Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jessie's WWF Superstars '96 ballot

- Bradshaw v. Freddie Joe Floyd (07/13)
Great rematch, both guys used things from the first to make this one better, aggressiveness from both guys, Bradshaw showed great ring skills by controlling pace, ugly lariat at the end, Freddie threw a wild snap kick that totally reminded me of something from my old martial arts training, this was just a cool match that had no business being this good but it was and would stand up to much of the fare I've seen on any American TV this year

- Steve Austin v. Fatu (02/10)
Some awesome sequences, incl. the ducked super kick with chop block then Fatu’s crazy spin sell. Austin was so great with all his stuff, very calculating, everything hitting well. Superplex near the end was just balls out for such a big guy to take.

Owen Hart/ British Bulldog v. Duke Droese/ Bob Holly (05/11)
This was the best worked tag match I saw on this set so far, Bulldog and Owen managed to give these two “characters” all the offense a main eventer would want sold for them while still maintaining an air of legitimacy, back and forth was great, Holly looked real sharp and the heels were bumping like guys on trampolines

Davey Boy Smith v. Bob Holly (04/20)
Just a lot of things worked in this match, the spotty beginning I saw Davey do with Eddie some near decade later, the crazy crotch spot on the top rope, spot on dropkick, and Holly’s big comeback, rest spots and Davey’s strange bumps weren’t so hot but great formula and and excellent match for a sat. morning offering

Doug Furnas/ Phil La Fon v. Headbangers (12/8)
Both teams got their chance to shine, Can-Am’s with a lot of Japanese moves they learned in AJ and Headbangers also stood up, Thrasher with some nice uppercuts, really innovative front layout from the top too, the end rocked my shorts, one of the craziest German’s seen by these baby browns in a spell

- Vader v. Savio Vega (09/22)
Classic Vader, all the great brutal things you remember him for and Savio eats them as well as anyone ever could, especially those paralyzing suplexes. Love how the big man sells those savate kicks for him, cool near fall off back suplex from ropes, and finishing power bomb is the stuff of stretchers and emergency rooms,

Shawn Michaels v. Salvatore Sincere (11/10)
This was a nice layered match, good beginning, but Sincere when on offense really performed, some nice stuff we hadn’t seen from him, then they got spotty but it all worked, a nice back and forth contest, leading up to the end which is always a fun spot to watch

- Owen Hart v. Aldo Montoya (02/10)
Owen’s just on another level, especially as a heel, he gives Aldo so much and sells it very well. Great go behind segments, and the belly to belly he pulled off was so choice. Good ending sequence as well.

- Owen Hart/ Davey Boy Smith/ Crush v. Marc Mero/ Jake Roberts/ Savio Vega (12/01)
Owen’s opening sequence against Mero & Savio both were as refreshing as the pink bite after eating sushi, thought it would be a big mess, and was at points, Crush was really strange, oversold some and didn’t sell at other points, Jake was old and flabby but Owen made this more watchable than I thought it would be

Bart Gunn/ Freddie Joe Floyd v. Billy Gunn/ TL Hopper (11/10)
This match got a lot of time and it was for the better, I don’t think a 5 minute time limit would have done this justice, they all took their time and let the match unfold really well, Bart was selling well and Billy had some good spots, Freddie kept up and Hopper did his same old offense, plus after match angle was pretty good.

- Razor Ramon v. Jeff Jarrett (02/03)
This was the Double J show, Ramon seemed only to do punches over and over again, but if Jarrett didn’t sell them so interestingly, I would have been bored a lot quicker. He just has great old school heel instincts, like the Tully back suplex he used too.

- Godwinns v. British Bulldog/ Owen Hart (10/13)
Discounting Jim Cornette’s incessant rambling, this was a good old fashioned tag match that I was digging. There is no better guy that can put over any move or wrestler than Owen hart, period. Saying that, Bulldog seemed out of it, possibly in a Gas-induced state but for their part the Godwinns played the ending really well, and the surprise ending was treated as such by both announcers and fans alike.

- Shawn Michaels v. Justin Bradshaw (09/22)
Bradshaw played Simpson pinball with Shawn’s body and it was quite enjoyable; Michaels was giving him everything, the comeback spot at the end worked just as well here as it did on any ppv title bout he did. Nasty big boot from Bradshaw, only hindrance, he seemed to run out of things to do to Shawn and Shawn’s kicked nearly miffed.

Owen Hart v. Barry Horowitz (03/02)
Not sure how this one slipped through the cracks but this was not in the script so to say. Both guys use what they learned in Inoki’s gym to breeze through the opening sequence or 6 with beautiful reversals and fine wrestling. Only complaint was like a good dessert I just wanted more of what they were serving. Horowitz also played to crowd really well playing underdog.

- Jake Roberts v. Justin Bradshaw (06/15)
Jake played his role perfectly, withered old man, labored breathing, only fighting back when Bradshaw made a mistake, incll. Trying DDT several times, thought the story of the match worked but the beat down went on too long, but Bradshaw also looked really good here as bully

- HHH v. Barry Horowitz (02/17)
Barry continues to impress, HHH gives him more offense here than would ever be conceivable nowadays, esp. liked the NL suplex for a near fall; a big bonus is Horowitz sold the pedigree better than anyone else in the year of ‘96 on Superstars.

- Marc Mero v. Leif Cassidy (10/01)
Really a great performance by both men, good sequences, Both guys showed something new as well, but only problem was everything seemed a little unfinished, or sloppy at times, but Leif I think is a guy willing to try more out of the barrel things than a guy like HHH so this combination of opponents worked well together.

Steve Austin v. Bart Gunn (11/24)- 4
Austin continues here in the later half of 96 to turn it up in singles matches, he gets a lot out of Bart, except accurate selling during several parts, but all the brawling was good and the back and forth was as fun as changing tempo during “My Sharona” on Rock Band.

- Pierroth v. Matt Hardy (12/22)
Pierroth isn’t your usual Luchadore, he barely left his feet actually, but I liked parts of his performance more, the chops, the big power moves, and Matt was more than eager to kill himself so someone would notice him, guess the hideous tights weren’t doing it. But he also got a chance to show some skills himself, liked the dualing planchas too.

- Marc Mero v. HHH (07/20)
Beginning was really slow, way too many arm drags, Marlena pointless appearance, Helmsley started feeling it on selling and just gave his body up a few times, some miscues though, good near falls near end

- Steve Austin . Fatu (05/25)
I dig these guys in the ring together! No fucking audio though, what a rip, this is so much cleaner and impact than all that hackneyed shit they did in 2000, Fatu sells the shit out of Austin’s flying elbow, more so than any other guy I can remember right now, and they start out hot and confident and end the same way.

Bradshaw/ Zeb v. Vega/ Floyd (08/17)
Love Hawk and floy’d chemistry together, had a great series of matches earlier in the year and they continue their chemistry here that’s better than anything you can find on Vega kept up but wasn’t the real star here, Zeb I’ve never been a fan of and didn’t bring much to remember to this either, but there were some really well worked near falls here.

- Headbangers v. Alex Porteau/ Aldo Montoya (11/24)- 4
Bangers made this a competitive squash for much of it, but didn’t feel like it at points, they kept it competitive and showed off their wares, much of which now years later feels completely passe. Montoya’s great selling on display but toned down and Porteau had quick moments but wasn’t fully released here, could have made this much better

- Alex Porteau v. Barry Horowitz (07/13)- 3
Really cool little amateur stuff worked into a 6 minute NJ Juniors match with awesome reversals, Horowitz is looking like top dog on the mat so far in this set, Porteau can be lead

Ahmed Johnson v. Gary Lee (04/20)
Un-freakin-believable dropkick from ahmed that made this jobber do 2 backflips off the top buckle to the outside in probably the craziest spot of this Set! Enough to make this preliminary list alone

The Other Stuff
- Shawn Michaels v. 123 Kid (04/27)-
Pretty fun match to watch, became nearly a squash for a good portion of the bout with Kid taking a hellacious beating, the posting, the hiptoss outside, the nasty piledriver, I liked the beginning more so because what they had hyped (speed v. speed) they had actually delivered but it didn’t last long.

Steve Austin v. Carribbean Kid (04/13)
I enjoyed the technical aspect of this one, a little sloppy at times but both men had a built in chemistry and were able to work off each other despite problems. Austin took a crazy bump from the 2nd buckle that def. lead to his terrible neck problems but I really liked the surprise ending too.

Owen Hart v. Fatu (04/27)- 3
The beginning was stumbling like Lindsay Lohan at Sunday Mass after the sacramental wine and sex from the rear in the coat closet, but they reeled it in, even if it was hard to buy Owen flipping Fatu with clothesline and beating him with sharpshooter; dug the missile dropkick and subsequent sell though

Duke Droese v. Wild Bill Irwin (03/16)
Irwin was such a workhorse during this short match, loved the flying front snap kick he pulled off, and the crazy spill ouside, he brought the moves and sold his butt off even though he couldn’t get u pfor the finish move

- Smoking Gunns v. New Rockers (10-/27)
The Gunns implode, as Bart hangs on after taking a nasty beating, some good selling on his part too, especially the ribs, Rockers looked sharp too, some good misdirection with the double teams, and the finish was surprising and cool

 - Steve Austin v. Zip (10/01)
Really well timed back and forth bout between two former USWA boys, Austin gave this ridiculous guy way more offense than most any other guy in this Superstars run, cool double cross body right out of a NJ Juniors match that bred a near fall that even had Pillman sweating on commentary,

Owen Hart v. Henry Godwinn (01/13)
A little bit ago a wrestling blog online made the claim that Chris Masters is a better wrestler than Owen hart, which is as blasphemous as a statement as you could make, and was also thought his TV output would be better; But go back and watch Owen’s TV matches, as evidenced here: on the first shoulder block he sells it like LT just hit him on the 6 yard line going for the game winning goal. Owen works so well with the big brute throughout, selling like no other and also busting out some awesome stuff, incl. 2nd rope Elbow.

- Billy Gunn v. Bob Holly (11/17)
Billy was super enthusiastic on all his bumps, especially the big hiptoss right off the bat. Loved his driving force, it kept the match flowing, the neck breaker counter was a cool spot too. Holly kept up, his usual dropkick best spot he pulled off but wasn’t as near charismatic as anyone could be.

- Savio Vega v. HHH (09/08)- 3
The match flowed well for sure, Helmsley used to be a bumper back in his day too, he just flopped over after every move. Their sequences made sense and were back and forth but no story, kind of felt like they were just waiting for Perfect spot

Barry Horowitz v. TL Hopper (08+/03)
I loved the strikes these two twere throwing even for a match that wasn’t about strikes at all, Hopper’s were big and nasty and Horowitz made every count, esp. the Lifters he was using. Couple big power moves kept this simple and short but w/o flaws

Barry Windham v. The Goon (09/22)
A brawl, from the beginning, nothing pretty here, Barry had to throw heavy to keep Goon off of him, loved Goon’s ridiculous bump outside, and control section, Windham’s suplexes are unique and always love a super plex, I'm always a sucker for a good Windham scrap

Smoking Gunns v. Techno Team 2000 (05/11)
As old fashioned as your grandma’s apple pie and strap-on in her dresser bureau, Techno’s were doing fine keeping pace and I think the trip takedown was one of the best spots of Watts career. The ending move looked really stupid and the brawl preceeding it was as aimless as a Warrior promo

- Aldo Montoya v. TL Hopper (09/22)- 3
Another good performance from Jock Strap head, bumped around really well and Hopper actually doled out some nasty offense, suplexes and rough clotheslines and the surprise finish gave it just another notch up,

Salvatore Sincere v. Aldo Montoya (09/01)
A quick match but one that flowed so smoothly it gets a spot, Montoya is most charismatic and exciting in his career, selling like a champ, full of energy, loved his spots off the ropes, wish this had 5 more minutes

Bradshaw v. Freddie Joe Floyd (-6/29)
Fun amateur style trips and takedowns in beginning, nasty boot Smothers ate like some Garbage Fries, liked his flying reverse kicks, finish was totally botched.

- The Goon v. Dan Jesser (07/20)
Stiff beat down, Goon totally into the Hockey gimmick where he doesn’t know how to wrestle, finish was realistic and painful, cool little match

- Godwinns v. Nick Barberry & Roy Raymond (11/24)- 3
Sometimes you just love watching two guys get the holy shit beat out of him and the Godwinns were truly the ones to do it, what a sick clothesline from Henry as the jobbers struggled to get a hold of what was going since they were so obviously green as the Godwinns brutalized them at every turn.

Steve Austin v. Jason Arndt (06/08)
I like this measured beat down of Austin, he really took his time, made each attack mean something, each punch and kick, and Arndt is a astandout seller among all the jobbers employed by the McMahons in this year

- Grimm Twins v. Wildo & Ingus Jinx (10/01)- 3
Hardys are the perfect young guys to get over a giant bumbling team, especially Jeff taking some nasty power slams and a bump off the top rope. Besides that the match was just a bump fest for the young future Hardys to wear some ridiculous Mardi Gras costumes.

- Sid & 123 Kid v. Aldo Montoya & Avatar- (01/20)
Avatar v. Kid was cool junior weight wrestling, with some neat counters, Aldo was expressive as you can be wearing a jock strap, Sid was perfect monster

- Hakushi v. Buddy Wayne (02/03)- 3
Wayne throws a dropkick while rocking a Flock of Seagulls haircut? He bumps like a madman for savate kick and springboard shoulder block, fuck, every piece of offense Shinzaki offered up, fun squash

Skip v. Rad Radford (01/06)
Fun quick sprint that never slowed down and both guys showed ability beyond their years, good chemistry with each other as well

- Shawn Michaels v. Tatanka (01/23)- 3
Structure was perfectly fine, and super kick to end was sick, but Shawn didn’t make me believe; more like he was trying t show up al the boys in the back instead of wrestling; both guys felt like they coasted

Justin Bradshaw v. David Haskins (10/27)-
Another really nasty squash, Bradshaw took lots of liberties on this guy and he was game to eat everything, liked some of the near falls he gave the jobber too, the lariat knocked him straight out of his boots too

- Justin Bradshaw v. Chris Harris (09/01)- 3
Nasty destruction of future Tna fatty Harris, big boot was decapitating or damn near, Bradshaw made no bones about what he was there for and what a fun match to watch

Savio Vega v. Marty Jannetty (08/06)
Vega performs very well again, playing a good face in peril even against a smaller guy, Jannetty is really good at making transitions and gong from one spot to the next, cool little ending sequence but my god was Jannetty annoying me with all the prancing around

 - Savio Vega v. Who (07/06)- 3
Savio’s selling was key and made match watchable, Who is not good bumper so not good job guy, controlled pace well though, mask steals all of Neidhart’s charisma

- Duke Droese v. Brooklyn Brawler (06/29)- 3
Fun simple mindless brawl type match, both guys trade big shots, Duke pulls off nice fin

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brian's Superstars '96 Ballot

We'll have the final results of our Superstars '96: Top 25 Countdown as well as a video roundtable discussing it up in a week or so. But, until then, here's my ballot/thoughts:

1. Freddie Joe Floyd and Bart Gunn vs. Billy Gunn and TL Hopper - 11/10

Worked competitively, got a nice chunk of time, and took us on a nice ride. Billy brought his athleticism, Hopper his craftiness, Floyd his own unique blend of hillbilly acrobatics, and Bart, well, he was pretty much his stoic self but filled a role. The crux about this set is the show if often too busy for its own good and the in-ring isn't taken seriously but this got plenty of time to unfold; post-match hijinks were a blast, Billy reconciled with Bart, then turned, beating the hell out of all three other guys with his cowboy boot.

2. Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Jake Roberts - 6/15

I loved, loved this match. I'd argue some of the best selling I've seen during the entire project. Roberts' in-ring stories at this time were he was an aging (touted as 41), recovering alcoholic taking one last stab at glory. The culmination of that story-arch was at KotR '96 (vs. Austin) but in this KotR semi-finals qualifier Roberts takes everything the big Texan as but finds the resilience and and pride to fight onward. This is some remarkable stuff here.

3. Freddie Joe Floyd and Savo Vega vs. Justin Bradshaw and Uncle Zebakiah - 8/17

Take the MVP of this set so far (in my eyes) Vega and plug him into a southern style tag formula with a bunch of Midwestern veterans like Dutch Mantel and Tracy Smothers and you've got pure bliss.

4. Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Freddie Joe Floyd - 7/13

This was a fantastic match, one of the better singles bouts during the entire year, it played off their preexisting history, built splendidly, and was as physical as a barroom brawl in Tupelo. One of the more cringe-worthy bumps of the set came when Floyd ate a big boot and flew backwards off the apron landing back-first on the steel guardrail.

5. Owen Hart and British Bulldog vs. Jesse James and Savio Vega - 12/22

I'd forgotten how awesome Hart and Bulldog were together as a team. Owen's a pro, even working around James' inherent in-ring awkwardness (someone call the fashion police, too!), and the finish was quite good.

6. Owen Hart vs. Aldo Montoya - 2/10

You forget how vicious Owen could be, he really worked 'ol jockstrap head over. This is comparable to Credible's best stuff from his ECW run; take that for what it's worth.

7. Pierroth vs. Matt Hardy - 12/22

This felt like it would have fit in splendidly in '06 SmackDown!. Pierroth didn't give much of himself in terms of selling, and Hardy still looked clumsy (such as a "Lionsault" that almost ended disastrously), but this was high impact and different enough to stand out.

8. Savio Vega vs. Crush - 12/15

One of the better Crush match you'll likely see. Vega was great at face in peril and threw a tremendous dropkick. Double count-out finish felt like bullocks now but expertly fit the storyline of its time.

9. British Bulldog and Owen Hart vs. Duke Drose and Bob Holly - 5/11

This was good, got a nice chunk of time, the section with the heels targeting Drose's leg was splendid, and Holly's hot tag was late-'80's NWA worthy.

10. Salavtore Sincere vs. Aldo Montoya - 9/1

Brandi really embraces the Sincere persona and Aldo does an admirable job bumping around and keeping things moving forward. They actually pulled off the "Sincerely Yours" making it look like a credible finisher.

11. Justin Hawk Bradshaw vs. Savio Vega - 5/18

This was one of the more physical, stiffer bouts during the year's run. Vega took some gruesome bumps, including a huge one straight on his back from the buckles. Bradshaw was channeling Hansen and this was a mid-'90's TV facsimile of JBL vs. Eddy Guerrero which is still better than the lion's share of TV matches you'd encounter back then.

12. Salvatore Sincere vs. Shawn Michaels - 11/10

I've never liked Shawn but can't deny him this one, his plucky face in peril formula is as tried and true as the one-liners he'd use to pick up rats at hotel bars, but he certainly could make a nothing match fun to watch. He'd still needlessly hurtle himself around, bumping with reckless abandon, his true colors of selfish despotism on clear display. For what its worth Sincere probably never got a chance to look better than this.

13. Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon - 2/3

Jessie had pimped me on this match during a phone call and it was basically a one-man show as Jarrett demonstrated a multitude of different ways to sell punches. I enjoyed what was transpiring in the ring, as well as 123 Kid's antics outside of it with a stroller and oversized baby bottle. This made me want to watch the four-disc Jarrett DVD that TNA released.

14. Jerry Lawler vs. Aldo Montoya - 7/27

The "feel good hit" of the summer as Montoya gets a surprise roll-up on Lawler in a match he dedicated to Jake Roberts. Jerry busted out his trademark piledriver and did some patented Lawler selling including selling a punch for over a minute checking to see if he had a buster lip/loose tooth.

15. Faarooq vs. Freddie Joe Floyd - 12/15

Floyd surprisingly had some pretty believable near-falls and sold like someone doing an impression of Adam West dancing the "Bat-toosie" for a fun bout.

16. TL Hopper vs. Barry Horowitz - 8/3

Barry continues to puzzlingly impress and I dug the hell out of Hopper's channeling of SMW and Memphis with his stooge-based selling. He looked like Charlie Chaplin pantomiming pain as he did his goofball overacting.

17. Owen Hart vs. Barry Horowitz - 6/15

Another good Owen performance, coupled with Barry taking it amateur like he's grappling on the mat back in gym class, slightly mentally sidetracked daydreaming of that day's spaghetti lunch.

18. Owen Hart, British Bulldog, and Crush vs. Savio Vega, Jake Roberts, and Marc Mero - 12/1

This would have fit in nicely with the last set we did (WCW Power Hour '90) a comprehensive ranking on. It went over ten minutes and everyone got a chance to mix it up. Roberts looked especially good but nobody dogged it (although I'm really noticing how awkwardly Bulldog often bumps).

19. Marc Mero vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley - 7/20

One of our panel members had heavily pimped this, didn't leave up to its billing during the first act, a bunch of superfluous arm-work by Mero that went nowhere. Things picked up when Hunter took over, nice sequence out on the floor including a bodyslam in the aisle. I'm also a sucker for anytime a match ends on a super hurricanana so it's got that going for it, too.

20. Savio Vega vs. Vader - 9/22

Vader's a guy who was always fun to watch during this set but was usually just viciously squashing jobbers with bad physiques. This was one of the only times Vader let someone really look good against him and it's a testament for how much respect he must have had for Savio. This was quite good and makes me wish these two would have worked an extended program together. The match-ending powerbomb will make you two two Aspirin after watching it.

21. The Godwinns vs. British Bulldog and Owen Hart - 3/30

This was the semi-finals of the WWF Tag Team Title tournament and was quite good up until an unbelievably crappy finish. Phinneas looked outright bad but Henry brought some intensity to his sections, Bulldog and Hart both played their roles well, yet never really stepped it up. Still, it got some time, had decent back-and-forth, but then was ruined when the New Rockers came out and got involved; I think Jim Ross said it best, "that was stupid".

22. Freddie Joe Floyd vs. Justin Hawk Bradshaw - 6/29

Just like many of Shakespeare's finest masterpieces, the first act is often a delicious morsel preparing us for what's next, you could argue the same here as these guys crafted a pretty good little match built around Floyd's resilience and it'd be completely overshadowed a few weeks later by their terrific rematch.

23. Shawn Michaels vs. 123 Kid - 4/27

Michaels was preparing for an upcoming "no holds barred" match so beat the hell out of Kid, giving him a gross piledriver, a press-slam to the floor, a hiptoss on the ground, and ramming him balls-first into the ringpost. A nice post-match skirmish between HBK and Austin capped it off.

24. The Goon vs. "The Stalker" Barry Windham - 9/22

One of their two singles matches against each other; ridiculous gimmicks aside, both guys came out like they had something to prove, both brought enough to make what the writers likely intended to be a nothing match into something worth seeing. I dig Windham using the superplex as a finisher, too.

25. Flash Funk vs. Brian Walsh - 11/24

The only squash to make my list, but damn, Funk makes everything look so fucking good. He was one of the best in the world in '96 although the history books won't show it.


26. Duke Drose vs. Bill Irwin - 3/16

Irwin must have taken some speed earlier that day as he was exhibiting pure nuttiness and was all sorts of wound up. He brought what could have been a tiresome throwaway squash up to a higher standard, he was all over the place, including a spot that cemented this match on my ballot, a whip into the turnbuckles where he essentially did a backflip over them and spilled out to the floor like The Dudesons driving a car off a cliff.

27. Savio Vega and Steve Austin vs. The Bodydonnas - 3/23

Vega got stuck with unlikely partner and rival Austin in a fun bout. Vega did all the work as Austin wouldn't tag in, still, Vega held his own, singlehandedly kicking butt until Austin had finally had enough and drilled Savio costing them the victory.

28. Goldust vs. Hakushi - 3/2

Just a unique match-up, don't have a lot to say, in terms of the work done, just enjoyed watching these two do their thing, what choices they'd make when selling, etc.

29. Savio Vega vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley - 9/8

Vega started it off fast-paced and hot but when Hunter got control the match slowed down considerably. Vega capitalized on a distraction (Mr. Perfect still Hunter's broad) to get the victory. Not top-shelf Helmsley nor Vega but saved a pretty pedestrian episode.

30. Goldust vs. Leif Cassidy - 12/29

A nice, but far too short, back-and-forth bout with both guy's in their prime (Goldust in terms of character maturation and Al Snow in terms of athletic ability).

31. Undertaker vs. Diesel II - 12/22

It was interesting seeing the guy that'd later become Kane and build a career upon working with Undertaker work with him then. It was almost as good as any of the actual Diesel matches versus Undertaker until Vader ran out and battered Undertaker like he was a piece of catfish.

32. British Bulldog vs. Savio Vega - 8/3

I was really looking forward to this one but it felt kind of half-baked. I fear the steroids had already robbed Davey of much of his natural athleticism as he looked kind of clunky even taking basic things like hip tosses. The finish felt weak, too; didn't buy Vega running into Cornette as something that'd put him down for the count, especially considering he made about as much contact as I ever will with Katy Perry's clitoris.

33. Fatu vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley - 4/6

The only highlight from one of the worst episodes I'd seen at that point. Fatu brings a nice set of tools, looks great with a big clothesline in the corner that HHH made look terrific, but the subplot of these two mafioso-looking samoans coming to ringside to observe detracted from it.

34. Crush vs. Aldo Montoya - 8/17

Crush continues to pleasantly surprise me and Aldo despite the goofy gimmick bumped around enthusiastically and was a great ragdoll.

35. Sid vs. Marty Jannetty - 8/10

Marty looked clumsy running headfirst into some of Sid's offense because Sid is so damn inept himself. The highlight was Leif Cassidy taking a chokeslam on the floor.

36. Vader vs. Savio Vega - 12/29

The last match that aired on Superstars in '96 was really, really great until a lousy ending. Vader started off beastly but Vega had a hot comeback that even saw him bodyslam the mammoth Vader for a huge crowd pop. The lights flickered on and off signaling The Undertaker's presence so Vader ran of aloof like an idiot.

37. Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero - 8/17

The main event of a loaded episode but was undermined entirely by bullshit -- obtuse commercial breaks, Goldust and Marlena prattling on at the commentary booth forcing a split-screen that distract from the action, Mankind molesting Sable, and even Undertaker shows up. I dig like Mero's hurricanrana from the top and Austin's sell of a chinbreaker by flopping around like a fish out of water.

38. Phineas I. Godwinn vs. "The Stalker" Barry Windham - 12/29

Liked Windham taking it old school early, but not nearly as much as I liked Jim Ross bagging on Barry's outrageous get-up. Given the apparel this looked like two guys at Bass Pro Shops fighting over the last crossbow. The roll-up finish was lame.

39. Marc Mero vs. Who - 8/3

It felt like a pre-season NBA game (in that it really didn't matter) and it became blatantly obvious Vince created the Who gimmick merely to get to do the "Who's on first?" routine.

40. Steve Austin vs. "The Stalker" Barry Windham - 12/15

Windham doing two backdrops cried lack of creativity but you forget how quickly and surprisingly Austin pulled out the "Stone Cold Stunner" back then.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WWE Raw - 9/13/10

Live from our home city of Cincinnati, it's Monday Night Raw! I wanted to put up a rev for this particular Raw because it took place in our area and figured that it'd be fun to review the Raw Roulette. I'm going to skip the whole Bengals/Chad Ochocinco stuff because I'm sure people were sick of hearing about it by the end of the night. Let's get this shit going.

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz/Alex Riley (Submission Match) - 4

Really loved seeing the sight of Danielson opening the show. Danielson's transitions between submissions were sweeter than the ChubbyKid's soda Brian is currently reviewing on RtW. Great idea to have Miz get out of the ring, feigning a hernia and sending Riley in to finish the job, teasing the match at Night of Champs. King's questioning of why Riley was here made me smile, I have to admit. Riley got less that 1% offense in on the match and Danielson annihilated him the the Labbell Lock. I fucking love this. 2011 is the year of the Dragon -- booya.

Edge vs. Evan Bourne (BodySlam challenge) - 3

Sydal's run in WWE has been great. He's been jobbed out, and then pushed more than a pregnant mom trying to get a 30lb baby out... to get to midcard status. Anyway, Edge ate this sick kick that looked stiff as hell, but the real story was Edge's selling of it. Glassy eyed, Edge fell flat on his face making for a sell that looked like a sweet KO. He'd end up bodyslamming Bourne for a flat fin, only to have Mark Henry (awww shit) come out to give him The World's Strongest Slam.

Ted DiBiase & Maryse vs. R-Truth & Eve (Song & Dance Match) - 1

Piss. This was so stupid I felt like I was watching Lawler vs. the Doinks from Survivor Series some odd years back. Eve can dance and Maryse can't. That's the moral of the match. If you'll excuse me, I need to call my optometrist to see how severe a voluntary fork in the eye is. Complete crap.

Sheamus vs. John Morrison (Falls Count Anywhere) - 5

John Morrison's prematch Parkour business was kind of neat, but my God, that opening where he spun around and the camera zoomed in on his face was a legit laugh-out-loud moment. I felt like the match was a Parkour Wrestling match with all of the OMG STUNTZ that Morrison was doing, like the sweet-ass Matrix flip he did off the stage. How about that amazing dive from the tron? NOICE! Seriously though, I dig Parkour and no disrespect to anyone who does it, as I'm sure I'd fall flat on my face if I tried. Well, I did try it once, but that's a story for another time. Morrison just kind of came off as a hipster cool guy showing off his moves to me. I gave it a five because of the novelty of the match and wondering what the hell Morrison was going to do next. It was a fun little outing.

Chris Jericho vs. The Hart Dynasty (Cage Match) - 4

I dug Jericho's smug promo beforehand and telling Cole to shut up. Thanks, Chris. Signed, Everyone. The match was okay, but why the hell did DH just go ahead and escape the cage leaving Kidd to get decimated? Kidd looked good with his aerial assault, but there came a point where my heart (no pun intended) literally skipped a beat: When Tyson had Jericho in a 'rana position on the turnbuckle and Jericho caught him to put him in the The Walls, I thought Kidd landed flat on his head and broke his neck. Fortunately, his head narrowly missed hitting the mat, which would've gone down in history as the sickest tombstone ever. Decent match.

Goldust vs. William Regal (Trading Places Match) - Dud (a la Meltz)

Shtickier than the shtickiest of shtick. No comment.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton (Tables Match) - 6

Good shit here. I liked the back and forth before the tables were introduced, making people wonder which man was going to get some particle board splinters. Once the tables were introduced, Nexus came out and were fucked up one by one. I loooooooved Slater's bump into the table outside -- liked a red-headed squirrel jumping from tree to tree, all nimbly bimbly. Gabe's table bump was nice, too -- like a darker skinned, metro-sexual (totally not judging) version of said squirrel. The fin was weird as hell. Basically, Cena had Orton up in the AA position, but Orton reversed it mid-move into an RKO through the table. Only until the replay did I think Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment and Orton just decided not to sell it. Upon further inspection in slow motion, the move actually looked pretty cool. Fun match with some great table bumps!

And, hence, the Queen City hosted a successful Raw in this reviewers opinion. None of us could go due to child care issues and college or money issues, but it was cool knowing that the new season opened in our backyards.

I hope to review some AJW show upcoming and get away from WWE programming for a bit, just to change the pace. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"B@M!" A Tribute to JC Bailey

Went and saw this bad boy live with former NHO team memeber Adam.
Length of show: 7:30pm-11pm
Venue: Salvation Army Gym, Indianapolis, IN

-Six Man Mayhem Match: Tarek The Legend vs Jake Crist, American Kickboxer 2, Dave Crist, Hyzaya and Bobby Black - 5

A pretty fun match. Spotty, but the choreography of the spots didn't seem as rehearsed and rehashed as most of the Crist's matches are. Tarek looked really good here keeping the pace for the younger guys. It was plain as day to see that he was the guy controlling the match. His sick brainbuster on Bobby Black was a great fin

-Singles Match: Simon Sezz vs Max Mizery - 3

Not a particularly strong match, but really emotional. Simon Sezz is actually JC's brother and it was plain as day to see that he was having a really hard time staying focused. His offense was good and his vocal selling was top notch stuff, but there was hardly any flow to the match.

Singles Match: Vito Thomaselli vs Joseph Schwartz - 2

Schwartz was doing the regular Jew-y schtick that he's made me so accustomed to. Nothing noteworthy to mention.

-Tag Team Match: Mickie Knuckles & Brandon Prophet over Diablo & Jason Pennington - 2

Prophet kept trying to bring gimmicks into the match which led Mickie to get pissed off at him. This seemed to be the second goofy match of the night. Nobody gave a shit about their two opponents -- they barely got any reaction at all when they came out, which was kind of awkward. Brain Damage came out and beat the fuck out of Prophet which was very fun to watch and very bloody.

-Singles Match: Sami Callihan vs Toby Klein - 4

Toby looked better here than he has in years. He showed very little signs of ring rust. Sami was as crazy and intense as ever. Sami was bumping around more than the the kids with ADHD in the audience. Sami's screams and grimaces while both on offense and selling are so fun to watch. I love this dude. Surprisingly good matchup featuring some fun offense by both guys.

-Singles Match: American Kickboxer vs Apollo Starr - 3

Kickboxer can still go, which was really cool to see. Starr looked okay, but not very memorable of a performance on his part. I saw him at CZW and he looked a lot better there, so I know he can perform to a higher caliber. I dig his heel persona. KB hit some nice kicks and controlled most of the match. KB looked to be in good shape considering all he's been through, and his energy in the match and ability to get the crowd riled up was a nice sight.

-Singles Match: Simon Sezz vs Ian Rotten - 5

Sezz came back to take Devon Moore's spot because more had an infection, but came anyway to be the ref. Both guys brawled on the outside near the bleachers. Ian took a sick motherfucking suplex onto the bleachers, followed by Sezz dropping the leg right on his face on the bleachers! I dig Simon -- to go all out twice in one night really speaks to his character.

-Three Way Match: Bull Pain vs Dave Davidson and Jesse Owens - 2

Bull Pain beat the fuck out of two younger guys. Surprised? Both guys took a hell of a beating.

-Singles Match: Spyder Nate Webb vs Clifton Crunk - 2

Nate definitely showed ringrust He can hardly go five minutes without blowing up in the ring. Hey, at least he tried and showed up -- that's the important thing about tonight.

-Singles Match: Jon Moxley vs Danny Havoc - 6

Oh hell yes. Havoc took a great beating, including Mox's finisher onto an open Wet Floor sign~! Havoc looked awesome and Mox paced the match with armwork. Havoc is becoming a better hybrid wrestler every day. Really fun back and forth. Like the Sezz/Rotten match and the main event, it's really awesome to see guys take particularly sick moves for free to benefit a deceased fellow wrestler.

-TLC Match: Scotty Vortekz vs Drake Younger - 7

Both of these guys absolutely destroyed the ever living shit out of each other. Scotty dropped the double knees onto Drake, laying on a ladder. Drake put Scotty through a table that looked like it hurt like hell. Both of these guys went all out for their friend JC. I really love both of these guys and to give their bodies like they did was very commendable.

Overall, a good night. In total, about $2,300 was raised to get JC a headstone. Emotions ran high, and everyone stepped up their game to perform one last time for in memory of JC Bailey.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beer Money v. Motor City Machine Guns: Best Series Ever?

There are some things you will always like, no matter what changes in your life, age, habits, marital status, Donald v. Daffy, Cincinnati Bow Tie v. Chicago Chili dog position, doesn't matter, and one of those things (besides still loving Cheesy Pringles) is tag wrestling. Unfortunately we don't see it any more. So when the guys were pimping this tag series to me as probably TNA's greatest brainchild (What, did we forget about Cheex?) I had to see it; so why not share my experience with the blog readers as I watch this series for the first time.

1) Beer Money v. Motor City Machineguns (TNA Victory Road, 07/11/10, Tag Titles)- 6
This was a nice introduction to what i'm hoping is a varied series, saw a lot of hesitation and unfamiliarity in the beginning of the match,guys just generally not really knowing what they wanted to do. You have to enjoy the Guns; you would think "this is some atypical Rockers of the 90's" and while they are to a degree, they have this really cool tag style of like X Games guys doing BMX stunt shows where one plays off the other to pull off a double team. Sabin's hot streak in the middle made me remember why I used to pull for him back when the X Division carried the Jarrett bank account on it's back; the sick DDT sell by Roode and the soccer punt on Storm were both righteous. Roode is one of the most obvious guys when being set up for something, it's as telling as Jessica Simpson would be in a No Limit Texas Hold 'em game when getting a good hand. Wasn't a big fan of the restart, felt like this match was really building up well to some cool nearfalls to end if off with but then had to regain that momentum, but the Guns winning the belts after so long was a nice piece of nostalgia.

2) Beer Money v. Motor City Machine Guns (Ladder Match, TNA Impact 07/15/10)- 7
Wow this was even better and nearly half as short, everything looked like it hurt a lot more and even though ladder matches have stigmas of just being car crashes with no story or selling, they loaded all 3 into this tight little package. I applaud Roode as when he was supposed to lay out for a spot, he actually laid in the ring and sold his injuries instead of waiting on deck like he's 3rd in rotation for the Cubs. Roode and Storm also were selling the exact places the ladders would strike them, instead of just rolling under the ring for a breather or some nose candy real quick. Tons of awesome spots and loved the momentum where Shelly double stomped Roode then just rolled through Storm on the outside.

3) Beer Money v. Motor City Machineguns (Street Fight, TNA Impact 07/22/10)- 5
Some things I noticed that keep coming up, awesome double teams by the Guns and they keep it varied, always playing off each other like circus performers or something, their whole style is like aggressive Parkour it's fun to watch,but just as the Attitude era guys had their crutch, endless punching, it seems these two teams have kicks by the boatload. At least they all mostly look good. And another ref bump, shit there were 2 here! Loved Roode's spots with the chair outside but apart from having the same finish as last week this wasn't as well done, even though you can tell a fluidity developing every match from both teams.

4) Beer Money v. Motor City Machineguns (Steel Cage Match, TNA Impact 07/29/10)- 6
Roode just lacerates his head open but then doesn't tag in? what a waste of drama. Storm has this nasty uppercut that Shelly sells every time and makes it worth more than Dixie Carter's stock portfolio. Sweet ass Mich Pro circa '94 top rope hurricanrana by Shelly that brought me back to VHS marathons in Brian's old room with homemade crab pizza and sodas. Beer Money takes control and I think a lot of credit goes to the endless tag programs both of them were mired in during TNA's first few years, it's helped them tremendously pace out these really great tag battles. Here's your top of the cage dive we see every cage match now; if Sabin's going to risk his body at least make it look good, Beer Money tighted up like a clam and turned their backs to him, how shitty. Good play off the last 2 matches with the finish though.

5) Beer Money v. Motor City Machineguns (Ultimate X Match, TNA Impact 08/05/10)- 7
Money has come up with some really cool ways to throw these smaller guys around and they take bumps better than most which makes for a fun formula. Sabin's running dropkick is always a crowd pleaser; Roode is really selling his ass off and I'm damn impressed with him during this series. so Roode sells like Val and bleeds like Valentine, works for me. Beer Money playing up how uncomfortable they are climbing these cables and it works for the match also because they chose to pick the pace of this match. Yikes, crazy Sliced bread on the apron, Storm is killing himself with bumps here. I had reservations about this match but it worked really well, by this time I'm hyped for the final match.

6) Beer Money v. Motor City Machineguns (2/3 Falls, TNA Impact 08/12/10)- 8
This was exactly what I was hoping for; a culmination of all the matches they had already done. The 1st fall alone was an awesome match, the pace they kept, each guy hitting signature move, each guy selling was on, some devastating kicks, awesome dive spot and the finish was legit, what else could you ask for? The 2nd was quick but the 3rd fall just made the crowd beg for more, awesome job. I loved all the near falls in the last few minutes, exactly what tag wrestling is all about. Sabin's face told the story, so many crazy double team moves invovled I don't know how anyone could keep track but at no point did this feel overdone or stretched out. That was a great thing about this series; no match was very long but you pace each match by the style you're keeping and story your'e telling and they did it all very well. Best series ever? I'll stick with Lost but this was damn good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

1000th Review!: NJPW 7/11/10 co-review

NJPW "CIRCUIT 2010 NEW JAPAN SOUL", 11.07.2010
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 1,800 Fans - No Vacancy

B: We've come a long, long way here on Never Hand Over. I remember sitting in my old apartment on Hampshire Dr. and scoring my first show (WWE Velocity 8/27/05). I developed our patented "10 point" system that night and now, five years later, we've given our thoughts on thousands of matches. We've always prided ourselves on watching everything: mainstream, independent, foreign, old and new, MMA, etc. We have a genuine love for all things combat, we wouldn't still be doing this if not, and I'd like to think our appreciation and enjoyment comes out in our work. For this very special 1000th post we're tackling a show from one of our all-time favorite companies NJPW. I'd also like to take this time to say thanks to Jessie, we actually started writing about wrestling together over ten years ago in an earlier, lost incarnation of NHO, and have been watching and talking about wrestling together for over twenty years. We've been to live shows, played out dream matches with action figures, studied countless hours of footage, and even beat the hell out of each other in backyards at one point in our lives. One common strand in both of our lives has always been a fanaticism about wrestling. We're both glad we can share that with you all and hope you've enjoyed and will continue to enjoy our prose on the topic.

J: Five years is a long time, especially in the life of an ant, but within our own lives, we've both gotten married, bought a house, and had a child, all the while continuing to push forth in our undying love and quest to discover everything we can wrestling related.  This blog has been a great gift in doing so.  Not only has these 1,000 posts not seemed like work but more like a priviledge but I'm still looking forward to the next 5 years and 1,000 posts we can come up with here.  My hope is that some people have been entertained, or enjoyed our work, fans like us that enjoy all styles and performers and can get the most out of what we try to do here.  So, without further ado, let's get on with it.

1. Hirooki Goto & Taichi Vs Manabu Nakanishi & Tama Tonga - B:3 J:2

B: Oh, how the mighty have fallen (and I don't mean The Mighty Mighty Bosstones although I'm sure you could get them to play your next school function or cruise ship on the cheap) as former champ Nakanishi slums it with wrestling's equivalent of tofu (a bland facsimile of the real thing) Tama Tonga. Manabu has presence and his shoulder block exchange with Goto was a sumptuous way to start. Taichi looks much weirder than he did when I saw him team with Nagata regularly in '09, now rocking a pointy mask, and of course it's Korakuen Hall so somebody had to take it out to the crowd a la BJW and Taichi fills that role by doing a crossbody off of an elevated stage onto Tonga. I didn't buy Taichi's weak-looking kicks on the outside being enough to prevent Manabu from making the save as Goto secured his team the victory by taking Tama's head off with a lariat. This was functional as an opener but had about as much depth as a Beetle Bailey comic strip.

J: I thought Tonga looked like AC Slater's older brother.  And talk about bad kicks, just bad everything, he was totally green and brought down more than 4 spots from looking like an inept goof.  I've actually never been fond of Nakanishi, he does the strong man gimmick, but my god it's now 2010, it's as passe as a fannypack now.  Goto was really Shatnered on having to open in this match.

2. Samurai Gym Special Singles Match: El Samurai Vs Ryusuke Taguchii - B:2 J:3

J: Taguchi so should have had on platform boots to go with his gogo pants, for some reason this review has seemed to center on fashion?  i've always thought Samurai would look like a nasty troll underneath his mask and his Smoker's teeth here give me no reason to rethink that position; but I still love the fucker.  Just his basic looping downard punches look more real than 90% of a lot of stuff I see in wrestling these days.  Terrible closeup on the dropkick in the corner; showed us how far away Taguchi was from that dropkick, bigger than the space between Kim Kardashian's boobs.  Fun DDt complete with grade school rollthrough; Sammy also remembered how to lariat, probably from so many years of eating Liger's before they left the arena to smoke spliffs and go play Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast, 3 years before we got it here!  Sweet hammerlock out of kickout, and Taguchi showing some ability to sell a move.  There weren't a lot of smooth transitions here, including the rollup into the pinfall, as well as several earlier sequences.  I enjoyed this more than the opener, but I was also eating the Skittles with the Skittles inside during it, so you draw your own conclusions.

B: Taguchi used to play with an El Samurai action figure in his backyard sandbox. Put a greasy mechanic shirt and cowboy hat on Ryusuke and he'd be new criminal on Memphis Beat. Speaking of Kim, I saw her homemade porno, she had better facials than either of these guys. Taguchi sold a reverse DDT on the apron like having a brain freeze from eating a scoop of red bean ice cream too fast. I don't think El Samurai sold at all during the rolling snap suplexes bit.

3. Special Singles Match: Giant Bernard Vs Wataru Inoue - B:5 J:5

B: Watching Wataru sell Bernard's opening onslaught makes me feel so beatific. I love that Inoue eats the guardrail with gusto. Bernard must have been studying James Franco as he's got selling that rib pain down. Bernard did one of the sloppiest neckbreakers I've ever seen but Inoue still sold it like a million bucks. Inoue was just on making everything look spectacular. The giant versus little guy trope is a familiar one in wrestling but when done well it's always a lot of fun. This match had much more personality and expressive selling than the matches that proceeded it and I rather enjoyed it.

J: Bravo to anyone studying James Franco's acting, hell, his life, fuck, I'd watch a doc on him eating Frosted Flakes, but did the spear from Inoue really warrant that much selling?  On the flip side, Bernard's become a more relevant monster than Smaug.  Inoue's selling was on but Bernard puts this extra growl and pump with almost everything he does, this was definitley an Excedrin night for Inoue.  Yeah, that neckbreaker was uglier Andy Dick's pussy but the piledriver after it rocked me harder than my first listen of Appetite for Destruction.  The spot leading to the German was built beautifully, like the architecture in Millenium Park.  I thought the wrestling, as in the moves done and how they built got better as they went along but were nothing special, it was the selling of hurt bodyparts and emotion that drug me in and made me care what happened here.  Well done midcard acts!

4. Special Singles Match: Yuji Nagata Vs Yujiro Takahashi - B:4 J:5

J: Big test for Yujiro, especially in this reviewer's eyes as last time I saw him he was catching Jay Lethal on crappy dives to the floor in Dayton, Oh while discussing their 3rd round Fantasy Baseball draft picks in between spots.  Nagata's totally like that older dude who you know has lost his marbles but you would neeeeeeever screw with because you don't what kind of ways he could hurt or maim you with a garden hose or something.  Imagine how much funnier those Rush Hour movies would have been with him in the Jackie Chan role.  Go ahead, I'll wait...

Awesome backdrop suplex, Nagata is one of my favorite guys to watch, not just wrestle, but watch period (Alton Brown is also on that list.)  He digs Yujiro slapping him; it makes everything better somehow.  He's also never "Samoa Joe"''d himself and toned down his strikes through the years; guy still kicks people's backs like they have unmined gold in their spinal cords.  Okay, fuck Rush Hour, Nagata and Ryan Reynolds in a buddy comedy?  Anne Hathaway could be the love interest for.....doesn't really matter, hell do an orgy scene but PG it and play some Dido in the background, will sell at least $30 million worth of tickets.  At one point they run into each other off the ropes and stand there awkwardly like being at a family reunion for a side you haven't seen since you could remember anything.  Yujiro's last offensive run was spirited, more so than James Toney's bid in MMA, and Nagata gives him a lot, I was digging the clothesline/ big boot exchange.  This won't go on Nagata's trophy case, hell in his career, it wouldn't make it in his trophy wing, but both guys gave a lot and it had stiff in spades, which always warms my heart. 

B: Always love watching Yuji do his thing, usually decidedly less excited when Takahashi is on my TV. Yujiro ate a boot great on floor. I dig Yujiro putting some personality into his attack on the floor, maybe Eric Young helped him with that. Takahashi's clubbering shots reek of C-level Ron Garvin. After seeing Hathaway's fuck scenes in Brokeback Mountain and Havoc I'd rent it. I loved Nagata blocking a bulldog with back suplex. A bad botch where Yujiro came off the ropes and ended up looking like he was trying a chest bump like a post-NBA Finals Lakers fan.

5. Special Singles Match: Tetsuya Naito Vs Karl Anderson - B:4 J:3

B: Anderson is the storyline GM of a fed that runs shows literally a block from my house so my views have softened on him and Naito is the better of the Team No Limit boys so I was kind of looking forward to this. A missed tackle sends Karl flying out of the ring in a nice spill. Naito chokes him outside with a chair and Karl is probably wishing he was back home eating Richard's Pizza. I don't know if Japanese children traditionally celebrate Halloween but if so, I wonder if any have ever dressed up as "Machine Gun" Anderson? Tetsuya flies back from a missle dropkick like he just got hit by a cannonball from Captain Hook's ship. I'm always a sucker for a superplex and there's doesn't disappoint. Tetsuya's "Stardust Press" looked gorgeous and was a nice finish.

J: Boss, I'm just waiting for Anderson to walk into that same Buffalo Wings joint so I cannot buy him a beer......takes a hell of a guard rail bump though.  I am kind of tired of the forearm spots off the ropes where they don't even make contact, saw it in an earlier match as well as here.  Anderson looked more comfortable here than in any match i've seen him in before, I will say that, but learning the steps to taking Naito's offense must be like taking a Merengue class at your local university rec center.  Agreed, nice air on the superplex but his missed Senton from the top was even more devastating.  Something was off here, though,  because this match is leaving my mind like my Jumbo Shrimp Habachi dinner did my bowels earlier. 

6. Super Jr. Special Singles Match: Koji Kanemoto Vs. Kenny Omega - B:6 J:6

J: Omega was as giddy as Dean Moriarity jumping in the back seat of a '67 Pinto not having a damn clue where it was headed.  He just emits enthusiasm and excitement from every single action he performs.  Koji is on here, as usual, just throwing kicks like he's trying to break a rhino's leg every time out.  There's a botched superplex that ends up on the floor outside in a spot so crazy I made a robot Kenny Omega like from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey out of empty oil cans, a broken mop and my coffee table.  Loved the 4 corners face wash spot they set up, you could see Omega beaming after that one like a proud parent whose kid just made honor roll and banged his art teacher all in the same week.  Wasn't buying the anklelock spots even though Koji does them in almost every match, but the reversal up on the top rope was cool and the ending tiger suplex from there was 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 2 cups sugar and 3 cups balls out adrenaline to make a Sweet Ass Spot Pie and that's enough dessert for any man.  Great effort but would like to see what they could do with more time and a different pace.

B: I asked my Magic 8-ball about this match and it said: "rocks your fucking face". Omega has a set of balls like Bear Grylls. Koji's got some sort of egyptian crave drawing hieroglyphics on his tights; trying to figure him out is like trying to beat my wife at board game Blokus -- it likely won't happen. As Jessie pointed out, Koji fucking reversed a superlpex and turned it into one on Omega but out to the floor. The lenses in my glasses started to melt after that shit...

7. Special Eight Man Tag Match: Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Gedo Vs Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi, TAJIRI & KUSHIDA - B:5 J:5

B: As Max from Where the Wild Things Are said, "Let the wild rumpus start!" It's weird seeing a freshly shorn Yano. TAJIRI gets taken out early which is a major bummer as I love watching the guy work. Iizuka move around like a Gibdo but sells like a Dodongo. You know, the mummy and giant rhinoceros from perennial NES favorite The Legend of Zelda? I swear, you guys, don't make me spell everything out for you. The inclusion of KUSHIDA in this bout makes me pause and scratch my head like Doc would every time Sprocket the Dog scratched and sniffed at the hole in the wall on Fraggle Rock. What, was Honma or Hirasawa gone fishing? But, speaking of that Henson masterpiece, is it me, or could Gedo pull off Marjory the Trash Heap in a stage adaptation of the beloved children's' series? Would that make Inoki Uncle "Traveling" Matt? I'd assumed the worst, thinking it'd be a throwaway multi-man match, but it actually had some nice ups and downs, momentum swings, excitement, etc. TAJIRI did eventually return only to get his lights turned off by a patented Nakamura knee. Shinsuke had knees aplenty, looking like the total badass he is, and really carried much of the match's interest. Tanahashi had his face all wrapped up like he was a victim of a dog attack and this wasn't top-shelf stuff of his, sort of a malaise about it, a common complaint about his more recent work.

J: I would agree some of the outside brawls just lingered on like those terrible scraps you'd get into on Final Fight where you couldn't kill one of the worst thugs ever and you just kept exchanging weak hits for what seemed like forever? KUSHIDA was a strange addition, but I thought he was one of the more lively guys here. Iizuka's plodding around with weapons is worn out like anything with the name Gosselin attached. And to answer your question about Marjory, Gedo would be best saddled with a role where he is piled under trash with only a mouth to speak; he looked pretty bad here as well. I was totally leaning towards a 4, but Nakamura's onslaught against the face team at the end made what Thurman's "The Bride" did in Kill Bill Vol. 1 look like a friendly game of flag football. And why did Tajiri disappear for a long duration of the match? Was he scheduled to give blood, semen or show off his 1992 commemerative Duck Tales postage stamp collection at the local library for community day? At least he misted some poor shmuck for a highspot.

8. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Prince Devitt (c) Vs Atsushi Aoki - B:5 J:5

J: I didn't love this match, unlike the first time I played TMNT 2 for the NES, which was love at first sight.  I reviewed Devitt in the Super Juniors last year against Koji and said (paraphrasing) he still needed a year or two to really learn the art of selling and being in the moment, but this match proves despite his amazing physical gifts, he still isn't there yet.  Countless times when both men were transitioning to the next spot, there would be these strike exchanges that were as empty as Mel Gibson's soul.  Aoki was guilty too, don't get me wrong, it was an irksome element to this match because it kept happening over and over again.  There were some downright nasty bumps in this though, the superplex outside and then the Danielson superbackdrop later on both left me as giddy as a 7 year old watching the morning news awaiting official Snow day closings.  Aoki also put on some neat armlocks throughout, the best stuff he did as his kicks just weren't working and his transitions were shit too for the most part.  If not for the strangeness of a sudden outburst while at home with my daughter, I would have let out a warcry declaring "Sell That Punch Before You Go To Your Next Spot" like Waaka Flaka in the "Short Bus Shorty" video but left it for this review.  Devitt will still be a great hand in the years to come and I dug his teasing of his finishing move then hitting it with devastating results, akin to the Smoke Monster blowing through Dharmaville but I can't quite recommend this match due to there are 1,000s of really physical matches out there done by a plethora of different guys and there's probably more realism in them than this one due to just being in character and making the match feel like a fight instead of a collection of spots.

B: Seeing Aoki main event a New Jap show? That as surprising as seeing E.T.'s fetid cock. If the kids from Weird Science used that computer of theirs to make a junior wrestler he'd probably turn out a lot like Devitt.. except perhaps with some sort of tentacle and a better hair-cut. Some of the arm work seemed superfluous like that She-Ra: Princess of Power villian Mantenna's pop-out eyes. Suplex off of guardrail onto floor would make Angelina Love do a semen spit-take. Is Devitt playing Henry Osborne in the Spidey reboot? Aoki rarely bumped and when did all we got were delicate dainty bumps like children organzing their Zhu Zhu Pets collection.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CZW Southern Violence 8/7/10

So, the scarred crew of CZW ventured down south to Lumberton, North Carolina for a show. Unfortunately, nobody got the memo -- it looked like about 18 people showed up to a warehouse that emitted a loud, irritating buzzing sound incessantly throughout the entire show. My friend and blog contributor Geo is the resident CZW fan and said this show temporarily zapped of his will to live it was so awful, bad enough, in fact, to make him even question his tireless hours of devotion to the professional wrestling all these years. After watching it myself, I wonder if it was all a big rib, if he wondered if I'd just blindly agree with him to be polite or something, as truth be told, this was my favorite CZW event of '10 so far. Doing all their events in the old ECW Arena reeks of a tiresome familiarity. This felt, well, fresh isn't quite the word, but even with the odds stacked unevenly against it, it still managed to be an enjoyable show.

1. Rich Swann vs. Drew Gulak - 4

Swann looked actively good in parts of the opener, he's a small, quick guy, mostly ate stuff but did so well, got a big upside if he continues polishing his aerial stuff and making opponents' pedestrian offense look so good. Gulak, on the other hand, is their TV champion, but facially and in terms of build looks like a part-time cashier at Big Lots who dropped out of college but finds excuses to justify it. He ate one of Swann's fancier kicks with pizzazz, doing a face-first pratfall bump but was largely uninteresting.

2. AR Fox vs. Facade - 5

This was really quite good, felt like '06 Shelton Benjamin (Fox) versus '96 Sabu (Facade). Facade is a weird cat, he doesn't look too dissimilar from Thumbtack Jack, a sort of Raven/American Kickboxer hybrid with bad white dude dreads. His entrance was sort of cool, had a random fan hold a blank poster that he tagged with spray paint. Besides two consecutive botches (one by each guy) right near the end this was satisfying. Facade did some Devon Storm-level springboards and stuff including one out on the floor where he leaped off the guardrail, pulling off a "Buff Blockbuster"-like maneuver that ended with a nice splat on the concrete.

3. DJ Hyde & Greg Excellent vs. Team Macktion - 4

I've loathed Excellent's goofiness in the past but didn't mind him so much this time, he's sort of like a less annoying Blue Meanie with bad mall gear. Hyde, bless him, doesn't look the part, with a misshapen head and toady physique, he really should stick to running the company behind camera and not in-front of it. Macktion played good hatable heels, plenty of goofball bumps and theatrics, homoerotic suggestiveness, etc. The finish saw Hyde distracted by the Switchblade Conspiracy allowing the Mack bros. to finish off Excellent.

4. Tyler Veritas vs. Sabian - 2

This was the worst match on the show. Sabian's had that "honor" on several of the CZW events from '10 I've screened. Veritas gave the worst performance of the night. He looks like Michael McGillicutty but has even less charisma. A lot of his stuff came off awkward and unseasoned. The only bit I came away liking was Sabian getting ruthless in the corner and just stomping and pounding the shit out of Tyler.

5. Switchblade Conspiracy vs. Danny Havoc & Scotty Vortekz - 5

Pretty ballsy for such a tiny crowd, all four guys went at it, with Vortekz taking the largest share of gnarly bumps. Scotty would needs lots of Tylenol for the long ride home, as well as an unscratched copy of Slumdog Millionaire for his portable DVD player. Havoc stupidly ate several unprotected chair shots, I'd have cared less, but he didn't even really play up the danger by carelessly not selling them well at all. Sami Callihan is always a treat to watch and was good in this. The match-ending table bump was fucking dope, too.

6. Ryan Slater vs. Adam Cole - 3

This was alright but the middle portion, hell, most of it, just felt listless. Cole's got talent, I've read he recently signed with ROH, so good for him. He's got athleticsm, as displayed here, including a killer suicide dive to the floor. Slater won me over a bit, he's a tiny dude, looking like an amalgam of Thom Yorke and a community college sophomore majoring in political science (wonder if he could teach me about interpretivism or rational choice theory) but despite not looking the part is actually fairly decent in the ring. This just didn't amount to much and my favorite moment was after being attacked by Sabian post-match Cole had the professionalism to sell the neck all the way back to the locker room.

7. Anything Goes: Drake Younger vs. Jon Moxley vs. Nick Gage - 8

This was awesome! I mean, sure, it's wild, bloody, hardcore garbage at its sleaziest but done better than I dare say anywhere else (in the US). Moxley is a personal favorite, one of the guys I most enjoy watching currently in the world, such a dynamic seller and full of personality, he reminds me in part of both Pillman and Piper in the best ways possible. Gage is usually a loud-mouthed asshole, and absolutely has that role down pat, often choosing to just scream "Fuck!" instead of really selling stuff. Drake's real good, too; gained a new respect for him after seeing him live recently at a tiny show, he's full of heart, guts, and the disposition to welcomingly bleed buckets for our pleasure.

All kinds of shit happens here, I won't do a play-by-play, you should really seek it out yourselves. At one point after a dollar bill is unsuccessfully stapled to his cheek you see Gage quickly stuff it into his pocket -- I guess he was thinking McDouble or a bag of Funyuns for the return trip to Philly. My favorite moments happened when this spilled out of the warehouse and outside, you could see in the distance a darkened blood-red skyline above the fields and farmland of North Carolina, a picturesque portrait of poetry amongst the bloodletting and carnage. Younger took a bump on a picnic table and the cameraman zoomed in on the bloodstain he left behind, besides the plasma splattered across the wooden surface, there was what I can only describe as sinewy pieces of flesh meat left on its surface as well in one of the truly most viscerally and visually stimulating images in recent wrestling lore. There's all kinds of fun to be had outdoors, including a particularly irreverent section of roll-ups and chain wrestling on a grassy field. Back indoors, all three men looked like shellshocked, bloodied survivors pulling themselves from the wreckage of a military strike. Gage wins the CZW championship after hitting a nasty piledriver on Moxley, it comes out of the blue, but feels like the perfect ending to one of the wildest matches of the year. Post-match Moxley's bloodstained face tells mountains of depth and story as he silently sobs making his way to the back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Five random matches in the fourth installment of Geo's Random Wrestling Review~!

Tyler Black vs. Steve Corino - ROH Buffalo Stampede 2 6/18/10 - 3

I wouldn't know what to think if I would've paid for a ticket to the show and saw the main event being Steve Corino vs. Tyler Black non-title match -- probably would've felt like this was an omen for the rest of the show. Tyler actually surprised me when he started selling the knee after his 'flippy thing' where he irish whips a guy into the ropes and then does a backflip. The knee would come back into play as Corino kept going after it. Corino can't go as much as he could 10+ years ago, but his stalling and psychology is still there which made the match an interesting watch and not as bad as I thought it would've been. Finish kind of fell flat, but I really can't complain. Corino's performance was decent.

Ikuto Hidaka vs. Ryuji Sai - Z-1 7.28.06 - 5

Fun matchup in the Fire Festival featuring two of my faves. Match started off with some great mat-work that quickly fed into some stiff kick exchanges. Sai was selling the leg after missing a kick on the outside when Hidaka was leaning against the post, which Hidaka exploited with a sweet variation on an roll-through ankle lock. Hidaka was getting his midsection worked over by Sai who completely destroyed his abdomen with consecutive double-stomps. Loved Hidaka's hunched over, out-of-breath selling of the abs. Fun matchup that went about 10 mins.

Delirious vs. Andy Ridge - Pro Wrestling Respect 3/14/10 - 4

Ok, Andy Ridge's selling in this match was intense and awesome for someone with so little exposure. Delirious put Ridge in a half crab leading to Ridge screaming for his life. Really good kicks by Ridge as well.I felt like the crowd didn't know who to cheer for -- the young, up-and-comer, or the experienced veteran. Overall, the match went about 15 mins and saw some great selling by Ridge.

John Morrison vs. Chris Jericho WWE Raw 9/6/10 - 5

Really good for a Raw match. I enjoyed the pairing of Jericho and Morrison. I was shocked to see the bump that Morrison took to the outside -- a flat back bump from over the top rope. The thing that REALLY shocked me was that they were on commercial when they did it. Jericho's methodical style of picking apart Morrison's body was great, and Morrison's selling of the knee was a nice touch to feed into the walls. Impressive Starship Pain by Morrison while situated on the top rope as well. Fun little match.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Steve Austin - WCW Slamboree '94 - 4

I've loved Marc Mero on the Superstars that we've collectively been watching, and Austin's squashes vary from fun to boring, so I figured this would be a good choice. I loved the matwork here. It's great to see Austin working a real ground-based style, countering Mero's moves. Mero's 'uncomfortable' selling while being in holds was great, as were some of the basic bumps Austin was taking. A really slowly built match based on the mat really built up the audience and primed them for the rest of the night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

WWF Superstars- 01/05/1997

Right now me and the fellas are embroiled in our latest endeavor, Superstars 1996 project, watching and ranking each and every match in a mathematical system too lenghty and boring to describe here, suffice to say, it's been a blast. As a bonus, this first ep of said show was found on a disc and with no room to place it on our ballots being it's a new year, I thought I'd bounce it into the blog for a quick review as we sky rocket on up to the 1,000 th post.

1) Pierroth & Cibernetico v. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon- 3
Didn't like the super loose headlock from Furnas but we had the glib tongue of Mil Mascaras on commentary to keep me occupied. Furnas completely burns out and takes a sick bump over the top rope, which itself was cool, but didn't serve much purpose to the match. Sloppy brawl outside then leading to the terrible ref finish, loved how the little guy in stripes shrugged off LaFon's flying body press like someone threw a piece of popcorn at him.

2) Flash Funk v. Salvatore Sincere- 4
2 Cold was having a good time, throwing strange kicks left and right, just generally trying anything that comes to mind, and after watching his Shoot Interview, I know he doesn't think much of HBK, but he totally used one of Shawn's dumpy sideways springboards outside. Sal kept pace well and even tried his own springboard splash which looked like a flamingo hitting a Slip and Slide. Cool moonsault near fall and the 450 always looks cherry.

3) The Sultan v. Matt Hardy- 2
If only Mattitude had his gut back in '97, he wouldn't have lost his lunch after that sick Samoan drop. Easy quick squash but not without it's devastating moments.

4) Freddie Joe Floyd v. HHH- 4
Liked the nice little amateur stuff that started this out, this could have been the genesis of Helmsley's pleasure ride beating on guys under him as he bounced his fists off Floyd's head repeatedly. Started feeling like I was wating in line at Macallister's I saw so many potatoes. Match was determined between a 4 or 5 depending on Smother's sell of the Pedigree, and he totally one kneeed it all the way home.

5) The Undertaker v. The Goon- 2
Goon takes a nice beating, but his punches look as effective as Lisa Simpson's. And what kind of hockey player would charge a guy with a hockey stick holding it like curling bar? Match was quick, probably as long as aging Mr. Calloway lasts with Michelle McCool in the sack.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NHO Hall of Fame Class '10: Inductee #9

Rey Bucanero and Ăšltimo Guerrero

Back in the 2000's it was a dark time for my lucha love affair, we'd rarely get to see stuff, no satellite or Internet downloads to speak of, but still, from time to time, I'd find a way to see some of my beloved lucha libre and Bucanero and Guerrero were always the first guys I was looking for on any tapes I might get my hands on. In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards they won Best Tag Team of the Decade (2000-2009), truly their highest honor amongst hardcore fans, and as a team they won the CMLL World Tag Team Championship a total of three times. In an era when many pundits claimed tag teams were all but dead, south of the border, these two were cementing their legacy as one of the best teams of any era. Guerrero is sometimes referred to as "El Luchador de Otro Nivel", that is, "The wrestler of another level", but I prefer his other nickname better, "El Ultimo de su Especie", or, "The last of his kind." Congratulations guys, you deserve the honor, you're joining your Los Guerreros del Infierno stablemate Atlantis in our prestigious Hall of Fame, and if people aren't familiar with your work already, I hope this will turn some people onto the plethora of performances you bestowed upon us over the last decade.