Monday, May 31, 2010

Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery 5/15/10

1. Antwain Britt vs. Rafael Feijao - 4
2. Roger Gracie vs. Kevin Randleman - 3
3. Ronaldo Souza vs. Joey Villaseñor - 5
4. Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio Silva - 4
5. Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers - 6

Feijao, a training partner of Anderson Silva, connected on a nice flurry of punches to put Britt down in a good opener. It didn't even go 4 min. so not enough to warrant a recommendation. Next fight was a show low, Randleman is washed up, and Gracie is only 2-0 and showed inexperience as an accomplished fighter (especially with such a pedgree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) would have made short work of Randleman. Really liked Jacaré (the alligator) and "Smokin' Joe" -- first round Souza dominated and it looked bleak but Joey fought back and made the next two rounds interesting in the most completive fight of the show. Arlovski and Silva kept it on the feet, but massive Antonio had superior counter-punching and bloodied Andrei's nose like he was a prostitute destitute on cocaine. I really dug the main event, I'm an Alistair fan, and if I was Dr. Frankenstein and wanted to build an MMA fighter he'd likely look remarkably like Overeem. I've been watching Alistair in K-1 and DREAM and it was nice for him to finally fight in the states again, showing a lot of people his skills for the first time smashing out Rogers and just liquifying him with brutal ground and pound.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

AWA Wrestling on ESPN Classics (1986?)

Jay York vs. Nick Bockwinkle - 4

Always nice to see a Bockwinkle match. I recall all of the great matches he's had (including my favorite match of his, a draw with Curt Hennig) and was pretty excited to see him opening the show. I'm not familiar with Jay York, but enjoyed what I saw. He had a unique way of making Bockwinkle look like Superman. I enjoyed how he bumped out of the ring and laid there, try to "catch his breath." York sold well in-ring too. He would pretty much just crumble every time he would get struck. This match was really to put over Bockwinkle, who won with a sleeper. Just another match for Bock. Great seeing Bock walk over to Jay to wake him up. When Nick slapped his head, York convulsed like he had been struck by lightning. Decent opener.

Alex Knight & Dennis Stamp vs. The Midnight Rockers (Michaels & Jannety) - 3

Going into the match I thought that Knight and Stamp would be doing the job to the Rockers, but the action went back-and-forth. Stamp looked pretty good here in that he seemed to legitimately question his teams' likelihood of winning against the young, brash Rockers. Knight took a sick suplex (especially for an 80s style match) and sold it to go into the finish. Kind of a match that was just there.

Brad Ringans vs. Pete Sanchez - 2

Bockwinkle was on commentary for this match putting over Rignans as a great Greco-Roman wrestler. Rignans did have good mat wrestling, but emotionally, I felt nothing. Sanchez's selling was nice. He would shake his whole body over a simple punch. Rignans gave a sick headbutt that looked really stiff, but the lack of emotion really held the match back.

Doug Summers & Col. DeBeers & Larry Zbyszko vs. Curt Hennig & Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne - 6

Ok, now this lineup, I can dig! Laughed my ass off when DeBeers said he wouldn't wrestle someone who wasn't 100% Caucasian. Just thought about how you couldn't say shit like that today. My Lord, Zbyszko is a selling god. My favorite thing about this match was the balance. Everyone had a good amount of time in the ring. Gagne played the face in peril, at one point so confused and disoriented he would go to the wrong side of the ring for the tag, only to be met with a barrage of punches. Hennig looked really well, too. Even before he went to the WWF, he was perfect. Good match. This is the quintessential 80s match with great selling and story-telling. Watch it, its good!

WWE Wrestlemania 22

1) Carlito/ Chris Masters v. Big Show/Kane- 3
This was just a showcase of big man moves, as the heel offense basically got squashed,but they sold everything with zeal and pain. Can't say the same for Show; he hit his face on the exposed metal buckle and sold it with as much expression as if he had bought the wrong toothpaste. This statement should tell you all you need to know: Carlito & Masters both, on their 2nd offensive move each, hit their fins.

2) Money in the Bank Match featuring Matt Hardy, Finlay, Shelton Benjamin, Rob Van Dam, Bobby Lashley & Ric Flair - 5
This has highlights and lowlights, Finlay is selling everything just like his usual badass self, such as Matt's exploding punches and Flair's classic chops. Lashley seems the odd choice here, he has no clue how to set up a high spot and after being hit in the back with a Van Daminator, he falls off several seconds later off to the side, taming the laws of physics to suit his own needs. This has your usual array of crazy spots, namely by Shelton, Matt & RVD but Flair takes one of the most damndest superplexes you'll ever see, as JR points out "he's 57 years old!" on the way down; but dumbly they have a ref do that X sign towards the back, even though Flair's only gone for 3 minutes. Wasn't too much content in this one but a few solid moments that made this enjoyable.

3) JBL v. Chris Benoit - 5
You know a match is going to be good when the first move is an open hand bear paw to the face. Here's a shocking statement: Benoit worked really hard in this one! He sold huge on all of JBL's big boots and other stuff, also tried the Crossface numerous times and would really make it a struggle, it was like a one man show, like a puppeteer. Bradshaw would give this dumbfounded look every time Benoit made contact with a chop like he got shot with a "Stupid" ray invented by Dr. Horrible. Even on the Germans, the big lummox just fell backwards, looking even more pussy than Michael Cole as of late on NXT. Awesome swan dive and I genuinely miss seeing that weekly. Finish was creative, but like any good marriage, it takes two to make this work and the cowboy just wasn't bringing it.

4) Mick Foley v. Edge (Hardcore Match)- 6
I bumped this above the last match only because I think this will be the last great Foley performance ever, but was very similar in context as Edge was kind of on the backburner the whole match. Guy put way more into his maniacal facials than his selling at all, he really didn't even take any bumps till the last few minutes and the delayed arm blading was a joke. Foley though was on fire, taking everything to the side of the head and breaking out his nasty knees first shot into the stairs. Even him selling punches looked good; his punches didn't, but we can't ask for miracles. Loved Lita (of all people) taking a crazy flip over the top rope in the middle somewhere. The fire bump, visually worked, but the setup was contrived and I hated how Edge walked away selling the blood he got only in the minute or so before the match finished when so many other dudes do crazier stuff with their heads gaping the whole time; hell watch a Flair match from the 80's on to see how to strut that open forehead properly.

5) Boogeyman v. Booker T/ Sharmell- 0
To say this was a waste of Book's talents is a punchline. Boogey couldn't get off a lick of offense that looked decent and their miscommunication setting up the axe kick was remiscent of negotiations between George Bush Jr and any foreign diplomat.

6) Trish Stratus v. Mickie James- 6
One of the only women's matches in WWE history I can think of getting more than 10 minutes and able to tell a genuinely cohesive story. Trish was hurt early on by kicking the ringpost inadvertantly and played the face in peril well, James was a nutso and flaunted it. Her legwork was succint and didn't lose the crowd at all. Loved the Macho Man spot where she used the leg over the top on Trish. The ending was marred by some kind of editing trick as it didn't flow seemlessly but was as creative as any thing I"ve seen on a recent Mania with the knee kick that dropped Trish face first on Mickie's other knee and the Vag Grab. Good stuff

7) Undertaker v. Mark Henry (Casket Match)- 3
Will be one of the lesser Taker matches in his legacy. Taker took one big clothesline early on, I mean he sold the shit out of this thing and I think he was done after that. Henry just plodded along, they struggled with the casket spots for sure. Give the big man credit for taking that power bomb out of the corner though, that was by far the biggest spot of the match. Taker's giant plancha is quite a sight, but he tacked it on right before he went to the finish here, making it competely unnecessary to the match.

8) Shawn Michaels v. Vince McMahon (No Holds Barred) - 3
The only redeeming quality of this match was seeing a sickly tanned Vince take a beating from every weapon he's made midcarders and jobbers use for years in their Hardcore division. I, like most fans, tired of the Spirit Squad after their 1st or 2nd appearance and their inclusion here, more than anything on this show so far, felt like a rehearsed performance with all 5 being taken down with a plastic bullhorn then Kenny being sent over the top rope like he just recreationally dove from a plane. The ending spot was fine but it took over 7 minutes to set up; but someone should send a tape of Vince getting his skull cracked with a chair to the Sports Legacy Institute so Nowinski can sit back and examine that shit with some Tositos and Queso cheese to get to the crux of why Vince is such fucked up scumbag.

9) Kurt Angle v. Randy Orton v. Rey Mysterio- 4
This felt like a fast food meal, quick, eager to enjoy it, but ultimately unsatisfying. This was supposed to be Rey's big moment, his career highlight (nonetheless bastardized from Eddie Guerrero's memory) but it was delivered as a rushed Raw main event. Even ROH wouldn't have taken so much valuable time out of this as a midcard attraction. Orton provided some unique sells, as always, especially really trying to put over his knee and ankle hurt from the 20 second anklelock he endured. Rey was off and on, like a faulty lightswitch and this seemed to be the beginning of Angle's shortcut style of highspots only with no build. Finish was nice homage to Rey's WCW days though.

10) Torrie Wilson v. Candice Michelle (Playboy Pillow Fight)- 1
I can't believe this had more coherent spots than the Booker match earlier on. Not to mention the busty silicone products on display, but it was exactly what you would imagine at this point on the show.

11) John Cena v. HHH - 8
Say what you will about either main, but this was a MAIN EVENT. Chicago was one of the hottest crowds for a main event ever here. HHH showed a lot of poise and experience playing the crowd's love-hate for Cena with fervor and malice. This match proved one thing though: As Jim Ross repeated over and over again, this is old school wrestling. There were no chair shots, no tables, no backcrackers, no 18 finishers in a row to keep the fickle crowd engaged, just a lot of punches, kicks, hard clotheslines, and one hell of a swinging neckbreaker by Trips that was just awesome. The Pacific Ocean would have a hard time keeping with the ebbs and flows of this match, granted the crowd's rabidness played a major role in well this came off, I'd venture that for the size of the crowd (a modest 17,000) comparably this was one of the greatest crowds ever for a Mania Main. Between HHH's snarls and Cena's disbelief the emotion was so keyed into what each guy was doing physically this match just moved at a perfect pace and I loved the way it was wrapped up with the fans pretty much bowing down to the finish as they should have. Bravo gents.

XIX= 54%
XIII= 49%
XXI= 46%
XIV= 44%
VIII= 43%
II= 43%
XVII= 43%
X= 42%
XX= 40%
XII= 40%
XXII= 40%
III= 39%
XVIII= 39%
VII= 34%
IV= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%
XVI= 30%
XV= 29%

Saturday, May 29, 2010

CZW Walking On Pins & Needles

1. Azrieal vs. Egotistico Fantastico - 4
2. Karsten Beck & Big Van Walter vs. Tommy End & Zack Sabre Jr. - 5
3. Bandido Jr. vs. Scotty Vortekz - 3
4. Brain Damage & tHURTeen vs. Necro Butcher & Danny Havoc - 5
5. The Best Around vs. Irish Drive-By - 4
6. Sabian vs. Adam Cole - 4
7. Notorious, Inc. vs. Drake Younger & Eddie Kingston - 3
8. Sami Callihan vs. DJ Hyde - 3
9. Nick Gage vs. Jon Moxley - 6
10. JC Bailey vs. Thumbtack Jack - Barefoot Thumbtacks Match - 6

Azrieal pretty safely lives in the "4" zone. The wXw showcase match I probably liked a little too much. I blame Sabre Jr. who, although appearing to be a 120lbs. high school senior, was trying his damnedest to throw all kinds of nasty open-hand shots and kicks and I was into it. It was worked as your basic small, skinny fliers versus big brutes bout but that's an old trope that works and was just fine here. Bandido's blank facial expressions took me out of his shitty match.

I dug the hardcore tag, lots of blood, stiff weapon shots, brawling into the crowd, etc. It was a fairly basic story of barbaric bloodletting but what hurt it most was Brain Damage's shoddy execution on the "Package Piledriver" that beat Necro. TBA vs. Irish Drive-By was engaging, some decent double-teams, nothing too meaty or memorable. Sabian and Cole went far too fucking long, especially Sabian in control on offense, which exposed him for having nil.

The following tag and then singles (feat. company owner and resident slob Hyde) felt like the higher status guys taking a relatively easy night off. Moxley and Gage was great, lots of violence, Jon getting his head (and mouth!) cut up by Gage, and some big, nasty bumps like a spot onto a stack of tables blanketed by a barbwire board (what cretin built that at 4AM in their parents' den?). Main event was just a savage spectacle, both guys going barefoot, tons of sickness, Jack shoving syringes into JC's foot and throaht were cringeworthy to say the least. I liked the Moxley match better as its set-ups were less obvious, plus Bailey's blade job was as transparent as the plot to that awful Avatar movie sans the overt preachiness.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bellator 18

1. Joe Warren vs. Georgi Karakhanyan - 6
2. Patricio Freire vs. Wilson Reis - 4
3. Hector Lombard vs. Jay Silva - 7
4. Prelim: Charlie Rader vs. Christian Fulgium - 3

Here's a riddle: What's got the amateur wrestling accumen of Matt Hughes, the intensity of Wanderlei Silva, and the conceitedness of Tito Ortiz? Your Answer: Joe Warren. Warren's an Olympic wrestler (keep an eye on him come 2012) who I saw debut in DREAM and against the odds defeated superstar Kid Yamamoto in only his second MMA bout. I don't know how Bellator got him signed for his US debut over Strikeforce and UFC, but he was fighting here to make it into the finals of the Featherweight tournament. It was a great war, Georgi had Warren in some truly dangerous spots that about 95% of fighters would have tapped in but somehow the hardheaded scrapper wouldn't quit. Karakhanyan even hit some powerful knees to split open Joe's head but he gutted it out for the victory.

Reis and Freire are both well-versed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the fight kind of ran into a stalemate. Both guys were fairly evenly matched and I don't like their odds in the tournament finals against Warren. Patricio squeaked out the win in a decision. Lombard is the Middleweight Champion and crushed late replacement and UFC veteran Silva with a Bellator record 6 second KO. Hector looked invincible, refusing to shake hands, and just bombarding Silva in a brutal beatdown. They threw on a preliminary bout, both guys looked green, but it was Rader that picked up the victory in the first round via TKO from punches. Rader was trying to impress, but I couldn't help of thinking of someone I know named Michael that shares the same last name, although the only thing he's ever fought for was another dick for his mouth. Shooter!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

1/2 show here, 1/2 show there: TNA Lockdown 09/ CZW Cage of Death 11

Writer's note: i was unable to procure a working copy of this TNA show, but didn't want half a review to go wasted, so thought I'd finish the last half of this quite good show so far from the boys of CZDub.

Pre-show Match: Eric Young v. Danny Bounaduce- 1
Just the physique and backne all over Bonaduce were enough to make Eric Young look normal again. He took some gnarly bumps into the cage and I believe i got as much enjoyment out of Danny's schooling as Young did adminstering it. He "performed" a rolling somersault off the top rope that looked identical to a young kid tumbling in gym class in elementary school.

Main Show:
1) Suicide v. Consequences Creed v. Jay Lethal v. Kiyoshi v. Sheik Bashir (Escape the Cage)- 4
2) ODB v. Sojo Bolt v. Madison Rayne v. Daffney (Queen of the Cage)- 2
3) Motor City Machineguns v. LAX v. Team No Limit- 4
4) Matt Morgan v. Abyss (Doomsday Chamber of Blood)- 2

Our opener was not your usual X Division fare, didn't really feature any big spots or bumps, just plodding action until each elimination, which all of were pulled off nicely. Creed was hitting all marks and looked pretty good, as did Suicide, despite the awkward positioning he and Bashir did on the top of the cage leading to the end which resembled a first date hug.

The ladies match desperately needed a leader, as I would think Daffney could have provided, but she laid low after hitting her spots, which came off well. Liked her twisting perfect plex. Rayne was lost, as was Sojo, trying to hit a clean spot with ODB was as confusing and insipid as NBC's screwing of Conan. This was probably only 6 mins or so but could have been kept shorter and picked up the pace instead of people just milling about as if waiting in line at a KFC.

This 3 way tag was a lot like the opener, lot of guys running spots while others laid on their backs. Hernandez though was an eyesore, not adding a lot except a crazy tackle into Shelly. This was the Machineguns show, great timing, double team moves were spot on, guess this was a consolation for not being pushed...EVER.

This was a debacle of epic proportions, this feud was one of the worst of last year, in any promotion and this match solidified it. As ridiculous as the name of the match is, the action matched it. All their big moves unleashed very quickly, as well as sure hospital visits for their gaping bladejobs that meant nothing to the quiet, indifferent Philly crowd. Add to that movie glass and Abyss' upper arm tack bump and I've got a candidate for "Biggest waste of 14 minutes" awards (that felt very Dr. Cox)

CZW Cage of Death 11, 2nd half

1) The Best Around v. Blk Out- 4
2) Devon Moore v. Drake Younger - 3
3) Sami Callihan v. Danny Havoc - 7

Enjoyed the opening arm work by Sabian, throwing quick stuff at TJ to try and get a quick win (kneedrop on arm, schoolboy). The Blk Out double team as they ran by the guy several times made everyone look more foolish than the ref wearing a total Charlie Brown shirt. I like Sabian's instincts but he moves a little stiffly as if he's the Tin Man and needs a little oiling, both on offense and selling. Best Around play decent pathetic chicken shit heels but they are as pathetic in punching and anything physical as their characters. Kind of hard to believe they could beat anyone, just like the Reds but they did just win 5 in a row. Man, well I wanted to like this, had good tag dynamic, but too spotted out near end, people looked like they were on xxx2 slow mo, then you have the Best Around setting up a ladder only for Sabian to jump on it and hit 3 fans in the front row. But the finish was literally one of the nuttiest things i've seen lately (shooting star double foot stomp through a ladder on Ruckus) and I just saw a rogue racoon mate with a moose last Tuesday.

This match was the excess of everthing that i hate in wrestling. If you're going to do a hardcore match or a crazy fight, have at least some brawling as transition, not a vertebreaker or a shooting star press outside. Moore isn't a wrestler at all, he gave this smug look after obviously blading in front of the crowd then hitting a sloppy superkick into a chair. Younger seems game for most anything, but this match was shit from the beginning. The ridiculous looking setups where both guys are basically holding each other so they don't fall off the top of the table isn't doing a damn thing to make this review better or stimulate a young lady's libido. If they had built up to that ending with good hate filled fighting this would have been a great bout, but they didn't. CZW is a fed with awesome finishes but too much bullshit in between.

Our Main is the Cage of Death, a large Mid South style chicken wire structure filled with tables, barb wire and planes of glass with a scaffold overhead. The "New Horror" Sami Callihan has been one of the best discoveries of the last 4 years and Havoc seems to be your new DDP, crowd entrance and all with Willie Nelson playing him in. You have to enjoy Callihan's growling as he strikes over and over again, you can feel the hatred here, nasty crazy bumps into the barb wire, crushing glass everywhere. This feels like a Mad Max sequel. I love how the sides of the ring hang ominously over the floor crowd, it's like being on a roller coaster with dangerous circumstances surrounding you and you have no power to do anything about it. This match is being used to settle a kidnapping & torturing angle; think this would be way more fun than incareration, could charge people tix to come watch. God, I'm a sadistic fuck. Maybe I need to look at myself. but for now I'll watch Havoc get his back fried by a car battery. If a car drives through the ring and Callihan caps the driver with a .22, i'll know i'm in a Grand Theft Auto dream and not really seeing this. Havoc's back looked like a Wiradjuri cave painting. Callihan's body had more holes in it than the plot of Heroes Season 4. Glass is covering the whole mat, just insane spot one after the other, Callihan's piledriver from the 2nd rop through some more glass was one of the more deadly ones. Wow, a table seems like a wrist lock in this match, Sami is now pouring blood out of his head like the jet function on the spray nozzle for my hose. Fuck any torture movie ever made after seeing that finish, dear god, even if I hated this match for everything it stood for i'd have to recommend anyone who's into the sport of pro wrestling to see this.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bellator 17

1. Toby Imada vs. Carey Vanier - 5
2. Pat Curran vs. Roger Huerta - 6
3. Josh Neer vs. Eddie Alvarez - 7
4. Cole Konrad vs. Pat Bennett - 3

Imada's relentless submissions attempts were great. Curran in a close decision won in the biggest upset in Bellator history. I love watching Alvarez fight, seen him in DREAM versus the likes of Aoki, Kawajiri, Hansen, Amade, and most recently Kikuno and am a big fan. It was nice seeing him smash UFC veteran Neer into oblivion and choke him unconscious. Konrad is Lesnar's ultra-chubby Minnesota meathead training partner who pretty much said in his pre-fight interview he was going to use his size to lay on Bennett and that's pretty much what we got save for some shoddy stand-up and Bennett eating all his tough guy bravado.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

WWE Raw 5/10/10

1. Chris Jericho vs. David Hart Smith - 3
2. R-Truth vs. William Regal - 0
3. Evan Bourne vs. Zach Ryder - 3
4. Tyson Kidd vs. The Miz - 1
5. NXT rookies vs. John Morrison, Goldust, Yoshi Tatsu, and Santino Marella - 5
6. Batista vs. Mark Henry - 2
7. Randy Orton vs. Edge and Ted DiBiase - Handicap Match - 4

Nothing on this episode scored in the recommended category. Only thing I enjoyed I properly overrated a touch, but the match with the NXT guys was entertaining: the Otunga and Tatsu section, Morrison was on, and Danielson getting his first win to a big crowd pop all were to my liking. Not that it was without its flaws, Gabriel running in stone-faced willingly right into armdrags was the definition of amateur. The main, even though the live crowd likes DiBiase about as much as anal fissures, had the show's best in-ring storytelling and Orton's selling was superb as always and this was one of his first performances in his new face role that felt right.

Monday, May 24, 2010

ROH Death Before Dishonor VII: Night 2

1) Super Smash Brothers v. Kevin Steen/ El Generico- 4
2) Frankie the Mobster v. Bison Smith- 3
3) Toronto Gauntlet featuring D-Lo Brown, Jerry Lynn, Sonjay Dutt, Jimmy Rave, Necro Butcher, & Davey Richards - 4
4) Claudio Castagnoli v. Brent Albright (European Rules) - 3
5) Tyson Dux v. Tyler Black- 2
6) Joey Ryan v. Colt Cabana (No DQ)- 2
7) Austin Aries/ Kenny King/ Rhett Titus v. Kenny Omega/ Briscoe Brothers- 5
8) Chris Hero v. Lance Storm- 5

The opener had it's moments, Steen has a unique presence in the ring, brutal chops, The Smash Brothers are obviously huge geeks, using a Nintendo game as their team name and adorning such symobls as the Triforce and the X-Men's logo on their tights. Besides that, they really didn't leave me with much of an impression. Thought the finisher stuff went on too long, but with the upset coming in, it sort of made sense. Generico can't do his underdog stuff with a guy smaller and for that matter more pale and unmuscular.

This match started out fun with Mobster not letting his lame name and generic frilled tights hold him back, using more suplexes with better finesse than the Red Hook midget ever thought too. Smith started doing dives just because he had the chance, which doesn't make it right, not sure if this was supposed to get Bison over as a monster, but it did a poor job.

Cool finish to DLo with the crucifix, Lynn is selling well when he's not brushing his blonde mop out of his eyes. Dutt comes in doing more moves in 3 minutes than Michael Jackson on his Moonwalker tour, circa '89. Dutt had to wait forever and a day for Jerry to hit his powerbomb off the ropes but they made up for it with a sweet TKO spot. Rave looks sloppy with Lynn, I think the elder was getting tired and all of Rave's offense on anyone besides Grizzy looks like a 13 year old trying to take off a girl's bra for the first time. Necro was as bland as marmalade until he was counted out then showed some fire in his retribution spot. Rave and Davey meshed well, Rave was taking all of his kicks really solidly, just welting under the pressure of them. Hard to buy Rave escaping all those deadly submissions, Richards did a really ugly butterfly suplex that would make Dory Funk jr slash his wrists.

So far, Claudio's selling and characterization is on another level than most anyone else on the show. Albright so looks like an unemployed plumber who surfs Mr. Skin and Ebay all day. Stupid plancha by Albright where he lands on his feet and Claudio has to sell that horrible move. Nana is great at ringside and Claudio is funny rubbing Brent's Jersey hair. Why is this mook bleeding? I bored of these gimmicks back in '05, only yellow cards i want to see are during Best of Pride on Spike or the Peanuts version of Skip Bo. Claudio has the scared act down, does a Rikishi flip on a clothesline and lands directly on his dome. Brent's forearms are lousier than RVD's and that's saying something.

Tyson used to be on Team Canada in TNA years back; Tyler comes out in a Gryffyndor shirt, i don't find myself quoting the Miz often (or never would be more accurate) but Really? He's not even worthy of giving Ron Weasley's pet rat a bath. Funny near AJ spot where Black slips off ropes, then totally WWE's it with a bump into the guard rail. Black actually pulled off a better flying elbow than Michaels but even Shawn wouldn't take two head drop suplexes and power up like he's a resident of Grayskull. Like Dux's stoic look after not getting pin there. Any chance Black could act out the scene on the back of his trunks? as Meltzer would say, DUD

Colt loves his act, and so do the fans, it doesn't really matter what he does, Ryan doesn't sell shit anyways. Another douche on the spear list: Joey Ryan. How fun would Colt have been in Mid South or Texas, guy can punch better than 90% of this roster and I love how he talks through his selling, while taking a kick, he mutters "holy shit man." My god Ryan is an emotionless hack, can't really take this as anything more than a joke match.

The heel trio is pretty great at all the heel spots, especially their cutoffs on the faces. Omega is super athletic, evidenced here and in his many outdoors matches you can locate on the most visited place on Sundays, YouTube (sorry domains of religious rites) I love Aries real falls outside the ring, they're usually really nasty looking. Speaking of nasty, flying back rake? Cool flying bodypress near count leading into ending, outside brawl was getting really pointless

Storm has aged considerably and the amateur wrestling tights do him no favors. Hero outworks him at every stage, as far as hard offense and frustration at not winning with it, to his animated overembellished selling. Storm uses a few cheap indy tricks to get crowds going but falls on deaf ears with me. Hero also noticeably cuts a few corners on stuff, like the backsplash with the ring mats over him and a few elbows. Some neat scientific counters were used though during the end, such as the backslide out of another roaring elbow attempt. Storm did pull off the one arm crab very smoothly, but i hated the finish.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Geo's Random Wrestling Review

6/9/95 - AJPW - Misawa/Kobashi vs. Kawada/Taue - 10

Yes, a ten. Before this, the latest match I would've given a ten to would've been Kobashi vs. Akiyama from NOAH in 2003. This was even better. A 50-minute match that will go down in the annals of time as one of the best puroresu matches ever. The pure adrenaline rush this match gave me was unparalleled to anything I've ever seen before. When it comes to these four in AJPW in the 90s, it's almost always guaranteed to be a great match, but this, my friends, this was art. The pure hate and stiffness shown in this match was beautiful. The logistical limb work was something that we don't see today in professional wrestling. Kobashi got his thigh messed up about half-way through the match, and sold it throughout the match until the very end. I was almost in tears because of the pain on Kobashi's face. That's right, I nearly cried manly tears. There came a point in the match where Misawa was being stomped by Kawada and Taue so badly that Kobashi crawled over on his stomach to Misawa and laid on top of him, absorbing the blows. This was so emotional. The crowd was screaming, the fighters were fighting, and all the planets aligned to create my favorite puroresu match I've ever seen. As Jim Cornette would say, by the end of the match, "Women were throwing their babies up in the air." The finish was red-hot as was the sequence leading up to the pinfall; and, as in old AJPW fashion, there were head drops a-plenty. They don't do it like this anymore. I cannot recommend this match more highly. It defines the reason I love this sport, and I don't think this match can be outdone.

11/20/09 – BJW – Jun Kasai vs. Ruiji Ito – Razor Board, Lighttubes, Barbwire Cactus – 6

I'd like to preface by stating that, while this was a fun match, it did not surpass Kasai/Numazawa from 2005 (I think that was the year). Korakuen was hot tonight, as two of the most insane deathmatch wrestlers for BJW would face off in a razorboard deathmatch. Both Kasai and Ito did a tremendous job at teasing razor board spots (sliding on the mat after an irish whip attempt into the board, most notably), and both brought their A-game as the red-hot Korakuen was almost exclusively behind Kasai. We see typical BJW crowd brawling, irish whips into chairs, using the ring post as a weapon, etc. Kasai once again instills in my mind that he's the craziest son of a bitch in the Land of the Rising Sun by doing his trademark dive from the balcony onto Ito, who is literally taped down onto a table outside the ring. Great back-and-forth offense for both wrestlers. Inside the ring, Kasai takes a gnarly bump onto the razor board -- a drop toe hold and lands head first onto the board (I guess you could call this "blading the easy way". Both men are wearing the crimson mask at this point. The crowd really made this match. It's been a long time since I've heard Korakuen being rocked by pounding feet and chants that much. After a few sick thumbtack bumps and an awesome finish, with Kasai pinning Ito after putting him head first through a cactus wrapped in barbwire. Altogether, a fun match with great brawling and great heat plus nasty bumps -- everything that Big Japan has been doing since 1995.

1/1/10 – Zero-1 – Toshiaki Kawada vs. Daisuke Sekimoto - 5

When I first saw this match posted, I was giddy like a schoolboy. I began to think of the amount of potential the match had – what with two hard-hitters: one who rose up in the 90's, and the other in the 00's, it was really a great story to begin with... New school strong style vs. Old school strong style. Can Dangerous K keep up with Sekimoto? Can Daisuke hang with one of the best? The answer is YES to both... to a certain extent. The exchanges were what one who is familiar with both men's work would expect. Kawada brought the stiffness, and Sekimoto brought the power. They both definitely had the chemistry to work together, but I honestly felt something was lacking. The crowd was behind Sekimoto mostly, as it would've been awesome to see the youngster pull an upset on the old, grumpy, sumbitch from AJPW. In the end, though, I felt like there was just no real heat to the match. The crowd was not as hot as I would've liked, but the shots from Kawada and the German from Sekimoto made this a fun watch, but honestly, it did not live up to my expectations. Basically, the match was fun to see the strikes and power maneuvers, but could have been better.

Kofi Kingston vs. Christian – WWE SmackDown! 5/14/10 – 6

Really, really solid match here. This bout was for the “vacated” Intercontinental Title (which would turn out to be part of an angle). These are the kind of gems I love to see on WWE's television shows. Great back-and-forth action with both guys bringing out their signature maneuvers. Christian's selling here was not to be overlooked. After Kofi hit the SOS (the cool spinning thing he does), Christian sold it like he got hit by a Mack truck. Kofi's intensity was top-notch and pay-per-view worthy, as well. Really good, solid midcard match.

Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda vs Keiji Mutoh & Shiro Koshinaka – NJPW 3/20/87 – 7

What's better than watching the team of Takada & Maeda (the UWF invaders!) take on the young, up-and-comer Mutoh and the master of the flying ass attack, Koshinaka? Well, I really can't think of an answer right now. Perfect atmosphere to further carry on the UWF vs NJPW feud, with Mutoh getting a hell of a rub from two shooters. The passion and selling by all four men, notably Mutoh, was off the chain. If someone were to ask me, “What's a really good match from late 80s NJPW?” I'd pick this one. What a roller-coaster. The ups and downs were executed artistically, with Mutoh looking like he had the ring experience of someone who'd been wrestling for decades. The heat and exchanges were fantastic, and the crowd loved every minute of this nail-biter. I love this shit!

ROH Night of the Grudges II

1. Carnage Crew vs. Dunn and Marcos - Weapons Match - 5
2. Azrieal vs. Jerrelle Clark - 3
3. Jay Lethal vs. Ricky Reyes - 4
4. Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness - Soccer Riot Match - 5
5. James Gibson vs. Homicide vs. Spanky - 4
6. The Heartbreak Express vs. Lacey's Angels - 0
7. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. Jimmy Rave and Puma - 4
8. James Gibson vs. Spanky - 4
9. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels - 5

Real surprised at how gnarly the opener was, never knew it existed, and was basically a TLC match full of outrageous bumps and blood. Azrieal and Clark opted not to do a FIP showcase of derivative flashy spots and tried to do Jun Akiyama impressions belting each other with forearms. Reyes dominated on offense which was dull but I bumped it up a point for Lethal nearly killing him with the finishing suplex dropping Ricky on his large head. Colt and Nigel did a crowd brawl, some fun spots, falling down stairs, Cabana getting knocked off the top buckle to a table on the floor, etc.

Three-way enticed me but left me feeling like I did when my ex-girlfriend stopped blowing me because her dog wanted to go outside. Fun stuff, strong personalities on all three, especially Kendrick running scared but screwjob finish killed it for me. Gibson beat up the four participants of the following match before it started thus rendering it as pointless as Rob Zombie's re-imagining of Halloween. Next, perfunctory tag match, wasn't bad but it's just shocking watching Aries five years ago when he didn't have a modicum of the personality he now displays. He and Strong come off here about as bland as the infinitesimally rare limited edition water-flavored Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I had a bowl of it once in a dream while Beyonce mowed my lawn topless -- must have been mid-term stress induced.

Spanky and Gibson keep it simple in their singles bout, Kendrick feigns an injured limb, playing possum effectively. I'm not as convinced as apparently most are about the success of Gibson's title reign, I've yet to see any of his ROH stuff that I'd classify as great in so far as fantastic performances or gifted storytelling. I couldn't consciously give the main event a recommendable score. I figured veteran Daniels would lead Joe around like a latchkey kid, but instead, we got a low impact affair, further maligned by being under "Pure" rules so it was built around rope breaks instead of bone breaks. A fairly lackluster show from ROH's alleged best period.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

BMD 35

1) Low Ki v. Samoa Joe (PWG All Star Weekened 2007)- 7
THIS WAS PHYSICAL, spoiler alert. I don't think there are 2 guys on the indy circuit that can have this kind of a match anymore. Opening part felt like my days in the dojo, basically a sparring session breaking down into a submission fight. They do the Japanese strike standoff early, trying to appoint dominance to one guy or the other, Joe's famous jabs are hitting on the mark every time. Man, i'd rather eat a tobacco filled crepe than take any number of the kicks they're each doling out here. One great thing about Joe is he knows what people should be able to do to him and when, he never just goes down early in a match from a normal move because it won't mean anything like giant slob Eddie Kingston might go down from a Nick Jackson heel kick, but Joe doesn't play that game. Both men are getting tired, crazy spot where Ki just leaps at Joe with a war cry outside but Joe catches him and runs him into the guardrail and let i not forget Joe breaking out one of the bars on the barricade with the Ole kick. This was a war, only shame was it was in front of a middling crowd of 100 people.

2) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Kurt Angle (New Japan, 04/05/2009)- 4
This is your typical kind of match structured as Angle would see fit, he does many of these same matches with the big high spots inserted about 8-10 minutes earlier in the match than the old greats used to do. That being said, their chemistry was pretty good together, a spirited headlock opening had given me high hopes the broken down cripple would keep it on the mat for a good chunk, but when the ankelock came into play only 11 minutes in, my fears were assuaged. Tanahashi's deer in headlights look as he paused on the top so Angle could get up there for the Angleslam irked me, that should be a big move pulled out but now it's as commonplace as the snapping rights he throws. Good ending though, after the leglock exchange, would have liked a diff pace used for this though.

3) Chris Hero v. Samoa Joe (IWA Mid South 2005) - 6
This felt like they had a 35 minute match planned but the crowd heat was so nuts for both guys, the back and forth cheering, that about 2 mins in they switched to their big stuff. Hero matched power and size well with Joe, which by appearance you wouldn't think but nothing he pulled off on Joe felt forced, with the exception of a "cravate suplex" which takes two just like a marriage and Uno. This was also in the middle of Joe's ROH title run so the heat on hometown boy Hero doing as well as he did made it more of a memorable match.

4) Jumbo Tsuruta v. Stan Hansen (All Japan Pro Wrestling 04/19/1989)- 7
Awesome story and despite what you might think, Hansen was the glue of this model airplane. He didn't like being technically bullied around so Hansen mixes it up on the ground but eventually finds a happy medium with some of the heaviest forearm shots that didn't have sledgehammers attached to them. Jumbo worked over the arm, a favorite against Stan, but the Borger bad boy made it by taking a crazy spill over the top rope after hitting the ringpost with it. Loved his comeback too, complete with head opening gash on Jumbo that he just worked over. The ending was fucking brilliant as well, Stan Hansen, you are my constant.

5) Kota Ibushi/ Tanomusaku Toba v. Akihiko Mori/ Hikaru Sato (10/19/2008)- 5
These guys are super liberal with their final breath strike exchanges and only one of them is wearing boxing gloves, actually the beginning portion felt like an episode of Stallone's "The Contender." Beautiful snap powerslam by Mori that topped Joe's from earlier on the disc. Toba's kind of useless except for his KO punch spots, as you wouldn't believe his garter snake like porpotioned arms would put anyone down. This match just kept on going, probably the beginning of a a program, as Ibushi has never been angrier. Would like to see how this all plays out.

6) Hiroyoshi Tenzan/ Togi Makabe/ Wataru Inoue/ Tomoaki Honma v. Shinsuke Nakamura/ Toru Yano/ Takashi Iizuka/ Tomohiro Ishii (New Japan 05/30/2009) -
Every NJ 8 man i saw from last year started out pre-emptively with a crowd brawl. Put Inoue on the list of guys that do the spear that couldn't take out your 8th grade science teacher (you weren't built Mr. Fernandez but i bet you've got foritude.) Tenzan looks about 1/8 of all his old qualities, but I love Nakamura's snapping back selling for him, ala old Benoit. Relentless chair shots from Iizuka during crowd brawl that were very Over the Rhine-ish. Honma was one of the most fearless hardcore wrestlers of all time at one point; here it looks like he's just trying to get out of the match w/o aggravating his sunburn. Makabe's hot streak is hard to buy but he does do a decent Northern Lights; Bang Bang would probably give it a 3.4. In a TNA moment, cameraman missed the Bom Ya Kne that i love. Potentially Hogan and RVD could even cause worse havoc on this promotion.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chikara Wit, Verve & A Bit O'Nerve

1. Sara Del Ray & Daizee Haze vs. Los Ice Creams - 2
2. Tursas vs. Green Ant - 2
3. The UnStable vs. Osirian Portal - 4
4. Lince Dorado vs. Equinox - 3
5. 2.0 vs. The Badd Boyz - 0
6. Tm Donst vs. Dasher Hatfield - 4
7. F.I.S.T, Crossbones & UltraMantis Black vs. Jigsaw, Mike Quackenbush & Incoherence - 4
8. Ares & Claudio Castagnoli vs. The Colony - Best 2 Out of 3 Falls Match - 4

I typically prefer longer matches, more time to build better, believable stories, creates compelling drama, etc. This show felt like it had several long matches but did everything in its power to make me not like them. They were either A) needlessly long and/or derivative, or B) trying too hard, that is, doing way too much stuff so after awhile nothing felt important or mattered. Equinox and Dorado -- a war for the ages? Dasher and Donst -- going broadway? Ugh. No fucking thanks. Most of the scores are roughly the same in the way this show felt eerily similar and bland. I liked the Osirian Portal tag the most, it could have scored a "5", but had some shoddy execution in parts. The main was also not so bad, but by this point, the crowd seemed like the teenagers in a Nightmare on Elm St. flick inevitably nodding off.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WWE SmackDown! 3/28/08

1. Kane vs. Mark Henry vs. Chuck Palumbo vs. Great Khali - Battle Royal - 3
2. John Morrison vs. CM Punk - 6
3. Jesse, Festus, and Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz, Lance Cade, and Trevor Murdoch - 4
4. Snitsky vs. Batista - 2
5. Michelle McCool and Cherry vs. Maryse and Victoria - 1
6. MVP vs. Chris Jericho - 4

Last SD! before WrestleMania 24. Opener was pure throwaway, nice big boot by CP in Kane's ugly mug, and showcase for Henry. Really dug Punk vs. Morrison, surprised they went so balls out, Punk nearly snapped his own neck doing a super hurricanrana from the top. Six-man was fun in a WCWSN sort of a way, sort of a less enjoyable version of Demolition and Mr. Fuji vs. British Bulldogs and Ultimate Warrior with Cade and Murdoch bumping around like a couple Mighty Beanz. Batista squash went 10 seconds, post-match powerbomb on a chair was nice, following women's tag had water guns and balloons legal so it was wet and ridiculous. Main event, toyed with a 5, I've rarely seen Jericho this physical in his latest WWE run, but match didn't have enough ebb and flow and a screwjob finish.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PWG Gentle Art of Making Enemies- 01/10/2009

1) The Cutler Brothers v. Los Luchas- 2
2) Austin Aries v. TJ Perkins- 6
3) Bobby Quance v. Joey Ryan- 3
4) Bryan Danielson v. Scott Lost- 4
5) El Generico v. Chuck Taylor - 3
6) The Young Bucks v. Davey Richards/ Roderick Strong-4

You're never going to get over being the worst possible imitation of the Ballard Brothers; this match sucked Dory Funk's wrinkled, massive love muscle. One of the first moves of the match was this crazy hurricanrana spot that led to a slow wear down. Guys were just waiting for spots, kicks from the top, I just hated every minute of this thing (went about 14); 2 legitimate cool things happend that should have ended the match but they didn't.

This was basically the reason i ordered the DVD and it didn't disappoint. Basic story was Aries being the strange veteran, and TJ the up and coming unique newcomer. Aries missed all his signature stuff once but would eventually hit it, as TJ would keep coming in time and time again with the quickness while Aries would pace himself and take breaks. All the selling was spot on, Aries took several really unecessary nasty spills, one being in the corner where most guys would have landed on their side missing a dropkick but he fell directly on his heavily geled head. Awesome KaShin armbar from TJP (who looked every bit as good here as against Ultimo in IGF this year) and the escapes into the Last Chancery were all different and all equally cool.

So Quance's whole backstory is he was a NAVY Seal (i'll check Wiki later to confirm) and hasn't seen or been in a wrestling match since 2002 but he looked fine for undercard filler. I liked how he took his outside bump, feet weren't first and it looked like the uncomfortable car crash it should be. He looked like a moron though doing the armbar TJ did in the match prior; this may not be popular Internet opinion, but Ryan totally blows. He naught sold one thing different from the other whether it be a punch, a clothesline, or a spinning perfect plex, a complete blank, just moving from spot to spot as if he was filling latte orders at a Starbucks. So, coming back to the 2002 thing, Quance starts mimicking WWE guys who were big at the time and before, Angle, Rock, Austin, and Michaels, which saw him miss Sweet Chin, then Ryan just ate his face up with one, perfect finish but no, they had to get a few more bruised millionaires in there; at least it wasn't 45 minutes long like Snow v. Corino in England.

Danielson looked funny selling all Lost's stuff which is a notch below everyone else, including an awkward punch from nowhere, god Lost looked stupid doing a sitting one footed dropkick from apron. Dumbass gets knocked over by Danielson getting whipped into chairs and tries to keep his beer from spilling, probably because it took him 2 hours of taking orders at a Wendy's drive thru to pay for it. Lost was full of gusto being thrown into each side of chairs but his mat work and silly punches reeked of backyard. Most of formula of match was basic Danielson 17 minute beatdown of midcard guy.

Is anyone in wrestling more physically revolting than Chuck Taylor? What was redeemable about this match has stupefied me. Generico really only works as undernoursihed ghastly pale guy trying to come from behind to win a match but against greasy childhater Taylor, it's like two nerds fighting over the better Magic card, and it's in front of people? Liked his big boot in corner though, Taylor was working spots like he was in a field hockey game, arms extended waiting for his big hiptoss sells, not into this.

I'm not a guy who likes the Young Bucks endless matches style where one great sequence will never lead to a cool finish, but instead will drone on like the insanely annoying fuckstain Glenn Beck. Richards and Strong seperate have their strenghts, Richards non stop work ethic and Strong's brutal back work but together they are bad for each other when combined. Instead of going spot by spot through this inane list of near falls I'll tell you the finish would have been that much greater if done about 7 minutes earlier. but, as a supervillain once sung, "A man's got to do.....what a man's got to do."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

DVDVR Top 20 Lucha Matches of the 90's - #15-11

15) Blue Panther vs. Love Machine (AAA 4/3/92 – Mask vs. Mask) - 7
14) Javier Cruz vs. Ciclon Ramirez (EMLL 6/10/94 - Hair vs. Hair) - 7
13) Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera (Tijuana - 3/16/96) - 5
12) Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. (AAA 6/16/95 - WWA Lightweight Title) - 6
11) Chris Benoit vs. Villano III (UWA 1/26/92 - 19th Anniversary Show) - 6

Panther and Machine was heated, had the building sold out, and became the stuff of legend as Machine got disqualified (and subsequently unmasked) for using the illegal "Martinete" (form of piledriver). While the match isn't very long so doesn't have a traditional build, as soon as it starts it boils over with hatred and you can't look away. I've seen some pretty gnarly ringpost shots in my life (Nigel, and recently Batista) but this match is full of multiple sickening head-first rams into the ring post that are jaw-dropping. I gave it a "7" as it's really good for what we get and the angle and significance warrant the extra love.

Rest of this batch was quite fun, loved the Cruz vs. Ramirez war, plenty of insane dives, blood, and palpable drama. For some reason it reminded be of the Cactus Jack vs. Triple H war, although Hunter can't sell even remotely as good as either of those two. Two Juvie vs. Rey bouts, I'd seen the first before, static shot from the nosebleed seats but the action keeps you engaged. The first bout suffered from bad pacing (big spot, pause, big spot) and a horrendous third caida where over a dozen people got involved including Halloween and Konan. The second bout was new to my eyes and superior, better story (Guerrera gets a quick pin early to put the pressure on), and payoff.

Benoit and Villano was fun, too; interesting seeing Chris down in Mexico, and while the first caida felt like these two were doing this match on WCW Saturday Night, it ratcheted up in intensity, and got quite good. Benoit has the steely resolve of a serial killer as he just attacks Villano non-stop. The mat-based stuff was the real highlight, Benoit grounded the luchador, and the third caida ended with a crippling variation of the the camel clutch that rendered Villano lifeless.

Monday, May 17, 2010

WCW World War 3 1995

1) DDP v. Johnny B Badd- 3
My big complaint about the match was Badd kind of drifting through this like he had taken too many somas. He brings the offense decently but the guy couldn't make me believe he needed medical help if he was gutted. Page was still in his learning curve, too many moves he couldn't pull off ex. a spinning side slam that turned into Badd landing dick first, and a Tilt a whirl powerbomb where he just instead dropped Badd on his knee, while the pretty one sold his finger? They tried all these near falls but that didn't work either.

2) Big Bubba v. Hacksaw Duggan (Taped Fist Match)- 6
This is more like it, it seems Bubba was made to sell Duggan's punches while watching this, they both totally go Mid South all over this fight. Punching, punching, and more punching and the beauty of a taped fist match is you can get away with it in the context of the match. Bubba's head jerks on all his defense are just so money, love the spot where he runs into a very Necro-esque shot by Hacksaw. Add on the super gnarly bump Bubba takes over the top rope later on and this is a delictable wrestling treat.

3) Mayumi Ozaki/ Cutie Suzuki v. Bull Nakano/ Akira Hokuto- 5
Opening minutes here were a waste of time, the obviously superior skilled heels just were toying with their opponents like they had tied a rock to a snake's tail when they were kids. The ending sprint is what made this match nearly recommendable, as the faces were terrible on offense, Cutie was that, but didn't make me want to see her necessarily wrestle again, maybe model some PG rated summer dresses? Hokuto was like the Millenium Falcon, just flying all over the ring and destroying shit. Nakano's guillotine legdrop literally made me cum and cry at the same time.

4) Kensuke Sasaki v. Chris Benoit- 5
Sasaki was kind of poised as the heel here (managed by Sonny Ono) but Benoit was the Horseman? Anyways, this had some moments of coolness to it, both guys WILL BEAT YOUR ASS to get off a suplex and weren't shy about it here. The swan dive is as breathtaking as I remember, wonder if the dead hear compliments in hell? if so, Mr. Candy, The Great Outdoors will always be underappreciated. Couple All Japan toughman spots but the whole match had this understated physicality that just didn't push this into the memorable column.

5) Lex Luger v. Randy Savage- 2
Surprise of this match was Luger's vocal selling, and guard rail bump, both were well done. Savage was working the injured man angle, which DDP took over from 96 to infinity. Not a lot to speak of here, kind of an angle more than a match but my god Luger's punching looked like a man trying to swing a broken golf club.

6) Ric Flair v. Sting- 6
This feud will just never get old, sometimes it falls on it's face but this angle was super hot when Flair baited Sting in, only to double cross him. Heated staredown to start. There's a give and take between these guys that just makes sense, Flair knows exactly when to beg off, get his cheap shot in, very natural flow to this. Crowd, loving it, Schiavone would have shilled anything at all with either man's name on it at this moment. Have to love all of Sting's Superman stuff against Flair, then how they bring it back down with a Flair cheapshot. Ending built fine and just worked.

7) 60 man 3 ring Battle Royal- 4
Ultimately you can leave this behind with pagers and the pitiful last season of Scrubs. Logistics hurt this more than anything; the match was shown on a 3 way split screen which can never work, as you had announcers calling action that wasn't on the screen just what was in front of them so there was no reference to what was happening. Loved the Buffer intros: you only saw a hand ful of people, one was Regal, who was totally looking 180 degrees around him like he was in the game Clue, wary of attacks from all sides and Flair, who got into a shoving match with Hawk. The match was also built around each ring having a giant in it: Hulk (that's debatable, douche maybe), the actual Giant, and the Yeti, a serious honest to god 7 foot Mummy that wanted to win the World Title. Well he was like 1st of 60 guys out, even before Mark Starr and we didn't even see it so I'm guessing he was just an amazingly large inept mongol. I'll skip down to when 10 from each ring gathered to the final one, some snapshots that went on: Luger was a total punk, and stayed out of the ring the W---H----O---L---E time, and mostly so did Arn but at least he took a floor bump. Pillman was great just raking Hogan's mouth and eyes and not letting him up for air, even when you could see Hulk stopped selling. Bubba and Duggan again, both took terribly painful eliminations over the top, continued fighting, as a matter of fact, nearly every undercard match the same guys took each other out. Eddie Guerrero and Arn did this nutty sequence involving the apron and Eddie fighting to stay alive that just fucking scored big time. Orndorff got best elimination though, he sailed over the top then did a double back flip outside on the mat, overselling like he was the Rock or something and landed feet on top of the guard rail. When Flair goes over, he immediately runs around ringside cussing and spitting; ending blew big time though, another Hogan ego stroke, I don't blame Macho one bit for writing that shitty rap record about him.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun II

1. Alan Belcher vs. Patrick Cote - 7
2. Matt Mitrione vs. Kimbo Slice - 6
3. Sam Stout vs. Jeremy Stephens - 8
4. Paul Daley vs. Josh Koscheck - 5
5. Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua - 8

Absolutely fantastic event and easily the best UFC offering thus far in '10. Great performances by Belcher and Mitrione helped score their fights high marks. The only somewhat uneventful fight is still worth seeing as it contains one of MMA's most controversial moments post-match as Daley gets in a suckerpunch. Stout vs. Stephens was a war, both guys evenly matched, lots of heart. Main event is a huge moment, as previously 16-0 Machida gets his face obliterated.


1. Tom Lawlor vs. Joe Doerksen - 7
2. Marcus Davis vs. Jonathan Goulet - 6

Both of the prelims that aired on the PPV itself were spectacular. Two very physical battles and a very pleasant surprise on an already fantastic show.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No Prom Date 14

It's prom season- got a date? Orlando Jordan does with a gallon of 1% milk....

1) William Regal v. Gangrel (Jakked, 11/08/00)- 3
Regal is much more subdued here than in his current run, nice suplex exchange early on but Gangrel doesn't bring much emotion to the tactical beating Regal dispenses within the next five minutes in a rather lackluster but technically proficient manner. Never liked that arm around the neck-breaker move, prefer the violent orgasm that is regal's running knee. A standing dropkick from Regal; clapped like a seal for that one

2) Angelico v. Negro Navarro (IWRG, 01/21/10)- 5
Negro is ancient submission sensei who looks like Telly Savalas and currently the faux boyfriend of wrestling podcast host Phil Schneider, Angelico looks like a younger Edge with 80% more talent. The beginning part is all testing each other out using wacky submission holds that they don't try to submit each other with, it's the strangest dick measuring contest i've ever seen. This goes on for a while, but the intensity never turns up until a really breathtaking sequence where they exchange locks but also start incorporating the ropes into what they are doing, using momentum and limb manipulation, like an Abu Dhabi specialist into the sequence, it really brings the rest of the match together in a neat way, i can't really recommend this though because it totally feels like they could have had this match in their gymnasium, didn't have many elements of a pro wrestling match at all.

3) Tommy Williams/ Puma/ Minoru Tanaka v. El Samurai/ Tiger Mask IV/ Taiji Ishimori (New Japan 03/05/05)- 4
Puma def. held his own here, with both Samurai and Tiger, liked how he blocked Sammy's patented reverse DDT. Tiger was fast but some of his kicks would have looked outrageous in a Power Rangers reboot titled Overrated Combat Warriors. This was unfortunately like a TV match, everyone got a few spots off but not a lot of coherent flow to it, Williams did one balls out Windham bump outside, other than that, he was just a name and a paycheck. Tanaka was just there, but managed to pull off his famous arm bar just a lot more slowly. Probably an opener

In Memoriam Section
4) Gene Kiniski v. Lou Thez (NWA Title, Atlanta, GA 04/16/1967)- 6
This was a long series of clips, in old reel footage with no sound but the action spoke for itself. You could see instances of Gene being carried by the much sounder Thez, but he held his own. Thez does so many amazing things in the ring, like this crazy jumping headscissors lock, sweet mat holds that he slips into like Charlie Sheen slips into a darkened Hollywood alley, and the famous Thez press. He sells like a mother on Gene's cheap shot boot. Would love to see the full match.

5) Kanyon v. Kane (WWF Smackdown Aug 2001)- 3
For the 4 minutes it was on, this was good, really good, Kanyon bumping like an absolute freak for everything Kane did, even trying to emulate Chris Hamrick with a faux version of his outside bump. Unfortunately this was amidst the Invasion angle so nothing good came out of that except Austin singing folk songs with Vince and Kurt and the occasional Tajiri match.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cinnamon Toast Punch #4: Green Beans Okerlund!

More reviews of random maches, four All Japan matches and one FIP match, that have been sitting on my computer for months.

Masanobu Fuchi vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue (All Japan, 1/3/10) – 2
Not really much in this one to get excited about. Fuchi moved around with all the speed of a corpse. About half-way through this 8-minute encounter, Fuchi began holding his back. Nakanoue really sold a Boston crab like crazy. Flat finish with Nakanoue attempting a roll-up and Fuchi grabbing the legs. Simplicity at its finest.

Rene Dupree vs. NOSAWA Rongai (All Japan, 1/3/10) – 1
Dupree is sporting a red spot in his hair, reminiscent of the Red Rooster, and a 70’s style fu manchu ‘stache. NOSAWA gets barely any offense in except a brief spurt towards the the end when he fights off a double team from Dupree’s accomplices. Highlights from Dupree’s offense include a good super-kick and a nicely executed Lo-Down powerbomb.

Osamu Nishimura & Seiya Sanada vs. Suwama & Masayuki Kono (All Japan, 1/3/10) – 4
Nishimura and Kono saved this match for me. They threw some really hard and stiff strikes at each others (ex: two uppercuts from Nishimura that just rocked Kono). The ground work they did to start off with was a nice touch as well. Sanada and Suwama didn’t really do much for me. There was a pretty predictable spot where Suwawa had Sanada up for a Razor’s Edge but it was clear that Sanana was going to reverse it. The match was mainly fought either between Kono and Nishimura or Sanada and Suwama. Sanada’s roll-up was a nice note to end the match on.

Joe Doering, TARU, & Minoru vs. Satoshi Kojima, Shuji Kondo, & Soya (All Japan, 1/3/10) – 5
This match was pretty wild from the start. Doering and Kojima paired off and brawled around ringside with the remaining combatants going up into the crowd. Once the action settled down, Minoru busted out a nice arm bar on Kondo. Kojima was awesome and just beat the shit out of everybody. His exchanges with TARU were especially awesome, including the fact he used Kobashi’s 100-hand chop. Doering stuck his arm out for clotheslines and hit a hard spiral bomb for the pin on Soya. The crowd was amped too, which made for an enjoyable environment.

C.M. Punk vs. Homicide – Falls Count Anywhere Match (FIP Fallout 2004 Night 2, 11/13/04) – 7
If you want to see a wild and fun brawl then this is the match for you. Minimal time is spent in the ring and in the building with the match going out the front door of the little hole in the wall bar where this show is being held. The entire crowd of about 30 people follows the action outside where Punk and Homicide are fighting and doing spots and getting nearfalls on top of a Ryder truck. Next, they brawl up to the main road in the shadow of an Arby’s restaurant up to the front of a strip club. If that’s not enough, the fight goes into the actual strip club and up onto the stage where the dancers are in the middle of their routines! In the middle of a girl on girl dance, Punk gets up close and yells “You’re a whore!” to the one on top. I laughed so hard at that. Wasn’t much to the match except punching and slamming each other. To be honest, you can really do rope spots in the middle of the boom-boom room of the strip club. The finish was a Homicide piledriver on the sidewalk of the main road. The brawling and the atmosphere made this definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All Japan Pro Wrestling Open Championship 1975

This is the precursor to the still ongoing yearly Champion Carnival event pitting a certain number of wrestlers in 2 different blocks and earning points through wins and draws. These are 7 of the selected bouts from this very special event.

1) Dick Murdoch v. Anton Geesnick- 3
After just finishing Zombieland and seeing savory Emma Stone, staring at barrel chested sweaty monster Geesnick isn't my idea of a fun 10 minutes. His gimmick is martial arts guy trying to adapt to pro wrestling. They trade hiptosses in a strange but kind of oddly fun section that goes way too long, almost like a training school session, but Murdoch gets huge air on each one of his and lets out a fun redneck bellow to boot. Not much to be said here, liked both guys testing each other out on the mat for a few minutes before a downright shitty countout finish even worse than Hornfondle and Dick Wiggler from the Raw just posted a few days ago.

2) Mr. Wrestling v. Don Leo Jonathan- 5
I liked Jonathan's style, he's a large man but you wouldn't know it from watching him, he uses momentum several times to sneakly slip out of holds or pins and puts the pressure on the other guy. He does a complete 180 over the top rope back into the ring with a tomahawk chop and a front flip as a spot, just all over the place. Oddly i was watching him work a side headlock and it deja vu'd me back to Jack Swagger from Raw last week, no difference. Wrestling wasn't as impressive, he bumped good, something Don Leo was sorely lacking but Mr. Wrestling didn't have much good offense, save for his famous kneelift nor did he do much with his time on the offensive, kind of leaving the match in limbo w/o Jonathan's posturing. He had to break for a rope grab but just snapped his elbow off on Wrestling's mask in a dick move that had me snickering.

3) Dusty Rhodes v. Hiro Matsuda- 3
The 8 minutes this went I was into it, both guys using smooth work on the ground and able to work around each other into transitioning holds like they were a Malenko. Loved Dusty's reversal out of a anklepick with an armbar. Cool dropkicks by Matsuda and he sold Dusty's famous elbow drop as if Bertha Faye had just dropped a Cleveland Steamer on his chest; utter pain and dismay. Terrible finish ruined what i was hoping was building towards a 30 minute classic.

4) The Destroyer v. Great Kusatsu- 4
The opening was dreadfully slow, Destroyer settling in on Kusatsu with a hard headlock that less resembled something athletic and more resembled an uncle roughing up his nephew. A very Mich Pro spot of both guys trying to hit the elbow drop on the leg by bouncing off the bottom rope, and a Thez Press that would make Steve Austin toast the masked man with a cold one.....Welch's Grape juice that is.

5) Horst Hoffman v. Jumbo Tsuruta- 6
Don't know where Horst came from (or went to; possibly a Waffle House chef in Des Moines) but he fought like an old shooter from the past. For a guy with a porn stache, he had stellar takedowns, smooth as butterscotch, it's funny because his judo throws were so slick, but when he tried a suplex, Jumbo fell on top of him like two lovers tussling on a bed on a bad 80's "will they/ won't they" sitcom. Jumbo was really young here, but his instincts were spot on, and had the suplexes down. Awesome mat work section early on that trumps even the most pimped IWRG handhelds. Transition into ending just worked. Love to see a rematch

6) Dory Funk jr v. Baron Von Rashcke- 5
I've never seen Baron look any younger than 54 till this match. He did some heel stooging as often as he could, pulling trunks on a leverage hold for no reason, loud whining during armlocks, some cool touches, i even enjoyed his animated selling. Funk seemed subdued, not working at his usual tempo, but really great spot where the toe hold and the claw both went on simultaneously.

7) Harley Race v. Giant Baba- 7
A moveable Baba? This is a first for me, the guy was bumping around the ring more than a 4 Square ball. Race was liberal in his high octane offense, especially enjoyed the large Gotch piledriver. Baba's weary facials were so very Tommy Lee Jones-esque in "No Country" and that's a compliment. I liked his offense, not that it was showy, but he knew when to pull what out, like the sick backbreaker that would have made Bane blush about 25 minutes in, then the appropriate cover afterwards. The match built more than any other one on this disc so I scored it higher, the fuctionality of the story was much more solid than the other matches. Race delivered his trademark brutal knees and elbows and Baba more than held his own in a damn fine match.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WCW Spring Stampede 1994

WCW Presents: Spring Stampede 1994
April 17, 1994

Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page – 3.

A decent opener to get the fans built up for a night of action in Spring Stampede 1994. I've never been a fan of DDP, and while I've not seen much of Johnny B. Badd, I was quite happy with his work. He brought to the table a style that crossed between lucha and American style in this match. Really cool arm-drag-like maneuver near the beginning that was pretty unique, complimented by a over-the-rope dive by Badd. Page sold everything well, but I still think he's a terrible worker. Decent match. Good pacing here, too. Nothing to write home about, but was what it was meant to be: something to get the fans ready for a night of action-packed, mid-90s WCW.

Brian Pillman vs. William Regal – 6.

A good match that was worked well. It followed the normal Regal formula of brawling and mat wrestling. Pillman looked good here. When I saw this match on the card I immediately got excited because both Pillman and Regal are fantastic workers. The intensity shown on Regal's face was the typical, and Pillman was over as the kid who was going to be the stiff Brit for his TV title. Throughout the match, we were witness to the usual roller coaster ups and downs. Just as Pillman would start to make a comeback, Regal would slap on another eloquently executed submission … barring from one terrible crossbow. Pillman worked Regal's arm early in the match, which sadly went nowhere. Two things that I noticed that didn't click: the first was a sloppy crossbow from Regal, which was very, very unlike the brawling Englishman. Second, Regal stopped selling the arm half-way through the match, which was something that I noticed right away. Still, that should detract from the match, as it was good – just not everything I had hoped it would be. Still fucking love William Regal. Side note: Thought it was funy that Capetta billed Pillman from Hollywood, only to have Schiavone say he was from Cincinnati.

Maxx Payne/Cactus Jack vs. The Nasty Boys – 2.

I'm not too high on the Nastys. It was stiff, but not really all that fun. Near the end of the match, the final blow to end the match, Foley bumped off the ramp onto the concrete floor of the arena with a sickening thud. I think it was Sags who took a plastic snow shovel and smacked Cactus right on the face with it as he was laying on the floor. Fun, but nothing of substance.

Muta vs. Stunning Steve Austin – 5.

Let me preface this by saying that I adore Muta. He is definetly one of my top ten favorite wrestlers of all time. That being said, take my opinion on this match relatively. Great mat work to start this match with a good mix of offense and defense for both men. I love the way that Muta creeps along the ring, trying to pull out a win and take the Heavyweight title back to the Land of the Rising Sun. In his own right, Austin's facials were great here and looked concerned that Muta would pull out a “W” for Japan. Muta, smooth and steady, worked like a champ here, solidifying in my mind why I love him so much. Great strained facials by Muta as Austin locks in the abdominal stress – complete with vocal selling! Austin's selling was great too, especially after the hurricanranna to a huge pop for Muta. Good little match, but over-the-top rope DQ's fucking suck.

Sting vs. Rick Rude - 5.

Was really interested in seeing this match-up. Rude and Sting are great storytellers. As far as technical wrestling is concerned, the match was only so-so, in my opinion, mainly due to a weird finish that didn't click with me. The fans, however, loved it, and I guess that's what counts. The storytelling, however, was great. The cocky, pompous International Champion Rick Rude was about to meet his match with Sting. Halfway through the match, Vader, Harley Race, and Rude are taking on Sting three on one after a ref bump. Sting fights them off, until Race gets a chair. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the ref was watching the whole time as Race brings the chair in to hit Sting, only to ultimately hit Rude for an extremely fast three count with Sting going over and getting the strap. Good match for the storytelling, but the ref bump and finish was not my cup of tea – it was unnecessary.

Bunkhouse Buck vs. Dustin Rhodes – 6.

Love me some Goldust. Match started off hot with Dustin catapulting himself over the ropes into Buck, which Schiavone marked for along with the crowd... and myself. Buck bumped around like a crash test dummy and was selling very well. Dustin bladed early on. Shorty after, Buck did as well. This was necessary to really build up the animosity between the two and to show how hard they were laying it into each other. Here's a downside I noticed: This is a bunkhouse match. No DQ. Near the end, Gene Kinitski (Buck's manager) hands him brass knucks that he knocks out Dustin, which he immediately hides so the ref doesn't see. Hello?! This is a no DQ match. Kind of left a sour taste in my mouth, but was a really nice battle that I mostly enjoyed. Great work rate shown by Dustin as usual, too. Gave it a six because of how fun it was to watch.

The Boss(man) vs. Vader - 4.

The stiff man takes on the boss in a monster battle that starts early on the ramp, which the fans love. Vader did this sick dive over the ropes in which I thought he was going to spike himself on the head, only to have Bossman get his knees up. Vader's eye was juicing pretty good. Was the sick eye injury from his match with Hansen four years prior making a return?! I love the clubbing blows that Vader dishes out and how the contrast to the equally nice-looking worked punches of Bossman. Fun brawling. Bossman took a bump to the floor in which I thought he too would spike himself, too. Bossman looked pretty good here, but was throwing some phantom punches which were more than obvious. It was kind of a fun brawl, but not that good. I loved how Jessie Ventura referred to Bossman's nightstick as a “wand” accidentally. Ha!

Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – 8.

People around the world were asking themselves: Can Flair and Steamboat go at it again five years after their epic match in 1989? The answer, in my eyes, is yes. Steamboat and Flair looked very good in this match, both selling and bumping all around the ring. Particularly, Flair dropped a knee on Steamboat who sold it like he was just hit in the head with a hundred cinder blocks, writhing in pain, grabbing at his forehead. There was a particularly great spot, psychologically, where Steamboat missed the splash from the top rope, sold his ankle, leading into Flair using the Figure Four Leg Lock. So simple, yet so brilliant. Back and forth the action went, with a finish that was controversial as Flair was declared the winner, which the fans were happy about. Both men showed the indeed could still go five years later in a great match. The working ability of both men serve as a testament to why I think they are two of the greatest of all time. A great match indeed.

WWE Smackdown 1/6/06

1) John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Matt Hardy – Falls Count Anywhere Match – 4
2) Mark Henry vs. Rob Eckos, Gus Harlatcher, & Rob Trusky – Elimination Match – 1
3) Kid Kash vs. Juventud Guerrera – 6
4) Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton – 3
5) Rey Mysterio & Batista vs. MNM – Steel Cage Match – 5

First match up was a rather uninspired brawl with JBL and Hardy. Liked the spot on the table where Hardy did a double leg takedown and the table just collapsed. JBL looked like hell, taking the easy way out by flat backing the majority of his bumps and throwing shoddy punches. As is the norm in any Hardy hardcore match, a ladder has to be used. Really? How many times have we seen this? I dare them to have a hardcore match with either of the Hardys and not use a ladder. Hardy looked pretty stupid at the end, looking over his shoulder before taking a goofy bump off the ladder onto the hood of JBL’s limo. Ha! I just noticed that the limo driver was still in the car for the whole match. I wonder what his thoughts were? Henry just completely devoured his helpless jobber opponents one by one as if he was eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I thought Eckos sell of Henry’s banzai drop was really awesome. Speaking of awesome, Kash and Juvi just tore the house down. My favorite part was Juvi doing a front somersault off the top onto the floor and Kennedy, who was doing guest commentary, asking him “that hurt a little bit”? I remember Benoit and Orton having a really good match on TV around this time, but this was not it. IT was only about ten minutes and was mainly used as a set-up to the seventh and deciding match in the Benoit/Booker series. Booker was on commentary and was really, really annoying. Really weird to see Orton with hair. Didn’t care much for the finish with Orlando Jordan interfering and costing Orton the match. The cage match was a fun way to close out the show. I’d forgotten how good a team MNM was. Melina was great with her facials at ringside, showing concern for her team. Mysterio did a really nice dive off the cage in the memorable spot of the match. Batista really didn’t provide much in the way of a memorable performance and I was in no way emotionally invested in his performance. Mark Henry did a run-in and looked like a dope trying to figure out how to get into a cage that had no roof on it. Instead, he ripped off the cage door, nailed Batista with it and in the process tore Batista’s bicep for real. I guess that saved us from experiencing that classic Batista/Henry series. Oh, how the world would’ve longed to see that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

DVDVR Top 20 Lucha Matches of the 90's - #20-16

20) Ciclon Ramirez vs. El Felino (EMLL 6/18/93) - 4
19) Rey Misterio Jr., Super Calo, and Winners vs. Psicosis, Canelo Casas, Picudo (AAA 1/29/93) - 6
18) El Hijo del Santo, Antifaz del Norte, Olimpico, Tarzan Boy, Tony Rivera, Felino, Negro Casas, and Emilio Charles, Jr. vs. Rey Bucanero, Ultimo Guerrero, Black Warrior, Satanico, Bestia Salvaje, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, and Zumbido  - (EMLL 16 Man Cibernetico - 11/26/99) - 4
17) Mr. Niebla vs. Dr Wagner Jr. (EMLL 9/3/97 - Light Heavyweight Title) - 5
16) Rey Misterio Jr. vs. El Hijo del Santo (Tijuana 2/21/97) - ?
16) Alternate: Bracito De Oro, Cicloncito Ramirez, and Mascarita Magica vs. Damiancito El Guerrero, El Fierito, and Pierrothito (CMLL - 10/3/97) - 4

I've got to give the first match a "4". I really liked the first caida, slow build, at least fifteen minutes, mostly Felino controlling it on the mat. Felino is as graceful as a real cat or a Timothy "Speed" Levitch street soliloquy. They start trying to outdo each other on dives. Second caida, within the first minute or so, Felino's cornerman Negro Casas unceremoniously tosses in the towel thus dashing Felino's hopes. As an angle, that's cool, but it prematurely ended the match before it could become much of anything. Six-man tag scores a "6", just a really fun match, I absolutely love the technicos team. You've got little Rey, Calo busting out some early-'90's hip-hop dance steps, and Winners, looking a hybrid dancer for Michael Jackson and Billy Joel traveling shows. First caida has a great dive train, Psicosis gets the crown in it, having more float on his somersault plancha than a Carlos Boozer jump shot. Second caida has the rudos being ruthless villains, can't complain much about legal men issues as that's much more lax in lucha. Third caida ratchets it back up, has another great dive train sequence, but ends peculiarly as Heavy Metal and Misterio collide crotch-first as both go for flying dropkicks. One ref lifts Metal's hand awarding the fall to his squad, another ref raises Rey's, then to add to the confusion Winners and Calo start jiving around the ring like they're at a wedding reception.

The next match had 16 participants and was the '99 Leyenda de Plata showcase. It started with a clumsy battle royal then breaks down to this sprint of a match that's hard to quantify. There's tons of talented guys involved, all sorts of fun match-ups (i.e. Negro vs. Fuerza, etc.), but does suffer from some major flaws. Namely, this type of match breaks any sort of preexisting logic. Two guys run in, do a couple things quickly, then someone gets pinned. This is entertaining, in an ADD way, but in this context, how can we buy seeing nearly fifteen pinfalls in the span of fifteen minutes when in a typical match we often go that long without a single one? My favorite elimination was Último Guerrero's pinning of Black Warrior after essentially giving him a reverse DDT from the top turnbuckle in a truly scary bump. El Hijo del Santo wins it all, fun stuff at breakneck speeds, but only warrants a "4" from where I'm sitting.

Wagner wags his finger while in a headlock, more like Dikembe Mutumbo than the Hogan variety. First two caidas felt kind of perfunctory in the way a WWE main event done utilizing the "big match" trope would on a B-PPV, say Backlash, on an off-year, say '04. Not bad, in any way, but meandering enough without the hutzpah and sizzle you'd anticipate. Niebla sells the work to his leg by Wagner moderately good throughout, Niebla must also be commended for the best dives, including a couple suicidal topés that were awe-inspiring. Wagner scored the victory with the "Dr. Driver" which looks similar to Bigelow's old "Greetings From Asbury Park". Now, if Wagner just start doing the "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am" and add stitch some faux-tattoos to the top of his mask we'd have a full-on Bam Bam revival gimmick. So, the match that was supposed to be #16 on the countdown, a singles between Rey and Santo is mysteriously missing and in its place is a match listed as an "alternate". Bullshit! So, the match unfairly has me disinterested to start due to the circumstances, but the personalities in it slowly start bringing me into its proceedings. Damiancito has a black mullet with dyed blonde tips, and some crude facepaint, making him look as hideous as that thing living behind the dumpster in Mulholland Dr. Magica looks like the guitar tech for The Village People complete with resplendent neon green armband. This is a fairly innocuous trios but never ventures into being actively good, and comes off just shy of the explosive fare we'd get to open episodes of WCW Monday Nitro a decade ago.

Monday, May 10, 2010

WWE Raw- 04/26/10

1) Big Show & The Miz v. Hart Dynasty- 5
Really enjoyed Tyson Kidd here, he was the man that kept this match going from his dynamic indy '05 offense all over Miz to his awesome selling of each move, letting momentum take him where it may like a buoy sitting in the water. Liked the vertical suplex memorial to Bulldog, fans were eating up all the Hart stuff. Miz continues to gain experience and has a presence that nearly exceeds every other person in this company. Show was pretty meaningless but a great moment for the Hart family.

2) Layla & Michelle McCool v. Eve & Maryse- 2
Eve continues to try but does the same continuos whip in spot that everyone in this promotion does, nothing to set her apart at all. Like McCool's bitchy character; didn't like her wooden sells before and after her bad neckbreaker near fall. Finish was kind of insulting because why wouldn't you break up the pin for your partner, instead of feining being upset, acting that bad won't win you an Oscar but will land you a part in a SyFy original.

3) Evan Bourne v. CM Punk- 4
Punk vocally is leading the charge to bring great selling back, even making some of Bourne's more unbelievable strikes look useful in a street fight atmosphere instead of a TMNT stage show. Like him teeing off on Bourne with kicks and neat rollup out of it. Nasty GTS, got real deep on the knee, don't know how that couldn't hurt. Gallows helping Punk up outside was comical, he was pretending he was a crippled old lady.

4) Raw v. Smackdown Battle Royal- 4
Crowd heat was good, but nothing really out of the ordinary happened here. Liked Tatsu getting McIntyre out, guess his stock has fallen, he should have brought Trips his mocha mint frappe before their Gold's workout last week. Marella plays his role correctly, made me kind of want to see how far Rey could take Dibiase through a singles match

5) Chris Jericho v. Christian- 5
This was fun, as both men were trying to get the win from the get go, love Christian's insulting slap, this wasn't run like his old ECW style formula match where it builds up and uses the same move set, they pushed the pace and brought all high impact stuff, good tease for Liontamer ending and the ending was really cool, but hated Christian putting his foot down first, not like he was jumping off a roller coaster or anything.

6) Jack Swagger v. John Morrison- 5
This match had a lot going on and it totally felt like Morrison booked this match over Denny's the night before and most of it worked, as the abdominal stretch and the shoulderblock through the ringpost. Swagger will be good one day, but i hate his flailing around the ring in between spots like a zombie looking for brains, he is missing the emotional factor in his performance. Johnny boy's kicks were dead on, landed some really hurty looking ones that i liked. Finish a little convoluted but it still worked, nice touch of Morrison holding onto the ropes instead of just going with it because it's in the script.

7) Dolph Ziggler v. Hornswaggle- 0
Don't you love when they actually enforce a rule just because they want to do a gimmick with it. Didn't Trips try to revive the sleeper a few years ago, and how long did that last? At least it's better than a finish where you just fall backwards really hard and grab the guys' neck, what a joke.

8) Batista v. Sheamus v. Randy Orton- 5
It's kind of hard to take threats from a guy with the voice of cereal icon The Lucky Charms leprecauhn. A very physical style match, lots of really hard forearms, stiff kicks, and awkward bumps out of the ring like they were going to an Olive Garden and instead stepped on a slip and slide. Big Dave's been watching some Nigel; he took a post bump face first with no hands, wonder if Vince hands out "bonuses" in the back, such as a free bj coupon from Rosa Mendes or a pass from trying to defend the company on a national talk show on the latest controversial issue, whatever that may be. Orton's face turn seems to be working but he seems utterly confused on how to act. I think Orton and Sheamus could develop into a solid program but he truly works well with both guys here, although does a really pussy sell over the top rope landing on his feet then flopping backwards as if hoping to find a feather bed and some grapes. Another Edge heel turn? they're as common place as an Edge injury or Michael Cole sounding like a douchebag. Ending scored a false note with me, but there was some hard work here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

WWF Prime Time Wrestling from Paris, France 11/08/88

1) Greg Valentine v. Don Muraco- 4

So, all those haters for the "Hammer", and trust me, I nearly become one when i saw him at a County Fair a few years ago, his skin seemingly melting off of him but still badly microwaved, moving as clumsily as a blind brontosaurus, but this match here will show you something. Over all, it wasn't recommendable, probably went about 20 minutes but Hammer showed more personality than he usually does. He had a stable vicious ground attack, pummeling away at Muraco's legs, using nasty elbow drops and braced knees. When he would be at a loss of what to do, he would just club Don in the face solid. But he also played weak heel well for Muraco's hope spots, even making outrageous faces when hit in the stomach, my god I couldn't help thinking King Hippo, damn my Nintendo upbringing, seeing as how Princess Peach gave me more guidance than my blood mother. The ending you can catch in any number of 80's matches so I won't spoil it here, but you can discover a little greatness in Valentine's performance.

2) Junkyard Dog v. Andre the Giant- 3

I was really apprehensive seeing these two names up against each other and while it didn't overtly tickle my fancy, there was a few things to appreciate, the big factor working against it is at this point, neither guy was very mobile but facially, they could tell a story. Dog bumped around like a beat up Pinto for Andre's hard strikes and long labored choke spots but when he came back, Andre did his tied in the rope spot, and JYD choked him like he choked Ueker at Mania and Andre was totally into it, selling like David Carradine in his final hours and just relishing his pain. Other than that, this one didn't go over seven minutes and was a cop out finish.

3) Rockin Robin v. Sensational Sherri- 4

I remember Rockin Robin from an old trading card and for some reason likened her ability to that of Wendi Richter, green rookie who was worthless in ring. Well, she was green, but still had some spunk and was able to be lead around by Sherri. They did a lot of headlocks, one of the detractions, and didn't really even work them, as if they were playing it safe in fear they would bomb. Sherri was a great heel though, she is really dirty with the scratching and hair pulling and stuff, but her comic oversells really gets the fans behind the face. This was a surprise title switch and was at least different from everything else on the show so it stands out a little.

4) Barry Horowitz v. Lanny Poffo- 2

I've been a Genius fan for years, but this was hackneyed stalling by Horowitz at it's best. He has a good simple move set that he can perform too, nice snap mare, sharp precision on his strikes but this whole bout was an exercise in futility. Poffo's flopping splashes and such were as embarrassing as the home exercise machine I saw him shilling years later on an infomercial one late night. I actually like the French more than this match and that's saying a lot coming from a born and bred American. Only thing redeemable was Gorilla and Heenan's shtick on commentary where Gorilla talks about getting an invite to Rockin Robin's celebration in the back (that fast?) and Heenan tries to leave to go to it and comes back dejected and Gorilla keeps asking him what that red mark on his face is, Heenan's reply is he's burning up in the booth and Gorilla retorts, "You mean in this air conditioned booth?" and they go on and on for some funny repor.

5) Haku v. Hulk Hogan- 5

This was from a Sat. Night's Main Event episode and boy did it sizzle. Haku was just on fire, he was all over Hogan, really aggressively, but his selling was non-existent only thing keeping this from going recommended on your ass! Loved this flurry where Hulk went for a clothesline off a offensive spree and Haku ducked, then hit a sick side kick and Hogan took one of the biggest bumps of his career by nearly flipping over the top rope, getting caught, then settling for a 2nd rope exit. Rest of the match kind of goes by the numbers of a Hogan comeback but both guys showed charisma in their physical actions while performing it.

6) British Bulldogs v. Demolition- 4

I was looking forward to this one, it had a great old school vibe, went at least 20 minutes deep, liked the heels cutoffs and quick tags keeping injured Dynamite in. Overall it just didn't really amount to a great match though, Davey was taking the beatdown for most of it and couldn't emote like Dynamite could, who actually took some really gnarly bumps including a big kickout he sold like he just got hit with a bazooka shell. Demolition were kind of fun, didn't do a lot besides chinlocks and axhandles, but Smash was really getting into his performance, this whiny screaming every time he took a shot while Ax stood stonefaced like the giant Paul Bunyan statue outside Fargo. The ending came with an illegal clothesline and totally diminished the previous bulk of the work with such a goofy finish.

7) Jake Roberts v. Rick Rude- 5

This bout was also from Sat. Night's Main Event, Rude had Jake's wife Cheryl airbrushed right on his pleasure stick and gyrated every time he thought to, while McMahon gasped in disgust. Cheryl was actually at ringside and the first section built up to her slapping Rude and getting ejected. Jake as always did those back arches when taking his bumps, both guys are actually experts at selling the back but Jake took the duty tonight. Loved Jake using the jabs a lot, gave it a more personal fight feel. Some neat counters to their top holds highlighted the second half and a really creative way for the DDT to come into play. Wanted to mark it higher but they've done better work.

8) Randy Savage v. Akeem- 4

Surprisingly this match worked all the way to the ending. Akeem is just a goofball but I knew if he could at least give some believable offense for Savage to sell this match would work. But The African Dream gave Randy tons of great moves, all his highlights, the flying axhandle, the clothesline on the neck over the top rope. Gorilla ripped on the gimmick, saying "he and Slick cooked it up one late night," of course he also lambasted the US government, as this show took place on election night 1988 between George Sr. and Mike Dukakis, as when Heenan inquired who Monsoon liked, he responded " Do you really think either of those guys will run the country, Brain? We all know Big Business runs this nation!" That aside, these two vets got a lot of mileage out of this match with really no stalling or rest holds. I thought their chemistry was very evident and would like to see this one again with a better match laid out.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

WWE SmackDown! 4/30/10

1. Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho - 5
2. John Morrison vs. Cody Rhodes - 4
3. Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly vs. Layla and Michelle McCool - 2
4. CM Punk and Luke Gallows vs. MVP and Rey Mysterio - 5

A good match to start, was interrupted early by a commercial break, but settled into a nice story warranting a "5". Jericho played the role of the smart, cruel veteran, toying with Kofi when he was down, and, a familiar Jericho trope, countered Kingston's signature moves "Trouble In Paradise" and the "Boom Drop" (twice). A surprise KO finish by Kingston helped boost the score. Another good match followed that was similarly neutered by a commercial break. Morrison was in control for the bulk of it and did a decent job running the match, but credit also goes to Rhodes, Cody busted out an "Alabama Slam" that'd make his old partner Hardcore Holly moisten his adult diapers. Rhodes won with a slick counter that led to his "Cross Rhodes", cool finish, yet puzzling booking seeing as how Morrison recently went over the heavyweight champion clean.

Having Kelly wrestle is about as good an idea as letting Guy Ritchie re-imagine Sherlock Holmes. Kelly's offense came off looking looser than her piss pouch. Layla and Michelle are a good heel team, in terms of attitude and personality, but in my opinion would be better suited in TNA or Ice Ribbon. I liked the main event, giving it a "5", as it didn't have quite enough meat to push it beyond that respectable score. MVP, in his first night back on SmackDown!, already looked much more comfortable and confident. Rey's face in peril section was excellent, as if we'd expect any less from one of the most gifted performers in the business today, and albeit a fairly common match structure, was done well. One of the only things I didn't like was MVP's big overhead belly-to-belly suplex throw on Gallows, as it was clear it was all Luke's momentum and him throwing himself forward, catapulting through the air, as MVP hardly had a hold of him. A lot of this episode was vignettes and whatnot, building up all the roster's new arrivals post-draft, but it was a fun watch.