Monday, June 28, 2010

No Sleep til Portland

So the NHO offices received this stack of discs simply labeled "Portland 1970's", so we did what we always do and popped it in the old Digital Disc Player because these things won't watch themselves. What we found was mostly crappy quality stuff taped off of god knows what source and dubbed from generation to generation until arriving at this subpar product, but over the next few weeks I will do my duty and power through these hoping to find some worthy material to review.

1) Killer Tim Brooks v. Buddy Rose (Dog Collar Match)- 4
I really think this is one, or was one of the most brutal matches you could do. Blood leaked from both guys' heads like faulty spickets for most of this bout. Biggest impact move was a bodyslam, but they worked the chain into each other's foreheads like with the force and tenacity it takes to build an IKEA dresser. Both guys lost wind around 14 minutes but the real issue was how can this kind of match end in a DQ?

2) Buddy Rose v. Adrian Adonis- 6
This was a war, both men sold in different but great ways, Rose was exaggerated but his style was pretty physical, they worked a full nelson & headlock a few times like two men ready to break each other. Adonis showed so much fire, in his punches, his firing up the crowd and transitioning between moves. There was some cool Japanese sequences as well, one out of the full nelson then leading to the finish with a neat cradle by Adonis. Neither guy has a great physique but they threw each other into the pace and hard nosed style this match was fought with and I was digging it.

3) Buddy Rose/ New Zealand Sheephearders v. Red Bastien/ Roddy Piper/ Sam Oliver Bass (2/3 Falls match)- 5
The first round was by far the show here, watching more of these dvd's really makes me appreciate the work ethic of one Buddy Rose. He's got so much natural heel charisma, the guy bumps like no other, selling is top notch, he's just a joy to watch, here mostly on display was his talent for selling and taking one heck of a beating. Sheephearders are the Bushwhackers, with terrible long hair and they bump a lot bigger but it's those strange delayed bumping. Bastien looks like a grandpa in red sweatpants. Bass isn't allowed to do anything more than some brawling spots, as Piper is the workhorse here, and accentuates the match with all the normal Piper mannerisms. 2nd fall goes by like a current CMLL 90 second fall with a neat backbreaker variation. 3rd fall becomes a frackus but is explained as a time limit draw, to my chagrin. All hail the Playboy

4) Buddy Rose/ Ed Wakowski/ Killer Brooks/ Roddy Piper v. Hector Guerrero/ Adrian Adonis/ Ron Starr/ George Wells (Elimination Match)- 6
This match was pretty long but for the stipulation it had, it totally made sense. Wells and Hector were both pretty exciting components of this match, carried a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, if not somewhat green, but the hells all worked well enough around them where it didn't make too much of a difference. Starr was kidn of blase to me, not a lot of emotion in what he was doing whether in control or on the mat taking a beating. The pace of the eliminations was done well until the end which basically became an angle but one I wasn't expecting. Another enjoyable encounter.

5) Buddy Rose v. Roddy Piper (2/3 Falls)- 4
Big strength here was both guys selling, they worked a neat pace throughout where nothing spectacular was done but just little notches of work here and there to wear a guy out, made sense. Lot of angle going on in this match, Piper had a much meaner punch in these days and sold a lot for Rose, didn't get near the big comeback i would have thought. Terrible ending though and video quality made this a pain in the behind to view.

6) Buddy Rose/ Ed Wakowski v. Matt Borne/ Iceman Parsons- 3
Thought I'd review this with 2 World Class guys visiting. Rose let Wakowski do the legwork throughout here, except for some posturing with Iceman who was wearing some tights that Raggedy Andy wouldn't wear to his local Wal Mart. Borne was fun to watch here, some of the mannerisms we'd see years later under Doink makeup. Wakowski isn't near as animated with his selling, kind of reminds me of a guy going to his 9-5 job each day and keeping to himself and just getting the job done. Another screwy Portland finish.

7) Rick Martel v. Harley Race (2/3 falls) - 6
Finally a Rose reprieve, it's a task trying to find a match w/o him on here. This is such a cool match up that I wasn't aware ever happened. Martel is working the Tito armbar/headlock strategy, but when Race breaks free, he's ready with spectacular (for the times) arm drags and dropkicks. Race is always groaning, or wincing, just working the crowd, and uses his hard head to his advantage. Brilliant high knee. Someone was just paged to turn their car lights off in the parking lot, I shit you not. Race uses his piledriver like a master, for desperation at this point. Kept wondering why Martel went to hold to hold but finally got a win with one. Some nice measured suplexes by both men. Martel has to give Race a neck rub to wake up for the next fall, as ordered by the ref. If Race is horny does he have to give him a happy ending? Final fall kind of a joke, they've been fighting for near 30 minutes now but even in their winding down they keep dropping big moves. Wow time limit draw in this kind of match, saw the same crap in an Attitude era Rock v. HHH match, didn't go over well there either.

8) Tiny Anderson v. Eric Embrey- 3
I love Embrey's slack eyed demeanor, guy can punch too. All his basic stuff is so smooth too, even his bump taking. Anderson's armbar looks even worse than Jay Leno's did if that's even believable. I'd rather watch Mark Fuerstein wrestle an Iron Man Match. Embrey kind of guides him through a rather simple formula of a match but manages to throw some spice in along the way, such as a standing dropkick that was simply tits. Finish was a terrible idea though

9) Coco Samoa v. Buddy Rose- 4
Fun to watch Rose methodically run this match, he took his arm being wrenched, selling enthusiastically, then went to town, slowly just picking Samoa apart. He knew every move he was going to make, it felt as if he was a puppeteer and Samoa was that weird Malkovich guy. Portland backbreaker gets the win. Rose seemingly carried this promotion for years, Hall of Fame worthy work for his run here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

DVDVR New Japan 80s Set - Final part

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu (6/24/88) - 6

Another "FUCK YEAH!" match. Choshu has gotten so accustomed to Fuj's moves that he think he has his number, but the ever-clever Fuj has something up his sleeve when he wins this match with a roll-up. Every hold was cinched in so tight it was damn near impossible to see how both men were breathing. After seeing about four or five Chosh vs. Fuj matches, I'm convinced that you could watch them have a Sake drinking contest and it'd be awesome.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vader (6/26/88) - 5

For such a big guy, Vader is such a great bumper to the outside -- but you know this already. He also had good vocal selling. Fuj was able to get the big man off his feet a couple of times, but had to have some help by Vader on a scoop slam. Still was a fun match with a couple good nearfalls. Vader threw a tantrum in the stands, throwing chairs. That's always fun to watch.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Don Nakaya Nielsen (7/29/88)- 3

A boxing match. No, Piper and Mr. T are not involved. This match was weird -- something I'm not accustomed to stating when Fujiwara is involved. Nielson comes out in his goofy boxing gloves (don't get me wrong, I like boxing, but this is PRO WRESTLING!) and lands maybe 50% of his attempted shots. Fujiwara looked so out of place in a match that goes 5 rounds. He got a good size cut on his forehead, though.

EXTRA: Owen Hart vs. Keiichi Yamada (6/10/88) JIP - 5

Two of my faves going at it~! The match is joined with Hart in a leg lock by Yamada (boo JIP), Yamada hit a sick dive on Hart -- I actually made an audible "OH!" when it happened. I just love this style of wrestling. For a match that was JIP, this was nice.

EXTRA: Owen Hart vs. Shiro Koshinaka (6/24/88) - 5

Owen didn't go over in this match, but he looked awesome. In my opinion, Owen Hart was the definition of pro wrestling as an art. There was a point in the match where Kosh dropped Owen flat on his head... with a sidewalk slam! Yeah, imagine that visual. That garnered another "OH!" from me. Fun little match that went about 10 mins.

Brian's WCW Power Hour '90 ballot

Back in September of '09 myself, Jessie, and former NHO member Adam took on the massive project of compiling the top twenty five matches from WCW's show Power Hour in 1990 (the results are available here in the format of a three-part YouTube video countdown and text-based). I realized I still had sitting on my hard-drive my original ballot and comments and thought they'd provide an interesting read so prepare to get into my mind as I scribbled down notes in the middle of the night at my old apartment on good 'ol Westbrook Ave. and dig. We watched hundreds of matches but these are my favorites:

Brian's NWA/WCW Power Hour '90 ballot

1. Doom vs. Road Warriors - (2/23)
Awesome tag match -- tons of heat, fast-paced, everyone working hard, small, redneck-filled arena, this is why Doom is in HoF. Def. see it making my top 5.

2. Midnight Express vs. Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman - (4/20)
Wow.. the first match from this show that felt like an actual PPV match. Real hot stuff, with the faces just having the Express' number, loved it when Lane tried to retreat up the aisle and Cornette had to try to push him back, Eaton bumps to floor, great timing and energy by the faces - just terrfic

3. Sting, Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. Great Muta, Buzz Sawyer & Dragon Master (1/26)
Just insane crowd heat -- really everybody shined saved for Dragon Master who offered as much charisma as Michael Jackson's corpse, which is to say, only slightly more than the average dead body. The energy here is palpable and its a joy to watch so many talented performers create something together

4. Steiner Bros vs. Doom - (3/30)
One of my last viewings and holy shit I couldn't deny this - crowd is just so unglued for the Frankensteiner and I love all of this

5. Arn Anderson vs. Great Muta - (1/12)
Easily the most significant match of the series with Arn winning the TV title. Muta was such a breath of fresh (green-misted) air with his style, body langauge, aura, etc.

6. Doom vs. Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman - (6/16)
Good match but at tailend of packed episode. Cool fin where Zenk was on Simmons' back and Reed came off top with clothesline. Good while it lasted with the speed vs. power being a great story

7. Freebirds vs. Southern Boys - (6/23)
Not too long before having a MotY candidate at GAB '90 those wild-eyed Southern Boys had a good match w/ the 'Birds. Everything flowed well, but a Jim Cornette distraction led to a rollup win for the heels. Good stuff but too short to be too memorable.

8. Ric Flair vs. Robert Gibson - (4/6)
Flair bleds a bit, a ton of good legwork by Gibson, hot crowd, surprise roll-up finish

9. Michael Hayes v. Tracey Smothers - (7/14)
Got time, got over, and got screwed by bad finish

10. Tom Zenk vs. Galaxian II - (1/5)
Interesting and given more time than I'd expected - While in a headlock Zenk taps the mat w/ tip of boot, etc. little details I liked - Galaxian does some wild lucha-by way-of Tennessee bumps

11. Bobby Eaton vs. Tracy Smothers - (9/28)
Eaton was running the gauntlet and this got some time, nice slow start, built up nicely, top rope snapped, Cornette interfered leading to the Bobby victory but this was a satisfying main

12. Brian Pillman vs. Tim Horner - (9/14)
First-ever Gauntlet match and most "technical" match to date

13. Tommy Rich & Johnny Ace vs. Samu & Cuban Assassin - (3/30)
A late entry but a great time-limit draw that didn't have a lot of bullshit like the Cactus/Gilbert one, just Ace and Samu clubbing the hell out of each other, way more fun than it needed to be

14. Ole & Arn Anderson vs. New Zealand Militia - (1/5)
Could have been from AJPW's Real World Tag League '90

15. Midnight Express vs. Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk (6/9)
Pretty good but something missing, typical convoluted finishes, memorable for Pillman's ballsy victory roll and second attempt blocked and dropped hard

16. Ric Flair vs. Tommy Rich - (3/9)
Flair selling a whip into the guardrail is one of the best things of this set

17. Rock and Roll Express vs. MOD Squad - (6/23)
Ross puts over the Squad on commentary and I was quite impressed. Not a ton facially or emotionally from them, but take the RNR armdrags well, and look competent enough to fit in as a lower-tier team in the division just lacking character.

18. Midnight Express vs. Tim Horner and Tommy Rich - (7/22)
ME are good players, Horner had athletic build but no look/charisma, ending kind of came apart with ME doing blind ref switcheroo on pinfall

19. Doom vs. Rock & Roll Express - (7/1)
Time-limit draw but worked as such, not much out of first gear

20. Lex Luger vs. Samu - (3/23)
Pretty physical/fast-paced, good heat, liked Lex's bump to floor

21. Rick Steiner vs. Butch Reed - (4/20)
Got decent time - Butch seemed real confident, relaxed - mostly Rick eating stuff, but he doesn't give much in the selling dept. - ending saw each guys' partner run out

22. Cactus Jack vs. Eddie Gilbert - (3/23)
Time-limit draw, nice suplex on floor, dangerous Foley bump over rail, but Eddie using lame rest holds bugged me

23. Tom Zenk vs. Ric Flair - (2/2)
Mostly a Flair carry job but he did make Zenk's chest bleed like that stain on Luke Wilson's wall in that Henry Poole Is Here flick. Flair still tugs on the trunks even though he's supposed to be "face".

24. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan vs. Ranger Ross & Tommy Rich (3/16)
Goes quite awhile with a lot of it being Ross holding headlocks but Rich does have some spirited facials and selling, Jack gets slapped around by Sullivan on the floor, and there's a fun brawl afterward w/ Norman and Rotunda

25. Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk vs. Freebirds - (3/2)
Not their best match together, felt like a preview, Firebirds customary stalling, aftermatch brouhaha w/ multiple teams fun


26. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs. Italian Stallion and Joe Barrett - (11/10) - 3
Ric stands at ringside in robe letting Arn take care of things for awhile - Arn is real crisp, lots of nasty stomps, comments at camera towards Doom, etc. - Gets a few minutes of the Horsemen just being nasty

27. Freebirds vs. Tommy Rich and Ricky Morton - (12/1) - 3
Pretty good but given little time, so no classic stalling, rallying, etc. Morton gets tripped and DDT'd

28. Cactus Jack vs. Keith Hart - (3/2)
Crazy squash, Jack does nutty shit, including an insane elbow drop from the apron all the way over the guardrail to the concrete

29. Stan Lane vs. Steve Armstrong - (11/10)
Gauntlet match, some filler with Cornette, Lane running around, etc. but got more time than most although wish a more full story could have been told/realized

30. Barry Windham vs. Johnny Ace (6/16)
Opener w/ crazy crowd heat that results in the Horsemen and the Dudes coming out, but fun while it lasts, as Ace stands up to Windham, one great face-off where Windham's eyes looked crazy

31. Freebirds vs. Todd Brewer & Paul Lee - (12/8)
Someone must have pissed in Garvin's coffee as he doesn't like the flamboyant jobber and just beats the shit out of him, stiff clothesline, bodyslams, and neck crushing German suplex. Fun to see the Freebirds going strong style..

32. Paul Orndorff vs. Dutch Mantell - (7/29)
Mantell surprisingly works over Paul mostly, gets more time, more physical than expected

33. Freebirds vs. Rock 'N Roll Express - (6/16)
Real abbreviated version of their matches with no Firebirds stalling and lame ending where Gibson hit a real ugly crossbody on Hayes for flash pin

34. Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich vs. Dutch Mantell & Barry Horowitz - (11/3)
Barry and Dutch were good on offense, esp. a Barry stomp right in RIch's face - with Rich's selling good - Barry's selling sucked, esp. during the opening fistacuffs vs. Morton

35. Freebirds vs. Johnny Ace and Paul Drake - (6/9)
Classic Freebirds, Ace looked good, got more time than I'd imagined, Drake musclebound midget that Hayes beats the shit out of, fun semi-squash

36. Brian Pillman vs. Basher - (9/28)
More athletic and fast-paced than the general squash

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DVDVR New Japan 80s Disc 12 - Part Two of Three

Shiro Koshinaka & Antonio Inoki vs. Hiroshi Hase & Riki Choshu (4/11/88)- 6

Throwing ceremonial flowers at each other before the match begins? Ok, this is going to be good. Solid matwork throughout this match, which I dig. Hase is incredible. He's so technically sound, a selling master, and brings the hate.I dig all four of these guys, but Hase is the MVP here (sans balling). He took a sick german, and sold it great. Shiro gets busted open on the outside which adds to the heat. Shiro goes for his flying ass attack, Hase catches him into a german~! Mark out moment on my behalf. Enjoyed this matchup. Great selling by all, but especially Hase.

Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, Keiichi Yamada, Kantaro Hoshino & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi, Hiroshi Hase, Hiroshi Saito, Norio Honaga & Kensuke Sasaki (4/27/88)- 7

This match was cool because it highlighted some of the guys previously not on the set, to which I got exposure to a couple of workers I've never seen before. There was a great energy in this match -- an energy focused around giving the younger guys some time in the spotlight, which they well-deserved. Mutoh hit a beautiful float-over bridge butterfly suplex (it'd be awesome to have a gif of this). Although a lot of the young guys got eliminated rather quickly, this was still a good match with Yamada hanging in there with both Sasaki and Kobayashi. Good pacing in the match -- I didn't feel burned out after viewing.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Vader (4/27/88)- 6

Vader and Tats take turns beating the shit out of each other... surprised? As the young lions look on at ringside, they witness the beat down of the man they watched in the the early part of the decade. I love the story here: Tats kept trying to make a comeback, but the leviathan known as Vader wouldn't have any of it, no matter how hard Tats tried. Tats made a comeback and once he got Vader to the mat, there was a huge pop. Had he finally done it? YES~~~! Vader ran into the post for a count-out. Good match, good story.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Riki Choshu (5/27/88) - 8

The reprise of their awesome match (from '85, I believe). More solid matwork to start. Choshu sells great in an armbar, reaching towards the ceiling in pain - I like it. Tats gets intense and rams Choshu's head into the exposed turnbuckle. I swear, he must know exactly what I want to see. Choshu sells it perfectly, too-- not too over-the-top, but not too little. Fujinami sold his knee so well I legit thought he blew it out. Like a shark smelling blood, Choshu was on the knee right when he sensed something happened to it. Match ended by ref stoppage, but Fuj wanted to kep going. Punishment is flying everywhere in this match. It was so intense. I loved every minute of it! Out of all the workers on this set, Fujinami is my #1.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WWE NXT- 06/22/10

1) Alex Riley & The Miz v. Percy Watson & MVP- 3
2) Titus O'Neil v. Michael Mcguillicutty- 2
3) Eli Cottonwood v. Kaval- 3
4) Lucky Cannon v. Cody Rhodes- 2

I'm so burnt on MVP's offense run; it's the same schtick over and over again. That belly to belly toss- by now, it simply looks like all he's doing is trying a behind the head basketball shot. He even nearly botched his own facebuster and he's the Pro? Thought the Miz looked the best, one really nasty shot to the back of Percy's head got a chuckle from me.

O'Neil is still in development period, he was off on a couple markers especially one where he tried a press slam then dropped McGillicutty on the ground like he picked up the morning paper and found some dog stool on it. The neckbreaker Curt Jr. did was fucking A for awesome though; I totally bought that as a finish. Am I the only one that keeps expecting some kind of infidelity angle where Mr. Perfect used Beulah as a sperm disposal and now we have Mike?

Kaval's cross armbar across the ropes and the springboard Warriors Way were both more advanced moves than Cottonwood could even perform on the latest iteration of Raw v. Smackdown for PS3. Hated to see him have to sell a face first slam as a finish, but even aftersold that bitch while putting on Laycool's rad t shirt.

Cody didn't look that hot here either, Cannon kind of hit a few spots but nothing out of the ordinary from a day under FCW training camp lights. Why did Cody used the same springboard kick Kaval did earlier? Some awkward transitions here too, notably the finish.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Championship Wrestling from Florida

First off, Happy Father's day to any Dads reading, this is Brian's 1st as a dad and I hope he enjoys some quality time with his adorable son. Now, onto this review; it's basically a WWE 24/7 feature of Gordon Solie announcing old matches that have been restored to a pristine quality from the heyday of Florida Wrestling. This is the Mike Graham episode, so grab some crackers of the same name and turn off your Skype for just a sec to read over this review of such rare footage.

1) Mike Graham (his pro debut) v. Bobby Shane- 2
You have to love the no frills style Shane uses here just clubbing Graham like Solomon Grundy born on a Monday. Graham is greener than what Toxie shat out this morning, just sort of bending over whenever taking a shot as if that constitues a sell. Match ended in a strange DQ quickly.

2) Mike Graham v. Dick Slater (Florida TV Title Match)- 3
Graham has a better opponent here to mask his obvious shortcomings, that being how undynamic a performer he is. His selling is very confusing; he still labors around like he's having chest pains with every shot, but during a serious brawl between the two that looked like it could have taken place at any juke joint in Mobile on the weekend, Graham flies across the mat from an eye rake. I think all this stuff is clipped heavily. Everything Slater tries from the ropes is uglier than Madonna's soul. Really ugly looking figure four, you could see Flair cutting a great promo on Graham's dumbass over it.

3) Prof. Tanaka & Dick Slater v. Mike & Eddie Graham- 4
Liked all the opening transitions between Graham Sr & the Prof. Tanaka's cutoffs are really nice boring heel stuff , and helps set up the false hope tag to Eddie later on. Mike is painfully mediocre, can't believe he got his own special here. Eddie though is tenacious, throwing fists and feet with a real credible meanness. When Eddie takes a turnbuckle bump, I believe he may have lost a tooth; when Mike takes one, I think he ate too much raw oysters before the match. Both the heels took this beating like men and gave the father-son team tons of heat; Slater was bleeding showers of money.

4) Ric Flair v. Mike Graham- 4
Flair's timing is impeccable, he always puts on a show with less than comparable face opponents. They do some spirited college wrestling stuff then back to holds and all the way to brawling and each section feels like it progressed naturally to the next. Oh Shit, Fonzie is refing this old ass match. Flair does a lot more leg work to set up the figure four here, including a weakly held jiu jitsu anklelock move. Whoa, seriously? Flair gives up to his own hold from this hairy fuck? It built up well that's for sure

5) Tatsumi Fujinami v. Mike Graham (02/15/80)- 2
Tats is a wrestler; he gives you the scream you expect when he takes a shot to the throat. Awesome suplex on Tats, Eddie Graham hauls off on Tats like he did to Mrs. Graham when she forgot to seperate the green beans from the mashed potatoes. Not much to this, but apparently the figure four was his hold, Tats sold his submission tremendously.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bye Bye Davey

So, a new article came out and ROH mainstay Davey Richards has announced he'll be retiring at the end of the calendar year. His intensity will be missed by some, his moronic fetishizing of Benoit and Dynaimte will be pleasantly forgotten by others. He's leaving the business in attempt to become a fireman. I was discussing this via a series of e-mails with some constituents and I wrote a couple jokey dialogues that they thought I should share with our readers. Enjoy:

I wonder if he'll be as over the top as a fireman as he was a worker...

Firemen #1: "Uh, Davey? There was no need to do a somersault out of that 2nd floor window? This was just a basic procedure."
Davey: spits on him
Firemen #2: "What an asshole!"

Fireman #1: "Wait, hold up--who's that guy over there watching us on the other side of that chain-link fence?"
Fireman #2: "Oh, oh fuck... is he touching himself? The one with the disheveled hair, pasty skin, and potbelly?"
Davey: "God damnit. Is that? Gabe. Gabe Spalosky, what the fuck are you doing here!? I told you to leave me alone!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

DVDVR New Japan 80s Disc 12 - part one of three

Hiroshi Hase vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi (12/27/87) - 5

I love both of these guys. Hase has this frenetic energy about him that puts all eyes on him throughout the match. Kobayashi's facials when he's selling are particularly awesome. The entire match was paced well and there were great ups and downs throughout the match. Both of these guys make my top 10 list of workers on this set.

Keiichi Yamada vs. Shiro Koshinaka (1/25/88) - 6

Another great pre-Liger match from Yamada. I've noticed now more than ever in watching this set how Yamada is methodical in picking apart his opponents body through submissions, especially ones that focus on the midsection of his opponent. One point in the match, Yamada removes Kosh's boot and begins pummeling his ankle with the ring bell, which feeds into some great selling by Kosh as Yamada puts him in an ankle lock. Please do yourself a favor and watch this match. It was a unique match that I don't think should be overlooked.

Keiichi Yamada vs. Hiroshi Hase (2/4/88) - 6

These two facing off?! Sounds fucking amazing to me. Pre-bell, Hase is hopping around like he can't wait to dig into Yamada. Again, all eyes on him. Yamada continues his typical picking apart of a body part by stomping in Hase's shoulder with something I love to see -- intensity~! This match also featured some great matwork that really highlights both of these workers' ability. Yamada's selling was really good in this bout as well. There's a point in the match when Hase hits a double stomp on Yamada, who sells it awesomely by gasping for air. Really good match.

Antonio Inoki vs. Riki Chosu (2/4/88) - 5

This match came about at a perfect time... I needed my Chosu fix. In typical Chosu fashion, he exploded on Inoki at the bell with lariats. You can never have too much intensity. Chosu plays well to the crowd. It seems like he's an easy guy to get behind... even when he's facing the owner of the company. After putting up with these UWF invaders for the past years, he seems like a pretty pissed off dude -- and I love it! Inoki went over, the fans cheered, but I really think that they wanted to see Chosu give the boss the old what-for. Ending was weird -- Chosu was in an abdominal stretch, but had his fingers on the ropes, yet he lost the match. No comprendo.

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Hiroshi Hase (3/11/88) - 8

Out of all the UFW guys, Takada is my favorite. I can't put my finger on why exactly, but I just think he stands out. There was an awesome point when Takada slaps Hase so hard he hurts his own hand! I think Takada's selling and facials whilst selling really define why I like him so much. Hase stuck in there with Takada, too, which was really cool and really put him over as guy not to be fucked with. Super hot crowd, great near-falls, great match.

Friday, June 11, 2010

DVDVR Top 20 Lucha Matches of the 90's - #10-8

10) Silver King vs. Apolo Dantes (EMLL 6/23/95 - Heavyweight Title) - 6
9) Psicosis/Juventud Guerrera vs. El Volador/El Mexicano (AAA 1/12/96 - Parejas Title) - 4
8) Octagon/Santo/Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Fuerza Guerrera/Psicosis/ Blue Panther (AAA 3/16/95) - 7

Dantes' was great, doing these fantastic, real twisted maniacal facials, looking as diabolical as Jeremey Irons did as Profion in Dungeons & Dragons (2000). I didn't like the finish, though, a clothesline countered into a Northern Lights suplex felt flatter than Eliza Dushku's acting in Dollhouse (Two pop culture references in one match review? You know it!). Next match failed at flattering me, it ranged from stagey and somewhat sloppy, to lighthearted laissez-faire. I think the committee that compiled this list of top matches would likely plead the "Twinkee defense" like Dan White did after murdering Harvey Milk, i.e. that over-consumption of junk food forced them to make a poor decision. While the match wasn't entirely without merit, it'd maybe belong in a top 250 list but it's decidedly not the 9th best match of all of lucha for an entire decade.

I loved the six-man tag, so many great performers, Santo looking the weakest of the pack with his odd way of doing back bumps where he leans backwards like a kid testing the limits of a chair in study hall, probably in effort of softening the bumps to his aging, ailing body. It had the best third caida of anything on the set thus far, great flying action, and some real awesome heeling and double-teams on Mysterio by the rudos.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Geo's Random Wrestling Review #2

Naomichi Marafuji vs. Prince Devitt - NJPW - 1/30/10 - 6

Really great match up pitting the returning Marafuji putting his Jr. Heavyweight title on the line against the massively over gaijin, Devitt. I honestly feel like the hiatus that Marafuji took didn't impact him at all, as there was no evidence of any ring rust. Great back-and-forth action. Devitt deserves all the hype in my opinion because of how he paces the match. Not only can he fly, but can work on the mat as well. Really good match with a great sprint.

Markus Crane vs. Neil Diamond Cutter - IWA-MS Prince of the Deathmatch - 4/23/10 - 4

The final match in what turned out to be a pretty damn good tournament. I didn't have to high of hopes for the entire event, but there wasn't really an actively bad match on the show. I really liked the story here: Diamond Cutter is probably the smallest guy on the roster, yet he went through three rounds of deathmatches to earn a place in this year's KOTDM. Pretty cool spots in this match featuring a sick suplex off of a ladder that ended up ripping the barbwire that held the contract, which I thought was a unique finish. Crane looked pretty good throughout the tournament. I was especially excited to hear that he was trained by my boy, Chris Hero. Pretty good match. I enjoy Crane's vocal selling, especially in a barbwire match.

Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda vs. Super Strong Machine & Kuniaki Kobayashi - NJPW - 8/2/87 - 7

The energy in this match was off the chain. Kobayashi was the smallest man in the match but he brought the most energy. His facials and the straining on his face was immense as he stood toe-to-toe with the two crazy shooters. I dug what I saw from SSM. His ability to get out of holds on the mat were very impressive as was his ability to work a mat style. Maeda and Takada kicked ass like always in a great match that I recommend you seek out.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE - 6/4/10 - 6

My dudes facing off again? Yes, please. McIntyre's intensity is so awesome. This guy is the future of WWE. Drew hit this really sick spinning rib-breaker that was sickeningly awesome. Kofi brought the intensity, too. The recently suspended Matt Hardy got a ringside ticket, so Drew was distracted to the match. Drew's facials were great in this match and shouldn't be ignored. Paced well and had good ups and downs.

Larry Zbyszko & Doug Summers & Buddy Rose vs. Jimmy Snuka & Mike Rotundo & Steve Pardee - AWA - 1986 - 4

Pretty good tag. Really good sense of balance in the match with both the heels and the faces getting the upper-hand. After watching this I now want an 8 hour tape with only Larry Z matches. Snuka was really over here, being called "The young man from Fiji." I was annoyed that fan reactions were being spliced into the match -- so much so that the camera missed some moves. Not a fan of that. Again, a good match, but one that didn't really set itself apart from any other AWA six-man.

NEO Summer Stampde 2009

Most of this show is a tag team tournament, and it's brought to you by BMD and Ajax Sink Cleaner.

1st Round
1) Kana/ Ayumi Kurihara v. Kyoko Inoue/ Hiroyo Matsumoto- 4
2) Yoshiko Tamura/ Fuka v. Minori Makiba/ Aya Yuki- 2
3) RA v. Neo Machine Guns- 5
4) Emi Sakura/ Nanae Takahashi v. Ray & Taiyo - 5

Semi Finals
5) Kana/ Ayumi Kurihara v. Minori Makiba/ Aya Yuki- 5
6) Neo Machine Guns v. Emi Sakura/ Nanae Takahashi- 1

7) Etsuko Mita v. Makoto- 3

8) Minori Makiba/ Aya Yuki v. Emi Sakura/ Nanae Takahashi- 5

Our opener was performed well it just didn't know what kind of match it wanted to be. It went from fun heel showcase, to easy squash, to Japanese kick fest to completely muddled near the end. Inoue was the vet and easily put on 4 kids worth of baby weight. But she knew how to use her size and make her performance feel real not letting anything weak take her down. 2nd bout was quick and not much of note besides Yuki's really cool jumping front kick and one of the faces hideous yellow plastine overalls. Ending with all the weak kicks was even sad for girls (as sexist as that statement is.) 3rd bout had the most heat and felt like two solid teams that knew each other and didn't like each other. Started with a crowd brawl and the match utilized chains, chairs, tables and garbage cans but wasn't the junkfest you would think. Both teams had some fun double teams they used on each other and all the high spots leading to the end completely satisfied. Our final 1st round match was the most astetheically pleasing, not that these were the babes of the show, just all the crazy spots they were trying, such as Ray (a masked woman) doing a 360 degree flip to hit a powerbomb standing and taking the Mistico spot of getting booted in the face on a Asai (which busted her open.) Some cool rollups accentuated what was a fun and fast paced closer to the opening round.

2nd round started out stiffer than anything Tamon Honda's produced, with a slap exchange that would likely make Kobashi wince. Loved the kick battle between Yuki and hot number Kurihara. Someone breaks out a Matt Hardy spot after a nasty elbow exchange. This match didn't go near as long as I thought, but was as enjoyable as anything else on this show. 2nd Semi was a flash pin match where the Neos came out of the gate running, Churchill Downs style, but I think they got confused with the other team's washing machine/Red Rover maneuver. Disappointing as given time, I think that would have been a great match.

We get a singles grudge match to break up the tourney featuring Mita, whom I've seen her really great work back in AJW (of course, who didn't have great work there). Makoto gets a really hot spree including a German suplex near fall from the word "start" but Mita seems to lose faith in her as the match progresses and there's just not that much animosity after 3 minutes so this ends early and uncreatively.

Our finals pits my favorite team in this tourney, Xena ripoff Makiba & Berry Gordy's last student Yuki. Sakura has changed her outfit during every match, for the finals choosing something akin to the High Energy tights and some Steven Tyler frill. Makiba has a tendency to be lazy, with her strikes or with transitions, and I don't like it. Nothing's hotter than a girl kicking your ass in a mini skirt as Yuki pulls off so well here. I really have to take back what i just said, Makiba was lethal on her elbows and pushing the pace to win, Faces had some silly double teams, at times they looked like Care Bears dancing around in syncronization. Match didn't really exceed the other 3 "5's" which was surprising considering this had more time than any match besides the opener. Would def. like to see more NEO (please, just no Matrix films)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Select Fights from DREAM 14

1. Nick Diaz vs. Hayato Mach Sakurai - 3
2. Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto vs. Kiko Lopez - 4
3. Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Joachim Hansen - 5

Diaz secured a fairly easy armbar to get a first round tap; not a lot on display here, Diaz just made it look too easy, not rushed or too aggressive, baited his time and made Sakurai look like an amateur. After a few career missteps Kid Yamamoto looked like a badass again here knocking out Lopez in around two minutes -- it'll be interesting to see if they give him a challenging fight next or feed him some more Quiznos employees like Lopez. Hansen looks like he'd fit right in with Remy's gang in Higher Learning (1995). His claim to fame is besting DREAM favorite Shinya Aoki but here he got surprised and knocked out in the first round by Takaya. I gave this an extra point for the surprise finish late in the round. Still, nothing on the show dips into the recommendable category, so if you're interested (and I urge you to do so) in finding out more about one of the best MMA companies today I'd suggest digging a little deeper into their archives.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hall of Fame Pick: June

Sorry this is a few days late, lots going on, but we've set in motion the HOF schedule for the rest of the year and with Adam out of the blog now, i fill in for June! Now onto my pick, he joins an elite class of 3 other Luchadores already enshrined here, so without further ado:

Atlantis from CMLL

Here's a link that gives a brief description of his career: