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Superstar Sleeze

DVDVR 80s Project
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  1. Superstar Sleeze

    All Elite Wrestling

    Omega or Cody is exactly who should win. The title needs to be established. The WWE has screwed up the secondary titles with 20+ years of terrible booking. The Intercontinental Championship used to be only on #2 face or #2 heel none of these midcard nobodies with 50/50 booking. Cody should win because he actually feels like a star. I say this as someone who loves Darby Allin. His time will come. Bret Hart was not pushed for 6 years, but was protected. The problem is all these start-stop pushes. Darby doesnt need a stupid start/stop push.
  2. Superstar Sleeze

    [2007-04-23-WWE-Raw] John Cena vs Shawn Michaels

    WWE Champion John Cena vs Shawn Michaels - RAW 4/23/07 Shawn Michaels wrestles his ode to the NWA World Championship match without being the World Champion. At first, this kinda miffed me. Why is Cena acting like an upstart challenger. Telling Michaels, he is the close to beating him with the STFU on three occasions or the FU. Then I remember Cena is still being established. Winning the Championship in 2005 is one thing, staying there is another. Cena needs to prove everyone especially the veterans, he is no fluke. I think thats what this match is about. Michaels is not wrestling as Flair or Race. This is not a big bumping performance. This is a subtle heel Jack Brisco or Lou Thesz performance that even his archrival and king of the subtle heel, Bret Hart would be proud of. Michaels begins as an aggressive challenger working wristlocks and fireman carrys to try to gain an advantage and each time it is summarily countered almost into STFU, three times to be exact and each time Cena lets HBK know he is this close to beating him. Shawn, frustrated, slaps Cena and Cena responds with a big right hamhock. Thats the end of Act 1. Establishes Cena is not a big, dumb oaf. That he will not be intimidated by the moment or by wrestling. He can counter and is sure of himself. Shawn's opening strategy of taking the fight to Cena almost backfired three times and he needs to switch gears. Act II really establishes the Cena power game. This is a much better version of the Butch Reed vs Ric Flair side headlock matches. Cena and Reed have a lot in common in terms of build, presence and offensive ability. One thing that I often am disappointed about in First Wave John Cena (2005-2010) is that he wrestles a Lawler or Savage babyface style meaning he rushes into taking heat and then just makes a triumphant comeback. The shine is so critical in getting the audience invested and fired up. Going right to the heat segment is like going right into the breakdown of a song. This match we really get to see Cena shine and establish that power game. You get the sense of Cena's strength advantage and that HBK is in for a long night. Cena works the headlock, clothesline and shouldertackles well and more importantly Michaels sells it well especially when outside of the hold. I like HBK using roughhouse counters like a reverse elbow sound well by Cena and Michaels sells the damage of the headlock well even at this point. This is not a strong enough transition and Cena hits a big, meaty clothesline. Michaels out of desperation tries for Sweet Chin Music but he is no position to surprise the dominant Champion who evades and hoists Michaels up and almost hits an FU if it was not for the ropes. Thats the end of Act II which is Cena's shine through the power game climaxing with Cena almost hitting the FU. Act III as one would expect is when we transition to a heat segment. One issue I have with First Wave Cena (2005-2010) is that he tends to oversell at the beginning of the heat segment. He does not have levels or a gradual way of selling. You would have thought Cena had endured 10 minutes of brutal torture after just a couple Michaels chops. This is unfortunate. A strong transition is what is needed. It turns out that they were not going into heat, but rather Cena was overacting. It is called a register, brutha. Cena uses that power game to catch Michaels and turn into a powerslam, then a Fisherman Suplex and then a Throwback. All gaining minor nearfalls to build the drama. Shawn Michaels hits a swinging neckbreaker which is a lame transition and they lose me going into some Boo/Yay, FIghting Spirit stuff for no reason. Flying Burrito. I guess they are just going for it. Double Count for drama which is good, kip up. Top rope elbow of course, it is too early for Sweet Chin Music so he settles for a backslide, which is odd. Cena misses a shoulder tackle. Now thats a strong transition. Cena takes a hard bump on the mat and skids to the floor. Michaels shoves Cena into the steel steps to cement his advantage and create a weakness in his arms. I like that Michaels did some of his normal comeback stuff early to make the fans believe this could end at any time and then organically create the hook for the heat segment proper with the shove into the steps. There were some efficiency issues (boo/yay) and Cena overselling issues, but some strong moments. Michaels hitting the big elbow signals to fans this could be over any minute. The Cena missed shouldertackle is a great transition and the steel steps sets up the effective heat segment. Act IV does not go as long as I would liked. Shawn did a great job torturing the arm. We werent quite at Dick Murdoch but that is in part due to the fact that it was cut short in my opinion. Shawn varied his attack and Cena did a great job selling. Before you know it we went into the typical Cena comeback sequence. I did like Cena yelling at his arm to fucking shape up before the Fist Drop. He even hit the FU and only two. Act V is Cena working the back with big power offense. Running the back into the post, bearhug. As is typical in big Cena matches when the FU fails he hits the Top Rope Leg Drop to the back of the head for two. Michaels gets a sunset flip powerbomb as the playing field is levelled and we enter the last phase of the match. Act VI is right after the double count by the ref...Cena goes for the STFU which Lawler lets us know is how Shawn lost at Mania. Good commentary King I had forgotten that. Michaels evades and shoves Cena off the apron onto the announce table. HBK wants to go to for that iconic spot from the Mania match where he piledrives Cena on the steel steps but Cena backdrops him on his bad back. Back in the ring, Cena finally locks in the STFU. Rope break. Good STFU, looked like a choke rather than two forearms across the face. Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music but Cena has it scouted. Cena wants FU but Michaels creates separation for Sweet Chin Music! He does not cover immediately. Cena needs the ropes to avoid the 3 count. I liked the symmetry between the STFU and Sweet Chin music there. JR telegraphs the finish when he reminds us that this is non-title. I didnt know. As soon as I think I wonder if Michaels wins, he lands on his feet on a FU and BANG! Sweet Chin Music and collapses on top of Cena. This is a good representation that wins and losses to a certain extent dont matter. Shawn gets his win back from Mania. Cena never had the rubber match to go up 2-1 but Cena still is a way bigger star than Shawn ever was. Cena is a big star because he won when it mattered most and had a very high winning percentage. My point is that it is not that wins and losses matter or don't matter, it is context and the story being told that matters. The result of the match has long since been forgotten but what is left is a match everyone remembers as a classic. Now it is not like Dolph Ziggler going out proclaiming he is going to steal the show. This is a match where each man is trying to win and the by-product is entertainment as opposed to Ziggler whose goal is to entertain the fans. It is weird to call a 55 minute match rushed but it kind of was. I think theres a lot of things they could have flesh out. I think they did a really great job at the beginning. Michaels proved himself to be great at working on top in the 21st Century and I think he could have done more with the arm. I did like the story of Cena pummeling Michaels but Shawn always had a puncher's chance because of Sweet Chin Music. I watched this 2-3 times before and I knew I liked it but didnt think I loved it so I left it off my top 100 WWF/E matches of all time. This match totally belongs up there and I know exactly which match it will replace (Backlund/Valentine October 1981 that finish is dreadful). Awesome NWA Championship style match. ****1/2
  3. You know I have never watched their 1/4/12 match and really ought to. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki - NJPW 10/8/12 Another one of those matches that I have seen know that I absolutely loved but didnt get a chance to review way back when so now I get to watch it and enjoy it all over again. Tanahashi's left arm comes in bandaged and at one time I knew why but now I cant remember. Tanahashi does his best to play keep away. He even employs an Unorthodox stance to keep his left arm behind his right arm. I really enjoyed that touch. Tanahashi busts out a double wristlock, side headlock and an abdominal stretch to mix it up, he did not go straight for the knee. He gets cocky. He plays air guitar on Suzuki. How did I forget that? I popped for that. That drew a chorus of boos and also the ire of Suzuki. A scuffle breaks out and Suzuki ends up on the apron and then drops down with his patented top rope-assisted dangling armbar on Tanahashi's bad arm. As JR would say, "Business has picked up.". Suzuki tortures Tanahashi's bad wing. Cranking it around the railings and the steel post. Stomping on it, kneeing, twisting it. He was brutal. It looked like he was going to make short work of the champion until Tanahashi caught a kick. You know what happens next. Dragon Leg Screw! Suzuki's selling is top-notch. He really sells the pain from the dragon leg screws really well. Tanahashi goes into full 2001 Mutoh mode with the Dragon Leg Screws and Basement Dropkicks. Tanahashi lackadaisically leaves his arm out on the top rope as Suzuki is on the ground. He goes to grab Suzuki who then kicks his bad arm. More kicks to the bad arm and then rips him down with a double wristlock takedown as he bites the bandage to rip it off. Suzuki grabs a sleeper to sap Tanahashi of his energy. CROSS-ARMBREAKER! That could have been it! Big nearfall. Tanahashi responds in kind, but turns it into a Sling Blade. From there Tanahashi goes back to work on the knee. He even hits High Fly Flow on the bad leg. Suzuki's selling of this by scurrying away with all that pain on his face was exquisite. Tanahashi goes for his customary Texas Cloverleaf, but Suzuki blocks and Tanahashi settles for the Figure-4. The struggle in this over 2 minute Figure-4 is great Suzuki especially does a great job telling the story with his face. They has established the story of dueling limb psychology. Suzuki had targeted the bad arm tearing the bandage with this teeth and looking to break in two. While, Tanahashi has gone to his tried and true strategy of working the knee. Who will prevail? My favorite part of the match is next. Tanahashi signals for Sling Blade. Suzuki evades the first attempt. He goads Tanahashi into trying another by hobbling away and as Tanahashi is coming he explodes into a dropkick, but immediately clutches the knee. The ruse was so convincing because he actually was in so much pain. Suzuki slaps Tanahashi around and grabs a sleeper. Tanahashi has a bloody mouth now and this becomes important later. Epic struggle but with a last gasp, Tanahashi lunges to the ropes. Suzuki proceeds to SLAP THE SHIT out of Tanahashi. He slaps him until he blows himself up. Now he wants the Piledriver, Tanahashi drives a desperation dragon leg screw but Suzuki steps through it and blocks! Damn that was cool. Sleeper again all of Tanahashi's energy is gone. Piledriver but Tanahashi resists twice and drops down into a Dragon Screw! Tanahashi has one burst to really wrench him down with a Sling Blade. It is not done with the usual vigor but here comes High Fly Flow but it eats knees. Suzuki is in pain but Tanahashi looks toast. It looks like that took everything out of the champ. Suzuki slaps the shit out of him some more. Tanahashi is on the apron. Suzuki steps through the ropes. DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi with his mouth bloodied and exhausted looks like he has been through sheer hell, but he wills himself to hit not one but two High Fly Flows for the win! One reviewer noted there was only one cover in the match and I didnt even notice. It was just that gripping. In a way the cross-armbreaker, Figure-4 and sleeper were used as nearfalls. Excellent minimalistic match where the match built organically and logically. Tanahashi never used his Capture or Dragon Suplexes or his reverse crossbody or somersault senton High Fly Flow to the floor or Texas Cloverleaf (there was an attempt). My point is this is a vast departure. It was not a formula match or check the boxes match or a Greatest Hit Match. Suzuki got pissed by the air guitar and targeted the arm. Tanahashi went all in on the leg strategy. Suzuki moved to a sleeper/slap the piss out of him strategy that left Tanahashi looking destroyed. Tanahashi cashed in on his strategy late when all those Dragon Leg Screws eventually gave him a chance to hit High Fly Flow. Terrific match and great selling performances, another ***** classic for my man, Tanahashi!
  4. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura - NJPW 4/6/14 When I watched this in 2015, I thought it was ***** and the MOTY and I know my good buddy, Shoe agreed with me, but I didnt write a review at the time. My procrastination is my reward because I am watching this 5 years later and falling in love all over again. Tanahashi and Nakamura should start an air band. Nakamura can be the lead singer and Tanahashi can be on guitar. I feel like Gedo would rule on air drums. Now who should we get for bass? Tanahashi always has a dickish air to him, which is one of the many reasons why I like him, but as the match progresses he tends to play it straight. The only time I have seen him go full heel is when he participated in the Champions Carnival 2008 as an invader. His match with Suwama was awesome, it felt like Flair vs Luger but in Japan. In this match, Tanahashi fully embraces his heelishness and it is glorious. He uses Nakamura's stupid taunts against him. He does that stupid head on the belly button thing. Then he grabs the leg and wont let go on the clean break. He drops the elbow down on the leg to a chorus of boos. I love that he does the air guitar and then air throws the air guitar into crowd. I wonder if anyone air caught it? Nakamura shoved him in the ass with his foot on Tanahashi's reverse crossbody attempt. I loved that as a receipt for the dickishness of Tanahashi. Then Tanahashi was able to trip Nakamura up near the post and crack his injured across the post to more boos. This is great. Nakamura whips Tanahashi into the railing. Nakamura charges, KNEE TO THE RAILING! Now it is over. Nakamura is fucked. He is writhing in pain and Tanahashi literally shuts the gate on his knees multiple times. This is the Tanahashi I have always wanted in my life. The leg work in the ring is ferocious and the best of Tanahashi's career. He is slapping Nakamura with a left hand as Nakamura is trying to make a comeback. This is such a fuck you. Then he just kicks Nakamura straight in the kneecap. I am loving this. The cherry on top, piece d'resistance, is Tanahashi doing Good Vibrations on the injured knee. Yes! Yes! A Million Times Yes! Of course all good things must come to end as Nakamura takes back over. He uses a lot of knees which I am not wild about but it is Nakamura's staple. He kinda sells. It is relatively short-lived comeback mostly just to remind people he is alive. Nakamura goes for that tail whip and Tanahashi catches it and hits a Dragon Leg Screw! I love this so much! Nakamura powders from the pain! HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE FLOOR! Where are "This is Awesome" chants? Back in Nakamura avoids a Sling Blade with a lung blower but his knees are fucked. Tanahashi aggressively and urgently chop blocks the knee. Then this part is so damn great. Tanahashi wryly slaps Nakamura. So Nakamura responds with a punch right to the face. BOM-BA-YE! WOW! I love it. 1-2-NO! What an amazing nearfall. Thats how you turn a match on a dime. Nakamura is struggling to capitalize. Tanahashi is flying around dropkicking the knee. HIGH FLY FLOW INTENTIONALLY TO THE KNEES! WOW! Tanahashi is selling his ribs. Great Texas Cloverleaf nearfall! Tanahashi hits High Fly Flow to standing Nakamura. He leaps over the ropes, Go Ace Go! HIGH FLY FLOW...TO THE KNEES! Tanahashi is in pain. Nakamura cant capitalize. Tanahashi is struggling with what to do next. He has so tenaciously worked over the knee, he wants to go to back to the Texas Cloverleaf, smart idea, but Nakamura is an excellent counter wrestler and traps the arm into the Cross Armbreaker. Great struggle on breaking the clasp. Watch how Tanahashi bridges his neck initially to relieve the press and then also how he contorts his body in all sorts of shapes to avoid the pain. This is great. He makes the ropes. His arm is fucked. He is in a lot of pain. The ref is checking on him. His back is to Nakamura. BOM BA YE! HOLY SHIT! OUT OF NOWHERE! That was brutal! Nakamura just pours it with a MERCILESS ONSALUGHT OF BOM BA YE'S TO THE HEAD! 1-2-3! This match is everything! I always say the most effective comeback from limb psychology is to go head-hunting. Youre in a deep hole and you need dig yourself out, as Anita Ward says Ring Their Bell! Nakamura does just that.I loved the closed fist/Bom Ba Ye combo. Then the use of the Cross Armbreaker to set up that no look Bom Ba Ye was sick! I already extravagantly praised Tanahashi in this match. If it was not for the Ultimate Feel Good moment of Daniel Bryan beating HHH at WrestleMania, this is the best match of 2014. As it stands, this is the best Puroresu Match of 2010-2014 and in the top three in the world from that timeframe (along with HHH/Bryan, Cena/Lesnar 2012). I love this match. *****
  5. Superstar Sleeze

    [2010-02-11-Osaka Pro-Hurricane 2010] Dick Togo vs Billy Ken Kid

    Osaka Pro Wrestling Champion Dick Togo vs Billy Ken Kid - Osaka Pro 2/11/0 I successfully used Dick Togo as a way to bait Goodhelmet to go watch an Evolve show with me when he was visiting Mass. So I got to see Dick Togo live and I have met Will so that was a great twofer. Dick Togo is 100% rudo here as he in the midst of quite the campaign of great matches in the early 2010s. The pinnacle is his match against Honda in 2011. Togo sets the tone right from jump. He does not wait for the bell and attacks Billy Ken Kid as the streamers are flying. Billy Ken Kid looks like an Ultimo Dragon wannabe. Togo busts out every heel trick in the book. I love the M-Pro throw your opponent into the chairs and wipe them all out. He does the tape choke. He does a ball shot. He takes off the top turnbuckle pad. He has a heel entourage that distracts & interferes. He goes full Ric Flair and begs off, eye poke and then takes a Press Slam off the top. If you love Rudo wrestling like me, you will love this. He also works an offensive clinic, diving off the ramp to the floor, working the back. He RIPS the mask, the ultimate rudo move. Kid vaults him off the apron and into the ring post nice spot. Swandives from the top taking out Togo & his entourage. Dick Togo is bleeding! Yes exactly what this match needed blood and a ripped mask. Too bad Kid is pretty mediocre. Togo rips him down into Crossface but Billy gets the ropes. Togo swings with a chair misses but when Billy comes diving out after him Togo smashes the chair into his head. Then he rips the mask clean off Billy. This has been a one man show and a total clinic by Dick Togo. Billy Ken Kid wrestles the match with a towel over his face and gets a small package for a great hope spot nearfall. Togo charges into the corner and misses. Billy Ken Kid gets his mask back and puts it on. This is a BIG Moment and Billy Ken Kid sells it well. This is when you think he is going to unleash all this fury and throw right back into Togo face. But then nothing happens. It just sputters out. It is so sad. Like all this heel heat has been given to you kid and he did nothing with it. Dick Togo takes back over with an Ace Crusher and then another Crossface. Pedigree->HUGE SENTON! 1-2-NO! I am in shock and thats when I knew the kid was going to do it. I was bummed. He didnt earn it at all. Togo was a total pro but sorry no dice Billy Ken Kid is lame. One of Dick Togo's posse accidentally hits Togo in the head with chair. They are even running protection. Kid is hits a couple moves and finally a 450 Splash gets him the win. Want to see an excellent one man show watch this match Dick Togo rules! When it came time for Billy Ken Kid to shine, he was a wet fart. ***1/2 only because Dick Togo was that damn good.
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  7. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Hirooki Goto - NJPW 5/3/2012 Hirooki Goto is also the IWGP Intercontinental Champion at this point. How Goto does not get tangled or trip over his ridiculous pantaloons, I do not know. I wish Choshu, Hashimoto or Sasaki was still around but we are stuck with Goto. Goto runs over Okada and sends him packing with a lariat over the top. Okada is left lying in his own money was a good visual. Okada decides to try a tour of the arena this ends very anti-climatically with Goto just running him into a post. Goto gets a neckbreaker and starts working over the neck. It was very ok. Okada hits his trademark dropkick from the mat to his opponent sitting on the top rope that he always hits. It is a great transition. He whips Goto hard into the railing and comes charging in and steamrolls Goto with a big boot. Goto takes a nasty spill onto the concrete. Okada cranks the neck in between the railing. Good shit. Okada was fully into his cocky douche role. He attacks the neck. He hits his running boot into the neck. He puts one foot on the chest of Goto and Red Shoes refuses to count! I love it! Theres a great moment where Okada playfully slaps Goto so Goto revs up and tries to pulverize Okada, but Okada evades him and nails his dropkick! A cocky douche is bad its even worse when he can back it up. Goto hits a lariat after shortly after this. Kicks and the big Hashimoto rainbow kick in the corner. Goto does have good kicks. Saito Suplex for two and zero heat. Okada reverses a move into a DDT pretty lame transition. He had been working the neck so it makes sense from that perspective. Okada goes into a lucha neck crank. After Goto makes the ropes, it is the Okada finish stretch...top rope elbow...Rainmaker Pose...No Go Wide Out...Flapjack...Tombstone...Weird modified slams...it was good stuff. For a second I didnt think Goto would get a nearfall stretch. They fuck up a Rainmaker counter so they go back to it Goto hits that FU into a knee that I dont care for. Smokes him with a lariat. It a cool move Okada tries to elbow out of a Saito Suplex so Goto traps the arm and then hits it for two. Heat was tremendous this time. Much better. He hits the Super version of the FU into the Knee for two. That definitely feels like it is over for Goto. It should have been Rainmaker right away but they futz around a little bit before RAINMAKER~! This got some votes in WON MOTY dont know why. Okada was just three months into his reign and this was a great match for him. He got to run through all his moves, he dominated the match and crushed Goto with a Rainmaker to win. Goto looked good in that two minute stretch at the end when he needed to make people believe he could pull this out. If you love Okada and want to see his Greatest Hits, watch this otherwise dont worry about it, just routine. ***
  8. Superstar Sleeze

    [2011-10-10-NJPW-Destruction] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito

    Thanks for the background information about how the younger Naito had a gotten a couple high profile wins over Tanahashi at this point in his career. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito - NJPW 10/10/11 Naito has "Polvo De Estrellas" on his tights. I was like why does he have "Octopus of the Stars" on his tights? Apparently Polvo means "Dust" in Spanish. I am Portuguese and Polvo means Octopus so I was very confused. Naito's finish was the Stardust Press so having Stardust on his tights makes a lot more sense. I really enjoyed the front half of this title defense. I was informed that Naito really had Tanahashi number at this point scoring high-profile victories at the New Japan Cup the previous year and at the 2011 G-1 Climax. So this was his big break could he win when it matters the most with the Championship on the line. I really enjoyed the first five minutes of amateur chain wrestler. I thought they did a superb job. Tanahashi was a dick and his two big body punches in the corner drawing boos. Naito unleashes a dropkick to cheers. The crowd definitely seemed behind the young challenger. Tanahasi grabs the knee and hits a kneecrusher. The knee work was short-lived as Tanahashi missed a HUGE somersault splash from the apron to the floor. He really threw himself into that bump. Then Naito hit a massive dropkick from the apron to the floor sending Tanahashi crashing back first into the railing in a nasty spot. They really did a great job milking this injury. Everything was targeting the back of the head/neck. I loved Tanahashi going for the leg but Naito responds with an Enziguiri. Not only does it stymie Tanahashi but it targets the very part of Tanahashi that is weak. Great stuff! I loved Tanahashi's wails of agony everytime Naito went after the neck. Theres a great moment where Tanahashi repeatedly ducks Naito's swings at his head and unleashes a fury of chops. Really cool stuff. Tanahashi hits his running forearm and then his Somersault Senton, but he gets caught in a running race and Naito sweeps the leg. Tanahashi dropkicks the plant leg out from Naito to avoid an enziguiri. Tanahashi wrestles Naito into a Capture Suplex, great struggle. High Fly Flow eats knees. Naito snaps off a Top Rope Frankensteiner. He crashes & burns on the Stardust Press. Both men have attempted their finisher and failed. Who will be able to pull the trigger first? They are in opposite corner and they come out charging like two Rams. Tanahashi hits a dropkick to the knee and Naito powders. High Fly Flow to the outside! The crowd is rocking! Dragon Leg Screws abound! Deep Texas Cloverleaf! This is classic Tanahashi at its finest. They do fighting spirit only Tanahashi is too much man and just smacks the piss out of Naito repeatedly. Lame transition as Tanahashi shoots Naito off and Naito hits a flying elbow. This is Naito's big stretch with a couple suplexes and it climaxes with STARDUST PRESS! 1--2-NO! Huge heat on that. Naito has Tanahashi on his shoulders on the top rope. Dont know what he is going to do. They do a terrible Sling Blade counter. Both men just take a nasty spill. They do a great job with a frenetic pace there is this weird Lucha cradle Naito does that pops me and the crowd huge. It was the urgency with which he hit it and the way he sold it while he was holding Tanahashi down that sold it for me. Tanahashi wrangles him into a SLING BLADE! The setup was perfect. Dragon Suplex gets two. Naito is on his belly trying to crawl away but no one can escape the High Fly Flow! One more for good measure! Great Tanahashi title defense! Great dueling psychology to open, loved each man missing his big finish in the middle match. Tanahashi goes back to the leg and Naito ends up overcoming it long enough to hit the Stardust Pres, but it is not enough. Loved the finish stretch. This is Big Match Tanahashi at his finest. ****1/4
  9. Bryan Danielson vs SHINGO - DGUSA 7/24/10 No this is not Dragon Gate, but as I was researching matches to watch I came across the fact this finished 3rd in WON MOTY voting and I am always game to see a highly rated Danielson match. This is during Danielson's brief exile from WWE because he choked Justin Roberts out with his own tie during the initial NXT takeover of RAW. This is DGUSA's 1st Anniversary Show and SHINGO is the top heel in the company both stateside and across the Pacific. He just took BxB Hulk's hair in Japan a couple weeks prior. Seeing Hulk without his trademark J-Pop hair in the post-match was very jarring. I thought this match was a million times better than the hyped Doi DGUSA match from the previous year. I wonder if that's because it was 97 degrees in the building and the announcers were speculating it must be 110 degrees under the lights. They worked a much more efficient style with less running and intricate combinations. It made for a much better match. Danielson targeted the arm early after winning some early knucklelock tests of strength. SHINGO did a great job playing the heel, taking powders and letting Danielson shine. The powder on the Tiger Suplex as the announcers remind us is the prelude to Cattle Mutilation was so smart. It really put over the spot and how close SHINGO was to his demise. The arm work and general mat torture is Danielson at his best. I think he thinks sometimes flying around million miles per hours is him at his best but I disagree. His instant classic against Gulak at Elimination Chamber remind me I do like Danielson especially when it is on the mat. I really liked how they set up the transition. SHINGO blocked the suplex but he could not muscle Danielson up on the suplex. In the next spot, he had to fight through the pain to execute the suplex. That is NOT no selling. That is establishing an obstacle and overcoming it. Thats awesome! SHINGO unleashed some HELLACIOUS chops on Danielson and whipped him hard into the railing. SHINGO did a great job taunting the crowd and generally grinding Danielson down. I appreciate how much they are letting their work breathe. Danielson begins his normal WWE comeback, the flying knee and elbows. He does add his Indy Springboard Dive into the crowd, which unfortunately he cannot use in WWE, but it is badass. I really liked the transition back to SHINGO. Again, Danielson is going for the Tiger Suplex because at this point he has built up enough momentum to try it again, but SHINGO resists and then switches and on the switch smokes him with a lariat to the back of the head. SHINGO goes with the tried & true strategy of dropping Danielson on his head with Saito Suplexes and then trying to make him submit with head-arm triangles. SHINGO goes for a shitty move. Danielson lands on his feet and kicks him in the head! YES! I am glad that was countered. They jockey for advantage but after SHINGO cant negotiate the Superplex but instead Danielson hits a Super Back Suplex. He does the Foot Stomps to the head and then the Elbows to the Head. SHINGO Hulks Up! He hits a Super Death Valley Driver through Danielson's elbow. That could have been cool, but it fell flat for me. SHINGO hits his finish with a shitty spinn-y Pumphandle thingy. Thats his nearfall and then a big Lariat. He goes for it again, but Danielson hops out of it and then applies Cattle Mutilation. I am so glad WWE banned this move it sucks. Theres no struggle. The arms go limp and it doesnt look painful but it is. Anyways, it is not on long, Danielson gets the Tiger Suplex and a Triangle choke with elbows. This is great. SHINGO has been forcing Danielson to change positions but Danielson keeps maintaining his momentum. He eventually applies the YESLock for the the submission win. Awesome! Very efficient match. It was well-segmented and built accordingly. The transitions were timed well and for the most part made sense. The back end was great SHINGO got a couple big nearfalls. Danielson drove into his finish stretch and never looked back. I liked that he never looked back. SHINGO was still struggling and forcing him to change but Danielson too much man for him to handle that was great! I did not like the transition into the finish stretch. I get that he couldnt use the Tiger Suplex because it was blocked twice so he felt he needed to catch SHINGO unawares but still it just like "Ok, you hit your finish, now it is my turn". Still this is a great match, the third best match of 2010 is a bit of a reach though 2010 was a terrible year for wrestling, but I am glad I watched this. ****
  10. Not really but I do appreciate the information because I do plan on watching more DG. What’s the deal with the Jimmyz? The fact that they are all named Jimmy gives me hope they are wacky & quirky and I’ll enjoy them.
  11. Open The Twin Gate Champions SHINGO & Akira Towaza vs Eita & T-Hawk - Dragon Gate 7/20/14 I like exposing myself to as many styles of pro wrestling as possible. I did find some bright spots in Toryumon and Dragon Gate in 2000s. I think they had some fun characters and some awesome highspots. This match was lacking in both. I think one peculiar aspect of 21st century workrate is the emphasis on action above everything else even highspots. There really were not that many highspots in this match. I was really only slightly surprised once. I thought they were going to do a Doomsday Device, but instead one of the Millenials did a moonsault to the floor on Towaza. Other than that, nothing sticks out to me. There sure was a lot of running and movement. People were constantly doing stuff. I expected this match where there would be a ton of highspots but there really wasnt. There was just a lot of stuff. I will say about the stuff if they did crescendo it well. Everytime, I was like "Ok more kickout-move and Im done" they would use a partner breakup and switch combinations of the two wrestlers. They were not too many elaborate setup of moves. I can really only think of one so I appreciated that. It was kinda boring though. It was such a tornado of moves. That nothing stuck out or had consequence. I found my mind wandering a lot and telling myself this match is like 30 minutes long we are not re-watching it FOCUS! I will find myself doing this a lot at Indy shows during the workrate-heavy matches. What is the hook? What is the point? I think goes to my second complaint the lack of character. Dragon Gate used to have some real fun characters, but these arent it. Besides a heat segment on Towaza, the Millenials really didnt play heels. The Tombstone on SHINGO on the ramp was interesting. Take out the big man and work over the smaller Towaza but that led nowhere as SHINGO made his return and the match went on for 20 more minutes. Matches like this ultimately feel souless. They didnt fall into trappings of elaborate setups and they actually escalated well. It was a torrent of moves without soul that did nothing for me. I will watch a couple more Dragon Gate but the style still leaves me cold. ***
  12. Wow, this got quite a bit of play back in the day on the board. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Karl Anderson - NJPW 2/10/13 The hallmarks of Hiroshi Tanahashi are pacing and timing. The first 2/3rds are classic Tanahashi taking a generic Create-A-Wrestler and making him feel like a worthy challenger to the IWGP Champion all through a classic title match layout. They go for a bridge too far when Anderson starts to pour it on with the bombs at the end. I dont know if they felt they needed to do that legitimize Karl Anderson and by extension the nascent Bullet Club but it was done to the detriment of the match. Tanahashi kinda always wrestles as subtle dick heel and I enjoy it. He threw a closed fist body punch in the corner at the beginning. Then the way he dragged Anderson from the ropes on The Indian Deathlock and then slammed his knee down seemed like a dick move. Also he moved an Anderson kick pointed to his head and then ended up eating a leg lariat because he was too cocky. Little touches like that give personality to his match. Anderson was using some sort of Ace Crusher/Stunner as his finish. He hit one on the top rope on Tanahashi which was his transition. They established Tanahashi's patented leg work but they didnt go too far down that rabbit hole and switched over to Anderson with a great transition. He followed that up with another Ace Crusher on the railing and he started working the neck. I liked the timing of the hope spots and then immediate cutoffs like the Spinebuster and the Senton. Tanahashi went back to the leg and got his middle Rope Somersault Senton and then his High Fly Flow to the floor. This was a great climax to his segment. Then when Tanahashi looked like he was in the driver's seat they end up on the apron and Anderson hits his own only good move that Hiya Kick. Thats the only move that is uniquely Anderson. Other than that he is just a Create-A-Wrestler where his designer gave him the moves of well-known wrestlers from the 90s and he hits them without any unique Anderson twist to it. He floored Tanahashi with it. After some good struggle, Anderson hits a Super TKO which looked great! It was a hot nearfall. He got one more nearfall. I was like this is perfect. He got his lucky shot in on the apron always a risky area and then capitalized with two big bombs. I was like Tanahashi takes us home. There was an excellent spot and I am so pissed this did not lead to the finish. Tanahashi actually resisted the Stunner. It was such a MAN move. He turned into a Sling Blade. That was so badass. He the earned his advantage going back to the leg and another Sling Blade but High Fly Flow ate knees. Anderson's Claymore Kick was another good nearfall but why he is hitting powerbombs and Island Drivers. Ugh! I did like Anderson trying the Stunner only for Tanahashi to turn into a Dragon Suplex. It was not as manly as that Sling Blade, but still good. Tanahashi won with the 2 High Fly Flows to polish off the most generic wrestler that ever lived. In my opinion, when you are wrestling these routine title defense there are two ways to do it: go wild and do something drastically different maybe it is a brawl or just go full shoot-style or be super efficient. Tanahashi's biggest weakness is his lack of versatility. So he cannot do the former. However, there is no one in today's wrestling or maybe ever thats as efficient as Tanahashi. For the 2/3rds we saw that on display. The layout and transitions were immaculate. The Super TKO was a perfect nearfall for Anderson. Tanahashi resisting the Ultimate Finish and MUSCLING a Sling Blade out of it popped me. It should have been a little struggle and then High Fly Flow win and I would declare victory. What happened was so weird they departed from the Tanahashi formula and kept giving Anderson nearfalls and I felt they were wasting my time. I dont know if Anderson got in his ear or if he was being selfless or the Office wanted to put over the Bullet Club, but it didnt work for me. Still it is Tanahashi so it just feels safe and warm for the most part. ***1/2
  13. Superstar Sleeze

    [2013-06-22-NJPW-Dominion] Kazuchika Okada vs Togi Makabe

    IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Togi Makabe - NJPW Dominion 6/22/13 Togi Makabe won me over just like he won this crowd over. He whipped them into a frenzy. Next time someone tells you Japanese crowds are quiet show them this match and politely tell them to fuck off. Makabe and his irreverent wildman character make this foregone conclusion of an IWGP defense special and memorable. He flips off Okada multiple times, gets up in his grill during his Rainmaker pose and then in the moment that makes him the fan favorite to unseat the young champion, he powerbombs Okada through a table on the outside. Hot damn! Okada gives a damn good white meat babyface performance but he is no match for MakabeMania which has swept through the crowd. The first spark of life in the match is when Okada goes for the Rainmaker early and Makabe lets his fear manifest itself in anger and he starts popping Okada in the head with elbows. He takes it to the outside and slams Okada's head off the steel ringpost. The beginning of Okada's headaches. This never gets as wild as the awesome Nagata brawl if everyone thinks thats what will happen. Makabe kicks some ass in the ring but gets cocky and Okada dropkicks him off the top rope. Okada gets his revenge via a Hangsman DDT off the steel railing on the floor. Makabe is left clutching his neck and Okada works the neck. I like Makabe's punches and how he holds Okada's face before punching him. Okada hits his characteristic Top Rope Elbow Drop. RAINMAKER POSE~! Makabe bows right up to him. The Grizzled Veteran is not going to be disrespected by this punk. He flips off Okada who dropkicks right through it. It was at that moment I was like "Ok, this match is special". Makabe mocks the Rainmaker Pose and then hits a Death Valley Driver to set up his King Kong Knee Drop, but he misses! Okada follows up with an Indian Deathlock, but the back of his head is killing him so much he cant hold on. Okada desperately wants the Tombstone. Makabe flips him off again so Okada goes for the dropkick, but Makabe holds onto the ropes. What great psychology! I am disappointed they didnt follow up this great moment with more Makabe offense, but Okada caught him with two more modified neckbreakers. He kicks Makabe out of the ring literally. Makabe catches Okada with a powerslam on the floor and this leads to the table spot which is fucking EPIC! The crowd goes apeshit. Even without blood and a lot of brawling, Makabe has made this feel different. A powerbomb in the ring is not enough. Axe Bomber and Spider German! Okada is on Excedrin Headache #9 at this point! KING KONG KNEE DROP MISSES AGAIN! I feel the end is nigh for our challenger! Okada dropkicks him in the back of the head and Gedo is HYPED! Makabe gets a Dragon Suplex out of a Rainmaker attempt and the CROWD GOES MENTAL! THE 1-2-NO! was so loud! Tombston! RAINMAKER~! Crowd loved this match! The crowd still popped for Okada's win, but it was definitely tempered because they threw their entire support behind Makabe. It is definitely a slow burner. You are like this is solid, this is solid, oh ok Makabe is a dick, still solid, OH SHIT HE POWERBOMBED HIM THROUGH A TABLE! Then the crowd just sucks you in! ****
  14. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Can you believe it has been almost a year since the last volume of Pro Wrestling Love! With all this COVID-19 going around, never has Pro Wrestling Love been more needed! So I present my 100 Greatest WWF/WWE Matches of All Time! Big shoutout to the boys at Place To Be Nation for hosting the voting for this project last year. I will definitely participate in their WCW edition for this year. This was the impetus I needed to finally put this list together. So I hope you enjoy and maybe you discover a match or two to watch while you are in isolation. Hope you & yours stay safe & heathy during this pandemic! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2020/03/pro-wrestling-love-vol-50-greatest-100.html
  15. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Katsuyori Shibata - NJPW 9/21/14 I believe there was shoot heat between these two as Shibata left NJPW during the lean times of the mid-2000s while Tanahashi stayed rebuilt the company on his back, but Shibata has a big ego because he is a "legit shooter". How was that MMA career working out for you, bro when you came crawling back? I love Shibata as an in-ring wrestler and I love asskickers. I just dont care for people that work themselves into a shoot believing their own hype. The 21st century "real" pro wrestler vs sports entertainer feuds have never done anything for me and this is one of those. This match is worked in the style of pretty boy babyface has to prove his mettle against violent heel in this case it is a shooter heel. Tanahashi has way more zing on his elbows. There is a lot more Fighting Spirit spots. They get so caught up staring into each other's eyes and hitting each other with elbows on the floor they almost forget to back into the ring. In fairness, they are both really fucking good looking. You can clearly see it is designed to show that Tanahashi can play Shibata's game. He is working stiff in the corner trading blows. He sets up his legwork and hits his Somersault Senton, but he uncharacteristically starts pounding away in the corner with elbows. This costs as Shibata takes back over and starts beating the shit out of him. Elbows, kicks and wicked running dropkick in the corner (this becomes important later). They do some suplex no selling. Tanahashi Sling Blades out of Shibata's finish and gets another. But on High Fly Flow he eats knees. Shibata sensing he may have let this slip through his fingers, goes for the Penalty Kick, but Tanahashi ducks. This leads to a Dragon Suplex and a Texas Cloverleaf. This all feels a little too easy for Tanahashi at times. When it came time, the Legit Shooter took the fall for Tanahashi's left hand slap. Shibata comes back with a WICKED Spinning Back Chop that should have been his big nearfall. Thats what was missing from this match. Shibata never got a big nearfall. In fact Tanahashi never really felt in danger. Then came the most important point in the match, Tanahashi comes charging and OBLITERATES Shibata face with a running dropkick. Two High Fly Flows later and the Ace of the Universe Flies High! I really enjoyed the story they were telling. Shibata was telling everyone that would listen he was the real shooter and beat Tanahashi to a pulp. So Tanahashi threw it all back into his face literally culminating with the running dropkick right to the mush. Tanahashi proved he was just as much Man as Shibata. I liked the story, but I thought the match was missing a little extra sumthin sumthin (like I said no Shibata nearfall). Another great Tanahashi match but doesnt stand out among his best. ****
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