The Indies: Best of 2001
1. Little Guido vs. Tracy Smothers - IWA-MS 2/3/01 J: 5 B: 4
Jessie: So, was surprised at how much I liked this. Beginning was Tracey jawjacking with the local wildlife, doing his dance moves with a real creepy chunky female hair cut Chris Hero as his second. I instantly groan. But as it got started I warmed up to it begrudgingly, sort of like the show Firefly. It wasn’t all smooth, but they had some cool matwork going. Of all the hype I hear Smothers get online, this is by far the only evidence I’ve seen of the praisings. Funny spots where the ref is distracted (yeah right) and Hero comes in several times hitting the most popular hits from the 2001 indy move catalogue on Guido. Liked how he kept going back to the arm too. Overall, just tired of intereference but I guess this didn’t bug me as most.
Brian: So the F.B.I. finally implode and it's... here? This had some neat bits but didn't materialize into a lot. I liked Guido targeting the arm, could have used for some more Smothers schmuck dancing, and Chris Hero's Dutch boy haircut made me chuckle. The ref bump and interference seemed needlessly tacked on but then so did those tassels on the stripper's tits that night Ian almost puked on post-show.
2. Jerry Lynn vs. Colt Cabana - IWA-MS 2/3/01 B: 3 J: 4
Brian: This felt like Jerry's touring match with Colt plugged into the formula. Parts of it held interest but cohesively it never came together for me. It appeared Lynn almost killed Cabana with a German suplex. These sort of "respect" matches tend to all be about love, and well, as Speedbagger said in Prayer of the Rollerboys, "I don't want your LOVE! I just want you to THINK about what you're DOING! Please!". The finish with Colt being swindled and knocked off the top by his cornerman left a bad taste in my mouth like trying to re-create a TMNT anchovies and marshmallows pizza.
J: Agreed. Seems like ever since the Van Dam series, Lynn’s just been replaying those matches over and over again but with different spots switched out. I think it worked though during times because the thing is Lynn still pulls it off and makes it look professional where as when RVD copies that stuff over and over again, doesn’t have the same replay effect. Colt looked like he had your blonde dyed streaks Brian from ’98; don’t think he was rocking the Toxie shirt like you though. That German was nasty and pretty botched; when they were rolling out of it it looked like a policeman shining his light behind a building at a rest stop and a bunch of dudes climb off each other. Finish blew but that pizza reference reminds me of the crab meat and banana peppers concotions we used to come up with back in the day staying up late watching FMW vids.
3. Jerry Lynn vs. Suicide Kid - IWA-MS 2/17/01 J: 4 B: 2
Jess: Going to give this one a 2nd try as it didnt' keep me awake last night at 12:30 trying to watch. First off, what's Lynn's frame of mind being in this duct taped ring with a scrawny dude in leather pants after working in huge arenas in WWF? He does seem more bulked up than anytime in his career; are steroid syringes handed to you in a gift bag when you get hired? Liked Lynn wrapping this mark up in hurty bridge moves. Tarantula botched big time; Lynn's not clicking with any of Kid's offense. Every match in this building follows the same pattern. Lynn trying a plancha outside looked like Lennie from Mice and Men trying to skydive. Everyone that works this venue does a crowd brawl that goes too long. This arena is emitting a noise that sounds like they're on the Starship Enterprise and the black garbage bags lined along the wall would make this a serial killer's dream home. Started to pick up steam towards the end and Lynn broke out an Atlantis backbreaker....sort of. Didn't care for the finish even if the crowd was hot. Oh they get 5 more minutes? That's a 1/4 of an Arrested Development episode- can you guess which i'd rather be watching. No, i have to say a lot of execution they had was clean, if not sterile and their chemistry actually carried some boring parts.
Brian: I just couldn't get into this. Kid's offense doesn't look credible. They try parity booking as if they're equals but clearly they are not (nor would ever be). Lynn basically seemed like he was sandbagged. They did a twenty-minute time-limit draw then an additional five-minute "overtime" and we never got a finish. If you're going to ask for nearly a half-hour of my time you've got to bring more to the table than this. For this to have worked Lynn needed to be more vicious, Kid needed (way) more fire, and perhaps they'd pull us along for the ride but as it stands this is just a soulless exercise in viewer stamina.
4. Joey Matthews & Christian York vs. Jimmy Cicero & Corporal Punishment - MCW 3/10/01 B: 2 J: 1
Brian: Punishment is a chubby guy that looks like a little league baseball coach in camouflage gear and face paint. Cicero is strangely wearing what looks like a caterer's uniform like he just stepped off the set of Party Down or served a tray of Hors d'œuvre at a gala event. If I was at the Marriott ordering breakfast in bed and Cicero came into my room I'd leap out the window. Enough on the outlandish attire -- to the action! They do an extended rope running gag and Corporal seems more gassed than the Gulf of Mexico. We get a spot called the "Scrotum Pole". Do I really need to comment on that? Some cynical homophobia stuff that seems outdated even in '01. Uninspired crowd brawling. Punishment spitting on York calls to mind He-Man vehicle Spitbull. Ref bump nonsense leads to two refs going at it including one of them doing the fucking "Worm". Then a couple chicks jump into the fray and this has completely fallen apart like a Wendy's 3/4 lb. Triple burger. This was shit.
J: Just No. Punishment was a slob even Dutch Mantel wouldn’t have hired for a spot show. I actually think Cicero just left a wedding serving mixed drinks; he probably had a few too many himself as he was just bad. This was one bad gag after the next; I was trying to imagine myself in the crowd actually being excited about these four “fighting” and trying to suspend disbelief: I imagined it’d be harder to leave my phone number in Michelle Obama’s cleavage or keep NASA Shuttle missions going until we’ve colonized the Moon. Plus, York & Matthews are shit as brawlers; even Punishment had better punches. Speaking of He-Man, anyone else think Mekaneck was this giant perve? Why else the cybernetic long neck in a group with several scantily clad females? That ref stuff, jesus and I thought the Lawler match had a crap finish. Get this shit out of here.
5. Trent Acid vs. Minoru Fujita - CZW 5/12/01 J: 4 B: 3
J: I’m probably being generous with my score as Acid’s a deceased dirtbag. He had an air of confidence in him that I couldn’t justify and that usually carries most to some sort of a career, but he never left dingy bingo halls and Moose lodges with shitty fried food. I don’t know what Fujita was doing here, heard mention of a Junior title tournament but surely he could have picked up a date with Zero One instead of subjecting himself here? It was fun seeing him work transitions to arm bars and shit while the faithful at ringside were trying to create their own foreign star (ala ECW) when all Fujita had in mind was trying a Whopper sandwhich and flying the fuck home. They pulled off some good stuff, I’m just not a fan of Acid’s executions; it’s always looked sloppier than a Kindergardener’s handwriting and Fujita couldn’t really carry this on his own to anything good.
Brian: After some of the muck on this compilation so far seeing Fujita was a real treat akin to a basket of Dariy Queen fried breaded mushrooms circa '99. These two didn't mesh particularly well with Fujita doing some odd Muta-like mannerisms on the floor and whipping Acid into two folding chairs that Trent bumped awkwardly over. In principle I don't have problems with a dragon suplex finish (just saw one earlier today on the 3/26/11 Osaka Pro show) but glaring issue here as the camera clearly showed Acid's shoulders were never stable enough to make a count. Acid was probably on acid that night, and I'm not talking about LSD, I'm talking about the shit in that vat Jack Nicholson got knocked into in Batman (1989).
6. Trent Acid vs. Johnny Kashmere - CZW 5/12/01 B: 2 J: 3
Brian: Oh, man, another Acid match? I'm already sick of seeing his face, a face that calls to mind this quote from '89 cinematic treasure Gleaming the Cube, "If my dog had a face like yours I'd shave his ass and tell him to walk backwards". This had so much interference it should have just been a three-way. A bored kid in the crowd plays Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears for the Game Boy Color and I envy him. Real sloppy, rushed, and platitudinous.
Jess: No shit about the 3 way, and what about the conclusion? they shake hands, haha, a friendship that will transcend time. I'd rather see cockroaches mate or watch the Kardashian reality show. Both big dives outside were worse than the sloppiest backyard stuff i've seen. Good stunner landing on chair spot but that was about it. At one point Kashmere gets hit in the stomach with a steel chair, and shakes it off immediately, in a strange way imitating how I'll forget this match as soon as I'm done writing about it. There, it's gone.
7. Suicide Kid vs. Colt Cabana - IWA-MS 5/12/01 J: 4 B: 4
Jess: Great, another one of those "respect" matches. These guys do a chop fest and a Malenko-Eddie sequence, both of which felt dirty and ill-reputed. They managed to pull of a nice reverse hurricanrana but Colt eat's Suicide's cornhole afterwards. During a Matt Hardy brawl outside if I've ever seen one, Colt lifts up a light tube bundle than sets it back down as if to say "even this shit hasn't jumped the shark this much." A stomachbreaker off the top rope? Feels as home here as Michael Vick does at a dog shelter. Ending got weird; the multiple small package spot is something I'd like to see two talented wrestlers pull off. Both guys running at each other and doing flips feels like a scene cut from a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers big screen adventure.
Brian: The first-half felt a bit too exhibition-y but I didn't mind slogging through the subpar mat work as it was a change of pace and it seemed like the guys involved were at least enjoying themselves. When the first strikes started appearing after the 10-min. mark things picked up a bit. A lot of the bigger spots were overly choreographed and showy. It sounds like I'm damning this thing to the pits of hell but I was kept entertained. Suicide Kid had unreal support from the local yokels and that helped. Marufuji won't need to retire his shiranui after seeing Kid's.
8. Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Briscoe - CZW 5/19/01 B: 5 J: 5
Brian: Weren't they paying these guys enough to buy a sandwich? The brothers look emaciated. The fans at ringside should have been sneaking them bites of their hotdogs. Some of the mirror spots are fine but the commentator trying to pass this off as Bret versus Owen and other classic brother match-ups is being a bit presumptuous and borderline trolling. Personally, I think I'd rather see the Diaz bros. fight. Jay got great air off of a big splash from the top -- he was way up there but not as high as Zandig was backstage. While green you can't deny that even all the way back then these guys had serious skill and dedication. Their best match against each other I believe was from the 3/4/07 ROH show in the UK (if memory serves correctly). Mark's hurricanrana from off the top onto Jay off of the apron followed by Mark doing a moonsault off the top to the floor were both just jaw-dropping spectacles. They could have done without so many big kickouts to protect some of those unreal moves but overall a pretty solid match with some memorable moments.
J: the announcers describing a scene where one of the Briscoe Brothers stroll into school holding the Best of the Best trophy to pickup high school rats is something even the most drugged out wanna-be screenwriter wouldn't imagine. How disrespectful of the announcer dismissing the Steiner's rivalry when naming all those combos. Love to see Scott standing over top him when he made that remark. I admire the focuse these guys had during the opening stuff. Feels a lot smoother than most of the Hardy boys matches. Mark was also visibly selling more stuff than Jay. Not only was Zandig high in the back he was pantless no doubt. Jay Driller looked just as good then as it does now. Wow those 2 huge spots outside were unbelievable. Think they needed to tighten up their game when they got back in the ring; I mean after taking a a Northern Lights (one of my fave moves) off the top, a chop fest just feels false. Going to pass on recommending this for that reason alone as most of this was damn good.
9. Necro Butcher v. 2 Tuff Tony - Staple Gun Match - IWA-MS 06/02/01 J: 5 B: 3
J: Very early Necro, wearing some hideous faux Road Warrior eye paint. Beginning with awkward chops looks like 2 guys, drunk, outside a biker bar about to scrap. Staple gun is barely used; light tubes aplenty, Necro’s eating them like an all you can eat buffet bar jello. It’s confirmed; Chair bodyslam a Necro original. Tony takes a crazy shot with a thumbtack bat; a perfect quilt of silver layers his head in a surreal moment. They lose some momentum after that, with Tony seeming dazed and just resorting to unoriginal tube blasts to Necro. The finish could have brought it back, but they totally missed this giant board adorned with light tubes and thumbtacks that 4 generous men were kind enough to bring out and lay across a table of folding chairs.
Brian: The IWA Mid-South ring circa '01 had to be one of the nastiest, disease-infested surfaces on earth. The ball pit at the local Chuck E. Cheese's or the cum stained mattress at the nearest seedy motel would both assuredly be safer. Touching that mat with an open orifice is just asking to shit hemoglobin for weeks. Tony's made more mistakes in his life than Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf reciting Shakespeare. Maybe seeing a bunch of death match tournaments from obscure companies this past year is a factor in this not standing out but the hatred never seemed palpable and there just wasn't enough wacky shit to stand out from the hardcore dreck.
10. Ian Rotten v. Necro Butcher - Flaming Tables Match - IWA MS 06/02/01 B: 3 J: 4
Brian: Both men are bloody from previous wars and start right in with the brawling. Thumbtack bat shot on the floor leaves Necro's skull with more thumbtacks in it than the bulletin board at father's office. Necro eats an unprotected chairshot that forced Christopher Nowinski to add another chapter to his next book. Necro's physically bigger then and thus scarier looking, nowadays he looks like the old, wobbly pot-smoking uncle we all know and tolerate. Ian gets wrapped in wire and looks like he's wearing a barbed wire ballerina tutu. I'd like to see that fat fucking scumbag pirouette. Ian's not selling he's wallowing. Like a hippo in a watering hole. They fucked up the finish. Ian tried to powerbomb Butcher onto a flaming table but barely got him onto it, before he even hit the floor fat white dudes in FUBU and fake chains started dumping water on him like he was the magic beans from Jack and the Beanstalk.
Jessie: J: I was digging Ian’s punches and forearms, probably the same variety he doles out to Mickie Knuckles after she’s been ruffied in the back of a Taco Bell. That chair shot was grosser than the aftermath of Ryan Dunn’s fatal crash. Loved Necro topping Tony’s tack wearing; literally a 100 tacks are pasted on his head like a kindergarten art project. Why would I have a feeling Ian would look better in a tutu than either Rock or Hogan; at least more at home. I couldn’t determined which Ian’s face more closely resembled; a puddle of maple syrup or the BP oil spill. Yep, that finish was the biggest bust since the XFL or Joan’s from Mad Men, take your pick. Haha, could you imagine Aranofsky casting Necro in a big screen adaptation of said fairy tale?
11. The SAT v. Divine Storm/ Brian XL - CZW 06/08/01 J: 6 B: 6
J: I thought about going even higher on this score but this felt like such a new innovative match format I wasn’t ready to put my name on it, felt like a scientific discovery. 1st the venue; they are in a cramped area where a caged wall is separating the ring and the fans from what looks like an intramural 5-7 year old basketball practice. The way this thing is set up is so different, each guy takes a turn in the spotlight and It’s run like that through the whole match. You start with technical, then go to top rope stuff, then dive sequence, then double team stuff, triple team, and into your big power moves. As far as pulling off the moves, the performance of these 6 guys was immaculate. Selling wise, it was more like Lucha, take your bump and get the fuck out of the way. I could see how this would be loathed as some and bunched into a Dragon Gate/Young Bucks kind of performance, but I saw it as much what those guys took and bastardized.
Brian: Being a lifelong NBA fanatic I was distracted playing the role of talent agent trying to discover a kid in the pick-up game in the background. I've seen some '11 Quiet Storm (see him versus Yuji Hino from K-Dojo 4/17) and besides getting chubby he's also gotten better. The simplest way for me to unplug my brain and enjoy wrestling is just to ask: "Who's going to win?" But with these guys you usually can't even get into it at that base level because their matches feel like emotionless move exhibitions and not legitimate contests. This is able to capture that essence though and I admittedly got sucked into the proceedings. I'm sure if Adam was watching this he'd be yelling out "Legal man issues!" but I was too busy saying "Holy shit!" The last time I was in Philadelphia I thought the guy taking my order at White Castle was Brian XL but when I asked him about his battles with the Spanish Announce Team the guy just looked at me like I'd urinated on his wheelchair-ridden grandma. Fries were a little overcooked. After seeing Jessie's score and loaded review I had my doubts but this was damn fun.
12. Red v. Mike Quackenbush - JCW 06/23/01 B: 2 J: 2
Brian: This feels a bit masturbatory. Seconds into the match Mike's applying a "Cerebro Lock"? The ropes on this ring are looser than Kelly Kelly. Red looks 15 and should be more worried about acne and algebra than trying to work intricate spots. If you've got six min. to burn watch Katy Perry's music video for "Last Friday Night (TGIF)" instead.
Jessie: Speaking of that hand held activity, did this feel like a MSNBC special on predators? You’re right, Red looked like he just got his first hairlip and his balls have dropped but Quack looked super creepy with that moustache and grin? The only Cerebro I know of is Xavier’s high tech machinery and this was more like low tech. I really felt like Quack was juggling Red around like a set of rings or something, like a circus prop. Ha, good recommendation; my daughter and I both like her, but for wildly different reasons.
13. Suicide Kid/ Colt Cabana/ Tarek the Great v. CM Punk/ BJ Whitmer/ Chris Hero - IWA-MS 07/07/04 J: 4 B: 4
J: There was something really fun about watching CM Punk, who right now is the most talked about wrestler in the world, doing 5 minutes of opening spots with Tarek the Great, a greasy pedophiliac- looking guy from the local indy scene of my hometown. His skullet makes him look like the old version of David Lopan from Big Trouble in Little China. Funny thing is, this was some of the more competent and well put together wrestling of the match. Later on, a really shitty spot where everyone takes turns doing dives, but even worse, because guys that were already dove upon, were climbing back in the ring for their turn; reminded me of going to the public pool and coming off the diving board and as soon as you hit the water, you were right back in line for another turn. This was Hero at his prissiest too. Colt looked solid, he went out of his comfort zone here more but Punk was the heat magnet for this. Didn’t hate it but certainly didn’t wow me.
Brian: I've seen recent Tarek (him versus American Kickboxer 2 in Norwood, OH from 8/20/10 was incredibly stiff and mean) and he's surprisingly damn good. Opening matwork isn't going to make you forget your favorite Headbangers match from Shotgun Saturday Night but moderately good. On the Spear scare Tarek's is above Jacobs' but below Lita's. Dive train was goofy -- guys looked like they were falling out of the Great Deku Tree from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Whitmer's face hadn't devolved into a deep dish pepperoni at that point. Suicide looks like he's been up all night swallowing his way through a bottle of Mini Thin ephedrine and trying to beat Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle. Hero is wearing a modified Superman emblem on his shirt but physically looks more like Pa Kent here. All he needs is a frequent shopper's discount card from Smallville Hardware to pull it off. Kid was probably rehearsing spots for this in his head on the drive to the venue listening to "When It's Over" by Sugar Ray or whatever the hell was popular on the radio in '01. I was unaware this was elimination style and not particularly happy about this finding. BJ removes his shirt on the apron but thankfully Hero leaves his on.
14. Red v. Jose Maximo v. Joel Maximo - MCW 07/18/01 B: 2 J: 2
Brian: Opening sequence looks more like a choreographed fight scene from VR Troopers than wrestling. It only took 90 seconds for the first botched springboard. When you see a match like this full of so much superfluous shit you know the finish isn't going to mean anything. It's nice of the Maximos to get dressed up for the occasion -- look like they're wearing their work uniforms from their day job as garbage-men. This looks like it was filmed in a banquet hall with the carpeted floor, chandeliers, etc. I imagine if you held our wedding reception there and recognized it on this DVD it'd put a hex on your marriage. This was soulless.
Jess: I felt like I knew what would happen before this match even started. It was like they were still in Whipwreck’s basement trading spots, while his Zubaz and Dragon all over prints hung on the walls like trophies. It felt like they were all linked through a chain, each move coming right after the next one. I could see Arn Anderson in the back watching this, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Sell something you fucking midgets!” There was a Doomsday spot I thought was unique but same as you, couldn’t get into this. Watering my garden takes longer than watching this.
15. Jerry Lawler v. Chris Candido - NCW 08/25/01 J: 3 B: 4
J: This was like watching the original Batman series of films; really love the old school direction of the first one, then it starts getting predictable and campy, then it becomes a big joke and finally you’re seeing bodyparts you don’t really want to. Candido was bumping off Lawler’s punches like he was a blowup Optimus Prime punching bag in a 7 year old’s room. Tammy looked like she just left a low budget film audition where the only thing she had to do was cut her hair, pull out her tits and hold a flower vase in the background, as if it had meaning. Missy Hyatt resided in Lawler’s corner, her face a strange compilation of weirdly arranged skin and her tits bigger than the referee’s torso. Lawler took a few nice bodyslams that had some real stank on them too. But once the “catfight” (voted most overdone Indy spot from 01-04) began this one took a real dark, unfunny turn. Another sad statement on the business when Lawler, a 35 year old veteran is ambled away so the 2 women can pull their asses out while doing the Hogan ear thing.
Brian: This looks as though it was filmed in one of those white tent labs from that '98 sci-fi clunker The X Files. I recall as a young kid Hyatt being my first wrestling crush. Here she looks like Ham Scam-Witch from Fighting Foodons. I liked the meat of this more it appears than Jessie, likening it to a good SMW main event, especially when it followed so many highspot marathons. Candido's wearing his Terry Funk homage trunks which I crudely tried to recreate with paint for a custom Candido action figure in my younger, more carefree years. That toy's probably lying near the bottom of a landfill next to discarded condoms and fast food wrappers just like this DVD will be when I finish it. Even with inexplicably wet short hair Sunny stills makes me pitch a tent in my basketball shorts. What's most repugnant is both the bimbos actually roll-up and score pinfalls over the guys making them look like idiots. Hyatt's monstrous rack has probably had more semen splattered onto it than a NYC sperm bank's tile floor.
16. CM Punk v. Colt Cabana 2/3 Falls- IWA-MS 09/01/01 B: X J: 4
Brian: I've seen these guys compete together dozens of times (the best being at ROH Punk: The Final Chapter which ironically was also a 2/3 falls bout). Colt must have been playing Fatal Fury 2 because I could have swore he aped Cheng Zinzan's Belly Drum Blast. Colt's Asai moonsault didn't look bad for having been done off an apron a newborn could climb up onto its so damn low. Punk is campaigning to get his visage emblazoned on WWE ice cream bars but I'd rather see Suicide Kid (who's serving as guest ref) get that tasty treatment. Punk does a flying clothesline onto Cabana who's sitting on a chair in a deserted section of the crowd and ends up surfing face-first into a sea of steel chairs. I wonder if a swath of Colt's hair will ever make it into WWE's rumored Hall of Fame museum -- probably only if he drops a few specimens in himself into the display showcasing Jimmy Sunka's leopard print bandana. (At this point my DVD encounters an error and I'm missing the last 14 min. -- Jess, what do you have?)
Jessie: I did also feel like I’d seen this match before. One big thing that stuck out to me was how brazen Colt was with highspots, where as nowadays he’s much more comfortable pulling wrists on Michael Elgin or in front of a spotlight at a seedy comedy club. Punk looked in control for damn near the whole thing, as if this match was his brainchild, and he was pushing it in all the different directions a WWE main event used to provide: some technical spots, high flying, and finishing off with the big stuff. What I remember I enjoyed more so than a lot of stuff on this disc so I graded it a bit higher but not everything is coming to mind. Could you imagine watching Colt drop some baby batter on a security camera video?
17. Justice Pain vs. Jay Briscoe - CZW 9/8/01 J: 7 B: 8
Jessie: So Brian pimped this to me, and I see why. This was a complete demolition derby of the human body. Opening was good, didn't feel like an appetizer you order on a date just to spend more money to get laid on a date. Had a few moments of cooperativeness that were blantant, some fuck ups and thing that didnt come off clean, but the strong far outweighed the bad. Reverse suplex onto chair table; that was a handjob for my eyes. Loved Justice stepping on the annoucers head to climb up the stage area. As crazy as the out of ring stuff was, once they went back in the ring, this shit got nuts. Jay must have had a neck made of rubber because he was testing it big time here, taking multiple suplexes on it that would have shattered most men's spines with ease. Them balancing on the table when it snap in half felt like the climax of a summer action blockbuster. Even Jay's table snafu at the end playe into the finish perfectly. A fucking plus.
Brian: I was pretty impressed here. This seemed crazily ambitious but they pulled it off. I'd never really seen Pain before and Jay was in high school. Still, this was a main event, they worked it with the urgency of one, and somehow maintained an incredible pace throughout. I won't list all of the highspots suffice to say this was full of big, dangerous garbage bumps, as well as lots of sickening head-drops, and some great strike and flying exchanges. A good story of young Briscoe's parents in the crowd cheering on their boy while Pain was ruthless (even taking a shot at Mark who was in a cast) trying to maim him. A real surprise and something I dug immensely.
18. Sabu vs. Tracy Smothers vs. CM Punk - IWA-MS 7/8/01 B: 3 J: 3
Brian: Can't help but point out how strange this appears on paper. Smothers was is shockingly good shape for his age and level of addiction. Punk took more punishment than a Real Doll accidentally shipped to a sex addicts anonymous meeting. They were working on fast-forward so nothing sunk in or felt meaningful. Sabu blatantly talking out spots was bothersome. This felt as believable as that vacuum cleaner monster from The Outer Limits episode "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork". Their tiny ring is so funny. It's almost impossible to pin someone and them not being tied up in the ropes. Not a lot nice to say here, Punk's selling was good if not a bit overboard, and Smothers was the MVP willing to eat stuff and kicking chairs into peoples' faces. Punk stealing the pin was something hinted at earlier and about as good a finish as could be thought up to end this mess.
Jessie: Can't imagine any woman wanting to see the Sabu/ Smothers tag team in their bedroom nor any wrestling fan wanting to see them in the ring. A Smothers spear? May as well throw popcorn at Punk. I was preparing myself to defend Sabu for that sweet hurricanrana off the top but he promptly chatted his way through the next 4 fucked up spots. Smothers also showed some agility, but totally looked like a geriatric landing outside on the concrete. Anytim you have to see ICP that's a bad afternoon. Yep, finish was most booking sense.
19. Justice Pain vs. Adam Flash - CZW 10/27/01 J: 4 B: 4
Jessie: Pain looked like a guy who should be pushing chess team members into lockers and training people to waterski on the beach; an 80's teen movie villain. But dude's intense, by far his best quality. Flash is indy sleaze at it's finest, nice touch with the Wicked Witch socks. Liked the camera being shoved under the bottom rope in the beginning so we get the impact of the bumps. So many spots where both guys are waiting for the other one to set something up; Disbelief suspended, not hardly.
Brian: Flash has Corino's hair, a Slipknot t-shirt, and the Headbangers' stockings. Some of the elaborate garbage spots didn't work (X-Factor off the top rope onto ladder) and some did (sit-out ura-nage off the elevated camera platform through a table). The ref bump was superfluous and the ref looked like an idiot waiting for it to happen like he was waiting for his pet dog to return a rubber ball. This was everything the earlier Pain match wasn't, shoddily executed, meaningless, and easily forgettable.
20. Ramblin Rich Myers & Earl the Pearl vs. The S.A.T. - MCW 11/2/01 B: 3 J: 3
Brian: S.A.T. had as preposterous offense as ever and were inexplicably wearing Michael Myers' jumpsuits with bad dye jobs. I've always loathed spots where a guy will hold the opponents out on the floor so his partner can then jump on all of them usually seeing his own teammate take just as bad if not worse damage than the intended targets. S.A.T. were being kept strong throughout but were summarily vanquished after a Russian leg sweep/Buff Blockbuster combo. Pearl didn't have the physique of a star but could play to the crowd better than many in the big leagues.
Jessie: Pearl's dance has scarred me in some way. Loved his apron bump too; he would have been a great 2nd in WCW. SAT's are all over this set like Pixar is to pulling my heartstrings. Thought this was a good 7 minute match that could open a show admirably while not excelling at the same time.
21. The S.A.T. vs. Chris Hamrick, Donnie B. & The Backseat Boyz - West Virginia Street Fight - ECWA 11/17/01 - J: 3 B: 4
Jessie: To make me believe 2 guys could actually chokeslam each other at the same time I'd need something much stronger than a Ruffie; maybe whatever Starbucks special convinced part of the nation Sarah Palin should live in the White House. Then we got treated to a greatest hits Attitude era move set, puke. Who the hell is Donnie B and why should he be sitting in a Waffle House discussing NASCAR rankings instead of performing? Match takes a wild turn when they all run into the streets, amidst busy traffic fighting in front of stores and 5 & Dimes. Kind of runs long and some of it is a big joke, physically. You'll catch a few of the wrestlers laughing and snickering in the middle of the brawl. No effort was put into the end and I felt a little cheated with no Hamrick concrete bump.
Brian: I love that this is in some den with blank white walls and the only sense of decoration is one lousy poster of a girl in a bikini that looks like it was stolen from some '80's dad's garage. "Stone Cold" parody? Really? Unlike any "street fight" I've seen. Now Amazing Red is doing The Rock and Hamerick is doing Diesel and what weird rabbit hole did my ass just fall down? Yes! Some fan takes a big bump out of his chair then pops up like he's ready to box someone and Hamerick is just losing it. They rush out the front door and right into a busy road and literally come inches away from being street pizza like that girl in The Rite. The WWE homage stuff was lame but them fighting in and out of traffic (and even onto moving vehicles!) is like a real-life game of Frogger and fantastic. Brawling into the stairwell of some hapless peoples' apartment? Check. This is a neat curiosity but the wrestling that bookends the downtown brawl keeps it far removed from recommended status.
22. Chris Hero vs. Ian Rotten vs. Cash Flo - IWA-MS 11/24/01 B: 5 J: 4
Brian: It's hard to tell who looks silliest here: Hero in an XXXL sleeveless shirt and blue parachute pants or Ian with a t-shirt tucked into a pair of white denim shorts and a Big Lots bargain belt. Ian tries to do technical early but should stick to what he knows best (in no discerning order): having illegitimate children, not paying wrestlers, and working the late-shift at Taco Bell. Flo does some great glassy-eyed selling of some Hero forearms and elbows. This is less spastic and hurried than the IWA-MS three-way a few matches above and thus already superior. Flo eats an Ian German suplex and sells it by humping the mat like Monty Sopp. Rotten's forehead looks like a Cracker Barrel meatloaf that got left too long in the oven. There was a spot that saw Ian put Hero in the "Tarantula" in the ropes and then Flo did a sort of flipping neckbreaker onto Chris' exposed head that was as perplexing as Ravenous. This was a half-hour and masturbatory but I liked the measured pace and simplicity of story (still not recommendable).
J: There’s most def. some fashion blunders here, and why do Hero and Flo have their knees all taped up? I’m not honestly supposed to buy Flo has money when he has a dollar sign made of black duct tape on his tights am I? Yeah the announcers were blowing up Ian on commentary as this great lost amateur, but obviously didn’t know their facts as one stated “Ian was consistently top 5…..uh in the state in his division?” Sure one fact check from Meltzer would tear that down. Yep they were going for the long title match vibe, I give them one thing; they stuck with a theme of everyone doing these intricate 3 way submission spots and they stuck to it; at some points couldn’t tell if this was a wrestling match, a cheerleader practice or an audition for a new Kama Sutra film featuring all ugly people. I liked Hero and Flo both eating ring posts like Post cereals. That German stood out to me because it didn’t seem to fit at all, like Ian could think of nothing else to do. I’m all for longer matches, but as with some other Ian stuff I’ve seen, he does long matches just to make them seem more important and for me it has the opposite effect here.
23. Shinya Hashimoto vs. Steve Corino vs Gary Steele vs Dylan Night - 30 minute iron man match, PWF 12/16/01 J: 6 B: 5
Jess: I have to recommend this. I’ve now seen this bout at least 4-5 times, as I used to own a tape of matches and a short documentary video of when Hash visited the US for his small indy run and burned that thing out. There’s a lot to like here of course being main attraction Hashimoto in this strange environment he seems to take to. Being a 30 min. match, pace is all over the board, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of pre-planned spots, but it’s nice for a change to not have to sit through such a scheduled bout. Hash ruled this because he knew exactly how to play his character throughout; mostly a badass but knowing when to give to the other guys and sell for them, to let Dylan Knight double cross him multiple times so when he got pissed Night would say “oh shit” and beg off. Hash laid it in too, giving all 3 men generous helpings of brutal kicks and chops. The other guys were good too here, Corino actually seeming like he fits in Japan, with some dynamite punches and chops as well. Steele stuck to the mat mostly and didn’t get a good sense of him here, although he was featured prominently on the Hash tape I made mention of . Night seemed to be the extra guy thrown in for a rub; playing dirty heel who’s basically a weenie but was getting shots in when he can. Runtime may be an issue for some, but there’s a lot of brutality to feast your eyes on.
Brian: This is a much ballyhooed bout and it was nice to take a Saturday afternoon before work to finally sit down and see it for myself. I laughed when Hashimoto stood waiting for Night to hit him and Dylan sheepishly threw some weak stuff and Shinya just stared back in disbelief. Steele blew Corino's Old School Expulsion falling down too early. I loved Hashimoto's facial after Dylan stole a pin, like, "Are you shitting me? Am I going to have a murder a fool?" I suspect Dylan was standing in line waiting to get into the first screening of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night back in March. Some people just have eponymous favoritism (i.e. Jessie's cousin Chris' favorite athletes being Chris Sabo and Chris Mullin). I always thought Cornio's strikes were ass but he's actually laying some stuff like stomps in for a welcomed change. This format isn't all bad but nonsensical, for example, Night suffered the first three pinfalls, getting beat by all the guys, yet didn't really play up that damage or seem too hurt throughout. Maybe they should have flown over Tarzan Goto instead.