Sunday, December 28, 2008

AWA on ESPN Classic - 12/27/08

Original Air Date - 3/11/86

1) Boris Zhukov & Nord the Barbarian vs. Curt Hennig & Marty Jannetty - 3
2) Leon "Baby Bull" White vs. Larry Zbyszko (Special ref: Scott LeDoux) - 4
3) Stan Hansen vs. David Sammartino - 4

The opening tag match didn't really have much behind it. It seemed everyone was just kind of going through the motions. The finish got really convoluted with Scott Hall getting involved and Jannetty and Hennig winning via an over-the-top-rope DQ which I almost missed. Zbyszko and White was fun. White was still fairly green and Zbyszko helped him through the match. The finish was a nice stiff brawl on the floor and White winning by count-out. Finally, the story in the main event was that David was seeking revenge on Hansen for beating his dad ten years before. David didn't really have the stamina or the drive that his father had and Hansen pretty much ate him alive in an elongated squash match that only helped enhance Hansen's image as a bad-ass champion.

Friday, December 26, 2008

NOAH- 05/24/2008

This is the first NOAH show i've seen that wasn't a Dome show, it's a much smaller arena with a short stage, probably only 12 foot long and a more intimate setting, felt very house show like, house lights on the ring only.

1) Kentaro Shiga & Masaji Aoyagi v. Tamon Honda/ Mitsuo Momota- 2

The Seniors tour is out first (sidenote: I recently saw Aoyagi get his ass handed to him by Lyger in a "shoot" fight, fun stuff). I can completely forgive the fact that these guys are elderly but are still going out there and competing, laying in some shots here and there, running the ropes at a near crawl and no-selling half the shots they get, doesn't mean I can recommend the match to anyone though. No spitting spots, just some old men slapping tits on each other. No highlights to speak of here.

2) Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin v. Yoshinobu Kanemaru/ Gemba Hirayanagi- 4

Marvin is fun to watch and brought the stiffness more than the other 3 men here, snapping off kicks left and right. He kept the pace fast as well, but slowed down when anyone else was in. Hemba was a submission guy, locking in holds left and right which made for an interesting dynamic against the other team. He pulled off a suicide dropkick to the floor, ala Benoit in his New Japan days. Kanemaru continues to not stand out, even if he is a solid in-ring performer. The finish got real messy while trying to work near falls and pin breaks with guys swarming in and out to no real rhyme or reason, it hurt the score of the match.

3) Nigel McGuiness v. Junji Izumida- 4

A great example of how far Nigel has come since 2001 or so when me and the guys used to go watch him in Springdale working the HWA showcase with a porky redneck woman as his manager. Junji' s not far off from her figure, but they work a fairly entertaining match and I think the credit can go to Nigel. He has quite a few fans in the crowd as well. Great forearm exchanges from both guys and Nigel goes to work on his arm/elbow quite early on and keeps attacking it, but Junji isn't really paying attention to the sell of it. Nigel uses his spiked hair as an offensive weapon during the comedy portion of the match and there are some decent near falls that lead up to a trip to London' s Dungeon. Like I said, loved Nigel's subtlety in setting up the finishing submission hold. Fun little match here.

4) Takeshi Morishima/ Mohammed Yone v. Takashi Sugiura/ Ippei Ota- 5

Morishima shows how much seasoning he's gained from his ROH exposure and becomes the force behind this match. Every time he gets in he steps up the intensity and gets the crowd back. Yone has more experience but is pretty bland as a performer, strikes are okay but he doesn't pull off his move set as well as you would hope until the finish, where he pretty much feeds off of Mori's momentum. Opposition are pretty okay as well, Ota being the more vibrant. This feels like a squash in some parts, but Morishima works some great big man stuff with Ota where he keeps going for suplexes on the big man and finally hits a few which Mori sells like Vader, big huge bumps for all when it wasn't called for. This match is also fun and picks up near the end with more excitement than anything else on this show. Keep seeing the same spots where one guy gets kept outside in a brawl while the other two finish the match.

5) Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa/ Taiji Ishimora v. Bryan Danielson/ Raptor/ BJ Whitmer- 5

This was an interesting match that really didn't materialize into expectations. Ishimora was a workhorse here, and has shown tons of potential over the last few years. He geled well with both Danielson & Raptor who was a muscular high flyer in a mask- kind of thought he might be that Jason Cross who did some TNA X division stuff back in '03. He played babyface martyr very well, selling enthusiastically even with mask on and busting out some cool high flying stuff. Danielson and Ogawa worked several well timed and crisp sequences and the best Ogawa has looked in NOAH that I"ve seen. Misawa and BJ played the Gunslinger roles of the heavy hitters, yet neither were effective, Misawa barely participating in the match, except for a few spots and BJ not really beating anyone up just playing transition guy on the gaijins offense. The match ended with the same "everyone brawl outside while two guys do the finish" spot that has been all over this show and was the only Danielson v. Misawa interaction, some sloppy forearms. Decent action but not memorable.

6) Bison Smith/ Akitoshi Saito v. Akira Taue/ Masao Inoue- 2

Wow......what is this? This match didnt' even feel like it was on the same show, nonetheless a NOAH show. This felt more like it belonged in a high school gym in Skokie run by a couple toothless good old boys. Inoue and Saito worked the majority of the match and they both struggled to simply sell. Bison belongs in a pasture somewhere, not in a wrestling ring. He feigned so many shot and was blantantly obvious about it, this looked like a community theater trying to put on a production of "Kickboxer." Taue looked eerily like Baba and only came in twice, but actually sold very well and was bringing the stiff with his shoulderblocks. The rest of this diahrrea dump was lazy and uninspired. Same battle outside the ring while two guys finish the match spot and it's really getting old. Saito tried a clothesline near fall at the end and his arm looked like a soggy macaroni noodle. IF YOU CAN'T FUCKING DO A CLOTHESLINE IN JAPAN, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE INDUSTRY! This couldn't lift Fujiwara's old pruney dick.

7) Jun Akiyama/ Takeshi Rikio/ Atsushi Aoki v. Yoshihiro Takayama/ Takuma Sano/ Akihito Ito- 5

I like the dynamic to this match, the natural order of things is for the two juniors to start the match out, Aoki and Ito, they were fast paced and had some cool reversals, obviously knew each other. Then, Sano and Rikio come in, your lower tier heavys and do some big man spots, and you build up to your top guys in the match, Akiyama and Takayama who never tangled for very long. There were several things going on here: some comedy early on where Sano held both Rikio and Akiyama in leg vices where the other guy would try and help to break the hold, but everytime they kicked Sano, it put more pressure on their partner's leg. Jun was especially whimsical with his pissed off look when he was getting strecthed. Then you had Akiyama and Takayama both brutally punishing the young boys in the match, Takayama just kicking the snot out of Aoki every chance he got, stomping his face and such. And Jun making it look effortless to knock the beejezus out of Ito with heavy clotheslines. We had the same token two guys in ring finish match thing again while the other ones brawl errantly outside. Does every tag match end like this? Did I miss something during the last 20 years? Well, good finish anyways and all 6 guys showed intensity and kept the match very competitive.

8) Naomichi Marufuji / KENTA v. Kenta Kobashi/ Tsuyoshi Kikuchi- 7

Here's our main: This is Kikuchi's 20th year in the ring and he gets a nice celebration before the match. There is a lot going on here, the match runs nearly 35-40 minutes. KENTA is the freakin' star of this match and this show. He really makes it a worthy main event by working really hard, taking tons of punishment and just being a true warrior in the ring. He and Kikuchi have many exchanges during this long match, where the vet holds his own for the most part. KENTA explodes so many kicks on both he and Kobashi's chests and heads, i'm surprised they didn't detonate at one point. Kobashi's offense is off and on, mostly relying on chops and my god were they just as devastating as always. All of the stuff out of the ring was pretty tame (ddt on ramp, messy brawling) and the biggest problem was the structure of the match, as in it basically had none. A guy would take a beating then come back to give one moments later, so the ebb and flow was really off. That being said, it got pretty intense as it neared it's climax. KENTA got worked over for quite a bit, with Marufuji playing heel role of not wanting to get in ring unless a guy is down. Kobashi was sort of treated more like the star and bigger threat and kind of took over the spotlight of the match in several moments, one where he was being brutalized by both opponents but tried to stage a comeback. A ton of near falls near the end, which both excited and pissed me off: KENTA and Kikuchi were brought back in at the end for basically a singles match, trading kicks and forearms and reversing moves with passion and fire leading to KENTA cleanly pinning the legend, in a great way to put someone over, with a Go to Sleep that induces comas, the Out for Justice Steven Segal kind, but on the outside, Kobashi and Marufuji took turns holding each down or headlocking the other near the apron as their partners tried to pick up the win. Stuipd thing was as each guy's partner got the advantage inring, they traded it outside, but with no real brawl or anything, just grabbing the guy and trying to hold him down like a big brother would do. Really dumb to have that colliding with the awesome in-ring work going on for the finish.

All in all, not a very good show, especially by NOAH standards, did feel very much like a house show.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

WWE Tribute to the Troops 12/20/08

For the record, I've never liked one of these "Tribute to the Troops" shows. I'd rather be on the frontline myself than have to relive that Michaels vs. HHH match from a couple years ago from Baghdad. I will say it looks spectacular in HD, but let's see if the wrestling is as deplorable as years past...

1. Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, and R-Truth vs. Jim Morrison, The Miz, and JBL - 2

- wait, is that solider wearing a Dr. Wagner Jr. mask?
- hardy's face looks like a landmine went off on it.. oh, that's just his random facepaint
- nice forearms by JM on Truth in the corner
- triple planchas by the faces
- R-Truth gets a cameo in The Wrestler, a Slammy, and a trip to Baghdad? stellar year
- good sell by JM on stellar powerslam by Punk
- Hardy's pink belt is very patriotic
- r-truth's intensity makes up for jeff's lackadaisical shit
- swanton bomb on JBL for fin

Conclusion: A sloppy, rushed, and entirely forgettable six-man tag. JBL getting pinned so easily doesn't fly with how he's been booked the last year. Miz's over the top selling was one of the only things I liked. I wish they'd have given this fifteen more minutes and eliminated some of the poorly produced sappy music videos of divas in military vehicles.

The next segment saw Cryme Tyme come out in Santa suits and ask the dedicated soldiers the question all of us back home really wanted answered, "What's really hood?" This was an excuse to get the divas out in skimpy outfits to toss out WWE loot to the crowd. It's nice to know someone's in a foxhole somewhere wearing a Batista tee.

2. Big Show, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton vs. Batista, Rey Mysterio, and John Cena - 3

- Batista and Orton start basic
- Jericho stomps big Dave like trying to put out a burning American flag
- Show catches Rey while doing 619 on Jericho and gingerly drops him outside the ring
- Lawler says this show is "even bigger than WrestleMania" which is a lie
- nice seeing Jericho and Rey working spots together again, not so nice Jericho and Show's acting when their team dissolves
- Dave is as awkwardly stiff as a lizard left out in the desert sand for a month
- double 619 leads to a Batisa Bomb on Jericho and FU on Orton for the fin

Conclusion: The stiffest action over there is the unfair treatment and abuse of detainees in the Bagram Air Base. This match was better structured than the opener, but truncated and shortened so much that in analogous terms was the size of Vince McMahon's fetid penis.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NHO Road Report #3: HWA World War 3 - 12/19/08

I ventured back to the Sorg Opera House with my good buddy Tim for this show that is hailed as HWA's biggest show of the year. I've been to all of these shows that they've done, let's see how this one matches up.

We arrived early enough to actually have to wait for the doors to open. Once they opened, we grabbed our seats about five rows down from the back and about ten seats in. Why we chose such random seats is beyond me. The ring looked giant in the tiny opera house and they had the movie screen down with the HWA logo projected on it for the duration of the show. There were no warm-up matches and they jumped right into the show. For the record, I'm doing this report solo.

1) Dick Rick vs. "Relentless" Ron Mathis - 4
Rick did some mic work before the match started and is actually quite good. His opponent was just a generic indy dude. I'm guessing he was local. They kept up a good pace with Rick controlling for the most part. Rick's offense is good and looks like he could really go places ... you know, like the next level of indys. The top rope buster was nice to finish. Good opener and it got Rick over as the potential battle royal winner.

2) Ashley Lane & Naveah vs. Sassy Stephie Sinclair & Angel Dust - 3
Oh joy, a ladies tag. Sinclair and Angel are from OCW, I believe, which would make them local, and Sinclair comes complete with a ludicrous tramp stamp. I saw Lane and Naveah teaming up at the last WW3 show back in '06 and they looked awful, Lane especially. They've improved a lot since then, which must by why they're the SHIMMER tag champs. Lane has a look that could definitely take her places. Sinclair sold her back briefly on the apron after making a tag. Angel took a giant beating in the middle of the match. This was just an elongated squash for the SHIMMER champs. The double team move to finish off Sinclair and Angel was nice. I toyed with giving this a "mercy point" but I couldn't do it.

3) 7-Man Cruiserweight Gauntlet Match w/ Dave Crist, Max Fahrenheit, Kaden Hassan, Aaron Williams, Donovan Cain, Jason Lyte, and Dustin Rayz - 5
The competitors are listed here in order of entry into the match. Once a man is eliminated, another comes in to take his place. Crist killed the first half of this match. Two of the three parts of the match he was in, he did fucking comedy spots and stalling. The only one he actually had a satisfying contest with was Hassan. Williams came in and him and Crist began debating the human anatomy during submission holds. Note to Crist, if you're in a submission hold SELL THE FUCKING THING!!! Did I mention the part where Crist blatanly called a move to Williams in the corner? Rayz comes down to throw powder in Crist's eyes to thankfully eliminate him and give the match a more serious direction. Williams had nice exchanges with remaining combatants, including a great series with Rayz. His fatigue selling was also excellent. Rayz' sick spike piledriver was a thing of beauty. By the way, Crist loitered at ringside after being eliminated and worked to get the crowd behind Williams. Afterwards, a post-match brawl and swerve which wasn't much. The part with Crist and Williams really hurt the score but the last bit with Williams against Rayz was good stuff.

Intermission time ... I check out the make-shift merch tables and raid some goodies from the discount bin (a.k.a. a Nike shoebox). Also featured were photos of popular stars like Hogan, Rock, and Austin that were shot by some dude and made up at the local Walgreens photo department, overpriced indy promotion DVDs, and some random loose old-school WWF figurines. I asked the ditzy blondes about if they had any NJPW Super J Cup shows or some recent NOAH. They responded by trying to shill me the "Rey Mysterio: 619" DVD.

4) The GP Code (Deja Vu & Andre Heart) & Kimera vs. V-Radd, "Madness" Chris Hall, & J.T. Stahr - War Games Rules Match - 6
This gets match of the night honors for me. It started off hot and didn't let up one bit. You could feel the intensity and emotion of the match in the tiny arena with the crowd of roughly 80-85 people. They're doing modified rules in this one where every five minutes a new competitor enters. V-Radd took some vicious unprotected shots to the cranium courtesty of Deja Vu in the first period. Time expires and they fuck up the coin toss! Good grief, Charlie Brown!! Kimera runs down as the next man but is followed by Madness, who, as Tim put it, looked like the "bastard son of Bam Bam Bigelow" and the two proceed to bludgeon each other with hard weapon shots. Next out was J.T. Stahr followed by Andre Heart, who dove off the balcony onto everyone. I'm not sure why he would risk his neck by doing something like that in front of a crowd of 80-85 people. Kimera bled after some shots and Heart brawled in the crowd with Stahr. Deja Vu did an ass bump through a table, Heart bumped on some tacks, Madness broke out the barbed wire, and complete mayhem was the theme. Deja Vu ended up getting the pin and winning the tag team titles for his team.

5) Super Indy Battle Royal - 4
Honestly, if you've seen one of these battle royals, you've seen them all. I'd say upwards of at least a quarter of the combatants were actual, legit wrestlers trying to get noticed. The remainder was shitbird grapplers with no talent except for smoking weed and screwing goats. There was one sloppy bastard that just showed up to work in his street clothes and took off his Reebok's just to work the bout. I bet some of these dudes had to check with their parole officers before competiting in the bout. Dave Crist and Dustin Rayz were too obvious in their blue and red power ranger suits, complete with Tiger Mask rip-off mask. The match came down to Dick Rick and Jesse Emerson and they teased a double elimination spot on the apron. They worked well together and Emerson eventually won after knocking Rick off the apron. Afterwards, they shook hands and Rick cut a promo saying that this match was his final HWA match because he's heading back to California.

6) Jake Crist vs. Jon Moxley - Steel Cage I Quit Match - 4
Good Lord, where to begin with this travesty. It started off with intensity but that quickly fizzled out. The crowd was super quiet and at points you could hear a pin drop. Going into this, I was of the opinion that Jake was the better of the two brothers but now I think they may be equally as shitty. Moxley showed that he is one of the best indy wrestlers in Ohio by displaying some intense facials and some good selling. One major, major problem I had with this is that with both men working each others arms, wouldn't it hurt if you went back and chopped your opponent following the submission? Please, some psychology wouldn't hurt. A fork comes into play with them going for something reminiscent of the Tully/Magnum match at Starrcade '85. The match should've ended with a submission in that but unfortunately, the ol' fork in the forehead trick didn't work as went another 15 minutes that seemed to last as long as the Civil War. The finish ended up getting fucked by a totally uncooperative chain and a meaningless referee bump. Crist tied Moxley up on the cage with a second referee having to help find the lock to the chain because it fell off. Finally, they get the chain attached but the damn thing isn't tight enough and Moxley ends up doing a near handstand on the turnbuckle to get the right effect and they do some weak shit to end this unecessarily long snoozefest of a match.

This show definitely had its ups and downs and would've been a pretty terrible show if the War Games tag match hadn't delivered way more than was expected. The HWA runs weekly Wednesday shows at the Sorg and with the new influx of talent they have, there is definitely potential there. I would defintely recommend checking out at least one of their weekly shows if you're in the area. This show, though, I can't really give anything more than a marginal recommendation to since the main event fell flat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ECW on Sci-Fi 12/16/08

I just got a MacBook from my wife as an early Christmas present and I needed to clear this show off my DVR anyway, so I figured I'd go ahead and type up a review while I watched.

Show starts with Matt Hardy doing a promo, talking about there being a big party on SmackDown! for his brother, and new WWE World champion, Jeff Hardy. I wonder if Jeff will bring any of his "Aluminummies" to this shindig. Just don't spike the bowl of fruit punch, we don't want Jeff getting his third wellness policy strike. Chavo comes out wearing a Chavo t-shirt (I'd love to know how many of these have actually sold.) Teddy Long interrupts dressed like a fucking elf--damn he looks like an idiot. Teddy says Vickie Guerrero needs to stay away from the Christmas cookies, and that, whenever he sees her he loses his appetite. Burn!

1. Chavo Guerrero vs. Matt Hardy - 4

- chavo starts aggressive
- chavo takes backbody drop spot better than rude
- but following bump over the top rope not so pretty
- hardy skipping in the ring, man has some very silly mannerisms
- chavo goes to work on left arm
- matt sells keylock like spilled hot sauce on penis head
- guerrero has a wide-eyed look selling some shots
- rolling koppo kick by chav - bad camera angle
- matt does a lot of little subtle afterselling of the arm pain
- chavo after bulldog sells by popping mouth like a fish
- matt hits Twist of Fate out Two (of an attempted Three) Amigos for win

Conclusion: Good for a little taste, a snippet, but felt like the trailer for the match they could have together. Would suspect these guys could turn it up on a bigger stage, but this felt like an average opener, which is disappointing considering the ECW champ was involved.

Fit FInlay vs. Gavin Spears - 3

- Spears a former blackjack dealer?
- i'm familiar with spears' OVW stint - had a major program w/ cody rhodes that got a lot of heat
- selling well for finlays initial beatdown
- gavin gets advantage on floor- rams into ringpost
- finlay slaps him across the face - gets me harder than pics i've seen of marasi tomei's pieced nips in The Wrestler
- gavin graduated from Randy Orton School of Chinlocks
- Finlay's samoan drop into frontroll makes kennedy's look ass
- Celtic Cross for fin

Conclusion: A perfectly fun and violent squash, my favorite variety, so acceptable for what's presented but not worth seeking out (unless you really miss those old WCW Saturday Night squashes of Finlay's.)

Dj Gabriel and his girl are dancing when Mark Henry dressed as Santa and Tony Atlas dressed as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer show up to spoil the party. Truly fucking surreal shit, as Henry delivers a haunting poem while Atlas stands behind him with a large, blinking red nose.

Next promo somehow tops that, as CM Punk, Ricky Ortiz, Kofi Kingston, and Tiffany are in the back. Punk really shined here, reminiscent of his dry sense of humor stuff pre-WWE. Ortiz is trying to give Tiffany a gift but Punk is trying to wrestle the box away from her. She gets a patented Ricky Ortiz "Rally Towel", Punk says thats as good as getting a car or XFL jersey Christmas morning. Punk takes it and starts swinging it around, inadvertently smacking all their cherub faces, saying how big a fan Kofi is and how its a shame Ortiz doesn't have one for him while Kingston tries to defer by changing the topic as he clearly thinks Ricky is as ridiculous as the rest of us.

Kofi Kingston, CM Punk, Ricky Ortiz vs. John Morrison, The Miz, and Jack Swagger - 4

- big kick by Kofi into JMs ribs to start
- sternum first bump into corner by JM
- punks powerslam looks better than buddy Samoa Joes
- faces clear the ring and pop the crowd
- wonder if punk will convert tattoo since pepsi has new logo
- miz and morrison both improved their selling this year
- kofi pushed over rope by Swagger and bumps ass-first on stairs
- remember when Kofi beat "Superstar of the Year" Jericho for IC belt? Adam doesn't--he was taking a dump during the match
- very sloppy, careless back suplex by Ortiz on Jack
- Kofi totally missed a suicide dive to the floor on Miz, catching maybe the top of his boots and thats all
- gut-wrench powerbomb by Swagger on Ortiz for the fin

Conclusion: A decent, fast-paced six man, with a lot of the young talent that are making waves in the WWE right now. Ortiz is rough, but Punk and Kofi brought the explosiveness, and Miz and Morrison are capable of making anyone look good.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Audio Review: The Wrestler

Click here to listen as Brian and Didge discuss the new, critically acclaimed, and widely controversial film The Wrestler. Never Hand Over got an exclusive sneak preview of the film earlier this week, a special screening for just our crew, and directly following it on the ride home we analyzed it in rich analytical detail. We do go in-depth into the plot, so if you don’t want anything spoiled, we suggest coming back later and listening to the audio review after viewing the film yourself (good luck—it might be awhile!). We cover the film in general, the expected backlash and reactions, the performances of the cast, and our candid opinions coming from a lifetime commitment to the sport we love.

Jushin "Thunder" Lyger Capsule Reviews

So far, I've tackled the first 4 discs of spanning this man's great career, from his debut in 1989 up to late 1993. Now, for the last 4 discs which cover his time from 1993 to the end of 1996, I'll be giving a write up for my favorite match on each respective disc. Enjoy:

Disc 5

1) Jushin Liger/ Kensuke Sasaki v. The Steiner Brothers (02/17/94)- 7
This was def. the best of the disc. Full impact body blows throughout the whole encounter, probably went about 17 or 18 mins. Your typical Steiners match, especially in Japan, but I think these two surprised them, especially when Liger started out shoving the palm of his hand into Scotty's obtruse nose. This was the closest thing resembling a human car crash at every turn. And great selling to go along with it so it wasn't just a showy match with no psych. Let's relive some of the blows: Liger's home run came when Rick first tagged in and thought he was going to maul the young Juniorweight instead he got a capo kick right in his grill. Sasaki ducked from a double clothesline at one point and came back to deliver two consecutive to his opponents, increasing the stiffness factor on each one. Scott was just powerbombing and suplexing both men at will all match long, hitting belly to bellys out of nowhere. The end was just awesome, all 4 men were in the ring, Scott was running to break up a pin on Rick when Sasaki grabs him by the arm and gives him an over the shoulder beil out of the ring. Then he sits Rick on his shoulders while Liger comes from the top rope for a splash, but Rick catches him in the most brutal belly to belly I've ever witnessed for the win. They used a similar finish at Wrestle War 92 but this one came off much better. Really hard hitting enjoyable match.

Disc 6

2) Jushin Liger v. Shinya Hashimoto (IWGP Title Match, 02/24/1995)- 6

This is during Hash's hottest period in the sport, when he became IWGP champion and beat everybody.....and I mean EVERYBODY. This was probably Liger's first shot at the Heavyweight belt and with him being Junior champion, this match felt big. Liger was huge crowd favorite, even though it was probably known Hash would pick up the win. He works very slow, methodical beat down, only doing a select few moves he knows works, kicks, elbows and knees. Liger's best chance is to wait for a mistake and he does and counters with the copo kick. That and his palm heel are really effective, and Hash doesn't sell them so much as just drops down to a knee like if it were really to hit you. There's an awesome moment where Liger puts Hash on his belly and hooks him in the Mexican surfboard where he picks you up over his own body and he tries and tries to hoist Hash up but can't do it and the crowd is just blasting loud cheers nonstop waiting for him to get the move on, but he never does. Hash doesn't get the chance to do underdog matches very often but he handles this one with great care, not overselling anything but defitinley showing that Liger can go with anyone. He sells some uncharacteristic moves like top rope hurricanrana and Liger bomb. Hash wins with a brainbuster kind of nonchalantly and that factor along with this being relatively short makes it recommendable but not a classic. Tremendous work and a quiet success; this kind of match really goes a long way in putting over the loser, just so long as you don't keep making them lose these matches over and over again (see Jeff Hardy.)

Disc 7

3) Jushin Liger v. Gran Hamada (05/01/94)- 5

Not a lot to choose from on this disc; I'm going with this one because the story was pretty simple and while it didn't excel, it worked nicely. Hamada was actually the star of this one, selling his ass off, making me believe his dire pain and struggling. He started out fast, bum rushing Liger like a gangbanger in L.A., by throwing him outside and hitting planchas left and right. He brought him back in and displayed his weaknesses, striking and ground work. Really sloppy execution on most of it. Liger went to the legs and spent a good chunk of time hurting the "Soul-Glo Warrior" badly. Hamada went back to basics and set Liger up for another plancha and it looked like shit, but i saw with his aftersell it was intentional! Great psych- Liger went back to the knee though and Hamada just fought to stay alive until hurricanrana out of nowhere for the upset. Nice little story, in-ring not superb but both men pros and turned in decent performances.

Disc 8

4) Jushin Liger v. Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero) 08/16/96- 6

This was kind of a toss up; the Ultimo match is probably more technically sound, but I think Eddie matches up better with Lyger; he needs someone to get stiff and fight dirty with him and Ultimo's style is too clean cut. Not that Eddie's isn't, but even with a roll over key lock he puts a snap on it like Tiger Mask did back in the day and makes the move feel like it works. Both men can (and will) powerbomb you hard enough to make your grandfather quiver with pain. The high flying feels angry and suicidal with no Chavo Guerreros here; full fledged body on body contact, all or nothing, do or die, go splat on the concrete splashes to the outside and that's how it should be. No real flaws as far as styles not meshing, both guys work this mid90's NJ juniors style like they were born to or synthetically created to at least. I'm digging the ending, because every single move and spot leads up to the end, all building towards the biggest spot of the match, the way finishes were created to be- Eddie with the super brainbuster and it's all over. This didn't have a lot of time and the middle section with back and forth didn't really feel like the middle at all more like a slow paced ending but the finish makes complete sense and had to have given Liger another brain tumor.

Okay, that's it for my look into this stellar career….everyone do yourself a favor and seek out all this classic shit!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Movie Review: The Wrestler (2008)

This mysteriously showed up at the theatre the other day, despite not being mentioned in our Christmas openings. So, since we had it in, I decided to call the rest of the NHO crew for a private midnight showing. Fellow writers Brian and Didge showed up and we got to experience a movie we’ve all been looking forward to in a special after-hours screening.

For those that don’t know about this movie, Mickey Rourke plays 1980s wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson who has faded from glory and is now eeking out a living working the loading dock at the local grocery and wrestling small shows on the weekends. Following a match one night, he collapses in the locker room from a heart attack. He wakes up to find himself in the hospital and being told by the doctor that he’ll never be able to wrestle again. After getting over the initial shock of the fact that his in-ring career is over, he spends time trying to get his life back together by reuniting with his estranged daughter and consoling with an exotic dancer named Cassidy. Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood co-star as Cassidy and his daughter, respectively, and each do an outstanding job. I’ll hit more on that later.

Rourke does a fantastic job as Robinson and he seemed to fit the role perfectly. The wrestling sequences were phenomenal and Rourke was taking bumps like a pro. The emotional scenes on the Atlantic City boardwalk where he is seemingly bonding with his daughter and telling her “I’m alone and I deserve to be all alone. I just don’t want you to hate me,” is delivered with an excellent degree of sincerety. Also great is the relative ease with which he plays the character. He turned in a performance that is one of emotional ups and downs and something that Nicolas Cage couldn’t have pulled off in his wildest dreams (remember, he was initially attached to this project).

The supporting cast of Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood was great as well. Let’s look at them individually. Tomei as Cassidy, the exotic dancer with which seems to be The Ram’s only friend, was great. She provided a heartfelt performance and tries her hardest not get emotionally involved with The Ram, who she sees as a customer in her bar. Wood, who appeared in only three segments, was excellent as the estranged and emotional daughter who has tried to remove her dad from her life. When she and her dad have their big blowup after he misses dinner, the emotion she brought out was tremendous.

The movie itself came off on-screen as a story of a man trying to get his life back together after being told that he can’t do what he loves. It’s an emotionally gripping story that takes the viewer into a world seldom publicized. The final showdown at the end with his old nemeis The Ayatollah (played by former WCW star Ernest Miller), is wonderful and the film takes you inside the ring and leaves your emotions torn apart when The Ram starts experiencing chest pains again during the match. There are cameos by numerous wrestling stars such as Necro Butcher and R-Truth. I would wholeheartedly recommend this film to wrestling fan and non-wrestling fan alike for the story and performances. Currently, the movie is only playing in New York and Los Angeles but is expanding to more markets in January. I would hope that Rourke gets an Oscar nomination for his performance because it’s really, really that good. Go see this film now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Audio Review: NOAH European Navigation

Click here to listen to Brian, Adam, and Didge as they discuss a trip gone awry as they review NOAH’s European Navigation. In it discussed are British grammar, Roger Klotz, bowl cuts, disrespect, a heaping helping of shitty excuses for NOAH matches, Grampa Misawa, the ’20 – ’33 alcohol Prohibition in the US, and more!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Burger Kang #5: Undertaker Edition

Some call him "Phenom", or "Dead Man" and "Big Evil", others "Lord of Darkness", "American Bad Ass", or "Biggest Dog In the Yard", some even dare "Booger Red." All I know, is that when he comes through the drive-thru at Burger Kang he orders the Tombstone Nachos, extra salsa, and a large Diet Pepsi.

The Undertaker vs. The Rock – (WWF King of the Ring ’99) – 6

Rock was great at this time, hadn’t yet cut the weight and tightened up his physique as he would later in his run; here he’s just a big, physical, athletically gifted, charismatic, workhorse of a competitor. Undertaker was also possibly at his physical prime, although saddled with his sadistic heel persona, so was more of compulsory piece of the larger puzzle, not the biggest, most respected dog in the yard as he is now. Still, this is great “main event style” wrestling from the late-‘90’s WWF machine, ablaze with the attitude they revitalized the business upon. Its similar to a lot of the wild brawls that were the finales of WWF pay-per-views of the era, but without involving Austin it was less frantic, making it a more measured fight that had the same chaotic energy but didn’t exhaust itself hastily.

It opened Undertaker popping Rock in the face then immediately hitting the referee, too. As the ref was out Rock fired back with a “Rock Bottom” within the first minute of the match, but alas, there was no official there to count the fall. Known homosexual Paul Bearer, roly-poly body and all, took out a second ref. Undertaker answered Rock’s big move with one of his own, a giant chokeslam, all within the first few minutes of action. They brawled down the aisle and all over the entrance area, including Rock taking a nasty spill into a lone piece of steel guardrail, and later, getting suplexed right on the floor by Undertaker in a gnarly bump.

They brawled back to ringside, out into the crowd, back to ringside again, where they dished out big blows on the floor near the announcer’s table. Rock telegraphed a spot poorly, tapping Undertaker on the back of the head with a chair, nudging him twice, giving him head’s up that it was time for their reversal spot as Undertaker spun around at the last possible second and blocked the chair with the ring bell driving it back into Rock’s chiseled face. Rock intercepts a rag soaked in ether (Jim Ross: “I’m not a doctor but that smells like ether!” was one of the stupidest utterances ever) and holds it to Undertaker’s face, which makes for a silly visual, plus anyone who’s ever taken Chemistry at the college-level knows that the worse that could happen would be nucleophilic displacement. Triple H runs out and hits Rock with the “Pedigree”, leaving each competitor motionless on the canvas, the ref nearly counts both men down, but Undertaker awakened and hit a “Tombstone” for the victory.

The Undertaker vs. King Haku - (WWF vs. WAR vs. EMLL - Yokohama, Japan 9/15/92) - 3

Undertaker’s still playing dead, Haku is still rocking a curly mullet, and all is well in the world when the stars aligned and brought together the likes of Negro Casas, Paul Diamond, and Tenryu under one roof. This was one of the least interesting matches on the card, as I’d rather see a gray-bearded Great Kabuki literally spraying plasma from his forehead than this but on its own merits it’s a fairly good match that doesn’t even last six minutes cumulative. There’s a miscommunication early where both guys are throwing strikes and it’s like, “oh shit, do I punch now or let you punch me?” and I’m all like, “hit that motherfucker in his voice producing mechanism” and shit. Haku is stiff, bulky, and just built perfectly for the wrestling art form. I noted that this is one of the few Undertaker appearances in Japan to my knowledge, which is quite a big deal, especially considering his legendary status and the Japanese love for oversized Americans. I dated a girl named Kyoko briefly who had a similar infatuation—I think I left my copy of
Deliver Us From Eva at her pad. Undertaker chokeslams Haku hard but the resiliency of Haku is undeniable as he kicks out; well, maybe not quite undeniable, as moments later he eats a “Tombstone Piledriver” for the loss. Haku was immediately seen leaving the vicinity and heading for some hibachi and then to brothel where you can get a world renowned “Human Egg Roll” by a barely legal geisha that’s trying to get her degree in pharmacology on the side.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Haku and Rikishi – First Blood Match – (WWE Smackdown! Xtreme 2/1/01) – 3

Remember Smackdown! Xtreme? I didn’t think so. The faces meet the heels in the aisle way and things start with a brawl. Kane and Undertaker ping pong Rikishi back and forth with big right hands on the floor. Why does Undertaker sell Rikishi’s punches in the ring by taking a short stroll each time he gets hit? It’s like, “wow, you socked me in the jaw, time to go out and walk the dog!” Don’t forget to tip the kid on his bike route Booger Red. Could Rikishi possibly put his hands down any more blatantly when ‘Taker rams his head into the steel ring steps multiple times? Kane jumps off the apron to blindside Rikishi but barely makes contact, wiping out big time and leaving me wondering how he could have possibly missed such a big target from a few feet away? The chair shots here aren’t much harder than those of elementary kids imitating professional wrestling with pillows. Kane just sold Rikishi’s ass to his mid-section like a cannonball just blew through his chest and it’s the Civil War reincarnate. I think I’m starting to bleed. Haku takes a huge flat back bump on the floor to a single Undertaker punch. Kane busts open Rikishi by ramming the steel steps into his head. I wonder if Kane’s cock was burnt in the fire.

Undertaker vs. Tazz (WWE SmackDown! 11/29/01) - 3

Tazz starts off surprisingly taking it to Undertaker, and I can't help but think back to all of those old, ECW promos where Taz used to cut down superstars like 'Taker saying he'd choke them out, etc. Now besides getting seconds at catering, Tazz was eating his words as well. Match barely makes six minutes--mostly brawling, highlighted by Michael Cole's stupidity, saying "that's never been done before!" when Tazz pulls 'Taker off the ropes while he's attempting to do "Old School." Tazz gets the "Tazmission" and 'Taker tries to fall out of the ring to break it but Tazz rolls with him, keeping the hold on, which I thought was a nice touch and showed how desperate Tazz was to get a victory that he knew this was his only chance and didn't want to give it up. Undertaker wins with a chokeslam and I'm left thinking, "wow, I really want the entire '01 run of SmackDown! like yesterday." (Example: the main event of this show was Austin vs. Regal in a strap match.)

Undertaker and Kane vs. Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire - Cage Match - (WWE Raw 8/13/01) - 3

This isn't the controversial cage match against Kanyon and DDP, its the forgotten one, and now I remember why. As soon as Undertaker gets in he gets attacked and they won't even allow Kane to enter the cage. Undertaker wasn't selling Palumbo's punches in the corner. Kane chokeslams O'Haire as soon as he gets into the cage--way to waste your signature move in a half-minute. Undertaker's wife is at ringside, wonder if he kept any Polaroids? Palumbo is selling huge for the Bros. of Destruction, bleeding all over while DDP and Kanyon stroll down the ramp like they're not concerned. Sean just lays out of the way, occasionally wiggling his feet, but makes sure to roll out of the way when Palumbo gets killed with "The Last Ride." The "sick, perverted Page" chases Sara so she climbs the cage and straddles it while the Alliance members further get buried.

Dudley Boyz and Tazz vs. Kane, Undertaker, and Tajiri - (WWE Smackdown! 7/19/01) - 4

It starts off with Tajiri running into the fray and we're off with a brawl. D-Von is isolated in the ring with Kane, outside Bubba takes a wild shot from Undertaker that nearly sends his big ass over the wall into the crowd. Tazz trying to hold back control on Kane looks real goofy. Tajiri gets a huge pop when tagged in--working spots with Tazz almost looks like a minis match. Bubba steps on Tajiri's face like he would a prostitute's throat in some weird, subversive foreplay in a hotel room later that night. D-Von's spinning back elbow rears its ugly visage. Tazz can only make himself look like a bad ass by roughing up Tajiri, no wonder they switched him to announcing I now see. Undertaker is in and the crowd erupts as he takes out all the opposition. Things break down, of course, as Tazz is standing alone in the center of the ring and Tajiri randomly moonsaults from the top, landing in a standing position with his back to Tazz, wait, what? Why would you do that? So Tazz locks him in the "Tazmission" but trusty 'Taker makes the save and chokeslams Tazz for the win.

Friday, December 12, 2008

UWF "Monster in Knightsdale" 12/15/2006

1) Alex Shelly v. Petey Williams v. Jay Lethal- 4

Okay, these guys were in house show mode. This wasn't actively bad but they didn't stretch themselves at all for this crowd. Certainly shouldn't have been called an X division match. 3 way headlocks and all that stuff early, then down to 2 guys the rest of the match. Lethal's selling was pretty poor; ignoring punches to move to the next spot, calling out moves instead of selling the one just done. Shelly was doing all the house show shtick but missed a Lionsault. The pace never quickened and they kept it simple, Canadian Destroyer finish just happened, no real setup for it. I liked Petey much more when he looked like a normal guy, not a characterization of a juicehead.

2) Diamonds in the Rough v. Ron "the Truth" Killings/ Buff Bagwell (w/ SoCal Val as Guest Referee) - 2
"What's wrong, Chuck?"
"Another dance off. I thought this died with ECW....."
"Chuck, quit crying about everything. It's just a little dance off. You know the faces will go over in it, even the slutty ref will do a few moves and she's barely wearing anything, so what's your complaint?"
"it's just so disappointing........"
Okay, Buff's stuttersteps into the ring ropes barely pass as movement and look like garbage. He surprisingly plays the Ricky Morton of this match but does a poor job. Truth can throw an eye buster of a punch, lays them in quite well. The heels are completely inept here and could have been replaced by scarecrows that would have shown more life. Val had on short mini-skirt with tight thong and did many, many spots where her undercarriage was shown. Oops! Much better than looking at David Young's lack of talent and the squallid finish to this that saw Buff "attempt" a double arm DDT which looked more like a dead fish flopping down on a pier.

3) Maven v. Rhino- 2

Mr. Huffman has decent heel tendencies, must have picked up something from ole' Simon Dean (who's now refinancing home mortgages- wonder if he wears the Green Lantern suit when meeting with clients?) Maven rips on some fat redneck who tries to grab the mic by saying "This isn't a cheeseburger!" Rhino comes to the defense of the crowd with comebacks that haven't been heard since 3rd grade recess- "You're a first class jerk!" and "I know I'm not supposed to hit you in the face....because your boyfriend called me and told me so!" Oh, there is a match in here. So much stalling by Maven, he had a decent dropkick and good movement in the ring but his shoddy forearms were laughable. Rhino is more stale than a 4 year old glass of water. They botch the finish as Rhino comes off the pin to celebrate winning at the 2 count and Earl Hebner says Maven kicks out. So they do the finish over again. I hate how Rhino does that gore in the corner half assed when it's supposed to be his finisher regularly, what a bunch of chickenfried shit.

4) AJ Styles v. Brother Runt- 3

AJ was turning heel at this point and I liked that he didn't do anything overtly heelish, just being a stronger prick than Runt was to show it. He gave the arena floor some mileage too, a lot of stalling on this show. Lot of bodyslams and forearms too. Runt without his sick bumps is like Jessica Simpson without tits- who cares? He can't punch, he doesn't have any credible offense, he just got punched around by AJ. Styles took his bump on the top rope at one point, probably from boredom and simply hit his finish from out of Acid Drop to win. Substandard.

5) Abyss v. Christopher Daniels (NWA Title Match)- 4

My review for a Liger-Hashimoto match will be going up soon- that match is underdog against monster champion and it's exactly how you do that match. This was the example of how to piss all over that match's mouth and call it art. Daniels basically gets battered around for 11 minutes by Abyss whose over the top punches really left a bad taste in my mouth.....or was that the redneck announcers' metaphors? Daniels broke out the Sabu moonsault to the outside in the craziest attempted move of the night. His offense against Abyss looked bad- not making me believe he was able to do that to him. Abyss sold an STO like he would for Big Show and you just can't do that. Black Hole Slam from a standing position sucks Hermie Sadler's 1 inch miniscule dick. That move is all about momentum and there was none going for it so it looks like crap. The only thing that makes this decent was Daniels selling his ass beating like a pro.

TNA Final Resolution - 12/7/08

1) Feast or Fired Battle Royal w/ Cute Kip, Sonjay Dutt, Jimmy Rave, Lance Rock, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, B.G. James, Consequences Creed, Curry Man, Shark Boy, Jay Lethal, and LAX – 5
2) Taylor Wilde, Roxxi, & O.D.B. vs. Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, & Sharmell - 3
3) Sheik Abdul Bashir vs. Eric Young – 5
4) Awesome Kong vs. Christy Hemme – 4
5) Matt Morgan & Abyss vs. Robert Roode & James Storm – 5
6) Kurt Angle vs. Rhino (Special enforcer: Mick Foley) – 6
7) Booker T, Sting, Scott Steiner, & Kevin Nash vs. Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, & Team 3-D – 7

So I ordered this pay-per-view mainly because I had nothing else to do on a Sunday night. On paper, the card looked like crap but it actually turned out to be a halfway decent show. The abomination known as the Feast or Fired Battle Royal returned this year to zero fanfare whatsoever. However, it was better than last year’s debacle and had some talented workers featured this year such as Jay Lethal, LAX, Curry Man, Consequences Creed, and the Motor City Machine Guns, who I’ll talk about shortly. In case you forgot, the stipulation of the match is to climb a pole, grab a briefcase, and make it back to the floor. I though the match had a quicker pace, thanks to the aforementioned guys, who helped carry the match. Lethal stole a case from the Guns to end the match. Afterwards, the Guns were tormenting Jeremy Borash about how it wasn’t fair. Borash then laid into them with some harsh comments. By the way, Lethal won a tag team title shot.

The knockouts tag was decent but wasn’t anything I would go out of my way to see. Sharmell played a great cowardly heel. O.D.B. can sure excite a crowd but I never really was a fan of her work. Everyone involved held their own but the match turned out to be pretty non-descript and basic. The X-Division title match was better than I though it would be initially. Young and Bashir have some good chemisty together. Young was taking some serious bumps to the floor and stepped up his offense a bit. The evil-Arab gimmick is as old as the sport itself and Bashir really needs to drop it. The finish got it the way of the match as referee Shane Sewell got involved and cost Bashir the match and the title. Afterwards, Sewell got attacked by Bashir and “hulked up” with some shoddy punches and a really strange look on his face. Kong and Hemme was short but was really good. Hemme tried to do some-kind of crazy split leg drop on Kong and damn near tore a hamstring. Hemme bumped her little red-haired ass off in an effort to demonstrate Kong’s power. She did look better than she did in the past and could have a good series with Kong. Again, how Christy doesn't tear a muscle doing that flying split-leg guillotine leg drop is beyond me.

The tag title match was a solid match. Morgan and Abyss work well as a team and Beer Money, despite their bland work in the ring, have gotten better as a team. I don’t like Morgan’s generic big man gimmick and the only thing scarier than him on the mic is the fact that he had his jiz put into orbit. Roode and Storm retained the titles in a good but unmemorable match. Angle and Rhino was much better than I thought it would be. Rhino brought his “A” game because he knew that Angle was going to bring it. Foley just stood outside the ring, taking up space, and didn’t get involved much until the finish. There was a ref bump, after which Foley took over, then Al Snow sauntered down to the ring, said something mean to Foley, and helped Angle win the match. I would recommend it for seeing Rhino step-up his game after months of meaningless low-caliber matches. The main event was exceptionally good, everyone was motivated and stepped up their game. The heel team beat down Joe for the majority of the match until the tag was made to Styles, who summarily came in and cleaned house. I never did like the fact that this was for the TNA world title. I personally don’t think singles titles should be defended in tag matches. The finish saw Sting pin Joe clean and then walk away with the belt as the Mafia was celebrating in the ring. Overall, I though the in-ring work on this show was stellar all around, save for the Knockouts tag, and I would recommend checking this one out. Also, if you want to see Borash punking out the MCMGs, then this is the show for you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

TNA Impact 11/20/08

Another good episode of Impact, TNA seemingly has turned the corner, as most of their televised shows in this last quarter of the year have been uniformly enjoyable. You can bitch and nitpick about the booking, most of which I’d say is deserved, but that’s the crux of being a wrestling fan; however, the wrestling itself is usually the highlight on TNA broadcasts, when its given a decent amount of time, that being said this week’s show featured some solid stuff.

1. Consequences Creed and “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal vs. Tanahashi and Sonjay Dutt - 2

The opening tag started off with fast, no wasted time, not even any holds or locks to mention, just the straightforward action TNA has based their brand upon. Creed and Lethal, representing the “TNA Originals”, looked good here, controlling the lion’s share of this good but far too short bout. Dutt was routinely rocked, reeling from shots throughout, and while Tanahashi showed some fire, he too wasn’t the same after eating an enzuigiri. Creed caught Dutt in mid-air as he backflipped off the ropes, hoisted him up, and hit him with a “TKO” for the victory. A fun, fast-paced match, but extremely short to its detriment.

2. Beautiful People vs. Sojourner Bolt and Christy Hemme – 3

The women’s tag I liked slightly better, mainly just because it got a little bit more time, so they were able to tell a bit more of a story, albeit a truncated one. I’d not seen Bolt before; the bulk of the match consisted of her getting beat on by the Beautiful People. Sojourner needs to work on her timing to be more effective, although a crossbody of hers was superb, and if nothing else she displayed her toughness, taking a pretty nasty beating by Love and Skye. Love and Skye, to their credit, are great at being evil bitches. At one point Skye just stepped right on Bolt’s throat. Bolt made the hot tag, as Hemme came in a house of fire, blowing through her enemies, even doing Trish’s old “Matrix Move” dodging a clothesline. Being plucky wasn’t enough, as the lovely Love hit her with the “Lights Out” for the win.

3. Motor City Machineguns vs. Samoa Joe and AJ Styles – 5

The next match, on paper, was the one that would make even the most jaded TNA critic set their DVR in anticipation. It started wild, all four man giving it all from the go, with Sabin destroying Joe wth a suicide dive to the floor, followed in short order by AJ flying high with a sommersault plancha taking out both of the Machineguns. The winners of this match would be awarded a main event slot at December’s pay-per-view captaining a four-man team against the Main Event Mafia. Joe’s powerslam looked better than ever, capturing Sabin in the blink of an eye and dropping him to the mat with such force that Sabin writhed in pain like he was in labor. A backflip kick by AJ followed by a brutal lariat by Joe knocked Sabin out of the running. This lead to AJ plucking Shelly from the top rope, where he had been inadvertently crotched moments earlier by his partner, and hitting the “Styles Clash” on him for the victory. Afterward, Angle and his goons Nash, Stiener, and Booker T came out and bludgeoned Joe and Styles real good, furthering the most captivating current feud in America.

4. Eric Young vs. Booker T – 4

I really liked this match, and would love to see these guys get more time together at a bigger show. There was a real interesting dynamic of the savvy veteran versus the gutsy naiveté of Young. As the match progressed Young’s confidence raised, escaping several of Booker’s signature moves, etc. Eric also displayed some of his unorthodox strength, hitting a “Death Valley Driver” on Booker that nearly prematurely ended Booker’s night. As the tides had officially turned, Young was on the move, but a trip by Sharmell distracted Eric enough to cost him, as Booker capitalized and shortly after finished Young off with a wild axe-kick that Booker hit from a nearly impossible angle.

5. Abyss and Matt Morgan vs. Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash – 5

This was a very good TV main event. Abyss and Morgan have really showed tremendous promise as a team. They dominated Angle early, as Angle got control of Abyss’ back while jockeying for position, but as soon as Angle tried to exchange punches with the monster Abyss his fortune radically changed. Abyss pieced Angle some in the face, then hit his patented “Shock Treatment” backbreaker fairly early into the match, just wrecking Kurt’s spine and entire body. Morgan came in and furthered the hurt on Angle, drilling him with a beautiful bicycle kick right in the mush. When Nash finally got tagged in there was a great moment as he and Morgan had a big man face-off right in the center of the ring. They exchanged hard strikes and I really dig big guys hitting each other in the face and head so this was tits. Angle got in and finally used his cleverness to gain an advantage for his team, ruthlessly attacking Morgan’s legs. The end came as a result of Beer Money Inc. making their way to ringside, they distracted Abyss, and after turning his back to them Abyss was the recipient of a beer bottle to the back of the skull at the hands of James Storm followed by a big boot by Nash for the win.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Audio Review: ROH Death Before Dishonor VI

Click here to listen to our audio review of ROH Death Before Dishonor VI, one of that company’s better overall shows of ’08. In it we discuss homegrown CZW talent, the first great NWA title match in ages, being stomped in the head by Necro Butcher, Marufuji’s confidence, Didge does a poor Adam impersonation, the Motor City Machineguns should stay in Orlando, the hot four-man main event, and much more!

Friday, December 5, 2008

RINGS- 05/11/91 Yokohama Arena

1) Herman Renting v. Pieter Smit (Fire Bout)- 3
2) Willie Peeters v. Marcell Haarmans (Water Bout)- 5
3) Bill Kazmaier v. Chris Polman (Earth Bout)- 3
4) Dirk Vrij v. Akira Maeda (Universe Bout)- 5

RINGS was a mixed martial arts promotion that held "worked" shoot events, where the athletic contest was fought as a real fight, but winners and spots are pre-determined. Maeda formed the group in 1991 and it went strong until 2001 holding shows occasionally. This has to be one of it's first organized events. One of the main points when watching a "worked" shoot is to determine how real they make it feel but also you want that psychology & story you get from a wrestling match worked in as well. Our first bout was with two obviously novice guys. They did a lot of ground stuff, with quick reversals and no one holding any one thing too long. But, the work was loose and without any polish. It only went to the 2nd round and was pretty standard fare, couple of kicks here and there, but mostly looked like two kids tussling in the grass over who gets to use the Slip n' Slide next, am i dating myself? 2nd fight was pretty fiery, Peeters was throwing big kicks left and right, and Haarmans was clearly a ground guy trying to control him down to either wear him out on the ground or lock in a submission. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't very good on the ground and Peeter was able to evade or scramble out of most attempts. A serious brain cracker head kick sealed the poor man's Jack Swaggers' fate in a moment certainly worth several replays.

You may remember Kazmaier from old WCW days where he would carry a giant rubber globe to the ring. He was extremely awkward during this fight. Polman had just fight Maeda and seemed like the real deal. He could kick and was crafty on the ground. Kaz used his power for the first two rounds to get Polman down on the ground and put a hold on him, but no technique so he couldn't get the tap out. Kaz's kicks were so bad, looked like Andy Dick trying to do a Bruce Lee kick. He tired out in the 3rd round, but kept Polman off of him until the 5th where he got caught in a deadly armbar. Now, the main- Dirk looked liked a villain from a Brian Bosworth action film in the early 90's; big physique, flat top blond cut, you know the type. Maeda was a patient fighter, testing the waters with Dirk, who was semi-aggressive using his bigger size to bully Maeda, catching several kicks and sweeping the leg or just throwing him down. You could tell Maeda's skill though, the way when he got control on the ground he used it to grind Dirk into the mat, or his transitions from diff. locks, he was by far the most skilled fighter on the whole show. It only took him a few rounds to sink in a killer armbar for the submission victory.

This was my intro to RINGS and I'm quite happy with it. I think this was a decent starting point and I'm sure there are tons of better shows than this one.

WWF WrestleMania VIII

Let’s start by looking at the set-up of this show. The Hoosier Dome (now the RCA Dome) has a similar look to the Silverdome which held ‘Mania III. There are probably 68,000 or more people in the building and the long aisleway runs from under the stands out to the ring. Gorilla and Bobby are on commentary and are on the top of their game, with Heenan delivering arguably some of his best work ever.

1) Shawn Michaels vs. Tito Santana – 5
Michaels came in cocky and confident, as if he was just going to walk right over Tito. Tito was saddled with the “El Matador” thing but made the most of it. This started fast and after the initial exchange, it settled down and Tito controlled a lot of the match by keeping the side headlock tight. Michaels was able to break free a few times and at one point drilled Tito with what would eventually become known as Sweet Chin Music. Tito did bust out a nice flying shoulder-block and two of his patented flying forearms. This would’ve gotten another point had the finish been a little cleaner as Tito tried to suplex Michaels back into the ring from the apron but Michaels held the top-rope. Once they switched camera angles, it was tough to see if Sherri tripped Tito or if Shawn just forced him down for the pin. Afterwards, Heenan calls Michaels “the star of the 90s”. Truer words have never been spoken. This was a solid match and a great match to open the show with.

Gene Okerlund joins us from the stage set up on the side of the aisleway and introduces the Legion of Doom with a debuting Paul Ellering. They all cut promos going from Ellering to Animal to Hawk twice. They run down Jimmy Hart and the Beverly Brothers as Ellering says “it is the beginning of the end”. Honestly, I don’t see the point of having this interview on here unless it was to kill time. They could’ve just as easily canned this and put on the British Bulldog/Berzerker match that ended up getting cut from the show.

2) The Undertaker vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts – 4
This would be Jake’s last match before heading to WCW in a very ill-fated run and it turned out to be an extended squash for ‘Taker. Jake got in little offense during the bout and only hit his big moves like the short-arm clothesline and two DDTs. The finish saw Jake go after Paul Bearer on the outside and try to steal the urn. In turn, he was then Tombstoned on the outside by ‘Taker and rolled back in for the pin. Funny story about that finish … it wasn’t the scheduled finish. Jake told ‘Taker to do the Tombstone on the outside instead of in the ring and said that Vince had changed it. The only problem was Vince never changed a thing and the original finish was for Jake to get beaten in the middle of the ring without the stuff on the outside. This was a basic match with nothing really of note.

3) Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart – 7
This was a fantastic match! Piper and Bret exchanged words in the interview area before the match which helped raise the intensity level. They slapped each other, spit on each other, and tricked each other just to try to gain the upper hand. There was a noticeable botch on a spot where both guys tried to go over the top and it didn’t exactly work as planned. Bret suckered in Piper with a feigned injury and got a two-count. Piper busted Bret open with a punch and then scored with a bulldog headlock. Bret fought back and scored with a superplex. A ref bump saw Piper grab the ring bell but then having second thoughts with going to hit him. Piper threw down the bell, caught Bret in a sleeper, but then Bret countered it by walking the buckle and getting the pin. Piper teased turning on Bret after the match but, in a show of good sportsmanship, presented Bret with the belt and helped him up. A great Intercontinental title match with both men matching each other move for move.

We join Gorilla and Bobby in the booth where Bobby has a satellite hookup with Lex Luger. Bobby puts Luger over as a heel in the WBF and Luger puts Bobby over as a great commentator, to which Gorilla offers an exasperated “What!”. After the interview is over, Gorilla delivers the classic line “He certainly knows the body parts but he doesn’t know anything about broadcasting ability!”, to which Heenan replies by holding two fingers up behind Gorilla’s head while Gorilla is introducing the next match.

4) Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, The Big Bossman, & Virgil vs. The Nasty Boys, The Repo Man, & The Mountie – 3
Ray Combs of Family Feud fame is the guest ring announcer for this bout. His announcement of the heel team takes forever as he cracks jokes at their expense. The heels rush him and we’re off. A quadruple clothesline spot clears the ring for the face squad. It settles down after that but soon legal man issues come into effect as the referee has a very hard time controlling the action. Virgil comes in wearing a face protector, to which Heenan says that Virgil looks like a spotted owl. A mis-communication by the Nastys finish off the bout as Virgil gets the pin. There wasn’t much to this one as it was pretty much filler.

5) Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Ric Flair – 7
If you thought the intensity level on the Bret/Piper match was something, you haven’t seen anything yet. The backstory to this is that Flair was infatuated with Miss Elizabeth and Savage was defending her honor. They start off by brawling in the aisleway and Mr. Perfect, who was Flair’s manager, gets involved almost immediately by throwing Savage into the ring. Savage’s selling of his knee after getting it worked over was great. Perfect regularly interfered on Flair’s behalf and that really hurt the score for me. There was one point where he climbed up on the apron, pulled and object out of his pocket right in front of the referee, and tossed it to Flair. The referee would’ve had to have been Ray Charles in order not to see that! Flair gets busted open after missing a spot and hitting his head on the rail. Liz runs down to ringside with numerous suits, including a very young Shane-O-Mac, trying to escort back to the locker room. The crowd reaction after Savage got the pin on Flair was deafening. Afterwards, Flair approaches Liz, gets slapped, and Flair and Savage brawl some more.

6) Rick Martel vs. Tatanka – 4
Heenan spends the majority of the match running down Tatanka and saying he should pitch for the Cleveland Indians. This is pretty basic with them never really getting out of second gear. This would wind up being Martel’s last WrestleMania appearance and this was the kick-start for the long running feud between the two that would last until late in the year. The in-ring work was there but it’s hard to follow the Savage/Flair match.

7) Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster vs. The Natural Disasters – 4
Jimmy Hart had turned on the Disasters weeks prior to this bout so this was a revenge match for them. DiBiase and IRS were just beginning their awesome run as a team but something seemed off on this match. I think it was because these teams don’t really match up that well. DiBiase and IRS tried to work around the size of the Disasters but it was not to be as they eventually grabbed their belts and walked out on the match. Blah finish to a very blah match.

8) Owen Hart vs. Skinner – 1
Talk about a quickie! Skinner attacks early and throws Owen over the top. Owen skins-the-cat and rolls up Skinner for the pin. Nothing to it. I’m not even sure why it was on the show.

9) Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice – 5
This was billed up to be Hogan’s potential final match and Sid was yelling and screaming about how he would make sure it would be Hogan’s final match. This was a basic big man match with Sid controlling Hogan early by working the back and doing some power submissions. Hogan fought back though, much to the crowd’s delight as the roar became deafening with each no-sell Hogan did. Sid kicked out of a legdrop and Harvey Wippleman interferes for a DQ finish. Papa Shango runs down to help Sid beat up Hogan. Then, the Warrior’s music hits and the place erupts by the sight of him charging down the aisle to Hogan’s aid. The show ends with Hogan and Warrior posing. The match wasn’t much but I give it a bonus point for the surprise appearance by the Warrior.

Overall, this is a fun WrestleMania and perhaps my favorite ever. Bret/Piper and Savage/Flair are must sees and the rest of the show gets a nod in the postivie category. The last half kind of fell flat until the Hogan match. In closing, this is a great way to kill three hours and, to be honest, you can’t really go wrong with any WWF pay-per-view from 1992.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Video: Kensuke Office Take the Dream Vol. #5

NHO members Brian and Didge celebrated Thanksgiving night by having a couple cold beers and watching “Take the Dream Vol. #5” from Japanese co. Kensuke Office. Watch as they discuss the Catfish Men, Taka’s new chub, the asshole known as Minoru Suzuki, the amazing Nakajima vs. KENTA match, Marufuji being your new favorite wrestler, Kensuke is the Michael Scott of this Office, and so much more! Unfortunately, our camera’s battery died during the second-half of the video, so you’ll be missing out on our conclusion (namely more praise on Sasaki vs. Marufuji) and our breaking out the hot, spicy beef sticks in honor of a successful ’08 for the NHO project and the hard work of the wrestlers of Kensuke Office!

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

War Games

The concept is simple: Two Teams- two Rings- I massive steel cage- submit or surrender.

1) The Road Warriors (Hawk/Animal)- Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton/ Stan Lane)- "Dr. Death" Steve Williams v. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes-Terry Gordy- Jimmy Garvin)- The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu/ Samu)- Great American Bash, July 23, 1989 (5)

I have no recollection of a tag team War Games, but the participants intrigue me. This has a street fight type feel, like a giant brawl which really works for this sort of match. Eaton and Garvin start out and are probably the right guys to do it. Both men are throwing slick uppercuts and just pummeling each other's faces. Doc comes in next followed by Gordy and it's really funny to see these two target each other and just wail the hell out of the other one for most of the match. Jim Ross says several times "Doc and Gordy have found each other again!" Hayes played chickenshit heel well but the DDT spree he came in on looked like his ex-wife: ugly and sloppy. The Road Warriors were, (surprise!surprise!) dominant and took no mercy on anyone with brutal clotheslines and biels into the cage wall, which was used very little. I don't even think anyone bled in this, but it still wasn't insulting. Hawk came in as clean up batter and lit everyone up and got the win with a sick neck hang on Garvin that looked pretty damn Mideval.

2) Sting/ Davey Boy Smith/ Dustin Rhodes/ Shockmaster v. Vader/ Sid Vicious/ Harlem Heat (Fall Brawl Sept 19, 1993)- 4

We start with taped up ribs Dustin and mean, pissy Vader and it works. These two have some good stuff together because Vader can make the right guy look really credible when he sells for them. Dustin opened up really good, enter Stevie Ray (sorry, Kane) with some sloppy kicks. Dustin loses his boot in the first period and it becomes a staple of this match with everyone using it at some point. Sting evens up sides and whips everybody's ass, including plancha over both rings! Sid comes in and was a useless piece of shit in this, as useless as Sarah Palin. He and Bulldog both looked like garbage in this, Davey with his extremely telegraphed strikes and Sid being scared to get hit and dodging several boot shots. Booker T, (pardon, Kole) comes in and gets beat up on as the Heat were not featured in this very well. Shockmaster is last to enter as Jesse Ventura says "Let's see if he can make it into the ring without tripping over himself!" in a funny line. Much to his credit, he came in and pounded the shit out of some people, but that was all the work he needed to do. The finish was downright insulting- Shocky picks up Booker, the freshest guy and puts him in a tame bearhug for the win. This whole match was basically a tool to get this overweight fool over and it loses points for it.

3) Dusty Rhodes/ Dustin Rhodes/ Nasty Boys v. Terry Funk/ Arn Anderson/ Bunkhouse Buck/ Col. Robert Parker (Fall Brawl Setp 18, 1994)- 5

This match took the formula of the first one and improved upon it, making this an even more out of control brawl and hinging on the return of Dusty (one of many to come later), it's almost recommendable. Dustin and Arn start out and AA is the best guy to have in there at this point. His stamina is superb, he can work circles around most everyone else, plus he loves getting bumpy into the cage and get gore. Bunkhouse can get roughneck too, and has a great overhand swipe. The Nastys are as mean as ever, taking liberties with everyone throwing them into the cage. And then there's middleaged and crazy Terry Funk, one of my favorites. He comes in with his finger in his boot loop and starts throwing that thing around and catches Sags in the face with it, legit. So, Sags takes him to the middle of the rings where there's a gap about a foot wide between them and piledrives Funk right through it in one of the crazier spots of the match. Then, everyone gets the notion to take their belts off and start swinging wildly, which many guys get caught errantly in the face. Parker wants no part of anyone and then Dusty comes in to a massive pop. The finish actually makes a lot of sense, they all 4 get Parker in the last ring and as Dusty hooks in the figure four everyone else stomps and drops elbows on the old fart. Pretty decent stuff.

4) Hulk Hogan/ Randy Savage/ Sting/ Lex Luger v. Kamala/ The Zodiac/ The Shark/ Meng (Fall Brawl Sept 17, 1995)- 3

Hogan and squad were all in army fatigues and face paint but they may as well have been wearing mailman uniforms because this one was mailed in big time. Even Sting who usually shows a lot of fire fizzled after the first five minutes and relegated himself to simply throwing sloppy strikes at any one of the freaks that opposed him. Shark was first in, surprisingly and showed some stamina. Zodiac's sells were beyond ludicrous here, and showed how far down the ladder he'd come. Meng was stiff, briefly, and put a kick in Luger's jaw at one point. Speaking of horseface, he did some shitty elbows and hit the double clothesline spot that's in every War Games. Savage got a little crazy in his entrance but even after that he was pretty forgettable. And Kamala, god was he worthless. He's a less than stellar worker anyways and given this environment he was even more pitiful than usual. Hogan came into a pop, but didn't sell one move and why? Because he never got hit. He came in throwing bags of powder (Linda's nose candy) at everyone then doleing out some of the saddest excuses for chops I've seen in some time. He got the win with a camel clutch that made the Shiek turn over in his burnt out grave. Then Hogan gets 5 mins. alone with Taskmaster but the Giant, back-ne and all comes in for more Hogan hilarity......except no one was laughing.

5) Sting/ Lex Luger/ Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson v. Hollywood Hogan/ Kevin Nash/ Scott Hall/ NWO Sting (Fall Brawl Sept 15, 1996)- 4

This started out good- Arn and Hall both bringing the wares in the punching dept and the WCW guys just had so much heat whenever they got the advantage it was phenomenal. Arn was looking really crisp too, had good ring movement and sold Hall's stuff as well as ever. Nash and Luger were next in, lots of heat on both, Luger looked really wooden though and the cage was barely used throughout. Hogan comes in with some cheap shots as usual, Flair enters and takes over one ring and the fans are going nuts. He's strutting all over as Hogan dares to come after him and gets eaten alive with chops, punches and low blows. Then, the fake Sting. it kills me how these announcers that have worked with him for years can't tell it's really him or not. He steals all of Sting's shit, doing it poorly until the real deal comes in and the freakin building explodes with excitement. He comes in and wrecks shop on all NWO guys, who get Stinger splashes like crazy. You can't convince me NWO was automatic babyfaces when guys like Sting & Flair were in the ring stealing all the heat, sorry as much as some of these shitbirds want to rewrite history. Stinger leaves and begins his year long solitude and heels go right to finish, which sucks Mean Gene's dong. Scorpion by the faker Sting while Hogan straps that overused weight belt around Luger's neck. Decent match, shortest War Games ever though, no blood, just a ton of crowd heat carried this up past some others.

6) Diamond Dalls Page/ "Rowdy" Roddy Piper/ The Warrior v. Hollywood Hogan/ Bret Hart/ Stevie Ray v. Kevin Nash/ Sting/ Lex Luger (Fall Brawl Sept 13, 1998)- 3
Here's where this yearly tradition takes a turn for the worse. New concept, 3 teams of 3, random draw, have to get a pinfall. Bret and Page start, working some non-descript spots. Bret's offense he knows well, but you can tell it's not as crisp as it used to be. Tons of guys come in, all lacking any real fire, especially guys like Luger who simply plod to the ring as if he's simply out for a stroll (wearing jeans and a tank top, thanks for caring enough to put on your ring gear) and brawl aimlessly. Even Sting looks bored, looking off towards the crowd while issuing 3 stinger splashes. Piper comes in and is the only m'fer showing life, which is amazing considering he probably doesn't have much left. Why did I say that? Great short jabs, going to everyone, giving everybody a little taste. He gets sloppily jacknifed by Nash for his effort. Hogan comes in with that silly slapjack and everyone has to sell it like it kills them, except for Sting who is hit from behind and acts as if someone tapped him on the shoulder. Couple more shots and he goes down. Now, the Warrior who enters with a smoke cloud behind him, like some slaphappy kid at a magic shop. He throws some of the ugliest haymakers ever at Hogan and Stevie Ray, who sell them like a skunk is in front of them. Hogan leaves, Warrior stares for a good 2 minutes while other guys who have gotten up ignore him, then he kicks a whole in the cage and slices his bicep in the process. Sting clumsily pulls Bret's trunks causing him to fall haphazardly and DDP hits the Diamond cutter on Stevie ray. Really stupid visual seeing all of WCW's main eventers laying around the ring like they're in a high school drunken car crash re-enactment.

7) Sting/ Booker T/ Goldberg/ Kronik v. Kevin Nash/ Jeff Jarrett/ Scott Steiner/ Vince Russo (WCW Monday Nitro- Sept 4, 2000)- 2

Oh, jesus the Russo one. They used the 3 tier cage from that David Arquette vehicle "Ready to Rumble" and again, didn't do a damn thing with it. If WWE or even ROH had this thing, they could make it worthwhile. Entrants entered nearly every minute and the ring filled up quickly. Some of the more mind blowing entries in were Kronik, wearing really tight vinyl shirts as if they were going to try and get into a teen dance club; Russo wearing a hockey helmet but looking like a mentally handicap kid looking for his caretaker. He brought the Harris boys out who immediately from the outside climbed up to the 2nd level. Well, hell why do the participants even have to go through all of the levels then? And Kevin Nash, who states to the camera, " I"m not moving" and he doesn't, he stays on the bottom level the whole match and waits for them to bring the title to him. There's a lot of sloppy garbage spots with ladders and guitars and stuff. All the faces get handcuffed which competely kills the match when half of the guys can't move. This is basically a big cock tease of Goldberg winning the belt back, which he goes on an impressive run of killing all these guys, but as soon as he's about to leave, Bret Hart wearing some wretched gear slams the cage door in his face. Nash and the boys all count to 3 (?) then walk out together, trying to act as cool as they can muster, but that novely wore off 3 years prior. This was a big shitty production of a match where little to no wrestling took place. It's the pro wrestling world equivalent to Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor except without the vomit-inducing, plot holed love story.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling - Episode #1

Ten random celebrities being taught in eight weeks how to wrestle? This should be interesting. I’ve heard some mixed things about this show but, since it’s available for download from the lovely Xbox Marketplace, why not take a look.

Opening video package talks about the series and mentions that the celebrities will be trained by "legendary" coaches Brian Knobbs and Brutus Beefcake.

- Dennis Rodman (NBA bad boy)
- Trishelle Canatella (MTV’s “Real World: Las Vegas”)
- Dustin Diamond (Screech from “Saved by the Bell”)
- Danny Bonaduce (well … yeah)
- Nikkie Ziering (Former Barker’s Beauty on “The Price is Right” and Playboy model)
- Butterbean (pro boxer)
- Tiffany (80’s teen sensation)
- Erin Murphy (Tabitha from “Bewitched”)
- Todd Bridges (“Diff’rent Strokes”)
- Frank Stallone (Sly’s brother)

Jimmy Hart and Eric Bischoff meet the celebrities mid-ring and introduce Knobbs and Beefcake. Knobbs look like he ate a whale. Bisch then introduces Hogan as the “man who made this industry”. Hogan expects big things from the celebrities. Hogan says Hart and Bischoff have many years of developing talent. That’s funny because Bisch couldn’t find and develop his own announcing talent! Hulk tells Danny he missed his calling. Celebs will learn three moves a week from the coaches and will be trained to work said moves into a match to be performed in front of a live crowd. The judges for the show will be Bischoff, Hart, and Hogan … as if you couldn’t have guessed.

The celebs are then divided into team and with this week’s moves – clothesline, kick to the mid-section, and forearm smash – being demonstrated.
Team Nasty: Erin, Rodman, Screech, Stallone, Nikki
Team Beefcake: Bonaduce, Tiffany, Butterbean, Bridges, Trishelle

We get some highlights from both training camps. I like Beefcake more as a trainer because he takes a bit more mellow approach while Knobbs likes to holler and scream. Some of the interesting things were Todd Bridges kicking a dude in the nuts, Erin Murphy explaining how to take a bump, and then the coaches trying to choreograph their teams respective matches. Prior to the matches, Dustin says he’ll be the “ring general” for his team.

Time for the matches. Bubba the Love Sponge on commentary. And yes … I will be scoring the matches.

Tiffany & Danny Bonaduce (w/ Todd Bridges) vs. Butterbean & Trishelle Canatella – 2
Good showing by Butterbean and Bonaduce. Danny’s selling was a bit over-the-tope but the fire and intensity was there. Butterbean relied on his strength a lot and didn’t really sell much. Trishelle showed some promise but Tiffany realling brought everything down by missing the top buckle when she was supposed to hit it with her head. Bonaduce and Butterbean close out the bout and Bean’s team wins with a splash. Post-match attack by Tiffany, Danny, and Todd.

Dennis Rodman & Erin Murphy vs. Dustin Diamond & Frank Stallone (w/ Nikki) – 2
It’s funny how they never mention Rodman’s involvement with WCW in this show. Dustin works 95% of the match for his team. His initial selling is good then Frank tags in and doesn’t bring much to the table. Murphy showed a lot of spunk and was really over with the trained crowd. Rodman wins it for his team with a second-rope clothesline. They didn’t stray too much from the formula here.

God … I mean, Hulk … says that Team Nasty had the best match this week so all their members are safe from elimination. The judges save Trishelle, Danny, and Butterbean from elimination. It’s down to Todd and Tiffany. Hulk says that the only thing saving Todd from elimination was his orchestration of the post-match attack for his team. Tiffany is shown the door. See ya Tiffany! You suck and so does your music. Personally, I thought Team Beefcake had the better match, but apparently my opinion doesn't count.

Preview of episode two where the celebs are thrown off a lift onto a giant inflatable mattress. Overall, a fun debut episode. Future episodes will tell me if I should really spend my time watching this, though

Sunday, November 30, 2008

WWE Smackdown! 11/14/08

1. Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin - 6
2. Carlito vs. Brian Kendrick - 4
3. MVP vs. Kung Fu Naki - 1
4. Maria vs. Michelle McCool - 2
5. The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy - Extreme Rules Match - 5

I’m going to talk about this show in an order descending from what I personally enjoyed the most downward to the things I’d rather soon forget. Benjamin versus Matt Hardy was a really terrific match, especially for an opener, and even more so for TV fare. A lot of limb work, by both men, a slow build, this all led to a sense of believability and athletic competition lacking from much of today’s American product. Even the announcers, Ross in particular, tried to invoke an MMA-like vibe to it, saying, “if we were going by points Benjamin would be winning” but alas, that’s not how it works, and Hardy’s completely unexpected “Twist of Fate” came out of nowhere like a big knockout in MMA and really helped complete the analogous tracts of the match.

I thought Kendrick and Carlito was pretty good for a more typical throwaway TV bout. The highlight clearly being Kendrick laying in tons of real stiff leg kicks, it seemed like he was trying to raise the ire of apple eating mid-carder, just going back to the nasty kicks again and again. We also got to see big Zeke take out Primo on the floor in a great visual. The Undertaker versus Hardy (donned in pseudo-Joker face paint) was seriously pimped online, overly so, as I felt it wasn’t the mind-blowing spectacle I’d come to anticipate. Granted, it got a little more mileage out of the tired hardcore milieu, and had a couple big bumps (Hardy’s legdrop off the ladder made my boner from the Maria match soften in empathy) to boot. I’m still confused about the whole new direction of Hardy’s character, and this didn’t help clear up any of my mystification.

The further burial of MVP just makes me shake my head in disapproval. Here, he got beat by perennial jobber Funaki (for the second time) and afterward, was the victim of molestation by a pale, fat, redheaded beast plucked from the crowd by the Great Khali. I was disappointed that the Maria versus McCool match, which they’d actually built up decently on TV the past couple weeks, was a colossal bowl of fecal fettuccini. As soon as it started, Jesse and Festus came to ringside, immediately turning this from a match to a bullshit story development piece, continuing the ongoing “romance” of the oddest on-screen pairing since that rough-looking footage of R. Kelly urinating on that young girl.

Friday, November 28, 2008

NHO Road Report #2: Ring of Honor - "Escalation"

A = Adam
D = Didge

Dark Matches
1. Alex "Sugarfoot" Payne & Ninja Blue vs. Hunter Matthews & Jordan McIntyre - D:1 A:1

D: Ninja Blue? Jesus Scrap Iron is that the best you can up with? Sound like the Garbage Man gimmick I was using in the backyard. A lot of blown spots in this one with none of them being too techincal. Just basic wrestling. That gerber baby look alike Sugarfoot was the only one who showed promise. Sprinkle some salt on these boys, they need some seasoning.

A: This was about the quality of the stuff you would see on Hulk Hogan's "Celebrity Championship Wrestling". By that I mean they didn't stray too far from the basic formula. Believe it or not, Payne was the most experienced. The ninja's costume looked like it came from the local thrift store, complete with imitation sword. I must agree with Didge when he said that these boys need some seasoning, although I would prefer some paprika and thyme, because this was salty enough to leave a bad taste.

2. Bobby Dempsey vs. Ninja Yellow - D:0 A:1

D: This was a dark match squash. Ninja Yellow (see comments from first match)! I think there was four moves in this match with the fin being a cradle DVD. Alot of bad strikes by that ninja. Go back to working security at the show bitch!

A: This was a squash in more ways than one. Not only did Dempsey make quick work of the other generic ninja (who's to say it's not the same ninja from before but with a different color belt), he squashed the poor jobber's neck with a sick finisher. This one gets a mercy point only for the fin.

Main Show

1. Brent Albright vs. Davey Richards - D:3 A:5

D: I was really disappointed in this match. This was a grudge match but it only went ten minutes? These guys never got out of first gear. Davey's strikes were hit and miss and a lot of Sweet and Sour interference. This matched was phoned in. No one took a bump, no high impact moves, and not many hard strikes which both men are known for. Sad!

A: I was looking forward to this match but it didn't deliver to my full expectations. The crowd was super quiet. Davey and Albright have a good chemistry together and I think they would've benefited if they had more time to develop their match. Albright did score the win following some Sara Del Ray, Larry Sweeney, and Bobby Dempsey interference. Afterwards, the slow build to the eventual Dempsey turn continued with a beatdown until Albright scared them off. There was enough presented to warrant a decent score but with more time, these two could have a kick-ass match.

Nigel McGuinness Promo!
D: Nigel McGuinness cut a promo where he declared that his 3-Way Title Match was going to be Non-Title. Oh, ok it's cool to just change your mind in a middle of a show. Not that we paid good hard earned money for a show to see a title match. Sorry Adam, no live title change for you! And what is the deal with a new backstage interviewer some random Randy Orton look alike with tats! And if your a backstage interviewer why aren't you backstage?

A: I wasn't too pleased with the backstage interviewer, either. I believe his name was Kyle Durden and it looked like had just stepped out of the local American Eagle store with fresh duds on. Anyway, this dude had Nigel come out and then Nigel cut a promo mentioning, among other things, that the main event would be non-title and that Dayton was a "shithole". This was a blatant bait-and-switch on the main event.

2. Go Shiozaki vs. Sami Callahan vs. Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood (Four-Corner Survival) - D:3 A:3

D: Grizzly Redwood is Mich Franklin in a fucking lumberjack gimmick. Flannel, suspenders and large beard. He was doing chops to the the legs like he was chopping down a tree but they were weak sauce. Lay that shit in. Rhett Titus is funny as hell. He actually showed up to work but he didnt bump either. Sami Callahan needs to leave his bush league indy garb at home. Stevens did it, why can't you? He was trying to do some NOAH strike spots with Go but it wasn't working out. The only reason this gets a score was for Go not handing over. He laid in some stiff chops, some good Moves and the "Go Flasher" finisher live is tremendous. Liked Go but flush the rest down the toilet.

A: I saw a vignette of Redwood earlier on before I left for the show. I was a fan until I saw his work. His double axe-handles to the legs of his opponents were weak and his act was all comedy. Callahan I remember from HWA television in 2006. He was shit then as a supposed cannonball but he seems to have improved a bit since then. They worked a little thing with Go and Rhett Titus during the match where Titus played like he was afraid of Go. Speaking of Go, this whole match seemed like a light workout for him and he seemed really out of place.

3. Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Irish Airborne (Jake & Dave Crist) - D:2 A:4

D: Well Irish Airborne blew their shot at getting back on the roster and most of their spots in this match. In the beginning the Briscoes were hot, but after a Jay Briscoe snapmare where he runs off the ropes to deliver a dropkick, Dave Crist is motionless except for his chewing gum waiting for the boots. God, are you even gonna try to sell or what? It instantly mad me laugh out loud. Another blown springboard spot by Dave seemed to blow Mark's knee out in which they automatically went to the fin of a stuff piledriver on Jake for the win. Mark limped to the back and Jay was definitely pissed. Sorry Crist's, just wait for my friend Dusty to give you a call to do another EWF match in front of 60 fans you spot monkeys.

A: As much as I hate to admit it, I used to think the Irish Airborne were cool. The first time I saw them was in this same building under Lotus and Crazy J. Since then, I've realized that their work was shit. This was their return to ROH and they looked awful. Dave just sat on the mat, emotionless, chewing his gum and waiting for Jay Briscoe to hit the spot. The Briscoes dominated the Airborne. Cut to the end and Dave fucks up a springboard and Mark's knee in the process. After this, Jay and Mark stuffed Jake and walked to the back, super pissed. Hey Airborne, go back to making pizzas at the Wright State cafeteria. This gets a decent score because of the Briscoes doing their usual and having a good match.

4. Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero (Lights Out Match) - D:3 A:4

D: Roderick looked like he has lost about 20 pounds. This matched sucked Del Ray dick! Hero dominated most of the match with only half of his strikes landing and the other half slapped off the side of his banana colored pants. The only time it picked up was when Strong was on offense. I just can't belive that a man with less upperbody build that Richard Simmons is gonna knock everyone out! It's not gonna happen. You can tell the Pearce fingerprints on this match with the run in no contest shit. God, your fucking up the fed - can't you see that you pasty fuck!

A: I was looking forward to this match as well but it failed to meet the expectations I had for it. That being said, it was a decent match and would've gotten an extra point had it not been for the dogshit fin. Roderick's chops were on as usual and he hit a couple of sick backbreakers that I enjoyed thoroughly. Hero's offense was crap as usual and somehow grew a beard, despite ever hitting puberty. This, of course, led the ROH fans to immediately compare him to Triple H. Huh? Anyway, the fin saw God and everyone run in to end this one in a no-contest, a decision the fans were more than upset with.

5. Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious - D:4 A:5

D: This match was ok for the fact it has some decent tag work. There was some heel stalling from Jacobs and Delirious which I expected. These guys broke a sweat but didn't bust their ass either. But that seems to be par for the course for Dayton. The tag champs were over huge. Well, as huge as they could be for this shitty crowd. Most guys got their move set off. Then some Titus distraction of Delirious ended the match. I would have given it a five but I cant recommened an average forgettable tag with a bad fin.

A: This was a good match. Jacobs and Delirious just coasted through the bout, doing only what was necessary to entertain the fans in attendance. Steen and Generico, however, put forth their usual good efforts. There was one spot where Generico was in a headlock and the fans were chanting "Ole!" and stopped. Steen called out from the apron "don't stop!" and the fans started chanting again to energize Generico. Then, Rhett Titus ran down to distract Delirious, who was then rolled up for a pin. Jacobs verbally berated Delirious afterwards, then hugged him. Uh ... ok?

6. Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli - D:6 A:6

D: Danielson doesn't take a day off. He should tell the rest of the boys in the back that. Claudio looked good as well as this matched started out on the outside hot with some europeans. Bryan's sell is really off the charts. It's the little things he does that only can be caught by the trained eye is what makes him the best wrestler in the states. These guys turned it up but not all the way as the match was just too short ... fifteen minutes maybe. Like in the match prior, they pretty much went through their move set, and just when you think Claudio had the match in the bag, Danielson's small package gets him the win. After the match Claudio tries to damage Bryan's knee even more with some chair shots. This brings the Irish Airborne out to stop the madness. Why the Airborne? And they fuck it up too with Dave no selling a gutwrench but Claudio muscles him over any way is a weird altercation.

A: I agree with Didge when he says that Danielson never takes a day off. This was definitely the best match of the show. They did some good brawling on the outside to start off and it showed the emotion involved in the match. Claudio controlled the majority of the match. Both men looked crisp but the match only went about 15 minutes. The fin saw Danielson get out of a Ricola Bomb and get a small package for the win. Afterwards, Claudio went after Danielson's knee with a chair in an effort to become a more full-fledged heel. This was a solid bout but nothing really out of the ordinary.

7. Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black vs. Nigel McGuinness - D:5 A:5

D: Nigel took the night off too. Non-title bullshit. Nigel started the match by wrist work on both men to prove he's the better wrestler. Wow, you proved your point. Tyler Black has won me over. Hes put on some more weight and now looks great. This was maybe the only match other than Danielson/Claudio where the timing was on. Aries actually took a couple spills to the outside. But once again the match just seemed like a exhibition because it was about fifteen minutes long with Aries pinning Black. It was a good match but it just doesn't have any legs. The victory by Aries just seemes anticlimatic.

A: I'm curious as to why they put Black and Aries in the same match, since they have a similar facial look these days. This match definitely had potential but they never really stepped up and went to the next level. Nigel just lingered around mostly and not really putting forth much effort. Aries hit all his trademark shit as did Black. Once the match was changed to non-title, you had to figure that either Black or Aries had to come out looking strong. Aries did get the win, which gave him some momentum going into his match the next night.


D: This was a disappointing show. There were two big problems ... one, the crowd was dead. The quitest ROH crowd I have ever heard. They just couldn't get into the matches, except the section we were in was the comedy section where random bad puns were flying back a forth with shitty brititsh humor, sexual harrassment of Allison Wonderland (and she did look hot), and Sweeney shouts. Second, the workers didn't show up to wrestle. They had a PPV taping in Chicago the next day so no one wanted to shoot their wad for a shitty Dayton crowd with matches that didn't even matter. Except for Go, Danielson, and Claudio, everyone mailed it in. This wasn't a ROH show it was a exhibition. My friend Neal was with us, and he works at Hot Topic, and a funny thing he told me was he could pick out 8 different accessories from the store that the Age of the Fall were sporting. Wow, what message are they really sending. Down with comformity? In closing, I will not be returning to a ROH show anytime soon being it was shitty or they don't return to Dayton with is a real possiblity. Man that crowd was dead!

A: It seems like I've beat this point to death but, on paper, this show had potential but it seemed like most everyone took the night off and saved all their energy for the pay-per-view taping the next night. There was really nothing on this show that I would go out of my way to seek out and was a disappointment overall. Afterwards, at Denny's, one of the Irish Airborne walked in and someone at the table said it appropriately, as it was "ego stroke time" for the sandwich-making wannabe star. The last recommended Dayton show was "Breakout" in January 2008. I've heard that ROH may eliminate Dayton from the schedule and if so, the April date will most likely be the last. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the XVW morons that I ripped apart back in the spring, were handing out flyers for their next abomination. I don't even think I need to comment on that mess.