Monday, January 31, 2011

CHIKARA Die Deutsch (The Germans) 11/21/10

CHIKARA - "The Germans" - November 21, 2010
Philadelphia, PA

The BDK continues their tear in CHIKARA. One month removed from the cibernetico in which Ultramantis Black attempted to destroy the BDK, the strength of the faction may be weakening, or is this just the beginning?

1.) Pinkie Sanchez vs. Soldier Ant - 5

Pinkie displays his prowess as a madman in the ring, vowing to tear the colony antenna from antenna by laying in shots on Soldier Ant. Pinkie moves about the ring like a straight jacket-bound lunatic looking for a thrill. Soldier Ant makes use of his in-ring abilities and stamina to create an environment that he controls. Pinkie hits a sick Burning Hammer variation, which he names Burning Snicklefritz. Ant, not to be outdone, uses his mat skill to overcome the deranged lunatic, making him tap to the CHIKARA Special submission. Pinkie's selling was on top display here, and as per usual, he gave 110% in the ring.

2.) Arik Cannon vs. Lince Dorado - 4

Lince seemed to be moving at half speed throughout the duration of the match. Everything looked carefully planned and recklessness didn't seem to be the main goal of either man. Cannon hit Dorado like the fist of an angry god with chops and a great lariat. Before, I've made quite apparent that I wasn't a fan of Cannon due to his lazy appearance; however, he holds his own quite well in the ring and rarely messes up. Speaking of which, Lince got really familiar with the mat after screwing up a quebrada.

3.) The Olsen Twins (Colin Delaney & Jimmy Olsen) vs. The UnStable (Vin Gerard & Stigma) - 3

I'd be lying to you if I said a lot happened here. Nothing noteworthy or ground-shaking took place in the match, but it served its purpose as a midcard match. Vin looks in better shape than he has in years, while Stigma still looks like he's been hitting up the cheese steaks. Delany has burst into his old character as the fun-loving, all around good guy with a mission to take out the UnStable. Olsen hits a great spike-rana on Vin before hitting a sick punch to the jaw of Stigma which was sold well. The ass-crack exposure by Vin was a nice touch in terms of a humiliation factor by the former UnStable member Delaney.

4.) Hallowicked vs. Tim Donst - 4

Donst continues his portrayal in the ring as a devious competitor who will do anything to break down CHIKARA's elite members, going to such lengths as spinning around Hallowicked's mask and using wrist tape to choke him. Hallowicked's offense never really took off, although he did hit his signature maneuver Go to Sleepy Hollow after hitting Donst with a running knee in the corner. This match served its purpose in that it showed the lengths Donst will go to to shake the core of CHIKARA from the ground up.

5.) Ultramantis Black vs. Ares - Falls Count Anywhere - 5

Ultramantis' best singles match this year occurred during this match. The two men battled around the arena and even outside, seeing both men taking bumps into walls, garage doors, and even a bicycle. Mantis' intensity was on a whole other level tonight, as he again attempts to take the legs out from under the BDK, no thanks to biased referee Derek Sabado. Mantis delivered a suplex onto the ring steps, much to the chagrin of Ares. Both men battled up into the Commentation Station which is precariously located atop the balcony of the arena, teasing a balcony fall. As the two men battled through the crowd, Mantis would be sure to go to impeccable lengths to destroy his opponent, delivery a back body drop off of the bleachers and onto some boxes that hold the chairs. Ares selling was some of the best I've seen out of him -- complete with back-clutching and grimaces after eating devastating maneuvers.

6.)Sara Del Rey & Daizee Haze vs. Icarus & Chuck Taylor vs. Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw vs. The Osirian Portal - 6

There's a lot to say about this match. It started off slow and kept building and building from there. As time went on, the pace of the match would quicken until it got to an all out spring. Quack gave a shout-out to the recently departed Gran Naniwa, too, during the match which was cool. Crowd was pretty upset when the Portal got eliminated -- I guess they really wanted to see the Portal get the three points. Del Rey looked as good as ever and was stiff with her powerful shots. It was rather emotional when Quack got the pin, thus eliminating the female BDK counter parts and winning the match, earning a title shot against Claudio & Ares, furthering the question on everyone's minds: will this be the end of BDK? A great sprint match that wasn't rushed turned out to be a great match.

7.) Frightmare vs. Johnny Gargano - 5

Gargano still doesn't seem to be over with the Philly crowd, only being known to them simply as "The Guy from Cleveland." Gargano looked great in the match, selling big for Frightmare, making it look like he was eating offense from Vader. Frightmare couldn't seem to get the better of Gargano, as all of his arsenal wasn't enough to put away Gargano. A sweet Kneecalepsy from Frightmare on the ring apron was a great sight -- I'm glad to see him varying up his offense. Frightmare hits a sweet Kneecalepsy off the top rope which looked superb and Gargano sold liked death. A solid match.

8.) Eddie Kingston vs. Homicide - 5

This. This is what I've been waiting to see for a while. A dream match, in my opinion. Kingston brought to the table an element of respect for his fellow New Yorker, but still stiffed him a couple of times. Homicide looks to be a little more put together in this match than some of the other matches he's had on the indys since his departure from Orlando. Kingston hit a couple of backfists, one that connected with Homicide's eye. The back and forth during this match was laid out well, with both guys getting equal time on offense. Kingston hit a nice looking back drop driver on Homicide, landing right on his head. I would've liked to have seen Homicide step it up in terms of stiffness -- I guess he's still got that Orlando complex.

Match Average: 4.6

Recommendation Level: Recommended

Sunday, January 30, 2011

WCW Saturday Night- 07/01/94

1) Bad Attitude v. Dustin Rhodes/ Arn Anderson- 6
2) Tex Slazenger v. Ricky Steamboat -3
3) Pretty Wonderful v. Stars & Stripes - 2
4) Ric Flair v. Sting - 4

The opener was one of those rare matches that wasn't long (maybe 6 minutes) but is too damn fun not to recommend. The team of BA is Bobby Eaton and Steve Keirn (who was sporting THE MOST HEINOUS MULLET OF ALL TIME) Rhodes and Eaton were piecing each other up in one hell of a brawl then Eaton (in some kind of Ric Flair parody) goes outside and takes a back body drop on the concrete! Eaton continues to punch like a manly god, this time schooling Arn, who was also his usual great self. Only thing Keirn did I liked was a flying knee to Arn's back which he sold by taking a bump outside- Millions of gold stars for this.

Dragon made short work of ol' Tex but not before giving us an armdrag display and letting Tex show off his Southern offense, most of which was illtimed. Dragon seemed to be happy in the ring even though Hogan was backstage politicking him into midcard. Tag match was real short, with the Sullivans coming out instigating Orndorff like they were Spike Lee whenever the Lakers come to town. Orndorff though gave Bagwell this sick running forearm like he was a bully in the high school hallways.

Sting and Flair were matched together by fans calling in, they had to choose 1 guy from a heel and face locker room (I would have love to seen Vader maul "Jungle" Jim Steele myself). This felt like they had nothing planned, just going off instinct from 1,000's of matches against each other. Flair was insane here though, taking numerous falls outside, fighting with as many redneck fans as he could and Flair flopping Hulkster right out of his seat. Sherri ruined a perfectly good clean finish by coming out dressed like a man while Hulk got slightly aroused. God must have loved 1994, he got Kurt Cobain's permanent company (probably not) and we got 2 weekly episodic WCW wrestling programs!

Friday, January 28, 2011

ROH Final Battle '10 Co-Review

1.) Kyle O'Reilly & Adam Cole vs. The All Night Express - G:6 B:5

Geo: This match really showed how the team of Kenny King and Rhett Titus are really coming into their own. I believe Prazak said that Rhett Titus was the most improved ROH wrestler of 2010 -- no doubt. He's become more clean in the execution of his moves and his selling has improved by leaps and bounds. Kenny King has always been rather high on my list because of his athletic prowess, but this match didn't show much in his selling ability, which was disappointing. Now, the team of O'Reilly and Cole are absolutely tearing it up in ROH. Kudos to whoever thought of that team because these two guys play off one another so well and work a similar style. Kyle O'Reilly is everything I like about Davey Richards and nothing I dislike. Kid is going to go places. The sprint atmosphere in the match set the bar for the rest of the night, with both men busting out huge spots and great sequences.

Brian: This was a fun way to start their biggest show of the year, fast-paced, no lulls, good action throughout. I dug Titus' kneebreaker/back suplex combo. I nearly spilled my bowl of popcorn when King hit a flying DDT on the apron on Cole which was so ill. They kept the big spots coming. O'Reilly hit a beautiful flying missile dropkick out to the floor on King. They got a great nearfall off of King's shotgun knees in the corner. You can see why PWI ranked King #96 in the world in '10, although, he'd rank a bit higher on my ballot.

2.) Colt Cabana vs. TJP - B:4 G:4

Brian: The mileage you'll get out of this will vary on your ability to stomach each guy's respective shtick. It's a match that I took zero notes on because it amounted to a lot of countering, posturing, and jockeying for control and a roll-up finish that crept up out of nowhere. Still, these guys are damn good at what they do, seamless transitions, maestro mat work, etc. so if you're a fan of high-level actual wrestling you'll probably at least find this as an enjoyable diversion as I did.

Geo: Was happy to see that TJP hung in with Cabana's mat style. He worked with Colt really well and showed that he was indeed able to stay up with Cabana's comedy catch style. TJP went from being an indy slob to a legitimate worker in record breaking time, and watching him put uo with Cabana only spoke more to his versatility in the ring. Cabana was goofy as usual and tried his best to make TJP looked good tonight.

3.) Daizee Haze & Awesome Kong vs. Serena Deeb & Sara Del Rey - G:5 B:4

Geo: The team of Deeb and Del Rey is something I can definitely dig. Both have a presence in the ring that is unrivaled on the women's independent scene. Seeing Haze, Del Rey, and Kong mix it up earlier in the year in CHIKARA, I knew that I should expect some great stuff. This match served as a jumping off point for Deeb, making her return to the indy scene after a lackluster run in WWE. Serena looked good. She was stiff and wasn't timid to get in the ring with Kong. This might sound crazy, but I sensed a bit of laziness in the work of Kong. She really looked like she was phoning it in a bit. You can't pull that shit at FB! Del Rey and Haze, being the well-traveled and experienced American joshi stars they are, gave it their all and pulled out some nice maneuvers. Good match. Also, I'm going on record and saying this: Sara Del Rey is the best Shimmer wrestler today. There.

Brian: I liked this well enough but didn't find it particularly special or worthy of the lengthy build it received over the last few months on ROH on HDNet. I didn't feel the hate. I didn't feel like Serena showed enough to really get a sense of how she'd contribute positively to ROH. Kong's Implant Buster on Del Rey was fucking dope! I loved that shit. Geo, as far as Del Rey being the best in Shimmer? I don't buy it. I'd put her definitely behind Stock (Sarita), Hamada, and LuFisto, and I could see a case for Kurihara, Perez, and Martinez as being better, too.

4.) Eddie Edwards vs. Sonjay Dutt - B:5 G:4

Brian: Dutt busted out a very Sabu-like spot, draping Eddie across the guardrail, then busting out a flying legdrop. Dutt and Sabu are both bald, now they're borrowing each other's stuff? Edwards sat Dutt on the top rope and tried a flying hurricanrana that didn't come off real precise but I applaud the effort. I really loved the sequence where they were countering each other's signature submissions, Dutt's camel clutch and Edwards' Achilles lock respectively. Dutt did a great sell off of Edwards' Chin Checker (backpack stunner), very understated and nuanced but I've got a keen eye for that sort of detail. Dueling superkick spot was stupid. I liked this more than I'd anticipated.

Geo: About the match you'd expect these two to have. Sonjay doesn't look like he's missed a beat since being let go from TNA. His use of the ring as a weapon was great, especially using the ropes to assist him with his fancy footwork. Edwards looked a bit more "off" than he usually does. His speed wasn't there and his style looked very cooperative with Sonjay. Almost like he had an bowel issue. Thinking more about this, it was probably an attempt to get Sonjay over again with the ROH faithful. Edwards hit a sick powerbomb which folded Sonjay in half. Decent little match, but by no means the best these two can do.

5.) Homicide vs. Christopher Daniels - G:4 B:2

Geo: Homicide has packed it on like a plate of biscuits at Waffle House, but he still works great. The mat wrestling was a really great way to start the match, allowing ample build to a finish. Homicide still shows that recklessness and craziness with his tope con hilo, which he put a little extra oomph on. Daniels look crisp, clean, and professional by willing to sell and bump for 'Cide, making him look like a guy twice his size. There was an absolutely stupid ref bump in the match that wasn't necessary. I'm noticing something here: none of these guys are wrestling to their full potential. The past matches have been "good" at best, sans the opener. This is probably an effort not to overshadow the upper card.

Brian: I didn't care for this at all. Geo liked the opening matwork, in terms of it being a story cog, I guess it laid the foundation, but in terms of its execution it was perfunctory at best. It felt like two trainees in the gym warming up by taking turns doing side headlocks. Two guys that have been in this business this long should have used this as an opportunity to break some new ground but these guys rested on their laurels worse than George Lucas. This felt like an ROH on HDNet opener at best.

6.) Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, & Shane Hagedorn vs. Mark, Jay, and Mike "Papa" Briscoe - B:6 G:5

Brian: This was a lot of fun. It wasn't the best example of the rather solid KoW vs. Briscoes feud but was a nice change of pace in contrast to all of the straight-forward wrestling on the show. Papa Briscoe, my hats off, he really was the MVP in this. I was shocked and marked out when the Briscoes' old man busted out a spinning headscissors. The spot where he kissed the evil valet (in this case Sara Del Rey) was so '80's and was done a bunch (inc. an innumerable amount of times to Sherri Martel) but worked great here. Papa ate a Hero rolling knockout elbow with gusto and later, in the finish, with a son pulled off a devastating Doomsday Device that made Road Warrior Animal regret his last WWE run where he showed up 45lbs. overweight.

Geo: Papa looks more like grandpapa, more saggy than Ric Flair. Hero was trying his damnedest to make Papa look like a legitimate threat, but I didn't buy it. As a matter of fact, I really couldn't buy this guy A: being a Briscoe, and B: being able to function at any capacity in the ring at all. Claudio also bumped around for Papa, selling a Stunner like he was hit by a truck. Not buyin' it. Jay was the MVP of this match. His intensity and level of aggression was unrivaled by anyone thus far, and he looked like he was on a mission to have the KoW's heads. The novelty of having an old man and a piece of crap like Hagedorn in the match held it back. A lot.

7.) Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong - G:7 B:6

Geo: I'm going into this with an open mind, seeing as how the rest of the card has been lackluster. Roderick having to need Truth Martini with him takes away from his ability to be the champ. Truth adds a sense of goofiness to Roderick that he just doesn't need. Match-wise, this was good. Davey was bringing it tonight, and Roderick wasn't letting up. Some great boots by Davey, along witha sickening tope to the outside that saw Davey hit his back on the top of the guardrail. Davey went for his handspring elbow, but Roderick counted with a dropkick to the abdomen, which Davey sold by clutching his stomach and writing in pain. Davey also had some great transitions, including a powerbomb into a cross arm breaker. Nearfalls were a bit overdone, but both guys brought it and looked great.

Brian: This was pretty good, it lacked the emotional wallop of a lot of other big ROH main events from previous years, thanks to guys like Nigel sitting the bar so high. While there were a lot of nearfalls, as Geo mentioned, and is per normal when talking about '10 Richards, I admit I got pulled into the back-and-forth and found myself excited. My favorite moment in the match was in fact a sequence that I'd put up against anything from ROH this past year. Strong held Davey up in a back suplex position on the apron then just let him drop back-first through a nearby table. Instead of giving that moment time to absorb, like you usually would to milk it and let the crowd pop, he immediately hopped down, hoisted Richards up, and gave him a Gibson Driver on the floor. From there he threw Davey about three rows deep into the audience and dove into the ring asking the referee to count. I've never really seen that. A guy demolish his opponent then toss him into the audience and retreating back to the ring looking for a countout victory. The cherry on top was when the fans helped pick Davey up, dust him off, and toss his ass back over the rail where he made it back into the ring at the count of 19. Another cool Roderick moment during the finishing stretch was as Richards was kicking out of a pinfall in mid-kickout Strong was already transitioning into the Stong Hold. Its a match style that has its critics but I love seeing two guys just throwing everything in their arsenal at each other until one of them can't anymore.

8.) Kevin Steen vs. El Generico - Fight Without Honor - B:7 G:8

Brian: So it finally came down to this, after feuding all year, in what would win the Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year award, former partners Steen and Generico settled it once and for all in an unsanctioned post-show fight. It was said it was not recognized by ROH and yet an ROH referee (or in this case three of them) were used strangely. This had everything you'd want: blood, big dangerous bumps, boiling hatred, seething rage, and a rousing finale. There's so many big spots that it'd be dry to prattle off a list here. I will mention one I particularly liked: a ladder had been laid out bridging the ring apron and guardrail, a table was then opened and set atop it, Generico with a running start somehow dove between the two in a visual spectacle the likes of the best bits of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The amount of blood here was enough to stock and satiate even the hungriest of shirtless teenage glistening vampire gangs. Steen lapping up Generico's plasma like a kitten to milk was -- interesting. All in all I was satisfied with this blow-off and fan favorite Generico finally vanquishing the putrid Steen was as good a show ender as any they could have drummed up.

Geo: This was hatred in it's purest form. Both of these guys went all out and took some really nasty bumps. Steen got his ass handed to him the entire match, taking bumps that only a sadistic son-of-a-bitch would even dream about. Generico had this aggressive fire about him that was so unlike him. The hatred poured out of him through his emotions and stiffness. Steen made great connection with the fans by wiping both his and Generico's blood not only on his body but also in his mouth! Both guys were just laying everything in, taking all sorts of unnecessary risks, and bumping like crazy just to let everyone know that this feud was brutal. Great match. Can't imagine how awesome it must have been live. MOTYC for sure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best of IWA Deep South (Disc 1 of 2)

1) Shopping Cart Death Match: Insane Lane vs. Freakshow (12/3/05) – 3
Freakshow is wrestling in some baggy ass jeans and a long sleeve T and throws some terrible punches. Lane grabs an ax and delivers some blade first shots with them that wouldn’t even harm my grandmother with Alzheimers. Lane grabs a pizza cutter and slices Freakshow with it. The dumbass hillbilly announcer says “I work at Papa Johns and that doesn’t feel good when you slice your finger with it.” Stupid bastard. The three dozen people who bothered to attend scatter when the action spills to the floor. A splash off the top through a door that doesn’t break finishes Freakshow. Not the world’s best deathmatch but I’ve seen a lot worse.

2) Barbed Wire Ropes & 200 Light Tubes Match: Tank vs. Necro Butcher (12/3/05) – 4
I’m almost positive this is on one of Brian’s early BMD discs. These two were throwing some good hard punches. Tank is a giant dude that looks like he spends more time on the couch watching football and drinking beer than working out. In this match the ropes were wrapped in barbed wire and light tubes and thumbtack were scattered about. I enjoyed the part where they were sitting across from each other in chairs and trading haymakers. Tank did a sick double foot stomp through light tubes at the end of the bout. I really forgot how good of a deathmatch wrestler Necro was. Too bad that he’s been homogenized in ROH. Fun bout here.

3) 20 Minute Iron Man Death Match: J.C. Bailey vs. Necro Butcher (2/18/06) – 4
Wow, there are only like 30 people (and that’s being generous) in the building. This is your prototypical light tube deathmatch with just them scattered everywhere and taped together. Necro tried a hurracanrana from the top and failed with JC just doing a flip off the top to make it seem like the move worked. This resulted in JC acquiring a giant gash in the back of his head. JC was stabbing Necro with remains of tubes in his forehead and in the bottom of his foot. Necro got hit three times with a beer bottle before it actually broke. This was good up until they got tired.

4) Chuck Taylor vs. Mike Quackenbush (8/26/06) – 6
I can say this with absolute certainty, Mike Quackenbush is one of my favorite indy wrestlers to watch. His motions are very fluid and his transitions are very smooth. Quack just schooled Taylor in the first half by putting him in move after move after move. Taylor hits a couple nice dropkicks and the lead announcer splooges in his jeans. Selling by both guys was really good. I liked the spot at the end where Quack did some comedy when Taylor went for a top rope moonsault. Roll-up by Taylor to end it was nice for an upset victory. I thought Taylor really worked hard here, especially for someone who’s matches I haven’t really liked all that much.

5) Four Way Elimination Match: Sabian vs. Brevin Holt vs. Ricochet vs. Cabana Man Dan (8/26/06) – 5
The announcers spent the first five minutes of the match talking about WrestleMania celebrities and politics, which is highly annoying when you don’t know who the competitors are in the match as the graphic on the DVD only says “Four Way Elimination Match”. Sabian got some sick air on a flip and Ricochet hit a nice outside dive as well. Holt looks a bit like Kenny Dykstra, complete with Spirit Squad sweat band. Cabana Man Dan does some type of islander gimmick apparently since he chops people with flip-flops and has a Hawaiian design on his trunks. Sabian hit a sick DDT on Ricochet when it was down to just them. The air that Sabian gets on some of his aerial moves is just insane. Haven’t seen much of Ricochet but it seemed like he had some decent stuff. I wasn’t impressed by Holt or Cabana Man Dan.

6) Larry Sweeney vs. Brad Armstrong (8/26/06) – 5
Sweeney must’ve taken a page from the Larry Zbyszko book of stalling because that’s all he did during the first five minutes or so. Long time fans may recognize Armstrong from WCW Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night but more recent fans may recognize him from his short lived stint as an ECW commentator in late 2006. Armstrong looked in really good shape for his age but really didn’t do much in the physical selling department. Sweeney is just so good as a cocky heel and probably could’ve been with TNA right now had he not had a mental breakdown a few years ago in ROH. Sweeney got a sudden victory by tripping up Armstrong and putting his feet on the ropes. Pretty good match, especially from Armstrong who can still go.

7) Homewrecker Death Match: Dysfunction vs. Freakshow (11/25/06) – 5
What a strange venue this match is in. Looks like an old barn with Buff Bagwell and Kevin Nash n.W.o. posters on the wall, banners sporting the phone numbers for the local used car lot and a place called Jailbusters Bail Bonds, and seating provided by metal folding chairs, wooden bleachers, and church pues. Dysfunction took a stiff shot with a VCR, a sidewalk slam through a board covered in light tubes, and a piledriver through another board covered in light tubes. Freakshow didn’t bump much here, mainly because he’s about 200 pounds heavier than Dysfunction. Actually, the biggest bump he took was through a door wrapped in barbed wire. The match didn’t go too long, but was really fun and Dysfunction took a hell of a beating.

8) Barefoot Thumbtack Death Match: Ian Rotten vs. Mickie Knuckles (11/25/06) - 6
Watching this match made me feel like I was watching a domestic dispute at a trailer park on an episode of Cops. These two just literally beat each other bloody. Mickie took a thumtack covered wiffle ball bat to the head so hard that it made her wobble and fall, another to the vaginal area, and got suplexed barefoot into a bed of thumbtacks. Ian on the other hand received a staple gun to the nutsack, a dollar bill stapled to his tongue, that was then yanked out a few minutes later, and a suplex into the same bed of thumbtacks. The best part of the match was when they where exchanging forearms and headbutts so hard that you could actually hear the smack of the bloodied flesh. By the time the match was over, Mickie had about a dozen thumbtacks stuck in her skull, Ian was walking very gingerly with tacks in his feet and both combatants were a bloody mess. The most enjoyable deathmatch I’ve seen on this disc so far.

9) Chrisjen Hayme vs. Cabana Man Dan (11/25/06) – 4
I saw Hayme a few months ago at a local HWA show and he looked decent. Dan tried a Sliced Bread #2 early on in the match which saw him mess up just a bit. Hayme did a pretty ballsy asai moonsault into the crowd which ended with him cracking his knees on some chairs at ringside. Dan looked decent here with a couple missteps in what was otherwise a good performance. I enjoyed watching Hayme’s hard kicks. The match itself didn’t go very long, maybe six or seven minutes but had a good fast pace to it.

10) Taipei Death Match: Freakshow vs. Necro Butcher (11/25/06) – 4
This match mainly consisted of Freakshow and Necro punching each other really, really hard with glass covered fists. Both guys bled a good amount, Necro especially, having blood literally pouring from his head at one point. Yes, there was a chair used and there was some barbed wire strung up on one side of the ropes that didn’t even come into play. I would grade Necro’s punches above Freakshow’s mainly because Necro’s punches look like they would knock you out. Probably one of the better Freakshow matches I’ve seen.

11) Home Run Debry Death Match: Bull Pain vs. Insane Lane (11/25/06) – 5
Another good death match here. They spent the entire match whacking each other with various sized items covered in either thumbtacks, light tubes, or carpet strips (those little boards with nails in them that are used to put down carpet with). Lane took a sick shot right at the beginning that left him with about two dozen tacks stuck in his dome and possibly some brain damage. There was a funny part where Bull yelled “Move!” at some decreped, toothless old lady with a hunting jacket on and got up in her face when she didn’t. This prompted the old lady to get up and she had to be held back by people. Right near the end, Lane messed up a spot where he was supposed to go face first into some light tube covered apparatus but either chickened out or slipped because he missed the thing entirely. Lane won with a schoolboy roll-up. Wait? What? Why the hell would you do a roll-up in a deathmatch?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Co-Review: WWE Wrestling's Highest Flyers (Disc 1 of 3)

Co-Review by Jessie & Adam.

J: Hey NHO fans, this is me and Adam's 1st Co Review together, and we've for the most part been apart of the blog since the beginning, so looking forward to this. He bestowed this little treasure onto for Xmas and I believe also got his copy for his birthday, so here we go!

A: Hey everyone, Jessie and I concocted this idea after I got the DVD for him for Christmas and my fiancee got it for me for my birthday. Can’t believe we’ve been doing the blog for over five years now and this is our first co-review together. Let’s get started!

1) Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman (WCW Halloween Havoc ’92, 10/25/92) A:4 J:6

A: Good chop exchange to start. Pillman wearing orange and black, perhaps he’s representing the Bengals? Not sure why. They were the laughing stock of the NFL during this time. Nice dropkick from Pillman hitting Steamboat in mid-air coming off the second rope. Haven’t really seen much high flying, so to speak, in this match. Things have been more mat based. Kinda sloppy roll-up sequence to end it. There were better matches than this that could’ve been chosen to showcase Steamboat’s abilities.

J: Cool match to start us off with. To answer your quandry Adam, Pillman donned those tights from around 1990 till he started in the Hollywood Blondes. To the match, def. wasn't all about high flying, match was sort of understated, the Philly fans sort of fickle and were cheering back and forth. One thing that makes me recommend it is both guys are great on the ground, Pillman being one of the more underrated mat work guys of the 90's. I like the smoothness of their sequences together too, feels less like a Young Bucks marathon and more like an older couple taking ballroom dancing classes and jazzing together. Some neat pin attempts too. I actually think the rollup worked to end it; esp, with Jim Ross on commentary making note of how Dragon used his legs to reverse Pillman's momentum for the pin.

2) Evan Bourne vs. Zack Ryder (WWE Superstars, 6/11/09) J:6 A:4

J: Here's another match I really enjoyed. They say every successful film is 3 acts, well this match employed that very philosophy. Beginning feeling out, Bourne looking dynamic, Ryder finding a weak spot and exploiting it, then the finale, both men fighting for the win with some good counters. Bourne was carrying that ROH work style with him, exploding with an open hand slap I'm sure Danielson gave him before, a cool legdrop that was a Jack Evans staple and the nasty enzugiri that busted Zack's ear open at the end. A few moments they looked like they were searching for the next move but not much. Nice job.

A: My thoughts are a little bit different than Jessie’s. I thought the match came across as pretty basic, especially with Ryder controlling it in the middle. The commentary on this is atrocious. Striker and Matthews trying to make sense of Ryder’s catchphrase and then Striker trying to be funny and a lot of dead air. Bourne hardly got in any offense, except for a few knee strikes and the shooting star press at the end.

3) Jimmy Snuka vs. Samu (WWF @ Madison Square Garden, 2/20/84) A:3 J:3

A: First exchange was very physical with Samu bouncing all over the place for Snuka. Then we get a front facelock hold from Snuka and a nerve hold from Samu that lasted longer than Nelson Mandela’s prison sentence, both of which sucked the life out of the crowd. Snuka’s facials while in the nerve hold were great. Not much else to talk about here besides Snuka hitting the obligatory top-rope splash.

J: Agreed on the nerve pinch and Jimmy's selling, it almost looked like he was trying to conduct Brahm's 4th Symphony, that or else trying to get the vendor to bring him down a chili dog. But this was rather obviously a young boy match, where they put a new comer (Sika's son Samu) in with a veteran, gives him a rub and gives the vet an easy night off, but there were some really quick sequences but the long rest hold in the middle felt slightly unnecessary.

4) Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza, & Lizmark Jr. vs. Villano IV, La Parka, & Psychosis (WCW Bash at the Beach ’97, 7/13/97) J:5 A:5

J: One of the earliest sequences was between Garza and Villano and I thought it was one of the smoothest pieces of business in the match. There were some really inventive stuff though to feast your eyes on, the Triple suicide dive, everyone missing their dives later, followed by the Lucha stape of the succession of planchas. The ending was really bad booking and I find finishes to most Lucha matches like this are the least thought part which seemed to be the case here. Lizmark looked the worst here, with a general misdirection hanging over him like a stormcloud.

A: I remember renting the tape of this particular show from the local library as a kid and loving this match. Most of it was your typical lucha staple of outside dive sequences and what-not with loads of legal man issues. Juvi’s getting Michael Jordan-esque air on a springboard was quite tasty. Agreed with the comments about the ending. I’m guessing it probably popped in Bischoff’s head as he was popping a squat right before showtime.

5) Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Raw, 5/2/05) A:7 J:7

A: The beginning with the chain wrestling set the stage and allowed the suspense to build from there. Everything, I mean everything was executed with absolute perfection. Shawn looked better here than he did during the end of his last run last year. This was Benjamin at his peak. Shelton nearly took off Michaels’ head with a spinning head kick. The story early on was Shawn getting frustrated with himself about not being able to put away Shelton. The nearfalls were absolutely fantastic and got better as the match went on with the crowd hanging on every single one. The superkick at the end had never been done before but I did see Shawn bust it out during a match with Rey Mysterio last winter in Cincinnati. I toyed with an “8” here but I figured that a “7” would be a safe bet.

J: I wondered if this would hold up especially after the glowing praise you bestowed upon it Adam and it actually did. When I speak about Shawn's 2nd career being a success these are the kinds I like to see, him, with all his story telling ability, the selling, against a new younger gunslinger who can dish it out. Shelton, to his credit, has maybe never looked better. He didn't miss a beat throughout, nailing each and every spot, loved the double clothesline over the top to the outside. So good call, 7 is about right, 8 would be another level that I don't think they reached so good decision.

6) Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon (WCW World War III ’96, 11/24/96) J:5 A:5

J: Even Rey circa '96 looked like a better Spider Man than Andrew Garfield. Dragon's green lipstick was way too Cyndi Lauper for me but guess he was cool with it. Dragon was such a Liger here, just bullying small Rey for long periods, with some really dynamic offense, incl. a sick powerbomb. Rey was pitch perfect in his role as the underdog only hitting stuff here and there but hanging in there whenever he can. Again, more like a Japanese style bout than anything high flying but still really fun. Of their 3 PPV matches during this time, I think this is probably the lesser but is still a great watch, especially if your a major fan of either guy.

A: The Japanese style was definitely on display here by Dragon. Jessie pretty much covered everything. Dragon’s kicks didn’t have a lot of force behind them from my perspective. Lil’ Rey (that sound like some rapper’s name) didn’t look to great either. Crowd seemed a bit flat and only responded to Rey’s comebacks. These two have definitely had better matches.

7) Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (ECW Hardcore TV, 7/21/95) – A:8 J:7

A: This wasn’t necessarily a high flying match but it was just awesome. The mat work and reversals here would make Frank Gotch stand up out of his grave and applaud. Everything meant something and led right into the next move. Big moves were executed only when they needed to be and it fit the context of the match. For example, Malenko hit a gutbuster and then immediately followed it up with an abdominal stretch. Guerrero used his aerial abilities to perfection and hit a perfect frogsplash. The big spot of the match was them taking a tumble over the top rope but they immediately got back in. The finishing sequence would end up becoming a staple of cruiserweight matches in years to come but here, unlike now where roll-up sequences are done to death (particularly in the RVD/Jerry Lynn series of ‘99), it still meant something (and was much crisper than the first match on this disc that used the same finish).

J: I'm not really sure where this particular bout fits into their storied rivalry but off hand it felt fresher, more succint and less pressure than their famed 2/3 falls bout. I agree with Adam that there wasn't much wasted movement here and some of the sequences actually caught me off guard with how fast they were moving and how damn well they came off. Def. some of both mens' career best. I did have issues with both guys during different points just casually moving onto the next spot, ala Ring of Honor since the beginning, especially Dean. He really could have added some facial expressions into his game, except his usual "Damn kids stole my newspaper again" grumpy old man face. Surprised you didn't like the ending of the Dragon-Pillman bout as they used the same one here.

Bonus Matches:

* Ultimo Dragon vs. Psychosis (WCW Uncensored ’97, 3/16/97) – J:5 A:5

J: This was a fun match, a nice mix of styles, Psychosis was trying almost damn near anything and was game for all kinds of nutty bumps and dives. Dragon played more of a straight man but looked as solid mechanically as in the Rey match. Loved the running Lyger bomb he killed Psych with later on. The mat stuff in the opening was every bit as smooth as Eddie-Dean earlier also. Guess why I wouldn't recommend it is some no-selling issues, and the match didn't really flow, felt like a nice collection of spots and I've seen more cohesive stuff from both guys.

A: Dragon looked better here overall than he did in the match with Mysterio. For me, the match felt in the same category as the 6-man lucha match from earlier. Lots of the typical stuff, including Dragon doing the Asai moonsaul. I dug the Tornado DDT and Tiger suplex that finished off Psychosis. Decent match.

* Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble (WWE Smackdown, 4/18/08) – A:4 J:3

A: Wait, Coach is on color commentary? Bam Neely is still employed? What is this, an alternate universe? Nothing really special here as it was your common, everyday five-minute TV cruiserweight match. Crowd seemed dead and the match was mainly all Chavo getting all his trademark stuff in on Noble. Not much else to talk about.

J: In this alternate universe, is gas still $3 a gallon? Is Eva Mendes single and living on my street? Has anyone "shanked" either of the Crist Brothers as Brian soundly suggested in 2006? Okay, enough hocus pocus, although I don't think a David Blaine magic act in the middle of this would freshen it up any. Chavo was on pure autopilot and I've seen a trash bag get thrown by the Rumpke guys in the morning have more float than Chavo's frog splash. Jamie was sound though, pulling off a couple nice sequences, but this had no time to develop whatsoever.

CZW Deja Vu 5 - October 6, 2010

This venue looks like a Family Fun Center that's been curtained off to look smaller. There's probably about 35-40 people there and they look bored. Oh my, this HAS to be a good sign. There's so few people a microphone is not required. ... ... ...

Alex Colon vs. Scott Reed vs. Ryan Slater - 3

Scott Reed looks like Petey Williams after a run in with anadrol. His in-ring was solid, but his bulkiness added and odd element to a match involving two smaller guys. Slater's jawing with the crowd was quite humorous, garnering disrespect from the Massachusetts fans, including one female fan shouting, "you a fuckin gay." Colon brought this PR stiffness with his striking game that was acceptable. He was the one who looked the best in this match, while Ryan Slater only seemed to want to get heat from the Red Sox fans.

Johnny Calzone vs. Drew Gulak - 2

Take one part pizza chef gimmick and one part arrogant prick heel and you have a concoction that's bound to be explosively greatly interesting. Nothing really happened in this match. Aside from Calzone getting heat for Gulak, making sure the fans knowing he was a 'dickhead.' This match doesn't belong in CZW.

Sabian vs. Thomas Clappo - 4

Sabian hates humanity and I love him for it. He doesn't take shit from anybody and gets in any arrogant fans' face. Hell yeah. Cloppo really looked like he could hold his own in the ring. His ground work and power maneuvers were good, and working with a shorter guy like Sabian would've proved to have been more difficult when you're as tall as Cloppo, I would think. Sabian jawed with the crowd, making fun of the bean-lovers, especially the rotund ones. Cloppo made sure to connect with the audience as well, making eye contact with the fans and getting pumped up. Impressive showing.

Devon Moore vs. Niles Young - 3

Young brought a chubby midget with him to the ring that looked like she was Snookie's sister. I question the integrity of Young. Moore looks like he's dropped some weight and is now wearing tights and no shirt -- a step up from ripped jeans shorts and marijuana-endorsing t-shirts. Young lays in chops like a timid father spanking his child for the first time. Step up your game, dude. Young looked about as solid as nerve gas -- he offered the same side-effects as well. Moore's shooting star press to end the match looked nice.

Joe Gacy vs. Sami Callihan - 5

This was a feud in the making as two members of the SwichBlade Conspiracy were stiffing the fuck out of each other. This was arguably Gacy's best singles match. His intensity and hate were up there with Sami, which is hard to do. They brawled on the floor, where Sami wasn't afraid to bump on the astro turf. Sami also busted out a DDT on an upright plastic trash can. Yep. Gacy rubbed me the wrong way by not selling some of Sami's offense on the floor, like a chair shot to the back. Sami's bumping was hella fun to watch. He would get thrown into trash cans and bump like he was just shot out of a cannon.

The Osirian Portal vs. The Irish Drive-By - 4

Both teams are well ventured in the quick paced, lucharific style of wrestling. Swann vs. Orphidian is one match that I've wanted to see for a long time, and it was fun getting to see the two mix it up. Amasis and Swann showed their moves in the ring, being all funky and junk.
Crowd was really quiet throughout the match with only a few intermittent claps breaking up the deafening silence. I found myself wishing they'd lay in their strikes more. Swanns chops in the cvorner were weaker than a gerbil on a feeding tube. To their credit, both teams provided a fun atmosphere with their tomfoolery.

tHURTeen vs. Danny Havoc - Lighttube Bundles - 5

I will give it to both guys, there was some really great stuff in this match. While there wasn't a lot to work with inside this rec center, they made something out of nothing. Havoc looks more and more polished in the ring every time he steps foot in it. He connects with his strikes and is making more strides at aerial maneuvers. 'Teen looked solid is well, sporting a nasty gash under his arm that rivaled that of Nick Gage at last year's TOD. The guys battled on top of a pick up truck - yes, a pickup truck, which Havoc ultimately took a Schwein into the bed filled with tubes. That was nice.

Jon Moxley vs. Nick Gage - NRBW - 4

Gage being in his familiar old home environment was pretty evident here, as he was taking suplexes into the wire repeatedly. I was quite happy with his selling of each subsequent suplex, as well. Moxely, however, has no business doing these types of matches. Don't get me wrong, he's one of the best, but his career needs to move in another direction -- he doesn't need to be sacrificing himself so much with all of the companies he works for. It is, however, a testament to his fortitude in his willingness to work deathmatches. Moxley looks great with a crimson mask, so demented. Gage took a hook and ladder onto the barbwire which I commend him for seeing as it's very dangerous.

Match Average: 3.75

Recommendation Level: Not Recommended

Saturday, January 22, 2011

ROH on HDNet- 05/24/2010

1) Joey Ryan v. Eddie Kingston- 2
2) Necro Butcher/ Eddie Kingston v. Shawn Daivari/ Joey Ryan (Butcher's Rules)- 2
3) Eddie Edwards v. Colt Cabana (TV Title) - 4

1st 2 bouts were lousy; I liked Eddie doing some frustrating selling as if he had no way to come back and hated himself for it, but it was all from Joey Ryan's punches? I'd think an ant bite would hurt worse and they were totally from the Lance Storm school, which I've never been a fan of. Kingston threw a few suplexes but I'd rather see Tazz throw them and I'd rather not see Tazz do much of anything. The "impromptou" hardcore match after was tame by the standards set by Steve Blackman in the late 90's which is saying something. Daivari was wearing some kind of a body suit like in Tron, but it was only the lower half, like he left the top half drying on a clothesline or something.

Main got a little better, Edwards was wrestling with confidence, like a salesman that just sold his first car. Cabana does somethings well and some not; loved the zeal he threw his body into different spots, such as a mised butt butt in the corner. But I think this match marks the first time i've ever seen a top rope superplex used as a desperation move? Colt even kind of "hulked up" after doing it, negating the last 6 minutes Edwards worked hard during. An interesting finishing sequence came about too, incl. tubby Steve Corino, a knee breaker on a title belt and yet another Storm trope, the half crab (which also has never looked good.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WCW Monday Nitro 3/15/99

I attended this Nitro live on basically a whim. Friend and (at that time) fellow backyard wrestler Tim, or as I dubbed him, Jerry Cherry, and I ventured towards Cincinnati with no real plan but to get into the arena. Tim's now independent wrestler Pompano Joe for you trivia buffs. Anyway, we commandeered a ride from his mother, made some crude signs (his were pro-WWF and confiscated) and got dropped off. Our seats were on the floor and not bad at all. We didn't have an arranged ride home. After the show, wearing my new Monday Night Jericho t-shirt, we walked down the dark, dangerous streets of the nasty 'Nati awaiting my dad who I'd called to bail us out.

1. Meng vs. Jerry Flynn - 4
2. Rick Steiner vs. Chris Adams - 6
3. Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio - 6
4. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs. Barbarian and Hugh Morrus - 5
5. Stevie Ray vs. Horace Hogan - 3
6. Konnan vs. Disco Inferno - 3
7. Booker T vs. Chris Jericho - 5
8. Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash vs. Ric Flair and Goldberg - 5

The opener was quite physical, just two big beasts throwing everything at each other, with Meng being the tougher of the two, withstanding Flynn's kick-based arsenal, etc. The next match just completley caught me by surprise. I've always been a big proponent of going back and watching old, misc. TV episodes because you'll never know what gems might be hiding and this is definitely the case of that. I don't know why, maybe something happened backstage, but these guys, especially Steiner, were out to kill each other. It wasn't a wrestling storyline, though, but a viewer with a sharp eye to detail can see Rick's potatoes, trying to smash in Adams' face, and Chris' desperate attempts at fighting back against the bigger, stronger guy out to maim him. There's a strike exchange in the corner that is as violent as any street fight you'll likely to witness.

Kidman and Mysterio was a lot of fun, the title ended up changing hands, which, being there live, was real exciting to see firsthand. With the time given they kept it fast-paced with back-and-forth action. You wish that this could have been longer, more fleshed out, to be more meaningful but for what it was you can't complain. I liked the following tag match a lot. It's the sort of tag action sorely missing from today's TV wrestling landscape. Benoit's savagery was on full display and Malenko played a good face in peril to the heels.

The next two matches were a step in the wrong direction. Ray and Hogan were involved in in-fighting in their stable and did a short brawl that was marred by laziness. The next match was longer and more competitive than I'd expected, but I'm continually embarrassed by Konan every time I see him work, his shtick is translucent, running through his rote string of clunky offense that never feels polished or believable.

I liked Jericho vs. Booker, don't really remember these guys working each other much and either company, but they clicked and this was a pleasent surprise. Jericho pulled the ref in-front of an oncoming kick to garner a disqualification but the bulk of the match was made up of solid in-ring work. If I had any say little gems like that would have been included in Jericho's recent multi-disc DVD career retrospective.

The main event I'd remembered just being insane for the crowd heat and sheer magnitude of it. My friend and I left out seats and made our way as close to the ring as possible, ending up near ringside, and I'll never forget being that close and seeing those four megastars under the lights like that. It was really a cool moment. I recalled the match being a mere throwaway but upon revisiting it it's actually a damn good tag match. I only shaved off a point due to its lack of a finish as the show basically just ended. Still, for ten minutes or so, these guys went at it, Hogan and Nash mainly ran the match, but it was never dull, and the crowd was fanatic throughout. Any fan of this period or someone interested in seeing it for the first time should seek this match out.

Overall the show was a lot better then I remembered. At the time I was more caught up in everything and didn't have a lot of strong memories of the in-ring itself. Out of eight matches there were only two I'd really suggest avoiding. I've got one more Cincinnati Nitro I attended live to review so look for that in the weeks to come.

Best of HWA 2004 (Disc 1 of 2)

Just a quick note, I was going to do all of HWA “Best Of” DVDs in chronological order, starting with the Best of 2003 set. But since I can’t seem to find it anywhere, I’ll skip to 2004. To be honest, I’m both worried and excited about what could be contained on here. Worried because it’s 2004 HWA and the matches may be crap but I’m excited to find out exactly what matches are on here since I’m not too familiar with nor do I recall any of the product during that time.

1) J.T. Stahr vs. Nigel McGuinness – 2
The meat of this has been clipped to hell so I can’t give an accurate rating but I will rate of what was shown. The last few minutes that were shown in full were decent though. Nigel had a good comeback out of a submission hold and Stahr took his offense pretty well. I would’ve like to have seen the whole match. Let’s hope this won’t be a recurring trend on this disc.

2) Matt Stryker vs. T.J. Dalton – 3
Fun little match with Stryker controlling the match on offense. Dalton had no expression on his face when selling. He knocked off the apron, got hit with a baseball slide and sold both moves with all the enthusiasm of a corpse. Stryker wasn’t much to look at either as he laid in the ring like a dead fish while the interference from Cody Hawk and J.T. Stahr was happening.

3) Lotus vs. J.T. Stahr – 3
The pace in this was pretty quick. Lotus, the current Dave Crist, hit a Japanese arm drag at an early point in the match. I’m guessing he only did that because he saw it on an All Japan tape the previous night in his parent’s basement and thought it might look cool to try. Stahr didn’t provide much to the contest except just showing up to collect a paycheck. Stahr’s partner T.J. Dalton was on the outside with a ridiculous Triple H shirt and tried to interfere but failed. Lotus’ standing dropkick looked like shit. Nice to see Dave Crist give a shit for once.

4) Crazy J vs. T.J. Dalton – 4
Couple nice moves in this one. Crazy J hit a really nice springboard knee to the head from the top rope and Dalton hit a brain-scrambling implant DDT. I always though Crazy J was the more talented of the Crist brothers and my argument is proven here and this match was more crisp than the previous match on this set featuring his brother. Dalton’s selling of an arm consisted of shaking it every now and then. His facial sells were better here but still nothing too great.

5) Hoss & Nigel McGuinness vs. Matt Stryker & Cody Hawk – 4
Hoss looked lost early with all four guys brawling in the ring. Nigel has the world’s least threatening manager in his corner. I mean this guy looks like he couldn’t even manage to open a bag of potato chips. Stryker and Hawk looked good as a team here. Hawk hit a good double top-rope double leg drop and Stryker’s facials on offense were really good. The announcers spent the entire match speculating on Hoss’ retirement with the color guy asking the Easter Bunny to bring him another Hoss match for Easter. Wait, what? To me that seems like it’s the equivalent of asking for a case of herpes for Christmas. Hoss hit some move called a swirly for a nice near-fall but it was all in vain as Stryker and Hawk picked up the win.

6) Four Way Scramble Match: Necessary Roughness vs. Lotus & Crazy J vs. Southern Breeze vs. Mike Desire & Tack - 5
I saw this match live but have no memory of it what-so-ever. The giant spot where everyone dives on everyone else takes place right as the match starts. Lotus & Crazy J had some really smooth looking high-risk spots, namely the perfectly executed Spanish Fly manuever near the end of the bout. Necessarary Roughness is Jon Moxley and Jimmy Turner doing a football gimmick and it is very strange to see Moxley dressed as a football player. Moxley was showing the skills that have made him one of the top indy stars today. There was one point where Lotus & Crazy J screwed up their spot, resulting in one of them taking a crash landing in an empty ring, and Moxley stood on the apron laughing. The color guy kept calling Southern Breeze legendary. Yeah, that’s a pretty ridiculous comment. The big spot at the end featured Necessary Roughness and Southern Breeze brawling around the entrance to the arena with Tack and Lotus brawling on the balcony. Bet you can figure out what happens from here. Tack gives Lotus a piledriver on the balcony and then tosses him off onto the two teams below. Fun stuff here, worth it just to see early Moxley if anything else.

7) Barbed Wire Match: J.T. Stahr & T.J. Dalton vs. Matt Stryker & Cody Hawk – 3
This really was not good at all. It was obvious to me that all four guys were limited in what they could do given that the ropes were covered in barbed wire. Another problem was that it went 40 minutes … 40 minutes I tell you! Why on earth anyone would give these guys 40 minutes is beyond me. It’s almost like the guy running the show said “Ok, we’ve got time to kill. Just go out there and fuck around for 40 minutes.” The heels spent the first 10-12 stalling with regional indy schlep manager Brock Guffman pulling out medical gauze and tape from his pants. Also, T.J. Dalton has a ridiculous N*SYNC t-shirt on. Why wear that? Did you want to relive your days from junior high where you pimped the New Kids on the Block tee and got your ass beat by the school bully? Stryker visibly laughed at Stahr’s overselling of the barbed wire barely touching him in the ass. There were no really big bumps, probably the biggest bump of the match was Stahr getting tossed over the top rope on to the floor, and not much blood at all. I give these guys credit for trying but if your looking for Funk/Sabu or Whitmer/Necro levels of brutality and violence, you’d be better off searching someplace else because you won’t find it here.

8) Jon Moxley vs. Cody Hawk – 4
Short, fast paced match with Hawk controlling most of the offense. I still can’t get over Moxley with the football tights on as he looks completely out of place in that garb. Cody’s offense for once was pretty smooth and it didn’t look like he was dragging ass in the ring. Mox bumped around well. Hawk hit the world’s shittiest muscle buster while the referee was distracted on the outside with the two valets. At the end we get interference from Mox’s tag partner Jimmy Turner and then a cavalcade of shit with the valets brawling and Hawk covering Mox, Turner, and their valet for the win.

Monday, January 17, 2011

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2010 N.2

Joey Ryan vs. Austin Aries - 4

Two guys who work the same gimmick. You know they're going to incorporate that into this match. I was happy to see that their characters weren't really overblown in the match and that the wrestling was what was concentrated on. Aries stopped the match halfway through to talk about how Joey couldn't knock him out, upon which Joey delivers a superkick to the face. Nice touch to change things up. Aires went for his running kick in the corner and Joey got his foot up, sending Ares spinning around his foot, which Aries sold great. Not bad, but there was a bit too much goofing off.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Roderick Strong - 5

A good match that you'd expect out of these two guys. Roderick and Claudio both made sure to lay it in to one another in this match, utilizing strong forearm strikes and putting a little extra "oomph" into every exchange. At first I was having a hard time putting my finger on what was holding this match back and I kept thinking and thinking, then it finally occurred to me: the selling. There was hardly any to mention. Now we all know that Roderick is not one to be a great seller, but Claudio always looked good in this department. Maybe he was having an off night? Good sprints and exchanges, but ya gotta sell well.

Brandon Gatson vs. Brandon Bonham - 3

Bonham brought a nice stiffness element to the match. He hit some kicks that looked like the connected and then some, but throughout this entire match there was a really awkward feel. Something wasn't clicking. Gaston would bust out his usual stuff including a Bret Hart elbow to the dazed Bonham. The finish was messed up after a botched Hammer of the Gods by Bonham leading to a very awkward finish.

Chris Hero vs. Akira Tozawa - 8

Not even joking here. Legit probably PWG MOTY thus far. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING just clicked in this match. Both guys brought a passionate fire to the match, screaming at one another during strike exchanges as well as busting out some sickening head drops. This match is how you work nearfalls. There were a few, but not too many that legit made me say aloud "WHAT!?!~" This was the best Tozawa match he's had in PWG and probably in his career. So much hate and energy that reverberated through the walls of the bar in Reseeda. Everyone should watch this match. Worth the price of the DVD alone.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Joey Ryan - 3

Claudio impressed me with the arm psych in this match, using the ring and ropes as a means for weakening the arm of Joey Ryan. I do, however, wish he would've locked in some of the holds he put Ryan in, specifically a piss-poor Fujiwara arm-bar. Joey looked more lethargic than a rabid baby elephant after being shot with tranquilizers. I didn't buy Ryan beating Claudio for one single second.

Brandon Gatson vs. Chris Hero - 4

Hero absolutely decimated Gatson with all of his elbow strike variations. DIG IT! If anything, this match helped Gatson's career by showing his tenacity, toughness, and resiliency. He was able to hang with Hero and show his stuff, but nobody in the venue thought that Gatson would get the upset against Hero. Still Gatson got a good rub from Hero, showing his legitimacy as a main eventer against one of the top guy in the company.

Rocky Romero, Johnny Goodtime & Ricochet vs. Chuck Taylor, Brian Cage Taylor & Ryan Taylor - 7

This is a sprint match done right. Each guy got his time to shine. Normally when you see a match involving six guys that can fly, you'd expect to see a lot of phantom bumps and a lot of weak striking. Not here. Each guy really laid in the shots and executed maneuvers to a t. Goodtime broke out more unique offense, including a sweet springboard into the ring onto a sitting up Chuck Taylor. Goodtime is very underrated and is quickly becoming one of my favorites on the indy scene. Romero brought to the table some nice grappling skills mixed in with some nice striking. Ricochet busted out his insane and unorthodox offense, proving yet again that he's the craziest indy wrestler willing to do anything. The Fighting Taylor Boys weren't without their strong points either. Chuck Taylor provided that fun junior heavyweight style mixed in with comedy relief, yet not too silly. Ryan Taylor brought a heavy striking game to the match, executing high kicks with precision to his victims' skulls. Cage Taylor brings a legitimacy to the team in that he's a heavy hitting and is the power behind the time. His discus lariat is great. Just a great chemistry and energy between all men in the match and a great sprint to break up the singles action.

The Cutler Bros vs. Peligro Abejas - 5

The Cutlers had finally worked their way up the PWG food chain to become No. 1 contenders for the tag titles. The Cutlers looked as good as ever, showing a confidence and swagger that legitimized them as contenders. Their selling was point on, but not overdone to the point where it looked like they were just be pathetic and fake. London came to work ready to bump and grapple, so I was happy with that. He didn't seem too strung out. Generico was Generico in the sense that he sold like a fish out of water, flopping and stumbling around. Would've liked to have seen better nearfalls out of this match, but for what it was, it was well done. I know these guys can do better, but they obviously didn't want to overshadow the main event.

Chris Hero vs. Joey Ryan - 4

This match had no business happening in my opinion. We had the perfect opportunity to see The Kings of Wrestling face off, but instead we have to see Joey Ryan work. Hero started the match off with some great arm psych. It's hard to fathom how Joey's arm was really hurt -- Hero was just working it over brutally. Hero busted out a corkscrew tope to the floor which was quite awesome considering he usually doesn't even do a normal tope. There was a nice superkick/forearm exchange spot in the match, still there was something off about this match that really held it back.

Really don't know how to feel about this show. While there was undoubtedly some really great stuff, there was a lot of crappy stuff as well.

Match Average: 4.9

Recommendation Level: Recommended

Saturday, January 15, 2011

IWA Mid-South "Tryout Show #5"

IWA-MS "Tryout Show #5"
June 25, 2010 - Bellevue, IL

Welcome to a co-review as Brian and Geo team up (for the first time not as a duo at the sushi buffet) to tackle one of the most insignificant, tiny shows on the American independent scene in 2010. To follow this up we'll soon be doing a review on the biggest independent event of the year.

Brian: This looks like it was shot with an old VHS camcorder from the '80's on a tripod. The thing I really loathe about watching wrestling when it's from one lone camera far away like this is the lack of details. You can't see any of the facial selling, etc. Imagine watching a film, say one of the pivotal scenes in Casablanca, but instead of having the camera right there capturing the moment its 15-ft. away and out of focus. There seems to be a few more people than normal on the bleachers so I assume that's family members and friends of the wannabes.

G-Yo: Well all I can say is at least they're not in an alley somewhere with homeless men watching them and shooting up at the same time. This is a step above the aforementioned. If you were to show me this footage without telling me when it was recorded, I'd probably say late 80s early 90s. Also it made a cameo on America's Funniest Home Videos with Bob Saget. You won't see me handing over. Oh yeah, thanks, SmartMark, for not providing any names with these assholes.

1. Scotty Keyes vs. Outlaw Jason Rose - B:1 G:2

Brian: Strike one against Outlaw is he looks like Mideon circa '99. Keyes at least realizes he has to play to the crowd. Rose sells Keyes' insipid arm-work like a guy at Subway upon realizing they forgot to put jalapeƱos on his six-inch. Keyes did some of the worst mounted corner punches I've ever seen. Rose demonstrated some decent power, catching Keyes off of a crossbody, dropping him down in two backbreakers, then finishing the sequence off with a fallaway slam. Keyes' "Frog Splash" looked like a child afraid to jump off a pier into a lake so finally an older relative gives him a little push and he flails off.

Geo: I'm glad Brian knows who these guys are, because I simply took my notes calling the "red pants' and "black shirt." So I think I might have liked this a tad more seeing Keyes at least trying. Outlaw tried this laughable backbreakers in which he didn't even genuflect. A priest wouldn't be caught dead here anyway. Outlaw carried Keyes around the ring like a sack of shit he just picked up from his Danish Pony after a severe bout with diarrhea, only to drop him half-heartedly on the top rope to a few boos from the fans. Oh yeah, Outlaw looks like the love-child of a Ballz Mahoney and Amazing Kong. I vomit in his general direction.

2. Corbin Blaze vs. Tyler Priegel - B:2 G:1

Geo: Ok so I'm going to assume Corbin is the one in the singlet. Match had as much heat as a night in Barrow, Alaska -- colder than an ex-girlfriend's shoulder. This Priegel fellow hit some decent backbreakers, but his forearms.. my God those forearms. Seriously, bro? An aborted pig fetus hits harder than that. Also, this Priegal guy can only do backbreakers. He's like Roderick Strong's adopted half-step redheaded brother that gets picked on at school all the time. Also, these backbreakers, Preigel, bro, you need to make them mean something. There was no other back psych to speak of. It was doing moves for the sake of doing moves. Blaze looked sloppier than Frosty the Snowman's schlong after a hot July day. No thanks.

Brian: Blaze attempting a hurricanrana from the top was ballsy. I noticed Priegel popping up from some clotheslines; only guy that gets away with that is early-'90's Undertaker. I noted that Tyler had clearly illegally downloaded way too much Roderick Strong, as his propensity to do bad backbreaker variants bordered on fetishistic. Poor Corbin's standing moonsault was an eyesore.

3. Donovan Ruddick vs. Wuha Nation - B:4 G:4

Brian: Ruddick looks like the younger brother of Strikeforce fighter Abongo Humphrey. Nation has a big, athletic build, I could actually see him as someone who'd make a good candidate for Tough Enough. Donovan showed promise with a nice vertical suplex and rebound lariat. At times Nation, built like a tank, would come off mechanical like Bobby Lashley, but then he'd surprise you with something super athletic like a kip-up or standing Shooting Star Press. This felt more like professional wrestling than the obviously amateur stuff that proceeded it.

Geo: This actually seemed like a wrestling match. Both guys had a presence in the ring and had obviously done this before. Ruddick has this swagger and dominance about him that is nice. His mafia kick halfway through the match was excellent. After he did it, he looked at the fans in the kind of way that you'd probably not want to fuck with him. Nation selling was decent, well, what I could see of it. God this camera sucks. Nation looked like he was a bit timid in all honesty. His German suplex was on the extremely safe side; however, he was definitely a power house that could go. I dug both guys.

4. Jonathan Gresham vs. Bucky Collins - B:4 G:4

Geo: Okay, these two guys are not slobs and are actually on the roster. Gresham is THE top talent for this company, bar none. His athleticism and in-ring ability far surpass anyone on the roster. What he lacks in height he makes up for in technical ability. He staggery legged selling of Bucky's offense was great. Gresham also hit a lightning spiral! Fuck YEAH! It looked great too. Bucky sell was none to shabby, either. Bucky is nowhere near Gresham's league, but he was able to keep up with his mat style and fast-paced offense. Commendable.

Brian: Gresham looks like CZW's Sabian but clearly is more competent in the ring. The crowd seemed more lively here. One botch saw Bucky run face-first into Gresham's ass. The fucking kid with the bad goth hair and Riddlebox t-shirt really needed to stop walking right in-front of the camera. They attempted a really ambitious suplex spot from inside the ring to the floor. Bucky doesn't have the courage of Captain America's sidekick Bucky nor the ingenuity of skateboarder Bucky Lasek. The best sell of the whole show was Gresham's after Collins' flipping neckbreaker from the buckles. He sort of bounced, ended up back on his feet, then fell back like a toppling tree.

5. Kaige Kuttler vs. Reed Bentley - B:1 G:0

Brian: Bentley looks like a guy that's likely very familiar with public transit. Bentley looked so stiff and rigid on a legdrop that you could do it more fluidly with one of those old rubber LJN wrestling toys from the '80's. I hated Kuttler's control segments. He was easily the guy I disliked the most all show. He's lanky and rat-like and clearly better suited stocking shelves somewhere. Bentley made a fool of himself at one point doing a clothesline that turned into a crossbody and then morphed into a bulldog. I wonder if blowing Dixieland Destroyer could help advance either guys' career?

Geo: Kuttler walks around the ring like a midly aroused orangutan. He almost looked more curious about just what the hell he was doing there. This was just a pathetic display by both men. They weren't even trying. No emotion? No job. Get the hell out. I see better shit at the asbestos-filled opera house filled with pregnant coke-addicts down the street than this.

6. Johnathan Napier vs. Temple Rain - B:3 G:3

Geo: These are two of the first guys to connect with the audience actively. Napier looks like Eminem if he had half the brain and twice the age. Rain looked like he was on a mission to get noticed. He looked alright. Fans actually seemed to give a shit when Napier was in a headlock by clapping for him, and only furthered his sympathy after selling well for a vertical suplex. The best part about this match was Rain connecting with the crowd in an arrogant way, thus getting himself out there as a heel, and Napier selling well -- vocally, too! Now he just needs a clock he can turn back.

Brian: I thought Napier looked like a 50-year old doing a Jack Evans impression. He had the bandana, the black tank top, baggy shorts, etc. and also crow's feet. Temple busted out a Masato Tanaka's "Sliding D"? I laughed out loud. This started dull but I liked the last act. I'd kill to hear alternate commentary on this by Triple H, Ric Flair, and Kevin Nash. A decent (for an octogenarian) Swanton Bomb by Napier.

7. 5 Man Battle Royal (Keyes, Blaze, Ruddick, Kuttler, and Napier) - B:2 G:1

Brian: There's really not a lot to say about this. I have no idea why it even happened. The beginning reminded me of a surveillance video I saw recently of a cruise ship rocking in the seas and everyone in the ballroom falling and sliding all over the place as guys bumbled and stumbled all over each other early. There was a moment where Ruddick was beating down Napier that felt uncooperative which I got a kick out of. Blaze won, this was short, and as disposable as the napkins Ian Rotten masturbates into during his lunch break at Taco Bell.

Geo: Well this was pointless. I mean, I know this means Blaze gets booked, but this was more incoherent than a DUI-charged prostitute looking for work. Nothing meant anything. I can't even tell you what happened. What a way to get booked, Blaze. Gotta make that impression. Bring back Ruddick!

8. Ryan Phoenix vs. Ric Brutal - B:3 G:4

Geo: Nothing screams indy wrestling than a fake ninja. Phoenix is also a mainstay on the roster and is a solid worker. Fake Ninja hit a senton to the floor that showed how nuts he was -- looked pretty damn good, too. His striking and mat-based work was evident that he had some training and had been around the block a few times. Phoenix was getting him over good, eating his strikes like an obese child eating chocolate cake and Pepsi. Not a bad match. I think despite Phoenix winning, Brutal got over with his martial arts style and solid offense.

Brian: This was baffling. I had a big conundrum buying this. Brutal, who's name really has nothing to do with his persona, was wearing a heinously generic ninja outfit. Usually I'd just write him off entirely. However, some of his martial arts stuff, while unconventional, actually looked as though he had some real training, and dangerous as a result. So while he was kind of an enigma to watch, the stock name and terrible get-up soured my enjoyment of this. Phoenix put more into his sell of an opening kick than most people had put into their entire matches earlier. I always thought Phoenix reminded me of a slightly scummier Scotty Vortekz. The flip to the floor Geo mentioned above was really insane. Ric exposed the business by spinning before a clothesline he was to be hit with had even connected. Brutal did a double-foot stomp and landed on his butt like a kid trying to roller skate for the first time. Phoenix wrapped things up with a running Death Valley Driver into the buckles.

We were discussing, this being a tryout show, what would we do if we were the bosses? So, here's our opinions of who'd we'd dismiss, ask back for another shot, or hire.

Brian's Hire/Come Back/Reject:
Hire: Ruddick, Nation, Gresham, Phoenix
Come Back: Blaze, Collins, Napier, Brutal
Reject: Keyes, Rose, Preigal, Kuttler, Bentley, Rain

Geo's Hire/Come Back/Reject:
Hire: Whuda Nation, Donovan Ruddick, Temple Rain
Come Back: Corbin Blaze, Tyler Preigal, Jonathan Napier
Reject: Outlaw, Keyes, Kuttler, Bentley

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TNA Xplosion 10/15/10

1. Sarita vs. Angelina Love - 4

Sarita looked great here making even simple things like a Love shoulderblock look devastating. Love, for her end of things, was no Meryl Streep but displayed anguish properly throughout. Sarita built upon her role as being the sneakier of the two, sliding underneath the ring only to come from behind a distracted Love and nail her. Sarita dodged a Love ax kick like Mitsuya Nagai then caught her in a roll-up for the victory. After seeing some of Sarita's work in Mexico and Shimmer I can't see how you could argue she's not one of the five best women currently wrestling in the world.

2. Eric Young and Orlando Jordan vs. Suicide and Rob Terry - 2

Eric dives face-first into Suicide's crotch like Allen Ginsberg on Neal Cassady. Young is TNA's answer to WWE's Santino except Eric is actually competent in the ring (and bumps well) and is occasionally funny. Jordan got canned by WWE due to their political correctness but imagine what they would have done with him as a character in '98 when they were really pushing the envelope. It was pretty obvious it was Kiyoshi in the Suicide get-up here. This felt largely directionless and hollow.

HWA World War 3 2010

1. “The Madness” Chris Hall vs. Jock Samson vs. Aaron Xtreme vs. J.T. Hustla vs. Dameon Daniels vs. Jon Murray – Six Man Elimination Match - 3
2. Ron Mathis vs. Sid Fabulous - 6
3. Tim Donst vs. Dustin Rayz - 4
4. Jock Samson vs. Brian Beech - 1
5. Jimmy Yang vs. Chris Carnage - 2
6. Jon Moxley vs. Jesse Emerson - 4
7. AJP (?) vs. Zack Spade - 2
8. The Hybrids vs. The Heat Seekers vs. The Noble Bloods - 3
9. Gerome Phillips vs. Shank Barzini - No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere Match - 5
10. Jake Crist vs. Dave Crist – 4

After a three-month hiatus, HWA returned to action with their annual World War 3 show. Opener was a six-man elimination match with two really small guys (Aaron Xtreme and J.T. Hustla) and four really big dudes. Murray is a 350-pound wannabe Mick Foley. He really wasn’t much in the ring, hitting the ropes like an elephant on downers. Samson bears a close resemblance to Zach Galifinakis of The Hangover fame and is a really fun character. Hall was the glue of the match, hitting his big moves and scoring most of the eliminations. Daniels and Aaron did a thing where they brawled out of the ring and into the crowd and were eliminated. The match wasn’t good at all but would’ve been worse without Hall’s involvement. Mathis and Sid Fabulous blew away any expectations I had. I groan whenever I see Sid’s name on a card mainly because he’s not that great of a wrestler and his gimmick (as a ladies man) has been done to death in numerous promotions, most notably ROH with Rhett Titus. Mathis is probably the most underrated guy in HWA, with his persona and his in-ring work. Sid took a bunch of hard chops and sold them like a champ. By the end of the match, his chest looked like he’d been the recipient of the 100-hand chop by Kobashi. The brawling outside the ring was good, with Mathis taking a couple really hard bumps on the unprotected gym floor. Mathis’ manager, some slug named Gilbert, didn’t look like he was into the match at all, just pacing back and forth and randomly jawing at the crowd. I figured that Mathis would retain the title but Sid scored the upset win. Afterwards, a very large, roided up black dude that I’m unfamiliar with came out and destroyed Sid. Donst and Rayz was a basic, by the numbers match. Donst is always a pleasure to watch because his work is usually on the decent to good side of things. Rayz I’ve never been to high on since I saw him first a last year’s World War 3 show. His offense is pretty bland and his character just comes across as a generic heel. Donst was the workhorse, carrying Rayz to an acceptable match. Samson came back out after getting his ass beat in the opener issuing an open challenge which was accepted by resident weekend warrior Brian Beech, showing up with a small beer gut and wrestling in a t-shirt. The match was a sloppy 3-minute affair with Beech winning with a sloppy superkick. I gave it a mercy point just for Samson’s mic work before the bout. Next up, was another open challenge with Chris Carnage, a very big, muscular guy wearing a cut-off shirt bearing his likeness issuing another open challenge. This time, it was accepted by Jimmy Yang, who was planted in the crowd. The match only went five minutes and mainly got its points from Yang having to carry the rather immobile Carnage. Closing out the first half of the show was Moxley and Emerson, both guys who I enjoy watching. Match was again a pretty basic bout with neither guy really going for broke on any big move. Emerson may not be the most polished guy but I think he’s got a lot of potential and really works hard in his matches. Moxley is always great to watch and can wrestle just about any style. Most of the match was mat work and I think everyone was expecting Moxley to win but Emerson scored the upset win with a roll-up.

Intermission came and went with Jimmy Yang passing out business cards for his pest control business at the merch table. First match back was A.J.P. (at least that’s what I caught from the ring announcer) against a pudgy John Morrison wannabe. A.J.P. was a good heel, insulting the crowd and just running them down. Nothing really of great importance happened and neither guy really seemed all that skilled in their ring work. The three way tag was awful. I was expecting a decent bout but after about 40 seconds it just fell apart. The referee just stood in the ring and looked like Stevie Wonder trying to direct traffic and you couldn’t really tell how each guy looked individually. The manager for the Noble Bloods didn’t look into the match at all and I visibly caught him checking his cell phone while walking back to the corner. Jeremy Madrox of the Heat Seekers looks like he could be a good top-level heel eventually as he is good on the mic but still may need a bit of polishing in the ring. By the end of the match, it had pretty much deteriorated into one big mess with legal man issues galore and the competitors just jumping in and out of the action as they pleased. Eventually, somewhere in the chaos, the Heat Seekers got the win but by that point no one really cared. The No DQ match was pretty fun. Phillips, the former King Vu, is just a beast. His offense looks like it legitamitely hurts and his intensity is just fantastic. Shank showed off some decent moves but ended up taking a beating for most of the match. Brawling, though, is where Shank is at his best. He was just wailing of Phillips with trash cans and chairs which lead to a good nearfall near the end of the match with Phillips kicking out of Shank’s finisher. By this point the show was running way over and the main event with the Crist brothers facing off went on just after 11pm. The main interest for me was to see how they worked together one-on-one. Dave came out with a green mohawk and wearing a punk rock jacket. What a tool. By the way, I should mention that while we were waiting out in the freezing cold, Dave came out to gladhand everyone (to a collective groan from everyone) while we were in line. I liked the mat work that they were doing but it was clear that Dave Crist was more interested in the ladies in the crowd and chewing gum instead of trying to put some effort into his offense. Jake Crist was really the one trying to keep the match together. However, as much as I don’t like the Crist brothers, I will give them credit for busting out a couple really cool looking moves, most notably a really sick springboard DDT that just planted Jake into the mat, in front of a crowd of about 50 people or so. The crowd was so burnt out that by the time the climax of the match hit, they didn’t even pop for Dave Crist getting the win. The show as a whole seemed like it was just thrown together at the last minute and it showed, especially in the undercard. Overall, probably one of the weakest World War 3 shows HWA has done and not much here worth seeking out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Queue Slayer #1

Welcome to the first edition of Queue Slayer! This was basically an idea I had to help Jessie and I make a dent in the overwhelming amount of footage we've accumulated over the last few years. We each pick three DVDs, watch them, swap them, watch the others' selections, then rank what we've seen and share some insight. We hope you'll enjoy this new ongoing project here on NHO!

Brian's List - Queue Slayer #1

1. Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura - 7 - NJPW 12/11/04
2. Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat vs. Ron Simmons, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Marcus Alexander Bagwell - 5 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
3. Tito Santana vs. Jake Roberts - 6 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
4. Barry Windham vs. Ron Bass - 6 - Belt vs. Saddle Match - CWF TV 11/16/83
5. Ric Flair vs. Sting - 6 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
6. Jumbo vs. Billy Robinson - 6 - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - AJPW 3/5/77
7. British Bulldogs vs. Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik - 5 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
8. Vic Grimes vs. Psicosis - 5 - XPW Retribution
9. Demolition vs. Twin Towers - 5 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
10. Richard Charland vs. Red Rooster - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
11. Kaos vs. Pogo the Clown - 4 - XPW Retribution
12. Dick Slater vs. Dino Bravo - 5 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
13. Blue Blazer vs. Brooklyn Brawler - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
14. Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana - 5 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
15. Bret Hart vs. Rick Martel - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
16. Charlie Norris vs. Fury - 4 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
17. Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
18. Chris Hero vs. Trik Davis - 4 - 30-Min. Ironman Match - IWA Mid-South 2/18/06
19. Danny Spivey vs. Moondog Spot - 4 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
20. Butch Reed vs. Steve Gatorwolf - 3 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
21. Young Bucks vs. Cutler Bros. - 4 - PWG DDT4 5/22/09
22. Supreme vs. Steve Rizzono - 3 - XPW Retribution
23. Mike Rotunda vs. Moondog Rex - 3 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
24. Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Omori vs Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson - 3 - NJPW 7/5/09
25. Greg Valentine vs. Hillbilly Jim - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
26. Webb vs. The Sandman - 3 - XPW Retribution
27. 16-Man Battle Royal: Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Tito Santana, Rick Martel, Demolition, Big Bossman, Akeem, Honkytonk Man, Greg Valentine, Blue Blazer, Brooklyn Brawler, Hillbilly Jim, Red Rooster, Jim Powers, and Richard Charland - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
28. Super Dragon vs. Disco Machine - 3 - XPW Retribution
29. One Man Gang vs. Hector Guerrero, Mike Fever, and Denny Brown - CWF TV 11/16/83 - 2
30. Big Van Vader vs. JD Stryker - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
31. Johnny B. Badd vs. Mike Thor - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
32. Honky Tonk Man vs. Jim Powers - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
33. Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage - 2 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
34. Angel vs. G.Q. Money vs. Preston Ascott III - 2 - XPW Retribution
35. The Equalizer vs. Ron Preston - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93

36. Konnan vs. Damien Steele - 2 - XPW Retribution
37. Ice Train vs. Rage - 1 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93

Alright, let's make some sense of this, shall we? My #1 match comes from a BMD (or, Brian's Mix Disc) disc which is another project of mine where I've compiled random matches and shows together to circulate amongst the NHO team. In general I love the Japanese style, but this match didn't rest on its laurels, of course, it had the stiff action you've come to expect from a high profile NJPW match, but it also featured a tremendous build and a great closing section that saw the crowd incredibly excited for the possibility of win by the Tanahasi and Nakamura team.

Other matches from the BMD didn't fair so well, Tsuruta vs. Robinson from the late-'70's was good, but some of the other random matches fell considerably lower. The disc with the least amount of actual matches on it was an episode of CWF TV from '83. The bulk of that episode was a WIndham vs. Bass grudge match I found satisfying and even though it was the first thing I saw at least a month back it still ended up high on my ballot.

The two WWF arena shows featured highs and lows. I think, overall, I preferred the '86 Houston event although it's slower pace may be off-putting to some. I thought it gave a nice glimpse of guys and match-ups that are more uncommon, and while the '89 Ontario was filled with familiar faces, etc. nothing on it stuck out like the Roberts vs. Santana time-limit draw from Houston. The big surprise for me was the Red Rooster vs. Charland bout from Ontario, it featured hands down the best limb work of any match on this first project's menu.

Jessie had handpicked an episode of WCW Saturday Night from August of '93 that I enjoyed quite a lot. Besides the epic Sting vs. Flair main event that went 40+ min. some of the non-marquee matches featured strong performances including a Charlie Norris vs. Fury match I inexplicably dug, mostly for tag team journeyman Fury's strong heel work. The six-man was the most fun I had watching as Scorpio's selling was superb and everyone worked their roles well.

The last show was an XPW event titled Retribution. XPW has a big black cloud over it and most people won't even give it a chance. I tried to be objective and reserve judgement. Yes, some of my worst fears were realized, it's a company full of excesses, be it poorly done hardcore stuff, objectifying women, etc. But within the manure I found some diamonds, including one of my all-time favorite table bumps in the Kaos vs. Pogo the Clown bout, and a really great big man vs. little man opener involving Psicosis and Vic Grimes.

Jessie's List - Queue Slayer #1

1) Kensuke Sasaki & Minoru Suzuki v. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shinsuke Nakamura (New Japan 12/11/04)- 8 

2) Jumbo Tsuruta v. Billy Robinson (AJW, 03/05/77)- 7 

3) Barry Windham v. Ron Bass (Florida, 11/16/83)- 6 

4) Ric Flair v. Sting (WCW Sat Night 08/21/93)- 6 

5) Psicosis v. Vic Grimes (XPW Retribution)- 6 

6) Harlem Heat/ Sid v. Ron Simmons/ 2 Cold Scorpio/ Marcus Bagwell (WCW Sat Night 08/21/93)- 6 

7) Bret Hart v. Rick Martel (Copps Coliseum 05/01/89)- 6 

8) Tito Santana v. Jake Roberts (Sam Houston Coliseum 11/26/86)- 5 

9) Rick Rude v. Ultimate Warrior (Copps Coliseum 05/01/89)- 5 

10) Supreme v. Steve Rizzano (XPW Retribution)- 5 

11) Demolition v. Twin Towers (Copps Coliseum)- 5 

12) Dan Spivey v. Moondog Spot (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4 

13) 16 Man Battle Royal (Copps Coliseum)- 4 
14) Chris Hero v. Trik Davis (30 Min. Iron Man)- 4 
15) British Bulldogs v. Iron Sheik/ Nikolai Volkoff (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4 

16) Kaos v. Pogo the Clown (XPW Retribution)- 4 

17) Tito Santana v. Mr. Perfect (Copps Coliseum)- 4 

18) Dino Bravo v. Dick Slater (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4
19) Terry Taylor v. Richard Charland (Copps Coliseum)- 4 

20) Blue Blazer v. Brooklyn Brawler (Copps Coliseum)- 3 

21) Manabu Nakanishi/ Takao Omori v. Giant Bernard/ Karl Anderson (NJ)- 3 

22) XPW 3 Way - 3 

23) Super Dragon v. Disco Machine (XPW Retribution)- 3 

24) Charlie Norris v. Rage (WCW Sat Night)- 3

25) Honky Tonk v. Jim Powers (Copps)- 3 

26) Mike Rotundo v. Moondog Rex (Sam Houston)- 3

27) Young Bucks v. Cutler Brothers - 3 

28) Sandman v. Johnny Webb (XPW Retribution)- 3 

29) Vader v. jobber (WCW Sat Night)- 2 

30) Butch Reed v. Steve Gatorwolf (Sam Houston)- 2 

31) One Man Gang v. Mike Fever/ Denny Brown/ Hector Guerrero (Florida)- 2 

32) Greg Valentine v. Hillbilly Jim (Copps)- 2 

33) Konan v. Damien Steele (XPW)- 2 

34) Equalizer v. Ron Steele (Sat Night)- 2 

35) Randy Savage v. Junkyard Dog (Sam Houston)- 2
36) Johnny B Badd v. Mike Thor (Sat Night)- 1 

37) Ice Train v. Rage (Sat Night)- 1

The Good:
Wow, the New Japan tag, for me at least, soared above everything else. These guys worked hard, even in their rest hold segments. Just perfect roles for each team, the veteran bullies, the standout newcomers, and the last few minutes with all the nearfalls felt very AJW mid 90's and an awesome finish. Billy v. Jumbo was a 2/3 falls bout that went back and forth, both guys testing the other one's mettle as far as scientific skills. Even though finishes didn't seem as important back then, the ones they used were believable and I liked the back and forth pace they kept. I'd watched Barry v. Bass before and it's just as fun and bloody here as it was then. Some awesome punches were thrown, liked the gritty outside brawl they did and both men bled buckets. Still creeps me out when Bass goes bareback on Windham's scrawny ass after the match but i guess it's healthier than mounting an unsuspecting sheep back on Bass' farm. Flair v. Sting was a marathon, nearly 40 minutes, and it was filled with stupendous work from two guys that know each so well. That being said, at times it didn't feel like the match really was telling a story, it was just two old rivals wrestling their butts off. The finish stank something awful, and there were a lot of repeat spots but overall both these guys brought it and did more than most could with the slot they had here.

XPW gets on the board with their opener to this horrid show, with a major mismatch of styles but somehow it works. Grimes is a very good worker, he works hard, makes everything look real and hurty, and Psicosis blew way less spots than he usually does. Liked how they kept upping the ante of finishers near the end. This moved higher up due to sheer surprise of how well it worked. The following 6 man clicked on many levels, the Heat were in the prime of their career and they were going all out against their opponents. Sid looked very competent as a monster and Simmons was fun butting horns with him. This got some time too and allowed the two tag teams to really showcase the kind of 2 on2 match they could have inside the confines of this.  Martel v. Hart was a great technical battle of two Canadians that also got some time but wasn't your usual ride the mat match; they actually broke out some great spots. Santana v. Roberts was a battle of two of WWF's greatest hands throughout the 80's and while not flashy or flamboyant, it did provide a solid 20 minutes of in ring action where both men showed their strengths; Jake playing mind games and Titos' headlock/dropkick showcase. Rude v. Warrior was a standard match they were having at the time, which means it was some of Warrior's career best. Rude just breaks himself like a Twix bar for all of Warrior's stuff and that classic back selling was there in spades.  Surprisingly I find this bout on my final top 10 spot, Supreme who is the living embodiment of Humpty Dumpty takes too many gnarly and flesh shredding bumps to recount as Corino-wannabe (how pathetic is that) Rizzano and his male boyfriend continuously drop Supreme into those piles of garbage.

The Bad:

I'll comment on some of the stinkers here, Konnan v. Steele was abysmal, Konnan was trying to get spots off like Teddy Hart with no rhyme or reason while Steele did bump big for them, Konnan's work ethic was nil at this point. Equalizer is Dave Sullivan who really had no business being on TV in an athletic role. Savage v. Dog was actually the main event of this show in Houston and boy did it disappoint. Lots of stalling, lots of posturing and less physical contact than Stallone's sex scene in "Demolition Man." Badd's squash wasn't bad per se, but it was extremely short and he didn't particularly look like good in it, which if the job guy is shit, at least try to make yourself look good, which he didn't. Ice Train did 2 moves here, which says it all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Plentiful Potpourri of Puro Ponderings :: Part Ni :: 2010 Super Sexy Edition!

A second installment. This time five pimped matches from 2010~! Scores will obviously be on the higher end seeing as it's all stuff people have pissed their pants over in excitement.

Shinuske Nakamura vs. Hiroki Goto 4.4.10 - NJPW -7

Bring on the hate! The long-legged Boma-yeing Nakamura takes on the tank Goto in a hard-hitting match! I mean, you can talk about stiffness, you can talk about selling, psych, and storytelling, but this match was just a war. So much stiffness combined with great selling. Nakamura's Boma-Ye's were particularly sick. You could see Goto's head whip back after being on the receiving end of said Boma-Ye's. Goto returned the favor, oh yes, he returned the favor with a stiff right hand and then a lariatoooooo! Great nearfalls, but not overkill. Just awesome.

Tenyru vs. Tiger Mask I - RJPW - 3/28/10 - 3

Two old school legends going at in Real Japs as it is so affectionately called. I was very, very pleased to see that there was a pivotal element of stiffness maintained throughout this match, which is important considering its Real Japan. Both men looked to be selling decently, but honestly, you'd probably have to consider their advanced age when taking that into consideration. Finish came out of nowhere when Tenyru tapped out to what looked like a hybrid chickenwing/sleeper. Tenyru doesn't tap out to that crap! Come on!

Masato Tanaka & Mochizuki vs. Sawa & Hidaka - Z1 - 3/2/10 - 6

Was expecting going into this some hard hitting action and I'm pleased to confirm my inklings were indeed correct. Sawa always strikes me as the kind of guy who always goes the extra mile to make sure that everything he does means something in the ring. For example, if he locks in a Fujiwara armbar, then he'll really crank back on it as opposed to simply pull the arm. I've always dug Moch and was happy to see him still tearing it up. Tanaka seemed to be the one in control of the match with the pacing. You'd be able to equate him to a teacher in a room of students, being Sawa and Hidaka despite their tenured status as wrestlers. Tanaka did a good job of pacing as the match slowly built with mat wrestling and striking games coming out more and more fierce as the match progressed. I really enjoyed the intensity of all men, but Sawa was definitely the standout. Match got a little to rushed and cluster-f*cky at the end, but it was indeed fun.

Hidaka & Sawa vs. Usuda & Yoshikawa - BattlArts - 2/7/10 - 6

This match was too legit to quit. The team of Hidaka and Sawa is quite badass because it brings to the table an element that other teams tend to lack: youth + stiffness. Most tag teams will feature one power wrestler and one high flyer, but the team of Hidaka & Sawa offers both quickness and a hell of a stiff striking game combined with some great mat skills. Usuda and Yosh were tearing it up on the mat, hitting great variations and interesting combinations of leglocks, juje gatame's, Fujwaras, and triangle chokes. Stiff strikes and a great set of mat skills by both teams makes a really good match.

Billy Ken Kid vs. Dick Togo - Osaka Pro - 2/11/10 - 5

A lot of people were really going nuts over this match and I agree that it was good, but even the best of things can be looked down upon when they are overdone. I felt like there was just too much stuff going on in this match that it was hard to pay attention to what was happening between BKK & Togo. There were about a half dozen or more guys outside the ring running amuck and causing debauchery. Togo brought the hate to BKK though, ripping off his mask and displaying it proudly on the turnbuckle post like the victim of a brutal war. The false finishes were also done well. I do feel, however, that the match went about 10 minutes too long. Some of the crowd brawling was unnecessary and could've been done without. In the end, I feel like it was a solid match between two guys who know their stuff.