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Spotlight: Tiger Mask - Part 9

Here we go again with more of our hero Tiger Mask! We're getting close to the end. Tiger Mask vs. Gran Hamada -  (2/3/83): This featured great matwork, agility, timing, counters and reversals. Much of this was on the mat and that's where Tiger is best despite being known as a flying innovator. These two are just amazing together. A classic encounter. ----- Tiger Mask vs. Black Tiger -  (2/7/83): JIP 8 minutes in,  good match with state of the art offense. Black Tiger isn't Tiger's best opponent but he's always there to try and foil our hero's plans. Tiger Mask vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi -  (2/8/83): 7 minute JIP, what was shown was awesome. Its a shame we didn't get to see their feeling out period and matwork. Spectacular stuff that was 10 years ahead of its time. Check out the Muta lock!! Yeah, Muta got nuthin' on this! ----- Tiger Mask/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Gran Hamada/Kuniaki Kobayashi (2/10/83): Another JIP, 4 minutes in but I think we get enough to not have it be obvious. This is pretty exciting stuff with action from bell to bell.  Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid -  (4/21/83): The final encounter and the famous restart match. This may be the first "5 more minutes!" match. I think that's what made it a classic match. It was off the hook when both guys got disqualified. The fans were chanting for more time or a re-start...and they give it to 'em!! We haven't seen this level of intensity in awhile...I mean its over the Kuniaki matches when Dynamite Kid is bringing broken bottles in the ring to stab TM with! We haven't seen Dynamite in some time but they really dial it up for this ultimate fight. I have some problems with some move choices and their selling but I think all US fans that grew up with the Undertaker will feel this way. Classic match for everything that goes on here. I've got one more disc of my TM DVD set so probably 2 more posts. I'm still enjoying the heck outta this set. We've got more Kobayashi  in singles and tags so, it should be good! Thanks for reading!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - PWG - Roddy, Eddie and Davey

I pulled out a few more PWG dvds for a re-watch to see if they were as good as I remembered and to be surprised how stacked some of the shows were. BOLA 2012 - wow...Anyhow, I cherry picked matches featuring Roderick Strong, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards as well as a bonus match. OK let's take a look Davey Richards vs Roderick Strong (Titannica 2010): Holy cow! This is way beyond what I saw them doing against each other in FIP 2006. On top of that, we get no playing to the PWG crowd, jokes or other stuff that became commonplace in the Reseda VFW. This is just two of the best Juniors going out there and bringing innovation, intensity, speed and stiffness. They brought the energy level up and settled it down, brought it up - settled it down. This was probably my best match watched in 2016. It stuck with me for days..and to boot its still available for $5 on Highspots as of this post. Classic match still to this day. Thankfully!  ----- Eddie Edwards vs Roderick Strong (BOLA 2011): I haven't seen their ROH stuff but this was right up my alley as athletic competition/dramatized combat sport. I thought this was a classic BOLA match as the physicality, move choice and timing was excellent. Truly I would say it was on par with a Champion Carnival match of AJPW 90's.  ----- Drake Younger vs Roderick Strong (BOLA 2012 n.1): A very good match that if given more time would have been a great one. This was really brutal at times. ----- Kyle O'Reilly vs Eddie Edwards (BOLA 2012 n.1): Two of my favourite guys but they never developed a story here. They just ran through a lot of good stuff but they never gave a chance to mean anything. That's OK because they would go on to perfect this on ROH's Reclamation Night 1. Davey Richards vs Michael Elgin (BOLA 2012 n.1): This was a Showdown in the Sun rematch and they have amazing chemistry. There are great strikes, counters, fighting spirit comebacks and all those things made this great. I hesitate to call this a classic because the stalling suplex spot was too long and they kicked out of one too many good finishes. I mean the ending should have been Davey's absolutely perfect flurry of kicks. It WAS the right moment but they wanted to do a minute or two more. It still works and is certainly the match of the night and was pretty bad ass. I'll say it's a BOLA classic but if a couple things were different this would be an all-time classic. One thing I'll say is folks got pretty drunk and that hurt the show. I felt that they got drunk early too. The guys in the front row are drinking pitchers of beer. Reminds me of college...but yeah lots of chanting, guys trying to get cheap laughs from the crowd, etc. Should have muted this... Adam Cole vs Eddie Edwards (BOLA 2012 n.2): This starts with Cole doing comedy heel shit and Eddie punishing him for it. This was a really good pairing AND fans aren't drinking tonight. Great match! *Bonus* Michael Elgin vs Ricochet (BOLA 2012 n.2): I distinctly remember thinking this was fantastic and I'm glad to say that holds up. This doesn't really come across as a classic but man, its the most logical and well paced match that on the BOLA this year. It was the man-beast vs the high flyer and they did an AWESOME job selling this story. Most of Ricochet's offense was hope spots and counters. And unlike Davey vs Elgin the night before, they didn't empty the tank but they never over did it. A great match and honestly its probably better than that because its smart. ----- Overall this was a pretty fun and rewarding rewatch experience! I genuinely was having a blast watching these matches without the "need" to watch the rest of the show. I would recommend all of the actual dvds if you're into these wrestlers but it was nice to rewatch and pretty much enjoy them like the first time 5-6 years ago. Thanks for reading! More Tiger Mask on the way shortly. Stay safe folks!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Tiger Mask - Part 8

Here we go! 1983  Tiger Mask vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi - NWA Jr. Title (1/6/83): This is one of my early favorites of my puro dvd collection. I probably saw it in 2010 or so with my dad along with the Dynamite Kid ones. This is the match that gave me a clue that TM could be more than his feud with Dynamite. This was awesome then and its awesome now. Its ahead of its time with nearfalls, double count outs, etc. This was pretty darn stiff near the end and was very  intense. This was a near classic match to me. ---- Tiger Mask/El Gran Hamada/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Los Misioneros De La Muerte (Negro Navarro/El Signo/El Texano) (1/14/83): This was clipped a little bit in the beginning but after that one it was shown in full. Man, this was all kinds of fun!  Tiger Mask vs. Negro Navarro (1/20/83): JIP a little as far as I could tell. I wasn't expecting that! Really good stuff that was enjoyable to watch. Based on these two matches, I wish more of this mini feud made the DVD. ---- Tiger Mask/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Black Tiger/Jose Estrada (1/28/83): A fast paced tag match with Black Tiger Rocco thankfully returning to form. He looked best here. This was another fun match. This round of matches from Tiger were a breeze to watch. The variety of opponents he faces make this set stay fresh & interesting. I make sure to take breaks but every time I come back to it, it doesn't disappoint.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight - PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2007 - Night 3

I've been reorganizing some stuff around the house and was going through a box of dvds. I found some PWG ones that I'd watched 5 years ago. I wasn't really keeping notes and was in a down period regarding wrestling. I just wanted to check out something different. Anyways, I thought I'd give a few things a re-watch and a proper review.  Roderick Strong vs. Joey Ryan (Block A Quarterfinal) - skipped...I'm just over Joey Ryan's shtick. Alex Shelley vs. Matt Sydal (Block A Quarterfinal)- skipped, people really dig this. I'd recommend it too! but I've seen it a few times. It's kind of dry IMO. PAC vs. Claudio Castagnoli (Block B Quarterfinal) - Spectacular at times, Claudio was a fantastic base for PAC's moves. Likewise, PAC moved and bumped brilliantly for Double C. Very good match CIMA vs. SHINGO (Block B Quarterfinal) - Not as spectacular but more well developed and paced. Didn't think a ton about it originally but this was **** great match. Nigel McGuinnes vs. Necro Butcher (Block C Quarterfinal) - This was mainly Nigel being awesome in 2007. Good stuff very easy to watch. El Generico vs. Dragon Kid (Block C Quarterfinal) - Skipped wasn't interested. Having Claudio here would also have worked booking -wise Roderick Strong vs. Alex Shelley (Block A Semifinal) - First off, get the Alex Shelley ROH DVD now if you're a fan of his. Originally watched this after the 2004-05 Gen Next saga including the Embassy stuff. This match TOTALLY extends that feud to 2007 and in a PWG ring...the opening sequences and move theft make this so much deeper than just a very good match. If you know that stuff then this match is great shit! If this wasn't a tournament then they would have went on to wrestle a classic.Makes me wish we got more Alex Shelley in late 2000's ROH. He is truly an unsung great of ROH. CIMA vs. PAC (Block B Semifinal)- I have seen someone call this a classic but I disagree. It is a good spot match with some really crazy stuff. They were getting a little too cute with the moves at times (mainly PAC) but it was a worthwhile watch. El Generico vs. Nigel McGuinness (Block C Semifinal) - I would say this was a very good match but I enjoyed it way more than rating would indicate. Nigel just breaking Generico piece by piece is a thing of beauty...especially skinny 2007 Generico. Don't count the luchadore out though! Chris Hero, Kevin Steen, Tyler Black, Doug Williams, Susumu Yokosuka & Jack Evans vs. Austin Aries, Jimmy Rave, The Human Tornado, Scott Lost, Davey Richards & Karl Anderson- Its fun and there's no comedy b.s.  like they would make a habit of doing. A nice match to eat lunch with. CIMA vs. Roderick Strong vs. El Generico (Finals - Triple Threat Elimination) - This was a pretty good ending to a great night of wrestling. Like many tournament finals, its more about the finals being a culmination of the tournament rather than it being an awesome fight. So this was a fun spot based match where it was all big moves with not a ton of story or selling.The right guy won it and that really helps everyone go home happy. This is a no brainer purchase if you're a fan of this era of wrestling. Its akin to an excellent 2007 ROH B-show. Very easy to watch and enjoy the heck out of!

G. Badger

G. Badger

FMW Index

I wanted to provide a index of my FMW posts for the convenience of people who are interested due to the upcoming Dark Side of the Ring episode on Frontier Martial arts Wrestling.  Mixed Up Monday FMW M-Pro Spotlight: FMW Pt. 2   Spotlight: FMW Pt. 1
FMW Late 1992   FMW: Late 1991 to Mid 1992   FMW: 1991   Atsushi Onita Feburary 1991   Atsushi Onita FMW 89-90   FMW: November-December 1996   FMW: Funk Masters of Wrestling, 1996   FMW: 1998, Pt. 1   FMW: 1998, Pt. 2   FMW: 1998, Pt. 3   FMW: 1998, Pt. 4   I hope this helps and thanks for reading!  

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Tiger Mask - Part 7

We're back with more from the original Tiger Mask!  vs Black Tiger (09/21/82): There were some neat moves here but it didn't flow very well as both seemed off their game. Highlight was Tiger double knee dropping the mat from the top rope.   vs Marty Jones (10/08/82): This was much better but not as awesome as I had expected. This match was a very good technician vs technician bout. It was on its way to great things though. vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (10/26/82): KK & TM just despise one another. This felt more like a fight than the above matches. Very aggressive tone to every block, counter and dodge. This is very much Tiger in his element and we're rewarded with logical uses of his speed and agility (rather than doing spots for the crowd). Great match even with an old school ending.   vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (11/04/82): A bigger, better version of the above match. I mean Tiger drop kicks Kuniaki before the bell rings. This felt like a grudge match for sure! But what's interesting is that Kobayashi isn't a heel but more of true equal to Tiger Mask...thing is he wants to take that mask...to get TM to stop playing dress up. At least that's what I gather from how the match is wrestled It reminded me of Otani or Kawada letting an emotion get in their way of victory. I'd call this a near classic match. I've seen folks go higher than that so you really want to check it out for yourself. Personally I think this is THE series of matches people should see instead of the Dynamite Kid ones...if you only are going to choose one.   That's all for now! We get another match with Kobayashi as well as some lucha action next installment! Thanks for reading! Check out the Kobayashi matches and see ya soon  

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Best of TNA 2009 - Part 2

OK we're on to Part #2 of the Best of TNA 2009 as determined by the DVD put out by TNA in 2009 Sarita vs Alissa Flash (Best Women's match, Impact TV 07/16) : You know I remembered this match and it was alright. TNA's Knockout division was getting pretty good around this time. You could expect quality beyond Awesome Kong, ODB and I think Gail Kim left already to try WWE again. Fun moves   Sabin vs Shelley vs Homicide vs Daniels vs Amazing Red vs Suicide (Bound for Glory, October, Ultimate X match, #4 Best Bout) : Red was the champ and this was a free for all, the MCMG fought as a team and came out as a team. Yeah in hindsight they were in here just to spice shit up.And really that's all this was - top notch high risk spot match. It is neat that you have all of this talent but also bummer that they're not fighting for the World Title. They were just so afraid of pushing them beyond the X division. This should have been the main event as it was thrilling and the fans were crazy about it.   AJ Styles vs Sting (Bound for Glory, October, #3 Best Bout): A simple but effective World title fight. It reminded me of Sting facing a young version of himself in AJ Styles. You could say it was a little disappointing if you bought the PPV and thought they would top Ultimate X but on tape and a decade removed, its a great match.   Samoa Joe vs Daniels vs AJ Styles (Turning Point, November, 3 way, #1 Best Bout): Best Bout? You better believe it! This was a classic work rate match showing their 2005 classic was no fluke. This is in the Top 10 Best TNA matches that I've seen. I remember the build up to this and it was great to see Christopher Daniels as "himself" instead of Curry Man. I missed his early years in TNA and had only heard of these three's 5 star match. I was really jazzed up about this but I never bought TNA shows since I was worried about cheap finishes. So its fantastic to finally see this and know that it lived up to the hype. That said, I don't know how it would stack up  against a ROH three way match in 2009 but would still put it at the ****1/2 level. ...and that's it folks! A fun albeit brief look at the Best of TNA in 2009.   Thanks for reading and stay safe!   

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Best of TNA 2009 - Kurt Angle

A couple of years ago I found a TNA DVD that I'd never seen before and haven't seen since. It is TNA Best of 2009. I actually got my copy factory sealed too but without a price tag. So its odd that someone never opened this OR maybe this copy just sat around a warehouse for 10 years until I bought it. What makes this such a great find for me is that its right about when I really was paying attention to TNA but also becoming less interested in the program. So it features some of the last good TNA stuff on Spike. In the bonus features it has the announcement of Hulk Hogan joining the promotion which was the beginning of the end. So this DVD features the Top matches of the year and I can't really complain since I can only recall a better Knockout match than the one featured here and that was Cheerleader Melissa vs Ayako Hamada in a no DQ match. That could have been 2010 though. Anyhow, this post is going to focus on the Kurt Angle matches since he's in half of those featured. Personally, his stuff here isn't as top shelf as some of the bouts from 2006-2008 as shown on his TNA solo DVD (Joe matches, vs Nagata). That said those featured here are still very worthy of being some of his best work in TNA wrestling. vs Jeff Jarrett (Genesis 2009 January, #5 Best bout) : This was a No DQ match that was very much an Attitude Era throw back. Boxes were getting checked off:  Big bumps, blood, chair shots, etc. But it felt good given the age of the two. I mean Jeff almost lawn darted on a suicide dive and damn near missed the table on a big spot. It worked because they sold the hate. This was a very, very good match.   vs AJ Styles (Table match, January, Best Impact TV bout) : The intro video does a great job recapping the AJ & Kurt saga...One I'm very fond of. In a nutshell, Tomko (remember him?) and AJ are tag partners and part of Team Angle. Kurt's babe of an (ex)wife is introduced here as well. Kurt is a egocentric tool and AJ is protecting her. Kurt thinks there's romance brewing but AJ & Karen say they're just friends. Haaft They say this is after all of that but I sorta remember that running into this period of the Main Event Mafia (goan) vs the non former WWF /WCW wrestlers. Anyways, this was a good TV match but it should be clear that TNA was becoming WCW part deux. vs Sting (Empty Arena Match Best Grudge match, Impact TV February): They call it the best grudge match but you'll see the match below is the #2 match of 2009 and that's a grudge match as well. Maybe its the best TV grudge match??? Regardless, this is a battle I remember loving. It felt like something very special to see on TV. I still feel that way (even after all we've seen in the past year). Other than the fantastic and hilarious finish where Kevin Nash yells at them like an angry father (see below), this was a great battle. You could argue that this was more WCW flash backs but, if its done right, there's no problem to me. This was an instance where they did it right. I would give that credit to Sting and Kurt wanting to still put on a good show. It'd be wrong for me to call this a classic match BUT with the match combined with the ending, this was a Classic bit of TNA Impact TV!   vs Desmond Wolfe (Turning Point, November, #2 Best Bout) : Its not great when you don't have anything worthwhile for 9 months from your top star to put on the DVD. But here we are! Desmond Wolfe has been gunning for Kurt and has decimated him on TV. Now they have a match to settle things. OK...I'm going to get my rant from 11 years ago out of the way. Why the hell did they change the name and character of Nigel McGuinness? He had so much hype coming from ROH and they just KILLED it by doing this. Doing this seemed like such WCW/WWF level bullshit. Its not worth going into but even Nigel (I know its not his real name but he's used it everywhere else in wrestling) says in a promo/vignette something like, ' I'm going by the name of Desmond Wolfe at the moment ' when introducing himself. He or whoever wrote the segment knew there was still cross over between ROH and TNA and they should acknowledge that this guy was someone else somewhere else. That is convoluted to write but its because it is a convoluted idea! All I can hope is Nigel didn't want to tarnish the character and his legacy by jobbing in TNA. And I can support that with hindsight on my side because he was a mid card jobber to the stars in the promotion. They tried to do the British team thing again but I had fucking tuned out of TNA a little after seeing what they did to my boy! Spoiler alert!!! The writing above should give you an idea on the outcome of this match. It is a great match. Its Kurt big-match-by-numbers but Nigel...I mean Desmond is masterful. To use a line from The Dark Night Returns, this isn't a wrestling ring. Its an operating table and Desmond Wolfe is the surgeon. I wrote more than that but I'm going to leave it there. The match is posted on YouTube so I recommend checking it out. More of the Best of TNA 2009 coming soon!   Thanks for reading If you have pets give them a hug today!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Wrestling Art Show

The Good, the bad and the Ugly - Snuka, Hogan & Flair   Andre vs Inoki   Choshu applies the Scorpion Death Lock with Inoki looking on   Andre vs Killer Khan   Flair vs Steamboat   The Dream vs The Superstar   I hope that you dig this stuff. If you're like me, you really enjoy old wrestling photography. It really captures the gritty action of the ring.I want to incorporate more art into my blog and I just thought I'd play around with some picture editing software and share some of my work. I hope to have access to a copy machine so I can start up my collages again. No way am I cutting up my old books and magazines! I had made a great one that was my original id pic here on PWO. It was of Fujinami vs Fujiwara with Cherry blossom trees in the background. I titled it 'Heavenly Dream Battle.' An homage to the great titles that Japanese promotions (especially NJPW) give their big matches. To me Fujinami vs Fujiwara is just that type of dream encounter.  

G. Badger

G. Badger

Big Japan Death Match Wars # 108 & 109 (2007)

Hello again! This covering is episodes 108 & 109 of BJW Deathmatch Wars TV show. Its from 01/02/2007 and in Korakuen Hall so we're looking at something that's at the very least going to be fun. GENTARO & Mammoth Sasaki vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto - The first team I know a little bit from FMW and the second team I know from watching clipped matches on BJW's YouTube channel. They are pretty good and Miyamoto is a great junior wrestler who reminds me of Hayabusa in his toughness, his agility and charisma. Anyhow this is a really good match with old vs young. Miyamoto makes an impression on the main eventers and they invited him to join them as they're in need of a 4th partner. Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Jun Kasai/MENs Teioh/Yuko Miyamoto/Naoki Numazawa vs. Abdullah Kobayashi/Masada/Takashi Sasaki/Shadow WX - So that leads into this match, duh! Ha But for real, this was a sick match! I mean like ill ya know. There was action all over the place early on. Then things settled down in and around the ring but, there were still plenty of fantastic encounters/pairings. As with many multi-man matches, weaknesses were hidden and strengths were on display. Aside from that Yuko Miyamoto was seen as the junior baby who didn't belong in this war but, like Hayabusa he fought bravely and endured. He made his team believe that the made the right decision in selecting him. I'm not going to give away any of the memorable spots other than Masada dragging Miyamoto around the broken glass by his ankles. That was sick! Like F'd up! Overall this was  helluva spectacle and great death match. Maybe a classic as it fed off the previous match, kept the fight interest and interesting throughout and the K-hall fans were on fire! We're on to the 2nd show Daikokubo Benkei/MIYAWAKI/Yuichi Taniguchi vs. Kazu Imai/Tomomitsu Matsunaga/Shinobu - Opening comedy type match. I skipped around in this bout. Mad Man Pondo & NOSAWA vs. Coke & Sam Hain - I started to watch but as Jim Cornette would say this was an "outlaw mud show." In all fairness, Jimmy would hate EVERYTHING on this show. Kintaro Kanemura/Tetsuhiro Kuroda/Onryo vs Hiroyuki Kondo/Yoshihito Sasaki/Daisuke Sekimoto - Unfortunately we only get 15 minutes of a 30 minute match but, what was shown was a blast! This is a real treat with FMW vs BJW for me. I believe the FMW team is reppin' Apache wrestling but its a real joy to see two generations of hardcore/death match/Indie wrestlers going head to head. Dekimoto and Sasaki as a tag team are something that I need to see more of. Torture Rack - German suplex combo is probably my new favorite tag move! Really, really good DVD that's still available on Highspots for $10. Not trying to give free ad space but I want to let you know where you can actually get your mitts on this stuff! Certainly worth the cash and maybe wait for a Xmas sale to get it for less. No one really talked about how good BJW was back then... if you can't get into the occasional light tube deathmatch I understand. I felt that way for awhile but its really no worse than the bread and butter thumb tack and barbwire matches of my youth

G. Badger

G. Badger

CM Punk You Might Have Missed- The Wrestling Years

Generally speaking, I live in a cave with my head under a rock when it comes to contemporary wrestling. I poked it out a little bit last year to see the empty seats of Smackdown for historical purposes. When the Wonder Wall was debuted, I lasted 15 minutes before I became dizzy. I took a small trip away from the cave to see Ring of Honor attempt to return to form with their Pure Title tournament. I thought it was fantastic but they squandered or scared away whatever interest that drummed up.  Now with CM Punk (and perhaps Bryan Danielson) in All Elite Wrestling, I am compelled to lift the stone from my head and check it out. So I watched his return promo in Chicago and man! that's entertaining! He's still got it. I'm not going to watch anything else on purpose mind you but I wanted to see that. You know...for historical purposes. I liked Punk's speech because he explained his comments regarding wrestling when he was doing MMA/UFC. He acknowledged his time in ROH and made the distinction between that wrestling and what he was doing for almost a decade in WWE. I was confused by a few (hundred) fans booing ROH in a past life. I'd be less confused if they booed ROH in their present form.  Who boos a mention of ROH from 2002-2005? Are these folks completely ignorant of the giant influence the company had on both CM Punk and the current American pro wrestling landscape? That's an aside though.What I thought of after a couple days after is more interesting than the excitement of CM Punk back in a ring. Or more interesting on the historically ignorant fans. What really stuck with me is that Punk's history is kind of not true. Now I know it may have been kayfabe but Mr. Brooks, Phil if you will, has a tendency to blur the lines between a work and a shoot when on the mic. So we can say some of this was true for Punk & Phil. But I don't think any of it was any form of an objective truth. Chick Magnet Punk says that things had run their course in ROH and then went to WWE where he didn't wrestle for almost a decade. Now that's not true because no one wrestled in ROH either. I'll defend WWE's " sports entertainment " ideology in so much that what they do isn't wrestling.  Pro wrestling is more dramatized combat with melodrama than wrestling like you'd see in high school, college, the Olympics etc. That's a sport. But frankly, I could say all professional sports aren't sports either but are this sports entertainment since no one's playing in an empty gym (until last year) and people are being entertained either through TV, videos, clothing, games. There isn't intentional and planned melodrama (although it happens organically). It lacks nuance for Punk to say he left wrestling in 2005 and came back now in AEW. It is kinda not true. I've watched his stuff in ROH (as we'll see below) and all in all it wasn't that different from what he was doing in WWE. Punk never mentions UFC. I wouldn't either. What he left in 2005 was the freedom and identity that ROH and the Indy scene afforded him. He could be himself. Brooks left a community that embraced him for an opportunity to make a living and potentially make a fortune. I don't think he anticipated what it would cost. I don't think he knew it would cost him friends and fans and would embarrass himself in the process...I recall him saying if UFC had been around when he was younger he would have gone into that instead of wrestling. Man, you ever hear of karate or judo? That wasn't true when he said it. And I don't think anything he said the other night is true either.  This is why I stay in my cave and keep my head beneath a boulder. He's not the same person. I just know too much about Phil Brooks to really believe CM Punk anymore. But maybe that's the state of contemporary wrestling in general? I just know too much to really believe any of it. That's all a lead in to some reviews of when Brooks or perhaps Punk was a wrestler before not being a wrestler (never was a wrestler) and becoming a sports entertainer (always was a sports entertainer) and then a mixed martial artist (a sports entertainer but STILL not a wrestler believe it or not!) and a wrestler again (still not a wrestler). vs Raven (Death Before Dishonor 2003) : This was a dog collar match and I believe the consensus is that this is their best bout. I don't know since its all I got to watch but this is very much a Raven match. If you like his style and character (which I do) then this is something that you want to watch. Its a bit on the loner side but it pretty simple in terms of execution and scope. Its violent like it needed to be. Its got some stuff ECW fans would like too...remember this is only a couple years after they closed so that wasn't as odd as you might think. Great match vs AJ Styles (Tradition Continues 2003) : This is almost a 180 from the Raven ECW style match. Instead we see Punk stay in step with the Phenomenal One. It was full of fantastic counters and reversals. The human game of chess cliche is going to be applied to this match because I'm not always very good at describing what make a good match so very good. I think something I appreciate on this viewing is the teasers they chose to do. It just felt organic and competitive and dammit I'm a fan of that. I'm going to say this is a classic match. If you're keeping track, I wouldn't put it in the top tier but its certainly overlooked because it takes place in 2003 which probably doesn't get much love. And if anyone wants to sample 2003/Year 2 ROH they'll usually go to matches of AJ, Danielson and London putting on masterpieces. But in 2021, do people even do that anymore? Other than me? W/Ace Steel (Second City Saints) vs Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer (The Prophecy) (Death Before Dishonor II 2004) : Second City Saints was an awesome name. BJ Whitmer lousy name. Here's my BJ Whitmer rant: I can't believe that he/they wanted to keep a name with a double entendre in it and not have it purposely imply that 2nd meaning. Case in point D.P. Associates in FIP was a purposeful double entendre for the sake of a bunch of 20 year old guys having a laugh. BJ Whitmer never struck me as the type of talent that had a sense of humor about his in-ring persona. That aside, this was a bananas garbage wrestling spot mtach. This was your typical overkill wrestling to show how tough you were. As a match, it stunk BUT as a violent spot driven spectacular, it was great Its a few years ahead of its time but does bite off more than it needed to in order to get the same message across. vs Jimmy Rave (Manhattan Mayhem 2005) : Here we see Punk's (Phil's) version of the dog collar match. And you know its not bad at all. Its decidedly more move oriented but with Punk and Rave in there I did not mind. Rave is such a great opponent for Punk because he can stooge when he needs to, he can get nasty when he needs to, and he can do moves when he needs to. Frankly he's much like Punk in that regard. We get a good deal of blood from Punk and we get the Embassy interfering. Its quite great to be honest. I've not seen this before but I have seen their cage match and man this was a great (probably forgotten) feud. So there you have it. A few matches from CM Punk's time wrestling/sports entertaining in ROH. As you have already figured out, I picked some unsung ones for 2021. They aren't the Joe matches or Summer of Punk ones. 3 of the 4 are quite like stuff you could see in WWE actually. Again, either he never was a "wrestler" or he never left wrestling when going to the WWE. All semantic games aside- He should have been honest in saying he made a mistake in leaving pro wrestling and its fans when going to the UFC. And if he (Phil is Punk at this stage in his career) should have said thanks for welcoming him back despite his mistakes. In my opinion, CM Punk is the best all around pro wrestler of the last 20 years. His return to the square circle is huge and his promo was exhilarating. He will do great business for AEW. However, I think his cleverness in dissing WWE hides the real hurt of his MMA phase. As great as I know him to be, I just can't trust CM Punk anymore. I have to forgive him first. I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill. I'll be back in my cave. Thanks for reading!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro Friday - Fallout 2008

Sorry for the delay! No real reason other than I've been watching WCW stuff from the Rise and Fall of WCW, Brian Pillman DVDs and a couple YouTube videos. This is my final Full Impact Pro DVD review and its been a really fun trip. Let's get on to it and then I'll have some closing remarks. Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black (#1 Contender's Match) : This started with chain wrestling but this wasn't really their forte. It wasn't bad but it was uninspired. And ya know that's what the match felt like. NOW I'm nitpicking because they could have killed it. The final third proves my point. This part was great stuff. But given that this wasn't at the top part of the card, it did its job. Very good match though.  MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match): This was a good match but ended when it started to pick up.  Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match): This should be the main event so no idea why it's here on the card. Its for the damn main title with Mr. FIP Roderick Strong and the foreign heel. I'll be honest, this was my main event as I watched it last. OK that aside, this was a very well built match. The level of intensity & complexity escalated as it went on, selling along the way. Just about hold or throw was fought over. Their struggle felt real. Things weren't polished or rehearsed. I've been watching NWA/WCW from 87-90 and this felt a lot like that. There were some shenanigans but again that harkens back to that 80's stuff as well. I will call this a classic. Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe (FIP Tag Team Title Match) : This was a rematch from the best match of Unstoppable 2007...one of the best at least. Its been so long! But not only that but its been awhile since we've seen Jay & Mark together. And man! Its a really good one. This is more of a traditional tag match yet full of action when it counts. Again more shenanigans though. Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match): No clue why this was the main event. Yeah they build it all up the whole show. But neither guy is main event material...I had this inkling ahead of time. It was a nice story but not top billing. So that's it! Now it went out with a bang since I watched Shiozaki vs Strong last and not Rinauro vs Jones...sorry dudes. Anyhow parting remarks - Watching this has been fun and is full of lost classics if you're a fan of ROH style. Seriously there are a few shows that are diamond in the rough ROH B-shows...especially 2007 & 2008. Stuff earlier than that is worth checking out but if you just want to get the most bang for your buck..get the 2007 & '08 shows that interest you. But also get Strong vs Evans...I think that might still be my top match of FIP. Read the different show reviews since I probably won't do some matches or shows justice now. Plainly, if you are a Roderick Strong fan then you would be a fool not to get a few of these DVDs. Strong vs Evans,  New Year's Classic 2007, this show Fallout 2008, and Dangerous Intentions 2008 are no brainers. Heatstroke 2007 Night 1 also...stay safe folks! THANK YOU! I really appreciate you reading and keep watching old wrestling  

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW You Might Have Missed - Spring 1986

Let's talk about AJPW in the Spring of 1986! These are the Samurai Classics so no Riki Choshu but hey there's lots of other great stuff going on.  Ted Dibiase/Ron Bass v. Motoshi Okuma/Rocky Hata (04/06/86): Kind of a squash match. Of the Japanese guys, I'm not sure who was who. Respectable start to the show nonetheless. Kuniaki Kobayashi v. Masa Fuchi (04/06/86): Now we're cooking! Kobayashi and Fuchi are just beating the crap outta each other and I loved it. Two of my favorites in their prime. Very good match Tenyru/Takashi Ishikawa v. Ted Dibiase/Ron Bass (04/19/86): Oh man everyone is on fire here. We get the nice introduction to the DiBiase & Ron Bass team and now we see what they can do versus one of the top AJ native teams. This was so basic but absolutely wonderful because you don't need big moves and flash to have a great tag match. DiBiase in AJ is the best. He vs Tenryu is money in the bank! Tenyru v. Ashura Hara (04/12/86): Holy cow '86 Tenryu is awesome! The Tenryu/Jumbo vs Yatsu/Choshu match from 01/86 is a classic but now I'm seeing more of him and there's more to the story. He's not quite as well defined as a hard hitting wrestler yet but man does Ashura Hara bring that out in him! It makes sense though as Hara is a tank and I love their tag team during the Revolution era of AJ/Tenryu. This totally exceeded my expectations. I want to call it a classic but I'll pull back a little and just say near classic at ****1/4. Harley Race/Jerry Blackwell v. Tiger Jeet Singh/One Man Gang (03/13/86): Quick bout, Blackwell vs OMG were like 2 sumo but after that it turned into a double DQ.  Shohei Baba/Ricky Fuyuki/Takashi Ishikawa v. Rusher Kimura/Ashura Hara/Goro Tsurumi (04/06/86): Really fun 6 man match! Fuyuki and Ishikawa along with Hara kept this really competitive. Goro Tsurumi is an awesome character looking like a manga heel wrestler with afro pirate mustache and skull adorned unitard. Rusher and Baba do their job and yeah this is the stuff that puts a smile on my face. Baba/Ishikawa v. Killer Khan/Masanobu Kurisu (05/10/86): OK, thought I'd like it more with Kurisu & Ishikawa but it didn't do much for me. Tenyru v. Ted Dibiase (UN Title, 04/26/86): Well here is the singles match that I was looking for. And man, it's what I wanted. Great smart arm work by DiBiase. Just a really good give and take in the beginning/middle. This is joined in progress so not sure what the true start is like. Nonetheless, the match goes on pretty long I think. In that time we get solid mid 80's meat and potatoes wrestling from both guys. Its the stuff I could watch for an hour because they have created a world where it looks like their struggle is real and relatable. Not only that but we get two of the best in the world doing it. They are physically and stylistically a great match for each other. A great match for sure! If you're a fan of Tenryu and what they were doing in SWS and WAR, you really want to check out some of these matches. Thanks for reading and stay safe folks!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Ring of Honor - Aftershock Hopkins 2015

Let's see what is going on with ROH from 6 years ago. AFTERSHOCK TOUR Saturday, July 11th, 2015 Eisenhower Community Center - Hopkins, MN. A couple matches have audio syncing issues. Mark Briscoe vs Danny Duggan - Skipped War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser - An all action tag match with 4 big burly dudes. I thought this was a great start to the show (for me at least).  ACH vs Dalton Castle - Wow! These guys emptied their tanks! This match oozed athleticism and charisma. I wish ACH would have been given a belt at some point as he really put on some great work rate heavy matches. I guess they figured he'd do it in the undercard so, why bother? That's a shame. ROH could use someone like him nowadays as an Ace IMO. Anyhow, they gave these two the time and this was a great match and a possible show stealer. Michael Elgin vs Matt Taven - This looked good on paper but meanders. This is the worse tendency of Elgin and late 2010's wrestlers - overly complex spot matches that have no story or drama. I can't blame them based on where they're at on the card and Elgin was on the way out I think. (Audio Problems) Michael Bennett w/Maria Kanellis vs Moose vs Cheeseburger vs Will Ferrara -Skipped Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish - This had room to be a classic encounter. It was a battle of who's knee would be broken first. Very dramatic with solid selling. Didn't reach the heights it could have but, another great one for this show. Jay Briscoe & O.D.B vs Jay Lethal & Truth Martini - I'm going to overrate this but, I thought this was another great match. It was all about ODB and I'm nostalgic for her and her run in TNA back in 2007-09 or whenever. This was more a TNA type match instead of an ROH one. However, everything was timed and built perfectly for what they were going for. The high end Lethal vs Briscoe teases were fantastic as well. It accomplished a lot without going for broke. AJ Styles vs Roderick Strong vs Kyle O’Reilly - A sort of dream match as we get 3 eras of top ROH talent in one ring. In 2015, we get a past, present and future meeting of ROH (but, of course everyone bounced to WWE in a year or so). You get that feeling here with these three top talents. It's a damn shame ROH lost not only the Undisputed Era guys but the AEW/Bullet Club guys later. All that aside, ROH in 2015 is fantastic. This is a classic match that pits these wrestling machines up against one another. It didn't break any new ground but frankly I don't want them to. I wanted an intense contest that was engaging and dramatic. They delivered and exceeded those expectations. (Audio Problems) This was a fantastic show that delivers where you want it to. The little audio issues aren't a big deal because I tend to watch stuff with the volume low or off. If that's a deal breaker for you then that's something to take into account. 2015 has been really good for ROH. Thanks for reading folks!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro - Heatstroke 2008

This is the second to last Full Impact Pro DVD that I have. Let's see if its a good one. The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions - started to watch thinking the Bri team might be someone who is well known now. No one I've heard of...skipped Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - This was OK. Not good or bad. They both had really good moments and they kept it simple. Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match) - Early in my FIP journey I would make sure to see Sal's matches because he was one of the more talented wrestlers. He still is but, on a packed card like this, I'm going to move on. Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne - Not interested Austin Aries vs Jason Blade - Here we go former ROH heavyweight champion and tag team champion vs current FIP tag champ Jason Blade. Mr. Blade (if that is his real name!) is a pretty good Indy wrestler and works well with Kenny King. Obviously, King is the talent as he has been a ROH mainstay for 10+ years with multiple belts...Blade knows how to work with who he's in the ring with. And for that we get a pretty good 2008 Austin Aries match. That's nothing to sneeze at. Dark City Fight Club vs Black Market (Weapons Match) - I skipped their match on the previous show but tuned in for this one. This was fun but mindless brawling. I say mindless because there was not an ebb or flow in this match. No give and take and no story beyond the angle at the end. And even then, it made NO sense. Spoiler - The Dark City guys handcuffed one of the Black Market guys but instead of a 2 on 1 beatdown, the lone Black Market dude just whooped two guys asses. So, why the hell did they handcuff the guy??? It made no sense and made Dark City look weak. Roderick Strong vs Kenny King - Here we go. Kenny King gets to show what he's got vs the MAN of FIP. There's no YRR at ringside. This is the one on one bout you want to see with Roddy & Kenny having a great singles match. Its place on the card is commensurate with the quality of the contest. A great match. Tyler Black vs Necro Butcher - The fans were digging this but, I thought this was a waste of Tyler Black on this card. I just don't think doing Necro's match is the best way to use him. I think he could have tried to do his athletic match with Necro taking it to the extreme (as they used to say). Plus this went on too long as if they needed to buy time for Stevens or Shiozaki to make it to the show. It was OK. Erick Stevens vs Go Shiozaki (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match) - Stevens has officially come into his own in FIP. This was a world title classic that sits in the top tier stuff that the company has produced (and I've seen). They put it all out there. It felt like a true competition with both guys fighting from their knees at times. It would have fit in with ROH or NOAH without a doubt. But, I think it was best here in FIP...especially the finish and the after-match segment. Yeah, this is worth watching. All in all this was a great show capped off by the World Title fight. This is still on Highspots for $5 so this is a no brainer pickup especially if you nostalgic for this era of wrestling. Thanks for reading!

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW You Might Have Missed - 2012

I'm trying to get the ball rolling again for exploring the early 2010's Puro. Let's take a look at 01/02/2012 AJPW!!  (Broadcast 01/10/12) KENSO, Kaz Hayashi & Yasufumi Nakanoueno vs Takao Omori, Manabu Soya & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - This was a very good opening match. The energy level was high. Kikuchi was a fun mystery partner that never out stayed his welcome. Kaz Hiyashi will always Shiryu from the glory days of M-Pro and he's still got it here. Akebono & Ryota Hama vs Yuji Okabayashi & Kazuki Hashimoto - You know what you are signing up for with this match. Says it was 8 minutes but it felt quicker. Hey, that's a compliment! Akebono just doesn't do much for me. Keiji Muto, Abdullah the Butcher & Kikutarou vs Masanobu Fuchi, Kikutaro & BLACK BUSHI - Skipped Masakatsu Funaki, Masayuki Kono & Minoru Tanaka vs Taiyo Kea, Shuji Kondo & Takumi Soya - This another really good 6 man match. Minoru was the bright point to me. Masakatsu turns the shooter skills on for the finish and it is sweet. At about 8 minutes, this was easy viewing. Seiya Sanada, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs Dark Ozz, Dark Cuervo & Kenny Omega - The Dark guys are fun but a little sloppy. Yamato was in for a good portion of the match and I got to remember how good he is. Everyone else is their normal selves and brought the goods. This was 15 minutes and ended just in time for this to leave me happy. It was almost like a FMW 6 man in that regard...it got close to going off the rails but never did. Suwama vs Daisuke Sekimoto - I think I've reviewed this earlier in the blog. This is one of the matches that inspired me to check out 2010's stuff. It was and hopefully is still up on Daily Motion. I've seen it 3-4 times and man is this still classic stuff to me! Right under 20 minutes, it eschews the "longer is better" mantra and keeps this compact yet tells a compelling story. That plus they beat the crap outta each other. I've seen more Sekimoto and SUWAMA since I first saw this and I can say it doesn't fall into any ruts or cliches. They tease or payoff and then move on rather than milk for time or over do it. It is the only singles match on the card and they really make that mean something. New Year Battle Royal - I watched this on fast forward until the last few guys. Its every guy on the show except SUWAMA and Sekimoto doing a battle royale. I don't like this after such a bad ass battle but, its tradition. Anyhow this is an easy breezy 2 hours of wrestling. IVP has it for a steal and the singles match is probably still on D.M. so if you're curious, what are you waiting for?

G. Badger

G. Badger

Full Impact Pro - Dangerous Intentions 2008

Man, its been awhile since watching Full Impact Pro so I've cut down the # of matches I watched and my plan to post this on Fridays. It don't matter now...here's the teaser trailer: Davey Richards vs Tyler Black - Alright these guys are not playing around. Davey kinda starts with his goofy heel over- selling but soon he and Black hit their stride. They just started doing their indy-workrate thing and that's what everyone wants to see. I skipped most of the show because I've been putting off the FIP stuff. But there's no easier way to get back into it than seeing these guys do their thing. Very good match that was closing in on greatness. Although this show is the third to last, FIP's style has caught up to ROH circa 2008. Kenny King & Jason Blade vs Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - The YRR (still going strong) attack Tyler after the match and Briscoe and Aries come to make the save. We get a great impromptu tag title match. Tons of action and spots. This was a step up in action and excitement from the previous match. Great match Roderick Strong vs Erick Stevens (Last Man Standing) - A wild brutal brawl for the FIP title. This was absolutely vicious. Stevens has stepped up his game big time and Roderick was glad to match his intensity. I'll still put this behind Roddy vs Jack but this may be my #2 FIP singles match. Probably the best hardcore FIP bout I've seen. Only watched 3 bouts but man, this was 1 hour's worth of exciting wrestling. Definitely worth the $5 from Highspots and probably better than any wrestling on TV today. Thanks for reading!

G. Badger

G. Badger

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

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