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  1. I shouldn't have held of from watching this so long, because this really was damn great and easily in the Top 5 euro matches I've seen post 1980s. Really 4 legends tearing it up in a hot match that builds to a big finish. There is a long opening segment centered around the heels working with Zrno and it was really good hold vs. counter hold stuff, more complex than what you'd usually see in these kind of heat mongering affairs and the apex of this style of european wrestling. Finlay & Jones really start working rough house tactics, trying to double team their opponents and constantly throwing forearm shots and kicks. I was a little wary going in since it's a long match, but there was no obvious time killing and they manage to keep the asskicking compelling all the way. Even with the poor black & white footage quality you really feel the aura Jones & Finlay had going for them, which was especially interesting for Jones to be in this kind of role since he normally works as a babyface in england. Lots of neat spots, counters and cutoffs throughout. I liked that Finlay & Jones were allowed to outwrestle their babyface opponents, Jones at one point mixes in a handspring move that is normally resereved for babyfaces and Finlay casually uncorks powerbombs and suplexes. Really liked how the heels seemed to crank up the violence in the 2nd fall with Jones hitting some mean headstomps (including pulling the other guy into a Boston Crab and just kicking the low of his back like a reverse curbstomp) and Finlay punching dudes in the face. The last couple minutes are damn epic and the main reason I'm nominating this, Schuhmann gets bloodied and is taking an asskicking eating kicks and punches. There is a tombstone piledriver that feels as epic as any piledriver in history and an amazing finish that I never ever would've expected to work this well. This is a euro tag so it didn't have the kind of polished structure a US tag would have but I still thought it worked really well, the rhythm was really good, all 3 finishes work and everything felt like a struggle throughout.
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  4. I'm on a quest to find the ultimate japanese indy sleaze match. This is part of a weird 3 vs. 3 match that starts with a singles match then a 2 vs. 2 tag and the a 6 man tag, but this match is good enough to watch on it's own. Hiroshi Watanabe is a guy who has been around since the early 90s and never really got a shot due to being undersized even by indy standards. Yamada is a guy who barely makes tape and doesn't really get to do anything working HEAT UP undercard matches and Gatoh Move. And here they are, working a really good MUGA match. Maybe these two have some kind of Z-level indy Solar/Negro Navarro feud going on. Anyways, Yamadas unorthodox attacks ruled and due to Watanabes selling his joint manipulations appeared really painful. Then both guys do this really elaborate section built around indian deathlocks, leg stretches and pin attempts that was some of the most fun pro style matwork in years. Watanabe decimating Yamada with backdrops was simple but worked and Yamada took some nice bumps. The finish was built around Yamada trying to hurt Watanabe with rough technical moves and Watanabe coming up with cool counters. Highlights include Yamada busting out a Curb Stomp of all things, some nasty legwork and a really well timed sequence of counters leading to a great Robinson backbreaker. Loved the fluke finish too. This was a great modern version of a 70s style match that never felt like a tribute.
  5. First half of this was pretty great as Danielson would torture Evans with ultra tight basic holds while Evans would use his freak athleticism and flexibility to escape and hit spin kicks. Danielson can play Fuchi extremely well as he did both subtle things like digging his elbow into the leg aswell as stuff that looks grossly painful such as twisting at the chin, almost making the back of Evans head touch the back of his thigh etc. Finishing stretch wasn't as great as Evans looked a little sloppy while both guys transitioned from offense a little too easily. All time great finish though. I'd wager Evans performance here was better than pretty much anything Manami Toyota has ever done as he showed greater flexibility, better timed comebacks, more spectacular offense etc.
  6. Insane fucking fight. No lighttubes or barbedwire, just 4 crazy guys wailing on eachother with punches, chairs and headbutts. Everyone was bumping madly here, just flying all over the place into chairs and walls, taking suplexes in the damn parking lot and generally having no regard for their own body whatsoever. The story here was that Gage & Pain have been terrorizing CZW for ages and now the 2 craziest guys from out of town come in to kick their ass which works just fine. Necro is a sneaker wearing wildman here throwing chairs and crowbar punches, Klein bleed huge and also looked good throwing punches, while Gage & Pain were perfectly willing to kill themselves here flying around. Crazy spectacle finish with a few dozen chairs being thrown in the ring and Pain unloading his throws on Necro, huge Necro punch combo etc. This was only 6 hours after the Necro/Joe match, what a resume Necro was building.
  7. Crazy crazy hot brawl which delivers all you can ask for. Big bumps and boots to the face a plenty at a great pace. They did a great job filming this with the dual cams so you get pretty much a great shot every other second. Briscoes are great in this flipping around the place while Necro & Pondo hurl furniture at them. Pondo may not be a great wrestler but he understands to play a heel outsider, giving fans the finger and shit talking while grimacing dementedly. Lots of 2,99999s towards the end (it's indy wrestling baby!!) which feel a little out of place but a cool finish with Necro & Pondo looking like psychos who will kick anyones ass.
  8. Only 24 hours after his war with the Briscoes in FIP, Necro has another brutal match featuring one of the biggest bumps of 2007. This was an IWA-MS joint show so Necro comes in to take on the toughest craziest dude in the fed. The first half of this is really good, it's a brawl with chairs and ladders etc. but it starts with solid body slams and both guys understood how to work their control segments (by punishing the other guy with awkwardly thrown ladders, chairs etc), tease spots etc. Masada is one of the better outcomes of tape watching indy wrestlers, he is a metalhead looking dude with a shirt and shorts who does exploders big boots and enzuigiris, which in combination with the garbage brawling I like better than hairless kickpadded dudes doing that. Plenty of fun, there is one truely savage punch exchange, suicide dive against the stone bar, aswell as a beer bottle coming into play and Necro defending himself by pulling guard and using a wrist snap etc. I thought they got a little too into the plunder spots in the 2nd half while neglecting the substance, altough both guys just take one massive nasty bump after another.
  9. Payoff to their FIP feud so that means lots of blood, huge bumps (even from the referee) and mean punches and stomps. I thought the brawling wasn't quite as great as in the first match, but it was still a standout match. Necro decking a Briscoe with a right hand the second he took his eyes away is an example of how to do brawling. Also love his use of the guardrail. AJPW-like finish where Necro is laid out while the Briscoes finish Pondo off. Huuuuuuge finish. This would be legendary if it happened in ECW, in later 2000s indy wrestling it's „only“ another really really fun match in these guys portfolio.
  10. Wonderful wonderful match. Based on small show matches like this that no one remembers I think it's safe to say Low Ki is an all time great. This was Bill Watts UWF meets Indy Wrestling, with Hernandez as One Man Gang and Low Ki chopping him down. The first 10 minutes or so Hernandez doesn't even take a bump, it's all Ki trying to chop the giant down and hit the body slam, and the crowd just loves this. Both Kis strikes and crazy ragdoll bumping were worldclass. Hernandez has some sprinkles of cool athleticism of his own, he also uses the canadian backbreaker which rules and even his shoves felt violent. I'm not sure how good Hernandez exactly is but he was really good in this role for sure. Kis athleticism and babyface selling was just off the charts, up there with the best of Rey Mysterio or Steamboat.
  11. The most baffling thing about "Sad Genius" Yukimasa Watanabe may be that he genuinely looks like a good wrestler in the spare footage we have of him. He kind of reminds me of Ohtani, a balding technician who will work the mat and kick you hard. Every kick he throws lands with a thud and the Lou Thesz inspired moveset is cool. He would've been a great addition to the roster of DDT or Michinoku Pro, hell throw him in there with Yuki Ishikawa to work an undercard ZERO1 feud. But if Sad Genius wasn't hidden in obscurity he wouldn't be so fascinating. This was a pretty good match up until the really dumb finish. Gran Hamada gets to work a serious main event in UNW of all places and it's cool to see old man Hamada work like a maestro and face someone with a ground based style. Hamada really gets to show of his mat skills here. However the ending is really dumb because Hamada taps out Genius with 4 or 5 armbars in a row. Since UNW rules means Texas Death there is a 10 count so Genius just keeps getting up. Hamada gets annoyed at this and just leaves. I almost want to think Hamadas reaction was a shoot because it's so dumb. Really disappointing because the match was just getting good with Genius selling in a big way.
  12. UNW (United Nations Wrestling) was a project run by a madman known as "Sad Genius" Yukimasa Watanabe. Mini-shows that drew less than a 100 people. This might be the absolute null point of japanese indy wrestling. This is filmed with one camera, in front of a crowd so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The match was weird meth lab shootstyle, so just what you expect on this kind of show. Tsunehito Naito is a guy who was rejected from the UWF dojo, I guess because he killed someone there, and afterwards was relegated to lurking Z-level indies. He wasn't untalented. This match was about the skill disparity between Naito and Sawada. Naito would pretty much dominate on the mat and all Sawada could do was go for eye clawing, choke holds and cheap shots. Sawada isn't exactly a polished shootstylist but Naitos grappling was solid enough and the creepy atmosphere really added to the match. Also, for some reason, every UNW match has Texas Deathmatch rules, so you get Naito tapping out Sawada multiple times, which added to the match feeling like some kind of sadistic training session. Highlights include a nasty GAEA Girls level dropkick and a neck crunching belly to belly suplex. The finish aswell as the build to it were grizzly as hell.
  13. WAR interpromotional tag that lags a little behind the standard for those due to Mutoh and Samurai not being quite up to the violent standards that these matches have. You watch these matches for some kind of violent showdown to happen and these two aren't the types to bring it. Kitahara was also unusually subdued. However I'd still recommend this for Tenryus amazing performance. He would really eat the fuck out of Mutohs flimsy offense and looked great flying around to put over the match. Add in the usual dose of signature Tenryu face kicking, throat chopping, powerbombing and lariating madness and have yourself something fun.
  14. Another round of beefy dudes clobbering eachother. This wasn't peak WAR interpromotional material, but I still probably liked the best out of all the matches on the show. Particularily because the whole match felt thoroughly violent, and Fuyuki and Koshinaka were really at each other's throat. They randomly broke out into this super violent exchange that lead to a poor sap getting punched repeatedly and all was right in the world. I continue to enjoy Goto in these Heisei Ishingun tags as old guy with 2 moves who comes in to lariat and backdrop fools and nothing else, altough there was some sloppiness on his part. Hara's career was winding down but he could still take some big bumps. These matches pretty much write themselves but they still work in some things you won't expect.
  15. Oddly enough, Norman Smiley fit perfectly into WAR. I've yet to check out his mexican work but this may be the best stuff he's ever done. He was allowed to work as this tough as nails shooter who would dominate on the ground and potatoe dudes with nasty shots. Basically an UWF version of Regal. His holds looked clinical and when it was time to kick Orihara like a dog he wasn't playing around. I imagine if Smiley had faced Hashimoto in a big match or something we'd all be Smiley superfans. Orihara works as a Smiley opponent because he is CRAZY and will bust out unexpected highspots. Worth checking out.