Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CZW ToD 8.5: Rewind

October 25, 2009 - Townsend, DE

1. Caribbean Pits Of Death: Sami Callihan vs. Danny Havoc - 7
2. Four Corners Of Fun & Dog Collar Death Match: Jon Moxley vs. Thumbtack Jack -7
3. New Age Texas Death Match: MASADA vs. Brain Damage -3
4. Pain In The Glass Death: Nick Gage vs. ZANDIG - 2
5. Rich Swann vs. Greg Excellent vs. Scotty Vortekz -3
6. Transylvania Death Match (Casket Rules): Thumbtack Jack vs. Sami Callihan -5
7. Home Run Derby Death Match: Nick Gage vs. MASADA -4
8. Devon Moore vs. xOMGx -2
9. House Of Pain Death Match: MASADA vs. Thumbtack Jack -8

My last article of 2010 -- it's been a hell of the year, both personally, and here on the blog.

This was shot in what looked like either someone's backyard out in the country or in a public park in autumn. The opener just kicked ass and really set a precedent I don't see being topped. A lot of death match tournament matches are hackneyed pieces of shit that see two out of shape guys waddling from one messy spot or garbage bump to the next in a pathetic excuse for quality wrestling. This just felt like a fucking alley fight, though, as both guys were mean as hell. Havoc I don't remember having such amazing punches but he throws a couple hard jabs and straight rights that were completely legit and gross. Sami is a bastard, stuffing glass in Danny's mouth, and just torturing him throughout. The outdoors actually provides a nice change of scenery, the acoustics are good with everything hitting with resounding thuds and smacks, lending more to the legitimacy. At one point Havoc didn't sell a bump and started shaking the ropes a la Ultimate Warrior but outside of that everything in this was crucial and worth scoping out. Havoc took a giant bump off of the top onto a metal and light tube structure that was held together by barbwire.

Havoc ate the finish headfirst -- I mean literally, he landed right on top of his fucking head so awkwardly it made Adam's first date look poised in comparison.

Thumbtack Jack and Moxley was also really good. They did all the old school dog collar spots the best I've seen them since Valentine vs. Piper, plus, added in all sorts of hardcore violence including bumps into Legos, Jon having a cheap Halloween mask stapled to his face, and Jack sticking hypodermic needles into Moxley's cranium. The finish was absolutely brilliant, too; Moxley had his hands bound and was defenseless, right as Jack was about to drop a cinder block onto his head Jon started screaming "I quit!" like a pussy and it was fantastic crybaby heel for a new era. Next match killed all that momentum dead. These two had a slow, sluggish brawl, MASADA attempted an eyesore hurricanrana, Damage throw a few punches that whiffed, etc.

Next match felt like a masturbatory stunt show and far from a wrestling bout. This isn't the sort of thing you'd want to use as an intro to CZW if you were trying to convince someone to see the light. Zandig versus Gage, just two overweight, meth-addled, grumpy guys leisurely throwing each other into glass structures. It literally felt like they were just taking turns doing shit. There were some gnarly bumps, Zandig appeared to really be into eating a lot of his tits-first which was something different.

It wouldn't be a major CZW show without some idiot leaping off of a truck. A spotty three-way, save for some of Vortekz's kicks, this was fairily awful. They tried to do some faster paced, trickier exchanges early a la Guerrero/Malenko but the execution was worse than the last pained Mel Gibson film. Excellent has always struck me as what is exactly wrong with indy wrestling and Swann working in a hoodie (I assume to avoid contact with any glass or other debris) made him look like a bitch.

The semifinals had more big bumps and bloodletting but the magic had begun to fizzle out. Sami and Jack exhibited more heart, for whatever sick, disturbed reason, this is where they belonged, and like a college sophomore experimenting with their sexuality with a close friend because they've already got a bond, both guys seemed to relish conducting a scar sonata on each other's body in a mutual scarification ritual. MASADA and Gage was more or less two unruly, filthy guys you'd likely fine facsimiles of in a local alley or truck stop bludgeoning each other with various bat-like objects. In this sordid home run derby, if Gage was Albert Belle than MASADA played a nice Carlton Fisk.

I guess I'll give xOMGx one thing -- he's the only dude I've ever heard come to the ring to ska music. He brings a flimsy barbwire board to ringside that looks like it was crudely constructed in his grandfather's garage at 2AM the night before. I wonder if he found the old man's stash of porn magazines underneath the old gas cans and vacuum cleaner parts. Moore's K-Mart basketball shorts get ruined in the barbwire early making that week's allowance a waste. I wonder if Nowinski has got Devon to agree to donate his brain to science yet as he ate some unprotected chair shots like Nick Gage would be eating some fat girl in the crowd's rancid pussy that night. xOMGx and his neon green mask and gear fits in about as well here as Moore would at a five-star restaurant. "Can I get a spot by the window?" he'd ask, "Sir, you need a jacket to dine at our establishment" the man at the front would say, "What, this '96 Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket doesn't suffice motherfucker?" he'd grumble as he left for another dinner at McDonald's instead. I hear he's a Big and Tasty guy (extra lettuce).

Look at Thumbtack Jack on his way to the ring -- that shit's scarier than any horror movie I've seen in years. Nowadays the dude can't walk thanks to doing far too many ridiculous bumps in his short-lived but curiously fascinating career. Has a dueling chair spot ever worked? Well, besides that one surveillance camera video of those two high school students I saw. I can't believe that little preppy bastard no sold such an obviously epic chair shot. Never realized how great Jack was at vocal selling. I wonder what the workers got more that night: concussions or venereal diseases? I'm guessing neither were entirely unwelcome.

This picture is MASADA hitting a brainbuster on Jack on-top of a wooden stage used for the stationary cam. Excellent moment. I think it was around then that I sought for a change of pants. There's something exciting about seeing two guys hurt each other to this extent and it all being legal. It feels like somebody should be arrested somewhere for this.

Jack takes cinder block bumps and of course it's painful-looking and really cool. MASADA would have been the fucking man if the original ECW was still around. If Dynamite Kid saw this match I believe he'd be able to stand up out of his wheelchair for the first time in a decade. Then he'd jump off the nearest cliff. This was definitely a suitable finale as these guys go beyond the usual CZW zeitgeist into an even further realm of savagery.

I haven't seen this many cinder blocks explode since that horrific accident at Home Depot a few years ago, and to think, all that old man wanted was a new sink fixture. Wait -- isn't MASADA the guy that broke Jack's neck earlier this year or am I wrong? Man, probably payback for Jack sticking all those damn hypodermic needles into his skull during this bout. Not to be outdone, MASADA then made Jack look like Pinhead...

One of the sickest things I've ever seen in a wrestling match (and that covers so much ground): MASADA pierces a hypodermic needle into Jack's right cheek, through his mouth, and then out of his left check as pink fluid squirts out onto the camera. Offhand, I can't think of a better finals to a death match tournament.

This is like looking at bad abstract art. You stare and squint and try to make it appear more than just meaningless abstractions and look for something deeper, more personal, but in the end it's usually just a maligned mess. I'd be more interested in a reading an ethnography study published on the sick creeps who actually attended this show in the woods.

Monday, December 27, 2010

TNA Impact- 12/23/10

First off, the opening promo featured some of the best, hands down, mic work between Foley, Flair and Bischoff. It's so obvious that those guys have years of experience and years of having to make money off interviews, where as now you just read it off a script.

1) Jeff Jarrett v. Amazing Red- MMA Rules- 1
2) Jeremy Buck v. Max Buck v. Robbie E v. Kazarian- 2
3) Tara/ Madison Rayne v. Angelina Love/ Winter- 3
4) AJ Styles v. Doug Williams (15 Min. Iron Man Match)- 5
5) Beer Money/ Abyss/ Jeff Hardy v. Motor City Machineguns/ Matt Morgan/ Rob Van Dam- 4

So here's the next Greasegate, where's BJ when you need him? I'd rather see these two try to put 4 good minutes of a match together (the usual TNA time slot given for in ring action) but instead it's the lamest of all the Jarrett segments so far.

4 corners match was a pile of dung, honestly. Bucks threw out a bunch of their unbelievable offense while E posed and I couldn't honestly tell what was sticking out more, Cookie's boobs or her gut. Kazarian pulled off a sick finish but does it really matter?

Onto the Knockouts Tag Title Match, what an odd collection of actions and moves here? This felt more awkward than going to an ex's funeral. Madison still doesn't know how to wrestle but she's in character. Love looks good performing moves but she wasn't really selling a damn thing. Too bad Tara wasn't injured, she could have upped this one. Finish was fine, Winter looked competent.

Never been a Williams fan, he had one of the shittiest PPV matches of the year against Sabu, now they're pushing him as one of the best in the biz? AJ has turned shit into gold numerous times, this time it's TV gold apparently. One minor issue, no clock on the screen or tally for an Iron Man match? Fun opening sequence, worked to Doug's strengths. AJ keeps it real basic for most of the bout, his heel schtick, really is much better as a face. But he does so many things great, huge bumps always, selling is always on, good heel mannerisms despite my misgivings earlier, nasty strikes, the most consistent guy TNA's ever had in the company. Williams actually finds a rhythm with AJ and despite the insulting ending, they both turn it up leading to the finale here.

There's actually a lot of talent involved here, but you don't really get any complete performances except from a few guys, Guns, esp. Shelly, who carries the bulk of this, Jeff, & Roode. Usually even Storm looks good but here he looked in a daze. If this had some time, it could have been developed, but it gets maybe 9-10 minutes, enough for a long face in peril sequence then a runon sentence where everyone hits a high spot. At least on Raw they save the last 20 minutes when all their top guys are in a big mess like this to let them work. Roode shined in the ending sequence making the Guns look major league. But, if you skipped the 100th airing of The Grinch this holiday season, and opted for this Impact, you sorely wasted your time. Besides the opening aforementioned interview, the show largely stunk like a Sarita dump after eating at Chipotle or if you prefer a cleaner analogy, as worthless as an Eric Bischoff TV pilot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WWE SmackDown! '99 Project results

Never Hand Over's third TV Viewing Project presents...

WWE SmackDown! '99 - Top 20

Part 1

Part 2

1. The Rock v. Al Snow (Steel Cage- 12/23)- 45 pts, 3 votes
2. New Age Outlaws v. Hardy Boyz (Steel Cage- 11/25)- 44 pts, 3 votes
3 . Rock n' Sock Connection v. Big Show/ Undertaker (Buried Alive-09/09)- 44 pts, 3 votes
4. Christian/ Jeff Hardy v. Kaientai (12/23)- 41 pts, 3 votes
5. New Age Outlaws v. Rock n' Sock Connection (09/23)- 37 pts, 3 votes
6. Hardy Boyz/ Big Show v. New Age Outlaws/ X-Pac (12/02)- 36 pts, 3 votes
7. Al Snow v. Jeff Hardy (12/30)- 33 pts, 3 votes
8. The Rock v. Val Venis (10/07)- 29 pts, 2 votes
9. Hardy Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (Tornado Match- 10/07)- 27 pts, 3 votes
10. Tag Team Gauntlet feat. The Hollys, Viscera/ Mideon, Acolytes, Hardy Boyz, Edge/ Christian, Droz & Prince Albert & Stevie Richards/ Blue Meanie (09/02)- 23 pts, 2 votes
11. Hardy Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (10/14)- 20 points, 2 votes
1 2 . HHH v. The Rock (08/24)- 20 pts, 2 votes
13. Kane v. HHH (09/09)- 19 points, 3 votes
14. Steve Austin v. Val Venis (10/26)- 19 pts
14. Too Cool v. Edge/ Christian (10/28)- 19 pts
16. Too Cool v. Edge/ Christian (11/18)- 17 pts
1 7 . Rikishi/ Too Cool v. Hollys/ Viscera (12/16)- 17 pts
18. The Rock v. Mankind (10/21)- 16 pts
19. Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy (12/16)- 14 pts, 2 votes
20. Faarooq v. Big Bossman (11/11)- 13 pts


Other matches receiving votes:

New Age Outlaws v. Kane/ X-Pac (04/29)- 12 pts
Dudley Boys v. Godfather/ D'Lo Brown (11/11)- 11 pts
Chris Jericho v. X-Pac (9 pts)
Rock n' Sock Connection v. New Age Outlaws (10/14)- 9 pts
The Rock v. Kane (No Holds Barred- 12/23)- 8 pts
Dudley Boys v. Edge/ Christian (12/02)- 8 pts
The Rock v. Al Snow (12/02)
D'Lo Brown v. Davey Boy Smith (10/28)- 6 pts
Kurt Angle v. Edge (12/23)- 5 pts, 2 votes
Al Snow/ Mankind v. The Hollys (11/04)
Steve Austin/ The Rock v. HHH/ Undertaker (04/29)- 5 pts
Edge v. Christian (12/16)- 4 pts
Undertaker/ Big Show v. Acolytes v. Kane/ X-Pac (08/24)- 4 pts
Big Show v. Mankind (12/23)- 2 pts
Chris Jericho v. Prince Albert (12/16)- 1 pt
Chris Jericho v. Mankind (12/02)- 1 pt

Geo's SmackDown 1999 Ballot

20.) Rock & Mankind vs. New Age Outlaws (9/23)

The team of Rock and Mankind always seemed to deliver in some capactity. Whether it be Rock making the crowd pop beyond control, or Foley being the lovable yet hardcore crazy man. The team of NAO really opened my eyes after rewatching some of their ‘99 run. Billy was a crazy bumper and Road Dogg always seemed to be bubbling with charisma. I enjoyed this finish of Foley bumping into Rock which flowed into Rock getting Fame-Assered.

19.) Big Show vs. Mankind (12/23)

The recklessness in this match is what made it. The amount of stiffness was great, seeing Big Show beat the shit out of Foley, but Foley coming back at him with some stiff and brutal chair shots. Big Show, despite his size, had this great aura about him during this time that I dug. The post-match brawling here was quite fun to view as well.

18.) Kurt Angle vs. Edge (12/23)

The transition between the two men’s contrasting styles was interesting to watch here. Kurt with the more ground and pound and Edge with a more spotty moveset. Angle was able to control Edge on the mat, but whenever Edge was allowed to his feet, he made Angle pay for it. There was a really nice belly to back suplex here that was particularly cool, as was Edge’s sell of it. Really cool performance for Kurt early in his career.

17) Edge vs. Christian (12/16)

Christian being able to shine in a singles match against the very man that held him down, Edge, was nice. Christian was able to show that he could go it alone against someone who was basically a brother to him. Both men knew each other so well that the match seemed really natural. The toe-to-toe feeling and countering of maneuvers was really fun. The finish, however, sucked.

16) Al Snow & Mankind vs. The Hollys (11/4)

The pacing in this match was really key to it’s placement on my ballot. It was paced perfectly for it’s spot on the card and for a SmackDown taping. Bob sold an atomic drop perfectly in this match. As a matter of fact, everyone’s selling was top notch in this match-up.

15) Triple H vs. Kane (9/9)

Again, more methodically carried out wrestling. Trips performance was pay-per-view quality, as was the match. The whole thing about the mercurial strength of Kane and no man being able to take him down was nice to see unfold as Trips tried his hardest to get him down. Cool story.

14.) The Rock vs. Al Snow (12/2)

More-so that any other Rock matches on this set, Rock seemed like he legit wanted to spill Al Snow’s guts. Snow’s performance was on par with his others, playing the demented crazy man who wanted to rip out Rock’s heart. Fast and hard-hitting mixed with hate makes for a fun match.

13.) Rock vs. Kane (No Holds Barred) (12/23)

This was a modern-day brawl that you’d expect to get for free on TV. Rock and Kane battled on the stage and seemed to be putting a little elbow grease behind each strike even though they really didn’t need to. This bit of added realism really added to the overall quality of the match, not to mention Kane’s bump.

12) Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac (9/2)

After seeing so much methodical wrestling and heavy hitting, it was cool to see some reckless bumping that didn’t involve the Hardys. Jericho took a really nice bump over the top ropes -- the kind you’d expect to see from Jeff. Pac was not to be outdone with bumping, which he did all around the ring like a pinball. Y2J also hit a sweet backbreaker. The DQ fin held the match back because it impeded the quality.

11) Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy (12/16)

This was a particularly good Hardy match because it featured three distinct elements: two brothers who know each other front-ways and back-ways, reckless and dedicated bumping, and stiffness. The Hardys weren’t really known for being stiff, but I think because they were facing each other, they stepped that element up. Since they knew each other so well, much like Edge and Christian, this match had a great counter vs. counter feel to it.

10) Matt & Jeff Hardy & Big Show vs. New Age Outlaws & X-Pac (12/2)

I dug this match because everyone in it seemed to have a role in the match: Hardys & X-Pac were the crazy fliers, Big Show was the enforcer, and New Age Outlaws were the ones in control. There was a really neat Southern-style feel to the match in how quick it was mixed with the cool pin breakups and the clear-cut faces and heels.

9) Edge & Christian vs. Matt and Jeff Hardy (Texas Tornado) (10/7)

Talk about crazy. All four of these guys seemed to be out to prove something in the WWF at the time, therefore, they were willing to risk life and limb for fans’ reactions. Having all four guys in the ring led to some cool spots, especially Matt’s DDT on the outside of the ring. Jeff had this great exhausted look on his face, conveying the message that Edge and Christian were real competitors and not to be taken lightly.

8)Triple H vs. The Rock (8/29)

Shawn Michaels as the ref in biker shorts? No thanks. It seemed like Michaels was a legit referee, staying out of the way and simply counting the pinfalls, but his screwing over of the Rock was a nice touch that added to the magnitude of the match. Triple H’s selling was decent and the Rock’s was excellent. The brawling was just about what you’d expect for the match... good.

7) Jeff Hardy vs. Al Snow (12/23)

Snow played his character up really well, conveying that he was a madman. His aggressiveness and intensity really came through like he was trying to bury Jeff in the canvas. Jeff took a great bump off the rail to the floor and sold his knee in the tree of woe excellently. Really cool style mix between the two.

6) Jeff Hardy & Christian vs. Taka Michinoku & Funaki (12/23)

Was a huge fan of WWF bringing the M-Pro style to the forefront with this showcase. The quick and fluid style of Taka and Funaki really played off well with arguably the best lightweight wrestler in the company, Jeff Hardy. Jeff was able to cooperate with Christian even though some dissension was detected. Just really fluid and great wrestling from all four guys.

5) The Rock vs. Val Venis (10/7)

Val’s selling in this match seemed to be on a whole other level from his other work. He got a huge rub going up against the top guy in the company and deservingly so. His grimacing and pained facials were great in this match. Foley’s antics on the outside kept the crowd entertained along with the match. Rock had the people hanging on his every move. Finish on the outside saw Rock put both Foley and Val through a table at the same time with a Rock Bottom. How great!

4) Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Edge and Christian (10/14)

The mutual sense of both teams trying to one-up each other trying to see who was the dominant tag team in the WWF was a great feat to witness. Christian particularly shined in this match with his huricanrana on Matt, which both looked awesome and Matt sold great. Jeff and Edge seemed like they broke out in the match. When they faced each other, they seemed to be really trying to showcase who was the better leader of their respective tag team. Fun, quick pace.

3) New Age Outlaws vs. Hardys (Cage) (11/25)

Arguably one of my favorite bumps on the set happened in this match. As Jeff was getting backdropped by Dogg, he caught the top of the cage, and fell from the top 15 feet to the floor! In ring, Billy was bumping around like a crazy man while Matt tried to hold his own against the Outlaws. Good selling in the ring accompanied by fun bumps = good times.

2)The Rock & Mankind vs. Big Show & Undertaker / Buried Alive Match (9/9)to

Nearly my number one match on the set. So much fun brawling happening all over the place. The match broke into Rock vs. Taker and Show vs. Foley, leading to Foley taking a sick bump, being thrown onto the mound of dirt. So much stiffness and heat in the match, but Foley’s bump really made this match. For this match to be free on TV was incredible. I loved it.

1.) The Rock vs. Al Snow (Cage) (12/23)

Snow vs. Rock may not seem like the typical Number One match of the year, but this was great. As in usual Al Snow style, he looked like a madman. One of my favorite bumps in this match came when Snow set up a chair in the corner and charged for Rock who was situated in the corner, only to have Rock lariat him onto the opened chair. There was no need for that! That man’s got a family! Fans ate this match up, leading to loud pops, jeers, and cheers. I dug the energy for a big match feel that definitely delivered.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jessie's WWF Smackdown 1999 ballot

1.Big Show & Hardy Boyz v. New Age Outlaws & X Pac (12/02)
Perfectly run 6 man with all the right components, except Road Dogg was acting like a really unbelievable 70’s heel, Show came in at end for power run and looked really game, Hardys were both on with offense and selling, especially Jeff, even making Dogg’s putrid offense look credible. Really cool surprise ending too, peaked at just the right moment.

2.Steve Austin v. Val Venis (10/26)
This was a really well done bout. Austin sold infinitely more here than you would have expected including a nasty spill over the guard rail. A few nice classic main event touches, the sleeper exchange, the Austin stun gun broken out. Val was in control the whole time and looked like one of the top dogs doing it. Far too much reliance on punches I thought but was the norm for this period of work.

3. Rock & Sock v. New Age Outlaws (09/23)
First act was all about learning that Road Dogg does know how to sell, a back injury from 5 weeks earlier, which would almost be unheard of now. He can punch too, so he’s got more going for him than Kevin Nash and most of Season 4 of NXT. 2nd act showed the world Billy Gunn really could have been a star of some capacity. His hot tag was sick, completely sapping Rock of all charisma, ending was muddled but shocking finish helped this.

4.Rikishi/ Too Cool v. Hollys/ Viscera (12/16)
This felt eerily similar to the other one I really loved here, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Actually felt akin to an old 80’s 6 man, 6 crazy characters but all working really hard, ‘Kish and Big Vis were both fearsome monsters and played perfectly, Sexay and Crash was a fun 1st section , only complaint is Scotty was a pretty boring face in peril, even though he took a pretty big walloping

5. Al Snow v. Jeff Hardy (12/30)
This was good for 3 reasons; tons of high flying spots that all were pretty damn tasty, then some of the most enjoyable leg work and selling by Snow attacking it and Jeff selling it, in a bubble, mind you, that I’ve seen in a while for a tv match. Ending was usual interference, par for the course in this time but what they did with the time they got was swell

6.Rock & Sock Connection v. Undertaker/ Big Show (Buried Alive, 09/09)
First act of this was pretty fun, great visual with the grassy dirt mound up on the stage, brawling was tepid but not insulting, Foley’s bump off the stage into the hole was beyond brutal, one of the more creative crazy spots of the whole set. Some brawling became repetitive, the finish was overbooked beyond belief, but the “near falls” of the grave burying made for some entertaining TV. Rock and Taker had a strange brawl where Rock took a real sick bump into a guardrail then immediately got up and went after Taker with a 2x4 in a surreal moment.

7. Hardy Boyz v. New Age Outlaws (Cage) 11/25/99
Fun sprint basically but had a lot of cool highspots, surprising one being Road Dogg doing a moonsault? He must have taken extra performance enhancing drugs that night. Hardys take their share of gnarly bumps too, incl. Matt on the buckle and Jeff up and over the top outside. Billy also does his silly bumping for an all together fun little match

8.The Rock v. Val Venis (10/17)
Much of this was the Rock whipping ass like only he can do and Val doing a stellar job selling like he was being murdered and putting everything over, but the brawl outside, Val’s bump on the grating, then him taking over with Rock gaining several really good near falls escalated this in my eyes, really showed the potential of Val as a headlining guy. Ending with Mick was stupid but necessary to a degree, the Trading Near fall section was the best part of this one.

9.New Age Outlaws v. Xpac * Kane (04/29)
Surprised how much I liked this, had a neat story built in where neither team was getting along and they all did their job of getting it over and making it play into the match. Now, the work, Xpac and Dogg played off each other well, was actually surprised how much I liked Dogg here, he didn’t do anything intricate but all his punches looked stiff and he sold with a lot of gusto. Kane was Kane, as exciting as a litmust test, but Billy Gunn was his usual exuberant and strangely homoerotic self.

10 Dudley Boyz v. Godfather/ Dlo (11/11)
God damn, Bubba as a 15 year veteran working X Division guys and indy schlubs and treating them like garbage is one thing, don’t like watching that, but here, Dudleys are the new kids on the block and Bubba came in guns blazing. He just decimates D’Lo early on as they have a good control section, he also bumps huge, so you can’t fault him. Dvon and D Lo blindly walking around during punch sequences like elementary kids holding hands, Godfather holds his own too, really pulling off a face comeback well. Bubba taking Godfather out with a tackle Warren Sapp couldn’t recreate solidified this making my list.

11. The Rock v. Al Snow (Cage) 12/23
Al was bumping like he just got an audition in the new Tyler Perry-Rock vehicle, and would have most assuredly sucked some black cock to get noticed. He was off and on though, Rock was Rock, solid, silly sells but pulling the crowd every which way he wanted, Snow took an absolutely sick back suplex off the top that Cole barely registered, but whiffed a chair shot earlier, loved the clothesline onto the chair spot too

12. Tag Team Gauntlet (09/02)
For a quick fast paced match of this sort, save the Dudleys debut ruining the end, I enjoyed myself watching this like an episode of Jackass. Nobody got a lot of time to really shine but they all really put energy into their quick spots and eliminations, namely the Hardys, thought Vis & Albert both looked great as monsters, but won’t get very far in the ballots.

13.Dudleys v. Edge & Christian (12/02)
I’m a sucker for an old fashioned worked tag match and tye dye so this one caught my eye. It’s fun to watch Bubba when he still cared, somersaulting across the ring to break a hot tag, missing that big senton, E & C were both young, and willing to sacrifice their bodies and dignity backstage to get a break, they weren’t on the Hardys level as far as performance but still very solid. Hampering this was the finish, as creative as most Kid Rock albums.

14. Hardy Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (10/16 Texas Tornado Match)
Match started out rough, after they went through their initial double teams, seemed like Matt & Jeff really didn’t know where to take the match with both of them in against just Edge, but the ending really picked up, some awesome near falls incl. Edge’s spear out of nowhere, the Double Ddt by Christian and the surprise ending playing off the pinfall the week before.

15. Jeff Hardy/ Christian v. Kaientai (12/23)
Wow, too many crazy moves to call, but it all was love, Taka’s right hands were like flesh covered firecracker chicken bites, all 4 guys moved real fluidly, fun AAA quick dive spot then back in with the finishing sequence, just a fun 7 minutes of 4 guys who seem to love what they were doing

16. Steve Austin/ The Rock v. HHH/ Undertaker (04/29)
Stone Cold just brings intensity whenever he performs, you can look back at this era and just remember sloppy brawling from one arena to the next, but the 5-6 minutes they got to work in the ring before all hell broke loose was quick paced, and all the guys showed a real comfort ability with each other that made the match flow really well. Taker’s selling was theatrical as all hell but Helmsley was a solid heel guy at the time.

17.Jeff Hardy v. Matt Hardy (12/16)
Much better than their Amarggeddeon match in 2001, here they were still cocksure young suicide artists, but the match was low on insane spots (not too low!) but high on both kids building up to their biggest moves and trying to outdo each other since they know each other so well. Matt wins with an unexpected move after both men gave near falls on their top stuff.

18..The Hardy Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (10/14)
It only got about 7-8 minutes but that was enough to put a good formula in, Jeff to sell like absolutely no one else, in a suicidal method, and Christian to also excel with some cool offense that Jeff sold like gangbusters. Edge has terrible punches and the ending was convoluted but other than that, pretty enjoyable.

19. HHH v. Kane (09/09)
Not a terrible bout, one that got some time, with minor HHH offenses during selling, he often bumps really hard to his back on nearly every move, but never sells that? Kane didn’t run through his whole offense in the first 10 minutes which surprised me and they actually had people into the near falls. Natrually, interference was a smaller piece of the pie here, but the bulk of this morsel was a straight forward in offensive TV bout.

20. Chris Jericho v. Mankind (12/02)
Mick can still go, he and Jericho bust out some tried and true spots that continue to work, can tell both guys are motivated because each knows the other one is, nice old school Funk driver from Mick, another strange ending but Jericho works hard each week in story laden scenarios

Hardy Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (09/09)
Not as flashy as most of their encounters, but still pretty good. Edge was kind of worthless as face in peril, but Matt and Jeff found a lot of cool ways to use double team tactics on him. Liked the dive sequence outside, Christian tried a few things that didn’t work but the choreographed ending was enjoyable.
Edge v. Christian (12/16)
Not as fun as the Hardys match but both guys took it seriously even if no one else did, also played up the angle how they knew all their moves and counters to everything, liked the fighting for the power bomb from Edge and Christian sold it like death. Cool rollup stuff to end but the count was flubbed.
Chris Jericho v. X Pac (09/02)
Fun solid match, real fast paced both guys were throwing kicks and hitting all really stiff like. Despite all the idiots interfering in the match, this had a lot going for it.
Bradshaw v. Bubba Ray (09/09)
Stiffest match of the set, so far, no one was selling much of anything but damn every shot was stiff as all hell. Clotheslines, real nasty punches to both guys’ faced, Bubba ran into the steel stairs harder than any wreck in those terrible Transformers movies
Rock/Test/Kane/Shane v. DX (Survivor Series match, 11/11)
Beginning was pretty bad, kane xpac brawl was tepid and a waste of film from the camera showing it, Shane’s beat down was pretty much what you get when you put a rich promoter’s son inside a ring, no emotion whatsoever, enjoyed Billy’s fameasser on his face though. Last 10 minutes was real high on the fun factor, Big Test Boot breaks Dogg’s sternum, over selling aplenty from Dogg and Rock, Arnold involved, won’t make my list at all but figured I’d comment on it
Jeff Hardy v. Grandmaster Sexay
Jeff continues to shine with his selling throughout this whole set, he just kills himself on every single move executed, like the back and forth here too, senton outside was nuts,
Hardy Boyz v. The Hollys (10/26)-
This is like an old school Hardys love letter. All their old spots and enthusiasm were preserved just as we remembered them here. And timing, forgot how great a team they were and how important that is. Hardcore came up with a cool ending, even if I’ve always though his dropkick was overrated..
Mankind v. British Bulldog (10/17)
This was a good match, Foley bumped up to his ability, incl. a really dangerous stair stunt, Bulldog stuck to his strengths at the time, power moves, and not much else, story unfolded uniformly, simply, but the thing that leaves this in the bottom of the pack is neither guy really sold anything, they just did moves to each other
Chris Jericho v. Road Dogg (08/29)
Jericho’s debut, if anyone’s keeping score, again, like Road dogg’s attention to detail, really sells his back after a sweet backbreaker and it plays into the story of the match. Liked the gusto he used when throwing Dogg into the stairs and the selling of it as well. Finish was kind of crummy, but at least it was a good table spot, won’t rank high on my list if at all
- Bradshaw v. Ken Shamrock (Street Fight 04/29)
This wasn’t very long, but I liked Bradshaw’s brutality mixed with Shamrock trying to pull off submission holds and he actually made them look very dangerous. Shamrock’s punches needed a lot of work though
Mark Henry v. Bubba Ray (12/23)
Quick match but physical as a NFL-Prison scrimmage game, Bubba was trying, I believe this, trying to break Mark’s neck, nasty suplex, but Mark fought back, as best he could, Bubba was taking liberties like crazy, also got a kick out of Dvon trying to make us believe him selling pain at the hands of the septagenarian women
HHH v. Mankind (Boiler Room, 09/30)
Short, physical, concrete bumps, like a night in the Foley bedroom. The final bump was quite brutal, didn’t make a lick of sense but was one of the nastiest things on the set, save all the Chyna matches. I also morbidly liked the strangeness of a bump onto a pile nuts and bolts, haha oh fuck, smack down 99 you fucking red headed stepchild
Faarooq v. Big Bossman (11/11)
Don’t fuck with Faarooq, he just pieces Bossman up like an angry pimp, grabbing everything he canfind and pummeling him with it, Bossman tried to attack him with a cable! Ha, this was a wild one, but too short to get very high
- Big Bossman v. Kane (Hardcore) 11/25
Not offensive match, got a little time, fun brawling around the crowd, Bossman selling his arm like a pro, nice bit of selling during all that, finish was ugly though
- Ivory v. Jacqueline (Gravy Bowl) 11/25
Match is a joke usualy but Jackie was dropping Ivory with some hard moves while this lasted, got a chuckle out of it

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WWE Wrestlemania 23

Wow, does anyone else remember the theme of this Mania being called "All Grown Up?" Haha, what a terribly shitty idea

1) Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy v. King Booker v. Finlay v. CM Punk v. Mr. Kennedy v. Matt Hardy v. Randy Orton v. Edge - 5
Wow this was a major trainwreck, first the bad; the usual complaints, some guys were really non-factors, Booker only made 3, seriously, 3 real appearances in this where he did a spot, other than that it was naptime outside. Punk was pretty unimportant, lots of insanely ridiculous spots, actually the same one over and over again, Edge hit 7 guys in a row with spears, felt like watching an old Batman episode where the same thugs just run into Adam West's punches. Orton then pulls off the same thing where he RKO's 3 guys back to back to back. Ludicrous, not the talented hip hop artist, the adjective describing something ridiculous or stupidly unordinary. Some fun stuff was Edge's really stiff strikes, like he found out everyone gangbanged Lita in Roanoake the week before, read that in the Wikileaks actually. Matt "Bumps like God could if he was a pro wrestler" Hardy took 3 insane bumps during the course of the match. Finlay was fun as always as a craggy bastard who bleeds and stiffs, Jeff's ledgrop through the ladder was really fun especially since Edge was trapped underneath. That really was a sickening spot. Overall I can't really recommend it as there was too much bullshit cluttering up major portions of this.

2) Great Khali v. Kane- 2
I bet they were wishing Kane's years of experience in the sport would help guide Khali to a decent match and Khali would be able to feed off Kane's great workrate to push his performance up. I bet those people were the same ones buying bridges over the weekend. Did Kane actually pull out a giant hook to put cattle on? And why did Khali open up a turnbuckle like George "the Animal" Steele? Kane took a bump at one point like he tripped over a his kid's toy cars in the dark trying to go get a glass of skim milk in the middle of the night. The ending was so haphazard and out of nowhere it didn't help matters. Kane's body slam though was hot, but Jim Ross comparing it to Hogan slamming Andre was like comparing the Resident Evil films to the Godfather franchise.

Okay, let us pause to comment on the "dance party" that took place in the back between these matches. People were flipping out over the one on the Old School Raw just a few weeks ago when this one was easily better, mainly for the incredibly tight outfits of Layla & Kelly Kelly as well as Slick appearing and doing some pop and lock stuff, and had at least a dozen ridiculous men over 50 in costumes showing up out of nowhere pretending they know how to dance. I have been to quite a few parties in my day but never one where a drill sargeant, a ninja, an IRS agent, 70 year old women in leotards and a man in a suit walking around doing Native American war cries filled in the ranks of attendees. Christ, i'm going to stop here for the night before i have any nightmares related to this.

3) MVP v. Chris Benoit- 4
3 months before Benoit commits murder of his whole family, more you look at it, the signs were there. Cole goes on a tirade saying how wrestling is Benoit's "life, it consumes him, it's his mistress." This is mainly good for watching MVP dissect Benoit's arm, does some quality work on it, like an old Anderson beatdown. So different from the formula shit he was breezing through on Smackdown the last 2 years. Benoit has some good touches to the selling, but MVP apparently still hadn't learned how. Watch his face on the rolling Germans, it's like when you tell a kid to stay as perfectly still as they can. Ending was so out of nowhere and out of context.

4) Batista v. Undertaker- 6
You could accurately describe this match as being an 80's action movie, no plot but tons of adrenaline fueled beatdowns. The whole first act is copied and pasted right from a Smackdown main event, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Taker's suicide dive never looked better. He even takes a Mick Foley bump later on, so he must have taken an extra cortizone shot. What works for Dave here is he isn't hesitating and his instincts are right throughout. His strikes look real, his movement isn't stutter-stepped, it actually feels like a big title match. Ending has been done so many times, why at this point anyone picks Taker up for a Tombstone is beyond me. Batista bomb though drilled Taker harder than we will be doing to Brazil in 30 years looking for natural resources.

5) Sandman/ Rob Van Dam/ Tommy Dreamer/ Sabu v. Matt Striker/ Elijah Burke/ Marcus Corvon/ Kevin Thorn- 3
This more than anything else felt like a pure 7 minute tv match. Sabu did a total of 4 moves the duration of this, guess that sounds like a complaint. Sandman did a total of 2 moves. Dreamer sold the whole time and RVD ran through his offense like he would a bowl with Bill Alfonso and Miley Cyrus later that night. Striker made me laugh to even see him out there on this stage, but he actually took some crazy stuff incl. a monkey flip that would make a Jackie Chan extra envious and scentillating DDT from the Venis playbook. Corvon was a beast too and looked more motivated than anyone, perhaps trying to avoid an eventual trip back to Orlando (can't blame you there)

6) Bobby Lashley v. Umaga- 4
I actually felt like my eyes were on steroids and painkillers just watching this. Both men were bulky and breeming with needle marks. They both took stupidly but fun to watch car crash bumps outside that really played no part in the match. Some clunky in ring work was all to see of these guys. The most interesting component by far was Steve Austin, who has never lost his magnetic presence. His selling after the two shots from Umaga blew away everything else on the show up to that point in realism. Some McMahon hijinx to remind us 1999 really did blow as badly as remembered. You can also skip the aftermatch hair cutting involving Donald Trump unless you're a giant Vince mark.

7) Melina v. Ashley Massarro (Lumberjills Match)- 2
2 things, no, 3 things come to mind while watching this, first they show a clip from a dark match with male lumberjacks that involved Ric Flair/ Carlito v. Chavo/ Shane Helms and Cole says it was "a really great match" but they decided these two would be a better fit for the live show. Boo. 2nd, Melina was a great heel and I really have no idea why she's been a face now for like 4 years. 3rd, Easily 80% of the women standing around ringside had triple the talent Ashley, who while at one point during a rollup sequence looked like she transported back to tumbling class in the 8th grade. This was the worst thing on the show.

8) John Cena v. Shawn Michaels- 8
Former (and future) NHO staffer Adam once said about the new WWE-version rebirth of ECW, and I quote: "This is wrestling." While that may be one man's opinion (and it probably was) I would like to not particularly say definitively about this match but say the crux of that statement could be applied here. First off, I like big matches, long matches that build up accordingly, some people don't care for them because too many fans are too anxious to sit and watch as it builds up, as here where Michaels does an excellent job attacking Cena's legs (which boggled me since they had little do do with the match as a whole) but the back and forth that took over after that initial build up which sets the stage with Shawn being the veteran and controlling the match to Cena still not on his level. Love Shawn's piledriver on the steel stairs, he doesn't break it out all the time so when he does it's quite special, Cena even takes a step further here by blading the top of his head, brilliant stuff. Some of the exchanges and counters of big holds later on were impressive, damn impressive actually and Cena and Michaels both know how to sell frustration, fatigue and pain better than almost anyone ever employed by the company. All I can say is if you have fond memories of big Mania main events and you want to watch one of the greats, this is one of them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TNA Final Resolution '10

1. Ink Inc. vs. Beer Money - 5
2. Tara vs. Mickie James - Falls Count Anywhere Match - 6
3. Robbie E vs. Jay Lethal - 3
4. Rob Van Dam vs. Rhino - First Blood Match - 4
5. A.J. Styles vs. Douglas Williams - 7
6. Motor City Machine Guns vs. Generation Me - Full Metal Mayhem Match - 6
7. Abyss vs. Pope - Casket Match - 6
8. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Jarrett - Submission Match - 4
9. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Morgan - 3

The opener was formula tag wrestling but pure joy to behold as it's a lost art nowadays. Tara and James was a wild romp, they brawled everywhere, even into a men's restroom where it appeared Sir Oliver Humperdink was sitting on a toilet taking a fierce dump. Parts of the brawl were sloppy, but all in all, this was a lot of fun, had some of the best concrete bumps this side of early-Necro Butcher footage, and in terms of pure entertainment was well ahead of anything from the WWE divas in '10. I couldn't get into the Robbie E versus Lethal bout, goofy gimmick aside where Robbie's valet Cookie was forced into a shark cage and hoisted above ringside, the only thing that stuck out here was how patently dull this felt.

Next, the match that, if I had watched this event live, I'd have went into the kitchen and raided the fridge or found myself otherwise disengaged. I haven't found either guy interesting or relevant in nearly thirteen years. Rhino sold the "Five-Star Frog Splash" like he'd just had a taser jammed in his anus. Rhino bled pretty heavily and I made a hushed wish it'd be the last time we'd see him in TNA. I was really impressed with Williams and Styles, expected big things, but they really delivered a match that would have fit in perfectly at the top of an ROH show circa '05. It was back-and-forth wrestling highlighted by some great moments like Williams' "Chaos Theory" suplex on the floor. Next was a hell of a stunt show, I enjoyed their recent empty arena match on ReACTION more, this felt kind of clunky and recycled. You'll definitely get some enjoyment out of it, plenty of death-defying spills and thrills, but it lacked the spark or originality to make it really pop and feel special.

Casket match I enjoyed a lot more than I anticipated, I've never liked Abyss, but they did a great job doing a lot of cool spots teasing the casket plus this had some hellacious and innovative bumps like Pope getting slammed off of the top rope onto the casket (ouch!) and Abyss punching through a wall of the casket then reaching through and squeezing Dinero's junk. Next match suffered from overwriting as Jarrett's stuff is prone to do. Nice seeing Joe utilize some MMA-inspired stuff like fighting off of his back, etc. Still, Jarrett getting the victory in the end felt eerily hollow. The main event mechanically was fine, if not a bit bland, wearisome, dare I say stodgy, humdrum, even jejune? Hardy worked like he'd sniffed a suitcase full of Dominican nose sugar pre-show and Morgan was his usual obtuse self. Like too many TNA PPV main events this thing was more convoluted and overbooked than Lost fan fiction.

Overall, 2010 has been a pretty weak year in terms of mainstream pay-per-view offerings, probably the worst output since '07, but I'd say offhand this would rank near the top of the year's admittedly feeble oeuvre. Leading wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer said on the topic, "one of the better PPV shows of the year". I couldn't agree more you insipid tool.

Friday, December 17, 2010

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2010 - Night One

PWG's Battle of Los Angeles is a staple on the West Coast. The past years have always came through as awesome events. Here's hoping this year's can match.

The Cutler Brothers vs. The Young Bucks - 4

This was a spot-fest on steroids. It was really fun to watch, I have to admit, but like most Young Bucks matches, there was nothing in terms of selling or psychology, just spot after spot usually involving a super-kick or flip... sometimes both. Here's my biggest problem with this match: so many of the offensive moves that the Bucks tried to hit barely connected, if at all. This led to the match seeming very, how do you say... fake? The super kicks looked so soft the bucks might as well have been shaking hands with the Cutlers. The Cutlers brothers saved this match and the Young Bucks. They sold all of the Bucks shitty offense like they were being hit by bricks, and dished out some stiff moves themselves along with some great sequences of moves.

Ryan Taylor vs. Brandon Gatson - 5

I've been digging both of these guys this year. While Gatson may seem like a bland acrobat, he connects with the crowd and makes them watch him. Taylor works a junior heavyweight puro style so I instantly liked him. He also comes off as a surfer prick with a chip on his shoulder, which I dig as well. Taylor's strikes come off crisp and stiff, while Gatson's take-downs and flying maneuvers come off as... tooo saaweeet~!~!

Chuck Taylor vs. Joey Ryan - 3

Joey Ryan didn't really seem to step it up in this match. As a matter of fact, it really felt like both guys kind of phoned it in. The match kind of dragged and was pretty boring to be honest. Chuck hit a couple of nice dives and Joey hit a few shots, but really the match never took off.

Roderick Strong vs. Paul London - 3

Paul seems to be getting back in the groove after his sabbatical from pro wrestling. Paul had his trunks stuffed making it look like he had a huge package, consequently leading to the fans chanting, "Teabag Roddy." It got a bit old after a while. Roderick doesn't belong in a comedy match. Doing this is a waste of money on PWG's part. Paul hit his usual offense like the drop-sault and his shooting star, but the what-seemed-like-1o-minutes of bullshit comedy in the beginning took away from this match... a lot!

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Ricochet - 5

I love Dub C. Watching him square off against a light weight guy who likes to do sick, crazy maneuvers is one metric shit ton of fun. Let me also state that Ricochet is absolutely insane. He has no regard for his own body and will gladly break his neck for a pop. Gotta love that level of dedication. Claudio absolutely man-handled Ricochet though in a manner that would make the Gestapo proud (BDK!). His European uppercut after throwing a guy 10 feet in the air is absolutely maddening in the best way possible. The height he throws the guy in the air is quite an amazing feat. Really fun match, but it was 100% obvious Ricochet had no chance.

Rocky Romero vs. Austin Aries - 6

Another solid match. Neither man really got the upper-hand throughout the match, leading to the questioning of just who would win. The recently ROH-departed Aries had a damn fine showing here in PWG, selling like a wobbly-legged maniac. Romero is great in the ring. He is so technically sound and busts out great juji gatame in so many variations. A sight to behold! Stiff strikes were also available in the match, especially ones involving feet~! Fun stuff.

Brian Cage vs. Brandon Bonham - 5

Cage made his debut in PWG at last month's event, Seven. He had a relatively impressive showing and comes off as an asshole that's a good worker. Bonham, with his surfer-dude look and all, still is sound in the ring and I enjoy his offense. Cage had a great sell in the match when Bonham hit a flipping stunner off the top rope, featuring a head whip back and a glazed over look. More glazed over than Stephanie after downing bottles of Yager at the McMahon Christmas party. Bonham's Hammer of the Gods finisher (Canadian Destoyer) was sold fantastically by Cage. Dude is impressive.

Akira Tozawa vs. El Generico - 6

Both of these guys connect with the crowd so very well. Charisma was flowing all over the place. Tozawa just has such a great presence. When the fans would chant "Ole," Tozawa would scream at them to shut up. I loved Tozawa's sick stiff kicks to Gen's chest, and I loved Generico's Mich. driver. Great sequence. The junior heavyweight puro style was too cool in this match -- just such a great mixture of stiffness and sequences that create a great match. Generico's stagger sells are quite a sight -- how could anyone not like him?! Really great flow in the match. Exemplary!

Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Hero - 5

Ho.Ly.Shit. These guys are two of my faves hooking it up in one of my favorite companies! I dug the story of you younger Chris Hero showing that he could indeed hang with the older, more experienced Daniels, but Hero would have to work for any respect. Lots of aggression and shot exchanges between the two made for some great action. Finish kind of came out of nowhere which held it back, but the rest of the match had a really good build and really great pacing. Both guys worked a snug style, but you can really tell the respect they have for one another. DIG IT!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brian's SmackDown! '99 ballot

This is for our third TV viewing/analysis project -- the full results and breakdown should be posted in the next week or two:

1. Christian and Jeff Hardy vs. Taka Michinoku and Sho Funaki - 12/23

I loved everything about this. Jeff Hardy was the MVP, huge air on everything, somersault senton to the floor, crazy guillotine legdrop, etc. Taka's an all-time favorite of mine and Funaki, student of Fujiwara, was doing facial selling on par with the crusty old man.

2. Too Cool vs. Edge and Christian - 10/28

I liked this even better than their other meeting, although, I doubt it'll fair well in the final rankings as I'm the one member of the committee to have seen this episode. Their other match felt like a slice of NWA, but this is more akin to the '99 fast-paced style the show highlighted, but also boosts much bigger bumps including a sickeningly stiff sunset flip/powerbomb combination on Christian who was on the apron, resulting in him thudding on the floor. Edge's "Spear" here looked so much deadlier than it did on the most recent episode (12/3/10) of SmackDown! I recently saw. It's now became laissez-faire but here it's absolutely explosive.

3. New Age Outlaws vs. Rock 'n Sock Connection - 9/23

This was quite good, Outlaws' first match back as a team, and while clearly Rock and Mankind are on a different level individually, as a team that advantage is neutralized by the Outlaws' cunning and experience. It takes being craft and clever to pull out a win out of nowhere so this was booked spot-on and was able to get the Outlaws the big victory and championships while putting the heat on Mankind for taking the fall and generating some friction between him and a pissed off Rock. This match falls right in the middle of a heavily overbooked episode that sees Triple H wrestle five matches (including ones against Mankind and Rock) but lost in the sea of suspect shit lies a tag team gem.

4. Too Cool vs. Edge and Christian - 11/18

I'm not prepared to pimp Too Cool as some lost, overlooked team quite just yet, but, they're pretty awesome here. 7 (out of 10) discs down and this is easily one of the better, more old school tag team matches I've seen. It had a decidedly nasty finish with Grandmaster Sexay's legdrop off the top right on Christian's head while the ref was distracted.

5. The Rock vs. Mankind - 10/21

For a match that ultimately meant nothing (ended with putrid Val Venis interference) this had some real good back-and-forth momentum changes, both guys got in some signature stuff, Foley ate some gnarly bumps on the floor, etc.

6. The Rock vs. Al Snow - Steel Cage Match - 12/23

Completely unnecessary match, Snow didn't look particularly good, rushing through sells, etc. but this still had some neat moments and big bumps like a back superplex off the top and a spinebuster on a steel chair.

7. Hardcore & Crash Holly vs.Viscera & Mideon vs. the Acolytes vs. Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Edge & Christian vs. Albert & Droz vs. Stevie Richards & the Blue Meanie - Tag Team Turmoil Match - 9/2

This was ran gauntlet style and had some cool eliminations (Holly busting out the Falcon Arrow, Bradshaw countering the Poetry in Motion by decapitating Jeff with a lariat, etc.) and a good pace. Almost everyone offered up at least something positive to the affair save for Blue Meanie who just danced like a buffoon on the ramp.

8. Farooq vs. Big Bossman - 11/11

Most of the WWE Hardcore division stuff was just absolute shit, weak weapon shots, aluminum cookie sheets and garbage can lids, bad comedy, worse selling, etc. This, though, felt like something completely different, just two big dudes beating the holy hell out of each other around ringside. Everything came off clumsy like a real brawl but gave things a sense of excitement, like, "Oh, fuck, one of these dude's is about to get messed up!", i.e. when Farooq dove off the announce table holding a chair and nearly did a face-plant on the floor.

9. New Age Outlaws vs. Hardyz - Steel Cage Match - 11/25

This was the car crash style of this era personified, for better or worse, as they just went non-stop throwing a lot of stuff out there hoping much of it would stick. Surprisingly, given the chaotic nature of things, I felt the selling throughout was very authentic and polished. But, this was not refined, just everybody going for the gusto and win. Jeff essentially got tossed over the top of the cage flipping all the way down to the floor in a dangerous bump.

10. Kane vs. Triple H - 9/9

Two guys the me of '99 loathed and would want to kick my ass today for me saying I liked this. As I've matured I've grown to prefer story over spots. Neither of these guys are known as flashy or particularly spectacular in the ring, but both can craft stories in it. Triple H's usually plodding methodical offense actually works in the context of Kane's zombie-like selling, individually, those two things don't often work, but together they gelled like blue cheese dressing and hot wings for a tasty morsel of a match.

11. The Rock and Mankind vs. Big Show and Undertaker - Buried Alive Match - 9/9

A wild match that's as good a snapshot of any of the insanity of this era. It's not the best brawling you'll see, they didn't tease the burial plot enough, etc. but the rabid crowd and big superstars going toe-to-toe kept this highly entertaining.

12. Rock 'n Sock Connection vs. New Age Outlaws - 10/14

While this lacked the goods I thought the less bombastic 9/23 offered up, it did have a wilder, kinetic pace, and a real hot crowd. This was enjoyable with the Outlaws for once working up to the amount of hype they've always received. Interference by both by both Crash and Hardcore Holly seemed tacked on so the finish didn't feel real organic.

13. Hardyz vs. Christian and Edge - Tornado Match - 10/7

Non-stop action and a creative finish highlight this wild bout from the T.I.T.

14. Triple H vs. The Rock - 8/24

I remember seeing this last year on the Best of SmackDown!: 10th Anniversay DVD set and thinking it wasn't too bad. It's better known for the twist ending where Shawn Michaels costs Rock the match. That storytelling cog aside, the action's WWE main event style brawling circa Attitude era, which is to say, lots of punches and wandering around ringside and the ramp. Had some of the ingredients to be a big, memorable main event but in the end didn't deliver on that promise.

15. D-Lo Brown vs. British Bulldog - 10/28

Bulldog wasn't impressing much in '99 but this match was really laid out well and structured to his strengths. It also gets a nod for historical significance as DBS won the European championship, what I imagine would have been one of his last title reigns.

16. The Hardyz and Big Show vs. New Age Outlaws and X-Pac - 12/2

Growing up being an NWA kid I love a good six-man tag and this was a fun one. It didn't have a lot of heft or any real meaty storytelling, just fast-paced action with everyone getting in and getting stuff off. I liked the finish, too; amid all the action Matt secured a victory on Road Dogg using none other than a sunset flip.

17. Undertaker and Big Show vs. Acolytes vs. Kane and X-Pac - 8/24

This didn't even last four minutes, but, while it lasted it was a ton of chaotic fun. Undertaker sat and did commentary at ringside and left his partner to fend for himself in a demonstration of tough love. Everyone was recklessly flying around the ring like popcorn shooting out of a kettle (it's a labored analogy but cut me a break -- I worked in movie theaters for the better part of my teenage years).

18. Al Snow vs. Jeff Hardy - 12/30

Offense = spotty, selling = shoddy, is not my favorite type of match. That major grievance aside this has car wreck written all over it but the guys really invest in the madness and throw a bunch of shit out there even if it'd amount to a nothing more than a hill of beans.

19. Kurt Angle vs. Edge - 12/23

Not a lot here, they'd go on to do much better work together, still, try as I might, I was pulled into this and found myself inexplicably happy throughout it. I think maybe the contrasting trunks (red and royal blue) played a part.

20. Prince Albert vs. Chris Jericho - 12/16

I know, right? Nobody else is going to vote on this. It had more going against it than just about any match in this project (and thus its axiomatic it'll stink). Seconds into it Chyna and Miss Kitty waltzed to ringside, we cut to the back to see Stephanie McMahon and HHH drinking champagne, cut back to the action prematurely, then back to them two all in the span of seconds, then there's the crowd, which is too busy chanting at Big Bossman at ringside to invest in the match. So why is this here? It's fast-paced, hard-hitting, sloppy and just pure fun in a sprint I enjoyed. Despite all the bullshit I still found the action (what we saw of it!) a breath of fresh air. I'd kill to see these do get 20 min. together today.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Strikeforce 12/4/10

1. Benji Radach vs. Ovince St. Preux - 3
2. Antonio Silva vs. Mike Kyle - 6
3. Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Lindland - 7
4. Paul Daley vs. Scott Smith - 9
5. Dan Henderson vs. Renato Babalu Sobral - 8

Strikeforce went head-to-head with UFC with duel shows and Strikeforce was easily the victor tonight. Opener stunk, the show was marred with last minute changes, so Radach took the fight on a week's notice and OSP just fought less than two weeks ago. I've never seen someone get pounded non-stop on the ground for three rounds but here it was; don't know who was the biggest loser, though, Benji for eating fifteen minutes of unprotected shots to the side and back of his head, Ovince for never just finishing the damn thing, or the referee for not throwing this fight out. Next fight was the opposite, fireworks fast and early, and not a lot of wasted time. Kyle also took his fight on a week's notice, guy's an unbeaten upstart rising from obscurity to go 6-0 in the co. and was game here. He knocked Silva's giant, goofy ass on his butt with the first shot and pounded on him for the rest of the round. Second round, roles shifted, and "Bigfoot" gave Kyle an early bedtime.

Next two fights saw consecutive knockouts that easily rival anything else in the world I've seen in '10 for KO of the year. Lawler just violently obliterated Lindland, leaving the veteran lifeless on the ground in a scary moment. The result wasn't surprising but still startling. Then, the very next fight, former UFC star Daley brutally knocked out Scott Smith with one of the hardest shots I've ever seen a man take in the face. Smith fell like the proverbial ton of bricks face-first into the canvas with a resounding thud. This was the type of knockout you'll only ever see once or twice every half-dozen years.

Well, after writing that last paragraph I was ready to watch the main event and guess what? Brutal fucking knockout! Some of the gnarliest ground and pound you'll ever see. Henderson was beating Sobral's face into mush like he kidnapped his firstborn. If you're into awesome finishes, and what MMA fan isn't, then this is definitely your show and as far as most explosive endings goes it ranks up pretty highly on any all-time list, too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crockett Cup 1988

1st & 2nd Round Matches
1) Mighty Wilbur/ Jimmy Valiant v. Ivan Koloff/ Dick Murdoch- 2
2) Steve Williams/ Ron Simmons v. Varsity Club- 3
3) Arn Anderson/ Tully Blanchard v. Kendall Windham/ Italian Stallion- 3
4) Road Warriors v. Jive Tones- 3
5) Larry Zybyzsko/ Al Perez v. The Fantastics- 7
6) Ivan Koloff/ Dick Murdoch v. Sting/ Lex Luger- 4
7) Midnight Express v. The Sheepherders- 4
8) Road Warriors v. The Powers of Pain- 5

To start off, there's no real rhyme or reason of what was shown here and some of these matches were clipped in places, but hard to discern exactly all of them so i'll comment on what was shown. Valiant threw some nice haymakers in the opener but was too much showboating and sassafrass to concentrate on his end of the selling. Nice double team for the finish. Next match pitted 4 collegiate athletes against each other in a hard hitting contest, Doc looked good reliving his grid iron days plowing through Rick and Rotundo was dissecting Simmons like an Army surgeon to an alien phallus at Area 51. Arn & Tully were giving their overmatched opponents tons of offense as Jim Ross pumped them as the greatest living team of the time, good timing. Killer Arn DDT secures their next round spot. The Jive Tones are Pez Whatley and Tiger Conway jr, who do this really funny oversell on a Hawk double clothesline, other than that, they were just fodder for the tractor war machine that is the LOD in the 80's. Hawk lowers Pistol's neckline about 8 inches with the finish. Next match was nearly perfect, everyone was superb in it, Rogers pin point on all his dropkicks, Larry Z was jacking his jaw and playing great heel here, Perez pulled off innovative spots with both Fantastics I've still never seen duplicated and Fulton was the babyface glue , they have so many creative spots they use, the finish was brilliant. Murdoch and Ivan were fun bruising up their younger co stars, but weren't too keen on taking any punishment themselves, guess that's why Lex trying to bodyslam Ivan looked like an elephant trying to walk on two legs while holding a 46' LCD TV. Midnights and pre-Bushwhackers was a good romp too, lots of fun striking going on, Whackers selling was questionable but their styles meshed really well for a shorter match. Our final quarterfinal was brutal and everything you would want from those 4 men fighting. Barbarian was a beast in his day, just treating LOD like playthings. Hawk also wasn't messing around and Aniimal's hot tag was hotter than Eva Mendes in a skimpy Ghostbusters outfit licking a lollipop (okay that's just a metaphor, nothing's hotter than that)

Other Matches:
9) Kevin Sullivan v. Jimmy Garvin (Prince of Darkness Match)- 1
10) Midnight Rider v. JJ Dillon (Bullrope Match)- 1
11) Ric Flair v. Nikita Koloff- 5

This joke was a Blindfold match essentially and is every bit as bad as you could imagine. Why Garvin would still do that stupid strut if his eyes didn't work is logic beyond me. Terrible ending too. The Bullrope bout was just a bloodletting on Dillon, who bled pathetically. Rider was Dusty and was in no rush to end this quickly. Flair v. Nikita started slowly with Nikita doing leg work, which felt like attending a timeshare meeting. Once Nikita started selling like a reckless abandon, it felt more like an important bout for a prestigious title than a spot show in Aberdeen.

Semis & Finals:
12) Powers of Pain v. Sting & Lex Luger- 3
13) Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard v. The Fantastics- 5
14) Sting & Lex Luger v. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard- 6

Power v. Power was the advertised tagline here but it was more like tiredness v. impassivity. Barbarian again with his two token spots, powerslam and big boot were the saving graces of this stinker except for Sting's enthusiastic selling. Luger v. Warlord is a match delivered straight from Hell.....or Vince Russo's psyche, take your pick. I was stoked for this match but instead of wowing us, they played it safely while delivering a competent and well worked bout. Arn was the muscle while Tully kept the ring cut off. Fantastics were grounded for most of this with a few short bursts but were seemingly overmatched. The Finals turned itup, nearly a 7, I would say except for the really lame Magnum TA ending. All 4 guys worked really hard here, even Luger. Sting took a damn fine beating, highlighted by Arn's famous spinebuster that is a full 360 rotation, putting the dunce HHH attempts to shame. As I sit here watching a 2008 Smackdown PPV main event that includes tables, sledgehammers and people waiting their turn to do something, this match used none of that and kept a pace that most would be hard pressed to keep up with while telling a good story.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

AJPW Classic 70's Style :: Funk vs. Tsuruta '76

Terry Funk is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. His selling, in-ring ability, and ability to put guys over is amazing.

Terry Funk vs. Jumbo Tsuruta (2/3 Falls) - AJPW 6/11/76 - 8

Two fucking awesome wrestlers going at in classic puro action. Jockeying for position has never been more interesting or fun to watch. Terry would try to tangle up Jumbo, but he would have none of it. The faces and grimaces on both men's sweaty faces told the story: this shit was legit. Terry's working over of the left arm of Jumbo was something kids nowadays should take notice of. The arm-work was to die for on both men's part. So much retching and hate in the way they'd pull each others arm, bend each others arms, and generally cause extreme amounts of discomfort in one another. This was delicious. Terry would try to come back from Jumbo's arm holds, only to be frustrated to be put back in them just when he least expected it, be it from an arm-drag or lariat. The finish to the first fall was just so clean you could eat food off of it. Fuck yes. Fuck. Yes. Purogasm. The second fall is when things would get heated. Some great open hand strikes and stiffness featuring Funk bumping over the top rope like the madman he is. Jumbo's sell of a back drop also featured some great head-grabs and body convulsions. This is just simply how it is done. This is pro wrestling. This is awesome.

Friday, December 10, 2010

WCW Spring Stampede '97

1. Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Último Dragón - 9
2. Akira Hokuto vs. Madusa - 4
3. Prince Iaukea vs. Lord Steven Regal - 5
4. Public Enemy vs. Steve McMichael and Jeff Jarrett - 4
5. Chris Benoit vs. Dean Malenko - 6
6. Rick Steiner vs. Kevin Nash - 3
7. Lex Luger vs. The Giant vs. Booker T vs. Stevie Ray - 7
8. Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page - No DQ Match - 7

This is probably my favorite WCW pay-per-view of the second-half of the 1990's, it's a notch below some of the best offerings of theirs from that entire decade like Great American Bash '90 and Wrestle War '92, but that's good company. It's arguably the most underrated, overlooked, and unheralded WCW PPV; but, that's just one man's opinion.

This was Mysterio and Dragón's third PPV encounter and ended the trilogy splendidly. To me, this is the personification of this lightweight style these guys really helped to usher in to new audiences. Último is the aggressor, really beating Rey down, with Rey's offense often coming in spurts trying to rally back against his foe. They absolutely make everything matter, it's clear each motion in the ring has significance to the endgame, and with flawless execution, this is like a little time capsule I can recall at my leisure and be brought back to a phenomenal, exciting time for in-ring action. The rare perfect match.

Next is a match that was sort of a wasted opportunity. It's about as one-sided as it gets, as Hokuto just beats Madusa around the ring at will. It was nice seeing the joshi veteran looking strong. The finish was a massive failure, though; Luna runs down and kicks Madusa while she's powerbombing Akira, but instead of countering it, Hokuta stills lands right on her head then just sort of sits on Madusa's face in a bungled, overwrought finish.

Iaukea in retrospect was a lot of wasted potential, the guy could have really made an impact but didn't have a real memorable career. Back then, he never stuck out to me, but watching his stuff from this era now it's clear that he had the goods just no opportunities. He's channeling Ricky Steamboat here clearly, and while this may not quite be up to the level of previous Regal versus Steamboat battles, it's quite good. Regal has a way of working the crowd that's fantastic, riling up the Mississippi rubes pre-match, simply walking away casually dodging a flying Prince attack, etc. I loved the finish, too; you often see counter-wrestling, but here, we got a counter within a counter. We don't see that enough and it makes Iaukea come off looking smart and prepared.

The next match, on paper, is a bit of a mess and in execution is only slightly better than expected. The real problem is McMichael, who's terrible, just greener than one of my shits after drinking a blue slushee (that ever happen to anybody else?). Steve's timing is woeful as he's often several seconds early on spots which is totally business exposing. There's some fun elements, Grunge going through a table on the floor from off the top, Rocco getting tossed around the "Old West" set, into a wagon and fake cattle, etc. The finish looked weak, too; Jarrett had Grunge in the figure four leglock when Rock came off the second rope nailing Jeff with a briefcase, problem was the shot looked incredibly weak and Jarrett sold it like death.

Malenko was stolid as ever but he and Benoit, their respect for each other shining through in each and every sequence, gave us a nice, hard-fought battle. In delivery it was certainly different than anything else on the bill, or happening in the company period at the time, but while it moved at a rather languid pace the intensity and fierce focus of its combatants made for a revelatory watch. The finish was terrible as after nearly 18 minutes of work it all built up to nothing as Jacqueline, Kevin Sullivan, and Arn Anderson all made their presence felt. The following match was supposed to be a tag, Scott Hall didn't show up (no big surprise), so they did a bit backstage earlier in the program where Scott Steiner got maced and detained, giving us this little turd. It ended up being Nash manhandling Steiner, commendable only for the beating Rick suffered, but was mostly designed to further the tension in the New World Order storyline by having both Ted DiBiase and referee Nick Patrick feeling Nash was going too far.

I really liked the four corners match as it felt different and fresh, something the company wasn't exactly known for, and also, one of my favorite teams Harlem Heat really got a chance to shine in a semi-main event. Given the four guys involved, everyone squared off against each other at least once, making for some interesting showdowns and interactions. Booker was great, his vocality while just doing simple things like arm-work is so loud and terrific. Luger and Giant aren't known as workhorses but held up their end of the bargain. The finish where Giant stepped aside and allowed Luger to get the pin (and subsequently a title shot at Hogan) didn't really make sense to me seeing this show out of context.

The main event I'd mistaken for a different match, these guys had a wild brawl in a falls count anywhere match at Great American Bash '97 (which i reviewed here as part of the Savage DVD set) that I've always adored; but while this one isn't the spectacle the GAB '97 thriller is, it makes up for it in sheer physicality and sounder psychology. There's one sequence that goes out into the crowd highlighted by some garbage can shots where trash juice flies out everywhere seeing the guy's slipping on the concrete like hired help on the set of a bukkake shoot. Savage is certifiably nuts throughout, brutally beating the shit out of ring announcer David Penzer, stalking Page's wife Kimberly, etc. The finish really pops the house and feels like a big moment as DDP gets a major win and the show ends with the further dissolution of the nWo.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WWE Raw (King of the Ring 2010) 11/29/10

1) Alberto Del Rio v. Daniel Bryan- 5
2) Cody Rhodes v. John Morrison- 3
3) Drew McIntyre v. Ezekiel Jackson- 2
4) Kofi Kingston v. Sheamus- 4
5) Heath Slater/ Justin Gabriel v. Mark Henry/ Yoshi Tatsu- 2
6) John Morrison v. Alberto Del Rio- 4
7) Maryse/ Tamina/ Alicia Fox v. Melina/ Natalya/ Gail Kim- 2
8) Sheamus v. John Morrison- 6
9) The Miz v. Jerry Lawler (Tables, Ladders, Chairs Match)- 5

This is the King of the Ring, 2010 version, the announcers were pushing it pretty hard, showing old clips, mentioning old winners such as Austin, Bret, Edge, and Brock, but failing to acknowledge Angle, Booker, Billy Gunn and others. 1st round had it's ups and downs, Del Rio is a godsend for this company, he's charismatic as hell, is a Spanish star, but also works a nice simple style. As we know, Danielson always has competitive matches, this one highlighted by trading Germans and a suicide dive where he channeled Benoit and hurt his arm. Cody and Morrison both need to go to punching school, wherever the hell that's located, I'm sure Chuck Palumbo's basement would be a good place to start. Cody's got a good gimmick, but his work hasn't caught up with, finish was also off target. Save for a few stiff half clotheslines from Drew, this was shorter than Gary Busey's last stint in rehab (the Conan blimp is still after you by the way) Finally, Sheamus and Kofi was fun only to watch Kofi bump for all his contract's worth. I'm not a fan of the current crop of youngsters on Smackdown, probably in the minority, but the endless combination of opponents with Kofi, Swagger, Rhodes, Ziggler, etc. I haven't seen too much that's left an impression, but not just resting on preconceived notions, I watched very closely and found Kofi was more game than Mario Party 7 here and made this pretty watchable.

This tag only served it's part in giving John Cena a cameo, how awkward would it be if you were fired from your job and kept going back to it hanging around, nonetheless attacked your former co-workers? haha, logic has no place here. Besides Henry's slam and Gabriel breaking a pinfall with a mushroom stomp, skip this. You thought the 250,000 documents released on the Wiki Leak was exposing, watch Slater work a few minutes. Del Rio continues to overachieve, really putting Morrison to task, his arm work feels so natural it's a breeze to watch. Loved Rey channeling Big Vis from back in the day laying on the horn and Morrison caught Alberto dead square in his pasta eater with that kick, nasty spot.

6 Woman tag I was looking forward to, but alas, no one running the company seemed to care about them getting a workout as this barely scratched 3 minutes. Alicia took a cool bump on Melina's knees and provided a few moments of entertainment thus I tossed it a couple pity points. Santino singing pop songs from the 80's was mildly amusing but then i noticed a nickel on the ground and lost focus. The King of the Ring Finals was actually a decent little match and I would recommend it solely on the basis if you have tuned out of WWE programming of late (no shortage of reasons) then watch the work here. Morrison actually outbumps and outsells Kofi earlier and Sheamus provides all the punishment he needs to do it. Some great near falls highlight the latter portion, but I thought them doing 2 arm injuries in one night was overkill.

Before I comment on the main event, another reason to tune back into Raw, if this is a permanent move, is the commentary of CM Punk, he's a polarizing figure within the industry, but love him or hate him, it seems he's barely trying and is 10 times more entertaining and informative than Cole or Lawler have been since their last face lift. Inside references galore, from the Colt Cabana shirt, to the Cody-Pat Patterson reference, as he also put over William Regal on commentary which is always nice. Onto the main, they did a good job of building up the nostalgia for Lawler and not totally burying him as they do so many other legends. The slow pace actually catches your eye off the bat and they make every punch and bodyslam seem to mean more than they did the whole night. The table spots are perfunctory and Lawler knows how to milk a crowd of every last drop of excitement, the Cole thing was really predictable though. Also, ever since Jericho did the finish on the ladder where he throws the belt in the other guy's face, I've seen it repeatedly, same thing here. But I think this will have a different flavor than any other TLC match you see at the next ppv and I awarded it points accordingly.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plentiful Potpourri of Provoking Puro Ponderings: Part Ichi

Shadow WX vs. Ryuji Yamakawa (Light-tubes and Barbed Wire DM) 12/4/99 - 9

Oh holy shit. This match had all the makings for a classic and to say it delivered would be an understatement. This match delivered more than the mother of a 20lb baby. Yamakawa was so willing to take any bump that WX could dish out. On the Daniel Bryan Manliness Meter, this was off the charts. Yamakawa took two fire bumps and some sick powerbombs. WX donned a t-shirt doused in lighter fluid, lit it, and splashed onto the awaiting Yamakawa in a fashion that rivaled Greg Louganis. Yamakawa gave the single greatest sell I have seen in deathmatch wrestling after taking an Irish whip into a board filled with tubes. You gotta see it to believe it. This was just everything clicking better than that piece of shit Adam Sandler flick a while back. Save the date 12/4/99 because some crazy shit went down at Korakuen that night. Highly recommended and maybe qualifying for my favorite deathmatch I've ever seen.

Pac vs. Shingo - Dragon Gate Live in LA - 6

Shingo is such a great base for light weight wrestlers. Pac was taking it to Shingo harder than a a chop to the pec from Kobashi. Shingo's monstrous stature and hard-ass persona took everything Pac dished out. Pac went for a shooting star press to a standing Shingo on the outside and nearly killed himself by falling off the rope, but he was able to balance himself like Shinzaki walking the top one. The nearfalls are what made this match. When Shingo would damn-near kill Pac after a high spot, the crowd thought that Pac was surely dead, only to kick out at the last possible millisecond. It wasn't over-done, either, so that really added to the match. Two huge power moves that I marked out for like an 11-year-old on Christmas: Shingo dished out a monster death valley driver from the top rope onto Pac. Pac legit looked like he landed on his neck, but still kicked out. He sold it incredibly and Shingo's obvious frustration that he kicked out only added to the match. Second, Shingo's finished "Made in Japan" (pumphandle slam with a twist of sickness) was incredible. Pac seriously landed on his neck. I legit grabbed my head in anguish for Pac. Really good match with great nearfalls.

Douglas Williams/Scorpio vs. Misawa/Ogawa - NOAH 1/23/05 - 5

Big Doug and Scorp taggin' against two ass-kicking old timers? I'll take it! Misawa looked more pissed off in this match than normal, so his elbows were extra stiff. Scorp took some sick Misawa elbows to the jawline, knocking him over like a Redwood tree be knocked down by... by a Japanese guy elbowing it... Williams and Ogawa were particularly good in this match, rolling around on the mat like babies learning to crawl and dislocating arms at the same time. Speaking of arms, Ogawa's selling of the arm was great. Scorp and Doug looked like they were legit about to pull Ogawa's arm out of his socket. William's Chaos Theory (roll-up into a German) is insanely awesome. I love it!

Kawada vs. Kojima - AJPW 2/16/05 - 7

Can you say "awesome?" Simply looking at the two dudes in this match, you'd better be expecting big things. So looking at this match-up, you'd need to expect at least two things: stiff shots and psych. Between bouts of forearms and kicks, Kawada stepped it up and took it too Koj, working over his arms. Koji would do the same to Kawada, but he would eat his forearms like a bitch. The crowd was really behind Kojima. They wanted to see him dethrone the then-Triple Crown title holder. I love Japan. They show so much respect to the other wrestler, even when they want the other one to win. In America, all we can seem to do is shout expletives. Fuck. The chop exchange was particularly awesome, because it seemed that no matter what Koji tried to do, he couldn't match up with Kawada. Koji ate everything that Kawada could dish (and sold it great), but it seemed like nothing could put Koji away. How's that for burning spirit? This match had a big match feel and gave a big match delivery. In conclusion, LARIATOOOOOOOOO~!~!~!~!~!~! AHHHHHH~!~

Kojima vs. Tenzan - NJPW~! 2/20/05 - 6

A damn-near hour long match that felt like 25 minutes maximum. This is how you accomplish an hour long match without losing your audience. The match would be slow, featuring mat-based submissions and legwork, then all of a sudden explode with awesome high spots featuring those strong style power moves that New Japan is so notable for. Kojima took some sick shit in this match, which he sold like a champ. As the match progressed, Tenzan looked to be wearing down with every strike and hold Kojima gave him. This played into the finish, with Tenzan not being able to answer the ten count after almost an hour into the match. I loved the foreshadowing in this match. Tenzan's cumulative wear-down played into the finish with him being just too exhausted to continue. I dug the creative ending to the match.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Burger Kang #10: I Heart MMA

With the exception of the Emelianenko fights these are all unaired preliminary fights never before seen on either TV or PPV. I'll strictly be telling you whether I consider each fight recommendable or not, as well as why (I'm sure some tangential story about the latest episode of The Event may find it's why into the discourse).

WEC 51: Toner vs. Nunes
Nunes reminded me of a younger, less cocksure Gurgel and Toner appeared sleepier than an offseason Tim Duncan. Nunes' takedowns and roundhouses were great. I'd like to bump this into the "See It" category, and Toner rallying a bit in the third round after clearly losing the first two helped, but I couldn't do it as a guy as talented as Nunes (this fight put him at 15-1) should have been able to secure a definitive finish and not let this go to a decision.
Recommendation: Skip It

UFC 121: Camozzi vs. Yang
Close to worth seeing, both guys bled, landed some stuff, but after a big weight-cut and making his big stage debut Yang seemed a little shellshocked.
Recommendation: Skip It

PRIDE 23: Fedor vs Herring
About ten minutes of ground and pound but not top-shelf Fedor. Watching this is about as smart of an idea as sharing a needle with Francine.
Recommendation: Skip It

UFC 119: Lopez vs. Lowe
Not a lot to see here, prelim from the horrid Indianapolis event, took 8 minutes before either guy appeared like they knew they were in a fight. The last round gets juicer, in more ways than one, as Lopez's forehead gets gashed and he bleeds all over the place. Still, overall, not a lot of good technique on display or ferociousness.
Recommendation: Skip It

UFC 120: Patrick vs Wilks
The only difference between a Patrick fight and gay sex is gay sex sometimes finishes.
Recommendation: Skip It

UFC 123: Lentz vs. Griffin
I heard rumors that when Griffin trained with Randy Couture they filmed a porno with his now ex-wife Kim where Tyson played the pool boy. Griffin's on a disappointing losing streak and here, his fight for redemption, saw him fall even further as he lost a close split decision to Lentz. Good wrestling and grappling in the first round, not much of note in the second, third started with a bang, Tyson really letting the hands go, but Nick ended up on top of Griffin to end the round out and that evidently played heavy in the judges' eyes. Personally, I had Tyson winning all three rounds, as did one of the three judges.
Recommendation: Skip It

UFC 121: Stout vs. Taylor
I actually watched this fight inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken -- probably a planetary first watching an MMA fight at KFC but maybe some manager sneaks in a couple bouts in their office on slow nights, who knows? "Hey, man, we need more original recipe out here stat!" "Hold on -- I'm trying to finish this Dean Lister fight! I mean, checking these monthly figures, or, oh hell...". The first round was pretty scrappy, Taylor gets a bloody nose, think Stout had a bloody tampon. Taylor threw a great kick to the ribs and one inexplicably to the neck. This was a trade show, not like those seedy get-togethers of gun and boat fanatics in the midwest, but just two dudes trading shots and that's always a lot of fun to watch. Wait -- I need to interrupt this review. I just got my entire meal for free and I'm watching two guys pummel each other into early brain failure... my life fucking rocks. Offhand this was better than anything off that ballyhooed PPV save for Sanchez vs. Thiago maybe. Even though I disagreed with the outcome (Stout winning a split decision) you should really watch this.
Recommendation: See It

WEC 51: Johnson vs. Pace
Pace looked like David Schwimmer in Kissing A Fool, especially when he was backpedaling while Johnson threw flurries of kicks. Johnson looked great in the 2nd round -- just teeing off with combos. Will be fun seeing Johnson try to find his footing in the talent-heavy UFC now post-merger. I wouldn't take this over an episode of Transformers: Prime but it's still worth a glance as Demetrious was rocking it; his third round running slam was out of this world.
Recommendation: See It

UFC 122: Krauss vs. Scanion
Look at these two guys -- are they identical fucking twins or is this some sort of sick joke? Admitting you're a Scanion fan would be more embarrassing then being found dead with a belt around your neck while you hung in your closet masturbating. Two undefeated fighters, that can sometimes make for a blast, here it's like salt on a dead muskrat carcass, lightly seasoning a festering, tepid piece of death. German crowd heavy behind Krauss. Some nice moments but felt more like two novice meatheads than the world class fighters UFC needs. Fun for the foreign beer swillers but not something that holds up on repeat watches as anything more than a novelty (like the world's smallest stripper you saw in Vegas and your cousin tried to pay her $200 to sit on his dick).
Recommendation: Skip It