Saturday, November 18, 2017

Dash Wilder vs. Rhyno

Dash Wilder vs. Rhyno (WWE Main Event 9/14/17) - 3

Borrowing from David Bordwell's more formalist analysis on film a big difference in regards to technique and quality thereof I detected within the first minute of the match was Rhyno's extremely vocal selling of some basic, perfunctory armwork to start things, screaming with every ounce of pressure Wilder applied, whereas once Dash started eating attacks he did this wide-eyed Looney Tunes selling style that seems a byproduct of his NXT training. It'd be stooge selling if it was committed but falls short. Rhyno takes a surprisingly big bump for Main Event getting shoved off the top rope and spilling to the floor. Crowd was actually behind Rhyno with chants and support. Dash is more solid than I'd previously thought, not in the sense of being dependable, but thick. The finish, a fairly lackadaisical-looking Rhyno spinebuster fell flat, especially coming moments after a well-timed Wilder nearfall where he'd had his feet on the ropes for illegal leverage.  The range of motion of both men was so limited that it felt like the playing out of a wrestling match with action figures that have no articulation like the old LJN wrestling toys. As I'm getting caught up on the last couple months of Main Event I'll be seeing plenty more of both of these guys.

Monday, August 7, 2017

TNA iMPACT 9/4/08

1. Sheik Abdul Bashir vs. Consequences Creed - 2
2. Prince Justice Brotherhood (Super Eric & Shark Boy) vs. Beer Money - 2
3. Abyss vs. Johnny Devine - Hardcore Match - 3
4. ODB vs. Raisha Saeed - 4
5. Christian Cage vs. AJ Styles - X

I feel like a beat reporter given a particularly oddball assignment. Anybody remember all that fun they had with the TNA video game? I didn't think so. Thank me later for not writing up the previous week's show which featured a (completely gray-haired) Kevin Nash vs. Kurt Angle marquee bout. Opening segment sees Booker T and Angle cut an in-ring promo wearing T.J. Maxx suits. Christian interrupted and a brief melee ensued ending with a red-faced Jim Cornette bellowing at ringside.

Is Samoa Joe, backstage in a locker room with protein powders and athletic tape carefully left in frame, wearing a bad Hot Topic necklace or are those Velvet Sky's anal beads? 25 minutes into the show and no wrestling yet. If you had to pinpoint the one thing that Abdul Bashir does best what would it be? I'm at a loss. Creed is The New Day's Xavier Woods pre-Internet gaming channel and hokey cereal hocking. The only thing he's selling here is Sheik's subpar offense. Sheik's baggy pants were more glittery than Kesha's dick. Nash interviewed backstage looking like the Ghost of Bumps' Past.

The third member of PJB is Curry Man but he gets seduced by Christy Hemme backstage. Shark Boy, in his moderately good Steve Austin voice, gets in a good Brokeback Mountain crack at Beer Money backstage. Too bad the in-ring action that followed wasn't as amusing. Eric looks like an aborted Chikara character in his baggy vinyl superhero gear. At some point during the match I fell asleep in a weird David Lynch-like dream haze. Waking up the next morning it took all of the willpower I could muster to turn the DVD back on.

Abyss being the Kane equivalent in TNA is frighteningly exact. Tall, monster-like gimmick with laughably uneven track record of mostly middling matches and propensity to work lazily safe style that doesn't raise eyebrows or ennoble risks and flies under radar for over a decade. Devine ate few nasty shots. Probably regrettably as he now suffers chronic headaches working as an overnight stocker in his town's grocery store. Abyss got him up nicely for a chokeslam and a spot where he punched a steel chair into Devine's face looked appropriately vicious. Women's match was best thing yet with some quality bumps into the guardrails and some Fight Club-like subliminal messages "cut in" to the feed about Suicide a grappler promoting killing yourself marketed as a hip character to teens in a video game. How novel. Match had all your favorite ODB staples, her smacking her own tits, taking a swig from a flask, and nominally selling.

Unsure of when/if I'll finish this disc but if I do I'll update this post with thoughts on the main event. All praise be to Cute Kip.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dirty Heels vs. Young Bucks

Dirty Heels (Austin Aries and Bobby Roode) vs. The Young Bucks - House of Hardcore VIII - 5

This was the evening’s main event following a bloody Tommy Dreamer and Eric Young brawl. On a sidenote I really dig HoH. It has came closest to capturing the ECW zeitgeist and milieu. Dirty Heels’ t-shirts look like they were designed using Mario Paint. Aries was always known for his unbelievable speed and snap but as he’s aged he’s needed to rely more on craftiness. Both teams trade some perfunctory arm work to start. Not sure why you’d target the Bucks’ arms when their offense is mostly Superkicks and springboards.

You could call the Heels by the names Moe and Curly cause they’re Stooging. Has anyone ever definitively answered who’s the best Jackson: Matt, Nick, or Malachi? I’ve sometimes wondered is Roode a really measured worker or a habitually lazy one? Aries leans into some Matt forearms before going for a double-leg to stop the flurry like he’s trying to secure a spot in the TUF house so he can share a bunk with Julian Lane. “Let me bang bro!” Aries’ wobbly selling is camp.

I get Dreamer booking this on top wanting to tip his hat to the current era but this has felt like a pretty safe touring match that’s awfully self-contained. The Dreamer/Young deal with two mystery run-ins and blood felt way more appropriate as a finale (especially with Rey Mysterio shocking the crowd). Ref apparently letting this become a Tornado Tag as all four guys go at it in the ring. You’ve seen all of the Bucks’ Superkick tricks but I’ve got to point one out here as Matt nailed Aries who was flying in mid-air attempting an accelerated corner dropkick. Meltzer Driver ends Aries. A “5” on the patented NHO scale seems low for a main event but this was uniform and fairly pedestrian stuff. Post-match all four guys jerking each other off mid-ring felt especially deprecatory (like “yeah we’re four buddies that just but on a laissez-faire show for you”) then they started fanboy-ing out as Sandman’s music hit and the show faded to black.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

MVP vs. Jimmy Wang Yang

MVP vs. Jimmy Wang Yang - WWE SmackDown! #467 8/1/08 - 3

Jeff Hardy is ringside popping a squat on an unforgiving chair (of the steel not lawn variety). Anybody remember MVP’s Beat Down Clan in TNA? Listed on Wikipedia as a “villainous stable”. Foley on commentary says it took “great restraint” for Hardy to withstand MVP’s verbal abuse pre-match. Ross suggests perhaps he’s “filing it away for later” like that Juelz Ventura clip Shannon Moore showed him on the long car ride to the Giant Center in Hershey. MVP does some nice vocal work on his sells and dug him targeting Wang’s abdomen. He got in a nice series of knees to the mid-section early and later caught Yang coming off the top with a gut-buster. The Drive-By Kick ends it with finality.

Now hop on the Network and relive the Hardy & MVP feud which began in earnest the week prior when MVP cut a promo on the untimely death of Jeff’s dead dog that burned in a fire. Jeff’s threat post-match “If you ever mention my home, the fire, or my dog again I’ll prove to you what kind of man I am” had me guffawing.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Chris Jericho vs. Paul London

Chris Jericho vs. Paul London - WWE Raw #790 7/14/08 - 4

Slotted in a relatively dead spot in a really odd episode of Raw (which saw new champ CM Punk buried not once but twice, and Cryme Tyme main event) this match was fuel for the ongoing "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels and Jericho program that was really heating up. I was in the audience in Indianapolis a month later when Jericho "accidentally" punched Michaels' wife Rebecca in the face.

London was a trainee of Michaels' and idolized him making him a perfect target for antagonism and anger from Jericho. What made this stand out was a rare look at Jericho as aggressor. It was almost as if he was stepping into the role of one of his career best opponents Chris Benoit. He marches London back into the corner to start and just starts attacking amid the referee's pleas to separate. And Jericho was getting legit heat. At one point outside the ring you could actually see some drunken stepfathers swiping at him from across the barrier! Not to speak ill of the dead but Jericho was seconded by his stooge Lance Cade who was useless at ringside playing the muscle but felt as out of place as Uwe Boll at the Oscar's. After punishing Paul a bit Jericho made him tap like he was Harold "Stumpy" Cromer.

Post-match HBK came out on the ramp looking old and as leathery as the jerky he surely makes from all the elk and deer he murders in the name of sport. Delicious postscript to this is a month later at a house show Paul London broke Cade's nose as a receipt for getting busted open by a botched move. All's fair in love and WarGames.

Monday, February 6, 2017

D.I.Y. vs. Tajiri & Akira Tozawa

D.I.Y. vs. Tajiri & Akira Tozawa - NXT 370 - 12/28/16 - 6

The yellow brand invaded Osaka and while the D.I.Y. versus Revival feud found prominent placement on many fans’ Best Matches of the Year ballots I wanted to look back at this intriguing match-up. At this point Tozawa hadn’t made his debut on 205 Live where he’d been heavily promoted so this was many fans’ first glimpse. I came to know him through his vocal performances in PWG and elsewhere. Some grappling to start with Akira and Johnny. Akira wants the left arm of Gargano but JG uses his speed to keep things cooking leading to a “respect face-off” spot earning a 6.5 on the RVD/Lynn scale.

Tommaso and Tajiri enter but Tajiri quickly breaks the lock-up to spray green mist into the air in a visual spectacle. Not sure I dig the goofy emoticon-like trunks on D.I.Y. Tajiri starts pretzeling Ciampa up. This pair also does a slightly less elaborate “respect face-off” spot. Make Wrestling Choreographed Again t-shirts are sent to the printers by Robert Szatkowski in Battle Creek.

I wonder if Tajiri ever got Tozawa booked in SMASH. Advertisement airs for merchandise including Bayley and New Day ugly Christmas sweaters surely the belle at the ball at many a holiday family get-together. Pecan log and abdominal stretch tips by the fireplace. JG targets Tozawa’s back with some elbows and a mean backbreaker. Akira’s mouthpiece looks like an old Dentyne gum ad. Tozawa wakes up with a pump-kick out of the corner into Ciampa’s face then Tajiri storms in and starts targeting D.I.Y. with a vicious kick assortment. Tajiri holds both foes in-place outside the ring while Tozawa does two consecutive suicide dives.Tozawa teasing his world famous German suplex but Ciampa fights out with ablomb leading JG to Spear himself back into the match.

Tajiri kicks JG in the arm which he admirably sells then Gargano gets locked in the deadly Tarantula. JG nimbly dodges a killshot headkick. Forearm exchange by JG and Tozawa. Camp gives Tozawa a taste of his own medicine with Rolling German suplexes which possesses Akira who quickly rips off his own patented German suplexes onto both of D.I.Y.

Great nearfall off a brutal-looking Project Ciampa (powerbomb dropped into a double knee backbreaker) by Ciampa on AT. Tajiri made the save. Finish is the D.I.Y. special move Meet In The Middle (running knee smash/superkick combo). Don’t agree with Tozawa taking the fall when it wouldn’t have hurt the vet but enjoyed it overall.