Old School Wrestling from Hardin Kentucky Live Report
For some reason today as I walked around campus and saw the Old School Wrestling poster the desire came to go and watch. Maybe it was wanting to see an I Quit match or a 30 minute ironman match that propelled me to spend the money that could have bought me a tape from Alferdo. Maybe it was just that occasionally I feel the need to see wrestling live wither it is good or bad. So I drove 12 miles down the road to a little run down gym. I saw lots of cars around so I figured this must be the place. I paid my seven dollars to enter (I could have gotten a student discount but I didnt see they were offered till later!) Took a seat in the second row and took in the ambiance as you might say. I probably stood out like a sore thumb their looking around at everything with a pen and a notebook. The ring as best I could tell was about 10 feet by 10 feet give or take a foot Id say. They had a cheap looking entrance way painted to look like a stone wall with OSW on it. They played some music very loudly before the show started and during every intermission. My best guess is that there were 60-70 people in attendence. So were talking a $400-$600 dollar gate. 17 people worked the show, four of them in a managerial capacity so you can do the math on about how much everyone was getting. Many kids were their which is always fun. Of course you had the idiotic 12-14 year olds who think they are cool. They discussed Shawn Michaels being back not seeming to know that he isnt going to wrestle. I didnt tell them.
Anyway or ring announcer came out to start the show he seemed to thing he was cool. Ring announcers cant be cool and usually refs cant be cool either although Kyohei Wada is. Anyway he begs for applause and gets it. He goes through the birthdays and then announces some successful charity work and then to the National Anthem. All well and good and a pretty classy way to open a show. Fits with the down home and wholesome image an old school promotion would want to project. The Ref comes out wearing the zebra outfit and a zebra hat? He looks very Redneckish as does most of the crowd but I get along with Rednecks so I dont care.
Anyway out comes JR Shocker with the OSW champion Superstar Devon Day. They ham it up with the crowd to get over the point they are heel (heels always enter first in this promotion.) Shocker has a decent cruiserweight physique. His opponent is Trey Tackett. The crowd literally cracks up at the sight of him as he is a skinny WHITE boy whose ribs are showing. Bad Boy Philips cuts a decent babyface promo on why hes letting this kid with more heart then brains wrestle. Anyway Shocker squashes him including hitting a pretty neat looking Jackhammer while Devon plays the crowd having a debate with me over wither Trey has a chance ( I say he does) and low and behold Trey wins with a flash roll up . I wont give star ratings because you can just assume nothing here is much above one star (maybe the main might have reached one star but thats it). Anyway crowd laughed and enjoyed JRs highspots so the match served its purpose.
The next match pits Nasty Neel (our heel) with his manager Big Daddy vs the Kryptonite Kidd for the number one contender spot for the cruiserweight title. They do some fast paced stuff with some of that pointless RVD matwork you know I hate. Its a spotfest but you know instead of doing all kinds of suicidal spots they dont hit anything more high concept then a piledriver. Anyway Nasty Neel lives up to his name by using a chain to win the match. He hides the chain well as the ref cant find it. Really did not like this match much at all. Im used to pointless indy spotfest with shooting star presses and head drops. This is better in that no one going to get hurt but not as mind numbingly entertaining.
We go to the tag title match between the Ky Playaz (K-Lo and Hitman Frankie D who would be our heels and have two managers: the ever present Big Daddy and Miss Rhonda ) vs the Bad Boys (Bad Boy Philips and Jack Diamond with the Midnight Angel+). Diamond is actually quite big and the Bad Boys seem to have a biker gimmick or something and are quite popular. Anyway the crowd enjoys chanting Gay-lo at K-lo who plays it up by screaming in lue of selling. Its quite a girly scream at that. The first time K-lo gets in he says he wants Philips. Philips really plays up what he might mean by wanting him since they dont call him Gay-lo for nothing. This is the stiffest match on the card. Philips is the owner I believe and he stiffs the hell out of his kids. The execution is pretty good but the match is laid out wrong. They act like they are going to go Southern with Diamond playing the face in peril but that doesnt last long and Philips makes a very anticlimactic tag in. The finish is a ref bump then the heels spend a minute double teaming Philips. Totally doesnt work because Diamond just sits their on the corner waiting to be knocked off looking stupid letting his partner be double teamed while the ref is down. This takes to long and ends with a top rope elbow drop by Frankie D. After the match Diamond chokeslams Miss Rhonda for no reason that I can see as she just stood their and never interjected herself into the match.
Next up is the I quit match between Citzen Cane and Dixie. Okay keep track of this. Dixie is a Hispanic guy with ugly tights from New Mexico with the ever present Big Daddy as his manager. Citzen Cane comes out to Sweet Home Alabama with torn jeans and waving a Confederate Flag with a Southern Pride shirt and a manager (Downtown Frankie Brown) dress up like Colonel Sanders with Rebel flags all over his clothing. Yep I would have expected Dixie to be the Southern pride one as well maybe that is what they are feuding over. Anyway in this match your manager has to throw in the town. Cane worries that his manager might care about him and throw in the towel (how sweet). He says just like the South never quit hell never quit. And being a history buff I resist the overwhelming urge to ask him what he defines unconditional surrender as. Anyway he wants someone who doesnt like him to be his second so they wont throw in the towel and gets Brandon Walker who I would guess has recently turned face after a feud with Cane. Kind of pointless though as the match is a squash for Cane. Dixie never gets him in any trouble and his best offensive weapon is a low blow. Cane eventually gets a ladder and uses it the rest of the match (I mean it must be five minutes between Dixies last offense and the finish.) The ladder use is pretty lame except for the Jeff Hardy springboard over it into a legdrop spot. Cane works over the leg but never goes anywhere with it and the finish comes when he drives a screwdriver into Dixies head causing the manager to throw in the towel. I dont see what the purpose of the I quit stipulation was or the pre match stuff since Cane never was in trouble. Cane was very over so I think if someone cut a truth filled promo on the South they could get quite a bit of heel heat.
Next is the heavyweight title match. Devon Day is back and is our champion but the scheduled challenger isnt there. Hitman Frankie D comes out to take the shot which leaves us with essentially a heel vs heel matchup. Devon plays the face though which doesnt make sense because you would think being the champion that he would be the top heel. Frankie squashes the champ with lots of cheating again bad booking as shouldnt a fresh champion be able to do better against a guy who had already wrestled? The finish is a heel miscommunication into a flash roll up. Horrible booking. The fans did take to Devon though and when they booed him seemed to just be playing along so a face turn might not be a bad idea. If not the booking is even worse as it made him look weak and hurt his heel heat.
Anyway our main event is the 30 minute Ironman match between Brandon Walker and our heel John Caesar. Both have good physiques although not much natural size. Anyway the wrestle a scientific match with lots of waist locks and holds. It doesnt go anywhere but thats to be expected. Anyway the falls go as such: First fall to Caesar on a Count out at about 11:00. Caesar quickly takes the next fall with a swandive headbutt off the top rope (hell go for it twice more but never hit it again) to go up 2-0 at 12:00. Walker comes back at 20:00 with a la magistral cradle after Caesar misses a kneedrop off the top rope. The fourth fall ends at 22:00 when Walker reverses Caesars tombstone attempt into one of his own to even the match at 2-2. Finish is an anticlimactic German suplex by Walker at 29:00. I didnt get a good sense of urgency which is so important at the end. Still it was the best match of the show and not boring at all which is pretty impressive in and of itself. Not good but not awful.
Thats kind of the way to sum up the show not good but not awful. I enjoyed myself. The guys worked really hard in all the matches to try to put on a good show. Honestly, a good booker could have improved every match. Its obvious that nobody in the promotion understood how to lay out a match or how to maximize the stipulations which is to be expected with wrestlers of limited experience. Its the bookers job to do that for them until they can and in this show the booker failed them. Every match could have been greatly improved just by adding a little structure and logic for the guys. Still I had fun and if you live near Hardin Kentucky and are feeling like seeing some kids working hard to put on a good show (even if they cant quite pull it off) and you feel like watching it with some nice people you wont feel like you wasted your seven dollars.
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Mitsuhara Misawa Championship Carnival 1992
This is match is the fifth and final match of their singles series. This series contained two of the greatest matches ever and one of the most shocking upsets ever. The previous four match of the series have received a good deal of analysis but this one hasnt. I figure there are many reasons for this. The main one is this was never intended to be the climax of their series. It was simply a match they had to do for the carny gimmick. Like many carny matches, especially those between the top two men in the company, it was supposed to wet the appetite for more important matches down the road not give away an important part of the feud they could make you pay for later. So the result of the match should be clear going in. Just as Misawa and Kawada invariably did between 1994-1998 it is a thirty minute draw. An example of how carny matches can be under appreciated is the 1997 Misawa vs Kawada draw which to me is probably their best match after 1995 but rarely gets mentioned.
Onto the match. They start out trading elbows before Jumbo quickly takes charge with a faceslam. He follows that up with a thesz press which gets a 2 count. Jumbo then tries to wear down Misawa with consecutive sleepers. Misawa sells them excellently espiecally after he rolls out of the ring to recuperate. His selling really gets over the sleeper as dangerous move which is important for the rest of the match since the sleeper is used six times. When he finally comes back in Jumbo immediately picks him up for an Irish whip and a boot to the face for a 2 count right before the three minute mark. Then Jumbo puts on a Boston Crab, Jumbo really cranks on it but eventually Misawa rolls over to reduce the pressure and force a break. Jumbo stomps on Misawa a bit then does irish whips and hits the knee to the face for 2. They trade elbows as Misawa tries to make a comeback but Jumbo immediately asserts himself with repeated knees to his face and then a big knee to the gut a 4:45. Misawas selling again has to be commended as he puts the ribs over huge here and Jumbo immediately catches on and throws some nice elbows to the ribs. At 5:30 they trade elbows again. Misawa gets Jumbo to bend over so he can club his back but Jumbo slaps him down to the ground and then stomps on him. Hes feeling quite grumpy today folks. Jumbo then Irish whips Misawa and throws another big knee to the gut for two. Jumbo locks on a camel clutch which I guess continues his rib psychology (really dont seem like many moves specifically target the ribs). Misawa forces the break and so Jumbo throws him out of the ring and follows and throws Misawa into the post twice. Then throws him back in. Jumbo probably should have done more outside if he was going to bother tossing Misawa out in the first place. Jumbo then goes back to the ribs with an abdominal stretch which he holds for a bit before Misawa reverse into his own abdominal stretch at 9:10. Jumbo hip tosses Misawa off pretty quickly. Jumbo throws a couple more knee strikes to Misawas head and smashes his head into the turnbuckle. Jumbo throws him into the rope and hits a big lariet for two. Jumbo then locks in an STF as a Misawa chant starts. But Misawa is no Hulk Hogan (at least not yet) so Misawamania doesnt run wild over Jumbo and Misawa doesnt even make a comeback at this point. Jumbo stomps on Misawa after releasing the hold just to show all the Misawamaniacs they cant help. Misawa goes out to take a breather and rolls back in. They lock up and Jumbo pushes Misawa into the ropes and rakes Misawas eye a bit with his elbow to get some boos from the crowd then throws another elbow. At 11:00 Misawa again tries to make a comback this time getting 4 elbows in (some European style) before Jumbo AGAIN cuts him off with knees strikes to the head then throws Misawa off the ropes and hits another jumping knee this time raising his fist. Jumbo goes back to the sleeper this time a leg wrap to sap some of Misawas energy. This makes some sense for Jumbo to do at this point as Misawa is showing increasing signs of making a comeback so cutting his air off for a bit to take some zip out of him makes sense. Misawa makes the ropes so Jumbo stomps on him and reapplies the sleeper again and again Misawa has to grab the ropes to force a break. Jumbo then drops Misawa on his neck with a piledriver (with the sleepers and this the neck now becomes Jumbos primary focus though Misawa doesnt forget his ribs just yet.) Jumbo gets a 2 count but the fans arent buying that Misawa will get beaten with out any offense. Jumbo follows up the piledriver with an attempt for a backdrop suplex but Misawa reverses it into a cross body for 2. Jumbo hits two short arm lariats but Misawa ducks the third one and grabs Jumbo to go for a German. Jumbo makes the ropes but Misawa clubs him and finally hits the german for a 2 count at 14:00 to finally begin his comeback.
This was a pretty mammoth beat down section for Jumbo. Basically for the first 14 minutes Jumbo beat Misawa at will. Misawa was fighting back at times but Jumbo until the German is able to take control back immediately. The psychology of this segment is solid. However this segment was just to long. It makes it very difficult to see Misawa gaining a victory because he is so far behind in the match. It also had the crowd for the most part out of it as they knew Misawa wasnt going down without a fight so couldnt buy the fight was going to end. Also it didnt build on the previous matches to show growth for Misawa. While Jumbo had always been superior to Misawa he had never been able to thoroughly dominate him for nearly this long before in their singles matches. Misawa is really impressive though. His selling makes everything work establishing the points of attack well putting over the sleepers which are so pivotal to the match and showing fire on his comebacks. Misawa was one hell of a Ricky Morton here.
Misawas makes almost an American babyface comeback going through a vast amount of high impact offense quickly (just like an Rock and Roll Express hot tag segment really.) After Misawa hits the German Jumbo rolls out to recoup Misawa goes through one of his rope segments. This one is where he hits a drop-kick to the outside slingshoting himself out and then back in the ropes. Goes like he is going to do the big elbow tope but when the person moves to dodge he rolls over the rope and then does an elbow off the apron. They go back in and Misawa Irish whips and hits an running elbow for two then goes for another Irish whip this time hitting a 360 lariat for another two count. Misawa follows up with a spinning kick at 16:10 then goes for another Irish whip. Jumbo reverses the whip but Misawa springboards off the turnbuckle to hit a back elbow for another 2 count. Misawa slams Jumbo and follows up with a flying elbow drop (a move I havent seen him hit often but he does very well actually) for another 2 count. Misawa goes for a tiger driver but Jumbo backdrops out of it and bridges for 2 count. Misawa though isnt done yet as he nails Jumbos back drop duplex on Jumbo. Misawa goes up for a frog splash at 18:00 but Jumbo puts his knees up and Misawa lands on his ribs. Misawa again sells the ribs like death and now Jumbo takes control again.
A nice exciting sequence. Misawa controls for 4 minutes compared to the 14 minutes Jumbo had just controlled. There were several nice touches. They continue to set the tiger driver up as the move Misawa needs to hit on Jumbo to gain a truly decisive victory over him. As he had in every match though Jumbo has an answer for it and its clear Misawa will need to beat him down quite a bit more before he is able to hit the tiger driver. I also liked how they brought the ribs back to logically transition from Misawas rally back to Jumbos dissection of Misawa. Its a nice bit of psychology to at least make that earlier rib work relevant to a key point of the match from this point on Jumbo though just goes to the neck.
After putting his knees up it takes a second for Jumbo to overcome all the damage hed just received. Once he does he Irish whips Misawa into the corner and follows with a lariat and a DDT in succession. Jumbo sells Misawas previous offense a bit more before hitting a really nice drop-kick for a man his size for the first hot 2 count. Another good Misawa chant breaks out. Jumbo responds by putting some stink on a bodyslam then goes to the top and hits a flying cross body block (!!) for another two count and another Misawa chant starts up. Jumbo responds to this by clubbing Misawas back and then smashing his head into the turnbuckle then tossing him off the rope and hits another boot to the face for another 2 count. Jumbo again goes for his backdrop suplex but Misawa reaches the ropes and then fights back with Elbows and kicks throwing Jumbo to the ground for a quick two count. Jumbo gets up first though and slaps back a few times before going for a powerbomb. Misawa is fighting it though so Jumbo slaps his back twice and then hits the powerbomb for a hot 2 count at 22:00 as another Misawa chant starts up. Jumbo goes for another powerbomb, this time Misawa goes for the ropes to avoid it but again Jumbo has an answer and just knees him a bunch of times and hits the power bomb another 2 count. Misawa really sells the neck and head acting like hes been knocked silly. Jumbo tosses Misawa off the ropes and hits another lariat. Jumbo then goes for a drop-kick but Misawa dodges and Jumbo hangs himself in the ropes ala the 6/90 match at 23:15 the crowd remembering the history starts chanting Misawa for the first time maybe thinking he has a chance. Misawa elbows and gets a small package for a two count. Then Misawa elbows him three times before Jumbo grabs the arm and jams it over his shoulder then does it again. Jumbo hits a backdrop suplex finally but cant cover immediately so only gets a 2 count at 25:00. He goes back to the sleeper again and Misawa makes the ropes again. Jumbo Irish Whips Misawa and catches him with a running neckbreaker for a hot 2 count then puts the sleeper back on Misawa but Misawa immediately flips Jumbo off and applies his facelock at 26:20
Well again Jumbos domination of the match continues as except for a short (about 1 minute) period in the middle Jumbo controls from 18:00-26:00 so if your keeping track (and I was) Jumbo has controlled 21 minutes of the match compared to 5 for Misawa. I understand the psychology of Jumbo staying with the sleeper. It would makes sense for instance that maybe Jumbo wanted to makes Misawa submit to avenge Misawa making him submit. Still at this point in the match its very difficult to logically get a submission espiecally in All Japan so the sleeper just wasnt working for me. I wonder if Jumbo was tweaking his moveset a little. Him hitting the running neckbreaker, a gorgeous for his size flying cross body, and the drop kicks all in the same match is pretty strange. Ive seen him use them all but very rarely in quick succession and I dont remember seeing the flying cross body from him in a long time. I liked the other tip of the hat to the 6/90 match as it made sense didnt seem contrived and the crowd really ate that up as a potential turning point.
Jumbo quickly Breaks Misawas facelock by reaching the rope but Misawa is determined and flips him over and applies another facelock. Jumbo flips Misawa off to break the hold so Misawa clubs the back and kicks, then clubs him again and applies the facelock again. The crowd is heated but I think they think like I do that Jumbo just hadnt taking enough punishment for Misawa to force the submission.. Jumbo flips Misawa off but Misawa goes for the cover to get a two count in a spot that didnt really make sense being that Jumbo had just flipped him off which would seem to indicate he had some strength left. Jumbo punches Misawa in the gut and irish whips him and goes for a back body drop but Misawa sunset flips him for a 2 count. Jumbo is up first again and elbows him. On the third elbow Misawa grabs the elbow to get a backslide at 29:00. Jumbo takes control back with 3 more elbows.
30 minutes just wasnt right for this match. Misawas facelock just didnt work at this point in the match because there wasnt enough time for him to justify it as a wear down move and he hadnt done enough set up work to hope to make Jumbo submit. What did work was Misawa going for the flash pins toward the end of the segment as a desperation way to try to pull out a match that he really shouldnt pull out. It made sense considering he didnt have time to wear Jumbo down and hadnt done enough damage to probably knock him out for a decisive pin or make him submit. The facelocks seemed like just a way to try to get some heat and burn some time. If the match didnt have the time limit it might have worked. Say if they were going 35-40 minutes with a decisive winner.
After hitting his 3 elbows Jumbo goes for hit another sleeper hold. When Misawa flips him off Jumbo hits Wada who sells it slightly sense he has to be ready to make the final pin count and he seems to understand time is running out so he cant be making a huge dramatic sell (I question wither Misawa or Jumbo get this time is running out idea.) Misawa irish whips Jumbo but Jumbo ducks and goes for a back drop however Misawa kicks his face and goes for a headlock (???) but Jumbo hits the Back Drop Suplex the bell rings as Wada hits 2. However Misawas foot was on the rope anyway.
Again couldnt Misawa think of a better way to get in the back drop suplex then to grab a headlock? It made it look like he was trying to kill the say 5 seconds left in the match. And again Jumbo had put the sleeper on Misawa 5 times before why he thought the six would do it especially with a minute left is beyond me. It looked like he was trying to kill the clock which just isnt the right approach unless your on the verge of losing ala Kobashi 1/95.
The other reason this match probably doesnt get much analysis is that it just isnt up to the standard of their previous matches. Metzler gave it **** at the time which seems a bit high for me. The main problem is that the story of the feud was how Misawa was getting closer and closer to taking Jumbos spot. In this match Jumbo dominates Misawa probably more then any other match the two ever did. A quick look at the moves they hit reveals how thorough Jumbos domination of the match is. Note that they both hit about 15 elbow strikes each
Jumbo- 1. Faceslam 2. Thesz Press 3. Sleeper 4. Sleeper 5. Boot to face 6. Boston Crab 7. Jumping knee 8. Knee to gut 9. Knee to Gut 10. Camel Clutch 11. Abdominal Stretch 12. Lariat, 13 STF 14. Jumping Knee 15. Sleeper 16. Sleeper 17. Piledriver 18. Lariat 19. Lariat 20. Lariat 21.DDT 22. Dropkick 23. Bodyslam 24. Flying Cross Body 25. Boot to Face 26. Powerbomb 27. Powerbomb 28. Lariet 29. Backdrop suplex 30. Sleeper hold 31. Running neckbreaker 32. Sleeper Hold 33. Sleeper Hold 34. Backdrop suplex
Misawa- 1. Abdominal Stretch 2. German Suplex 3. Drop Kick 4. Elbow off apron 5. Running Elbow 6. 360 Lariat 7. Spinning Kick 8. Back Elbow 9. Bodyslam 10. Flying Elbow Drop 11. Back drop Suplex 12. Facklock 13. Facelock 14. Facelock.
They may have been trying to put over how no matter what Jumbo did he couldnt put Misawa away. That really doesnt work though because Ive watched Jumbo enough to fill in the next 30 seconds of the match if the bell doesnt ring. Jumbo picks Misawa up by hair grabs him around the waist drops him down viciously with a back drop suplex covers hooking the leg 1 2 3!!! Play Jumbos Music as he and Misawa sell fatigue. Thats exactly how their last match had ended and many of their tags had ended (2 straight back drop suplexes) and there is no reason given to us in this match to think Misawa will have the answer this time.
For the first 25 minutes this match has really excellent psychology but it really falls apart in the final 5 psychologically speaking. I guess neither of them had worked a 30 minute draw in sometime as they didnt seem to have a notion on how to construct it. It felt like they were building towards a 40 minute match with a finish not a 30 minute draw.
Also its just the wrong match for this segment of the feud. If this were their first or second match and Misawa hadnt beaten Jumbo before then it might have worked. Jumbo had all the answers here and Misawa had none. That would be fine if they were considered on vastly different playing fields but they werent they were the number 1 and 2 natives in the company (Misawa probably number 3 overall just behind Hansen). Misawa shows no improvement getting dominated more then he had in the previous matches and doesnt seem to have learned anything. Basically my take on the match was that it was meant to make the points work out well and sense Jumbo wasnt making the finals make it perfectly clear that he was still in fact the man. I dont think the fans needed this strong a reminder. There are some really good things about this match it just was the wrong match for the situation in multiple ways. *** 1/ 4
|for you vampires out there
Review of Santo vs Dr. Cerebro, Santo vs La Parka and Marufuji vs Takiawa
El Hijo Del Santo vs Dr Cerebro (Mask vs Mask) - As you saw if you read the previous review I enjoyed the previous match between these two. While the spots they did weren't really mind blowing (they were solid) they constructed a match that told a story that made perfect sense in the situation and that is all I ever need because its so rare. In general a Mask vs Mask match hightens everything in lucha. It gets better crowd heat and there is a sense of drama and pride. However in this match it doesn't hurt. In the previous match you could see Cerebro winning because he was the ace of the promotion and he would cheat. But there was no way in hell Santo was dropping his mask. I knew that, everyone in the arena knew that. So a good deal of the drama was taking out by it being a mask match just because Santo wasn't lossing.
The booking caused another problem. They were going to use this match to turn Cerebro technico. So to set up the turn he works as a total technico. So this match doesn't build at all on their previous match. In the previous match he knew he was the underdog so he did everything possible up to the decisive low blow to defeat the top man in Lucha. So Santo should be furious but that would hurt Cerebro's turn so Santo and Cerebro wrestle a straight technical match not building at all on their previous match. Its solid enough but it has no life. It has some very solid counters. A cool finish and I think Cerebro will work well as a technico but the match was just poorly constructed. ** 3/4
El Hijo Del Santo vs La Parka Monterry 12/01- La parka is fresh into a Rudo turn. Evidently these two had a really intense cage match in Tijuana to set up this match. I don't have that match so I don't know how they built directly off that match but I know the match was heated becuase these two go at it tooth and nail. Well of course as much as lucha can be being the loosest style. As you can probably tell from the picture the big thing about this match is the blood. It may be one of the bloodiest matches (maybe the bloodest match) I've ever seen. Santo just rips a gusher here. Blood gets everywhere. La Parka's chest is literally stained blood red almost completely. The ring gets covered in blood. La parka throughs Santo into a chair and the back of the chair is covered in it. The blood helps the match so much get over how much hatred these two have.
The main flaw of the match is that in the final flaw despite Santo bleeding so much he still controls a bit to much of the match. La Parka gets a few good role ups and moves to almost put Santo out of it but Santo gets more opprotunities. The role ups are very good and build a good sense of drama. Eventually Santo gets frustrated that no matter what he does he can't put La Parka away and in his anger at La Parka just boots him with a low blow and gets disqualified. I think it would have been better to have La parka be putting Santo on the ropes and Santo in desperation and anger goes for the low blow. That would have stayed better with him being weakened by his massive blood loss. Still this is a really well done dramatic and bloody match. It is really everything a Lucha singles match should be just with a little poor psychology at the end to mar the previous excellent psychology of the match *** 3/4
Marifuji vs Takaiwa for the GHC Junior Title NOAH 12-9-01 - This match has gotten a great deal of MOTY hype but let me make this clear: This is no MOTYC. I'm not saying it doesn't have its positives it has many but it also has a whole host of negatives. Lets start with the positives. First off Takaiwa is a really good asshole. At the start of the match his asshole tactics really serve to build heat for the match. Second off the match has good if sporatic heat. The fans react to what they should although they don't sustain till the very end. Third off both guys have an really good moveset (Takaiwa almost to good) and so they never ran out of things to do and the action kept coming. Those are strong positives now for the negatives. First off the big one is Marifuji's selling of the knee. Takaiwa does no less then two top rope elbow drops on it a figure foor amongst other work. Then it is forgotten for the rest of the match by him. Almost immediatly after that he lifts Marufuji up to the top and goes for a spider german. Marufuji back flips out of it and lands on his feet. This is perposterious to do with a bad knee but its Takaiwa's fault because he quite clearly set up the transition and it seemed to be his call. He put Marufuji in a situation where he couldn't sell the injury right. The way Takaiwa falls is also perfect for Marufuji's version of the Van Terminator. Again that is clearly what Takaiwa wants but Marufuji shouldn't have done it with a bad knee. Takaiwa has to take the blame though because he was pretty clearly in control of the flow of the match and basically fed that to Marufuji. After this Marufuji barely ever sells the leg and Takaiwa never goes back to it so there was no point in spending a few minutes on it except for Takaiwa wanted to do two tope rope elbow drops to the knee to get a pop and then worked the knee to burn time. I think that's about the extent of Takaiwa's thought in this match. Another example of Takaiwa's lets do something to get a big pop regardless of wither it makes sense philosophy is when he goes for a TOP ROPE Death Valley Driver. Of course the DVD is his finisher and Marufuji kicking out of a super version of it would kill the finisher and Marufuji is winning. Logic would say have Marufuji counter it somehow or not do it but Takaiwa wants that pop really badly so he does it anyway. So how does he not kill his finisher. Well he just picks him up on the two count. A terrible move at that point in a title match because it says that the retaining the title isn't that important. Plus the move the other DVD and the many powerbombs should just basically kill Marufuji's neck but Marufuji doesn't sell that and Takaiwa doesn't seem to grasp the neck theme. Marufuji makes a comeback on basically the next move where Takaiwa goes for the endless powerbomb sequence and Marufuji flips out. I mean really its pretty silly that after a top rope DVD and two straight powerbombs and with a knee injury you can flip out like that but that is a small mistake because Takaiwa kills him with a lariet that sends Marufuji on his head. Takaiwa makes a full cover but this time Marufuji can kick out at 2 1/2. Insane that with no down time and three straight devesating moves Marufuji would now be better off then he was when Takaiwa lifted him up multiple times after the top rope DVD. Its all Takaiwa though he just isn't putting ANY thought into this match save I bet this will get a pop. Which is why the match gets pops for the big spots but doesn't build the sustained heat till at the last 30 seconds or so. Anyway this match had just terrible psychology and bad selling and is one of those lets kill each other for a cheap pop match. What they did was cool as hell but the problems knock this match down to *** stars.
Reviews of Toryumon 2-02 TV and Santo vs Cerebro and Santo vs Negro Casas
With much trepidation I bought the latest Toryumon TV. The last Toryumon TV I bought was a hodgepodge of interviews, run ins, and clipped up matches that left me feeling very empty. Then I got the first T2P show and I really enjoyed it like a breath of fresh air. Lately Toryumon has come under more intense critism then even I initially leveled against it on my Ultimo Russo rant. Now CIMA and Tokyo are getting knocked as stale overrated spot machines. Ryo Saito of all people is supposedly one of the best wrestlers in the company. This all made me nervous. But among the near 24 hours of footage I bought from http://www.wrestleholicsvideos.com
I decided to swallow and buy this show. I'll review four matches first....
Susumi Mochizuki/Darkness Dragon vs Big Fuji/Ryo Saito- I used to say Fuji was underrated. No more he sucks. Not that he does anything to offensive in this match (he saves that for the next match) he just doesn't do anything of note. Whenever he is in the match gets boring. Susumi looks awesome throughout this tape. Ryo as usual doesn't show me much. Everything he does looks very smooth and he bumps well. He is clearly better then Fuji but he doesn't do much to make my jaw drop or nod or whatever. He is probably the second best worker in the match though. Match just meanders in a boring but athletic formula **1/4
Masaaki Mochizuki/Susumi Mochizuki/Darkness Dragon vs CIMA/Big Fuji/TARU- Well here is Mister controversy CIMA himself. Masaaki is working a new baby face gimmick that is really funny. He rocks. Susumi and CIMA do just an absolutly scary fast mat segment and both look to rock. Darkness is fine. The Toryumon guys know how to go from a to b or b to c or c to do but they can never seem to go from a to b to c to d. In this match the start is just awesome. Everybody clicking, everybody playing their role. Masaaki is just spot on as is CIMA. M2J critizes him saying he hides in 6 man and that may be true but he looks better by far then any of the other Crazy Max guys. The problem is the body of the match involves M2K working over Fuji's leg. They do it quite well and for probably around five minutes. However as soon as Crazy Max makes their comeback Fuji stops selling. He totally no sells all the leg work and never even limps. Its just infuriating. Almost enough that you miss how awesome all these guys offense is in the hot near fall segment. That and the opening are just awesome. Its just to bad the middle totally sucked. **3/4.
Masaaki Mochizuki vs Judo Suwa- Suwa is doing a squash gimmick. This match is only 5 minutes but it isn't a squash. They work it like its going to go longer but M2K interference backfires to cost Masaaki. To bad again because I would have loved to see these to go but they were trying to get the angle over and not give away the match so its okay. *.
Cima/Don Fuji/TARU vs Magnum Tokyo/Arai/Dragon Kid- These guys have done this match so many times they could probably do it in sleep. The home army guys offense isn't as good as the M2k's guys offense so that hurts this match compared to the other six man. The difference is these six never try to work a body part over so without the horrible selling of Don the match works better. Fuji and Taru work much better as Rudo's where their power moves are emphasized and their selling deemphasized. CIMA is just to charasmatic though to be kept Rudo. Hense the Crazy Max face turn. In a perfect world the fans would boo CIMA but its just not going to happen. Overall this is a fun little match. They've done better but again this is almost sleep walking. Ending isn't as hot but the middle doesn't suck so ***.
Overall I couldn't get a read on CIMA and Magnum. They both looked really good in the six men but that doesn't show much. CIMA's springboard rolling venus is pretty damn stupid and probably the sole reason people are comparing him to RVD. The shubian is an awesome finisher but it would be nice to see the slingshot senton or frogsplash.
Negro Casas vs El Hijo Del Santo Hair vs Mask WWA 1987- Supposedly this is the Lucha match of the 80's. It should be noted that not a whole lot of Lucha from the 80's exist on tape. They are both very small compared to how big they got. They are also faster. Workrate freaks should all buy this match now. Its just non stop action. A few nice psychological touches over how Negro avoids the camel clutch and how he counters in the third fall what beat him in the second. The problem with the match is all in the third fall. Their is never a point where Negro has Santo in any real danger. Santo just kills him. I would say Santo has three times the offense in the final fall as Negro and it looks great such as a top rope rolling senton, a tope and pescado and some pretty roll ups. Their are lots of good near falls but they are all for Santo. Still a really good match but the final fall was almost a squash. *** 3/4 (could be more or less compared to other lucha of the time)
El Hijo Del Santo vs Dr Cerebro IWRG +Monterry 26 Super Lucha- This match is to set up their mascara contra mascara match on the next tape. Dr. Cerebro for those who don't know is the IWRG ace. He has the coolest mask in the world and is a mat master full of freaked out submissions. This has all combined to gain him a cult following in the Lucha community. He against fellow Lucha mat master Santo is something to get excited about. The match between the two masters of course starts off in a big brawl. Cerebro pearl harbors Santo and just massacres him. Mask ripping abounds and in a few minutes Santo is forced to submit. To short to be much. Basically establish that Cerebro would do whatever it took to beat the legend and gave some hope he could. The second fall started off much lke the first until Santo used his favorite transition (rope whip opponent ducks down, give knee to face) to take over. He is pissed and just takes it to Cerebro ripping his mask and beating him from pillor to post and finally bust him open. Its a short fall but it accomplishes a great deal because Cerebro just rips a gusher and his mask turns almost completely red. Its strange while Santo is the technico and Cerebro is the Rudo, Cerebro is established as the underdog. He has to do whatever it takes and fight desperately to win and has the handicap of lossing blood fast. Its the way it should be really since Santo is Lucha. The final fall is a long one and goes back and forth. They trade holds and go for some pretty role ups. Santo probably gets more offense as he gets a beautiful pescado. Cerebro is never out of it but you have the feeling he is lossing it. Finally fate breaks his way as when he kicks out of a Santo pin Santo knocks the ref out and that gives Cerebro the chance to give him a low blow and get the pin. Sure it isn't clean. Cerebro never pretended to wrestle clean. HE knew he was the underdog and the rudo so he embraced both and did what he had to do to get the biggest win of his career. This was a smart match that built well. I've seen better of course but it told a story and had a good holds, some nice near falls, and an awesome blade job. Basically an all around cool match. *** 3/4. Its interesting how much Santo had changed. He did so much more in the Negro match but to me arrived at the same place. Both are awesome matches one he used his mind the other his body. Perference is relative but I recommend both.
Steve Williams vs Toshiaki Kawada Carny Final 1994\
What do you do when you wrestle someone who is both the unstoppable force and the immovable object? Toshiaki Kawada seems to be faced with this problem in this match. Williams is stronger and seems to take three blows that Kawada dishes out to get the same effect with one. It seems Kawada is chipping away at a mountain that at any moment can crush him. Kawada's solution to the problem is to out think him and out wrestle him.
The problem is put forth in the first exchange they lock up run the ropes and Williams destroys Kawada with a shoulder block. Kawada sells it like its death itself making it one of the best looking shoulder blocks i've ever seen. Williams follows it up with another almost as good looking shoulder block and its clear Kawada isn't going to win this match taking Doc's blows. Doc immediatly tries to follow up with a back drop driver (bdd) but Kawada blocks with a head lock and immediatly follows with his own dangerous backdrop. This sets the psychology for the rest of the match. Kawada stops what Williams does and counters it for his own damage. For the next few minutes the stiff the living shit out of each other. Kawada probably hits Williams three times for every one Williams gets but even so only gets a slight advantage. Williams is just to strong and tough it seems.
A couple more sequences establish Kawada's block/counter strategy. Williams goes to put Kawada's head to the turnbuckle, Kawada blocks and throws William's head to the turnbuckle instead. Later Kawada goes for a verticle suplex, Williams blocks and goes for one of his own, but Kawada blocks and takes him down into a fujiwara armbar. Kawada uses a sleeper hold but in this match it actually works because you really feel like he needs to wear the monster down. Williams later goes for his own headlock but it turns into something more devistating as he pulls Kawada up from it and destroys him with a Tiger Suplex. Kawada sells it as only he can and Williams gets a convincing near fall out of it.
This match has something that is so rare in wrestling real tension. You really feel like at any second Williams can kill Kawada and Kawada has to wrestle a near perfect match to win. The tiger suplex is sold so devastingly that you just know Kawada is dealing with a force of nature almost.
From hear psychologically Kawada and Williams have to tread very carefully. Williams' offense is so devastating that if he does to much it will kill the psychology. If he does to little it will look like a squash for Kawada. They do it just right. The key is that Williams hits his spots but can never string them together. Kawada strings his moves together so the cumilative effect on Doc is enormous. Williams isn't totally stupid though. Kawada blocks the Oklahoma stampede so Doc gives him a devastating spash and then immediatly follows with the powerslam for a great near fall. That isn't the move that Kawada fears though he fears the BDD. Kawada blocks it a couple of times and counters into big offense but he makes his only mistake on the match when he charges in and misses a lariet and Doc snaps off a BDD in the blink of an eye. Unlike against Kobashi though there is plenty of rest to justify Kawada kicking out. Kawada rolls out to buy more time and it is over a minute before the pin is made and a minute 40 before Doc executes the next move (a Doctor bomb) for another near fall.
In the end Kawada doesn't make another mistake and he just keeps chipping away until finally Doc is done. Doc played his role perfectly in this match. His offense is so devastating looking that with a guy like Kawada to sell for him he doesn't need to do 15 moves for me to believe he can win. Kawada shows in this match why he is the best storyteller in wrestling history. As BB King said comparing John Coltraee to Miles Davis "John could say alot in alot of notes, Miles could say even more in just a few." Kawada doesn't need to take a dozen headdrops to suck me into this match. He builds up to the one he takes so it seems life and death. He sells everything Williams does like it is earthshattering. He shows determination and brains in this match. He also builds off the psychology of the Jumbo vs Kawada TC match in 1991 to show how much he had learned in the last 3 years. A brillant performance and a great match. 4 3/4 stars.
Purotapes Reviews the most reviewed show of the year.
Well to say everyone has chimed in on this show would be an understatement. All Japan's 2/24 PPV has been talked about by everyone and we've all heard some pretty crazy stuff about it. What is sure is that it marked a major moment in the history of AJPW. I think we can safely say it took AJPW off of life support for the first time since the split. It also marked the first appearances of the reason for that in the ring (Kashin, Kojima, and Mutoh.
The undercard is basically agreed to be a bunch of nothingness. A few guys looked to have potential but nothing much came out of it. The best guy in the undercard was probably Masato Tanaka. Of course All Japan lost him to Zero-one shortly after this PPV. I don't know why All Japan never signed him. While I don't see him every being a main eventer in All Japan (or in Zero One for that matter) he was a solid midcard guy who added much needed depth. That being said I had no problem with how All Japan used him save not signing him. One thing WCW and the WWF taught us is that you don't push people who you don't have under contract. If he wouldn't sign it would have been stupid to push him so some other promotion could reap the benifits of your work. I was disappointed in the work of the Tomoaki Honma/Shigeo Okamura team. They had the varsity club in a mood to work and to make them look good and they basically blew it. Williams was the best guy in the match and they didn't even really outclass Rotundo. Of course Stuart over at www.puroresufan.com is so deep on Honma's cock that he just pawns it off on him being used as a jobber. Which he wasn't as the Club wasn't in squash mode and Williams sold way more then he has to.
Again I didn't have a problem with the Kashin match. Miyamoto is a rookie and Kashin has been squashing ever New Japan Junior for months. It wouldn't really make since for Miyamoto to take Kashin to the limit. Still he lasted more then most and looked to have improved a good deal since last I saw him. After the match Kashin is killed by Fuichi which is cool and Kaz comes out. Kaz is another big addition that really adds depth to the All Japan Roster. Still the undercard really wasn't anything special. They need to trim the fat. Areshi, Rotundo, Naniwa, and one other gaijen need to go. Stop bringing in the Harris' as well. Barton has a role but needs to be de pushed and Kea needs to step in as the number two native. Steele shows potential so should be protected but I'd be careful with him. Anjoh gets some heat so I could find a place for him but again he needs to be pushed down the card. Araya is a solid guy but again just a midcarder. He has a spot but not sure where. Really though they need to probably trim more viciously then I suggested probably and replace. They've brought in five guys recently so they should at least get rid of five and I've suggested some names.
Now on to the major matches first is Kea vs Nagai. Man if you want to go over to www.411wrestling.com
and read some idiotic shit on this match read Baisden's latest column. Nagai he says works over the log whomp ass i believe and Kea doesn't sell it well. Of course Nagai only rags on it for about a minute and Kea sells it far better then the work deserves. Then he somehow blames Nagai blowing a hurricanerana by falling back instead of forward on Kea. Pretty shitty writing there. Basically this match was pretty eh because of Nagai. Kea almost saves it but not quite. Nagai is another guy pushed above his talent right now. He's another solid midcard guy who should be kept far away from the main events. Think 2 1/2 stars for this one.
Then comes Tenyru and Kojima. A good match and probably the best on the card. Still it wasn't as good as it could have been. Mainly Kojima didn't quite have the rythem he normally does. That's understandable. The match really had no build so it was just a stiff spot fest. A good one and really stiff. But really no substance. 3 1/2 stars but nothing more. I figure these two will have a much better match at the next budokon for the triple crown.
Then comes the main event. It should be noted that Kawada did have a 103 temperature. How that effected him is tough to say. He was definatly off but it was in strange ways. The good thing is this match had aura about it which is nice to have again and something no other company has with there title. The match had excellent drama really. But Mutoh's moveset was really weak for a match this long. Both of there selling was really fucked. Anyway with all the flaws I'd have to go 3 stars on it. That may be low and I could have rated it as high as 3 1/2 stars. However I have a feeling that like there last match this one won't hold up well on repeated viewings.
Anyway can't recommend this card. All Japan's buisness has improved but this card shows they have a long way to go.
The organized Smackdown report.
We're going to try to do this just for the hell of it. Of course it won't be really organized as I won't go chronologically but I will kept it one item at a time.
Item 1- ANNOUNCING- Tazz is useless and Cole oversells everything. Why theywould want to have Tazz be the voice of Smackdown is beyond me as he just absolutely without question is not good at announcing. He can't wrestled either though. So they should probably just save themselves a pay check.
Item 2- THAT'S JUST DEGRADING AND HUMILIATING- The writters really fucked Cole on this one. They gave him to angles that forced him to contradict himself. First off how is a Kimona anymore degrading then what Torrie usually wears? I mean she normally dresses like a whore today she was just dressed like an old Japanese version of that. Its not like she had to do anything degrading, or she was wrestling in a langeria match. Of course that wouldn't be humilating. Then Cole's explanation of why Tajiri was wrong proved how equally vapid the booking is getting. Because she hot and he's lucky to have a girlfriend that looks that good. This isn't Cole's fault as that's the only character Torri has and he has to explain why this is wrong. At least JR always talked about how nice and bright Sable was all Cole's got is she's hot. So the only reason to treat women good is because they are hot? Then later in the show Vince commits sexual harassment and sex discrimination in front of a cheering crowd and Cole cheers. What Stacie did is much more degrading to women then anything Tajiri has had Torrie do. The whole thing was degrading. And like I say everyone who didn't get hired could sue Vince McMahon for sexual harassment quite clearly if it were real (but Cole had no problem with that) I guess because they weren't hot. This is the writers fault I would wager because I bet Cole was reacting how he was supposed to. Also Cole needs to stop overselling every heel beat down. It kills his credibility that is his fault.
Item 3- TESTIFY!!!!- First off D-Von had the pentacostal cough down pat. Very cool. Second off this is a dangerous gimmick. While I have no problem making fun of televangilist because they are scum you must make it clear you are making fun of them not religion. If it comes off like your making fun of religion you offend people. I would even say it publically that this gimmick isn't meant to mock any sincere follower of any religions just the people who try to make money exploiting those people. However if you play it right and avoid that pitfall it could really work. I'd go all the way with it to. I'd have D-Von passing the plate around the crowd with organ music in the background. I'd have him even do the faith heelings. You know the ones they always fake like pushing in someone's show to act like they are shortening a leg. I'd have him put do fake tears (like they do in movies while testifing about what a sinner he used to be "I used to put the women of God through tables! But I have seen the error in my ways brothers. You know go over the top the whole 9 yards. If you do it may work because D-Von had the character down.
Item 4- I AM THE GAME AND I AM THAT DAMN BORING- Lord HHH takes five times as long to say what he is trying to say as any other human being on the face of the earth He'll talk for three minutes and say no more then Hogan succeeds insaying five seconds. Plus why in the fuck was he pulling out wristlocks and sleepers in an under 10 minute match. Its funny but he seems to be Kurt's worst opponent and with Jericho having a better match with Edge tonight then his Mania match with Hunter..well that should say all there is to say about Hunter in the ring. Also nice work by Hunter denigrating the Mania match the marks loved as a battle of egos while his is the real thing. What did Rock say today? That some of the people who are jeolous of him have really nice positions? I guess the best position is having Stephs legs up in the air.
Item 5- ANGLE AND JERICHO- First off again the bookers make Cole look stupid. Jericho tells Hogan HHH will do anything to win the match and he is a disrespectful, pompous ass. HHH tells Hogan that HHH will do anything to win the match and he respects Hogan but is just straight shooting. Of course the odds are HHH is turning to hold onto the belt and they don't want Cole to give it away but still in the mean time agian they made him look like a moron.
The good thing is that Jericho and Angle are getting lots of TV time. They are getting to beat up people and smart off. The bad thing is they are presented as no threats in the ring. Last week Edge basically destroyed Angle and Angle had to get himself disqualified to not get beat. On Smackdown this week Edge destroyed Jericho getting several near falls and a visual submission. Chris only wins by Angle interfering and pulling the tights. Okay they are trying to elevate Edge and make him look strong. That must be how you do it with people who are a level below you. (It really isn't though you actually have to give them a three count clean but the WWF has forgotten that.) Compare that to how Rock and HHH have treated Angle and Jericho the last few weeks though. Smackdown last week Rock fights off Jericho and Angle throughout the match and wins totally clean. I said as long as its not a trend its okay because Rock needs to be rebuilt. This week on Smackdown HHH wrestles Kurt Angle in a non title match. HHH gets a visual pin on Angle with a SPINEBUSTER (a move that HHH has never beat anyone with) before Jericho interfers. Then hooks on the pedigree before Jericho interferes again. He takes the Lionsault (Jericho's finisher) and with only a few second's delay kicks out. Hogan comes in and punches Jericho and Angle. As opposed to the two on one mugging HHH recieves. (By the way Hogan has no problem easily fighting off Jericho and Angle's double team.) But overal unless Hogan's punches hurt more then the Lionsault and a beatdown combined HHH recieves by far the worse of the schmooz. Well when the smoke clears HHH pedigrees Kurt with no problem. Way to elevate people.
Hall of Fame Wrestling Tape
This tape features very old black and white footage from the 50s and 60s. Its a pretty good compiliation even though I have some of the matches from other sources. Some of the matches are clipped to pieces including the Rocca vs Valentine match I was hoping was complete. It was still the same match I had on the other tape.
Buddy Rodgers vs NWA Champion Pat O'conner. This is probably the most famous match of the era. I don't really know why because I've seen other matches that I consider to be better. One that jumps out at me is the Sandor Szabo/Wilbur Synder vs Mr. Moto/Carl "Crippler" Davis tag match from Hollywood which is just a great example of great wrestling, with a great crowd, with logical booking, all explained by excellent commentary. The basic psychology is that Rodgers is lucky (see Ric Flair did rip him off) or is he just smart? O'Conner basically dismantles him the whole first fall until he runs right into Rodgers knee and gets pinned. Rodgers then is able to control the second fall but eventually O'Conner recovers enough to pin him for the second fall. The best part of the match is without question the third fall. O'Conner is just on fire (at least as much as a wrestler could be in 1961) and keeps almost pinning Rodgers. This is really a rare occasion at the time as the near fall didn't seem to have really gained importance at this time. Again as he has Rodgers reeling he makes a mistake this time he goes for a big drop kick but when Rodgers dodges O'Conner hits the ropes which cause him to his his head hard on the mat allowing Rodgers to get the pin. You know its psychologically sound and had a near fall sequence so in those ways its solid. Still the build up sequences don't do much or accomplish anything nor are they particularly nifty. At least Thesz would bust out some nifty holds. Yet Rodgers looks about as weak as he possibly could while winning the belt and O'Conner looks stupid for getting dupped basically the same way twice. I don't know it still a very good singles match for the era but not really all its cracked up to be. ** 3/4
Georgous George vs Larry MoQuinn. I wonder if George invented every heel tactic in the book or if there was someone he learned from. If he did it himself he is without question the most influential wrestler in North American History. He comes out in a gaudy robe. His manager sprays perfume around the ring to eliminate the unsavory smell of wrestler. The announcer interviews him and George informs us that his hair style is the hellenic syle with Grecian curls. (no Florida air though sense this is a one fall match). George doesn't let the referee touch his "gorgous" robe when he checks him. The Ref ask if they have any questions and George says "I don't have a question as much as a concern. I don't want any hair pulling because it makes nervous and furious." So after bicycling around the ring for a bit and George forcing breaks by going into the rope Moquin rubs his hand in George's hair messing it up. George throws a temper tantrum that would make Christain proud. George also does the heel oversell of all the baby faces comebacks. Finshes comes when on backslide by Moquin George's feet land in the ropes. Moquin thinks he's won so turns and celebrates and George dropkicks him in the back bouncing him off the ropes and then pins him. Moquin throws a tantrum but I've got to say that this loss was his own fault. George won clean.
Freddie Blassie vs the Hangman. Blassie reconfirms my belief that he was one of the first great modern promo cutters before the match. He explains several things. 1 that the women in this town look like pigs and wear dresses that look like a pototoe sack. He believes women should wear form fitting clothing and he isn't worried about women revolting against him since the only ones who would be concerned are the ones who look like pigs and he doesn't care for them anyway. He also explains why he is the best wrestler on earth because other wrestlers know one or two counters for every hold well he knows three or four. He promises a scientific match. So onto the match. He promptly bites the opponent and then hits a neckbreaker to win while the Announcer plays up the decietfullness of Blassie promising a scientific match and starting it off by biting his opponent. Ladies and Gentlemen Blassie was the man.
Boris and Niccoli Volkoff vs Dick the Bruiser/Hans Schmidt- Before the match the Volkoffs have an interview where they speak perfect english with no accent. I've referenced this match as an example of steller heel work before. This is a more complete version of it. Basically Bruiser and Schmidt so effectively use heel tactics the fans start cheering everything the evil Russians do. Bruiser and Schmidt don't do anything over the top. They just act like assholes. Double teaming the Volkoffs in the corner, slapping them, choking them, and generally being pricks. When the Volkoffs make there big comeback Schmidt refuses to help Bruiser who pops him for an big pop meaning Schmidt is such a heel he can get Bruiser a face reaction. The match sucked but quite the heel work 1/2*
Antonio Rocca vs Hans Schmit 2/3 falls. Joe Louis is your ref. I'm bigging to think Schmit was the best stomper of the time period. The first fall is a nice back and forth venture. Rocca utilizing his high impact and high flying moves while Schmit uses roughhouse tactics and grinds away at him. However by the end of it Rocca is just to quick for Schmit and wins the first fall. Schmit selling is awesome hear as he makes all of Rocca's offense look as credible as possible and sells the parts that don't look that credible as being annoying as hell. Schmit immediatly changes his gameplan just vicously attacking the back of Rocca and keeping the action coming at a very good pace for the period. Its also nice to see this good of psychology. In the first fall Rocca's flying was to much so Schmit grinds and pounds his back away to eliminate it as a threat. Three backbreakers are enough to put Rocca away. Now up to this point I'm thinking this may be the best singles match I've seen from the era. Two things about the match bother me. One the announcer repeatedly refering to Joe Louis as boy is offesive to a modern ear. Two the third fall only last under a minute. Basically Schmit swoops in for the kill but comes to aggressively and knocks Rocca into Louis who pushes Rocca on top of Schmit for the pin. Very disappointing ending. The first two falls of this match kick the ass of the Rodgers vs O'Conner match but the third fall sucks compared to the Rodgers vs O'Conner third fall being really good.
Other thoughts and questions. Joe Louis wrestled Rocky Ski Hi Lee on the tape and the match really sucked. You would think a promoter could have made a great deal of money with someone like Louis though so did he improve and or how successful was he in wrestling.
Rocca was weird to watch. I saw quite a bit of his match with Thesz (third fall was missing). Rocca had more problems in this one (i was guessing it would end in a time limit draw by the pacing). Lou was playing subtle heel that he always played against babyfaces and was his usual spiffy self on the mat. Main problem was Rocca seemed to work in spurts and jerks in this match and Lou wasn't like Schmit in keeping the action coming he liked to do his mat work. Another clipped to hell match between them showed Lou's Powerbomb which really isn't that different then the modern powerbomb except the opponent didn't sit up and Lou does it more dead weight. This one looked much stronger then the previous or the latter one, since the first one i watched happened in the Lou's final title reign, but was to clipped up to tell. I think Rocca was trying to get over as unique but at times it just seemed dumb the movements he would use. But he was over like hell so that speaks to the effectiveness of the style.
It be interesting for someone to discuss who was considered and who actually was the best worker of the I'll say Thesz Era. I have no idea who was considered it at the time and I don't know if I have viewed enough tapes to make a judgement. I usually like Thesz and Schmit a great deal. Not suprisingly their match against each other is one a enjoy quite a bit. (Again a weak finish.) I'm iffy on Rocca. I really like Rodgers and Valentine seems really good but I haven't seen any big matches of his in complete form. Rikidozan wasn't to impressive and I felt like Lou was carrying him in their big match. Blassie and George had the best personalities by far.
I've also noticed that a good finish was very rare. Many of the hollywood tag matches did have good finishes so maybe that is why i'm fond of them. Its like most the matches were either squashes or had a screwy finish even back then. I guess they were obsessed with protecting people which makes more sense then because winning and lossing were all important. But all of the matches on the tape that would be "big" matches had slightly screwy finishes.
All Japan Women Satellite TV 9-8-01 Grand Prix Final
Ahh AJW the wrestling promotion that always makes me happy. We start out with a replay of the Kiss of the World performance from W-Fusion. I remember where I was the first time I heard Kiss of the World at home in my room watching W-Fusion of course.
Kumiko Maekawa Vs Miyuki Fujii- Kumiko is in full half sized Aja Kong mode. I dont usually like her when she does that either. Fujii throws everything she has early at Kumikos taped up leg. Kumiko doesnt sell anything but does mockingly scream everytime Miyuki hits her and screams. Kumiko always comes back and just destroys Miyuki with some stiff kicks the ref tries to stop it but Kumiko isnt having any shit from this poor ref. As the match progresses Kumiko starts to sell more ala Aja to show that in fact Miyukis attack is having its effect. She never starts limping but she does sell the submission holds which is a step up. I can deal with progressive selling (its actually the best kind) but this one is a bit slow. They move into the near fall segment with Miyuki going for roll ups and anything she can get and Kumiko trying to kick her head off. Eventually Kumiko wins with the Liger J-cup 95 counter to the la magistral cradle. Kumiko beats up the poor ref for his trouble while her now running buddies the LCO cheer. I can remember when she had major problems with the LCO back in 1997 oh well time and a heel turn heal all wounds. 10:32 ** stars
Nanae Takahashi Vs Tomoko Watanabe- The WWWA Tag Champs explode!!! Not really as this is one of those round robin deals they do in Japan that makes for weird singles matches. Basic psychology as it is in most of these matches is they know each others moves so counter them very well and are basically equal. They do that very well. They have to really beat each other down or surprise the other to get one of their signature spots in. Takahashis best weapon is a Jumbo Style Backdrop for instance. As the match wears on and they get wore down they have more success and can hit their big spots. However there is only so much you can do in these sort of matches with this amount of time. The finish is really cool and keeps with the psych as Takahashi counters Watanabes attempt for a back drop bomb (Ill call it that) into a cross body ala Jumbo vs Misawa 6-9-90 (historic counters are cool!!!) 11:23 *** stars these two could have done a lot more I think with more time although you can never tell if they would have been able to keep the psych going that long.
Momoe Nakanishi Vs Mima Shimoda- In my opinion the best in ring face and most exciting wrestler in the sport today meets the best heel in womens wrestling. Mima being the bitch she is of course pearl harbors Momoe to start the match. Immediately she starts to pummel Momoe to pieces all over Kourakon Hall. Mima and myself though are absolutely shocked when Momoe counters a Irish whip into a 5 foot wall by walking up the wall and moonsaulting off. Clears throat.HOLY SHIT!!! Momoe proceeds to kick Mimas ass back to the ring but Mima isnt interested in that quite yet as she has been shown up in her territory the outside. Momoe does hit a Jumbo style German first though. The first chance Mima gets she tosses Momoe back out and Momoe takes an ass kicking. Gets piledriven through a table which actually breaks! Momoe blades and then Mima takes her around the arena to show the fans in the cheap seats what an ass-kicking looks like up close-Steve Austin. The WWF should get a bunch of nerds like me together and have us come up with every cool quote a wrestler has ever said and release a book. I bet it could sell. While Momoe crawls back to the ring Mima piles a bunch of chairs in the center. They tease the chair dives but eventually Momoe hits a German into the chairs. Mima quickly comes back with a powerbomb into the chairs and this match is hot. The ref clears the chairs as they start throwing the book at each other. Mima makes the first mistake of the move by no selling a dragon suplex but she sells the second one like shes dead so I guess the move does hurt. Eventually Mima falls pray to another Jumbo Style German. Is something up with the Jumbo Tsuruta homages on this show. Crowd erupts as this sends Momoe to the Grand Prix Finals. Awesome 10 minute matches not as good as many Momoe matches have been because of all the crowd brawling. Still she managed to keep even that interesting by moonsaulting off walls and bumping like crazy. But this match was all kinds of coolness wrapped together. 10:27 *** 1 /2 stars.
Yumiko Hotta Vs Etsuko Mita- Two survivors from the golden age collide! Yumiko brings a ladder to the ring as if to signal that she is ready for all the LCO brawling Mita wants to bring. This is a very smartly worked match. Hotta takes control immediately with kicks then tosses Mita and destroys her leg on the outside with a table and chairs. Quickly it is shown is she is falling into a trap as it just isnt wise to brawl with Mita who just kills her once they get back into the ring. Its not long though before Hotta takes control again with strikes and some matwork but again she goes to brawling on the outside and again Mita dismantles her in the end. Once they get back in they again have a pile of chairs in the middle of the ring. You see what I mean by LCO style match. Mita and Shimoda really deserve so much credit. They were two solid but unspectacular wrestlers with a good deal of sex appeal. They found that by working their asses off and mixing their solid technical ability with a hardcore style they could become stars. Hotta takes a flapjack on the chairs which looks vicious. Again Hotta takes control with her stiff strikes and again she then resorts to the hardcore stuff. This time she places the ladder on two chairs and tiger drives Mita onto the ladder in a vicious looking spot. However as I said this isnt her style so it isnt long before Mita takes control again and just stars DVDing her to hell. That is until Hotta counters one into an armbar in a sweet spot. Hotta finally gets over her arrogance realizing that when she tries to brawl she gets her ass kicked but Mita cant hang with her in a straight up fight. So she just pulverizes Mita with a straightjacket suplex off the top after kicking the shit out of her for a bit. Mita fights back with all she can even hitting another DVD but Hotta is just overwhelming at this point and the finish is a matter of time. Wasnt expecting much from this one but these two showed that they know what they are doing and can deliver a very solid outing. 16:47 *** 1/ 4 stars
Manami Toyoda Vs Kaoru Ito- Interesting match as the multiple time WWWA world champion and former ace of the promotion takes on the current WWWA champion, ace and the woman who took her spot. This match is a revelation for me. Manami isnt through! In fact she has quite a deal left in her tank when she cuts the bullshit out and wrestles smart. Manami takes it to Kaoru right away. Manami waits to get introduced herself but rushes Kaoru before they can introduce her. I wonder if that was to say I should be introduced last Im the top star in this company. Manami unleashes on Kaorus leg viciously. That is the tone of the match, viciousness. Manami throws the book at Kaoru but Kaoru always responds. Kaoru sells the leg properly. Never overselling it and thus disregarding her offense but referencing it through out the match. Manami is also smart about it never acting like she wants a submission from this but instead wanting to use it to wear down Kaoru and as an ace in the hole for her. The ace in the hole concept comes out several times the best when Kaoru blocks a Japanese Ocean Suplex but before she can get back on offense Manami kicks her leg out and resumes her beat down. The finishing minutes are just so intense I was on the edge of my seat as much as Ive been all year during a match. In this sort of battle for spots it help to not know who wins so Ill just give an example of a sequence at the end. Kaoru hits a double foot stomp but her leg keeps her from immediately taking advantage for the pin so Manami can kick out at two. Kaoru goes up for another one but Manami is there. Manami climbs up but Kaoru hopes off to get behind her for a powerbomb. Manami holds onto the turnbuckle to block so Kaoru turns and pounds her back then climbs up for a German. Manami is smart though and counters that into a Japanese Ocean suplex for 2 3/4s. Beautiful sequences that both show how equal they are but go someplace. This is one of the best matches of the year and worth the tape alone. 23:12 **** 1/ 4.
Momoe Nakanishi Vs Kumiko Maekawa- Grand Prix Final. Momoe is bandages up from the previous match and this match starts as soon as the Manami and Kaoru match is over. That match is going to be a hard act to follow lets see how the young guns do. This is the cutting edge of wrestling. The other things Ive heard called that just dont have it when compared to this. The counters and the moves and the quickness of it are just unreal in their beauty. I mean I marked a dozen times for the shit these two were pulling out and how pretty it looked. My favorite was when Momoe went for her twisting hurricanrana and at the exact perfect Moment Kumiko set down and pulled her legs up for a great near fall at around eight minutes into the match. So much was done but these girls showed that their minds are already matured. This is why its good that AJW makes people learn the basics before they start busting out moonsault dragons (which Momoe did bust out). The match was paced perfectly from the very beginning so it seemed logical. It didnt have to build much but it built right as it actually slowed down slightly at the end because of the fatigue but the match started out at such a break neck speed that this was still fast paced. They also didnt fall into the spot reverse spot reverse trap that many inexperienced workers do when trying to pull this off. They had the patience to let a few moves accumulate before the other transitioned into offense. This is so essential to building heat during a match. The only flaw of this match that I found (I wasnt dissecting it for them so Im sure there was one somewhere) was it was twelve 12 and a half minutes. If there were a better twelve and a half minutes done this year I sure as hell havent seen it. 12:28 **** . Id probably give the slight nod to Manami Vs Kaoru because it was such a dramatic match but it doesnt get much closer then that.
Two matches that are currently in my top 10 for 2001 maybe even top 5. Three 3 star matches on top of it. The weakest match being a 2 star match that was obviously done to establish Kumiko as a monster for the main event and Momoe as a big underdog. In my opinion this was the best show of the year. Compare it to the 6-6-01 New Japan show for instance
Kawada Vs Kojima *** 3/ 4
Mutoh Vs Hase ***
Fujita Vs Nagata *** 1/ 4
6 man ** 3/ 4
And the rest of the matches being between ** and ** 1/ 2.
The EMLL March pay per view kicked ass but it had some weak spots as well and I dont think the two six men were as good as the final two matches on this card either. Thats just my opinion of course but Im pretty consistent and tough and hard to please. Something really special is going on in All Japan and this show screams it. An absolute must have for anybody. Believe the hype. All Japan Women without question in my mind is the best TV going right now. This was a two-hour TV show and of it 94 minutes and 49 seconds was spent in the ring. All the matches were complete, none of them sucked, and a few of them were must-sees.
The 1980's and the Future
I've been watching a buch of wrestling and I've seen some great matches and some bad matches and I won't review them all. Here are just a few thoughts.
All Japan Classics volume 1 and 2.
The Sheik- Did this guy ever have a good match? I've seen over 10 of his matches so far (not comprehensive i know) from different eras, against different people, in different territories and he's yet to crack 1 star in my ratings.
Terry Funk vs Dory Funk- Two legendary brothers wrestle and get nearly 50 minutes to work with. You'd expect a classic ala any Bret vs Owen match.......you'd be wrong. Its clear here why many people found Dory to be superior to Terry even though Terry was a much more diverse wrestler. In this match Dory moved so gracefully compared to Terry. Also Terry's over selling really did not work in the context of this match. For instance he sells an atomic drop as hard as a normal man would a back drop driver and it looked silly. Most of the match was spent with rest holds. I assume this was to show they didn't hate each other but it came off very boring. Not a very good match and a major disappointment i'd say in the 1 3/4-2star range.
Terry Funk vs Bruiser Brody- Stan Hansen was the man Brody is overrated, but still he could be very cool. This was a brutal brawl. Nothing technical but lots of intensity and blood. Terry blades first and its grusome, so Bruiser decides to top him and succeeds. ECWhat? 2 1/2 stars
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Ricky Steamboat-Everyone usually praises this match but I was let down. I saw Ricky wrestle Snuka twice from this period on this tape and he really didn't get a whole lot out of him so maybe Ricky was still learning. Not a bad match but from these two I was expecting something really special and i got a 2 1/2 stars match.
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Ric Flair-While this was certainly not the best match these two were capable of it was still a nice 2/3 fall match. Jumbo had a really awesome missle dropkick for a man his size but Jumbo was the man anyway. Flair was another guy whose over animated mannerisms never played as well in Japan 3 1/4 stars
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Nick Bockwinkle- If you haven't noticed I'm a huge Jumbo mark. This was in the US so we got to see Jumbo play to the crowd more. He rarely did it so he wasn't that good at it but was acceptable. The crowd got solidly behind Jumbo but that could be because Bockwinkle has a great deal of heat on him. Good match though a little to much stalling by Bockwinkle though 2 3/4 stars.
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Dick Slater Champions Carnival Final 1980 I believe. Now this is more like it. Just an absolutely stunning match. Slater's selling for instance is perfect as he does big sells similar to Terry Funk's but does them on moves that justify it so it just makes the move look awesome. They do some great mat sequences including fighting over an inside cradle. When I say fighting I mean they really seem to be struggling over it instead of just going back and forth on the mat like most people. Dick also works a step over toe hold Beautfully holding on as Jumbo kicks him square in the face. Another cool sequence is when Dick counters a belly to back by kicking the rope. Jumbo still covers him for a nearfal (the move should still hurt Slater more) but it buys Dick time. Great finish were Dick misses a blind charge into the corner then Jumbo hits a beautifull German Suplex to finish him off. This match is a true classic 4 stars (no handicap for being old.)
Harley Race vs Giant Baba- This was the shocker of the tape as Race actually got an entertaining match out of Baba. This was one of the times were Baba won the NWA title for a week or so and Race puts on a great one man performance showing why he was the top man in the industry at the time. Race is one of the great underrated wrestlers ever and if you don't believe it watch this match. Again Race sells just right so he doesn't look silly but Baba looks devestating. He also keeps the action coming to Baba so the action is constant but Baba doesn't blow up. Race was the man 2 3/4 stars
Harley Race vs Mil Mascaras- Race again proves himself to be the man by working a totally different match against the total opposite of Baba and succeeding. Here he catches everything Mascaras does perfectly. He makes all of Mascaras' offense make sense in the context of the match while contrasting it with his own power game. 3 1/4 stars. I need more Race from the late 70's
AJW 7-01 TV
Takako Inoue vs Rookie- Total squash and poorly done one at that. I have no problem with a vet controlling 90% of a match like this but when the Rookie is on offense they should try to make them look good. Here Takako made her look incompetent and basically took control back by literally doing nothing. I don't know what this is supposed to teach the Rookie except how not to sell. Dud
Miho Wakazawa vs Kayo Noumi- This match is better then their W-fusion match mainly because it doesn't have the irratic selling that one had. Not that anything is sold very well here although nothing is no sold. They build the match well though and have a real nifty near fall section at the end that was top notch though. **3/4
Etsuka Mita vs Tomoko Watanabe- Could have been really good but it was just a set up for the big match at W-fusion so they tried to establish that Watanabe could get Mita in trouble but Mita still had to win. All well and good though. **1/2
Mima Shimoda vs Manami Toyota- This match was poorly designed. They wanted to insure Manami would be the heel so Mima worked hard to be the underdog, unfortunatly Mima just isn't believable anymore as an underdog and Manami really is much more natural in that position. If they had been in opposite rolls this could have been a show stealer **1/4.
Kaoru Ito vs Momoe Nakanishi- Momoe is so fast that she can do things that almost no one can do. Her moonsault german is probably the prettiest transition move in wrestling history. Only problem with this match is Momoe is such a great bump taker that Kaoru got a little carried away tossing her around like a rag doll. There was never a point when a pin HAD to happen but there were 6 or 7 powerbombs and like a soap it all made sense at the time but when you looked back it was a bit much. The match was built around the notion that if Kaoru hit the double foot stomp that would be it for Momoe. Momoe plays such a great underdog she reminds me of an early 90's Kobashi. She can take an asskicking but is so quick that she can hit moves from anywhere so you never feel like she is totally out of it. Awesome match and about as good a 30 minute draw as you will see. Even had the right finish. ****1/4
Shitload of reviews.
Im sorry for the lack of updates recently the reason is two fold. One it was thanksgiving so I was doing family stuff. Two I got Dragon Warrior 7 and its chock full of old school RPG goodness. Finally (I guess this would make it threefold wouldnt it) Ive been to busy watching wrestling to comment on it. Well now it is my chance to talk to all of you wonderful people (all seven of you most likely)
Lets begin with all the indy stuff I got from weside tapes (excellent quality, quick service, good prices defiantly a will do business again guy.) Starting with the ECWA 7-21-01 Show.
Crowbar vs Inferno kid- Crowbar was over like crazy. Posed a bit to much for my taste. He looked good and sold for Inferno Kid but the finish was never in doubt
Scoot Andrews vs Simon Diamond vs Pete Gas- Scoot looked worse then Pete Gas here think about that for a minute. Simon not surprisingly looked good but didnt wow me at all.
Low-Ki vs American Dragon with Ricky Steamboat as Ref. Steamboat is so cool he sold some of the moves as well as the wrestlers (just a joke btw but Ricky is a god.) He also stayed out of the way and let Low-ki and American Dragon be the focus and that was the best decision he made because they put on a hell of a show. Probably the best indy match Ive seen ever. Dragon again was easily the better of the two but thats no insult to Low-Ki. The spots and flow of the moves was just seamless as one thing lead to another and all of it made sense. Good pacing as well as they got some good nearfalls later but didnt do them to early ( I hate when a move in the first minute of the match gets the same count and importance as a move in the last minute.) The main focus at the beginning was Dragon working over Kis left arm to lead to his finisher. Ki sold it very well but during the last 10 minutes or neither of them paid any attention to it which diminished its affect as an integral part of the finish. Some study of Bret Hart would be good as he always built an injury up throughout the match until it was an integral part of the climax wither he was on the given or receiving part of the injury. However the Bret stuff where I saw him do this he was already a 10 year + veteran its not really a fair expectation but it is that kind of thing that in my opinion shows that these guys arent yet world class workers. Low-Ki understands basic selling but he doesnt yet know how to make it relevant or how to come out of an injury slowly and such for instance a nice touch would have been when he hit the Ki krusher instead of just falling back he could have been unable to keep the bridge with his left arm because it was injured this would have put over the injury and kept it fresh. Hes learning though at the super 8 he did moves on injuries he never should have done. Here in a spot I loved instead of doing a hand spring spinning kick (bad psychology with a bad arm) he does a springboard spinning kick off the middle rope which doesnt use his arm and gets the same reaction. Nice touch there. I always say Phil Schneider is like Meltzler in comparision to me if they love a match Ill at least like it so here while I didnt think it was the match of the year like Phil I can certainly see why he would think that. I gave it 3 3/ 4 stars my match of the year got
4 1/ 2 so its close enough to make the argument IMO.
Low-ki vs Red 8-25 - Red is my number 1 candidate for a career shortening leg injury as several times in this match he landed very ackwardly. Lets sum up this match extremely cool spots going nowhere Reds selling IS an embarrassment. Fast paced though so no one will get bored watching it 1 3/ 4 stars
SAT vs Divine/Storm/XL I believe this was from the first fake you show for CZW. They were going for the MPRO six man feel but totally botched it because they did way too much to early to no result basically setting the bar for what would have to finish it so high that they never got me on any of the nearfalls. Its that pacing thing I keep talking about again. Its disturbing because these guys if they had any sense could have a much better match then this without killing themselves as much. Oh well 1 3 /4 stars.
Low-Ki vs Xavier Ladder match- If you liked the TLC matches youll like this if you didnt like them you wont like this. The spots were amazing. I thought they actually paced it much better then the Christain vs Edge ladder match. If you liked that you will LOVE this because in everyway this was superior. Pointless ref bump didnt help. As per usual their was a broken flow and no psychology in this ladder match but at least they kept the action coming as opposed to the C vs E and RVD vs JH matches which totally bogged down at the end. 2 1/ 2 stars I dont like Ladder matches but as I said if they are your taste you will love this. Almost as good as the TLC match from Mania but when you consider they had 2 people as opposed to 6 thats pretty impressive for a spotfest.
Im not going to talk about every match because as a whole I didnt think this was a good card at all and very few of the matches stand out positively.
Tom Marquez vs Judas Young- Marquez is a prodigy so judging from that matches prodigies suplex people and dont sell anything. Maybe this wasnt how he normally is but he sure looked like a piece of crap here.
FBI vs SAT with Mickey Whipwreck as ref- Whipwreck was terrible totally playing a bad ass and beating down everyone else in the ring at will (yes he was ref but he still did it). He made everyone look weak and this was an incredibly selfish performance by him. The match without him wasnt good at all as the FBI tried to lead the SAT through a technical match and the SAT just didnt know what the hell to do in between their spots. Last year Guido was one of the most overrated wrestlers in the business because of what I like to call the ECW really sucked dick and so anyone who didnt suck dick was overrated because the ECW fans had to grasp onto anything to not accept that ECW really sucked dick effect.
Homicide/Bugalow vs Da Hit Squad- Was Homicide high, drunk, or just distracted in this match? Maybe it was because of the 9-11 attack but this was by far the worst Ive ever seen Homicide look. An example is where he first put the figure four on backwords then put it on with absolutely no pressure. It reminded me of Hogan forgetting how to put it on. After the match Da Hit Squad kiss his ass which normally I could see because I like Homicide but here didnt look right.
Low-ki vs Red- See the first match between them say spots even more impressive and a finish that although contrived and took to long to set up was at least clean and you have this match. 2 1/ 4 all for the spots.
Jersey All Pro 7-7-01 from Viking Hall
Now this show was more up my alley. It had the something for everyone attitude I really like and totally delivered. One of the best non tournament Indy shows Ive seen. No classics and very little psychology as per expected but I enjoyed it and Im tough to please.
Xavier vs Mike Quackenbush- Gotta love the name. These are two of the best high fliers in the states and you have to love watching them go.
Reckless Youth vs Skinhead Ivan- Youth actually looked good here. Nice match with a good build to the finish.
Jerry Lawler w/ the Kat vs Don Montaya- Not a good match but the Kat looked hot and Lawler was playing his old Memphis face and Don Montaya was playing a Memphis heel so it was fun in a Memphis sort of way.
Da Hit Squad vs Insane Dragon/Little Dixie TLC falls count anywhere match- I really dont understand how falls can count anywhere in a ladder match since the only way you can win is by getting the belt and the belt is in only one spot. You know Da Hit Squad just feel like Major Leagures. They are big, they work hard, and they have charisma if it wasnt for the spare tire they both have I think they could actually make it to the big time. They absolutely deliver a ladder match that compares favorably to the Hardy boyz matches. The ending was a definitive but in a way made sense even though it took to long to set up. A couple of time people were out of position so the guy climbing the ladder looked like they were idiots. Creative spots though. Mafia is playing a Puerto Rican Kobashi evidently throwing out half nelson suplexes and burning hammers. For as little as Dragon and Dixie probably got paid I wouldnt suggest taking those moves from Mafia but since they did it looked brutal. 2 3/ 4 stars you want to see this match.
Homicide vs Low-ki- I was a little disappointed in this match. Homicide redeemed himself by looking really good here. The problem was Homicide constructed a slow paced almost All Japan Ace vs Underdog style match ala Jumbo (Homicide) vs Misawa (Low-ki). Homicide did his end beating the fire out of Low-ki and then selling his offense great to give hope. Low-ki just didnt seem comfortable in this style though. You felt like he was a drunk with a cop behind him trying to go slow to not make a mistake but trying to go fast so the cop wont get suspicious. He kept wanting to explode but then hed cut himself off and slow it down almost to much. Homicide tried to keep him under control and at times it worked almost to well. Low-ki is just to inexperienced to do this sort of match well. Still this was a good match and a good if failed attempt to pull off a kind of match not seen in America but they tried an All Japan match so you compare them to All Japan and it aint pretty when you do 2 1/ 2.
Low-ki vs American Dragon vs Scoot Andrews vs Daniels- Daniels was awesome here. Totally looking like the best indy worker in the world again. His facials and abilty to get his character over just made everyone else look like amatures. Low-ki and Dragon were awesome and this match was right up there alley. Scoot did next to nothing. He shouldnt have even been in this match( I know the whole angle was between him and Daniels but he was just plain bad.) Ref enforces tag throughout the match and then all the sudden starts counting pins for people who arent legal which I didnt like. Great build to the finish with the only guy who didnt look good winning. Scoot Hogan anyone? 3 1/ 2 stars.
All Japan Excite Series 2000
Pretty uneven tape. The first two matches were terrible but then the last four were really strong so onto the review.
Steve Williams vs Kobashi- The worst Kobashi match Ive ever seen. Williams does nothing and sells nothing and Kobashi doesnt even really try to carry him. A depressing match that highlights everything wrong with All Japan. Fast Forward 1 1/ 2 stars
Kawada vs Vader- Typical Kawada greatness. These two just stiff the hell out of each other and put effort into selling it. Kawada really makes Vader look like a moster which is great. Only twelve minutes long so can only give it 3 3/ 4 but its a fun little match.
Vader/Williams vs Akiyama/Kobashi- Proof that Doc phoned in the Kobashi match can be seen here as he is perfectly fine and even does some nice amateurish sequences. Not a classic AJ tag match but defiantly good enough for a good title change. Vader was king sized here just beating the crap out of everyone. 3 1/ 2 stars
Misawa vs Akiyama-I will state that Misawa was never really put anyone over.. ever! Anytime he lost the match was greatly different then when he won in that he never uncorks his big guns in a loss and never takes as much punishment losing as he does winning. So it comes off like he is having an off day more then it comes off like the person who beat him was the better man. Contrast this match to any of his big wins over Kawada or Kobashi where they do everything they have but just cant put him away while Misawa uses everything he has to barely win. That being said this was a really good match. Jun looked as good as Ive seen him and Misawa sold for him brilliantly. Much better then their 2001 match. Good sense of drama as the crowd really kept thinking that Jun might do it and then erupted when he did. 4 1/ 4 stars.
Kobashi vs Vader- By no means one of the great triple crown matches ever but good enough. They really put over Kobashis fighting spirit and he sells really well ( he can do it when he wants to.) 3 3/ 4 stars
Review of AJW W Fusion 2001
Momoe Nakanishi, Nanae Takahashi, Mika Nishio, & Kayo Noumi present "Kiss of the World Basically four wrestlers singing and dancing. The song sucks and the dancing isnt very good but the schoolgirls seem to like it. No surprise that Nakanishi looks to be the best of the bunch as her moves are cleaner and she smiles the whole time.
Ari Sasuke vs Kumiko Mackawa- Im assuming this is the rookies match. As these two dont do anything at all special in the ring and just go through basic holds and moves. However I like this system of learning all the basics before you start popping off Asai moonsaults and the like. Anyway the match starts of with a bunch of arm drags, hair drags, and snapmares. Sasuke, who looks like she could be very cute but of course is a rookie, does a weak body scissors and Kumiko rolls over and kicks her back a few times in a responsibly cool spot. Sasuke is playing the underdog pretty hard after being stretched on the mat she comes back with some drop kicks and does a silly spot where she picks someone up like for a spinebuster and then just kinda spins and drops them. It looks bad so hopefully someone in the back will tell her to cut it out. They do a very standard mat sequence, Mackawa seems to find this match very funny for some reason. The Ari does some dropkicks and Mackawa just stands there and totally no sells them. She has this big grin on her face, this is probably how the Undertaker looked the first time he did. On the thir one Sasuke just pauses for no reason and Kumiko bodyslams her for two awful spot there. Anyway match ends at 5 minutes as a draw. I didnt see much here but you know its according to their experience level what that means. stars.
Kayo Numi vs Miho Wakizawa- Wakizawa is a cool name I must say. Kayo is a woman I expect to rapidly gain popularity on the net because she is super cute. They shake hands and as Wakizawa is going to the corner Numi pearl harbors her and its on. They do some crowd brawling or as Stone Cold Steve Austin might say Wakizawa takes Numi out to show the fans what an asskicking looks like up close. Cool submissions were used in this match including Numi doing a surfboard type maneuver with her knee in Wakizawas back for added leverage. Wakizawa by the way totally wins the Manami Toyota screamer award for this show. As the match is building heat and they are starting to fly, nothing complex just body presses and splashes, Wakizawa rolls out of the ring crying and clutching her arm. Im going to assume she was actually hurt because her selling of it was very erratically at times she did it awesome and at times she paid it no mind and Numi never went after it to cause or exploit it. The match build to a quite nice near fall sequence, nothing to complex again but done pretty well to get a good reaction. Numi wins with quite the sloppy crucifix. Anyway pretty good as long as Wakizawa was actually hurt. If she was she is definitely no Kawada. Ill go 1 stars assuming she was hurt legit.
The Kiss of the world do a promo for something. They go totally spastic especially Kayo and damn if she isnt sexy doing it.
Momoe Nakanishi vs Yumoko Hotta. The match starts off hot with Nakanishi taking it to Hotta immediately and knocking her out of the ring. However the wily veteran immediately cuts off Nakanishis momentum by shoving her off the top turnbuckle to the floor (not a gruesome spot if your wondering) and then pulls her by the hair all around and beats her up. She takes special time to beat her up close to the school girl section (a trend.) Back in she beat up Nakanishi pretty good with a butterfly suplex and a few single legged Boston crabs. Nakanishi gets the advantage again by ducking an enziguri and works her over with some bow and arrows. Then she unleashes on her leg with some outstanding (dont know the technical name so will call it drape your opponents leg over the rope and then jump up and splash it with your butt.) She gets amazing air on these and makes them look better then Ive ever seen. Her leg assault ends however when Hotta reverses a semi figure four into a leg grapevine. Then the fun begins as Hotta drops Nakanishi on her head with one of the best piledrivers Ive ever seen. Its brutal looking. Yet Nakanishi fights back hard and knocks Hotta out of the ring and goes for a piledriver on a table. Again Hotta is to much as she first backdrops out of the piledriver and delivers another amazing looking piledriver on the table (remember Japanese tables dont break unless Honma or Yamakawa are feeling espiecally crazy that day.) The match then takes a great pattern on Hotta killing Nakanishi, Nakanishi looking like she is about to take control of the match back and then Hotta killing her again. I love this stuff because it really builds anticipation for the faces comeback. You know that they can do it because they keep coming so close but you dont know if they will breakthrough in time because the heel just keeps taking control back. This works especially well in veteran vs youngster, which this match is. One of these sequences involves Hotta whipping Nakanishi into the corner but Nakanishi runs up to the top, moonsaults over Hotta ,lands on her feet, and immediately German suplexes Hotta. That spot is just a thing of beauty. She gets a great near fall out of that then goes for a hurricanrana but Hotta blocks the move into a pinning predicament for another great near fall. This goes on until finally Nakanishi gets the better of Hotta by hitting the hurricanrana and getting the quick pin. Great finish as it shows Nakanishi can beat the veteran and hang with her, but Hotta isnt a beaten woman after it so you still know she can beat Nakanishi. I totally marked for this match several times. It told a great story with very good spots. My only problems were Hottas selling left something to be desired, although playing the badass favorite and limping and screaming during submissions dont go well together.) Also the crowd brawling wasnt very good nor was the submission section. However that was a small part and all told the story of the match. Ill go 3 stars due to the problems but for reference that would probably put it somewhere like 5th for match of the year in the WWF (I havent seen Rock vs Jericho yet). Although it would be lower if most awesome WWF matches didnt have a crappy finish.
Mima Shimoda/Etsuko Mita vs Tomoko Watanabe/Nanae Takahashi- This is a tag title match 2/3 falls. In the first fall Shimoda and Mita seem to feel there names are Kawada/Taue and Watanabe is Akiyama because they just kill her. Basically Watanabe is fighting them both off as the first spot shows when she ducks Mitas chairshot but then walks right into Shimodas chair and then of Mita knocks her head off. Watanabe does a very impressive blade job as everyone goes out brawling to the outside. Watanabe and Takahashi have no more luck out there a they basically get their ass kicked leading to a cool spot where Mima does a flying guard rail drop on both of them (Mima jumps off her name isnt Jeff Hardy.) They drag them both back in and its not long before Mita pins Watanabe with a pretty Death Valley Driver. Watanabe and Takahashi need a new plan. They get one. The second fall Watanabe/Takahashi will not be denied. Every time Mima and Mita try to dominate they attack back and attack back hard. They focus on Mita and by the time Watanabe has her in a figure four and Takahashi drops a back elbow right on her face (its brutal looking) you know the end is near. Watanabe finishes her off with a high angle tiger driver Ill call it. They quickly go back after Mita but she is able to tag out and the third fall starts with a battle between the fresher members, Shimoda and Takahashi, Shimoda for the most part gets the best of this. As she and Mita work over Takahashi mostly by stretching her but they work in a few big moves. The tide turns though when Mita accidentally hits Mima with a chair and Takahashi and Watanabe go after this big time. They attack from this point on as viciously as the LCO attacked in the beginning and knock them out of their rhythm. Occasionally Mima and Mita will get the advantage but Takahashi and Watanabe will not be denied this day. There are so many good near falls as they work towards the end so many times when a save is made at the last possible second. As your watching the match you think the LCO will regroup and really has a chance and several times it looks like they will but Takahashi and Watanabe want this one more. Eventually Takahashi puts Shimoda away with an orange crush bomb to seal the deal and win the tag titles. Quite frankly I loved this match. The LCO were in full bitch mode and Takahashi and Watanabe played there roll great. I loved how the match evolved during each fall, great use of the stipulation. Only flaw that I can pick out easily is during the third fall Takahashi and Shimoda did a double Kobashi totally no selling a couple of big moves. The crowd heat built throughout the match as the fans got drawn in the battle of wills. I think this is the best tag match Ive seen this year. Benoit/Jericho vs HHH/Austin obviously has better workers in the ring but this match was significantly longer and they used the stipulation well. Id probably need to see Benoit/Jericho vs HHH/Austin again to really be able to say which is better though. 4 stars you want to see this match.
Kaoru Ito vs Erin Touhill in a Val Tudo match. I assume this is an actual shot as it looks like one and Ito is basically outclassed. I mean what kind of crazy promotion would have their top wrestler get beat by some shooter who isnt even a regular? Thats just insane and even Vince Russo wouldnt pull that. Anyway I dont grade shoot matches. The match had 3 five-minute rounds. Touhill was clearly superior but Ito fought hard and wasnt embarrassed. If Touhill is a world class shooter Ito comes off good for hanging in there, if not this was dumb to do. Anyway Touhill wins by judges decision.
This was one of the more fun cards Ive seen this year and a good sign that AJW is coming back. One thing that interested me is that I think they are going back to the old school girl style. The signing and taking the fight out close to the school girls section and the underdog vs bully style matches really seem to say that is the direction they are going in. As long as the work is as good as it is in this show Im fine with that. While I dont really care for the singing 4 hot girls (one I didnt like that much though so maybe only three) in near form fitting outfits shaking it doesnt offend me. Plus one promotion at least needs to be appealing to young girls so that they will want to be wrestlers. The talent pool has shrunk a great deal and if this works out for AJW in 10 years we will be seeing the benefits of it. The increase of talent will help all of Joishi as well. Anyway this show rules (much more then the ARSION Max Open Tournament I will review later). I need to see more AJW to see if this was an exception or a rule if its the rule I may have a new favorite promotion.
Occasionally in the mail you get a match you can hardly wait to watch. One that you've heard about for a long time with wrestler's you know will deliver. This was that kind of match for me. My excitement was palpalble as I put the tape in and fast forwarded till I saw Kawada and Taue walking down to the ring. It's not everyday you get introduced to a new greatest match ever.
Akiyama and Kawada start off the match. They work a beautiful mat sequence which ends when Kawada gets sick of it and boots Akiyama to the face as he is getting ready to do another takedown. See now when most wrestlers use this sequence it goes nowhere and means nothing. In the hands of Kawada it tells a story, Jun is equal to Kawada physically but Kawada is more crafty. Akiyama does Kawadas stretches to mock Kawada and Kawada just looks at him like he is planning how many ways he can kill him (he was but thats latter.) They go back at it hard with strikes and Akiyama finally gets the advantage with a high knee and tags out to Misawa. They hit a double drop kick on Kawada and then Misawa hits a elbow tope. Back in Misawa elbows Kawada as only he can and then hits a tiger driver for two. He goes for another tiger driver but Taue doesnt hesitate to break it up and allow Kawada to tag out. Taue comes in and is a house of stoicism (I think Ill use that one a lot.) He kills Misawa with a DDT, then swats him with a high kick does the same to Akiyama then goes for the nodowa but Misawa uses a pretty arm drag to get out. Meanwhile Akiyama wants more so Taue drops him throat first across the ropes then powerbombs Misawa for a two count. This has all happened in the first four minutes of the match. Already the story line is set. Akiyama wants to show he is equal to Kawada and Taue, Misawa wants to show he is still the top dog, and Kawada is there to beat Misawa with Taue as the man to make sure it happens. Misawa and Akiyama are smart and they know they may not have enough to take down Kawada/Taue so they immediately throw out the big guns hoping to catch them off guard, much like Kawada/Taue did in the 6-9-95 match. In that match, however; Misawa and especially Kobashi were not ready for the onslaught in this match Taue shows he is ready for it by immediately equaling Misawas early Tiger Driver with a powerbomb of his own. So begins this battle of one ups manship.
Taue now goes for a top rope nodawa to further establish he isnt playing but this time its Akiyama who doesnt hesitate and immediately hits a backdrop suplex on Taue that allows Misawa to nail him with an elbow drop. Again we have this pattern of one ups manship this time with Akiyama interfering before Taue can get to much of an advantage. Just like before this allows Misawa to tag out and Akiyama immediately brings the pain but Taue isnt showing him much respect and slaps him about as hard as Ive ever seen. This overconfidence cost Taue though, as Akiyama is able to hit him with a pretty dragon screw legwhip. Kawada now has had enough and immediately runs in and boots Akiyama to the face. Again not the one ups manship as this time Kawada doesnt even wait for Taue to be in trouble to stop the advantage. This allows Taue to hit the nodawa and tag Kawada back in. Kawada brings the pain as only Kawada can including a particularly vicious sequence where he has Akiyama up against the ropes and rotates chopping him in the chest and kicking him in the face. After tagging out to Taue Kawada adds a friendly boot to the back just because hes the coolest wrestler ever.
Kawada/Taue take turns beating the shit out of Akiyama including Kawada hitting a dangerous brainbuster that almost makes the announcer go crazy (the call has to be heard to be appreciated). Misawa has had just about enough of this but he doesnt interfere because he knows Akiyama has something to prove. The beating is just brutal. One of those moments that make you marks for All Japan wrestlers happens when Kawada puts Akiyama in a hold at around 10 minutes in. Misawa looks frisky so Taue just walks in the ring and stands between Misawa and Kawada with a look like if you do Ill kill you. For whatever reason probably because he knows when to let Taue look cool Misawa doesnt budge. Akiyama makes the ropes anyway. Akiyama hits a backdrop suplex that allows him to tag out and MISAWA IS A HOUSE OF STOICISM!!!! He hits a 360 lariet and then puts Kawada in the facelock Taue goes to break but Misawa kills him with an elbow to show that he isnt scared of Taue.
Misawa and Kawada do one of those beautiful stiff beat down segments they do so well that goes something like this. Okay Misawa three fourths legit!
Naw lets go four fifth legit!
Ya fuck that five sixth legit!
You BASTARD SIX SEVENTH LEGIT
FUCK YOU FULL LEGIT!!!!
The sequence ends when Kawada floors Misawa with a pretty JUMPING KIIIICK!!! Kawada has taken his share though so he tags out to Taue. Taue again moves up the coolest wrestler list by rubbing his foot in Misawas face, then tossing him face first into the turnbuckle, and then rubbing his boot in his face again. He goes for the nodawa off the apron but Misawa elbows him off and tags to Akiyama who immediatly hits an elbow off the apron and brings the pain on the outside. Akiyama dominates Taue for a few minutes including hitting a pretty northern lights suplex and tossing him throat first across the ropes (see playing off earlier in the match). After showing he can handle Taue he tags out to Misawa. They beat on Taue for a minute or two tagging in and out. Misawa and Akiyama do a real pretty double team whip elbow high knee back elbow combo. Akiyama even handles Kawada when he comes in to interfere before tagging out to Misawa
Were past the 17 minute mark as Misawa hits a frogsplash for two. He goes for a tiger driver but Kawada takes his head off with a lariet. Akiyama tries to take care of Kawada again but Kawada is having none of that and simple backdrops him out of the ring. Taue German suplexes Misawa (on his head of course.) The crowd buzzs when Kawada tags in feeling he may have the ability to put Misawa out now. At this point Im going to stop doing play by play and just tell the story. All of the match has built to this point and Kawada is ready , the beauty of every sequence between Misawa and Kawada in this match is unreal and must be seen. Misawa now though brings it to his rival by hitting a German suplex (on the head of course.) What commences is an amazing beat down of Kawada. Akiyama and Misawa dispense with Taue with elbows then do a pretty spot where Misawa Germans Kawada and then Akiyama picks him up and Germans him again. Kawadas selling is brilliant as he gets up his eyes glazed over and then falls out of the ring. Misawa almost puts Kawada away with a tiger driver. He then goes for the Tiger Suplex 85 which would surely put Kawada away. This is why I like this match better then the 6-9-95 match. In that match there was never a point where I though Kobashi and Misawa could win, Kawada/Taues assault was just to much. At this point if Misawa hits the Tiger Suplex 85 its over so there is a real feeling that it can go either way.
Taue is back though and he is pissed. He nails Misawa before Misawa can hit the Tiger Suplex 85 then hits a nice hart attack closeline. Akiyama wants some and its a decision he lives to regret as Taue slaughters him with a nodowa off the apron. Taue takes care of Misawa with a high kick and then drags Kawada back into the ring and tags in. Taue is cool. Misawa has something left in the tank though and floors Taue. He goes to the corner to tag and in a famous visual sees no one there he looks around but only finds Akiyama dead on the floor. Taue takes the advantage back with knee to the faces and then sets Misawa up for the nodowa off the apron. In a great camera shot we see Misawa and Taue fighting for it and then the camera pans down to show Akiyama holding onto Taues leg to stop the move. Kawada is back though and dispenses with Akiyama with a few kicks but Akiyama bought Misawa enough time to elbow out of the nodowa again. Back in Taue tags Kawada in and hes in no mood to play. He slaughters Misawa till Misawa nails a few elbows. Taue comes in and Misawa is fighting them both off with elbows until he goes for a rolling elbow and Kawada ducks and hits a dangerous backdrop. Taue gets tagged in and hits a sit down powerbomb on Misawa but Akiyama comes back in just in time to break it. Kawada has lost all patience with this match though and immediately enters the ring and Taue and Kawada hit a vicious dangerous backdrop nodowa combination to kill Akiyama again. Kawada comes back in and powerbombs Misawa for a great near fall. Akiyama summons enough life to spear Kawada desperately. Kawada is really pissed that Jun wont stay dead so kicks him in the face a few times as he tries to crawl to the corner then picks him up and hits the most vicious dangerous backdrop Ive ever seen. Akiyama is just dead. Kawada goes for the powerbomb again but this time Misawa backdrops out of it but Taue doesnt even wait to come back in and slaughter Misawa with another nodowa. Kawada hits a jumping kick for another near fall and then sees Taue holding Akiyama as Akiyama struggles to help. Kawada walks over calmly and kills him dead finally with a jumping kick. Then he walks over to Misawa and finishes him off with a powerbomb to finish the best match ever.
There are so many great things about this match but Ill just concentrate on how great the last 14 minutes are. Misawa is not playing Ricky Morton. He fights back constantly and as hard as he can but he just cant fend off the assault Kawada/Taue unleash by himself. This match would never be booked in America because the bookers would feel that Misawa/Akiyama might look weak. Yet because of the greatness of the story and the wrestlers Akiyama/Misawa look good in losing. Nobody could have with stood that onslaught but they fought tooth and nail and showed how much fighting spirit they truly had. Misawa and Akiyama were a really good team and had great charisma together. I dont understand why they decided to put Akiyama with Kobashi who he never had good team chemistry with. Anyway this is a formality but 5 stars.
Toryumon "VAMONOS AMIGOS" on GAORA (tapes 5/12 Korakuen & 6/10 Korakuen
Toryumon has been one of my favorite promotions as of late. As you can see from my tape list i've got three tapes from 1999 all of which I feel are excellent. So when I say that http://www.jtapes.com had a show with Magnum Tokyo vs CIMA I bought it and looked forward to it with great anticipation. I must admit I was very disappointed. Not with the atheletes of course as best I can tell the quality of the wrestler's continues to improve, though not as quickly as I had hoped. The problem is Ultimo's booking is rather hot shot and Russoish. On to the review.
Sumo Fuji vs Ryo Saito (hair vs Bicycle match)- Before the match they show clips of their fued which basically consisted of Fuji beating up Saito and stealing his bike. They cut a bunch of promos on each other. This bike must be really personally important if Saito can't afford to buy a new one and Fuji would rather lose his hair then give it back. That or Ultimo doesn't pay very well we'll never know. Anyway the match itself is your basic Chigusa Nagoya vs Dump Matsumoda affair. Sumo beats the fuck out of Saito, Saito makes some comebacks but can't make headway and Sumo beats the fuck out of him some more. Then we get the Dump vs Chigusa (fluck roll up by underdog) to finish it. Not a bad match or a good match. These two didn't seem to have that much charisma with each other to justify the attention their match got on this tape. After the match Saito cuts a promo and Fuji does to and for some reason Genki Horiguichi comes out with his surfboard. Don't ask me. I wish Genki had have been on this tape as I love watching him. So Saito gets his bike back and all his right with the world or so we think...........
Yasushi Kanda & Chocoflake K-ICHI vs. Sumo Fuji & Ryo Saito-Don't ask me why these two are suddenly teaming. I know one is a hometeam member and the other a crazy max member so maybe this is one of those teaming against common enemies. Anyway match is clipped and we enter Saito accidentally drops and elbow on Sumo and Sumo is flustered. They reconcile just in time to kick the shit out of their opponents. Fun begins as they overcome their communication differences by telling each other what spots to do and hense kick righteous ass.(See folks Toryumon is teaching lessons here you can beat up your enemies if you just put aside your differences. Maybe we should call him Mr. Ultimo Rodgers or maybe Ultimo Mr. Rodgers would be better. You know the last student of Mr. Rodgers.)Sumo even does Saito's signature move some sort of half crab variation (kinda like a tequila sunrise but not quite.) He does it wrong but Saito knows its the though that counts and gives him a big smile. Sumo appreciates this and smiles and nods back like little happy Jumbo Tsuruta. For some reason they both release the hold just like Saito did in the last match. I don't know why he does as in neither case was the reciever of the move in danger of reaching the ropes. In the end our team defeats the members of M2k and have a big hug. However Sumo is evil so beats up Saito like a step child to show us that you never hug evil because it will always get you in the end. Sumo cuts a promo after the match I assume saying that he still hates Saito. 1 1/4 stars.
Ken'ichiro Arai vs. Susumu Mochizuki- Arai is underrated and Susumu is extermly talented so they clip the match. What's interesting about this match is its in the world's smallest ring. I mean at one point Arai sets up Mochi in one corner goes to the diaganol corner and easily hits a diving headbutt from that distance. And no Arai just don't have hopes that good. I swear they couldn't both lay down in the ring it can't be any more then 10 by 10. If Rob Van Dam tried the Van termanator in this ring i'm quite certain he'd sail over the ring post and clock some fan in the mouth. Its very small. (I'm channelling from "Author hear now.) Anyway one of my favorite spots is when Arai puts Mochi in a Boston Crab. I don't know why since there is no point in the ring where you are more then 3 feet away from the ropes i don't believe. Anyway they do some cool stuff that never goes anywhere and Mochi gets the pin. After which you guessed it-he cuts a promo. 1 1/2 stars
Takashi Okamura vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
I don't know why but in this match Masaaki is kicking like a pussy. The first thing spot in the match is Masaaki throws down his shirt for some reason Okamura feels the need to pick it up and of course gets pearl harbored. I don't know either. Okamura kicks very well but Masaaki is just totally off. Anyway after a few minutes of bad vs good striking M2k runs in and beats up Okamura for the lame DQ. DUD. After the match we have PROMOS!!!! I don't know if these guys can cut a promo or not but having a post match angle after every match is absurd. Let the guys do the talking in the ring occasionally espiecally when you have the talent to do it.
Dragon Kid, Ken'ichiro Arai, & Takashi Okamura vs. Susumu Mochizuki, Masaaki Mochizuki, & Darkness Dragon- This could be a mid 3 star match if left alone but of course we clip it! Its tough to guage in this match but Dragon Kid is very impressive. He does all the swank hurricanrana's we know him for but he adds an almost spinning toe hold into a ddt move that will just knock your socks off. He also doesn't look at all sloppy which if that's the case is a major step on the road for him to become a good wrestler instead of a spot machine. Masaaki's kicks are on target in this match. The finish is mind blowing as Darkness Dragon accidentally falls by Dragon's Kids mask and the mask falls off (he needs to get a new fitting if its that easy to take off.) Being the noble faces they are Arai throws the mask into Susumu's hands and tells the ref he tore it off so the ref DQ's M2k so the faces get the big win. 1 1/4 stars. So many things are wrong here. First off Dragon Kid has had his mask ripped off so many times it is pointless. They've done many mask vs hair matches with him and I don't know if Ultimo can get the magic of him lossing his mask when its been ripped off so many times. M2k has done more then their share of mask ripping so why were they so freaked when they got blammed for it they should have laughed at Dragon Kid's embarrassment but been pissed about getting DQed. Finally, what kind of faces go for a pussy way to win like this on purpose? Anyway after the match we have a bunch of promos and someone returns (maybe Ricky Marvin I think.) More promos to exalt this triumph for truth and justice everywhere.
Magnum Tokyo & CIMA vs. Yasushi Kanda & Masaaki Mochizuki- Ah yes another enemies team match. This time involving the companies two top men. The story of the match is when CIMA and Magnum work together they dominate but whenever there is tension between them they get dominated. Everybody is on in this match with Magnum working the best of everyone. Anyway in the finish that can be seen a mile away CIMA walks out on Magnum and he gets killed two on one. After the match Crazy Max beats on Magnum but Suwa returns and slams CIMA and then pedigrees Magnum. He acts like he's going to pedigree CIMA but NO they hug and are friends still. CIMA then cuts a promo!!! When they were working this match clicked CIMA and Magnum are just awesomely talented and everything they do looks good. CIMA's charisma is just out of this world though as every facial expression got across a point of the match. Good match but overbooked 2 3/4 stars. Although again Ultimo is hotshotting again. I mean a month later in the previous match he'd tell basically the same story with the same ending. Again it makes his faces look weak because they can't tell by now that Crazy Max will always betray them in the end.
Magnum Tokyo vs CIMA- Ah the reason I bought the tape and its CLIPPED!!!! I guess that Takashi Okamura vs. Masaaki Mochizuki,or that Yasushi Kanda & Chocoflake K-ICHI vs. Sumo Fuji & Ryo Saito, or all those promos were just to damn important so we clip the match between our two top stars. Anyway the match is a bit irradically paced. They will go really really fast almost none stop except for a couple of big spots which they both sell for a looonng time. They do a bunch of spots to show how well they know each other which is a nice touch. My favorite is how Magnum counters CIMA's tournbuckle headscissors into a nice slam. Another cool sequence is Magnum counters a missle drop kick with a drop kick then he goes for a missle drop kick and CIMA does the same thing. They both continue to do inovative moves. CIMA's float over piledriver is a thing of beauty. One thing that strikes me is how the fans don't get behind Magnum like they should. I think this might be because CIMA is so charasmatic and with Crazy Max going back and forth on face and heels the fans are going to naturally like him. Anyway at one point Magnum channels Kenta Kobashi and totally no sells Cima's crazy driver(? the one where he wraps there legs together and then does a michinoku driver 2) He does a clothesline which Cima no sells ala Misawa and then they do a double dropkick which they both sell. CIMA has decided to take every clothesline like a german suplex bump. Don't ask me why. Anyway after a cool finishing sequence CIMA wins with a beautiful Mad Splash that Magnum comes oh so close to kicking out of. After the match they do a slight angle with Masaaki (this was a number 1 contender's match for his belt.) 3 1/2 stars though these two have a much better match in them then this.
Toryumon has to much talent to not put on entertaining shows. Ultimo's booking on this show just didn't make sense to me. I know he's doing great buisness but lets be honest he has some of the best young talent in the buisness and he should be doing great. Hot shot booking works as long as your product is hot and you can sustain it. I hope Ultimo knows this.
Where is Stone Cold?
Quickie Smackdown thoughts for 9-27-01.
Smackdown was one of those shows I'm torn on. In the ring the action was very good, but the show accomplished nothing. We had two very good tv matches, Rob vs Jericho and the main event. Interestingly enough in this match the crowd was solidly behind Jericho that was possibly because of Stephanie's link to RVD. If that is the case Stephanie needs to let Rob reject her totally because there is no sense in risking his face heat so she can be involved in every angle. Just like at the pay per view Jericho was clearly the better of the two carrying the match totally. Jericho has been basically brillant since botching the King of the Ring totally (with the exception of the Rhyno match which was partly caused by him getting a concussion early in the match.) The improvment of RVD is hightly exaggeratted. Basically he has stopped the idiotic posing he did throughout every match (including during pivitol psychological moments) and he is wrestling better wrestlers. So he's working harder against better people hense better matches. Nothing mystical there. He has still yet to have a 4 star match in the WWF but his matches with Jericho are his best since his match against Bam Bam so long ago. The Dudleys are underrated as wrestlers because they actually seem to really understand how to work tag team matches. No tag team in the WWF gets as much drama in their matches as the Dudleys. Unfortunatly the WWF has booked them into total staleness to the point no one wants to see them. This is really sad because whenever given the chance the Dudleys always deliver a solid match. Hopefully I'll have some new tapes coming soon. If not I'll probably do a write up of the Tenyru-Tsuruta series. I'm really sick of writing about the WWF so expect lots of puro stuff soon.