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.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jessie's Last Stand

(Hey readers/fans!  Blog co-founder and longtime bud Jessie is taking an indefinite hiatus from our blog.  He's had a few drafts that have remained untouched for awhile but I think even in incomplete form they make for good reads so I wanted to share what he was working on toward the end of his run here on NHO.  We wish you the best in your future endeavors.)

NJPW G1 Climax 2010

Okay, my hiatus is over, hopefully.  I hadn't found much worthy to write about lately but after receiving a few G1 discs from a few years ago it was like getting facebook requested by an old friend.  I don't know dates or tournament signifigance so bear with me and just read

1) Satoshi Kojima v. Yujiro - This match felt like it peaked about 6 minutes in with Yujiro hitting all his cherry shit and taking a weak ass Koji Cutter.  Where could they go from here?  Probably to a highlights appointment as both men had some blonde sheen but that's besides the point.  Match ended a couple mins too late, jury adjourned  (3)

2) Togi Makabe v. Toru Yano - Former partners match, seems like almost every time that angles been played it's never lived up to hype i.e. Rock & Roll express feud from '91; didn't exactly light the world on fire.  Yano's attempt at a stun gun on the top rope looked like an infant trying to lift a bag of concrete.  Both guys came into this cockstrong, like Earthworm Jim but faltering.  You know how all great heat spots from the 80's have died a bloody death in wrestling: RIP the exposed turnbuckle as a instant knock out, we have it here and it's brutal to watch.  They start picking it up with a couple good near falls, a clothesline into a chair that SUCKED HARD, but a nice surprise finish makes me smile; but damn it i'm still mad at them for killing the open turnbuckle.  Jerks   (3)

WWE Best of Raw/ Smackdown 2011

Weekly TV has become less and less of a priority for me over the last couple years, now to the point where we don't even have cable; so when i saw this set released on streaming Netflix, I decided what a great tool for me to catch up on the most pimped stuff; matches will get ratings and other segmens a thumbs up or down

Disc 1

1) The Miz v. John Morrison  WWE Title Match Falls Count Anywhere (Raw, Jan 3)- 4

This had all the tropes of a back and forth title match but manufactured pre-written match segments don't fly with me when we've seen Hart-Hart, Savage-Dibiase, all those old classic title matches where guys can produce a long story full of nuance.  They are pimping Johnny Boy's Ladder match against Sheamus at the Dec ppv; and it was a hell of a fight.  This was not that.  His leap off the "W" even though he didn't fall drunkenly, didn't have the same impact as when Sabu lost his balance off the "R" in 97.  Riley is a nuisance better left un talked about and gets taken out in a sort of Jeff Hardy mock way.  Morrison can have good matches but he just doesn't come off as being a champion.  Miz at least somewhat carries himself in that manner and is giving off all the facials and emotions you'd want in that situation.  Decent table spot though leading to the end, everything else just felt like empty stage movements leading towards the finish.

2) Dolph Ziggler v. Kofi Kingston  WWE IC Title Match (Smackdown, Jan 7)- 5

I wasn't a fan at all of their long never ending series from 2010, but i enjoyed this one.  They pulled off a number of spots where just a wrong move one way or the other and this would have been a complete disaster.  Dolph really was showing his watchres here and seemed to be potentially greater than Kofi by a long shot at this juncture.  The whole sleeper thing seemed far fetched, with STriker mentioning Dolph has won numerous matches with it.  I liked all the Steamboat flourishes too, the chops and the crossbody which looked even cooler in slow mo.

3) Rey Mysterio v. Alberto Del Rio  2/3 Falls Match  (Smackdown, Jan 7)- 6

   1st Fall was quicker than Santino rubbing one out on his "Cobra" but was a nice setup for the rest of the match.  Alberto's style of mixing Lucha libre and MMA is so freaking refreshing, he keeps it simple and it always seems to work.  Loved the nod to Negro Casas with Rey catching the 2nd fall with a magistral.  3rd fall went long and the pace was slow but measured well and everything had meaning, with a perfectly designed finish to keep both men strong.  Good stuff

4) Natalya v. Melina    Divas Championship (Raw Jan 24) - 3

  Melina gave Nattie sex eyes when the match started; or was it for the buff ref?  Melina put on a crazy looking crab submission that i'm sure she's tried a variation with Morrison in the bedroom but Nattie completely ignoring it kind of delfated that whole scenario.  Some awkward strikes from Nattie but the finish was smart.

5) Daniel Bryan v. The Miz    (Raw Feb 14)- 6

  God, hearing Alex Riley spouting out "Must See Champion" rhetoric while Cole tries to put over Miz as a combo of HHH, Michaels and The Crusher is all AIDS for my ears.  Miz still can't punch or bump over the top rope?  That's not must see, that's must forget.  Bryan's knee off the apron is pretty damn sweet, like Tollhouse Soft Batch cookies.  Funny if people that put this DVD together notice how much air time Riley's getting and how forgotten he is now.  Miz must have been watching some of those old jimmy Rave ROH matches taking all these nasty  bumps for Bryan.  You can see him leading this match from each and every cue because Miz doesn't have matches like this.  Miz's finisher looks as strong as Tom Cruise's last plastic surgery.

WWF Monday Night Raw 1993 Main Events

hey NHO fans, a while back me and Adam seperately reviewed AWA 1989 and Saturday Night 2000 main events as a pre cursor to this project. Basically this will be a massive co review where we go back and relive the full Raw 93 season and give our thoughts on the last feature match of each ep. hope you enjoy, sure we will.

01/11 The Undertaker v. Damian DeMento J: 3

Jess: DeMento starts this off firing off some nice Larry Holmes haymakers to Taker's jaw piece. There's some awkwardness in trying to pull off a few moves but DeMento's a fun beat up dummy, he takes a clothesline and slaps the mat, pissed his creepy self can't manifest some answer to Taker's offense. ending is just out of nowhere which hurts my final thoughts.

01/18 El Matador v. Ric Flair J: 4

Jess: I don't know of anything mroe fun than watching a spry and young Flair bump, besides maybe playing Skeeball while intoxicated. The match had a nice build up to, but both men could have done that in their sleep. super hot crowd too, the molten level brawl with Flair and Perfect was just nuts and really amped everyone up.

01/25 Mr. Perfect v. Ric Flair (Loser Leaves match) J:7

Jess: This was a damn exciting match. Unfortunately, rewatching this, nearly 20 years later, you can't recreate the excitement and tension during a loser leaves match but the announcers did a great job of conveying it. This had some real length to it and Flair still was put over huge in the match itself as well as Perfect who may have never had a better signular performance than this in WWF. Def. seek this out

02/01 Doink the Clown v. Typhoon J: 2

Jess: So, it's fun watching a clown perform amateur moves on huge clutz, but it only takes you so far. The finish was as weak as Bartlett's ringside attempts at comedy.

02/15 Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake J: 1

Jess: This was just a posturing angle. Beefcake strutted more than he bumped and that doesn't cut it with me. Dibiase did take a nice bump to the floor about 5 mins in but Beefcake outsmarting him and his growing beer belly (or should I say Caviar belly in his case) just further insulted my intelligence.

02/22 Crush v. Terry Taylor J:2

Jess: Well this week the real main event was Undertaker v. Skinner but they went off the air as Taker was being choked by a plasticine bader foot? I'm not sure. Taylor was kind of fun here, hit a nice spinning neckbreaker and I enjoyed his silent push as this great wrestler as Crush was coming down the ring. His tilt a whirl backbreaker worked but the head crunch is really hard to buy, and I've had 12 shots of tequila.

03/01 Steiner Brothers v. Duane Gill/ Barry Hardy J:3

Jess: God I missed these old Steiner destructions, they absolutely slaughtered these two and I loved the big smiles on the jobbers faces before this started; nothing but frowns afterwards

03/08 Mr. Perfect v. Rick "Model" Martel J:5

Jess: I loved,loved,loved the slam/ kip up section to kick this off. Martel was just oozing charisma in his sea captains outfit earlier blasting Bartlett for looking like a moyle. Both guys selling was really on and Perfect here in early '93 found a real rhythm with offense. Cool thing you could see is both guys giving up control to the other and the match had a real breezy pace due to that. Real good stuff.

03/15 Nasty Boys v. The Headshrinkers J:6

Jess: Just read these two names and you know exactly what you get. The Nastys, now face, seemed a little soft. Shrinkers were doleing out plenty of rough shots, liked the savate kick later on. Pitch perfect pace, everything falling right in line Double countout finish but in this case, a positive, as they ended with chair shots and people covered in mustard which is always a party for my eyes.

03/22 Doink the Clown v. Kamala J:2

Jess: It had probably been 15 years since anyone saw Kamala get stretched like this, if even then. And it's fun. Doink doesn't care about gimmicks at all, he just goes in and wraps people up and it's so much fun. And I loved the empty present but there was really no substance to this at all.

03/29 The Undertaker v. Bam Bam Bigelow J:4

Jess: Drop toe hold spot off bat and Bammer is selling it great. Even thought Taker has to move super slowly, because, you know he's a demon zombie, I think, but he manages to add these little touches, these flourishes to show some stuff off, like the aggressive claw hold. Bam Bam goes through his stuff but Taker just bumps mechanically to it. Finish surprisingly preserved Bam Bam even though he wasn't on the Mania 9 card.

04/05 Jerry Lawler v. Jim Powers J:2

Jess: Lawler had a good schtick going on for some crazy heat and finally had to step in for his debut. And who did he face? Former Young Stallion and known pushed superstar Jim Powers! He did hit a flying clothesline and seemed to bounce off the mat like a Flubber with all those perky muscles. Lawler stalled but didn't waste any time finishing this off

04/12 Friar Ferguson v. Chris Duffy J: 1

Jess: Bless this wine Friar, but please try not to fart on it. I didn't think anyone on TV was uglier than Rob Bartlett, but dear god, Ferguson was frightning. Duffy was all game for this though, maybe he was getting some kind of hazar pay, I esp. like his bump out of the ring. This did drag though and went way too long.

04/19 Bam Bam Bigelow v. Phil Apollo J: 2

Jess: Apollo looks like one of Tony Soprano's dumb cousins with a spaghetti obsession. Neck Crank comes on about 1 min. in and it actually looks like it hurts. At that point, Savage comments "Is it my imagination or does the competition here keep getting better and better and better and bettttterrrrr?" I mean damn, a suplex from Bam Bam was stiff! Doink comes out with an umbrella and takes a super creepy closeup, just stone faced as Bartlett asks "Is he just schizophrenic or what?" All the announcers feel for Apollo, and the good Friar stands over him building his first proram; bet that won sold some tix.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WCW Road Wild 1999

Being the big WCW fan that I am, I can never pass up the opportunity to score an old WCW VHS tape. This particular tape I found this tape stuffed in the corner of a booth at the local flea market behind some old mid-90s WWF action figures. A mere five dollars later and it was mine, all mine. After getting home, I dusted off the ol’ VCR and popped this bad boy in. Let’s see what’s contained within.

Before talking about any matches, I have to comment first on how ridiculous the WCW announce crew looks dressed in biker apparel. Schiavone and Tenay look like complete fools, while Heenan has this look on his face like “why the fuck am I wearing this?”

1) Vampiro & Insane Clown Posse vs. Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman, & Rey Mysterio – 4

First out of the gate we get the ICP, who are completely out of place at a biker rally. Who knows, maybe they were scouting locations for their next Juggalo gathering. Wearing hockey jerseys and face paint makes them look like low-level indy schmucks. Mysterio took a couple gnarly bumps, including a toss powerbomb where he went halfway across the ring and a “Vampiro Spike”, as Heenan called it, on the floor. Eddie busted out a sick superplex on Shaggy. Everyone played it pretty safe it felt like. Kidman contributed next to nothing except for getting the hot tag and scoring the pinfall. This was a fun way to get the show started and kept a good pace throughout.

2) Bam Bam Bigelow & Kanyon vs. Harlem Heat – 3

This was decent, but definitely felt more like a Nitro main event than a pay-per-view tag title match. Bigelow looked awful in pretty much everything he did. Wrestling the match in a t-shirt didn’t help matters any either. I think I’d rather listen to Stevie Ray talk about “fruitbooties” and ask questions like “What’s Kronik doing in a juke joint?” on commentary than watch him wrestle. He seemed completely emotionless during the whole match. Maybe he had other things on his mind like who was going to win the funny car races that weekend. Booker and Kanyon meshed pretty well and held things together.

3) Curt Hennig, Bobby Duncum Jr., & Barry Windham vs. Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, & Perry Saturn – 4

This is the third straight match where someone (Barry Windham) is wrestling in either a t-shirt or jersey. I hope that’s an ongoing theme during this show. Duncum may not have done much in WCW but I will forever like him now as he popped the asswad known as Shane Douglas hard in the mouth with one of the stiffest boots to the face I’ve ever seen. Hopefully that shut Douglas up for a while. This match had a completely different feel than the other tag bouts thus far. It felt more like a wild brawl than a formulaic six-man tag. I was surprised that in ’99 Hennig was still doing his crazy bumping and selling exactly like he did in ’90 and ’91. Douglas worked nearly the whole match for his team and I don’t think Malenko even got tagged in. As much as I hate to say it, Windham was probably the worst performer of the whole match and looked really out of shape. Sad really as this was probably the last high-profile match he had.

4) Buff Bagwell vs. The Cat – 2

Talk about a major waste of time. Just driving aimlessly around my neighborhood would be a more exciting venture than watching this match. I never was a big fan of Bagwell and I wasn’t looking forward to watching this at all. There was lots of bullshit including The Cat jawing with the fans before and during the majority of the match. Sonny Onoo, who accompanied The Cat ringside, looked like a World War II kamikaze pilot. These guys worked as well together as peanut butter and mayonnaise. A shitty roll up from an ultra telegraphed finish polished this one off.

5) Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit  - No DQ Match – 5

Looking at this on paper, it certainly has the potential to be the best match on the card. However, I think I may have held it to some pretty lofty expectations. I liked the fight on the floor to start and the baseball slide dropkick that started it off caught DDP pretty hard. The spinebuster that DDP busted out was so crisp it looked like one out of the Arn Anderson playbook. One segment of this match that some people may find disturbing is that Benoit was choked and strangled with a belt during the match. I’m not going to throw any jokes in here about the whole Benoit situation five years ago but suffice to say that some people who were disturbed by what Benoit did, may find that segment a bit hard to watch. Match had a few good nearfall segments but the ending here hurt this with lots of interference from Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow. A fine match but a match that I definitely was expecting a bit more out of.

6) Sid Vicious vs. Sting – 3
7) Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg – 3

 These next two matches I’ll talk about in a group simply because neither of them had anything that really stood out and my notes on them are only a few lines each. For your fun fact of the day, this was the third time that Sting and Sid fought on WCW pay-per-view with Sting winning both prior times. Brawl at the beginning of this was pretty uninspired and weak. Sting barely got any offense in the whole match and Sid pretty much coasted. Some really bad work by Sid no-selling a nut shot and then popping up immediately after a big superplex to go right into the corner to get in position for Sting to give him the Stinger splash. Steiner and Golderg was only about five minutes long and featured Rick Steiner using Goldberg’s knee brace as a blatant weapon throughout the whole match. Goldberg’s spear was pretty awesome but that was about the only highlight.

 8) Dennis Rodman vs. Randy Savage – 3

Well, this show has certainly started to fall off a cliff in terms of quality. I’ve heard stories about how bad this match really is but I haven’t seen it personally since the last time I rented the tape in the video store nearly eight years ago. Savage looked so roided up here is wasn’t even funny. The announcers were flipping their collective lids when Rodman executed some of the most basic moves. Three minutes in and the bullshit begins, first there’s a ref bump, and then another, and then another. Three ref bumps in five minutes? Sure, why the hell not. Of course, there has to be a brawl that turns out rather shitty when Rodman gets stuffed in Port-A-Potty and Savage tips it over. The end was lame with yet another ref bump (that’s four if your counting) and then blatant interference from Gorgeous George who gives Savage a chain to KO Rodman and end this abomination. I give this points mainly for sheer entertainment value because the backstage brawl was pretty fun. Would I want to watch this again? Not really. Would I prefer to watch this over Bagwell/Cat or Sid/Sting? Actually I would.

9) Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash – Retirement Match – 3

Main event time and was it ever bad. Nash was holding some of the weakest headlocks I’ve ever seen executed inside a ring. Hell, I’ve seen better headlocks on episodes of COPS. Watching this I was having flashbacks to Hogan vs. Sid at WrestleMania 8 with the knuckle locks and the hard lock-ups and shoving each other in the corner. Both guys offense was awful, especially Nash who was throwing really weak elbows in the corner. Hogan moved with all the agility of a brick wall. I chuckled when I noticed Nash taking a page out of his buddy Triple H’s playbook and selling punches by doing the “hair whip”. Best offensive move of the match was Nash delivering a stiff Jackknife Powerbomb. For a match where the career of both guys was on the line, it certainly didn’t have the feel of two guys fighting for their livelihood. Instead it felt more like a run-of-the-mill match with two old guys doing an exhibiton of their famous spots.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hardy Boyz vs. Mr. Perfect & Big Boss Man

Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Perfect & Big Boss Man - WWE Raw 4/1/02 - 5

Two guys I dug from the early-'90's versus two of my favorites from the late-'90's.  Matt bumps big off of a BBM sidewalk slam.  Hennig is great at choking Matt while the ref is distracted.  The veterans are sharp and focused.  Too bad this team didn't get a run.  Great facial on a missed splash into the corner by Boss Man who crotches himself and drools everywhere.  Jeff has anime hair and gets a hot tag but the crowd cools down to a simmer quickly.  Jeff seems to have stolen a pair of Arsenio Hall's purple pants from '92.  Fucking delicious finish with BBM eating a Twist of Fate>Swanton combination and selling it like a precursor to his own death.