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Found 213 results

  1. 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.
  2. A very good back & forth sprint w/ Dragon showing good fire & Williams playing the role of the veteran-being-taken-to-the-limit very well. ***1/2
  3. Heck of a lengthy opening TV tag match. This goes through 3 commercial breaks and is worked at a high pace. The first segment kicked off with a wild 4 man brawl and culminated with a a great save from Cesaro after the big buckle bomb and big splash from Jey. The second segment was more of a heel beatdown and FIP segment from Bryan with some nasty offense from Jey including a nasty kick to the liver and a great cutoff with a big Samoan drop catching a desperate leaping Bryan. Loved the double collision cross body leading to the hot tag (instead of a one man comeback leading to the cold tag). Cesaro's apron work isn't particularly remarkable (kind of hard to pull that off with no live audience) but he comes in like a house on a fire and wrecks havoc with some nasty European uppercuts. The Jey cutoff super kick counter from the dive was a neat way to cut to another break and the finishing run being fast paced and brief was great as well. Not a MOTYC or anything but I still thought this was very good.
  4. At the start, Necro looks to be in trouble as Danielson grounds him with his superior submission & mat game, and then the match transitions into a full blown, bloody brawl - and it's just fantastic. One of my all-time favorite PWG matches. ****1/2
  5. Another quality TV main event between these two with Jey targeting the injured knee Bryan brought in from the Elimination Chamber and with the stipulation that if Bryan won, he would get a title rematch against Roman at Fastlane. These two had some quality TV matches late last year and they followed up with this one. The knee work by Jey is excellent as he just obliderates Bryan with a nasty knee first drop on the commentators table and he would use it to cut Bryan's comebacks short by targeting it. Jey's dropkick/double stomp to the knee is one of the nastiest spots around as you can see there's very little room for error and it can legit tear your knee out easily. Finish wasn't clean, but it's obviously leading to build to a rematch possibly next week.
  6. Far from their best match together, but this is a good little TV match as you would expect from these two. Bryan targeted Cesaro's left arm and Cesaro targeted Bryan's ankle after he kicked the ring post (which you could see coming once Cesaro got in place for it). Loved Bryan pulling on Cesaro's nose to pull off the Yes Lock and Cesaro countering a top rope huracanrana and pulling on Bryan's ears to setup a great looking super plex. Great finish too with Cesaro hitting his elevated European uppercut followed by the neutralizer. In my opinion, Bryan was WOTY for 2020 with continuously good to great performances despite having been away for several months due to paternal leave and he's talked about his career winding down as a top star, so it's cool seeing him pick up this year where he left off and it's cool seeing him put on quality TV matches and letting folks go over on his career winds down.
  7. G. Badger

    Best Match Watched - 2020

    Welcome to my Best Match Watched of 2020 celebration! We've got big stars appearing and a number of musical performances lined up tonight! Let's get this party started! Oh wait, never mind all of that...let's just get onto the Big List of my favorite stuff of that I've watched this year. In chronological order: Pre 1970's: Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked. 1970s & 80s: Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tiger Mask vs Black Tiger (05/26/82) Tiger Mask vs Bret Hart (07/30/82) Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: American Dragon vs Low-Ki vs Christopher Daniels - Era of Honor Begins (2002) American Dragon vs Christopher Daniels - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Daniels vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles - Road to the Title (2002) American Dragon vs AJ Styles - All Star Extravaganza (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe Final Battle (2002) Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans FIP Strong vs Evans (2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff. 2010 to present: Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same) El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly " Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan " Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. " Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico " Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll " Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter " KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - All Together (2011) Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams ROH Pure Title tournament (2020) Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays. -THE BEST of the BEST!- Pre 1970's...well I only watched a few pre 1970's matches and well Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) was the best of the bunch. The rest of my picks are going to be a little more difficult so, I think I'll do a top 3 or top 5 for the others. Then...just maybe will I actually able to narrow it down. 1970s & 80s: Clearly I was all about NJPW in the 80's although I did dip my toe in AJPW a couple times later in the year. They had some good 6 man matches (British Bulldogs w. Kobashi), I didn't see anything that could touch NJPW. Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: And now we enter the Ring of Honor K-hole I was lost in for awhile. Hey, I'm glad I took that journey. I was pretty ignorant of Year One ROH and got me excited to keep watching their current stuff. Plus is encouraged me to check out the sister company FIP which I've been digging. Also, I have made some purchases that have fill in some gaps in my DVD collection. I hope to be hitting up a couple of those for 2021. So, my list boils down to these: American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe (2002) - Perhaps a controversial pick against the Era of Honor Begins but, I think this has the action along with the story lines Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) 2010 to present: There's a good chunk from the wXw 2011 tournament here but, what can I say? It was a great show. Perhaps similar to the Ted Petty Invitational 2004. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) The runners up: Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) - a long technical match with beautiful chain wrestling - counters, escapes, reversals, and counter reversals...distinct from his matches with Baby Face, Hamada, Blackman but, still was athletic and exciting as we've come to expect. KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) - Felt like a late 1990's AJPW Four Corners tag classic Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan - I think this match best encapsulates the awesome hard hitting style that both guys showed all 3 days. I didn't rate it as a classic at the time but, both guys have stuck in my mind all year. Here's my top 3 and I'm just going by my gut: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) - This was timeless stuff to me. A heavenly dream battle...great grappling, wonderfully engaging storytelling, and a real sense of rivalry. Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) - I got an out of body feeling when watching this match that was very similar to the first time I saw Kobashi vs Misawa's matches from 1997. Maybe it was the mild hype that lower my expectations but, this blew my mind. Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw 2011) - As hard as Sasaki & Sami were in the tourney, these two went beyond that. Davey really only does one thing but, when he's in there with the right person it can be awesome. It has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes all with an aggressive pace. Best Wrestler: Fujinami was killing it in '88. Tiger Mask given the right opponent was working magic. Sami, Yoshihito Sasaki, and El Generico were on fire during the wXw tourney in 2011. But I'm going to give it to American Dragon Bryan Danielson specifically for his work in 2002 in ROH. A natural baby face to Daniels' gimmick and Ki's natual demeanor, Dragon is relatable in addition to being a fantastic in ring worker. He has a grip of classic matches but, also elevates his tournament matches into something you want to see as well. Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki was pretty much unknown to me other than a character in Fire Pro Returns but, he's a guy I want to be on the look out for in the future. Seeing as I got a 4 disc Best of BJW in 2006 set, the future might be pretty soon! But, I think the best surprise of this year was Full Impact Pro being pretty great wrestling. I watched their Unstoppable 2007 DVD a few years ago and for the first time a few years before that and it didn't "wow" me. I think my expectations were too high or something. As I watched it again, I saw stuff that I don't think I appreciated in the past. From that I've seen some really great stuff including Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans which is a lost "ROH" classic to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to FIP Fridays! Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more including FIP. Duh right? But I'm also swinging back to FMW and specifically 1998 which may be their very best year. I've already watched a handful of matches (although I'm not including them on this year's list) and I am NOT disappointed. Thank you so much for reading this year! Its been a really crappy 365 days but, I hope I was able to give you a little bit of fun and inspiration. Let's hope for a better new year! Stay safe and keep watching wrestling!
  8. Welcome back to FIP Fridays! Hopefully I can get this puppy in before midnight! Also if you're interested all or at least most of the FIP DVDs I'll be reviewing are available on Highspots. They are having their Xmas sale so, that's a tough deal to beat. Tonight I'm going over the best FIP show I've seen yet - Strong vs Evans! As always I cherry pick but, this has quite a few matches I want to see. Austin Aries vs Jerrelle Clark - This is a really good athletic match with Aries playing heel alongside his stablemates Bryan Danielson & Dave Prazak. For my "opening match" it sets a great tone. They only thing holding this back is that it could have been longer. Clark's handspring moonsault thing was awesome! Bryan Danielson vs Jay Fury - Fury comes out for a little payback for what DP Associates did his tag partner in the previous bout. Very similar athletic match with some heeling from Danielson. He is such a good chicken shit heel! Milo Beasley who is DP's wheelchair riding goon does senton atomico off the apron at one point and it nearly kills him & Fury! Good payoffs here and good wrestling...very good stuff. We are off to a wonderful start. Oh and let me say the venue is much bigger, the crowd is bigger, and the camera angles are spot on. That makes a difference and glad to see that FIP is growing...I mean 14 years ago... Tony Mamluke & Jimmy Rave - Mamaluke's girlfriend is there again I liked this one a bit better than the Homicide match from Heatstroke last review. He and Rave have good chemistry and I think worked on the FL indies together for awhile. It shows..I would says its a good match for sure. Rave gets his mouth busted open...Rave stalls like a goon at the beginning and I loved it. He's probably one of the best heels of the 2000's. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro vs Erick Stevens & Steve Madison - First Stevens match I've wanted to see from this period. He and Madison are working their way up the card. They go as The Miracle Violence Connection which of course works since I'm guessing no one there knows about the Gordy-Williams team of the same name from the early 90's They too are a hard hitting team so, the good time Sal & Colt team have their hands full. But man they are a good pair - Sal is underrated as a worker and Colt can still go in 2006. He's in no laughing mood. I thought this was a great match. We get an 80's finish but, man it works and it sets up a revenge pair of matches. Might have to check that out. These teams just clicked in terms of working the crowd but, keeping the action exciting. Main Event time and the name of the show. The first meeting of former tag partners and Generation Next members Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans - To save you some time - this was the best ROH style match in FIP that I've seen so far.This is Messiah of the Backbreaker Strong vs using his offence at the right times Evans. I don't know if they had an encounter in ROH as good as this one and from what I know its their first. Jack was bent like a pretzel and chopped red but, he would not quit. His selling was so excellent because it really looked like Strong was destroying him. Perhaps he was but, like I mentioned above, he was able to get some space and hit some spectacular stuff that really sent Roddy reeling. It reminded me of some of TIger Mask's best matches when he was fighting from underneath and would pull a counter or reversal to turn the tide. Or hit a dive to to show his heart and desperation. All on top of Roddy shit talking the fans made this a classic match to me.I was hesitant to pick this up because I'm not a giant fan of Evans all of the time but, this is the perfect setting for him. The fans LOVE him and he plays such a good face in peril here to all of the kids and girls. Yeah, it just worked so well and they really did not hold anything back believe it or not. If you're an old time ROH fan and are looking to revisit that era or uncover something new from that time, I highly recommend this show. It's $5 and I really think the matches listed above are worth that. If you're a Roderick Strong fan like I am, you will want this in your collection. Thanks for reading! I think I might get this in on time after all! P.S. If you work retail, hang in there! I'm there with you - we'll make it!
  9. Not an all-time classic, but this is easily the best and final match in their best of 5 series. It's kind of lame seeing folks trying to escape continuously in cage matches, specially in blood feud cage matches, but that's not the case here as they recognize they are locked in the cage because they want to fight. Great bit with them showing their hate for each other to the degree they were biting each others foreheads, fingers, etc. while battling on top of the cage. There's also a handful of big bumps in this with Danielson hitting a massive diving headbutt off the top of the cage and a big avalanche backdrop off the top rope. Also Homicide bringing back the brass knuckles he used to win the taped fist match was neat callback. The highlight of this was the finishing airplane spin that goes on for over a minute. I know an airplane spin is not what you would picture as the finish to a blood feud, I thought it was great. Julius Smokes played a big role in this, so it sucks he wasn't ringside for it. I think him trying to interfere and it backfiring would have elevated this.
  10. This time it's Morishima's turn to jump Danielson during the entrances, and that certainly set the pace for the rest of the match. Morishima absolutely destroys Danielson for most of it - Danielson's bladejob is sick & Morishima's offense is absolutely brutal. Bryan's selling is tremendous & his big comeback was great; he shows great fire in it & gets to stun Morishima for a little while - just for a little while indeed, because very quickly Morishima shuts that comeback down w/ an absolutely vicious looking lariat. The finishing stretch is superb; some really great callbacks to their previous meetings there. Excellent, brutal sprint. ****1/2
  11. I know this is a stipulation that usually gets frowned upon as they lack psychology a lot of the time and are harder to put together, but this is one of the best three way matches ever and it also benefits from being an elimination match as you can get a proper 1-on-1 match after an initial elimination. Worth mentioning the booking leading to this match is fantastic with Whitmer and Jacobs being in a hot Jimmy loves Lacey angle and both men trying to kill each other with some dangerous powerbombs off the top rope through the ring apron or the crowd. They start with a standard three way and they work portions of it as handicap, Whitmer and Jacobs vs. Danielson and then Danielson and Jacobs vs. Whitmer and both portions work as Whitmer and Jacobs is the two lesser ranked opponents trying to get one on the Best in the World who's impossible to putdown and then other portion is the two smaller opponents trying to partner up to putdown the bigger man. The first fall ends perfectly with Jacobs pairing up with Danielson to eliminate the bigger man. Then the match turns into a 1-on-1 and it gets hot with Danielson, the dominant world champion and Best in the World to defend against the local Michigan native and much smaller challenger and underdog. The do such a fantastic job at putting this segment of the match together that the fans are split as usual, but hot for Jacobs and even buy into him pulling off the upset and winning the title and you can see fans literally jumping up and down on a hot near fall of a counter roll up. They avoid going overboard with the excessive 2.99 false finishes a lot of indy matches suffer from and the finish is fantastic as Danielson taps out Jacobs to a crossface chicken wing to which Jacobs pass outs to and doesn't tap and thus keeps over his image of being a tough to put away, ruthless and violent wrestler. Also you can hear the crowd actively booing at the finish.
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