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  1. Microstatistics

    Microstatistics' 2019-20 Top 100 matches of all time

    Glad you enjoyed the list OJ. I'm not surprised you hated Naito vs. Taichi, that's an extremely polarizing match. KENTA vs. Tenryu (10/8/2005) is a neat little match. KENTA also had another match with Kobashi (3/5/2006). For Takayama, his 2002 is pretty famous and well acclaimed. Matches vs. Nagata (5/2/2002), Sasaki (8/3/2002), Nishimura (8/10/2002), Ogawa (9/7/2002) and Misawa (9/23/2002).
  2. Misterio had to put his precious mask on the line for a shot at the cruiseweight title. The stipulation was particularly precarious since the champion Eddy had recently developed a bitter mean streak. Misterio was extremely agile, but Eddy seemed to have his every move scouted, allowing him to unleash a vicious assault on Misterio’s back. Eddy targeted the back with a variety of submissions and backbreakers, while maliciously ripping at the mask every chance he got. Misterio’s resilience and some breathtaking counters managed to keep him competitive. Eddy arrogantly went for an avalanche splash mountain, a move Misterio had proven adept at countering, and, unsurprisingly, it was reversed in mid-air for the title change. One of the best matches in WCW history. ****5/8
  3. In terms of story and execution, this match might be the closest pro wrestling has come to resembling a traditional sporting event. Grey upset Saint in December but the general feeling was that it might have been a fluke. The first fall only reinforced that notion since Saint outwrestled Grey to take the 1-0 lead. Saint’s control continued into the second fall, especially as Grey hurt his leg. But Grey soldiered on and when opportunities presented themselves, he capitalized not once but twice to complete an impressive come from behind 1-2 victory and prove the doubters wrong. A respectful yet competitive feel, tricked out wrestling with compelling offense from Saint and world-class selling by Grey and a nice perseverance narrative. ****3/8
  4. Funk gave arguably the most complete heel performance in wrestling history here. He managed to be smug, deranged, cowardly, cunning, or pathetic depending on the needs of the story. Lawler’s cool and calm demeanor was a really nice contrast. The brawling was uncooperative and aggressive, and this had a dangerous, almost shoot-ish vibe to it. The opening portion with Lance Russell and the entrances is definitely essential but the main section could have used a few extra minutes. The “my eye” finish is, of course, super memorable but Lawler throwing the spike away in disgust was also a great visual. ****3/8
  5. Huh, surprised at the lack of reviews for this one. The climax to a blood feud that involved Piper suffering ear damage and Valentine almost asphyxiating in July. This consisted of an unusual yet dangerous stipulation: both wrestlers were chained to the other at dog collars around their necks. I liked the emphasis on the fact that Piper was better at utilizing the chain as he used it multiple times and in imaginative fashion to inflict damage and get out of trouble. Valentine responded with clubbing brutality and by targeting Piper’s injured ear. Fiery comebacks from Piper combated Valentine’s attempts to permanently incapacitate him. Eventually, Piper’s proficiency with the chain won him the match as he wrapped Valentine’s legs with it during the pin and conquered brawn with brains. Valentine’s post-match attack was vicious but ultimately meaningless since Piper clearly bested him. I wish Valentine’s US title was on the line here since it would have made the finish more rewarding. Valentine could have sold for longer here and there but for a combination of hate, creativity and violence, this is almost certainly the greatest gimmick match of all time. ****5/8
  6. Microstatistics

    [1990-01-31-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano

    The terrific finale of a fierce junior heavyweight feud. Sano offered a handshake as an olive branch at the onset, but Liger simply slapped him and launched a quick ambush. An angry Sano bloodied Liger up to gain the upper hand. He followed that up with a prolonged and malicious thrashing, with attacks on the cut and mask ripping. Liger managed intermittent urgency-fueled mini-comebacks, but Sano was one step ahead at every turn and retook charge each time. Yet he was unable to deliver the kill shot and punched himself out by the end. A terminal burst allowed a battered Liger to regain the juniors title. ****5/8
  7. Microstatistics

    [1988-08-08-NJPW] Tatsumi Fujinami vs Antonio Inoki

    Fujinami was finally world champion, yet he was still in the shadow of the New Japan legend, Inoki. So, he had a chip on his shoulder and was determined to topple Inoki. A swanky and lengthy technical battle between the top two wrestlers in the company ensued. Fujinami went all out, with his pride and defiance occasionally taking center stage, compared to Inoki’s more measured approach. But, ultimately, Fujinami’s quest was in vain as they reached the time limit, and Inoki was no closer to being defeated by then anyways. Fujinami wasn’t defeated but lost the symbolic battle. My patience for long matches is not what it used to be. If 40 minutes feels long, 60 minutes is an eternity. So, they did a great job of keeping things consistently lively, especially as the pace slowed. As a result, it may be the best match of its kind. ****1/2
  8. Arguably the high point of a blood feud between a pair of young fan favorites and a veteran heel duo. Shawn initially impressed with his flashy, athletic offense but got busted open and was isolated from Jannetty. Rose and Somers gleefully punished a dazed Michaels for a solid chunk of time. A hot tag led to Somers and Jannetty himself bleeding and the match escalated into a chaotic brawl as tensions boiled over and, eventually, a double DQ was called. One of the finest US tags. ****3/8
  9. Hase was known more for his technical wrestling but realized the danger his opponent posed and displayed unusual aggression right from the start. Muta fought back, hurting Hase’s hamstring in the process, before grabbing a spike. But Hase turned the tables and busted him wide open with it, perhaps as revenge for their September 1990 match when the shoe was on the other foot. He attacked the cut with a great mix of psychology and barbarism, forcing Muta to eventually make an almost underdog like comeback. This led to a bomb-heavy finishing stretch, where Muta finally prevailed. One of the better 90s NJPW heavyweight matches. ****3/8
  10. The babyface world champion faced his biggest challenge yet in form of the behemoth Vader. Great start as Sting got absolutely pummeled whenever Vader got a chance to corner him. But he possessed enough strength and athleticism to knock Vader off his feet. Sting made use of some clever tricks to gain the advantage but primarily relied on high impact offense to topple his opponent before Vader’s brutality crushed him. But Sting’s strategy was a double-edged sword due to the high risk, high reward nature of the maneuvers. He ended up going for one move too many and hit his head on the post, which allowed a rattled Vader to recover and put him down. Maybe the model David vs. Goliath type matchup. ****1/2
  11. Microstatistics

    WWE TV 08/17 - 08/23 Brazil is barbaric

    Lesnar vs. Cena is a good comparison. Maybe an Ogawa vs. Hashimoto 10/1999 parallel works too since it was a sign of the progressive decline and impending dark ages. At least Cena and Hashimoto went down fighting though. Also, I couldn't help but laugh at the Coutinho brace and assist. Barcelona looked set in 2019 though, until they completely shit the bed in the second leg vs. Liverpool, in a manner that makes Kawada's bottle jobs seem tame. But I guess some home performances papered over the cracks.
  12. This was a 30-minute Iron man match and the conclusion to a bitter rivalry. Right out of the gate, Steamboat damaged Rude’s ribs with a gut-buster and zeroed in on them in vicious fashion. But, completely against the run of play, Rude took a 2-0 lead with some devastating blows. He then sacrificed a fall to further incapacitate Steamboat, while maintaining the two-fall margin. But as the rib injury continued to impede Rude, he wasn’t able to inflict critical damage, allowing Steamboat to tie things up 3-3. Rude had broken Steamboat’s nose a few months earlier and frequently targeted it here. Cutting Steamboat’s momentum off with a jawbreaker to the face was tremendous psychology. Rude decided to run the clock out but Steamboat employed the Bret Hart counter to go up 4-3. This left Rude in no man’s land timewise as he desperately tried everything in the final seconds but to no avail. Similar to Piper vs. Valentine Dog Collar, it is disappointing that this was a non-title affair since Rude’s strategy backfiring would have been even more rewarding if he lost the US title in the process. Regardless, truly unique psychology and great action make for a WCW classic. ****5/8
  13. Microstatistics

    [1996-11-22-RINGS] Volk Han vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka

    This was their third meeting of the year after Kohsaka’s skill had placed Han in perilous situations twice, leading to two desperation fueled finishes. Kohsaka had only become more dangerous and perhaps Han realized this as he displayed an unusual level of urgency. Kohsaka had proven himself to be a mat wizard during their previous encounters, and this time even grappled his way out of several deadly Han holds, resorting to rope breaks only when it was absolutely necessary. His mat game allowed him to make some major in-roads during stand-up fighting. Han’s defeat seemed certain, as Kohsaka grabbed a final, definitive submission, until he pulled a rabbit out of the hat counter to lock in a fatal submission and secure a series clean sweep. ****3/8
  14. The rematch of the famous Wrestlemania X match with the roles reversed since Razor was the heel intercontinental champion this time around. The pre-match ladder portion included some gigantic bumps and I liked the mixture of learned psychology and repetition of mistakes. For instance, Razor evaded Shawn’s baseball slide into the ladder but when he tried the Razor’s Edge too close to the ropes, he got backdropped to the floor again. Shawn’s knee got entangled in the ladder at one point and Razor’s attack on it was creative and brutal. There was a little too much downtime near the end and Razor probably oversold but I didn’t really have a problem with the ‘blown’ finish. In fact, it was quite realistic since Michaels was pretty battered. Maybe the best match of its kind. ****1/4
  15. Microstatistics

    [2016-12-22-Stardom] Io Shirai vs Mayu Iwatani

    Shirai was the cocky champion who constantly belittled Iwatani leading up to the match. So, Iwatani had a real chip on her shoulder and started off with a great deal of fire. But Shirai casually grabbed her knee and began to assault it while strutting around. But she grew complacent, opening the door for Iwatani to blitz her neck with high impact moves. She was forced to take Iwatani more seriously from then on and finally breached her resistance with a huge string of high impact moves. Iwatani pushed Shirai to the limit, but her quest was ultimately a failure since she failed to capture the title and Shirai refused to be humbled. One of the best women’s matches of the 2010s. ****3/8
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