Thursday, June 30, 2011

CHIKARA Engulfed in a Fever of Spite 5/14/11

"Engulfed in A Fever Of Spite" - Burlington, NC

1. The Throwbacks vs. Los Ice Creams - 3
2. Tim Donst vs. Kamakazi Kid - 4

In normal Ice Creams fashion, we got comedy to start the match. Five minutes later, the wrestling actually started, only to be halted by the Creams hiding underneath the bleachers in the stands. Twelve - that's right - 12 minutes later, the match actually starts. I can appreciate good comedy wrestling, but people are being charged to see this at $15 a pop. Get in the ring and get going. Creams were heeling it up in the ring, especially Ice Cream Jr., who used his cone to hit Sugar in the crotch in the corner. The match itself was rather uneventful, save for the last few minutes when a kid that the Creams were giving a hard time, Caleb (who looked to be six years old at the most) entered the ring. This kid got a bigger pop than anyone. He nailed the Creams in the legs and even got the pin. Kid has some damn fine charisma.

Donst played the jerk factor better than Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Kid seems to be your typical indy guy in that he's reckless and a high flyer who puts his body on the line for a small crowd. He did hit this insane tope that he overshot, hitting his knees on the bleachers much to the chagrin of the crowd. Donst broke out this really sweet submission that looked like a reverse surfboard and also looked like it hurt like hell. The craziness would keep coming as Kid lived up to his name by hitting a double stomp on the lats of a bent over Donst. I think the green bastard got a bit too excited, however, because his spear looked like it was executed by Edge's mentally challenged cousin, Edgar. Match was fun, though, and kid's recklessness really showed through. Don't mind Donst called Kamikaze Kid "Kid Kamakazi" in the pre-match promo. I'm sure they'd like to forget that happened along with the miscue on the card that came up when Kid came out from behind the curtain.

3. Grizzly Redwood vs. Daizee Haze - 2
4. Will O' The Wisp II vs. Ophidian - 4

This match was one of those matches that didn't really make any sense. You've got two evenly matched rudos pitted against each other in the ring in a match that didn't go anywhere. First, Haze really needs to eat more beef because she is skinnier than Bob Saget after a night filled with razor-cut rocks and mirrors. Ridiculous. The in-ring was absolutely blander than tofu dipped in water. Weaker than a month-old cup of tea brewed by WCW jobber Hardbody Harrison.

Will O' reminds me of Psicosis in the hair only. His rope running looked... odd. There was also an awkward head scissor by Ophidian that looked to be moving at half speed. Ophidian's offense looked solid, but it was blinding obvious that Will O' didn't know what to expect. Will's dropkick did look nice. The finish was cool, I will give them that: Will O' went for a springboard 720 splash which did not connect, only to receive a Canadian Destroyer for his troubles.

5. Tursas vs. UltraMantis Black - 4
6. Delirious vs. Hallowicked - 4

I loved the floor work and the battle on the floor, which saw Mantis taking a really nasty chair to the face courtesy of the Norse behemoth... potential pun for metal fans. Mantis really played up the domination factor while he was on defense, selling like everything Tursas did was killing him. His selling and persona are why I adore him so. The fans were totally behind Mantis, he took his time pulling himself off the mat, thus getting the fans behind him event more. Tursas finally got to show his bumping, as he took a particularly nasty looking dragon screw. But dudes, Tursas summoned the powers of Vader and went up top for a moonsault~! That was the definite highlight of the match. Not nearly as bad as I was expecting.
allowicked spent the majority of the match attempting to remind Delirious about his time as a cohort of Incoherence before Ares gained control and made him the pet of the BDK. I did enjoy the strike exchange in the match as Hallowicked seemed to be getting fired up while trying to simultaneously remind Delirious and defeat him. Excellent running kick in the corner by Hallowicked. As the match progressed, it got better as both guys were laying their stuff in with their feet. Hallowicked was thrown to the outside and was picked up by Tursas in a Razor's Edge position, but nothing came of it. Hallowicked riggled out of it and it served no purpose.

7. Icarus & Johnny Gargano vs. Frightmare & Mike Quackenbush - 5
8. Jakob Hammermeir vs. Eddie Kingston - 3
9. Obariyon, Kodama & Kobald vs. The Colony - 6

Icarus is now sporting a septum nose ring, making him look even more ridiculous. Frightmare was killing it in the ring. He brings that ADHD-childlike energy to the ring that takes the volume up to 11, and really adds a nice balance to Quack's technical style. Watching FIST in this really makes me realize how much I prefer the two-man team of Gargano and Taylor as opposed to this one. Quack's hot tag was full of energy and looked grand. I dug the superkick spot by Quack and the superkick/crucifix combo by Team Frightening. Fin sucked, but I dug the overall match.

This was about as "meh" as you'd expect. Tursas came out and was a distraction for King the entire time, but King came back and took it to Jakob, who, by the way, looked to be so much better in this match than he did with Green Ant at Big Freeze. Kingston hit a sick backfist and scored the pin. I think I would call this something that rhymes with the word "miller."

AWWW YEAAH Batiri style. Kobald is pretty damn bad in the ring. Bad in a bad way. Obariyon is bad in the best way possible. Ants brought a solid in-ring and good tag team psych with frequent tags and cutting the ring in half. Green Ant had Obariyon in the CHIKARA Special, only to have Kodama come in and completely whiff a kick to the head. Yikes. Obs hit that sweet DDT on the apron that I've come to adore so much. Oh yeah, Batiri started tearing those antennas right off. This was all Dark Army goodness for the better part of the remainder of the match -- just the way I like it: brutal and part human. Fire got a bit off balance on his springboard into the ring, but managed to save himself with a nice kick to Obariyon's chest, who sold it by doing a backward somersault. One thing I wanted to point out was when the Ants did their catapult dive, Kobald look like he took the brunt of it, and was writing around on the floor like he was having a seizure. It was obvious that Fire Ant reached out to check on him, too. Think he got messed up. Obariyon hit all of dat sweet offense like a leaping DDT. Some really good offense by the Batiri in this one.

Watch: The Batiri vs. Colony

Match Avg: 3.9


"King of Trios: Night 3" - April 17, 2011 (5.1)
"Creatures from the Tar Swamp" - March 13, 2011 (5)
"King of Trios: Night 2" - April 16, 2011 (4.75)
"Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls" - January 23, 2011 (4.75)
"King of Trios: Night 1" - April 15, 2011 (4.6)
"Caught in a Cauldron of Hate" - February 19, 2011 (4.5)
"Clutch of Doom" - February 20, 2011 (4.25)
"Operation Big Freeze" - March 12, 2011 (4)
"Engulfed in a Fever of Spite" - May 14, 2011 (3.9)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chikara- Revelation X

Chikara Land is Geo's home turf when he's not hitting the books or a sleazy indy show but thought i'd take a weekend trip there to visit this most pimped Ladder Match I hear about. Aw, shit, fucking GPS can't find the signal....

1) Icarus & Gran Akuma v. Helios & Lince Dorado- 3
Love Icarus' opening promo- where he says "There's a new faction here, called the Future is now, which is a false statement because right now isn't the future, it's the present." Not sure why this cracked me up but it def. tickled my funnybone. I'm not sure what this show has in store, one of the first spots is Ricochet w/ his Helios persona on, running into the corner where a camera was and spitting a very Steve Urkel-esque "Hello" before he did a somersault into Icarus. I can appreciate a Tony Jaa kick sequence as much as the next guy but Akuma looks like he'd rather take a nap than perform. Great surprise finish but some of the double teams were all for show, as both opponents barely contact the mat in any meaningful way. Decent opener

2) Brodie Lee & Grizzly Redwood v. Hallowicked & Fright mare- 3
Hated the opening spot where Fright mare's flip plancha took out both men; that he could knock Brodie down with that weak ass shit was dumber than the idea a publishing house was going to publish an OJ murder tell all. Flow of the match was fine, kind of digging Grizzly's workmanship but the face team, offensively were as impressive as my sister would have been, at the age of 6. Hallowicked's punches looked like he was in a wade pool at a waterpark, flailing around. Lee, again, completely underutilized his size, just falling after weak forearm shots.

3) Sara Del Ray v. Daizee Haze- 5
For some reason every time I see Sara i think of when we went to Philly for Misawa's big show and her running through the ridiculously crowded lobby and hopping onto some dude's back for a piggyback ride. Poor guy. Daize really could use to stiffen some of her stuff up, put some stank on some of her high flying shit. Good pace too, liked her last two athletic spots, but the missed plancha outside was a joke, and nowhere near as funny as Russell Brand on stage, just saying.

4) UltraMantis Black/ Crossbones v. Mike Quackenbush/ Jigsaw- 4
I'm not entirely sure of the sci-fi backstory that was evolving here, something about Dr. Cube and the secret of the Chikara special- god damn there was an unintetionally funny moment when Quack folds Black's arm behind his head like an elementary school bully, takes him outside and demands to know why he sold the secret out- after a few seconds Black relents the info and Quack brilliantly replies 'Well, that was easy," then goes back in the ring to work spots as a fat fan in the front row snickered and pointed at Black. As for the match, it never really left 1st gear until the smooth finishing spot so can't rate it too highly.

5) Stigma/ Colin Delaney v. Cheech & Cloudy- 4
I think i'm a generous soul giving this a 4, there was some really loose work here. Stigma sucks. The ripped jeans look went out when Kidman got trunks. Delaney was in control though, and he and Cloudy's long section was fun. Some really bad facials coming from Cheech & Cloudy, looked more like they were playing Black Ops online with friends than in a fight. Was getting annoyed at the extended ending but i'm a sucker for a spiked piledriver.

6) Larry Sweeney/ Mitch Ryder v. Los Ice Creams- 2
God damn some of this was uglier than coroner that performed Sweeney's autopsy. Just terrible strikes and elbows from Sweeney and Ryder. Ice Creams were all about comedy, mostly consisting of crying and pinching booty, so a typical Sat. night for most single people in today's dating scene.

7) Delirious v. Eddie Kingston- 3
Was this a rib? The announcers put this over as this amazing singles with all this drama but it was weak sauce. Jarritos soda has more punch than this bout. And why did Kingston have Samoa Joe's ridiculous tribal face paint on? Kingston also wore eyesore red leather pants and looked like a blind donkey trying to get his leg up high enough to kick at Delirious. Nasty suplex ending was best part. Skip it.

8) The Colony v. Osirian Portal- 5
This seems to have been a big deal, tag title change, really long match with tons of near falls. Give you some observations here. Have seen these two teams wrestle many times, all feeling similar but def. have good chemistry together. There's some stuff here though that i think works against what they're trying to accomplish. Example one is a double 450 splash that is sick but Colony kicks out; it's a catch 22 because it's an amazing near fall, but you run the risk of your actual finish not being able to top it, which happens here. Then you have the hypnotize spot, which doesn't work for a reason not given; why even bother using that as a spot when it just doesn't work on someone for no reason? Thought the psych of a lot of this just didn't make sense. Other than that, some smooth work, hard bumps but could have been pared down to maximum enjoyment.

9) Vin Gerard v. Equinox (Ladder Match)- 6
So this was pretty good- my one complaint, not even a complaint but an observation- why was this a ladder Match? There wasn't a whole lot where the ladders were needed. Equinox was stiff, laying in shots at every turn which I dug and was hoping to see on this whole show but never did. I wondered about the long leg work stuff from Gerard, which was good in it's own right but wasn't sure how the psych played into it. The ddt on the stairs and the unmasking, leading to the DVD on the ladder was some of the more intriguing and involved i've felt watching this promotion. Well done

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NHO on Facebook!!

We've got a Facebook page now here at NHO! Get on over there and "like" us. Feel free to drop us a line as well.

ECW Anarchy in Atlanta co-review

Adam: Being the big ECW fan that I am, I’ve never heard of this show. Upon doing some research though, it appears that this was a TV taping. I'm guessing the title of the show was just a way to entice people into thinking this DVD was some extraordinary event but in reality they were purchasing a fancam.

Brian: I was almost as shocked to find this DVD in my closet as I was when Penny had sex with Rajesh Koothrappali on the season finale of The Big Bang Theory. I'm far less enthusiastic about ECW as Adam and have soured on them over the last decade but what the hell?

Show intro

Adam: We start off with two local radio DJs in the ring, one of them cutting a heel promo on Bill Alfonso and the other one just standing there. Fonzie comes out, gets double-teamed, and a limping Sabu makes the save and puts one of them through a table. A pretty much nothing segment.

Brian: Thanks to Adam's reporting I promptly fast-forward all of the verbal diarrhea. The DJ with the $7 Circle K shades had decent stomps. In a half-minute Sabu legitimately fucked them both up including possibly breaking one of the guys' nose. It's not a big loss as he had a face for radio to begin with if you catch my drift.

1) Danny Doring & Roadkill vs C.W. Anderson & Bill Wiles vs Nova & Kid Kash – Three Way Elimination Match – A: 3 B: 1

A: Spot-fest early on with big dives from Nova and Kid Kash. I used to think that Doring was a good wrestler but after seeing his singles bout, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s quite awful. Wiles screws up a spot where he was supposed to catch Kash coming off the top buckle but accidentally drops him on his shoulder. Don’t think there was a single tag the whole match, just people running in and out as they please. Wasn’t long either, probably about six minutes and not an ounce of story.

B: This is how we're starting things off? Wiles looks like a real-life Muckman. This literally takes seconds to get convoluted as everyone starts hitting shitty offense on each other. Wiles did noticeably blow the catch off a Kash crossbody. The finish stunk too as Roadkill used a simple splash on Nova after Nova had just hit a move on someone else. This was like three or four things thrown in a blender too many when all you needed was some banana, blueberries, and a little yogurt and milk.

2) Jerry Lynn vs Little Guido – A: 5 B: 2

A: Right off the bat, the racous fans start chanting “where my piz-za” at Guido. Very fast-paced bout with minimal selling by either party. I liked seeing Guido get vocal with the fans. Lynn was pretty expressionless when he was taking offense. Big Sal had an interference spot which Lynn had the bump of the match for. Didn’t like the fin with Lynn coming back, not selling anything, and hitting the cradle piledriver out of the blue. These two match up well together and I’m feeling generous so I’ll bump this up a point.

B: Sal's interference seemed unnecessary -- but then again, so did Jerry's fifth death metal mix-tape he made for the drive down to Georgia. There's not a lot to cull from this match, I appreciated the exchange of leg holds at the start, as Guido was always underrated on the mat, but the meat of this one must be black bean substitute as there's nothing here to sink your teeth in. I concur about this being a promising pairing on paper but what we got was the window display and not the genuine article.

3) Super Crazy vs Super Calo – A: 4 B: 5

A: Little bit more structure with this than the previous two bouts. They actually took some time to breathe in between moves. Calo hit a nice swanton to the floor early on. Crazy’s dive to the crowd was, well, um … pretty crazy. Noticed Calo just getting up off the match and going right on to the next move at certain points. Crazy did his usual moveset here culminating with a nice sit-down powerbomb and him hitting the moonsault trifecta for the first time in recorded history.

B: I think Adam's looking at things too mechanically here. The way Calo transitioned into spots was no different than Crazy and is par for the course when dealing with lucha leanings. Look deeper and there's more under the surface, this had a nice rhythm and warmth to it, unlike I imagine most of this show will. It did feel too quick, not in terms of the fast-paced action, but instead that they were only slotted a short amount of time so had to really keep pushing things forward. The big dives were cool, especially Calo's flip from inside the ring onto the ground, and the finish was clean and popped the crowd so not a lot to find fault with here.

4) Spike Dudley vs Uganda – A: 0 B: 0

A: Uganda is a blatant Kamala rip-off, right down to the painted moon and stars on his flabby belly. Holy shit that was fast!! A kick to the nutsack and one acid drop later it’s over. Referee counted really damn fast and got destroyed by Uganda afterwards.

B: For once I agree with Adam! Seriously, I've got no problem with a relatively quick Spike fluke win, like say, after surviving 3-4 min. of a barrage, but this went 20 sec. and that's just way too short to be significant. Uganda was fat and could fly (post-match top rope splash on ref was damn fine) so this just seemed like a colossal waste of his talent (and girth).

5) Tom Marquez vs Ikuto Hidaka – A: 1 B: 2

A: Some decent action early on but the crowd is really restless. Marquez’s hairline is receding so fast it looks like instead of a forehead, he has a fivehead. Raven interrupts the proceedings and destroys both men much to the crowd’s delight. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

B: Hidaka looks so young here! Ikuto's cartwheel handspring roundhouse kick was tasty. Marquez looks weirder than I remembered. He looks like some sort of mannequin movie prop they'd find with water damage in someone's shed on Hollywood Treasure. Raven interference was a downer but man, oh man, Hidaka's sell of a DDT was the best morsel of selling on the show. He ate it face-first than sort of flopped up with a vacant stare.

6) Steve Corino interview- Dusty Rhodes come to the ring (ECW debut)

A: Fun little segment with Styles and Gertner doing their intro to ECW on TNN and Corino getting heat on Dusty. Eventually, Dusty killed both Corino and his sidekick Jack Victory with bionic elbows.

B: I've always found Corino overrated on the microphone and don't feel I need to sit through another Styles/Gertner dialogue in this lifetime so I fast-forward through this. The most unfathomable thing about my buddy Adam's ECW fascination is his favorite period (the TNN era) is largely considered by pundits the company's weakest output. Rhodes' flannel has probably seen the inside of more women's' rooms than all of the fans in the crowd have combined. Victory was better at stooging for Rhodes' stuff taking huge silly bumps off of elbows.

7) ECW World Title: Mike Awesome vs 2 Cold Scorpio – A: 4 B: 5

A: Scorpio is ageless in my book. His stuff now looks every bit as good as it did 10-15 years ago. Here though, even though he looked good, I thought Awesome was just sort of going through the motions. I liked the big bump to the outside Scorp took. Crowd brawl fizzled out pretty fast. Scorp’s superkicks were on the button and he bounced around pretty well for Awesome’s power moves. Best part was the wild top-rope Awesome bomb through a table to finish.

B: Too Cold comes out looking like a background character from Demolition Man with shades, dreadlocks, and some sort of studded leather top that you'd only find in post-apocalyptic fiction. World title match is the post-intermission warm-up bout? Two guys that owe Japan for much of their success, both were misused by Vince, biggest difference is Scorpio's getting high in Germany nowadays and Awesome killed himself. Too Cold did some flying out onto the entrance ramp. Mike's leaping clothesline over the guardrail into the crowd on Scorpio got a big reaction. Awesome carries himself less like a world champ and more like an arthritic tollbooth operator. If they could have tamed Too Cold and kept him happy he'd have been a way better candidate as their top dog. Scorpio does a neat bump for a shitty Awesome German suplex making it look much cooler as a result. I really dug the spot where Awesome was going to powerbomb Scorpio's girlfriend through a table but 2 Cold did a flying crossbody off the top to reverse the momentum and save her -- quite inventive. I'm sure post-show he nursed her back to health with his daunting dong (according to Foley's first book) leaving her a dazzled ingenue. The match-ending superbomb off the top through a table had outrageous height on it and looked brutal.

8) ECW TV Title: Rob Van Dam vs Tracy Smothers – A: 6 B: 5

A: Loved the old-school heel tactics from Smothers and Rich. Fuck, Smothers took two straight hard shots right to the skull from RVD that knocks him completely loopy. He reciepts this later on by cracking RVD with a really hard one. Wish the guy filming this would focus on the match and not on Bill Alfonso. Smothers can bump around and sell like no other. Kind of clunky in the beginning but once they felt each other out, it became a pretty good little match. Afterwards, we get a post-match brawl with RVD and Sabu where Sabu spends five minutes trying to break a very uncooperative table.

B: On paper these two fit together about as well as Sarah Palin and intelligence, which is to say, not at all. As long as Smothers eats a few errant kicks to the face I'll be satisfied. I've often found RVD intolerable as nobody has gotten more mileage off the same half-dozen moves than him but Adam adores the guy so I'll refrain from handing over to preconceived notions. Give me Smothers versus Bradshaw from WWF Superstars '96 any day of the week. Tommy Rich seconded Tracy and was a lot of fun including (attempting) being a base for RVD's dive to the floor which Rich got none of yet still blew backward like a tumbleweed across the desert. Smothers sold the Rolling Thunder like he was a young child having night terrors trashing under the covers. They could have shaved a few min. off of this and I wouldn't have minded especially given Smothers wasn't a real viable threat. Still, I give it to Tracy, he singlehandedly raised the score for me with his willingness to eat all of Van Dam's offense, sticking his neck out to get his head taken off with kicks and eating a particularly gnarly chairshot to the skull (which RVD later got a receipt for). Found it funny Sabu had a tougher match with the that table than anyone's had with an opponent all night. He was fighting that thing with the same veracity RVD had when trying to find a hiding place for all their weed after they got pulled over together right after his WWE title win -- that reign was literally up in smoke.

9) Justin Credible vs Sandman – A: 2 B: 1

A: Whenever I’ve seen these two work together, it’s usually been littered with weapons and shitty brawling and this was no exception. Sandman looks completely shitfaced with a very far away look in his eyes. What the fuck? Random interference for no reason from Rhino. This wasn’t much to watch unless you want to watch these two stumble through a terrible match. Afterwards, some extra-curricular activity with Lance Storm, Rhino, and Tommy Dreamer, a squabble between Dawn Marie and Francine, and drunken girls in the crowd taking their tops off.

B: This was as offensive to me as walking past vomit on the sidewalk from a guy who'd ate diarrhea. Never understood why, under jean shorts, Credible would wrestle in his mom's stockings she wore in her high school productions of Cats? I bet she made for a dismal Jennyanydots. Lot of people in the message board scene tried to convince me of Sandman's greatness but I'm not buying. Guy's loathsome. The only thing I buy him beating is his wife. A lot of interference which I generally despise but it brought about the end sooner so I can't complain. Knowing that Adam set through all the Joel Gertner and Joey Styles banter but most likely fast-forwarded past the drunk chicks' bare tits endlessly amuses me. This was as soulless as an Owl City album.

10) Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, & New Jack vs Baldies (Tony Devito, Angel, & P.N. News) – A: 3 B: 1

A: This was your normal weapons fest involving New Jack. Very disturbing sight with Axl shoving the blade of a circular saw into Devito’s chrome dome. Angel got nailed with a vaccuum cleaner. I hear it sucks just like he does. So many random weapons in the ring. These guys are gassed by the second repition of New Jack’s ring music. I was really digging the selling from Angel and Devito. Big suplex from News that sent Balls into a pile of barbed wire. Finish was, yep, you guessed it … New Jack diving off a balcony through a table onto one of the hapless Baldies. A complete mess
this was.

B: Angel's anything but. Baldies were taking forks to the head like Francine was taking cocks to her face. News surprisingly bleeds real plasma and not pure mayonnaise. I saw something near the dumpster at Sonic Drive-In that resembled Mahoney. This is probably a lot like hell is: blood, people being bludgeoned, and shitty Ice Cube songs playing non-stop. Did the Baldies ever win any matches in ECW? I bet while waiting for New Jack to jump off of a balcony onto you you're thinking: "Damn, did I remember to erase my Internet history before I left the house?" I can't believe ECW actually had their own video game. What a depressing Christmas present. "Honey, look what Santa brought you! ECW Anarchy Rulz for the Dreamcast!" "It's pronounced 'Rules'. Fuck you mom."

Monday, June 27, 2011

AWA Wrestlerock '86 Co-Review

J: First off, welcome to another Co-review. We all get a kick out of doing these and I think they make for fun reading. This show looked to be AWA’s answer to WrestleMania, although they didn’t get the memo that celebrities sold a lot of those tickets. They went big, as this is a Dome show but my god at least during the first half is this arena empty, as if there were a bedbug scare, or it was a Kevin Federline concert. Without further ado, onto the matches.

A: It’s always fun to do a co-review and this will be my first co-review with Jessie since we tackled the WWE High Flyers set back in the early part of the year. I picked this show especially since I know we are both fans of the old school. Plus, we don’t really see or review much AWA and judging by the card, on paper, this looked like one of their strongest line-ups ever. The Minneapolis Metrodome was the host for this behemoth which clocked in at just under four hours so let’s get cracking!!

1) Brad Rheingans vs. Boris Zhukov – J: 3 A: 3

J: Rheingans is a guy who all the collegiate guys blow as an inspirational leader; it looks more like he could use the Blow Away Diet (inside wrestling joke) I’ve always thought, for one reason or another, that Zhukov was a reliable hand so I was a little excited about this. Not a lot happened honestly. Rheingans laid around the outside for far too long during the first bunch of minutes for my taste. I dug that he constantly did a back bridge when he kicked out; something like that, performance wise, can def. set you apart. This never really got going but had a good suplex finish.

A: Gagne had a hard on for great amateur wrestlers and while Rheingans definitely has those credentials, he strikes me as very dull with the charisma of a road sign. Not really a lot here that was outstanding. Felt more like the main event of an episode of AWA TV. Boris had a pretty good sell as he got his knee wrapped around the ringpost. Agreed Jess, this didn’t really ever get going but I think the bigger question is did they ever want to go anywhere to begin with? Crowd popped at the finish with Rheingans busting out a belly-to-belly suplex.

2) Lord Littlebrook & Little Tokyo vs. Little Mr. T & Cowboy Lang – A: 1 J: 3

A: Not really sure what was happening here with these four midget veterans. The comedy spots worked well but the serious wrestling just killed the crowd (or lack thereof). I didn’t like a single minute of this and I was glad when a simple rolling manuever finished it. Pretty sure this was the same match these four worked around the circuits.

J: Not sure if my daughter jumping around pretending she was finding clues with Blue the dog at the same time I was watching these guys jump around and doing their comedy schtick made me enjoy this more, but I was enjoying myself. Honestly, there wasn’t much crowd to kill here. It still hadn’t filled out. The premise of this was the heels kept fucking it up and blasting each other. Sure you’re right about that one; you don’t mean the human cockfighting circuits that started in Colombia do you?

3) Wahoo McDaniel vs. Col. DeBeers – J: 3 A: 3

J: This bout could have easily garnered a 5 or maybe higher had it been more than a stiff brawl and a fuck finish but alas, it wasn’t. Wahoo is a guy with a great reputation, and I kind of saw flashes of it here. Loved his smooth transitions and the chops were legendary. From people who’ve went back and studied Debeers, he’s gotten high marks; I saw a characterization of a pro wrestler more so than an actual one and would much prefer to watch Buster Bluth ham it up than this faux militant whelp.

A: No holding back on the punches here as they threw some hard ones in an exchange in the corner. Took a few minutes but after they figured each other out, this got pretty fun and pretty stiff in parts. I wonder if those people you mentioned who went back and studied DeBeers are the same ones who said Ian Rotten was one of the best wrestlers on the planet in 2006? The finish blew but I dug the post-match chop exchange. It was like they were fighting each other for the last bowl of chicken soup at the old folks home.

4) Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs. The Midnight Rockers – A: 4 J: 4

A: Stalling at the beginning with Rose and Jannetty trying to one-up each other on demonstrations was ridiculous. Once the action got going, it was fairly decent. Rose and Somers are better bumpers that I remember. Michaels had some good selling as part of the face in peril section. Jannetty took a hell of a bump on the top buckle when Rose crotched him. Rockers offense was suspect and not quite there yet but they were still somewhat green so I’ll cut them some slack. A precursor of some of the bloody battles to come between these two teams.

J: You’re right; this was a total one note act sort of tag match that on the surface doesn’t offend but you knew they were capable of more. You have to love the 80’s; when sunglasses were real sunglasses. Agreed; the heels brought their bumping textbooks with them but Rockers were peeling green like paint in a decrepit farmhouse you may take your girlfriend to for some motorboat action. Finish worked, have to love a good crotch bump and it lead to a fun false finish as well.

5) Tiger Mask vs. Buck Zumhoffe – J: 5 A: 4

J: Has anyone in the history of existence thought up this dream match? If so, it happened. Only thing I remember from my youth of Zhumhofe is a) stupid name b) asinine gimmick as “King of Rock n’ Roll” and c) creepy ginger moustache. But he held up well, like a rosemary & olive oil bagel from Bruegger’s. Loved the natural way he took Misawa’s armdrags and I thought all the arm lock stuff flowed extremely well. Relied a little too much on rest holds for a 8 minute match though; Buck fell back on them constantly as I’m sure his wife did the bottle and the strapping Indian paperboy while Buck was on the road during his 2 week tours through the hellish snowy roads of Minnesota. Misawa busted out a few of his token spots, the spin kick, the plancha, but it was a front flip splash off the top rope that secured him the win; it was quite cherry, he had more float than Remedios the Beauty (sorry, there’s always at least one reference only .5% of the reading audience will get.)

A: I think the reason Zumhoffe relied on the rest holds so much is that he probably didn’t know how to work with Misawa. I could almost guarantee that ol’ Bucky doesn’t speak a word of Japanese. Him being called the “king of rock-n-roll” is a really dumb idea. If having the aforementioned ginger moustache and carrying a boombox makes you the king of rock, then I’m sure that Elvis or Run DMC would have something to say about that. Really liked Misawa’s spots that Jessie mentioned as they pretty much saved the match.

6) Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham vs. The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn & Stan Lane) – A: 5 J: 4

A: The pace set early on gave the match a feel different that anything on the show thus far. Windham airballs a shoulder block that Keirn bumped for anyway. Crowd popped for Windham’s offense. Great sell by Windham after getting thrown head first into the buckle. Some good heel tactics by the Fabulous Ones, interfering at random and distracting the referee. Giant legal man issue at the end with Windham interfering and dropping an elbow on Lane and the referee counting the fall even thought Rotundo was the legal man. Still, not a bad match though.

J: I actually reviewed this match back in sept. 2008- I’ve just rewatched this match and my review and stand by it. Paraphrasing, I’ve never dug the Fab Ones, and I didn’t see the chemistry evident here. Windham and Rotundo (by way of their shoot interviews) both have stated this was a one shot payday because they are not pouring it on here like they normally would. This had the old “double heat” section in it but I almost think I could get more heat by opening my freezer door and shoving my head in. I think Adam covered everything pretty well though and this is not a match you need to see.

7) Giant Baba vs. “Bulldog” Bob Brown – J: 1 A: 3

J: You’re only as good as your dancing partner and to say Brown has two left feet would be an understatement; it’s more like Brown has the hoove of a horse and the right foot of a Brontosaurus. He’s old, washed up and doesn’t want to sell shit. Now, at this point, Baba is used to being bumped around for and protected; here he’s exposed like a guy holding a lightning rod in a thunderstorm. His chops look even more wimpy than usual and his finishing big boot, well the only good thing I can say about it is, he didn’t fall on his ass while performing it.

A: Brown looks like a tough old brute. I can just imagine him spending his spare time in dark, smoky bars playing poker, chomping on cigars, and knocking back scotch a la Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. For as mean as he looked, his offense sure lacked. Baba looked as if he was just coasting through. Can’t believe that Gagne flew him across the Pacific and halfway across the U.S. for a five-minute snoozer.

8) Harley Race vs. Rick Martel – A: 5 J: 5

A: Nice kneelift from Race knocked Martel loopy. Good reversal from Martel hooking in a sleeper off of a suplex attempt. Some good selling by Martel as he didn’t get much offense in during the first half. Race working a slow, methodical pace. Feels like they’re working towards a draw as Harley controls with a headlock halfway in. Martel almost botches a springboard out of the corner. Harley does the Flair corner-bump where he flips over the top to the floor. Race delivered a pair of punches in the corner that would KO an elephant. Brawl on the outside that culiminated with Race taking a crazy back drop on the floor was probably the best part of the match.

J: The announcers keep comparing these two in the same light, at this point, as far as accomplishments and work ethic, that’s a hard sell but as far as what they are doing in the ring during this match, Martel looks on equal footing with Race here. Martel’s selling was on, no doubt, but that springboard was a complete botch. Had the same feeling of the draw aspect, but the back and forth did keep my eyes on their toes (?) as I liked that aspect of this. Having a dirty brawl outside and ending that way cheapens what they tried to do here and had heat like you wouldn’t believe but keeps this thing out of my recommended category.

9) 10-Woman Battle Royal – J: 2 A: 1

J: This is one of the more sexist things I’ve ever written on this blog, but I think I’ve pinpointed a genetic anamoly that occurred sometime during when the 90’s came around: Women have gotten much, much hotter as a whole. I mean, some of these brutes were so scary, I hate to use the word “dogpound” but….if the collar fits. I haven’t even gotten into the wrestling, on a whole, I saw a couple good moves but a battle royal is about fighting and their fighting looked about as real as Donald Trump’s chances of becoming our next president. There was a strange false finish, which was possibly the only heel victory on the whole show when Sherri emerged to deposit Candi Devine on no so devine backside. One spot I must mention, forgive for me not knowing who they were, but one woman was trying with all the strength in her body to suplex another one over the top for an elimination and would not give up, but man time stood still waiting for her to accomplish this; it took several tries.

A: Never heard of half of these ladies before … or since, however it did feature Sensational Sherri and a young Luna Vachon. These were some scary looking women, so scary in fact that Freddy Krueger probably wouldn’t jump in the sack with half of them. Enough with the sexist comments, let’s look at the match. To be honest, I couldn’t really tell what was even going on until it got down to about three ladies. Highlight for me was Sherri taking a wild dropkick from Debbie Combs. Ladies legend Joyce Grable through a few nasty shots too but the match didn’t really amount to anything at all.

10) Kamala vs. Sgt. Slaughter – A: 4 J: 3

A: Not exactly what I was expecting from the outset. I was expecting a big brawling type match but the pace was kept methodical early and they worked a nerve hold to kill some time. Slaughter did an awesome sell after getting hit with a foreign object. Great spot where Slaughter slammed Kamala. Man, Kamala is great at selling big offensive moves! Crowd got really into this when Slaughter was on offense, until then they just sat on their hands. Wish there hadn’t been a DQ finish as it was just starting to get good.

J: I have no problem with nerve holds, but that started out the match and I think that psych sucks. Yeah Kamala was reverberating like a giant Jello mold after that slam. Those slow motion clotheslines were quite a sight as well. I actually really wanted to like this, as watching some Texas stuff I’ve started garnering a small respect for Kamala, but this seemed pretty planned out and didn’t get past the 6 minute mark.

11) The Longriders (“Wild” Bill & Scott “Hog” Irwin) vs. Curt Hennig & Scott Hall – J: 4 A: 4

J: This bout features two guys who went on to be huge stars in their profession and the other two guys, well, did not. Watching this bout, you can see there’s a reason for that. Hall was greener than allergy mucus and seemed like a novice dancer, not sure what spot to stand in for each spot. But he had the basics down. Hennig was dynamite, and I think he’s quickly moving into my top 10 of all time great punchers. His 1st offensive flurry consists of coming in and lighting up Irwin’s face like he’s toking some hasheesh with Wade Boggs. This is also one of those old time matches where Hennig works a headlock for like 65% of the time he’s on offense. Wild Bill is known to all of us World Class-ophites and if ever there was a good illustration of the wrestling term “good hand”, it’s pretty much him. His selling is a bit cartoonish, he has a good boot and knows how to move crowd heat up and down and that’s the extent of it. Now Scott, he’s a load of crap. I could totally see him being that loud obnoxious guy in a bar, who’s always had too many, pinches all the waitresses’ asses and will end up being punched out by the end of the night. He can’t punch, he can’t sell, he’s useless. Finish was prettier than Trish in a see through nightie.

A: Wild Bill had a decent career, a short stint in ’93 WCW and then resurfacing in ’96 WWF as The Goon, but the real stars of this match were Hall and Hennig. Hall looked so much like Tom Selleck that he could’ve been his stand-in on the film Mr. Baseball. Loved the big punch exchange between Hennig and Bill Irwin. Longriders are very vocal in the ring and just throw hard kicks and punches as their main offense. Curt had a great sell of a Wild Bill clothesline. Hot tag seemed kind of lukewarm. Hennig was just a bump machine throughout the match. Kind of a messy finish where I couldn’t tell who was the legal man after a big brawl.

12) Larry Zbyszko vs. Scott LeDoux – Boxing Match – A: 2 J: 1

A: I’m confused by the stipulations here. This has 10 2-minute rounds and they’re wearing boxing gloves so I can see this being a boxing match. But if it’s a boxing match, then why are they wrestling like it’s a normal match with all the usual moves? End of round 4, LeDoux hits a really telegraphed punch that knocked Zbyszko down and the announcers act like they’ve found the successor to George Foreman. Round 5 ends rather abruptly with special ref Larry Hennig calling for a DQ after Zbyszko rammed LeDoux into the ringpost.

J: I think this was one of those wrestler v. boxer matches that happened often back in the day, where both sets of rules apply. I have to say, this blew large green chunks of shit you didn’t even know you ate. Zybyzsko was just doing all his usual killing time shit and I just wanted this to end. Hell yeah that was telegraphed, as a matter of fact, I received an actual telegraph from Larry Hennig from 1986 telling me that punch was coming and it’s a fuckin ugly work. Thanks Ax

13) Stan Hansen vs. Nick Bockwinkel – J: 4 A: 5

J: I’m realizing that there’s a small treasure trove of really good Hansen US dream matches that he worked before he ever went to Japan. I discovered one from Florida last year where he and Harley Race fought the Road Warriors. Here’s another one. Hate this only got 10 minutes as the mat work was really awesome here. Hansen was hanging with Bock in reversals and they were coming a plenty. This was the most mat work I’ve seen Hansen do actually. Bock was such a pro, I think he topped Sarge’s body slam from earlier in the show with a slick one here on Hansen. I think if this match had went in a different direction, it could have been the star of the night.

A: The more I see of Bockwinkel, the more I love his work. To me, he’s the Ric Flair of the AWA, suave and debonaire, great on the mic, and able to work and adapt to any style as evidenced here. Some great little brawling segments where they just trade shots and wail on each other. Bock’s facials on selling were just fantastic, especially the spot where Hansen was choking him on the apron. Ref bump I though was unneccesary as was the over-the-top rope DQ finish. More time would’ve helped this a lot but having a bad finish along with a truncated version of what could’ve been a really great match keeps me from issuing a recommended rating.

14) Bruiser Brody & Nord the Barbarian vs. Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne – Steel Cage Match – A: 5 J: 5

A: I remember seeing this match on an episode of AWA on ESPN Classic and not thinking much of it. Gagne seemed really fired up and really motivated for some reason. Maybe someone put ants in his pants or something. Stiff looking piledriver from Brody. I think this may have been Snuka’s only shot for the AWA but I’m not sure. After seeing him here, I can understand why Verne never brought him back as his performance was complete shit. Gagne and Brody both got some serious blood. Lots of brawling at the end with Brody getting dropkicked and tripping over Gagne allowing Snuka to get the pin.

J: So you’re saying, if you’d run into Greg post match, you would have asked him “Are those ants in your pockets or are you just happy to see me?” This may have been my favorite bout of the night, it’s not the prettiest, but neither is Cheryl Hines and for some reason I have a cougar crush on her. I think this is the most motivated Greg Gagne I’ve seen, his selling and stature really made his opponents seem like Viking giants come to claim our lands and women while raping and pillaging everything in their way. Snuka was obviously inebriated with some sort of illegal substance; he didn’t contribute a lot but did get off his typical highspots; disappointing because I was really looking forward to seeing him in action. Brody was just as fun as always here, giving and taking, piledriving and booting and Nord was just tall.

15) Verne Gagne vs. Adnan Al-Kassie – Steel Cage Match – J: 1 A: 2

J: This was a post match stip for old Verne, and yes, he did semi-main this show against a manager that went 4 minutes. He busted Kassie open pretty gnarly but other than that this was as flaccid as Verne himself at this time.

A: Jessie pretty much covered this one. Best part was seeing Adnan get busted open really bad.

16) Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin vs. The Road Warriors – Steel Cage Match – A: 4 J: 3

A: This felt quite short. Hawk took a piledriver right at the beginning and completely no-sold it. Match seemed like it was just all four guys brawling with each other. Only wrestling hold I remember seeing was a figure-four. Garvin and Hayes had facial reactions like they were afraid to lock horns with the Road Warriors. Hayes got out a foreign object for the finish and accidentally hit Garvin coming off the top rope. Fun little match to close out a rather bland show.

J: Hell yeah this was short, what a rib. I didn’t have as much fun watching this one as Adam did. After seeing so many quality performances from Hayes & Garvin in World Class, you could tell they were either a) goldbricking it here or b) too damn scared to get pummeled from the LOD. This is one of those things that on paper look good but after it’s all over it doesn’t do anyone a damn bit of good, sort of like Charlie Sheen’s comedy tour.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

WWF @ MSG 12/31/91

1. Hercules vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine – 2
2. Virgil vs. Repo Man – 4
3. Jim Powers vs. Skinner – 2
4. The Nasty Boys vs. The Bushwhackers – 1
5. Bret Hart vs. Ted DiBiase – 4
6. Handicap Flag Match: Col. Mustafa & Gen. Adnan vs. Sgt. Slaughter – 1
7. The British Bulldog vs. The Berzerker – 3
8. Brooklyn Brawler vs. Chris Walker – 2
9. Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan – 4

I was in the mood to watch an old WWF house show so I dug into the stack and pulled this bad boy out. This show was taped on 12/29/91 as a New Year’s Eve special on the MSG Network. Opener featured Hercules moving in slow motion and spending the first few minutes of the match trying to get a test of strength. Hammer’s offense was pretty good and he moved a lot better than he did than when I saw him at a run down skating rink last March. Forgot how awful Hercules was. He held a bearhug like he was trying to carry a sack of flour. Double clothesline spot sucked as did the double pin finish. Virgil had some pretty nice offense, including a splash off the buckle and some good, basic wrestling. Wild bump from Virgil over the top rope. Noticed Repo tugging and adjusting his mask a lot. Liked the pace they set early on, somewhat brisk but not as slow and prodding as the previous bout. Few good nearfalls bumped this up a point for me. Skinner controlled for the majority of the bout, just throwing Powers around. Really goofy spot where Skinner jumped off the second rope and sold a Powers boot to the face even though he didn’t hit it at all. Not a lot of offense from Powers but what was there was pretty bad. The tag match featured lots of heavy schtick early on as is the case from most Bushwhacker matches. Knobbs roughing up Butch with a hard whip to the buckle and a hard elbow on the match was the only highlight here. Obvious to me these four where just here to collect a check. Bret held a side headlock for what seemed like forever. Some pretty good bumping early on from DiBiase. Loved Bret taking the sternum first bump into the pads and a big throat first drop on the top rope that looked all kinds of sick. Draw finish sucked away a point for me although I the pace they set in the later stages of the match was very solid. A decent way to close out the first half of the show.

Kicking off the second half was a handicap flag match that was quite awful. Slaughter did his best to make Sheik and Adnan’s weak-ass offense look good but it was a futile effort. Even Sarge’s offense looked bad. These guys looked like three drunks stumbling out of the local pub after a night of heavy drinking. I liked Berzerker throwing some hard shots on Bulldog, who didn’t feel in the mood to sell a damn thing. Bulldog was tied up in the ropes at one point and Berzerker delivered one of the worst big boots I’ve ever seen. It connected with all the authority of Bob Ross painting his “happy little trees”. Bulldog’s comeback was short and the tease of the running powerslam was nice. Who in the blue hell is this Chris Walker guy? Guy looks jacked and sort of like a Kerry Von Erich clone. He also seems green and dangerous but was pretty agile. Top-rop crossbody was nice. Brawler was there to pretty much walk this guy through the match. Main event was the Ric Flair show all the way through. Hogan did nothing but throw punches and play to the crowd. Flair bumped his ass off including taking a back drop suplex on the floor. Hogan did manage to apply the figure four at one point. End featured the referee getting poked in the eye and interference from Perfect which all led up to a great nearfall. Hogan managed to sneak off with a count-out win shortly after.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

UFC 130

1) Kendall Grove v. Tim Boetsch- 4
2) Demetrious Johnson v. Miguel Torres- 6

Spike extras may have sold some extra ppv's. Overrated Kendall got handled by the new "Barbarian" Tim Boetsch, no antler helms here. Boetsch i think is still lax on technique but didn't need it here. Am I of the minority that thought Angel won the 2nd round? He went for submission after submission, pummeled Mighty Mouse with elbows from bottom, think it was a bad decision. That being said, this was probably my favorite fight of the night.

Main Card:
3) Brian Stann v. Jorge Santiago- 5
4) Rick Story v. Thiago Alves- 6
5) Stefan Struve v. Travis Browne- 6
6) Roy Nelson v. Frank Mir- 5
7) Matt Hammill v. Rampage Jackson- 4
8) Gleison Tibau v. Rafael Oliveriea- 4

God bless America, Stann represents that exact thought and makes me think of my brother fighting over in Afghanistan this weekend. A feel good performance he earned. Story and Alves was one of those battles of gameplans that I really enjoy. Horror Story took one of the most dangerous guys at 170 and made him look like a librarian, bad pun, loved the flurry at the end. I think even Metallo would go down from the Superman punch from Brown here, wild fight. Nelson's pudge is embarrassing, loved him coming out to Weird Al's "Fat" though. Mir looks like a cyborg now, he's enormous, but guy does have mad skills. Last round both were heavily gassed but loved Mir's judo takedown. Hammill was way overclassed here, even though watching this, damn is Rampage a one note act. But that one note is deadly. Was expecting a big KO here but Rampage played defense the whole way. Extra fight was competitive, but seemed Gleison (bet you don't see that one in those baby name books) was on another level, always enjoyed watching his stocky frame muscle guys around as was the case here. Overall, a mid- to decent show with no big surprises as far as winners.

Since someone wondered why we have been reviewing MMA here on this blog, thought i' add to our collection. This blog reviews all things combat oriented, so look for more in the future. Signing off.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Best of UWFi Disc #5

1. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (8/18/95) - 6
2. Gary Albright vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (8/18/95) - 4

This is done using their patented system of rules where each fighter has 15 points and every time you use the ropes to break a hold or suffer a knockdown you lose points. Grappling early and jockeying for leverage but Kanehara scores big first with some shots that daze and drop Kazushi. Kanehara goes up 12-6 after a series of brutal knees to the midsection followed up by a high kick. I want this bobblehead for Christmas. Hiromitsu is really one of the best pure strikers in UWFi and it's a shame he didn't make this set more. Kanehara finishes the fight with some vicious knees in the clinch.

Gary has such a natural size advantage that the beginning stages feel a bit like a cat toying with its prey. Albright is the first to score big with a real great belly-to-belly throw but it only serves to ignite Tamura who goes on a striking fury with elbows, slaps, and a flying kick in the corner that was ballistic. The finish was cool as Albright was fishing for a German suplex but Kiyoshi was smart enough to slide into position for an armbar upstaging his behemoth opponent.

3. Billy Scott vs. Kenichi Yamamoto (10/23/96) – 6
4. Nobuhiko Takada & Naoki Sano vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoji Anjo (10/23/96) – 5

I’m not familiar with this Billy Scott character but I’m guessing he must have some sort of amateur background because I noticed him using the famed “Gable grip” on occasions blocking Yamamoto from locking in armbars. Not sure how Scott got his forehead busted open but it doesn’t look pleasant. Scott’s open palm strikes were pretty crazy. Yamamoto kicks were just fantastic. I saw one well placed kick to Scott’s side that doubled him over. There were some nasty suplexes offered up by both guys as well but the highlight of the match for me was when Yamamoto hit a dropkick for a knockdown, after which there was a wild and stiff strike exchange.

The prospect of a tag match in a shootstyle fed in an interesting one, however it’s one that I don’t think worked well, especially when two guys (Takada and Anjo) are on opposite teams wearing the same attire. The ground work was fairly solid and unoffending but was there really a reason for this to be a tag match? Some of the highlights I found in this were Sano knocking the loving shit out of Sakuraba with a jumping spinning back kick, a sick knee from Takada that knocked down Yoji (or Yogi as I accidentally listed him as in my notes). Finish seemed rather sudden with Takada applying a quick armbar and Yoji almost as quickly tapping out.

5) Kazushi Sakuraba v. Yoshihiro Takayama (11/20/96)- 7

Takayama looks like a killer with his slicked back dark ponytail and lean body, all he needs is a pinstripe suit and a tommy gun. There ain’t no time to be wasted here as they both go full guns blazing with strikes and Sakuraba seems more comfortable on the ground. It takes me a second to figure out the 10 point system using the rope breaks and submissions and such but once you do, It makes the fights infinitely more fun. Takayama gets first knockdown with a vicious knee that would pretty much sap the lifeblood out of Rich Franklin’s career in MMA years later. I know now where Taz aped that suplex where he cradles one leg up on his shoulder- it’s Sakuraba’s pet move and it looks damn pretty. The whole middle is both guys trying to lock in submissions, with varying degrees of success, as they finish strong, with more kicks, both men get a huge flurry and some nasty throws. This was a great start for me in this fed.

6) Masahito Kakihara/ Kenichi Yamamoto v. Hiromitsu Kanehara/ Kazushi Sakuraba (12/27/96)- 5

This is sort of mind blowing, a tag team faux-MMA bout? Dana are you watching? No that would be mayhem, as the only flaw you see here that completely gives this away is how un-defensive almost everyone is. They are constantly letting their opponents move out of holds and into their own. Kakihara I’ve seen wrestle a few times, it looks no different than what he’s doing here. Kanehara isn’t holding up his end of the bargain, as Sakuraba is trying to pick up the slack and is getting schooled at every turn, even when he is about to lock in a submission he is taking brutal head shots. His opponents are slick too; they always follow up with a lock of some sort if they land a strike. There’s a ton of time with all 4 guys feeling each other out, on the feet and ground and feels like an empty void, as this thing was def. getting a score of “4” until the end, but I’ll be damned if the finish wasn’t hella entertaining so it’s bumped up.

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (12/27/96) - 5

Takada vs. Takayama sounds like a 10, no doubt. While this match wasn't as great as I expected, it was still good, nonetheless. Takada seemed to have this shit all under control and was taking his time. I sincerely hope he realizes that beating up horses is frowned upon by PETA. Takayama was having none of Takada's shit, and was taking it to Takada harder than a pregnant woman trying to birth a 15lb child. The strikes in this weren't some of the best I've seen on this set, but they were still pretty damn stiff. The take-downs were textbook in that both guys seemed to have a body part in mind that they wanted to pick apart. Takada chose the arm -- such a wise decision. He kept returning to the arm in an attempt to fucking dislocate Takayama's shoulder by hooking on one hell of a cross arm-breaker. Like I said, it wasn't the strongest match by any means, but it was fun and well executed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Best of UWFi Disc #4

1. Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Tom Burton (2/14/93) - 5
2. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (2/14/93) - 6

Burton popped up on our WCW WorldWide '94 project as enhancement talent so cool seeing him in drastically different settings. Takayama puts Burton in a single-lag Boston Crab that's one of the most gruesome I've seen (later Tom would return the favor, and it'd return again in the finish). One thing that's neat about watching this set is seeing the hierarchy of UWFi reveal itself, i.e. where guys are in the pecking order, etc. On paper and in the early stages you'd assume Takayama was winning this but Burton made a run for it late, in the process finding his confidence and waking the crowd up. I love Takada but Tamura is just awesome here -- his facials and demeanor going from desperation to determination is a sight to behold. Nobuhiko's got killer instinct and shows prophetic slivers of his General Takada and Esperanza characters from HUSTLE but his authority here comes from his grappling and not his echelon. We get Takada pulling ahead early but Tamura stays in the fight including a late ankle lock. I loved, loved, loved the finish as Takada busted out a combo of kicks, a few to the back of the legs, a head kick, then one to the face that put Tamura on his butt and the ref diving in to end it. I found out that these two fought each other for real in PRIDE so I watched it with the result being a gnarly first round KO by Tamura.

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Dan Severn (5/6/93) - 5
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Big Van Vader (12/5/93) - 7

I've read books on amateur wrestling and this bout felt like a big tournament final between rival schools. Pale, porno mustachioed Severn in USA singlet versus tanned, sleek Takada in his classic purple gear. It was odd seeing Severn here on the big stage after having just saw him live at a skating rink in a trashy town months ago. This signified Nobuhiko's dominance on top as even though Dan hung with him the "Beast" still tapped to the crucifix armbar. Crowd starts with the big "Takada! Takada!" chants as he faces off with Vader. It's definitely the loudest crowd I've seen for UWF. Vader does that great "big brother" trick of holding your hands behind your own head so he can wail on you. Nice storytelling as Vader dominates early with his size but Takada's valiant battle back rivets those in attendance (and us at home). This made Vader versus Shawn Michaels look like the rubbish it was. Without needing any of the promotional tools or pandering or overblown writing this just gave us a monster and a hero with a ton of heart going at it until only man was left standing. That man was Takada as he got Vader to tap to his patented cross armbar which was as satisfying a finish as you could hope for.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Naoki Sano (5/6/94) - 5
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kennichi Yamamoto (10/14/94) - 4

Sano's my current favorite guy in NOAH so it's a pleasure to get to see him compete almost 20 years ago. This bout was all about strategy which was nice, that old "human chess game" analogy seems apt. The finish saw both guys rolling around fighting for an armbar that eventually Tamura was able to utilize for the quick tap. Next a glimpse at the legendary Sakuraba. His mastery is on display (like Haneke's in Caché) as he puts on a clinic early including some knees in the clinch that were just nasty. This was the most one-sided bout I've seen so far in UWFi. It's still fun to watch Yamaoto get tortured -- he probably felt like he was in one of Lord Rhoop's nightmares.

Dan Severn vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (10/14/94) - 2
Yuko Miyato vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (11/30/94) - 4

Takayama doesn't look like the thoroughbred horse he does nowadays, instead appearing more like a leery doe you came across in the park, unsure of what to make of these Nacho Cheesier Doritos you've scattered across its natural environment. While the shortest bout I've viewed so far it contained some decent moments of selling (Yoshihiro's brain freeze facials) and performing, even if some of the offensive transitions weren't top-notch. Next bout started with some squirrelly mat work, leg kick exchanging reminiscent of WEC, etc. It's times like this, past 3AM in the morning, that I'm made clear the sacrifices of being an NHO writer. It's like I always say, "these matches aren't going to review themselves!" Miyato getting the victory came as a bit of a surprise to me but I dug the Judo throw he used to set it up.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Dan Severn (11/30/94) - 4
Gary Albright vs. Nobohiko Takada (11/30/94) - 4

Tamura and Severn was interesting with Dan refusing to shake hands pre-fight like the mustachioed prick he is. Dan schooled him on the canvas early. Tamura then used a strategy that worked exceptionally well -- go after the legs! Kiyoshi threw leg kicks that kept dropping a wincing Severn. Dan went from the "Beast" to the "Yeast" in seconds hobbling like a giant pussy. I'm not sure why Severn didn't come up with some sort of defense. It reminded me of what Kermit's doctor said in The Muppets Take Manhattan, "No doubt about it; you've got amnesia." After a couple minutes Albright was ready to crash like Ryan Dunn. Gary could have been Bastion Booger's cousin Samuel Snot. I'm sure Vince would have thought it a hoot (before retiring to the master bedroom for the night where he'd pistol whip Linda with his dong while wearing a Reagan mask). I wonder how much Takada's purple kickpads would go for on eBay. I'd bid. Bah! A cursory search lead me to this: a UWF Takada plush doll! My birthday's next month. I'm just saying. Albright beating Takada with an armbar and thus making "chump meat out of the maestro" was rather surprising and a big feather in his cap (a knockoff Indiana Jones fedora he got at a yard sale and kept for sentimental reasons).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best of UWFi Disc #3

1. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Nobuhiko Takada (2/27/90) - 7

This match was tits. In the beginning, neither man was capable of getting the advantage, leading to some great take downs. Takada is the fucking man. His leg take down in which he grapevined Fuj's leg was nothing short of sweetness. Takada continued the leg-based attacks on the surly old bastard in order to take him off of his feet to prevent his striking. Fujiwara would have none of Takada's shit, and would begin wrenching his neck like a stuck bolt on the axle of a four-door sedan. Takada continued with the sweet take downs with a body scissors on Fujiwara, who was starting to crumble to Takada's leg-based offense. The leg continued to be a factor in the match with Takada pulling on the kneee of Fujiwara, who sold it well in the face. Strikes would explode out of nowhere at seemingly random times out of both guys, which led to a more shoot atmosphere. Fuj tried punking out Tak in the corner, then headbutted him so hard you could hear it in Hokkaido. Really sweet match and definitely recommended.

2. Masaharu Funaki vs. Minoru Suzuki (4/15/90) - 3

This match wasn't bad if you were simply looking at the mat-game. There was some good stuff, no doubt, but the match consisted of Funaki locking on holds and Suzuki using the ropes to break them every time... made Suzuki kind of look like a bitch. Match went eight minutes until Suzuki couldn't take any more and tapped out. The match really lacked any passion.

3. Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoji Anjo (6/21/90) - 5

Minoru owned this shit. Everytime Anjo would go to for a mid-kick, Suz would grab his foot as if to say, "Don't think so, bitch" then would proceed to take his ass to the mat. I dug how much time the match got -- went about 17 mins. Anjo looked impressive with his knees to the face, but Minoru just kept dominating him throughout the match. Finish came with a tightly-cinched juji gatame on Suz. This is why I dug the match: despite Anjo not being able to get the upper-hand for most of the match, he won with the gatame that made Minoru tap the hell out.

4. Ken Shamrock vs. Yoji Anjo (10/25/90) - 6

I gotta say that I dug this match. We got a really slow start, which worked well for the match because it allowed a real mounting type of atmosphere, causing the crowd to get more and more into the match. The back-and-forth element came about as both men were evenly matched and were able to get the best of each other multiple times, causing rope breaks and down counts. Shamrock looked great with his hot pink tights and rocking a mullet. Anjo also kicked ass with his strikes. Let's discuss the strikes. Both guys were laying the hell in with their knee lifts to the chest and chin of each other and they were selling and no-selling them great. Shamrock had a particularly great knock-out sell that I was marking for. We got a really nice sprint near the end that saw Shamrock get the victory over the surly Anjo with a choke after hitting a Dragon suplex. Good shit.

5. Masaharu Funaki vs. Ken Shamrock (12/1/90)- 7

This match was fucking awesome. I adored the even-keeled feeling that the two had going between them, which made the match that much better. Funaki and Shamrock were able to both lock in submissions, but nothing would cause the other man to give up. This mostly comprised the first 10 minutes of the match, which made the next five or so minutes of the match spec-fucking-tacular. The strike exchanges here were to die for. Sham hit some sick stiff knees right to Funaki's jaw, but Funaki would be sure to repay him with some solid kicks and strikes to the face. We got some of those sweet ass throws and takedowns mixed in with some suplexes that came of cleaner than a virgin's vagina. This was just the shit.

6. Nobuhiko Takada & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Gary Albright & Mark Flemming (11/25/92)- 5

This match provided a really cool element in that Albright looks scary and tough enough to dismember everyone sitting in the building, including the boys in the back. Yamazaki looks great. His enzuguris are off the chain and he connected well with them. Both guys on the Japanese team being able to take a guy like Albright off his feet so swiftly added a really awesome angle to the match in that it showed the potential power that both guys had. Albright and Flemming move a bit clunky in the ring, but the overall match worked well and featured some nice mat work and wrestling moves. A bit long, but it played out well.

7. Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (12/20/92)- 8

Aw hell yeah, this was where it's at. Man alive was this stiff. You want to talk about a solid striking game? This was beyond solid -- this was fucking ultra strong style at it's finest. Both guys were just beating the shit out of each other, taking turns annihilating each other's heads with sick kicks to the dome. Both guys just had such a rock-hard striking game that came across as so legitimate that I gasped a few times at the kicks that shook the building's foundation. It's actually been a long damn time since I've sat watching a match with such intensity, biting my nails and waiting to see what these hard-asses would dish out next. Also, the decreasing point system for takedowns worked perfectly here, as it made the audience so unsure of what would unfold and who would win. Just an amazing match.


8. Nobuhiko Takada vs Naoki Sano (12/20/92)- 5

We close this disc with another solid outing. Sano is about six to eight inches shorter than Takada, but the little dude was beating ass. Takada's striking seems to never be outdone in any given match, as he dishes it out harder than he takes it. Takada also had this great methodical approach to decimating the arm of Sano with cross arm breakers and strikes. Sano's selling was great, especially of the strikes. It's the closest thing I can imagine to the facial reactions of a concussion victim: shock, pain, and the "oh shit" face. Sano got in his fair of strikes, but Takada really took him to school in the UWFi ring.

That's it for my disc, and what a disc it was!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Best of UWFI Disc #2

1) Kazuo Yamazaki v. Nobuhiko Takada- 8
Every time I see Takada now i can't help but think of him wearing that M Bison uniform in HUSTLE, nor can I help but remember Yamazaki crowding up the New Japan midcard in '99. Like Takada kneeing Yamazaki in the back of the head during an anklepick he was in. Dyno-mite spin back kick blasting Takada and the crowd pops! Kazuo has some really fluid movement, even as he's being dumped in some devastating throws. Kazuo starts making some strange Jim Carrey noises as he's being front choked; the ref stands puzzled. Kazuo fought hard for that first point. Have not seen this before: a series of headbutts wins Kazuo the advantage. After that Kazuo kept defying the odds and getting the best of the veteran, despite Takada's submission advantage. Damn fine finishing sequence, which was out of nowhere but Yamazaki is the one who really stepped up and impressed here. Damn good start.

2) Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Masakatsu Funaki- 4
Fujiwara looks old even here, and this is early 90's, but he's spry. They square off for a while, like two gunslingers, awaiting who will jump first. Funaki looks more comfortable with striking but Fujiwara just waits and stalks silently. Liked the double anklelock spot though. Funaki gets caught moments later in a total surprise ending that wasn't altogether very good.

3) Minoru Suzuki v. Yoji Anjo- 4
this had the exact buildup a big pro wrestling puro match would have, all the ground work at the beginning, the feeling out process then they started moving on to the high spots, the big kicks and close submissions and stuff, but the thing is, the concept doesn't really work like it does in a pro wrestling match. All the stuff to get to the brutal striking feels like a slow chokehold on me, a strangling effect where it's brutally obvious they are killing time and nothing they try is coming close to ending this fight. Maybe i'm interpreting this all wrong but not even close to how i wanted to spend a half hour tonight.

4) Maurice Smith v. Minoru Suzuki- 3
This one looked real enough, so much so Dana White would be ripping these guys in the post-fight conference. Smith had Suzuki so outclassed on the feet it wasn't even a struggle. i kept wanting him to throw some combos, instead of slowly stalking Suzuki and throwing one technique; finally he scored a big knockdown with a series of techniques late in the 3rd. Suzuki looked to be crying while trying to make it up for the 10 count after a straight jab to the face; either he realized his pro MMA career was over before it started or he forgot to tape Spin City that night.

5) Chris Dolman v. Kazuo Yamazaki- 4
Another overmatched American v. Japanese fighter. This bout was interesting because both guys were wearing gi's and using them against each other. Dolman pulled off some hard throws by using Kazuo's top. Dolman dominated him the whole fight, with Kazuo not doing much besides a few kicks and was tapped with a sick armbar.

6) Nobuhiko Takada v. Duane Koslowski- 6
7) Nobuhiko Takada v. Akira Maeda- 5

I'm going to juggle both of these Takada balls in one hand; sorry, I have been watching way too much Arrested Development; that was straight from the mouth of Tobias. With a name like Duane Koslowski, either you're an accountant or an 80's martial artist. It's hard to tell whether he's acting here or not, i mean when he gets kicked in the face, he always falls down, but there's a 2nd more dramatic fall that follows it. I liked this bout overall though, Duane hung in there and managed to turn the tide on Nobu several times in a back and forth fight. The final bout on this disc features the two top dogs of this promotion; i know they fought many times but I don't know the context of what happened here, only what I can judge from their performances. This was a classic Striker v. Grappler bout but they both ended up plying the other one's trade and turning the tables; that bit of irony wasn't lost on me and thought it quite a redeemable part of the story. The near eye poke finish really felt like an early squirt and took some of the fire away from the finish that didn't feel correct either.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Best of UWFi Disc #1

It’s UWFI week here on the blog! Over the next five days we will be looking at this 5-disc set simply titled “Best of UWFI” that we found in our massive library collecting dust. Enjoy!

1. Yuki Miyato vs. Tatsuo Nakano (6/11/88) – 6
2. Norman Smiley vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (6/11/88) – 4
3. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Akira Madea (6/11/88) – 7
4. Norman Smiley vs. Yoji Anjo (8/13/88) – 5
5. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Akira Madea (11/10/88) – 8
6. Nobuhiko Takada vs. Bob Backlund (12/22/88) – 7

With no ring introductions in the first match, I have no idea who is who in the first match. That being said, I found it to be a very solid bout. There was a ton of great mat work focusing on primarily the legs. Kicks were abundant too with a number of them connecting very hard. I like the strike exchange mid-match that fired up the crowd. One of the nice little nuances about there being no commentary and the silent crowd is that you can hear everything that happens in the ring, from someone sneezing, to one of the competitors hocking up a bunch of phlegm, to the referee clearing his throat. By the 15-minute mark, these guys were sweating and were completely gassed and the guy in the long black trunks was mental lapses while applying holds. Didn’t help matters either that they were only halfway through the bout. I’m starting to sense a pattern in these matches. They seem more mat based and technical than anything else. Smiley’s match with Yamazaki was a prime example of this as the majority of it was fought on the ground. In case you were wondering, yes, it is the same Norman Smiley from WCW. Yamazaki didn’t really show me much. Thought Smiley had some pretty good kicks to go with the ground work. Really didn’t think too highly of the match itself although at the end Yamazaki locked in an armbar that not even the Big Wiggle could save Smiley from.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the first Takada/Madea but after hearing Jessie speak highly of one he recently watched off of Disc 4 of this project, I became intrigued and watched with an open mind. As in the first two matches, kicks and mat work was the name of the game. However, these kicks had a lot more fire and stank to them and the submission work looked like they were trying to rip each other’s limbs off their bodies. There were some big, wild-ass kicks and the ground and grappling work would’ve fit right in at Stu Hart’s dungeon. You could hear every grunt, groan, and scream due to the fact there was no commentary. There were a few spots where they would just stand there and trade kicks to the crowd’s delight. I almost forgot about the suplexes. Holy fuck these were awesome!! Every one of them looked like the person receiving said suplex would wind up with a broken neck.

Second Norman Smiley bout of the disc was a bit better than the first one, even though I still don’t think this type of style fits Norman well. First ten minutes was them exchanging holds and reversals on the mat, much like what could be found in any amateur wrestling or MMA gym. Noticed Norman working over the arm of Yoji quite a bit. Match picked up after the ten minute mark where there was a nice stand-up exchange with them both attempting suplexes on each other. After this were some really good kicks and punches that ended up breaking down into more ground work, which culminated with Norman locking in an armbar to pick up the win. Didn’t see much of Yoji that I liked and nothing he did really stood out.

It’s obvious to me that Takada and Maeda really know how to throw down as these two just worked their asses off in their second encounter against each other on this disc. The kicks sounded like gunshots going off, to use a widely used analogy, and the ground work was superb. The thing I really liked was that it seemed less focused on the ground work and was more of a straigh stand-up fight, the kind I really like to see. Crowd was really amped up as well, more than usual for a Japanese crowd. There were a couple of stipulations in play here. First was a five knockdown rule, much like the three knockdown rule in boxing. Second stipulation was something involving the ropes, I’m guessing some sort of deal where they could only use a certain number of rope breaks, similar to old ROH “pure wrestling” matches. The end was quite a sight, both guys with four knockdowns a piece, kicking and slugging each other to see who could knock each other down first. It made for quite the drama. After the final knockdown, the crowd rushed the ring and started chanting for Takada at the top of their lungs.

Final match on this disc was interesting. This is totally Backlund’s element, given his amateur credentials and such. One thing that I didn’t like from him is that a lot of his early submissions looked weak, almost like he was attempting to demonstrate the move instead of actually applying it with some force. Things progressed pretty slowly until Backlund hit Takada with one of the nastiest forearms I’ve seen in a while. After that, Takada just got pissed and really turned up his game. His submissions and holds were the complete opposite of Backlund’s. These actually looked like they hurt, as opposed to Backlund. Backlund’s nose got bloodied late in the bout, one of the few times I’ve seen a Backlund match that involved blood. Couldn’t really tell from the finish when Backlund gave up as it seemed that the ref just randomly called for the bell.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

PWG Card Subject To Change III 4/9/11

Tonight I'm watching/writing from auspicious surroundings. I'm staying overnight in the hospital looking over my mom post-surgery. I figured if I'm staying up late I may as well embark on writing some criticism. Feast your viewing devices on this.

Show opens with Joey Ryan working the microphone. This is mostly banal save for a quick verbal joust with an elderly man in the crowd that looks like Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild and some blatant thievery of The Rock's material.

1. "Pretty" Peter Avalon vs. Johnny Yuma - 5

Yuma looks like Jack Evans with hippy hair and a blue bandana. Avalon's also due for a haircut and neither guy can weigh more than 125lbs. If Peter trimmed his seedy mustache he could pull off a pretty convincing Texas Tornado Jr. I wonder how long into this show I'll wish the card subjected to change would have done just that? Yuma does a move where he stands over his opponent, grabs their arms, and continually yanks them face-first into his anus. Johnny's got a move called the "Black Swan" so I'll forgive him some of his lesser traits. These guys straddle that athleticism/humor hybrid that PWG thrives on. I didn't know a lot about Yuma before this but he strikes me as what Brian Kendrick would be like today if he hadn't stopped caring. The finishing stretch perhaps had a few too many kickouts for an opener with Yuma eventually scoring a victory with the "Sex Factor". PWG usually doesn't disappoint for fast-paced openers and I rather enjoyed this one.

2. Candice LeRae vs. Portia Perez - 3
3. Willie Mack vs. Roderick Strong - 7

The women's match started with a cornucopia of armdrags. I think someone once said, "Don't be a drag, just be an armdrag". The commentators were too busy discussing The Walking Dead and superheroes. A pretty unflattering match as nothing of note really transpired and LeRae won plainly with a crucifix. I dig Mack and this was a real big test for him squaring off with Strong. The crowd didn't seem clued in early but before long they were rollicking and cheering raucously. Willie started as a PWG fan and transitioned into a competitor and here he stood his ground, even baiting Roderick into a striking battle out on the floor that had all the fans on their feet grimacing. A great little self-contained story showing Mack's resilience even surviving a backbacker on the top turnbuckle that was horrifying. My one complaint is Strong's match-ending "Sick Kick" landed squarely in the sternum when after what it followed it really felt like it should have been in the face/head.

4. Low Ki vs. Akira Tozawa - 5
5. Johnny Goodtime vs. Ryan Taylor - 4

Ki, free from the shackles of corporate entertainment, was back to his old ways, kicking the hell out of people. Your mileage on this match may vary, my big critique and one that hurts its return value for me, is as much as it troubles me saying it, this felt at times both like a stock Ki and stock Tozawa match. The two never meshed into a real cohesive flow, it was mostly Akira eating shots, then eventually going down for good. Next match was kind of dry, these guys spent plenty enough time opening shows, but sadly this didn't rise above that stature even though it was higher up the card. It was built to be a more personal battle but I never connected to the animosity. Goodtime did get pancaked on the apron in a truly gnarly bump so keep an eye peeled for that.

6. Claudio Castagnoli vs. "Hollywood Submission Machine" Joey Ryan - 5

Now, to finish the review, I've changed locations just a little bit, writing from the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort in Orlando. Ryan had swore he'd put away his trademark cheap tactics and out-wrestle Claudio. That charade went on for awhile until a poke to the eye signaled its demise. Anyone else think Castagnoli would have been a natural fit in AWA? Ryan cut his hair (scalp not chest) which robs him of much of the little personality he had. Ryan's generic "Hollywood" trunks complete with cartoony clipart look like something you'd see as a picture frame or on a shot glass in a cheesy souvenir tourist trap store. When I was in Hollywood years ago a lot of those stores sold 8x10 black and white glossy prints of the celebrities. I think someone should slip one in of Quicksilver for the hell of it. "Mom, they've got Arnold, Brad, Tom, and wait, who's this skinny git?" Ryan using the "Pedigree" only makes me wish I was watching Claudio versus Triple H. Ref bump, title belt used as illegal object, second ref, wait, is this a TNA main event circa '05? If so I want Don West not these self-important pop culture obsessed fiends. Ryan's targeting of the arm starts warming the match up more to me as its aggressive and gets across his desire to win. Claudio's fallaway slam off of the top made Scott Hall have another stroke -- tell Razor not to die on us quite yet as he should know NHO staffer Geo thinks his singles with Flair from June '97 is one of the best matches in Nitro history (yuck). Castagnoli gets the victory very suddenly with the "Neutralizer" (or "Brock Lock") which felt false.

7. Peligro Abejas! (El Generico & Ricochet) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) - 4

Bucks start off in TNA t-shirts just to piss of the PWG faithful which is splendid. When did Ricochet get the Taxi Driver haircut? And, would he please return my copy Arsenic and Old Lace? DVDs don't grow on trees, you know? If they did I'd have a tree of '40's farcical political satires in my backyard and not tomato plants. Anyone else ever think Generico's shtick will never allow him to break into the upper-echelon? The guy does a lot of things well but with the silly name/gimmick it'd be hard to buy him as the top dog anywhere. Man, that hair, can't get over the fact Ricochet now looks like an emaciated miniature of Luther Reigns. Nick Jackson looks like he could be a boyish janitor in Eureka's Castle but we'll try to buy into his newfound mean streak. Ricochet got great air on a somersault over the ringpost out to the floor but made about as much contact as WKO Mike has with a set of perky breasts (that didn't belong to his flat-mate with male pattern baldness that gets pissed when Mike neglects dish duty to spend more time on the Internet trying to convince people his tastes in wrestling is superior). Finishing stretch has a lot of those exaggerated "I can't believe that didn't finish him!" facials. The ending was so bloated with outrageous gymnastics it felt like a game of TNM that made your PC freeze in some sort of cruel programming joke.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

DVLH Destruction in Door County

I was going through my hard drive full of wrestling and found this. What is this? I’m not sure. The ring is set up behind some farmhouse in amongst a bunch of grain silos and barns with the occasional car driving by in the background. It is adorned on the sides with Budweiser and Bud Light ring skirts. Bleachers are set up probably in someone’s backyard and the whole area is surrounded by orange construction fencing. The locker room is the garage where the family car is kept and you can see the neighbor’s house across the street in the background as the wrestlers come out. This is probably the most surreal setting I’ve ever seen from a wrestling show. It’s like a cross between a backyard show and a show at the county fair. The card features 11 matches with a staggering run time of 3 hours 20 minutes and so I’m watching and reviewing these in bunches to make this less painful on everyone, including myself.

1) Pit Stain vs. MoFoley vs. Kryptic – 0
2) Brett Michaels vs. Nubby Jones – 2
3) Ryan Project vs. Mark Jensen – 2

None of the three in the opening bout seemed to have a lick of professional training. Kryptic showed up in street clothes like he was just here to see the show and didn’t expect to get thrown into a match. Drake Younger and Billy Gram just bury the competitors on commentary and its awesome. Eventually, Billy Gram grows tired of this going nowhere, gets on the mic and calls out Freakshow who just beats the shit out of all three. Not a good way to start. Jones came out, announced as “the world’s friendliest pimp” and I instantly wanted to start crying. I’m not sure if it is out of sadness or laughter or a combination of both. You can guess by the name that Brett Michaels is a rip-off of the Poison frontman. Can’t say this was a good match by any means but compared to the first match, it’s a five star classic. Things were kept simple and nothing was botched, which is a plus. Only thing these guys really knew to do were clotheslines. The end featured interference from a random Thomaselli brother. Really only good thing about the third match was Project’s selling. Jensen showed some intensity and worked an acceptable heel character and got over by yelling at little children from the ring. Project tried a rana on the outside on the grass and dirt surrounding the ring and almost failed because he’s so skinny. Honestly, Project is so thin that if he turned sideways, he’d be invisible. Tornado DDT finishes off Jensen and the skies over the ring look cloudy as if it’s about to rain on the show.

4) Bobby Valentino vs. Silas Young – 3
5) Dysfunction vs. Troy Walters - 4
6) Martin Jones vs. “The New” Johnny Cash – 2

Silas Young coming out to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and grinding against some oversized girl was a rather disturbing sight. These guys seemed fairly competent, especially Silas, who’s traveled the midwest circuit for years. Valentino bounced around pretty good and Silas threw clotheslines. Valentino busted out a nice little head scissor takeover from the top rope. Dysfunction, primarily a deathmatch wrestler, had a fairly solid outing against Walters, even though they set up and executed a basic splash spot in the corner with all the enthusiasm of a saltine cracker. Walters showed some promise and did a nice somersault through the middle rope. I liked the German suplex exchanges they did that Dustin Lee called “Daniel killers” on commentary. Dysfunction yelled “count shithead” at the useless ref during a pin attempt. The spot where Walters tried a flip off the top rope and was supposed to land on his feet but slipped on landing and crashed on his tailbone was a good spot for a chuckle. Not sure who though naming a skinny, blond, generic looking scrub after the one of the best musicians ever should be smacked. If the real Cash saw this guy, he would roll over in his grave. I rather liked Jones’ performance. His offense, aside from screwing up a vertical suplex and dropping Cash on his head and neck, was decent. His selling was there too and seemed the most competent of the no-name guys on the card thus far. Cash seemed lost at points and unsure of himself. I would be too if I was sent out there in generic blue tights and white boots for my first (and probably last) match.

7) Dustin Lee vs. Brody Hoofer – 3
8) Toby Klein vs. Austin Aries – 4
9) Scotty Vortekz vs. Necro Butcher – 3

This part of the show was the Dustin Lee show, unfortunately. His match with Hoofer featured a crowd brawl amongst the drunken rednecks and children that featured Irish whips into trees and portable toilets was fun. Big spot of the match was Lee taking a t-bone suplex onto gravel. I’ve never heard of this Hoofer character but he seemed like he knew what he was doing. Weird finish with Billy Gram coming out with a torch blowing fire and Toby Klein interfering and tossing Lee through a table that didn’t break. After the match, Lee just stands up in the ring, not selling a damn thing, as if nothing had ever happened. The Aries match started off pretty good with him showing that he’s the only one who gives a shit thus far. Klein working heel and doing some stalling until Dustin Lee comes back out, cashes in some “wild card” and makes himself the special referee. Really liked the back and forth action here, even though parts of this was to start setting up an angle between Lee and Klein. Klein did a nice springboard back elbow. Aries delivering knees to the top of Toby’s skull while holding him in a front facelock was fantastic. Ending was pretty bad with Gram spraying green mist in the face of both Lee and Aries and him dragging the original ref back in. By now, darkness has engulfed the outdoor surroundings and the ring is lit up with construction work lights and the lights on the farm buildings. Scotty and Necro brawled in the crowd forever. While most of it was just punching and dragging each other, there were a few cool spots including Scotty getting thrown off the back of the bleachers, both of them trading shots while holding cups of beer, and Scotty moonsaulting off the bleachers. Interference from Billy Gram and Toby Klein at the end led into another meaningless brawl between Lee and Toby Klein. Seriously?

10) Thumbtack Match: Insane Lane vs. Freakshow – 2
11) Barbed Wire and Light Tubes Match: Danny Havoc vs. Drake Younger – 5

Thumbtack match was just what you would expect from these two. Both guys carving each other up with forks on a rope and whacking each other numerous times with thumbtack covered cookie sheets. The full nelson slam from Freakshow into the tacks was pretty cool as was him splashing into the tacks like he was doing a belly flop into a swimming pool. Finishing spot was pretty bad with Freakshow laying in the tacks like a giant slug and Lane jumping off a buckle and dropping a chair across Show’s crimson covered dome. For the main event both guys rode a cart to the ring that was led with a DONKEY WRAPPED IN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!! TREMENDOUS!!!! It should be noted that the donkey looked less than thrilled about the fact he was wrapped from end to end in holiday décor. The outside brawl was unique to say the least with them fighting in the parking lot, which was just a bunch of cars parked in the neighbors yard, and Drake dropping an elbow off the side of the feed mill!! Some of the highspots were botched, namely Drake trying to do a light tube assisted death valley driver. Havoc gave Drake a sunset flip off the buckle which ended up putting a giant hole in the back of Drake’s neck near his brain stem. Match gets a bonus point just for being the best match on the show. Overall, a pretty awful show as a whole and should be tossed on the scrap heap with all the other one and done indy feds.

Friday, June 17, 2011

IWR: Die De Los Muertos

Cool opening

1) Mascarita Sagrada v. Tzuki- 1
What a joke, Tzuki missed a drop toe hold but acted like he hit it, finish was basically a kick, unbelievably bad

2) Wylde Stallions v. Bump-N-Uglies= 5
I'm trying to place this venue, as it has a good look and now I remember XPW was here before, as I distinctly remember Candido jumping off the bar onto Damien Steele with Tammy cheering on in an embarrassingly slutty outfit even for her. Stallions better pony up, as they're totally jocking my favorite movie bromance. They hit all the benchmark indy heel promo points but with names like Johnny Dynamo and Jack Thrilla, what did you expect? Dynamo looks tense and hesitant as he's about to get chucked into the crowd, but I loved his delayed vertical suplex in the crowd. This is going up a notch, taking a swinging neckbreaker onto Woodward Ave outside the arena and working an inside cradle into a trash receptacle both put a smile on my face. Uglies are working a masked patriots gimmick, which I totally figured out from their team I need to mention that comment was dripping with sarcasm? The skinny one can punch and takes a concrete bump as well as Joel McHale delivers a quip and if you don't get that one, it's your loss. In ring portion delivered more than I thought, nice armbar counter at one point, 4 man tower of doom and a stiff fun finisher, Dynamo had needless blood and the ref taking a belt away in a street fight doesn't make a damn bit of sense but overall this is nearly recommendable.

3) Super Parka v. Shark Boy (2/3 Falls)- 1
There was a good strike exchange in the 2nd fall, but take the referee hijinx, uncreative finishes in all 3 falls, Parka promptly no selling things and a long boring layout, this is a complete dud. Not to mention the god awful brawl at the end where Santo and Park join in and no sell some shit, then Santo unmasks Super Parka, who kind of sulks in the ring until we're on to the next bout.

4) N8 Mattson v. Gutter v. Eddie Venom v. Chris Sabin v. Truth Martini v. Zach Gowan- 4
Started off good, each guy with distinct character, halway through it degenerated into every other man you've seen with 6 guys in it trying to get their stuff off. As much as I support someone with Zach's handicaps making a run in this business, he really looked odd always standing waiting for his chance to jump in. Sabin tried to organize a few X Division type spots, one a giant tower of doom spot but it felt as tired as i am at 1:48 in the morning.

5) Conrad Kennedy III v. Blue Panther- 5
I've never seen a heel manager interfere just to reverse a side headlock spot! Panther is relishing being the face who needs to be cheated at every turn, but for some reason it feels like he's letting Conrad dictate the pace and control of the match. And Panther's been in enough blood feuds to know how to run a crowd brawl- like Conrad eating guardrail chin first though. At a certain age, some luchadors should not plancha, and I'll leave it at that. Give Conrad credit, he sticks to the game plan, really putting some mileage into this one but never feeling unnecessary. That finish was terrible, all thanks to the wrong camera angle, hurts the score but decent co-main.

6) El Hijo del Santo v. LA Park Steel Cage- 6
Parka hits the ring in style; Santo with some lovely ladies and we're off. Both men are Bob Dylan fans, having changed one of his tunes to be the official song for this match, 'Tangled up in Streamers." Parka seems constrained inside that cage, as if it's holding back his charisma. He almost starts a riot asking for chairs. Remember Tijauana, circa 97? No, not the night you fathered your 1st of 5 illegitimate kids, I mean when the fans nearly overtook you and the boys. I'm liking the moves and spots but they don't feel like they fit together. I'm all for sick powerbombs on top of folded out chairs, esp. when someone like Santo feels that dangly thing between their legs and says " My turn," but where does that bump fit in this match? Mask ripping galore and the ring is littered with trash, like they decided until a theater let out and do the match inside. A complete fuck finish and seems as if an audible was called after the crowd turns on Santo, Park humiliates him after the match. Was this a spectacle? yes, it was, some nasty sick chair shots, huge bumps, really cool venue, go ahead and watch this for some fun times. And wear a mask