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  1. Thanks for waiting on me! If you've followed my blog you know I am easily distracted. I have a real good plan that gets interrupted by something that draws my attention elsewhere. I'm not like this with serious matters but it's something I do with my hobbies. The seasons usually play some part. In the summer, I tend to focus (fixate) on skateboarding. Invariably I'll get hurt or its too damn hot to skate and that's when I make time for other stuff like wrestling. In the winter, I just tend to get burnt out on wrestling and other stuff. Anyhow, enough about me. Let's see what we've got! OK first thing, I do not have as much available online as I did for 2013. I've got about a handful of matches as opposed to almost as many full shows online. Also the stuff I bought for 2014 is all over the year. We're starting with February and I think the next DVD I have is in September. So my apologies if you were looking for a more comprehensive overview or even a good summary of the year like I did for 2013. This is going to be a healthy sampling instead. I wish I bought a couple more discs but the quality of the seller wasn't up to my standards anymore. Maybe he got better but I'm not messing with it. Lets start with the first show and any online ones I'll tack on at the beginning or end chronology as we go. Its looking to be a four-parter. 02/08/14 Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Soma Takao - Good all action Junior match to get things started. Soma impressed me and hope I get to see more of him in 2014. I guess he's a DDT guy like many of the non AJ guys here. Keisuke Ishii vs. Atsushi Aoki - Good for what the guys in the ring did but Kenso & Nagai spoil it to cause Aoki to lose the match. More of an angle than a full match. KENSO & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Ryuji Hijikata & SUSHI - Nice music for Nagai & KENSO! But yeah they're the new heel team. I like that. This was a good match and really kicked up a notch when Ryuji Hijikata made the hot tag. Definitely want to see more. Not fully developed since it was meant to get over the new heel team. Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Hikaru Sato - I like both guys well enough but I wasn't feeling it. It was a bit too much of "I'm tough!" - "No I'm tough!" wrestling. I can get behind that. I enjoyed Eddie Kingston vs Ishii from the free part of the recent AEW PPV. This match wasn't compelling though. It was too guys doing this type of thing for 10 minutes trying to build to a submission win. But it wasn't for me :-/ Akebono, Shigehiro Irie & Yutaka Yoshie vs. Go Shiozaki, Kento Miyahara & Kaji Tomato - Perfect use of Akebono. The focus is on he vs Shiozaki for the belt. Akebono is amused by Go and his attitude. This is a very interesting perspective for him instead of the super serious one he takes. It shows depth personality which he normally lacks. All that said, the highlight of the match was Irie & Yoshie vs Kento and Tomato. And that's was very good stuff! Heck it all was very good. It was a nice twist that Go couldn't seem to hold his own against even Akebono's partners,and he needed help. Kaji Tomato was new to me but the dude can work. He showed 100% effort. Very good match, scratching at a great one if I'm being honest. ----- Kotaro Suzuki vs. Ultimo Dragon - Very good junior match! They wisely treated this as a tournament match instead of a title fight or one time dream match. They made a lot of good decisions in what story to tell, when & how to shift momentum and actually incorporated wrestling holds which we haven't seen much of this show. ----- Joe Doering & Suwama vs. Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori - Tag belts on the line. This starts out well enough and is going along at a good pace. It's operating in that ***3/4 range but eventually switched into high gear. The attacks became fierce, the defensive actions got more desperate and everything just felt more urgent. I really know they have a classic match in them. As it is I would say this ends up as a near classic ****1/4 bout. ----- Pretty darn good show and a super easy way to get back into the groove of things. I really like the variety that they have now. After the Wrestle One exodus, the company was pretty much Burning stable vs AJPW...no complaints from a quality perspective but its nice having the mix of styles.
  2. In all honesty, this was going to be a quickie post of just a few matches that I stumbled across. But then I became intrigued by the match ups or was impressed by a worker and wanted to see more. And here we are! The entire 2003 Differ Cup watched out of sequence reviewed out of sequence. I'm not going to pretend it didn't happen. Sit back and read on: KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki vs Great Takeru & Kappa Kozou (02/08): Was going to skip this since I'd never heard of the IWA Japan team. But then I thought - I'm going to end up watching the whole event (mostly) so I should just check it out. So glad I did! Its shown in full as it features the home NOAH team and frankly it is a great opening bout! Both teams were smooth and exciting which surprised me. Perhaps it's a case of low expectations but I thought the teams gelled well enough that the IWA-J team would be invited back for under card jobs at the very least. Not thinking they were though... Jun Kasai & Gran Naniwa vs YOSSINO & Ultimo Dragon (02/08): Saw this called the worst match of the night...no way man! In fact, I thought it was great! It wasn't a move fest but it was clever, funny and had some exciting moves too. It just felt like 4 pros at work. Sometimes it doesn't have to be epic, brutal or intense to be great. MIKAMI & KUDO vs Kuroda & Chocoball Mukai (02/08): JIP to the last 10 minutes of an 18 minute match. Took a chance on this and was pleasantly surprised. My sleazy indie radar steered me right. Very fun very indie match with chairs and a ladder. As a fan of ECW & FMW, this felt good. Ikuto Hidaka & Masao Orihara vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki (02/08): In a NOAH ring but this is a Zero-one match. And that is pretty cool. The familiarity is there and they were able to do some really good stuff. Hidaka never ceases to amaze me with some move or sequence. Orihara (who I hadn't seen much at this time other than Fire Pro Returns) can still go. This was all action and a great match. Yoshihito Sasaki looks good even this early. MIKAMI & KUDO vs Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki (02/08): JIP and clipped however the stuff that was shown was really good! The Zero One team brings the steak but MIKAMI brings the needed sizzle. Heck KUDO looked really exciting here as well. The ladder is in play again and I'm not complaining. 12 minutes shown out of a 15 minute match so I feel safe giving this a "very good" rating. KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki vs YOSSINO & Ultimo Dragon (02/08): Oh yeah this was really good stuff especially towards the end. Masato Yoshino/YOSSINO did his part here but Ultimo was the star of the whole tournament. Good pace, action throughout - this 11 minute bout was a nice way to end night #1. Great Takeru vs Kappa Kozou (02/09): Fun showcase match of the IWA Japan guys. It's about 10 minutes of them throwing their best stuff out there. They made a good impression on me. Ikuto Hidaka vs Masao Orihara: Oh shit! They were not going to be out done by the IWA guys. This was some next level stuff. Hidaka again drops my jaw with his precision, speed and body control. Orihara is right there with him! This wasn't all fireworks either as Hidaka was trying to get a clean win whereas Orihara was going to take it anyway he could. Even Ikuto has a breaking point and introduces a steel chair to the mix. Nothing too crazy like we've seen the night before but it's nice to see the ECW/FMW relaxed rules again. This is a great junior match. Kuroda & Chocoball Mukai vs Gran Naniwa & Jun Kasai : I wasn't sure about this one. I looked it up and it was around 20 minutes. 12-14 minutes seemed right but that time seemed too much. Yet again, I was wrong. This was a really fun match that had a little bit of everything. Both teams looked really good. Kuroda and Kasai were the best though. I don't know if I would have booked this after Hidaka vs Orihara from a draw perspective but they did their job and provided lighter entertainment to prep the fans for the main events. KUDO & MIKAMI vs. KENTA & Kotaro Suzuki: This is fought for Third Place trophy. I've seen this called a very good match but I can't agree. The start was fun but the middle was long and pretty dull. The last third was good but wasn't enough to save this from being just OK in my book. This was very good but the Naniwa/Kasai match was no good? Yeah right! The Kappa/Takeru bout smoked this as well. It was just too long and none of the guys knew how to fill the time in the middle. A disappointing fight. Ultimo Dragon & YOSSINO vs Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yoshihito Sasaki (02/09): Its much more toned down in terms of crazy spots (although it has a few) and has a strong face/heel dynamic. Masato Yoshino (YOSSINO) played the whipping boy and Takaiwa was the bully. Dragon was the big brother and Sasaki was the lackey. It was simple and effective. It was well executed, there were nice surprises, shoot it was a really good tag match! A great way to end the tournament. There you have it! Never had any intention at anytime to watch this but dammit I had a lot of fun! Only one match was a bummer and most were actually pretty darn good to great. This gets a very strong recommendation from me especially if you're craving something from this time in wrestling. Thanks for reading!
  3. I've been in a bit of a rut regarding wrestling. My momentum was lost once the weather got nice and I've been skateboarding more. My brain has switched over to "skate mode" but if you're like me it gets stuck on one thing and its tough to get unstuck sometimes. I find that watching old WWF, WCW or TNA helps. I don't know if it's the low expectations or just the familiarity but it seems to work pretty well. I put in my copy of Rise and Fall of WCW and started digging the Eddie Guerrero matches and what do you know!? I had my Eddie Guerrero set sitting out too. Its gotten super warm lately so skating is out of question until it cools down. Many of the PPV matches are on DVD and the TV matches are online. But a few of 'em are online as well. So I thought I would do a post on these bouts. All are probably in the Match Discussion Archives/Yearbooks. I probably don't have enough content to add to what those folks said but WTF. I'll say this, I'm watching these as an Eddie collection rather than in relation to what's going on that year. And we're talking about 1997. So if your looking to watch some classic Eddie, look no further! Alex Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • January 06, 1997) - Good, almost 10 minute long match. Haven't seen an Alex Wright match in forever but he was really good. Reminds me of Jimmy Rave in a way - technically proficient and unselfish in the ring. I enjoyed this. It got overshadowed with Syxx being a ringside with a ladder (teasing the PPV match below) and the announcers ignored it (per usual) but this was a very nice technical TV match. Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero (nWo Souled Out, Ladder Match • January 25, 1997) - Very good solid Ladder match. WCW never gave two shits about the smaller guys so this was not going to be the best it could have been. Nonetheless, it had some great work and Waltman may have been better than Eddie here. Or let's say he was a nice change of pace to the NJ Jrs. in WCW style. I really liked this match. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Saturday Night, • February 8, 1997) - A fantastic technical sprint to main event the show. Matches like this is why I tried to catch Saturday Night and Worldwide on the weekends. OK it goes to a draw but this was great! They didn't quite reach their top shelf moves but in away that's what was so refreshing. It was fought like a Jr. heavyweight match from 10 years earlier... simple but effective - and fast. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW SuperBrawl • February 23, 1997) - Great match! Maybe the first big match between Eddie and Jericho? Chris still had his black and yellow WAR pants. This was Eddie facing a younger version of himself. Lots of good grappling, excellent suplexes & slams and surprisingly not a lot of acrobatics. Or well not a lot of dives...no Lionsault or Frog Splash for instance. But Eddie laid out a match to really make Jericho look fantastic. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Uncensored, No DQ • March 16, 1997) - A very good to great match. It was really technical with a nice little bit of Eddie attacking Dean's leg in creative ways. It didn't do much but Eddie did go for Malenko's clover leaf so you say he didn't totally give up on it. I think it was more 'move theft' though as Dean-o did the Frog Splash. This was a longer developed match and of course the finish was bullshit but it's a No DQ match so I suppose it works AND the baby face won. Still its shit like this that makes me glad I never bought a WCW pay per view! Wish we got a good finish still... Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro • June 30, 1997) - I think Dean is a fantastic under 10 minute worker especially with Eddie. They just have so many spots and sequences in their arsenal that these shorter matches wrestle themselves. Does that make sense? Of course there's some outside influence to set up the finish but ah well. Eddie Guerrero vs. Hector Guerrero (WCW Nitro • July 27, 1997) - Fast but fun match between brothers. Hector pulled out a couple old school moves that I'd like to see make a come back. Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW Nitro • August 11, 1997) - Fun and exciting 5 minute match. Clean finish too...but WTF gives with having this be 5 minutes long? I'm mad about this 20+ years later Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW Fall Brawl • September 14, 1997) - Oh man, I think this might be a better match than their first PPV bout. The pacing was more deliberate and the structure seemed more coherent. That's an obtuse way of saying that this bout told a better story. Eddie was pretty much a heel and wrestled that type of style when given the chance. So this was more of an American style but they still incorporated their Japanese and Mexican maneuvers. And everything just flowed from one thing to the next..plus a clean finish. I'm really tempted to call it a classic for that reason. I'll temper my enthusiasm and call it a Near classic. Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon (WCW Nitro • September 15, 1997) - Sprint paced under 10 minute with a work-the-arm match that Dragon hard-sold which led to the finish. Great under 10 minute match. They have some others online but this looks like the longest/most developed from what I've seen. Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio (Halloween Havoc, Mask vs Title October 26, 1997) - Yes, this lives up to the hype. The spots are just amazing even 20+ years later. I really appreciated the consistent back-work Guerrero did as well as Mysterio's creative escapes from those attacks. Everything was just so crisp and made sense with the story they were telling. I have no problem saying this is a classic Jr. match. Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • November 10, 1997) - The TV version of the Halloween Havoc match. Shorter but still very thrilling. It was very good stuff. I always wish we got more Eddie in Japan but WCW really did have something special with their roster. Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro • November 17, 1997) - Almost 10 minutes long and excellent stream of consciousness wrestling. Again Dean & Eddie can do these flawless fast TV matches and its a shame that doesn't translate into the PPV shows. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Starrcade • December 28, 1997) - A very good to great match but a step down from what Eddie was doing with other guys..and even Dean on TV. Much of their best stuff is speedy sequences and a feeling of an ongoing fight with counters or reversals. Here I think they had to fill time for the PPV and were slowing down in between moves and taking rest holds to sequence stuff out on the fly to buy time. It felt like something you'd see in WWF or the WCW heavyweights do. Looking at Wikipedia and I guess this was a highly purchased show but critically it stunk with this bout being the only one of value. That tells me that they asked these guys to go longer (second longest match which is NOT what you want) either because the card was bloated or per the Wikipedia page Nash no showed which was announced immediately after the match. Not the way to end this post but! is a pretty good summary of how WCW would decline. Their TV matches feel like PPV matches and vice versa. It's really weird. This has been a blast. Thanks for reading!
  4. So here's the remainder of my 2003 Highspots DVD. This isn't really why I was interested in the comp but heck these look fun and are outside of what I've been watching lately. Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang vs. Fuego (Amazing Red) & Super Dragon (01/13/03) - This is fun to see all of these guys in one ring especially an AJPW. A very nice spot match...very early 2000's vibe in every way. Not necessarily lucha- puro as the following matches but probably as lucha as I've seen in an AJPW ring. Anthony W. Mori, Takuya Sugawara, & Taiji Ishimori vs. Milano Collection A.T., Masato Yoshino, & Shuji Kondo (01/19/03) - Wow, everyone is a baby! This is high speed lucharesu and is a nice bit of nostalgia for someone who gets a kick out of the Dragon Gate 6 mans in ROH. Very fun stuff. ----- Ultimo Dragon & Kaz Hayashi vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero (01/19/03) - I've seen this before but it really struck me as something special this time. Its all action lucharesu fireworks that gave me tingles like 90's Michinoku Pro. Every move was crisp, guys were bumping like crazy and even in the Tokyo Dome fans were audibly excited. This isn't the best Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero match I have seen but man it was an exciting one. I'll call this a great match. ----- Milano Collection A.T., Brother Yasshi, & Shuji Kondo vs. Ryo Saito, Naruki Doi, & Anthony W. Mori (01/27/03) - A slight step down from their match about but felt different as there was a bit more comedy, there was 6 sided ring and a smaller yet loyal audience (as opposed to the Dome show audience from above). Still a load of fun and non stop excitement. Although I only know Anthony W. Mori from Fire Pro Returns, I really want to see more of this dude. Jushin Liger & Takehiro Murahama vs. Osaka Pro Tag Team Champions Tsubasa & Black Buffalo (02/1/03) Holy cow! Where did this come from? Only know Liger. Murahama maybe I saw a couple times years ago and the Osaka Pro team I remember from Fire Pro Returns (still the best one due to the pre-made roster). But seriously I did not know this match would pack such a punch! This is top shelf lucharesu. Quick action, lucha partner swaps, liberal time given for partners in the ring but still a little slower, stronger emphasis on stiffness, 1 fall with a classic escalation of drama and action. Part of me wants to call this a classic because it was so exciting and unexpected. And there's part of me that wants to dial that rating back a tad for the same reasons. So instead I'll say if you're a fan of Jr. style tag matches, you'll want to see this. ----- From the star ratings on the box, I've under rated & over rated a couple of these. I'm OK with that and totally stand by my opinions. These matches coupled with the NOAH matches make this a pretty great compilation. I recommend checking some of this out anyway you can. Highspots has discontinued all of their DVDr comps but this might be available still on their UK site and people have it on eBay. Or do your internet stuff. Anyhow thanks for reading!
  5. #169 vs #198 from last time. Two guys with generally good reputations, except here, where their nominee threads were largely negative. Career WWE worker vs a guy who had successful runs in Japan, Mexico and the United States but flopped, literally and figuratively, in WWE. Dragon thread Orton Thread
  6. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Ultimo Dragon - WCW Spring Stampede 1997 Ultimo Dragon is one of the more infuriating wrestlers of all time. There is no reason why he could not be at the level of a Jushin Liger or a Rey Mysterio, but he constantly gets in his own way with offense-first approach to wrestling. This match is laid out like the World War III match (I need to rewatch) with Dragon kicking ass for the majority of the match. Again, Dragon's explosive offense looks tremendous: Spinning Argentine Backbreaker, Powerbomb into a hotshot, awesome Running LigerBomb and a wicked Tombstone. There is no strategy. It is just an exhibition. Case in point, he lifts Rey up after having him beat just to put him in a sleeper. This had the announcers and me scratching our heads. Dragon's string of incredible offense keeps going, but it is not going to go anywhere. The finish run piques my interest because now Rey is ready to go spot for spot for Dragon so we get awesome somersault planchas and hurricanranas and Stagger Lee Marsahll? Oh, WCW. Dragon hitting a dropkick to a turned Rey while on the ropes was a great counter move, a gnarly bump and loved the plancha it set up. Now that it getting more competitive, I am decently grooving to this. Dragon dropkicks Rey in mid-air and really puts all he has into a Giant Swing He was really whipping him around. Dragon looking for his bread and butter, the Tiger Suplex (guess Benoit had dibs on the Dragon Suplex), but Rey makes the ropes. Rey nabs a flash hurricanrana out of nowhere for the win. Once they get past the Ultimo Dragon masturbation session (hey it was nice eye candy I will give them that), I thought they worked a pretty hot finish stretch with Dragon throwing out some nice counters and Rey constantly looking for that quick pinfall. Rey takes their PPV series 2-1 and in a very good match. ***1/4
  7. In the grim darkness of the the near past there is only WAR! Yes, I'm back to Tenryu's playground to check out more wrestling that I may have missed or just forgotten. Takeshi Ishikawa vs Great Kabuki (09/15/92): Oh man, so I was hoping this would be a very good match but, eh it was just sluggish. There was no build to a climax just a lot of sleeper work and bleeding. It was OK but, I was disappointed. Let's get this back on track! Same show... Ultimo Dragon vs Negro Casas (09/15): This was 15 minutes of perfectly executed lucharesu. This was a real joy to watch. It wasn't super dramatic with a deep story (now maybe I'm wrong since they had a program going in Mexico at the time) but, sometimes wrestling doesn't have to be more than a contest between two competitors. Add the fact that Ultimo and Casas wrestled fast and smart - and you've got a great match! Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto (10/01/93): Ten minutes of solid ass-kicking. Hash (IWGP champ) gets on the mic before the bell and talks some trash which kicks off this intense sprint-fight. As much as I love a smooth wrestling match (like above), I love a rough non-cooperative slobber knocker just the same. All four guys use their simple offense and great selling to put on a near classic match. Don't believe me? Watch for Tenryu's chops on Chono...that should get you going... Tatsuo Nakano vs Genichiro Tenryu (05/26/96): Don't think Nakano was safe with Tenryu & don't think Tenryu was safe with Nakano. Five minutes of trying to hurt each other wrestling at its finest. If you need a quick Tenryu fix - this is your match Thanks!
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