Sunday, July 31, 2011

NHO Poll #8

Please explain your vote in the comments section.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson predictions

Tarec Saffiedine over Scott Smith
Tyron Woodley over Paul Daley
Tim Kennedy over Robbie Lawler
Women's Bantamweight Championship: Miesha Tate over Marloes Coenen (c)
Dan Henderson over Fedor Emelianenko

EDIT: 2:29PM E.S.T. 7/31/11
Just finished the show and I predicted all five fights correctly! Awesome! I'll probably do more of these predication videos on occasion in the future.

WWE SmackDown! 6/24/11

1. Sin Cara vs. Ted DiBiase – 4
2. Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan –5
3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Wade Barrett - 3
4. Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel vs. The Usos - 2
5. Jinder Mahal vs. Yoshi Tatsu - 0
6. Kane vs. Christian - 5
7. Mark Henry and Christian vs. Randy Orton and Kane – 4

A sense of familiarity ran throughout this episode. I liked the opener. While overall not as good as Cara vs. Bryan (from SD! 5/13) this was the best pure showcase of Sin Cara yet. His acrobatic spots looked good albeit DiBiase looked a little silly constantly missing haymakers and clotheslines just to set up another head-scissors variation. Ted barely got in any offense but I dug his sit-out spinebuster. Rhodes and Bryan wasn't as good as their awesome SD! 5/27 bout but still solid. A rube at ringside had a McGuinness sign which had me hankering a screening of one of Nigel and Bryan's old classics. Daniel's pre-match mic work wasn't going to win over any of his critics but the wrestling was solid.

Barrett attacked Jackson from behind in the entrance aisle but still couldn't beat him in the end. This was slightly better than their match at Over the Limit '11 but not on par with their recent bout at Capitol Punishment '11. Jackson's Torture Rack barely seemed to be applied and Wade bounced around like a pair of tits sans sports bra from a chesty sophomore running the 40-yard dash. Following tag was fairly non-descript with nobody looking actively bad yet not rising to the occasion either. Slater got his knees up on a huge Uso top rope splash for the neat finish.

They should have booked Mahal to smash Tatsu summarily but instead it apparently never "officially" started as he and Khali just bullied and bumped Yoshi around. Christian was falling back almost into his '09 babyface persona using his speed and cunning to try to avoid the monster Kane's attacks and fend him off. He actually created some intrigue in a Kane singles, not the easiest feat, but the non-finish and subsequent tag match sort of wasted the momentum. Tag was shorter than the aforementioned singles, the booking logic (in short if Christian's team won he'd get a title shot) was flawed, but it set stuff up and Henry was booked strong (anyone else onboard for another Henry singles run?) so not a total letdown.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lil Geo Flies Solo NHO Style~~~ HWA Heatwave July 16, 2011 -- ROAD REPORT!

So Heartland Wrestling Association is now running about 10-15 minutes north of where Brian and I live. Unfortunately due to work schedules, previous commitments, and general family business, I was force to go to this bad boy alone.

"The Madness" Chris Hall vs. Mitch Magnus - 4

Magnus plays this cocky wrestling savant and rocks a mustache that looks like it requires a bit of wax to stay in place. Hall is a big guy who makes the entire room shake every time he bumps. This is my first time seeing Magnus, and I've got to say, I was impressed with what I saw. He doesn't look like much as far as build is concerned, but his bumping and cool attitude really comes through when he performs. Speaking of bumping, the kid worked his ass off in the ring by taking an overhead belly-to-belly that looked really dangerous and probably wouldn't have ended well if he wouldn't have tucked his chin. He also took some nasty lariats. The only real offense he got in was working over Hall's leg which sadly went nowhere. Really good dedication shown by Magnus. Look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Juice Jennings vs. Tim Lutz - 3

Lutz is one of your typical indy guys in that he's high energy and high spotty. Jennings is also your typical indy guy in that he seems to be more focused on portraying his character rather than focusing on his in-ring. He's your run of the mill tanned lunk that sports shades to the ring to keep from blinding himself due to the bronze hue of his own skin. Lutz really gets over with the kids in the crowd in that he comes off as reckless and somewhat incoherent in his offense, but I will hand it to him that he's fun to watch. Jennings heeled it up with the fans, again, not really focusing on his in-ring, which was obvious from the uber-shitty gut buster he attempted to hit. There's ways these two can become better: Lutz needs to slow his role and take his time so that his offense means something, and Jennings needs to focus and develop his ring game a bit better. All in all, an acceptable match at best.

Tag Team Gauntlet - 5

I really dig the defending champs, The Heatseekers, comprised of Jeremy Madrox and Kaden Assad. The gauntlet was comprised of three other teams. The first team went by the name "Aerial Obesity" and were as terrible as their name. I have no idea who they are and they're not even listed on HWA's roster page. Fat guys throwing shitty dropkicks pretty much sums it up. Luckily, they were in and out relatively quickly, and my boys, The Noble Bloods, tore the house down. Matthew Taylor and Chad Cruise comprise the Noble Bloods, and now seem to be less concerned about getting their stuffy heel characters over and are more focused on wrestling as faces. I dig the hell out of them. Cruise brings the "handsome babyface" appeal and the power, while Taylor brings the more rugged cool face and the technical striking ability. This was by far the best match inside the gauntlet as Taylor hit some really nice looking kicks and Cruise got the crowd behind him by heating up the crowd for the hot tag when it seemed that most all hope was lost. The Heatseekers are Grade A heels in that Madrox is an arrogant scrapper from Merry Olde England and Assad is of Middle Eastern descent, so of course, he's a threat to the safety of all of us. Great job by the Seekers of keeping Cruise in their corner all while jawing with the fans, yet staying focused. The match reached a fever pitch when some shenanigans went down and the Bloods were eliminated after Cruise got knocked out. Then two squirts known as DNA came in and magically beat the Seekers. ACHOO! Sorry, I'm allergic to bullshit. Damn, that Bloods vs. Seekers match was great, though. Love those guys.

James Avery vs. Sid Fabulous - 4

Avery looks like Dante from Clerks and he got a few of the chants to go with it. Don't let this guy's looks fool you, though -- he's pretty damn good. His in-ring is polished and executed well. I sensed a strong puroresu influence in his power manuevers. Sid is a stick, but damn, I have got to hand it to this kid: he bumps his ass off. Sid is one of the most dedicated kids on the roster and he definitely gets my respect and admiration for taking some of the offense he takes. Avery is a heel, so he really beat the shit out of Sid, who shocked me by selling everything great. The finish to the match saw Avery throwing Sid into the post shoulder-first (a la Kurt Angle), sending Sid to the floor right in front of me. Sid sat there and sold the shoulder well after Avery had returned behind the curtain. A little kid came over to help Sid get up and I gotta admit, it was pretty cute and funny. Sid gave the kid a hi-five and got over with the crowd. Solid performance by both.

Falls Count Anywhere - Dave Crist vs. Ron Mathis - 7

Easily the best Dave match I have seen ever. He had his game face on tonight and wasn't pulling any bullshit antics. This match was brutal. Some highlights include a brutal chair shot to the back of Crist's head by Mathis (remember the chair shot Jeff Hardy gave Anderson in TNA a while back?) that busted the back of Dave's head open, Mathis getting thrown into the women's restroom sending the skirts flying out of the stalls, some really great armwork by Crist on the outside featuring a cross arm-breaker and arm tweaking, and the icing on the cake: a side walk slam off of the stage onto a pile of upright chairs that had me popping like a collar at a frat party. Damn, this was insane. Mathis' selling of the arm was done to perfection as he held it close the entire match after getting it worked over by Crist. Crist went over Mathis to become the new American Luchacore champ in a match that I would say is probably the best match I've seen in HWA in recent memory (with exception of Mox vs. Danielson from last year).

Nick Cutler vs. Remi Wilkins - 3

Cutler worked the stick pre-match, ragging on Hamilton and saying the only thing close to us that may be considered civilization is Cincinnati, and let's face it, the Bengals and Reds aren't anything to be proud of. He actually got a pop for ragging on the Bengals considering you have to have a criminal record to play on the team. The match itself wasn't anything to write home about, as it was Cutler heeling it up and Wilkins staying on the defensive side of things the majority of the match. Passable.

Jake Crist vs. Gerome Phillips - 6

This was the grudge match between the two, and damn you were sure able to tell it. Both of these guys were really pulling out all the stops in their offense. There was absolutely no need for Crist to take the lariats that Phillips dished out. For those of you who don't know, Jake Crist is a decently built kid about 5'9'', while Phillips is a huge dude probably around 300lbs, probably around 6'4''. Crist stuck in there with Phillips like a champ, taking lariats and punishment like it was nobody's business. The ring was making so much noise as Phillips bounced both of their bodies off the mat, sending sound waves reverberating off the ceiling and walls of the new venue. During the middle of the match, Crist went and asked his young daughter for a kiss on the cheek, giving the crowd one of those "AWWWWW" moments, only to have Phillips mock Crist and ask his daughter for one, too, while grinning like an evil son-of-a-bitch. Such a great little addition to add a personal element to the match. Personal hatred filled the ring, and the story unfolded as Philips dominated Crist, burying him in the mat for the win. I really hope this continues. Good stuff.

Sami Callihan vs. BJ Whitmer - 6

We closed with my favorite dude on the indy circuit and Ohio native, Sami Callihan, taking on the vet and HWA champ BJ Whitmer. Let me paint this picture. Imagine a somewhat run-down building just out of the 'bad neighborhood' filled with about 75 people maximum. Callihan performed here like he was in front of 10,000 people. Loved the omnipresent intensity he brought to the match as he ragged on BJ for being a run-down has-been. Whitmer looked pretty damn good considering how many times he's been around the block. He busted out some nice stiff kicks to the face of Sami, who surely returned the favor. So many stiff kicks to the face and chest, so good. Atta boy, Sami. Dug the hell outta the bout.

Damn, I need to make sure I get up here more often. HWA busted out some stuff that they surely didn't need to for us fans. Love that dedicated indy style. I'd be happy to give them my money in the future. If you live in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, I highly recommend checking them out.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

WWE New Year's Revolution '05

I remember watching this show live at this guy Kevin's place (he's buddies with Steve who's a friend of Jessie and I) and as it progressed becoming increasingly more ill and dumbfounded as it cemented itself as one of the worst live pay-per-view telecasts I'd ever seen (and frankly I've seen them all). I recall Kevin wanting everyone to toss in some cash to cover the expense, but seconds after the final bell rang, several of us lunged for the stairwell and bolted from the house without looking back or allowing ourselves to spend even a few measly bucks on such a wretched show. That was over six years ago. I decided to re-watch this event again to see if it was really as bad as I'd remembered. See for yourselves:

1. Eugene and William Regal vs. Christian and Tyson Tomko - 3

Eugene's spoofing Hogan (regrettably not Horace or Dizzy) and Regal's playing de facto face. Three years later and Tyson and Christian would be sipping margaritas down in Orlando pre-TNA tapings. Regal and Christian start with some nifty mat work that materializes into Eugene in the ring clapping his hands and bouncing gleefully like a stunted dog. Tomko is such an orthodox heel, his pandering to the crowd for heat feels hollower than the piper-thin plot of Salt. Regal gets up for a dropkick? Regal sells a punch in the corner like he just had acid tossed in his face -- he starts bleeding from the nose shortly after. Tyson could have been good muscle in SMW if this was a different era but felt bush league in his WWE tenure. A dazed Regal wanders to the wrong corner like a thrashed prostitute toward the tail-end of her shift. The ending is just a big putrid mess. Eugene gets the hot tag but ruptures his patella doing a simple dropkick, this leads to Christian openly getting caught amid "ring talk", Tyson and Christian tried poorly to clothesline Regal over the top although gravity was not on their side, then an injured Eugene rolled up Tomko for the suspect finish.

2. Trish Stratus vs. Lita - 1
3. Shelton Benjamin vs. Maven - 1
4. Shelton Benjamin vs. Maven - 0

Things continue falling downhill at a speed approaching Husky Harris on a Slip 'n Slide. Lita and Stratus trip over each other for a few moments before Lita completely blows out her leg doing a stupid Thesz Press off of the apron to Trish on the floor. Instead of immediately wrapping it up they try to stretch it out for another 1-2 min. I suppose to save some face for then champ Lita but she's incapable of wrestling (not that she was setting the world on fire pre-injury) and this was just bad. Then, Maven leaves the ring seconds into his match to stand on a chair and make racial slurs at the Puerto Rican audience. Strangely, the ref does not count him out as he eats up a bunch of PPV time. In retrospect, I'm guessing with the previous unexpected injuries, they probably asked him to kill time but this was really awful. As soon as he slides into the ring he's immediately pinned and I only tossed it a pity point because the crowd popped huge. Maven protests and wants a rematch and eventually goads Shelton (something about him not having testicles) back into the ring where Benjamin pins him in under 10 sec. for a second time. I guess this was supposed to be humorous but I found it as terribly unfunny as someone showing up to Ryan Dunn's funeral holding a bottle of whiskey and having a toy car shoved up their ass. This PPV is churning my stomach like a festering plate of putrid Puerto Rican street food.

5. Jerry Lawler vs. Muhammad Hassan - 2

This was Muhammad's in-ring debut. If they were wanting to do essentially a terrorist gimmick they should have had him look, well, dirtier, like he'd been hiding in a dusty cave pouring over blueprints and diagrams, not like a GQ model as Hassan did. I think Puerto Rico was the wrong site for this match, maybe Washington D.C. or New York, but the crowd was disarmingly quiet here. This dragged like Big Show riding his father's casket across a graveyard. I was more interested spying on my cat spying on birds. Hassan had a real neat way of eating a Lawler DDT spiking his head into the mat dangerously. That was the only redeeming spot of the whole plodding affair which went twelve minutes. I read Hasssan's a junior high history teacher now. "Mr. Copani, why'd you act Arab when you're from Syracuse?"

6. Kane vs. Gene Snitsky - 3

I was one of the few brave souls to read Journey Into Darkness: The Unauthorized History of Kane years ago. In it, Snitsky was a character, I think Paul Bearer had Kane locked in their basement, and sent Snitsky down there to give Kane a beating or something equally asinine. Gene takes a concrete bump so at least this match has that going for it. Snitsky's teeth looks like he flosses with a turd and that goatee looks like the tuft of hair in-between an Appalachian man's asshole/balls. I like when Kane kept popping up from the dead Snitsky would just kick him right in the ugly face. This felt like two monsters battling in the moonlight. Gene just needs some gills. Kane's a burn victim, what's Snitsky's excuse? I've heard of Things We Lost in the Fire but didn't know talent was one of them.

I can't even bring myself to recap the next segment. Earlier that day they shot a bunch of extraneous footage at the hotel pool which we were "treated" to. Suffice to say it breaks down to a four-way chicken fight with Christy Hemme being the eventual winner riding atop Rosey who looks like a fucking fool as a grown man in a pool wearing a superhero costume and mask.

7. Triple H vs. Batista vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho - Elimination Chamber Match - 6

I didn't think WWE really got the hang of this stipulation match until '09 or so but this held up better than I'd remembered. It's wise to start with Benoit and Jericho and they were workhorses throughout. Hunter came in and wasted no time throwing himself into several big bumps onto the steel. You've got HHH and both Chris' bleeding and then there's Edge, no blood, and bringing down the intensity with his low-octane offense like flying clotheslines off of the top. The finishes were mostly strong with guys needing to take a lot to be put down, for example, by the time Jericho finally got eliminated (third at 27 min. in) he'd eaten multiple finishers. When it got down to Orton, Batista, and HHH it revolved around their ongoing Evolution faction drama, as Orton had fled the gang, so they tried to double-team him but he managed to low blow Batista and finish him with an RKO. Triple H getting the win probably ring false and hollow back then as I know none of us were big supporters of his at the time, and still today, it doesn't come off hot with Flair and Batista both interjecting themselves to cause a distraction. Overall, though, this was damn physical and never really lost its way with Batista being a weak link and the predictable finish being its major cons.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strikeforce: Houston Nov. 2010

More MMA, just tap out and enjoy

1) Bobby Lashly v. Chad Griggs- 5
2) KJ Noons v. Jorge Gurgel- 6
3) Jacare Souza v. Tim Kennedy- 5
4) "King" Mo Lawal v. Rafael Fejiao- 6

First fight features WWE castoff Lashley in I believe his 4th professional fight. This really should get a 6 (as in recommended to see it) because you literally get to see a man wilt through a camera lens. Griggs is a firefighter who fights part time, hadn't even been in a cage in a year and a half and as Mauro politely explains, was here to give Lashley a tune up. But after a rough 1st round, he pummels Lashley's big noggin every time he goes for a takedown. They keep saying does Lashley have what it takes and he unequivocally answers NO. Too bad, his wife had a good career as a heel in pro wrestling.

2nd bout was a fun standing battle with both guys trying some snappy kicks and deadly punches. Jorge was getting the better of him actually, and after a disappointing MMA career up to this point, that had to feel good. Jorge is Rich Franklin's running buddy and from our neck of the woods; actually he parked next to us at a Kroger Marketplace on the 4th of July in a huge tricked out utility vehicle and ambled inside to no doubt get some fresh sushi. 2nd round proved ill fated yet again for Jorge as he took a nasty clubbering; why you should see this if for Noons illegal knee at the end, clearly the ref here sucked balls and should have made a call before Jorge got blasted with it. Just for fun, i was looking up Jorge on Wikipedia; holy shit he married Zoila Frausto, a woman MMA fighter whose parents must have been a pitbull dog insemenated with Gary Busey's sperm.

This fight has to be looked at as sad. Jake Shields abandoned ship for greener pastures and left the middleweight belt empty. Mauro and Frank get their shots in saying Shield twice turned down Jacare for a fight. This is a long 5 round slugfest, with not a lot of slugs. It's about as even a fight as you'll see. It's sort of like the upcoming GOP race; not into the participants but am curious who will win. the end was dyn-o-mite though, as Jacare lit Kennedy's face up like he has multiple Iraqi insurgents with bullets but Kennedy fired back with a huge takedown that the Kurt Angle of 1996 would be proud of (not the one from 2011; he's anorexic and old.)

Main event actually was pretty good. This title had been trading hands quicker than a pipe during a Charlie Sheen house party. Fejiao has some sick power in his hands and was doing all he could to let it explode grenade-style on Mo's face. Mo basically hit a blue thunder power bomb in the 1st round which was insane. Fejiao's takedown defense was there though, he was deflecting most of Mo's stuff. 2nd round, tit for tat on the feet with Mo kind of playing to the crowd like the dream I had last night of a Beatles cover band except John had a shaved head and was wearing an Elvis jumpsuit and instead of drums, Ringo was cutting into a tree stump with a bandsaw. Fejiao took over after scoring big and even though we couldn't get a good glimpse, the ending series of elbows were more violent than anything written in Stephen King's last several novels. Just brutal, made watching UWFI like watching Yo Gabba Gabba. Fejiao wins the title but wouldn't have it long; he'd go on to be taken out by Dan Henderson months later; sort of how I envision the rest of Casey Anthony's life, except replace taken out for shot dead and Dan Henderson by any number of outraged parents in the world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NOAH 10/30/10 co-review

NOAH 10/30/10
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,100 Fans - Super No Vacancy

1.) Akira Taue vs. Takashi Okita - G: 2 B: 2

G: This was stupid. Taue can hardly move anymore so they're resorted to shitty comedy that has a real homoerotic feel to it. This was absolutely skippable in every sense of the word.

Brian: Having Taue opening a show in '10 is about as good an idea as a vampire opening curtains on a sunny day. Taue hitting multiple chokeslams on Okita to finish felt symbolically like a pet owner punishing their dog for eating their shoe.

2.) Taiji Ishimori, Ricky Marvin, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Satoshi Kajiwara vs. Yasu Urano, Atsushi Kotoge, Daisuke Harada & Kenbai - G: 4 B: 5

G: Ishimori is nuts! Dude busted out a sick moonsault off the top of the ropes backwards into the audience and awaiting men from the other team. My favorite thing about this match was the nice mix of lucha and puro infused into one. It's like a sampler plate at a sushi restaurant -- you get sashimi and negiri, or in this case, highspots and fuck-yeah striking games. Harada, the Osaka pro native, really impressed me. His striking game really made the match and everything he hit looked sweet. As in usual fashion with these multi-men tags, the break-ups of pins got to be annoying as every guy would rush the ring at once like obese women pouncing on cheesecake. Kenbai stunk worse than a fresh pile of dogshit, hitting a magistral cradle that looked about as well executed as a horny male Golden Retriever trying to mount a horse.

Brian: I'm a sucker for inter-promotional matches and this fit the bill. Nakajima was a great face in peril, lending credibility to the underdog Osaka Pro squad, and Ishimori was the spark this match needed bringing some huge aerial displays. After all the spots and double-teams and whatnot I liked that it ended with a simple kick to the face by Katsuhiko on Kenbai.

3.) Extreme Tiger/Jack Evans vs. KENTA/Atsushi Aoki - G: 4 B: 4

G: Evans really, really, REALLY needs to work on his striking. For real. A wet noodle is stiffer than his forearm. Luckily, we had KENTA to bust his face in with stiff kicks and forearms. Tiger is fucking ballsy. He busted out that nice 450 splash to the floor!~ Aoki's ferocity and energy is always welcome in my book -- it makes the match that much better. KENTA hit a particularly nice GTS, and before I knew it, the match was over. Evans definitely dragged this match down as he looks so out of place. I dug Tiger's ballsy performance, as well as the always awesome KENTA/AOKI tandem.

Brian: So it's the semi-finals and the stakes are higher than Teddy Hart holding his Blackberry waiting for Evans' text on how the match went. Jack's breakdancing display would look at home on an LA street but less so when you're getting ready to fight a guy that wants to kick your head off. That 450° splash (which he calls the Sabertooth Splash by the way Geo) from the top to the floor was ill. Evans was "running around like a Puerto Rican on the fifteenth of the month!" to borrow a line from Made (2001). When most people think of KENTA the series with Marufuji pops to mine but for me I always recall his four-match series with Danielson the traversed two continents. He's dependable as always here bringing some welcomed physicality to the proceedings. At times this was much better than its score represents but I agree with Geo that Evans' horse shit brought it down i.e. didn't buy any of his flippy stuff damaging or having either of the NOAH guys in any real trouble.

4.) Eddie Edwards/Roderick Strong vs. Yoshinari Ogawa/Kotaro Suzuki - G: 5 B: 5

G: Edwards and Suzuki are the epitome of "evenly matched" opponents. Things got a bit choppy and awkward when Ogawa got in as the match started to bulge a bit at the seams. As quickly as it came, the choppiness left and we got to see Edwards' selling ability as he sold the arm vocally and sustained (he kept going back to the arm and cradling it as if in pain). Roddy looked right in his own environment. He fit right in. Ogawa hit a nasty ass DDT on Roddy, who sold it on his head like a horrible break dancer from the 90s. Kotaro has these really great upper-cut slaps that make such great sound. It's really great to see such two young strong style guys that are Kotaro and Roddy in the same match. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Brian: This hit my sweet spot but sometimes as a reviewer you've got to distance yourself from how you felt while watching something and examining what actually transpired in the footage itself. Case in point, it's a Sunday morning, I'm eating a giant slab of the tiramisu cake my wife got me for my birthday the day previous, my cat's on my lap purring like a '67 Dodge Charger, and NOAH is on display on my gigantic plasma HD flat-screen TV. But, stripping away the outside elements, this was still a good bout and just slightly south of our famed recommendable status. The arm work on Edwards was key and felt focused, both teams seemed keyed up and on edge aware of the stakes, and the flash finish with Eddie countering an attempted submission and using leverage to hold Ogawa down was satisfying and didn't devalue the NOAH team.

5.) Kensuke Sasaki vs. Shuhei Taniguchi - G: 6 B: 4

G: This was a battle of the brick shithouses. We got some always welcomed arm psyched on Kensuke to start, which works really well considering he throws lariats and chops like it's nobody's business. Kensuke battled through the pain of the arm work by Taniguchi and still managed to hit his lariats, however. I've only seen a handful of Taniguchi matches, but I really loved how he turned up the intensity and ferocity of his performance as the match progressed. This was truly evident by Taniguchi's forearms to the chin of Kensuke in the corner. We got a really great 90s AJPW sprint near the end that featured some nasty ass head drops. A fun match that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Brian: My NOAH watching has been spotty the last year or two and whenever I've seen Taniguchi featured I haven't seen him utilized as a credible or legit threat yet. Here, he's still summarily decimated, but at least in the opening stages looked strong. I like how he just sidestepped a Sasaki chop, grabbed Kensuke's arm, and then kneed the shit out of his elbow joint. Shuhei, albeit debuting over six years ago, is still being brought up the ranks slowly but is definitely physically capable and I look forward to continuing watching his career blossom.

6.) Dick Togo/The Great Sasuke vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru/Genba Hirayanagi - G: 5 B: 5

G: Togo is great. He is just a natural showman and worker. He throws some really choice right hands that always seem to look great. I've never been huge into Genba, but his performance here was solid. Granted, he wasn't the standout in this match, as that title belongs to Togo. Kanemaru is someone I'm not familiar with. I'm sure if I saw more of his matches he'd grow on me, as he seems to have some good energy explosions, especially after receiving tags. There was one glaring spot that unfortunately was carried out by Togo: in an attempt at a superkick, he absolutely whiffed and got nothing but air as he tried to kick Genba in the face. It's not normally something I'd draw attention to, but it was really damn obvious. Sasuke still held his own in the match really beefing up his selling of the elbow he received right to the crotch. Pretty sure you could hear his selling in the Osaka Prefecture. To top it off, he hit that great swanton over the post to the outside that looked delicious.

Brian: More inter-promotional clashing and apparently Kanemaru now uses Afro Sheen. I get the impression Yoshinobu kills time on subway commutes on Don't we all. There's been a revival of interest in Togo online and it's clear here he's the star. Props to Kanemaru for actually making a flying crossbody spot an exciting highspot with his fluidity, air-time, and mid-air scream. I dig Genba as this sniveling baddie a real-life Bebop. When did Sasuke start doing a "Buff Blockbuster" and why'd it rule so hard? He must be on a late-'90's WCW kick -- next thing you know he'll be dusting off Sean O'Haire and Kwee Wee spots. What an awesome combination of moves: Togo hits the "Pedigree" on Hirayanagi, Sasuke does a "Swanton" off the top onto Kanemaru on the floor, back in the ring Togo comes off the top with a diving senton on Genba, then lastly, Sasuke comes off the top with a pointed dropkick to Genba's arm (he used it like a flying headbutt) for the finish. A neat little finishing stretch tacked onto a fun bout.

7.) Yoshihiro Takayama/Naoki Sano/Masao Inoue vs. Mohommed Yone/Takashi Sugiura/Go Shiozaki - G: 5 B: 4

G: Sugi and Sano really made their presence known in this match by executing a great strike exchange. Talk about laying your shit in. Inoue struck me as a bit odd in this match as he kept smiling and nodding his head in an affirmative manner throughout the match. What's going on here? Go and Takayama had this really sweet sequence in the ring that I wish would've went longer. I could watch those two battle all day. It's almost like seeing a young Kobashi beat up the aging horse that is Takayama. Sano really had me wishing he would've sold Go's chops and Go was selling everything Sano did. I was on the fence with this match, but Go's performance was really good and in all honesty, saved the match.

Brian: This should be beefy. It's not too often you see a rumble between five tough guys and a jaundiced horse with a bleached mullet. I like Sano and his chipmunk face and he got to showoff early. Takashi and Yoshihiro trading throws brought to mind two caveman tossing each other into the dirt. I wonder if Go doesn't yearn for the days of working Seth Daley and Chasyn Rance in FIP occasionally when getting his brains splattered in Japan. They probably don't have Chik-fil-A over there either and he was a big fan. Agreed with Geo on Inoue's facials as the guy's always struck me as goofy meathead. Sugiura goes after Masao with bad intentions and calls to mind a line from Stab in House Party: "Yo, I'l put my foot so far up yo ass you be shittin' sneaker for a month". Yone hitting the Kinniku Buster mercifully ended this, it definitely started to drag in the later stages, and with Inoue being in predominately you never got a sense his squad stood a fighting chance. When you get this restless watching a match you start wondering what other stuff you could be doing i.e. checking video game junkie/comic book nerd/pornstar April O'Neil's delicious blog for updates, etc.

8.) Roderick Strong/Eddie Edwards vs. KENTA/Atsushi Aoik - G: 8 B: 7

G: This. Was. Incredible. To start, we got two sets of really great forearm trades by Edwards/Aoki and a second by Roderick/KENTA. This set the pace for the rest of the match as shit started to get intense. Aoki hit this sick dive on Edwards' arm that Edwards sold like his arm was ripped off. After working the arm over for a bit, Edwards found himself back on top in the match and hit a sickening double stomp on Aoki, who was laying on the ring apron. The native team kept going back to Edwards' arm, which added a really nice touch of psych to the overall match. KENTA was stiff as ever, too, really beating the shit out of Roderick's face throughout with kicks. As the match progressed, it became more like two singles matches with Edwards facing Aoki and Roderick facing KENTA. No complaints here. The breakdown and sprint of this match was textbook. Roderick and Edwards fit together like a puzzle with their double-teaming and great offense. Roddy hit that great flipping backbreaker on KENTA for a delicious nearfall that had me fooled. Combine that with more great nearfalls that kept me on the edge of my seat and some really awesome strikes... damn, you've got a recipe for something great. If you ask me, they carried out the recipe to damn near perfection. Loved this match.

Brian: This was pretty good, some of the opening and mid-section felt a bit shiftless, but the last act had that great Japanese thrill ride feel and just like Geo I was biting on all of the false finishes and enjoying the journey. Edwards was solid throughout, little did he or we know he'd be ROH World champion in less than a year. I'm a sucker for an action-packed finishing stretch, and while Geo thinks they carried it out to near-perfection, there's such a great lineage and tradition of that style in Japan that alongside so many luminaries this loses its bite. Still, an enjoyable way to finish off the 2010 Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Best of WCW Monday Nitro: #50-11

11. Bret Hart v. Chris Benoit (06/22/98)- 682 points (G: #7 B: #14 A: #33 J: #68)

12. Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit (12/23/96)- 682 points (A: #21 J: #25 G: #32 B: #44)

13. Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero (10/20/97)- 680 points (J: #20 A: #27 B: #36 G: #41 )

14. Chris Benoit/ Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio jr/ Billy Kidman (03/29/99)- 679 points (J: #18 A: #19 B: #38 G:#50)

15. Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit (07/15/96)- 672 points (B: #15 A: #22 G: #44 J: #51)

16. Sting v. Ric Flair (04/12/99)- 666 points (G: #4 A: #8 J:#33 B: #93 )

17. Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero (11/18/96)- 665 points (B: #7 G: #13 A: #23 J:#98)

18. Juventud Guerrera v. Billy Kidman (11/16/98)- 665 points (J: #2 B: #21 G: #46 A: #70)

19. DDP v. Sting (03/23/98)- 660 points (J: #7 G: #25 A: #35 B: #79)

20. Road Warriors v. Steiner Brothers (03/11/96)- 649 points (J: #8 B: #28 A: #54 G: #72)

21. Sting v. Chris Benoit (09/20/99)- 648 points (A: #11 G: #19 J: #56 B: #72)

22. Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko (11/17/97)- 642 points (G: #17 B: #20 A: #60 J:#67)

23. Chris Benoit v. Dean Malenko (09/13/99)- 641 points (J: #14 G: #18 A:#41 B: #92)

24. Juventud Guerrera v. Billy Kidman (05/25/98)- 636 points (B: #23 J: #27 A: #45 G: #73)

25. DDP v. Sting (04/26/99)- 629 points (G: #1 A: #1 J: #71 B: #102)

26. Chris Benoit v. Booker T (06/08/98)- 628 points (G: #23 J: #29 A: #53 B: #73)

27. Eddie Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio jr (12/21/98)- 626 points (G: #14 J: #15 B: #15 A:# 140)

28. Sting v. Dean Malenko (11/13/95)- 626 points (G: #34 B: #40 J: 49 A: #55)

29. Ric Flair v. Sting (09/04/95)- 621 points (G: #9 A: #32 B: #68 J: #74)

30. Ric Flair v. Arn Anderson Steel Cage Match (10/16/95)- 620 points (G: #29 J: #41 B: #57 A:#57)

31. Ric Flair v. Eddie Guerrero (05/20/96)- 618 points (A: #5 B: #50 G: #51 J: #80)

32. Lord Steven Regal v. Psicosis (12/16/96)- 612 points (J: #1 G: #26 B:#47 A: #120)

33. Billy Kidman v. Psicosis (04/12/99)- 611 points (A: #10 G: #31 J: #61 B: #91)

34. Chris Benoit v. Booker T (05/25/98)- 610 points (A: #43 J: 45 B: #52 G: #54)

35. Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson v. Rock n’ Roll Express (06/03/96)- 608 points (A: #17 J: #37 B: ##43 G: #99)

36. Booker T v. Bret Hart (02/22/99)- 606 points (G: #22 J: #23 B: #56 A: #103)

37. Eddie Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio jr (11/10/97)- 605 points (G: #12 B: #13 A: #82 J: #96)

38. Bull Nakano/ Akira Hokuto v. Mayumi Ozaki/ Cutie Suzuki (11/27/95)- 603 points (B:#6 A: #49 J: #70 G:#76)

39. Rey Mysterio jr v. Eddie Guerrero (09/08/97)- 593 points (A: #13 J: #64 G: #65 B: #69)

40. Sting v. Bret Hart (10/18/99)- 591 pionts (G: #27 J: #34 A: #65 B:#87)

41. Rey Mysterio jr/ Juventud Guerrera v. La Parka/ Psicosis (12/15/97)- 587 points (J: #11 B:#25 G:#82 A: #99)

42. Eddie Guerrero v. Psicosis (07/08/96)- 587 points (J: #16 A: #24 B: #35 G: #142)

43. Rey Mysterio jr/ Juventud Guerrera/ Hector Garza v. Psicosis/ La Parka/ Silver King (12/22/97)- 582 points (A: #51 G: #52 J: #57 B:#62)

44. Scott Steiner v. Sting (05/27/96)- 577 points (B: #19 A: ##38 J: #83 G: #87)

45. Raven/ Perry Saturn v. Chris Benoit/ Dean Malenko (05/17/99)- 574 points (J: #38 B: #41 G: #74 A:#77)

46. Eddie Guerrero v. Ultimo Dragon (10/06/97)- 566 points (B: #9 G: #61 A:#80 J: #88)

47. Chris Jericho v. Mike Enos (09/23/96)- 560 points (J#31 B: #42 A: #50 G: #121)

48. Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio jr (10/27/97)- 559 points (A: #20 #55 A:#67 J: #103)

49. Rey Mysterio jr v. Juventud Guerrera (02/24/97)- 556 points (J: #43 B: #67 A:#68 G:#70)

50. Goldberg v. Raven (04/20/98)- 549 points (A: #12 J:#58 B: #90 G: #95)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1985

Dallas, TX

1) The Missing Link vs. Jack Victory – 2
2) Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts vs. David Peterson & Mark Youngblood – 3
3) Chris Adams & Gino Hernandez vs. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich – 5

I laughed at Jack Victory calling himself “the New Jersey heart throb”. He clearly belongs nowhere near the Jersey Shore, if you catch my drift. He was caught in quite a “situation” here with Link hitting his big stuff and Victory taking it like a champ. Post match brawl with Link and Rick Rude was more physical than anything in the match itself. Peterson and Youngblood kept Gordy and his perm down by working the knee early. I was hoping to see Gordy stiff these fools so I was a bit disappointed in the fact that it seemed like he was taking it easy. Peterson was the best of his team and I’m beginning to think that time may have forgotten him because his offense, much like his dirty porn stache, was great. Adams had a fantastic sell of Kerry’s discus punch early on. Kerry was throwing some hard shots on offense, including a real hard one to Gino’s ribs. The double claw spot from the Von Erichs was really nice and had the crowd going crazy. Really liked Kevin dropping hard knees to Adams’ shoulder. Thought the over-the-top DQ finish was a cheap way to finish as I was enjoying everything up to that point. The dissention spot between Adams and Gino started the seeds for a break-up and feud between the two.

4) The Grappler & The Great Kabuki vs. Brian Adias & Iceman King Parsons – 4
5) Lance Von Erich vs. Rick Rude – 4
6) John Tatum & Missy Hyatt vs. Scott Casey & Sunshine – 4

Second half opened with a pretty good tag match based around a feud between Brian Adias and The Grappler. I was not impressed at all by Adias. His headlocks were expressionless, much like a Joey Votto at bat, and he sort of felt in the way. Grappler was my favorite in the match by far. He was just pummeling people hard and tossing them around the ring without any care in the world. As always, Rude’s bumping and selling were top notch. Lance’s move of choice seemed to be armdrags as he used them quite a bit. Not sure if I by the ending with the referee getting poked in the eye and still being able to see Percy Pringle stick a cane in the corner and call for a DQ. This really didn’t do much for me as it seemed like they were coasting. Haven’t seen much Scott Casey, or John Tatum for that matter, so this could be interesting. As expected, the guys worked the bulk of the match with Tatum doing some great heel mannerisms, strutting and tripping Sunshine when she got her first tag of the match. The stuff between the two girls was about was you would expect, them just sort of rolling around and slapping each other. Sunshine showed some fire though. Nice finish with Sunshine knocking Tatum off balance on the ropes and Casey getting the pin.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

NHO 6th Anniversary Special! WWE invades Puerto Rico!

Brian: This is a special edition sixth-year anniversary four-man co-review from the Never Hand Over crew. Before this blog, we ran this project as a sub-section over on my site Review the World, and prior to that, it had an online home previously on some personal web space I'd had just as a hobby for Jessie and myself. When we first came up with the name "Never Hand Over" and the idea of compiling our reviews somewhere this compilation, at the time as a VHS cassette we'd ordered from Highspots, was the first thing Jessie and myself sat together and watched, took notes on in our little composition notebooks, and reviewed. We watched it downstairs in my parents' dingy basement on uncomfortable chairs, on this little white TV set I had propped up on a tin popcorn canister (you know the three-tier kind with cheese, butter, and caramel you see especially around the holidays?). We've came a long way since then, personally, and as genuine fans of all things professional wrestling. To celebrate this anniversary of our blog we decided to dust off (literally) the old tape and circulate it amongst our current four-man squad of combat analysts. Here's our research:

1.) Taka Michinoku vs. Val Venis – G: 3 J:4 B: 5 A:5

G: Alright, Val is a great worker in ring we all know that, but this match was about as pointless as a broken pencil. Val commanded the ring the entire time with the presence of a porn star mixed with an elephant, with all eyes on him. Taka ate his offense -- I sincerely hope that's all Taka ate from Val. Pardon the pun, but this was weak sauce.

J: So, this tape holds special meaning for both brian and myself; it was the first video we sat down and took notes (diligent ones) on for a future review to be posted online. It’s weird watching this now because I remember being keyed into every little thing watching this the first go around, even remarking on Taka’s amazing leg strength. I try to look more wholly at every match now, so what I saw here was a solid 7 minute match that could air on Smackdown. Both guys had decent strikes, they moved well from spot to spot and the finish was well done, if not a little telegraphed. I’d def. use this sauce to season any well cooked meats and stay away from the Heffalump with the huge genitalia Geo noticed watching this.

Brian: I dug this. I actually think to call it comparable to American TV is a disservice to it. If this was on Sunday Night Heat circa '98 it'd probably be a soulless demonstration. Here with less restrictions I felt they really had a better match for it. This had a nice pace, never slowed, TAKA bumped around well, Val's real great at little subtitles i.e. shaking his arm out, etc. The only thing I didn't like was during the finish, Michinoku gets knocked off of the buckles but falls into position too conveniently then lays there flatter than a board waiting for Val's splash.

A: I don’t use a VCR on a regular basis anymore (who really does?) so I had quite the adventure trying to get a working VCR to play this tape after the first one broke and ate the tape I put in to test it. Technical craziness aside, let’s get to the action. Not sure what match Geo was watching but I enjoyed the hell out of this. It had a good, breakneck pace with Taka being a bump machine and Val’s offense clicking on all cylinders. I’m surprised nobody else noticed Taka’s awesome moonsault to the outside. Found myself thinking this could’ve main evented Heat or even been a good prelim match on some early Smackdown.

2.) Edge & Gangrel vs Miguel Perez & Hurrican Castillo – G: 4 J:4 B: 6 A: 3

G: Not bad. Gangrel looked like shit, but Edge made up for his weak and horrendous performance, working the two natives in a decent match. Perez and Castillo looked right at home, working a solid in-ring style that surprisingly didn't feature many high spots. I really dug the finish because it felt like it flowed and fit together perfectly, with Edge doing most of the work in the match. Gangrel held this match down more than concrete boots held down countless members of the mob.

J: Good call, the natives here seemed right at home, as if at any minute a pounchy abuelita could hand them a plate of rice and beans and turn on the Futbal game. I didn’t see any foul play from the faux vampire here but I think Edge being so fresh faced in the business definitely helped this along. I remember us shitting on the outside brawl between Gangrel and Castillo outside with the ridiculous powerbomb through table attempt while Edge and Miguel were inside trying to orchestrate an Owen Hart victory roll without the victory.

Brian: Were you guys watching this on mute? I was flabbergasted at the crowd heat these guys got largely due to the Los Boricuas. The meat of this isn't anything new or unique like a holographic baseball card was circa '93 but real good formula and for being greener than She-Hulk's inner-thighs Edge was perfectly acceptable. Watching this nearly a decade ago I dismissed the brawl because it felt "sloppy" but now I actually dig the unorthodox vibe of it, Gangrel bouncing off of the table makes more sense (and is way more chaotic) then it breaking in two like a Master Splinter demo, and the post-match scuffle also had me rolling with Castillo cracking Gangrel with a chair legs-first.

A: I guess now it’s everyone else’s turn to ask me “what match were you watching?” For some reason, be it Gangrel’s shoddy offense or even the fact that the middle of the match was clipped up, I didn’t like this much. It took me a while to figure out who the Boricuas were, mainly because Perez was sans his forestry upper torso. One of my notes says “nice dive by Boricua #1” in reference to Castillo’s dive to the outside. I didn’t like the end either with Gangrel taking a powerbomb on a table that probably lasted longer that his WWF stint as a whole.

3.) LOD vs. Edge & Gangrel – G: 3 J:4 B: 3 A: 3

G: This had as much of a sense of direction as an inebriated Bruiser Brody wandering the streets of Osaka looking for a whorehouse. Gangrel showed just how bad he is with another negative five-star performance, and Edge was forced to carry the team yet again. The new Hawk was stuck in a headlock and was milking the crowd, while Animal sat on the outside yelling, "Come on, Hawk!" That was just so weird seeing him call this lunk "Hawk." In the end, the match went nowhere which was coincidental because it was the same feeling I had about my life during those 5 to 8 minutes.

J: I think I just gave this a mercy point, my reasoning falls somewhere between respect for the careers of the LOD and the Brood’s seeming effort in trying to make “chicken salad out of chicken shit,” as Mr. Lesnar would say. Gangrel don’t do a lot for me either, but I don’t see where the hate is coming from during these matches; Hawk is easily the worst of the bunch here. With his mottled facepaint job, homeless drug binge facial hair, and a haircut that hadn’t seen soap or a comb for a week, he looked downright dreadful. You know it’s time to hang it up when you go for your flying shoulderblock and before you leave your feet, you decide not to. Animal looked game, but I think the extra weight in front seemed to weigh him down. The finish was about as smooth as an Arnold pickup line but the idea behind it was solid.

Brian: Wait, am I mistaking what you wrote, Geo, or are you really inferring that this wasn't Hawk? You referred to him as the "new Hawk" and later snidely dismiss Animal cheering on "Hawk". To clear the air -- that's Hawk. Granted, he's seen much better days, he look tired, drugged, and unkempt here. The extended headlock sequence didn't seem like psych but the equivalent to a 15-min. break at work. Finish was falling apart and odd seeing Hawk using a top rope splash to get a victory; unsurprisingly the youngster Edge takes the fall for the second straight match, earning his stripes, yet ironically he'd go on to be more successful than the whole lot of them.

A: This was not either team’s best performance and I think that everyone has pretty well covered the atrocities of this match. From what I saw, Gangrel seemed more concerned about making goofy faces and his general feeling towards the match struck me as if he’d rather be at his vampiric cult gathering and discussing Stuart Townsend’s performance as Lestat in Queen of the Damned with other vampire wannabees. How Hawk, looking highly disshelved and unclean like a homeless man in front of a Reds game, was able to pull off the Doomsday Device spot was beyond me.

4.) Hardy Boyz vs. Ricky Banderas & Ricky Santana- G: 4 J:4 B: 4 A: 4

G: This was another one of those matches that I don't know what to make of. While Matt and Jeff were delivering and the two natives were working pretty decently with them, the overall match felt like a jigsaw puzzle with four-fifths of the pieces missing. There was no sense of control by the ref, who seemed to be more concerned with the cervezas and illicit substances being served after the match than with what was unfolding between the ropes. Finish was some shitty angle development between Banderas and Satana. Get the fuck back to the lower 48, gents.

J: Banderas (who goes onto be Mesias in AAA) was definitely the driving force behind this. He made a really spirited comeback near the end of the match that I dug. Hardys just didn’t seem to work in this environment, which surprised me. Santana needed to be put out to pasture long before this. Nice puzzle analogy Geo; remember: always start with the corner pieces and work inwards. If there’s a warm soul out there who actually was looking forward to the conclusion of that partner dissolution, find a porcupine, take your clothes off, and fucking give it a Banzai Drop, Yokozuna style.

Brian: Hardy brothers touring the islands getting some seasoning (and I'm not talking about paprika). This was a bit of a slog to get through but started picking up in the last act. It was the first match to have a false finish with Jeff hitting the "Swanton Bomb" presumably to end it only for the cover to get broken. I'm assuming this lead to a battle of the Ricky's which has to be floating around out there somewhere.

A: Seems as if we’re all in agreeance with our scores here. Most likely the only bout on the tape in which we will all agree. I was watching this match and Jeff Hardy really seemed to stand out, in a good way with some really sharp offense. My immediate thought was “why is it that I like Attitude era Jeff better than current Jeff?” The answer would be that back in ’99 (or whenever this was filmed), he wasn’t the drug trafficking, pilled out, dopehead he is now. I agree with that nearfall off the swanton, Brian. Some really good stuff there.

5.) Ivory vs. Tori – G: 1 J:1 B: 3 A: 2

G: What a shitstain of a match. This is the kind of thing you would watch when you are feeling like the world has left you behind and you need something to be pissed off at. There was absolutely zero technical ability being shown, and the offense was looser than both of their snatches.

J: This is the kind of match you only watch when you’re doing a project for your favorite blog that requires you to watch it. Other than that, never watch this. I kind of thought they would have some sloppy brawling and an errant unkempt nail from Ivory’s hand may rip open Tori’s cheek, or perhaps an overtanned, sloppy breast might pop out, but no, they did a few basic wrestling spots before Tori performed perhaps the worst finish I’ve seen in many , many years.

Brian: I didn't think this was all bad (save for the rushed nature and unsightly finish). The beginning was a brawl that was in the same vein of a lot we've seen in 2011 with the women of TNA, they've done a lot of backstage and ringside fights, and this felt similar in tone. When it got into the ring it felt almost like a squash, Ivory was all over her, they were moving a mile per min. (too fast in fact) although all the kickouts added a sense of desperation. The only real eyesore was the Tori-Plex (fallaway powerbomb) as it looked clunky but its a move with a high level of difficultly and the fact Ivory didn't float over like a lifeless dummy almost adds to the realism.

A: There’s more meat on a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich than there was in this match. The opening brawl was the only thing that really stood out to me. Other than that, this was about as good of an idea as inviting 80’s hair metal band Ratt to play at a 9 year old’s birthday party.

6.) Jeff Hardy & Julio Sanchez vs. Rasta Man & Andy Anderson - G:5 J:4 B: 5 A: 4

G: This was the first match I thought was actively good. The selling here was pretty much top notch. Rasta Man's sell of Hardy's splash in the corner looked really great, as did the selling by this Anderson fellow. Jeff and Sanchez worked well together, bringing a similar aerial-based offense to the match that clicked instantly, leading to a nice flow of offense from both guys. The heel team was a punching bag for Hardy, who pretty much stayed on offense throughout. Good job by the heel team making Hardy look good.

J: Strangely, Dinero & Jeff worked much better together than Jeff & Matt did on this set. Opposition was a strange team, Rasta comes off like an Ezekiel Jackson with much more potential and a looser frame. When you hear a name like Andy Anderson, you think: “Middle School Geography teacher” but this dude looked more like “Middle school dropout.” I can’t say this was actively good but it definitely had a much fresher vibe to it than everything before hand. I also dug AWF all star Fidel Sierra at ringside making his crazy facials as well.

B: This had the crowd behind it and a nice, fast-paced flow that kept it rollicking. Julio looked much better than Matt did previously on the set including getting real nice air on a dive to the floor (only to be upstaged by Jeff). Andy didn't look like any Andy I've ever known, not the one from Toy Story, not the childhood friend I had from See Ave., etc. Rasta had a bankable look. The flash finish was fine, didn't hurt the heels, although pretty sure Hardy wasn't even legal.

A: When I first saw Anderson’s name on this tape, my immediate thought was “I wonder if this is the same Andy Anderson who fought John Hess on UFC 5?” While I’m not sure if it is or not (have to find UFC 5 to even find out), I found him to be a rather good addition to the match and he was impressive early on. Rasta Man I though was very good as well and in a later life probably would’ve been added as a Shad Gaspard stand-in as part of Cryme Tyme, even though he’s way better than Shad ever was as a singles. Much like the other matches thus far, the action here was non-stop. Things that stood out for me was a cool dive spot and a nice sell by Rasta off a spring board leg lariat.

7.) Jeff Hardy vs. Rasta Man – G: 4 J: 4 B: 5 A: 4

G: Like the match prior, the two worked together quite well, eating each others' offense and taking the usual bumps. Seemed kind of like one of those phoned-in performances from Hardy, though, as he didn't do much to really sell the match. Simply put, nothing was actively bad about it, but nothing was actively good... it was just kind of there.

J: From what I saw, Jeff looked about the same performance wise here. Rasta showed a bit more character though, and I was feeling this as a lightweight Jeff v. Umaga bout with the big guy hurting Jeff, but also bumping around for him. Don’t think Rasta’s strengths are in groundwork as Jeff’s selling’s not great there either. This didn’t get a lot of time either but gave Rasta an “E” for effort on that swanton.

Brian: I liked this and felt Jeff showed glimpses of what made him one of the most beloved WWE champions of the past decade here. Hardy was energetic when controlling the tempo including a leap off the top to the floor that he was almost too quick for his own good actually jumping before Rasta had even turned around to eat the bump. Biggest difference between then and now is Jeff usually found a way to pull out a victory but here lost rather soundly to Rasta. Jessie, that wasn't a bungled Swanton attempt but a "Buff Blockbuster"! Sort of a strange finish doing a showy flippy move for a guy that should have just been overpowering and mauling people.

A: This seemed almost like a carbon copy of the Jeff/Rasta man stuff from the tag match. Not saying that was bad by any means but for a singles, they probably should’ve put a little more thought into it rather than going through some of the previous spots the night before. Rasta didn’t seem like he was doing any selling at all and was out of place on a Hardy dive to the outside. Think I prefer the tag match that proceeded this.

8.) Val Venis vs. Miguel Perez –G: 5 J:5 B: 3 A: 3

G: This is one of those matches on the higher end of the 5 spectrum. Loved how Val was dominating Perez throughout the match -- seems to be a theme here with the WWF workers. The brawl on the outside worked pretty well, seeing Perez eat a table shot to the head and Val nailing him with lefts and rights. Felt like the headlock rest went too long, yet found myself kind of happy with it because it served to slow the match down in the usual erratic and uncontainable type of atmosphere that is usually prevalent in the lucha scene. Marred by a bad and hokey finish, it was still pretty good.

J: I’m a huge Val fan, pretty obvious by now, and one of the reasons I really dig his work is a match like this. There’s some realistic brawling aspects to it, nice, meaty punches, they go outside for a bit, always an extended part where someone works a lock of some type, and then a nice exchange of moves. Val knows precisely how to get mileage out of match by working up to the big stuff. Same token for Perez, who’s been around a long time. His punches were something to write home about. Geo, this is Puerto Rico, far different from Lucha Libre style, here you get a lot of crazy brawls, bloody gimmick matches but if you notice, nearly every bout starts with the basic stuff. Yep, finish hurt this one a lot, bunch of guys run in for a schmozz felt like the complete wrong ending here.

Brian: This is the first time I'm the low voter for something off of here but this didn't click with me. I was resting on a "4" throughout the duration of this, the bulk of it brawling, but the exchanges of dozens and dozens of punches felt more like the prototypical WWE main event style of the era (where guys like Austin, HHH, Rock, Undertaker, etc. would punch each other 60-120 times a match completely neutering the believability of striking) and not the slugfest I'd anticipated. I had to knock the score down another point for the worst finish I've seen so far: it's bad enough we got a ref bump, a run-in, etc. but for Castillo to just stand there over the ref as he made the count was lazy and ludicrous.

A: Brian, I’m with you on the low voter end of this one as originally I had given it a “4”, but thinking back on it and the shoddy finish, I felt that a “3” was more appropriate. The match here was joined in progress and everything up to the goofy and out of place ref bump was very enjoyable. Val’s facials throughout the match were most definitely the high point for this one for me.

9.) Taka Michinoku & Pepe Prado vs Super Crazy & Rey Bucanero – G:4 J:4 B: 5 A: 4

G:A bit too much going on at the same time for my taste, but it was still a fun little match up. Taka was tearing it up and looked the smoothest out of all four guys. Crazy was second in command to that title as he seemed to really be in control throughout. Pepe struck me as shitty. To be honest, I'd rather watch a skunk with the same name work with Taka. As I tried to pay attention to what was happening, the finish came out of nowhere which absolutely killed the match for me. The best way I can describe it is a powerbomb roll through face-plant (sounds much, much cooler than it was) by Bucanero I believe that was botched completely. Yuck.

J: If not for that finish, this was an easy 5 for me. That’s the 3rd match that ends with that shitty reverse powerbomb, guess it was the backcracker of ’99. I didn’t think this was too busy at all, but provided a nice change of pace from the slow methodical war we just watched. And these guys knew how to run this type of match too. Taka and Crazy were both on. Seeing these guys work that pace and style here made me as happy as our evacuation from Afghanistan. I wanted Bucanero to do more, but it looked like his mask gave him no vision whatsoever. Pepe I didn’t think was bad, he’s a total meathead but could have had potential if given the right coaching.

Brian: I found this to be a lot of fun, and liked the middle (meat) of the match enough to overlook the imperfection of its finish (it was Prado, by the way Geo, not Bucanero who blew the fallaway powerbomb on poor Crazy). This was a nice change of pace like ditching the unhealthy sugary soda for some aqua.

A: Seeing Super Crazy before he became super bloated is always a nice thing and seeing him work against Taka is even better. Not sure who this Pepe Prado character is but I wasn’t really too impressed by him. I have a note here that says “Prado in scorpion like he’s taking a nap”. I’m sure I knew what that meant at the time but days later I have no clue what that means. Perhaps it means exactly what it says, who knows? Taka was again a bump machine in another match that wasn’t bad and wasn’t good. It was just there.

10) Gangrel vs Ricky Banderas – G:2 J:3

 B: 2 A: 2

G: So I've determined that Gangrel is about as useful as an androgynous hermaphrodite prostitute who hangs out a church looking for clients. My God was this horrendous. Banderas threw some decent kicks, but even he couldn't get anything watchable out of the psuedo-vampire. Get the fuck back in the coffin, bitch.

J: Hey, even people of faith need a little brains from a multi-sex organed person with warm blood and a mouth sometimes! I don’t loathe Gangrel as much as my colleague but think he could have provided some much needed direction to young Banderas, being the veteran performer. Gangrel actually pulled off some nice power moves, as did Banderas but this felt empty and void of any guts whatsoever.

Brian: They just needed to slow down a bit, I mean, if you're paying $10 for a transgender handjob behind the church pews you don't want to rush through it. Felt unkempt and directionless. I also thought Banderas' kick to set-up his finisher was laughably weak, looked like a toddler pushing over a tower of blocks with his foot.

A: I’m not really quite sure how to comment about what my peers are talking about here so I belive I’ll just abstain from that and say that the only good thing here was Banderas’ powerslam in a match filled with lots of horrible punching. Gangrel’s performance here was worse than the entire cast of the Twilight saga (take your pick of which film in the series, all of them have substandard acting).

11.) Headbangers vs Los Boricuas – G: 2 J:2 

B: 3 A: 2

G: More atrocity lay just around the corner on this tape. Is this thing cursed?! Headbangers were more concerned with flashing their opponents by lifting their skirts to reveal white biker shorts underneath -- get the fuck out right now. Just leave. Absolutely no sense of direction, no flow, and looked about as good as Mosh and Thrash

J: I decided to answer your query, Geo, and set up a Ouija board before watching this next match. I lay the still warm videocassette in the middle, and placed my hand on the decoder piece and asked “Is this tape cursed?” After being pulled this way and that on the board, my answer finally came to me, which I spelled out on a piece of paper to say “As sure as Vince Russo pees while sitting down.” I decided to put an end to this project, so I tossed the evil tape into my trash can. I go back upstairs to check on my daughter taking a nap, but I feel my feet pulled out from under me, being dragged down the hall into my bedroom. The tape was back, and in my VCR, playing as I sat against my bed, pulled tightly, feeling some icy fingers opening my eyes to their maximum capacity. This match played, and my god the horror. Rain poured down, lightning cracked, my windows flew open as old IWA event flyers poured in my window, and suddenly, Mosh appeared to me, as he bit my Ouija board in half with monstrous teeth, shaping one piece of the board into a shiv, then he said “Time to get Brody on your ass” as he repeatedly jammed the blade into my side. I awoke in a sweaty fever. I wiped it from my forehead, grabbed the remote, and pushed play stating, to any entity still there, “Never fucking Hand fucking Over” and I watched this match from start to finish, is some evil spirit residing in these tape reels going to make me say this was any good? Hell no, the pace was shit, Bangers were joking around, snickering at their surroundings, the locker room emptied for a dumb ending and I felt at peace, as my pen scrawled out the number 2. A calmness came over me.

Brian: You can't have a comp. from this era without your requisite Headbangers match. I felt the tinges of ennui watching this as it felt like being stuck in quicksand. Nothing here's going to make you forget your favorite entity in the Luger vs. Flair cannon.

A: I’m going to transcribe directly from my notes here as I think what I quickly jotted down sums this match up perfectly … Very little of value --- Nobody went above cruise control --- Bad finish w/ ref bump … There that sums it up perfectly. By the way Jessie, I loved your story of what happened when you sought out the answer to Geo’s query about if this tape was cursed or not.

12.) Val Venis vs Sean Stasiak – G: 4 J:5 
B: 5 A: 5

G: Stasiak seemed to be a bit more concerned displaying his baby-oiled arms than with the match. Venis actually played the face in peril here, and he did so pretty well. Val made Stasiak looked good seeing as Sean loafed around the ring like fucking Shrek. Venis' comeback wasn't anything to write home about, but it worked pretty well and got the crowd hot. Myself? That's another story.

J: This is a great example of a house show type match, with 24/7 so prevalent in the tape trading world, we’ve gotten the chance to peep so many lost and legendary arena shows and most times you’ll get a really solid 15 min. offering where both guys play their roles really well, both guys get a control section and a nice wrap up. I don’t think Stasiak seemed distracted at all, this is the most serious I think I’ve ever seen him. Val was great on defense, taking his token headstand DDT sell at one point. Just a nice change of pace from the multitude of interference in most matches and I relished the clean finish.

Brian: I liked this. If this would have happened on TV that year it would have likely ended up on some WWE year-end lists. This had a very punchy style to it but unlike Venis vs. Perez I felt like the strikes here progressed the match and helped move it forward. The only thing I didn't like was Val's spinebuster which looked like complete dog shit, just criminally bad, but as Jessie mentioned it lead to a clean finish with the "Money Shot" so aces overall.

A: When I think of Shawn Stasiak, two things immediately come to mind … first, his ridiculous character “Meat” in ’99 WWF and second, him doing a Mr. Perfect rip-off in mid-2000 WCW. One thing that doesn’t come to mind are the words “pleasant surprise” when discussing a Stasiak match. However, this may be the only time that phrase does come up as this was exactly that, a pleasant surprise. The pacing I thought was very good, probably better than any match on this set and it didn’t feel like a 100 MPH car crash, breakneck sprint that some of the other matches were. This also just goes to show how underrated Val Venis is as he managed to get a match that was almost a “6” out of his rather mediocre opponent.

13.) Prince Albert vs Savio Vega – G: 5 J:5 

B: 3 A: 3

G: I liked this. You've got your typical Albert match here - the big monster taking on the smaller guy. Thing is, Vega isn't that small, but the story still worked quite well in this match because Savio sold Albert's offense like was a train... A TRAIN. As the match continued, Savio would continue to get a beatdown from Bernard and continued to sell it like he was hit by a truck. Finish came quickly and worked just fine with a roll up on Albert by Vega to win the match by the skin of his teeth.

J: Yep, flash pin finish after the story they told, I would have went home happy from that show, especially if the concession stand had onions for their hot dogs. Vega, as we discovered on the Superstars 96 set, is an ace worker and never really got enough main event slots. Albert has become a feared and top guy in New Japan and rightly so. This is a match that I think would be even better now, with both guys having more experience. Albert’s that big guy who knows he can be dominate but is always willing to make his opponent look good, it’s that Vader quality.

Brian: I was honestly expecting more. Savio was the big gem on the WWF Superstars '96 project of ours. This felt largely one-note with Albert getting his control segment but it never really deviating from formula or feeling fresh and/or interesting.

A: Albert here was probably still in his first full year on the WWF roster and wasn’t anywhere near as good as he would be as A-Train or is currently as Giant Bernard in New Japan. I was hoping for more from this match but didn’t get it. The only selling I remember from it was Albert selling smacks to his ass as if he’d just taken a real painful shit.

14.) Bonus Match- Tiger Mask vs Antifaz – G: 4 J:4 

B: 4 A: 4

G: We couldn't leave well enough alone? Luckily this match wasn't bad. It was a simple match that featured the more technical aspect of lucha than the aerial aspect. In all honesty, it wasn't what I was expecting to see. Time was taken, maneuvers were executed well, and the flow of the match worked well. Wish they'd have been given more time, but after witnessing something like the prior matches, you take what you can get.

Final Thought: If this is the best you can do, then ho-lee-shit I'd hate to see your worst. What is seen cannot be unseen.

J: TM has not changed much up in all this time; but here he’s doing a lot of simple shit and he’s doing it well. Antifaz, with his oily chest hair, was a good match up for TM as he never tried to raise the stakes of this and outshine him. As a bonus bout, I had no problems with this, it went about 6 minutes, had a really fun ending and both guys looked for the better coming out of it.

Final Thoughts: I obviously liked this much more than Geo, as I’ve seen far, far worse offerings, such as a big handful of IWA Mid South shows with shitty death match stuff, honestly I’d rather watch this than most weeks of Raw or Impact TV with tons of promos a few short matches. This tape is wrestling through the whole thing except a few short interviews. While there are some really obvious black spots on the action (Hawk’s performance, the women’s match, Headbangers, all the run ins) there’s such a variety of workers and styles here this is still a fun watch. With 14 matches, nothing really gets over 15 mins. Of time so there’s nothing you can’t get through. When we first watched this tape oh, probably a decade ago, we were just so excited of the prospect of writing about watching wrestling, this has always been held in high esteem by us, but I think we’ve always known what exactly it held, as I knew there would be some bad stuff here and nothing moved beyond those expectations. I really enjoyed Val’s presence and one could argue without his 3 singles bouts, this tape would have been a big loser. Let’s see what the other guys have to say about it.

Brian: A fun little bonus match, the other guy's are underselling it slightly, as it really had a couple spectacular flying spots. The finish was the only thing that knocked it from being a "5" as Tiger's running sit-out powerbomb looked clunkier than the script for Shutter Island.

Final Thoughts: Fun to revisit something with fresh eyes we lionized after seeing over a decade ago. It was a brisk watch and fairly fun throughout. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing more IWA Puerto Rico of this era (or any for that matter). Now you'll excuse me I've got a stack of movies that need attending to.

A: I noticed I forgot to score this when I took my notes so I’m going with the general consensus here and giving it a “4”. Tiger Mask had a nice suicide plancha as the highlight for me. I felt this was in the same vain as a lot of the other matches, fast-paced, minimal selling, and just going from move to move. As a whole though, this tape was an interesting watch and had some unique matches to say the least. If you’re a fan of ’99 WWF, I would suggest seeking this tape out and giving it at least one watch, especially for the Val matches.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jess and Geo Co-Rev -- CMLL Sin Salida 2010

CMLL - Sin Salida 2010 - Arena México

El Hijo del Fantasma, La Mascara, Shocker & Ke-Monito vs. Psicosis, Olimpico, Alebrije & Cuije - G: 3 J: 4

G: So I honestly had no clue what the fuck was going on here. As per usual, we had legal man problems. The more and more I watch, the more and more I start to understand that regardless of who is in the ring, a pinfall will occur and the referee will count it. At one point we had all eight men in the ring hitting offense while simultaneously hitting lateral presses and pinfalls which were counted by the ref, regardless of who was pinning who. We also got one of my least favorite things in wresting EVER: multi-man pileup pins. We seriously had a four-on-one pin happen and the ref counted it. Fucking yuck. The only reason this garnered a "3" rating is the fact that Olimpico was laying his shit and just being a real asshole towards Ke-Monito, which made me laugh.

J: There's good and bad points here; legal man stuff, while the foundation of wrestling, isn't as prevalent in lucha libre so it doesn't bother me as much but there was a ton of stuff going on with everyone in at once. The mini's got annoying honestly. I really enjoyed La Mascara here, all his stuff looked tight, some good dives, played well with the comedy aspects of this too. Match had a good runtime but a lot could have been cut out.

Máscara Dorada, Mr. Aguila, Mistico vs Averno, Negro Casas, Volador Jr - J: 6 G: 6

J: This is the cream of the crop in CMLL, or was before Jean Paul raided their locker room. Most matches do feature Mistico heavily, this was no exception, he got his mask ripped fairly quickly as well. Agreed, some really nice superkicks like watching Chris Adams blow through a bunch everytime he wrestles. Mistico's big dive was tits, but i thought Mascara Doradas' was even more impressive since he dove from the ring and got height like I've not seen since those sky divers on 60 minutes a few months ago (they've since been used in the new Transformers film, which by the way, has any other beloved 80's children franchise been ruined any worse than this one?) Averno was solid, but as you said more in the background here. i didn't recognize Aguila much at all, but he was on too.

G: This was so much better than the opener. You can't even really compare the two. Mistico was absolutely killing it in this match. Early on we get a battle up on the stage which featuring Mistico flying off the platform onto the awaiting Volador 15 feet below, who took the brunt of Mistico's weight right on his chest. The match progressed in good fashion into the ring where there were actually some decent looking super kicks from Volador, which Mistico sold by flopping hard onto his lats. This match showcased Volador vs. Mistico. The other guys were simply there to fill the void. I would be remiss not to point out Dorada's excellent flying ability as he simply ascends the ropes by climbing up them and the flipping to the outside onto his awaiting opponents. Mistico also brought this great intensity by ripping off the masks of his opponents by tearing them off of their caras with one motion. Really great heat with some pretty insane high spots. Really fun match.

Rotoporky, Strongman, Rayo de Jalisco Jr vs Giant Bernard, Mascara Año 2000, Universo 2000 - G: 3 J: 4

G: Rotoporky was taking nutshots in the corner worse than any extreme ball-tapping I've ever witnessed or been a part of. Strongman reminds me of Joe Doering plus 50lbs of pure muscle that came about from sticking needles in the folds of arms. Along with all of these discoveries on my end, I have also found that Bernard looks more out of place than Motley Crue drummer Nikki Sixx at a rehabilitation facility. He spent the first part of the match meandering around the ring like a lost child in Walmart whose mom is behind the building free-basing a rock of Belushi. I was laughing my ass off watching Porky run to the the turnbuckle. Imagine a morbidly obese man running a marathon and you've pretty much got the visual needed. God, this match is worse than that shitty Tim Allen flick Christmas with the Kranks. The only draw to this match were the Bernard and Strongman exchanges. Other than that, kind of shitty. Match was about as pointless as Jason Vorhees' swimming buddy.

J: Loved your rant on this one. It doesn't warrant much conversation. What was the purpose of that nut shot segment? Wasn't even funny. What streaming website is your “nut tapping games” video available for me to share on Facebook? Bernard seemed perplexed as to what he should even do. I liked some of Jalisco's selling here but there wasn't much for him to do. Strongman is good in doses, and liked him eating a big front kick but no, this wasn't too good.


J: This is probably my favorite thing I've seen from Taichi, he seemed to be able to cut loose here and really perform instead of underwhelming in Japan when he's always working a better junior than him. Maximo look pathetically out of shape but he could really go. I actually liked the rollups, maybe there were a lot but they never lost the crowd with them, and they had good transitions in between. Maximo's tiger bomb won the match but i've not seen that move look as weak as it did here.

G: Taichi was taking it to the master of androgyny, Maximo. The forearms laid in by Taichi were quite well placed. The pacing of the match worked to an extent in that Taichi really was in control for the first half. In all honesty, that's probably why I liked the first half a lot better than the second half. After the first fall, Maximo gained the upper hand and worked an offense so bland it probably would've tasted like tofu. The roll ups got so monotonous during the match that I found myself wishing that the ref would just hurry up and count the fall. As my impatience grew along with the shenanigans, I began to think that Maximo was surely going to pull out the win. Taichi heeled it up by pretending to have been kicked in the dick by Maximo, which got the fans pissed and worked decently. Overall, though, monotony at it's finest.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WCW Thunder 8/15/98

1. Scott Hall vs. Konnan - 3
2. Horace Boulder vs. Raven - 3
3. WCW TV Champion Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 3

First match was slightly more competitive than I'd anticipated while simultaneously being sort of cooperative like two buddies allowing the other guy to get their stuff in. Hall's histrionics were a minor highlight. Scott held Konnan's head in-between his legs for a curiously long time before hitting the Outsider's Edge making Konnan look like even more of a punta than usual. Boulder and Raven was physical and I was kind of digging it, Horace just tossing his big frame around the ring with some unforeseen gusto, but the overblown finish featuring the entire Raven's Flock as well as appearances by Saturn and Kanyon pretty much undercut the good credit it'd earned. The whole lot in the ring doing stagey stuff was just plain goofy and Sick Boy seemed to be conjuring Buffalo Bill from Ferreri's Touche pas à la femme blanche (Don't Touch the White Woman!). Next match seemed sort of plodding, while their ability itself isn't in question, this felt fairly safe and flat. Then you've got Chavo's obsession with a hobbyhorse he affectionally dubbed "Pepé". Was I the only one when at the end of their program together Smiley tossed Pepé into a wood-chipper I'd secretly hoped he'd have pushed Chavo in instead? It's funny that Chavo recently asked for his WWE released for not being taken seriously when he's been treated like a joke almost 13 years now.

4. Disco Inferno & Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy - 4
5. Kevin Nash vs. Curt Hennig - 3

If I told you the next match featured a tragic love story on the level of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde would you believe me? Well, it didn't, but was still fun enough. Watching some Wright over the last year I've discovered he surprisingly as some intensity in his work. The finish saw Tokyo Magnum (who was like Alex's groupie) get pulled in the way of a charging Johnny Grunge and driven through a table leading the distracted Grunge victim to a Wright neckbreaker. Post-match stuff was goofy as all hell with Meng running down destroying everybody, Rocco Rock perched up on to the top buckle far too early for his spot so unsuccessfully tried to balance up there like a putz, etc. Next match was short, Hennig has a good strategy targeting the leg, but this was mainly just Nash getting himself over per normal. It had a "fuck finish" as Rick Rude slid into the ring and begun loosening up his J.C. Penney suit as if to go at it with Nash serving as a distraction for Hall to do a run in leading to an extended beatdown on Nash (who was saved by Luger wearing a t-shirt tucked into black denim jeans?). I noticed Rude's strikes were the crispest I'd seen all night and he'd been retired for at least a few years at that point.

6. Stevie Ray vs. Eddy Guerrero - 3
7. Bret Hart vs. WCW US Champion Lex Luger - 4

I liked this on paper more than most and while Eddy had some flourishes bad execution was really its downfall. Most notably Ray blew a bicycle kick and Eddy botched some sort of springboard set-up. Main event was dryer than a mouth full of Zesta crackers. Hart was methodical in his attack and Lex tried to sell the damage appropriately. This didn't have the big match feel that would have benefited it. Lex took a pretty nasty DDT on a steel chair. I don't really buy guys passing out while in certain submissions. A choke? Yes. But a Sharpshooter? It really only took you six seconds to lose consciousness while in a leg hold? Bret wins the belt in unceremonious fashion and just walks back to the locker rooms seemingly unmoved by the moment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NJPW Best of the Super Jr. XVIII 5/26/11

NJPW 「BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII ~Bring it on!~」, 5/26/11 (Thur) 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall
1,750 Spectators

1.) KUSHIDA vs. Daisuke Sasaki - G: 3 B: 3

G: With a tad bit of time allotted, this match didn't exactly go places. KUSHIDA's fan following and presence in the ring in quite cool, as is his awesome hairstyle. Sasaki is a guy who I've only seen one other time and he seems rather green, but given time, I can see him going places. What we got in the small amount of time given wasn't exactly stellar, but it wasn't necessarily "bad" either. I particularly enjoyed the drop-kick spot. Not the strongest way to open the tournament, but not necessarily a bad way to do so either.

Brian: Believe this was my first look at Sasaki who'd fit in an an '80's hair metal cover band. I know karaoke is all the rage in Japan so sure Daisuke has done "Bloody Luxury" at least once. Watching a Super Jr. show while my son is running around with an Ultimo Dragon toy in his hand is surreal and wonderful. Sasaki slows it down like a guy turning on the R&B slow jams in attempt to wine, dine, and 69 their new girlfriend. I approve of both. Not the most riveting way to kick this thing off as Geo stated but better than most 2011 Raw output so I'm not complaining (yet). The finish (KUSHIDA's corkscrew moonsault he's dubbed "Midnight Express" like a true Condrey fan boy) was pretty.

2.) Taichi vs. Kenny Omega - G: 4 B: 4

G: The match went nine minutes, but what we got in those nine minutes was pretty good stuff. Omega and Taichi tore it up in that they hit their big moves, took their time, and made everything count. Taichi plays the asshole gimmick really well and comes off as a complete douche. Omega's in-ring and selling were up to snuff and looked good.

Brian: The Taichi I knew and tolerated used to wear all angelic white garb like the fallen snow on Christmas morning. Now he's got on black and a new attitude and why the hell not? Taichi chokes Kenny with a chair like Abdullah choking on a spare rib. The most dangerous thing in touring Japan isn't the physical in-ring style but the steak -- just ask David Von Erich. Kudos to Omega's selling as Geo noted as he's making it look like he's fighting for his life in there which is impressive considering Taichi's offense doesn't come off particularly devastating or anything. Omega gets his first points with the Croyt's Wrath.

3.) Mascara Dorada vs. Jushin Thunder Liger - G: 3 B: 4

G: So I will give this match one thing: Dorada is quite the impressive luchador. His movement in the ring is extremely smooth and, in my opinion, looks better than Mistico ever did. We got a crappy finish that knocked the match down a peg. Combined with the extremely short duration, it garnered this rating.

Brian: I think young Geo's underselling this one a tiny bit. Granted, it's less than 4 min. but as a showcase of the fliers (which is what BoSJ should be all about) this had a few gorgeous aerial displays. The countout finish didn't really bother me -- with nine or so nights of these shows I imagine it's difficult for a booker to develop 50+ finishes that are all unique as a snowflake.

Geo: Good point about the booking. I still really wanted to see the match go longer, though. We'll see more Dorada, though -- tonight was just a taste.

4.) Tiger Mask vs. TJP - G: 4 B: 5

G: This was fun. TJP obviously knew who he was going against as he took TM's offense well and was quite cooperative. I really wish we would've gotten some more TJP goodness as he took the brunt of TM's offense. TM's offense was fluid as always. Some decent mat wrestling from TJP complimented TM's high-flying style. Enjoyable overall.

Brian: TJP looked as slick as the oil spills in Spy Hunter. I wonder if TM IV will ever leave the mask behind in pursuit of stardom? I'm guessing not. Perkins with the neon orange and green, checkered print, and dyed tips is doing a totally radical '90's homage. Perkins' 450° splash was sweeter than anything you'd find by the Willy Wonka Candy Company. Tiger's match-ending scissored armbar looked sick as hell and just absolutley disgusting not to mention the way it was transitioned into was really cool. Great finish.

G: The scores given here (so far) are strictly due to time issues. I'm positive they would've been higher given more time, but hey, it's only night one.

5. Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue vs Masato Tanaka , Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito - B: 4 G: 4

Brian: Tanaka's forehead, yikes, looks like Ringo Starr if he'd had gotten shot in the face. Yujiro and Inoue's opening section was acceptable. Nagata tags in and stands erect like the surly old man he is. A decade ago Tenzan looked like a tank now he looks as formidable as a Razor scooter. I loved Nagata throwing kicks right into Naito's face. No denying Naito has charisma going for him but not sure why he's working in a t-shirt here as he doesn't have any unsightly bulges like Tommy Dreamer. Inoue picking up the win with the "Spear of Justice" made me do a spit-take with my dry roasted sunflower seed kernels.

Geo: That forehead has crevices Bear Grylles couldn't cross~! You set your DVR for the next season yet?! Anyway, what's with Naito wrestling with a shirt? I saw his match vs. Goto from this year and he was shirtless. Odd. His performance was pretty good, though. Tenzan is looking a bit jelly-like now, but it's all good- he still rocked it, especially the little things like arching his back after a slam. He got the crowd behind him while he was getting whipped, too. Loved Nagata coming in and spitting on his hands like a coal miner getting ready to dig into a mountain. Were Tanaka and Takahashi being dicks to the Young Lion by leaving the mat??

6. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Koji Kanemoto vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato - G: 6 B: 7

Geo: AWW YEAH. Hayato is a punk with a chip on his shoulder the size of Utah, and we all know Kanemoto has had to shut kids like this up before at the NJPW Dojo. Loved the stiff start, with Hayato not even letting Koj take off his ring jacket. He's such a prick, yet enjoyable to watch. Koj gave it right back, though, taming the Young Lion in a way that I'm sure PETA would not approve of. Sweet ankle lock variation by Koj, too. How would you like to get kicked in the chest so hard it hurt the guy doing it? DIZAMN! So stiff, so fun. Loved how they resorted to closed fists, too.

Brian: This was just great. These two have proven in the best they work splendidly together -- like root beer and ice cream. Right out the gate they were drilling each other and the intensity never let up. Hayato had some of the best facials of the show and I especially enjoyed him selling the own damage in his legs from kicking Kanemoto so damn hard. Nice finishing stretch and the guillotine choke counter out of Koji's German suplex attempt was creative and tenable.

7. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Great Sasuke vs TAKA Michinoku - G: 5 B: 4

Geo: How about a blast from the M-Pro past? Damn, two of my faves. Loved Taka being an asshole to Sasuke with the little kicks to the face while he was down. Sas looked good, too -- I especially loved that sweet kick to the back of the head. Taka still looks great, too -- how about that counter from the rana into the crossface?

Brian: I liked how TAKA changed the tide of the match with something as simple as an eye poke. I always thought when Tommy Dreamer did that somersault off of the apron he looked foolish but strangely always like it when Sasuke busts it out. Geo, I dug that counter, too! Even more so because of Michinoku's facial, like, "Wow, I guess I did just pull that off." I would have liked the submission finish more had Sasuke actively done any damage to TAKA's arm preceding it. This was decent but minimal and doesn't touch their match from 6/9/09 (which I reviewed here) and birthed this winner of a line: "TAKA socks Sasuke in the face like a guy coming home only to find out his dog took his last condom."

8. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kota Ibushi - G: 6 B: 6

Geo: Your boy, Kota, B. I'm a Taguch fan myself. Love that sweet ass mat wrestling to start. How ripped is Kota looking? Looks more legitimate now. I was happy to see them slow it down too, with Taguchi locking Kota's arms behind his back. Talk about tit for tat -- these guys were back and forth more than my choices between an eel roll and a spicy salmon avacado roll at the sushi bar. Taniguchi's finisher is nuts!

Brian: Yes, the Milano–saku Dodon's Throne is a great finisher, and even more importantly, how awesomely did Ibushi take/sell it? I dug some of Taguchi's facial recations. Kota's got the goods and has to be considered a potential candidate for winning it all. These two worked nicely together and my only reservation is we didn't get more.

9. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Prince Devitt vs Davey Richards - G: 6 B: 5

Geo: Hell to the Yeah. This is what I've been waiting for! Richards took it to Devitt once the bell rang and looked intense and looked to be in Japan to work his ass off. Speaking of which, he took that Bloody Sunday dive hard on the floor and that suicida was nuts! He also took that back bump on the stage and hit haaard! Davey is such a prick. Shoving the ref, drawing such great heat. Devitt is the complete opposite: he's adored by the fans and everyone gets behind him. Everyone loved his double stomp on Richards chest cavity. Nice finishing stretch to boot.

Brian: Geo made mention of many of the highspots and I particularly enjoyed the stuff out on the floor and stage as a change of pace. Richards' excesses weren't as glaring as normal. Looking at into the front row, nothing I like more than a girl in a summer dress and Great Sasuke mask. The finish seemed flat with Davey doing a powerbomb after some strikes and felt more like a transitional spot than a definitive match-ender.

Bonus Match: Kyosuke Mikami vs. Hiromu Takahashi - B: 2

Brian: Geo! You forgot a match. This is the pre-show contest as fans mill in tiredly. Some basic grappling and limb work. I always enjoy a missile dropkick. Mikami looks like a yard sale mark. Boston crab finish isn't as succulent as butter dipped crab leg.

Geo: A successful night one. Can't wait to dig into these other bad boys~!

Brian: Indeed. And we haven't even got the first matches from Jado, Liger, and Gedo yet! I'm glad we'll get to see all the BoSJ this year.