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  1. I haven't really been paying attention to anything since, like, April, but I've been checking out some clips of Becky the last few weeks and she seems to be fairly killing it right now. That last night was pretty tremendous. If I don't want the full Survivor Series card I'll at least make an effort to watch Becky/Rousey. They seem to have something really cool on their hands with Becky right now either way.
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    RINGS (The Fighting Network!)

    Mitsuya Nagai v Masayuki Naruse (1/23/93) Hey, this was a really nice, spirited little contest. The stand-up was sharp and clean and I dug Naruse playing underdog. He sold getting knocked around pretty well and I loved how he used the ref' to drag himself back to his feet after the penultimate knockdown. Nagai hurled a few mean leg kicks but still wasn't the full crowbar Nagai that I'm used to, as it was crowbar Nagai that was my first introduction to Nagai way back whenever. They sure telegraphed Naruse catching that high kick, but to their credit they threw a curve ball and switched up the finish nicely. Not spectacular by any means, but definitely fun and a super breezy nine minutes. Sotir Gotchev v Todor Todorov (1/23/93) Kind of a poor man's Eastern European grapplefest, but a fun one and with another few fights under his belt Todorov could be really good (I'm sure I've seen later Todorov fights, but I don't remember anything about them). Gotchev had a bunch of nice throws again, almost setting them up via bearhug before heaving Todorov over and practically onto his head. At one point he hoisted him up, walked around the ring and hit a body slam. I'm not sure what Todorov's discipline is, but he had a killer harai goshi and once or twice he almost tied Gotchev up in suitably RINGS fashion. Finish was really cool too. There's something about a shoot style STF that's just aesthetically pleasing. Yoshihisa Yamamoto v Yoshinori Nishi (1/23/93) This was about twelve minutes but it seemed longer than that, and not in a good way. Again it felt like more of an early look at what Yamamoto would become, though maybe that's just me projecting because he's a favourite of mine and what he becomes is fucking awesome. Either way he got a wee bit chippy once or twice and flung an elbow that Nishi didn't appreciate. Nishi still isn't very good on the ground, but I guess he has a somewhat passable takedown defence and so Yamamoto wasn't taking him down at will. But a lot of this went by without much happening. Volk Han v Andrei Ruminezei (1/23/93) I'm pretty sure this is my first time seeing Ruminezei. He's sort of unassuming and looks a bit like John Carroll Lynch with the perfectly balding pate and such. And he was pretty dang fun! His striking is really tentative and once or twice he looks a wee bit lost to the point where Han is trying to guide him, but he has fun takedowns and brings something to the ground exchanges. Han is worth watching against absolutely anybody already, just a little over a year into his career, and this time he was getting tricky with the strikes. He was throwing ax kicks and quick hands and of course his favourite spinning back fist. It came after Ruminezei caught him with a knee to the gut for a knockdown, going straight to the back fist and following it up with an amazing wrist throw into an armbar. This was longer than the previous bout but it sort of flew by in comparison. Akira Maeda v Herman Renting (1/23/93) To suggest Herman Renting is hit or miss would probably be generous. He's about eight parts miss to two parts hit. If he's not in the mood then it's usually hard to care about what he's doing. And this wasn't a barn burner or anything, but he was at least pressing the issue a little and I guess it was a watchable enough bout. Maeda obviously has the aura, but I'm wondering if his knee wasn't still giving him legit problems around this point because he hasn't really been up for doing much in the last couple shows. The fact it's heavily taped up means there's always a bit of drama, though. Renting took a few swings at it and the crowd reacted like it was a big deal, so maybe we're not giving Maeda enough credit for his minimalist booking (or maybe I'm full of total horse shit). Skippable fight in all, but on the Renting curve it was better than his average. Dick Vrij v Chris Dolman (1/23/93) This was never going to be a victim of expectations. I like Vrij a lot and everything, but Dolman is getting on in years and he was never great to begin with and Vrij isn't the sort of guy who drags mediocre to really good. But hey, they upped their game like you and I and anyone with a shred of honour would for the Mega Battle Tournament Grand Final and it wound up being a pretty fun scrap. Vrij is usually much bigger than his opponents, or at least has a reach advantage, and while Dolman can't match up to him in the striking he's not giving up anything in height and could probably use his extra weight to contain him. It means Vrij wants to be aggressive and finish it on the feet while Dolman would rather grind it out on the mat. Dolman isn't expressive at all and sometimes comes off a touch sandbaggy, but if nothing else it made Vrij's first big knockdown feel well-earned and special (and Vrij's reaction to it did as well). I don't know how much Dolman has left in his legs so I guess this was a nice last hurrah.
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    I started going through everything a couple years ago as well, though I jumped around a bit rather than doing it chronologically and naturally never got through everything. I thought Billy Scott had a couple decent outings in 1992 and I always found Tom Burton at least amusing for the way he seemed to be into everything he was doing. Like he actually wanted to be good, you know? JT Southern is the real stinker. By far the worst of the outsiders from the first couple years.
  4. I'd go '86 for Hogan as well. About a decade ago I watched almost every Hogan/Savage match I could find and I thought those matches from '86 were all really fun (more have probably surfaced since then as well). The Funk match from SNME at the beginning of the year isn't as good as a couple of their matches from late '85, but it's a fun "greatest hits" sprint. There's also a really cool Kamala match from late in the year where he gigs himself huge and Kamala drinks his blood and stabs him in the face with the Shiv of Quan Chi of whatever such nonsense. I'm a sucker for a spectacle so I absolutely love the Rock match from Wrestlemania 18, but there's more meat in '86 and I'd absolutely say he was a good wrestler that year. 1992 for Rude. It's one of my favourite single years for a wrestler ever. He was often really good to awesome in multi-man matches in the first half of the year, a huge part of Wargames, has a bunch of really good matches on TV (the Pillman match especially), the Dustin match from Worldwide that's fucking great, and the Ironman with Steamboat that I thought was one of the five best matches WCW ever had. Would probably go 1993 for Hansen. He wasn't at his physical peak then, but walking tall Hansen refusing to let go of his place in the world and be passed by the young natives is one of my favourite in-ring characters ever. The Kobashi match is obviously killer, but the Misawa match is great and I'd probably have the Kawada match from February above every All Japan match of the decade bar maybe a couple.
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    RINGS (The Fighting Network!)

    I dropped the ball on this as is my wont, but whenever I get back in the mood to write something I want to pick this back up. It's been a while since I saw a lot of that '93 stuff, but I kind of loved that half hour Ishikawa/Naruse bout the first time. Be interesting to see if I still do on re-watch.
  6. I go in cycles with my hobbies. Right now I'm not really watching any wrestling at all and my only wrestling-related consumption is reading and talking about it on a couple forums. But there isn't much of that happening right now, either. When I'm on one of my wrestling kicks, which usually last a few months before I get the urge to focus on something else, I'd say I devote around an hour a day on average to watching wrestling, with maybe another half an hour writing or reading about it. I'm too restless to sit an do a marathon watching session at this point in my life, though there have been points in the last few years where I've burned through decent amounts of footage in a fairly short space of time. It depends how much free time I have, really.
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    General Chat topic

    I'm currently about twelve different things and that's basically my answer for when someone asks me what I do for a living. "I just do...sport stuff." I'm a PT, a football coach, I do performance analysis for football clubs, work as a strength and conditioning coach, and recently I started doing some exercise therapy for people with dementia. None of these are full-time jobs as I went back to uni to finish my degree (I was a full-time PT before that), and in September I'll most likely do a Master's in sports coaching. So yeah, what I do for a living is "sports and shit." I don't follow or watch the EPL, but Arsenal fans have really (REALLY) had a tough times they last couple of seasons. It certainly hasn't been great, but three trophies in the last five years has been nice all the same. The club has clearly been preparing for life post-Arsene for at least a season now, though, and while I'll always be a little sad that his time as manager ended without the hero's farewell, there's some excitement over where things are headed now. It won't be turned around straight away, but at this point change itself is important. We'll see how it goes (especially if Arteta's appointed as the next manager, which I've thought would be the case for a while).
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    General Chat topic

    My two favourite genres of music are probably hip-hop and country music, which...I mean, I'm not entirely sure how that happened but there it is. The country music thing comes from something my old basketball coach had me do (this is about fourteen years ago now). My adrenaline before games was always sky high and I'd always start off really aggressively. Not that I was trying to assault people or anything, but I'd end up in early foul trouble because I was contesting things I shouldn't have been contesting, forcing steals, etc. I liked to get hyped up before games (with hip-hop). He suggested I try to relax instead, to take things a little slower. He suggested I listen to some country music pre-game, and whether it was a placebo effect or Willie Nelson's Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain actually did settle me down some, it worked pretty well. Eventually I branched out and listened to more, and now my basketball days are behind me but my country music days are not. On sports, I follow football (soccer), basketball and football (American). I'm an Arsenal fan so football has been a stressful hobby for a few years now. I've always gravitated towards teams from California for some reason so I'm a Lakers and Chargers fan. That has also been pretty rough for a minute now.
  9. WWF. My earliest memory of anything in my life is watching Wrestlemania 6 with my old man, then at some point after that I remember getting an Ultimate Warrior action figure (my cousin got Jim Duggan) and when Michaels put Jannetty through the window I knew I was all in (an interesting jumping on point for a four year old, perhaps). I followed WCW fairly closely from about 1994 - initially on some channel with dubbed German commentary - until the end, but WWF was always my bread and butter. I stopped paying as much attention to it from around 2002-2004 (Eddie's push brought me all the way back back) and I haven't followed it closely in about a decade, but wrestling and football were obsessions for me during my childhood and early teens, and no promotion gives me that sense of visiting old friends like the WWF does. Even hearing commentary from specific periods takes me back to when I'd record Superstars and The Simpsons on Sky 1 every Saturday, or taking turns with a couple friends to record RAW every Friday (we never got it live over here until 2005). I have lots of fond memories of WCW as well, but Schiavone and Goldberg and Sting and the nWo don't hit me with the same wave of nostalgia as JR and Monsoon and Michaels and Austin. If I'm going to fling on a random PPV or house show as background noise, 75% of the time it'll be from the WWF.
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    General Chat topic

    For TV: Friday Night Lights Justified Oz The Wire Party Down Californication Lost Parks and Recreation Battlestar Galactica Kingdom
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    Recommend Me Joshi

    I struggled with a lot of joshi for about fifteen years, but ARSION was a cracking little promotion that I jumped into towards the end of the GWE project, and through that Jerome's girl Yoshida became one of my absolute favourite wrestlers. The more minimalistic style of ARSION with the quasi-shoot trappings really just hit the sweet spot for me (I haven't seen much post-2000, but as mentioned it sort of moved away from what made it so unique after a little while). I haven't watched more than a handful of matches from current joshi promotions since current was 2006, but I'd guess that if you're digging Stardom then you shouldn't have much issue jumping into the heralded AJW stuff, the Dreamslams, Big Egg, etc. Personally, ARSION was so fun to me because it was different from the 90s AJW/JWP that I had a hard time getting into. It doesn't sound like you'd have that same issue, so I guess...watch, like, everything?
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    Shodate banned?

    Fairly sensational turn of events, this.
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    Greatest Royal Rumble?

    This crowd doesn’t even care enough to count along with the timer anymore.
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    Greatest Royal Rumble?

    Okay, that Bryan/Angle bit was pretty fucking cool. The 2006-er in me sure got a kick out of it.
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    Greatest Royal Rumble?

    How many times has Ziggler skinned the cat already?