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  1. If - or perhaps I should say WHEN - I start that Complete & Accurate Black Bart, this gets a stonewall EPIC. What a badass wee match in front of an awesome crowd; a real treat that I wasn't expecting when I flung on a random episode of what was probably Crockett's C-level TV show. I feel like I've barely seen any Black Bart, but every time I have he's great. Just a hulking big presence with an amazing grizzly bear look, super fun bumping and killer looking offence. Houston also should've wound up being a megastar, or at least a moderatestar, and he looked great here with his energy and selling. A perfect combo of two perfect midcarders, stepping up and delivering in a TV main event. I liked how Bart would try and use the ropes to his advantage early, backing Houston into them and wailing on him, throwing a headbutt to the chest, trying to keep Houston from using any of that speed advantage. Loved the bit where Houston snuck underneath one of those blows so it was Bart against the ropes, hit three punches that brought Bart a little closer to teetering over the top each time, then finally sent him out and into the barricade with a dropkick. It was a great bit of milking from Bart, the sort of thing you'd see from your all-time burly giants squeezing every bit of juice out of a pop. Houston works the arm for a little bit and Bart is fun again as a big wounded animal, then he takes over with a huge hotshot and goes TWO-PRONGED with his attack, working the throat and forehead of Houston. It ruled. He'd hotshot Houston across the barricade and choke him across the ropes (and blatantly with his bare hands), then he'd bite and claw at the forehead. Plus he'd sell the arm, my favourite instance being when he hit an AWESOME single-handed delayed backbreaker. It looked fucking spectacular, how he held Houston in the air, damn near vertically, with that one arm doing all the work, letting Houston and everybody watching know what was coming, before snapping him in two with a perfectly executed backbreaker. When Tommy Young took a ref' bump I expected some sort of schmozz finish, but instead we got Houston taking a lunatic bump through the ropes after his visual pinfall, followed by Bart guillotining his head off as he climbed back in (another hotshot-type move! Continuity, motherfucker!). I will now watch every Black Bart Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title defence.
  2. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey) defend the NWA World Tag Team Titles Pretty awesome abbreviated version of the classic MX/RnR formula. A few of their spots didn't come off perfectly just yet, but they were clearly starting to mess around with the difficulty sliders and find ways of getting all four involved in sequences (all five if you count Cornette; six if you count the ref'). This happened in Philly and it's cool to see how batshit wild even your non-southern crowds would go for all of this. Someone in the crowd has a sign with Cornette slander on it and Cornette immediately gets heat for throwing a tantrum. In an awesome spot I don't think I've seen them do before, Morton dropkicks Condrey into Eaton on the apron, and Cornette tries and fails incrementally to use his shoulder to keep Eaton from falling off. As Cornette's legs slowly buckle the heat goes up and up and the pop for the house of cards crumbling is why you can imagine this match-up working pretty much anywhere in the world. Morton in peril rules, Condrey dropping knees on his throat rules, Eaton's missed rocket launcher splash rules, even the Dusty Finish rules. Pretty much the definition of "this is pro-wrestling, motherfucker."
  3. Not as good as the previous week's match but I pretty much loved this as well. If nothing else it highlights how Piper is the absolute king of the punch drunk comeback. He has so much energy no matter what he's doing and any time he starts wildly throwing himself into offensive flurries people are hooked. Everything looks frantic, often reckless, never half-baked. It doesn't hurt that he has absurd amounts of charisma. Just fucking lorry-loads of it, so even the most standard of in-ring actions elicits a response. He's also an awesome bumper and I'm not really sure it's talked about enough. His bumping has the same reckless quality his offence has and he about killed himself here with one of the best back drop bumps I've ever seen. It was like an Eddie Guerrero monkey flip bump where his legs would catch the ropes on landing, but it never had the grace of Eddie with the perfect rotation on the flip and instead looked like he was taking a Jerry Estrada bump all the way over the top rope. I have no idea whether he meant it or not and that's really what makes it so crazy. This was a super fun use of the lumberjack stipulation. Piper starts out by just punching Rose in the wrist off a lock-up and obviously that leads to some arm work, because sometimes the simplest course of action is the most effective. Rose takes a huge flat back bump off a kick to the arm and evidently some will hate that, but I loved it to death. His big bump into the corner later off a kneelift was also majestic and one that even the most miserable of the miserable can appreciate. Rose backing Piper into the corner over by Wiskowski so Ed can trip him is your first big transition and the first great use of the stip. The second is Rose continually booting Piper out the ring so Wiskowski can throw him back in as roughly as possible, clearly taking some cheapshots while he's at it. When it's Rose's turn you know he's going to milk it for all it's worth. He's one of the all-time great stooges and I love how he goes absolutely all in on ALL of it. None of this "I'll roll out and you can shove me back in there nice and easy" carry on, he actively tries to run and then leap away from danger and the lumberjacks must EARN THEIR KEEP by securing this projectile of a body and flinging it back in the ring. After about six attempts at this he sort of deflates in defeat, rolls over and looks up to notice Piper standing over him, at which point he about shits himself and everybody loses it. It's an easy comedy spot to throw out there, but the timing of it was impeccable, he played the goof to perfection and you ten thousand percent buy a pissed off Roddy Piper as the last guy you want standing over you in an inescapable situation. Finish is one of the most satisfying bullshit finishes ever as the pop for Brooks coming in through the crowd is monumental. Portland is the greatest and Brooks' post-match promo ("I haven't worn these boots since I came back from Vietnam, but I'm wearing them now because I'm here to FIGHT!") is also the greatest.
  4. KB8

    [1979-05-12-Portland-TV] Buddy Rose vs Roddy Piper

    I needed a change of pace from all the joshi I've been watching recently, so I started going through '79 Portland. Leading up to this Piper and Rose had been teaming together along with Tim Brooks and Wiskowski (like during the awesome 8-man tag from March), then they had the big falling out and spent the last few weeks taking shots at each other. I watched all of this stuff about ten years ago and I thought they turned Piper babyface in the traditional sense, where they had a specific moment that made you go "oh, he's one of the good guys now!" But apparently as this is Portland they just had him wrestle Buddy Rose. Piper was still Piper and mere days before this he was tossing women about the place in a battle royal, stating that their place was in the home doing menial chores, but he's not Buddy Rose and if you're AGAINST Buddy Rose then you will be cheered. Even Bonnema is stunned that people are actually behind Piper and ponders, "who would've thought two, three weeks ago that people would be cheering for Roddy Piper?" The first fall was badass. It picks up from their arena match a few days earlier that I assume wasn't taped, but Bonnema tells us it was a real barn-burner that went all over the place. Piper still has the plaster on his forehead so it doesn't take long for Rose to zero in on it. Some of the close-up camera work is gruesome as Rose just digs his knuckles into the wound and tries to peel it apart like a tangerine. At one point he has Piper in a sort of chinlock where Piper's neck is twisted and Rose is grinding away at that cut. Piper is all cross-eyed with his face contorted and turning purple, like the scene in Casino where Joe Pesci has the dude's head in a vice. There was lots of awesome limb/body part work in this match. It came in short spells as they'd transition out of it and move onto something else, but it was all focused and it made sense when they did move off whatever they'd been doing before. You get some working of THE CUT~, some neck work, some back work, and all of it came about inventively while still feeling organic. After Piper makes his comeback he jabs Rose in the throat - he's still the same Roddy Piper, after all - and starts working the neck. He clubbers the neck in really nasty ways, then we get an awesome end to the fall where he hits a big spinning neckbreaker, picks Rose up at 2 even though the fall is academic, and hits another just to put the exclamation on it. As the second fall starts he keeps up with the neck work, and I don't know if what happened next was entirely intentional but an Irish whip with some extra venom behind it results in the middle turnbuckle breaking off. Rose uses the turnbuckle bolt to choke Piper and that serves as our transition to him eventually working the back (after Roddy spills out to the floor and Rose slams him into the post). Rose was amazing during this, looking semi-crazed trying to stop anybody putting the ring back together, a man with his back truly up against the wall. Picking Piper up at 2 after the first Billy Robinson backbreaker almost leads to Piper making a comeback so I fucking love Rose immediately hitting it again and hooking the leg just to be sure. The third fall starts with Rose jumping Piper before the restart and staying on the back, and even if the finish is maybe a bit of an anticlimax it sure sets us up for the feud kicking into a higher gear. It wasn't just that the pacing, layout and execution all ruled. All those things can be great and a match can still fall flat because the wrestlers don't elevate it. These two were awesome and brought so many moments of individual brilliance to fill all the in-between stuff, to actually bring this thing to life. The selling of exhaustion, the hatred, the setups and payoffs, the way Rose went from begging for his life to immediately tasting blood in the water, the way Piper took his revenge, how they did all of it while leaving so much more on the table. A match-up made in heaven.
  5. This was edited to about half of its 27-minute runtime, although the editing was pretty damn good because it felt fairly complete as it was (I'd never have guessed so much was clipped out before seeing the runtime in the post-match graphic). You can't really judge the whole match (or maybe there's a full version somewhere in which case you can if you bloody well want to), but the 14 minutes we got were really good and Yoshida still looked fucking awesome in 2006. It started with some real Battlartsy grappling and Yoshida dropping punches from the mount, waiting for Tamura to cover up before grabbing a nasty key lock. Again, there may have been lots of dodgy no-selling going on during this and the editing did away with it, but for a match where one woman had their leg worked over and the other had their arm worked over I thought the long-term selling was totally on point, especially from Yoshida. Tamura worked it over initially with some cool fisherman busters where she dropped Yoshida face- and knee-first, and Yoshida never let you forget the knee was a problem the whole way through. Lots of times she'd hit a move and try to knock some feeling into that knee afterwards, or she'd attempt a move, fail, and slap the knee in frustration. The coolest example of it was when she went for a second air raid crash and just about muscled Tamura up, but then the leg buckled and she collapsed under the weight. She was also a machine going after Tamura's arm and I'll be fucked if I know where she got it from but there was one armbar that Han would've been proud of. Late in the match she wound up in the mount again and when Tamura wouldn't give up the arm Yoshida just started dropping Joe Riggs hammer fists on her face. I think this is the first Yoshiko Tamura match I've seen. She was clearly a compatible dance partner for Yoshida. Her grappling was strong, she threw mean forearms, and while her selling of the arm maybe wasn't as good on the whole as Yoshida's selling of the leg I sure bought her tapping on more than one occasion. I liked what was shown of this a lot. And I guess I should check out some more Tamura?
  6. This might be the first and only Cheerleader Melissa match I've ever seen. That seems unlikely considering she's been around forever, but other than her maybe showing up in ROH 12-15 years ago for a Shimmer showcase I can't think of any other reason I'd have been watching her. She'd just turned 20 here so you forgive her for not being great. She kind of worked like a slightly more spry Brian Lee, threw some clunky forearms to the chest, sort of lumbered around like you'd expect from someone who's only previous wrestling experience had been in a fairground. I don't know if it was the plan all along or Yoshida decided to take matters into her own hands but the match largely turned into Yoshida flinging her about the place with tricked out submissions. To Melissa's credit she actually grew into the match a bit and the last few minutes were pretty decent. It went 14 minutes all told and it never felt like that. So there you go.
  7. KB8

    ARSION (The Best Of)

    Michiko Ohmukai v Rie Tamada (ARSION, 8/9/98) Well this had some good Ohmukai and some not so good Ohmuaki. To begin with it was not so good as they did an extended parity stand-off bit and Ohmukai will always struggle with those because she can't really do them in a way that doesn't look obviously choreographed. And parity stand-off sequences usually suck anyway so she's chasing fool's gold even trying it. Thankfully we got way more good Ohmukai than not so good and almost immediately after the stand-off she went about punting Rie in the liver. She threw very many nasty kicks from very many angles. Just volleyed Tamada in the face at one point. They do a sort of duelling arm work match that maybe worked more in theory than in practice, but the back half got pretty damn good. The duelling part falls by the wayside a bit and Tamada's arm mostly gets forgotten about, but everything around Ohmukai's was good. I liked as well how Tamada went after it briefly in the first half without making it a major focus, almost as a bit of FORESHADOWING that we all love in the pro wrestling storytelling. Transitions and selling were kinda wonky at the end but ARSION continues to make great use of that 15 minute time limit. This was a hunner times better than their match from earlier in the year. Ayako Hamada v Candy Okutsu (ARSION, 8/9/98) Pretty cool that this is Ayako's first match in her entire career. It wasn't great, but it feels almost ridiculous to even say that because other than I guess Ronda Rousey who was having a great match in their first ever attempt? Even if they probably overreached a bit with the intricacy of some sequences her armdrags looked really nice. Candy worked pretty surly here and I liked how she'd often shut the door on this wee jumping bean by just cracking her in the jaw with a forearm. For seven minutes this was a perfectly fun debut match, and fro what you're watching it feels like Ayako is actually unique and something special.
  8. KB8

    ARSION (The Best Of)

    Aja Kong v Reggie Bennett (ARSION, 5/5/98) I can deal with wrestlers shrugging off offence early in bouts more than I can during the finishing stretch of a 25 minute match, so the early no-selling of suplexes here didn't bother me much. If anything it was maybe a positive considering these two are BIG, so a couple ass-kickers struggling to deal damage on one other actually feels noteworthy. Also it was like the very first thing they did so you know, whatever. They trade some shots, Reggie manages to avoid the spinning back fist, and with a nifty bit of trickery puts Aja to sleep, all inside three minutes. She might look like the sort who could simply overwhelm everyone else in the company, but she's clearly capable on the mat as well so who knows, maybe that'll be important later in the tournament... Candy Okutsu v Rie Tamada (ARSION, 5/5/98) This was a wee bit sloppy in points, a wee bit no-selly here and there, but the good stuff more than made up for that and by the end I thought it was fairly rockin'. The way they introduced the Tamada shoulder injury was certainly inventive and it worked pretty well for a minute there, leading to some neat dueling limbwork. It starts getting really good when they basically drop that limbwork, which maybe sounds ass backwards, but they drop it in favour of thumping each other in the face really hard so how loudly can we complain? Tamada was throwing absolute forearm cannons and then missile dropkicked Candy dead in the face a couple times for good measure. Last couple minutes feel appropriately frantic as well, with one of the best flash finishes like that I've seen in ages. Really fun match. Mariko Yoshida v Reggie Bennett (ARSION, 5/5/98) So earlier in the tournament it was established that Reggie Bennett is able to not only trade blows - albeit briefly - with Aja Kong, but even take her to the mat and put her to sleep. Yoshida is a different animal entirely, and while she can't throw bombs like Aja she can work the mat to an elite level. As you'd expect she goes right to that, so Reggie has to use every bit of grappling skill along with her clear weight advantage to stay above water. Yoshida is always shifting for position, riding Bennett and looking to grab stray limbs as Reggie tries to basically smother her at points. The story is pretty simple in that respect. Yoshida needs to win with her grappling while Reggie, who's competent on the mat from at least a defensive perspective, is looking to slam Yoshida through the mat. In the back half Yoshida has to do everything a little quicker because Reggie is finding openings and starting to unload. There's a great nearfall where Reggie locks in a similar choke to the one she put Aja away with, and Yoshida is just incredible at milking everything right up to the point she manages to finally grab the ropes. It's not Shawn Michaels flailing around in the ankle lock for five minutes, it's not big an exaggerated where she's playing to the back row of the Omni. It's much more subtle and I love that little moment before the break where she reaches the hand out, misses the rope by a millimetre, looks all but done for, but then with her one remaining bit of energy she weakly wraps her fingers around it before getting put out like a light. I've said it a few times on this dumb blog and it still rings true - she might be the very best ever at milking a submission nearfall. Of course this whole thing was badass. Reggie Bennett v Candy Okutsu (ARSION, 5/5/98) The final! I think I this was maybe alright, but it was a couple weeks ago now and I remember little. I apologise deeply for such an in-depth review. Candy Okutsu & Michiko Ohmukai v Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa (ARSION, 6/21/98) The first ten things Ohmukai did in this: one - sidestep a dropkick; literally the other nine - kick someone dead in the face. I wasn't huge on this as it was less ARSION and more garden variety midcard sprint you could find on most joshi cards. They were fairly liberal with the transitions and momentum shifts and never bothered too much with the selling, though at this point I suppose I can handle a 12-minute joshi sprint for what it is. Ohmukai booting people in the mouth was by far the highlight, but she's one of those women where the pendulum will swing from being pretty awesome to pretty bad on a match to match basis, or sometimes even within one match. Throwing dangerous spin kicks under the chin? That'll work. Trying all sorts of contrived sequences where she struggles with the setups? I'd rather not. We got both Ohmukais in this and unfortunately it was more of the latter. Mariko Yoshida v Aja Kong (ARSION, 6/21/98) I watched this last year so skipped over it this time, but my memory of it is that it was really good while leaving you feeling like they have something better in them. I still haven't seen their match from '99 so I'm pretty hyped for that. Michiko Ohmukai v Mikiko Futagami (ARSION, 7/21/98) The pendulum swings back! Ohmukai working as Battlarts crowbar is very much the best Ohmukai and this was badass as fuck. Just a gritty, nasty little scrap. Straight at the bell Ohmukai slaps away a handshake and everything they did from then on out had some malice behind it. Initially it was more tetchy, where you knew they WANTED to throttle each other but tried to keep a lid on it, but by the midpoint the lid had blown and potatoes were flying everywhere. Derisory little slaps to the head morphed into full on palm strikes under the nose. Ohmukai refused to break clean out the corner and threw about a dozen knees, so the first chance Futagami had to retaliate she Wanderlei punted her in the cheekbone. The matwork kept pace with the strikes and got progressively meaner the longer it went. During some of the chokes it looked like the recipient's tongue was turning purple and Futagami's chicken-wing was absolutely brutal. They end up on the top turnbuckle at one point, Ohmukai looking like she's on her last legs, and Futagami's "this one's for you, motherfucker" to a rabid middle-aged male Ohmukai fan was sensational (I imagine Ohmukai had a goodly number of those fans. You won't need more than one guess as to why). Loved the finish as well, with things getting really desperate as the 15 minute time limit approaches. Ohmukai throws a straight right to the jaw (amazing spot) and goes for the kill, but Futagami slaps her silly and grabs a choke in the middle of the ring. Either our crazy Ohmukai fan and his one-man percussion section can lend her enough strength to see out the time limit or Futagami can lock it in deep enough before the bell goes. They really worked the hell out of that time limit drama and other than a couple ropey fighting spiritish moments this was fantastic. Rie Tamada v Yumi Fukawa (ARSION, 7/21/98) This was a little hectic at times and they probably overreached a bit, but on the whole I thought they managed to tell a fairly coherent story with well-established roles. After teaming together on the last show I guess this was sort of Fukawa's coming of age tale against a slightly more established opponent. Tamada is more strikes and bombs while Fukawa is more sudden submissions and counters from everywhere. The dynamic worked pretty nicely. The best examples were Tamada hitting hitting a couple brutal missile dropkicks - one to the face followed by one to the back of the head - and Fukawa using the swanky rolling cross-armbreaker at the end, just when it looked like Tamada was going to finish her off. I'm looking forward to watching the Fukawa/Yoshida matches again from the following year and it's cool tracking Fukawa's progress over the course of 1998 as well. She's maybe the most fun blend of lucha and your Toryumon style junior heavyweight in the company at this point in time.
  9. These two motherfuckers. Two people doing this to each other is insane regardless, but I suppose it's been par for the course for these two going on a quarter century now so we can't really be surprised they're still at it in their fifties. Somehow they seem to add even more brutal wrinkles to every encounter, this one their first in nearly a decade. It was very much Ikeda v Ishikawa in all the ways Ikeda v Ishikawa is amazing, but at the same time this was maybe their most unique match together. Part of that is obviously the setting. Even though most if not all of the people in attendance would've been familiar with both guys and everything they're about, there was still a sense of "what in the fuck are these two old men doing to each other?" You could tell from the reactions that some in the crowd were mortified at what they were seeing. And then there was the referee, who had a few amusing interactions with both of them without it ever feeling like a planned comedy spot. He couldn't quite believe what he was happening either and it showed in how he winced at every headbutt or punch or kick. And good grief the headbutts and punches and kicks. They trade blows early, but not in your Okada/Tanahashi forearm exchange sort of way where it's all about the machismo and which good looking young gentleman is the most rugged. The entire history of Ishikawa and Ikeda is built on them being the toughest bastards in wrestling, both of them alone on top of that particular mountain, so their strike exchanges have a whole different level of not being a monkey show. And in very un-Okada/Tanahashi fashion they ditched the forearms and chops for straight punches and headbutts, every single one of them landing with a disgusting thud, leaving bloody smears on foreheads, Ikeda just about breaking his hand on Ishikawa's cranium. Their last singles match before this had a running thread of Ikeda throwing headbutts over and over despite Ishikawa being a Fujiwara trainee, thus having an indestructible head. Yet Ikeda would keep throwing those headbutts, even at great cost to his own brain cells, until he finally toppled Ishikawa. They carried that over to this and when Ikeda threw his first headbutt Ishikawa just came up smiling. Ikeda would keep trying it, keep clonking him with absurd headbutts, and Ishikawa would pretty much always come out on top. Through insane, disturbing persistence Ikeda eventually won out, just like he did in their last match, but the running headbutt he had to use to do so was truly vile. The roundhouse kick at the end was out of this world ridiculous and fully warranted the gasps of horror from our Oberhausen crowd.
  10. KB8

    Help me get into joshi

    ARSION era Mariko Yoshida might be a good bet, with it being more of a stripped back approach where matwork was much more of a focus.
  11. Heel Roman ditching the vest and going full thirst trap feels like it should've been a thing for at least a few years now. This is actually my first time seeing any WWE since Wrestlemania, let alone Roman working heel. He's a natural at it and I think we all knew that because, you know, it's not difficult to notice and never really has been. The whole thing they've got going on with the fans on big computer screens around ringside certainly makes for a better atmosphere, and this kind of deserved to be worked in front of some form of a crowd rather than an empty arena to dead silence (best part about the empty arenas was the shit-talking and crowd noise sure didn't seem to hinder them in that respect). Your big dumb melodramatic WWE main events will never really be my thing but I thought this was a strong enough take on that particular thing. Roman pretty much ruled, as even when he's doing stuff I'd typically roll my eyes at he's a decent enough actor - graded on the pro-wrestler curve - for it to be okay. I really loved him big dogging (pun PROBABLY intended) Charles Robinson and threatening to have him put in the bin if he interrupts this very personal family beatdown on his cousin one more time. "Tell me I'm the tribal chief. Tell me I'm the head of the table." All of his little touches were on point as usual, like how he'd sell surprise at being caught with a stinger of a hook, how he'd rejig his jaw throughout the match, how he'd sell his lower back after hitting that standing legdrop thing just to delay a second before making the pin, and all of his facial expressions convey the emotions he's trying to (I assume) without being hammy about it. The sinister laugh after the low blow kickout was a wee bit hokey I suppose, but the spot itself was really cool. Also loved how insecure he became as the match went on. It was structured with him obviously working the majority of it from above, and if there were any moments where it looked like Jey might cause an upset it was through short bursts of big offence. So he dominated and looked every bit the chief he wanted us to know he was. But after all this time, after being given the keys to the kingdom, even after beating cancer and coming back like he'd never been away, there had to have been a very real sense of fuck you to everybody who booed him every night for the last six years. The curtain's been drawn back now and everybody knows the script, so WWE's woeful booking is the sort of thing Daniel Bryan or Sami Zayn fans would fling their shit at. With Roman, when he was booked worse than just about any babyface ever, *he* took all that shit and nowhere near as many people made the same excuses for him. Now he gets to fling it all back and to hell with everybody else, but deep down that rejection maybe still eats at him. Is he really The Man? He sure needed to hear it from somebody and it was Jey Uso's shitty luck that it needed to be him on the night. The Big Dog, the Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table. That dude is the business.
  12. This was a wee bit sloppy in points, a wee bit no-selly here and there, but the good stuff more than made up for that and by the end I thought it was fairly rockin'. The way they introduced the Tamada shoulder injury was certainly inventive and it worked pretty well for a minute there, leading to some neat dueling limbwork. It starts getting really good when they basically drop that limbwork, which maybe sounds ass backwards, but they drop it in favour of thumping each other in the face really hard so how loudly can we complain? Tamada was throwing absolute forearm cannons and then missile dropkicked Candy dead in the face a couple times for good measure. Last couple minutes feel appropriately frantic as well, with one of the best flash finishes like that I've seen in ages. Really fun match.
  13. I can deal with wrestlers shrugging off offence early in bouts more than I can during the finishing stretch of a 25 minute match, so the early no-selling of suplexes here didn't bother me much. If anything it was maybe a positive considering these two are BIG, so a couple ass-kickers struggling to deal damage on one other actually feels noteworthy. Also it was like the very first thing they did so you know, whatever. They trade some shots, Reggie manages to avoid the spinning back fist, and with a nifty bit of trickery puts Aja to sleep, all inside three minutes. She might look like the sort who could simply overwhelm everyone else in the company, but she's clearly capable on the mat as well so who knows, maybe that'll be important later in the tournament...
  14. Man what the fuck? How is Jackie Sato not beloved among us internet geeks like the other joshi stars? I'm assuming the obvious answer is something like "barely anybody has watched this era of joshi compared to the 90s boom period," but in a JUST and RIGHT world we shouldn't accept that. Every time I've seen her - all of the maybe five or six matches I've actually watched - she's been tremendous and this was badass as hell. I wonder if I'd have become a bigger joshi fan over the years if I'd started out with stuff like this. I love ARSION and chunks of other 90s joshi hits the sweet spot, but for about fifteen years now it's been a style I've quite often struggled with, especially if I'm jumping into it cold. I really need to settle into the rhythm of it and watch matches in bunches so the momentum shifts and all those other joshi-isms that have been talked about forever don't bother me quite as much. I had no problem jumping straight into this though, and it's the sort of thing I feel like doing a proper deep dive into because stylistically there's a lot about it that's way up my street (and I've watched enough from this period to know that it's not exclusive to this match alone). Everything was done here with such snap, like they were trying to slam their opponent clean through the mat. Jaguar was a terror but the way both of them worked holds and went for submissions was amazing. At times it was dang near beautiful, but never did it look cooperative. Sato trying to contain this young whirlwind was a great story as well and holy shit were some of those backbreakers/neckbreakers brutal. I guess I'd have liked them to make more of the hand stuff, because Jaguar trying to rip Sato's fingers apart with the ring ropes was awesome, but for how long it was actually a focus and the fact Sato took control for a stretch after it I don't mind too much. This was the absolute business.
  15. I thought this was a pretty awesome ten minutes, like a minimalist version of their best work together. Ishikawa worked mean as a bastard and took every opportunity to punch Otsuka about the head and body, while Otsuka went back to the throws again and again with repeated success. There was one out of a cobra clutch that landed Ishikawa on the side of his neck and in true Battlarts fashion you're thinking "holy shit that might be nastiest version of that thing I've ever seen." All of the stuff on the ground was predictably tight and rugged, and while the finish might've been sudden I was okay with it.