Saturday, August 29, 2009

Best of Puro & Lucha 2005 Vol. 1

This was a random comp I picked up in a bulk order a year or so ago, thought it was time to revisit that glorious year.

1) Ryuji Ito/ Shadow WX v. Kintaro Kanemura/ Iakashi Sasaki (Barb Wire Death Match)- 4
2) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Shinsuke Nakamura (U-30 Title Match)- 7
3) Mitsuharu Misawa/ Takeshi Rikio v. Genichiro Tenryu/ Shiro Koshinaka- 5
4) Kenta Kobashi v. Minoru Suzuki (GHC Heavyweight Title Match)- 6
5) Katsuhiko Nakajima/ Taiji Ishimori/ Shanao v. Los Salseros Japonesas- 5
6) Masato Tanaka v. Super Crazy v. Ikuto Hidaka v. Minoru Fujita- 3

Apparently the eve of 1999 is still dawning in Japan in early '05. This opening hardcore match feels plucked right out of a time warp. Long, wandering crowd brawl, Balcony dives, opponents huddled together all waiting for a suicide dive, it's all here. The younger guys were freakishly scarred up, ensuring me the death match practice will always be carried on by some misled youths and giving me that warm feeling inside. Kanemura, or "Dough Boy" as Eric "Goo Goo" Gellar used to call him is always fun to watch, dude will take big bumps and loves falling on painful objects. WX, while sans face paint and expensive Urban apparel, the years had not been kind. He's the least factor in this match, his only highlight being the willing victim of a strange contraption in the corner, that almost works like a guillotine, when you hit it, you trigger a large wooden switch to come down into you with barb wire wrapped around it. It was utterly ridiculous but i still got a kick out of it.

Our 2nd bout is for one of the alternate heavyweight Belts New Japan was using at the time. These 2 men know each other really well and I've found myself developing quite a boner for Nakamura's work. This has the feel of a big time match and MMA fight all rolled into one with the sheer amount of submission attempts (Nakamura's game) and brutal strikes. They used close tap outs as their near falls and Tanahashi, who is suspect to me sometimes, was right there in this. This was so good I could have watched it again right after my first viewing.

This NOAH tag offering featured one thing of interest and that was seeing two battle tested veterans go at it, speaking of course of Misawa and Tenryu. Both guys at this time, while getting older could still strike with the best of them, Misawa's elbows were like balloons popping every time he threw one. While the match didn't have a lot to offer besides those exchanges, I saw some potential in Rikio's work, who was being built up at the time, as a strong brute with some dynamic power offense, but he needed a direction in which to point this in. Koshinaka's hip and butt attacks don't do shit for me.

An interesting concept of a World Title match here, this was during Kobashi's amazing 2 year run as the greatest wrestler in the world. The basic plot of this match is Suzuki can't win against Kobashi, only chance he has is to hurt him and use his quickness and submission skills. If he can't do that, he won't win. And they play that out to perfection, amazing arm work and really fluid motion from Suzuki, I was impressed. It was only when Suzuki's pride took over and he started slapping the champ around when he got schooled, there were long periods of wear down holds and such, and Kobashi didn't really get to pour it on until near the end, but once he hit a few suplexes Suzuki was finished. They played it off so well that the challenger wasn't in the champ's league and to do that with little to no ego is a hard thing to do so story had a lot to do with this match's grade.

I've seen the Salseros before and I'm dying for them to play a wedding reception, get everyone squirrel crazy drunk, then toss their mariachi guise away and start hitting double powerbombs on annoying aunts and uncles. They have a great gimmick and here they get to work with some of Japan's youngest and best talent. Ishimori was the leader for his team and pulled off some fresh moves. This kept a great pace and was fun the whole way through; really reminded me of all those tasty 3 Count v. Jung Dragon matches from WCW Saturday Night in it's dying days.

Our final bout was much like the first but even more patently insulting. First off, only guy of the 4 to work this kind of match consistently is Tanaka and here he looks like he has more important things on his mind, like what kind of takeout to get after the show. He's just going through the motions, fight in the crowd, okay, did that, now just put myself on this table for balcony spot, did that, now back to the ring, do some sloppy 3 way stuff like back in Philly and call it a night. Crazy was the only bright spot, one moment sticks out to me, he's on a bleacher with Hidaka who is ramming his head into a flourescent advertisement on the wall and Crazy is just limp as a wet noodle and allowing himself to be brutally thrust into this wall over and over again. The finish stumped me even more, after all this sloppy fighting Hidaka wraps up a knee bar and gets a tapout? Didn't have any place in the kind of match they had setup for the last 20 minutes at all.

Be Back with Volume 2 soon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Championship Wrestling from Florida- 04/21/1976

1. Tom Jones v. Great Mephisto- 3
2. Haystacks Calhoun v. Jim Dalton/ George McCurry- 1
3. Missouri Mauler v. Bill Drummell- 3
4. Thunderbolt Patterson/ Billy Robinson v. Roger Kirby/ Karl Von Steiger- 4
5. Jerry Brisco/ Abe Jacobs v. King Curtis/ Frank Goodish- 3
6. Steve Keirn v. Bob Orton jr.- 4

What an interesting show this was, Gordon Solie hosted in a pink Velour jumpsuit and was his usual stoic self throughout. Opener was only interesting for Mephisto having some nasty knees and Jones desperately trying to look like one of the Temptations. Calhoun was a bloated mess, god bless his jobbers as they did try but there wasn't much to work with here. I hated this didn't have a finish; he just threw them on the ground and laid on top of them. Mauler was apparently responsible for paralyzing Dusty Rhodes' face at the behest and money of Terry Funk (both of which superstars cut entertaining interviews with Gordon) but he looks like a sweaty custodian. Surprisingly I'm guessing Mauler could work in his younger years, he's got insane movement for an older guy and is really energetic on his sells. He got a lot of of Drummell, who looked ready to go home and face his overweight wife and 3 kids rather than have to deal with this old bruiser. Robinson is a treat to watch, I've discovered over the last few years, guy worked the British style like no other. He outclasses both his opponents easily here and pulls off some transitions that probably only .1% of wrestlers today could. Patterson is a unique specimen as well; really charismatic but punches are a tad odd. Goodish became Bruiser Brody but was unusually tame in this match. Brisco looked like shit and I don't buy him being a legendary wrestler for one second, no matter how much he tries to cram it down people's throats. Main event was entertaining, just too short for my liking; Orton was a hell of a hand, and I see a lot of Randy's movements just thirty years earlier, his talent was in the genes for sure. Keirn actually keeps pace with Bob too and they do a number of nice sequences, but rely too heavily on the standard headlock stuff when they probably don't need to. Overall this was enjoyable to see something from a different era and it was actually more entertaining than half of the Guest Hosted Raw's.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brian's Mix Disc #10 (Hustle)

I've chosen to review this one because it's the only footage I've seen of Hustle; I was forewarned by Brian.

1) Monster C & Punch the C v. Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka- 0
2) Monster HG & Punch the C v. Genichiro Tenryu & RG- 1
3) Toshiaki Kawada v. Great Sasuke- 2
4) Toshiaki Kawada v. Magnum Tokyo- 4
5) Cowboy Lance Cade & Rene Bonaparte v. Magnum Tokyo & Tajiri- 4
6) Rey Ohara/ Private Shoji/ Sakoku Mask v. Kaikoku Mask/ Tajiri/ KG- 3

Holy Fuck, I don't know who or what dreamed this shit up but here it is, on display. First match was bad beyond all my expectations, the 2 veterans looked like they just got euthanized, barely committing to any physical motion at all. Luckily the torture didn't last long. 2nd match garners a point from my pure amusement at Punch the C, whose whole gimmick is to make the letter "C" with his hand and get the fans to cheer. Funny spot where he would do a Lifter and drop to his knee with a C, he even got his oponents to do it. RG was a lousy pud who had less athletic ability than a cleft foot 3 year old. I was intrigued by this 3rd match but would much rather let my memories of these competitors stay intact. Sasuke was trying, god bless him, but totally missed a plancha onto the apron and got lost under the ring. Kawada was a bloated mess, seemingly only able to use his legs for kicks, as if his arms had lost motor function. This also didn't last long, thankfully.

This was a good 20 minute match here, with a spectacular entrance by Tokyo, who I first discovered in the lovely Toryumon promotion. Kawada tried to reclaim his glory days, but unlike Bruce, his are long behind him. His whole contribution to the match was stiff kicks, and the pace was unbearably slow. They tried to use some different counters for crowd reaction late in the match but Kawada could garner no heat. He actually lost to the stripper turned wrestler in a surprise, but my elation couldn't force me to grade this any higher. This tag was arguably the best thing far and away on the show. Tajiri showed amazing range in his selling, such believable facials and he kept the match tied together. Tokyo was given the hot tag at the end but not much else. Cade is a monster, never realized it in the WWE Universe world, but I think he'd fit right in with a permanent role in Japan ring wars. Our closing 6 person match featured a strange array of characters. First off the face team was berated by General Takada, once a great shoot fighter, now a bad M. Bison ripoff. KG was a petite young woman busting out Dragon Kid's arsenal, Sakoku was your traditional Samurai masked dude, complete with top knot. Kaikoku was wearing a Sgt. Pepper's outfit with Leatherface's mask and Beethoven's hair. He was accompanied to the ring with what I could best describe as a dude wearing a plush Potato costume that had eyes, red swim trunks and 2 leaves for hair. Fuck i need a drink. Tajiri and Rey kept a good pace and I liked their exchanges but that was about it. A poor dive sequence and a 450 from Kaikoku that was sloppier than Manwich finished this disc off.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pro Wrestling RIOT - Reload (11/16/07)

(Note: Classes resume this week and it's my senior year in college and I've got a bigger workload than ever previously. While I'm watching as much wrestling (possibly more) as ever, my output will at least in the meantime be slowing down considerably. I'm considering doing some sort of "video blogs" with random thoughts on stuff I'm watching in the interim though. I'm also still participating in the bigger projects we've got going, like the forthcoming ranking of every match in Clash of the Champions history, etc.)

1. The Lifeguards vs. Club 305 - 2
2. Kenny King vs. Sedrick Strong - 3
3. Kory Chavis vs. Eddie Taurus - 5
4. Jon Davis vs. Jaison Moore - 1
5. Jack Evans vs. Jerrelle Clark - 3
6. Bruce Santee and Sideshow vs. Francisco Ciatso and Rod Steel - 1
7. Chasyn Rance vs. Joshua Masters - 2
8. Mister Saint Laurent vs. Fetish - 1
9. Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens vs. Ray Beez - 4

If FIP is Ring of Honor's developmental territory, then, Pro Wrestling RIOT is the breeding ground for FIP--got it? I would try to set the scene, discussing the venue, crowd, appearances of lesser known performers, etc. but I think it's in all of our best interest I focus squarely on the work itself.

Club 305 have a good enough heel gimmick, two prick club hoppers, and did enough to keep my invested in this. Scott Commodity does Zach Ryder better than Zach does. I was less impressed with the Lifeguards, Wade seemed malnourished which I suppose could work for him, he ate a sternum-first bump into the turnbuckles which I liked, but Darren had a poor physique and looked the greenest of the bunch. Lifeguards did a double-team finisher called the "Baywatch Bomb" (a powerbomb/back suplex combination) that somehow ended up looking like it hurt Wade more than the guy receiving it. Next match sees Sedrick looking like Matthew Lillard in camo shorts and getting outclassed by King throughout. Kenny does a one-handed headstand to escape a wristlock, the Randy Savage spot where you jump over the top rope while holding your opponent's arm, etc. This match isn't much beyond a King showcase, albeit all of his work on the arm goes nowhere, and all Sedrick did was make me want to watch Wing Commender again--not!

I liked the next match a lot. It was pretty standard, in the grand scheme of things, but both guys had a good outing. Chavis, I'm a fan of as one-half of the Dark City Fight Club, his strikes were crisp, and he did a good job inciting the crowd without having to dial it up obnoxiously like a lot of heels at the these small shows do to get responses. Eddie looked like the long, lost chubby Colon brother, did good in the face battling back role, showed some nice fire, etc. A good, compact match without a lot of flare but that was sound. The next match, featuring the other half of the Dark City Fight Club in Jon Davis was the complete opposite. This is largely due to Jaison Moore who just looked plain awful. His strikes, especially his forearms, were just weak sauce. He looked like one of the pudgy metal kids that populated the dark recesses of the high school hallway, complete with Hot Topic wardrobe, and came off looking real bush league and brought Davis down in the process. They mentioned Moore once worked Juventud, wow, I'd love to see that steaming serving of shit souffle.

Sometimes less is more, and, when working for a crowd of 50 people, mostly still in elementary school, doing dozens of gymnastic and breakdancing moves probably isn't the best route to get heat. But, Clark and Evans go through the motions, performing with flash but little substance. The following tag felt like a real bad Jarrett-era TNA pay-per-view main event, sloppy, uninspired brawling, random referee bumps, random "surprise" run-ins (here in the form of Mike Shane of Gymini), etc. These guys should be ashamed of themselves. Masters is a member of a face fraternity faction but rather looks like a burnout that collects A Perfect Circle b-sides and would be the type of dude real frat boys would make eat a plate of semen-doused crackers. He shows fire during one brief spurt but his look is so bush league it's hard to take him seriously. Rance shows little of the slimy pandering that makes his FIP work so good and this is skippable.

Saint Laurent is a globulous, obese slob, here he works a couple minutes with Fetish, a chick who bought hair dye from Hot Topic and probably claims to like Motley Crue although couldn't quote a single line from "Kickstart My Heart". I give this one pity point because Laurent was a believable sexual deviant. The main event, albeit not top-shelf Strong or Stevens, was still easily one of the more solid things off this show. Ray Beez clearly looked out of his league, he's like a third-rate "Dirty" Ernie Osiris, as he looks like a guy who works at Best Buy and just put on a gray polo, splashed some water and dirt on it, and is calling himself "homeless". Beez ate a real sick back suplex on the apron from Roderick, but later, in a strike exchange with Strong the difference in quality is unmistakable as Beez's punches looked schoolyard recess-level bad compared to Strong drilling him right in his fucking face. Beez should probably stick to flipping burgers, he might not be the worst guy on a real low-level show populated by fellow nobodies, but in there with real talent he sticks out like a square white guy at a Temptations (was going to go with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas but didn't want to alienate my audience too much) show or Hillary Scott in a blowjob giving contest.

NHO Road Report #4: DWA @ Hamilton County Fair - 8/14/09

Ah yes, the wonderful county fair, complete with hot dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and wrestling. Tim and I ventured down the Hamilton County fair to check out the Dynamic Wrestling Alliance, a local low-level fed that’s only been around for a year. I thought they might be set up at the grandstand, since that’s where the last wrestling show I saw at the fair was, but no. They were set up by the main walk-up gate, just off the midway, and next to the restrooms. Well, that’s an awkward spot for a ring. There were a scattered amount of chairs (wait, I thought these guys didn’t use chairs) around the ring and a small, ramshackle table set up for Greg “The Hammer” Valentine to sell some 8x10 photos and what not. Some random dude comes out and sings “America the Beautiful”, all three complete verses mind you, and we’re off and stumbling.

1. Natasha Rivers vs. Jess Harley – 1
2. Evan Da Malice vs. Lightning Tim Lutz – 4
3. "Bulldog" Garf Redman vs. The Showcase – 2
4. Army of Darkness (Ghost Rider/Malice) vs. Modu Zapetta & Princeton Travis (DWA Tag Team Title) – 2
5. Ryan O'Bryan vs. Bull Newlin – 3
6. The Royal Battler vs. Phoenix (Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge) – 2
7. Jordan Lachey vs. The Regulator (DWA Tri-State Title) – 2
8. Phantom vs. Castle Bond (DWA Heavyweight Title) – 3

First match up was a women’s match. Rivers is a tubby old broad who was accompanied by a group of three masked men known as the Army of Darkness. There dudes were way into their characters, demanding that the ref hold open the ropes and such. Harley was a chubby young lass, described by the ring announcer as a “southern belle”. These two had a terrible match that consisted of Rivers yelling, Harley doing some selling, and not much else. The Army interfered after the match, attacking Harley, until some old guy named Grandpa Gator and whoever else was with him, to make the save. Lutz and Evan has a very good match, almost as good as you can by county fair standards. Evan was throwing some good strikes and Lutz was over with the crowd of people who were full of beer and funnel cakes. Thus far, Lutz was the only person who looked like an actual wrestler, as everyone else had some ramshackle stuff thrown together to look like an acceptable outfit. Redman was a gruff looking character, dressed in black jeans and boots (what is it with generic indy heels and black?), who looked like he was seeking out dirty old women and smack. I’m not sure what Showcase was showcasing as it certainly wasn’t his talent in the ring. Before the match started, his manager, some dude who appeared to be a cross between Santa Claus and Colonel Sanders, was talking up Greg Valentine at ringside. Showcase got on the mic and proceeded to deliver a very uninspired and generic promo while firing this dude. Redman had some nice work and apparently works stiff but I sure didn’t see it.

The Army of Darkness is back and this time it’s Ghost Rider and Malice (unfortunately these three were not named Clatto, Verata, and Nicto) challenging two scrawny black dudes, Zapetta and Travis, for the tag team titles. Neither of the champions did anything for me. Zapetta just stood on the apron, looking useless, while Travis took a beating from the Army. Speaking of which, I mentioned to Tim before the match that they could definitely talk but could they work? The answer to that would be somewhat. Ghost Rider seemed the most proficient of the two A.O.D. competiting in the match and he was very vocal in the ring and on the apron. It seems to me that it’s a pre-requisite for every promotion in this area to have an Irish character on their roster. Let me tell you something, if this dude was Irish, then I’m fucking Scandinavian! Newlin was a shady looking character complete with bald head and goatee. He was dubbed by the ring announcer as the “Canadian Destroyer” but I’m sure that he’s not even from Canada and the only thing that he’s destroyed is marriages. His work was that of a basic indy big-man heel … no sell pretty much everything. O’Bryan tried some flippy-floppy moves but those were pretty bad as well.

After this, came intermission of which 75 percent of the crowd left to go occupy their time elsewhere with fair activities such as riding the ferris wheel, visiting the goat barn, fornucating in the woods … you know, things like that. I did go over to Valentine’s table and asked him about a DVD that he had. Call me a sucker if you like but I purchased one and got a free autographed picture. However, I wasn’t about to fork out 20 bucks to have a picture taken with him. Valentine seemed like a nice guy but it’s pretty apparent that his main goal now is to make enough money so that The Hammer can get hammered. Meanwhile, in the ring, there was a deal going on for five dollars you could get a picture in the ring with, and I quote, “your favorite DWA superstar”! HA!! That’s a laugh. It should be noted that Valentine was supposed to work this show but couldn’t because he was injured. Nobody apparently informed the person touting stuff over the loudspeakers at the fair because every once in a while you could hear them talk about Valentine’s match, which was especially amusing after his spot on the card had passed.

By now, darkness had fallen over the fairgrounds and the lit up ferris wheel and the midway in the background of the wrestling event was a pretty amazing sight. Back to the action, only three matches left, and … fuck, why does the second part have to start with this moronic Royal Battler? Battler comes out for his match, Valentine cuts a promo about how he’s hurt and can’t work, and announces Phoenix as his replacement. Maybe Valentine should call Aflac because, according to their commercials, if you’re hurt and miss work, it won’t hurt to miss work. So anyway, Battler and Phoenix work a pretty standard match with Valentine hobbling around on a crutch at ringside. After the match, Valentine limped away, packed up his table, and drove off because he’d seen enough. Lachey is a rather obvious take off on Cincinnati native and pop star Nick Lachey. He definitely has the look to be a star but needs to get some more exposure first. The Regulator, well, was terrible. He worked a bump free match and had a bad tendency to pop right up off the mat after taking a move. If John Wayne would’ve seen his red leather chaps and vest, he would’ve puked. Main event, and I use that term loosely, was yet another member of the Army doing an open challenge to the crowd. By now, I was sick of the Army and sick of this show. They pulled some plant from the crowd, who actually knew what he was doing since he took Phantom down quite a few times. However, since plants don’t grow without sunlight, this dude wilted fast and lost. While the wrestling at this event was so-so, it was a lot better than the last fair show I went to but defintely lacked star power. For a free show, this was acceptable but I wouldn’t pay admission to one of their events. DWA needs to decide whether to sink or swim because right now, they’re just another random fed in a sea of random feds in the Cincinnati area.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WrestleMania 15

1. Billy Gunn (c) v. Al Snow v. Hardcore Holly (Hardcore Title)- 3
Billy was actually taking some crazy flying bumps during the middle sections that very uncharacteristic. Crowd was really amped, probably just for the event in general, but at this point all the weapons weren't so totally played out yet. Snow in what seemed a brainfreeze moment, just continually hit both opponents with a broken stick for a good 5 minutes it seemed. Finish was so anticlimatic but it didn't matter anyways.

2. Owen Hart/ Jeff Jarrett (c) v. Dlo Brown/ Test (Tag Title)- 3
This was a really quick affair, like the one you had with your boss's daughter after he denied your promotion, but the champs were selling really effectivley in it. Match didn't have enough time to properly set up anything worth while as the challengers were supposed to be working like they hated each other. Debra looked like an exotic dancer belonging on stage with Seigfried & Roy. Kind of a waste of the tag titles and of Owen's talents in general.

3. Bart Gunn v. Butterbean (Brawl for All)- 2
I give it a 2 simply for one of the most devastating KO"s I've ever seen with these baby brown's. You could tell Gunn was out skilled from the beginning of the fight. Gorilla at ringside got a big ovation, which was cool but he wasn't looking too good in his later days.

4. Mankind v. Big Show - 3
This was supposed to be the Foley show i think, but the match was lacking in almost all departments. No time was given to really tell a story, Show was dq'd for using a chair, which foley had already done. Some obscenely bad miscues from Show and his goofy dazed sell had me ready to hand Tara Reid an Oscar. The one bright spot was that backbump Foley takes where he's on Show's back in the "Princess Bride" position. This was very much a basic TV match.

5. Road Dogg (c) v. Val Venis v. Goldust v. Ken Shamrock (IC Title Elimination)- 4
God I miss Val being on my TV every week. Guess I'll settle for Don Draper. Shamrock has good explosion on his moves. Meanie is entertaining as a second far more than a competitor. Now, Val knows how to execute a spinebuster, Game. Goldust looked sharp until he bonered a superplex. Tags don't mean anyhting here, DCO sad excuse for a finish to Valbowksi & Shamrock, Road Dogg blew a good idea for the finish. Sadly, this was for the IC belt, one that used to mean something.

6. HHH v. Kane - 3
This match left a real bad taste in my mouth, like I just got sprayed with a fire extinguisher. This starts out in a brawl around ringside (are you really surprised?) and Kane is taking huge crazy bumps into the stairs and into the sides, but once back inside it becomes a slow punch fest. Kane tries a pescado later on but only strikes Hunter with his hand in a really stupid spot. Chyna comes out after only about 6 minutes of tepid action and blasts Kane with a chair; Trips follows suit and we have two wildebeests reuniting. Crowd didn't seem to care too much. Jesus, this was a Wrestlemania match, what a joke.

7. Sable (c) v. Tori (Women's Title)- 0
Tori's purple lepoard outfit rivals HBK's shit brown trunks in ugliness. Sable looked as bored as I was watching this. There was no effort here, she was blowing more spots here than she ever did in the 2003 Smackdown Locker room. Any match where your big spot is having Nicole Bass's freakish ass interfere is instantly dead in the water.

8. Shane McMahon (c) v. X-Pac (European Title)- 3
The "Stooges" attack Pac in the aisleway, resembled some old grandpa's fighting a kid at a flea market over the last Topps Johnny Bench rookie card. This match was choreographed better than Disney on Ice, you could tell not a single spot wasn't rehearsed several times before. Epitome of Russo booking, Shane was terribly useless inside a ring at this point, ex. he didn't even know how to get himself setup for a superplex. Test screwing up several spots added to the carnage; felt bad for Waltman, he must have felt like the only guy who could swim as the Titanic went down. DX Swerve at the end didn't do much for me either.

9. Undertaker v. Big Bossman (Hell in a Cell)- 3
This was a long emotionless brawl with double juice (which hasn't meant less in many years.) Bossman pulled off a swinging neckbreaker in a isolated spot I liked here. Handcuff gimmick broke instantly but Taker did have to eat some nightstick shots to the cranium. No heat either, which couldnt have felt good while being inside such an awesome structure knowing you can't do shit with it to pop the crowd. Hanging Bossman after match was mind-numbingly stupid.

10. The Rock (c) v. Steve Austin (WWF World Title)- 4
I reviewed this match before in my previous "Holy Trilogy" review, but have even lowered the grade after re-watching it here. First 10 minutes was the "Attitude" way to do business; long crowd brawl with a lot of heat and terrible work. Just punch after punch after punch and theatric selling. The 2 spots that got multiple replays were Austin's garbage bump onto a light with his leg and the ever thrilling elbow smash through the table (that took 2 tries.) I'm surprised the Philly crowd didn't riot after that one; JR was back, fighting a severe bout of Bells' Palsy and it had to have felt more arduous to put that move over as "high impact." Best stuff was once they got a lone unadulterated 7 minutes in the ring to work counters and near falls, which is the only time I felt the magic between these 2. 4 ref bumps later, Austin regains the title with a wounded Mick Foley there to share the spot light; guess that was Mick's consolation for not being involved in the main event as per the plans leading up to the show.

All I know is that if President Obama's "Cash for Clunkers" bill was applicable to pro wrestling shows, this one would garner the full $5,000 rebate.

XIII= 49%
XIV= 44%
VIII= 43%
XII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%
XV= 28%

Saturday, August 8, 2009

1PW: A Cruel Twist of Fate

1) Jodie Fleisch/ Johnny Storm v. Jerry Lynn/ Chris Sabin- 5
2) Tracey Smothers v. Blue Meanie- 0
3) Ice XVII/ James Tighe/ Ross Jordan v. Spud/ Shabazz/ Stevie Lynn- 3
4) DLo Brown v. Sterling James Keenan- 3
5) Steve Corino v. Al Snow (AWA World Title Match)- 3
6) Iceman v. Low Ki- 6
7) Austin Aries v. Doug Williams- 4
8) Raven v. Sandman v. Tommy Dreamer (Anything Goes Match)- 3
9) AJ Styles v. Abyss- 4

Okay 1PW for those not familiar, is a promotion run out of England. This is their debut show, but not sure when it took place, I'm thinking sometime in 2005. They're in the Doncaster Dome (?) with 1,500 strong. Mostly flew in American talent for their roster which has a usual cast of characters. Opening tag match was fun, and I nearly gave it a 6 but too much of it felt like a rehearsed ballet than a wrestling match. I'm sure I've seen the same exact spots in a X Division matches 100 times over. All the guys were fairly capable of pulling it off and the match went a good 20+ minutes so the effort was totally there. Lynn I was especially disappointed in, since I had a hand in putting him in the NHO HOF because he was just going through the motions for most of this. Sad thing is his going through the motions still makes a better looking product than most. Storm had the most miscues but the British crowd was certainly fired up for this. Next match I could have called with my eyes closed; seen the same shitty excuse for professional sports entertainment on several of those ECW reunion shows and it was garbage then and remains so now. Cue the horribly contrived and completely insulting dance off and move on.

Our next 6 man was the "homegrown" talent, and i'm using that T-word loosely. Big star here was a 4"11 runt named Spud who could do any high flying move in the world but would be fodder for your little sister. No one in this match impressed at all, especially Ice XVII & Lynn, who botched a technical spot where one guy would sweep the leg, which Lynn missed his cue, so Ice just fell down himself. Looked so freaking terrible I nearly skipped the match. This had all your early 2003-04 indy spots so I guess Europe is a few years behind. Luckily Abyss came out and killed them all afterwards. Brown is a guy whose never earned his veteran status; Keenan has some nifty offense but his timing and basic attacks look really sloppy. Brown should be able to carry him through the match; but it was a failure. Only redeeming spot was the nifty finish out of D'Lo's marred attempt at honoring Eddie Guerrero by trying the 3 Amigos but looked more like a homeless man being electrocuted. Next match was a sight to behold; Apparently the AWA World Title has been brought out of the closet, mothballs and all and Corino is the champ. I'd rather have Billy Robinson anyday. So here he defends against Snow in a 45 minute match (I wish I was kidding.) First part of the match was really good, exceeded my expectations, they were working a slow build, making every movement matter and I thought if they could pull it off, it would be match of the night for sure. Then we have a fake injury angle that took a good 6-7 minutes, which was a work from Corino. Then a long punching sequence (which I liked Snow's punches), then more Smothers-Meanie mess, and finally ending with a ode to WWE superstars that went on forever, everyone from the Game to Angle were immortalized in this absurd section. It became quite painful to watch.

This one was fun to watch; Iceman was a fatty who raided Tommy Dreamer's closet to find your standard sweats and t shirt apparel. Ki brought the stiffness in spades here, as they were barely any moves throughout the first 10 minutes, mostly just Ki punishing this behemoth dude with lethal kicks and sickening chops. He ripped Iceman's shirt off, hockey style, twice, both times the big man put it back on. He also potatoed Ki with some nasty elbows in the early portion, but Ki was not having any of it. There's just something inherantly fun about watching a smaller bad ass dude whoop the fight right out of a big dude. Finish was tits too so that made me want to tell other people to watch this for sheer enjoyment. I liked this matchup but it was mostly just a vehicle for Williams to get over big with his hometown crowd; Aries was playing the dumb heel with really over the top facials and not much in the way of offense. Williams kind of dominated him for portions of this which Aries would have been better to be in control most of the way. This 3 way was a big pile of filth and debris. Sandman looked drunk and palor as ever, Raven was bloated but did cut a funny promo at the beginning where basically he stole Claudio's schtick and Dreamer came out a few minutes in to a big reaction. Of course he was balding and still taking unprotected shots from aluminum weapons to the head. Sandman fell into a big guardrail spot that was brutal and fun; Raven's sells were fancy free and pathetic. This was exactly what you would expect it to be once you read the matchup; nothing more, nothing less. The camermen went out of their way to film people with ECW shirt and signs, as if this was the promotion's name. Anyways, Raven told the crowd AJ v. Abyss would be the main because it deserved to be. Well it wasn't anything special. AJ pulled off a bunch of hurricanrana spots that Abyss sold big for, almost as if landing on a trampoline every time. They pulled out the tacks which wasn't near as passe for Abyss as it is now, but his big bump into them was nearly a complete miss. They had a good pace and knowing each other helped this match flow really well but it wasn't main event material, at least not what they presented here.

This fed marketed itself as the new evolution of wrestling in Britain, but you can see any of the faded stars they used here at your local armory or at an ICP fuckoid convention. The British talent was way underskilled and all spot monkeys except for Williams, who doesn't really compare to the upper echelon of American indy workers, so the premise they based themselves on is a complete joke. But the show entertained me at different points and wasn't a complete failure. But close.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WWF Shotgun - 5/15/99

WWF Shotgun was a show that lasted from 1997 to the latter part of 1999. The initial episodes were shot in night clubs and the like until they decided to start shooting it before Raw and fill it with low-key matches and squashes. A lot of the matches on these shows weren't particularly great and didn't have a lot of meat on the bones, per se, which doesn't leav much to talk about. This particular episode is from 1999. It's the week before the Over the Edge pay-per-view and smack in the middle of the Attitude era ... are you ready?

1) Too Much vs. D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry – 3
2) The Hardy Boyz vs. Hack Myers & Chris Nelson – 3
3) The Blue Meanie vs. The Godfather – 2
4) Edge vs. Jeff Jarrett – 4

Your commentators on this show are Kevin Kelly and Terry Taylor. Henry looked awful, probably the worst he’s ever looked. Plus, why was he wrestling in a warm-up outfit? Too Much spent the majority of the match laughing like hyenas. Taylor even called them out at one point asking why they dance and goof off after hitting a big move instead of going for a cover? Good question Terry. D-Lo and Henry won the bout to build them up for their tag title match at the now-infamous Over the Edge pay-per-view. The Hardys were young and spry here but got stuck working with Myers, formerly of ECW, and Nelson, a rather flabby jobber. Myers looked as if he’d dropped a substantial amount of weight since his ECW days. Hardys looked crisp, and showed glimpses of their future potential. As JR would put it, they “weren’t getting paid by the hour”, and got finished with their opponents in less than five minutes. Meanie and Godfather was shit. Goldust comes down before the match starts and starts messing with Godfather’s girls, causing Godfather to quick dispose of Meanie and save his merchandise. Edge and Jarrett had a fun match to cap off the show. It gets a bonus point for being the best match on the show. It’s weird seeing Edge in the Brood gimmick as he’s come a long way since then. Overall, the matches were pretty basic, as is the standard for shows of this level but this served mainly as a hype show for the pay-per-view.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wrestle Mania XIV

Fleet Center Boston, MA

1) 15 team Battle Royal, incl. LOD, New Midnight Express, Godwinns, Too Cool, Kama/ Faarooq, Mark Henry/ D-Lo Brown, Headbangers, Savio/ Jose, Jesus/ Miguel, 8Ball/ Skull, Chainz/ Bradshaw, Rock n'Roll Express, Steve Blackman/ Flashfunk, Recon/ Sniper- 3
2) Taka Michinoku v. Aguila (Light Heavyweight Title)- 3
3) HHH v. Owen Hart (European Title)- 5
4) Marc Mero/ Sable v. Goldust/ Luna- 4
5) The Rock v. Ken Shamrock (IC Title)- 3
6) New Age Outlaws v. Cactus Jack/ Terry Funk (Dumpster Tag Title)- 6
7) Undertaker v. Kane- 5
8) Shawn Michael v. Steve Austin (World Title w/ Mike Tyson as Enforcer)- 6

The opener was built around LOD coming back as bad cyber punks with outfits that look like a detailed gangbanger's car and the always sensual Sunny. Battle Royal went by quick, with two dudes randomly coming into the match to interfere (incl. my boy B. Windham, decked out in his finest Big & Tall leather chaps.) Christopher took a nasty bump outside, while the Godwinns threw some hard right hands but that was it. The Lightheavys barely got 5 minutes to do their thing and their match didn't feel like a complete match, more like a collection of high spots, which suits their styles and the fickle fans best here. Not all of it worked, but there was a picture worthy moonsault from Augila outside. High risk but low impact. Owen and Hunter had Chyna and Slaughter at ringside handcuffed together in what looked like a terrible scene cut out of a degrading porn film, but they didn't let that deter them. Owen had his working shoes on and comfortably led HHH through a decent encounter. I've never liked Owen's punches but they had a sting on them here and were fun to watch bounce off of Helmsley's skull. The pace was perfect and all of Owen's offense served a purpose, plus the dude took a mean pedigree and made the move look great.

Dust looks insipid and overweight in his ridiculous silver garb. He does throw a great punch though, probably pretty underrated in the overall scheme of the game. It has a Bossman like snap to it. Crowd didn't give a spit about the men working in this match even though they were treated to a good old early 80's crossbody spot. Sable was obscenely over and the crowd was pissing themselves every time she got in. Dust used that to garner cheap heat by bumping for Sable all over the ring every chance he got, as did Luna. She freely put Sable over in nearly every lockup they had for the sake of the game. Near the end, the men actually pulled off some near falls the crowd was into, so this wasn't a total loss. IC title match flew by, like Shamrock's last 2 fights against Ortiz, as Kenny pretty much squashed Rock. They did a Reverse Decision angle to keep the belt on Rocky and this was mostly all story. Shamrock did take a legit chair swing to the face though that had me cringing.

The Dumpster match is still fun to this day, i liked RoadDogg's line on the mic before the match, "This match isn't for the weak at heart, so turn your head Terry Funk!" It does start out with a completely stupid bump by Foley, flipping directly into the dumpster with no room to pull it off and barely a target. Billy and Funk trade chops and shots from a cookie sheet that are pleasant to watch. Funk getting powerbombed into the dumpster looked like some sick Mobster like death on the harbors of Hoboken. Funny that the Outlaws had to push themselves into the dumpster backstage to lose. Brother v. Brother- mainly consisted of a lot of meaty punching. Couple things went wrong, such as the Tree of Woe spot, Taker trying to hop onto Kane's shoulders. Kane is totally doing the "impervious to pain" gimmick which takes something away from the work rate quotient but ratchets up the drama factor in the last couple near falls. Crash and Burn into the table by Taker is almost becoming a WM trademark for the old dead guy. I didn't know the undead could age, or go through mid-life crises (banging Michelle McCool) Ross sounds moronic when he states "Taker is being physcially dominated" while Kane is laying on his back in a boring chinlock. okay onto the main event.

I used to really love this match, but on closer inspection I found a few things that I wasn't too keen on. First off, Michaels, badly injured, probably shouldn't have done this match but gives it a hell of a try. He takes numerous dangerous bumps all around ringside to put on a good match. That being said, this is more like Shawn's farewell much more than Austin's crowning moment. Far too much emphasis on Michaels surviving crazy bumps than his really pathetic offense on Austin which is mainly stomps and punches. I could never claim to know the validity of his said injury at the time, but miraculously the only time it seems his back gives out is when Austin should be making the biggest comeback of his career, but it feels more like he beat an injured star ready to be put out to pasture. Tyson was a complete non-factor in this except for the phantom punch he Ko's Michaels with at the end of the match.

XIII= 49%
XIV= 44%
VIII= 43%
XII= 43%
II= 43%
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Yuji Nagata - (12/31/03) - 1

This lasted about a minute and was pretty much Fedor smashing Nagata. Now, I like Yuji as a wrestler, his facials are good, I especially like when his eyes roll back in his head while he's doing a submission, etc. Here he just covers up as Emalianenko picks his shots, then Yuji stops, drops, and rolls like he's in a fire drill as Fedor disgustedly kicks at Yuji as he tries to crawl away like Naomi Watts in Funny Games as guys tried to tortue/rape her.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NHO Hall of Fame Class #6

Click here for the HoF Class #6 photo gallery.

Click here to listen to our audio inductions.

Here's the breakdown of the sixth class of our prestigious Hall of Fame:

Evan Tanner
Low Ki
Kurt Angle

Billy Joe Travis
The Fantasics
El Hijo del Santo

Joey Styles

Jerry Lynn