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  2. Jetlag

    James Mason

    James Mason & Chad Collyer vs. Kendo & Tsubo Genjin (Japan, 2000) James Mason & Chad Collyer vs. Tiger Mask & Hideki Nishida (Japan, 2000) James Mason & Chad Collyer vs. Pantera & Macho Pimp (Japan, 2000) These are from Michinoku Pro and very clipped. You get to see Collyer working as a Dean Malenko clone and Mason working as your explosive foreign athlete with unique sick spots. He had perfect form on everything and you could tell the Michinoku Pro fans enjoyed seeing him. James Mason vs. Hideki Nishida (Michinoku Pro, 2000) Mason faces the Spike Dudley worshipping Nishida in a European Rounds match. What a weird matchup, but Mason is a total pro and Nishida is very game, so it totally works. How curious that we have to go to japan to see Mason work straight technical stuff. Nishida was using some lucha submissions so for a moment this was like WoS vs. Lucha. Cool as hell altough a little on the short side. James Mason & Bret Como vs. Tiger Mask & Mens Teoh (Michinoku Pro, 2000) Hm, of all the japanese indy wrestlers, who do I want Mason to face? That's right, Mens Teioh. Their stuff together was just wonderful. Teioh is clearly stoked to work a freaky euro style worker. Thunderbird Bret Como was a canadian indy worker who has been working japan indies for years and does just fine, most notably hitting a nice Shooting Star Press. But you want to see maestro vs. maestro and all the Mason/Teioh stuff delivered. James Mason & Bret Como vs. Solar & Shiryu II (Michinoku Pro, 2000) Now look at this damn matchup!! Shiryu II is Fantastik, so... BOYS!! Michinoku Pro was a collection of cool wrestlers in 2000. And this was really a bunch of cool wrestlers rolling in and doing the stuff that makes them cool. Mason is less about matwork here and more about slick spots and supreme coordination, but that is just the beauty of it. He matches up extremely well with Fantastik. We also get the insane Fantastik tope to the floor and Solar looking sharp as hell.
  3. Jetlag

    James Mason

    James Mason vs. Shane Stevens (1998) „Psycho“ Shane Stevens was a thickly built wrestler. Nothing remarkable about him, just your bread and butter heel, but his look alone and Masons face work made this look like something that could've shown up on TV in the mid 80s. This was another decent contest marred by an annoying lady trying to do heel commentary, basically shouting „kill him!“ and „snap his hand!“ all the time and being dismayed whenever Mason made a comeback. James Mason vs. Flash Barker (9/17/1998) More typical face vs. Heel stuff, but they aimed for something bigger here, going over 20 minutes, and doing a good job at that. Flash Barker isn't a very remarkable heel, but he did some amusing hide the foreign object stuff here and had a violent outburst in the last round that was convincing. They kept the match moving, and Masons super athletic moves and comebacks kept this highly entertaining all the way. „Young wrestler with cool flips and flying“ isn't exactly a groundbreaking concept but together with the effective structure and genuine heat here it works really really well. James Mason & Karsten Kretschmer vs. Robbie Brookside & Black Navy Seal (Germany 1999) This was pro filmed. I wonder what this was from as this was the very end of the traditional german wrestling. There was nothing traditional about the match, as it was a 10 minute sprint. There may have been clipping, but who knows. I'm so used to german wrestling being drawn out and all about milking heat, so this was very different. Everyone looked good, even Kretschmer, and Mason already looks like a complete wrestler and fits very well here cycling through spots. Black Navy Seal is Rasta the Voodooman who you may know from GWF or BattlARTS, so he has quite the penchant for popping up in obscure corners of pro wrestling. He looked good here though.
  4. Jetlag

    James Mason

    James Mason vs. Corporal Punishment (1996) This was the opening round of a tournament to decide the Middleweight Champion. Mason was in full babyface mode and the match was basically a 5 minute squash with the Corporal (a in every way generic masked wrestler) bumping around for Masons athletic offense. No restholds, so has about all you want from this type of match. James Mason vs. Steve Grey (1996) 2nd round in the tournament. Interesting matchup since Grey is one of the all time great brits, but they only get to go for about 7 minutes here. Good sprint as they just exchange the typical british holds and counters at a fast pace, and Grey still has great form. Mason gets the upset win (who is the underdog in a match between a 16 year old and a 60 year old guy?). James Mason vs. Flash Barker (1996) The finals of the tournament. This was the typical heel tactics vs. Babyface retaliation that is typical of british wrestling, with a little more crisp punches added from both guys. Barker looked decent pinballing around and throwing body shots. It didn't have the kind of hold work you'd expect from a british match but I guess that kind of stuff was gone at this point. Most importantly the crowd absolutely loved Mason.
  5. Jetlag

    James Mason

    So one of the best decisions I've made in 2019 so far is getting a James Mason comp. Mason is the greatest wrestler to come out of europe in the last 25 years. Flashy graceful worker with enough substance to keep you entertained and has a long career of looking good on tape. So with that being said, let's get WATCHING!! James Mason, Johnny South & Ulf Hermann vs. Dale Preston, Dave Taylor & PN News (Caernarfon, taped 27/2/1995) RESLO TV WAS STILL AROUND IN 1995??? And WOW based on this I want to see all the 1995 Reslo TV. This was a blast in all the unexpected ways. You have Johnny South as a Fake Road Warrior, Ulf Hermann as a mix between Fake Ultimate Warrior and Fake Sting, and a young James Mason with a head full of blonde hair. That alone is very telling of what european wrestling was like in 1995. And the match was just really really fun full of crisp action and everyone doing something cool. Kind of Eric Rs WCW syndicated dream match except it's in welsh BABY!!! This has elimination rules and Mason is out first, but he still gets to look good: smooth babyface spots, really nice worked open hands, enthusiastic clapping, big back body drop bump... all the base ingredients of a really great wrestler were there. Next we get to see Ulf Hermann absolutely working his ass off, hitting big dives, flip spots that were pretty crazy from such a huge, possibly roided dude, while Dave Taylor works like Fit Finlay hitting snug clotheslines and nasty chinlocks. I've always had a soft spot for Cannonball Grizzly/PN News and he is a really fun big fat dude here aswell, hitting Vader-like clubbing blows and lots of fat man diving moves, including a crazy Cactus Jack elbow. It comes down to South vs. Taylor and that was very very different from how that would have been 10 years earlier but South still looked good. And we get to watch all this madness thanks to 1 dudes VCR. Crazy crazy times. James Mason vs. Jason Cross (1995) We move on from the bright colors of Reslo TV to what british wrestling looked like in 1995: a tiny ring in a small multi purpose community hall in front of about 30 grannies and kids. This was filmed with one camera at a fixed angle, and there are serious vibes emanating from the imagery. The curtain behind the ring alone is haunting. As for the match, it was James Mason doing a Fuerza Guerrera like heel routine and that is so weird and really really fun. Really lighting up his opponent with those open hand shots, working ballshots, taking nice corner bumps and throwing water at the audience. At one point he goes at it with a ~10 year old in the crowd and ends up taking a bump for the kid. At another a big woman with a cain looks to give Mason a run for his money and an elderly lady gets in the ring. Jason Cross didn't do much here, and it was pretty clear Mason was the more athletic, better coordinated guy, not that it mattered because Mason gave a show here typical of a 10 year veteran carrying a green guy. Outstanding in every way. Apparently, James Mason was 15 YEARS OLD in these matches. Holy FUCK.
  6. Tubby old white dudes punch eachother in the face for 20 minutes and it rules. Jesus why are old fat dudes so much better at wrestling?? Just the sucker punch from Kox alone that opens this is greater than what any skinny young dude currently wrestling can do. Most of the match is Kox beating down and cheapshotting Murdoch, who in turn comes up with all these great wind up punch combos. Despite this being No DQ Kox makes it a point to HIDE THE OBJECT. I guess keeping it in your pants is handier than carrying it around all the time and risk losing it. This is really about two guys with a variety of ways to hurt eachother, and a variety of ways to in turn put over that hurt. Kox is just ridiculous here, bumping huge, whipping his head back anytime he gets punched (a very minor but important thing he does better than just about anyone today). The best moment is easily when he eats the Calf Branding, coming up with the blood from his brow and this „Where am I?“ look on his face, and then he gets fucking kicked in the face with the saliva flying out his mouth... aside from all the great punches there are also some vicious stomps and knees from Murdoch that really look like they land with a ton of weight right on Koxs face. The crowd is really into Murdoch as a babyface, and while the match isn't super heated as a whole they react to all the key moments perfectly. To utter some criticism, the pace of the match (at roughly 20 minutes length) is a little slow, but really... this is two masters in their prime working their craft. And you get plenty of old style Brainbusters to top it off. Million star classic, really.
  7. Jetlag

    [1976-07-24-AJPW] Giant Baba vs Billy Robinson

    Robinson is a lot like a slightly less southern Terry Funk in this. He largely carries the action through mannerisms and bumping all over the place for Baba. At one point he even leans against Baba and gives him this really uppity „Why don't you chop me yeah“ look. Needless to say Robinsons grappling and counters aswell as the little touches such as going for a suplex in the middle of trading holds were all great and kept the match fresh the whole time. Baba doesn't exactly suck, but it's really blatant how Robinson is doing all the interesting stuff while Baba just sticks to his spots. He doesn't put Robinsons legwork over strongly either. This was a little too brief to be some kind of classic but watching Robinson work is truely a joy.
  8. Jetlag

    [1973-10-09-AJPW] The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras

    This was one of the first puro matches I've ever seen at it really got me into the whole old school wrestling. I soon had to watch every Destroyer match I could find. And well this holds up extremely well. It is considered the „precursor to the classic“ in regards to their 1974 match, but this match by itself is better than a lot of „classics“ in other match series. The grappling rules as it's almost 70s shootstyle. I'm guessing Mascaras was so uncooperative Destroyer basically just stuck to shoot throws and holds he had no way of preventing. Just really stiff (as in high resistance, no obvious going along), tight hold for hold work. After some trading of semi-carny holds Destroyer is able to sneak in a blow to Mils mid section, which feels like Volk Han getting punched in the liver, and he immediately follows up with shoulder blocks to the mid section holding Mascaras tights, with Mil looking like he really wanted to avoid those shoulder blocks. The finish to the 1st fall is really good with moves being teased and missing before a combination decides it. The 2nd fall immediately grabs the crowds attention by continueing from the finish of the previous fall. Mil Mascaras has his critics, probably rightfully so, but his uncooperative nature and tendency to eat a match up made for compelling pro wrestling here as the Destroyer really had to work hard to get a fall on him and try all kinds of different things. There are several Figure 4 teases, things get chippy, an had when Destroyer finally gets the hold Mil is awesome trying to get out of the move like a shootstylist by contorting his body. In the 3rd fall Mils selling was money, no questions about it, as he was hobbling around, trying to create space, stretching his leg as if to fix it, and desperately trying to fend off the Destroyer, who was just as desperate to pounce on the legs and get that darn Figure 4 again. Actually great finish which again plays of the 1st fall. So here you had an extremely psychologically sound, smart match that draws you in while delivering plenty of really good grappling. The 2nd fall doesn't quite hold up the intensity, but no qualms about it. This is the best match outside England that year in a cakewalk.
  9. Jetlag

    [1974-12-02-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba

    The same night as the Mascaras/Destroyer classic. 70S AJPW was loaded. This starts with some fun grappling that has Brisco wrenching Babas leg for a bit before Baba, undeterred by this, drops his bombs and takes the 1st fall pretty easily. The 2nd fall goes in similiar fashion before Jack is able to catch Baba by surprise. The last fall has Baba finally selling some kind of peril as Jack is giving his leg the business now and teasing the Figure 4. Good match that was pretty lean at around 20 minutes total and nice to see Baba adding to a match for once.
  10. Jetlag

    [1974-01-30-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Jumbo Tsuruta

    Brisco goes one on one with young Jumbo in a 30 minute textbook title match just days after his broadway with Dory Funk, Jr. Really really solid 70s style match. I always enjoy watching these tubby guys going through textbook holds and cutoffs, which in some way oddly foreshadow the 90s Kings Road structure of working extended control segments. Just when Jumbo was really putting the squeeze on Brisco with a chickenwing crossface and Brisco sold his arm and shoulder I thought this was getting really good but then Brisco just stopped acknowledging it. Generally I feel Brisco looks less like a dangerous hooker in AJPW than he did in the Inoki match altough that may be me thinking by association. Still the technical work was solid enough not to get boring. Jumbos slams from armbar is something I'm baffled hasn't been widely stolen. The flash pins in this ruled. Brisco sold for Jumbo in a big way typical of a touring champion. The 3rd fall wasn't as hot as it could have been indicating from the previous two with the crowd buzzing for Jumbo but they delivered a good finish. This wasn't mindblowing by any means but I probably liked this a little more than Brisco/Dory simply because it's shorter and much livelier.
  11. Jetlag

    [1969-03-05-JWA] Giant Baba vs The Destroyer

    Love this match and the atmosphere in this, however I thought this was strikingly a Destroyer carry job. I like Baba, I consider him a fun worker, better than you'd expect from looking at him and often better than average, but the fact people consider him some kind of genius wrestler is mystifying to me. The opening of this was all Destroyer who is just a masterful worker. He would bend Babas giant mutant hand to the point it was gonna pop, mix up his takedowns and come up with unique counters; all while keeping up his heel act to perfection and coming up with different ways to get a Figure 4. Meanwhile at no point was Baba making an effort to pretend Destroyers assault on his hand or leg was slowing down. I like how he would really squeeze Destroyer working an indian deathlock, but some of his holds came across as rest spots and definitely slightly dragged the match. Still all the textbook counterholds and cutoffs were really fun to watch. Again Destroyers mannerisms and bumping were off the charts in keeping this entertaining. Once the match came to a close it ended up being the usual Baba deal – he made an easy comeback and began dropping his bombs. Still the teasing of the Figure 4 throughout this was a masterful effort and it paid off in a big way in both endings.
  12. WOW!! Thank you for bringing that NMC channel up! Totally flew under my radar.
  13. Acute Sae was a youngster who could grapple. This was a bit like something Virus would with a student on a small show, so it was right up my ally. Smooth grappling and fun submissions. If Bolshoi worked like this more often and had stuck to it she would be among the very top tier of female workers. Sae is good mixing flying armbars against Bolshois more lucha esque style and I really liked her brief armwork, just trampling Bolshois arm as soon as she found an opening. Wouldn't mind to see this have gone longer but what do you know, Acute Sae retired just the same year.
  14. 2002 JWP was weird. Super low budget production with 1 camera and no lighting, but they are wrestling in this giant ring. This is kind of a dream match for me, and it was a lot of fun. They stuck to their bread and butter, which means flash submissions and counters. I would've liked this to be a little more competitive with actual mat exchanges, but it's a near miracle we even got a no bullshit singles match between the two on tape. Bolshoi was pretty dominant here, I guess because after floating around Michinoku Pro undercards Yagi didn't have much standing left, counter most of Yagis offensive attempts. I've seen Yagi push Yoshida to the limit and she still looked really athletic here, doing the Jaguar Yokota handspring and beautiful rollups, wish she had gotten to push Bolshoi a little too. But what we got was match full of the unique and nifty spots these two are famous for and it made me immensely happy.
  15. Classy lucha title match. Faraon is such a great but rarely seen grappler, and this was one of those matches where you just sit back and watch a master work his magic. Not only did he always know what to do, he was transitioning seamlessly between his holds like shootstyle grappler. Also check out the way he would create space and defend himself when Atlantis tried working over his arm. Atlantis held up his end and provided some nice dives so I wouldn't say he was luggage here, altough it's pretty clear who is leading the dance here.