Monday, March 28, 2011

Ultimo Dragon's Lucha Fiesta 7/19/10

1. Banana Senga, Pineapple Hanai & Takeshi Minaminno vs. Toru Owashi, Hisamaru Tajima & Manabu Murakami - 3
2. Lucha de Mini-Estrellas: Espectrito vs. Venezia - 2
3. Brazo de Platino, Ayumi Kurihara & Milanito Collection at vs. NOSAWA Rongai, Minoru Fujita & Misaki Ohata -1
4. Lucha de Maestros: Negro Navarro vs. Solar - 4
5. NWA International Jr. Heavyweight Title - Torneo Cibernetico: Mineo Fujita ©, Ultimo Dragon & Hajime Ohara vs. Black Tiger V, Dark Dragon & Shu Sato - 3

The opener was comedy shtick but I found it as funny as stepping in a warm pile of dog shit in your best shoes. The fruit team, as I've dubbed them, came out wearing garish outfits that made them look like salsa dancers. Of the bunch, Banana stood out, he had a nice spring to a lot of his stuff although he did overshoot one dive particularly noticeably. Owashi was both the captain and power of his squad. The minis followed and completely bombed. Espectrito has been doing this far too long to turn in such a lazy performance. Venezia was a dwarf in the world's tiniest black monkey outfit. It was just a series of showy armdrags which little to no selling just fixing their masks after spots. What makes it an even bigger disappointment is at last year's Lucha Fiesta the midget match (Mascarita Dorada vs. Pequeño Damian 666) blew everyone away and was a legitimate MotY candidate.

Next match was intolerable and just the worst. Platino is a big tub of goo and was all about the painfully unfunny comedy shtick. There were just too many spots that were obviously cooperative that made dispensing with belief impossible. Most of this revolved around Milanito and Ayumi being too tiny to do any damage to the opposition so after trying unsuccessfully Brazo would then flatten them with his girth. The only highlight was a rotund somersault off the top onto everybody on the floor by Platino but this was rubbish.

Next was two lucha mat maestros doing their thing. It's a match that, for awhile, was a hot topic on many a wrestling forum. Some praised it for its intricacies and others loathed it for feeling too exhibitory. I'm more in a gray area leaning towards the later camp as while most of the mat stuff was strung along well enough I didn't get the sense of competitiveness and the lack of any strikes whatsoever further pushed this over the edge into borderline camp. That may make me a target in some circles that holds Navarro and co. to a fetishistic level but different strokes. I've seen a handful of their body of work together in Mexico and tend to prefer that stuff, where its longer, typically has a finish (whereas this match doesn't), etc. I will say old man Navarro's facials remind me of Carl from Up so it's got that.

Main event was thoroughly unremarkable. Started with Ultimo fending off the baddies feeling like a low-grade kung fu flick. I've seen a metric ton of crowd brawls in Korakuen Hall but never one so tepid. Back in the ring there's a plethora of water-related spots, pouring water from bottles on opponent in corner, dumping buckets of water on opponent on apron, etc. This makes me glad summer's right around the corner and I've get a date with Disney's Typhoon Lagoon but doesn't do much for the wrestling fan in me. Hajime trips Fujita leading to a teacherly scolding by Ultimo. Match ends when Ultimo gets his mask yanked off not unlike the match/show felt like a giant handjob where the benefactor was Yoshihiro Asai and the recipient of a face glazing was the fans in attendance. Post-match Ohara and Fujita go at each other, Ultimo scurries out to break it up, only for the heels to return and tombstone him on the ramp further desecrating him on his own event. I haven't seen a tribute gone so awry since a drunken man tried to recite (from memory) the "I Have A Dream" speech on MLK Day at 1AM in a White Castle dining room while I polished off some sliders extra flavor crystals.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Japan Pro Wrestling- Wrestle Kingdom V- Jan 4, 2011

Wrestling fans, it's my pleasure to bring you Wrestle Kingdom 5:

1) Wataru Inoue/ Tiger Mask IV/ Tomoaki Honma/ Tama Tonga v. Yujiro/ Tomohiro Ishii/ Jado/ Gedo - 2

Guess this looks like it was a prematch; Shockingly, doesn't look like that term spent in TNA did Yujiro much favors, his offense and game in the ring was as short sighted as it was in Dayton when i saw him a few years ago. TM & Ishii worked the best sequences of the match- not sure if Ishii has any ability but he should play up his rotund stature up better. Gedo's highspot was a reversal into an eyepoke- other than that, i've been done with you for years. Finish was sort of insulting, mostly because I didn't think anyone had a more pussy spear than Edge- but Inoue proved me wrong. Am I wrong for missing the days when Goldberg would make guys pee blood after his?

2) Koji Kanemoto/ Ryusuke Taguchi v. Kenny Omega/ Taichi- 4

As Taichi sat petting his strange hair on the apron, i wondered "Is he all gimmick or can he go?" I hoped for his sake, he could, as Koji stepped in and kicked him in the belly. Thought for sure we'd see a condom belched up. Kenny was a tour de force in this; he worked extremely hard. Everything he did, whether it's in between punches, hitting the ropes, setting up a dive, anything, he has some kind of action, he's just perpetual excitement, much what I would think getting drunk with Jeff Goldblaum would be like. Koji and he had a great match last year, they pick up where they left off. Taguchi felt as useless as a cassette player in this; i kind of didn't like the finish as I saw a better candidate moments before.

3) Giant Bernard/ Karl Anderson v. Beer Money v. Manabu Nakanishi/ Strong Man- 3

Overall, I thought this was kind of a mess. There were some individual moments I enjoyed. I razzed Nakanishi a while back for working the strong man gimmick 3 decades too late, but I guess with a partner literally seeping HGH from his eye sockets and in a midcard tag team, it's perfectly fine. I loved Bernard going for an avalanche in the corner on Beer Money while screaming "Mother Fuckerrrrrrrs!" delivering it like he's in a kill scene from a Tarantino movie. Anderson has improved too, nearfall with Beer's slingshot DDT worked wonders. Again, plauging the show is bad finishs, no different.

4) Jushin Liger/ Hector Garza v. La Sombra/ Mascara Dorada- 4

Was a nice treat seeing Liger still competing in this year- he's fought so many different people- the Luchadores are green but have potential- Sombra flies like a Tomahawk cutting through the air with grace and pain. Mascara botches his first attempt at a spot- Garza is so beefy, it's like seeing a retired male stripper, not that i know what that's like...believe me? And he still busts out a spinning splash from the top outside- I dug that. Hated how he stood there like in line for an awaiting subway train as Sombra set up his backwards splash. Fun lucha stylings that was shorter than I'd expected.

5) Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Takashi Iizuka- 2

This stands true if you've seen one Iizuka match, you've seen them all. He does the same crowd brawl and weapons spot as normal. Tenzan was doing some good selling though, trying to play up his near career ending injury and yet he made it back. But I thought all the big sequences fell flat, the exposed buckle, the finish- they made a sleeper hold the prime piece of realty in this clunker.

6) Toru Yano v. Rob Van Dam - 3

I felt transported back to 2003 Hardcore division on Raw watching this. RVD took quite the schlacking, thought it's funny a guy that can actually wrestle is transported to Japan to do this, especially at this point in RVD's career. Yano is perhaps the worst guy I can think of offhand, save for Tomko, to take all this hardcore punishment. He just falls backward and blocks almost all of it. Actually both guys, there's several times where they have to hold whatever metal weapon the other guy is using to themselves, like a travel pack as if in Europe and don't want to lose their passport, guide book or blackmail pictures of their boss.

7) Yuji Nagata v. Minoru Suzuki- 6

This could be a 5 or 6, depending on your inclination. If you are watching a match between these two, you already know what you're getting into. This match is all about 2 things: Facials and shootfighting. Both men are known for making the craziest faces in Japanese wrestling and have a penchant for MMA-inspired attacks, be it kicks, punches or locks. There's 2 slap fights, it walks the line between feeling truly pissed off and a work. Nagata's crazy eyes face is now one of his highspots, but felt it was a wasted effort because Suzuki was simply laying on the ground catching his breath, not really reacting. Overall, what these guys do best, they put on display here and was a fun match.

8) Prince Devitt v. Kota Ibushi- 8

This is my favorite match I've seen from both of these guys. Had that big title match feel and never went into overkill mode. Both guys' selling and storytelling has improved since 2009 when i saw them regularly. They've been the toast of the Japanese town for a while but this is the best thing from both men. Their huge high risk moves here were breathtaking and Ibushi's handspring back flip double knees move was just so balls out. See this because you'll feel like juniors wrestling is back, even though it's been absent for a while.

9) Kazuchika Okada/ Hirooki Goto v. Takashi Suguira/ Yoshihiro Takayama- 4

Goto steps in and doesn't back down from Suguira at all; again, here, he doesn't look much like the longest reigning champion in Japan, perhaps a guy I wouldn't beep at in line for the ATM for taking too long but that's about it. Goto with the surprised headbutt. Okada's back; i'm sure they forget to get the parade planned. Frankly, he could have stayed in TNA, i didn't see anything to tell me his place was missed. Always fun to watch Takayama get mean with people.

10) Jeff Hardy v. Tetsuya Naito- 3

TNA didn't have a good showing this year. Crowd took a while to show they cared about this. Naito had some real dynamic offense, and started picking up the pace late in the match. Jeff seemed like he was just going through the motions like he was still in Orlando. His punches wouldn't have broken through a one of his paper maiche statues at I Magi Nation. Jeff botching a rollup early on didn't help his cause of viewers not thinking he was still on a high from the night before, or maybe even the week before.

11) Shinsuke Nakamura v. Go Shiozaki- 8

Man this was a fight. Nakamura was in full careless heel mode but he needed to get a win over Go to even the score. Go working over the leg with some really cool ideas, including chops and ramming it into the post. Nakamura's selling reminds me a lot of Orton except even more expressive. His knees are like swords, they pierce Go over and over again like a depressed high school girl with a razor blade. Loved the lariat spot and the back and forth with the knees and strikes that led into the finish, two of the young guns that make the future look bright for Puro.

12) Togi Makabe v. Masato Tanaka- 6

This had the vibe of an old Tanaka v. Awesome match, but I don't think these two had the chemistry they did. Seeing Tanaka look emaciated as an alley cat still strikes me odd. Lots of tables came into play and they were quite brutal. Tanaka went to town on Makabe's head with a flurry of elbows that made all Street Fighter fans surely recall the 100 hand slap of E.Honda. Tanaka takes neck bumps like he drinks coffee; every day and with gusto. Fun stiff match.

13) Satoshi Kojima v. Hiroshi Tanahashi- 7

At first I couldn't tell but seemed like they skipped the whole 2nd act; the leg and arm work on each guy was cool, like a blind and deaf man working together, each one could only do certain things but then Tanahashi didn't react to the leg the rest of the match. No huge classic style bumps outside but they kept to their own top moves for the near falls. Tanahashi getting all knees on a splash was one of the nastiest versions of that counter I remember seeing late in the bout. He also took a sickening head drop on the apron from a clothesline that probably made his after party hard to enjoy. Overall, this was a hard fought match that showed Kojima is certainly not past his prime and Tanahashi continues to provide unique, different matchups every time out which is one of his best qualities as a worker.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

~CMLL 77 Anniversario~


Sarita (Dark Angel) looked really good in this match and was the obvious standout among the rest of the women in the match. She hit this sick dive on Sujei that flattened her like a pancake. The force that Sujei hit the ground with was rather sickening and made me yell sitting here in the doctor's office with my laptop, garnering stares. Blanca looked rather, umm, unseasoned. She was basically sitting there waiting for the arm drags. There was a surprising element of stiffness from Ampola. She hit this really nice joshi style dropkick. I thoroughly dug and was surprised by the stiffness. Sarita is hot.


I was surprised to see how spotty Delta's movements were in the ring. I've seen some of his footage and I can't recall him moving so slowly and deliberately in the ring. Arkangel looked like he took his head off with a really nice clothesline. Everything Arkangel did had this extra bit of oomph to it that made his offense look painful to take. Every single dive in this match looked beautiful and very fluid as well, especially from Delta and Oro.. There was a Jig-and-Tonic-like maneuver that fell really flat that only really got a reaction from the announcers. It was pretty much doing a move for the sake of doing a move. The latter half was basically a systematic decimation of the technico team, but the comeback by the technico team was well done, but when Stuka Jr. went on for the pin, he arose at two and never finished the count. Ok???


I dug the build in this match. Panther started it off and was dominating with some great mat technique and wrist control, but as time went on in the match, things started getting more and more hectic. Here's where this match differed from your typical clusterfuck: the craziness of the match came in spurts and wasn't all happening at once. This is fundamental in the build of the match because it makes the crazy spots mean that much more. Really cool spot came when Dorada was thrown over the top rope, only to have Dorado drop kicked RIGHT IN THE FUCKING STERNUM~! Blatant low blows in view of the ref, however, rubbed me the wrong way.


I think it's REALLY BAD when you can't seem to recall any spots from a match like this. This was just a typical orgy of incoherence at its finest. I found it hard to concentrate on any performances like selling or psychology because the constant run-ins and multi-man rapings were simply distracting as can be. I mean, they brought in Bucanero's parrot (a mini in costume) for Christ sake and taped his wrist to the ropes. Ugh. I need structure. Seriously, the match had Negro fucking Casas in it and I gave it a three. This should not be happening. There was one point in the match that literally had tears coming out of my eyes it was so funny: Casas had Manson in a catapult position outside of the ring (as to hit his head on the post), and Manson didn't come within a foot of hitting the post with his head, clearly getting his hands up in front of him with room to spare. Good LORD. A three is generous.


Now, I'm going into this thinking that a match with 14 guys in it at the same time doesn't even know the meaning of the word "structure," but I'm trying to keep an open mind. Just know that this kind of match isn't necessarily "my thing." Mephisto and Mistico were tearing it up outside the ring near the front of the stage, busting out dives, hurricanranas, and a sweet monkey flip that sent Mistico soaring. Mistico was also bumping around like 80s style Terry Gordy minus 100 lbs. Psicosis climbed the cage to meet Mistico on top and took a bump from the top flat on his back in the middle of the ring that got a gasp out of me. Thinking about this more, this match seems okay to have less structure due to the fact that it takes place inside a cage with 14 guys in it simultaneously, so that does bear some weight. As more and more guys continued to escape the cage, the match got better because it was more focused on individual guys beating the shit out of each other. Once Mephisto and Mistico were out of the cage again they continued to battle outside, really taking it to one another. These two really made this match. The final two guys saw some great nearfalls that ended this match well. Looking back, I did enjoy this.

Friday, March 25, 2011

BJW "Big Japan Death Vegas" 12/19/10

BJW "BIG JAPAN DEATH VEGAS", 19.12.2010 (Samurai! TV)
Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium
2,952 Fans - No Vacancy

1. Ryuichi Kawakami & Atsushi Ohashi vs. Takumi Tsukamoto & Kazuki Hashimoto – 3
Tsukamoto and Hashimoto I can tell apart but I’m clueless on their opponents. Tsukamoto sold a DDT like he woke up with a really bad headache. Hashimoto had a few good kicks and a hard knee to the face of one of the opponents. Crowd didn’t seem to have any interest in the proceedings. Nothing spectacular here.

2. Daikokubo Benkei & Onryo vs. Yuichi Taniguchi & Masato Inaba – 2
Benkei is a big dude I wouldn’t want to deal with if I ran into him in a dark alley on the mean streets of Tokyo. Onryo’s face paint looks like he stole it from Vampiro’s make-up bag. Taniguchi’s offense sucks. He did a running splash and landed like a fourth-grader afraid to jump in a plastic wading pool. I’ll take Santino’s tired offense over Taniguchi any day. What was that sloppy ass shit from Inaba? Nobody really did much for me.

3. Barbed Wire Board Death Match: Takashi Sasaki, Shadow WX , & Kankuro Hoshino vs. Yuko Miyamoto, Isami Kodaka, & Shinobu – 4
Shinobu was the first guy to go into the barbed wire and took a couple chair shots from Shadow WX that completely “wobble-legged” him. These guys didn’t waste any time brawling and grabbing chairs. Damn, Shinobu took a hell of a beating from Shadow and Hoshino with a barbed wire board. Good strong exchange between Miyamoto and Sasaki. Kodaka took a wild fall to the outside off the top buckle. Holy crap! Shinobu did a shooting star onto Hoshino who was covered with a barbed wire board. Finish seemed kind of flat ending on just a simple clothesline on Shinobu when he took some crazy bumps.

4. Strong BJ: Daisuke Sekimoto & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Shinya Ishikawa & Yuji Okabayashi – 5
Some good strong style action on display here. Really enjoyed the exchanges between Okabayashi and Sekimoto. The facial selling of Shinya on some Sekimoto chops was very good. Damn, a back drop from Shinya almost breaks Daisuke’s neck. Shuji just lead a beat down on Yuji after taking a hot tag from Sekimoto. The two Ishikawa’s squaring off was really good, especially when Shinya hit a top rope dropkick. Tower of doom spot was nice but nothing that hasn’t been overdone in the American indies. Really good bridge on the German suplex to finish from Sekimoto.

5. Ladder Death Match: Jun Kasai vs. Masashi Takeda – 4
Kasai got the ladder treatment first by taking a hard whip into the one that Takeda brought to the ring that had a board with sharp objects sticking out of it and a hard slam on another. The big spot were really revolving around taking bumps on ladders. Takeda hit a nice Taz-plex in one of the few moves that didn’t involve a ladder. Sick superplex in which Takeda landed on the sharp object ladder. Still not sure what is on that ladder but it looks like stuff just glued to cardboard. Very sick move from Kasai on a ladder platform followed up by a Death Valley Driver on to the platform, both of which resulted in very good nearfalls. Again, the finish should’ve been one of the big moves off a ladder and not a simple finisher.

6. ETC (Extreme, Table, Chair) Death Match: Yoshihito Sasaki vs. "Black Angel" Jaki Numazawa – 4
What is it with Numazawa just laying on the ground in a heap after being jumped before the bell? These guys were bloody messes after about five minutes. Sasaki took a hard chair thrown in his face. Wild spot where Numazawa gives Sasaki a hurracanrana off the top buckle onto a pile of chairs on the floor. Sasaki is taking some hard shots but they just seem to be going from spot to spot. Nutty table spot off the turnbuckle. These tables are skinnier than the makeshift gangway that the Covington Fire Department used to rescue customers from Jeff Ruby’s restaurant after it floated away from its mooring a few weeks ago. The fact that Numazawa took some brain-scrambling chair shots near the end didn’t account for the fact that he didn’t show me shit in the match. After all this carnage, the finish from Sasaki is two lariats? Sorry, just can’t buy it.

7. BJW Death Match Heavyweight Title, 450 Fluorescent Lighttubes Death Match: Ryuji Ito vs. Abdullah Kobayashi – 4
They played the Japanese national anthem before the bout. Listening to the serenity of it while they showed Kobayashi and Ito waiting paitently in their respective corners surrounded by hundreds of light tubes was a very strange visual. Almost like hearing a John Williams score in a peaceful scene in a movie before a giant battle takes place. There were so many light tubes that just them circling the ring and stepping on the tubes caused them to pop like microwave popcorn. The competitors were really limited in what they could do due to all the tubes attached to the ropes. Is Kobayashi eating glass? This was 99 percent them hitting and slamming each other on the light tubes. Pretty sick samoan drop from Kobayashi through a giant pile of tubes. Ito hit a superplex that put Kobayashi through tubes bridged between two chairs. Kobayashi hit a sloppy as shit shining wizard. Wild finish with Ito hitting a Lo-Down while some electrified tubes were positioned on Kobayashi. Fun bout. Bloody as hell, though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

IWRG 1-30-11

¡~Bienvenidos a IWRG~!

I know the boys on DVDVR like to blow this company, so I figured I'd take a stab at it. I mean, it can't be better than XCW Midwest, right?

Sky Angel & Eragon vs. Carta Brava Jr & Guerrero 2000 - 5

Angel and Brava started this match off and I was digging it. It wasn't your typical insanity to start the match where neither guy knows which way is up. There was a nice sequence of armdrags in the match which looked really good and clean. When Eragon and Guerrero came into the ring, things slowed down even more and I was totally digging it. The mat work was great, especially Guerrero's variations on the classic bow-and-arrow submission hold. Things started to pick up as the match went on and the striking game picked up. Eragon whipped Guerrero into the corner only to have Guerrero spin around like one of the Wonder Twins trying to turn into something... form of: awkward. Sky Angel would get his ass chapped by the two men in black. Eragon hit this really nice looking Flux-Capacitor-like maneuver that I dug which Brava sold like death. Good match to open the show.

Cerebro Negro, Dr. Cerebro & Black Terry vs Bombero Infernal, Maldito Jr & Samot - 5

This match was interesting because it had a younger gen vs. older gen feel. The best part about the match was the sympathy that was garnered from the older face team. The young heel team would keep breaking down the old scrappers every time they'd try to mount a comeback. There was also a nice element of stiffness, particularly on the part of the young team against Black Terry. At an advanced age, Terry sold and bumped around quite well. Another really great element to the match was how much fire the old face team had. There was this feel about not being outdone by flashy young guys. I actually found myself wishing and praying for a hot-tag on the part of Cerebro Negro -- they were absolutely raping this dude in the ring. I found myself quite angry at the referee for letting this constant barrage of illegal offense happen in the ring, too. Great storytelling.

Trauma I, Freelance & Veneno vs Ultimo Gladiador, Avisman & El Hjo del Diablo - 5

Veneno looks straight up goofy in the ring. He's stumbling and bumbling around like a a creature out of a Dr. Seuss story. I have a feeling this is going to be the weak match of the show. I found myself in a bit of a quandary as to what exactly was going on. I do know, however, that Freelance took quite a beating in the match and I enjoyed his exhausted selling of all the, ahem, Trauma that he endured. Gladiador took this really great looking bump on the guardrail (gorilla press, landing head first) that he sold as if he had one of those acme anvils fall on his head. Freelance looked great during his comeback. Some really slick shit coming off the ropes and transitions into armdrags. Match got a lot better as it went on, but Freelance was definitely the standout.

El Hijo de Cien Caras, Mary Apache, Mascarita Divina & Pasión Kristal vs Monster Clown, Diva Kasai, Mini Abismo Negro & Yuriko - 2

BAH GAWD IT'S BREAKING LOOSE! This was just too crazy to handle. Everyone was in the ring at the same time causing chaos among chaos. Multiple men were stacked on top of one another like a huge tackle pile. I'm just not digging this. Monster Clown looked horrific... and I'm not talking about the mask. There were also these awkward moments in which nothing was happening. Imagine a long, awkward silence in the middle of a conversation and then surround that with a ring. The comedy was tiring at best, and nothing really worked in this comedy match gone awry.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


SMASH.10, 11.22.2010
Tokyo JCB Hall
3,200 Fans - Super No Vacancy Full House

0. World Tryout Match: Takao Omori vs. Björn Sem - 2
1. Mentallo vs. Jushin Thunder Liger - 4
2. Scotty 2 Hotty, AKIRA, KAORU & Nagisa Nozaki vs. Nunzio, TAKA Michinoku, Toshie Uematsu & Tomoka Nakagawa - 5
3. World Legend Revival: Bushwhacker Luke Williams vs. Yusuke Kodama - 3
4. Yoshiaki Yago vs. Akira Shoji - 4
5. Handicap Match: Lin Bairon vs. Leatherface & Kim Nun Pun - 4
6. Kana & Shuri vs. Kaori Yoneyama & Emi Sakura - 6
7. Hardcore Match: Super Crazy, KUSHIDA & Isami Kodaka vs. Hajime Ohara, Häijy-Heimo Ukonselkä & Jessica Love - 4
8. FCF Title: Starbuck (c) vs. TAJIRI - 3

We begun with a "tryout match" and it seemed like Omori's talent was being wasted. He's worked for AJPW, NJPW, NOAH, and ZERO1 but ended up here in the twilight of his career with an idiot that looks like a bad Berzerker knockoff. Björn looks like he was dipped in glue than rolled through a renaissance fair. His leather armor and furry boots are so mid-'90's WWF that I suspect he's in possession of knowledge of a time machine. Match was shit, Omori ate a couple nasty spinebusters that looked like they made him forget even more his memories, but got his foot up in the corner in one spot and drilled a charging Sem in the face ungodly hard.

Mentallo is not Marvin Flumm nor to be confused with Metallo from Superman: The Animated Series. He is, in fact, a Canadian with a goofy mask that he seems more concerned with tugging on and straightening than selling. Lyger is wearing a special mask, gone is the black, wispy hair, replaced by a mane of blonde akin to '78 Ric Flair with a touch of Cheetara thrown in for good measure. Less than a half-minute in and Mentallo busts out a moonsault from the top to Lyger who's in the front row. Lyger almost scored a countout victory after hitting a brainbuster on the floor. Weirdness aside, I'll give credit where it's due, Mentallo busted out a hell of an "Alabama Jam".

Pre-match Scotty gives a tutorial on how to do the "Worm" backstage on a filthy floor. KAORU coming out to gangsta rap just blew my fucking mind. AKIRA looks all old and bleached like a Floridian retiree who spends too much time at a beachside bar. Hotty and TAKA do a "pause for respect" spot I much preferred to any of Van Dam and Lynn's. The men and woman can go toe-to-toe unlike in WWE. TAKA's stooging is pretty fun and him doing Piper shtick in '11 warms my heart. This was a fun romp with joshi and the early-'00's WWE cruiserweight division all-stars melding well.

Luke comes out to the old Bushwhackers theme from WWF doing the goofball shtick but his face is pale and lifeless like a ventriloquist dummy. Kodama is a fecund young boy who took his lumps. Williams, on the other hand, bumps poorly, including taking a bump off of a dropkick by flailing forward instead of landing on his back like any other sane worker.

There's some crazy pre-match video for the Shoji/Yago bout detailing some soap operatic feud highlighted by a faux handshake in the streets of Tokyo that saw Shoji get one over on the punk trapping him in a cross armbreaker on the street while Yago's leather-clad punk rocker buddy looked on. Yoshiaki eats a clothesline and sells it by playing dead like a dog. He really has a way of taking everything including headbutts like they're killing him. Some may call it overacting but Yago staggering around the ring fighting to prevent his legs from buckling was my favorite sort of wrestling heightened histrionics.

Another pre-match video that leaves me befuddled. So, Lin's a 98lb. cos-playing teenage girl and she's fighting some schlepp with a boxy haircut and freaking Leatherface? Bairon's entrance is uber-cute and I try to still my beating heart. Nun Pun walks out carrying his own microphone stand like a comedian then barks at the mic. They cut to the back where chainsaw sounds are heard in the background as they get a close-up of a table with some scratch marks on it in the middle of an empty lot. What? That's all he did with a chainsaw? I made bigger marks on my desk in elementary school using a nickel. Leatherface appears and darts through the crowd scaring the thronging masses. Winning! Leatherface's mask is dangly and has the visage of thinly sliced roast beef with a touch of Melina's pussy lips and perhaps an inkling of rottweiler foreskin. Leatherface sells little Lin's opening shots by slowly menacing through them like a real-life film monster until she finally runs off the ropes and plants a jumping kick right in his fucking face. Her 619 was remarkably good. An errant kick catches Nun Pun from a squirming Lin and I swear he did an exact replica of King Hippo's stunned face. I think I just freaked out a nearby worker here at Panera Bread by losing it as Nun Pun sold a kick to his back by darting a finger up his nose. If you can't properly catch a girl that weighs as much as a bag of cat food then you don't belong in a ring. Leatherface goes rogue! He's beating up everybody. Lin wins both the match and my heart.

Kana and Kaori have a strike exchange early that's as vicious as any I've seen men do recently. Sakura smiles through Shuri's flurry and the veteran she is even does a little jig before ruthlessly stomping on her fallen opponent's hand. SMASH seems to be a lot of fun, glad I have all their shows, nice mixture of the absurd and quality wrestling. Shuri is great emoting the pain after a series of backbreakers. Emi must have lost a hair match as she's shorn like Roxxi or Serena but unlike them has a firm grasp of the art-form. Sakura broke out a 450 which I wasn't expecting. She and Kana exchange hard slaps and damn this match is quite good. I didn't buy the headkick Shuri hit as a match-ender but still quality stuff.

So, next match was joined in progress and we already had people bleeding, conceding, pleading, impeding, and most certainly exceeding (my meager expectations). The thing I couldn't get over the most was/is Jessica Love. Here's this tall, attractive, Finnish girl: why in the hell is she doing this shit? Taking barbwire bumps, all sorts of abuse, busting out a rather sick Swanton Bomb, etc. Super Crazy even busts out a balcony moonsault to a discordant "ECW!" chant. This was a sloppy mess like Ukonselkä's underwear after the first time he saw Mysterious Skin.

Starbuck is the reigning FCF champion and looks a mix between Paul Burchill , Silas Young, and Viggo Mortensen in those unbearable LotR films. Given the running time left on this show I fear they're going to work this as an epic marathon but I'm not sure that appeals to either men's strengths. The face-off at the beginning wasn't quite Hogan/Warrrior, maybe more in the realm of Pete Gas/Test if we're being honest. I'm not impressed with Starbuck after the first stretch. His offense comes off like '98-era Chris Chetti complete with shitty savate kick that he slips while attempting. I've always enjoyed TAJIRI's selling and he shines in moments here, including being splayed on the apron in a scene resembling something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. I've dug the off-kilter vibe of SMASH so far but this semi-serious main event is ringing false. I'm having as much fun watching it as Adam does MMA. Starbuck looks like a live-action Rango slithering onto TAJIRI in an awkward STF variation. Anybody else rather see TAJIRI at WrestleMania working Orton rather than CM Punk? Just a thought. This devolves like something being shot with King Koopa's Devolution Gun that transformed the citizens of Dinohatten into Goombas in the revelatory cinematic masterpiece Super Mario Bros. The pre-match video did build up that the piledriver was Starbuck's signature move and a surefire match-ender so when TAJIRI kicked out it did feel requisitely big.

Monday, March 21, 2011

NOAH Departure 7/11/04

Oh emerald green mat, how I’ve missed you.

This was held on July 11, 2004 in the Tokyo Dome with an estimated attendance of over 50,000 and is one of NOAH’s biggest show’s ever. This is also among the most loved shows in the history of the blog. Jessie reviewed this eons ago here ( so I figured that I should take a crack at it now.

1. Mitsuo Momota vs. Haruka Eigen – 3
Simple bout for the two old codgers. Enjoyed the spots where they would get chopped and then spit into the crowd. Crowd enjoyed it too. Eigen breaks out the old giant swing spot. Headbutt sounded like two cantaloupe whacking together in the produce section. Some good nearfalls where present and the finishing pin from Momota was a tad sloppy. These two did their job and can’t fault them there.

2. Tamon Honda, Jun Izumida, & Tsuyohi Kikuchi vs. Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata, & Masaji Aoyagi – 4
Really had a problem with this match trying to figure who everyone else besides Honda was. Some really hard kicks by a guy in baggy pants who I believe was Aoyagi. Match was a lot of stiff shots and stiff kicks. Kawabata (or whoever was in tiger stripes) hit a nice leg drop off the top rope. Honda’s contributions were pretty much nil. Not a bad match by any means but me not knowning who was who really got in the way of any enjoyment I could’ve gotten out of it.

3. Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin – 5
I remember Mike Modest from the fabulous “Beyond the Mat” documentary driving ambulances, sleeping in the APW training gym, and dreaming of going to Japan. Well, he got his wish as here he is on the undercard of this mega-show. He busted out this wild ass move that got a nearfall. His partner, Morgan, delivered one of the sickest DDTs I’ve ever seen. Marvin has a major botch about halfway through but recovered nicely. Double 6-1-9 from Marvin and Suzuki was nice. Modest and Morgan has some good double team power moves. Some legal man issues in the middle of the bout but overall, an enjoyable bout.

4. Richard Slinger & Scorpio vs. Akitoshi Saito & Makoto Hashi – 4
Right within the first few minutes, Saito knocks the shit out of Scorpio with a spinning wheel kick. Not sure where this Slinger guy came from but I really like his selling. Nice little somersault second rope leg drop from the ageless Scorpio. Damn, Saito was beating Scorpio all over the ring like a pack mule. High-low move damn near kills Hashi. Things stayed pretty simple here and they didn’t stray too far from the basic formula.

5. Akira Taue & Naoki Sano vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone – 4
Sano just beats Yone’s ass to start off with. Yone’s facials on a German suplex were like he had one too many on St. Patty’s Day. Sano sporting a hair-do here that looks like a Brillo pad. Yone was taking his beating from Sano and Taue with a rather blank look on his face. Yone’s muscle buster looked better than Samoa Joe’s current version. Taue brought the stiff, just planting people with chokeslams and unmercifully bashing people’s face in with his giant boot.

6. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs. Kendo Ka-Shin & Takashi Sugiura – 7
Sugiura’s suplex off the apron on Marufuji was reallly nuts. Probably a reciept from all that flippy stuff that Marufuji did on offense at the beginning. Ka-Shin and Sugiura were did the old “partners who don’t get along” spot and starting arguing with each other mid-way through. KENTA’s springboard dropkicks were a thing of beauty, soaring through the air like an eagle. Marufuji’s superkicks were right on the button. Ka-Shin hit a pretty sloppy Sliced Bread #2 move. Double submissions from the Ka-Shin/Sugiura combo were very cool, especially the Kurt Angle-esque ankle lock from Sugiura. Bloody hell, the Sliced Bread from Marufuji off of KENTA’s shoulders was awesome! Nearfalls had the giant dome rocking. Match took a while to pick up, but once the final act kicked in, things got really good.

7. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 8
Really great nearfalls right at the beginning with Liger hitting a Liger Bomb and Kanemaru countering with a brainbuster. A powerbomb on the floor from Liger after a Koppo kick from nowhere? Fuck yes! These guys didn’t waste much time on anything. Another spine-shattering powerbomb from Liger back in the ring! Jesus, Liger is just beating the shit out of Kanemaru! Kanemaru pays back Liger for those powerbombs by dropkicking him in the knee, powerbombing him off the turnbuckle, and DDTing him so hard he probably woke up thinking he was in Yokohama. The crowd just ate up every nearfall. Kanemaru’s front layout DDT and moonsault from the top rope were things of beauty. Neither guy had a wasted motion and the real only dead spots were where the ref was counting out Kanemaru after the Liger powerbombs. Absolutely fantastic!!

8. IWGP Tag Team Titles: Takeshi Rikioh & Takeshi Morishima vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki – 5
Dug the elbow exchange between Rikioh and Takayama. This had some structure to it early on but just broke down to a giant brawl for a few minutes after Takayama took a double back drop on the floor. Suzuki is such a great cocky prick but his mat work is so great it’s hard not to like him. Morishima was not as pudgy as he has been in recent years but still brought some hard lariats and his trademark back drop to the party. Big German suplex from Takayama ended it. Not a lot of exciting stuff here. I would’ve expected more for being this high up on a Tokyo Dome show.

9. GHC Tag Team Titles: Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Keiji Mutoh & Taiyo Kea – 8
Everyone just completely pissed their pants on the first exchange between Mutoh and Misawa. I even felt the epicness of what was happening just sitting on the couch watching it. Kea’s chops were really hard. Wait, did I just witness Misawa doing a Shining Wizard on Mutoh? Misawa just kills Mutoh (and a cameraman) with a flying forearm to the outside. Right hand just from Misawa just destroys Kea. Never really been a big fan of Ogawa and his offense here didn’t do much to change my opinion. Mutoh’s moonsault is always a wonderful sight to see. Weird spot on double team where it seemed like Ogawa and Misawa got confused by what to do. Emerald Frosion from Misawa finishes off the bout. Really liked the exchanges between Mutoh and Misawa. Kea had some good contributions as well.

10. GHC Heavyweight Title: Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama – 10
This is it. The holiest of matches. The one that 50,000+ people in attendance have been waiting for. Kobashi vs. Akiyama. A battle of attrition describes this match perfectly. These two pounded and stretched each other without the other giving an inch. Kobashi’s chops echoed throughout the giant dome like gun shots going off. With every strike exchange that was no-sold, the crowd just grew louder and louder. Kobashi got caught with a knee so hard I thought it knocked him out. Outside the ring, Akiyama laid it in. He DDTed Kobashi on the apron, ran him chest first into the railing, and hung him over the apron and dropped a knee on him from the turnbuckle. YES! It’s the 100-hand chop! I love that move. Kobashi throws in a couple discus chops to the neck for good measure. Oh no, Kobashi’s not going to …. HOLY FUCK HE DID!!!!! A earth-shaking, bone-shatteringvertical suplex from the apron to the floor!!!!! BAH GAWD! BAH GAWD!!!! Both guys are so completely gassed at this point since they’ve beat the ever loving shit out of each other. Half nelson suplex that cracks Akiyama’s neck! They’re back on the apron. This can’t end well for either man. HOLY SHIT!!!!!! Akiyama just threw Kobashi from the second rope to the floor!!!!!!! Is there anything that these two won’t do? Talking about selling would be a completely moot point since it was all out of exhaustion. The nearfalls were epic, and I’m not using that word lightly, as every big move that was executed, from the suplex to the floor by Kobashi to the wrist clutch exploder suplex from Akiyama was kicked out of. Big round of suplexes at toward the end did nothing but to piss the other one off. The usual quiet crowd was just hanging on every moment at the end. When the bell rang at the end, it was Kobashi coming out victorious thanks to the dangerous Burning Hammer move. A match that should be viewed by anyone who calls themselves a fan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

BattlARTS "Senju No Kaze Ni Natte Vol. 20"

June 12th, 2009

1) Katsumi Usuda v. Akifumi Sato- 2
2) Takeshi Takeshima v. Keita Yano- 5
3) Muneori Sawa/ Baisen TAGAI v. Ryuji Walter/ Yoshinori Narita- 4
4) Yujiro Yamamoto v. Sanchu Tsubakichi- 5
5) Yuki Ishikawa/ Yuta Yoshikawa v. Super Tiger II/ Tiger Shark- 5

Usuda is a crafty vet, this was more like a training exercise for him than any kind of formal match. Sato looked outmatched in every way but what I didn't like was Usuda never went for the kill.

This bout had a great back and forth and was a big hit with the kids. I believe Yano was in a boogie board surfer's outfit and was really dynamic with reversals. Had an Ichi the Killer style hair do and his work on the wrist lock was dy-no-mite. Takeshima (whose first and last name are strangely almost the same) looked like Donshoku Dino's slightly more hetero cousin and also was really good with reversals.

Some fun parts to be had here, as a whole think it was a tad long, about 4 minutes to be exact. Narita looked like a goof, wearing swimming trunks and looking as athletic as a potted plant. Walter was a mean mamajamma, brutally dissecting his opponents with big meaty hands. Sawa is all about submissions and was just cranking them out on everyone he could grab a hold of, incl the strangely set up anklelock he secured the win with.

Haven't seen a bout based around slaps since that Tyson- Robin Givens bout leaked online. Not sure who was who, but the guy with Tokyo on his tights was dominating the first portion, not sure what happened. He was just slapping him over and over again then a couple weak looking armbars and it was over.

Our big main event was def. the longest of the bouts and didn't feel so much worked as a shoot fight but sort of like a very technical tag match. I think it worked, mostly because it steps away from the only thing BattlARTS is known for. The Tiger team worked modestly well as the "heels" even though they did nothing heel like except some doubleteams. Yuki is the grizzled vet and my god you don't know how grizzled he is until you watch closely; I can't even imagine how much crow's feet and smile lines we could see in HD. But he plays the role to the hilt, reminds me of a less emotional Tenryu, does the old man selling and some looping punches. His partner should have been a young gun who could keep up, but he was just a limp sardine for most of this.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DDT - Theme Park Madness - Sept. 29, 2009

MIKAMI & Chou-un Shiryu vs. Yasu Urano & Yukihiro Abe - 4
Danshoku Dino vs. Keisuke Ishii - 2
Hoshitango & Masa Takanashi vs. HARASHIMA & KUDO -5
Michael Nakazawa vs. Poison Sawada JULIE vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Sanshiro Takagi - 5

Here we are in 2009 and in a rainy theme park with the DDT boys up to their usual shenanigans. The first match I actually kind of enjoyed. There wasn't much in the way of psych or story-telling, but it appeared to me that all the guys in this match were going all out. MIKAMI looked the most solid out of the four, but this Shiryu fellow caught my fancy as well. His vocal selling was great. Every time he'd eat a piece of offense he'd let out a cry that sounded like a mix between a dojo boy being taken advantage of and extremely weak lion that was dying a slow, intestinal disease-related death.

The second match was...interesting. Dino's in-ring style rivals that of JBL'S homo-erotic hazing and ribbing techniques. I found myself feeling quite sorry for Ishii having to put up with all of the dick rubbing that was occurring. Most interesting spot occurred inside of a photo booth, oddly enough. I couldn't tell what was going on in there from the camera angle, but I'm sure I didn't want to know. Dino hit a piledriver while simultaneously tucking Ishii's head into his pants. Yikes.

The next match was quite good. The striking, my LORD, the striking was awesome. HARISHIMA and Kudo looked great. They both ate so much offense that if it were sushi they'd probably get mercury poisoning. Hosh was there to be his gray hairy self and serve as a base for the two junior heavyweight style opponents. I was surprised how much offense he took. Match really showed the abilities of HARISHIMA and Kudo as legitimate wrestlers. Just really crisp offense mixed some heavy striking had me from hello.

The final match was just too much fun. This is why I enjoy watching DDT -- because it doesn't take itself seriously. It doesn't need to. With so many other companies in Japan being serious and stiff, DDT finds it's outlet in the form of entertainment mixed with some great wrestling. This match was no different. Guys were bouncing around the park like pinballs -- especially Ibushi. I loved the swan ride spot where all four men were chasing one another on a merry-go-round-esque ride intended for teenage lovers to make out in. The action would move to a few different rides, but my favorite part was when Ibushi was selling like he was going to puke from motion sickness after riding the bumper car-like ride. The action moved back to the ring and what we got there was a solid, five minute sprint that saw Ibushi dominate in offense. So goofy yet so much fun.

Definitely an odd show, but if you want a laugh and simple enjoyment, pop this in your DVD player and watch it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NOAH 9/11/10

11.9.2010 Tokyo Differ Ariake
1,800 Fans - Super No Vacancy

1. Takashi Sugiura & Ricky Marvin vs. Takeshi Morishima & Masao Inoue - 3
2. Yoshinari Ogawa 25th Anniversary Match: Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Shuhei Taniguchi - 2
3. Takuma Sano vs. KENTA - 6
4. Go Shiozaki vs. Kotaro Suzuki - 5
5. Mohammed Yone 15th Anniversary Match: Akitoshi Saito vs. Mohammed Yone - 4
6. Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Taiji Ishimori - 5
7. Atsushi Aoki vs. Genba Hirayanagi - 6

I've got lots of '10 NOAH but something about this card always baffled me and I had no idea if the booker just called in sick that day or ate a lot of psychedelic mushrooms before he crafted this in a Jesse Pinkman-like drugged stupor. The show opens with an explanation. Bare with me, they did some sort of goofy raffle, then around ringside a bunch of fans each wearing lanyards with cartoon caricature portraits of NOAH wrestlers on them stood around. In the center of the ring was a tarpaulin covering a bunch of ropes (sort of like a big, stupid elaborate game of shortest straw) that the fans wearing garish illustrated necklaces grabbed and depending who had the other end of your rope determined who the wrestler on your makeshift necklace was working that night. I don't know who thought this wacky shit up but kudos.

My fear is that this'll be an excuse to work lax since much of this won't really fit into the NOAH continuity canon but I could be wrong. Opener doesn't do much to quell my rising concern. Inoue was in far too much of this for my tastes. He did some goofy shtick with the referee and it's way too early into the evening to start with that. The smaller guys are generally booked so weak against the heavies that Marvin looked practically effeminate against Morishima. Next match took a toll on me. Granted, it was late at night, I'm recovering from a cold, but this was droll and needlessly long and the cheap finish just further irked me. Taniguchi has failed to impress me and here his selling of Ogawa's leg work was as stirring and believable as the acting in the Christmas pageant at your local church. (Okay, the next morning I re-watched this and while it was sort of directionless it's definitely not as bad as my initial response. Still, I never hand over, nor do I alter any scores once they've been dealt so they're stuck with an embarrassing score.)

Sano is my favorite wrestler in NOAH and here I feared he'd be feed to their superstar KENTA. Boy was I wrong! KENTA blasted Takuma in the face only to be savagely slaughtered like a calf by a lion. This is the textbook way to do a story of someone biting off more than they can chew. Sano just stood there and out-stuck KENTA on their feet and what gave this a bonus point was the unbelievable spinning back kick Sano used to take KENTA's head off for the finish. Kotaro looks like Naruki Doi but is vastly superior to him in the ring. Suzuki and Shiozaki in large part had the house show standard which, while most people are down on, I found supremely satisfying. The final stanza did pick up as they both broke out their best stuff in effort of putting the other away in a quality final stretch with plenty of good nearfalls and excitement.

Saito and Yone looked like two black bears fighting over Amie Huguenard. The first act was all about the kicks. Each guy threw big leg kicks at the other and we all grimaced not unlike finding a nude picture of your sister when she accidentally left her e-mail open on the family PC. My favorite sell of the entire show came when Mohammed was spiked with a German suplex and he just set up with a stunned bewilderment as if he just woke up and looked at the morning newspaper and its date read "February 12, 1945".

Kanemaru may be the best junior NOAH has ever had (save for Scorpio). This was a nice change of pace. Forget Yoshino as Ishimori is the true fastest man in the ring. Yoshinobu dishes things to the floor and beats Taiji up some out there. The finish was slick and showed Kanemaru the craftier of the two. I may be slightly overrating the main but felt in the unlikely situation these guys delivered a good bout. Genba is not just a clown, although his playfulness is one of his most key virtues, including sneaking in an occasional kiss here, he's also devious, and used that to his advantage. Aoki ate stuff mostly well, he's no standout in the personality department, if this were Skins he'd be Abbud but he's certainly not a Tony. Atsushi did stick diligently to working at Genba's arm, though, and that was his gameplan. Being a main they event broke out an entrance ramp spot. My favorite moment was when Aoki was on the floor Hiyayanagi, perched on the apron, grabbed him by the skull, planted his foot in the base of his Aoki's neck, and just shoved him full-force into the metal rail. Atsushi didn't give up on that arm and that's what got him the victory in the end.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All Japan 1st PPV- 02/24/2002

1- Nobukazu Hirai v. Ryuji Hijikata- 3
2- Hi69 v. Yaz Urano v.Gran Naniwa - 4
3- Masato Tanaka & Hideki Hosaka v. Hernandez & Kasey Geyer - 6
4- Steve Williams & Mike Rotunda v. Tomoaki Honma & Shigeo Okumura- 4
5- Kendo Kashin v. Kazushi Miyamoto - 3
6- Mike Barton, Jim Steele, & George Hines v. Yoji Anjoh, Arashi, & Nobutaka Araya- 5
7- Taiyo Kea v. Mitsuya Nagai- 7
8- Genichiro Tenryu v. Satoshi Kojima- 6
9- Toshiaki Kawada v. Keiji Mutoh- 5

I have no idea who the two guys in the opener were, although the guy in green looked slightly like the star of "The Host." They started out pretty typical of opening match guys only doing armlocks and faux stiff elbows, but found their groove after a few minutes. Hijikata could show Randy Orton a thing or two about snap powerslams and he also ate a kick that was stiffer than the free salad lettuce at work.

This is a triangle match, although i'm completely dumbfounded on what that means anymore. Naniwa is stomping down s ohard on Hi's head he even stops to look up at him like "what the hell was that for?" Match didnt' go too long nor have a lot of substance, but Naniwa was fun watching get stiff with the young boys.

This tag was a solid effort from all invovled, Hernandez and Geyer were basically dressed like shieks even though both looked like tan white guys. Hernandez was much more fun to watch here, he wasn't concerned with being some crazy powerhouse but was just feeling it, spinning side kick, transitioning to his slingshot splash so naturally. Geyer was capable too, controlling the pace and doing some fun cutoffs. Tanaka was the star tough because as soon as he got some steam behind him, he rolled through both men like a tank.

The end put this higher for me, as Honma was a selling machine, making Rotundo's whip in outside (which had the same force I exert to butter my toast in the morning) look like he was tossed into an oil tanker by the Incredible Hulk. Doc and Rotundo both looked to be working with ailing back pain, but Doc was on his best defense, jumping back at errant shots even if they didn't warrant it. Rotundo and Okamura did the minimum. Near fall of the Doctor Bomb was better than the finish itself.

This match had some heat, not Bisping-Rivera level but obviously there were some issues that needed resolved. Like the story here, short but Miyamoto tried to just bull Kendo over, but as soon as he locked on his patented armbar, that was all she wrote.

This six man is def. all the leftover guys thrown in a match together. we just completed our World Wide 94 project so it's funny seeing Jungle Jim here 8 years later. He's improved, a lot more aggressive, watching him break Araya's full nelson was a lesson in acting that Michael Scott could desperately use. Anjoh's a castoff from Tenryu's old fed and he seems only concerned about trying out tried and true submission holds, even if no one wants to oblige him. Steele's selling was actually off the fucking charts, one of my favorite things as well as the finishing sequence between Barton and Araya.

Next bout was just, pure and simple, a great wrestling match. Nagai's leg work was precise as a surgeon early on and was relentless. Some fun teasing outside gave this some sturdier legs to stand on without going overboard. Kea was taking loads of punishment, with his cropped damp black hair he looked like Thomas Mitchell from Gone with the Wind. They teased Kea's RKO the whole match too, Nagai was super game in this and I'm wondering why I haven't heard more from him. Kea also utilized two moves I'd done for years in our own wrestling group, a behind the head kick that was executioner like and a Cobra Clutch suplex that snapped Nagai in half. Kea's selling while trapped in an anklelock looked like he was trapped in his own personal hell (wonder if it's viewing episode after episode of the Nanny- that's mine)

These two started out stalking each other like two hungry lions on the savana. There's something very special about a big Tenryu match, he's tough as tanned leather. Tenryu's punches are straight from Double Cross Ranch, he belts Kojima like Balboa did a slab of beef. There were some misses too; Kojima trying a Koji cutter off the apron was garbage, Tenryu dropped to his knees like he was about to work in the garden at home. Tenryu on offense is still dynamic, at this time, he has a sick folding powerbomb. Kojima held nothing back either, he did some clotheslines that nearly ripped his head off like JFK's. I also liked when Tenryu would take a big move, he'd start punching himself in the mouth like he just had novocaine adminstered.

It was a lot of fun seeing these two distinct performers mix it up; in the end, I can't recommend it overall. One thing was repetition, Muto, from near the opening bell was going Shining Wizard crazy, but yet not even making covers, that made no sense. When either man was selling, it was masterful, Kawada acting as if he was losing his leg then that famous squint whenever he's trying to clear the cobwebs. Muto was taking so many kicks he probably felt like a soccer ball, and his selling was so dead on, just flopping whereever he pleased. But as i said, selling wasn't always there. Lots of strong style comebacks. Another thing is they used the same moves the previous match did, powerbomb, brainbuster, lariat, all Japanese staples, but i liked the previous match's incarnation better. Kawada does get in one nasty headdropping bomb that would have killed most mortal men; but this is Muto we're talking about. Check it out yourself, you may like it a lot more than me.

AJW Dreamslam II

1. Sakie Hasegawa vs. Hikari Fukuoka – 6
2. Leo Kitamura, Mikiko Futagami, & Utako Hozumi vs. Kaoru Ito, Seami Numata, & Tomoko Watanabe – 4
3. Bat Yoshinaga & Terri Power vs. Rumi Kazama & Miki Handa – 5
4. Combat Toyoda & Megumi Kudo vs. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda – 4
5. Yumiko Hotta, Kyoko Inoue, & Takako Inoue vs. Cutie Suzuki, Plum Mariko, & Boirshoi Kid – 4
6. Suzuki Minami vs. Harley Saito – 5
7. Bull Nakano vs. Chigusa Nagayo – 6
8. Akira Hokuto & Aja Kong vs. Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai – 6
9. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki – Best of Three Falls Match - 8

Been sitting on this show for a while now so I figured since it’s puro/lucha month, what better time to drag it out than now. I was really impressed with the first bout, so much that I ended up giving it a recommendable score. Kukuoka laid in a great half crab that had Hasegawa writhing in pain. Hasegawa’s offense was really good, especially the five continuous double underhook suplexes she delivered. The dive sequence was fun, especially when Hasegawa crashed and burned. Ending saw two straight DDTs from Fukuoka that made me cringe and then Hasegawa nailing a spinning back kick for the win.

Second bout really had no sense of direction. It felt for the majority of the match that it was just thrown together at the last minute. Ito’s offense seemed to be very hit and miss and not very impressive. Couple nice moves from the Futagami trio, especially the flying bulldog delivered by Kitamura off of Futagami’s shoulders. Watanabe was the glue for her team, although she had some minor mishaps, including one spot where she went for a moonsault and on the way down accidentally kneed Kitamura right in the face. The end was a giant mess with everyone just randomly running in, brawling, and breaking up pinfalls.

Things got a little better here. Bat Yoshinaga I’m seeing for the first time and boy, does she work stiff. Attitude era WWF fans may recognize Terri Power as Tori. She was very limited in what she could attempt in the match due to an arm injury. Her chops were really awful but she was very vocal during her ring time. Of all the competitors here, Bat really impressed me the most. She almost broke Handa’s back with a half crab and won the bout for her team with a brutal spinning kick. The lone highlight from the opposition team included Kazama hitting some nice spin kicks of her own.

Toyoda and Megumi were two of the few FMW representatives on the card and looked really sloppy at points. Kudo hit a bad double underhook bomb, Toyoda followed it up with an even worse elbow from the second rope. However, they also hit some decent spots with Toyoda dropkicking Shimoda so hard that she probably felt it in her ovaries and the outside segment with Toyoda hitting a crazy powerbomb and then Megumi following it up with a table spot. Didn’t seem to be much chemistry going on in the ring as everyone just sort of did their own thing.

Another six-lady tag and this one started out with a bunch of comedy between Boirshoi Kid and Kyoko Inoue, sporting Warrior-esque face paint, which actually had me smiling at parts. Boirshoi played a great Spike Dudley by getting beat up and bounced around the whole match. There was a big dive spot, similar to that of what can be seen in multiple-man cruiserweight matches from WCW circa ’97. Hotta flipped Mariko over her head in a weird move that made her land face first on the match. Suzuki got a good nearfall off of a backslide attempt and there was another one after Kyoko took three straight mushroom stomps from the top rope. Mariko ended up as an afterthough, sad considering the fact that four years after this show, she’d be dead due to a taking a Liger bomb in a house show match in Hiroshima for JWP that triggered an abscess on her brain to start bleeding.

I enjoyed the Harley Saito match a lot. Not enough to put it into the recommended category but after the foolishness of some of the previous bouts, it was a welcome change. Both ladies were very vocal in the ring, on both offense and defense. Harley has some really good kicks. Minami hit a very nice spinning back breaker and executed a wild dive that almost sent both of them into the crowd, and a senton from the top rop that almost crushed Saito’s chest. Some good nearfalls, including one really hot one off of a double underhook suplex, made the bout that much more enjoyable for me.

Bull and Chigusa had a hell of a fight. Not only did it start off with them trading some hard chops on the apron, but the damn thing broke down into a crowd brawl! Chigusa got thrown so hard into the railing that it broke open the gate! Once the bout settled down and got back in the ring there were some great mat work section where they traded submissions. Bull’s chicken wing looked a lot better than Backlund’s. Wonder what kind of sauce she puts on that? The look on Bull’s face when Chigusa kicked out of a top rope legdrop defies words. Some really good hot nearfalls here and Chigusa’s awesome selling made this one for me. The only thing that brought down the score was that the match seemed to lose steam as it went after starting off so hot.

Kandori’s offense looked really awful but yet she seemed to be getting the most ring time. I think this was built around a Hokuto/Kandori rivalry but I’m not sure. Kong was a beast. She dropped Kandori right on her head and then tossed Sawai over the top rope. This was capped off by a double team senton from Kong and Hokuto where Hokuto just ruined the opposition by landing directly on them. Kong’s kicks were so brutal that they could probably collapse someone’s lung. Not sure how Akira Hokuto got busted open. Great spot where Kandori came in the ring to break a submission and hit Kong. Kong dropped what she was doing, got Kandori back in the corner, and dropped her. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the kick from Hokuto that just killed Sawai. It was so gnarly that I replayed it 3-4 times. The ending really hurt the score as they just randomly stopped it with Kandori applying an armbar to Hokuto. Too much good stuff here to mention in detail.

Main event time. I’ve heard about this match online so I was anxious to see if it was really going to live up to the hype bestowed upon it from the basement dwellers who inhabit most of the wrestling forums on the net. First fall was over in about 12 seconds when Kansai powerbombed the shit out of Yamada. The remaining falls were what joshi wrestling is all about. Hard ass kicks, wild submissions, whiplash inducing lariats, dive sequences, hot nearfalls, etc. I found Toyota’s moonsault to the outside after she dropkicked Ozaki on the buckle charming. Did I mention the second rope dropkick from her that caught Kansai right in the fucking mouth? I found myself growing tired throught the middle of the third fall, probably by that point I’d been up for about 14-15 hours and a lot of that was spent watching this show, but nonetheless enjoyed the action. I would suggest that any fan go find this match and download it now. It’s a hell of a lot better than what you’ll find on American TV these days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

DVDVR's Top 3 Lucha matches of the 90's

Here it is, this select group of fanboy's top selections of their their deepest love affair

#3- Psicosis v. Rey Mysterio jr (AAA, 09/22/95)- 8
For any fan who doesn'tknow about these guys history, this is an excellent trip through the Lucha Libre textbook. We've all seen their WCW work, the classic ECW style but this is in their home. 1st fall shows you that even aireal wizards like these two had to train in a dungeon somewhere to learn the basics and they must have trained together because they had a similar strategy, mostly armlock stuff. 2nd fall was the majority of their Nitro work, tons and tons of counters and working off the last big spot they pulled off. Psicosis has always been a little off the mark but here rey is so active you never notice and Psicosis relishes being the big guy and Rey's born to take punishment. 3rd fall was dive city, they took to the floor so many times youd' thought they were playing in the NBA. Dive after dive and they didn't hold back on any of them. And the near falls were dynamite, i haven't been lifted off the couch watching something like this since the ending moments of The Secrets of their Eyes. See this- now.

#2- El Hijo del Santo/ Octagon v. Love Machine/ Eddy Guerrero (AAA, 11/06/94, Mask v. Hair)- 7
It's always fun to relive this bout, i've seen it so many times and reviewed it several as well. The dynamic between Eddy and Barr was such a dynamic element I don't know if that kind of force has been seen in AAA since. 1st fall was super fast paced the crowd heat was off the charts, the LA Sports Arena filled with die hard Lucha fans and Eddie & Art playing the best heels they could, making swimming motions as if they jumped in the drink to get there. First caida goes fast with the heels dominating for an easy win. Barr is such a natural at the sport, bumping huge and playing to the crowd so well. 2nd caida gets down to Octagon for the super comeback and featured one of the most beautiful Lucha dive spots of all time as Santo and Octagon hit picture perfect suicide dives to the floor- they were the very mathematical definition of "parallel." 3rd caida gets really dramatic, as Barr hits the dreaded piledriver (illegal in AAA) to eliminate Octagon and they do a whole stretcher angle for him, as the tecnicos 2nd, Blue Panther evens the score with his own piledriver. Barr and Octagon are superb, lying on the mat for the whole 3rd round as if in a coma. Eddie and Santo go out with Eddie hitting huge power move one after the other trying to put the legend away, but can't do it and gets pinned in a rollup for a face win. Some of the spots were pretty bad looking, as far as technical aspect and there certainly were some flubs, such as the Gringos trying to outdo the faces suicide dives and failing miserably, but all in all this is still a wonderful match and introduction into AAA at the time.

#1- Negro Casas/ Atlantis/ Ultimo Dragon/ El Dandy/ Mascara Magica/ Shocker/ La Fiera/ Brazo de Oro v. El Hijo del Santo/ Dr. Wagner jr/ Felino/ Scorpio jr/ Black Warrior/ Kevin Quinn/ Satanico/ Silver King (CMLL, 04/18/97, 16 Man Cibernetico match)- 8

okay think i'll take a brief intermission, im' about 34 minutes into this 53 minute match. It's felt like a breeze watching this, the deal is both teams just exchange guys but also it works as a lumberjack/ elimination match. All of these guys are in their prime still and are moving like lightning. The fluid work, the armdrags, counters and work on the ground are just so refreshing to watch. My boy Atlantis scores first blood by taking out Kevin Quinn. Shocker pulled off an absolutely nutty dive where he went over the first row and landed on his head like he was a javelin in an Olympic game. He just spiked himself from about 8 feet away in a truly insane moment. Santo's team is getting picked apart incl. a very controversial Wagner jr elimination. Casas & Santo engaged in a nasty brawl, both stomping each other in the head like they were trying to kill a cockroach. Felino then went on a tear, taking out 4 guys in a row, some of them felt sort of weak. Ultimo and Felino squared off in the finale and why i liked this is it was all about intricate pinfalls, not big power moves ala Japanese style. I would love to see other fed have this kind of match, I thorougly enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

AAA 1-8-11

Alex Koslov vs. Xtreme Tiger - 5
Ultimo Gladiator vs. Silver King & Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Hermandad 187 & Pimpinela Escarata - 3
Electroshock vs. Mr. Anderson vs. El Messiah - 4

Match started off hot with the rudo Koslov attacking the hell out of Tiger, whipping him over the guardrail and into the fans. Tiger looked to have a possible back injury as he struggled to get back in the ring. Perhaps just some good selling. Koslov handled Tiger lack a wet sack of tiger feces by slamming his limp body around the ring. Koslov really shows a nice dominance in the ring over his opponent with quick, yet heavy offense. Tiger seems rather reckless, hitting a 450 splash onto the awaiting Koslov... on the arena floor! While Tiger possess said element of recklessness, he also possesses a very fluid form to his offense that's kind of mesmerizing. Koslov just had this dominating, heel personality in the ring that worked quite well for him. They busted out a thumbtack spot which was quite awesome, but Koslov sold it more like he walked into a room and witnessed his parents in the thralls of... "activity." Good opener.

Got a cheap laugh out of seeing Silver King come out to "Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. As far as the match was concerned, I had no idea what the hell was going on for the majority. Seems like, despite there being things called "lucha rules," this match had no rules. Cassandro (Pimpinela) kind of shocked me. I really enjoyed, um, him, for a long time, but he just looked so out of it in this match. After being Irish Whipped in to the corner, he lolligag across the ring like he was being chased by a bee. Psicosis looked good, selling a chair shot to the back like someone was pulling his arms off behind his back. Wagner looked the best of all, though. His strikes were snug and he looked competant in the ring. For the most part, the match consisted of interference and a heel referee. That's never fun. The end was fun, however, with the older face ref coming in and dropkicking the shit out of the heel ref.

This had a big match feel, featuring a true Lucha veteran facing one huge Mexican and one American star. I don't know how I feel about Anderson representing America. 'Shock and Anderson worked over Messiah with double teams in the beginning of the match. Messiah looked rather helpless through the beginning, garnering sympathy from the fans. Messiah, despite his size, brought a really nice quick element to the match, but unlike a lot of small lucha guys, he also brought an element of stiffness and badass-ness. This might be due to having Anderson in there, but the match felt so much like a typical TNA Impact style main event -- rushed. It would've been nice to see some slower pacing in the match instead of being beat over the head with move after move after move by all three guys.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

SWS in Tokyo Dome - 12/12/91

1. UWF Rules: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Jerry Flynn – 1
Jerry Flynn and his mullet make an appearance in this brief, five-minute bout that felt more like a UWF exhibition than an actual match. In the highlight department, Flynn hit a nice outside-in kick and Funaki had some sort of weird hold on to get the submission. The norm in UWF matches in kicks and ground work and this had a ton of it

2. Ultimo Dragon vs. Jerry Estrada – 6
This was more lucha in flavor than puro. Ultimo did some arm work after a beginning that, as good ol’ JR would say, was quicker than a hiccup. Dragon attempted his handstand in the corner but not sure if he slipped or not but he took a nasty spill to the floor. Estrada actually took a fall that looked worse when Dragon monkey flipped him over the ropes. Dragon didn’t really seem to sure of himself when he was running the ropes at points. More fun from the aerial department included Dragon hitting a senton to the outside, Estrada doing a Cactus Jack-style running somersault flip off the apron, and Dragon hitting perfectly on one of the craziest Asai moonsaults I’ve ever seen in my life that resulted in both guys going three rows deep in the ringside fans. Dragon hit a German for the win but added to it by doing an awesome floatover. Some really good stuff here.

3. Yoshiaki Yatsu & Haku vs. Ashura Hara & Davey Boy Smith – 5
We are joined in progress at the 9 minute mark with Haku eating some nasty chops from Hara. Hara and Yatsu had a tremendous headbutt exchange with some goofy facials added in for good measure. Besides Bulldog almost knocking Yatsu’s block off with a sick clothesline when he ran in to save his partner, he didn’t really contribute much, althought I’m guessing he provided an amply supply of pre-match somas. Haku played this kind of game before and worked pretty stiff as well. Best parts of the match for me were the exchanges between Hara and Yatsu. Bulldog got a post-match beatdown from the opposition which delighted me. Maybe next time he’ll learn to lay that shit in. Grade is based on what was shown and had the whole match aired, it probably would’ve gotten a point higher.

4. The Rockers vs. George & Shunji Takano – 4
This is joined in progress as well with Jannetty and George doing some mat work that didn’t really go anywhere. Shunji is a big, lanky dude with a Terry Gordy haircut who moves really awkward. He hit a nice looking dropkick from the second rope that woke up Jannetty. Shawn’s superkicks were spot on. The Rockers seemed like they would rather be working a house show in Boise than working here but George and Shunji did their best to sell but they seemed light on offense as well. Post match saw Shawn and Marty work the split angle.

5. Ted DiBiase vs. Kerry Von Erich – 4
Kerry was completely gone. I lost count of how many times during the bout I saw a drug induced far away look in his eyes. DiBiase had to guide him through everything, even go up for him on suplexes and what not. Von Erich totally sandbagged when he was supposed to go up for a DiBiase vertical suplex. They did a brawling segment on the outside that I thought might lead to a double count out. Kerry’s offense was pretty much non-existent but what was there was supported by some great selling for DiBiase, such as the discuss punch sell where he went all the way back into a corner. He also made Von Erich look good even when he was selling one of his own moves, most notably when he missed a second rope back elbow and did a fantastic sell. Points here for DiBiase’s performance as this felt like a match that could be found in MSG during this period.

6. Naoki Sano vs. Rick Martel – 5
I know I’m probably doing myself a disservice by not watch much Sano but after seeing this I definitely want to watch more of bouts. He killed Martel with two wild high risk moves. First, a somersault to the outside from the top turnbuckle only to top himself by doing an insane running swanton over the top rope where he jammed his head into Martel’s shoulder. Martel didn’t do a lot of high impact stuff but his ground work had some effectiveness to it. Of course, it helped tons that Sano sold them like he was being tortured a la Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart.

7. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Ishinriki – 3
I didn’t really see a lot that I liked here. Ishriniki was on offense for the majority of the bout and had this constant “Holy crap I’m in the ring with Fujiwara” look on his face. His slaps looked like something you would see on a playground between two eight year old girls. Eventually, Fujiwara stopped messing around, trapped Ishriniki’s arm with his legs, and damn near ripped it off his body and ate it. Lesson #1 young Ishiriniki … Thou shalt not fuck with Fujiwara.

8. The Legion Of Doom vs. The Natural Disasters – 3
Started off pretty wild with some brawling outside the ring which was highlighted by Animal wailing on Quake with a few hard chair shots. Animal seemed to be the most energetic person throughout the bout. Disasters seemed content to no sell a lot of LOD’s early offense and do simple, sloppy power moves. The spot in the middle of the bout where Earthquake just dropped Animal through a table was pretty cool. Finish with LOD doing a Hart Attack type move with Hawk coming off the second rope was pretty sloppy.

9. Hulk Hogan vs. Genichiro Tenryu – 6
To me this didn’t seem like the typical Hogan match. He seemed more inclined to actually wrestle instead of going for his usual choreographed American style schtick. The strike exchange between the two was nice. Hogan got in a good elbow and a good knee that ended up hurting his own knee. Tenryu capitalized on said knee injury by working over it with a chair. Interesting spot where Hogan caught Tenryu with a couple short elbow that resulted in Tenryu giving him a hard Kawada kick right in the face. The nearfalls weren’t up to par with many Japanese main event bouts I’ve seen but they still had some heat behind them. Tenryu got in a nice powerbomb and reversed an attempted enziguri into a leglock. A crisp lariat finished Tenyru and capped off a really fun bout and a fun show overall.

Friday, March 11, 2011

World Japan MAGMA03 PPV

Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan 20.7.2003
Attendance: ca. 8'500

1. WJ Strongest Tournament Quarter-Final Match: Shiro Koshinaka vs. Steve Williams - 6
2. WJ Strongest Tournament Quarter-Final Match: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Riki Choshu -5
3. WJ Strongest Tournament Quarter-Final Match: Dan Bobish vs. Kenzo Suzuki - 4
4. WJ Strongest Tournament Quarter-Final Match: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Takao Omori - 5
5. Masamitsu Kochi vs. Takashi Uwano - 4
6. Ichiro Yaguchi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - 4
7. WJ Strongest Tournament Semi-Final Match: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Steve Williams - 5
8. WJ Strongest Tournament Semi-Final Match: Kenzo Suzuki vs. Takao Omori - 4
9. Big Vader vs. Don Frye - 3
10. WMG Heavyweight Title WJ Strongest Tournament Final Match: Kensuke Sasaki vs. Kenzo Suzuki - 7

Move over King of the Ring as there's a new tournament in town! Opener was a lot of fun and much better than I'd anticipated. Shiro runs down and just takes it to Williams. I didn't remember Dr. Death being so good at selling but he's quite giving and generous in that department making Koshinaka look great. Williams busting out a tope suicida is worth buying this disc alone. Shiro has this great way of selling (even major things) by just blinking his eyes that reminds you of an old man on a bench squinting from the sun. The next match on paper gave me chills like the reveal in Catfish. It was pretty good with moments of fleeting greatness. Kensuke bullies Riki in the beginning until eventually Chosu tires of it and unceremoniously dumps him out on the floor like a discarded condom from the window of a passing limo. This had more stiff clotheslines than you can count. Chosu went down with dignity, fighting to stay afloat, he eventually succumbed to two consecutive brainbusters allowing Kensuke move on to the next round.

Bobish, for a guy in a red, white, and blue singlet, threw some of the nastiest, most meaty European uppercuts I've ever seen. Bobish, for the uninitiated, is like an even more preposterously jacked Scott Steiner, and while his selling was rudimentary, at least he was trying. Kenzo shows here why WWE signed him as he entered with a fur boa and a trashy girl on each arm like a total slimeball. He was real good throughout and I was glad to see him move on although he's got probably only the 9th best "Spear" I've seen. It's always a pleasure to see Tenryu, he's old and slow here, but still showed up to work and fight and that's what we got. Occasionally he'd just stiff Omori in the face and Takao's eyes would get wide like, "Holy shit! I'm in here with Tenyru!" This had some highlight reel stuff like a "back to belly" piledriver (we always called it a "Doomsday Piledriver" but it's basically the one Kazarian does) on the floor.

Next match started off a bit too dull and exhibitiony for my tastes. Two guys in short black trunks and short black hair. But, as it picked up, I got pulled more in, Kochi was the bigger of the two, one strike exchange saw him drill Uwano with a combo that Takashi sold with some truly inspired wobbly legs. Uwano did some real terrific vocal selling while in a crab. Uwano fought from behind but once he started rallying this actually felt more like it belonged and not just a tryout bout. Yaguchi looked like a mall goth Eric Embry. What Ichiro lacked in finesse he made up for in sheer brutality. Ishii spent the bulk of the match eating big moves like powerbombs. Ishii wasn't as physically big or inept as he seems nowadays doing a decent job eating stuff. This felt like the culmination of a feud or something and not just a random bout.

Sasaki and Williams on paper sounds cool as you've got one of the biggest heavyweight AJPW and NJPW stars of the '90's squaring off. Match moved at a pretty deliberate pace like the geisha Steve picked up later that night nursed her beer. Kensuke isn't the most dynamic seller, he's good here or there, clutching at his mouth after eating some shots, etc. but you've got to look hard and justify a lot in your head to buy him always eating such punishment. Williams seemed game but ended up tapping in the end and retiring to whiskey for the duration of the evening. Suzuki and Omori was plugging along nicely and looking like it might be the sleeper success of the tournament until a real abrupt quick finish halted it dead in its tracks. Only criticism was Kenzo botching a spot where he held Omori in a powerbomb but was supposed to throw him over his head where Takao would land on the turnbuckles but missed his mark by a couple foot.

Next bout sucked like The Last Airbender. It was a worked shoot more or less, but felt inauthentic, we've seen both Vader (in wrestling) and Frye (in MMA) hit people a lot harder. This seemed cooperative and insulting. Vader hit one nice big belly-to-belly throw, outside of that, no real highlights and the finish was putrid. I really liked the main event. It felt appropriately big and started with one of the longest collar and elbow tie-ups known to man. I couldn't believe it but Kenzo actually beat Kensuke in a chop battle. Sasaki's chest was battered and looked like roadkill. Suzuki also had an unbelievably awesome flying knee. I've got to say, Kenzo is probably the MVP of the show, I saw his entire WWE run, and plenty of his stuff in Mexico, but sadly I hadn't really seen any of his Japan stuff and now I plan on seeking it out diligently. Besides going toe-to-toe on ferocious offense with Kensuke, Suzuki also had tons of great facials and character moments. The match-ending lariat was a satisfying end to an overall pretty fun tournament.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BJW 1/2/01 CZW Invades~!

So this event began with John Lennon's hit "Happy Christmas War is Over." How's that for juxtaposition?

"NEW YEAR GREAT SERIES 2001" 1/3/01 Yokkaichi Australia Memorial Hall 1,170 Fans
1. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Abdullah Kobayashi Jr. - 4
2. Kamikaze vs MEN's Teioh - 5
3. Fantastik vs. The Winger - 5
4. Shunme Matsuzaki vs. Naoki Numazawa - 1
5. Daikokubo Benkei vs Ryuji Ito -2
6. Ryuji Yamakawa, Shadow WX & Kintaro Kanemura (FMW) vs. Zandig (CZW), Jun Kasai & Rebel (CZW) -5

It had been three years prior that Sekimoto was a dojo boy. I shudder to think of the things he experienced. Kobayashi hit a monkey flip on Sekimoto that was mediocre at best, but started to step it up later in the match by sinching in a nice looking hold around the dome of Sekimoto. Sek hit a nice German on Kobayashi, turning Kob into a pile of blubber. Whenever Sekimoto hit a German, he'd land directly on his own head. Dude has got to have some serious neck strength. Sekimoto decapitated Kobayashi with a nice lariat to finish the match off, which Kobayashi sold by squinting. Interesting.

A very solid outing by two guys I loved to watch back when I was in high school. I remember my sophmore year having a mini MEN's marathon in my bedroom. It was a good day. There was some really great mat work to start, with neither man really getting a true advantage. The match would keep building in this fashion until the lid came off, featuring both guys laying in some offense and even more aggressive mat work. Teioh was able to get the better of Kamikaze, but they both looked great.

This was another really solid match. Both guys brought a really sweet junior heavyweight style. Fantastik hit this great dive to the floor that looked amazing. This Prince Devitt's somersault suicide senton to the floor except on an opponent lying on the ground. Both guys just looked so great in the ring. This match was just juicy and clean as hell. So clean you could eat sushi off it.

The next two matches I'm going to lump together as they were clipped. The first feature utter nonsense I won't even speak of because it doesn't deserve it. Simply two pasty Japanese guys working horribly. The second was a touch better because it featured the now famous deathmatch wrestler Ryuji Ito back when he was lanky and greener than a spring lawn. His leg drop looked awful, but he brought an element of stiffness with his strikes and was selling well. His opponent looked like Super Porky.

The final match was originally a handicap match featuring the teams of Zandig, Rebel, & Kasai vs. Yamakawa and WX. The odds would prove to be too much for the BJW team and they took the fall, when out of nowhere comes the FMW star Kintaro Kanemura! Kanemura, having none of that CZW shit, would challenge the sleazy bastards to come back in the ring and have a fair fight, and what a fight it was. Zandig actually looked half-way decent and not too slovenly in the match. He took some bumps and sold for the BJW vets. The staple gun spot left something to be desired, but all the Japanese guys got juiced like stuck pigs and were bleeding all over the place. There were some cool ladder spots, but the best thing about this match is that it was done in that classic hardcore BJW style where guys just go balls to the wall. I thought it was a good showing for the American counterpart, and was a solid bout.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Viva La Lucha: Continental Conflict

1) Horus, Angel Metalico, & Xtorm vs. Civico, Tony Casanova, & Zarco – 2
2) NY Knockout Nikki & Miss Jackie vs. Christina Von Eerie & Jennifer Blake – 1
3) Natural Selection (Brian Cage & John Ricker) vs. Los Luchas (Zokyre & Phoenix Star) vs. RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime & Johnny Yuma) – 5
4) Mascara Sagrada & KAFU vs. Misterioso & Vaquero Fantasma – 1
5) Extreme Tiger & Jack Evans vs. X Fly & Bestia 666 – 3
6) Charlie Haas, Super Crazy, & Tommy Wilson vs. Konnan, Damien 666, & Halloween – 1
7) Blue Demon Jr., Booker T, & El Mesias vs. Shelton Benjamin, Big V, & Hernandez – 4

The first bout was a three falls match, which is the norm of lucha trios matches. Some really basic stuff from Xtrom and Zarco to start out with. The heels controlled the pace by stalling for 95 percent of the first fall. Zarco looked like a complete fool by just coming in, looking out to the floor, and then having Metalico dive over him. Second fall got a little better with Horus doing a bunch of highspots and Metalico executing a flying headscissor to the outside. Second fall had a unique finish where Civico gave Zarco a Styles Clash off the second buckle onto Metalico. Third fall was a mess with the referee taking a siesta to grab a few burritos while there were tons of legal man issues happening all around. The triple jump spots from the Horus, Metalico, and Xtorm were cool, but not enough to save the fact that the match ended in a double count out that gave the match and ending flatter that the 2007 film The Mist.

Ladies match was worse than what you would see on a weekly diva’s bout. Yes, the Miss Jackie featured was Jackie Gayda of WWE fame and yes, she had a scary resemblance to Karen Angle. Lots of legality issues during Jackie’s face in peril segment. Nikki’s clotheslines were quite awful and when Jackie tried to do Kofi Kingston’s spinning-flippy-pin move and almost blew it, I chuckled.

Three way tag was a lot of fun. It was from an NWA promotion called Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. Right out of the gate was a brawl featuring Johnny Goodtime doing a wild moonsault off the wall. I enjoyed the energy and intensity of the RockNES Monsters and I’d like to see a lot more of their tag work. Ricker busted out a sick side slam. The tower of doom spot was really nutty. Los Luchas just kind of stood on the apron, not contributing much. Cage at one point almost botched up a doomsday device. Lots of fun stuff here if you like non-stop action with minimal selling.

Tag bout with Mascara Sagrada from PWR was really bad. Sagrada and Misterioso started off the match, didn’t make any physical contact what-so-ever, and then tagged out. Seriously? It took five minutes for physical contact to occur! Fantasma took a hip toss on the ramp from Sagrada in probably the best bump of a match that was pretty much bump free. Wait, why is Misterioso using a chair on Sagrada? Chairs were blatantly used in front of the referee and much like the the first match, the referee just sat back and let it happen. The announcers compared KAFU to Bruiser Brody, I’m guessing because he dressed a bit like him. He sure doesn’t work like Brody. KAFU’s offense and selling really need some work. Sagrada looked really old and really slow. Why did Misterioso take off his mask and give it to some perplexed dude in the crowd? Goofy restart didn’t help this either. Puke.

So X Fly was apparently Mosco de la Merced in a previous life. If so, then he’s put on some weight. I’m not sure if Evans messed up on a moonsault of not but he did catch the rudos with a pair of nice elbows. I remember Xtreme Tiger from the shitty Mexican Deathmatch Wrestling DVD where he was wrestling outdoors and jumping off rooftops. I’ll give him his props though, he did a wild plancha to the outside, took a big back drop onto a ladder, and executed a 450 splash off the top to the outside. Second fall featured Fly kicking Evans in the stomach while he was break dancing, which automatically makes him the smartest man in wrestling. Evans has some cool moves but it still seems to me that he belongs on a gymnastics team. What’s with the random music going on during this? Another confusing point was that the announcers at the end of the second fall said that the rudos have to pin both technicos but yet at the end of the first fall, only one technico pinned a rudo. I’m confused. A pretty sick muscle buster from Bestia mercifully ended this.

Konnan and his group interfered at the end of the previous bout with a bunch of useless stuff. Konnan looked really terrible in his Lakers jersey and jeans. What, did you just do some blow and roll up in your Caddy before the match started, esse? He’s my candidate for worst wrestler on the last decade. In the ring he’s so unethused and disinterested. Crazy turned on his team and the end of the first fall ending this one and thus negating the supposed other two falls. Haas was the best looking person in the match but with the people involved, is it any surprise?

Main event was more choreographed than a performance of Fiddler on the Roof. Viscera (aka Big V) looks like he lost some weight. Damn, he busted out a nice Boss Man slam. Match was a complete mess and had a bunch of legal man issues. I liked the exchanges between Blue Demon and Hernandez. The chop exchange between Hernandez and Mesias was nice as well. Booker got his typical stuff in without exerting much effort. Quite honestly, no one in the match seemed to care, as was pretty much the case with the whole event. Lots of potential but not much sustenance.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AAA TripleMania XVIII

1) Octagoncito v. Mini Abismo Negro v. Mini Charly Manson v. Mascarita Divina v. Mini Psicosis v. Mini Histeria v. Mascartia Sagrada v. La Parkita v. Mini Chessman- Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match- 5

So Chris Nowinski has def. not gotten around to making the call to Konan about that little chair shot conern- that being said, these guys didn't hold back. Match was somewhat short but they packed a lot into it. It was kind of fun watching them bump around on the same ladder i use at home to climb to my roof to pull some blown sticks off instead off the strangely constructed WWE ones. Sick final bump by Octagoncito too.

2) La Legion Extranjera (Sexy Star, Rain & Jennifer Blade) v. Cinthia Moreno, Mari & Fabi Apache- 5

I was pleasantly surprised here; these women came to fight. Sexy Star is into all things combat and mask related- her selling was superb and when it was her turn to bring it, she didn't need it printed on a t-shirt, she just brought it. Faces were ruling it early, felt like an AJW sprint, with Moreno being everywhere with the hurt and the strange fitting leather cat suit. Rain ate a double nasty ax kick that I've not seen anywhere, including the unremorseful women cage fighting leagues deep in the Amazon where I spent 4 months, 5 days, and 13 hours, an experience filled with sweat, blood and semen I will never speak of again.

3) Los Maniacos (Silver Cain/ Ultimo Gladiator) v. Beer Money v. Atsushi Aoki/ Go Shiozaki v. Nicho/ Joe Lider (Elimination Match)- 3

So much talent, so little done with it. Only highlights early on were Go just striking at will like an uncaged gorilla, big swipes and painful chops were dished out everywhere. But then they went out first. From there not much interesting happened. I was watching Nicho & Lider really closely; 10 years ago Nicho v. Silver King was seen by millions of people, nowadays, they're just happy their families like to watch their professionan- that's a harsh statement but neither one of them seemed particularly motivated so you can see where my venom comes from. Beer Money were by far the most useless; i fee like if you import a team of their stature from the states, make use of them. They got in their shit, but for the most part they just stood as a brawling counterpart to the other teams and you could have plugged almost any other team in the world in their place and would have had much the same results.

4) Alex Koslov/ Chessman/ Hernandez v. Heavy Metal/ Octagon/ Pimpnela Escaralata (Steel Cage)- 3
Again here, 1 guy really made this interesting and once he left the cage, it got terribly bland and that's Pimpnela. He was so expressive, i know, the homosexual gimmick has been done to death, but it wasn't that he was flamboyant, because he was, but is selling was, everytime he got an advantage, he was in it. He and Koslov matched up well, Pimp's chops and chucks into the cage must have looked akin to any of his recent visits to an all she-male brothel when he leared Donna Boy was not available that evening. Hernandez and Chessman both did huge dives off the cage that were completely unnecessary and Metal seemed content to lay on the mat selling weak kicks; although one scene caught me off guard, Metal getting his head rammed into the cage over and over again; reminded me of a friend's little brother beating his face into the worn couch he was sleeping on at the time.

5) Cibernetico & Abyss v. Zorro & Vampiro (Extreme Rules)= 3
Dear god Vampiro, he looked like what the Phantom of the Opera's corpse must have turned int after being left in those catacombs for years and years. Abyss was good sport and Vamp even did some fun stuff with his power for their part. Zorro was there to make everyone look good doing their finisher and he and Cibernetico had a lackluster brawl that the crowd loved but made me snooze.

6) Jack Evans v. Extreme Tiger v. Christopher Daniels v. Nosawa (Elimination Match)- 6
Nosawa looked as lost the night he stole that taxi cab and drove around aimless and drunk. Sloppy brawling was the majority of this contribution along with some damn good selling, after a big move he would almost be crying in pain. Extreme was a treat to watch, he was all over the place, reminding me of a young Psicosis, dives aplenty including a 450 splash outside! He tried to protect himself so it looked weird. Daniels was really dynamic, he and Evans did their best work together here, not in ROH or PWG. Evans was super over and the 630 splash Daniels blocked with his knees would have put a normal man in traction- it was a crazy spot. Great ending move too; a sidenote, really played out with the heel refs, it's like '99 McMahon heel ref marathon all over again.

7) Dr. Wagner jr v. Electro Shock- 4
This was the equivalent of HHH-Orton from Mania 25, a big title match that's flatter than people from the 1400's thought the world was. There wasn't much pop or sizzle on any particular move, the pace they worked was culminating in a big build up, but there was never a payoff. I know these two wrestled many times in the last 2 years and it shows, as if they were bored or something. Ending was just a finishing move but right before it was a puzzling spot where they were interlocked by each other's legs and doing rolls like the Oompa-Loompas were in Wonka's factory before they murdered a bunch of children.

8) L.A. Park v. La Parka- 7
Great idea for a match, and it def. exceeded my expectation. L.A was so good at knowing how to do all the nasty fighting stuff this match needed; ripping the mask, pulling the hair out, ramming his face into the steel post & chairs. Parka was the huge fan favorite, and kept capializing on LA's mistakes, with a sick table spot and a post ram that Shawn couldn't have done any better. Besides the skeleton costumes, this match could have taken place in any back alley barrio on a Sat. night.