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  1. I have clearly been on a Ring of Honor kick lately. Having a grip of clearance DVDs will do that to a fellow! Young Bucks vs reDRagon (05/17/14 - War of the Worlds 2014): These two teams work very well together and here is another damn fine example. MMA'er Tom Lawlor (Filthy to you!) is seconding Fish & O'Reilly. He adds credibility to the DRagons and plays a really fun role especially early on. The Bucks are their usual selves and never slow down more than they have to. It works very well here because the match has a real sense of urgency from the get-go. It may be a shorter match but, it completely works in their favor. The Hammerstein crowd was sedate but, even they into got into it at the end. A quintessential ROH tag match and a near classic tag title bout. Shoot, O'Reilly's combo at the end was worth the time and money alone...die Bucks die! ;P Its crazy to realize that Fish & O'Reilly are in NXT and the Bucks are doing AEW. Despite losing the talent, they will push on. That's something Jay Lethal made a point of to Sam Roberts in an interview. I thought that was a great point. Case in point, ROH episode #382 from 01/11/19. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tracey Williams: 12 minutes of stiff hitting and snug grappling. There was only one or two throws/drops the entire match. There was a Death Valley Driver that would make Etsuko Mita proud. I could say that it probably didn't belong in the middle of the match but, this was more like a BattlARTS match than your standard bout. It was a move of desperation rather than going for a 'finisher.' Speaking of a finish, this one really felt great especially with the in ring story. It was all toe hold and arms in this heated, fast, physical bout. A great match! Briscoe Brothers vs So Cal Uncensored (Kaz & Scorpio Sky): Here we have a rematch from Final Battle and this was awesome. I would expect no less from these two veteran teams. I think I like Scorpio the best with Kaz at this point because he throws a little bit of 'believability' in there with his jumping knee strikes. Anyhow, this match really had everything including a fun ref bump with Tod Sinclair. I can't believe that we essentially got a PPV/Big show match on free TV. Cheers dudes! Great match. There was also a fair women's tag match but, I just wasn't feeling it especially since I did not care of the teams (watched Klein vs Rose Street fight at Honor Reigns Supreme instead). But other than that, this was an awesome show! Now, I believe that the entirety of SCU is heading to AEW but, hey it is all good. It's not like it's been the first time and I'm sure they'll be welcomed back if the time comes. Dem Boys remain along with Taven's Kingdom, Dalton Castle, and it would be fantastic to see Zack & Williams in a regular capacity mix it up with them, Jeff Cobb, Marty, Lethal et al. They could put on some really great feuds as well as elevate other guys like Silas Young & Gresham who I think ROH wants to get behind in a big way. And that doesn't even begin to tackle the new talent they've signed like PCO, Bandido, Lee and the like. Very excited to see what ROH does in 2019. It seems most people like to shit on it nowadays but, I think it's a really fun company. Sure it doesn't look like it did in 2014 or even 2018 but, history shows that it may be for the best! Thanks for your time!!!
  2. I think the best way to tackle this post is to review both nights of the Raising the Bar event(s) from March 7th & 8th 2014. I'm going to give the major take-away points rather than my somewhat longer reviews of the matches in most cases. These were fantastic shows put on by Ring of Honor that haven't gotten much hype. Night #1 - Milwaukee, WI Silas Young vs Jay Lethal: These guys are well suited to work with one another. The size and athleticism is compatible. The crowd was into this especially with the hometown Silas support. A worthwhile opening contest and a very good match. Tyson Dux vs Michael Bennett: This was your simple tough muscle guy kinda match. It was the right length and in the right spot to keep the energy up. Good match. Outlaw Inc. (Homicide & Eddie Kingston) vs Adrenaline Rush (ACH & Tadarius Thomas) vs reDRagon: This match could have been great but, was hampered by an X-division-like stipulation where Outlaw and Rush need to pin the champs to win the titles, if they pin each other or DRagon pins them then the titles don't change hands. This is made very clear (too clear) by Nigel & Kevin Kelly. HOWEVER the wrestlers didn't seem to know this, didn't care, or forgot. They worked the match like a "normal" 3 way dance tag match- first fall eliminates the one team then, the remaining teams fight for a winner. For the sake of your enjoyment, mute this so you cannot hear Nigel talk about how much these guys are fucking up the logic of the match. Because, LOGICALLY, all Outlaw or Rush would need to do is pin reDRagon and the match would be over AND they'd be new tag champs. Again, this would be a much quicker and focused match if it was worked this way. So, there was major miscommunication between the announcers, the wrestlers, etc. and it is a head scratcher at times since they do a PWG free-for-all. It's fun but, kinda stupid and long. Cedric Alexander & Adam Page vs BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs: Fortunately, this simple match gets the show back on track. This match had a good story (this was early Decade stuff) and Roddy sitting in with Corino & Kelly was helpful. Roderick Strong vs Chris Hero: Metropolis' own is recently back from his first NXT stint to start his back to the Indies tour (which got him back to NXT with a giant gut). This is a great hard hitting match like you would expect. Solid **** stuff. Here again, I will criticize the commentary. Jimmy Jacobs and Corino are jaw jacking like it's a shoot interview. It's good information and certainly is part of the Decade's grizzles/jaded veteran gimmick but, it DETRACTS from the action inside the ring. Again, you'd be wise to mute or turn down the volume. Then, of you want to hear their inside baseball watch the match again with the volume turned up. -So, at this point I've decided to watch the Main Event with the sound off- Kevin Steen & the Young Bucks vs Michael Elgin & the Briscoes: The talent involved was going to produce a very good match with very little effort. I had expected this going in. However, I did not expect this to be a classic bell to bell action bout. Elgin's ability to catch & carry, the Buck's speed and bumping, Steen & the Briscoes historical chemistry and veteran smarts made this something special. Additionally, everything was masterfully executed with teases & fake-outs to keep you on your toes. They opted for smart interactions rather than trendy yet predicable ones. That really is what I need to see as a longtime fan. That and the fact that everyone was as tough as nails meant this wasn't over until it was OVER. Classic ROH 6 man match! -It was so awesome that I thought it was the end of the show! But, we have one more- Adam Cole vs Matt Taven: Cole defends the recently won ROH World title against Matt Taven who has impressed me here in the 2013-14s but also on the current ROH show. The dude is talented. BUT let me get this out of the way: He whiffed big time on a suicide dive. I don't know what happened but Cole was like a foot in the wrong direction and Taven ate floor. Like a professional he & Cole went on to have a very good match. Seriously, that little miss was the ONLY blemish on this otherwise wonderful underdog title fight. Taven was only in the TV champ position so, the goal was more to have the Panama City Playboy be a fighting champ and raise Taven's stock a little bit. After the match the true contenders [Hero, Elgin, Steen, Jay Briscoe? (I can't remember. In my notes I wrote Elgin twice for some reason)]. confront Adam to stake their claim on the belt. Night One summary: Pretty damn great show! I rarely watch a DVD from start to finish in a sitting but, this one had a great pace and kept me entertained. This is a must see or must buy as it's on sale or clearance. You've got two very good matches (Lethal/Young & Cole/Taven), a great hard hitting vet match (Hero/Strong) and a classic 6 man (Bucks & Steen/Briscoes & Elgin). Night #2 - Chicago Ridge, IL Tyson Dux vs Michael Elgin: Teacher vs pupil. Corino and Kevin Kelly are already having their own fucking show :/ but the in-ring action tops whatever they're blathering on about. A good match with an impressive finishing stretch. Everything looked organic and necessary. Elgin puts over Dux, nice! Good way to open the show. Adrenaline Rush vs BJ Whitmer & Roderick Strong: Those Decade shirts are pretty ill. Adam Page is now their quasi-young boy which is funny to see nowadays. I frankly like him better then. Anyhow, this is a good tag encounter. Rod is especially nasty. Wait til he spits at Tadarius Thomas and nearly hits the lady in the front row. She's like "What the Fuck!?" Good action match and a fine #2 bout. Jay Lethal vs Mike Bennett: Maria adds something to Bennett's aura...um...those aren't pants. Anyhow, this was a very good match where the solid wrestling cliches worked very well and kept the energy up. A bit of comedy, good wrestling, there's nothing to hate here Outlaw Inc. vs the Briscoes: Yeah, this lived up to its potential for greatness. It took me backto 2006 with 'cide & Jay locking up...man I got goosebumps! This is that throwing shit, face smashing wrestling that you want. Heck this took me back to '98 as it was like an ECW tag title fight. Great stuff! Matt Taven vs Silas Young: A short but effective match to follow up that maddness. Watch for Taven's kick to Silas' head! Fun! Kevin Steen vs Cedric Alexander: I felt Steen was leading Cedric through a "by-the-numbers good match." Very WWE style where technically its sound but, lacks that 'umph' in the intensity department. reDRagons vs the Young Bucks: Tag titles are on the line. Matt's arm is in a cast which Fish & O'Reilly focus on. This is appreciated! Also, there are some nice wrinkles to standard spots from each team and some truly believable false finishes. Again, I like wrestling to be surprising This match really was nothing to sneeze at and the Bucks had two amazing nights of wrestling. I tend to downplay them nowadays because they receive so much praise for what I think to be old hat schtick. But in 2014, they still put their all into the rings as did Fish and O'Reilly. Great **** level tag title match. Adam Cole vs Chris Hero: ROH World Championship on the line. There's backstory here which the announcers provide. Hero made Cole submit to the "Stretch Plum!!-Stretch Plum!!" ...sorry Kawada flashback...Hero made Cole submit at the Anniversary show but, the ref wasn't there to call it. So, match-maker Nigel McGuinness gave Chris a shot under the Ring Master's Challenge stipulation. This is a 2/3 falls match where it's pinfall only, then submission only, and finally a 15 minute iron man if needed. I'm sure this gimmick match has some logic but, I fail to see it. Have it be submission only OR 2/3 falls OR an Iron man- why all 3? It's OK, I don't have a problem with it per se but, it doesn't really benefit Hero. Cole can win by pinfall, he can make you tap with this Figure Four, and he's in great shape so an Iron Man is no problem. Same with Hero - elbows to KO, stretch plum, and proven wrestling machine. *sigh* Anyhow, the stipulations were worked really well by the two, the layout was nice, and they put on a very good match. Not amazing or ground breaking but, very good overall. Night Two summary: A very good night of wrestling with no low points unlike night #1's Tag Team bungle. Two Great tag matches in two different styles, a very good gimmick title match and everything else was very enjoyable. I'd say it is a notch below night #1 BUT, it felt like it ran smoother due to that weird reDRagon/Rush/Outlaws match. That being said, I have no regrets getting this show. Raising the Bar was a two night success in my book and with many of these guys being stars in NXT right now, it only makes sense to check these shows out if you weren't sure. Or like me, you want to see them beforehand Thanks for reading!
  3. I wanted to give my opinion on the big topic of the new year: All Elite Wrestling. I'm not in the know in terms of facts and figures concerning the owners or the talent its centered around. I don't know what their income is or what they're worth or any of that financial stuff. Similarly, I don't have any scoop on which wrestlers or other performers are going to sign with the company. It doesn't seem worthwhile to post any of my opinions or suggestions in the AEW topic on the main forum. This is more about my take on the whole thing rather than news or debate. It feels that everyone is really excited about all of this because it's a pretty big shake up. Three pretty big wrestlers who worked for ROH and NJPW have branched out on their own and are getting even bigger friends (Omega & Jericho) to join them in their new company. Along with them are some more prominent Indy wrestlers as well a couple more friends from Japan (CIMA and I'm guessing Ibushi (who's Independent) will work with them). Oh how exciting!! It certainly is a bit of a shake up since everyone who's never listened to a shoot interview from the Bucks or Omega thought that they'd go to the WWE. Or at least that's what the YouTube channels wanted us to think. That seriously would have been a creative blunder on their parts so, it's neat to see them go it on their own. But, I don't know what people are expecting. That is to say, I don't know IF, from a match quality standpoint, they are expecting anything different than what PWG has been doing for about a decade. And I don't know if they are expecting angles, stables, arcs, and feuds either. At Jump, I have a couple rhetorical questions: OK you've tentatively got Kenny Omega, the #1 wrestler that everybody wants. But who are they going to have him go up against? Who's out there on the market that he could work a engaging program with? Is Penta and/or Fenix available? And for how long? Cody has more competition on his level but, is this really interesting anyone? What about the Bucks? They can work with anyone but, the problem is that they've already worked with EVERYONE. It seems to me they have one genuine superstar and then A-B level talent in Cody & the Bucks. Jericho is there but, for how long and in what capacity? Now ponder for a moment - what if WWE/NXT didn't buy Ricochet, Adam Cole, reDRagon, Roddy Strong, Keith Lee, and Walter like the 2nd coming of Eric Bischoff in WCW...then this AEW thing would have some teeth, no? It'd really have some fangs if they could get guys to jump ship from the 'E to AEW. Supposedly there's talk of the Revival going over? That might be something... what's Kevin Steen, Devitt, KENTA and the rest of the 205 Live Roster doing nowadays? PAC is a start, right? Truth be told, this really has similarities to old Japanese groups like UWF and SWS especially. I know AJPW at the turn of the 90's better than what happened in UWF but, I'll get back to them. SWS had a big money investor get a bunch of top talent from AJPW and a couple from NJPW to start a company. Tenryu and Yatsu were big F-ing deals in 89-90 AJ. You've got your #1 heel/rival to Jumbo (Omega to Okada) and then Jumbo's tag team partner leaving. In NJPW terms, perhaps its like an Ishii or Goto leaving. Then, Nakano & Takano who were the face "junior" tag team against Kawada/Fuyuki's Footloose. Even Fuyuki left too! They got Naoki Sano from NJPW. Cody, Young Bucks, PAC and Adam Page sounds similar to me. Then you had older guys like Ishikawa & Great Kabuki and other guys who were past their prime at the time like George Takano & Kendo Nagasaki. I won't say Jericho here but, CIMA seems like a decent fit (since read that Daniels, Kaz & Scorpio Sky are on board and I think they are applicable here). Then, you had up and coming juniors like Asai (Ultimo Dragon to be), Masao Orihara, Katayama et al. This sounds like your Joey Janela and other independent guys and girls. Of course the big difference, SWS had the support of the WWF and their stars from the get-go. It wouldn't last BUT, it helped them get a foothold. With AEW, they've burned some big bridges on BOTH sides of the world with this move. Now we come back to the UWF. The company had to fold within a couple years due to differences between Maeda & Sayama as well as the larger financial problems. SWS folded too but, WAR came out of that. We know how NJ worked with Tenryu and his company throughout the 90's and 2000's. Omega is Tenryu level here. So, NJPW has historically been forgiving if they can make money so that doesn't cut things off for them completely. So if the Elite boys are smart, they will try and be like WAR from the get go. They can do this by not going into business to directly compete with the big dogs AND by not focusing on the money. Seriously speaking, I see this as means to put on monthly shows that are PWG like dream cards but in much larger venues. Dream shows once a month, internet based everything (probably no DVDs or Blu-ray), and tee shirts. I could see them touring as well but, a relaxed schedule like ROH. The indy guys and girls make up most of the card and the "Elite" do 6 man matches to lead into the BIG shows. YouTube free matches/shows or streamed service TV shows of these matches is very likely to keep costs down. Perhaps if they book angles or story arcs, a studio show like TNA Asylum/Impact Zone could be there instead or if a TV deal is there. Honestly, I look at this AEW as a vanity project. They probably do too. I don't think they're looking to get richer but, just do WHAT they like-WHEN they like and pay the bills. I can certainly admire them for that. Now who knows what that means for the Adam Pages, Joey Janelas, and the younger folks of the company? The bleeding heart fans, like myself, are excited at the prospect of the performers receiving unbiased wages and health care. I think that those hopes are quickly being dashed against the rocks from what I've seen though. I do think it'll be more PWG-wrestler owned & operated than NJ, ROH, or WWE. So, beyond that, what does AEW hold for us fans? What can they offer us that's new & exciting? Are they going to fall back upon the allure of the Dream Match OR do wrestling with good stories and good booking? Honestly, I think AEW is taking the PWG mentality and product to a national (international?) level. Its not that it'll be anything new BUT, it will be more accessible and more visible than the insular PWG. I'd love to see genuine drama in wrestling and perhaps Jericho will be called upon to book (which would be the very best use of him). They have the resources to do it so, it is a possibility. And finally the larger implications of this company and it's possible success: If it's around for a few years, I wouldn't be surprised if they take ROH's spot as NJPW's US partner promotion. And like SWS/AJPW it may create a situation in NJPW, where they decide to elevate some guys and create a whole new generation of stars for the 2020's. Yeah, it is exciting. Guess we just have to wait and see... Thanks for reading!
  4. Dragon Gate USA has been a bit of a blind spot for me as I was losing interest in American wrestling (ROH & TNA) and exclusively watching puro in 2009, the year it took off. Certainly, I was interested as it featured Japanese wrestlers along with guys that I liked at the time like Bryan Danielson and Davey Richards. The problem was that I didn't really care for the style of wrestling. My cable company would have previews of the PPVs and I thought the ring, venues, and wrestling looked rinky dink. Now, I cut my teenage wrestling teeth on ECW, grew to love ROH after college, and adore 90's Michinoku Pro but, DGUSA looked like my local wrestling promotion passing itself off as something more. So, that being said it didn't surprise or please me to see Johnny Gargano or Chuck Taylor on their roster. These were dudes wrestling on Sportstime Ohio at midnight...and rightfully so. What were they doing up against the Dragon Gate talent? It seemed very budget. This was especially true when I was in my cult like devotion to AJPW and AJW at the time. It probably got even worse when I saw Tommy Dreamer was working there. I love me some Dreamer but, what the hell does he have to do with lucharesu? It really looked like Gabe S. was trying to grab at whatever he could from the ROH fallout. It just wasn't for me. Skip ahead 9 years to now, and I have only a slightly better understanding of what was DGUSA. The fact that Evolve & DGUSA were being run akin to RAW and Smackdown does not do it any favors. Its messy...like a little kid with chocolate ice cream. To get to the point, Gargano surprised the hell outta me at NXT New Orleans. The guys of 205 Live surprised the hell out of me. Tapes were on sale (DVDs) and these dudes were on them, let's give it a shot I thought! I got Revolt & Heat 2013. Sat. & Sunday shows held in Socal for Royal Rumble weekend in the Pappy Pavalion. It's a local promotion's space. It probably serves as their gym and a club/music venue by the looks of the space and bar. REVOLT 2013 Skipping the first 2 matches, they were OK I suppose. Rich Swann vs EITA: A few flubs, probably did more than they needed to but, it was fun. Samurai del Sol vs AR Fox: Very good match but, orchestrated. But fuck it, there's 50 people so, it hyped them up. It looks like it would be a blast to see in person. There is a tremendously obese guy in the front that is distracting. Um, Lenny Leonard is calling the match which does give this some prestige. He calls this a classic match but, it's not that good. It is a 205 Live main event level match though so, I'd highly recommend it. Kalisto fans, check it out Sami Callihan vs Akira Tozawa: Again, 205 Live talent in Tozawa but, more Tozawa-y since he's not in WWE. Anyhow, this was a very physical and intense match. The 205 shit goes out the window here. This felt like a fight and was more appropriate for WAR or '90 FMW. Sami was shouting curses at Akira, they were stiffing each other, and people in the crowd were uncomfortable. They came for flip dives and got a melee. They dug it though. What else? Good leg focus and selling of fatigue and the desire to win the contest. This was Champion Carnival level wrestling and a great match. Fans of either should definite see this. Match of the night 1000% Young Bucks vs Ryo Saito & Jimmy Susumu: This was pretty good as a filler between Sami/Tozawa and the Gargano/Davis main. The beginning was dry as fucking wheat toast but, the middle and end added a bit of butter and jam in typical Jackson Bros. fashion. I'd still give it a recommendation. The Bucks really deliver every match they're in. I left them off my mid year BMW list but, they are def in the running for my wrestler(s) of the year (or whatever the fudge I called that category!). Johnny Gargano vs Jon Davis: It's funny that people still call Gargano "Johnny Wrestling" long after "Johnny Football" evaporated from the Browns and the NFL. It's cool though...it's like Tenryu's Mr. Puroresu nickname. Anyhow, St. Ed's own is charismatic enough to get this semi interested crowd into this. Trust me, for most of the show it looks like Calling Hours with a ring. *rimshot* OK thank you, thank you! But seriously folks- this was a good match. The spots were unnecessarily dangerous (which is fine) and Davis' stiffness was appreciated but, the fans didn't really seem to care to the extent that they should have. It's a blood feud blow off in front of an AA meeting. Mute the TV and I think you'll enjoy it more. The quietness is uncomfortable with the level of violence. Overall a good show despite the crowd. Certainly worth the $5 paid. Let's see how the Sunday Afternoon show (!?) does. HEAT 2013 Yes, a January show called Heat. Maybe it's wishful thinking? In DGUSA's case, they probably should have called it Money... Arik Cannon vs Rich Swann: Very small time Indy feel match but, the crowd is much better. Probably did too much for an opener but, it got people pumped. Jon Davis vs Drake Younger: Also, very weird to see WWE ref Drake Younger after seeing Psycho Shooter Drake Younger. Case in point here. The man is nuts but, athletic and got heart. Frankly, I think this bout is equal to or better than Davis' match with Johnny. Good pace from the start, stiff and brutal offense, and intense throughout. These guys clicked better and Drake was willing to take sick bumps to make Davis look like a monster. Johnny's a little too pretty for that. Where's Davis now? He seems like he'd be a good fit for the Indy Big man explosion. EITA vs Chuck Taylor: A more technically advanced version of Cannon vs Swann. No rhyme or reason wrestling. The Awful Waffle is a extremely dangerous and brutal move for a wrestler of this low standing. Let alone, it has a stupid name. It's like naming your finisher, Pattycake and then you shoot the guy in the face with a magnum...and you have the physique of a high school soccer coach and your name is synonymous with a thin soled canvas sneaker. Johhny Gargano vs Brian Kendrick: This is for the Open the Whatever Gate title. This definitely has a slower title match feel to it. The focus early on is the wrestling. Kendrick truly looks like a professional by picking the younger Gargano apart. Gargano's moveset is very WWE/signature move based already which is a bit undesirable in this style of match. He goes for flash when he should go for utility. There was a ref bump and it was well played. The finish was sorta flat but, fug it! It worked and this was probably the best match thus far. Definitely recommend this bout. Again, 205 Live main event feel. Jimmy Susumu vs Sami Callihan: I'm guessing this went after the title match because of the ref bumping? Small show match from both but, the closing stretch was nice and the fans were digging it. Young Bucks vs AR Fox & Akira Tozawa: Special Dream match. I would have preferred Sami & Tozawa vs the Bucks. That would have been my dream but, this will work Typically solid Bucks heel control and cutoffs. Very nice babyface comeback sequences although spot-fu cheesy at times. But, the fans are pretty awesome at this show. So, Gabe said "give 'em what they want fellas!" Cardio dive sequence combo orgy is a go! Match of the night and a great Bucks style match. Everyone looked great and the crowd was pumped. Nice close and another feather in the Bucks cap of good stuff. The real honor is to Akira Tozawa who had the best matches on both cards. This was another very fun show and worth the time and money. All that said, DGUSA at this stage does not look long for the world and history will show that to be true. The talent is clearly there but, the fanbase is not. I've got one more 2013 DVD which features Gargano vs SHINGO (another reason I decided to look into this- based off SHINGO's awesome 'resurgence' at the 2018 Champ Carny). Depending on how that show goes, I may just go back to the early classics in the DGUSA library. Right now, the show quality are fairly priced at $5. WWN doesn't discount so deeply so, we'll see if I wanna spend the dough.
  5. Mixed up indeed! Young Bucks & Paul London vs Scott Lost, Joey Ryan, Karl Anderson (The Dynasty International) (Express Written Consent 2009): I would consider this to be in the golden era of PWG...Like 2007-2011. It wasn't hyped to hell, still had plenty of CA state talent, shows weren't supercars etc. It was kinda ROH level but, still with comedy. Bucks were feuding with the Dynasty team so, this 6 man was nice. Anderson was already in NJPW and London was coming back from his post World wrestling release. Paul entered the ring in his astronaut jumpsuit only to reveal he was wearing a WWF tee shirt!! Hahaha, that is to say a World Wildlife Foundation tee shirt His wrestling was off just a bit this match but, he certainly made up for it. The Bucks were phenomenal and any hiccups were quickly forgotten. Trust me. One note is that they hadn't begun the super kicks yet so, if that bugs you- don't worry! The Dynasty international were great foils for the face team and Scott Lost was particularly impressive. This was a blast main event for the card. I recommend checking it out if you want to like the Young Bucks but hate their overly self aware B.S. as of late. Dalton Castle vs Jushin Liger (ROH Reloaded Tour 2016): I'm not sure on the date. Its up on their Throwback Thursday playlist so, it should be easy to track down. This is a fun little comedy match with some nice moves thrown in as well. Its a 10 minute TV match but, gave me a couple chuckles. Most importantly, its a fantastic bout to show friends and family who are non-fans...especially if you're trying to coax them into going to a live show or something! OK now the real heavy duty shit... Jun Kasai vs Takashi Iikuza (01/28/18 TAKA production): I don't know if this match had a wacky deathmatch stipulation. It was just wild fight in the crowd then eventually in the ring with chairs and Kasai brought a ladder along with a razor saw board. I mean I hope those are not shaving razors because holy shit! The last 5 minutes would be utter bananas! I loved this match...just chaotic stuff and really dangerous. We watch wrestling because we want to feel something...well, I was afraid for the safety of both guys. That and a little squeamish. There was not really a lot of blood or gore per se but, the violence was there. Having been watching early 90's FMW, this was very similar in tone and taste. Awesome 13 minute hardcore bout. I really loved this!
  6. Work was busy and the weather was nice so, I didn't get around to watching day #2 of wXw's 2010 tournament I thought about skipping today but, figured I'd share my take on the most popular wrestlers not in WWE- Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks. Although both are sort of the antithesis of the blog as they are just so darn well known and praised by Dave M. And that's cool because I do like them both. No, they're not my favorites or wrestle according to my stylistic preference. But, shit they make it fun and sometimes even great. Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega (NJPW 08/13/2016): I liked this one especially towards the end. All in all this reminded me of a souped up 90's NJ Jr's. match. Didn't get the spitting schtick but, whatever... I'll say this: selling a hurt leg is easy to do. Hop around a little, rub the knee etc. but, selling it well is much more difficult. Omega did a pretty good job down the stretch with nice little touches especially toward the end. Was it Kawada-like? No but, I was believing in a submission... So much modern offense is based on running and jumping that basing a match of a bum wheel can be a recipe for junk but, I have become more lenient in my judgements though. I will give Omega credit for sticking to it as best he could based on his style and the current NJ style. I mean he very well could have blown it off by hulking up, calling upon his fighting spirit or whatever but he did not. Naito was excellent in his selling too...just in a more generalized fatigue/brain damaged kind way. Some of the looks he made after a big move or counter were priceless! So, overall it got me engaged and invested. I bought the leg damage and thought it was a great match. Glad I went out of my way to watch it! The speech afterwards was a nice bonus. Go see this! Kevin Steen & Super Dragon vs Young Bucks (PWG FEAR 12/10/11): The outset of the match appeared to one sided. The hefty Super Dragon & even heftier Steen were mauling the Jackson Brothers. Elbows, punches, chairs, you name it. Obviously, the Bucks mount a comeback and we get one brutal hardcore match. What makes it so special (in addition to Dragon's return) is the intensity that Steen & Super brought. It legitimately looked like they wanted to hurt/kill the other team. The Bucks were heel but, man they garnered sympathy. Every move even if just a punch or stomp gave a little hope that they would survive. It even looked like they had a chance of winning when they'd isolated Steen from Dragon. Its a wonder no one was hurt more than they were. A really well done hateful No DQ (Guerrilla Warfare) match. No glitz no glamour. Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto (NJPW G1 Climax Final 08/14/16): I watched this match twice since I saw that people gave it ****3/4. Here are my thoughts from both viewings: Omega is charismatic and his mannerisms and expressions are indicative of a character he's playing rather than "himself." He engages the crowd very well with these attributes which have a tinge of dark humor. It's fun to watch. I am a fan of Goto especially in his IC fights with Nakamura. I thought this would be similar since Omega is playing something like Nakamura's but, Goto came across as bland. He was not as stiff and or intense as I would have liked. They could have traded out Goto for any big/strong wrestler as I felt this was all Kenny. Watching this made the Naito match all that more worth watching again. All in all this was a great match with the powerbomb fake out and the tributes to Ibushi and past Bullet Clubbers. I was hoping that they would play more off of Omega's knee from the Naito match from the previous night...that would have been awesome and a recipe for a classic but, i just had higher expectations than what this turned out to be. Great match nonetheless! Generation Me vs. the Motor City Machine Guns (Full Metal Mayhem match, Final Resolution TNA 12/05/10): This is a recommended TLC match which I'm a little down on as a gimmick. Oh excuse me...Full Metal Mayhem® match! Duh! I liked this mainly because they keep the action moving despite the death trap made in the middle of the ring. The MCMG provide some psych in building this too. "Oh man, I can't get both belts! Its too tall for these ladders!" The Bucks are restrained in their shenanigans but, bring the Indy wackiness. The Guns wisely abstain from their combos (either due to age/injury or a stylistic choice). They still go off the turnbuckles and stuff but, it wasn't a Junior acrobatic type train wreck. And it wasn't a plodding "set up the high spots" match either. I liked it a lot actually. Should mention: Sabin damn near fell off the contraption after the match. Now I will sing Kenny & the Bucks to the tune of Sir Elton's 'Benny & the Jets' Come on and join me!
  7. Booyah! 2010 16 Carat Gold Tournament is a wrap! Let's jump in to the matches for Day 3, Disc # 3 'cause this entry is gonna be a doozy. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Munenori Sawa: Light Heavyweight strap on the line. A bit of a letdown to get started with. I suppose they were going for a shoot style-ish match but, it came across as winging it. It was fun but, not particularly memorable. Diez minutos. Matt Jackson vs Nick Jackson - Battle of the Bucks: I have never heard of this happening elsewhere but, second to last match on the final night seems like a fine place to try it out! No worries though. Its 16 minutes of crazy Jackson action...heh you like what I did there? I'm a goofy ass, sorry. This is a great match and one of the best of all 3 nights. The reason it was great was because they didn't have to worry about tournament booking. They could essentially do a PWG match or more fairly a Young Bucks match. Its a quarter hour of moves and counter moves and totally delivers when it needs to. Chris Hero vs Big Van Walter - Tournament Final: 21 minutes and the match of the weekend. It seems like they saved up all weekend (?) to have a match that told a story. Or at least, a story I could get behind. Hero is looking his best ever, he's got his KO Kid persona in full swing but, Walter is this young, tank who's rolling over his opponents. Hero is the first to show weakness as he injured his hand/arm from hitting Walter in the head. Walter composes himself and methodically clobbers Hero. We're rooting for the golden locked grappler now. It was all fighting spirit chops but, now he's got a Austrian gorilla pummeling him. Of course, it ebbs and flows but, does so in a believable and logical manner. That cannot be said for many of the shows matches...and that's OK. But this is the Finals so, we better see something smart and genuinely dramatic. And we do! It's a near classic match to me. Maybe like ****1/4+ or ****1/2. It was different and not one of those move heavy, oh-shit type of matches. It was closer to something Tenryu vs Jumbo so it's weird trying to measure it against the Bucks match that happened previously. Great finish, great post match...what a final match! Well done wXw!! So now, I want to do a recap or summary since all of my other blog posts are all over the place. This match list is from Highspots. DAY ONE - FIRST ROUND MATCHES Ares vs. Matt Jackson Munenori Sawa vs. Paul Tracey *Martin Stone vs. Yuji Okabayashi- Recommended! Claudio Castagnoli vs. Johnny Kidd KAGETORA vs. Nick Jackson vs Tommy End *Erick Stevens vs. Adam Polak - Recommended! *The Switchblade Conspiracy vs. Up In Smoke -Highly recommended!! *Big Van Walter vs. Daisuke Sekimoto - Highly recommended!! Chris Hero vs. Bad Bones DAY TWO Quarter Final Match: Big Van Walter vs. Munenori Sawa *Quarter Final Match: KAGETORA vs. Erick Stevens - Recommended! *The Young Bucks vs. Up In Smoke vs. The Crimson City Saga - Recommended! *Winner faces Switchblade Conspiracy - Highly recommended!! Paul Tracey vs. Johnny Kidd *Strong BJ vs. Oberhausen Terror Corps - Highly recommended to Great!!! *Quarter Final Match: Ares vs. Claudio Castagnoli - Recommended! *Quarter Final Match: Chris Hero vs. Martin Stone - Great!!! WXW World Heavyweight Title Match - Falls Count Anywhere: Steve Douglas © vs. Absolute Andy - ~Avoid~ (As a rule, the tag matches kick ass. They delivered every outing. Going through this I realized I left off two reviews from Day #2 The Young Bucks vs. Up In Smoke vs. The Crimson City Saga. Crimson City is ZSJ and Tommy End. The Bucks win and face Switchblade Conspiracy in a 10 minute Highly recommended match.) DAY THREE *Semi-Final Match: Big Van Walter w/Terry Frazier vs. Erick Stevens - Highly Recommended!! Oberhausen Terror Corps vs. Up In Smoke Semi-Final Match: Ares vs. Chris Hero Johnny Kidd vs. Terry Frazier Claudio Castagnoli vs. KAGETORA vs. Paul Tracey vs. Tommy End *WXW World Tag Team Title Match: The Switchblade Conspiracy © vs. Strong BJ - Great!!! Zack Sabre, Jr. © vs. Munenori Sawa *Nick Jackson vs. Matt Jackson- Great!!! *2010 Finals Match: Chris Hero vs. Big Van Walter w/Terry Frazier - Classic!!!! Overall, its a great DVD set. Its not a purposeful "cream your jeans PWG BOLA" stuff circa now. Its more like 2010 PWG. Its spaced out yet, it's Indy in terms of structure and pacing for the most part. The highlighted matches are obviously better and each night is booked with longevity and endurance in mind. I like this much better. Impressions: Good: Erick Stevens, KAGETORA, Young Bucks and the tag matches in general, and Hero vs Stone & Walter. Bad: Tommy End, Ares, doing traditional British matches in this setting, the camera angles and black Glad bag canvas take some getting used to. Ugly: Absolute Andy vs Steven Douglas Meh: Claudio, Sawa Um what else? These are DVD+R so if you're interested in buying from Highspots or wherever, triple check your DVD or computer. This might be downloaded on there too, I guess. This was a really international show and totally worth a purchase especially if there's a sale. It'd be a good weekend viewing...or 5 fucking months in my case Click the wXw tags to get back my older posts if you've not read those. I've got the 2011 Tournament as well! So, that's on the horizon. In the meantime, I should have Masato Tanaka in the 2010's in a couple days. Fantasy booking moment: Tanaka vs Walter
  8. This is probably the best YB match I've seen so far, because, they don't go spot-crazy. Aries and Strong work them over and they do a good job selling the puishment, and then when it's their turn, they keep things simple. Some might not like the hundred back and chest rakes, but, they made it work, and Nick mocking Aries was amusing and they were good at keeping Aries from making the save. After Strong tags out, he and Aries are back in control and it seems more and more like they're going to win the titles, especially after Aries pushing Nick off the top rope and they have Matt all to themselves, but, Matt doesn't stay down. He blow anything off, he takes the abuse and barely kicks outs The finish comes down to Matt outsmarting, and out wrestling Strong, when he counters his backbreaker attempt into a crucifix and steals the win. As much as the Bucks have annoyed me while watching their PWG work, and made me scoff at hearing them being called the best team in the world, they finally showed me something here. Edit: In fact, the only real exposing part of the match was when Nick when for the Last Chancery and Strong put him in the Stronghold, and that was only because Nick had to slow things down, because Roddy wasn't ready.
  9. A bit of a divisive match ratings-wise. There's a narrative out there that if you understood the Rocky/Beretta internal story about how Rocky couldn't get the job done, then the match is four stars - otherwise its 3 and 1/4. I completely see that story, and Rocky gets some big kickouts while Trent is KO'd outside after a missed dive. But Beretta comes back into the match, and RPG wins on a fluke roll-up. I'm all for weaving some fantastic story into the action, but this never reached the pre-described fairy tale. It was what it was (and I dug the springboard destroyer by the Bucks early) - a ***1/4 match.
  10. Grimmas

    The Young Bucks

    Discuss here.
  11. I had a review written out for this and got an IPS Driver Error because of the apostrophe in Kyle O'Reilly's name. Ugh. Anyway, this was a solid match. I don't remember a ton about it, but it was fun while it lasted. They didn't really get the crowd into it very much, but I credit that more to the perils of working in a dome than I do the way they worked the match. There isn't much art to matches like this because the psychology isn't really important - they're just throwing bombs. But the bombs were well paced and hit cleanly, so I think they accomplished what they were going for just fine. Good.
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