Friday, September 30, 2011

IWA-EC "Stiff Competiton 2" 7/12/11

Omega Aaron Draven vs. Jeff Mayhem vs. Chris Miles – 3
When the first thing I see on my screen is Draven coming out with some rotund hillbilly manager, my expectations immediately drop. Jeff Mayhem has one of the most generic indy names I’ve ever heard of and is as skinny as a bean pole, as they used to say in the south. Miles I’m guessing is the local boy here as the announcers mention he’s from Huntington. Draven bails early leaving most of the ring work to Mayhem and Miles. While not overwhelmingly impressive, it was solid and they had a decent handle on things. Draven at times spewed about as much emotion as the frozen chicken strips in your freezer. The big spots worked fine, even though the spot where Draven superkicked Mayhem who then went directly into a standing moonsault seemed a bit choreographed.

Mickie Knuckles vs. Brittany Force – 2
I’ve seen a bunch of Mickie Knuckles matches over the years and this was not her at her finest. First half was nothing but Mickie playing to the miniscule crowd and working in a few comedy spots. As I was this I’m thinking that while most matches don’t get out of first gear, this isn’t going to get out of park. Force worked a good heel but almost got ahead of herself on a side slam. The complete air ball by Mickie when she was supposed to deliver a kick while Brittany was doing a bridge was laughable. Harsh match ending pump-handle powerbomb was probably the thing with the highest impact of the first two matches.

Kaige Kuttler vs. Viper – 1
The announcers mentioned this as a “West Virginia grudge match over trailer park lot rent”. When I envision that, I think of a people with bad hygiene habits full of beer and meth brawling bare knuckle and shirtless in the dirt in the middle of the trailer park. That would most assuredly be more entertaining than this match. Only big thing worth mentioning here is the hip toss Viper took from the ring apron to the floor.

Irish Airborne vs. Mad Man Pondo & 2 Tuff Tony - 3
I was so hoping to see Pondo and Tony stiff the fuck out of the Airborne but instead all I saw were Pondo and Tony bumbling around the ring and Irish Airborne hitting flippy offense. Pondo looked like a giant pile of dog shit when he tried to hit the ropes. There was a terrifying moment when Jake Crist dove over the top and Pondo and Tony almost dropped the poor bastard when they caught him. Timing got completely fucked on a nearfall when Tony was supposed to break it with a springboard moonsault but was late and the ref just randomly stopped counting. Tony should not be doing cruiserweight style offense, he should be hitting people over the head with chairs really hard. So far, this was better than anything else I’ve seen on this show even though the score may not represent that.

The Murder Junkies (Sam Hain & The Juggulator) vs. The In Crowd (T.J. Phillips & Trik Nasty) - 2
For a tag title match, I was expecting a bit more effort. It appears that the only thing Sam Hain has murdered as of late are double bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s. Is there a worse wrestler than Juggulator? If there is, I would sure like someone to point him out to me. The In Crowd tried hard but this was a total wreck. Aaron Draven took the best bump of the match and all he did was run-in. If I had to pick a highlight I guess it would be the tower of doom spot from Sam Hain as nothing else really sticks out. Crowd had about as much pulse as Ronald Reagan currently does.

Jason Kincaid vs. Chris Hero - 4
When I saw there were two matches and over 40 minutes left in the show at this point, I felt really disheartened. Kincaid was a last minute replacement for Sami Callihan and looked like Berzerker’s son with Sheamus’ tan. I watched this pretty closely, not being familiar with Kincaid at all and I wasn’t a big fan of what I saw. His strikes were weak, like a ten year old afraid to hit a heavy bag without gloves, and he was pretty emotionless on selling the entire match. Hero knocked the shit out of him on a couple occasions, most notably one of the stiffest baseball slide dropkicks I’ve ever seen. They tried to work the in some big nearfalls in front of a crowd of about fifty people who could have cared less and that didn’t really work too well. Time wise I think they went a few minutes too long as well.

Low Ki vs. Necro Butcher - 7
Brian and I reviewed the first meeting between these two from IWA Mid South in 2006 a while back and we both gave it very high marks. Five years removed from that show and these two are back battling once again and pick up right from where they left off. This match was just so fucking good that I don’t even know where to begin. Everything was just brutally stiff. The bleacher brawl section was awesome, capped off by a huge mushroom stomp from Low Ki. Necro’s dome got gashed open when he took an accidental header into the ring apron. Even though Necro looks like he’s aged about ten years, don’t let that fool you. He can still throw down with the best of them. I though Low Ki had a broken neck when Necro had him piggyback on his shoulders and fell straight back with him. Big nearfall with Low Ki kicking out of the tiger driver. At its core, this was two old school indy guys just coming in and completely destroying one another. Finish with Low Ki grabbing Necro by the giant beard and tossing him off the top buckle onto an open chair followed by a gigantic mushroom stomp was just awesome.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dragon Gate USA: Mercury Rising

March 27th, 2010. The Celebrity Theater. Phoenix, AZ

1) TJP v. Brad Allen- 6
These days with so many indy feds springing up and new talent appearing everywhere, it's easier than ever to find "up and comers" to cheer for; the reason I chose to review this show is this opener, as these two guys are ones I've hitched my wagon too. TJP just has that dickish charisma, is obviously and MMA mark but looks like a Surf Ninja Hacker. Allen's more of a standard power guy but with some aieral spots mixed in. As a matter of fact, he did too many high flying moves here, but a small quibble. I don't want to call out too many specific spots, but TJP pulled off a suplex that took both men outside in a nastier spill than BP's last blunder. Some close near falls near the end leading to the finish cements this as an opener that on most shows will blow away the rest of the show, but I have high hopes so let's see. Great stuff here though.

2) Young Bucks v. Mike Quackenbush/ Jigsaw- 5
This is actually the most restrained I've seen the Bucks, as they dwelt around overkill area, but didn't stray too far over the line. After a bit, I presumed this had some sort of Lucha tag rules as the Bucks tagged in and out, doing some fun arm work but you know that didn't mean shit later on. I thought as they were wrestling, no one moves like these guys, eyes wide, constantly in motion and that's the stuff that takes you out of this stuff being a fight. But I'm guessing most new guys don't see it that way; more of a choreographed dance to appease whatever audience you're in front of. If that's the modus operandi, they're succeeded with flying colors as even during a really loose Nick chinlock the crowd is chanting "This is Awesome." For my own sanity, I'm really hoping two chicks were making out in Section C. If you're going to do this batshit crazy (Thanks Mick) stuff, at least make the finisher the hottest spot of the match, which they rarely do, but nailed it here. Also what's with the Bucks cutting a promo as if they're passing the torch to the Chikara team? They've been in the business for like 3 years, and one of them still has pimples.

3) Genki Horiguchi v. SHINGO- 3
I didn't get much out of this. Was supposed to be SHINGO's comeback match after losing a bunch in a row. Genki looks like a yard seller's dream shopper. SHINGO dumped Genki on his head a ton here, which I think was a detriment because it took all his offense to put a guy away who wasn't doing much anyways.

4) Jimmy Jacobs/ Jack Evans v. Paul London/ Brian Kendrick (Loser Leaves Dragon Gate USA)- 5
Teddy Hart came out for some long rambling mic work where you could see Gabe cueing orchestra music to play him out. This match had a wild feel to it, guys running in and out, kicking each other's faces and so forth that made it quite fun. London seemed to have lost a step since coming back to the indies but was good enough to keep up here. Jack Evans has improved his game tenfold in Mexico, as I was a huge hater of his in the ROH days but have warmed up to him now. He was still a spot a minute but he put it all together quite nicely. This possibly could have scored higher but I didn't buy the finish; not that's it not established Jacobs has choked people out before but once he rolled over you could tell it was as loose as your necktie at an open bar wedding.

5) Tommy Dreamer v. Jon Moxley (Hardcore Match)- 4
Dreamer started with some mic work where someone point blank asked him if he was going to cry, haha! Dreamer was wearing 4 oz. MMA gloves, even though he hardly ever throws punches. Said he wanted to get hardcore; not sure what's hardcore about spitting water and hitting a guy with a beer. Moxley came out with a punk rock chick that would scold even the most anarchistic guys' ethics. Moxley just has it; an untapped and natural charisma as he's performing, he's 100% into what he's doing. I guess the tame brawl around ringside gives us a clue how he'll look once he gets to Smackdown. The ante was finally upped once they brought a steel chair in, with Moxely taking a nasty fall on the back of his head into it. Overall kind of felt like a flaccid hardcore match with a few good touches.

5) YAMATO v. Susumu Yokosuka- 4
I dig the Yamato. Not only are his submission skills hot, but he has a smarmy vibe about him. Watching this, you get the feeling Yokosuka isn't on his level, like comparing Coors Light to Burning River ale. Appearances don't seem to mean as much as they used to; Yamato looked like he's lived in the gym lately as Yokosuka seems more like a frequent Gamestop shopper instead of gaining any kind of physique. This was like a more drawn out version of SHINGO's match earlier, where the result is never in question.

6) Dragon Kid/ CIMA/ Gamma v. BxB Hulk/ Masato Yoshino/ Naruki Doi- 6
Kid and Yoshino continue their ongoing feud of the fastest guy in the wrestling scene; you wonder if they've tapped into the speed force like the new Zoom did in Flash #197. BxB is a fantastic performer and takes his lumps like a pro. I wasn't buying the heel faction though until Gamma got jiggy with it with a kendo stick. Comedy spot with it later felt forced, nothing like most of Manny Delgado's dialogue. The pace felt real refreshing and again, all parties involved restrained themselves more than usual as they pulled in strong to the finish.

Overall, kind of a mixed bag show but I never found myself too bored with it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WWE Raw 9/26/11

This review goes out to all of the Little Jimmies out there.

How long was that opening segment with Rhodes, Miz, Truth, and Zig? Midcard heaven. I'm liking their air time, though.

10-Man Battle Royal - 4
Kelly Kelly & Eve vs. Natayla & Beth Phoenix - 2
Great Khali vs. Mark Henry - N/R
Cena vs. Christian - 3
Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder - 4
Kofi, Ryder, Bourne vs. Ziggler & Swagger - 4
Del Rio vs. Punk - 5

This has some potential. Really like the talent pool. Drew Mac eliminated first? Fuck that noise. The eliminations were coming at a good pace in this match, then suddenly it was only four and some of the elims were too sweet, like Riley going out on the Brough kick by Sheamus that looked really nice, then clubbing Gabe's head. Rhodes squeezing by with the victory due to Christian's bastard appearance was great, as was using the mask as a weapon. Nice. Wish it was longer.

Alright, let me stop this here. Cole was talking about Lawler and talks about his bruised ribs and "with all due respect, he's also suffering from anal bleeding." Sweet Baby Christ in a hand-basket. Moving on.
So what happened in this match? More entertaining was the commentary. TESTIFY! Hahahah! Nothing was of substance in this match other than the attitudes of the Divas of Doom. Really great team. Nice Glam Slam to top things off.
I suppose the next match didn't happen? Nice seeing someone get Khali off of his feet, though. Gave Henry a more monstrous feel than he already had.
I could tell by how quickly this one got started it was going to be short. Nice spurts of intensity from both guys, but it didn't even go five until all hell broke loose. A decent way to tease the three way, though. I knew a girl who did that to me all the time...
WWYKI. Zigs put on his damn game face tonight. All the jaws from the crowd got under his skin, he looked intense. Basically, he was just as great as ever. Crowd behind Ryder, I thought we'd be seeing a new champ tonight. How great was Ryder facewash in the corner, too? Not to mention Zig's lumping over in the corner like he was hit by a brick. Shitty fin as per usual.
A handicap matches with a faces having an advantage? Ummm, ok. Bourne plays up that little man in a bad situation selling very well. Dolph simply stepping on his face led to this grimace and leg kicking from Bourne that really led to me sympathizing with him. Great desperation selling on his part. Kofi's explosion into the ring was everything you'd come to expect from him, but I find myself wanting him to change his moveset up a bit. Mason Ryan came out to surely fuck up the flow of the match. Ugh. I took solace in Swagger's Jumbo style lariat on Ryder, who whipped his head back so far he could see Jersey from Kansas. So Ryan turns on the heels. What's with this "hey, you're heel's not getting over, turn him face!" mentality. Damn. Finally, how amazing was Ziggler's sell on the Rough Ryder. Goddamn, awesome.
Love that mug of Del Rio when he looks so smug and pissed at the same time. That suave ass beating can't come any cleaner. Punk's ramped up his game, too. His spinning back kick to the estomgo de Del Rio was nice. When you put two of the "A" guys in the ring and boost up the intensity, you're gonna get a spectacle. I loved seeing Del Rio slow it down with the armbar, which served as a device to both start the arm psych and to get the fans behind Punk. Very nice. Del Rio took some gnarly offense, including that sliding-out bump to the floor he has an affinity for some unknown reason, along with a boot from Punk that looked spot on. He hit that awesome psych with a stunner to Punk's arm, who sold it like the plague had attacked his elbow. Would've liked to have seen the fin be something to do with the arm of Punk rather than a knockout on Del Rio. That being said, the closing to the show was great, and a great way to tease that PPV main!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Queue Slayer #3


I wanted to do a little introduction here for a couple reasons. First, the blog has been seeing lots more action than ever before, so if you're new to Queue Slayer, welcome abroad. In short, it's an ongoing project where Jessie and myself (Brian) will each pick three DVDs, we'll watch all six on our own time, and then rank all the matches. A lot of the fun is even picking stuff out randomly from our huge collection of footage. A couple housekeeping notes, in the future, we'll just have one big list where we'll have combined our individual ones. Reason we didn't do that this time around is one disc inexplicably disappeared after I left it at Jessie's house so it would have skewed the results (him having not found/seen it). Also, I put our commentary before the ballots, not after, as there's a lot of numbers, matches, etc. to scroll through and didn't want some people bailing before they got to the meat of the article. We're plowing vigilantly through Queue Slayer #4 as I write this and it'll be up in a couple weeks featuring the more streamlined approach. Enjoy!

Our Thoughts:

Brian: AJW Big Egg Wrestling Universe was one of the biggest shows, not just in women's wrestling history, but in wrestling history period. You can read about its history and significance elsewhere but suffice to say its a legendary show. It was 8 discs and I plowed through them. The first chunk of the show is a little odd as there's lots of non-wrestling stuff, including amateur wrestling, kickboxing, etc. exhibitions. Some of that stuff reminded me of being young and sitting around my room and turning ESPN2 on and there being random sporting events that you'd just sort of watch as if nothing else the spirit of competition (in its myriad forms) is sometimes entertainment enough. Once the joshi starts up though there's no looking back and it's pretty solid from that point forward. The V*TOP WOMAN tournament in itself is worth the price of admission alone. Even without all the other stuff that eight-woman tournament was spectacular and could have been a great standalone show (better than any of the King of the Ring events for example). I liked Toyota vs. Kong and Hotta vs. Toyoda about equally, and hell, Kansai vs. Kong is right up there, too. The main event I felt didn't have the crowd support and was more clunky, you can account some of that for exhaustion (both of the competitors and crowd) but it just didn't blow me away like some of the earlier stuff.

Jess: This was absolutely part of my wrestling Bucket List, which can now be crossed off.  There’s an ambiance to a massive show like this and I honestly wish something like this would be booked today.  The assortment of different styles and matches early on made this feel like a very important show.  I actually got into some of the amateur wrestling stuff and enjoyed that competition.  The first few joshi matches were all good, whetting our appetite.  The tag action on this show was particularly delightful.  No one held back and it wasn’t like traditional tag team matches it was full on girl-girl action from bell to bell with some of the closest nearfalls these baby browns have viewed in a long ass time.  The tournament goes almost without saying that it was epic.  Having that Kong- Toyota match 1st round was a gamble as it blew away everything else in terms of athleticism and story but also in just destructive bumps.  Kong brought it with all 3 opponents and I was pleasantly surprised by the finals after your softer review Brian even though I see you still adored it with a high spot on your list.  Brilliant choice man, so glad we got to screen this.

Jessie: I first watched a BMD (Brian’s Mix Disc) which are basically like the old mix tapes and CD’s we youngens’ made in the 90’s but with wrestling.  This particular one had 5 matches from a Best of Drake Younger comp some peddling mark video site made.  What sticks out about this is how damn stiff Younger was and I loved his get in your face attitude.  He took a plethora of nasty bumps in this, ranging from barb wire to tacks to carpet strips, you name it.  My favorite was the only non-hardcore bout against Michael Elgin; if you want a better picture of him, read classic children’s fable “The 3 Billy Goats Gruff.”  This was really good back and forth with some tight nearfalls and painful moves.  It’s recommended.  A CMLL TV ep also graced this disc which featured a really good main event that was slow in the beginning but picked up steam like an engine rolling through Tombstone, AZ in the late 1700’s.    There was another 6 man on there, featuring unmasked Villano IV but featured little to like.  Finally, Goto from NJPW beat up Okada in a fun but brief encounter, then Taka tried his hand at Worked Shoot style and excelled!  I don’t think this match is for mass market consumption, but a handful of you amateur and MMA freaks will get down with it.

Brian: Yes, BMD, my beloved. CMLL TV was fun, I love lucha stylings, first six-man featuring Team No Limit from NJPW was good fun, heels went over strong in the first fall, but the "fuck finish" with the low blow by Black Warrior was a hinderance. The main was great, any time I get to see guys like Felino, Casas, Mistico, etc. doing their thing I'm pumped. The last couple matches from a Drake Younger comp. made it on here and were mostly quite good. The '08 CZW match vs. Brain Damage was grotesque, lots of squirting plasma from head wounds, etc. I also liked the Elgin match Jessie pimped, real snug, quite stiff, do peep that out, but my personal favorite was the wXw bout in some seedy German warehouse. Slater wasn't very smooth but the spots weren't showy set-pieces like the Brain Damage bloodletting, felt like a nasty fight and the weapons just added to the pain being dished out i.e. stuff like an atomic drop onto a parking cone, bumps onto a grocery cart, etc.

Jessie: WCW Saturday Night from 1994 episode really was a 1 match show, the classic Flair v. Steamboat war raged on here, in what has to be one of the few World Title matches ever shown on that program.  It was an epic match, no doubt, going 40 minutes or so which makes it easy to compare and contrast to the Sting bout from this same program we reviewed on Que #1.  This match’s technical superiorty towered above that one, with the nearfalls and quick exchanges between the two.  We saw some repetitiveness here as well but it seemed everything meant just a little more.  I really dug the ebb and flow of this thing too; you weren’t quite sure where it was going but you could see each guy ask for his turn to showcase his selling skills.  The ending was botched here, just like in the Sting match but had nothing to do with interference, just bad positioning but I think the body of this is so strong it didn’t hurt it too bad.  The other notable performance of this show belonged to Rick Rude who got ultra stiff with young Mr. Starr.  A slap boxing match broke out and Rude kept on it just pummeling this kid in a beatdown I wouldn’t wish on Michael Bay, and I loathe him quite a bit.

Brian: I love me some WCWSN -- grew up watching that show religiously and is still one of my all-time favorite programs. I usually dig my a squash but found the lot here wholly uninteresting. The Rick Rude massacre of Mark Starr was a joy to behold, though, holy shit, man, that was vicious. Rude hit some of the nastiest punches on any WCW telecast from memory. The main event was great fun, Steamboat I thought actually looked a touch better than Ric, but both guys were in their element milking every hold and detail for all its worth. Finish was a little odd, felt cheap, Ricky shouldn't go down to an errant head to the groin but what do I know?

Brian: The other two selections I watched, at this point, almost two months ago so my recollection is a little foggier. The Pro Wrestling RIOT show was pretty bad. Usually, especially on that level of indy show, you'll get one or two fuck finishes but it seemed this whole event consisted of them. Just lots of crappy, cheap endings. I do warmly recall the Shane Twins spiking Sideshow's sister on her head in a gnarly table bump. I also liked Stevens and Davis' "Battle of the Bulls" bout. Then I choose an old WWE house show from Houston in '87. It was pretty par for the course but I enjoyed it, surprisingly the Prichard vs. Lewis match stuck out to me, maybe I'm alone in that regard, but I loved that, and being a big convert to Mid-South I also liked DiBiase vs. Duggan. Hogan vs. One Man Gang was Hulk formula tried and true but done expertly and I unplugged all cynicism and enjoyed that ride.

Jessie: I was looking forward to getting something so low rent and out of the normal scope of wrestling in here and Riot was good for that; but not for much else.  The bulk of it was insulting, featuring guys I wouldn’t hardly call athletes, nonetheless trained pro wrestlers.  The Shane Twins were like twin Juggernauts on this show and provided several highlights, the one Brian mentioned which was criminal at best and then throwing their one of their opponents in their tag match into the ceiling, breaking out the tiles above their heads.  The Bulls match was fun, both guys seemed motivated and were working stiff but not eithers top shelf stuff.  Now, the WWF show from Houston inexplicably has disappeared from my house; perhaps Mark Lewis heard there was a copy of that match and snuck in to relieve the greatest moment of his life, who knows but I am disappointed to not have seen it.

Jessie: My last pick was one of the first NOAH PPV broadcasts and features a jumbled card with mostly tag stuff.  Overall, I was disappointed as this show didn’t have a lot I thought was good.  Now, keep in mind, the first four matches were all clipped (damn shame because the Scorpio 3 way looked quite good) so it’s hard to judge too much.  The semi-main was a tag bout mainly focused on Hash v. Misawa and they played their roles to perfection.  The match was about a pecking order, so whenever Ogawa got in with Hash, Ogawa got a beatdown; when he mounted a comeback, it looked as if a huge underdog was getting over.  Same with Misawa v. Otsuka.  I actually enjoyed the storytelling here more so than the main event, which was just a big bump fest.  Kobashi laid into Vader early on but I thought the structure of it was kind of a mess.  Akiyama was looking to bump his way to a good score, taking some ramp spots and even though I did like it, it didn’t have the dynamic I was hoping was lurking at the end of this DVD.

Brian: This was a painful excursion. I love me some NOAH, was excited to see some older stuff, but this was clipped, poor quality, and just a cumbersome duty to sit through. There was Morishima singles that went to a 30-min. draw but we only got, like, 3 min. of it so who the hell knows if it was any good. Thought the finish to the semi-main was crap, Misawa who looked more brittle than some peanut brittle from Pigeon Forge, TN slid in and hit a Tiger Driver on Otsuka out of nowhere. The outsiders needed the heat here, I would have thought, and letting Hashimoto pin Ogawa to get a step closer to Mitsuharu would have been ideal and that's one of my gripes about NOAH is their predictable booking patterns. Kudos to Akiyama for the beastly bumps, though. I actually preferred the main as the finish wasn't a forgone conclusion and kept me glued to the MacBook screen (although that Vader moonsault was unsightly).

Our ballots:

Brian's Ballot

1. Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong - V*TOP WOMAN Tournament Round 1 (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
2. Yumiko Hotta vs. Combat Toyoda (FMW) - V*TOP WOMAN Tournament Round 1 (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
3. Aja Kong vs. Dynamite Kansai - V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken Tournament Semifinal (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
4. Toshiyo Yamada & Tomoko Watanabe vs. Shinobu Kandori & Mikiko Futagami (LLPW team) - Zenjyo vs. LLPW Survival War (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
5. Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
6. Akira Hokuto vs. Aja Kong - V*TOP WOMAN Tournament Final (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
7. The Great Sasuke & SATO & Shiryu vs. Super Delfin & Jinsei Shinzaki & Gran Naniwa - Michinoku Pro Lucha Heaven (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
8. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Yasha Kurenai & Michiko Nagashima (LLPW team (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
9. Drake Younger vs. Bruisin' Marc Slater - Hardcore Match (wXw 11/25/07)
10. Erick Stevens vs. Jon Davis - Battle of the Bulls (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
11. Takako Inoue & Cuty Suzuki (JWP) vs. Megumi Kudo (FMW) & Hikari Fukuoka (JWP) - Miss Wrestling Universe Tag Summit (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
12. Tom Prichard vs. Mark Lewis (WWE Houston, TX 8/28/87)
13. Ted DiBiase vs. Jim Duggan (WWE Houston, TX 8/28/87)
14. Drake Younger vs. Michael Elgin (IWA-MS 11/4/07)
15. Mistico, Blue Panther, & La Sombra vs. Los Apestosos (Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas, Felino) (CMLL 8/22/09)
16. One Man Gang vs. Hulk Hogan (WWE Houston, TX 8/28/87)
17. Jun Akiyama & Vader vs. Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
18. Jaguar Yokota & Bison Kimura vs. Lioness Asuka & Yumi Ogura - Legend of Memorial Fight (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
19. Suzuka Minami vs. KAORU (GAEA) (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
20. Drake Younger vs. Brain Damage - Ultraviolent Grudge Match (CZW 2/9/08)
21. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Shinya Hashimoto & Alexander Otsuka (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
22. Candy Okutsu (JWP) vs. Rie Tamada (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
23. TAKA Michinoku vs. Daigoro Kashiwa - CHAMPION OF STRONGEST-K (K-DOJO: SUPER BIG SHOW Chiba Hakkenden Onkosenshin ~Fight! Fight! Chiba! ~ ‘09, 8/9/09)
24. Drake Younger vs. Insane Lane - Barbed Wire Boards & Tables (IWA-MS 7/21/07)
25. Chaparita ASARI & Bomber Hikaru (GAEA) vs. Hiromi Yagi & Hiromi Sugo (JWP) (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
26. Ultimo Guerrero, Atlantis, & Black Warrior vs. No Limit & Ray Mendoza Jr (CMLL 8/22/09)
27. Rick Rude v. Mark Starr (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
28. Kory Chavis & Francisco Ciatso vs. Bruce Santee & Sideshow - I Quit Match (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
29. Sam Houston vs. Steve Lombardi (WWF Houston, TX 8/28/87)
30. Kyoko Inoue vs. Dynamite Kansai (JWP) - V*TOP WOMAN Tournament Round 1 (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
31. Jerrelle Clark vs. Nooie Lee (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
32. Bushwacker Luke, Sedrick Strong, Bums R' Us & The Lifeguards vs. The Heartbreak Express, Club 305 & Team Vision - 12 Man Riot Warfare Match (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
33. Brutus Beefcake vs. Johnny V (WWF Houston, TX 8/28/87)
34. The Shane Twins vs. Myles Long & Shayne Swift (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
35. Akira Hokuto vs. Combat Toyoda - V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken Tournament Semifinal (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
36. Junkyard Dog and Tony Atlas vs. Sika and Kamala (WWF Houston, TX 8/28/87)
37. Hirooki Goto vs Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)
38. Yoshihiro Takayama, Takao Omori, & Satoru Asako vs. Masao Inoue, Tamon Honda, & Takashi Sugiura (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
39. Akira Hokuto vs. Eagle Sawai (LLPW) - V*TOP WOMAN Tournament Round 1 (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
40. Mil Mascaras and Tito Santana vs. Demolition (WWF Houston, TX 8/28/87)
41. Jaison Moore vs. Kenny King (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
42. Scorpio vs. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (clipped) (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
43. Blizzard Yuki vs. Mariko Yoshida - Blizzard Yuki Debut Match (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
44. Drake Younger vs. Freakshow - Hardcore Match (IWA-DS 7/7/07)
45. Reggie Bennett vs. Chigusa Nagayo (GAEA) - Big Heart Power Contest (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
46. Takeshi Rikioh vs. Takeshi Morishima (clipped) (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
47. Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
48. Masaji Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito vs. Kentaro Shiga & Makoto Hashi (clipped) (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
49. Tsunokake X vs. Great Littlemuta & Buta Genjin - Midget Handicap Match (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
50. Sherri Martel vs. Fabulous Moolah (WWE Houston, TX 8/28/87)
51. The Patriot v. Tony Zane (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
52. Kaoru Ito vs. Fumiko Ishimoto (Shootboxing) - Zenjyo vs. Shootboxing (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
53. Eddie Taurus vs. Damballah (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
54. Hercules vs. Bruno Sammartino (WWF Houston, TX 8/28/87)
55. Nasty Boys v. Quinn Nash/ Brad Anderson (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
56. Dustin Rhodes v. the Shadow (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
57. Kumiko Maekawa vs. Sugar Miyuki (Kickboxing) - Zenjyo Fighting Glove II (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
58. Kevin Sullivan v. Shanghai Pierce/ Tex Slazenger (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/1994)
59. Miyu Yamamoto vs. Anna Gomez (Amateur shoot) - Joshi Amateur Pro Ring 1st Challenge (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)
60. Ray Beez vs. Lou The Fixer (Pro Wrestling Riot "Declaration of War" 3/1/08)
61. Rusher Kimura, Mitsuo Momota, & Daisuke Ikeda vs. Haruka Eigen, Jun Izumida, & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (clipped) (NOAH Great Voyage 1/28/01)
62. Kyoko Hamaguchi vs. Doris Blind (Amateur shoot) - Joshi Amateur Pro Ring 1st Challenge (Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94)

Jessie's Ballot

1. Manami Toyota v. Aja Kong Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 8

2. Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat WCW Sat. Night 05/14/94- 8

3. Shinobu Kandori/ Mikiko Futagami v. Toshiyo Yamada/ Tomoko Watanabe Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 7

4. Megumi Kudo/ Akira Fukouka v. Cutie Suzuki/ Takako Inoue Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 7

5. Great Sasuke/ Sato/ Shiryu v. Super Delphin/ Gran Naniwa/ Jinsei Shinzaki Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 7

6.Aja Kong v. Dynamite Kansai Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 6

7. Combat Toyota v. Yumiko Hotta Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 6

8. Drake Younger v. Michael Elgin IWA Mid South 11/4/07 – 6

9.Mistico/ Blue Panther/La Sombra v. Mr. Niebla/ Negro Casas/ Felino CMLL 08/22/09- 6

10.Akira Hokuto v. Aja Kong Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 6

11.Dynamite Kansai v. Kyoko Inoue Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 6

12.Mitsuharu Misawa/ Yoshinari Ogawa v. Shinya Hashimoto/ Alexander Otsuka- 6 NOAH Great Voyage #2 PPV 01/28/01

13. Vader/ Jun Akiyama v. Kenta Kobashi/ Akira Taue - 6 NOAH Great Voyage #2 PPV 01/28/01

14.Taka Michinoku v. Daigoro Kashiwa K-Dojo Super Big Show 08/09/09- 5

15.Etsuko Mita/ Mima Shomida v. Yasha Kurenai/ Michiko Magashima Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 5

15. Akira Hokuto v. Combat Toyota Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 5

16. Drake Younger v. Insane Lane (Barb Wire Boards & Tables) IWA Mid South 07/21/07- 5

17. Brain Damage v. Drake Younger (Ultraviolent Grudge) CZW 02/09/08 - 5

18. Erick Stevens v. Jon Davis (Battle of the Bulls) Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 3/1/08 – 5

19. Bull Nakano v. Alundra Blayze Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94

20. Lioness Asuka/ Yumi Ogura v. Jaguar Yokota / Bison Kimura Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 5

21. Hirooki Goto v. Kazuchika Okada - 4

22.Drake Younger v. Freakshow (Hardcore Match) IWA Deep South 07/07/07- 4

23. Rick Rude v. Mark Starr WCW Sat.Night 05/14/94- 4

24. Ultimo Guerrero/ Atlantis/ Black Warrior v. Team No Limit/ Ray Mendoza jr CMLL 08/22/09- 4

25. Chigusa Nagayo v. Reggie Bennett Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 4

26. The Shane Twins v. Myles Long/ Shayne Swift- Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08- 4

27. Suzuka Minami v. Kaoru Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 4

28. Takeshi Rikio v. Takeshi Morishima - 4 NOAH Great Voyage PPV #2 01/28/01

29.Fumiko Ishimoto v. Karou Ito Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94

30. Blizzard Yuki v. Mariko Yoshida Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 4

31. Yoshihiro Takayama, Takao Omori, & Satoru Asako vs. Masao Inoue, Tamon Honda, & Takashi Sugiura- 4 NOAH Great Voyage #2 PPV 01/28/01

32. Jaison Moore v. Kenny King- Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08 - 4

33. Kory Chavis/ Francisco Ciasto v. Bruce Santee/ Sideshow (I Quit Match)- Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08 - 3

34. Bushwhacker Luke/ Sedrick Strong/ Bums R 'Us/ The Lifeguards v. The Heartbreak Express/ Club 305/ Team Vision (12 Man Riot Warfare) - Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08 – 3

35. Akira Hokuto v. Eagle Sawai Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 3

36. Chaparita Asari/ Bomber Hikari v. Yumi Sago/ Hiroumi Yagi Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 3

37. Jerelle Clark v. Nooie Lee - Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08 – 3

38. Masaji Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito vs. Kentaro Shiga & Makoto Hashi- 3 NOAH Great Voyage PPV #2 01/28/01

39. Nasty Boys v. Quinn Nash/ Brad Anderson WCW Sat Night 05/14/94- 3

40. 2 Cold Scorpio v. Noamichi Marufuji v. Yoshinobu Kanemaru - NOAH Great Voyage #2 PPV 1/28/01- 3

41. Doris Blinal v. Kyoko Hamaguchi Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 3

42 The Patriot v. Tony Zane WCW Sat. Night 05/14/94- 3

43. Drake Younger v. Bruisin Marc Slater (Hardcore Match) WXW 11/25/07 - 3

44. Dustin Rhodes v The Shadow WCW Sat. Nigh 05/14/94- 3

45. Miya Yamamoto v. Ana Gomez Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 2

46. Candy Okutsu v. Rie Tamada Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 2

47. Kumiko Maekawa v. Sugar Miyuki Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 2

48. Rusher Kimura, Mitsuo Momota, & Daisuke Ikeda vs. Haruka Eigen, Jun Izumida, & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi- 2 NOAH Great Voyage #2 PPV 01/28/01

49. Eddie Taurus v. Damballah - Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08 - 2

50. Kevin Sullivan v. Tex Slazenger/ Shanghai Pierce WCW Sat. Night 05/14/94- 2

51. Great Little Muta/ Buta Genjin v. Tsunokake X Big Egg Wrestling Universe 11/20/94- 1

52. Ray Beez v. Lou the Fixer - Pro Wrestling Riot Declaration of War 03/01/08- 0

Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Had Me At Goodbye #2: NOAH 1/23/11

Pro-Wrestling NOAH - "THE FIRST NAVIGATION 2011"
Jan., 23, 2011
Acros Fukuoka
740 Fans - No Vacancy

1) Genba Hirayanagi v. Kentaro Shiga - J: 2 B: 1

J: I told Brian in a phone conversation the work here deserves a 2 or less, just shoddy execution, Shiga with some of not only the weakest strikes but most protected bumps since Lex Luger but with the strange countout storyline, I’d bump it to a 3. But I can’t do that. Genba, taken by the spirits of the great cheap victory, was bound and determined through any means to get this guy counted out and got some comeuppance but when he puts Shiga in a closet, only for it to take him at least 30 seconds to come out and reappear, even the stringest of my letting reality go for a few moments was tested beyond belief.

Brian: This was so outlandish and unaware I wasn't sure if I was watching The Black Marble or professional wrestling. Not even Gene Siskel's "Chicago Mix" of caramel and cheese corn (from the small local shop downtown not the theater crap) could have made watching this any easier or less insulting. Genba did an STO that looked like a boy trying to dunk his kid brother in a backyard pool. Shiga looked about as athletic as a New Jersey tollbooth worker.

2) Masao Inoue & Ricky Marvin v. Mohammed Yone & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - J: 3 B: 3

J: My boy Marvin is on speed in this one, despite his tubby physique and he and Kanemaru provide some genuinely fun moments. Inoue is a blight on this company and physical activity yet still remains to compete. He bumps like a redwood being chopped down, slow and thudding, but is as believable as the tree screaming “Aw shit, that really hurt!” I think even Yone is slowing down, doesn’t seem to have much fire in this at all and is sadly wearing some Tommy Dreamer pants that no self respecting man should be caught dead in.

Brian: This wasn't bad for undercard filler, not a lot of meat, but not dismal. There were a couple of fun moments, namely when Yone got in and challenged Marvin to a battle of leg kicks, Yone also had some of the best facial acting bits, per usual, as while I concur with Jessie that he's lost a step I think he's still useful and has personality whereas somebody like Inoue is as rancid as spoiled milk.

3) Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano v. KENTA & Taiji Ishimori - J: 6 B: 5

J: Looks like the continuation of the singles from the first show of the year. The partners are good additions too, as Ishimori can’t bring the pain like KENTA but he and Sano are working smooth together like a Wendy’s Berry Fruit Shake. The vets lay in some nasty kicks at several diff. intervals and I’m glad the most physical pain I was in was my wrists from pulling weeds all weekend out of my driveway. You get the sense with Sano and Takayama being such ogre-like beings, they don’t feel pain but it’s certainly fun to watch them writhe. Did some false finish stuff near the end but obviously wasn’t their goal to use as a catch all for entertaining us because the finish was believable enough.

Brian: I couldn't see a case for this being recommendable as there just wasn't enough substance or intrigue there. I'm even uncertain on my "5". Sano and Takayama are an established team and the ending seemed like a foregone conclusion (though I did like Sano pulling out the Northern Lights Bomb out of nowhere). KENTA didn't seem to make much of an impact although gladly walloped his eyesore opponents whenever he got the chance.

4) Takashi Suguira v. Atsushi Aoki - J: 3 B: 5

J: One thing that really took my enjoyment out of this was the consistent arm work by Aoki, while I thought good, not for a second did I believe he was going to get the tap. Guys spent a lot of time on the ground working too for really not much payoff. As the overall package, I still don’t see it in Suguira; I don’t think any other World champion could pass themselves off as midcard like he does here and no one bat an eyelash. I do like how he curves his Angle slam unlike Kurt to make it even more hurty though.

B: On average I've been two points higher on Suguira matches than Jessie. I liked this. It felt like a self-contained story wherein the tag match it followed was all brainless physicality and no direction. I can see the complaint Sugiura may be a bit milquetoast as a champion but think generally he structures his matches well, makes opponents look tougher (see the Bison match from YHMAG #1), and his trademark moves are over. I liked the psychology of Aoki targeting the arm, trying to dismantle some of Takashi's offensive weapons like the lariat and in effort of weakening his potential grip on the ankle lock.

5) Jun Akiyama, Noamichi Marufuji & Shuhei Taniguchi v. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kento Miyahara - J: 5 B: 4

J: A “5” could even be generous on some people’s scales. You have the Kensuke Office contingent against the NOAH boys in this huge match. Akiyama starts out and his chest goes lava rock red again early on, liked Kensuke going through the whole team in chopping matches. Miyahara ends up taking a beating similar to Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone. There ain’t no crackhead uncle to save him here though; a good chunk of time is dedicated to tapping him out with the senior pain maestro leading the charge. They went into the stands, for some Kodak moments but ultimately nothing substantial. Akiyama ends up getting his ass stretched for a good time too, but unlike in the first match where he did the job (which is classic NOAH booking of big face coming back will always do the job to a stronger title challenger) here it would have felt as plastic as Lady Gaga’s lyrics. Japanese wrestling is known for stiff strikes and painful submissions and while this had it’s share, it also had some really weak stuff as well. Marufuji looked game but didn’t get a lot of screen time. In the end, this match just wore me out; the normal trope of holding guys outside the ring to score pinfalls went on for a good bit to my dismay.

Brian: Akiyama's forehead looks like a geological anomaly. Sasaki precipitately swipes at his opponents like his mother just deleted his save game. Miyahara is the resident naïf. I finally get Shuhei's role: he's the jock! From the Adidas track shoes to spots that demonstrate his athletic prowess (i.e. running up a flight of stairs three consecutive times, each to just deliver a basic forearm shot). It all adds up. Kento goes down faster than Adam did as a contributor to this project. This would have been more compelling if they ever actually allowed the Kensuke Office team to get wins.

6) Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie v. Akitoshi Saito & Yuto Aijima - J: 3 B: 3

Jess: There was a lot of weight being thrown around in here, not sure who Ajima was but he reminded me of a long last Shane twin, you know the guys who ran through Pro Wrestling Riot like bulldozers through a bank of redwood trees. Morishima seemed to have such momentum from the 1st show of the year but that stalled like your ex's '93 Sunfire. There was a few rough bumps and Yoshie's finish is being legitimized in a strange piece of booking for 2011 but not recommended.

Brian: I wasn't too familiar with Ajima either but he was made to look like a total bitch here. He gots his ass kicked throughout and only got in maybe 1-2 offensive moves. His selling sensibilities were more reminiscent of American style but noticed he'd picked up some bad habits like the infamous Jarrett kick-out where you just reach your hand up toward the ceiling instead of actually lifting your shoulder off the mat. Only time there were any sparks was when Saito was in which wasn't enough. The real reason I scored this low was a very disappointing Yoshi performance. He seemed completely uninterested and lackadaisical not lending any credibility to the other guys' stuff when he'd get hit and not even putting any thing behind his own offense. I thought he just looked bored out there.

7) Go Shiozaki, Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki v. Bison Smith, Eddie Edwards & Bobby Fish - J: 5 B: 5

J: Gave this a five due to the off the wall finish to this one, so far noticed NOAH's booking is all over the page. Suzuki took a beating for most of the bout which really brought me back to some authentic 80's tag stuff, only thing is Fish continues to be as exciting as my latest bill in the mail. Smith still having flashbacks of fighting for his life at the last show and brings the hurt here. Some points it feels they're just working in a vaccuum besides themselves, but a good old fashioned apron bump never hurts, even if it had less impact than any in company history.

Brian: I'm going to give this a "5", too; although think I liked it a little more than less than jovial Jessie. The finish was pretty cool, after getting brained on the apron, Suzuki gets rolled back inside only to have Edwards practice his football punting by kicking Kotaro in the head a few times. Can't believe you didn't mention that post-match stuff, though! Edwards and co. drag out the stiffest table ever but don't open the legs just leave it lying on the the mat then Eddie powerbombs Suzuki on what assuredly had to be the hardest surface this side of a N'Délé hostel. Back to the match, though, mostly Kotaro working face in peril, thought the foreign squad all looked sound. If you'd have told be five years ago the dreadlocks sporting Edwards that was perpetually on the undercard was going to be in the main event of a NOAH show in 2011 I would have said, well firstly, "Who the hell are you and why are you talking to me?" and then secondly, "I guess that's cool."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ROH on HDNet 8/24/09

1. Sami Callihan and Tony Kozina vs. El Generico and Kevin Steen - 4
2. D-Lo Brown vs. John Kermon - 2
3. Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong - 7

Good opener to start beginning with a quick exchange between Generico and Sami. This was pretty one-sided with Steen and Generico looking dominate but had some cool spots like Kevin doubling Callihan over and powerbombing Kozina on his partner's back. Brown beat on Kermon like he scratched his copy of Real Genius. I'd grade D-Lo's Sliding D an F. I dug D-Lo kneeling beside Kermon and clutching his head as you would a lover, then delivering a couple short, stiff shots right to his forehead. In life it's the little things.

Main event time and this should be good! Makes me want to pop in a FIP show. Aries' confidence and Strong's dependability make them ideal opponents. Weird bump where Aries tried to backdrop Roderick over the railing into the crowd and it was as if there were an invisible wall there (think The Village) and Strong just flew up in the air and went splat back on the ground. All the stuff out on the floor was fantastic, Aries being chopped into the audience, Aries taking a really nasty front-layout suplex on the floor, Strong eating a ringpost bump with zest, and lastly, Aries' awesome Savage homage with the reckless flying ax handle off the top. Finishing stretch had lots of great struggle, nearfalls, etc. and "war of attrition" is easily one of my favorite wrestling tropes. Up to this point my favorite match of theirs was from FIP Emergence - Part One (why does that show have a listing on Rotten Tomatoes?) and I'm probably forgetting 1 or 5 from old ROH shows but this was damn fine wrestling.

Friday, September 23, 2011

IWA-MS "A Matter of Pride" 1/16/04

1. Trik Davis vs. Emil Sitoci - 2
2. Ryan Boz vs. Steve Stone - 3

Sitoci was working surprisingly snug, laying in even basic shots like clubs to the back, etc. Davis looked thinner than Ian Rotten's wallet. Roll-up finish was flavorless. Boz at least looks the part, most of this roster is skinny guys that live with their parents and fetishize FMW or older, overweights slobs. This wasn't bad, Stone doing some head-scratching junior offense when he's got the build of an '80's brawler was stupefying, and having a roll-up finish for the second match in a row was as uncreative as Falling Skies.

3. Mike Quackenbush, Gran Akuma, & Jigsaw vs. Blackjack Marciano, Eddie Kingston, & Hallowicked - 4
4. Allison Danger vs. Daizee Haze - 1
5. Matt Sydal vs. Spyder Nate Webb - 4

Next match your Chikara Wrestle Factory school showcase minus the silly stories and seasoning you'll get from those guys nowadays. I thought I'd enjoy this in a puerile way but it instead struck me as fairly plodding and soporific. I bumped it up an extra point as Quackenbush aped Manami Toyota's Victory Star Drop (always one of my favorite finishers) as part of the finishing sequence. Next match was a lot like Polio but less funny. After a few numbing minutes Danger did an awful STO (Haze took it like a turtle being rolled over onto its shell) leading to yet another roll-up finish. Next match features a guy that'd go on to be a legit star and one who's future would be the van driver on Half Pint Brawlers. All joking aside, I'd rather see this again than any of Bourne's recent 4-min. TV bouts with the likes of Swagger, etc. This got enough time for each guy to do some stuff and take the lead, Webb, while goofy, kept it reigned in enough, and most of the flying spots we anticipated came off nicely.

6. Jerry Lynn vs. Danny Daniels - 3
7. I Quit Match: J.C. Bailey vs. Ian Rotten - 4

Daniels looks like a guy that'd pay a prostitute to give him an Oakland Ascot right on his chest. Kind of a stilted showing here. This was like a Jerry Lynn's Greatest Hits CD but the disc was scratched and had chili spilt on it. Some clunky moments, found Danny as appealing as dry paint, and the post-match with all the talent parading Lynn around felt mendacious. Match stunk worse than Don Gorske's breath. It's hard to see the next match and put context aside. Knowing that Ian facilitated Bailey's death at such a young age and watching him beat his brains in with unprotected chair shots and mutilating his flesh with scissors and shit just rings false considering. This felt like a bloodletting at J.C.'s expense and I'm sure Ian loved guys who he could bludgeon and staple shit to. Not sure which I find more odd: Ian aping B-Boy or Von Erich spots. The match-ending ringpost figure four was a dull denouement.

8. Chris Hero vs. Delirious - 3
9. Three Way Thumbtack Death Match: Mad Man Pondo vs. Necro Butcher vs. Corporal Robinson - 3

This was an exercise in tedium. The bulk of the match was Hero controlling Delirious with a cravete. Delirious is supposedly part-lizard, right? Sounds like another botched Cobra Commander brainchild. Delirious sold a hard forearm shot to the face with a dazed stumble like the expression of someone being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Watching a match like this I can't help but glance over at the stack of 5000 wrestling DVDs nearby and wonder why I'm not utilizing my time watching something better. When Hero was finally bored he finished it quickly on his own terms. Next was a pretty mundane main event, didn't go very long, possibly a good thing that, and felt like a typical Saturday night to these sycophants. Necro was the outsider from Texas in a CZW t-shirt so it seemed clear the other two were taking potshots at him and pretty much just brutalizing him at their leisure in some sort of barbaric initialization ritual. Bump of the match/night was probably Necro getting press-slammed off of the apron onto the hard gym floor. I actually deducted a point from my original score as the lack of creativity or fire here really made this underwhelming. Also, the one of the last big bumps was dog shit, Pondo had Robinson sitting on the top turnbuckle, then Mad Man (standing on the second rope) tried to DDT him off onto a sculpture of chairs and it looked awful with Pondo sort of hopping off like a shopping mall Easter bunny and landing on his feet (not even committing to the spot) and Corporal just going head-first like a moron. I just got a bunch of shows from this era and I'm hoping the quality picks up in a big way as this sucked harder than trying to beat Mega Man 4 when your brother's burning your guys' frozen pizza in the other room while you're firing missiles at Dive Man.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

HWA "High Def" - 11/24/08

Middletown, OH

A random HWA show at an old, condemned opera house? What have I got myself into.

Jesse Emerson vs. Eric Ryan – 3
Ryan comes out proclaiming Middletown as “the greatest city in the world”. What the hell was he smoking? That city, especially the part of town this venue is in, is about as run down as you could imagine. Ryan does a good job playing to the crazy, toothless old lady in the crowd while working over Emerson’s knee. Emerson hits a nice Bob Holly-esque spinebuster for the win. Fairly inoffensive opener as they kept it pretty simple.

J.T. Stahr, “The Madness” Chris Hall, & V-Radd vs. Benjamin Kimera & “Deja Vu” Richard Phillips – 3 on 2 Handicap Match – 4
Hall and Phillips start it off and I instantly have a flashback to when I went to an HWA Sorg show and they had a terrible main event which is forever known to me as the “baby punching incident of 2010”. V-Radd looks like a young A.J. Styles mixed with Jamie Kennedy. Kimera is so bloated he should be a balloon in the Rose Bowl parade. Surprised Stahr’s leg didn’t break with Hall dropped Phillips across it for a backbreaker. Stahr had this really awesome sell when Kimera dropped him ass first in the ring. Surprised how hot the sparse crowd is for Kimera and Phillips. Finish was kind of clunkly with resident heel manager Brock Guffman hitting Phillips with a replica WWE World Title belt that was masquerading as an HWA Tag Team title belt.

Quick Carter Gray vs. Louis Lyndon – 3
Lyndon does this 70’s karate style character complete with removable fro which I really dig. Lyndon hit a nice double knee, sort of like a reverse 6-1-9. Gray played your generic face and got a really good nearfall off some wild stand up flip. Didn’t see a lot here that couldn’t be found elsewhere on a typical indy undercard.

Hailey Hatred & Mary Elizabeth vs. Ashley Lane & Naveah – 3
Lane and Naveah are the SHIMMER tag champs here and the titles were on the line. I find it rather surreal that Lane, now working in TNA as Madison Rayne, worked a venue about five minutes from my childhood home in front of a few dozen people. Hailey’s acting while she was being held back by the ref was just atrocious. Lane’s neck almost broke on a suplex from her. A fair bit better than the divas matches.

Dustin Rayz vs. Aaron Williams – 5
What is up with that big ass trophy that Williams brought out to the ring? Damn thing is as tall as he is! Rayz took a completely wild flip bump off the apron to the floor and Williams worked some high flying into the early goings. I saw the ref bump in the middle of the match coming a mile away. Reversals of the piledrives were really good and led to some nice nearfalls. Wasn’t expecting a lot out of this but was very surprised with the result.

Irish Airborne vs. Christian Faith & Vincent Nothing –5
It’s been noted several times by me several times that I’m not a fan of Dave Crist. I think he’s a smug, arrogant prick and a lot of his matches leave a lot to be desired. Jake Crist on the other hand isn’t half bad and I actually enjoy watching his work on occasion. That being said, this was a rather good match. Selling from the Airbone was pretty good, even though Dave kept chewing on his gum while doing so. Didn’t find a lot I liked from the opposition. Dave did a pretty ballsy suicide dive up the aisle between the seats which could have ended really badly if he had been off just a hair either way.

Jon Moxley vs. Dick Rick – Last Man Standing Match – 6
This is the match I wanted to see, hence why I dug the disc out to review, and it was really wild from the start. The balcony brawl with them teasing a Moxley bump over the railing was good. There was a very unique spot where Rick threw Moxley on a stretcher and shoved him down some stairs. Mox took a big bump on the stage. Mox worked over the ankle by doing the old Pillman spot with chair repeatedly and Rick did a great job of selling it. Seek this match out if you’re a Moxley fan like me. Otherwise, this was a pretty mundane show.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WWE NXT 9/20/11

This week NXT comes from NHO’s backyard in Dayton, OH!

1. A.J. vs. Maxine - 4
2. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Derrick Bateman - 4
3. Titus O’Neal & Percy Watson vs. JTG & Darren Young - 4

Suffice to say I haven’t watched an episode of NXT since it went online last year about this time. However, the recent reviews by the lads have gotten me sort of excited to peak in on this from time to time. My work schedule however prevented me from watching this live on, however I caught it on demand on the NXT page. Better late than never I guess.

I enjoyed the divas match far more than any of the divas matches on the major shows (Raw and Smackdown). A.J. has a lot of spunk and fire to her and I think that’s quite awesome. I remember Maxine from the divas NXT season and thought she was quite terrible. Judging by what I saw here, she’s gotten a bit better in the ring but her skills outside of the ring still need work. A.J. threw a mean dropkick and hit a freakin amazing shining wizard. Maxine sold the shoulder quite well after she jammed in hard in the corner post. Not a bad match by any means.

This new version of Yoshi Tatsu is intriguing. Not sure what sparked this change but I like it. Bateman really wasn’t too impressive and he came across to me as just another generic dude. Yoshi’s kicks are hard as concrete, even William Regal on commentary vouched for that. Can’t believe that Tyson Kidd was “sharing the secrets of the Hart Dungeon” with Bateman pre-match. For some reason, I doubt that Bateman even knows what the Hart Dungeon is. Match was pretty solid but I could’ve done without the Tyson Kidd interference at the end.

Main event was set up by a goofy opening segment called “Showtime with Percy Watson” where him and Titus O’Neal carried on like buffoons before they were interrupted by JTG and Darren Young, with a much more reserved hair cut than he had back last year. To be quite honest, I forgot that JTG and Young were still gainfully employed. I wanted to really get behind this match but it just didn’t have much, if anything, to bump it up to a recommended level. Young took the bump of the night, doing a huge face plant straight to the floor over the corner post. O’Neal has a great look and lots of potential but really needs to work on his skills. Not sure what the issue is between JTG and Regal but I’m considering tuning in next week to find out. Didn’t buy Young putting down O’Neal with a rather lame gutbuster.

Nous Observans Chaque Seconde #13: Ryne Sandberg's Greatest Hits

(For those uninitiated this ongoing series is collected back-and-forth e-mail dialogues between the NHO posse. Read it and wheat.)

Jessie: Well it’s been a while since I’ve typed any French words on my computer besides a lengthy facebook conversation with a friend about croissants v. bagels. That aside, I’m going to hold off on the wrestling for a minute and discuss fighting: STRIKEFORCE FIGHTING! To be exact. Last weekend the MMA babe sucking on the Fertitta tit came to our resident home town in Cincy and put on a great show. Overall I enjoyed the Amanda Nunes fight, seeing Evangelista get ko’d, King Mo stepping back towards the throne , Cormier-Bigfoot but overall I thought the 5 round Championship fight between Jacare Souza and Luke Rockhold was a great war. Now, when watching this you’re not thinking these are two of the most amazing undiscovered guys in the world, but both men have put in the time and really put on a great show here. Rockhold had been on a long layoff but perservered like no other to win the gold. Jacare is a great competitor, love the mix of short but powerful jabs and his jiu-jitsu but Rockhold besides a few flurries, seemed to keep him under wraps. Was a little surprised at one of the 50-45 scores for Luke as Jacare clearly won a couple rounds but a minor quibble; It’s not like it was a robbery by any stretch of the imagination.

Before I turn it over to my compadres a couple quick things; we just passed the 10th anniversary of September 11th, I’ll not say anything that’s not been said more eloquent before me but just to say we will never forget the tragedy but also the country’s resolve and love for our troops. I also recently started 3PW (sorry, I know you cringed seeing those three characters together) A Night for Flyboy, a Rocco Rock tribute show that had a pretty good, simple but warm ceremony for his memory to start with. I’ll save my in depth thoughts for a forthcoming review. Also, my laptop is currently out of commission, which held some great stuff I and the guys have been working on behind the scenes, such as my solo TNA Destination X 2011 review and then Brian and I’s ongoing series looking at the 2011 output from NOAH and ROH. But have faith; the situation will be resolved soon and I’ll get back to reviewing the shit out of some good wrestling. Before I filibuster on Survivor Series 1994, I’m going to toss it to someone else.

Brian: I'm watching TNA No Surrender '11. Opener wasn't bad, Jesse Sorensen vs. Kid Kash, I think he should just go by "Kash" now as he's certainly not a kid anymore. Guy looks more burnt than a Waffle House "steak". Kash looked good, though, I thought, besides doing a ugly moonsault, not up there with his work in his WWE run but not bad. Next was a BFG series bout with Bully Ray versus James Storm. Sort of a slow affair, felt like they were moving at 1/5th speed, but the psychology was sound, Ray kept stalling and Storm was intent on getting a submission (not usually his specialty) as he needed the extra points to stay in the race. This had an awful finish. Mickie James' Wonder Woman outfit was just outrageously hot. I doubt she's a card carrying member of the Amazons of Themyscira. I guess that makes Winter Draska Nishki then. Better than any Kelly Kelly match I've ever seen. Winter beating Mickie (again) by spitting period blood in her face wasn't the ending I'd hoped for.

Jess: This begs a good question: Can anyone find a discernible reason why Kash looked so good in WWE? It was a short run, but he was tearing it up weekly. Maybe if Mickie had starred in the latest pilot, it may have gotten off the ground. Of course, I just can’t see Diana Prince singing country songs and doing a line dance. Think I need to Google Image that anyways.

Was speaking with Adam last night via telephone about Chikara We Must Eat Michigan’s Brains. Apparently he went to the show directly following that one. I liked the venue though, well lit, looked like a neighborhood karate studio or something. Opener was sort of mind boggling; Quack v. Green Ant, all mat work with Ant showing his wares but out of nowhere inexplicably tapping to a half crab. Next up we had Osirian Portal v. Lince Dorado and Pinkie Sanchez, I believe. Now this got quite good at points, didn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously, they gave time for mat work and wear down moves, which is key in tag situations then started ratcheting up with action but it became overkill. 50 lb. Pinkie started kicking out of things that would put DC Comics’ Doomsday to bed and I completely was taken out of the match. I enjoyed Danielson and Kingston too; apparently this was right after he was axed by the “E” as everyone was throwing neck ties in the ring at him. Was fun for the time it got, Danielson just pretty much took him apart in every aspect of the game, but the finish was shitty, Claudio came out waddling like a penguin to cause the distraction I guess to save face for Eddie? He got his ass whipped, saving face was a tired notion at that point.

Brian: Back to TNA NS '11 with Mexican America vs. Pope/Devon and when did Hernandez shrink? He looked strange here like he lost 50lbs. in the past week. Anarquia was doing a good job selling his ribs/mid-section. I'm not sure Pope holding Rosita 10ft. above the ground by her hair was the best thing to do to a 20 year-old girl on 9/11 the anniversary of her father's tragic death. I wonder if Sarita fucks with her mask on. No matter what Devon will never be more than a Don Mattingly. I liked Mexican America retaining as they need some time with the belts for their run to be appreciable.

Geo: Finished up the 9/12/11 ep of Raw. Agree with all of Jess' review about the wrestling. The only thing remotely good was Orton/Rhodes. Loved Orton's sell of The Beautiful Disaster off of the apron to the floor. I'm going to watch some All Japan now.

Brian: While my wife was watching Conan I decided to indulge in some Mid-South '80's set. A wise man, okay not really, just a guy on a forum, once said: "sell like you want it to be bought" and after watching hours of wrestling all day this was just some of the best selling (my favorite component) I'd seen. The first match I watched was Rock N Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (7/2/84). This was like a contest of who could sell better featuring an all-star ensemble in that regard with Eaton and Morton being the frontrunners with Duggan and Ladd bringing the goods, too. A really fun match, all sorts of neat moments, Ladd eating a wild Duggan lariat and taking a big bump, Ladd's unorthodox double-leg legdrop he broke out a couple times, and one of the most rabid crowds I think I've ever seen. I love this stuff. Next I screened Dusty Rhodes & Jim Duggan vs. Butch Reed & Hercules Hernandez (8/19/84). This was one of those matches where everybody comes dressed in their street clothes and just fights. Dusty looked the most unsavory wearing an unbuttoned white shirt that let his tits and belly hang freely as he got over on the heels. Rhodes wasn't very generous, as after making them stooge all over the place for the bulk of this, wasn't really giving much back in the way of getting them back heat. Finish was stupid with Dusty going down to a stomp on the back of the head; reminded me of a shitty ending to a Road Warriors vs. Harlem Heat match from 2/26/96 that Adam liked. Lots of punching here, like my family reunions, ripped clothes, and bloody faces. Mid-South is the shit.

Jess: In the early days of WWF PPV, the Survivor Series stood out as a test of endurance and fun team matchups, over the years it’s quickly become one of the most maligned of the big shows, not really having an identity anymore, but being known for probably the sloppiest booked of the big 4. And almost every year, the Survivor Series team match is usually the best thing on the show. I went back and watched the ’94 version this weekend and here’s some thoughts (listed in order of best to worst)

- Bret Hart v. Bob Backlund (Towel Match): You just don’t see anything like this anymore, or since; felt very AJW 70’s with long sections on the mat where both guys were maneuvering into holds or trying to reverse them. There aren’t many punches here which is a rarity indeed. Thing is epic-ly long at nearly 40 minutes and is remembered for the emotional finish. Well worth a watch
- Undertaker v. Yokozuna (Casket Match)- Taker is still in Zombie mode but starting to come out of his shell and add little touches of realism to his performance. Yoko seems ready to be fodder for the Dead Man and does a lot of his “slip on banana peel” selling here. But Taker’s aura makes all of Yoko’s crazy brutal offense look nil. I loved Chuck Norris fending off ridiculous baddies like King Kong Bundy while wearing a feathered Stetson and a shirt that he may have borrowed from Kenny Rogers’ photo shoot for the “Gambler” album
- Guts & Glory v. The Million Dollar Corporation – This actually was a fun match. The talent varied more so here than any other bout. Luger was Luger, but the crowd loved him. Mabel actually looked really hot here, smashing Prichard with a Black Hole Slam like I do strawberry pancakes on Sunday mornings and trading spin kicks with Bam Bam. Smoking Gunns played R& R here to get some mileage out of this one but the end trailed off with Luger fighting against 3 guys
- The Bad Guys v. Michaels’ team – This match had a lot of good workers in it, and they were showing their wares like peddlers are your local farmer’s market. Nash got put over huge here, eliminating dudes left and right but the finish was more questionable than the handrawn blue + sign on your girlfriend’s pregnancy test after you hit the lottery.
- The King’s Court v. Doink’s clowns- Holy cow, to think a guy named Cheesy has graced the list of names in WWE history; and Vince was giving Andy shit when winning Tough Enough saying how do you think you’ve earned a spot in this ring! Ha! I liked both Lawler and Doink’s meaty fists but this was a sight gag that was 10 minutes too long

Adam: I haven't seen that Survivor Series pay-per-view in full in years but it sounds like a pretty bad show. Wouldn't mind seeing that Backlund/Bret match though. I've been watching the matches on the 50 Greatest Superstars DVD and its been a mixed bag thus far. Saw the Rock/Mankind empty arena match for the first time since it aired back in the day and it really wasn't as good as I remember. A full review on the DVD is forthcoming in October. I've also reserved some recent WWE releases through the local library system and I'm tentatively planning reviews on those as well. Also been checking out some IWA East Coast from this past July. Pondo's fed is back in business and as terrible as ever although the main looks good.

Brian: I watch iMPACT! (9/15/11) last night. The first time Flair and Sting have wrestled since the last broadcast of WCW Monday Nitro. This match was better than that one from a decade ago, which is odd considering how old these guys are now, but there were parts of this that were actively good, Sting's selling and presence, he was really hustling out there. Flair on the other hand? Not so good. Arguably one of the best sellers in wrestling history, no doubt, but I noticed a lot of him not "no selling", which would be acknowledging the offense but the character not registering the pain (a la Ultimate Warrior), but just completely ignoring the offense he was taking altogether. It's like he had a one-track mind, as if he didn't get his shit off right then, his senile mind would forget it. An example of this Sting connecting with some punches that Ric just walked right through to get (another) eye poke in. So, this sets up Sting vs. Hulk Hogan as the semi-main under Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory '11? Well, I'll be at Adam's along with fellow NHO members Geo and Jessie watching that PPV live and smashing some Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken.

I caught the series premiere of Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling. So gloriously white trash and poor taste. It wasn't as vulgar or profane as Half-Pint Brawlers but still had a sleazy aura. Some of it was so obviously staged: the best example being a frat boy not paying what he promised to have them out to do a show for his drunken pledges and them hiring Roderick Strong to play the guy. The midgets themselves are an unsightly bunch with Blixx (imagine a small, trailer park, Charly Manson) and his attitude problem being a driving force. I'll definitely be tuning the rest of the season although showering after is mandatory.

Adam: I'm really interested in watching that Sting/Flair match. Probably get to it this weekend. I know it's something than TNA (or Impact Wrestling if you prefer) has been wanting to do for a long time. I did read that the match had to be heavily edited, not sure why though. When I watched their match off the final Nitro for the Nitro project, I thought it was pretty bad. Flair in a t-shirt and a buzz cut? Can't believe that Hogan is actually going to try to wrestle at BFG. Sting is going to have to be the workhorse in that one. Can you imagine Hulk taking a bump in front of about 3,500 people? I can't.

Speaking of new TV shows, ROH debuts their new show on the 23rd and I'm anxious to see it. Also, I read that Lucha Libre USA will be making a return to MTV2 on Saturday mornings at 10am. It's going to be nice to see some new wrestling shows on besides WWE and Impact every week.

Jess: Someone alert the media, Jess watched an Impact! I’ve been in a drowsy, sick haze all week, as everyone else in my house has been, so everyone quarantined themselves to different parts of the house last night; my chosen spot was the couch and I laid down right around 9 and figured there was no better choice. I liked the opening mic work between the two legends and enjoyed the main event as well. I think more so out of nostalgia than anything, but I too thought Sting looked fluid in his movements, crisp even. If you put a tape together of all these guys matches this one would feel off, the aforementioned strange mode Flair was in brushing past offense but also all the various run ins we got. Can’t wait for that BFG party, going to be live!

Geo: I just got finished watching another Dick Togo match. This time he took on HARASHIMA from back in February of this year. It was quite good, I must say. HARASHIMA worked over Togo's midsection the way my dog works over a piece of rawhide. Togo came back and started royally fucking up HARA's knee. I really dug the element of body targeting in this match. Togo got the win with La Mistica that came off really smooth.

Brian: SmackDown! 9/16/11 was one of their weaker offerings of the last 4-5 months. I like Daniel Bryan showing some aggression versus Sin Cara. A.J. got squashed (poor TNM-playing girl). Barrett loses again, man, that guy's push went the way of the buffalo or slap bracelets. More fuel to the Khali/Mahal storyline. I'll go on record saying I'd like to see Jinder with the IC title in 2012. Main event? R-Truth beats Boune in 90 seconds. Thanks, WWE.

Lots of MMA action this weekend, too! UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger was a nice watch. Belcher dominated the Canadian vet MacDonald, worth seeing if you're a ground and pound fan (and who's not?). Kock vs. Brookins was, well, odd, Koch looked like a killer in WEC and most thought he'd walk all over "Mr. Nice Guy" (my own nickname for Jonathan) but (from my viewpoint) Brookins controlled the whole fight even though Erik ended up with the unanimous decision. Strange indeed. Court McGee, they blow him up as some cardio monster, I'm not impressed, Dongi gassed but was landing some shots. Sort of a lame fight. Main event, damn, Ellenberger stopped the previously never before finished Shields in 53 seconds! I hope you're watching, GSP! I started Bellator 50, opener was ass, is Alvey only being kept around because his wife's a super hot model or what? Then Shlemenko smashed Galesic which was no surprise, although him winning via submission instead of KO was.

Jessie: Wait, hold the phone, AJ played TNM? Holy cow, I dig her so much more now. How come Barrett’s hair never moves?

What to say about that main? Did anyone tell Shields it may not be a good idea to fight after what he went through? Yikes. Belcher’s back, ground and pound with the power of Johnny Cash in his arm. From Bellator, Schlemenko is someone who always impresses. Speaking of impressive, liked the two Ohio sluggers really mixing it up for that short bout but the finish was a bad call. Main event was a ground fight like you keep hoping for; was damn impressed with the guts of Hess, he looked like Gumby half the time but kept up the pace and effort. Great main event.

Also saw the first 3 matches from TNA Slammiversary 2009 (the 2nd disc in the sleeve was Judgment Day 2009, Adam, to quote the Hurricane “What’s up with that?”) Opener went 30+ felt like, an X Division King of the Mountain match. They were in Detroit Rock City, and the crowd was buzzing and the guys were feeding off their energy and never seemed to want to stop. Shane Douglas showed up to wrestle Christopher Daniels for of all things, a roster spot? He cut a promo that sounded more like a campaign to stay in the Big Brother house than a wrestling interview. The match was so-so and Daniels BME should have been renamed BME? Nah after this. Tara and Angelina Love traded kicks and bitchy slaps in a pretty physical encounter; I’m drawn to Vel-Vel for some inexplicable reason more everytime I see her.

Brian: I won't go into much detail on WWE Night of the Champions '11 as most of the NHO guys haven't seen it, plus live I was kept slightly unfocused by Adam's exuberant blog talk and the huge salad I had for dinner, but overall, one hell of a show, and lots of big story advancement and moments. Mark Henry finally winning a world title and clean as a sheet had the sports bar I was at exploding! Del Rio vs. Cena was an instant classic, some of Cena's strongest work of '11 or even past years. I popped huge for Cena winning (another) world championship even if Adam and his fiance seemed less than pleased. Main event, Punk vs. Triple H, started out a full-on war and what I wanted, crazy brawling, big bumps, etc. but the last act was the worst example of Attitude era-style booking, Miz and R-Truth getting involved, plus Laurinaitis, Nash, etc. it was cool Punk got to kicked out of not one but two Pedigrees but this was still an overbooked mess like the one Adam left in the bathroom after eating all that food he ordered.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WWE Raw 9/19/11

So, Geo calls me at work, says something has came up, he can't review Raw tonight, would I step in, etc. I said "sure" because I'mma good NHO member!

The whole CM Punk/Triple H/John Laurinaitis promo was like a dog chasing its tail and just the worst. Oh great, Hugh Jackman is the guest host, only guy around that could make Wolverine boring.

1. Air Boom, Justin Gabriel, and Sheamus vs. Christian, Wade Barrett, David Otunga, and Michael McGillicutty - 3
2. Alberto Del Rio vs. John Morrison - 2

8-men tag action to start. Gabriel hit a nice dropkick early. Why is Christian with these losers? Surprisingly Sheamus' face turn is working. Otunga goes down to the Celtic Cross. Maybe he should take acting lessons from his wife. ADR squashed Morrison in less than a minute. I tossed it bonus points as it served a purpose. It wasn't him beating some prelim opponent, it was a former multi-time champion (1 ECW, 3 IC, etc.), and Del Rio beat him like a chump. Morrison taps like Adam on an exercise bike. Sometimes a squash is necessary, sometimes a butternut squash is also (like ornamental gourds).

3. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes - 0
4. Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix - 1

Sin Cara doesn't have a match, instead he tussles with a second "Sin Cara" to deafening silence from the Cleveland crowd. We get a Mark Henry in-ring promo that was.. awesome! He forced Jim Ross to his knees faster than Bill Watts did when J.R. was looking for his first job. Remember that weird, gurgling sound J.R. made after Mankind attacked him at the end of their multi-week interview? I bet you do. Kelly hits the ropes as daintily as Anne Frank rearranging her room during patrols. How many times are both Natalya and Beth going to lose to roll-ups?

5. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder - 3
6. Awesome Truth vs. John Cena and CM Punk - 4

I liked Dolph busting out the open-hand slaps in the corner on Zack. Why did Ryder's cornerman Hugh Jackman throw the best punch of the night? Main event has four guys but one of them is very, very different from the others. R-Truth. Am I right? You thought I was going to say because he's black, you racist pricks! I'm not your parents. Because he's the only one never to hold a WWE world championship! Come on. Miz was hopping around showing off some fancy footwork like Dominick Cruz. Cena's selling/acting (they're interchangeable) was finer than Firth's as King George VI. Punk busted out a Falcon Arrow -- must have been watching some Hayabusa on his flight. Punk called for the GTS by yelling "It's nap time!" and I thought, "No, nap time's trying to watch the 26-disc comp. of you in IWA Mid-South that Highspots is shilling". Match was longer than the other five that proceeded it combined. Of course Miz had to take the loss, in his hometown, just like Beth Phoenix did the night before in Buffalo at the PPV. If they ever do an event in a crack den that must mean Matt Hardy's being pinned somewhere.

Monday, September 19, 2011

ECW Barely Legal

It’s the first ECW pay-per-view and the start of an ongoing look of all 20 or so of the ECW pay-per-views. Quick note: the WWE produced ECW shows will not be a part of this series. Here we go!

The Dudley Boys vs. The Eliminators – 3
The Eliminators sychronized double team offense looked more choreographed than the Rockettes Christmas Special. There was a nice double team vertical suplex/cross-body combo from the Dudleys. Saturn hit a completely random double springboard moonsault in the middle of the match. No tags in this at all, just a four man free-for-all. Joey Styles completely wet himself during the finish with the Eliminators winning the tag titles.

Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm – 4
Dear God, Storm’s rat tail was hideous. First half of this was an elongated beating that Storm took like a man. Storm’s comeback was nice, especially with the nutty chair bumps that RVD took. RVD slipped up on a springboard elbow and looked awful trying to recover mid-botch. Storm’s chair shots are almost as bad as his haircut. Fun little match as I though both guys looked decent. Didn’t really impress or offend.

Dick Togo, Terry Boy, & Taka Michinoku vs. Gran Hamada, Great Sasuke, & Masato Yakushiji – 6
A different feel with this one as the action was literally, to use and old cliché, lightning fast. It was such because as soon as someone would hit a move on his opponent, they would go right into the next spot without any semblance of selling or acting like it even phased them. Sasuke and Taka were the shining stars of this match. I loved their exchange at the end with Taka dropkicking the shit out of Sasuke and Sasuke giving a stiff Razor’s edge as a reciept. Yakushiji, who I’ve never heard of before or since, looked fairly good too and has a wild suicide dive where he looked like green missile shooting out of the ring. Good match here but it felt like I was watching it on fast forward.

Shane Douglas vs. Pitbull #2 – 4
Better than I remember it being although I’m still not sold on the Pitbulls. PB2 seemed as if he only knew the basic, rudementary offense. Douglas for his part looked better than he does in most matches but it’s still the same old schtick, the talking before hand, the chain in the boot, etc. Lots and lots of ball shots ranging from low blows to PB2s favorite, crotching Douglas on the railing. Douglas took a hell of a bump through the timekeepers table in the bump of the match. I didn’t buy for a second that PB2 could be put away with a simple belly-to-belly suplex after taking table and belt shots to the head. Post match had more heat than the actual match with Rick Rude and Brian Lee laying waste to Douglas. Twenty minutes was a bit long for this, I think shaving 5-7 minutes off would’ve been just fine.

Sabu vs. Taz – 6
I really liked the pace they set here early on. Not going out and working on fast forward but keeping a very deliberate pace. Every big move has a bigger effect this way. The punching wasn’t worth shit as Sabu’s punches were just as shoddy as ever and Taz’s didn’t look much better. Sabu’s offense looked cleaner than normal with him actually hitting stuff instead of screwing everything up. Big spot of the match was Sabu taking a bump through a table on a Taz reversal. Holy shit, the suplexes at the end of the match were incredible. Finish felt kind of flat and the post match angle took a while to get to its point but overall, a better match than I remember.

Three Way Dance: The Sandman vs. Terry Funk vs. Stevie Richards – 4
This is the match that featured two of Funk’s most notable moments in ECW, the first being the moonsault off the ladder and the other being the spot where he spun around KO’ing his opponents with said ladder. Funk also took two hard, hard shots when Sandman was throwing plunder in the ring. Funk hit Stevie and Sandman with a chair like he was playing Whack-A-Mole. Barbed wire spots didn’t really work all that well as the wire was covered in streamers.

Terry Funk vs. Raven – 1
This was a complete clusterfuck. Funk was bleeding a gusher after a drop toe hold into a chair and just took a colossal beating for the whole match. Interference from Raven’s nest led to Tommy Dreamer getting assaulted by Big Dick Dudley at the announce position and then Big Dick taking a bump through three tables like he slipped off a curb. The feel-good moment at the end with Funk winning the title is pretty much the whole reason this got a point.

An okay show with a few memorable moments, mostly provided by Terry Funk. The M-Pro six-man tag was fun. Looking forward to see what pops up on the rest of these pay-per-views in the future.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SMASH 3 - 05/29/10

1) AKIRA v. Golem Knight- 3
2) Jessica Love v. Hajime Ohara- 2
3) Kim Numpum/ Mentallo/ Lin Bairon v. Akira Shoji/ Shuri/ Yusuke Kodama- 5
4) Valetine v. Tajiri- 4
5) Prince Devitt v. KUSHIDA- 6

I have to give AKIRA props just for being Liger's favorite sparring partner in the early 90's so i'm game to watch him do almost anything, including 1 person ping pong. His opponent looked like Henry Godwinn's farsighted uncle who got his name picked by someone throwing darts at a list of D & D terminalogy. They went with the big man/little man strategy and it worked fine and the ending came off clean. Ohara had the getup of a professional, they just forgot to teach him how to work. I've heard Love is a tranny, with the bony chin but she can sure throw a lariat. Why I dug this 6 person tag so much, hard to quantify, I liked how all the components worked in conjuction with each other. Mentallo I just peeped on an old LLUSA ep and besides having a whacked out mask, guy looked like a gym rat and had a nice dropkick. Kim was a beast here, taking on everyone from the other team and looking like the ace doing it. Kodama was selling it all, and vocally, could have passed for a backup at a Say Anything concert. Yes, there was some comedy (it's a Tajiri show) but didn't detract in the least.

Tajiri faces Finland's best wrestler, Valentine in a pretty lackluster bout. I think i scored it highly because Tajiri kind of transported himself from 2004 WWE into this point in time, the music, the tights, and the match layout was direclty from a Heat episode filmed in Baton Rouge. Only thing missing was Torrie Wilson's gigantic sweater meat and the mist, nope aftermatch, there's the mist. Valentine can punch, and seemed as if he studied Tajiri's film because he was always in the right place at the right time. The main went 15: 00 and satisfied. Devitt is a hard worker, who always seems to want the best out of match. He got bored with the ground work and started flying. KUSHIDA i've seen a few times now and will be a good future hand. Devitt issues most of his moves with intensity and the New Japan fire I love, a stiff dropkick to the face, an Ultimo Dragon spine cracking kick and the Bloody Sunday DDT reminds me why I'm such a huge Barry Windham mark.

SMASH = cool

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WWE Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century


This set is the third in WWE's series of decade retrospectives with the first being the '80's (which I reviewed way back in '06 here) and then the '90's (which I haven't seen but if anybody would be so kind as to burn my a copy that'd be swell). The documentary has 3-5 min. chapters each looking at a talent (i.e. Booker T, Brock Lesnar, Jeff Hardy, etc.) with highlights, background information, and some new interview bits with guys like Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, etc. It's a pretty breezy watch, I preferred to do it in smaller chunks, as in one sitting it'd likely get stale quickly. If you didn't watch a lot of WWE in the decade of 2000-2009 it certainly wouldn't hurt to see all of this, and even if you've seen every single PPV and episode of TV (like me) it's still worthwhile, it was fun to be reminded of when Kurt Angle was funny and when Kane, was, well, no Kane's always been terrible.


1. Booker T vs. The Rock - WCW Championship Match (WWE SummerSlam 2001) - 7

I hadn't seen Rock and Booker in a long time and didn't remember them working particularly well together. I was pleasantly surprised as they did, in fact, have some chemistry together and this was a pretty fun match. It was at the height of the whole Invasion angle, was the main event of a major pay-per-view, and had a hot crowd, all ingredients for something special. Rock can be a sort of selfish worker, he rarely lets someone else look good without ensuring he'll like even better, and we saw that here, although he gave Booker just enough to look like a threat (although also routinely made Booker look like an idiot bouncing him all over the place to his trademark snapping punches). Both guys were on with their facials, body language, etc. There was some interference here but I actually didn't mind it as it saw Shane McMahon first get annihilated by the APA at ringside, and then later, Shane ate a Rock Bottom on the floor. The finish saw Booker do the Spinaroni which lead to his demise and Rock popped up and hit a Rock Bottom. Had Booker not taken time to breakdance and gloat would he have been able to put down the "Great One"? I might be grading this just a touch high but I'm a longtime Booker T fan and this was arguably his biggest spotlight during his WWE tenure, that coupled with the energy throughout and I'm reccomending it with a "7".

2. Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam - Intercontinental Championship Match (WWE Raw 9/16/02) - 4

Jericho looked ridiculous with a long, straggly goatee and the tip of his ponytail was cherry red. He must have went into a barber shop with a picture of a dog's ass and said: "I'll have this." I remember hearing that RVD was never one of Chris' favorite opponents and that's apparent here as early Chris is trying to talk out some spot with Rob as RVD is in the midst of one of his flurries. This kept moving along but after about ten minutes Jericho looked really dumb continually running face-first into Van Dam's kicks. Triple H ran down, guess he and RVD got into it earlier in the program, but this did lead to a cool visual as Van Dam was perched up-top and leaped off getting unreal air on a crossbody block onto HHH on the floor. Jericho goes over (winning one of his record 9 IC championships) and then post-match Triple H buried RVD further leading me to wonder if this was a shot at Van Dam and/or TNA.

3. Triple H vs. Kane - World Heavyweight Championship Match (WWE Raw 6/23/03) - 4

I've seen these guys work each other plenty of times and they've never really had a match of theirs together that stood out and I was hoping this would be it. It wasn't. If Kane lost he'd have to unmask. Triple H was rocking royal blue trunks, had Flair at ringside, was clean shaven, and was clearly in his Race and Flair fetishizing phase. This entire match was almost all HHH bumping off of Kane punches and other similarly dull offense so it was nothing to write home about. Finish saw the members of Evolution get involved including Kane taking an RKO from Orton leading to the cheap victory by Hunter. The crowd was dead flat for the finish as, just earlier, during a nearfall for Kane, they were exploding at the prospect of a title change, but seeing HHH retain again killed them quicker than Cropsey.

4. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar - 60 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship (WWE SmackDown! 9/18/03) - 6

I like my matches like Sonic the Hedgehog and I prefer our chili cheese dogs: long. I just ordered the PWG event "Jason Takes PWG" last week because I heard Daniels and Styles go 60 min. in the main. So to finally get, for the first time ever, the complete, uncut Iron Man here is worth the price of the DVD alone. It's a majestic sight to behold, yet, has its share of flaws that keep it from quite being upper-echelon. Lesnar stalls early, he's no P.S. Hayes, though. I've got to say, I wasn't sure if Lesnar had this in him, he was still cutting his teeth in the business, most of his matches were kept short to protect his reputation as a monster, and here he had to fill an hour up. To that point, there did seem to be a bit of overkill in some categories, besides getting suplexes galore, as one would expect, I lost track of how many F-5 and Angle Slam spots this contained. Another thing that irked me is Angle lost the 2nd fall to an F-5 after 11 min., later, Angle loses the 4th fall via countout after being unable to get in the ring after an F-5 on the floor at 20 min. So why is Angle able to start kicking out of the F-5 when he's hit with it (multiple times) during the final stretch? Besides that and other psychology snafus, neither man really shows the torpor you'd imagine, and there is some nice psych moments, including Angle tapping out quickly as Brock applied Angle's own trademark Ankle Lock on him at 12 min. knowing he was caught and the devastation of the move so choosing to give Brock the fall and regroup instead of struggling to fight out of the hold. It's a match I feel like each time I watch it I'll have a slightly different take on.

5. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio - WWE Championship Match (WWE SmackDown! 3/18/04) - 5

These guys are so good we often take for granted just how fine they were/are in the ring. This isn't one of their more famous encounters and doesn't come close to their best bouts but is still good stuff. It's mostly Eddie targeting Rey's injured arm. Not a lot of flying or back-and-forth drama. Rey, though, just wow, his vocal selling is scarily good, you'd think he was really being tortured by Michonne of The Walking Dead. There's a close-up of Rey on his side, a tight shot mostly comprised of his mask and eyes, and those eyes, Cole even commented on them, they held more depth and story in a look alone than must can muster in the ring period. Guerrero gets a victory with a cradle that capitalizes on Mysterio's maimed limb. Post-match Paul Heyman comes out and does a racist promo only for Undertaker to march out, when Paul turns his back to Rey and Eddie they shove him like two kids on a playground pushing a dweeb into the class bully or hot chick (depending on their tastes in barbarism) into Undertaker who gives the rotund loudmouth a Tombstone on his bald spot.


1. JBL vs. The Undertaker vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T - Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Championship (WWE Armageddon 2004) - 6

Out of everything on this set this was one of the matches I remembered least from its original airing. It was a pretty strong multi-man match. Eddie and Booker teamed up early, likely out of necessity being the smaller guys, and a sheer dislike of JBL and fear of Undertaker, but I liked to think of them joining forces as proud former WCW guys in my own head. JBL stooged for everybody eating shots before bailing. We got not one but two commentators' table bumps, the first being partially blown, as JBL gave Booker a powerbomb but didn't even get him up higher than his waist before dropping him on the table so of course it didn't break, prompting JBL to climb up the ring steps and drop a lousy elbow onto Booker to finish the job. JBL would later be the recipient of a one-way trip through a table courtesy of Undertaker. I don't remember Guerrero and Undertaker working together much in WWE so this was a treat and their stuff together was some of this match's best. Undertaker kicked out of two of Eddie's patented Frog Splashes, so the fiery latino pulled out a massive ladder and did another one off of it but still couldn't keep the dead man down. The last couple minutes hurt this overall and kept it from scoring higher, Jon Heidenreich got involved, and the match-ending Clothesline from Wall St. (presumably) by JBL on Booker was completely off-camera so I was very confused at the end which is rare for WWE to miss a finish yet alone on the main event of a pay-per-view telecast.

2. JBL vs. Big Show vs. Kurt Angle - Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship (WWE Royal Rumble 2005) - 5

Fellow NHO contributor Jessie reviewed this match long ago and I recall him saying the pace was a full-on sprint of activity. It definitely was always moving forward. JBL is usually an aggressive bully but here we saw him get bumped around and beat up more as he was oversized and outmatched by Big Show and then Angle was eager to pick up the scraps. That being said, later when JBL wanted to get some of his own shit off, he had no problem disregarding the earlier damage he took to do so. There were a few gimmicked spots like Big Show being knocked off the ring steps through the commentators' table and later Show tackling JBL through the security wall which were both sort of weak. Angle was trying to capitalize but never really got a dominating section. Somehow the most random assortment of "talent" ended up involved in some way or another (Orlando Jordan, the Basham's, Mark Jindrak, and Luther Reigns). Angle sort of got shafted on the finish having to take a Clothesline from Wall St. by a semi-concious JBL. I liked the energy, probably felt different than other stuff off that PPV, but it lead to inconsistent and unsatisfactory selling at times.

3. Triple H vs. Edge - World Heavyweight Championship Match (WWE Raw 2/7/05) - 4

This match started off and I was thinking, "This will surely be a '6' or so", but then it crumbled like a week-old oatmeal raisin. They were in Japan at the Saitama Super Arena and the Japanese crowd was very appreciative and excited. They started off seemingly aware of this and its significance, almost felt like they were doing a NOAH main event, started with mat work, then the targeting of body parts (Edge's arm/shoulder and HHH's back), and we even got a suplex on the floor that Kobashi would have approved of. This train derailed, though, as the last few minutes were such woefully overbooked shit that it just spiraled into a mess. We got a ref bump, Batista doing indifferent interference, a few miscues, and the murdering of any goodwill I had left for it. For once, you're in Japan of all places, do a simple, physical, clean finish! It's like instead of just being handed the first piece of your birthday cake your friends toss it around playing catch, drop it, put it on the ceiling fan for a little spin, then hand you a crumbly, frosted mess. No thanks, assholes.

4. Lita vs. Trish Stratus - Womens Championship Match (WWE Unforgiven 2006) - 6

Really surprised by how much I liked this. This was "Rated R" era Lita who never looked hotter practically bursting out of a spaghetti strap top. Stratus was fighting in her own backyard. The thing I was most thrilled with was the selling, top-notch, Lita especially stepped up, and I was digging it. They also took their time and this was structured unlike most WWE women's matches which are commonly sprints. Stratus using the "Sharpshooter" in Canada to win the belt was a cool moment and she got a great ovation but kudos to Lita for one of her career best nights in-ring.

5. Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge - Triple Threat Match Winner Faces John Cena For The WWE Championship At WrestleMania 23 (WWE Raw 2/5/07) - 4

Edge and Orton both went and kept after Michaels (in lame DX regalia) here. I watched the match twice and still can't muster up much to say. Orton looked different, don't know if he was on the gas then, who knows, but he was bulkier, his face and upper-body were chunky. I hate when guys take those big, comical flat back bumps for basic Michaels punches. I've never got that. He hits people ove the head like he's Moe Howard and they kick their legs out and fling themselves backward like a first grader's first attempt at getting out on the floor at a skating rink. Edge is usually wired but looked phlegmatic here (odd given the match's circumstances). Finish saw HBK dodge a Spear that hit Orton instead, Shawn hit Sweet Chin Music on Edge, then covered the fallen Orton. Sort of established a hierarchy wherein Orton was the lowly one. This seemed rushed and save for determining Cena's opponent at WrestleMania it's clear the agents spent about as much time structuring and adding detail to this match as it takes one of them to run and get Vince's Pumpkin Spice Latte.

6. John Cena & Batista & Shawn Michaels & The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton & Edge & Mr. Kennedy & MVP (WWE Raw 2/15/07) - 4

This was more formula than the ones concocted by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker in Muppet Labs. The heels got a segment of working over Batista, then Shawn, then Cena. MVP wasn't even a footnote. Kennedy looked out of place with that much talent in the ring. Orton went down to Sweet Chin Music, but, not before previously shoving HBK into Undertaker thus generating friction that lead to all the good guys going at it post-match. Sure this was a fun ending to a subpar Raw but on its own average at best.

7. Batista vs. The Undertaker - World Heavyweight Championship Match (WWE WrestleMania 23) - 8

I think Undertaker should have ended his WrestleMania run here. His condition has deteriorated with age (he looked surprisingly great here), he hasn't hit the topé suicida as good as he did here since, and for my money this was more exciting and gratifying than either of his battles with Shawn Michaels, last year's with Triple H, or Flair vs. HBK. I've never been a big backer of either guy in terms of personal favorites but was a huge fan of their series of matches together (my personal favorite being from Cyber Sunday '07). That series was probably the most I ever enjoyed Batista and ranks up with Undertaker's best stuff (i.e. versus Kurt Angle) from the decade. This was a war from the start, Batista hit a huge Spear on Undertaker to get it started, and the action didn't let up from that point forward. Watching a ton of WWE main event-style matches you'll usually get some gimmicked spots and they usually don't come off cleanly or particularly well but I loved them here. We got Batista hitting a running powerslam on Undertaker from one commentators' table to another and Undertaker being chucked through the barricade into the time keeper's area where he had a great moment of subtle selling as his eyes widened after surviving the impact like a guy getting hit with a bar stool in a bar fight, like, "Holy shit am I still conscious?" Undertaker made Batista look good allowing him to kick out of the Last Ride powerbomb and chokeslam. Undertaker also survived a Batista Bomb that spiked him like Randy Stoklos spiking a volleyball in Kings of the Beach. The crowd was really living and dying on every nearfall and this had energy I haven't felt in the last several WrestleMania events. Great stuff.