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  1. Outside of Jericho decking a mascot and Jake Roberts' little dance I thought this was the best thing on the show, even if it had some stuff I couldn't be bothered with and went too long (although every match went long). I liked the stuff around the arm and thought Jungle Boy mostly sold it really well. MJF feigning injury was pretty awesome too. The fighting spirit pop-up definitely sucked, but they at least redeemed the goofy strike exchange with MJF realising it was a bad idea and just punching Jungle Boy in the dodgy arm. That reverse rana bump on the apron was ludicrous. Ultimately the things I disliked about it are the things most people have made peace with in 2020, especially if you're actively following AEW week to week, so if I theoretically thought these two had a ***1/4 match (or, you know...something) then I'm guessing it would've really resonated with the AEW fans who've been along for the ride from the start.
  2. Man, this is up there with anything these two have ever done together. I'd never seen it before, never even knew it exited, and after finally getting around to the 12/85 studio match last year I figured I'd watched all the Flair v Garvin I'd ever need to watch. Yet here's this handcam from the Greensboro Coliseum where they both bloody each other up for half an hour and practically all of it is captured from the perfect camera angle. Every exchange felt like a Flair/Garvin exchange, which meant you could almost hear the thwack on every chop even over the rabid crowd (and a gentleman in close proximity to our cameraperson - or perhaps he himself is our cameraperson - who was very much a Ric Flair guy and very not a "hedgehog Garvin" guy). Flair is always really fun at selling surprise when an opponent drops him early on, like he can't believe someone would treat the champion of the world like that even though the champion of the world is kind of a dickhead and absolutely deserves to be punched in the mouth. With Garvin it's less surprise and more palpable contempt. He fully expects Garvin to punch him in the mouth but it won't stop him from hating that little Canadian to death. I love Garvin just grabbing Flair by the nose and measuring a punch. I love how they don't tie up as much as grab each other by the throat. It's all nasty and rough and obviously they lay it in until they're four shades of purple. Flair taking over by kneeing Garvin in the balls was amazing and it set up a doubly amazing payback spot later, which bled into a triply amazing example of Flair getting slammed off the top rope. Garvin gets cut open pretty quick and this was very much vicious Flair coming to the party. He'd woo now and then but for the most part he was focused on grinding Garvin's forehead through the cage, less about the strutting and taking him to school, more about making him regret ever coming for the belt. Rather than take the comedy bump after Tommy Young shoves him Flair just wiped his blood-soaked hands on Young's shirt. You know Garvin is going to come back and you know Flair is going to bleed. You know Garvin is going to punch him in the cut and bite his forehead and shred his face across the cage, but that revenge punt to the balls was just perfection. Flair frantically trying to climb out the cage, Garvin yanking him back and exposing his bare white keister, the forearm uppercut to the crown jewels, the slam off the top while Flair's trunks are half down; also perfection. I'm mostly over Flair taking his signature bumps every time out but the slam off the top has never been set up better than it was here. Finish is great as well. Flair takes over again with the shin breaker, then he works the leg for a bit and goes to the figure-four. Garvin weathers the storm and you'll never guess what he does in response but if by some miracle you guessed "kick the living shit out of him" then I'm sorry I ever doubted you. He drops Flair with the fist of stone and Flair lucks out by getting his foot on the rope. Garvin picks him up to do it again, Flair throws a couple punches to Garvin's leg and hits a cross body, Gavin catches him but the leg gives out under him, and as they topple Flair lucks out again, this time by using the same ropes to leverage the pin. This was shit hot.
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    [1985-07-13-WWF-MSG, NY] Paul Orndorff vs Roddy Piper

    This is Hot Rod at his best; aggressive, conceited, wild, larger than life, full of hubris. A charismatic force of nature. And this felt like one of those penultimate matches of a feud, the one right before the eventual blow-off, where things threatened to break down a few times without going all the way there, until the finish which would set up Orndorff's exaction of revenge at a later date (I'm assuming they blow this off but I couldn't tell you for sure). Everything was still heated though, and straight from the bell Piper tries to jump Orndorff only to be find himself scouted. I loved how Piper sold having his head rammed into the post, I loved him slapping Orndorff while the latter applied an armbar, I loved Piper's sell of that armbar and how he never forgot about it even when he took over. When he did take over he was so self-assured you wanted nothing more than to see him punched in the mouth. He gave us the all-time great eye poke - honestly one of the very best he's done - and when Orndorff took a spill to the floor Piper soaked up every jeer the people directed at him. Then he went out after Orndorff, despite the referee's protests, and it almost cost him, so when the ref' admonished him a second time Piper was apologetic and anxious for the count out. The way he convulses on the mat at one point is goofy as all get out, but there's a sort of charm to it and I'd rather see a guy like Piper do too much than too little. I threw this on because it popped up on my youtube feed and it turned out to be totally awesome. Life is alright like that sometimes.
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    [1985-07-13-WWF-MSG, NY] Terry Funk vs Lanny Poffo

    Sometimes I watch something like this and wonder if I'll ever get bored of it. You know, the shtick or the wrestlers or what they're doing or...you know, whatever. I love Tenryu being a bastard and kicking people in the eye. I love Fuerza acting like a dipshit and feigning being punched in the willy. I love Funk running riot and doing everything he does in this match. But what if that was ALL I could watch? What if I could never watch anything else? What if, for whatever reason, this was all the universe had to offer? Would I get fed up? Would I pine for the Kenny Omegas and Will Ospreays of the world, just for something a little different? I could never say for sure and I hope such a scenario never occurs, but I do feel pretty confident that the answer is no. I don't think I will ever get bored of Tenryu kicking people in the eye or Fuerza feigning being punched in the willy or Terry Funk being Terry Funk. This was very much Terry Funk being Terry Funk, btw. Obviously it ruled like fuck. Before the match even starts he picks a fight with the ring attendant and whips him in the face with his chaps. He does this with several people not involved in the match over the course of the thing. A cameraman gets spat on because he happened to be in the way. Finkel almost gets knocked off the apron as Funk shakes the ropes so hard and old Howard just looks at him like "ffs mate can you maybe not bother?" The ref' (technically not involved) gets shoved for counting too slow, but then when Funk realises he's fucked up he swiftly begs for forgiveness. His whole performance was crazy Funk to a tee, but you had that little pinch of comedy with the bumps. He also has this amazing aura where even the most potentially ludicrous things could plausibly happen because it's him who's attempting them. Usually if you're watching a match at MSG in 1985 and someone tries to suplex an opponent from inside the ring to the concrete you think it's obviously getting reversed. Surely, right? Who would actually do that, you know? Then Funk tries it and you wonder if maybe it'll happen after all. And then he actually does it! His stooging was impeccable. He almost falls though the ropes several times and when Poffo does his little backflip early on Funk has this amazing "what the hell is going on here?" reaction. Poffo hits a bunch of crazy acrobat stuff for 1985 and by the end people are just losing their shit; for the moonsault, the hurricanrana, the awesome spot where he leg presses Funk in the corner, basically every bit of offence he can muster. Ultimately you know how it's going to play out, but there's that tiny bit of hope that Poffo will escape the sleeper and bamboozle Funk long enough to do the impossible. After the match Funk brands him with the branding iron and then, branding iron raised high, shouts "SYMBOLIC!" I mean how could you ever possibly get bored of that?
  5. I don't even like Nagata and this has some real Dream Match energy (I assume this is something the youths say). If nothing else Nagata has charisma and a big personality so worst case scenario he'll be an interesting foil, and other than one useless fighting spirit bit I thought he was really enjoyable. He was as cool as you like and wasn't down for playing Tenryu's game, not at this point, not smack in the middle of his prime, not against the old man who seems to thrive on rolling into town just to stir shit up. It wasn't for Tenryu's lack of trying either. He brushed his shoulder off early and tried to goad Nagata into a Tenryu fight, but all it got him was a swift kicking and a trip to the floor. When he chucked a chair in the ring a less assured man might've risen to the bait, but instead Nagata planted it in the middle and had a seat. He even held the ropes open for Tenryu and if you never knew then that Tenryu was for dishing out some blissful receipts then you haven't watched much Tenryu. The brainbuster on the floor to take over looked super nasty and then his punt to the head afterwards was grotesque. All of his chops and punches ruled, his straight right to the cheekbone while both of them were on their knees maybe the best of the lot. Nagata's comeback was looking like a really nice slow burner, how he tried to fire back with strikes, reversing a brainbuster into a small package, chipping away without properly wresting back control. Then he took a top rope hurricanrana and no sold it completely and oh okay I guess we're back to even footing again. Didn't reverse it, didn't look like he "rolled through," he landed flush like anybody else taking it and just...stood up and now it's the finishing stretch. I know he was one of the top dogs in New Japan, and I know Tenryu was the ageing underdog, but still, that kinda sucked. Though on the other hand he DID follow it up with one of the best running knees you'll see so maybe we take the good with the bad. Tenryu taking a backdrop on his neck at over half a century years old seems like something most people wouldn't do. And who could blame them?
  6. I'll tell you one thing this wasn't - a by god monkey show. I can't remember where I read this now, or if I'm even correct on who said it, but years ago I read an excerpt from a John Mayer interview where he was describing the song 'Little Wing' by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He said something along the lines of it being like a lost relative visiting you in a dream and how you'd wake up wishing those two minutes could last forever. Sort of a morbid thing to bring up during these times, I suppose, but watching this today it was what came to mind. FUTEN is - or was - that promotion that would show up a few times a year, be completely awesome, then disappear into the ether. And it's not just that this was tremendous - it was tremendous in a way that we're not always used to. It was outrageously stiff and everybody hammered everybody else; the key tenets of your Battlarts/FUTEN philosophy remained intact, but for large parts it had Team Taco playing underdog. You're used to Ikeda as wrecking ball and Ono will always be hyper aggressive, but this time Mashimo and Sato had it all scouted and for the first half of the match they more or less dominated. Ono/Sato started it out and you could just sense Ikeda itching to come in and whack someone. He's pacing the apron, he's halfway through the ropes a few times, and at one point Ono even gave him the thumbs up that he had things well in hand. It wasn't even Ikeda who threw the first cheapshot, it was Sato, and it was directed at Ikeda himself. Mashimo went and got the better of him in their exchange and you start to wonder when Ikeda takes matters into his own hands. Then about halfway in we get a lengthy Ikeda/Sato pairing. This was six minutes of insanity, usually Ikeda's bread and butter, except this time Sato had an answer for everything. You keep thinking Ikeda's going to remember who he is and kill him and then Sato will just completely rip his face off with a slap (legitimately one of the wildest slaps I've ever seen). And good grief the headbutt section. Ikeda laughing and muttering something ("do you even know who I am?" probably) when Sato retaliates was incredible, but damn if he didn't go headbutt for headbutt and maybe even come out the victor! Ono/Mashimo to round us out was serious top drawer FUTEN finishing stretch material and it continued the theme of the veterans coming up short. Mashimo countering a high kick with a leg sweep looked brutal (no seriously), but Ono's knee to the back of the head and following uppercut was a fucking absurdity. Even in a year of Lesnar/Cena and Panther/Casas this might be MOTY. We one and all miss FUTEN.
  7. I love late 70s/early 80s Portland. It feels like I've still only really scratched the surface with it (I think I'll start the 80s Portland set this weekend), but they were running awesome, lengthy main events on TV - usually with the 2/3 falls format - and most of them were built around Buddy Rose. So like, giving one of the ten best wrestlers ever half an hour on free TV every week is quite the treat for us, the gentle viewer. And this pretty much ruled all ends up, with a first fall that would've been great as a standalone match. Piper was incredible here. All four heels were good during the opening babyface shine, but Piper (who was in there the longest) was the standout, while Rose (who was in there the briefest) was your runner up. Everyone was playing all the way to the backest of the back rows, everyone working big and exaggerated and bumping like crazy. For the most part the babyfaces worked the arm(s) so there were lots of armdrag bumps, lots of heels getting launched around then begging off and Adonis hitting a top rope elbow to Piper's outstretched arm looked amazing. Rose's quick stint was a million miles an hour and it's always sort of astounding how he basically moves like a cruiserweight. At one point Starr and Adonis yank Piper into the ring post and I love Piper selling his junk for about five minutes afterwards. There was a bit where he was kneeling on the apron in visible distress and Rose had to rally him around, which was such a cool, understated touch. When the heels finally take over on Starr they really cut the ring off, constantly making quick tags, not letting Starr get close to his corner, always keeping hold of an arm or leg so he can't make a break for it between tags. It's real jarring to see energetic face in peril Ron Starr after all the Puerto Rico footage. His hair is even more majestic in '79 but it's hard to picture him as anything other than the scuzzy bastard punting people in the balls. Wells coming in hot - after a great cat 'n' mouse bit with Starr and Rose - ruled, but the heels finally seize their moment behind the ref's back as Wiskowski hits a diving headbutt for the Wells elimination. The fall lasted about fifteen minutes and it played out like an awesome southern style tag. The heels swarm Adonis to start the next fall, probably having learned from how the first fall started, and Adonis always trying to burst over to his own corner gave it a real nice gritty feel. Hector's short little FIP spell was pretty great as well and his big flapjack bump was an easy 9 out of 10 on the Marty Jannetty scale. What's also great about these Portland matches is that, whether they're 2/3 falls or elimination rules, you can experiment a little with the notes. The shine doesn't always need to lead to the heat which doesn't always need to lead to the hot tag and so on. Sometimes it does and that'll be great too, but it's not a given. Here, the heels take over on Hector, they swarm him and use their numbers advantage, and in the end Hector is just overwhelmed. Piper and Brooks murder him with a few double teams and the ref' can only keep so much control. The heels turning the gun on each other at the end was a nice callback to the end of the first fall and this was really just all kinds of awesome.
  8. This was really good too! Unfortunately we miss the transition into the heat segment, but everything else was on the money and made for a rock solid tag. I still don't know for sure the difference between Mark and Chris which I suppose means I'll never qualify for wrestling historian status, but their early control stuff was good. They do a switcheroo or two when Ron and Chicky try to interfere, they're always mindful of whichever heel is on the apron - which is important because Ron especially will try and come in for a cheapshot often - and their armdrags looked fairly graceful. When we come back from the commercial break the Starrs have taken control and the heat segment was pretty strong in its own right. The finish also rules. One of the Youngbloods has Chicky covered in the middle of the ring, but as the referee is sending his partner back to the apron he misses Ron climbing up top. At that point you're thinking a kneedrop to the back of the head is on the way and Chicky is going to steal one, except Mark - I think it was Mark - moves at the last second and Chicky takes the kneedrop instead. Ron gets knocked to the outside and it looks like the Youngbloods have dodged the bullet, but Ron hangs around waiting on the floor and when Mark - or could it be Chris? - goes for a slam on Chicky, Ron trips him and grabs the foot so the Starrs can steal one.
  9. Pretty awesome Puerto Ricofied version of your southern style tag. We got the best of both worlds here, with a great shine segment, a short but great heat segment, then a bit of Puerto Rican wildness to round it off. Basically as soon as this starts both Starrs have been booted in the balls and for the next few minutes they get taken to the cleaners. Invader I holds Chicky so II can blast him, then when Ron comes in to make what looks like the save Invader I quickly spins around with Chicky still held. Ron manages to stop short of clocking his own partner and trudges back onto the apron. A few seconds later Invader I grabs Chicky again, offers II a free shot, and this time when Ron comes in to help he can't quite pull back quick enough to not deck Chicky by accident. When the Starrs do eventually take over the heat segment doesn't last too long, but I love them turning Invader I's mask to the side to effectively blind him while they beat on him. Of course everybody knows his identity anyway, so when he gets a chance he just rips the mask off completely and if that's not an amazing comeback spot I don't know what is. This leads to a brawl where a chair gets introduced, Invader II gets smashes in the throat about twelve times and Invader I is left in a pool of his own blood. Even Colon gets waffled several times for trying to intervene and the close-ups of blood pouring from Invader I's forehead are truly disgusting. This ruled.
  10. Well this was just the funnest. Bell to bell it's probably about eight minutes tops (or 6:36, as it were), but they wring as much out of those eight minutes as possible and the pre- and post-match add another couple bits of awesome onto it. Stipulation is basically a tag match where Dusty and Tully are tied together with the bull rope, while Arn and Wahoo are tied together with the strap. I assume this was put together because Arn and Tully did something to deserve being stuck in a match where BOTH opponents get to draw on their signature stipulation. Obviously they're both reluctant to secure the rope/strap at the start but then even more obvious is that Tully was getting yanked clean into the ring as soon as he finally did so. And man was Tully amazing in this. He did like four things offensively during the match; kick people in the balls, bonk them with a cowbell, dig the edge of that cowbell into their forehead, and try to strangle Dusty with the bull rope. But he bumped around all over the place, got punted out the ring, knocked over the steps, tried to run away, got caught and beat up some more, tried to murder Dusty with the bell (and when he missed there was a super satisfying clunk as it hit the ring apron), then took the best ever flip bump off a 'wrestler gets caught unawares with the rope/strap/chain between his legs' spot. At one point he wrapped Dusty's arm around the top rope and then hooked it around the throat like some sort of torture device, like whatever John Locke did to Boone when he left him in the jungle to be eaten by the smoke monster. He was also buzzing about like a relentless wasp at the family barbecue, trying to come to Arn's aid and put the boots to Wahoo (literally kicked him in the balls several times) before being whipped with a strap or dragged into an elbow. Say whatever you want about him, question his character all you like, but he was a Horseman and he had his brother's back every step of the way here, even at times where he'd have been better served not turning his own. Finish is awesome as well, with Dusty foiling a Horsemen double team and clobbering Arn with the cow bell. Tully flying off the top rope after the bell was incredible, the way he just came out of nowhere to land on Wahoo. I had to rewind it to see how he managed to free himself from Dusty, and with JJ's help they basically unhooked him and tied his end of the bull rope to the bottom ring rope (with JJ keeping hold for good measure), which meant Dusty was helpless for a few seconds. In the end he swings that cowbell and the Horsemen scatter, but not before they leave their mark on Wahoo. This was a fucking hoot.
  11. Feels like this would be pretty easy for non-shoot style/Battlarts fans to get into. Pretty short, clear story, both guys playing up different dynamics, etc. And of course the universal language of someone smashing another someone really hard in the mouth. I liked how Funaki tried to swarm Ikeda because he knew giving him any time or distance to throw grenades was a death sentence. Ikeda clearly got annoyed at how much he was struggling and I loved him just pulling Funaki's nose off. I think he bit him in the face as well. At one point Funaki even weathered the storm and countered a big kick into a legbar. But then he tried it again and as soon as Ikeda stepped through on that dragon screw you knew it was curtains. There's only so many times you can prevent the inevitable. I remember about twelve years ago on another board I said Funaki was a better mat worker than Triple H and I got pelters from every angle (I think they only knew Funaki as the goof who did the "INDEED" shtick). Funaki was a better mat worker than a whole shit load of folks.
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    WrestleMania 36

    Probably a few minutes too long, but I liked how they were working stiff as a bastard, that chop block was killer and overall I liked that match a bunch.
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    Greatest year ever by a wrestler

    Some that haven't been mentioned (that are at least personal favourites, even if they might not be conventional picks): El Dandy in 1990 Rude in 1992 Arn in 1992 Tenryu in 1993 Hansen in 1993 Ishikawa in 1998 Tamura in 1998 Austin in 2001 Guerrero in 2005 Finlay in 2006 Virus in 2013
  14. I'm a strength and conditioning coach and I work in football (or soccer, if you like). We got an email from the Scottish Football Association earlier that everything right down to training is shut down for the foreseeable. And that was before the government statement that we're basically in lockdown. I have no idea how I'm supposed to contain myself for several weeks. Maybe I'll watch some wrestling.
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    WWE TV 03/09 - 03/15 Working From Home Edition v1

    Rudy Gobert touching a bunch of recording equipment with his bare hands because he thinks the big Covid-19 is dumb only to be tested positive for Covid-19 twenty minutes later is the type of thing I'd half expect Vince to write.