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  1. Great match. Worked a lot on the ground but things were compelling and it showed that Kyoko could certainly hang in that area. When things intensified, it felt like the right amount of desperation, bombs and speed were thrown out. This was the kind of "heat check' match that top wrestlers in a given year generally have. I don't think this will be the best offering from either even against each other, but it was a reminder that their consistent effort was high level. **** (7.8)
  2. This had a few issues to make it fall just short of great for me. Aja comes out wrecking Korakuen which was really exciting. The match then kind of settles in before ramping up at various points. That stop/start made the match feel a bit disjointed even with the fall structure. There were other minor annoyances like Kimura absolutely splatting on a nasty dive on the floor and then being back on offense 1 minute later. The finish also took a while to set up as Bison had trouble lifting Yamada into position. When this match shined was in the flurries from Kyoko/Yamada against the big bullies. Especially when Aja showed vulnerability, the match really had a great David vs Goliath feel to it. I am unsure why the titles were vacated only for Jungle Jack to just win them back but...... booking. ***1/2
  3. 17 minutes of the first fall are clipped but this is one of the longer looks at Valentine we have. He looked pretty fantastic throughout. The match had a brutalizing style as the foreign heels tried to cut the ring off and then the finish of each fall would end in a flourish. Inoki/Baba complimented each other well and helped out showing continuity between them. With the full match, this is possibly a MOTYC for 1970. The final fall finish was predictably a lame count out with Inoki barely getting back in. The match worked to progress the upcoming Kiniski vs Baba matches but Valentine was the standout here to me just based on performance and scarcity of footage of him. ***1/2
  4. This was my first time seeing Leone and it wanted me to seek him out more. He has a good gimmick of the Italian aristocrat that also wants to teach healthy virtues to the American youth with his vitamin suckers he passes out before the match. During the match, Leone controlled the action well. He cheated with the fish hooks effectively and you got a sense of progression of his growing frustration. He also was quick to lock on his finisher and kept the action going. Varga was mainly just there to be the foil and he did a decent job but this felt like a Leone carry job. ***1/4 (6.3)
  5. Really cool footage. I agree that it was tough to distinguish at points but I believe George was the aggressor for most of the exchanges here and he looked pretty fantastic. The armbar counter in particular was really interesting to see in 1931 as it was a primitive version of a Fujiwara. This certainly made me want to seek out more George.
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    Akiyama won this for me over Villano III. I really enjoyed how Akiyama came into his own as top heel of early NOAH.
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    Austin for sure. I’m through October for the year and only contender for me would be Santo.
  8. These are the matches that makes the year worth it. 2001 has had some good stuff lately but it feels like the narratives have already been established and were waiting on something like Kobashi coming back or ROH starting to change directions. This was easily one of the top 100 matches of the year. It feels like a match that may have been viewed by double digit people. It’s a one camera show with no commentary. It feels akin to taking a long road trip and finding that great BBQ place on the side of the road that delivers. They start friendly enough although Yu Yu declines the opening handshake. Amano throughout the match goes time and time to the armbar and it looks nasty. The finish works in that it was a speed vs power battle and one side won based true on that breakdown. Post match has Amano teasing a handshake and then locking in one more armbar for the road upping the animosity. Great match. **** (8.1)
  9. One episode of the GWCW list is in the can. Just has to be edited.
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    [1985-01-25-NWA-St. Louis, MO] Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich

    Great match. I agree this is a bit greatest hits for these two but they absolutely shine together. The main thing that drew me into this match were the teases. There were multiple points that usually signify momentum changes and they held off on them here. The finish was also well done by saying Flair got lucky but him as the NWA champ, he can twist it to saying he was resourceful. ****1/4 (8.3)
  11. The day after a serious natured MSG show, the WWF crew arrives in Philly and produces this match which is a shit load of fun. The faces and heels are all cracking smiles at various points and it really feels like the type of match where everyone goes back to the hotel and pounds a case of beer afterwards. That isn't to say that people are taking it easy, they just knew the notes to hit to garner a reaction and they did so. Rose is bumping all over the place and being a pain in the ass. Fuji pops off a shockingly fast belly to belly to gain a fall on Bellamo. Muraco is in his prime run and has some more interaction with Snuka that will build later of course. Rocky fires off a great flurry of punches. Andre is using his size and laughing and kicking the shit out of the heels. A great popcorn match that could be used as a an example of the 1980-1983 era of pre-Hogan WWF and who was effective. ***1/2
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    Ric Flair

    February 83 is a good month for Flair with what we have on tape. No classics or even great matches but he works three distinctively different world title matches in three promotions. World Class vs Gordy has him as defacto face due to heat on Freebirds. Flair plays this off well as being ancillary in the whole feud. He has a demeanor of seeing there is a lot of shit going on and not wanting get directly involved. St. Louis vs Brody is a Ric vs bigger opponent template match but it goes an hour and Ric finds interesting ways to ground Brody and keep the match interesting. Florida vs Scott McGhee is most impressive. A no name challenger in the biggest match of his life. Ric plays it slow just looking for an opening and not going into deep waters against the inferior opponent. This match has no leg work by Flair and sure enough once Scott wipes out on a big charge in the corner, Ric suplexes him and wins clean.
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    [2001-07-20-JAPW] Low Ki vs Homicide

    Another great match in this feud marred by the crappy ending. Xavier has been impressive but he felt really show horned into this feud. I’m still hoping for some more long form Homicide vs Ki matches in the future as it’s still the current indie feud of the decade.
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    Jumbo Tsuruta vs Shinya Hashimoto

    In the same sentiment, couldn’t the Hashimoto is better argument part of the “changing contrary opinion” canon. That is the trapping I’ve experienced the last few days and why these arguments get very tedious very quickly. Last GWE we had a TON of critique for Flair. He’s certainly not above that but in the end what happened? Flair won the overall vote comfortably. It seems so far this go around we are hearing loud opinions from a few but will that translate out to the finished list? That remains to be seen. All of that is to say that my original argument is simply that for me, Hashimoto doesn’t have the high end matches Jumbo has. As backing to that I pointed to other data points from three sources that seem to agree. Elliott spelled out his reasoning for Hashimoto above and that’s cool and what I would like to see more of. Stuff becoming a new canon doesn’t just make it correct in a way but an expectation has to be taken into effect that the new discoveries may not translate over the entire voter base. I haven’t seen many deep dive into Dragon Gate and we had open mocking of Alan’s list that was presented at the Torch. Is that what we want this to be representative of?
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    Jumbo Tsuruta vs Shinya Hashimoto

    Yeah, of that list I agree they are all great and some reach the 4.75 level for me 1/4 tag, 8/98) but certainly not as many as Jumbo and that is where my point was centered toward. Hopefully if the consensus is Hash is better and has as much top end as Jumbo that will be reflected better in future GME lists.