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  1. This sounds like my kind of match! Is this available to watch anywhere? @Jetlag
  2. I didn't even think I was much of a matwork guy until I watched this. Carl Greco is everything Kurt Angle thinks he is. He's more of an MMA-style grappler than Ishikawa is, who could be described as a Battlarts traditionalist. This was built entirely around the ground game and they kept it gripping for 15 whole minutes. This was two half-naked lads going at it in front of barely 200 people and they managed to keep me on the edge of my seat, with my jaw firmly on the ground the entire time. Every transition opened the door for more possibilities. Not a single strike was thrown here and only one suplex was landed. Both guys volunteering to give up their final rope break was a badass move. My favourite Battlarts match! ★★★★★
  3. The Kilq working together to make each other look good created one of the best WWF tags ever. The crowd is molten-hot throughout and everyone plays their role to perfection. Despite being the much bigger man of his team, Ramon does a sublime job at being the face in peril and Kid is the rocket-fuelled fresh man. HBK puts in a top chickenshit heel performance and he sells Ramon's punches well. Diesel didn't stink up this match at all, but I'm wasn't a fan of him being knocked out for minutes on end after a single Sweet Chin Music. At least it put the move over as deadly, at least. ★★★★¾
  4. This kicked all kinds of ass. Super Dragon is incredibly violent here and he's also surprisingly expressive considering his face is completely covered. This was rather sloppy, but it only added to the match's charm. Dragon takes out Butcher's hand and he has to find other ways to beat Dragon instead of relying on his trusty punches, which sees Necro freakin' Butcher of all people hit a Frankensteiner and an O'Connor Roll! Parts of this match had me cringing because of how brutal they were. This was an amazing violent spectacle, up there with some of the best matches that PWG have ever put out. ★★★★¾
  5. The first few minutes of this are rather weak, but this picks up once Mad Dog gets pissed and starts busting Kimura open. Everyone bleeds, even the referee. Not only does the ref get juice, he also ends up getting Piledriven onto the floor! The referee calls for the bell once Mad Dog attacks him, but decides to carry one once order is restored. Mad Dog has a great-looking piledriver. The brawling here isn't exactly Funk Vs Lawler, but they bring the intensity and it results in a great little spectacle. ★★★¼
  6. cactus

    [1977-03-05-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta vs Billy Robinson

    Jumbo might be the champion, but he isn't as experienced as Robinson. I could watch Robinson try and weasel his way out of holds all day. He's super engaging and compelling and he can make even a simple headlock or Boston Crab interesting. If you want a good match to get yourself acquainted with the style of old-school puroresu instead of going straight to the heavy hitters like Baba/Robinson and Funk/Tsuruta, I'd say give this a watch to ease your way in. It doesn't go too long, has everything you can expect from this time period and it's rather workrate-heavy. That final fall felt like a sprint! ★★★★
  7. cactus

    [1974-07-25-AJPW] The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras

    This was very similar to their 1973 match, only with even better matwork! The general pace of the first fall, but every hold felt like it had a purpose and it felt like you were watching a game of chess play out in the ring. Give this match the attention it demands from you and you will have a hell of a time with it. Every near-fall feels like it could end the fall. You know your move is over when the crowd shriek in horror when you execute it, as was the case when Destroyer finally got Mascaras in the Figure Four during the final fall. I'm used to non-finishes during this era, but I wasn't a fan of the finish. Mascaras can't continue because of the damage done to his leg and the referee calls this one off. This felt like a cop-out. If you could trim the final few minutes of their 1973 match with the body of this match, then I'd be hard-pressed not to give it the full five stars! ★★★★½
  8. cactus

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

    Fantastic mat-based match that builds up the tension nicely. Mascaras is the better athlete and you can slowly see The Destroyer's piss beginning to boil every time that he's bettered in an exchange. I think The Destroyer is a great guy to watch if you haven't seen much pre-80's footage and want to dip your toes into some vintage wrestling. He's got buckets of charisma, he's technically sound and he even works in some comedy spots that stopped the action from feeling too dry. They eventually start to brawl after they get hot-headed during the grappling. Destroyer is a pro at making every Figure 4 attempt feel dangerous and Mascaras sold his leg injury very convincingly. I didn't have a problem with the count-out finish, as it made Mascaras look strong in defeat. ★★★★½
  9. This is the type of match that will grow hair on your balls. It's incredibly intense from bell to bell. Williams shows that he's actually got loads of charisma as acts like a total jock to Kobashi. Watching both guys hype themselves up during the chopping segments kicked all kinds of ass. I have no idea how Kobashi didn't break his neck on those three Backdrop Drivers. I didn't find this excessive at all. Everything felt earnt and it didn't feel like they were dropping each other on their heads for the sake of it. Kobashi isn't able to win the Triple Crown on this night, but he won the hearts of the AJPW fans. ★★★★¾
  10. I'm not entirely convinced that these guys don't actually hate each, because this was unbelievably stiff! Some of the punches throw between Ishikawa and Ikeda were some of the most convincing punches I've ever seen. Otsuka hits a beautifully devastating Giant Swing on Ono and it doesn't look a hair out of place in a shoot-style match. Ono looked very young, but he came off as a right arrogant dickhead who is not afraid to bend the rules. The constant run-ins from the illegal man got annoying after a while, but this still had buckets load of heat and intensity to wash the stiff strikes down with. ★★★★½
  11. Kohsaka's put on some size since he last battled Tamura, so he's able to throw him around with ease during the stand-up portion of the match. The mat game here was predictably brilliant. Tamura is a pro at putting across the smaller things, like how you could see that was starting to doubt himself when he's down to his last two points. Kohsaka acts quite cocky and you can't help but hope Tamura can pull off a miracle. The final few minutes are very heated, with Tamura locking in a deep single crab, before transitioning to an armbar to secure the victory. The sequel to my all-time favourite shoot-style match is well worth a watch, even if doesn't quite reach the same heights as their first encounter. ★★★★½
  12. More of the same as their last match, but they dial the hate up to 11 and they get some nuclear heat from the Korakuen Hall crowd. Tamura slaps Yamamoto hard during the opening handshake and it damn near felt like the roof was going to come off the building. The mat-work here varied in speed. Sometimes it looked like they were going at it like two hyperactive rabbits, but other times it looked like they were taking their time and working a more methodical approach. Although he acts smug, I couldn't help but find myself rooting for Yamamoto during the final few minutes of the rough strike exchanges. Both men were down to their final point and the next knockdown would decide a winner. Super gripping stuff with a molten-hot crowd. ★★★★¾
  13. There's a subtle arrogance about Yamamoto. He seems like he's getting a lot out of slapping Tamura in the face, and the crowd naturally starts rooting for Tamura. Yamamoto is dangerous on the mat and can hold for hold with Tamura. All the action on the mat was super smooth and fluid. Yamamoto even busts out Tamura's old rival Volk Han's calf slicer submission in an attempt to tap out the ace of RINGS. There were plenty of big strike exchanges to be found here and watching Tamura fire up and make his comeback had the fans going mental. I don't think this reaches the highs of Tamura/Kohsaka, but it's a damn fine match regardless. ★★★★½
  14. Even as a recent shoot-style convert, this match flew by and the 30 minutes felt like 15. Tamura looks a lot different since I last saw him during the Volk Han trilogy. He's no longer a pretty boy, but he's now more built up and looks like a total badass. This was two mat maestros putting on some of the most impressive matwork and submission wrestling that I'd ever seen in a pro-wrestling match. These two are so proud and headstrong that they refused to give up a rope break unless it's absolutely necessary and we don't see a rope break until 13 minutes into the match! The strikes that followed the first rope break are incredibly intense and you could tell that Tamura was ashamed and pissed off that he was the first fighter to have to use the ropes to break a hold. They mostly stick to grappling after this, but once it's announced that 20 minutes had expired and that there were 10 minutes left on the clock, they start wailing on each other again. They both look exhausted by this point, but they still have a lot of heart and the final few minutes were super tense. I didn't care who won, I just wanted a decisive winner. This was amazing stuff that every fan needs to see once they are accustomed to shoot-style. ★★★★★
  15. Yamamoto's mat game is decent, but he's got a lot to learn and Han can totally out-class him. The crowd gets behind Yamamoto and it creates an incredible atmosphere. The fans just want to see their boy topple the submission magician that is Volk Han. The last few minutes of this were nail-bitingly tense, with Han hurting Yamamoto's arm by throwing him across the ring when he had a hammerlock locked on. The referee calls for a doctor to look at Yamamoto's arm and agree to let him fight, but Yamamoto can't be knocked down again as he's used up all his points so far. Yamamoto gets an incredible hope spot when he scores with a guillotine choke, but Han is able to escape and get the better of him. ★★★★½