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  1. These two have lots of history, having a great feud in CZW prior to this, and that chemistry is on show here, even though this is a short TV match. That history between the two is hinted at here, or implied without ever being made explicit on commentary, but helps the atmosphere for the match given we are in the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and many in the crowd probably knew it. This is a hard hitting sprint, and given their previous rivalry they go straight at it from the opening bell. Early on Hero strikes just the right balance in backing away from Kingston's onslaught but not being a full on cowardly heel. Both guys lay in their strikes and in their brawling on the floor. There's one great spot where Kingston is distracted by Sara Del Ray on the outside and Hero takes him out with a brutal looking baseball slide dropkick from his blindside. As we know now from his rise to prominence in AEW, Kingston is a really sympathetic seller, bringing real emotion into his matches (even a short TV match like this one) and that rallies the crowd to his side, when Hero's antics at this point often got him cheered despite being the heel. Unfortunately it ends in a rather lame DQ when Kingston wont break in the corner, but he does make up for it by hitting ref Todd Sinclair with a nasty snap punch which gets a pop from the ROH crowd who always used to get on poor old Todd's case. Even those this has a crappy ending, and is only 5/6 mins long, it's a really fun sprint where they pack a lot in. (***)
  2. More meth lab BattlARTS. This starts out with some somewhat conventional, good lock ups and grappling, altough quickly devolves into a gritty seedy fight. Watching these two fight over pin attempts and submissions is way more interesting than skinny juniors running through choreographed reversals. Hero looked good working over Ian with stiff strikes and Ian once again just pasted him with european uppercuts and crossfaces. There was some nasty as hell legwork with Hero wrapping tape around his leg to protect himself. The vocal selling was pretty outstanding too. Great post match with Ian having his knee popped back in place. The IWA MS crowd proves they are true connoisseurs by giving this a standing ovation.
  3. I remember being blown away by this match when I first watched it, but it was even better on a re-watch over a year later. Goddamn, what a match! The way the story in this progressed felt so natural - first it was a respectful grappling contest between two of the best technical wrestlers in PWG, then ZSJ starts targeting Hero's finger & Hero gets more and more pissed as the match goes on. Then it goes to the underdog formula with Hero bullying & beating the shit out of ZSJ, while ZSJ digs in deep to nail those brutal submissions, wacky pins & cool counters. This was an absolute clinic. ****3/4
  4. Technically, these are ROH matches but, all participants were actively working for NOAH. 2007 was a pretty solid time for Ring of Honor & NOAH's relationship. Heck, Morishima was the champ! Nigel McGuiness & Doug Williams vs Takeshi Morishima & Chris Hero (04/13/07): This was a very solid B-show tag match. The fellows went above and beyond here. Nice to see the Brit Boys team up too. Hero was fresh back from a NOAH tour and doing finisher tributes like Damien 666. This helped the Nigel vs Morishima feud gain some ground. Fun stuff! Takeshi Morishima vs Nigel McGuiness (07/16/07): This is from one of ROH's Tokyo shows. Or maybe this is only one in actual Tokyo. Nevertheless, people say this helped contribute to Gabe S.'s ousting as booker. Its neat in theory but, not in practice. Anyhow, this is some very stiff fighting between these two. Nigel is the better wrestler (legitimately & in story) but, Morishima is as big & tough as a brick house. Nice surprise to see the Tokyo crowd is behind Nigel. Overall, this was a neo Choshu type title fight. Clubbing, lariats, backdrops yet, with apron spots. I probably could have done without those moves but, I still dug the heck outta it. Nige gave 110%...in it to win it! Highly recommended title match.
  5. G. Badger

    The 2010's: wXw 2010

    OK so, I've finished Day #1 of wXw's 16 Carat Gold tournament for 2010. Its been a pretty good day or evening for wrestling. Unlike PWG's BOLA the guys pace themselves and the card actually builds to the main event. I'm going to put everything for day #1 in this post. Ares vs Matt Jackson: Fun 8 minute match with a bit of comedy from Ares. Munenori Sawa vs Paul Tracey: I'm not familiar with Tracey. Sawa looked good and Tracey was OK. 7 minutes and better than the first bout. Yuji Okabayashi vs Martin Stone: Best match so far. Very good to see grappling here in this setting. Simple but, effective stuff. Stone gets the upset with a DDT. Recommended first round match. Claudio Castignoli vs Johnny Kidd: Slower & more cerebral than any match thus far. Wrestled the traditional British style. 13 minutes of light hearted fun. Kagetora vs Nick Jackson vs Tommy End: Kagetora looks the best to me. Nick did his thing which was exciting but, Tommy was still young here...more like Tommy Beginning. I would have been OK with a Nick vs Kagetora match. 9:30 time and worst match so far. WXW DAY 1, DISC 2 Adam Polak vs Erick Stevens: Shazam! I haven't heard or seen of Erick Stevens in a while. I liked him as a really solid upper midcarder. Polak reminds me of Moby or perhaps Billy Corgan in a sparkly unitard...Yeah this was pretty fun. They're fighting on the outside. Stevens was charismatic as heck baby face here. Polak whom I've never seen before did well. Nice finishing stretch and probably the 2nd best match thus far in the night. Switchblade Conspiracy (Jon Moxley & Sami Callihan) vs Up In Smoke: Mox & Sami are tag champs. I'm liking this as I'm watching. It's clear they've got chemistry and experience working together. High energy but Switchblades slow the pace and take control. Hot tag happens but the Knifeboys retake the reigns. Sam's heel work is very good. The babies do all kinds of fun moves which is a shit ton of fun. Highly recommended match. 10 minutes of well worked exciting stuff. Best match of the night so far! Big Van Walter vs Daisuke Sekimoto: Psyched for this one. 15 minutes of hard clubbering action. I got into this one, I'll be honest. Daisuke, as jacked as he is, is dwarfed by the Big One. It was hard not to get behind Sekimoto when Walter is challenging the Japanese star to give him his best shot and the Austrian isn't even phased. Highly recommended match right here. Chris Hero vs Bad Bones: Ok, here we are. The closer to night one. Bad Bones brings an axe to the ring. The fans are pumped for Hero. I am as well but, Bad Bones cannot match him in the energy department. So, in my view, it was clear that Hero was coming out on top. This got pretty good in the end and I certainly want to see more of Metropolis' own and perhaps Bad Bones in a tag scenario in the nights to come. Pretty good wrestling and I'm sure a blast for the live crowd. I'll say I was disappointed by the main event but, I'm liking the potential for Night 2. Those should be some really good match-ups. Not only the tourney matches but, the matches with the losers as well. I think Night #2 will be better than the first.
  6. G. Badger

    The 2010's: wXw 2010

    Missed yesterday's post. I'm running out of suitable material for some of the odds and ends of days like Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Or I get distracted trying to find stuff for those days and miss the mark on my projects like today's wXw 2010 16 Carat tournament post. I came through today though! Before my laptop ran out of batteries Martin Stone vs Chris Hero (Day #2 tournament match): This was really evenly matched and probably one of the better tournament matches thus far. Starts out with both men trying for hammerlocks or wristlocks and then, the gates to stiff strike city are opened. Chops, elbows (from Hero, duh), and euro's & haymakers from Stone. Reversals & fake outs are the hallmark of 2010 wrestling and those were here but, not to the extent that they felt contrived. Stone is a fellow I'd like to see more of. 2010 Hero has been pretty darn good. This was 15 minutes of great stuff. I'd say around the 4 star range. Started watching Absolute Andy vs Steve Douglas No DQ & Falls Count Anywhere title match. My battery started dying but, this is what I've got written in my notebook: Starts up on the balcony, a trip through the restroom, up on some tables, Andy takes a tumble down the steps. This is a lot of fun so far! ECW or Attitude era brawl. Hope to watch the rest later and report it here
  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. I had pretty high expectations for this one & I am happy to report that it did live up to all of those! Fantastically structured match w/ Ohno being the classic big man bully that he is, beating the crap out of Bate & making fun of him while doing so. Bate was an amazing babyface fighting from underneath to go against that - LOVED his comebacks, in particular that punch flurry he busted out at one point. They built to the big German Suplex spot super well too, which helped build into the finish which was unreal. A motherfucking UFO sighting. What a way to end an absolute banger of a match. ****1/4
  9. This was amazing. Ohno has been delivering everytime he has got a chance to do so in this 2nd NXT run of his, and this was the best match of that run yet. It was 100% 2016 best wrestler in the world like performance from him. He beat the crap out of Gargano, just straight up bullied him with his beautiful elbows, boots, sentons, you name it. He also had a terrific dance partner with him - Johnny G gave a wonderful babyface performance, selling his ass off & busting out great, super well timed, big hope spots. Great, great stuff. ****1/2
  10. This was on par w/ the main event WarGames match, which was my MOTN. Enjoyed the crap out of it - a superb 5 minute sprint with Ohno showcasing that excellent, hard hitting offense of his & Lars working that monster shtick very well by not going down, showing that he can take a goddamn beating. Super happy to see Ohno get a Takeover spot & he absolutely delivered. Awesome match. ***3/4
  11. This was whatever. Opening was pretty boring with them doing uninteresting takes on basic holds, I've seen enough arm wingers for a lifetime, nothing Chris Hero does with them makes me want to see more. Commentary compared Tommy End to a K1 kickboxer, I don't remember ever seeing Peter Aerts do sound effect kicks. The sequence with End and Sabre Jr. avoiding each other's kicks was more eye-rolling than any of the recently debated flip GIFs and the one man Magic Killer was the type of embarrassing indy nonsense I'd expect out of Davey Richards. The Sabre in peril portion wasn't particularly interesting and all the striking quickly got repetitive. They kicked it up a notch for the finish with their puro cosplay strike exchanges but then the match just went on and on and on. I'm not really familiar with how Evolve matches are structured so it is not a good sign they couldn't get me to bite on any of the nearfalls. The idea of Tommy End, this great faux kickboxer doing Moonsaults could be explained as an Otsuka-tribute but it was much closer to a very bad Koji Kanemoto tribute. I don't really have anything nice to say about this match. It wasn't very interesting to me sorry (I did pop for the D'Lo Brown namedrop on commentary). Chris Hero has a nice Piledriver I guess. **
  12. https://youtu.be/ak1LX4XE2S4 Really hot interactions between all 6-men involved, a fantastic Steen FIP segment, a terrific KENTA hot tag, great psychology w/ Generico's knee + an awesome finishing stretch. Great match. ****1/4
  13. First of all, Hero's entrance attire = badass. That ski mask + the "Fighting Spirit" hoodie. Awesome. Then Reed Bentley came out to the old Kings of Wrestling theme - that was a nice heel touch. Hero goes straight for the kill, as he just wants to beat the shit out of Bentley - his beatdown of Bentley was tremendous. As a result Bentley knows he needs to do something to get back into the match so he picks up Hero's arm & starts working over it. He does a great job working that arm & Hero sells it fantastically. From then on Hero fights from underneath for quite a bit, he gets some absolutely tremendous comebacks in - his strikes came off as so deadly in this match. Ultimately Hero gets the advantage back & just destroys Bentley in the end w/ a brutal looking Stretch Plum. This was amazing. ****1/2
  14. This was a great way to kick off the show. Everybody looked good with Roderick Strong in particular being on FIRE. Truly great seeing him shine. ***1/2
  15. So ends the greatest run of Chris Hero's terrific career - only fitting that his final indy match was against the greatest opponent of his late 2013 - early 2017 run in Zack Sabre Jr. Loved the opening with ZSJ showing good fire & going right to work on Hero - that lead to Hero beating the crap out of him, and that's something I always enjoy watching. Hero beating up people = awesome. He was great as always here in doing that & ZSJ was tremendous at sneaking in his hope spots & comebacks. A classic farewell match to one of the all-time greats in independent wrestling. ****1/2
  16. Two big boys going at it. Hero is the best wrestler in the world, he had an insanely good 2016, so I was really looking forward to this - and it did disappoint. My first time seeing Keith Lee in singles action, and he looked good here. His offense looked damn good, loved those chops. The ropes breaking did not derail the match at all really, which was pretty awesome considering that it could've ruined the entire match - but Hero & Lee were out there to put on a banger, and they sure did. Very enjoyable. ***3/4