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  1. For context, 11-year-old me had to go to bed before this match the night of the PPV and I didn't see it until I found a shit quality wmv on Limewire a month or two later. Watching this in potato quality, it looked like a goddamn snuff film and it became my favorite match immediately. Watching the DVD release when it came out and seeing just how bloody this was enhanced the experience for me and watching the upscaled version on the first Brock Blu-Ray (and again last night on WWE Network) did the same. Who'd have ever guessed enhanced video quality would make blood baths more enjoyable?! Anyway, this is my pick for the greatest WWE match of all time and really close to my pick for general greatest match of all time. There's a lot of things that I love about this one. Brock works his ass off here, launching himself into the cage and bumping like a madman and to his credit, Taker launches himself into the cage pretty good at least twice as well. It's a bloodbath, which suits the match type and Taker's is maybe the second worst blade job in WWE history (Vince at SurSer 2003 takes the cake). Heyman bleeding is always going to be funny to me, he was phenomenal on the outside of the ring. Taker's hand in the cast was used well throughout the match and you could argue he didn't do the greatest job of selling the hand, he did at least sell it some which is probably more than you'd expect going in. I love the finish, too. It's one of those "yeah this is a real freak motherfucker" moments that we never get in pro wrestling now. The only Cell that comes close to this is Hunter/Batista and even that doesn't match the violence or the intensity of this match. If you've seen this match a bunch, I recommend showing it to a fan who's never seen it. That's how I've watched this match the last two times that I have and it's amazing watching people who've seen deathmatches and all the crazy 'epic' bullshit that's happened since this match reacting to this like, as I noted earlier in my post, it's a snuff film. This is as good as it gets, y'all. *****
  2. BigVanCrush

    [1990-04-13-WWF/AJPW Summit] Randy Savage vs Genichiro Tenryu

    I've always loved how good of a job Savage and Sherri did at working their shtick in front of the Tokyo Dome crowd and, moreso, how well Tenryu fit into a WWF style match. The crowd is nuclear and while the powerbomb at the end is super safe, it was cool seeing Savage take one because I don't recall him taking many. The entire match is great and while they rematched in SWS and it was good, this match was far better. One of the most underrated Tokyo Dome matches of all time, probably in my top 20. ****3/4
  3. BigVanCrush

    [1989-03-08-WWF-Primetime Wrestling] Ted DiBiase vs Bret Hart

    Had no clue this incarnation of Bret vs. DiBiase even happened until I stumbled across this thread a couple of nights ago and this match kicked ass. It would be one thing if they just kinda sleepwalked through it, they could get away with that and it'd still be great but they put forth an insane amount of effort for what basically was a throwaway TV match. I dug DiBiase using the spinning toehold and him taking almost the same bump over the top to the floor that he did in the Flair match from four years earlier. I like the comparison to a touring NWA Title match and I agree that this is probably Ted's best WWF match, it was a wonderful bit of wrestling television. ****1/4
  4. BigVanCrush

    [2001-04-01-WWF-Wrestlemania X-SEVEN] Steve Austin vs The Rock

    "JR and Heyman had poor chemistry together." is one of the worst takes I've ever seen on the internet. Congratulations.
  5. BigVanCrush

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

    This was the best 'straight' wrestling match I've seen this year. Nomura pairing up with Fuminore Abe and turning on Hideki lead to an incredible tag match to set up this title match and while you can argue Nomura didn't really *deserve* a title shot, Hideki was more than willing to get in the ring with him and beat his ass for what he did at Endless Survivor. Nomura looks way more credible here than you'd probably expect a two year rookie to look in their first title challenge but it's clear that he's still overmatched against Hideki. The match didn't need to go longer, this was the perfect length given Suzuki's position in the company and Nomura's position in his career. The finish ruled and reminds me of the Fujita/Shibata match from 2004 which is one of my all time favorite matches. The crowd boos Hideki and he flips them off, letting them know he doesn't give a shit what they think because he just killed his former young boy. This match is super easy to understand even without the context of Nomura's turn against Hideki or the lead in tag. It's a brief watch, it's got good action, it's violent and the finish rules. You can't really ask for more than that. ****3/4
  6. Gonna get this out of the way right now: no tag match since this match has even come close. It's the best match Nagata or Iizuka was ever in, and real high up there for Fuchi as well. It's so goddamn good. First off, the crowd is absolutely NUCLEAR as the All Japan team shows up to build upon Kawada's victory over New Japan's ace at the Dome two months prior. Fuchi is such an awesome grumpy bastard and it's clear at the start he doesn't take Iizuka seriously AT ALL. After all, why would he? Fuchi's stood against the likes of Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada...what can Iizuka possibly to do him? They run through some regular chain sequences and then Iizuka locks in a sleeper on Fuchi and SHIT IS ON NOW BOYS. We get our first taste of all four guys in the ring and all of a sudden, Iizuka isn't some overmatched punk that Fuchi can take lightly. Fuchi lets him look good on the mat before Iizuka tags in Nagata. Nagata quickly goes after Fuchi with leg kicks and HERE COMES KAWADA MOTHERFUCKERS. Early on in the Kawada vs. Nagata segment of the match we get both guys doing some matwork since both were amateur wrestlers. Nagata gets the best of the mat exchanges and tries to wear down Kawada with cheap shots in the corner but once the ref separates them, Kawada kicks Nagata RIGHT IN THE FUCKING FACE BECAUSE KAWADA IS THE MAN. Kawada begins blasting Nagata with strikes in the corner before we get a heated elbow exchange that ends with a really rad All Japan style 'I knock you down but you no sell and take me out' exchange with Kawada coming out on top. Both guys tag out and we get some more of the pretty rad Iizuka vs. Fuchi match up. This time, Fuchi fares better as he goes after the legs of Iizuka and works on him in the corner before tagging Kawada back in. Against Fuchi, Iizuka wasn't outmatched too badly. Against Kawada? Iizuka is toast. There's a really nasty double team submission done by the All Japan team that you need to see...good lord. The All Japan team keep fucking with Iizuka until Nagata tries to come in and save his buddy but Kawada's like nah buddy that's not gonna happen today. Then, because again Kawada's the fucking man, he goes to the floor and attacks Nagata. The AJ team tags out and Fuchi goes over to attack Nagata some more on the floor. I like the idea of working over one partner in the ring while beating the shit out of the other guy on the floor. Kawada and Fuchi just keep kicking the shit out of Iizuka and keeping Nagata away and it's awesome. Iizuka, to his credit, doesn't give up. He tries to fight back before getting overwhelmed, but he keeps kicking out, keeps trying to fight to the corner to tag out. He manages to create an opening and lock Fuchi in the sleeper, leading to Kawada breaking things up and tending to his partner on the floor as Iizuka makes it to Nagata and the place goes friggin' nuts. Nagata gets some more of Kawada and Kawada controls the early part of this round. The crowd fucking loses it when Nagata hits three enzuigiris and puts Kawada down for a two count with a German suplex old. Nagata gets his leg taken out by a kick from Kawada and that seemingly halts his momentum after he'd waited so long to get back in and put so much energy into that one sequence for the near fall. Kawada drills Nagata with a backdrop but Nagata kicks out and again the crowd goes insane. Kawada locks in the Stretch Plum which pretty much spells the end for Nagata until GODDAMN IIZUKA RUNS IN TO BREAK IT UP AND EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. Nagata stuffs a powerbomb attempt the first time, and Iizuka tries to break up a second. Ever since Iizuka choked Fuchi, it's a one man show from Kawada as he's successfully kicking the ass of both members of Team New Japan. Nagata flails his way out of a powerbomb attempt and kicks Kawada's leg as Kawada goes for a running attack. Nagata locks on the goddamned NAGATA LOCK. Kawada tries to fight to the ropes but can't get there without being pulled back. Fuchi, coming back from the dead, saves the day for Team All Japan. Nagata tags Iizuka back in and his first order of business is to run (well...stumble quickly) to the Team All Japan corner and take out Fuchi. Iizuka gets into a kick exchange with Kawada and due to the damage done by the Nagata Lock, doesn't get obliterated by Kawada. Iizuka hits an Exploder and throws on a leglock. Fuchi comes in to save but Nagata cuts him off at the pass and throws on a Nagata Lock. Team All Japan fight their way out of the holds after a pretty long period of time in them and Kawada tags Fuchi in after hitting an enzuigiri on Iizuka. Fuchi attempts to murder Iizuka with two backdrops but Iizuka says "FUCK YOU OLD MAN" and kicks out at two as the place goes nuts again. Team All Japan lock Team New Japan in duelling submissions, but Iizuka survives by getting to the ropes. Iizuka fights out of a backdrop, knocks Fuchi down and both guys tag in their partners and both Kawada and Nagata come in and swing for the fences before the match ends as a time limit draw. Words cannot put this one into perspective. ANY wrestling fan should be able to enjoy this. Everyone has a clearly defined role, the story is easy to understand, the crowd is nuclear, there's a ton of drama. It's arguably the best match for everyone in this match but Kawada. Frankly, the only tag matches in the last 25 years---no you know what, the only tag matches EVER that beat this are the mid-90s All Japan epics. Nothing else comes close. WATCH THIS MATCH. *****+
  7. Kensuke left New japan a couple of years prior to form World Japan with Riki Choshu. That promotion collapsed and now Sasaki is back home as an outsider and Yuji Nagata isn't exactly happy to see him back. This match is legendary for two reasons: first off is that there's a METRIC FUCK TON OF HATE, and second is that there's A METRIC FUCK TON OF BLOOD. No seriously, there's a lot of blood, Like, deathmatch levels of blood. It's a gruesome sight but the match itself is also very good. Hard strikes, hatred, a hot crowd and you get the feeling that Nagata would actually be fine with murdering Kensuke here and vice versa. One of the very best in New Japan history. *****
  8. BigVanCrush

    [2004-11-03-NJPW] Toshiaki Kawada vs Katsuyori Shibata

    Once upon a time, around 2003-2004 in particular, Shibata was known for pissing off and subsequently getting his ass kicked by legends and otherwise established top names. Here, he rushes Kawada. As you might have guessed, this is a bad idea. Kawada lets Shibata get some offense in, Shibata steals some Kawada trakemarks and then Kawada kills him dead. Short, sweet, brutal, to the point. This is good shit. ***3/4
  9. Murakami is the man. Any match he's ever been involved in is infinitely better off for having him in it...including this one. There's a weird, raw intensity to everything Murakami does that puts a lot of his matches over the top. He's such a smug, violent, unhinged prick and you never know what he's going to do which makes him getting his shit handed back to him a lot of fun to watch. There's some Makai Club interference in this one (go figure) but I think it adds to the story of the match. Nagata has to overcome not only the crazed savage challenger, but also has to overcome THE GOD KANTARO HOSHINO on the outside~! Nagata bleeds, Murakami does the blood lick thing that people loved/hated BJ Penn for a few years later in the UFC, there's a lot of intensity and HATE plus Nagata hands Murakami a big ol' glass of overkill for the finish. I've always liked these guys, I've always liked this match and the more I see it, the more I am convinced this may very well be the 2002 MOTY. Everything comes together so perfectly, the rawness of the violence and the triumph of the champion at the end is something a lot of matches fail to capture or just don't even try to capture at all. Nagata is an all time great, matches like this are a good example of why. Murakami is one of the most underrated workers ever, matches like this are a good example of why. Watch this shit. ****3/4
  10. I liked the match. The opening wasn't boring, the end was exciting and Tanahashi proved once again that Okada is nowhere near his level. This was easily Okada's best match since the Shibata classic last year and it's no surprise that it came courtesy of the guy who's been most reliable in dragging him to good matches. I like that it only took one Rainmaker to end the match and the finishing run wasn't overblown false finishes. Everything felt like it had a purpose and nothing felt wasted. Again, Tanahashi was great. I guess I'd go ****1/4-****1/2 on this one?
  11. This is one of my all time favorite matches because it was the first match of its kind that I really saw. I was fourteen, had just gotten into the indies after getting into puro the year before and this was the fourth ROH show I got. They work a beautiful technical match that might be a touch slow for some but I thought everything they did was engaging and it entertained the hell out of me. As the match builds, you see Danielson go from a straight laced wrestler to being more arrogant and aggressive, two traits that would define this very title reign. Gibson getting desperate towards the end of the match is great. The Piper/Bret spot to escape the tiger suplex and eventual cattle mutilation ruled and I liked how Bryan realized he wasn't going to be able to get the suplex again so he opted for the chickenwing to take the title. There's a lot of attention to detail here that I think add to the match if you're paying close attention but even if you're not, I still think this is an incredible match from one of the very best ever in Bryan and one of the most underrated wrestlers of the 2000s in Gibson. 2005 was a wonderful year. ****3/4
  12. BigVanCrush

    [2005-08-04-WRESTLE-1] Jun Akiyama vs Katsuyori Shibata

    I love this match. Akiyama hands Shibata maybe the single worst ass kicking of his career after Shibata busts him open with a kick. They really don't let up from the opening bell and I honestly can't think of how someone could look at the names involved and come away from this match disappointed. These two really brought the goods. ****
  13. BigVanCrush

    [2003-05-18-WWE-Judgment Day] Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (Stretcher)

    Just watched this again for the first time in a while and man, this still absolutely rules. There's pretty much no downtime at all, it's just straight up out and out hoss fighting from bell to bell. I've always liked the forklift because A.) it makes perfect sense and B.) it kinda feels like the sort of vehicular mayhem nonsense that Austin did as a babyface except actually done within a match. The Rey run-in's always kinda been weird to me, I know why they did it but it doesn't really add anything. Brock's forklift clothesline was awesome. The bodyslam onto the stretcher was awesome. The finish was awesome. Everything about this match ruled. This is one of the most overlooked and underrated matches I've ever seen. ****1/2
  14. BigVanCrush

    [2005-06-26-WWE-Vengeance] Batista vs HHH (Hell In A Cell)

    To me, this one and Brock/Taker '02 are neck-and-neck for the GOAT HIAC match. This is violent, bloody, brutal and goes long without really ever losing the crowd. Triple H is fantastic as the desperate heel champion willing to take any shortcut to get his title back. They had the nice bit of continuity with the Pedigree being Hunter's ace in the hole despite it failing him at Backlash and I liked him loading up a sledgehammer shot just as Batista dropped him with the Batista Bomb. The barbed wire chair was also something kind of unique for 2005 WWE and the steel steps bit towards the end was really good as well. Brock/Taker '02 is bloodier and is probably the more 'raw' of the two matches, but this one feels like Hunter finally figured out how to do the type of Flair bloody feud blowoff matches that he'd always tried so hard to do, especially during this timeframe. This was as close to being modern Flair as he ever got and Batista was fucking phenomenal here too. My WWE 2005 MOTY and it's really not close. ****3/4
  15. BigVanCrush

    [2014-03-22-ROH-Flyin' High] Chris Hero vs A.J. Styles

    I saw this match live and thought it was incredible and on rewatch when I got the DVD my opinion didn't change. It's probably my favorite match I've seen live just because of how electric the crowd was and because I'm a big fan of both guys. As mentioned, AJ was fantastic with his bumping and selling for Hero but Hero's offense was just incredible in this match as well. Still one of my favorite matches of 2014.