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Righteous River

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  1. The match feels chaotic, frantic, and any slight brush could totally shift the tide. The blood on everyone is an amazing, visceral image. The Dangerous Alliance were so tight and laser-focused on the attack and at points were excessively vicious and petty which is what I look for in my wrestling. The comebacks from the Squadron were so electric, and the finish is total genius. (*****)
  2. Righteous River

    Alberto del Rio

    Among the most underrated guys ever in my opinion. The Ziggler match from Payback 2013 is the best WWE match of the 2010s. He was pretty stiff and rough for a modern WWE guy, had a cool moveset, and his matches kept a really good pace with snap to the action. He was great technically and was always riveting on offense in my opinion. Specifically, focused and brutal arm-work to set up for his finish. He is at his best as a heel but his Lucha Underground run showed that he can be a great, fiery babyface and brawler. To me, it always felt like he was over-hated because of his bad booking in WWE. From a purely in-ring perspective, I think he is great at everything.
  3. Righteous River

    [1983-06-02-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Hulk Hogan

    Inoki dunking on Hogan the whole time was wild and Hogan did a great job of selling his exasperation. Inoki's technical brilliance and presence were on full display here, he is a master of telling stories with his mat sequences and even when they're basic like they were in this match, they are enthralling. The finish was the perfect culmination as Hogan's brute strength required a significant opening as he wasn't gonna outwrestle Inoki. Amazing match. (****1/2)
  4. Righteous River

    [1990-03-02-Hamada's UWF] Perro Aguayo vs Gran Hamada

    Perro Aguayo is somebody that I really am excited to dive deeper into because everything I see of him I love. He has a particular snap to his moves that hits for me. Anyway, it is very enthralling to see him beat people down which is what he largely did in this match.
  5. Righteous River

    [2007-07-29-PWG-Giant Size Annual #4] Bryan Danielson vs Necro Butcher

    This was an impromptu match, and it definitely was wrestled like two guys thrown into a den with no plan or preparation. All the action came across as very spontaneous and volatile. Case in point, the chair throwing. The blood was particularly gruesome and viscous given how early into the action it occurred. Anytime, Bryan tried to do fancy schmancy technical wrestling, Necro would just totally resist and refuse to play ball. Things like that are so exciting and what you want to see in such radical styles clashes. Necro is a victim so getting viciously obliterated is a good finish. (****1/2)
  6. This was just an insanely exciting and dramatic match. I understand that a lot of people don't like the constant cage escape attempts but I am okay with it because this isn't a hate-filled, bloody, grudge feud. It is emotional and resentful but it is still based on competition. It is about proving who is a better wrestler and finding a way to outdo your opponent and be the first to escape the cage is a form of a technical battle in its own way. Some specific moments in this match felt like a petty brotherly squabble and that is exactly the point. So I commend the decision to do something unique with this match. It was extremely long but it didn't feel it because they kept the pace brisk, there wasn't blatant downtime, and the cage escape attempts were all built to or culminated in really creative ways. I love the violent cage match brawls as much as anyone but if you're going to do this type of match, it literally can't be done any better. (****3/4)
  7. Righteous River

    Tomohiro Ishii

    Ishii is one of my least favorite wrestlers. To me, he is a guy who doesn't really bring anything interesting to the table. His "I hit you, you hit me" and fighting spirit formula is completely tiresome to me and it doesn't help that he has among the most rigid adherences to his formula of any pro wrestler that I have ever seen. No matter what someone does as a wrestler, they are always gonna do brainless strike exchanges with him and he is gonna jump up from a German and scream. Even if you strip away his stylistic idiosyncrasies which your opinion will depend completely on personal taste, I don't think he does anything worth writing home about. He is a decent striker in his younger years (which has totally wilted away as he's aged) but not exceptional. He tries to work violent matches but they come across as sanitized especially compared to his contemporaries. He isn't gonna give you anything technically. His selling is impressive at first but eventually it's clear that it is the same in every match and lost its appeal to me a long time ago. There isn't gonna be interesting or unique stories in his matches ever. It is either 50/50 "strong style" or the standard underdog template. To me, he is a guy who is generic in every way. He is just a puro CAW at his best and when you add in his tendencies that I hate, he is such a chore to watch.
  8. Righteous River

    Bret Hart

    Bret to me is a legitimate #1 contender at worst, top 3. He may be the most intelligent pro wrestler I've ever seen. His matches flow so perfectly, just a master of pacing. I think a major reason of why I never get bored watching him is because he is so skilled. For example, when he is striking, I am enthralled because of how heavy but quick his punches look. His counter wrestling is beautiful. He has creative uses of limb-work. He does it all so well. I don't really agree with the premise that he didn't brawl enough. The majority of his matches have brawling segments, his matches often go wild. Even in his more "technical" matches like vs. Owen, Mr. Perfect or the Austin Survivor Series match, there is plenty of fire, intensity, and chaotic fighting.
  9. Righteous River

    Kazuchika Okada

    I didn't think much of the rain match personally. It was the bog standard Okada/Suzuki match template with all their signature spots and sequences just with a really unique and cool atmosphere. Your mileage may vary on how much you enjoy that but I didn't really care for it.
  10. Righteous River

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    I think Fujinami's stylistic changes in the 90s are a little exaggerated. He obviously toned down his pace and bumping but he was still just as technically proficient as ever and had a lot of very mat-heavy matches as well. For me, his aging and his injuries didn't hurt the quality of his work too much either as it allowed him to tell really interesting and different stories in his matches. I believe the change in his matches during the 90s has more to do with the NJPW heavyweight style shifting towards a slower pace and becoming more strike and bomb-based than him changing as an individual wrestler.
  11. Righteous River

    Dick Togo

    Don't really have much else to add here other than he was still having amazing matches as recently as early 2020. While heading to NJPW and for some reason not getting any actual matches has seemingly completely halted the run he was having last year, his career is still so strong and he looks good everytime I see him. As things stand, he is possibly a top 10 guy for me.
  12. Righteous River

    Takuya Nomura

    I've watched a lot of Big Japan, watching on a regular basis as recently as 2020. I used to be a big fan but I soured once I really recognized what I felt was lazy repetition in the style. I don't get the sense that the things they do early in matches is particularly meaningful or a harbinger of what's to come. Sekimoto is someone who I think has on many occasions been able to create naturally progressing matches and for that reason, he is one of the guys who I like the best. You say they wrench holds early on which is a fair point but almost all aspects of technical wrestling are totally abandoned in the latter portion of matches. There is a far cry between what Hideki Suzuki was doing as Strong champion compared to what has gone on since. I don't really agree that things have been fazed out, I think they have gotten worse about it. The reliance on "you hit me, I hit you" was so draining that I dropped the promotion in the meantime. Nomura is certainly the least involved in the things I dislike about the style and it is a major part of why he is my favorite BJW wrestler. But too often, he wrestles against guys who are predisposed to those exhausting tendencies and he isn't the kind of guy who will completely shift the match away from that and as a result, he has been a part of some uninspired and poor matches himself.
  13. Righteous River

    Takuya Nomura

    I love Takuya Nomura. I think he is a top 10 overall talent in Japan today. I think with a significant amount of time or being somewhere other than BJW, he might be able to fully maximize his potential and create a special body of work but that is going to be difficult to do in BJW. I concur with Jetlag in regards to what he's working with. I personally don't enjoy the Strong Division style really much at all. I think it is stale and mostly boring, slow, dumb wrestling. But there are some great talents there are who held back by it with Takuya Nomura chief among them. As much as I enjoy him, I'm not sure that he is ascended enough to transcend the promotion and produce at the level that I know he is capable of. Hopefully he goes somewhere else one day and shows that he is one of the best.
  14. Righteous River

    Shawn Michaels

    I haven't been a huge fan for a long time but I'm coming around to the possibility of him being on my list. Revisiting a lot of his 90s run, he is mostly just a really great wrestler during that period. The match layouts are largely diverse and he is a very underrated brawler. Has a litany of fantastic No DQ matches across his run even in the 2000s. The Edge match from Raw 05 is a massive gem and one of my favorite TV matches. Unfortunately, he has some really terrible matches in the 2000s, some I'd consider among the worst matches I've ever seen. He really settled into a groove stylistically that it was hard to pull him out of. But the thing is whenever he did get pulled out of that template, he was really good.