Monday, November 28, 2011

Best of Mickie Knuckles: A Redneck Woman Part 1

1. Mickie Knuckles vs. Hailey Hatred (IWA-MS 8-1-03)- 1
2. Mickie Knuckles vs. Ian Rotten (IWA-MS 11-7-03)- 1

Our 1st bout was Mickie's debut, which she talks in length about in her interview on this same release. Hatred looks like she'd be an effective bouncer at a Hells Angels bar. Mickie has the sympathetic look down but she was completely terrible here, botching an arm drag and a sunset flip to the point of embarrassment. There was a seriously brutal elbow from Hailey that would probably make me waste a Sat. afternoon at Urgent Care. And the aftermatch powerbomb on two chairs, was the worst botch i've seen for that spot and the most brutal. Ian didn't seem motivated at all; looked probably like a day in training class, him just moving slowly around the ring, punching and having his way with Mickie. Bored me.

4. Mickie Knuckles & Daizee Haze vs. Lacey & Rain (IWA-MS 5-7-04)- 3
5. Mickie Knuckles vs. Tracy Brooks (IWA-MS 9-16-04)- 2
6. Mickie Knuckles vs. MsChif Anything Goes (IWA-MS 2-5-05)- 6

This woman's tag got more time than any women's match that has aired on Raw in the last decade. Lacey had the whole heel act down, guess all that time on the road with Jimmy Jacobs pontificating and so forth. A lot of the current indy women put over Daizee but I don't think I've seen weaker strikes since that Urkel idiot from the early 90's sitcom boom. Sick FMW type fisherman buster was best spot of the bout. The next singles match was in a really dank arena with a sparse crowd. They were working training school drills which was thrilling for the live crowd. Prazak tried to put over neither woman had thrown a strike within the first 6 minutes like this was a technical marvel. Mickie was still really green, and Tracy was no help. Not sure who looked dumber; Mickie botching a whip in spot or Tracy wearing an IWA shirt that said "Operation Extinction Vince."

Here's the first active bout that I liked. MsChif grabs your attention right away, not just the leather pants and green eyeliner but her selling to every detail. Mickie is hitting hard and while this is mostly a brawl, great attention is given to all the strikes and where they land and selling them naturally. I really liked the bit where they start taking bumps in a super stiff boxing ring. Some good psych was worked with some S&M spiky vest and the steel chair which played into the finish.

7. Mickie Knuckles vs. Sara Del Rey (IWA-MS 2-11-05- 5
8. Mickie Knuckles & Eddie Kingston vs. Mike Quackenbush & Chris Hero (CHIKARA 2-19-05- 6

Only 9 people are there for this match (or show, not sure which) and they don't seem to be that enthralled with anything in the bout. This has to be one of Sara's 1st bouts, i know former member Geo was smitten with Del Ray, and while I think she's very good at knowing her character, how to portray it, i've never really seen a match that it translated into. This was pretty good though, particularly the loving care they put into the pace of this (like they possibly may with some homemade Thanksgiving dressing). Also a really dialed down but still quite stiff exchange of strikes and a well placed tried and true spot of going for a move over and over again until it works and it paid off in spades. Now, Mickie still has terrible timing here, and she throws a shining wizard that was more unsightly than Daizee Haze's Senior Photo but this was well done.

So Quack & Hero's team name is "the Superfriends", clearly they're supposed to be the Wonder Twins right? Eddie and Mickie are sort of playing hillbilly brother and sister here, there's a lot of goofy interplay, add in all of Quack's tricks, Hero and Kingston both wearing white vinyl straight from Lady Gaga's underwear drawer. There's a really rough suicide dive on Mickie from Quack and she's in this a lot, mostly drills and working with Hero, you feel like the live crowd paid for a training sesh instead of an athletic contest. 15 minutes in, Kingston tries for a chinlock for a submission; yeah that's going to work and Herman Cain is a decent human being. For all you single guys in the KY area, Mickie is quite flexible as shown by a backbend deathlock; not sure what Chikara's identity is at this point as it just seems like a low rate PWG venue. Hero's taking liberties with Mickie as in the background you can see a kitchenette with floral patterned curtains in a strange mix of violence and bad decorating taste. Kingston comes in and black holes all the heat by trying to do a Noah finishing run, but the crowd finally wakes up after a skull splitting headbutt that's louder than Matt Hardy's cry for help. One of the better Chikara bouts I've seen

9. Mickie Knuckles vs. Chris Hero (CHIKARA 4-15-05)- 6
10. Mickie Knuckles vs. MsChif (Steel Cage) (IWA-MS 4-30-05)- 7

This match versus Hero literally took place in a bar, and I love the promotional banner advertising it: "Pro Wrestling", simplicity is such a beautiful thing. Hero is taking out some aggression here, like Mickie was the cheer captain at high school that turned Hero down for the Senior Prom because he was wearing an Eradicator outfit to it. I mean he beat Mickie's face for a good 12 minutes. They threw some psych in with an arm injury that registered with no one but this was a fun hard hitting bout.

This cage bout blows away anything done on WWE TV in years. Some really brutal blows, both women took nasty bumps into the cage and they played off their past battles. A superbomb at the end was absolutely devastating and the only thing I didn't like was it wasn't the finish. MsChif has some great instincts and they had a great back and forth.

My impression of Mickie Knuckles is she's come a long ways as a performer and she's actually really good at emoting and selling; she can play tough and other times looks like she's on the verge of tears from a move or shot. I think her evolution came from competing with really good workers and the MsChif feud was really hot.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997

Continuing my ongoing look at the ECW pay-per-views. Beginning with this show, at the end of the review, I’m going to start ranking the shows from best to worst.

1) Chris Candido vs. Taz – 4
2) Spike Dudley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – 5

Our first bout was billed as “one-third of the triple main event”. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t really consider Taz vs. Candido a main event, especially when it’s the opener. I used to like Candido but he’s started to wear on me lately and I’m not sure why. The punt he got in the nuts wasn’t really necessary. Taz probably though it’d be a cool spot to do. Candido hit a few nice moves including a really good looking powerbomb and an equally good top-rope frankensteiner. Taz’s suplex looked really dangerous, especially the ones that almost broke Candido’s neck on two different occasions. I really enjoyed watching Bigelow throw Spike around the ring even though the match itself amounted to nothing more than a mega-squash. If there is one thing that Spike Dudley does great, it’s bumping, especially when wrestling bigger guys like Bigelow, Mike Awesome, Uganda, etc. There was one really ugly spot where Spike got dropped ribs first across the bar that holds the buckle and fell face first to the floor cracking his skull open. Of course, this also had the required spot of Spike getting thrown into the crowd.

3) Monday Night Rules Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Al Snow – 3
4) The Dudley Boys vs. PG-13 - 3

It was never explained exactly what a “Monday night rules” match was but whatever the rules were, they were never enforced. Snow had this expression on his face like he was more concerned about whether or not his VCR was going to record the episodes of Nash Bridges he was missing than getting through this match. The match drug on for what seemed like an eternity. Think I’d rather watch episodes of lame stand-up on Comedy Central than this. RVD was on cruise control but still got all his shit in and looked like shit doing it. Mercifully, after about twenty minutes, RVD hit a Van Daminator to put an end to this charade.

I just recently watched some WCW Saturday Night from the year 2000 and PG-13 was surprisingly on there. They just seem to pop up in the most random of places and the most random times. This was a pretty bland tag match, something that would fit better on TV than on pay-per-view. PG-13 seem really out of their element in ECW. It’d probably be a better idea if they just stuck to working Memphis. Crowd wasn’t into this at all as they were more interested in trying to get Jenna Jameson, who had accompanied The Dudleys and Joel Gertner at ringside, to take her top off (which didn’t happen by the way). PG-13 had couple dives to the floor on to D-Von that were about the only good things they did the whole match.

5) Jerry Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer – 5

I was liking this up until the finish. Lawler was doing some fantastic selling throughout the whole match and I felt like I was watching him during his prime in Memphis. Dreamer took some really nasty bumps including one off the top rope onto an open chair. Lawler hit this really, really sick looking piledriver. Dreamer looked about as good as you could possibly look wrestling in a t-shirt and workout pants. The finish is what killed this though. Not only was there interference from Rick Rude who absolutely destroyed Dreamer with a trash can, there was also interference from Sunny and Jake the Snake, not even five minutes after the Rude interference. Aside from that, this was some good stuff with some good heat on the nearfalls.

6) Three Way Elimination Match: Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu – 4

I almost called that last match an overbooked mess but then I realized that I still needed to discuss this match. Sabu looked like he was just trying to get all his usual spots in regardless of anything else that was happening in the match. He almost broke Shane’s neck on a German suplex (which I would have loved had that actually happened) and just killed himself by springboarding into the crowd and just barely touching Douglas. Just when I thought that he might have learned his lesson after doing that, minutes later has a glorious botch were he slips on a chair and crashes into the ropes trying to do his triple jump moonsault. Probably the best spot he had was jumping off a chair that was positioned on the top turnbuckle and putting Fonzie and Tod Gordon through a table. Why was Gordon there and why did he interfere in the match? Who the hell knows. This all led up to Sandman returning to the arena and doing a lame somersault leg drop on a ladder to eliminate Sabu. Where was the Sandman you ask? Well apparently he spent three hours trying to find the arena after hijacking the ambulance that took him to the hospital before the show started. Lost in all the chaos unfortunately was Funk. When the action was focused on him, his selling was fantastic as usual. I also liked the spot he did with Douglas dropping Sabu back first across two chairs that were set up. Once the match boiled down to Funk and Douglas after Sabu was eliminated, things became a lot less frantic and slowed down quite a bit. There was a good nearfall off a roll-up after Dory Funk Jr. showed up and chased off Francine. I laughed quite a bit at the awful table spot they tried that culminated in Shane taking an ass bump through it. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now, I don’t for one second think Douglas’ belly-to-belly suplex is an effective finisher. This claim is further backed up as earlier in the match, both Sabu and Funk took said suplex and both popped up within seconds as if it was any other regular move. Funk kicked out of a bunch of them near the end here until Douglas finally got the fall. The post match antics were just as mind boggling with The Dudleys coming out and laying waste to Funk while the entire locker room just stood there and looked on until Candido and Bigelow ran out leading to a huge brawl that accomplished nothing.

ECW PPV Rankings:
1. Barely Legal
2. Hardcore Heaven ‘97

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

R.I.P. Bison Smith

The Never Hand Over team were sad to hear today of the passing of NOAH star Bison Smith. Below are the collected links of all our reviews of his work:

- NOAH 1/15/11
- NOAH 1/23/11
- ROH Death Before Dishonor VII: Night 2
- NOAH- 05/24/2008
- Pro Wrestling NOAH First Navigation- 01/09/2010
- Pro Wrestling Iron "Hot August Fights"

The Rock vs. Triple H - Steel Cage Match - WWE Rebellion 10/2/99 - 4

This is the old, classic blue cage, well, except it's painted black, because everything had to be edgy back then, right? A girl in all-black in high school meant daddy issues so this is the wrestling equivalent of that. These guys' breakneck pace feels like borderline slapstick. Michael Hayes' commentary is a little theatric ("Can you say title change!?") but I'd take it over Michael Cole's blathering any day. Rock hits the Rock Bottom after ten minutes -- curious to see how long that incapacitates HHH. Answer? Less than a minute. You get a sense these guys really clicked with audiences but in terms of structure and actual mechanics I prefer the Cena, Orton, Batista, etc. era main events even though those have their own vocal critics. This punch-heavy formula is fun in small doses but can get tiring quickly. Henber takes a bump so both guys leave the cage and start brawling around ringside. Rock puts Triple H on a table that looks like it was constructed during medieval times, scales the cage, then drops an elbow off but unsurprisingly the table just laughs in response. Back inside, Ross is talking about fish and chips, and HHH is bleeding.. and there's the "damn Bulldog!" as J.R. screams. Bulldog in blue jeans -- not his best look. Shane McMahon runs down to try to put a stop to these shenanigans but Davey Boy ruins his night with a powerslam on the ground. Bulldog then beats Brisco and Patterson's old asses. This is in the U.K. thus his being put over like a monster. By the time Chyna runs out this has gotten more convoluted than the web of lies this guy Jason once told my group of friends (Wait, so you ate lunch with Michael Bay, had a girlfriend murdered, and got a blowjob from a school teacher? Right). Still waiting to rediscover an Attitude-era main event worth a damn.

Monday, November 21, 2011

All Japan Real World Tag League 1996 Finals


***** Toshiaki Kawada/ Akira Taue v. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Jun Akiyama (Dec. 6)- 8

Going back and watching an All Japan match from this early 90's era never disappoints. There's a huge satisfaction when watching some of the masters at work in their prime and that's what you have here. The tag structure is real loose in this and is more like a fight, at every turn, no one stays down for long except for Jun's extended ass beating early on. Everyone snaps over fast on suplexes, as if a target was pained on the top of their heads. Misawa and Kawada, especially, show off that vicious streak that made both men such huge stars. Taue is easily the weakest of the four, but he takes some nasty blows and that's not a knock at all. Crowd heat is molten level here, wait till the faces seem to have it wrapped up and they go nuclear. After their devastating double German combo, Misawa looks like a lion dragging a fresh zebra back to the pack by his teeth trying to put Kawada back in. Akiyama can't quite knee like Race could but his enthusiasm is making up for it. Keep expecting Misawa to grow black feathers the way he gets pissed. Flying chokeslam from the apron after 20 minutes of action is fucking crazy. Story, ha, no story here, who's going to break first? Wow, how good is Taue v. Misawa around the 25 min. mark going singles and tearing it up. I'm just marking out all over this and I think i've ruined my sweatpants. Watching a Jim Cornette how to video earlier about how to make it in the biz reminds me when talking about drawing money he never mentioned "being complete badasses and killing people with feet and suplexes" works just as good. I will not die was just a catchphrase for Matt hardy but it was a way of life for Misawa at this point, the level beating he's absorbing is just sickening. God damn Kawada looked like Godzilla leveling Tokyo at the end against Misawa/ Akiyama. MY GOD! My tv just exploded. Good thing i've got a new one for Xmas in my sights. Jesus I'm spent.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adam & Jessie Co-Review: WWE 24/7 Smoky Mountain Shorties

1. Chris Candido vs. Lance Storm (8/19/94) - A:3 J:3
A: What in the hell is Candido wearing on his head? Looks like something that an astronaut from the Apollo missions would wear during flight. This was titled as a “Beat the Champ” series match. Not sure what that meant, if anything. Pretty basic five minute TV match. I loved the big bump Candido took off the top rope from the Brian Lee interference.

J: Candido looked like a Koopa Troopa. Basic is the best explanation for this. There’s that inherent athletic look to the match, but neither guy stretched themselves at all. I’m guessing this was a shorter time limit match, hence them working as if they will go to it, as unremarkable as the last few seasons of “The Office.”

2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Dirty White Boy (5/6/94) – A: 2 J:2
A: Good god, Jake looks like complete shit, probably just came out of the bar. Whole match was built around Jake working over DWB’s bad eye. Bob Caudle on commentary said Jake had a hard mid-section. Looks pretty flabby to me. Some guy in a goofy looking costume interfered and ripped off DWB’s eyepatch. Jake was far from his best here and it really showed as he looked completely lethargic. Really terrible finish with Jake flashing a camera into DWB’s eye.

J: Yeah I hated this match’s soul. I get what they were doing here, that slow build, making every movement count but every movement was slow, weak and boring. Even this southern audience built up on this kind of action were nodding off or flirting with the young girl at the nacho stand. It’s never a good sign when your top face (White Boy? Hold on seriously?) is in a top program with a guy wearing a black bed sheet called the Samurai. And the camera would begin a series of ridiculous overbooked finishes.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Buddy Landell (8/4/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: I was really looking forward to this match as I had no idea that Michaels even worked Smoky Mountain, so this is interesting just for that if nothing else. I mentioned this match to a guy I work with who used to work for Smoky Mountain and he has no recollection of this either. From the get-go, this was nothing more than a clip job as all the good stuff was cut out for the most part. Final two minutes was shown full and I really dug the nasty forearm from Shawn. I have to grade this on what is shown which was probably about half of a fifteen minute match.

J: When I think Landell, I think vomit. Not sure if it was being in there with young HBK but this has to be the best he’s ever looked. Michaels punches are usually shit-TAY, but he used the jab a lot here, which looked stinging and Landell had a great looping shot. Pace was fast and with clipped sections in the middle it was hard to get behind either guy’s momentum, nor did I believe for a second Landell had a prayer of winning so the screwjob ending was a huge middle finger to paying fans. Glad I wasn’t one of them.

4. Brian Lee vs. Paul Orndorff (5/24/92) – A: 3 J:3
A: I’m not an authority on SMW but I think this is from one of their first major shows. Another clip job this is. Orndorff was throwing some nasty bombs and Lee was a complete bloody mess. Weird finish with Bob Armstrong filling in for the bumped ref and calling for a DQ when Orndorff barely touched him. Not good, not good at all.

J: Really terrible lighting for something I bet would have been good. The clips really hurt a bout like this because with the Michaels match, there’s highs and lows and big moments. This is a straight brawl, so every time you clip it, it looks like they’re doing the same thing, you don’t get to see the momentum build up, which is a shame. Another shitty finish, realizing SMW is known for that.

5. Kevin Sullivan vs. Mongolian Stomper (1/9/93) – A: 4 J:4
A: Stomper is a crotchey, ancient old bastard. I liked this a lot. Just a stiff brawl between two really tough dudes. Sullivan getting tossed into the hockey boards was pretty rad. Sullivan has always been one of my favorites just because he doesn’t take any shit. The fireball spot looked like it was off a bit and the DQ hurt the score. Wonder if there was ever a rematch?

J: This I liked. Someone in the know, who the hell is Stomper? Liked how he used his gimmick too, where as this was just a fight outside most of the match, instead of punch after punch, he’d actually hoist his hairy withered leg up for a stomp here and there. Stomper could sell too, very realistic. Terrible finish continues the streak.

6. Brad Armstrong vs. Buddy Landell – Lumberjacks with Tennis Rackets Match (8/11/95) – A: 3 J:2
A: And yet again, we have a match that is clipped with only the last few minutes in its entirety. Lumberjacks did not come into play at all. This being the second Landell match I’ve seen on here, he SO wanted to be Ric Flair that it wasn’t even funny. Armstrong pretty much took a beating until the very end with Cornette interference and then hitting Landell with a racket.

J: There could have been a good match in here but it wasn’t shown. Armstrong kind of flailed around as Landell, the most unimposing heel of all time, did his schtick. You know the LJ’s were involved in someway but it was so minute it wasn’t worth the time or funds to supply each with a racket. Cornette hasn’t added a damn thing to any match he’s been involved in and I’d love to see a match end cleanly. Hold on the face has to use an object to win and you think the fans like that?

7. Cactus Jack vs. Chris Candido (12/3/94) – A: 4 J:5
A: Wait a sec, J.R. is doing commentary for Smoky Mountain? Not much in the way of offensive highlights except the over the top rope cross body and a frankensteiner from Candido. His sell after missing a top rop headbutt was interesting to say the least. You know I watched this twice, trying to find anything of value that Cactus did but I really couldn’t. For a seven minute TV match, this was OK but nothing too grand.

J: I’m starved for action and this match provides it, no clean ending but guess that’s too much to ask. Their styles mesh really well, Candido is all about scared heel with Tammy comforting him and Jack is still kind of scary at this point, not the lovable teddy bear he became. JR added tons more effectiveness instead of Bob Caudle complaining about where the arm rests in a chinlock. Candido’s cross body was sloppy but the frankensteiner was cool and JR freaking out made it more so.

8. The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies (12/1/92) – A: NR J:N/A
A: Instead of one match, we ended up getting the end of four different matches from the Thanksgiving Thunder tour. Of all the matches shown, I liked the street fight the best as you really felt the hate between the two teams. Everyone but Gibson was busted open and the Bodies even tried the old plastic bag suffocation trick on Gibson. The match after was a barbed wire cage and the two main spots from the Bodies, using powder and ether, felt like a major rehash of previous matches.

J: Yes there were some cool highlights but I really don’t know how to rate this as we never even got anything resembling a full match; instead of the 4 cut to pieces like a teen at Camp Crystal Lake, I would have preferred one full match, hell even the shittiest one.

9. Tracy Smothers vs. New Jack (4/1/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: Very strange to hear JR calling a New Jack match. Even stranger to see New Jack competing in SMW. Wait, what the hell, is that D-Lo Brown at ringside with a do-rag on? Thought these two worked fairly well together andI especially enjoyed the DDT from Smothers. I’ve never really seen New Jack try to work a regular match without relying on weapons and such. I’m guessing he could probably do so here but Smothers pretty much controlled things.

J: Yeah it was, and I liked later on when Ross mentioned New Jack isn’t “as one dimensional as he once was.” More importantly, was that D’Lo getting choked out by Cornette’s racket? Dahahahaha, no one’s looked more foolish on the set so far. Okay, Balls is out there playing his “Boo Bradley” character; how do we know that? His t shirt has the word Boo printed all over it. This match looks like a carnival in Forest Park, Oh. Smothers completely controls all aspects of this and probably tells New Jack when it’s okay to execute a move, which his belly to belly was pretty good. Par for the course, a big fuck finish brawl and JR trying to put over some skinhead douchebag named Killer Kyle ( I wish I was making that up) who beat Balls’ ass at the end.

10. The Undertaker vs. Unabomb (8/4/95) – A: 5 J:4
A: Here’s another match that I rather enjoyed. Unabomb is the future Kane and from a distance, with the curly blond hair, looked like Sid. He took a lot of big risks too, including a top rope leg drop while Taker was draped over the rope. Taker took a hard back first bump into the post. That couldn’t have felt good. The unfortunate part of this is that it was clipped. Undertaker for his part worked a pretty safe and basic match. Good grief, the powerbomb that Unabomb attempted looked awful, almost as bad as the one Kevin Nash doled out to Triple H at Vengeance a few weeks ago.

J: For me, enjoyed may be too strong a word, it felt much like the Candido – Storm match earlier where it was all formula, but the crowd heat was molten to see such a big star in a Podunk arena. I liked Unabom’s look but the name is absolutely atrocious. Guess what the name of his finisher is? Haha, yep. The announcers kept pushing Al Snow would interfere but not really, and why were they afraid? At this point Taker was in the purple gloves and actually sold a lot more than I thought he would during this stage of his career. I liked the idea of that wild legdrop, and for big guys like that, probably did the best they could with it. I see why Kane had a mask for so long, guy needed to work on showing pain or just any kind of emotion while being beaten on by one of the most feared dudes in the industry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TNA Turning Point '11

1. Robbie E. vs. Eric Young - 4
2. Mexican America and Sarita vs. Ink Inc. and Toxxine - 4

3. Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen - 5
4. Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels - No DQ Match - 4

Unlike Santino and Hornswoggle I actually enjoy the comedic stylings of one Eric Young. My beard is getting beastly but it hasn't quite reached Young-like proportions. Fun comedy match to start that got the crowd into it having fun. Six-person intergender was also fun stuff. Show started with a good energy that made me wish iMPACT! could capture that same mood. Anarquia is good at selling and has a presence that makes him more watchable than the stock gimmick character he portrays. Hernandez continues to be apparently shrinking -- he must know Scott Lang. Toxxine and Sarita had a nice little exchange at the end of this. Three-way X Division bout was one of the show highlights. Sorensen handed out a signed football to a kid in the crowd who sort of shrugged his shoulders and accepted leeringly. You can tell Kash is really trying to give Jesse his lumps and make him earn a spot as he was just discoloring his chest with real mean chops and laying stuff in. Aries' timing was great per normal and he kept this propelling forward. Really great stuff all around. Daniels feigned wanting to do a "classic technical match" in lieu of "hardcore" so did a bunch of chinlocks, etc. didn't really come off like he wanted to keep it grounded but that he didn't have much in his arsenal to use when he kept breaking out the same hold. Felt like a house show match with not a lot of effort nor crowd heat. It did have a few nice bumps including Daniels' on the entrance ramp and RVD taking a back bump on a chair.

5. Matt Morgan vs. Crimson - 2
6. Abyss and Mr. Anderson vs. Scott Steiner and Bully Ray - 4

7. Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky - 3

Man, this next match, really, see it, as it was some of the most unintentionally hilarious shit. Crimson and Morgan are supposed to be these two giants, a real clash of the titans, or so we're lead to believe. Morgan's facial acting throughout was just Ed Wood-level cheese. His expressions, like after Crimson kicked out of one of his signature moves, and he did one of those nods of acknowledgment, were just goofy, like Chris Klein as Charlie Nash in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) bad. Then they tried to recreate the infamous Takayama/Fyre slugest but instead of bashing each other's face they looked like two first graders slap-fighting over a box of crayons, I mean, Crimson's weak punches were landing square on Morgan's shoulder, time and time again, nowhere near his face. This just looked so outrageously bad. Tag match was fun, I guess besides stopping bleaching his hair, Anderson's also quit going to the gym, as he came in looking soft and doughy. That made him getting tossed all over the ring even more fun for me to chuckle at. Seemed like Ray and Scott were trying to kill him throwing him recklessly and making him take big bumps like superplexes right on his head and neck. Scott has a presence that's undeniable, at a TNA house show I attended awhile ago, even on an undercard match, he captured the crowd and held them in his performance more than anyone else. Same sort of thing here as him being a heel got good reactions. And right now Bully Ray (wouldn't have believed it 5-10 years ago) is one of the best heel acts in the entire world. Scott taking the loss on a weak sideslam or whatever by Abyss was very flat. Women's match has to be considered a failure and even then it was better than anything birthed from the 3+ month feud Kelly Kelly was been embroiled in over in WWE. Velvet just had a real off-night, her offense looked preposterous, she even threw some leg kicks that looked like they were being thrown by Cain Velasquez's three-year old daughter. Kim had to really work down to her level. Madison Rayne interfered and botched some eyesore move she attempted. I was bummed this didn't go better.

8. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 2

9. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 4

10. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett - 1

Hardy came to the ring with a stupid purple Predator-looking mask with ram horns. He probably drew up the design for that while high on PCP. Hardy beat Jarrett in six seconds with a Twist of Fate. Jarrett wanted some 'mo. Second match was like a 7 min. sluggish bout but Hardy did what he does best and better than most and that's sell simple stuff like death and make it look much better. Hardy won again. Jarret interrupts Hardy's walk up the aisle by knocking his brains out with a steel chair. Jarrett tossed Hardy's carcass back into the ring and hit The Stroke but Hardy used a backslide and beat Jarrett thrice. I liked the shock of the first win, second match was just there but I enjoy watching Hardy play dead, third one, well, put Hardy over pretty large, but not something I can score too high.

11. Robert Roode vs. AJ Styles - 6

Main event went nearly 30 min. Crowd was dead after the first couple matches so that hurt the effectiveness here. First time I sat through this, was on the phone with fellow NHO co-founder Jessie, discussing, amongst other things, the disbandment of our tag team BBC (Big Black Cock) of "Pope" D'Angelo Dinero & "King" Mo Lawal in our fantasy wrestling league, etc. and my impression of the match was longer, dryer iMPACT! TV main I'd go with a "5" at best. I re-watched it, though, since I didn't get a real good sense of it the first time through. I liked it a lot more. Styles, despite being banged up, and he was working slower than normal and with less confidence, still did a damn good job on a real bum ankle. He should have been home resting his injury on the sofa watching repeats of Bored to Death on HBO. I thought AJ was dead after missing a suicide dive to the floor and going splat. This was constructed like an old, regional match, sort of the Flair formula, where the heel champion gets beat down in a long match but gets the quick roll-up win with tights to keep the gold. They did their roles pretty well, Roode's heel stalling and selling were good (not great) but like this role better than the force-fed face persona I personally never bought (even when the rest of the world rioted post-Bound for Glory '11 when Bobby didn't win the belt).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WCW Beach Blast 1993

Before I jump right into the matches, I have to mention what complete fools Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura looked like. Schiavone had a faded orange ball cap on backwards, some goofy substance on his nose that hewould claim to be zinc oxide, shades, and a Hawaiian shirt, while Ventura was decked from head to toe in tye dye while sporting swimming goggles and flip flops. I guess that was the style at the time but now it just looks ridiculous.

1. Ron Simmons vs. Paul Orndorff - 4
2. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce - 3

Opener was for the TV Title held by Orndorff and had the old TNA rule where the champion could lose his title if he got DQ’ed. Orndorff was definitely the standout in the match. His selling and bumping was off the hook. He also nailed Simmons with some hard standing short elbows and some brutal chops against the apron. Simmons armwork seemed really lethargic at best. The DQ finish with Orndorff getting thrown over the top rope felt lazy and uncreative. Tag match was about the undercard standard of the time. Right off the bat there was a huge botch were Scorpio was supposed to springboard off Bagwell’s back and over the top rope but lost his footing and nearly did a face plant on the ramp. Bagwell when applying rest holds just looked facially like he was trying to remember the next sequence. For the record, Pierce and Slazenger would go on to become the Godwinns. End of the match saw Pierce hit a really freaking awesome gutwrench powerbomb and Scorpio hitting a nice 450 at the finish. Felt like a match that you would find as a main event of Worldwide or something.

3. Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal - 3
4. Maxx Payne vs. Johnny B. Badd - 3

Next two bouts were the definition of undercard filler. Watts and Regal went for the scientific route. Felt like Regal was doing an exhibiton of holds on a very cooperative broom. Watts held a wristlock that went absolutely nowhere for what seemed like enternity. Things that saved this for me were definitely Regal’s mat work and his brief offensive flurry near the end. The crowd could have given less than a shit about either guy. Badd and Payne was billed as a “grudge match” since Badd was seeking revenge on Payne after getting shot in the face with his confetti gun on a Clash special a few weeks before this. Badd came out sporting this ridiculous hot pink full head covering mask. Payne looked quite bad but let’s be honest, has Maxx Payne has ever looked good in a singles match? Badd had a nice dive to the outside. Not sure what was up either with goofy little spot in the finish with Badd jumping quickly off the top rope, then back on to the second rope, only to deliver a lame cross-body. Can anyone tell me what the point of that was?

5. Arn Anderson & Paul Roma vs. The Hollywood Blondes (Steve Austin & Brian Pillman) – 5
6. 30 Minute Iron Man Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Rick Rude - 5

Does anyone remember the fact that Paul Roma was a member ofthe Horsemen? I had almost completely forgotten about that. I could tell by the pace early on that they were definitely milking the clock. Roma’s facials on defense have all the enthusiasm of a poll worker on Election Day. The double missed dropkick spot by Roma and Pillman seemed completely choreographed. Arn was great after getting the tag near the end. He gave Austin a neck-jarring DDT and a bit later suplexed Austin the floor from the apron. The finishing stretch had a great nearfall off an Arn spinebuster. Good match that surprisingly went nearly 30 minutes. I was really disappointed by the Iron Man match, mainly because I was expecting something the caliber of the Steamboat/Rude classic from the previous year’s Beach Blast. I guess that’d be like saying a Hungry Man frozen meal is every bit as good as steak dinner you’d get from Outback. Dustin busted out an awesome electric chair drop near the ten-minute mark. The half-way point comes and they seem to still to be taking it slow. Rude got the first fall off a Rude Awakening that garnered zero recation. Dustin hit a really nice tombstone piledriver, way better than when ‘Taker first did it. By the 20-minute mark, Dustin seemed completely gassed and the match still hadn’t gotten out of low gear. Finally, with about three and a half left, a sense of urgency kicks in by both guys when Dustin scores a fall with a bulldog. Where the hell was that at about 12 minutes ago?

7. Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair – 6
8. Sid Vicious & Vader vs. The British Bulldog & Sting - 6

Flair was wrestling in his first WCW pay-per-view match since SuperBrawl 1991. The match started off really hot, a pleasant change from the slow beginnings of the previous two bouts. Windham hit one of the stiffest Samoan drops I’ve ever seen. The cross body block spot where Windham was supposed to fall to the outside looked really sloppy. Flair was doing a great job of selling his back. The giant superplex spot off the top rope was picture perfect. I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen it done better. The ending was kind of screwy and not only was I confused as to if Windham got pinned or if he gave up, but so were the announcers. Not the best match these two have ever had together (if you want a real classic between them see the Worldwide match from Jan. 1987) but still not the worst either. The main event was set up by a ridiculous story where Sid and Vader blew up Sting and Bulldog’s boat while they were playing volleyball on an island with a bunch of kids. No, really,that’s the story. I wish I was making that up but I’m not. Ridiculous story aside, I had a lot of fun watching it. Sting and Sid were just having at it from the get go and really pounding on each other. Bulldog’s delayed vertical suplex on Vader was just tremendous. Vader was awesome, just punching people’s faces in without a care in the world. Bulldog as the face in peril worked suprisingly well. I loved the spot where he sold a Vader Bomb by just flailing himself all over the match. Although I would have liked to have seen more Sting/Vader interaction, this was much better than I though it would be. Even had a surprise at the end with Bulldog instead of Sting getting the pin in what is probably one of his best WCW matches ever. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

PWG Battle of Los Angeles '07 Night 2

1. Ronin & TJ Perkins vs. Karl Anderson & Bino Gambino - J: 4 B: 2

Jess: What a strange matchup to start with, neither of these teams look comfortable with each other, like riding the Metro downtown only for either a strange lady holding a giant flower or a dude with his Blackberry out while talking on his Bluetooth sits next to you. This is early TJ, and you see the beginnings of his style forming here. Despite terrible, terrible name, Gambino holds his own in most exchanges. I thought Anderson would bring the stiff strong style but he mostly chameleons into whatever role they need. Still, had more meat to it w/o all the neverending 2.9 counts most PWG openers have.

Brian: Gambino looked like a dick repository. And Ronin looks like the generic action figure you let the rest of your other toys beat up on. "Machine Gun" came off like a water pistol at best. TJP's timing was about as accurate as the Jar Jar Binks wristwatch I left out in my backyard for six years. Bino's got a face for radio and a body for a mortician's table. No wonder he disappeared. The transition into Ronin's finish was about as organic as cotton candy.

2. CIMA vs. Human Tornado (1st Rd - Block B) - B: 4 J: 3

Brian: Tornado tried to whore out his valet to CIMA pre-match. CIMA does what I can only describe as a pelvic thrust to Tornado's backside that knocked him out of the ring. I never saw Carlito do a Backcracker as sick as the one CIMA busted out. Tornado drops CIMA neck-first with a back suplex onto the ring apron. A wise Zen master once posed this cryptic query to me: Ever get a black eye from a black guy? Tornado did a somersault from inside the ring over the top rope, all the way over the guardrail, and out onto CIMA in the crowd. Unreal. Human goes to suplex his valet, inexplicably, but CIMA powerbombs him off the top bringing Candice over with him. CIMA hits the Schwein for the win. Overall, kind of a one-man show, Tornado's heeling can be tiresome, the shtick with him abusing females, inciting, etc. and CIMA didn't really have to work hard for this first round. Entertaining enough but hollow.

Jess: After my initial viewing of Tornado on a Vince Russo produced DVD where he’s being coached scene for scene by the idiot Russo, I’ve just become less and less amused at his routine. Something about his woman abusing not only, obviously comes off as schovinistic but cruel and unnecessary; him being a scrawny dude playing a wrestling character and it just blurs the line. I thought CIMA was going to miss him on that apron suplex and I was secretly hoping he would. Again that superplex spot, the woman took the sickest part of it and for what? I just wasn’t entertained by this.

3. SHINGO vs. Scott Lost (1st Rd - Block B) - J: 3 B: 3

Jess: This didn’t leave much of an impression with me, Scott Lost never has. I was more intrigued by his valet who looks somewhat like the guest Asian reporter on Ebert’s new show. I think Shingo needs someone to lead him and this just felt like watching rust form.

Brian: I wish Scott Lost would get lost. Did he ever do anything to justify his existence as a pro wrestler? Lost trying a suplex from inside the ring, up and over the top, out to the floor was a pretty crazy spot to bust out in a subpar first round sleeper. Finish seemed abrupt and slapdash.

4. Necro Butcher vs. Kevin Steen (1st Rd - Block C) - B: 3 J: 3

Brian: This one doesn't go very long. Steen tries to "wrestle" Necro grabbing hammerlocks, attempting wrist control, etc. but Butcher doesn't oblige and sticks to throwing kidney and rib punches. Forearm strike exchange sequence lacked intensity. Guess the referee didn't care about all the illegal closed fists? Terrible looking roll-up by Necro finishes this turd.

Jess: I thought the idea of Steen trying to take out Necro’s knee, in most matches, would make sense but with him just being a brawler and Necro consistently only fighting back with his fists made Steen come off as just plain dumb. I think they tried to come up with as many things to breeze through this as easily as possible.

5. Nigel McGuinness vs. Davey Richards (1st Rd - Block C) - J: 5 B: 5

Jess: When you see this matchup, kind of an easy score to most surface fans, two of ROH’s most heralded performers going one on one but you have give each match a chance. The stuff with the female fan kissing Nigel’s “boo-boo’s” was fun esp. with Richards wanting some mouth love for his stinging crotch later on. You forget how smooth Nigel is as he pushes and pulls Davey in one sequence like towels in a washing machine. I love how Nigel doesn’t bust out all his finishers, choosing here and there; exact opposite of a guy like RVD who uses every single move every single match. Finish was simple and satisfying.

Brian: A little testosterone chess match early. Hard to buy Davey as vicious as usual when he has bed-head. If this was ROH this would have been way more overblown. Sort of felt like it was missing its middle. The Rebound Lariat that got Nigel the win was all kinds of brutal and the right guy went over here.

6. El Generico vs. Tony Kozina (1st Rd - Block C) - B: 5 J: 5

Brian: I surprisingly dug this. Kozina had no chances of winning this thing. Still, they worked it like they didn't get that memo, going back-and-forth which was fine save for a few badly blown spots. Nuttiest thing I've seen in a long time: Kozina randomly tries to hurricanrana Generico off the top rope to the floor! I didn't see that coming. Ending sequence had some polish on it.

Jess: I actually found myself rooting for Kozina, and it’s rare that happens these days; one particular nearfall after a huge move off the top was damn close. Now we’ve seen dozens of matches with the close Generico loss mounted with big comeback so it’s nothing new but I think it probably was at this point and I think I would have even scored it higher per those standards. Yeah, what the hell was Kozina thinking? Totally caught me off guard when he pulled that one off. This was probably my favorite match of the tournament so far.

7. Dragon Kid vs. Susuma Yokosuka (1st Rd - Block C) - J: 6 B: 6

Jess: Besides a few minor nitpicks, thought this was a solid main. Very telling when PWG imports talent for their main event. I understand why Mick Foley often wears t-shirts in the ring but why Yokosuka? Kid is Rey w/o charisma; the guy can fly no doubt. He takes a hard clothesline on the apron early on which was cool, then gives everyone a photo op by sitting there with his feet in the air like an infant child waiting to be changed. This was more of an American style main event and I thought both seemed comfortable doing it. As soon as Dragon hit that springboard hurricanrana, I said, this is the finish, it has to be and it was the right call. I thought they may have went a little long actually but as I said minor nitpicks. Probably the thing I’ve enjoyed more than any other so far in this tourney.

Brian: I've dug Dragon Kid since Toryumon (and that one time he showed up on Monday Nitro and beat Eddie Guerrero). I was pulling for Yokosuka here, though, for the upset, although that desire was dashed. I thought this had some sizzle without being pure flash, nice basics, some buyable nearfalls, suckered the crowd in, etc. so overall I'd say give it a watch. Minor nitpick was Kid over-rotating on the Dragonrana.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

JAPW Counterstrike 08/22/03

1) Corvis Fear v. Eddie Thomas- 0
2) Nick Berk v. Ruckus- 3
3) Monsta Mack v. Deranged- 4
4) Azrieal v. Grim Reefer- 2
5) April Hunter v. Ariel- 2
6) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels v. Shaolin Wrecking Crew (No DQ)- 3
7) Crazy Ivan v. Jay Lethal- 3
8) Sylk Wagner Brown v. Dixie- 3
9) Azrieal v. Nick Berk v. Monsta Mack- n/a
10) Al Snow v. Mafia- 4

So i tried once before to post my thoughts to this review but Blogspot was being a whiny baby and wouldn't save them. So going to shorthand this one. Overall this was a terrible show, the worst I've seen thus far from a company I've grown to like and actively wanting to know more about their history. One glaring issue throughout; over and over again most every match on this show featured some scrawny beanpole dude in basketball shorts and a bandana. It got a little old. 1st four matches were supposed to be part of a Light Heavyweight tourney (what Mack was doing in it, god only knows) None of it was good save for Mack's David v. Goliath epic he was trying to spin and while some of it was hard to stomach, i liked the work involved. Opener was nothing, a bad angle; Ruckus broke out every gymnastics routine he could think of on completely vanilla Berk who looked like Chris Masters 2 months off the juice wearing what I can only describe as something Grimace wiped his ass with. Azrieal is a homegrown star; like the hydroponics he grows. His match was a collection of insults to wrestling.

The ladies match also really stank, like Tom Green's soul. Hunter has some talent but Ariel looked atrocious; at one point outside she turned around and tossed her feet backwards at Hunter, getting in position for Rey's bulldog spot but it looked more like she was either about to receive anal sex or pretending she was Garfield. Our tag bout was a mess of epic proportions, like Health care in this country. Scoundrelz are what they say they are; two greasy dudes using all the cheap heat you can think of. the Crew was massively obese Samoan dudes who looked like they were dressed by HR Pufnstuf. The finish to that was a laugh riot; tried to do a partner attacks partner spot but one of the Crew was so gassed he was barely trotting around the ring to hit his mark; then I saw the 2nd Danny Maff swerve in 2 JAPW shows; tell me he didn't look up to Russo.

Poor Jay; had probably only been in the business a year and he was carrying this schlep to a barely passable match. Ivan blew dick harder than Paris Hilton looking for a new reality show. Punches that made a kangaroo seem like a championship boxer and the timing of John Edwards. I kind of like Slyk, he's a big dude with no coordination who likes to come off the top rope; Dixie looked like a remora attached to a Tiger shark fighting Slyk. Match wasn't bad though. The 3 way at the end kept cutting out on me, I know there was a crowd brawl and interference, go figure.

Main event was a hallmark to Al's old ECW bouts, took a sloppy table bump at one point, more gang style attacks and all his traditional spots (didn't recognize some of them) Mafia sells a punch like no ones business too and the finish was relatively clean and stiff. Wasnt overwraught with problems like most of this show.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WWC Anniversario 1985

1) Sheephearders v. Invader 1/ Invader 3 (Double Barb Wire Match)- 5
What's weird about the Sheephearders is this is a much younger version of them from their time in WWF and they look just as old. I've never seen a barb wire match set up like this; the ropes were wrapped in it then there was an extra fence built up behind the ropes so there was no escape. Pace and flow was really basic; heels then face then heels but this is true Puerto Rico because I'm not sure if I've ever seen this match blood in a tag team match. It was so gruesome I felt chunks in my throat staring at the Sheephearder's faces. There wasn't really any spots per se but I found myself thinking I would def. rewatch this as all 4 men just took turns pounding each other, was a slow start but picked up in intensity.

2) Abdullah the Butcher v. Carlos Colon- 4
I couldn't figure out for the life of me who was coming out to some strange country song so was a little shocked when Colon hopped in and laid a beatdown on Abby. This match basically was just like the last one except no wire and not as much blood. Was really cool seeing Abby ultra aggressive and actually quick; he was jabbing Carlos in the throat with chops like he's quick to fire someone stealing free ribs at his restaurant.

3) Kamala v. Jimmy Valiant- 1
This was over faster than the eventual heart attack that will do Jimmy in. Valiant found a 3 layered Cream pie at ringside, which is as bewildering as Ruth Madoff's account she knew nothing about her husband's "Ponzie scheme." I've seen a couple Texas matches were Kamala comes off as a threat but amidst Valiant's juke and jive routine he's about as scary as a Pugle playbiting you. I've had laughs that lasted longer than this match

4) Road Warriors v. Fabulous Ones - 2
Really not sure who's booking this but it ends up in a random brawl to the back; this is one of the worst finishes i've seen where both parties involved are trying to be protected. Not like they gave anyone their money's worth before the shit ending either. Keirn actually scored some big throws on Animal in a surprising moment but it was just formula until the end.

5) Ric Flair v. Hercules Ayala- 4
Maybe one of Flair's strangest Title opponents over the last 30 years, Ayala has a Nelson Mandela type hair style and a paunchy body but he's into his performance. Most of this is rest holds but when you use that much of them in a match, there's a style to it and these guys work it well. Ayala's punches look like Junkyard Dog getting into an Xbox performance of "Edge of Glory" playing Just Sing. Flair is way more subdued than normal and isn't giving Herc many of his signature bumps to help this get over. We've seen this finish 100 times and it's designed to make it seem like Flair sort of cheated to beat Herc but more makes him look daft and buffoonic.

6) Dory Funk jr v. Sweet Brown Sugar- 5
Not sure why this was on last but it smoked like a brisquet where the World Title match just burned too long. Sugar can fly, dropkicks are higher than Joe Rogan before boarding an international flight. Real interesting use of Dory as he's here to get Sugar over but you can tell from the way this is structured he's not making himself look bad doing it and he succeeds on both ends. The mat wrestling is fine, good even and Dory stalls to where it doesn't annoy me like most. Some running buddies come in but keep the interference to a minimum and this surprinsingly closes out the show on a good note.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Queue Slayer #4

Queue Slayer is an ongoing project where Jessie and Brian watch six selections and rank all the matches therein. We'll have #5 and #6 finished by year's end. Here's this edition's results:

1.       Low Ki v. Davey Richards (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 98
2.       Shinjiro Ohtani v. Masato Tanaka (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 97
3.       Masato Yoshino/ Pac v. Naruki Doi/ Ricochet (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly") – 97
4.       BxB Hulk v. Jon Moxley (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 96
5.       Monsta Mack v. Dan Maff (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 96
6.       The Undertaker v. Tito Santana (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 96
7.       Roderick Strong v. Sonjay Dutt  (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 92
8.      Danny Davis vs. Mike Graham vs. Jimmy Hart vs. Tito Santana vs. Barry Orton vs. Barbarian vs. Rock Riddle vs. Shane Douglas vs. The Warlord vs. Shane Helms vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Savio Vega vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton vs. Mando Guerrero vs. Cruel Connection vs. Terry Funk vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs. Vampiro vs. Sean Morley vs. Tatanka - Legends Wrestleroyal Battle Royale (Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 87
9.       Claudio Castagnoli v. El Generico  (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 84
10.   Koehi Sato/ Daisuke Sekimoto v. Ryouij Sai/ Yutaka Yoshie (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 81
11.   Homicide v. Teddy Hart (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 80
12.   Christopher Daniels v. Jerry Lynn (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 76
13.   Austin Aries v. Akira Tozawa (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 76
14.   Perro Aguyao/ Perro Aguayo jr/ Shinjiro Ohtani/ Koji Kanemoto/ Negro Casas v. Jushin Liger/ Gran Hamada/ El Samurai/ Dr. Wagner jr/ Kendo KaShin (2/3 Falls NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 70
15.   Jimmy Jacobs v. Rich Swann (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 70
16.   Jigsaw v. Sami Callihan v. Cheech v. AR Fox v. Frightmare v. Rexx Reed (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 69
17.   Cima/ Dragon Kid v. Johnny Gargano/ Chuck Taylor  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 69
18.   Minoru Fujita/ Takuya Sugawara/ Kaijin Habu Otoko v. Funaki/ Ikuto Hidaka/ Muneori Sawa (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 69
19.   Chris Hero v. Kevin Steen (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 68
20.   Mr. Aguila v. Rey Bucanero (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 68
21.   Shane Helms v. Joey Ryan  (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 65
22.   The Rockers v. Power & Glory  (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 63
23.   Slyk Wagner Brown/ April Hunter v. The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 57
24.   Jay Lethal v. Azrieal v. Insane Dragon v. Jack Evans (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 55
25.   Jushin Liger v. El Samurai  (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 54
26.   Kensuke Sasaki v. Masa Chono #1 (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 54
27.   Kaos v. Justice Pain (JAPW Revolution 02/28/04)- 51
28.   Yamato v. Brodie Lee  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 50
29.   “Pretty” Peter Avalon, Caleb Konley, “Manscout” Jake Manning & ODB v. Cedric Alexander, Brandon Gatson, Candie LaRae & Willie Mack (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 45
30.   Masahiro Chono/ Satoshi Kojima/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Kensuke Sasaki/ Manabu Nakanishi/ Yuji Nagata (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 43
31.   The Warlord v. Larry Williams (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 42
32.   The Mountie v. Big Bossman (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 42
33.   Kensuke Sasaki v. Masa Chono #2 (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 38
34.   Kerry Von Erich v. Vern Siebert (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 33
35.   Chris Dickinson v. Pinkie Sanchez v. Dave Cole v. Oberiyan v. Jonny Mangue v. RV1 v. Chase Burnette v. Ryan Eagles v. Alex Colon- Fray!  (Dragon Gate USA "United: Philly")- 31
36.   The Berzerker v. Chi Chi Cruz (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 30
37.   The Cutler Brothers v. Fightin’ Taylor Boys v. RockNES Monsters v. The Young Bucks- DDT4 Entry Four way Tag Team Match (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 26
38.   Jake Roberts v. Sinn Bodhi (PWG Kurt RussellReunion 2: The Reunioning)- 26
39.   Bret Hart v. Hutch Thomas (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 24
40.   Milano Collection AT/ Taichi v. Kazuchika Okada/ Nobuo Yoshihashi (NJPW 08/30/09 clipped)- 24
41.   Hiro Saito v. Takashi Iizuka (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 24
42.   Jushin Liger v. Satoshi Kojima (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 23
43.   British Bulldog v. Earthquake  (WWF Barcelona 10/05/91)- 21
44.   Rush Margera/ Corvis Fear v. The Outcast Killaz (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04))- 18
45.   AKIRA v. Koji Kanemoto (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 16
46.   Shinya Hashimoto v. Scott Norton (NJPW TV 03/11/00 clipped)- 16
47.   Yuzuro Saito v. Shota Takanashi (ZERO1 Fire Festival Finals 8/4/10)- 15
48.   Balls Mahoney v. The Solution (JAPW "Revolution" 2/28/04)- 11
49.   Takashi Iizuka/ Shiro Koshinaka/ Kensuke Sasaki v. Masahiro Chono/ Tatsutoshi Goto/ Michiyoshi Ohara (NJPW TV 03/18/00 clipped)- 10
50.   Bushwhackers v. Bob Bradley/ Mike Starr (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 3
51.   The Mountie v. Steve May (WWF Superstars 07/27/91)- 3

Brian: For my first pick I dipped into my JAPW stash with "Revolution" from 2/28/04. A pretty full card, as most of their shows are, and while I'm still no expert on the co. I'm really finding myself being converted to a fan. Really a lot to like on the event, from the in-ring action, to all the little interview snippets where they were asking people what their favorite Hit Squad moment was (building up to the main event which was Maff vs. Mack in the battle of the former DHS partners). The opener, Strong vs. Dutt, on paper didn't scream out to me but I was pleasantly surprised. Strong was as vicious as ever. Lynn vs. Daniels, two veterans, both showed up and looked great. Homicide vs. Hart was the battle of the two controversial guys, and Homicide maliciously attacking Teddy's injured leg was a great story cog, and Teddy selling it like he was being lashed by Stu Hart's belt provided a nice touch. Even the undercard was all fairly decent if not good stuff, liked the team of Slyk Wagner Brown and April Hunter, four-man juniors match, and the Justice Pain (who I just discovered earlier this year) singles. Maff a huge Kobashi fan, Monsta a huge Kojima fan, tried to do their best approximation of that style and this had some nasty head-drops and strikes. Post-match angle, take it or leave it, but I liked right as the DVD went off some fat, mark fan letting Maff smash him in the face with a trash can lid autographed by the JAPW roster and it cracking his nose and leaving a giant, bleeding gash on his face. Idiot has a scar for life now. Thanks, JAPW!

Jess: I’m digging JAPW more and more I watch them; they have this whole history and lineage they are proud of and push and they know how to bring up their own talent while still featuring guys from other places mixed in.  This show had quite a few winners, my favorite actually being the opener, which as Brian put, didn’t get a rise out of me reading the listings but I’ll be damned if they didn’t punctuate every piece of offense and really innovate here.  Off hand my favorite Sonjay bout.  Next I liked the main, which was pretty brutal and had more backstory than anything that was featured at WrestleMania this past year.  And the aftermatch blow to that stupid fan was hilarious.  Teddy v. Homicide had psych that rivals just about anything in the main scene and both men played their roles to a tee.  Lynn v. Daniels was exactly what you think it would be; two veterans working hard and putting on a great show.  There were some duds, Balls Mahoney playing Steve Austin and the Outcast Killaz tag but overall damn fine show.

Brian: My next choice was ZERO1's annual Fire Festival finals and it was another solid pick. Opener was a little vanilla (sorry Yuzuro and Shota) but not offensive. Rest of the card was solid puro goodness. Sato/Sekimoto vs. Sai/Yoshie had some bombs and physicality. It made me wonder why more people aren't pimping Ryouji. Yutaka, who was pretty unimpressive in the '11 NOAH I've seen, looked much better in this setting. The Sawa/Hidaka/FUNAKI vs. Fujita/Sugawara/Otoko tag actually caught me off guard as I figured the home team was a sure lock to win so that was a nice surprise (even tough I was rooting for my boy Munenori). Main event, the FF finals, good stuff between vets Otani and Tanaka. Shinjiro looked quite old but still delivered and this had a nice finishing stretch.

Jess: I thought so too, regarding Yutaka; him and Sekimoto found the right rhythm and chest thickness to really pound each other into what looked like could be a fun feud.  Hidaka seemed way dialed down in that 6 man but Sawa and Funaki both looked on top of their game.  I actually really dug the main between long time associates Tanaka and Ohtani.  Caught a few Ohtani matches lately and while his charisma seems to have seeped from him, you still saw spurts.  Tanaka still creeps me out with his tiny body now but guy packs a wallop and there were more nearfalls here than you could shake a Fire Festival Samurai Sword at.  Top notch main event and my no. 1 so far.

Jess:  My 1st choice was PWG’s continuing big shows named after Jack Burton himself.  The gimmick of the show is to bring in legendary stars from the past and top acts derived from more mainstream companies.  This was Low Ki’s return to PWG and he looked every bit as devastating as he’s always been. This wasn’t drawn out but Davey sold like a million bucks for every kick and you got the sense he looked up to Ki.  Steen- Hero was quite stiff if not kind of perfunctory at this point.  The legends battle royal was surprising, not just for the dregs of the 80’s and 90’s performers but for the thrilling finale featuring certified icons Piper and Funk and how good these two are even in their 50’s and 60’s.  If you saw the JCW Legends show, you can see this one was done right with less marquee name talent.  Everything else was decent esp. the Luchadore match which was a good flavor missing from the inaugural event. 

Brian: PWG is always pretty fun but I think this one ran out of gas by the end of the night. Not opposed to seeing Steen and Hero beat the crud out of each other but the booking left it feeling flat as the end result didn't seem to mean much or progress anything. I liked the legends' battle royale a lot -- disagree with fellow NHO contributor Adam who told me it was "just like any other legends battle royale" as I thought they handled this one quite well, liked the layout, talent seemed to be having fun, crowd was into it, and actually had some startlingly good work (or at least touches of it) including some surprisingly good selling. Barry O, Randy Orton's uncle, coming out looking like a stoner that works at a music store was boss. I liked Low Ki kicking ass, always do, but it probably wouldn't have fared as well with me on a stronger QS line-up. Main event fought against the feelings of sameness (achieved from these guys working together so much in ROH over the years) to actually work with some nice counters, near falls, and focused work.
Jess: Up next on my slate was a disc of New Japan TV from early 2000.  Foolhardy and complete with Samurai boner, I didn’t even think this would be clipped but alas, it was.  First ep featured bouts from a show where Team 2000 fought New Japan guys in a series; the show opened with like a 20 man faceoff and was intense as fuck.  What we got to see of the matches didn’t live up to it, although the first Sasaki- Chono had some flourishes of good storytelling.  Our 2nd episode started off with a killer angle featuring Hashimoto entering the arena in a suit and tie and getting ambushed by Ogawa who bloodied him up something good.  Clips of prelim guys carrying Hash inside, bleeding on his Kenneth Cole two piece were gold; this guy could do it all.  We got clips of the subsequent tag playing off this angle where Hash was bleeding from the head coming to the ring; great stuff.  Best thing here was the 5 on 5 tag featuring some of the best talent in the world at that or any other time.  We only got about 13 minutes of a 36 minute match but the action was fast and furious and we got all kinds of stellar matchups along the way. Liger and Samurai did what they do best and that’s beat the fuck out of each other, but again, we got like 4 minutes of an 8 minute bout but that 4 minutes was doing it for me; no feeling out (as if they need to) just went right into the powerbombs and DDT’s.  Amen.  While I enjoyed the disc moderately, to have gotten 1 or 2 full matches on each episode would have been fine by me.

Brian: I'm not a big fan of clipped stuff -- imagine watching a film condensed down to a half or quarter of its intended running time? What we did see was intriguing though. Luckily nowadays stuff from Japan surfaces as full shows -- no more clipped TV broadcasts. I think the six-man main from the 3/18 episode was the one that intrigued me the most as there were no scrubs (I'm looking at you Tatsutoshi and Michiyoshi) that filled out the ranks like some of the other tags. Hamada and Aguayo (the Nochistlan Dog) showed lots of fire and really carried the big ten-man tag beyond just guys getting their shit in. Thought some guys looked actively bad/lazy like Iizuka, AKIRA, etc. An interesting choice.

Brian: My last choice was DG USA's United: Philly. I got to see Dragon Gate USA live for the first time a few weeks back and wanted to check out one of their more strongly recommended recent shows. This was a pretty solid card. I loved that YAMOTO took everything Brodie had then just put him to sleep. Sami looked great in the six-man bout. BxB and Moxley, I'm a fan of both, and while it was short (under 9 min.) I loved what they did, non-stop pace, etc. The two tag main events were both good with a nod to the last one with PAC, Ricochet, Doi, and Yoshino are busting out their top-shelf stuff, plenty of high-flying spectacle, trademark awesome finishing stretch, etc. This has me pumped to watch the rest of the batch of DG USA stuff I recently ordered.

Jess: I’ve reviewed several DGUSA shows now, and I’ve harped on the same issues non-stop ever since, overall I think it’s about the match itself and who’s in there.  My fave bout was the main even tag, as comparing the 2 tag matches it truly feels like it knew the tag formula, build up to the big spots and make them count and both teams did with the true show being PAC v. Ricochet’s high flying spectacle.  Hulk v. Moxley didn’t need to be a No DQ bout but both guys have presence for miles and it didn’t even feel like a 9 min. match as it was more fleshed out than most.  My favorite guy in the company is YAMATO, my least fave is probably Brodie Lee so sort of bittersweet there.  Other guys I thought were really great on this show were CIMA (who was the standout in his long, never took a breath tag match & as a 2nd in the main) and Aries whose stellar work ethic made him look as nearly the single best guy of the night, as well as his penchant for having fun while he’s doing it.  This show had a lot more variety and was easier to watch than most of this company’s output so thumbs up overall.

Jess: My final choice was cut short at the knees, was supposed to be a show from Barcelona, Spain with a really good card, feat. Flair v. Kerry Von Erich, LOD v. Nastys and Piper v. Barbarian; but that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Instead we got a tepid episode of Superstars from late July 1991 but don’t blink or you  may miss Berzerker feeding his opponent to the concrete, some classic Bret Hart machination or Warlord kind of being a cool monster heel.  Onto Barcelona, really the best thing here is Tito v. Undertaker which main evented this version.  Tito’s crazy over here even though he’s from Mexico and I am thinking the whole match, that this is a great carry job by Tito and Taker is really giving him the world in offense; I won’t spoil the ending but I hadn’t been that shocked since reading The Walking Dead: Compendium 1.  Rest of the show had it’s ups (mostly downs) as the back and forth of the tag match was cool, Bossman was really working that sympathy selling and I dug the hell out of Earthquake’s flying elbows but those matches were riddled with nonsensical finishes or parading Andre out to “manage” dead heat faces while taking a few weeks of his life off every time.

Brian: Superstars was unexpected but I liked parts of it and enjoy light viewing on occasion. Thought Von Erich was working like a dick, fun to see him working snug with some slob. I'm a sucker for Warlord, think he was the perfect version of this muscular monster character, and I could watch a comp. of his squashes any day of the week. Bezerker nearly killed Chi Chi throwing him ass-first over the top rope to the floor -- wonder if he got a package of peanuts with that like an airline flight. Barecelona was a mixed bag, kind of tepid, loved the main, shocked at Tito piledriving the shit out of Undertaker (twice!). Rockers vs. Power & Glory (in a perfect world they'd be the subject of WWE's next commercial DVD release) was moderately good but the finish made the heels look like morons (guess that was by design). WWF arena shows from the '80's-mid-'90's are a favorite treat of mine.

Friday, November 4, 2011

WWF UK Rampage 1993

The other day my fiancee and I were researching to try to find out the card from the first live wrestling show she ever attended as a kid in Birmingham, England. In doing said research, I stumbled across this rather odd card from Sheffield, England from around the same time. Wasn’t for sure if I still had this in my collection or not but after digging through my DVD box, lo and behold I found it.

1. Fatu vs. Brian Knobbs – 4
2. Doink the Clown vs. Kamala - 3

I liked the aspect of two regular tag team wrestlers going at it in singles for the opening match. From my recollection, this has to be one of Knobbs’ last appearances for the WWF. Turned out to be a pretty good back-and-forth match. Fatu had a really nice superkick which they showed Afa dancing a jig outside in celebration of. Knobbs took a pretty good beating for most of the bout, getting slammed hard on the floor and taking a really hard kick right in his schnozz at the end. Fatu, to his credit, made Knobbs sloppy offense look tolerable at best bumping huge for a crappy looking dropkick and a wild lariat. Second match was really hard to take seriously, especially given the characters involved. I noticed Doink calling spots on one close up camera show. Believe it or not, Kamala was the face. This must have been after Reverend Slick became his manager and taught him to bowl in some interesting segments on an old Coliseum tape. Back to the match and Doink’s top rope axehandle was awful. Kamala’s offense consisted of chops and not much else. Perhaps the strangest thing that occurred to me while watching this was that Kamala was selling Doink’s armlocks. Something about that just doesn’t compute.

3. Samu vs. Mr. Perfect – 4

I reviewed this match in one of my first pieces for NHO as part of a review for an old tape called “Global Warfare”. I don’t recall covering the match in great detail at the time but I do remember that I said “trying to get a good match out of Samu is like trying to get a cat to fetch a stick.” Hmmm. Not sure what I was thinking there. Times have changed though and I went into this dropping any preconcieved notions I may have had from watching this years ago. Perfect was a selling machine, the complete opposite of Samu who didn’t sell any residual damage he may have had from getting his knee worked over in the middle of the bout. The segment with them trading punches was good. I thought Perfect’s punches were better though. Most of this match was Samu on offense and he kept having this propencity to throw Perfect out of the ring every now and then. Match wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be but was still a pretty solid bout. The Perfect-Plex finish from out of nowhere was a nice touch.

4. Damian Demento vs. Bob Backlund – 2
5. Brooklyn Brawler vs. Typhoon - 2

Next two bouts were definitely the low points of the card. It’s almost like someone got blindfolded and just threw darts at a wall and the names the darts landed on is who wrestled each other. Backlund looked really awkward trying to fight out of a chinlock. I honestly forgot that Demento even existed and I’m really good with my WWF history. Only real highlight of the match for me was the bridge Backlund used to get the pin. I wonder if Demento ever actually won a match that wasn’t a squash? Typhoon gets singles action against … Brooklyn Brawler? That’s a real head scratcher there. Was there seriously no one else available? Suprinsingly, Brawler got in a decent amount of offense, even though it consisted of more chinlocks than a Randy Orton match. Not sure who had a worse dropkick on this card, Knobbs in the first match or Typhoon here who pretty much airmailed one. Seemed just like a filler match more than anything and they just coasted through.

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Crush – 4
7. Lex Luger vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan – 4

Semi-main I guess could be classified as the battle of the mega-mullets as both participants were sporting some completely obsurd hairstyles. Wonder if the mullet, or even the rat tail, ever caught on over in the UK? Much like Mr. Perfect in his earlier match with Samu, Michaels did most of the work here bumping around like a pinball and just selling his ass off for Crush’s offense, which could be described as mediocre at best. Good grief, Crush’s purple, orange, and yellow outfit is a complete assault on the eyes. What color blind designer came up with that? Crush took this really awkward DDT and then soon after sold a headlock with all the enthusiam of a high schooler sleeping during study hall. This got points mainly for Michaels performance. Luger and Duggan strikes me as a very odd match to close the show with as neither guy held a title and both were still in the mid-card. Duggan had this wild, zombie-like, comical sell after running face first into Luger’s boot in the corner. Not sure if Luger was mailing it in but he looked really bad. Case in point the absolutely terrible forearm smash he gave Duggan at the end. End of the match saw interference from Mr. Perfect and Yokozuna and everything break down in a wild brawl to cap off the a rather fun show from a time where WWF was starting to head downhill.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

WWE Survivor Series '99 Co-Review

1. Godfather, D'Lo Brown, and Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) vs. Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and Acolytes Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) - B: 3 J: 3

Brian: I think this show marked the day Detroit officially started dying. Headbangers looked like idiots sporting gigantic afro wigs, gold necklaces, and silk shirts. They were made to look even stupider by how easily the A.P.A. vanquished them. It looked like Bradshaw was getting his jollies off clubbing Thrasher. Lame story wherein A.P.A. and Dudley Boyz can't coexist which lead to the eliminations of Bradshaw, Faarooq, and D-Von. It seems like lazy booking to me. I'm not sure why Brown was allowed to kick-out after a Superbomb from the top. Bubba was actually booked pretty strong, surviving a Sky High, and getting most of the in-ring time for his team. This stacks up to the old school Survivor Series team-based matches about as well as the Detroit prostitutes Godfather paraded around do to Arianny Celeste.

Jess: I’ll go one step further and say this show killed the auto industry. They looked even dumber when the wigs fell off after one move. That partner thing carried through to several matches here, even that ridiculous locker room attack where Big Show pummeled Blue Meanie and Kaientai; wouldn’t they have just understood if he had asked them not to help? Logically there’s a huge flaw with D-Von and Faarooq being counted out because only one of them was legal; oh well. It was both smart and I hated how Godfather got to really do nothing but finish off Bubba, he did about 90 seconds of work. Auspicious start.

2. Shawn Stasiak vs. Kurt Angle - J: 3 B: 2

Jess: Here’s the ballyhooed Angle debut match. It was apparent then and now when you watch this match you say “oh yeah, they were going to do something big with him.” Angle had all the positions down and was where he was supposed to be but lacked any charisma in his performance. Stasiak looked quite good here though, as good as you can in a 6 minute carry job, even Ross seemed surprised. Finish happened with as much excitement as dropping a penny in the street; the Joe Louis fans weren’t too kind with this match.

Brian: You'd think Stasiak, his father having one of the shortest WWE championship title reigns in history, would have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But no, Shawn always seemed content to coast, never seem motived, and in this performance didn't work with a lot of confidence. Odd seeing Stasiak pop up seconds after taking the match-ending Angle Slam which would soon become one of the more protected finishers in the industry.

3. Val Venis, Mark Henry, Gangrel, and Steve Blackman vs. British Bulldog and Mean Street Posse (Rodney, Pete Gas, and Joey Abs) - B: 3 J: 3

Brian: What a makeshift team Venis' squad is and how'd Bulldog get stuck with that cadre of nobodies? Val sells a Bulldog vertical suplex by gesticulating like he just accidentally spilt hot coffee on his lap because he was trying to make a YouTube video with his phone while driving on the freeway. The Mean Street Posse get wiped out. Rodney looked particularly bad throwing some D-grade forearms. You'd find better in a children's karate class. When Bulldog started rallying his wins came off poorly. He gave Gangrel a vertical suplex but Gangrel sat there during the pin just watching the referee with the equanimity of someone reading a magazine in a waiting room. Then, Bulldog used a fisherman's suplex to put away Blackman, a move I don't think he'd ever done before. Finish was uncreative as it was the exact same one from the opener: two faces left versus one heel, one face (Godfather/Henry) does a power move, tags in other face (Brown/Venis) to hit an aerial move off the top. You can tell the writers put about as much thought into this undercard as the three people credited with the screenplay for Thor.

Jess: JR makes the remark at one point that “Hindsight’s 20/20” while Bulldog watches on mouth agape like Wile E Coyote as his team falls apart like a burger from Five Guys. I chuckled out loud as Ross proclaims one of the Mean Streets was in deep shit when Blackman gets in and his punches looked no better. That biel Henry gave Bulldog was pretty sick, with Bulldog having WCW flashbacks and hoping he didn’t end up in the hospital for another 6 months. Oh yeah his wins made no sense; he didn’t even use the powerslam. And not just Gangrel but Blackman also immediately popped up after they were pinned like they were late for work or something. Wait, it took 3 people to write Thor? Was one high on pills, the other reading all the Game of Thrones novels without stopping and the 3rd in labor?

4. Mae Young, Fabulous Moolah, Tori, and Debra vs. Ivory, Luna, Jacqueline, and Terri Runnels - J: 0 B: 1

Jess: I absolutely can’t give this any fucking points. You had feel bad a little as Luna and Jackie actually know how to wrestle but were saddled with Tori (who couldn’t even excel amidst the greatest group of women wrestlers of all time in 90’s AJPW), Debra who was there because of Austin and her deep fried chest and then two women who were clearly in their 70’s. Lawler kept stressing this was a “sudden death” match with only one pin; can you imagine Patterson backstage trying to organize these as a normal SS match? What a joke; only saving grace is it was probably less than 3 minutes total.

Brian: Why was Terri listed as a participant when she never even got on the apron and just stood ringside? For their age I didn't think Mae or Moolah looked that bad in terms of what they did in-ring during this quick bout. Luna didn't have any qualms roughing up the elderly tossing Young out of the ring making her bounce hip-first off the hard apron. Maybe it's for the best this wasn't an elimination match. Why, of everyone, did the champion Ivory have to take the loss for her team? Bad booking.

5. Kane vs. X-Pac - B: 3 J: 2

Brian: I liked Waltman cutting off Kane as he was perched up on the top rope with a big dropkick (and Kane's subsequent bump off to the floor). X-Pac got some Pillman height on that one. Lame cop-out DQ finish would have been more suited for Raw. The longstanding Kane/X-Pac feud would finally end at WrestleMania 2000. Ross sounded even more like an idiot than normal screaming: "DX are scattering like quail!"

Jess: Uh-huh but that time delay caught me off guard and seemed like Kane figured if he’s only working 4 minutes why not take a bump out of it? Thought Pac’s spin kicks were kindy swank too. X-pac’s promo was quite rambling before hand but at least it’s all natural; I still think word for word scripting is killing the business. Thought it was funny when DX ganged Kane as only in the confines of this sport would a guy jumping someone first hit him with a huge gaudy championship belt instead of oh, I don’t know, any other object he could find!

6. Big Show vs. Big Boss Man, Prince Albert, Mideon, and Viscera - J: 1 B: 1

Jess: Forgive me NHO gods, but yeah I’ll give this a point and merely for the crazy chokeslam Big Vis takes. That dude bounced like a basketball when we use to go into Meijer’s and shoot hoops in the aisleway before they put those plastic guards in the nets. I mean, there’s no match and he made 3 dudes look like wimps but strong booking for Show here.

Brian: Mideon looked like something underneath my kitchen sink. Giant Bernard gets schooled like Bernard King. I hated seeing my boy Viscera made into mincemeat. They were pushing Big Show to the moon. No wonder NASA puled the plug on lunar launches.

7. Chyna vs. Chris Jericho - B: 0 J: 0

Brian: Was Chris being punished or something? They have about as much chemistry as Jolie and Depp in The Tourist. Mid-match Jericho pours a bottle of water on Chyna's head like he's a frat boy trying to wake up a pledge asleep on the lawn. So Jericho has to rely on hitting her with a foreign object (championship belt) and still can't beat her? She also survives the Walls of Jericho. Who in the hell was booking her as the wrestling equivalent of Superman? I'd read the finish was a Pedigree off of the top rope which I figured had to be a sick bump and awesome visual. Boy was I ever wrong. That thing looked like shit. Jericho got himself cooperatively into position, and then he was already hitting the mat (knees-first) before Chyna even leapt off. This was a terribly unfunny joke and patently insulting.

Jess: This was a hard time to be a Jericho fan. One thing I noticed quickly was those weak paws Jericho was using as punches; looked like he was petting a deer. Yeah I hated every single aspect of this so badly. When Chyna bumps over that table, Ross fake veneer of sympathy was as laughable as Chyna surviving the Walls of Jericho longer than half the roster of 2008. Let’s talk about that belt shot; it was weaker than Casey Anthony’s alibi. That pedigree, I mean, let’s be honest, Helmsley has never tried that spot in his whole career (that I know of) there’s good reason, Jericho leaping off backwards knees first shortened his career and Chyna looked worse than she did on Celebrity Rehab performing that joke of a move. There’s not a single redeeming quality about this and I can honestly say no one in this company ever had to put her over as big as Jericho did here. Can’t wait to read his 2nd book and find out how bad he shits on this match.

8. Too Cool (Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) and The Hollys (Hardcore and Crash) vs. Edge and Christian and Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) - J: 4 B: 3

Jess: I thought this had some potential to it. One thing that detracted from the match was Ross and Lawler going back and forth over the attack on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin moments earlier; that being said it was some comical dialogue. I hated the way this bout was booked and it kind of pigeonholed the workers. Jeff and Christian ended up by themselves rather quickly but were just kept on the ground in beatdown mode and both could have provided some good comeback stories. Jeff’s 450 splash was the highlight of the whole show; really awesome. Too Cool seemed to do the bulk of the in ring portion and per norm here, the Hollys were fighting with each other; that’s original. Think on another night in another agent’s hands this would have been the show stealer.

Brian: Another match with horrible structure/layout. I can only assume Hardcore Holly was the sole survivor as some sort of gesture of respect to the veteran. It certainly wasn't based on any sort of appeal or crowd support as they seemed apathetic at best.

9. New Age Outlaws (Mr. Ass and Road Dogg) vs. Al Snow and Mankind - B: 3 J: 3

Brian: Al Snow in the semi-main event? Only other time I remember him being that high up a major card was Backlash 2002 teaming with Maven versus Billy and Chuck (underneath Hogan vs. Triple H). All four guys are working in t-shirts. Real professional look, assholes. I guess it was casual day. You wouldn't see Tony Garea and Rick Martel, or even the British Bulldogs doing that on the big stage. Mr. Ass has all the charm of a cold sore. Slow-moving like a Malick film minus the beautiful visuals and appeals to the human condition. If a I were a young guy working for TNA and Snow was an agent for my match and tried to give me some criticism I'd just hand him a bootleg DVD of this show and walk off. Foley can survive being thrown off a cage but a Fame-Ass-er almost put him down? Al sells a bump into the ringsteps by curling up for a nap. The last act was a mess.

Jess: I guess a ‘3’ does it justice. Probably one of the longer matches on the show but I think it didn’t deserve the time. Yeah and Gunn had abs like a washerboard and he’s still wearing a shirt and what’s that? Of course it’s tied in a knot. Road Dogg was selling some Al Snow stomps like Bullet Bob was strapping him with a belt for stealing a cookie before dinner when he was 7. Haha, Snow would shit a brick wouldn’t he? Remember that wild hardcore match he and Road Dogg had years ago? When they got in the ring here, they looked like an 18 year married couple, disillusioned with the institution and neither wanting to empty the dishwasher anymore. There were more low blows in this match than at a Comedy Central roast too; I didn’t care for that ending either.

10. Big Show vs. Triple H vs. The Rock - J: 4 B: 4

Jess: This could easily get a 3, but I’m searching for something to like on this show. Show replaces Austin? “Yes, sir, I’d much rather take a McDonalds coupon than a pay rise, thank you.” I thought Rock was easily the most hidden in this, because Helmsley did seem to be trying to take Austin’s role of taking a pointless yet painful garbage bump and Show was probably trying to prove he deserved this win after a verbal brow beating from every top guy in the locker room prematch, as well as a Terri reach-around, no doubt. I almost did a soda spit take when Helmsley threw himself through that prop table like he was Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live. No one likes taking stair bumps more than Rock and it was almost harder to buy his facial reaction after it than that his movie Doom was any good at all. Double suplex through that table I liked, because for once they didn’t empty it before they slammed a guy through it. Hunter taking 2 lazy Rock Bottom’s leading to the McMahon spot of the night was all typical main event schlock for this time. Can’t wait to see a pic of Vince after he croaks like that one of Gadaffi’s. Even if you don’t like Show, give them points for giving someone else a shot in the main event picture. Of course, as Brian and Adam can attest this led to probably the biggest joke of a World Title program between him and Bossman but as we learned from Ross earlier, Hindsight’s 20/20 and as it says on a big poster in Stamford HQ, “Forethought’s a dirty word.”

Brian: Triple H got punched through a table? (laughs hysterically) Alright. Best match on a bad, bad show. When did this become a no countout bout? I give them credit for at least trying to suplex Show through the announcer's table -- it came off about as clean as a hobo's flannel shirt though. Show was 26 at the time and should have probably been in one of Dan Gladish's botany courses not faux fighting. What the hell happened with Triple H ducking Vince's belt shot then standing there and watching him do it a second time and allowing himself to get smashed in the face? Made him look like a bigger idiot than when Chyna was on the Howard Stern show outing Hunter's love of anal sex. Why use a sledgehammer when Chyna's phallic-shaped clitoris can do the job?