hey everyone, looks like it's been since July since i've thrown a bunch of random matches in one review, so it's a good time. Seeing as the holidays are fast approaching, I thought after each match i watch, i'll give them a gift to celebrate this wonderful time of year! Oh god, i hope it's not clothes....
1) Keith Walker v. Jun Akiyama (NOAH 06/26/10)- 4
Jun looked tired, like waiting at the airport on a layover. His wispy black hair with streaks of grey, the flab on his stomach, he looked older than George Takei. And he got his ass whipped the entirety of the match, some real hard bumps for a guy so broken down, guess that's the warrior spirit of those guys. Liked the unique finish Jun came up with though, made sense given the monster opponent he was fighting:
Xmas Gift: an 8 pack of Red Bull for the rematch. This match felt like a clothes dryer turned on Low cycle.
2) Ricky Steamboat v. Dustin Rhodes (WCW Sat Night 01/11/93- Match for vacant US Title)- 6
this was as clean of a wrestling match you may ever see, while also employing great techniques that make this sport so interesting. Particularly Steamboat's selling (no surprise) of the damage Dustin was dealing out to his back. They were mis timing some stuff near the end but really cool nearfall with the bodypress. Windham interferes looking like the lost member of Wolfmother and gives Ricky a real nasty DDT on the concrete that reminds me of the one he took from Jake back in 86.
Xmas Gift: A Restaurant gift card, for these two men to go out and share a meal together, as you totall got the sense they were friends and wouldn't mind pontificating about their match over some warm chili or cheese fries.
3) TJP v. Zack Sabre jr (XWX: The Vision) - 7
Loved TJ against Ultimo Dragon from last year, and Sabre already scores points with me by using No Easy Way Out from Rocky. I really enjoyed this though. It was all about European submission style and really hard kicks. Both guys looked really good in both aspects and had some real cool reversals incl. TJP grabbing a sleeper hold off of an armbreaker attempt by Sabre. The announcers were fun to listen to but sounded like Hollywood gossip column writers but instead of celebrities they were namedropping so many wrestlers it was ridiculous. The armbreaker finish felt like they were trying to go MMA, but I was thinking if they wanted this to be authentic, it could just end out of nowhere, then it did so bravo. Also loved TJP's spinning back kicks, very Dennis Siver of him.
Xmas Gift: Electric razors, just in case either man every grows any facial hair.
4) Jon Moxley v. Drake Younger (HWA Uprising, 04/26/08)- 5
This was Moxley-lite and Drake warming up for a late shift at a IHOP later that night. This was perfectly fine wrestling, no real mistakes, nor any thing memorable save a few strikes from Drake and a fun painful suplex on the concrete in front of a row of nightclub rejects seated at tables like boxing judges. I guess you play to your audience, because there was some Eugene-level bad comedy stuff near the end and really tired finish.
Xmas Gift: a bowl of popcorn and a CZW dvd for them to watch, so they can find their intensity again.
5) CM Punk v. Jeff Hardy ( Steel Cage Match, 08/28/09)- 7
This was one of those big WWE main events that has the feeling out stage gutted like a catfish you caught at the lake, but these guys had been battling for a while, so it made more sense here. Hardy was just on fire, the crowd literally in the palm of his hand, teenage girls all over the audience becoming women, growing breasts, getting their 1st period, all in the matter of 20 minutes of this match. Jeff took some nasty bumps, incl. a delayed superplex off the top of the cage and a crotch spot near the end. Punk was great as a heel, seems he was just biding his time in that horrible face ECW stint he had, to become the guy who squirms halfway out the cage door to yell "I'm out! I'm out!"
Xmas Gift: a bottle of extra strength Excedrin and some money, bravo boys
6) Mil Mascaras v. Gran Markus jr.- 5
Markus looked like Jeff Garlin of Curb fame under a mask, but he was kind of awesome. He threw these short uppercuts, like a Pacuqaio shot and everyone connected. Plus he took a hellacious bump that would make Spike Dudley give himself Hari-Kari. Mascaras follows it up with a dive outside, the right way and Markus catches him like Griffey was paid to do for so many years in Cincinnati. The rest of the match was just perfunctory matwork.
Xmas Gift: Contraception, because these guys were laying many geishas that night in Tokyo
7) Ray Stevens/ Nick Bockwinkel v. Bruiser/ Crusher (2/3 Falls, No DQ)- 6
This match features one of the tag teams Brian inducted into our HOF, the champs, Bock & Stevens and rightly so. They are throwing their bodies all over the place like they're starring in Paranormal Activity 3. Their brawny opponents give one images of motor oil, lumberjack flannel jackets and large stogies, but they can also go in the ring. Nothing dynamic but both men can punch and do, with vigor. Bruiser seems more in the game than Crusher, who falls like a Redwood on his sells, but can bleed like he got his head spiked with a Phantasm ball. 3rd fall got a little sloppy, Crusher was looking for the apron and the heels were bumping even more for more weak looking offense than in the 1st fall.
Xmas Gift: Leisure suits, for all of them, just because they look like they would wear them. And possibly a GPS, because they looked sort of lost in that last fall.
8) Dick Murdoch/ Adrian Adonis/ Big John Studd v. Wild Samoans/ Samu (Kiel Auditorium, 84)- 6
I haven't seen an opening to something that was this exciting since "The Way of the Gun." The ropes break though, real quickly, but it doesn't slow the pace down. Murdoch plays off he isn't holding a foreign object, but is fun while doing it. The arm work section by the heels is pretty enjoyable too, the Samoans aren't really a factor at all but the ending fracas could have taken place a Samoan family reunion at your local Ryan's Steakhouse anytime during the 80's. Sign me up.
Xmas Gift: a 24 hour sentence in a video monitored room containing only the following items: one queen size bed, 3 pairs clean underwear, 2 bottles of Jim Beam, 1 package of beef jerky, one issue of Penthouse (March 93 issue) and a portable DVD player containing the Mr. Bean collection.
Happy Holidays from the NHO crew, make sure to eat lots of turkey, exchange lots of gifts and keep watching any and all Carolinas footage you can find, and leave that ECW stuff alone! (good idea for a New Year's Res!)