It is June and we're half way through 2020. It's been a rip roaring good time, no?
All of that aside I'd like to do my half year in review. Not that I've been watching 20 matches a week or anything but, I think I've accomplished some wrestling watching goals that have been years in the making. Those big 2 are the wXw 2011 tournament and 1988 NJPW.
I'd like to break things down by decades or era going forward. Then, from there I can say what my pick is. It is a little bit of comparing apples to oranges when looking at wrestling from 1980-2020. Some of the freshness of my approach is making that type of comparison. It is not saying "well that's a good match for 1985" or "that was OK for a 2018 match." I really am of the mind that great wrestling and especially classic wrestling is timeless. The trends and tropes may shift over time but, a hard fought match telling a compelling story will always be exciting, memorable, and worthwhile.
I think breaking the matches down by year will help me organize my thoughts and provide a better resource to a reader. You may only want to know about stuff from the 1990's or 2000's onward so, it gives you the chance to see how I compared it to contemporary and historic matches without reading my actual review. My hope is that a person might see I think Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter is comparable in quality to Vader vs Fujinami. And that then piques their interest in one match or the other. To me that's the real value of match reviews - making comparisons between the familiar and unfamiliar in order to bridge the gap in styles, genres, eras etc. If you've read this blog then, you know my tastes are ecclectic. I don't talk much about Lucha or WoS British style but, that's only because others here have provided such superior insights that I really don't think I can add anything. I just watch and enjoy.
I digress! Let's get onto the lists! Oh, these are only matches that I've watched this year so, any review where I pulled a review from the graveyard to share won't be covered here.
Best Matches Watched - January - June:
Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked.
1970s & 80s:
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:
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
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.
Best Wrestler: Tatsumi Fujinami, Sami Callihan
Biggest Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki
Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more...RetroMania Wrestling video game...
Still deciding on what my next project is going to be...
Thanks for reading!