Sunday, July 29, 2007

Japanese Harcore Wrestling Vol. 8

1 Ozuki & Takako v. Dump Matsumoto & Shark Tsuchiya (Weapons Match)- 3

2 Mr. Pogo v. Matsunaga (Glass board, Fire & Barb Wire Death Match)- 3

3 Hero & Kudo v. Morohashi & Toba- 7

4 Daisuke Sekimoto v. Mad Man Pondo (100 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Match) - 6

5 Haruyama v. Akino- 5

6 Ito/ Abdullah the Kobayashi/ Numasawa/ Gosaku v. Kanemura(Dough Boy)/ Yamakawa/ Shadow WX/ Bad Boy Hido (Hardcore)- 4

The first match was like watching a womens' prison gang rape, without the rape. There was even a little dude that had a jacket that read "police" on it, who was getting tossed around. Pogo and Matsunaga are 2 worn out death match veterans that really had no business doing this match. Actually, whoever the promoter had no business putting this on: to douse the roaring flames, we saw several half filled buckets of water at ringside, at least 7 feet away from where Matsunaga was burning inside a velvet coffin. One funny spot saw Pogo jerk a strand of barb wire in his eye, then him squeal and bounce away like a hurt dog. He also got kicked in the face really hard and fell like a ton of bricks.
The tag match was exciting, really engaging and had a good bit of time to it. Not sure who any of the four were, but they could go. Toba sported boxing gloves off and on in the match, and laid in more punches than a night of me and my friends playing Fight Night. He threw some legit strikes that were right on the mark. Some other innovative high spots peppered throughout made this a very pleasurable thing to watch. Sekimoto bled and bumped his way into my heart in this absolutely brutal hardcore spectacle. Local indy worker Mad Man Pondo traveled halfway across the world, with his buddy 2 Tough Tony to puss out on a lariat spot to light bulbs and completely murder a man on Digital Video Disc for me and Brian's viewing pleasure. I love economics.

This women's match had a good finishing sequence but seemed out of place on the DVD, it was not hardcore and not even hard hitting for the most part, but it was a departure which added to it's charm, including the moderate pace and big woman beats little woman's ass story. I can only descibe the main event as a junkyard scrap between some meandering zombies and a pack of lazy hyenas with barb wire thrown in. The always fun Barb Wire Trampoline was in place (only 3.99 after the show for kids to jump on) and some people hit it pretty solid. Those were the only memorable spots in the match; the rest lagged on like a car trip with your family. But overall, the DVD was highly entertaining and made me laugh more than the last 2 Rush Hour flicks, so I liked it.

Japanese Hardcore Wrestling Vol. 8 DVD

1. Ozaki and Takako vs. Dump Matsumoto and Shark Tsuchiya – Weapons Match – 2
2. Matsunaga vs. Mr. Pogo – Glassboard, Fire, and Barbed Wire Death Match – 4
3. Hero and Kudo vs. Morohashi and Toba – 7
4. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Mad Man Pondo – 100 Florescent Light Bulbs Death Match – 6
5. Akino vs. Haruyama – 6
6. Ito, Abdullah the Kobayashi, Numasawa, and Gosaku vs. Kanemura, Yamakawa, Shadow WX, and Bad Boy Hido – Super Hardcore Match – 4

The first match was a terrifyingly bad women’s hardcore nightmare. Although it was supposed to feature four combatants, the ring and nearby area was constantly cluttered with sloppy brawling from all sorts of strange individuals, including a dumpy middle-aged man in a police uniform. If your first name is “Dump” then that likely should tell you something, and her partner Tsuchiya resembles a punk rock monster truck. Madman Matsunaga and forever-fatigued fatty Mr. Pogo had a lamentable match. It’s notable and somewhat significant for being unfathomably insane, seeing how they were surrounded by flames throughout it, and the ending, seeing Matsunaga stuffed into a casket which is then lit afire is worth the price of admission alone. I absolutely loved the following tag match. I’d never really heard of any of these guys, but found their enthusiasm refreshing, and efforts worthy of applause. Hero looked like a Kamen Rider spin-off, and was the least impressive; his opponents, Morohashi and Toba (who occasionally donned boxing gloves) brought the hurt in abundance.

I hated giving the next match such a good grade, because Pondo really sucked in it, but Sekimoto’s fearless performance can’t be denied. Sekimoto, who looks like a Japanese Bobby Lashley, while wearing little more than some tiny black spandex shorts and boots, wrestled without scruples covered in glass and his own blood. This was about as satisfying as careless garbage wrestling gets. The following women’s match seemed out of place, as it featured nothing hardcore whatsoever, except I suppose work ethic. It was just a straightforward battle, with believable sequences and a top-notch finish. In our final match, we got a giant mess of misery. All eight competitors wandered around the arena, going from one poorly executed and contrived set-up to the next, punching and pawing their way through a decidedly unremarkable match. It featured a few decently grotesque garbage spots, but was largely mild. I must also remark on Shadow WX’s new hairstyle – he went from rocking a pretty legitimate mullet to something resembling Garfield sitting on his head? I’m ashamed WX, I really thought you were better than that, but truth be told, you were never anything more than Mr. Pogo’s little stooge, and couldn’t never be as surreally sick as Tomoaki Honma.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

WWF MSG Show- 01/31/92

This is another MSG show that likewise would have never been seen by me unless tape trader extradonaire Adam hadn't siphoned it through the magical mail system that secretly runs our country.

1 Kerry Von Erick v. Rick Martel- 3
It pained me to see childhood favorite Von Erich look like a semi full of dog shit and dope ran over him, then dropped their contents onto and into his face and body. I tried to get into the match, but it was painful to see such a skilled performer struggle with their own fateful addiction.

2 Superfly Snuka v. Shawn Michaels- 5
This was a treat- Michaels when he first started doing his singles run( with some god awful Orchestral music intended to make him seem extremely cocky, when all it did was make him seem extremely light in the pants) and Snuka who was probably on his last good run( and wearing boots that looked to be made of the beak and feather of Toucan Sam). Michaels was still green at singles because he never taunted the crowd and showed any heel aspects, just worked a tested veteran. Supes held this match together for a decent showing.

3 Sid v. Mountie- 2
I give this a 2 simply because of the pleasant way Sid powerbombed Mountie's afternoon turd through his gaping wide mouth.

4 Hercules v. Warlord- 1
This was as excruciatingly rigid as you would think. Neither man showed they could stretch their bodies well enough to properly sell a punch(Warlord) or a off the ropes clothesline (Warlord) or for that matter, a back rear chinlock (Warlord), or even a decent big man shoulder block sequence (Warlord and Hercules.)

5 Sgt. Slaughter/ Hacksaw Duggan v. Nasty Boys- 2
Thankfully, this was short and full of reared back right hands that Stevie Wonder could have seen coming. Neither team showed they were familiar with their partners. Bad Tag work.

6 Chris Walker v. Kato- 2
This was WWF's attempt at an "upstart" match, which during the beginning was halfway decent, but turned into a total mess. Walker botched a leapfrog and landed, sack first, on top of Kato's dark mask. Good thing it was dark. I heard Walker was known for leaving stains.

7 Bret Hart v. Undertaker- 6
Finally, (besides the cheap finish, which I'm pretending didn't happen and this wasn't a demoted 7 like in real life) two guys went into MSG and said "Let's knock the hell out of each other and use some psychology because after all we are getting paid for this and the fans want to see some great action." Then, that decrepit little troll Paul Bearer said "Quick, someone give me a Snickers. My pants are down and they are staying that way until I get what I want." Then, Taker and Bret looked at each other and simultaneously ran to a vending machine and bought every Snickers in it. Then, they came out and had the kick ass match I was referring to.

8 Virgil v. Repo Man- 3
I wonder which of these two has the better MySpace Page? I know which one has the better aftersell- hint: he never pretended to be a "Smasher>whatever the fuck that is anyways?"

9 Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts-
3 Granted, this isn't a classic nor did either man really stretch themselves, but if you grew up around the time of this fued, you know it ruled everything else that was happening at the time. It was really gritty and emotional TV- some of both of their best work. Snake works a beautiful psych game in this match, selling Savage's pinpointed axhandles like they were meant to be and both men tease the DDT like they were avoiding a sealed letter full of anthrax. I liked parts of this match, even if I can't recommend it overall.

ECW on Sci-Fi - 6/19/07

1) Chris Benoit vs. Elijah Burke – 5
2) The Boogeyman vs. Shawn Alexander – 0
3) Tommy Dreamer vs. Kevin Thorn – 4
4) Johnny Nitro vs. Nunzio – 3
5) Marcus Corvon vs. C.M. Punk – 4

Benoit and Burke was very satisfying with some solid grappling and good counters. Benoit climbed up to the top for his flying headbutt but Burke countered with a pair of knees to the head. The finish saw Burke go for the double running knee shot in the corner but Benoit moved and countered and got the win.

Boogeyman destroyed the jobber with two moves and worms. The less said the better.

For the 700th time since January, we saw Dreamer and Thorn fight each other. This time, though, Dreamer not only broke out a jumping front kick but a sunset flip. That’s right, Dreamer broke out a sunset flip for the first time in ages. I’m not sure where they’re going with Thorn. He left the New Breed and looked like he was going to turn face but seems to be stuck in limbo.

Nitro has his first official match as a member of the ECW roster and I’ll be damned if Nunzio didn’t actually get some offense in! Of course, I knew that Nitro was going to win just because Nunzio hasn’t won a match since he’s been on ECW. Nitro introduced an interesting ferris wheel/neckbreaked type move for the finish.

Before the main event, Corvon what was probably the most coherent promo of his career and then went on to have a good match with Punk to close out the show. I was under the impression that Corvon was going to win just so that there could be a heel vs face in the ECW title match at Vengeance. However, Punk got the victory in a solid match to set up what will possibly be the best ECW title match since the resurrection in Benoit vs. Punk.

WWE Smackdown! 5/18/07

1. Matt Hardy vs. MVP – 5
2. Deuce ‘N Domino and Chavo Guerrero vs. Brian Kendrick, Paul London, and Jimmy Wang Yang – 3
3. Funaki vs. Mark Henry – 1
4. Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit – 5
5. Christian York vs. Miz – 2
6. Kane vs. William Regal – 3

Three cheers for mediocrity! No? Well, it was worth a try. Hardy and MVP have a stellar match, my pick for show stealing honors. It wasn’t dynamite, but solid and well paced. I said while watching it that I found it reminiscent to an imagined Mr. Perfect versus Texas Tornado early-90’s TV match, and meant so in the best possible way. The six-man left me brackish, or salty, for actually expecting something worthwhile. Henry smashed Funaki quicker than the bratwurst he engulfed later that evening.

My favorite murderer Benoit against my favorite Irishman Finlay never disappoints. What else can be stated about these two and their work together than seek it immediately; nope, don’t you dare think about stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts for a new Sobe Coolata on the way! Christian York was once a shimmering star on the independent scene, now he’s nothing more than a stain on the wrestling horizon. Sporting the same look and perfunctory performance that’s got him nothing thus far, he was made to look even less credible after being squashed by Miz. Our main event features a man with demons in his past against a man who portrays a demon-like creature on TV every week. The mixture is less than breathtaking, not much unlike Regal’s love handles.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

TNA Impact- 05/30/07

1 Rhino v. Homicide- 1
This match was supposed to be Rhino v. Daniels, but Sting came out and put a major can of whip ass on Daniels, then it was supposed to be Rhino & Hector Guerrero v. LAX, but we got this singles match. You know how you would buy the cheap Kool-aid as a kid, the stuff that was like a nickel when Kool-Aid was only 30 cents itself and you just knew something was wrong with it, even though it probably had the same sugar and same ingredients in it, but then you got used to it because it was cheaper and your parents kept getting it then it turned into a big celebration when they actually sprang for the real, Kool-Aid brand? Just curious. But, anyways, this match sucked rotten eggs.

2 Chris Sabin v. Kaz- 3
For being a short match, this kept a quick pace and I was doubly impressed with Kaz's move set and enthusiasm. He laid a kick on Sabin that could knock George Michael into Straight ness again, it was similar to one he gave Sting a few months ago; I love when a guy will work a younger wrestler the same as an old veteran, it just makes logical sense, but of course you get guys like Samoa Joe who tone themselves down when they're against a Jarrett, or an Angle. Pisses me off.

3 Tomko v. AJ Styles- 2
AJ had at one point, the most potential of any star in TNA; Tomko, at one time, had potential to be one of the stupidest looking people on TV, now they join forces in a match that absolutely NO ONE EVER CARED ABOUT! AJ hit a back flip kick that didn't totally suck and I feel weird looking at him with chest hair. 3 people came down to ringside for no other reason than to show their faces and Tomko just really sucks at everything he tries in the ring. That's pretty blunt, of me, but tell me I’m not the only one tired of looking at big dumb guys with meaningless tribal tatts all over them.

TNA Impact - 5/17/07

1) Jerry Lynn & Tiger Mask IV vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin – 3
2) Christopher Daniels vs. Raven – First Blood Match – 1
3) Kurt Angle vs. Rhino – 4

Lynn really had to carry the load for his team as I could clearly tell that Tiger Mask got lost a number of times. Shelley and Sabin could be a very good team if given the proper time to develop. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this was a one time deal. The first blood match was utterly ridiculous. Raven looked like he needed a couple of sessions on a treadmill. The match ended after a small trickle of blood came from Raven’s forehead. I must be confused as to how that exactly plays into Daniels feuding with Sting. The main event was pretty good but it was clear that Angle was going to win. It was pretty much circa Smackdown in 2001. This episode of Impact got the programs going into the next pay-per-view but the match quality, save for the main event, really lacked.

TNA Slammiversary '07

1. Rhino and Senshi vs. Latin American Exchange - 6
2. Jay Lethal vs. Chris Sabin - 5
3. Frank Wycheck and Jerry Lynn vs. James Storm and Ron Killings - 4
4. Bob Backlund vs. Alex Shelley - 2
5. Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Basham and Damaja - 2
6. Eric Young vs.Robert Roode - 5
7. Team 3D vs. Rick Steiner and Road Warrior Animal - 4
8. Sting vs. Christopher Daniels - 6
9. Abyss vs. Tomko - No DQ Match - 5
10. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage vs. Chris Harris - King of the Mountain Match – 8

I find it hard to compliment TNA after months worth of abuse we, their audience, have endured at the hands of Russo’s latest tenure. But, I’ve got to give it to them… this show was flat-out entertaining. The opening tag match was seemingly thrown together, but it turned out as a great way to start the show. The crowd was really into most of the matches, which helped a lot. Senshi looked really good, per usual, and they did a good job of making Hernandez look like a monster. It kept a good pace, and was really action-packed. Lethal and Sabin followed suit, starting off a bit slower, but building to a pretty respectable showing, too. I don’t really care one way or the other about Lethal’s new gimmick, a blatant rip-off of Randy Savage’s character, but, if you’re going to do it, at least know how to properly execute Savage’s patented flying elbow drop effectively.

Wycheck is a football player, not a wrestler, and it seemed like the other guys built the match around that knowledge, which is how these types of matches should be done. Again, they kept the pace quick, which covered up Wycheck’s ineptitude, while keeping me interested. Backlund and Shelley receive the dishonor of being labeled worst match of the night – if only by proxy, since, it only lasted a couple minutes and nothing really happened whatsoever. The following tag match was also unmemorable; it was kept really short, and I don’t remember much outside of an offensive spurt by Kip James, and Christy Hemme’s cumbersome cleavage.

Rood and Young, while a bit heavy on the theatrics, was pretty solid. Young nearly killed himself on two separate dives to the concrete. The tag match was slightly worthwhile for historical significance, but not for much else. Nobody exerted much effort, and the veterans were pretty much trounced in the end. Sting and Daniels was an interesting idea on paper, and in reality, turned out splendidly. Given more time to develop a better program, and to have longer, fuller matches, these two could have a feud that’d be a real treat to TNA fans. While neither guy’s best stuff, what they did do was efficient, and hopefully a nice glimpse of what’s to come.

Abyss and Tomko had a rather staged hardcore match, built loosely around some uninspired spots. It was mildly entertaining, if for gore alone, but pretty blasé as a whole. Abyss took a pretty gnarly bump in some thumbtacks, but the usage of faux glass, and later, tons of cardboard boxes, weakened its impact. The term I used when watching the main event I feel truly fits my feelings towards it, and that’s “satisfying”. Sadly, it’s rare these days, to be genuinely awed by a main event on a pay-per-view. We’ve been insulted so many times, by horrid finishes and wasted opportunities that it’s really refreshing to see a match like this. All five guys, including Joe who’s appeared neutered lately, worked really hard, and it showed, in a really exciting finale to one of this year’s better American shows.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

SMW Fire on the Mountain '93

1 Jimmy Del Ray v. Steve Armstrong- 3
2 Dirty White Boy v. Mongolian Stomper- 1
3 Tim Horner v. Chris Candido (Baby Bottle Match)- 3
4 Brian Lee v. Tracey Smothers (Coal Miner's Glove Match)- 3
5 Jacob & Eli Blu/ Heavenly Bodies/ Jim Cornette v. Rock n' Roll Express/ Armstrong Brothers/ Bullet Bob (Rage in the Cage)- 3
6 Bullet Bob Armstrong v. Jim Cornette (Lumberjacks w/ Tennis Rackets)- 0

My, oh my, this is southern wrestling taking a little detour north, but all your favorite redneck characters are here. The "Jiggalo" took on one of several unrecognizable Armstrong brothers in a short, but athletically challenged match. The Dirty White Boy, also known as WWE's former plumber TL Hopper, looked like he just walked away from not being able to drop a mud pie in his "backup sink" because he was wearing a surly grin. Stomper, on the other hand, looked to be happy to be alive. Seriously, the guy must have been in his 70's, but he still had that chiseled old athlete look, complete with flabby underarms and overtanned chest. Their match consisted of Stomper laying in some Seth Green-like weak ass strikes while Dirty sold them pretty well. Horner looked younger in 93 than he looked in 85 and Candido was trying to show promise back in his youthful years. Their match wasn't very good; there really wasn't a structure to it, nor did it become a cool ass bare knuckle brawl like most Southern matches have to fall back on. I'm not sure if Candido's cry baby gimmick was working on the fans, but apparently it worked on Tammy Sytch, who loves anything attached to her nipples- take that where you will. Lee and Smothers were the two headliners in this promotion, and the fans wondered why they were nailing the doors shut on their exit from the arena that night. The coal miner's glove was actually an oven mitt with heavy tin foil wrapped around it, so unless they were planning to pull some Nestle Tollhouse out of an oven, the weapon reallly had no use. But, they sold it anyways. Next, the main event. Rage in the Cage, which as a match was designed identically to War Games, except one thing: these guys were in a giant chicken cage. Oh, yeah, and Big Bossman was the guest referee. There were also handcuffs, five pairs on each side, and you could cuff your opponents up to the cage so they couldn't do anything. Of course, with all those bodies, no one could do much of anything. The ring was so cramped, it looked like a subway tunnel under Grand Central Station had been invaded by the Country Music Awards. There was long, unwashed hair and Rebel flag bandanas flying all over that ring. It was a mess. The bonus match was so god awful I could barely stand to wash it, and to do so, I needed a quart of Pepto Bismol. I recently watched the '92 version of this show and it was leaps and bounds over this one. Definitley do not seek this tape out.

ROH United We Stand

1) Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Irish Airborne – 4
2) Gauntlet Series w/ Jimmy Rave, Delirious, Pelle Primeau, Adam Pearce, and Chris Hero – 2
3) B.J. Whitmer vs. Brent Albright – No DQ Match – 4
4) Roderick Strong & Davey Richards vs. Erick Stevens & Matt Cross – 5
5) Serena Deeb vs. Lacey – 3
6) KENTA vs. Rocky Romero – 7
7) Takeshi Morishima & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bryan Danielson & Nigel McGuinness – 8
8) Claudio Castagnoli & Matt Sydal vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe – Best of Three Falls Match – 4

The Good
- Whitmer bumping good in the match against Albright. He damn near breaks his neck when Albright suplexes him to the outside and then takes a wild table spot at the finish.
- Romero stepping up his game against KENTA in a hell of a match. KENTA used all of his trademarks, most of which have since been stolen by C.M. Punk, and gained the victory. Afterwards, Richards and Strong come out and eventually assist Romero in a beat-down. Romero looked really good and if he could keep up these caliber of matches, he could be a strong player for ROH in the future.
- Morishima, Marufuji, Danielson, and McGuinness beating the holy hell out of each other in one of the best tag matches I’ve ever seen live. The match started off technical then chaos broke loose about halfway through the match. All four were working stiff as shit and Morishima wasn’t selling a damn thing. McGuinness scored the fall on Morishima and gained a shot at the ROH World title in the process.

The Bad
- The Briscoes main eventing the show. The match fell flat on its face, especially since everyone knew the Briscoes were going over in two straight. Trying to follow the two ROH vs. NOAH matches was an uphill climb and everyone just gave up about halfway through. The crowd was burnt out and whoever thought it was a good idea to main event with Claudio needs to be rewarded with castration.
- The tag match with Strong & Richards against Stevens & Cross started kind of sloppy but everything came together in the end. Austin Aries showed up in the crowd at the end, much to the surprise of everyone, and started yelling at Strong. I guess Aries is back in ROH.
- The Irish Airborne, a.k.a. Jake & Dave Crist, looked about as American as ever. As my buddy Tim put it, “If these guys are Irish, then I’m a fucking Chinaman.” El Generico was basically a blue version of Delirious with talent. This was the first time that I’d seen Steen live and he could also be a future player in ROH. It was a pretty simplistic opener that got the crowd ramped up for the rest of the show.

The Ugly
- The Gauntlet series match. When Jimmy Rave looks the best out of all five guys, three of which (Primeau, Pearce, Delirious) are nothing but scrubs. Chris Hero, to me, is nothing more than a glorified backyard wrestler. Directly across from where I was sitting, I saw an old lady with an afro wearing a Hero t-shirt and I instanly theorized that it was his mother. I’ve never been exactly sure how Delirious is as over as he is because he’s a green … um, thing … with no talent.
- The women’s match wasn’t much and served as a vehicle to get Lacey over Serena from OVW. There was a run-in from an unknown woman and then Daizee Haze with no shoes.

Final Thoughts
- The first half of the show was entertaining, especially the opener. The second half was incredible. Seeing the NOAH stars in person was a thrill and something I’ll probably never be able to experience again. The Briscoes match should’ve been lower on the card, mainly because it fell flat on its face. The overall feeling was that it wasn’t as good as the previous show in February. Had the NOAH stars not been on the card, then I would’ve probably give this a thumbs down. However, seeing Marufuji, Morishima, and KENTA live makes me give this a marginal recommedation.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Performer Analysis: Chris Benoit

(Editor’s Note: This retrospective was written long before Benoit’s nightmarish final days.)

The Crippler, student of the famous Hart Family Dungeon, and 20 year veteran. I look forward to his comeback, therefore thought I would dip into his career.

1) Innovation- 7/10-
Benoit grew up watching wrestling and his favorite wrestler was Dynamite Kid, Tom Wellington. Kid was known for his high impact style of wrestling and taking risks that no man should take inside a wrestling ring. Benoit carried that torch into his wrestling career and adopted the same ring style, but has turned it into a twenty year career full of high water marks and classic matches. Dynamite Kid had probably a ten year career with very little American exposure. After Benoit trained in Canada and worked the Stampede promotion, he traveled to Japan, the country where his hero made his name. He couldn’t speak the language, but his intensity told them everything they wanted to know about him. Benoit has made this stiff style so popularized in the States, that now, instead of Dynamite Kid, young up and coming wrestlers model their ring work after Benoit.

2) Conditioning- 7/10-
Benoit learned has always been in top physical condition. In his younger years, he was very lean, but well defined. Since his run in America, he has gained a ton of muscle but his stamina is every bit as good as it ever was. Despite his amazing conditioning, we all now know of Benoit's atrocious behavior and being so steriod addled during much of his US career certainly detracts from his score in this category. From working thirty minute matches regularly in Japan, to working twice or three times a night on WWF PPV’s to going one hour with HHH on RAW or from start to finish in the Royal Rumble, his conditioning is one of the tops in wrestling.

3) Skill- 10/10-
Coming from the Hart Dungeon, wrestling, the root of the sport was priority number one. He learned the basic foundations of the game there and from then on, became a sponge for wrestling and took things from everywhere he went. From Canada to Japan to Mexico to Europe to the US, he has learned almost every style available in the world. The unique thing about Benoit is that as stiff as he works, he sells just as equally stiff. He takes punches that look like he was shot by a cannon. When he gets thrown into a turnbuckle, he puts his face directly into it. Benoit has intensity that may not be matched in wrestling and his sells are great.

4) Psychology- 10/10-
The basic art of wrestling is a fight, a physical struggle where the only thing you’re trying to do is pin a man’s shoulders to the mat for a three count. Benoit shows his anger and fervor and you can tell, he is trying to win, if not that, then at least trying to beat his opponents into submission. He sells body parts great, and knows how to work one with the best of them. He has never forgot anything he has learned in the business and uses his knowledge of the sport to put on the best performances possible.

5) Interviews- 5/10-
Every knight has a chink in his armor and every dragon has a loose scale; promos are Benoit’s. He’s not particularly bad at them, he’s just not that good. He has rarely come up with something very creative or entertaining to say, but when he’s allowed to speak from his heart, he really comes off well. Anytime he’s cut a promo talking about his family, or winning the world title, or going after an opponent he really wants to hurt, he has passion. Benoit doesn’t need goofy, gimmicky interviews or skits to put him over( ala Vince Russo), he needs to do his talking in the ring. But, in this day and age, where everybody has to do mic work, he has tried to learn this part of his craft.

6) Character- 8/10-
Benoit plays almost the same role; an intense brutal individual. When he’s a face, everyone enjoys what he can do to potential heels. When he’s a heel, he just turns up the brutality rating and the fans respond accordingly. He has played both roles, mostly face, and has done them effectively on both fronts.

7) Fans- 8/10-
Casual fans like to watch Benoit for his very physical style in the ring. Pure fans like to watch Benoit for his very physical style in the ring; the difference is pure fans root for the pure wrestler. In that regard, I don’t think you can find a pure fan that doesn’t like Chris Benoit. Many times, that love and admiration has spilled over into WWE, where he has received several standing ovations after matches for great performances.

8) Basics- 10/10-
As I stated earlier, Benoit was trained in the famous Hart Dungeon, where he was presumably stretched by various members of the family. Stu Hart was a submission legend, a hooker who was famous for torturing young hopefuls wanting a shot in the wrestling business. Benoit’s wrestling skills were also honed in the dojo’s of New Japan where he underwent one of the hardest training camps in the world. At the end of it all, we had a professional wrestler who could hold his own with a gold medalist in freestyle wrestling. Benoit’s chops are among the most feared in the business, and his strikes and transitioins are flawless. He is a wrestling machine.

9) Match/ Opponent- 10/10-
When I was a youngster, my cousin and I used to imagine our respective favorites lock it up in the ring: Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels. Well, that match has happened and it was fantastic. And that’s just a match that happened on RAW and no where else. Benoit has turned his short height and smaller stature into a legendary career. He feuded with Jushin Liger in Japan, a friendly rivalry that lasted for many years. In WCW, he had a feud with Kevin Sullivan that was bending the lines between private and professional lives, as Benoit was marrying Sullivan’s ex-wife. But, Sullivan lost a retirement match to Benoit; shows you the respect he earned in his career. His best of seven series with Booker T is still talked about today as the greatest of it’s conception. Moving to WWF, he engaged in brutal and main event feuds with The Rock, Chris Jericho and HHH, while going move for move, hold for hold with arguably the most skilled grappler of our generation, Kurt Angle. They had submission matches, Iron Man matches, Ladder Matches, and Cage Matches in one of WWE’s finest feuds of the last twenty years mainly because it was built on competition.

10) Gutcheck- 10/10-
Benoit is the kind of guy who would break his arm and continue the match. He has suffered numerous injuries during matches and continued: broken necks, ripped flesh, pulled muscles. It was all a necessary evil in gaining the magnificent career he wanted for himself. Benoit may be the last in a generation of wrestlers who are still fans and have the respect he has for the business. He has overcome his size, people telling him he’s too ugly( missing front teeth), can’t speak, can’t entertain and just doesn’t have the marketability to become a superstar in wrestling. Well, he’s either silenced those critics or made them tap out inside the four posts of the wrestling ring.
Final Score: 85
Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Up

WWE Vengeance 2007

The alleged “Night of the Champions” … please tell me that something good, like Bischoff revealing himself to be the one behind the McMahon combustion, will come out of this.

1) Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. The Hardys – 5
2) Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Chavo Guerrero – 5
3) C.M. Punk vs. Johnny Nitro – 4
4) Santino Marella vs. Umaga – 1
5) Ric Flair vs. M.V.P. – 4
6) Sgt. Slaughter & Jimmy Snuka vs. Deuce & Domino – 1
7) Edge vs. Batista – 5
8) Candice Michelle vs. Melina – 3
9) John Cena vs. King Booker vs. Mick Foley vs. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Lashley – No DQ Five Man Sudden Death Match – 6

The Good
- The Main Event: A ten-minute wild clusterfuck of a spot-fest that saw the ECW announce table get broken and Lashley taking a sick chair shot. Foley looks like a worn-down specter of what he used to be. Booker was wearing some roadkill-skirt-cape combination on his way to the ring that looked utterly ridiculous. Foley did the big J-O-B and now Cena can move on to work with the King and royalty can reign supreme on Raw.
- Batista’s own stupidity costing him future shots at Edge’s world title. Batista had originally won by DQ but Teddy “Peanuthead” Long (how many of you remember that from early WCW?) came out to restart the match under the stip that if Edge got DQ’ed, he’d lose the belt. That’s all fine and good for Botch-tista until his own stupidity cost him the match. Edge retained his belt and Batista can go back to stiffing hookers in his hotel room.
- The Introductions of Former Champions: It was cool to see the legends like Rotundo, Windham, Steamboat, Magnum T.A., Race, Garea, and Martel introduced before the certain title matches. Dean Malenko got a brief cameo in the back before the cruiserweight title match and JBL had the ring announcer read a prepared statement. The sad thing is that more fans will recognize JBL than they will Tony Garea, Rick Martel, or Barry Windham, and that’s truly a shame.

The Mediocre
- Cade & Murdoch vs. The Hardys: These two teams had fantastic matches at both Backlash and Judgment Day. This however, was a major letdown, just like the third movie in the Major League series. The opener is supposed to set the tone for the night, and since the tone for the night was short matches with mostly no point, then I suppose you could say that they succeeded.
- Chavo and Yang had a typical WWE style cruiserweight match. That’s not saying it was bad because Yang certainly gave Chavo a run for his money. However, the cruiserweight title becomes even more devalued than it was going in. A fresh face in Yang winning the belt might have helped breathe new life into the long forgotten divison. Alas, we get Chavo retaining because he really has nothing better to do.
- Flair vs. MVP: A test for the youngster Montel going up against a true legend in Flair. MVP really impressed me during his series with Benoit but has failed to live up to the lofty standard since winning the U.S. Title. I thought Flair was really going to win the U.S. Title but since it’s apparently good business for heels to go 5-1 in retaining their belts, Flair came up short. The only highlight for me was Flair wearing out MVP with his patented knife-edge chops.

The Bad
- Johnny Nitro winning the ECW Title: I have one question for the “E”, where exactly does Johnny Nitro fit in to the ECW World Title picture? He’s had zero momentum since WrestleMania and hasn’t been on TV much since early April. So, yeah, he’s naturally a logical choice to replace Benoit, who couldn’t make the show due to personal reasons, in the ECW Title match. Someone that Punk has a history with, like Burke or Corvon, would’ve made a better replacement. This also furthers two points: 1) the fact that they have no faith in Punk to carry the ECW brand and 2) they totally fucked up their chance to start anew with ECW by giving the title to someone who’s less over than Lashley.
- Slaughter & Snuka: These guys should’ve retired five years ago. It seems to me that every time they need to get a heel over, they break out the legends and job them out. Snuka looked really bad and screwed up even a simple leapfrog move with Domino. Slaughter still does the camel clutch and the same stuff he does every time they cart him out. This was really sad to watch. Afterward, D & D started beating down Slaughter and Snuka and in came Tony Garea and Rick Martel, who looked way better in their 15-second run-in than Slaughter and Snuka did the whole six-minute match.
- Santino Marella: Beating Umaga by DQ in less than three minutes did not help his cause one bit. I honestly have no idea why they put the IC title on him when it’s blatantly obvious that the office has no faith in him at all. Umaga did the post-match beatdown and the fans turned on Marella chanting “one more time, one more time” at Umaga after he gave Marella the dreaded Thumb of Doom.
- Candice winning the Women’s Title: If any heel needed to go over, then it should’ve been Melina because Candice is not ready to carry the entire women’s division, or what’s left of it, on her back. Granted, Candice has improved drastically over the past few months but now’s not the time for a title change. Why not give the belt to Mickie James? Now, that’s something I could talk positive about.
- McMahon-a-Mania: I never thought that Vince could get more TV time “dead” than he could “alive”. The WWE has taken what could’ve been the single hottest angle in recent memory and totally fucked it up in less than two weeks. We all know Vince isn’t dead. If you really thought he was dead, then you should really get out more because that makes you the single biggest moron on the face of the planet. The time they used to recap the explosion and the investigation should’ve been used to add to the matches because most of them could’ve used it. I’m already tired of this angle and I want stupid shit like this to end … NOW!

Final Thoughts
- This should’ve been a night to start fresh. New titleholders in the Cruiserweight, Intercontinental, and U.S. Title division should’ve been crowned. Instead, we get Johnny Nitro winning the vacant ECW World Title, Candice Michelle winning the Women’s Title, Slaughter and Snuka embarrasing themselves, and the crowd turing on Santino Marella. Throw all of that on top of all the crap from Vince’s spontaneous combustion and that sure sounds like a fabulous show to me! It’s times like this I want to suck on a tailpipe. Thumbs way down for Vengeance.

WWE Heat 6/08/07

1. Chuck Palumbo vs. Steve Madison – 3
2. Victoria vs. Mickie James – 3
3. Eugene vs. Lance Lovett – 2
4. The Highlanders vs. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas – 3

Things I Liked:
Palumbo brought the stiffness and turned what was a nascent squash into a beating extraordinaire. Victoria in pigtails was splendid. Mickie winning with a series of kicks was a neat finish. Their match here was better than any woman’s match on pay-per-view that I’ve seen in awhile. Eugene uses Austin’s patented “Stone Cold Stunner” – they’ve already established it as one of the deadliest finishers in the history of the business, so somebody might as well use it. Charlie Haas was awesome – his sells were top-notch, and he brought a lot of intensity to the match. He also got the victory with a German suplex, a move you rarely see used in finishes these days.

Things I Disliked:
Palumbo’s wrestling attire said mall shopper. Lovett’s tattoos and physique made him look like one of those sexual predators you always see them catching on TV. Eugene’s offbeat mannerisms and absolute ridiculous superhero attire don’t work for me. One of The Highlanders blocked a Shelton superplex, but lost his balance shoving Benjamin off, slipped, and landed awkwardly on the apron in a scary moment.

This was a pretty entertaining episode of Heat. Granted, there wasn’t anything to get too worked up over, but it was fairly easy to watch and enjoyable throughout. Haas gets credit for best performance, with honorable mentions awarded to Palumbo and Victoria. I don’t know how Lovett is able to sleep at night.