Friday, February 27, 2009

Necro Butcher vs. Davey Richards - (IWA-MS 8/4/07) - 4

This is billed as “strong style” versus “hardcore”, in what may have been part of a small tournament, I’m not entirely clear and my only interest is in the carnage I knew would ensue. IWA Mid-South is dark, dingy, and dirty, similar to the seedy motel most men find themselves having affairs in, be it with an attractive business partner from the office, or a teenaged male pedaling his goods for the extra cash. This starts out on the floor, the sparse crowd mills about, careful not to step the ROH digital video discs they just blew their meager earnings on.

We’ve got Necro’s punches versus Davey’s explosive kicks, a battle I enjoy seeing played out. Necro holds a chair behind Richards’ back, bodyslamming both hard onto the floor. One of the announcers is a piece of excrement, blowing BJ Whitmer and making corny jabs at the Internet message board scene. The spot of the match comes when Necro is lying on the floor, buried underneath a pile of chairs, and Richards gets in the ring only to gain momentum to then fly over the top rope, crushing Necro with a sommersault in a great spot. The end, after around ten minutes of fairly slow, meandering brawling, features Necro getting a surprise roll-up on a distracted Richards, hell, I’d be stunned too if I saw Whitmer’s pockmarked face in my vicinity.

Lance Cade and A-chan vs. Bono-kun and TAJIRI - (HUSTLE 2/19/09) - 3

Bono-kun is legendary sumo star Akebono wearing a pair of Finlay's tights. Cade, fresh from being "future endeavored" by WWE, is here with new, seedy facial hair. Tajiri is also resplendent with his own pussy ticklers, a smattering of gray whiskers that wouldn't even be acceptable on an alley dog you toss your leftover deli sandwich to when going behind the building to take a piss and a Percocite on your fifteen-minute break. Cade and A-chan, who looks like W*ING Kanemura's older brother, dumpy and sporting a graying bowl-cut, are accompanied by a valet that looks like the Japanese equivalent to Ms. Hancock. She's in a tight power suit, mini skirt, glasses, and I can already tell I'll stain the fresh linen tonight in her honor.

Cade is listed as representing the WWE, can't blame them for wanting the rub, and is real vocal, at one point yelling, "This is how we beat people up in Texas", followed by a shitty looking, choreographed punch. So that's how the West was won! Not to be confused with How the West Was Fun, that '94 TV vehicle for the Olsen twins, although it's worth a viewing or six. I miss seeing Tajiri's selling more often, at one point Cade rams him into a knee, Tajiri sells this by jumping as high as he can in the air, spitting his gum out, flattening his body and falling straight down on his back! For an unsightly kneelift, of all things! Bono-kun on the other hand doesn't like leaving his feet, selling one shoulder block by dropping painfully slowly to his knees, then his stomach, in a robotic movement. Cade gets the win in a match that barely lasts five minutes, hitting an elbow drop, wonder if Shawn taught him that one, between dressing each other up in cowboy apparel and riding bareback? I hope Lance in HUSTLE means some Corino vs. Cade bouts, because fuck, those would be ridiculously bad.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pro Wrestling Iron "Hot August Fights"

** all matches were clipped (except main) to some degree (ex. slow spots, rest holds)

1) Bart Blaxxon v. Lars Dauger- 3
2) Solo Snuka/ Vito Thomaselli v. Boom Boom Comini/ J.J. Perez- 2
3) Tony Jones v. Doc Schutlz- 3
4) Ace Steele/ Danny Dominion v. Tommy Drake/ Bison Smith- 3
5) Hook Bomberry/ Jett Taylor v. Ric Thompson/ Apollo Kahn- 4
6) Takao Omori/ Maxx Justice v. Michael Modest/ Donovan Morgan- 4
7) Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa v. Vinnie Massaro/ Doug Williams- 5

Blaxxon is a large brute who takes control easily and quickly in this match. Much to my surprise, the whole gets turned around on him by Dauger, who's apparently a British submission expert. He takes a licks and then pulls out a kimora, or hammerlock for the win. 2nd match sees Vito & J.J work the majority of the match, both lighter weight guys who are quicky and look decent in the ring, despite their lack of experience. Snuka is treated as the star of the match but his offense is so goofy i think even Superfly would be thinking "...the fuck?" Boom Boom shouldn't be in a wrestling ring; he should be deep frying french fries at your local Rallys'. Match just goes down hill after that with a lackluster finish. Jones had a cameo as Modest's opponent in "Beyond the Mat", the announcers go on talking about how he is about to sign that big deal he was so close to in the flash that movie came out in '99, if you haven't gotten that big break 8 years later, it ain't happening. Schultz looks like the poster child for steriods, he's being pushed as the next big thing here but he runs out of gas like my old '92 Cutlass Supreme with the faulty electronic gas gauge. It's decently physical though so I throw it some mercy points.

Next tag is built all around Bison, who I've lambasted before as a big, meaty faux-powerhouse with not a lot of skills. He further pushes that description here, not getting a lot of ring time, and when he does, he's on offense. It's mostly his partner Drake in the ring, who's another rookie, and this guy needs a lot more work. His selling is the shits, no emotion and no believablility, just flops to the ground spot after spot. Steele is a pissant heel, along with his partner, both with long blond Cobain-esque hair. They don't bring a lot, offensively to the table, so the match is quite stagnant. Also a word on the production values; they're in the toilet. Lame, early 90's Windows computer graphic opens the Menu portion of the DVD, and the action itself is the ring, mired in darkness. You can't see the crowd, you can't hear the noise of the ring because of Modest and some other schlub doing commentary. We have yet another tag match, featuring Ric Thompson, Modest' trainer who gets a verbal blowjay throughout. His partner Kahn is pretty atlhletic and puts together some decent stuff with fellow rookie, Bomberry, who's a tiny Little Guido-esque shooter character. He and Thomson did pull off some nice shoulderblocks and hiptosses and made the whole firsthalf enjoyable. Jett Taylor, on the other hand, was looked like an out of shape Reggie Miller, tall, lanky, and droopy. He pulled off some dropkicks that fell short of the mark and that's about it. Finish was a backbend backbridge like Owen Hart used to pull off and I"m impressed.

PWI heads Modest & Morgan show up in ring and provide a decent tag match that would be a filler on any other show, but here they are co-main. Apparently they both have heated fueds with Justice, who's a big tall dufus. They bounce him around with suplexes and such and on offense, he uses all the coolest moves he ripped from Smackdown: Bring the Pain to try out. Omori is a really bland Japanese wrestler, doesn't even chop well. He doesn't add a lot to this match except add another body to get broken by our heroes strong style. Modest self-commentates this match and really strokes his own "lower horn" way too much for my liking. Our main is the only match shown in it's entirety, rest spots and all, and is a decent treat, if only for the novelty of seeing beloved NOAH stars Misawa & Ogawa. Ogawa & Williams work a lot of this together and use some brisk, and plausible reversal sequences much to my enjoyment. Massaro, who's supposedly a die hard Misawa fan, def. needs to lay off the Italian food because he's a bloated meatball. He doesn't do a lot here, despite Modest constantly shoving his work ethic down our throats- his best contribution was getting the shit elbowed out of him by Misawa. Williams doesn't push the match into upper levels, which was disappointing, but he's known to hang back sometimes, inexplicably. In the end, the Japanese contigent got the win, in fairly easy fashion to be honest, but the match was on the length of 20 minutes or so, so at least we got a decent way to bring the show home.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WCCW Parade of Champions IV - 5/3/87

1) Black Bart & Jack Victory vs. Matt Borne & Scott Casey – 3
2) Cousin Junior vs. The Grappler – 2
3) Jeep Swenson vs. Bruiser Brody – 5
4) The Fantastics & Steve Simpson vs. The Rock N Roll RPMs & Eric Embry – Scaffold Match – 2
5) Killer Tim Brooks vs. Steve Doll – 4
6) Mil Mascaras vs. Al Madril – 4
7) Red River Jack & Spike Huber vs. Abdullah the Butcher & Eli the Eliminator – 3
8) Red River Jack vs. Gary Hart – 0
9) Kevin Von Erich vs. Nord the Barbarian – 3

World Class is a fed that really hasn’t gotten much love here on the blog but I just recently acquired the first four Parade of Champions shows so I fully intend on looking at those in depth at a later date. I chose this one because it’s the waning days of World Class and there’s bound to be some odd bouts and pairings. All four men in the opener came across as pretty generic heels and faces, as they are listed respectively above. Victory was the only one not donning a beard and it made me want to go buy a faux Matisyahu beard and travel back in time to give it to him. Borne seemed like the only one who was garnering a reaction, despite looking like a bearded prairie dog. The heels took some headers into the scaffolding and did some decent selling for them. It needs to be noted that this is being held in the massive Texas Stadium, where the Cowboys play, and compared to a few years before this, there’s maybe a few thousand people there (and that’s being generous) and tumbleweeds were blowing through the empty parts of the stadium. Junior danced a jig to the ring and fumbled around with the Grappler for a few minutes in a match that really didn’t do anything for me. I had a random thought pop in my head during the match about why all wrestling hillbillies wear overalls and wrestle barefoot. Just a quick thought. Brody and Swenson had the bout of the show for me. They starting slugging it out early and trading some stiff blows. The only other time I saw Swenson work was in WCW in that ultra-shitty Tower of Doom match at Uncensored ’96 and to be honest, he didn’t impress me. Here, however, he’s a stiff, pumped up monster. Brody bleeds early and they brawl all over the corral area, on top of the announce table, and then start swinging chairs at each other. A fun wild brawl of a match.

I’ve never really been a fan of scaffold matches and this match is pretty much the textbook standard. All six men climb up the scaffolding and proceed to do very little, if anything at all once they arrive at the top. The RPMs were shit as always and Embry didn’t do much to help their cause. There were some decent teases and Embry ended up being the guy to take the bump, although the theatrical way he did the landing was kinda iffy. I’m going to award a point for the actual bout and a point for Embry being the only dude out of the six brave enough to take the plunge. Brooks and Doll had a uniformly decent match which actually surprised me by its placement on the card. Doll had on tights that were very similar to the RPMs and Brooks was your basic Texas big man. I thought they worked well together with Brooks taking a couple of face-plants into the scaffolding supports. Madril’s vocal selling was a pleasant treat. It’s not every day you get someone doing that … in Spanish no less! I remember clearly Madril yelling “Aye-yay-yay” every time Mascaras would apply an armlock of some kind. Always watching Mascaras in action is a treat and it was clear he could still put forth a decent effort. Madril’s bushy mustache made me think that could defintely be a long lost Mario Brother, should they ever decide to take another stab at the film.

The final three bouts really didn’t have much weight to them, although Abdullah was rather heavy. This Eli cat I’ve never seen before and I’m still researching to find out if he’s been in any other feds before or since. His biker get up was an interesting pairing with the Sudanese sultan Abdullah. Jack was supposedly Bruiser Brody under a mask and the whole story behind the match was Gary Hart claiming that Brody was the masked man and had come back illegally since he had lost a Loser Leaves Texas match to Abdullah the year before. It was actually quite obvious to me that Jack was Brody since blood started seeping through the mask halfway through the bout and Brody had been busted open in the match against Jeep Swenson earlier on. As for Jack’s partner, Huber, he was portrayed as an all-American union worker, although they never specified which particular union. There was some decent brawling during the bout but in the end Jack and Huber won the bout, setting up the Jack/Hart bout that was nothing but a pile of shit. In really the only noteworthy thing was Jack ripping off Gary Hart’s shirt. Closing out the show was an interesting matchup, at least on paper. Some people might remember Nord from his stint in the WWF as the Berzerker. Kevin was trying to do his best to keep the match interesting but in the end it just fell apart. It seemed to me that Nord wouldn’t be given the title and thus, your winner was pretty obvious. As a whole, I can’t recommend this show. If you want to check out something, find the Brody match, otherwise, forget everything else.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eddie Guerrero: The "C"Show Sessions

Even now, 3 years after the great eddie guerrero has passed, everybody and their step-sister are still trying to make money off of his name. Can you blame the sheep? They took their cue from the hideous McMahons. I heard they even have a rey mysterio doll that talks back to you: you can tell him anything and his only response is "Oh, eddie!" Even his widow, Vickie guerrero, is whoring herself out to the "E." (what a frightening concept that is) Luckily I've stumbled upon some material that I will not let fall into the wrong hands; the "c" show tapes. Done on 3rd string shows, litle is known about them, the recordings are scratchy, the footage old but still watchable. it arrived under my lofty penthouse door in a sealed package with a note on it saying "keep it secret, keep it safe." After I review it for all of you bloggers, i'll be depositing it into a locked safe box, then into an underground bomb shelter so it can be preserved long after the atomic fallout that will occur to us in 2046. use your nuts while you can.

Disc 1
1) Dean Malenko w/ Eddie v. Chris Jericho (Heat)- 4
2) Dean Malenko/ Perry Saturn v. Steve Blackman/ Al Snow w/ Eddie & Chyna at ringside (Heat)- 3
3) Eddie Guerrero v. British Bulldog (European Title- Heat)- 5
4) Chyna (w/ Eddie) v. The Godfather (w/ Dean Malenko) (Jakked)- 2
5) Eddie Guerrero v. Crash Holly (Heat)- 4
6) Eddie/ Chyna v. Kaientai (Jakked)- 3
7) Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko (Heat)- 2
8) Eddie Guerrero v. Tazz (Heat)- 3

Opener is fast paced but nothing like their old WCW work. Dean being charismatic just doesn't feel right. Hard clothesline by Jericho and Eddie's knockout punch are stiff highlights. Eddie starts showing his charisma at ringside on commentary during tag. Snow looks like a more legitimate martial artist than Blackman, throwing some good kicks and other related strikes and takedowns. Malenko & Saturn's teamwork is as bumbling as Rocksteady & Bebop. Camera catches Saturn staring into space waiting for final kick to pin him; looked like a dumbass. Euro Title match was pre=empted by Eddie & Chyna playing Twister when Bulldog comes in and kicks them down. Really competitive match, with great chemistry and fast pace. Bulldog was hitting big moves, like Powerbomb and ever impressive vertical, they traded monkey flips in a acrobatic sequence. Double CO fin left me wanting more. 30 second Chyna match where Godfather was slugging her like she was a real ho; lead pipe in roses and we're out. Crash could work mat based matches too, as Eddie & him have some fun with the few minutes they were given here. Good wrist lock spot that led to top rope hurricanrana finish. Funaki gets squashed by opposition and looks like a child's play toy being thrown around by the pet dog. Taka comes in and slaps the shit out of Chyna's chiseled chin on the apron, then flashes that heelish smile before he gets put away by the male lovers. Eddie & Dean blow their old ECW spots badly here, just fumbling through a quick Heat main and actually decimating my memories of their classics. I have to say though, whoever thought to make Dean Malenko's WWE character a James Bond-type was a genuis, wish it could have been fleshed out more. Eddie landed so hard on his head trying a hurricanrana he probably thought he was married to that young rat he banged on the road the week before, not the bloated toad we see on SD! every week. Tazz about decapitated Eddie in the best shot of that match, their technical display felt amateur and looked uncomfortable. A whole slew of people interfere here, incl. cock & balls Chyna, glistening tits Trish, & sweat pants Val. Still do love that Tazmission though......

Disc 2
1) Eddie Guerrero v. Road Dogg (IC Title Match, Heat)- 3
2) Eddie Guerrero v. Essa Rios (Jakked)- 4
3) Eddie Guerrero v. Test (European Title- Heat)- 3
4) Eddie Guerrero v. Juventud Guerrera v. Psicosis (WWA Intl. Cruiserweight Title)- 5

What was Road Dogg good at? not brawling, although Eddie takes a sweet ass sideways throw into the steel stairs- finish was really cool too, BG hits a powerslam, but Eddie rolls into a small package for the pin. Essa takes some chances here, not unlike when he went to that Sexaholics meeting with a kielbasa stuffed down his pants for fun. Eddie got his knees up on Essa's breathtaking moonsault for the win. This match was actually slightly better than their Mania 17 encounter, with Test getting the crowd behind him in near falls. Crazy tilt a whirl powerbomb on Eddie, who was just eating bumps left and right. Final match is from shitty fed built around former WWE/ WCW employees but actually was a decent match. Psicosis still botched his requesite # of spots, but all 3 men found a rhythm to work off of. Eddie was a magnet though, as the other two rarely worked each other at all, trading momentum against Eddie. Nothing done outstanding but all the stuff they tried worked fairly well. Psicosis' nipples were peeking through his taupe top though, and fattie Mark Madden sucked on commentary. Jerry Lynn comes down to get heat on Latino Heat after match and wish that would have developed into a program.

NHO E-Mails: Not Just For the Trash Can Anymore #1

(A lot of times we'll send each other e-mails, like the late-night one I've shared below, and in them will contain little miniature reviews, thoughts on misc. matches, etc. I thought it'd be kind of cool to occasionally post these correspondences, dripping with praise or fueled by rage, showing you another side of the NHO crew.)

hey guys,

anybody catch TNA? that empty arena match was pretty awesome.. - third time it's ever been done.. - of course, it's TNA, so a stupid, shitty, non-ending.. but the brawling was intense.. - kurt taking that fifteen-foot unprotected drop out of the bleachers? are you fucking kidding me? - insane.. - guy's got a death wish.. - kind of makes me want all matches to be without crowds.. as the selling is so much cooler when you can hear all the screams, grunts, trash talk, etc.

sting's promo after the break before the show went off was fabulous, too.. - just as good as cena or piper from raw.. - just look at his eyes.. - crazy intensity.. - saying how after 20 years in the buisness nobody had ever disrespected him like kurt did when he spat that goober in his face post-match.. - i'm loving it.. - i'd kill for a sting house show apperance at the 'nati gardens..

just watched some UWF, too.. - damn, dr. death can be an unmitigated prick.. but boy does Paul Orndorff look tits in this.. - they had a lumberjack match.. - you've probably got it on your DVR, adam.. - pretty solid.. orndorff's selling is just light years beyond wiliams'.. - bob orton and foley are pretty funny outside the ring hamming it up.. - god i love wrestling.. off to re-discover memphis power pro for TV month..

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shawn Michaels: Heartbreak & Triumph- Part III

9)Shawn Michaels v. Jeff Jarrett (IYH #2, IC Title Match, July '95)- 5
Time of Match: 19:58
I like Jarrett so much better as a goofy country western heel than a supposed badass in TNA. They start out using a very old formula of two athletic guys trading the same spots, like that old kids' song "Anything you can do, I can do better." The crowd falls for it w/o even knowing it. Both men punched so much better in their hey day than they do now. I like the underlying Memphis connection with Jarrett in-ring and Lawler on commentary; Jeff screaming out to him, "I've got him King!" Michaels utilizes the Piper eye poke, not with the comic genuis the Rowdy Scot does, but still a cool thing to do. Shawn is just really pushing his body to the brink, big dive outside onto Jarrett & Roadie, then taking a big fully rotated backdrop out to floor followed by vicious turnbuckle upside whirlydoodle after that. Jarrett should never use a DDT- love to hear what Jake "Extremely Opinionated" Roberts has to say about his version. Michaels is wrestling with a cockiness to him that really puts me off, like if the match gets too slow, he completely stops being the guy on defense and takes over on offense with a big move. Doesn't work in the context of the match though. Jarrett nearly bothces a crucifix but more than makes up for it with one of the highest, quickest dropkicks my baby browns have viewed in a long time. Does anyone else absolutely hate Jarrett's one arm kick out on near falls? It looks so ridiculous. Shawn's also telegraphing his offense and Jarrett's by already being in place for moves before they're executed. Roadie interferes by mistake and costs Jarrett the title after a superkick and Michaels picks up his 3rd IC Title. Not enough for me to recommend and I almost think I preferred Jarrett in this match to Shawn.

10) Shawn Michaels v. Davey Boy Smith (WWF Title Match, King of the Ring '96)- 7
Time of Match: 26:23
We have Owen Hart joining in on commentary and he has a great heel personality, making snide remarks, kind of like a bratty kid brother. We also have Mr. Perfect as outside referee teasing a heel turn. Match starts technical then goes outside where Shawn hits a not-so pretty hurricanrana off apron. Bulldog keeps the match really slow on offense working a side headlock and chin lock later on for a good 6-7 minutes of the match; JR praises the merit of Davey using such holds but the fans aren't. Strange moment where they criss cross then both men stop and stare at each other, not knowing what to do next. Bulldog bumps really well, kind of reminscient of Dynamite Kid, just hurling his whole body into hiptosses and stuff. Michaels also works the arm, but he doens't work the hold, kind of just laying there catching his breath, probably just like after he sneaks into Diana's hotel room that very night and shags her while wearing Bulldog's tights. Shawn takes these sickening whips into the buckles, seemingly almost to break them and really shows off Davey's power. There's no doubt these two have chemistry in the ring.

Shawn hits an Anderson style DDT on the arm but follows up with an ax handle in an illogical spot. Davey procures a great Japanese surfboard, and I like Owen turning serious to talk about the difficulty of applying the move and what it does to the human body. Shawn's style of playing hurt babyface is a double edged sword that not everyone may like: he doesn't do a lot facially, but he takes crazy and deadly bumps and does them well. Bulldog tries a diving headbutt that Dynamite Kid would be ashamed of- i'm sure he'd prank Davey by shitting in his wrestling boots that night, if he could. These guys push it into high gear in the late stages of the match with a giant superplex that shatters Shawn's spine, Davey with a sweet ass Liger Bomb and Bulldog doing his patented upside down bump into the turnbuckle that just breaks his neck in 3 places. Finish is screwy with Perfect trying to count at same time as ref for no reason whatsoever. Post match brawl with Owen in tuxedo, Vader and some other muscleheaded miscreants. All in all, a pretty good match.

11) Shawn Michaels v. HHH (World Heavyweight Title Match, Raw, 12/29/03)- 6
Time of Match (shown): 26: 04
I have a much diff. feeling of this match now, than I did when it aired- originally on my birthday in '03 and I remember sitting at home and genuinely marking out, thinking Michaels would win the title. This was in Texas, so the crowd was pretty much living for that moment. now, the action: this was the bloated HHH, looked like a microwaved frog. First big spot was back elbow from the Game and Shawn takes whiplash bump, even gets a replay. Punching is playing a big role here, using it to go from spot to spot a lot of times, but it's not near as heated as you would like. The pace is very slow, Michaels using a lot of counters. Flair's in Helmsley's corner and is just irate at every little thing, really playing it up. Some strange body part selling: Helmsley works Shawn's back with power moves, but Shawn kills himself going into the stairs so he's really selling the arm, then Helmsley hurts his knee on a big move and is playing injured dominant heel, so I'm not sure what the fuck is supposed to be worked over here. 80's spot where Flair gives assistance in Abdomindal stretch, don't see that every day.

Shawn locks in the figure four and now the match becomes a true World Title match- Helmsely & Flair both are selling it like they had acid dropped on them, writhing in pain. JR is putting this over huge, along with the crowd, he's completely marking out for Shawn to win. Ref goes out for a while and Shawn's offense is lagging; elbow is off and then once ref is up, gets a near fall off a punch? I'm not buying it but they pop the crowd even with that lame attempt; they're starving for a title change- I think this would have been a great time to do one, Shawn improved a lot after they gave it to him in '02, when he was at his worst. Superkick out of nowhere with Bischoff refing, and it's a giant Dusty fin. Crowd went apeshit for Title switch, but Shawn fell back and both men's shoulders were down. Flair was going bonkers and came in to get his ass whipped quickly by Shawn. Not as magical as the night I watched it but the crowd and Jim Ross really elevated this.

12) The Rockers v. La Resistance (Raw, 03/14/05)- 3
Time: 6:28
Good nostalgia match- Jannetty looked really silly in 90's indy gear. Double teams still work, but nowhere near the level of quickness or timing they had then. Messed up double kip up, announcers cover over it. Resistance did a bait & switch to take the advantage and didn't look half bad, even "Plastic Face" Rob Conway, as me & a friend named him in back in '03. Jannetty come in for big finale, but mis-stepped a couple things. Finish made to look like a squash. Not bad.

13) Shawn Micheals v. Kurt Angle (Vengeance 2005)- 7
Time of Match: 26:10
This is only their 2nd match against each other. Shawn's really great at fighting against Angle's submission attempts and takedowns. Nast kneedrop from Kurt on Shawn's arm which is hammerlocked overtop on the mat. Cringe-inducing. Nasty garbage bump outside as German suplex on announce table but Michaels falls backwards and cracks head on Hugo's executive chair. These are some of Shawn's best punches to date- straight forward, connecting to the chin every time, with no silly back bump after each one. Angle goes to work on Shawn's neck, in a variety of ways: demonic powerbomb in corner that gets several replays, chinlocks, release German that was beautiful, then an almost choke on the mat. Both men have little cuts, Angle's lips & Shawn under his right eye. The crowd is hot & cold, but jump up to their feet as Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Angle just bum-rushes him to stop it- haven't seen anyone else try that. Huge backdrop outside and Shawn's knee hurts, Angle works the anklelock, switching positions each time Shawn moves to stay in the dominant position. Great stuff. Some good reversals then BANG! DEAD superkick that had to have KO'd Kurt. Tremendous near fall but finish is a little silly, Kurt scales the top rope for some unknown reason and comes down only to get hit again with Sweet chin. All in all, an intense match with some quality work invovled. Definitley recommended.

14) Shawn Michaels v. John Cena (Raw, 04/23/07)- 9
Time of Match (shown): 39:17
This is that hour long match from London right after WM23. Ref checks both men to give this a big match feel. Cena looking very confident, attempts to lock in the STFU about 6 times in the first minutes of the bout; good psych with Cena having learned how to beat Shawn after Mania and Shawn taking strolls outside getting frustrated. Shawn takes the one puch bump well, Cena's arms are freakishly big. Cena breaks out the headlock quite often during first 10-15 minutes, more so reserving energy, not working it a lot. Shawn takes control and shows a lot of anger on some really hard kicks to Cena's head, and blistering chops, Cena is so emotional in his selling, it's one of the closest things to acting you'll likely see these days. It takes the right kind of cover attempt and timing to really make a near fall sizzle and both these guys have it down, utilizing it early on after about 15-17 minutes in, and fans are popping for them. Don't think anyone expected these guys to go this long when this happened.

Cena then goes to work on the arm....which is okay, he obviously doesn't know a lot of arm stuff to use, so it doesn't last long. Those one punch knockdowns Michaels uses are really hard to swallow especially on a guy like Cena. Cena got posted but takes advantage back and is talking shit to his own arm, which is really awesome, especially that they covered it on camera. FU out of nowhere and really close call, another near fall down right and Ross picks up his enthusiasm after that, this could be signaling the final act in gear. Cena takes over and slows the pace back down again with some more stuff on the ground. I like the back elbows Shawn is throwing, really violent and pointed, going right into John's face. They're probably somewhere in the 35 min. range and Shawn takes an upside down car crash bump outside. Back in, now Cena goes out with that silly "run into guy on apron so he falls outside." Never liked that spot. Shawn tries to piledrive him on stairs but gets high backdrop to the ground, then a heated brawl on announce table- we could use their renewable energy to heat quite a few thousand homes because they're sweating like their locked in saunas but the intensity is still high here at the end. Both men back in and Cena finally locks in the STFU near the end here; really reminiscent of that classic Sting-Flair 45 min. draw where Sting fights the whole match for the Scorpion then gets it on in the last minute. Shawn fights and fights it, both men up, weary and dazed then superkick from left field and that's the ballgame. Hell of a match, a classic to be sure.

I'm telling everyone to check this out; shows Shawn can still go with the best of them and Cena will be a force to be reckoned with for many years, he's not just a power guy anymore, he's got deep pysch and heart and he proved it here. Personally, i'm a fan of these big sprawling epics because nothing will tell you more about a guy in the ring than to see them push themselves like this and see what they're made of. The fact they were still pushing the action near the hour mark is a testament to both men. I praise WWE (yea, i know, a lot of people are hating on me for saying that) to have put this match on and let it become something that just isn't done any more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

WWE No Way Out '09

1. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Big Show vs. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker vs. Triple H - Elimination Chamber Match - 8
2. Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton - 5
3. Jack Swagger vs. Fit Finlay - 2
4. Shawn Michaels vs. JBL - 5
5. John Cena vs. Edge vs. Mike Knox vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho - Elimination Chamber Match - 8

This was a really good pay-per-view; even better considering it’s the last before WrestleMania, making this show feel like it delivered doubly. I’ve been watching WWE pay-per-view shows at bars and restaurants for over five years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen people in that environment as into a show previously, especially the big eliminations and drama produced by the two phenomenal Elimination Chamber matches.

The SmackDown! Chamber match started the show off unexpectedly and by the time it ended, after nearly forty minutes, I instantly heralded it as the best Elimination Chamber match in history. Granted, that’s not saying a ton, as there’s a lot of competition in that category, but that is in no way a disservice to this match, as it was off the charts. Edge got eliminated after just a few minutes, a huge surprise, and Hardy rode that momentum throughout the match, looking great in his role of daredevil underdog surrounded by behemoths. The only glaring issue with this match was Kozlov, his selling of Big Show’s strikes, being noticeably out of position multiple times, and etc. really hurt. We all freaked out for Hardy’s “Swanton Bomb” off one of the “pods” onto Show—hell of a spot! The ending, between Triple H and Undertaker, just felt huge, reminiscent of a bygone era where giants like Hogan and Warrior battled it out in the center of the ring. While plenty of smarmy writers point out what they feel is staleness in both guys’ game, few are better at sucking a crowd into a match, and we really saw that here, as every blow and move had that sense of anticipation inherent.

I’ve never been a fan of Shane McMahon’s work, sure, he’ll take a gnarly bump, but so do guys that wrestle in their parents’ backyards, and nobody gives a shit about them, so why should we care about Shane? But, here, he was carried to a memorable match, and Orton deserves an Oscar for his performance. Randy’s selling is top-notch, one of the best at it in the business, and if he can make a shitty Shane gut shot look that damn good, he is worth his weight in gold. Randy bleeding was a nice touch, something that we don’t see on WWE programs these days, and McMahon took his requisite nasty bumps, including missing an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle out onto an announcing table on the floor.

It was disappointing to see Swagger and Finlay have such an awful match, seeing as how they’ve had two surprisingly solid ones together thus far on ECW on Sci-Fi. I liked the mat stuff early, Jack is certainly capable in that realm, but there seemed to be some major miscommunications that messed things up. The crowd needed to cool down, too; this match was weakened as a result of that. The ending spot, where Hornswoggle was supposedly “knocked” off the apron was lame, there was clearly no contact involved, but a crappy ending to a crappy match seems fitting. The HBK versus JBL match was a step in the right direction, the crowd was still suffering from a mid-show lull, but by the end of this they were back into things. Match kept a relatively slow pace, odd considering the hatred Michaels had been harboring going into it, and it’s clear he’s not able to captivate by sheer force of will as he once did, as this felt flatter than presumably his wife pre-op. As a friend pointed out, Shawn can’t be too broke, as making payments on those big, plastic tits can’t be cheap. JBL had some decent facials, like desperation creeping up when he couldn’t put Shawn away after hitting his patented “Clothesline from Hell” twice. Shawn’s wife getting involved, throwing a shot at JBL, which helped reinvigorate Michaels, was a nice touch and her acting at ringside wasn’t as hackneyed as you’d assume. Still, this doesn’t feel like the end of this storyline, not that easily, and while not actively bad this didn’t feel like the blow-off match you’d expect.

The main event was terrific, I’d argue slightly surpassing the earlier Elimination Chamber, and a hell of a way to end the show. Edge attacked Kofi during his entrance, scrambling into his “pod” and entering himself into the match. This led to some great moments, as everyone was pissed, and Edge cowered playing the chickenshit heel to perfection. Jericho and Rey were the workhorses here, opening the match, and just delivering consistently throughout; Jericho by taking the bulk of the match’s big bumps, and Mysterio with ballsy highflying. Kane continued his streak of selling well, took nearly a decade to figure it out, but he’s definitely improving that aspect of his game. When Cena got in (last) he was on fire, just destroying everything that got in his way, but then he got Jericho, Rey, and Edge’s signature moves in consecutive order and was promptly put away in a huge shocker. Edge’s facial afterward was awesome, realizing he might stand a chance of winning the title, eyes widening maniacally. The eliminations were top-notch, and the last stretch with Edge and Rey was breathtaking. You knew Rey didn’t stand a chance, but I’ll be damned, we marked out for every one of his many near-falls regardless. When Edge tossed him through the glass of one of the “pods” everyone at Hooters cringed (and it wasn’t with abominable pain either). Edge gets the win, maybe not sending everyone home happy, but making for some real interesting weeks to come as WrestleMania 25 looms in the distance.

The middle of the show dragged, no denying that, but both Elimination Chamber matches delivered above and beyond my wildest expectations, raising the bar for those in the future to nearly unattainable heights. I felt a type of “edge of your seat” excitement a few times during this show that I rarely, if ever, feel nowadays with the current wrestling product.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shawn Michaels: Heartbreak & Triumph- Part II

4) The Rockers v. The Brainbusters (MSG, 01/23/89)- 6
Time of Match- 16:19

Now, we're into the WWF stuff; during the documentary all 4 guys put over their series of matches together, but Arn surmises it best by saying " You have to wrestle someone better than you to get better." I really like how early on the Busters play frustration, both facially and in their movements. Arn on offense is so great, calculating like a stalking lion. Both teams have such give and take with each other, the choreography in this is more superb than in Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake." The pace was frenetic at times and felt like a NBA game without the celebrities in the crowd or big paychecks. Michaels whipped out a hurricanrana that looked better than most seen today. Busters kept giving them hope spots during thier whole offensive run and it just worked well. I've always loved Arn's knee to the spine; it's a wonderful cut off spot plus doing it to someone has to hurt like fuck. Building up to the finish with the hot tag, Arn hits his beautiful spinebuster and Yes, it really is that good! I know Trips tries to emulate it but you need to get a rotation on it and spike that m'fer to even compare to Arn's. Rockers make a valiant effort but Busters pull out the win with some schecannery, namely Arn holding their boot tassles down on the pin fall. Good solid tag match from these two, but I think they've had better in their series.

5) The Rockers v. Hart Foundation (SNME, WWF Tag Title, 2 out of 3 Falls Match, 10/30/90)- 4
Time of Match: 24:04

This was the untelevised Title win for the Rockers; never aired due to the top rope breaking in the 2nd fall. There's no commentary on this match which really kind of hurts the impact of the match, especially considering it's 2/3 falls. Anvil's wearing a pink bowler that Prince wouldn't be caught dead in. In probably the best spot of the match, both teams use double team sequences back to back in a nifty little "one-upmanship" spot early on. Bret takes Shawn to school in a retro kind of way- if only he'd known what that guy would do to him years later, i'm sure he would have put even more stank on his piledriver. The pace is all slow and strange in the 1st round- Marty pins Bret using the same finish he and Bulldog would use in Wembley.

2nd fall sees rope break early on and Anvil goes on a verbal tirade like he's Christian Bale, throwing out expletives like crazy. Bret throws the match into dangerously bad territory with long rest holds while the crowd boos to it's heart's content. Rockers are truly showing up the Harts as far as team work is concerned. Bret takes his famous sternum bump in the buckle but goes low and hits the 2nd buckle in what looked to have been a small car crash. Then, he takes a really risky bump off the ropes to the floor. That spot treated him as well as his tenure in WCW. Harts pick up the 2nd fall with a laughable double team clothesline where Bret has to jog into the ropes so he doesn't fall over them. Jannetty looks like an idiot trying to make an attempt at breaking the pin when he falls in the ring and clutches his side like he just took those riot blasts Knoxville and gang took in Jackass 2.

3rd fall has rope back up and Bret gets nasty, like his ex-wife every time Bret and Benoit gang-banged her after Canadian house shows, throwing possibly the best punches & stiffest Euro uppercuts to have been thrown in the 90's. Theme of the 3rd fall: Botched spots. Bret & Marty bumbling around trying to do a criss-cross spot, Harts using a sloppy backwards slam where Anvil nearly drops Bret before move is completed, then the finish where Jannetty gets rollup on Anvil as Shawn leaps over top rope to tackle Bret and they fall down like two kids scuffling over a Twinkie at recess.

6) The Rockers v. The Orient Express (Royal Rumble '91)- 7
Time of Match: 19:21

Gorilla & Hot Rod are your annouce team here and they do an excellent job. Piper can really put over a match and talent as he is stroking all 4 men's balls really well but still doesn't come off as a kiss ass. And how can you not praise this match? Starts out fast and furious with all 4 men running in the highest gear. Tanaka takes a gigantic back drop early on leading into a decent double suicide dive by the Rockers. Jannetty and Kato pull off a very Malenko-Guerrero technical stand off at least 4 years before they do it and gets a good reaction from the mega hot crowd, i'm talking Maryse mega hot. Tanaka is a hell of a competent villain, with great facials- he busts out this crazy forearm from the ground that kills Michaels. The Rockers tight's look like something I drew with my MagnaDoodle back in the early 90's. Rockers do double-teams like quite no one else and are severly overlooked as possibly best team of the 90's (I know that's saying something!) Double splash from both guys outside is quite tits. Marty throws decent punches for a drunk. Shawn takes a sick stun gun and plays Ricky Morton twice in same match, doing a decent job of showing his desperation, and takes huge pitiful bumps in the corner and eats a side kick like a No. 5 combo at Panda Express. Marty comes in for big finale and misses about 3 dropkicks in a row and the crowd just doesn't care- they decided they love this match and are popping huge for everything. The finish starts a little unfocused but it uses all 4 guys and finishes with an awesome and extremely creative sunset flip. This is worth adding to your permanent collection if you're serious about seeing great Tag Team wrestling.

7) Shawn Michaels v. Davey Boy Smith (SNME, IC Title Match, 11/14/92)- 4
Time of Match: 10:26

Not a fan of Shawn's overhead punches, really poor. Bulldog was a freaky beast- lifts Shawn's body up with one arm as Shawn is tangled around it like a boa constrictor. Davey not used to taking a leg sweep- these looked faker than Steph's sloppy hoots. Built around Power v. Brains, with both roles being utilized quite well. Shawn is taking these really over the top Rock bumps for all of Bulldog's stuff. Shawn works back for a good 3 minutes then Davey makes comeback and forgets to sell it- too much Kibble I guess, but regardless it still sucks. The finish was creative and memorable but the overall match can be forgotten.

8) 1995 Royal Rumble Match- 5
Time of Match: 38:39

This Rumble had a cast of characters & goofballs bigger than the Simpsons. Bulldog & Shawn start it out with Bulldog doing press slams, suplexes, and never once comes near the ropes to try and throw Shawn out. A bunch of guys come in to fill out the first half of the Rumble but they all go out in due time, with nothing memorable really coming out of it. You had the Heavenly Bodies, Duke the Dumpster, Doink, the Bushwhackers, they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for this one. Let's do our best & worst eliminations now, since they happened so close together: Bundy for the worst- he was practically already touching the floor as soon as he was pushed over the top he threw himself sideways for his feet to land first. And best, desputably, is Mable, who gets chucked sideways by Luger, not able to protect himself at all and when a guy that big goes over that fast, it's enjoyable for all to watch. After that, the 2nd half disappoints almost equally with Mo, Well Dunn (I know you don't remember that tag team) and Mantaur, the living bull all make an appearance.

Now, some funny moments:
- seeing Bulldog & Mabel both "trying" to eliminate Shawn
- Billy Gunn's famous slide where he went across the ring and nearly out the other side
- Bushwhacker Butch reliving his quick elimination with the same spot
- Dick Murdoch coming in, throwing a big dropkick and airplane spin that knocked Michaels silly
- Crush storming in at #30 like he was some big shit (reminds me of him brazenly strolling into an old HWA showcase show back in '01 and proclaiming himself a giant star 2 days after his shitty match against Taker & Kane on PPV)

This match really was all about Bulldog & Shawn, they both put on great performances. Those 2, Crush, & Luger were final 4. I may be off on this but I think Shawn & Luger tied for most eliminations with 5 each. The finish is quite brilliant, where Shawn is dangling from the ropes, and only one foot touches then pulls himself back in the ring to eliminate Davey Boy. So, so Rumble.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No Prom Date #11- VHS Rules!

so, for this one I pulled out some random old VHS tapes I had sitting in a dusty box next to a copy of Stephen King's It and a UFC 93/94 poster my brother-in-law ripped off from a local B-dubs. Some of these are treasures and some of them are trash. I'm sure they'll end up in the hands of collector extraordinare and NHO member Adam at some point, with some being preserved on DVD for a new lifetime of quality and some to be put out with his new dog's droppings and some leftover Izzy's from Royal Rumble.

1) Scott Putski/ Gary Young v. Bull Pain/ Billy Joe Travis (Global)- 4

Some things revered as a child never leave you , no matter how ugly the truth is about it when you find out; Pee-wee's Playhouse, Thundercats and World Class Wrestling are examples for me, and to a lesser degree, Global Wrestling Federation which I was extremely attached to when I followed it back in '91-'93. Here's an old classic from it's archives. Putski blows the first 2 spots of the match, looking like a less retarded Mongo McMichael; botches a clothesline and a back drop, both spots causing Pain great discomfort. I prefer Young and Travis to their bulkier counterparts, because they have great punches (especially Travis' dirty uppercut). Travis is actually awesome in this and I'm so happy I re-discovered this southern jerk. His crybaby anctics and huge selling for the faces really speak to me. I think he spent a lot of time in Memphis with Lawler & company as well.

2) Bret Hart v. Sting (WCW US Title- Halloween Havoc '98)-5

When I was a wee little one, in the early 90's, I used to "wrestle" this match out with WWF Wrestling Buddies. I always thought it was a dream match; it's so sad to watch it play out here and really not mean a whole lot. The announcers make a few references to the match being two superstars duking it out, but it's not treated with a whole lot of importance. Bret controls most of bulk of this with a slow, methodical pace. He really is the real deal, even after all the backstage politics of WWE & WCW had seeped into his brain, he could still go here, putting a lot of snap and emphasis on all his moves. As a sidenote, Sting had just gotten help and gotten clean a month or so before this match; he was sporting a tough guy's beard and goatee here but mixed with the red faced paint he looked kind of goofy. Bret used a bat as a finish and the shots were so bad, they're laughable. God, i wished this would have happened in '93.

3) Mitsuharu Misawa/ Kenta Kobashi/ Jun Akiyama v. Stan Hansen/ John Nord/ Johnny Gunn (All Japan, late '93)- 5

This was a pretty fun romp, probably comparable to a night of sex with Elizabeth Banks would be like. It would be really cool if you could have sex with Elizabeth Banks while this match was playing. Anyone notice how non-existent Misawa is in 6 man tags? He really only came in for the pinfall here, except the few times when Hansen blasted him for sleeping on the apron and he came in for revenge. Gunn and Nord both were under seasoned to be in here and Kobashi was wholly comfortable whipping those asses. Akiyama showed a lot of spirit and looked good working basic spots with Gunn, whose selling was decent. Nord looked like a buffoon though, first in those furry boots and secondly running the ropes and missing spots. Hansen was low key as well, but made sure to get some "clobberin' time" in, as our old pal Ben Grimm would say.

4) HHH v. Lance Storm (Smackdown!- 05/23/02)- 5

Apparently this was a few days after the "epic" Hell in a Cell with Trips against Jericho- Storm takes full advantage by hitting those looping hands which split Helmsley open underneath his large bandage. This was when he did that silly choke take down, which is on display here. Trips punches are so over the top, you couldn't find them in a Van Damme action flick. Storm is taking gnarly bumps all over the ring for the Game, even on silly stuff like that face to the knee move. But, does use his control section well, highlighted by a killer springboard clothesline. In the end, though, all talented midcarders fall prey to the Pedigree- get used to it.

5) Kid Kaos v. Juventud Guerrera (XPW: We Wrestle)- 3

Kaos looked like your average indy worker with the frosted hair and strange tribal trunks. The announcers were questioning whether he could keep up with Juvi, but he actually looked better than the wild veteran. Really decent superkick was a highlight, and I think anyone in distance of Juvi and his cow patterned trunks would want to kick him in the face. Kaos did an Asai moonsault and totally banged his legs on the guardrail in a nasty visual; even worse was announcer Kris Kloss (who worked for XWS) did this high pitched squeal after it that would make Fran Drescher scream "Now, that's annoying!" Kaos rebounded with a quick rollup but this was only a few minutes so can't give it that high of a grade.

6) Felino Salvaje/ Shamu 2/ Bola de Humo v. Sombra/ Cisne/ Folrastero (Promo Azteca "Tijuana Riots" 10/29/97)- 2

This show was great for it's main event of a 14 man elimination match that sparked a riot that would have made Los Angeles blush, could such a thing occur. Unfortunately, it looks like someone used my tape of that match to record an old "Roseanne" rerun where Dan & Darlene bond over a game of HORSE. so, we're stuck with the opener; not a lot to talk about really, it's the comedy match of the show, not real sure who's who either. Well, the comedy didn't last long, good thing because I wasn't laughing. Heels wasted some time taunting, then this basically became an exhibition; guys kept trading in and out of the ring working the most basic of Lucha spots- this almost seemed like they were filming for an instructional video. In that instance, the wrestling wasn't bad per se, but I sure expected a whole hell of a lot more.

7) Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson v. Sting/ Hulk Hogan (WCW Nitro- 12/11/95- clipped)- 4

Well, i'd like to see the full match, had some intrigue. Arn was really on this night, playing the stooge heel well for Hogan and just being a complete businessman. Came in at one point to break up Sting tagging and stomped him right in the back of the head, like he was heeling a bug on the kitchen linoleum, then calmly pieced Hogan in his plastic face. Flair was kind of a non-factor here, but they did this great spot where he had Sting in the figure-four and Sting was just pulling him backwards towards his corner while still in the hold; flair's facials were much better than anything he had to act out during that shitty Russo feud. But the best thing about this was how solidly behind the Horsemen the crowd were, popping huge every time Arn threw a stiff left hand. Usual Hogan theatrics closed this one out but wasn't a complete waste of time, unlike the terrible Dane Cook vehicle, "Employee of the Month."

8) Satoru Sayama/ Koji Kanemoto/ Tiger Mask IV v. Ultimo Dragon/ Jushin Liger/ Great Sasuke (Toryumon X, 10/14/2004)- 6

This was a match for nostalgia, also supposed to be Dragon's retirement match, although that's as secure as a comic book character dying and staying dead. TM IV was in the ring for most of the match and it was worked with a bunch of different things in mind; he got a real hot run, outsmarting all 3 of the masked veterans culminating in a top rope splash outside. They also used him to do some ground work, with Liger being subtle heel and the other 2 straight face with clean armbars and such. Dragon seemed to be really motivated when in with Sayama, who was still spry and willing to take some bumps, such as missing his dreaded diving headbutt. Ultimo hit his spot of the night with the Asai onto the two younger Tiger's but ultimately fell victim after all 3 hit their finishes, Sayama getting a pin. Dragon was cracking a smile after the match and seemed pleased with a fun 6 man that never broke boundries or disgraced them.

9) Rob Van Dam v. Big Show (WWF Hardcore Title Match- WWF Raw 10/21/2001)- 2

God Show was miserably out of shape here, could have easily filled him with helium and floated in him in Macy's. He took some really stiff kicks to the face though and slammed Van Dam hard several times. RVD's usually shitty forearms were twice as bad seeing them delivered to someone 3 times his size. Really lame spot where he jumped on barricade where Show was lying bent over awaiting his colon cleansing, and RVD fell off, hopped back up and stuck one leg out like he was hitching a ride and dropped it. The usual plunder came out, garbage cans, fire extinguishers but by that point it was passe, so reviewing this match 8 years later, I can't even take it seriously.

10) Supreme v. Kronus (XPW Batpized in Blood- Finals of 2000 King of Deathmatch Tournament- No Ropes Barbed Wire Beds of Everything Match)- 1

Of all the post-ECW feds that completely tried to model themselves after the hardcore fed, this was by far the most insulting and terrible (probably not, but needed some good emphasis.) Supreme is completely rotund, probably has his own graivatational pull and Kronus, years removed from being in shape and motivated, put on a sloppy wandering pitiful waste of time for 36 fans. Lead Singer of Slayer (?) did the ring announcing which was near as long as the match. Supreme took one crazy spot where he got whipped into the barb wire and completely collapsed it falling from the ring to the concrete below, but I think he misjudged how hard to hit it. There was lightbulbs ( I mean the GE kind, as Kronus attempted to hit Supreme with it, missed the 1st time, then tried again and the bulb connected and flew into the audience, unbroken) Final spot was a splash through a table covered in barb wire by Supreme, funny thing he is was so fat, he could only climb one rung on this girder and so when he fell, the table didn't break, he had to push down on it with his weight. This was worse than microwaved potato pancakes.....and every other wrestling match I've seen this year.

11) Shane Douglas v. Bam Bam Bigelow (ECW Title- 10/16/1997)- 5

Not too bad actually, Rude brought in the Bammer to cause hell in Franchise's life (much like the Target dress code would years later to the fan of yellow) and Bam did a great job too. Bam Bam gives him two big press slams both onto the ropes right off the bat, and instead of just taking the move as it's given, Douglas tries to put his feet down for protection and ends up hurting himself worse on both moves. Putz. Bam Bam also sells well for Douglas, taking a good suplex which is pretty impressive. No real mistakes here and Bam Bam's big World title win gives this a nostalgia point.

12) Kevin Sullivan v. Randy "Macho Man" Savage (WCW Nitro- 09/25/1995)- 2

First we get a video clip of Savage working out on the beach in frilly shorts, when Sullivan, for some unknown reason comes up and drops the bench press bar onto his throat. This match is short and sloppy, like Savage's honeymoon with Liz. Sullivan is using these really lame throat thrusts to control Savage but i'm not buying it. Savage gets himself disqualified nearly 2 minutes in to end this epic fart.

Burger Kang #6

1. Riki Choshu, Masahiro Chono, and Mitsuhide Hirasawa vs. Jado, Gedo, and Tomoaki Honma - (NJPW 9/21/08) - 2

This is really a nothing match, barely goes eight minutes, but I feel compelled to mention a couple things. When most people think of hardcore wrestling the names that come to mind are luminaries like Pogo, Goto, Onita, WX, Hayabusa, Funk, Matsunsaga, Nakamaki, etc. But I fell in love with Tomoaki Honma after a single viewing of a death match tournament he took part in for BJPW, this young, sick kid was taking a plethora of grotesque bumps wearing nothing but a generic pair of boots and tiny trunks. While other guys wore jeans, t-shirts, etc. to help protect their flesh from broken glass, barbed wire, and so on, Honma went into the shit with reckless abandon and I stained many blankets in his honor.

Now, working for NJPW, he's had little success, but teams here with perennial mid-card team Jado and Gedo against two certified legends and a douchebag named Hirasawa, whose on the meager list of only 16% of the active NJPW roster not to have a Wikipedia profile. Out of all the '90's Japanese stars, Chono has probably aged the worst physically, a graying, arthritic caricature of his former self, Chono's face is now stretched to Giant Baba-esque porportions. Gedo's vocal selling is the only memorable performance nuance here, as this short match will be even quicker forgotten.

2. TAJIRI vs. Booker T - (IGF 2/16/08) - 4

On the way to the ring there's a long line of "legends" at ringside, so you have to walk down the line, shaking their hands, sucking their wrinkled, decrepit cocks as you make your way to your match. This was Booker post-WWE, but pre-TNA I believe, and he just seemed to be relieved to be doing something, especially since this was his first recorded match in Japan in over ten years. The match is simple, possibly the opener, so it definitely has an exhibition feel to it that prevents it from being scored higher. However, Booker and Tajiri are both really great at ridiculous facial selling, one of my favorite kinds, and both display all kinds of wacky facials that made this so much more fun to watch than I'd expected. Booker also bumps well for little things, like fast armdrags by Tajiri, that give the much smaller guy credibility against the larger, more accomplished, former multiple-time champion. Booker even takes some green mist to the face later, but is man enough after the match to give Tajiri a hug, and presumably, invite him out later for sake, sushi, and Sharmell's anus.

3. Drew Fickett vs. Josh Koscheck - (UFC Fight Night 2) - 2

Man, Koscheck has came a long way since this fight, and while now I still don't like the guy personally, I at least respect that he's added to his game and become a better well-rounded fighter. Here, he was 7-0, and ever so content to just lay on top of bland Fickett and control him on the ground. The first two rounds were nothing more than Josh riding Drew on the canvas, with little to no strikes or submission attempts. I actually love the psychology and technic of good grappling, but this was just Koscheck using his superior, nationally recognized amateur wrestling to hold Fickett down. The finish comes very late in the third round, less than a minute left, when after being stood up Josh runs directly into an awkward kick to the body that sends him crumpling to the mat, Drew hops on his back and chokes him out with under thirty seconds remaining which would have undoubtedly led to a decision victory for Koscheck. Severely boring and disappointing, avoid this like you would running into a girl at the grocery that you face-fucked at a drunken pool party in high school.

4. Takeshi Morishima and Mohammed Yone vs. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli - (NOAH 1/25/09) - 4

Its great being able to get such recent Japanese matches, literally days after they happen, via this crazy Internet confrontation. This isn’t much of a match, though, mid-card filler at best. Hero is rocking a new, grotesque beard, looking like a backwoods militia member with a snack cake addiction. Here, however, I believe (if just momentarily) him as the “Young Knock-Out Kid” as he and Yone go toe-to-toe with stiff strikes and actually get my attention. Claudio is serviceable, but doesn’t do much, although one particular double-team by the ROH guys reeked of Chikara and did get some gasps by the usually quiet Japanese crowd. Morishima gets the win, then afterward, there’s some angle advancement as Mohammed and another guy turn on Takeshi and leave him lying but that development left me pretty indifferent.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shawn Michaels: Heartbreak & Triumph- Part I

First an intro: I, like most kids when they started watching wrestling in the 80's started out caring for the obvious, goofy, over the top antics of Hulk Hogan, but once i started becoming an avid fan, absorbing all I could about wrestling, that love quickly faded. Anything I found that was new and undiscovered became my new obsession: World Class on ESPN every day, then AWA, then USWA, then Global, found NWA in late '88, then through that discovered Japan. But, I think a fine and maturing moment in a young fan's life is when he first falls for a heel: and Shawn Michaels was my first true heel love. I'm speaking of course when he turned on Marty at the Barbershop. Since then, he has been a favorite among milllions and millions of not just hardcore fans, but passive fans, children, all ages of fans, and even his peers. His in ring accumen may never be topped, he will go down as one of the best if not the top of the stack, as far as in ring performers. But, as great as he is, his out of the ring behavior and famous fits from early in his career will always be a negative that hampers his star so to speak That's always made Shawn the double sided coin, the lightning rod for contraversy, if you will. Regardless of how you feel about him, and I know people on both sides of the fence and they all feel strongly in their regards, he has acheived a great number of things, impressed a ton of memories into fan's minds and created some wonderful moments in wrestling history. But, we here at NHO examine the work; so I must, as our new president Barack Obama says, "put away childish things," such as my love for HBK and do just that: never hand over on this review.

I won't go into detail on the documentary portion of this DVD because it's much more engaging when you can see one for the first time, instead of reviews where the whole thing is written out, but it's pretty long, 2 hours run time. They spend a few minutes on almost every aspect or major feud of Shawn's career, inside and out of the ring. One thing that really irks me though is the whole Montreal incident, it's handled differently on every DVD WWE produces, depending on who the star of it is and at this point it's almost as if Bret had it coming from their point of view. Michaels even gets vindicated by several people saying "he did business" and "he's tried to mend fences with Bret, so it's out of his hands." Anybody forget how Bret was treated during his last year in the company? If so, re-watch Wrestling with Shadows. I'm not going to get on a soapbox here (like Adam did back in the day over ECW One Night Stand) because the last time that happened (see previous statement in parentheses), the damn thing fell through! Anyways, hope you enjoy the review as much as I did watching this amazing performer.


1) Shawn Michaels v. Billy Jack Haynes (World Class, 01/11/85)- 1

Time of Match: 1:26

There's really nothing to say here. Michaels was sort of heelish, he did a backflip at one point and celebrated but got caught in the full nelson for the finish. The Announcers said he just wanted them to get his name right; but they didn't.

2) The Midnight Rockers v. Doug Somers/ Buddy Rose (AWA Tag Team Titles, 01/27/87)- 5

Time of Match: 20:06

This was one of the hotter tag feuds to happen in AWA, especially in the later parts of the fed's history, hell it was one of the hottest things they had near the end. But, alas, this doesn't hold up compared to some of their other battles, incl. the famous cage match. This was the Rockers last shot at the belts after chasing them for a year. Rockers defined babyface here. Really basic stuff done with a lot of enthusiasm went a long way with this crowd. Let's look at the heels: Rose was really over the top, selling and execution of his ridiculous overly-exaggerated elbows and stomps. Somers was a classic heel, distracting the ref, cheap shots in the throat (when they meant something) and choking with tag rope, etc. Michaels was the one taking the brunt of the abuse, but they kept him outside for long periods of time which kind of simmered the crowd and dulled the heat they could have had had they left him in the ring to be double-teamed and what not. Marty's hot tag was slow and unimpressive but the double team finish left a nice parting image in my head. Aftermatch promo was inspired and this gets a bonus point for historical sake.

3) The Midnight Rockers v. Super Ninja/ Ninja Go (AWA Wrestling, 06/12/87)- 4

Time of Match: 17:21

First we cut to some announcer hijinx: Ron Tronguard showing ridiculous photos of himself at fan signings. No thanks. Rockers have this crowd pumped up pretty well, but they look haggard; like they just came off a 5 day coke binge. Michaels is sweaty and unshaven and Jannetty looks like he could sleep for a day with a minute's notice. Nontheless, despite the goofy gimmicks and bad costumes, the Ninjas were decent heels. They took armdrags really well, flying across the ring but letting themselves be controlled. They can over sell for the faces in the right spots, kept their offense simple, cut the ring in half on the faces and let Michaels distract the ref as they double team Marty. In a strange moment, Shawn comes in to motivate Marty to make the tag by slapping the shit out of him about 6 times in a row, then right after he takes an unintentional shot from Super Ninja and gets pissed and drops character to go after him, not selling the strike at all. The end gets pretty sloppy but Shawn shows real poise in the ring for the comeback and brings some charisma to the role and shows his future ring leadership capabilities. Ninja Go looks like the guy with the giant whip in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Really bad costume.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All Japan Women's "Beat Power Oh-Mi-Yah"- 06/27/1992

Before we get to this review, today is my beautiful daughter Savannah's 1st birthday. She has been an absolute blessing in my life and since NHO is something I care about, I wanted to acknowledge her special day here: Happy Birthday, Savannah Banana!

1) Kaoru Ito/ Cynthia Moreno v. Tomoko Watanabe/ Saemi Numata- 5
2) Mima Shimoda v. Takaco Inoue- 3
3) Sakie Hasegawa v. Debbie Malenko- 6
4) Mariko Yoshida v. Etsuko Mita- 6
5) Aja Kong/ Miori Kamiya/ Terri Power v. Bull Nakano/ Yumiko Hotta/ Suzuka- 5
6) Toshiyo Yamada/ Manami Toyota v. Akira Hokuto/ Kyoko Inoue (Best 2 of 3 Falls Match)- 7

Wrestling fans in the know are well aware of the reputation All Japan Women's Wrestling had in it's hey day and that is stellar workrate, phenomenal physicality and some of the more innovative stuff that was being done in the 90's period. 5 star matches galore came from this fed so I thought it's about time we got some of it reviewed.

Intros to the crowd from all participants makes this feel like a major event. The first tag starts off fast and furious right from the bell and the action never lets up. It's more or less a different style of wrestling than a lot of stuff you see. There's virtually no rest holds at all (anything like that is thrown in for a second or two and that's it), not a lot of tag work, just constant offensive flurries from all 4 girls and there's not a lot of time to properly sell a lot of what's being done, more like Lucha in that regard. But, it plants the early seeds of a lot of ROH tag matches in that a lot of little things are done that make the match seem much more competitive. Little shots to the arm to set up an arm attack later in the match, stiff strikes, wild kicks, harsh snap mares, lots of little golden gems that make some of the other oversights not so important because it works here.

2nd match is much slower, and these two girls are trying to work a match they're not quite capable of yet. But I still applaud them for it. Shimoda is a force, quick, technical and probably one of the hottest chicks on the show (w/o the massive augmented breasts for our viewing pleasure) and Inoue keeps her grounded a lot, with holds and even when she picks her up for offense, the move always knocks her back down. It's like she knows to win she needs to keep momma grounded. Some big mis-steps along the way though and the near 20 minutes they got to work the match ended up being their enemy more than their friend.

3rd match in showcases a Malenko??? Any relation, possibly because she knows her stuff. Wraps Hasegawa in complicated hold after hold for much of the match. She clearly is the ringleader in this one but Hasegawa (who stamped her name across her inadequate chest) shows tons and tons of heart, kicking out of big move after big move. Another 20 minute encounter that picked up the pace and intensity as time wore on. Really good wrestling all around and this is for sure recommendable, even with Malenko's wispy housewife hair and leopard swimtrunk tights.

This is a classic face v. heel encounter with Mariko Yoshida (no, not Logan's long since murdered love from Japan) as the hero babyface against my new evil boo, Ita. This blasted off right from the bell as Ita took Yoshida outside and beat the tar out of her; my favorite part was her putting Yoshida's arm inside of a steel chair and pulling on it from the other side. She'd probably be much happier eating that poisoned blowfish like her Marvel Comics counterpart than having to deal with that pain. Ita also broke out a series of awesome Owen dropkicks from the top, just blasting Yoshida time after time. Yoshida had some great comebacks, but I felt myself rooting for the face painted heel much more. They broke out a great technical spree at the end, with counter after counter into the finale which was pretty simplistic in it's execution. They brought out the best of both styles, clean scientific wrestling and hardcore brawling.

The six women tag was, in essence, a pretty by the numbers match for this type. It started as a messy brawl where everyone was in the ring throwing girly punches (no offense). Nakano was looking like a death metal groupie wearing her Megadeth tee tucked into her pants. But, her first two clotheslines were among some of the stiffest I've ever seen thrown in the business, incl. by that nearsighted lovable old fart Stan Hansen. Hotta had literally no discernible female qualities so I found myself distracted whenever she was in the ring, desperately scanning my TV screen of her image looking for any kind of bulge in her trunks whether it be top or bottom that might help me uncover this mystery. She was loved by the crowd, but her flying back elbows were quite piss-poor. Kong & Nakano came in for big woman spots that didn't thrill or disappoint and while in seperatly, dominated their opposition. The finish though was almost inhuman: Kong gave one chick what we like to call the "doomsday piledriver" from the top rope where basically you are dropped upside down on your head. For all you wrestling insiders and internet pervs, Terri Power was actually Tori from WWE fame back in the late 90's, you know the mannish looking chick that fucked both X-pac and Kane.

And our main event was a whole lot of fun. Started out with a crowd brawl messier than Motoko Baba's soiled diaper after a night of watching old videotapes of her husband making trainees suck his nasty toes. Akira Hokuto was one nasty bitch, throwing top rope slaps and giving her version of Kobashi's 100 hand slap but all to the face. 1st fall was all heels, just pummeling the faces, Hokuto also had a lot of cool offense she used, different ways to utilize the arm and balance of her opponents with pushes and pulls. 2nd fall was Yamada being a samurai badass. Made Uma Thurman's "The Bride" character look like a pregnant housewife. Kicks all around then a German suplex spree that surely had Chris Benoit smiling his fiery pit in hell. Yamada capped the fall off with a Vertebreaker that more resembled a Body breaker as Hokuto slipped off and was compeletely folded in half. One of the most disturbing images in wrestling history but in a good way, not a bad way when Vince has his rump showing to the world after a fresh ass-cial. 3rd fall was all about the wrestling: This is where Toyota shined, as she was pretty quiet during the first half of this match. Amazing athleticism (asai moonsaults and stellar dropkicks from the top rope) accented her beautiful rollups that came from out of nowhere for close near falls. Face team sends the crowd home happy after another suplex display where they had the heels folded up like pretzels and dumping them on their craniums numerous times.

We here at NHO have ignored All Japan Womens' and women's wrestling for too long I think. This was a great card that was full of awesome matches. Def. recommended.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

VIDEO: Brian Hardy vs. Vortex vs. 7-Digits - TLC Match

A new feature on Never Hand Over, we're going to be sharing occasional videos from the UWO, a backyard wrestling federation NHO writers Jessie, Didge, and I were involved in. The first highlighted match was the main event of UWO's Violence Unparalleled 2001 show: Brian Hardy vs. Vortex vs. 7-Digits (Table, Ladder, Chairs Match).




Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94 (1/31/09)

1. Clay Guida vs. Nate Diaz - 4
2. Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim - 3
3. Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones - 4
4. Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva - 5
5.Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn - 8

This is the first MMA review on Never Hand Over. Basically, I'm tackling this and using our scale in the same way I do professional wrestling, our ten-point system is the degree to which we recommend you watch something. Typically, anything around the 5-6 area and above are to be considered serious recommendations--that is, things you need to seek out, either via buy, trade, or illegal download. I hosted a huge party for UFC 94 at my apartment. We watched the fights in HD on my gigantic plasma TV and ate tons of pizza, chips, chicken wings, etc. It was a unanimous success.

I love Clay Guida--phenomenal energy, attitude, etc. He won the opener in a three-round fight that ended in a split decision. Clay pushed the pace the first two rounds, relying on his superior wrestling and strength. Nate won the last round with his use of striking, throwing a lot of jabs and shots that went unanswered. I can't recommend this fight, though; while Clay looked aggressive per usual, he never looked like he had Diaz in serious trouble, and that pesky, mush-mouthed Diaz was his usual squirmy self. The next fight was a disappointment. I like Karo, the "Heat", not necessarily for his fighting skills, but more so for his controversial, cocky persona. He got owned by the lanky Korean in the first round, but managed to maintain enough control to eek out better scores by the judges in the following two rounds, winning a split decision in an uneventful fight you can avoid.

Stephan is just goofy, having the charm of a sideshow act, as he's good for amusement as a somewhat competent striker that can take a lot of punishment and usually does. Jon "Bones" Jones came in as a relative unknown, but with a 7-0 record, putting on a really impressive performance. It's almost worth seeing for Jones alone, as his takedowns were some of the quickest and most effective seen in awhile. Bonnar was a sweaty mess, his chest hair an eyesore, and getting showed up by a guy ten years younger further cemented Bonnar's status as an undercard attraction at best. Lyoto Machida, what can I say, except welcome to the big time, brother! After beating guys like Ortiz, Sokoudjuo, Franklin, and Hoger (insert laughter here) Machida is getting a reputation as a world class ass kicker. He and Thiago were both 13-0 going into the fight. But, it only took one round, literally, as Silva was knocked unconscious by ground and pound at 4:59. I'd suggest seeing this fight, for historical significance, as the sky is the limit for Lyoto, and he put on a dominating performance here over another very talented fighter.

The main event, what can I say, expect Penn can now go fuck himself. I say that in response to Penn's crude comments directed towards Pierre on the UFC Primetime telecast. In all seriousness, I respect Penn a ton, but he talked so much hurtful, disrespectful talk, about how Pierre didn't have any spirit, etc. that I rather enjoyed seeing him eat all of his words. Like Gerorges said, he didn't feel he needed to talk, to try to convince himself of anything, he simply knew he was better and was going to won. That I can respect! And win, he certainly did, absolutely controlling and physically dominating Penn for four consecutive rounds until Penn and his team called the fight off (how's that for spirit?). I remember my dad telling me a story of watching Ali vs. Foreman, and last night, I said to the crowd in my living room that watching GSP fight in his prime is the equivalent of watching our generation's most talented, gifted, fighter.

Overall, while the scores don't represent a blow-away show, it was a big one, and even without getting to see any of the undercard fights due to time constraints, I honestly feel I got my money's worth. Of the five fights aired, I'd only recommend the last two, to the general fan or enthusiast, and the Clay Guida fight if you're a fan of his like me. In February, we'll be getting not one, but two, UFC events on SpikeTV (as well as the re-airing for the Oct. '05 show headlined by Tanner vs. Loiseau) so that should make MMA fans extremely happy. Go punch something...