Sunday, November 6, 2011

Queue Slayer #4

Queue Slayer is an ongoing project where Jessie and Brian watch six selections and rank all the matches therein. We'll have #5 and #6 finished by year's end. Here's this edition's results:

1.       Low Ki v. Davey Richards (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 98
2.       Shinjiro Ohtani v. Masato Tanaka (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 97
3.       Masato Yoshino/ Pac v. Naruki Doi/ Ricochet (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly") – 97
4.       BxB Hulk v. Jon Moxley (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 96
5.       Monsta Mack v. Dan Maff (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 96
6.       The Undertaker v. Tito Santana (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 96
7.       Roderick Strong v. Sonjay Dutt  (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 92
8.      Danny Davis vs. Mike Graham vs. Jimmy Hart vs. Tito Santana vs. Barry Orton vs. Barbarian vs. Rock Riddle vs. Shane Douglas vs. The Warlord vs. Shane Helms vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Savio Vega vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton vs. Mando Guerrero vs. Cruel Connection vs. Terry Funk vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs. Vampiro vs. Sean Morley vs. Tatanka - Legends Wrestleroyal Battle Royale (Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 87
9.       Claudio Castagnoli v. El Generico  (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 84
10.   Koehi Sato/ Daisuke Sekimoto v. Ryouij Sai/ Yutaka Yoshie (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 81
11.   Homicide v. Teddy Hart (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 80
12.   Christopher Daniels v. Jerry Lynn (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 76
13.   Austin Aries v. Akira Tozawa (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 76
14.   Perro Aguyao/ Perro Aguayo jr/ Shinjiro Ohtani/ Koji Kanemoto/ Negro Casas v. Jushin Liger/ Gran Hamada/ El Samurai/ Dr. Wagner jr/ Kendo KaShin (2/3 Falls NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 70
15.   Jimmy Jacobs v. Rich Swann (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 70
16.   Jigsaw v. Sami Callihan v. Cheech v. AR Fox v. Frightmare v. Rexx Reed (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 69
17.   Cima/ Dragon Kid v. Johnny Gargano/ Chuck Taylor  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 69
18.   Minoru Fujita/ Takuya Sugawara/ Kaijin Habu Otoko v. Funaki/ Ikuto Hidaka/ Muneori Sawa (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 69
19.   Chris Hero v. Kevin Steen (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 68
20.   Mr. Aguila v. Rey Bucanero (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 68
21.   Shane Helms v. Joey Ryan  (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 65
22.   The Rockers v. Power & Glory  (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 63
23.   Slyk Wagner Brown/ April Hunter v. The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 57
24.   Jay Lethal v. Azrieal v. Insane Dragon v. Jack Evans (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 55
25.   Jushin Liger v. El Samurai  (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 54
26.   Kensuke Sasaki v. Masa Chono #1 (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 54
27.   Kaos v. Justice Pain (JAPW Revolution 02/28/04)- 51
28.   Yamato v. Brodie Lee  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 50
29.   “Pretty” Peter Avalon, Caleb Konley, “Manscout” Jake Manning & ODB v. Cedric Alexander, Brandon Gatson, Candie LaRae & Willie Mack (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 45
30.   Masahiro Chono/ Satoshi Kojima/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Kensuke Sasaki/ Manabu Nakanishi/ Yuji Nagata (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 43
31.   The Warlord v. Larry Williams (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 42
32.   The Mountie v. Big Bossman (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 42
33.   Kensuke Sasaki v. Masa Chono #2 (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 38
34.   Kerry Von Erich v. Vern Siebert (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 33
35.   Chris Dickinson v. Pinkie Sanchez v. Dave Cole v. Oberiyan v. Jonny Mangue v. RV1 v. Chase Burnette v. Ryan Eagles v. Alex Colon- Fray!  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 31
36.   The Berzerker v. Chi Chi Cruz (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 30
37.   The Cutler Brothers v. Fightin’ Taylor Boys v. RockNES Monsters v. The Young Bucks- DDT4 Entry Four way Tag Team Match (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 26
38.   Jake Roberts v. Sinn Bodhi (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 26
39.   Bret Hart v. Hutch Thomas (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 24
40.   Milano Collection AT/ Taichi v. Kazuchika Okada/ Nobuo Yoshihashi (NJPW 08/30/09 clipped)- 24
41.   Hiro Saito v. Takashi Iizuka (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 24
42.   Jushin Liger v. Satoshi Kojima (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 23
43.   British Bulldog v. Earthquake  (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 21
44.   Rush Margera/ Corvis Fear v. The Outcast Killaz (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 18
45.   AKIRA v. Koji Kanemoto (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 16
46.   Shinya Hashimoto v. Scott Norton (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 16
47.   Yuzuro Saito v. Shota Takanashi (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 15
48.   Balls Mahoney v. The Solution (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 11
49.   Takashi Iizuka/ Shiro Koshinaka/ Kensuke Sasaki v. Masahiro Chono/ Tatsutoshi Goto/ Michiyoshi Ohara (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 10
50.   Bushwhackers v. Bob Bradley/ Mike Starr (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 3
51.   The Mountie v. Steve May (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 3

Brian: For my first pick I dipped into my JAPW stash with "Revolution" from 2/28/04. A pretty full card, as most of their shows are, and while I'm still no expert on the co. I'm really finding myself being converted to a fan. Really a lot to like on the event, from the in-ring action, to all the little interview snippets where they were asking people what their favorite Hit Squad moment was (building up to the main event which was Maff vs. Mack in the battle of the former DHS partners). The opener, Strong vs. Dutt, on paper didn't scream out to me but I was pleasantly surprised. Strong was as vicious as ever. Lynn vs. Daniels, two veterans, both showed up and looked great. Homicide vs. Hart was the battle of the two controversial guys, and Homicide maliciously attacking Teddy's injured leg was a great story cog, and Teddy selling it like he was being lashed by Stu Hart's belt provided a nice touch. Even the undercard was all fairly decent if not good stuff, liked the team of Slyk Wagner Brown and April Hunter, four-man juniors match, and the Justice Pain (who I just discovered earlier this year) singles. Maff a huge Kobashi fan, Monsta a huge Kojima fan, tried to do their best approximation of that style and this had some nasty head-drops and strikes. Post-match angle, take it or leave it, but I liked right as the DVD went off some fat, mark fan letting Maff smash him in the face with a trash can lid autographed by the JAPW roster and it cracking his nose and leaving a giant, bleeding gash on his face. Idiot has a scar for life now. Thanks, JAPW!

Jess: I’m digging JAPW more and more I watch them; they have this whole history and lineage they are proud of and push and they know how to bring up their own talent while still featuring guys from other places mixed in.  This show had quite a few winners, my favorite actually being the opener, which as Brian put, didn’t get a rise out of me reading the listings but I’ll be damned if they didn’t punctuate every piece of offense and really innovate here.  Off hand my favorite Sonjay bout.  Next I liked the main, which was pretty brutal and had more backstory than anything that was featured at WrestleMania this past year.  And the aftermatch blow to that stupid fan was hilarious.  Teddy v. Homicide had psych that rivals just about anything in the main scene and both men played their roles to a tee.  Lynn v. Daniels was exactly what you think it would be; two veterans working hard and putting on a great show.  There were some duds, Balls Mahoney playing Steve Austin and the Outcast Killaz tag but overall damn fine show.

Brian: My next choice was ZERO1's annual Fire Festival finals and it was another solid pick. Opener was a little vanilla (sorry Yuzuro and Shota) but not offensive. Rest of the card was solid puro goodness. Sato/Sekimoto vs. Sai/Yoshie had some bombs and physicality. It made me wonder why more people aren't pimping Ryouji. Yutaka, who was pretty unimpressive in the '11 NOAH I've seen, looked much better in this setting. The Sawa/Hidaka/FUNAKI vs. Fujita/Sugawara/Otoko tag actually caught me off guard as I figured the home team was a sure lock to win so that was a nice surprise (even tough I was rooting for my boy Munenori). Main event, the FF finals, good stuff between vets Otani and Tanaka. Shinjiro looked quite old but still delivered and this had a nice finishing stretch.

Jess: I thought so too, regarding Yutaka; him and Sekimoto found the right rhythm and chest thickness to really pound each other into what looked like could be a fun feud.  Hidaka seemed way dialed down in that 6 man but Sawa and Funaki both looked on top of their game.  I actually really dug the main between long time associates Tanaka and Ohtani.  Caught a few Ohtani matches lately and while his charisma seems to have seeped from him, you still saw spurts.  Tanaka still creeps me out with his tiny body now but guy packs a wallop and there were more nearfalls here than you could shake a Fire Festival Samurai Sword at.  Top notch main event and my no. 1 so far.

Jess:  My 1st choice was PWG’s continuing big shows named after Jack Burton himself.  The gimmick of the show is to bring in legendary stars from the past and top acts derived from more mainstream companies.  This was Low Ki’s return to PWG and he looked every bit as devastating as he’s always been. This wasn’t drawn out but Davey sold like a million bucks for every kick and you got the sense he looked up to Ki.  Steen- Hero was quite stiff if not kind of perfunctory at this point.  The legends battle royal was surprising, not just for the dregs of the 80’s and 90’s performers but for the thrilling finale featuring certified icons Piper and Funk and how good these two are even in their 50’s and 60’s.  If you saw the JCW Legends show, you can see this one was done right with less marquee name talent.  Everything else was decent esp. the Luchadore match which was a good flavor missing from the inaugural event. 

Brian: PWG is always pretty fun but I think this one ran out of gas by the end of the night. Not opposed to seeing Steen and Hero beat the crud out of each other but the booking left it feeling flat as the end result didn't seem to mean much or progress anything. I liked the legends' battle royale a lot -- disagree with fellow NHO contributor Adam who told me it was "just like any other legends battle royale" as I thought they handled this one quite well, liked the layout, talent seemed to be having fun, crowd was into it, and actually had some startlingly good work (or at least touches of it) including some surprisingly good selling. Barry O, Randy Orton's uncle, coming out looking like a stoner that works at a music store was boss. I liked Low Ki kicking ass, always do, but it probably wouldn't have fared as well with me on a stronger QS line-up. Main event fought against the feelings of sameness (achieved from these guys working together so much in ROH over the years) to actually work with some nice counters, near falls, and focused work.
Jess: Up next on my slate was a disc of New Japan TV from early 2000.  Foolhardy and complete with Samurai boner, I didn’t even think this would be clipped but alas, it was.  First ep featured bouts from a show where Team 2000 fought New Japan guys in a series; the show opened with like a 20 man faceoff and was intense as fuck.  What we got to see of the matches didn’t live up to it, although the first Sasaki- Chono had some flourishes of good storytelling.  Our 2nd episode started off with a killer angle featuring Hashimoto entering the arena in a suit and tie and getting ambushed by Ogawa who bloodied him up something good.  Clips of prelim guys carrying Hash inside, bleeding on his Kenneth Cole two piece were gold; this guy could do it all.  We got clips of the subsequent tag playing off this angle where Hash was bleeding from the head coming to the ring; great stuff.  Best thing here was the 5 on 5 tag featuring some of the best talent in the world at that or any other time.  We only got about 13 minutes of a 36 minute match but the action was fast and furious and we got all kinds of stellar matchups along the way. Liger and Samurai did what they do best and that’s beat the fuck out of each other, but again, we got like 4 minutes of an 8 minute bout but that 4 minutes was doing it for me; no feeling out (as if they need to) just went right into the powerbombs and DDT’s.  Amen.  While I enjoyed the disc moderately, to have gotten 1 or 2 full matches on each episode would have been fine by me.

Brian: I'm not a big fan of clipped stuff -- imagine watching a film condensed down to a half or quarter of its intended running time? What we did see was intriguing though. Luckily nowadays stuff from Japan surfaces as full shows -- no more clipped TV broadcasts. I think the six-man main from the 3/18 episode was the one that intrigued me the most as there were no scrubs (I'm looking at you Tatsutoshi and Michiyoshi) that filled out the ranks like some of the other tags. Hamada and Aguayo (the Nochistlan Dog) showed lots of fire and really carried the big ten-man tag beyond just guys getting their shit in. Thought some guys looked actively bad/lazy like Iizuka, AKIRA, etc. An interesting choice.

Brian: My last choice was DG USA's United: Philly. I got to see Dragon Gate USA live for the first time a few weeks back and wanted to check out one of their more strongly recommended recent shows. This was a pretty solid card. I loved that YAMOTO took everything Brodie had then just put him to sleep. Sami looked great in the six-man bout. BxB and Moxley, I'm a fan of both, and while it was short (under 9 min.) I loved what they did, non-stop pace, etc. The two tag main events were both good with a nod to the last one with PAC, Ricochet, Doi, and Yoshino are busting out their top-shelf stuff, plenty of high-flying spectacle, trademark awesome finishing stretch, etc. This has me pumped to watch the rest of the batch of DG USA stuff I recently ordered.

Jess: I’ve reviewed several DGUSA shows now, and I’ve harped on the same issues non-stop ever since, overall I think it’s about the match itself and who’s in there.  My fave bout was the main even tag, as comparing the 2 tag matches it truly feels like it knew the tag formula, build up to the big spots and make them count and both teams did with the true show being PAC v. Ricochet’s high flying spectacle.  Hulk v. Moxley didn’t need to be a No DQ bout but both guys have presence for miles and it didn’t even feel like a 9 min. match as it was more fleshed out than most.  My favorite guy in the company is YAMATO, my least fave is probably Brodie Lee so sort of bittersweet there.  Other guys I thought were really great on this show were CIMA (who was the standout in his long, never took a breath tag match & as a 2nd in the main) and Aries whose stellar work ethic made him look as nearly the single best guy of the night, as well as his penchant for having fun while he’s doing it.  This show had a lot more variety and was easier to watch than most of this company’s output so thumbs up overall.

Jess: My final choice was cut short at the knees, was supposed to be a show from Barcelona, Spain with a really good card, feat. Flair v. Kerry Von Erich, LOD v. Nastys and Piper v. Barbarian; but that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Instead we got a tepid episode of Superstars from late July 1991 but don’t blink or you  may miss Berzerker feeding his opponent to the concrete, some classic Bret Hart machination or Warlord kind of being a cool monster heel.  Onto Barcelona, really the best thing here is Tito v. Undertaker which main evented this version.  Tito’s crazy over here even though he’s from Mexico and I am thinking the whole match, that this is a great carry job by Tito and Taker is really giving him the world in offense; I won’t spoil the ending but I hadn’t been that shocked since reading The Walking Dead: Compendium 1.  Rest of the show had it’s ups (mostly downs) as the back and forth of the tag match was cool, Bossman was really working that sympathy selling and I dug the hell out of Earthquake’s flying elbows but those matches were riddled with nonsensical finishes or parading Andre out to “manage” dead heat faces while taking a few weeks of his life off every time.

Brian: Superstars was unexpected but I liked parts of it and enjoy light viewing on occasion. Thought Von Erich was working like a dick, fun to see him working snug with some slob. I'm a sucker for Warlord, think he was the perfect version of this muscular monster character, and I could watch a comp. of his squashes any day of the week. Bezerker nearly killed Chi Chi throwing him ass-first over the top rope to the floor -- wonder if he got a package of peanuts with that like an airline flight. Barecelona was a mixed bag, kind of tepid, loved the main, shocked at Tito piledriving the shit out of Undertaker (twice!). Rockers vs. Power & Glory (in a perfect world they'd be the subject of WWE's next commercial DVD release) was moderately good but the finish made the heels look like morons (guess that was by design). WWF arena shows from the '80's-mid-'90's are a favorite treat of mine.

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