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TonyPulis'Cap

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  1. TonyPulis'Cap

    Greatest year ever by a wrestler

    Have always loved Bret's 1997. There's a couple of great matches of course (Mania 13 vs Austin, the 5 on 5 Canadian Stampede, the Taker match at One Night Only) but I just love the character arc he goes through on screen (which in a way is also mirrored off screen) where you basically see one man's descent, if not into madness but a form of despair at his complete disdain for how the world is changing around him. It's one of those brilliant wrestling arcs where art imitates life, and Montreal caps off the true end for a fallen hero that had become so embittered and angry at the world. I think it's a really strong in ring year for him despite the injury layoff, but it's also all the promos and the angles as well - it's probably my favourite calendar year for any one performer.
  2. This is in the tried and tested tradition of putting a company ace up against an up and coming face where the rookie gets to shine, but ultimately falls to the veteran’s greater skills and experience. As befitting that formula, we get a fast start from Xavier with a series of arm drags and a good early nearfall of a sky high/elbow drop powerbomb. I really liked the sequence where Williams, showing his experience, rolls to the outside to break the initial flurry from Xavier and then moves away from his technical wrestling wheelhouse to strikes and punches after realising he’s now in a fight. However, we then get Xavier going to the outside when the match is going against him, showing he is learning, and earning a round of applause from Doug. We then get Doug slowing down the match and returning to his strengths, by working holds and him taking control. During this portion, Williams shows just how good a wrestler he is; everything is so slick and there’s real snap behind all his offensive moves. Xavier gets in some hope spots to keep the crowd invested, but while the match is on the mat there’s only going to be one winner, so when he creates an opening by moonsaulting over Doug, he realises he has to up the pace and he gets a close 2 off a rolling release X-Plex, which was one of his signature moves, and something Pete Dunne uses a lot now. This is where the match escalates – Xavier trying to keep up the pace, while Doug starts to go for some big bombs to try and put the youngster away, including a series of powerbombs, as the crowd is now really invested in the rookie hanging with the ace. Ultimately it’s William’s greater technical skills that end up winning the day with him getting a roll up into a bridge. This match though was successful in getting Xavier over as someone that could hang with guys at the top of the card. (***)
  3. This is another match that is part of the FWA’s overarching ‘Old School v New School’ feud that dominated the company in 2002. Parker had become No. 1 contender by defeating Justin Richards at the previous show Vendetta, in a match interestingly reffed by Jake Roberts. Flash is coming in as the FWA Champion, and with the belt on the line here, this is the first match on the show that creates some drama with the crowd and this starts with some good intensity. In doing this FWA re-watch, I’ve been really impressed by Barker, who is never less than solid in his matches. Here he is nicely vicious working over Parker’s ribs, which is a nice bit of continuity from them being injured by Doug Williams in the FWA Title tournament the previous year. Parker was a fairly decent hand, although would suffer as the promotion became more work rate heavy in the next couple of years and would drop down the card pretty much after this. Here though he has good fire, and I enjoyed the ringside brawling, making use of the old school WCW style entrance ramp and entrance way. Unfortunately, the match breaks down after this, and they seem to rush into the big kick outs, with each hitting the others finisher for a near fall, before interference from Mark Sloan (the old school’s manager Dean Ayass had been banned from ringside) see’s Barker get the win. After a decent start, the match doesn’t really progress anywhere, and you feel it was just an excuse to get to the post match stuff, which admittedly is very heated. (** ¼) Firstly the Old School do a beatdown on Parker including cutting his hair, which would ultimately lead to him heading into a losing streak and ending up turning heel as a member of The Family. Ayass then gets on the microphone and reissues a challenge for the title to Jody Fleisch that he had made in advance of the show, saying he can have that match right now if he can get to the building. This is a classic bit of heel bluster, with the commentators pointing out that Fleisch had been on tour in Japan, however we get the big reveal that Fleisch has made it to the building! And we have ourselves a second FWA Title Match… Flash Barker vs Jody Fleisch This doesn’t go long, although these too have great chemistry – Flash can move and bump really well for a guy his size, while Jody makes Barker’s offence look killer. Highlight’s include Fleisch’s signature shooting star press to the outside and a really nasty back breaker from Barker using one of the guard rail’s. During the match we get Ayass taunting Jody on the mic, which brings a great sense of urgency and the crowd are really behind Fleisch, who after hitting the 720 DDT wins the title! This impromptu match would ultimately culminate in the main event of the first British Uprising, with the disputed title put up for grabs in a ladder match, where Fleisch would ultimately get his big win.
  4. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    Haven't seen the Hard to Kill match yet, but Tessa was in four (I think) of my top 10 Impact matches last year, which says a lot. She was fantastic in 2019, building on from a strong 2018, and while I hate making comparisons, you'd argue that she is far more consistent than someone like Charlotte, who tends to have high highs, but also some real off nights. Not to just copy and paste what others have said, but she has real fire and intensity in everything she does - her matches feel like a real fight. In an age where it's been hard to make babyface's the crowd connects with, she is able to elicit sympathy whilst still coming across as a badass. It's a fine tightrope to walk, but she manages it. Having seen her wrestle live for the first time at the York Hall for Rev Pro a couple of months ago, she also carries an aura and a presence with her, that commands the room. That night she wrestled Gisele Shaw who has lots of potential but is still fairly green and they had a fantastic match, I'm sure a lot of which was down to Tessa. It will be fascinating to see how Impact treats her title run, and deciding on if they want the fact she is a woman holding what has been a 'men's world title' or if they try and move away from that and as @SomethingSavage I think said, the story is her being an underdog champion but in the sense of her size rather than her gender.
  5. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    Overall, looking forward to the show tonight. In 2019, Impact was arguably my favourite of the promotions that is a television product, where a lot of the time rivalries and feuds are built on personal issues and where you can identify with the motivations of people involved. For anyone that's looking to jump on board the Impact train, and that wants to pick out some of the best matches from last year to revisit to give you a flavour, this is my top 10 of Impact matches from 2019 based on my match ratings: NB - these are in chronological order rather than ranked 1-10 on which I thought was best. You can see the same names often cropping up. 01/06/2019 Homecoming: LAX vs Lucha Bros 02/08/2019 Impact: LAX vs Lucha Bros 02/15/2019 Impact: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (Street Fight) 04/29/2019 Rebellion: Tessa Blanchard vs Gail Kim 04/29/2019 Rebellion: LAX vs Lucha Bros (Full Metal Mayhem) 07/07/2019 Slammiversary: Brian Cage vs Michael Elgin 07/07/2019 Slammiversary: Sami Callihan vs Tessa Blanchard 08/02/2019 Impact: The North vs The Rascalz 11/19/2019 Impact: Tessa Blanchard vs Brian Cage vs Rich Swann vs Michael Elgin vs DAGA vs Moose (Gauntlet match) 10/20/2019 Bound for Glory: Jake Crist vs Ace Austin vs Tessa Blanchard vs DAGA vs Ace Romero (Ladder match)
  6. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    In total agreement with this. In addition to the Sami/Tessa video, the package building up this match was really good - once again getting across real motivations for the people involved, and showing that it's a match that's been built for months but without the teams just having endless matches against one another. At the moment it feels very similar to the Christian/Jericho vs Booker T/Goldust rivalry, where the heels were hammering Goldust as the weak link and getting him to doubt himself. First off, both these teams are excellent so the match itself should be very good, but there's also great intrigue as there's lots of different ways you can go with the storyline: does the Mack overcome his doubt and The North's manipulation of his emotions for the big triumph against adversity moment? Does the Mack finally listen to all the baiting about Swann's achievements and get jealous of his partner and turn on him? Or does Swann feel like the Mack is holding him back and stuffing up and turn on him? Lots of options.
  7. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    Not really part of wrestling Twitter, so had no idea about the Tessa firestorm that's hit the last 24 hours, I was just logging on here to say that the hype package for the Tessa/Sami match on Impact was excellent... As others have pointed out, it got across both people's motivations, and perfectly framed the context for why this match is taking place. It also showed how this has been a match essentially 7/8 months in the making, that's not had them wrestling each other every week, which is how WWE does long term feuds these days. Thought Sami was great in the video as well, managing to convey real emotion and, what I presume was real backstory about his parents, setting out why that might have set him on the path to the person he is now, but managing to balance something you could sympathise with him about with still making you want to route against him for his actions. Really great work from him.
  8. TonyPulis'Cap

    The length of wrestling shows & overkill

    Would very much agree with this. In general I enjoy a one hour show, although that can sometimes mean things get rushed and too much is squeezed in - a 2 hour show, when you also consider being able to skip any ad breaks, bringing it closer to 1 hour 40 or so, is totally fine, but as gordi says, that relies on it being well-written and well-paced! One of the biggest issues for me is just how bloated the big WWE shows have become, especially Mania. With all the matches and guff on the kick off show and then hours of 'main show' it's just way too long. I know this was a bit of a debate before this years show, with some pushing back against the criticism that the show was too long going in, but crowds are just exhausted by the end meaning that when you want to have a big moment like they did this year with Becky Lynch, it gets nowhere near the reaction it could/should, because everyone is just mentally drained and checked out.
  9. TonyPulis'Cap

    The Wednesday Night War

    Maybe just me, but always wondered if wrestling fans like to argue about ratings, as it's, *in theory* a rare metric for being able to say the company you like is 'better' than another? For example, if you're into sports, then people love arguing about why team A is better than team B, or why say the Premier League is better than La LIga or Serie A, and the way they do that is normally by looking at how many goals a player has scored or how many trophies a team has won compared to another, but in the world of a fake sport you don't have those stats to use. Hell, even in entertainment, you could argue film A is better than film B as it won more Oscars, or artist A is better than artist B because they won more Grammies - but in wrestling, with no industry wide awards (and no, I'm not counting the WON end of year stuff...) or anything independent to allow people to say something is better than another - and that's what fans like to do, debate this kind of stuff - then TV ratings is a very rare, tangible measure that someone could point to if they wanted to say something was better than something else. Now of course it's often films/TV/music that get the most critical acclaim, to be less 'popular' than things that can get criticised for being low brow, but that's another argument...but it may just be part of the reason why wrestling fans get so caught up in talking about ratings and "who's winning the ratings war!". Just a theory.
  10. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    A couple of weeks behind, so haven't got to the retro episode from this week that seems to be getting a lot of love...but to take it back two weeks ago, thought the Gauntlet match for the No. 1 contender spot was great. Lots of good interactions between the people involved, and thought Rich Swann came across like a total star - great selling and baby face fire, the only downside being that it was easy to get wrapped up in the storyline of him being the winner! I've always enjoyed Swann's work but he's taken it up a notch since signing with Impact. Both in their segment in this match and the singles matches they've had, him and Elgin have excellent chemistry. As I say, the only slight downside for me was that Swann's performance slightly overshadowed Tessa getting the big win, but I guess the fact that she got to pin as dominant a character as Cage helps to put her over. It's been a goof long term storyline they've been building with Sami and Tessa and I'm really excited for their title match.
  11. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    Caught up on the first couple of Impact shows from the new AXS era, and a very nice start, particularly the first episode, culminating in a much deserved title win for Sami Callihan. Until he came to Impact I wasn't particularly a fan, but as a few others have said he's been a real MVP over the last year and a half, being in the most over programs in the company. I thought the cage (Cage) match was a really strong TV bout, with great intensity and fire from both guys and a great utilisation of the cage stip. Cage matches have been fairly blase in the last few years, but this felt like an old school 80s cage match in terms of the hatred between the two guys and the blood but with a new age action. Sami vs Tessa a very good way to go, although wonder where they go with Cage from here who never really got into his stride with the belt with all the injuries. Elsewhere, sleazy Ace Austin continues to progress in terms of both the in ring and character stuff outside it, and Eddie Edwards is super underrated, knocking out minimum 3* matches every time. As El-P says, douchebag veteran heel RVD cutting shoot promos from a hot tub with his porn star looking girl friend is the character I never knew I needed. Impact as a TV show can have some bits that don't click, but I think that's mainly due to them having to work with some guys not at the top tier level in terms of talent thanks to the arms race between WWE/AEW etc, but overall a really solid watch each week where they do a great job of building up anticipation for matches on the bigger shows.
  12. TonyPulis'Cap

    MLW Fusion, anyone watching it?

    To me, a bit like the Impact shows from Mexico, the idea of MLW taping stuff with the Crash has been better in theory than execution. I'm all for wrestling shows being in different buildings and giving shows different looks - part of my disconnect with WWE is that every show, outside of Mania, looks exactly the same - but the pros of having a lively crowd, have been outweighed by the cons of having random matches with talent that has nothing to do with any of the companies story lines. Having some fresh guys involved can be fun, but this close to trying to build to a PPV? Doesn't make sense to me. Plus, and I know some people round here are into Lucha brawls, but some of the matches with The Crash guys, while entertaining, have been a bit of a mess. Again, I think WWE's historic obsession with people having a certain look has been detrimental at points, but that six man a couple of weeks ago was filled with guys that look like they would be more at home wrestling in your backyard rather than on TV. In saying that, the PPV next week to me looks decent on paper, and I'm interested in quite a few of the matches. However, again, as with Impact and Bound For Glory, the PPV seems to look decent in spite of some of the TV building up to it rather than because of it.
  13. TonyPulis'Cap

    Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

    The less said about the video above the better... In general, the last edition of Impact was another really flat show, where the best parts were the non-wrestling segments. Unfortunately that amounted to about 15 mins of a two hour show. I've got no idea what Moose/Ken Shamrock is going to turn out like, to some extent it feels like the sort of meme/freakshow type match you get lots of over Mania weekend, but there was an excellent video package put together for the match, that despite my fears, was effective in making me excited to want to watch it. There was a decent little Taya promo, who has had a really strong run with the title, it's just unfortunate that Tenille Dashwood has been pretty uninspiring since she's come into Impact and feels colder than you would think when you see that match written down on paper. I still think it will be a decent match though. Finally, I thought the Sami Callihan promo was really strong, and he's definitely been the MVP of Impact the last few years and I would put the belt on him. The rest of the show had nothing noteworthy at all - in particular the battle royal and Sabu matches were both terrible. Having that Battle Royal as the last segment before your big show is poor formatting. I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, that Bound for Glory, looks like it will be a decent show, almost in spite of the booking, and that still feels right going into tonight.
  14. TonyPulis'Cap

    Wrestlers who are a Blessing and a Curse

    Shawn Spears/Tye Dillinger Blessing: um, led to a good moment one year when he came out as No. 10 one year in the Rumble... Curse: ruined matches for a long time, with fans chanting 10 on the referees's count, thus removing all drama from potential count out teases, dramatic moments when wrestlers are trying to make the count, or last man standing matches, and generally paying no attention to what's going on in the ring (that last point, is not just his fault of course, but this was one that was very annoying. See, also: 1-2-Sweet! for nearfalls)
  15. TonyPulis'Cap

    AEW Dark Megathread

    Only watched week 1 at this point, but enjoyed this as a show, especially the Darby Allin/CIMA match which had a great intensity to it, which made it feel more meaningful than just a spotfest. As I said, it was only the first week, but the presentation of the matches made it seem more important than something like a Main Event, or Velocity/Jakked back in the day, where it feels like the people that appear on those shows are very much 'C Level' talent that will never appear on the main show.
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