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G. Badger

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About G. Badger

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    Viceroy of Catlandia

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    In my chair, watching Tiger Mask matches

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  1. G. Badger

    [1982-01-28-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid

    Kid really wants to get his mitts on the feline fan favorite. Lotsa clubbing blows, tosses to the floor, and chokes for good measure. Tiger wants to prove he's no fluke and out wrestles the lad with armbars, leg locks, and headscissors. Of course, Dynamite gets his chance and delivers a cervical vertebra crushing piledriver that looks to have TM beat. An extra exciting finishing segment caps off a great match. Comparison to modern stuff is unfounded because this is fundamentally sound. An Ibushi match is where a guy over sells then, forgets it to get to the stunts. That's most modern stuff. This has happened for so long that we're probably a bit numb to it. In that regard, I think our minds are trained to patiently wait for the "wrestling" part to be over and get to the good part OR meticulously analyze a guy's selling a hurt limb for the rest of a match and unconsciously measuring to Kawada's best bouts. (Even if you haven't seen those, that's who most people are measuring against). If we actually enjoy the wrestling and quit measuring then, we can see this more for what it is than what it reminds us of...
  2. G. Badger

    [1982-01-01-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid

    The Brit focuses on taking out TM's leg after he apparently took an odd bump. Quick thinking! On top of that he drives the masked head of Sayama into the mat with some devastating moves. I mean there's more to it than that but, you can watch it. Its worth your time. Very good match, ***1/2 area.
  3. G. Badger

    Four Years On: An Updated GWE Ballot

    Thanks for the suggestions! I think I saw a Keith Lee - Beyond Wrestling match a little while ago and was thinking how a big guy like that was a good match for Hero. Similarly, his 2010 16 Carat final vs Walter I thought was a classic especially in the context of the whole tournament. And the Hero vs Sabre stuff I have been sleeping on for sure. That NOAH match seems like the kinda random match I'd like too That argument for consistency is a good one. I'd probably have him in my top 50 before watching any of the above matches. If I weeded out the "usual suspects" and "legends that I just haven't seen enough of" for a more interesting and debatable top 100, he's probably top 30...For consistency and the number of matches I've seen through his career.
  4. G. Badger

    [1982-04-01-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright

    I'm in agreement with Loss but, would probably rate this a little bit higher. It was a great match in the very least however, this won't be most modern fans' cup of tea. The mention of no selling and early kickouts is kinda a more recent trend or phenomenon. The way they sell for instance is much more subtle. I think because wrestling was more about working the holds and finding a way out. You just couldn't sell everything as it crippled you otherwise, you wouldn't have a match. BUT, you could sell that a move hurt or slowed you down then, you're selling the story and you're making it look good/real. So, the holds weren't necessarily meaningless but, they just didn't finish the guy off. So, I consider the match to be much more than an exhibition. In fact, this along with Gran Hamada & Blackman, is Tiger's toughest challenge yet. The fact that Wright controls the match isn't so much destroying the Tiger aura as it challenges the common perception that Tiger was without peer (other than Dynamite). It shows that Tiger was very much a vulnerable competitor but, could find away to dig down deep and win. He's a super hero but, like Liger later, its a story of guts, heart, skill, smarts, and that good stuff. Its a very Inoki strong style type story especially here.
  5. The first installment was really good stuff that quite honestly surprised me. My memory of Tiger Mask was all of the flips and spots with Dynamite Kid so, seeing him in different settings was refreshing. But, we start off with 2 Tiger vs Dynamite matches so, let's see how they hold up. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/01/82): The Brit focuses on taking out TM's leg after he apparently took an odd bump. Quick thinking! On top of that he drives the masked head of Sayama into the mat with some devastating moves. Very good match, ***1/2 area. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/28/82): The rematch of sorts. Kid really wants to get his mitts on the feline fan favorite. Lotsa clubbing blows, tosses to the floor, and chokes for good measure. Tiger wants to prove he's no fluke and out wrestles the lad with armbars, leg locks, and headscissors. Of course, Dynamite gets his chance and delivers a cervical vertebra crushing piledriver that looks to have TM beat. An extra exciting finishing segment caps off a great match. vs. Bret Hart (05/02/82): An interesting match as Bret is the most vanilla wrestler Tiger has faced thus far. But, in that regard, it makes everything TM does that more meaningful. Bret is so much larger and is working heel so, its a little bit different from what you might hope for. But, it worked because he really looked like his size and rough neck style was the answer for Tiger Mask. Good match vs. Baby Face (02/09/82): Now we get to see a more out an out cheating heel in Baby Face. Those fish hooks were great! A very mat based match with explosive rope running will get me every time. Here is no different! If this would have been longer, I would say it was a really great bout. But, as it is, I've gotta say its a peg down at Very Good. There's no shame in that though. I had a blast! vs. Blackman (03/12/82): Joined in Progress but, no matter...this is great! Excellent chemistry and I have to believe they have fought each other previously. I thought that this was going to be glorified squash filler or maybe clipped since Blackman is unknown to me and such an anachronistic gimmick. (Was it part of the TM Manga?) Glad I was wrong though! He really looked like TM's equal in terms of speed and agility. Only Gran Hamada is up there so, that's good company. Anyhow, check this one out! Its got an awesome organic finish that really seals the deal on a great bout. Tiger Mask/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Blackman/Karloff Lagarde (03/19/82): If you're interested in a high energy tag match where everyone is in constant motion, look no further! This is like the '83 version of a mid 2010's PWG tag match - double teams, comedy spots, and just go-go throughout. Just a bunch of fireworks (just in time for the Fourth of July too!). A heat segment and a more emphatic victory probably would have put this into great match territory. It's exciting stuff nonetheless! This set has really been full of surprises. I suppose that I really forgot that meat and potatoes grappling was the backbone of puro even for the burgeoning Junior division. I'm not well versed in 80's lucha as I've only dipped my toe in here and there but, I think the same focus on grappling was true there as well. Or maybe I've just been away from the early 80's wrestling tapes too long!? I forgot how much I really dig the style here. I also think there's a myth that only TM and Dynamite were capable of amazing things OR that Tiger's like a proto late stage Manami Toyota - all action but, little thought. Thus far, I've seen just the opposite. Just pleasantly surprised already. Thanks for reading! Please stay safe folks!
  6. G. Badger

    Four Years On: An Updated GWE Ballot

    This was a pretty good list that really hit many of the guys and gals who I have in mind. I was interested in having Chris Hero at #19 though. Would you say he's a case of a worker who can have a good-great match with anyone or are there like a handful of classics that one has gotta see? I lean toward the former as I've hunt and pecked his career and always been happy with his bouts. But, I've never seen a consistent stretch of classics from him like Danielson, AJ, and other early contemporaries. Any suggestions? I'm sure I've missed something from the mid 2010's
  7. I'm a fan of macho bullshit wrestling for its own sake but, I couldn't get into this match. It had some really interesting spots and sequences but, I never felt it told a story. It didn't really even build to the finish. So if the story is "let's beat each other up" that's cool but, it never escalated. They started out at a 10 in the stiffness department and that left them nowhere to go. So, the macho b.s. wrestling was there but, for this to be something great or let alone classic, it need to be more than two guys seemingly winging it. I like Goto & Shibata but, they've had much better, more thoughtful bouts than this.
  8. G. Badger

    Spotlight - Tiger Mask

    I finally broke down and bought the big DVD set of the Tiger Mask collection. From what it looks, its most of his taped matches from NJPW. I know there was a big of shift in popular opinion a few years back on the Tiger vs Dynamite matches. I still love those battles but, I wanted to revisit them. Also, I wanted to see more of Tiger Mask as other than those bouts, I'd only seen one other match vs Kobayashi. I knew there was more I needed to see for myself, whatever my final opinion would be. Let's take a look! 4/23/81 - Tiger Mask Debut: Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid: Tiger's debut and its pretty good. Its a bit frenetic and all over the place story wise. Dynamite Kid has met his match. Its a little rough in spots so, I can't say it was a tremendous athletic showing but, a fun start. 6/04/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Chris Adams & Mike Masters - Highlights 8/02/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Scorpion - Highlights, Scorpion is a good base for Tiger's moves 9/18/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Solar & El Solitario -Highlights 9/23/81 -Tiger Mask vs. El Solar: This started out really good but, Solar hurts his shoulder and this is mainly them trying to figure out how to make match. This surely could have been clipped instead of the Scorpion match...and I like Solar too! Only the beginning needs to be watched. 10/08/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Masked Hurricane (Bobby Lee): The best bout so far. This is a mask vs mask match. Guess who wins? There is an emphasis on wrestling rather than flashy moves and the quality benefits. The neat counters or reversals are there but, are few and more meaningful. Good match 10/30/81 - Tiger Mask & Kengo Kimura vs. El Signo & Negro Navarro - Highlights. A full match would have been great. 11/05/81 - Tiger Mask vs. Gran Hamada: Exactly what I was hoping for! Hamada was doing more of the spectacular while Tiger was hitting his kicks. Tiger has slowed from his debut and he and Hamada did a near perfect lucharesu match like we'd see a decade plus later in M-Pro. Near classic match to me! Like ****1/4 territory 12/01/81 - Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Canek & Super Maquina: A full tag match, yes!!! Super Maquina has a similar outfit as Maquina Salvaje, a football player. What's odd is Super Maquina is Super Machine in English. But, this is too early for Junji Hirata to even be thinking of doing his famous gimmick. Oh the confusion of masks and older wrestling, its great! Nevertheless, he's a good worker. This is one of the few El Canek matches that I have seen. I gotta say I like him! The Mexican team pits their power against the Japanese team's speed & technique. And another match where "wrestling" is the focus and exciting spots are kept to a minimum for maximum effect . And the big highspot was for the finish of the match...very good stuff. Really a pleasure to watch and had me wanting to see more. 12/08/81 - Tiger Mask vs. El Canek: So this is the follow up to the above tag match. Its a pretty big deal that El Canek is facing TM. Or the other way around, I guess. The first move was kinda wonky so, they re-did it. Eh, I don't like when they do this but, the rest of bout erased that faux pas. Plus the little spot was pretty cool to see done right. Lotsa good power moves & stretching from Canek. Tiger had some clever answers for those but, also pressed the Mexican with his kicks. Exciting "80's finish" but, you know what? If its done right like this, I really don't mind. Very good match..perhaps a tad below the tag match. This start had me worried a little bit but, really ended well. The Hamada match, man, so glad I saw this. I may like it more than my "rating" indicates. Plus the tag & El Canek singles bout hit the nail right on the head. I was really worried that this would be all flippy nonsense especially based on what the highlighted matches showed. I really hope those are kept to a minimum as I go forward. Thanks for reading and stay safe! Be smart out there too!
  9. Just finished watching Flair vs Magnum from 6/15/85. That was Magnum challenging Flair to beat him in 10 minutes (the remaining TV time) for 1,000 bucks. I would have to imagine this match is comparable to the above match in Houston. I think since they were both fresh, the pacing was much quicker in the challenge match I saw but, they probably built up Flair's arm work in Houston. So, that drama was much more than a simple race-against-timematch. These two work really well together. Very good stuff.
  10. It is June and we're half way through 2020. It's been a rip roaring good time, no? All of that aside I'd like to do my half year in review. Not that I've been watching 20 matches a week or anything but, I think I've accomplished some wrestling watching goals that have been years in the making. Those big 2 are the wXw 2011 tournament and 1988 NJPW. I'd like to break things down by decades or era going forward. Then, from there I can say what my pick is. It is a little bit of comparing apples to oranges when looking at wrestling from 1980-2020. Some of the freshness of my approach is making that type of comparison. It is not saying "well that's a good match for 1985" or "that was OK for a 2018 match." I really am of the mind that great wrestling and especially classic wrestling is timeless. The trends and tropes may shift over time but, a hard fought match telling a compelling story will always be exciting, memorable, and worthwhile. I think breaking the matches down by year will help me organize my thoughts and provide a better resource to a reader. You may only want to know about stuff from the 1990's or 2000's onward so, it gives you the chance to see how I compared it to contemporary and historic matches without reading my actual review. My hope is that a person might see I think Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter is comparable in quality to Vader vs Fujinami. And that then piques their interest in one match or the other. To me that's the real value of match reviews - making comparisons between the familiar and unfamiliar in order to bridge the gap in styles, genres, eras etc. If you've read this blog then, you know my tastes are ecclectic. I don't talk much about Lucha or WoS British style but, that's only because others here have provided such superior insights that I really don't think I can add anything. I just watch and enjoy. I digress! Let's get onto the lists! Oh, these are only matches that I've watched this year so, any review where I pulled a review from the graveyard to share won't be covered here. Best Matches Watched - January - June: Pre 1970's: Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked. 1970s & 80s: Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff. 2010 to present: Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same) El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays. Best Wrestler: Tatsumi Fujinami, Sami Callihan Biggest Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more...RetroMania Wrestling video game... Still deciding on what my next project is going to be... Thanks for reading!
  11. An up tempo match where it pitted Poffo's wrestling skills (and illegal choking) vs Atlas' strength. Atlas is built like Sekimoto in a 1950's way, short as his shoulders and chest are wide. The ring ropes break which is a great visual for me...you just know they're going at it if the ring starts breaking! The 3 count on as iffy but, still liked the finish to the match. Very Good match overall.
  12. This was a fun 15 minute match with a bit of comedy worked in. Snyder is tremendously quick for such a big guy. Definitely am going to see what else the Chicago Archives have available of him. Atlas was fun too so, I'd like to see if he has more matches with top talent of the time. Edit: Watched a real good match between Snyder and Poffo circa '56 per the film archives website. Don't see it listed here on the Match Reviews. Its not worth creating a new listing for it but, boy is it a fun bout. Poffo's selling and stalling are great.
  13. Watched this match for nostalgia's sake and had pretty low expectations. In fact, I was expecting some botched moves and other overall sloppiness. However, there was none of that. In fact, this was quite fun! This was probably around the time I stopped following basketball so, to see two greats like Malone and Rodman in the ring was nice and a prime example of how wacky WCW was getting. Nonetheless, that did get non fans interested at the time...at least at my high school. I think if we try to analyze it like a "real" wrestling match, there are so many things to find wrong. But as a spectacle now, 22 years later, its a neat little time capsule match.
  14. Sorry for the delay! Work the past few weeks has been really crazy with the increase in online retail due to the Corona Virus pandemic. So, I didn't feel much like watching another computer screen after staring at my work monitor all day. You didn't come here for excuses though! You wanted to find out about how the 2011 16 Carat Gold tournament wraps up. Well, after a long wait, here we are -the finale! Night 3 starts with a bang! Sami Callihan vs Davey Richards - An all action match to get things rolling. These two hard hitters left tons on the table for a future encounter but, it was still very good stuff. I would have been happy with either man in the finals. Colt Cabana & Emil Sitoci vs Kotaro Suzuki & Mark Haskins - The best Colt match as he was more business plus, he had 3 really good workers to keep him grounded. Therefore, we got a quite good tag match. Some comedy, nice section to build some tension, hot tags, just a fun watch. Good match Go Shiozaki vs Big Van Walter - I was looking forward to this. I was quite disappointed. Let's just get that out of the way. I felt they killed time in a very -ahem- rest hold taking kind of way. I don't like using the term "rest hold" but, that's what it felt like especially in the context of how other matches in the night used holds to move along the action or the story. Here it felt like Go took Walter for a Sunday drive around the town...with no particular place to go. Then they did that long enough and things got interesting. Then, it wrapped up. OK match I suppose but, don't think Shiozaki wanted to go out in style. This was his worse match of the event to me. Axeman vs Yoshihito Sasaki - I doesn't look good for Go to have a guy called Axeman and a BJW wrestler outshine you but, dammit that's what happened. For as much as a letdown Go Shiozaki was Sasaki (and to a lesser extent Axeman) has been a wonderful surprise. These guys went out there like the previous match could have done. Nothing insane in terms of intensity or stiffness BUT they looked like they wanted to finish the event with a win. That crumb of psychology was all they needed to have a very good perhaps even great match. Thank goodness! Jon Ryan vs Johnny Moss - Right now, I'd rather see these type of matches and be pleasantly surprised rather than let down. Fortunately, these fellow kept the good times rolling by having a technical showcase. It wasn't always pretty but, this buttered my bread. Hold and counter hold wrestling is timeless and this was well worth your time. Very good match -There's a tag team match that's really wXw storyline stuff...I'm skipping it- Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico - This is Sekimoto's 3rd defense and probably his toughest challenge. You'd think the more muscular Moss or Bad Bones would take that honor. However, if you're familiar with Generico then, you know he can take a beating and come right back and get the win. Daisuke's best defense, Generico's 3rd 4 star match in as many nights. You might even think it was better. Go see this Future Shock (O'Reilly & Cole) vs LDRS of the New School (Sabre Jr. & Scurll): Party Marty in full effect here! Watch for the crowd surfing afterwards. Anyhow, this was your 2010 up and coming wrestlers going to tear the house down type of tag match. Seriously, this was PWG spot fu to keep your jaw on the ground tag wrestling. This could have been a classic had they knew how to edit themselves but, shoot, I won't hate. They have all become smarter workers since then so, as a dream match time capsule, you ought to see it. This was a blast and if you're a fan of these guys like I am then, you'll think it was a great match. and now, the big match to crown the 2011 16 Carat Gold tournament winner... Big Van Walter vs Sami Callihan - Much like the 2010 Finals, this is your story match. You're using their previous encounters and what you've learned and applying it to this match. Walter is a tank and can finish anyone especially when he hits his powebomb. That move spells DEATH. Sami is a hard hitting dynamo and can finish you with his Stretch Muffler. More importantly, Sami has had a harder tournament - Tommy End, Yoshihito Sasaki & Davey Richards. That's pretty damn good compared to Rico Bushido, Mark Haskins & Go Shiozaki. And you all know how I feel about that last match This was a very good fight where the man who wanted it the most won. That's a feel good story and dammit we need that in wrestling - Even if it means guys getting put thru tables and clotheslined so hard their heads disappear. Excellent ending to an excellent event. Now to do a little summary and awards (?) I suppose... This was a tremendous 3 night wrestling event that is truly under the radar of a lot of people. I bought this and the 2010 event based on the line-up. Both did not disappoint but, 2011 is the superior show. Every night has at least 2 great matches with some faring better depending on your tastes. This 16 Carat event truly was a world tournament that provided some dream match ups I never knew I wanted to see. Does that make sense? Hahaha maybe! This was a nice change of pace after my NJ '88 project. I was really happy with buying this set and would definitely recommend it to anyone who digs these wrestlers. MVP: Sami Callihan, runner up: El Generico Best Match: Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr., runner up: Sami Callihan vs Yoshihito Sasaki, honorable mention: all 3 El Generico bouts Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki Worst Surprise: Go Shiozaki dogging it (although I will say his one finger was taped each night so, I'll give him that. However, this doesn't excuse slow paced, aimless matches on night 2 & 3) Overall: Night #1 was a breeze to watch, the best night overall. Night #2 had a couple rough matches in the front half but, had the two best matches. Night #3 had a couple great matches and the big finale but, got off track with the Go/Walter bummer and it took me a couple fights to wash the bad taste outta my mouth. Nonetheless, it was everyone's 3rd night so, it can be expected and everything else clicked as expected. Again, I cannot recommend this event enough especially since it is sold in one package. Plus there's a bonus dvd that I haven't watched yet. I hope you have enjoyed this review and its encouraged you to branch out of your wrestling comfort zone a little. Totally glad that I took a chance with this. Thanks for reading! Be safe folks! Hoping to do my mid year round up real soon
  15. G. Badger

    Dark Side of the Ring: Viceland docu-series

    I enjoyed the UWF episode and is a good one to watch with a non-wrestling fan. Generally speaking, its the most light hearted episode that I've seen. Although UWF wasn't going to directly compete with WWF or WCW, we can see a type of template Heyman and Gordon used for ECW. Having the owner get directly involved in story lines, letting the workers do what they wanted, and heck, many of those guys showed up there at some point. Obviously, there were a lot of things holding UWF back but, Herb had to be the #1 thing. I did appreciate the Foley reference to Snuka because it showed how beloved Superfly was AND backs up the show's narrative of him falling from the limelight. I don't think it tries to really link each episode too much though. It tries to inform but, not tell too much of a overarching epic...even though it could. I think having the Benoit and Owen tragedies bookend this season may be the closest we'll get to something like that. It reminds me more of an anthology like Unsolved Mysteries where there's no rhyme or reason why one episode airs versus another.