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.


Geo said...

I'm having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that that was Hawk.

Brian said...

haha.. - man, when i read your draft on this i was so perpexled.. - like, "does he really think that's not Michael James Hegstrand?"

i need that portable HD sometime soon, got some more new shat to toss on it.

Geo said...

I come off quite negative in this review. Normally, I'm a really positive person, especially when it comes to non-wrestling things, but this just brought out a cynical side of me, I suppose. Yeah, F*CK this tape. Haha.

Brian said...

i had a blast watching this, man.. haha.. different strokes and all.. and by that I mean diff. tastes not comp. of Jarrett's harebrained finisher