Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hardcore Homecoming – 6/10/05

1. CW Anderson and Simon Diamond vs. Chris Chetti and Mikey Whipwreck – 3
2. Tracy Smothers vs. Blue Meanie – 1
3. Kid Kash vs. Too Cold Scorpio – 5
4. John Kronus and New Jack vs. Ian and Axl Rotten – 2
5. Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn – 6
6. Sandman vs. Raven – 4
7. Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas vs. Sabu – Barbed Wire Match – 5

This was the reunion show at the original E.C.W. Arena featuring a lot of their old roster. The guys in the opening tag match looked as if they hadn’t wrestled in months, if not longer, which is likely true for most of them. The timing in this match was awful, and it was obvious not much care was put into conceiving it. Smothers and Meanie’s match was one big comedy spot. Kash and Scorpio may not have done it for the casual fan, but knowing Too Cold’s extensive Japanese experience, it wasn’t that they didn’t mesh well together as it may have appeared, but in fact, Scorpio was working a slower paced, more psychologically sound match. I’ve always liked Scorpio’s work, and this match was no exception.

The following tag match was your typical barbaric, clustered, unmemorable E.C.W. brawl. What bothered me the most, and it absolutely drove me nuts, was that there was no finish to the match. After beating, battering, and bloodying each other—the combatants simply stopped fighting, and it ended. If wrestling is supposed to be the art of performing what should when done properly be a real fight, how does one explain this? These guys stopped fighting completely, and then stood around just sort of acknowledging each other, finally strolling leisurely to the back.

Lynn and Credible had the best match of the night. This wasn’t comparable to their old stuff together, but it was the match that most single-handedly on this show reminded me of the energy of the old E.C.W. that I once cherished. Sandman and Raven went through the motions, in a blatantly tame rendition of their old battles. The main event featured barbed wire, so for that alone some may find it notable, but ultimately, it was a big disappointment. Sabu, as expected, took the majority of the sick bumps. Douglas didn’t belong in this type of match, not now and not 10 years ago either, and Funk, who’s now over 60 years old, should have been at home sitting on a recliner watching Smackdown!.

Bloodsport: ECW's Most Violent Matches DVD Set

Disc One:
1) Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck vs. The Public Enemy – 5
2) Terry Funk & The Sandman vs. Cactus Jack & Shane Douglas – 3
3) Taipei Death Match: Ian Rotten vs. Axl Rotten - 4
4) Mexican Death Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psychosis - 5
5) Four Corners Match: Shane Douglas vs. Chris Jericho vs. Too Cold Scorpio vs. Pitbull #2 – 4
6) Weapons Match: Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee - 5
7) Stretcher Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu – 5
8) Three Way Dance: Terry Funk vs. The Sandman vs. Stevie Richards - 4
9) Terry Funk vs. Raven – 2

Disc Two:
10) Barbed Wire Match: Terry Funk vs. Sabu - 6
11) Bill Alfonso vs. Beulah McGillicuty - 5
12) Death Match: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Taz – 6
13) Shane Douglas vs. Taz - 5
14) Chicago Street Fight: Balls Mahoney & Spike Dudley vs. The Dudley Boys - 6
15) Mike Awesome vs. Spike Dudley – 6
16) The Sandman vs. Rhino - 3
17) Three Way Dance: Super Crazy vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Little Guido - 7
18) I Quit Match: Tommy Dreamer vs. C.W. Anderson - 7
19) Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka – 6

All in all, this is a great companion to the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD. This set chronicles the best matches in the history of ECW in chronological order. The first disc pretty much focuses on the early days of ECW right up to Barely Legal, the first pay-per-view. From the matches on disc one, I would definitely recommend the RVD/Sabu stretcher match, and the four corners match. The stretcher match wasn’t great by any means because there were a ton of blown spots but it was entertaining nonetheless. The four way dance was a marathon. The match itself ran close to 45 minutes, which is an enternity by ECW standards. The second disc contains everything from the peak era which could be considered from 1997-2001. Some matches I would recommend viewing pretty much everything off of the second disc except for the Sandman vs. Rhino match. Be forewarned though, the barbed wire match, the Taipei death match, and the street fight are extremely violent and should only be viewed if you have a strong stomach.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

WWF In Your House 8 – Beware of Dog

1. Marc Mero vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsly – 6
2. Shawn Michaels vs. British Bulldog – 4
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega – Caribbean Strap Match – 6
4. Vader vs. Yokozuna – 4
5. Goldust vs. The Undertaker – Casket Match – 4

This pay-per-view was deceptively fun. At this time, the W.W.F. really had one hell of a roster--Hart, Michaels, Austin, Foley, Undertaker, etc. This show is remembered most fondly to the audiences that watched it live, due to its severe technical difficulties. The lights in the arena went out midway through the event, and they had to do the second half of the card again on another date, and re-telecast it, too.

Mero was just doing some kooky stuff here, including a couple crazy aerial spots that had us scratching our heads, pondering his sanity. He was a lot of fun to watch, though. This was a good, fast-paced opener. In Michaels’ new autobiography, he claims this as one of the worst performances in his career. Although there are a couple badly blown spots, and a lengthy slow period in the middle, this isn’t entirely awful. Michaels’ begins off with a turbo tempo, but this dwindles into a merely forgettable match.

Austin and Vega is notable for its intensity, and a glimpse at Austin in his prime, although slightly before he really took off as a marketable character. It’s a solid match, with a tinge of old school vibe. Vader and Yokozuna isn’t memorable, in fact, I’d forgotten they’d ever wrestled each other; kept pretty short, it’s disappointing because I wanted to see them beat the hell out of each other, but worth having for it’s rarity. The main event is a fun closer, although it’s not without errors aplenty. Goldust has always been a sloppy worker, not to mention they accidentally break the casket lid in this fairly enjoyable finale.

WCW Wrestle War 1992

1) Greg Valentine & Terry Taylor vs. The Freebirds - 5
2) Ron Simmons vs. Curtis Hughes – 4
3) Brian Pillman vs. Tom Zenk – 6
4) Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka vs. The Steiner Brothers - 7
5) War Games Match: Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton, & Rick Rude vs. Nikita Koloff, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, & Sting - 8

I’ve been waiting to see this tape for a while now and it didn’t disappoint. As is the case with early WCW videos, it’s edited down from the actual broadcast itself because, honestly, who buys a tape to see Todd Champion take on The Super Invader? Now then, the first two matches were nothing special. The rating for the Simmons match was brought down simply because it was supposed to be a tag match with the legendary Junkyard Dog as Simmons partner against Hughes and Cactus Jack. Jack attacked JYD on the entrance ramp, so we’re left with Hughes vs. Simmons. It wasn’t good but it wasn’t bad either.

Now we get to the good stuff. The Pillman vs. Zenk match was a pleasant surprise and featured some great work by both guys. What’s better is that they got about 15 minutes to ply their trade. The Steiners busted out a much better match than they were capable of against Fujinami and Iizuka. It featured great back and forth action and just good solid wrestling. As for the main event, it has to be one of the bloodiest matches I’ve ever seen. By the end, I think everyone but Zbyszko and Sting were busted open. It was definitely the best War Games match WCW ever did and this is definitely one of the top shows done by WCW.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

ECW Anarchy Rulz ‘99

1. Lance Storm vs. Jerry Lynn – 5
2. Simon Diamond and Devito vs. Chris Chetti and Nova – 1
3. Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Super Crazy vs. Little Guido – 6
4. Justin Credible vs. Sabu – 4
5. Taz vs. Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome – 7
6. Tommy Dreamer and Raven vs. Rhino and Steve Corino – 2
7. Rob Van Dam vs. Balls Mahoney – 5

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like E.C.W. as much as I used to. After watching several hours of their shows, there’s too many things that I detest that happen each and every show: tons of interference, pseudo shoot moments which are actually tactfully directed to appear edgy, nonsensical moves added simply to get cheap crowd pops (example: doing a moonsault into the crowd in what’s supposed to be a fight between two men—why would you do something like that?), misuse of talent, asshole crowds, completely random and baffling matches, etc. Now, guest writer Adam reviewed this same show long ago, and his opinion on it defers a lot from my own. Neither of us is right or wrong, per se; it’s simply a matter of personal taste.

All that being said, this particular event wasn’t exceptionally bad. Storm and Lynn wasn’t revolutionary or breathtaking, they simply did what you’d expect out of workers of their caliber opening up a pay-per-view with a sub par lineup. The international three-way was entertaining, although these guys have wrestled each other so much, and a lot of their sequences and signature spots are obvious and don’t awe like they used to. Sabu and Credible was pretty awful; Sabu took a few nasty bumps, but Credible doesn’t belong in hardcore wrestling and proves it with flying colors in this wreck.

The three-way involving Taz is memorable due to its significance (he left afterwards for W.W.E.) and you can usually bank on Awesome and Tanaka taking some major bumps. This is the best match of the entire show—which isn’t saying a whole lot. The following tag match was abhorrent; given the workers involved you’d have expected a lot more, but nobody involved tried nor cared. I usually never fall asleep while watching wrestling, but that’s exactly what the main event caused me to do. I don’t know how they expected to sell pay-per-views and tickets to a show being headlined by Rob Van Dam versus Balls Mahoney (who was a replacement for Johnny Smith—which would have been an even odder choice). Now, Van Dam can be seen weekly on Raw stinking it up in 3-minute matches with lumbering steroid abusers and pill poppers.

Monday, February 6, 2006

WWE Velocity 12/31/05

1. Simon Dean vs. Brian Kendrick - 5
2. Paul Burchill vs. John Xavier - 5
3. Paul London vs. Jamie Noble - 5
4. L.O.D. vs. Nunzio and Vito - 3

Dean worked pretty stiff, and Kendrick was bumping pretty well for him. Xavier looked very impressive, throwing a lot of high knees. Burchill did a standing moonsault Rock Bottom, a truly bizarre move to witness, and then dropped a huge knee off the top turnbuckle onto Xavier’s kidneys to win. London and Noble worked well together, with Noble mostly on the defensive. I’d like to see them work together more in the future. The main event had potential, but instead dwelled in mediocrity, in a rather short and uneventful match, that ended with Nunzio almost getting killed with the Doomsday Device.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

ROH Tag Wars 2006

1) Jack Evans, Matt Sydal, & Jimmy Yang vs. B.J. Whitmer, Jimmy Jacobs, & Adam Pearce – 6
2) Tony Mamaluke, Sal Rinauro, & Jay Fury vs. Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley, & Abyss – 4
3) Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chad Collyer - 4
4) Ace Steel vs. Sterling James Keenan – 3
5) Nigel McGuinness vs. Delirious - 4
6) Christopher Daniels vs. Low-Ki - 7
7) Jack Evans, Matt Sydal, & Jimmy Yang vs. Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley, & Abyss - 6
8) Bryan Danielson & Jay Lethal vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong – 6

This was the first Ring of Honor show I’d ever attended live and to say I was impressed would be a major understatement. The main point of this particular show was the trios tournament, seeing as Samoa Joe had to back out of his match against Christopher Daniels at the last minute due to a staph infection. Nonetheless, this was an incredible show and definitely the most fun I’ve ever had at a wrestling event. The opening match of the trios tournament was nothing short of amazing. All six guys put their bodies on the line for the fans and there were more than a few “holy shit” moments. After that, the next few matches moved down into a slower pace. A lot of the fans just crapped all over the Castagnoli vs. Collyer match, but personally, I thought that it was one of the best technical matches I’ve seen in a while. Following this was a superb angle that involved ROH’s rival promotion, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). A few of CZW’s top guys came out of the crowd to storm the ring and promptly got handed their ass by the entire Ring of Honor locker room and received a well deserved verbal kick to the nuts by Jim Cornette.

Following intermission, the show resumed with Nigel McGuinness totally schooling this masked characted named Delirious. Then came the first part of the double main event. It was originally supposed to be Daniels vs. Samoa Joe in a 30-Minute Iron Man Match. However, like I said earlier, Joe had to back out due to a staph infection and was replaced by Low-Ki. It was a great match with both Ki and Daniels busting out some amazing offense. The last two bouts were a bit of a let down, but overall, the show was an incredible experience and I’ll definitely be back in April. If you ever get the chance to go to a Ring of Honor show, don’t pass it up, it’s well worth your money.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Ultimate Warrior: Disc 2

1 Warrior v. Hercules( at MSG)- 4
2 Warrior v. Sgt. Slaughter( SNME)- 1
3 Warrior v. Randy Savage( Summerslam 92)- 5

The MSG match featured a tantalizing neck sell by Herc(affectionately referred by from Gorilla Monsoon), but little else. The Slaughter match was the most low impact match I have seen in a while. Not one punch, kick, or wrestling move looked like it would hurt a septuagenarian. The Summerslam match was the exact opposite. The best and nicest term I can give to describe it would be physical. There was some Flair and Henning interference that seemed to be designed to spice things up, but I think that pot of chili was already tainted.

WWE Self Destruction of Ultimate Warrior – Exclusive F.Y.E. Disc #2

1. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules – MSG (4/25/88) – 3
This match had one unforgettable spot where Warrior grabbed one of Hercules’ legs, then literally flipped him upside down in air, leading to Hercules crashing to the mat on the top of his head, compressing his neck and nearly breaking it. What the fuck was Warrior thinking? This was stiff and intolerable.

2. Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter – Saturday Night’s Main Event (4/21/91) – 2
This was completely different from this first match. There was little to no impact involved; everything came off very soft, which especially surprised me because Slaughter used to punch people in the face all the time. The end featured some really hideous Undertaker interference involving a casket and Hogan.

3. Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage – Summerslam (8/29/92) – 4
Savage had on the most heinous tights I’ve ever seen in my life. This was a long one. There was a ref bump, then Perfect interference, followed by more the same by Flair. One particularly humorous spot had Savage leaping off the top turnbuckle directly into a Ric Flair chair shot. This ends mercifully in a DQ.