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  1. Whether it's spot fests, brawls, technical matches, or a comedy match - I'm not sure intent, or selling, or execution or any one thing - is the definitive factor in determining its quality. When I watch a match, if what one, or all, of the participants do (moves, interacting with the crowd, stalling, stumbling, dives etc) makes logical sense to me, if it's something that if I were a wrestler (which I decidedly am not) I be happy to rewatch my work and see this, or even better, if its something that I couldn't of even thought of myself, then I'll think it's good. If you're doing the same old shit and I get bored to the point that in my head I'm thinking of all the better ways the match could have been laid out or executed, then I'm gonna be disappointed. It's all in the eye of the beholder and totally based on my own preconceived notions of quality.
  2. SAMS

    NJPW G1 Climax 2019

    This is pretty harsh. You can tell that KENTA's on the downturn of his career but I've had a blast watching him in the G1 so far. I've seen 0 KENTA matches from before his WWE debut, and all this has done is made me curious to go seek them out. If this is him when he's not great, what does great KENTA look like?! I will also mention however, that my opinion of Okada isn't the highest. I basically see him as a millionaire's Edge, in the sense that Edge may be the worst wrestler in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great. Okada is the most average wrestler I can think of who also happens to be in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great/classic. In the end, I can't think of a great Okada match where I felt he was the driving force behind it. But, he's in too much good stuff for me to think he's bad. Maybe he's an amazing foil and I'm not giving him enough credit, who knows....
  3. SAMS

    NJPW G1 Climax 2019

    We're halfway through and I managed to catch up. I've skipped everything involving Fale. Tried to watch EVIL once and got bored so haven't watched anything involving him either. Picked my spots with Yano, Taichi and Robinson, but have watched almost everything else. Ishii has been a star performer, but I far prefer him opposite guys positioned higher than him on the card as he plays "defiant underdog who ultimately falls short" and "plucky underdog who fights through and shocks the favourite" extremely well. However, up against those even or below him on the card, the incessant strike exchanges start to drag. I've loved everything that Jay White has done in this tournament. El-P mentioned that he wrestles in a manner a little too close to his character, which leads to less dazzling spectacles. I think he cuts off his opponent too quickly (the match against Goto is a good example where I was worried that it would come across too much like a squash if White won or too unbelievable if Goto took it, before they rallied at the end to create a more satisfying whole) but his commitment to his character, the tandem with Gedo, and his proficiency in the ring (general rule of thumb is that if somebody has a neckbreaker that doesn't look shit they are usually pretty good. Exhibit A: Bobby Eaton) have been gold. Will Ospreay has continued his run of perhaps being the best in the world at the moment. A title I would be more willing to give if he removed that slight delay before every dive or Oscutter that he does so that he can pander to the crowd. Zack Sabre Jr for me has the highest floor to his matches. They don't always deliver classics that garner major snowflakes, but his ability to deliver something interesting or unusual against a great variety of opponents is almost unmatched, and after his run of post match promos this year, I think he's taken Daniel Bryan's crown of being the most entertaining talker in wrestling at the moment. If anybody hasn't already caught the one where he loses his battle against the wall and gravity simultaneously, then seek it out as soon as possible. Below are my favourite matches so far: 4.5* Kota Ibushi v Will Ospreay 4.5* SANADA v Zack Sabre Jr. 4.25* Tomohiro Ishii v Jay White Everything below is in 4* range Kota Ibushi v Lance Archer Kazuchika Okada v KENTA Jon Moxley v Shingo Takagi Tetsuya Naito v Tomohiro Ishii Tetsuya Naito v Hirooki Goto Jon Moxley v Tomohiro Ishii Hiroshi Tanahashi v Zack Sabre Jr. KENTA v Hiroshi Tanahashi Hirooki Goto v Jay White Lance Archer v Will Ospreay
  4. I'm basically in the same boat here. I would point to all these matches as roughly being in 4 star territory and a general plus to anybody's overall body of work: Fastlane 2015 v Bryan Mania 31 v Brock October 2015 RAW v Cesaro TLC 2015 v Sheamus Fastlane 2016 v Brock & Ambrose Payback 2016 v Styles Extreme Rules 2016 v Styles Payback 2017 v Strowman GBOF 2017 v Strowman SummerSlam 2017 v Brock, Strowman & Joe December 2017 RAW v Cesaro December 2017 RAW vs Joe Whereas Seth has a match on RAW from June 2013 vs Daniel Bryan. A match that I would bet would be more in Bryan's favour than Rollins'. That's it as far as my recollection. In general if we stretch this out to generally good matches that aren't quite MOTN/MOTY candidates, Roman still blows Rollins out of the water. This is a perfect summation of my opinions on Rollins during his WWE run. The Shield tags are great, and honestly, a large part of the credit can be assigned to Rollins as he was allowed to shine by doing stuff that he excelled at while being hidden within a tag setting so that his shortcomings were not highlighted. I don't agree. Apart from Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and maybe Big E, there isn't a guy who I want to see in a G1 setting more than Roman. I'll admit to being shocked (in a good way) by Moxley's general performances since his departure. During his WWE run he demonstrated very little of what he's been pulling out over the last few months. Roman has already proved that he's capable of bringing it in ring, and in my opinion this is in spite of the overarching WWE setup, not because of it. I'm with you that the Superman Punch is trash, overused, and ends up becoming a crutch of sorts, but it smacks of a poor attempt by backstage to present him as a comic book character in a way they believe kids see comic book characters. The excessive use of the move could be Roman's doing, but I'll go out on a limb and presume he's not the driving force. Moxley had that stupid Rebound Lariat move and we haven't seen that in at all since he left...
  5. SAMS

    Your ***** & **** 3/4 Matches

    AJPW 07/15/1979: The Funks vs Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik - Summer Action Series ***** AJPW 04/14/1983: Stan Hansen vs Terry Funk - Grand Champion Carnival ***** WCW 04/02/1989: Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair - Clash of the Champions VI ***** WWF 03/23/1997: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin - WrestleMania 13 ***** WWE 05/16/2004: JBL vs Eddie Guerrero - Judgment Day 2004 ***** WWE 12/16/2012: The Shield vs Team Hell No & Ryback - TLC 2012 ***** AJPW 12/13/1979: The Funks vs Abdullah The Butcher & The Sheik - Real World Tag League ****¾ CWA 03/23/1981: Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk ****¾ WWF 01/18/1982: Bob Backlund vs Adrian Adonis - MSG ****¾ JCP 11/24/1983: Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine - Starrcade ‘83 ****¾ WWF 06/16/1984: Sgt. Slaughter vs The Iron Sheik - MSG ****¾ CWF 02/14/1986: Ric Flair vs Barry Windham - Battle of the Belts II ****¾ WWF 03/29/1987: Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage - WrestleMania III ****¾ WCW 03/20/1989: Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair - Chi-Town Rumble ****¾ WCW 05/07/1989: Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat - WrestleWar ‘89 ****¾ WWF 03/20/1994: Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania X ****¾ ECW 10/07/1995: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Psicosis ****¾ WWF 01/23/2000: Triple H vs Cactus Jack - Royal Rumble 2000 ****¾ WWF 04/01/2001: Steve Austin vs The Rock - WrestleMania X-Seven ****¾ WWE 10/20/2002: Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker - No Mercy 2002 ****¾ WWE 05/20/2012: CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan - Over The Limit 2012 ****¾ WWE 03/29/2015: Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns - WrestleMania 31 ****3/4 WWE 12/13/2015: Sheamus vs Roman Reigns - TLC 2015 ****¾ WWE 08/20/2016: The Revival vs Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa - NXT Takeover Brooklyn II ****¾ WWE 11/19/2016: The Revival vs Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa - NXT Takeover Toronto ****¾ Baracal Entertainment 03/11/2017: LA Park vs Rush ****¾ NJPW 08/11/2017: Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi - G1 Climax 2017 ****¾
  6. SAMS

    Best and Worst Strikes

    I co-sign basically everything you said here. Just wish Roman would tone down the use of the Superman Punch, which I'll just say, doesn't have the same effect as his normal ones do.
  7. Okada comes into this match on the hot streak of his life - with Meltzer chucking snowflakes around like a kid on Christmas morning - and Shibata is on the precipice of completing his three year journey to challenge for the IWGP Title following his New Japan Cup victory. For an extremely crude rundown the match unfolded like so: Opening mat work. First strike exchange. Draped DDT on the floor by Okada. Second strike exchange. Shibata kicking shit out of Okada turns into a third strike exchange: sit down version. Quick flurry where both guys hit a dropkick and a German Suplex. Shibata fights off a Rainmaker by kicking at Okada’s injured arm before the infamous headbutt. Finishing stretch. Shibata locks on an Octopus Hold, followed by a Sleeper, kicks some more tar out of Okada but eats three Rainmakers. 1, 2, 3. Firstly, I think Okada is a good wrestler. I’ve heard others express the same opinion. Now, if you were to point to a match that showcased exactly why Okada is a good wrestler, and to some people he’s an exceptional wrestler, this match would not be it. I don’t want to be too harsh here, but this was a pretty poor performance by Little Kazu. Clearly they were following the “challenger is elevated in defeat” template; giving Shibata the bulk of the match before the conquering champion emerges victorious. The action is punctuated with three (three!?) distinct strike exchanges, and each one is lost decisively by Okada. Time and again he goes toe to toe with Shibata and comes to regret it. In and of itself, this isn’t bad. In many ways it’s good. Explicitly it plays to Shibata’s strengths: which are hitting guys really hard and displaying what New Japan Strong Style™ is supposed to be all about, and it’s all thoroughly entertaining. What niggles at me, however, is how thoroughly dominated Okada is from bell to bell - from the sloppy mat work at the beginning until he’s eating his millionth kick to the chest just before the end. For him to then just hit a couple moves for the win is a bit rich for me. A continuing issue I have with Okada is how willingly he throws away his most devastating mid-level move. This happened in the WK11 match as well, but how little effect his draped DDT has on the flow of a match, especially from a narrative perspective, is just confusing to me. Whether this is an example of the argument that certain moves mean more, or less, in different contexts could well answer the question, but it looks so much better, and so much more barbarous than anything else in his arsenal that I can’t reconcile it. Also, in order to actually get on offense I got the impression that Shibata basically let Okada take control. The most glaring example being roughly just before the twenty minute mark, during the second big strike exchange. Shibata blocks Okada’s first attempt at a Rainmaker and they both find themselves on their knees, face to face. Slowly and deliberately they go back and forth with forearm after forearm until Shibata starts upping the pace. Now every time Okada hits one Shibata returns instantly. Harder, stronger. Okada feebly tries to match Shibata’s ferocity but is rocked by one particularly hard strike. Then another. Shibata is in control and cruising but then he does, nothing. He just stands there and allows a broken Okada to recover, and then hit two meek looking uppercut forearms and a neckbreaker. From there Okada takes control, goes on to hit a missile dropkick from the top rope and the match continues. Now, the point isn’t that Okada took control, it’s that he didn’t have the requisite move that allowed him to take control, it was merely gifted to him - he hadn’t earned it. Some of this can be placed on match structure, and it takes two to tango, but Okada’s lacking moveset, or at least his inability to access it properly, is entirely his own doing. Honestly, I didn’t hate this match, in fact, despite its luster fading somewhat on rewatch, I really loved this match. Shibata was the clear fan favourite from the off and Okada did a few subtle things here and there to let us know he was willing to play the heel. Lots of Shibata’s offense, when he wasn’t straight up punking Okada, focused on the right arm, attempting to nullify Okada’s greatest weapon. And, when he gets up to full speed, I can’t say there’s many current guys I enjoy watching more than Shibata. Underneath that fighting spirit facade there is true greatness and it is a crying shame that this likely will be his final match. Ultimately, one’s mileage when it comes to this match, I think, hinges entirely on how receptive you are to Shibata “The Wrestler”. Everything he did, from working over the arm, to his execution, was on point, but without that, I’m not sure how much there is to hang your hat on.
  8. Coming off the back of three great matches the idea was to initially tone it down - let the crowd catch its breath before ramping things up again to the fever pitch finale, and that’s basically what they did. The match consisted of two distinct halves. The first was Okada and Omega feeling each other out, some standard mat work punctuated with a few big moves that weren’t especially treated like big moves, and a furious second half littered with bomb throwing, one immediately following the next, with no time to catch your breath in between. The first half has been disparaged by some, and it’s by no means perfect, but its biggest failings were not poorly executed mat work or that it was boring, it’s that nothing they did - and they did a lot - was carried over to the back nine. The beautiful Tope by Omega followed by an incredibly brutal missile dropkick to the back of Okada’s head could have instigated a run of Omega taking control of the match by focusing on Okada’s neck. The same could be said for Okada’s Draped DDT on the floor. They neglected to ensure these moments carried any weight by having them neither serve as a shift in momentum or as an indication of a weakness that their opponent could exploit. The second half was essentially a twenty minute finishing run, prefaced by a crazy Springboard Moonsault by Omega that clears the ringside barriers and carries him into the announcer’s area, followed by Omega placing a table atop a prone Okada and unceremoniously double stomping a dent into said table. Okada got in his biggest shot of the match when he back body dropped Omega over the ropes, who proceeded to splatter through another table on the floor in one of the more jaw dropping spots I can remember. Omega quickly continued his offensive tour de force hitting a veritable smorgasbord of knees and committing attempted murder on Okada’s neck via a top rope Dragon Suplex. This was interspersed between countless Rainmakers, half Rainmakers, and faux Rainmakers until Okada mercifully put Okada away for good. (Quick aside: After Omega kicked out of the first Rainmaker, Okada offered up the best example of the “I can’t believe he kicked out of that” face ever by doing….nothing - he just stared blankly into the space like a little chubby child who’d slipped into a food coma. Glorious) The level of execution, perhaps not in terms of the basics of mat wrestling etc., but in regards to the big spots was extraordinarily high and the margin of error on both the drop through the table and the Dragon Suplex was so mind boggling, it’s impossible not to give credit to both guys involved for pulling them off. They also held back on spunking away a One Winged Angel kick out, something they have played off of in subsequent bouts, so that was a really nice example of booking with the future in mind. What is inexcusable however, is that following every single bomb that was thrown, whichever guy taking the move would have recovered and be back on offense in some way within thirty seconds or so. This complete disregard of any credible selling was extremely jarring to watch, and this match, unlike any other, to me resembles wrestling as Mortal combat cosplay. I could just imagine the health bars hovering above their respective heads, hit points being depleted as they each take a combo after combo, but no matter how close to the K.O. they were, it had no effect on their abilities to fight. I don’t think it would have been that difficult to fit it in either: when Kenny crashed through the table, by the time Okada had got out of the ring and made it to the floor, Omega was already getting to his feet. I’ll admit that he was woozy and stumbling around, but personally I don’t think that this was the accurate response to someone going through a table. Potentially The Young Bucks could have stalled the referees count or ran interference with Okada while Omega lay motionless on the floor and it would have increased the drama tenfold. Ultimately, this was the story that they wanted to tell. They did so much right that you know with the right direction both Omega and Okada are capable of something truly great, but this, this match, wasn’t their something great, and it definitely wasn’t the story that I wanted to see. ***3/4
  9. SAMS

    Watching new footage vs old footage

    As much as possible I try and watch stuff in chronological order. In that context, when I stumble across something I've seen repeated again and again in the years since, it doesn't bother me - the caveat is "was it good to begin with?" Obviously one's opinions on that can change over time as you watch more and more stuff, but after a certain point I think it's negligible. Now, when I continue through my watching odysseys and I see the same thing over and over and over again, particularly by the same people, that's what frustrates me. For an obvious example, I still enjoy the original TLC stuff. It's car crash, but it's fun. There's a sense of naivety and earnestness in all the guys involved that I find charming. However, after the original MITB match, the obligatory showcase matches at WM every year and the MITB PPV began to drive me nuts - it's the same stuff but more derivative with every edition. The only outlier, and perhaps the best of the entire bunch, is the Armageddon one where Joey Mercury's face explodes. Okay I'm rambling now....
  10. SAMS

    Best and Worst Strikes

    European Uppercuts - Dory Funk Jr.
  11. SAMS

    Finishers as a concept

    I think this ties into what a lot of you guys have already mentioned, but when I started watching, and when my fandom was at its previous peak, the Smackdown video game series had just started and I spent an ungodly amount of time playing the first 3 or 4. Each character has their base moves, their signature moves, and a finisher or two. Through these games, perhaps even more so than actually watching the product, I'd been conditioned into recognizing a hierarchy of moves which lead, ultimately, to a finisher. When watching matches now I never expect any move to end a match unless it's a finisher or one of those cheap roll ups after a distraction or something. Even then, depending on the show, you know when the multiple finishers formula will be utilized. All this does is generate predictable matches. The problem is the concept of a "finisher" itself. I think there's a place for moves such as the Burning Hammer or TD91 that are pulled out on very special occasions when nothing else you throw at a guy is getting it done. But beyond that I think having a variety of signature moves instead of one or two finishers is the way to go. I realize I'm basically echoing what Loss said and it may purely just be an issue of semantics, but having 5 or 6 "signature" moves that are not only effective enough to put a guy away, but are also even in terms of moveset hierarchy, would go a long way to restoring the drama of finishing sequences and ensuring that the work all the way up until the finish means more - as the pinfall/submission victory wouldn't just be attributable to hitting one super move, but the accumulated damage that built up throughout the match. Secondly, there are currently a plethora of finishers that just don't seem that deadly. WWE might just well be the worst offenders here, but it seems that their finishers are merely another cog in their marketing machine - the RKO being the most glaring example. Gordi talked about the damage that wrestlers will take during a match, especially the gimmick matches, and stuff that looks absolutely brutal are seemingly easily endured, however moves like Sister Abigail, the Zig Zag, the Rainmaker etc. are the only things that move the needle. It doesn't have to be crazy hardcore stuff that's blown off either: Orton's draped DDT looks miles more devastating than the RKO and Kenny Omega has some brutal looking knee strikes but his finisher, the WWA, is a driver variation that looks like he just lightly places his opponent on the mat. I expect these guys watch back some of their own stuff, and if they don't, they'll have people around them who they talk to about their matches. Surely you'd go through and figure out what looks the best and rejig your moveset accordingly? Or perhaps I'm missing something obvious. Finally, submissions need a whole rework. Too often tapping out is seen as emasculating to a worker, as if knowing you're beaten and living to fight another day isn't a more viable strategy than getting pummeled to the point you can't kick out of a pin. Unless a guy has an incredibly over submission finisher, you KNOW that any submission that gets locked on isn't going anywhere. If it leads to continued targeting of a body part then fine, I love a good meat and potatoes portion of a match, but too often it's done for the sake of killing time and then immediately forgotten. Not to mention the cardinal sin of lying in a submission for entire minutes. Now, I'm not an MMA watcher, but if a honest to God submission was applied I assume there's a reasonably short time period before a) the pain becomes too much or b ) the hold breaks/tears/dislocates a body part. Not many on this board are advocating for complete realism in their wrestling, but when Okada is enduring absolute eons of time in leg lock variations against Suzuki (just as an example) I reach a point where I lose my investment in the match. They've lost me. They should suck up the pain momentarily, try and scramble to the ropes, try and fight off their opponent, and if all that doesn't work tap out. Final final point: love cradles, flash pins, and roll ups as match enders without them being the result of referee distractions or outside interference. Give me more.
  12. SAMS

    WWE Survivor Series 2017

    The Shield/New Day match was okay. But when it got bad, it was really bad. Big E kinda going for a cover, then kinda getting up to tag in Kofi, who himself wasn't sure whether he should tag in, all the while Seth was crawling into the ring at a glacial pace, would be the worst sequence on any PPV if it wasn't for the Naomi/Alicia Fox travesty. In regards to New Day, they do 'silly' so often, that when they try and do serious it actually carries some weight and Big E, because he's their biggest threat, is the best at it. I just wish they knew when to designate a match as a standard New Day comedy match or fully commit to it being serious - Big E doing the weird hand-fart/tail wagging thing after every move was just.....no. The women's match was bad. Almost everybody was hesitant when tagging, to the point that exiting the ring without completely getting in the way of the legal woman was beyond their abilities. Sasha, Asuka, and Natalya saved it from being the absolute pits at the end. And while the men haven't exactly got a spotless record when it comes to multi-man matches, the women haven't been able to piece together one competent one so far, MITB being the closest. And I don't like that match very much. Corbin/Miz was just there. They did some neat little work on the leg of Corbin which he kind of tried to sell somewhat in a way, but meh. He took a lot of damage and then he hit a big move and won. Good try Miz. Usos are great. Even when I don't totally understand what they're talking about they are still thoroughly entertaining. Match was a little underwhelming considering the guys involved and what each is capable of, but by far the best match up to this point with everybody putting in a solid shift. I really like both Charlotte and Alexa, and even when their matches a more miss than hit, I can find them entertaining. This was probably more miss than hit, but I think that mostly falls on the fact that Charlotte is so much more of a compelling character as a heel than as a face and the quicker she turns back the better for everyone involved. The arm whip off the apron was nasty and I really liked the Guillotine Choke Alexa managed to lock in, but damn Alexa took too much of this match. Not until the end did Charlotte manage to mount any sort of offense that wasn't countered and nullified immediately. I've been to the match review page for the AJ/Brock match and seen the love this has been getting, and even considering how liberal Marty is with his star ratings I was surprised to see him give this the full five (as well as the few 4.75s as well). After a second watch I do think this was an excellent match, but probably veer nearer towards the 4* mark than the 5. AJ did put on the most compelling rag doll performance at the beginning with a top tier sell job, constantly using the ropes for leverage and selling that one German trying to pop up immediately only to crumble once the full effect of the move hit him. We all know that as far as flashy moves go AJ can hang with the best while also making them look brutal, but I don't at all buy this is a one man performance as I'll still assert that Brock, when properly tuned in, is one of the best sellers around. His gimmick and his sheer presence gives his selling more weight than it does with other people, that's just a fact. Anybody can walk around and no sell shit to look like a monster, but to time the perfect moment to concede offense to your opponent is an art. Brock's timber display at WM31 is a clear example of that. AJ may be the only guy on the roster who could pull that match out of Brock. However, Brock is also the only guy who could pull this match out of AJ. Main Event: Got bored. Read through this thread and "spoiled" the ending for myself. Got more distracted. Got confused. It ended. Love HHH's eyes popping out of his face. And hey, Nakamura got a solid running early on. That's all I can say.
  13. Can anyone point me to an online version of the Backlund/Valentine hour draw from 79? There was a copy up on youtube several months ago but has since been taken down and I can't seem to find another.
  14. SAMS

    Current New Japan

    Firstly, there's still doubt as to whether the Long Beach sell-outs are purely driven by the novelty of having a New Japan show stateside where people are flying/driving in specifically, and how sustainable that is in the long run once that novelty wears off. Secondly, I think it's fair to say that anything that brings more eyeballs to the product, especially people who otherwise wouldn't have bothered, takes precedence over merely satisfying the wishes of the established audience, who most likely would be watching anyway. At least from a business perspective.
  15. SAMS

    WWE TV October 23 - October 29

    What makes it worse is that she didn't just run through Emma in either match. I know she's not exactly the most formidable member of the division, but she did "win" the opportunity to face Asuka in her debut match. So theoretically, even more than just destroying a jobber, laying the smackdown on Emma could have had some positive results. Instead we got this murky middle ground where, yeah, she won both matches, but she didn't look good doing it.