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  2. Superstar Sleeze

    [2002-11-09-ROH-All Star Extravaganza] American Dragon vs A.J. Styles

    AJ Styles vs Bryan Danielson - ROH 11/9/02 You know it is amazing how much verbal marketing matters in pro wrestlers. Once AJ Styles got branded as a high-flyer he has never really been able to shake the tag. AJ is a very impressive high flyer, but that's not really his bread & butter. He is a meat & potatoes wrestler that focuses on executing moves crisply and with his own signature flair (think of his forearm or kneedrop). AJ has a strong core of fundamentals which is his strong striking (best working punch of his generation) and wrestling (he is a former amateur wrestler). He busts out a Spiral Tap or a dive to the outside as a highspot, but that's not who he is. It is funny I feel like in almost every match it is a surprise on commentary that AJ can go on the mat or wow AJ is standing toe to toe and trading bombs. How did we go a whole decade of watching the best wrestler of his generation and we were constantly shocked AJ Styles is good at other things besides diving/flying? The opening grappling of this match is fantastic. It is not paying lip service to chain wrestling. This looks like a shoot. This is some damn great grappling. How Danielson just grabs an arm and then flips him over and AJ bridges to avoid the pinning combination but it is still in the double wristlock was insane. I was marking out for the whole thing. It was really strong work. It set the tone for the whole match. The whole match was intense and it was a struggle. Everything was done with urgency. I thought this was a better version of the AJ Styles vs Low-Ki Title match from August. It is a very similar layout. Lots of quick transitions, a sense of competition but done with struggle as opposed to "my turn, your turn". I thought the finish was stronger and some of the spots were better, but I think it suffers from that same problem of all action, but no hooks. I really like those big mid-match moments that feel like turning points. They are little climaxes on the road to the major climax. This lacked that. A great example of this issue is after the first Styles Clash. AJ is incredulous he kicked out and goes for another cover out of disbelief. Great move, puts over that he believes in his finish. Little things like that protect the finish. The next move is a Dragon Suplex by Danielson. How did we get there? A standing switch. I am all for the standing switch early, but late you want that big transition that is going to be memorable. Oh shit that was the game-changer, instead of just a standing switch. The hold on the bridge after the kickout by AJ deserves a big shoutout! I liked the follow up Cattle Mutilation (I hate the move but it was the right time for it) and love how they didnt stay in it long and Danielson converted into a tight Oklahoma Side Roll I actually bit on that as the finish. Danielson goes up top and AJ scores some big rights. These are great working punches a staple of AJ Styles. Again, I would have liked to seen a better transition than AJ having to shake the ropes to get Danielson in position for the Clash. Then they do AWESOME stuff like AJ ramming Danielson's head into the turnbuckles repeatedly as Danielson desperately clings to the ropes. Once AJ forces Danielson to release, Danielson is too low to do the move safely & properly so instead of looking like a tool AJ muscles him up into a powerbomb, smokes him, resets and hits it properly & safely. That's great pro wrestling and dedication to the craft! I am nitpicking shit, but there's a reason why this match doesnt build completely to that ultra-hot crescendo and I think it comes from too many momentum shifts even if they are well-earned. That second Styles Clash how AJ EARNED it from ramming Danielson to release, the powerbomb and then hitting the move was tremendous pro wrestling and there are many examples of tremendous pro wrestling in this match. I think it ultimately falls short because in the middle it is a blur of action. You have AJ scoring dropkicks and evading the guardrail/hitting a superkick while Danielson is snapping off drop toeholds and popping AJ's shoulder out like Malenko/Rey GAB '96 (I love that spot so much). Danielson's arm work was fucking great, but short-lived. You had AJ taking a great bump off of a European Uppercut. You had Bryan transitioning out of the Quebrada/Slop Drop into a Northern Lights. There was a lot of strong stuff, no downtime, but like that Ki/AJ match and Ki/Danielson from King of the Indies '01 it is very noisy. I hope that makes sense, but thats how I feel. I feel this was the best of the three because the finish was so strong and there was a little more hate behind the shots (at one point Dragon gets a nasty cut from above the eye and I dont know why and Danielson goes for the eyes at one point). I think there is a little more emotion in this match than the other two I am comparing it to. I guess what I am saying is the work was outstanding but it just didnt fully coalesce into a classic that really moved me emotionally. I am rambling at this point (and I think that kind of does this style match justice), but I feel this match and the other two I have discussed capture the sporting element of pro wrestling really well. As a sport, pro wrestling should not always have not nice & neat narratives. Sometimes there is going to be a lot of action, but not a lot of impactful turning points. That's what I am trying to get across is that this style is still true to the sporting nature of pro wrestling that something like a men's floor exercise match or a overly cooperative stand around you hit me, I hit you match is not being true to sporting nature of pro wrestling. I hope that makes sense because I really enjoy this because I think it is innovative, unique and with some tweaks could be really awesome. ****1/4
  3. gordi

    Wrestle Kingdom 14

    Intriguing hypothetical, there. It seems to me that Naito's character has been getting darker. I think he'd still get the cheers in Osaka... but in Tokyo I could see the crowd going Ibushi's way. I think Naito gets cheered over Okada regardless of location. I defer to El-P's apt Kawada analogy by way of explanation there.
  4. Jmare007

    Wrestle Kingdom 14

    If the night 2 champ vs champ matchup is Ibushi vs Naito, who do y'all think the japanese audience will root for? I mean, it would be a split crowd no doubt but the japanese always end up siding with one over the other in those type of situations. I'm legit curious because I can see both of them getting the nod from the fans.
  5. Kenny Omega defends the AAA Mega Title in a first time match. Omega and Dragon Lee have never faced each other before in singles or tags or anything. Talk about it here
  6. Today
  7. The Thread Killer

    The Arn Anderson podcast

    Thanks for letting me know, I am going to try and check that out today. I usually catch Cornette's Drive-Thru and Sean Oliver's podcast every week, then after that I try to find time for Grilling JR, then Arn and if I am interested in the topic that week, The Jim Cornette Experience. Unfortunately, most weeks I only have time for the Drive-Thru and Oliver's podcast, because they are usually only around an hour. Maybe I need to move Arn up in the rotation, considering the feedback in this thread. It sounds like I am missing some good stuff.
  8. El-P

    The Arn Anderson podcast

    Yeah, Ask Arn 4, from last week.
  9. The Thread Killer

    The Arn Anderson podcast

    I am way behind on Arn's podcast. In which episode did he discuss his last 4-5 years in WWE? Is it the most recent one?
  10. Al

    2019 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

    Not counting whoever gets in this year, there are 39 inductees who were born in the 1960s, eight from the 1970s and two from the 1980s. Either the quality of wrestling has fallen completely down the toilet in the last twenty years (possible), or we're using the wrong standards to judge Hall of Fame candidates.
  11. gordi

    2019 Match of the Year

    Don't wanna hijack this thread so I'll just say a quick thanks. Much appreciated!
  12. SteveJRogers

    2019 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

    Another point, I’d imagine this is being used by New York Yankee fans this year when it comes to their soon to be latest baseball Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter. Never mind how overrated Jeter is, in terms of belonging in a discussion of all-time greats, but it is a silly argument by fans with Pinstriped Colored Glasses to suggest that since no one following Jeter is on his “level” in terms of being a “leader, winner, etc” so might as well close up the shop in the baseball Hall of Fame, and the Yankees’ Monument Park. Also, this is an actual reason why a, thankfully, small handful of voters (members of the Baseball Writers Association of America) have only voted for Jeter (you can vote for a maximum of 10 players every year). While their opinion of the others on the ballot might be fair, in their mind anyway, its a silly notion when thinking about voting for candidates that might deserve some more looks into their records, etc.
  13. SomethingSavage

    Grilling JR

    I'm fairly hot & cold toward this podcast. The Lawler episode was certainly a letdown. I will say that I enjoyed hearing JR briefly go on (very glowingly) about how much Jerry genuinely loves the business. I can definitely see that ringing true. But yeah. The week prior, JR tried to pitch it to people like it would be more about Lawler's less discussed stuff - speaking specifically about Mempho and his AWA ties. Instead, it was basically a beat by beat breakdown of Jerry's WWF tenure. Which we should expect coming from Conrad, but it's doubly lame because we JUST got the same ground covered by Bruce over on that show. There was very little to discuss here. It was just reading facts and results, which is the most tasteless go-to recipe for these Conrad shows. And unfortunately it feels like we get these more often than the interesting ones.
  14. SomethingSavage

    The Arn Anderson podcast

    Arn really is an all-time great storyteller. It was so interesting to hear him address his final four or five years with WWE. I'm not surprised by any of it, but it's really telling to actually hear everything confirmed. You get the feeling is was very deflating to have his feedback and opinions dismissed so regularly. Most of all, I enjoyed hearing Arn address the grueling schedule of 80s WWF. He really digs into the details & gives you a glimpse at how burnout was a real issue. It hits home for me. Not that I'm bumping and feeding for a living, but I had my fatigue days waived last winter and worked 50 straight days. This year, I put in 43. And I can only imagine figuring in flights and travel and unfamiliar cities, new co-workers coming in, etc. Particularly, I was glad to hear Arn address how some guys were more than justified in just getting through house show matches with basic, minimalist work. Why the fuck not? It's one of those things that made me cringe during the GWE process - hearing how guys like Bret Hart or even Greg Valentine would get knocked for "coasting" through some random fucking house show match that was never intended for worldwide consumption and painstaking analysis, 30 years after the fact. It's easy to forget these were real human beings, with real bumps & bruises and miles on their minds and bodies - probably smack dab in the trenches of an insane travel schedule. But yes. Please tell me again how Bret was a lazy piece of shit for running that same spot on back to back nights again.
  15. El-P

    WWE Hall of Fame 2020

    They already are inducting Hogan (again). That would makes too many of those people, ya know...
  16. FMKK

    2019 Match of the Year

    Talking All Japan, Miyahara Vs KAI from January 3rd and Miyahara Vs Lee Champion Carnival finals are also great matches worth checking out for a list like this.
  17. No Shorti tonight. I doubt she’ll be missed anyway in this match for the vacant EWF Light-Heavyweight title. A choreographed opening between the pair which tends to be the norm for most matches involving Blade. Berk sidesteps a charging Blade and gives him a hand over the top rope, however he skins the cat and locks in a Tarantula. Dirty Deeds thinks the match could be over just like that and we’ll have a new champion, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the referee is counting to get him to break the hold! Berk escapes the abdominal stretch, hip toss and then clotheslines Blade out to the floor. He grabs himself a chair, which he positions in the ring, and leaps off it out onto Blade with a flip dive. Exploder suplex. Whip to the corner, Blade with the tip up but Berk catches him and hits a Michinoku Driver. Dragon Sleeper by Berk that forces Blade to go to the ropes for the break. Blade flips over his incoming opponent and tees off with some crappy looking kicks before catching Berk with a sort of tornado DDT. Berk takes to the floor and Blade connects on a gorgeous top rope quebrada. Slingshot senton from one side of the ring straight into a springboard guillotine legdrop from the other. Blade is back on the apron, waiting for Berk to get to his feet, and then snatches him for the ‘Blade Runner’. A nice call back as this time, showing he’s learned from last, Berk blocks it and hits an inverted suplex followed by a moonsault off the middle for a two. Swanton bomb. Both men get near falls as they run through a series of cradles until Benz counters into a face jam. Frog splash. Blade escapes the Benz rolling Fisherman’s suplex and hits a ‘Ki Krusher’. A table is bought into the ring but Blade is caught when he heads upstairs and Berk puts him through it with a release super belly to back. He takes too long clearing the ring of broken wood, so by the time he does make the cover Blade is able to get a foot over the rope. Blade, after being practically dead only moments ago, now looks like there is nothing wrong with him, landing on his feet from a German suplex and then running through an array of moves ending with the four storey moonsault to become the new EWF Light Heavyweight champion.
  18. Richeyedwards

    2019 Match of the Year

    My moty matches for this year with a baseline cutoff of ****1/4 in terms of what I watch it goes 1.AJPW 2. NOAH 3.BJW after that it is very rare that I will watch any other promotion other than a one off match or from produce shows: Hikaru Sato Vs Yusuke Okada Aoki Atsushi Tribute match AJPW 18/06/2019 Kento Miyahara c Vs Jake Lee AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight title AJPW 24/10/2019 Kento Miyahara c Vs Yoshi Tatsu AJPW Triple Crown Title Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabyashi c Vs SUWAMA & Shuji Ishikawa AJPW Tag Titles 19/03/2019 Katio Kiyomiya c vs Naomichi Marufuji GHC Heavyweight Title NOAH 10/03/2019 Kento Miyahara c vs SUWAMA Triple Crown Title AJPW 24/02/2019 Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabyashi vs Violent Giants c AJPW Tag Titles BJW Sekimoto 20th anniversary 13/01/2019 Hayata &Axiz Vs Yo-Hey, KENOH & Kaito Kiyomiya Noah 29/03/2019 Katio Kiyomiya c vs Masa Kitamiya GHC Heavyweight Title NOAH 01/02/2019 Kaito Kiyomiya c vs Kenoh GHC Heavyweight title NOAH 05/01/2019 Masashi Takeda Vs Toshiyuka Sakuda BJW Ikkitousen death match survivor 2019 BJW 28/02/2019 Kento Miyahara vs Jake Lee AJPW CC Final 29/04/2019 I did fall out of watching any wrestling during April so I missed a lot of the cc and the summer so out of even the promotions I watch I missed a good deal a lot of the matches are from the first 3 months of the year as that was when I was watching with regularity.
  19. A match to determine the new IWA-MS Light Heavyweight champion; I’m guessing there are no height restrictions for this title then? The crowd are already chanting at Morton to “shut the fuck” and all he’s done is grab the microphone. He’s giving Hy-Zaya one opportunity to go back to the dressing room and give this one up before he comes in there and “beats the black” off his ass. Don’t worry, it gets worse. The audio is a bit distorted/unclear but there’s proper race baiting stuff going on, referring to Zaya and his second (a black guy I don’t recognise) as “your type”, he mentions assassinating people and finally gives Zaya one final chance to give it up before “I beat your black f****** ass n****!” There’s your most distasteful promo of the year Ladies and Gents. As unacceptable and uncomfortable as all that was it has lit a fire under Zaya. Morton counters a ‘Code Red’ with ‘Money in the Bank’, halting his opponent’s initial burst. After his previous match against Suicide Kid I was expecting another wrestling based encounter here but it has been all kick, punch, choke from him. Different approach due to his obvious distaste for Zaya? Jeez, now Morton is putting his foot on the bottom rope in front of the second and telling him “I need my shoes waxed boy, shine my shoes boy”. Every time it looks like Zaya might be getting back into it he’s cut off. Nice delayed brainbuster. Morton drops a knee and then it sounds like he mockingly tries to get the crowd to start a “Go N**** Go!” chant. He front suplexes Zaya, dropping him across the top rope, but when he makes the cover, lifts him up at the count of two “he needs more of an ass whipping”. Like when, bar squashes, has someone who’s ever done that gone on to win the match? As expected he takes one too many liberties and Zaya gets the pinfall following a frog splash. Three guys rush from the dressing room joining Morton in a post-match beat down on Zaya and his second (one is Chris Hero the other two maybe Harry Palmer and Mark Wolf). Suicide Kid tries to make the save but the heels have too many numbers, it is only when Corporal Robinson, Ian Rotten, Rollin Hard and Cash Flo run out do they get out of dodge. Morton has final words for everyone, calling Kid a “wigga”, a white boy who wants to be black. After the opening shine Morton beats Zaya for the rest of the match interspersed with a few hope spots that get cut off pretty much straight away. Zaya’s portrayed as if he can’t really hang and the finish, almost as if Morton slipped on a banana peel (he sat Zaya on the top turnbuckle, went up after him, Zaya got in some shots, Morton fell backwards to the mat, frog splash, over). Probably too long for what it was and needed to be, I know, in IWA-MS, who would’ve thunk it? The racial stuff from Morton was way past uncomfortable.
  20. Richeyedwards

    2019 Match of the Year

    Maruyama has been a full time ajpw guy for around 3 years now, he occasionally gets a jr title match or all Asia tag match. He teamed with Zeus in may in an attempt for the titles. As for bodyguard he has not been in ajpw much this year he missed the cc and was mainly in zero-1 and bjw teaming with sekimoto for the bjw tag titles. Sadly he badly tore his quad half way through the rwtl this year so forfeit the rest of the matches and has had to relinquish the bjw tag titles. But before he got injured there was a good match Vs Kento Miyahara and Yuma Aoyoagi. As for zeus? He is one of the best guys in ajpw and is good in pretty much everything he does, he hasn't been pushed as much as he was last year when he won the triple crown but had a good cc, Vs okabyashi and Shuji Ishikawa as good matches. He is currently the ajpw tag champ with ryogi sai.
  21. ROH World Champion Low-Ki vs AJ Styles - ROH 8/24/02 Lil Sleeze could have been somebody and went to this show as this was ROH's first show in Boston and I believe their first show outside of Philadelphia. Interesting they chose Boston over NYC. However, the year 2002 is the only year since 1997 I didnt watch pro wrestling in fact I completely fell out of it so I was completely unaware that two of my future favorite wrestlers were tearing the house down in Wakefield. Low-Ki had just won the right to be the inaugural ROH Champion and this is his first defense. People forget how integral AJ Styles was to ROH they always see him as a TNA guy, but AJ was positioned as a main eventer at the level of Ki, Daniels and Danielson. He was a tag team champion early with Amazing Red and had the honor of challenging for the title here in its first defense. AJ and Ki were basically married to each other in 2002. They worked two matches in ROH, a myriad of matches in TNA and a Z-1 match in early January 2003. These are just the matches I know about. I am sure there are others. Low-Ki is my pick for best wrestler on Planet Earth in 2002, he was having an insane year and AJ Styles was already great in 2002 as well. I have found this pairing to always be great, but to never be classic. In TNA, I chocked it up to short, Nitro-style matches and in Zero-One it was more of a touring exhibition match. I was really hopeful that ROH match would be the lost classic due to ROH's environment conducive to producing instant classics. Again, I got another great AJ Styles vs Low-Ki match, but one that falls short of being classic. I thought what this match does well is play up the eveness of the two rivals and split the offense 50/50 without being "my turn, your turn". It is very competitive in the actual sense of the word and there is a lot of struggle throughout. There is a lot of fighting through offense and earning the next move. I thought the best story woven through this match was that the Champion Low-Ki has a slight lead on AJ throughout the match. The opening amateur wrestling/MMA ground sequence are really well done and you see AJ hold his own, but the Champion is slightly better. Then they move to strikes and again this is Ki's wheelhouse (Ki busts out the Inoki ground kicks and he has one amazing kick to AJ's head while in a headscissors that caught me unawares). AJ is no slouch. AJ has a great kick and a really great elbow/forearm, but this is Low-Ki in 2002 who is one of the all-time best strikers so again AJ falls behind. That's when you start to get that urgency out of AJ. He can feel the match starting to slip through his fingers so he starts taking risks like the kip up rana. He is trying to use the element of surprise, but the first time he gets a swift kick to his back for his trouble, but the second time he gets it. This throws KI off balance and affords AJ his first real advantage by following it up with suffocating strikes. From this perspective, I thought the match was great and it was an interesting take on pro wrestling. This is the type of psychology I wish we saw more of it because it is nuanced and breaks up the obvious two formula those being limb-based psychology and traditional babyface/heel psychology. We see this narrative play out the rest of the match that AJ could only sustain short flurries before Ki would return to control. AJ was lunge into turnbuckles or go for dives but eat a kick to the face. All these desperation moves that come up short because he couldnt consolidate anything, which is due to the fact that Ki is such an overwhelming force of nature. I think this story needed to be either paired with another story or more fleshed out because it left me unsatisfied ultimately because I didnt feel like there was a real hook. What's that thing I am going to remember about this match? Thats why transitions are so important. These were not the typically bad transitions that I rail because they were earned but they were NOT emphatic. There was no turning point to the match. It was a noisy match is what I would say. There were things I didnt like such as Ki doing Kawada Kicks and AJ hitting a modified slam directly after. The second time around where AJ fires up and goes insane with strikes I liked more it felt like his Fight or Flight mechanism was engaged, but thats kinda what it was no real strong transitions just noise. Another thing I thought was interesting was the escalation, there was not much. It was high intensity from jump with the mat wrestling and then the strikes. These two are fucking stiff and the offense was executed great. There really was not much ramp up, it was just a high level throughout. AJ's big move was the Spiral Tap which crashed and burned. He never really got a strong nearfall and Styles Clash was only teased once early in the match when Ki tried his own nip up rana. That was interesting. Ki got two Dragon Clutch sleepers before hitting the Ki-Krusher. Interesting match reminds me of Ki vs Danielson from 2001 where it is unique take on pro wrestling, but falls short of being completely satisfying. ****
  22. GSR

    WWE Hall of Fame 2020

    Lawler wanted Lance Russell to induct him, I think Finlay inducting Batista has every bit as much chance as happening as the former.
  23. tallmike

    AEW Dynamite Week 10 - Dec 4, 2019

    Does everybody really get an opportunity if only Cody, Jericho, and Brandi get regular promo time on Dynamite?
  24. gordi

    AEW Dynamite Week 10 - Dec 4, 2019

    It strikes me as genuinely weird that a company as openly concerned with inclusiveness as AEW wouldn't have official subtitles on their youtube channel!
  25. Coffey

    All Elite Wrestling

    I'll say this about Joey Janella: I'd take him over damn near everyone that wrestled in XPW & I watched more XPW shows than I should probably admit. Compared to people like Supreme, Joey Janella looks like Terry Funk.
  26. Slasher

    All Elite Wrestling

    Yeah for all the stuff that those "locker room leaders" pull, its clear they are the biggest marks of all. Wrestler Court? Taker being pissed off because Matt Hardy dared duck out of the ring instead of taking a pointless chokeslam from him? It's just childish shit.
  27. Slasher

    AEW Dynamite Week 10 - Dec 4, 2019

    Problem for me, as a hearing impaired person, is that most of the content on Youtube does not have official subtitles. I could turn on the beta captions but they make enough mistakes that I don't think it's worth it. You're right though it takes time to get used to it, and I am sure eventually I'll get there.
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