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Vinnie B

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  1. This was much more like it. There were momentum shifts, there was blood and hate, the strikes look great and they build to some great spots. Hurricanrana off the cage was a highlight. A reverse hurricanrana looks great, but does not get the same kind of reaction it would in 2018, which I actually appreciate. It's a cool move, but it can look awkward and should not be a 1-hit kill. Cabana was the ultimate dumb face, climbing the cage when he could have walked out the door, but at least he pays for it. Finish was great, as Aries runs and dives out the door before Colt can climb down. Cabana's best ever match? ****
  2. They have a great, intense brawl through the crowd to begin, really laying it in. The camera cuts and I'm not sure exactly what happened. The kayfabe reason was the intensity of the brawl escalated and Julius Smokes cut the camera, but I get the feeling it got a bit rough and the crowd got too involved so they had to stop. Anyway, they come back to the ring for a more standard submission match. My main issue was that none of the submissions carried much drama. Even Danielson tapping out (which would seem huge now) was rather flat. I mean, it's executed very well and is still a good match, but I think they have much better in them. *** 1/2
  3. Nigel's spiky hair is SO 2005. This is essentially worked as a (very) competitive squash, as Joe does a lot of demolishing. Even when Nigel is in control, he never actually looks like a threat to Joe. Given where both were in the company hierarchy, that was how it should go down. Finish is really fun as Joe just goes nuts, knees Nigel in the head a few times and chokes him out. *** 1/2
  4. 4 corner survival with the winner of the first fall getting a pure title shot. The other two then battle for a world title shot. So a weird stip, but it creates some interesting dynamics around who wants want shot and how that affects breaking up pins etc. I'm not sure time has been kind to Colt Cabana, he just seems...worse than a lot of other workers in the company. Joe looks absolutely great killing people. The first part of the match with all four men is great. It goes into decline with just McGuiness and Shelley, but is still alright. Finish comes out of nowhere really. Fun match. *** 3/4
  5. Odd to see a post-Mania crowd act...normal. This was a very smart, very snug match. Benoit, with an injured arm and stitched up eye, gets taken apart by Edge. As soon as he notices Benoit is really selling his arm, he focuses on the body part throughout almost the entire match, never really deviating. Benoit can't put the crossface on properly because of it, and his repeated attempts to put it on play into the match. Benoit's chops really aren't that good, which is a shame because that's some of the only offense he can convincingly do in this match. It would have made more sense for Edge to win given his MITB win and his cerebral character, rather than a Benoit roll-up, but it gave a basis to the post-match attack and return match. I'm looking forward to that. A really basic match executed very well. *** 3/4
  6. I've seen some people hate this, but I thought it was awesome for the most part. I am certainly a sucker for elimination tags (Survivor Series is my favourite PPV). It is certainly far, far too long, but for the most part it's great. The pace never really lets up, things do look like they have purpose, and there's never too much move spamming or repetition (with the exception of Marujufi's superkick and Sugiura's spear). SUWA was great and I'm looking forward to his match against KENTA. The beatdowns of Suzuki and Hashi that make up the meat of the match are really fun. I never know why Ricky Marvin didn't make it in the US as he's an absolutely great Jr Heavyweight. This does certainly start to drag after the 35 minute mark, but KENTA and Sugiura do some cool stuff in the finish to pick it back up. I think any complaint you could make about this match would probably be valid, and you would be entirely justified not wanting to spend nearly 50 minutes watching this, but I had a lot of fun. I'd much rather watch this overly-long, masturbatory nonsense that 2018 NJPW's overly-long masturbatory nonsense. **** 1/4
  7. I really couldn't tell who was tecnico and who was rudo throughout this. Both wrestled pretty similar styles, and I couldn't hear if the crowd were chanting 'Wagner' or 'Shocker'. I'll put it down to my own stupidity. This excelled in delivering some really slick and impressive power spots - suplexes to the outside, powerbombs, general feats of strength. It made a nice change of pace, but lacked the excitement of Mistico matches. Good but not great, for me. *** 1/2
  8. I always thought Edge's heel run sucked until the Lita/Matt Hardy and Rated-R stuff, and this supports that view: the crowd goes mild. Holy shit Michaels bleeds a gusher. Not quite Eddie vs. JBL levels, but not far off. There's a lot of botches at the beginning, which I don't usually care about but it really disrupted the flow of the match, but it get a lot better and more dramatic. They move quite slowly, just going between big spots without much in between. Yet it actually makes quite a refreshing change of pace - there's no big nearfalls until the finish, and most of the spots make sense, especially Michaels throwing a ladder at Edge's head. He also clobbers Edge with a ridiculously hard chairshot to the head. Very much a product of its' time, but a pretty enjoyable one. *** 3/4
  9. They blow their load early with some bombs and brawling. Whether they were gassed after that, or the just didn't have a lot of ideas, they trundle along without doing much for the next 20 minutes. Still, they do a few interesting things in this time to keep my attention. I love spots on the ramp, but my word, going out just for a move on the ramp five times is a bit too much. They come back firing for the finish, with Kobashi unloading but unable to put the challenger away, followed by some heavy powerbombs and slams dropping Kobashi on his head. Your mileage may vary on this match, and it probably wasn't the way to end Kobashi's epic run, but it was pretty good. ****
  10. There seems to be a pattern with the ROH matches throughout the early/mid 2000s - it's all really good action, but it lacks a compelling narrative. There aren't momentum changes in this match, or even much of a discernible story, just two guys going back and forth with moves. They are really good moves, and it's a crisp match. You don't feel Cabana is ever actually going to win the title, and the 'brainbuster' on the outside which finishes Colt off actually looks like a rather soft suplex. I've probably been a lot more negative about this match, it IS very good, but the lack of character and story can become quite frustrating with ROH. *** 1/2
  11. B+ for effort and effectiveness for these guys, and another good Korakuen 6-man from NOAH. Marufuji is a highlight acting like a massive dick. This builds the upcoming Kobashi/Rikio match pretty well, with the pair brawling around Korakuen several times. This picks up quite a bit at the end, with Kobashi and Rikio throwing bombs. A fun match without really escalating to the heights of the best NOAH output from 2005. *** 1/2
  12. This was an absolute breeze to watch. They overcame some botched spots and awkwardness at the beginning to deliver some really fun, if contrived sequences. Dorado's crash and burn looked nasty, and the following hurricanrana was awesome. Not sure if face interference at the end really fit the story of the match, but I really enjoyed this. *** 3/4 - ****
  13. This was probably the stiffest NOAH match there's been so far in 2005. Tenryu's strikes on Shiozaki were brutal. I've never seen so much blood from someone's chest before, even if Tenryu did blade. It looked like they mugged an old man. Lacked some of the fluidity and exciting near-falls of other NOAH matches, but that would certainly be seen by some as a net positive. I've said I'm a NOAH mark, but they just seem head-and-shoulders above the rest in 2005. ****
  14. Another really fun match. They fly around, they hit hard (KENTA absolutely murders Sugiura with some strikes and he's out cold on outside for about 5+ minutes), they entertain. SUWA is the best bit of the match, and a flying elbow drop to the balls is a new one on me. Not a terrific finish but puts over SUWA. I'm certainly having fun going back through NOAH in 2005, but what's not to love? *** 1/2
  15. 12 year old me watching Wrestlemania 21 thought this was the best non-gimmick match I'd ever seen. I've never got around to rewatching it, and obviously my tastes change. But it was the the next chronological match for me, and I've been wanting to watch a WWE Main Event style match today, so here goes: - The opening portions are good enough. A bit of a stretch that Michaels could turn the tables and outwrestle Kurt, but I'm here to suspend disbelief, I guess - The outside stuff is ok, the Angle slam into the post looked cool at first, but on the replay, not so good. - I think this has an edge on a lot of WWE main event matches because it's less finisher-spamming, more counters of finishers spamming. They got some creative ones, and they did so many, I felt they sort of earned a video game kick-out fest. - Shawn saves a top rope fall and hits a pretty cool crossbody on the outside - Crowd seem pretty split, actually - I had some fun with the cinematic points - Kurt pulling the straps back up only to pull them down again was good, as was the shouting in superkick - There was a lot of lying around in the match, but towards the end it does feel like they're milking the drama - Way too many Angle slams and Ankle locks given by Kurt. I guess that was the way it was going to have to happen to put Shawn out. - I have so many childhood memories of Kurt making my favourites tap to the ankle lock. I don't love Kurt, but getting the most drama out of that submission was certainly his best feature. This is the pinnacle of this, with it coming from Shawn trying to get up, and the escape attempts. No doubt it went on far too long though. This match was just what I needed. I don't think it was a top-tier WWE match, but definitely the next tier down. I'm beginning to think star ratings are not working in the context of me reviewing 2005 matches, with a mixture of nostalgia and appreciation for certain elements lost in 2017. I think this is either the highest 4 1/4 match I've seen or the lowest 4 1/2. It doesn't really matter, I was gripped and had a blast, but I would fully appreciate where people could find this match frustrating, or just plain dislike it.
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