What this is for first time readers is a collection of matches with no cohesion at all in one big bundle, let's get started
1) Matt Hardy v. MVP US Title (Smackdown 05/02/08)- 5
Personal confession: I loved this series and feud when it was happening. Mick foley on commentary is really making this feel like an athletic fight. Remember when Hardy was in control of his mental facilities and didn't look like a Heffalump? Watch this. They don't stray far from a very simple match formula, nor take many chances (except those silly bumps off the apron into the foam railing) but everything they do has malice and purpose. Matt is one of the best at pacing and getting near falls out of everything. Man, Reby Sky thought Matt punched hard; ask MVP. Finishing sequence, again, nothing fresh but just well done. hard fought match you can't ask for more on free TV.
2) Kensuke Sasaki v. Toshiaki Kawada (NJPW Tokyo Dom 10/09/00)- 5
this had that really big fight feel and Kawada still gives you that sense of All Japan anytime you see him, like Taker does for WWE and Sting for WCW. So this truly felt like an outsider match invading. Surprisingly they built it up nice and slow like an Otis Redding jam. The big story was Sasaki's lariats versus Kawada's kicks, and Kawada has that badass Vader aura but he always sells a knockout and did so here again. This thing built up really nicely but around the last 5 minutes the shots just got weaker and weaker and with less oomph. Finishing kick probably wouldn't wake most heavy sleepers up.
3) Paul London v. Billy Kidman (WWE Smackdown 03/17/05)- 3
I wonder if Kidman taught how to botch a monkey flip during his "Art of the 5 Minute Match" at WWE training classes. If so, here's the perfect film to show. I know these two had major heat at this time and it kind of shows as everything is really rushed and unrefined. Nice London bump outside is highlight. I'm guessing Kidman isn't much of a Yankees fans these days as A-Rod is plowing his old lady with his rod.
4) Chris Benoit v. Shelton Benjamin (WWE Raw 03/07/05)- 4
Benoit looks so jacked it seems as if he moves an arm he'll tear it in half. This didn't get much time, maybe 5 minutes at best but Benoit manages to swan dive into a ladder face first. Any context needed for that? Okay didn't think so. The end almost gave this a good score as the submission exchange was better than most every finish you'll find on TV these days.
5) Balls Mahoney v. Vic Grimes (Explosion Barb Wire Match ECW 03/03/00) -3
Even the hardcore ECW faithful must have had a harder time swallowing that than Francine does getting the stink of cock out of her skin. Let me give you a spoiler: There is no explosion nor bomb, it's just a puff of smoke that goes off....the first time. The 2nd nothing, the crowd chants "you fucked up" like robots and Balls drops a Hogan legdrop on a chair and everyone's filing into their cars wondering whether to gas up or use their last bucks on the cigarettes that will eventually kill them.
There was a stiff superkick and chair shot though
6) Too cool v. Extreme Horsemen (UWF 07/19/07)- 4
This was part of a huge very complicated tag tournament we were about to start as a project but decided better. Corino looks like Bison Smith's little brother here. A lot of this was stock tag stuff, and a lot less goofy WWE schtick than you'd think. I hated a spot where Scotty 2 Hotty played HBK where he was knocking people down with weak punches. There were a few good exchanges and the match had a kind of old school quality but was less thought out than most on the show.
7) Carlos Amano v. Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Acadmey 04/06/00) - 5
Amano picks up right where Yokozuna left off as a barefoot badass. She has some of the more ridiculous facials i've seen, like when Ozaki blocks her spitted beer with a chair, it's as if she saw a living poltergeist. A lot of submission work here, more than I would have thought and it's all done in the vein of MMA as if they can end the match and both women fight out of it with vigor. Can't believe we haven't seen someone try an Armbar out ofa GTS like here; Punk never calls that spot i'm guessing. Pretty cool ending too, nice match that could have done without the lame brawl at the beginning.
8) TJ Grant v. Julio Paulino (UFC 119)- 4
Grant def. won the 1st round, and more than likely the last 2. This was that old classic strugle between puncher and wrestler and TJ was way more highly skilled at grappling he just couldn't wrap up a lock that would stick. Paulino showed some decent standup and defense on the ground but at other times he looked as lost as Dana White at a hackers convention.
9) Mascara Sagrada jr/ Blue Demon jr v. Abismo Negro/ Electro Shock ( AAA TV 07/19/99)- 3
Demon looked like a young Mike Graham under a mask, way more talented but just that ugly small build with frocks of strange colored hair. The heels tried the old Gringos Locos top rope hurricanrana/ frog splash combo and it's never looked worse, i mean both moves, the execution was downright terrible. Demon's got a nice snapping right hand though. These falls are moving faster than the first time my cousin Daryl smoked pot and relegated to cliched toker phrases such as "This is good shit, man." Love how ECW was doing the women catfight run in and AAA goes with mini's. Scary this was some sort of tag title match, as work wise, it wasn't good but did keep me entertained.
10) Raven v. Mikey Whipwreck (ECW Fan Cam 05/17/96)- 3
ECW really took the cake for how many lackies one guy can have, Mikey wipes out 4 dudes in the beginnin incl. fun talker JT Smith. At this point, Raven's a pretty new character as his boots are still shiny and his Tool Tshirt still fits. Mikey is the only 187 pounder with a gut. He takes a bump into the crowd into an empty wheelchair; where the fuck's the person that's supposed to be using it? Was there a godly miracle taking place in the crowd? I'm stumped, like Raven's left foot. This is based around front face locks and what will Raven do from them, but Mikey easily kicks out of an Evenflow on a chair, no less, in the middle of this match. Stevie easily takes the best bumps of the stooges outside and I think Nova's terrible Ratt hair from the 80's makes him be taken less serious than his stupid costume and makeup. So Mike's hit 2 Evenflows too; hold on Raven was working a loaded boot gimmick? I have no idea what I just watched. Also on this show is a kick ass 20 minute between jericho and 2 Cold and Dreamer and Brian Lee fight into the next neighborhood over; but avoid Mustafa v. Kronus at all costs.
11) Bret Hart v. Papa Shango (WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 10/27/92)- 5
This had more depth than you'd think, Shango played big scary dude pretty well but none of his offense was that scary so Hart really had to sell big just to make you think there's a shot in hell he's losing. And as always, his comebacks are like the ends of great dramatic novels and the way he pulls on the Sharpshooter, well, no wonder India loved this guy for so long.
12) The Handsome Stranger v. Rip Rogers (Global Wrestling Federation, '92)- 4
This was a fun trip back to my childhood where i voraciously consumed anything wrestling and this happend to replace World Class which was replaced by AWA and then by Global on ESPN every weekday at 4pm. Rogers was game to lead this rookie through a fun bout even taking a concrete bump and had a lot of momentum switches. Bagwell never looked outmatched at all during this either even though his fisherman suplex would have Curt Hennig turning over in his grave more than when Charlie Haas visited Dave & Buster's pretending to be him.
13) Jerry Lynn v. Tajiri (ECW Cyberslam 1999)- 6
Every time you look back at ECW, you see diff. things. About 10 years ago i would have thought this was a sloppy, ECW spotfest and looked to criticize it for everything about it that ECW does constantly. Probably 5 years ago I would have marked big for this being a standout on a particularly wretched ECW affair. 2 years ago, would have seen it twice already and skipped right through it. This time, I enjoyed the mat work, the high fly then the spot fest at the end and thought it all congealed into something worth watching and something worth pointing at and saying "this was probably one of the best things going in ECW at the time" I liked the reckless bumps but the precision they put into it too.
14) Rey Mysterio jr v. Psicosis (WAR Super Juinor Cup 1995)- 6
This actually could go higher to a 7; this was the first time these two particular athletes had ventured to Japan so they didnt' bother with the comedy act or the long drawn out hiptoss/armdrag stuff and let it build for a few minutes then broke out every high flying trick they had and all done so dang well. I was trying to straighten up with my daughter when this match came on and we both stopped and stared; I try to keep my pro wrestling watching away from her but this was more like watching a circus trapeze act and she was mouth agape saying "wow those guys are flying." Pretty cool experience, and hardly a punch was thrown.