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Handheld reviews part 1


Thoughts on the wrestling I've been watching

Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigalow 1-30-93 Providence handcam

This is a very good example of Bret working a smart tight match. It only goes 9 minutes and that is a bit short for a main event, however its clearly the best match on the card. Easily topping Savage totally phoning in his match against Shawn, and Flair vs Hennig which would be the best place to start to show Flair doing very little non filler stuff at a house show. Bret plays the obvious storyline and plays it well. Bam Bam is much more powerful he is quicker. Bret works a several sequences where Bam Bam seems to have him with power and Bret turns it to his advantage. A nice example is a press slam attempt where Bret wiggles free and unbalances Bam Bam for a quick 2.

Bam Bam finally catches him on the outside and slams him into the ring post and then works over Bret's back with some power moves. After a bit he goes for the diving headbutt and Bret dodges. Bret hits a quick string of moves he can hit well on Bam Bam including a nice 2nd rope clothesline before going for the sharpshooter, unfortunatly Bam Bam is to big. Bret tries for a side suplex, but Bam Bam is to big and squashes him with a nice splat. The finish is Bret takes an irish whip to the corner raises his foot and then catches Bam Bam with a victory roll.

This is the kind of tight good 9 minute match that the WWE could really use right now on smackdown or raw. They keep to a simple but effective storyline, work it well, and keep the action coming. Their is nothing in this match that couldn't be done by almost any wrestler they have right now, but I really have a hard time thinking of a recent 9 minute WWE match as effective and complete as this.
Ultimate Warrior vs Ric Flair Indianapolis handheld

Its listed in the tape as 10/19/92 but according to the WWF history page it should have occured 9/19/92. This is not quite as good as the Bret vs Kamala match on the same show which is delightfully smart work. I pick it because of the tidbit in the Observer about how bad these matches were, added with Mitchell's point to JDW about how Brody worked the perfectly for his character etc.

I can see a Flair mark sitting in the arena's cussing up a storm during this match because Ric isn't being treated with the proper respect. And its kind of bullshit that the same people didn't mind Warrior treating WWF legend Randy Savage the exact same way, or Rick Rude, but Flair who stooges for EVERYBODY shouldn't be no sold. This match is designed for Warriors fans and they eat it up with a spoon.

There is actually a storyline early, basically Flair/Hennig throw pages from their big book of heel cheats at Warrior, Warrior no sells it, Flair/Hennig panick, Warrior beats up Flair, and Flair runs. Then they move on to the next cheat. Flair's oh shit expressions are excellent and his selling is spot on for this type of match. Expressive and over the top. And all the little Warriors are eating this one up. They do fun spots with Flair being chased, Hennig coming up to help, Warrior turning, and Hennig runs. This leads to Flair getting a chair which through some referee distraction etc ends up with Hennig hitting Warrior with the chair.

Back in Flair distracts while Hennig comes in and hits the Hennig legbreaker and Warrior sells hard. Flair gets to do whatever he wants at this point, HE just by 1992 had become a terrible offensive wrestler. We are missing the kneebreaker, all Flair does is stomp, pull the leg, and hit a couple of cannonballs on the leg. When choosing a leg wear down hold Flair seems more interested in doing something that will allow him to hold the rope then a hold that looks painful. If I was feeling generous I might call it a toe hold, but I'm not sure. Anyway their is at least a focus and Flair stays active.

They build to Flair trying to get the figure four on and Warrior blocking by kicking him off. Finally Warrior kicks him off into the turnbuckle and Flair gets in his Flair flop. Warrior schizo's up, no sells the strikes, hits the lariats, the shoulderblock, and the body press. The crowd is going bonkers through out this. Hennig runs in for the DQ. Post match Flair/Hennig beat up Warrior and get the figure four.

I'm not saying this match was great, it probably doesn't actually hit *** on my scale. However the match is fun, the crowd is popping like nuts, the match is never boring, and actually includes some memorable stuff. If I had paid to see Ultimate Warrior I would have left quite satisfied and I believe the crowd did. I can say it was predicable, not at all highend etc, but I really can't say it wasn't effective.

So the question is, why is Warrior not given the benifit of the "right match for his character" slam. Why isn't this match ***1/2 stars because the crowd really liked it and both men played their character's well? Just because Flair wasn't treated any differently then Warrior treated other wrestlers? Just because Warrior wasn't liked and say Brody was? If your going to use effectiveness to their audience as the only means of judging work I can respect that, and I do think its something everybody should keep in mind, but it has to applied equally.

Side note on the same tape is a Backlund vs Martel match that is of some interest. Its the only time in his second WWF run I've seen Bob work Bob's match. Clearly way behind its time, Martel is no Adonis, but interesting for its anachronistic value.

Benoit vs HHH evansville House Show 2-04 old review cut and pasted from the time so as to not be lost.
HHH's performances are totally predicated on his ability and willingness to bump. If he can/will bump he can be quite good. If he can't or won't he usually is not that good. Here he was willing to bump. He also has sort of become a Tommy Dreamer type in that he is better when he isn't trying to have a classic. When he's trying to have a classic you get convuluted garbage fest like his 3 PPV matches against Shawn. This match they were going for a good match and they got there. I think they could do better with some judiciously added spots (a superplex maybe a few bigger bumps and a clean finish) but I also think if they went to far HHH's psychology would fall apart. So i'm hopeful and weary of their backlash match.

The TV camaras of the WWE are a good thing and a curse. Before the impact of almost any move the camara cuts so you can't see how the move impacted. This is done to make bad wrestlers look better, but it actually makes good wrestlers look worse. With guys like Randy and Batista and others their stuff looked like shit. HHH and Benoit's stuff looked excellent. HHH's backbreaker and verticle suplex were gorgous. ON the match.

Basically they start it out like an old school match doing lock ups and going into wristlock and then doing the old test of strength spot out of it. They do several things like this HHH overpowering Benoit, but Benoit figuring out a way to keep even. This establishes HHH as the stronger guy and the favorite. benoit does a smart thing out of that going to a headlock. When one guy is bought as being stronger a headlock works as a way to control the big guy and try to wear him down. They do the old Ric Flair/Harley Race stuff with HHH grabbing the tights into a pin.

they kick it up ending with Benoit getting tossed over the top rope. He sells his back and HHH rams him into the ring a few times and brings him in with the afore mentioned gorgous verticle suplex. HHH also does the nice backbreakers.

To exhibit the difference between these two and everybody else one only has to look at the irish whip in this match. Yes an irish whip. It was the best looking thing done on the show and stood in stark contrast to two supposed technical guys (Dinsmore and Lance) screwing it up. HHH is really good throwing Benoit. He leans back and kind of runs and tosses him. HHH does the old throw so hard he falls down making it look like he had put all his body weight into the throw. Benoit runs at full speed into the turnbuckle. Turns at the last second and impacts so hard it makes the whole rings shake. The crowd OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH. Just a gorgous use of simple move that nobody else on the show had come close to touching.

HHH goes into an abdominal streatch and holding the ropes spot. Ref catches him forcing the break. HHH goes for it again, but Benoit reverses, but his back is to weak and HHH hiptosses out of it.

At this point HHH makes the first psychological mistake of the match by going into a sleeper. It pops the crowd but the crowd was already into the match and it signaled the end of the backstory. The good thing was it gave Benoit an excuse to stop selling the back, but I hate to see wrestlers just jump to a different spot in a match for no reason. Its a build error.

Benoit reverses into a sleeper of his own, HHH gets out of it and they start kicking up the pace. HHH went for a backdrop suplex and Benoit flipped out of it somehow (i forget) got HHH into the sharpshooter. HHH gets out but ends up eating an enzugiri. He tries for the diving headbutt, but misses. HHH takes over for a bit, but doesn't hit anything that stands out (a flaw of his work as he needed at least one nearfall in this section). I think he pins after the headbutt but he needed something else here.

Benoit ends up hitting the germans I believe off the missed lariat spot. and that allows him to hit the diving headbutt for a nice near fall. At this point he starts working towards the crossface which he gets on. Randy runs out and Benoit tosses him allowing HHH to hit a belt shot for a hot near fall. HHH picks benoit's limp body up for the pedigree but Benoit grabs HHH arm spins him around for another crossface. Batista runs in but gets tossed but when Benoit turns around he eats the pedigree.

I didn't mind the run ins as they used the effectively to get nearfalls and allow the heel to retain and the face to get over. Benoit didn't come out that over but he left as his work really hit with the crowd. Me and the guy I went to gave it ***1/4. It built well except a few errors by HHH. They got over Benoit really well as the underdog who just keeps clawing and HHH as the tough champion. Clear storylines were played throughout. The run ins did their purpose. Very well thought out match.

ehh for similarity maybe the Owen tribute match except with the crowd reacting the way Bret wanted them to (as in cheering Benoit as the underdog) and HHH being a more clear heel instead of the subtle heel Bret was playing in that match. HHH doesn't do as much as Bret did though and this doesn't have the finish on it either.

Shawn Michaels vs Marty Jannetty December 11th 1992 Handcam. 
This match maybe hard to track down for some (email me if you want to know who I got it from of course I also can trade).  If you do take the time to track it down I think you'll be very very happy with what you find espiecally if your a Shawn Michaels fan.  To put it simply this is some of the smartest work I've ever seen from Shawn.
The match starts with Shawn bumping like crazy for a 2 minutes for Marty.  Its the type of things you would expect, Shawn taking a big backdrop, eating punches, going over the top etc.  The point where I become shocked at what I'm watching starts on the outside.  Marty grabs Shawn to ram him into the ringpost and Shawn simply pushes him forward so Marty flies hard into the post. Its an effective and believable transition (a strength of Shawn's work.)  Now for all the fellow critics of Shawn's work comes a big suprise: Shawn sells the beating after this.  As Marty lays selling his rib Shawn slowly rolls inside acting exhausted.  When Marty tries to roll in Shawn stomps him to keep him out and allow Shawn more time to sell.
Shawn then adds another nice touch by first diverting the ref inside the ring (I think getting the time), then very quickly setting up a chair outside, and then slamming Marty's ribs into the chair to further the injury, and then getting back before the ref focus' again to see Shawn has cheated.  Again really smart work. 
Shawn heels it up quite nicely and beats up Marty for a period the main thing being a well worked abdominal streatch.  The crowd is very hot and Shawn taunts them as he has the streatch.  He plays grab the rope and hide it from the ref very well, but how he plays the crowd is even better.  Shawn starts to go for it slowly, given the crowd time to scream at the ref to catch him and then Shawn retreats his hand.  Shawn then looks pissed at the crowd.  This encourages them to scream more and Shawn keeps playing with both them and the ref.  Shawn keeps the abdominal streatch on probably to long but I found it entertaining to watch him play with the ref and encourage the crowd to scream even louder.  AGain very smart work from HBK.
Marty then joins the fun by trying to suplex out of it to a loud pop- the crowd really wants Shawn to get his- but collapses due to the rib injury allowing Shawn to control for a bit longer.  When they finally transition back to Marty's control again they do it the RIGHT way (and get huge heat for it).  Instead of Marty doing a move and suddenly being healed he has to do a string of moves, spaced with him selling in between, before he can firmly start beating the tar out of Shawn.  Even when Marty is firmly in control he still grabs his ribs.  The highlight of the Marty comeback has to be when he goes to the top Shawn sees it, moves, acts like he is smart, only to turn around, find Marty adjusted to land on his feet, and get popped.  Again the crowd is eating all of this up.
The finishing sequence isn't drawn out but I found it very well done. Shawn counters a Marty charge into an atomic drop.  He waits for Marty and goes for a superkick which Marty ducks and immediatly hits his own.  The crowd (knowing the history of the superkick in the feud and tag team) reacts like they believe they are seeing a title change.  I mean they buy the nearfall.  Its the emotional peak of the match.  Marty then whips Shawn into the corner and goes for a splash, but HBK dodges and Marty takes the turnbuckle hard to the ribs.  Shawn covers him for the 3.  Making all that rib work totally relevant for the finish, I found it very credible though abrupt. 
This match is important to look at for a couple of reasons.  The first is it is an example showing Shawn at a house show.  It has often been said Shawn worked harder then anybody else at house shows (till 1996) and this is a match we can point to and say look here is Shawn putting on a WWF Match of the year candidate at a house show.  Second it shows that Shawn did not always do all the stupid brainfarts that people rightly critize him for.  Shawn's offense is not what it would be later, and he does lack some of his later polish, but I can't help but think if he had always worked this smart he would have been better then Flair.
AS I said some might miss some of Shawn's later moves and polish, but if you judge this match for what it is I think you will have a very entertaining 13 minutes.  I'm stuck between ***1/2 and ***3/4 but I think I'll go high to reward them for bustin their asses in the midcard of a house show.  Also on the show is a 30 minute Bret vs Flair match that is solid, but not spectacular.  

Some Mania 19 notes. 


Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin- Every match has problems coming in as well as strengths.  This match is a strong contrast in the two.  The main problem is Steve Austin cant take hardly any bumps.  In the match he only takes 5 I believe.  This severally limits what Rock can do in the match.  The other problem is Rock seemed to be struggling to figure out how to effectively work heel.


The strengths of it are also impressive.  These two are both hugely over, guaranteeing a hot crowd, and they have  a near iconic status in wrestling.  Plus they have a good deal of history with each other to build off of. 


They do as good a job in this match as could be expected given the basic limitation of their style and the problems faced with them.  The first segment of the match works mainly because Austin knows how to bring an asskicking, and the fans love watching him bring one.  They get extra points for a pretty smart transition to Rocks offense.  Basically Austin gets carried away, the ref says something, Austin turns to mouth to him, and Rock clips his knee.  It allows Rock to take control without Austin taking a bump.  Rock then can work over Austins knee to get his heat again without Austin having to take any bumps. Thats smart work folks. 


Rocks heat segment ends when he stalls to much allowing Austin to recooperate enough to throw punches and then a clothesline.  At this point they go into the finishing sequence.  Where all Austins bumps are put. They basically first kick out of their own finishers and then kick out of their opponents finisher till the end.  A nice moment of Rock showing how much he has improved his the peoples elbow segment.  They basically go for the Mania 15 finish: Rock misses Austin hits stunner, but this time Rock blocks stunner and hits a spinebuster for the elbow.  Its a nice moment.  I could have used better transitions during the end segment but I think the segment basically works because of their personalities.  This is two of the biggest stars ever throwing down with bombs to see who is the better man.  If Austin had been able to take more bumps they could have made the finish a lot better, but it was what it was.  About **.75 for a smart match that was severally limited by one guy being a cripple. 


Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle-  Despite the hype before hand this match has no excuses.  Kurt did EVERYTHING and more then he normally does.  The problems with this match were purely mental.  Coming in the match had some natural things to play off of.  First off they both have a amateur background and second off Brock has bad ribs.  Of course neither is played effectively.  Par for the Angle course.


The start of the match is your basic waste of time.  They establish absolutely nothing.  To give them credit at Summerslam early they establish Brocks power and Angles quickness.  They go into Kurt kind of controlling but its not very effective because Kurt controls like a face by putting Brock back into the same holds etc.  Then Brock takes control with a powerslam and hits some big moves.  Kurt transitions to the heel beat down is to go outside and stomp Brock when he comes back in (very ineffective).  Kurt then does a very boring heel beat down where he works Brocks back.  Cole and Tazz try to sell it like he is working the ribs but it doesnt work.  Had Kurt busted out a gutbuster, a knee to the ribs, an abdominal stretch etc this segment would have worked better.  Kurt also bores the fans by holding on to a weak looking STF, which turns into a week sleeper then to a weak camel clutch.  It all looks bad, and he holds onto all of it too long.


Brock gets up and drives Kurt into the turn buckle twice but Kurt cuts him off with an overhead belly to belly to keep control.  Brock goes out, Kurt follows, rolls Brock in, and then Kurt eats a spinebuster.  They do a double KO which gets no heat.  Brock takes control for a bit with a foream,  a shoulder tackle, two overhead belly to belly suplexes until Angle cuts him off by hitting some rolling Germans.  Kurt at this point shows no ill effects from the series of big moves from Brock.  At this point the match desolves into a I hit a big move you hit a big move thing without the heat or excuses of Rock vs Austin.  Nor do these two have the charisma and personality to make it work.  Plus they go way to far with it.  You get an Angle Slam reversed into a F-5 reversed into an anklelock etc.  Things like Brock being right by the ropes on an anklelock but just not reaching out show how unsmart these two are.  To Brocks credit he tries to sell the ribs, but Kurt gives him so very little to work with it just cant be bought by the fans.  Then they botch the finish.  Not a horrible match, but one with no thought at all in it.  Plus it was totally boring and unfocused in the early part and middle before they started doing the my turn your turn stuff for the finish.  **.25.


Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho-  This match suffered from Shawns rust.  I know Shawn didnt have ring rust, but I do think he had technical rust.  If you think back the last technical PPV match Shawn worked was KOTR 1997 against Austin.  In that match Shawn basically blew it off because he was pissed Austin was more over.  So you have to go all the way back probably to KOTR 1996 against Davey for a PPV technical match that Shawn wanted to be good.  Now before that though this was a standard Shawn match.  Somewhere in 1996 Shawn started to either go garbage or work big guys for the most part. 


It starts out well with them exchanging some holds with Shawn frustrating Jericho.  A nice sequence after them trading holds has Jericho punch Shawn, Shawn hit Jericho with a bigger one knocking him down, then Jericho charges and gets tossed outside letting his emotions get to him, Shawn fakes him out on a planch and instead hits a baseball slide.  It establishes the basic psychology of the match of Shawn as the face and Jericho as the heel who is almost to focused on showing up Shawn. 


Jericho transitions back to offense by rolling through a flying cross body then beats up Shawn for a bit with basic stuff before feeding Shawn a pretty transition by letting him throw him into the post on a bulldog.  Then we get a problem as Shawn slaps on the figure four for no reason.  Its the kind of build error that shows Shawns slow build rust.  He then tries to work over the leg, but it should be work the leg then hit the figure four. The transition is another figure four which Jericho kicks Shawn into the turnbuckle from. 


They go outside which leads to Jericho just putting the walls on Shawn with no resistance.  It works a little better because of Shawns known back problems, but again I prefer to build to things.  Jericho then works over Shawns back with some nice stuff. 


This focuses the match again.  Shawn had broken the flow with the mistimed figure four and Jericho going for the Walls out of nowhere maintained the problems. Jericho dicking over Shawns back allows it to regain its direction for a bit and Jericho to heel it up. They tease a Shawn offensive run with a pretty back drop attempt countered into a DDT.  This leads to a double KO.  They do a cute sequence after where Shawn whips Jericho and Jericho hits the flying forearm just like HBK and then nips up just like HBK.  HBK then nips up.  Then he does his flying forearm nip up and magically his back is healed.  Shawn goes through some offense, but again I feel its mistimed.  Jericho needed to build his control up to a bit more of a climax before Shawn made his big comeback.  And of course with the central storyline being Shawns back being injured his no selling of the back is really annoying. 


It all leads to a nice roll up exchange sequence.  Jericho comes out of it going for the walls but Shawn flips him over (why he couldnt have done that earlier is strange).  Shawn gets caught with a Northern Lights Suplex which should hurt his back BUT he back bridges out of the pin into a backslide.  My lord what a crappy sell that was.


They then move into the long finishing sequence.  By this time Shawn seems to have gotten his wits about him and plays this part very well.   They play the near falls extremely well, fill in the stuff between them, and it comes off very dramatic.  An especially nice touch is Jericho countering a rana into the Walls. A pretty and logical transition like this really heats up a match.  Of course if Jericho had failed to get the Walls on earlier this would have gotten an even bigger response. Shawn reaches the ropes fast.  Another nice transition is after Jericho gets some nice near falls Shawn counters an irish whip by quickly springing to the top for a flying cross body and revenging Jericho hitting sweet chin music on him by putting Jericho into the Walls. 


They also do a good job leading into the elbow drop by first having Shawn counter a super backdrop suplex into a cross body.  When he goes to the top Jericho crotches him.  Jericho tries for a superplex but Shawn hits the inverted suplex and then the flying elbow.  Its a really pretty sequence that leads right into the finisher exchange at the end.  


Basically what we have is a match that did a nice job establishing the roles of each man early.  Then got side tracked with some poor build and poor selling.   Then got back on track with a really nicely build finishing segment.  The ending is enough to make this the best WWE match of the year so far, but the problems with the middle are more then enough to keep it from being a classic.  I wish Shawn had sold the back better instead of Shawning up in the middle.  I also wish they had built better early.  If they had this might have been almost a great match.  Instead its ***.25.   Nothing to be ashamed of considering how long it had been since Shawn tried this. 

Steve Austin vs The Undertaker Summerslam 1998


Summerslam 1998 is really a fascinating card but I dont feel like doing a full review.  Ill just make a couple of quick points before getting into the meat of this article.  Val vs D-lo was the kind of fun sprint with a simple storyline that the undercard needs and is often missing.  Everything an opener should be until the end. The ladder match wasnt good.  It was a below average wrestler (Rock) and an average wrestler (HHH) having an average match. Whats amazing is despite the fact this match doesnt do anything that cool (though does do some neat things) and has tons of silliness the crowd reacts to it like it is a great match.  In that way its clear why the ladder match became such a staple in the WWF after this match (it wasnt before).  Latter the Hardy Boyz turned it into a gore fest that would kill its ablity to be even this. 


Austin says before the match hell cheap shot anyway he has to, to retain the title. The fun of this match is how they build to and justify him taking that cheap shot while at the same time showing how worthy a champion he is. 


Many face vs face matches  spend the early portion of the match showing how equal the combatants are.  This match never does that.  They put them next to each other and let you see the differences.  Austin is intense rabid giving all hes got as soon as he gets the opportunity. Taker is more methodical but also dominate.  In the early portion every sequence ends with Taker getting the edge. Early back and forths lead to Taker being ahead.  Austin goes for the Lou Thesz but its countered in a big way for Taker.  Such as when Austin grabs an Armbar Taker reverses it with ease.  They trade a bit more before Austin outsmarts him with a drop toe hold to allow him to go back to the arm.  Taker later goes back to the armbar for the ropewalk but Austin arm drags him off (showing he has that move scouted).  Even with this big move he cant hold onto control for very long at all.  .  A pivotal early move is after a sequence of Taker control Austin tries to take control with a kick and a suplex but the suplex is reversed with remarkable ease. 



This leads to another thing these men do well.  They use the old style go from one thing to the next.  The match starts with both going for the left arm.  From there Taker is able to move to the upper back where he stays the rest of the match.  Austins transition after the beating he takes from the vertical suplex is to attack Takers leg.  People should take note of how they use this.  Austin knows the leg will not play into the finish so he doesnt beat on it endlessly.  He does enough damage to play a factor but not so much that Taker cant believably come out of it (and its Taker at this time so he has the pain tolerance in his psychology in a way.) 


Even after Austin takes control with the leg attack his momentum is this time not overwhelmed by Taker at first by Taker hitting a big flying clothesline then the next time Kane interrupting .  Kanes interruption (Taker sends him off then gives Austin a free bee in good faith) is just enough to cause Austin to walk into a huge chokeslam over the ropes.  The leg work pays off here and its still early as it takes Taker way to long to capitalize and Austin is able to take the moment to go out to brawl.  The brawl in the crowd segment though is again punctuated by Taker being just to strong as he backdrops out of a piledriver.  Back in Austin tries for a stunner in desperation but Taker escapes and when Austin tries to follow he is driven into the ring post.


Undertaker dominates on the outside leading to him legdropping Austin through the SAT from the top rope.  Its an excellent spot and they play it well.  Taker roles Austin in and gets a nice near fall. Austins selling is superb during the next 90 seconds as he sells being destroyed by the move while trying to do all kinds of desperation moves to get himself back in a match that is clearly slipping away.  First he steps away from a Taker corner splash, but Taker keeps coming,  then he boots Taker on a blind change but Taker keeps coming, then finally he gets the better of a double clothesline (and  it looks like he did) to be able to get to his feet at the same time as Taker (though he still sells being in deep trouble.)  This is not Shawn Michaels coming back right after the table powerbomb against Nash this is taking 3 desperation moves  over a good time to finally get yourself back in the match. 


Austin finally is able to gain the upperhand with punches, shoulder thrust, thesz press, elbow drops, and almost hits the stunner but Taker blocks it so he cant get enough of it to get even a good nearfall.  But after this last burst he is again overwhelmed leading to a chokeslam,  the fans can see it slipping away as can Austin.  Taker fails at a tombstone and Austin tries for another Stunner but Taker again is to much and Austin has to eat ropes with his balls and then Taker hits a Russian leg sweep. 


At this point the arena can sense it there will be a title change tonight.  Taker is just to much.  He is the better man this day.  Taker goes for the ropewalk, the one move in his arsenal before the tombstone that he hasnt hit yet which will lead to the end and here is what we know. 


  1. Austin is losing.
  2. Taker seems to have the answers for the Stunner.
  3. Austin has been nutted once by Taker dropping him on the ropes.
  4.  Austin has the ropewalk scouted.
  5. Austin said hed take any cheapshot necessary to win the match. 


So finally at this point when Taker is about to hit him with the punch off the ropes Austin pounds him with a hard low blow making Taker defenseless for the stunner for the victory.  It makes sense from the promo, it seems necessary, and it seems justified because of Austins earlier words and Takers previous actions.  A very smart finish for a very smart match. 


Now for the problems.  1.  This is in the Russo era.  Lots of new fans were there so the crowd isnt very smart.  They are totally clueless to what they are watching and only really respond to the 2 big signature moves from each man and the gimmick spots as fans often did during the Russo era.  A hot crowd like we probably would have seen in 2000 would have given this type of match an electricity it needed.  2.  Austin moveset is a bit weak in this match.  They work around it pretty well with punches, elbow drops, clotheslines, and counters, but still you feel he needs more moves to fill the time.  3. Taker is a bit over methodical throughout so the match drags slightly and it has a crowd brawl which always drags.


Still I think the overall work is very strong.  Austins selling is spot on and Taker brings a very nice moveset.  Plus they really told a strong story so Ill go ***1/2 for this very underrated match.

Chiyako Nagashima vs Manami Toyota


Some matches are so bad and so offensive they you figure that anyone who watches them would see all deluge of flaws in front of them and rip them apart.  This match is one of them.  Yet I have seen nothing but positive remarks about this match some calling it the womans match of the year.  I cant help but wonder if they watched the same match as me.  Do womens matches just get a free pass or is just GAEA matches?  The same  thing is true of shoot style in many ways as say Tamura vs Khosaka has gotten analysis to the extent it seems that its great, wonderful, best match ever without real analysis looking at it in detail.  I did and I found several key flaws that dont not make it a **** match for sure but do keep it from being a *****.   So even though this is a job Id rather leave to better reviewers Ill rant on this match. 


The match starts off pretty hot with some nice moves executed by both (the main strength of the match.)  One of the main weaknesses of the match is shown early as everytime someone goes on offense they are totally healed in fact they are fine as soon as they start the transition.  This is a flaw I expect in an overrated indy spotfest but not from a praised match of the year candidate.  The first blatant no sell comes from Chiyako when right after a near fall when Manami goes to the top she grunts springs up and Hurricanranas Manami off.  This one is the most forgivable of the match simply because it is so early. 


Pretty close after that they introduce another flaw of the match which is sloppiness.  Manami acts like shes going to go for the legs to focus the match a bit but when Chiyakos leg comes out on what Eddie calls the lasso from el paso (sorry not sure on the technical name). She then goes to an inverted stf (neck) then she goes for a bow and arrow but cant get it at first then puts on a strange looking variation and Chiyako comes out of it selling her back.  Awful mat sequence really. 


When Chiyako goes back on offense she uses weak ass knee lifts and after a quick reverse sequence which looks good she grabs a leghold that looks nice.  Of course Manami (who by the way just to be totally vicious is starting to move more and more in the direction of Kyoko appearance wise) cant be bothered to sell it.  Manami gets in her first blatent no sell on a German ( I mean total no sell popping up and flexing.)  Chiyako does another German this time Manami sells it.  When Chiyako follows with a missile drop kick Manami takes a pretty bump rolls through pops up and flexes for her second blatantly no sell.  Manami then does a german and guess what Chiyako pops up and flexes for her second blatant no sell.  I wanted to throw my remote at the tv at this point but I resisted andit got worse.


After some hot moves by Manami Chiyako does her third blatant no sell when again Manami goes up to the top and gets Germaned off.  Manami though sells this one which is nice.  But she then immediately kill my good will by no selling on the transition.  After a bit more Chiyako no sells on transition  and does some very very ugly roll ups.  Manami hits yet another German suplex and they sure are killing that move tonight.


As of the 15 minute mark the fans still arent buying the nearfalls despite the big moves they are getting hit with.  Another bit of Chiyako sloppiness gets introduced into the match when she clearly misses a double footstomp.  Manami (this is a uniquely awful match) first makes clear we know she felt something (or she sells some impact) but then she pops up for her third blatent no sell of the match.  You cant act like something hit you then no sell it and it be okay. 


Finally the crowd gets into it when Manami hits a superbomb.  Revealing another flaw and myth of the match.  The match is not dramatic.  The crowd knows that Manami is going to win.  This is never in doubt to them, they never buy that Chiyako can beat her.  They also arent into this whole Manami as the heel thing.  They are there for Manami and to see Manami win and at this point its quite clear.  


Manami gets big reaction for her ocean cyclone suplex and for the that low hook tiger suplex type move she does (man I need to get a movelist for Manami).  But guess what right after it when she goes up to the top Chiyako does her fourth blatant no sell and this time spider Germans her off.  Im almost hoping  Manami no sells it just to stick with what seems to be the only psychology in the match. 


Manami doesnt blatantly no sell a nice half nelson suplex but gets up first and her transition is a queen bee bomb which is no sold by Chiyako.  She does another  and Chiyako does the Kobashi second backdrop driver sell (possibly her best sell of the match;).)  Manami goes for another but Chiyako counters with another sloppy roll that cant even get a 1 count its so bad and then Manami hits a third for the win. 


I think Ive done a good enough job attacking the flaws which were the 8 blatant no sells, the no selling on transitions, the semi no sells, and the lack of any type of selling.  I would expect to see better selling in XPW.  Then their was the general sloppiness of the match espiecally on Chiyakos part.  The match never told a real story as it never focused it was just Manami and Chiyako hitting and occasionally selling their signature spots.  The match did build and get some nice heat and have some nice moves but thats typical the moveset and bumps werent elite though they were good but how good some of that looked just made the selling that much worse. 

Jumbo Tsuruta vs Curt Hennig 12-4-85


I decided instead of doing the standard career retrospective or whatever on Hennig Id look at this match where a young Hennig wrestled the best wrestler in the world.  It feels like sometime when wrestlers die young their workrate  improves and the feeling I have about why is the same.  It feels like your entering café de la Metzler where your waiter meets you and asks What will you be having today?


What is the special?

Curt Hennig, 44, great wrestler who could have been so much more.

hmmm Ill have that.

What would you like on that Sir. 

The usual.

Steroids, pain killers, and alcohol Would you like cocaine with that? 

EHHH no but Ill take extra pain killers.

Coming up would you like to enter the pool to predict the next special?

Yeah can I have Superstar Billy Graham?

Excellent choice Sir. 


So anyway Im not quite sure what stage Hennig was at this time in his career.  It feels like a first tour kind of thing from the end.  It also feels like he and Jumbo were kind of feeling each other out so Im guessing if they had wrestled each other before it hadnt been often.


 I also believe this would have been right before Hennigs first big push from Verne.  Im hazy on exactly when Jumbo went total heel.  He clearly is when he injures Choshu in January but Im not sure about December.  In this match he doesnt wrestle heel just as the man building for a Hennig comeback. 


Ill try to go paragraph of PBP followed by paragraph of analysis so you can skim the pbp like I often do ;).


We start off with a collar and elbow immediately passed by Jumbo followed quickly by a go behind for Hennig.  Jumbo flips Curt off (kind of an arm drag type maneuver but without holding the arm).  When he tries to capitalize Curt puts on a headscissors, which is immediately broken by Jumbo and we get a stand and look. 


That all happened in the first 20 seconds of the match.  Things look pretty smooth at this point with the pause working as to get over the standoff the first 20 seconds of matwork was.  We also get a quick introduction into the story of Jumbos superiority with how easily he passes the Collar and elbow and then throws Hennig off. 


Another collar and elbow and Jumbo immediately takes it into a top wristlock. Curt counters into a hammerlock but Jumbo is able to counter that back into the top wristlock.  Hennig arm drags Jumbo off and we have another standoff.


 Jumbo passes the collar and elbow at the beginning so fast and gracefully I had to rewind to see what happened. Jumbo is clearly put over as the stronger one with how easily he passes Hennigs collar and elbow the first few times they do it.  Hennig though is doing reasonably well through his agility despite possibly being physically overmatched.


Tsuruta takes an armbar out of the next collar and elbow.  He jabs his elbow a few times into Hennigs arm and then does an arm wringer. Hennig is able to counter this with a drop toe hold which allows him to take a  toe hold with Jumbo on his belly.  Jumbo  grabs his head and pulls him forward until Hennig has to release the toe hold and gets put into a headlock.  Jumbo stands up.  This allows Hennig to throw Jumbo off into the ropes then he eats a shoulder block with standard Hennig over selling and we get another stand off.


Again we get the pattern of Jumbo taking the hold them working threw the hold into a quick move to go to another stand off.  I liked Jumbos counter to the toehold quite a bit and it helped really show his physical dominance of Hennig.


Immediately after Hennig stands up they do another Collar and Elbow that Jumbo passes and does a headlock take over two minutes and 40 seconds in. Jumbo holding the headlock stands up again Hennig throws him off and again he eats the shoulder block.  This time Jumbo quickly attempts to capitalize by running for Hennig when he stands up.  Hennig is ready now and hits a drop toe hold and again grabs his toe hold.  Hennig doesnt hold it long instead he slams the knee into the canvas then does the flip to jerk the knee move.  Jumbo stands and they circle.


I liked how Hennig showed a little learning this time when Jumbo went back to the well to soon on the shoulder block. 


Collar and Elbow and this time Jumbo immediately kicks and follows with a European Uppercut. Hennig sells it big bouncing off the ropes and coming back with a forearm.  They trade chops and Jumbo grabs the headlock again then twirls around to try for the double underhook suplex but Hennig is able to back off to the ropes. 


The kick off the tie up felt like Jumbo was maybe a bit pissed over getting caught by the drop toe hold again.  Jumbo is maybe sick of the kid catching him with that move and not making the head way he wants on the mat so he  starts increasing his offensive intensity with strikes and going for one of his signature moves.


Collar and Elbow this time Hennig holds on tight and forces Jumbo into the corner.  When Jumbo breaks Hennig hits him with 3 shoulder tackles.  Irish whip is reversed and when Hennig bounces out of the corner he runs right into a back body drop.


I wonder if they were intentionally doing a collar and elbow storyline.  Having failed to ever get a hold out of it this time Hennig just holds on and uses the ropes to get an advantage. Yet he is overmatched and even getting an advantage from the tie up doesnt hold up for him.


Another Collar and Elbow and Jumbo immediately goes back to the Headlock.  He releases to deliver elbows to the back of the neck.  They trade strikes a couple of times (Jumbos looking significantly better) but Curt fights hard and after 4 slaps hits a drop kick.  He grabs a front headlock but Jumbo pulls the arm off easily and kicks to the gut.  Jumbo throws Hennig off the ropes and hits a jumping knee butt followed by throwing Hennigs head into the turnbuckle and then hits the double underhook suplex for the first 2 count of the match at 6:20. 


The first major series of offense goes as it should to Jumbo. Its interesting to watch native Jumbo underdog gaijen Hennig.  The crowd is mostly dead because they know Hennig is doing the job but its fun to watch for me. 


Jumbo grabs a front headlock of his own.  Hennig backs him into the corner and hits 3 shoulder blocks again and a slap.  This time the Irish whip isnt blocked and Hennig is able to follow up with an elbow and a jumping footstomp out of the piledriver position (not sure of the name of that move.)  He throws a series of strikes and then winds up for a big knee to Jumbos chest for a 2 count. 


Pretty good comeback for Curt.  Jumbo was really good selling for this segment not overselling like some people (like the person hes wrestling) would but showing that hes a bit rattled. 


Hennig grabs the front headlock but Jumbo is again just too strong and this time counters into a vertical suplex with ease. Jumbo slaps and kicks then whips Hennig and grabs an abdominal stretch  which Hennig counters into an abdominal stretch of his own.   Jumbo simple walks carrying Hennig with him to the ropes.


I always loved that sort of stuff from Jumbo.  Such as picking Funk up on his shoulders out of a hold and placing him on the top rope.  It always made him seem so strong and confident and given the story of this match it again is a nice touch. Jumbo could have hip tossed out of it but I like his solution a bit better in the context of the match.  It also allows Hennig to keep control of the match a bit easier.  Hennig also being young makes a mistake in this segment by not trying to capitalize harder on his advantage instead grabbing the front headlock a move Jumbo had already shown he was to strong for Hennig to have success with.  This time instead of simply ripping Hennigs arm off he suplexes him for more damage. 


However Hennig keeps on the slight advantage with punches and then Whip into a powerslam.  As if he knows its not enough he immediately climbs to the second rope for a nice second rope drop kick for 2.  He whips Jumbo again and goes for a drop kick but Jumbo grabs the ropes and immediately goes after Hennig.  Whipping him off the ropes for a big lariat followed by a Jumbo backdrop suplex for the 3 count.  9:20 Probably ***.


Nice little finish with Jumbo not killing Hennig dead and given Hennig a nice little segment of offense before capitalizing on a slight mistake and going immediately for the kill. 


After the match Jumbo shakes Curts hand and then raises his hand as if to say see fans this guy is pretty good which really makes me think of this match as kind of a try out for Curt. 


This is far from a great match.  Curt never has Jumbo in any real trouble.  Early its established Jumbo is superior and its followed threw the whole match inevitably leading to the backdrop suplex.  Yet it is also an example of Jumbos wonderful ability to construct a wonderful little match with a game opponent. 


They dont seem very familiar so you have lots of stops in the action early but instead of really letting that become a problem Jumbo seems to tell a little story with the tie ups and build each one a bit further.  Nothing to ornate is done in the match they just stay with a simple over matched young gun story which they effectively build to the finish. Hennigs huge bumping works well in this match (much like Slaters or Funks did against Jumbo) because Jumbo gave them all big offense to bump around.  Jumbo gives Hennig some nice runs to show off his offense and puts it over before taking advantage of slight mistakes and really making him pay for it (just like an ace should do.)  This is the kind of match Jumbo was born to do. 


It seems the problem with Jumbos 80s work is too often he was stuck in matches with people who were booked as his equals (such as Bockwinkle and Brody) but were not actually his equal.  So Jumbo had to try to figure out how to make them look like equals when his moveset was so huge and his opponents was so small.  Instead of coming up with a Formula he usually would give his opponents large segments of the match (especially early) to dominate before pulling out part of his moveset. Usually the opponent segment was boring and you wanted Jumbo to slap them around and start kicking ass. 


The best matches are matches where Jumbo was in with someone who was his equal in actuality or when he wasnt worried about it such as against Von Erich, or Flair in 1982.  He would sell great for his opponents during their runs to keep them as threats but would also not hold back any of his stuff.  This match is kind of like that with a very willing opponent with some nice stuff and only going nine minutes.  Kind of a lesser version of the Hamiguichi match or the match against Tiger Mask.  Its a shame Hennig didnt do another match with Jumbo around 1987 with the fans knowing him better.  I think that could have been something really special.  This one though is fun as its a consistently built satisfying 9-minute match.  



Cyberslam 1999
I'm always scared when I watch ECW because they have this amazing way of both pissing me off with Paul's stupidity.
Jerry Lynn vs Tajiri- Well this is a match featuring possibly the two best regular talents ECW had at the point.  Jerry was established and Tajiri didn't even have his Japanese buzzsaw gimmick yet.  The match was good for what it was which was having ECW's best worker (Lynn) go out and make Tajiri look good and get him over in the arena. The match hense doesn't build to anything really special.  Its rushed about 8 to 9 minutes with Jerry setting up for all Tajiri's unique spots.  The match builds logically at least although the selling is basically only payed marginal attention to.  So in the end this is little more then a well paced and reasonably logically build spot fest. Still Jerry did what he was supposed to do. The arena responded to Tajiri and seemed to want to see more.  So this is about 2 1/2 stars.  
Nova vs Rod Price- For some reason Nova is really bad here about calling spots on camara.  I think 3 times I can see him doing it which is a bit much.  This is a pretty pointless clusterfuck with their tag team partners running out.  Goes nowhere and does nothing for me.  Pointless drivel that only Paul could love.  1/2 star.
Super Crazy vs Mosco de la Merced-  Lucha is such a structured form of wrestling.  Everyone has a clear role and the matches have a pattern and a way to build that all luchadores learn.  Singles matches are very rare and usually only happen for a very big reason.  Its difficult sometimes for Luchadores to come out of the structure of Lucha and succeed.  That is the problem in this match.  There are no technicoes and no rudos and no reason just two guys roled out there to wow the crowd and that they do.  Super Crazy does a lovely moonsault.  The one Joey calls the crazy special is one of the most gorgeous I've ever seen but he also does about 5 moonsaults in the match.  In Lucha he would have worked Rudo, dicked over his opponent a bit, worked the mat for awhile, build to about 3 or 4 big spots at the end.  Here he can't do that so he has to keep doing moonsault variations.  Mosco has some nice stuff but its Crazy's match so Crazy is the focus.  Build is only payed marginal attention to and selling gets almost none.  Its not a bad spotfest but I've seen many better.  Again it did what it set out to do but I felt like it could have (and should have) done much more.  2 stars.
TAKA vs Papi Chulo- TAKA is capable of so much more then this.   This was probably during his world tour where TAKA gave us two examples to show he was still a world class wrestler.  The first being a 4 star match against Minoru Tanaka with shoot style leanings another being a Toryumon six man where he out worked CIMA, Magnum, and company.  This is not one of those matches.  TAKA gets about 6 minutes to try to have a match.  So he does the spot fest which is about all he could do in 6 minutes with this crowd. Its again not awful but pointless and a waste of a world class wrestler who has shown himself capable of carrying almost anyone to something good. Its a shame because these two do some nice stuff but don't have time to take it anywhere.  This is only about 1 3/4 stars.  I think these two could have gotten to 3 pretty easily with about 13.
RVD vs 2 Cold Scorpio-  This is right after Scorp got fired for his marijuana problem by the WWF I believe.  Knowing that you have to think these two had a lot of fun planning this match. Scorpio has actuallykept his shit together enought to stay an entertaining wrestler for NOAH where he forms a successful tag team with Vader.  Scorpio looks really good here and is in excellent shape.  He does a nice job early of when RVD blows a couple of spots of acting like he meant for it to happen. He brings a nice moveset and actually  builds some anticipation for an RVD comeback.  Selling ends of course whenever there is a transition but that's what you expect. RVD's strikes don't look crappy here either which is always nice. Of course ECW's dumbass booking throws all of Scorpio's hard work building for an RVD comeback out the window when for no real reason Sabu runs out and puts Scorp through a table. RVD and Scorp fight a bit more back and forth after this then Bill Alphonso crotches Scorpio and then sets him up for a top rope van damninator and a five star frogsplash.  Did you know RVD was a face?  Yeah I know its stupid booking and the last 3 minutes are just so pointless and kill Scorpio's work and he acts like he knows it.  I actually think Scorpio worked well with RVD and had a decent match going with him before Paul's genius kicked in.  This ends up about 1 3/4 stars and again could have been much more. Why ECW didn't keep him is beyond me he fit them like a glove.
Taz vs Chris Candito-Sunny still has an amazing body at this point but her face is starting to show the signs of hard living. Hey guess what Taz actually sells in this match.  Its not inspiring selling or anything but he does act like the moves kind of hurt and he's not instantly healed by going back on offense. Isn't that neat! I will say he sells a bit to much fatigue to early hurting the build of the match but still I'll take that over any other selling so far.  Candido's selling is absolutely embarrassing though.  He doesn't sell any of Taz's suplexes well at all recovering usually in a few seconds to go right back on offense even after a move like a t-bone (on concrete on less).  The crowd brawling segment isn't very good either as its to tight for them to do anything until they get some room.   The contrast in selling really hurts the build, Candido can actually be a good worker when he's not drugged out of his mind but here his selling just isn't working and he isn't even bothering with transitions.  The finish can be looked at two ways.  One its funny to see Taz be like I don't care if you did fuck up your neck you don't fuck with me and you will tap out.  In another way injuries shouldn't be funny in wrestling maybe since we don't want people chanting faker at people really injured.  Anyway I didn't find this to be anything special so I'll go with 2 stars since it was basically average. 
Shane Douglas vs Justa Jobber-  My lord does Justin suck here. I mean he's an embarrassment to indy workers here.  Justin does the magically healed thing literally everytime he goes on offense.  He totally no sells the figure four making it a rest hold.  He doesn't bother to sell the Pittsburg Plunge 5 seconds after the match is over.  His offense is lame as all get out even though he does do shitty bastardizations of some famous holds.  He also during the middle of his crappy offense twice puts on a rear chinlock for no reason that serves no purpose.  This is ECW and your doing a fucking rear chinlock?  Not only does he do it but he further shows us that he just put it onto rest by just letting go once to go about other things. Lets not forget him distracting the ref for what reason I don't knwo since there are no DQs in ECW!  Of course later he blantenly cheats of course to no punishment because it ECW.  Did I mention that he even made a low blow look bad?  This is an embarrassing performance in the biggest match of his career.  What in the world was Paul thinking pushing this guy? Thank you Vince for burying this guy thank you!  Shane does some decent offense in the match though nothing to high concept but still very solid.  He does as good a job as he can selling Justin's terrible offense but he can't impose logic on the match since Justin just sucks to bad.  I'm not a huge Shane mark (I'm not a mark of his really) but he had no chance to carry this.  Justin was getting pushed to the moon so he had to be made look good and he was just to bad for anyone outside of probably one of the top 5 workers ever to make look good. This match made me angry Justin was so bad 1 1/2 stars.  Hell after the match Justin gets to beat up both Tommy and Shane to "get his heat back"  my lord this push was even worse then Albert's or Big Show's.  Paul you are a dumbass.
Dudleys and Mustapha vs New Jack/Balls/Axl-  My lord I don't know if I should even watch this considering how little I think of Axl and espiecally the Gangstas.  Anyway not much to sum up here.  They bleed.  They hit each other on the head with hard things.  They use gimmicks.  The finish looks weird but that's okay. 

Antonio Rocca vs Hans Schmidt 2/3 falls.   Joe Louis is your referee.  I think if you look back through all the articles on purotapes you can find a review of this match Ive done before.  That was a really brief review and I want to go in a little bit more depth.  I dont like to make big claims about how good such and such match from this era was because I dont believe Ive viewed it all.  Ive seen a lot of matches held in reasonably high regard.  For instance the Buddy Rodgers vs Pat Oconner match is held in very high esteem.   So I would say that would be a nice one to compare this one two and in many ways this one is better. 


Schmidt seems to have been one of the best brawlers of the time period.  He has all the tools to be a great brawler really.  He knows how to keep the action coming, hes got a decent technical background to fall back on when he needs to (and he knows how to brawl through a hold), his strikes look credible, he bumps nicely and sells big, and he knows how to work a story.  In this match he keep several stories going throughout.  The first was that Joe Louis wasnt going to take much bullshit from Schmidt.  Schmidt constantly test Louis and screams at him etc and its very important for the finish of the match. The second is he breaks down Roccas back very viciously.  


Hans does a good job fitting all of Roccas spots in and taking them effectively.  Taking the big bumps to sell for him and also selling his silly offense just enough to not be no selling it but not be overselling it.  For instance the end of the first fall is Rocca hitting about 6 drop kicks right after another with Schmidt feeding him quickly and then putting him in the Argentine backbreaker. In the second fall they do a nice job teasing this again with this time Schmidt having the knowledge to avoid the backbreaker. 


The main crux of the second fall is Hans destruction of Roccas back.  He mainly does this with clubbing blows and knees.  He does a favorite heel spot of mine where he grabs his opponent by the throat and tosses him hard into the turnbuckles.  It is just a nice heel bully move.  It sets up for three big backbreakers to win the fall. Very entertaining stuff and at this point the match looks like its going to be maybe the best 2/3 fall singles match from the era (its up there anyway).  But the third fall ends in just 20 seconds or so.  Hans goes back to the back slamming picking Rocca up as if hes going to slam him and then running him into the turnbuckles (another move hed doe several times in the second fall.  But the second time he does it Joe is in the corner and he pushes Hans over so with Rocca on top of him for the 12.3.   The finish surprised me especially since neither man had used their whole arsenal.  Of course that also keeps Schmidt looking smaller since its a total fluke at that point.  Anyway this seems to be one of the better singles matches of the era.  I wish I had a better copy of it honestly. 


Sandor Szabo/Wilbur Snider vs Carl Davis/Mr. Moto- 2/3 falls Hollywood 1954.  I have a special affection for this match because I feel like I discovered it.  As of yet no one gives a shit about my opinion so no one else has discovered this gem that I know of from me but if someday people talk about this match as a shining example of good 50s wrestling I can take credit for it regardless of the reason. 


The first thing that stands out about this match is the announcing.  The announcers one of whom is the promoter, Jules Strongbow do an absolutely excellent job explaining the story of the match.  Here is what I know before the bell rings.  Szabo is a legend, former NWA champion, and still a top wrestler.  He is teaching young Wilbur Snider the ropes.  Snider is a top young talent with great potential (they tell me he will be high on the list to challenge for the world title next time Lou comes to California.  They are a relatively new tag team that hasnt truly proved their worth but all signs are they will be a top team.  How good they are will truly be tested because Davis and Moto are top heels and truly worthy opposition capable of taking anybody to the limit and willing to do anything to win.  Some of that you may gleen from the match but the way everyone establishes why this match is important is amazing to watch.  It is booking at its most simple and beautiful. 


The first fall does a wonderful job setting up for the rest of the match.  Davis and Moto cheat extremely effective.  Szabo plays the vetern and Snider is the eager youngster making occasional mistakes.  The finish sees Mr. Moto putting Szabo away with his sleeper hold  which is important for later.  In the second fall the work is a bit more feverish.  Moto and Davis keep the pressure applied hotly and keep the champs in deep trouble.  Of course the champs come back but the trouble they get in builds anticipation.  Szabo gets revenge on Moto by putting him out with a couple of suplexes. 

The third fall is possibly the hottest fall Ive seen from the 50s.  Moto goes desperately for the sleeper sending the crowd into a panic.  Szabo though is smart and adjust his head and Moto keeps slipping into a choke forcing a break.  Szabo barely survives and we get some wild for the time back and forth stuff.  The finish comes abruptly  as Szabo shows his veteran wiles tagging out just at the right time to allow Snider to hit Davis with a couple of big tackles for the win. 


The match is my favorite from the 50s and is so smart.  Everyone seems to know exactly what their role is and how to play it.  Moto and Davis establish themselves immediately as worthy contenders and as a tough challenge so that when the champions overcome them it makes it look all the better.  The announcer tells us after the match that this truly proves that these champions are worthy and the crowd heartily agrees.  There are so many nice touches.  Such as Szabo asking to be tagged in when he can tell there is a weakness and immediately going for it.  His tagging in of Snider at the precise right moment all keep him over as the smart veteran. Snider also adds some nice touches not tagging at times when he should to show his eagerness and often getting demolished as a result.   The going back to the sleeper sent the crowd into a state of panic which was a beautiful thing to watch.  This is one fans of true old school want to watch. 

Chono vs Nagata 10-26-02-  Sixty minute matches have an aura around them.  People really WANT to love them because they want to see the amazing feat.  And going 60 minutes takes endurance.  Working a match that long is a challenge in more then just endurance though.  You have to know how to pace the action so it isn't totally boring.   But here is the problem you can in theory have lots of moves in a match but then you risk getting repetitive and ruining the psychology of it being reasonable for both you guys to be kicking out.  Slowing the pace down just right so the match is interesting and makes sense is hard to do.  Espiecally in todays environment of big moves and instant gratification few workers seem to understand the subtle nuiances and tricks that can keep fans interested for along period without burning up moves. 
Recently I watched the Destroyer vs Baba and I may watch it again to do a good review of it.  It is a masterful job of doing little fun things that keep you entertained, push the story along.   But this is not a review of that match.  The problems with this match are numerous.  Who to start with.  Nagata.
I want to LOVE Yuji.  Instead I find myself just really liking him.  Yuji's first problem is he doesn't seem to know what direction he is going in with his character.  One moment he seems to want to play the stoic Misawa type ace.  Then the next he's yelling and screaming and pounding his fist like a young Kobashi.  He doesn't know how to make either of them really work for him and his mixture just totally doesn't work.  I'd say since he is supposedly the ace go the Misawa route.  Yuji has flashes of brillance where he seems to know just what to do then he does something wrong.  For instance late in this match there is a point where the fans are starting to go absolutely crazy.  Yuji does something stupid as he slaps on an octupus. Its not a move he uses regularly and the fans don't buy it as a move that can finish off Chono so they immediatly hush as if to say okay this is pointless.  It would have been the perfect time to go for the nagata lock II which the fans might have bought as a finisher. Nagata had already used it but he should have thought of that before he burned it early. 
There is some overkill in this match such as when Chono recovers from a  top rope wrist clutch exploder late in the match.  Nagata doesn't give him enough time before doing the next move and doesn't even try to pin him.  Its an outrageous burning of a move that should just be death espiecally on its first use.  It was even worse honestly then the top rope tiger driver from Misawa vs Akiyama because it came later in the match, was followed up quicker,  didn't even lead to a nearfall and the wrist clutch exploder still has credibility as opposed to the TD which isn't going to beat anyone important these days .  
The mat section was uninspiring.  They start out fast but then quickly burn through time.  It basically goes through 10 minutes of slow then 1 minute burst then 10 minutes of mat work etc for the first I think 40 minutes of the match.  The matwork is just standard stuff.  They find no cool interplay sequences that used to make mat work interesting.  None of the working from hold a to hold b to hold c that used to be done.  Nor does there seem to be in psychological reason for anything.  For instance in Kobashi vs Kawada there opening section seemed to be playing off a one upsmanship theme that really worked for me. 
The main problem though is Chono.  In a 60 minute draw I believe the match is establishing at least partial equality. The wrestlers must be up to that challenge and in this match Chono didn't look the equal to Nagata.  Chono's strikes for starters are embarrassing.   He looks like he's auditioning for RAW.  Nagata's strikes look awesome and are so percise (with the exception of the slaps he throws which look weak.)  So when they are slugging back at each other as if they are equals I'm just like look fellows Nagata is pretty clearly punking Chono here from the looks of it just not the selling.  Then there is his moveset.  While Nagata has a nice offense of kicks,  an overhead belly to belly, the belly to back, the exploder, the top rope wrist clutch exploder, and the nagata lock I and II.  Chono has his standard Yakuza kicks (which don't land well), the stf, a piledriver on a table, and a DDT.  that's really about all he does and its very low end stuff for a man who used to be cutting edge.  When compared to Nagata its hard to see how these two are equal.  Its also not enough moves for him to realisticly threaten Nagata without getting very repetitive which he does with the many yakuza kicks.  (Although he does that regularly and no one gets onto him for it it seems.)
There were good things about this match though.  The best thing is the last 20 minutes weren't awful.  In fact they were mostly good.  They did a good job hooking the crowd in for the most part although I've already outlined the one of the places where they blew it.  There was only one point where a finish should have came and that was the wrist clutch exploder off the top rope.  Chono sold all the offense as well as he could given the crazy bombs Nagata was throwing out.  Nagata sold really well to.  And the match built in a logical fashion.  Its probably about ** 1/4 to be honest I think its well worth seeing though this is far from a classic. 

Bruno vs Baba- This is a special match.  Its difficult to grade matches from the olden days.  I have seen more then most but I don't know if I have the reference base to say how they truely compared to the standard work of the era.   This match goes 51 minutes I think and is announced as a 60 minute draw.  I know many of you are running in terror at the idea of Baba and Bruno wrestling anybody for that long much less each other.  All I can tell you is trust me in his prime Baba was a hell of a worker and he does an awesome job carrying Bruno.  I'm interested to see how Chono vs Nagata will compare to this.  My guess is the work will be better but not as smart.   Certain things stand out for instance how awesome Baba's selling of his left arm is in the second fall is.  Another thing that's interesting is how Baba is put over as the more powerful of the two for instance winning every strike battle they have which is funny since it looks like Bruno could snap Baba in two without much problem.  Baba is clearly put over as the superior wrestler even though the match is a draw.  Baba is just awesome as well working the mat and keeping things interesting there doing a much better job then Bruno does at it. 
Another thing they did an awesome job at was really looking like they were fighting.  This is a problem many wrestlers today have.  It looks like they are working together or it looks really fake.  This match they did several really nice touches such as both men striking from their backs and on the ground to try to gain an advantage at all points. 
The third fall has absolutly stunning crowd heat as the fans are just insanely into everything Baba does.   They build the final fall around Bruno putting on a bearhug which Baba answers with Baba chops.  They both sell well so that it really feels that neither of them can captilize from the damage done by the moves. At about 40 minutes into the match you fell quite sure your watching a classic for the ages and had they went towards a finish at that point it would have been.  However in the last 10 minutes while the work is still good but it starts to get repetitive.  The bearhug vs Baba chop battle plays out to many times to the same result.  They just don't have enough moves for the extra 10 minutes.  Its not enough to push the match down from being a classic for the time but it does push it down from an all time classic.
Again how do you rate a match like this?  I'm quite sure for its time it would have been 4 stars.  On the adjusted scale I use I'd probably give it *** 1/2.  I think its a must see.  Hopefully soon I'll get to review the Destroyer vs Baba classic from the same tape.   The tape is the best of Baba volume one and its one you REALLY want. 

Rewatching Some Classics
I always find and believe that my analysis of a match increases with every viewing.  There are some matches which are basically superficial tripe and to know that you don't have to rewatch them (Shawn vs HHH was one).  And I know why that match wasn't anything special basically but I think to properly communicate all the whys I'd have to watch it again.  So many of the reviews I put up will be my impressions on "classics" that I rewatched.  Today Rock vs Austin at Mania 17 and Tamura vs Khosaka from 1998 RINGS.
Austin vs Rock-  It's a shame what people miss when they don't look for things.  In this match Austin brought levels of psychology to the WWE that may never have been in the company before.  From the opening bell Austin sets the story.  Austin takes the first chance he gets to wallop Rock with the belt.  Austin has stacked the deck in his favor with the NO DQ rule allowing him to go as far as he wants and there is no limit to how far he will go.  He cheats in every subtle way possible pulling off the turnbuckle pad, refusing to break when the ref asks etc etc etc. Austin wants to prove he is the better man but he's not sure he is anymore. 
In 1999 when they main evented Mania 15 the story had been Rock may well have been the better athlete but Austin was more focused and determined.  In this match though Austin is still focused and maybe more determined but Rock is totally up to the challenge.  Whenever Austin ups the ante Rock is ready to meet him and beat him at that level.  It shows that Rock truely had developed (in the storylines) to a wrestlers equal to Austin.   Austin's desperation grows as he throws his old finishers at Rock trying to find that one thing that will be enough to prove to himself that he is still the man.  However the match builds to a decisive climax.  Rock has answered all of Austin's challenges and the match is increasingly turning to his favor as Vince McMahon saunters out.  Rock has it won when Vince interferes.  Austin one on one has been defeated Rock has proven himself to be the better man but Austin has planned for this.  Maybe that lack of confidence is the difference or maybe Austin was just right.  Even with  Vince's help it takes forever to topple the Rock.  He has the determination and desire that Austin used to have but just not enough this night.  Little things make the story such as Austin letting go off the sleeper when Rock used Bret's counter.  When Bret did it he wouldn't let go.  It was a wonderful match and a wonderful heel turn that should have worked. 
The match has some problems that keep it from getting to the ratings heights that the story I read into it.  For instance it has a couple of rough spots such as Rock nearly blowing a swinging neckbreaker and a miss communication on a lariet.  The energy the wrestle with was so amazing its understandable somethings might not be clicking at the begining.  Also there is a segment after the hot begining and before they start the build to the finish I believe about 13-18 where they seem to be a bit unsure of where to go.  They do some uninspired stuff that doesn't really play to the larger story.  I think Rock may have even grabbed the chinrock to kill time.  This match is very close to 4 1/2 stars but in the end the problems and lack of technique compared to most 4 1/2 star matches push it down slightly to a very high 4 1/4 star match.  Its one of the best brawls of the last few years though.
Tamura vs Khosaka-  I think its written somewhere that you can't say anything negative about this match.  So I will break that unwritten rule of smarkdom.  This match is at least 4 stars so take that inconsideration as I write this.  I don't feel the need to to elaborate on the great things about this match its been done.  Lets talk about the problems.  My feeling is the matwork was very circular.  They repeated many of the same sequences in the same match.  I think one time they may have varied it to show they had "learned" but still the rolling counters kind of got old for me. There were also several key moments where they lost me and the crowd actually (thought they got us both back).  Multiple times Tamura works to a dominate mount position and just stays there waiting for Khosaka to do something.  It hurt the match that a couple of times Tamura would get to a dominate position then be like okay Khosaka....... please do something.  The worse one was at a very pivitol moment.  After falling behind on      points 3 to 1 Tamura goes ballistic on Khosaka knocking him down for a nine count.  Khosaka was in huge trouble and the crowd sensed he might be about to go down to defeat.  Tamura starts pouding on him again and desperately Khosaka takes it to the mat but he's still woozy so Tamura immediatly takes advantage with a neck lock.  The crowd goes wild seeing that the match could be nearing the end.  And Tamura just lets go of the hold.  Why I don't know except there was no counter for it and Khosaka going to the ropes wasn't planned. The fans die for a period not knowing what just happened and its takes then a bit to get them back.  Its one of those moments of confusion that keep this match from being perfect.  Where one wrestler knows where they are going but the other isn't there so it just looks ackward espiecally for a shoot style match. Once they get past that the drama of the time makes the crowd electric.  There also some flaws with them having to crawl to far to get to the ropes once.  In this match if a person is in a hold so painful they have to go to the ropes they should tap out if it takes that long.  It was a pro wrestling moment that didn't fit in the context of the match.  I'd probably go 4 1/4 on this match.

Vader vs Inoki and Noah's 9-7-02 Show
Vader vs Inoki- Its funny how time changes your perceptions of a match.  When this match happened no one expected anything from it.  Then it greatly exceeded all expectations and got pimped as a great match. I watched it expecting a great match and so came away disappointed.  This is a good match but its not a great match.  Inoki doesn't do much more then bump.  He does hit a couple of signature moves that are nice.  The finish is feels a bit to quick like we should have had something more before that.  Inoki also doesn't really see Vader's amazing offense has hard as he should.  There is alot to say good about this match.  Such as Vader is amazing and the match has great drama throughout and tells the story of a legend vs a monster.  They get those concepts over very effectively so this is still a good to very good match just not the classic I was hoping for *** 1/2
I'm becoming quite the expert on good ole Pro Wrestling NOAH these days.   Here are some thoughts on the9-7-02 show.  This won't be detailed because this is off my first impressions of the show.
Kanemura/Kikuchi/Hashi vs KENTA/Sugiura/Suzuki- I like most of thesae guys so you would think I would like this match but I don't.  The juniors are good but they have no direction.  I don't know why these guys are fighting at all.  Kikuchi and Sugiura seem to not like each other and I think Kikuchi is the heel but I'm not sure.  So the match has no direction and no heat and it hurts it even though it has some very solid work **1/4
Honda/Inoue vs Taue/Kawabata-  Taue has really stepped it up recently.  Still he to has no direction. In this match its okay when Taue is in their but sucks when he's not.  The finish is flukish as NOAH continues to try to get over cradles (actually a wise long term move.)  Its not horrid thanks to Taue but still not good.  * 1/2
Akiyama/Saito vs Bison Smith/Trevor Rhodes-  Who the hell is Trevor Rhodes because he looked really good here.  I had no doubt Akiyama and Saito were winning but that didn't stop everybody involved from having a really fun match.  ** 3/4
Vader/Scorpio/Slinger/Izu vs Kenta Kobashi/Shiga/Ikeda/Yone- Kobashi looks good again.  He and Vader have some really hot sequences.  Because of them this match is fun.  When they are not in though you can tell people just want them in.  **1/2
Rikio/Morishima vs Misawa/Sano-  I think we can dub the Takeshi push a decent success.  This match had actually decent heat.  I loved how Misawa acted like he was overwelmed by the Takeshi's basically getting dominated.  Misawa got knocked for winning the GHC but people forget that he's basically booked himself as a midcarder trying to get over the Takeshi's among others.  Looks like he's done a good job.  They were at least presented as equals to this match.  The match was building just awesomely but I felt like every match on this card till the main event needed the lossers to make one more comeback before they lost to be truely great.  The finishes felt like they were just really getting heated up and I feel I little bit more on the end would have helped all the tag matches including this one.  This one was really good though I don't know if I agree with taking the belts off the Takeshis but we'll have to see what happened at that card.  ***. 
Yoshihiro Takayama vs Yoshinari Ogawa- This is super fun.  Ogawa takes the beating like a man and Takayama delivers it with gusto.  I also love how they build the match to the hot finish with Ogawa using every role up known to man to try to put away Takayama and Takayama responding by beating the ever living shit out of him in between.  This was better then the overhyped Takayama vs Nak and Takayama vs Nagata matches.  ***.  
Good show nothing sucked lots of good stuff on it I think you'll enjoy.

Hunka Hunka burning Reviews
This is going to be a weird and ecletic mix of quick reviews so hang on and have fun. 
Tsuruta/Ishikawa v Yatsu/Hamaguchi-  This is from late mid 1985 I belive.  Early in the Choshu invasion you can kind of see where the thought that Jumbo was behind the time came from.  As he would be the only guy taking it to the mat and it didn't seem to fit.  In this match though it is clear Jumbo as taking in everything the Choshu guys have to teach mastered it and is now better at it then they are.  His timing at breaking up things are perfect, the way he lays out Ishikawa's spots is perfect, how long he lets him get beat up his right.  His selling is right he handles Yatsu and Hamaguchi just right as he shows they are beneath him but still threats.  It needed a finish to be a great match but it is one of those hidden gems that shows what an amazing wrestler Jumbo Tsuruta truely was.This is a low to mid 3 star match.  Jumbo is a god. 
Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi 4-13-95.  These two had so many great matches with others and with each other.  I've seen so much of it before yet it was still amazing and thrilling to watch them do another great match.  I loved how they played off the 1-19-95 draw this time.  They worked much faster since they only had 30 minutes to work with but even though it was fast paced they just didn't have enough time.  Again Kawada was killing Kobashi dead at the end but just couldn't quite finish the job.  This is a mid to high 4 star match and another must see. 
El Hijo Del Santo vs Brazo Del Oro Mascara vs Cabellera 1986-  This is from some wacky video on Santo.  This match rocked as it showed even then Santo's understanding of psychology and drama.  As always I knew Santo isn't lossing his mask but hey sucked me in with the believable near falls and the intensity and pacing.  They also cut two manly blade jobs that didn't stop them from kicking major ass wrestling.  This one is everything a mask vs hair match should be in is upper 3 stars maybe even a 4 star one. 
El Hijo Del Santo vs Shocker 2001-  This is a dissapointing match.  Not that its bad because its not its just not the classic you would expect from these two.  Shocker is playing Rudo so stalls a bit.  The match goes to long, they really don't seem to be fighting for anything.  It just doesn't work like it should.
Benoit vs Kurt Angle Unforgiven 2002- People always expect them to have a classic and they never do.  The problem is Kurt isn't yet to the point where he can do the little things to have a true a classic.  Kurt is Mr 3 stars I think he's only had maybe 1 or 2 low four star matches.  Again he has a mid 3 star match.  It would have been better had their been some pattern that kind of developed and was broken by them learning something.  Or had the German Suplex thing in the middle been more pivotal to the psychology of the match, or if Kurt actually you know built towards his finisher, and if they didn't seem so determined to kill the credibility of their finishers.  A lot of the mat work was very cool and very fast and I did like how they were constantly trying to grab their finishers.  I also liked how they both cheated a little at the end before Benoit got the roll up.  I think Benoit will eventually figure out what its going to take to get Kurt to have the classic that everyone seems to think he has regularly but at this point Chris seems to always be dumbing it down to much for Kurt (this match) or going over his head (the submission match from last year.).  Kurt has improved though as he only did a couple of stupid things or bad stalls where as last year he blew up and was just terrible in the submission match.  This is a mid 3 stars but still match of the night with ease. 
Undertaker is a piece of shit and so is whoever booked that match. 

Reviews form the early to mid 1960s


Freddie Blassie vs Rikidozan  62 Los Angles 2/3 falls for the WWA Championship-  Hopefully someday soon one of their matches from Japan will be released on one of these Rikidozan shows.  This match to my knowledge didnt cause anybody to have a heart attack.   It suprising that they start out as fast as they do as they exchange a few holds before Riki gets a sort of vertical suplex for 2 which Blassie turns over for 1 before Riki kicks him in the face.  Kawada really reminds me of Riki sometimes doing that kick and coming out in some of the robes he does.  The central story established immediately is that Riki is a good sportsman and hence wont attack Blassie when he is in the corner or not standing.  Blassie uses this repeatedly to stop Rikis momentum.  Rikis sportsmanship is immediately contrasted with Blassie who cheats at every opportunity pulling hair and holding the tights for leverage.  Rikis overhand chops are his top weapon and Blassie puts them over huge questioning their legality to the ref.  Riki occasionally gets frustrated with Blassies stalling tactics and chops him even when hes down but always quickly backs off.  Blassies knowledge of fouls is truly amazing.  He chokes, gives kind of low blows, punches with a closed fist, and kicks Riki in the kidney.  Where as Rikis best weapon is his chop, Blassies best is biting.  Riki wins the first fall by  Blassie running out of the ring, Referees decision after Blassie takes some nice bumps on the apron and then on the outside off of Riki chops.  Blassie uses one of my favorite holds to start the second fall the hold on to the headlock by pulling their hair.  He actually doesnt bite till this point showing that he only bites when he feels it necessary I guess.  Riki does a pretty weak blade job and Blassie bites some more.  Riki finally gets really pissed and chops him down for 2 and then picks him up and whips him into a chop for another 2 (hey if this were Ric Flair itd get at least 3 1 /4 stars from some people.)   Blassie gets his first near fall about 20 minutes into the match with 3 consecutive knee drops.  2 minutes later after some more cheating by Blassie, Riki gets another near fall off a body slam.  They fight on the ground a bit before a chop to the neck and the chest get Riki another near fall.  Blassie cheats more and Riki really sells the fatigue of being choked and bitten before rallying with more chops and a hip toss!  He cant capitalize because Blassie wont get up and Riki is a sportsman.  Blassie cheap shots him before getting up to regain the advantage. Blassie gets two off a pinning/biting combination.  Blassie has clearly adjusted to try to stay on Riki because if he stays close Riki wont have room to unload with chops.  Riki bicycles around repeatedly trying to get room enough to hit him with some chops.  He finally does just murdering Blassie with chops and the crowd is in a frenzy.  Blassie finally blocks and chops back but he cant win a fair fight with Riki.  Again when Blassie goes down Riki wont capitilize (the announcer repeatedly explains that in Japanese rules your supposed to let the man get back up kind of like UWF I guess) and so again Blassie cheap shots him. Blassie again gets 2 with a bite/pin.  Riki gets some more chops including a whip chop but Blassie is in the ropes so Riki cant get the pin.  Blassie trades punches to chops mixing in a choke here and there till the curfew rings at about 30 minutes.  Riki is awarded the title but Blassie claims that there must be 2 hours for a title change to count.  This probably sounds excruciatingly boring to read but I always find this match strangely entertaining.  It has some very nice psychology, for its time it has a whole lot of near falls, and for its time its a wild and stiff match.  Kind of an early brawl if you will. I think its a fun little match between two legends. And hey Rikis moveset is at least equal to Flairs.  Consider this a very primitive brawl.


Rikidozan vs The Destroyer 2/3 falls-  I watched the Blassie match to contrast it to The Destroyer match I just picked up.  I dont believe the Destroyer match is as well booked as was the Blassie match and that really hurts it.   They go through 3 falls in about 15 minutes and its just feels so fast.  Actually this match is as fast paced as Ive seen from the period.  Destroyers move set is stunning for the time.  In a few minutes he bust out an eyepoke, a snap mare, then a couple of drop kicks, , some gorgeous knee drops, goes for but misses a top rope knee drop, then hits a couple of body slams and uses the ropes to gain leverage for the three count.  In the second fall Destroyer and Riki start a cool figure-4 story where before Destroyer can put on the figure-4 Riki rolls over but then the Destroyer forces him back into it but by that time Riki is close to the ropes.  Its actually pretty cool.  Destroyer hooks an abdominal stretch but again Riki is to close to the ropes and then as they are breaking up Riki cheap shots Destroyer with a chop to the face to knock him out for the 3 count.   Destroyer unloads with some nice forearms to the chest beating him down and then dropping the knee again.  Destroyer goes for and misses the ass drop on the knee allowing Riki to kick him a few times and unload some chops.  After recuperating outside Destroyer and Riki again play the figure-4 game this time after the roll and Destroyer forcing him back around Riki holds the leg down to keep him from adding pressure.  When the Destroyer finally gets it Riki is in the ropes.  Again they do the figure-four sequence and again the Destroyer cant get it hooked in so he drops a knee to the back of Rikis knee. Destroyer goes for it again but this time Riki kicks him off and over the top rope to the floor.  They fight on the floor Destroyer grabs a headlock a couple of times and rams Rikis head into the apron he goes to the well once to often and Riki backdrop suplexes him to get the count out win.   The match is to short  and they dont have enough build to the falls really especially the second one.  All the falls are cheap or flukish.  So booking just wasnt there this night for Beyer to get a classic out of Riki.  Yet he did show at least to me that he may well have had the best moveset of the time period.  In the match he attempts are lands a body slam, a snap mare, a hand stand knee drop, a top rope knee drop, a body slam, a drop kick, a ass drop on the knee, an abdominal stretch, and a figure four. Compare that to what Riki hit and Blassie do.  Hell compare it to what Lou Thesz does in 60 minutes against Dozan in 57.  Thats really impressive for the time period and for a 15-minute match.  It was also had some cool sequences and story telling but they didnt have the booking around them to the story Blassie did.  The Destroyers work is more impressive but I probably perfer the Blassie match.


The Destroyer vs Toyonobori 2/3 falls-  Toyonobori is a cool name I must say.  Anyway this is basically the Destroyer show for 60 minutes.  When Toyonobori has a hold the Destroyer works the hold, when the Destroyer has a hold he also works it.  When their between Destroyer bounces around like mad to keep it entertaining.  In fact at one point in the match I realized I hadnt thought about what Toyonobori was doing for 15 minutes.  It was like he wasnt even there.  The Destroyer taunts, he cajoles, he cheats, he works, and you just find yourself paying attention to every movement he does to the point where he made his opponent almost disappear.  The match wasnt great but it was hypnotic and strangely not boring considering for instance the first 18 minutes Toyonobori basically sits on his ass holding the Destroyers arm while he figures out every possible way to work an arm puller.  However a flaw in the Destoyers work is he never sells that arm despite that time.  He sells the back very well later though after submitting to the Boston Crab so maybe the arm puller wasnt supposed to be able to injure people.  Like I say far from a flawless Beyer performance but strangely enjoyable none the less Im looking forward to seeing what he does with Giant Baba when I get to that tape. 


The Rikidozan special I got the last two matches off of also has the Blassie match in very clipped form which I think really hurts the match which I think is a lot of fun.  It also has a clipped Lou Thesz match.  I ought to sit down and watch the famous 60 minute draw (I think I have 52 minutes of it) between Thesz and Rikidozan and write something on it, being that it is the most watched wrestling match ever.  But I dont know Ive watched it 3 times and its not one of those matches you feel like watching over and over again.  I just sat through Funk and Brisco for a second time and it was EHHH again.  I wonder how the Destroyers match will hold up.

Under the Mat by Diana Hart review

This is a twist on the wrestling autobiography in that its not as much about the writer as her experiences within the first family of wrestling. I always say that I never trust any autobiography because whenever possible they will skew things to their favor. The only way to judge the content of an autobiography, taking the self serving bias into account, is to see how they do when you know the facts. In this Diana gets so many facts minor and small wrong and tells says so many things I know are false its impossible to trust a word that is in this book.

The book has several points the first point is that Bret Hart is evil and motivated by jealousy. Many villains appear in this book from Tom Billington, to Jim Neidhart, to Martha Hart, to in the end Davey Smith but Bret is bad throughout the book and does something bad in almost every chapter. Davey is presented as a gullible guy whose drug addiction gets out of control after years of Bret screwing his career over. Tom is only in a few chapters the same for Neidhart. Brets problem is evidently an intense jealousy towards Davey and Diana both of whom he feels threatened by from early in his career.

The hero of the book is not Diana Hart as she really isnt the key. Her story of getting away from a violent, abusive, drug addicted husband isnt the focus of the story anywhere near for instance taking pot shots at Bret. The hero is Vince McMahon who looks out for her and her family at every step possible.
Vince loved Owen like a son and tries desperately to save Davey Boy from himself.

The problem is as I said that whenever I know what happens what Diana says happened is just terrible false. One of the worst examples is when during Daveys last WWF run (late December 1999 I believe) she calls Vince and tells him how addicted to drugs Davey is and how she had committed suicide and Vince immediately pays a huge sum to treat Daveys addiction. Of course Davey got that treatment before he started his WWF run and the angle for his entry into the WWF in August/September 1999 was that he was drug addicted and when his wife had attempted suicide it made him realize that he needed help which the WWF was right there. Bret lost the title to Shawn in an ironman match at Mania 13 and would have perfered to lose the belt to Diesel (who was leaving the company) or Austin (who was a lower midcarder) not to mention it was Mania 12. Bret now asked out of his contract before Survivors Series because he was jealous that Davey had main evented the One Night Only PPV instead of him. Of course even Vince has said many times that Vince asked out of the contract because he no longer thought he could afford Brets contract. Owen in contrast to what Martha said many times was thrilled with life in the WWF after Bret loved specifically because Bret was gone ("no more big egos in the locker room") and specifically the blue blazer character. Bret on threatening to kill her is calm enough to let her get a paragraph long soliloquy calmly explaining why she said Owens death was an accident. Of course if Bret were as wild as she said he wouldnt have let her talk that long so more likely she is saying what she wished she said as opposed to what she said. In 2001 when the family appeared at the Calgary RAW Bret was furious that Smith Hart had a hello Bret sign (as oppossed to they tried to humiliate him again by doing the Montreal Finish in front of Stu.) Had it not been for the Ultimate Warriors steriod bust Davey, not Bret, would have beat Flair for the title in 1992. Of course Davey just got the IC because Summerslam was in England and was never ranked above Bret in the 90s. Bret was the editor of "Wrestling with Shadows" and tried to make Shawn look bad by showing him hitting Undertaker with a chair (editing out Bret spitting on Shawn) for no reason. That one was really funny because Bret wasnt the editor and they had Shawn and Bret talking before the match and show them planning the match.

There are more then this where what she says doesnt match up to the facts both minor and major and it kills her credibility. (Also not mentioning her and Ellie trying to sabotage Marthas case isnt mentioned even to defend it.) So when she makes attacks that might be true you cant believe her. For instance Bret and Dynamite very well could have tried to sabotage Daveys entrance into New Japan but I cant trust her. Bret could have been paranoid that she was making him look bad in her WWF run (I doubt it) but its possible but I cant believe her.

It comes off in the book like Diana blames Bret for her WWF run not being a success and possibly even for Davey not being a bigger star and is intensely bitter. She seems to honestly believe that she could have been huge in the WWF but Bret tried to end it and that maybe if Davey had been in his "rightful" spot above Bret he wouldnt have become the drug addicted date rapist she describes. So basically in the end it sounds like she not Bret has the problem with jealousy.

I could write a book making Bret look bad he is a goofy guy in a lot of ways and I dont even know him. It should be easy to make someone youve known your whole life look bad but this book really fails. In the end Bret comes off like a victim of a jeoulous, bitter, and unstable sister and you almost feel sorry for him. Diana had she just gotten the facts we know straight might have had the credibility to make Bret look really bad on the stories we dont know but the multitude of clear lies just make you feel like shes just out to get Bret and make you sympathize for the guy. Her bitter attacks on Martha Hart insinuating or saying that she was a ring rat, a bum, a tramp, a bitch, a money grubber dont help either. For instance she talks about Marth getting an 18 million dollar settlement (even though Vince never had the chance to settle she says) for Owens death and her poor parents only getting 2 million dollars. It can get as vindictive as critizing her choices of paper plates for her wedding. Anyway the book is funny at times and sadly entertaining at others but has no crediblity with me at least. It comes off like a desperate attempt to get Vince to give her a job in the WWF by kissing his ass and attacking his biggest enemy.

The leader of the New Road evidently

 Review for All Japan 3/24/02 and 3/29/02

We got two Kojima matches against carryable  opponents and lots of chances to see how All Japan is rebuilding.  These two shows are from All Japans very successful champions carnival tour.   

Mike Rotundo/ Nobukazu Hirai vs Kendo Kashin/Sigeo Okurmura-  To little is shown to really access the match.  Kendo looks much better now that he is actually wrestling and playing heel as opposed to being the super shooter.  Okurmura looks very solid as well as he usually has lately. 

Taiyo Kea/George Hines/Kaz Hayashi vs Toshiaki Kawada/Hideki Hosaka/Tamoaki Honma-   Honma has a new look.  Its not bad and makes him look less generic then he used to so maybe it will help.  He as he usually has fails to impress very much though here except selling and bumping well.  The stars phone in evidently not thinking much of the importance of the match.  Kaz works the hardest looking very solid in every way and being in the most.  I think Honma needs a over move or something to stick out right now as he just seems to disappear whenever hes in an All Japan ring.  I still think hes a very solid signing though and I hope they figure out what it takes to get him over and make him stick out.  Kaz is an excellent pick up adding more depth to the roster and another guy who can work a solid match is always nice.  This looked about ** solid but Kawada was bored so that hurt it. 

Barton vs Anjoh-  Anjoh doesnt do a lot and Barton is sloppy on at least one move.  Barton does do some very cool offense but his sloppiness always keeps me from really praising how cool his offense can be when he actually hits it.  Pretty boring match*. 

Mitsuya Nagai vs Satoshi Kojima-  Nagai never impresses me but Id say this slightly edges Kawadas match for the best of his career.  Kojima is just super over.  The fans chant for him and cheer everything he does.  Im going to say it again Kojima should get the triple crown soon the fans will accept him.  Nagais strikes actually look competent here until the end when he is selling the leg so takes a bit off of them to get that over.  They both really sell awesome espiecally Kojima selling the arm.  For instance when he blocks moves with his arm he sells the arm and Nagai even gets in the act selling his legs that just ran into Kojimas arm.  Good resistance as they look like they are fighting.  It gets a really good since of drama going towards the end with some really neat nearfalls.  Biggest flaw is Nagai never gets a really convincing near fall and only gets a semi good near submission.  Still an excellent match for both of these two.  *** 1/ 4 

Keiji Mutoh vs Steve Williams-  Does lightening strike twice?  In this case no.  Several things distinguish this match from last years sleeper.  First off the crowd heat isnt there.  Second off we get a boring introductory laying on the mat session which goes nowhere and did nothing that either didnt happen in the first match or was clipped.  Next it just doesnt pull you in as much.  The finishing sequence isnt nearly as long or dramatic as the last one.  It just seems disjointed really with stuff happening but it not being very good.  Williams is the better of the two continuing to not suck and bringing a nice set of credible offense.  Mutoh is very lethargic and again his offense just isnt very good. This match didnt suck but it was a bit below average so * 3/ 4

So the 3-24-02 show was slightly disappointing. It had a good match for Kojima and one mediocre match and another slightly below average match.  Wasnt awful and probably was better then your average All Japan show from last year but still not good and Im pretty sure New Japans 3/24/02 show is going to blow it away. 


Jimmy Yang vs Hi69-  Hi69 is from the Kojo as I remember.  He misses a spot.  Yank connects on all of his which is a great sign after his WCW stint.  To clipped to say much other then that.   

Kaz Hayashi vs Kazushi Miyamoto-  This was fun.  Miyamoto truly looks worlds better every time I see him which is such a good sign for his future.  Here he bust out a pretty competent moveset, has good strikes and moves fluidly.  Kaz is also again impressive making Miyamoto look like a legitamate threat to win the match.  They have some good near falls and a nice flow.  Kazs hurricanerana for some reason is really cool to me.   Anyway it was clipped so it could have been better or worse but it looked around ** 1/ 2 and a great sign for the development of Miyamoto and/or Kazs carrying ability.   

Masanobu Fuchi/Mitsuya Nagai vs Mike Barton/Cedman-  One thing you have to give Nagai is he works hard on these tour shows.  Unfortunately hear the nice kicks he showed against Kojima were back to the love pats he normally does.  To clipped to rate but looked weak.   

Taiyo Kea vs Nobutaka Araya-  Keas facial expressions always strike me as goofy.  He experiments with different things to connect with the crowd.  I dont know if he finds anything but its nice to see him at smaller shows trying things to see what may work.   This is a good solid match.  It doesnt really take off at the beginning but then doesnt suck either.  Araya probably needs a second finisher as in this match when he hit the moonsault Kea hadnt went threw most of his offense so you knew he was kicking out but you the fact that he did kind of made it feel inevitable that Kea was winning.  But really it was inevitable that Kea was winning this is All Japan.  Once Kea reassumes offense they do a nice job giving Araya some offense as they march threw and even having him counter out of the Hawaiian Smasher.  Kea throws out a really nice array of offense to finish off Araya who does a good job selling it and putting over that fighting spirit stuff.  Araya looked solid as always Kea looked good as usual so it was probably a low ** 3/ 4 match.   

Satoshi Kojima vs Jim Steele-  Another above average match.  Kojima does a good job getting over the power of Steele and then establishing himself as the smarter and quicker of the two.  He doesnt take this as far as he maybe should but at least he does install some basic psychology.  The main problem is Steele is a bit to methodical working through his moveset early in the match.  So that time drags and goes nowhere.  Kojima protects Steeles finisher and actually gives him some nice near falls.  The action gets really hot at the end but Kojima not playing through on the psychology he was using earlier hurts this match.  Pretty solid but could have been better.  I think Kojima could get a ***+ match out of Steele if it were at the Budokan.   This is ** 1/ 2. 

Tenyru/Anjoh/Arashi vs Mutoh/Hines/Honma-  Tenyru starts it off really hot and it looks like it could turn into a really fun match.  Then Arashi and Anjoh take turns very slowly beating up Honma and the match breaks down.  You know Honma could be the next Kikuichi as crazy as we all know he is but these two just dont have the offense for Honma to bump around.  Honma doesnt get hardly anything in except a few running elbows and a lariet.  It may be hes a Dean Malenko type whose offense evaporates against guys over a certain weight.  Or it may be that the WAR guys thought they were above selling for him.  Either way it may be time to send Tamoaki down or in this case up to the Juniors division.  I think hed contribute much more against Kaz, Miyamoto, and Kashin then he is against guys who wont sell for him.  Mutoh is fine here as hes quite adapt at hiding in six men.  The match is best when Tenyru is in but thats not nearly often enough.  ** 1/ 4

Anyway overall this is a pretty decent TV block. Nothing spectacular but reasonably solid and entertaining.  Of course the next GAORA block looks like shit so I can't call it a good sign. 


Best of Ric Flair Vol 1 

If your expecting the typical anything with Flair is a 4 star match bs this isnt your review.  However; I am a Flair fan and have been looking forward to going through some matches from his prime.  I particularly was looking for his matches with Barry Windham.  So I picked the Best of Ric Flair Vol 1 and 2 from http://www.wrestleholicsvideos.com .   

Ric Flair vs Harley Race for NWA title in a steel cage with Gene Kininski as referee-  I have seen this match before and I remember it being okay so itll be interesting to see how that opinion changes.   May I just start by saying Gordon Solie is awesome.  He lays out the story of the match so simply and so easily.  Anyway Race is the bad guy and Flair is the good guy and the title of the event is a Flair for the gold and its in North Carolina so guess the result. Anyway the match starts slow Harley gives Flair an elbow on a break, Gene gets mad, then Flair gives Race an elbow on a break and Gene gets mad.  A theme throughout as this match is not clean and Gene is a very active part of it.  Flair controls with a headlock before Race gets out and gives him a vertical suplex.  Race then controls very methodically working slowly through his vast moveset.  The peak is a piledriver which he doesnt capitilize on as Gordon points out but follows with an elbow drop instead for 2.    No one is buying though that Flair is going down yet.  Race starts to get a bit annoyed maybe and tosses Flair into the cage a few time drawing the obligatory blade job.  Gene gets involved when Race start punching Flair allowing Flair to seize control but Gene does the same to Flair showing he is fair.  Finally Flair is able to take control on his own by reversing an IW and sending Race hard into the corner where Race Blades.  Nice pop as the tension had built well for Flairs first comeback.  Flair throws race into the cage and gets some near falls.  As you would expect the fans are hot for Flair.  Flair follows a piledriver and immediately goes for the cover as the announcers point out the difference between he and Race earlier.  Kininski AGAIN comes into play interfering allowing Race to get an easy transition.  The match starts to get really good as it just has progressively degenerated more and more into a brawl and now seems to be close to getting out of hand.  When Flair chops race down for a 2 the crowd is just really buzzing.  Flair hits a backdrop suplex and goes into the figure four.  Race turns it over and then rolls to the ropes pretty quickly.  To my modern eye it seemed awful fast but the move may have been more deadly back then.  Race goes for a vertical suplex but cant get Flair up because his knees are bothering him and Flair falls on top of him for 2. Race is back in control and his offense peaks with a diving head butt off the second rope  for 2.  Pace just really slows down after quickening early as again its Race methodically controlling.  Kininski repeatedly gets involved.  Race controls till Flair reverses another vertical suplex attempt into one of his one for 2.  They brawl for a bit till Gene gets bumped.   Then a bit more brawling till Flair wins with a flying cross body off the top.  

Anyway the match was okay.  A bit slow paced and I found Kininski to be an unneeded distraction from what these two were doing.  They did a much better match next year in All Japan probably a 4 star match in fact.  Having seen that match recently I had my hopes up for this one but it just wasnt as good.  Everything was to methodical.  At one point it looked like it was going to really break down and get hot but they lost focus and it slowed back down.  Not a bad match but not the great one these two were capable of *** 1/ 4

Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair for the NWA World Title and 1 million dollars with smocking Joe Frazier as Ref-  The announcers tell us Dusty has put on some extra weight for strength.  Dusty just kept getting stronger then after this point because here he isnt morbidly obese. The crowd is hot tonight and its actually a pretty fun and fast paced match.  Key point is when Dusty puts the figure four on Flair getting him in some trouble and injuring his knee.  It doesnt last long though as they brawl back and forth but pretty well.  Nothing high concept here but the fans are eating it up. Dusty throws Flair out but when he goes to follow Ric tosses him into the grade rail and Dusty blade over his eye.  Joe checks him but Flair and Dusty keep going at each other with Flair targeting the eye specifically.  Joe eventually has enough and stops the match due to the cut. Dusty gets mad  and charges Joe but is held back. 

The cut wasnt that ugly looking.  Dusty needed a more manly blade job to put over the stoppage.  The match was actually pretty fun but got cut off before they started the build to the finish by the stoppage.  I guess Dusty didnt feel like giving Ric the threee count or submission.  **. 

Ric Flair vs Ted Dibiase for the NWA Heavyweight Championship- YES YES YES YES YES!!!! This is more like it.  The greatest NWA champion ever vs the man who in my opinion is the greatest man to never win a world title.  Anyway before the match Captain Redneck Dick Murdock comes out and asks Ted to step aside because he doesnt deserve this shot.  Dibase refuses and they brawl throwing some AWESOME punches.  If anyone in the WWE threw punches this good Id say give them the World title now!   Murdock post Dibiase and he does a manly blade job while Flair declares he wont have to defend the title tonight.  Later on Bill Watts declares that Dibiase has a pressure bandage and he is demanding a shot and that he agrees that when you have a world title shot you take it regardless.  So the match is on again!   Dibiase was evidently a heel but no longer as the fans are rabid in support of him.  This is a short match but lord does it rule.  Its like a great Smackdown main events with great booking on top.  Whats so cool about this is that everything is a struggle.  These two make even the most simple exchanges tense and dramatic.   Both strikes look great  and their work and selling are so fluid.  Dibiase is particular impresses with his selling of being woozy because of  blood loss.  The bandages quickly come loose and the blood starts coming (though not as bad as before.)   Flair gets a hot near fall on a backdrop suplex simply because Ted is selling his fatigue so well.  Literally no stop in the action.   Ted gets a pretty powerslam but is just to woozy to capitalize.  Then he puts on a figure-four but Flair is in the ropes.  He beels him back out and goes to put it on again but Flair kicks him in the face and he goes outside knocked out for a count out win for Flair. 

Anyway this ruled.  Cheap ending meant to totally protect Dibiase.  Flair was just the traveling champion so they wanted to make their boy look like he should have been world champion since the real worlds champion was never around.  The shortness and finish keep it from being a 4 star match.  But like I say this is about as good a Smackdown mainevent as is out there and educational to watch how these two make everything dramatic.  *** 1/ 4 

Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes for the NWA Heavyweight Championship of the World-  This is from Starrcade 85 and has probably more heat then Rock and Hogan did.  Its not as good a match though.  Flaws just all through it.  Dusty looks to be even stronger for this match then the last one.  Early on Dusty control and the crowd is eating it up with a spoon though not a whole hell of a lot is happening.  Dusty sells the foot at one point which evidently was injured earlier by Flair/Ole/Arn.  Dusty goes for revenge by going after Flairs leg with lots of elbow drops.  He goes for the figure-four but Flair kicks him off and Dusty again sells the leg (he hadnt anytime between these two points.)  Flair goes for the figure-four but Dusty blocks twice.  Dusty stops selling again and springs up to the top and falls off on top of Flair (I cant call it more then a fall) but the ref is distracted so the collasal force of all of Dustys strength falling on Flair only yields 2.  Flair blade off some elbows I believe these guys are very good at hiding the blade although I havent looked I really have yet to see the razor pop up even though I can usually pinpoint where they actually are doing it from posture.  Dusty misses a kick and hits the turnbuckle again injuring his leg for at least 10 seconds.  Flair puts the figure four on the wrong leg as he often did.  Dusty sells it anyway and turns it over.   Dusty stops selling the leg and a little bit later the Ref gets bumped twice in a row.  Arn runs in and eats an Elbow but Ole comes in and gets Rhodes with a knee.  Flair gets a two count from another ref but when he pulls Dusty up he falls pray to a inside cradle (I refuse to  call anything Dusty does small)  or the 3 count.  Wrestlers come out and try to hoist Dusty on their shoulders but fail!  

The crowd heat was just amazing.  Everything Dusty did got popped huge and Flair got great heel heat.  The match sucked though.  Dustys selling was pretty bad and basically all it was was chops and elbows with some leg work.  After you get past the heat you have a pretty weak match.  Not a whole lot good here only * 1/ 4.   If this is the match Dave Metzler watched and realized how much worse 80s wrestling was then today no wonder he reacted like that because this is vastly worse then anything else Ive seen from Flair of the era.

Ric Flair vs Barry Windham for the NWA Heavyweight Championship-  Bill Alfonso is your ref and he calls it right down the middle.  As always the crowd is jacked to see the heavyweight champion of the world defend his title.  Flair comes out to Easy Lover for some unknown reason.  Hot start with Windham dominating before Flair takes a breather.  They do some pretty smooth matwork before Barry starts targeting the left arm of Flair but it goes no where.  Flair plays a bit of possum after taking the ropes hard but after suckering Barry in just pisses him off and Berry takes charge back.   Windham workes over the back of Flair with a Boston crab and a vertical suplex amongst others.   Flair finally gets control it seems by raising a knee as Windham charges but in this match there are seeming transition periods where one wrestler has to get kind of a 2/3 moves to take charge instead of just one being enough.  Its kind of cool.  Flair throws Windham outside and into the steel andWindham Blades!!!!!  You starting to see why some people critize Flairs matches as repititive.  Flair drops a knee but misses the second and Barry immediately takes advantage of Flairs weakness with a figure four (oh my god the opponent uses a figure four on Flair whatever will our hero do!!!)  Flair makes the rope but Windham continues to work the knee.  Windham finally misses a dropkick  (see these guys know more transitions then punches)  but again Flair cant immediately take charge as Windham blocks a vertical suplex into an inside cradle but Flair is determined so stays on him after he kicks out.  Barry grabs a headlock but Flair backs him in the corner for some chops and then piledrives Barry for a hot near fall.  They do a super cool counter of a snapmare into a backslide for a pin attempt by Windham.  Flair goes for another piledriver but Windham back drops out and the crowd is noticably heated.  Windham gets a mild near fall with a lariet.  Then beats him from pillar to post and around the outside.  Ric hits an atomic drop but Windham punches him and they are both down.  Flair gets up first (again fighting for transitions)  Flair tosses him out and once he gets back in gets some nice heat on a sleeper.  Its sold that he is attacking the oxygen supply of Windham throughout with his chops and chest attacks. Windham tosses him though to get free but Flair is rabid and works over the leg for a bit.  Then he applies the figure four again on the wrong leg.   Ric builds heat by holding onto the ropes but Barry rolls over to force the break.  Flair goes up top but gets caught as he has everytime but once on this tape but Windham stupidly goes for a kneedrop which misses and now sells both knees.  Ric Flair stays on the oxygen supply its a nice thread throughout the match.  The ref gets bumped and that nasty Flair tosses him over the top rope  but Windham recovers as Flair is distracted and hits a top rope drop kick.  The ref is slow to get up so Windham only gets 1.  Barry grabs a sleeper and gets a near fall out of that but Flair isnt ready to give.  Flair knocks him down and again goes for figure four but Windham grabs him for an inside cradle but Flair is in the ropes.  Windham hits a GORGOUS vertical suplex with a float over for 2.  Irish whip and Flair hits a cross body block as they both go over the top  and struggle leading to the double count out of ring at 41.35. 

Anyway this is a must see for a Flair fan.   They really do a great job keeping it intense for the whole match.  The matwork is very sweet when they are down there.   The psychology is also sound except for your standard Flair brainfarts and Windhams early blade never coming into play.  Flair stays on the chest and neck to wear Windham down and also works the legs to set up for the figure four.  Windham works over the back and the legs.   Both are sold very well.  Everything is intense and the crowd eats it up throughout.  The finish is a big let down and hurts the drama of the match which needed a nice finish to cap everything.  Flair really needed a feared finisher.  Almost nobody important would ever tap to the figure four and it would have been nice if he had a move he could have pinned people with.  Anyway super fun match that gets ****.  

So as for the tape its definitely one to get if you havent seen the matches.   The Dibiase match is an excellent example of a well executed face turn.  The Windham match is one of the better Flair matches Ive seen needing only a finish.  The match with Race is disappointing considering how awesome their match next year was.  The matches with Dusty had great heat at least.  

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.

UCW 9-14-01

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!

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.

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