Sunday, December 23, 2012

Match of the Year 2012

So, posting this up to hear from all of you out there to see what you dug and what we and others should be seeking out from 2012.  Awhile back I whipped up a very quick and dirty list which I haven't altered (much) but I need to get caught up on some of the last quarter stuff (especially from Mexico as I'm currently almost caught up with Japan and American indy).  So please share your lists in the comments, feedback on mine, etc. let's discuss!

Brian's current list:

Okada v. Tanahashi, Lesnar v. Cena, Akiyama v. Omori, Generico v. Steen - Ladder, Callihan v. Younger - Iron Man, Elgin v. Richards, Okada v. Naito, Bucks v. Super Smash Bros. v. Future Shock - Ladder, Morishima v. Shiozaki, Punk v. Bryan (Over the Limit), Generico/Pac/Yoshino vs. Super Dragon/Steen/Tozawa, Daniels v. AJ, Regal v. Moxley, Kingston v. Del Rey, Casas v. Panther, Low Ki v. Jigsaw, Cole v. O'Reilly, Tommy Rich v. Corino, Callihan v. Finlay, 2 Cold v. Walker, Blue Panther/Atlantis/Solar v. Ultimo Guerrero/Felino/Negro Navarro, The Shield vs. Team Hell No/Ryback - TLC Match, Vader v. Necro Butcher, Big Show v. Sheamus (HitC)

Monday, December 17, 2012

DVDVR Best of the AWA 1980s - Part 1

AWA has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve seen the limited amount of stuff from the WWE Classics channel and the stuff that’s been released onto DVD. If you know the right places to look online, there isn’t really much AWA to be had, with the exception of a few big shows here and there. I’ve reviewed some AWA shows from the mid-80s in the past and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen from them. For me, as a fan, it’s fun to see something from the mid-80s for the very first time, not knowing the outcome of anything. It’s as if I’m getting it beamed onto my TV on a 25-30 year delay (wow, the 80s were really that long ago?) As far as this compilation goes, when I first heard about this from fellow blog writer Geo, I became curious. Then, after seeing the match listings, I knew that I had to see this. When this came in the mail last week, I looked over the match listings once again. It was then that I decided there was too much good stuff on here to just keep my opinions to myself and that I had to share my reactions with you the reader. Like me, if most of the AWA is a mystery to you, then hopefully you’ll find this as a guide as what to check out and what to avoid. I hope as we go along, that you will enjoy this long 12-part journey back in time as much as me. Time now to jump into our DeLorian and travel back to the 80s for some AWA.


1. Lord Alfred Hayes vs. Bobby Heenan (1/13/80) – 5
2. Greg Gagne vs. Super Destroyer Mark II (5/1/80) – 4
3. Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel (7/18/80) – 7

Ok, so kicking off our journey is a match between … two managers? Yep. Now, many may see this on paper and scoff but it a rather fun way to begin the journey. Both guys are more known to old WWF fans as announcers but you’ve really got to see this for Hayes’ forearms. They’re probably the meanest forearms this side of a drunken pub brawl. This was a showcase of Heenan’s bumping and selling and it was great. Damn, the chair shot Heenan doled out after the match was ill! Next match was joined about five minutes in and I liked the armwork by Destroyer. Hmmm, he sort of reminds me of a young Slaughter. Wait, yep, it’s Slaughter for sure. I can tell by the big bump he took over the top turnbuckle. Gagne seemed bland, like he’d rather be working 9 to 5 in an office somewhere instead of fighting for his life. However, on the contrary, his comeback was actually pretty fiery and he took a nice bump in the corner. Most of the match didn’t seem to click though. Verne and Bockwinkel was a clinic between two dudes who embody the AWA. One preconception would be that they would be just rolling around trading headlocks but that was not the case. Yes, there were holds and matwork but the holds weren’t kept on the perfect amount of time, long enough to due damage but not long enough to lose viewers interest. The pace worked very well as they would have a build to a nice bit of big activity and then simmer down right into working another body part. Mat work by both guys was really good but one big issue was that Gagne seemed rather rigid and bland. Guess it runs in the family.

4. Greg Gagne & Super Destroyer Mark II vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan (10/3/80) – 4
5. Big John Studd & Jerry Blackwell vs. High Flyers (Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell) (2/20/81) - 7
6. East-West Connection (Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis) vs. High Flyers (3/1/81) – 5

I’ll be honest here, these matches with Super Destroyer haven’t been all that great. Destroyer seemed to be pretty new to everything, like a puppy growing into his paws. Match seemed like it drug on forever. Gagne seemed really bland and was about as stonefaced as one of the Easter Island monuments. Heenan continued to impress with his wild bumping. Next match was just amazing! Blackwell, a big dude who’s probably an easy 450, attempted a huge standing dropkick. That’s pretty damn impressive. Blackwell was heavily pimped on the official podcast, so here’s hoping that he can show me something as I progress through this set. Studd came in, pissed as if someone had just stolen his new copy of Jimmy Buffet’s “Coconut Telegraph” album, and whipped ass on Gagne. Funny, never thought of Studd as a parrothead. Brunzell gets the hot tag and comes in gives Studd a fucking ATOMIC DROP but Studd responds with a sick front judo slam. Final segment boiled down to a street fight with all four guys throwing down. Gagne looked surprisingly motivated to beat ass. You MUST see this match! I’ve seen a limited amount of Ventura matches and haven’t been impressed. Wasn’t too high on this for the first ten minutes or so but after that, damn, this has been good with a hot crowd and some good back and forth. Adonis was the standout, busting Brunzell straight in the mouth with a dropkick and later on doing a crazy flip over the ropes that resulted in him doing the old Andre spot with his arms locked in the ropes. Gagne did a pretty awesome reversal of Ventura’s body lock by springing off the ropes and bridging into a pin. Sort of hard to explain but for a comparison watch the finish of the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match from the ’96 Survivor Series and you’ll get the general idea.

7. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Pat O'Connor (3/22/81) – 4
8. East-West Connection vs. High Flyers (Cage Match) (3/22/81) – 5
9. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Jim Brunzell (6/11/81) – 5

The only thing I remember Pat O’Connor for is the wacky tag team tournament named after him at Starrcade 1990. The match itself was joined in progress and there was only about five minutes presented. Even though O’Connor looked ancient he still threw some mean rights that rocked Bock. Some decent work here by Bock on defense but nothing to get overly excited about. Cage match was pretty brutal and I think the only guy in the cage who wasn’t bleeding was the referee. The heels did some pretty theatrical selling and Ventura took a big bump into the cage and fell backwards like he smashed into a brick wall a la Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci in Home Alone. Adonis doing a wild dive off the cage earned a bonus point but the action itself was better in the previous bout. Brunzell has been a pretty good surprise thus far on this set and the singles match with Bockwinkel was a nice, solid bout. Some great trickery by Bockwinkle stepping through the ropes, allowing Brunzell to loosen up the hold and then Bock just drops repetitive shots of Brunzell’s knee. The thing I like about Bockwinkel is that on promos he’s well-spoken, neat, and clean but in the ring don’t let up or he’ll beat the shit out of you. Referee was slow on counting. Not sure who was slower, him or Bronco Lubich. Some shitty looking dropkicks by Brunzell stood out at the end.

10. Adrian Adonis vs. Jim Brunzell (6/28/81) – 4

Matches being joined in progress seems to be norm in a lot of cases and this was no different. Watching this it became clear that this was a tale of two matches. First half featured some good but non-descript mat work from both guys. Adonis surprised me as I figured he would be more apt to brawl, seeing as he was the heel and all. Speaking of brawling, second half was made up of a lot of that. Both guys were throwing some wild haymakers and each got the chance to taste the timekeeper’s table at some point. The problem I had was that a lot of the second half was heavy on the overselling and felt more choreographed that a Three Stooges routine. Honestly, I was getting really bored by the end of this as it felt that the same things were just happening over and over. Punch, goofy sell, rinse, repeat. You get the idea.

11. Jerry Blackwell vs. Billy Robinson (12/3/81) – 4

Just under fifteen minutes in and it’s nothing but exchanging of holds on the mat. Okerlund was so bored on commentary that he started rattling off where he’d covered matches at over the past year. Robinson worked over Blackweel’s legs pretty well with some textbook mat work. Finally there’s some stand-up and Blackwell starts wailing on Robinson with headbutts to the mid-section and a standing dropkick. Robinson’s neckbreaker looked pretty brutal. Blackwell did some nice selling on Robinson’s punches, nothing to really get excited about nd cream your jeans over like some people online, but it looked good and I appluad him for it. For the most part though, both guys just seemed to be going through the motions.

12. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Billy Robinson (12/25/81) – 5

Two great mat workers here so this should be pretty good I hope. Robinson wasn’t messing around like he was in the Blackwell match, he knew he was in for a fight, especially from the wicked uppercut he destroyed Bockwinkel with early in the match. Big turn in the match where Robinson hurt his shoulder on some sort of arm drag type move and Bock zeroed in, mercilessly pounding it like a shark who smells blood. Robinson threw some nice chops and punches towards the end. I was about to say that I liked the finish with Robinson winning by dragging Bockwinkel over the ropes in the sleeper but then it was ruled that Bockwinkel somehow won even though it was never explained how that actually happened. Score would have been better if it hadn’t have had the strange ending.

13. Hulk Hogan, Buck Zumhoffe & Baron Von Raschke vs. Bobby Heenan, Ken Patera & Bobby Duncum (2/28/82) – 4

This is the match I’ve been looking forward to the most because the teams seem really odd and on paper it looked like a fun match. Zumhoffe and Lanny Poffo must have the same tailor because I swear I’ve seen Poffo sport those pale looking tights before. Hogan’s offense looked pretty reckless, just lobbing really dangerous forearms and elbows all over the place. Zumhoffe worked as the face in peril and looked more like science nerd in high school getting beat up for his lunch money by the jocks on the football team. Didn’t really see much from the heel team that stood out. Zumhoffe took a wild bump off the turnbuckle when he got shoved off by Heenan which lead to the pin. Post match brawl with Heenan bleeding buckets was rather fun.

14. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Hulk Hogan (4/18/82) – 6

A real big fight feel with this match. Here is Hogan, the up and coming challenger getting his first major shot at a world title going one-on-one with the crafty champion and AWA stalwart Nick Bockwinkel. One thing I have to mention is that normall I like Lee Marshall’s commentary but here, he just never shut up and called stuff way ahead of time, like Hogan ramming Bockwinkel into the buckles and then even called the three count before it happened. Unlike some of the recent stuff on here, this had more of a brawling aspect to it where there weren’t many rest holds used which meant the pace was fairly fast. So fast, in fact, that before I knew it, it was time for the finish, which was made to look as if Hogan won the title. However, Heean claimed the use of a foreign object allowing the decision to be overturned days later.

15. Jerry Blackwell & Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie vs. High Flyers (Cage Match) (4/18/82) – 7

As I write this, it’s a week before Christmas and normally that’s a time for peace and joy. In this match though, there was no peace and joy. This had the feel of four shoppers hyped up on Thanksgiving leftovers fighting over the last flat-screen TV at Best Buy on Black Friday. Brunzell’s face was covered in blood and he looked like the victim of a slasher film. Blackwell threw some mean ham hocks for punches. Blackwell took a giant bump into the cage right towards the end that was one of the wildest cage bumps I’ve seen in a long time. Although the match was clipped, I have to score on what I saw and what I saw, I enjoyed the shit out of.

16. Tito Santana & Rick Martel vs. High Flyers (8/29/82) – 4

Strike Force … unite!! Oh, only about six years early on that. Seeing Tito in the AWA is almost as strange as when I saw him pop up recently in CHIKARA. Kinda noticing a pattern here in that a lot of these matches start out using a lot of good albeit non-descript mat work consisting of lots of chinlocks. Randy Orton would sure be proud. Gagne busted out something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, a bridging Indian deathlock. Nice work bro! There were some good nearfalls at the end and Brunzell hit a dropkick that nailed Tito right in the ear. However, nothing really save this from coming across to me as a pretty standard tag match.

Finally, I made it to the end of the first disc and what a ride it was. Took a while but it feels pretty rewarding to have knocked off this part. I’m not really a big fan of early 80’s AWA but there were a few gems here (Studd & Blackwell vs. High Flyers comes to mind) and a lot of stuff, while good, felt pretty bland. Gotta take the good with the bad I guess.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kazarian vs. James Storm

Kazarian vs. James Storm - TNA Final Resolution 2012 - 4


Unannounced and unadvertised just like your sister's last pregnancy -- natch!  Storm's' Thesz Press makes me yearn for Trish Stratus'.  You all remember the Air Canada, right?  Anyway.  If Kazarian was still in WWE he'd have been perfect for 3MB.  James would have been good casting for one of the hillbilly muscle in the crappy remake of Stray Dogs.  That would have looked good on his resume next to his 2 years as sales clerk at tractor supply store and 10+ as con-man in Orlando.  Kaz sold the Closing Time double knee facebreaker by jumping 5 ft. in the air and landing square on his ass like a grade school runt in a bouncy house.  That was marvelously obtuse.  I dug Storm sliding out of the devastating Fade to Black to pull off a rapid Last Call superkick.  Watched the PPV in HD and this was a great way to kick of their last pay-per-view of this calendar year.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TV Time Remaining: WWF Shotgun Saturday Night 1997 - Part 2

More craziness from 1997 WWF B-level TV. Be warned, there may be a lot of squashes here. Part 2 will cover April through June. Let’s dig in.

In case you missed it, Part 1 is here

1. Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon vs. Aldo Montoya & R.T. Williams (4/5/97) - 3

Give me your tired, your poor, and your hungry. That certainly describes the jobber team. How did Aldo draw the short straw to team up with Williams? This was pretty much just a light workout for Furnas and LaFon. Williams took a rough suplex that looked to have cracked his neck. Can’t the poor dude catch a break? Last week, a beat down by the Blackjacks and this week getting his neck snapped? By the way, Furnas and LaFon won.

2. Billy Gunn vs. Freddie Joe Floyd (4/12/97) – 3

Ok, this is getting really strange. Now we get Tracy Smothers as Freddie Joe Floyd? Billy is working heel and still sporting the cowboy look from the Smoking Gunns days. Smothers looked pretty spry when getting in some offense and had some good selling. Great nearfall off a big offensive flurry from Smothers that included some hard elbows. Swinging DDT by Billy looked a bit sloppy. Not bad and certainly quite random.

3. Salvatore Sincere vs. Flash Funk (4/19/97) – 4

Not sure where this match was filmed but it looks like it was in some big soccer stadium somewhere. Sincere delivering a pre-match promo was about as Italian as a frozen spaghetti dinner. Both guys really busted out some good looking stuff and had some good nearfalls. Scorpio … oops, I mean Flash, did a nice plancha, a big back kick, and a wild looking sunset flip. Sal countered with a big swinging DDT. This was a lot better than I though it would be on paper and a rather fun little match.

4. Flash Funk vs. Nick Barberry (4/26/97) – 1

Barberry is sporting some tights that look like they were found at a Brutus Beefcake yard sale. This didn’t take long for Flash to finish off this srcub with some basic stuff and it didn’t look like he broke a sweat.

5. Savio Vega & Crush vs. Derek Stone & Neal Haley (5/3/97) – 2

Haley is a rather gangly fellow who runs the ropes worse than Lex Luger in 2001. The other dude was about as memorable the guy who bagged your groceries last weekend. Crush and Savio just destroyed these poor jobbers, Savio was being especially brutual, throwing some nasty looking spin kicks. Finish with Crush and Savio ripping off Demolition’s old “Decapitation” move was super sloppy.

6. Jesse James vs. Leif Cassidy (5/10/97) – 5

At this point in ’97, neither of these guys were going anywhere quick but I’ll be damned if they didn’t have a hell of a match here. The pace was quick and everything flowed really smooth. I always hated when Double J popped his collar and ran into the corner. Just looked ridiculous. Cassidy ripped off a stiff clothesline. Finish was nice with Cassidy missing the moonsault (which had perfect form by the way) and Double J immediately going to the pumphandle.

7. Leif Cassidy vs. Matt Hardy (5/17/97) – 3

Matt was skinny here, probably about half the size he is now with twice the brain power. Wild spot where Cassidy suplex Hardy out of the ring and straight to the floor and killed him with two face first suplexes. Also a bit strange was seeing Cassidy working heel and Hardy being the jobber. Some good stuff by Cassidy here and I really liked his aggressiveness.

8. Jesse James vs. David Haskins (5/24/97) – 2

To quote Jerry Lawler on Jesse James, “he’s a promising young singer, I wish he’d promise to stop singing!” Couldn’t agree more Jerry as I’m not sure which song is more annoying, Double J’s or R-Truths “What’s Up”. Only thing notable was seeing Haskins getting his chin busted open pretty good. Pretty bland squash.

9. Scott Taylor vs. Tony Williams (5/31/97) – 4

What the hell is this doing in the main event spot? I have the feeling this may have been a try-out match for both guys. Taylor looked good, doing some high risk stuff and even busting out a plancha. Too bad he only became known for one of the most ridiculous moves ever (The Worm) after joining Too Cool years later. Williams nearly killed himself on a dive and took a wild spinning slam from Taylor right on his ass. Finish was rather shocking as Williams pulled the upset with a reverse roll-up. Not much on paper but definitely a fun little sprint.

10. Phil LaFon vs. Bradshaw (6/7/97) – 2

You know, I just noticed that LaFon looks a lot like Joey Votto. Bradshaw’s offense was just reckless, doling out stiff boots and clotheslines. LaFon came across as a generic guy with no personality. The powerslam felt like a pretty generic way to close this three minute ruckus out.

11. Scott Taylor vs. Steve Ramsey (6/14/97) – 2

What is this fucking ridiculous music that Taylor has? Ramsey looks like a dude who should working valet parking somewhere on a Saturday night. Yikes, this was brutal. Ramsey’s offense looked about as threatening as a leaf falling from a tree and the only notable thing I was the whole match was Taylor hitting a nice hook kick. Taylor’s finisher, whatever it was supposed to be, looked awful and sloppy.

12. Brian Christopher vs. Tommy Rogers (6/21/97) – 3

Even 15 years later, Brian Christopher is still annoying as shit. Rogers wanted to actually wrestle but Christopher was more concerned with making goofy facials, laughing hysterically, and generally fucking around. Once Rogers finally got the offense, he laid it in good, throwing a couple especially stiff shots on the outside. Not bad for a four minute match, sure beats some of the other matches on here in recent weeks.

13. The Truth Commission vs. Al Brown, Gene Miller, & Terry Richards (6/28/97) – 2

I barely remember the Truth Commission but I don’t remember there being a masked 400-pounder involved with them. Wait, holy shit! One of these jobbers is Rhino! Aside from that notable fact, the three jobbers just got destroyed. Recon busted out a standing hurracanrana and seeing a dude who weighs about 150 soaking wet getting completely squashed by a 400-pound guy were the best parts here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

HWA Outbreak 1/18/08

HWA Outbreak
Dayton, OH - 1/18/08

This is already screaming low rent as the entry way is made out of, and I wish I was joking, black Glad trash bags, PVC pipe, and cardboard. There seems to be about 100 people in attendance and whatever building this is looks like an abandoned YMCA gym.

1. Six Man Elimination Match: Hydra vs. Dustin Rayz vs. Amasis vs. Sami Callihan vs. Virus vs. Billy Roc – 4

How appropriate, there’s a guy named Virus on a show titled “Outbreak”. The referee seemed befuddled when he called for the bell and nothing happened, so he just yelled “The match has begun!”. Luckily, whoever had the ring bell in their possession showed up by the end of the match. The dance off with Hydra and Amasis delighted absolutely no one and the customary big dive spot sequence felt pretty standard. Virus has to be the worst dude in this match, his punches are terrible and his offense feels like he’s copied it from watching a Best of Blitzkrieg tape over and over. Roc was pretty bland but I guess he was thrown in to help lead the match. Some of the big offensive highlights included a sick neckbreaker type move by Hydra on Amasis, Sami busting out one of the most awesome top rope dropkicks I’ve ever seen, and Virus getting cured by some sort of wild pedigree/piledriver type move by Dustin Rayz. Finish saw Roc win with Kofi Kingston’s “SOS” move. I guess that was for the kids.

2. Nikita Allanov vs. Lighting Tim Lutz – 3

I’ve heard about this Allanov fella but this is the first time I’ve seen him. Lutz has been on all manner of indy shows in the Cincinnati and Dayton area for years and has never really gotten above a mid-card status. For me, Allanov’s status as the “Soviet Shooter” was immediately killed when he used System of a Down as his ring music. Lutz spent the majority of the match getting beaten on but showed a bit of fire, including a flipping neckbreaker. Allanov’s rope running is atrocious, barely hitting them like a kid scared to bounce off them during is first day of training. Big superplex spot by Allanov was nice, so was his finising piledriver style move, even though it looked very similar to Dustin Rayz’ finisher. Felt a lot like a long, drawn out squash.

3. Mary Elizabeth vs. O.D.B. – 3

What the fuck? O.D.B. worked in HWA? I’ve followed HWA for years and have ZERO recollection of this. Not really expecting much out of this but who knows, I may be surprised. O.D.B.’s selling has consisted of nothing but grabbing her boobs whenever she’d smash into the buckle or take a bump. Everything here turned out exactly how I expected, Mary Elizabeth stalled, O.D.B. drank and did her usual assortment of offensive stuff. Better than your typical diva’s match but nothing to get overly excited about.

4. Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Hero – 5

Kingston does a lot of Zbyszko-esque stalling to begin things. Compared to today, Kingston looks really slim. I jujst watched him vs. Tadasuke from King of Trios this year and it’s like two different people. Big chop exchange and brawl on the outside was fun. Hero’s ring attire is really gawdy with the red and the blue. Plus, the rip off of the Superman logo on his shirt doesn’t really scream “professional”. Kingston’s offense seems to be consisting of strikes and not much else. Hero’s roaring elbow seemed more like it was whimpering. Nasty German suplex from Kingston nearly broke Hero’s neck. Finish seemed with Kingston tapping out to a cloverlead seemed out of place as there was no mat work leading up to it.

5. Three Way Match: Kimera & Dick Rick vs. The Hybrids vs. The GP Code (Deja Vu & Andre Heart) – 4

The Hybrids are a hybrid of what exactly? Kimera is about as athletic as my mailman. The frosted blonde hair does him no favors either. Vu does a pretty good job of doing a face in peril. Andre’s double DDT on Kimera and Rick looked sloppy than the sexual encounters that put him in prison. Sorry, couldn’t resist that joke. Seeing Big Vu (now Gerome Phillips) destroy people is always a highlight for me on HWA shows. Huge blown spot where one of the Hybrids was supposed to back drop Andre over the top rope onto the floor but Andre gets caught on the rope and softly tumbles to the floor as everyone falls like bowling pins anyway. How in the hell did the referee know who’s legal after everyone just sort of ran in, did spots, and then disappeared? Double team spot by GP Code was pretty nifty to finish off Dick Rick.

6. Alan Wasylychyn vs. Aaron Williams – 5

Williams was once a rising star for HWA but now his career is limited to main eventing local shows that draw maybe a dozen people. The story here is partner vs. partner and it also seems like it’s heel vs. heel, especially since Brock Guffman, a local manager who’s been around forever, is managing both guys at ringside. Clearly here Williams is the one who was being groomed for a big push but Wasylychyn has been more impressive to me thus far, doing a couple wild bumps, including one to the floor after he got superkicked off the top rope, and some nice offense that included a nice springboard frankensteiner and a rolling front slam. Williams did a top rope splash that looked more like a kid doing a belly flop in the swimming pool. Seeing Wasylychyn win with a German suplex on a chair felt like a bit of an upset. Better match than I expected this to be though.

7. B.J. Whitmer vs. “Buffalo Bad Boy” Brian Jennings - 4

Back when the NHO crew was watching WWE pay-per-view at the local BW3’s, I remember seeing Jennings coming in all the time with other HWA guys watching the shows at the bar. Crowd seems as dead as Richard Nixon and the in-ring has felt pretty standard. Jennings’ big moves didn’t feel real special as they were pretty basic with the exception of them being named after things in Buffalo. As a whole, this didn’t have a “main event” feel at all. Whitmer won with a low blow and a roll up and Jennings sold the whole thing as if he didn’t care at all.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bigelow, Orndorff, & Blair vs. Orton, Zhukov, & Brooks

Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, & B.Brian Blair vs. Rusty Brooks, Boris Zhukov, & Cowboy Bob Orton (UWF 4/7/91) - 3

What a strange locale for a six-man tag, outside on the lawn in front of the Nickelodeon Studios in Florida with maybe a handful of people in attendance. Lou Albano is on commentary and extremely annoying, calling Brooks fat and Blair a “buzzing bee”. Most everyone seemed content to rely on punching and forearm blows, although I did see Blair, or was it Orndorff, take a few bodyslams. I couldn’t tell because they were dressed exactly alike and the hard camera was far away. Orton worked the bare minimum causing Capt. Lou on commentary to ask “What’s Orton doing? He getting a suntan?” Bigelow’s offensive flurry at the end was added a nice change to the bland action. Camera completely missed the finish. Points for uniqueness in terms of locale and participants but the action was very droll.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WWE Survivor Series '12

Blog co-captain Adam had a PPV party at this pad for the show but I was stuck earning a wage in the zombie apocalypse known as retail.  Watched the show in HD when I got home and here are my compendious thoughts.

1. YouTube pre-show: 3MB (Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal) vs. Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder) - 3
2. Brodus Clay, Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio, and International Airstrike (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd) vs. Tensai, Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young),  Primo, and Epico - Survivor Series Match - 5
3. Eve vs. Kaitlyn - 3

Mike Rotundo's legacy lives on with Santino's singlet.  Fun pre-show fare.  Kind of ironic seeing Mahal (who formerly played the stereotypical foreign menace) using the Patriot's old finisher.  First traditional Survivor Series match had great dive sequence.  Clay massively botched a move on Tensai.  I had a cacophonous belly laugh at their expense.  Good guys gain momentum and steamroll them.  Lots of fluid athletic spots with Kidd excelling.  Kaitlyn's army issue green pants would have made her a perfect fit in the Truth Commission.  She could have been called "Gag Order".  I wonder what Recon's up to these days?  I liked Kaitlyn starting aggressive and getting an extended segment to beat down the thorn in her side.  Eve begging off was about a 2.5 on the John Tatum scale.  I think Kaitlyn could be the next Trish Stratus if the company gets behind her.  I didn't like the suddenness of the finish with Eve's suspect neckbreaker.

4. Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth - 3
5. Sheamus vs. Big Show - 5

Dig Truth's Looney Tunes facials.  Standard Superstars match but the right guy (Cesaro) went over.  AJ/Vickie in-ring segment had the crowd deader than Mike Graham.  These guys will have to work hard to top their match at last month's PPV.  More methodical in large part  but demonstrated Show's physical dominance superbly.  All of the big finisher kick-outs at Hell in the Cell '12 made for a captivating final act but this one lumbered to an unsatisfying end that clearly sets up another chapter in this novella.  I dug the body of the match though even if it never came close to matching the intensity of their show-ending brawl on the most recent episode of SmackDown! that saw them smash a bunch of cars in a parking lot.

6. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, Wade Barrett, and Damien Sandow) vs. Team Foley (Randy Orton, Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane), Kofi Kingston, and The Miz) - Survivor Series Match - 4
7. CM Punk vs. Ryback vs. John Cena - 5

I probably owe it to the next traditional Survivor Series match to give it a re-watch down the road but found it middling upon initial screening.  Particularly the eliminations seemed as if as much thought had been put into them as the writers did choosing a salad dressing in catering.  Maybe it's also the fault of three-hour Raw shows every week but there was a suffocating sameness to this that made it feel minor next to classic Survivor Series bouts of yesteryear.  Main started solidly and when Punk and Cena decided to briefly work together to slow down the beast Ryback by putting him through a table the crowd momentarily awoke.  Cena's khaki shorts call to mind Indiana Jones sans the adventure and awe.  Some big near-falls robbed of their potential drama by a vapid Indianapolis crowd.  Seeing Jon Moxley and Tyler Black put Ryback through a table was certainly surprising and a nice shock -- although them assuredly being brought into the co. to be fed to Ryback is disappointing.   Weird finish as Cena got hit with something resembling Ryback's Shell Shocked finisher and was then out for several minutes while the attack happened culminating in Punk crawling over and pinning him.  Seconds later John rolls out of the ring and just strolls to the back.  Doing a "fuck finish" on two consecutive pay-per-views seems like a slap in the face to the paying customer.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tanahashi, Devitt & Taguchi vs. Kojima, TAKA, & NOSAWA

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Prince Devitt, and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Satoshi Kojima, TAKA Michinoku, and NOSAWA Rongai - New Japan Pro Wrestling “NEW JAPAN ISM” 2/6/2011 - Gifu Industrial Hall - 6

The unofficial captains of each team (Tanahashi and Kojima) start us off with a nice grappling exchange, battling over control focusing on headlocks, manipulating wrists and limbs, etc.  I like the dynamic of both teams -- certainly more enticing on paper and in reality than Team Foley or Team Punk but I digress.  Hiroshi dispatches of the whole gang of ruffians with a series of dragon screw legwhips.  Rongai looks like he slept in an Osaka airport and made it to the show sans shower and/or proper nourishment minus the granola bar he scored off of Kyosuke Mikami backstage.  The fan favorites tag in and out in repetition quickly all taking a turn at wrenching NOSAWA's arm turing it into putty.  A double seated dropkick by Apollo 55 clearly whiffed on TAKA but he was feeling generous and sold the phantom impact.  Crazy double-team where Fergal had Rongai up on his shoulders out on the floor, so you're thinking, "Doomsday Device!" but instead Taguchi springboards over the top with an odd crossbody and sort of rides NOSAWA down like an infant's first slide experience at the playground.

One of the best dropkicks in the business.  I hope he has good dental.

Devitt gets flak online but I thought his selling of his hurt arm was top-notch.  Kojima is a pro posing arrogantly to the disdain of the crowd after taking a cheap shot at Hiroshi on the apron.  Tanahashi gets tossed to the floor bumping nastily off of the apron on the way down.  The heels have a clear focus now on Prince's limp limb and start picking it apart with gusto.  I think Ryusuke had been watching some Tatanka tape -- his top rope tomahawk chop gave it away.  Satoshi busts out a few different elbow drop variations including one off of the top that were really choice.   We get another blazing Tanahashi/Kojima sequence late that puts me on the edge of my seat (clearly this was a money program that should have been much bigger).  NOSAWA shows his All Japan allegiance breaking out a Shining Wizard and almost beating Hiroshi.  Tanahashi finishes Rongai off with the High Fly Flow.  Not surprisingly the guy highest on the food chain goes over the guy lowest but getting there was quite fun.

I'll be happy to see Tanahashi go into the Wrestling Observer HoF this year -- he certainly deserves it and is an exceptional talent and one of the best on the planet.  Watching this you also get a sense Kojima has plenty to offer even later in his career.  We didn't get much TAKA but for a 16 min. effort this was an entertaining cap to a strong minor show.  I'd recommend getting any 2011 NJPW you can obtain and this show would make a nice addition to any collection.  On the same chilly February evening down the road at Korakuen Hall AJPW ran a show with the main event of Keiji Mutoh and Shinjiro Ohtani vs. Masakatsu Funaki and AKIRA, and while the All Japan show drew a bigger crowd (1,900 which is a good 400+ more in attendance) I'm not entirely sure if that action was as satisfying as what was on display here.

Invasion of the Bodyslammers

I know this will be fun right from the start as we have Lord Alfred Hayes, Kamala, and Slick in a bowling alley, where apparently Slick will be teaching Kamala how to be a champion bowler like Don Carter, Carmen Salvino, and Norm Duke among others. Still no word on how Kamala fared in the PBA regional qualifiers after the schooling offered throughout this tape.

1) Yokozuna vs. Earthquake -2
2) The Beverly Brothers vs. The Nasty Boys – 3
3) Razor Ramon vs. The Undertaker – 3
4) Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Typhoon – 5
5) Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart - 4

Big battle of the behemoths starts this off and it was merely a skirmish with Quake and Yoko throwing a few big bombs and Yoko getting a quick win after about three minutes with a Bonzai Drop. Beverlies and Nasties was a basic tag match that featured lots of CLUBBING BLOWS~! by both teams. Nasties really seemed to enjoy throwing the shoulder block early on. There was a weird spot where one Beverly was supposed to tag the other but missed completely and the other came in just randomly without any protest from the referee. Double DQ finish was lame as well. Razor and Undertaker sounds like a headline match for the mid-90s era but ended up being a waste of everyone’s time. Looking at the set –up of the arena, it appeared to me that the match was filmed up the road in Dayton, and my research proved me right. Sort of shocked at how much offense Razor got on ‘Taker. End of this was really bad with Razor doling out a lame urn shot and then running scared after Taker chokeslammed the shit out of him. I was expecting another quick match from Bigelow, much like the Yokozuna match earlier but was I ever wrong. Bigelow and Typhoon really laid into each other with some hard shots. I’ve been told that Typhoon was at the grand opening of the local Meijer grocery store back in the late 90s/early 00s. I just hope he didn’t have anything to do with the electrical work in the building. Loved how these two just threw down and worked at a fast pace instead of the typical slow, prodding “big man” style man. Bigelow took one of the roughest front slams I’ve ever seen and Typhoon ate a turnbuckle that I’m sure tasted nothing like steak. Really surprised at how good this match was. Shawn and Bret really didn’t have much that stood out, except for Savage making an absurd claim on commentary that there were 15,000 people in the crowd. Let’s try about 5,000. Best bump of the match was Bret going sternum first into the guardrail. Rest of it was pretty basic but the guys were on auto-pilot and the crowd was colder than a McDonald’s walk-in freezer.

6) Doink the Clown vs. Kamala – 2
7) Papa Shango vs. The Undertaker – 3
8) 16-Man Battle Royal – 4
9) Tatanka vs. The Repo Man – 3
10) Ric Flair vs. Mr. Perfect – 6

Next two matches were really lame. Doink and Kamala had a decent match on a UK show I reviewed last fall. While no means what that particular match a classic, the match on this tape made it look like a five-star match in comparison. Kamala through a nice thrust kick before getting distracted by an empty box leading to Doink winning by count out. Yes, that finish was as lame as it seems. Undertaker had yet another disappointing match, this time with Papa Shango. Highlight of this one was a big spot where fire flew out of Papa Shango’s stick which led to a brawling segment on the outside. Battle royal was a lot of fun and had probably the most unique roster of participants I’ve seen in a battle royal in a long time. Featured were the likes of Terry Taylor, Tito Santana, Skinner, Shawn Michaels, and … IRON MIKE SHARPE?! What the hell was IRON MIKE SHARPE doing in a battle royal in 1993? Michaels did more bumping here than he did in the earlier singles bout against Bret. Tito hit a nice forearm and Skinner did a goofy dance after eliminating someone. Razor won by default after Giant Gonzalez came in and ruined all the fun. Repo’s theatrics were pretty over-the-top, however I think I enjoyed the bit earlier in the tape where Repo kidnapped a guy and subsequently carjacked Bill Alfonso. I wish I was joking. A random thought ran through my head during this match … how strange would it be if all repo men were dressed exactly like Repo Man? Tatanka’s offense was weaker than Jimmy Fallon’s attempt at comedy. Hoping that Flair and Perfect will save the last portion of this tape. Didn’t like the fact that Perfect oversold and overbumped on a phantom turnbuckle shot. Unlike the previous matches, this felt like an epic struggle between two top notch athletes instead of goofy characters fighting. Everything here was textbook offense and selling by both guys and it worked beautifully. Flair took an AWESOME bump over the corner and straight down to the floor. Perfect’s win was a surprise as I really thought that Flair was going to pull it out. Wasn’t nearly as good as their Raw match in early 93 but it was a nice way to close out and otherwise lame tape.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Impact Wrestling 10/11/12

I’m playing catch-up with Impact on my DVR and what better way to watch them intently than to review some of these suckers!

1) James Storm vs. Austin Aries – 4
2) Hernandez vs. A.J. Styles – 3
3) Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Bully Ray & Sting – 5
4) Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher – 3
5) Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy - 4

This is the go-home show for Bound for Glory and it felt more like instead of going home, they went to the in-laws house to spend a few nights. Kicking off the show with a match was a pleasant change from the usual talking bits. I really wanted to like it as normally it would seem like Storm and Aries would have a rather good match. For this though, I’d say it was probably decent at best, even though the pace was kept pretty quick. Storm seemed on auto-pilot but Aries was playing a great cocky heel (a foreshadowing of things to come perhaps?) and had some Zbyszko-esque stalling to start off. Couple sloppy looking spots with the roll-up off the ropes and a forearm spot that looked like they completely forgot what they were doing. Roode’s interference didn’t help matters any. I noticed that Hernandez had “HTM” tattooed on his abdomen. Funny, he doesn’t strike me as the type that would be a fan of the Honky Tonk Man. If anybody can make Hernandez’s rigid offense look good, it’s A.J. and he did a really good effort, pinballing himself around for the big man. Hernandez sold a dropkick like he was stumbling out of a Mexican bar after having one too many tequilas. Finish was sudden with a shoulderblock. Yes, someone won a match in 2012 with a shoulderblock.

Really liked the mid-show tag match. Kaz and Daniels are probably the best heel team in wrestling right now because you can believe in their characters and you geniunely want to see them get destroyed. Their act comes across as natural and not forced, which to me speaks volumes. Sting looked horrible in his t-shirt and black pants with neon purple squigglies on them. Ray was just taking it to the opposition and just laying the hard stuff in throughout the match. Awkward bump by Daniels right on his shoulder after taking a slam off the top rope from Sting. The crowd seemed really into this as well and weren’t sitting on their hands like their where for most of the previous matches. In the context of things the DQ finish didn’t matter as the match was mainly to set up whether or not Sting and Bully could get along, although I give Daniels props on the awesome sell on the table spot. Women’s match was really bland but wait, did I just hear Mike Tenay say “ass-tastic? Well, that was awkward. Sit-out powerbomb was pretty nice but couldn’t save it from being anything more than background noise while loading the dishwasher. Felt like I’ve seen the main event a lot during the first part of the year and I was bored of it after about three weeks. The basics were there but felt like these guys were just cruising, second half picked up a bit of steam with some good nearfalls.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vulture Squad vs. No Remorse Corps

Vulture Squad (Jigsaw, Ruckus, and Jack Evans) vs. No Remorse Corps (Rocky Romero, Davey Richards, and Roderick Strong) - ROH Honor Nation - 5

Digging into my vault of 5,000+ shows I stumbled upon this one and tossed it into the old Digital Video Disc player the other night.  The faction warfare period isn't remembered fondly by most ROH fans and I tend to agree but this started quite good.  After some unnecessary arm work by Strong and Jigsaw we bolted right into a killer sequence involving all the guys highlighted by Evans evading a Romero big boot by backflipping while running at the precise moment which was as slick as anything in the famed Low Ki/Amazing Red "fast-forward" sequence.  Today these guys are major players in AAA, NJPW, Chikara, and CZW but at the time were in a middling gang war which goes to show how deep ROH's roster depth was even as late as '08.  Evans' springboard Buff Blockbuster was the first time that move looked cool, since, well, ever.  I thought you were supposed to save the best for last but Romero's splash in the dive train was weak sauce -- oh, I almost forgot Jack, who leaps last and spins so much the action became blurred like a CGI combat scene from Transformers: Darks of the Moon.  Rocky got tenderized by an Evans 630° for the finish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TNA Bound For Glory: Jeff Hardy Vs. Austin Aries

TNA Bound For Glory 2012
Jeff Hardy Vs. Austin Aries - 6

So let's set the stage here. First of all, this is Bound for Glory -- TNA's biggest PPV of the year. Second of all, you have two of the biggest guys in the company that can legitimately "go" in the ring. Jeff, the charismatic veteran, who can take the crowd for a ride regardless of the situation, and Aries, a wrestler charismatic in his own right that has fought and clawed his way to the top. On a side note, there's a little extra spirit going for Aries, knowing he's only 5'9'' and is the TNA champ. You put these two guys together and you get an interesting element. Aries played heel here and dictated the tempo of the match, dishing out offense that was really slick and sick, including two heat-seeking missile dives, a nasty rope-assisted neck breaker onto the ramp (which Jeff cracked the back of his skull on legit), and a nice tight backbreaker about mid-way through. Jeff's facially selling of everything was spot on, as something as simple as an armbar made me think Jeff was getting his arm torn off at the elbow. Such excellence in performing. This guy deserves and Oscar. Back and forth the pace went, with Aries staying on top the majority of the match until the end. I was marking out here and couldn't believe the finish (which came at a very timely manner). A great way to cap off an above-average PPV. Genuinely enjoyed the shit out of this match.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

ECW Wrestlepalooza 1998

1) The FBI (Tracy Smothers & Little Guido) vs. The Blue Meanie & Super Nova – 3
2) Justin Credible vs. Mikey Whipwreck – 6
3) Chris Candido & Lance Storm vs. Balls Mahoney & Axl Rotten – 3
4) Bam Bam Bigelow vs. New Jack – 4
5) Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman vs. The Dudley Boys – 3
6) Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu – 5
7) Shane Douglas vs. Al Snow – 4

Continuing my series of reviewing the ECW pay-per-views and this one looks like it could be fun. This particular show is being held in the Cobb County Civic Center and every time I see that building, I can’t help but think of Brian Pillman and Basher tearing it up on the Power Hour 1990 project.

Opener was pretty much everything that would be expected when the FBI and b.W.o. match up, lame comedy, dance-offs, and Blue Meanie jiggling about. Nova’s get-up looked like something out of the movie “Kick Ass”. Finish was sloppy with the illegal man getting the pin and lots of mayhem. Wasn’t expecting much out of the Whipwreck/Justin match as their previous encounter on pay-per-view left a lot to be desired. This one, however, really exerted the fact that there was hate between both guys. Both guys bumped really well with Mikey taking a wild bump off the apron into the rail and Justin taking a superplex through a table off the railing in a crazy spot. I could have done with out the Jason and Chastity intereference at the end as, to me, it hurt the final product but the emotion, the brawling, and the crazy bumping made this one of the best matches I’ve seen on this project thus far. Tag title match left a lot to be desired as Axl and Balls cut a fiery promo with Joey Styles before the match but saw their fire fizzle like a burnt out campfire when the match started. If Candido and Storm are doing the old “partners at odds” gimmick, then why are they working so well together controlling the pace. Seeing Axl wrestle in a Dr. Evil t-shirt reminds me of how old this show actually is. I wonder if that t-shirt is still hanging up in his closet somewhere? Highlight of the match was Storm doing a Van Daminator style springboard dropkick 3/4 of the way across the ring.

Next up was a pre-taped legends introduction which should be noted feature the last appearance of the Junkyard Dog, who died in a car wreck a mere three weeks after this show. Then, we got a never-ending hypocritical Shane Douglas promo doing his typical schitck of trashing the WWF and WCW. I have a question, if he was so critical of WCW, then why did he jump ship to there in 1999? Five minutes in to the match and New Jack looked like the victim of gang violence and was just bleeding all over the place. The thing I liked about this match was that Bigelow didn’t stand around like a fool and take shot after shot with Jack’s variety of weapons. He actually fought back and pretty much beat the holy hell out of New Jack. However, the match lost a lot of steam during the crowd brawl segment. The balcony dive spot was really contrived and telegraphed. Bigelow didn’t do it much favors either, looking around in the crowd for New Jack like a kid in a department store who lost his mom.

Tag match with the Dudleys was wild brawl, exactly what would be expected between these four individuals. Sandman by far was the worst of anyone involved, as if that comes as a shock. He took a bump on a table that just wrecked his neck. Dudleys took some ill shots with weapons. Bubba got a table suplexed on him really wrecklessly by Sandman early in the bout and D-Von took a hard chair shot. Mid-way through, Spike runs in and starts getting nearfalls. I guess that makes him legal. It’s like the 1880s in baseball when a player could subsitute in a game simply by announcing his name. So much interference beyond Spike running in from Beulah and the Dudley entourage. I can’t really give this much more than a “3” as it felt like a wild, aimless brawl.

As a kid, I created RVD and Sabu on the WWF No Mercy game for the Nintendo 64 and had some epic battles. Those battles were actually better than this. Match started rough with them just doing the “respect spots” as I call them were they so back and forth and wind up in a stand-off. Sabu looked sloppy, but not nearly as bad as he was in previous encounters with Sandman. The chairs he was throwing were stiff but he should have really stayed away from the table spots. First spot was him diving into the crowd and having to bounce off a table as he misjudged the jump. Second spot was beyond awful as he was supposed to DDT RVD through a table but botched the whole thing all to hell. RVD’s offense was the usual standard … Van Daminator, frog splash, rinse and repeat. I could tell about five minutes in they were working towards a draw as the pace never really kicked into high gear. RVD’s nearfalls had zero heat. This should have been better than it was but this could be summed up in two words “thorough disappoinment”.

Main event seemed really strange with Al Snow challenging for the title. Douglas was working injured with a bad elbow and whole other laundry list of items Joey Styles rattled off on commentary. Douglas’ dive into the crowd was dangerous as he just barely cleared the rail. Match had lots of chopping and punching for the majority of offense. The big powerbomb spot from Douglas didn’t come off all that well. There was a really good nearfall with Snow kicking out of the belly-to-belly suplex but the finish was really sudden with Douglas reversing a shitty sunset flip.

PPV Rankings:
1. Wrestlepalooza ‘98
2. Barely Legal
3. Living Dangerously ‘98
4. November to Remember ‘97
5. Hardcore Heaven ‘97

Up next in the countdown: Heatwave ‘98

Saturday, October 13, 2012

ROH Fade to Black

ROH "Fade To Black" Plymouth, MA 9/10/10

1. ROH World TV Title Match: Eddie Edwards vs. Erick Stevens - 4
2. Grizzly Redwood vs. “Brutal” Bob Evans - 2
3. Austin Aries vs. Kyle O'Reilly - 4
4. First Blood Tag Match: The Necro Butcher and Shawn Daivari vs. Kevin Steen and Steve Corino - 5
5. The All Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus) vs. Matt Taven and Sid Reeves - 3
6. Roderick Strong vs. Mike Bennett -3
7. ROH World Tag Title Match: The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Colt Cabana and El Generico - 4
8. Non-Title Match: Tyler Black vs. Christopher Daniels - 6

Cool venue with a decent look.  Opener was fine, Stevens' personality showed, winking at the camera, calling back to his old "choo choo" persona, etc. but Edwards was unsurprisingly mechanical.  Maybe he's a cyborg.

Cyborg 4 starring Eddie Edwards

Grizzly and pasty Evans was nothing save for Redwood getting in a few shots on a tubby "fan" who was escorted from the building by his neck fat by Don West's identical brother.  Aries is fun and his eye candy valet I dug but Kyle wasn't working with much confidence yet and this just went through the motions.

Fat fan attacks! "You mad bro?"

Next was a fun NWA throwback wild brawl with everybody pummeling each other at ringside for our enjoyment.  Didn't go long enough to warrant a higher score but I had fun and the Corino busting a beer bottle and stabbing Necro in the head with a shard for the finish was glorious.

Taven really blew a springboard in a huge blunder.  Fine for a squash but could have used some psychology as there were no real game plans demonstrated just a string of offensive spots.  Reeves' look wouldn't win over any talent scouts (appeared as a guy from an Irish pub approximating Jack Swagger) but for his size moved well and came off better than Taven who looked desperate trying too hard with all the flashy aerial spots (grist for the YouTube highlight reel mill).

Concussions "R" Us

If Strong and Bennett were to lock it up today they could generate something of more substance.  Mike was sans Maria or much character to speak of.  I've always appreciated Roderick's work ethic and workmanlike performances and while this wasn't as forgettable as his match I just saw versus Jake Manning (from WrestleReunion VI) it failed to make much of an impression.

KoW bring the goodness and right off the bat Hero did this crazy rolling ankle pick that'd freak out the world if someone successfully pulled it off at a UFC show.  Generico is freakily consistent regardless of promotion.  I was expecting a show stealer but this felt more like a solid ROH on HDNet main event which isn't to say bad at all just not worth seeking out.  The match-ending combination of a stiff forearm to the back of the head by Hero followed by a cracking European uppercut from Claudio worked well.

You fucked up!

Main event is a 30-min. draw.  You know yourself enough as a wrestling fan to ascertain whether seeing Black and Daniels work a fiercely contested half-hour is something you'd want to see or not.  Most people I know would fall in the latter camp.  I'm an extremely open-minded wrestling fan who dare I say turns down absolutely no wrestling so gave this a watch in one sitting.  The "WWE sux!" undercurrent given Tyler's signing with the co. and him doing Cena etc. shtick felt erroneous.  It gave the live crowd a little more reason to care or participate so not without some merit.  I would have rather seen a more focused, deterministic strategy implemented by both men trying to systematically gain advantage(s) en route to securing a major win.  I actually think Daniels would have been a good fit in the WWE due to his ability to structure matches and build to the big spots.  That ship has sailed.  Maybe he can get some stunt work if they do a fourth Boogeyman film.  Some nicely timed and effective nearfalls and Black booked strong to survive Daniels' top shelf shit.  Black refusing to do 5 more min. was Heel 101 and nothing like fucking over your fans on the first night in a new town.

Monday, October 8, 2012

WWF Philly Spectrum 11/7/87

1. Dino Bravo vs. Brady Boone - 3
2. Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov vs. Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma) - 2
3. Killer Khan vs. Bam Bam Bigelow - 5
4. Hercules vs. Junkyard Dog - 3
5. The Islanders (Tama and Haku) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) - 4
6. Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase Virgil - 1
7. Demolition vs. Billy Jack Haynes and Ken Patera - 5
8. Ivan Putski vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine - 4
9. Honky Tonk Man vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage - 3

My first thought of Boone was, "Man, dude looks like a tinier version of Billy Jack Haynes" only to shorty after be informed via commentary he was in fact a cousin of Haynes'. Fine opener that lacked depth but I was lulled into a DMT like trance by its rhythms. Boone's preferred method of selling was lying flat on his back and taking really big, exaggerated breaths.  I have a soft spot for the Russians but man, oh man, was this some of the lightest offense I've ever seen.  There were a few basic things like clotheslines (and a double clothesline near the end) that looked fluffier and about as low impact as a comforting roll around fresh luxury hotel linens.  Boris' match-ending flying headbutt wasn't convincing either.  Roma didn't look like the sniveling heel I recalled from WCW as he was definitely on the gas here completely blown up with protruding veins and enough testosterone for a whole varsity football team.

Khan and Bam had a really great face-off early in their match that I popped for ending with Khan trying to sneak in a spinning backfist and eating an atomic drop for his efforts.  I just watched Khan versus Chris Adams from Watts' Mid-South the other morning so this is a nice juxtaposition.  Bigelow sells Khan's throat-based offense with the vigor of Vincent Price.  Bam ducked the dreaded green mist and won with a big splash that got a real big reaction from the live crowd.  JYD has an uneven reputation especially for his in-ring contributions so I went into screening this with a sharp eye to see if I could detect anything to support his case as a potential WON HoF candidate down the road.  These guys forego strategy early to just trade big punches and see who'll be left standing.  Hercules emotes frustration superbly albeit not being known for his subtlety.  Dog's version of "Hulking up" looked like a painful seizure.  Hercules going for the full-nelson would have had more drama had he effectively worked the neck at all proceeding it.  Cheap finish stunk.  JYD's trunks say "Thump" which interestingly was the sound the remote control made when I tossed it on the couch and retreated to bed after this match.

They forego the usual formula early and Strike Force looks strong and motivated.  The work was fine and I quite dug it but the booking was certainly odd.  It went to a double DQ.  Why not put the tag champions Strike Force over strong?  Especially since a heel tag team went over clean earlier in the show.  I guess they felt a need to protect the Islanders -- that or Haku threatened to rip someone's eye out if they jobbed.  DiBiase came out on crutches so gave up Virgil as a replacement.  No thanks.  This was a dog fart and patently insulting to the fans in Philadelphia.

Forgot how glorious Patera's afro was.  For a makeshift team these guys looked great having Demolition on their heels early in trouble.  I totally found myself buying into a possible upset even though the disc skipping was a nuisance.  I've never seen a guy get punched so hard he got instant bed head but that exact thing happened here (pictured below).  Finish was as cheap as a used copy of Hero Wanted on DVD.

Example: Man Punched So Hard Instant Bed Head

I thought it was straight to the main next but no!  Valentine versus... wait, get the fuck out of here, is that one of the California Raisins?  Nope just a grossly tanned Ivan Putski.  No one would mistake Valentine for John Dodson but he gets the job done.  With all the chop exchanges overflowing on the indies it was nice to see guys trading belly punches for a change.  "The Hammer" gets a clean win with the figure four in a pleasantly surprising finish.

"I heard it through the grapevine!"

I wish James Lipton could get Honky Tonk Man onto an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio.  I'd love to hear him make chicken salad out of some of the chicken shit in Ferris' career.  You know a disc is severely damaged when it takes you a half-hour to get through the last ten minutes of it.  No worries just meant I got to spend three times the amount of time with Randy Poffo this sunny autumn afternoon so I'm not complaining!  The craft which with Savage withers on the mat is nonpareil.  In the new book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons they explore the traditional different forms of selling ("registering," "selling," and "dying") and Savage serves up a sampling of 'em all here.  Anyone else ever wonder why Honky's icon on WWF WrestleMania for the NES looked like Wladziu Liberace?  Is there an agreed composite "Top 5" matches of HTM out there?  Not sure but of what I've seen this would be on mine.  Countout finish on a main event seems like an awfully lousy thing to do to your paying audience in a town on your regular touring loop but hindsight is 20/20 which ironically is probably what Honky thinks about his participation in this stunt:

Yo-Yo Ma wouldn't have done that shit!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy

Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy - WWE Raw 5/19/08 - 5

Raw was broadcast from Kansas City that night and this match was as sweet as the BBQ sauce made famous in the city.  Most people remember their cage match but while shorter (and minus a truly satisfying ending) this has even more dramaturgy.  Jeff will rally off 4-5 punches to nil effect and Umaga will throw one beastly strike that'll take Hardy off his feet.  Delicious visual moment outside the ring where Jeff narrowly escapes a charging Umaga who crashes into the steel ring steps.  While there was no clear victor the ending bump more than made up for it with Umaga catching a flying Jeff who leapt off the barricade and destroying him with a wild swinging side slam on the ground that saw Jeff bounce off the floor.

Monday, September 24, 2012

IWA Deep South Carnage Cup VIII: Night 1 - 3/31/12

Another year, another year full of death match tournaments. Sadly, though it appears that really only three are left … Carnage Cup, Masters of Pain, and Tournament of Death. I reviewed last year’s Carnage Cup and admittedly was really harsh on it. I promise I will try to do better this year. I should note also that this show is being held in a vacant gravel lot in the middle of the countryside with maybe a few dozen people in attendance. If that doesn’t scream quality, I don’t know what does.

1) Spidar Boodrow vs. Bryant Woods – Spider Net Circus Death Match – 2
Boodrow spells his name like that because he thinks it’s cool, yet here he his getting paid peanuts (yes, he’s actually getting paid in peanuts) to scar and maim his body on a weekend off from his real job, wherever and whatever that may be. Match starts with what else but light tube shots. The ring is holding some giant barbed wire contraption therefore, the whole match takes place outside the ring. Reminds me of the old WCW Backstage Assault game where there was no ring in the whole game. Loved the spot where Woods was throwing weak ass chair shots and then gets his shit wrecked with a vicious clothesline. The finish was beyond absurd with a huge “Spider Driver” off the top of a U-Haul truck into the mess of barbed wire and light tubes in the ring. Could somebody please tell me if it was even necessary to do that in the very first match.

2) Kody Krueger vs. Bill the Butcher – No Rope Barbed Wire Carpet Strip House of Pain Match – 3
Seconds in and the goofy commentators start dropping Bruiser Brody references. Please, let’s not go there. Do not make me go off on a tangent on how bad this commentary is. The chair throwing segments, while fun to watch in the comfort of my office area, are a very dangerous idea live, especially considering that one errant chair almost hit a fan. I was expecting a slow, prodding match here but so far it’s been pretty fun. Krueger took a gnarly bump into some carpet strips attached to barbed wire and followed that up later on in the match by taking a huge bump on a carpet strip board. Butcher took a wild bump through the wire to the ground and ended up getting huge chunks of his hair ripped out in the process. The major problem I have with this is that it ended in heel hook submission. Yes. A heel hook as in something you might see in the UFC. In this type of match, that felt really out of place.

3) John Rare vs. Mad Man Pondo – Deep Sea Death Match – 1
Apparently “deep sea death match” is just a euphemism for a fish hook match. Who comes up with the names of these matches? Pondo comes out with his trademark “STOP” sign and looks really terrible. Can’t stop Pondo? I wish someone would. The suplex on the chairs that Rare took was a pretty neat little spot. Both of these guys look absolutely terrible. I’ve seen panhandlers by the Reds stadium in better physical condition. Super awful neckbreaker by Rare with Pondo tangled in the wire. I noticed that there were storm clouds in the distance. If these guys really wanted to tempt fate, they could climb a ladder in the middle of the ring with lightning in the area. Hey, whaddaya know! They did exactly that! Finish has a run in from some redneck who whacks Pondo in the back with a kendo stick which lead to Pondo taking one of the worst recorded bumps off a ladder in history.

4) Shane Smalls vs. Jerek Tyler – 3
A non-tournament match here and I don’t know either of these guys so hopefully this will be a decent showing. Pace seemed really frantic with them mostly going from one move straight into the other. They must have been watching Japan tapes (yes, I said tapes) because I saw them blatantly rip off some strong-style kick and strike exchanges. I also saw Smalls do a Low Ki spot where he did the mat slap before delivering a big kick to the head. I’ll give them credit though, they managed to pull off all their high spots despite the fact that it was raining during the match, thus making the ropes slippery. Finish was royally fucked up with Tyler hitting a sloppy looking Phoenix Splash and Smalls rolling out of the pin immediately after getting hit. Can’t say I was really impressed with either guy here.

5) Freakshow vs. Travis Locke – Smash, Bam, Pow, and Crash Match – 3
There’s a huge puddle in the ring as apparently this match happened right after a massive downpour. To me, the whole match seemed to be Freakshow just giving Locke an epic beating and felt like every other match I’ve seen of this style. There was a great moment when Locke grabbed a tennis racket weapon only to have it break apart and the Freakshow just ruined his night by punching him straight in the face. Locke was put over huge by kicking out of Freakshow’s finisher. Loved Freakshow hitting an elbow off the apron to the ground and landing with all his weight right on top of Locke.

6) Damien Payne vs. Josh Crow – Loose Light Tubes Match – 4
These guys have to be some of the most non-descipt generic dudes ever so I’m not really expecting much out of this. Another match that was soaked in rain and blood. Five minutes in and Crow is just destroyed and covered in blood. Aside from a few wild spots, it just felt like a meandering brawl with no end in sight. Crow got absolutely murdered on a light tube shot from Payne in the middle of a moonsault and then took a skull-shattering Canadian Destoyer on the ground. Crow, not to be outdone, hit an awesome Spanish Fly into a huge puddle of water and then a pretty swank German suplex. This ring is just wrecked. There is blood, water, and glass everywhere. Payne’s Canadian Destoyer from the second rope was a pretty wild way to end. I’ll give this a bonus point for some of the wild spots but that’s about it.

7) Matt Tremont vs. Sid Fabulous – Barbed Wire Massacre Match – 3
I’m guessing this is from the next day as everything has dried out and the sky is bright blue. Sid is from HWA, which is our local fed, and it’s really strange to seem him working is HWA gimmick in front of a bunch of rednecks who have no clue who he is. Sid just got bludgeoned here and looked like a kid who looked like he took an epic beating from the school bully over lunch money. Tremont’s head butts were pretty sick, including one towards the end of the match that sounded like two bowling balls clacking together in the ball return. Tremont’s Razor’s Edge off the apron through some barbed wire was probably the highlight.

8) Neil Diamond Cutter vs. American Kickboxer #2 – Nathan’s Sadistic Playground Match – 3
Who is Nathan and what fucked up childhood must he have had in order to come up with some of these contraptions? Some of the more interesting ones include a goofy looking football goalpost with light tubes and a bed frame wrapped in barbed wire called a “Deathbed” (ok, I’ll admit, that’s pretty clever). Kickboxer is another guy from HWA, and I was actually in attendance when he acquired that moniker. Wonderful botch by Kickboxer on a springboard off the ropes. Kickboxer seemed he was intentionally wrestling around the weapons and trying to work a normal match. Cutter took a wild bump on a sunset flip off of one ladder onto another. Nothing here to really get excited about.

9) Ron Mathis vs. Devon Maximus - Bundles of Joy Match – 4
Mathis is another local guy who’s been making waves on the regional indy circuit and actually got a few bookings in CZW this year. Maximus certainly looked nothing like a Roman gladiator and had he competed in ancient days at the Colisseum, he probably would have been eaten by a tiger. Mathis was the star here taking some wild bumps and doing some awesome selling, which is the sole reason you should watch this match. I had a big problem with one spot where Devon took a sick half-nelson suplex and then popped right up and went into his next spot, which involved kicking Mathis in the head. A good chuckle was had when Mathis tried a piledriver from the second rope and it snapped sending both guys crashing to the canvas. A bonus point here just for Mathis’ selling and crazy bumping.

10) Josh Crow vs. Shane Smalls – 2
Not a stellar way to end this night. I never though a guy could top himself in non-descriptness (is that even a word?) but Crow found a way to do it. Crow’s lockups are really, really loose and no force in them, almost like a kid in junior high locking up for the first time during wrestling practice. Double arm drag spot was blown all to hell. Crow exudes about as much emotion as a corpse and the whole match seems like the blind leading the blind. Inverted piledriver by Crow was nice and I’m surprised that I actually found something worthwhile in this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chono & Muta vs. Public Enemy

Masahiro Chono and Great Muta vs. Public Enemy - WCW Monday Nitro 7/14/97

This would have been a dream pairing for me in '97.  nWo Japan doesn't like the cut of Public Enemy's jib and get tired of waiting so attack them before they even get into the ring.  Funny moment where Chono mocks their arm waving shtick in the aisle -- here comes the Hotstepper indeed!  They must have been giving away free pulled pork sammies because this crowd is just insane.  PE does the old double countdown punches in the corner bit and the crowd chanting "1, 2, 3, 4" etc. sound louder than the one that year in NYC counting in reverse on New Year's Eve.  Chono actually sells a bit for Rocco which was a pleasant surprise.  Muta looks like he'd raided Louie Spicolli's suitcase and swallowed some uppers as he's bouncing around like a Super Rubber Ball.  Muta spews green gunk all over Grunge's peaked face then Chono kicks his skull in with a Mafia kick.  Tons of fun.  I was actually looking for Chono/Muta vs. Steiners this morning from Nitro and stumbled upon this and couldn't pass it up.  Now if you'll excuse me I've got a Boris Zhukov playlist to watch (vs. Blue Blazer, Hogan, Duggan - Flag Match, Tito, etc.).

TNA No Surrender 2012: The Main Event

This one is obviously a spoiler, so if you haven't seen the show/don't want to know the outcome of the BFG Series, avert ye eyes.
Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray - 6

This match was all about emotion. Jeff had been dealt a shoulder injury by a member of Aces and Eights, so immediately we had that psychology going into the match. The match itself was not a pure wrestling wonder, of course, but it was a 101 in emotion and psych. Jeff Hardy has to be one of the best emotional sellers in the biz. His facial expressions and gripping of the injured body part do more than get the crowd behind him. Bully would go after the shoulder like a rabid wolf on deer carcass, and Jeff would milk it all for all it was worth. The finish was amazing and led to a great pop. This was just so emotional and awesome to watch unfold.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TV Time Remaining: WWF Shotgun Saturday Night 1997 - Part 1

With Jessie unfortunately going on an indefinite hiatus, I'm going to take over the series he created which I really liked, TV Time Remaining. For the uninitiated, this will basically be review of the main events (“main event” in this case classified as the last match on the show) from a whole year of TV. Unlike with the first of these articles a while back, these will now be split into four pieces per year for easier reading. Part 1 will cover January through March, part 2 - April through June, Part 3 - July through September, and the final part will cover October through December.

1. Mini Vader vs. Mascarita Sagrada Jr. (1/4/97) – 3
Before the match even began, I could tell this wasn’t going to be taken seriously at all as Todd Pettingill did a redition of one of the most annoying songs of the 90s, Macarena, while changing the words to make fun of Sagrada. I have to comment also on the lighting. This particular show was lit like shit and every surrounding the ring was really, really dark. Not sure where Mini Vader came from but he was moving around really good and took a wild bump after he missed a big corner charge and delivered a hard powerbomb late in the match. Sagrada busted out some sick aerials, including a huge dive to the floor. This felt more like a time killing sprint but it was fun for what it was.

2. Rocky Maivia vs. Razor Ramon #2 (1/11/97) – 3
Ok, I have to admit, this wasn’t the actual main event of this episode. A tag match with Furnas & LaFon agains the Headbangers closed this episode out but only about two minutes of it aired. This was the last match to air in full on this episode. I have to say, it was lit much better and you could clearly see the whole venue. Besides this little stint, did Razor Ramon #2 ever have a career anywhere? I didn’t hear much about him before or since. Also, why is the Honky Tonk Man at ringside? As for the match itself, it felt sort of sloppy in parts, much like the super nacho platter served at the restaruant they were wrestling in this night. Rocky took a beating for what seemed like the duration of the match after throwing two straight dropkicks to begin things. Can’t believe that Razor got beat with one of the crappiest shoulderbreakers I’ve ever seen.

3. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Goldust (1/18/97) – 2
This was the only episode to take place in a night club outside of New York as this was in San Antonio, the night before the Royal Rumble. I got pretty excited to hear this match announced for the show but was rather disappointed as this was barely a five minute match that morphed into a huge brawl courtesy of Terry Funk. Opening minutes before the first commercial were good but that was about it.

4. Sycho Sid vs. Crush (1/25/97) – 3
This certainly was a strange match on paper. I don’t think these two ever fought before or since. Sid tried to bang Crush’s head into the steps but missed. Gotta give it to Crush though, he sold it anyway. I enjoyed this because it had a brawling feel to it instead of a straight wrestling match. Sid reversing the heart punch was pretty much a a given. Interesting finish as Sid hit the powerbomb but instead of getting the pin, he grabbed a chair and started swinging it widly. Fairly decent match this was.

5. The Headbangers vs. The Godwinns (2/1/97) – 3
Trivia time! This is actually a re-match from the first ever Shotgun match when the Headbangers were dressed as the Flying Nuns. Phineas working as the face in peril was pretty good but both teams just seemed to be coasting. Headbangers hit a few nice offensive moves but it was painfully obvious that the crowd just wasn’t into this. Henry had some really shitty punches off the hot tag. The no contest finish with both teams brawling into the crowd felt like it was made up on the spot since the show ran out of time. Not much to see here.

6. The Godwinns & Aldo Montoya vs. Faarooq, Crush, & Savio Vega (2/8/97) – 4
First off, I should mention that the score on this is based on the fact that this was originally a singles bout between Savio and Aldo that got converted into a six-man when the Godwinns and the Nation wandered down to ringside. Aldo doing some of the best selling I’ve seen thus far on this set during the singles portion and just taking some killer kicks fro Savio. At the end of this whole segment, it really seemed pointless to make this a six-man since the Godwinns never got tagged in. Highlight of the six-man portion was Aldo busting out a nice DDT. Aside from that, it was basically a three-on-one handicap match with Aldo just getting completely squashed. Finish was really convoluted with a huge brawl around ringside and Aldo getting pinned in the chaos. Probably the best of the best of the night club main events as this was the last episode to air from those type locations.

7. The Headbangers vs. The New Blackjacks (2/22/97) – 2
This started as yet another match in a seemingly endless series between the Headbangers and the Godwinns but after about 30 seconds, the Blackjacks interfered, beating up the Godwinns. I was enjoying seeing Windham and Bradshaw stiff the Headbangers until there was MORE interference from the stupid Godwinns.

8. Henry Godwinn vs. Bradshaw (3/1/97) – 3
I was hoping that these two would have a pretty rough and rugged match but sad to say that was not the case here. Sure, there were a few hard hitting spots, like Hank’s big ol’ belly-to-belly suplex and Bradshaw countering with a big boot but most of this felt like they were just going through the motions. Of the two, I’d say Bradshaw was definitely working a bit more snug. Switcheroo at the end by the Blackjacks was a unique way to end it although it’s been done to death since.

9. Doug Furnas & Phi LaFon vs. Aldo Montoya & Bob Holly (3/8/97) – 4
Montoya and Holly seem like the world’s most random pairing, especially with them still using their old wacky gimmicks from 1995. The pace on this was pretty quick and brisk and the nearfall sequences with Holly and Furnas were surprisingly good and had the crowd into it. Montoya took a vicious head-and-arm suplex towards then end that made me cringe. Only thing I didn’t like about this was the really sloppy Doomsday Device attempt by Furnas and LaFon. Other than that, probably my favorite match out of this project thus far.

10. Hector Garza vs. Heavy Metal (3/15/97) – 4
Lucha on Shotgun? Sure, why the hell not. The matches on here seem to be more random by the week. Garza was the star of this match, busting out a wild dropkick at the beginning and taking a wild bump on the steps. Heavy Metal’s punching didn’t do a thing for me. I’ve seen a light wind have more effect than his shodding offense. Mat work here was decent, but nothing really extraordinary. Another fairly enjoyable match.

11. Goldust vs. Tony DeVito (3/22/97) – 2
Squash time and Goldust just destroyed DeVito, the poor schmuck. Pillman on commentary had me rolling saying that at least DeVito “will get a hot lunch” for competing. God, that was huge load to lift on the Curtain Call for Goldust to finish off the match.

12. The New Blackjacks vs. R.T Williams & Rod Bell (3/30/97) – 2
A match here in the vein of the old Steiner squashes were the Blackjacks just murder these hapless souls. Clothesline and brawling were featured by the Blackjacks as were neck braces and ice packs for the jobbers afterwards.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ECW Fancam - Allentown, PA 9/27/96

Match #1: Taz vs. Jimmy Cicero
Score: 2
Thoughts: You can see why they stuck Alfonso with Taz as his generally annoying presence (that damned whistle) helped give Taz some heat whereas without him fans may have rallied behind the relatively silent bad-ass in a sort of antihero way.  To his credit Taz did try to egg on the live crowd a few times during the short duration of this, doing stuff like mocking Sabu's pose and challenging people in the the audience.  A few of Taz's stomps looked like shit.  Overall, though, Taz looked in the best physical shape of his career, had great flexibility on his throws, and came off like a fairly major deal.  Cicero gets no offense in and was choked out in a couple minutes.

Match #2: Mikey Whipwreck vs. J.T. Smith
Score: 3
Thoughts: Smith wore a Goodfellas t-shirt and had a whole entourage of losers with him.  Mikey looked like a guy that got lost on his way to the comic book shop.  J.T. does a good job early exhibiting frustration that it isn't easier putting away the fat kid from Stand By Me.  Very ugly spot where J.T. tried a baseball slide kick to Mikey on the floor where Whipwreck was supposed to dodge it and Smith lackey Devon Storm would eat it instead but Smith got tied up in the ropes and looked like a doofus.  Wait, was this when Smith was still purposefully blowing spots?  I don't remember.  Props to Mikey for trying a slingshot hurricanrana from the ring out onto Smith on the floor.  Lots of spots with Smith cronies that were cumbersome.  Mikey garners a few big crowd reactions.  Awesome finish with a super huricanrana from the top that saw Smith get spiked head-first into the mat like a lawn dart.

3. Buh Buh Ray Dudley and Spike Dudley vs. The Erotic Experience
Score: 3
Thoughts: Dudley's are over huge with the crowd.  Buh Buh mixes in some homophobic hate speech during his pre-match promo -- must be a Romney supporter.  One-half of EE is Chris Chetti, unsure of the other guy, although is face is as bloated as the one on the corpse of Satchmo.  No real match layout to dissect but nothing too extraneous or bad to speak of.  I do dig Ray's vocality including screaming "Shit!" after having his pin cover broken by a half-assed forearm shot.  Post-match nonsensical melee with D-Von Dudley and Axl Rotten joining together with Erotic Experience to pummel Buh Buh until he took them all out with a dangerous looking dive that wiped them out; seeing Axl clutching his knee worriedly brought a smile to my face.

4. Kronus vs. Terry Gordy
Score: 3
Thoughts: Kronus looked like someone stuck an air hose up his ass and inflated him.  Gordy looks like he's knocking on death's door, tripping up over his own feet during a tepid brawl on the floor, leaning against the ropes to keep himself standing, etc.  Terry's powerbomb looked like he was folding laundry.  I wonder if his boy Slam Master J ever screened this.  Gordy won in short order with the Asiatic Spike thumb chokehold which Kronus sold like he was asphyxiating on his own vomit (which he pulled off convincingly given his experience with that very thing).

5. Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee
Score: 6
Thoughts: Beulah was a nice change visually after all the flabby fucks on display so far.  This actually started off molten hot with Lee tossing Dreamer all over the place and Tommy bumping with gusto.  Lee slams a metal barrel over TD's back which I swear he stole from Double Dragon.  Lee looks like the dual bodyguard/guitar tech for Wyckyd Sceptre.  Parking lot brawl sees Dreamer take a nasty suplex onto the asphalt.  Now whenever I see a match leave the building I can't help but be disappointed as nothing tops that CZW show where Moxley left all that DNA on a picnic table.  I was all set to make Brian Lee jokes but he's came off here better than any Shawn Michaels performance in '96 so I'm sort of letdown all my material's going to waste.  At first I kind of thought the finish was shit (Dreamer gets his ass beaten all over Allentown then when it finally gets back to the ring he scores a quick DDT for the victory) but it puts over his finisher strongly and got across he had to resort to it to survive the onslaught.  Good stuff.

6. Handicap Match: New Jack vs. Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie
Score: 2
Thoughts: If you haven't watched New Jack's 2012 RF Video shoot interview yet then stop reading this and go buy it -- maybe my favorite shoot ever.  NJ is wearing a Naughty By Nature shirt.  I'm sure it's balled up somewhere on Terri Runnels' floor today.  Jack dishes out a beating early that looks like surveillance camera footage of a violent mugging.  Did you know Meanie has a moderately decorous reverse DDT?  And then the finish?  Even Sasha Grey would have a hard time swallowing that.

7. Pitbull 2 vs. Shane Douglas
Score: 2
Thoughts: Fast-forwarded over an assuredly vitriolic Douglas promo.  Francine gets tossed around in a tiny skirt and G-string so we get plenty of shots of her pisser.  We also get some shots of Pitbull I in headgear if that's more your thing as I wouldn't judge.  Odd that for a guy that supposedly hates Ric Flair so much you can see Douglas aped a bunch of his shtick off Flair.  Weird moment outside the ring where they awkwardly (Scott Hall would call it a "stumble bumble" and only ardent TNA viewers will catch that one) played tug of war with a chair like they were fighting over a taco at Jack in the Box.  Just a horse shit finish.

8. Perry Saturn vs. Sabu
Score: 4
Thoughts: Sabu exuded an aura of mystery while Saturn approximated a homeless guy found in a Big Lots dumpster.  Sabu almost breaks his neck flipping over the ropes onto Perry on the floor then Saturn inexplicably cuddles Sabu and blatantly speaks to him like a father telling his son from the losing baseball team "Good job, pal."  Saturn screwed up the table bridge Sabu built by slipping slightly off the apron and putting his foot down cracking the table to which some belligerent fan in the crowd yelled "You fucked it up fat ass!"  Amen.  If Sabu was the Peppermint Patty of ECW that'd make Saturn the Franklin.  As Marcy would say, "Nice botch, sir!"

No wonder Saturn started talking to a mop than went off the grid to recreate the druggy haze of Gaspar NoĆ©'s Enter the Void but traded Japan for some retched Minnesotan lake town.  "I'd like to rent a canoe for the day" they'd ask.  "Well, sorry, we're all out of rentals, but I've got a bloated, unshaven Perry Saturn out by the dock that smells of menthols and SpaghettiOs".  "No thanks!  I'll just take the ginger ale and beef jerky and be back on my way on the road."  "Well, I don't want you to leave empty-handed, how about some celebrity up-skirt shots, 3 for $5!  I've got this real fine one of Natalie Portman riding up the escalator at the Maplewood Mall."

How'd Sabu's flying DDT off the top look?  I'll give you three guesses and it rhymes with "bit".  We finally get a garbage spot worth rewinding when Sabu hits a tornado (more like a mild breeze) DDT off the apron onto another bridged table.  I will say Saturn's flying elbow easily kills CM Punk's and just about everyone else's from the past twenty years. 

9. Steel Cage Match: Raven vs. The Sandman
Score: 3
Thoughts: Sandman looks like my junior high school janitor minus the tattoo of Rambo (or was that a dream?) and only possesses a modicum more of wrestling talent.  Raven crafts about as much story here as those flimsy Spider-Man comics he wrote on codeine.  I ordered this show to see a rare ECW cage match only to find them brawling out through the crowd like a typical ECW match.  Some fascist tries to hand Raven his shitty band's demo mid-match.  That's as likely to work as impressing a girl because your Panda Express card only needs to be punched once more for a free entree.  Meanie, Richards, and Nova are all in the ring further filling this toilet bowl with turds.  Someone bring me a plunger and quick.  Maybe we'll finally answer the question: "How many junkies does it take to beat a drunk?"  Sandman's wife somehow ends up handcuffed to the cage and he rips open her blouse revealing her pasty fake jugs.  It gets classier though as Sandman's little boy gets in the ring inches away from mommy's fun bags and watches daddy get a concussion while a blood-soaked Raven clings onto his adolescent frame.  ECW diehards need to re-watch some of the back catalogue because this is the wrestling equivalent of diarrhea spraying out of your dick.