Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yuu Yamagata & Apple Miyuki vs. KAORU & Caribbean Rum (Dom Perignon Ladder Match) (Hardcore Girls – 5/4/08) – 4

(NOTE: I was planning on reviewing this match as part of an all-Joshi edition of the Cinnamon Toast Punch series. However, since that's taking longer than expected to finish up, I figured I would go ahead and post this match. Plus, I wanted to get one more post up before the end of the month.)

This sounded interesting so that’s why I downloaded it. The objective here is to climb a ladder and grab the bottle of Dom Perignon that is hanging above in a plastic shopping bag. Caribbean Rum looks as if she could either the sister of Joker or a helpful understudy of the next round of baddies in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. I’m not sure what the announcers are talking about, since I don’t speak Japanese, but one would assume they’re talking about how the winners will get severely toasted. Nobody is throwing hard strikes and the match moves from one ladder spot to the other. Miyuki took a nasty bump off a ladder onto KAORU and Yamagata, who where fighting on the floor. That was pretty ill. Miyuki climbed the ladder once again but this time Rum grabbed a giant pole and moved the bottle away from the ring so no one could get to it. Umm … that doesn’t make too much sense. Then, after seeing that her idea wasn’t too bright, she sets up a ladder over the ropes and tries to get the bottle but is thrown off and breaks said pole. Oh, great. Now where do we go from here? Well, how about a ridiculously tall scaffold? Yeah, that’ll work. So then they spend time battling on the scaffold. KAORU and Rum get thrown into the ring and then Yamagata does a plancha off the scaffold onto KAORU and Rum. Eventually, Miyuki and Yamagata get the bottle off the hook to win the match and I was still questioning the legitamacy of it. This really felt like watching Japanese Russo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brian's Mix Disc #5

It is my priviledge and pleasure to review this mix disc Brian has created with his ultra sweet Apple laptop and the quality is pristine to say the least (not to mention the kick ass menu screen!) It's always fun to watch a compilation of matches from someone to see what they include or not, and I haven't seen one Brian's made in some years so I was amped, plus all of this footage was brand new to me, so let's get started.

1) Koji Kanemoto v. Prince Devitt (Top of the Super Juniors Finals '09)- 6
2) Chris Hero v. Eddie Kingston (Last Man Standing, IWA Mid-South '07)- 7
3) Kyoko Inoue/ Etsuko Mita/ Hiroyo Matsumoto v. Kyoko Kimura/ Atsuko Emoto/ Tomoka Nakagawa (05/05/09)- 2
4) Erick Stevens v. Roderick Strong (FIP Redefined)- 5
5) Yuki Ishikawa v. Alexander Otsuka (BattlArts 09/11/05)- 4

We have the battle tested veteran taking on the young up and comer in our first match and it was pertty damn fun! Devitt still needs some fine tuning in his game, he ignored his hurt leg halfway through the match, he would stand around waiting to eat moves throughout the match but he's got balls. He pulls off 2 Swanton bombs to the outside and misses both times! Koji played it safe, didn't take any chances, except for the slap contest they engaged in. Worth seeing though. 2nd match was the big surprise for me, never been a big Hero fan but I've figured out I like him better in IWA than anywhere else. He hunts dudes in IWA, uses his height factor and bony limbs to completely disarm them. The crowd brawl had it's lulls but Hero brought the realness to it, just throwing chairs and guard rails at Kingston's face. Still not convined Edward has the goods or not, he used some nice "Japan" style strikes and suplexes, but in a Indy world swarmed with tape-mongers that use the same moves, didn't see anything that set him apart. I loved Hero's slow dissection here, stomping fingers, throat jabs, just beating Eddie into defeat and relishing it. Finish was "out of sight" as they may say in the 50's. The women's match was a scary hardcore gathering of painted nails and hair dyed freaks. Not a lot good to speak of, match may have also been clipped during slow points. Chains, ladders, bats, almost like a Home Depot got bombed with gas and made all the house wives go nutso or something.

Stevens v. Strong was a clear candidate (and arguably winner) of best feud in '08, not sure where this match falls in their body of work though. It's wrestled as an old school title match, with a long time limit, heavy mat work and mixed with some brutal strikes and a little blood. Overall, the match, technically was perfectly fine, hard working performances, but it didn't have the overall impact of their other matches. Plus the finish was a cop out, so it was graded accordingly. If you love seeing these two together, go ahead and seek this out, or possibly some embarrassing pictures of them on their FaceBook accounts. Our final match is an acquired taste, coming from BattlArts a long running promotion that mixes our pro wrestling fantasy world with the ever popular MMA world for sometimes lavish results. This match felt more like two friends getting into a friendly scuffle that turns serious when both of their egos won't allow them to look foolish more so than an athletic contest. One reason I say that is it takes a lot for someone to sell a move. Most of the bulk of this plays out on the ground, trying different locks and variations, but there is a scentillating slap contest that reminds you of those terrible "Real Fight" videos where drunk and idiotic rubes were filmed punching each other for a measly 5 bucks and a bucket of chicken. I've heard great things about Ishikawa but I haven't gotten to see any yet.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this video and look forward to bringing several more of Brian's creations to the blog for YOUR enjoyment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

AUDIO: WWE Night of Champions '09

Click here to listen to the Never Hand Over crew discuss WWE's latest pay-per-view offering Night of the Champions '09. Leave a comment if you agree/disagree with any of our statements, opinions, scores, etc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NHO Poll #1

We're currently working on a big NWA/WCW Power Hour '90 project that'll be posted in mid-September. Our first-ever poll asks you, our readers, to participate in determining the next project we tackle:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TAKA Michinoku vs. Great Sasuke - (6/9/09) - 7

K-DOJO "CLUB-K SUPER take", 09.06.2009 (GAORA TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Champion of STRONGEST-K Title: TAKA Michinoku © vs Great Sasuke

It's amazing, these guys have been doing this together for years, and yet, can still put on interesting and exciting matches. Here, they're in-front of a measly 830 fans, yet they still bring it. Off the bat, I notice each guy has more scars than the old days, Sasuke has ventured into the occasional death match, but TAKA looks like he's let leeches suck all over his areolas and stomach. The first section is a lot more ground-based than their wars from yesteryear but provides some neat moments. TAKA's selling is kind of inconsistent in a leg hold but they pick it back up with dueling figure fours, at one point Sasuke shakes his fist at TAKA like an angry grandfather protecting his lawn. The first time it spills to the floor Sasuke goes for an Asai moonsault off the apron, but TAKA yanks him down, goes for one of his own, but is also pulled down unceremoniously in a nice nod. Sasuke does his amazing spot where he does a dropkick from inside the ring through the ropes to the floor and suddenly it's '97 and I'm watching my favorite workers from my high school days all over again. Sasuke does a "Buff Blockbluster", eat your heart out, Marcus! TAKA sells a back elbow like he has brain freeze. I cringe as Sasuke does a swanton off the top to the ring apron but TAKA dodges and he eats the stiff edge of the ring. Sasuke hits a rolling senton and lands squarely on Michinoku's gut--he probably had second-thoughts about that afternoon's bento box. TAKA socks Sasuke in the face like a guy coming home only to find out his dog took his last condom. Sasuke does a huge somersault to the floor on TAKA and a bunch of the K-DOJO dojo boys topple over like bowling pens. Wait a damn minute, no, he just didn't? Sasuke does the fucking "Ram Jam"! Now this shit is officially transcendent! TAKA sells an enzuguri like a banker doing a spit take when asked if he'd give a business loan to someone wanting to start a dildo museum. TAKA does a sick spingboard moonsault to the floor and a patron in the front row acts like he's suffering a heart attack. An awesome series of three stiff, cracking kicks to Sasuke's head leads to a fantastic nearfall. TAKA hoists him up for the "Michinoku Driver #2" and its over. They may not be the performers they once were, but, can still craft a damn good story and make us have a lot of fun in watching it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

TNA Victory Road '09

1. Tara vs. Angelina Love -4
2. Matt Morgan vs. Daniels - 5
3. Dr. Stevie vs. Abyss - No DQ Match - 5
4. British Invasion vs. Team 3D - 3
5. Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca - 0
6. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Nash -3
7. Beer Money, Inc. vs. Scott Steiner and Booker T - 4
8. Samoa Joe vs. Sting - 4
9. Kurt Angle vs. Mick Foley - 5

There was a good opener to start. Tara has been too dominant thus far in the feud, so it was nice to see Angelina get some of heat back. The quality of the work was on par with WWE's woman pay-per-view offerings, if not better, with Tara throwing some of the best strikes for a female in the game, and both of them being pretty expressive facially. The finish felt a bit contrived, as Love got the pin although Tara's foot was clearly on the rope, the referee was out of position thus ending Tara's reign as champion not even two weeks into her run. Morgan and Daniels had a pretty good match to follow, with the crowd really getting into a lot of Daniels' stuff, and, Daniels being a good opponent to bump around and make Morgan's stuff look as good as possible. There were a couple miscues, but this flowed pretty well, and was athletic and paced good enough that it came off better than I'd anticipated. Daniels was selling a scripted knee injury throughout, it prevented him from doing one of his signature spots which lead to his downfall as Morgan capitalized and hit his finisher "Hellevator" to end it. The next match felt like an adequate blowoff to the feud between Stevie and Abyss. They've given the story a lot of time and development and this was when Abyss was to finally get his revenge. Seeing Stevie wrestling in medical scrubs reminds me of Norman the Lunatic, and speaking of wardrobe, Abyss is sporting new gear (that white outfit had to go) that's an improvement. At first Stevie is stooging, but as they ratchet up the intensity the emotion and selling get better. The crowd is super hot, chanting throughout it for specific actions, etc. They brawl through the crowd and later Stevie's blade job looks like someone just slapped him in the forehead with a big, fat paintbrush doused in red paint. Each guys' respective female second gets involved, and the finish, involving a prop taser that explodes and smokes was sort of silly, but overall this was an enjoyable brawl with some good story behind it.

The tag match was decent but seemed to lose interest and the crowd only really ever cared about seeing a table spot. Doug Williams looked good, I liked Devon's expression after Doug slapped him in the back of the head, and Magnus looked fine as long as he was taking athletic bumps and not having to do too much. It felt like a good, old school styled match until it lost direction, and the payoff itself only came after the match when the interfering Sheik Bashir got powerbombed through a table by Brother Ray. The women's match was the drizzling shits, just absolutely terrible, as Jenna (having a nice ass aside) was so hard to watch as her competence in the ring was that of a mentally handicapped hobo that Dixie Carter blinded with acid and sodomized with a lamp and forced out to the ring as a sick joke. Her selling was non-existent, timing (save her for stripper-like entrance) atrocious, and acting bad enough for a SyFy original movie. My favorite part was a botched spot where Sharmell's second Sojo Bolt got knocked off the apron and Awesome Kong (Jenna's second) was supposed to catch her but was out of place which resulted in Sojo taking a sick bump. After the match, Jenna infuriated Kong in a poorly executed bit of storytelling, that resulted in Kong squashing her and ending this debacle.

The crowd seems dead at this point and the next match didn't really help matters. Earlier in the night Kurt Angle threatened all of the members of the Main Event Mafia that if they didn't win they'd be fired, thus, more or less giving away the winners to all of the marque matches people had already paid to see. The crowd was flat, Nash was more immobile than usual, and the pace crawled like a snail in a match I didn't really care for. AJ took a nice bump or two, including getting kicked off the top and falling to the outside, but I've seen these guys have better matches on free TV so this doesn't cut it. The finish saw Nash push a ref towards AJ (who was in mid-air) which supposedly disorientated Styles enough that it allowed Nash to hit a chokeslam and get the win. The next match was better, but again, Steiner and Booker winning didn't come off as too much of a big deal considering the consequences Angle had earlier laid down. The crowd is eating up Beer Money, which is kind of hard to swallow, as I think Roode is a terrible face but they've got a catch phrase and that seems to be enough to appease to ADD fans in Orlando. Some stuff felt right but there were ugly moments also, like Steiner missing a clothesline and then uncharacteristically arching his head backwards so he could get hit with a neckbreaker (a la the spot Triple H does) was stupid. The work itself seemed to be overshadowed by the the bullshit surrounding it.

The next match was good but fell apart, thus hurting its final score. Some things I liked, Sting taking a suplex on the ramp, Joe's elbow suicida to the floor, the brawling in the crowd was moderately engaging, etc. but the end was a mess. Tazz comes out as Joe's mystery advisor to an embarrassingly indifferent reaction, stands around doing nothing, etc. His appearance fires up Joe, leading to a weird face-off with Sting, then Joe has Sting on the top turnbuckle but in positioning him for the "Muscle Buster" either Joe loses his grip or Sting refuses to do the spot, as Joe awkwardly fumbles with Sting and then just drops him. Joe quickly puts him in a choke and Sting taps in an anticlimactic ending. I thought there was supposed to be a Jarrett vs. Young match but apparently I thought wrong. Main event, well, Angle and Foley had both sort of sandbagged it verbally beforehand. In a non-TNA interview Foley admitted he felt inadequate performing alongside Angle and couldn't use his usual cheap tactics for heat, etc. and Angle, suffering from a recently injured groin, said earlier in the telecast to not expect a "high-quality performance" because he'd finish Mick quickly which was his scripted way of covering his ass incase the bout sucked. They did a real slow-paced match, a lot of punches, and I mean a ton, and guys crawling around woefully selling. It had a couple highlights, including Foley getting backdropped onto the steel ring steps, etc. but struggled to have that main event quality atmosphere it so desperately needed to save this show. I like both guys, and their backs were against the wall, but they pulled off a fairly good match given the circumstances although it won't make either guys' career highlight reel if you know what I mean. Angle got the submission victory as Foley tapped out to an ankle lock.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

ROH Fight of the Century

1) Colt Cabana v. Sal Rinauro- 3
2) Shane Hagadorn v. Bobby Dempsey (Trophy Match)- 1
3) Christopher Daniels v. Nigel McGuiness v. Claudio Castagnoli v. Jay Lethal- 5
4) Austin Aries/ Roderick Strong v. Irish Airborne v. Matt Sydal/ Jack Evans v. Brisco Brothers (ROH Tag Title Ultimate Endurance Match)- 7
5) BJ Whitmer/ Homicide v. Adam Pearce/ Steve Corino - 2
6) KENTA v. Davey Richards -6
7) Bryan Danielson v. Samoa Joe (ROH Title Match)- 6

Colt breezes right through this comedy match with ease, he knows the spots down pat by now, Rinauro is all energetic when taking the goofy spill to the outside while Jimmy Rave watches on in his best attempt at looking like a little boy in a grownup American Eagle polo shirt. 2nd match is basically nothing as Hagadorn KO's lovable tub Dempsey out during instructions. Creative heel spot, i'll be damned to know why they gave it to this idiot. I swear he's wearing the same jackoff outfit Credible sported during his WWE run. 4 Corners match was clearly led by Daniels and while the athleticism and fun moves you come to expect from ROH were all packaged nicely together, didn't feel any emotion at all. Even Daniels, who was supposedly pissed off about Claudio, really didn't make me believe their hatred was anything more than scribble from the BIC fountain pen of Gabe Sapolsky. I continue to not buy into the Lethal hype, but love watching Nigel use the same spots he gets over with huge now that he did then. I remember watching him way back in '01 at HWA showcases, in a cramped little empty building, working the bottom of the barrel talent in Southwestern Ohio and never being impressed, but he has molded himself into one hell of a wrestler.

I usually detest these giant tag scenarios, especially when they have the TNA-esque rules, where it takes more than 30 seconds to explain them. They're usually overblown and overbooked and merely a way to get all the regulars on the show. This started out much the same way, including a ridiculous dive spot where everyone had to get their rocks off by flinging their bodies over the top rope onto a pile of humanity below. Reminded me of a bunch of penguins absentmindedly diving into the mini pool they have at the zoo enclsoure. 1st round ended with a shocker though, as the Irish boys (how many trueblood Irish guys have ICP tats on their ribcages?) upset the Briscoes. Crowd hated this and chanted "Bullshit" for a good while, but I didn't mind it because the double team finish they used looked like it could beat anybody, really creative move. 2nd round was a Tapout only match (???) but turned into a little slice of peach pie for me. Strong and Aries basically worked over Jake Crist like men performing an autopsy, slicing and picking him apart with quite a few nasty shots thrown in for their pleasure. As I think has been mentioned before, met him in a working environment years ago and proved himself to have an ego well beyond his years, so it was really fun to see him get worked over so badly here. 3rd round become a stunt show from the Sydal/ Evans team but a true blue tribute to Vader from Roderick who obliterated Jack with every move he did. One of the most intimidating performances I've seen from him and upped his stake in my eyes ten fold. Awesome finish to this match too. I was quite surprised how much I liked this.

Corino resembles what should be the newest member of "the Heartbreak Express." He's hit up way too many fried potatoes at Cracker Barrel over the years. He's joined with perennial idiot Pearce here. This match was more or less a waste of time; crowd brawl was boring except for Corino's facials. Him trying to take realistic bumps was more laughable than any of the "Real Housewives" shows. Homicide's punches were downright pathetic here, only ones I liked were the fast exchange he had with Corino. BJ was just there and Pearce only served as the fall guy. Next. Richards and KENTA was fast paced, extremely hard hitting and had the fans on the edge of their seats; all those reasons make it recommendable. But, not legendary. They largely kicked their way into the finale which saw about 100 moves and 50 near falls, all death defying, but could have been stretched out into a great match, not a fine finishing run. Experience would have taught them that; Then, after they take every move known to man leading to the finish, as soon as the match is over, they get up and shake hands and stuff. Completely unbelievable. I'm a fan of both guys, but the way they portrayed all that was really irritating.

Main looks to be epic; the crowd is crowning and are about to erupt. Joe has a superstar presence in ROH that you don't see anywhere else, certainly not the buffoonic cretin with the bad eyemakeup you see in Orlando every week. Here's he's a god and every thing he does gives off an aura. Danielson is a master worker, but they sort of let the first 30 minutes happen with any major incident. Danielson slowly, methodically tries to pick away at Joe, legs, ankles, anything to gain an advantage. Joe rebounds every so often with a big power move, but is largely ineffective. I find myself watching him very closely though, seeing how the wisps of hair on his head resemble thorny brambles in a bush, the way he drops his right hand every single time he throws a leg kick and the stutter step he uses to bound into the ropes. Right about the halfway point, Danielson makes a breakthrough and it's a pivotal moment in the match. Okay, I want to point out some overall themes going on here: 1st the glaring one that slaps me in the face is how badly Danielson whips Joe's ass. I mean, he controls him with submissions and holds the whole 60 minutes, every time Joe gets one offensive move, they set up the next spot for Dragon to take it back. The only time Joe really stages the big "I"m pissed off now!" front is within the last minute. The last 30 contain some botched spots galore, and Joe looks incredibly winded and tired, he also forgets to keep selling his leg near the end. But, one neat thing I liked about this that stands it apart was it was all about the submissions. Joe doen'st get a lot of near falls, and even the ones that happen are awkward pin attempts that look like some Rally's Chili Cheese Fries: a big mess. So instead of near falls, usually when Joe gets the advantage, he locks on a submission, which more often than not, he does extremely well. Some good facials in the 2nd half as well, but Dragon again proving he's a workhorse, and pretty much what he says he is: the best in the world.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

WCW Great American Bash 1991

1. Bobby Eaton & P.N. News vs. Steve Austin & Terry Taylor (Scaffold Match) – 1
2. The Diamond Studd vs. Z-Man – 3
3. Oz vs. Ron Simmons – 4
4. Ricky Morton vs. Robert Gibson – 3
5. The Freebirds & Badstreet vs. The Young Pistols & Dustin Rhodes (Elimination Match) – 4
6. The Yellow Dog vs. Johnny B. Badd (Bounty Match) – 3
7. Big Josh vs. Blackblood (Lumberjack Match) – 2
8. One Man Gang vs. El Gigante – 2
9. Sting vs. Nikita Koloff (Russian Chain Match) – 4
10. Lex Luger vs. Barry Windham (Steel Cage Match) – 4
11. Arn Anderson & Paul E. Dangerously vs. Rick Steiner & Missy Hyatt (Steel Cage Match) - 1

Where to begin with this mess. This was the first pay-per-view following the infamous Ric Flair debacle and right from the start, the crowd is rightfully pissed, especially since the show starts with a scaffold match that is so beyond terrible, I have no idea why it actually took place. Why was it even a scaffold match? What was the story behind it that caused it to be a scaffold match? Why were the rules changed so that no one took the bump? Absolutely none of these questions were answered as all four men moved gingerly on a very, very narrow wooden plank. Really awkward spot where two guys were fighting, and I use that term loosely, at each end of the plank, right underneath the flags, so why didn’t an opponent reach up and grab the others flag and just start running away with it? No answer to that one either. Eaton eventually caputered Austin and Taylor’s flag, and no one knew it was the end of the match. And by no one, I mean no one, the annoucers, the crowd, the wrestlers, no one!! This could’ve been so much better if it would’ve been a straight tag team match. In between bouts, the ring crew takes down the scaffold as JR and Schiavone pimp the rest of the show, while the crowds grows anxious.

Next bout was decent. There was some good work with them going into the crowd twice briefly. Zenk did have some early energy but that was quelled once Studd took over the match. DDP intereference led to a win for Studd. Not really much to talk about as it seemed a pretty typical WCW filler match at the time. From the first time I saw the Simmons/Oz match on the WWE Classics site, I’ve enjoyed it. Now going back to an analysis of it may hinder my enjoyment of it and definitely put it somewhere around the 252 spot of my 367 favorite matches ever list, but I don’t care. One factor to take in to account with the match is that there was zero, and I mean ZERO, crowd heat. They just sat there watching the two heaps of muscular masculinity pound on each other. Oz, if you’ve never seen him, is Kevin Nash in a ridiculous Wizard of Oz get up, complete with a Great Wizard to manage him. Simmons came in with a lot of fire and seemed like was one of the few people that actually wanted to be there. Nash … I mean, Oz, could still move and isn’t the broken down heap we all know and love. Oz never caught on and Simmons finished him off with a shoulder block.

Gibson and Morton should’ve been better than it actually was. Let’s look at it logically … you’ve got the two members of the Rock N Roll Express, Morton turns heel and joins the York Foundation, so they should’ve had a knock-down, drag-out fight, right? Nope. Morton kept Gibson grounded by working on the leg and knee, which Gibson just had surgery on late in 1990. The other thing was that the match went 16 minutes! That’s honestly about 6 minutes too long, especially for the mat-based match they had. The elimination match wasn’t too much fun at all. The Freebirds spent most of the time stalling and playing with each other’s hair. My how far the Young Pistols have fallen. The year prior to this they had and absolutely outsanding encounter with the Midnight Express. Now, they’re stuck in the middle of a crappy six-man tag and it’s completely clear that they don’t give a shit. Rhodes was the shining spot of the match. The end spot where he did a bulldog while simutaneously dropkicking Big Daddy Dink (the Freebirds manager) was nice, but not enough to salvage the train wreck of a match.

Ok, up next we’ve got a bounty match. No, it’s not a match were the winner gets a lifetime supply of Bounty paper towels, although Pillman (who was masquerading as the Yellow Dog), could’ve used those to wipe all the egg from his face when he totally spoiled the gimmick by talking to the camera as the bell rang. The point of this match was that Badd would get some type of reward from Teddy Long if he were to unmask Yellow Dog. As I mentioned before, the Yellow Dog was a ridiculous thing that was concocted after Pillman lost a Loser Leaves Town match at the Clash of the Champions. Bad (no pun intended) finish where Long interfered after Dog had Badd pinned. This was also Badd’s first pay-per-view match and he still had a long way to go. After that ridiculous bout, we are graced with a lumberjack match that had no point being a lumberjack match. The same questions that were asked of the scaffold match are asked here. What was the backstory for this to be a lumberjack match? Well, to answer that question … because the company (a.k.a. Dusty Rhodes and Jim Herd) wanted it to be one. If you’re not familiar with Blackblood, don’t worry, not very many people are. Basically, it was Billy Jack Haynes from the WWF under a hood doing an executioner character and hailing from, get this, “a little town in France”. Josh and Blood threw some hard shots but, as is the recurring trend with this show, there was zero heat. The finish was fine, although I would’ve preferred for Blackblood to have followed through with his attempt to chop Josh’s head off with his axe.

Holy fuck. El Gigante and One Man Gang. This was a complete and utter mess. Kevin Sullivan leads Gang to the ring and spouts off some random shit about banshees, two-wheeled death carts, rivers of fire, and the lady with the third eye. What the hell kinda sense did that make. Gigante comes to the ring accompanied by a bunch of midgets. Wait, what? Were those supposed to be Oz’s munchkins or something? Neither of these two can work decently, especially Gigante. Speaking of which, watch Gigante’s eyes and face the next time you see a match of his, especially when he’s selling. The expression he makes is like he’s falling off a tall building. Gigante got the pin after a weak clothesline to the back of the head. Ok, now we’ve got a match that actually has some story behind it, Koloff and Sting, and it actually had a reason to be a stipulation. Sting was pretty firery but didn’t really kick it up like he usually would on pay-per-views. The crowd woke up and took a likeing to what they were seeing and gave some decent pops. They did the usual chain match/strap match finish where both guys touch all three corners and they battle for the fourth. Nikita won and Sting got a post-match pop.

Finally, we come to the two cage matches. After everything that’s been covered thus far, this couldn’t get any worse, right? Well, I hope not. Luger and Windham was for the vacant WCW World Title. Two things to note … 1) Since Flair had the actual title belt, WCW had to make a makeshift title by using the old Western States Heritage Title and pasting a plate that said “World Champion” over the top of it, and 2) Flair was scheduled to defend the title against Luger in early versions of the card. Many people believed that Luger would finally beat Flair to win the title he’d chased for so long. The crowd was in rare form by continuing their “We Want Flair” chants while JR and Schiavone were hyping the match and the cage was being put up. Windham and Luger worked a decent match that could’ve been the feature match on any episode of Worldwide. Late in the bout, Harley Race and Mr. Hughes came down to motivate and coach Luger. Luger hit the piledriver for the win and to become the WCW Champion. Also, he turned heel and nobody picked up on that fact. The final bout of the night was a two minute mess. Missy was abducted by Murdoch and Slater prior to the match, leaving Steiner to work the match himself. Not much to talk about aside from him pinning Paul E. after clotheslining both guys. Nothing about this show was good, not even the World Title match, although it was probably the best match of the show. I wouldn’t watch this show unless you’ve smoked all your pot, shot up all your heroin, and snorted all your crack. Even then, you may not be able to enjoy this show. A very strong candidate for worst pay-per-view show of all time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wrestle Mania XIII

1) The Godwinns v. The Headbangers v. Doug Furnas/ Phil LaFon v. New Blackjacks (Elimination Match)- 3
2) Rocky Maivia v. The Sultan (IC Title)- 4
3) HHH v. Goldust- 5
4) Owen Hart/ Davey Boy Smith v. Mankind/ Vader (Tag Team Titles)- 5
5) Bret Hart v. Steve Austin (Submission Match)- 10
6) Nation of Domination v. Ahmed Johnson/ LOD (Chicago Street Fight)- 4
7) Sid v. Undertaker (WWF Title)- 3

So, the Blackjacks Ride Again! Hope those ridiculous moustaches help their backside from all that riding. Windham is one of my top fave 5 workers of all time, but he had ballooned at this point, even though he still threw a tasty lariat here. La Fon has won the "Easiest Paycheck" award tonight, as he does little but tag in once for a few brief seconds before the disaster that was a double countout spot occurred with the BJ's (doesn't sound right as a nickname, does it?) and the former All Japan Tag champs took place. Loved the Hurricanrana on Windham too, looked awesome. Headbanger and Godwinns wind this stinker up with a spitting/ punching exchange, couple stiff clotheslines and a tame finish. Thought Rock looked good here, all except his flimsy dropkick, doesn't have a finish to it and looks terrible when it connects with the opponent. Crowd a little indifferent here, but they are trying. Rock hits a crazy wrap around DDT that scores big. Side kick lands during the heat section at the end and a quick rollup made perfect sense. Aftermatch with Rocky Johnson was fine for nostalgia.

Next 2 matches surprised me; Goldust is throwing some really hard strikes which ring Helmsley's bell more than once. Also uses a vile punt, a precursor to Orton's many years later. Their chemistry is evident, they string together some really nice spots, like a facebreaker that leads into a Powerslam near fall from Goldust. There's 2 long wear down sections that give this some mileage and I'm not buying the Butt-butt reversal no matter how you package it. The finish came together nicely and heat was intact for all invovled. Man, this makes me want to see a Vader/ Owen singles match for some reason. When all 4 guys get in, just a messy tangle of humanity and it doesn't work. Vader's as rough as ever, just eating Davey Boy alive. The match is all high impact, no body part working here, don't need it. Oh Shnap- they pulled off the Demolition fin on Owen on the outside of the ring. Didn't expect to see that. Imainge Demolition v. Mankind/ Vader? hmmm, Vader would murder them but Foley wouldn't have any big spots with their offense, since it's only downward forearms. Bet it would kick ass though. Back to the match, Foley botches Owen's borrowed sternum bump as Davey breezes through spots and I'm getting pissed off. This match gives everyone their heat back at the end as well, which is becoming a trend for this show.

Two major factors that really put this over the top for me: 1) i'm a finish man, give me a great finish to a match and I'll never forget it. 2) This is one of those "once in a lifetime" matches. I was discussing this with Brian the other day about Bret-Benoit (the Owen Hart tribute) and he was saying how, it was that arena, those two guys, the work they put out that day that could never be replicated with such great results. After giving this match a thorough examination, I feel the same way. There's a lot going on here, let me try and cover it. Really intense brawl starts this out; Austin was phenomenal (tough luck, AJ) at this time, just scouring the WWF landscape in search of destroying Bret Hart. They go to the crowd, fun but couldn't see a lot, incl. a backdrop Austin took on the crete. Bret works over the leg back in the ring and Austin hits his selling peak here, just writhing in pain all over the mat, screaming and cussing while he's doing it. Bret gets HUGE FACE REACTIONS for all his violent leg stuff (ex. figure- 4 on the pole, nasty chair shots to the knee braces). Austin's submissions are also spot on for a guy not known for having spot on submissions. Cameraman dives righti n for the blade shot, bone head move there. Bret's sternum bump never looked better. You have to love the intensity, the big fight atmosphere this has, funny moment when JR on commentary says "this probably isn't the match Bret Hart wanted, but he's making the most of it." The bell shot at the ends was weak but it's the Sharpshooter that seals the deal on this one. Everyone knows the now, almost iconic image of gory faced Austin, screaming with blood pouring down his face, but that's not what makes this so epic; it's when he pushes Bret out of the Sharpshooter, breaks the hold, only for a moment and the struggle he sells while doing it, right before Bret re-applies the move for the win. Fans were still cheering for Bret after the match; only when he tried to fuck with Shamrock did they turn on him. This match is a career maker for Austin, but Bret more than held his end up too. Loved after the match, Ross states plainly "That will be a hard act to follow." This was Bret's final WM match and it solidifies him as one of the greatest Mania performers of all time, along with Macho Man Randy Savage up to this point in the series. I had the exact oppposite situation happen with this match as I did the Iron Man, where I was extremely familiar with that one, this match, I never had the tape of this Mania growing up, so have only seen it a couple times, well aware of the popular opinion it held, but not really expecting to see a match of this magnitude and quality. I'm proud to have reviewed it and to include it in the prestigious "10" club of NHO.

Okay, onto the rest of this: Let's talk about this Street fight, get out your checklists: Ahmed doing silly planchas over guard rails: Check! Botched table spots galore: Check! Faarooq getting his ass straight whipped: Check! Lame ass hanging spots (that have very serious racial overtones): Check! Sloppy, chaotic brawl that doesn't quite live up to the hype: Check! This main event is seriously screwd up- first Michaels gets a 6 minute entrance then does commentary. Bret has to come out right as the match starts and try and get heat on Sid, this is Mania, not Raw! Sid's movements are so stiff, I'd swear Taker's wrestling a cardboard cutout. The Psycho One's 1st offensive move of the match: a Bearhug- that lasts for a good 5 minutes! Another lame table spot, looked terrible to boot. Hate the way Sid hits turnbuckles, he's obviously too tall for them, so he just falls into them. The poor excuse for a brawl they have outside pales in comparison to the last 2 matches before it. More long restholds as Michaels gives Taker a verbal blowjob on commentary; only because he asked Shawn to see the scar for his surgery because he told Bret "That fucker's faking!" Bret comes out and royally screws Sid out of the belt, interfering over and over again, making Taker look really weak. Hated the way this was booked. Came off terrible, one of the worst Mania mains of all time.

XIII= 49%
VIII= 43%
XII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nous observons chaque seconde #3


I've been watching a lot lately--at this point in the summer my only responsibility is a geology course so I've been spending a lot of time studying wrestling performances. I watched ROH Wrestling at the Gateway yesterday. It's a short show, about fifteen minutes over two hours, and a relatively easy watch, although it's the definition of a passable ROH show. Whenever they run a town for the first time, you can expect it to be moderately good throughout, but with a bigger show the following night nobody was trying too hard to impress. Kenny King vs Kenny Omega opened, both guys have loads of potential, and usually put on fun matches. There was a tag match that featured Luke, formerly of the Bushwhackers, who didn't look too bad; his selling is decent, he's just too old, so his timing is off, i.e. taking a delayed bump through the ropes off of a Rhett Titus dropkick, etc. There was an Ultimate Endurance tag team gauntlet, didn't feel like much effort was exerted beyond mere physicality, some decent shots, etc. but most of it felt mailed-in. Brent Albright continues being one of my least favorite ROH workers. There's a tag with Ace Steel and Necro Butcher (guess the CZW invasion has been forgiven) versus Jacobs and Delirious, again, not top-shelf stuff in regards to storytelling, but a handful of floor bumps, okay brawling, etc. Aries vs. Black was good, but I like them more in '09 when the roles have been reversed, Aries is incredibly more fun and entertaining as an asshole, eccentric heel now, and Black never really felt like a genuine heel then. Their match had some of best executed moves, from a technical standpoint, but felt too much like an exhibition with neither having strong characters like they would later. The main event is Lynn and Danielson vs. Claudio and Nigel, not a lot to say about it, pretty consistent performers but again, this felt like them demonstrating to a new town, as the match itself didn't ever develop into anything too compelling outside of guys' signature spots, etc.

I also watched both the June 13 and 20 episodes of ROH on HDNet. I thought the finish on D-Lo vs. Jay Briscoe was insultingly cheap--why'd Brown make his TV debut by leaving ringside mid-match to retreat? Bobby Fish from NOAH looked good (especially his selling) in a tag outing getting squashed alongside Silas Young by Steen and Generico. Jerry Lynn vs. Chris Hero was the best thing off of the 6/13 show. The 6/20 show didn't do much for me, thought Omega vs. King was good, and the main event of Roderick Stong vs. KENTA was also enjoyable. I could kind of see why so much of the 'net harps on KENTA, though, his facial selling is almost non-existent even though he eats more brutal shots than most guys in the business today. Still, this served up the stiffness in spoonfuls, which is especially refreshing for an American TV show. Next up on the ROH front, I'll be screening Motor City Madness '09 and Steel City Clash.

I watched the first season of The Matt Hardy Show last night. Fuck, this was all sorts of bizarre, in a mostly fun way, although some segments dragged. There's a variety of skits, some tend to be Jackass-like in nature, like egg fights, electrical shocks, homoerotic pandering, etc. I also liked the goofy movie-like segments, reminded me of if I'd had a camcorder back in the early-'90's, although these guys are considerably older, which makes it sort of weird, but watching Matt and Jeff play like kids, pretending to be trolls, acting out spontaneous scenes, etc. is amusing. There's also some more "mature" stuff, like some segments on Matt's girlfriend, who's outrageously hot, and Matt's reenactment of the night he found out Lita was having an affair with Edge, which is a lot more explicit than the version told on their WWE commercial DVD a few years ago. Them having a party and drinking with Shannon Moore and some other OMEGA guys gets a little tedious. Matt comes off like a big, fun-loving kid, but with an ego and slightly skewed angle on reality, and Jeff, damn, he comes off like a released mental patient that's on the verge of either building a rocket to fly to the moon or blueprints for the ultimate orgasm/sucide. Shannon Moore telling the Hardy's dad to fuck a dog, and later, how he sticks a washcloth up his ass when he masturbates is enough to make any fair-weather fan run screaming.

I liked TNA for the most part last week. I liked seeing Tara get the gold, treated it like an authentic moment, and hopefully they'll allow her to do some good programs as a champion. I enjoyed Styles/Daniels vs. Morgan/Nash a lot. It was nice to see Homicide return, albeit in a two-minute match that he was in afterthought in. The main event wasn't much, Jarret's histrionics are laughable, Foley is in terrible shape, and Angle can only do so much. I'll be downloading next weekend's Victory Road '09 pay-per-view. I've got a ton of other stuff on tap, a bunch of '09 stuff from Japan I've finally managed to burn off of my laptop and get on DVD, some FIP discs via Adam, the Powers of Pain set he got me, continuing work on our NWA/WCW Power Hour '90 project, and some misc. shows like WWF Royal Rumble '90 and recent Chikara.


Besides finishing the Schneider comp on Sunday and UFC 100 party at Adams on Sat., only thing i've seen is most of Raw last night. Enjoyed the women's match, not just because of the obvious scantily clad outfits they wore, but specifically the sequence between Gail Kim and A- Fox and Mickie doing the Val Venis DDT sell. Seth Green promos, take 'em or leave 'em, thought he played off the wrestlers fine. The Jericho- Mark Henry moment was pure cheese, but it was really enjoyable, Jericho also bumped big for Henry afterwards. I'm up to the main at this point.


A lot has been said about the importance of moves, and other aspects, in regards to the quality of a wrestler, or match, etc. I've been thinking about this lately. I've always considered wrestling great because it's a marriage of acting and athleticism, or movies and sports, etc. Thus, I watch a wrestler as I do an actor in a movie, or performer on a stage during a play; I watch their eyes, facial expressions, body language, etc. things that resonate their humanity in me. For me, a good wrestler is one who has engaging performances, one that "stays in character" if you will, even during transitions and lulls, while out on the apron in a tag bout, etc. Those are the wrestlers who suck me into what they're doing, it's a craft, one that which those who excel at can weave rich tapestries of story and emotion into something as seemingly base and caustic as a wrestling match. I tend to prefer the acting side above the "flashy moves" side of things. You can have an un-athletic guy, like Andre the Giant, who can't really move around much or do big spots, but can manipulate a crowd and still have memorable matches. You can also have a guy that can do fancy, flashy moves, like many backyard wrestlers, but have no idea of context or how to elicit a reaction from a crowd. So, crazy, breathtaking moves and good wrestling isn't mutually inclusive, or, I'd rather have a guy who has a simple set of moves but can get a crowd into a match than a guy that can do all sorts of flips and dives but not connect with an audience. Here's an analogy I came up with earlier today while driving: let's take a painter and compare him to a wrestler, what's important is the finished work of art the painter gives us, not the brushstrokes that went into it, similarly, what's important in a wrestling match is the overall story it told, not just the movies (i.e. brushstrokes). Sure, I still dig a crazy dive to the floor, a spine-tingling suplex, and so on, but as I've matured as a student of wrestling I've grown to appreciate all elements of what makes a truly great performer.


A lot of good points here; i find i've relegated myself back to my youth when watching. Back then, it was very simple things that would stick out to you, as you say a high impact move or dive at just the right moment. Besides your painter analogy, which makes sense, one thing I would add to that, is some matches may still contain a moment or two that you really dig that ultimately may not save a failing match or stick out like a sore thumb in a classic. I've started looking at matches like food, or more like recipes. Just like a canvas before a painter, it's blank, empty, with a recipe, you start with basic ingredients, decide what you can throw in, what goes with what, what will bring out the best in the dish. In a match, you can decide the pace, the slow and fast spots, the near falls or the high spots. The creativity you can use in creating this match is limitless, and there's certain formulas or recipes that have been time-tested that you know work, and we see stuff like this all the time, certain comedy spots, the dive spots, the tower of dooms, all that stuff that works really well for a reaction up until it's been done to death, then of course it doesn't seem to mean much anymore. As I've said before, one of the most important parts of a match is the finish, which in a meal is when you eat what you have made, to see if all the hard work was worth it. The finish in a lot of cases is the final deciding factor of this match, the last impression of the in ring work, so it's very important.

oh but as I was saying taking your example of Andre, physically years deterioted him, but like a good football coach, he has a playbook that he can use, things he knows work, whether on defense or offense (which in wrestling could also mean heel and face) and he doens't need to do 60 dives outside or shooting stars. That's one thing that's so cool about wrestling is the massive variety of characters and body types that exist within it. Makes the sport so much fun to watch!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wrestle Mania XII

1) Vader/ Owen Hart/ Davey Boy Smith v. Jake Roberts/ Ahmed Johnson/ Yokozuna- 5
2) Roddy Piper v. Goldust (Hollywood Backlot Brawl)- 4
3) Steve Austin v. Savio Vega- 4
4) HHH v. Ultimate Warrior- 1
5) Diesel v. Undertaker- 5
6) Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels (WWF Title 60 Minute Iron Man Match)- 7

Opener is your classic 6man, ppv style. Opening brawl more than made me pay attention. Ahmed got hops on a plancha. You couldn't pay me enough to take those Vader swipes in the corner, im' actually lying, i'd probably get some grim pleasure out of taking them, but damn they look rough! Yoko hits a rock bottom that literally shakes the arena. Ahmed is disgusting me, he sells like an exhumed corpse. Owen and Jake have good chemistry, with Owen doing most of the work. I hate Davey's terrible punches and why the hell did Jake kick out of his powerslam in the middle of the match with no build? Vader's just a murderer in this, Davey looks like a rookie here and I'm sure that Samoan drop he took from Yoko probably knocked him back to 1982 when Dynamite sliced his head open for him in Stampede. Crowd really loved this match, it's the last 6 man tag at Mania since 1988. The Backlot Brawl is a unique piece of business that I can't for sake of length and content rate very high, but should be sought out by those who have not seen it. Yes, Piper punches Goldust's face like he just fingered his wife, yes he beats him with a fire hose, and yes Hot Rod gets hit with a car. The first part is shorter than I remembered but basically you can skip the 2nd section later on in the show, where Goldust just works over a tired Piper until he plays his best Bugs Bunny and lays a big kiss on another dude. .

Austin looks motivated, solid strikes, body work makes sense and the pace and story of the match is working in their favor, but crowd seems really dead for this. You also have the intercuts to the "OJ chase scene" that ruin the continuity of the match. They would go on to have better matches and I don't really see the point of using a title belt shot to set up a submission move. Warrior's comeback elicits quite a loud eruption from the fans, if only they knew it would lead to his very own misanthropic comic book and money laundering University scam, they probably would have been more indifferent. Effective in establishing he's still unbeatable and freakishly ape-like, it also effectively killed the Pedigree as a finisher for quite a while. Some fun brawling starts our Semi-main, but i don't know why Nash is selling the ribs? Did I miss a backstage segment where Hall drunkenly dropped a bucket of chicken on a sleeping Nash in the dressing room floor? Cross body, okay I'm digging it, Nash kind of dwarfs Taker but his whole attitude kind of kills the momentum and drags this into extra innings when it didn't need to. Taker not doing his undead comebacks, just pathetically slithering around. At least they're not mailing it in, there's some solid strikes here. Nash slaps on the bearhug, good timing on that. Cool visual seeing Taker powerbombed, awesome reversal from the chokehold, Nash just hoists him backwards for a Japanese backdrop, that's the spot of the match for me. Both guys bumped well for their size so can't complain too much. Could have trimmed some time off though for optimum performance.

Okay, the Iron Man Match. Probably a pretty risky venture for McMahon, especially considering the company's lean towards "sports entertainment." Being a Michaels fan when I was a young kid, this was THE MATCH OF MATCHES. Being a fan of technical wrestling, is there a better example of the most pure way to show your love than to spin this match? Before NHO, before ratings, this has always been one of the greatest matches of all time to me, and in a way, still is one of my favorites. But it also marked the end of my "fandom" as you could say. Shortly after this match, Brian started getting Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and we used to read about all the Michaels antics, which made me think twice about him being my favorite superstar. But, when I knew I would start the Mania project, if I had a sure fire "10'" in the bunch, it had to be the Iron Man, but I usually go with my gut after I watch a match, and "9" was what my gut was telling me. Let me give you some of my notes, then some final thoughts on this one:

0:00- 10:00- Not much happens here, they work simple ground holds, building a slow pace as the crowd pops appropriately, probably not knowing how slow match will be. not one hold has been lazy though all looked rough and worked well

10:01- 20:00- Some stiff clotheslines here, more rest holds, both guys half-ass attempt their finishes but nothing, crowd growing more quiet, they stretcher out tony chimel after superkick spot which I was never a fan of, I think a high spot should involve the wrestlers in the match

20:01- 30:00- intensity is turned up, Bret takes a brutal posting, Michaels' well known prick side surfaces as he cusses out a cameraman, 1st punch is thrown at 26 mintues in (by Bret), Mostly all Shawn working Bret's shoulder, which ultimately leads to nowhere,so why waste so much time on it? Bret literally eating turnbuckles as michaels rams' his face hard into them with delight, Pointless ref bump and a powerslam near fall end this section

30:01- 40:00- Bret hits his patented piledriver, which was sicker than the mind of Trey Parker, that wakes the crowd up too. Highlight reel dive from the top by HBK, one of the reasons he has the rep he does, they went with a lot of near falls here, but not getting huge reaction they want, sleeper applied sucks the wind out of the crowd and the clock, big backdrop spot outside, Shawn with a nasty landing, def. highlight reel material there. Both guys broke countouts which is interesting considering they're in an Iron Man, Bret starts working back for his eventual sharpshooter. 1st miscue is 40 minutes in and belongs to Shawn, pretty good though

40:01- 50:00- Love Bret following Michaels up corner with a back suplex off the top, Back still worked over, dont' know why it's taking him so long to try and hook the sharpshooter, Jose Lothario goes down in a comical spot, Michaels viciously hits steel stairs on his back, i'm sure someone got cussed out later for that spot, Bret taunts the crowd to a big mixed reaction, Some stiff jabs from Shawn and mean lifters from Bret, can see some anger welling up in both men, tame suicido by Bret followed by awesome Everest-like German, match is so even God couldn't have engineered it better, oh well guess he did

50:01- 60:00- Chinlock wears away time in a pointless effort, Top rope superplex didn't seem to have the snap as usual, but crazy to try that so late in a match, Bret's sternum bump 56 minutes in, damn I love that man. Crowd digging Shawn's comeback, moonsault didn't make sense there. Botched Rana they shouldn't have tried in final minute then set up to Sharp shooter takes forever. Match ends with Bret looking like the clear cut winner. Crazy pop for finish, would have done huge business as a rematch, IMO

OT- this always left a bad taste in my mouth, the way they did this. leaves Bret strong, he eats the final superkick like a moose steak, suprised his jaw wasn't broken.

In the end, I'm torn on this match. The work in it, superb, unparalleled, both men give great efforts and maintain the utmost professionalism during it. I think some of the body work was way too drawn out and didn't lead anywhere and there was a lot of stuff done to kill the clock since it was a draw. I look at this match as a love letter to the feud I wished they had, but personal differences ruined that, and the fans suffered for it. Both men were at their peak here and together, wove a brilliant tapestry of wrestling art. But, alas, I stick with my grade of "9" and simply say this is a phenomenal match that any fan should watch. I'd be remissed if I didn't mention that there's a moment after Michaels secures victory and is handed the Title belt by Earl Hebner, which Bret pointed out in his amazing biography and yes, WWF cameras pick it up clear as day. Michaels tells Earl "to get Bret's ass out of the fucking ring, because this is his moment." You see Earl whisper something to Bret, who looks up, completely not selling now and looks a little stunned. He somberly leaves the ring, and throws Michaels a death stare as he trots down the aisle, pissed off and rightly so.

VIII= 43%
XII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Saturday, July 11, 2009

TNA Impact - 6/25/09

Brutus Magnus vs. Brother Ray (New York Street Fight) - 2
Ray just beats the shit out of ol’ Brutus with stiff chops and hard punches. Once they get in the ring and Ray pulls out a table, we get interference from all these foreign dudes, namely Kiyoshi, Bashir, Doug Williams, and Rob Terry, who give Ray a terrible beat down until D-Von comes in and clears house with a chair. Terry takes a good chair shot, falls like a tree, and Kiyoshi gets put through a table for a no contest ruling. Huh? A three-minute brawl that ends in a no contest? Had there actually been a finish, it would’ve gotten another point, but nooooo … this is TNA, where clean finishes don’t exist on TV.

Kevin Nash vs. Abyss – 3
Nash did a lot of corner work, mainly with knees to the guts and some back elbows. Nash was a stringbean compared to Abyss, I mean damn, it looked like he’d been on a diet of lettuce and water for three months. Not a big fan of this goofy Abyss character, liked him a lot better and an unstoppable monster when he was paired up with Jim Mitchell. Chair gets brought into the bout by Nash and he hits the post with a wild swing. Abyss gets the chair and brings it in the ring. Then, Stevie runs down and “tazers” Abyss with some of the most bullshit sound effects I’ve ever heard. Nash just casually covers Abyss. Decent little match and Nash looked pretty good. The only time the tazer shit ever worked was when Hall did it to Goldberg in 1998.

Taylor Wilde vs. Daffney (Match of 1,000 Tacks) – 3
Daffney is just so awesome that I can’t even describe it. Here in this particular match, you must climb a pole, grab the tacks, and throw your opponent through them. Daff takes a nasty kick from Taylor while jumping off the top rope. I used to like Taylor but now, she has ZERO heat and only works hard when she has too. Back to the bout, Daff whacks Taylor with the tack bag and spreads them on the mat. I think she needs to take Hardcore Wrestling 101 over again because obviously she didn’t learn that he/she who opens the tacks, recieves the tacks. That’s exactly what happened as Daffney took another tack bump, her second in a week, but one that wasn’t as wild (no pun intended) at Slammiversary.

Scott Steiner vs. Robert Roode – 4
Good little match between these two. Steiner’s selling was really good, especially his vocal selling. His basic offense looked good and it was really one of the better Impact matches I’ve seen recently. Roode did the “Beer Money” pose about two minutes after briefly beating up Steiner. Roode blocking the Steiner Recliner was a nice touch to the finish and the surprise backslide for the pin was good as well. Well, I guess we do get clean fins in TNA. Since Steiner popped up in TNA, I’ve really liked his work. Really liked the pace they kept up as well but they didn’t really give a chance for anyone to take a breath.

Booker T vs. James Storm – 3
A little slower paced than the Steiner/Roode match but still decent. Booker’s offense looked a bit mailed in, especially some stuff early on. Storm, who has the most charisma on the Beer Money team, comes to the ring with the Boozer Cruiser, a novelty thing that’s grown old. Sharmell was at ringside and made some good facials when Booker got nailed in the corner next to her. Finish saw Booker smash a beer bottle over Storm’s head to cause the instant DQ. Storm sold it like he was dead and Earl Hebner sold it like he got shot. Wait, the referee sold the bottle shot as well? Perhaps he needs to lay off the hooch. Nothing on this show to really seek out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

WrestleMania XI

1) Lex Luger/ Davey Boy Smith v. Jacob & Eli Blu (w/ Uncle Zebekiah)- 2
2) Jeff Jarrett (w/ the Roadie) v. Razor Ramon (w/ 1-2-3 Kid) IC Title- 4
3) Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) v. King Kong Bundy (w/ Ted Dibiase)- 1
4) Smoking Gunns v. Yokozuna & Owen Hart (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) Tag Team Titles- 4
5) Bret Hart v. Bob Backlund (I Quit Match w/ Roddy Piper as ref)- 4
6) Diesel (w/ Pam Anderson) v. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sid & Jenny McCarthy) WWF Title- 6
7) Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Million Dollar Corp.) v. Lawrence Taylor (w/ All Pro Team)- 3

We start off with a Tag match, one of my favorites to watch. Faces try to be the Rockers and sync up their moves, but screw it up w/in 30 seconds on clotheslines. Why is the audio being announced to the whole arena? Vince is trying to placate the crowd with really bad jokes, as usual. Harris' never re-learned after being in ECW that sloppy moves won't cut it. Funny spot was when Luger hit his bionic forearm and neither the crowd or the announcers popped for it. Finish has been done 1,000 times over and better every time. IC title matches were a staple of Mania for years- here's evidence tradition dies hard. Jarrett is a perfect foil for Ramon except his repetitive, emotionless flat back bumps on everything. I wouldn't think he'd wrestled a match afterwards, just had a hard workout, except Hall busted his nose open. Roadie looks like a ferret on Mescaline, he's so hyper at ringside. Jarrett had a great dropkick though, can't take that away from him. Kid looks more like a Geisha girl in his Japanese smock; he brought the fire in the aftermath though. Story and pace was fine, but wasn't feeling much here. Wow, the ref got a name plate and intro by Lawler, far cry from today's Nameless Refs. Bundy easily has the worst selling I've seen in a while, he stumbles around as if he ate a hot chili pepper by accident. He throws Shitty ass clotheslines, his arm was more flaccid than Paul Bearer's little pud performing that move. JR's "Bowling Shoe Ugly" comes to mind with this match. Well, we got one good kneedrop out of him, guess we can go home happy, no, we can't, we had to watch a bunch of grown men fighting over a flashlight in the shape of an urn.

Only Owen Hart would do 3 flips out of an armbar and follow up with an eyepoke! Yoko got it in his head he would bump out of the ring in a really nasty way so he did it! Gunns have some good double team moves, but with this goofy character, no wonder they never made it. Do I really care they had Rodeo scholarships? And what fucking disreputable school gave those out anyways? Crowd is solidly into watching Yoko do anything. Owen powerbombs himself with a dropkick off the top, takes him a few seconds to get up, you hate to see those kinds of things, that's what could really do long term damage. RIP Billy Gunn, died under the ass of a Samoan playing a Japanese wrestler. He was 29 and had a porno stache. Finish accentuated Owen's heel persona perfectly, Yoko was gasping for air against the ropes for a long while after the match, and the genuis WWF camera crew filmed every second of it. I like Bret's approach, he totally picks Backlund apart. He chokes Bob against the ropes as a way to make him say I quit, neat idea. Piper is wretched here, every 6 seconds shoves the mic in someone's face to see if they quit. You can't properly give the moves any sells when you have to function to say "No." Backlund doesn't respond half the time, hell he doesn't even say the words, they just ring the bell after some non-descript screaming. I liked Bob's controlling the chin with a reverse half way through, as an exhibition this would be good, but good this was not.

I can't imagine an instance where Nash would move as fast as he did during this really hot opening spot with Michaels, unless he got wind of a drug test at the Georgia Dome back in '99. I love those crazy high backdrops, Michaels takes a killer one, but my god they have to be dangerous. Shawn's bouncing like a rubberball on the biggest stage of his career, but still finds the time to harass a camerman. Hate those obvious reversal setups, Shawn positions Nash right next to the ropes for a suplex, give me a break. Hellen Keller could have seen what was coming. Always liked that crossbody and flying back elbow he does here, still look crisp and the timing was down. Really exceeding my expectations for this. Sid looked lost, kept getting on the apron waiting for his spot. Ending lost some steam but overall this was well done. Big main and the crowd is supernova hot for it. Bam Bam sells big from bell to bell and it took a real pro to pull this off, even if the match isn't very good. LT don't want to sell anything, he keeps trying to throw little shots instead of playing hurt. Shouldn't have given him all those adrenaline shots before the match in his withered knees. He hits a Doctor Death suplex though on Bammer late, which had to have irritated him. LT does throw a vicious forearm, they quickly go to the fin after LT gasses from 10 minutes of action. Not a good main event.

The scores don't really reflect it, nor do the ranking, but this is probably my least favorite Mania so far. Terrible production values, audio is all off, mics don't work, the celebs are totally lost, just a poor effort and felt more like a bad week of TV than a Mania. Anybody else wish it would have been TLC instead of Salt n' Pepa that year?

VIII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Burger Kang #7: All You Need Is Shove

Brent Albright and Erick Stevens vs. Chris Escobar and Damian Wayne - (ROH Full Circle) - 3

This was a show opener and kind of fun in a real Southern, old school way; I mean, I'm not saying this was the second-coming of the South, but it didn't feel so much like a typical ROH tag match. Escobar, who looked like one of the Children from the Corn, and Wayne, in their control sections didn't do much to Stevens, but, they kept him in their portion of the ring and did a lot of basic stuff that'd rile up small, rowdy Southern crowds. When Albright got in after a hot tag, he ran through them and came off like a legitimate powerhouse.

Dan Severn vs. Jesus Castillo - (WWE Shotgun Saturday Night 9/12/98) - 1

It's funny hearing Cornette and Ross on commentary building up Dan's "no holds barred fighting" background. Severn looks real bad on transitions. Castillo surprised me with a real tight German suplex out of the corner. Severn uses a lot of short kicks, knees, etc. Severn wins with a standing Dragon Sleeper and does a good job facially making it look fierce, but upon a close-up, it's crystal clear his arm's not under the chin thus making the "submission" null.

Vader vs. Cactus Jack - Texas Tornado Match - (WCW Worldwide 4/30/94) - 4

I'd heard this match lead to Jack's imminent quitting of the company. Tony Schiavone says, due to "liberal" political correctness, they can't use the word "death", thus, its a Texas Tornado match. Nope, that doesn't mean a bunch of Kerry Von Erich spots, and in fact, later Schiavone says something even more ridiculous, citing it should now be dubbed the "Orlando Chair match". A lot of the meat of this takes place out on the floor, Jack's punches don't look too good but Vader's trying to eat them. Jack does a somersault off of the apron into Vader and the results aren't pretty. The end comes when Race smacks Foley in the face with a chair, leading to an utterly stiff powerbomb on the floor by Vader.

Tigers Mask and Jushin Liger vs. Tiger Mask and Great Sasuke - (12/23/08) - 3

This starts off real sort of exhibition-like. Nice to see Sasuke and Liger in there together to start, but, they do some real tame mat stuff with no hate or determination displayed. I was hoping Tiger Mask was the original, but instead it's IV, although he did bust out a nice suicide dive right in Liger's face on the floor.  Sasuke sold one low-blow by blabbering and spitting up like an infant.  Tigers hit some nice strikes on Sasuke, as well as a German suplex. Tigers gets disqualified for using this Big Boss Man nightstick and this file goes directly to the trash bin.

Matt Morgan vs. Sting - (TNA Slammiversary '09) - 3

I liked this early as Morgan's improved personality-wise, really jawing it up with the ringside fans as he was bullying Sting out on the floor. Instead of playing Abyss' soft friend, now they're letting Matt just be an arrogant jock and it works. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed him making quips at the fans. Unfortunately, in the ring, the match started falling apart. Sting looked like Skeletor late in this, face paint chipped off until it resembled a skull, hair receding faster than our economy, etc. As much as Sting has presence, and has been one of the better guys on the microphone in TNA this year, it's about time to hang up the boots, go fishing with the Black Scorpion, and wait until WWE calls to get his involvement on a three-disc career retrospective DVD. They botch a major spot, where Sting was supposed to escape a Morgan power move, slide behind him and go directly into a Scorpion Death Drop. They tried to improvise but by this point I'd already put up the white flag, went to White Castle for some sliders and a Big Red soda, and surrendered.

Amigo Suzuki vs. Satoshi Kajiwara - (Ultimo Dragon Produce "LUCHA FIESTA 2009") - 2

This kicked off Ultimo's love letter to lucha, now, when I want produce, I want it fresh and crisp, but this opener didn't fit the bill. Amigo starts by controlling Satoshi with a headlock, this section is preceding by a random display of strong style, as they go all Kobashi/Misawa and start forearming each other in the face and I'm perplexed. So, we graduate from the simplest, most basic of mat moves, into a slugfest? The young boys need seasonings as does some good zucchini. I think I'd rather be grocery shopping.

Brad Attitude vs. Austin Aries - (ROH Proving Ground - Night Two) - 4

Aries' makes this match, his performances, especially as of the '09 character evolving, have been a real joy to watch. He bumps around like a pinball, sort of in the image of Hennig/Michaels, does weird, unpredictable things like Pillman, and comes off like a real sleaze ball unlike anyone that's came before. Attitude is a relatively fresh-faced good guy, a FIP regular, and mechanically isn't bad, he even has this little aerial spot I've never seen before I sort of dig, where from the apron he'll hop up knees-first onto the top rope, then somersault off onto an opponent. I was going to compare him to Chase Tatum, former member of WCW"s horrid No Limit Soilders faction, but then found out Tatum died of a drug overdose not too long ago so let's steer away from that one. Brad holds up his end of the bargain, but honestly, Austin could be wrestling just about anyone and I'd be glued to my monstrous plasma TV. Highlight being Austin's Heat Seeking Missile dive as he drives Attitude backward violently and they crash into the guardrail pushing it about three-foot into the crowd.

Monday, July 6, 2009

NHO on Twitter

So we finally decided to see what this Twitter thing is all about. If you're on Twitter, follow us at

We'll post some candid thoughts, blog updates, etc on there so follow us, let us know how we're doing, and engage it some casual chat if we're online. So make Bockwinkel proud and follow us on Twitter. As for the remainder of the summer here on the blog, the best is yet to come!! Now, back to some Joshi ... as you were.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Japan - 02/17/2008

1) Tetsuya Naito/ Yujiro/ Taguchi/ ? v. Manabu Nakanishi/ Tiger Mask IV/ Koji Kanemoto/ ?- 3
2) Christopher Daniels v. Wataru Inoue- 3
3) Super Strong Machine/ Shiro Koshinaka/ Masahiro Chono/ Riki Choshu v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan/ Gedo/ Jado/ ?- 3
4) Minoru Tanaka/ Prince Devitt v. Jushin Liger/ AKIRA (IWGP Jr. Tag Titles)- 6
5) AJ Styles v. Hiroshi Tanahashi- 6
6) Tomko/ Giant Bernard v. Toru Yano/ Togi Makabe (IWGP Tag Team Titles) - 4
7) Shinsuke Nakamura v. Kurt Angle (IWGP Title Unification Match) - 5

Okay opening match only went about 10 minutes, so no one really got to show off, esp. Tiger Mask. A few kicks and his paycheck was earned. Taguchi stood out to me, think he could be really good in a few years, has a WWE 80's heel thing going on. Nothing of note really happened as brick wall Nakanishi got the win after not selling at all. 2nd match was a let down- Daniels overly sold a bunch of shit off the bat and i wasn't real impressed with his business on this night. Inoue looked like someone who needed carrying, but they worked his leg over the whole time, with not much good emotion being shown. Daniels put him away pretty easily in a forgettable encounter. Tenzan's back baby! with Horns and everything. Unfortunately he's up against the old guard who don't go down easily. Everyone on the face team has seen much better days, Machine needed new parts, Chono really shouldn't wear tight pants, Choshu still has a great lariat but that's it, and Koshinaka really befuddled me; he kept getting pissed because the heels were using his trademark "butt bump" move, so a one upmanship went on for the whole middle of this match. It's a butt strike!!!! Never liked the way he utilized it, so hated everything they did here with it. Tenzan didn't look good at all, physically he still seemed to have it together, but he was a background piece in this match.

Really suprised and overjoyed at this jrs. tag match. Devitt and Tanaka continue to impress after their showing at the Destruction PPV and then here, pulling fire out of Liger I haven't seen since the mid-90's. AKIRA is usually only fuctioning as a Junior not as good as Liger, therefore making him look better, but he kept up with the youngings throughout and had a really awesome armbar. Liger can still powerbomb with the best of them, he puts them on their neck every time. Awesome false finishes highlighted the last 7 minutes, and luckily we weren't treated to a dive spot. Tanaka looks ever improving since BattlArts days as well. AJ is doing his best Mark Briscoe here (with the Southern Drawl using as a heel mostly) but reminds me more of Marc Sommers, popular nerdy host of Nick's Double Dare show from the 80's. He takes a low blow recepit and rubs himself like the Masturbating Bear repeatedly saying "oh, my nuts!" This is a rematch from a TNA ppv a few years back that Internet fan boys didn't like too much; I did like it and this is even better. It's always a good sign when AJ hits his backflip DDT and the crowd pops. He was really on, stiff forearms, crazy pele kick, just all fun. Tanahashi takes a Dynamite Kid snap suplex on the apron in a cringe-worthy spot. All in all, these two just gel and I'd love to see a rubber match.

Not sure what the back story of this match was, but I'm guessing it had to do with the fact they were four ugly ass dudes. Tomko really looked bad, ripping power move after power move with in the first few seconds of his being in there, and nearly dropping the guys on their heads. Yano nor Makabe impressed me, i guess they're supposed to be hardcore, but Yano didn't look too tough when Bernard splashed him through a table on the outside. That was an annihilation, table blew up like a land mortar. Finish kind of sucked in a mostly brawling match that I really wasn't into. Main event I was looking forward to, really digging Nakamura more and more; he's not flashy but he can go. Angle punished him for the first half, like a mat clinic I'm sure he gave to some eager young wrestlers back in Pittsburgh, just trying to pass the time after school. Then the match went into fast forward, spots from really great matches were inserted into this one like a top rope Angle slam at around 10 minutes, didn't make sense. You could also hear and see Angle visually calling out the spots to the young Japanese wrestler. Finish was pretty awesome though, they were trading submission moves back and forth, awesome transitions from moves into the Anklelock, Nakamura doing about 3 flips in the air then somehow wrangling Angle into a cross arm breaker, just breathtaking ground work. I won't ruin the ending but overall, felt like the first Angle-Joe match, except instead of skipping the whole beginning stages like that match did, this one skipped the middle which is even more mind boggling from a pysch perspective.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cinnamon Toast Punch #1

Part of a balanced breakfast! Eat up kids!

Taka Michinoku vs. Pantera (WWF In Your House: No Way Out – 2/15/98) – 5
The popcorn fart known as Brian Christopher is on guest commentary. Him and Lawler are just burying the competitors, by calling high-risk moves “Taco Twisters” and “Burrito Busters”, and JR’s play-by-play. At one point, Christopher even called Taka a “slant-eye”. Please get this annoying fucker off the mic … NOW!! Anyway, despite the bullshit going on at the commentary table, Taka and Pantera have a decent little match. Pantera hit some nice high-flying moves, with a nice suicide dive through a corner of the ring, right past the ring post. Taka’s back was worked over during the first part of the bout and he did well selling it. He even sold it while trying to do a Michinoku Driver, which goes a long way in my book. The commentary got in the way of any enjoyment I could’ve gotten out of this.

The Nasty Boys & Earthquake vs. The Bushwhackers & Tugboat (WWF Superstars – 6/15/91) – 3
It was pretty obvious from the start that Tugboat was going to turn on the Bushwhackers, with him constantly turning his back to the action and doing the “toot, toot” sign to the crowd. The action in the match mainly focused on the Bushwhackers and the Nasty Boys with Earthquake getting in here and there. There was a spot where it was teased that Tugboat and Earthquake would battle each other, but Tugboat quickly tagged out and gave away the fact that he was going to turn. Aside from the Tugboat heel turn, there was nothing much to this one.

Dan Hansen vs. The Royal Battler – Over the Top Rope Challenge (Dynamic Wrestling – 6/6/09) – 1
This Dan Hansen character is a co-worker of a friend of mine and was given his ring name because he supposedly works like the legendary Stan Hansen. That would be accurate if Stan was a large dude with no fluid motion whatsoever. Now, about this Royal Battler fella. I don’t know why he has that character, all I know is that all he competes in is over-the-top-rope challenges and wins them because he hasn’t learned to bump over the top yet. Excuse me for a moment while a laugh really, really hard … *laughs really, really hard* … ahem, that’s better. These two mesh just like Jell-O and motor oil. This is only four minutes and it’s awful. Hansen tries charging Battler, who’s on the apron, with a giant clothesline but does a stutter step, starts the move over. Battler pulls down the top rope and Hansen’s tubby ass lands on the floor. A match like this makes you wonder why these two don’t make it to the big time. Oh, wait, it’s because they both suck.

Eddie Gilbert and Ricky Morton brawl with Atsushi Onita, Masa Fuchi, and Tojo Yamamoto in the concession stand (Tupelo, MS – Early 1980s) – 6
This is the aftermath of a best of three falls match between Gilbert & Morton and Onita & Fuchi that breaks down into a giant brawl right inside the concession stand! The fight starts in the ring with Morton swinging a kendo stick at the evil foreigners and then it cuts to the concession stand. What a fight this was! There was blood and mustard everywhere. Hey Gilbert, I’ll take two dogs, no blood, and a large Coke! Onita gets thrown into the ice machine and Morton and Fuchi brawl over near the kitchen area. The two teams are forced apart with Gilbert and Morton being shoved back to the locker room. Then some middle-aged lady who runs the concession stand comes in and tries to pick a fight with Yamamoto. Gilbert and Morton reappear and start swinging broomsticks all over the place. Finally, everyone gets separated from each other and pushed back to the locker room. Just a wild, unmitigated brawl that’s tons of fun. It’s wild stuff like this that put “hardcore” wrestling on the map and still holds up today.

Go Shiozaki & KENTA vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kensuke Sasaki (NOAH – 6/22/09) – 9
First, let me explain why I didn’t give this a “10”. I definitely played with the idea of giving this match the ultra-rare top score but the fact that it’s pimped heavily now doesn’t mean that six months from now it will still be talked about as heavily. Granted, it will no doubt be a finalist in this year’s Match of the Year voting, but is it going to be legendary? I don’t think so, especially since something equally as spectacular will no doubt come along in the months and years to come. Now, all of that having been said, it’s time to get down to the analysis. These four are no doubt the best that Japanese wrestling has to offer right now and the fact that they spent 35 minutes pummeling each other solidifies that fact. The exchanges of kicks between Nakajima and KENTA are just brutal and are the most vicious kicks I’ve ever seen. The chop exchange between Shiozaki and Sasaki reminded me of the exchange between Sasaki and Kobashi from the July 2005 NOAH Tokyo Dome show. The chops sounded like gunshots, or firecrackers since it’s Fourth of July weekend here in the states, going off. Each slam and high impact manuever had a point and either led to a pinfall or set up a high risk move that was a pinfall. And the superkicks … oh, the superkicks. They were absolutely sickening. Sasaki folded Go in half with a sick clothesline, Nakajima reversed a GTS into a an ankle lock submission. Let me say that again … Nakajima reversed a GTS into a FUCKING ANKLE LOCK!!!! The tease of whether or not KENTA would tap to the ill manuever was heart-pounding as watching it, you don’t want the match to end. Eventually, KENTA made the ropes and the hold was broken. Holy shit, I’ve never ever seen this much bell-to-bell action in my life. It’s one cringing kick, chop, or slap after another. The Go Flasher to finish it wasn’t very fluid but I won’t fault Shiozaki too much. By far the best NOAH match of the year and after watching it, it is now my current match of the year, surpassing the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match by a wide margin. Find this match and watch it … NOW!!

Raven & Daffney vs. Abyss & Taylor Wilde – Monster’s Ball Match (TNA Slammiversary 2009 – 6/21/09) – 4
This match had a lot of good and a lot of bad. Daffney was doing her best Benoit impression and just killing herself. Abyss gave her a giant military press from the ring onto the floor, where she was caught by Taylor, Stevie, and others. All four combatants brawled through the crowd where a table was set up. Taylor put Daffney on the table, climbed the speakers, and hit a splash that put Daffney through the table. Damn, she’s hardcore! Weapons shots are all around in this with the women suprisingly throwing the hardest shots. Abyss spreads tacks on the mat and, uh oh, Daffney’s caught between the tacks and Abyss. She jumps over the tacks, gets caught by Taylor, and recieves and Arn Anderson-esque spinebuster into the tacks. I knew goth girls were crazy but I didn’t know they were this crazy. Abyss slams Raven into the aforementioned tacks for the win. This was fun but I felt like I’ve seen this before numerous times, kind of like all of those teen horror films that are coming out. Same plot, same result. Good stuff from the ladies but the guys didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Iron Man Survivor Battle Royal (AWA TV – 7/22/90) – 3
Well this was interesting. This was part of the ill-fated and very confusing Team Challenge Series in the dying days of the AWA and featured members of all three teams battling with the winner getting points for his team. Three men start it out and every thirty seconds a new person would hit the ring. This featured the likes of The Texas Hangmen, Mike Enos, Larry Zbyszko, Scott Norton, The Trooper, and Yukon John Nord to name a few. The intervals were too quick for anybody to actually work any decent spots and the most memorable thing was Trooper fighting out of a 4-on-1 situation. The final three were Norton, Trooper, and one of the Hangmen. After eliminating the Hangman, the match is called and Norton and Trooper are declared co-winners. Wait, what? Nobody mentioned that. Apparently since their on the same team, then they can win the points. Was this unique, not really, and it’s fairly obvious it’s a rip-off of the Royal Rumble match.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

IWA Mid-South February Fury 2/06/09

1. Ryan Phoenix vs. Juice Robinson - 2
2. Bill the Butcher vs. Greg Excellent - 1
3. Rain vs. Mickie Knuckles - Falls Count Anywhere Match - 4
4. Bad Breed vs. The Hooligans - 3
5. Keith Walker vs. Zach Gowen - 1
6. Drake Younger vs. Jon Moxley vs. Devon Moore vs. B-Boy - 4
7. Popular Electronics vs. Contract Killers vs. The Starting Lineup vs. Frankie The Face and Jeff King - 2
8. Michigan Militia vs. Grits N Gravy - Ladder Match - 4
9. Jason Hades vs. Carter Gray vs. Ash vs. Egotistico Fantastico vs. Shane Hollister vs. Yellow Dog vs. Prince Mustafa Ali - 3
10. Dingo vs. Trik Davis - 4

Juice is allegedly 19, looks like Josh Koscheck, but with a Carlito-sized curly, blond afro. Phoenix fits the white trash stereotype pleasantly with pale skin, long red hair, white bandana, and bad tattoos. They go the ten-minutes it was allotted, ending in a draw, and the 25 or so people in attendance seemed indifferent. Juice has a decent look, showed come character, could be good in time, but should shelve the standing moonsault because it looked pathetic. Greg Excellent is one of the worst excuses for a pro wrestler I've seen in a long time. He's a big, fat guy with no timing, zero coordination, an eyesore physique, and likely works at EB Games. You're wrestling in a white button-up shirt and a pair of shiny Tommy Dreamer pants? Really? Bill the Butcher has a John Nord/Bruiser Brody character going, could be cool, but needs better supporting cast to know as Excellent is anything but.

Mickie's lost weight, still looks far too close to any number of neighborhood girls from my old block, but I'll be damned, not even a minute in and she's eating a face-first shot into the steel ring post and I'm happy. I guess this is falls count anywhere, Rain starts chucking bags of candy from the concession stand at Knuckles, a sweet, little old lady in a Cosby sweater rescues the candy box before too many packages of Skittles are lost. Wait, I recognize Rain, she's the former Payton Banks from TNA! Well, no librarian glasses or Robert Roode here. This is a pure crowd brawl, old school, they never even get in the ring. At one point, Mickie puts Rain in a full-nelson and lets ringside fans giver her chops. This has been more entertaining than most of WWE women's '09 output. They're brawling in the bleachers, holy shit, The Hooligans interfered, and double-powerbomb Mickie on the bleachers! What a fucking bump!

Oh shit, Bad Breed's back together? Lock up your daughters and groceries. Axl looks lethargic here, glad he didn't sign with Vince, not to boost his imagined credibility, but because I would have had to see him more often. If chicks dig scars, Ian Rotten is fucking Brad Pitt. Ian suplexes one of the Hooligans off of the bleachers onto the gym floor. A Hooligan member sells a Stone Cold Stunner by Ian better than Jericho, Angle, or Lita ever did. Aftermath sees the Hooligans duct tape Axl to the ropes while they slaughter Ian. As children in the crowd help release Axl, he screams out, "Oh my God, Ian!" in the most campy way possible. This is surreal shit. Gowen is the one-legged wonder, didn't impress me in his short-lived feud with Matt Hardy in '03, and still doesn't do a lot for change my mind. Walker looks like a cross between Giant Bernard and The Barbarian, poor guy, practically has to wrestle himself, only selling he does is as a result of a series of elbow drops Gowen continually dodges. This sucked like Steve-O with a can of nitrous oxide.

Moxley wrestles locally so I've seen him a few times before, here, he looked more confident and had more personality than anybody else. The return of B-Boy was less than spectacular, he looked more like a tax accountant in a Punisher t-shirt than a thug. He did do a couple sick moves, like hitting a running Death Valley Driver on one opponent into the turnbuckles, and later, while one guy hung upside down in the Tree of Woe, B-Boy overhead belly-to-belly suplexed someone into them. Devon did a real ugly springboard moonsault onto everyone on the floor. Moxley does a cradle piledriver, but releases his grip mid-move, which sort of negates the concept of a "cradle" piledriver. Drake absolutely kills Moxley with a Vertebreaker for the win. A decent four-way that didn't fall too far into cutesy sequences and strong-style blow fests.

This convoluted tag four-way is almost too much. Each team is built upon some stereotype or social outcast. Popular Electronics are your Radio Shack working, lives with Mom, lovable douchebags, Starting Lineup are, of course, African American sports fans, the Contract Killers don't look opposing, instead, are two, pimply-faced, 160lbs. tweens, and then there's the "Old Timer" Jeff King working the retro gimmick that Colt Cabana as Matt Classic did hundreds of times better, and Frankie the Face, the least interesting dude of the batch, a chubby, forgettable guy squeezed into a bootleg Super Nova vinyl outfit. They're doing all kinds out lame pop culture spots, stuff paying homage to Voltron, Street Fighter II (by way of a basketball being chucked like Ryu's fireball), etc. Of course, they have to do a big dive section, which comes off real bad, save for Kareem Abdul Jamar's, as he jumps off the apron dunking on a nearby basketball goal (the show's in an old gymnasium) then lets go falling onto all the other idiots. Too jokey and self-referential for its own good.

The ladder match, I almost felt bad for them, as even though they tried a couple nasty spots, going on in match eight out of ten in front of a tiny crowd that's already tired, this felt heatless and forced when it shouldn't have necessarily. I'm digging Sami Callihan of late, and he was the best guy here, involved in some of the more gnarly bumps. The ending came when Sami's partner Michael Elgin got powder in his eyes and accidently powerbombed Callihan on a ladder.

No, a seven-way match, really? Really? Yellow Dog surely isn't Windham or Pillman. Mustafa Ali throws a "shoe bomb" in a really distasteful spot. Shit, this is elimination? Some talent here, lots of people trying lots of stuff, some works, most doesn't. Ash trying to do a CIMA spot is like Cody Deaner trying to do a Billy Robinson spot. It comes down to Hades and Gray, who've had decent showings, and ended with this baffling somersault backcracker move by Hades.

The main event felt a bit more respectable than a lot of the show. Dingo's the first guy to truly embrace being a face, running around slapping high fives, etc. and then there's Davis, who cites Chris Hero as a trainer, has a bowl cut, and looks like he used to get bullied at the Boys and Girls Club so he makes a natural, snotty heel. This went a little over twenty with the ending being Dingo hitting a fisherman buster off of the turnbuckles for the win.

My overall impression of the show, while the scores are terrible, was that it wasn't a bad viewing, it moved along at a good enough pace, it's just that I'd always heard IWA Mid-South was where all the independent darlings from ROH and PWG went to actually work without restraints. I guess in '09 they're evolving, as a lot of the more familiar names are out, gone are the dream matches, and we're now greeted by a bunch of young guys with little to no charisma or talent. Sure, take the tag melee as an example, these dudes are having fun "playing" wrestlers for fifteen minutes, but when there's so many hundreds of hours of amazing performances out there, why would you bother watching green high school drop-outs when Jumbo Tsuruta is one download or DVD away? I'll continue watching all of IWA Mid-South, as well as the top arguably dozen American independents throughout '09, to get a firsthand perspective on what's out there--but if you're seeking quality IWA Mid-South search out Low Ki, Too Cold Scorpio, and Necro Butcher's stuff and leave the Greg Excellent's of the world in the download queue indefinitely.