Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jushin " Thunder" Liger in WCW - Part 3

Final part y'll, have a safe and happy new year!

1) v. Chris Benoit (Starrcade 1995)- 5
Realize watching this that Liger had some stuff he always used in America, the deep armdrags, the somersault plancha outside. Tony mentions Liger has a Saturday Morning cartoon in Japan; and to think we had to sit through Eek the Cat just to get to X-Men. This has been more aggressive than I remembered; to be fair it's been probably 6 years since i've seen this match. The Benoit superplex, damn, ageless like Shakespeare. Really sloppy Ligerbomb near the end; this match felt like it had a great beginning, no middle and a lackluster ending. Funny hearing Dusty as he normally can't even call a hurricanrana spot on commentary; forget about it since this one was botched. Bad booking since this was for company pride and a WCW guy (Taskmaster) cost it for him.

2) v. Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro 05/06/96)- 5
Here's an interesting match; going to give it a second chance. when we did the Nitro project it finished in the 50-100 range but I had it at 120 on my list, me being the lowest on it. Well 3 minutes in and we haven't gotten past the opening ground work, which has been solid, but a lot of the time we're staring at Ric Flair at a dinner complete with candleabras. Liger selling the hell out of a really cool MMA type leglock and the aftersell too; nicely done. And the leg is fine 30 seconds later. CARTWHEEL SOMPA! Just fun to say sort of like "Ass-tastic" Take notes peeps; that's how you complete a plancha. The finish was real strong though, some big moves from Dean.

3) v. Steve Doll (WCW Saturday Night 05/18/96)- 2
If Steve's a doll, you can call him Bloated Armstrong. Tony just mentioned the Cruiserweight Title changed hands on Worldwide; scary. Doll is looking motivated and strangely Liger only completes 2 moves here; a superplex and a flying headbutt. This was quick but fun; Dusty made a weird comment saying "Steve Doll looking for a little relief" while Doll was in control?

4) v. Konnan (WCW Slamboree 1996)- 5
This was all about counters; the crowd wasn't really into much of it, but i found myself just digging them countering each other for 12 minutes; them going to finishers and power moves almost feels false actually. And I think the ending came off flat due to a complete 180 in the story of the match. Check it out if you've never seen Konnan pre-NWO.

5) w/ Kensuke Sasaki v. Scott & Steve Armstrong (WCW Worldwide 05/26/96)- 3
Scott wasn't a bad hand, despite having the physical appearance of a wet mop. Dropkick is better than anything Steve does here. Liger gets in and gets off his token 5 spots; Kensuke just kind of bulls them around and the Hokuto Bomb changed Steve's personality, dear god.

6) v. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Pro 06/15/96)- 4
This was 4 minutes of Liger v. Eddie just going for it; Pretty damn good.

7) v. Billy Kidman (WCW Pro 06/26/96)- 5
Kidman is so tiny here, looks like he should be wrestling for a junior high school instead of a million dollar conglomerate. There's a really cool face push for him here, the Florida fans are digging him and Liger eats it up giving Kidman way more offense than he was going to pre-match, guaranteed. Would have loved to have seen a rematch years later once Kidman figured stuff out

8) v. Shinjiro Ohtani (WCW Prime 07/22/96)- 4
It's a damn crime against humanity this only gets 4 minutes. Ohtani starts feeling it and this is back when his springboards were the prettiest thing in the biz besides a topless Sytch

9) v. Steve Armstrong (WCW Prime 08/05/96)- 2
This has nothing to do with the match but the video quality is pure shit. Armstrong just looked lost, or possibly blitzed, who knows what was going in his personal life. Liger still gives him some spots but they're all pretty mundane

10) v. Rey Mysterio jr (WCW Starrcade 1996)- 6
Think I've reviewed this before, saw this show live on PPV, happened on my birthday so I got it and while it's probably not what a lot of people would expect, still a good watch. Liger is particularly nasty, sort of like a career torturer here, just prolonging the violence as this gets a lot of time. Neither man takes a huge chance here just doing what they do so great. Interesting finish where Rey tries to kick out right at the 3 count.

11) v. Ultimo Dragon (WCW Nitro 12/30/96)- 4
Again, a damn shame this only garners 5 minutes. The Asai here is just too sweet. Tony mentions both men will wrestle at the Dom show just days from now, wish that was on here.

12) v. Juventud Guerrera (WCW Nitro 11/29/99)- 3
Juvi badly injures his arm about 2 minutes in on a shitty dive and it's useless. But, give him credit for really pushing himself as it goes on. This has a lot against it, "Buzzkill" or Roadkill as Heenan calls him is spouting off some ridiculous peace talk and a tequila bottle is the finish. Pass.

13) v. Chris Benoit (WCW Thunder 12/02/99)- 5
Benoit's a roided out monster here. Their chemistry is still there after all these years, the best sequence is a back and forth ending with Benoit eating a Coppo kick in the mouth like a Whopper sandwhich. Juvi was on commentary ripping Liger (which was all true, via his RF shoot we watched years back where he said Liger was unprofessional) but how stupid to be saying Liger didn't cooperate on a dive on national TV. Just idiotic. Really uncreative finish to this killed recommending it unless you're a completist and need to view to finish their epic rivalry.

14) v. Psicosis (WCW Nitro 12/06/99)- 4
Pace just was not there but there were some damn good spots in this, Psychosis just killing himself on big bumps. Magistral cradle finish? Okay, why not

15) v. Silver King (WCW Worldwide 12/25/99)- 5
Kind of a hidden gem. Like how SK comes right out and blasts Liger with a superkick in the face. These guys worked a lot of reversals and were trying to get a Lucha-lite style going. If you can find it watch it.

Bonus v. Great Sasuke (world Wrestling Peace Festival 06/01/96)- 7
I've not seen this show but I could tell it was in front of an American crowd as the first 6 minutes is all technical stuff the crowd hates. It's kind of placecard anyways. You can tell Liger studied because he is in the perfect place for every single Sasuke signature spot. The running senton bomb melts your heart. A good Ligerbomb is a Christmas present for the ocular cavity.

Friday, December 23, 2011

ROH TV 12/18/11

This is the go home show for Final Battle 2011, whcih takes place tonight.

1) Eddie Edwards v. Andy Ridge- 3
They're pushing this as Edwards first match back since training with Dan Severn. If so, Ridge is getting waaaaay too much offense then. Truth shows up on commentary wearing a brown vest that looks like my grandmoter's wallpaper. I guess he's the modern day Bishop Waleran. Edwards work is just as smooth as always; think it would be a fun gimmick to have Jimmy Jacobs go to the Berzerker to train him for a big match.

2) Davey Richards v. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin- 6
This was a match that's worth watching. Sure, they do their opening stuff but it's more to show how freakin powerful Elgin is. But they go to the big stuff fairly soon. Truth looks ridiculous; like Bootsy Collins albinic cousin. Elgin's running fisherman buster outside was a fresh spot that leaves fresh blood. Man, the strike battle between these two is just what I imagined the Superman-Zod fight would have been in Superman Returns....except it didn't happen. ROH TV consistently delivers these big main events; they're not all winners but this one was.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IWA East Coast Masters of Pain '06

1. Crazy Monkey" Jun Kasai vs. "Mr. Insanity" Toby Klein - No Ropes Barbed-Wire Lobster Pit Match - 1
2. Mad Man Pondo vs. "The Deranged One" Coke Hane - Fantastic Four Match - 6

Wait, they just dumped live lobsters into a kiddie pool? WTF!? Where is PETA at when you need them? Not much happened here, the typical rake your opponent's face with a strand of wire spot, etc. Kasai dumps the lobsters out onto the mat and gives Klein a German suplex onto them for the finish. What a waste of a plane ticket. Post-match Jun tossed a lobster across the gym to its death. This is really tasteless. I don't even want to comment on the backstage footage and what 2 Tuff Tony did to a lobster.

What's a Fantastic Four match? No superheroes just different types of fans in each corner of the ring, including your favorites like oscillating, box fan, etc. Hane is a big dude wearing the old outfit of Nailz. Pretty fun crowd brawl with some nice shots (they pulled off one of the handrails from the bleachers and bludgeoned each other) and Pondo wheeling a handicapped man in a wheelchair over and backing it up over Hane's throat. Some of the fan bumps were nice visuals, too; Coke getting his head pushed into a moving blade and it slicing him open, Coke swinging a damned home run swing (any MLB scouts see this?) with a tall fan and nearly decapitating Pondo, and Pondo DDT'ing Hane off the buckles onto four box fans with no fronts lying on four steel chairs, etc. I've seen so many of these low-rent death match tournaments and it's so rare the gimmickry, violence, innovation, and actual competitiveness can actually come across and meld together, you're usually lucky to get one, maybe two of those attributes on display, but I felt these guys exceeded my expectations and helped wipe away the memory of that first repulsive match. Definitely check out the Fantastic Four match just make sure Franklin Richards is already in bed before you turn it on.

3. Corporal Robinson vs. "Psycho Shooter" Drake Younger - Garden of Eden Match - 4
4. JC Bailey vs. 2 Tuff Tony - Fans Bring The Weapons Match - 5

Next up a good bloodletting with all sorts of gardening equipment, garden shears, a weed eater (no, not JC Bailey's homemade pot brownies) that took Robinson 5 min. to get started, a rose bush, and a gigantic cactus. Younger ate a chair shot that surely made him forget his little league baseball team's name. Pretty fun and didn't wear out its welcome although disappointed Younger didn't advance. I liked the post-match promos by both men too.

I'll give the West Virginia fans credit -- they made some outrageous homemade weapons. Tony turns Bailey's forehead into beef jerky than douses it with salt and lemon juice. I heard JC did really good on his test later that week, you know, the hepatitis test? He got two A's, a B, and a C. Announcer sounds like he's on meth and calls 2 Tuff "Toby Klein". All sorts of vile and painful bumps that I won't bother listing but suffice to say if you're into that sort of brutality there's lots on display here. Props to JC, kid deserved better, RIP man, but back then this guy was game for whatever and Tony obliged. Bailey got to kickout of the 2 Tuff Driver onto some light tubes. Pretty creative finish, enough for me to toss it an extra point: they had this huge structure of 20+ chairs outside the ring and were teasing a superplex off of the top onto it, but they fooled us all (and Tony's chiropractor) when Bailey reversed it and superlexed Tony off of the top to the other side onto the concrete! Holy shit, indeed! What a fucking bump. Stay for the post-match replays, too, as the closest camera shot of that bump captures audio that sounds like a whale being tossed off the Eiffel Tower.

5. Semiinal: Mad Man Pondo vs. Jun Kasai - Electrified Lighttubes Match - 5
6. Semifinal: Corporal Robinson vs. JC Bailey - Ghetto Shoes Barefoot Thumbtack Match - 2

Pondo and Kasai started off with some trite lightbulb stuff but Kasai would go on to do one of the damnedest things I've seen in recent years. Kasai did a balcony dive from about 30ft. in the air onto Pondo who was on a table and covered with a whole bundle of electrified lightbulb tubes that were lit up. I must have replayed that damn spot 20+ times. So awesome. Lots of times in these gnarly matches it's hard to correlate and tell exactly what damage came from what bump as everyone ends up so bloody but as soon as Kasai arose from that unreal spot you could see glass shrapnel all over his chest like a supreme pizza overflowing with toppings. Pondo, being the booker of this company, booked himself very strong, he survived that, and later, kicked out of an elaborate spot that should have ended the match, a superplex through an electrified glass log cabin. This had some outrageous moments and I won't soon forget that epic balcony dive.

Next match was sort of middling, it's hard to do much when you're barefoot in a bunch of thumbtacks. The gimmick was you had to climb a ladder to retrieve some tennis shoes that were hung-up "inner-city ghetto" style. The finish was atrocious as Robinson finally gets the shoes then immediately gets beat by a... Russian leg sweep into the 'tacks? Well, post-match he put over JC stealing "my move" and after looking it up the Boot Camp is a Cobra clutch legsweep he does but that still doesn't mean I'll buy it as a believable finish.

7. Da Fucking finals: Jun Kasai vs. JC Bailey - Barbed-Wire Cage/Bed of Nails Match - 4

The Bed of Nails sure didn't look like fun to bump in. At this point both guys were dead and as a result this wasn't much of a match. Some real sloppy stuff, Kasai half-assed it on a few things including a backdrop into the nails and a basic German supelx later. The feel good story would have been Bailey winning it all but Kasai won and never returned to defend his crown although several other BJW guys have competed in later MoP tournaments. Post-match Pondo screams "this is our WrestleMania!". Just let that soak in for a minute...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Queue Slayer #5


1. Krotch/ MsChif v. The Northstar Express Berwyn Street Fight – AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B: #2 J: #2)- 132 pts
2. The American Wolves v. Bryan Danielson/ Tyler Black ROH Tag Title Classic (B: #1 J: #4)- 131 pts
3. Minoru Suzuki v. Yuji Nagata - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #5 J: 1)- 130 pts
4. Yoshinobu Kanemaru v. KENTA NOAH 09/26/10 (B: #4 J: 3) – 129 pts
5. Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Taiyo Kea - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #3 J: 7)- 126 pts
6. Jimmy Jacobs v. Deliroius Markham Street Fight – ROH Tag Title Classic (B: #8 J: #6)- 122 pts
7. Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Yoshihiro Takayama ) NJPW G1 Climax 2003 Semi Final (B: #11 J: #5) – 120 pts
8. Tyler Black v. Jimmy Jacobs ROH The Hunt Begins 04/17/09 (B: #12 J: #11) – 113 pts
9. “Brother” Yasshi/ Shuji Kondo/ Jushin Liger/ Minoru/ Milano Collection AT v. Koji Kanemoto/ Wataru inoue/ Kaz hayashi/ Taka Michinoku/ Tiger Mask IV - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #9 J: # 17) – 110 pts
10. Roderick Strong v. Jay Briscoe - ROH Tag Title Classic 04/18/09 (B: #19 J: #8) – 109 pts
11. Kensuke Sasaki v. Great Muta - - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B: #18 J: #12)- 106 pts
12. Tito Santana/ Ricky Steamboat v. Greg Valentine/ Brutus Beefcake WWF Toronto 04/21/85 (B: #21 J: #9) – 106 pts
13. Toshiaki Kawada v. Shinsuke Nakamura - - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #13 J: #18)- 105 pts
14. Chuck Liddell v. Vernon White UFC 49 (B: #16 J: #16)- 104 pts
15. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa v. Akebono/ 2 Cold Scorpio - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B: #14 J: #20) – 102 pts
16. Eddie Kingston/ Grizzly Redwood/ Brodie Lee v. Incoherance - - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 ( B: #23 J: #14) – 99 pts
17. Strike Force v. Hart Foundation WWF Superstars 11/07/87 (B: #17 J: #23)- 96 pts
18. Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine Steel Cage WWF Baltimore July 1985- (B: #10 J: #30)- 96 pts
19. Yves Edwards v. Josh Thomson – UFC 49 (B: #31 J: #10)- 95 pts
20. Evan Tanner v. Robbie Lawler UFC 50 (B: #6 J: #35)- 95 pts
21. Terry Funk/ Jumbo Tsuruta/ Genichiro Tenryu v. The Destroyer/ Jerry Blackwell/ Ron Bass – AJPW 09/14/82 (B; #15 J: #29)- 92 pts
22. Matt Hughes v. Georges St.-Pierre UFC 50 (B: #24 J: #22)- 90 pts
23. Karo Parisyan v. Nick Diaz UFC 49 (B: #26 J: #25)- 85 pts
24. Osirian Portal v. The Future is Now - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B: #7 J: #45)- 84 pts
25. Bob Sapp v. Jun Akiyama - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B: #28 J: #24) – 84 pts
26. Cheech & Cloudy v. 2.0 v. Super Smash Brothers v. The Unstable - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B: #20 J: #33)- 83 pts
27. Strike Force v. Hart Foundation WWF MSG 11/24/87 (B: #42 J: #13) – 81 pts
28. Austin Aries v. Roderick Strong v. Jay Briscoe v. Kenny Omega - ROH The Hunt Begins 04/17/09 (B: #30 J: #27)- 79 pts
29. Frank Trigg v. Renato Verissimo UFC 50 (B: #43 J: #15) – 78 pts
30. Abdullah the Butcher/ Giant Kimala v. Dory Funk jr/ Katsuhiko Nakajima - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B: #32 J: #26)- 78 pts
31. Austin Aries/ All Night Express v. Kevin Steen/ Player Dos/ Kenny Omega – ROH Tag Title Classic 04/18/09 (B: #27 J: #32) – 77 pts
32. Keiji Muto/ Masahiro Chono v. Satoshi Kojima/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #22 J: #38) – 76 pts
33. Randy Couture v. Vitor Belfort UFC 49 (B: #29 J: #34) – 73 pts
34. Team 3 D v. Chuck Palumbo/ Johnny Stamboli - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B: #25 J: #39)- 72 pts
35. Tito Santana v. Don Muraco WWF MSG 02/20/84 (B: #44 J: #21)- 71 pts
36. David Terrell v. Matt Lindland UFC 49 – (B: #35 J: #31) – 7 0 pts
37. Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine WWF Philly Spectrum 03/31/84 (B: #39 J: #28) – 69 pts
38. Tyler Black/ Dan Lawrence v. House of Truth v. Zero Gravity - AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B: #33 J: #36) – 67 pts
39. Tito Santana v. Rick Rude – WWF Boston Garden 02/11/89 (B#51 J:#19)- 66 pts
40. Riki Choshu/ Manabu Nakanishi/ Takashi Iizuka/ Naofumi Yamamoto v. Giant Bernard/ TARU/ Suwama/ Ro’Z - - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: # 36 J: #37) – 63 pts
41. Danny Daniels v. Trik Davis - AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B: #34 J: #43) – 59 pts
42. Rich Franklin v. Jorge Rivera UFC 50 (B: #38 J: #40) – 58 pts
43. Suwama v. Minoru Suzuki - Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B; #37 J: #44) – 55 pts
44. American Wolves/ Sylvan Grenier v. Bryan Danielson/ Kevin Steen/ El Generico – ROH The Hunt Begins 04/17/09 (B: #41 J: # 41)- 54 pts
45. Ivan Salaverry v. Tony Fryklund UFC 50 (B: #40 J:# 47)- 49 pts
46. Joe Riggs v. Joe Doerkson – UFC 49 (B: #48 J:#46) – 42 pts
47. Togi Makabe/ Toru Yano/ Tomohiro Ishii v. D’Lo Brown/ Tomko/ Bull Buchanan- - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B: #45 J:#50 )- 41 pts
48. Chris Lytle v. Ron Jhun – UFC 49 (B#55 J:#42)- 39 pts
49. Louis Lyndon v. Mason Beck - AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B: #47 J: #52) – 37 pts
50. Don Frye v. Jamal – Wrestle 1 Grand Prix 10/02/05 (B:#50 J:#51)- 35 pts
51. Justin Eilers v. Mike Kyle – UFC 49 (B#52 J: #53)- 31 pts
52. Jimmy Rave/ Claudio Castagnoli v. Colt Cabana/ Brent Albright – ROH The Hunt Begins 04/17/09 (B: #49 J:#56) – 31 pts
53. F.I.S.T & Buck Hawke v. The Colony/ Mike Quackenbush/ Jigsaw - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B#60 J#49) – 27 pts
54. Vin Gerard v. Glacier - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B: #46 J:#64)- 26 pts
55. Marvin Eastman v. Travis Lutter – UFC 50 (B: #54 J:#57)- 25 pts
56. Colt Cabana v. Claudio Castagnoli – ROH Tag Title Classic 04/18/09 (B: #65 J:#48)- 23 pts
57. Tito Santana v. Randy Savage No DQ Match – WWF MSG 04/22/86 (B:#59 J:#55) – 22 pts
58. Shadow Phoenix v. Claudio Castagnoli - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B: #61 J:#54)- 21 pts
59. Jado/Gedo v. Nosawa/ Mazada - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B:#53 J:#62)- 21 pts
60. Masa Fuchi/ El Samurai/ Ryusuke Taguchi v. Kikutaro/ Nobutaka Araya/ Akira Raijin – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome 01/04/07 (B#58 J:#58)- 20 pts
61. Chandler McClure/ Knight Wagner v. Colt Cabana/ Derek St. Holmes - AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B#57 J#60)- 19 pts
62. Eric Young v. Robbie E – TNA Xplosion 12/03/10 (B#56 J#61)- 19 pts
63. Shark Girl v. Sara Del Ray - Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B#62 J:#59)- 15 pts
64. Arik Cannon v. Flip Kendrick - AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B#63 J:#63) – 10 pts
65. Samuray Del Sol v. Jordan McEntyre – AAW Scars and Stripes 07/10/10 (B#64 J:#65)- 7 pts
66. UltranMantis Black v. Create-A- Wrestler – Chikara “The Bobliographan 04/26/09 (B: #66 J:#66)- 4 pts
67. Tito Ortiz v. Patrick Cote – UFC 50 (B: #67 J:#67)- 2 pts



After watching countless hours of footage, both diverse and unique to my eyes, going to share my thoughts on the top 5 or so matches and the bottom 5.

Nagata v. Suzuki was just crazy, both guys are masters of in match psychology and facial expressions to get over the story they’re telling. They had a really fun fight on this year’s Wrestle Kingdom, I believe, but this bout was a title match, feeling more important and was a bloody fight to the end. Violent suplexes, bone breaking locks and just so much fun to be had. The Berwyn Street Fight was insane, MsChif is quickly becoming my favorite female performer, she’s really rough, and sells great, this bout went outside in front of the arena, where people were moonsaulting and hitting northern Lights suplexes on the grassy knoll.

The Noah Junior title match was all that you would expect of this talent pool, NOAH has been on the decline in the eyes of the Japanese (and most wrestling forum trolls) but this had every nuance of a big title match and Kanemaru again shows he’s possibly the most underestimated worker in the Land of the Rising Sun. The ROH Tag Title bout was a marathon of epic proportions, 45 minutes total and showed why all 4 men are destined for greatness, at least in work rate. Black was kind of the black eye though, as he worked this one the same as every other match I’ve ever seen him in. The way they broke it up into different sections plus the crazy way it finished up really put it over the top for me.

Tenzan v. Takayama could have been really mediocre, but both guys really pushed themselves and this was a fight that easily could have been the Finals of the G1 and Tenzan especially showed his singles wares. The Markham Street Fight (seeing a pattern here?) had so much story already built into it all they had to do was give a spirited brawl and this would have been great; but they went over the mark, especially the in ring stuff was among the best on this show which featured so much good wrestling.

As for the bottom of the barrel, Tito v. Cote was the main of this centennial MMA card and it stunk the joint out. Cote just never tried to pull the trigger despite the shit he talked and hype he had and Tito showed while he was dominant during his big title run, he was a total lay and pray fighter. God this hurt my soul. Ultramantis Black does not a damn thing for me, even though most of the Chikara-ites adore him. He was fighting, I guess, the representative of the plain dude you can make on pro wrestling games? Could you think of a more stupid gimmick ever? And god that match dragged. AAW proved they could compete with the worst of the worst in Indy while providing a great street fight later on in the card. Samuray just blew, trying to pretend to be a Japanese ninja while obviously being a lazy pockmarked dude who was tired of working the movie ticket counter and started wrestling. Arik Cannon can be good in certain situations but this was not one of them. And Glacier’s big return to Chikara I wanted to like but was just too underwhelming, had the pace of the Tortoise racing the Hare and Gerard who has charisma really couldn’t do too much worthy of watching here.


Hey everyone! Wow. Another Queue Slayer in the history books. I actually finished all this footage a few weeks back so I'm not as fresh on it as Jessie. It was a diverse lot.

We saw something like 7-8 selections for this one. The Tito Santana "Hall of Fame" stuff from WWE 24/7 was fun with some grizzly Valentine work always a plus. Think my favorite was their cage match from Baltimore '85 as I just loved the finish. Tito kicking that cage door in Valentine's snout. Chikara show wasn't that great, I tend to enjoy their stuff in the quirky, weird little venues they tour, but this show was in the old ECW Arena, and while that works for CZW, it doesn't really fit with their image. AAW, I've seen some pretty strong shows of theirs, this wasn't one of them, although it ended up with the surprise #1 of the whole project, a really wild, totally fun, Berwyn Street Fight! I loved it.

ROH we did two shows that were actually packaged on one massive DVD titled Double Feature II featuring (supposedly) the best matches off of two Canadian events. I actually liked the bulk of it. 4+ hours of ROH can seem like a haul to some but I've always enjoyed spinning their dense discs when I get a spare hour and this provided a few "must see" selections, namely the epic American Wolves vs. Danielson/Black 45+ min. tag masterpiece (might be slightly overstating it but it was a tasty ride), Jacobs and Delirious' Markham Street Fight, etc. Let's see -- what else? WRESTLE 1 was an outlandish short-lived co. but this was a riot. Then there's the '07 Tokyo Dome which featured a great second-half and of all the big bouts I really liked Tanahashi and Kea throwing bombs. The two UFC events were decent with some quick finishes which is always a treat, a Couture fight that wouldn't appease the bar crowd but I liked, and a few outright stinkers. Overall, a ton of fun, and Queue Slayer #6 is shaping up to be the biggest and best ever.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Complete WCW run of Jushin Liger: Disc 2

1) v. Brad Armstrong (WCW Saturday Night 07/18/92)- 4
This felt like playing the 1st stage of a video game over and over again. So you would think, both guys knowing they are going to a 10 minute draw you wouldn't just do meaningless leg work for the whole bout right? Brad doesn't do much for the gerricurl look nor for making a case about being a legend. I mean the ground work, the armdrags the timing of both men, great, but Brad is as dynamic as plastic wrap.

2) v. Chris Sullivan (WCW Power Hour 08/08/92)- 2
Sullivan throws punches like Punky Brewster and he's balding worse than Hogan. Liger powerbombs him for no good reason about 3 minutes in and doesn't even cover. Sullivan should have watched less Hill Street Blues reruns and more Liger tapes so he would know how to actually sell some of Liger's marquee shit.

3) v. Jimmy Garvin (WCW Main Event 08/16/92)- 1
This barely went 4 minutes and nothing happened. Garvin came out and primped for a few seconds but he did pull off a pretty stiff slam. Liger kind of went for the finish out of nowhere in what was a really bizarre turn of events.

4) Liger & Erik Watts v. Sting & Dr. Death (WCW Starrcade)- 5
I've watched and reviewed this once before, the Liger v. Sting stuff is some really fun work, there's a lot of combos in this strange match but each one feels like it goes exactly as it should.

5) Liger & Kensuke Sasaki v. Ricky Steamboat/ Shane Douglas (WCW House Show Philadelphia, PA 12/29/92)- 6
This was a pretty cool match, went about 20 minutes and is that rare face v. face match at this point in history. The cool thing is this crowd turned on the champs (Dragon & Douglas) and just loved the Japanese team, Liger was really playing it up too. Everything basic in this looked really great, kicked off by a slam from kensuke that rattled the whole ring and gave Steamboat a look on his face like he just bounced off a trampoline onto an elephant tusk. There was some great nearfalls close to the end of the bout too where you thought a title change could happen. Video quality wasn't the best unfortunately but never where you couldn't see the action.

6) v. Ultimo Dragon (WCW/NJP SuperShow 3)- 7
Tell me you've seen this match. This sport is all about presentation a lot of times and Liger in his purple outfit and Dragon in the gold made these guys look like superstars. Love the table spot later on, it's not botched because it doesn't break, it's more painful and unexpected from a juniors match. Both guys are breaking out all their faves here, powerbombs, brainbusters and was treated like a huge puro main event. Dragon's look of disbelief after the bout was a little silly considering he was pinned but seemed fine after it was over though.

7) v. Brad Armstrong (WCW Worldwide 05/18/95)- 3
they broke out the quick armdrags again and this was probably the first time Brad had been relevant in quite some time. Tony mentions Armstrong's been wrestling a long time but that's about all he could say about his career. The coppo kick looked like a blast from a .90 magnum. Finish was shocking to say the least but can't give it too much originality because they used the same spot 3 years earlier.

8) v. Brian Pillman (WCW Nitro 09/04/95)- 5
This match is pretty historic, and finished pretty well in our Best of Nitro project last year. It seemed to be a polarizing match among readers but I still enjoyed this. Liger was coming off a year layoff and his timing is really off. But both guys have enough chemistry together that they pull something entertaining out of this. The announcers seem to be oblivious to any moves these guys have done because the hurricanrana spot made Bischoff blow a gasket.

9) v. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Main Event 10/01/95)- 5
I liked this as it got more time than the Pillman Nitro match and seemed more like both men just feeling each other out for about 12 minutes. One thing that stuck in my crawl was everything here seemed really low impact, even powerbombs which should never be. Their timing seemed much more natural than he and Pillmans did and that helped make this feel effortless, and apparently this was Eddie's debut here. An interesting caveat is Liger is way less protected during this run than in '92.

10) v. Barry Houston (WCW Pro 11/18/95)- 3
Who the hell is Barry Houston and why did he try a plancha and hit a Northern Light suplex on Liger on the floor?! This was a fun quick ride and Houston took some rough falls too. Liger started playing up his heel persona and I loved the Gene Simmons closeup after match

11) v. Bobby Starr (WCW Pro 12/16/95)- 1
Starr is grosser than Oscar the Grouch's pubic hair. And he's a ginger. Liger doesn't waste much time with him but does give him a bodyslam spot.

12) v. Skip Brown (WCW Worldwide 12/17/95)- 2
Skip's nickname is apparently "Sugar" I can't imagine anyone wanting a lick of that. Why do all these guys working Liger try crossbodys on him? I don't know or care but I love seeing it. Liger's headbutt looks like a moose being thrown from a commercial airliner.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Swedish Chet and Chef Jablonski

WWE Tribute for the Troops 12/13/11

1. Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett - 4
2. Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger – 2
3. Maria Menounos/Eve Torres/Kelly Kelly/Alicia Fox vs. Bella Twins/Natalya/Beth Phoenix – 3

4. Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes – 4

5. Epico/Primo vs. Air Boom – 4

6. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre – 3

7. John Cena/CM Punk/Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio/The Miz/Mark Henry – 4

Liked the physicality of the opener even if it had a "fuck finish" to set up their PPV match later that week. Ryder gets another squash and former champ Swagger looks like a jackass. Women's match kept short and Menounous comes off bigger than the Divas. Surprised champ Phoenix had to take the fall, though. Bryan sold his rib damage well but not as good as their past work and finish was a lame roll-up due to Booker T interference (although Booker and Cody's little skirmish post-match looked good and gave me hope for their match at TLC '11). Nice to see the heels go over clean, especially on a Tribute to the Troops show, since heels rarely win here, either Bourne being further punished for smoking fake pot or creative is actually behind the new duo. Either way I'm happy. Quick Sheamus squash but stiff -- need more McIntyre on my TV. Main event was fun, you could tell those guys were enjoying themselves, which in part, helps you enjoy it more. Finish run was hot with a bunch of big moves but disappointed to see Henry, who's been booked so strong and never pinned, beat twice in the span of 8 days on TV. This was the first year I fast-forwarded over all the patriotic pandering -- does that make me a bad American?

TNA Impact Wrestling 12/15/11

1. Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles - 4
2. Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles - 2
3. Scott Steiner/Abyss vs. Rob Terry/Hernandez –3
4. Zema Ion vs. Anthony Nese – 3
5. Jesse Neal vs. Gunner - 1
6. Samoa Joe/Magnus vs. Douglas Williams/Robbie E – 3
7. Madison Rayne vs. Traci Brooks – 2
8. Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray – 3

Opener was the five-minute restart we should have gotten on the PPV after their time-limit draw. It was actually a really damn good 5 min. with the highlight being AJ somehow hitting the Pelé kick from out on the floor on Roode while he was standing in the ring. Second "match" was really just a restart after nobody won but Bobby just took out Styles' leg from behind and made him tap. Not much as a standalone segment but in portraying Roode as despicable creep great. Next was the first of a new "Wild Card" tag tournament -- think a neutered Lethal Lottery. Steiner continues quietly being one of the best things about watching TNA. Nice to see Ion and Nese get a little TV time too bad the match blew. Zema going heel seems rushed and forced.

Neal's final TNA appearance as he got canned and they don't even let Gunner get a pin? Gunner gets a DQ but does DDT Jesse on the concrete floor which brought back memories of Roberts and Steamboat. Nice seeing Joe booked somewhat strong as he was a monster here, and I liked Magnus showing some backbone pre-match backstage telling Joe he didn't need friendship either. Rayne finally gets a win after losing all her credibility post-championship run. Brooks looks like a nightmarish evil scientist creation. Main event didn't even break 5 min. and didn't resonate at all. As soon as banged up Hardy returned all of Ray's push sizzled out. It took two Twist of Fates to finish him but he was still squashed here. My favorite segment was easily Eric Young finding out his partner in the Wild Card tournament was ODB backstage and their banter together, ODB flapping her own tits, "You like these?", etc. just comedic gold.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Complete WCW run of Jushin "Thunder" Liger: Disc 1

This is another part in the ongoing love saga I've had with Liger for years. I watched and reviewed most of his 8 disc Japanese stuff and now am on the WCW years. I'm a huge WCW mark, miss the promotion immensely so this is going to be a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy the ride and Merry Christmas

Disc 1

1) v. Akira Nogami (WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991)- 3
This is like a time machine for me; this match was the first I'd ever seen of Liger, albeit this looks clipped as I've seen this several times since. One nice touch is Jim Ross doing commentary and giving some backstory. Nogami shoots Spidey webs at the beginning for no apparent reason. I remember the music he used here, loud thumping Japanese gong beat, so classic. Not much here but in this small time Liger goes high risk, begins a story of selling his leg and pulls off a crazy DDT from the top rope

2) v. Chris Benoit (WCW Saturday Night 12/07/91)- 7
This aired on Sat. Night but took place in Japan, may have even been on the original Liger review. Was Benoit nuts already? Perez Hilton may think so with those eyesore tights. This has a real measured pace, and again, the added bonus of JR calling the action. Loved how he always called matches "contests" gave it that authentic feel. Some really mean submissions that would look rough in Stu hart's dungeon and they just trade them like kids did those Pokemon cards back in the late 90's. Damn, late match back suplex added to Benoit's ruptured psychosis. Both guys are so dynamic and there's a reason I and I think most fans would rather watch these guys bouts over and over again as opposed to more pimped Dynamite Kid-TM stuff. Man the way it built up to the end was a thing of beauty, like those Torrie Playboy nudes.

3) v. Brian Pillman (WCW The Omni, 12/25/91)- 2
We got the last 2.5 minutes of a 16 minute match, which unfortunately wasn't a lot to get a feel of. I didn't care for the heatless ending to what looked like a pretty exciting bout, funny thing about the business where this was Liger's big WCW debut and it wasn't even on tv.

4) v. Brian Pillman (WCW Event East Rutherford, NJ 12/27/91)- 5
I could recommend this on oddity alone; first off sounds like Paulie D and some other Jersey Shore jerkoff are doing commentary, dropping references to wrestling Observer newsletter and such. This feels like a feeling out match for these two as they play on the mat for a good part then they start working out timing spots. The crowd is pretty responsive to a lot of it too. Finish was a cop out but Liger actually broke out the Asai which was pretty nuts

5) w/ Bill Kazmaier v. Mike Graham/ DDP (WCW Starrcade 1991)- 3
6) Double Ring Battle Royal (WCW Starrcade 1991)- N/C
I've reviewed both of these matches before; the Battlebowl tag was just an oddity, and I really don't know who was driving this train; Liger i guess? Graham seemed to have filled his quota of pay per view time but sucking up nearly the whole match; what a gross looking human. The battle royal was clipped until Liger was eliminated and you can't really grade that

7) v. Brian Pillman (WCW Superbrawl 2)- 7
We've all reviewed this show back in the early NHO days and i think 1992 Jushin Liger is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time; Pillman of 92 wasn't far behind. There wasn't really any feeling out here, they just went at it. It felt like a recording at the Dudesons house because both guys just kept trying to one-up each other and it made this a classic. Seek it out, fuck, watch that whole Super Brawl 2 show and bask in it.

8) w/ Brian Pillman v. Chris Benoit/ Beef Wellington (WCW Clash of the Champions 19)- 7
9) w/ Brian Pillman v. Ricky Steamboat/ Nikita Koloff (WCW Great American Bash 1992)- 8

This Clash match was a great matchup, which Ross acknowledges. Benoit and Liger we know of their history but Pillman and Wellington knew each other from Stampede and it all shines. Liger and Benoit hit each other hard, a lariat from Benoit sounded like it made Jim Ross choke on his brisquet sandwhich. Wellington bumped like he was from Stu hart's dungeon. Ventura almost like product placement repeats over and over there are no mats on the outside because both teams repeatedly dive out but as it's done, it builds up and is better each time. Beef went limp on Liger on few setups but take a good look near the end of the bout when Pillman and Benoit go outside and chop the living flesh out of each other; god damn it was brutal.

Our next bout we all screened at our attempt at watching 24 hours of wrestling last year in full and I remember the bout being a standout among a tremendous show in GAB 1992. This match really blew most of my expectations out of the water. Looking at this match, you would think Koloff would be the weak link but he fits very well in amongst all these legendary workers; in fact I would argue Nikita is the most expressive of everyone in this bout, playing up his hurt arm, surprise at their opponents overcoming them, etc. Liger goes on an offensive flurry of great nearfalls on steamboat that was one of the most exciting of this bout. Everyone holds their own here and the crowd keeps wetting their pants over and over. see this now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

PWG Battle of Los Angeles '07 Night 3

1. Roderick Strong vs. Joey Ryan (Block A Quarterfinal) - B: 4 J: 4

Brian: I had the same reaction to this as I did reading Sasha Grey had retired from porn to be an "actress". Kind of a nothing opener although they did keep the intensity up during its short duration. With that ridiculous hair Ryan looks like a '70's stoner older brother who "lives" in the garage behind his parents' house. Fairly unobjectionable for 7 min. but forgettable.

Jess: Speaking of Sasha, hear she got into some trouble reading to a class of 3rd graders last week. I liked the pop on a lot of the moves, gave it something more than a nothing opener and I liked Roddy’s finishing stretch but god damn Ryan looks like a complete freak.

2. Alex Shelley vs. Matt Sydal (Block A Quarterfinal) J: 5 B: 5

Jess: Surprised how much ground work this match had, as we know Shelly is a mat- adore, follows all styles but even Sydal got into the mix, like a mom caught up in her daughter’s Twilight obsession. This is one of those smartly paired bouts where both guys are small, so you don’t notice it against each other. One spot near the end had a superkick that actually stood out nowadays, as on a PWG show you roughly see 15-20 of them any given night.

Brian: Shelley had a great little facial at one point where he sat-up and looked like a kid in bed that was just forced to get up in the morning. Wonder what Gotch and Thesz would think about these guys' goofy trunks as Shelley looks like an extra from Cyborg. Alex catching Bourne mid-rotation with an Ace Crusher looked much better than when Randy Orton did it on Raw.

3. PAC vs. Claudio Castagnoli (Block B Quarterfinal) - B: 2 J: 2

Brian: Claudio tossed PAC higher than Luigi can jump. Not sure why Mario got the princess when Luigi was taller, thinner, and more skilled. Didn't really get a sense either of these guys cared a ton about moving forward in the BoLA. Match came off flatter than January Jones' performance in X-Men: First Class. PAC got the victory with British Airways after a convoluted set-up.

Jess: Mario= Confidence. Haha, good question. Claudio was going through the motions like he did working the Auntie Anne’s counter at his part time job. I thought seeing you give this a “2” I would like it much more but this was just vapid.

4. CIMA vs. SHINGO (Block B Quarterfinal) - J: 4 B: 5

Jess: You would think this goes into DG overkill, but no, not at all. There’s something about this crowd, not sure if they’re trying to pretend to be a Japanese one but it’s deader than Jason Todd. Liked some of the submission stuff thrown in, but I didn’t buy Cima as Shingo’s equal in strength (see shoulderblock spot) Nothing real memorable but solid

Brian: I liked this better. The student and the teacher. Well, in that CIMA teaches, and SHINGO was inevitably taught at some point. How's that for the old curveball, eh? With the NBA on lockout I've got to get my sports itch scratched somehow. I did dig the story here though. CIMA targets SHINGO's injured arm, trying to eliminate SHINGO's advantage, that being the power game. SHINGO eventually fights through the pain and goes on a nice offensive stretch and it looks like CIMA is on the verge of losing only to pull of an ultra-slick roll-up to survive and move forward.

5. Nigel McGuinness vs. Necro Butcher (Block C Quarterfinal) - B: 6 J: 5

Brian: Going into this I wasn't expecting to recommend it but for an under 10 min. match this was exactly what you wanted it to be. Unlike Steen the previous night Nigel had no problem mauling Butcher. McGuinness took all Butcher doled out then reciprocated by kicking a chair into Butcher's shins, giving him a a snapmare into the guardrail (love the innovation), etc. Then in the ring we got a concussion party which is always lovely. Liked the psychology of the ending where Butcher's leg was too damaged that he couldn't get the Choose Death off onto the chairs so ended up falling prey to Nigel who suplexed him right onto the steel concoction. Nigel hit Necro so hard with a lariat the first few rows got a contact high.

Jess: I wasn’t either, but this was a concept match where everything laid out is going to make sense, not a usual PWG bout where guys get 15 mins to just fuck around with any kind of layout they want. Nigel was brutal in that cold way, not where he’s playing it up with the crowd, he’s just doing the damn thing. Necro shows here he has a Foley-esque sympathetic quality he should use more. This was violent and fast paced, good bout.

6. El Generico vs. Dragon Kid (Block C Quarterfinal) - J: 6 B: 4

Jess: Generico has been on a streak of fighting all these great masked guys from Japan, add another to the list. This is what you expect but without the vomit feeling in your throat when they won’t end it. Dragon’s series of nearfalls is some of the most believable pinfalls of the tourney, where you know he wants to win this damn thing. The energy was palpable, like a Childish Gambino performance. And Generico liked being the bigger dude, his somewhat questionable offense made perfect sense finally.

Brian: Generico's histrionics bring to mind a Daniel Johnston superhero doodling. This only went 8 min. so it's tough to recommend given that it felt like a pretty good first one-third of a match. Generico's size did play a factor as he was busting out some mean stuff he usually doesn't get to utilize including some nasty backbreakers, etc. Kid tried to counter a top rope brainbuster into a stunner in mid-air but caught the back of his legs on the top rope on the way down and nearly got paralyzed -- really scary bump. Jessie was mentioning Kid's nearfalls, but he only got two, both in the last 90 seconds of the match, and when you've seen guys in ROH spend 40+ min. trying unsuccessfully to put Generico away I never really bought into him being in any kind of trouble.

7. Roderick Strong vs. Alex Shelley (Block A Semifinal) - B: 5 J: 6

Brian: I'm very excited about this. Two former Generation Next stablemates squaring off? Fucking forget about it. Instant classic. Alright, well, let me cool it down and actually watch the damn thing. Really nice sequence early with lots of countering of each guy's trademarked convoluted shit. I can buy Alex as a guy who studies ROH on his cell phone while riding public transit. Shelley eats one chop in the corner and gives a cantankerous expression like Mr. Wilson after eyeing Dennis the Menace pissing through the fence onto his garden. Bad camera shot on the finish as Shelley had a apathetic blank stare on his face like I did while sitting in the theater watching Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Jess: Yeah had the same feeling and both guys start this thing really confident, like the way they moved into sequence back to back just felt on a higher level than anything else so far. Shelly shoots off submission attempts like most guys do highspots these days, or for a more universal description, like Miley Cyrus drinks bongwater. Shelly is a perfect foil for those chops and even though Roderick has a face like he’s waiting for his popcorn to pop in the microwave, the brutality he dishes out is just nuts. I had a lot of fun watching this and I think since they weren’t in ROH they didn’t care about overkill at the end. Someone douse this crowd with huge water hoses, and wake them up.

8. CIMA vs. PAC (Block B Semifinal) - J: 5 B: 6

Jess: I saw this match years back on the huge best of PWG put out and it’s not the best match on this show. This is Cima at his finest. Experience is still worth something as you can see him orchestrating the music they are playing here. Pac is a great foil for him though because he can fly and twist any way you want him to. Some really good near falls (not as good as Elgin-O’Reilly from ROH Survival of the Fittest 2011) but still intense. He played every scene right here, when he was on offense, went for the win, on defense, struggling and frustrated, just dug the hell out of him here; he’s become one of my few highlights watching a DG show these days.

Brian: CIMA is a genuine maestro -- seeing him live this year at a DGUSA show was a real treat for me. Nowadays PAC is one of Dragon Gate's big stars and you'd have to assume working him here CIMA was certainly impressed. PAC going for lots of quick covers made sense. A big difference between PAC and say a guy like Jack Evans is PAC has a way of making stuff like corkscrewy splashes look impactful and not just flashy. I love the staggering selling of CIMA -- looks like a drunken hobo stumbling around San Francisco. Finish was pretty sick too. One of the first matches to really pull me in as a fan into the drama of the tournament setting.

9. El Generico vs. Nigel McGuinness (Block C Semifinal) - B: 5 J: 5

Brian: Some perfunctory arm work to begin. A male fan in the crowd literally fans Nigel as he takes a breather until it takes a turn for the creepy when McGuinness begins pulling open his trunks and scares the poor guy away. Generico does a flip off of the top that called to mind Bryan Fox and myself somersaulting over fences from one backyard to the next halfway down my block one raucous New Year's Eve. These guys had some hard-fought classics in ROH but this is the neutered version. Still had some sweet moments, Generico selling the arm damage late was gritty and realistic, like a Batman graphic novel, and Nigel kicking out after a brainbuster was a killer nearfall.

Jess: These two have had some awesome title matches in ROH and they kind of work that here, except with none of the drama. I’m sure that guy asked for Nigel’s number later after the show. I thought all that arm work would have led somewhere but Generico seemed just fine. I thought the brainbuster was a little ugly though, and when Nigel can’t get the bounce out of the ropes on the rebound lariat you wonder what you’re watching. Still, these two have enough spots between them to work a functional and entertaining match; one of the more over with the crowd too.

10. Chris Hero, Kevin Steen, Tyler Black, Doug Williams, Susumu Yokosuka & Jack Evans vs. Austin Aries, Jimmy Rave, The Human Tornado, Scott Lost, Davey Richards & Karl Anderson - J: 4 B: 4

Jess: (sigh) you know this was just for fun as soon as it started. But the fun wears out after the 15 minute mark and they just kept right on going like the Road Runner avoiding a dynamite patch set by that Coyote. When you see Evans and Lost trading spin flip kicks, you think you just turned on the latest in the Step Up movie series. If Hero’s the knockout Kid, how come he can’t knock anyone out without throwing 70 shots at their face? The crowd was sooo different from most indy crowds as they didn’t even shit on Machine Gun botching his flip over the top rope. Smartly, they work over Evans for a good chunk and while it’s hard to stand out in this, Richards did, as a guy who’s actually trying to win. He locked in on several targets like a missile and just destroyed them. I always enjoy a good multi man dive spot, just to see who plays the Danny Doring in the scene (first it was Aries, then Black) There’s so much talent here but this kind of match plays much better when you’re there live to experience it than to rewatch on DVD as it has no substantial value or meaning.

Brian: Lost sold everything like he just pulled his groin on his first attempt at snowboarding. I liked the Aries and Yokosuka sequence; it helped get Austin booked in Japan a few dates. Evans' work looked rougher than singer Seal's face. I wish we would have gotten more Jimmy Rave being a bastard (i.e. him posing on Evans during a pin like he was Billy Graham). Anderson was half-bald here surely there's an obscure fetish for that. Four of the twelve guys are working in t-shirts. Stay classy Reseda.

11. CIMA vs. Roderick Strong vs. El Generico (Finals - Triple Threat Elimination) - B: 6 J: 6

Brian: In PWG we've seen a lot of three-way matches, including people being plugged into them (RVD comes to mind) mindlessly, but this felt freshly organic. Chaos is usually germane to this sort of match but given the circumstances it seemed even more fitting. I liked that CIMA had some of his crew with him at ringside similar to cornermen at a UFC fight. Some blatant "ring talk" by CIMA to Roderick after the Mad Splash was unfortunate. Generico fucking killed Strong with a brainbuster on the apron! What a landing. Then CIMA hit Generico with the Schwein on the apron. This is getting ballsy. Generico's eating heaping helpings of offense like Adam Richman eats a 5 lbs. omelette. CIMA beat Strong with the Crossfire to win. The finish run wasn't overdone and while they could have tried to push it further the crowd was on the fringe of overkill and reacted well to CIMA's big win. CIMA certainly came off as an ace and one of the stronger competitors throughout the tournament so him winning is a decision I support.

Jess: Two great things about this, first all 3 dudes were tired as hell, with bloodshot eyes and looked physically worn down like they spent the afternoon inside Room 23 by the Others. 2nd, this was done like a 4 minute 3 way you may find on Raw where everyone is just going for broke hitting all their top shelf stuff because they don’t have much time except here they had like 14 minutes so it all stretched out really well. The series of apron bumps midway through were the sickest of the tournament, esp. Roddy’s; he bounced like a Four Square ball after I Cherry Bombed it in grade school. Generico got some heat back by taking multiple finishers and the ending, as brian stated never got ridiculous; I just didn’t care for the weak ass power bomb that won it but I’m totally cool with the outsider win, nice bit of booking.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ECWA 15th Anniversary Super 8 4/30/11

1. ECWA & TWA OPEN INVITATIONAL Over the Top Rope BATTLE ROYAL!!! feat. "Hitman" Tony Stetson, Kid America, "Heavyweights" Dan Eckos & Sean Royal, Black Panther, AHTO, JJ Crew Guy, "Pitbull" Timothy Richards, Mozart Fontaine, CUJO the Hellhound, Mr. Ooh La La, Russian Assassin, "Living Legend" Larry Winters - 4

I've always had a soft spot for a battle royal and while typically not a place to spotlight in-ring talent (usually it's a lot of punching and not much else) they're usually fun. The average independent wrestler in 2011 looks a lot different than one, from say, 1993 and a lot of the guys in this looked like they'd be right at home on a grainy VHS bootleg of a '95 show in a school gym. Wait, is that Stetson from the original Eastern Championship Wrestling? Wow. Even with the older, less athletic guys being in the majority, I was still surprisingly entertained by this, if you can't bring compelling drama, at least let us, in some way, know that you (the performers) are having fun and I sensed it here. Mr. Ooh La La was ludicrous and I thank him for it.

Tammy Sytch comes out looking like one of those "teachers" from the porno where a student screws the professor for a grade (don't act like you haven't downloaded one of those before). Sunny crowns each sociopath entrant into the Super 8 with an Olympic-looking red, white, and blue lanyard with a crummy coin dangling off of it as they shake her hand and admire her sex hair. I wouldn't mind seeing her oil SHOCKWAVE the Robot's joints. I love this venue -- looks like that hangar level from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (but with better lighting). So, who's going to win this year? It's really hard to say offhand but I'm guessing not Bobby Shields.

2. "New Horror" Sami Callihan vs. Adam Cole - 7

I loved this. Great way to start with two of the upcoming stars of the scene. Guys who have both got seasoning in CZW, ROH, EVOLVE, etc. Just outstanding selling by both men throughout. I really bought into Cole after suffering a manhandling rallying with everything he had to try to put away his insane opponent. One bad botch I'd be remiss not to mention was Cole cutting off a suicide dive with a jumping kick that whiffed more than Sunny when she found that turd Scott Hall left in her travel bag. Still, overall, this was a damn fine way to start off the tournament and I'll be interested as I go back through all of these Super 8's to see if one ever kicked off so juicy.

3. Bobby Shields vs Austin Aries - 5

Sheilds looks like Ryan Howe from Tough Enough. Commentary spends large chunk of time whining about how Aries can't break through the "glass ceiling" and get into the WWE. Maybe if he was six years younger and 18 inches taller. And not an asshole. Bobby slips hopping up on the ropes, looked like he was attempting a Sliced Bread #2, bigger mistake than Jessie incorrectly calling a Genghis Frog action figure in my bathroom "Mondo Gecko". I don't think Eaton would take too kindly to this Bobby using the "Beautiful" moniker. They did a good job of playing up arguably the #1 vs. #8 seed dynamic with Austin being the assumed favorite -- gave some added drama whenever Sheilds would get a near-fall.

4. Rich Swann vs. Tommaso Ciampa - 5

I got to hang out with Swann a months ago in my hometown and he was really cool. I'm a full-on fan now. Ciampa needs a better look (looks like a tiny Horshu now) but definitely has some skills. Rich takes a nasty front-layout suplex bump on the wooden ringsteps. Swann's moonsault off of the apron ended up looking more like the Pelé Kick as he drilled Tommaso in the face. Tommaso's Project Ciampa II finisher looked ill. Another good match.

5. SHOCKWAVE the Robot vs. Shiima Xion - 4

SHOCKWAVE comes out looking like a VR Trooper. If Robot can allegedly download the style of any wrestler into his mainframe I wish he'd get more Buddy Rose or Butch Reed and less Mike Sydal. Kind of a flat match, mostly due to Xion, who didn't really bust out a lot of his top-shelf flying stuff. Shiima won with a 450° splash but I would have preferred he busted out one of his more high-impact finishers like Bible Black or From Lust to Dust.

6. 8-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: ECWA vs. TWA: ECWA Champion "Greek God" Papadon, ECWA Mid-Atlantic Champion Chris Wylde and "Team MackTion" TJ & Kirby Mack vs. TWA Tag Team Champions Damian Dragon & Matt Saigon and "True Professional" Josh Daniels - Handicap Match - 4

TWA Champion Breaker Morant was supposed to be in this but he's not here. The hair, the outfits, etc. are all so indy. You wouldn't want it any other way. Sort of weird ECWA has an advantage which in essence would render their win questionable. No overarching storyline, just snippets of action, some decent selling, Kirby Mack face-planted coming off the top looking like one of those teen idiots in skateboarding gone wrong video clips. Finish was an anti-climatic roll-up.

7. Adam Cole vs. Austin Aries - 4
8. Shiima Xion vs. Tommaso Ciampa - 4

Aries seemed less driven here and thus this felt more lukewarm. Cole never really had a fiery comeback or anything to propel this either. Match crept along with Aries mostly on offense, he did allow Cole to survive some of his prized stuff, so a nice little rub there for Adam, but as a standalone match pretty basic. Xion looks like Ari Tenenbaum all grown up. Ciampa dished out some nasty elbows. Xion got to kick out of Project Ciampa II but fell prey to a modified Texas Cloverleaf. Given that Tommasso was going to go on to work a third time they kept this short and as a result it felt a little flat as the match never developed any ebb and flow although what we got certainly wasn't bad.

1997 Super 8 Champion ACE DARLING vs. 2008 Super 8 Champion ADEN CHAMBERS - 4

I've never seen Aden before but after getting a look at him he looks like your bi-sexual cousin that works at Pacific Sun at the mall. Ace Darling comes out looking like Ron Livingston's character Marty Sachs from the movie Two Ninas (unsure to this day while my punk rock friend Eddie bought that and suggested we watch it on a "movie night") but not in the film itself instead how he'd look in the 12 years that have passed since it was released in '99. Darling does a have a pretty decent resume as I recall a handful of really good performances of his from a decade ago that still hold up. Some basic chain wrestling early which I was into. Aden takes a pretty big bump over the ropes to the floor -- I popped for that like Gene Siskal for Chicago Mix popcorn. Chambers throws some weak shots to the lower-back. Darling looks sore -- saw better athleticism on display the last time I went to play laser tag. So, Ace Darling created the Super 8? Guess I owe him a beer (or an appetizer). I'd be curious to see the Super 8 that Chambers won as he looked like maybe 1/10th a pro wrestler here.

10. ECWA Super 8 Finals: Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa - 7

Forearm exchange early that fails to resurrect Misawa. The back of Cole's trunks look like a beach scene as depicted by a fourth grader's crayon drawing. Ciampa targets the lower-back and would probably return to that strategy later in the night in a crummy motel room with Tammy Sytch. "Hey! What the hell? There's a Post-It note here that reads 'Bret Was Here!'". SHOCKWAVE should march back to ringside and shoot missiles from his shoulders and blow the ring up. Adam dumps Tommaso hard on the apron outside the ring in moment of transcendence. You get a sense Cole's watching some Graham Bros. footage. What the hell just happened!? Man, that was weird. Both men fighting it out on the apron, Cole hooks in a German suplex, launches it, we have no idea where Ciampa is going to land, he grazes a table but takes most of the impact on the floor. Cole hits a Canadian Destroyer to wake the crowd up. Maybe they were up all-night watching Kelly Reichardt films like me. I just now noticed that facially Ciampa resembles Gray Maynard a bit. The crowd just erupts as Ciampa hits repeated hard running knees into Cole's face in the corner. The finish? Holy shit. It was tits y'all. Ciampa hooked Cole up, climbed to the top, and did a Kryptonite Crunch off the top for the win, Super 8 trophy, and hot wings and anal with Sytch. What a night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best of Mickie Knuckles: A Redneck Woman Part 1

1. Mickie Knuckles vs. Hailey Hatred (IWA-MS 8-1-03)- 1
2. Mickie Knuckles vs. Ian Rotten (IWA-MS 11-7-03)- 1

Our 1st bout was Mickie's debut, which she talks in length about in her interview on this same release. Hatred looks like she'd be an effective bouncer at a Hells Angels bar. Mickie has the sympathetic look down but she was completely terrible here, botching an arm drag and a sunset flip to the point of embarrassment. There was a seriously brutal elbow from Hailey that would probably make me waste a Sat. afternoon at Urgent Care. And the aftermatch powerbomb on two chairs, was the worst botch i've seen for that spot and the most brutal. Ian didn't seem motivated at all; looked probably like a day in training class, him just moving slowly around the ring, punching and having his way with Mickie. Bored me.

4. Mickie Knuckles & Daizee Haze vs. Lacey & Rain (IWA-MS 5-7-04)- 3
5. Mickie Knuckles vs. Tracy Brooks (IWA-MS 9-16-04)- 2
6. Mickie Knuckles vs. MsChif Anything Goes (IWA-MS 2-5-05)- 6

This woman's tag got more time than any women's match that has aired on Raw in the last decade. Lacey had the whole heel act down, guess all that time on the road with Jimmy Jacobs pontificating and so forth. A lot of the current indy women put over Daizee but I don't think I've seen weaker strikes since that Urkel idiot from the early 90's sitcom boom. Sick FMW type fisherman buster was best spot of the bout. The next singles match was in a really dank arena with a sparse crowd. They were working training school drills which was thrilling for the live crowd. Prazak tried to put over neither woman had thrown a strike within the first 6 minutes like this was a technical marvel. Mickie was still really green, and Tracy was no help. Not sure who looked dumber; Mickie botching a whip in spot or Tracy wearing an IWA shirt that said "Operation Extinction Vince."

Here's the first active bout that I liked. MsChif grabs your attention right away, not just the leather pants and green eyeliner but her selling to every detail. Mickie is hitting hard and while this is mostly a brawl, great attention is given to all the strikes and where they land and selling them naturally. I really liked the bit where they start taking bumps in a super stiff boxing ring. Some good psych was worked with some S&M spiky vest and the steel chair which played into the finish.

7. Mickie Knuckles vs. Sara Del Rey (IWA-MS 2-11-05- 5
8. Mickie Knuckles & Eddie Kingston vs. Mike Quackenbush & Chris Hero (CHIKARA 2-19-05- 6

Only 9 people are there for this match (or show, not sure which) and they don't seem to be that enthralled with anything in the bout. This has to be one of Sara's 1st bouts, i know former member Geo was smitten with Del Ray, and while I think she's very good at knowing her character, how to portray it, i've never really seen a match that it translated into. This was pretty good though, particularly the loving care they put into the pace of this (like they possibly may with some homemade Thanksgiving dressing). Also a really dialed down but still quite stiff exchange of strikes and a well placed tried and true spot of going for a move over and over again until it works and it paid off in spades. Now, Mickie still has terrible timing here, and she throws a shining wizard that was more unsightly than Daizee Haze's Senior Photo but this was well done.

So Quack & Hero's team name is "the Superfriends", clearly they're supposed to be the Wonder Twins right? Eddie and Mickie are sort of playing hillbilly brother and sister here, there's a lot of goofy interplay, add in all of Quack's tricks, Hero and Kingston both wearing white vinyl straight from Lady Gaga's underwear drawer. There's a really rough suicide dive on Mickie from Quack and she's in this a lot, mostly drills and working with Hero, you feel like the live crowd paid for a training sesh instead of an athletic contest. 15 minutes in, Kingston tries for a chinlock for a submission; yeah that's going to work and Herman Cain is a decent human being. For all you single guys in the KY area, Mickie is quite flexible as shown by a backbend deathlock; not sure what Chikara's identity is at this point as it just seems like a low rate PWG venue. Hero's taking liberties with Mickie as in the background you can see a kitchenette with floral patterned curtains in a strange mix of violence and bad decorating taste. Kingston comes in and black holes all the heat by trying to do a Noah finishing run, but the crowd finally wakes up after a skull splitting headbutt that's louder than Matt Hardy's cry for help. One of the better Chikara bouts I've seen

9. Mickie Knuckles vs. Chris Hero (CHIKARA 4-15-05)- 6
10. Mickie Knuckles vs. MsChif (Steel Cage) (IWA-MS 4-30-05)- 7

This match versus Hero literally took place in a bar, and I love the promotional banner advertising it: "Pro Wrestling", simplicity is such a beautiful thing. Hero is taking out some aggression here, like Mickie was the cheer captain at high school that turned Hero down for the Senior Prom because he was wearing an Eradicator outfit to it. I mean he beat Mickie's face for a good 12 minutes. They threw some psych in with an arm injury that registered with no one but this was a fun hard hitting bout.

This cage bout blows away anything done on WWE TV in years. Some really brutal blows, both women took nasty bumps into the cage and they played off their past battles. A superbomb at the end was absolutely devastating and the only thing I didn't like was it wasn't the finish. MsChif has some great instincts and they had a great back and forth.

My impression of Mickie Knuckles is she's come a long ways as a performer and she's actually really good at emoting and selling; she can play tough and other times looks like she's on the verge of tears from a move or shot. I think her evolution came from competing with really good workers and the MsChif feud was really hot.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997

Continuing my ongoing look at the ECW pay-per-views. Beginning with this show, at the end of the review, I’m going to start ranking the shows from best to worst.

1) Chris Candido vs. Taz – 4
2) Spike Dudley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – 5

Our first bout was billed as “one-third of the triple main event”. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t really consider Taz vs. Candido a main event, especially when it’s the opener. I used to like Candido but he’s started to wear on me lately and I’m not sure why. The punt he got in the nuts wasn’t really necessary. Taz probably though it’d be a cool spot to do. Candido hit a few nice moves including a really good looking powerbomb and an equally good top-rope frankensteiner. Taz’s suplex looked really dangerous, especially the ones that almost broke Candido’s neck on two different occasions. I really enjoyed watching Bigelow throw Spike around the ring even though the match itself amounted to nothing more than a mega-squash. If there is one thing that Spike Dudley does great, it’s bumping, especially when wrestling bigger guys like Bigelow, Mike Awesome, Uganda, etc. There was one really ugly spot where Spike got dropped ribs first across the bar that holds the buckle and fell face first to the floor cracking his skull open. Of course, this also had the required spot of Spike getting thrown into the crowd.

3) Monday Night Rules Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Al Snow – 3
4) The Dudley Boys vs. PG-13 - 3

It was never explained exactly what a “Monday night rules” match was but whatever the rules were, they were never enforced. Snow had this expression on his face like he was more concerned about whether or not his VCR was going to record the episodes of Nash Bridges he was missing than getting through this match. The match drug on for what seemed like an eternity. Think I’d rather watch episodes of lame stand-up on Comedy Central than this. RVD was on cruise control but still got all his shit in and looked like shit doing it. Mercifully, after about twenty minutes, RVD hit a Van Daminator to put an end to this charade.

I just recently watched some WCW Saturday Night from the year 2000 and PG-13 was surprisingly on there. They just seem to pop up in the most random of places and the most random times. This was a pretty bland tag match, something that would fit better on TV than on pay-per-view. PG-13 seem really out of their element in ECW. It’d probably be a better idea if they just stuck to working Memphis. Crowd wasn’t into this at all as they were more interested in trying to get Jenna Jameson, who had accompanied The Dudleys and Joel Gertner at ringside, to take her top off (which didn’t happen by the way). PG-13 had couple dives to the floor on to D-Von that were about the only good things they did the whole match.

5) Jerry Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer – 5

I was liking this up until the finish. Lawler was doing some fantastic selling throughout the whole match and I felt like I was watching him during his prime in Memphis. Dreamer took some really nasty bumps including one off the top rope onto an open chair. Lawler hit this really, really sick looking piledriver. Dreamer looked about as good as you could possibly look wrestling in a t-shirt and workout pants. The finish is what killed this though. Not only was there interference from Rick Rude who absolutely destroyed Dreamer with a trash can, there was also interference from Sunny and Jake the Snake, not even five minutes after the Rude interference. Aside from that, this was some good stuff with some good heat on the nearfalls.

6) Three Way Elimination Match: Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu – 4

I almost called that last match an overbooked mess but then I realized that I still needed to discuss this match. Sabu looked like he was just trying to get all his usual spots in regardless of anything else that was happening in the match. He almost broke Shane’s neck on a German suplex (which I would have loved had that actually happened) and just killed himself by springboarding into the crowd and just barely touching Douglas. Just when I thought that he might have learned his lesson after doing that, minutes later has a glorious botch were he slips on a chair and crashes into the ropes trying to do his triple jump moonsault. Probably the best spot he had was jumping off a chair that was positioned on the top turnbuckle and putting Fonzie and Tod Gordon through a table. Why was Gordon there and why did he interfere in the match? Who the hell knows. This all led up to Sandman returning to the arena and doing a lame somersault leg drop on a ladder to eliminate Sabu. Where was the Sandman you ask? Well apparently he spent three hours trying to find the arena after hijacking the ambulance that took him to the hospital before the show started. Lost in all the chaos unfortunately was Funk. When the action was focused on him, his selling was fantastic as usual. I also liked the spot he did with Douglas dropping Sabu back first across two chairs that were set up. Once the match boiled down to Funk and Douglas after Sabu was eliminated, things became a lot less frantic and slowed down quite a bit. There was a good nearfall off a roll-up after Dory Funk Jr. showed up and chased off Francine. I laughed quite a bit at the awful table spot they tried that culminated in Shane taking an ass bump through it. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now, I don’t for one second think Douglas’ belly-to-belly suplex is an effective finisher. This claim is further backed up as earlier in the match, both Sabu and Funk took said suplex and both popped up within seconds as if it was any other regular move. Funk kicked out of a bunch of them near the end here until Douglas finally got the fall. The post match antics were just as mind boggling with The Dudleys coming out and laying waste to Funk while the entire locker room just stood there and looked on until Candido and Bigelow ran out leading to a huge brawl that accomplished nothing.

ECW PPV Rankings:
1. Barely Legal
2. Hardcore Heaven ‘97

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

R.I.P. Bison Smith

The Never Hand Over team were sad to hear today of the passing of NOAH star Bison Smith. Below are the collected links of all our reviews of his work:

- NOAH 1/15/11
- NOAH 1/23/11
- ROH Death Before Dishonor VII: Night 2
- NOAH- 05/24/2008
- Pro Wrestling NOAH First Navigation- 01/09/2010
- Pro Wrestling Iron "Hot August Fights"

The Rock vs. Triple H - Steel Cage Match - WWE Rebellion 10/2/99 - 4

This is the old, classic blue cage, well, except it's painted black, because everything had to be edgy back then, right? A girl in all-black in high school meant daddy issues so this is the wrestling equivalent of that. These guys' breakneck pace feels like borderline slapstick. Michael Hayes' commentary is a little theatric ("Can you say title change!?") but I'd take it over Michael Cole's blathering any day. Rock hits the Rock Bottom after ten minutes -- curious to see how long that incapacitates HHH. Answer? Less than a minute. You get a sense these guys really clicked with audiences but in terms of structure and actual mechanics I prefer the Cena, Orton, Batista, etc. era main events even though those have their own vocal critics. This punch-heavy formula is fun in small doses but can get tiring quickly. Henber takes a bump so both guys leave the cage and start brawling around ringside. Rock puts Triple H on a table that looks like it was constructed during medieval times, scales the cage, then drops an elbow off but unsurprisingly the table just laughs in response. Back inside, Ross is talking about fish and chips, and HHH is bleeding.. and there's the "damn Bulldog!" as J.R. screams. Bulldog in blue jeans -- not his best look. Shane McMahon runs down to try to put a stop to these shenanigans but Davey Boy ruins his night with a powerslam on the ground. Bulldog then beats Brisco and Patterson's old asses. This is in the U.K. thus his being put over like a monster. By the time Chyna runs out this has gotten more convoluted than the web of lies this guy Jason once told my group of friends (Wait, so you ate lunch with Michael Bay, had a girlfriend murdered, and got a blowjob from a school teacher? Right). Still waiting to rediscover an Attitude-era main event worth a damn.

Monday, November 21, 2011

All Japan Real World Tag League 1996 Finals


***** Toshiaki Kawada/ Akira Taue v. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Jun Akiyama (Dec. 6)- 8

Going back and watching an All Japan match from this early 90's era never disappoints. There's a huge satisfaction when watching some of the masters at work in their prime and that's what you have here. The tag structure is real loose in this and is more like a fight, at every turn, no one stays down for long except for Jun's extended ass beating early on. Everyone snaps over fast on suplexes, as if a target was pained on the top of their heads. Misawa and Kawada, especially, show off that vicious streak that made both men such huge stars. Taue is easily the weakest of the four, but he takes some nasty blows and that's not a knock at all. Crowd heat is molten level here, wait till the faces seem to have it wrapped up and they go nuclear. After their devastating double German combo, Misawa looks like a lion dragging a fresh zebra back to the pack by his teeth trying to put Kawada back in. Akiyama can't quite knee like Race could but his enthusiasm is making up for it. Keep expecting Misawa to grow black feathers the way he gets pissed. Flying chokeslam from the apron after 20 minutes of action is fucking crazy. Story, ha, no story here, who's going to break first? Wow, how good is Taue v. Misawa around the 25 min. mark going singles and tearing it up. I'm just marking out all over this and I think i've ruined my sweatpants. Watching a Jim Cornette how to video earlier about how to make it in the biz reminds me when talking about drawing money he never mentioned "being complete badasses and killing people with feet and suplexes" works just as good. I will not die was just a catchphrase for Matt hardy but it was a way of life for Misawa at this point, the level beating he's absorbing is just sickening. God damn Kawada looked like Godzilla leveling Tokyo at the end against Misawa/ Akiyama. MY GOD! My tv just exploded. Good thing i've got a new one for Xmas in my sights. Jesus I'm spent.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adam & Jessie Co-Review: WWE 24/7 Smoky Mountain Shorties

1. Chris Candido vs. Lance Storm (8/19/94) - A:3 J:3
A: What in the hell is Candido wearing on his head? Looks like something that an astronaut from the Apollo missions would wear during flight. This was titled as a “Beat the Champ” series match. Not sure what that meant, if anything. Pretty basic five minute TV match. I loved the big bump Candido took off the top rope from the Brian Lee interference.

J: Candido looked like a Koopa Troopa. Basic is the best explanation for this. There’s that inherent athletic look to the match, but neither guy stretched themselves at all. I’m guessing this was a shorter time limit match, hence them working as if they will go to it, as unremarkable as the last few seasons of “The Office.”

2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Dirty White Boy (5/6/94) – A: 2 J:2
A: Good god, Jake looks like complete shit, probably just came out of the bar. Whole match was built around Jake working over DWB’s bad eye. Bob Caudle on commentary said Jake had a hard mid-section. Looks pretty flabby to me. Some guy in a goofy looking costume interfered and ripped off DWB’s eyepatch. Jake was far from his best here and it really showed as he looked completely lethargic. Really terrible finish with Jake flashing a camera into DWB’s eye.

J: Yeah I hated this match’s soul. I get what they were doing here, that slow build, making every movement count but every movement was slow, weak and boring. Even this southern audience built up on this kind of action were nodding off or flirting with the young girl at the nacho stand. It’s never a good sign when your top face (White Boy? Hold on seriously?) is in a top program with a guy wearing a black bed sheet called the Samurai. And the camera would begin a series of ridiculous overbooked finishes.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Buddy Landell (8/4/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: I was really looking forward to this match as I had no idea that Michaels even worked Smoky Mountain, so this is interesting just for that if nothing else. I mentioned this match to a guy I work with who used to work for Smoky Mountain and he has no recollection of this either. From the get-go, this was nothing more than a clip job as all the good stuff was cut out for the most part. Final two minutes was shown full and I really dug the nasty forearm from Shawn. I have to grade this on what is shown which was probably about half of a fifteen minute match.

J: When I think Landell, I think vomit. Not sure if it was being in there with young HBK but this has to be the best he’s ever looked. Michaels punches are usually shit-TAY, but he used the jab a lot here, which looked stinging and Landell had a great looping shot. Pace was fast and with clipped sections in the middle it was hard to get behind either guy’s momentum, nor did I believe for a second Landell had a prayer of winning so the screwjob ending was a huge middle finger to paying fans. Glad I wasn’t one of them.

4. Brian Lee vs. Paul Orndorff (5/24/92) – A: 3 J:3
A: I’m not an authority on SMW but I think this is from one of their first major shows. Another clip job this is. Orndorff was throwing some nasty bombs and Lee was a complete bloody mess. Weird finish with Bob Armstrong filling in for the bumped ref and calling for a DQ when Orndorff barely touched him. Not good, not good at all.

J: Really terrible lighting for something I bet would have been good. The clips really hurt a bout like this because with the Michaels match, there’s highs and lows and big moments. This is a straight brawl, so every time you clip it, it looks like they’re doing the same thing, you don’t get to see the momentum build up, which is a shame. Another shitty finish, realizing SMW is known for that.

5. Kevin Sullivan vs. Mongolian Stomper (1/9/93) – A: 4 J:4
A: Stomper is a crotchey, ancient old bastard. I liked this a lot. Just a stiff brawl between two really tough dudes. Sullivan getting tossed into the hockey boards was pretty rad. Sullivan has always been one of my favorites just because he doesn’t take any shit. The fireball spot looked like it was off a bit and the DQ hurt the score. Wonder if there was ever a rematch?

J: This I liked. Someone in the know, who the hell is Stomper? Liked how he used his gimmick too, where as this was just a fight outside most of the match, instead of punch after punch, he’d actually hoist his hairy withered leg up for a stomp here and there. Stomper could sell too, very realistic. Terrible finish continues the streak.

6. Brad Armstrong vs. Buddy Landell – Lumberjacks with Tennis Rackets Match (8/11/95) – A: 3 J:2
A: And yet again, we have a match that is clipped with only the last few minutes in its entirety. Lumberjacks did not come into play at all. This being the second Landell match I’ve seen on here, he SO wanted to be Ric Flair that it wasn’t even funny. Armstrong pretty much took a beating until the very end with Cornette interference and then hitting Landell with a racket.

J: There could have been a good match in here but it wasn’t shown. Armstrong kind of flailed around as Landell, the most unimposing heel of all time, did his schtick. You know the LJ’s were involved in someway but it was so minute it wasn’t worth the time or funds to supply each with a racket. Cornette hasn’t added a damn thing to any match he’s been involved in and I’d love to see a match end cleanly. Hold on the face has to use an object to win and you think the fans like that?

7. Cactus Jack vs. Chris Candido (12/3/94) – A: 4 J:5
A: Wait a sec, J.R. is doing commentary for Smoky Mountain? Not much in the way of offensive highlights except the over the top rope cross body and a frankensteiner from Candido. His sell after missing a top rop headbutt was interesting to say the least. You know I watched this twice, trying to find anything of value that Cactus did but I really couldn’t. For a seven minute TV match, this was OK but nothing too grand.

J: I’m starved for action and this match provides it, no clean ending but guess that’s too much to ask. Their styles mesh really well, Candido is all about scared heel with Tammy comforting him and Jack is still kind of scary at this point, not the lovable teddy bear he became. JR added tons more effectiveness instead of Bob Caudle complaining about where the arm rests in a chinlock. Candido’s cross body was sloppy but the frankensteiner was cool and JR freaking out made it more so.

8. The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies (12/1/92) – A: NR J:N/A
A: Instead of one match, we ended up getting the end of four different matches from the Thanksgiving Thunder tour. Of all the matches shown, I liked the street fight the best as you really felt the hate between the two teams. Everyone but Gibson was busted open and the Bodies even tried the old plastic bag suffocation trick on Gibson. The match after was a barbed wire cage and the two main spots from the Bodies, using powder and ether, felt like a major rehash of previous matches.

J: Yes there were some cool highlights but I really don’t know how to rate this as we never even got anything resembling a full match; instead of the 4 cut to pieces like a teen at Camp Crystal Lake, I would have preferred one full match, hell even the shittiest one.

9. Tracy Smothers vs. New Jack (4/1/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: Very strange to hear JR calling a New Jack match. Even stranger to see New Jack competing in SMW. Wait, what the hell, is that D-Lo Brown at ringside with a do-rag on? Thought these two worked fairly well together andI especially enjoyed the DDT from Smothers. I’ve never really seen New Jack try to work a regular match without relying on weapons and such. I’m guessing he could probably do so here but Smothers pretty much controlled things.

J: Yeah it was, and I liked later on when Ross mentioned New Jack isn’t “as one dimensional as he once was.” More importantly, was that D’Lo getting choked out by Cornette’s racket? Dahahahaha, no one’s looked more foolish on the set so far. Okay, Balls is out there playing his “Boo Bradley” character; how do we know that? His t shirt has the word Boo printed all over it. This match looks like a carnival in Forest Park, Oh. Smothers completely controls all aspects of this and probably tells New Jack when it’s okay to execute a move, which his belly to belly was pretty good. Par for the course, a big fuck finish brawl and JR trying to put over some skinhead douchebag named Killer Kyle ( I wish I was making that up) who beat Balls’ ass at the end.

10. The Undertaker vs. Unabomb (8/4/95) – A: 5 J:4
A: Here’s another match that I rather enjoyed. Unabomb is the future Kane and from a distance, with the curly blond hair, looked like Sid. He took a lot of big risks too, including a top rope leg drop while Taker was draped over the rope. Taker took a hard back first bump into the post. That couldn’t have felt good. The unfortunate part of this is that it was clipped. Undertaker for his part worked a pretty safe and basic match. Good grief, the powerbomb that Unabomb attempted looked awful, almost as bad as the one Kevin Nash doled out to Triple H at Vengeance a few weeks ago.

J: For me, enjoyed may be too strong a word, it felt much like the Candido – Storm match earlier where it was all formula, but the crowd heat was molten to see such a big star in a Podunk arena. I liked Unabom’s look but the name is absolutely atrocious. Guess what the name of his finisher is? Haha, yep. The announcers kept pushing Al Snow would interfere but not really, and why were they afraid? At this point Taker was in the purple gloves and actually sold a lot more than I thought he would during this stage of his career. I liked the idea of that wild legdrop, and for big guys like that, probably did the best they could with it. I see why Kane had a mask for so long, guy needed to work on showing pain or just any kind of emotion while being beaten on by one of the most feared dudes in the industry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TNA Turning Point '11

1. Robbie E. vs. Eric Young - 4
2. Mexican America and Sarita vs. Ink Inc. and Toxxine - 4

3. Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen - 5
4. Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels - No DQ Match - 4

Unlike Santino and Hornswoggle I actually enjoy the comedic stylings of one Eric Young. My beard is getting beastly but it hasn't quite reached Young-like proportions. Fun comedy match to start that got the crowd into it having fun. Six-person intergender was also fun stuff. Show started with a good energy that made me wish iMPACT! could capture that same mood. Anarquia is good at selling and has a presence that makes him more watchable than the stock gimmick character he portrays. Hernandez continues to be apparently shrinking -- he must know Scott Lang. Toxxine and Sarita had a nice little exchange at the end of this. Three-way X Division bout was one of the show highlights. Sorensen handed out a signed football to a kid in the crowd who sort of shrugged his shoulders and accepted leeringly. You can tell Kash is really trying to give Jesse his lumps and make him earn a spot as he was just discoloring his chest with real mean chops and laying stuff in. Aries' timing was great per normal and he kept this propelling forward. Really great stuff all around. Daniels feigned wanting to do a "classic technical match" in lieu of "hardcore" so did a bunch of chinlocks, etc. didn't really come off like he wanted to keep it grounded but that he didn't have much in his arsenal to use when he kept breaking out the same hold. Felt like a house show match with not a lot of effort nor crowd heat. It did have a few nice bumps including Daniels' on the entrance ramp and RVD taking a back bump on a chair.

5. Matt Morgan vs. Crimson - 2
6. Abyss and Mr. Anderson vs. Scott Steiner and Bully Ray - 4

7. Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky - 3

Man, this next match, really, see it, as it was some of the most unintentionally hilarious shit. Crimson and Morgan are supposed to be these two giants, a real clash of the titans, or so we're lead to believe. Morgan's facial acting throughout was just Ed Wood-level cheese. His expressions, like after Crimson kicked out of one of his signature moves, and he did one of those nods of acknowledgment, were just goofy, like Chris Klein as Charlie Nash in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) bad. Then they tried to recreate the infamous Takayama/Fyre slugest but instead of bashing each other's face they looked like two first graders slap-fighting over a box of crayons, I mean, Crimson's weak punches were landing square on Morgan's shoulder, time and time again, nowhere near his face. This just looked so outrageously bad. Tag match was fun, I guess besides stopping bleaching his hair, Anderson's also quit going to the gym, as he came in looking soft and doughy. That made him getting tossed all over the ring even more fun for me to chuckle at. Seemed like Ray and Scott were trying to kill him throwing him recklessly and making him take big bumps like superplexes right on his head and neck. Scott has a presence that's undeniable, at a TNA house show I attended awhile ago, even on an undercard match, he captured the crowd and held them in his performance more than anyone else. Same sort of thing here as him being a heel got good reactions. And right now Bully Ray (wouldn't have believed it 5-10 years ago) is one of the best heel acts in the entire world. Scott taking the loss on a weak sideslam or whatever by Abyss was very flat. Women's match has to be considered a failure and even then it was better than anything birthed from the 3+ month feud Kelly Kelly was been embroiled in over in WWE. Velvet just had a real off-night, her offense looked preposterous, she even threw some leg kicks that looked like they were being thrown by Cain Velasquez's three-year old daughter. Kim had to really work down to her level. Madison Rayne interfered and botched some eyesore move she attempted. I was bummed this didn't go better.

8. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 2

9. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 4

10. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 1

Hardy came to the ring with a stupid purple Predator-looking mask with ram horns. He probably drew up the design for that while high on PCP. Hardy beat Jarrett in six seconds with a Twist of Fate. Jarrett wanted some 'mo. Second match was like a 7 min. sluggish bout but Hardy did what he does best and better than most and that's sell simple stuff like death and make it look much better. Hardy won again. Jarret interrupts Hardy's walk up the aisle by knocking his brains out with a steel chair. Jarrett tossed Hardy's carcass back into the ring and hit The Stroke but Hardy used a backslide and beat Jarrett thrice. I liked the shock of the first win, second match was just there but I enjoy watching Hardy play dead, third one, well, put Hardy over pretty large, but not something I can score too high.

11. Robert Roode vs. AJ Styles - 6

Main event went nearly 30 min. Crowd was dead after the first couple matches so that hurt the effectiveness here. First time I sat through this, was on the phone with fellow NHO co-founder Jessie, discussing, amongst other things, the disbandment of our tag team BBC (Big Black Cock) of "Pope" D'Angelo Dinero & "King" Mo Lawal in our fantasy wrestling league, etc. and my impression of the match was longer, dryer iMPACT! TV main I'd go with a "5" at best. I re-watched it, though, since I didn't get a real good sense of it the first time through. I liked it a lot more. Styles, despite being banged up, and he was working slower than normal and with less confidence, still did a damn good job on a real bum ankle. He should have been home resting his injury on the sofa watching repeats of Bored to Death on HBO. I thought AJ was dead after missing a suicide dive to the floor and going splat. This was constructed like an old, regional match, sort of the Flair formula, where the heel champion gets beat down in a long match but gets the quick roll-up win with tights to keep the gold. They did their roles pretty well, Roode's heel stalling and selling were good (not great) but like this role better than the force-fed face persona I personally never bought (even when the rest of the world rioted post-Bound for Glory '11 when Bobby didn't win the belt).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WCW Beach Blast 1993

Before I jump right into the matches, I have to mention what complete fools Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura looked like. Schiavone had a faded orange ball cap on backwards, some goofy substance on his nose that hewould claim to be zinc oxide, shades, and a Hawaiian shirt, while Ventura was decked from head to toe in tye dye while sporting swimming goggles and flip flops. I guess that was the style at the time but now it just looks ridiculous.

1. Ron Simmons vs. Paul Orndorff - 4
2. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce - 3

Opener was for the TV Title held by Orndorff and had the old TNA rule where the champion could lose his title if he got DQ’ed. Orndorff was definitely the standout in the match. His selling and bumping was off the hook. He also nailed Simmons with some hard standing short elbows and some brutal chops against the apron. Simmons armwork seemed really lethargic at best. The DQ finish with Orndorff getting thrown over the top rope felt lazy and uncreative. Tag match was about the undercard standard of the time. Right off the bat there was a huge botch were Scorpio was supposed to springboard off Bagwell’s back and over the top rope but lost his footing and nearly did a face plant on the ramp. Bagwell when applying rest holds just looked facially like he was trying to remember the next sequence. For the record, Pierce and Slazenger would go on to become the Godwinns. End of the match saw Pierce hit a really freaking awesome gutwrench powerbomb and Scorpio hitting a nice 450 at the finish. Felt like a match that you would find as a main event of Worldwide or something.

3. Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal - 3
4. Maxx Payne vs. Johnny B. Badd - 3

Next two bouts were the definition of undercard filler. Watts and Regal went for the scientific route. Felt like Regal was doing an exhibiton of holds on a very cooperative broom. Watts held a wristlock that went absolutely nowhere for what seemed like enternity. Things that saved this for me were definitely Regal’s mat work and his brief offensive flurry near the end. The crowd could have given less than a shit about either guy. Badd and Payne was billed as a “grudge match” since Badd was seeking revenge on Payne after getting shot in the face with his confetti gun on a Clash special a few weeks before this. Badd came out sporting this ridiculous hot pink full head covering mask. Payne looked quite bad but let’s be honest, has Maxx Payne has ever looked good in a singles match? Badd had a nice dive to the outside. Not sure what was up either with goofy little spot in the finish with Badd jumping quickly off the top rope, then back on to the second rope, only to deliver a lame cross-body. Can anyone tell me what the point of that was?

5. Arn Anderson & Paul Roma vs. The Hollywood Blondes (Steve Austin & Brian Pillman) – 5
6. 30 Minute Iron Man Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Rick Rude - 5

Does anyone remember the fact that Paul Roma was a member ofthe Horsemen? I had almost completely forgotten about that. I could tell by the pace early on that they were definitely milking the clock. Roma’s facials on defense have all the enthusiasm of a poll worker on Election Day. The double missed dropkick spot by Roma and Pillman seemed completely choreographed. Arn was great after getting the tag near the end. He gave Austin a neck-jarring DDT and a bit later suplexed Austin the floor from the apron. The finishing stretch had a great nearfall off an Arn spinebuster. Good match that surprisingly went nearly 30 minutes. I was really disappointed by the Iron Man match, mainly because I was expecting something the caliber of the Steamboat/Rude classic from the previous year’s Beach Blast. I guess that’d be like saying a Hungry Man frozen meal is every bit as good as steak dinner you’d get from Outback. Dustin busted out an awesome electric chair drop near the ten-minute mark. The half-way point comes and they seem to still to be taking it slow. Rude got the first fall off a Rude Awakening that garnered zero recation. Dustin hit a really nice tombstone piledriver, way better than when ‘Taker first did it. By the 20-minute mark, Dustin seemed completely gassed and the match still hadn’t gotten out of low gear. Finally, with about three and a half left, a sense of urgency kicks in by both guys when Dustin scores a fall with a bulldog. Where the hell was that at about 12 minutes ago?

7. Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair – 6
8. Sid Vicious & Vader vs. The British Bulldog & Sting - 6

Flair was wrestling in his first WCW pay-per-view match since SuperBrawl 1991. The match started off really hot, a pleasant change from the slow beginnings of the previous two bouts. Windham hit one of the stiffest Samoan drops I’ve ever seen. The cross body block spot where Windham was supposed to fall to the outside looked really sloppy. Flair was doing a great job of selling his back. The giant superplex spot off the top rope was picture perfect. I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen it done better. The ending was kind of screwy and not only was I confused as to if Windham got pinned or if he gave up, but so were the announcers. Not the best match these two have ever had together (if you want a real classic between them see the Worldwide match from Jan. 1987) but still not the worst either. The main event was set up by a ridiculous story where Sid and Vader blew up Sting and Bulldog’s boat while they were playing volleyball on an island with a bunch of kids. No, really,that’s the story. I wish I was making that up but I’m not. Ridiculous story aside, I had a lot of fun watching it. Sting and Sid were just having at it from the get go and really pounding on each other. Bulldog’s delayed vertical suplex on Vader was just tremendous. Vader was awesome, just punching people’s faces in without a care in the world. Bulldog as the face in peril worked suprisingly well. I loved the spot where he sold a Vader Bomb by just flailing himself all over the match. Although I would have liked to have seen more Sting/Vader interaction, this was much better than I though it would be. Even had a surprise at the end with Bulldog instead of Sting getting the pin in what is probably one of his best WCW matches ever.