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Everything posted by Maciej

  1. I keep up with lucha ok usually, but I saw this pretty high up on a list in the MOTY thread and hadn't watched it yet, and it really delivered. I generally love the opening to a match in which the first wrestler to enter dives onto the second one before they enter the ring, and Iron Kid tries that here but Demus doesn't so much catch him as redirects him, flinging him from the top of his head into a post. We then get a nice beatdown including some fork action. Iron Kid hits some really beautiful dives when he eventually gets back on offense. There's also a moment near and dear to my heart where Iron Kid attempts to start a pissing contest chest slap exchange, which tends to bore me 9 times out of 10, and Demus just kicks him in the gut instead. Finally, the finish is a move that absolutely should be the finish, and all of this somehow happens in seven minutes. I loved this, and was very happy to make it the first wrestling match I watched in 2018. ****1/2
  2. Takeshita has really grown from beautiful wrestling prodigy into a bully role seamlessly, and he decides early on to try and destroy Endo's brain. His STF is really great too. Tetsuya works pretty much pure babyface, which, though he's historically great at being a dick, is obviously a great use of his athleticism. If I had to criticize, there's a point this gets to where Endo is selling his brain damage so well, that returning to kind of a traditional big move-trading structure for the last part of the match seems a little wasteful, but that's just nitpicking. This is well worth everyone's time. ****1/4 That's three Takeshita matches I have at 4 plus stars in 5 days. DDT rules.
  3. Maciej

    2018 Match of the Year

    My running list (pretty loosely ordered outside of the top few) is in the signature below, but in addition to the Gargano/Almas, Darby/WALTER, and G1 Final matches already mentioned, my top tier includes the Ladder and Baszler/Moon matches from Takeover New Orleans, and the first big Park/Volador/Flyer vs. Los Ingobernables trios match from 5/25. That trios match just delivered on the danger of Park vs. Rush so much more than I expected a trios match at Arena Mexico to be able to, and more, I think, than the subsequent singles match did.
  4. Maciej

    2018 Wrestler of the Year

    Oh totally, Fenix might be my #2. He's so consistently awe-inspiring.
  5. Maciej

    2018 Wrestler of the Year

    He might be slightly divisive but I think it's Zack Sabre Jr. for me. The quality of his matches while in a surprisingly big role in NJ has been top notch Hiis run as Evolve champ in the first part of the year was great, as he subtly transitioned character to be less sympathetic in ring without going full heel ZSJ on the mic at all. And he's had plenty of great matches in the other big indies he has worked around the world throughout the year. I've always thought working the way people have been booked in our lovely fake sport into these awards is a little silly (especially as that's already sort of baked into the kind of big matches they can have), but even with that, I think he'd be my #1.
  6. First time posting here so why not about a match with all-time fav Dick Togo. I finally signed up for DDT and am running through some fun-looking stuff for this year, and I hadn't heard all that much about this match, which was handily my second favorite on the card. Oyama is an MMA guy in his first, as far as I can tell, wrestling match, and he's the story here. I thought he was quite impressive, more so even in his head/neck selling than his grappling. Togo is his usual masterful self and KUDO is a fine change of pace for Oyama. There's a Takayama/Oyama rapid punch exchange at the end because of course there is, and maybe Oyama's worked punches aren't great at this point, but this is still overall a terrifically fun match. ****
  7. It's neither the dirty, serious violence of your indie lucha handhelds nor the workrate bloodletting of the average BJW main event, both of which usually get praised more (and generally for good reason), but this kind of giddy, occasionally hilarious hardcore match can be special when done well, and I thought it was a ton of fun. It's a huge mess of course, that should go without saying, but the clowns and Lider put so much effort into making sure the level of destruction is super high at all times, whether by using their opponent's bodies or their own. Pagano is clearly the star, hitting a dive with sticks in his forehead, getting stretchered out after delivering a suplex onto a flaming table, and, in the moment that has made me laugh more than any other moment in wrestling this year, getting powerbombed from the top rope perfectly into a shopping cart. ****1/4
  8. Maciej

    Triplemania XXVI Thread

    I'd say the hardcore match is the only must watch for me (very, very silly but/and I loved it). The opening match on the pre-show is sloppier than a lot of this year's really good high-flying openers have been (so I'd highly recommend you watch those if you haven't), but still pretty fun. The ladder match, while also far from perfect, has so many incredibly athletic people packed in you might as well. The title match has really fun Fenix stuff mixed in with some junk and the mask match has the drama built in but I don't think it's that special overall.
  9. I didn’t think it was super likely that these two would top the best of the B Block stuff in the final, but they really goddamn did. The first half of the match was a pretty compelling version of what this type of New Japan match is, with Tanahashi throwing his weight around to wind up on top on the mat fairly effectively. I guess you might complain that Ibushi knee selling didn’t continue through the whole match, but I think it worked for what it was in the short term really well, and Ibushi’s mission to destroy the old man’s torso was really fun to watch. I liked the strike exchanges a ton, which is not something I really expected out of this match. I much prefer strike exchanges where it’s not just a strike at the end or a mutual collapse that matters; there are individual slaps here that change the flow of the exchange itself, a tiny story with in a story. The end is good drama, not a ton of realistic false finishes necessarily but a a big final dramatic flourish of Kota popping up after the first high fly flow only to get put away by a cross body version and another for good measure; that makes him look sufficiently valiant and Tanahashi sufficiently triumphant and it’s all good.
  10. Maciej

    [2018-08-11-EVOLVE 110] Darby Allin vs Matt Riddle

    Darby's bumping is so absolutely my shit, and not even just his huge bumps like the missed Coffin drop on the apron, but just falling at weird angles from the big Riddle throws in really distinct ways. Riddle maybe takes a cue from flying over the guardrail after missing an attack in a really fun way. What really elevates this from what I already expected though is that at a certain point Riddle really decides to get angry at Allin in a way that actually gets people to cheer for Darby, which, even when he goes into ultra aggressive mode as he often does, is pretty unusual for him. It works, and this is one of the better Evolve matches of the year for it.
  11. I'm gonna go ahead and say: bad. Very bad. This idea that fairness somehow means we have to let every racist asshole back on TV is wild.
  12. So I don't disagree that this is a really good match, but can we talk about this ending? I know you're a babyface but just go in and kick O'Reilly in the face, right? Since when is this a thing that a babyface would rather throw in the towel than break up a finish? That part didn't really work for me.
  13. I'm down for any Best Friends main event tag, but what got me really excited about this one was Bolshoi being involved; she's really terrific at everything and doesn't get in against Nakajima and Fujimoto very often. She's much less involved in this match than YOSHIKO it turns out, but does manage some really cool stuff. Her beginning with Nakajima is cool, with a relatively MMA-ish struggle after a mount and armbar that Bolshoi turns into a different armbar as Nakajima struggles. There's some of her more lucha-ish stuff later on too. Anyways, she's great. The fact that a higher percentage of the match is focused on Best Friends vs. YOSHIKO isn't even disappointing, because there's so much creativity, and so, so many good dropkicks. Best Friends try a running dropkick to the corner and YOSHIKO jumps over them and comes off the second rope with a stomp. Big spots like that mix with smaller tag conventions being slightly played with: Nakajima actually blocks being slammed into the opponents corner at one point; YOSHIKO runs to hit Nakajima while the latter is on the apron and both succeeds AND is punished by Fujimoto immediately following up (I guess that in itself happens a lot, but here Fujimoto starts the run up early enough that YOSHIKO is convincingly caught off guard really quickly). That's a long, convoluted sentence for small examples, but this is a really great match with 4 wrestlers who are excellent at not wasting your time and filling the match with cool small details. It's really great, check it out.
  14. So I just noticed that +Lucha put up a complete version of this a few weeks ago, and god damn, it is so good. Marvin decides that he's going to make the caveman work for every little thing in this match, spending a lot of time and effort destroying his arm and cutting him off in ways that seem really legit. For a second it looks like a nasty foot stomp might be enough to stop the match (that one looks even more nasty in the Estrellas del Ring version that went up in April and, it turns out, is only a little bit short), but Cavernario eventually recovers and, to the delight of the fans, finally makes a real comeback. Cavernario is one of my favs, and while I love watching him swing skinnier luchadors into barriers in Arena Mexico, seeing him have to really scrap to get one over on a pissed off veteran is a great different side. Marvin continues his great run this year, and I think this is even better than the Cerebro matches and the great Keyra match. If you like wrestling that has holds and moves, but still at times resembles a real fight (and I'd wager if you're reading this you do), this is definitely one to seek out.
  15. This was very fun, pretty gruesome (the bed of bird spikes mostly), and oddly beautiful with all the shards of glass in the ring. This quality of execution and pace combined with the blood really flowing and the ring full of glass is cinematic in a special way - a way that probably only really death matches can be. On first watch I don't think I have this quite as high as most people (not quite as amazing to me as, like, last December's Takeda/Takahashi match), but it is really damn good.
  16. That was especially frustrating because it directly followed something I really liked because it was so unusual for pro wrestling: they squared up and instead of just exchanging blows, Dunne actually gained the advantage by getting a good punch in.
  17. Maciej

    [2018-06-23-EVOLVE 106] Darby Allin vs WALTER

    Darby Allin is one of the best babyfaces around, a bump maniac who is smaller than everyone else and is actually super smooth and athletic when he gets going. This match is less about that last part and more about him taking a beating from arguably the best giver out of beatings in indie wrestling today, and WALTER beating up Darby Allin was such an easy great idea that they could have phoned this in and still had a very good match. Happily they did no such thing. The strikes and bumps are big as hell, and WALTER should get credit for making simple bodyslams actually look overpowering, not just like a regular bodyslam that happens to be performed by a bigger guy. Darby's creativity in finding angles to attack WALTER's hand and throw him off balance are great here, and the finish is outstanding. It's really hard to make an unexpected finish really work in wrestling, there's always the danger that the fans are so not primed for it that it takes them too long to react and it kills the energy completely. They made it work here 100%. I was there live, so that bias is there, but I'd recommend this match to anyone who likes any kind of wrestling at all. I've been saying this for a long time, but if Evolve doesn't eventually build to a Darby title win (or at least do a steady build to a title shot, not just throwing him a relatively random one here and there), they'll be wasting a big opportunity.
  18. Maciej

    [2018-06-20-BJW] Hideki Suzuki vs Takuya Nomura

    As is expected if you've ever seen these two interact, Suzuki wrestles from on top here, and looks unstoppable for long stretches, but this really works because he sells the hell out the bursts of offense that Nomura does get, and makes it feel like a real fight in that way. By the second time Nomura gets some big hits in, you might start to thing, shit, maybe he can actually do this? That's pretty quickly dispelled and Suzuki looks strong as hell again by the end, but this is incredibly exciting in bursts.
  19. Maciej

    RIP Vader

    Vader was one of my favorite wrestlers ever, for sure. The way he was able to look extremely dangerous at all times while selling in a way that made his potential defeat by the hero actually convincing was unparalleled, and honestly sort of inspiring as far as performances of masculinity go. I'm starting off with the Mutoh G1 handheld (one of the first matches I have a memory of downloading (or maybe like trying to watch on Real Player?) from the internet; I don't think I ever had it on video tape) and I'm sure I'll be revisiting a bunch of favs and trying to find stuff I've never seen tonite.
  20. Black was fine as usual, but once Lars hit his Hansen/Kobashi lariat off the top and really started laying into him this went from decent to really, really good. Lars played the part of the monster really well, both in his strikes and especially in his selling (his wounded monster look before the final kick was great). The whiff was unfortunate, but this was still my favorite Black title defense and made me way more optimistic about Lars.
  21. I'd echo many of the things said here and really enjoyed this match, but mostly I just want to say that the Chicago crowd (as usual), can fuck itself. Cheering for your heel favs is one thing, booing Oney & Burch is just being dicks.
  22. I'm not sure I've seen Riddle work this kind of match before, one where someone attacks a body part and he has to sell that for the majority of the match. Strickland does that here, taking out Riddle's left arm, and Riddle does a terrific job for the rest of the match, selling well and getting in as much stuff as he can with his right arm and legs. Strickland doesn't seem like a regular wear-down-a-limb guy either, so it's fun seeing him attack the arm with submissions, but also with moves that take advantage of his agility. His arsenal of stomps, low kicks, and trips is all-around great, too, even when he's not targeting the arm, and it's actually a really clever way for an ultra-agile wrestler to do a heel offense. The big moment comes as Riddle finally decides to use that hurt left arm to set up for the Bromission, but Strickland defends well, forcing Riddle switch sides and leaving the left arm open to get grabbed. It's smart, and sets up a vicious ending that really establishes Strickland as a heel coming into the Evolve main event picture. This match defied my expectations of what Strickland can do on offense, and raised my already high opinion of Riddle, and I recommend it highly.
  23. I guess the thigh-slapping stuff doesn't really bother me that much, because the strike exchange at the end felt to me totally appropriate. And I thought they did a good job of throwing in some details that were pretty distinct, like Murphy sliding back into the ring to try to catch Cedric off guard after his dive feint (which in itself is unusual) and then Cedric being too alert to let him, leading to a stand off. Or, and this is a tiny thing, Murphy grasping to catch Cedric by the tights while Cedric ran to the ropes and missing. I guess I feel like wrestlers don't (kayfabe) fail at enough things they try without consequence. Not every mistake you make should lead to a move reversal; sometimes things should just not work and you move on, right? Good stuff. I was also a big fan of Murphy's diving knees the back of Cedric's head in the corner and the superkick counter on the second attempt. The aforementioned strike exchange got the crowd more into it an important point, the dives were big, and the execution, minus that one Murphy counter, was solid. This was definitely my fav 205 live match of the year so far and up there with my fav non-NXT WWE matches for sure.
  24. Momo has steadily been growing into a big role and has already had a very good title match with Io this year, so doing this again so quickly feels like it might be a little rushed. That said, Momo did just win the Cinderella tournament and did a lot to really establish her B Driver, so it is just a little more realistic thinking she might win than it was in February. Momo comes out aggressive yet again, and Io regains the upper hand yet again, really laying her strikes in. Theres a really cool moment where Momo goes for the B Driver on the apron (which was very useful in the Cinderella tournament) and Io crawls out of it to a sort of upside down full nelson with her legs (there’s likely a lucha name for this, rite?). Io outwitting her younger opponents is a wrinkle they go to less in these matches than her just being the best athlete, so I liked this wrinkle. I don’t think there’s a huge specific turning point in this match, and I am generally a fan of big obvious turning points, but between Io’s selling and the timing of Momo’s big moves you just eventually enter a zone where it suddenly, oh shit, it’s starting to become realistic that she might win this. The running B Driver where Io just barely tucks her head back in is bonkers, and I really like the reversal of Io’s big power bomb into a Meteora. The ending is a great ending to this kind of match, too: a young wrestler finding a way to make one of her big moves slightly bigger. Momo's only 18; that's wild.
  25. (I’m pretty sure folks will enjoy this match no matter what, but watching a Park/Rush brawl, like the MOTY from MDA last year, and either watching some main event CMLL trios or at least taking my word for it that this level of wild brawling is unusual in CMLL might help). So after Los Ingobernables attacked his family Volador & Flyer last week, LA Park made an absolutely shocking return to CMLL, and all of a sudden he’s main eventing Arena Mexico in, I feel pretty safe in saying (though I’m far from an expert), the most intense trios match in CMLL in a very long time. I was wondering how Park and Rush were going to translate the energy of their indie brawls to modern CMLL but it looks like - as long as they are permitted to keep working like this and CMLL doesn’t change their mind - they won’t have a problem. This air of unpredictability here is really special. I find it somewhat hard to describe without making it sound like a boring worked shoot thing, but if you watch CMLL and are familiar with Park and Rush’s history, there’s a bit of a worry that, well, maybe some of these things are things that are gonna get these guys suspended again. When Los Ingobernables got into the crowd to regroup, are they going there because they think Park has learned his lesson and won’t follow them in? Holy shit, Park’s in the crowd and has that suitcase, he doesn’t give a shit about anything! And while the brawling is as amazing as expecting, there’s other stuff that’s great as well. Rush bumps and sells for Park like an absolute champ, from the bump into the crowd on his tope to more or less the best spear in the business. Park’s cross-body dive is bonkers. Flyer and Volador are slightly afterthoughts for most of the match (especially unusual for Volador), but even that ends up being a way to set up and ending that might create a way to keep this feud going for a while without having to have the white-hot Park/Rush interactions happening every week. This is wildly good, a real match of the year contender that just two weeks ago no one would have expected to happen.