Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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.


Anonymous said...

Draska Nishki-JEEZ, is that ever an obscure reference.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, Flair and Sting made several mistakes, epecially after Flair broke the bursa sac in his elbow on the superplex. That's why they edited the match. It was a train wreck live.