Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shinya Hashimoto v. Akira Nogami NJPW Jun. 20, 1992- 7

Shinya Hashimoto is my favorite Japanese wrestler of all time. His passing is, as far as selfish reasons, is one that hurts the most, because he was a joy to watch. I think he understood pro wrestling maybe better than 90% of everyone doing it and you could see that in his performances.

Here he faces Akira, an up and down the card junior competitor. This match is structured much like one Hash had with Jushin liger during Hash's amazing title run in the mid 90's. Except he shows Akira even less mercy. The beginning run is a beating not unlike one found in alleyways in New York City. The violence is comprable to any new age horror-torture flick without all the gimmicks and shit tons more pathos. Nogami doesn't necessarily seem game for it all; it's more like he survives it. A flurry of open hand slaps bust his nose open and push him outside to regain any cognizance he had before the beating began. A series of kicks, ending in one that damn near pops his nose off continues the brutality.

Then Hash gives as good as he gets and gives Akira a crazy run of offense, including a dropkick off the apron to the outside and a series of close fall suplexes. Hash once told Samoa Joe the secret to the industry is in the eyes, the eyes tell you everything and he uses that advice here, making a crazy face after he nearly gets pinned. I don't know of many people who have such a commanding presence in the ring when they're in control, but it's apparent here as soon as Hash is ready to finish this one off. one of his classic DDT's highlights the ending section.

It's been a while since i've watched him but this completely reaffirms my love for Hash.

Monday, August 29, 2011

AWA 1989 TV Main Events

So i get this huge batch of discs from the ever expansive NHO tape library labeled AWA TV 1989 and I think "I can't NOT do something with this" so I decide to actually watch/review all of it for the blog. After the 1st episode of quick squashes I quickly realize that would be a lot of wasted time. But every episode ends with a main event match so that's what you're going to get. Quick note; a lot of eps ended with "Classic" matches (and i use those quotes loosely) and clipped stuff so not every week will be covered here.

1) Wendi Richter v. The Dazzler- 3
This match battled back and forth between a 2 and a 3, leaning towards the 2 because there was some embarrassing exchanges were moves were botched and both women looked as uncoordinated as a 5"1 dude with a 24"inch schlong. But, Richter, fueled no doubt from disappointment from her stylist, stiffs the shit out of Dazzler over and over again, notably a big boot and these strange Cena-esque suplex morphing into bodyslams near the end. They worked in a lot of near falls too, which worked as well as most of the story they were trying to tell; one of those you can snag at Half price books in the clearance section.

Double Main Event~!
2) Larry Zybyzsko v. Don Muraco- 3
3) Badd Company v. Tommy Jammer/ Brad Rheingans- 5

Our first match was basically Larry Land controlling the original "Rock" for the duration of the bout in a series of arm and neck locks. Muraco's selling was up for the challenge but there wasn't much life in this one. Muraco did take the equivalent of Nigel's old ringpost bumps but with his sternum, while doing a spit take at the same time. The tag match worked more so than anything else I've seen yet. I kind of dug Tanaka a whole bunch, really quick movement, hard flashy bumps, he had it going on. For some reason this was only a 10 minute match, with time announced every 2 mins, so we already knew the result. Jammer is most certainly not a 2nd cousin of Ricky Morton even though they both have 80's long hair (that goes so well with whitewashed jeans)

4) Badd Company v. Hector & Mando Guerrero- 6
This match was a damn lot of fun. Mando had all this really wacky offense, like switching his headlock from side to side, getting a guy in the corner and throwing like 100 back elbows, etc. The Company didn't do much in the way of offense, just a lot of stooging and bumping for the moustached bros. Really dug the catapult splash off Hector's shoulders for the fin and even though Dusty finishes are played out,especially in the 80's this one was actually pretty creative. Mando's real good, almost as good as Eddie but not quite, haha.

5) 18 Man Battle Royal for AWA World Championship- 4
Participants: Akio Sato, Steve Ray, Wayne Bloom, Derrick Dukes, Mike Enos, Tommy Jammer, Pat Tanaka, Tom Zenk, Paul Diamond, Greg Gagne, Ken Patera, Ricky Rice, Larry Zybyzsko, Wahoo McDaniel, Manny Fernandez, Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Debeers, Mike George

The Battle Royal itself was as non descript as your last piss. Besides some interesting slugfests between names like Slaughter v. Gagne or Zybyzsko v. Rice, not a damn compelling thing happened. Eliminations came and went with not much excitement. Zenk and Larry Z were last two guys in and it came down to pinfalls. Zenk was hitting dropkicks that were awesome in this part, only negative that's pretty much all he was doing. Larry got some good nearfalls out of this part as well. But for the historic occasion of a championship battle royal or "Hall of Fame match" Lee Marshall described, not even close.

5) Badd Company v. Tom Zenk/ Ken Patera- 4
BC is all over this program, always against random put together teams. Zenk looked like Yoshino in this, seriously, was lightning fast and continues to dropkick his way into my heart. Patera looked lousy, as sometime after he lost his blonde hair, he got sad. Bearhugs galore, and I know Patera was a strong man at some point, but here he just looks like a doughy retired accountant. Overall, a flaccid effort.

6) Sgt. Slaughter v. Col. Debeers- 3
Was kind of hoping for a knockdown drag out affair, and while this did largely consist of brawling, it felt more akin to an Impact match instead of a Mid South fistfight. Slaughter took his requisite sick bump into the post but most fun I had watching Debeers was trying to run, looked like a baby with a full diaper.

7) Larry Zybyzsko/ Manny Fernandez v. Wahoo McDaniel/ Tom Zenk- 5
This is probably as big as it got during this time in Minneapolis with this roster. Zenk & Zybyzsko pair off well, and so do Fernandez and Wahoo. I remember both of them being involved in Starrcade 85, and having brutal bloody battles. Wahoo defines the word Grizzled. They get a closeup of his face, his nose and chin are both permanently lacerated. They exchange sick chops when they are in there. Speaking of chops, what a crappy finish but that was the lamest part of the match by far.

8) Sgt. Slaughter v. Col. Debeers- 4
Damn, Slaughter takes a bump out of the ring off a lousy punch; that's like falling into New York traffic everytime you get shoulder bumped, like you're looking for a lawsuit. Bump was still good though. Wow, Slaughter started bouncing Debeers off his feet like he was a seal with a bouncy ball at Sea World. They're def. hanging a lot more loose than their other bout. Page is having fun jawing with Slaughter, attacking him. This ends exactly as the last match though hurting it's score.

9) Badd Company v. Brad Rheingans/ Ken Patera-6
I'll go ahead and recommend this one. It got a huge amount of time, almost 20 minutes and had a historic title change i wasn't expecting. Company was really on here, especially Tanaka. They were great at cut off stuff and Tanaka was bumping as if he had no internal organs. Patera pissed me off because he came in and went right for a bearhug. Rheingans was quite superb here though, he always peppers in little amateur moves like he's spicing a gourmet soup. Love his out of nowhere super fast package rollup, saw him do it in a job match on another ep and here it looks even better.

10) Wendi Richter v. The Dazzler- 3
Fun thing about these two's matches is they always get at least 10 mins, and they really shouldn't so you can see them trying to piece together what the hell they're going to do. Dazzler has the coordination of a Bantha balancing a copy of "Possession" on it's head. Wendi likes it stiff; yep i said it. Great spot where Wendi puts her on the top rope, punches her right her in stomach and just pulls her face first to the mat. Dazzler totally heels it up too; constantly going outside when things aren't going her way. How many people do the Zybyzsko stalling in this fed? Fun brawl ends this to create another rematch; make no mistake there's some criminally bad offense in this too hence the low rating.

11) Greg Gagne v. Akio Sato- 2
I thought Gagne's selling sucked. While in a nerve hold (for about 8 mins. total) he looked like he just told his kid to do something and they ignored him. This style of match is so passe in '89, that it could actually make a comeback and be called "retro." Sato went from leg, to neck, to arm work, none of it meaning anything. Gagne's punches blew as much as his old man haircut; looked like he was throwing for a girls softball team practice. DQ finish and this one's a major dud.

12) Larry Zybyzsko v. Wahoo McDaniel-4
Not much meat here, all gristle; appropo with Wahoo in the match. Liked Larry Z's selling while being put in a half crab, always arching his back trying to not get his shoulders pinned down. Wahoo stayed on him though and chopped him down everytime he stood up. This actually never left 1st base so can't grade it too highly.

13) Larry Zybyzsko v. Thor- 3
If this guy's the God of Thunder, call me Dr. Manhattan. Actually his selling is much more believable than Hollywood hunk Chris Hemsworth's acting in the new film. He jittered and gyrated after a nasty back suplex. Zybyzsko actually was pulling off some fun Loki-esque sneering here. Piledriver to finish could knock someone loopy enough to change their name to Neil Diamond Gagne.

14) Larry Zybyzsko v. Rockin Randy- 2
Quick and painful, back kick nearly left Rockin Randy with even less chance of procreating. Piledriver was quite stiff too

15) Badd Company v. Tommy Jammer/ Derrick Dukes- 4
Dukes was fun part of this match, Badd Company i'm really liking, they are a great utility team at this point. have to love Page before the match pinching the female ring announcer on the butt as she leaves the ring. Dukes on every sell is so into what he's doing, going the extra mile. Jammer on the other hand, has not improved over all these tv tapings. He nearly falls on his face trying a leapfrog. Diamond's selling a little weak too.

16) Wahoo McDaniel v. Mike George- 5
This was a time limit draw, which I actually found interesting that George was booked so strongly. This was just a fight between two stodgy guys who can't do a lot more than hit and chop each other. George took a particularly nasty shot at one point and fell down on his large rumpus with a look of shock like I had watching the episode "Summer Men" from Mad Men Season 4.

17) Peggy Lee Leather v. Shirley Black- 2
Fuck a Kojima, Black's lariat was the stuff! Leather is a gross woman, no way around it but was a fun brute.

18) Tom Zenk v. Paul Diamond- 2
I was actually hopeful for this one but DDp and Diamond were having a lovers spat the whole match, which mostly consisted of headlock spots. Zenk didn't do anything to make you think he should be considered for a title shot, even though they kept pushing it.

19) Destruction Crew v. Wahoo McDaniel/ Scott Norton- 2
Another short match that had no time to develop into anything, becoming a theme here. Norton was scarily pudgy with what looked like no muscle development whatsoever. He worked a lazy armbar for his portion; Wahoo was motivated, maybe because he only knew he had to work for a few moments.

20) Wendi Richter/ Joyce Grable v. Velvet McIntyre/ Judy Martin- 3
I believe Verne pilfered all these talents from Vince when he had a women's division. Velvet was all piss and vinegar and did one of the finest flying headscissors i've seen since Pillman's prime. Her and Wendi worked well together, Martin and Grable also bumped fine but seemed to be non compliant for a few spots and let the younger ladies take care of the legwork.

21) Larry Zybyzsko v. Greg Gagne- 2
This was Gagne's big chance; this was like diarrhea for the eyes. Gagne just blows. The fun thing about watching stuff like this is rediscovering workers you were pretty confident on, or that you never really knew how good they were. I'm finding out despite how much smoke he blows, well, let me break it down in a scientific equation: if Greg Gagne= wrestling and Tara Reid = acting, then Greg Gagne = Tara Reid (meaning, he's shitty) He can't punch, he has a vertical suplex that is sloppy and dangerous and he botches both a leap frog and a small package here. Larry is stalling even more than usual which certifies this as crap.

22) Johnnie Stewart v. Paul Diamond- 4
Not a lot to say here, standard action, Stewart as portraying an 80's heel who got women even though he had gerricurls and acted affeminated. Diamond is now face, even though he does nothing to involve the audience. Stewart actually hit a sweet powerslam and had some fun facial selling when backing off. Angle development was the recipe of the day here, furthering 2 diff. storylines.

23) Paul Diamond v. Akio Sato- 4
This one got much more time than most main events on this show. Sato you may remember as one part of the original Orient Express; he's actually quite a capable hand in a singles situation; again, more Zybyzsko stalling, why does every heel in this fed do this? Diamond continues to be a super bland face with a decent clothesline. He don't have much ups, another guy botching a leapfrog, how hard is it?

Double Main
24) Greg Gagne v. Mike George- 2
25) Larry Zybyzsko v. Sgt. Slaughter- 5

1st match was only a few minutes with George actually doing some more great selling, using big goofy cowhand facials; should have been wearing a bandana around his neck. Main worked, been a while on this show. Slaughter really upped the drama factor up after taking his giant post bump in the corner, he took a step further by throwing himself over the top rope onto the concrete. Slaughter really sold this huge and made the match. Zybyzsko brought him back in and took over, leading to a Dusty finish that felt big and would have been nice if this had actually been the result.

26) Ladies Battle Royal incl. Magnificent Mimi, Tina Moretti, Farmer's Daughter, Dazzler, The Terrorist, Morgan le Ray, Peggy lee Leather, Talia Star, Malibu, Shirley Black, Bambi- 3

Alright, with the level of stiffness in some of these AWA singles women's matches, I was kind of receptive to this where everyone basically just has to punch each other. Pretty disappointing for the first half where people were just bailing ship like investors are dropping WWE stock lately. Bambi came in wearing a cast, and really getting this thing going. Moretti, who became Ivory in WWE, was a spitfire, and pulled off a couple nice headscissors. Nothing memorable sticks out but can't hate on a chick fight too much.

27) Kokina Maximusv. Jerry Lynn- 3
This was a brutal squash,not near the level of the SST during their AWF run but close. Lynn' pink and neon blue tights are certainly not metal.

28) Mike George/ Johnnie Stewart v. Paul Diamond/ Greg Gagne- 3
Dear god Diamond & Gagne came out to The Final Countdown; Danielson should have never used that song on principle. This wasn't bad though; they werepumping Stewart to be this great rookie prospect; has some charisma definitley like a less charismatic Billy Joe Travis and less athletic Chris Candido. This determined a final team in the TagTitle tourney, yikes. George took a beating, even Gagne seemed to be taking liberties with him. Had a fairly basic plot and with Gagne as face in peril, you're getting as much to work with as when Tim Burton decided to work with live penguins.

29) Sgt. Slaughter/ Baron Von Raschke v. Destruction Crew - 4
Slaughter's combover is more apparent than the Republican Caucus' attempt at sandbagging the next election. Political views aside, this match isn't half bad. Enos is really showing some promise, eating turnbuckles and Slaughter cannons with vigor. Baron is a gross old man, and offers nigh except stodgy convulsions as sells but the crowd does react, give him that. You thought Trips used a sledgehammer unrealistically? You ain't seen nothing yet. The ending just buried the score further than Hoffa's remains.

30) Destruction Crew v. Greg Gagne/ Paul Diamond - 4
This started out really fast, with some good pin combinations, and with more fire than the ROH '11 output i've seen so far. Enos continues to look really tough here. Gagne bores me, but he has learned a hiptoss. he does them so much it feels like that was his best thing in training and he just keeps to it. We had all kinds of heel chicanery closing this out and felt like a hollow moment.

31) Kokina Maximus v. Johnnie Stewart v. The Trooper (Lumberjack Match)- 2
Yikes, Stewart primped, Kokina sucked wind and Trooper looked way too bulky to even keep his breath. LJ's didn't even brawl? No thanks

32) Paul Diamond/ Candi Devine v. Pat Tanaka/ Magnificent Mimi- 5
Well we finally get the resolution of Badd Company's breakup, like 4 months later. This match is filmed in a studio somewhere, with no fans visible and really strange lighting, straight out of a George Michael video from the 80's. But, no this was fun. Both guys were dealing out some of Idaho's best on each other's faces. Tanaka takes one of the best backdrops ever seen in Minneapolis. I'm guessing the Magnificent in Mimi is referring to those massive cannons adorning her chest as they are just pushing that cheap fabric as far as it goes. She actually busts out a sick missile dropkick on Diamond that was highlight of the match. A shitty Devine bump to finish? yikes, and things were going so well.

33) Destruction Crew/ Larry Zybyzsko v. Trooper/ Scott Norton/ Tommy Jammer- 5
Okay, we're back on the set of Berry Gordy's Last Dragon, the disco scene you remember? For some reason some obviously hired "policemen" escort heel manager Johnny Valiant, no, not to jail, but to the corner. May as well get him a dunce cap. Those cops have never passed up on an elephant ear at any carnival, my god. This match has a lot of fun with it's components. Bloom is all about proving he's better than Enos, and does so here. He takes a face plant in the buckle and spins out ala Hennig in a good laughable moment. Later he eats a rough clothesline and his stomping Jammer's head into the mat was delightful. Zybyzsko was wrestling like he pulled a hamstring over the weekend doing yard work. Remember Mike Knox's really boss crossbody he was using on WWE TV? well, Trooper uses it here but it more resembles riding the hood of an Ultima and someone stopping suddenly. But a flash pin on the champion keeps the ever evolving AWA story cog rolling to kudos. I must also point out the ridiculous logo banner hanging on the wall in front of the ring; even the cheapest trophy store could have done better.

34) Destruction Crew v. Bobby & Jackie Fulton (refuse to call them the Fantastics)- 4
Really an unexpected treat to get at least one of the Fantastics here. While Bobby is rocking some wretched metal hair, he still has the innovation that makes that team so much fun to watch. Loving the Jerry Estrada arm toss off the ropes early and his pin reversals. While I've praised the Crew in past matches, I can only say they kept up here. Jackie only came in for a few arm holds and that's it. Bobby took the beating and a Jackie hot tag is as appealing as a marathon of the Bachelor

35) Paul Diamond v. Pat Tanaka- 6
So the partner breakup is heating up....4 months down the road. Seriously though this match was damn fun. Tanaka bumps like no other, keep thinking he has a trampoline back, somehow. Diamond is as lame a babyface as you can get and how did I ever not realize AWA is one of those feds where everyone has a nick name? "Hard Rock" Paul Diamond? That's your top stuff? Tanaka has a nasty chop and busts out a German suplex that would be banned immediately on Stamford's show. Sometimes partner matches fizzle but this had fire and one of the better offerings from this show the whole calendar year.

Double Main Time:
36) Bobby & Jackie Fulton/ Jerry Blackwell v. Destruction Crew/ Johnny Valiant- 3
37) Larry Zybyzsko v. Nikita Koloff- 5
This six man tag was as frightening as the clientele hanging in the casino during tapings. Valiant must have been on something because was damn near in the whole match, and it wasn't 5 hour Energy, if you catch my drift. Jackie did a bit more this time, including the Octopus stretch?!? Overall, this really drug and I'd wished my banal wrestling mind would have just stayed focused on Shark Week instead of finishing this project off. World Title match was a lot more pleasant. Nikita is wild on selling, just flailing around like a dying porpoise or a guy needing a shot to keep his identity disguised, like in Total Recall. Is it just me or does the 3 boob chick always stand out when referencing that? Paper maiche never looked quite as good. Larry stalled sure, but didn't turn it into an artform like usual. The desperation Russian Sickle was a good spot and even though it wasn't a clean finish, it made sense.

38) Larry Zybyzsko v. Masa Saito- 4
So the tought egg shaped Saito is the latest guy brought into challenge Larryland for the belt. Would make one think they don't have enough quality guys on tap to be viable challengers. This is not part of the woefully bad ongoing Team Challenge but was still fun for it's time given. Larry is good at selling really hard strikes, and Saito is good for giving them. He pulls the Saito suplex out with no pop whatsoever; it almost feels like Little Jon showing up to a bar and doing his "Yeaaaaaa" catch phrase and no one turns around, but continues nursing their Molson Lights and unsuccesfully trying to cop a feel on the girl's ass next to them.

39) Destruction Crew v. Brute Force- 3
Is Brute Force an appropriate face team name? It features Ricky Rice (who Lee Marshall states everyone knows) and Dave Casper, a roided out bodybuilder who only seems to know how to do axhandles. Seriously, he comes off the 2nd rop 3 times in this match for hot tags and every time, he drops and exaggerated sledge ala No Holds Barred. The Crew don't seem to be taking this seriously, but had a nice heel showcase before the match when Lee Marshall (on behalf of Bill Apter) presents them with some PWI awards plaques, although never stating what award they are for. They simply throw them on the ground as if they thought they saw a quarter and realized it was a candy wrapper and just drop it back onto the soil. Rice can move, no doubt, but he just doesn't have the ability to make you care. Typical Crew finish and i'm signing off.

AWA 1989, if i gave an overall score to this product, as far as recommending if you take the time and sit through the whole TV year, I'd lean toward a 5, a 6 if you're a hardcore fan of this promotion because there were some winners here. The roster largely stayed the same which made for some mundane matchups for a good chunk of the year but they did allow their boys to get some time on TV to tell stories, which I enjoyed. Also some quality promos, esp. from Larry Z and others. Peace out, Verne Gagne's liver spots.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Television Time Remaining: WCW Saturday Night 2000

Jessie and I came up with this project after we were both working on different pieces for the blog. Over lunch one day and an e-mail exchange, we came up with the “Television Time Remaining” project. Here’s how this works, a year of TV will be looked at and the main event of each episode will be covered here. If there is a double main event, then both matches will be reviewed. The title of the project comes from back in the day on territorial TV where the ring announcer would say as he was introducing the main event “scheduled for one fall or television time remaining”. I'll be looking at WCW Saturday Night 2000, the final year of the once historic show. Shows with original matches only ran through April, so that’s what will be looked at here. Hopefully this project will unearth some hidden gems.

David Flair/Crowbar vs. Lord Steven Regal/Dave Taylor (1/8/00) – 6
Opening move of this match was awesome as Flair walked up to Taylor and just got blasted with one of the stiffest uppercuts I’ve ever seen. Flair looks like a slob, wrestling in a Nitro Grill t-shirt and jeans. Crowbar’s offense was just nuts, diving off the apron and throwing people into guardrails. Nice top rope double underhook suplex from Regal. Finish looked kind of goofy with Taylor visibly checking to see where the other two were and then giving Flair a suplex a landing in such a way that it was clear Crowbar was going to hit him with a pipe. Aside from that, I really liked this match as it had just about everything.

Hardcore Match: Norman Smiley vs. Bobby Eaton (1/15/00) – 2
Yes, Bobby Eaton was still around WCW during this time which just goes to show that you never know who will pop up on Saturday Night. There wasn’t much to this one as the show was pressed for time and Eaton worked Smiley over with really awful looking broom shots. Finish was odd as they had to wrap it up and no one had any clue how to do so so Norman just covered Eaton randomly for a three count.

David Flair/Crowbar vs. PG-13 (1/22/00) – 5
This started off really wild with Flair and Crowbar attacking PG-13 in the aisle and Crowbar doing a wild dive. Wolfie tried a senton backsplash that missed but he got some huge air on. Crowbar is just completely nutty, stacking up PG-13 and then doing a moonsault on top of them. Wild finish with a huge brawl between the four, JC Ice hitting Crowbar with a hubcap and then Flair hitting Ice with a crowbar (the physical object, not his partner).

The Mamalukes vs. Ashley Hudson/Kory Williams (1/29/00) – 3
This felt flatter than a month old open bottle of Coke (or Pepsi if you prefer). Hudson and Williams were nothing really but cannon fodder for the tag champs. In defense of this, I will say that this was more competitive than I expected. Hudson definitely showed more fire than his partner, who just sort of stood on the apron wondering about whether or not the payoff for working this match would cover the mortgage payment. Vito did pretty much all of the work here with Johnny the Bull coming in for a brief spurt of offense.

Sid Vicious vs. Al Green (2/12/00) – 1
Exactly what would be expected from a Sid Vicious match on a C-level show. 30 seconds is all this went as it was over after a chokeslam and a powerbomb. Post-match shenanigans from Jeff Jarrett and The Harris Brothers were longer than the actual match itself.

Lex Luger vs. Van Hammer (2/19/00) – 3
Somebody call the missing persons department, we’ve had a Van Hammer sighting ... not that anyone really missed him anyway. Both guys just sort of bumbled through this with Hammer dishing out powerslams and shitty punches and Luger flatbacking for every bump. I dig the all black with neon green trunks Luger has though. The hardest hit of the match was when Elizabeth hit Hammer full force with a bat right in the ankle.

Career vs. Title Match: Lord Steven Regal vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (2/26/00) – 6
The first half of a double main event and this is as big as it got on C-level WCW TV shows in 2000. Duggan here was defending the TV Title that he found in a trash can the previous week against Regal, who was putting his career on the line. Duggan looked completely sloppy wrestling in a janitor outfit that was about two sizes two big. As usual Regal’s selling and facials were great and helped make the match more enjoyable. Regal worked some brief mat offense to counter Duggan’s constant brawling and punching. Duggan hit an awful looking charge and polished off Regal. A fun match and one of the better matches I’ve seen during this project.

PG-13 vs. The Mamalukes (2/26/00) – 4
And here’s the other half of the aforementioned double main event. This was going along at a pretty good clip until it hit the end which has about as much heat as an Alaskan winter day. J.C. Ice did not play a very good Ricky Morton with the face in peril segment and Johnny the Bull showed he was about as compatible with wrestling as a Rock Band 3 drumset is for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. As I mentioned, ending was heatless and convoluted with Disco running around interfering with a pinfall attempt and shoving Wolfie D off the top rope. Maybe the caffeine from the Surge he was drinking during the match kicked it all of a sudden? Best thing I liked was Wolfie D laying out Johnny with a hubcap.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Fidel Sierra (3/4/00) – 3
Sierra was all over the AWF project and I wasn’t really impressed with him. Here he started off by hitting Duggan from behind with one of the weakest belt shots on record. I figured the match would be more hard hitting than what was presented. Sierra was throwing bad punches and flat backing every single bump. Duggan’s simplistic offense of clotheslines and punches wasn’t much either.

Jeff Jarrett vs. The Demon (3/12/00) – 3
This was for the U.S. Title. Yes, you read that right, The Demon got a U.S. Title shot! Couldn’t really get into this as it only went about 5-6 minutes. Jarrett controlled the whole bout and Demon got a mugging from the Harris Brothers at ringside. I wonder who thought Demon was a viable contender for such a prestigious title? I wonder if that person was unemployed soon after? Move along, nothing to see.

Billy Kidman/Torrie Wilson vs. The Artist/Paisley (3/18/00) – 4
It was perfectly obvious that the girls were nowhere near ready for in-ring combat. Kidman and The Artist picked up right from where they left off the previous week with some decent ring work. Finish was a mess with some of the worst ref distracting I’ve ever seen and interference from Juvi and Psychosis who looked like they were completely out of it after doing some lines in the back. Perfectly fine main event for a show of this caliber.

Flag Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Fidel Sierra (3/25/00) – 4
This was marginally better than their match at the beginning of the month. Stipulations here were that the loser could never wave his flag again. We get some brawling on the outside and then Sierra working a weak chin lock. Match had a built-in story which was nice. Finish came from out of nowhere with Duggan dropping the knee. Some okay work but still, not a great effort by any means.

6-Man Hardcore Battle Royal w/ Brian Knobbs, Norman Smiley, Adrian Byrd, Rick Fuller, Dave Burkhead, and The Dog (4/1/00) – 5
Quite the odd roster of participants in this match. Typical of any hardcore match with lots of trash cans, metal lids, and ladders but everyone was just laying in the shots hard here. I thought it was weird that you had to climb a pole to get the belt but then again WCW 2000 is pretty weird. Byrd showed up dressed in Adidas gym clothes, like he just rolled off the couch to run and grab some drive-thru and got suckered into this. Burkhead got a stiff, stiff ladder to the face. I enjoyed this match much more than a lot of stuff I saw recently and provided a fun way to cap off the final episode.

Some final thoughts on these. Saw some fun matches early on but February and March provided some very lean content. Lots of random people popped up throughout the year as well such as Barry Horowitz, Chuck Palumbo, Robert Gibson, Shark Boy, Silver King, El Dandy, Los Villanos, and Tommy Rogers among others. For hardcore WCW fans, this would be an interesting watch. For fans who haven’t seen much WCW, I think I’d start with a run of Nitro or something. Yearly grade: C.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

IWC Mountain State Madness 07/14/11

1. Logan Shulo v. Mike Sydal - 3
Our show opens with a bigman v. little man match and the crowd pops conservatively. Before I get too far into this show, I need to point out the platform in the corner of the arena, which is obviously a tribute to American iconography with the Flag, a Statue of Liberty, Christmas trees and a 13' RCA TV. Sydal looks like a smaller Kenny Omega with a star system tatted across his back; Shulo looks like Test's lazy dark haired brother. For the most part, everything is smooth, Sydal blew a plancha outside and a hurricanrana later, but everything else looked direct from a 6 minute Superstars match.

2. Blue Collar Slaughter v. The One Nighters-4
There's something comforting about these teams and formula,like microwaved chocolate donuts and slippers in the morning. One Nighters are young, thrusting guys and Blue Collar are chunky and doltish. Both teams know exactly who they are, never rush the pace and hit everything on the nose.

3. Dalton Castle v. Tyler Stone- 4
So credibility leaves us at this point, when one announcer proclaims "at the grocery store,gas station, barber shops, Stone is all they're talkin about." Last thing I heard that hot was the "Milkshake" video by Kelis. He also has on his resume a historic track record in the undergroud fight clubs around there; keep in mind they're in West Virginia. Dalton I like; he actually takes Stone down MMA style and lays a beatdown. He was a nice mix of fine punches, innovative moves and heel posturing.

4. The Founding Fathers v. Necro Butcher/ Marshall Gambino/ Justin Idol- 3

The Fathers is the main heel faction here, led by a guy called Billion Dollar Man wearing a Ted Dibiase jacket from the 80's with a cents sign on it? Necro literally looked like he walked out of the crowd to wrestle. Big night off for him. A guy in a stupid mask with hair named Hentai is really bad. Match is moving along well until the breakdown and insipid finish where Jimmy Vegas (complete with mountain man beard) bumps off a missed superkick like he slipped in a puddle of milk wearing ice skates.

5. Veda Scott v. Sera Feeney- 1

Quite scary, even scarier is the fact the announcer proclaimed Daizee Haze as one of the greatest female performers of all time. Honestly, both women looked only 3 weeks $1500 deep into training school. Some of the weakest clotheslines this side of Greg Gagne, and a tornado DDT that would probably look better if a cow attempted it. Rhett on commentary mentioned a pretty girl with no teeth was a fun time, how prophetic.

6. JT LaMotta & Andy Dalton v. Flippin' Aint' Easy- 2
Flippin look like members of the Warriors if they underwent a makeover from Lady Gaga. If Jake LaMotta ever saw JT LaMotta, he'd spit in his face and hit him with a right hook. Two guys tried a tornado DDT over the top rope and it looked like the suicide scene in Battle Royale with the young couple holding hands as they sailed down a cliff to the jagged rocks below. One of the guys took 10 seconds longer than believable to do a crowd dive which the announcer called "seamless." Oh snap, one guy moonsaulted from the platform with the Statue of Liberty. Haha, it's almost funny it's sad. Can't believe the old Bugs Bunny gag of "Look Up!" played into the finish, but double Lionsault was new.

7. Val Venis v. John McChesney- 3

The goofy Cents manager was all over this one, so we only got a half dozen or so minutes of real work. Val was in some heinous apparel, as if he was going to Urban Active for some Stairmaster work. Val was using some of his little touches though, such as using palm strikes instead of punches to stay in the rules and shaking his wrist out after a significant strike. McChesney was fairly mundane, but did like the DDT they hit. Ridiculous DQ finish, worst on the show.

8. Rhett Titus v. Shiima Xion- 4
Thought this was cool this ended up in main event slot and had plenty of time left on the DVD to entertain. But didn't live up to expectations. My main issue with this match is the structure it used, didn't really need as strong of a heel as Rhett to pull it off. I saw a similar issue with him main eventing a JAPW show earlier in the year, a 5 min. basically squash for DJ Hyde, who doesn't deserve them. Here Shiima only needed a heel to do a couple cheap heat tactics and that's it. None of Titus' gifts were shown and just felt like a wasted opportunity. Seeing Xion's 450 splash in perfect synchronicity with Christmas twinkle lights behind him was a neat image though.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Geo and Adam Co-Rev: ROH: Honor Takes Center Stage Night 2

1. The Kings of Wrestling vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly - G: 7 A: 5

G: This shit was popping more than collars at a frat party. Cole and O'Reilly continue to put on a great show, this time with the KoW. I thought about what I was going to write for this match after watching it, and honestly, I find myself wanting to be frank. This match had "great" written all over it from the very beginning. If this was a steak, it would be burnt to a crisp - that's how well done it was. The team of youngsters brought this fire to the match more so than they have any other match. Every piece of offense was executed top notch not only by Cole and O'Reilly, but The Kings were on like the pilot light in a New York city restaurant on Saturday night. Good God. So fucking good. You've got the damn near perfect team of Hero and Claudio hitting offense on the kids who were selling their asses off, and the sprint near the end sealed the deal in this sumbitch. Just watch it and clean up your mess.

A: I have to confess, I didn’t like this as much as Geo but I give it a bonus point for the aforementioned sprint near the end. Cole and O’Reilly really had some good selling but I feel their match against the Briscoes the previous night was better. O’Reilly hit a wild running dropkick from the apron and Claudio hit a fucking STIFF clothesline. That ending sprint was so awesome. Claudio was caught in a submission by O’Reilly and Hero just hit move after move on him to no avail. At one point Cole hit Hero with a superkick that would make Shawn Michaels and Lance Storm blush. Ending felt a bit flat after that but still a fun opener.

2. Colt Cabana vs. Dave Taylor - G: 4 A: 3

G: I have to say that my expectations were high for this going in. I mean, one of the best grapplers still alive today, Taylor, taking on a guy who prides himself on mat-based wrestling. The match was fine by all means and was a little underwhelming, but about what I'd expect to see out of Taylor now that he appears to be at an advanced age. Cabana made Taylor's offense look a lot better than it may have been (not saying it was bad) by rolling out of the ring and looking around at the crowd as if to say, "How the fuck did he manage to pull that off?!" Short and filled the spot, it worked decently.

A: Nice to see ol’ thick, barrel-chested Squire Dave back in the ring again. However, he looked old and his offense was rather limited and primarily consisted of forearm smashes and uppercuts. Colt worked around Taylor’s limited offense and made him look pretty good. This didn’t last too long and was rather unoffensive.

3. Homicide vs. Tommaso Ciampa - G: 4 A: 5

G: So I wasn't sure what to expect going in here. I'm barely familiar with Ciampa's work, but his Burning Hammer is pretty good. Homicide really drew a halfway decent performance out Ciampa, who ate 'Cide's offense like Brian and I attacking a sushi buffet. Homicide pulled out some special offense, hitting a tope after running on top of the guardrail and flipping onto Ciampa's greasy body. Homicide went all out, but I found myself a bit put off by Ciampa's inability to show any emotion while in the ring. Not bad, not that good, just there. Skippable.

A: Really dug the opening brawl at the beginning with Homicide just punshing Ciampa like a red-headed stepchild. As unimpressed as I was with Ciampa in the four-way match the previous night, this was the complete opposite. His selling was pretty good as was his offense. I especially dug the ill lariat that he drilled Homicide with. The running dive off the stage by Homicide was pretty wild and he hit it perfectly. I’d say a rather shocking upset here with Ciampa hitting a picture-perfect Northern lights suplex for the pin.

4. Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Elgin - G: 5 A: 5

G: The human troll Elgin has his break through performance. Daniels was bumping his ass off for this kid and eating some nasty power moves courtesy of the real-life version of Hoggle from The Labyrinth. Daniels busted out his offense he's so well known for, which was particularly cool to watch because Elgin is so big. The ebbs and flows of the match also worked quite well in that the moves fed into one another like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. By far Elgin's best showing for the company, and by far Daniels' best work in making another guy look good that I've seen in quite a while.

A: I saw these two live at the last ROH show in Dayton and the match was so dull that I almost fell asleep, so my expectations were pretty low going into this. Elgin showed some fire here and really stepped up his game. He had some help in that department from Daniels, who much like Generico the night before, worked hard to make Elgin look good. Kevin Kelly comparing Elgin to Dr. Death on commentary was a ridiculous statement. The regular offensive onslaught from Daniels was on display here. The most memorable thing for me was seeing Elgin attempt a huge top-rope move and crashing to the mat with all the pleasant-ness of a car smashing into a brick wall.

5. SHIMMER Tag Team Title Match: Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ayumi Kurihara - G: 5 A: 4

G: I saw this line up ahead of time and generally had my thoughts racing about how great this match could be and all of the potential that it had. While it was indeed a good match, it didn't live up to my expectations. Compared with Del Rey/Deeb vs. The Joshi team, this was clearer the weaker of the two matches. I found myself genuinely liking the in-ring, but I wanted more of it. The match didn't even go 8 minutes, which was not enough time for the great Joshi climax to occur that had occurred in last night's match... then again, I could watch this shit for hours on end. Still, what we got in the allotted time was good, and I enjoyed it. Kurihara didn't bust out some of those sweet transitions between moves like she usually does, which kind of made me die a little inside. I still liked it, but damn it had potential.

A: Can’t say that I liked this as much as the ladies tag the night before. During Daizee’s in-ring, I was more concerned about who was more anorexic and sickly looking, her or Angelina Love. The back drop driver near the end of the match from Matsumoto was sick. I don’t buy Daizee’s offense at all. The heart punch attempt looked rather weak. Kurihara was once again the shining star as she broke out the armbar submission from the night before but unfortunately didn’t really get the chance to go all out with her offense like she did the previous night.

6. Grudge Tag Team Match: The All Night Express vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe- G: 7 A: 7

G: Pay fucking attention. This was the shit. You've got two young guys, Titus and King, who are making strides at becoming two of the top guys in the company, and you're pitting them against the Briscoes in a hell of a match. From the moment the Briscoes charged in, I knew what we were about to see unfold would be an epic encounter. We got that great slow burn effect as the in-ring started out great with some great wrestling occurring between the ropes, but the best part is, the "wrestling" per se was not at all the best part of the match. The best part, my friends, was the fucking HATE felt between the two teams. My God, this is how you brawl, seriously. Bruiser Brody, the best brawler of all time in mine and many others' opinions, would be applauding the hell out of this. Rhett Titus got busted open and was gushing all over the place, and soon after, Jay was right there with him, squirting red plasma across the black and red mat along with spitting his own blood in the air that looked like Muta's mist. All four guys laid in some sick offense that was just awesome to see unfold. I'll say it again: THIS IS HOW YOU DO A BRAWL. Great, great match that I'm going to remember for a long time to come.

A: Man, all four of these guys just completely beat the shit out of each other from the opening brawl where the Briscoes ran in from the crowd. Let’s talk about all the crazy ass shit that went on here. Titus took a punishing headfirst shot into the post on the outside that ripped him open from eyebrow to eyebrow, Jay Briscoe took an X-Factor off the apron face first through a table, and Mark Briscoe was the recipient of one of the damndest things I’ve ever seen, getting dropped face first on to the TOP OF THE RINGPOST and falling straight to the floor. Holy fuck that was sick! As far as the actual wrestling aspect of the match itself, there wasn’t much you couldn’t love. Kenny King was on top of his game, probably as good as I’ve ever seen him look. Never been a big Titus fan but damn, I think that my opinion of him has definitely gone up as he had some great selling and did a fantastic face in peril. Jay covered in his own blood at the end was a nightmarish sight, especially as he and Rhett traded strikes and Kevin Kelly compared it to a Tarantino movie. Really sick Jay Driller finished this off. Definitely the best match of either night.

7. SoCal Showdown II Rematch: Roderick Strong vs. El Generico - G: 5 A: 4

G: Roddy has really dropped the weight, if I haven't mentioned that already. Really hope he doesn't go for the Erik Stevens AKA Human Skeleton treatment. Generico is really over with the crowd, which added an extra excitement to the match. This match up sounds awesome on paper, and it was good, but not quite the level that you'd expect to see out of these two. Generico's selling had the crowd sympathizing with every move, and every time he hit the Yakuza, the crowd would pop their nuts. Truth had a lot of interference in the match, but his comedic bumping and all-out insane hair made his presence acceptable. We got a weak fin that I didn't believe at all seeing Generico hit the brainbuster out of nowhere. It wasn't a bad fin per se, but it should've been stronger.

A: These two seemed to just be coasting through the first half of the match. Thought Generico’s bumping and selling were grand as always. Really dug the knee that Roddy used to catch Generico on the outside. Generico really turned it up during the second half but Roddy still looked like he was in sleep mode. What was with Truth jumping in the ring and wanting to do a dive and then falling over the rope to the floor? I though that spot was unneccesary. Interference from Elgin and a wild brainbuster capped this match off. Not really what you would expect when you see these two matched up against each other.

8. Non Title Dream Tag Team Match: Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)- G: 6 A: 6

G: This 32-minute battle was pretty damn good. Haas and Benjamin still wrestle a more reserved style, but their mat game is great. Davey and Eddie both showed off their skills on the mat as well by hanging with the ex-WWE superstars and twisting them up in all sorts of gnarly positions. My absolute favorite part of this match was the picking apart of Edwards' leg. Eddie got knee-DT'd twice by Benjamin, which started a series of unfortunate events that rivaled those of Lemony Snicket. Edwards' selling here was off the chain, as he remembered throughout the entire match to sell his leg, clearly showing his superiority to his tag team partner Richards. Davey's energy was great and his strikes were even better. We got a cool German suplex spot near the end of the match where I believe a total of 12 to 15 German suplexes were traded between all four men, which garnered a raucous applause from the fans. A damn fine spectacle.

A: The mat work here was very solid, about as good as you’re going to find. Liked the Wolves working over Charlie’s shoulder. The double team suicide dive from the Wolves was very nice as well. Shortly after though, we get the turning point of the the match were Edwards hurts his knee and WGTT just takes over with a methodical dissection of said body part. Edwards was just phenomenal is his selling, yelling and screaming every time his knee got landed on and the facial selling from him was similar to someone who just lost their favorite dog. The German suplexes that Geo mentioned were really cool and the fact that that entire spot was done in stereo was great as well. Davey took a hellacious superkick from Shelton and actually sold it by laying motionless on the mat, that is until it was time for his next spot. Really great nearfall off a super lungblower from the top rope. A good match to close out the show and the ROH Atlanta weekend shows.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Geo and Adam Co-Rev: ROH: Honor Takes Center Stage: Night 1

El Generico vs. Michael Elgin- G: 3 A: 4

G: Elgin looks like the type of creature that rests under a bridge and tests you before you can pass said bridge. He's also quite stale in the ring. Generico tried valiantly in the match and pulled out some of his choice offense, including his between-the-ropes DDT on the outside. Elgin just couldn't keep up with the match -- could've sworn I heard "boring" chants, too. It was pretty bad, and that's saying something when you're in there with one of the top guys in the business. Take this old Canadian horse out to pasture, boys.

A: Have to agree with you about Elgin’s looks, reminds me of the bridgekeeper in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. I’ve seen Elgin before in IWA-MS and wasn’t impressed by him. I have to say, that this was probably the best Elgin match although, much of it can be accredited to Generico, who was just a bump machine for Elgin’s basic big-man offense. Generico hit some really nice big spots including a through the ropes DDT which was just phenomenal.

Homicide vs. Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Embassy vs. Colt Cabana vs. Caleb Konley w/ Truth Martini - A: 4 G: 4

A: I feel I should note that R.D. Evans, one of many hanger-ons who accompanied Ciampa to the ring, has an alternate ego as Archibald Peck in Chikara. I was impressed with exactly one thing that Ciampa did, and that was rather nasty looking backcracker style move, rest of the match he looked like a generic dude with a Jonny Gomes haircut (Reds fans will get that reference). Konley was impressive at the beginning and showed some spark but felt like he got lost in the shuffle late in the bout. Cabana’s contributions were a lot fun as he brought some leavity and humor to the proceedings. Homicide’s triple dives to the outisde were nice as was the Cop Killa that, for lack of a better term, killed Konley.

G: It's nice to finally see Homicide back to his old self, busting his ass in the ring and not phoning it in like we've seen since his departure from TNA. Konley actually quite impressed me as it seems that he is a determined kid who really wants to make a name for himself not just with the company, but in the business as a a whole. His dedication in his bumping is great. Ciampa honestly strikes me as one of those guys who will be around for a bit but will never get anywhere (a la Mike Bennett). His offense is decent and he hit a nice looking gut-buster, but he's the definition of emotionless. Cabana brought the comedy relief as always, but also took his share of bumps. Homicide hit three of those sweet topes, so consequently each time Colt took a bump into the guardrail which really raised my stock in him. 'Cide hit Konley with a particularly gnarly Cop Killa for the win.

Sara Del Rey & Serena Deeb vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ayumi Kurihara- G: 6 A: 6

G: SWEET JAYZUS! This was awesome. It's blinding obvious that Matsumoto needs more seasoning in the ring, but she held her own against Deeb and Del Rey (who are a great team, by the way). Let's fucking thrown down and talk about Kurihara this chick is tits, man. She is the epitome of Joshi wrestling and brings it every time she gets in the ring. Her transitions in submission offense are so fucking smooth, as are her amazing power moves like the head drops suffered by Del Rey and Deeb. I think Deeb is starting to get back into the groove of things after being a useless valet in WWE for so long, as she's getting back to basics and handling herself well in the ring. Del Rey is the fucking queen and you know it. She makes me proud to say I'm a fan of American Women's wrestling because she is so dedicated and brings so much to the table. What a match. A message to ROH: You want to keep your company thriving? Book the hell out of joshi wrestlers. Kurihari, please?

A: This was probably only about 8-10 minutes but damn, this was fun! I agree with Geo, Kurihara was just fucking awesome! Everything she did such as the dive to the floor, the armbar on the ropes, and the back drop driver near the end was just amazing. Matsumoto’s work was pretty good as well but nowhere near the level of Kurihara’s. Del Ray dropped a kick to the back of Kurihara’s head that just rocked her world. Deeb on offense looked like she was still in WWE-mode a bit, as evidence by her jabs that looked more like she was doing boxing on Wii Sports than competing in an actual match.

Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly - A: 7 G: 6

A: Briscoes for a while have been my favorite ROH tag team but after seeing this, I think that Cole and O’Reilly may be my new favorite team. This was non-stop action from bell to bell and every minute was just fantastic! Briscoes got in their usual offense, like the springboard doomsday device, the double throw from the corner, and them just chopping the shit out of the youngsters in the corner. Announcers kept mentioning that O’Reilly was trained by Davey Richards and you could tell. His strikes and kicks were very similar if not the same as Davey’s but his selling is much better. Cole and O’Reilly just took all of it and kept coming. Their double team moves were outstanding. The one combo I really liked from them was the rolling butterflies from O’Reilly into a DDT from Cole capped off by a suplex from O’Reilly. Even though they didn’t get the win, I think this definitely helped solidify Cole and O’Reilly as a top team in ROH.

G: So the team of O'Reilly and Cole are really coming into their own. With the passion and drive that it takes to get ahead in this company, this young team was going balls-to-the-wall, busting out all kinds of great offense in super slick fashion. Cole was most impressive in this match. His selling of the Briscoe's offense was delightful as all get out, and the crowd was behind him and O'Reilly 100%. Giving 100% is how you make your mark in this company -- I feel the fans are starting to realize just how much these two kids give when they go out there. I honestly feel like they're a younger version of the Briscoes. Think back to 2002-2004 when the Briscoe's were young kids bumping around and eating offense. Now think of the Briscoes today. I honestly feel like this is what we're going to see out of the team of Cole and O'Reilly as time progresses. A really good match that went a decent amount of time. Definitely check it out.

Roderick Strong w/ Truth Martini vs. Davey Richards - G: 8 A: 7

G:Ok, boys, you finally nailed it in my book. This was easily MOTY thus far in ROH. Here's what separated this match from all the other Davey/Strong matches in the year prior: it built, and they took their time. First, let me discuss my gripe with the match: I wish the leg work by Davey would've continued througout. Davey was killing Roddy by working over his legs throughout the beginning portion of the match, but it seemed to stop about halfway through when the sprint came about. I was looking at this with forgiving eyes because the sprint was done just so damn well. Now let's talk about the build. The build in this match worked to a T. The two would start a sprint, but would pull it back as if to tease the fans a la 90's All Japan style. The strike exchanges were everything you'd expect from these two, and the hate really seeped from their pores -- highlights including Davey called Roddy a "motherfucker" and Roddy telling Sinclair to "get the fuck out of my way." I LOVE IT~! To reiterate, MOTYC here for sure if not MOTY for the company thus far. Great, great stuff.

A: I enjoy watching Richards work but my main problem is that he sells stuff like the T-1000 from Terminator 2. Everything Roddy does is pretty much shrugged off unless it’s right after the move itself. On the opposite side, Roddy was just great in this. His facials, especially when he was in the ankle lock at the end were great. There were three big moves in the match I really enjoyed aside from the mat work. First was Davey’s insane suicide dive to the outside where he almost broke his neck colliding with guardrail. The other two were when Davey got dropped hard on the ring frame and my favorite move of the match, Roddy just unceremoniously dropping Davey back first across the turnbuckle arm. A good match yes, but I have to say I enjoyed the tag match before it just a bit better

Kings of Wrestling (Champions) w/ Shane Hagadorn vs. Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team - A: 5 G: 5

A: Shelton was really focusing more on calming down his arsenal of big jumps and dives, only breaking them out when they are really necessary. The early leg work on Claudio was a nice foreshadowing of what was to come in the finish. The pace here wasn’t breakneck like you would expect. It was slowed down considerably with everything having a purpose and not doing big moves for the sake of doing big moves. Geo, you’re right. Haas and Benjamin haven’t missed a beat. They may be just as good, if not better than when they were in WWE. Liked the Haas of Pain submission at the end on Claudio and the big top rope jump from Shelton tossing Hero halfway across the ring.

G: Haas and Benjamin really haven't missed a beat since their departures from WWE, but I do noticed Shelton being a bit more conservative in the ring and not hitting too many high spots. This gets no complaint from me. Why run when you're not being chased? Shelton is focused on his in-ring technical aspect instead of risking his life with dives and such. He still hits that top rope jump which looks divine. The match was taken rather slow by both teams, which built and built to a well-worked climax. KoW took their time decimating WGTT, which added a really great "mainstream-turned-indy-guys who show they can fucking work" story to the match. I honestly think that the future holds better matches for both teams when they face off again, but what we got was indeed good.

Eddie Edwards (Champion) vs. Christopher Daniels (World Television Champion)- G: 6 A: 6

G: Damn this had great pacing. Both guys tore the fucking mat down going hold for counter-hold early on. Edwards had his time in control, as did Daniels, and they both played so damn well off of each other which added a great flow to the match. Time was really the essential key in this match in that it was controlled so well by both men, leading to that great built up atmosphere that made the finish mean that much more. I think this match does the old Harley Race saying of "slowing the fuck down" justice in that it really showed how much two guys can do when they take their time. Watch this shit.

A: Some really good stuff here as, much like the previous bout, everything had a purpose and every move built to the next. Geo, I must once again agree, this was paced perfectly. A little faster or a little slower, this wouldn’t have been as good. Eddie had some good looking stuff here including the running dropkick from the floor through the ropes, similar to Generico’s DDT earlier on. The climax was good as well, especially when Edwards had the achilles lock applied and Daniels kept reversing it. The final move of the match should have been the driver off the top rope as I didn’t think it was necessary for a second immediately after. Everything else here was top notch.

G: What a tremendous show~! Can't wait to see what night two has in store!

A: This was a fairly brisk watch and the three hours blew by. I really enjoyed this and hopefully Night 2 will be just as good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

JCW Legends & Icons 8-12-11

Wow, just wow, let's do this

1) Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine (Steel Cage)- 2
So Hammer has dropped some weight, it's dropped into his stomach which now hangs like a goober over his knees. Hammer does get blood in a gross looking spot. Both guys still got it in the strike department; finish was so out of nowhere. Aftermatch angle was so far beyond everyone's heads they may as well have been on Tatooine.

2) Generations of Elimination Battle Royal (featuring Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Headbangers, Ronnie Garvin, Carlito, Zach Gowan, Doink the Clown, Superfly Snuka, Rob Conway, Eugene, Big Daddy V, Disco Inferno, Tony Atlas and Rikishi)- 3
So, to clarify, here at NHO, we do not give scores based upon just the wrestling skill involved in each match, there's tons of factors that go into our decisions, but the one most cited is how much could we recommend a match to you. If you look at some of the names and think about them circa 2011, it's a scary prospect and by all rights, the work here, largely whimpering. But there's an element of nostalgia, same with the WM Gimmick Battle Royal years ago that plays into all of it; when Superfly enters the ring and everyone in it stops and claps for him, that's something I can get behind. KG and Mick Foley, the announce crew for this show, are phenomenal in coming off as real people who like wrestling and know it's history, such a breath of fresh air beside the peddling, facetious people being fed scripted lines on USA network wrestling. I had a good time watching this; even toyed with a "4" but the embarrassing finish with Gowan and Big Daddy plummeted that right back down.

3) Rock n' Roll Express v. Original Midnight Express - 0
Jesus, Ricky Morton looks like Gollum wearing a Ricky Morton mask. Gibson's hair is so receding, it should be called receded. This went literally 30 seconds and besides Condrey throwing a few stiff jabs, completely pointless.

4) Philly Madness Match: Raven v. Balls Mahoney v. Shane Douglas v. Sabu v. 2 Cold Scorpio v. Rhino v. Al Snow- 2
This is the ECW guys chance to shine. Raven's top knot is hideous, Balls just left an alley with broken pipe under his nose, Douglas is wearing like 4 layers of clothes and the other 4 guys look in reasonable shape. The formula here was fine, guys coming in and out, hitting their big stuff while they still can, but just felt completely rushed. Some guys only did one literally one physical movement and seemed happy enough at that. 2 Cold looked good as usual, Foley even making the Fountain of Youth joke about him. I wonder if old ECW stars are like famous rock stars at the Gathering? Backstage, Raven gets head from a sloppy Juggalette named Bobbi while Sabu's playing beer pong with her 12 year old daughter? My imagination frightens me sometimes.

5) Bob Backlund v. Ken Patera- 0
Patera is so rotund he looks like he swallowed Optimus Prime. Backlund however looked transported right from 1994 and was especially spry. There was a little pysch in this, but unfortunately Patera was just immobile. To declare the rollup finish looking like a turtle was kicked on it's back is much too easy a comparison.

6) Dutch Mantel v. Koko B Ware v. Brickhouse Brown v. Doug Gilbert v. Austin Idol- 1
This was the Memphis legends match, which was a neat concept, probably a territory most would leave out on a tribute show as it's not as well known world wide. Gilbert actually was doing some great selling and everyone seemed to remember how to punch. Another rollup finish? this one even more sad than the previous couple, no thanks.

7) Tracey Smothers v. Tommy Rich- 0
Thought this was going to be a surprise hit, even though Rich looked like Hagrid's brother from the Harry Potter films. Both guys came in fired up throwing haymakers like they were fighting over the last beef jerky at a Circle K in Hendersonville. But, this went all of 30 seconds with you guessed it: Another rollup! Feels like a CZW circa 07 show.

8) New Age Outlaws v. Kevin Nash/ X-Pac w/ Vampiro as Referee- 3
I'm not sure what it is but the announcers kept mentioning how receptive the crowd was but it sounded deaf quiet to me. Scott Hall accompanied his NWO cronies and seemd to barely be able to comprehend where he was, moving like Karloff's The Mummy. Fuck the sobriety test, I don't think Hall had a pulse. Match was best of the night, in ring by far. Pac seemed motivated and was hitting spin kicks on target. Not that anyone had to do much but I thought everyone looked good for their time in the ring. Vampiro strangely was the ref, unannounced and side kicked the shit out of Road Dogg, but Nash continued to cover Gunn who had already kicked out once. That finish was dog shit and was as convincing as the moral code of most of the fans in attendance. Foley was bringing guys up to the announce booth all night, telling inside jokes and anecdotes to amuse himself with and even fauxed texted John Laurinatis saying "x-Pac looked good." Can you imagine receiving that if you were him? As if his Sat. night couldn't be anymore fucked up after giving Vince and Linda both ass-cials.

9) Terry Funk v. Roddy Piper- 2
The opening stuff was damn entertaining from Funk bitchslapping Dave Penzer to another of Piper's long list of classic promos. Both guys were peppering each other with really stiff strikes which I liked and Funk got blood. It's like, can this guy not get blood? I wonder if he ever goes to O'Charleys with the family and after he places his app order, just gigs himself out of habit? Bob Orton (still with cast) and Mick Foley get involved in a really sad brawl and the finish continues the pitiful streak of show with the most botched endings.

Overall, at 2 1/2 hours, with these scores, it may seem destined this show is at the bottom of the barrel, perhaps of all time reviewed here on the NHO blog, but I had fun with it, mostly due to seeing faces briefly remembered from my youth and teenage years as a wrestling fan, but also because of the superb announcing done. This is textbook how every show should be announced; these guys weren't pushing this show as great in ring, in fact the opposite, and every performer obviously knew that going out there. I think there should have been some assistance given to these guys though as everything was dreadfully short and sloppy, but I guess it was all about the almighty check at the end of the night. I think if anything I'd have rather been sitting where Mick Foley was, sitting back enjoying it all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dragon Gate USA Open the Southern Gate

1) Brodie Lee vs. Jon Davis - 3
2) The Breakout Challenge Match #1: Jimmy Rave vs. Lince Dorado vs. Sugar Dunkerton vs. Kyle Matthews - 3
3) The Stable Shootout Match #1: Rich Swann vs. Sami Callihan - 6

Opener wasn't stirring any emotion in me. Two big guys doing a kind of clunky match, some ugly moments, like Davis being unable to lift his leg high enough for a spot, and Brodie's control segment dragged. Matthews looks like Justin Gabriel minus the charisma. Kyle looked actively bad with an aloof expression and subpar timing. Dorado was crisp, and Dunkerton, while goofy, was fine. Ending was anticlimactic with Rave hitting a Shining Wizard on Sugar out of nowhere. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with both Swann and Callihan a couple months ago so I was actively looking forward to the next one. Sami hitting an Exploder suplex on the ramp was a big bump. This had a great, manic pace and lots of physicality. It also had a high saliva quotient. Given its placement on the card these guys overachieved.

4) The Breakout Challenge Match #2: AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon vs. Facade vs. Shiima Xion - 4
5) The Stable Shootout Match #2: Naruki Doi vs. Jon Moxley - 5
6) The Stable Shootout Match #3: CIMA vs. Johnny Gargano - 6

Backstage Moxley promo with short hair and he looks like Nick Swardson. This was the kind of spot-fest we'd expected in a four-way setting but was fairly enjoyable. Arik looked about as appropriate here as the racist Confederate flag did hanging on the wall at this venue. Plenty of stuff came off sloppy but that didn't deter them. Shiima looked the best. I wonder if AR knows Fox McCloud? Five matches in and we're just now getting to see an actual Dragon Talent talent. Brodie Lee attacks Moxley pre-match and throws him around like something Nerf. Naruki targets the leg like Gabe targets the deserts on the buffet. Moxley had the size but Doi the speed. I always thought the crotch chop was such a stupid taunt but when Moxley busts it out after a series of slaps to a kneeling Doi I couldn't help but chuckle. The finish, and how Jon basically sat there and complacently took the Bakatare Sliding Kick to the face was sort of a downer. Post-match Moxley harasses Playboy Playmate Reby Sky. I liked Gargano the first time I saw him because he was wearing a Reptar t-shirt, but now, I've come to respect him as an upcoming force on the indy scene. I wasn't sure early if they'd rally into anything resembling recommendable but the finishing stretch was really good stuff. There was one sequence of counters that was super tricky and smooth and I was pretty stunned they pulled it off. Gargano looked strong in defeat, he took the Schwein more than once, but it was finally the Meteora diving double knee drop off the top that finished him off. I'd say check this out.

7) Jimmy Rave vs. Arik Cannon - 4
8) The Stable Shootout Match #4: PAC & Ricochet vs. Akira Tozawa & Chuck Taylor - 6

The crowd didn't seem too interested in the next match -- can't say I blame them. Cannon's a guy I've never been too big on but had a few flashes of decency with a crisp strike or aggressive power move sprinkled in. Arik won with the Glimmering Warlock which was anticlimactic after previously hitting more high-impact stuff like Total Anarchy for nearfalls. Main event went nearly 30 min. Tozawa bailing to the floor and sitting on a guy's lap in the front row wearing a black leather jacket but tan shorts so he appeared sans pants and massaged Akira's shoulders was odd. Not sure what got him started but PAC is bleeding like he just got ground and pounded by Brian Ebersole. The finishing stretch had the nuttiness you'd expect but it was fun including some big aerial spots and double-teams and the right guy got beat (Taylor). The "unlikely partners" trope didn't really pop and in a co. dominated by factions I couldn't discern the issues amongst guys but the action was good.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat by Forrest Griffin

This is a fun read. Forrest is a complete goof and that shines through almost every page. My sense of humor has been dulled so it takes a certain sort of depravity to really tickle my funny-bone and Griffin's just the masochist to do it. I enjoyed a lot of the little stories and anecdotes peppered through including those from his close longtime friends, stuff like the type of women a younger Forrest would bring home, his disconcerting obsession with Good Will Hunting, fighting an MMA fan in a bar bathroom, etc. My biggest complaint with this book is it sort of has two identities and they don't always blend together well. Most of it is the aforementioned romp but then there's also parts that are instructional guides, especially the last portion, where you're getting (from what I can ascertain) pretty sound advice if you're starting an MMA career, everything from management and training, to specific fighting disciplines. It's just rattling going from crude humor to a detailed instruction manuel on passing someone's guard. Still, from the opening manhood test at the beginning of the book to instructions on how to survive a dog or sword attack at the end, this is a worthwhile read.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

JCW Bloodymania IV

The biggest show of the year from the idiotic clowns that never seem to go away.

The Weedman vs. Officer Colt Cabana – 3
Strange to see Cabana working a heel police gimmick as opposed to his regular ROH character. Weedman is exactly what his name says. He’s a masked dude in a t-shirt and surfer shorts whose main offense is blowing smoke from his joints into his opponents face. Weedman’s one-footed dropkick and super kick at the end were the highlights to this one.

Shawn Daivari vs. Joey Ryan vs. Road Dogg Jesse James – 2
The in-ring between Ryan and Daivari was perfectly acceptable and was the only reason this match scored points. Once Road Dogg staggered in, looking like he’d just arrived from the nearest saloon, things went downhill faster than a ski jumper at the winter olympics. Road Dogg looked terrible and even had problems delivering his patented knee drop. Then we get Daivari bringing in a chair and the ring steps only to get attacked by Sabu who nearly screws up the first move he does.

The Haters vs. The Kings of Wrestling vs. The Briscoes vs. The Ring Rydas – Four Way Elimination Match – 3
Not really much to see here as the Kings and Briscoes were in cruise control and the two JCW teams weren’t really all that impressive. Seemed like all the Rydas knew how to do were flying headscissor takedowns and throw bad punches. The Haters just looked ridiculous. Their masks looked like Jushin Liger masks with the face and eye holes cut out. Haters hit a nice backcracker for a nearfall towards the end. At one time, nearly all eight guys were in the ring at the same time in a very chaotic scene at which the referee just didn’t care. Nearfalls were good but lacked any crowd heat.

Butterbean vs. Twinkie Hop – 0
This was completely pointless. Butterbean took all of two seconds to KO this ridiculous bastard.

Booker T vs. Tracy Smothers – 4
The first match on here that I thought was kind of fun. I don’t believe these two have ever wrestled each other before so this gets a point based on that merit alone. Even though Smothers didn’t hardly do jack shit besides throw punches and stall, I was really digging his output. I would’ve liked to have seen them maybe kick it up another gear but everything up until the ref bump was pretty fun. Never thought I would see Ian Rotten and Bull Pain run interference in a Booker T match but it happened. Goofy finish to an otherwise fun match.

Isis vs. Isabella Smothers – 2
Smothers is actually Mickie Knuckles. Isis was supposed to be on that all diva season of NXT and after watching her here, it’s pretty clear why they pulled her. Sure, she’s a big attraction but she’s also very green and dangerous in the ring, as evidence by a giant boot that almost crushed Mickie’s face. Her match ending chokeslam was reminiscent of a Giant Gonzalez chokeslam, and that’s not a good thing.

Balls Mahoney/Hollywood Chuck Hogan vs. Mad Man Pondo/Necro Butcher – 1
This was a sad fucking sight to watch. Hogan is about as athletic as a corpse and him saying that he’s a professional wrestler is a complete disgrace to anyone who’s ever laced up a pair of boots. Necro was the best looking of the bunch. Weapons shots and a meandering brawl leading nowhere was the name of the game. Did I just see Balls just vomit all over the ring and floor? Guess those dozen White Castle sliders he had earlier weren’t a good idea. Wait, Hogan was 2 Tuff Tony in disguise? Guess that explains the hideous mask he wore during the bout.

Corporal Robinson vs. Mike Knox vs. Raven – 1
Fuck, this was just as bad as the previous match! When Raven revealed himself dressed as Lord Ninja, no one could have given a shit less. Knox was the best looking of the bunch. Robinson did a front somersault onto the floor that was probably very similar to the one he did while completely shitfaced off a stage that night. Ending was a complete debauchery with Todd Bridges and Scott D’Amore rolling around in the ring and then Terry Funk coming in shortly after to fight. Just a mess. Post match, The Haters beat down Funk and Robinson until SID VICIOUS shows up and powerbombs the shit out of them. What a strange ending.

I really wanted to enjoy this show as a whole, especially with the strange card and what-not, but it was not to be. Thankfully, there wasn’t a single appearance by ICP on this event which made me very happy. None of the in-ring work on any of the matches was particularly good as all these people where just here to collect a check, or maybe some blow and loose strippers. Better watch out for that shit, I hear that herpes and crabs are a bitch to get rid of. As a whole though, only one thing I can say ... JCW is a fucked up world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You Had Me At Goodbye #1: NOAH 1/15/11

Brian: I came up with the idea to do this project. Back in the day, Jessie and I liked stuff from Japan, but besides the random Highspots or RF Video mail order, we didn't get to see a whole lot of it. Nowadays we're able to essentially follow it as it transpires a la mainstream American product, etc. with advances in technology and resourcefulness. We all thought it'd be an interesting company to tackle in watching their entire output for a year as a big talking point in the Internet wrestling world is that puroresu is effectively dead. Many write it off almost entirely without actively watching any of it to form such a damaging opinion. We figured instead of agreeing with popular opinion and trends we'd actually watch every second of it and come to our own conclusions. That project begins... now!

Jess: Whenever we used to make tape orders from Highspots, or any number of places on the web, NOAH was always my go to fed, for big shows (the double tape order) Take any number of factors (loss of TV, Misawa’s passing, legends being hurt, not making new stars) and it would seem as if you can just write NOAH off completely, as many on the web have. But sometimes when people are at their lowest they fight even harder. Time for us to find out if that’s true here.

Adam: NOAH was the first Japanese fed I ever really followed on a regular basis. My love affair with them started back at their peak in ’05 when I saw the Joe vs. Kobashi match from ROH and then KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji on ROH Final Battle ’05. During this time, whenever I would go to ROH shows in the area, I would pick up the latest NOAH commerical release they had and would also constantly follow their activity on the NOAH US website. Myself, Brian, and a few others had the opportunity to see some of the top NOAH guys such as KENTA, Takeshi Morishima, and Go Shiozaki live in Dayton on an ROH show in ’07 and Brian, Jessie, and a host of other made a trip to Philly to see Misawa live later that year. Now, it seems as if NOAH has fallen on hard times and has been left for dead by most internet scribes who trash current puro. Henceforth, in the coming weeks and months we feel it is our duty to clue everyone in on what they are missing out on in 2011 NOAH … starting in 3…2…1…NOW!

Pro-Wrestling NOAH - "THE FIRST NAVIGATION 2011"
Jan., 15, 2011
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
3,400 Fans

#1: Akira Taue, Yutaka Yoshie [Freelance] & Ricky Marvin vs. Masao Inoue, Taiji Ishimori & Masashi Aoyagi - B: 3 J: 3 A: 3

Brian: So it begins like this! Each team has a flier, a geriatric, and a wild card (in this case a meathead and a doughboy). Aoyagi needs better detergent -- his pants are more faded than Mike Awesome's suicide note. Inoue's strikes are weaker than the script for White Chicks. Taue's tweaking Masao's nipples during an abdominal stretch with all the unspoken intent of an elderly man checking out a nurse's ass in a retirement home. Man, Home Alone would have been so different if it was more like reality and the burglars would have just stepped over the toy cars and marbles and killed the little boy. The right guy went over. Kind of your stock opener but while never boring never got too engaging either.

J: I actually think this was better than most openers from the past. The pairings they came up with actually enhanced what is usually a nothing match. Granted, as you said, Inoue as well as Yoshie’s strikes were as gentle as a summer breeze and looked like they hurt as much as stepping on a saltine with bare feet but I can’t discount the sickening splat Yoshie’s top rope splash made. Taue’s appearance fluctuates, he now looks younger than he did in 2007 but much older than in 2010? The juniors helped the flow too.

A: Since NOAH was the only Japanese fed I followed on a regular basis, I have a general idea of who everyone is and don’t have to look these things up. Taue, the old, arthritic, lumbering giant seemed more content with the idea of doing mainly “tittie twisters” than anything else. Marvin and ishimori, representing the juniors divison (no, not that shitty juniors divison on Smackdown back years ago) easily were the ones who saved this from being just a complete waste of time, and bumped it up a point alone based on their in-ring action.

#2: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima [Kensuke Office] & Kento Miyahara [Kensuke Office] - B: 4 J: 3 A: 3

Brian: The NOAH boys were downright mean to the Kensuke Office chaps, including dragging Nakajima out to the floor, removing the mat, and giving him a DDT on the concrete. The story is simple and direct: this is our turf, bitch. If Kanemaru wants to wrestle on the middle of the card for the rest of his life he feels that's his inalienable right. Then it's time for Nakajima to kick out the jams like MC5 minus the protopunk baggage. Genba nearly died eating a Katsuhiko kick while up on Kento's shoulders. Fun stuff, and really, better than your average 6 min. Miz TV bout so I'm already prepared to tell the naysayers to eat a whole bag of fudge-covered dicks.

J: Favorite thing of the match was the outside mauling of Nakajima. More of Kanemaru’s inner dialogue “Kensuke picked your punk ass as his protégé? Wrong move, man.” Best selling of Nakajima the whole match was outside. Besides that, I didn’t feel the hate in the ring.

A: I liked the fight on the outside as well and the stomps on Nakajima from the NOAH contingent were really stiff. I found myself more engrossed in the Kensuke Office team than the NOAH team and they brought a good energy, where as the NOAH guys just seemed to be resting on their laurels. The kick that Brian mentioned that Genba nearly broke his neck on was pretty insane as well.

#3: Kotaro Suzuki & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Eddie Edwards & Bobby Fish - B: 3 J: 3 A: 3

Brian: Maybe watching this at 3AM after my toddler's middle of the night wake-up as he rocks dazedly in his swing as Oobi plays on the TV wasn't the best time. I think the other reason I found it ineffectual is I've recently seen a lot of last year's NOAH Junior Heavyweight Tag League stuff and this doesn't hold up well in comparison. Edwards' partner in that was Roderick Strong who felt a more natural fit as Fish is sort of banal and white-bread. The finish was the sort of trickery that rarely comes across smooth.

Jess: Good call on Fish; he’s completely bland and thought it was funny at one point he tries to pump the crowd up into his comeback but he doesn’t go all the way with it and looks like a guy talking to himself. Nobody brought much in this match, I kept waiting for someone to show some intensity and it was just guys’ going through the pace. Ogawa looked the sharpest actually.

A: I dug the nearfall off a moonsault by Fish, but other than that, he looked like he should’ve been vaccuum sealed, frozen, and sold by Gorton’s. Edwards’ kicks and strikes were the best out of everyone. Have to agree with Jess, nobody here really went all out.

#4: < 3 Big Singles Match Series -1 > Takeshi Morishima vs. Mohammed Yone - J: 5 B: 4 A: 5

Jess: So all NOAH pundits say Morishima is the biggest disappointment for this promotion, as he was to be the guy that carried them to glory. This was a step back in that direction. Yone is known for crazy hair, pudgy cheeks and stiff elbows, all which were on display here but Mori never backed off his attack. I generally loved his succession of huge moves at the end to get the duke.

Brian: These guys were hitting each other so hard I was waiting for someone to get knocked loopy and start stumbling around like a drunk trying to C-Walk. I did not know Mohammed had a flying legdrop off of the top in his repertoire but it was hot. Yone does some of the best dazed selling anywhere, his face after taking the match-ending Backdrop Driver was akin to someone being unceremoniously woken up in study hall by a loud sound.

A: Two giant bruisers just pounding the shit out of each other describes this perfectly. Yone was selling Morishima’s stuff like he’d had one two many at the sushi bar the night before. Morishima not only looked as if he’d lost some weight, it looked like he has returned to his past ways of just dropping people on their head and not caring. An absolutely great back drop driver capped this one off much to my enjoyment. Found the middle section a little slow though.

#5: < 3 Big Singles Match Series - 2 > Takuma Sano vs. Kensuke Sasaki [Kensuke Office] - J: 6 B: 6 A: 5

Jess: These two dudes look tired; you think that stopped them from wrecking each other’s weeks? Hell no. Kensuke’s Twilight hair looks odd as he absorbs huge amounts of punishment; started thinking maybe he had diamond skin too. Sano looks like a gremlin, honestly but his back kicks were just as careless and nasty as in ’90 when pounding Liger into the mat. These guys sort of worked a bigger match feel into this, with any number of clotheslines or kicks seemingly signaling the end. One thing I was disappointed about was Sano takes this gnarly Olympic throw onto the ground outside but camera positioning ruined the shot; which sucked even more because he was out of it for a good long time. Sasaki’s arm must have felt like a stick of licorice after this match but I really enjoyed the fight.

Brian: I liked the opening chop/kick/strike battle as it established them as near equals in that respect. Also loved Sano rebounding off of the metal guardrail like, "You've got me pissed now!" charging at Kensuke who simply caught him and poweslammed him on the floor for his hubris. Sano's double foot stomp from the top is the reason Agamemnon went to Troy. The second and third ones were just the cherry on top the sundae, or in my case, the maraschino cherry on top of my Cherry Coke whenever I go to Red Lobster. I love in NOAH you still see a lot of the roster crouching down at ringside cheering on the competitors, nice to see guys like Inoue and Genba reacting to nearfalls, etc. This match was a treat like if they announced a new season of Feasting on Asphalt.

A: Can’t say that I liked this as much as my two colleagues but it was still a rather good match. Sano’s double foot stomps were completely insane, especially the first one that Kensuke sold like his intestines had just exploded. The powerslam on the outside was pretty wild as well. I was expecting a big epic finish but didn’t get it. The strikes, chops, and kicks from both guys were on the money though. Speaking of which, Sano’s elbows late in the match directly to Kensuke’s jaw made him wobble like a stationary heavy bag when you kick it really damn hard.

#6: < Jun Akiyama Return Match > Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito vs. Go Shiozaki & Shuhei Taniguchi - J: 7 B: 6 A: 6

Jess: I actually really dug this. Akiyama’s comeback and it’s more like his funeral. Both his opponents are vicious against him and he leaves the match with a chest redder than Candido’s the first time he slayed Sunny on her “special time of the month.” Saito also stepped up; know there’s a lot of residual guilt on his conscience for the role he played in Misawa’s tragic death but he seems to be able to let it go because he drops Go on his head repeatedly. This got a good amount of time too, what did you guys think?

Oh, ps. Finish was best decision

Brian: I'm glad to see Akiyama back as I've been a fan for a decade or so now. Jessie wasn't kidding, Jun takes more shots than Ted Nugent at a firing range. His chest was more bruised and bluer in color than the prehensile tongue of an okapi. You don't count out Akiyama, though, man's tougher than Jessie's dad's homemade deer jerky. It may have been Saito's suplex that killed Misawa but its his hairstyle that kills good taste. Shiozaki deserves some frequent flier miles as he was soaring off of a few Saito suplexes. Shuhei's dead-lift German suplex looked like a Jenga tower slowly toppling over. Go was chopping Jun down like a tree which called to mind Earl Sinclair's job for the WESAYSO Corporation on Dinosaurs. I guess that'd make Taue B.P. Richfield then since he owns the place. Go winning with the Go Flasher on Akiyama, well, not sure if I entirely agree with Jessie, albeit can't really argue that it wasn't the most fitting ending, either. I assumed Taniguchi would do the job to the returning vet since he's lowest on the totem pole. Good stuff overall, physical, kept me guessing, had the crowd hot, etc.

A: Akiyama definitely bore the wounds of war. His eyebrow got split open courtesy of the ringpost and by the end of the bout his chest was as red as Gatorade Fruit Punch. Saito was delivering lariats like he was swinging for the fences in a tryout for the Yomiuri Giants. I loved the exchange between Akiyama and Taniguchi which culminated in the aforemention ringpost spot. Not to be outdone though, the exchange near the end with Akiyama and Shiozaki, with Go’s chops echoing like gun shots across the arena, was even better. I would’ve preferred Akiyama going over in the end since it was his return match but overall I rather enjoyed this.

#7: < 3 Big Singles Match Series - 3 > Yoshihiro Takayama [TAKAYAMA-DO] vs. KENTA - J: 7 B: 7 A: 7

Jess: Fuck it, another 7. KENTA actually just beat Takayama’s ass like his name was Don Frye for the first portion of this. That being said, got a little hard to swallow. Takayama wasn’t even pretending to fight back just taking punishment so it looked quite cohesive. But once this thing turned into the next gear, it got brutally stiff. At one point they were just punching each other in the face like Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots. Some really nasty suplexes as well that garnered some good near falls. Gave you an old school NOAH feel.

Brian: I dig this pairing and while this isn't their best match together it was full of more pain than falling down the Great Smokey Mountains. Takayama's face looks like a roadkill possum. I dropped a pizza on the kitchen floor the other night and it exhibited more grace. I loved KENTA trying to wail on Yoshihiro's casserole face and Takayama just drilling him with a grotesque headbutt. I love this sort of barbaric battle.

A: I was expecting this to go a bit longer but at the rate they were assaulting each other, there was no way this was going past 20 minutes. First thing I thought was “why isn’t Takayama fighting back?” Eventually, when he started fighting back, he just destroyed KENTA with a flurry of suplexes and stiff knees. I’m surprised that no one else dug KENTA’s double stomp to the floor. Looked better than Sano’s during his match with Kensuke Sasaki. This was everything you could expect from a singles bout between these two.

#8: < GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title > Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Aoki © vs. Momo no Seisyun Tag (The youth tag of the peach?) {Atsushi Kotoge [Osaka Pro] & Daisuke Harada [Osaka Pro]} - J:4 B: 5 A: 5

Jess: Could be biggest disparity of the show but this felt being dropped in the desert from a helicopter, told to find your way out and the only path you can walk goes in a circle. No I didn’t just describe an episode of Man v. Wild or a Cormac McCarthy novel. It just felt like they were working despite themselves here. Nothing really built up, nor did I ever come close to popping for any big spot or sequence. Never got into this.

Brian: Marufuji did a powerbomb on Kotoge on the floor but put him down as gently as you would a good book. The Osaka Pro boys had what I thought was a really stellar showing in this year's Chikara King of Trios weekend. I loved Harada hitting an overhead belly-to-belly release suplex on Marufuji into the corner on a seated Aoki. Naomichi's hair resembles the doormat at an Arby's. The Osaka squad were busting out the double-teams, but if one thing, Aoki's ugly, and if two things, also resilient. Aoki was eating savate kicks like he was devouring them for Man v. Food Nation. Even though my score's only slightly higher, unlike Jessie, I actively enjoyed this. Aoki busted out the Assault Point for the finish.

A: Unlike the junior heavyweight stuff earlier in the show, this was actually pretty stellar. I thought the floor powerbomb that Brian referenced was rather good. The Osaka Pro boys really had a good showing here, busting out double team moves and kicking their opponents into oblivion. Kotoge during introductions looked like a nervous high schooler about to go out on his first date but I’ll give him props, boys got some mad skills. Not sure who got the worst of the big Spanish Fly move but I do know that it looked better than Sin Cara’s. The nearfalls were quite good too but they weren’t quite enough to push it up to the recommended level, but it was very close.

#9: < GHC Heavyweight Title > Takashi Sugiura © vs. Bison Smith - J:5 A: 5 B: 7

Jess: not really a fan of either guy but there’s too much death going on to not give this a good score. Match has no pace really it’s just a collection of big , nasty shit. And these guys really do eat their own faces several times from being dropped so violently on their necks. Some early sequences looked weak esp. Suguira’s spear that almost appeared to be a friendly family hug. But there was some gnarly bumps in this, maybe not quite on the level you’d find on the Best of Necro Butcher in Japan tape but close. Finish took forever to setup and looked soooo cooperative but it could have caused another serious earthquake in Japan with it’s impact. Could see others recommending for the style they ran with here though.

A: The fight in the crowd at the outset was rather fun and those chairs didn’t give much either. Case in point Sugiura taking two giant bumps on them. Saito’s hairstyle is reasonable compared to Smith’s. I want to know what drunken barber school drop-out thought that was a good idea. I found the majority of the in-ring work to be rather bland, with the exception of Sugiura getting thrown rather rudely into the corner. I liked the ankle lock attempt but Smith seemed so unemotional reaching for the ropes while he was locked in it. That finishing move was sick and I think I felt my couch rattle from its impact.

Brian: Am I the only one who wish we could have gotten more out of Bison's ROH run? Who booked that shit? Never mind. Smith is essentially doing Mike Awesome's shtick just better. Smith's landing off an Olympic Slam onto a row of chairs was about as good as Flair's in that plane crash. I wonder if Ric sold that? He probably just popped up amid the fiery wreckage in a fucking cornfield somewhere and started strutting and dropping elbows onto vegetation. Sugiura usually has short, bristly hair, but his dirty blonde mop-top here makes him look like Tony Hawk circa '89. He just needs a pink Powell Peralta t-shirt. Smith has more of a chance of his kids winning a lottery to get into a charter school than the GHC championship. The poewrbomb Takashi ate into the corner was so ill. This was way too stiff and fun to not recommend guys. I haven't seen someone having such meaty shots land on their head and face since Brett Rogers' wife.

Friday, August 19, 2011

CHIKARA Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Seqeul - July 30 and 31st

Night One

1. Jigsaw vs. Fire Ant - 7
2. Jakob Hammermeier vs. Gregory Iron - 2

This first match is one of those matches that are in the same vein as Quack vs. Ophidian from Michigan in that it defined CHIKARA. Both guys started out slow here, attacking one another. Jig teased the Danielson-style surfboard and locked Fire in a nasty Gory Special submission that looked more painful than sitting through a Ke$ha concert. Fire began picking apart the shoulder of Jig, who is recovering from an injury in the deltoid region -- great psych and Jig sold all the shots to the shoulder vocally, adding a nice touch of realism. Hell, Fire hit two dives and Jig continued to focus mainly on the shoulder while selling. High marks on him from me for maintaining focus and sustaining his selling. Technically, Jig looks better than ever, hitting a nice sequence including an ensiguiri, suplex, double stomp, and dive all in a nice, sequential order. Back to the selling, Jig hit a German and tried to bridge, but pulled out his arm from underneath once again because of his injury. You can't shake a stick at Fire Ant though, as I thoroughly dug that sweet counter to the brainbuster into the stunner. OH! One more great, great little thing: Jig goes for the Jig-n-Tonic, but Fire Ant SLIDES DOWN JIGS ARM FOR THE SUBMISSION. FUCK YES! It was so smooth!~~! Really great match~~

The next match saw Iron over huge against the flamboyant German ring announcer turned worker. Unfortunately, we didn't get much of a match out of this as the ref bumped and Jakob started choking Iron, only to have UMB (Ultramantis Black) come down and hit the Praying Mantis Bomb to get Greg the victory. Nice little heel tactics by Jakob, though.

3. Eddie Kingston vs. Adam Cole - 5
4. F.I.S.T. (Johnny Gargano, Icarus & Chuck Taylor) vs. Team 3.Ole! (El Generico & 3.0) - 6

Adam Cole in CHIKARA is like milk and chocolate. That shit just goes together! Cole plays the arrogant cocky heel which he has perfected in CZW as the junior heavyweight champ. I was half expecting him to grab his junk and make girations to the crowd -- that wouldn't fly in Quackland. Cole started the match out hot by diving on King while he made his way to the ring. My favorite thing to witness unfold happened yet again: knee psych in a Kingston match. Cole went for the drop kick to the knee, and you know shit was getting heavy. Cole attacked the knee like a morbidly obese child attacking the ice-cream cake at Chuck E. Cheese, leaving none for the children who would rather play in the ball pit, by tying up King's leg more than anything that came out of the dearly departed Auntie Ann's Pretzel Co. King's grimacing was on par here with his other work. More of that great subtlety came in when King hit the northern light's and couldn't hold the bridge due to the knee. Nice touch! Nice little match.

Suffice to say that this match started off with each team elbow dropping one another's t-shirts that lay limp on the mat. This match was worked in a steady lucha formula that had guys coming in and out, but the legal man problems were much less noticeable as each man seemed to get in and get out as quick as the other one. Matthews got a real hot-tag and his his trademark head-scissors spot, which piqued the lucha breakdown with one man coming in after another, hitting offense and leaving just as quick. Taylor took an exploder suplex in the corner by Genny, and then an assisted lung blower by 3.0 and took the fall. Lucha style, baby. Lucha style.

5. World Of Sport Match: Johnny Saint vs. Johnny Kidd - 8

So this next match nearly had me in tears of joy. I was contemplating just how I would get across how much I like it, and figured I would copy and paste the notes I took on it. Here they are (tl;dr, sorry about your damn luck~!):

Round 1

Been looking forward to this since the announcement
Loved Saint breaking up Kidd’s hands to break holds
Saint keeps getting shoulder off the mat despite Kidd’s efforts by pinning his arms.
Saint puts Kidd in pinning position even though Kidd had Saints head between his legs

Round 2

Kidd uses size advantage to get upper hand via wrist control
Saint reverses out of bearhug by bridging out and under Kidd’s legs to a trap hold
Beautiful sequence by Saint teasing Kidd by pulling his arms and bridging his back for the pin attempt
Pattern: Kidd has the power and size advantage, but Saint is evasive
Saint squirms out of body scissors
Kidd tells Saint to ‘look over there’ to get out of leg hold, haha

Round 3

Kidd gets Saint over his leg for the submission, but Saint rolls over his knee and grabs the arm for a wrench
Saint baits Kidd in, asking him to grab his hand and gets Kidd into the submission, but Kidd rolls him off
Kidd goes for the trip while Saint is turned around, but Saint pats him on the back because he knows he’s there. Haha.
Flawless abdominal stretch by Saint

Round 4
Kidd walks right out of Saint’s attempted leg takedown
Delicious bridge out by Saint out of the straight jacket to turn it around onto Kidd
Nice finishing stretch that saw Kidd gets the victory after Saint got rolled onto his shoulders in a great little quick paced, rope-running finish.

Thoughts: So crisp, so divine, so delicious. This was grappling at it’s finest. I loved it. Although Saint had the most impressive display, both men played their part excellently as Kidd got the pinfall in the end to cap off what was a really historic match for CHIKARA

6. Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze & Makoto vs. Portia Perez, Shimoda & Fujimoto - 6
7. Tursas vs. Green Ant - 5
8. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Mike Quackenbush - 6

This was a hell of a way to pimp the upcoming Joshimania. I loved the Del Rey and Shimoda faceoff - talk about an Amazonian battle! Shimoda bumps around the ring pretty well by whipping her head around and bouncing it off of the mat. I don't want this to seem one-sided, but Shimoda is great; even when she's on the apron all you want to do is watch her. Perez has a nice mean streak as she raked at the eyes of Makoto who screamed and squealed as it was happening. Love that vox selling. Alright, let's talk about the one joshi star that I haven't talked about: Fujimoto. Her energy is great as well as the aura she has that surrounds her. Her personality really shines through in her work as well. Fujimoto showed a bit of a mean streak as Shimoda came in and the two of them worked over Makoto's knees by bury them in the mat. Makoto screamed like a banshy. The match capped off with Haze royally fucking up a DDT on Shimoda, which was kind of glaring to say the least. I still recommend it because it really showed an American audience how women should fucking wrestle and throw down properly.

There's a lot of emotion going into this match as Green Ant has fought valiantly against Tursas in the past, even slamming him on one recent occasion. Fighting back from a shoulder injury at the hands of young lion Keita Yano from the BattlArts promotion at Young Lions Cup last year, this storyline was the best thing Green Ant had going for him as he made his way around the country in the Flex Express, pimping his match with the big man. Obviously, this match had a lot of emotion going into it as Green Ant donned the American flag mask and bodysuit, going up against the Norsk beast that is Tursas. Fired up, Green Ant really took it to the viking, hitting a splash as Tursas laid on the floor. Tursas turned the match around hitting Green with a suplex into the ring. From here it was sheer domination, as Tursas used a piece of an American flag to stab Green Ant. I enjoyed the aspect of the little man trying to get the big guy down, as Green Ant tried hard with "hanging" submissions (hanging from the body of a standing opponent), but always ended up getting slammed on his back from Tursas, who ultimately ended up missing the Vader Bomb, turning the match into Green Ant's favorite. The finish was great. I don't want to spoil it, but I didn't see it coming. Get some!

The final match pitted two of the biggest names in the company against one another. Claudio is a damn solid worker. He put over Quacks lucha maneuvers like he was getting hit by a truck. For example, a nice armdrag by Quack would lead to Claudio bumping and getting himself all tied up in the ropes. We got some great rib psych from Claudio after he lifts Quack up laterally and slams him into the ring post on the outside, stomach first. In the ring, he moved to a more focused attack on the midsection including a claw hold, standing on the stomach, headbutts to the abdomen, knees to the gut, and an ab stretch. Just really sound and solid wrestling on his part. Quack's valiant efforts to come back from the rib work worked well as he hit a great moonsault to the outside and a dragonrana in the ring that looked fluid. Claudio got some of his big offense in, including a really great European uppercut that he deflected from a tornado DDT attempt. Solid back-and-forth from both men in a match that really lends itself to a viewing or several!!

All-in-all it's safe to say that this show owned the hell out of everything and everyone occupying planet Earth. It now moves up the CHIKARAWESOME Meter. Hell to the yeah!

Match Average: 5.63

Night Two

1. Makoto vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto - 6
2. Dasher Hatfield vs. Archibald Peck - 3
3. Mima Shimoda vs. Daizee Haze - 5

Starting off hot with that great Joshi style comes Makoto and Fujimoto. Both women start with leg strikes including some textbook dropkicks to the chest and face region. The striking here kept getting better and better as Makoto hit Fuj right in the gut with a double knee somersault. Also, the finish was a strike, too, which is beyond awesome in my book because it breaks up the monotony of hitting finishing moves to put a match away. This worked great here with Fuj walking up the ropes and hitting an ensiguiri on Makoto to get the pinfall. Again, a really great showcase of what we're bound to see in December.
*Side note, Joshi fan Brian will be joining me for a three part coreview of CHIKARA's Joshimania in December. AWWW YEAH!

This next bout was really one of those that you could take or leave. Peck's showmanship and comedy is great. He's easily one of my favorite guys to sit back and watch act like a fool. Peck kept inadvertently hitting the ref and such, which held the match back in terms of wrestling. Veronica (his valet) ended up using the baton on Hatfield, leading to Peck hitting a new finisher that looked really similar to a Style's Clash. Little bit of filler here, but fortunately it didn't really kill the mood of the weekend.

This joshi match was pretty interesting. Haze looked good (much better than the night before at least), hitting a nice plancha off of the top rope. Shimoda came off as a bitch in this match. Her leg lock on Haze was really deep, and she made sure to put an exclamation point on it by locking in a really nasty crab hold. Haze hit a nice German for a nearfall, to which Shimoda responded with four ax kicks to the back of Haze's head. After the match, Shimoda got a chair and threw it at Haze's head. Shit was nasty!

4. UltraMantis Black, Hallowicked & Frightmare vs. Team 3.Ole' (El Generico & 3.0)-5
5. Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano vs. Atlantis & Rey Bucanero - 5
6. Eddie Kingston vs. Jigsaw - 6

This next match was good and served it's purpose as a sprint in the middle of the show. I really enjoy Hallowicked's performance here. His little subtle movements, like walking up the ropes to get out of an arm hold, are really nice little gems. Generico, my boy, channeled Terry Funk with his great stumbling around the ring after taking a running knee in the corner. Let's talk about Frightmare. His energy is his biggest asset. He explodes onto the scene after receiving his tag with more energy than fat kids chasing an ice-cream truck. Parker and Matthews honestly didn't make an impact in this match, as the novelty of having Generico on the team was the main focus. Generico hit a really nasty looking Yakuza on Wicked as he attempted a springboard into the ring. Mantis hits the Mantis Bomb on Generico for the win.

Wow. Bucanero and Atlantis got a shitty pop considering their legendary status. I dig Atlantis. He worked over Gargano's legs and made his way to his arms -- digging that overall body psych. A nice added touch by Gargano here, seeing him return the favor by working over Atlantis' arm. You had that classic lucha element with the lucha staples, like the double spinning back breakers on FIST. Bucanero looks great. His springboard senton onto Gargano looked great, as Gargs was draped across the legs of Atlantis. Ouch. The luchador team worked well together, giving us a match that was enjoyable.

Jigsaw looks great after returning from his injury. He hit a nice arm drag on King, but held on and got to his feet to hit King with a dropkick. King started that great psych on Jig's shoulder by taking his arm and slamming it down on the mat. King got himself into some psych, too, after hitting a tope and tweaking the knee on the landing. OH HERE WE GO SON! King was quite nasty, putting Jig's arm in the guardrail and twisting it around. Nice little touches here. As King attempted to get in the ring, Jig hits a dropkick on the knee of King. THE DREADED DROP KICK TO KINGSTON'S KNEE! Here was a great little moment of showmanship: Jig draped King's leg across the rope and kicked it. As King tried to get out and put weight on his leg, he swung at Jig but couldn't walk, and fell down into a big pile of spandex. It was great. One of my favorite things in wrestling are transitions. King had a really nice one, hitting a Saito suplex and then chaining it together with a keylock. We capped off with a slapfest in the ring, followed by both men hitting Tenyru-style ensiguiris. So solid. Great wrestling.

7. Johnny Saint & Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Kidd & Colt Cabana - 7
8. Sara Del Rey vs. Claudio Castagnoli - 5

The next match will be another CHIKARA classic, for sure. Instead of detailing specific spots (As a lot of them were similar to the night before), I figured I'd discuss the impact the match had on me. I sincerely believe after watching this that Colt and Quack are clones of Saint and Kidd. This looked to be so fun for Colt and Quack as they got to show their stuff to the people they watched and respected so much coming up in the ranks. The match featured such great chain wrestling that it's unrivaled by anything that's ever happened in this company before. Saint is indeed a saint in the wrestling ring, but all of these guys had such great chaining and evasive maneuvers. It was just so fresh and, honestly, beautiful to watch unfold. This is one of those matches I'd point to if someone were to ask me why I loved wrestling so much. About as fresh and clean as a slice of salmon sashimi.

So here were are. It's come to this. The Queen of the BDK taking on the leader. Already you have a really interesting story that could really go places. Claudio wanted Sara to lay down for him and to know her role. I smell dissension in the ranks! Sara started kicking the hell out of Claudio's chest and was showing a nice mean streak. Claudio had the real dick aura about him as he basically manhandled Sara... well, as much as you can manhandle an Amazon like her. Sara took quite the beating, and she made the most of it, too, getting all of the fans behind her. Sara hit this nice cross-body and then going right to an arm submission. This was shortly followed by Claudio belting her right in the face!~ Those cross arm breakers were nasty!! I'd love to see where this story goes. A fun match indeed. Loved seeing Sara's intensity. She really should be working the main event more often.

While night one was a bit stronger than night two, this was a great weekend for the company.

Match Average: 5.25


"CHIKARASAURUS Rex: King of Sequel N. 1 (5.63)
"CHIKARASAURUS Rex: King of Sequel N. 2 (5.25)
"King of Trios: Night 3" - April 17, 2011 (5.1)
"Creatures from the Tar Swamp" - March 13, 2011 (5)
"A Demon in His Pocket" - June 25, 2011 4.88
"The Case of the Bulletproof Waldo" - June 24, 2011 (4.78)
"King of Trios: Night 2" - April 16, 2011 (4.75)
"The Evil that Lies Within, Part 4" - June 26, 2011 (4.75)
"Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls" - January 23, 2011 (4.75)
"Anniversario and His Amazing Friends" - May 21, 2011 (4.63)
"King of Trios: Night 1" - April 15, 2011 (4.6)
"Caught in a Cauldron of Hate" - February 19, 2011 (4.5)
"Anniversario: The Legendary Super Powers Show" - May 22, 2011 (4.5)
"Clutch of Doom" - February 20, 2011 (4.25)
"Operation Big Freeze" - March 12, 2011 (4)
"Engulfed in a Fever of Spite" - May 14, 2011 (3.9)