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Found 7 results

  1. Generally speaking, I live in a cave with my head under a rock when it comes to contemporary wrestling. I poked it out a little bit last year to see the empty seats of Smackdown for historical purposes. When the Wonder Wall was debuted, I lasted 15 minutes before I became dizzy. I took a small trip away from the cave to see Ring of Honor attempt to return to form with their Pure Title tournament. I thought it was fantastic but they squandered or scared away whatever interest that drummed up. Now with CM Punk (and perhaps Bryan Danielson) in All Elite Wrestling, I am compelled to lift the stone from my head and check it out. So I watched his return promo in Chicago and man! that's entertaining! He's still got it. I'm not going to watch anything else on purpose mind you but I wanted to see that. You know...for historical purposes. I liked Punk's speech because he explained his comments regarding wrestling when he was doing MMA/UFC. He acknowledged his time in ROH and made the distinction between that wrestling and what he was doing for almost a decade in WWE. I was confused by a few (hundred) fans booing ROH in a past life. I'd be less confused if they booed ROH in their present form. Who boos a mention of ROH from 2002-2005? Are these folks completely ignorant of the giant influence the company had on both CM Punk and the current American pro wrestling landscape? That's an aside though.What I thought of after a couple days after is more interesting than the excitement of CM Punk back in a ring. Or more interesting on the historically ignorant fans. What really stuck with me is that Punk's history is kind of not true. Now I know it may have been kayfabe but Mr. Brooks, Phil if you will, has a tendency to blur the lines between a work and a shoot when on the mic. So we can say some of this was true for Punk & Phil. But I don't think any of it was any form of an objective truth. Chick Magnet Punk says that things had run their course in ROH and then went to WWE where he didn't wrestle for almost a decade. Now that's not true because no one wrestled in ROH either. I'll defend WWE's " sports entertainment " ideology in so much that what they do isn't wrestling. Pro wrestling is more dramatized combat with melodrama than wrestling like you'd see in high school, college, the Olympics etc. That's a sport. But frankly, I could say all professional sports aren't sports either but are this sports entertainment since no one's playing in an empty gym (until last year) and people are being entertained either through TV, videos, clothing, games. There isn't intentional and planned melodrama (although it happens organically). It lacks nuance for Punk to say he left wrestling in 2005 and came back now in AEW. It is kinda not true. I've watched his stuff in ROH (as we'll see below) and all in all it wasn't that different from what he was doing in WWE. Punk never mentions UFC. I wouldn't either. What he left in 2005 was the freedom and identity that ROH and the Indy scene afforded him. He could be himself. Brooks left a community that embraced him for an opportunity to make a living and potentially make a fortune. I don't think he anticipated what it would cost. I don't think he knew it would cost him friends and fans and would embarrass himself in the process...I recall him saying if UFC had been around when he was younger he would have gone into that instead of wrestling. Man, you ever hear of karate or judo? That wasn't true when he said it. And I don't think anything he said the other night is true either. This is why I stay in my cave and keep my head beneath a boulder. He's not the same person. I just know too much about Phil Brooks to really believe CM Punk anymore. But maybe that's the state of contemporary wrestling in general? I just know too much to really believe any of it. That's all a lead in to some reviews of when Brooks or perhaps Punk was a wrestler before not being a wrestler (never was a wrestler) and becoming a sports entertainer (always was a sports entertainer) and then a mixed martial artist (a sports entertainer but STILL not a wrestler believe it or not!) and a wrestler again (still not a wrestler). vs Raven (Death Before Dishonor 2003) : This was a dog collar match and I believe the consensus is that this is their best bout. I don't know since its all I got to watch but this is very much a Raven match. If you like his style and character (which I do) then this is something that you want to watch. Its a bit on the loner side but it pretty simple in terms of execution and scope. Its violent like it needed to be. Its got some stuff ECW fans would like too...remember this is only a couple years after they closed so that wasn't as odd as you might think. Great match vs AJ Styles (Tradition Continues 2003) : This is almost a 180 from the Raven ECW style match. Instead we see Punk stay in step with the Phenomenal One. It was full of fantastic counters and reversals. The human game of chess cliche is going to be applied to this match because I'm not always very good at describing what make a good match so very good. I think something I appreciate on this viewing is the teasers they chose to do. It just felt organic and competitive and dammit I'm a fan of that. I'm going to say this is a classic match. If you're keeping track, I wouldn't put it in the top tier but its certainly overlooked because it takes place in 2003 which probably doesn't get much love. And if anyone wants to sample 2003/Year 2 ROH they'll usually go to matches of AJ, Danielson and London putting on masterpieces. But in 2021, do people even do that anymore? Other than me? W/Ace Steel (Second City Saints) vs Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer (The Prophecy) (Death Before Dishonor II 2004) : Second City Saints was an awesome name. BJ Whitmer lousy name. Here's my BJ Whitmer rant: I can't believe that he/they wanted to keep a name with a double entendre in it and not have it purposely imply that 2nd meaning. Case in point D.P. Associates in FIP was a purposeful double entendre for the sake of a bunch of 20 year old guys having a laugh. BJ Whitmer never struck me as the type of talent that had a sense of humor about his in-ring persona. That aside, this was a bananas garbage wrestling spot mtach. This was your typical overkill wrestling to show how tough you were. As a match, it stunk BUT as a violent spot driven spectacular, it was great Its a few years ahead of its time but does bite off more than it needed to in order to get the same message across. vs Jimmy Rave (Manhattan Mayhem 2005) : Here we see Punk's (Phil's) version of the dog collar match. And you know its not bad at all. Its decidedly more move oriented but with Punk and Rave in there I did not mind. Rave is such a great opponent for Punk because he can stooge when he needs to, he can get nasty when he needs to, and he can do moves when he needs to. Frankly he's much like Punk in that regard. We get a good deal of blood from Punk and we get the Embassy interfering. Its quite great to be honest. I've not seen this before but I have seen their cage match and man this was a great (probably forgotten) feud. So there you have it. A few matches from CM Punk's time wrestling/sports entertaining in ROH. As you have already figured out, I picked some unsung ones for 2021. They aren't the Joe matches or Summer of Punk ones. 3 of the 4 are quite like stuff you could see in WWE actually. Again, either he never was a "wrestler" or he never left wrestling when going to the WWE. All semantic games aside- He should have been honest in saying he made a mistake in leaving pro wrestling and its fans when going to the UFC. And if he (Phil is Punk at this stage in his career) should have said thanks for welcoming him back despite his mistakes. In my opinion, CM Punk is the best all around pro wrestler of the last 20 years. His return to the square circle is huge and his promo was exhilarating. He will do great business for AEW. However, I think his cleverness in dissing WWE hides the real hurt of his MMA phase. As great as I know him to be, I just can't trust CM Punk anymore. I have to forgive him first. I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill. I'll be back in my cave. Thanks for reading!
  2. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) defend the AEW World Tag Team Titles. There's a great feeling of excitement and energy from this match which elevates everything. The crowd are really into Mox & Kingston's entrance singing along to "Wild Thing" and the match starts hot with them going straight for the Bucks and we get a big brawl on the outside. This is all very well done and I really enjoyed the first 10 minutes of this match. The big problem though is the inconsistency with how the referee enforces the rules in the first half of the match, only to completely drop it in the second half where the Young Bucks are just happily double teaming Moxley for literally minutes at a time without the ref doing anything about it and Kingston just stands on the apron. AEW would really be a lot better if they just officially announced that Tag Title matches are fought under tornado tag rules or something and quit enforcing tags at all. At least while the Bucks have them. Or do an angle that the Bucks are bribing referees or something, I dunno. Just make it make sense. ***1/2
  3. Coffey

    AEW Status/Progress Report

    All Elite Wrestling has been around for a bit under two years at this point. Contrary to what you'll read on other corners of the internet, such as Wreddit, or Twitter, it's not an AEW Vs. WWE (or NXT) battle - however, that is not to say that some of the positive/negative talking points about AEW do not have any merit. So, now that AEW has Dynamite, along with the new Friday night show & two YouTube shows in Dark & Elevation, I thought maybe we could discuss some of the often brought up talking points about AEW, the direction of the company & areas you may be concerned about, if any at all. Regardless of if you're a viewer that never misses Dynamite, only watch it every so often or checked it out once or twice & decided it wasn't for you. I'm curious what your turn offs & ons about it are. How do you feel about the commentary in AEW? Jim Ross & Excalibur specifically. How do you feel about the ring style or the look of the show/arena? What are your thoughts about the talent that AEW has been bringing in like Jake Hager, Shawn Spears or more recently, Mark Henry & Paul Wight? Do you think that AEW relies too heavily on comedy? What about their abundance of factions/stables? Managers/Valets? How do you feel about the decisions Tony Khan has taken, or how Dave Meltzer seems to give AEW the constant benefit of the doubt where as Jim Cornette will barely acknowledge when something is good? Are AEW presenting the women well? How about the tag team division? Is AEW relying too much on gimmick/stipulation matches? Most importantly, what do you think the greatest positive about current AEW is & what do you think is their biggest hindrance at this point in time? I wanted to get some conversation going outside of the AEW megathread to maybe just discuss what we like & what we're concerned about going forward.
  4. I thought this was an OK TV main event. Darby is one of the craziest guys currently active in wrestling and he's made a name for himself as a bump freak. His offense is pretty neat as it's just him flinging his body at his opponent recklessly. As expected, he takes some ridiculous bumps here, but I would have cut out the powerbomb on the ramp late in the match especially after he got press slammed from inside the ring to a table that was several feet from the ring apron. I dug Darby using his belt to tie up Cage's feet but I could have done without the turnbuckle kickout climb spot which was hokey and the Sting appearance (but I get understand why they did it).
  5. So AEW did their barbwire explosion match and it was a bust. I kinda saw that one coming. If you've seen any recent Onita explosion stuff its not really the same quality of boom-boom explosions from the 90's. Its more sparkles on speed than scary !BANG! type stuff. I also heard that they didn't time the match properly and the had to stall for 4 minutes for the finale. That sounds worse than the big explosion not working. But for real...it was not going to be early 90's FMW explosion stuff...people had to know that in 2021. Those ones looked damn near illegal...even for Japan. That's my G. Badger hot take that no one asked for Anyhow lets get on to the Frontier Martial Arts wrestling! We go to May of 1998. Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05): This was the match you expected from all four guys. It was all action with Gedo & Jado being the heels to the max and our heros have to overcome their cheating ways. It feature a bunch of great exchanges and really would be on my Top 100 FMW list. It was a ton of fun. A great match to me! Masato Tanaka vs Hayabusa (05/19): Bahu's top singles match of FMW so I had high expectations. But man, I was disappointed. It was not as good as their 03/13 classic. It wanted to be consciously epic by having a load of false finishes but, it just does not work in 2021. I don't think it works in 1998 to be honest because the lay out was all wrong. It starts with a wonderful opening exchange then gets to the wrestling to injure a limb type stuff but, that goes nowhere because it leads right to the false finish portion. This is the MIDDLE of the match mind you because then we get to the strike exchange and 2-3 move sequences. These things are the logical escalation when mat wrestling/joint locks aren't working. A guy gets angry and starts throwing bones. The short sequences work because they have enough energy/stamina to still counter/parry/reverse. This does NOT make sense after getting dropped on your head a half doesn't times. Maybe one or two strike exchanges that are out of desperation OR going for a knockout blow. But that should be the finish. Even if they kept the layout, it could have been shaved down to 20 minutes (five minutes from the middle) and it would have been very good to great. It was good on the things mentioned above and maybe you would like it more than me so, I can't trash it. But, their match from earlier in the year is the classic to me. Hayabusa/Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27): Thank goodness another great all action tag match with a tried and true structure to cleanse my palette. This is sort of the big stakes version of the Jado & Gedo match. It was a near classic to me as FMW seemed to have their tag matches down like 88-90 AJPW...I would give Fuyuki some credit there as he was right in the thick of many of those bouts. Ricky Fuji vs Gedo (05/27): Another face/heel match but, this was not as crazy or anything. Fuji is a midcard star so this pretty much what you get. Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19): This was like 95-96 Kobashi vs Misawa in that it pits lariat against elbow. Plus they laid a good foundation with arm work then escalated in the fast paced action with counters, reversals, and improvisations. Although Kuroda & Tanaka have about the same experience, Kuroda is the up and comer at this point so, again the Kobashi/Misawa analogy works to some extent. That being said, these two's chemistry is just as good as Hayabusa/Tanaka IMO. This was Classic stuff. Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Kanemura & Gedo (06/19): Multi-man matches are usually pretty good and this is no different. At the very least, you get a little bit of everything here and that's pretty much the best way I can sum up this bout. It went on after the above singles match since it was Team No Respect vs Team FMW. Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs Hideki Hosaka (07/10): Dull-ish start as Hosaka wanted to work the arm and Kuroda wasn't having that. After that though things got entertaining and they traded moves and it was good opening match and was only 10 minutes. W*ing Kanemura vs The Gladiator (Mike Awesome) (07/10): Of all of the matches I've seen so far, this one is most like a "FMW match." It is very reliant upon the table & chair spots and other highspots as opposed to the more NJ Jrs./AJPW athletic matches we've seen. As a Mike Awesome fan, I'm going to say this is because of Mike Awesome (RIP). This is what he does and this is what you're getting in a bout with him especially a singles bout with a bigger name opponent like W*ING. His 6 man and tag matches are more dynamic and brawling but, in these big encounters you'd better believe his opponent is getting bombed through a table to the floor. That all said, this is no problem to me! I'm game for all types of wrestling and if you're going to do that kind of match then these two are some of the best at this time. Pretty good match and much better than their 12/11/96 match IMO. Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Jado & Gedo (Elimination Match) (07/10): This was the fancier and longer verion of the 06/19 match. It was a good match but honestly nothing tremendously distinguishable from that match. I didn't keep notes on this one so, that perhaps is my fault for having these blur together. I tend to enjoy elimination bouts so, I would say check it out. Its not some 80's NJPW level stuff but, its fun and now that I remember it - it has a surprising finish. This was not a mind meltingly awesome of an installment as FMW '98 #1 but, if you're a Masato Tanaka fan then, you really ought to check the matches out. The two great tag matches with Hayabusa and the classic with Kuroda are totally worth your time. Then you have an old school spot match with Kanemura & Awesome that will still impress you. Search Bahu FMW and you will find a wealth of FMW stuff online. Thanks for reading! Sorry for any delay too - I've been watching odds &ends stuff and pulled my old copy of Fire Pro Returns out. I've been messing around with playing my edits of FMW and BJW guys Keep staying safe!
  6. I'm literally headed out the door right now, so I'll write more later. But, the short of it is that this is easily the best match I've seen all year!
  7. G. Badger

    Zine Review!? - Wrestle Void

    I need some kind of format or guide to help me talk about this 'zine 'Wrestle Void.' A blog is in the same vein as a 'zine, right? Its me talking about things I find interesting. What interests me with Wrestle Void? So, I suppose that's my hook with this little publication, right?! Let us begin... This is a really fun rag to read -Straight and simple! The letters from the editors/co-founders at the start of each issue are a reminder that we as fans are real people. Gravy's letters especially drive this point home. Wrestling fandom is something we participate in to escape life sometimes but, it is something we use to deal with life as well. In other words, we use pro wrestling as a diversion but, use it as a tool to cope and combat hardships. The performances in and outside the ring are fun but, provide many of us an example of how to deal with loss, how to persevere, how to recognize and overcome our weaknesses, etc. If this wasn't true, the stories of matches and angles would not resonate with us. In additional to these letters or prefaces to the zine are other testimonials by contributors on what wrestling means to them. Many of these deal with the authors coming to terms with their love of wrestling as the enter the adulthood. I find it refreshing to read how others are dealing with this. I really enjoyed Marj's take on how she thought she'd "grow out of it." I'm sure most of us had thought that at one point or another, right? Then, there is usually a local Cleveland scene piece. This is AIW (which I'm pissed that I haven't been to) and has featured Magnum CK Parsons and PB Smooth. I've never heard of either guy until reading but, damn I feel like I'm missing out. I think this local focus is something special and hope they keep this as a featured part of their publication. Next, there is a what I'll call general wrestling talk. Meat and potato opinions/review stuff that we know and love: top 25 wrestlers of 2018, BJW show review and a take on the All-In event. Co-Editor/Creator El Jordano Diablo handles this duty quite well with help from contributors. Issue #3 features more humorous stuff like 'The Struggle of a Fat Fan" by Rev. Jess Smith and Hobo Chef's (Gravy's) Wrestlemania watch party menu - "served with a side of Adam Coleslaw - Baybay!":D The humorous bits in issue #3 are really something I hope they continue! Finally, near and dear to my heart, there is the art! Awesome drawings and collages are there to keep the eye moving from one article to the next but, also to remind you that this pamphlet is a work of love. For instance, Issue #2's centerfold of Marj's "Fight Like a Girl" piece features a simple slightly anime inspired 'poster' of the WWE's modern era of great women wrestlers. I was psyched see Bull Nakano on there! Hells yeah I think graphic art is the one thing that sets an actual publication apart from online content. This is from someone who had a zine all through college and is doing this blog (duh). As an artist, I would love to be able to put all of my wacky ass wrestling drawings up here but, the medium doesn't allow for it in a palpable way. So, kudos to them for doing it right! All that being said, I cannot say that I have the same views, opinions, and taste in wrestling. Wrestle Void does NOT match my viewing habits nor opinion of contemporary pro-wrestling. Nevertheless, I endorse and support their growth! This is a substantive small press publication that promotes the love of pro wrestling. These men and women want to get folks excited about wrestling. Not only that, they want to turn folks on to the awesomeness that is non WWE wrestling (sports entertainment?) whether it be independent or international. I gotta support that shit! I hope you do too! Note: I reviewed issues # 2-4. Looks like 50 copies total per printing/issue. Nice color stock paper cover with art, B&W interior. Costs a few bucks but, how much do you spend on coffee or beer a week? All of the folks contact and social media stuff is in the mag but, I'll say for FB and Twitter look 'em up with @wrestlevoid Thanks for reading!
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