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  4. Beast

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    Read through a bunch of Tom Taylor comics this month and INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US is so damn good. It's a tour through the DC Universe as a prequel to the video game of the same name (which I've never played). I guess it was initially released digitally and is collected into two huge omnibuses. Joker changes Superman's life irrevocably and he decides to end war, which slowly devolves into him becoming a benevolent dictator. Batman opposes, and all heroes and villains either choose sides or get caught in the crossfire. Each year is represented by 12 issues, and year two introduces the Green Lantern Corps into the fray, while year three focuses on John Constantine and DC's magic characters. I haven't read years four or five yet as Taylor steps down as the main author, but I will soon. He returns for INJUSTICE 2 anyways, so I'm curious enough to keep going and it's likely I'll eventually pick up a copy of the video game. I read a review that said this series (though not in the main DC continuity) featured all-time character moments for figures like Dr. Fate, Green Arrow and Harley Quinn, and that's absolutely true. Although it's the modern equivalent of an "Elseworlds" series, it rarely feels like fan fiction and the stakes feel truly real. Things are allowed to happen that would never fly in the main comics and it can be a brutally emotional read (although still full of humor and levity at times). I also read DCEASED and it's followups which are stellar alternate reality stories in themselves (DC version of MARVEL ZOMBIES). Taylor's NIGHTWING deserves all the praise it's gotten, but it's clear his bread and butter are these continuity free deep dives. I haven't read MARVEL DARK AGES or DARK KNIGHTS OF STEEL, but I look forward to checking them out.
  5. I can't think of too many other times that a match lost a crowd and the crowd was blamed instead of the wrestlers on here. As garretta said above, there may have been ways for these 5 to win the crowd over, but they stuck with whatever they had planned and it fell flat. Maybe if I watched this with the sound off I'd have enjoyed it more, but this IS uncomfortably awkward as is. I felt bad for all involved as they were clearly busting their asses, but again, why is it the crowd's fault for not caring? Now, this match shouldn't have been presented on PPV without a solid buildup and especially not in the middle of a card that was already suffering from lack of depth (meaning each match was 5-10 minutes too long throughout the night), but it didn't seem like there was even one moment that Morton, Gibson, Prichard, Del Ray and Cornette turned off the autopilot to reconsider what was happening and pivot towards a more successful match. To my ears it seemed like Del Ray's "gigolo" gyrating got a reaction, but it was brief and then back to spot, spot, spot; exactly what Cornette complains about today. ** feels more right than *** or **** and that's for the moves themselves more than anything else. I just don't understand why this match gets a pass when it's almost 15 minutes of talented guys failing to do what they needed to to win over a new crowd.
  6. Beast

    Comments that don't warrant a thread - Part 4

    Watching the first Superstars/Challenge in late '86, they are pushing Graham's return (with promos talking about eating tarantulas and such). Of course he got injured immediately, was gone for a year, came back briefly and then transitioned to commentary, but how crazy would it have been if he had a solid run in that period? He's challenging Savage in the latest clip I saw, so imagine him facing Savage, Race, Roberts, Kamala, Hercules, etc... at MSG/Boston/Spectrum in that phase of his career. Probably would have been like the never-ending Savage/Animal series of matches, only without Steele's built-in gimmick gaga to keep it entertaining enough.
  7. Really enjoyed this. My first Strickland match and he impressed. The commentary by Excalibur and Kevin Kelly sold the story of Strickland being done in by his need to try and beat Sabre at his own game, but Sabre patiently waiting for Strickland to make a mistake. It was a slower pace than the previous matches on the SuperShow, helping it stand out in a positive way for me. Biggest criticism I can give is that some of the holds, while looking effectively painful, required the opponent's cooperation in getting set up, but Sabre and Strickland were so great at telling their overall story that it didn't matter in the end.
  8. Absolutely fantastic. Similar story and ending as the preceding Philly match, but the body of the match is completely different. I love how they take the layout of the initial Championship Wrestling heel turn match and replace Bruno's hesitancy and care towards Larry with rage and competitiveness. It makes what could have been stretches of "rest holds" into something much more meaningful and entertaining. Plus both guys really play into the brutality and power of the stuff Bruno throws at Larry. Love, love, love how Larry is able to take control by brawling. Bruno seems so focused on cranking on the holds he refused to lay into for their first exhibition and Larry knows the only way he has a chance is to beat Bruno down with kicks and punches and cheap stuff. And the ending is magnificent. They end up outside where Larry slams Bruno's head into the mat (with an awesome sell job by Bruno) and then keeps beating on him as he comes back in. Eventually Bruno starts to "Bruno up" and Larry tries to recreate the circumstances of his control segment by running outside, letting Bruno follow and cheapshotting him again as he comes in. Repeat a few more times until Bruno finally catches Larry before he can leave the ring and starts his own beatdown. Unfortunately Larry gets his foot caught in the ropes and as Dick Kroll tries to separate them, he gets inadvertently shoved down leading to a DQ win for Larry. Perfect storytelling, especially to continue the feud for more MSG shows. Bruno gets a measure of revenge, but Larry sneaks away with the victory and the fans want to see him get his shoulders pinned so they'll keep coming out for this.
  9. Good stuff; lots of interesting pieces that kept me involved over the 25 minutes. The holds get more and more intricate and painful looking, and the high spots are placed well. This was one of the first tag matches I've seen where the tag outs genuinely feel strategic, in that the guy in control knows his partner is more rested so he may as well switch out. Every moment feels earned. Lots of big spots throughout, with the highlight being Dean dropkicking both Bulldogs over the top while Davey was about to press slam Dynamite onto Joe.
  10. Beast

    [1982-01-01-NJPW] Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid

    Love this as a sequel to the first match almost a year earlier. Dynamite has had months to watch Sayama stay undefeated (I assume), and the rematch has real stakes with the vacant WWF Junior Heavyweight Title on the line. Dynamite comes out aggressive from the bell, Sayama matches him and it looks like it'll be a repeat of 4/23, only for Dynamite to switch gears and viciously attack the knee. So we get a slower more methodical match, but it makes total sense for Dynamite to try this game plan out. And it actually works, with Dynamite somewhat quickly hitting Sayama with an awesome looking cradle piledriver and far reaching flying headbutt, only to then stop the count himself at two to repeat. So Dynamite succeeds, but wants to really hammer home his superiority which ends up being his downfall as Sayama moves out of the way of Headbutt #2. Dynamite regains control with a Figure 4 but once Sayama reaches the ropes it's all over. Dynamite tries to put it on again but is repeatedly kicked off. Both men back to their feet, Sayama stops selling the knee as much, but lets call it adrenaline as he leaps over a charging Dynamite in the corner, grabs him in a rollup (with all of own weight on top of Dynamite's legs) and gets the victory. This truly feels like it's playing off at least the dynamic set up from the first match, with Dynamite trying new things and Sayama being prevented from hitting the same types of moves as the first time. I'm very intrigued to see how Dynamite reacts to his own hubris costing him both the rematch and a title.
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  12. My first exposure to this series, and I wasn't aware until after watching it that this was literally Sayama's debut as the Tiger Mask character in NJPW. Great, easy to follow story. Dynamite is wary of the fast paced kicks of Tiger Mask, and even when he's able to catch one, Tiger Mask still turns it into an enziguri. Dynamite tries to match Tiger Mask move for move, until switching game plans and going more aggressive. He clamps on some holds and eventually tries to tear off the titular mask. He lays in some clubbering blows, but Tiger Mask is always able to bounce back. Dug the nice selling of Mask's knee after getting out of a leg hold. A couple mistimed spots, but that's easy to forgive considering this must have been Sayama's first time under the mask, as well as against Dynamite. The ending sequence is spiffy, with Dynamite missing the headbutt, Mask throws him outside, Dynamite takes control and tries to bring Mask back in with a suplex which is reversed into one of the better German's I've ever seen. Mask gets the win, but Dynamite recovers and throws another kick. Mask responds in kind before the ref breaks it up and declares Mask the winner. Left me wanting more, especially to see if and how their feud evolves. A good taster of what was to come I imagine. Will especially be interested to see if Dynamite becomes more and more aggressive as he becomes more familiar with Tiger Mask.
  13. Just signed up for the VIP audio at the Torch. Can anyone point me to any podcasts/episodes/interviews that should go to the top of my listening list?
  14. Beast

    Comic books and Manga Thread

    First half/book set up an intriguing setting and story, but the second part is the epitome of the modern decompression trend. Everything grinds to a halt, and literally 5 issues are all about Cap attacking Zola's base, with page after page of different variants of the same ideas spouted over and over. It's the type of story that could have been done in 2-3 issues years ago. JRJ's art is always worth looking at, but Remender's purple prose had me skimming large chunks by the time Cap and Jet Black went back and forth about guilt and being good for the fifth time. The second half eschews the '30s flashbacks as well, which I think went a long way in masking the pacing issues in the first half.Without them it's a very basic and straightforward story which loses its momentum as it drags on and on. Fantastic idea, mediocre execution in my opinion. Love that it was able to be made and released though. Give me an attempt at something unique rather than same old same old any time.
  15. Beast

    Unboxing the 80s

    I've watched all the early Honky stuff and I'm still not convinced it wasn't planned from the start that he'd be a heel and everything leading up to the vote and his official turn wasn't just part of the storyline. But if everyone involved claims otherwise, I guess it's just amazing luck.