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William Bologna

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  1. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Dynamite Kid/Johnny Smith vs. Satoru Asako/Takao Omori (AJPW 7/28/1993) It doesn't take long to see the differences in Kid's and Smith's approaches. Smith starts out with Asako, and they do a bunch of arm holds and flips out of holds and kip ups and stuff. Then Dynamite comes in and beats the hell out him. The Bruisers are unanimous, however, when it comes to Takao Omori. Omori is less than a year in and looks like a gangly teenager. He's in the young lion role here, which means that they give him almost nothing, and most of the match is him being beaten upon. It's odd to see Asako as the team's senior member, but he gets to do some neat, Yoshinari Ogawa-style tricky stuff to gain the occasional advantage. But as he tags in Omori and we see the progress bar reaching its destination, we know what's coming. Dynamite drops his forehead on Omori, and the Brits are victorious.
  2. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Dynamite Kid/Johnny Smith vs. Kenta Kobashi/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (AJPW 4/6/1991) The British Bruisers get a shot at the All Asia Tag Titles. That's not a big enough deal to make television, but fortunately an enterprising if somewhat twitchy fan is there to capture it. This wound up being pretty good, and man was the crowd nuts for it. Dynamite was supposed to be washed up at this point, but I don't know. He didn't do much flying or bending at the waist, but he was still capable of bleeding and hitting, and those are more important anyway. You miss his intensity when Johnny is in there, but Smith and Kikuchi work really well together. Also Kikuchi's tights are extremely cool, and the rising sun on his ass contrasts niftily with the Union Jacks on the asses of the Englishmen. Kobashi does some stuff that he would later remove from the repertoire, and for good reason. He has Smith standing in the corner, and he climbs onto the second rope and DDTs him from there. Didn't work. He also hits Smith with the shortest distance moonsault I've ever seen. He went nearly straight up and down. Nothing wrong with that, just kind of odd. Dynamite piledrives Kikuchi in a way that says "my back hurts and I don't give a shit about this guy anyway" and then headbutts him from the top to win the titles, even though Kikuchi wasn't actually one of the champs. It was Kobashi and Johnny Ace, but Ace was injured. Is Vince Russo booking this? This was a hell of a card. In addition to this fine match, you had Jumbo vs. Kawada and Hansen vs. Misawa in Carnival matches. Gordy and Williams took on Furnas and Kroffat, which could have been good as long as the big guys didn't chinlock everyone to sleep. Plus Andre the Giant was there, and we got Dory and Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack and . . . "Texas Terminator Hoss."
  3. William Bologna

    WWE Network... It's Here

    Blue Lives Matter started in response to two NYPD officers being murdered by someone who was angry about Eric Garner. You can be skeptical of their aims (I'm no fan of extending hate crime protections to cops), but it does no good to strawman their stated purpose and goals.
  4. William Bologna

    The Cancellation of Jim Cornette

    Cornette's better when he talks about things he loves than when he talks about things he hates.
  5. William Bologna

    WWE Network... It's Here

    Yeah, you're right. This was a pretty silly road for me to go down. I don't even like the Undertaker.
  6. William Bologna

    WWE Network... It's Here

    Your second paragraph had nothing to do with your first? You were just musing about some bumper stickers you didn't like in a thread about the Undertaker's political opinions? Because it sure sounds like you were connecting the Undertaker's shirt about how he likes cops with some other, non-Undertaker-related car decorations you didn't like.
  7. William Bologna

    WWE Network... It's Here

    The Undertaker is not responsible for the content of some bumper stickers you didn't like.
  8. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Dynamite Kid/Johnny Smith vs. Abdullah the Butcher/Giant Kimala (AJPW 11/21/1990) The move to All Japan has seen a definite increase in Johnny Smith's quality of opposition. We've seen Kawada, Misawa, and Kobashi, and now we get what I'm pretty sure the play-by-play guy called the "Black Power Combo." It's going to be a different kind of match. The British Bruisers jump the BPC as they come to the ring, and Dynamite is actually the one who stabs first as he gets in some pokes on Abdullah. You can tell Johnny isn't a practiced hand at the this kind of thing - he reaches behind a table, picks up a non-folding chair, puts it back, then wanders off somewhere to find something better. He must have failed, because he comes back and grabs that chair again, which he and Dynamite use to hit Adbullah very gently. Abdullah is bleeding at 2:40, and that's including intros. A. Butcher (it says that on his pants!) pokes Johnny in the throat and does his dance, but Smith turns the tables by monkey-flipping him. It actually went pretty well! I wouldn't have guessed Abdullah was capable. Abdullah and Kimala are both wild men from Fake Africa, but their work is quite different. Kimala is a trained, mechanically conventional wrestler in spite of the gimmick, whereas with Abdullah it's always an adventure. He hits Smith with a neckbreaker that should not have been as difficult as he made it look; Kimala is much smoother. The story of this match is that Abdullah keeps hitting Johnny Smith in the throat. This eventually gets his team win and two points (this is actually a tag league match), but not before Dynamite Kid bleeds all over the place. This was kind of fun. All the tomfoolery was a nice change of pace after the pretty dry workratey matches we've had lately. I will say that I could have done without the long stretch of Abdullah standing motionless and digging his fingers into Dynamite's forehead. You've come a long way since World of Sport, Johnny.
  9. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Johnny Smith/Davey Boy Smith vs. Mitsuharu Misawa/Kenta Kobashi (AJPW 5/17/1990) There are big things happening in All Japan right now, and Johnny Smith is a challenger to the All Asia Tag Team titles and a bystander to history. Tenryu left in April to shill eyeglasses, start a couple promotions no one watched, and occasionally enliven Tatsumi Fujinami matches by stiffing him in the face. The response to this is to make Misawa a big deal: Three days ago he had Kawada take off his mask (he's still wearing Tiger Mask tights). After this defense, he and Kobashi vacate the All Asia tag titles because it's time to put away childish things. Misawa actually forfeited this title twice: right after this and again in 1999 because All Japan's booking of its underneath titles was just unbelievably lazy. I already spoiled the outcome of this match, and when you've read that you've read everything. It's not really interesting. Perfectly acceptable professional wrestling, but all four of these men have better things coming for them. 1990 doesn't sound old to me, but it is interesting to see that we haven't quite hit the famous All Japan style yet. The finish was abrupt - Kobashi powerbombs Johnny and Misawa frog splashes him for the win - and it came without the parade of kickouts and dramatic rescues that one expects. Also I've seen Misawa do that splash dozens of times, but I never imagined that he ever pinned anyone with it.
  10. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Dynamite Kid/Johnny Smith vs. Sumu Hara/Ron Richie (Stampede 6/24/1989) Aw goddammit they sent him back to Canada. I thought I was done with Stampede, but I forgot about this one. It is a breath of fresh air, though - the video quality didn't make me seasick, and Ed Whalen isn't there. Ross Hart is pretty bad, but his charming incompetence is a welcome change from Whalen's "this is the soundtrack of Hell" announcing style. Hara is ahead of his time when it comes to instantly forgettable Japanese wrestlers. He's got billowy pants going into shooty-ass kickpads, and he throws those Mossman kicks everyone was doing. He'd fit right in on a WAR tape. UPDATE: I looked it up, and he's Koki Kitahara! Holy crap I couldn't have been more right. Dude was forgettable on all kinda WAR tapes. We're going to be seeing Smith and Dynamite working together a lot coming up here, and it doesn't look good for Johnny. You watch the two of them and realize almost instantly that Dynamite is much better. This is after back surgery and years of punishment, but he's just as crisp and vicious as he was beating the hell out of Fujinami in 1980. I don't know how he does it and why everyone else doesn't - his stuff just looks meaner than anyone else. It can't just be that was stiffing guys - plenty of people did that, but no one looked like Dynamite doing it. This isn't quite a squash - Richie gets a hot tag after a weird transition where DK superplexes Hara but puts himself in enough of a daze for Hara to get away - but it's close. The British Bruisers get the win after a double headbutt off the second rope, which looked dumb, and then talk a bunch of trash about Davey Boy and Chris Benoit. Did you guys know Benoit stole Dynamite's wrestling boots? Right out of his bag.
  11. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Davey Boy Smith/Johnny Smith vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Samson Fuyuki (AJPW 5/13/1989) It's nice to see the brothers reunited. The Smith boys were able to put aside their Stampede differences - I'm guessing they blamed it all on Dynamite and agreed to forget about the stick-whippings and accusations of egg-sucking - to unite against a common enemy, The Footloose! Man, I missed these guys. If ever there was a role Kawada was meant not to play, it's half of a babyface rock 'n' roll tag team. He's already as stoic as he got - maybe if you were sitting there in 1989 and didn't know what he'd become, it was less hilarious to see him in those teal and zebra tights. And Fuyuki never should have left. He could go even years later when he was all fat and dissipated, and he brought a little bit of wildness. 1990s All Japan is the best thing ever, but that's not to say it wouldn't have been improved with some greasiness. ANYWAY, this is just kind of there. Davey Boy is dinged up - I think his leg is bothering him - and he messes up repeatedly. Twice he goes for (I think) a spot where a Footloose reverses out of a suplex, but they just wind up falling down. In both cases, he recovers by doing a Northern Lights suplex, which I don't think I've ever seen him do before. Fuyuki does one as well - it's the superkick of 1989. Neat finish. Davey Boy gorilla presses Johnny and throws him at Kawada, who rolls through and gets the pin. That's two losses in two days for our boy. You better pick up the pace before they send you back to Canada, Johnny.
  12. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Johnny Smith vs. Mitsuo Momota (AJPW 5/12/1989) Johnny's finally made it to All Japan, but I didn't recognize him at first. He had that mullet plus shaved sides hairstyle after he became a bad guy in Canada. All that now remains is blotch of hair on the back of head anchoring the mullet. It's hideous. Did he go through a bad breakup and take the clippers to himself in a moment of despair? Did he pass out and endure an All Japan hazing ritual? Did they tell him he was getting a Mongol gimmick? Aside from the hair situation, things are looking up. Freed from the dumbass face/heel structure around which Stampede contests revolved, Johnny gets to wrestle again. He gets a shot at the junior heavyweight title, held by Rikidozan's kid. The crowd is dead silent as they exchange holds (not counting me thirty years leader - I was popping pretty hard). They do react to the high spots, though. Momota has Smith in a . . . leggy arm scissors (I don't know), and Smith stands up while still in the hold and deadlifts him, only for Momota to roll him ever and keep the hold on. We all enjoyed that. They're positively raucous as the match heats up. Smith hits a brutal-looking second rope leg drop, Momota hits a dive to the outside, Smith catches him in midair for a powerslam . . . and then they start messing stuff up, which quiets but does not silence Korakuen. Smith just seems off. It is the first match on only his second All Japan tour, so maybe he was rusty or nervous or communicating poorly. He's supposed to get hurricanrana'd and just completely blows it, and there are numerous moments of hesitation on his part. Momota wins with a clunky small package. This is seven minutes of a thirteen minute match, and it was full of mistakes, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the timing and pacing of the match, and I dug seeing Johnny wrestle again.
  13. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Johnny Smith vs. Biff Wellington (Stampede 12/16/1988) Wellington gets a shot at Smith's Mid-Heavyweight title. Smith is heeling like crazy here. We join ten minutes in to see him yelling at the crowd, his bad guy mullet billowing behind him. When Wellington takes control, he even does the beg off. This follows the Stampede formula: The heel isn't allowed to do anything cool; he may only stomp and cheat while Ed Whalen drones moralistically in the background. Smith rakes Wellington's eyes and tries to leave, but Wellington, who looks like Dynamite Kid wearing Don Frye's mustache, rolls him back in. Which he ends up regretting, as Smith tries to drop him face-first onto the turnbuckle but misses completely. He still gets the pin. Young Johnny is off to All Japan for pretty much the rest of his career, so we're leaving Calgary behind. I wonder if he missed it. I certainly won't.
  14. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Johnny Smith vs. Louie Spicolli (ECW 3/8/1996) Joey Styles tells a lot of fibs, which is objectionable even if it is in the service of making us think Johnny Smith is tough and cool. He claims that Smith has held titles in Great Britain, Austria, Australia, and Japan. As far as I can tell, only Japan is correct there, and he left out Canada. He states that Smith is making his ECW debut, as if we're supposed to forget that he lost to 2 Cold Scorpio the day before in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. I should be more appreciative, since we're all trying to get Johnny Smith over here. If ever there was a wrestler destined to get over in front of the ECW Arena crowd . . . well, it wouldn't be Johnny Smith, but I appreciate the effort. On an ironic note, Styles tells us that Smith is looking to make a name in the U.S., and you can be sure Stamford and Atlanta are watching. One of these guys wound up working for Stamford and Atlanta, but it wasn't Johnny. They start off with some matwork, but it's dumb matwork. They do the same headlock takeover into a headscissors spot three times like it's supposed to be impressive. Then they give that up and go outside. It's only a five minute match, so you can't waste a lot of time. They do some moves to each other, and then Smith kicks Spicolli in the gut and does a sitout powerbomb (Styles: "TIGER BOMB!") to get the win. It's a short, sloppy match (the finish comes after Smith almost reverses an Irish whip but decides not to midway through). Everyone chanted "Johnny" at the end, which is nice to hear - ECW Arena is second only to Korakuen when it comes to Johnny Appreciation.
  15. William Bologna

    Johnny Smith

    Johnny Smith/Makhan Singh/Midnight Cowboys vs. Owen Hart/Bad Company/Jason the Terrible (Stampede 4/15/1988) This is an elimination match, and we join it - thank heavens - 20 minutes in. Only four men remain: Smith and Singh vs. Owen Hart and Brian Pillman. The match has peculiar rules: Going over the top rope means elimination, and there are no tags; everyone wrestles at once. So most of what we see here is like a particularly dispirited ECW tag team match. There are two singles matches happening at the same time in the same ring, and neither of them is good. This is our first look at Pillman, and he disappoints. He looks like a million bucks (the only man in Calgary with a tan!), but his execution is lacking. It really does hurt him that he's on a team with Owen Hart. They both do a lot of flying, and Owen's is much better. And a sloppy sunset flip is one thing; Pillman lays the worst sleeper hold I've ever seen on Singh. A sleeper is the single easiest wrestling move there is, right? I didn't know there could be a bad one. Pillman is eliminated when Norman the Lunatic sits on him, and the heels go to work on Owen. They send him over the top, but he flips himself back in and dropkicks Bastion Booger over the top. Disaster is averted when Singh grabs the top rope to send Owen out and leaving Johnny Smith as the last man standing. Big win for our boy here. Good to see the best man win.
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