Thursday, September 03, 2009

The 2009 post

None of us type into this here blog thing very often, do we? Are we too busy? Too lazy? Too stupid? I speak only for myself when I say ALL OF THE ABOVE! But hell, I think even I can manage one post a year and this is it! Actually, this is all shit that I've already posted elsewhere over the past year, but cut and paste is one of my many skills. I don't even remember watching some of this stuff, but you go.

I finished the first disc of the '08 Champion's Carnival (covering the A Block). Lots of good stuff here, with a ton of stories woven through. You have Kojima's injured lariat arm, Kea busting his ass like crazy, but not being able to eke out a win, Tanahashi just generally being a douchebag (in the best way possible!) and Mutoh/Kawada bringing the veteran presence.

Favorite match so far was probably Mutoh/Tanahashi. Tanahashi dicks it up, eventually going to work on Mutoh's gimpy knees. Mutoh makes the comeback to show the young buck how to properly crack a kneecap and then they sprint to the finish. It wasn't a *great* match, but I was digging it all the way through. Kawada/Tanahashi was decent as well, but there were some dead spots that the Mutoh match didn't really have.

Kea is something of a revelation. I don't watch a ton of puro, so I'd only seen a few of his matches. He mentions being Triple Crown champion at one point. Is there anything from that era worth tracking down? Don't know if he was just picking it up for the big shows, but he was pretty great through all of this.


Went back to the DVDVR Memphis project today. After tomorrow, I'm taking off for an entire week, so my plan is to finish off as many of these discs as I can. Maybe even get my ballot in, if I'm lucky.

Anyway, from what I watched today, I'd say that the Lanny Poffo vs. Ron Garvin and the Garvin vs Savage cage match were the two standouts. Poffo is so much better than WWF job duty ever indicated. To the point that I'm wondering if anyone ever did a comp of his earlier work, because I want to see more. On the other hand, he does commentary on both of these matches and yeah...he should stay in the ring. He comes across as if he's half asleep, which isn't necessarily the vibe a sportscaster of any sort should be going for. At any rate, he busts out a moonsault, standing moonsault and pretty much a proto-swanton here, in a match that happened in 1982.

Savage/Garvin is just a fun little bloodbath. Garvin, of course, isn't afraid to kick the crap out of *anyone* and this is Savage in his absolute prime. Some great punches thrown here and the use of the cage actual augments the match instead of getting in the way. Loved the finish (Garvin crotches himself up top and Savage pulls him directly into a piledriver) as well.

I also watched all but the last few minutes of ECW's Heatwave '94 show, as I was starting to fall asleep. Decent show, but nothing that demands a second viewing. Main event w/ Douglas vs Sabu is probably the only thing you'd really want to track down. I actually dug the Chad Austin vs. Mikey Whipwreck match a bunch, too, but I'm probably the world's only Chad Austin fan and this had a bunch of awkward spots where he almost kills Mikey with various head droppy stuff. There's a brainbuster, in particular, that made me cringe.


Jerry Lawler vs Bill Dundee (Loser Leaves Town) from 6/6/83 is as perfect a wrestling match as I think I've ever seen. It feels absolutely EPIC, including all of the other wrestlers sitting around ringside just to watch. The crowd is absolutely molten hot and these two just put on a clinic. Amazing, amazing match. If it's not #1 on my Memphis ballot, I can't imagine what will knock it down.

(Note: This match did indeed take the top spot in my Memphis ballot. You want to see it. Trust me.)


Watched the Global Lt. Heavyweight title tournament. Most of it is shown only in short clips, which seems to be for the best. It's amazing how much wrestling has changed stylistically since that point, especially in terms of juniors. There was some awful looking stuff on display here. The Lynn/Waltman final is complete and almost as good as I remembered it. Kid looks like he's 10, but he hits all sorts of flippy stuff and is years ahead of his time. I had forgotten that Lynn used to do some high flying as well.

There's also a second show with Eddie Gilbert defending the TV belt versus Chaz. They have three fans frisk Gilbert for weapons beforehand and, of course, they all find something. Gilbert is hilarious here. Anyway, Chaz sucks, but Gilbert could work circles around pretty much anyone so this was fun. Just as a reminder of how stupid ESPN was (is?), this match ends with Gilbert fireballing Chaz, but it's off camera, because I guess it would encourage the kiddies to fireball siblings, teachers, nuns or the like.


I watched an ep of WCWSN last night (5/2/92), co-hosted by Jason Hervey. JR's utter contempt for him is just barely disguised, so the commentary in this is really fun. Main event features an Arn Anderson/Big Josh 2/3 falls match that goes about 35-40 minutes w/ commercials. Really good match. Matt Bourne should be remembered way more fondly. He was still pumping out good matches even into the Doink run.


Only one match into the B Block of this year's Champ's Carnival, but consider me an official entrant into the Church of Minoru Suzuki. How have I not seen every pro wrestling match that this guy has ever had?

What a tremendous dickhead. He wrestled Doering in the match I watched and he just smothers him, going from limb to limb and basically tries to rip off a body part and take it with him. And when he's not doing that, he's smacking Doering over and over again, then standing there, coldly laughing as Doering tries to pick himself up. The ref gets in his way at one point, so Suzuki casually flicks him to the mat and again, starts cackling about it. He chokes Doering out at one point, then stands back and admires his handiwork. Sweet christ, was it ever great.

Overall, it was a lackluster match because there was just too much of a style clash, but if nothing else, I couldn't look away from Suzuki. Can't wait to see the rest of his matches. I'm trying to wrap my head around sort of match that he and Nishimura will have, but I can't quite figure it out.


WCWSN - 5/9/92

Not much of note through most of the show. Co-host this week was one of the guys in the band Alabama. There was a fun interview segment with Rick Rude, where three separate women in the crowd claim to be having affairs with Rick Steamboat (who the Dangerous Alliance is accusing of stalking Medusa). One of them repeatedly calls the other a slut and JR isn't happy about that at all. Rude, however, can barely stop himself from cracking up. Main event is Austin vs. Windham, 2/3 falls (don't know if I mentioned it, but the gimmick of the shows at this point is that the main event every week is 2/3 falls). Not as good as the match these two had from the show a few weeks before, but still pretty awesome.

I also watched another disc of the Memphis set, mostly focused on Savage matches. Seriously, he wrestles like he was shot out of a cannon. I've always thought that early Muta was about the quickest wrestler I'd ever seen, but Savage is just all over the place and looks absolutely smooth and effortless with every single thing he does.

Tried to watch Doering/Nishimura last night, but it put me to sleep. I get why people like Nish (and I think if I were in the right mood I'd dig him as well), but he sure can be deliberate at times. Makes sense that he's so close with Dory Funk, because I've always felt the same about him, too.


Through mid-'86 in the Memphis set. The December '85 Dundee/Lawler loser leaves town match is just about perfect. Actually the entire angle is fantastic, as Dundee is like a man possessed. He's been great through the entire set, but during this timeframe, he turns it up like 5 notches. Quite possibly one of the best angles that I've ever seen. Here's pretty much how it plays out.

Much spoilerage follows, if you ever plan on watching any of this...

-Lawler/Dundee are teammates.

-Fabulous Ones cut a promo talking about how Dundee mentioned that they were better than the Fabs. They think it's fine that he brags about beating teams like the Road Warriors, but they'd never wrestled the Fabs and he didn't want fans to think that it was a sure bet just because Dundee said so. That brings out Dundee, who decides that they're going to have the match right there and then. Fabs pretty much demur because they feel that the good guys shouldn't be wrestling one another, but kicking some heel ass instead.

-Lawler comes out and agrees with them and pretty much tells Dundee to chill out. Dundee is just raring to go the entire time. Lawler points out that the Fabs are the tag champs and that he's the Southern champ. Dunbdee takes exception because he doesn't have a belt and can't get a title shot versus his "friends." He's starting to come off as a bit of a jerk in the process. Lawler is pissed and says that he doesn't want to team with Dundee anymore. Dundee goes berserk and attacks everyone in sight before running off.

-Later in the show, Dundee demands a match versus Lawler, putting up his $25,000 sports car to sweeten the pot. Lawler calls it a pile of junk and turns down the match. Dundee then puts up his hair and that's good enough for Lawler. So they have a great match and Dundee CHEATS TO WIN! Lawler wants a rematch, but Dundee tells him that he won't get one for 30 days, then spills the beans that Ric Flair is coming to town in 28 days and that Lawler won't be getting the NWA title shot...he will. And that when he beats Flair, he's not even going to wrestle Lawler then. He's going to *give* him the Southern title, because he won't be needing it at that point.

-Even later in the same show, Lawler comes out with a baseball bat and tells Dundee that he's got 10 seconds to give him the rematch, or his beloved car is going to be smashed to bits. Dundee finally agrees.

-Jump to the LLT match (which is almost two months later, so I can't wait to get to the extras disc that covers this feud in more detail to see what I missed), where somehow, Dundee and his wife's (!) hair are now on the line as well. One of Lawler's eyes is completely bandaged up from a previous attack, so everything he does in this match is just slightly mistimed because of it. Because people sold stuff like that once upon a time. The rest of the roster surrounds the ring in the front row, mush like they did in the first LLT match between these two.

-Lawler/Dundee proceed to brawl around the entire building and have one the greatest brawls that I've ever seen. The finish sees one of the heels at ringside (Tony Falk) slip Dundee something, which he then blasts Lawler in the eye with. 1-2-3! Lawler actually loses a LLT match! In the Mid-South Coliseum! Crowd is pretty much wetting itself and the babyfaces around ringside look like they're ready to cry. Just a phenomenal job by everyone here.

(Note: This was #3 on my Memphis ballot)


Finished the '08 Champs Carnival today. The Tanahashi/Suwama final was 12 flavors of awesome. Probably a top 10 match of the year for me, actually. It maybe got a bit nearfall heavy down the stretch and it was hurt by me knowing the result going in, but yeah...loads of drama and a lot of quality nearfalls over the last few minutes.

I was largely underwhelmed by the rest of the B block matches, but as I said in a previous post, Minoru Suzuki is so great that his matches made up for any other lackluster action. The match with Sasaki is king sized. Sasaki just beats the snot out of him with chops as MiSu stands there and laughs in his face for a bit before bitchslapping him. Who the fuck does that to Kensuke Sasaki, of all people? MiSu, that's who.


Got through the first night of the 2008 wXw 16 carat tourney. Quackenbush/Danielson have a good match (these two have yet to have the blowaway match you'd expect, though. It's always just and the Doug Williams/Marufuji match is worth tracking down as well. Everything else is pretty middling, though. I'm about halfway through Night 2 and again, there's nothing awful and the big name guys are pumping out quality matches, but I wouldn't go out of my way to call anything "must see."


Finished off night two of the '08 16 carat tourney. Quack/Saint is even better than the hype would indicate. I love that Quack just has the biggest grin on his face through the entire match, like even he can't believe the match is happening and then you have Hero totally marking out on commentary as well. At any rate, if you like Saint, you'll love this, as it's pretty much a primer on all of his goofy (and I mean that in the greatest way possible) reversals and limb work with Quack staying right beside him the entire time.It never occurred to me before seeing this match, but I've come to the conclusion that a Saint vs Skayde match would make the entire planet implode from too much awesome.

-Danielson vs Marufuji was pretty much what you'd expect. Good match, but if you've seen their ROH stuff (single match and tags) you wouldn't need to track it down.

-Then there's the Steve Douglas vs Alex Pain match. Pretty much every little thing I hate about modern indy wrestling (total overkill, lots of fighting spirit junk, a shit ton of nearfalls that you'd never buy as the finsh) combined into a package that...I absolutely loved. I don't even want to try to explain it, but this had me marking out nonstop. I think Hero and Bryce on commentary helped a lot and the crowd is pretty much rabid, so it felt like a really "big" match and all that crap didn't come off as being unnecessary.

-Also, for what little it's worth, I watched the best of '08 Impact deal and it's the first TNA show in weeks (maybe months) that didn't have me heavily leaning on the fast forward button. TNA airing wrestling? Oh, the humanity!


Fallout 3 has really cut into the amount of wrestling I've been watching since Christmas, but I am halfway through the third night of the '08 16 Carat tournament. The Hero/Danielson match is good. Not great, but definitely worth watching. Can't help but to think that they wrestled an unnecessarily long match just to do it, though.

Is there any sort of story behind the Chuck Taylor/Taiji Ishimori matches here? On Night two, they're on opposite sides of a six man tag. Ishimori gets pinned after an Awful Waffle and immediately pops up and gets in Taylor's face. On night three, they face each other one on one. Ishimori absolutely obliterates him with a DDT, looking like he legit shook Taylor up. The finish was definitely blown, as Bryce ends up hesitantly counting to three as Chucky T just lays there looking stunned. Ishimori proceeds to lay in a few shooty looking stomps and generally acts like a giant dick. Can't imagine what sort of heat these two would have. It's not like they're generally working in the same circles. I didn't see anything in the tag match that looked unprofessional on Taylor's part, either.


Finally finished the 16 Carat tourney.

-4 Team elimination match was just a crazy spotfest. It was also a mess, but not necessarily in a *bad* way. PCO nearly kills a fan, as he press slams Adam Polack over the top rope and directly onto some dude at ringside. Nutty. I'm starting to dig Big Van Walter. His stuff w/ PCO was pretty fun.

-Quack/Marufuji was really disappointing. They didn't seem to click at all. I might have been looking forward to this almost as much as Quack/Saint, but yeah...really lackluster.

-Steve Douglas vs Generico was more overkill than you can shake a stick at (there's a sequence where they trade half and half suplexes that's just ridiculous, though Chucky T trying to explain the concept of fighting spirit on commentary is pretty great), but again, it ended up being a fun little match. I thought the finish was pretty clever, as Generico hit his running Yakuza in the corner. His leg ended up draped over the top and he was playing to the crowd as Douglas collapsed. Douglas has just enough energy to suddenly lift him up and spike him with a Rubix Cube for the win. From what I've read, he refers to the move as Natürliche Auslese, which I believe translates to Natural Selection. That's a nifty name for a finisher, actually.

-Danielson vs Bad Bones in the finals was...decent. I think Bones will end up being really good in a few years, but there were stretches here that I wasn't into. Of course, it had more overkill and I was starting to burn out on head drop after head drop. When he stuck to working Danielson's injured leg and doing strike exchanges, I think it came off much better. Why has simplicity turned into such a dirty word in wrestling?

I also started Hardcore Heaven '94, which has one of the most blown finishes I've ever seen. It's the TV title match with Jason challenging against Mikey Whipwreck. Ref is bumped by an inadvertant Mikey chairshot. Mikey then nails Jason and covers him. He's looking around for a run in that someone apparently dropped the ball on. Ref counts 1-2-3...or did he? He actually just collapses into a heap at the third count. Much confusion reigns, as the crowd thinks the match is over. Pibulls (finally) run out and crotch Mikey on the post. Jason rolls him up and the ref magically revives in time for the three count. It's Philly, so the crowd shits all over this.


Started a Stan Hansen comp...

-Disc 1 opens with a cage match versus Sammartino (1976). This is clipped to shreds, but looked like it would have been a really hot brawl in it's entirety.

-Next up is a match against Inoki (2/8/80). The more early 80s New Japan I see, the more I like it. God, the crowds are molten. Just to show how over/feared the lariat was, the crowd oohs and ahhs every time Hansen whips Inoki into the ropes, regardless of the intent. Anyway, this is a great little brawl and Hansen just kills him with a Lariat at the end.

-You know who deserves more credit? Bob Backlund. He typically gets painted with the Howdy Doody, white meat babyface brush, but the guy could work an incredible brawl and was just freakishly strong. He essentially deadlifts Hansen with *one arm* in this match. Not the typical "Backlund lift" setup where the guy being picked up can help with the lift, either.

-Last match I watched before crashing was versus Andre (9/23/81). I rarely hear people mention this match. They should, because it's FANTASTIC. Andre is totally mobile here and bumps around like a freak. He's working heel in this match and just has some great timing feeding into Hansen's comebacks and what not. He also laughs maniacally after delivering moves, so what's not to love? You could almost say that this was worked as a sprint and Andre never slowed down at all. It originally ends up in a DCO, but Andre basically threatens to murder every man, woman and child in the building if it's not restarted. Hansen is okay with that, so we get a few more minutes of them beating the shit out of one another. Andre even loads up an elbow pad and murderizes the ref with a Lariat of his own, just to show Hansen how it's supposed to be done.

After the match, there's like 6-7 guys trying to hold Andre back and he casually flicks them off like they weren't even there. They continue to brawl and it resembles a Godzilla movie, as tiny Japanese dudes scramble to break up two crazy dudes intent on killing one another. If you haven't seen so.


Through the first disc of the Hansen comp. None of this is less than exceptional. Hansen was such a beast. Every single thing he did looked like it hurt like hell. Only thing I couldn't get into was the Hansen/Brody vs Funks ('82 Tag League Finals) match. I've actually seen it before and it's a great match, but the copy I have on this disc doesn't have sound. Wrestling isn't the same without the crowd response. Or even the simple sound of guys taking bumps, for that matter.

This disc also has the best Baba match (9/3/83) I've ever seen. I typically can't stand to watch him work. Honestly, that has more to do with his spindly looking arms and his protruding ribcage than anything, but, uh...yeah. He actually works at a pretty decent clip here and Hansen isn't afraid to lay in some shots.

I also watched the ECW "Double Tables" show. Benoit/Snow holds up, though you have some bits in commentary and Benoit's postmatch promo that make it a bit awkward to watch in retrospect. There's also a Douglas match versus Tully Blanchard that you'll want to avoid. These two don't click at all. Also, Sandman/Cactus in the famous(ly awful) Texas Deathmatch, where Sandman gets a concussion moments in and seemingly forgets the match type and keeps getting up for no reason, causing Cactus to practically have to kill him to keep him down for a 10 count.

Main event is Public Enemy vs Sabu/Taz in the eponymous double tables match. PE is, quite frankly, so underrated that it isn't even funny. WCW killed their aura and turned them into kiddy fare, but in this time period, in this company, they were amazing. One of the best teams of the 90s, really. Sure, Johnny Grunge sucked, but he could dependably take a beating and bleed, which is all they ever asked of him. People forget how good Ted Petty was. I'm sure there's a newer generation of indy fan who don't know him at all outside of his name being attached to TPI, which is a shame. Amazing worker on an indy level years before things like that mattered. At any rate, this brawl is a blast to watch and definitely captures the "spirit" of ECW. This also has the famous spot where Benoit runs in postmatch and powerbombs Sabu off the top, through Rocco Rock who's laying on a table. We've kinda gone through an era where we've seen it all, but in '95, this was revolutionary. I remember thinking that Rocco was dead when I first saw it.


Ran through another episode of SMW. 2/15/92, to be exact. Featuring the debut of "Hollywood" Bob Holly. He's sporting long, flowing brown hair (he goes blonde for the Hardcore gimmick, but not a Hollywood gimmick? Crazy!) and is working a much more fast paced, athletic style than he would go onto in later years. Finishes the job guy with a kneedrop of the top that even Jim Cornette is comparing favorably to Bobby Eaton's. Of course, then he opened his mouth and the Alabama accent was decidedly un-Hollywood, but...yeah.

-Paul Orndorff also makes his debut (I guess pointing this out is redundant. It's the second show...pretty much *everyone* is debuting) against Rip Rogers. Fun match. Rogers is fantastic as always. No piledriver from Orndorff, as it's outlawed in SMW.

-Dutch Mantell/Scott Armstrong is there pretty much just to sell Bob Armstrong laying down the rules on episode one. Dutch uses the whip and gets fined $500.

-Main event is the Fantastics (Jackie Fulton version) versus Ivan and Vladimir Koloff. Not sure who Vlad is, but he's super green, to the point that Ivan is pretty much calling the entire match from the apron and telling him every single thing he should do. Good stuff, though, if you appreciate the southern tag formula match.

-Show closes with a truly bizarre Terry Gordy promo that makes me wonder how many different things he was on in '92. I wish I could youtube it (actually, I'm sure I could, but that's a bit more effort than I'm ready for tonight), because I'm sure you'd all get a kick out of it. Bob Caudle is left staring at him blankly, wondering what the hell just happened.

Interestingly, they're already starting to sell the debut of the Heavenly Bodies, even though they won't show up for a few more months. At any rate, these shows are great. SMW was probably the last "territory," so to speak, and it's always great to watch that sort of small show where the crowds are molten hot and it's more of a family atmosphere. That Cornette booked the sort of wrestling that I'm into doesn't hurt, either.


SMW (2/22/92).

-"Hollywood" Bob Holly vs Pat Rose opens the show. Now Holly has added a bit of a porn 'stache. It's not a good look for him. It must have thrown off the aerodynamics of the top rope knee as well, as he almost crushed Rose's sternum with it...

-Ivan Koloff introduces Jimmy Golden (AKA Bunkhouse Buck) as his new partner. Apparently, Vladimir was shipped back to Russia. Can't argue with this, as Golden is 12 kinds of awesome.

-Rip Rogers versus Joey Maggs isn't as good as I was hoping. Maggs is a guy who did job duty for Crockett for ages and was always perfect in that role. He was one of my favorite enhancement dudes over the years. Rip Rogers seems to have slipped through the cracks. I don't know that people who weren't watching back in the day have heard of him at all, which is a shame. At any rate, there was nothing awful hee, but Rogers seemed like he was off.

-Robert Gibson versus THE MIGHTY YANKEE! Ha. Gotta love southern wrestling. Not sure who Yankee was (Carl Styles, maybe?), but he was awful. Gibson's coming off of a knee injury that put him out for almost a year. To sum up, this was horrid.

-Tim Horner versus Barry Horowitz was fantastic. If Horowitz was like 6" taller or came into the business 10 years later when he could have wrestled as a junior, he'd have been a star. Just a tremendous worker in every promotion I've ever seen him in. Even in the early Jack Hart days he was always going to give you a much faster paced match than anyone on the show without compromising his ability to actually work a match.

-Brian Lee vs Dutch Mantell is the main event. Fun brawl. Finish was Dutch trying to use knucks (obtained by manager Ron Wright), but Lee steals them, drops lee and covers him. Ref counts two, sees the knucks and DQs Lee. At this point in time, that was more clever than cliche, so the crowd was ready to kill.

-One of the big angles of these early shows is that Ron Wright is looking for a guy to manage. Wright is great, as he's probably in his late 50s at this point and is in a wheelchair because he needs hip/knee replacements, but his medicare won't cover it. So he needs to find a guy that can make him cash so he can get his operations. You get this brokedown looking old guy heeling it up while the crowd is calling for his death. The heels are totally sympathetic to him all the while. It's a really neat little twist.

-There was a match with Brad Anderson (son of Gene). He spends the entire match *not* working the arm. Have you ever heard of Brad Anderson before now? Now you know why. Heh.


Decided to start watching TPI '08, just because a bunch of the matches are on the '08 MOTYC set and I wanted to see them in context. I finished night 1 in one sitting and it was off the charts. I understand that night 2 is supposed to be much better, so I'm already comfortable in placing this right under '04 as the best TPI ever.

-Having only seen one other full IWA show in '08, I'm not at all invested in the Strife/Dingo feud, but the opening angle really made me want to see the LLT match in the main of N1. And holy crap, did Dingo ever hit a gusher.

-Ego/Ali was a fun opener with both of them just busting out the ridiculous spots to get the already hot crowd even more into the show.

-Smothers/ Taylor was nothing special, but did it's job to get Taylor over. Smothers had the working shoes on, as we got no shtick at all from him.

-Bobby Fish is way better than he was the last time I saw him. Scorpio is one of the best workers on the indy scene period right now, so this was 12 kinds of awesome.

-Death Rey vs. Trik was basically there to start setting up the Trik/Hero match on night two. Nothing wrong with this, but definitely one of the weaker matches of the night.

-Drake vs 2 Tough Tony? Eh. It's always fun to watch a guy like Tony who doesn't usually work a straight wrestling match do just that, but there was never any douby that Drake was going to win and that took away from the match a bit.

-Umm...Cassandro has a death wish. He took two bumps in this match that were absolutely, cringe inducingly ridiculous. Then he nearly killed Chucky T on the finish, dropping him collarbone first. Nasty stuff. Anyway, this was full of shtick and all of it was awesome.

-Sami versus Hero was typical, "Hero murders the young guy" match that Hero's been working in IWA for years. If you're a stiffness mark, you'll adore this. The postmatch stuff with Hero/Trik didn't work as well, though, if only because they just picked up an angle that hadn't been touched on at all in like 2 years. Sure, I want to see Hero kill the crap out of Trik, but it's not because the angle was well built. Heh.

-Necro/King is a top shelf brawl. These two never have a bad match. Kingston looks legitimately touched at his reaction, so no thoughts of a beautiful death tonight...

-This is possibly the worst match Josh Abercrombie/Raymond and Tyler Black ever had. It's a shame, as Raymond was one of my favorites a few years ago and he's seemingly fallen off the map in the interim.

-Ace/Ares just flat out sucked. I don't get the love that Ares seems to have. There's definitely a reason that Claudio became the bigger star. Ares is just sorta there through all of this. Hey...if he doesn't care, either do I.

-Can't stand Michael Elgin or Ricochet, but I can give credit where it's do. Great match, with both guys working really well from the big vs little template. Elgin probably bumps around for him a little too much, but's hard to complain too much about that.

-The Claudio/Jacobs match would have worked better in front of an ROH audience, but it was still pretty decent overall. Jacobs is amazing at just about everything he does, but working a more technical match seems to be his weakness at this point.

-Dingo/Strife is a fun, heated brawl. Not *great* by any means, but you have two guys working a brawl based on emotion and hate. It didn't feel like they were going through the motions, so to speak. The blood helped sell the match that much more and Dingo is really great at timing the comebacks. I definitely need to see more of him.

-Not sure if he's the regular announcer now, but I really liked Mike Z. I never dug Ben Jordan that much, because he was easier to derail from calling a match than even Prazak was. The commentary got way too in-jokey and just flat out dumb at times. Mike Z seems to know his stuff pretty well, lets the color guys add color without stepping over their stories (I love Smothers blowing move names and Mike Z just sitting there saying that he's the one paid to be the wrestling dork and that Smothers can just call stuff whatever he wants to) and actually sells the angles, no matter how silly.


Almost through TPI, as I'm getting ready to watch the Trik/Hero match. Night 2 is indeed a whole lot better than night 1. I'm sold on Sara Del Ray's awesomeness, which isn't something I would have said going into this show. I guess watching her have to wrestle down to a lesser opponent doesn't showcase what she can do (which jives perfectly with the underwhelming Trik Davis match in rd 1, actually). But put her in there with someone who can actually go and it turns out that she's fantastic.

I didn't hear the goofy 6 man match getting much love, but if you enjoy comedy wrestling, this is pretty choice as well. Made all the better by Kingston/Taylor on commentary with Mike Z.


I started into the MOTYC '08 set.

Takashi Sasaki & Yuko Miyamoto vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yoshihito Sasaki (Big Japan 1/2/08)

I dug this a lot, even if it took me half the match to figure out who was who (Sekimoto is the only one I've seen more than a few matches of). Lots of overkill here, but you can get away with that in a tag match, since you always have another guy to break up a pin instead of kicking out of 27 ridiculous headdrops in a row all on your own. Sasaki/Miyamoto, in particular were pretty fabulous. Sekimoto was actually fairly understated, as you'd think this would be the sort of match that would let him indulge all of his worst tendencies. Instead, he actually sells some stuff and doesn't overtly try to murder anyone. Heh.

Bryan Danielson vs. Low-Ki (PWG 1/5/08)

I wrote about this one already, even if it's long since purged. To sum up, I love the matwork here. All kinds of nasty little stuff like Danielson trying to rip Ki's ear off. It came across as two guys fighting for position, instead of being locked into a generic sequence that we've seen a hundred times before.

Teddy Hart vs. Eddie Kingston vs. Homicide (JAPW 1/19)

I seriously think that the only joy that Homicide gets out of life is to cause Teddy Hart as much pain as he possibly can. Both he and King just kill the crap out of Teddy. Stiff strikes, tons of chairs thrown awkwardly and dangerously in his general direction. Teddy takes his beating like a man, though, and manages to pop off a few moonsaults off of stuff. Because that's what he does, you know? I wouldn't call this a MOTYC at all, but it sure as hell was fun. King kinda comes off looking weak (even scared) in parts of this, but I have no idea what the angle going in between he and 'Cide is, so, uh...yeah.

Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black (ROH 1/25/08)

I liked this a whole bunch. I guess this was Black's big breakout match, hence the name of the show? He maybe overdoes the cocky little punk act a bit, but it actually works into the match, as his total disrespect throughout the match throws Dragon off his game a bit. I guess my big complaint (if it's really a complaint at all) is that Black works this match way too much as a face when he's not dicking it up. Lots of spots built around his determination and the spunky "refuse to lose" attitude. I, of course, am much more of a "traditional" fan, so I want to see heels show ass, backpedal and generally just act like chickenshit douchebags. I can certainly appreciate the match, it's just not necessarily what I'm personally into.


Finished the first disc of the '08 set. I was kinda dreading the long NOAH 6-man at the end of the disc (Kobashi/Honda/Taniguchi vs. Morishima/Marufuji/Suguira from 2/21), but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. They seemed to want to build Kobashi versus Morishima, but I was left wanting to see Kobashi/Marufuji a whole lot more. He doesn't show it as much in his work in the States, but Maru is such a great young punk. I was getting a similar vibe as I got from Kanemoto/Ohtani in the early 90s. He has utter disdain for his opponents and wants to not only make them lose, but look like complete idiots in the process. I don't think the concept of respect even pops into his head for a second in this match.

I also watched the second disc (and half of the 3rd) in the Edge set. I think they go into overdrive with the opportunist stuff at times but otherwise, he's one of the best heels in the last decade and I enjoy literally every single match he's involved in. The part I watched was his transformation into the "Rated R Superstar" and there was just one really fun brawl after another. There's an absolutely fantastic match versus Orton from Raw that I don't remember at all. Both guys playing "can you top this" just in their heel shtick alone.


Went through both "Tragedy & Triumph" and "All the Glitters" on the CHIKARA front (and started Vanity & Violence). The Quack/Shane Storm matches were all sorts of awesome, as you don't normally get to see Quack work an all out brawl where he's only out to whip some dude's ass. All sorts of other fun stuff as well, but nothing that I'd particularly recommend to someone who wasn't already going to check out most, if not all, CHIKARA shows.

Also watched the first Nitro from '97. I picked up the entire year ages ago, but never made it a priority to watch them, as I'd already seen them all. There's a nifty Rey/Psicosis match and maybe the best match Duggan had in WCW (versus Regal) and, uh...a whole lot of nWo junk. Also a really awkward, in retrospect, promo with Kevin Sullivan. Benoit & Woman no showed Nitro that night and Sullivan is wondering where they are.

I'm just about through May in the WCWSN '92 season. I'd seen all of these as well, but this is my favorite show in my favorite promotions best year ever, so I have been watching these as much as possible. Short show this week (the Braves are still my least favorite non-Phillies team in baseball because of this), but there's a Zbyszko/Anderson vs Steamboat/Koloff match that's pretty great. I'm up to the main event, which is Scotty Flamingo vs Johnny B Badd 2/3 falls. Scotty cuts a wacky promo beforehand and I'm forever confused at how he so seamlessly transitioned into the Raven character from...this.


Got the 3 disc Legends of Wrestling set with the roundtable discussions from 24/7. Watched the Lawler/JYD episode and the Flair segment on the second disc. These are pretty outstanding. Michael Hayes and Dusty Rhodes just hold court with all sorts of funny stories. Pat Patterson is a bit too humble about his creative role, but he'll get a few good lines in as well. Mike Graham is useless, but he seems to know that as much as anyone, so he largely shuts up and lets everyone else talk. His best lines so far have all been self deprecating. Like Hayes asking him if he'd buy a ticket for a one hour draw with Graham/Race or Graham/Flair and Graham pointing out that no one *ever* bought a ticket to see him. JR is decent in the moderator role, but I'd prefer him on the panel proper, as I'm sure he has as many great stories to tell as anyone.

Loveed the Bob Backlund/Sgt Slaughter TX Death Match from the Slaughter section of the Legends set. Absolutely fantastic in every single way possible. People sleep on both of these guys so much. Slaughter is maybe the best bumping big man out there and absolutely proves that you can sell for a smaller guy without losing an ounce of credibility. Backlund tends to get labeled as a vanilla "technical" guy, but he worked a number of amazing, high level brawls. Not as good as Slaughter's Alley Fight w/ Pat Patterson or the Boot Camp match with Iron Sheik from the same general time period, but still a match that I wouldn't hesitate to say that people should track down...


Watching a load of World Class from early '83. This is right after the big Freebirds heel turn, so a lot of this is aimed really specifically at their feud. And christ, is it ever amazing. Terry Gordy is an absolute beast, with Hayes/Roberts providing the chickenshit heel dynamic to the group. I'm really gaining a new appreciation for Kevin Von Erich. He's a lot better worker than he was ever given credit for. Hell, he might even be better than David, though he would never have gotten the push that David was in line for (or Kerry got) simply because of size. Lots of proto-light heavyweight spots, but he also had great strikes and could hold up his end of a brawl.

Lots of King Kong Bundy on the stuff I'm watching as well. He was a bit smaller at this point and could get around the ring pretty quickly. I'm a sucker for a talented big man who's willing to bump and sell for smaller guys, so his matches with Kevin are all great fun.

I also finished the "Heatseekers" episode of the Legends of Wrestling set. I like the Lawler/Hayes/Foley/Bischoff panel a lot more overall, though Dusty is sorely missed. I continue to be astonished, for whatever reason, at how cool Bischoff always comes across in interviews and stuff like this. He may be the only guy in the business who's actually at peace with the way that the end of WCW shook out. Oddly enough, I don't remember any of the matches on the disc other than the Freebirds debuting in MSG, so I'll assume that there's nothing else worth mentioning. Heh.


Still going through the Best of '08 set. Random-ish thoughts shall follow from what I recall over the past disc and a half or so...

-Kasai/Numazawa vs Sasaki/Miyamoto (6/23) was so much fun to watch. I hadn't watched a straight up deathmatch in quite a while and, while I'll never consider myself a fan of the style, they can definitely be fun in small doses. Nice to see that Kasai is still a total loon. Dude has the biggest death wish in the entire business.

-Hero/Tornado cage match was simultaneously one of the best matches I've seen from '08 and also one of the worst. Horribly overbooked at times and the overkill got pretty silly, but damn...what a match. Tons of drama, palpable hate, leg work that actually meant something. I think the positives outweigh the negatives overall, but I can also see sitting down to watch this in six months and hating it that time around. It's a match that I'll have to be in a specific mood to actually dig.

-The big six man elimination match from BattlArts was...underwhelming. I'm not sure why I didn't like it, but I didn't. Actually, I fell asleep the first time I sat down to watch it. That might be part of the issue, as I've been more exhausted than usual as of late. I'll definitely watch it again at some point, but yeah...didn't like this at all.

-Liked the first Bam Bam vs Pequeno Damien 666 match a lot. It has me pumped to see the hair vs hair match that closes out disc 6. Lots of really quick action, which hasn't been a part of most of the lucha I've watched lately, which has been more of the slower "traditional" style match ups.


Watched the first disc of CHIKARA's Vanity & Violence last night. Really solid show so far. Nothing that really stands out as much watch, but I've generally enjoyed most everything on the show so far. Best match on disc one is probably F.I.S.T vs Super Smash Bros. Don't think I'll ever be a fan of Uno, but Stup just keeps getting better and better. I did hate the fatality bit at the end, though. I've always been all in when it comes to CHIKARA's brand of goofy, but this just came off as stupid to me.

Drake/Vin is decent but the finish, no matter how much it made sense and tied into the angle, was awful. My mind still boggles at the thought of me ever liking Equinox, but yeah...good stuff here.

Oh, I finished 'Mania as well. I should have seen 'Taker/HBK sooner. It's my favorite match of the year so far and I think I've watched it 2-3 times since I went through it the first time. I wish every pro wrestler had the ability to evoke the emotion that this match does. There aren't a whole lot of wrestlers out there right now that actually make me care, so when you come across a match like this it's just that much better because of it.


CHIKARA's "The Artistic Pursuit..." (the midwest debut) show last night. The lucha tag was just brutally bad, but from that point on, the show was fantastic. The Vin Gerard/Fire Ant match just blew me away. I wasn't expecting it to be quite that good. I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that Vin was once Equinox. Talk about improvement.

The Increibles match was just one of those really fun, goofy sprints that CHIKARA busts out from time to time. Seemed like the partners mixed it up a bit more than in past Increibles matches as well, so that added an interesting dynamic.

I should also mention that Mantis was absolutely on fire in commentary as well. He was just spitting out killer line after killer line every time he opened his mouth.


CHIKARA - Cibernetico Begins.

Really fun show. Probably the best Cibernetico show overall, though the last two Cibernetico matches were probably a tad better than this one.

-Super Smash Bros vs 2.0 was shockingly good. Not a fan of either team, but this was really fun. Actually, I guess I'm not a fan of Uno. Stupified/Dos is pretty great

-Brodie Lee vs Hallowicked was fantastic. Not the typical match you get from CHIKARA, as these two just beat the crap out of one another. It would have been considered a good brawl anywhere, but in CHIKARA, it's probably top five.

-Claudio versus the Fab Two wasn't great, but they told a nice story and I like how they're setting up the Claudio/Sweeney team.

-King was awesome in the Cibernetico, generally stirring up his team and being a disingenuous douchebag. Also, he killed both Fire Ant and Lince DEAD with two of the more brutal backfists he's ever thrown. My only real gripe with the match is that, whenever he was in the ring or next in the lineup, Lince would act all hesitant about being on the rudo team, but because he was visible on the hard cam, you sepnt the entire match watching him casually chatting and yukking it up with the other rudos when he was lower in the batting order. The old school fan in me cringed at that. Otherwise, this was really well booked and had a ton of action.


Just watched the Super Crazy/Ultimo Dragon/Great Sasuke match from the Nosawa Bom-Ba-Ye show in July. I assume this is what sets up the Ultimo/Sasuke mask match, because we get all sorts of unmasking antics. Match is okay I guess, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it. Super Crazy is mostly just in the way of the shtick with the other two, but to his credit, he takes a pair of ridiculous bumps to the floor to provide the athleticism of the match.

On the "Best of '08" set, I also watched the Ibushi/KENTA vs. Nakajima/Marufuji from the ROH Tokyo Summit show. Wouldn't call it a MOTYC myself, but it was perfectly fine professional wrestling. I guess my problem is that it was just worked as a complete exhibition and there was no reason to care about any of it. I have no problem watching a fun sprint for what it is, but that's not really my personal idea of "good" wrestling.


Rey Misterio Jr vs Juventud Guerrera - cage match (1/31/96)

This was amazing. All sorts of hate filled, mask ripping fun. People forget that before The Juice got, err...juicy, that he was an absolute top level talent. He and Rey mesh so well together and this just brings the goods from start to finish. They do some stuff that was state of the art in '96 and the build to the finish will have you holding your breath just to see if one of them can manage *not* to die. There's even a homage to the ECW "chairshot heard 'round the world" spot just to show you how far reaching ECW's impact was in this time period, for those of you who like to understate ECW's place in the grand scheme of 90's wrestling.

Hybrid Dolphins vs Young Bucks (DDT4 Finals)

God, this was really fun as well. Possibly my favorite Danielson match ever, actually. He channels Regal in this match to an absurd degree and just beats Matt Jackson down. Strong kills him a bunch as well and it's all just glorious. I didn't buy into the finish at all, though, and couldn't understand why the heels were wrestling for a hot tag (seriously, are the Bucks so set in their ways that they can't adjust to a crowd that so obviously wants to hate them?), but every second that Danielson was killin' fools was worth watching.

The Mistico/TMIV match from 8/15? You can skip it. Tiger Mask is just dull and these two don't mesh well at all. No one really sells (except for the inexplicable part where they both sell exhaustion as if they've been working 45 minutes...after like 5). I guess you want to watch it for historical value, but yeah...not really worth seeing otherwise. At least it's fairly short.

Chris Hero vs Low Ki (BoLA 2008 - Finals)

Absolutely fantastic match. I'm a sucker for pro wrestling being presented as a battle of will if it's done correctly, and this was pretty much spot on. Both guys sold like crazy (of course, they really were beating the shit out of one another, so they didn't have much choice). Probably Ki's last big indy match at this point and it's a nice coda to that stage of his career. Pretty brutal, but it's not brutal just for the sake of doing it.


I continue watching random downloads...

Started with the KKK deathmatch thing from BJW with Jun Kasai and Abdullah Kobayashi. The kenzan/chairshot spot made me look away from the monitor. Disgusting. I get that some people love this sort of thing, but's never been for me. I'll occasionally be in the mood to watch something like this, but I'm reminded quickly why it'll never be a regular thing. There's is a nice visual with Kasai walking the barbed wire strung his barefeet.

G1 2009 Finals: Makabe vs Nakamura

I wasn't blown away by this. Of course, it was also the first G1 match I watched this year, so if there was any context to the match, I didn't get it. There's nothing really wrong with it, I guess. Nakamura acts like a total dick and Makabe works nicely as a fiery underdog babyface (though I thought he was a heel?). I guess I'll go back through the rest of the tournament eventually. Of course, I've had all of last year's on DVD for almost a year and I'm now a grand total of one match into the first night. Heh.

MIKAMI vs Great Sasuke (M-Pro 3/2/03)

Sasuke truly has a deathwish. He does things in this match that he doesn't need to and that most people in his position wouldn't even think of. Some really scary looking bumps by both guys here and there's a sequence involving a ladder that will make you cringe. MIKAMI, in particular, brings the hate and makes it worth a look.

Steen/Generico vs American Wolves (Tables are Legal - 5/30/09 HDNet show)

Fun match, but if this is really one of the best ROH matches of the year, then I'm not missing much. Some big bumps, but there's not much going on between them. Edwards doesn't seem all that good and yeah, Davey...we get it. You're REALLY, REALLY INTENSE. Now stop yelling like a moron. You don't look like a badass. You actually appear to be constipated.

I'm starting to think that Generico might just be the most underrated guy out there. He looks like an absolute star in everything, but doesn't get nearly the hype that he should. Other than King, I'm not sure that there's anyone I enjoy seeing more on the indy scene, as he can work with literally anyone and have a good match.

Hayato Jr Fujita vs Yoshitsune match (Michinoku Pro 12/12/08).

You definitely want to see this. Been watching a lot of Sugi recently since he's on AAA every week, but he's like 1000x better here. He absolutely mauls Hayato's sternum with his flippy stuff, to the point that I'm honestly surprised that he was able to get through the match. Just some brutal stuff, including a double stomp off a balcony that makes you wonder which guy is more insane. Hayato was more strike based and he certainly wasn't afraid to bring the pain, either. Can't say it's the best match I saw from '08, but it's top 10 material without a doubt.


I grabbed the entire DDT show from 8/23, just because I'd only ever seen individual matches here and there and I wanted to see at least one show in it's entirety. Some great, bizarre fun so far. I just wrapped up the Takagi/Randy "The Ram" Sasuke match. It's amazing how Sasuke can go from comedy to the goofy, self destructive spots at the snap of a finger. He seems to be gunning for a third skull fracture. The postmatch stuff was confusing (much like when I watch lucha, I really wish I spoke the language), but Dino, err...violating that other dude through the entire thing brought the funny.

Haven't watched the second half yet, but I'm hoping it will be as zany as the first...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

QnD Reviews #5

More random musings from yours truly. This time I might even edit them a bit so they make a bit more sense and don't read like message board posts (which, of course, they are)...

-I'm working through a disc of World Class from '82 that's boring me to tears, quite frankly. It's mostly focused on Bugsy McGraw, who I've never seen in a good match. His matches at this point are mostly just shtick because he'd been around for like 20 years and he's also working a gimmick where he just does random, goofy stuff for no apparent reason. The kids LOVED him, though. Getting ready to watch a match with King Kong Bundy and Harley Race.

-David Von Erich was truly fantastic and would have only gotten better, since he seemed to be the one who not only wanted to wrestle the most, but the one that was willing to branch out from Texas and learn from people outside of his family. Every single match I've seen him in, from squash to main event, has made him look like every bit the star he was pushed as.

-Not sure how many people the Sportatorium held (wiki says 4000), but the heat produced by the crowd was just insane. It must have been deafening to be there live.

-They were crazy over, but the Freebirds as the happy go lucky babyface duo (no Buddy Roberts because, really, who could like him? He comes across as the biggest douchebag lush you'd never want to meet.) just doesn't compute. I'm glad that I've reached the point to where they were the biggest heels in Texas and concerned themselves with nothing but women, booze and crippling anyone named Von Erich.

-Checkmate is amazing. He doesn't get featured a lot on what I'm watching, but he's a European guy who just works circles around everyone. I (and most others, apparently) always thought this was Les Thornton, but apparently it's a guy named Tony Charles under the mask. At any rate, if he were working today, people would be going bonkers over him.

-They hype a match between Brody and Bam Bam Bigelow, which isn't shown. There's one of those dream matches that I never thought of until that point.

-Lots more Brody/Abby stuff on the discs I'm watching. Fun brawls, but they really run together at this point. There is a spot I loved, though, where the idiot ref gets into Abby's face to make him break a choke. Abby looks at him, casually pulls a fork from his tights and stabs him right in the face. He never even changed expression. It was tremendous.

-Another day, a few more hours worth of WCCW in the bag. We've inexplicably jumped ahead to '88 and yeah...I really wish we'd get back to '83 already, because there's a whole bunch of crap here. I did mark out for a completely random Masa Chono run in, but that was one of the highlights of what I watched over the past few days. He's rail thin and looks to be all of 20 years old. If even.

-There are some fun matches between Chris Adams and Terry Taylor, but they'd already run this exact feud for Bill Watts, so I'm sure they'd worked each other hundreds of times by this point. This is where the Chono interference comes in as well, as he's one of Taylor's stooges.

-The other big angles of this time period flow together, as you have the Freebirds breaking up and KVE feuding with Iceman Parsons for the world title. Steve Simpson gets blinded by Freebird hair cream (an angle that needs to make a comeback pronto) and that leads to Terry Gordy being the greatest ass kicking tweener ever. He hates all of the heels and he hates all of the faces, but he feels responsible for Simpson being blinded, so he decides to team with Shaun Simpson and go after Tatum/Victory.

-I also watched the first disc in Goodhelmet's Dick Murdoch comp. I don't know that I've ever watched this much wrestling from the 70s in one sitting and it was pretty phenomenal. Other than being a flippy dude, I don't think there's one style of wrestling that Dick Murdoch wouldn't have been the best in the world at if he wanted to be. What a great stooging ass of a heel who would turn around and throw the greatest worked punches I've ever seen. He had great timing with comedy spots as well, which is something you didn't see a ton of in those days. It really made him stand out as something different.

-Going back and forth between Goodhelmet's Murdoch and Windham comps at the moment. Mostly Windham at the moment. I'm entirely through his original NWA run. While he wasn't quite as amazing in the ring as he was the 18 months prior, his first run with the Horsemen is my favorite section of his career. He was pretty much born to be a Horseman. He just fit in so perfectly. It's funny...I've seen (and already own) almost every match on this set, but I'm happily watching it all again because he's just so goo. In my mind, Windham at his best is what every pro wrestler should aspire to be. As we move on, there's only one match from his Widowmaker run (vs. Tito Santana) and a match versus Jumbo in All Japan, then we're into the WCW era with his second go as a Horseman and tagging with Dustin Rhodes. You just can't go wrong with this set.

As far as Murdoch goes, I've reached the 80s and his first run through Mid South. That people don't sing his praises on a daily basis is almost criminal. There's some fun matches versus Pat O'Connor and maybe the best Kevin Von Erich matches I've ever seen. It wasn't usually the case with Kerry, but I'm starting to think that the other Von Erichs were at their best when they *weren't* wrestling in Texas. This makes me want to pick up all of the St Louis stuff that's ever been released as well, as I'd only seen individual matches before this. Here, you get some interview segments and see some angles play out and it seems like Sam Muchnick was every bit the promoter that he was always been hyped to be.

-Watched the first disc of the Mr. Perfect set. The doc wasn't up to their typically amazing standards, but it's still worth a watch if you're a fan. Even if it's just for the behind the scenes look at his vignettes. Joe Hennig kinda looks like Matt Morgan. No idea how big he is, but I can see him riding the family name to a great deal of success. If he's actually talented, well then all the better...

-I watched all of the Lawler/Kaufman stuff on the Memphis set (as in the DVDVR Best of the 80's Memphis set) as well. 90 minutes of some of the best worked shoot stuff that you'll ever see. I'm blown away more and more every time I see it. I need to find out if "I'm From Hollywood" ever got a DVD release. Comedy Central used to show it from time to time, but I haven't seen it in ages. You couple that movie with the footage I watched and I don't think you could get a more comprehensive look at the feud if you tried.

-Finished off the Windham set. Can't stress enough as to how worth it this set is. Some amazing matches/angles. I had forgotten just how great the team and eventual split with BW/Dustin was.

-Watched the second disc of the Hennig set. First time I saw the broadway match w/ Bock since it originally aired. Just a remarkable match. Both in the ring, where it went back and forth at a great pace the entire time and even on commentary, where they really managed to put it over as something special.

-Rodman Down Under. This wasn't very good, though I wasn't expecting it to be. Any entertainment it offered was usually for all the wrong reasons. I'm still trying to figure out why the commentators buried Johnny Grunge, basically cracking fat jokes about him throughout the entire match. Funnier yet is that Road Warrior Animal actually looked fatter, but they claimed he was in great shape. At any rate, I got it at Wal-Mart for a buck, so at least I got my money's worth. Heh.

-Raven/Sullivan shoot. Lots of fun stories and it would certainly be educational in terms of building a gimmick, but Raven talks too much and doesn't let Sulli get his stories out.

-Ian Rotten Roast. A lot of inside jokes that you'd have to be a big IWA fan to get. King is pretty funny, though, and this footage would be a decent example to site if you find yourself in the "is Mickie Knuckles attractive?" argument, as she cleans up pretty nicely.

-Finally, went back to the Murdoch set. I really want to finish this before I dive into the Memphis set. Last disc I watched was focused around Adonis/Murdoch versus the Samoans and versus Inoki/Fujinami in New Japan. I've not seen much early 80's NJPW, so I was astonished at how popular Inoki was. Anyone who thinks that Japanese crowds sit on their hands should watch some of these matches, because it would be hard to find a crowd any louder for such a prolonged period.

-Down to the last 2-3 matches in the Murdoch set. Much like the Windham set, I don't think I could give it a higher recommendation. I went in being familiar with Murdoch and knowing that he was awesome, but not really familiar with a lot of his best work. I'm coming out of it convinced that he's one of the best workers who ever laced up a pair of boots. The guy was a machine in the ring. He could tear it up on the mat if that's what the match called for, but the old standard of punching dudes in the face worked just as well. That he was a great talker and had some of the best facial expressions in the business was just icing on the cake.

CHIKARA - Grit & Glory - Disc One

This kinda blew my mind, as it was the first show (other than the current WWE/TNA shows) I've watched in about a month and a half that occurred since '99. Made it come off a bit sloppier than I'd normally notice, but it made all of the lucha stuff look state of the art as well.

-We open with a great Haze/Chucky T promo, as Daizee rambles on about beating Death Rey 5 times in one second and Taylor cracks me up with a line about KoT, saying that the entire crowd must have been Bobby Dempsey's parents that night, because no one loved him. Heh.

-The mixed tag itself was pretty bad, but I loved the bit where the women wrestled straight up, but when Chuck Taylor tagged in, he proceeded to engage in a catfight with Dempsey, with the ladies having to pull them apart. Oh, CHIKARA, how I've missed thee.

-ONST/Super Smash Bros. was pretty fun. Lots of innovative stuff from the SSB, though this match was largely built around Donst being heelish and Hydra being ignored by Mantis.

-This is pretty much the year of Vin Gerard. How ridiculous is that thought? Yet it's all been awesome and it turns out that he doesn't totally suck after all! He picks apart Lince's knee in this match. Lince even remembers to sell it, except for all of those times when he's springing to the top doing wacky lucha stuff. *sigh*

-Six man w/ Quack/Skayde/Turbo vs Claudio/Pantera/Dutt was friggin' amazing. One of my favorite matches this year, actually. Really fluid tandem stuff from the rudos and just some ridiculous spots all around. My first thought was that one of those names wasn't like the others, but even Sonjay stepped it up here.

-King/Storm II wasn't as good as the first, but I'm predisposed to like matches featuring Kingston pummeling masked dudes in the face, so this was still pretty great for me. You also get the requisite chilling promo from King before the match as well. Really, though, getting to watch Shane Storm's nose gush blood should make this a keeper for everyone. Heh.

-Fab 3 versus Colony was nothing special. Pretty standard CHIKARA trios action. Postmatch, Fab 3 continue their split. Great, great, great bit with Sweeney suggesting that they "hug it out," at which point Shayne Hawke leaps into Mitch Ryder's arms and practically starts dry humping him. Tremendous.

-I'm all caught up with the CHIKARA shows that I own currently. Time to put an order together, I guess. At any rate, you want both Anniversario shows from this year. Both of them are *fantastic*. I'd go as far as to say that they're two of the top five shows in CHIKARA history. From the astoundingly great matwork clinic with Skayde/Pantera and the Increibles match at MA to the Portal vs. Quack/Storm, Brodie/Claudio and FIST/Colony matches from CT, it's just nonstop awesome. You even get some Kaiju goofiness, including a game of chicken conducted on Big Wheels.

PWG - All Star Weekend 6, Night 2

-Anderson/Koslov is a pretty standard opener, but Koslov gets in a bunch of nifty spots and keeps it from getting boring. Anderson's running comments through the match were entertaining as well. He hadn't shown a ton of charmisma the previous times that I've seen him, so I was surprised that he was so funny.

-King/Hero is outstanding. These two don't wrestle so much as have a straight up battle of wills. We get possibly the sickest headbutt of the entire feud from King and these two just whale away on one another, including some chops across the face that had me wincing. Not slaps...actual chops. It's not as good as the Loser Leaves CZW or TPI matches, but they also have to cut it short because Hero injures his knee. It was well on it's way to being another classic up to that point.

-Age of the Fall vs. Young Bucks probably stood out because it was entirely unlike the prior match, but yeah...really fun spotfest. And the more it fell apart, the better the match got. The final few minutes were awesome, as you had the Young Bucks trying to throw out everything in their arsenal, but they keep getting stuffed by the more experienced Jacobs/Black.

-This is my personal favorite Evans/Strong match ever. Not really a fan of Strong, but he delivers quite a beating here and what more can you ask for? Jack is on with his spots as well, so there's no big blown spots to comment about. How long has Strong been using that Kondo Clutch w/ body scissors? It looks way better than the Stronghold.

-Tornado/Candace is the best possible intergender match you can imagine. Lots of silly stuff and Tornado sells some really weak offense, but this was layed out really well and they made it look entirely believable that Candice could win at any time. She even manages to crack the balls of steel!

-This segues directly into Claudio vs Necro. Not a great match, but watching Claudio working completely out of his comfort zone was interesting. He's not a brawler at all, but Necro basically goaded him into it because...yeah, he's Necro friggin' Butcher. Absolutely *loved* the giant swing on the floor, where Claudio managed to basically wipe out the chairs on one side of the ring with Necro's skull. Fun match.

-Generico/Yokosuka was pretty disappointing. I've not seen a ton of Yokosuka, but I definitely expect more out Generico singles matches. It was really just two guys going out there and performing spots on one another. No build, nothing meaningful. The crowd was pretty much dead the entire night (as PWG crowds usually are) and even these two running through every head droppy sequence they had didn't pop them.

-I liked the last half of the Dynasty vs. Doi/Yoshino match, but the opening was almost an extension of the previous match. Just 4 guys hitting spots at random. When it tightened up down the stretch, though, it got really good.

-Supes/Taro was garbage, but even in the midst of all of that, you get a glimpse at how great a heel SD is. There are few guys in the business today that can have the crowd just eating out of their hands quite like he can. At any rate, Taro hasn't wrestled in years, but still manages to kick out of every crazy head drop SD pulls out, until finally being killed with the most ridiculously dangerous looking move I've possibly ever seen. I assume it was a blown Psycho Driver of some sort, as I just can't imagine Taro agreeing to essentially being driven headfirst into the ring like a dart. From the second rope, no less.

-I haven't seen the first CIMA/Danielson match to compare, but this one is pretty great. Really slow paced, with lots of matwork. It's never boring, though, and it actually ties in to the finish, so huzzah to that. The postmatch stuff is pretty stupid, but I have beef with the match itself. And CIMA asking for "five more days," then correcting himself with "six more seconds," was pretty funny.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

DVDVR Mid-South set ballot

Actually, I do have one more post left in me tonight. Here's my ballot for the Watts set. If you weren't arare, the Death Valley Driver board is currently running a series of "Best of the 80s" polls where they're putting together DVD sets with all of the notable matches from each territory and sending them out for nostalgic suckas like me to watch and rank. The Watts set was tremendous, as this is what I grew up watching. Definitely a trip down memory lane. The next set is Memphis, which I've seen very little of, so that will be fun as well. I'll finally get to see some stuff that I've only read about in the past and see how Lawler stacks up against the all time greats...

Anyway, here's my ballot:

1. Ted DiBiase vs. Hacksaw Duggan (No DQ, Loser Leaves Town, Coal Miner's Glove, Tuxedo, Cage Match) (3/22/85) [BR-14]
2. Dick Murdoch vs. Barry Windham (7/11/87) [BITUSA-13]
3. Ted DiBiase vs. Ric Flair (11/6/85) [BW-8]
4. Butch Reed vs. Dick Murdoch (9/22/85) [BW-1]
5. Ric Flair vs. Butch Reed (8/10/85) [TSGDIA-10]
6. Hacksaw Duggan vs. Buzz Sawyer (11/11/85) [BW-10]
7. Ric Flair vs. Terry Taylor (4/28/85) [BR-17]
8. Junkyard Dog & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne (Loser Leaves Town) (10/27/82) [PTB-8]
9. Ted DiBiase vs. Dick Murdoch (No DQ) (12/31/85) [JGP-9]
10. Butch Reed vs. Dick Murdoch (10/14/85) [BW-6]
11. The Fabulous Ones vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (Mexican Death Match) (1/24/86) [JGP-16]
12. Buzz Sawyer vs. Butch Reed (Dog Collar Match) (12/31/85) [JGP-10]
13. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death (12/26/86) [BSUSA-17]
14. Ted DiBiase vs. Jim Duggan (No DQ) (3/8/85) [BR-13]
15. Chris Adams vs. Terry Taylor (5/3/87) [BITUSA-9]
16. Buzz Sawyer vs. Jim Duggan (Dog Collar Match) (12/27/85) [JGP-6]
17. Terry Taylor vs. Ric Flair (6/1/85) [RNRIK-7]
18. Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum T.A. vs. Midnight Express (2/10/84) [PTB-16]
19. Ted DiBiase & Terry Taylor vs. Michael Hayes & Buddy Roberts (Country Whipping Match) (10/12/86) [BSUSA-14]
20. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (No DQ) (Tulsa 5/27/84) [SDM-2]
21. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death (9/28/86) [BSUSA-13]
22. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (No DQ, Dark Journey In A Cage) (2/28/86) [TB-9]
23. Chavo & Hector Guerrero vs. The Fabulous Ones (Texas Tornado Cage Match) (2/28/86) [TB-8]
24. Mr. Olympia vs. Chavo Guerrero (6/24/83) [PTB-13]
25. The Fantastics & Terry Taylor vs. The Sheepherders & Jack Victory (Barbed Wire Cage Match) (5/25/86) [TB-13]
26. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (No DQ) (OKC 5/27/84) [SDM-1]
27. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death (12/28/86) [BITUSA-1]
28. Chris Adams vs. Terry Taylor (4/19/87) [BITUSA-8]
29. Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair (5/4/85) [RNRIK-4]
30. One Man Gang vs. Big Bubba Rogers (4/19/87) [BITUSA-7]
31. Rock N Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (6/8/84) [SDM-3]
32. Terry Gordy vs. Hacksaw Duggan (8/3/86) [BSUSA-6]
33. Ted DiBiase vs. Hacksaw Duggan (Street Fight) (7/29/83) [PTB-14]
34. Jake Roberts vs. Ric Flair (11/24/85) [BW-12]
35. Midnight Express vs. Bill Watts & Stagger Lee (4/22/84) [PTB-19]
36. Ted DiBiase vs. Bob Sweetan (Taped Fist) (10/11/85) [BW-3]
37. Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair (4/28/85) [RNRIK-1]
38. Rock N Roll Express vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (2/13/85) [BR-11]
39. Dirty White Boys vs. Terry Daniels & Bill Dundee (5/11/85) [RNRIK-6]
40. Butch Reed vs. Ric Flair (11/8/85) [BW-9]
41. Terry Gordy vs. One Man Gang (9/21/86) [BSUSA-12]
42. Ric Flair vs. Wahoo McDaniel (7/12/85) [TSGDIA-3]
43. The Fantastics vs. Dr. Death & Jake Roberts (4/14/85) [BR-15]
44. Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum T.A. vs. Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart (Cage Match) (12/25/83) [PTB-15]
45. Butch Reed vs. Ric Flair (10/11/85) [BW-4]
46. Rock N Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (7/2/84) [SDM-4]
47. Ric Flair vs. Terry Taylor (5/3/85) [RNRIK-3]
48. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death (9/15/86) [BSUSA-11]
49. Dick Murdoch vs. Dr. Death (9/20/85) [TSGDIA-12]
50. Ted DiBiase vs. Dick Murdoch (12/27/85) [JGP-5]
51. Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death (6/22/86) [BSUSA-3]
52. Rock N Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (6/30/85) [TSGDIA-1]
53. Ted DiBiase vs. Jake Roberts (7/22/85) [TSGDIA-7]
54. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Michael Hayes & Buddy Roberts (Lumberjack Match) (8/31/86) [BSUSA-9]
55. Dick Murdoch vs. Dr. Death (6/13/87) [BITUSA-11]
56. The Fantastics vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (10/12/84) [SDM-13]
57. Terry Taylor vs. Jake Roberts (2/11/86) [TB-3]
58. Eddie Gilbert & Dick Murdoch vs. Lightning Express (7/21/87) [BITUSA-14]
59. Ted DiBiase vs. One Man Gang (No DQ) (2/6/87) [BITUSA-5]
60. Rock N Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (1/21/85) [BR-8]
61. Eddie Gilbert vs. Dr. Death (5/17/87) [BITUSA-10]
62. Rock N Roll Express vs. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death (5/3/85) [RNRIK-2]
63. Dick Slater vs. Butch Reed (No DQ) (12/13/85) [JGP-2]
64. Ted DiBiase vs. One Man Gang (11/18/86) [BSUSA-16]
65. Butch Reed vs. Dick Slater (11/22/85) [BW-11]
66. Magnum T.A. vs. Ted DiBiase (7/6/84) [SDM-5]
67. Mr. Olympia vs. Bob Roop (7/15/82) [PTB-5]
68. Ted DiBiase vs. Terry Taylor (7/3/85) [TSGDIA-2]
69. The Fantastics vs. Midnight Express (No DQ) (9/28/84) [SDM-11]
70. Dick Murdoch vs. The Nightmare (7/14/85) [TSGDIA-5]
71. Hacksaw Duggan, Terry Taylor & Bill Watts vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (8/17/86) [BSUSA-8]
72. The Fabulous Ones vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (12/27/85) [JGP-4]
73. Junkyard Dog & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Hacksaw Duggan (8/18/82) [PTB-6]
74. Ted DiBiase vs. Butch Reed (7/25/85) [TSGDIA-8]
75. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Hacksaw Duggan & Terry Gordy (Texas Tornado Match) (1/21/85) [BR-9]
76. Dick Slater vs. Hacksaw Duggan (4/11/86) [TB-10]
77. Midnight Express vs. Rock N Roll Express (No DQ: Tag Titles vs. $50,000) (5/23/84) [PTB-20]
78. Jim Duggan, Dick Murdoch & Bill Watts vs. Kamala, Kareem Muhammad & Skandor Akbar (7/28/85) [TSGDIA-9]
79. The Fantastics vs. Midnight Express (OKC 8/9/84) [SDM-7]
80. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (2/14/86) [TB-5]
81. The Fabulous Ones vs. Chavo & Hector Guerrero (12/29/85) [JGP-7]
82. Ted DiBiase vs. Brad Armstrong (2/10/85) [BR-10]
83. Stagger Lee & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne (12/18/82) [PTB-9]
84. Dick Slater vs. Hacksaw Duggan (12/31/85) [JGP-11]
85. Ted DiBiase vs. Bob Sweetan (10/13/85) [BW-5]
86. Hacksaw Duggan, Terry Taylor & Bill Watts vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (7/20/86) [BSUSA-4]
87. The Fantastics vs. Buzz Sawyer & Dick Slater (10/27/85) [BW-7]
88. Mr. Wrestling II & Junkyard Dog vs. Matt Borne & Ted DiBiase (2/16/83) [PTB-10]
89. Buzz Sawyer vs. Dr. Death (1/28/86) [JGP-17]
90. Terry Gordy vs. Terry Taylor (6/13/86) [BSUSA-1]
91. Dick Slater vs. Butch Reed (1/1/86) [JGP-13]
92. Terry Taylor vs. Buddy Roberts (6/8/86) [TB-15]
93. Dick Slater vs. Dr. Death (12/18/85) [JGP-3]
94. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Dick Murdoch & Masked Superstar (2/14/86) [TB-4]
95. Rock N Roll Express vs. Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts (6/24/85) [RNRIK-9]
96. Michael Hayes & Buddy Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase & Terry Taylor (5/25/86) [TB-14]
97. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (1/24/86) [JGP-15]
98. Dick Slater vs. Jake Roberts (1/1/86) [JGP-12]
99. Ted DiBiase, Dr. Death & Jim Duggan vs. Masked Superstar, Dick Murdoch & Buzz Sawyer (1/31/86) [TB-1]
100. Ted DiBiase, Dr. Death, Terry Taylor & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Dick Murdoch, Buzz Sawyer & The Masked Superstars (2/28/86) [TB-7]
101. The Fantastics vs. Bill Dundee & Dutch Mantell (9/22/85) [TSGDIA-13]
102. Terry Gordy vs. Terry Taylor (6/17/86) [BSUSA-2]
103. Eddie Gilbert & Dick Murdoch vs. Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts (6/25/87) [BITUSA-12]104. Rock N Roll Express vs. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death (6/19/85) [RNRIK-8]
105. Hacksaw Duggan & Dick Murdoch vs. Kamala & Kareem Muhammad (7/14/85) [TSGDIA-6]
106. Buddy Landel, Chavo & Hector Guerrero vs. Rock N Roll Express & Jose Lothario (Elimination Match) (1/18/85) [BR-7]
107. The Fantastics vs. Sting & Eddie Gilbert (9/7/86) [BSUSA-10]
108. Chris Adams & Terry Taylor vs. Eddie Gilbert & Iceman Parsons (3/20/87) [BITUSA-6]109. Chavo Guerrero vs. Buzz Sawyer (6/13/86) [TB-16]
110. The Fantastics & Terry Taylor vs. The Sheepherders & Jack Victory (5/9/86) [TB-12]
111. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes (Badstreet Match) (1/25/87) [BITUSA-4]
112. Buddy Landel & Butch Reed vs. Rock N Roll Express (3/28/84) [PTB-17]
113. Gustavo Mendoza vs. Brett Wayne Sawyer (5/9/86) [TB-11]
114. Bob Roop vs. Mike George (12/16/81) [PTB-1]
115. Rock N Roll Express vs. Dirty White Boys (5/11/85) [RNRIK-5]
116. The Fantastics vs. Dutch Mantell & Bill Dundee (10/4/85) [BW-2]
117. Brad Armstrong vs. Ted DiBiase (1/16/85) [BR-5]
118. The Fantastics & Hacksaw Duggan vs. Midnight Express & Jim Cornette (7/20/84) [SDM-6]
119. Adrian Street vs. Chris Adams (10/10/84) [SDM-12]
120. Killer Khan vs. Chris Adams (9/9/84) [SDM-9]
121. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes (Badstreet Match) (1/9/87) [BITUSA-2]
122. Buddy Landel, Chavo & Hector Guerrero vs. Brickhouse Brown, Bill Dundee & Jose Lothario (Elimination Match) (11/16/84) [BR-2]
123. The Fantastics vs. John Tatum & Jack Victory (11/4/86) [BSUSA-15]
124. Koko B. Ware vs. Eddie Gilbert (2/28/86) [TB-6]
125. Terry Taylor vs. John Tatum (8/17/86) [BSUSA-7]
126. Dick Murdoch & Masked Superstar vs. Brett Sawyer & Al Perez (1/19/86) [JGP-14]
127. Rock N Roll Express vs. Dirty White Boys (4/15/85) [BR-16]
128. Chavo Guerrero vs. Steve Keirn (no DQ loser is painted yellow match) (1/31/86) [TB-2]
129. The Fantastics & Dr. Death vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (1/18/87) [BITUSA-3]
130. Dusty Rhodes & Jim Duggan vs. Butch Reed & Hercules Hernandez (8/19/84) [SDM-8]
131. Midnight Express vs. Bill Dundee & Porkchop Cash (4/6/84) [PTB-18]
132. One Man Gang vs. Buck Robley (Lumberjack Match) (9/15/82) [PTB-7]
133. Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death vs. Jake Roberts & The Barbarian (7/14/85) [TSGDIA-4]
134. Kevin Von Erich vs. Chris Adams (1/18/85) [BR-6]
135. Butch Reed vs. Iron Sheik (4/8/83) [PTB-11]
136. Rock N Roll Express vs. Jake Roberts & The Barbarian (6/28/85) [RNRIK-10]
137. The Fantastics & Missing Link vs. Eddie Gilbert, John Tatum & Sting (8/3/86) [BSUSA-5]
138. Ernie Ladd & Butch Reed vs. Magnum T.A. & Master G (Street Fight) (11/4/84) [BR-1]
139. Al Perez & Wendell Cooley vs. Dr. Death & Bob Sweetan (8/30/85) [TSGDIA-11]
140. Rock N Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (Scaffold Match) (12/2/84) [BR-3]
141. Butch Reed vs. Skip Young (9/23/84) [SDM-10]
142. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Dusty Rhodes (5/20/83) [PTB-12]
143. Eddie Gilbert & The Nightmare vs. The Bruise Brothers (12/31/85) [JGP-8]
144. Bob Roop vs. Ted DiBiase (4/2/82) [PTB-3]
145. Mr. Olympia vs. Paul Orndorff (2/3/82) [PTB-2]
146. Junkyard Dog vs. Nick Bockwinkel (6/11/82) [PTB-4]
147. Rock N Roll Express & Butch Reed vs. Dr. Death, Kamala & One Man Gang (2/25/85) [BR-12]
148. Adrian Street vs. Terry Taylor (Loser Leaves Town) (12/7/84) [BR-4]
149. Brickhouse Brown & Master G vs. Butch Reed & Ernie Ladd (10/21/84) [SDM-14]
150. Jake Roberts vs. Lord Humongous (Cage Match) (11/29/85) [JGP-1]

Random stuff #4!

This is it for the night, I think. I'll try to cross post things to the blog more often. It is why we have it, after all!

ROH - Reborn Again

This was an interesting show. Obviously booked as a complete filler show the night before the first PPV taping, I ended up liking it more than most shows, because it didn't have that stupid "every match is going to be a MOTYC!' feel that the worst ROH shows do. A laid back ROH would be so much better that I can't even comprehend it.

(I'm typically unusual when it comes to my ROH fandom. I like the shows that the fanboys hate and usually dislike the heavily hyped shows. Their product just isn't booked with someone like me in mind. Still some great wrestling to be found if you're willing to st through a lot of filler that just pretends to be great wrestling...)

-Haze/Nikki Roxx was pretty awful. The SHIMMER showcases so rarely provide us with something other than minutes filled on a disc. Not sure why they're still done on the main show.

-Steen/Generico had a really fun extended squash versus Blade/Edwards. Steen is like the perfect ROH guy. He has a ton of huge spots that just kill guys and yeah...he's not afraid to use them. He's not always the best at making stuff work in any sort of context, but he doesn't have to be with that crowd. Generico picks up the slack at making everything work and he's certainly not afraid to kill guys, either.

-Who's Bobby Fish? I know he's worked NOAH, but where is he from? Is he a Harley Race guy? He didn't seem too bad.

-I was on board with Danielson's return right up until I had to watch the NRC wrestle. Ugh. The finish of this match was so blown that it was downright laughable. It made Matt Cross look like a complete moron and Davey didn't look much better, standing there waiting for him to get into position.

-Tank Toland delivers the goods once again. He hits a *sick* waterwheel slam here, then follows up with the most vicious looking BT Bomb (actually, he flips it more into a Dominator) I've ever seen. They pretty much need to scrape Mitch Franklin up at the end.

-Marufuji/Sydal was what you'd expect, just at 3/4 speed. I wouldn't say that they "phoned it in," but they were obviously saving themselves for the PPV taping. Still a fun match, but nothing that'll blow you away.

-I had a lot of hope for Delirious vs KENTA, but that went unfulfilled. KENTA looked bored and didn't sell a thing. He worked as if he were Vader in '92 going through a job guy. Don't get me wrong, Delirious got to hit all of his stuff and, on the surface at least, it was worked as a competitive match, but KENTA just bulled his way through most of this.

-Briscoes vs. Morishima/Whitmer was pretty much just Briscoes-style overkill from start to finish. If you like that, then you'll be right at home here. It was certainly never boring, at the very least.

-Jimmy Jacobs presents "Love to Spare." Great stuff. Loved the Office style cutaway promos with both of them through the night and you have to love how ever suffering Jacobs is rewarded for defending Lacey's honor...with a *wave* goodnight. God, how I love this angle.

(I have a total man crush on Jimmy Jacobs and I haven't even reached the Age of the Fall shows yet. Pretty much the perfect pro wrestler, as far as I'm concerned. For what I'm into, anyway.)

-Finally finished up the New Japan 1/4 Dome show. Pretty solid throughout, but I wasn't really overwhelmed by anything on the show. Probably the most notable moment was Scotty Steiner practically killing Bernard trying to get him over for an Exploder. Bernard comes down at a sick angle and I was shocked that he got back up.

I thought the IWGP title match was good, but if Tanahashi had dicked it up and went after the shoulder from the start it probably would have helped the match, since it didn't really kick into gear until he did so.

At any rate, there's some tremendous camera work here. Easily the best produced show outside of what WWE puts out. They manage to build emotion just through camera angles (I'm specifically thinking of the great shot during Tanahashi's intro where we see him coming out, all smiles, while there's a tight shot of a solemn Nakamura in the foreground), which is no small feat.

(I don't follow puro closely at all, but I really enjoyed this show. Can't wait to pick up this year's G1 shows. Just so many great names that I don't think I can pass it up. I should also point out that Togi Makabe is the best heel in the world right now.)

CHIKARA - Deuces Wild

-Fun opener between the Osirian Portal and the Colony. The chick that Ophidian terrifies before the match was pretty cute. Err...standard CHIKARA opener otherwise.

-I was kinda hoping for a little more shtick from the Ellis/Ice Cream match. It didn't bring as much funny as I thought it would. But really? How can you be disappointed by a Robbie Ellis match? He does take a ridiculously stiff powerbomb for a guy his age, though, so there is that.

-The Bull Pain angle was great, because Bull can lay in a beating that looks legit and he absolutely murders Worker Ant here. He also lets some foul language slip, which is possibly the easiest way to draw heat in CHIKARA. Heh.

-Am I the only person left who digs Icarus? He was great in this match. He wasn't all angry Icarus like normal, though. He seemed like he was trying to out-shtick Chuck Taylor. Not going to happen, but fun to watch nevertheless. I don't like Uno much, but CAW actually looked pretty good in this match. Wonders never cease!

-Lince blows a bunch of spots in the match with Helios. In other news, the sun rose today. He tried to pull off a quebrada that had been completely blown (because he missed the ropes) and ended up spiking himself headfirst. Not a bad flippy match overall, but yeah...not a great night for Lince.

-Akuma manages to majorly blow a springboard spot as well. Not a good night to be a flyer for anyone, apparently. Why did I never notice how good Jimmy Olsen is? He looks like he's banged up after delivering a German, but up until that point he looks pretty great. Also good on commentary, for what it's worth.

-UMB/Donst is a fun match. Also the start of the big angle, as Donst is concussed after a particularly sick Praying Mantis Bomb. Mantis leads him to the back as Donst tries to figure out where he is.

-Brodie Lee friggin' ANNIHILATES Shane Storm and I loved every single second of it. The big boot at the end just looks fatal, even by Brodie standards.

-Mitch/Hawke put on a heel clinic, figuring out 1001 different ways to cheat in the match with Cheech & Cloudy. Really simple, old school stuff, but the crowd (and me!) was eating it up. This is where I would interject the rant about how wrestling has gotten too complicated, but I don't have the energy for it right now.

-Quack/Pantera was awesome. Just an exhibition of Lucha matwork, with both guys just busting out hold after hold. Not much story to speak of (Pantera busts out a bunch of Quack's holds, but they never really follow up and even the announcers barely mention it), but in terms of just a flat out technical match, this was aces. Looked like Bryce blew the finish, as Quack had Pantera in the CHIKARA Special. Pantera started banging on the mat to get the crowd behind him and Bryce called for the bell. Quack just glared at him for a few seconds before selling it as being surprised about getting the submission out of nowhere. I'm sure that conversation in the locker room was humorous.

CHIKARA - Passion & Persistence

Don't know if it's just because I haven't been sleeping well this week or if it really is just a lackluster show, but I just couldn't get into this at all. Took me a few days to get through it and I had to rewatch a bunch of stuff because I kept zonking out. It was a typical CHIKARA funfest, but that just wasn't clicking for me this time.

-The opener with Vin & Bull killing the Colony was all sorts of fun, but I'm a really big Bull Pain fan, so I'm predisposed to digging his stuff.

-Chucky T versus Hydra was every bit as goofy as it sounds. Hydra swallows the grenade! Bryce has to perform the Heimlich and, luckily, tragedy is averted. You can certainly ignore this in terms of the wrestling, though.

-Young Timothy Donst CHEATS TO WIN! Really loving this angle so far.

-This is where the show just died for me, as the Amasis/Helios put me to sleep *twice*. I adore the Portal, but this match was definitely a reminder of how inexperienced Amasis is.

-The Fab 4 8-man wasn't all that great outside of the last minute or two and the postmatch shenanigans w/Sweeney and Mitch (and Shayne Hawke stirring up crap the entire time).

-Pantera/Sabian was just flat out bad. They didn't mesh well at all.

-Show picked up a bit with the first Claudio/Brodie match, but the finish was pretty crappy. At least Brodie makes up for it by kicking Claudio's face clean off after the match.

-The Incoherence/F.I.S.T. match That most of the match is worked around Icarus' fanny pack tells you all you need to know. Not a bad match, but Delirious, in particular, looked like he was a half stap slower than everyone else in the ring for some reason. I also wasn't a fan of Delirious being killed, but being magically revived by 'Wicked ringing the bell spot. There was some cool stuff in this one, though. Delirious chops Akuma in the back of the head, HARD, and Akuma doesn't look like he was expecting it. He looked a bit miffed and proceeded to take it out on 'Wicked, who was the legal man.

Speaking of 'Wicked, he must be in a big boot competition with Brodie, because he lays in a shot to Icarus, I think, that was wince inducing.

CHIKARA - Cafe Culture

Guess I'm back into the CHIKARA groove, because this was a fantastic show.

-In any other promotion, Louden Noxious would be tremendously friggin' annoying, but he somehow just fits into the CHIKARA family. I mean...that's exactly the sort of ring announcing that you'd expect a company like this to have. I wish he wouldn't talk over the music quite as much (though the sound system was dead through most of this show), but that's my only gripe.

-I love Shayne Hawke as he slowly morphs into Mitch Ryder's shadow. He has a great line during the ONST match where he's talking about Donst's facepaint and says that if Mantis asked him, he'd wear paint too...but he'd have to clear it with Mitch first. You don't think of Mitch as a shit kicker or anything, but Hawke just stands behind him and needles the crowd/opponents/whoever with total confidence that Mitch will save his ass. It's great.

-The crowd sure loves them some Bobby Dempsey. He's not very good, but he connects with the crowd and works some decent fat guy spots. He also smears Ophidian in the corner after a somersault splash.

-Hallowicked/Amasis was better than expected. I prefer Amasis in tags at this point. Nothing against him, as he's pretty much still a rookie, but I do think he sort of meanders from time to time in singles, as if he's not sure how to fill an entire match on his own.

-Pelle, as always, is a great underdog babyface. That doesn't necessarily work versus Icarus, who isn't the guy to lay in the beating that you need to work from underneath, but this was still a fun match. Icarus has been awesome this year. People always talk about guys who you couldn't turn heel because the fans love them so much. Icarus is pretty much the exact opposite of that. I don't think people would like him even if they went the Money Mayweather route and had him throw cash into the crowd. I think people would toss it back at him. Heh.

-First Rey De Voladores 4-way (Helios, TJ Cannon, Lince & PSYCHO) was pretty decent. Just nonstop action and all sorts of interesting flippy spots. Not sure why they brought in PSYCHO, as he barely got to do anything before being eliminated. I don't recall Lince blowing any spots, so huzzah for him.

-Kingston returns here, telling us that he's not booked for the show. If he was, he probably wouldn't have shown up. He lays out an open challenge, which sets up him killing Storm for the second time. Or so I'm hoping, at any rate.

-ONST vs Pantera/Colony was fun, with Donst and Hydra jockeying for position as Mantis' golden child. Donst shoves Hydra out of the way and steals one of his spots. At any rate, everyone leaves without him and he's all bummed. We get a Vin Gerard run in here as well. And to show how dedicated he is, he actually sits in the crowd with his Spider-Man mask on for the entire show and no one even realizes that it's him until he hits the ring. Good stuff. Who knew that *anyone* would give two craps about friggin' EQUINOX, of all people?

-F.I.S.T vs QuackenStorm is mostly shtick, but it's fun shtick. Not really any foreshadowing of the Storm turn at this point

-Skayde vs. Claudio was AWESOME. Just a ton of tricked out matwork by both guys. There wasn't much of Claudio as base, but I guess they wanted to leave the flying to the Voladores tourney. At any rate, if you dig the llave style, you'll probably like this.

-Main event 4-way (Stupefied/Sonjay/Turbo/Incognito) was pretty much the low point for me. Turbo didn't kill any cameramen and Sonjay didn't do much but Fargo strut through the entire match. Incognito looked okay, but Stupefied was the only real standout. So, of course, Incognito won...