Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CM Punk vs. Kane

CM Punk vs. Kane - ECW on SyFy 6/3/08 - 4

Punk was in a four-way earlier in the same show. Probably of all the former WWE champions these are the two with the most tepid offense. Kane did like a reverse neckhang spot that looked kind of cool and barbaric. Big boot landed square in the face knocking Punk through the ropes to the floor -- he'll probably think his nightly Pepsi tastes like a Crystal Clear after eating that shot. Kane's dropkick to a seated opponent is about a 4.7 on the Konnan scale. Body-scissors hold actually looks visually painful due to Kane's size and not a resthold. I miss this chunkier Punk. Easily to buy him hanging with the big guys than today with his Teen Wolf sideburns and zip-up hoodies borrowed from his nephew's closet. Okay, maybe I was rough on Kane, he's got better looking offense than other champs Foley, RVD, Sid, and Swagger, but he's still behind Lashley, no dice for CM as I saw better kicks in kids karate class at the YMCA in '90 than Punk's. Punk slides out of a chokeslam, tries the G2S but plays up being too banged up, then Kane retained the ECW title with a chokeslam. Better than I expected but as ECW world title reigns go Kane's was no Ezekiel Jackson's.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rockstar Pro Wrestling "Kool Kat Christmas" iPPV - 12/13/2013

Rockstar Pro Wrestling “Kool Kat Christmas”
Rockstar Pro Arena - Dayton, OH

Rockstar Pro is a company that runs every Wednesday out of Dayton, Ohio and features old HWA stalwarts such as Cody Hawk, Ron Mathis, Aaron Williams, Benjamin Kimera, Ganger, and The Crist Brothers among others … so basically, the majority of the HWA roster from 2006. Apparently this show was a free iPPV … free as in it was free to watch not free to get into the building. By the way, who came up with the name “Kool Kat Christmas”? Sounds like it should be the name of a live music night at a hipster bar, not a wrestling show. Enough rambling, lets FIGHT~!

1. Cody Hawk vs. Andrew Stryker - 2

According to the announcers, this is ten years in the making. This Stryker kid was probably in high school ten years ago. What, did Cody Hawk come into science class one day and throw this kid into a bunch of beakers and bunson burners? Ok, well apparently he’s Matt Stryker’s kid and this is a continuation of the Hawk/Matt Stryker feud from HWA years back. That makes more sense then. Five minutes in and Stryker looks like he’s just completely blown up. Stryker hit a nice Kurt Angle-style superplex from the top rope. I’ve never been a the world’s biggest Cody Hawk fan and this is just another reason why. His work is lazy and exhibits no emotion whatsoever. Fuck, Hawk’s muscle buster finisher was just horrible. This felt like a match you would probably see during a training class.

2. The Squad (Tom McClane & Matt Brannigan) vs. “Dirty” Miguel Sanchez & Austin Bradley - 3

Good lord, this MUST be 2006 as Brock Guffman is managing the heel team of The Squad. Sanchez is supposedly from Tijuana. I’ll believe that when I see his green card as I call bullshit on that. Bradley seems to have the basics down but doesn’t really have a discernable look. Double closthesline spot from Bradley was pretty bad and the hot tag to Sanchez was more lukewarm than anything. McClane’s nickname is supposedly “Die Hard” so I’ll let you insert your own Bruce Willis/Die Hard joke here. Tag work from The Squad looked a little disjointed in spots and the finishing spot culminating with Branningan getting a pin with a reverse lung blower was super sloppy.

3. Kyle Maverick vs. G-Force - 1

G-Force looks like Delirious if he was ten years older and tattooed all to hell. Enziguri spot from Maverick missed completely and looked as if they got lost for a minute. G-Force’s tornado DDT was more of a stiff breeze DDT. Maverick supposedly has a background in MMA. His kicks looked awful and so did his punches. This was just awful and lacked anything anywhere near notable.

4. The Dirty South (Pompano Joe & Trice) vs. The Rookies (Brandon James & Mason Price) - 4

Pompano Joe was the last guy I thought I would see on this show but it’s welcome. Last time I saw Trice, he was rocking some Spiderman tights while getting ripped apart by Dan Severn about two years ago in a shady skating rink. This James dude seems pretty competent but I'm not sure that I trust a man whose nickname is "Honey Badger". Nice leg lariat by Pompano Joe on James. Hot tag to Price and he comes in with some fire and attitude. His running knees in the corner weren’t half bad. Damn, Trice and Joe caught Price coming off the top rope in a powerbomb spot and then just dropped him face first right on the mat. That’ll ruin anybody’s night. Bonus points for this for being the best match on the show thus far.

5. Five Way Sudden Death Match: Dave Crist vs. Jake Crist vs. Ron Mathis vs. Matt Taylor vs. Lil’ C - 5

Five minutes in and we get Lil’ C running in and the ring announcer randomly declaring him a legal participant. I suppose in some weird, convoluted way that makes sense. Big dive sequence followed with more action than I could keep up with. Mathis did a big dive from the top rope to the floor and the Crists did a big double dive to the floor. This has turned into a big five man free-for-all, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s kept the pace quick with little down time. That though can be a bad thing because if you move right onto the next move before letting the previous one sink in, it defeats the effect of the prior move. The random “O-I-4-K” chants are getting a little annoying. The solo section with the Crist brothers fighting each other was good. What the hell was that? Some weird Canadian destroyer looking move from the top rope looked like it just wrecked both guys. Taylor looks to have improved a hell of a lot from the last time I saw him in HWA about three years ago. He’s got more aggressiveness and his offensive looks much, much crisper. Finish seemed to come from out of nowhere on a simple kick to the face. Nice to see Taylor getting the win and a title shot as he’s been around the Southwest Ohio area forever.

6. The Man Simply Known as Michael, C.W. Scott, & Big Jim Hutchinson vs. Jeremy Madrox, Jon Murray, & Bruce Gray - 4

Madrox has been MIA, at least from what I’ve seen, in the local area for a while. Nice to see that he’s resurfaced. I always liked his old-timey boxer character. The only time I remember seeing Big Jim was in the opener at an HWA show in Dayton in December of 2003 and he wasn’t very good. I had no clue he was still wrestling. Did I seriously just hear the announcers reference “Ready to Rumble” on commentary? Big Jim just destroyed Gray with a big boot. I’ve seen Murray around HWA a few times, wasn’t a big fan of his work as he looked like a poor man’s Mick Foley and not very funny, despite his best efforts to do comedy. The heel team here looked pretty good with Big Jim especially looking surprisingly good and helping to carry the load quite well. A random Ron Mathis run in? Ok, sure, why not. Murray and Madrox come in and throw some clubbing blows. Madrox I don’t thing was ever tagged in legally which makes me sad. Match was decent and things seem to be getting progressively better on this show.

7. Best of Seven Series Final: Nate Wings vs. Alex Colon - 5

Did the ring announcer really just announce Wings at 114 pounds? He looks like he weighs less than 100 pounds soaking wet. Action has been pretty fast and furious thus far with Wings busting out a couple of dives. Nice snap superplex from the top rope by Colon. Im impressed that they’be been able to keep up a breakneck pace for the amount of time the match has been going. German suplex by Colon nearly snapped Wings in half. Wings hit an awesome spike DDT right on the ring apron that probably could have jammed Colon’s next something awful. Colon just absolutely destroyed Wings with a powerbomb into the side of the ring and then proceeded to hit a brainbuster right on top of the turnbuckle. Two really awesome moves but Wings went right into his comeback after taking them. Nose-to-nose spot and the lights go out leading me to believe they forgot to pay the electric bill. Lights come back on and there are two random dudes in masks in the ring beating the shit out of Colon and Wings. Match was going good and staring to pick up until this nonsense. Probably would have gotten to the recommended category just for the three big moves but the end just ruined it.

8. Ganger vs. The Great American Beast - 4

Big brawl to start with these two just laying into each other, Beast slamming Ganger on the floor and delivering a Cactus Jack elbow from the apron. Ganger then countered with a t-bone suplex on the floor and then another into the ring post. Beast is one seriously hairy dude. Just think of a younger version of Albert about five inches shorter and you’ll get the idea. Some good nearfalls here, especially one off a Samoan Drop that Beast hit from the top rope. Ganger has improved ten times since I remember seeing him do a Shrek gimmick in HWA where he lost a match and had to wear a Shrek mask. Beast won with a nice armbar that would make Ronda Rousey pround. Two big dudes just pounding on each other, I enjoyed this.

9. Rockstar Pro Championship: Benjamin Kimera vs. Aaron Williams - 3

The ring announcer channeled his best Bruce Buffer and introduced this like a big match. However, it lost a lot of luster as soon as it started as the match quickly slowed. Williams did some stalling early and worked over Kimera’s neck with a cravat lock. Williams is being touted as the “baddest man alive”. I’m sure Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre would like to have something to say about that. Couple of boring chants from the crowd. Yeah, mat work for what is supposedly a heated grudge match for the top belt in the promotion really wouldn’t do it for me either. We’re about ten minutes in, the mat work and rest holds have gone nowhere, and I’m beginning to wonder if that’s all these guys are going to do. Kimera hits a urinage slam and then blatanly rips off C.M. Punk and applies the Anaconda Vice. Finally, we get some action going with Williams hitting an Ace Crusher of all things, Kimera hitting a pretty vicious spinebuster, and Williams hitting a picture perfect frog-splash. Ref bump for no discernable reason. Not sure why we needed that but OK. Ref wakes up, counts a nearfall, and gets squished in the corner again as a bunch of dudes in black hoodies in jeans look to interfere. Sloppy roll-up mercifully ends this.

Good thing this show was free because I would not have plunked down $15 to see it otherwise.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Funaki & Petey Williams vs. D.O.C. & Knux

Funaki and Petey Williams vs. D.O.C. and Knux - TNA One Night Only: World Cup - 3

Did you know PWI awarded Aces & Eights vs. TNA as Feud of the Year in 2012? Let's not pause on that. I bet D.O.C.'s jeans smell worse than a truck driver after a cross-country trek. Funaki dressed in his SmackDown! #1 Announcer gear with not one but two mock SD! logos on it. Funaki's punches look like he's skipping stones in a pond. I've never been more hot and cold on a tag team before. I'm game for Funaki but Petey is the drizzling shits. Williams' ROH run is the cure for insomnia. D.O.C. has a pretty decent jumping leg drop but he's no Ernie Ladd. Wonder if Knux could get into BoLA next year? I'd love to see him go out in the first round to Candice LeRae or Johnny Yuma. This World Cup has been about as international as an IHOP. Petey did some slingshot move that was indecipherable. Funaki nearfall off of a crossbody. Haven't seen one of those finish someone off since Adam Cole beat Davey Richards at ROH's 10th Ann. show. Lousy finish with a hammer shot so fraudulent I made a citizen's arrest on my cable box.

Monday, December 16, 2013

WWE TLC 2013 Kickoff

Our co-hosts (or cohorts?) were Mick Foley in Santa hat, Booker (is he permanently banned from Wendy's in the greater Houston area?), and Miz looking like a candy cane with pinstriped shirt. I hear he and Maryse set a date for their wedding. Too bad the "Kliq" is dead -- would have been great for Hall and the boys to send them a wedding gift of a box full of fecal casserole. Good luck finding a wedding dress that'll cover those silver dollar nipples. Ahem, let's get back on topic and watch some 720p res pro wres in the 'ol web browser Netscape '97.

Kofi comes out and interrupts the broadcast slapping Miz across his face and making his dandy boy haircut undulate. I'm guessing this leads to a match on the PPV proper for them. I'm sure the guy in Sec 207 Row J Seat 12 is thrilled.

1. Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango - 2

I wonder if JBL still has any of that shitty MamaJuana Energy left? I could use one to power through this night. Fandango's wrists are limper than Lawler faced with the prospect of sleeping with a woman his own age. 15 sec. into the bout we go to a commercial? On a free webcast which is basically a big infomercial for the PPV anyway? Back with a Fanny chinlock, Back suplex to escape by Dolph leaves Fanda bouncing across the mat like a little league grounder. Dolph flying clothesline looked like Evan Bourne aping. Fando doing a "Falcon Arrow" made Hayabusa roll his wheelchair down a fire escape (which strangely was located a few ft. away from his computer). Top rope legdrop for the win by Dango Unchained not Alabama Jam maybe Alabama Apple Butter.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

WWF @ Nassau Coliseum - 7/10/1989

WWF @ Nassau Coliseum 7-10-1989
Announcers: Tony Schiavone and Sean Mooney

1. Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Tim Horner - 4

For an 80s WWF house show, this sure seems like an odd match to start off with. I never knew Horner even had a stint in the WWF, guess you learn something new everyday. Sharpe is quickly becoming one of my favorite dudes to watch on old school footage. He’s constantly vocalizing during the match whether its delivering offense, which is really stiff looking, or if he’s backing off and stalling. Sharpe does the old Andre spot where he gets tied up in the ropes. Horner charged just as Sharpe got untangled and took a wild bump to the floor. Horner took a ton of abuse during the match by way of bearhugs, clubbing blows to the back, elbow drops, etc but somehow managed to gain a roll-up for the win in what seems like a bit of an upset. Then again, maybe not, as I’ve never seen Sharpe win a match.

2. The Warlord vs. Koko B. Ware - 3

Koko comes in to this match sporting a ridiculous hair style. It’s light blonde, almost white, on top with blue and gold around the back. Yeah, it’s about as hideous and garish as it sounds. Warlord dominated early with a bearhug and held it forever. Once the bearhug misery from Warlord was over, Koko shined and hit a wild top rope dropkick and took a hellacious backdrop over the top rope to the floor. The fun ended soon after though as Warlord delivered an absolutely vicious clothesline to send Koko back to the hair stylist, presumably to get a new haircut.

3. Mr. Perfect vs. Hercules - 3

I’m seeing a trend thus far in this show, big muscled up dude vs. small dude who can move around the ring. Said trend continues here. Hercules has gotten in maybe three offensive moves all while Perfect has been doing stalling outside the ring. Whole match has been the Mr. Perfect show with Perfect pretty much creating the whole match himself by doing the stalling which annoyed the crowd, bumping around like crazy, doing some tremendous selling of a basics such as a bearhug and a headlock. Liked the spot where Perfect’s head was rammed into the turnbuckles all the way down and ended with his head getting bounced off the mat. Herc starts getting a comeback and the bell rings randomly. So wait, this ends in a draw? Match was sluggish and slow from the beginning so I should have figured that was coming.

4. Jose Luis Rivera vs. The Genius - 2

Early on Genius is doing pretty much a carbon copy of Perfect’s stalling in the previous match, showing he has all the imagination of a Xerox machine. So much punching in this match it’s not even funny. I’m beginning to think that it’s the only offense these guys know. Not much substance to this, just two guys going through the motions and a crowd that could have cared less. Highest impact move of the match was the senton from Genius to get the pin.

5. Hillbilly Jim & Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Andre the Giant & Haku - 4

First five minutes of this was Duggan and Hillbilly farting around the ring while Andre and Haku hid in the dressing room because they seemed to be offended by the crowd chanting “U-S-A”. When they finally did make it to the ring, Andre began complaining about the 2x4 and the horseshoe in the corner of Duggan and Hillbilly. At this point, nobody has touched each other for about eight minutes and the bell FINALLY rings. Not off to a good start. Holy shit! Duggan and Haku finally locked up and started wrestling after about ten minutes of shenanigans. Andre was really limited in doing spots and moved with all the speed and grace of a brontosaurus corpse. Haku was always the workhorse when he had the run teaming with Andre and that was the case here, working 95% of the match for his team. Nice to know that his efforts would be rewarded with a brief tag title stiny early in 1990. Duggan and Hillbilly cheated like motherfuckers during the match, doing double team moves right in front of the referee and using the 2x4 that the referee hid beforehand to get the win. Match didn’t start off great and the referee lost complete control at times. I was hoping for a fun tag match from the way it looked on paper but the final product was a terrible letdown but earns a bonus point from me for uniqueness.

6. Sandy Beach vs. Paul Roma - 2

Never heard of this Sandy Beach guy. I wonder though if he could be the guy from the UWF name Sonny Beach? It feels like these two are moving in slow motion. Good gosh, Roma did an absolutely awful armdrag off an Irish whip. Roma is holding the ankle lock forever, much like the Warlord did earlier with the bearhug. Tony on commentary does some bad puns saying that Beach will be “all washed up” if Roma continues his offensive flury of unoffensive moves. Beach locked in a bearhug and then into the lightest version of a Steiner Recliner ever. Roma gets a big comeback and absolutely nobody cared. A basic powerslam mercifully ended this droll of a match.

7. Randy Savage vs. Brutus Beefcake - 4

I don’t ever remember these two squaring off against each other so this will be interesting. Beefcake hit a flying body press and then shoved a knee right into Macho’s face. Macho takes some awesome big bumps early, including a huge one over the top rope. Beefcake got in a couple good nearfalls, including one off a really light looking roll-up. Not a big fan of how every time Beefcake either gets near the apron or winds up on the floor, Sherri blatantly gets involved using and assortment of chokes, back rakes, and general scariness. Beefcake gets some momentum back, locks on the sleeper, and the crowd goes absolutely apeshit! Once again though, Sherri has to interefere and gets Savage DQ’ed. Match was good and but not a big fan of the finish.

8. WWF Tag Team Title: Demolition vs. The Twin Towers (Big Boss Man & Akeem) - 4

Seems like everyone’s offense thus far has consisted of punches and nothing else. Boss Man’s spine buster on Smash was pretty stiff looking as was the punt to the ribs that followed. Really wasn’t enthralled when the Towers were controlling the match, felt really slow and lethargic. Finish was a little chaotic with all four guys brawling and Boss Man accidentally hitting Akeem with a nightstick allowing Ax to get the pin. I was sort of hoping for everyone just to be wailing on each other since these were four big dudes. Oh well, at least it was a somewhat acceptable match and a decent way to end this show.

Friday, December 13, 2013

WWF Raw 12/9/13 - The Slammy's

This is the Slammy Awards yearly edition of Raw but we won't be covering those mountebank frauds. Our passion for the pro wres is at an all-time high so just felt like doing a random rev of something on that current tip. This is a loose co-review done late in the week with little to no notes taken so its coherency is not certified.

1. Daniel Bryan vs. Fandango - B: 4  A: 4

Brian: Seattle was raucous for their hometown boy Bryan. Daniel's Tajiri headkick whiffed. I liked Fandango countering the missile dropkick with a sitdown powerbomb -- too bad it looked crummy.

Adam: Surprised they are starting Raw off with a match and not some lengthy gab segment. Some pretty solid action here, liked Fandago catching Bryan from the top into a sit-out powerbomb. I’ve really enjoyed Fandango this year, his act has been a nice bit for fresh air. Fandango crashed and burned on the top rope legdrop. Buisaku knee finished off this one. A really fun match to kick off the show.

2. Santino Marella vs. Damian Sandow - A: 1  B: 1

Adam:  Too bad a man of Sandow’s intelligence has to deal with a joker like Santino. Santino’s schtick is so old and tired. Nice to see Sandow pick up the win. Match did absolutely NOTHING for me.

Brian: I liked Santino's face-plant bump off the legsweep. Sandow was going through the motions.

3. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz - B: 2  A: 3

Brian: Dug the match-opening running dropkick to Miz's face. Kofi's back roundhouse kick he's just started busting out the last few weeks is a vicious treat. A couple meaty running kicks to a downed Miz. Kofi showing more aggression was a nice touch. Roll-up finish came too early and extends this ersatz program further to the thrill of none. Miz has never been more flat as a character.

Adam: Hey look, it’s the Miz! Somewhere, there are crickets chirping. Liked Kofi kicking Miz right in his face numerous times, with the last one especially hard. Miz needs a haircut and a character reboot. Miz grabbed the trunks for a cheap win to the the delight of no one. Liked Kofi’s offense and him at least trying to make the match passable, to which he succeeded. Miz could disappear off my TV and I wouldn’t even notice.

4. Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Big Show, and Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, Ryback, and Curtis Axel - A: 4  B: 4

Adam: The resurgence of the tag division throughout the year has really been a pleasant change from the usual. Goldust has been really awesome in his comeback this year and I’ll be damned if he didn’t have a damn good face-in-peril strectch. Cody’s missle dropkick was nice. Big Show knocked people over like bowling pins. Some solid work on the heel side but things really felt like they were being rushed.

Brian: Adam hit the nail on the head (he can also hammer a nail with the head of his penis -- it's a great party trick!). Goldust is looking trim and is working hard. After reading his lousy book wasn't sure he'd ever have another run in him but he's been a real treat on the this year's back-end. Mysterio needs a new tailor.

5. Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio - B: 4  A: 2

Brian: I wasn't as down on this as Adam yet I did have some serious and legit reservations about the whole ordeal. The mood lighting is shit. Let's establish that for starters. It tells your audience: "Hey! This guy is different! Isn't he not like the other WWE superstars? He's different, right?" which is exactly the opposite of what Mistico needs (but is that even him since the return two weeks ago this guy looks puffier and has a regretful tattoo -- could it be Hunico again?). The light gimmick never was over and now just feels like a tired insult or endurance test. You could see the crowd's eyes literally glaze over. Anyhow, Del Rio, coming off a major title run, putting Cara over clean two straight weeks is interesting TV despite their best efforts to ruin it. I'd love to see them get a legit, hate-fueled feud. Also, that shitty Swanton to end was painful to watch. You've got your opponent dead to rights right beneath you and instead of just splattering him you overshoot him and the hairs on the back of your neck leisurely graze his left shoulder and that's supposed to be a buyable finish? Left a worse taste in my mouth than that shoe did in Werner Herzog's.

Adam: Please no mood lighting, please no mood lighting … damn it, there’s mood lighting! Crowd is instantly bored and starts chanting for the Seahawks. Sin Cara got thrown into the railing really hard. This feels like a mass execution because they’ve just killed this crowd. JBL called this match of the night, not sure what he’s watching. Nasty looking flip powerbomb from the top just destroyed Del Rio. That was the about the highlight of this mess. Two lucha guys working a slow WWE-style match isn’t exactly something I’m interested in.

6. Brodus Clay vs. Xavier Woods - A: 0  B: 1

Adam: I love Woods looking like a sleazy Rick James. Shit, it’s over just like that? Damn. What was it Chris Tucker said in Friday? “You just got knocked the fuck out!!”

Brian: A point for stiffness. Liked Xavier peppering Brodus' head with shots before getting pulverized. Too bad JAPW is gone (or is it? Who can keep track?) as that's where Clay belongs. Or All Japan. Just not on Monday nights.

7. C.M Punk vs. Dean Ambrose - B: 5  A: 5

Brian: Not sure if I'd rank this above their match the previous week on SmackDown! 12/6/13 but it's awfully damn close. Definitely match of the show by a mile. Myself and many others criticize Punk for a guy that's supposed to have all this kick-based offense has really shitty-looking kicks but his high-kick late here looked like a legit Stipe Miočić KO. Moxley was great as the slimy charmer during the Shield presentation of some obtuse Slammy Award.

Adam: Yes, please! I would glady pay money to go see this match. Punk working over the arm was really nice. I’ve been a huge Ambrose/Jon Moxley fan for a while now since he started headlining HWA shows way back in 2006. Local boy done good! Punk’s selling of his ribs was really good. Ambrose got all mouthy in the ring and then went right back to hitting Punk in the ribs. Punk’s cross-body looked like shit but lead to a bunch of really good nearfalls. If that Sin Cara match was a mass execution, then this could be called a ressurection as the crowd finally woke up and got really into the nearfalls. GTS finished this off. Probably the best match of the show thus far.

8. The Usos vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan - A: 4  B: 3

Adam: Uso’s start off fast and hit a really nice double team dive. The Wyatts have been one of my favorite new acts of the year. Love the creepy backwoods demeanor they bring to the table. Yeah, I know, a lot of people are down on their in-ring work but I don’t mind it that much. Bray Wyatt is a hell of a mouthpiece and Rowan and Harper have improved quite a bit to me since their debut. Finish was chaotic, but in a good way. Good nearfall off a top-rope splash from Uso #1 (don’t ask which is which because I can’t remember), Uso #2 gets a vicious face full of table, and Harper comes back and just absolutely murders and Uso #1 with a clothesline to get the pin. Fun little tag match.

Brian: Usos in my opinion may be most improved in not just WWE but anywhere in 2013. They went from a fairly generic Samoan team to two guys doing balls-out offensive bursts rivaling the best stuff on the planet. Mixing athleticism with innovation and thrills they're making must see TV. I'd love to see them against Evolution (Joe Doering and Suwama). I dig Harper (longtime Brodie Lee fan) and Rowan (to a lesser extent) just wish they'd give them longer matches to tell some in-ring stories. Rowan has Daniel Bryan tonight (12/13) on SD! and on the Troops show later this month so I'll be looking forward to those.

9. Tamina vs. Natalya - B: 0  A: 2

Brian: Man, this lasted roughly 90 seconds so no offense to the ladies, but this gets a big goose egg for being as incomplete as Jessie's ballot for upcoming WCW WorldWide '97 project. Nice crowd pop for the Sharpshooter though.

Adam: Not a whole lot to see here. Felt to me like a normal, everyday divas match and pretty flat. A.J. on the outside took the best bump of the match getting accidentally kicked in the face and falling off the apron.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marella & Carlito vs. Holly & Rhodes

Santino Marella and Carlito vs. Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes - WWE Raw 6/2/08 - 1

"Rowdy" Piper, shirtless, yet wearing an open leather jacket, besides the fashion faux pas is also out to be guest timekeeper (or "timekeener" Rhodes says like a marble-mouthed buffoon). Santino's judo throw looked better than as now its a comedy spot he does at quarter-speed. Carlito does some decent staggering sells off of some quasi-stiff Rhodes forearms. Marella's still got cheap gear here -- looks like his name is in Times New Roman on the back. Carlito's "big boot" to reverse Holly's spinebuster on Marella looked like shit. Looked like someone at 5AM trying to knock ice off the car and nearly slipping.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mr. Kennedy vs. Paul Burchill

Mr. Kennedy vs. Paul Burchill - WWE Raw 6/9/08 - 3

Been on a 2008 Raw kick lately. Don't ask. Paul takes a nasty backdrop bump over the top bouncing off the apron before slamming onto the floor. Burchill does a disgusting back suplex on KK into the buckles. One of the most "Japan-like" suplexes I've ever seen on a Raw telecast. Compared to his match last week versus Knux on iMPACT! I'd say Kennedy is a 7 on the Kenny Kaos scale here. Mic Check ends this in short order. For having such a big mouth Kennedy should really watch some tape on Flair and learn to utilize vocal selling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Silas Young vs. Mark Briscoe

Silas Young vs. Mark Briscoe - ROH TV 11/2/2013 - 3

As fate would have it the night this aired ROH was in my neck of the woods in Cincinnati but I found myself instead at fellow NHO staffer Adam's apartment watching old Full Impact Pro and FMW discs.

Mark Briscoe: bearded and baroque. Minutes in and Mark takes a backdrop on the floor then moments later does a moonsault to the ground. Silas' mustachioed look is an improvement. Mark takes a backdrop, this time in the ring, but wanting to improve upon his earlier bump, in the process flips over the turnbuckle entirely and crashes out on the ground. Young aping Dudley Boyz spots in 2013. Mark's ragged beard makes him look as though he'd been surviving in the wilderness the past several months. Ready for more floor fun? I knew you were. Silas tries to snap his own spine by taking a bump off the apron from a dropkick flipping off right onto his head. Mark does the Foley running elbow off the apron complete with "Bang! Bang!" finger pistols. I'd like to see Mark Briscoe in the zombie apocalypse. I don't think "Redneck Kung-Fu" could stop a horde. Young gets a shitty 'lil roll-up for the vict. Post-match he belts Mark welting him up like Papa Briscoe used to when he caught Mark with his pants down in the chicken coop.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

WWF @ Philadelphia Spectrum - 11/25/1982

WWF @ Philadelphia Spectrum
Announcers: Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon

1) Eddie Gilbert vs. Tiger Mask - 6
2) Johnny Rodz vs. Chin Kobiashi - 4
3) Midget Tag Team Match: Sky Low Low & Butch Cassidy vs. Little Beaver & Sonny Boy Blue - 4
4) Jose Estrada vs. Curt Hennig - 3
5) Superstar Billy Graham vs. Chief Jay Strongbow - 3
6) Swede Hanson vs. Tony Garea - 3
7) Lumberjack Match for the WWF World Title: Buddy Rose vs. Bob Backlund - 4

I’m liking the way this show is starting! Gilbert and Tiger Mask had quite the fun little match to open the show and no, that score is not a typo.Gilbert looked so clean cut that I found it really hard to believe that this was the same guy who would go on to run ECW about ten years after this. Tiger Mask is announced as the “World’s Junior Welterweight Champion” even though this is a non-title match as I don’t remember title matches ever opening a show during this time period. Match was more mat based than high flying which may bore some modern fans who are used to see the light heavyweights/cruiserweights fly and jump around the ring, old school fans though will definitely appreciate the approach to wrestling. Gilbert hit a nice backdrop suplex and Tiger Mask had some quick and solid offense, highlighted by a Tombstone piledriver. Yes, the move existed before the Undertaker. Nearfalls at the end really had me sucked in and Tiger Mask getting the win on a reverse cradle was unexpected.

Very rarely do I come across a WWF wrestler that I’ve never heard of or seen before but such is the case with the mysterious man from Japan, Chin Kobiashi, who looked like a Bruce Lee student. Rodz just gave the poor dude a royal beating from corner to corner. Kobiashi though, the warrior from the orient that he is, fought back with a fucking ENZIGURI~! and some sterotypical “karate style offense” as the announcers called it and shockingly pulled the upset. Wonder if the post-match beatdown from Rodz means we’ll be graced with a Rodz/Kobiash feud? One can only hope. I never was a big fan of midget wrestling and most of the matches I’ve seen from this genre have been terrible but I’ll be damed if this wasn’t halfway entertaining! I’ve heard a lot about Sky Low Low but I’m pretty sure this is the first match of his I’ve ever seen. First exchange between Sky and Little Beaver was entertaining and had me grinning, unlike today’s forced comedy. Not sure who this Butch Cassidy fellow is but he looks like The Giant compared to these other guys. There were a couple points where Little Beaver smacked Sky so damn hard that it wasn’t funny at all. Match was full of lots of good, goofy spots that only these guys can pull off. A fine effort by all involved.

Estrada bares a very close resemblance to Johnny Rodz, so close, in fact, that I thought Rodz was coming out for an encore. Hennig is so young here and I’m guessing him being put in here with Estrada may have been a test of some sort. I hope he did his homework. Hennig held a side headlock forever and kept it sinched in nice and tight. I’d say it’s the longest I’ve ever seen someone work a headlock but it’s not. Hennig held his own against the future Conquistadore but it seemed strange for Estrada to get the win. Graham was in full ninja mode here and looked like an old-timey, bare knuckle carnival boxer from the early 1900s. Strongbow, on the other hand, looked old and withered. Not much to see except for Chief working over the arm and Graham doing some big overselling. Graham’s knees in the corner sucked something awful and the finish was lame with Chief getting counted out on a weak shot to the side of the neck.

Hanson definitely looks like someone I wouldn’t want to find after hours in a dark alley behind a bar. Garea on the other hand, given the same circumstances, looks like someone I would totally want to mess with. Monsoon on commentary dropped the knowledge that Garea was a five-time co-holder of the tag team title. Well, that’s interesting. I had no clue about that. Garea tried a roll-up and Hanson just shoved him off with his body language pretty much stating “I’ll have none of that shit”. Swede missed this wild top rope dive and Garea pinned him by dropping a simple elbow. Another dull finish in what seems to be a pattern on this show. Main event was pretty lame and given everything else on this show, what else was to be expected. S.D. Jones is the special referee. Why? I have no idea. It’s probably the biggest match he was ever in, save for him getting squashed by Bundy at the first Mania. Backlund held onto the armbar, or “arm stretcher” as Monsoon called it, forever. The thing that bugged me though was that Rose never sold that arm at all after all that, making it all seem pointless. Backlund was good and hit a few nice armdrags early on and had a nice reversal of a suplex into the chicken wing submission for the finish.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Love Wrestling

I've comes to grips with it. Wrestling is in my blood. It's not going anywhere.

WWF Saturday Night's Main Event, Oct. 3, 1987

One of my earliest memories. I was 5 years old. It was Saturday night. I was in my pajamas sitting on the floor Indian style playing with my G.I. Joe Amphibious Personnel Carrier. It was a great vehicle because it could hold over 20 action figures like a giant toy school bus. I stared up at the TV. What I saw has invaded my dreams and psyche ever since. It wasn't until just now I was able to dig up proof of its existence. The wild samoan Sika and the larger than life Hulk Hogan cutting promos on each other in lieu of their battle. I was mesmerized. Funny anecdote, I'd always believed Sika was eating a massive, long piece of bread, like a baguette. Now, some 26 years later I realize it was in fact something much more ghastly, a lifeless chicken which he bites directly into!

Ever since that moment I've been hooked. I've liked a lot of stuff over the years, call them hobbies, cartoons, movies, toys, games, comics, NBA, the outdoors like parks, food, books, etc. Many of these have been lifelong pursuits. But wrestling ranks at the very top. It's the most pervasive. It's been in my mind and a part of my daily life. Even at my busiest moments, commuting to three different campuses' for college while holding down a job, I'd still squeeze in matches on my laptop in-between classes and go on trips to live shows with friends, even now, with two babies, running my full-time website Review the World, and working a demanding job, not a day goes by that I don't watch a few matches.

I've always said that I'm a rare breed of a fan that likes it all. If pressed certainly I could rank favorites among the various styles and companies but in general I love all wrestling. Today's community of fans on the Internet typically have strong opinions. I genuinely love watching it all and my only unrealistic gripe is the inability to see everything!

During the heyday of Never Hand Over when we were running on all cylinders ushered one of the highlights of my fandom. We were having near weekly DVD nights at my apartment or at my friend Adam's house watching hours upon hours of wrestling. Sometimes we'd even do insane marathon sessions like "All Day Savage" where we spent 9+ consecutive hours watching "Macho Man" Randy Savage footage. It was during these fun tilts I coined phrases like "these discs won't watch themselves!" and we'd routinely kid around about "studying" our favorite subject.

Growing up as a kid I loved watching WCW and WWF (and anything else I could occasionally get my hands on). As a teen with some disposable income I started collecting tapes and recording shows amassing a large collection which, as a young adult, via the resources of the Internet, really expanded to include wrestling from all over the world and from all eras. I still enjoy the mainstream product and never miss a show. But I also love the physical style in Japan, and the dives, costumes, and culture in Mexico. I love the independent scene. I have hundreds and hundreds of shows from ROH, PWG, Chikara, CZW, FIP, DGUSA, Evolve, IWA Mid-South and East Coast, and dozens and dozens more. I eat that stuff up. I love classics -- for example the DVDVR '80's sets set the gold standard giving people like myself exposure to stuff we'd only ever read about like Mid-South, Memphis, Texas, AWA, etc.

Just yesterday I watched ten or so matches completely different from the last. Guys bludgeoning each other in a small gymnasium for IWA MS, the goofiness of Team Osaka Pro in Chikara, DiBiase and Roberts at an '80's house show exhibiting mastery of technique beyond compare, and one of the damnedest things I've ever seen, Drake Younger and Danny Havoc at Cage of Death XI taking some of the sickest bumps imaginable.

I look back at moments of solitude in my childhood, while my brother was off doing his thing, my parents theirs, and many of those moments I cherish and hold dear, I was in my room with wrestling. Reading wrestling magazines, playing with my wrestling toys enacting my own epic battles in the ring unless the action spilled out over my room, and above all else, watching wrestling. I remember watching scrambled black and white broadcasts barely visible by playing with the tuner to try to see pay-per-view events for free long before the days of digital. I remember being bored in '96 at 13 and stumbling upon CWA Bodyguards vs. Bandits from the Sportatorium in Texas, sneaking away from my family's dinner in the living room, absconding away with a few slices of pizza, and watching with interest this a bizarre 12 Man Tag Team Football match that went 27 min. but felt like 50.

In two weeks I'm flying solo to a TNA iMPACT! live show and TV taping. And the fact that I have to miss ROH live days before due to scheduling issues drives me nutty. My drive to be at shows, stay up on the current product, and see as many DVDs as I can is a passion I no longer look at with any skepticism. The bottom line: wrestling makes me happy. For some people it's sports, or crafts, or any other hundreds of interests and pursuits, wrestling is mine.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Austin vs. Rock - Rebellion '01

Back in the dog days of the summer of '08 former staff writer and blog co-founder Jessie wrote of the "Holy Trilogy", no, not Lucas or Coppola's film troika, or the Maynard vs. Edgar triumvirate, he spoke in hushed tones of the revered Austin vs. Rock triptych.

While finishing off the recent The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History three-disc set I came across another entry in their venerated series. I hadn't seen the match in question in nearly 13 years which really gave me pause. Had it really taken place that long ago? Held in the United Kingdom WWF's Rebellion 2001 was the most successful of its four iterations (running from '99-'02) at least in terms of box office bringing in a crowd of 15,600+.

I always enjoyed the UK shows. On one hand, they were frowned upon, only a limited audience saw them so the week-to-week stories and crises' were shelved making them dramatically inert. But the British crowds were always hot for the product so it was a treat watching the performers do their thing for those in attendance. Rebellion's other historical footnote was always having at least one quizzical yet oddly intriguing undercard offering. For example: British Bulldog vs. X-Pac in '99, Undertaker vs. Chris Benoit in '00, Big Show vs. Diamond Dallas Page in '01, and (in a SmackDown! only PPV) Reverend D-Von and Ron Simmons vs. Val Venis and Chuck Palumbo in '02.

WWF Championship Match: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (c) vs. The Rock - WWF Rebellion 2001 - 6

Not convinced its a defensible position to argue this was as good as at least the weakest offering from their WrestleMania trilogy but after looking over Jessie's aforementioned review I feel comfortable at least placing it ahead of their WrestleMania XV excreta. This was during the short, troubled period where talent was designated by what fictional co. their allegiance lied (i.e. ECW, WCW, or WWF). Strange seeing Austin, clearly in pain and broke down, approaching from down the aisle with a big, wacky, bouncing WCW logo pulsating on the screen behind him. I won't go into detail examining the match layout: if you're at all familiar with these guys' work you know exactly what to expect. Back-and-forth brawling, quick pace, overblown finishing stretch, etc.

Every wrestler has a style of selling directly tied to the character they portray. Each is unique and it's a treat to peel back layers of the onion when closely studying guys' performances. Like last night I was finishing this week's episode of WWE Raw and Daniel Bryan, especially with the shaggy mane and haggard beard, called to mind by his dramaturgy the anguish of the prisoners of war in Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn. Rock and Austin are two of the more expressive in that regard and in that aspect shine here. Jessie compared Austin's selling of punch flurries in his piece to Austin "being swarmed by an angry nest of bees" but to me it looked more like a struggling obese penguin, every time he'd get popped in the face his arms would flail out, but only lifting up a bit, then repeat, etc. Out of context it looks utterly ridiculous and even as a fan if you're paying attention it's odd. That aside, Austin, clearly broken down here, immobile neck, two mega braces on his knees, etc. puts in a pretty strong performance, takes a nasty suplex on the metal ramp, and keeps that breakneck pace that only he could. Rock really shined on defense, though; his selling of Austin's pretty one-note offense was very expressive, some really terrific facials, and his conditioning was top-notch.

The finish was convoluted. Both Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho got involved, there was some chair follies, maybe a ref bump, Austin got to survive the "Rock Bottom", and the "Rattle Snake" eventually won after a poorly timed and weak-looking shot with the championship belt by Angle in a denouement of douche.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

WWE Battleground '13

1. Battleground Kickoff pre-show match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow - 3
2. World Heavyweight Championship Battleground Hardcore Rules match: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam - 6
3. Santino Marella and The Great Khali vs. The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) - 4
4. Intercontinental Championship Match: Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth - 3
5. Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella - 4
6. Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) - 7
7. Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston - 4
8. CM Punk vs. Ryback - 3
9. WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton - 6

Battleground is WWE's newest PPV show replacing Over the Limit which had a short run of three years, all featuring John Cena main events (surely you didn't forget that barnburner versus John Laurinaitis from 2012, right?). I have my own qualms and reservations, not so much in regard to its build, just the overall theme and package. Didn't seem like they put a lot of thought into the design or leitmotif. And I'm a broken record here but it also bums me out they create this new, identity-less PPV when they own the rights to Fall Brawl (and hence the most sorely missed match in wrestling War Games).

Pre-show match was rather unlike your last dentist's visit: quick and painless. Opener was good, physical of course, you've got RVD, plus it was hardcore rules, so lots of ladders, chairs, etc. came into play. Plenty of nasty bumps to cringe at. Tag match was a late addition but earned an extra point for the fantastic finish as Antonio got the massive Khali up in the Giant Swing. Minor quibble but it seems weird to cover a guy after that to secure a pin and would seem cooler if the opponent actually tapped mid-swing. Axel's title defense fell fairly flat. He's been racking up some wins over lower-card talent but the crowd's not buying into him as a star yet.

Women's match was pretty good. Some nice sequences they'd cleared practiced with mentor Finlay but most of it came off smoothly. Finish was flat (a reoccurring theme -- more on that later) as Lee's bodyguard Tamina attacked Brie's twin sister causing a distraction which led to a deflating roll-up finish. Tag match next had plenty of TV build leading up to it and while "7" may be just a touch high I needed to award it some recognition for the hot finish. They laid out a good sequence at the end, including Dusty busting out a Bionic Elbow on Dean Ambrose's skull, Goldust flying into the frame like Sky Lynx wiping out Reigns, then Cody hit the Cross Rhodes to a humungous crowd pop to get the win and as a result secure the Rhodes' jobs.

Bray Wyatt and Koji had what felt largely like a SmackDown! snack break match where you're trying to get your sandwich and corn chips plated before the commercial break ends and rush back into the living room only to find that on. It had a few slick moments and wasn't bad. Wyatt's need some opposition to have more dramatic potential. Right now the acts is entering tedium. And am I the only one troubled by the parallels between Bray and Waylon Mercy? Right down to the white slacks and bad Hawaiian shirts. Punk match was pretty insipid. Kind of clunky and dull. For a feud with a lot of personal heat you'd think Punk would want to annihilate Ryback but you wouldn't guess that by what transpired. Really didn't like the finish. Ref got distracted after catching Paul Heyman at ringside with a kendo stick and Punk capitalized on the divertissement and did a weak low-blow for the win. After the match Punk just leaned against the ropes looking gassed. Main event went 25 min. and was uniformly solid. A bit more measured and less energetic than the earlier entries in their series. It had a few nice moments, nothing too surprising though, but went off the rails at the end before it could clear the gap and become truly compelling. Big Show came out, KO'd Daniel, had remorse, KO'd a 2nd referee who'd came out, then KO'd an upset Orton, and so on. Match ended in a no-contest essentially rendering this a commercial for the free Raw show the following night.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Grand Masters of Wrestling: First Blood Vol. 1

To read Brian's review of this same DVD from '08 click here!

This DVD advertises the same stuff on the back of the case that was on the Grand Masters DVD I just reviewed. I sure as hell hope it’s not the same thing. I guess it’s not as the menu is different and the highlight reel shows them wrestling inside a tent! Yes, a tent as in a circus tent.

Holy fuck, these backstage interviews with Volkoff and Sheik look like they were shot on an 80’s VHS camcorder in front of a generic USA backdrop. Sheik’s promo is especially interesting since it’s so incoherent and he says “I single leg, take you down, and kick you in the face”.

1. Ace Darling vs. Mr. Motion - 3

This is worse than I thought it would be. This show in on someone’s FRONT LAWN! Yes, as in the front yard of their house with the wrestlers coming out of the front door. Is this some fucking kid’s birthday party or something? There’s no commentary to speak of. Motion has black, blue, and pink tights with white frilly stuff on the bottom and Darling looks even more generic than he did previously. I’m not sure who’s supposed to be the heel or face or even what the story is here. The pace was good and the ring work was decent but nowhere near anything notable.

2. Iron Mike Sharpe vs. The Cheetah Kid - 2

Now we’re watching the action through a fish-eye lens. I swear this was recorded with someone’s home movie camera. I can do a better job of filming a show. Actually, come to think of it, about four years ago, I did! It’s really hard to concentrate on what’s happening as the inept camera operator keeps randomly zooming in and out. Sharpe’s vocal selling is tremendous as always, even though my wife found him “really annoying”. Not sure who the Cheetah Kid is but he’s done nothing but get beat on this whole match. Of course, just as I type that Kid gets in a few nearfalls. Loved Sharpe getting the win the loaded forearm pad. Terrible match but Sharpe by far made this for me.

3. Misty Blue vs. Linda Dallas - 1

Hey! The fish-eye lens is gone! Yaaay! I think the referee needs to go back to kindergarten as he was counting Dallas on the outside of the ring and went from five to seven. I think he missed something. Dallas did a big heel promo to start and her vocal selling makes me think she went to Iron Mike Sharpe’s Sales Academy. I think I’ve heard of these two ladies before but I can’t remember what territory they worked in. Blue got the win with an airplane spin, which was probably the most high impact move of the match. I’d rather watch current divas or knockouts matches instead of seeing these two old haggard broads work each other again.

4. The Iron Sheik vs. Nikolai Volkoff - 2

Well, Volkoff no longer has the Uncle Louis haircut from the last DVD and for some reason seems more motivated. Perhaps this is his house where the show is at? Sheik looks terrible, just wandering around at points and doing nothing but throwing forearms to the back. The chair shots on the floor from both guys were surprisingly stiff which leads to a double count-out and Volkoff nearly assaulting a cop.

Friday, October 4, 2013

WCW SuperBrawl I

WCW SuperBrawl I
May 19, 1991 in St. Petersburg, FL
Announcers: Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes

This is the home video version of the show, which has five matches edited out. Not sure how I’m going to live with myself not being able to see Big Josh’s dancing bears, the elaborate Oz entrance, or Ricky Morton battling Dan Spivey among other things.

1. WCW U.S. Tag Team Title: The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Young Pistols - 6

For those who aren’t familiar with their WCW history, the U.S. Tag Team titles were basically a secondary tag team title for undercard teams. The reason they were vacant going into this match was because the Steiner Brother had won the World Tag Team titles and due to WCW’s rules at the time, a team could not hold both sets of tag belts. The Pistols are formerly known as the Southern Boys and are made up of Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong. Tracy got a nice nearfall right at the beginning on Hayes that got the crowd to pop huge. Tracy got a little bit crazy mid-match, taking a big bump over the top, getting dropped throat first across the railing, and all of that was followed by flying back first off the apron into the railing. Damn! The Birds seemed the gaining a lot out of doing very, very little. Garvin did a lot of the in-ring work with Hayes coming in and working the crowd. Pistols had some damn good offense that featured lots of double team manuevers and a lot of high risk with them diving off turnbuckles to the floor and doing big flying elbows off the top. Ref got bumped leading to a person dressed in a black bird suit coming in and giving the Pistols a swinging DDT each. Quite the fun little match to kick off the program.

2. Taped Fist Match: Brian Pillman vs. Barry Windham - 5

Not a lot in the first few minutes to speak of, except a lot of punching. Windham took a dropkick that knocked him off the top buckle and all the way to the floor in what was probably the wildest bump of the match. Pillman though, took this wild shot right into the ringpost that split him open. Not sure how Windham got that mean gash above his left eye but damn, it looked like something that might be seen in a UFC fight. I think they were rushed on time so it was only about six minutes long. The brawling was fine, nothing great, and there were moments that felt like a real heated match, other parts felt really flat.

3. Stretcher Match: Sid Vicious vs. El Gigante - 1

Watching Gigante sell Sid’s punches in a riot. He just leans backwards, fails his arms in the air, and gives this strange, bewildered look on his face. Two minutes later and we end with a knee to the face and Sid getting pinned with no involvement from a stretcher at all. Afterwards, we have a post-match brawl with One Man Gang and Kevin Sullivan wailing on Gigante. That was more entertaining that the match itself.

4. Steel Cage Match: Ron Simmons vs. Butch Reed - 4

It’s the big blowoff of the implosion of Doom! Apparently, to keep Teddy Long from interfering, he’s held in a shark cage above the ring for the duration of the match. Isn’t that the point of a cage match? To keep people from interfering? Anyway, speaking of the actual cage (not Teddy's shark cage), it looks like it could fall apart at any minute. Not a lot of memorable stuff to speak of here except for Reed hitting a sick piledriver. Simmons threw a lot of punches and Reed seemed content just to rely on basic manuevers. I liked the big shoulderblock off the top from Reed but that’s about the extent of the highlights. Simmons won with a spinebuster. Honestly, probably one of the most boring cage matches I’ve seen in a long time.

5. WCW World Tag Team Title: The Steiner Brothers vs. Lex Luger & Sting - 8

I should note that I've already reviewed this match once on the Rise and Fall of WCW DVD but it's so good that it gets a second review for this show! Luger and Rick start off feeling each other out but that doesn’t last for long as Steiner took a wicked shoulder block that just wrecked him. On commentary, Dusty quipped “he bounced off him like a ball on a wall!” Rick came back with a sick German suplex in which he pretty much threw Luger into next week and pissed him off. He was pissed so much that he doled out a super stiff lariat and a military press slam. All these guys seem seriously motivated, even Sting did a huge running dive to the outside on Rick. Seeing Scott and Sting tie up makes me wonder why WCW never did a main event match between Sting and Steiner during the dying days of the company. Guess that would’ve made too much sense. I could’ve listed and recapped every big move in the match but there were just too many things to keep up with. The match has just been chaotic, but in a good way, unlike sloppy indy tags or TV matches that just break down because of workrate, bad booking, etc. This was everything good about tag team wrestling … big high-impact moves, great nearfalls, stiff in-ring work … all rolled into one awesome match and it was a thing of beauty. The ending saw Nikita Koloff run down and try to hit Luger but Sting took the brunt and ended up getting pinned, thus setting up the Koloff/Sting match for the Great American Bash. This is one tag match that you have just got to see.

6. WCW Television Title: “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton vs. Arn Anderson - 6

Amazingly enough, this is Arn’s third stretch holding the TV Title and yet, the first time he’s actually defended it in a pay-per-view match. The chain wrestling to start off with led to a hard right hand by Eaton, to which Arn sold and had this amazed look on his face like “I can’t believe you actually did that!” Brawl on the ramp was fun with Eaton taking a header off the top rope right onto the ramp and then Arn taking a backdrop off a piledriver reversal. Arn controlled a lot of the match with some good solid mat work that concentrated on Eaton’s leg by wrapping it around the ringpost, continuously ramming it into the mat, and hooking on leglocks and holds. Arn got a real close nearfall off a stiff, stiff spinebuster. Eaton’s comeback, although rather short, was highlighted by a running neckbreacker and a big Alabama Jam legdrop, although in typical WCW fashion they missed the pinfall as the cameras were focused on a brawl between Pillman and Windham. Probably the biggest win of Eaton’s singles career and probably the peak of it.

7. WCW World Title: Ric Flair vs. Tatsumi Fujinami - 5

A big fight feel here even though there were absolutely no reactions from the crowd on either entrance. Right out of the gate, they just start tearing into each other. Interesting here that there are two referees, onf on the inside and one on the outside. I guess that has something to do with the previous encounter between these two in Japan but nobody really bothered to explain anything about that match or how this match came together. It was just treated as nothing really special. Flair got rocked with a big forearm for a nearfall. Flair got busted open on the brawl on the floor by eating the railing and then getting his head shoved right into the ringpost. The tempo in the first half seemed slow and deliberate but after Flair got busted open, it seemed the tempo picked up a bit. Finishing stretch was good with the match surprisingly ending on a roll-up instead of Flair getting a win with the Figure Four. Match itself felt sort of flat and I kept getting the feeling that these two just didn’t click for some reason.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pondo & Rotten vs. Team Underground

Man Man Pondo and Ian Rotten vs. Team Underground (Eric Priest and Chandlure McClure) - IWA-MS Hurt 3/24/06 - 2

Pondo has a physique that looks like he eats strictly fast food and sticks of butter. Backstory is that Ian and Pondo are usually rivals but due to an Axl Rotten "no show" the previous event (something about him being a missing person) they teamed together and won tag gold. Their opponents look like two guys that work at the local Planet Fitness but with their generic black trunks and bland personalities make about as a big a splash as the turd Scott Hall dropped in Sunny's pomegranate martini. Ian gets on the microphone pre-match and pleads to his opponents that they don't hit him in the head. So stupid. Why make a gentlemen's agreement with Ian fucking Rotten? The guy that looks like every scumbag meth head hiding from the cold behind a Baja Fresh up I-75. And it makes Ian, the co. owner, look like an even bigger ego stroker, that he can compete while hurt yet simultaneously weak for asking for sympathy. Match itself is lousy shit. Some tepid exchanging of wristlocks and armbars early. Nobody looks particularly comfortable feigning faux-combat. Then they brawl in the crowd (does 18 diabetic morons a crowd make?) with some weak shots in the steel bleachers. Rotten also comes off even worse as he doesn't sell or register any of the forearms or other offense these guys are hitting him with. He's consistently got his return shot on standby doing weak body jabs or nut taps instead of acknowledging their attacks. The match that preceded this has a very young Ricochet with bad fluffy Prince hair busting out some top-shelf aerobatics that puts this to shame by a wide margin. Finish comes when Pondo gets disqualified for using his trademark stop sign. This was after like 6 min. of "work". I would say they didn't do enough to earn a paycheck that night but let's be honest Ian wasn't paying anybody cash after this, he may have returned Hardcore Craig's porn he borrowed, but no payouts.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ACW Presents "Wrestling's Wildest Matches"

In certain circles, this is also known as “The Best of Freddie Valentine”.

1. Barbed Wire Match: Mando Guerrero vs. Freddie Valentine - 2

I’m guessing this is from somwhere in SoCal as the venue looks very similar to the PWG home base. Valentine in his street clothes looked like a guy venturing into the local watering hole for a cold Budweiser after a hard day of stringing high voltage electrical lines in the city. This isn’t the no rope variety of a barbed wire match, instead there is just wire strung over the existing ropes. Somehow during this melee, Mando got busted open. How? I’m not sure as the barbed wire spots were terrible. Awesome moment where Valentine hit a weak ass chair shot, then tossed the chair to Mando, who then proceeded to dropkick said chair really damn hard right into Valentine’s ugly mug. The big snap suplex spot was good in theory but lacked in execution as both guys were way out of position. I would tell you what happened at the finish but I can’t because the cameraman completely missed it.

2. Japanese Suicide Match: Krayz vs. Freddie Valentine - 2

I have no earthly idea what a “Japanese Suicide Match” is but somehow I’m guessing it doesn’t involve any sort of Kamikaze battle plans. Crayz is a goth/grunge/metalhead gentleman from Waco, Texas, sporting a Cannibal Corpse t-shit, torn jean shorts, and long, greasy black hair that looks as if is hasn’t been washed in months. Judging by the set-up they have going on, I guess the gimmick for this is that electrified barbed wire boards are set up in each corner. The only real highlights were Krayz taking a drop toe-hold into some barbed wire and Valentine doing a pretty awesome bump right into a board which starts a small fire after the light explodes upon impact. Afterwards, Valentine assaults the ring announcer and some referees. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was booking this fed.

3. Barbwire Exploding Tables Match: Freddie Valentine vs. Cincinnati Red - 3

As a kid in the mid 90s, I remember seeing Cincinnati Red’s name pop-up in the results of the Apter mags from time to time and I always wondered who he was and if he dressed like a Reds baseball player. Alas, that is not the case. There is certainly nothing red about him aside from his hair and I somehow doubt that he’s from Cincinnati, let alone even driven through it. I fear bullshit when a match claims “exploding barbed wire tables”, but here there was no bullshit as a table “exploded” after Red took a Flair bump off the top rope, and when I say “exploded”, I really mean a shit ton of sparks flew out, but a cool visual nonetheless. Second table bump wasn’t as epic and nothing even attempted to explode. I’m guessing perhaps they forgot to plug it in? Finish was really stupid with Valentine KO’ing the referee, then pinning Red after hitting him with brass knuckles. Then we get a referee dressed exactly as The Gimp from Pulp Ficton who can’t count past two and eventually gives Valentine a Diamond Cutter allowing Red to get the win. That seemed pointless.

4. Electrified Fence Match: Freddie Valentine vs. Shane 54 - 2

Really, another Valentine match? I have a feeling that he probably compiled this tape himself. Shane looks like a backyard dude who just graduated from the dojo and is wrestling the booker to get a spot on the roster. This was dumber than the electrified cage match that TNA did back in ’07. The fence is not electrified, sparks simply fly out whenever someone hits it, and these “high voltage” sound effects (for lack of a better term) are ridiculous. More stupidity ensues as Shane decides it would be a good idea to light Valentine’s forearms on fire, however this strategy backfires as the flames go out rather quickly. I thought the finish to the last match was stupid but this one has it beat by a mile. Valentine issues a legdrop to Shane, gives the ref two Diamond Cutters, and then, realizing that he was an idiot for knocking out the ref, has to count the fall himself using the refs hand. Puke.

5. Texas Rattlesnake Match: Freddie Valentine vs. Krayz - 2

This is going to be absurd. In order to win, you have to climb a ladder to grab a key that will open a cage containing two real, live (and very pissed off) rattlesnakes and the title belt. The first person to retrieve the belt from the snake cage, wins (or loses depending on your view of things). I should note that the crowd completely shits themselves when the handler pulls out the snakes. Could somebody please tell me why the referee hit Krayz with a bunch of chair shots right at the beginning? I’ve given up trying to understand anything that’s happening in this fed. Not much to cover except for the two major bumps. First, Valentine tries walking on a table and Krayz just trips him up causing Valentine to crash through the table. Next, Krayz took this wild ass bump off a ladder to the floor at the end and just sold it like death, as in he didn’t move an inch afterward. Valentine opened the cage and used the snake handler’s stick to pull out the belt. And here I thought you were supposed to actually reach in the cage and grab the belt. I feel like Russo is booking this shit.

6. Terry Funk & Freddie Valentine vs. Mando Guerrero & Cincinnati Red - 3

Sixth and final match, thank God. By this point if you’ve seen one Freddie Valentine match, you’ve seen them all. Funk was the star of this match, destroying Red with some chair shots, piledriving him onto a broken table, and brawling outside the building. Mando’s highlight was hammering Funk dozens of times like a railroad spike with a Rubbermaid trash can. Valentine’s chair shots were so weak they couldn’t harm a first grader. This started with some semblance of order but very quickly broke down into a meandering, directionless brawl with, of course, Valentine and Funk going over in the end. Bonus point here just for Terry Funk being involved.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3.0 & Akuma vs. Batiri

I'm always two months behind on ROH TV. Was watching an episode the other day and was surprised to see Chikara mainstays 3.0 on a show. Reminded me I still haven't worked through the 2012 King of Trios in its entirety so am about to pop one of its six discs in.

3.0 and Akuma vs. The Batiri - Chikara King of Trios 2012 - Night One - 5

Batiri pre-match promo more frightening than any horror movie I've seen in ages. Akuma is as wanted as a case of herpes the week of school photos. Batiri get the toilet paper treatment like Jimmy Rave circa '06. Massive "3.0" chant -- haven't heard that since outside the offices of AOL in '95. Akuma is no replacement for El Generico but when life hands you lymons make Sprite, am I right? Some nice double-teams early in the opening stanza by 3.0. Kobald doing an Earthquake-style sitdown splash doesn't have the same visual pop considering he's maybe 140lbs. Kodama did a sloppy slingshot 'rana. Hard to buy Akuma's kick strength when we just saw Meiko Satomura in the opener dropping axe kicks on people's necks. Obariyon did this unreal leaping DDT off the top. Really digging Obariyon's knee-based offense, his reverse Go 2 Sleep where his knee blasted Akuma in the back of the head was a real highlight. Shane Matthews gets dropped faster than new sitcom The Goldbergs will from ABC's line-up. What's your dream trio? Offhand mine would be Pillman, 2 Cold Scorpio, and 2 Tuff Tony. Kobald wins with the "Demon's Toilet" a move, pun intended, that was truly shitty.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grand Masters of Wrestling Vol. 2

To read Brian's review of this same DVD from '08 click here!

This seemes to be the least offensive of the three DVDs in the series I have that are being reviewed. First, we start with a musical intermission with Nikolai Volkoff singing some Russian song and Classy Freddie Blassie singing “Pencil Neck Geek”. Yes, it just as bad and as horrible as it sounds. Second, the audience has been dubbed over with same track over and over and over. Can we please get to the wrestling?

1. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Nikolai Volkoff - 1

Volkoff comes out with a guy named Nikita Breshnikov, who’s about as scrawny as a bean pole and is about as Russian as Spaghetti-O’s. This is so reminding me of 1992 Herb Abrams’ UWF right now with old legends wrestling a gym in front of a miniscule audience that it’s not even funny. Volkoff’s hair reminds me of the toupee of Uncle Louis from Christmas Vacation. This was everything you would imagine it would be on a DVD like this, lots of forearms to the back and working on cruise control. The referee took the best bumps, hell the only bumps, of the match. The brawl on the outside was like two old people fighting over the last serving of mashed potatoes at the rest home.

Iron Sheik cut a completely incoherent promo in the locker room with generic Arabian music playing in the background. During the interview, Sheik says “the great American country New Jersey”. Yep. Need I say more? Fred Blassie comes in with a title belt and my first though is “Holy shit, this promotion has a title belt!” Looks like a cheap ass generic foam belt in my opinion.

2. Mighty Maccabee vs. The Iron Shiek - 2

Mighty Maccabee is a guy dressed in a blue and white singlet with a blue mask with the Star of David on the front and he came to the ring in fencing gear. This has to be one of the most absurd and ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. Sheik completely oversells a shove into the ropes off of a simple tie-up. This match has to be one of the most bizzare spectacles I’ve ever witnessed in wrestling. The announcer is doing live commentary over the house mic and chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” at random intervals, the local police abduct Sheik’s slimy middle-eastern manager, and Mike Sharpe and Ken Patera are at ringside for no discernable reason. Maccabee hit a chair shot on Sheik and then ran around celebrating like he just won an the Boston Marathon. Somehow these guys worked 15 minutes without accomplishg a damn thing. We get a DQ finish for interference .. but wait, there’s more to this crazy scene! Maccabee unmasks to reveal a white mask underneath in exchange for five more minutes, there’s a ref bump, a shit ton of interference from Sharpe and Patera. Sheik has not taken a bump in this whole match. Sheik got beat with a fencing helmet to the head. Yes, re-read that last line again. I’m almost sure that I’ve never seen that before and will never see it again. By the way, this went twenty-two minutes. Yes, TWENTY-TWO MINUTES! I think people need to see this just because of the absurdity.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

WCW SuperBrawl 2000

WCW SuperBrawl 2000
February 20, 2000 in San Francisco, CA
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Mark Madden

The next to last SuperBrawl with probably one of the wildest and most unique cards I’ve ever seen on a WCW show.

1. Tournament Final for the WCW Cruiserweight Title: Lash LeRoux vs. The Artist - 3

Let’s set the stage at how ridiculous WCW was at the time and how this tournament was set up. We had Oklahoma, who was nowhere near the classification of “cruiserweight”, relinquishing the title on TV. Not sure why but anyone in their right mind could’ve predicted Oklahoma would be a colossal failure. Anyway, there was a tournament held to crown a new champion which boiled down to Lash and The Artist. Who exactly is the Artist? Well, he was once known as Prince Iaukea if that helps any. Dragon screw leg whip from the Artist looked like it nearly ripped Lash’s knee out. Paisley spent a good portion of the match standing on the apron and nobody seemed to notice. Best move of the match was Artist’s leaping DDT off the middle rope for the win. Other than that, the match was nothing special and Lash looked pretty sloppy.

2. WCW Hardcore Title: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Brian Knobbs - 2

Time to get extreme! Unfortunately there wasn’t really anything extreme about this. The crowd brawl felt pretty pointless that wound up back in a concourse with Knobbs going through a catering table. Mark Madden on commentary asked about the tables under the ring and Schiavone responded with a comment saying “I don’t know but whoever makes tables is making a good living off of WCW right now!”. Perhaps if they hadn’t spent all that money on tables, they might still be in business. Knobbs took a table bump, trash can lids to the head, and Bigelow’s finisher but Bigelow never went for a cover. Finish had Finlay distracting Bigelow with Knobbs coming out, knocking him out, and pinning him randomly on the floor.

3. Handicap Match: Three Count vs. Norman Smiley - 3

I always sort of liked Norman’s antics, especially when he was wrestling for the Hardcore Title. Three Count may not have been the well versed grapplers but damn they can bump like crazy. Moore got some huge hang time on a big backdrop to the otuside and Helms took a scary bump on a wacky jump off the top rope and landed right on his head. Looked like he did some type of kamikaze type move. Not sure if three count was supposed to be tagging in and out because their just coming in, doing something wacky, and leaving. This was just a free-for-all that seemed pretty much like filler.

4. The Demon vs. The Wall - 3

It’s announced that this is one of the “featured matches” of the show. Umm, ok? Demon comes out in this wild looking casket covered in spikes that looked like something that you’d find in one of those seasonal Halloween stores. Only a few highlights here with Demon hitting a nice springboard clothesline and Wall taking a slam off the top and landed right on his neck. Wall got the pin after about four minutes of what felt like a Thunder main event. Good to know they invested all that money in Demon only for him to get pinned clean in his pay-per-view debut.

5. Leather Jacket on a Pole Match: Tank Abbott vs. Big Al - 2

This a mystery that will pretty much haunt me until the end of time … who the hell is/was Big Al and where the hell did he come from? As Madden said on commentary, this was “brawling and bad language”. There was this bit right on the opening bell where they try to tie their hands together with a belt, which is promptly screwed up by Al dropping said belt. Lots and lots of punching. Holy fuck, what the hell happened at the end? Abbott was climbing the ropes and it looked like he dropped Al when he got to the top rope and Al took a fucking nutty bump and kills himself by taking a header right on the steps and falls in a heap to the floor. Abbott looks at the carnage, pretty much shrugs his shoulders, and climbs up to grab the jacket. Afterwards, he pulls a KNIFE~! on an unconsicous Al and threatens to “fucking kill him” as Schiavone claims the giant Jim Bowie knife is a pair of scissors. What lunacy.

6. Big T vs. Booker T - 2

The stipulation here is that the winner acquires the rights to the Harlem Heat name. Sadly, Big T is not representing the family restaurant that was two blocks from my childhood home. Big T is actually Ahmed Johnson who looked he'd added about 100 pounds by eating at said restaurant day after day. Ahmed took a big sidekick and sold it like he tripped backwards off a curb. Booker gets the advantage, goes for a pin, then the lights go out and then come back on with a dude on the apron, weighing an easy 450, distracting Booker, thus allowing Ahmed to hit a Pearl River Plunge. Second straight match with some weird ass finish. Who was that large man?

A quick note if you’re keeping track, we’re just over halfway through the show and no match has broken the ten minute mark, with most of them going about five to six minutes each. So far this show has felt like an extended editon of Nitro, which was not really a good thing. Let’s see if the second half is any better.

7. Vampiro vs. Billy Kidman - 4

I’m hoping this will be a good match with no bullshit. The pace was good from the opening bell and stayed pretty steady throughout the whole match. Vampiro hit a couple big moves including a big suplex off the top rope and a toss powerbomb. Kidman wasn’t much on the offensive and when he was, it wasn’t all that great. I liked how Mark Madden predicted that this would “be a U.S. title match in a year and a World title match in two years”. Too bad WCW itself only had just over a year left to survive. Not sure what the finish was supposed to be but it looked like some Scorpion Death Drop move from the top rope but pretty much ended in disaster as both dudes landed really awkwardly. Not a bad match, certainly better from some of the droll before it but still felt like they were just cruising through.

8. Sicilian Stretcher Match for the WCW Tag Team Titles: The Mamalukes vs. David Flair & Crowbar - 5

I’ve got a feeling this is going to be wild as there are stretchers, garbage cans, wheelchairs, and other assorted paraphernalia on the outside. Looks like maybe they raided some medical storage warehouse. Also, a question, what exactly makes these specific stretchers used here Sicilian? Where they perhaps made in Sicily? I’ll be honest here, there was so much wild stuff going on that I had a hell of a time keeping so my notes on this are a little sporadic. Crowbar did a big dive to the outside onto Johnny the Bull who was laid out on a stretcher that looked like it hurt both dudes really bad. People are brawling and fighting everywhere, including Daffney and Disco Inferno. Schiavone at one point on commentary says “this is the damndest thing I’ve ever seen”. Well, OK. Apparently this is elimination as Flair got taped … yes, taped as in the Mamalukes were using masking tape … to a stretcher and rolled out of the arena. Match really started to drag at the end as all the guys were just completely gassed and it was only ten minutes. Crowbar was eliminated after two table spots and again taped to a stretcher and wheeled out by a gaggle of referees.

9. Texas Death Match: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk - 7

If you’re a fan of old school wrestling then you’re familiar with the Flair/Funk feud of 1989 that culminated in the legendary “I Quit” match on the Clash of the Champions. Eleven years later, these two were still at it and even though they were older and perhaps a little slower, they still went out there and put on one hell of a wild match. The rules are like the old style death matches where once you get a pinfall, the person who was pinned has to answer the referee’s ten count. Flair took some wicked stuff on the floor including a number of suplexes and a piledriver. Funk took some punishment of his own, including some nasty, nasty chops from Flair. This feels like an old 1980’s NWA brawl where they are just killing themselves all over the arena. Flair took perhaps one of the most dangerous and sickening spots in his career in this match by taking an old school Memphis style back-cracking, neck-breaking, spine-tingling piledriver that just jammed his head and neck right into the mat. Probably one of the sickest piledrivers I’ve ever seen. It was such a crazy, dangerous, and wild spot that I rewound at least 3-4 times to rewatch it. If anything else, you have to at least see this match just for that spot. I’m not sure how Flair got up, hell, I’m not sure if he wasn’t even knocked somewhat loopy, but he managed to trip Funk off the top rope causing him to crash through a table and get counted down by the referee. This was just a completely violent and brutal match as these two just absoutely murdered each other.

10. Hulk Hogan vs. Lex Luger - 3

If you’re looking for a classic then this will not be the match for you. However, if you’re looking for a match between two guys still stuck using old 90’s moves and not selling a damn thing, then you’ve got your match. Hogan rushed the ring during the intros and we got a stiff brawl. By stiff though, I don’t mean Japanese stiff hard-hitting style, I mean two stiff and immobile dudes working each other with clotheslines, punches, and basic big man offense. The story here was Hogan was going for revenge on Luger breaking his arm but that fact seemed to be forgotten once the match started. Match was totally lame and also featured interference from Jimmy Hart, Miss Elizabeth, Ric Flair, and Sting. This felt like some kind of 90s reunion on an indy show somwhere.

11. No DQ Triple Threat Match for the WCW World Title: Scott Hall vs. Sid Vicious vs. Jeff Jarrett - 1

Almost immediately the bullshit starts with the Harris Brothers trying to interfere. Two minutes later we get the first ref bump of the match after which these guys start going for random nearfalls. Another ref bump after the referee fails to count a fall and Jarrett assaults him, followed by two more ref bumps right in a row. This is rapidly going down the crapper. Everything is focused on Jarrett here and Sid and Hall are pretty much an afterthought. Wait, what the fuck? Where the hell did Roddy Piper come from? My god, this is a terrible match. Piper nails the heel ref who came down after the previous ref bumps, Sid issues a powerbomb to Hall, Piper counts the fall and this is over. I feel like I not only just watched a bad Nitro main event but an elongated edition of Nitro.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Papa Shango vs. Jim Duggan

Papa Shango vs. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan - WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/9/93 - 3

This was a King of the Ring qualifying match. There's more smoke coming out of the skull Shango wields while walking to the ring than out of Seth Rogen's trailer on the set of This Is the End. Duggan didn't talk about this match in his book -- I guess we'll see why. It takes three big clotheslines to get Shango off his feet. It's nice to look back and see when Jim had some heft and momentum behind his work. Papa drops a headbutt right into the grapefruits. Speaking of grapefruit, one adorns the cover of Saves the Day's new self-titled album which comes out today. Wonder if Hogan ever confronted Duggan about doing his whole "Hulking Up" routine ad nauseam. This had the sophistication and substance of a Chikara opener but before he became a lumbering dolt working for $80 paydays on the independent scene almost thirty years past his prime Duggan wasn't all bad to watch in the ring, he bumped big for some early Shango punches, was whipping his hair all around while selling, and even ate a kneelift with panache.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Grand Masters of Wrestling Vol. 1

To read Brian's take on this same show from '08 click here!

This is a DVD series that Brian found in the bargain bin of Walmart years and years ago. The intro music for this is completely cheesy, right out of a 90s syndicated TV show and the building this was filmed in is probably a high school gym somewhere. Immediately, I know this isn't going to be good.

1. Ace Darling vs. Dangerous Devon Storm - 3

Storm looks like the typical high school jock in a lot of 90s teen movies with the blond hair and shades. If you're trying to envision someone, think of the character "Wade" from Halloween 4. Yeah, I know that was an obscure cinema reference but it's the best I could do. I’m not sure if this is the same Devon Storm that’s known as Crowbar so if someone could clue me in on that, it’d be appreciated. Some nice high risk moves, including a somersault plancha from Storm that the play-by-play guy erroneously called a “moonsault”. Darling looks and feels very generic and would make a good TV jobber with his basic design tights. Storm hit a nice springboard leg lariat and a moonsault, which I should note was correctly called by the announcer. I should note that Ken Patera is on color and seems totally bored. A very basic top rope frankensteiner fro Ace ends this. A fairly good match but nothing too outstanding.

2. Iron Mike Sharpe vs. King Kong Bundy - 1

Sharpe looks about fifty pounds heavier than his WWF run and, as my wife noted, “looks like a really bloated Jerry Lawler”. A FUCKING HUGE King Kong Bundy replaces Kamala, who was originally supposed to be in the match, and immediately my expectations went higher. There wasn’t a lot to see except for both guys pounding on each other. Bundy nailed Sharpe with a nice big splash in the corner. I’m noticing a trend here, none of these legends seem are taking bumps at all. Match ends in a double count-out and Bundy yells “what the hell, man” to the referee and then just walks away. My thoughts exactly.

3. Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. The Metal Maniac - 3

With a name like Metal Maniac, I expected someone to come out clad in armor or at least something somewhat resembling the Silver Surfer. Instead, we get a guy who looks like a Kona Crush rip-off with Ultimate Warrior facepaint, about a hundred extra pounds, and a MASSIVE mullet. Surprised to see Snuka on this DVD but I guess he’ll take whatever bookings he can get. I’ll admit it, I never really was a big Jimmy Snuka fan so this match is really doing nothing for me, however this was a little better than I expected it to be, mostly thanks to the Maniac. These guys work a headlock spot for what seems like forever and Maniac took a wild bump off the top rope. Snuka didn’t deviate from his moveset any, doing his typical assortment of chops and high flying.

Friday, September 13, 2013

UWF Fury Hour - 10/1/90

UWF Fury Hour
Taped September 24, 1990 in Reseda, CA
Announcers: Herb Abrams and Bruno Sammartino

1. Steve “Dr. Death” Williams vs. Davey Meltzer - 2

Meltzer’s contributions to this match were nothing more than being a pudgy punching bag for the good doctor. Only thing even worth remembering was seeing Meltzer get destroyed with two smashes into the buckle and then a hard powerslam. Nothing you haven’t seen before in a squash match.

2. Cactus Jack vs. David Sammartino - 5

No way this can be the same David Sammartino. He looks completely different than he does on the first WrestleMania. There he was pudgy and looked exactly like his dad. Here, he’s completely ripped with short blond hair and about 50-60 pounds lighter. Lots of punching and mat work from David. I found it funny how he had Cactus in a hammerlock and was working it like he was trying to tighten a bolt with a wrench. Foley did not look too enthused to be there and let David lay his shoddy offense in like crazy during the first half. Things turned though when Cactus dropped David throat first on the railing. Foley got in all in trademark stuff like the Cactus Clothesline and the elbow from the apron. Not sure what was up with the finish where Cactus randomly gave the referee a headbutt.

3. Billy Jack Haynes vs. Spitball Patterson - 2

Spitball Patterson has to be one of the best jobber names ever. I mean this is a guy who should come out dressed in baseball pants with shoes that look like cleats and carrying a bat to the ring. Instead he’s a generic guy with no personality who managed to do less than very little in a match where he had very little to do to begin with. Haynes hit a really awkward spot from the second rope where the gave Patterson this wild faceplant. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that, nor will I probably ever see it again.

4. Col. DeBeers vs. Michael Allen - 2

What is it with DeBeers popping up in these random feds during the late 80s and early 90s? First he was in the AWA during it’s dying years and now he popped up again here. This felt very much like a WWF squash match in that is was very, very one-sided with DeBeers gaining the win with a knee to the back and a faceplant DDT. Allen, to his credit, did manage to break out a rather swank flying headscissor takedown.

5. Paul Orndorff vs. Ricky Ataki - 3

Ataki came to impress and bumped his ass off for the rather bland Orndorff, who I’ve never really been a big fan of. Herb Abrams says on commentary that Ataki’s hometown is “Japan”. Ummm … since when is/was Japan a town? Does Herbie need to repeat elementary school geography? Anyway, Orndorff won with one of the sickest piledrivers you’ve ever seen and then has a staredown with Dr. Death for seemingly no reason.

6. Dan Spivey vs. B. Brian Blair - 3

It’s been about 24 hours since I watched this show and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why someone decided it was a good idea to put these guys in the main event spot. More ridiculous Abrams commentary regarding Blair: “He’s a fan favorite who’s a favorite of the fans”. Ok, Herb. Whatever you say. Spivey looks ridiculous in the neon yellow and black funky striped pants with dark red boots. Blair never got out of the gate and was just dominated by Spivey, who kept the same crazed look on his face the whole match. Double DQ finish was lame.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

TNA One Night Only: Hardcore Justice 2

1. New Church vs. Latin American Xchange - Street Fight - 3
2. Jackie Moore vs. ODB - No DQ Match - 2
3. Gen ME vs. Bad Influence - Ladder Match - 7
4. 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Shark Boy vs. Funaki vs. Guido vs. Crowbar vs. Sam Shaw vs. Crimson vs. Gunner vs. Johnny Swinger - Hardcore Gauntlet Match - 4
5. Aces and 8's vs. James Storm, Magnus, and Bob Holly - Elimination Match - 5
6. Messias vs. Joseph Park - Monster's Ball Match - 3
7. Jeff Hardy and Brother Runt vs. Bully Ray and Devon - Tables Match - 4

Ordering this show on PPV was akin to discovering a bowler hat full of fetid feces on your front porch. A shocking and revolting proposition. Show starts with a literally six-minute long music video of "highlights" set to some real bad rap metal. Opening street fight was comparable to the 6th best Da Baldies match. Watching it was like watching a basketball game go to 100-0 using nothing but foul shots. Billed as the two toughest Knockouts in TNA history Jackie and ODB were set to make a bigger splash than Tony Scott off the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Looked like a bar brawl save for people don't run ropes in those. There was a shaving cream in the butthole gag that surely misted up Russo's eyes somewhere. Jackie's bosom should have a choking hazard printed on it.

Ladder match was a spectacular stunt show from four of PWG's finest exports. I would have loved to have seen this in Reseda getting 45 min. but I'm not complaining. You may label me contentious but I'm calling the Young Bucks a better team than the Road Warriors. Kazarian took some career-shortening bumps. I'd be totally cool with Kaz getting the TNA world title one day although don't see it happening -- maybe in a parallel universe. One in which the Red Dawn remake didn't suck giant dong. Too bad Gen ME burnt their bridges as them versus Tons of Funk getting 6 min. on WWE Main Event would brighten my Wednesday evening.

They then aired a painfully long video recap of the show thus far. Now, if it's a TV show I can understand the occasional quick recap to catch up viewers late to the program, but this is PPV, anyone watching it has been from the start presumably. Sometimes when you've watched as much wrestling as me a match that's "odd" is just as fun as one that's "good".  That was the case with the gauntlet. An odd hodgepodge of talent beating each other with all manner of objects. Never really thought of Guido as a bump freak but he earned his check here. Crowbar's tits are almost as big as Daffney's now. Funaki wasn't advertised in TNA's official listings so that was a pleasant surprise. Too bad he didn't bring Yamaguchi-San's samurai steel and lopped off Sam Shaw's balls. Always a treat seeing Scorpio who looked great here as always. Guy would be TNA world champ if I had the book. I'd have him and Austin Aries do a Best of 7 that'd make people Benoit and Booker's. Oh, wait, you'd already forgotten it? Damn kids. Go watch your best of Johnny Gargano.

I really like the Aces and 8's match which surprises me quite a bit as on paper it was one I glanced over with little interest. It wasn't advertised as an elimination match but it was cool that it was. Allowed the guys to take their time. I mean, it was pretty much just people punching each other, and selling punches, then more punching, etc. It wasn't slick or sleek or state of the art. But sometimes I like just kicking back watching people faux-grimace after being faux-punched for 20 min. Holly's punches had more snap than Jorge Masvidal's but if I can be frank he was shit. Should have brought in Molly Holly (or hell even Crash would have popped the Impact Zone and Messias could have used his coffin later). The rapid fire elimination sequence at the end is a lousy trope.

Messias has built quite the resume in Mexico and is a legit Top 50 worker in the world in many peoples' eyes but there was no saving this load. The pacing was just off. I get the idea Park is unfamiliar in a hardcore setting and is unsure, it's a cute bit, but they just slowly meandered from spot to next and it felt dryer than sandpaper. Messias got good air on his chokeslam bump but this was forgettable. Main event on paper looked like one Hermie Sadler would have had on an UWF show in some armory in Maryland. Was worked as such also. Very much by the numbers shuffling through the routine stuff. Runt looks legit old so that leant an extra sense of depth to his selling as it really seemed like an old social studies teacher getting dropped hard repeatedly on a hard wooden ring. Hardy felt like he wasn't even in the match. The guys definitely sleepwalked through this gig which is disappointing but not surprising. Should have booked Scorpio vs. Sabu in a TLC Match as the main and let Hardy and Shannon Moore do a Pain Pills on a Pole match in the mid-card.