks' reaction after the 2nd kickout of the Rock Bottom, better than anything he did in Doom.

Tazz mentions Tito Ortiz is watching this match, why and who cares? Lesnar having a hard time towing the line between when to use pro wrestling holds and amateur ones in the opening sequence, which is fun because when would you ever have two wrestlers of their caliber allowed to do work like this, esp. in WWE at Wrestlemania. Both guys have great explosion on their moves, duh. Brock takes a German in the buckle and bounces off of it like he was Super Dave, gave the move some impact. Kurt's bow and arrow hold, while experly applied, seemed like it only made Brock uncomfortable, like he was sitting on the remote control on his loveseat at home, no real pain displayed on his face. He gets such huge air on taking Germans, he had a wild uncontrollable and untrained aspect that was fun to watch. Finish is just so unbelievably flat after missing that Shooting Star and killing half his brain cells, no risk, no reward but man that was a total crash and burn. Still guy has balls for trying that. Angle led him through the new finish but a lot of steam was gone after that.

Overall this was a pretty good show, it had a very cinematic quality to it, the arena was lit perfectly and the setup was grandiose. The whole 2nd half of the card was treated as main events themselves, all getting over 20 minutes and pulled off reasonably well.

XIX= 54%
XIII= 49%
XIV= 44%
VIII= 43%
II= 43%
XVII= 43%
X= 42%
XII= 40%
III= 39%
XVIII= 39%
VII= 34%
IV= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%
XVI= 30%
XV= 29%

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Rise and Fall of WCW - Part 3

The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (Wrestle War ’90, 2/25/90) – 5
Lot of stalling and comedy in the first part of this one. Cornette and the referee did a spot where it looked like they were going to have a fight and both of them played their roles well in it. Terry Funk was on commentary for this and came across as somewhat annoying in parts. First thing you hear from him is where he’s trying to sing. Ew. There were numerous legal man issues throughout the match, not so much in the second part but the first part was totally littered with them. The second part of the match was really good with an extended, but very standard, face in peril sequence. Morton and Eaton had a nice punching exchange, or, as my notes said “blonde mullets exchange punches”, and then took a brutal powerslam on the floor by Stan Lane. The Midnights worked over Morton’s arm and shoulder really good for most of the face in peril sequence that I mentioned above. Lane’s punches and karate-type strikes were passable. Gibson got the hot tag and cleaned house and got the pin with a very sloppy looking roll-up. The second part kept this from getting a lower score but there are RnR/Midnight matches from the late-80s that are better.

The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys (Great American Bash ’90, 7/7/90) – 7
Brian pimped this match back when he reviewed this particular show, so I was anxious to watch it. Southern Boys started off hot by tossing the Midnights around the ring. I’m not used to seeing Smothers this “faaarred up”, as they would say in the south. Lane and Smothers had a spot where they did karate on each other that was pretty interesting. Smothers does the face in peril role well but nowhere near as good as Ricky Morton, but he did take a few hellacious bumps into the railing. The nearfalls had the crowd on their feet. Armstrong came in and cleaned house on the hot tag. A switcheroo from the Southern Boys got a very close nearfall and a loud reaction from the crowd. The crowd was definitely in favor of the Midnights as the Dixie-flag waving Southern Boys weren’t loved by the Notherners in Baltimore. Lane busted out a nice enziguri at the end that led into the roll-up pin. Wait, this ended with a roll-up? Hmmm, don’t think I like that. Fantastic match otherwise.

The Steiner Brothers vs. Lex Luger & Sting (SuperBrawl, 5/19/91) – 7
The first time I saw this match, I thought it was overhyped but it has since grown on me. A rare face vs. face match-up for the WCW tag team titles, here. The crowd was hot for all four guys, especially for Sting. Luger and Rick started off with a nice exchange that Luger seemed to control. Sting tagged in and hit a super swank dive which got the crowd on their feet. Not much selling in this one, just hard-hitting move after hard-hitting move. I just realized that all four of these guys were still in WCW in 2001 at that three of them were on the final WCW pay-per-view. Sting barely hit a dropkick off the top rope that Rick sold like crazy by taking a wild, hard bump into the opposite turnbuckle. Nikita Koloff ran down for interference to attack Luger but Sting took the hit for his teammate. All four guys went balls out in a wild 12-minute match.

Sting vs. Vader (Great American Bash ’92, 7/12/92) – 7
A while back I reviewed the Sting/Vader bloodbath from SuperBrawl III and this match, their first pay-per-view meeting, is equally as good. Sting was the WCW champion going into this and Vader had been running rampant through the promotion with Harley Race at his side. Sting is a great punching bag for Vader. He sells everything so well that you fear Vader could polish him off at anytime. Vader controlled almost the entire match, except for brief moments where Sting was able to fight back on defense. Vader took a wild bump over the top rope and smashed up against the rail. While watching this, you will notice that Jesse Ventura’s commentary has been edited out by the crack WWE production staff. There was a nice tease of Vader winning with Sting’s own submission hold. Sting managed to get off a few corner splashes off late in the match until he hit his head on the metal turnbuckle bolt. Vader then quickly finished him off with a powerbomb. Great match that set the stage for the wild matches they would have in the future.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TNA Turning Point '09 co-review

1. Homicide vs. Amazing Red - B:5 A:5

Brian: It starts off quick and Homicide hops out of the ring and shoves Don West's inept ass out of the way. Red does a hurricanrana off the apron and Homicide sells it like someone poured cold water down his back. A Mikey Whipwreck reference on commentary? What flea market is he selling dragon statues at I wonder? Red does an awesome sell on a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Don West at ringside is ridiculous, yelling, "fight through the pain!" relentlessly. Homicide works good when playing the bully, unfortunately in TNA he's too small to really pull that role off against anyone except Red. The absolutely giant "SHOPTNA" banner in the background screams desperation. I can see a child now, "I want some toys, a football, and a 3Live Kru DVD!" I don't know how big Red would get over elsewhere, but Orlando crowd is popping huge for all of his stuff. Homicide hits a "Bronx Bomber #27" which is a Michinoku Driver #2 and it looks sick. Red does a moonsault from the top and Homicide catches him in mid-air with a "187", his cutter-variation (I prefer Susumu Yokosuka's) but the timing doesn't synch up well. A fast-paced match with some good nearfalls and action, definitely a suitable opener.

Adam: This was a hard fought match and each guy looked good. Red’s flippy offense works good in front of the Orlando crowd but I’m not sure that it would work well in ROH or any place else for that matter.. On commentary, Mikey Whipwreck and Abdullah the Butcher are referenced in the same sentence. Why? Being trained by Mikey isn’t something that I would be particularly proud of this day in age. I wasn’t buying Homicide as anything more than a generic heel. Homicide tried to intercept Red off the top turnbuckle in mid-move and attempt a cutter-type move but it doesn’t come off well. Don West was a focal point of the match early on with his crazy yellng and cheerleading for Red. I heard Mike Tenay say that Homicide hit a “Bronx Bomber” and my first thought was that he finished off a whole giant pizza with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and black olives. (That’s a Dewey’s Pizza reference for those of you that don’t get it.) There are a bunch of dorks in the front row popping for everything. The “Code Red” move to finish was kind of cool but the X-Division guys are treading water in this spot and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast.

2. The Beautiful People vs. ODB, Taylor Wilde, and Sarita - B:1 A:3

Brian: ODB drops a headbutt in-between Velvet Sky's legs and she sells it like she just opened an unmarked envelope containing a nude photo of Dave Meltzer. Watching Lacey works makes one really miss the days of Angelina Love. This is so bad I want to pull a Theresa Duncan, too bad I don't have any champagne handy to wash down this pills with. A huge "You can't wrestle!" chant directed at Von Erich--maybe this Orlando crowd isn't all bad! Tenay compares Velvet to Antonio Inoki. He deserves to get slapped like a bitch by Inoki like Machida did when he bombed in his debut. I liked ODB in OVW but this isn't cutting it. Things break down, it ends mercifully and I weep wishing Hamada could have gotten on the show instead.

Adam: O.D.B. does a muff dive right at the beginning … let’s hope she doesn’t get some rancid flesh-eating disease on her face from that. Then again, it might make her look a bit better. Madison Rayne looked the best out of any of the Beautiful People tandem. Lacey gets very minimal ring time, maybe 30 seconds worth and the whole arena is chanting “you can’t wrestle” at her. Velvet Sky hits the ropes with a frightening look on her face like she’ll get Swine Flu from touching the ropes. O.D.B. fought out of a 3-on-1 spot to win the match for her team. This was better than the matches of the previous two months but still nowhere near good.

3. Beer Money, Inc. vs. British Invasion vs. Motor City Machine Guns - B:3 A:3

Brian: Either Tenay really thinks Taz is a funny guy, or, he's getting worse than Michael Cole on scripted laughter. This starts off quite nicely, with Storm taking it rather physically to the Brits, than Shelley and Roode working a nice section together. Sabin enters and he's like the bean sprouts on top of a warm bowl of Phở, they don't really add anything, but usually don't ruin the dish either. I guess the Machine Guns have been watching some KroniK matches, as they busted out "High Times". Magnus looks like an idiot feeding himself to Storm's clotheslines. I wonder if Sabin watches UFO Hunters? He used to rock those trunks with the dumb alien head on the ass--looked like a patch my stoner brother would have had on his backpack circa '97. A bunch of far too genial stuff, a series of spot after spot, doesn't evoke any hate or feel like a fight, just the Brits doing physical comedy like they're auditioning for a vaudeville show. I'd like to see Rob Terry in blackface. Shelley and Sabin disappear for the last several minutes of the match. Young and Nash both come out, get involved, there's a swerve, and this is officially an overbooked mess.

Adam: I thought this was going along pretty good until the Machine Guns totally disappeared from the match. From there, it was legal man issues until the end of the match with the ref standing there looking like a blind man trying to direct traffic at the corner of 5th and Vine in downtown Cincinnati. Speaking of the Guns, their double team moves looked pretty cool, at least better than the other guys in the match. Beer Money did their typical pose while the Brits just laid in the ring dead. The final part was totally devoid of anything resembling a tag match with the participants entering the match at will and the Brits and Beer Money just doing double team moves to one another. Eric Young interferes and chases James Storm from the ring. Why? So Nash comes out then, takes the Legends … um, Global title belt and then whacks Storm? Ok, I’m confused. Doug Williams almost misses the elbow from the top rope in a bland finish to a bland match.

4. Tara vs. Awesome Kong - Six Sides of Steel Match - B:5 A:6

Brian: The girls start with the best strike exchange thus far on the show. I wonder if Kim Couture could through a better worked punch than Kong? I also wonder what her thoughts were on Randy's portrayal of Sargon. Kong busts out a missile dropkick from the top! Kong sandwiches Tara against the cage than jumps into her after a running start. Tara sells it like she saw a ghost. Kong suplexes her into the cage then drops her with no regard. They've actually used the cage to elevate the violent aspect of their feud. Both stand on the top rope and end up getting crotched, they then exchange strikes while straddling the rope in a nice moment. Tara powerbombs Kong off of the turnbuckles in a spectacular spot. Tara tries leaving, decides against it, then leaps off the top onto Kong. They called it a "crossbody" but it looked a lot more like a "Thesz Press", albeit a gigantic one. This was quite good, they used the cage effectively, and the ending felt appropriate. I'd have liked it more if they'd given it some more time.

Adam: Women in cages … it’s not just for the grindhouse anymore! Ok, I’ll admit, this was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. These two just beat the shit out of each other. Kong’s missile dropkick was totally cool. She also swings Tara headfirst into the cage. One thing that I did notice about the cage is that it’s really, really close to the ropes and there is hardly any room to bounce off them. They had to do a spot twice where Kong suplexed Tara into the cage. The first time, she totally dropped her by accident but they got it right the second time. I liked them exchanging strikes on the top rope. Damn, that powerbomb from Tara was awesome. Wait, what, a fucking Thesz press from the top of the cage? Holy shit! Tara got really emotional after the win and made it feel special. Tara calls out O.D.B. afterward, so if this was the only match of the feud, why was it in a cage? I’m not complaining though, this was probably the best women’s cage match I’ve seen in a long time.

5. Team 3-D and Rhino vs. D'Angelo Dinero, Matt Morgan, and Hernandez - B:1 A:2

Brian: Hernandez sells D-Von's opening strikes like he just got woke up from sleeping on the couch because his mother was vacuuming. Hernandez also blows his one bit of offense in that segment, falling on his ass during a shoulder block. Damn! Dinero does a double-leg takedown on Brother Ray that'd make Gleison Tibau envious. I guess that'd make Ray be Jason Dent. D'Angelo's backhand is awesome. Dinero sells a "Bubba Bomb" like a newbie getting introduced to the boys at the county jail. Anybody feel like Rhino has been the same, exact thing since '98? Like, literally, has he changed up or added anything to his repertoire? Wait, another swerve? Now come on, Russo, you rancid farm animal phallus! This is falling apart faster than the speed of stupidity. So, Dinero knocked his partner Hernandez out of the ring, now we're back to rest spots? The crowd is losing interest faster than a homeless man with a blindfold made of a douche watching a screening of Dance Flick. They promised him a hot meal if he'd fill out a comment card. Rhino runs face-first into several Morgan punches. Hernandez doing just basic stuff looks as awkward as a girl trying to hula hoop with her father's casket. I really wish this'd end. It seems so directionless that I'm actually disorientated watching it.

Adam: I’m not sure why a mid-card Impact match made in on pay-per-view. Tenay played up the fact that Pope might turn on his teammates but that idea was quickly dropped. I’ve already soured on Hernandez’s singles run and he’s got a stupid gimmick. Come on, really, “Super Mex” is the best you could come up with? Rhino and Team 3-D are so rancid and stale that they need to be in a landfill and not in a wrestling ring. Does anybody else find it amazing that Rhino has made a career out of doing nothing since 2001? Awful give-away by Morgan where he is clearly starting at Brother Ray on the outside of the ring while attempting a pinfall. Dinero was the glue that held this jumbled mess somewhat together. Without him, this match would’ve been almost completely unwatchable. Just a month ago, Morgan was in one of the marquee matches at TNA’s biggest show of the year, now he’s relegated to mid-card status in a throwaway six-man. D-Von gets off a terrible chair shot behin the referee’s back and Rhino hits a gore to end this lethargic laugh-fest of a match.

6. Bobby Lashley vs. Scott Steiner - Falls Count Anywhere, No DQ Match - B:3 A:2

Brian: This starts off in the aisle and Steiner takes nasty bump into some chairs. Lashley runs right into Scott's boot in the corner even though Steiner was holding his foot up there for like ten seconds. Maybe Lashley had his sights elsewhere, like maybe Scott Coker was in the crowd holding a sign saying, "Get the hell out of here!" Steiner is trying to set-up a "Frankensteiner" from the top but looks like a bear mauling a human who fell into a honey pit. Lashley hoists Scott up and drops him stomach-first on the top rope, Steiner lands uglily and bounces out to the floor. They brawl to the back where there's a convenient array of props awaiting them. A guy harasses his wife and Bobby gets vengeance by hitting him with a 2x4 made of cardboard? They brawl towards the Spanish commentators and Steiner hits Lashley with a pipe to end this. This felt like a truncated, wimpy-version of what should have been a hell of a street fight. I'm not sure why you'd put Steiner over anybody these days either.

Adam: On paper, Steiner vs. Lashley sounds like a match where two guys are going to throw down and trade some hard shots. Well that wasn’t the case here. Frankensteiner almost killed Lashley and then they brawl to the back. Of course they would! Do you really think a falls count anywhere match would stay in the ring? Odd moment where they cut to a new camera backstage and Steiner is bleeding. How the hell did that happen? Randomly, there are some tables sitting in the back and Lashley puts Steiner through one very sloppily. Steiner retaliates and throws Lashley onto a pile of wood and casually strolls back into the arena. This is bad. These two are moving slower than the Carbon Glacier on Mount Ranier. A pipe shot ends this pile of dogshit and Steiner pins Lashley clean. Yes, you read that right. Steiner just pinned Lashley clean in a falls count anywhere match. Ten bucks says Lashley pops up on the next Strikeforce CBS special, any takers?

7. Desmond Wolfe vs. Kurt Angle - B:7 A:7

Brian: So, allegedly Russo came up with the name Desmond Wolfe after doing a Google search. I wonder if that was before or after he downloaded videos of German girls eating turds? Russo's wife is calling him into the dining room for dinner, Vince responds, "Honey, I'll be there in the a minute, I'm trying to finish this clip of Katarina gurgling this Bolsheviks' diarherra!" I wonder how these two guys would have worked this match in ROH, or anywhere else, for that matter. Wolfe starts off with some work on the arm, Angle is game to sell early, getting in some acting practice in preparation for his future career. "Kurt, thanks for coming for this audition, we're going to need you to act upset and give us some tears." "Do you guys have a Hardcore Holly?" "Wait, what? No. Just act." "Could somebody at least hit me with a chair? Something?" I'm hoping we get a Wolfe and Brutus Beefcake feud in 2010. Taz drops Billy Robinson's name and I guess I'll accept that. Even though it feels different than the bulk of the product the crowd seems to be into it thus far with several appreciative chants. Desmond eats multiple German suplexes and I'm wondering if he's concussed or not yet. Taz mentions something about the last time he saw somebody do that many suplexes in succession, but trails off, I'm guessing that was a subtle Benoit reference? Kurt counters the "Tower of London" by landing on his feet and nailing an "Angle Slam". I thought Angle was doing some real amazing stuff selling facially, then figured he was probably just remembering foreplay with Trenesha Biggers. "Call me Karen!" "Oh, alright--call me Hunter?" Kurt gets some huge air on a "Frog Splash". The finishing sequence was real nice, a series of "Tombstone Piledriver" reversals, playing up the drama of Angle's bad neck, Kurt rolled out into an ankle lock, transitioned it into a side triangle choke and got the submission. I thought this was really good, not great, though. I don't feel it was the right crowd to work a classic for, and they didn't, but that aside, everything was executed solidly and Desmond still liked good in defeat.

Adam: This was exactly the way it should’ve been. It started off with a feeling out process and built from there to a nice creshendo. Wolfe was working over Kurt’s arm the entire match with keylocks and his trademark London Dungeon hold. Kurt hits six Germans suplexes right in a row and the crowd loves it. Kurt tries a frogsplash to no avail as the match builds to it’s finish. Wolfe goes back to the arm and applies another London Dungeon hold, this time putting his knee in Kurt’s back for additional leverage. I dug the reversals on the mat work with Wolfe reversing an ankle lock into an armbar. The anguish on Wolfe’s face when he was in the ankle lock was tremendous. There’s a tombstone reversal sequence at the end that was real cool. Kurt locks in an ill side triangle choke for the win. An ROH crowd would’ve eaten this match up but the regular Orlando cretins were more concerned about their precious little smark chants of “this-is-wrestling”. I’d say this would rank at least in the top 10 TNA matches of the year.

8. Daniels vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe - B:7 A:6

Brian: The first segment seems destined to get Styles some credibility coming in as champion, he's been booked terribly, but looks good laying in some strikes and getting the best of both men early. Joe crushes Daniels' head with a running high knee--made Triple H's look flaccid. The last time these three worked together four years ago many championed it as one of the best matches in TNA history. I'm not keen to handing over. So far, so average, with Joe laying on the mat waiting patiently for Daniels to slam AJ onto him. It's hard to do a match like this without being too showy, I'd suggest they ratchet up the brutality. Joe dropkicks Styles while simultaneously landing a senton on Daniels. AJ is a guy who, if you've never seen him live, really does have some vicious strikes; here, he lays some great forearms into Daniels' face in the corner. Daniels does a dive onto Joe but overshoots it and gets mostly concrete. AJ busts out a "Fosbury flop", or, running "Shooting Star Press" over the ropes as Joe has Daniels in a rear-naked choke on the floor wiping them both out. I think all of them were in agreement beforehand to work stiff. Even Daniels, who's usually looser than Stephanie McMahon, is trying to make his stuff look nasty. Some of the spots are too contrived, like, you can imagine them rehearsing this stuff in Joe's garage after a lunch of pork tacos. I liked the striking sequence where everyone was drilling each other, especially Joe warming up their faces' with tons of open-hand slaps. Somebody should get Samoa Joe a bra for Christmas. This is the second TNA pay-per-view in a row that AJ has botched his aerial finish. Daniels hit the "Best Moonsault Ever" on Joe, then Styles did a springboard 450 onto them, but it didn't look real good, they were positioned too close and all that landed was Styles' knees on Daniels' back. Overall, I'd call this a really "good" match, possibly "very good" depending on your familiarity with their stuff, but definitely not something to herald as great. They kept a good pace, the physicality and athleticism was there, but it seems like they've done this now, and did it again, and that's about as much mileage as they're going to get out of it.

Adam: Ok, so this was pimped as the re-match of the “best TNA match ever” from four years ago. This went from move to move to move without any real selling or storytelling. Joe seemed like he was back to his old ass-kicking ways. Maybe somebody offered him some free burrito coupons if he put forth a good effort. A.J. busts out the Fosbury Flop move that he hasn’t used in years. Daniels got in his usual stuff like the B.M.E. and a bunch of “judo takedowns” as they were called on commentary. A.J. really helped this match get over the hump thanks to the effort he put forth when he was getting his stuff off. Some nice three-man spots but nothing that hasn’t been seen or done before on low-level indys in the northeast. I really didn’t like the finishing sequence with Joe laying on the match like a beached whale after Daniels got off an STO. A moonsault from Daniels onto Joe is followed up by a springboard 450 from A.J.. that he overshoots and drills Daniels in the back with his knees. A.J. celebrates with Daniels talking shit while backing up the ramp and Tenay and Taz jiz their pants over what they’ve just seen. While this was fun, it felt forced in spots and these three have done much better against each other. If your not familiar with their stuff, this is a good starting point, but if you know their stuff well, you can probably take a pass. Overall, three matches on this show broke the recommendable barrier and saved this from being an utter disaster.

Brian in ROH?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Prom Date- Lucky 13 All Tags Edition

I'm stoked to bring you a new edition of No Prom Date and what was better than going stag to that social snorefest that's only memorable if you banged someone who had a great looking senior picture? Going with friends who equally didn't care about the event. I've stated many times how fun and enjoyabe tag team wrestling is and how it's quickly becoming a lost art form. So I'm going to do my part in preserving this awesome match. So remember, Do it in Pairs!!!

1) The Brisco Brothers v. Ricky Steamboat/ Jay Youngblood (NWA Tag Titles, Starrcade 1983)- 6

Match eminates from the first Starrcade, a huge supercard that would continue on for nearly 2 decades. It was fun seeing the Briscos as heels, especially stoic Jack. Their face opposition was poised and highly atheltic, a great mix of styles to watch. Jack's awkward movements always make me wince but there's no doubt he knows what he's doing, i was thrilled to see some fun rope action between he and Dragon. Gerald was scoring big time with his lifters and had so much emotion in his selling it was damn near comical. Steamboat made some great faces too, after going down to a butterfly suplex he looked as if he had just been stabbed with Kryptonite. I was digging Jerry's really over the top bumps on everything but realized he was cushioning his fall with his elbow every time, then I despised it. Youngblood was fine as fuctioning babyface to Steamboat's deeply loved one. The ending was as lame as Jay Leno's new show though, so docked a point.

2) The Outsiders v. Lex Luger/ The Giant (WCW Tag Titles, Saturday Nitro, 06/28/1997)- 4

I watched with curiousity and close Owl-like eyes here. It's a house show but they taped it for TV, match nearly stalled the whole time with Luger in for 90% of the bout. His selling was just a trifle better than terrible, stutter steps after every punch, over dramatic falling to his knees. Nash came in and had to take several deep breaths before starting his offense sequence on Luger, but I liked that he took time with each strike he threw and they all looked subsequently effective. A huge brawl ended this in a DQ, but it never left 2nd gear anyways.

3) Rob Van Dam/ Sabu v. Balls Mahoney/ Axl Rotten (ECW Tag Titles, House Party 1999)- 3

A major clash of styles, I loathed Balls & Axl on defense, both playing the role of giant goon who takes a lot of back shots and barely responds. Axl during the last 3 minutes of the match lies on the ground like freshly bleached roadkill. He executed two good clotheslines and Balls had a fresh superkick but that was it. The match's major high spots were all misdirection, which had me puzzled, like RVD was in the ring with Axl and instead of attacking him, he jumps up on the turnbuckle and somersaults through the crowd on Balls. The ECW faithful were eating it up, like the overpriced chili dogs they got from concession. This was pretty short for a title match and completely unstructured.

4) Jimmy Rave/ Eddie Vegas v. Roderick Strong/ Jerelle Clark (FIP Tag Title- FIP Payback)- 4

This match got some time, which I liked. Vegas and Rave both have that shitheel appeal where they can get under your skin but they toned it down here. Clark was a real shitty excuse for Ricky Morton during his beatdown. Real emotionless but did hold his ribs a few minutes after it was over. Strong's comeback was firing on all cylinders, but explain why you would tag the hurt guy right back in? Legal man issues riddled this afterwards and Clark was completely recovered enough to hit a spree of high risk moves to lead to the finish.

5) The Godwinns v. The Quebecers (WWF No Way Out of Texas 1998)- 4

This wasn't pretty, but neither are sauteed mushrooms and I love those. Is Jacques Rougeau a long lost great worker? His vocal selling and screams of pain showed some seasoning and provided a good emotional factor to go along with this. I was digging Henry and Pierre's spirited arm lock exchange as well. The Godwinns offense again, was as sloppy as what they carry in their buckets, but they had their character down. The finish was uncoordinated as Jacques instead of leaving the ring decided to do a plancha outside, which worked for me. Fun little brawling bout.

5) Ran Yu-Yu & AKINO v. Mayumi Ozaki/ Manami Toyota (OZ Academy 04/12/2009)- 3

Wow, where to begin, first off it's great seeing one of the arguably most gifted wrestlers of the last century (and NHO Hall of Famer) Toyota but looks like she's inevitably aged, wearing designer jeans, a tube top and multi colored hair. Looks more like she's going to a club where glowsticks and lubrication are encouraged. She is still throwing suicide dropkicks off the top too, but you can tell she's lost a step and by the end of this she tires of shenanigans and physically checks out. Ozaki is a poor hardcore wrestler who looks like Annie Lennox, but I love her spinning chop signature move. AKINO looks capable but still green. Yu-Yu is kind of a Latino looking brute, who works best with both women on opposition. It's almost like a half assed lumberjack match because random people are running in the ring constantly. They all do nearfalls really well though, even at times when it shouldn't warrant one. Overall this was a big mess, albeit with a few bright spots, still doesn't add up to much.

6) CIMA/ Sumo Fuji v. Masaachi Mochizuki/ Chocoball Kube (Toryumon TV #7)- 5

This was fun and is all about Crazy Max, the heel group that dominated Toryumon in it's infancy. Fuji is utility here, terrible on defense, but is a fun brawler to watch. CIMA exudes confidence and owns the ring. Dude was so lightning fast, he hits a tope over the rope quicker than Eddie ever dreamed. Mochizuki is a kick man and lays in some lethal ones and Chocoball is just there. Match has a really cool feel ,like a Fan Cam show and the arena is well lit and intimate; the crowd is right at the edge of the ring. Not a terrible match but never really develops into anything more than a show off fest for C-Max.

7) Hayabusa/ Masato Tanaka v. Terry Funk/ Mr. Pogo (Timebomb Death Match)- 5

This is that classic style Death Match with no ropes around the ring, and two sides are covered in electrified barb wire and there are barb wire pits around the ring, set to blow. There's also a timer set to 15:00 that will explode. I know this sounds like an epsiode of "24" but there were actually wrestlers working psych around this. First few minutes is eternally slow build those silly Wile E Coyote "whoa i'm falling into the canyon, no i'm fine" moments. Tanaka pieces Pogo over and over for enjoyment but he ends up being the first guy in the wire, in true Dangan style, chest first going 100 miles an hour. Funk is next, belly first and the explosion resembles a sparkler gone wrong. Pogo carves Tanaka up like the Grinch did the roast beast. How did he get the Abby gimmick taken to the extreme? All he ever had to do was a DDT and sell like King Hippo. Funk has looked old and useless here. Hayabusa sacrifices himself before Pogo douses Tanaka in flames in a ugly bump outside to set off a bomb, which visually looked cool. The crowd and announcers are really hyped too. Sirens go off at the 5 minute mark like someone escaped from prison in a 1950's movie. Hayabusa gets a nearfall with a brutal Falcon's arrow that Pogo wanted no part of but they continue fighting for the payoff. Tanaka being the sick dude he is takes a monster chokeslam into the barb wire and bombs, and Funk's decrepit old ass falls in face first after him in a scary moment. Hayabusa eventually gets beaten after a number of double team powerbombs and even though this was insanely sloppy, the crazy factor was so high. But match like this wears off after 1st viewing.

8) Brian Kendrick/ Paul London v. William Regal/ Dave Taylor (Smackdown Nov 2006)- 4

Fast and furious beginning into a slow middle and slower ending. Opening sequence with brawl outside was refreshing, into methodical beating of London, who didn't offer a lot emotionally. Regal worked the bulk of the match, both on offense and defense, but Taylor looked a lot crisper, on sells and a stellar dropkick. Hated Kendricks' hot tag, just throwing flying kicks with no regards of how they land or look. Finish involved Ashley jealousy angle, but there were plenty of big chested broads with no morals and large bank accounts at that time for Kendrick to pine over. Cool bridging suplex by the Squire for the win.

9) World's Greatest Tag Team v. Billy Kidman/ Rey Mysterio (WWE Tag Titles, Vengeance 03) -7

wow, just wow, wish we could get matches like this every week. More or less an elongated sprint that worked on a lot of levels. First off, the crowd was totally buying everything that happened and riding on every near fall and big spot. The match was worked as old school as horse and buggies. Legal man was always in ring and ref would only count at that point. The misdirected hot tag to Rey with ref ordering him back to the corner was tits, plus Rey got to show that he is the single most redifining wrestler of the last decade or so. Haas with snap jabs that scintillated, Kidman's back bump into the post (although didn't care for his protected bumps) and Rey just completely ruling the world at every moment, the assisted hurricanrana near fall made me change my will and testament and leave everything to Dominic Mysterio, haha. Seek this out.

10) El Hijo del Santo/ Negro Casas v. Taka Michinoku/ Papi Chulo (WWF Super Astros, 04/11/1999)- 5

This was pretty short but a complete dive fest that was so awesome, so it's worth seeing, especially Santo's fluid ring work, even for the bulkiest guy in the ring. Another sprint but another enjoyable one that didn't take itself too seriously, it was almost like a high wire circus act, merely for entertainment and it worked.

11) Kenta Kobashi/ Jun Akiyama v. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa (All Japan TV, 12/13/1998)- 7

A true knock down drag out affair, everyone played their roles to a tee, with Misawa as the total hero of Japan, kicking out of absolutely everything and still displaying how little he had left to fight with. Ogawa impressed me a lot, showed tons of fire, mobility and a great move set (despite the constant jawbreakers, which kill momentum and pace when everyone else is throwing suplexes and heavy strikes) Misawa's suicidio was a thing of beauty and I wish i could have it play on a small screen on a loop with a golden frame around it in my living room in his honor. Akiyama was just there, they gave him big spots, but I wasn't real thrilled with his role in all this. Kobashi's chops were truly something to be feared when he could actually rotate his elbow 90 degrees, ah the good old days.

Friday, November 13, 2009

WWE The Bash 2009

A few side notes to start off with. First, this show has the honor of receiving the second lowest buyrate of 2009 and one of the lowest buyrates in company history, comparable in recent memory to the December 2006 ECW pay-per-view. Also, the NHO gang and I were on our usual perches at Buffalo Wild Wings when their satellite messed up and they had no good explanation for it. We should’ve taken it as a sign from above but, being blinded by our passion, we made a quick getaway back to the cozy confines of my living room and ordered the show on cable. Will it be better or worse than I remember it? I’m going to erase all previous notions and start from scratch to give it an honest look.

1) Christian vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger – Scramble Match – 4
2) Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio – 7
3) The Great Khali vs. Dolph Ziggler – No DQ Match – 3
4) Primo & Carlito vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Chris Jericho & Edge - 3
5) Melina vs. Michelle McCool - 3
6) C.M. Punk vs. Jeff Hardy - 5
7) John Cena vs. The Miz - 4
8) Randy Orton vs. Triple H – Three Stages of Hell Match - 4

Ok, so the opener was one of those crazy scramble matches that have the rules about interim champions and all that mess. I’ve only seen a few of these matches, none of them were good and neither was this one. Swagger and Christian started off but didn’t seem to have the same magic they had back in the early part of the year. The middle really seemed to drag with Finlay and Dreamer. It seemed as if all four guys were just killing time until Henry hit the ring. There was a giant tower of doom spot which was followed up by a predictable spot where Christian dove onto everyone on the outside. Swagger had some nice clotheslines. All five were on cruise control and the match suffered for it. Plus, there’s whole 20-minute time limit thing which, for a match like this, is way too long. Jericho and Mysterio had a phenomenal match and by far the best match on the show. Damn, these two work so well together. They melded some lucha into the WWE style and it flowed really well. The double springboard by Mysterio was cool but Jericho’s counter of a 6-1-9 into the Walls of Jericho was even better. Jericho tried the same spot from Extreme Rules where he pulled Mysterio’s mask off mid-move but this time, Mysterio had a second mask on. Great match to blowoff the feud with. Dolph bumped around the totally immobile Khali in a good effort for his first singles pay-per-view match. All Khali did was punch and chop and looked worse that usual. Kane interefered at the end and wore out Khali with a chair. Not good at all and a waste of five minutes. Jericho and Edge were thrown into the the tag title match at the last minute, much to the dismay of the original two teams. The entire story of the match was that Legacy and the Colons refused to tag in either Edge or Jericho. Cody busted out a nice back submission on Primo in one of the better spots of the match. I noticed that crowd was not into the match at all and that took a bit away from the match for me. Carlito executed a very sloppy springboard elbow. Edge tagged himself in to get a spear for the win. This really felt like a Raw main event.

Second half started off with a Women’s title match and featured a terrible DDT from Melina about thirty seconds in. McCool worked over Melina’s knee for the majority of the match and Melina was superb at selling it. She even sold it on offense, which isn’t really done a lot today, at least from what I’ve seen. Faithbreaker from McCool gets the win after some Alicia Fox interference. Not really all that great but better that some of the 90 second diva matches on TV every week. Punk and Hardy had a nice pace to it. Jeff crashed into the rail early on when he used the stairs as a springboard. Punk’s strikes were nice and Hardy’s offense was of the standard variety he uses in all of his matches. For the record, I’ve never been sold on Jeff Hardy as a top singles guy. One problem I had was that when Hardy had Punk in a hold, he would try to get the crowd going, instead of working the hold. The good pace came to a screeching halt with the screwy finish. First, Hardy hit the swanton bomb for a three-count. The ref then waved it off after he noticed that Punk’s foot was under the rope. Next, we get an argument between Hardy and the ref, Punk scoops up Hardy for the GTS, and Hardy elbows him in the eye. Punk then kicks the ref. Yeah, it came across as screwed up as it reads. The finish hurt the score but Punk’s selling of the eye afterward was a sight to behold (no pun intended). Cena and Miz was more filler than anything. Miz started off good and worked on Cena’s neck for a bit. Cena was trying to make Miz look credible but it seems like Miz is destined to be nothing more that a high mid-card act. The end was basically Cena squashing Miz with the Attitude Adjustment and the STF. Decent match but didn’t feel like the semi-main of a pay-per-view at all. Now for the main and, Lord almighty, there were some issues here. The show was running way late by this point and they had to condense the first two falls into about five minutes. First fall was your standard HHH/Orton fare until HHH got DQed for using the steps. Thirty seconds later, he pins Orton on the floor with a Pedigree to win the second fall. Third fall was a stretcher match which featured bad crowd brawling, both guys falling off the stretcher by accident, and HHH pulling a sledgehammer out of the stage. Wait, what? Why the fuck was there a sledgehammer in the stage? Rhodes and DiBiase interfere to give Orton the win in a shitty main to cap off a shitty show. Yep, this was just as bad as I remember it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hirooki Goto and Wataru Inoue vs. Masato Tanaka and Jado - G1 Climax '09 - 4

Jado and Goto get us started with some perfunctory mat work--thanks guys. Watching Jado sell a headlock is like falling down a flight of stairs. Dick first. A fun shoulderblock exchange between Tanaka and Goto. Inoue on the floor gets introduced to the guardrail and facially sells some Tanaka punches like he's a sophomore doing her first shot of vodka. Tanaka drops a series of pretty vicious elblowdrops, but they're no Abdullah. Max Moon-level sidekick by Tanaka. Tanaka is developing a Shawn Michaels-like bald spot. I wonder what his arch nemesis Mike Awesome's hair looks like nowadays. He used to have a really great, flowing mullet back in WCW. Anyway, a back suplex on Inoue but while being pinned he blankly watches the ref counting instead of selling--I hate when guys do that shit. Goto is back in and the crowd and I are both happier for it. Goto's top rope elbowdrop is so dangerous looking; it's like a guy trying to hang a "Happy Birthday Veronica" banner from his three-story house and slipping off the ladder. Tanaka's forehead looks like beef jerky, lemon pepper-flavored, to be exact, or maybe mesquite BBQ, but I'm no expert. Come on Inoue, you call that a spear? I've seen elementary touch football games showcase better tackles. Ever play "shirts vs. skins" basketball? I perfer "pants vs. genitals" but it's hard to get a pick-up game going. Masato takes Wataru's head off with a lariat and then hits "Sliding D" and this is over.

Monday, November 9, 2009

FIP The Usual Suspects

So, I had to review this show mainly because it's named after one of my favorite flicks. The title screen plays this strangely haunting music then reveals some of the wrestlers behind a really cheesy line up screen. I'm seriously doubting this show will have the awesome characters, plot twists or stirring music the film had but I"ll give it a shot. This whole show is to crown the 1st ever Tag Team champions for the promotion. The announcers are hyping there are no Tournament brackets or rounds, it's anything goes which to me doesn't say innovation, it says lazy booking.

1) Heartbreak Express v. Carnage Crew- 4
2) Carnage Crew v. Ring Crew Express- 2
3) Roderick Strong/ Jerelle Clark v. Homicide/ Vordell Walker- 3
4) Spanky/ Sal Rinauro v. James Gibson/ Steve Madison- 5
5) Jimmy Rave/ Eddie Vegas v. Evan Starsmore/ Aaron Epic- 2
6) Jimmy Rave/ Eddie Vegas v. Ring Crew Express- 3
7) CM Punk/ Don Juan v. Spanky/ Sal Rinauro- 3
8) Antonio Banks v. Rainman v. Jared Steel- 4
9) CM Punk/ Don Juan v. Jimmy Rave/ Eddie Vegas v. Roderick Strong/ Jerelle Clarks (FIP Tag Title Finals)- 3

Our opening match features the very 70's like Heartbreak Express whose stalling and whiny primping make them an act to see just for their throwback-ism (def. not a word.) We have some routine comedy stuff, if you think nipple pinching is routine. I'm dying to see a heel handshake attempt. The match itself was short on content but what was done felt right, both teams playing their roles correctly. I loved both Express memebers really gawking expressions after taking a few moves. Loc's comeback to finish was pretty weak though.

Next, the Ring Crew Express bolt right into the ring and we're off for our 2nd bout. Double bulldog spot right away and I'm digging this. Devito and Loc start in with huge power offense, which feels so off from the easy face heat stuff they were doing in the first match, now intsantly they're back to heels? I love Dunn & Marcos finish and it looks appropriately painful here. Quick sprint that didn't offend.

Our 3rd match features two strangely paired teams with basically nothing in common at all. I like how Strong sets up his takedowns & reversals by seeming to be looking for a way to do it, not just going through rehearsed spots the whole match. He throws a powerful dropkick and does a plancha outside while Walker is standing there, but I like that Vordell doesn't arbitrarily step into it. Clark and Walker botch 2 consecutive attempts at a headscissors. I'm not seeing much synergy between either team, they have nothing in common, it was just two teams thrown together and it doesn't work. Clark takes a brickload of a beating but when he has the chance to tag, what does he do? A 619 submission thing on the ropes, looked terrible. Even Leonard calls him out on that one. Homicide with a very Memphis style piledrive late in the 4th quarter. Clarks' comebacks are so unbelievable, it totally feels like he's just acting hurt instead of making me believe he's been beat on in a wrestling match, especially when he's attempting springboards & 630 splashes. Strong makes the final sequence with some nasty backbreakers and a good flip out into a Stronghold.

Madison has nice deep arm drags. Gibson is wrestling with a lot of poise & fluidity, he manuevers Spanky exactly where he wants him and looks like a pro doing so. I love Jamie's nasty elbows to the top of the head. When did a tilt-a-whirl reversal and armdrags become Indy spot 101? Sal is taking the lump sum of abuse and while he's playing a good rag doll on all the big bumps, his faces are so little brother it's quite sad. I don't even feel sympathy for him, I want to give him a wedgie myself. Same formula as the last match but done better. Sal also botches his comeback by trying a sharpshooter so ugly it will keep Bret Hart out of the industry another 5 years. Madison dead weights a suplex sell at the end then totally blows his own. He's a different guy than he was in the beginning of this, looking like a strong bruiser. Like when Kevin Pollak went from Todd Hockney in "Suspects" to hosting Celebrity Poker Showdown.

Okay fatty Prazak brings out his team to face two jobber dudes. What, no tags in this one? really dumb. Epic sits on his ass and stares at Rave's crotch waiting for the running knee. Good nearfall with clotheslines by Starsmore, Rave gave a real Flair-esque 80's jobber spot there. Starsmore wants to impress someone and it's definitley not the girlfriend he doesn't have, so he flattens his face on the mat with a sell and busts his nose open. This one's over fast.

And again, Dunn & Marcos come right out for the next match. Vegas' punches look like a bear on tranquilizers pawing at the air. Lot of whiffed kicks by the Ring Crew, no silent fit like Shawn threw on Raw though. Dunn's hot streak is way more exciting than the previous 7 minutes of chinlock on Marcos. The setup for the finish is way too contrived and hated how Dunn had to act like he was falling off the top rope as a reason why not to break the pin.

Punk makes his 1st in ring appearance and is totally going to take a night off. Match starts with some 3 Stooges acts involving eye pokes, and partner miscommunication. Never really picks up or takes a turn for the serious and I totally didn't buy Rinauro's hot streak on Punk. Don Juan was as useful as the $91 million of cocaine in Suspects.

Our only "singles" match of the show featured some interesting work. Banks (now MVP) showed tons of enthusiasm and sharpness on his offense, really violent kicks and stiff clotheslines. Rainman's punches looked like he was showering some slugs on his front porch with salt. Steel showed some charisma in his couple high spots and blended nicely into the background of this match while still contributing to it. His elimination was nice, clean, and made sense. Banks was throwing some backyard (at best) attempts at suplexes at the end where Rainman was falling on his face every time. That's what kept this at a lower grade than I expected.

Finally, our 3 teams meet in the main event and what a disorganized cluster this was. Smartly, Strong was kept in the ring most of the match, either working with Punk, Juan, or Rave. Clark's only time in the ring was way over the top and didn't feel like it fit in with the rest of the match at all. All the heels were fine in their rolls as fodder for Strong & Clark when the time came, but this never really developed at all, I think it went 12 minutes and ended after tons of different guys ran in and out hitting various moves. I wasn't bowled over with this at all.

Overall, this was a piss poor show. While Full Impact Pro later became the training ground of ROH talent, at this time, it was another backhole pit stop for people looking for a quick payday willing to come to Clearwater. Show def. didn't warrant the name of the Usual Suspects that's for sure.