Monday, November 26, 2012

HWA Outbreak 1/18/08

HWA Outbreak
Dayton, OH - 1/18/08

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

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

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

2. Nikita Allanov vs. Lighting Tim Lutz – 3

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

3. Mary Elizabeth vs. O.D.B. – 3

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

4. Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Hero – 5

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

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

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

6. Alan Wasylychyn vs. Aaron Williams – 5

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

WWE Survivor Series '12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invasion of the Bodyslammers

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Impact Wrestling 10/11/12

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vulture Squad vs. No Remorse Corps

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

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