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Chess Knight

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  1. My mind bugged the fuck out when Van Buyten was trying to get a hold on and was doing so by pushing down on Andre's leg like he was trying to force a log down a wood chipper. Simple thing and I've never seen anything like it. The amount of desperation he had trying to do as much as possible before Andre threw him away - while still balancing it with slow paced wrenching - was incredible. The ranas were a great way to throw Andre off, and Andre was visibly huffing after taking them, showing that they were waring him down. Andre eventually kicking Van Buyten's ass with uppercut blows that Van Buyten just couldn't really come back from was just the perfect peak. Like a black and white grainy camera version of a superhero being constantly flattened by a giant. Andre being basically unaffected by the dropkick was a great moment too. IL N'A PAS BOUGÉ! IL N'A PAS BOUGÉ!!
  2. Chess Knight

    Randy Savage

    I think Savage has more very good matches than people give him credit for. I wasn't able to find the full match but most of the 7/27/86 Steamboat match in particular I'd never seen until last year and it honestly blew me away a little. I think I didn't rate it higher (mentally, I don't use numbers) because I remembered there being at least two matches in the feud better. For what it's worth I might say the 2/15/87 Steamboat and 4/21/86 Santana matches place in my WWE top 50/60, along with Mania 3 and 7. I need to see the DiBiase matches again but I adored the SNME match pre-Mania when I saw it on a WWE DVD. I think that Bret Hart match is kind of overhyped but only because some call it 4*1/2 level whereas I'd sit it at a "really good." I think Savage clearly outworked Bret in the match with his selling. The DDP feud in WCW is a boat load of fun and I remember liking the Flair series there too. The 1996 yearbook was about as good a collection of wrestling footage I've seen in one place so saying Savage was the creeeeam of the crop on it would be overdoing it, but he was someone I always looked forward to in a very, very stacked year, and his tv matches on the set delivered. I kind of like the "random match theory" thing people have come up with, and I think Savage is a winner in that respect. The match doesn't even always have to be good, but Savage always looks like a guy achieving his goal of winning/revenge/whatever it may be, 100% of the time he has in front of people. E.g. This Tuesday in Texas vs. Jake Roberts is a six minute match but combining it with the pre/post-match promos, and the angle done after the match - it's one of the singles best things the WWE has ever aired. Obviously Roberts was unreal in it, but other than Piper I don't know how many wrestlers in WWF up until that point were as good as Savage at working within a feud. I'm not even talking about the promos, because for six minutes I think every move/moment in that match is placed where it should be. And having that level of believability while being such an obvious crazy man with a remarkably cartoony voice is should be an impossible thing to pull off, but Savage always just did it. If anything is a mark against ranking Savage imo it's that, like was typical for 80s WWF, he in a feud against the same person would result in some matches being too similar to each other. I do love that Santana feud but a couple of matches repeat key moments/spots, meaning the rematch can feel a touch like a replay. Rating the guys who spent most of their time there canb become tough, because it's not even really their doing when everyone else was along for the same ride. Slaughter vs. Sheik is a great feud that does it as well.
  3. I became a huge Murdoch fan around 2009/2010 because of the Mid-South and NJPW 80s sets (which lead me to getting the helmet comp), but I had barely watched him for years now so I forgot how good he actually was. He goes to some awesome lengths just to put any move over that he has to sell, and will similarly grimace his face while torqueing in his own holds. Great, great post-move seller too to give his opponent a potential target should they want it. Jumbo was mostly good selling armbars and stuff too but when he got them, on he looked kind of dead faced. I actually thought the second and third falls both ruled and were given the appropriate amount of time; sometimes 2/3 falls match benefit from the quick ends to really show how gruelling the first fall was. That second fall in particular very brief and to the point with Murdoch hoping he just had it in the bag and trying what he could to put Jumbo away, while Jumbo had to fight upward from taking a brainbuster which is rightfully treated as a devastating move. Third fall had Murdoch struggling to even capitalize on his own moves because of the neck, resulting in Jumbo hopping up and reigning knee strikes on him. Not a tremendously match but the build toward the peak was great and overall I really liked it a lot.
  4. Chess Knight

    [2014-08-03-NJPW-G-1 Climax] Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomoaki Honma

    This feels like what so many matches aspire to be. Eye boggling stiff ballista shot of a match where neither guy necessarily felt like they had the edge, but so many usual back-and-forth pitfalls were avoided. It helps that they actually managed to build to things too like the first Honma headbutt landing. For an 11 minute match there are just way too many cool moments to mention, from Shibata booting a diving Honma in the face, to the surprise back fists, to Shibata being burned out so he had to gradually apply the sleeper like a squid slowly latching onto prey, to the incredible Honma slap in retaliation to a Shibata onslaught. Shibata is just so much better than maybe everyone else at mixing the forearm battles and defiantly sprinting up from hard strikes that it should be illegal for anyone else to even bother.
  5. Chess Knight

    John Cena

    I was an edgy anti-Cena teen and then came around on him being a great worker. Aaaaand now I'm kind of dropped on him again, but less. There are some cases (vs. Lesnar) where there's nobody else who could fill that role, and I do value that, but a lot of his better matches to me now usually give me the mind set of "Cena looks good here" and not "Cena looks incredible here." He has his definite heights where I do think he looks incredible but there are less of them - and less spread across a consistent basis - than I used to. Him being a tv match worker was brought up, but I also find so many of his ppv matches a mostly bleh nothing to watch. His 2010 for example - I really liked the first couple in the Batista feud but following that I don't know if I'd say there's one good Cena match on ppv until MITB 2011, other than the big Nexus tag which obv involved a lot of others. Then there's his 2007 which I still find undeniable. His super indy dream match worker thing around 2015 is cool for a couple matches but I thought became tiresome and overdone pretty quickly. He's really an Undertaker kind of case to me where the consistency isn't always there, the lows are lowwww, but the highs are very high and enough to at least put them up for thought (I'd think about Cena as a case much more than Taker). Some Cena tv matches I remember thinking were worthwhile and have been maybe kind of forgotten(?): vs. Big Show (Smackdown 2/27/09) vs. Sheamus (Raw 5/17/10) w/Evan Bourne vs. Sheamus/Edge (Raw 5/31/10) vs. The Miz (Raw 5/2/11) vs. Alberto Del Rio (Raw 9/3/12)
  6. This was so mat-focused that Nakano's snap mares and even sometimes the knee lifts kind of took me aback. The Fujinami vs. Nishimura chess game bits were captivating, and I love the progression in Fujinami's career from between the athletic junior to rolling on the mat using his weight advantage to stay on top a younger guy. I loved Nishimura using the keylock on the arm so Fujinami had more trouble using the weight, made him come off really smartly trained. I have a huge soft spot for any bit of any match that's centred around trying to get a cross armbreaker in; you can get several minutes out of the struggle alone, and then build on it. Fujinami hurries to put the arm over when Ishikawa gets in, holding it behind his back almost to bait Ishikawa but then gets caught off guard anyway. Such a great brief exchange. The match could have been elevated by having a violent and heated inter-promotional/Battlarts -esque end run but who can complain with what we saw here.
  7. Chess Knight

    Daniel Bryan

    Man I'm gonna say it, the BCC have been disappointing for me. It's not that I don't like them or think their output has underwhelmed, it's that by all account of his AEW work so far, I think Bryan Danielson is probably either the best or second best wrestler on this planet still and doesn't really get to showcase it in a way that his singles matches did. I'm not even strictly talking about the "big ones" he had last year (thought that's exhibit A); that match with Lee Moriarty in February was pretty awesome to me purely because of Danielson. Moriarty looked ready to turn the match into generic back and forth indy trash any moment but Danielson just kept cutting him off, which resulted in the actual back and forth bit (the last couple minutes) feeling actually hard earned. I've truthfully never been the most MASSIVE Danielson fan, and making a list I'd maybe be a low voter (though that's probably still top 20), but stuff like that really bolsters the case to me - where he works match-specific to his opponent, and even seasoned wrestling watchers don't immediately grab at how exactly he's putting the guy over....by kicking their ass. I've before never liked him as much as I did in late 2021/early 2022.
  8. Chess Knight

    Kane

    I don't think I'd have him top 100 on a WWE list at all. I'd easily rate Chuck Palumbo as a worker over him for example, who maybe doesn't have Kane's highest tier matches but also didn't work with World Champion Chris Benoit in a PPV singles, and was way more consistently good. If Kane showed up regularly on Velocity the way Palumbo did, I think I would have leaned toward dreading it, instead of wondering what cool ways he'd punch people in the face like I did Palumbo. Hell there are like three to five year runs in NXT recently (O'Reilly, Strong, Bate, Dunne) that I think have had a better in ring career than Kane's 15-something year one pretty easily. Good big man at times and obviously has his very good matches but it's spread pretty thinly over years and years of mediocre-to-worthless work that a lot of others just don't have imo.
  9. Chess Knight

    "The Great Muta" Keiji Muto

    I've been a Mutoh denier for over a decade but I do like the late 80s/early 90s WCW run (plus he was pretty great in the G-1 Vader match), so it's not impossible there are more spurts of his career that win me over. A decent sized match list of post-91 Mutoh would be cool if someone wants to make the case for him. I don't really like the term "lazy" but he seemed unmotivated at the strangest of times. I think it was the Hashimoto match in April of 95 where he missed a moonsault and just....laid there on his stomach...looking around? Like he wasn't selling stomach or even making a grimacing face, he just did the wrestling version of starfishing in bed. It was weird, and I remember going through the 92 and 93 yearbooks years ago and seeing similar things.
  10. Chess Knight

    Shawn Michaels

    Shawn Michaels might have the biggest disparity between wrestling I love and wrestling I hate and it's all represented in this thread. The Mankind match is about as much fun a match to me can possibly be. I would rather swallow cyanide than see wrestlers clutch their face in distress like he did after the superkick, refereeing the Undertaker/HHH HIAC. His pinball bumping, especially as a heel, feels like it really should have been emulated by heels in a way that it hasn't much been since. His offense through the 21st Century is the kind of thing anti-wrestling kids at school make fun of you for watching. I've never handed in a top 100 wrestler list (nor even made one) but he'd be among the most frustrating to rank. He has enough positive and negative volume to be put in 40 different spots, or be kept off altogether. Ric Flair's post-peak would drag him down on the list for me but only because other post-peaks are consistently much better, like Tenryu's or Lawler's. Michaels has a pretty long, awesome peak, but too much of the rest is so insufferable that it drags him down so much more than it does Flair. The Rockers were a really good team for like 6 years, which is a fairly long ass time, but rewatching WWF Rockers last year I'm not really convinced he was particularly better than Jannetty. Shawn Michaels vs. _blank_ from 1995 would get me pretty excited even against guys I don't have much thought on like Tatanka, Shawn Michaels vs. _blank_ from 2008 would get me apathetic even against my favourite guys from that time like Finlay. It's almost worth making a whole list just to see where I'd rank him. edit - I never thought about "I'm sorry, I love you" being Shawn putting himself first but whether that the intention or not, it certainly has done that job.
  11. I think a couple things hold this back a little, but that finishing stretch is one of the best, most dramatic there's ever been which shoots this into being one of the greats. It's first dozen minutes set things up well but didn't have any marks of a great match, and it wasn't until Kobashi riskily tries a suplex that Takayama gets to squeeze the life out of him and things sky rocket up. Kobashi's arm selling is god-tier, especially when he was on the outside after it was first hit. The lariat off of the guard rail whip was a great come back spot, but at the same time I think Takayama was overselling a little by collapsing after he delivered the apron German; it felt like they were just baiting the double count out. Maybe nit-picking but it's a big, pivotal moment that I do think was dampened a bit. Like I said the finish stretch is unreal, and one thing that stood out to me is that Kobashi actually manages to deliberately use an injured limb and have it not come off as totally silly. He tries his left arm for chops, headbutts, even a jumping clothesline thing, but he looks bugged about it all and starts throwing chops with the right hand anyway which totally dazes Takayama, while he himself hurdles in a corner screaming again. Made it feel actually worth it but also up in the air as to whether it would still be worth it down the road. Each big moment being an act of panicked opportunity-grabbing helped the match being back-and-forth actually work, like that one punch barrage from Takayama, which was maybe my favourite thing in the whole match. He actually started sticking to blows after the Everest failed like he was trying to weaken Kobashi for a big move he never got to pull off. - I had SERIOUSLY never noticed this was the same night as Misawa/Ogawa vs. KENTA/Marufuji, which on last watch a few years ago I thought was tremendous.
  12. Chess Knight

    [1987-06-09-NJPW] Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Riki Choshu

    Simultaneously feels like a match everybody's written about, but not enough people have seen, though still a bit of legend in the online wrestling sphere. Choshu is bloodied basically as soon as Fujiwara gets his hands on him, and you don't see too many wrestlers focus on chokes after their opponent is in that state. Fujiwara was grinning like some sociopathic school kid squeezing the life out of a mouse. Best smile of the match came when Fujiwara countered the first lariat into a Fujiwara armbar. It's like he was just taking Choshu's shit just to humour himself, baiting Choshu into the lariat, for which he knowingly had a swift counter. Contrast to that, he looks much more determined to keep the second armbar on because Choshu actually gets in a lariat before it, and Choshu manages to rush toward the ropes during the hold because Fujiwara's actually finally been worn down a bit. Bloody Fujiwara changes the tone of the whole match (or at least reverses the roles) and his rigid selling of things is a sight. This one stumble after one of his own headbutts was just impossibly good. You couldn't teach kind of sell. You could show someone the first minute of the match, then last minute, and then tell them there's only about ten minutes in between and probably have them go "what the fuck how?" There are matches of a similar description but I can't get the same thing out of any other match.
  13. Ten years ago I would have told you this was a great match with too many tag partner run ins. I'd now call it one of the greatest matches of all time with the run ins adding to the already unpredictable and scornfully badass aura of the match. It's like the best ever violent inter-promotional tag match that isn't inter-promotional. It's cheap shot city and the amount of different reactions that came out of it, from anger to defiant ignorance (especially when refusing to let go of a hold like some invisible middle finger) made me totally bug eyed in captivation. That's obviously not mentioning the crazy stiffness, oddly enough one of the more memorable moments to me being Ishikawa accidentally whiffing a punch entirely, and it getting rightfully ignored because screw that monkey show shit we actually hit each other here. Otsuka added a different flavour by keeping close toward the opponent's waist, plus hitting his suplexes, but eventually got wiped out with suplexes himself and then later had the best ten count tease of the match. Ono's constant run ins coming in while Ikeda kept getting laid out made for an amazing escalation toward the final moments, and the finish appropriately had all four guys in the ring. I have to mention Otsuka sprinting a dropkick into an interfering Ikeda, then taking over from Ishikawa to deliver the giant swing on Ono.
  14. Naturally seen this many times, and even though I usually reject the "what's left to say about _X_?" way of thinking, I doubt I can add much to fifteen years of talk about this thing. I will say that despite having seen it enough times, I hadn't seen it for a while, so I forgot exactly how many times Necro was slammed directly on his forehead. Every awesome, desperate rain of blows he threw at Joe I half-wondered (and half-worried) he'd eat another one. The powerbomb on the guardrail, while it was set up on the ropes, was grosser than I remembered too; Necro's neck looked to snap back because Joe kind of aimed it so his shoulders hit it while his back hit air. Necro started to bleed early from shoot headbutts and probably just bladed twice more anyway to get the visuals. Small shout out to Joe actually getting a concerned look on his face after a couple kick outs. The stars aligned for this one. I remember thinking the tag match Necro had the same night was the best CZW match I've seen, and considering this is most certainly the best IWA-MS match I've seen (I've argued for Necro/Klein as better before, but probably wouldn't now), that's an all timer of a night for one guy.
  15. Chess Knight

    [2000-12-12-CMLL] Ricky Marvin vs Virus

    Maybe the most unfortunately named wrestler to praise for the past couple years but VIRUS! A lot of the best rudo luchadores always manage to do the classiest looking grappling, while still keeping in character just by reacting to everything, and Virus just brings it. You can play-by-play some of this to me on paper and I'd be like "ehhh" but the execution is where the in-sync-yet-unco-operative magic happens. They even did some 'duck a backflip pose' thing and then Virus just dropkicks Marvin in the chest for it. First fall had a pretty great botched finish where Marvin slapped on an octopus, but Virus tripped to one knee, which looked like a potential counter until Marvin just improvised with a crucifix pin while Virus' leg was still caught up. Shout out to Virus' abdominal stretch, where he stepped backward so one of Marvin's ankles was rolled. Was pretty ugly. The second fall was great, with Marvin trying for a bum rush but after one Irish whip too many, Virus splats his face on the ground like he's shaking sand off a beach towel. I almost thought they'd go for two falls based on how kick out-heavy it was getting but Virus wasn't done bringing the face splats to tear Marvin down. The third fall started with Marvin not even being able to stand without tumbling which was a super cool dichotomy to the sprint he did to start the second. Falling flat on his face after Virus ducked the lariat was maybe a little goofy but hey he pulled it off all right. His tempo picks up throughout the fall but I thought, for the most part, he did a really good job of coming across as someone pushing themselves. Virus is unreal good at "caught off guard" selling, including somehow making dropkicks to the knee look like they should actually be flipping him 270 degrees. This was really, really good.
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