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G. Badger

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About G. Badger

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  1. Added my 08/25 Suwama vs Shiozaki review and official Gaora YouTube video of the match. Got mixed up and posted the Diamond Ring show first. Whoops
  2. Now we're back to 2013 AJPW...well Diamond Ring with the two top matches involving AJPW top talent. Its their 08/31/13 show. Akira Hokuto Produce ~ Women's Pro-Wrestling Special Tag Match: Yumiko Hotta & Nanae Takahashi vs Natsuki*Taiyo & Sareee - Clipped here and there but not much really. Good to see Joshi again especially with familiar faces like Hotta & Takahashi to a lesser extent. The younger and smaller team were new to me but they were a lot of fun. This was fun stuff! Hotta and Nanae blasted their opponents in the head a couple times and it was great - in true Joshi fashion. Diamond Ring vs. Voodoo Murders ~ Mitsuhiro Kitamiya Return Match: TARU, "brother" YASSHI & Kengo vs Osamu Nishimura, Satoshi Kajiwara, Mitsuhiro Kitamiya - Very much an Indie 6 man mid card match where you get a little bit of everything but not enough to really identify it as anything other than Good. I think a tag match may have been better. Also clipped a tad so was disorienting with 6 guys fighting at times. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kota Ibushi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kotaro Suzuki - Here we have the first of two AJPW related matches. This was a great match. Kota Ibushi was the odd man out as I don't think there's much history with him & the others. Stylistically I don't think he fit as well. He is very good at what he does but thankfully he's not in there a bunch. The heart of the match is Burning vs Nakajima especially Kotaro vs Nakajima. Kotaro was on fire here and Nakajima wasn't far behind. Kanemaru brought his A game as well but is much subtle (like a Shiro Koshinaka or even Christopher Daniels) so you just expect him to be flawless and keep moving the story/match along. That said, this was the match I'd hoped for with a very different finish that was fantastic. I'd probably put this at **** or so. Kensuke Sasaki, Jun Akiyama & Go Shiozaki vs Suwama, Takao Omori & Kento Miyahara - A near classic match with stories weaving in and out. Kensuke vs Suwama, Suwama former Voodoo Murder member years ago seemingly dealing with the devil teaming up with V.M member Kento Miyahara. Shiozaki against his rivals Omori & Suwama, Miyahara opposing his mentor Kensuke and seemingly hating Akiyama because he exists. And Akiyama is this decade's Tenryu. And the action backs all of that up! ------ This was a enjoyable little diversion having the Kensuke Office/Diamond Ring guys mix it up with the AJPW roster. The two matches that needed to be awesome delivered. Only a few more shows/matches to go. Adding: Go Shiozaki vs Suwama (Triple Crown, 08/25/13) - I accidentally watched this after the Diamond Ring show. I think everything is like mid 90's AJ and if I watch anything out of order, it will spoil it. Anyone else like that? Of course it didn't matter that I watched this chronologically out of order! and in a way the 6-man Diamond Ring match made this better. I think that tag match is a good build up to this title fight. That aside, this delivered in just about every way. This was the culmination of Suwama vs Go and I feel the culmination of AJ vs Burning as well. Suwama had held off Akiyama and delayed Go but could he actually stop Shiozaki? This was the HARD hitting title fight you & I wanted to see. I legitimately think they took each other to their limit. Shiozaki was bleeding from the nose and Suwama from the chest. Both wrestlers were spent by the final bell. Neither have looked so battered all year. I would have really been thrilled to see some cleverness in terms of strategy (kayfabe work a body part) or a few nifty sequences towards the end. It wasn't that kind of match though. It was like a Shinya Hashimoto, Riki Choshu or Kensuke Sasaki match where its about endurance and pushing through the pain & exhaustion onto victory. That's what kind of wrestler Suwama is so he's not going to get cute & intricate at the end. Shiozaki can hang with that style. I can certainly appreciate that! I'm thinking this is probably the best singles match of AJ 2013 so far. Its a classic heavyweight title fight. Its not an all time classic but I want to see their next meeting and that's good business. Super awesome bonus! Gaora's YouTube channel has this up for your viewing pleasure. Skip the first tem minutes to get straight to match or sit through that to get some clips and backstory. You'll see see some stuff I've talked about in previous posts. And because I am all about spreading the wrestling love, here it is: Thanks for reading!
  3. Let's take the way back machine to 1983! Shoehi Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs Tiger Jeet Singh/Umanoseke Ueda (07/26/83): Before the introductions, Tiger was so enraged that Ueda and young boys needed to hold him back. That's really cool. I miss madman heels in wresting. This was a good match but Tiger's antics while on the ring apron were really the most memorable moments. The final portion when this spilled out to the floor was quite enjoyable but the heels dominated too much. Their offense was boring. That's all good it was still a fun time while eating lunch. ----- Dory Funk Jr. vs Stan Hansen (11/28/83): Oh man, this is a match-up I'll never get tired of. Funks vs Hansen & Brody is just timeless stuff like Tenryu vs Jumbo. Perhaps its because this stuff is the foundation of my puro watching (along with Jumbo/Tenryu and 80's AJW). But the stuff just looks so physical and natural. Its not complicated. It looks and feels like professional wrestling should. I mean this is not that far off from top flight wrestling from the 50's. Maybe you can argue that with me but this match is no different. Its just two legends in the ring putting on another great match in their series. Terry is at ringside as is Brody. Do yourself a favor and watch this match. ----- There's a few guys that I wanted to see more of from the 250 list on my AJ Classics dvds so, I definitely will be doing more of these posts. Looking to get back to AJ 2013 first though and maybe get the year done before the start of June & the mid year Best Match Watched contenders. Thanks for reading!
  4. This is my 250th post and I have the wild idea of going through the top 250 wrestlers as voted on during the Greatest Wrestler Ever project from 2016. I'm not going to rank anyone specifically but am going to give my opinion on the workers and maybe complain a little bit about who's in front of or behind them 250) Koko B Ware - Ah man just remember him from being a little kid but no real memories. 249) Tamon Honda - Probably like a lot of folks I've seen his big matches a multi man match from AJ, and a couple tags from 2002, his 2003 Kobashi ...maybe some stuff from 2004 & 05. He's OK 248) Booker T - The better member of Harlem Heat 247) Chavo Guerrero Sr. - A quickie post about Chavo is probably coming up very soon. 246) Ole Anderson - Sadly not seen much of him 245) Kana/Asuka - Only seen a few things in WWE, my wife thinks she's awesome 244) Mil Mascaras - A fan of Mil and really dig his stuff in Japan if only for its uniqueness. 243) Jeff Jarrett - Doesn't do much for me but enjoyed some of his TNA stuff more recently...just not at the time. 242) Dr. Wagner Jr. - Got a handful of matches of his to watch. Sick wrestling name 241) Batista - meme fodder 240) Karl Gotch - I think its silly to put someone who doesn't have a ton of footage on here. He's such a legend in puro that he should be excluded. 239) Raven - In ECW, he's a legend. His importance in helping TNA & ROH get off the ground shouldn't be forgotten. 238) Sasha Banks - I've got some NXT stuff to watch but she's got a cool look. 237) Jerry Lynn - Indie iron man, not much personality but is a wrestling machine. 236) Roderick Strong - Ha! I was going to compare Jerry Lynn to Roddy. No way Roddy should be this low considering the high quality of matches he had in ROH from beginning to end of his time there. 235) Dick Slater - Seen on some AJ Classics 234) Abdullah the Butcher - Limited physically but an absolute legend. 233) El Solar - Dabble in lucha on occasion and El Solar is one of my faves. 232) Masakatsu Funaki - Honestly haven't seen enough of his prime stuff in PWFG & Pancrase. But the NJ Jr, UWF II, and 2010's AJPW is good good stuff. He's the real deal. 231) Juventud Guerrera - Juvi - check out some of his stuff in NOAH because you already know about the other stuff. 230) Joe Cortez - Sorry 229) Gino Hernandez - Watched the Dark Side of the Ring. Do want to see more. 228) Super Dragon - I really can't say anything positive. Indie in the bad way... 227) Super Porky/Brazo de Plata - Nope 226) Rob Van Dam - Athletic, charismatic as hell in his heyday. Big fan in high school as he consistently had good- great matches in ECW. 225) Buddy Landell - Sorry 224) Sheamus - Physical style I appreciate but basically a cartoon character 223) Masa Chono - A rare western Chono fan I bet. 222) Diamond Dallas Page - My mom's a fan and my wife knows him from the yoga stuff. He was pretty damn cool in WCW. Kinda like Chono or Raven, just has something that makes him interesting. 221) Bill Eadie/Masked Superstar - Saw him in WWF but nothing special. 220) Ken Patera - Definitely want to see some of his stuff 219) Lioness Asuka - All in all I've probably only seen her best matches and I'm biased there but they are fantastic. '85-95 and she's still ass 218) Jim Duggan - Probably missed his best stuff but loved him in grade school. 217) Kyoko Inoue - Kyoko is someone I am not as high on as when I began watching Joshi. Toyota gets blamed for the go-go style but its as much Kyoko. 216) Mark Rocco - Seen mostly as Black Tiger but enjoyed him in the UK matches more stylistically speaking 215) Tommy Rogers - OK, kinda don't recall him but dig The Fantastics 214) Yoji Anjoh - OK but in a different way 213) Chris Adams - not seen much 212) El Samurai - like most, I've seen the high end matches. I like him but there's folks that should be higher up than him. 211) Invader I - Puerto Rico is a blind spot for me 210) Nigel McGuinness - Seriously top 3 ROH champ along with Joe & Danielson. His injury and illness cut his rising in ring career short. 209) Tomohiro Ishii - Like his style 208) Osamu Nishimra - Handful of matches seen but I appreciate the style and intensity 207) Seth Rollins - Other than 07-08 Tyler Black stuff I'm not sure. But very talented in ring. I've got a lot more of his ROH stuff on my plate so I expect my opinion to improve. 206) Kota Ibushi - Perhaps he would rate higher now with others. I'm lukewarm 205) Pat O'Connor - Seen a couple matches and want to see more. I always appreciate a technical wrestler 204) Daisuke Sekimoto - Someone who I kept seeing pop up in lists. Polarizing perhaps but he's one of my favorites in the 2010's 203) Big Show - I like Paul Wight and admire his longevity. Kinda wish he had a career in Japan. 202) Christopher Daniels - His importance in the US Indie scene is crucial to wrestling now. Ready from day #1 in ROH and kept evolving and staying relevant despite his age. 201) Cima - OK but so many people who are listed above that should be ahead of him. 200) Buzz Sawyer - Handful of matches, very physical style 199) Dennis Condrey - Probably heard Cornette talk about him more than I have seen 198) Randy Orton - just goofy, same class as Batista for me 197) Ray Stevens - watching AWA on ESPN Classics from over a decade ago, liked what I saw 196) Jay Briscoe - gotten better with age like Mark, best tag team of the past 15 years, very capable singles star too 195) Megumi Kudo - the ace of FMW's joshi division, probably haven't seen as much as I should given the amount of FMW I've watched 194) Masaaki Mochizuki - OK next to Shingo & Yamato, probably the third guy in Dragon Gate 193) Emilio Charles Jr. - lucha blind spot but I have seen a couple matches 192) MS-1 - have seen the couple big matches but same as above 191) Hayabusa - True ace of FMW, like Nigel his career trajectory was cut short. Totally could have gone to NOAH or at least flourished in the 2000's and had some fantastic bouts. Way too low on the list for me. 190) Gran Hamada - Phenomenal body control and like Jerry Lynn just a in ring machine. His matches with Tiger Mask are fantastic and want to see much much more of Hamada. 189) Mocho Cota - Sorry 188) Ivan Koloff - not overly impressed with what I have seen. 187) Mariko Yoshida - I can't put her ahead of Lioness Asuka but she's 90's & 2000's best kept Joshi secret. Totally re invents herself and excels. 186) Kazuo Yamazaki - A victim of Takada's ego but so talented. I wish he stayed in NJPW. 185) Verne Gagne - Again only seen a couple but a technical treat to watch. Probably hurt that he went on longer than he should have. 184) Yoshinari Ogawa - I really really like Ogawa but no way should he be ahead of many of the others. He's a novelty act that stands out because his style was so different than his AJ/NOAH counterparts. 183) Psicosis - Probably unfairly he & Juvi are interchangeable to me. 182) Edge - Has the look but nothing else. Boring along with Orton, Batista era of WWE 181) Magnum TA - Absolutely have more to watch, like Nigel & Hayabusa, his career was over too soon 180) Taka Michinoku - I've probably soured more on TAKA than any of the other KDX guys but he's got longevity but I'm not a fan of the heel stable stuff in Japan. 179) Negro Navarro - Need to see more of 178) Jeff Hardy - Uh during the attitude era he was the most late ECW Jr. style guy and that's cool but, he hasn't aged well. 177) Kevin Owens - Kevin Steen is best in tag matches to me. 176) Austin Aries - Just going off his ROH stuff, really talented but not sure I'd put him of Roddy for instance. Actually no way I'd put him ahead... 175) Masato Tanaka - Dangan, if you've been reading the blog you know how I feel. 174) Kensuke Sasaki - I really like Kensuke but he's kinda only ever been one thing which is the powerhouse but the definitive powerhouse amongst 90's-2000's puro stars 173) Yuji Nagata - Nagata probably is hurt by his big time being in the down period of the 2000's NJ but he is the man for that time by taking on the best of the best from the Four Pillars of AJ, up and comers and even Kurt Angle. 172) Yoshiaki Yatsu - Kinda like 80's Taue - fantastic tag wrestler with a smattering of choice singles bouts 171) Big Boss Man - No I can't get with this at all. This is a bonkers pick especially ahead of nearly everyone so far. 169) Scott Hall - Kinda a similar sentiment here as well. I've seen some early Outsiders stuff which I like but...c'mon 169) Ultimo Dragon - A fantastic junior wrestler that I honestly have little problem with. A world traveler and is some of my favorite 90's Junior matches and under rated under his real name in the SWS & Hamada UWF. 168) Tiger Mask - I did a giant deep dive project last year. Read some of that. This is not unexpected but is insulting low. Guessing this is all from his series with Dynamite Kid. 167) Dutch Mantell - Heard great things 166) Michael Hayes - Not seen much of him but well aware. 165) Adrian Adonis - same 164) La Fiera - Probably only seen the match with Tiger Mask Misawa 163) Terry Rudge - Nope 162) Scott Steiner - Probably one of the bigger Scott Steiner fans here and this is a bad location. Like no way he should be ahead of many of the others. 161) Paul Orndorff - Not seen much of but he's alright 160) Masa Saito - Same as above, has a great look, looks like he can & will hurt you 159) Necro Butcher - ugh, as a death match fan this is silly. 158) Davey Boy Smith - Kind of like Scott Steiner, very good stuff in tags but not a greater wrestler than most already listed. 157) Bob Orton Jr. - Not seen much of but he's alright. 156) Mark Henry - yeah we're in a weird pocket of people. Its like we're in the not a great wrestler but a good wrestler territory. Which sucks when these people ranked higher than Verne Gagne. I can see why people were upset at the time 155) Fuerza Guerrera - Really dig Fuerza Guerrera quite a bit. Again my lucha exposure is limited but I know what I like. 154) Matt Hardy - The more even handed Hardy. 153) Tracy Smothers - Enjoyed what I've seen 152) Bam Bam Bigelow - Beast from the East, clearly very very underrated big man. Wish we had more of him in Japan. Him in ECW was brilliant btw 151) Black Terry - Sorry 150) Eddie Gilbert - Sorry again 149) Sabu - As big an ECW fan, this probably is a fair spot for him 148) Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - I'm a Kikuchi fan but c'mon. A side kick in AJ and a grumpy side kick in NOAH. Has great & classic matches but he's a bit player...maybe one of the best but still a bit player. 147) Bruiser Brody - Much much too low. Has flaws in ring but the character is Classic and in Japan he & Hansen are one of the top tag teams of all time. 146) Shinobu Kandori - seen the hits, I dig her 145) Lou Thesz - Again too low, a legend, his stuff holds up today in my book 144) Lex Luger - Similar to Scott Hall. I've seen stuff in NWA/WCW late 80's & early 90's that I dig but there's also a mountain of crap too. 143) Villano III - need to see more of 142) Buddy Rogers - Like Gotch, Thesz in a way these guys should not really be on this list as we wouldn't have wrestling as we know it without them. 141) Tommy Rich - Vanilla 80's baby face to me 140) Perro Aguayo - Not seen much of, bleeds well 139) Bruno Sammartino - Probably too low but haven't seen enough of to argue 138) Marty Jones - Like what I've seen. As you can tell UK wrestling is more a novelty for me but, really enjoy it 137) Kazuchika Okada - I don't think he's much and the fact folks love him turned me off contemporary NJPW. He's good and folks like his character but he's like Edge to me. 136) Butch Reed - Not seen enough but also know that this seems a little bit off 135) Devil Masami - I've really dug everything she's in. It's been awhile though. 134) Nobuhiko Takada - Overrated but I still like him. When he's ON he's fantastic. 133) Mayumi Ozaki - Haven't seen enough later day OZ but her stuff in the 90's is AWESOME. Her & Dynamite Kansai - shoot! 132) Antonio Inoki - Yeah this is criminally too low but I love his original vision of Strong Style. That said I avoid the worked shoot stuff he did. That's taking it too far. 131) Jake Roberts - Like the person more than the wrestler, like the late Scott Hall. Jake was THE heel when I was a kindergarten kid. 130) Meiko Satomura - I drop off with Joshi after 1997 or so other than a little bit here & there. I know she's one of the best in that post AJW era. 129) Koji Kanemoto - Koji is the best at being a prick & he can back it up. His stock as one of the premier junior wrestler goes up the more I see. He's got two Best Match Watched contenders this year in AJ '13. 128) Minoru Suzuki - Suzuki is the version of Masa Funaki where his peak is after Pancrase. Love Suzuki when I see him. 127) Alexander Otsuka - this is a wacky pick by a BattlARTS maniac right? 126) Naoki Sano - Love me some Sano in NJ, SWS & NOAH but not sure he'd make my greatest ever list. I feel like this list should have been divided between top 50 Japan, USA and then lucha & top 25 UK. 125) Dynamite Kansai - Illness got in the way I believe but top worker of the golden '90-95 Joshi period. Her & Ozaki were an amazing tag team. 124) Dean Malenko - Fan of Dean and his tag stuff with Joe in AJ is overlooked but I really need to revisit his WCW run. 123) Yoshihiro Takayama - I'm trying to think of someone more of a Japanese monster (with the real toughness to back it up) than Takayama. He is the embodiment of 2000's puro. 122) Johnny Saint - A lot of fun and my intro into World of Sport UK wrestling. 121) Pat Patterson - Haven't seen anything beyond his Attitude stoogery. 120) Triple H - Ha! Someone had him @ #12 but refused to reveal their identity. I can feel ya! I've lessened my hate recently but a heel in front of and behind the camera over the years. The definitive heel of the last days of Attitude era by politicking but he could back it up. Very generic work hidden behind a top notch physique. 119) KENTA - The Jr. version of Takayama. No one encapsulates early 2000's puro more the KENTA. His performances in 2006 (ROH & NOAH) is sorely overlooked as one of the best years an individual has had in wrestling. Better than Danielson. 118) Jerry Blackwell - Big tough fat guy, him vs Hansen in AWA where Stan hits him with his cowboy boots and Blackwell is bleeding is gold. 117) Pirata Morgan - Not enough seen but have enjoyed it 116) Great Sasuke - Haven't seen enough of his stuff from the past 20 years but his 90's stuff speaks for itself. But maybe not your cup of tea. 115) Wahoo McDaniel - Wahoo is great, no nonsense hard physical style that is timeless. Like you could have Wahoo vs Sekimoto and it would be great. 114) Jaguar Yokota - I have a small window of Joshi that I'm pretty familiar with and Yokota is a top 3 worker. Her mid card stuff in the mid 90's is better than some main eventers. 113) Sting - I like Sting. His late 80's and 90's stuff is best. But he was still putting on go stuff in TNA. 112) Dory Funk Jr. - An all-time favorite & legend but an acquired taste. But I could say the same for many of the UK, lucha and 50's/60's guys. 111) Masa Fuchi - Fantastic during the Jumbo & co vs Misawa & co feud. Pops up in very good to great matches thereafter. Kinda goes away until the NOAH split where he & Kawada are the only long time vets. 110) Chigusa Nagayo - I'm more of a Lioness fan but what I said about her, Masami, Jaguar apply to Chigusa. I haven't watched Joshi in a long time but thinking about it, the Crush Gal era is where I want to start. 109) Larry Zbyszko - A Larry Z fan from really is AWA time. Its when I started really appreciating heel moves. 108) Steve Grey - Never got around to watching him 107) Low Ki - I'd probably compare him to Austin Aries but rank Aries higher. 106) Sean Waltman - X-Pac along with Chyna & the New Age Outlaws were DX. So for that X-Pac should be remembered. 105) Akira Maeda - I like him in NJ & UWF but never got into Rings. 104) Chris Hero - I like him and he has great & even classic matches in him but I can't say he's a greater wrestler than Dory Funk Jr. for instance... 103) Carlos Colon - Blind spot, sorry 102) Christian - At the end of the day the best singles wrestler out of the Edge & Christian, Hardys, Dudleys. His work in TNA is pretty good but ultimately pretty vanilla. 101) The Rock (2228 points, 57 ballots, 61.93 avg, high: 8 - anonymous, 2006: 64) - Well this is pretty damn silly having an icon of pro wrestling from the last 20 years this low. 100) Daisuke Ikeda - Again BATTLArts skewing and Daisuke Ikeda is awesome but, not ahead of Dory Funk Jr. 99) Virus - Sorry again 98) Kerry Von Erich - planning on watching a little more of him. Reminds me of Lex in the late 80's early 90's style wise. 97) The Destroyer - Stuff from the 70's vs Mil & Horst Hoffman are awesome 96) L.A. Park - Like him from WCW know I'm missing his best stuff 95) Sangre Chicana - just seen a match or two 94) Shinsuke Nakamura - Had the potential to be a great and I think there's more from NJ that's been overlooked but is definitely hurt by his WWE time. 93) Bob Backlund - just haven't seen the essentials 92) Dusty Rhodes - Dusty is a lot like the Rock (or vice versa) except Dusty bleeds and can really pull you into a match. Rock has a better look. 91) Too Cold Scorpio - I love Scorpio and is one of the bright spots of wrestling in the early ECW days. 90) Ron Garvin - I think I would like him but only saw a couple matches years ago. 89) Atsushi Onita - Kinda like a sleazy Japanese Dusty Rhodes. 88) Sami Zayn - The better member of Steenerico. Like Jerry Lynn but I guess he's quite the performer now. 87) Cesaro - F-ing silly right here. I need to see Kings of Wrestling in their peak more but c'mon...he's a very good tag wrestler. Jay Briscoe is way the fuck behind him and if we're just going on who's a better tag wrestler, Jay smokes him...and Jay is a better singles wrestler. 86) Hiroshi Tanahashi - I've come around on Tanahashi since doing a 2010 house show tag match deep dive. I'd take Nakamura still 85) Manami Toyota - I have gone back and forth over Toyota. She's one of many necessary wrestlers that contributed to the awesome run of AJW in the 90's. Her & Kyoko changed the pace but unlike Inoue she is essential to so many breathtaking & iconic matches. 84) The Undertaker - Another icon of American wrestling especially during the Attitude Era for me. 83) Roddy Piper - The more I see the more I dig Piper. Liked him as a kid but really appreciating him now as an adult. 82) Steve Williams - Just familiar with his AJ work but he was this interesting & dangerous cog in the near perfect machine of 90's All Japan. 81) Yoshihiro Tajiri - Going to try for another deep dive into Tajiri. This time pre- ECW. He along with Lynn were the premier junior talents of late stage ECW. 80) Tito Santana - Just haven't seen enough 79) Terry Gordy - A few years ago I'd argue Dr. Death over Gordy but Bamm Bamm's stuff in the 80's AJ scene puts him above. Then you've got the Freebirds too... 78) Dynamite Kid - The Tiger Mask project lowered my opinion whereas it seems to have lowered others on Tiger. I will be watching more British Bulldogs soon I hope. I favour him in that role. 77) Rick Rude - Just memories as a kid and the occasional comp match 76) Hiroshi Hase - Dude was never given a big push but he is the best of that class in NJ. 88 vs Takada, with Mutoh vs Steiners, vs Vader & Bigelow, vs Hashimoto, vs Kobashi. 75) Hulk Hogan - Best match I've seen is him vs Hansen. Should try to see more stuff in Japan. But its the Hulkster 74) Atlantis - Awesome mask, have really dug what I've seen 73) Chris Jericho - World traveller and still going. Loved him in WCW and Y2J, his Japan stuff is worthwhile as well. 72) Brian Pillman - Like Nigel and others mentioned, he never reached his full potential. Would have loved him in NJ Jrs. 71) Dick Togo - Probably the best of the KDX guys, really need to see more singles stuff. His match vs ZSJ in wXw was fantastic though! 70) Yuki Ishikawa - BattlARTS skew but as a strong style fan, Ishikawa is fantastic. Actually want to revisit Batt-batt now. 69) Blue Panther - One of the guys I've purposely sought out in lucha and he is a favorite. 68) Kurt Angle - My neighbor (haha sorta not really). His 2006-2009 TNA stuff ranks as some of the best the company produced. 67) Jack Brisco - just not seen enough but I love he vs Dory in '74. Think also might have he vs Inoki somewhere. 66) Keiji Mutoh - Honestly a really great tag wrestler and a sporadic singles performer. NWA Muta is good stuff and early 90's in NJ but after that I don't know. 65) Shinjiro Ohtani - I like NJ Jr. Otani as much as Zero One Otani. Actually might like 01 Heavyweight Otani more! 64) Sgt. Slaughter -Am I drunk? 63) Giant Baba - I've seen more Baba than I ever intended to. He is a novelty act beyond the 70's or very early 80's. I won't skip them but...am ready to especially if in singles. Baba in tag especially multi man matches is very worthwhile. 62) Kiyoshi Tamura - Have seen his UWFi stuff, very cool 61) Bull Nakano - Yeah she's awesome, monster heel but can wrestle, brings the hate and bringing up Kyoko again, has an awesome singles match with Kyoko. I don't know why I'm focusing on Kyoko but here we are... 60) Volk Han - Watched some stuff on YouTube, the problem I have with Rings and all worked shoots is the now we see shoot fights in the form of MMA. So its difficult for me to suspend disbelief. Its too close to real that I'm watching it as a fight and not pro wrestling. That's me though. 59) Samoa Joe - 2004-2009 Joe is one of the best in the world. Poor booking in TNA really hurt him and perhaps should have gone to Japan for a couple years like AJ Styles. 58) Owen Hart - His stuff in NJ late 80's is revolutionary and is where he belonged. Or maybe WCW, he never was really given a real chance. 57) Bill Dundee - I'm missing out 56) Jim Breaks - Same here 55) Curt Hennig - This is kinda silly and I like Curt especially in AWA. Mr. Perfect was a goofy gimmick and his talents were wasted like Owen. 54) Greg Valentine - I recently have seen the light on Greg especially older stuff. He vs Roddy Piper is a thing of sick beauty. 53) Dick Murdoch - Just haven't seen enough of him 52) Akira Hokuto - We get a few years of absolute brilliance then gone (essentially). 1991-1993 then sporadically for a couple years. She is probably my favorite wrestler. 51) Andre The Giant - The man, the myth, the legend. Still gotta see more especially vs Hansen. 50) Billy Robinson - Seen the classics vs Inoki, Nick in Japan, and his series vs Jumbo plus a great match vs Verne Gagne. Assorted AJ matches too. How much of his AWA stuff is out there? 49) Aja Kong - Right up there with Hokuto in terms of greatness. One of the most brutal but great all time Joshi. 48) Fit Finlay - Fit should be somewhere on this list but this is too too high. 47) Brock Lesnar - I'm not sold on him as a great pro wrestler but he is a great wrestler and fighter. 46) CM Punk - Like Chris Daniels, he could wrestle but also could talk , sell an angle and connect with the audience when everyone else was still trying to figure out who they were as wrestlers. Yeah one of the most complete pro's of the past 15 years. 45) Harley Race - Just haven't seen enough Race to convince me of his awesome-ness. 44) Tully Blanchard - The more I see of him, the more I get him. Definitely want to see more Tully. 43) Rick Martel - Oh man Rick Martel! Yeah The Model gimmick like most WWF gimmicks, it ruined him. But in AWA & Japan sign me up. He vs Bockwinkel where he's pulling the canvas to crawl to the ropes is forever burned in my brain! 42) Ted DiBiase - Really dig his work in Japan. I need to see his pre WWF work. 41) Riki Choshu - Missing much of his time in AJ but really love what I have. His career is really in NJPW and probably haven't seen his best from the early 80's. His stuff in the late 80's is still top shelf, '88 specifically. 40) Yoshiaki Fujiwara - Has the look of violence and backs it up. I really should look up more Fujiwara in NJ. Surprisingly haven't seen enough of his UWF stuff...especially vs Tiger Sayama. 39) AJ Styles - Probably one the best in ring workers. He can adapt to any style and any promotion. His work has changed to accommodate his age and style. He reminds me of Yamada/Liger in these things. 38) Mick Foley - I probably am not as high on Foley as I was in high school but damn I love Mick. Like Styles he always kept changing his character to stay fresh and interesting. Who would think the King of the Deathmatch would be one of the funniest & most empathetic baby faces in the crass Attitude era? All that aside he & Terry Funk have one of the best deathmatches in Duel of the Wilds. 37) El Satanico - Like Blue Panther, seek his stuff out & am always happy. 36) Buddy Rose - Only saw him as a tubby heel in AWA with Doug Sommers 35) El Dandy - Must see more El Dandy...something tells me I should bust out my unwatched lucha dvds. 34) Chris Benoit - Liked him in WCW, loved him in New Japan, and never really saw much in WWE as I started to lose interest in WWE around then. 33) Ricky Morton - Richard when he's in singles competition. Yeah he's great. 32) Dustin Rhodes - I could see Dusty here but not Dustin. 31) Shawn Michaels - I really think he's overrated but I also really don't like most 90's WWF stuff stylistically. The whole thing including the in ring action looks and feels made for children. 30) John Cena - Couldn't help but see some of his stuff over the last 15 years. Don't get the hate but also don't think he's great. Clearly he's marketable. Good for him, I guess? 29) El Hijo del Santo - Perhaps as a lucha dabbler, my appreciation of El Hijo is typical but, he's fantastic. 28) Bobby Eaton - Skilled as hell as a heel. Just tremendously natural at what he does. 27) Jun Akiyama - Big Akiyama fan, longevity is now an attribute (guess it was in 2016 too) but his later work has gone overlooked 26) Akira Taue - Excellent tag worker with a handful of singles classics as well. So not overrated but sometimes I think he's given a tad more credit in those singles matches than is due. 25) Barry Windham - Very much dig him but this is a little bit too high on the list for me. 24) Steve Austin - I want to say too low but we are in the top 25 now...let's see who else is here. 23) Shinya Hashimoto - Seemingly the only NJPW heavyweight who had reliably great singles matches in the 90's. I think Hase is better but was pushed much less. Their championship match is top 3 heavyweight NJ match of the decade. 22) Negro Casas - Probably my favorite luchador and clearly many others as well. 21) William Regal - I must be on bath salts. This seems very high on the list. I like what he does though and one of the guys I'd stop & watch if channel surfing. 20) Tatsumi Fujinami - One of the best that Japan has produced. I really want to see more of him and I've already seen quite a bit. I think his stock can only go up with me. 19) Arn Anderson - Has the look and the skills to back it up. My teenage years were him as an non wrestler but still a tough looking badass with Flair and the 4 Horsemen. Seeing his actual work as an adult, the proof is in the pudding. 18) Randy Savage - Probably the best WWF star in terms of personality, look, visibility, and in ring work. WCW didn't really know what to do but what else is new? 17) Bret Hart - The only 90's WWF guy who actually put on great matches. If we don't bitch about the Flair Formula then I won't mention Bret's. His look with the pink and wrap around shades is lame even then but his ability was never in doubt. A guys gotta be tough if he wears pink. 16) Nick Bockwinkel - Love Bock and need more in my life. 15) Ricky Steamboat - Perennial babyface and just fantastic every time I see him. I actually have a few of his top matches still to watch. 14) Vader - Love Vader, really wish he would've stayed in Japan as I'm not really as high on his US work as others. We all can agree on his WWF run though. 13) Genichiro Tenryu - Like Bockwinkel he got better with age. But really his 1989 stuff is the start of that consistently great Tenryu as Tenryu period. I know it at least goes until 2006. That's something remarkable. 12) Eddie Guerrero - Like Benoit, I'm more familiar with his work outside of WWE. Love Eddie and like Steamboat I've got a few top US matches to watch but the best Jr. Heavyweight in the States. 11) Jumbo Tsuruta - Tenryu had longevity but so did Jumbo...and even longer although he didn't have a career that wound down really. It just ended. But '75-92 as a top level wrestler is crazy. There are stronger years than others but Jumbo evolved with the trends and all of his programs are landmark feuds in puro. 10) Jerry Lawler - I have come around big time on Lawler since my adolescence but his overall style isn't my thing. 9) Toshiaki Kawada - Probably the smartest heavyweight star in Puro in terms of storytelling. There are notable big match exceptions in the later 90's AJ but honestly those only seem like exceptions in comparison to masterpieces. To see his transformation 88 to 92 is so rewarding and gets totally overlooked by what comes later. And his work in the early 2000's with strangers is the true testament to his ability as a talent. 8) Kenta Kobashi - The best actual baby face of AJ since perhaps Terry Funk. Misawa like Jumbo were aces but Kenta Kobashi like Terry were the hearts of AJ fans. They would get their asses kicked but never quit. Even when Kobashi was ace in NOAH, he's still face due to real life injury and illness. What's so crazy about this is he's built like a tank by the mid 90's. 7) Rey Mysterio Jr. - I dig Rey Jr. but missed a lot of his WWE career. I think this rating is based on that work. Therefore I politely disagree with him being this high. His coolness in WWE is due to the fact that for a long time there was really no one else like him. But Rey is a star nonetheless. 6) Jushin Liger - AJ Styles is like Yamada/Liger. Just insanely talented from the get-go. He keeps changing his style or approach and looks like he's be wrestling that way his whole life. Fantastic seller and extremely selfless in terms of wins/losses so that always makes the outcomes uncertain. 5) Daniel Bryan - Danielson jumped 100+ spots from 2006 to 2016 and like Rey that must be from his WWE work. And I think from the weight a lot of the non regular members that voted on this list. Like in my humble opinion, his work didn't get better than 2006 while in WWE just by the limitations that are there. 2007-2009 ROH stuff, yeah that bumps him up a tad but I think this was some of the problem folks had with the results. I think others were from some people just not getting total votes. Like Negro Casas was left off (completely off) 40 people's ballots and Misawa the greatest Japanese wrestler was left completely off 11 people's ballots. All that aside he is brilliant. His Best in the World claims back in the 2000's were hard to argue especially with guys in the States. 4) Mitsuharu Misawa - The gold standard for aces in Japan. 3) Stan Hansen - Nearly every match he's in feels real. He attacks defensively his offense looks like it hurts. He's ornery and tough and is the best gaijin in puro and one of the best heavyweight wrestlers ever. 2) Terry Funk - In my mind you're either a Funk person or a Flair person. You can like or even love both but you've got to pick one. A long time ago I would firmly identify as a Funker. But I have come way around as a Flair fan. But at the end of the day, I'm going with Terry. 1) Ric Flair - See above ...you know what? I may have thrown my post # off by one..shit..well, maybe not? I'm still posting this This has given me some new ideas, made want to rewatch some things, and show me my blind spots. Now mind you these are not my top 250. Some of my comments are simply off the cuff and if I dissed your favorite wrestler, sorry! Thanks for reading!
  5. G. Badger

    Quickie: Zero One - Ikuto Hidaka

    Adding one that the YouTube wizards sent me afterwards, Super Crazy & Masato Tanaka vs Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka (04/22/05): This is Crazy's final Zero One match and it is bunch of fun. Fujita is the weak link but hey its an indie company and he does what he needs to. Hidaka, Crazy & Tanaka are really good as expected. This is kinda the follow up to the Crazy/Hidaka singles match as the emphasis is on them. Look this up using "Super Crazy last match," its a two parter but the uploader has both.
  6. Here's a quickie covering a few Ikuto Hidaka matches that I found online. I guess it's all a part of looking for Zero One wrestling matches. He's a guy that really impressed me from my brief foray into BattlARTS and from an ECW match back in 2000 or so. Had ECW lasted longer perhaps he'd be in the mix with Super Crazy, Tajiri, Jerry Lynn, Little Guido etc. and the best Juniors matches on US TV. Anyhow let's take a look at what I found. & Minoru Fujita vs T. Kuroda & Yoshihito Sasaki (08/31/04): Classic structure Jr. tag match with an awesome high energy final act. Great to see FMW alum Kuroda kicking butt! And man Sasaki had a relatively short career but he's so impressive even this early. No one talks about him so I'm going to praise his work and no frills style every chance I get. Here Fujita's execution is on point and the man Hidaka is his usual wizard self. He is just so quick and clean in his movements that it's a joy to watch. Fujita's hot tag to Hidaka is just sick! This is a very very good match. & Fujita vs Spanky Brian Kendrick & Alex Shelley (03/27/05): Kendrick surprised me again! He's so scrawny that I just don't believe he's any good. Then he proves me wrong. Thank goodness! Fujita was a bit off tonight or there were communication issues so some of his stuff (especially with Alex) didn't work correctly. But Shelley vs Hidaka was sublime. Their mat wrestling was totally worth it. Really other than those couple execution errors this was looking to be a great match ('05 Shelley and Spanky make it easy). As it stands its still very good and absolutely worth a watch if you're interested or nostalgic for early 2000's ROH type stuff. vs Super Crazy (04/14/05): This was what I had hoped for! He and Crazy met in ECW and had a breathtaking encounter on ECW on TNN. Here they do it again and actually take it more to the extreme. Crazy lived up to his name and Hidaka wouldn't be outdone in his home promotion. 14 minutes of fireworks. Very good match! Absolutely left me wanting more. vs Munenori Sawa (09/19/10): Wow this was some BattlARTS shit! I kinda didn't know what I was watching since stylistically this was so different from the previous junior style matches. This was two dudes beating the crap outta each other. There was little defensive manoeuvres. It was palm strikes and kicks until someone fell down. Then try to snap a limb or pop a joint. But in BattlARTS fashion there were drop kicks and a couple more moves too. But then Sawa just punches Hidaka in the face His face swells up and is bleeding from the mouth. This was a heck of a match. Feels weird to watch something so Indie 90's Japan take place in 2010. I love it! I'm not going to give a rating but highly recommend watching this! Overall this was a fun little mini project. I know there's more Ikuto Hidaka on my horizon as I've got some Zero One wrestling dvds as well as some late 90's stuff. This has only gotten me more hyped to watch those. Thanks for reading!
  7. Lets keep on truckin' with AJPW in the summer of 2013. Akiyama & Shiozaki vs Omori & Suwama (2/3 falls 07/28/13) - One week after a under the radar great show, we get this big match main event. The 4 biggest stars in Akiyama's AJ going head to head. Omori & Akiyama friends and rivals but Suwama & Shiozaki is ace vs ace and a build up to their long awaited Championship confrontation. I think I have their Champion Carnival match as the best singles match of AJPW so far. They are an excellent pairing much like Suwama and Sekimoto were. The 2 out of 3 falls match is something I have been missing in my wrestling lately (In fact Suwama & Shiozaki have a 2/3 falls match in July but can't find that online and I don't have the DVD...can't get 'em all ). But anyhow, this was one of the matches that got me into watching post-2000's wrestling and here's my write-up from the start of this very blog in 2018: "Here we have one of the few reminents from Muto AJPW, ace SUWAMA and a cast off from Misawa's AJPW exodus in Omori up against NOAH's ace and Kobashi/Misawa pupil Shiozaki and Jun Akiyama. Let's all remember that Akiyama is former tag partners, champs and friends with Omori. Akiyama got to ride the NOAH wave in the 2000's while Omori was surfing relatively low tide in Zero-1 and washed up back in AJPW like driftwood. This was a battle for a lot. Omori had remade himself in partnership with Manabu Soya however. He was not someone to be kicked around anymore. This was Omori's home, AJPW had been through alot in that time and SUWAMA had been there and is still there. This isn't just his home, it's his kingdom. He had outlasted them all. Akiyama wants back in? Akiyama had been gone for 13 years. Ok that's fine but he has to earn it. Shiozaki on the other hand has no place in AJ. He's an outsider through and through. This was a battle. A beautifully long match that harkened back to the classics of AJPW '92-'96. The grappling, striking, layout and pacing were conservative. Therfore, the contest was more organic in its story progression and the escalation of aggression. The 2/3 falls usage was brilliant and perhaps is what made it so damn good. It provided the wrestlers the framework to bring the level of excitement up and down, to be able to rest the fans energy only to build it back double fold. Classic Match! " One thing that I omitted is that Kawada was in attendance and Akiyama used the Stretch Plum on Omori at one point - hell yes! Everything else I can fully agree upon now as well. This is a classic heavyweight tag team match and is as important to the heart and soul of All Japan as their heavyweight singles matches. Now on to the my next DVD, 08/17/21. Masanobu Fuchi vs. Masao Inoue - skipped this KENSO vs. Kazushi Miyamoto - Really good yet simple match. Way better than a #2 match usually is. Just an easy watch. I like Miyamoto in this spot...he's a good addition to the undercard. ----- Argenis & Drago vs. Atsushi Aoki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - Fun match, didn't agree with the outcome but that's as a fanboy Liked Drago's execution more than Argenis. Joe Doering vs. Kotaro Suzuki - Under 10 minute David-and-Goliath match. It was something special that I don't see very often anymore. And I don't think we see it shown very well when we do since big guys starting doing dives and shooting star moves. Doering is improving in the last 2 matches. I got to think Muto-AJPW wasn't using him well and his heart wasn't in it. Very good match! ----- Akebono vs. SUSHI - I'm not watching this. Its a waste of SUSHI. Still good for him being 2nd from the top match. Go Shiozaki & Jun Akiyama vs. Suwama & Takao Omori - Classic match, these two teams have great chemistry. Here they go on to have another must see encounter. This is only one fall but just as exciting as their previous bout. Everyone did well but this but Shiozaki's match. He really showed so much as a performer but also as an athlete. I can't wait for the title fight between he and Suwama! I didn't write as much as the tag match above but this was just as awesome. ----- This DVD/show was another very easy watch capped off with a thrilling main event.The next installment should be a Diamond Ring show that features AJPW and essentially introduces Kento Miyahara to the equation & builds the Shiozaki/Suwama tension. Thanks for reading!
  8. Yeah, we're back on track and are in summer of 2013 and the big Wrestle -1 exodus has happened and the AJPW roster is lean and mean. Its Akiyama's Burning stable and a few guys who wanted to stay on like Suwama, Omori, KENSO, Joe Doering & Sushi. From there they are going to have freelancers...you know I think Masa Fuchi is still on as well. And to be frank I'm only going to miss Kaz Hiyashi, Koji Kanemoto & Minoru. They lost some big names like Akebono, Masa Funaki & Sanada but they weren't setting the world on fire every show. This small roster with freelance help is what I was thinking they should do with ROH. Have your core and spice it up and fill in gaps with folks from the outside. Anyhow let's talk AJPW: First off is the championship match with Suwama defending against Jun Akiyama. Which is June 30th so not sure if the exodus started but for our purposes it has. The future is centered around Burning in one way or another. Jun Akiyama vs Suwama (06/30) - This was a great title fight but did feel a bit safe. I understand that though. They are setting Shiozaki as Suwama's true rival yet reminding us Akiyama is the general of Burning. So this is more a story of Burning vs Suwama...and that eventually the Triple Crown will be in their possession. Still its out the for free so if you're just watching the BIG matches, go check it out! So now we're on to the 07/21 show. Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs MAZADA - 11 minutes of fun, energetic Jr. wrestling. Sometimes funny but always interesting, this was a good start to the show. MAZADA with an eye rake. Timeless shortcut! ----- Kazuchi Miyamoto vs Masao Inoue - 8-9 minutes of fun wrestling. Again a little bit of comedy but rooted in good wrestling. Miyamoto who isn't small does a Swanton Bomb - very cool! Joe Doering vs KENSO - Here we get into the meat of the card with two upper midcard favorites. This was very good stuff. KENSO gave meaning to 'knife edge chop' by cutting open Joe's chest during an exchange. Both guys looked good and Joe employed an attack-the-leg strategy that was way deeper than I thought he could go. Had KENSO really sold that in the final minutes this would have been great. No complaints here though. ----- Takao Omori & Hikaru Sato vs Jun Akiyama & Atsushi Aoki - This was the Aoki & Sato show and I didn't know that I would dig it so much! Shoot style purist probably will scoff at this but seeing these two go at it was great. When they both re-entered the ring with their boots & kick pads off, I was pumped. Akiyama & Omori were perfect in their roles. The action was heated, the shots were stiff, and Sato & Aoki were selling the damage in a believable shoot type of way. The cherry on top was the final few minutes. Sato vs Aoki is something I want to see more of. This was a great match. Aoki (RIP) and Sato mid-beating the crap outta each other. ----- Suwama & SUSHI vs Go Shiozaki & Kotaro Suzuki - Going into this, the focus is on Shiozaki vs Suwama and building up a title fight. That stuff is great but little by little this becomes a match about Sushi hanging in there with champion level opposition. And this isn't some walk in the park, he's clearly bleeding from the mouth. But he will not quit or be beaten down! And he's got the Triple Crown champ at his side. This just becomes one helluva tag match. Early on I thought the previous match should have been the headliner but this won me over. Rightful place on the card and match of the night. Near classic match. ----- This was an EASY show to watch & enjoy. 5 matches that were all unique. The one similarity was each made everyone look great especially the lesser known guys like MAZADA, Miyamoto, Hikaru Sato & SUSHI. The former AJ talent was hardly missed. Everyone stepped up and I'm excited once again for AJPW in 2013. Well worth the $3 from your friendly Internet Video Provider *wink wink* Thanks for reading! Stay safe folks!
  9. Oh man!! He's dropped the belt like it was a piece of trash!! Koji dropped the GHC Jr. belt like it was heavy bag of turds! He is such is a dick! These matches suit him best. I mean go all the way to the 1992 WAR match also with Liger. Old man Liger is grumpy speaking of Wrestling and Romance. He just wants to foul Kikuchi and Kanemaru up. That's cool because Kikuchi is as grumpy as they make em. He's channeling Ashura Hara because he's punching, elbowing, and elbowing some motherfuckers in this. He's some kind of ogre as he's all beat up but, keeps pushing forward. Then we've got Kanemaru as the young fire plug, throwing bones and dropping bombs. This is some great stuff! Note: I'm gonna say something that might be rather obvious. If you're not familiar with these guys then may be it won't be as enjoyable as it was for me. Additionally, if you're watching this as a stand alone then it lacks the moves and Jr. action for a great match by itself (I did a rewatch 10 years from the initial review and I wasn't as gung-ho). But I fully believe what I said because I'd watched a handful of other matches in the NOAH vs NJ Jr. feud in '02 prior to this. Those previous bouts make this one more meaningful and dramatic than just rough & tumble match. But if you're just seeing this match then yeah its just a brawl.
  10. So here's the remainder of my 2003 Highspots DVD. This isn't really why I was interested in the comp but heck these look fun and are outside of what I've been watching lately. Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang vs. Fuego (Amazing Red) & Super Dragon (01/13/03) - This is fun to see all of these guys in one ring especially an AJPW. A very nice spot match...very early 2000's vibe in every way. Not necessarily lucha- puro as the following matches but probably as lucha as I've seen in an AJPW ring. Anthony W. Mori, Takuya Sugawara, & Taiji Ishimori vs. Milano Collection A.T., Masato Yoshino, & Shuji Kondo (01/19/03) - Wow, everyone is a baby! This is high speed lucharesu and is a nice bit of nostalgia for someone who gets a kick out of the Dragon Gate 6 mans in ROH. Very fun stuff. ----- Ultimo Dragon & Kaz Hayashi vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero (01/19/03) - I've seen this before but it really struck me as something special this time. Its all action lucharesu fireworks that gave me tingles like 90's Michinoku Pro. Every move was crisp, guys were bumping like crazy and even in the Tokyo Dome fans were audibly excited. This isn't the best Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero match I have seen but man it was an exciting one. I'll call this a great match. ----- Milano Collection A.T., Brother Yasshi, & Shuji Kondo vs. Ryo Saito, Naruki Doi, & Anthony W. Mori (01/27/03) - A slight step down from their match about but felt different as there was a bit more comedy, there was 6 sided ring and a smaller yet loyal audience (as opposed to the Dome show audience from above). Still a load of fun and non stop excitement. Although I only know Anthony W. Mori from Fire Pro Returns, I really want to see more of this dude. Jushin Liger & Takehiro Murahama vs. Osaka Pro Tag Team Champions Tsubasa & Black Buffalo (02/1/03) Holy cow! Where did this come from? Only know Liger. Murahama maybe I saw a couple times years ago and the Osaka Pro team I remember from Fire Pro Returns (still the best one due to the pre-made roster). But seriously I did not know this match would pack such a punch! This is top shelf lucharesu. Quick action, lucha partner swaps, liberal time given for partners in the ring but still a little slower, stronger emphasis on stiffness, 1 fall with a classic escalation of drama and action. Part of me wants to call this a classic because it was so exciting and unexpected. And there's part of me that wants to dial that rating back a tad for the same reasons. So instead I'll say if you're a fan of Jr. style tag matches, you'll want to see this. ----- From the star ratings on the box, I've under rated & over rated a couple of these. I'm OK with that and totally stand by my opinions. These matches coupled with the NOAH matches make this a pretty great compilation. I recommend checking some of this out anyway you can. Highspots has discontinued all of their DVDr comps but this might be available still on their UK site and people have it on eBay. Or do your internet stuff. Anyhow thanks for reading!
  11. Sorry for the delay if you've been waiting for this next entry! As I've mentioned in a couple previous posts, I had to take a rest from watching and writing about the grapple arts. It was nothing too dramatic or even stress related. I think the season changing and wanting to be outside is probably the biggest contributor. I've put on a few pounds over the winter and want to make hiking & skateboarding a priority to get in better shape. Plus I think my anxieties need to get reigned in after a long winter and even longer pandemic so, I think getting out more will help with both. So less time to watch wrestling and less time to blog. Anyhow, I think I'm back in the swing of things and dammit we need to get through the 2013 Champion Carnival..There's some really exciting stuff here! We'll see the 04/27 stuff then move onto 04/29 which are the finals. So without further ado, let's go Go Shiozaki vs Hama - Good match and Hama got a lot of fat-guy offense in. Shiozaki then had to hit him really hard. It went exactly as expected which was OK for everyone. KAI vs Joe Doering - Quick but fun match...maybe 7 minutes long. Kinda bummed about that time but what they did was really good. *** type stuff Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Aoki vs Minoru Tanaka, Kanemoto & Fuke - The best ongoing series of matches takes a dip here. This was as much cruise control wrestling that I've seen from any of them in 2013. Nonetheless Minoru & Kotaro lit things up for the final portion and had a great finish. That elevated this to about *** which is what I typify as a fun match. Suwama vs Takao Omori - This started with some nice wrestling that builds to the strikes & slams. The finish was great and pretty unexpected. I think that really made this something above the matches viewed thus far. That said, its Omori's weakest CC match for 2013 & I know they have a better bout in them... So I dug a little and found their CC match from 2012. It takes place 04/21/12 and in K-Hall. That is a boon because the 2013 matches have been in small crypt like venues where the fans have played the part if the dead. So this 2012 version is THE match I wanted to see! More intense, more dramatic, better crowd - this is the one to watch It actually felt like a Champ Carnival match between two of the biggest names in AJPW. Great match! (I needed to see something like that as the 04/27/13 show has been disappointing) Masakatsu Funaki vs Jun Akiyama - Main event time and we get dueling chants!? I don't know if I've ever heard that in Japan. Figures the crowd was pretty sedated all show to come alive for the big time match. Both guys have their dudes second the match so we see the Stack of Arms vs Burning rivalry story advance. This feels like a big deal. Both guys play for keeps. Akiyama hurts Funaki's knee so he targets Jun's arm. This very fast paced and it ends in around 10 minutes. But it was great and felt like how you do a veteran match like this towards the end of a tour. (I checked 2012 here as well and they actually do a sub 5minute match so the 2013 encounter is superior) 04/27/13 is a fun show but not as exciting as the early part of the tour. Let's see how things wrap up on 04/29. I only have 2 matches from what looks like a nice card. Hey found this online for free so beggars can't be choosers... KAI vs Go Shiozaki - This is a tie breaker match to see who goes to the finals. Seeing as I haven't watched all of CC matches I'm going to take their word for it. It starts a little slow but Go targets K man's bruised chest with his fierce chops and it starts to bleed. This ups the ante and we get the hard hitting & action packed match you want. I've seen people go call this a classic/****1/2 but I'll be realistic and say that is a little much. ***3/4-**** is much more appropriate as it lacks either bell to bell intensity or depth to go that far. But *spoilers* its a BIG win for KAI as Shiozaki is the man in 2013 AJ. KAI vs Jun Akiyama - Again not sure how Akiyama made it and aren't they in the same block? Ah screw it...I'm down to see them fight one more time. Now we have the story of KAI's battered chest driving the last few matches, will Akiyama use that weakness?...shit I'll answer it for you- yes! 2013 Akiyama is the guy you want to structure a match that continues an arc within a single show. That's to say he's a cerebral veteran that is going to tell the story with nuances rather than overt actions. For instance, he targets the chest of KAI as a defensive strategy rather thinking he's going to win by chops like Shiozaki. Jun is more similar to Kawada than Kobashi at this point. KAI makes sure to play his role and man! All things considered this adds up to a near classic match and an excellent end to the 2013 Champion Carnival. As I do with many final posts I'll do a summary of stuff to go back read in an older post or to watch in case you're coming into this late or in the future. Rather than do all of the matches, I'll just list the Very good to Classic matches (***3/4-****1/2) for the Champion Carnival I saw. 04/18 Sanada vs Omori - very good Suwama vs Shiozaki - Classic 04/20 Kenso, Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Shiozaki, Suzuki & Aoki - very good 04/21 KAI vs Akiyama - great 04/24 Sanada & Sushi vs Akiyama & Kanemaru - very good Shiozaki, Suzuki & Aoki vs KAI - Great 04/25 Shiozaki vs Omori - Great Kanemoto & Tanaka vs Suzuki & Aoki - Classic 04/26 KENSO vs KAI - Great 04/27 Akiyama vs Funaki - Great 04/29 KAI vs Shiozaki - Very good - great Akiyama vs KAI - Near Classic In a bit of bummer 2013 AJPW news, KAI hurts his elbow on a frog splash vs Kono in June. I think he's going to be out for the rest of the year and then eventually goes to Wrestle -1. He really made a big impact during the carnival. In fact many of the guys might have made their last appearance (as far as I have available to watch) so Kaz Hiyashi, Kanemoto & Tanaka, Funaki etc. are off to W-1. We're going to jump ahead in time to late June and late July next. It might be a little bit before the next post for 2013 but rest assured, I will persist! Thanks for reading!
  12. This felt very much like a WAR match where there was much more emphasis on the hatred than on athletic competition. NOAH was doing the cross promotion stuff in 2003 still so perhaps I'm just not used to seeing that kind of stomp on your face violence as much. That being said this was fantastic stuff and an overlooked classic in my book.
  13. I've been in a bit of a down period with wrestling the last month or so. I got a Highspots Best of 2003 compilation off eBay a little while ago and I thought it might be the thing to get me back into things. It starts out with matches from the January 10th show. A couple of them are ones that I always wanted to see but never got around to. Looks like a good place to start. KENTA & Takashi Sugiura vs Takuma Sano & Kotaro Suzuki - Man alive this was a Jr. tag fireworks display. Kotaro just set the tone early showing Tiger Mask like speed & agility. Sugiura was the powerhouse while KENTA & Sano were the violent artists. 14 minutes of Jr. action without being contrived or "out of order." There is a difference between this and what was going on in the U.S. at the time. Guys would catch up but this was crisp, clean and engaging Jr. tag wrestling. The finish was the only flaw of this great match. Even then, it doesn't diminish the work. Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito vs Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka - This is a WAR lover's match. More potatoes than Idaho. Some might more moves but this burns bright with inter-promotional hate. That coupled with a brutal finish makes this a classic tag match in my book! Mitsuharu Misawa & Masahiro Chono vs Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue - So I thought the above match was the final but no! We have this dream bout with NJ's Chono getting in the mix. His interactions with Kenta & Taue were like a Fire Pro match come to life. Its different than what came before it and was very much a big time main event style match where you get what you came for. The tanks aren't emptied out but you're still grinning at the end. It's been awhile since I've seen Misawa, Kobashi & Taue so this was a treat. I feel very comfortable calling it a near classic match... ----- Its no secret that I'm a big fan of tag matches and these were totally up my alley. Each was different stylistically yet each was dynamic and engaging. I'm sure these are available online somewhere or maybe you have them on DVD or saved somewhere on a computer, take the time and check these out. If you're a newer fan, its some great stuff from the not too distant past. If you were watching NOAH take shape 20 years ago (holy cow!), these matches will take you back in time to a period of excitement and possibility. Thanks for reading!
  14. G. Badger

    [2003-01-05-ZERO-ONE] Low Ki vs A.J. Styles

    This was a fantastic match and on par with what they were doing in TNA & ROH at the time. Perhaps even it was a little bit more aggressive since they were in Japan. All that said, it was very much Indie wrestling in the early 2000's where they did tons of sick looking moves but I can't recall a single scoop slam, snap mare or vertical suplex let alone a headlock, half crab or chin lock. So perhaps I'm a stickler but not much later in their careers they are using these moves yet, slowing down and selling the drama & story of the match as well. Here it is all fireworks (which are damn impressive) but is what holds this back from being a classic. Nonetheless it is a great spectacle and totally worth your time.
  15. G. Badger

    Wrestling Art Show - March

    Holy cow! Its been awhile since I've posted. I've finished watching the 2013 AJPW Champion Carnival but just haven't done the write up yet. I guess I'm on a bit of a wrestling break with the weather getting better. Been trying to get out and go for walks/hikes as well as get some skateboarding in as well. But you don't care about that, you want some wrestling reviews! Well you're gonna have to wait a little longer but I've got some sweet wrestle-art to feast your eyes on in the meantime. The Octopus doing what he does Hansen, Gordy & Brody vs Baba & the Funks Brody with a double ax handle smash... I stretch and strain with all my might. Drift off into the velvety arms of the night... Thanks for enjoying and I'll be back with your precious reviews soon Take Care Folks!