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Found 218 results

  1. Charlotte vs Natayla - NXT Takeover 5/29/14 Vacant NXT Women's Championship I can understand why this match is being pointed to as what the women's division can be if probably promoted, why it is being lauded as the greatest women's match in WWE canon and a turning point for women being taken seriously under WWE umberella. This is not just a match that is being trumpeted by WWE.com as a means to canonize (thanks Charles) this as a great/historic match; it finished #20 in Voices of Wrestling poll for 2014. WWE took the women seriously and in turn so did the pundits. I think that is the strength of this match more than anything than they did in the ring. This is the first women's match since Trish/Mickie/Lita that felt like it had a big fight feel. You had the Nature Boy going crazy at ringside cheering on his daughter and the stoic Hitman coaching up his niece. The announcers treated the match seriously and the crowd was fully invested in the outcome. I was at the Royal Rumble during what I thought was a really good Bellas vs Nattie/Paige tag match where you could hear a pin drop and no one gave one fuck about the match. The crowd is crucial in developing that atmosphere they wanted for this match. Honestly, this match felt like an exhibition to me. I think the cool story for a while was Nattie's submission ability against Charlotte's length. Yes, Nattie could grab the holds, but Charlotte was too damn long for Nattie to be able to hold her in those holds. Still, the match lacked quality transitions. I am a huge fan of chain wrestling that gets chippy and we get that with some nice slaps and then Charlotte smoking her with a spinning back chop. RIC FLAIR IS HYPED! He is all over the fallen Nattie, Wooing in her face after he she had that audacity earlier in the match. Then Nattie is just running the ropes and taking control. This is my next problem with the match. Women need to accentuate their positives and hide their weaknesses like any other wrestler. So just because men run the ropes, does not mean you should. Nattie with her little legs looks ridiculous when she is trying to run the ropes and Charlotte has to wait for her. This is something I noticed about the Charlotte/Banks match is that Charlotte is so athletic that she is showing up her fellow women. She can run the ropes and do convoluted sequences and look badass. Making Banks do those sequences or making Nattie try to keep up by running the ropes exposes both competitors. I like the figure-4 headlock a lot and Nattie trying to escape only to have Charlotte roll through showed how Charlotte's natural length thwarted Nattie. Then you get bullshit like Charlotte hitting a dropkick only for Nattie to hit a butterfly suplex. I liked the Charlotte Flair Flip into Nattie blasting her off the apron with a forearm. Nattie should focus on strikes, submissions and throws and forget about running. Charlotte whips her off the apron in a nasty bump. Then Charlotte misses the moonsault and Flair losing his shit. Flair should be her full-time manager, he adds a lot to this match. Nattie applies the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte reverses into the Figure-4. This was the worst figure-4 sequence I have ever seen and actively detracted from the match for me. Charlotte applied it and just because Nattie rolled through onto her back does not mean she is applying pressure. From there, they just start no-selling it and look confused. Then they trash talk and it is like somebody needs to start selling because this looks ridiculous. I am surprised they did not have Nattie properly reverse the pressure because that is actually a Sharpshooter (is just a standing reverse figure-4) and it would have been a counter that got a big pop. Anyways, Charlotte hits Bow Down to the Queen a way better name than Natural Selection to win the match. I feel like Paige/Emma had way more intensity and Charlotte/Banks had more interesting character work. Both of those matches felt like struggles. This match just felt like they were showcasing what women's wrestling could be rather than looking to win a match. ***1/2
  2. (originally posted at TSM and Cawthon's site) Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin November 17, 1996 - Survivor Series Madison Square Garden - New York City The Tale of the Tape Bret ?Hit Man? Hart Height: 6'0 Weight: 234 pounds Finisher: Sharpshooter From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada WWF Career Highlights (up to that point) : Three-time WWF Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion, two-time Tag Team Champion, 1993 King of the Ring winner, co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble "Stone Cold" Steve Austin Height: 6'2 Weight: 252 pounds Finisher: Stone Cold Stunner From: Victoria, Texas WWF Career Highlights (up to that point): 1996 King of the Ring winner The match begins with a staredown. Austin flips off Bret, leading to an exchange of blows. The match quickly shifts to wrestling, with Hart and Austin exchanging hammerlocks and working the arm. Austin switches gears and returns to brawling to take the advantage. Hart briefly manages to make a comeback, but Austin stops it with the Stun Gun. A slugfest ensues with Austin gaining the edge. Bret rallies back, hitting an inverted atomic drop and clothesline. Bret rolls up Austin from behind for a two count. Bret follows up with a Side Russian Legsweep for another two count. Bret goes for a bulldog, but Austin counters, sending Bret chest-first into the turnbuckles. Austin sets Bret on the top rope and attempts a superplex, but Bret counters by driving Austin face-first to the canvas. Bret hits the elbow from the top rope, instead of the middle rope like usual, for a two count. Bret attempts a pendulum backbreaker, but Austin counters by raking the eyes. Austin sends Bret to the outside, then rams him into the ring post. They brawl into the crowd, with Bret gaining the upper hand. Austin regains control by slingshotting Bret onto the announcer?s table. Austin climbs onto the table and pounds away relentlessly. Austin slams Bret onto the table, then drops an elbow from the ring apron. The elbow from the apron works well here, since Bret?s upper body had been weakened earlier by Austin?s Stun Gun and the bulldog counter. Austin suplexes Bret back into the ring, then hits an elbow from the second rope for a two count. Austin continues to work on Bret?s upper body and locks on an abdominal stretch. Austin uses the ropes for leverage, but referee Tim White catches it and forces a break. Austin, displaying his disdain for authority, shoves White. White responds by threatening to disqualify Austin. Austin backs off, which would normally be uncharacteristic. However, it works in this case, because it shows that Austin wants to beat Bret. Another slugfest ensues, but this time, Bret comes out on top. Bret attempts an Irish Whip, which Austin counters, but Bret counters again and nails Austin with his own Stun Gun. Bret follows up with an Oklahoma side roll for two. Bret hits a nice piledriver for another two count. Bret hits a backbreaker and goes to the top rope, but Austin stops him. Remembering what happened earlier, Austin weakens Bret with a series of chops. Austin climbs to the middle rope for a superplex, but changes his mind. Austin releases the suplex position, then further weakens Bret by pounding on him. Austin climbs to the top-rope and hits a superplex. With both men laying on the mat, Bret cradles Austin for two. Both men get back up and Bret walks up to Austin from behind. Austin reaches back and hits the Stone Cold Stunner out of nowhere. Bret?s close to the ropes, so Austin pulls him into the middle of the ring and hooks the leg...for a two count. The few seconds Austin took to pull Bret away from the ropes may have cost him the victory. However, Austin?s rationale in pulling Bret away made sense. Austin felt the Stunner would be enough, but he realized that Bret was too close to the ropes, so he pulled him away. However, Austin didn?t count on Bret kicking out, because no one had ever kicked out of the Stunner before. Austin pounds Bret and covers several more times, gaining a few near-falls. Frustrated at his inability to pin Bret, Austin switches to a new strategy: make Bret submit. Austin locks on a Texas Cloverleaf, but Bret manages to get to the ropes. Austin whips Bret into the corner, but Bret?s legs give out, sending him under the bottom rope and back-first into the post. Austin pulls him towards the middle of the ring and scores another two count. Bret fights out of a bow-and-arrow and goes for the Sharpshooter, but Austin gets to the ropes before the hold is locked on. Bret catches Austin in a sleeper, but Austin tries to counter by backing Bret into the corner. That doesn?t work, so Austin breaks the sleeper by countering into a jawbreaker. Austin gets to his feet first and sneaks behind Bret, measuring him up for an apparent submission hold. Austin pulls out the one hold he hasn?t tried yet...the hold that he used as his finisher upon entering the WWF, the Million Dollar Dream. Unfortunately for Austin, Bret?s been in a similar situation before. Bret walks to the corner, kicks off the turnbuckles, and lands on top of Austin for the pinfall victory. Austin made the same mistake that Roddy Piper did at WrestleMania VIII...he didn?t let go of the hold. Austin exits the ring and glares at Bret as if to say "You beat me this time, but it won?t happen again." Final Thoughts In my opinion, this is one of the best WWF matches of all-time. There weren't any blown spots, the crowd was into it, the psychology was sound, and it had a clean finish. Austin's persistence in beating Bret was played off pretty well, with Jim Ross noting that Austin's refusal to release the Million Dollar Dream cost him the victory. An absolutely tremendous match which I highly recommend to any wrestling fan.
  3. How are you folks doing? Staying cool and safe hopefully. What a heck of a summer, right? Sorry for taking so long to get the next installment of the blog out. The heat has really zapped my energy by the end of the day & I'm in no mood to turn my TV on to watch old wrestling DVDs. But, I have to press on don't I? Hot weather and pandemic anxieties be damned! In all seriousness, that is pretty much the case for my snail like pace. My goal for the better part of the year was to get a post every week but, its been a rough summer. For the last 2 weeks of work, we have been trying to catch up from what I'll call a total order system collapse. I'm not an expert but, everything ground to a halt as far as taking and shipping orders at work. I was able to get a lot done once we were up and running again but, it was a mighty job of catch-up we had to play. Top that off with the heat and the madness of living in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic...yeah I was lucky enough to enjoy bits of Impact, ROH and Smackdown last week. Making time to actively watch and critique wrestling wasn't happening. Nevertheless, when I saw my opportunity this weekend, I took it. Let's get on with the Spotlight on Tiger Mask! vs Ultraman (06/18/82): Ultraman has a neat outfit similar to Hijo del Santo. The character is based off a live action TV show akin to Power Rangers but, is from the 60's originally. I'm guessing NJ saw how popular the Tiger Mask cross-over was that they wanted to try their hand at a long time character like Ultraman. Welp...you know how that worked out...This was an OK match that could have been more if it weren't for some stumbles and bumbles. We get the debut of the Space Flying Tiger Drop (cartwheel plancha) but, this really could have been a clipped match. Tiger Mask/Tatsumi Fujinami vs Ultraman/El Polaco (06/25/82): Hey, hey! I'm always happy to see a full tag match on this set. One of the reasons I bought this was to see more Fujinami along with other lesser seen talent. This was pretty much just that as the Japanese team squashed the Luchadores. I'm surprised they continued the Ultraman stuff as he kinda got buried here. Nonetheless, we have... vs Ultraman (07/06/82): Despite the first two matches, this was pretty good. Only one little bumble when they try to add too many moves onto a sequence. Seriously, this is the TM vs Ultraman bout to watch. It doesn't get to crazy and has a definitive ending. Good match. vs Dynamite Kid (07/23/82): NJPW probably wanted to get the failed Ultraman feud out of everyone's memory so, they go for a safe bet and start up the bulk of Tiger vs Dynamite storyline for the summer of '82. This chapter closes with the legendary WWF MSG match. But, I'm getting ahead of myself! We're at the beginning here. On the previous occasions, Dynamite has been unable to get the better of the super hero. He's tried traditional rough housing, mat wrestling, and even quick attacks. Nothing has worked though. Here he goes full speed ahead showing that he can keep up with Tiger. There's not a great structure to the match but, the theme is that they are peers. I thought it worked well. Bret Hart's involvement at the end was fun and set up the Space Flying Tiger. Now here we have one of the big faux pas in the series. DK apparently no sells the dive and tombstones Tiger on the floor. To play devil's advocate, the crash & burn of the landing is obscured by the hard camera angle. The floor shot might have shown that Dynamite stepped aside and let Bret take the brunt of the dive. People talk about holy grail wrestling footage...I'd like to see the floor cam angle of that dive! Nonetheless, it was a great match and in terms of intensity and athleticism, this is hard to beat in 1982. Plus, we get an uncommon type of finish. vs Bret Hart (07/30/82): A few days later we see Bret w/ Dynamite at his side. The Canadian hero-to-be tries his hand at pinning the masked man. Let me tell you, this is the superior Bret vs Tiger match. In fact, it may very well be better than the above DK bout. We see a nice face/heel dynamic, Bret looked more confident and worked a smart match where Tiger used is fancy moves as hope spots/comebacks and NOT just to show off. Bret wasn't looking to work as equals he was looking to use his size, smarts, and ability to dominate TM. The story here and in most Bret/DK matches vs Tiger is to shows that they may be better, faster, stronger than TM but, they were hot heads and couldn't resist taking shortcuts. These shortcuts would then backfire. Tiger knew his opponents better and that knowledge is a weapon more dangerous than any spin kick or dive. If he could endure then, Tiger Mask could find a way to win. The finish played really well to this narrative and we get a great overall match. A different style than many of the others but, you could see that Tiger as a character and worker could adapt. Plus, it was a glimpse at what a great storyteller Bret would be. Again, great match! Tiger Mask/Tatsumi Fujinami/Kengo Kimura vs Dynamite Kid/Bret Hart/Greg Valentine (07/31/82): Oh man, this was shown in full & is a 2/3 falls match! Tiger isn't even in that much so, I'm surprised this was shown in full. I'm not complaining though. The North American team focused on beating up Kengo. He was really great at selling this beat down. I mean I've rarely seen anyone try to scramble or dive to make a tag like Kengo did in this match. One criticism I've seen is that Valentine looked like he didn't belong here or that he was bringing some corny WWF stuff to the match. I disagree. He was bringing Heavyweight action to a Junior Heavy match. In fact, I wish this was fought a little slower like Greg than the Red Bull & vodka crazy pace they were running. Still, the story was there with Kengo being the man in peril, the wrestling was on point, and the finish was bananas in the best way. So much fun, a very good bout and a very nice way to end this post! We got off to a rocky start with Ultraman but, settled in with Tiger Mask fighting some of Stampede's finest. That six man match was just bonus. Those three matches are really worth taking an hour and watching. Thanks for reading!
  4. The first installment was really good stuff that quite honestly surprised me. My memory of Tiger Mask was all of the flips and spots with Dynamite Kid so, seeing him in different settings was refreshing. But, we start off with 2 Tiger vs Dynamite matches so, let's see how they hold up. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/01/82): The Brit focuses on taking out TM's leg after he apparently took an odd bump. Quick thinking! On top of that he drives the masked head of Sayama into the mat with some devastating moves. Very good match, ***1/2 area. vs. Dynamite Kid (01/28/82): The rematch of sorts. Kid really wants to get his mitts on the feline fan favorite. Lotsa clubbing blows, tosses to the floor, and chokes for good measure. Tiger wants to prove he's no fluke and out wrestles the lad with armbars, leg locks, and headscissors. Of course, Dynamite gets his chance and delivers a cervical vertebra crushing piledriver that looks to have TM beat. An extra exciting finishing segment caps off a great match. vs. Bret Hart (05/02/82): An interesting match as Bret is the most vanilla wrestler Tiger has faced thus far. But, in that regard, it makes everything TM does that more meaningful. Bret is so much larger and is working heel so, its a little bit different from what you might hope for. But, it worked because he really looked like his size and rough neck style was the answer for Tiger Mask. Good match vs. Baby Face (02/09/82): Now we get to see a more out an out cheating heel in Baby Face. Those fish hooks were great! A very mat based match with explosive rope running will get me every time. Here is no different! If this would have been longer, I would say it was a really great bout. But, as it is, I've gotta say its a peg down at Very Good. There's no shame in that though. I had a blast! vs. Blackman (03/12/82): Joined in Progress but, no matter...this is great! Excellent chemistry and I have to believe they have fought each other previously. I thought that this was going to be glorified squash filler or maybe clipped since Blackman is unknown to me and such an anachronistic gimmick. (Was it part of the TM Manga?) Glad I was wrong though! He really looked like TM's equal in terms of speed and agility. Only Gran Hamada is up there so, that's good company. Anyhow, check this one out! Its got an awesome organic finish that really seals the deal on a great bout. Tiger Mask/Kantaro Hoshino vs. Blackman/Karloff Lagarde (03/19/82): If you're interested in a high energy tag match where everyone is in constant motion, look no further! This is like the '83 version of a mid 2010's PWG tag match - double teams, comedy spots, and just go-go throughout. Just a bunch of fireworks (just in time for the Fourth of July too!). A heat segment and a more emphatic victory probably would have put this into great match territory. It's exciting stuff nonetheless! This set has really been full of surprises. I suppose that I really forgot that meat and potatoes grappling was the backbone of puro even for the burgeoning Junior division. I'm not well versed in 80's lucha as I've only dipped my toe in here and there but, I think the same focus on grappling was true there as well. Or maybe I've just been away from the early 80's wrestling tapes too long!? I forgot how much I really dig the style here. I also think there's a myth that only TM and Dynamite were capable of amazing things OR that Tiger's like a proto late stage Manami Toyota - all action but, little thought. Thus far, I've seen just the opposite. Just pleasantly surprised already. Thanks for reading! Please stay safe folks!
  5. Bret takes an early modified version of his sternum bump off a catapult, which is pretty cool. I like Bret more as a heel. The way he carries himself lends itself to a stalling heel persona in a big way. And the way he delivers his offense with that signature arrogance screams heel to me. Dynamite sells the FIP better than I expected and makes a good comeback to get the crowd rolling. One thing I like about 80s Bret matches is that a roll-up, any roll-up late, is a big threat to end the match. Bret and Anvil 2 on 1 Dynamite post-match until Bulldog makes the save in very Bulldog fashion. Good match that seems like a test for both as singles guys.
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