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Found 89 results

  1. I will never not find T2P nifty. Sure, these matches are a littly exhibition-y, and you can't help but think that they could use some of the spots they throw out in the opening here for greater effect later, but they were experimenting after all. Surprised no US Indy has ripped off T2P yet, to be honest. I'll take this stuff over the movezzz matches that PWG et al are doing these days. And there is even a little story here, as you have a power vs. technique matchup and Ogawauchi attacks Kondo's legs to make up for Kondo's short distance lariat and slam attacks. Especially liked how Jun bumped huge for a Kondo german suplex to put over his strength. Ogawauchi lands some world class kick aswell that wouldn't look out of place if Daisuke Ikeda threw them. Some great counters in the last couple minutes. Come for the weirdo grappling, stay for the classier things. Surprised no T2P stuff made it into the Best of 2000s Japan project.
  2. I wish MUGA had been a full time promotion at this time. This was mostly on the mat, which is where everyone here looks good. This was certainly a good use of Hase whose amateur style stuff still looks very powerful. He and Nishimura with his awesome briding where the standouts here early on. Mutoh just did his usual spiel for the finish, altough Fujinami hitting a flying knee on him was really fun and Nishimuras selling made it look better than usual.
  3. Murakami and his BattlARTS pal shake things up in New Japan. Tanahashi & Kenzo actually step up here, working shootstyle and look good. Tanahashi's matwork is especially way better than pretty much anything he did from 2006 onward. Kenzo throwing big crowbar suplexes is certainly way better than whatever he did later also. This was basically an Ishikawa section followed by a Murakami section with both guys bringing their signature stuff. Ishikawa doing cool matwork and Murakami punching dudes in the face. Good shit but you come out of this match wanting to see a singles match.
  4. This was a good match that could have been a lot better. First of all, Kuragaki rules on offense. Her flippy shit looks really graceful, and she was just launching Hyuga around with her power moves and lariats. Those back suplexes were all kind of crazy. Hyuga did a really good job working as the ace and preventing Kuragaki from attacking her bandaged leg, including just stomping on her face when she went for a kneebar. I also dig the out of nowhere knee attacks. On the other hand there were some awkward/blown spots and I disliked Hyuga's lazy no selling transitions during the finishing stretch. Kuragaki hit a brutal shoot headbutt, and Hyuga would act unphased and just continue her offense. This had a really good layout opening with some nice matwork and the leg story, so it has that going for it.
  5. This match was like a joshi version of Atlantis/Blue Panther. Just what the hell was going on with these two girls? I'll just assume that this is how Jaguar Yokota taught them wrestling is supposed to be like. Just a straight up grappling match with a ton of legit ability in both workers and a strange lucha influence to keep it sweet and graceful. I swear to good some of the sequences here wouldn't look out of place in a 1991 CMLL title match. At one point, Sakai floated into a flying headscissor, which turned into a standing choke, that Yabushita then countered into an ankle pick. Really unlike anything I've seen in a wrestling match before. Same for Sakai's strange huracanrana where she slipped underneath almost as if pulling guard and then gracefully rolled into a pin. That kind of stuff could look cute and contrived, but they had their timing down pat and the rhythm was just right, moving from matwork, to sparringly used rope usage, to hellish suplex moves. Yabushita again went for the arm like a bat out of judo hell, and the selling was top, adding just the right kind of fatigue and desperatin. Some of Yabushita's armlocks were straight out of Negro Navarro's book. Really I've no idea what was going on with these two to have a match like this in a dying promotion. I guess it's just a thing between two workers who trained together and just did they kind of bout they enjoyed.
  6. Brutal match in which Kawada basically tries to send Hase to the retirement home of comedy undercard tags for good. Aside from the opening matwork I thought Hase didn't really hold up his end, he looked like he was getting token bits of offense before Kawada went back to kicking the shit out of him. Pretty inspired Kawada performance although some of those sorry back and forth strike exchagnes were starting to creep in. Still, plenty of great spots mostly involving Kawada kicking Hase really hard in interesting ways.
  7. Sakata had the vibe of someone who was just getting the hang of how to pro wrestle here, but after a somewhat tentative opening this turned into a shockingly good match. Takaiwa has been efficient against shooters and this was no exception. Sakata had it all over Takaiwa here, basically making him his punching bag, working submission counters and throwing him around with massive suplexes. Takaiwas only chance was to crowbar Sakata into oblivion. Muscling Sakata into the Death Valley Bomb may have been Takaiwas finest moment ever here. We get lots of brutal lariats (obviously), but Takaiwa really earns his salt eating one nasty kick from Sakata after another, getting double stomped and almost submitted a couple times. Awesome jaw breaking finish.
  8. Psycho bomb throwing war which has to go down as the carryjob of the year. Vampiro was basically a stiff trying to be a video game wrestler here. However, his recklessness may have added to the match as he seemed to be self destructive hitting moves (e.g. knocking himself loopy with his own suplex, injuring his leg hitting a spin kick etc). It really adds to the suspense when you think this washed up drug fiend is going to blow his knees out any moment. Whenever Vampiro was in danger of getting lost, Bucanero engaged in some vicious brawling. I especially loved the segment on the ramp that started with Bucanero just clocking Vampiro in the back of the neck. He also had some really great brief work on the shoulder. The whole match made sense and was never boring as they just kept doing bumps and dives. The one weak point was Vampiros superman comeback which knocked the match down about 15 places in the MOTY list.
  9. Ah, 2002, when Shocker was a great worker. I really liked the brief opening matwork, with Shocker flipping around and Guerrero catching him in a great flash Fujiwara Armbar. 2nd fall was short but had UG working Shockers arm over with hurty wristlocks and takedowns. Then Shocker made this great comeback and trying to boot his head off. Shocker looked damn good here, even throwing a great punch combo. The 3rd fall was your typical UG end run where they exchange big dramatic kickouts. Not my favourite thing but it was awesome to watch these two crush eachother with huge chunky guy highspots.
  10. I liked this a lot, felt like a showcase match between two tough NOAH undercarders except these two are way more nimble on their feet. Plenty stiff and generally fresh due to them sticking to what works for them. Ran Yu Yu has good knee based offense and really vicious elbows, Amano has some nasty short kicks. Some damn impressive sequences and moves here: Yu Yu's wheelbarrow lift into spinning argentine backbreaker felt like a move Cesaro should steal.I also really like Amano's flying armbars and they worked some neat counters around them. This didn't have the kind of sustained selling or story that makes me think I'm watching something epic, but they kept bringing the quality and never did anything stupid.
  11. Not as epic as their match 2 weeks later but still tightly worked, smart professional wrestling. It was a pretty different match from their later match which shows these guys aren't one trick ponies. Once again the match had lots of cool matwork. Quance dominated more here and looked good doing that but obviously it wasn't as exciting as Super Dragon crushing a dude. The match was a 20 minute ironman and they do a nice job going 20 minutes without a fall. In total it feels like a setup for the postmatch angle altough not in a bad way.
  12. It's the birth of indy dream match wrestling baby. Joe has come back from japan and has yoinked all kinds of cool things from the legends while Danielson is starting to come into his own. The opening hold for hold trading isn't anything brilliant but still feels inventive by 2019 US indy wrestling standards. There is guard work and they work for cross armbreakers but also snug cravates. When Danielson tries to get cute and throw shots Joe would make him pay dearly with a few crossfaces of his own. This was generally pretty hard hitting and they do a good job building to the big spots. This was slightly before they were really starting to put it all together, Joe wasn't quite the menacing badass, but he would really lay into Bryan with kicks, slam him hard to counter a basic headlock etc. On the other hand he would also bump for a feeble Bryan shoulderblock which is just weird. Bryan was pretty fun also hitting a big enzugiri and suicide dive. The one weak part were his head kicks as there seemed to be a lot of light there. Finish was all kinds of fun.
  13. Borderline great match well worth powering through the absolutely awful commentary. They worked a slightly more intricate version of their usual match here, adding some especially cool counters and cut offs to the mix. The main reason the work between these two guys ages well is that instead of building to thigh slapping flying knee strikes or Go 2 Sleep variations they add stiff kicks to the chest and nasty turnbuckle bumps to the mix. Note how violent something like Kis hair pulling toss felt not to mention the headbutts. Could've gone longer but I guess that's a good thing.
  14. More meth lab BattlARTS. This starts out with some somewhat conventional, good lock ups and grappling, altough quickly devolves into a gritty seedy fight. Watching these two fight over pin attempts and submissions is way more interesting than skinny juniors running through choreographed reversals. Hero looked good working over Ian with stiff strikes and Ian once again just pasted him with european uppercuts and crossfaces. There was some nasty as hell legwork with Hero wrapping tape around his leg to protect himself. The vocal selling was pretty outstanding too. Great post match with Ian having his knee popped back in place. The IWA MS crowd proves they are true connoisseurs by giving this a standing ovation.
  15. About as perfect a 7 minute opener as you can ask for. This was Reds TNA debut and they work a slightly more traditional style (if you can talk traditional when you have crazy moves dished out by the minute) with some arm drags and Ki beating him down good with his awesome neck headbutts etc. They pull out some of their spectacular kung fu sequences later for great effect. Amazing how these two always managed to mix up their stuff.
  16. Another good match between these two. Man the folks going to this garage got to see a lot of great wrestling. This had a bit more traditional layout with Quance dominating early on the mat and hitting armdrags before Dragon takes out his legs with nasty dropkicks to the knee. Quance looked good again working snug nelson holds and leg trips on the ground. His limping leg selling was also pretty good. Super Dragon did a nice job saving 1 or 2 sloppy moments of his technico opponent, smacked him around while applying leglocks and hit a brutal double stomp to the leg. This did not have as many nearfalls as their other matches which is probably a good thing. Instead of your-turn-my-turn stuff Quance tried to comeback and failed, then Dragon finished him off catching a rollup attempt and hitting a Dragon Suplex into a Psycho Driver for the badass finish.
  17. Brutally stiff fight that blows away pretty much all current (2019) pro wrestling. The opening segment alone where they unload in the corner was just disgusting. The submissions here won't make you forget U-Style, but they did everything with a certain intensity, and you'll be too busy wincing at these two lunatics trying to hit eachother as hard as humanly possible to notice. They did a good job telling the story of the match, which was that Hoshikawa was slowly falling apart as he kept getting destroyed by his super vicious, more precise opponent. I liked how both guys used limb selling to put over the punishment, it makes sense that wyou would pick up injuries after getting kicked a dozen times, even without your opponent specifically targetting a bodypart. Sakata was just a bastard here, Hoshikawa is someone you buy as being really tough, but anytime Hoshikawa started to build momentum Sakata would punch him in the liver or knee him in the face. All the big strikes, including Hoshikawas massive enzuigiris were really well timed. I'm not gonna pretend the match was flawless or some kind of classic as Hoshikawa does a pretty lame no sell and at times the match is just going a long but for this kind of brutal fight it was fairly great. It starts out pretty nasty and you wonder how can they keep this going and have some kind of arc building up, but they pull it off and the last strike that left the loser drooling blood from his mouth really feels like an exclamation point.
  18. It's crazy to think these two had pretty much perfected the US Indy style so early in the game. This was like a distillate of their 2002 work, and while it wasn't as smartly worked as their epic match in November, it has all the cool matwork, stiffness and crazy bombdropping you can ask for. Super Dragon came across as this menacing asskicker during the opening exchanges, punishing Quance with double stomps when he attempted basic moves and kicking him hard while applying leglocks. He also hit this awesome past the turnbuckle dive. Quance is able to hold his own, countering the usual armbars and hitting a stiff dropkick. After Dragon rams into the turnbuckle (taking his signature bump where he basically suicide dives into nothing) Quance hits this shooting star press to the outside nuking both Dragon and Excalibur which is a pretty insane spot for 2002. After that that it's basically them trading big nearfulls while still maintaining a sense of competitiveness and working a few reversals/cutoffs. While there are lot of big moves it wasn't just a series of trading back and forth. Dragon once again looked great mixing up his stuff and I loved him cranking back at a basic facelock between all the powerbombs and suplexes. They also laced into eachother with hard strikes at one point. Epic finish which feels like a perfect example of how to use a crazy complicated death move like that.
  19. This was a serious contender for the greatest US indy match I've ever seen. Virtually flawlessly worked 30 minute junior epic which had everything – matwork, storytelling, selling, devastating moves and guys slapping eachother in the mouth. We start with 10 minutes of nearly uninterrupted matwork which was ultra tightly worked, smooth stuff. Quance is someone nobody really talks about anymore, but he was a great talent and just mindlbowingly good for a dude in his 2nd year of wrestling. The matwork they did here was much better than the wristlocky WoS imitation stuff you usually get in US indies and closer to lucha matwork with a bit of japanese influence sprinkled in. Quance would shoot for double leg takedowns and judo legtrips, while Dragon just pounces on him like a snake, in between working ultra tight pin attempts and slapping eachother. Quances tiger feint rana may be the single coolest move a skinny US junior has ever invented. This is 2/3 falls and both the first 2 falls have really smart finishes that pay off in the long run of the match. Dragon was incredibly vicious here, modifying his signature offense to work Quances arm, but he also did a great job selling a big head kick. Quances arm selling was pretty much flawless as he was struggling to hit his offense for the rest of the match and he looked quite sympathetic trying to take down his bigger, more vicious opponent. There were also numerous great counters from Super Dragon, ranging from Fujiwara armbars to turning a DDT into a powerbomb mid-air. He also had this amazing flying armbar. Match also had all the usual brutal offense, neck-compressing suplexes, huge double stomps and lariats etc. The finish is fucking infuriating, but please don't let that detract from the amazing work these two did here.
  20. Our only BattlARTS main event of the year, but it's a good one. These two always have good matches, and this time they went for a full blown 19 minute main event. What was cool about this was that normally you had Usuda as the aggressive striker with Ishikawa working counters. Here Usuda was still aggressive but Ishikawa gave him back good, so Usuda was also using his defensive tools more, which is something he does very well, and you had a match basically built around who could turn the others aggression against himself first. Match has lots of good matwork and also some insanely stiff headbutts and kidney shots. I especially like anytime Usuda would get aggressive on the mat, normally you would go to the mat to seek safety from a striker, you aren't safe from Usuda though. It really is a crying shame Usuda was so underutilized on the indie scene, atleast Ishikawa got himself a spot on Michinoku Pro undercards that year. Usuda takes as good as he gives, taking some crazy crazy suplex bumps. There are some excellent submission teases and the finish was pretty epic with multiple face shattering kicks and Ishikawa just rattling Usuda with a big punch. The finish plays up the story of the match as it was all about who would get the deciding counter.
  21. I've seen a lot of Inokiism stuff, some of it it good, some of it is weird, inexplicable and beyond ratings, I fully expected this to be chaotic and unconventional but the match ended up being absolutely amazing as well. The first thing that came to mind with the length is the Ikeda-Ono match, but this one is just better and I don't think it's close even. Saying this would be hailed as a MOTYC by the crew that pimps Futen and Battlarts if it had happened that would almost be instinctive but also undermine everything this match was. It was more than that. It was a pastiche of the Futen violence, the morality, stable wars and art of the no finish (best showcased in the 80s wrestling everyone loves so much) and real life politics blurring the line between reality and pre-determination. If you haven't seen it I urge you to watch the match with an open mind. If you have, I'd urge you to rewatch it since 2002 was a long time ago, you're distanced from the impact of the match on the business side of things now, and also your taste has probably changed, I don't think I've seen a single person talk about this *match* since I started discussing prowres online, so it's not exactly like it's been mandatory watching for now. The rest of the review includes spoilers and I think it's better to watch it without reading them, but suit yourself. When Kensuke knocked Ogawa in the beginning of the match it was not only a wonderful moment of violence, but also incredibly symbolic. We had seen Ogawa in positions of peril-but it was the first time someone had done something so shocking and so direct as to just smack him and start mounting on him. It was a true moment of peril-one after which it only made sense his stablemates would run into the ring. That and it was before the bell making it illegal. The next couple of minutes are as tense as any match I've ever seen, and really sophisitcated and simulatenously barbaric. The violence of a takedown, a throw, a punch and a kick are all well known, but displaying that well in a worked environment can be tricky and they absolutely nailed it. I remember hearing Jim Cornette saying something about how a criteria for a perfect match included everyone believing it was real-which sounded silly coming from him-but I don't think there's a match that's as good at that as this one that didn't turn into a real fight. And when Ogawa started shoot kicking Kensuke you even start questioning that-the images of the 1999 incident are just too visceral to ever be forgotten. But here Kensuke recovers, and goes after Ogawa, and hits him and throws him and makes him retreat, which is analogous to a count out victory over Andre, even if the scoreboard may have had it as a no contest. ****1/2
  22. Low Ki defends the ROH Title Man, Low Ki was just killing everyone in 2002. He was just blasting Xavier left and right here. Xavier is someone who is pretty much forgotten. I am not sure if it's unfair or not, as he looked like a good solid pro wrestler, with a tendency to do cool moves and not much of a clue on match structure. Structurally this wasn't great and they started running out of interesting ideas about 15 minutes into it, but Ki walloping Xavier over and over kept this entertaining. Should add Kis subtle leg selling was quiet great. Run in was pretty bad and took way too long.
  23. Great Mariko Yoshida performance wasted on the slug that is Lioness Asuka. Honestly, at this point Asuka is sub-Takada level when it comes to dull japanese main eventers for me. Even her kicks blew in this. Yoshida was doing her submission master with dangerous punches thing on point and did a great job zoning in on Asukas leg. Of course, none of that submission master stuff was over with the crowd as the company had been pushing Yoshida into irrelevance for 2 years and Asuka was as unaffected as can be by all the leg work, punches and submissions and instead opted to shoe her table spots bullshit into the match. It's only fitting that the match basically turned into contest of who could no sell more and Lioness easily gobbled up the win after absorbing all of Yoshidas punches and finishers like nobodies business.
  24. A very subdued NOAH main event, which makes this cool immediately in my book. I prefer these guys working smart exchanges over some head droppy macho ass bullshit. Ogawa as usual gets some unusual and cool exchanges out of Misawa. I also really like that Misawa was tagging with IZU~ here. He and Sano just potatoed each other a lot and it was really fun. Izu seemed to be riding high in the end, uncorking his awesome diving headbutt and fending off Sanos comeback attempts only to fall to a basic armbar.
  25. Really well laid out sprint 6 man tag, with everyone bringing something neat to the table. We get Scorpio looking ultra sharp working basic opening exchanges with Hashi, Vader having a good day and really beating the shit out of Saito with a flurry of nasty strikes, Hashi being as effective as ever in his underdog role and Akiyama immediately going for the kill handing out exploders. It clocks in at just under 10 minutes where Vader chokeslams Akiyama through a table and then starts attacking people with a whip(?). Full NOAH point.
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