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Superstar Sleeze

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  1. Superstar Sleeze

    Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

    I agree the Attitude Era ends in 2001. Cena & Batista winning in 2005 usher in a new era. I think of it as the First Wave of Cena. It is a very stable crew of main eventers that include Cena, Batista, HHH, HBK, Taker, Edge, Orton. At first Angle is in this crew but then Jericho replaces him. JBL, Big Show, Kane and REY Rey are fill ins. This era ends in 2009. 2010 is a crazy year in WWE history. HBK, Batista, Edge & Jericho leave. Taker & HHH are not full time. 75% of your main event is gone. People underestimate how different WWE is in 2010. It is the Second Wave of Cena but now HE IS THE MAN! There are no Attitude Era leftovers supporting him. It is just him & Orton. This is the Era that features a ton of one-off pushes like Miz, Sheamus and Swagger. Only really Punk sticks and eventually Bryan. Bryan's health & Punk's ego/impatience stop them from ushering in a new era. 2015 feels like the start of the current era. Cena's reign as The Man comes to end at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Smart money was this would be the Reign of Roman Reigns but bad booking and health has made this Brock Era the Reprise.
  2. Beyond Wrestling is a New England-based Independent that recently launched on a weekly TV show every Wednesday from 8pm-10pm Eastern on Independent Wrestling TV on April 3rd in Worcester, MA. I first heard of Beyond in 2014 with the rise of grapplefuck being popularized by the likes Biff Busick, Drew Gulak and Timothy Thatcher. I went to a smattering of Beyond shows all in Rhode Island. I dont know if started as a Rhode Island based promotion and moved to Worcester or what have you. I went to one of if not the last Biff Busick's shows on the independents which was a round robing amongst Busick, Gulak and Thatcher needless to say that was one of the best live shows I have ever attended. With Busick & Gulak's departure to WWE, work and a personal life, I stopped going to independent shows. I attended Beyond's New Year Eve show and had a good time even if I did make an ass out of myself vociferously booing & heckling Orange Cassidy. In my defense, I did catch on about halfway through the match that Orange Cassidy is very over and I just have to check my own personal feelings about the gimmick at the door & let everyone else have fun with it. I made it a resolution to attend more live independent shows. I heard that Beyond would be starting a weekly TV series on Wednesdays in April in Worcester. My work is about halfway between Worcester and Boston and it seemed like a fun thing to do on a Wednesday so I bought the season pass. I have attended all three episodes. Here are my thought thus far. Overall, I have been very happy with all three episodes. I have enjoyed the wrestling and have enjoyed the commitment to traditional babyface/heel dynamics. Even though, I rarely know who anyone is I can easily figure out who the babyface and the heel is and follow along with the in-match narrative. The Core Four (Chris Dickinson, Joey Janela, David Starr & MJF): So out of these four, the only I had ever seen before was David Starr who was on the Beyond shows I went to in 2015. I like his promo style a lot. He speaks with a lot of conviction and is readily hateable. He reminds me a lot of heel Shane Douglas on the mic, but has some more stooging elements in the ring that I enjoy. Also Do Ya Wanna Touch by Joan Jett is second greatest theme song of all time (The GOAT Theme Song goes to this SHIMMER Chick that uses Black Sabbath/Taylor Swift mash-up, ask Stacey (Jimmy Redman), she will tell you it is the GOAT) MJF I was aware from the Stone Cold podcast. I was not in love with Stone Cold podcast because he tried to do it in gimmick, but at his core is a nice guy. He would try to give kudos to people and then work back into his gimmick. It caused weird inconsistencies. Stone Cold actually was a really good interviewer in helping him navigate that and also being along for the ride. I like the MJF gimmick. It is a tried & true pro wrestling gimmick that will never get old of the rich sissy that thinks he is better than everyone else because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I mentioned this to Pete (aka Shoe) & Johnny P when I met them over Mania weekend that I think MJF plays a pro wrestling heel whereas I think David Starr comes off more organically as a prick. Shoe disagreed with me he thinks Starr comes off as more over the top and forcing it. He thinks MJF is more natural. I was aware of Joey Janela because of his Spring Break which I have never seen just thought it was a cool name for a show and from the Stone Cold podcast. I thought it was a strong episode of the show but I thought he was surprisingly humble & quiet. Chris Dickinson aka The Dirty Daddy is someone I have never heard of before. I think of them as the Core Four because they are the ones who have had storyline development week-to-week. David Starr wrestled the visiting Masato Tanaka in the first episode's main event. I thought this was the match of the night. Tanaka looked amazing. He is still one of the best verbal sellers of all time. You can really tell the difference between the undercard and the main event. Just how Masato Tanaka was able to show fire that really engaged the crowd and how good David Starr is at carrying himself as a heel. The Joey Janela surprise appearance to cost David Starr the match actually felt huge. Like I said, I barely know these characters but I could feel the heat. Janela definitely looks like a star and "The Bad Boy" moniker is a great one. Tanaka absolutely clocked Starr with a wicked chair shot to the back of the head. It looked brutal! Very electric end to show. I will be honest my memory is already hazy but I believe Dickinson had his six-man tag screwed up because of Starr and he also made an appearance during the main event. This led to the tag team main event the next week of Janela & Dickinson vs. Starr & MJF. I thought the promo segment in the middle of the show was excellent. Four unique and distinct characters that really mesh well together. I thought the tag team main event was again the best match of the night. The Dirty Daddy has totally won me over as my favorite wrestler on these shows. He is like a mini-Gronk, fun-loving, but a total asskicker in the ring. He hits hard, good seller and is very athletic. Janela showed me more in the way of personality and crowd interactions. I didnt think much of his in-ring work. MJF and Starr are just gold together. I see Modern Day Midnight Express with those two. They really could be the best heel tag team of the next day if they committed to working with each other full-time. The third episode they took a step back and let Orange Cassidy main event. Also, Starr & Janela did not appear. I though MJF and Dirty Daddy had easily the best match of any of the first three episodes. To me, it was the first truly great match produced by this show. The opening matwork was great. Dickinson was busting out Volk Han magic. MJF is such a great stooge. The arm psychology in the middle was excellent. MJF rocked both the work and the character aspects. Dirty Daddy sold well. I loved the double stomp to the arm when Dickinson had the ropes ala Smaurai/Otani. Dickinson showed great fire, loved the struggle over the belly to belly for Dickinson. The finish was great because these are your two most over acts there was NO reason for a clean finish instead they introduced MJF's Dynasty buddy, Richard Holliday. I attended two MLW shows over Mania weekend. I am a little bummed because I hope they dont drop the MJF/Starr pairing because Holliday is a step back. It does look to be headed in that direction as Y2J Jr. from MLW is debuting this coming week for Beyond. My only hope is that the Hart Foundation will show up at one point. Teddy Hart won me over huge during Mania Weekend and I think Brian Pillman Jr. is one of the best young talents out there. Go out of your way to check out the Dickinson/MJF match from Episode 3. Champion Orange Cassidy: Their champion is Orange Cassidy. If you have seen Orange Cassidy and read my wrestling reviews, you know I am not going to like him much. The nonchalant attitude and treating wrestling like a joke is anathema to me. I will say this. He is incredibly over. So I will let people have their fun. It is also very impressive that he can run the ropes and do so many spots with his hands in his pockets. He does use his props well. Like when the heel goes after the sunglasses or he busts out the Orange Juice it does feel like a big deal. I just think the whole thing is really not that funny. Like slow motion spots or not selling holds are not funny and insult me as a fan. Other people dont feel that way and if I was the promoter I would push him too, but does not mean I have to like it. I finally did see an entertaining Orange Cassidy match against Kylie Rae. Kylie Rae is indy Bayley but even nerdier. She comes out to the Pokemon theme. The way I would describe is Bayley appeals to little girls and as creepy as it sounds Kylie Rae caters to the nerdy male demo. I thought the gimmicks did mes well and they came up with some cute spots. The best of which was the thumb war. The reason the Thumb War worked is because they sold it. They sold the struggle and when Kylie Rae did finally best Orange he sold his fucking ass off. I think thats why issue with Orange is he won't feel traditional wrestling but he will his sell cute, little LOLuniverse he lives in. The Thumb War was fucking great. I thought this was the NOAH 2008 of comedy matches in that. It was a good thing that went on 10-15 minutes too long. It peaked at the Thumb War and petered out. Undercard: As for the undercard, what has stood out to me was the Aussie Open specifically the big dude who I believed is named Mark Davis. Great hot tag. I see a lot of upside. I liked Jordynn Grace a lot, muscular dynamo. Solo Darling (Daring?) impressed me in her technical match with Wheeler Yuta. Anyways, I have enjoyed the last three episodes live and I encourage people to watch as it is a fun, breezy two hour show. I will write my thoughts down every week as opposed to waiting as long I to do this.
  3. Superstar Sleeze

    Greatest Match Ever Project

    Thank you to everybody to the administrators. Really appreciate everyone who took time to put this together. Really enjoyed the time!
  4. Superstar Sleeze

    Greatest Match Ever Project

    My list is very incomplete. I included matches I have watched since 2013. Even though I have watched most All Japan 90s matches I have not rewatched them since so the list is devoid of those. I am going to re-post my list once I finish Japan & US from 1970-2009. As for this list, I will say the major gaps are between #14 and #15. Top 14 are No. 1 contenders. The next gap is #47 and #48 this represents my *****/****3/4 diving line. The next gap is #75 and #76, the matches after #75 I expect to be in jeopardy of falling off my list as I re-watch more wrestling.
  5. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Updated Compendium of all 49 volumes of Pro Wrestling Love! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2018/10/pro-wrestling-love-compendium.html
  6. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Best of Other Heavyweight Puroresu 1996-1999 Part II THE MANIA CONTINUES! The Pro Wrestling Love Will Always Continue! However, I will be taking a sabbatical to recharge my batteries so I want to thank everyone who took time to read these (FORTY-NINE Holy Shit, my original intention was 64, but I am proud to complete 75% of the goal). If you got any sort of pleasure out of them or found a new match you liked than I did my job and I spread the Pro Wrestling Love! I watched & reviewed 1,934 matches so far and here's to another 1,934 matches! The last blog completes the countdown started yesterday as the best of Japanese Heavyweight wrestling not to take place in All Japan or New Japan. But it might as well be called the Best of RINGS, only a crazy Genichiro Tenryu brawl stops them from sweeping the Top 6, click to find out which one! Pro Wrestling loves its Trilogies and there may be no better than the Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura trilogy so click the link and savor all the Pro Wrestling Love! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2019/04/pro-wrestling-love-vol-49-best-of-other.html
  7. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Best of Other Heavyweight Japan 1996-1999 Part 1 Got to see Masato Tanaka last night live in Worcester BABY! Guess what! He is featured prominently in the latest edition of Pro Wrestling Love! This article looks at the best heavyweight matches to take place in the non-major companies of Japan (so no New Japan or All Japan) between 1996-1999 and thus features a lot of shoot-style from RINGS, which was clicking on all cylinders with the magnificent foursome of Volk Han, Koyoshi Tamura, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Yoshihisa Yamamoto. Dying Days WAR also produced some greatness as the dream match of Takada vs Tenryu right before UWFi shut down and Takada would go to start PRIDE. FMW made the transition from a Deathmatch company to Attitude Era, America style company featuring Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka and the amazing Mr. Gannosuke! Mr. Gannosuke does not get enough press in America for how awesome he is a perfect combination of heel sleaze, garbage brawling and strong mat fundamentals. This is the potpourri of Pro Wrestling Love with a little for everyone to love so check it out! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2019/04/pro-wrestling-love-vol-48-best-of-other.html
  8. Superstar Sleeze

    [2009-04-05-WWE-Wrestlemania XXV] Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker

    The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels -WrestleMania XXV I have always considered this Shawn Michaels' take on All Japan. Now when I made the same claim about Jushin Liger in 1997. It holds water. It is highly unlikely that 2009 Shawn Michaels cares about the Four Corners. I don't even know if he knows who the fuck Misawa is. So it is more happenstance that they do a King's Road match in 2009 but it is glorious all the same. To me this is the logical conclusion of Shawn's preferred style. King's Road is workrate meets epic storytelling which is what Shawn was always trying to achieve since 1994. I think the first half of this match including the two huge missed dives is just fucking aces. I love when tempo matters in wrestling. So many times it is body part psychology but tempo can be just as a powerful psychological tool. I love how it shifts and is unexpected. Who would have predicted in a million years that an uptempo style would favor the Undertaker? But they make it work. Also notice without much movement how much energy Taker expresses at the beginning of the match. So much pep in the step. It is infectious. He is so invested. It makes you invested. Energy is not just running around, it is good body language. Loved the Shawn cat and mouse game: the feigned superkick was so good. Once Taker got rolling, he was so explosive. Everything looked fucking great. Great missed Taker move to give Shawn the opening to attack the leg. It is funny but who would have predicted Undertaker to be the one to blow off leg selling to explosive rope running like he is Ultimo Dragon. Who would have predicted that Shawn would be trying to grind a win out using holds to contain Taker. This match reminds me of the 94 Misawa vs Doc with Misawa trying to contain the more explosive Doc and then land the Elbow. Same with Michaels but replace Elbow with Superkick. The Big spots in the middle come off huge. These are equivalent to huge apron spots in All Japan like a Nodowa off the Apron or a Tiger Driver off the apron. My big issue with the match is that these huge spots don't feel like they have that much bearing on the match. Undertaker basically piledrove himself but doesn't feel like he is in a huge hole. I do think some of the finisher traders feels more like NOAH than All Japan if you catch my drift. That choke slam was massive. I think the Fighting Spirit sequence came off fucking great! Awesome selling and striking! I really dug and the final Tombstone rocked. To me this flirted with ***** but the immediate aftermath of the two missed dives hurts it. If you JIP I Don't feel like they matter much but the Apron Spots were the climaxes of All Japan. I think after some finisher trading they do get back on track with a strong strike exchange and emphatic finish. I said AJ vs Daniels was the 2009 MOTY but that was based on memory, it is indeed this match. ****3/4
  9. Yuki Ishikawa & Carl Greco vs Alexander Otsuka & Mohammed Yone - BattlArts 3/12/99 No Ikeda in this one is weird. Again I have no clue why the pairings are the way they are. I am rooting for a return to BatBat's minimalist portrayal of tight grappling and stiff striking with lots of energy. They are in a much smaller building so hopefully that bodes well. Yone and Otsuka have matching flame tights. We get Yone and Otsuka using good team work to start. Otsuka drives Ishikawa down with a slam and then into a tight chinlock. Yone gets a swift kick to the midsection. Ishikawa sells this like a million bucks. Otsuka applies a headscissors but Ishikawa gets the ropes. Reset standing up. Ishikawa slap and then immediate drop down leg kick is blocked. They wrestle. Ishikawa gets a full mount and grounds and pounds. Ishikawa has a toehold. The grappling is better in this match thus far. More struggle and more positioning battles. Ishikawa tags out. Greco gets a series of kneelifts and kicks, but Otsuka catches it and sweeps the leg nice takedown. Good stepover toehold as he looks to negotiate something more Greco is able to roll through. Crazy deadlift suplex from Otsuka on Greco. Yone's kicks look fantastic. Good standup battle with Greco ends with Greco hurling him with a belly to belly. Greco almost gets the cross armbreaker, but Otsuka saves. I really liked Greco's Chickenwing/Chickenwing looked painful unlike the AsukaLock and strong entry. Yone grabbing a toehold to escape was smart. Grappling has been much better. Loved Greco bullying Yone into the corner and tagging in Ishikawa. He was doing well but was not finishing so lets get the fresh man in there. Yone is able escape the first Fujiwara armbar. Ishikawa tortures Yone with a really nasty version of a cross armbreaker, but Yone is too close to the ropes. Yone gets the crotch hold and then slam to tag out to Otsuka. Otsuka headsbutts Ishikawa. Ugh some Fighting Spirit, but hey Otsuka decides to do some Lucha instead. Yay! Delayed vertical from Otsuka. Otsuka definitely brings something different to BatBat. Ishikawa struggles to apply string leg holds to Otsuka. Good selling by Otsuka and Yone saves. Greco rushes in with a legbar, great scramble by Ostuka. Again Greco manhandling him with a nasty leg submission and great selling by Otsuka until Yone makes the save. This is really great stuff. Otsuka is trapped in the corner and he is coming out, Greco throws some kicks. Otsuka charges for a takedown is able to get to his own corner and tag out. Smart move by Otsuka. They double team Greco to great success! Single leg crab by Yone on Greco, but he wriggles into a headscissors and Ostuka saves. Greco drives Yone into Ishikawa and Greco tags out. Much better tag psychology here. Ishikawa wants to break Yone's arm off and take it home with him until Otsuka saves with a headbutt. They do a double roll into a double kneebar! That is great! Otsuka saves by stomping both. Great shit! Greco tries to submit Yone, but cant because of that pesky Otsuka. Yone slams Greco down. Greco gets a Fujiwara Armbar on a charging Yone great shit. Ishikawa hits a Butterfly Suplex and it is back to the same psychology tear Yone's arm off and Otsuka saves. Ishikawa drops Yone on his head and then Enziguiri and Octopus Stretch. Great stretch of offense. Otsuka has to fight through Greco to save. Greco hurls him outside. Now it is Ishikawa vs Yone! Yone's kicks make in-roads! Rainbow Heel Kick triggers the count. KICK TO THE HEAD! Otsuka dropkicks Greco. Ishikawa Octopus Stretch on Otsuka, but Yone saves. Double suplex almost double choke and now Greco is playing spoiler. Nice double tackle by Otsuka/Yone on Greco. Yone & Otsuka hits a legdrop/Back suplex combo and Yone chokes out Ishikawa for the win. A return to form from the BatBat boys, there was a sense of progress, great selling and cool spots. Plenty of struggle and urgency. Not as great as the tippy top shit from 96-97 but still great. Otsuka and Yone were a great tag team, great chemistry. Lots of strong control segments and good transition. Great BattlArts match for everyone to check out. ****
  10. Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone - BattlArts 1/12/99 I tend to love BatBat tags so I am pretty pumped for this match. It starts with Ikeda and Yone double teaming Ostuka in their corner lots of kicks. I am mark for someone clearing out the ringside chairs as Ikeda hurls Otsuka over there. Yone snapmare takeover. I dont know any backstory in BatBat matches I just know it is Ishikawa vs Ikeda and it is the interminable rivalry of wrestling like Tom & Jerry. Ikeda tags in and tries to lock on a chinlock, but Ostuka escapes and hits a nasty headbutt to tag in Ishikawa. Ikeda and Otsuka are both selling as Ishikawa calmly comes in and smacks the loving shit out of Ikeda. Ikeda stands takes nasty elbows and a headbutt from Ishikawa. Ikeda goes nose to nose each time and finally responds with a big slap. This feels more Fighting Spirit than a wild shoot style brawl. Ishikawa traps the legs into an toehold and then into a crossface. Ishikawa hits an enziguiri and it feels like Ishikawa dominated Ikeda in that sequence as he falls out of the ring. Ikeda slingshots himself back into the ring with a lariat but it does not look good and Ishikawa wisely does not sell that weak shit. Ikeda finally gets one up on Ishikawa with a bodyslam and a swift kick to the back. Ikeda can finally tag out. Yone is aggressive early driving Ishikawa back to Ishikawa's corner with kicks, but Ishikawa counters with a Fujiwara armbar takedown, but Ikeda saves. Ishikawa tags out. Otsuka dominates and gets an anklelock, but again Ikeda saves. Another submission attempt another Ikeda save. It sets up the senior/junior partner narrative. Yone is working the arm and this some of the better work of the match. Lots of struggle from Otsuka and different looks from Yone to negotiate a devastating hold. He tags out to Ikeda who looks to pick up where Yone left off, but Ostuka grabs a choke, but Ikeda gets to the ropes. Ikeda still has more gas in the tank and kicks ass. Kneedrop triggers a count from the ref. He tosses Otsuka out and Yone lays the boots to Otsuka. Otsuka shifts weight on the back suplex and squashes Ikeda and wants an arm triangle. He tags out to Ishikawa who headbutts Ikeda, but Ikeda no sells. It feels like they are going through the motions. Everything is stiff and snug, but it is lacking energy and charisma that these guys usually deliver. They are just standing there and taking each other's best shot. There is usually a lot more defense and struggle. Otsuka saves Ishikawa from a Yone choke. Yone is stepping up. More struggle on Ishikawa blocking the Fujiwara armbar attempt from Yone. Ishikawa begins working the arm of Yone, which may be the first thread. Nasty deadlift German from Otsuka that triggers a count. Really tight chinlock from Otsuka, but again it feels like Yone was being ragdolled. Yone escapes and kicks Otsuka a bunch to get the tag out. Tombstone by Ikeda to no heat. The missed moonsault and senton by Otsuka felt more heated and exciting. Giant Swing! Also to no heat but I liked that a but more. Ikeda headbutt and lariat triggers the count. Axe Bomber! Yone tags in series of lariats. Ikeda boots Ishikawa off the apron as the ref counts Otsuka down. Yone hits the MUSCLEBUSTER! I have never seen that before Samoa Joe! Very cool! Yone goes to the abdominal stretch nope pump handle slam, way less cool than musclebuster. Ishikawa backdrops Ikeda on the parquet floor and saves Otsuka from submission. Otsuka catches a spin wheel kick and gets the slam. Otsuka tags out. Fighting Spirit slugfest. Yone wins with a back drop driver and this triggers a count. Ishikawa catches Ikeda into a legbar, which was a cool spot. Ikeda hits a backdrop driver and rolls into a kneebar. Otsuka saves now. Ishikawa applies the Octopus Stretch, shades of Inoki! Ishikawa hits a backdrop driver and tags out to Otsuka. Ishikawa is saying "Take care of my light work." Ikeda hits a Tiger Driver on Otsuka. This does feel like one of those really bloated late NOAH tags from like 2008 where there is a ton of action, but at the same time it feels like nothing is happening. Ikeda whips Ishikawa into the chairs and finally that chaotic feels kinda comes back. Ikeda saves Yone with a headbutt to Otsuka. Enziguiri then Tiger Suplex! This feels really weird from BatBat. Big time Dragon Suplex! Another one as Yone does the glassy eye sell and yet another! It is HEAD DROP PALOOZA! Fourth one should do it... Very disappointing. BatBat's ode to All Japan falls flat as this has more in common with NOAH tags c. 2008. There is a lot of action, but nothing is happening. No real feeling of progress or escalation. Not a lot of struggle. Lots of Fighting Spirit Slugfests. It is not the worst wrestling. I do like stiff shots so it aesthetically pleasing, but feels very shallow. ***1/4
  11. Superstar Sleeze

    [1999-08-25-FMW-Goodbye Hayabusa II] Hayabusa vs Mr Gannosuke

    Godamnit! My version does not have the post-match angle! This sounds excellent! FMW Brass Knuckles Champion Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke - FMW 8/25/99 I feel like Hayabusa is the missing link between 90s workrate and 2000s workrate. To me 90s workrate is action-based pro wrestling, but still rooted in the fundamentals of presenting pro wrestling as a shoot contest two men are trying to win. Chris Benoit for better or worse exemplifies 90s workrate in my mind. It is always moving, go forward, offensive style, BUT the move have consequences and selling matters. The objective is to win the match and by-product is the fans are entertained. I think the majority of 2000s workrate is the objective is to entertain the fans and the by-product is the moves lose consequence. The spots pop the fans rather than the fans popping for the workers. "This is awesome" epitomizes the idea that the MOVEZ are over, but the wrestlers are not in my opinion. I am not a huge Hayabusa fan, but I dont hate him either. I think he is legitimately a great flier even if he is bereft of psychology at times. He definitely puts his spots ahead of the match and he also is guilty of overly cooperative sequences. I hate reversals without any struggle that lead to an overly intricate spot. There are times when Gannosuke throws him down with a powerbomb and he is hitting the next move. It just reeks of today's matches. Now unlike today it is NOT 100% of the time and some of his spots are legitimately great so I am saying the match sucked. I am just saying Hayabusa is that missing link. As 90s workrate is transforming into 2000s workrate is all. I thought the beginning was excellent as Hayabusa was keeping Gannosuke off-balance with his speed using armdrags and a great swandive to the floor. I liked the arm control segment for Hayabusa, good selling from Gannosuke. Gannosuke is not exactly Randy Orton, but he hits an Ace Crusher when Hayabusa went for a springboard move. I like how Gannosuke targeted the head once he was on top. There is a great sequence where Hayabusa snaps off a rana to create space. He hits a baseball slide, but doesnt get all of it so Gannosuke is able to trip him and drag him out. He hits A MASSIVE POWERBOMB ON THE CONCRETE! I marked out for that! Much to my chagrin, Hayabusa was the one hitting a rana off the apron and then an Asai Moonsault. It was stuff like that that would really undercut the match. It was not so bad to take me out of the entire match, but it did hurt it in my eyes. It really became about Hayabusa high-risk moves vs Gannosuke's power moves. There is definitely some All Japan King's Road that seeps in too with the no-sell suplex pop ups and lariats. It was so en vogue. Hayabusa was busting out the 450 Splash, Shooting Star Press and Phoenix Splash. Im such a mark for a good 450 Splash. Maybe my favorite move ever. Hayabusa has a great one. I liked how the Shooting Star Press missed great way to put over the high risk nature and give Gannosuke an organic opening. Gannosuke was really able to throw Hayabusa around. Liked the tombstone reversal a lot, always a great spot! A good one for Gannosuke to hit his version of a piledriver! He did the Full Nelson Camel Clutch again that he did to Tanaka. It looks awesome. Someone should steal that for today. Gannosuke's big finish run peaks with his backwards piledriver from the top rope. I didnt feel like the transition back to Hayabusa was well done. Instead of Hayabusa earning it, it just felt "Ok now it is my turn" and he just kicked him in the head. The Phoenix Splash was not his best as he over shot the target and it was knees that hit Gannosuke in the midsection. Falcon's Arrow! It looks like the ref fucks up the finish, but Hayabusa hits another Falcon's Arrow to win it. It was entertaining enough. I think WWE fans today would LOVE this match! It is better than the average WWE match today because it does have a real babyface vs heel feel and you do want Hayabusa to win so you rally around him. The transitions could be a lot better. This was a part of their grand Goodbye Hayabusa storyline. I am missing the post-match angle, but apparently it is an all-timer. I gathered Hayabusa retires along with Brass Knuckles Championship, but evil Kodo Fuyuki attacks him after the match and awards himself the new WEW Heavyweight Championship. This leads to the 10th Anniversary show in November where Masato Tanaka beats Fuyuki for the new championship and Hayabusa returns unmasked, a short blond dye job and Stevie Richards shorts to take Mr. Gannosuke who is posing as Hayabusa with get this Shawn Fucking Michaels as the special guest ref. Jesus that sounds so weird and awesome all that same time. I should really track that show down. Anyways, I enjoyed the match, far from perfect, but I think it is really interesting especially in the context of how pro wrestling changed in the next 20 years. ***3/4
  12. Superstar Sleeze

    [1999-08-20-FMW-Goodbye Hayabusa II] Masato Tanaka vs Mr Gannosuke

    FMW Independent Heavyweight Champion Mr. Gannosuke vs Masato Tanaka - FMW 8/20/99 Mr. Gannosuke is easily my favorite FMW wrestler as he has great heel charisma, is great a garbage brawler but can hang on the mat and throws great strikes. Evil Comissioner Kodo Fuyuki plays the crooked ref in this match. Some fun spots at the beginning like making Tanaka break on the ropes, but Gannosuke got smack Tanaka on the ropes. Tanaka has a clean chinlock, but Gannosuke claims it is a choke to Fuyuki breaks. Tanaka applies a figure-4 but Fuyuki flips Gannosuke over onto the ropes. Good shit like that. At this FMW as switched from deathmatch wrestling to being an Attitude Era-inspired promotion. On the canvas it reads "Entertainment Wrestling" and this is very entertaining wrestling. Gannosuke is able to grab a hold of he arm and wrench it against the ropes. Great heat segment ensues where Gannosuke does a great combination of hard strikes and a variety of holds (double wristlock is sold really well and I love a good short arm scissors). Fuyuki lets Gannosuke attack the arm with a chair. Remember Tanaka relies a lot on that elbow. He removes the pad to reveal a bandaged elbow. The chair gets introduced again. Fuyuki goes to "chastise" the wrestler that threw it in, but Tanak is able to thwart its use by attacking Gannosuke. He gets his first mini-comeback including a tornado DDT and missile dropkick (the count was a little on the slow side and Tanaka gave Fuyuki some side-eye). Tanaka eats knees on the splash. Gannosuke goes right back to the arm. Gannosuke switches from arm work to bombs galore. On the second powerbomb, Tanaka wriggles free and hits a massive lariat. He does clutch his bad arm afterwards. At this point, the match starts to be more reminiscent of the King's Road style with a lot of bomb-throwing and Tanaka selling the arm keeping him from fully capitalizing. As he hitting moves or elbows, he is slow to follow up. Gannosuke hits a CRAZY COUNTER! He is about backdrop out of a powerbomb, but instead basically piledrivers Tanaka into the mat. Fuyuki does some good fast counting...could be a little faster, but the energy is there. Gannosuke starts throwing out suplexes galore (Northern Lights, Dragon, German) and Tanaka has some great loopy sells of these. I really liked the Full Nelson Camel Clutch that should be stolen, looked painful. Gannosuke Driver gets two and thats the climax of this finish run for the bad guy. Tanaka no sells the next German, Lariat and Enziguiri until he finally fells Mr. Gannosuke with an Elbow! I like the finish stretch where first Gannosuke wipes out Fuyuki with a lariat by accident and then Tanaka floors him after Gannosuke moves until he is knocked out. The new ref is in and Tanaka needs to hit an elbow and his Flip Stone Cold Stunner to win the match. There's definitely overkill and Tanaka could have sold the arm a little more to put over he was fighting through the pain (I think it was there, but understated). However, I thought this was fun as hell. The first 15 minutes is just classic, over the top babyface vs heel gold with Gannosuke just being the man. The finish run is big, dumb fun that is All Japan-inspired. Call me crazy, but I loved this and think this is easily the best FMW match I have ever seen. ****1/2
  13. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Best of World Championship Wrestling 1988-1990 Part 2 I had a really good shot at a perfect Final Four until Kentucky blew it. Alas! Good news is if Duke wins tonight, my chances of winning good money go up astronomically! Lets Go Blue Devils! Ten year old Martin hates that I wrote that sentence, but ten year old Martin never had $800 either. You know what's worth more to me than $800 Pro Wrestling Love. You can't put a price on Love, baby! Honestly, the top five matches of this Pro Wrestling Love edition are my number one contenders for the top spot in Greatest Match Ever. Think about that. One promotion in a year produced five matches that could be considered the Greatest Match of All Time and who was in all of these matches, The Nature Boy Ric Flair of course! WOOOOOOOOOO! Growing up, I thought the brawls with Terry Funk were the best thing I have ever seen. The matches with Steamboat take my breathe away as they are cardio workouts par excellence and so psychical. To me my magnus opus of wrestling reviews, will be my breakdown of Ric Flair vs Lex Luger at Starrcade 1988. Not to toot my own horn, but toot! toot! I dont think I have ever done such a good job and I am not sure I ever will again. It is the review I am most proud of. So which of these five matches finish #1? What is the only non-Flair match to make my Top 6? Well you just have to click the link to find out! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2019/03/pro-wrestling-love-vol-47-best-of-world.html
  14. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Best of JCP/WCW 1988-1990 Did you miss me? I know I took off one day, but I am back with four, yes FOUR straight days of Pro Wrestling Love! If that does not make you say CALLOOH CALLAY I dont know what will! We are covering in my opinion the best three year stretch any American promotion has ever had (only All Japan in the mid-90s can compete) as Ric Flair was on another planet during this stretch. At 40 years old, Ric Flair had the best calendar year any pro wrestler has ever heard in 1989. Everyone points to the Steamboat and Funk series, which do dominate my Top 12, but he was getting it done on TV, on house shows and in tag team matches. He was so versatile at this time wrestling heel against Steamboat and babyface against Funk. His spot-calling was pitch perfect and his energy level was through the roof. In addition, the talent depth during this period was insane and it is incredible how they squandered it. There is a six man tag team match in 1988 with the babyface side comprising of Sting, Lex Luger and Barry Windham. Boy did the future look bright and blond on that day! Overshadowed by Flair's historic run was just how damn great the new incarnation of the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) who redefine what great tag team wrestling was in America with the Fantastics and the best match of the historic Midnight Express vs Rock N Roll Express happened during this period. All this and much, much more in Pro Wrestling Love vol. 46! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2019/03/pro-wrestling-love-vol-46-best-of-world.html
  15. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-05-07-NWA-Wrestle War '89] Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair

    NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair - WrestleWar '89 I think the thing that has stuck with me most about this match since first seeing it in 2003 was Jim Ross' call. This is the NWA where we wrestle. He really made this feel like a contest. Even though, try to contend pro wrestling is more of a shoot than amateur wrestling was a little much. It has been so long since I watched the Trilogy together and I expected this to be a distant third, but it is not and it feels really unique. This is the most physical of the three matches. This feels more like a Ronnie Garvin match with lots of chops and firefights. Flair is going for big heavy blows early and often. The Dragon returns with slashes of his own. They play off the Double Chickenwing submission with Steamboat going after the arm. Great arm work by Steamboat it is varied and tight. Flair does a great job selling it in and out of the holds. Flair looks to use the Chop to get out of the hold and back in control, but each time Steamboat fires back and overwhelms the Nature Boy. I loved the bit where Flair hiptossed Steamboat and just his body language made the spot feel huge. The crowd reacted as such. It is amazing that with the right characters, a simple hiptoss can feel like a high spot. Flair misses the elbow drop and Steamboat goes back to the arm. Towards the end of the first half of the match, Flair goes to what I believe is his best strategy and that is throw the man out of the ring. The first time Steamboat lands on his feet and furiously comes back in and fires back. The second time, Flair uses a running Steamboat's own momentum against and hurls him over the top rope and he takes a nasty spill. Flair takes advantage of this bu chopping him over the railing and punishing him on the outside. It should be noted Flair has not begged off yet probably because he is turning babyface at the end of the match and wants to look strong. He is wrestling a very physical style and this has been a great hard-hitting match through the first half. Flair yields his position as King of the Mountain to come back out against Steamboat on the floor, but the Dragon roars back. Blistering the Nature Boy with chops. Flair Flip and Steamboat catches him running down the apron. Flair's saving grace is Steamboat takes another high risk as the Dragon leaps and Flair moves and Steamboat hits the top rope and falls to the floor. Now Flair in his element. He measures Steamboat and really kicks his ass. Great chops and punches. The kneedrop. Butterfly Suplex. Great pins. Steamboat tries to lunge but gets hotshotted that was an awesome hope spot turned into a cutoff. Steamboat is too close to the ropes to cover as as Flair argues with the ref he puts his shin on Steamboat's throat. Great stuff! Steamboat chops hard and as Flair falls he picks the ankle of the weary Steamboat and pulls him outside and does more damage namely a suplex to the floor. This is an amazing heel Flair performance. They pick up the pace in the ring. Whipping everyone into frenzy and they pay it off with the bump I always remember the out of control crossbody where they both tumble to the floor. PRESS SLAM! Steamboat is feeling it! The Dragon is Breathing Fire! SUPERPLEX! DOUBLE CHICKENWING! GREAT SEQUENCE! High Drama! Flair scrambles for the ropes and forces the break. I love the spot where Steamboat is poised for either a top rope chop or top rope crossbody and Flair falls into the ropes jostling them and causing Steamboat to take a nasty spill hurt his leg. This entire match so much of Flair's offense is set up by Steamboat's mistakes or happenstance. Now Steamboat's leg is hurt for the master of the Figure-4 it is almost too easy. Flair zeroes in on the leg and suplexes him back in. FIGURE-4! Rope break. There is a great sequence where Flair has the foot. He is pounding on the knee as Steamboat is chopping him. It feels like this gargantuan struggle. ENZIGUIRI! The Dragon looks poised for a comeback. Lifts Flair up but his knee gives out and Flair cradles him 1-2-3! Amazing match! For some reason, I came in thinking this would be #3 but I think this is my #1. The Chi-Town Rumble is the great pure workrate sprint with crazy ending and Steamboat winning the big one, but it does lack the physical edge. The Clash match is the great, lengthy, classic championship match but there are lulls in it and it is a bit messy down the stretch. This has all the tightness of the Rumble match, the psychology of the Clash, but the added physicality of a Flair/Garvin. Gun to my head: WrestleWar, Chi-Town Rumble, Clash. All are ***** and really no matter how you rank it, it doesnt matter they all rock. *****