1) Low Ki v. Samoa Joe (PWG All Star Weekened 2007)- 7
THIS WAS PHYSICAL, spoiler alert. I don't think there are 2 guys on the indy circuit that can have this kind of a match anymore. Opening part felt like my days in the dojo, basically a sparring session breaking down into a submission fight. They do the Japanese strike standoff early, trying to appoint dominance to one guy or the other, Joe's famous jabs are hitting on the mark every time. Man, i'd rather eat a tobacco filled crepe than take any number of the kicks they're each doling out here. One great thing about Joe is he knows what people should be able to do to him and when, he never just goes down early in a match from a normal move because it won't mean anything like giant slob Eddie Kingston might go down from a Nick Jackson heel kick, but Joe doesn't play that game. Both men are getting tired, crazy spot where Ki just leaps at Joe with a war cry outside but Joe catches him and runs him into the guardrail and let i not forget Joe breaking out one of the bars on the barricade with the Ole kick. This was a war, only shame was it was in front of a middling crowd of 100 people.
2) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Kurt Angle (New Japan, 04/05/2009)- 4
This is your typical kind of match structured as Angle would see fit, he does many of these same matches with the big high spots inserted about 8-10 minutes earlier in the match than the old greats used to do. That being said, their chemistry was pretty good together, a spirited headlock opening had given me high hopes the broken down cripple would keep it on the mat for a good chunk, but when the ankelock came into play only 11 minutes in, my fears were assuaged. Tanahashi's deer in headlights look as he paused on the top so Angle could get up there for the Angleslam irked me, that should be a big move pulled out but now it's as commonplace as the snapping rights he throws. Good ending though, after the leglock exchange, would have liked a diff pace used for this though.
3) Chris Hero v. Samoa Joe (IWA Mid South 2005) - 6
This felt like they had a 35 minute match planned but the crowd heat was so nuts for both guys, the back and forth cheering, that about 2 mins in they switched to their big stuff. Hero matched power and size well with Joe, which by appearance you wouldn't think but nothing he pulled off on Joe felt forced, with the exception of a "cravate suplex" which takes two just like a marriage and Uno. This was also in the middle of Joe's ROH title run so the heat on hometown boy Hero doing as well as he did made it more of a memorable match.
4) Jumbo Tsuruta v. Stan Hansen (All Japan Pro Wrestling 04/19/1989)- 7
Awesome story and despite what you might think, Hansen was the glue of this model airplane. He didn't like being technically bullied around so Hansen mixes it up on the ground but eventually finds a happy medium with some of the heaviest forearm shots that didn't have sledgehammers attached to them. Jumbo worked over the arm, a favorite against Stan, but the Borger bad boy made it by taking a crazy spill over the top rope after hitting the ringpost with it. Loved his comeback too, complete with head opening gash on Jumbo that he just worked over. The ending was fucking brilliant as well, Stan Hansen, you are my constant.
5) Kota Ibushi/ Tanomusaku Toba v. Akihiko Mori/ Hikaru Sato (10/19/2008)- 5
These guys are super liberal with their final breath strike exchanges and only one of them is wearing boxing gloves, actually the beginning portion felt like an episode of Stallone's "The Contender." Beautiful snap powerslam by Mori that topped Joe's from earlier on the disc. Toba's kind of useless except for his KO punch spots, as you wouldn't believe his garter snake like porpotioned arms would put anyone down. This match just kept on going, probably the beginning of a a program, as Ibushi has never been angrier. Would like to see how this all plays out.
6) Hiroyoshi Tenzan/ Togi Makabe/ Wataru Inoue/ Tomoaki Honma v. Shinsuke Nakamura/ Toru Yano/ Takashi Iizuka/ Tomohiro Ishii (New Japan 05/30/2009) -
Every NJ 8 man i saw from last year started out pre-emptively with a crowd brawl. Put Inoue on the list of guys that do the spear that couldn't take out your 8th grade science teacher (you weren't built Mr. Fernandez but i bet you've got foritude.) Tenzan looks about 1/8 of all his old qualities, but I love Nakamura's snapping back selling for him, ala old Benoit. Relentless chair shots from Iizuka during crowd brawl that were very Over the Rhine-ish. Honma was one of the most fearless hardcore wrestlers of all time at one point; here it looks like he's just trying to get out of the match w/o aggravating his sunburn. Makabe's hot streak is hard to buy but he does do a decent Northern Lights; Bang Bang would probably give it a 3.4. In a TNA moment, cameraman missed the Bom Ya Kne that i love. Potentially Hogan and RVD could even cause worse havoc on this promotion.