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Makai Club #1

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    Makai #6

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  1. It’s quite magnificent, really. El Satanico is not only one of the greatest rudos in history (this includes outside of Mexico, too) but he also showed that he is tremendous in the tecnico role as well. Obviously it’s easy to come across as a great ace if the booking allows it - and I’d certainly say that allowing your partner to escape when you had the chance, taking the responsibility of potentially losing your hair is definitely one of those things - but the drama and emotion that he emits really adds conviction to the booking angles in the match and the overall storytelling. The match plays wonderfully. Los Guerreros del Infierno attacked early on, using the 4 on 3 advantage to overwhelm their opponents and control the bout. Their teamwork is great and allows for a really hot start. Los Infernales makes a comeback but it is always knocked back down to the defensive. However, the rudos are scumbags at heart. The first chance they get, they descend into selfish actions with Tarzan Boy and Rey Bucanero deciding to flee and escape the cage, all while leaving their teammates to a 3 on 2 disadvantage. Then comes the other pivotal moment in the match where Satanico is making his escape before looking back at Averno and seeing him struggle to hold Magica, who is climbing the cage, then deciding to help Averno out and taking responsibility. Thus we have the final two in the Apuestas match - Mascara Magica and El Satánico. This is where Satanico shined with his performance. It felt like a really important moment in his long career and one last gasp on keeping that. And the crowd pop that erupted from Arena Mexico when he got the 3 off the figure four pin was just amazing. ****1/2
  2. From what I could tell, that's pretty much the same thing to Bret.
  3. The finish to this match was awesome. Abe, without breaking motion, was able to reverse Iwamoto’s Kokou no Geijutsu attempt and lock in a crucifix cradle for the three count. Exactly the type of thing you'd expect from this match - lots of nifty counters out of dangerous predicaments. The Astronauts showed good tag chemistry, stringing together a few good double team offensive moves. There was a running bit where they'd do a double team move and end it with either Nomura or Abe kicking Hidaka, who is left flat footed, off the apron. Hidaka at 48 is still as fast as ever, being able to keep up and evade Abe’s attempts early in the match. He is truly blessed with eternal youth. We got some good exchanges from Iwamoto and Nomura as well. Nomura was trying to be his usual dismissive self but Iwamoto wasn't having it and laid in a few hard elbows for good measure. Good match. The eventual Abe/Iwamoto sounds promising. I'll definitely seek that out. ***1/4
  4. Bryan is indeed talented and an excellent wrestler. Extremely consistent for almost all of his active years whether it's making the best out of Gabe's fascination with NWA World Title matches or WWE's "we don't want to actually push you to this point but we have to". But his matches don't ever give me the feeling of the investment that Bret Hart matches can. And I say this a someone who grew up watching Daniel Bryan (I was like 10 when I first knew who Daniel Bryan was). And investment is always going to top out for me. There is no real argument against either though. Both are quality wrestlers and it simply comes down to who do you prefer. And to me, Bret is the one I prefer.
  5. Makai Club #1

    [1992-07-16-RINGS] Volk Han vs Andrei Kopylov

    There is nothing better than when two Sambo experts face off against each other. This was filled with tremendous grappling exchanges that almost always came off in a stalemate due to how well matched they are. Han would have the striking advantage but he’s not a killer striker so it’s not a massive edge, although it does earn Han a few Downs. My favourite part of the match was when Kopylov and Han were tangled in each other’s legs in the middle of the ring, leading the ref to call for the break causing an outbreak of applause and chuckles. Kopylov getting the submission win was very surprising, too. Great victory. ****
  6. Out of all their matches, this gets forgotten about (despite the back injury that HBK occurs early on) but it's a very good edition. It's better than the Ground Zero match for sure. Shawn Michaels looks fairly strong in this being the aggressive and most controlling out of the two. I suspect it was a decision to make Michaels look like a resilient, worthy champion for Austin to the new influx of fans that are tuning because its usually the opposite. But he did a fine job. He kept his offence to hard punches to the head and stomach while using the aerial moves sparingly. And when Taker gained back control, Michaels pin-ball’d himself around the ring. Sometimes it was over the top but it was reserved mostly. Then the finish with Kane attacking Taker after initially helping him from goons (The New Age Outlaws & Los Boricuas) and then setting the casket on fire. Super good main event with a strong finishing angle. ***1/2
  7. Makai Club #1

    [1998-01-18-WWF-Royal Rumble] Royal Rumble

    While short of much depth and star power, this turned out to be a fun and pretty memorable Rumble. Terry Funk delivers a very underrated Rumble performance with his evasive ways of staying in the match, plus a strong opening stretch with Foley and Rock who have great showings of their own. The later story of Stone Cold attacks everyone was interesting and made Austin look like the biggest star of the match (he was). Exciting Rumble. Such a blast. ***1/2
  8. Makai Club #1

    [1998-01-18-WWF-Royal Rumble] Goldust vs Vader

    A fine opening match. There was a lot of decent wrestling. Goldust has some decent evasive offence to avoid Vader trying to clatter into him so there was a lot of urgency. The crowd was hot for the action as well. Luna’s interference was minimal and made for a tremendous finish where she got on Vader’s back when he hit the VaderBomb. **1/2
  9. Makai Club #1

    [2020-01-26-WWE-Royal Rumble] Daniel Bryan vs The Fiend

    I didn't really get the hype around this. It was a Fiend match that wasn't the worst match of the year so it was better than expected but I don't see a quality match in this other than that. The match was essentially a boring beatdown followed up a fun comeback. And I think the Survivor Series match followed that formula much better than this. There isn't much flaws to pick out as it's not a terrible match, rather an unexciting one. Bryan getting a slightly average match out of a terrible wrestler is cause for praise but the match itself doesn't warrant it, imo.
  10. Makai Club #1

    [1972-02-12-Joint Promotions] Adrian Street vs Jim Breaks

    Adrian Street is known for having a rather effeminate gimmick designed to get a rise out of his opponent (or sometimes the crowd depending on where he was). And that character was on display for sure. The 1700s dress, the prancing/skipping around and the glamorous way Street let the ref touch him down for weapons, extending his legs in an exaggerated way. Breaks would bite at his antics by screaming at him in his typical cry-baby ways, and it was always great when that happened. Street would get a kick out of the rise himself which would make it better. The match wasn’t just Street getting his gimmick over however. The match was focused around serious grappling that was both rough and snug. There were a lot of violent holds that could’ve easily snapped a hand if they weren’t careful. Breaks is no-nonsense unlike Street so most of that was initiated from him but Street was a match for him technique wise and was able to rough it up just as much. Any time Breaks would look to break Street’s wrist, Street would reverse it and lock on a bone crunching hold in return. Breaks was the de facto face, I think, but he was still a real cunt, snapping at Street’s arm after one of the rounds had ended. Street would get some revenge in the next round by ripping at Breaks’ mouth and nose whilst he had Breaks in a side headlock. The match was full of little things like that. I loved Jim Breaks getting a submission (British rules needs two sub wins to win the match or one pin overall) off a Jim Breaks special (lifts opponent by the wrist) and then says to Street “If you can’t carry on, get out!”. It’s so awesome. The final round was tremendous too. Street needed to win that round to cause a draw, so he increases the intensity and urgency of his wrestling, overwhelms Breaks and stomps on his arm while he’s on the floor. One great final flurry from Street before he got the submission win via the Double-Arm Chicken Wing. The match is declared a draw but what a great match it was. Terrific bout. ****1/2
  11. Outstanding match. I admittedly have gotten a little jaded from Misawa in the past few months in this timeline but this was a tremendous effort that quickly reminded me how fantastic Misawa is and what he brings to the table. And it’s not just an incredible comeback - which this match has (And oh boy, does it have it!) - it’s the ability to create an intense, epic atmosphere, drawing everyone in to what he (and what his opponent) is doing. This is Taue’s finest hour as a singles wrestler (maybe not, I’ll see down the line) but Misawa smoked him in performance despite bringing what is also a great performance. Taue kicked Misawa’s ass with all his new, excellently built up new moves while trying to avoid Misawa’s deadly elbows as much as he could. I loved the opening sequence with Misawa blocking the Snake Eyes attempt, returning with an elbow which Taue blocked. 10 seconds of wrestling that set up the match story superbly. The match’s drama was superbly built until the crowd was rocking (along with the hard camera). The reaction for Taue hitting Nodowa was insane. Any attempt by Taue was met with a rise in the crowd and it was only matched by Misawa’s attempts to escape that fate until it inevitably came. Taue’s selling for Misawa’s epic comeback surge was tremendous. The more Misawa popped off his elbow strikes, the more devastating the effect they’d get. First just rocking Tuae. Then Taue would fall to his knee before Misawa floored him and essentially won the match for himself with a wicked elbow strike that included a pin-point rolling elbow. Well deserving of its reputation. ****3/4
  12. Makai Club #1

    [1988-08-13-UWF] Nobuhiko Takada vs Kazuo Yamazaki

    This was awesome. Yamazaki was very game for all the strike exchanges. He put so much fire and energy in his offence that it was easy to rally behind him as the underdog. Takada was calm and cool as usual, zeroing in on Yamazaki’s leg, kicking the absolute shit out of the thigh before shooting in for various submission holds. Yamazaki’s selling is excellent as well. His audible screams are perfect for the setting and he made a big effort to escape the holds, further putting the danger of them over. Yamazaki even sells well when he makes his big comeback to win the match by selling his exhaustion and pain after hitting his moves. The struggle for the German suplex was just superb with Yamazaki headbutting Takada in the back of the head while he was fighting to break the grip before launching him. And the final headkick before the pin was just sick. Awesome win for Yamazaki. ****
  13. These two go at each other once again after previously going to a 30 minute draw at the Starting Over Vol.2 event. There is more of the same again - careful, deliberate, both waiting for openings and defending nicely on the mat. Nakano uses his weight brilliantly to add more pressure to Miyato when he takes the back and Miyato is light on his feet to gain some ground of his own. The little spurts where they go back and forth with kicks and slaps is great and adds a little more excitement to the bouts mixed in with the grappling. They escalate nicely as the 15 minute time lapses over, throwing in more dynamic sequences and more big throws. Miyato threw a killer spinning sole kick to the hips of Nakano, almost drawing a 10 count which Nakano then followed it up with a capture suplex once he recovered. One of my favourite moments of the match was Miyato catching Nakano with a high kick and going for a belly to bell but Nakano counted with a nasty headbutt that split Miyato wide open at the eye. Gruesome. Miyato was able to recover and cinched in a deep single leg, getting the victory. Awesome follow up to their other match. ***3/4
  14. Makai Club #1

    [1988-06-11-UWF] Akira Maeda vs Nobuhiko Takada

    I would definitely agree with the sentiments that this is more of a New Japan style match. Which makes sense since they have to reform the in-house style early one. What works, what doesn’t, what has to go, etc. But a great match is a great match so the fans adore it anyway. I loved how both men came across. Akira Maeda felt like the ace, and was presented as the ace. Maeda was the boss. He is no longer the young man that got put in the spotlight after Inoki didn’t join in the first UWF, he is the guy. His assertiveness in the match was great. Takada was super good as the opponent but he was just a step below Maeda and had to constantly follow his lead to keep up. Maeda threw in some great counters and suplexes like his beautiful capture suplex counter to a Takada bodykick. Takada is one of the better shoot-style underdogs there ever is and he’s pretty much that in this match. Like I said already, Maeda was the top dog so Takada was the weak link, who made the best of it. Takada made his moments on top count and hit some super suplexes and strikes that put Maeda in danger. Loved the drama of the match and how it built as the match progressed. The fans surging the ring after Maeda won with the chicken wing was awesome too. ****1/2
  15. “My Eye”. Bloody hell, this was a very gross match by the end. Lawler bloodies Funk’s eye up badly and Funk’s panicked squealing made the finish very uncomfortable and disturbing to watch. Funk desperately calling for the Doctor and Lance Russell (aw) was horrifying but the perfect finish to an incredible match. I never realised just how big the Mid-South Coliseum was until the lights go on and you see a sea of seats. And they made great use of the space, brawling in the crowd seats, using the empty chairs to their advantage. I loved the contrasted tempo of emotions from the two. Funk starts off the match with Lance Russel blowing his lid, itching to face Lawler who came out calm and focused. And the match was the same. The brawling was erratic and aggressive but Lawler was able to calm the storm and use that to win the match. Funk’s trash talking was awesome (yet another good use of the empty arena setting). ****1/2