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  1. I didn't expect to see a solid Match of the Decade contender at this point, but this was it. Just an incredible match, if CMLL did this kind of story based intense pro wrestling more often there would be no stopping the company. The psychology was sharp as a knife, early Virus working over Metalico with shots to the head followed by a control switching dive sequence felt straight out of 90s AJPW. The struggle and nearfall sequences where top tier and as good as it gets in lucha. I realize I'm sounding a little generic here, but they worked so many fine details into the back and forth, combined with a determined Metalico giving it all to take down the trickiest wrestler in the world. I haven't seen as much Metalico as I probably should have but he was great here as the aging gunslinger who would throw fists and fight tooth and nail. Even his sloppiness added to the match. Virus was as classy as usual. Every counter was incredibly well executed and perfectly timed, with some great struggle over holds and pins thrown in. Loved the constant punch outs which gave the match a feel like somebody would have to be KOd for it to end. Gotta love the fact they made suicide dive feel this epic in 2019.
  2. A bunch of legit martial artists and strange masked gimmicks step up to work a more surrealist BattlARTS match. Lots of nasty potatoes and credible shootstyle exchanges. Black Hole was inspiring - a fat dude with a genuinely cool mask, clubbing Vader like blows and judo throws. Hopper King is Super Rider and doesn't hold back with the kicks. Most importantly this had the kind of chippy fighting that elevates pro wrestling. Loved how Kimura wouldn't accept Akiyama breaking up his submission attempts. Then Kimura tried tooling Black Hole only to get rocked by those swinging fists. Even the crowd brawling was fun and the finish absolutely nasty. This was everything.
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  4. Good match with the theme being the constant giving and taking between these two. You had Misawa with the usual precise elbows and graceful athleticism while Jumbo stuck to working over his mid section. Eventually they move out of their usual rhythm to just get into a slapfest. While transitions came a little too easy for this to be an epic struggle they eventually moved into the kind of finishing run that gave the fans their moneys worth. Should add Misawa eating the turnbuckle when trying to counter the backdrop is one of those outstanding spots you only really get in early 90s AJPW
  5. Really smartly worked match that shows how these two smartened up to working meaningful singles exchanges. We start with a nice struggle over a basic lockup/headlock before Kawada starts wrenching Taue's arm in interesting ways, really making you buy that armlock as a takedown rather than "I won't let go". I love the way Taue would use his long legs to make Kawada eat his boots and knees repeatedly like the lanky prick that he is. This threatens to get pretty epic when Kawada starts working over Taue's bloody face with nasty kicks but a cleverly worked transition to Taue on offense happens - great spot where Kawada trips Taue to the outside when he goes for his sumo rush only to eat a move on the floor. The legwork on Kawada ended up being filler but was intense enough with Kawada trying to kick his way out of submissions. Unexpected tactics from Kawada when he wrenches Taue's arm some more shortly before a controversial finish happens. Kawada going for some retaliation by countering with a powerbomb on the floor on his own only to fall victim to Taue's less elaborate techniques was a cool way to keep the feud exciting. Very good to excellent match that would be a standout on any card that didn't have a Jumbo/Misawa singles match.
  6. I really liked the parts where they slapped each other like they meant it. Kroffat is still rocking the pajama pants and makes Kobashi eat some nasty kicks right under the chin. Some of the parts where they trying to push the other guy to he ropes and hit him felt like them doing UWF inspired work, in that slightly wonky AJPW way. The junior hybrid parts were fine and I like this kind of short energetic match over a drawn out epic.
  7. In some ways this was better than Satomura/Saiki and in some ways worse. The opening exchanges were very good, and the match soon turned into an absolute slaughter with Satomura using her skinny opponent as a kicking bag. Sareee also took some brutal suplexes. Sareee is a fairly generic female worker, but she held her own with some sick crowbar dropkicks that seeked to shatter Meikos face. Satomura basically worked this like a pissed off Jumbo, angrily walloping her opponent around whenever she had enough and landing brutal throws. Meiko also whips out a super fast spinning toe hold and looked like it would dislocated your knee in another great spot. The problem was that whenever Sareee needed to make a comeback she simply no sold her way back into the match. Meiko selling her the head trauma from the constant dropkicks to her face added some depth but this needed some kind of hook for Sareee to outsmart her higher ranked, more skillful, precise and vicious opponent. As a result the finish didn't feel earned. Should add that Satomuras suplex bumps were crazy aswell.
  8. Borderline excellent lengthy old school epic. I always love the rope running exchanges these guys work into their matches. To be honest, the first fall wasn't brilliant, but it sets the tone and the match never slowed down. As with Chi-Town rumble, love everytime Steamboat gets Flair with the chops. The 2nd fall was the best as it was just this great struggle with Flair trying to seal it and Steamboat desperate to stay on top. Flair flopping after fighting out of an abdominal stretch is how you sell. Steamboats endless elbow drop series to Flairs leg has to be one of the greatest uses of such a simple move ever. Steamboat crashing and burning repeatedly and having to fight through an anguishing Figure 4 is the stuff of a classic. Pin combo trading felt like a struggle aswell. Unfortunately neither guy put in a super deep selling performance considering how much limbwork there was here, maybe they felt like they had to keep the pace up with rope running etc. I thought you really noticed the length down the stretch and some of the pin attempts felt like filler.
  9. Jetlag

    [1989-03-18-NWA-Landover, MD] Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair

    Crazy hot match with a fast pace. I love that they make big deal of Flair trying to pin Steamboat with the leg on the ropes during the opening minute, really struggling over such a basic pin. We get a great staredown and a lengthy Steamboat shine with Flair bumping big and both guys as always lacing eachother up with chops. Flair taking over with a simple kick to the mid section was a little easy, but salvaged by the fact he also reversed Steamboats succesful comeback combination. The one problem with the Flair/Steamboat series is that Steamboat never seems to make it a point to sell the leg work. He will go crazy while in the Figure and that rules, but afterwards..? It really could factor into things more specifically given he uses lots of flying offense. Flairs selling wasn't exactly high end either, but atleast he acknowledged all those elbow drops. The rest of this was their usual mix of great spots, with a sense of awesome struggle. Loved the hard fought test of strength near the end.
  10. Wonderful match which always holds up. I love the basic but increasingly elaborate rope running opening sections. They never go for the obvious while mixing in leapfrogs and slides and keeping the theme of Steamboat one upping Flair. Obviously the chop battles are just awesome. It's not rocket science but Steamboat is a nearly perfect babyface by simply bouncing back constantly and just slugging away at Flair. Also check out how much resistance Flair put up against a basic drop toe hold. Flair came across as the highly precise, more vicious champ who would bully Steamboat to the ropes and and try to beat him down. The finishing stretch is great edge of your seat stuff with the classic reversals and misses. I actually didn't remember who won the match and the finish once again got me. As far as criticism goes, I thought the heat section didn't reach all time levels of intensity and Steamboat could've made a bigger deal of the Figure 4, but the you can only really criticize this match in regards to all time level stuff.
  11. Jetlag

    [1997-04-15-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa vs Daisuke Ikeda

    Borderline excellent 30 minute long shootstyle match, which was, needless to say, insanely stiff throughout. I mean, it's a given these two will beat the daylights out of eachother, but for 30 minutes straight is impressive. Matwork was very good too also. They would play up the striker/grappler dynamic, but Ikeda would slowly keep gaining advantages on the mat. Ishikawa tries trading fists with Ikeda early and just got destroyed with a brutal savate kick that left him glassy eyed on the floor. Frustrated, he would then more often than not try to target Ikedas injured mid section. While the body of the match wasn't exactly spectacular it never got stale due to enough danger and interesting submission work being present. End run had some crazy strike exchanges and suplexes. Ikeda launching his deadly assault only for Ishikawa to step on his guts was such a simplistic, intense ending. Match was different even from your usual BattlARTS stuff and delivered.
  12. These two have a go at establishing themselves as the lamest workers in all of BattlARTS history. This went 14 minutes but felt like half an hour. Some slow, unimpressive matwork to begin with, with the standing portions resembling Takada/Bernardo. They move into some contrived sequences for nearfalls. Funakis poor mans Dean Malenko style is just boring and Tanakas just does the same spots as always. Not all 90s japanese wrestling was great.
  13. Huh! Really fun trios match. Maybe I should stop dreading joshi tags. The main reason for this being fun is that they mix the usual joshi workrate stuff up with lots of amusing shtick and the combo of tagging Kyoko with two low ranked workers. Kaori Yoneyama plays Mini Kyoko and makes a really fun goofy underdog face, while Kyoko herself works as a Brazo de Plata/One Man Gang type immovable object, which works a lot better than Kyoko working long winded epics. All the Yoneyama tries Kyoko Inoue tribute spots and gets smacked upside the head was fun, all the Kyoko Inoue as immovable object/laying out everyone on the opposite team stuff was fun, and the workrate sections were fun too. I've spoken about how much I like Kuragaki and she was as fun as always, and Bolshoi looked good working completely different from her match against Amano just before this one. Hyuga and Ran are kind of the big main event stars in this one (if you can talk about „stars“ considering how small JWP was at this stage) and they are remarkably non-outstanding, really outworked by everyone else in the match. The one moment I didn't like was Hyuga hitting her german suplex combo on Big Kyoko after she was struggling to just lift her before. Other than that, quality stuff.
  14. WELL!! These are two of my favourite female workers, and really two of the more unique wrestlers in wrestling history, despite the fact you have to kind of scour the earth to find their good matches. Due to the special makeup of japanese womens wrestling these two are rarely in a matchup that allows them to shine. And for some reason, their matches over the years have never been quite white they should be. The 1998 encounter went far too long, the 2000 ones ranged between solid and fun exhibtions... fortunately, they finally delivered what the matchup promises on this one. This is a submission match and really worked like Negro Navarro vs. Solar in Coliseo Coacalco. It even had the kind of playing to the crowd and jokes that sort of match would have. 90% of this was grappling, and it was good. What makes these two so cool is not just their submissions but the cool unique trips and transitions they will come up with to get them. Plenty of unique spots and submissions to keep you entertained, and the finish was decided on the mat in an intense scramble as it should be. Really this felt like a Virus match and that's exactly what their strength is. No idea what took them so long to figure it out, but this was worth seeking out.
  15. Necro vs. Indy Star Who Can Kick Ass is a tried and true formula, and this may have been the craziest and most out of control of them all. Couple seconds into the match both guys are holding on to eachothers shirts and swinging huge punches, couple seconds later Dragon was knocked loopy to the outside. Necro then goes for his elaborate chair spots only to be elbowed in the face an angry Dragon who still had a chair around his neck. The match had a lot of spots which required some set up, but there were also constant eruptions in between where guys would smack eachother recklessly. Dragon would use all these puro tribute kicks and elbows while Necro just throws reckless bum fight punches and stomps. The blown spots added to the trainwrecky feel and Dragon hurling a chair at the back of Necros head when he looked away is a classic barfight move. Obviously Dragon is strong with the body language, looking pissed off, throwing chairs around while the audience is watching this real life Godzilla battle, while Necro is just a tremendous babface here, getting face pops not to mention the selling of his destroyed hand. The indy „Burning Hammer into a chair“ spots were obviously really brutal but the most violent moment of the match may have been them trying to kill eachother in the corner. This is a little long and slow here and there but I imagine it's tough to work a super stiff bumpfest for almost 25 minutes without slowing down and for „Clash of the Titans“ type matches (which this really is, toughest madman vs. Biggest asskicker on the continent) it doesn't get much better.