Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WrestleMania Tournament: Finals

It's came down from 32 to just 2 matches! What is the greatest WrestleMania match of all-time? Help declare a victor by placing your vote now!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WrestleMania Tournament: Semifinals

The tournament is almost over and WrestleMania is almost here. Get your votes in as the finals begin this Wednesday 3/28!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TNA Victory Road '12

1. Bully Ray vs. James Storm - 2
2. Austin Aries (c) vs. Zema Ion - X Division Championship Match - 5

Opener was one of those quick 30 sec. flash KO finishes but the visual of Ray eating the Last Call and spitting beer into the air was aesthetically scintillating. Aries turned in another exciting flawless performance and seems to have the brass and Twitter support base now. Some great moments, Ion taking a nasty spill being shoved from the buckles and going splat on the floor, Aries' Heat Seeking Missle, Ion finally did his moonsault to the floor (the same move that nearly paralyzed Sorrenson) again in an uncomfortable callback, Zema got a little sloppy toward the end but Aries got it back on track before it unspooled with a vicious brainbuster followed by the Last Chancery for the finish. Good stuff.

3. Samoa Joe and Magnus (c) vs. Crimson and Matt Morgan - World Tag Team Championship Match - 3

Tag match was all about the dissolution of Morgan/Crimson. But it was interesting, as you've got the kayfabe part, them bickering, Crimson going into it for himself, etc. as well as the real life component of the crowd chanting "Tag in your partner!" at Crimson because they've soured on him and his monstrous push. Not sure if it was intended to be captured on camera but Matt got a rare audible "fuck you" out on TV while giving his ex-partner the Nate Diaz double-bird salute. Crimson going heel was about the only viable route so this served more as storyline construction and less of an actual competitive match.

4. Robbie E (c) vs. Devon - TV Championship Robbie E Invitational Match - 2

Devon came through the crowd to answer this open challenge. Another short match with Devon exhibiting some fire and getting (to my knowledge) his first-ever singles title. He can put it up on his mantle next to the his Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for "Worst Worked Match of the Year" from '06. I can't imagine his reign being anything but as horrifying as Baghead. Robbie has grown on me recently as his appearances on the Spin Cycle on TNA Xplosion are always humorous.

5. Gail Kim (c) vs. Madison Rayne - Knockouts Championship Match - 4

Women's match plays up the animosity between supposed "friends". Give these girls 15+ min. in Berwyn in-front of an appreciative crowd and you've got something but these Orlando mutes render it flatter than Linda McMahon. Gail looked she hurt herself worse than Rayne on a big missile dropkick that resembled Kim taking a flat back bump off of a house like she was Clark W. Griswold, Jr. I guess given that scenario Dixie Carter would be Frank Shirley. Slick transition into the finish. #SPEWEY is trending worldwide.

6. Daniels and Kazarian vs. AJ Styles and Mr. Anderson - 5

I could watch Daniels and Styles wrestle any time -- two of our generation's smoothest faux fighters. AJ takes a sick bump off of the apron into the rail. That guy takes more abuse than Rhianna. What secret does Daniels have over Kaz? He into water sports? On its own this is fine but it seriously feels like most of these guys are treading water at the moment. Anderson is our generation's Corporal Kirchner -- poor schmuck. Very awesome counter of the moonsault>inverted DDT of Styles as Daniels dropped down to his back and stuck his knees up so AJ landed in an uncomfortable place (not altogether unlike the one Shannon Hamilton from Mallrats likes to fuck girls in). Really hot finishing sequence with Kaz/Styles.

7. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle - 7

Loved the goofy Angle line in the build about going into his son's room to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight and when he rolled him over little Cody was wearing a Hardy shirt, had dyed his hair, and was wearing face paint. Really good match, started sedate, but started flowing and picking up organically until we got into full-on Kurt Angle formula with people kicking out of and/or countering finishers, nearfalls, etc. Angle is sort of mercurial and in that sense one of wrestling's true enigmas. I'm hoping that this leads to a rematch of some sort.

8. Booby Roode (c) vs. Sting - No Holds Barred Match - 6

Sting's face paint is pretty cool: half-"Crow Sting" and half-"Joker Sting". Unfortunately no "Sparkie" from The Real Reason (Men Commit Crimes). Shame on you to Ashlynn Moore who, in the mini biography she submitted on Sting to IMDB said he's the "only wrestler who has never worked for WWE". Someone call Sid Fabulous and let me know he's moving to Connecticut! What idiocy. Crowd wildly chants "You've still got it!" at Sting. What? Hep C? Sting is moving around well early including an impressive dropkick. Roode takes some rude bumps on the ramp. Crazy to see Sting busting out a superplex in '12.

Crazy "OMG!" moment and absolute blunder when Sting hits the Scorpion Deathdrop but didn't realize there was an open chair behind him and crushed it with the back of his own skull -- unreal! Or, wait? That was the finish. So, then, it was planned. In that case, kudos to Sting for pulling it off, as he didn't hold back at all and definitely gave himself a little brain damage in the process. Interesting finish, though, clever even, as it kept the "icon" protected and makes Roode seem like even more of a weasel.

WrestleMania Tournament: Quarterfinals

The tournament is winding down! Get your votes in as the semifinals begin this Sunday 3/25!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WCW Uncensored 2000

1. The Artist vs. Psychosis – 4
Artist may hav been a Prince rip-off but I really dug his music. Juvi is ringside in Psychosis’ corner. I wonder how high he was at the time? I think someone in the back missed a cue as the bell rang and the competitors just sort of awkwardly stood around until Chris Candido came out for guest commentary. Call me crazy but I’m really enjoying this. Psychosis seemed to be pretty much spot on with his assortment of high risk stuff. I loved the front facebuster and the huge guillotene leg drop. Artist kept his offense pretty ground based but that jumping DDT from the second rope was tits.

2. Lenny Lane & Rave vs. Norman Smiley & The Demon – 2
Talk about a completely random tag team match, this is it. Smiley looks really odd coming out wearing Demon’s gear and trence coat with KISS face paint. Yikes, Lane and Rave tried a double clothesline on the Demon that resulted in not only Demon falling down, it resulted in Lance and Rave falling down as well. Norman looks terrible in that Demon t-shirt. Wonder what sad sap bought one of those at the merchandise stand? This felt more like something that should’ve been on TV instead of PPV.

3. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. The Wall – 3
Here’s a match that had some good and some bad. The good was these two just throwing down in the middle of the ring and down the aisleway. The bad here was the horrible looking bump Bigelow took through a table and the goofy explosion one of the giant computer monitors made. I don’t think there was a finish to this. If there was, it was never mentioned. David Flair and Crowbar come out to brawl with The Wall and eventually Wall and Crowbar wind up on the side of the giant screen where Crowbar takes a pretty awesome bump through the stage. I’ll give this some points for the few minutes of acceptable in-ring and Crowbar’s wild bump.

4. Three Count vs. Brian Knobbs – 3-on-1 Handicap Hardcore Gauntlet Match – 5
Not sure why Helms is wearing that mask. He looks like a bad stand in for Kato from Green Hornet or a terrible Lone Ranger impersonator. The rules here are that Knobbs has to beat all three members of Three Count to win. Damn, Helms nearly killed Knobbs with a hard ass chair shot. Like them or not, Three Count’s bumping here was just fantastic. Karagais took a pretty sick powerbomb from the ring through a table. Thought the spot where Helms, Moore, and Karagias took turns jumping off the ladder was a bit contrived. Compared to the rest of the match, finish was pretty lame with Knobbs splashing a trash can off the top rope on to Moore. Really had a lot of fun watching this.

5. Booker T & Billy Kidman vs. Harlem Heat 2000 – 3
Not quite sure it was explained why Kidman and his Tommy Hilfiger shorts are teaming with Booker T. What in the hell happened to Big T, the former Ahmed Johnson? Looks like he put on at least a hundred pounds since he was in WWF. I’ll give him credit though, he still moves pretty well and hit a pretty nice sidekick. Kidman bumped around good for the rather immobile members of Harlem Heat and Booker got some good offense in but this really felt like it was rushed for time.

6. Fit Finlay vs. Vampiro – Falls Count Anywhere Match – 6
I cringe every time I see Vampiro on the card but I rather enjoyed some of his work here. The spin kick from the top rope was good, as was the spot he kicked a chair into Finlay’s face so hard it broke. Brawl in the men’s room was a real fun aspect and Vampiro jumping off the top of a stall was completely nutty. The fighting on the concourse was pretty poorly lit as it was all red and felt like it was in an underground night club. Again, match felt like it was rushed for time but still, check this out if your looking for a fun way to kill about eight minutes.

7. The Harris Brothers vs. The Mamalukes – No DQ Match – 3
Sort of forgot about the fact that Big Vito and Johnny the Bull were a pretty decent team. Johnny had pretty good agility and Vito was really into the character. Most of the Harris offense was punching and do some generic power stuff. Both teams tried a double team powerbomb in the middle of the match and both looked awful. Mamalukes went straight from one move to the next without a breath.

8. Dustin Rhodes vs. Terry Funk – Bullrope Match – 4
So the first move of the match was Funk hitting Dustin with a chicken. Yes, a chicken, as in one that you might find in the grocery store. Bulldog on the cowbell from Dustin was very interesting. Could have done without the interference from an uknown assailant in a chicken suit. Some trademark Funk stuff here with his selling and his crazy theatrics. Rhodes spent the majority of the bout working Funk over with the cowbell. This felt somewhat homogenized without any blood but it was enjoyable for what it was.

9. Lex Luger vs. Sting – Lumberjack Match – 2
The action here was passable but there seemed like there was ton of stuff going on. Story here was that Luger had broken the arms of all the lumberjacks over the course of the past few months, including Sting. The mess began with Tank Abbott coming down and hitting Doug Dillenger for no apparent reason, then after all the lumberjacks were gone, we got interference from Flair, Liz, and Vampiro. Real messy match.

10. Sid Vicious vs. Jeff Jarrett - 2
It’s early 2000’s Jarrett so of course than means a crowd brawl about two minutes in. Jarrett’s work from this era has a really bad rap, and it’s warranted. He’s a lazy in the ring as a sloth and his matches were always big, overbooked messes that usually ended with a guitar shot. Speaking of which, we get a ref bump and said guitar shot. Good god, this got shitty fast with a second ref bump, interference from Hogan and The Harris Brothers, and then after match interference from Scott Steiner. Puke.

11. Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan – Strap Match – 6
Yes, Flair and Hogan main eventing a pay-per-view in 2000. I liked the way this started, with Flair running down after Hogan getting beaten down by Steiner and Jarrett at the end of the last match and Hogan having to come back right from the start. Hogan was still able to move around decently. Trademark Flair stuff here with the bump from the top rope, blood, and constant chopping. Why is Jimmy Hart in the ring and why isn’t the referee doing anything about it? I thought this was supposed to be a match where the winner is supposed to touch all four buckles in succession but Hogan won on a pinfall. You know what, this may not be the best match between the two, as a matter of fact, it wasn’t, but I certainly enjoyed this. So I’m going to recommend it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WrestleMania Tournament: Round 2 - Blocks A & B

The tournament continues! Get your votes in as the quarterfinals begin this Thursday 3/22! If you've got a couple spare minutes leave your thoughts on your picks in the comments section.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Upcoming Blog Additions

Greetings NHO faithful!

We here at the NHO offices hope everyone is enjoying the build to WrestleMania as much as we are.

Over the next few weeks, we will be adding some new features to the blog including a page for our personal NHO Hall of Fame, a bios section of the NHO staff, and possibly a new, wrestling related project that the crew has been working on for a while now.

The new Hall of Fame page is now up for your reading pleasure. Keep an eye out for more additions coming soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

WrestleMania Tournament: Round 1 - Block B

Our greatest match in WrestleMania tournament continues! Here's the second-half of the first round. Lots of great matches and moments.

Let's have some fun! Please join in on the discussion in the comments and make your case.

Round One - Block (B) "Big Time"
Polls close and new match-ups posting this Tue. 3/20.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ROH 10th Anniversary Show iPPV 3/4/12

1. Glory By Honor X Tag Team Rematch: Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) vs The All Night Xpress (Rhett Titus & Kenny King) - 3
2. Special Attraction: "Notorious 187" Homicide vs "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob & Maria Kanellis - 3
3. Special Attraction Tag Team Match: The Amazing Red & "Technical Lightning" TJ Perkins vs The House of Truth ("Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & Roderick Strong) w/ Truth Martini - 5

Rhett came back from his knee injury way earlier than the projected date and it showed as he was doughy and tubby and didn't look like he should have been out there yet. Of course WGTT targeted the leg. Best thing of the match was Haas' right hands. Surprised ANX went over. Homicide and Bennett didn't gel real smoothly and the undercurrent of CM Punk fetishizing (Homicide doing the Go to Sleep, "CM Punk" and "Sloppy seconds" chants at Maria/Bennett) made them seem minor league. Still there was something entertaining to me in the dystopia. Elgin is a great base for small guys and with TJ and Red you've got two of the best so this was largely good. Red did a series of four consecutive spinkicks to Strong's stomach which while sounding simple was such a sweet fluid spot.

4. ROH World Television Championship: Jay Lethal (c) vs. "The Dominant Male" Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Embassy LTD - 5
5. ROH World Tag Team Championship: Jay & Mark Briscoe (c) vs. The Young Bucks - 6
6. NO DQ – Grudge Match: Jimmy Jacobs vs. "Wrestling's Worst Nightmare" Kevin Steen - 5

You could tell Ciampa and Lethal was going to the 15 min. time limit and it did. You've got Kelly on commentary saying Tomasso just has one speed "straight ahead" which came off so bad when Ciampa was stalling so bad stretching out the time. Still, this had some neat moments, including a really nasty Emerald Frosien on the apron by TC. Briscoes versus Bucks wasn't all-out fireworks as some expected but I liked the way it played out (similarly thematically to the episode "Three Men and a Dragon" of Captain N: The Game Master) albeit knowing how unlikely a Young Bucks win was. The build was good on TV and the internet with Briscoes cutting some money promos (big surpsrise they've been on fire lately i.e. "Terry Funk don't wear no mouthpiece!"). Loved the double hip-toss throw where they launched one of the Bucks' airborne about 20-ft. over the top rope. No DQ match had some issues, I dug Jacobs' revealing under his fur coat the old Age of the Fall gear including bloodstained white jacket, but what I didn't like was Jacobs completely ignoring Steen's offense the first couple minutes. Some nice bumps, for certain, Steen getting slammed off of the railing onto the metal ramp, Steen juicing huge for a spike into the skull, and the finish which was so gnarly, Jacobs taking an F-5 onto two chairs pressed together back-to-back so he landed ribs/sternum first onto the hardest part of the chair -- no easy way to take that one.

7. Main Event "Young Wolves Rising": ROH World Champion Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards & Adam Cole - 7

Main event, dubbed "Young Wolves Rising" ranged from good to great, the duration (nearly 40 min.) and the exasperated crowd who they lost during a few stretches, plus the lack of a heel/face dynamic, kept this from transforming into something special. Its moniker is appropriate, though, as gone are Daniels, Styles, Joe, Punk, Cabana, Danielson, Ki, London, Shelley, Nigel, Aries, etc. so essentially Richards is the elder veteran statesmen now which still feels a little odd.

One thing that occurred to me, and this could be explored further in an essay or some other format, is that there's a big backlash nowadays (at least from some internet diehards) against this sort of "2.9" wrestling, all the big kick-outs, etc. which is popularized both in Japan and here in the states by ROH. Whereas, if you showed me this in '99 I would have flipped out and wore the cassettes out in efforts of pimping it to all of my friends. Its an interesting contrast. I'm not trying to oversimplify it but there's always a desire to rebel against whatever is current or trendy, so I think one segment of the audience, perhaps a more jaded, cynical, and contentious portion, are automatically going to tear that style apart, while others are going to not dissect it and enjoy it for its nail-biting qualities. I suppose in the case of this match I fell in the later camp, looking past some of its faults (lack of selling being the chief one) and just enjoying the physicality and drama. Cole getting the big upset victory (with a crossbody none the less!) was a genuine surprise over champ and company ace Richards. Overall, for $9.99 this was a pretty solid package and I'm pretty excited to see what the rest of the year holds for ROH.

Cinnamon Toast Punch #6

Four more random matches for your watching/reading pleasure.

The RockNES Monsters vs. The Super Smash Brothers (PWG Perils of Rock N Roll Decadence) – 5
A little bit of PWG goes a long way for me as all of their shows (except for the KRR shows) reek of familiarity as they eminate from the same venue. The Super Smash Brothers had to have spent the better part of the last year rescuing princesses and battling goombas because I sure haven’t seen them pop up in any of the mainstream indy companies (Chikara, DGUSA, etc.) until now. Player Dos must have dropped his mask in a fire swamp because he was here without one. RockNES Monsters look like two skinny hippies with their long hair and bandanas. This is one of those matches that mainly has a lot of surface material and not much underneath as it eventually broke down into a chaotic, rambling mess with no sense of who or who weren’t the legal participants. The double team manuevers were admittedly pretty cool and Player Uno took a couple wild bumps. Couple of the big spots didn’t come off completely smooth or the timing was off by a second or two. A fun enjoyable romp through the mushroom kingdom this was.

Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate (Strikeforce 3/3/12) - 6
I don’t really follow MMA as much as I do wrestling so I may be a bit out of my league here but for months it seems like I’d heard about this fight and then after hearing about how good it was I decided to search it out. From the opening bell there were zero dull moments and Tate came out of the gate swinging. The first armbar Rousey sinched in was pretty nasty looking and could have probably popped out Tate’s arm. The trip was a good takedown and the way Rousey landed looked like she’d just taken a DDT from Jake Roberts. The second armbar just completely wrecked Tate’s arm and it was really painful to watch. I enjoyed this a lot and even if you’re not an MMA fan, I still recommend you check this out.

The Nightstalker vs. Death Row 3260 (UWF 6/19/92) – 1
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I keep getting drawn to the UWF and their constant cavalcade of shitty matches. Death Row 3260 is big black guy who has a similar build to Mr. Hughes but is doing a Nailz type character. Nightstalker is the future Adam Bomb/Wrath/whatever. John Tolos is on commentary and right before the match starts, makes a rather asinine statement comparing Nightstalker to Mickey Mantle. Typical big guy match here with Nightstaker seemingly lost at every turn. The DQ finish is quite awful as Nighstalker gets DQ’ed for just grabbing his plastic axe and not even using it. Then some random black guy runs in as Death Row exits the ring as the play-by-play guy remarks “that’s Perry.”, like we’re supposed to know who the fuck that is.

Shawn Michaels & Diesel vs. The 1-2-3 Kid & Razor Ramon (WWF Action Zone 10/30/94) - 7
No, that score is not a typo. I remember this match from an old Coliseum Video tape I had as a kid and I probably haven’t seen this particular match in at least five years, maybe more. This is about as good of a 20-minute tag match you’ll be able to find in either of the two major companies in 1994 and the fact that it took place on a long forgotten show makes it even that much more special. Kid was flying all over the place, Michaels was taking bumps like crazy, Razor and Diesel threw some really big bombs at each other. Kid took one wild bump were Diesel literally tossed him across the ring from corner to corner. Just as you were getting tired of seeing Razor playing the face in peril, he starts making a comeback. My one little issue with this was with Diesel after he took the superkick from Shawn. He just laid on the apron like a corpse in no relation to how he landed after he took the kick. Ending had some real tricky timing as Kid took a big boot from Diesel just as he was getting back in the ring from being knocked out. Had that not been timed perfectly, there could have been some issues there. Didn’t really see a single blown spot or anything here. I highly recommend seeking this out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WrestleMania Tournament: Round 1 - Block A

To celebrate the WrestleMania season we're doing a WrestleMania tournament. It's a public poll so anyone can participate. 32 matches have been determined by our committee to be eligible. The brackets were randomized.

Let's have some fun! Please join in on the discussion in the comments and make your case.

Round One - Block (A) "All Grown Up"
Polls close and new match-ups posting this Sat. 3/17.

I Star of David Colt

A look at Colt Cabana's WWE career:

The Brian Kendrick vs. Scotty Goldman - WWE SmackDown! 8/15/08 - 5

Funny bit as they do one of those pre-match interviews with the split-screen like the old days and Colt goes meta realizing he's "trapped in a box" and pointing down to the other screen, like, wait, there's two of me! For having the best comedic mind in wrestling you think the PG-friendly WWE would have loved this act. Brian makes simple strikes like a leg lariat and dropkick look really hurty for such a small guy here. "Is he a modern day Loose Canon?" proposes Ross. Another character I wish would have gotten more mileage. Colt not only busts out some of his trademark great punches but a fucking King Parsons' Butt Butt! Really slick finishing sequence.

Colt Cabana vs. Matt Hardy - WWE Velocity - 3

Josh Matthews absolutely buries Colt on Cabana. Colt does some limb manipulation and I'm blown away by how loud this crowd was. Matt does a flurry of strikes culminating in a running bulldog out of the corner all of which Colt eats with zest. I liked Cabana wiggling his hips while being held pre-Twist of Fate as if he was trying to escape. Post-match, I shit you not, Animal of the Road Warriors murders Hardy.

Eugene vs. Colt Cabana - WWE Heat 11/11/05 - 4

Both guys' shtick is shtick so this was destined to be fun. Eugene apes some JYD stuff early including the headbutts>raising leg>mimicking pissing on opponent. Colt actually throws a few meaty rights. Colt's expression during during Eugene's "hulking up" segment was pastiche of all the great '80's monsters that faced Hogan i.e. Bundy, Studd, etc. Finish was different an atomic drop>Rock Bottom combo. Real fun squash.

Umaga vs. Scotty Goldman - WWE SmackDown! 2/20/09 - 2

This is very short but in that tiny duration Goldman looked great bumping big and selling well making all of Umaga's stuff look devastating and helping in his portrayal of a monster. I loved Colt's bump off of the swinging side slam -- he spun like a carousel.

Colt Cobana vs. Gunner Scott - WWE Velocity 6/10/06

Gunner would go on to be Brent Albright and stink up ROH for awhile. "Gunner Scott has definitely studied Chris Benoit" states Matthews. I hope he's burnt that textbook (or at least hocked it on Amazon). Colt delivers some nasty ground and pound to the stomach and really starts focusing on the abdomen which we don't see that often. After watching all of these its clear Colt could have been this generation's Barry Horrowitz i.e. guy getting beat in consistently entertaining squashes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Matt Morgan vs. Robbie E

Matt Morgan vs. Robbie E - TNA Xplosion 3/7/12 - 3

Bischoff must have been bored backstage as he came out and sat with Borash for commentary. A rare championship (Television title in this case) bout on Xplosion. I guess there's something to be said about Morgan going from main events and competing for the World title to wrestling on a UK only telecast in an arena with the house lights down. Robbie has a sleeper looser than any of the girls on Jersey Shore. Morgan gets a big sidewalk slam that looked good. Robbie E's muscle Robbie T interfered clubbing Morgan behind which Matt choose to sell like Superman being exposed to Kryptonite. Post-match Robbie E took a nasty bump on a toss out of the ring landing shoulder-first on the floor.

Friday, March 9, 2012

IWA East Coast "Are You Ready" 9/20/11

1. Mickie Knuckles vs. Jay Bly – 2
2. Mad Man Pondo & 2 Tuff Tony vs. Trik Nasty & T.J. Phillips – 0

Apparently Bly is a substitute for whoever was supposed to face Mickie in the first place. He’s got Mario mushrooms on his tights and comes out wearing a Family Guy t-shirt. Guess he couldn’t decide which franchise to rep. Horrible botch on a Irish Whip and the follow up move, whatever it was supposed to be. I’m sort of surprised that Mickie took as much offense from this scrub as she did. Nothing too exciting here. The tag match was thirty seconds of nothing as the only purpose it served was to set up a six-man tag for later.

3. Matt Conrad vs. Bulldozer - 2
When I saw Bulldozer listed on the show, my immediate thought was of Bulldozer Matt Tremont. I couldn’t have been any further off. The Bulldozer here is a huge 300-pounder dressed in a black singlet with a yellow stripes on it and a black and yellow mask. I began wondering if he got his name by bulldozing buffet dinners at Golden Corral. Conrad is probably about a third of the size of his opponent and took a hell of a beating. Highlights here were Conrad getting launched through the railing and then Bulldozer doing a huge running flip just squashing Conrad in the corner.

4. Jason Gory vs. Alex Colon vs. Adam Cole vs. Façade vs. Ophidian - 3
This was one of those scramble matches that most every fed likes to have with the high flyers. This has quite the interesting array of talent involved as there’s guys from ROH, CZW, and CHIKARA. Colon and Gory were pretty much afterthoughts as most of the match was centered around Façade, Cole, and Ophidian. Cole and Ophidian really didn’t seem like they fit in at all in front of the redneck crowd. Façade always seems to be quite content to get by on just his wild offense. Couple decent things here, mostly from Façade, but it broke down too fast in the first act, an area which should have been used to build up to the high flying moves, and quickly went to act three. Sort of like starting with winter and 20 degree weather and one month later jumping right into summer and 80 degree weather.

5. Zac Vincent vs. Viper - 2
Any hope I had for this match immediately diminished when Vincent came out dressed in ultra short black tights and boots with frilly things all over them. Does Viper even care at all? He was completely no selling chops from Vincent and noticeably chewing gum. He exuted as much expression than a couch cushion. Vincent is so frightengly thin that he makes anorexics look fat. Vincent hit a couple nice kicks and did a wacky dance which led the hillbilly announcers proclaim that he was Native American. For the record, one of these announcers sounds almost exactly like the character Dickie Bennett from the TV show Justified. No reason these guys should ever wrestle again … ever.

6. Jason Kincaid vs. Vance Desmond - 3
Two IWA East Coast originals squaring off in this one. Desmond is obviously the heel since he comes out with a rather large dude named Woody Numbers. Kincaid I saw on the last IWA East Coast show I reviewed of theirs against Chris Hero and I wasn’t very impressed with him. Hero was able to guide him through to a passable match but here, he looked sloppy with bad timing on a couple spots. One major negative he has going for him though is his look. While it is recognizable, it just completely screams silly with the dreads, the mountain man beard, the blue singlet with stars, and the fuzzy boots. Desmond seemed content just to get by on being the heel alone. He exerted no extra energy to rile up the crowd and really get them to hate him. The finish here was ripped right off from the Warrior/Rude match at WrestleMania V, but this time with Numbers holding the foot of Kincaid. Not a good match by any means but better than some of the other stuff on this show.

7. Mad Man Pondo, 2 Tuff Tony, & X-Pac vs. Omega Aaron Draven, Trik Nasty, & T.J. Phillips - 4
Pondo, Tony, and X-Pac are about as strange a tandem as you can find. I’ll admit it, I sort of enjoyed this match. Granted, it wasn’t much as the heels were pretty generic but the crowd just loved X-Pac, who didn’t look too bad. Pondo used his usual assortment of chairs and stop signs much to the crowd’s delight and Tony did a couple flips that weren’t too bad. The heel control section on Tony was unbelievably flat and Draven moved around the ring pretty rigid, taking a bump and then going right on to the next thing. The finish was exactly as you though, X-Pac won with the X-Factor. I’m feeling generous with the score on this, so I’ll bump it up an extra point.

8. Sami Callihan vs. Necro Butcher – No DQ, No Count Out Match - 6
A good, all out, tear the building up brawl is exactly what this show needed and that’s exactly what we got. Really though, could anything less be expected from these two? Callihan does some early stalling and running from Necro but after Necro finally catches up with him, the fun begins as they just fight from one end of the building to the other throwing the big brown plastic trash cans at each other, Necro teasing a running powerbomb through the concessions table, a fight out into the hallway. My favorite part was the great exchange consisting of chops and headbutts they had at the top of the bleachers. The way Sami worked over Necro’s rickety old knees by using chairs and wet floor signs was great. The match gets dinged a point for the rather abrupt finish with Necro winning with a small package. I would have liked to have seen Necro get some sort of a comeback. That point aside, this match is worth checking out at least once.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Captain Carrot's Colossal Card Round-Up

Quick thoughts on all the recent MMA and wrestling activity from Earth-C's most beloved superhero!

TNA Against All Odds 2012

Potentially one of the lousiest crowds in Impact Zone history (which is covering lots of ground). Sorensen nearly being paralyzed in the opener was a tragedy. Looking back over the card the bulk of the in-ring was good; only match that was glaringly bad was Gunner vs. Garrett Bischoff and that's due to it running way too long. Aries vs. Shelley (two of my favorite ROH exports) was top-notch and I dug the physicality of Kazarian vs. Styles. Four-way main was on par with a longer iMPACT! main event and I've seen people more excited standing in the line at the post office than this audience.

UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger

Great show and hell of a debut on Fuel. Nice to see nice guy and TUF winner Jonathan Brookins get a big KO on the preliminary card. Menjivar's submission of Albert topped a fantastic round of scrapping. Stipe Miocic has deadly hands. Diego Sanchez puts into yet another FotY candidate. Can this guy have a non-exciting fight?

ROH TV 2/18/12

Another good show and video quality seemed improved. Apron bumps are dangerous and undeniably painful so I found it surprising even on a throwaway episode of TV we got at least three on this one show. Steen's monster push continues. The build for the tenth anniversary show is accelerating. I can't wait for that one. Main event didn't have much spark as Charlie Haas and Mark Briscoe lamely brawled and the roll-up finish seemed unimaginative like Once Upon a Time.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

A decent show. The last few years have seen legitimate MotY candidates birthed from "Satan's Prison". I dug all the nutty bumping in the Raw bout. I thought Ziggler was going to maim himself. Loved seeing Bryan in such a marquee bout and he was really the glue that held it together. Dare I say I enjoyed Kane's ambulance match with Shane McMahon more than the one here versus Cena?

WWE Raw 2/20/12

Usual slapdash show but built WrestleMania well. Undertaker's promo bombed. He seemed unsure, nervous and rattled like a guy cutting his first promo in-front of 30 people in an armory. Henry shouldn't have been beaten so decidedly. That battle royal was an ugly freeway crash -- all sorts of guys getting visually banged up. Barrett's arm getting shattered felt like something from an animator's demo reel.

WWE SmackDown! 2/21/12

Live SD! felt like a continuation of Raw. Sheamus gets another clean win over a major heel. Lots of matches ran real short. The Punk vs. Bryan match went 20+ and was a real treat (even with the overbooking).

MMA Uncensored Live 2/23/12

Debut episode of Spike's new MMA talk show. Production seemed slick, doing it in Time Square gave it a Total Request Live feel, seemed a bit rushed as they raced from topic to topic but squeezed a lot in there. Surprised they got such big interviews given the Zuffa/Spike war with guys like Diaz and Henderson. The live concept is interesting and that interaction is a plus. The story of the mafia and Pride FC was definitely something different and borderline dangerous. I'll be adding this to the list of roughly a half-dozen MMA shows I watch weekly (Inside MMA, MMA Live, UFC Tonight, UFC Ultimate Insiders, and UFC Central).

UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

One of the most stacked cards in recent memory and it somehow found a way to over-deliver. Prelims were tits: Night kicked off hot with Tamura's blistering KO of Tiequan. Mizugaki got robbed, just like Spike Lee at the Oscar's, nice to see Riki Chosu's trainee Fukuda doing work, and how good did the "Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi look? He was throwing hands streets of Detroit style. And the main card? Get the fuck out of here. Too good. Pettis' 80 second brutal head kick KO of ugly Joe Lauzon was outrageous. Hatsu Hioki looked like one of the best in his division. Okami and Boetsch, as Rogan said, "Greatest comeback in the history of the UFC!" Yushin was looking so good those first two rounds then Boetsch went all barbarian on his ass and pulverized his face into jerky. I dug Akiyama vs. Shields but think the judges' scores were a bit too one-sided. Oh yes, there's more. Mark Hunt getting the nasty KO on Kongo in a little over two minutes! That was beast. Rampage doing that gnarly Pride FC-era slam on Bader was so gross but Quinton gassed and Bader rode it out. Main event was a five round classic but Henderson looked so dominating it almost felt like a bully manhandling the smaller guy for his lunch money. Congrats to Ben, I'm a big fan from way back, so very happy to see him and his post-fight celebration with his mother that had Rogan crying was a swell moment. I'd love to see him defend first against either Guida or Pettis as both of his fights with them were outstanding.

UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann

Rarity but the prelims may have been even better than the main card. Pineda in his second fight in only six weeks made short work of Semerzier -- very impressive. He's won 17 in a row and finished every fight via sub -- this kid's the truth. Waldburger was robbed of Submission of the Night as his 55 second win via armbar of former boxer Hecht was just outrageous. Aussie Noke got beat by newcomer undefeated Texan Craig. Craig has a good look with the long hair and if he keeps improving could be a star. Siler versus Miler was actually the biggest grudge match of the night stemming from Siler smashing Cole's younger brother Micah on TUF. A real good battle with blood and lots of blows. Aussie Perosh annihilated newcomer Penner and got the TKO victory with one second left in the first round. Facebook fight aired with two tanks throwing cinder block fists seeing Jordan win in a joyous slugfest. Prelim main was so vicious -- Te Huna beat and bloodied and bludgeoned Rosa into oblivion in the first round. A phenomenal set of prelims.

The main card kicked off with Court McGee getting beat -- hopefully he doesn't turn back to alcohol. Both of the Flyweight semifinals were awesome! "Mighty Mouse" and "Uncle Creepy" was a close, close fight, but I agreed with Demetrious getting the "W" even if the crowd apparently didn't. Benavidez, one of my favorite guys on the current scene, made it look easy versus former Shooto star Urushitani. Main event had lots of hype but didn't blow me away, Alves looked a little flat, but hats off to a bloodied Kampmann for pulling off a late guillotine to move up the ladder. Awesome free show. I also really dug the team of Bonnar, Sonnen, and Glazer on the Fuel post-show.

ROH TV 3/3/12

Edwards versus Strong was real good, even with the restart, but compared to their violent "no holds barred" bout I saw live in Cincinnati last month it paled in comparison. Yet another solid episode of what's quietly becoming the best wrestling show on TV.

Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey

Went up to Columbus to see the show live with some buddies. Hit up Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant for dinner pre-fights on N Front St. for some seared tuna, garlic fries, and pilsner. Had amazing seats and the atmosphere was a lot different than a wrestling show.

Couture's dad beat Slyvia in this same building in a classic, Ryan's performance was sizably less memorable, although he looked better than past fights I've seen of his getting the TKO victory over Heun. I was really looking forward to Healy vs. Fodor. Pat smothered Caros in the 2nd and the crowd started getting restless while we chatted 2011 PWG MotY candidates and NOAH in the throes of death. Very workman-like fight. Next up was the battle of the native Ohioans and this was a blast. Nice slugfest in the 1st. Nothing like a steady diet of left hands. I didn't think Saling was getting out of that round. Second round and Saling's head was bouncing off the ground like a basketball due to ground and pound. I'd love to see Bowling get bumped up to the UFC in the next year. The prelims rounded out with in my opinion the fight of the night Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis just bringing it! Can't wait for Kaufman vs. Rousey later this year. Both women's faces looked like they'd been married to Brett Rogers. All kidding aside, seeing two beautiful women with gigantic, gaping wounds and deep bruises on their faces not wanting to quit shows that women's MMA is for real and their just as dedicated as the men. Just an absolute slugfest and war of attrition -- shame those watching at home didn't see this. I'd have collapsed and withered into a ball after a couple of those shots and these two stood up and ate punch after punch for fifteen minutes. I tip my hat. It's a bowler.

Ronaldo Souza kicked off the main card dominating a way overmatched Bristol Marunde. Then, Scott Smith, "Hands of Stone" looking very doughy and slow, got tapped in 90 seconds by Lumumba -- crowd was a little surprised but I just laughed and the big slam Sayers hit made me choke on my bottled water. Kazuo Misaki had the FotY in 2010 as awarded by both Sherdog and Inside MMA versus Jorge Santiago which I've watched a couple times so I was gleeful to see his US debut. Daley seemed surprised by Misaki's striking early so resorted for a late takedown. Third round saw Kazuo get cut and start bleeding like a Takashi Miike blood opera. From my vantage point it looked like he was wearing a red tank top like Daryl did on walks to Eastview swimming pool in Hamilton, OH circa '90. I was very happy with Misaki being awarded the decision.

K.J. Noons versus Josh Thomson I liked apparently more than the victor Thomson who said post-fight his performance was "shit". He fought smart but as a real MMA enthusiast I liked watching the grappling applied successfully even if it robbed Noons of his trademark boxing. Main event Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey was just electric, really woke the crowd up, a true buzz and I was amped knowing I was seeing something special. Tate rushed her at the start with a flurry but then my girl Ronda put in work and just started judo tossing her and going after limbs. The armbar was sick.

Post-show we looked for a bar to close out the night at and ended up at Mozaik Lounge on Vine St. I had to have the Violet Beauregard which was one hell of a cocktail. They also had an Oompa Loompa but I opted for the Dragonfruit Mojito instead (dragonfruit rum, fresh mint, lime, and strawberry purée). I had a great time, wild night, lots of laughs, and am attending several more live shows upcoming.

Wow! So much good stuff. And this week sees new seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and Bellator! And Victory Road is right around the corner. As Belinda Carlisle once crooned, "Heaven is indeed a place on earth!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sarita/Rosita vs. Mickie James/Velvet Sky

Sarita and Rosita vs. Mickie James and Velvet Sky - TNA Xplosion 2/29/12 - 2

I love the faux-Carlos Santana tune for Sarita and Rosita. Sarita borrows from Nikolai Volkoff's routine and started singing an anthem. Weird structure on this one. Sarita started out working -- heel in peril? Velvet executed a sloppy roll-up early. She really needs to tighten up her work. Tenay says, "Great time to be a Knockout tag team". Are you serious bro? Finish saw Sky hit a Pedigree while James simultaneously hit a jumping DDT, labeled "double DDTs" by bonehead Borash, and ref counts the pin even with all four in the ring at the same time? Just shortsighted, indolent, amiss, shiftless and abrupt.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sami Callihan vs. Pac vs. Rich Swann vs. Brodie Lee

Sami Callihan vs. Pac vs. Rich Swann vs. Brodie Lee - 2CW Slammin 4 John - 4

1-21-12 2CW Presents Sami Callihan VS Pac VS Rich Swann VS Brodie Lee from 2CW Squared Circle Wrestling on Vimeo.

This is a really fun ten minute match that's far too short to rise above the pack. Show appears to be in a recently closed and cleared out Borders but upon researching it I discovered it was inside a mall. Wonder if it's the same one where they filmed Chopping Mall? Don't act like you don't have the VHS lying next to your partially watched season seven The Simpsons DVD set. Each guy brings their own unique charisma to the affair. Swann does some surprisingly good limb selling. Pac's hot tag really pops the crowd who seemed genuinely appreciative and in awe of his and Rich's flying prowess. Quick roll-up finish by Sami was fine just wish it had happened 16 min. later.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

HWA Cold War Co-Review

HWA "Cold War"
February 20, 2010 - Peoria, IL

1. Jesse Emerson vs. Tony Kozina - B: 2 A: 2

Brian: Kozina enters to seminal 69 Boyz toe-tapper "Tootsee Roll" although seems aghast. Emerson must have the most white bread looks of anybody on the scene. He's sort of like a more vanilla Ted DiBiase Jr. First problem I have is the "hard" or stationary camera is off-kilter. The handheld camera is no relief -- it feels uncomfortably close to the in-ring action giving an Open Water vibe sure to inspire vertigo in some if anybody actually bought this release. Kozina and his act of stooge bumps and uncreative cheating (wrist tape chokes, etc.) doesn't add much panache to the HWA roster. Finish comes from Tony "slipping" during an attempted moonsault a lousy buffoonery trope he's prostituted throughout the Northeast.

Adam: Production has never really been the HWA’s strong suit and it’s rather evident here. Not only was the hard camera off-kilter, as Brian mentioned, it’s also at head level of the ringside fans and gives this feel as if your watching the show from the fourth row. Also, is it just me or is the ring really that small? It looks as if it’s the size of the old plastic rings you would buy for old WWF “Bend-Ems” figures back in the mid-90s. I’ve seen Emerson in some good matches, this was not one of them. Kozina was doing goofy bumps and both guys executed really mundane and stale offense. By the way, that finish was completely ridiculous. Not a great way to start off this show.

2. The A List vs. xOMGx & Ninja Bill - A: 1 B: 2

Adam: I could tell this was going to be bad from the get-go. Ninja Bill is some schmuck dressed up in a cheap ninja costume that was found on clearance days after Halloween had passed. The A List do some heel schtick were they don’t want to come out since the fans are booing them. Honestly, I didn’t even hear a reaction. I guess the story they were going for here was nerds vs. cool kids but I wasn’t buying it. There were some bad comedy spots and what looked to be a flipping backcracker from one of the A List guys got botched all to hell.

Brian: Ninja Bill is so tragic that breast cancer walks to end him. I think my brother's ninja Halloween costume in '88 was more authentic. Jason Hades looks like T.J. Dillashaw but without any of the athletic talent. I've seen better chinlocks administered in nursing homes. The A List's valet looked like Dakota Fanning in The Runaways minus the magnetism. Something I never thought I'd say: xOMGx deserves better.

3. Drake Younger vs. King Vu - B: 4 A: 4

Brian: Vu (Gerome Phillips) looks ridiculous in that royal garb although I suppose thats partly by design for heat. I saw this exact match-up in Cincinnati and it was solid with the highlight being Drake taking an unforgiving bump on the floor. For such a big guy Vu takes a nice big bump early off of a dropkick falling through the ropes and crashing off the apron. Drake (and Tommy Dreamer) need to retire that weak apron somersault that rarely looks good. There's a theater stage near the ring but unfortunately we're not even getting community theater-level dramaturgy tonight. Story-wise it's the bucolic country boy gone hardcore combatant versus the corpulent dastardly aristocracy. Younger does a good job emphasizing the back pain he's enduring. The finish was sudden but real choice with Vu murdering Younger with the "Off With His Head" clothesline seeing Drake take a gnarly bump right on his head/neck.

Adam: Since Vu broke off as a heel singles from his former partner (and now sexual deviant) Andre Heart, I’ve really enjoyed his work. He moves really well for a guy his size and I’m honestly surprised that he hasn’t caught on in the indy scene aside from just the mid-west area. Drake struck me here as just coming in to do this match and then get the hell out. I’ll agree with you Brian, that somersault off the apron looked like hell. I liked the spot soon after though with Vu catching the ringpost. My favorite spot of the match was the big sunset powerbomb from the second rope. Holy shit, that clothesline was stiff to end the bout. I enjoyed this but I think I liked the match they did in Cincinnati back in 2010 better.

4. Jon Moxley vs. Davey Richards - A: 5 B: 4

Adam: My first thought when Richards came out was that he seems really out of place in HWA. I was pretty excited about this when I first heard about it announced but it was worked in a different style than what I imagined it would be. There was some great action and the mat work was very solid but I guess I was expecting more hard striking and brawling. Moxley’s theatrics were great as a contrast to the rather mechanical looking Richards and his sell of the DDT was excellent. I also really enjoyed the arm work from Moxley and the spot where he dropped Richards’ arm across his knees was particularly enjoyable. The time limit draw finish seemed like a lazy way to end this and handicapped the score.

Brian: WWE signed the right guy. I've seen Davey on a lot of these tinier independent shows and I like that he changes up his routine (albeit just slightly), i.e. fist-pumping to chants, etc. engaging the small-town folk. The grappling early lead by Richards seemed more like a demonstration than a guy trying to tear someone's limb off (I should know the difference after watching a bunch of the DVDVR All Japan '80's set last week). I liked that whenever it'd get hairy Davey had a quick kick in his arsenal and Jon would retreat. The best segment was when Moxley finally got the advantage and targeted Richards' arm. Not quite 50/50 booking and glad they didn't put this on last given that copout finish.

5. Zero Gravity vs. The Hybrids - B: 2 A: 3

Brian: Tag wrestling in-front of an enervated crowd can often be a recipe for ordure. Gravity gets higher marks in showmanship. Hybrids could use more road experience. What are they exactly hybrids of? One-half underachieving high school athlete coupled with one-half Subway sandwich artist? A few nifty spots but too short and one-note to be meaningful.

Adam: It didn’t take long for the miniscule crowd to really get into Zero Gravity’s assortment of acrobatics. The Hybrids just seemed more like they were contemplating where to stop and eat on the five hour drive back to Cincinnati instead of focusing on the match. I still say that Zero Gravity would do really good on “America’s Got Talent”.

6. American Kickboxer 2 vs. Tarek - A: 4 B: 3

Adam: I was at the show where this feud started with the original American Kickboxer showing up, looking like he just came from metal concert, and annoiting this scrawny kid as the new American Kickboxer. This feud spanned the summer months of 2010 in HWA and culminated with a ridiculous pole match on the same show that Brian and I saw Drake vs. King Vu on in Cincinnati. Kickboxer is so scrawny and should probably scarf down a few Wendy’s triples to get some weight on. Tarek was the most enjoyable aspect to this match for me as I enjoyed seeing him work over AKB 2. Liked the mushroom stomp spot as well. Kickboxer’s selling wasn’t bad either but his offense was pretty light and struck me as someone ripping off the original Kickboxer. Not sure why one would want to do such a thing. Damn, the slingshot powerbomb from Tarek was pretty stiff. AKB 2 overused the hurracanrana’s a bit towards the end and the submission hold he used to win was pretty nifty.

Brian: All I remember from their Cincinnati encounter was Tarek really putting a brutal pounding on the scrawny AK2. Back around '98 during my earliest foray into tape trading I knew a guy locally who'd swap stuff with Tarek. The shaved head fits Tarek better as his old skullit looked like a roadkill possum affixed to his skull. Like picking up a prostitute on East Ave. in Hamilton sloppiness ensued. AK2 had more welts on him than a Guantanamo detainee. I'd like to see Tarek and B-Boy hook it up and shorten each other's career. That submission would have been niftier if he would have given the impression who knew how to properly apply it. He was struggling with that thing like former NHO writer young Geo when he tried undoing his first bra.

7. Ryan Phoenix vs. Prince Mustafa Ali - B: 5 A: 4

Brian: Phoenix is an underrated hand popping up on all manner of tiny midwestern shows. Never mind the fact he looks like he just left a speaking gig at a symposium on the effects of methadone to sneak a crack cocaine sandwich on multigrain. If he's clean and sober now his only remaining addiction is bumps. Phoenix entered to "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit which now forever reminds me of the first episode of WCG Ultimate Gamer (Swoozie for the win). Crowd seems about as excited for this as in a waiting room before a colonoscopy. Ali takes a nice concrete bump -- like fellatio those are always welcomed. Mustafa has some natural talent but seems to think being Middle Eastern is enough itself and doesn't really play up his act or work the audience. Prince took a sick backflip bump onto his head off of a Phoenix missile dropkick. Lung blower from the top was a vicious finish. This wasn't bad, just needed some polish, some clunky transitions, etc. but the guys worked hard. I'd like to see the other chapters of this feud.

Adam: Middle Eastern heels are like Irish guys, every fed has to have one for a heel. Ali threatening to raise gas prices if people didn’t cheer him was a hoot. I’ve seen people sleeping in the public library exert more emotion than Ali did most of the match. Phoenix looked pretty rough and the fact he came out to one of the most overplayed songs on Cincinnati radio did him no favors. We got another production snafu here as the audio was a good 2-3 seconds behind the video. Not sure who did the audio editing on this match but they need to find another line of work. I liked Ali’s bumping, especially the wild one off the Phoenix dropkick. Ali did a nice version of a senton splash on Phoenix while he was laying across the top rope. Why is it that every guy working a Middle Eastern character has to have the Camel Clutch in their repertoire? How about some originality please? I liked the top rope lung blower but it took forever to set up. Not a bad match and putting the hometown guy over is always a good way to send a crowd home happy.