Friday, September 12, 2008

No Prom Date, Take 9

"Okay, so, what's my, ah.....motivation?"
"Well, you're supposed to go to the prom, but you never found a date, so you decide to stay home and watch a bunch of wrestling matches that have no cohesion whatsoever. Go!"

" the most asinine thing I've ever heard. That makes absolutely no logical sense how I would come to do that just because i dont' have a date to the prom, it's just ridiculously absurd."

"Okay, well, you don't have a date to the prom, you decide to watch a bunch of matches with no cohesion at all and you found 3 tubs of leftover Chinese food in the fridge...."

"Now, you're talking my language!"

1) Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels (Great American Bash 2008)- 7

By most people's estimations, this has been the best feud of the year and this match further stipulates that popular opinion. Not as technical as their Judgment Day match, but every bit as important. Stiff forearms start out the match, violent knees and a crazy bump on the apron by Michaels off of Jericho's springboard dropkick to the apron. The chemistry between the two is so good and so in sync that even Beeker could win a Nobel Prize with it. There's a good deal of reversals and other technical spots but they seem so rigid and as just a setup for the hate filled gorefest that it's all leading up to; the anger is so palpable it's hanging in the air over the ring; in fact, Gorilla Monsoon's ghost was hanging from the rafters with those so-called fans he always saw there and they were bouncing off of it like a trampoline. Michaels hits a clothesline and Jericho hits a enzuiguri that are both the hardest shot they can get off. Jericho goes over the ropes from a hip toss onto Lance Cade like a Hollywood stunt double, followed by an HBK moonsault from the top ropes out to both men, who don't catch him at all. Michaels had to have kicked himself in the ass for skipping practice at the Texas Wrestling Academy the day he was supposed to go over that drill with the students just to rent one of those jungle themed hotel rooms and take his wife there to play "Find the Banana."

When Shawn's eye gets busted open, the match takes a sick turn, as Jericho has never acted better (despite his quite wooden performance in the Android movie he did for Sci-Fi) because he's shocked at Michaels massive blade job and then he relishes it and just works it over and over again, with headbutts, straight punches and kicks. HBK locks in a pretty pronounced crossface as a last ditch effort but to no avail and Jericho finally locks him up in an MMA style cradle and just punches the bloody surface that used to be Michael's face until the ref stops it. One of the more visceral matches in some time- you could feel the anguish of Michaels and the bloody respite of Jericho as the feud rages on in a grandiose manner. This is so far from the kind of match you would expect from them it's definitley worth seeing.

2) Vordell Walker v. Masada (FIP Bring the Pain, 03/26/05)- 3

This is not the Masada I thought it was, I was expecting the short Japanese freak with glam rock face paint, this was around 7 minutes, I liked that it started out with the feeling out process and some harmless mat work with the arm, Walker had a blank expression on his face as I'm sure he did through most of his training school, this was pretty low key, even Masada's front flip plancha had such little impact an old school pillow fight would have been considered more hardcore. For grunge rock indy scuzz, Masada wasn't half bad. The finish was out of nowhere and the wrong man won- Walker showed really nothing at all in this match and his opponent's shoulders weren't even down for the count.

3) Misterioso/ Depredador/ Inferno v. X-treme Tiger/ King Dragon/ Sinestro(WWO) - 2

I would have much rather seen the purple skin, yellow ring wearing baddie than this 6 pack of woeful lucha losers! Tiger was basically wearing Rey Jr.'s mask just with some glue-on fur around the cheeks, but I did like how he started the match riding Misterioso's waist like a high school wrestler. He also has a pretty outstanding dropkick. The first fall went by quickly with a "bloated toad" splash (an ugly frog). What is about all heel Luchadores and they can all punch really well, like an enemy from Double Dragon? Just that straight punch to the jaw, most of their rope work looked pretty amateurish though. I'm noticing shoulders not being down on pinfalls a lot now- are refs that insignificant that they can't even be allowed to do their job anymore? can we instill a little bit of realism back into this sport? I know that question is hard to take seriously considering it's love of horny midgets, preganant 80 year old women, necrophilia and using D-list celebrities, but come on people?

Ringside brawl starts 2nd fall and culminates minutes later after the heels are in a Kaientai-DX pose when Inferno comes off the top with a headscissors which would have been cool had he not missed grabbing the head! The 3rd caida continues the tradition of sloppy brawling as half the participants disappear into the rowdy crowd- Depredador is an Los Angeles Homie if Ive ever seen one, and he's shitty- he takes a dropkick but openly no sells it to tell the guy to clothesline him over the ropes- This was sloppy Lucha at it's finest.

4) "Soccer Hooligan" William Mackelvaney v. JC Digits (EWF)- 3

First off, let me say that both of these guys are close, personal friends of mine and in no way is this review meant as a personal attack of any kind, merely another expansion into another area of this vast landscape we call professional wrestling. Now, on with it: The first thing that catches my attention is the Hooligan is wearing a sharp polo and looks more like a part time employee at the GAP than a soccer player. Digits makes Mack's strength look pliable, taking bumps across the ring. Mackelvaney has a lot of emotion in his sells and is taking some ugly bumps, including falling face first after being hit with a back elbow. His ground work needs, well, work but he has a hellacious kick that is sold well. The crowd is so sparse and paper thin and they don't really seem to be into it except for a few moments. Both guys are usually pretty vocal but neither are really calling out to the audience as much. A brawling section seems more like an afterthought but some bogus cameraman misses the post shot and I think i'm watching Impact except Don West's shirt isn't blinding me. Okay, these bumps are getting worse; he's falling sideways like someone shot a cannon at his leg. I like that they both play up their frustration at getting a victory and some of it feels like they are trying to stretch the match out. They kept it simple, instead of trying to be just another overbooked indy match and the finish looked great (Koji Klutch out of nowhere) and it was clean. Guess it's back to the pub with ya, Mackelvaney.

5) Edge v. Ric Flair (TLC Match, Raw, 01/16/06)- 6

This match is purely 3 bumps and little else; Flair has given up on selling anything but the major moves here, as any punches or transitions are purely moves to get him to the next spot and his body looks like a candle that's been burning for 12 hours straight. Flair's chops are still completely legendary though Edge never really learned effective striking. There's some big mishaps; the brawl over the railing into the crowd is poorly done, then you have Edge climbing the ladder to come off with a dropkick, that Flair just barely steps out ofthe way of (while Edge waits for him to do it), but then Flair flops to the mat anyways- WTF? So, the 3 bumps- Edge splashes Flair outside through a table from the top of the ladder, Flair takes a meaty superplex from the top of the ladder to the mat( love that spot) and Edge goes backwards from the ladder outside through a table in a very dangerous spot. You also have Flair's daughter Ashley sitting front row with some of her UNC buddies, cheering on her dad, which really ups the emotion quotient. Overall, though, i can't recommend this as required viewing but those 3 bumps alone do belong on many highlight reels for along time to come even if the overall structure of the match is pretty damn sad.

6) Masato Yoshino v. Anthony W. Mori (Dragon Gate Infinity, May '08)- 5

I rag on Yoshino a lot, but it's pretty cool because he's like a completely different style in singles than in tag team, he can be very deliberate and calculating in singles competition. Mori looks like a joke wrestler but Yoshino can hang in the silly category- Mori pulls off THE Sickest Dragon Suplex this side of the Rising Sun and a Kickout! Great spot. The strong style chop fest w/ clotheslines just doesn't have the same effect when the guys doing it are only 100 lbs. each. They have good chemistry though and look like they know where the other guy is always going. Yoshino's finish is nifty (kind of a version of Mistico's) but he does it with little to no impact- I mean it's an armbreak, more or less and he puts no emphasis on breaking the arm! He has a cool wristlock that he puts on with his feet- never seen that before. Some idiot interferes and uses a storage tote to attack Yoshino with, that was dumb. The finish came after an awesome series of cradles by both men and a surprise win. This was hit or miss and now seeing the time, I think this was clipped as well.

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