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  1. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2021-01-15-WWE-SmackDown] Cesaro vs Daniel Bryan

    It's always a damn joy watching Cesaro & Daniel Bryan wrestle each other. I'm not sure did I like this bout more than their excellent also-TV-match from last April, but yeah, it's a yet another absolute banger between 'em, of course. Fun n' great armwork vs. legwork story that plays off naturally, wonderfully, logically & it's compelling all the way through with some creative spots & moments in there. Beautiful pro-wrestling between two masters. ***3/4
  2. ShittyLittleBoots

    Best of 2020

    I ended up re-watching everything I initially put on my MOTYC list all year long, and this is how my top-10 favorite matches list ended up looking: 1. Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak (WWE 05/11) 2. AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE 06/12) 3. Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak (WWE 03/08) 4. Daisuke Ikeda vs. Yuki Ishikawa (wXw 03/07) 5. Kota Ibushi vs. Taichi (NJPW 10/16) 6. Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher (WWE 05/27) 7. Daniel Bryan vs. The Fiend (WWE 01/26) 8. Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NJPW 10/10) 9. Keith Lee vs. Roderick Strong (WWE 01/22) 10. Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa (WWE 12/06)
  3. This thing is completely carried by the legitimately great match between Nakamura & Bryan. Nakamura looked & felt more spirited than he has in at least 90% of his main roster matches; him & Bryan already had a nice little TV-match last year, but this was even better. If I were to rate it as a singular match, I'd give it ***3/4. But as it is, I would go *** on the overall gauntlet, and that's still a helluva score considering none of the other segments in it were anything, really. Adam Pearce being in a WWE PPV World Championship match outta nowhere in 2021 is pretty amazing in all of its randomness.
  4. This is the best of the three singles matches they've had against each other this year. The pre-match attack by Jey set the tone for Bryan to be the underdog in this match, and as everybody should know, that man sure can rock that role magnificently. That he did, and I also thought that Jey's performance working on top was rock-solid. He had some nice, nasty & vicious moments in there. There's also a few good bits where they tease the Bryan comeback, only for Jey to not let that happen, and it made the eventual moment when the big comeback actually started feel all the more better & bigger. The comeback was great, and I loved the leg-injury after Bryan dumped Jey outside -- brought some nice focus to Bryan's attack, and I in particular really liked him transitioning from the LeBell Lock to the half crab. The scrap on the mat which lead to the finish was also absolutely awesome. Just a really good match all around. ***1/2
  5. This was actually so great. I could just sum it up by saying that Drew McIntyre throwing AJ Styles around like a small child is so much fun & AJ countering that bulldozer-work by going after the bigger man's knee is some extremely good professional wrasslin'. McIntyre's selling was pretty outstanding throughout the whole thing, and AJ had his big match boots on - to say the least - as far as selling & bumping of his own goes. A total match made in Heaven, those two are or at least were here. The last third w/ The Miz cashing in that briefcase wasn't as flat-out amazing as the singles match it "followed" (if you can call it like that?), but I thought it was also solid, and they played it very nicely into the finishing stretch of the match w/ the 3-way gimmick bringing some nice flavor into the ladder/TLC match trope of climbing & fighting on top of the ladder(s). ****
  6. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2020-12-12-AAA-Triplemania XXVIII] Kenny Omega vs Laredo Kid

    There's some nice charm to this kind of a "Kenny Omega as the touring champ" type of match, and him as a base for an exciting luchador works more than well, so this definitely looked to be a promising match-up already on paper. I thought it was a real good match. Kenny pretty much brutalized Laredo Kid any moment he got a chance to do so, including big spots on the apron & the guardrail. Very enjoyable work by him on the offense in all of its viciousness. Laredo Kid also delivered with his fun lucha moves, but what I liked the most about him in this match was the legwork; the way he started it early, and especially the way it came into play in the closing stages of the match w/ terrific amounts of great drama & urgency, it was some pretty great stuff all in all. Kenny's selling was also on point; they milked those what-I-assume-are Laredo Kid's signature submissions extremely well. ***1/2
  7. Much of the match is centered around El Desperado's work on Hiromu's knee, and I thought he did a nice job targeting it & Hiromu sold it well enough throughout. It was kind of the usual NJPW bodypart-selling, with him still hitting his movez & all, but I thought he sold it really well in some bigger, key moments & Despy's work towards it wasn't ALL that vicious, so it probably didn't require much more dramatic selling. Other than that legwork, there's also of course some good, explosive bombs à la Hiromu Takahashi showcased through it all, and it's indeed good stuff. The whole unmasking sequence was also extremely badass, including the full-on wild scrap they went on to have after the mask got thrown away. All in all it's a very good tournament finals feeling epic, and it doesn't feel forced at all. ***1/2
  8. Comparing this to the women's War Games match, this one was much better. They portrayed the dislike between the teams pretty nicely throughout, with the match at its best feeling like a chaotic brawl, doing the gimmick solid justice. However, unsurprisingly with its 45-minute runtime, there was some periods of time where things weren't as interesting as one would hope. For the most part I enjoyed it very much though. It was a good one. ***1/4
  9. The whole dynamic with Leon Ruff being the champ, but being overlooked by the other two, especially Damian Priest, was really fun. There's some nice moments in the match centered around that, with Ruff bringing the fight & getting thrown around, and it's indeed fun stuff. Priest & Ruff both looked overall really good throughout I thought. Gargano was also there; he didn't stand-out like the other two, but he also did his thing & looked solid - the fast-paced spotfest nature of the bout certainly fit him pretty well, and funnily enough, I actually liked his talking here, as the bit with him teaming up w/ Ruff for a while to beat the bigger man up in Priest was one of my favorite moments of the match. The whole ghostface-mask-dude invasion at the end was pretty wacky & I do think it sucked some energy out of the match which it was shining with beforehand, but even with that, it was still a really good and fun match all in all. ***1/4
  10. This wasn't much. There's maybe one or two pretty cool moments in the whole match. And even those moments weren't really that neat in all honesty. The action upped a little bit once Io entered the match, but still wasn't very interesting. The nicest thing I feel like I can say is that I thought it flowed nicely & didn't drag, so there's that at least. Gentleman's **
  11. This was easily the most appealing looking match-up from the show on paper, and I thought it ended up being kind of a best possible match between Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa. Meaning it was fantastic. Loved the early work on the mat - felt slick, looked tight & violent + there's a good struggle behind it all. Awesome stuff, as was Thatcher's big control seg w/ him targeting Ciampa's neck. Thatchman brought lots of nice, focused, creative, vicious work there, and I thought the whole gameplan was sold extremely well w/ Ciampa feeling like he was in true peril. Ciampa's big comeback w/ that clothesline flurry was very nice as well, and the spot & the visual with him locking in that badass looking choke (Ciampa legit has one of the best looking chokeholds in pro-wrestling imo) w/ Thatcher bleeding from the ear, 'twas badass. Also loved the whole finishing stretch; beautiful amount of grit, struggle n' brutality there. It ended this match perfectly. It was a great one. In many ways it was the Timothy Thatcher show, and boy what a glorious time it was, but at the same time I don't want to say that, because Ciampa was also really good, suited the style extremely well & simply brought it. ****
  12. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2020-09-05-AEW-All Out] Jon Moxley vs MJF

    This actually ruled so much, damn. The dynamic was that MJF is the better pure wrestler of the two, while Moxley destroys him when it comes to brawling on the outside. They played that dynamic brilliantly into the match throughout, and I thought it was a really cool, clear, interesting narrative between two different characters. There's also some pretty great armwork by MJF throughout, which Moxley sells wonderfully + the whole stip w/ the Paradigm Shift being banned was played extremely nicely into the match with that one sequence where Moxley almost went for it, but as he contemplated a little too long, MJF took advantage & went back to that arm with his Fujiwara Armbar finish. An extremely enjoyable match, but I do think it dragged a LITTLE BIT towards the end, and that's what separates it from being "great" rather than "very good" - I'd actually say it's one of the best very-good matches of the year. ***3/4
  13. Jon Moxley defends his AEW World Championship. A bit of too much melodramatic TALKING by Moxley for my liking, but other than that, this was a pretty darn awesome underdog bout. The opening of the match with Moxley making Darby bleed with the very first punch delivered was badass, Moxley's control section was solid - of course made all the better by Darby's great bumping & good selling, as well as his always lovely, explosive comebacks. The finishing stretch after the MJF interference was real good too, with nice urgency by Darby & great selling by Mox. ***1/2
  14. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2020-04-04-WWE-WrestleMania 36: Night One] Daniel Bryan vs Sami Zayn

    I felt very strongly about this one when it first aired, and while now I don't think of it as highly as I did back then, it's still a great match. A totally unique addition to both guys catalogues, too. It played out accordingly to Sami's heel character with him trying to get out of the match as easy as he could, but of course after all the (awesome btw) stalling, Bryan did get his hands on him & then it was total punishment time. Bryan is incredibly compelling dishing out the said punishment with his always terrific looking strikes, and with this being in front of no crowd & there's no fake crowd noise, the sounds of those strikes stood out. This whole match was all about the sound every strike & move made + Sami's vocal selling and the little bits of dialogue between him & Bryan. I thought those moments where they exchange words were done exceptionally well, as usually stuff like that comes off as total cringe in wrestling. Here that wasn't a problem, as it all brilliantly added to the bout & the story they were telling. Sami's all around vocal performance is absolutely phenomenal, with his screams of agony & begs of mercy reminding me a bit of Terry Funk, even. This is a totally great match for the sub-10 minute duration of it. The finish isn't very good though, as it does feel too sudden, which as a result sucks some juices out of it, but yeah, I still love this. ****
  15. ShittyLittleBoots

    [2020-03-08-WWE-Elimination Chamber] Daniel Bryan vs Drew Gulak

    Still stands as one of the true highlights of the year, even if I would lower my rating from ****1/2 to ****1/4.