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Ditch

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  1. DEADLINE: 11:59PM EST, December 31st, 2014 THE FILE: http://theditch.biz/BestOf2000s_Japan.xls (updated August 16th) This has pretty much everything: matchlist, download/viewing links, voting instructions, etc. Feel free to share the link wherever. You input your ranks in the file and mail it back. BACKGROUND: Over at DVDVR, there was a really good year-end vote to cover 2006. I ran it for 2007, then decided to cover the rest of the decade and try to find any hidden gems people had missed. There was so much footage because indies could afford to tape and Samurai TV offered tons of airtime, and I wanted to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. I'm confident that every legit MOTYC is on there. THE MATCHES: There are 326 matches eligible. That is a lot to get through. I don't expect people to watch everything, which is why I've highlighted the top vote-getters from the annual votes. Realistically, nothing that isn't highlighted will place in the top 20 here. You can do a top 50 or a top 100 based on how much time you want to put in. Every style and probably every relevant promotion is represented. All the famous matches are in there, plus a lot that YOU haven't seen but really should. I won't promise you'll enjoy everything; I certainly don't. But there will be something for anyone with even the remotest interest in puroresu. I encourage people to ask questions about the matches (ie. background), offer their thoughts as they go through, etc, in the thread in order to keep it somewhat active through the next 365 days. Any minor suggestions about improving the excel file are also welcome.
  2. Ditch

    Best of Japan 2000-2009 vote

    Debating whether to extend the deadline. Wondering if anyone would need it at this point.
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  4. Ditch

    Spotfests - Pros and Cons

    'Holds up with time' matters in the context of saying how highly to rate something. A MOTYC that falls apart the next day isn't really a MOTYC. Plus, an especially mindless spotfest will tend to desensitize the audience and be harder to follow, both for those later on the card and future cards.
  5. Just re-watched this and really enjoyed it. I thought the story of Kobashi controlling and refusing to 'accept' a Misawa control segment in return was really well done. He just kept coming back, and after getting a couple nearfalls in, he was able to block Misawa's attempts at even the low-end bombs. Plus we get Kobashi busting out a huge suplex post-moonsault and a 'rare' finisher to put this over the top. Soooo much better than the title match in October.
  6. Ditch

    Spotfests - Pros and Cons

    The issue with spotfests is that they are most prone to being massively overrated compared to other styles. Something a bit more restrained and coherent, like a focused technical match or a hate-fueled brawl, is more likely to hold up. A spotfest *can* hold up, but many don't. Ibushi/Ishimori referenced above is an example of one that I dislike because the overriding goal of Get Everything In forces logical selling to take a back seat. We get to see their respective movesets plenty over the course of a year, and it would have been a nice change of pace if Ibushi had been hampered by the limb work rather than working it like all his other 50/50 juniors spotfests. But because they Got Everything In, bam, MOTYC for a bunch of people. Summer popcorn action movies can be fun. Sadly, too often it seems like the goal is a set number of CGI effects to wow the overseas audiences to whom such things are still relatively novel. I had a blast watching The Avengers and other surrounding Marvel movies, even though none of them are powerhouses of plot or characterization. On the other had is dreck like the GI Joe and Transformers movies, which manage to make '80s toy infomercial cartoons look like masterpieces. Yet the latter still rake in hundreds of millions in ticket sales by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Same principle as spotfests: they attract a lot of attention but often overshadow much better efforts.
  7. Ditch

    Best of Japan 2000-2009 vote

    Jerry, check out the first post for details.
  8. Ditch

    Best of Japan 2000-2009 vote

    All of those were brought up in the year-by-year votes but couldn't get enough traction.
  9. Ditch

    Volk Han

    I rate consistency high, but I also give bonus points for those who toured. If you wrestle once a month, you can go balls-to-the-wall with no worry, which means you should be held to a higher standard. I think that's a knock on Takada being top-tier. For Han, the insanely high batting average is somewhat necessary to get him considered as one of the best ever, since he had under 100 matches. But he DOES have that batting average! Even more so when he has a remotely game opponent.
  10. Ditch

    Bam Bam Bigelow

    Most wrestling fans in 2014 have no idea about Bigelow. There was probably a substantial portion of Monday Night War-era fans who weren't especially familiar with him. Bigelow's supporters are going to tend to be people who are at least *somewhat* hardcore; they understand what workrate is and know Bigelow has brought the goods at times. Yet I don't think he's going to get much consideration from those of us who have gradually been absorbing more and more wrestling content, spanning decades and continents. In the early 2000s it was sooooo much harder to see everything compared to now. VHS tapes were more expensive than DVDs; online footage was scarce and cruddy. It was a lot easier to make the case for Bigelow as top 100 all-time in the mid-2000s. It isn't now. When I say "PWO is all about scrutiny", I damn sure am not referring to groupthink. The SC poll had virtually everyone voting Jumbo #1 and Kawada #2; no way will we see that kind of uniformity here. Depending on how many people would participate, I bet easily 100 wrestlers would get into someone's top 10 today. 'Scrutiny' is about challenging statements and opinions that might not hold up, trying to be as objective as possible in a very subjective area. Drawing from the '80s footage, the yearbooks, random online videos, and the stuff that "everyone" has seen. As much as anything it isn't saying that Bigelow sucked and his matches were crap. It's saying that now we have a good sense of other wrestlers who were better, but their work wasn't as widely shared/seen. For example, Bigelow placed ahead of Yatsu, Tajiri, Blackwell, and Ikeda who are all mortal locks to finish well ahead of Bigelow this time around. Tajiri just flat out should have been higher in 2006 and I'm not sure why he didn't do better, but for the other three exposure is the #1 factor. But hell, I can see Bigelow over Ikeda for some; Ikeda was middling in NOAH and Battlarts style isn't for everyone. Lucha isn't my cup of tea; those guys get screwed when someone like me is weighing in. Ideally, individual quirks like that balance out. I think it's easy to find 100 wrestlers better than Bigelow, based on reasonably objective standards. It takes more to make a top 100 case than it used to, rather than Bigelow's merits being lower in absolute terms. Sorry if I came across like a jerk or something.
  11. Ditch

    Jumbo Tsuruta

    They were different aces. Misawa was the high mountain to climb; Jumbo was the vulnerable incumbent fending off the competition. Misawa was better at getting himself over; Jumbo was better at getting others over. Misawa was more consistent at producing great singles matches in the mid-90s than Jumbo was from mid '80s through early '90s; Jumbo was more consistent in tags as an ace. I don't begrudge anyone rating Misawa over Jumbo.
  12. Ditch

    Jumbo Tsuruta

    Man, fuck that noise. Jumbo was capable of hanging with top wrestlers in old-school matches as a rookie, he was rocking it with Billy Robinson by '77, and he was delivering great performances throughout the '80s. The '83 Flair match and the '84 Kerry match are gems. The Choshu feud from mid-85 on when he "got it", the Tenryu feud, and the Misawa feud is a 7 year run of awesomeness. Not *every single match* is great. Nobody is 'every single match' great. I can see not having him #1. He definitely won't be the consensus #1 like he was in the SC vote. That's fine. Jumbo still ruled though.
  13. Ditch

    Andrei Kopylov

    Is Kopylov top 25 for just shoot-style? I'd lean "no" to that question. He's maybe the 5th best Russian shoot-style guy- MAYBE. Shouldn't be seriously considered.
  14. Ditch

    Jushin "Thunder" Liger

    I just don't see Liger as a top 10 guy. He was in good matches over an incredibly long period of time, yes. Plenty of great matches. An incredible raw talent to start with enough ability that he was still a good athlete after some serious physical setbacks. Super charisma and presence. And... his singles work got real real patchy after early '97. I wouldn't be surprised if I've seen every Liger singles match on tape at this point, or at least the overwhelming majority. There was late '90s "big moves and no coherent structure" Liger, 2000 "no-selling black suit" Liger, mid-2000s "lazy heel in the CTU stable" Liger. Several supremely forgettable but high-profile outside excursions such as 2007 in Dragon Gate and 2009 in NOAH. I've flogged Liger vs Tenryu as a point of comparison for years now and I think it bears repeating. Tenryu has been markedly more consistent, is better in tags, has just as many (if not more) great singles matches that hold up, and is just as likely to give his A-game performance at a house show as a big event. Liger was definitely a 'big event' kind of guy; you aren't going to find much in the way of hidden gem Liger matches. I see Liger as more on par with Taue. Yes, Taue was more likely to be the lesser man in his best matches, whereas Liger tended to be the better one. Yet if you stack up their best matches side-by-side, Taue's best are just so far ahead of Liger's as you start going down, and Taue adds plenty to all of them. Taue loses consistency as the '90s chug along, like Liger, and has flashes of brilliance in the 2000s, like Liger. For all that said, it's incredibly hard not to have Liger in the top 20. I just think it's clear he isn't top 5, and the case for top 10 gets shaky when you start going through it name-by-name.
  15. Ditch

    Combat Toyoda

    FLIK loves FMW. It is a deep, honest, abiding love. Combat did not get top 100 support from anyone else and will not change here.
  16. Ditch

    Bam Bam Bigelow

    Bigelow isn't top 100 by any measure other than size. Will even 10 relevantly good Bigelow matches get mentioned? And are those 10 going to be SO GOOD as to get him in over someone with, say, 50 good matches? Or 10 actively great matches? The case is "he was pretty athletic for a 400 pounder and sometimes he tried, unlike [generic lazy fatass, e.g. Mike Shaw]." That isn't very compelling. John Tenta has a superior body of work if you include his All Japan and UWFi appearances. Bigelow struggles to make a superheavyweight top 10. Vader, Henry, Blackwell, Tenta, Andre, Bossman, Hansen (at his fattest). Big Show? Jerry's "casual hardcore" comment rings true to me. The sort of person who feels superior for having watched the ECW best-of DVD with Bigelow vs RVD (which was good) but doesn't know who Jerry Blackwell was or that Andre was in great matches prior to his mid-80s steep decline. "Bigelow was the second-best big man after Vader" doesn't hold up to scrutiny. PWO is allllll about scrutiny. Bigelow wouldn't make a top 200 for me.
  17. Ditch

    Dick Murdoch

    I'm with Dylan in terms of placement. Plenty of amazing wrestlers who I'll have ahead of Murdoch; doesn't mean he wasn't stellar in his own right.
  18. Ditch

    Dick Murdoch

    Murdoch had everything as a worker. EVERYTHING. Bumping, selling, matwork, good offense, adaptable, and more than consistent enough to make the cut. His 12/76 match with Kox and 6/86 match with Inoki are as different as you can imagine, including Murdoch's role. Both matches rule and Murodoch rules in both of them. DICK MF MURDOCH.
  19. Ditch

    Steve Corino

    I can see that. Anyway, Corino got nothing in 2006 and he hasn't done anything since then to deserve top 100 status.
  20. Ditch

    Hiroshi Hase

    Hase was so much better match-for-match than Mutoh and Chono, it isn't even close. Just as athletic as Mutoh, just as much charisma as Chono, and vastly more consistent level of effort. His lack of a big singles push, and the somewhat short nature of his full-time peak (under 10 years), hampers him in terms of reaching the top tier. Worth noting that in singles matches with Misawa and Kobashi, he brought more to the table.
  21. Ditch

    Mike Rotunda

    Wow someone actually voted for him in the SC poll? *looks up results* FOUR people?!?!
  22. Ditch

    Steve Corino

    The best comparison to Corino is..... Nishimura? Yes, Nishimura, because Nishimura did a much better job of porting territory-era sensibilities to modern times. Corino's schtick of being an old-school heat guy falls short because he isn't quite good enough as an athlete or a promo. Adam Pearce is another good comparison; Pearce is a much better promo when he has the opportunity, and nobody's going to nominate him. Corino has been in some good matches but isn't top 200 as a worker all-time, or probably even just from the US.
  23. This was from the Warner Brothers animation studio, which always HEAVILY advertised on wrestling shows and never made Disney-level money. I recall seeing lots of incredibly dumb people on the proto-internet who somehow mistook this guy for Undertaker and were convinced that Undertaker had appeared on Thunder for a single segment. I swear I am not making this up.
  24. Ditch

    Chris Hero

    To me, the frustrating thing about Chris Hero is that he was capable of looking world-class wrestling in gyms for IWA:MS and PWG once he really tightened things up and got in shape, but then in ROH and NOAH he had a tendency to get goofy and scticky. How can someone drag Arik Cannon to so many really good matches, or go through a murderous war with Low Ki in front of like 400 people, then get on a bigger stage and do comedy? What helped drive this home was the crowd reaction to his 2009 match with Go Shiozaki. He brought the A-game and got over despite having left a middling impression on previous tours. And there were some good ROH performances. But, man, I think he could easily have a solid top 100 resume if he'd approached NOAH and ROH differently. I join Goodhelmet in having him on the bubble. Too many great performances not to give him a good look despite what I said above.
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