Ah, yes, Halloween. One of my favorite times of the year. When else are you allowed to dress like Alf in public and not be arrested or attacked? Halloween can be both rewarding and mischievously troubling, hence "Tricks or Treats". You never know what you're going to get. Just like when you have thousands of wrestling matches at your disposal and start randomly watching them...
From It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966):
Lucy Van Pelt: All you have to do is walk up to a house, ring the doorbell and say "Tricks or treats."
Sally Brown: Are you sure it's legal?
Lucy Van Pelt: Of course it's legal.
Sally Brown: I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble.
1. Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben - (UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber) - 5
Wait, who's that guy in the cage wearing a Goofy mask? Oh, that's just Wanderlei. We got exactly what we expected: two brawlers meeting head-on in the center of the octagon and just banging. 27 seconds later (thanks to some vicious left uppercuts) Silva was taking a premature nap dreaming of Tacacá back home in Brazil.
2. Etsuko Mita vs. Makoto - (12/31/08) - 3
Story here is Mita's the bully to young Makoto. Opening sees Makoto throw a bunch of offense at Etsuko that she sort of just "Undertakers" i.e. ignores and stares back vacuously. I used to get that look from women all the time. Mita didn't waste much time and ended it promptly with a Death Valley Driver.
3. Fujiwara vs Nagai - clipped - (3/2/01) - 4
This appears clipped unlike my friends Nick, Chris, and Steve's cocks (Hey guys!). Talk about frightening. Fujiwara controls on the mat early, back on the feet, Nagai slowly stalks Fujiwara into the corner, limping the whole way (good selling), then starts pummeling him with hard forearms. You feel empathy for Fujiwara sometimes when he's getting blasted with shots as he does these old man tight-faced grimaces that makes it look like your grandpa is getting roughed up. Then his mean streak will surface and you're worries will subside. Yoshiaki seems more comfortable in his guard than Jake Shields. The 30-min. time-limit expires during a rough corner exchange but the version I watched was only 12 min. but still enjoyable.
4. Paul & Katie Lea Burchill vs. Super Crazy - (WWE Raw 4/28/08) - 3
Both of the Burchill's are in the ring at the same time so Crazy says "Fuck it!" and tries to take them both down. Crazy got unreal float on a moonsault -- just so pretty. Katie Lea, not to be outdone, hit a pretty swank missile dropkick. I don't remember Paul using the Curb Stomp as a finisher.
5. Manami Toyota vs. Madison Eagles - (Chikara King of Trios 2011 - Night 3 4/17/11) - 5
Geo gave this a "7" when he reviewed it, and while I liked it, it doesn't compare to Toyota's best stuff and felt more like her running through her routine which while spectacular didn't stir a lot of drama. This was on a bloated card so they didn't give it a lot of extra time to stew. Too bad. Eagles got to kick out of a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex and a Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb so she wasn't entirely squashed but this was all about the Wrestling Observer "Most Outstanding Wrestler" of '95.
6. Roger Bowling vs. Bobby Voelker - (Strikeforce Challengers: Voelker vs. Bowling III) - 5
Their first two fights were really good so I was amped to see the trilogy finished off. Bowling, unlike Rich Franklin, also fights out of our hometown area but I endorse him while never being a big Rich fan. These guys always swing hard and with intent at each other which makes their battles so intriguing. No! Roger gets poked in the eye which is what prematurely ended their first war last year. The fight is back on. Round one ended with fireworks. Bowling's explosive and reminds me of Urijah Faber in some respects. Voelker hits a sickening knee to Bowling's face then hopped on him for the ground and pound finish in round two.
7. Kane vs. Randy Orton - Street Fight - (WWE SmackDown! 7/22/11) - 6
This was pretty good, got plenty of time (20+ min.), some nice shots (kendo stick shots were nasty), and good selling throughout (Orton in general and Kane's of the leg post-bump after having the steel stairs dropped on it). Randy getting his foot stuck in one of the emptied holes in the announce table that usually holds a monitor and awkwardly slipping (and subsequently bumping) to the floor was odd and made me laugh and strange they didn't edit it out of the broadcast as it seemed like the biggest aired goof in ages; especially humorous them even drawing attention to it in commentary and trying to play up Orton's "unpredictable" persona. The match-ending RKO on a steel chair looked much weaker than the regular RKO he'd hit earlier but still liked this overall, quite physical and the beefier duration makes it memorable.
8. CM Punk vs. Chuck Palumbo - (ECW 4/29/08) - 4
This match has the best non-finish ever. Palumbo puts on one of the greatest punching demos in WWE history. He's wailing away on Punk in the corner and when he won't back off at the ref's request he gets disqualified. You know what he does then? More punches. Post-match, Punk tries to fight back, using some of those shitty leg kicks he was doing at the time, only for Chuck to take his head off with a lariat.
9. The Fantastics vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero - Mid South 10/12/84
Really great tag action, Guerrero's looked like the best team in the States here, move over Condrey and co., and really utilized the ring and their superior skill level to shone. Winner's got a shot at the Rock 'n' Roll Express and their gold. No "Sharp Dressed Man" on that night as the Guerrero's lied, cheated, and stole the victory.
10. Curry Man and Shark Boy vs. Motor City Machine Guns - (TNA iMPACT! 5/1/08) - 4
This was actually kind of fun until a "fuck finish". Surprisingly, thought Daniels sold better in the ridiculous get-up, and Sabin, who I never thought as a guy who expressed well in the ring, did an adequate job in the goofy superheroes' control segment, including making the best of a sloppily executed head scissors by Shark Boy. Shelley at one point tried to bite the plate of curry that resides on top of Curry Man's mask and sold the spicy flavor like he just ate a habanero. The Guns did a good contemporaneous dive to the outside. Scott Steiner, Petey Williams, and Rhaka Khan invaded at ringside, only to be bested by Kurt Angle, and then Samoa Joe. We didn't get a finish but just a first act of a match but I enjoyed what we saw; guess I'm taking the glass half-full theory on '08 TNA TV.
11. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio - Last Man Standing Match - (WWE Vengeance '11) - 8
I really liked this. Harkened back to one of my favorite WWE matches of all-time (Cena vs. JBL - "I Quit" Match from '05) in that it was a chaotic scene to behold. The ring was destroyed in the previous match (by Show and Henry) so all the turnbuckles were imploded, the ropes slack, the ring lopsided, etc. These guys didn't need a proper ring, though, going right at each other. It really felt like two guys just throwing big bombs at each other until one fell. A whole slew of nutty bumps, all worth seeing and my prose unworthy of recreating, but a few of my favorites: Alberto getting chucked from the ring and flying 10ft. through the air into the barricade, the stuff backstage was a hoot, ADR getting launched at the catering table and holding onto it during the ride bringing it flipping over on-top of himself, knocking over the giant storage unit (or whatever the hell that was) then climbing up onto it to do a spot, out on the entrance area some choice moments, Cena getting chucked through the giant "V" and Del Rio getting pulled off a lighting grid onto a table that exploded (like Willie Mack's dick apparently). All awesome. I love that shit. Cena's had a hot streak on PPV this last-half the year especially and I'd rank this above the three-way Hell in the Cell bout from last month (versus ADR and CM Punk). The Attitude Adjustment off of the steps through the announce table looked hurty. I wasn't a big fan of the Awesome Truth interference, feel like these guys have ruined the endings of a handful of shows now, and feel like a mid-card act muddling up my proper main events. Felt like we were being sold a shitty angle in lieu of getting the great finish a match like this deserved.
12. Sid Vicious vs. Mike Rotunda - Submission Match - WCW Thunder 2/2/00
So, yes, this happened. I've seen it all but if you want surreality as a wrestling fan just pop in an episode of WCW Thunder. Rotunda looks like a buffoon wearing an orange Syracuse basketball jersey and your uncle's goofy hair. Mike actually gets some stuff in but Vicious locks in a Crippler Crossface for the victory. First clean finish I've seen on one of these Thunder shows in awhile.
13. Uso's vs. David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty - (WWE Superstars 7/14/11) - 5
I was pimping this match to the guys via some memories transcribed shorthand I could recall the day after watching it online. Here's what I had to say:
- Jey made Ortunga's opening shots look more devastating than DO has ever looked..
- the ringpost bump and subsequent bump from a dropkick off the top the floor were insane for an Internet show..
- Jimmy's slumping sell coming out of the DO corner clothesline..
- he also had some good facials in a chinlock (kudos to the prod. team for the extreme close-up)..
- loved the Samoan Drop counter.. -
- the hot tag sequence was good
- both the savate kicks were stiff as hell
- the "Superfly Splash" was on par with some of Snuka's
- cool booking cog seeing the Uso's beat the current champs.. felt meaningful in the big picture which a lot of SS doesn't get to
14. Magnum TA vs. Ted DiBiase - No DQ Match - Mid-South 5/27/84
Great brawl at ringside, some real nasty looking rams into a table, never knew Magnum had such great punches, and Ted took a big bodyslam on the concrete while the cow-folk went nuclear. Magnum starts bleeding all over Oklahoma. TA's famed belly-to-belly suplex didn't come off as a real plausible match-ender to me. One of the better under 10 min. bouts I've seen recently. I've got the re-match from Tulsa (later that same day!) so excuse me while I go watch that now.