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ohtani's jacket

DVDVR 80s Project
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  1. ohtani's jacket

    [2001-01-08-WWF-Raw] Kurt Angle vs Steve Austin

    Great TV match. These guys had some pretty clear cut chemistry. They set a new record for most suplexes in a television match but I'm sure that record was broken later on. I haven't watched RAW in more than a decade but during these days every episode needed a cliffhanger and the cliffhanger here was Austin vs. Helmsley. Even that interference was entertaining so there was no doubt that this was some quality TV.
  2. Hashimoto was such a legend. I doubt we'll see another like him. Every time he walks down the ring it sends shivers down my spine. Misawa is obviously no slouch. In his prime, he was arguably the greatest pro-wrestler of all-time. However, there is no question in my mind that Hashimoto had him beat in terms of all of the bushido shit that we talk about when it comes to Japanese wrestlers. The match-up was 4-5 years too late for Misawa so I'm not sure how I'd feel about them squaring off in their primes but 2001 Hashimoto seemed greater than 2001 Misawa in my eyes. This was a fun scrap but didn't have a ton of depth. The inter-promotional bar is set pretty high in Japan so excuse me if this didn't knock my socks off. The fact that there wasn't a pay-off makes it a bit of a "what could have been" foxhole as well. But, as I said, it was a fun scrap.
  3. This was a nice title fight. Ueda is a guy who usually leaves me cold but I respected his performance here. Junji's not really a shoot guy but Ueda allowed this to be a contest irrespective of their skill levels. Junji took the fight to Ueda and the champ was on the defensive from the get-go. The action was stiff and competitive and they never once fell back on any of the cliches of hierarchy or roles. It was pure competition the whole way through and they topped it off with a wonderful back-and-forth submission battle in the finest tradition of the flashier shoot style guys. That's not always my cup of tea but it suited this match to a tee. A top performance from Ueda and a fine under-the-radar bout to begin the year.
  4. The runaway surprise promotion of the year in 2000 is back with another beautiful hybrid match. From the looks of things, Osaka Pro was still going strong which is good to see. This Gamna fellow had a falling out with Delfin at the end of 2000 and decided to turn his back on the good guys. He debuted a new look here complete with a bitchy new valet. I'm not sure if Togo had left the scene at this point but Gamna had formed a tag team with Daioh QUALLT and that Dudley manager was nowhere to be seen. As usual, Black Buffalo was the MVP of the match. He really is a tremendously underrated glue guy. Rookie of the Year, Takehiro Murahama, was a bit player here but his interactions with Gamna sewed the seeds for a dust-up somewhere down the line. Plenty of action in this as Osaka Pro continued to hold its title as the premier juniors fed. I was surprised that he heels jobbed here but they got their heat back in the post-match and there was potential for a series of rematches, which is the goal of any good trios match. I suspect we're battling against time in terms of how long the footage ran for but it was pleasing to see Osaka Pro off to a flying start in '01.
  5. ohtani's jacket

    [2001-01-21-WWF-Royal Rumble] Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho (Ladder)

    One thing I realized while watching the 2000 footage is that these guys were a better match-up than I gave them credit for, not necessarily in terms of the matches they put on but the way they worked together in the ring. Here they are again in one of my most hated gimmicks, the ladder match. They honestly had nothing to lose in this match since I hate the gimmick so much. Matches like these are always overshadowed by Shawn vs. Razor, and while this wasn't anywhere near as iconic or great as those matches, I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The rivalry had kind of outstayed its welcome but it wasn't the two Chrises fault that the WWF kept plugging them into the same feud. Their work was good as usual and they did some creative stuff with the ladder. It wasn't an epic encounter but it was well-paced and the selling was good. Jericho was worlds better than I would have given him credit for prior to revisiting this stuff, and for my money every bit Benoit's equal. Not a great match, as I said, but these bouts were such abject disappointments to me when I first saw them that even a "very good match" like this is a huge tick in both worker's favor.
  6. This was a decent end to a one-night tournament but not a memorable match. There wasn't a single moment that stood out, not even the finishing stretch where Sasaki put Kawada away, and if you're familiar with Kawada's career you'll know that he was involved in some of the most memorable finishing stretches of all-time. The match lacked the atmosphere and electricity of their first meeting, and while they didn't rush things, they never really paused to let the magnitude of the bout sink in. The bout was competitive without being intense and hard fought without being taxing. In other words, it wasn't next level, which in most cases is what fans like me are looking for.
  7. This was decent enough for what it was. The chances of it being great were slim to none but it was interesting to see Kawada in this setting again. I thought he sold too much but in a way that illustrated the contrasting philosophies of New Japan vs. All Japan. I wasn't entirely convinced that he did enough to put Tenzan away but they would've outstayed their welcome if they'd gone any longer. Some interesting parallels to Tenryu's forays into New Japan but Kawada didn't have the charisma that Tenryu possessed which meant it wasn't as electric.
  8. Hotta's crew vs Ito's crew. This was supposed to be a frenetic, all-action match but it wasn't as exciting as you'd imagine. Ordinarily, they'd maximize the emotional conflict in a bout like this but this felt lazy. There was plenty of beef between the wrestlers but I wasn't feeling any of it. AJW is off to a bit of a rough start in '01.
  9. While I'm unlikely to ever join any revisionist school of thought about Yumiko Hotta, this was much better than I expected. Toyota brought her usual level of intensity which Hotta countered with an extremely clear and focused performance. Of course, there were all of the flaws that people usually pinpoint in Toyota matches, but they avoided the cardinal sin of wrestling (being boring.) The fact that they'd come up together and were the kind added gravity to the bout, but in all honesty, they built the match from the ground up and didn't really try too much or over-extended themselves. There was a natural style contrast, perhaps not as dramatic as Toyota vs. Kandori, but evident all the same and I really liked Hotta's use of the shotei as a similar weapon to Aja's uraken. There wasn't a huge amount at stake but they could have had a much more boring bout where they took a long tour around Korakuen and incorporated the garbage wrestling was so en vogue in 2000. I was grateful that they kept this simple and pleasantly surprised by the result.
  10. ohtani's jacket

    Billy Goelz and other 50s finds

    I found a few more Kace matches online. The first was a title defense against Jim Hady. Kace worked from underneath and showed a lot of ass, so I guess the information that the commentator gave me in the Kramer bout wasn't very reliable. Even though he worked from below, he was extremely active and left a big imprint on the bout. It was a nice minor league touring champ performance. This match was also notable for Fred Kohler appearing on camera. Finally, we got to see what the old boy looked like. Next up was a TV bout from the WWA territory. This was from the late 60s and Kace was a journeyman at this stage. He took on Blackjack Lanza in a bout that was really only notable for a young Bobby Heenan being in Lanza's corner, and boy did Bobby have amazing hair, but Kace had a firm grasp of his role and delivered a solid performance against a guy who wasn't all that sharp in the ring. The last match was a mauling from Bobo Brazil. It's not that uncommon to see Bobo dominate and give little or nothing to his opponent but I was impressed with the way Kace sold. He had a ton of cool tricks and was constantly moving and trying something. Even though Bobo wiped the canvas with him, this cemented his position as a quality performer as he managed to make Bobo's holds interesting. I knew there was a little Dick Murdoch to this guy and he proved it here.
  11. ohtani's jacket

    Giant Baba

    Giant Baba vs. Fritz Von Erich (12/19/69) Good ol' Fritz sure brings out the best in Baba. This was a nasty little fight that pitted Fritz' claw against Baba's chops to the face and throat. There wasn't a moment's peace for the referee as it threatened to get out of control right from the referee's instructions. And it was Fritz vs. Baba, so it ended with an epic claw struggle, a mad glint in Fritz' eye, and a Baba bladejob. Fritz really was the master of the DQ finish.
  12. ohtani's jacket

    Giant Baba

    Giant Baba/Antonio Inoki vs. Gene Kiniski/Johnny Valentine (2/1/72) This is indeed the Johnny Valentine show, and he's great in it as the Segunda boys said. It's actually a bit disconcerting the first time you see him in close-up as he looks so much like Greg. Valentine and Kiniski put a solid heel shift here. It was easily the best foreign heel stuff I've seen Kiniski do. He picked his spots well and didn't get in the way of Valentine. Baba and Inoki were serviceable but by no means spectacular. They were serviceable in the same way that the Misawa/Kawada tag team was serviceable against foreign heel teams in the early 90s. The bout was highlighted by Baba and Valentine going toe-to-toe but you got the impression that Baba wasn't using his size to full effect. It was as though he wanted to be treated as a normal athlete. The Japanese team could have shown a bit more fire in general, I thought. The structure was too choppy for it to a classic and it ran out of steam toward the end but that is often the case with these overly long JWA bouts that sacrifice rhythm and pacing for length. Valentine was awesome, though. A must-see if you're interested in the man.
  13. ohtani's jacket

    Billy Goelz and other 50s finds

    A new Lord James Blears match has surfaced pitting Dave Levin Blears against Tony Morelli and Angelo Cistoldi. It's a tag match so there's not much in the way of technical wrestling. Blears does a decent job as a fired up babyface brawler but that's not really a role that you want to see Blears in any more than you'd want to see Steve Regal do the same thing in 1993, to make an obvious comparison. Also uploaded recently is an interesting Antonio Rocca showcase against Brother Frank Jares. This is filmed and edited to be pretty much all Rocca but they certainly made Rocca's offense seem cool. Jares bumps for Rocca well and they ramp up the sound effects to make the hits sound nastier. Better than most Rocca bouts even if it does come across as staged. Little Beaver vs. irish Jackie is your typical midgets match. Some stooging, a bit of comedy, the occasional flurry of activity. It's tailormade for the audience and gets a good reaction. Beaver looked good when he went on the offensive. Dick the Bruiser vs. Bil Melby is a solid affair. I'm pretty convinced that early Afflis is the best possible version of Dick the Bruiser. The only thing that would convince me otherwise is if he had a really hot feud somewhere. The bout doesn't really go anywhere since the ref has to constantly break things up, but you shouldn't expect anything different from a Dick the Bruiser bout. I enjoyed Johnny Kace vs. George Kramer. Kace was a Mid-West star who reminded me of Dick Murdoch. Kramer was your average blue-eyed technician. Together they put on an enjoyable bout trying to outfox each other. From the sounds of things, Kace gave Kramer a bit more than he usually did on his television appearances. The reason I plow through this stuff is to find good workers like Kace so I enjoyed this gem. Lastly, a few clips of Ricki Starr doing his act, a worker from the 30s named Joe Savoldi, and some footage of Londos. I'm not sure if I've seen the Londos footage before (it's hard to remember which clips you've seen when it's bits and pieces of a bout), but he's one of the all-time greats as far as I'm concerned.
  14. I was kind of dreading this when I saw that the file length was 48 minutes. The last thing I want to do at this stage of my life is to watch a 50-minute LCO match. Needless to say, this didn't break any new ground. It was energetic but choppy. It didn't seem to flow very well and I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd see everything a million times before. The finish saw Maekawa and Hotta interfere, which was incredibly lame. LCO won in straight falls to reclaim their titles but it was a cheap and hollow victory. Hotta vs Ito was set up as the next big thing but it was piss poor stuff. Recommendation to avoid unless you like title matches that end with a whimper.
  15. ohtani's jacket

    [2001-01-03-AJW] Kaoru Ito vs Etsuko Mita

    Y'know, Kaoru Ito did an even better job as champion than I remember. She did nothing to discredit the belt and was able to carry on the proud lineage of the WWWA title by fulfilling the role of The Woman in AJW. I have nothing but respect for the way she carried herself during her rise to the top even if it was during a disastrous period for the company. Etsuko Mita may not have been the most credible of title contenders -- indeed, she feels like she belongs at the All-Pacific level rather than challenging for the world title -- but the pair had history through their tag team wars and the Grand Prix final and Mita is an underrated worker who deserves a bit of the spotlight every now and again. As you can imagine, this bout was built around Mita's DVDVR vs. Ito's powerbomb/foot stomp combo. There was cool shit like you'd expect, and annoying shit like you'd expect. It never reached any great heights since Ito was the new champion and on top of her game, and Mita had no chance of toppling her reign, but it was a decent way to start the new year albeit without the emotional highs of the November cage match.
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