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Found 68 results

  1. Bryan Danielson defends the ROH World Title Right now, this is in my all time Top 50. One of the most overlooked matches in US indie wrestling history. Heel masterclass by Bryan and a focused Homicide performance, which makes his character moment at the end more rewarding. Excellent dueling arm work and consistent selling from both. Great continuity with the past when it comes to previous Bryan title defenses and the finish has 1/20/97 vibes to it. ****1/2
  2. There was a ton of lead up and hype surrounding this match as Angle had come into TNA just the month before. Joe was undefeated for 18 months. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_madQBbghRk They fought this match like the really wanted to prove something. No run ins, cheapshots, or anything like that- just two athletes trying to establish their dominance. Joe trying to keep Kurt down and Kurt trying to show it didn't matter where he was, he was the best. This was really wrestled well for their first encounter. It gave room for the feud to grow but, certainly paid off the build up. Angle was bleeding throughout and it just added to that competitive intensity. Very exciting stuff and a impressive start for Angle in TNA. I thought it was a great match especially for being under 14 minutes.
  3. They started thigs off with Shibata absolutely dominating, nailing Tanahashi with stiff kicks and slaps. That theme of Shibata having the upper hand made Tanahashi's comeback more special and I think being a FIP let's Tanahashi play to his strengths more-he has plenty of offence that looks just fine, but I find it much more interesting when his triangle crossbody gets counterd by a brutal Shibata knee than when he hits every sinle move in his arsenal in 50/50 matches. Tanahashi can be a good seller-it can backfire when he goes too deep into Shawn Michaels melodrama like in some of the Okada matches and the Styles G1 one but here it was closer to what you'll see Misawa do against Kawada, where thsy take a shot that looks like it's maybe 7/10 stiff on its own but sell it so great it leaves a 9/10 impact on you. If there's one issue with this match it's that they started relying too much on the parity and the strike exchanges during the finish-which is where things like Tamahashi having a crappy Enzuigiri become a bigger issue than they usually are. Interesting to see the match had a double hair pulling spot and Shibata daring Tanahashi to hit him with Forearms, both of which have become staples of some 2010s New Japan matches. ***3/4
  4. This would've been a great match if Nagata was as good as Murakami. The opening was sketchy as that was where Nagata had his shine, and it had him do weird slap-claps on Murakami's back, bad looking worked spots and just generally offence that would look bad for a house show tag, let alone a big Dome match, and his timing in general seemed off. Then we get to the meat of the match, which is Murakami's beatdown, and it rules every bit as much as you'd hope, he beats the hell out of Nagata with all sorts of awesome punching and kicking variations, awesome throws and so on. May not be the best one he's ever done, but still totally badass. Then it's time for Nagata's revenge and he amps up the violence, laying in some nice kicks, but it's clear his ideas on how to project violence without actually hitting someone aren't nearly as good as Murakami's, he can throw a good kick, and he can even throw a good knee once in a while, but when he's forced to rely on them too much he wasn't able to maintain that level of believability for long, when he was on the outside throwing knees that Murakami bladed for they looked quite good, but by the time he went for them again in the ring they'd already started looking head scratching. His headbutts were just disappointing, the idea of him throwing headbutts so the blood spills from Murakami's forehead to his was cool, but the actual headbutts weren't very good looking, someone like Akiyama can make headbutting his own hand look way more violent than Nagata does actually connecting with the move (maybe that's the problem-if you connect you need to go all the way ala Ikeda/Ono while working allows more room for misdirecting the viewer). I did like the finish a lot-Murakami continuing to get up despite beating to a pulp was something resembling a movie more than a wrestling match, maybe it's just that his facial expressions are so big and memorable that one can't help think he'd make a great villain, it was quite well done, Murakami's last flurry of throwing desperation shots looked exactly like he was gassed/spent, and when he went for a throw Nagata easily countered it with a Backdrop. I also enjoyed how the crowd bit on the penalty kick as a nearfall because they'd teased it in the beginning and they were conditioned to matches ending at any time because of Inoki's insanity, and the post-match brawl was lovely, I almost expected them to shake hands or show some kind of respect when they kneeled in front of each other but instead they just slapped the taste out of each other's mouths and it turned into a gang war. Not on the level of their 2002 classic but still very much worth watching. ***3/4
  5. A good match, but unfortunately not much more than that. They couldn't find a fitting format the channel the violence-I don't mind that the much was based on so many strike exchanges, it's that they really didn't have an idea on what it would be. Shibata attacked Kensuke at the bell, but the match lacked the urgency of an all out hate filled shorter brawl. There were probably instances in the strike exchanges where they sold too much-or, to be more accurate, randomly sold after an x amount of moves instead of building a striking exchange and then delivering a final strike that would differentiate from the previous ones and register with the viewer as something that would knock them down. It's not like that's the only way to go-one type of strike hit for the seventh time finally knocking them down could work too, but the point is to build the repetition, or the peril of the strike, or SOMETHING, and they didn't. It's a good match to watch if you have 1~15 minutes to kill and just want to see some nice violence, Kensuke really knows how to put weight into his strikes, watching him and someone today throw a chop is like night and day, and it's not just the chops, his Lariats are amazing and he'll just clob people in the neck and the back or side of the head. I appreciate that in the strike exchanges they didn't just spam one strike all the time but would constantly change things up until something worked. Props to Shibata for kicking away manically when Kensuke got him up for the Northern Lights Bomb, most wrestlers just doing nothing when they're picked up in the mair makes that an especially resonating image, though I can't fathom why it's not used more often, such a simple way to build drama and suspense. Kensuke bumping for Shibata's mocking stomps/punts was silly. ***1/4
  6. I am saddened that Alan Karaev will be reduced to a mere trivia question now that I've watched both of his pro wrestling matches. He instantly "got it" and would bust out all these great palm strikes, knees, slams etc. For shame. Shibata isn't as good as Usuda so he mostly played face in peril here. I liked the way Karaev fought out of the first leglock and a flash submission finish was about as good of a way to get Shibata the win as there was. ***
  7. This is one of my favorite WWE matches ever and one I feel is really underrated. First of all, the hate is off the charts. I am talking almost Tully-Magnum levels. They really managed to convey the feeling that they wanted to kill each other. Secondly, the mic verbals were actually great. I usually hate when guys spend half the match on the mic telling the other guy to quit and constantly disrupt the flow. But stuff like "you're gonna suffer" and "I will tear out your heart" were fresh and incorporated at appropriate times in the match. So they turned what is usually the flaw of I Quit matches into something positive. The body of the match is excellent with incredible violence, creative and unique spots, limb psychology of all things (Foley's shoulder) and strong transitions. Finish is a little bit of a cop out but a smart way to protect Foley and get across the fact the intensity of the feud and match had caused Flair to snap and go to any lengths. JR and Lawler also did a brilliant job on commentary. **** 1/4
  8. This is the One Night Stand match where a bunch of rabid ECW fans paid WWE a lot of money to hate on Cena. Classic excellent pro wrestling booking. As far as the match itself goes, I don't have a whole lot to say. They knew exactly what to do and did a really effective job essentially working a high end houseshow match that still had a good big time feel. As usual there was some fun stuff around Cena's role with him doing subtle heel stuff and busting out a clumsy looking axe handle off the top (to no love whatsoever). The match was basically back and forth with RVD hitting his spots and Cena's 5 moves of doom combo drawing nearer until the ECWesque booked finish. Nothing I'll remember a week from now but it's always fun to check out a classic pro wrestling formula executed well.
  9. Total dream match for me right here. Ten seconds in Kensuke and Murakami quarrel over who's going to start and chop and punch each other for a second before Kensuke starts things off, that spot is awesome in that setting but when you have like, Sekimoto and X modern puro guy doing it for twenty minutes it's boring. MiSU-Kensuke interactions sound least intriguing since I've seen them go at it plenty of times including a 40 minute match. They do a quick strike exchange and Kensuke irish whips MiSu into the ropes and-stare offs might not work in junior matches after doing kung fu sequences but they totally work here when MiSu suddenly stops as Kensuke is going to chop him. That's UWF blood for you. Fujiwara and Murakami do some nice grappling and MiSu stomped Murakami when they were near his corner which was a great touch and him not so subtly repeteadly kicking off Murakami's feet of the ropes to break the rope break was awesome as well. Murakami is just the best, he might be the greatest ever at conveying disgust and disdain through facial expressions. Minoru Suzuki can phone it in but man he is great when he wants to be, it's so much fun watching him troll Murakami and just act like a dick. The Murakami peril in section was absolutely hilarious, you gotta love the tremendous pastice of shoot style and comedy Fujiwara and MiSu present here. Loved the way Fujiwara fell down after Sasaki Lariated him, it looked like a beast of a man hit him in the back of the head and that's how he sold it. I fucking lost it when Kensuke fucked up the save, laughing out loud while Fujiwara punches people in the face is about as ennjoyable as wrestling gets and they immediately followed it up with Suzuki stomping on Murakami's head in the corner (which is Murakami's signature move), Fujiwara shitbeating Murakami and then choking him when Murakami yelled at him in an insulting matter AND then Fujiwara distracting the ref so Suzuki could choke Murakami and just pull his nose and do all these disgusting things. Murakami's comeback is the world's greatest uppercut (boxing, not european) and the finishing run is awesome as Kensuke Sasaki runs over people, Murakami and MiSu beat the shit ouf of each other and Fujiwara bleeds a lot at the age of 200. ****1/4
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