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KB8

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  1. KB8

    P2B Greatest Crockett/WCW matches

    I'm not on Facebook either, but I'd also like to jump in on this.
  2. I picked up every RINGS show from its first show in 1991 through mid-1994 or so towards the end of last year and I finally started going through all of them last week. My plan was to eventually watch everything in order until it turned to full MMA, but I may jump around some. High end RINGS is maybe my favourite kind of wrestling and it's one of my favourite promotions ever during that '96-'99 run, but early doors RINGS doesn't seem to be talked about much outside of stuff featuring the likes of Han and Maeda. Hopefully we can uncover some random gems from obscure Dutch judokas or the Willie Peeters masterpieces we know he's capable of. I'll keep a running list of the stuff worth watching as well (perhaps in some instances for reasons beyond technically being GOOD). Badass RINGS You Should be Watching (Baddest of the Badass in Italics): 1991 Akira Maeda v Dick Vrij (5/11/91) Chris Dolman v Ton von Maurik (8/1/91) Akira Maeda v Dick Vrij (8/1/91) Mitsuya Nagai v Herman Renting (9/14/91) Dick Vrij v Willie Peeters (12/7/91) Akira Maeda v Volk Han (12/7/91) 1992 Akira Maeda v Dick Vrij (1/25/92) Volk Han v Gennadi Gigant (3/5/92) Akira Maeda v Ramazi Buzariashvili (3/5/92) Akira Maeda v Volk Han (4/3/92) Volk Han v Grom Zaza (5/16/92) Dick Vrij v Mitsuya Nagai (5/16/92) Volk Han v Andrei Kopylov (7/16/92) Mitsuya Nagai v Cvetan Pavlov (8/21/92) Volk Han v Dick Vrij (8/21/92) Akira Maeda v Andrei Kopylov (8/21/92) Akira Maeda v Volk Han (10/29/92) Akira Maeda v Dimitri Petkov (11/13/92) Yoshihisa Yamamoto v Nobuaki Kakuta (12/19/92) Volk Han v Sotir Gotchev (12/19/92) 1993 Sotir Gotchev v Todor Todorov (1/23/93) Volk Han v Andrei Rumenezei (1/23/93) ----- Herman Renting v Peter Smit (5/11/91) This had some okay grappling on the ground and one or two decent takedowns (or maybe takedown attempts), but there wasn't a ton of urgency to any of it and it all mostly felt like two guys doing a demonstration. "This is how you go for an armbar..." Renting threw some okay kicks, but they were pretty light and again looked a bit like he was showing us all where you're SUPPOSED to kick someone. The winning armbar was cool, at least. Not terrible, but it won't knock your socks off. Willie Peeters v Marcel Haarmans (5/11/91) Man, Peeters was fun in this. He threw lots of nice kicks that made a smack when they landed, he wasn't afraid to lay into Haarmans with punches, and even if he wasn't much use on the mat he was certainly game to try for takedowns. Haarmans doesn't really seem to do...anything...very well. He's a big lumpy dude and he absorbed lots of body shots, but there was never much behind any of what he was doing. When it went to the mat it felt like he was fairly composed, but I don't know if he had much to offer there offensively. I've liked the limited amount of Peeters I've seen previously and he's one of the guys I'm interested in seeing more of in the early RINGS years. Bill Kazmaier v Chris Dolman (5/11/91) Jeez Louise this was rough. They work it within the rounds system so I briefly wondered if it somehow was a shoot, like Maeda was on the crystal meth one night and thought it might be fun to book that, but it didn't take long for the notion to be squashed. Kazmaier looks a bit like Arn Anderson here if Arn Anderson fell out a boat, drowned, and washed up on the shore. At times he moved like it, too. I've never seen Dolman before but he has a bit of young Glenn Jacobs about him, despite apparently being 46(!). He also has a legit judo and Sambo background so if he shows up again I guess I'd like to see what he can do with someone capable. Kazmaier threw some strangely amusing body shots and a big suplex, Dolman had one or two okay takedowns, but otherwise this was four and a half rounds of not a whole lot. Akira Maeda v Dick Vrij (5/11/91) This was almost certainly helped by coming after the listlessness of the previous fight, but on its own I thought it still managed to be pretty dang fun. Vrij is always good for a bit of banter, his taunting and horse-shitting it up usually fairly amusing. Maeda was cool as you like through all of this, never rising to Vrij's bait, content to let Vrij force the issue before he would try and capitalise. Most of Vrij's slaps were more insulting than anything, though he did catch Maeda with a few that made the crowd sit up. He threw a handful of high kicks, but again Maeda would wait, catch one, then try and go for the takedown or submission. A couple times it backfired and he found himself rocked, but in the end it paid off like he'd planned. This went like eleven minutes and I dug it just fine. Mitsuya Nagai v Herman Renting (8/1/91) Is this Nagai's debut, not just in RINGS but in all of the pretend fighting? It's certainly the earliest Nagai I've seen, as well as the least bald. This had more going on than Renting's last outing (also a show opener) and was pretty okay if largely unspectacular. Nagai's kicks look sharp enough, though none that landed were of much consequence. It's a departure from later career Nagai where he's crowbarring the living shit out of people and everything is landing eight thousand percent, often across Yuki Ishikawa's front teeth. Renting is another kickboxer but his shots were more probing than anything. There were some sparks of an alright ground struggle and at one point Nagai slickly escaped a choke attempt to gain side control, but otherwise this was fairly by the numbers. Chris Dolman v Ton von Maurik (8/1/91) This was basically a shoot style hoss fight. It wasn't pretty, in fact it was ugly and ragged, but fuck if I didn't enjoy it a bunch. Von Maurik is...well I can't find any worthwhile info on him from a cursory google search but he's a tall Dutchman with a bitchin' perm. Dolman mentions in his pre-fight interview that he needs to be careful of Von Maurik as he's fast, in good condition and skilled in both boxing and sumo! He does not look like a sumo wrestler but who am I to argue? But yeah, right from the start Von Maurik charges Dolman and they're very soon taking pot shots at each other. Von Maurik's kicks come from a very flat stance and none of them land all that clean, but it looks like he's putting some meat behind them - at least to the extent he can with no real hip torque. Dolman has a really weird guard, forearms tight around his ears, face shielded by his elbow. Not much got past it, to be fair to him, but it did leave his midriff open to a punch combo that scored Von Maurik a knockdown. Dolman then started to flex the judo muscles and take Von Maurik down pretty much at will - once with an absolutely gorgeous harai goshi - at which point he would start headbutting him in the chest. This was evidently effective as it opened Von Maurik up to some submission attempts and Von Maurik clearly wanted no part of it, scrambling to the ropes as quickly as possible. It played into the finish as well, and I liked how Von Maurik tried to claw his way to safety while Dolman pulled him into the middle of the ring, like a big monster dragging some poor fellow into a pit. I said after his last fight that I'd like to see Dolman get a run out against someone who can actually go, and while I don't know if Von Maurik ticks that box he was an exponentially better match-up than Billy Kazmaier. And I thought this was just way fun. Willy Wilhelm v Peter Smit (8/1/91) If you squint hard enough Wilhelm looks a bit like Calumet County district attorney Ken Kratz, or a Tesco brand Stan Hansen. He's a judoka who medalled in the '83 and '85 world judo championships and apparently had a match (presumably worked) with Maeda in '89 that drew 60,000 to the Tokyo Dome! He tells us he's beaten Smit a couple times in the past, back when Smit was much lighter. This time it'll be a bit more challenging, and while he knows he can't compete if it becomes a kickboxing contest he feels he'll be able to take Smit down and either put him in an arm lock or strangle him. Smit's interview is gibberish to me as my Dutch isn't for shit. Basically I wanted to transcribe the Wilhelm interview because that is pretty much exactly how the fight went from his perspective and I sort of love that he not only outright told you his strategy, but went and actually executed it. He had his gameplan, was confident enough in it to lay it out there, and followed through on it. Smit really wasn't very good at all. He would move into the clinch without ever actually trying to do anything, though there was one bit where he threw Wilhelm into the ropes and kicked him in the ribs which led to Wilhelm selling it like he'd popped a lung or something. I thought that was going to be the finish, but Wilhelm got up after 8 and came out, arms raised and roaring, like a big bear who's just happened upon a campsite. I figured a mauling was imminent. And well, he never quite mauled him but he sure did strangle him. Akira Maeda v Dick Vrij (8/1/91) Vrij is in a foul mood after taking the L - as the youths say - in their last fight and comes out immediately swingin' for the fences. He's just all knees to the body and high kicks in a flurry of neo-Nazi primary villain in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie rage and manages to score two early knockdowns. And it's obvious pretty quick that this fight has as clear a story as any pro-style match you'll see. Maeda has barely been in competition since the UWF closure. In fact I think this might only be his second bout in nearly two years; the first being his fight against Vrij on the previous show. Vrij is bigger, stronger, angrier and is literally trying to kick him senseless. He almost kicks him clean out the ring at one point (Maeda had to basically Terry Funk teeter-totter in order to stay in and it was great). The crowd get one million percent behind Maeda and when Vrij scores the fourth knockdown there's an audible "holy fuck he might actually lose this" reaction rippling throughout the whole arena. It turns to genuine panic when Vrij just keep coming forward, and not knowing the result myself I was thinking "nah, he's not getting TKO'd in ten minutes...is he?" His knee is also pretty heavily taped and when he gets up gingerly after taking another spill (not counted as a knockdown) you're thinking there might be no way back. He's injured and one knockdown off a stoppage and Vrij is absolutely all over him. It's inevitable. But it's still Maeda and this is his newly built house. He's been in worse situations, hasn't he? I was very much a fan of this, not just for the way they went about executing the match but also of the ballsiness of the booking. Best fight so far in our short history of Fighting Network RINGS.
  3. KB8

    RINGS (The Fighting Network!)

    You're way further ahead on these shows than me at this point. What would you say is the strongest overall year for the company (up to the point you've reached, at least)? Because late-decade RINGS usually grabs the most attention, but '95 and '96 are better represented there than '97 and it was '97 I expected to have the most good-to-great stuff when I started this thing.
  4. KB8

    [1994-06-15-NJPW] Riki Choshu vs Shinya Hashimoto

    What a match. There is nothing complicated about this. If you know anything about their rivalry then it'll probably resonate with you a little more, probably make everything come off a little richer in its execution, but even going in cold this is not a difficult match to follow. Partly because the simplicity is in how much they absolutely smash each other to bits. There are only like three actual transitions as well, each of which being examples of them smashing each other to bits. The tie-ups to start are Hashimoto v Choshu tie-ups, like two bulls butting heads. Then Choshu starts throwing kicks to Hashimoto's leg so Hash completely obliterates him. He just punts him up and down the place. This is Hashimoto's house now and Choshu's trying to use some of his wiliness but you will fucking not be pulling that shit tonight, my friend. I can only assume Hash had a leg injury at some point in the lead up to this because Choshu finally manages to take over by just clubbing Hashimoto's knee as the latter goes for a wheel kick. Ordinarily that wouldn't seem like a spot to shift momentum so drastically, especially given Hashimoto's dominance up to that point, but Hash sold it like it had totally ruined him so maybe there's something else there. Either way Choshu goes right to what brung him and about decapitates Hash with a lariat. And well, Choshu trying to lariat Hashimoto into oblivion as Hash refuses to give an inch is one of those things in pro-wrestling that just feels right. It's pure. Like Lawler and Dundee trading haymakers or Tamura and Han fighting over limbs. They're not the only ones to have done it, but there's something about THOSE guys doing it that nobody else can quite capture. Hashimoto's selling is so good as Choshu unloads bombs, the way he grimaces knowing how much this next lariat is gonna suck, the way he struggles to stay upright, the way he sells the cumulative damage of each blow. Choshu going through progressive stages of denial or disbelief as Hashimoto keeps kicking out ruled as well. After his last attempt he's almost shocked into a state of immobility, but it ends up costing him as Hash comes roaring back out of nowhere with a monster roundhouse. Even as you get the sense it's only a matter of time you still wonder if Choshu has one trick left in the bag. And then Hash crushes him with the nastiest middle rope elbow you ever did see. That this might not even be a top 3 iteration of this match-up is sort of staggering.
  5. Well, it's official. Michiyoshi Ohara has more great matches in 1993 than Bret Hart. This isn't New Japan v WAR, but it IS New Japan v Heisei Ishingun, which seems to make things only slightly less nuclear. Ohara had been teaming here and there with Hashimoto throughout the year, usually against the WAR invaders, and usually he got stomped into the floor by Tenryu as Hashimoto would come to his aid. But now Ohara's thrown his lot in with Koshinaka and his HI brethren and thus turned his back on Hashimoto. Maybe Hash wanted to give Ohara a chance to see the light early on because the first few minutes were pretty tentative. Well, maybe not tentative. Hashimoto's not necessarily someone I'd think of as a GREAT mat worker, but all of his matwork does tend to feel gritty and contested. He rarely goes through the motions so there's always an edge to it, and this had an edge to it. Then Ohara slapped him and that was that. Hash breaking his skull open in response with a headbutt and two closed fist punches was nuts. Our person with the handheld cam was directly behind Ohara when it happened, and as soon as he turned around after the headbutt the blood was trickling. Hash pretty much mauled him for the remainder while Ohara did what he was apparently really good at and that's try in vain to not get slaughtered. Some of the kicks Hash threw were ungodly, a few that would've sent a lesser man's lungs through the sky roof, others that landed right under the jaw and nose. The spin kicks, the overhand chops, the regular chops. Why would you ever want to step to this guy? The last DDT was sickening and who knows how Ohara never got carted out of there on a fork lift. That he just waited for Ohara to stand back up before casually choking him out was such a great finish. Come at the king you best not miss.
  6. KB8

    [1990-05-28-NJPW] Riki Choshu vs Shinya Hashimoto

    Everything great about Hash v Choshu. Not quite as epic as 1996, not the same story of pride as 1991, not the struggle of 1997, but at its core it's Hash v Choshu and everything that entails. They really thump each other silly and there are few more consistently awesome slugfests in wrestling history. Choshu was landing absolute jaw-jacker elbows including a knockout blow as Hash charged him in the corner, Hash was kicking him absurdly hard in the midsection, they were trading nasty headbutts, it had all the staples. I just love the struggle you get with all of their matches. Overall this was worked pretty even and generally I like it when someone at least sustains momentum for a stretch, but not one transition felt lazy or like someone decided it was their turn to go back on offence again. If Hash cut off Choshu he did it with something that'd believably halt your momentum. If Choshu cut off Hash he made damn sure you were buying it. They milked the big moments, they hit with purpose, they didn't need to do a whole lot, and they had everyone on strings. Finish might've come off a little sudden, but I like it as a surprise KO with Hash spotting his chance and going all in before Choshu can recover. This match-up never fails.
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  8. How about this for a lumpy undercard dream match? This was like some parallel universe Dark Tower shit because both guys are basically each other if their career trajectories happened to be swapped. Nakano works SWS/WAR? He's Kitahara. Kitahara does shoot style and ends up in a Takada promotion? He's Nakano. To be fair, though, I actually didn't expect Kitahara to be as fun in this environment. I mean, it isn't really a shoot style match as opposed to a pro style match with shoot style trappings, but it was a neat enough amalgamation and I liked how Kitahara handled himself. The early mat exchange was nice and solid and once again Nakano ends up with a bloody nose. It must be made of mashed potato. Pretty soon they start smacking each other in the face real hard and my Clone Wars theory is confirmed as Kitahara's nose also gets opened up, though this was at least a result of a nasty looking knee and not just breathing, which is what I assume did for Nakano. Nakano hits a German and Kitahara no sells it like "*I* am the lumpiest here!" and roundhouse kicks Nakano in the head. This was yet another fun six minutes.
  9. I love this feud. It might be my favourite WWF feud of the 80s. This wasn't quite as good as what my memory tells me about the MSG match, but it was another home run. Tito was so good, man. He probably had a heel run somewhere or other but as far as career babyfaces go he got believably fired up like no other. I bought him wanting to kill Savage, take his belt (which Savage had taken from him in the first place under controversial circumstances), then kill him again. Savage was also a whirlwind of crazy. He threw Tito over the ropes, the barricade, almost fell several times climbing after him, jumped off of turnbuckles and the ring apron and the barricade, hit him with a chair, threw the chair away, hopped into the crowd to get it back, hit him again. Security were having to follow him around and keep fans in check, put stuff back in its original place for everyone's safety, really having to earn their keep that night. I've said before that one of my favourite things about Savage is how, despite being a guy who reportedly planned out his matches to the letter, there was always a sense of chaos and unpredictability to what he was doing. And the whole time he was in control here it felt like he was just rushing through the ideas that were coming to mind for ways to inflict misery. "I'll just jump off this shit and club him in the head." "Oh there's a steel chair, might as well hit him with that. Oh look another thing I can jump off of, I'ma climb it." It was never directionless in the way you'd get someone just running through stuff with no rhyme or reason. I mean it was directionless in that he's a nutjob who was acting on his impulses, yet it had plenty direction in the sense it was all ultimately designed to fuck up Tito Santana. The opening was also awesome with Elizabeth getting bumped off her feet as Savage tried to use her as a meat shield, Tito checking on her and Savage blindsiding him, because what's more important to Savage than the Intercontinental title? Not Elizabeth, apparently.
  10. That makes sense, tbf. I don't actually know if I've seen any of his AAA run. I mean, I probably have even if it's a few trios here and there, but I'm pretty sure I've seen nothing from that Panther feud.
  11. The greatest feud of them all delivers yet another midcard banger. A sprinkle of inter-promotional hatred makes everything in wrestling that much better and this was quite the little slobberknocker. Hara was pretty much the richest poor man's Tenryu you could get, starting out surly and smashing chairs over Saito's head. Saito responds by absolutely walloping him senseless with kicks to the chest and spleen, and it always sort of amazes me how these WAR crowds are ten thousand percent behind the non-WAR guys kicking the living shit out of the hometowners (Tenryu aside). You'd think the fans in attendance would rally behind their own, but instead they lose their mind for guys like Koshinaka driving his hip bone into a WAR guy's orbital bone. Both guys threw a hundred potatoes in this. At one point Saito was blasting away at Hara's midsection and Hara would try to stand up to it in defiance, too proud to show weakness, too hurt to properly mount any sort of comeback. Then he'd spot an opening and tee off and there was one lariat across the bridge of Saito's nose that was just putrid. This really is WAR v New Japan in all its grimy, brutal glory. The very greatest of them all.
  12. Any wrestling taking place in a studio with a purple colour scheme going on will remind me of those early 80s matches from the DVDVR Memphis set and so this had the vibe of something they'd run after an angle where Bill Dundee gets clobbered in the brain with a Moondog dinosaur bone. It was a neat enough few minutes; had some big Otsuka suplexes, some sharp strike flurries by Usuda and some alright matwork even if it was nowhere close to high end Battlarts matwork. I'm always fascinated by shoot style promotions in their formative periods and this had glimpses of what Battlarts would become without being all the way there yet.
  13. 1994 CMLL is a strange beast. There are things like the Dandy/Llanes feud and...for the longest time that's pretty much all anybody had talked about in any great detail. Basically nothing else. Even then it's been about ten years since I watched the title match and I barely remember a thing about it now. Then a while back the Casas/Cota hair match got some pimping. Cota was a revelation on the Lucha 80s set and since then I've checked out some of his post-prison run. By the mid-90s the ship had probably long sailed on him having something like the Rocca title match, but he was still a ton of fun and the apuestas with Casas is one of those matches I've been looking forward to for a while. I guess this was where the feud started. I don't know what Cota did to get under Casas' skin but before the bell even rang Casas had him dragged to the floor. It promised a hate-filled brawl that they never really delivered on, at least not during the primera. They never quite went for each other's throat, instead settling down a bit and trying to work a semi-clean match. The exchanges were still rough though, and more than once tempers flared and someone would come in to take a swing. Cota was such a weird looking guy at this point in his career. He had the incredible afro, the signature hand gesture with missing finger on the front of his singlet, chicken legs and dinner lady arms, he looked like a malnourished Conway Twitty who'd stab you for a sandwich. In addition to his beef with Casas he didn't particularly care for Dandy, or his own partner, or pretty much anybody in the general vicinity. When he took an accidental dropkick from Silver King he'd had all he could take. You knew something was about to go down when he came back out scowling a minute later, and sure enough he brought with him a knuckle duster. Match ends in a DQ when Casas takes it from him and gives him a shot to the head (after Cota had given Dandy a whack in the ribs and laid out Silver King with a right hook), but the post-match with Casas trying to maul him was probably the best part of the whole thing. If Casas wasn't yet the untouchable king of Arena Mexico he'd become you couldn't tell from the way the people were behind him. When Casas was out for blood, the people were out for blood, and the referees could get fucked as well. Dandy grabbing both of them by the ear and dragging them away so Casas could continue the beating unimpeded was an awesome little touch, particularly when you consider the history of those two. That they stood raising each other's hand in the middle of the ring while Cota looked on bloody and bitter was a pretty good indication of how much piss he'd boiled.
  14. KB8

    WWE TV 04/22 - 04/26: Institutionalized Insanity

    I'd say the difference there is that, even if Austin and the rest of those wrestlers in 1997, or Hogan and the rest in 1984, never talked like actual people (and they didn't, because they were larger than life superstars and whatnot), they all felt like individuals. No sane person on the street would act like Steve Austin or walk into a Starbucks and order a caramel latte in the third person like the Rock. Those guys were far from "regular" people, but I'd say the bigger problem today is that, even if a wrestler doesn't talk like a normal human being, they all talk like the SAME not-a-normal-human-being. It's not just that one of them talks about the "WWE Universe" rather than "fans." It's that they all fucking say it. You can't help but remember you're watching something that's micromanaged to ridiculous degrees. And everything being so clearly scripted doesn't help either, because nothing feels organic and most of those folks aren't very good at making that script-writing come across as something they'd actually say.
  15. KB8

    WWE TV 04/22 - 04/26: Institutionalized Insanity

    In my opinion WWE would improve a thousandfold if they taught their talent how to watch a fucking TV screen properly. Every week I get stupidly and irrationally infuriated at those segments where folk are standing there craning their neck to watch a TV monitor and I tell myself it's a four second snippet of a two-three hour show and there's really no reason for me to be getting so annoyed by it and yet here we are, another week, another cloud being yelled at by this here old man. Owens is just about my least favourite wrestler in the entire company, and while I never actually considered Shane McMahon a viable candidate for a transitional title run, I'm already sold on that idea much more than Owens. I also get that they might've had to turn him because of something Bryan-related, but in the right circumstance I'd have been a wee bit interested in seeing babyface Owens. I have no use for heel Owens whatsoever while heel Shane has actually been pretty fun from the bits I've watched. If they ran with him v Reigns as a short program to flip the belt onto Reigns I imagine a match built around Shane trying all sorts of horse shit to win only to be inevitably crushed in the end could be sort of enjoyable. I mean, you know he'd bump like a lunatic if nothing else. I only saw bits of it but that Charlotte/Bayley match seemed decent. Crowd were into it down the stretch and I quite liked Bayley's sell of the leg (though I missed how the leg work came about, or even if there was any leg work to speak of).
  16. KB8

    Post-Mania TV 2019

    I'd basically zoned out during that entire run where Bruan got red hot, but I'm pretty sure he was getting booed briefly in that segment with Joe the other night so...you know. They definitely haven't missed the boat with that dude.
  17. KB8

    Post-Mania TV 2019

    Yeah, I sort of joked about that at the end of the post when I realised what I was actually talking about. They're by far the most vocal when it comes to stuff like that and probably an outlier in the grand scheme of things, but I'd be surprised if they were the only ones (again, I don't really watch enough to know one way or the other).
  18. KB8

    Post-Mania TV 2019

    Generally speaking I think WWE's booking - when I actually try to pay attention, which, to be fair, is not often - isn't particularly good. Sometimes it's so shoddy that you actually wonder if they're deliberately trying to sabotage a guy like, say, Roman Reigns (for someone people talk about as being shoved down throats, he's only won just over half his PPV matches, which is sort of nuts. Though I get that wins and exposure aren't necessarily hand in hand). They absolutely do not get a pass for any of their ropey booking or writing or decision-making. But there were elements of those post-Mania crowds that were pretty unbearable, and on the whole I'm someone who thinks that if you pay money for a ticket you should be allowed to cheer or boo whoever the hell you like. I mean, forget the MOVES~ argument and all that guff -- a guy like Sullivan gets brought up and is clearly being positioned as a fresh act that they're intending to inject into things, and after about five minutes of screen time pockets of the audience are already shitting on him (I've seen him probably three times, btw, so maybe he sucks and actually can't wrestle, in which case I guess I'll shut my mouth). As has been mentioned, WWE have brought it on themselves with all the rubbish they've pumped out over the years, but there's a LITTLE element of them being damned if they do and damned if they don't. I'm loathe to defend them because I largely find their product unwatchable, but shit. Becky and Kofi caught fire and they put the belts on them, but Sullivan is a shitshow and sucks straight out the gate. Ricochet and Black are two guys folk seem to have wanted to get some exposure on the main roster, two guys who are clearly being positioned as fresh acts to liven up a stale TV product, and large sections of the audience don't care and would rather fuck around Mexican Waving during their match. No way am I one of the "just shut up and enjoy the PRODUCT man stop complaining so much" crowd, but every year there seems to be a larger percentage of the crowd that would rather chant goofy shit to "get themselves over" than actually give anything a chance. And on the one hand I suppose I can see their point because WWE have been given plenty of chances only to trot out complete horse shit, but on the other hand those post-Wrestlemania crowds are the woooorst and maybe it's all their fault. Either way I think there's absolutely an annoying element of self-entitlement with some pockets of WWE crowds. Maybe they should just...shut up and enjoy the PRODUCT man!
  19. KB8

    Post-Mania TV 2019

    Were folk chanting "you can't wrestle" at Lars last night? You'd figure the NXT guys would be spared that for at least a few weeks (I may have totally misheard, tbf)...
  20. I know this happened a while back now, but it's pretty crazy watching it in 2019, three days after a Wrestlemania headlined by one of them, where that same one of them became the first unified women's champion in WWE history (unless they had a unified Divas champion that I've forgotten about). Even if I wasn't really following NXT in 2015 I know how highly thought of Sasha Banks was. You had this, the Bayley series, folk talking her up as the absolute prodigy of women's wrestling in the US. A year later she was part of the very first women's hell in a cell as women headlined a WWE PPV for the first time ever. If you had to bet on one of these two main eventing the first women's Wrestlemania main event you'd have put the house on it being Sasha. Honestly, I haven't really cared about Sasha in a while. It's not that she's a terrible babyface or anything, she's just not very interesting. But this was heel Sasha and she felt so much more natural. You could see it against Rousey when she got to show some of her heel chops, how she got to be real nasty working the arm, the way she mostly worked from the top and didn't need to focus so much of garnering sympathy. This was a similar performance from an offensive standpoint, only it was ramped way up and she got to go all the way with the mugging and shit-talking. The arm work was mean and inventive and I liked how it came about as a response to Becky trying to do it first. She took over with a big arm-wringer drop onto the ring apron, then worked a great straightjacket choke where she'd stomp Becky's arms into the mat as the hold was applied. There was an awesome bit as well where Becky crawled over to the ropes to pull herself up, ending up straddling the middle rope, so Sasha yanked her into the position Becky would assume for her pre-match headbanging and twisted her arm over the top rope at a nasty angle, mimicking Becky at the same time. Becky going for Sasha's arm in kind gave us a really cool dual limb work dynamic, which isn't really something we've ever gotten a lot of in WWE. Even though she was technically the babyface the crowd were largely behind Sasha, but by the end they were all for Becky submitting her with the armbar. She mostly sold that arm the whole way through as well, hanging it by her side as she climbed the turnbuckles and generally reminded you that she was working hurt. The arm breaker off the top at the end didn't come off great, but it definitely worked as a payoff to the arm work and a nice set up for the Banks Statement. Really cool match. Maybe Becky Lynch might get over after all.
  21. KB8

    Wrestlemania 35: The KawadaSmile tribute thread

    I was pretty much dead on my arse by the end, but somehow the show didn't feel like as much of a slog as last year's. I had more beer this year, tbf. I liked how all the luchadors got eliminated from the battle royal in the hurtiest ways possible. I liked Lesnar throwing Rollins around like a sack of carrots and Rollins getting all welted up. I liked the Shane McMahon match way more than I expected and that bump where he scooted clean off the top of a golf buggy into a flat back concrete bump was ludicrous. I liked Bryan/Kofi a bunch and pretty much everything about it was the perfect payoff. I liked Drew's bagpipes entrance. I liked Cena's midlife crisis lame ass Thuganomics goofiness and how he clearly knew it was lame as fuck and went all the way with it anyhow. I liked Helmsley yanking Batista's nose ring out with a pair of pliers. I liked Batista taking a bunch of nutty bumps that he absolutely doesn't need to take now that he's an actual movie star people take seriously. I liked Alexa Bliss, although I did NOT like how I felt closer to the hardcore Alexa Bliss creepers than I ever would've wanted. I liked Charlotte getting the motherfucking helicopter entrance. I liked Rousey shit-talking and pretty much everything else she did but especially the "you chop like a BITCH" and "tables are for BITCHES" parts. I probably will never watch any of it ever again.
  22. I haven't really paid much attention to Riddle since he's been in NXT. My commitment to following along with any promotion at this point never lasts very long and so I might've missed something worthwhile. So this might not be his best match in NXT, but I will make the very bold claim based on pretty much nothing other than this very match that he won't have many better. I'll watch anything with Dream, so I was pretty hyped and it didn't disappoint. The early parts in Velveteen Dream matches will always put a smile on my face and I liked Riddle being as chilled as always, having fun taking Dream over with tricked out submissions and generally having a good time doing what he does. None of Dream's horse shit was working on him and Riddle gyrating his hips while he was tossing him around was amusing. Then Dream stomped on Riddle's bare foot and that was that. He pissed him off and as soon as Riddle took over - with the awesome German suplex on the floor - he just went on a tear. This was such a cool Matt Riddle performance, the way he dropped the breezy attitude and tried to mangle Dream. He flirted once or twice with his heel side as well, throwing some mean strikes before releasing on a rope break, punting Dream in the chest, doing everything with a scowl. Dream's Hulk-Up stuff is obviously carny as fuck, but I'll always get a kick out of it and I liked how it led to the double ax handle to the floor, which he'd tried earlier before Riddle grabbed him and took over. The finishing run never got excessive at all and it meant that, outside the finish itself, the biggest spot led to the biggest nearfall. That German/Flying Bro sequence was incredible and Dream took the German almost full Kobashi style right on his cranium. Finish itself was great too. Riddle can grab and submit a guy from anywhere, but Dream is resourceful and the champ for a reason. He weathered the storm, took everything Riddle threw at him and managed to pull it out in the clutch. You get the sense there's a bigger match in them as well, and that's pretty refreshing when just about every match these days shoots for epic first time out. I can't remember the last time I was disappointed by a Velveteen Dream match.
  23. KB8

    Wrestlemania 35: The KawadaSmile tribute thread

    I dipped in and out of this thread last year and it kept me going pretty well. It's completely absurd that we're at a point where I can go to bed after this show has started and get up for work as it's still going on, but I'm off tomorrow so I guess the bigger absurdity is that I'll stay up and watch it. I'm watching it with my brother and one of my friends and there's a goodly amount of beer in my house so we'll see if I don't crash out before the end. I know about no more than four matches that are happening, though. How many fucking wrestlers have they managed to get on the card? Sixty?
  24. KB8

    NXT Takeover: New York

    Tbf, it had most of the stuff he likes, and it was ramped up even more so than usual, so it doesn't strike me as that much of a HOT TAKE~. Like, I wouldn't have been surprised if he gave it seven and a half stars or whatever we're up to now, so this doesn't totally shock me either.
  25. KB8

    NXT Takeover: New York

    At some point in that main event it felt like we'd reached the point in modern day wrestling where the superkick is the new punch. Or at least in Johnny Gargano matches. How many superkicks did those dudes throw?! Gargano is obviously not the only wrestler who throws a bunch of superkicks, but he threw like two million last night and Cole threw only a couple fewer. I can't really say anything about the match because I didn't pay all that much attention, but the ending stretch was too much even if I bit on a couple of the nearfalls. Crowd were super into it if nothing else. Doubt I'll ever go back and actually watch it. Dream/Riddle ruled and Dream is the best thing going. Thought this was Riddle's best performance in NXT and he was excellent in it. Liked how he started out as chilled as he usually is, looking for the fist bump, generally having a fun time doing his thing. A couple of the early submission attempts were super funky. Then Dream stomped on his foot and pissed him off. Riddle was a total dynamo on offence when he took over (with the awesome German on the floor) and I dug how he acted sort of heelish in the way he'd just murder Dream with strikes. Dream's Hulk-Up is of course carny as fuck but I like that it at least led to the payoff from earlier and he was able to hit the double ax handle to the floor on the second attempt. Finishing run wasn't close to overkill (though you could probably say they moved on from a big bomb or two a little quickly) and no nearfall felt absurd. I mean, outside of the finish, the kickout after the HUGE German followed by the flying bro (or whatever the fuck Ranallo called it) was the biggest spot of the match. They didn't treat it as an afterthought by moving onto some other guff. They built everything really nicely, Riddle looked like a killer, Dream looked great for weathering the storm, and even if Riddle can tap someone out at any moment, Dream is good enough that he can stay in the fight even in the most dire of circumstances. I can't remember the last time I was disappointed by a Velveteen Dream match.
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