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AJPW You Might Have Missed - AJPW/WWF Wrestling Summit 1990

I am biased and try to stay away from the WWF/E as much as I can. Other than a handful of periods in time, it is not for me. So a few years back I was watching the SWS promotion and they had a working relationship with the WWF and some of those mixed matches were pretty good depending on who was in them. After watching the Grizzly Smith Dark Side of the Ring I decided to see what Jake the Snake matches I had. Not many...but I found one from my AJ Classics and I thought 'what the heck! Let's see how these WWF vs Japan matches are!'  Jake Roberts vs. Big Bossman - I wanted to like this but skip it. It was Bossman beating up Jake at a snails pace and sneering at the crowd. Jake was good but this wasn't really his forte. Bret Hart vs. Tiger Mask - Full match, a lot of the reviews in the Match Discussion Archives are about a clipped version. This is a good match. I'll be frank Bret can be a boring wrestler without a good story or an opponent who he knows well. So we're 0 for 2 here. Misawa was an upper midcard guy here and wrestled like one. The problem aren't those things though. The issue is that they had them wrestle a longer match. 15-20 minutes...Bret's the guy to do it but again he didn't know Misawa & Misawa isn't supposed to be showing up Hart. 'Cause I'm going to be honest, Misawa in later 1990 had IT because Baba took off his restraints of the mask/character/position in the company...this wasn't that Mitsuharu though. Shoehi Baba / Andre the Giant vs. Demolition - This was fun but only because it was short. Demolition do nothing for me. Jumbo Tsuruta / King Haku vs. Curt Henning / Rick Martel - All right! This is a match up that I never knew I needed to see...but it did not disappoint! All guys are great workers and speak English and probably shared some locker rooms over the years so we were getting great moves and fun sequences. Not only that but some drama too! This was a very good match...scratching on the door of greatness. Randy Savage vs Genichiro Tenryu - Randy with Sherri Martel (who was as much a part of the match as the guys) vs Mr. Puroresu. And in the Dome, Tenryu lives up to that. Like New Mr. Puro Kobashi, Tenryu just embodies the style and sport. So it was a treat to have him face a lunatic like Savage...who I think is an embodiment of American style with the fashion, promos, but the in ring excitement to back it up. Like the above tag bout, this was really good stuff...the fans were loving this! Hulk Hogan vs Stan Hansen - Have no doubts, this is a great match. I avoid Hogan matches but, this is not something to miss especially if you enjoy Stan Hansen. If you have never seen Hansen then this may be your best entry point. At thirteen minutes, we get distilled Lariat - Unsinkable Battle Ship Hansen vs Hulk -I'm in Japan where they still think I'm a badass- Hogan and they live up to it all in my view. I did a big write up and took screen shots to send my dad...it was that great. I mean not to spoil it but give you a taste, we get double blood! Those last three matches are worth checking out for sure. They aren't in that order on the full show or even on the AJ Classics but this is how I would have booked it. Thanks for reading! Keep safe!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Best Match Watched - 2021 Contenders

Here we are at the half way point of 2021...wait what!? Really? Where the heck has the time gone? Maybe 2020 just seemed to be forever. Anyway, here's my top picks for 2021 so far:
Tiger Mask vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82 NJPW) Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (01/06/98 FMW) Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka (03/13/98 FMW) Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/30/98 FMW) Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19/98 FMW) Hisakatsu Oya vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda (12/12/98 FMW) Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto (07/22/05 BJW) Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo (FIP New Year's Classic 2007) Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong FIP Heatstroke '07 Night 1)   Honorable Mention Tag Matches - Gotta show some love to the tag matches that just missed the cut: Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Black Tiger & Pete Roberts (08/27/82 NJPW) Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05/98 FMW) Hayabusa &Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27/98 FMW) BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe (FIP Third Year Anniversary)

Thanks for reading and stay safe folks!

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW You Might Have Missed - 1983

I felt like watching some stuff from the 80's after watching 80's wrestling commercials on YouTube. I've got tons of stuff so I went through and cherry picked a disc from my AJPW collection. Only one match actually is an AJ match which is nice since that smattering of wrestling was what I wanted. Jack and Jerry Brisco vs Bob Orton Jr/Jimmy Valiant (06/12/83 in Savannah, GA): This was a high energy tag match but there wasn't a lot to it. That and three of the guys had red trunks on! It was very good stuff but not much than I can recall. Orton does a great back breaker. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Brad Rheingans (08/30/83): This was a fantastic technical match that AJPW isn't always known for at this time. This is more like what I've seen in NJ at this time. It makes sense since both are former Greco-Roman Olympians. There were plenty of reversals and escapes and I don't recall one rope break. This is really my favorite type of stuff to watch. Great match Harley Race vs Kevin Von Erich (NWA Title on 06/17/83 in Dallas, TX): This was a great title match. I've only seen Kerry Von Erich so it was nice to finally see Kevin. This is especially true after watching the Von Erich Dark Side episode a few weeks ago and as the only living brother, I guess I feel for him. So he's a true babyface in this case if that makes any sense. He's up against Harley Race which I think is a good match up since Harley has a more deliberate orthodox style that transfers well regardless of his opponent. Kevin is more like a Ricky Steamboat heavy weight and his awesome dropkicks look devastating against the champ. Mixed with his body scissors hold (something we don't ever see anymore) and the Iron Claw, he's got Race reeling. Eventually Harley gets Kevin to the floor where he crashes into TV equipment (I think) and hurts his shoulder. There's blood in the water for the shark. The champion is a great white in his attack - ax handle smashes and viscous knee drops are the best. The ref wants to stop the fight but Kevin refuses. He still has his big weapons and won't be told to quit...not even when big brother David comes out. What a great match to introduce the Von Erich clan and a great bout overall.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - FMW 1998 - Part 4

So here we are...the end of 1998 for FMW. Let's see if the year ends as well as it started. Its the 12/13/98 show and the Over the Top Tournament. Mr. Gannosuke vs W*ing Kanemura - A great match! I saw this in full and man Gannosuke is so very underrated. Kanemura too...this story has Gannosuke and Kanemura's friendship and team success threatened as Gannosuke wants nothing to do with Team No Respect and is a dark monk like early Jinsei Shinzaki. Its exactly what you want...blood, table violence, brutal finish - I love it! Hayabusa vs Oya - I own this in a clipped version but, I found the full version. It actually wasn't clipped more than like a minute...weird. Anyway, this was a very good compressed match with all killer wrestling. Hayabusa working with a fit & smart opponent like Oya is just easy to love stuff. FMW is looking a lot better than the last couple months. -spoilers - Gannosuke vs Bad Boy Hido - Super fast but effective match with both guys going for the quick win. Fun stuff. Hisakatsu Oya vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda - Wow...just wow this is a classic match to me. We have Kuroda who's essentially the FMW Kojima vs Hisakatsu Oya who is the in house technician (who throws a mean suplex). So Kuroda does his thing as the fire plug but man...Oya is amazing here. Perhaps I'm not as familiar as I should be but there is a lot to like here. There are a couple transitions from one hold into another that it was really masterful. All that can still lose a match when a guy who throws lariat-o's, right? But even Kuroda had nuance by attacking Oya's leg...and actually sticking with it and when he finally hit his Raven drop toe hold it fed into Oya's weakened knee. He just crumbled. Oya then knew that to overcome Kuroda he would need to break his arm or deliver neck death. As this was the main event, it got the time to build and deliver. Yeah, this show was a return to form for 1998. I was dragging my feet on this show for a variety of reasons but am so glad I watched it. I fitting entry for blog post #200!!! Thanks for your patience and I appreciate all of you who've been reading. It means a whole lot to me. Stay safe folks!  

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - The Steiner Brothers in NJPW

I watched the Dark Side on the Collision in Korea. It was a thankful return to form for the show. Anyhow it got me thinking about the steiner's match over there and here's a spotlight from the wrestling notebook grooveyard. Everyone has an opinion on the 1991 match vs Hase & Sasaki so I'll omit that...let's get into some lesser known stuff of -The Steiner Brothers in NJPW!! Steiner Brothers vs. Power Warrior Sasaki & Jushin Liger (New Japan 2/17/94) A pretty good tag match with Liger being the real spark plug of this match. Sasaki is only really capable of a few moves but he used them real well here. Cool finish. ***3/4 (very good match) Steiner Brothers vs. Jushin Liger/Chris Benoit (New Japan 4/4/94) The junior team was out classed here and Benoit mainly took bumps but once things got real competitive it was fantastic and really exciting. This is why I love tag-team wrestling. **** (Great match) Steiner Brothers vs. Chris Benoit/Scott Norton (New Japan 10/8/94) A joined-in-progress match that was not very memorable but by no means bad...just not up to the standards of the other two. Once again Benoit was bump-boy...which is a total misuse. (No rating but must be at least fun) Steiner Brothers vs. Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase (New Japan, 1/4/95) The best of the matches here and you could tell from the get go that the Steiners were taking this one seriously. Mutoh was awesome here as the fire plug MF'er that I've heard so much good stuff about. The strikes were never the Steiners strong suit as they either go too stiff or not enough but if you can get past that it's an awesome tag match. If they were responsibly stiff then this would be 4.25+ but as it is I'll give it ****+. Still fun dramatic tag match as Hase's trademark suplex does the Brothers in. This is an added bonus as I'm a fan (Great match...I'll say near classic here in 2021) Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (New Japan, 4/29/95) This is from the Korea Supershow and it's not too bad as Kensuke brings it to who ever gets in the ring with him and Hase is just great. Unfortunately the native team jobs in essentially a squash match but without the killer double team moves and the producer/editor thought it'd be a good idea to switch to Kensuke & Rick brawling on the outside as Scott hit the Screwdriver on Hase for the pin?! What the fuck!?  Steiner Brothers vs. Scott Norton & Power Warrior Hawk (New Japan, 5/3/95) I wish Kensuke was in this but as it was it was alright. Scott Norton bumps like someone 100lbs lighter and well Hawk was alright at times. Still no one here to supply psychology. The spots were good but they didn't know what to do to carry the drama from one spot to the next. Still we got to see the Steiner DDT & Bulldog to put Hawk down. Would have been better but 2 Amer. teams are working too friendly and comes across as a WCW match. (Guess this maybe this is explained by the Dark Side episode as this takes place a couple days after. Hawk had Hep A and was on medicine and it sounds like the experience for all of American guys was very very rough). Hope you dug this! I'm working on getting to finishing my ongoing stuff with FMW '98. I've been watching the Darkside stuff, Pillman matches from the WWE dvd, and listening to Cornette's podcast moreso than focusing on the task at hand. Sorry! Also I wrote a Thank you New Jack post but that never got posted or removed and that was discouraging...so anyhow thanks for reading! Getting close to post #200.   Stay safe folks!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Tiger Mask - Part 6

This is the start of Disc #4 of 6 and man, I'm really happy that I got this set a year ago. Its taken me awhile to watch it but, I think that's for the best. This stuff has been a real blast to watch. OK let's get to the matches: vs Villano III (09/03/82): Joined in Progress, This was a fun match with some good moves from Tiger but nothing of much substance. Still a good match to start out with... vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82): Black Tiger Rocco tried to jump Tiger Mask before the match but he and Roberts handle B.T. and get onto their bout. Interesting since Roberts and Rocco/Black Tiger teamed up earlier in the year. Anyhow, that aside we get a slight skip ahead in the the tape (not much) and wow! We get two technical wizards having a good old fashion duel! Tons of holds, counter holds, escapes and reversals are in this match. This was technical marvel! Classic match...this is Tiger in his element. vs Chris Adams (09/17/82): The mix of styles here was rather pleasant. Adams could do Tiger's mat stuff but, also had good punches and of course the Superkick/Thrust kick. This busted Tiger Mask's mouth open. I think it loosened a tooth frankly. TM responds with kicks of his own and tries to fight his way out of hole. Not quite a heel/face match but, Adams was no Gentleman Very good match where Tiger has to go for broke! Tiger Mask & Kantaro Hoshino vs Villano III & Black Tiger (09/19/82): This is a much better showing of Villano III than the singles match above. He and B.T make a great team. I wonder if they were teaming regularly in Japan at this time. There was no problems here despite one guy being Mexican and the other being British wrestling two Japanese guys. That being said, this was a high energy match that is really easy to watch. Everything just seemed to flow together. Now, I would have like a little more drama to have been built by working to a hot tag but that's my opinion. There were some good pinfall break-ups but, they should have been a bit more conservative with them to really make the later ones more thrilling. That is do fewer of them so it gives greater meaning & purpose to them. That's my complaint but, overall another very good go-go match. This was much more of a showcase for Black Tiger & Villano III than Tiger or Hoshino. And there's no complaints there! 6 DVDs of one guy can be pretty repetitive but Tiger Mask is not that repetitive of a wrestler. I was really worried about that and is why I held off on buying this set for a long time. In all honesty, I think I got that feeling from watching the Dynamite matches. And I don't want to knock those  (we got one more fight in '83) but, I prefer these other match-ups. Those TM DK bouts stand out stylistically from his other matches and those laid the ground work for much of wrestling that would follow. But I got the feeling Tiger Mask was a flippy-floppy wrestler who did some dives and that was ahead of its time BUT 40 years later...that's old hat. This set and shoot! even the above bouts put that misconception to bed. Its worth the time to watch some of these just to do the man some justice and say "yeah, he's more than just his Dynamite matches." But I think it's worth watching these to see great wrestling in a style that you don't see anymore...and frankly I don't think most folks lack the skills and patience to do it.  Oh before I forget! -BONUS- Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Pete Roberts & EL Solitario (09/04/81): A year earlier we find this match. Its NOT on my big Tiger Mask set but on Archives.org. Thanks to the person that posted this! Its 13 minutes of fantastic chain wrestling, rope running action. I'm really not sure why folks don't do this today. Its as athletic as the stuff nowadays and a whole lot more interesting to watch. This was a very good match and Roberts had two amazing chain sequences with Tiger & Fujinami.   
Thanks for reading! Stay safe everyone     

Big Japan Deathmatch Wars #39 & 40 (2005)

So let me start by saying I'm not 100% on the episodes because Highspots has them as #41 & 42 (Daisuke Sekimoto Special) and the actual DVD menu has them as #39 & 40 with the dates being 08/02/05 & 08/09/05 respectively. That should hopefully help you should you be looking for these episodes on DVD or in some other form. My goal of this blog is to help people find their way to older /andor perhaps overlooked wrestling. I think 2005 BJW is a good fit for that since I had never really heard much about this time period and really only could relate BJW to the Deathmatch tape I bought im like '98 or '99. I've gone on about that elsewhere. When I got Fire Pro Wrestling returns back in 2007 for PS2, I don't think I recognized anyone on the BJW (NITRO I think was the fake company name) roster. I've become familiar by looking at the match listings on Cagematch or where ever  when doing my prelim research but, we're going into this one relatively blind together. Anyways, I did some digging and it seemed like 2005 would be a good place for me to jump in. Again, no one really talks about this time period anymore and really not a lot in the late 2000's early 2010s. But there are names that I know from more recent BJW stuff that I see on their Youtube page (clipped matches from 2011-2014ish) and guys from FMW and the Indies from the 90's. I'm down with that So let's start: 07/22/05 - Korakuen Hall Daikobubo Benkei & Asian Cougar vs Mammoth Sasaki & Hyoma - This was a good match. I'm familiar with Mammoth Sasaki from FMW and fellow user Gordi has shared some great stories and pictures of he and his pal Asian Cougar here So this should be a lot of fun! And it is. Both Mammoth and Cougar are the best here. Cougar stole the show to be honest. He took a sick bump off the apron into the crowd and did a spectacular tope con hilo ( over the top somersault senton if you will) to his opponent lying prone on the ring floor...on a pile of chairs no less! Gran Hamada & Men's Teioh vs Katsu Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo - This was cool to see Hamada and Teioh in the ring again. I love that 93-97 M-Pro stuff. I look forward to seeing the younger guys in future matches they have potential. But this was only a good match since Hamada is getting long in the tooth and Teioh is only going to work so hard with youngsters. Hamada does his back body drop flip though! Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto - From what I could tell after the match (which isn't a lot since I don't understand Japanese), this was fought as a Strong Style match. Kobayashi wanted to prove to Sekimoto that he could beat him at his own style, let alone in deathmatch style. Holy crap! This was like early '98 FMW greatness! Stong style but with hardcore rules which is perfect for the ECW kid in me. And frankly this is as about as perfect a ECW/FMW athletic style match as you can have. Sekimoto at this stage is like Masato Tanaka...he hits hard and can get hit even harder. Abby Jr. drops him on his noggin a couple times to make Dangan shudder. In the end, both guys are bleeding, and this is an All time classic match in this style. Both guys were absolutely brutal and not a light tube or roll of barb wire to be found. So glad this was shown in full. -Now we're on to the next show which is called the Daisuke Sekimoto special but also features some clipped matches of Jaki Numazawa. This will make sense at the end of the show. Again, if I understood Japanese, it would have made sense from the beginning! Daisuke Sekimote vs Ryuji Ito (08/10/99) - Baby match- wow! Ryuji is a string bean! 5:30 match vs Naoki (Jaki) Numazawa (03/01/01) - 6+ match..possibly Numazawa's debut match? Looked nothing like how he does nowadays (or even'05 for that matter). vs Men's Teioh (02/03/02) - 10 minutes and the best one so far. We're seeing shades of what Sekimoto will become later on. Very enjoyable match and Teioh is very generous. vs D. Benkei (08/18/02) - Benkei is as big as a port-a-potty. JIP but this is good and represents Sekimoto's style of lariats, fighting spirit, etc. He wins the BJW Hvy Wt. belt here. Now this is when I get confused as they show the following: Mad Man Pondo vs Numazawa (11/10/02) - Numazawa looks completely different from a year ealier with Daisuke. He's a fine wrestler but gave that up to be put through glass tubes. Numazawa goes to the hospital for his injuries. This has some sick spots but the execution could have been better. Numazawa vs Ryuji Ito (01/15/04) - Lights out electric lighttube deathmatch. I always liked these at it seemed more dangerous and stuff This too was clipped but this was crazy! Ito has bulked up and he's mixing his kicks in with the light tube stuff. That looks awesome. Numazawa was impressive here as well. Numazawa vs Sekimoto (01/28/05) - OK so full circle now...the focuses of the show meet here in 2005 (earlier in the year of this TV tape). This was clipped was well and I wish it was shown in full. It looked amazing. Still I'm not complaining on what was shown at all. *Looked this up on Cagematch and it looks like the next show was a Numazawa produced show and the main event was Numazawa vs Sekimoto in a Prison Hall Deathmatch. SO this episode was building up to that show...cool! And thats the end of the DVD. I would say both episodes had their merits. The first one had the classic Daisuke vs Abby match and the second episode had a lot of material that was condensed to the best stuff. All in all this was a great into to BJW at this time period. I know Ito is a big deal and I've seen Jaki Numazawa on BJW clipped stuff so this was neat. I totally want to hook up my PS2 and go through the BJW roster and play some matches. There'll be more on the way. I think the next batch is from 2006. Also I've not forgotten FIP and Tiger Mask. TM stuff should be coming out soon. There's a real doozy you'll want to see on there. Stay safe!  

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - FMW 1998 - Part 3

Sorry for the delay!  Let's get back to 1998 in the FMW promotion in Japan. Hisakatsu Oya vs Kodo Fuyuki (10/06): This was a more traditional match with Fuyuki trying to get the better of Oya at his own game. A good match especially if you have the patience for Inoki type stuff. W*ing Kanemura vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda (10/06): I loved Kanemura's 'dance routine ' to The Offspring. This got really good when Kuroda got his comeback. It was real cat & mouse stuff. This is #90 on BAHU's list. That seems fair to me. Koji Nakagawa vs Hayabusa (10/06): I jumped ahead in this because Nakagawa isn't beating Hayabusa but I want to see what's up. And this ain't bad! Nakagawa is going at Hayabusa with a fork and this is something different.  T. Kuroda vs Mr. Gannosuke (11/20): Gannosuke is back! The version I saw was clipped but this was good. I feel like the Kanemura one was better. Hayabusa vs Kodo Fuyuki (11/20): I was going to go into Fuyuki's role in FMW and how he changed the direction of FMW away from the deathmatches and really even the traditional style of early 1998. He changed the style to Entertainment style which was what WCW & WWF were doing. You can see that the mat has changed and there's fancy U.S. style entrances now. But I'll leave it there but let's say the outcome of the match is indicative. This was a very good title match. Hayabusa was was really going after Fuyuki's lariat arm & early on Fuyuki was keeping 'busa grounded. Bird man was doing what he could with fat Fuyuki so not everything worked like it would have with someone more agile. Again it was very good and even great at times. But could have been better and well the outcome changed the direction of the company (kayfabe) but also was an indicator of things to come. I've been kinda bummed out about this later stuff because the year started out on a real high note. I mean, it was AJPW level classic stuff but as guys like Tanaka and Gannosuke were out of the picture, the matches suffered. There's one more installment and will cover 1998 FMW Year End Sensation which is a tournament. Let's hope it's good! Thanks for reading and stay safe!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Tiger Mask - Part 5

So I'm going to pick back up my project of watching Tiger Mask #1 in NJPW and I was having trouble finding where I left off. Little did I remember that I'd actually a few matches for part 5 already watched! I got into a giant ROH tangent and been doing those reviews along with FIP. Anyhow here's part #5! Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid (08/05/82) - I watched this twice and know I've seen it at least a few other times. It's a pretty good match still but, the set-up and pacing is where I have a problem. In fact its one that's a common problem nowadays...there's no real build or story. There's problems with the psychology that keep this from being great. It is a collection of neat sequences & the finish was sick...so this doesn't lack action or excitement just substance.   w/ Tatsumi Fujinami vs Black Tiger & Pete Roberts (08/27/82) - Oh yeah! Rocco Black Tiger (R.I.P.) is just there to throw shade & mug Tiger every chance he gets. Even Roberts has words with Black Tiger at one point. That said, this is fantastic fast paced technical tag wrestling overall. These type of bouts is where TM Sayama shines brightest. Even more so with Rocco acting like a dirt bag villain amongst the technicians. Great match! Something I would skip over had I not got this DVD set. vs Dynamite Kid (08/30/82) - The steroids are really kicking in for the Kid now...holy crap! So this is the widely known MSG match and is a condensed version of what they're doing in Japan. So, their getting their stuff in without killing for time and it works. I wouldn't say it's as complete as their NJ stuff but, if you want to show someone classic puro without taking up too much time - it's a good start! I believe that there's only one more Tiger vs Dynamite match left. They are still very good matches and the Kid is probably the most consistent opponent our hero has. So, they might not have the best match thus far, he's a quality opponent and I know that they "wow" the audience and first tim viewers. I don't think many people can say they did love the Tiger vs Dynamite stuff the first time around. Thanks for reading! Looking forward to picking this project up again shortly.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - Third Year Anniversary (2007)

Sara Del Ray vs Lacey vs Daizee Haze - It was a good triple threat match with nice action.  It started out slow but improved as it went on.  It was just nice to see women's wrestling especially in this setting.  
Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (NO DQ Match) - Good but not great.  I didn't think that Grand Akuma got a lot of offense in. It was a fun match nonetheless.
Erick Stevens vs Jack Evans - Very good to almost even a great match.  Lots of great moves from Jack.  Erick provided a great base for Jack's aerial moves. Not everything hit 100% perfection but it all still looked good and worked great in the setting. This was where the show got started in my opinion.   BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe - This was a great match.  Lots of fast paced action with good moves. BB Hulk was all over the place and you couldn't even tell it was a small show since he was doing so much. Yamato was still coming into his own but was hitting as hard as Roderick.  Yamato had some good moves with excellent German suplex on Roderick. Briscoe and Roderick on offense was really good stuff and everyone really brought their A game. Probably could've been a classic but the structure of the match was more American than the typical ROH/Dragon Gate matches.   Black Market and The Heartbreak Express vs The YRR - Good fun brawl the night before the Cage of Pain 2 match.  I don't think anyone was going all out considering they had that on the horizon.  There were a couple good moves but I would not have made this the main event.  However, the booking makes sense in the context of the story lines. In summary, a good DVD.  It wasn't blow away awesome as I would have hoped. You can tell from the reviews and the number of matches that I skipped that I wanted to get to the meat of the show. Even then only 2 of those matches were truly memorable. The Erick vs Jack and the Tag match were worth the $5 on Highspots especially if you're looking to get a taste of this era of ROH without hunting for DVDs.   Thanks for reading!! Stay safe P.s. I used a different pic for the entry since they advertise the DVD as Dragon Gate vs FIP...change things up a bit.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Ring of Honor - ROH TV thoughts prior to 19th Anniversary Show

Man, what is going on with Ring of Honor again? They just seemed to go right back to where they were before the pandemic and the Pure Title Tourney. The problem as I see it is: They have too many wrestlers for the amount of TV time and PPVs they do. They've got one hour of TV to fill and a PPV every three months right now. As I've followed it some guys are making an appearance once a month on TV and frankly this isn't just the low end guys like LSG, The Bouncers, and others. I don't know the last time I saw Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, Mike Bennett, Vincent and it goes on and on. These are supposed to be their upper card guys. Same with Brody King who other than a little scuffle the other week has been off TV for sometime. I mean he was the # 1 contender at Final Battle and he's just made like a couple appearances at most in the past two months!? ROH doesn't put enough content out right now/past year to be having as many lower end guys in singles matches as they do. Does Dak Draper, Tony Deppen, Eli Isom need a singles match on TV where they feature 2-3 matches a week? I don't think so when it means we don't see guys from their "big" story lines once or twice a month. I say this because it is really hard for me, a weekly viewer, to even remember or care about the "big" matches on the PPV. I'm too busy watching fun throw-away matches that don't amount to anything again - just like pre-pandemic ROH was doing. Case in point is Dak Draper beating Fred Yehi in a Pure Rules match. Firstly, Pure Matches have nothing going for them anymore because they are not wrestled any differently than regular matches. OK there's the closed fist thing but, there's no real danger there because no one has been DQ'd for doing it twice yet. That being said Fred Yehi, who was THE standout of new comer to ROH during the Pure Tournament, is a fantastic talent for ROH to get behind. Dak Draper is a recent (somewhat) winner of the Top Prospect Tourney which isn't saying a lot but, he's in good shape and he's tall. Why is this guy beating a Yehi, who beat vet Silas Young and took Tracy Williams to the limit? It doesn't make any sense if you've been watching the show. And I think ROH or Sinclair think that people don't watch the show regularly enough to actually follow/remember/care about such things. Why show this match instead of Yehi vs someone from Los Ingobernales? That would at least be Foundation vs LFI or at least Pure Rules vs LFI's rudo-ism... Where ROH hit a type of gold was limiting their roster and having a tournament during the Pure Title stuff. A tourney has built in drama because there are stakes to every match and we see the results of those wins and losses. I got used to them throwing in non-tourney matches like a 6 man or perhaps a segment (like with Taven & Vincent) to keep things fresh or different with the wrestling style. Unfortunately, ROH did exactly what I was afraid of when they started showing promos of Rush & crew. It became the same old crap and the big reveal of The Foundation group has turned to be a whole-lotta-nothing like most of their factions the past couple years. That is unless you actually want to feature them on your one hour of TV a week. So now we have all of these little story lines that are not very interesting and the ones that actually have the potential to be good are so few and far between I can hardly remember what happened last. And from what it seems to me, it is because ROH wants to get their money's worth by showing every wrestler they have for a singles match or two over the course of 2-3 months...regardless if that wrestler is any good, anyone wants to see that person, or there is a story involved for a PPV. Now, if they are doing this due to COVID-19 safety then, that's OK. But they have got to be a little bit better in how they plan things in terms of story. If anything pepper in a little footage or a match every week from their top 2 stories per week. I've admitted that ROH is pretty much running midcard type matches and their TV show is like WCW Worldwide but, honestly it isn't even fun anymore. The draw of watching stuff like that is that every once in awhile something very good or great will be shown. A match or an interview that will suck you into the world their presenting. The Pure Tourney had moments like this,  matches after the tourney like had this like Dalton vs Brody King and Woods vs Castle...perhaps Dragon Lee vs Rey Horus (IIRC). So they have it in them to do this...and I think if they ran more tag matches (2v2 or 3v3) then they could still use their roster BUT keep people fresh in the fans minds. And this would keep matches exciting and cover-up any weak spots for newer guys...and you could make a tournament out of it! So, the booking is the story line (I'm no genius). Tag teams to fight for Dragon Lee & Kenny King's belts are: Woods & Young (they seem to want to put them back together...but we'll have to wait a month to see if that to happens), Moses & Kaun, The Bouncers, anyone from The Foundation (Rhett and Lethal?), Rey Horus & Flamita, Bennett & Taven, Vincent and Bateman, Dalton Castle and Tony Deppen (why not?). Boom...there you go eight teams. Two matches every week and their using two more guys/week so they're getting their value there. Plus they could have the LFI, Foundation, or other stable mates come out a ring side if they need more folks. That's a helluva lot more interesting than random mis-matches.   Anyhow, here's what ROH's 19th Anniversary line-up looks like thus far: Dalton Castle vs Josh Woods - OK this makes sense. Its their 3rd match and they mesh well with one another. Danhausen vs Brian Johnson vs LSG vs Eli Isom - Freebie match in hour 1 of 4. Maybe don't do 4 hours... Mark Briscoe vs Flip Gordon - I could do without Flip anymore. This was some convoluted set-up where EC3 (remember him?) paid off Flip to interfere in a Briscoes match. Who cares... Gresham vs Dak Draper (Pure Title) - See above...no reason Draper gets a title shot for beating Fred Yehi. This looks like a B.S. match no fan asked for. The Foundation  as a gimmick would be fine with two like-minded athletes fighting for the belt. God-forbid we get a potentially great pure match with Yehi & Gresham (what I wanted for the Pure Tourney Finals). Titus & Williams vs Lee & Kenny King (Tag Titles) - What should be a TV match to build the feud has been fast tracked to a PPV match. This is EXACTLY the problem I have...there has been no build for this particular match. Which is fine for TV but asinine for PPV. Williams vs Lee (TV title) - That's right folks! Lee and Hot Sauce face off again or for the first time (?) for the TV title. Here's an idea...maybe only give 1 person a title at a time ROH. They are giving belts to people in order to justify matches on their PPV but are afraid to give them to anyone different. Again fine for TV but asinine for PPV. Also, they probably can retire the TV title. Vincent vs Matt Taven - Fight without Honor match. They call it an unsanctioned match and will take place off site in Boston. Its supposed to be the blow-off to the feud but, we've hardly seen enough of this lately to anyone to be invested in this. Probably still will be fun though. Shane Taylor Promotions vs Mexisquad (6 man titles) - Isn't this the match where STPromotions won the belts? Did they even defend them once? Is ROH just going to give them back to Mexisquad here? When everyone has won the championship then, it kind of makes the championship meaningless. Can probably retire this title as well. Jay Briscoe vs EC3 - Final Battle Rain check match...then I'm guessing EC3 will be gone. He seemed to come back just for this PPV...I'm guessing that was in his contract. Who knows...he's on the ROH roster page. Rush vs Jay Lethal (ROH World Title) - They might give it back to Lethal since it seems he's the only person who can carry it and the company right now. If they don't then perhaps they can drag a quality program out of Rush vs Lethal for a couple months...if they do some of the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, they will have to stick with it for half the year and have multiple interactions (tag, 6 man, brawls etc.) to keep the heat up. It might actually be great stuff and give some prestige back to the belt. Not optimistic though...   They are having a Foudation vs Ingobernales 8 man match the week before 19th Anniversary (this upcoming show) so, perhaps that will fan the flames of interest for the 4 Foundation vs LFI matches on the bloated PPV card. Again trying to get in as many guys as possible at the cost of match quality or fan interest But! At least other than Draper it features the company's many players...so again why is Draper on it? I'm guessing Yehi is  paid on as needed basis where Draper probably is on contract. But still why not Brody King, LSG or Deppen? All would actually have a good match at least.
All this being said, ROH still isn't using their signed Women of Honor wrestlers as well as their UK talent in Joe Hendry and big player and #1 contender prior to lock down Mark Haskins. Where the heck do you fit all of those folks in AND try to get a more cohesive narrative for your company? If you don't do more 6 man matches and tags...you don't get better, you get worse. It will be a jumbled mess like AWA on ESPN or MLW Underground (from what I watched). Thanks for reading my rambling Apologies for typos and that kind of stuff. Should be back on track for more FIP next week and the final installment of FMW 1998 soon thereafter.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - Heatstroke 2007 - Night 1

I watched these in a different order since I kinda know how FIP is booked and they don't really escalate as expected. Sometimes the main event isn't the biggest match of the night from a drama or work rate perspective. That was the case here so, I'm going to post the matches I watched in the order that I watched them. The Briscoes vs Irish Airborne (OI4K aka OvE): Quick action packed tag match with lots of good moves. The teams of brothers clearly are in sync so they were able to execute everything cleanly and quickly. Not a story match but a good to very good tag bout. Nice start to my show Necro Butcher w/ Dave Prazak vs Delirious: A very good anything goes match that had a bunch of moves done on the piles of chairs. That seems like an odd thing to say but, its true. Everything looked really hurty. It definitely would appeal to the ECW fans without being overly gory like perhaps the Necro/Pondo matches with the Briscoes were...No one is getting staple gunned for instance. Its more family friendly lets say. That being said, it was good grudge match with Delirious breaking away from Prazak and was good in both that story and execution. Davey Richards vs Erick Stevens: FIP Heritage title match...Great match! This was fought like it could have been the main event of the show. Tons of stiff strikes, very great arm work by Davey as he actually has an arm submission with the Double Wrist 14:59 lock. Stevens sold it throughout the match without over-selling it.Really good finish and a great encounter...Stevens is really coming into his own now. YRR vs Black Market & Heartbreak Express: This was the show's main event but, these are mainly mid card guys but "locals" so they do get the top slot from time to time. Here we have an Bunkhouse Brawl...its a street fight with a bunch of chaos in the audience for 85% of the match. A couple guys bled, good action and stuff going on most of the time. A very good match and a good send off for the live crowd. It wasn't a good match in the truest sense but, with 8 guys and SoCal Val all over the place it was very entertaining. Again, if you're an ECW fan (I say that a lot) but, if you can appreciate the whole being greater than the sum its the parts then, you would like this type of match. Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong: My main event and the 2nd from the top is for the FIP title. This is a near classic bout with lots of hard hits from both guys. This was a match that really escalated into a high octane ROH level match and is one of Roddy's best defenses that I've seen. His second best singles match next to the Jack Evans one from 2006. Tyler was really game to have an FIP classic and I think it really was. They didn't empty the tank like Evans vs Roddy and that's probably what stops me from putting it up there but, man Tyler was hungry at this time and Roddy was more than happy to go toe to toe. Overall, probably one of the best shows (cherry picking matches of course) that I have. All of the above matches are worthwhile but the Stevens/Davey and Roddy/Tyler matches are excellent and just what you would want or expect. No shenanigans or cutesy playing to the crowd. They came to wrestle.  The same goes for the other 3 matches I watched. If there's one show to pick up from Highspots for $5 if you're on the fence, I would go with this one. If you want to spend $15 to get 3, get this, New Years Classic 2007 and Strong vs Evans. A fourth would probably be In Full Force 2007. FIP seems to really be the true sister promotion in terms of style and match quality to ROH in 2007.  If you're fans of these guys, you won't be disappointed. Thanks for reading!   Oh I actually remembered to include the promo video! See below:    

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - FMW 1998 - Part 2

So AEW did their barbwire explosion match and it was a bust. I kinda saw that one coming. If you've seen any recent Onita explosion stuff its not really the same quality of boom-boom explosions from the 90's. Its more sparkles on speed than scary !BANG! type stuff. I also heard that they didn't time the match properly and the had to stall for 4 minutes for the finale. That sounds worse than the big explosion not working. But for real...it was not going to be early 90's FMW explosion stuff...people had to know that in 2021. Those ones looked damn near illegal...even for Japan. That's my G. Badger hot take that no one asked for Anyhow lets get on to the Frontier Martial Arts wrestling! We go to May of 1998. Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05): This was the match you expected from all four guys. It was all action with Gedo & Jado being the heels to the max and our heros have to overcome their cheating ways. It feature a bunch of great exchanges and really would be on my Top 100 FMW list. It was a ton of fun. A great match to me! Masato Tanaka vs Hayabusa (05/19): Bahu's top singles match of FMW so I had high expectations. But man, I was disappointed. It  was not as good as their 03/13 classic. It wanted to be consciously epic by having a load of false finishes but, it just does not work in 2021. I don't think it works in 1998 to be honest because the lay out was all wrong. It starts with a wonderful opening exchange then gets to the wrestling to injure a limb type stuff but, that goes nowhere because it leads right to the false finish portion. This is the MIDDLE of the match mind you because then we get to the strike exchange and 2-3 move sequences. These things are the logical escalation when mat wrestling/joint locks aren't working. A guy gets angry and starts throwing bones. The short sequences work because they have enough energy/stamina to still counter/parry/reverse. This  does NOT make sense after getting dropped on your head a half doesn't times. Maybe one or two strike exchanges that are out of desperation OR going for a knockout blow. But that should be the finish. Even if they kept the layout, it could have been shaved down to 20 minutes (five minutes from the middle) and it would have been very good to great. It was good on the things mentioned above and maybe you would like it more than me so, I can't trash it. But, their match from earlier in the year is the classic to me. Hayabusa/Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27): Thank goodness another great all action tag match with a tried and true structure to cleanse my palette. This is sort of the big stakes version of the Jado & Gedo match. It was a near classic to me as FMW seemed to have their tag matches down like 88-90 AJPW...I would give Fuyuki some credit there as he was right in the thick of many of those bouts. Ricky Fuji vs Gedo (05/27): Another face/heel match but, this was not as crazy or anything. Fuji is a midcard star so this pretty much what you get. Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19): This was like 95-96 Kobashi vs Misawa in that it pits lariat against elbow. Plus they laid a good foundation with arm work then escalated in the fast paced action with counters, reversals, and improvisations. Although Kuroda & Tanaka have about the same experience, Kuroda is the up and comer at this point so, again the Kobashi/Misawa analogy works to some extent. That being said, these two's chemistry is just as good as Hayabusa/Tanaka IMO. This was Classic stuff. Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Kanemura & Gedo (06/19): Multi-man matches are usually pretty good and this is no different. At the very least, you get a little bit of everything here and that's pretty much the best way I can sum up this bout. It went on after the above singles match since it was Team No Respect vs Team FMW. Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs Hideki Hosaka (07/10): Dull-ish start as Hosaka wanted to work the arm and Kuroda wasn't having that. After that though things got entertaining and they traded moves and it was good opening match and was only 10 minutes. W*ing Kanemura vs The Gladiator (Mike Awesome) (07/10): Of all of the matches I've seen so far, this one is most like a "FMW match." It is very reliant upon the table & chair spots and other highspots as opposed to the more NJ Jrs./AJPW athletic matches we've seen. As a Mike Awesome fan, I'm going to say this is because of Mike Awesome (RIP). This is what he does and this is what you're getting in a bout with him especially a singles bout with a bigger name opponent like W*ING. His 6 man and tag matches are more dynamic and brawling but, in these big encounters you'd better believe his opponent is getting bombed through a table to the floor. That all said, this is no problem to me! I'm game for all types of wrestling and if you're going to do that kind of match then these two are some of the best at this time. Pretty good match and much better than their 12/11/96 match IMO. Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Jado & Gedo (Elimination Match) (07/10): This was the fancier and longer verion of the 06/19 match. It was a good match but honestly nothing tremendously distinguishable from that match. I didn't keep notes on this one so, that perhaps is  my fault for having these blur together. I tend to enjoy elimination bouts so, I would say check it out. Its not some 80's NJPW level stuff but, its fun and now that I remember it - it has a surprising finish. This was not a mind meltingly awesome of an installment as FMW '98 #1 but, if you're a Masato Tanaka fan then, you really ought to check the matches out. The two great tag matches with Hayabusa and the classic with Kuroda are totally worth your time. Then you have an old school spot match with Kanemura & Awesome that will still impress you. Search Bahu FMW and you will find a wealth of FMW stuff online. Thanks for reading! Sorry for any delay too - I've been watching odds &ends stuff and pulled my old copy of Fire Pro Returns out.  I've been messing around with playing my edits of FMW and BJW guys Keep staying safe!

G. Badger

G. Badger

 

Stardom All-Star Dream Cinderella PPV 2021

Stardom All-Star Dream Cinderella PPV 2021.03.03 Nippon Budokan I have no idea why they booked such a big show in a big venue where you can’t fill it with people.  High Speed Championship: AZM (c) vs Natsupoi Of course, they do the superfast paced matrix intro for the match.  First diving double stomp looked pretty weak, but the second one looked ok.  AZM pretty much was dominating and did a flying nothing so Natsupoi could get a dropkick in.  Natsupoi bridges are gorgeous.  Lots of pinning attempts in the home stretch, Natsupoi hits three bridging/rolling German and gets the straight jacket suplex for the pin!  New champ!  Match was a pretty good spotfest, most of the moves hit pretty well.  AZM being only 18 is crazy.  Goddess of Stardom Championship: Maika & Himeka (c) vs Natsuko Tora & Saki Kashima Cool spot where Himeka gets both Oedo Tai members in the Torture Rack. This match felt like filler, they just didn’t get a good rhythm going. Nice to see that the WWE let Io Shirai cut a promo for Stardom.  Tanahashi!  Kairi Hojo! Main Card: All-Star Rumble I do prefer the Rumble format over Battle Royales, it’s just strange they don’t give more time in-between entrances but granted this isn’t the main event.  Because of this the ring fills up really fast.  Lots of comedy spots.  Lady C is the first to get eliminated by Kyoko Inoue.  Inoue gets another Lariat for another elimination but is ganged up afterwards and gets pinned.  Mima Shimoda! Chigusa Nagayo and Kikutaro are the last to enter.  Kikutaro doing his schtick, being a creepy old man, really could have done with this.  Unagi Sayaka ultimately wins over the Cosmic Angels girl in the final three. Momo Watanabe vs Nanae Takahashi (SEAdLINNNG) Lots of strikes to start off, Nanae gets the early advantage after a german suplex and more strikes.  These girls were working their asses off!  Very good, though short match, barely 10 minutes long. SWA Undisputed Title: Syuri (c) vs Konami Matwork opens with Konami getting the extension of the armbar, and the control of the opening moments.  Konami brought some cool armwork, but we go to suplexes almost right away.  Pretty short match, I would’ve preferred if they got more time for what kind of match they were going for.  Konami taps out to a cool submission.  Pretty decent match. Mayu Iwatani vs Yoshiko (SEAdLINNNG) Akira Hokuto on commentary!  Yoshiko gives Mayu the bird before the match.  Clear roles to begin with, Mayu – the babyface technical wrestler, Yoshiko the power rudo.  Mayu’s tope was so fast, looked like she could’ve hurt herself.  Mayu sells the backbreaker like death.  The women definitely worked very hard, and the finishing stretch was very good.  Match of the card so far, almost great. World of Stardom Title: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs Saya Kamitani Clearly defined roles again, Utami the more powerful wrestler, Saya the flashy type.  Saya’s flashiness gets her controlled by Utami, and Utami starts hitting power move after power move.  Saya comes back with a dropkick and a huracanrana and hits a tope con hilo.  Saya pretty much had control afterwards and gets a springboard huracanranda for a 2.9.  Saya hits a Stardriver, but was slow to cover letting Utami get a kickout.  Phoenix splash misses, and Utami goes back on offense hitting a Torture Rack bomb for a two.  Black Tiger Bomb gets reversed into a huracanrana for a HUGE 2.9.  Two lariats and a Black Tiger Bomb later and Utami gets the dub.  Utami definitely made Saya look like a million bucks even though Saya probably shouldn’t be in a title match.  Very good match.  Bea Priestly calls out Utami afterwards. Hair vs Hair Wonder of Stardom Title: Giulia (c) vs Tam Nakano Here we go…grudge match for a long feud and a lucha de apuesta to up the ante!  Things get going pretty quickly, and Giulia hits a piledriver on the table!  Tam is definitely selling Giulia’s beatings and even after reversing a Glorious Driver to a reverse DDT, Tam still can’t get up.  Eventually she gains her strength, hits a plancha and a Tiger Suplex.  Tam can’t hit a second Tiger, but hits Giulia’s Glorious Driver instead.  Tam kicks the shit out of Giulia, but Giulia hits a backdrop driver.  Glorious Driver by Giulia for two.  Both women slap the shit out of each other, with Nakano selling being loopy and then slaps Giulia while Giulia has her hands tied behind her back.  Giulia returns the favor, the last one sounding real hard.  Nakano with two spin kicks then a Tam Screwdriver!!!!  Twilight Dream for the win and Nakano’s first white belt!!!!  Damn what a match!  Tam and Giulia deliver promos afterwards and Giulia sits in the chair to get her hair cut.  Nakano doesn’t want to cut Giulia’s hair, so Giulia gets one of the guys nearby to do it, but he doesn’t finish.  The two talk afterwards and Giulia shows Nakano respect.   Great show, I would say this is a borderline 5-star show, but I have to give it a 4 since the rumble match was awful and the longest match of the show.  Everything else is completely watchable, with every match except the tag being ranging from good to great, and a MOTY contender main event makes this a HIGH RECOMMENDATION. 4.5/5 show.

Alex

Alex

 

Stardom 10th Anniversary Show

Stardom 10th Anniversary 2021.01.17 Tokyo, Korauken Hall Watching the Samurai TV version. Future of Stardom: Saya Iida (c) vs Unagi Sayaka Huge cut into the match, pretty much the finishing sequence, after the introductions.  You would think Iida, with her power, would be able to get a good spinebuster, but nah.  Match was mediocre at best, no real flow whatsoever. Natsupoi vs Konami  Big cut into Konami controlling Natsupoi and then Natsupoi takes over with her flashy offense, and she is hitting things pretty clean.  Konami goes for two armbars and gets a cool a tarantula type armbar in the corner.  Konami goes for a kimura type thing and gets Manami Roll’d in return, but ends up getting a Rings of Saturn.  Konami didn’t want to let go of the hold and hits the ref and gets DQ’d.  This looked like it could have been really decent in full. High Speed Title: AZM (c) vs Kaori Yoneyama Nice quick sprint, lots of action packed in for sub 6 minutes.  The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of was that huracanrana thing that AZM did, it looked really awkward.  Seemed like some slight miscommunication during all those quick maneuvers during the final stretch (waiting on Yoneyama, also being a mile away from the high kick).  Overall, pretty fun.  Natsupoi challenges for the title afterwards. Tam Nakano vs Starlight Kid Match is JIPed and starts with Nakano controlling Kid with very basic offense and heeling.  Kid gets a nice plancha.  Girls have a forearm war which Nakano wins convincingly after a minute.  Both girls attempt tiger suplexes, but after a quick sequence, Kid hits the tiger for two.  Kid struggles to hit another one and Nakano hits a spin kick.  Nakano goes for another tiger suplex, which gets reversed and we get multiple reversals into pins, but Nakano hits two shining wizards (including to the back of the head) and gets the Tiger Suplex Hold with a sick bridge for the pin.  Pretty good match, probably could have had fewer pin reversals. Queen's Quest (Momo Watanabe & Saya Kamitani) vs Donna del Mondo (Himeka & Syuri) vs Oedo Tai (Bea Priestley & Saki Kashima) vs STARS (Mayu Iwatani & Ruaka) Match starts with a three-way, which thankfully ends quickly, once Priestley is in and the ring gets cleared.  Then Iwatani is the only girl left and she is posing and smiling to the crowd.  Mayu hits a plancha to all the girls on the outside.  STARS get eliminated first after Iwatani gets launched off the top rope. Oedo Tai gets eliminated shortly after a dragon sleeper.  Watanabe hits a shitload of strikes on Syuri and hits a release tiger suplex.  Kamitami has to fend off Donna del Mondo for a lot of the final fall, until Donna fuck up and Watanabe gets involved.  Kamitami hits the Star Crusher for the win.  This match didn’t work for me, felt like filler match.  Somehow how too much going on and too little going on in the same match.   Wonder of Stardom No Rules Match: Giulia (c) vs Natsuko Tora Worked sort of like a Dump vs technico match.  Lots of use of weapons, some contrived use of chairs, and having the technico use their technical ability to outlast the monster and her team, Oedo Tai.  Tora is a much better technical wrestler than Dump, but doesn’t really have the charisma or presence of her though.  When the match was purely technical it was decent.  Oedo Tai interferes big time and Tora does a splash through a table, which Giulia practically no sells, that or there was a big cut.  Tora with blue mist to the eyes and a diving leg drop.  Ref almost counts Giulia down and her team, Donna del Mundo, bails her out.  Tora tries to use a chain again but it backfires and gets choked, Giulia struggles to get her finisher, but hits it to get the three.  Definitely not a great match, but it was ok.  Giulia does a promo quickly afters, and she looks pretty cool covered with the blue mist. World Of Stardom Title Match: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs Maika Maika grounds the champ early with some armwork.  She gets a Fujiwara, a standard armbar, and an armbar/triangle choke combo.  I like the struggle for Maika's superplex.  Maika's backdrop driver looked brutal.  Utami is able to make comebacks with lariats, goes for a Black Tiger Bomb, but Maika escapes to get the katahajime and Utami uses the ropes to slam Maika down.  Maika eats a huge bitchslap and a torture rack slam for a two count and then the Black Tiger Bomb for three.  Not bad, I liked how just about everything had some kind of struggle, nothing was easy, but this did meander when Maika was on offense.   Overall, the show was decent, but there was nothing great to watch.  Matches of the night were the undercard matches of Konami/Natsupoi, Nakano/Kid, and AZM/Kaori.  Nothing was really bad either, so I can say this show is very mild recommendation.

Alex

Alex

Full Impact Pro Friday - In Full Force 2007

Back once again for Full Impact Fridays. This week we're looking at In Full Force - 2007. Without further ado, let's go! Seth Delay vs Hallowicked - A fun opener and a good showing for both guys. Lotsa kids in the audience tonight. Shingo vs Jigsaw - This was a really good match with lots of action and great heel work from Shingo & Prazak. Gotta love fans who chant U-S-A to a Japanese guy in 2007. One meat head adult was getting up in Shingo's face but, Takagi worked him. Good for him, I probably would have punched the guy. This was a little off-putting but, it didn't detract from the match. ***3/4 stuff they, really didn't hold anything back with the time given. It reminded me of a PWG show where an undercard match was trying to steal the show. Black Market vs Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Loser Leaves Town) - I ended up skipping this. There is a period of Castagnoli that comes across as really cheesy and this fell into that category. Sean Waltman vs Chasyn Rance - Skipped this. I'm just not interested in spending time on this. The Briscoes vs Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo - First Pondo match and I was impressed. I dug the heck outta this match since I'm an old ECW fan. Lotsa brawling around the venue and hardcore stuff...they went overboard and it probably was too violent for the kids and old folks but, this was a great indy hardcore match. Fans of the Briscoes should like this a bunch! Erick Stevens vs Gran Akuma - Another all action match much like Shingo & Jigsaw. Stevens really is coming into his own and Akuma is a sure thing for good wrestling. These two really put on an offense heavy match and it went over big with the crowd. I'd probably put it at ***3/4 as well. Colt Cabana vs Larry Sweeney - This is a good comedy match but, I don't know if I would have put it right before the main event...I dunno maybe to break up the action. Larry Sweeney had his butt out...I'm thinking he did that on the previous show too. Ha! Still with all the kids there...not sure if that was a wise choice. Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (2 out of 3 Falls) - I noticed the crowd wasn't a full for the main event. I'm not sure why - the violent tag match, Larry Sweeney's butt, or perhaps the show was going on long? Kids have always been apart of FIP and I think many indy shows especially at this time. That all being said this was another very good match but, it wasn't great. I felt Davey was playing to the crowd too much (not intense enough, playing to the kids) and there wasn't a great build to the finish. Fall 3 came just a sudden as 1 & 2. Now they had a "I Quit" match the night before so, perhaps this is weaker because of that. I feel that they didn't really know how to structure this match for 3 falls OR perhaps just said 'screw it' and just aimed for 'very good' instead of 'great.' Again there were lots of kids and it looks like people had left. Why kill yourself with stiff chops & kicks, backbreakers, dives etc. when basic well timed wrestling along will do the trick too. I watched the match twice in a row just to check. It is a very good match it just doesn't deliver in a Roddy vs Davey type of way. I kinda felt this way of their Fallout 2006 match actually.   Overall, this was a really good show where everything I watched was entertaining. I wouldn't say there was one MUST-SEE match but, there were 4 very good matches that really make this worth your $5 especially if you are a fan of some of the wrestlers. So no harm in tacking this on to an order and having a good time.   Thanks for reading and stay safe!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - New Year's Classic 2007

Do not confuse this with the original New Year's Classic from 2005. That had James Gibson vs Homicide as the main event. This has old school GeNext vs Shingo & Rave. With that cleared up, let's go! (I know its Thursday and not Friday but, I got it done early!) Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Fun opener with nice moves from both dudes. Unique finish too! Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Skipped The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - Wish I would have skipped this. I want to see more of Heartbreak Express since they are a big part of the promotion but, most of the DVDs I own have them in shitty matches. Its not that Xion or Pelle are shitty. This is basically a squash. Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - The show really starts to pick up here. Sal has gone heel and joined the YRR..Young Rich and Ready to Go. I thought that the last "R" was for ruthless. Maybe they changed it. Anyway, this was fun match and hope to see more of Akuma. Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Black Market are suited for Japanese indies like Zero-One. Madison too...Rance is a dime a dozen. All in all this was all kinds of chaotic fun and was a very good simple grudge match. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - So, the mic audio is not great on FIP since they are recording the ambient noise and not the mics (the commentary is most likely done in post-production). That being said the banter between Jacobs and the late Larry Sweeney is gold! A very good match with nice selling from Jacobs and priceless comedy spots. Very much like CM Punk and Homicide were doing in '05. Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - I had high hopes for this but, both guys need someone with more experience to keep things interesting. There was a sleeper hold section that just didn't need to be there especially when Albright was brought in to hurt Stevens for the next night's show. Either set up an injury angle and use a submission hold or just beat the crap outta each other. They were just using it to talk and go through spots though. It was good but, it could have been better. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - Somewhere along the way Jack joined Dave Prazak Associates, which is DP Associates *wink wink get it? D.P ** They make poor tongue in cheek jokes too...like 16 year old boys. Lame. Anyhow, Jack quit the club tonight and Dave isn't happy. That is the background but, who cares right? This IS the bananas all action 2006-07 ROH/Dragon Gate style tag match that you want. All four guys were working DG & ROH at the time so, you do not get the watered down version here. They went ahead and did it here in front of 50 people. If you're a fan of these guys, the style, etc. then spend the cash and check it out. Also this may be one of the last times Roddy & Jack teamed up. Classic match and blew the roof off the joint. You could say this is a one match show but, for $5 that's not a problem. You get the Jacobs/Sweeney and Black Market/YRR matches as bonuses. This was a very, very fun & easy DVD to watch so, for $5 this is a no brainer. Thanks for reading!   Edit: I forgot to add the trailer from the FIP YouTube channel    

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - FMW 1998

Glad to be back watching FMW I think it is one of those promotions that might get lost in the sands of time. So, I'm always eager to bring it back to the surface in my little way. Just for reference:I'm using BAHU's best of 1998 matches and the FMW commercial tape Story of F vol. 3 - Best Bouts as my guide here. Do see my earlier posts using the FMW tags or just go back a couple pages for the big list of matches. If there's anything else I come across, I'm going to include that too. Honestly, I just want a reason to get back watching Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling! Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (01/06) - This was a fast paced and intense battle between foes. Gannosuke stabbing Tanaka was sickening (and great)! Everything looked especially vicious in this match - lariats, chair shots, DDTs, you name it. Some might find fault with prolonged or deep selling but, I think it can be explained away by two guys really wanting to murderize each other. I think everything show really reflects that psychology. This was a classic match to me. I was kinda on that fence like ****1/4+ area but, intensity and pace really go along way for me. I'm not one to have to tick off the "how did long did he sell it" when watching wrestling anymore. Its nice to see long term selling and really can elevate a match but, isn't necessary. That is something to keep in mind when going through all of these FMW matches actually. Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka (03/13) - This match is notable as it takes place in the black ZEN FMW ring which if I understand it all was Onita's stable and freelance group/promotion. I'm thinking like Kensuke Office/Diamond Ring was to NOAH. This is also notable as there were zero weapons or tables used. This was a fantastic clean wrestling match of the company's top stars. It easily could have taken place in an NJ or AJ ring and you would not have known the difference. This was 30 minutes of each guy giving it their all whether it be strikes, joint locks, or slams. I would have liked to see the arm/leg work factor into the finish or be given some more attention later but, like above I'm not going to gripe. They didn't blow it off - it just wasn't the story they were telling. It was very reminiscent of later NJPW Jrs. in that regard but also going for longer bouts like AJPW was doing. So, in this "pure" FMW match they weren't going for one or the other but, simply showing that they could do that too. Like, "we can take the barbwire, explosions, chair shots BUT can also wrestle long well executed bouts. We're not Garbage Wrestling." I think this is sort of the same idea behind BJW Strong Style. I thought this was another classic match -great action, great execution, great intensity...it was fantastic. Jinsei Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/21) - Jinsei is getting crafty against his nemesis by waiting to jump Gannouske as he exits the dressing room. It backfires as W*ING Kanemura is there for back-up and turns into a 2 on 1. Kanemura heads to the back after awhile since it's only a matter of time before Mister finished the Monk off. Or is it? Jinsei has to be legit hurt or dazed after the beating he took so, his fight to come back feels very real. I mean he's bleeding from the back of his head! Every bit of offense he can pull to slow down Gannosuke feels meaningful. Maybe I'm over-rating this but, it felt like another classic match. Much more on the story being told than just the action/intensity aspect. This was a top tier Jinsei singles match. You don't need to know too much about their past matches - just watch how Gannosuke mocks the praying powerbomb *all of the time* and you can understand why Shinzaki want to keep fighting. Atsushi Onita vs Kodo Fuyuki (04/30) - Battle of the FMW leaders. This is a lumberjack match but, I don't recall that playing a big part in this. It was a good match but, I didn't think it was great. I appreciate Fuyuki as a wrestler much more than Onita. This is especially true following him from AJPW to SWS then WAR. He may not have been clocking classics like his contemporaries Misawa & Kawada but, the man put on great matches in that late 80's Tenryu vibe. W*ING Kanemura vs Jinsei Shinzaki (04/30) Revenge on the monk perhaps? Team No Respect in full effect - lewd hand gestures & spitting on Jinsei for instance. They even had their own rudo referee! Anyhow, this is a 12 minute 3 act match capped off by a cool finish. There may be more nuances that I'm missing to make this a great match or a classic but, its quick, fun wrestling. Fans of either guy would be glad to check this out! Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/30) - Damn! What a match! Hayabusa was hitting everything on point but, what made this something special was Gannosuke's Kawada-level selling of the leg. He had to be legitimately hurt, right? But he wasn't out of the fight. He was dodging and blocking moves and went for the patented Gannosuke Clutch early on to try and wrap things up. He was more crafty than normal due to this injury. That's what really makes me appreciate Gannosuke more than I already do. He had the wherewithal to incorporate this pain/limitation into the match rather than hide it. Any complaints of sloppiness or botching that others may mention (there's one particular superplex type move) I think are unfounded. THIS is an instance of deep selling to where even IF it was a screw up, it appeared organic and natural with the ebb & flow of the match. The whole point of selling is to get across the point that the two or more wrestlers are engaged in a legitimate athletic competition which has legitimate consequences. And the point of doing that is to get the audience invested and engaged in what they're watching and they'll want to see more (and spend more). Well, this match did all of that perfectly. And to go back to my point about deep selling elevating a match - this is a prime example. That along with the excitement, the history of the competitors makes this is an all time classic FMW bout. Man, I hope you get a chance to check these matches out. I'm planning on two more installments of FMW 1998 to do alongside my FIP Fridays just in case you're wondering. Thank you as always for reading! I really appreciate it!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - Second Year Spectacular Night 1

Whoa! Sorry for the absence. The past month (January) was kind of crazy both personally and as US citizen. So, my focus wasn't really on keeping on task with my blog. That sucks because I really want to stay on track. Good news is that we've got a Full Impact Pro entry here and part #1 of FMW 1998 on the way. So, I hope you are all doing well. Let's check out this FIP show! *(the listing is reverse on Highspots so the main event is at the top)*
Davey Richards vs. Delirious w/Dave Prazak - This reminded me of when CM Punk was main eventing. There's a ton of kids who are SUPER into the match, they dragged out the beginning playing that up but!  once things got going we got a really good match where both guys worked their butts off for a long fulfilling main event. Clean finish too!
Jerrelle Clark vs. Jay Briscoe - This was a pretty good match with the Briscoes playing cheating heels. That made Jerrelle's comebacks that much sweeter. He had all kinds of 'ranas for them. Definitely want to see more Jerrelle after this! I'll see if he's on any other shows.
Roderick Strong vs. Cyber Kong w/Dave Prazak - Unfortunately this was kind of a 'nothing ' match. Strong really put forth the effort and in the 6 man. I mean maybe there was something to it but, not what it could have been.
Steve Madison, Chasyn Rance & Kenny King vs. Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong & Seth Delay - Yeah, this was a fun six man match. I would have preferred Madison and King vs Strong & Stevens as I didn't think the other two did anything terribly memorable. But watching those 4 are the draw of this match for sure!
Mark Briscoe vs. Canadian Cougar - skipped...I had to get my ass in gear and this just seemed like an unnecessary hurdle to overcome.
Allison Danger vs. Lacey - This was alright stuff. I don't have any notes on this match or that below. From memory, I remember liking it as a very sound women's match that plays into the FIP story lines.
Black Market vs. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro - This was a fun opener but, was a little short still I remember liking the chemistry between the teams. The fans loved Black Market. Overall, the show wasn't a barn burner but, it was a very easy watch. It was a good show and I think delivered for the fans to in attendance. I got this Night #1 show by mistake but didn't want to make a fuss over not getting Night #2. So, I'm happy it wasn't a bust. Maybe I'll pick up #2 and it'll make everything that much better. If they have these on Highspots - pick up both at once.   Thanks for reading and stay safe! Be back soon  

G. Badger

G. Badger

 

AJW 1990 Yearbook Pt. 1

I know that AJW is definitely in a transition period with it being post-Crush Gals and not yet reaching the GOGOGO era.  The red belt has been vacant for over three months (holy crap) since Lioness Asuka retired.  Time to crown a new champion! First show - Tokyo Korauken Hall (1990.01.04) mixture of La Hora Retro and AJW TV Mima Shimoda (c) vs Kaoru Ito (AJW Junior Title Match) Pretty nothing match, good thing it's short.   Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami This wasn't on the OG telecast.  I didn't expect to see Toyota Pearl Harboring Minami coming, she doesn't even let the introductions or streamer collection finish.  Starts off really fast, with a bunch of brawling and whips into the barricades.  Minami eventually gains control and works on Toyota's leg and Toyota was selling it until, you know, she has to go on offense.  Nothing but aerial moves, thankfully doesn't botch anything but she was real close once.  Minami has the power offense and gets a flying crossbody.  She gets a backslide pin reversed and then we go home.  Minami gets a flying elbow and misses another one and gets rolled up for the three.  Manami goes for a handshake and Minami is like nah bitch.  Weird roleplaying here and a crap finish.  OK TV match though, goes about 10 minutes. Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto Only have the OG version of this trios match.  We get a heel ref and Aja Kong beating the shit out of an announcer.  So much camera time on this announcer (and he leaves and comes back).  Grizzly gets away with everything.  Definitely more of a match to put over Jungle Jack than a good tag team match. Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita This was on the 1990's yearbook, and I've seen it before, it was a really good tag team match when I watched it then.  Loved that the match starts with a botch.  Dream Orca is very over with the school girls.  Pretty fast match and really puts over the Yamada and Hotta rivalry.  Hotta really sells the hell out of that sleeper from Yamada!  Hokuto makes Mita look like a scrub! I never thought I'd say it, but I love all the sleeper holds in this match!  Pretty good home stretch with Mita getting payback after Hokuto embarrassing her, but Dream Orca fuck up a double team move.  Hotta and Hokuto take control and Hokuto hits a diving dropkick for the three.  Mita is bleeding and selling that match hard.   Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (WWWA Title Match) And here we go, start of a new era.  Love how grimy and 80's Nakano's theme sounds.  Nishiwaki tries to get an advantage right away with a clothesline and gets dumped out immediately afterwards.  Nishiwaki gets back with a bloody face...and then we get the introductions lol.  They were going for a speed vs size/strength thing here, but Nishiwaki just doesn't really have any that much to offer.  She eventually gets to work over Bull's arm though and Bull does her best to sell.  Cool transition from armbar to sharpshooter.  In the home stretch, both girls get German suplexes and power bombs, but Nakano's was way more brutal looking.  Pretty short title match, felt strange that a vacant title match wasn't hyper competitive, but I don't think you could really do that considering how much better Nakano is.   Next event: 1990.01.05 in Korauken Hall Yumiko Hotta vs Toshiyo Yamada  This match uses mostly kickboxing rules but they're also allowed to grapple.  I already AJW like to have this matches, but they usually had like Bat Yoshinaga or some person I don't care about doing them.  I have no idea why anyone would want to pay full price for this on VHS back in the day (it has one match on it!), hell, I didn't even like the idea of buying a DVD of this.  Even from the introduction of the event, you can tell these girls can't throw a punch, they shadowbox worse than Ronda Rousey.  The sleeper hold comes back here from the tag bout the previous day, but it doesn't look good with boxing gloves on.  Girls get super gassed play boxing, and it goes all 6x3 minute rounds to a decision.  Toshiyo gets the decision.  Ok, not watching this again, this didn't do it for me at all.   Next event: 1990.02 (have no idea what the full date is, comes from Joshi Mix -  I am grateful for the Joshi Mix guy for archiving this stuff, but he adds in his wrestling photos in the ad-breaks, and they are creepy as hell, so fuck this guy at the same time.): Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Maeda vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda I think this is the earliest pairing of LCO I have on tape, obviously they're not LCO yet, but this is kinda neat.  Kyoko Inoue doesn't have the face paint either.  Match starts off real fast, with Mita eating offense.  Mima Shimoda with some awful dropkicks.  I liked the part where Mita throws Maeda right at Inoue when Inoue is trying to help her teammate.  Shimoda and Maeda trade some near fall sunset lips.  Shimoda hits a badly executed sunset flip on Inoue for the 3.  Match didn't have a good flow until the ending stretch.  We get a few minutes out of 12:47. Akira Hokuto vs Bison Kimura Kimura slaps Hokuto during the introduction, and Hokuto slaps her back.  For some reason, Hokuto held out her hand as a sign of respect before the bell starts, Bison pulls a Ronda Rousey.  Man, Hokuto's half crab looks incredible for a while.  Bison gets a nice German with a bridge and starts rag dolling the shit out of Hokuto, followed by a tombstone.  Hokuto bridges out of everything and she is doing some good selling.  Every bridge looks like a complete struggle for her.  When it's time for Hokuto to comeback, she lands a huge slap to the face, dumps Bison out of the ring, and hits a great plancha.  Home stretch here, girls reverse a bunch of moves until Hokuto slips out of another backdrop and hits a tiger suplex for the win.  This was a pretty good TV match, definitely enjoyed it. We get about 10-11 minutes out of 16:57. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Fire Jets 2/3 Falls I think this is earliest I have of Toyota and Yamada pairing also, so kinda neat show.  The Hotta/Yamada rivalry continues!  Toyota has two sections of selling in the first fall, first time she has her arm worked over, second time over her leg.  First exchange of Hotta and Yamada was so weak considering their rivalry, but eventually Hotta beating up Toyota throws her like a scrub into Yamada for the tag, and here we go, this is what I wanted, MORE FIRE.  Fire Jets quickly get the first fall after the tag.  Hotta and Yamada open up the second fall, Hotta with shit punches.  Yamada now the FIP for a while, taking a lot of offense.  Nishiwaki totally no-sells Toyota's interruption twice, which I thought was kinda funny.  Yamada eventually make a tag to Toyota, I think, Toyota never comes in.  Double missile dropkick to Hotta, and Yamada misses by a country mile.  Yamada still in this and gets a flash schoolboy pin after a reversal on Hotta for the second fall.  That felt really weak.  Yamada and Hotta open the third with a kicking contest.  Toyota with a hot tag in, hits a like 6 dropkicks on the Fire Jets.  Toyota tags out pretty soon after (!), Yamada gets a nice snap suplex on Nishiwaki.  Toyota comes back in, hits a bunch of moves on Nishiwaki and totally pulls a Sabu.  I should forward this to Maffew.  Small brawl on the outside.  Toyota gets controlled, Hotta throws her into Yamada to get the tag, Hotta throws Yamada into Nishiwaki.  This quickly goes to the ending stretch to the outside.  Hotta and Yamada kick each other outside, Yamada and Nishiwaki are brawling also, Nishiwaki barely beats Toyota into the ring to get the countout victory.  This wasn't bad, but I didn't think it was that good either.  Majority of the match is shown.   1990 Ranking of Matches (so far): 1.     Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita (1990.01.04) 2.     Akira Hokuto vs Bison Kimura (1990.02) 3.     Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (1990.01.04) 4.     Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Fire Jets (1990.02) 5.     Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami (1990.01.04) 6.     Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Maeda vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda (1990.02) 7.     Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto (1990.01.04) 8.     Mima Shimoda  vs Kaoru Ito (1990.01.04) 9.     Yumiko Hotta vs Toshiyo Yamada (1990.01.05)

Alex

Alex

Best Match Watched - 2020

Welcome to my Best Match Watched of 2020 celebration! We've got big stars appearing and a number of musical performances lined up tonight! Let's get this party started! Oh wait, never mind all of that...let's just get onto the Big List of my favorite stuff of that I've watched this year. In chronological order: Pre 1970's: Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked.
1970s & 80s: Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tiger Mask vs Black Tiger (05/26/82) Tiger Mask vs Bret Hart (07/30/82) Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88)
1990s & 2000s: American Dragon vs Low-Ki vs Christopher Daniels - Era of Honor Begins (2002) American Dragon vs Christopher Daniels  - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Daniels vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles -  Road to the Title (2002) American Dragon vs AJ Styles -  All Star Extravaganza (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe Final Battle (2002) Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans FIP Strong vs Evans (2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff.
2010 to present:
Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same) El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly " Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan " Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. " Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico " Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll " Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter " KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - All Together (2011) Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams ROH Pure Title tournament (2020) Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays.   -THE BEST of the BEST!-
Pre 1970's...well I only watched a few pre 1970's matches and well Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) was the best of the bunch. The rest of my picks are going to be a little more difficult so, I think I'll do a top 3 or top 5 for the others. Then...just maybe will I actually able to narrow it down. 1970s & 80s: Clearly I was all about NJPW in the 80's although I did dip my toe in AJPW a couple times later in the year. They had some good 6 man matches (British Bulldogs w. Kobashi), I didn't see anything that could touch NJPW. Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81)
Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88)
Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88)
Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: And now we enter the Ring of Honor K-hole I was lost in for awhile. Hey, I'm glad I took that journey. I was pretty ignorant of Year One ROH and got me excited to keep watching their current stuff. Plus is encouraged me to check out the sister company FIP which I've been digging. Also, I have made some purchases that have fill in some gaps in my DVD collection. I hope to be hitting up a couple of those for 2021. So, my list boils down to these: American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002)
Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe (2002) - Perhaps a controversial pick against the Era of Honor Begins but, I think this has the action along with the story lines
Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005)
KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006)
KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) 2010 to present: There's a good chunk from the wXw 2011 tournament here but, what can I say? It was a great show. Perhaps similar to the Ted Petty Invitational 2004. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011)
El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki
Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan
Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011)   The runners up: Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) - a long technical match with beautiful chain wrestling - counters, escapes, reversals, and counter reversals...distinct from his matches with Baby Face, Hamada, Blackman but, still was athletic and exciting as we've come to expect. KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) - Felt like a late 1990's AJPW Four Corners tag classic Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan - I think this match best encapsulates the awesome hard hitting style that both guys showed all 3 days. I didn't rate it as a classic at the time but, both guys have stuck in my mind all year. Here's my top 3 and I'm just going by my gut: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) - This was timeless stuff to me. A heavenly dream battle...great grappling, wonderfully engaging storytelling, and a real sense of rivalry. Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) - I got an out of body feeling when watching this match that was very similar to the first time I saw Kobashi vs Misawa's matches from 1997. Maybe it was the mild hype that lower my expectations but, this blew my mind. Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw 2011) - As hard as Sasaki & Sami were in the tourney, these two went beyond that. Davey really only does one thing but, when he's in there with the right person it can be awesome. It has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes all with an aggressive pace. Best Wrestler: Fujinami was killing it in '88. Tiger Mask given the right opponent was working magic. Sami, Yoshihito Sasaki, and El Generico were on fire during the wXw tourney in 2011. But I'm going to give it to American Dragon Bryan Danielson specifically for his work in 2002 in ROH. A natural baby face to Daniels' gimmick and Ki's natual demeanor, Dragon is relatable in addition to being a fantastic in ring worker. He has a grip of classic matches but, also elevates his tournament matches into something you want to see as well. Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki was pretty much unknown to me other than a character in Fire Pro Returns but, he's a guy I want to be on the look out for in the future. Seeing as I got a 4 disc Best of BJW in 2006 set, the future might be pretty soon! But, I think the best surprise of this year was Full Impact Pro being pretty great wrestling. I watched their Unstoppable 2007 DVD a few years ago and for the first time a few years before that and it didn't "wow" me. I think my expectations were too high or something. As I watched it again, I saw stuff that I don't think I appreciated in the past. From that I've seen some really great stuff including Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans which is a lost "ROH" classic to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to FIP Fridays! Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more including FIP. Duh right? But I'm also swinging back to FMW and specifically 1998 which may be their very best year. I've already watched a handful of matches (although I'm not including them on this year's list) and I am NOT disappointed. Thank you so much for reading this year! Its been a really crappy 365 days but, I hope I was able to give you a little bit of fun and inspiration. Let's hope for a better new year! Stay safe and keep watching wrestling!

G. Badger

G. Badger

This Day in Wrestling - NOAH - Kobashi vs Akiyama 12/23/2000

This match is now 20 years old -  wow! I cannot believe that to be honest. I can do math and probably can remember a few things from each year to prove to myself that 2000 was 20 years ago but, this still seems somewhat modern to me. Perhaps its the green ring mat? That's probably it. But man what kinda gets me is that I've been meaning to see this match for probably 10 years now. Its one of those matches that doesn't quite reach the essential viewing list of many folk like their 2004 match or the one from 1998 or 1999...I can't remember right now. I want to say its 98 though. I'm getting side tracked but maybe that's the point. The Misawa-Kobashi-Akiyama-Taue-Kawada merry-go-round was pumping out great matches at the end of the 90's but, they all start to run together. I think that may be the case with this as well as the fact that Kobashi was in dire need of knee surgery at the start of NOAH. So, he does a few high profile matches and then goes away until 2002 and I think goes away again until 2003. In that regard, not much gets universal praise until the 2003 Misawa match. I'm getting side tracked again...I guess my point is this bout averaged out to middle of the road in folks reviews. I've seen it around ***3/4 to ****1/2. That can be a pretty big difference. But I wanted to watch it for This Day in Wrestling and I wanted to try and end 2020 with a banger of a match! I think its fair to say everyone has had a crappy year and I guess this was a gesture of ending it with a classic King's Road or Ark Style match. Ah...it was not to be Don't get me wrong it was a great heavyweight match but, I felt it was more of a spot match than anything else. It didn't seem to really grab me with a story I could believe in. It had nice attempts with Kobashi working on Akiyama's neck after a particularly nasty ramp DDT. Then Akiyama was able to find some breathing room by drop kicking Kobashi's knees. He then went to work on the arm, as is often the case, but he added some nice twists I thought. This was a slow burner but, it was picking up and I was invested for sure. I just wasn't sure who or what I was invested in beyond enjoying the match and the moves. That slow burn never really turned to rapid boiling.  It got close especially during some choice encounters - very stiff and head droppy. So, I think ratings may have been inflated back in the day on those 2 things. Kobashi's eye is swollen shut by the end. And you'd better believe Akiyama gets chopped to a pulp. With all that though, I just don't think there was enough substance in between to say there was a purpose to those moves as you would see in a classic match. I don't think there was enough intensity/spirit of competition to make it feel like a brutal fight either. So instead of being slow yet purposeful building to a dramatic ending OR energetic and violent exploding until there is a victor, it came off as above satisfactory. That is to say, I was satisfied with this as a big match Kobashi vs Akiyama match and was overly pleased with a half dozen spots and strike exchanges. But the socks were not blown off Great but not a classic to me. I'll issue a disclaimer now -  I'm pretty burnt out from working customer service and managing late orders and cancellations this holiday season. It has been the worst few months since I've started working this job 8 years ago. If you were waiting on a package or have had some orders cancelled this month, let me tell you there are about a dozen people behind the scenes trying their hardest to get your gifts out. I know its on the news and whatnot but, let me tell you that it has been especially rough with the pandemic both in receiving a flood of online & phone orders and not being able to keep staff or shifting staff because pandemic safety protocols. Let alone the usual Xmas stuff. So, perhaps I wasn't in the best head space watching this match. I am emotionally and mentally dulled right now. Maybe I'm not giving this bout a fair shake. You should take some time and watch this 20 year old match. You may actually be watching it with a clear head. Heck! I might even watch it again after the 25th when my brain can begin to heal Nothing helps the healing process like some lariat-o's! I hope to get my Best Match Watched and other things of note for 2020 together before New Year's Eve! Thanks for reading this year! Stay safe & happy holidays!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - Fallout 2006

We are back with FIP Friday and pick up with Fallout 2006. Lots of big names on this show. Let's see! Black Market vs Jerrelle Clark & Jon Davis - This was my first match and it was fun stuff. Jon Davis was a lot thinner or less jacked than when I saw him in DGUSA. So Cal Val looking hot setting up this #1 contenders match. That aside she is really talented as a manager or valet.  Jay & Mark Briscoe vs Sal Rinauro & Erick Stevens - Val didn't like the results of the above match so she said THIS will determine the contender spot to face her Heartbreak Express. This was a really good match. These guys had good chemistry and delivered in a big way. This gladly could have been a few minutes longer. Matt Sydal vs Shingo - Another really good bout where Sydal was going to bust out everything. I felt Shingo held back offensively but, really made Sydal shine bright. You have to remember FIP has a strong face/heel style and since Shingo was part of Dave Prazak associates then, he's not going to pull out his crowd pleasing bombs. But it was really enjoyable. Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match) - This was the match of the night. They wrestled this like an ROH bout and I couldn't be happier about that. I noticed the above matches seemed quicker than usual but, I think it was to give this 20+ minutes. Both guys were drenched in sweat by the end of this battle. A great match for sure. I re-watched this and I do think it could have gone on a little longer since the finish felt quick. But that's a minor quibble. Bryan Danielson & Cyber Kong vs Davey Richards & Roderick Strong - This was a impromptu main event where DP Associates come out and spoil the mood post match. Eventually Kong and Danielson have a pretty good tag bout to keep all the fans happy. I think the 15-30 year olds there were happy with the previous bout but, the kids and old folks dug this one. We get kind of an upset win here and with a legit finish so, this was surprisingly good.  Fallout 2006 was super super easy to watch. Again, I'm not sure if some of the matches were shorter or what. Perhaps they were "just right" in duration because for $5 I highly recommend checking this out. The Briscoes tag, Sydal vs Shingo, and Davey vs Roddy are worth it. Everything else is bonus. Thanks for reading and stay safe!  

G. Badger

G. Badger

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