Monday, April 28, 2008

Grand Masters of Wrestling: First Blood Vol. 1

1. Ace Darling vs. Mr. Motion - 3
2. Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Cheetah Kid - 2
3. Misty Blue vs. Linda Dallas - 1
4. Iron Shiek vs. Nikolai Volkoff - 3

When you run with a group of true purveyors of the art of wrestling, finding something good isn't always as impressive as finding something obscure. Stumbling upon this gem for $1 in a bin at Wal-Mart I believed I had struck gold like the pioneers of the west. This DVD promises over 60 minutes of "Raw" footage--but delivered only 48. It's from a real low-budget independent show, the wrestlers make their entrances coming out of a ivy-covered brick building that looks like something off the set of Dead Poet's Society, walk down a cobblestone path to a big tent where there's a ring set up. There are only about 70 people there, and that's being generous, looking like mostly families. It's also evident that this is the '90's, as there's a proliferation of fluorescent and neon colored windbreakers and other types of apparel. Later, I deducted that this was probably some type of "block party" in some semi-affluent New Jersey suburb.

Ace Darling and Mr. Motion bring the stuff Billy Kidman was imitating in his neighbor's backyard at this time. The opener definitely has the best pace, as Mr. Motion lives up to his name, keeping it moving forward, as well as sporting a mighty fine mullet. I do have to take a shit on the finish, though, as Motion's belly-to-belly suplex looked like a dancing pirouette in mid-air. It was great seeing Iron Mike Sharpe doing the same shtick he did at MSG shows for years. His hair had transformed into a large pompadour and his waistline had shifted like a tectonic plate. Cheetah Kid, for all of his fancy attire, didn't offer up much of anything. This is only watchable due to Sharpe's old school chickenshit heel tactics, begging off, complaining, etc. and for that fact that Mike actually lays in some of his shots. For some odd reason halfway through the match the image looks like the camera operator put a fish eye lens on just for the hell of it.

The women's match was simply awful. Linda Dallas was obscenely gross and annoying. She looked like a bus driver in a leotard, the entire match she was more worried about being vocal than wrestling, by screaming, bitching, and so on. The face, Misty Blue, who the only thing blue about her was varicose veins, got the win with an airplane spin. The main event pitted former partners Nikolai versus the Iron Shiek. Nikolai, donned in his customary Russian attire, was carrying an American flag for cheap face heat. Match was pretty short and ugly, Iron Shiek's once impressive suplexes haven't aged well, and save for a short strike barrage by Volkoff, this was a pile of puke sauce.

Now, the back of my DVD advertised Nikolai versus Bam Bam Bigelow, as well as Iron Shiek versus the Mighty Macabee--neither match was on the disc. However, upon some research, all reviews I've found on this DVD discuss the show advertised on the package. Apparently, Macabee is a famed fencer and not a wrestler, and allegedly has one of the worst matches in recorded history. I would have loved to been able to see that. So, that conundrum aside, for a measly $1 I'd say this is worth at least one spin. The surrealness of seeing the term "house show" taken literally, as this is on someone's front lawn, is worthy of some esteem.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

WCW New Blood Rising

I think this is sometime in late 2000 and I have a dreaded feeling it’s going to be Russo-tastic.

1 Jung Dragons v. 3 Count (Ladder Match)- 4

Okay, this starts out really good- the action is fast paced, they are doing the whole “keep everyone outside except the two guys doing ladder spots” routine but it’s working for them. Yang gets crotched on a ladder rung in the corner, Knoble does a huge cross body from the top of the ladder to the outside, Helms has someone hanging from the ladder and hits a running neck breaker, so there are some cool things going down. But, Tank Abbott is at ringside and he gets involved in the last probably 4 minutes and bungles everything. Plus, the goal is to get a Gold Record (that 3 Count supposedly received for their song) and a Recording Contract (?). So, the Dragons get the Record and by most Ladder Match premises would have won but it keeps going while Tank struts and jives around the ring, looking so damn foolish it’s hard for the announcers to contain their laughter. But, the joke was on them because they’d all be out of jobs by the beginning of the next year.

2 Great Muta v. The Cat- 2

Why, oh Why did you come here Muta? The bald spot on his head surrounded by wispy black hair looked like a field of wheat caught in a brushfire. Muta’s kicks were on target but his sells were not. He was so stiff moving that he actually made Ernest Miller look limber. Tygress came in and jumped off the top rope with a chair held above her head like a parachute and hit Muta with it in a pathetic looking spot. But, he kicked out and later got pinned with another shitty roundhouse kick from Cat. Puke.

3 “Positively” Kanyon v. Buff Bagwell (Judy Bagwell on a Forklift Match)- 3

As ridiculous as this gimmick is and it really tops the list, the in-ring work itself wasn’t so bad. The match was short but Kanyon worked a good pace with Bagwell, who mostly stayed on the defensive. Kanyon worked some really good cutoff spots of Buff’s momentum and hit some crisp moves. For some unknown reason, David Arquette (who Mark Madden started hailing as “one of the greatest world champions of our time”) came out and interfered and sadly started out bumping Kanyon! Blockbuster finish and Buffy helps his gargantuan redneck momma off a big forklift. Still can’t believe she was a tag champ with Rick Steiner….

4 Kronik v. Hugh Morrus/ Lash LeRoux v. Perfect Event v. Sean O”Haire/ Mark Jindrak- 1

What a big festering pile of dog shit this was. Stasiak, Morrus and Palumbo did most of the legwork here, which wasn’t bad, but anytime either Kronik guy got in, they botched a spot. Even their own double team move, the High Times double chokeslam. Then, you had the refs: Disco, Rey jr. Tygress, and Juvi were all refs and interfered at will for the duration of the whole match. Then, Disco would randomly fast count or slow count different guys to no rhyme or reason. Vampiro and Muta made a stop at ringside so Vamp could throw one kick and Muta could act like he didn’t see the 300 lb. guy running towards him to knock him off the apron. The finish came when Chavo Jr. came in and stole Disco’s ref shirt then counted the three as it fell from his neck. Madden explained “that whoever has the ref’s shirt on can make the count.” Oh, well, in that case, couldn’t I put the shirt on, and count my own wins? After I finish this review, I’m going to take a lighter and burn the piece of film in the tape of this match.

5 Shane Douglas v. Billy Kidman (Strap Match)- 2

God, is Douglas slow. He and Kidman have no rhythm together and this looks like a really bad indy match. Kidman takes a sweet stun gun that crumples his neck. Torrie interferes numerous times in this one, actually hitting Kidman with her heel when she was supposed to miss and hit Douglas. Franchise That! Douglas really hangs Kidman after the match in a kind of grotesque scene when Big Vito makes the save and the crowd groans indifferently. I wonder what Douglas likes more: the cheers of the crowd or “Price check in Aisle 6”
Douglas: “Target doesn’t know how badly it’s about to get it’s Ass Franchised!”

6 Miss Hancock v. Major Gunns (Bikini Mud Match)- 1

So, the rules kept changing. First you have to take off the camo bikinis they had on. Then, you take them to the mud pit. Well, then you have to pin them. JUST STRIP NAKED, BEECHES! That’s the only reason you’re out there. In the Mud Pit, Stacy got real provocative and started doing her grind while just feeling herself up. Definitley liked that. This ended with the beginning of her pregnancy angle……and just who was going to be the father? Why, Vince Russo. But, he does what’s best for his company….like giving himself the WorldTitle. Oh, that wasn’t the person Vince Russo, it was the character that was winning it. Someone please, please bludgeon him with a wrench and videotape it for all the world to see!*
*Psychopaths, ignore this plea.

7 The Demon v. Sting- 2

This was about 45 seconds long, but Demon was bumping his ass off for the Stinger and one of two matches without interference during it. Sting looked actually sort of young compared to now and had tons of energy.

8 Mike Awesome v. Lance Storm- 2

I think these two could have had a legitimate good match, but it was pissed away like the results of Russo’s AIDS test. They did the “rules keep changing” gimmick which restarted the match like 5 times. And they were in Canada, so they pretty much shit all over Storm to do this stupid gimmick. Storm was taking really sick powerbombs though throughout and Awesome actually looked motivated. Jacques Rougeau and Bret Hart both made appearances to up the Canuck quotient but ultimately didn’t mean anything.

9 Great Muta/ Vampiro v. Kronik- 2

This match was made during the aftermatch of Sting’s match. Yeah, everyone was thrilled. Bryan Clarke’s own mother doesn’t want to see him twice in one day, so why should we? The work was bad, as Vamp and Muta were throwing really uninspired kicks like a bad action figure from the 80’s. And, now brought to you by Vince Russo’s Head from Ass Removal Cream, we bring you the Interference for this Match: (drumroll, please) The Harris Boys! Yes, it’s the Harris Boys, the only two twins who wish they were conjoined! They run in with a really shitty double powerbomb that fell apart like a Whopper sandwich from Burger King!
And now, back to your regularly scheduled program….this match sucked.

10 Kevin Nash v. Scott Steiner v. Goldberg- 1

Challenge to Readers: Please tell me what the bloody fuck was happening here?
Goldberg doesn’t come out right away and the announcers are trying to play up like he’s breaking kayfabe because he doesn’t want to “do the job”, then he runs out a minute in with taped up ribs and wrists (Madden speculates it’s a worked injury to get out of the match) then after some really slow, slow action (using this word really loosely) Goldberg is about to get jackknifed but he just walks away from the move, again, as if breaking kayfabe then walks to the back where Russo comes out and gets red on him before getting the bird. Then, Nash and Steiner finish a really shitty match. Goldberg stiffing Steiner and Steiner getting the Jacknife were the only highlights in this massively, overbooked diarrhea dump of a match.

11 Booker T v. Jeff Jarrett- 3

Here’s our main event: No interference in this one, thank god, but it probably could have used some. They started out with a fast pace and they’re timing together was pretty on. But, it pretty much turned into a hardcore fiasco. Why would you run armpit first if you were whipped into a guard rail? Anyone by the name of Jarrett feel free to answer that question. They did a Rock Bottom off the apron onto a table- Sounds good right? Well, the table was too short and Jarrett hit his head on the corner and looked really hurt. Then, they got back in and did some chair spots which looked as feeble as the creepy old guy from Family Guy. They did like one reversal and hit the finish. Really lackluster and I expected much better from these two.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

King of the Ring 2008 tournament

This once-prestigious event was held on a 3 hour edition of Raw so we aren't going to have anything spectacular on this show, but thought it would be a fun, quick review.

1st Round

1 Chris Jericho v. MVP- 3
2 CM Punk v. Matt Hardy- 4
3 Great Khali v. Finlay- 0
4 William Regal v. Hornswaggle- 1

Well, some of this looked good. Jericho and MVP had a K to the ICK Ass Match a few weeks ago on Smackdown that was thought out, stiff and had some great nearfalls. This was none of those things. First off, Jericho was in slow motion like he was in an 80's MTV Videodrome music vid. MVP brought out his big boot and Jericho reversed the Playmaker in a good spot, but i expected so much more. Punk and Hardy played great off of each other, which in essence this match was just counter after counter until Punk hit his fin. Very fun for what it was. Khali looks more and more like one of those Trees from Lord of the Rings and this just stunk. They scrambled for a few seconds on the mat but nothing even connected. DQ finish and i've got a diahrrea dump. Regal stretching a dirty midget was a nice visual between eating my deep friend hushpuppies for supper.

2nd Round

5 Chris Jericho v. CM Punk- 4
6 Finlay v. William Regal- 4

Jericho and Punk, again, had a very good match that the crowd ate up the night after Mania. This was, again, a slower pace that never really took off. Both men wrestled with a sense of urgency trying to get the pin, which made perfect sense in a tournament but Jericho countering Punk's block of his Lionsault was a good idea in theory, but much like Mike Huckabee's bid for Republican Nominee, it didn't pan out. Jericho took a nasty GTS on the button for a believable fin. Finlay was playing the wounded dog here, so Regal got extremely nasty with his strikes. Both men were just taking liberty after liberty with each other until Regal tied him up in the Stretch. Pretty short but grosser, like Britney's first marriage.


7 CM Punk v. William Regal- 5

Oh, i wish this was longer------ Just oodles of violence poured into this quick 6 or 7minute slugfest. Regal is one of the few guys who can make an abdominal stretch look FOR REAL. These two were slugging it out, stiff style during most of this encounter. Punk's kick sequence was louder than Kane's pop when he came out in the main event. Regal was enjoying eating all of Punk's hurty offense; you could see it on the bloke's face. Wonderful Stretch finish because Regal didn't just sit on it, he pulled that mother fucker out of the ground. Possible Regal push? Count me in.

Dragon Gate Infinity #67

(This episode featured matches from the 3/25/07 Memorial Gate show from the Tsu City Gym in Mie, Japan.)

Dragon Gate is its own unique niche, something this exists in a world by itself, like the krump dancers in Rize, this company doesn't have a proper placement in everyday society, it is the definition of alternative. Wrestling is at its best when it can make you dispend belief, to truly believe that what you're seeing is an authentic contest, people locked in combat, the stakes high, with ego and money on the line. But Dragon Gate take a decidedly different approach, with dance numbers, blatant homoerotic suggestions, colorful masks and costumes, etc., however, this is balanced with lighting quick acrobatics and one of the world's most exciting crop of new wrestlers. A note, every match on this show was clipped to some extent, which will always affect the ratings.

1. Yuki Ono, Taku Iwasa, Kenichiro Arai, and Akira Tozawa vs. Atsushi Aoki, BxB Hulk, Anthony W. Mori, and Dragon Kid - 4

The heel team poses for a group photo pre-match and looks like the '94 mall goth collective. BxB Hulk does this elaborate in-ring dance sequence with five insultingly sexy girls, it's ridiciously playful and silly and part of the show's charm. It made me want to play DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution 7thMix on a pint of Sharkelberry Fin Kool-Aid and PCP. The wrestling is uniformly good, this is the prototypical Dragon Gate showoff match, being fast-paced and exciting throughout, and a good opener to boot. Presumably, all of the build was lost during the clipping of this, as we're privy to mostly a highspot orgy. Dragon Kid gets his team the victory with a West Coast Pop that made me so excited I tried it on a pillow in my living room and nearly broke my neck.

2. Kengo Takai and Magnitude Kishiwada vs. Yasushi Kanda and Kintaro Kanemura - 3

It's funny seeing former hardcore slob Kanemura doing a goofy dance on the entrance ramp to The Offspring. This match started as a clichéd hardcore brawl, a style I wasn't accustomed to seeing in Dragon Gate, and later, changed directions, including a nice forearm exchange sequence. Magnitude Kishiwada was a chubby guy in denim shorts, a black tee, and a mask too tight for his large head. He kept adjusting the nose hole randomly instead of working any psychology; he also reminded me a lot of Hawk of the Road Warriors, in a bad way, because he blatantly didn't sell a handful of stuff. Kintaro gets his team the victory with a back senton from the top.

3. Genki Horiguchi vs. Matt Sydal - 5

This match is for the Open the Brave Gate title, but before I could start it, I had to proclaim the Open the Piss Gate championship for myself. Genki looks like a Static-X loyalist, with dyed purple hair, spooky contact lenses, etc. This starts with the familial armdrag showcase. Then, from that opening section, it jumps around a bit, with one of the next shots being Sydal taking a nasty suplex on a pile of chairs on the floor. Sydal hit a springboard bulldog, a move I don't recall seeing before, and I thought it was simple yet great. You also have to love Sydal's kip-up-into-hurricanrana spot. This match had the best storytelling thus far, with a clear face/heel structure, and being singles and for a title, it had a bigger feel. Horiguchi pulled out the win, though, using dastardly means, as he spit red mist in Matt's face then executed a sickening doomsday piledriver.

4. Jun Akiyama vs. Stalker Ichikawa Z - 2

Stalker is a unique character, words won't suffice, so do yourself a favor and look him up. He's a skinny kid in a black jumpsuit, with some sort of monkey/alien head, complete with giant ears and antennas, plus lots of black eye makeup. I've been watching him since the early Toryumon days, and now, he has an entire entourage of other Stalkers. From what I gather, this is the first in a series of ten matches, where I assume he's taking on great challengers. Here, we're treated by the presence of NOAH luminary Jun Akiyama. This is pure comedy, but knowing the context, it is entertaining. It's reminiscent of the Samoa Joe versus Jack Evans matches in ROH, but with the meanness quotient knocked down a few notches. They do a parody of the classic Akiyama versus Kobashi fued, as Stalker gingerly puts Jun in the corner and tries to do Kobashi's patented machine gun chops but eventually quits because it hurts his hand. Some chick throws in a the towel before Jun can kill Ichikawa with an exploder suplex. Post-match, Akiyama shakes his weird opponent's hand, then dumps him on his head anyway.

5. Cyber Kong vs. Masaaki Mochizuki - 4

The showed some highlights building this match up. Kong looks like the Japanese equivalent of Warlord, but thankfully, doesn't wrestle like him. This match is built mostly on Mochizuki's kicks, which are plentiful and deliciously stiff. It's actually a nice change of pace, as this is just a solid, physical battle--Masaaki will not give up until he sleighs the bigger man. Finally, Mochizuki gets the win with a barrage of strikes

6. Gamma, Naruki Doi, and Masato Yoshino vs. CIMA, Susumu Yokosuka, and Ryo Saito - 5

On this show, this is the best example of Dragon Gate personified. You've got a team of young, punk heels, versus a group of young, fresh-faced kids ready to vanquish the villainy. Their story is told through the awe-inspiring acrobatics, patented double-team maneuvers, and energy that's the epitome of this company. This was partially clipped, but still, there was so much going on that mere textual description won't serve it justice. One minor gripe, this is at least the third match on the show where a heel will accidentally hit his own partner, be it with a foreign weapon or strike, because they were outsmarted by their opponent. It's a cheesy '80's device, but is still used, generally by bumbling heels, but to do it excessively on the same show draws attention to how unbelievable it actually is. The faces get the victory with a lariat.

7. Jushin Liger vs. Don Fujii - 4

Liger is chunkier, dressed in black, and playing heel, but is still a joy to watch. This match is built exclusively around two things, the first being Fujii having a hurt leg, the second, that Jushin is a giant dick. Don Fujii sells a brainbuster on the floor like children's board game Don't Wake Daddy. I get the nagging feeling that this isn't delivering the main event feel I'd anticipated, it comes off more like a '99 AJPW Minase Village Tokoton Yama Camp show mid-card match. After beating Don down, Liger scores the pinfall victory after a brainbuster.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WWE Raw - 4/21/08: King of the Ring '08

It's the royal return of the King of the Ring tournament! Who's career will skyrocket tonight? Plus, we finally get to see who wins the democratic showdown between Hillary and Obama!

1) Chris Jericho vs. M.V.P. - 4
These two had a good match on Smackdown right before 'Mania so I was hoping to get the same here. That was not the case. Jericho looked solid and popped MVP in the face with a boot so hard it left what J.R. called a "goose egg". This was decent for the short amount of time they had to work. Given a longer window, they could have a stellar match.

2) Matt Hardy vs. C.M. Punk - 4
Sweet! These guys are very evenly matched. Punk comes out with a decorated briefcase that seems to be a requirement for all MitB winners. Punks strikes were hard but the crowd was probably 60/40 for Hardy. Nice counter-move sequence at the end when Punk prevails with the GTS. Again, a decent bout for the small window. Punk should go to Smackdown, he'd be a perfect fit in the U.S. title chase.

3) The Great Khali vs. Finlay - 2
Fabulous ... a Khali bout. Hopefully, Finlay will be able to help. I will give Khali credit, he's not as bad as when he first came in a few years back. A few minutes pass, Khali hits the dreaded "chop of doom" and continually rams Finlay's leg into the ringpost until he's DQed.

4) William Regal vs. Hornswoggle - 0
Horny accompained Finlay during the previous bout. Regal comes out as Finlay is being helped back. His opponent is annouced as Hornswoggle and he drags him into the ring and applies the Regal stretch. FIN! Nothing of sustance unless it sets up something later on down the road.

5) Hardcore Holly vs. Carlito - 3
Time for some filler. Both guys seemed really lazy in this one. Carlito didn't do much of anything except punch and kick. For some reason, Holly was selling the back or it was bothering him. Best part was Carlito's excellent backstabber for the win.

6) C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho - 4
This could be a show-stealer. Nice exchanges. Jericho tries to throw Punk chest first on the ropes but they slip and Punk takes a header into the mat. Good spot where Punk blocks a lionsault which is in turn taken into a Walls of Jericho. Punk struggles in the hold while trying to reach the ropes. Great tease!! Punk fights back with a hard, hard kick and a sloppy GTS. Much like their previous matches tonight where they could've done more with more time.

7) William Regal vs. Finlay - 3
Finlay comes out favoring the left knee. Finlay takes a hard shot into the steps and Regal works the knee. Moments later, a Regal stretch finishes Finlay. Not their best encounter but still decent. Finlay's selling of the knee worked well.

8) "Hillary Clinton" vs. "Barack Obama" - 0
AW FUCK! It's another one of those stupid Trump vs. Rosie deals. It's not like I actually expected the real people to come out and fight, though. The Bill Clinton look-a-like is good and so is the Obama, the Hillary one looked terrible. They both cut promos for no reason. The Bill impersonator was the saving grace of this as he was cracking bad jokes. Umaga comes out as kills everyone. Vote Umaga!!

9) William Regal vs. C.M. Punk - King of the Ring Finals - 4
Much like most of the tournament tonight, they could've had a good bout (meaning 5+) if they were given the right amount of time. Punk's strikes were nice but Regal definitely tried to work some power into the bout. Not much to see because both seem tired. Regal wins with the stretch. They could've easily canceled the Obama/Clinton debacle and given this time so it could mean something. Three quick wins is not the best way to become King.

10) Triple H, John Cena, The Undertaker, & Kane vs. Randy Orton, Edge, JBL, & Chavo Guerrero - 4
Everyone is so special that they have to get their own entrance. All of them combined take up about 10 minutes of the show. Ad break three minutes in. Nothing really to note here. Heels control for most of the match until Kane gets tagged and destroys all of them. Edge gets the pin after a spear and then everyone has to hit their signature moves after the match.

Free TV is not the way to go for the KOTR. The semi-final bouts could've easily been given the time on pay-per-view to develop and make the tournament actually mean something. Instead, you get Regal beating three men in less than 15 minutes. The Clinton/Obama crap killed the crowd as did the addresses from the actual candidates. I'll have to see what happens with Regal winning the tournament but for now, I'm not sold.

Grade: C

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Starrcade '85: The Gathering

Hosts: Bob Caudle/ Tony Schiavone (who had a great porno stache)

1 Krusher Krushev v. Sam Houston- 4
Houston was what we like to call "wirey" in this one, had a really great extended dropkick too. Krushev bumped well for such a bigger guy but his one piece was a little loose- feel sorry for the front row fans. The finish was creative- Houston had the win but Krusher got his foot on the rope. Then Krusher hit his finish, Houston got his foot on the rope, but he pulled it off before the ref saw it. Those sneaky Russians....

2 Abdullah the Butcher v. Manny Fernandez- Mexican Death Match- 5
Well, you could probably find a cleaner fight in a back alley in Guadlahara involving 2 essai's, some nose salt, and a pinata that looks like SpongeBob. This was a ghastly fight but I loved it's honesty- they never tried to make you think this would be a clean match, they didn't do any hammerlocks, they just straight bludgeoned each other. I thought it was great that they were both motivated enough to take big bumps off the 2nd rope as they tried to reach for the really ridiculous gimmick of pulling the sombrero off of a pole. This was bloody (literally) fantastic.

3 Black Bart v. Ron Bass (Texas Bullrope Match)- 3
Here's another two large cowpokes busting open blood vessels like they were zits on the face of a teenage prom queen. A bloody moustache is a gruesome sight and these guys had that in spades. They were a bit slower and more hesitant to really rip flesh as compared to the last match and their strikes weren't as meaty, looked more like a badly worked Mid South match than the Puerto Rican blood shower I would have liked to seen.

4 Ron Bass v. J.J. Dillon (stipulation of the last match)- 2
Bass won so he got 5 minutes with Dillon, of course, it helps if you aren't unconscious during those very long 5 minutes. This was pretty forgettable, but the post match beatdown served a storyline purpose and seemed more inspired than most of the brawling during the match.

5 Barbarian v. Superstar Billy Graham- 3
This started out as an arm wrestling match, then inexeclipably a ref popped up and this thing was under way. Within the minute of the bell ringing, Graham was a gory mess that put the last "Saw" film to shame (not that the confusing plot didn't help) Graham was getting up there, but he was still built and had some funky strikes to piece the Barbarian's jaw with. This was fairly short, and ended with a non-finish.

6 Terry Taylor v. Buddy Landell- 4
This was your basic wrestling match- neither guy stretched themselves, using mostly chinlocks and hiptoss drills to fill out their time in-ring. Landell had a fantastic short jab that he utilized quite often and I really looked for all the greatness people say Taylor used to have, but it certainly didn't rear it's red mohawked face here. A typical manager interference 80's heel spot was the finish and we move on.

7 Ole & Arn Anderson v. Billy Jack Haynes/ Wahoo McDaniel- 4
The Andersons do tag wrestling almost better than anyone (ex. cutting the ring in half, keeping their opponents in their corner) and it was on display here. Except Arn had a future career in mind and was really selling and bumping big for the faces; Ole didn't give a shit because he was older than dirt and just stiffed whoever he was in against. Wahoo has had some major battles in the past (looks like he was fighting obesity at this time) and his chops are still legendary; he had the fans in his pocket too. Both teams traded a lot of punches and forearms until the eventual end which isn't memorable.

8 Tully Blanchard v. Magnum TA (Steel Cage I Quit Match) - 7
If I had thought the show already reached it's violent quotient, I was dead wrong. This match had HEAT, and these two guys went at it like it truly deserved. The cage bumps were nasty, awkward and empassioned, not these easy does it shits we see on Raw occasionally. Piledrivers were stuffed, punches weren't pulled and Magnum's mullet was brighter than the sun coming over the Antartic Shelf in June. But,the the best was still to come; the pinnacle of barbarism was about to be reached when Baby Doll (a perfect 10) threw in a wooden chair to Tully. Instead of hitting Magnum with it, he throws it to the ground and rips a huge splintered piece off to sever the arteries in TA's head with!!!! You've not heard a better sports announcing call than Bob Caudle uttering "He's got a scythe!" But, Magnum got the scythe and turned Tully's face into a Chicago Deep Dish before winning the match.

9 Midnight Express (Eaton & Condrey, not the NHO Hall of Famers Eaton & Lane) v. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (Atlanta Street Fight)- 2

This was a big fiasco- Miss Atlanta Lively, the best I could tell, was a male in drag, althought I have no clue who he was. The Midnights came out in tuxes and were getting bumped around like Crash Test Dummies back in the 80's. There wasn't a lot of action, there never is in a Valiant match, he mainly just juked and jived and let loose some really absurd punches.
10 The Russians (Ivan & Nikita Koloff) v. Rock n' Roll Express (Steel Cage Match)- 5 And we have: more blood! Morton juiced quite early in this one that was light on cage action. The Rock n' Rolls are a team that everyone always raves about but that doesn't really excite me. They were very quick and agile but I think they're double teams look like shit. And Morton on his own, or Gibson for that matter, just don't bring anything to the table. Nikita plays the Arn role here and works well with the near-40 year olds pretending to be 25 in this match and Ivan fits comfortable in the Ole spot as old heel who don't take shit from anyone. The last 4 to 5 minutes builds really well and the upset victory gives this a notch in the right direction.

11 Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes- 7
It's always fun to go back and watch two BONAFIDE legends, in their prime, hook it up and this was no different. The reason these guys are so good is because they knew, back then, it's the little things that really stick out and make the difference; for example, Dusty's sell of his leg because Flair has worked it over, so when Dusty hits a big streak of moves, he makes it more dramatic because he comes off the top rope and sells that fucking leg like he just snapped it in half by doing that move. Dusty could really work in his day, he's quick, he knows how to give you the face that makes sense after every spot and he's real fluid with Flair. He stuck out to me more than Ric did, but it's especially nice to see Flair again, now that he's retired.* He does all the beg offs, the flips in the corner, and the scentillating chops we love to see and he does them all with perfection. This is a true classic because Dusty wins the NWA title at the conclusion.
*No wrestler ever really retires

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WWF Primetime 5/18/87

1. Johnny V vs. Brutus "Barber" Beefcake - 2
2. "Iron" Mike Sharp vs. Sivi Afi - 4
3. Can-Am Connection vs. Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff - 3
4. Frenchie Martin vs. Nick Kiniski - 3
5. British Bulldogs and Tito Santana vs. Gladiator, Jimmy Jack Funk, and Barry "O" - 3
6. Hercules vs. Ken Patera - 2
7. Islanders vs. Demoliiton - 4
8. Ricky "Dragon" Steamboat vs. Butch "Natural" Reed – 3

I must admit, prior to this viewing, my experience with Primetime was pretty limited. But, by today’s standards, it holds up decently. It’s much more worried about substance than flash, unlike your atypical “Monday Night Wars” and onward WWE approach. The matches were culled, like precious gems and minerals, from a variety of sources, including a Boston house show, Saturday Night’s Main Event, Wrestling Challenge, etc. Bobby Hennan and Gorilla Monsoon are our hosts from the studio, and their back-and-forth banter is more hilarious than ever, and ups this show big time in the recommendation category.

Beefcake was working a program where he dumped V as his manager, beat him the week prior, gave him a bad haircut, thus leading to a rematch on this show. Beefcake ran the offense almost exclusively in a short match, but V delivered a few stiffer overhand shots across the back. Every time I watch Sharp wrestle, he inevitably almost dies, usually doing a simple bump but screwing it up. This match sees him flipping for an armdrag/hiptoss, but ending up getting dropped squarely on his skull. While there’s some stalling hindering this from being truly recommendable watching, it feels like the most legit fight or athletic contest of the show. Next, the charismatic Can-Am boys have a rollicking crowd rolling, but it’s mostly the ethnic heels in control. Iron Sheik makes Tazz look like shit, tossing some truly tasty suplexes and throws in for our enjoyment. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is in the front row, predictably getting goaded into interfering, hurting this one’s appeal.

Frenchie Martin and Kiniski had a good bout, but Nick’s greenness and Frenchie being about as appealing as a month-old baguette dampened me on it. I had no idea Gene has a kid, especially one that went on to wrestle, too; he looked like a chubby Johnny Ace impersonator, and if such a thing exists, it’s a sure sign of end days. The six-man tag was a fun squash. Barry “O” was a great sleazy heel, with a bad Vegas jacket, trunks that looked like the carpet of a ‘80’s hotel game room, and a ridiculous aura about him. The thing that soured me on this one was that Dynamite Kid was only tagged in once, worked for maybe 5 seconds, tagged out, and then wasn’t brought back in again. Other than that, this was a fun and moderately successful squash.

I figured Hercules and Patera would be a stinker, although, it had more backstory than anything else on the program, due to the Heenan Family versus Patera storyline that had been unfolding. It was mostly uninspired brawling, big man stuff, but even that didn’t last, as interference by “King” Harley Race ended it prematurely. The Islanders versus Demolition on the other hand was a welcomed change. The Islanders had been, according to the announcers, riding a surge of success and momentum, so the match was worked pretty evenly, with both teams coming off looking strong. This era had a lot of epic tag teams, with the then champions Hart Foundation leading the pack. The main featured Ricky, hot off his title win at historic WrestleMania III, proving he wasn’t going to be, in his own words, a “closet champion.” More of a snapshot of a match than a fully realized one, ultimately ending in a near double countout, with Steamboat barely making it back inside the ring in time. Short but aggressive and fine while it lasted, Reed demonstrated some stuff from his skill set, including but certainly not limited to an impressive “Neck Hang” (as it was referred to on WCW Wrestling for the Nintendo Entertainment System).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ROH: This Mean War- 10/29/05

1 Claudio Castangoli v. Alex Shelly- 5

This was one of those fun Euro-based style technical matches that ROH has really adapted into their fold as something they present to American fans. I applaud that general notion, but it can be tricky. Claudio, who seems to have a wealth of knowledge in this style, can be a pretty blase worker. In comes Shelly,whose charisma carries this match past some really slow points. The work is really solid, albeit a few counters look pretty fumbled and/or "fake", as Shelly pushes his head into Claudio's legs at one point. This went to a 20 minute draw, which is rare enough, but to open the show is more elusive than JFK's brain. I thought this was a bold choice to start the show and I enjoyed the effort put forth.

2 Azrieal/ Davey Andrews v. Jason Blade/ Kid Mikaze- 3

Azrieal has the body of a young Silver King and the face of Ray Romano. Blade & Mikaze were two guys given a try out match for ROH, and I liked that they had matching tights and some really crisp double team moves. Az-bats and Andrews had really no chemistry at all and looked like they were matched together to have something to do that night. Andrews was really intense though, and as far as ROH students go, he's the only one who has stood out to me. This, of course, had a dive section that was pretty lackluster and the tryouts got finished off quickly. I'd love to see more of Andrews work though.

3 Ricky Reyes v. Mitch Franklin- 1

As far as squashes go, this was effective. Complete Annihilation. but, what more can you score a match that only lasts 12 seconds.

4 Nosawa v. Kikataro v. BJ Whitmer v. Nigel McGuiness- 4

Okay, Kikataro is a fat dude wearing a strange Halloween mask, very indicative of goofy Japanese gimmicks. He worked some comedy early on with every participant which seemed to give the match a light hearted mood. Nosawa had some great snaps on his kicks but that was about it. Nigel and BJ strangely worked some good strike sequences but they really went nowhere. Nigel was Pure champ at this point, but was treated as an afterthought here with BJ going over. His exploders on Kikataro's engorged body were a real eyesore and quite devastating.

5 AJ Styles v. Austin Aries- 7

AJ's forearms are legit, they are mighty, mighty stiff. You could see Aries getting frustrated with some of the shots he was receiving versus the ones he was giving. AJ's mat work is in dire need of retooling, which is where Aries comes in because he directs the match away from that, probably thinking "American Dragon is on later and will probably put our piddly stuff to shame." Aries has some really nice offense (ex. dropkick in the corner, brainbuster) and some really unecessary offense (ex. bouncing over the ropes twice just to deliver an elbow smash in the corner, his twisting elbow drop) The finish became really slow and plodding but the content was excellent enough to give the 7 to; Aries made the Styles Clash from the 2nd rope look as painful as it should be even though it's one of the least impactful finishers in the game.

6 Colt Cabana v. B-Boy- 3

Colt is a one-note act here as his violent stuff with Homicide just fades into obscurity, in my opinion. Here, he faces one of Homicide's lackeys, B-Boy, another non-descript dude in "thuggish gear." The problem I have with ROH is everyone's offense feels the same; I mean I come to expect Colt to have some really cool pin attempts due to his feud with Nigel and him learning some different styles, but why is B-Boy doing rolling cradles and hammerlocks with his feet? I've already seen that in 3 other matches tonight by different guys so why is this shmuck doing it?

7 Jay Lethal v. Curry Man- 4

I actually think Curry Man fits in better in TNA than in ROH, mainly because it's a really fun, goofy gimmick, but he should not be doing 25 minute matches that break into dance routines spontaneously then work finisher trading sequences later on. Vince would have given this 5 minutes on TV, enough to do the dancing then go into their high spots and finish quickly. Quite Frankly, i think that would have been better placed because Lethal doesn't have the skills to pull this thing into later rounds; Daniels got him through it, but the pace and the excitement the fans felt really waned in the end. This is the only match on the show whose finish I forgot so that tells you something right there.

8 Bryan Danielson v. Roderick Strong- 7

Dragon executes a full blown heel turn in this match, which is just amazing psych and still works a very competent bout. He starts by doing everything in his power to avoid Strong's chops, while still retaliating with his own. The pace works wonders for them, as it allows Danielson to do all his new heel schtick and get in his really grinding mat offense while still allowing Strong to hit big power moves in quick spurts. Danielson controls the majority of the match until Strong gets fired up in the end. The finish was really creative as well, with Strong actually KO'ing Dragon with a forearm and not being able to roll him over. Danielson comes to while being pinned and lets losse some devastating slaps and slaps Strong in a quick arm lock that looked deadly legit and he taps immediately. Really great stuff here. Danielson does truly deserve to be called "Best in the World."

Friday, April 11, 2008

El Dorado "I was Born to love Treasure"- 12/29/07 Korauken Hall

You have to love Japanese Indy! This gymnasium was holding roughly 100-125 and that's about it. The quality of this disc was extremely good and was from Brian's new Japanese source, whom I now bow down to and hope to share some sushimi rolls with in the future. All the graphics and video packages were really professional for indy work but the only thing that was distracting is they were using the "Pirates of the Carribbean" action theme song for the whole show. Not sure what Johnny Depp would think about Bear Fukuda but I'm sure they could really smash up a bar if they were stoned enough.

Anyways, onto the action:

1 Kinya Oyanagei & Yuki Sato v. Ken45 & Go- 1

You had two basic guys in basic trunks against another basic guy and the Japanese version of Shannon Moore. He pulled out a wallet chain and tried to choke his opponent with it, but it proved to be his undoing in this extremely short match.

2 Spark Aoki & Masahito Inaba v. Nosawa Rongai & Mazada- 2

I've seen Nosawa several times and his kicks are still hot dynamite. His hair and makeup though probably wouldn't even work at a gay Halloween party. Nosawa and Mazada had a good look and some decent double teams but their opponents were overmatched and didn't put up much of a fight. Another short one.

3 Milano Collection A.T. v. Milanito Collection A.T (Character Deprivation Match)- 3

Looks like Milanito was a young understudy of Milano's and apparently he couldn't cut the mustard so they had this match. Milanito had an awesome dance number before the match featuring 2 Japanese Go-Gos. Henshin a GoGo, Baby! Even Viewtiful Joe couldn't have helped the young whelp here. This was worked at a really slow pace and Milanito's offensive flurries, while athletic, looked odd against such a taller opponent. A sick clothesline finish capped this off and the deprivation of character was over.

4 Sukiyaki (Shuji Kondo/ Naoki Tanisaki/ Antonio Honda/ Mototsugu Shimizu) v. Animal Planets (Toru Owashi/ Bear Fukuda/ Hercules Oosenga/ CHANGO) Elimination Match- 5

This was a really fun match. The idea was you could either be pinned or thrown over the top rope to be eliminated and they really highlighted that aspect early on with some of the smaller guys. Some comedy was thrown in such as some good natured nipple twisting for the kids. In the end, the big boys finished it with some really high impact spots. Bear had on a jersey that said "Rubber Soul." I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that. His partner exectued a devastating running chokeslam that I had never seen and the finish was well done.

5 Kota Ibushi v. KAGETORA- 6

This had the most time to it. I had the feeling watching it that these two young guys came up in training school together and were finally allowed to showcase a great match against each other, or else they had wrestled so many times they knew how to put a good one together. Either way, this was dynamic at times and still showing signs of greeness at other times. Ibushi's slap and kick explosions were in your face and after the first few attempted kicks missed the mark, he was laying them in there, and getting comfortable with knocking skin off another man's face. KAGETORA used his size advantage to work over his smaller opponent with power move after power move but ultimately fell in an exciting climax. I think these two are worth keeping your eye on because you could see the passion they had for Japanese wrestling. And after the match they hugged like brothers, so I think my suspicions are correct.

6 Takuya Sugawara/ Brahman Shu/ Brahman Kei v. "Brother" Yassi/ Jumping Kid Okimoto/ Dick Togo (Trios Ladder Match)- 4

Togo is looking older now, I can see stretch marks on his abdomen like he had a C-Section. Quite strange. The Brahman' s were dudes dressed like the KKK but after taking off their hoods they were adorning the ever increasingly popular skullet look. There was a belt draped over a long cable and the ladders were designed to get them down. This was nothing like a normal ladder match, as they were barely used. The whole match was designed as a brawl but with no good bumps or punches and no real hatred. Togo tried the "Money in the Bank" spot where he leaps from the ropes and lands on the ladder but the damn thing broke and all he could do was grab his ass and laugh- same as his 16th birthday in that strange nightclub. The finish came when one of the Brahman left the ring, then showed up on the balcony and connected a harness to the cable and then started shimmying across it like Tom Cruise in Mission:Impossible!!! I couldn't have dreamt this up, but it was a clever finish and left one of the skullet dudes holding the gold in a pretty forgettable trios match except the high wire act.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

CWF TV 4/28/82

Barry Windham vs. Bob Russell - 1

Windham is young here, looking like a ’74 NY subway bum, complete with porno ‘stache and leering eyes. This is a real short match, offering little in the way of substance. There’s one part that’s good for a laugh, as a green Windham looks like he’s going for a back suplex, but really, is just inserting his own head under Russell’s arm, essentially putting himself in a headlock. Windham does this wild, flying forearm that doesn’t get the job done, but shortly after, does a flying clothesline to score the victory. It was just a throwaway bout for the youngster, but boy, did it ever make Russell look like an incompetent loser.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Hiro Matsuda – Highlights

This looked really fucking stellar. Chavo was acrobatic as all hell, Hiro busted out some great karate chops to the throat, and I was completely sold – it’s a real shame they didn’t include more than the last few minutes of this.

Chavo Guerrero vs. Kendo Nagasaki - 1

Chavo starts off a ball of fire, but after backing Kendo in the corner, Nagasaki does a thrust to Chavo’s throat rendering Guerrero wrecked. Gordon Solie says he’s “hemorrhaging” as fake blood spills from Chavo Classic’s mouth. Mike Graham makes the save, brawling sloppily with Nagaski and his legendary bedhead.

Mike Graham and Brian Blair vs. Hiro Matsuda and Super Destroyer – 3

This is a fun tag, with highlights being teacher Matsuda and student Graham doing a nice amateur section, full of reversals, hooked exposed limbs, etc. Destroyer is your typical, lumbering big man, but delivers the overhand rights like they’re going out of style. Blair throws a nice dropkick, which all of us old Killer Bees fans recognize. There’s a section of the heels doing arm work on Graham. The end comes when Blair puts Destroyer in the dreaded airplane spin, then locks him in a cobra clutch variation. As the graphic pops up and they head to commercial, watch Blair, as he sits up an unconscious Destroyer (think Weekend at Bernie’s) and locks him in some head hold for a few seconds randomly, as the ref and other workers stand around watching nonchalantly.

Terry Allen and El Gran Apollo vs. Derek "Mongoose" Draper and Dory Funk, Jr. - 4

Draper is a barellchested guy that looks like he left the circus circuit to take up wrestling. Dory is just so... Dory! What a weird phyisque, and he's essentially the Tim Duncan of wrestling, expressionless but gets the damn job done. A lot of basic limb work, not a lot of fireworks, save for Apollo's stereotypical fiery temper. Keep an eye out for Apollo keeping one of the heels from breaking a pinfall with a dropkick, but then landing right on his partner Allen's head. My other favorite moment was when Allen spills out to the floor, as Draper does two disgusting stomps, bouncing Allen's skull off the grimy Florida tile floor. Dory gets the his team the big "W" with the textbook vertical suplex.

"Hacksaw" Butch Reed vs. David Von Erich - 1

After about six minutes of action the show's closing credits start scrolling, thus robbing us of the finish of this match. David is in rare form here, I never recalled him having much personality, but here, he's playing the dual identity of cocky/geeky by being an amalgam of Ric Flair and Dwight Schrute of The Office. We see him doing goofy struts and rocking flamboyant blonde hair. Reed spends roughly 75% of the match controlling David on the ground, the majority of which is an extended side headlock sequence, just like that damn match he had with Sting at Chi-Town Rumble seven years later. I guess I now know two things Reed likes--headlocks and White Girls, the movie, that is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

WWE Hardcore DVD

This thing is so out of print- good luck finding it on or any other wrestling-related site. But, we here at NHO have it- we have everything!!!! Hahahahahaha (sorry about the mad scientist rant; enjoy)

Featured Matches 1) Mankind v. Ken Shamrock- 3
2) Ivory v. Tori- 4
3) Al Snow v. Hardcore Holly- 2
4) Crash v. Hardcore Holly v. Jeff Hardy v. Matt Hardy v. Tazz v. Perry Saturn- 3
5) Steve Blackman v. Shane McMahon- 2

Mick was donning his best "corporate" attire as "Daddy" Vince watched from afar in a wheelchair. This was pretty tame according to WWE-hardcore standards and piss poor compared to Foley standards. Shamrock didn't have a clue how to sell a weapon spot, or even normal wrestling offense at this point. Foley took some really protected bumps, including a belly to belly on the floor. Bossman took off Shamrock's head for the finish while Vince postured. The women went at it in a serious backstage brawl that featured shampoo, tampons, naked girls, cheering men, glass, and a hot steam iron. Ivory is one twisted sister and Tori...well, she's better left forgotten. This one, you may remember, led down to the Missisippi River but didn't look any different than any backyard match I've ever seen. Holly and Snow were both guilty of major no-selling throughout, with Snow often ignoring shots taken just to get off a bad one-liner. He was pinned while wrapped up in some fencing with one shoulder up. Crash took more than his fair share in this 6 way slopfest. They tried some spots off of the big swinging hooks which were really lame. Saturn and Hardcore were seen constantly walking around the ring looking for something to do. I'm not a Shane McMahon fan and to say this was hard to watch, well, it was just hard to watch. Blackman has zero personality and a little more work rate, but it was all he could do not to put himself to sleep. Test and Albert interfered to the delight of absolutely no one and McMahon took another big fall onto a padded mat. Blackman followed with an elbow that defines the word pussy.

Bonus Matches(which are all under Hardcore Rules)
1) Hardcore Holly v. Bart Gunn- 6
2) Test v. Crash Holly- 3 3
) Tazz v. Crash Holly- 2
4) Crash v. Mean Street Posse (Laundromat)- 4
5) Crash v. Mean Street Posse (Airport)- 1
6) Crash v. Headbangers (Funtime USA)- 2
7) Crash v. Hardcore Holly- 1
8) Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy- 3
9) Gerald Brisco v. Crash - 0
10) Gerald Brisco v. Pat Patterson- 1
11) Steve Blackman v. Big Bossman- 2
12) Steve Blackman v. Edge & Christian- 2
13) Steve Blackman v. Tazz- 1
14) Steve Blackman v. Tiger Ali Singh- 1
15) Undertaker v. Raven- 2
16) Big Show v. Kurt Angle v. The Rock- 2

Wow, there's a lot of stuff to cover here: well, let's just say Bart Gunn is one stiff M'Fer! He was clubbing Holly with right hands Kimbo Slice would be jealous of. These guys just brutalized each other with glass, ring bells, watermelons, crates of bananas, and to top it off, one of my faves, Dr. Death came out dressed as a retarded ninja and threw Bart off the ramp. As far as pure fun, this one ranks up with the best of WWE Hardcore.

Test took one decent bump and worked well with Crash, surprisingly amidst the usual filler of garbage can lids.

Tazz bored me on this whole DVD, and when he used a wrench on Bossman and Albert, it made a DONG! sound effect- yeah, metal hitting flesh always makes that sound.

The Laundromat was fun, with the Posse asking the clerk if they had seen a guy who looked like Elroy Jetson. Classic. The action was fast and furious and the Posse took some licks.

The Airport was quick and only highlighted by a random 60 year old dude getting knocked off of a ladder.

Crash and Hardcore turned into a big schmaze with tons of guys coming out, none of whom were getting laid that night.

The Funtime Match could have been a really good concept, fighting inside of a lamer version of Chuck E Cheese, but the Headbangers had no comic talent, or talent in general. The spots were really tired except for Crash's hurricanran from a swing.

Brisco picked up his only WWE title by sneaking in on Crash's naptime in a briefly humorous notion.

Patterson gets a point for his locker room celebration turned into match for inflicting at least fake pain on that old bitter biyatch, Brisco by cracking a wine bottle over his head. At first, I thought he was trying to coax Brisco and the referee into a gay threesome by drugging them with spiked wine, but I guess i was thinking of an ROH angle.

Blackman v. Bossman was nothing to write home about, although Bossman's punches should go down as some of the best looking in the business.

I don't get why they put Blackman over E & C who were such a big team at the time and are now 2 of the biggest singles competitors in the USA. They bumbled around Blackman to make him look less like a living corpse, but it wasn't working.

This match was another boring affair, the only highlight being them brawling backstage and Tazz knocking the shit out of perennial jobber Funaki.

Tiger Ali Singh....? does anyone else really remember this guy. Anyways, this blew harder than Heidi Fleisch for coke.

I'm going to describe this one as a 2 1/2 year old child may: "Taker bweat Waven's ass!"

The following had the makings of something pretty good, with such big names in it, but after only 3 minutes, Big Show wandered through the crowd being attacked by some angry hardcore villagers, such as Crash, P-Sat, & Essa Rios. It turned out to be a big mess like the one in Tazz's gym shorts that night.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

BJW Samurai TV 12/25/07

Shadow WX and Abdullah Kobayashi vs. NOSAWA Rongai and Masada - Hardcore Match - 2

This is severely clipped but fun for what we get. Starts with Kobayashi getting his forehead ripped up with a cheese grater on the floor. NOSAWA’s role in this match is to gouge guys’ heads with objects, including a ridiculously big and scary knife. Masada sounds like a Japanese name, but in actuality turns out to really be some trailer park asshole. Masada does get his team the victory, dumping Abdullah right on his hairless skull in a nasty suplex.

MEN's Teioh, Makoto Oishi, and Kota Ibushi vs. Shinobu, Michael Nakazawa, and Tomomitsu Matsunaga - 4

So, from what I can figure out, MEN’s Teioh has a faction of young punks that follow him religiously. Two of them are his partners here, Ibushi being the standout, a long limbed guy, very athletic, throwing some fantastic kicks. Ibushi teamed with Naomichi Marufuji (they both have emo hair, too) in NOAH’s Nippon TV Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag League, and even though they lost in the finals, many agree that Ibushi was the shining star of that tournament. Two of the guys on the opposing team work a warming body oil gimmick, where they're constantly pouring oil on each other, then humping and rubbing against their opponents, in an effort to burn and humilate them. There's a lot of comedy here, but some solid work, too. MEN's, sporting freshly dyed strawberry hair, plays the role of the wise elder surprisingly well. This fued, while ridiculous, looks like a lot of fun.

Takashi Sasaki vs. Yuko Miyamoto - Glass Crush + Alpha Death Match: Subversive Activities - 6

When I think of subverisve activites, I think of bad espinoge films, and McCarthy-era scare tactics, but in the wonderful world of BJW, it means guys destorying each other's flesh and souls. There's a video package that preceeds this, showing their many wars against each other, but it's also obvious they have a mutual respect for each other. From what I gather, Saski beat Miyamoto in the finals of a death match tournament, using his signature move (looked like an emerald fusion) off of a giant scaffold onto a table in a ring littered with glass and blood. This is the rematch, and the story is thus, what will it take to beat his competive rival again?

On two sides of the ring the ropes are covered in barbwire, there's also two giant plates of glass in opposite corners, both which are used to great effect in this bloodbath. While Miyamoto and Sasaki aren't "great" workers, they work hard, and this isn't your '98-era hardcore spotfest, but instead, a match that's works in a more classic Japanese fashion, rising in intensity to a solid finish. Sasaki controls a lot of the match, just destroying Miyamoto, dumping him on piles and shards of broken glass several times. At Christmas time in the year '07, hardcore wrestling still had a heartbeat, and I, for one, am happy about that.

Much thanks to Spoon, for handing over... a nice stack of Japanese discs, that is! All of the guys here at NHO can't wait to watch all this footage. Greenhills representin'!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WCW Chi-Town Rumble

1. Michael Hayes vs. Russian Assassin #1 - 2
2. Sting vs. Butch Reed - 4
3. The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette vs. Jack Victory, Randy Rose, and Paul E. Dangerously - Loser Leaves NWA Match - 6
4. Mike Rotunda vs. Rick Steiner - 4
5. Lex Luger vs. Barry Windham - 5
6. Road Warriors vs. Varsity Club - 5
7. Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair - 7

What Was Tits:

Sting getting the win got a good crowd pop, and I liked the generational gap aspect as well as the storytelling, including Reeds’ postmatch abbreviated beatdown on Sting.

Midnight Express versus “Original Midnight Express” (they gave some lame excuse for Condrey not being there, he probably got caught up at a titty bar) was the shit. Great storytelling coupled with great work. Even Cornette and Heyman were moderately good at what they did. The bulk of the magic was in Lane and Eaton, as Lane busted out all sorts of goofy “karate” kicks and Eaton of course dazzled with a missile dropkick before guys copped it from watching ’94-NJPW juniors tapes from RF and bumping his blonde ass off. Victory and Rose were disgusting and I loved that, too.

Luger bleeding was a good visual and added an aura of excitement to his match. Windham’s selling on injuring his hand from punching the ringpost was a major story element, and he did it wonderfully.

Rotunda getting a belt was definitely tits, even though it’d only happen a few more times in his career. His World’s Strongest Tag Team League championship run with Steve Williams in in All Japan in 2000 was a lot of fun, so cop that footage next time your pay comes in from your miserable job.

Watching non-corporative Hawk is always a blast.

Steamboat and Flair put on a clinic. Not one of their more pimped encounters, but still golden, like John Tolos’ ass hairs, and easy on the eyes. Just visually these guys compliment each other so well, Ricky with the obscenely green trunks juxtaposed with Flair’s flowing yellow locks, you couple that with their amazing in-ring work ethic and ability and it’s truly hard to top. There was some ref bump stuff that I never prefer, but much more toned down than your typical Russo penned TNA PPV finale, and it didn’t matter in the end as the visual of sweaty Steamboat and his son with the gold made me rip a hole in my throwback ’86 Pistons shorts.

What Was Shit:

The Hayes match being clipped liked his withered circumcised dick, thus negating either the length they so richly deserve.

Assassin being too lazy, disinterested, or just not giving a fuck to selling much of anything.

Doing two matches in a row with the “face in peril” storyline. You’ve got the young Sting battling the veteran Reed, but just like the opener, the good guy is basically beaten until scoring a quick, surprise victory. I guess they didn’t have agents backstage scripting shit out back then.

I’m all for holds, submissions, and technical stuff; but I take a shit on the extended headlock sequence that dominated most of the Reed/Sting match.

Later, they do the same finish to two matches, but this time it’s really incredibly shitty. So, Steiner loses his TV title to Rotunda because he hits an offensive maneuver, but is too dumb to realize his own shoulders are also down, and gets counted for the loss. This made sense only in that Steiner was actually working a mentally handicapped gimmick at the time. Then, in the very next match, they do the same confusing finish again, as Windham loses his belt to Luger the exact same way! Okay, I can buy Steiner making the mistake once, but what in the hell was Windham’s excuse? Why would you book the same finish for two important matches, especially when they happened consecutively? The announcing team didn’t even really offer up an explanation, but damn, did it sure make Windham look dumb as a guy volunteering to ride shotgun with Hogan’s son.

The Warriors versus the Varsity Club should have gotten more time. It could have been really tasty.