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Superstar Sleeze

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  1. Superstar Sleeze

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

    AJ Styles vs Bryan Danielson - ROH 11/9/02 You know it is amazing how much verbal marketing matters in pro wrestlers. Once AJ Styles got branded as a high-flyer he has never really been able to shake the tag. AJ is a very impressive high flyer, but that's not really his bread & butter. He is a meat & potatoes wrestler that focuses on executing moves crisply and with his own signature flair (think of his forearm or kneedrop). AJ has a strong core of fundamentals which is his strong striking (best working punch of his generation) and wrestling (he is a former amateur wrestler). He busts out a Spiral Tap or a dive to the outside as a highspot, but that's not who he is. It is funny I feel like in almost every match it is a surprise on commentary that AJ can go on the mat or wow AJ is standing toe to toe and trading bombs. How did we go a whole decade of watching the best wrestler of his generation and we were constantly shocked AJ Styles is good at other things besides diving/flying? The opening grappling of this match is fantastic. It is not paying lip service to chain wrestling. This looks like a shoot. This is some damn great grappling. How Danielson just grabs an arm and then flips him over and AJ bridges to avoid the pinning combination but it is still in the double wristlock was insane. I was marking out for the whole thing. It was really strong work. It set the tone for the whole match. The whole match was intense and it was a struggle. Everything was done with urgency. I thought this was a better version of the AJ Styles vs Low-Ki Title match from August. It is a very similar layout. Lots of quick transitions, a sense of competition but done with struggle as opposed to "my turn, your turn". I thought the finish was stronger and some of the spots were better, but I think it suffers from that same problem of all action, but no hooks. I really like those big mid-match moments that feel like turning points. They are little climaxes on the road to the major climax. This lacked that. A great example of this issue is after the first Styles Clash. AJ is incredulous he kicked out and goes for another cover out of disbelief. Great move, puts over that he believes in his finish. Little things like that protect the finish. The next move is a Dragon Suplex by Danielson. How did we get there? A standing switch. I am all for the standing switch early, but late you want that big transition that is going to be memorable. Oh shit that was the game-changer, instead of just a standing switch. The hold on the bridge after the kickout by AJ deserves a big shoutout! I liked the follow up Cattle Mutilation (I hate the move but it was the right time for it) and love how they didnt stay in it long and Danielson converted into a tight Oklahoma Side Roll I actually bit on that as the finish. Danielson goes up top and AJ scores some big rights. These are great working punches a staple of AJ Styles. Again, I would have liked to seen a better transition than AJ having to shake the ropes to get Danielson in position for the Clash. Then they do AWESOME stuff like AJ ramming Danielson's head into the turnbuckles repeatedly as Danielson desperately clings to the ropes. Once AJ forces Danielson to release, Danielson is too low to do the move safely & properly so instead of looking like a tool AJ muscles him up into a powerbomb, smokes him, resets and hits it properly & safely. That's great pro wrestling and dedication to the craft! I am nitpicking shit, but there's a reason why this match doesnt build completely to that ultra-hot crescendo and I think it comes from too many momentum shifts even if they are well-earned. That second Styles Clash how AJ EARNED it from ramming Danielson to release, the powerbomb and then hitting the move was tremendous pro wrestling and there are many examples of tremendous pro wrestling in this match. I think it ultimately falls short because in the middle it is a blur of action. You have AJ scoring dropkicks and evading the guardrail/hitting a superkick while Danielson is snapping off drop toeholds and popping AJ's shoulder out like Malenko/Rey GAB '96 (I love that spot so much). Danielson's arm work was fucking great, but short-lived. You had AJ taking a great bump off of a European Uppercut. You had Bryan transitioning out of the Quebrada/Slop Drop into a Northern Lights. There was a lot of strong stuff, no downtime, but like that Ki/AJ match and Ki/Danielson from King of the Indies '01 it is very noisy. I hope that makes sense, but thats how I feel. I feel this was the best of the three because the finish was so strong and there was a little more hate behind the shots (at one point Dragon gets a nasty cut from above the eye and I dont know why and Danielson goes for the eyes at one point). I think there is a little more emotion in this match than the other two I am comparing it to. I guess what I am saying is the work was outstanding but it just didnt fully coalesce into a classic that really moved me emotionally. I am rambling at this point (and I think that kind of does this style match justice), but I feel this match and the other two I have discussed capture the sporting element of pro wrestling really well. As a sport, pro wrestling should not always have not nice & neat narratives. Sometimes there is going to be a lot of action, but not a lot of impactful turning points. That's what I am trying to get across is that this style is still true to the sporting nature of pro wrestling that something like a men's floor exercise match or a overly cooperative stand around you hit me, I hit you match is not being true to sporting nature of pro wrestling. I hope that makes sense because I really enjoy this because I think it is innovative, unique and with some tweaks could be really awesome. ****1/4
  2. ROH World Champion Low-Ki vs AJ Styles - ROH 8/24/02 Lil Sleeze could have been somebody and went to this show as this was ROH's first show in Boston and I believe their first show outside of Philadelphia. Interesting they chose Boston over NYC. However, the year 2002 is the only year since 1997 I didnt watch pro wrestling in fact I completely fell out of it so I was completely unaware that two of my future favorite wrestlers were tearing the house down in Wakefield. Low-Ki had just won the right to be the inaugural ROH Champion and this is his first defense. People forget how integral AJ Styles was to ROH they always see him as a TNA guy, but AJ was positioned as a main eventer at the level of Ki, Daniels and Danielson. He was a tag team champion early with Amazing Red and had the honor of challenging for the title here in its first defense. AJ and Ki were basically married to each other in 2002. They worked two matches in ROH, a myriad of matches in TNA and a Z-1 match in early January 2003. These are just the matches I know about. I am sure there are others. Low-Ki is my pick for best wrestler on Planet Earth in 2002, he was having an insane year and AJ Styles was already great in 2002 as well. I have found this pairing to always be great, but to never be classic. In TNA, I chocked it up to short, Nitro-style matches and in Zero-One it was more of a touring exhibition match. I was really hopeful that ROH match would be the lost classic due to ROH's environment conducive to producing instant classics. Again, I got another great AJ Styles vs Low-Ki match, but one that falls short of being classic. I thought what this match does well is play up the eveness of the two rivals and split the offense 50/50 without being "my turn, your turn". It is very competitive in the actual sense of the word and there is a lot of struggle throughout. There is a lot of fighting through offense and earning the next move. I thought the best story woven through this match was that the Champion Low-Ki has a slight lead on AJ throughout the match. The opening amateur wrestling/MMA ground sequence are really well done and you see AJ hold his own, but the Champion is slightly better. Then they move to strikes and again this is Ki's wheelhouse (Ki busts out the Inoki ground kicks and he has one amazing kick to AJ's head while in a headscissors that caught me unawares). AJ is no slouch. AJ has a great kick and a really great elbow/forearm, but this is Low-Ki in 2002 who is one of the all-time best strikers so again AJ falls behind. That's when you start to get that urgency out of AJ. He can feel the match starting to slip through his fingers so he starts taking risks like the kip up rana. He is trying to use the element of surprise, but the first time he gets a swift kick to his back for his trouble, but the second time he gets it. This throws KI off balance and affords AJ his first real advantage by following it up with suffocating strikes. From this perspective, I thought the match was great and it was an interesting take on pro wrestling. This is the type of psychology I wish we saw more of it because it is nuanced and breaks up the obvious two formula those being limb-based psychology and traditional babyface/heel psychology. We see this narrative play out the rest of the match that AJ could only sustain short flurries before Ki would return to control. AJ was lunge into turnbuckles or go for dives but eat a kick to the face. All these desperation moves that come up short because he couldnt consolidate anything, which is due to the fact that Ki is such an overwhelming force of nature. I think this story needed to be either paired with another story or more fleshed out because it left me unsatisfied ultimately because I didnt feel like there was a real hook. What's that thing I am going to remember about this match? Thats why transitions are so important. These were not the typically bad transitions that I rail because they were earned but they were NOT emphatic. There was no turning point to the match. It was a noisy match is what I would say. There were things I didnt like such as Ki doing Kawada Kicks and AJ hitting a modified slam directly after. The second time around where AJ fires up and goes insane with strikes I liked more it felt like his Fight or Flight mechanism was engaged, but thats kinda what it was no real strong transitions just noise. Another thing I thought was interesting was the escalation, there was not much. It was high intensity from jump with the mat wrestling and then the strikes. These two are fucking stiff and the offense was executed great. There really was not much ramp up, it was just a high level throughout. AJ's big move was the Spiral Tap which crashed and burned. He never really got a strong nearfall and Styles Clash was only teased once early in the match when Ki tried his own nip up rana. That was interesting. Ki got two Dragon Clutch sleepers before hitting the Ki-Krusher. Interesting match reminds me of Ki vs Danielson from 2001 where it is unique take on pro wrestling, but falls short of being completely satisfying. ****
  3. Low-Ki vs Amazing Red - ROH 6/22/02 Save me Low-Ki! The first five minutes of this match are FUCKING GLORIOUS! Just super high-end balls to the wall pro wrestling. I have seen their matches in random indys and TNA prior to this. I want to say it is UCW, they do this matrix sequence that they do here, but they do it better in UCW. So check that out. It still comes off cool & fresh, but that UCW one is crazy. Ricochet & Ospreay eat your hearts out. The work is tight and it is urgent. I loved the knucklelock spot where Ki is just overwhelming Red with elbows while holding onto the knucklelock then how he sends Red flying is great. Red's desperation leg sweep and standing Shooting star is awesome. That reversal into a Kappo Kick POPPED ME HUGE and the ROH fans lost it too. Red got a great dropkick as a comeback to Ki's back handspring leg kick. They lost a little steam in the middle in part due to a couple miscues (back handspring leg kick should have connected it didnt Red, Red didnt bump, right decision, re-fed and Ki hit a kappo kick. It took the wind out of the sails of the spot and a dragonrana went off the rails too) and I thought Ki started to hit Red too hard in the head so it made Red's comebacks incredulous. That Ki Krusher into the corner and Red just fucking fell to the outside. Everyone was chanting Holy Shit to the Super Ki Krusher that finished that match, but brutha the first one was the real insane one. Red was crazy! Incredibly fun sprint! Check this out. ***3/4
  4. Superstar Sleeze

    [2009-09-06-Dragon Gate USA] Bryan Danielson vs Naruki Doi

    Open The Dream Gate Champion Naruki Doi vs Bryan Danielson - DGUSA 9/6/09 Bryan Danielson is on his Indy Retirement Tour and like all good rockstars (*cough* Motley Crue *cough*) this is a fake-out and 2010 ends up being his real Indy Retirement because of the infamous tie choke-out. Dragon Gate USA is Gabe's promotion after he left Ring Of Honor, but before he started Evolve I believe, he leveraged his ties with Dragon Gate, which was at peak American popularity. Naruki Doi is one half of Speed Muscle (see I know things about Dragon Gate) and I do believe he is the muscle because Yoshino is the leaner of the two. Open The Dream Gate is the Top Dragon Gate prize not to be confused with Open The Freedom Gate, the top DG USA prize. I think thats all we need for context. The match sucks. I am watching a bunch of matches for a new project that I dont want to jinx by announcing what it is and so I was going through a bunch of Observer Match of the Year Contenders (Thanks Mookie!). So this made the list. Normally, I can kinda see why someone would really love a match even if I dont like it. I am hard pressed to figure out why this match would rate highly (I can understand someone saying this is good or even great, but to call this a Top 100 contender is baffling to me). Meltzer gave it 4.75 stars. I can understand somebody who likes the workrate style giving this around ****, but 4.75?!? Bizarre. The reason I say that is I didnt find this very impressive from a pace or highspot perspective. I have seen balls to the wall spotfests where I am like I get it. This isnt for me, but I get it. This was worked at a standard pace and featured routine highspots. I think that is my problem with Dragon Gate is that their highspots tend to be more modified slams or do a normal move with a spin. To quote Shania, it don't impress me much. I much rather watch a Kota Ibushi or a Ricochet wow me aerially OR a KENTA go a million miles per hour and kick my head off. Rather than doing a modified slam. The Muscle Bomb is an egregiously bad finish. I thought Bryan was reversing into a victory roll, but decided nope I am just going to tuck my chin and fall. Why do the move to yourself? It was dumb. The moment I realized I was watching a really bad match was towards the end. I was coming up with ways of trying to write a positive review in my head while I was watching. Then Danielson is hitting his MMA Elbows to Doi on the top rope (granted he already hit ~15-20 on the ground and this put Doi out basically, it has been established that this move is deadly). Doi absorbs about 5 of these doesnt really do anything to counter and next thing you know Danielson is taking some sort of lame slam that is essentially just him doing a bellyflop to himself. So yeah fuck this match. I can give more examples. Danielson does his second anklelock has it in for a while too. Doi's next moves is to run a million miles an hour hit I believe a dropkick and then definitely a full speed canonball in the corner. It was ridiculous. That was the fundamental problem of the match there was no hook. Nothing was sticky. There was no take home message. Nothing mattered. The limb psychology was nonsensical. Danielson was trying his hardest to sell the leg. I mean he was basically wearing a "Kick Me" sign on his knee. Honestly, he should have just screamed at him to hit him in the knee. It was ridiculous. Doi was so oblivious. The one redeeming part of the match was at the beginning Danielson tortured Doi's arm in a way that would have made Dick Murdoch proud. That was a very, very strong control segment. Other than that, this match sucked out loud. The bulk of the blame is on Doi. it is clear Danielson had an idea of what he wanted to do and Doi was blowing off selling and blowing off Danielson's selling, which I think new level of sucking. Like everyone blows off their own selling, but I dont think I have seen a wrestler IGNORE when their opponent is selling and basically begging them to work a body part. This was bad.
  5. Superstar Sleeze

    [2007-12-29-ROH-Rising Above] Nigel McGuinness vs Austin Aries

    ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness vs Austin Aries - ROH 12/29/07 How many concussions did Nigel receive in this match? Holy shit! This has to be in the Top 10 Hardest Matches To Watch. I couldn’t stop cringing. The fans were turning on Nigel because he had the audacity to take time off as the Champ yo heal a bicep injury. He deserves a fucking medal of courage for this performance. So Nigel was playing up this chump character by going to the safety of the ropes when ever Aries went for the arm. Aries has enough and slaps the taste out of his mouth. Nigel powders and soaks in the jeers. He has his back to the ring. Aries comes fucking flying out of the ring like has shot out of a canon to wiping Nigel out. Nigel’s fucking head SMASHES into the guardrail unprotected. He has this mast gash over his right eyebrow and is clearly fucking of it. This is FIVE minutes into the match. So he wrestles the rest of the match 18-20 minutes concusses out of his fucking mind while the fans screaming for Aries to fuck him up and Aries REPEATEDLY rocks him with elbows, slaps, punches and knees. It was disgusting. This was brutal to watch. They did get a rhythm going after five minutes after the initial blow to the head. This match easily could have been dueling arm psychology built around each man’s submission finish but Aries wouldn’t stop going for the head. Complaining about the match structure seems frivolous given Nigel’s head trauma but it was a total clusterfuck. Nothing made sense they were just throwing shit out there and trying to pop the crowd with dangerous shit (Aries took a couple nutty bumps) and highspots. I couldn’t stop cringing. They wouldn’t eventually use this to play into the Danielson match from 2008 match I love. Wrestling fans thought Nigel was the heel for being a pussy after this match...bad look for wrestling fans. Happy Nigel is still with us and collecting a paycheck from WWE. Dude deserves a medal of courage he is All Man in my book.
  6. Superstar Sleeze

    [2009-04-03-ROH-Supercard of Honor IV] KENTA vs Davey Richards

    Wow whenever I’m higher than ShittyLittleBoots or SmarkMark16 on a workrate match I feel weird but I enjoyed the hell out of this asskicker. GHC Jr Heavyweight Champion KENTA vs Davey Richards - ROH 4/3/09 This is probably the height of both KENTA and Davey Richards as workrate idols in their careers. KENTA’s last year probably and Richards first year until the Elgin match in 2011/12. My Davey Richards memory is that he Main Evented aN ROH Show in Detroit in 2009/10 and I forced my best friend from college to go with me. He loved Davey Richards still talks about how much of a badass he is. The best moment is I can’t remember who but somebody does a dive into the crowd into the section to our right, wipes out chairs and fans cleared out. My friend, who never been to a show before goes “Do the fans know that will happen?” And I go “No, I honestly don’t know, that could have been us.”. His expression was priceless and he just repeated “That could have been us” and then just screamed “Holy shit! This is so fucking cool.”. My friend didn’t become a fan but it is totally down to go a show whenever now. That’s my Davey Richards story. Theres always been a backlash against Richards from the anti-workrate which I get. This is a very workrate-Heavy bomb-throwing Match. It would fit into the CrossFit genre so to speak BUT this was NOT full-fledged 2010s workrate bullshit. There was no standing around waiting for movez and it was not overly cooperative. It was not glorified men’s floor exercise routine. It was an asskicker. They just kicked the shit out of each other. The kicks looked primo and it was just a relentless onslaught of stiff kicks. If you going to do a psychology-bereft spotfest this is the style I like a macho, shit kicking. The first five minutes got me excited because Richards actually tried to be a heel and KENTA tried to be a face. KENTA’s response to that first kick to the back by slapping the taste out of Richards mount was such a power move and I dug it. Richards has don’t well to establish he was the heel and it was cool he let himself be punked out by KENTA. The shine was great and I liked the dragon leg screw transition to heat. Of course KENTA made a One Million Mile An Hour comeback ending an illusion of a lost classic but it was a thoroughly entertaining asskicking match. I really liked the strike exchange and pretty much anytime there was kicking. I liked how economical the finish run was. Richards evades G2S twice, hits his big move to zero heat which made me laugh and the G2S win. Tight & efficient. No downtime, just two hard-hitting dudes rifling each other I dig. ****
  7. Superstar Sleeze

    [2004-12-26-ROH-Final Battle 2004] Samoa Joe vs Austin Aries

    ROH World Champion Samoa Joe vs Austin Aries - ROH 12/26/04 CM Punk mentions that Aries was not even in ROH a year ago and that is really key. Generation Next was the beginning of the Second Wave of US Indies workers. This match is an extension of the 90s US Workrate style with more puroresu influences because Joe is such a disciple of King's Road & Hahsimoto. That is not present here. Aries wrestles this match like an undersized Chris Benoit. He is pugnacious and he throws himself into every dropkick and forearm. I love how he lunges into everything. He really feels outgunned compared to the dominant asskicker Samoa Joe that is 21-months deep into a championship reign that is seemingly interminable. Also, love how Aries changes strategy three times in this match. My favorite thing about Flair is his ever-evolving strategy. Here we see that with Aries. At first he tries the bumrush approach, but the bigger Joe stops him in his track. Then in an escape of a hold, he manages to wrench Joe's knee in a nice, quick touch that can almost be missed. Joe misses a kneedrop and its the same knee. Now Aries goes to work on the knee. It is solid work including his power elbow. Joe quashes this with some wicked Kawada-like head kicks. That's the key is that Joe does not blow off the knee work rather he stops it in time before it takes too much of a toll. The reason Aries does not go back is that Joe knocks him so loopy over and over again with kicks and facewashes. Aries resorts to desperation offense. Just hurling his body at Joe whether it is a forearm or a dropkick you believe Aries throwing every single ounce of his body against Joe and more often than Joe is just absorbing and returning the pain. Then Aries ups the ante and starts to get nasty. He gouges Joe's eyes to avoid the Musclebuster so he can hit a 450 splash. He fishhooks Joe in a submission. The fishhook is such an underutilized gnarly move. He is doing every thing to win. It feels gritty and nasty. Aries to his credit is absorbing a lot of punishment including an Island Driver. He wriggles free of the choke and in a MuscleBuster is just able to wrestle Joe down with a Crucifix. Aries ROCKS Joe with a massive forearm! Aries absolutely SMOKES Joe with a wicked kick! Aries Nails a BRAINBUSTER! That was his third attempt of the match and it finally hit. 450! 1-2-3! New champ and a massive upset. It is feels thoroughly earned. Joe was in command the entire match. Aries got his hope spots in and never died. He just kept chipping away. That last minute was just a thrilling onslaught. Excellent work all around two men that played their roles to perfection. ****1/2
  8. Kensuke Sasaki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi - NJPW G-1 Climax 8/14/04 Kensuke is going through a mid-life crisis busting out top rope corkscrew sentons and rolling cradle (came out terrible), hell at least it is different. Tanahashi does plucky young upstart well stealing the Northern Lights Bomb after getting his ass kicked at the beginning. Tanahashi is very inspired Keiji Mutoh offensively to this day, (all that legwork) but you can really see it in this match. There are a lot of things Tanahashi does better than Mutoh such as selling and psychology, but in terms of offense this is a very 90s Keiji Mutoh match. This is a pretty straightforward asskicking match from Sasaki, who beats the piss out of Tanahashi. I forgot how much I enjoy watching Sasaki kick ass, but on top of that he hits three dives so there is good variety. Tanahashi does hit 'n' run well and times is comebacks well. Very smartly, Sasaki never hits Tanahashi in the head so Tanahashi's comebacks make sense. I thought they got sloppy down the stretch and it did take away from the finish. The finish is part of the match's charm so I won't spoil it, but this is a great veteran vs young lion match that Japan does so much better than America and at the height of Inokiism this is a throwback to the 90s and Choshu-ism. ***1/4
  9. I am surprised you all liked this match as you did. This seemed to get praised at the time as part of the Mutoh 2001 Renaissance, but I thought the 2001 match was much, much better. This match was filled with so many odd, odd choices. This felt like one of those Cena/Owens matches where it was just my turn, your turn but just with more pop up to it. Oh and Mutoh didnt fuck Kawada over. I could tell they were going for the Ganso Bomb and I think Mutoh had a mini-freak out. He is NOT Misawa and wanted to take it more safely. Then the second attempt he did the Ganso Bomb, but it was a safer version than the famous Misawa one. Of course, it didnt finish. It was a normal powerbomb that finished. AJPW Triple Crown Champion Keiji Mutoh vs Toshiaki Kawada - AJPW 2/24/02 Mutoh 2001 loves to work the knee. Kawada loves to sell the knee. This should be easy. At minimum it should be great and their ceiling is match of the decade. Somehow, they deliver something that is just peculiar. I hesitate to call it bad, but it is not great that's for sure. They did have a classic in 2001 so they have it in them I have seen it, but this match was not it. This reminded me of the Kawada vs Hashimoto match which I wanted to love so badly, but was just weird at times. This was just plain bizarre. The match was riddled with pop-up no-selling. I don't mean like I am nitpicking like for a good twenty minutes they just do pop-up no-selling. I mean you could just call that a no-sell was coming. It felt like Cena vs Owens at times in how they would use one wrestler's offense to create another's offense. Mutoh just got done hitting his standard 90s offense Back Handspring Elbow and Power Elbow. Then he can just sits. I am like ok. Kawada suplexes him. Mutoh pops up and Shining Wizard so that Kawada can do the All Japan fall out of the ring sell. That's just a microcosm of the match. They pretty much do this style for the next twenty minutes. It is just bizarre. I don't know what they were trying to accomplish. It being 2001 Mutoh there are 8 million dropkicks to the leg and dragon leg whips, which I love. I know it bothers a ton of people because it is so repetitive. It is actually the repetition that I like. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Then when the pattern breaks it becomes interesting. So I approve. I did think that's best part of the match. Kawada's selling in the moment was great per usual. However, he would keep no-selling and then he would be running around and kicking Mutoh in the head. The other thing is there were way too many Shining Wizards. I love that the idea behind the knee psychology is that the opponent struggles to get back to his feet and BANG SHINING WIZARD! But that should be a knockout blow not constantly blown off. I loved that Mutoh who is usually terrible at selling decided he was going to sell his own figure-4 (Kawada did reverse the pressure for a while). I am like neither one of you want to sell, but now you decided you are going to sell something that no one sells besides Flair in the 80s. The match was so bizarre. The cardinal sin of the match is not the weird pop-up no-selling head kicks and Shining Wizards, it was when Kawada did his glassy eye sell of the Shining Wizards. He died and it made it so that I couldnt believe in his comeback. I bit on the Moonsault because it seemed like the logical conclusion after a barrage of Shining Wizards because it was one level up. but when he kicked out. I knew Kawada was winning. It was so lame. Mutoh hits another Shining Wizard and Kawada sorta blocks it, but Mutoh sells like he is hurt. It was an incredibly lame transition. Then Kawada did a bunch of powerbombs including a Ganso Bomb. On the first attempt, Mutoh had some second thoughts and deadweights him. Mutoh is NOT Misawa and wanted to take the move safely. He hits the Ganso Bomb but it is safer than the Misawa one and of course just like in the Misawa match it is not the finish. Powerbomb wins the match for Kawada and he wins the Triple Crown for the fourth time. The curse of Kawada continues as he gets injured a month into his reign and is forced to vacate it. This match defies rating. It is utterly bizarre.
  10. It has been a while since I did a match review proper, but I got a new idea for a project so here we go... Chris Benoit vs William Regal - Brian Pillman Memorial Show 5/25/00 I got the Hard Knocks Chris Benoit DVD for Christmas when it came out and I remember watching the hell out of it. This was a match I didnt watch too much, but I put it on a re-watch list. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about it, which is a shame because this is excellent. Benoit vs Regal have excellent chemistry and they had a ton of ultra-stiff TV matches in the mid-2000s, but I would hazard to say this is actually the best of the bunch. I have been watching a ton of 2019 wrestling. I just needed something mindless and that's what 2019 wrestling is. This was so refreshing so interesting and so intricate. I appreciated the amount of physical contact in this match. There was actual chain wrestling and struggle. There was a natural flow that made sense, but they also worked hard for everything. They hit those cool spots you want to hit at the beginning, the bridges, holding onto control through a reversal attempt, good stuff. Of course, it being Benoit vs Regal there are shoot headbutts and they are early. Benoit busts Regal open in a knucklelock with those shoot headbutts. Regal sells this so well ala BattlArts-style and Benoit just keeps moving forward in true Benoit fashion. The Regal drop toehold and hopping right into the Regal Stretch was genius. Regal was clearly in a hole and needed something that could do damage, but allow him to catch his breath and even potentially finish Benoit. It was too early though and Benoit had enough fight left in him. I loved the transitions in this match so much. Benoit breaks up a surfboard with a stiff elbow to the cut head of Regal. Or Benoit taking too long to get to the top for the diving headbutt and Regal clubbing him with a left and then a Super Buttefly Suplex! Regal busted out a lot of cool shit in this match: standing dropkick, Super Butterfly Suplex and a modified Blue Thunder Bomb. This was his big comeback match so it makes sense that he wanted to impress. Benoit busting out the Dragon Suplex and immediately pouncing on Regal with the Crippler Crossface for an quick tapout was a perfect finish. Just great pure pro wrestling! No running, no overly chereographed spots, no cooperation, just two men trying to earn a victory in a gritty, nasty match. ****1/4
  11. Superstar Sleeze

    NWA Powerrr

    Jerome is totally right. I saw Muta/Tajiri/Pentagon Jr vs Low-Ki/LAX over Mania weekend live. I damn near shit myself during Muta’s Entrance and just being like “That’s the Great Muta! That’s Great Fucking Muta in front of me”. It was Mark Out City brutha. The Dude can barely move. He’s great for a nostalgia pop but it would be impossible to work a Main Event. This is the make it or break it PPV so you want two dudes that are physically capable of performing and making people say that they will come back for more.
  12. Superstar Sleeze

    WWE TV 11/25 - 12/1 Soccer does take politics away from the spotlight

    CM Punk left with a boo-boo face because he didnt get to main event WrestleMania. He can say all he wants that he doesn't care. But methinks he doth protesth too much. He is trying to convince himself more than anything else. That's my take on it. He didnt waste his physical prime at all. You can main event Wrestlemania well into your late 40s even early 50s. He saw how Brock and Batista came back and got slotted in the main event. He can be pissed about it all he wants, but he is shrewd enough to know "two can play at that game". It is all speculation, but it is fun.
  13. Superstar Sleeze

    WWE TV 11/25 - 12/1 Soccer does take politics away from the spotlight

    It amuses me greatly that one of the major reasons CM Punk left was to generate enough buzz on his return that he could main event WrestleMania. He leaves to avoid HHH and now he is being programmed with HHH Jr and almost assuredly wont get the Main Event spot against Rollins. It is all speculation but all the rumors of Vince being "pissed" or "irate" seem like disinformation. If it made it on TV even if it was in response to chants, I feel like there is a high likelihood of it happening. Now I could be wrong, but I would definitely bet on CM Punk wrestling at WrestleMania.
  14. Superstar Sleeze

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    Got to see Thatcher/Kingston live....living in Mass has its perks! Glad you like Thatcher vs Ki and Kingston. At 6’ 3” surprised WWE has not snatched him up. They got Biff and Gulak after all. The prospect of Biff returning to Beyond has me salivating.
  15. Superstar Sleeze

    Beyond Wrestling: Unchartered Territory on IWTV

    Speaking of Red Death, he was booked last night against John Silver (I finally get his name...its a play on Long John Silver because he is so short! LOL!) and MY GOD was that a barnburner of a match. So stiff, tons of body on body contact, and great escalation. That lariat out of the corner by Silver was EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT PRO WRESTLING! I fucking flexed when he hit that shit I was marking out so hard. I thought this was more of a return to form for Beyond. Dirty Daddy the Asskicker returned and am excited to see him kick Chuck The Fuck's ass. Solo Darling is being utilized in a prominent role. Thomas Santell and Nick Fuckin' Gage are the best tag team of 2019. Nick Gage is the realest muthafucka in the world. Shit feels like a shoot out there because you are so emotionally connected to him. He is just so earnest and authentic. I will NEVER get tired of shouting "MDK ALL FUCKIN' DAY" The Starr/Mercedes match I left early because I know his propensity to go long. The Thursday night switch was a bad move for me personally, I have a lot of meetings Friday morning and I live an hour away from Worcester. Santell/Yuta I was late for. I caught like the last 5-7 minutes, which was a bummer.