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cactus

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  1. cactus

    Best match you ever saw live in person?

    Considering I've only been to two WWE shows, a smattering of random family friendly indy shows and a dozen or two Rev Pro events, my picks aren't as interesting as some of the other posters on here, but here's a few of mine. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Fujita Hayato (4FW 3/9/13) 4FW are mainly a family friendly promotion that brought in all kinds of ex-WWE stars for the kids and some Japanese imports to lure in the older audience, After a decent evening of simple kid-friendly wrestling, this was the main event and ended up getting a standing ovation from the 200 or so fans in attendance. This was one of the stiffest matches I've seen in person and it felt like something out of Battlarts. Sabre hadn't quite established himself yet and Hayato wasn't known to anyone who wasn't a hardcore puro fan, but the crowd were instantly invested once a stiff Hayato kick echoed through the drab, Swindon leisure centre. 15 minutes or so of violent strikes and grappling, check this one out if you can. Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay (RPW 1/16/16) This was from the time when I actually felt positive about the UK scene. Both guys were just on brink of blowing up and the York Hall crowd was buzzing for this. They started off with some exciting technical exchanges before bringing out the high spots. I don't really get involved when at a live show, but I jumped up from my chair once Scurll countered a Ospreay Cutter with a Chickenwing. This was a damn near perfect indy workrate classic. Tomohiro Ishii vs Keith Lee (RPW 5/11/18) This was very similar to what you would see in any big Ishii match, but seeing one of them in the flesh when you're half-drunk and surrounded by a molten-hot crowd is something entirely different. I'm mostly done with Ishii matches nowadays, but he's always put on a hell of a show whenever he would show his face at a Rev Pro event.
  2. Although it's rightfully overshadowed by the freakish SSP botch, this was the most physical main event of a Wrestlemania up to this point. This was two lads without fancy gimmicks going out their and putting on a rugged and aggressive wrestling match. Angle is more focused on putting on a clinic and doesn't get many chances to show of his huge personality and plays this one straight. Lesnar goes into this with injured ribs and Angle sets his sights on his injury by going after them with many German suplexes, including one onto the turnbuckle. Although you could tell that some fans weren't into this, this was a changing off the guard moment with the workrate feeling more important than the big gimmicks and characters. ★★★½
  3. cactus

    [2003-03-30-WWE-Wrestlemania XIX] Steve Austin vs The Rock

    Lacking the intensity of their previous two Wrestlemania outings, this was fuelled by Rock's unlimited charisma and Austin's enduring popularity. It's understandable that Austin's heart wasn't in it here as he literally nearly died 24 hours before the event. It's a shame we only got to see Hollywood Rock for a few months as he was a treat to watch. Rock puts away Austin after three Rock Bottoms. It's easy to criticise the finisher fests of this era, but the ending of this just felt like the right move. My only complaint is that I wish that Austin got a proper farewell match, much like Ric Flair's five years later. ★★★★
  4. cactus

    [2003-03-30-WWE-WrestleMania XIX] Hulk Hogan vs Vince McMahon

    This might just be my favourite match of Hogan in WWE. This was padded out with big weapon spots to hide the limitations or a banged-up Hogan and a 57 year old non-wrestler. Vince might not be a good worker per se, but he's an excellent entertainer who knows how to control the crowd. You got Vince's demonic facials, Roddy Piper and Shane McMahon's surprise returns and you've even got a poor Spanish announcer doing a bladejob after getting struck by a wayward chair shot. It's mental, it's wrestling, I love it! ★★★★½
  5. 18 years later and I'm still annoyed by this! Booker shows fire as a babyface, but Triple H is trying his best to emulate Harley Race and failing. His NWA champion cosplay majorly misses the mark and he just wasn't that interesting during this period. J.R is the only person marking out in the stadium when Trips busts out a rare Indian Deathlock. Booker's Houston Hangover felt like nice callback to his WCW days. Triple H pinning Booker T after nearly a full minute of downtime still leads a sour taste in my mouth. Racist angle aside, this felt like it should of been on a house show. ★¾
  6. Michaels wants to make his Wrestlemania comeback feel special and Jericho wants us to forget how lackluster his last Wrestlemania was. After Michaels gets some spots to show off and to illustrate to the crowd that he's still got it, a Walls Of Jericho on the entrance ramp is enough to aggravate old injuries and Jericho works over HBK's back. Jericho wasn't that interesting working on top, but the finishing stretch felt like a callback to Savage/Steamboat with all it's nearfalls through small packages and counters. After an intense 22 minutes, HBK wins after a roll-up. Jericho nails him in the balls after teasing a face turn during a post-match hug, Great stuff! ★★★★¼
  7. Although this was quite similar to the tag title clusterfuck from last year, this was much more physical and had a much faster pace. Rhyno wrecking shop and Benoit and Guerrero going at it were two particular high points. This was six decent-excellent workers making something out of a nothing match and it worked. Rhyno takes out both Haas and Chavo with Gores, but Shelton is able to sneak a pin fall and retain the tag titles. It's crazy to think that two competitors in this throwaway bout would go on to be in separate world title matches at the next year's 'Mania. ★★★
  8. Trish has grown tons in the last year and she's placed in there with two great workers in the form of Jazz and Victoria. Jazz impresses me every time I see her, even in the dire women's division of early 2000's WWE. Stevie Richards tries to get involved, but he ends up nailing himself with a chair after missing Trish and hitting the ropes in the good comedy spot. Trish pins Victoria and we get a good feel-good pop. This was one of the few bright spots for the women during the 2000's. ★★★
  9. This was much better than how it looks on paper as Undertaker has got his working boots on. He's in his faux-MMA phase where he ends up pulling off Fujiwara armbars and cross armbreakers. It's jarring, but at least he's mixing things up. Nathan Jones was meant to be Undertaker's partner, but he's so rotten that his involvement is limited to a run-in and he even looks bad doing that! He shows a lot of hesitation just before he spin kicks Big Show and you could tell right there that wrestling wasn't for him. ★★½
  10. Rey is healthy enough that his high flying stuff looks fresh and exciting. He still feels like WCW Rey and not the WWE version who would play it safe and stick to what he knows. The harder working Hardy working with cruiserweights allows him to be more believable at controlling the pace of the match as he dwarfs most of the wrestlers. Hardy retaining after interference from Shannon Moore was certainly a questionable move seeing how over Rey was at the time, but aside from that this was a good way to open the show with everyone playing their part well. ★★★
  11. There was no way this could come close to Rock vs Hogan. Jericho had no chance of retaining and Triple H isn't believable working as a sympathetic babyface in peril. Jericho going after Triple H's knee made sense, but Triple H isn't a decent enough seller to suck you in and have you rooting for him. Jericho felt like an afterthought as Stephanie gets more of a reaction once Triple H finally gets his hands on his backstabbing wife. It's not a terrible match, just too underwhelming to be the main event on the biggest show of the year. ★★½
  12. Jazz looks like Misawa when compared to her two opponents. Lita is very sloppy here and Trish is still learning the ropes. Trish gets a big hometown pop as she enters the SkyDome draped in Canada's colours. The crowd soon begin to entertain themselves by chanting for puppies, which Trish promptly shuts up by violently launching herself into the turnbuckle. Trish shows promise, but she needs more seasoning. While it's good to see the women get treated more like wrestlers and less like T&A, this wasn't a good match and being in the death spot between the two biggest matches on the card sure didn't help. ★½
  13. cactus

    [2002-03-17-WWF-Wrestlemania X8] The Rock vs Hulk Hogan

    What more needs to be said about this legendary match? It might not have the best work-rate, but the crowd are absolutely electric and Rock and Hogan have them eating out of their hands and I have to give them massive props for changing the structure of the match on the fly and have Rock work as the heel after seeing the crowd reaction. The post-match angle sees Hall and Nash confront Hogan after shaking Rock's hand and eventually they turn on him. Rock saves the day and Hogan celebrates with him. No matter what you think of him as a person, seeing Hogan here is a good reminder of why he was so beloved in the first place. ★★★★
  14. Like most four corner matches, this was a mess until they eliminate two teams. Bradshaw is fired up, but the APA aren't long for this world as they eliminated quickly by a 3D. D'von pulling out a table and Jeff taking of his shirt wakes up the comatose crowd. We see the classic wrestling trope of a babyface sexually assaulting a heel valet when Stacy Keibler tries to interfere. D'von ends up taking a horrifying table bump as he's thrown face first from the top rope to the outside. Everything becomes more cohernet when it's down to the Hardys and Billy & Chuck, but this was still nothing to write home about. ★★
  15. It's sad to think that this could of easily main evented any PPV two years ago and now it's just filler before the Rock vs Hogan dream match. Despite both men's physical limitations, they still know how to throw a good punch and they keep the action simple. Nash keeps getting involved and nearly costs Austin the win. Austin is able to fight them both off and deliver a Stunner to Scott Hall that was so over-the-top that it's now become a meme. A perfectly fine match, even though it's depressing to think that two of the biggest players of the 90's are starting to show the wear and tear from their long careers. ★★½
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