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Found 195 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. Sorry for the delay! No real reason other than I've been watching WCW stuff from the Rise and Fall of WCW, Brian Pillman DVDs and a couple YouTube videos. This is my final Full Impact Pro DVD review and its been a really fun trip. Let's get on to it and then I'll have some closing remarks. Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black (#1 Contender's Match) : This started with chain wrestling but this wasn't really their forte. It wasn't bad but it was uninspired. And ya know that's what the match felt like. NOW I'm nitpicking because they could have killed it. The final third proves my point. This part was great stuff. But given that this wasn't at the top part of the card, it did its job. Very good match though. MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match): This was a good match but ended when it started to pick up. Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match): This should be the main event so no idea why it's here on the card. Its for the damn main title with Mr. FIP Roderick Strong and the foreign heel. I'll be honest, this was my main event as I watched it last. OK that aside, this was a very well built match. The level of intensity & complexity escalated as it went on, selling along the way. Just about hold or throw was fought over. Their struggle felt real. Things weren't polished or rehearsed. I've been watching NWA/WCW from 87-90 and this felt a lot like that. There were some shenanigans but again that harkens back to that 80's stuff as well. I will call this a classic. Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe (FIP Tag Team Title Match) : This was a rematch from the best match of Unstoppable 2007...one of the best at least. Its been so long! But not only that but its been awhile since we've seen Jay & Mark together. And man! Its a really good one. This is more of a traditional tag match yet full of action when it counts. Again more shenanigans though. Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match): No clue why this was the main event. Yeah they build it all up the whole show. But neither guy is main event material...I had this inkling ahead of time. It was a nice story but not top billing. So that's it! Now it went out with a bang since I watched Shiozaki vs Strong last and not Rinauro vs Jones...sorry dudes. Anyhow parting remarks - Watching this has been fun and is full of lost classics if you're a fan of ROH style. Seriously there are a few shows that are diamond in the rough ROH B-shows...especially 2007 & 2008. Stuff earlier than that is worth checking out but if you just want to get the most bang for your buck..get the 2007 & '08 shows that interest you. But also get Strong vs Evans...I think that might still be my top match of FIP. Read the different show reviews since I probably won't do some matches or shows justice now. Plainly, if you are a Roderick Strong fan then you would be a fool not to get a few of these DVDs. Strong vs Evans, New Year's Classic 2007, this show Fallout 2008, and Dangerous Intentions 2008 are no brainers. Heatstroke 2007 Night 1 also...stay safe folks! THANK YOU! I really appreciate you reading and keep watching old wrestling
  3. Let's see what is going on with ROH from 6 years ago. AFTERSHOCK TOUR Saturday, July 11th, 2015 Eisenhower Community Center - Hopkins, MN. A couple matches have audio syncing issues. Mark Briscoe vs Danny Duggan - Skipped War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser - An all action tag match with 4 big burly dudes. I thought this was a great start to the show (for me at least). ACH vs Dalton Castle - Wow! These guys emptied their tanks! This match oozed athleticism and charisma. I wish ACH would have been given a belt at some point as he really put on some great work rate heavy matches. I guess they figured he'd do it in the undercard so, why bother? That's a shame. ROH could use someone like him nowadays as an Ace IMO. Anyhow, they gave these two the time and this was a great match and a possible show stealer. Michael Elgin vs Matt Taven - This looked good on paper but meanders. This is the worse tendency of Elgin and late 2010's wrestlers - overly complex spot matches that have no story or drama. I can't blame them based on where they're at on the card and Elgin was on the way out I think. (Audio Problems) Michael Bennett w/Maria Kanellis vs Moose vs Cheeseburger vs Will Ferrara -Skipped Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish - This had room to be a classic encounter. It was a battle of who's knee would be broken first. Very dramatic with solid selling. Didn't reach the heights it could have but, another great one for this show. Jay Briscoe & O.D.B vs Jay Lethal & Truth Martini - I'm going to overrate this but, I thought this was another great match. It was all about ODB and I'm nostalgic for her and her run in TNA back in 2007-09 or whenever. This was more a TNA type match instead of an ROH one. However, everything was timed and built perfectly for what they were going for. The high end Lethal vs Briscoe teases were fantastic as well. It accomplished a lot without going for broke. AJ Styles vs Roderick Strong vs Kyle O’Reilly - A sort of dream match as we get 3 eras of top ROH talent in one ring. In 2015, we get a past, present and future meeting of ROH (but, of course everyone bounced to WWE in a year or so). You get that feeling here with these three top talents. It's a damn shame ROH lost not only the Undisputed Era guys but the AEW/Bullet Club guys later. All that aside, ROH in 2015 is fantastic. This is a classic match that pits these wrestling machines up against one another. It didn't break any new ground but frankly I don't want them to. I wanted an intense contest that was engaging and dramatic. They delivered and exceeded those expectations. (Audio Problems) This was a fantastic show that delivers where you want it to. The little audio issues aren't a big deal because I tend to watch stuff with the volume low or off. If that's a deal breaker for you then that's something to take into account. 2015 has been really good for ROH. Thanks for reading folks!
  4. This is the second to last Full Impact Pro DVD that I have. Let's see if its a good one. The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions - started to watch thinking the Bri team might be someone who is well known now. No one I've heard of...skipped Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - This was OK. Not good or bad. They both had really good moments and they kept it simple. Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match) - Early in my FIP journey I would make sure to see Sal's matches because he was one of the more talented wrestlers. He still is but, on a packed card like this, I'm going to move on. Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne - Not interested Austin Aries vs Jason Blade - Here we go former ROH heavyweight champion and tag team champion vs current FIP tag champ Jason Blade. Mr. Blade (if that is his real name!) is a pretty good Indy wrestler and works well with Kenny King. Obviously, King is the talent as he has been a ROH mainstay for 10+ years with multiple belts...Blade knows how to work with who he's in the ring with. And for that we get a pretty good 2008 Austin Aries match. That's nothing to sneeze at. Dark City Fight Club vs Black Market (Weapons Match) - I skipped their match on the previous show but tuned in for this one. This was fun but mindless brawling. I say mindless because there was not an ebb or flow in this match. No give and take and no story beyond the angle at the end. And even then, it made NO sense. Spoiler - The Dark City guys handcuffed one of the Black Market guys but instead of a 2 on 1 beatdown, the lone Black Market dude just whooped two guys asses. So, why the hell did they handcuff the guy??? It made no sense and made Dark City look weak. Roderick Strong vs Kenny King - Here we go. Kenny King gets to show what he's got vs the MAN of FIP. There's no YRR at ringside. This is the one on one bout you want to see with Roddy & Kenny having a great singles match. Its place on the card is commensurate with the quality of the contest. A great match. Tyler Black vs Necro Butcher - The fans were digging this but, I thought this was a waste of Tyler Black on this card. I just don't think doing Necro's match is the best way to use him. I think he could have tried to do his athletic match with Necro taking it to the extreme (as they used to say). Plus this went on too long as if they needed to buy time for Stevens or Shiozaki to make it to the show. It was OK. Erick Stevens vs Go Shiozaki (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match) - Stevens has officially come into his own in FIP. This was a world title classic that sits in the top tier stuff that the company has produced (and I've seen). They put it all out there. It felt like a true competition with both guys fighting from their knees at times. It would have fit in with ROH or NOAH without a doubt. But, I think it was best here in FIP...especially the finish and the after-match segment. Yeah, this is worth watching. All in all this was a great show capped off by the World Title fight. This is still on Highspots for $5 so this is a no brainer pickup especially if you nostalgic for this era of wrestling. Thanks for reading!
  5. Bryan Danielson defends the ROH World Title Right now, this is in my all time Top 50. One of the most overlooked matches in US indie wrestling history. Heel masterclass by Bryan and a focused Homicide performance, which makes his character moment at the end more rewarding. Excellent dueling arm work and consistent selling from both. Great continuity with the past when it comes to previous Bryan title defenses and the finish has 1/20/97 vibes to it. ****5/8
  6. Man, its been awhile since watching Full Impact Pro so I've cut down the # of matches I watched and my plan to post this on Fridays. It don't matter now...here's the teaser trailer: Davey Richards vs Tyler Black - Alright these guys are not playing around. Davey kinda starts with his goofy heel over- selling but soon he and Black hit their stride. They just started doing their indy-workrate thing and that's what everyone wants to see. I skipped most of the show because I've been putting off the FIP stuff. But there's no easier way to get back into it than seeing these guys do their thing. Very good match that was closing in on greatness. Although this show is the third to last, FIP's style has caught up to ROH circa 2008. Kenny King & Jason Blade vs Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - The YRR (still going strong) attack Tyler after the match and Briscoe and Aries come to make the save. We get a great impromptu tag title match. Tons of action and spots. This was a step up in action and excitement from the previous match. Great match Roderick Strong vs Erick Stevens (Last Man Standing) - A wild brutal brawl for the FIP title. This was absolutely vicious. Stevens has stepped up his game big time and Roderick was glad to match his intensity. I'll still put this behind Roddy vs Jack but this may be my #2 FIP singles match. Probably the best hardcore FIP bout I've seen. Only watched 3 bouts but man, this was 1 hour's worth of exciting wrestling. Definitely worth the $5 from Highspots and probably better than any wrestling on TV today. Thanks for reading!
  7. This is a banner match for the FWA, which brings with it lots of history between the two. This includes them first clashing in the UK all the way back in 1999 for the ill-fated UWA promotion (might have to go back and revisit that one day), to Daniels winning the FWA British Title by pinning Doug and taking it ‘hostage’ to America for 6 months to finally Doug winning the title back in Ring of Honor at Night of Champions (a hell of a match). A few months before this Daniels had pinned Jody Fleisch to win the FWA vs. ROH series and thus justify this shot at the title. The first thing to say about this match is that the two have fantastic chemistry. Daniels stalls to begin the match, knowing that Doug got the best of him last time out, and Williams dominates the early goings. Daniels is used to being able to ‘out-wrestle’ his opponents, but Doug is the superior ‘technical wrestler’ and Daniels only answer early on is to try to break up his opponents momentum by going outside. What I loved was Doug steaming out with a tope to stop Daniels from stalling further on the outside, meaning there was a reason for the normally grounded Williams to fly to the outside. But while he is finding himself outmatched technically, you can tell how smart a competitor Daniels is, and he continues to use tricks where he can to rile Doug up, and get him to make a mistake, and that’s where Daniels is able to capitalise when Doug lets his anger get the better of him. Daniels is then able to seize his opening to hit the Angels Wings for the first fall (FWA Title matches at this time were 2/3 falls). Recognising his title is now in serious jeopardy, Williams gets a brief flurry at the beginning of the second fall and a couple of flash pins, but Daniels is great at cutting off any momentum, just as it is building. Daniels strategy is then to try and wear Doug down by going for regular pinfalls, but tries one too many, as Williams is able to catch a reversal on a sunset flip to tie things up at 1-1. I liked that Daniels sold this anger at allowing himself to be caught and pinned when he was in control, and that it manifests itself in him not allowing the rest period between falls and taking it to the outside, where he will have the edge if this comes down to a brawl. But now the match has turned from a tactical encounter to a fight and its back and forth. I liked how with the tables turned, and Doug as the aggressor that it was Daniels who was looking to hang in and grab flash pinfall attempts where he can. There’s a great near fall where you think Doug has the match won off a bomb scare knee drop, but while Daniels survives that he is then vulnerable to the chaos theory and the winning fall goes to Williams to retain the title. This is not as good as some of their previous clashes, in particular their more high-profile match in ROH, however that is more of a sign of just how good their other matches between them are! These two always mesh so well together, and it’s nice after Williams won the belt in America to see him definitively beat Daniels in a title match in the UK as well. I really liked the stories they told through the 2/3 fall structure in this one. (*** ½)
  8. ROH World Title Match: Austin Aries (c) vs. James Gibson I’m not a fan of the finish. It’s not inconceivable, but something about Aries collapsing into Gibson while in a Trailer Hitch, fluking his way to the win rubs me the wrong way. But still, these two are so good together. Gibson’s back is near enough fully healed so he’s more of a threat this time around so Aries attacks his arm to create that weakness himself and the match goes on from there. I thought Gibson’s selling was excellent as well. His defensive body language is something that really stood out to me. As soon as Aries trapped his arm in the barricade, he went into defense mode and I love that. Aries crafted some excellent counters out of Gibson's signature moves due to the weak arm in return. This was yet another awesome match between the two. I’d put the Stalemate match ahead of this though. Just on a gut feeling. ****
  9. ROH World Title Match: Austin Aries (c) vs. James Gibson Austin Aries is a gorgeous wrestler to watch. Aries is so slick - he embodies the word - with his offence. It’s like poetry in motion in the way he seemingly glides across the ring. And he does it in a way that helps his wrestling look more solid and grounded than a lot of people who are aesthetically pleasing but it's more of a dance and it perhaps works against them. A wonderful wrestler. I sometimes think that I’m way too high on him but then I’ll watch him in a match, like this one, and think “no, he’s just as incredible as I think”. Enough of the Austin Aries gushing as the match was superb. Not flawless, but I can see what the attempt was. James Gibson, fresh off coming in from WWE, is a hot little indie act and he’s been on a hot streak in Ring Of Honor in particular. So he had a ton of momentum coming in against Aries as a challenger but unfortunately, he’s carrying an injury inflicted by Generation Next member, Roderick Strong at the previous show and Aries knows this. So naturally, Aries zeros in on Gibson's back with a series of strikes and moves that target the area. Aries doesn’t even have to change his arsenal too much - hitting a wicked heat seeking missile bottom rope tope to Gison while he was turned towards the crowd. Gibson to his credit sells his back and makes Aries look great in the process, but he still is fighting, returning with some small work on the neck as well. This was looking to be a really excellent competitive match but, like I said, the match isn’t flawless. I disliked how the rainusters were used towards the end. It’s a signature move for Aries and they trade back and forth - while still being locked in together, retaining some semblance of a struggle - eore ending the match with a double pin. It was a very peculiar way to end a match. Scott Sinclair was sneaking though. He raised Gibson's hand, saying he was the winner, first, which the fans went nuts for, and waited to raise Aries hand as well. So I wonder if this was Gabe trying to gauge how the fans would react for a Gibson title win. They like it, Gabe. ****
  10. Sara Del Ray vs Lacey vs Daizee Haze - It was a good triple threat match with nice action. It started out slow but improved as it went on. It was just nice to see women's wrestling especially in this setting. Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (NO DQ Match) - Good but not great. I didn't think that Grand Akuma got a lot of offense in. It was a fun match nonetheless. Erick Stevens vs Jack Evans - Very good to almost even a great match. Lots of great moves from Jack. Erick provided a great base for Jack's aerial moves. Not everything hit 100% perfection but it all still looked good and worked great in the setting. This was where the show got started in my opinion. BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe - This was a great match. Lots of fast paced action with good moves. BB Hulk was all over the place and you couldn't even tell it was a small show since he was doing so much. Yamato was still coming into his own but was hitting as hard as Roderick. Yamato had some good moves with excellent German suplex on Roderick. Briscoe and Roderick on offense was really good stuff and everyone really brought their A game. Probably could've been a classic but the structure of the match was more American than the typical ROH/Dragon Gate matches. Black Market and The Heartbreak Express vs The YRR - Good fun brawl the night before the Cage of Pain 2 match. I don't think anyone was going all out considering they had that on the horizon. There were a couple good moves but I would not have made this the main event. However, the booking makes sense in the context of the story lines. In summary, a good DVD. It wasn't blow away awesome as I would have hoped. You can tell from the reviews and the number of matches that I skipped that I wanted to get to the meat of the show. Even then only 2 of those matches were truly memorable. The Erick vs Jack and the Tag match were worth the $5 on Highspots especially if you're looking to get a taste of this era of ROH without hunting for DVDs. Thanks for reading!! Stay safe P.s. I used a different pic for the entry since they advertise the DVD as Dragon Gate vs FIP...change things up a bit.
  11. Man, what is going on with Ring of Honor again? They just seemed to go right back to where they were before the pandemic and the Pure Title Tourney. The problem as I see it is: They have too many wrestlers for the amount of TV time and PPVs they do. They've got one hour of TV to fill and a PPV every three months right now. As I've followed it some guys are making an appearance once a month on TV and frankly this isn't just the low end guys like LSG, The Bouncers, and others. I don't know the last time I saw Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, Mike Bennett, Vincent and it goes on and on. These are supposed to be their upper card guys. Same with Brody King who other than a little scuffle the other week has been off TV for sometime. I mean he was the # 1 contender at Final Battle and he's just made like a couple appearances at most in the past two months!? ROH doesn't put enough content out right now/past year to be having as many lower end guys in singles matches as they do. Does Dak Draper, Tony Deppen, Eli Isom need a singles match on TV where they feature 2-3 matches a week? I don't think so when it means we don't see guys from their "big" story lines once or twice a month. I say this because it is really hard for me, a weekly viewer, to even remember or care about the "big" matches on the PPV. I'm too busy watching fun throw-away matches that don't amount to anything again - just like pre-pandemic ROH was doing. Case in point is Dak Draper beating Fred Yehi in a Pure Rules match. Firstly, Pure Matches have nothing going for them anymore because they are not wrestled any differently than regular matches. OK there's the closed fist thing but, there's no real danger there because no one has been DQ'd for doing it twice yet. That being said Fred Yehi, who was THE standout of new comer to ROH during the Pure Tournament, is a fantastic talent for ROH to get behind. Dak Draper is a recent (somewhat) winner of the Top Prospect Tourney which isn't saying a lot but, he's in good shape and he's tall. Why is this guy beating a Yehi, who beat vet Silas Young and took Tracy Williams to the limit? It doesn't make any sense if you've been watching the show. And I think ROH or Sinclair think that people don't watch the show regularly enough to actually follow/remember/care about such things. Why show this match instead of Yehi vs someone from Los Ingobernales? That would at least be Foundation vs LFI or at least Pure Rules vs LFI's rudo-ism... Where ROH hit a type of gold was limiting their roster and having a tournament during the Pure Title stuff. A tourney has built in drama because there are stakes to every match and we see the results of those wins and losses. I got used to them throwing in non-tourney matches like a 6 man or perhaps a segment (like with Taven & Vincent) to keep things fresh or different with the wrestling style. Unfortunately, ROH did exactly what I was afraid of when they started showing promos of Rush & crew. It became the same old crap and the big reveal of The Foundation group has turned to be a whole-lotta-nothing like most of their factions the past couple years. That is unless you actually want to feature them on your one hour of TV a week. So now we have all of these little story lines that are not very interesting and the ones that actually have the potential to be good are so few and far between I can hardly remember what happened last. And from what it seems to me, it is because ROH wants to get their money's worth by showing every wrestler they have for a singles match or two over the course of 2-3 months...regardless if that wrestler is any good, anyone wants to see that person, or there is a story involved for a PPV. Now, if they are doing this due to COVID-19 safety then, that's OK. But they have got to be a little bit better in how they plan things in terms of story. If anything pepper in a little footage or a match every week from their top 2 stories per week. I've admitted that ROH is pretty much running midcard type matches and their TV show is like WCW Worldwide but, honestly it isn't even fun anymore. The draw of watching stuff like that is that every once in awhile something very good or great will be shown. A match or an interview that will suck you into the world their presenting. The Pure Tourney had moments like this, matches after the tourney like had this like Dalton vs Brody King and Woods vs Castle...perhaps Dragon Lee vs Rey Horus (IIRC). So they have it in them to do this...and I think if they ran more tag matches (2v2 or 3v3) then they could still use their roster BUT keep people fresh in the fans minds. And this would keep matches exciting and cover-up any weak spots for newer guys...and you could make a tournament out of it! So, the booking is the story line (I'm no genius). Tag teams to fight for Dragon Lee & Kenny King's belts are: Woods & Young (they seem to want to put them back together...but we'll have to wait a month to see if that to happens), Moses & Kaun, The Bouncers, anyone from The Foundation (Rhett and Lethal?), Rey Horus & Flamita, Bennett & Taven, Vincent and Bateman, Dalton Castle and Tony Deppen (why not?). Boom...there you go eight teams. Two matches every week and their using two more guys/week so they're getting their value there. Plus they could have the LFI, Foundation, or other stable mates come out a ring side if they need more folks. That's a helluva lot more interesting than random mis-matches. Anyhow, here's what ROH's 19th Anniversary line-up looks like thus far: Dalton Castle vs Josh Woods - OK this makes sense. Its their 3rd match and they mesh well with one another. Danhausen vs Brian Johnson vs LSG vs Eli Isom - Freebie match in hour 1 of 4. Maybe don't do 4 hours... Mark Briscoe vs Flip Gordon - I could do without Flip anymore. This was some convoluted set-up where EC3 (remember him?) paid off Flip to interfere in a Briscoes match. Who cares... Gresham vs Dak Draper (Pure Title) - See above...no reason Draper gets a title shot for beating Fred Yehi. This looks like a B.S. match no fan asked for. The Foundation as a gimmick would be fine with two like-minded athletes fighting for the belt. God-forbid we get a potentially great pure match with Yehi & Gresham (what I wanted for the Pure Tourney Finals). Titus & Williams vs Lee & Kenny King (Tag Titles) - What should be a TV match to build the feud has been fast tracked to a PPV match. This is EXACTLY the problem I have...there has been no build for this particular match. Which is fine for TV but asinine for PPV. Williams vs Lee (TV title) - That's right folks! Lee and Hot Sauce face off again or for the first time (?) for the TV title. Here's an idea...maybe only give 1 person a title at a time ROH. They are giving belts to people in order to justify matches on their PPV but are afraid to give them to anyone different. Again fine for TV but asinine for PPV. Also, they probably can retire the TV title. Vincent vs Matt Taven - Fight without Honor match. They call it an unsanctioned match and will take place off site in Boston. Its supposed to be the blow-off to the feud but, we've hardly seen enough of this lately to anyone to be invested in this. Probably still will be fun though. Shane Taylor Promotions vs Mexisquad (6 man titles) - Isn't this the match where STPromotions won the belts? Did they even defend them once? Is ROH just going to give them back to Mexisquad here? When everyone has won the championship then, it kind of makes the championship meaningless. Can probably retire this title as well. Jay Briscoe vs EC3 - Final Battle Rain check match...then I'm guessing EC3 will be gone. He seemed to come back just for this PPV...I'm guessing that was in his contract. Who knows...he's on the ROH roster page. Rush vs Jay Lethal (ROH World Title) - They might give it back to Lethal since it seems he's the only person who can carry it and the company right now. If they don't then perhaps they can drag a quality program out of Rush vs Lethal for a couple months...if they do some of the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, they will have to stick with it for half the year and have multiple interactions (tag, 6 man, brawls etc.) to keep the heat up. It might actually be great stuff and give some prestige back to the belt. Not optimistic though... They are having a Foudation vs Ingobernales 8 man match the week before 19th Anniversary (this upcoming show) so, perhaps that will fan the flames of interest for the 4 Foundation vs LFI matches on the bloated PPV card. Again trying to get in as many guys as possible at the cost of match quality or fan interest But! At least other than Draper it features the company's many players...so again why is Draper on it? I'm guessing Yehi is paid on as needed basis where Draper probably is on contract. But still why not Brody King, LSG or Deppen? All would actually have a good match at least. All this being said, ROH still isn't using their signed Women of Honor wrestlers as well as their UK talent in Joe Hendry and big player and #1 contender prior to lock down Mark Haskins. Where the heck do you fit all of those folks in AND try to get a more cohesive narrative for your company? If you don't do more 6 man matches and tags...you don't get better, you get worse. It will be a jumbled mess like AWA on ESPN or MLW Underground (from what I watched). Thanks for reading my rambling Apologies for typos and that kind of stuff. Should be back on track for more FIP next week and the final installment of FMW 1998 soon thereafter.
  12. I watched these in a different order since I kinda know how FIP is booked and they don't really escalate as expected. Sometimes the main event isn't the biggest match of the night from a drama or work rate perspective. That was the case here so, I'm going to post the matches I watched in the order that I watched them. The Briscoes vs Irish Airborne (OI4K aka OvE): Quick action packed tag match with lots of good moves. The teams of brothers clearly are in sync so they were able to execute everything cleanly and quickly. Not a story match but a good to very good tag bout. Nice start to my show Necro Butcher w/ Dave Prazak vs Delirious: A very good anything goes match that had a bunch of moves done on the piles of chairs. That seems like an odd thing to say but, its true. Everything looked really hurty. It definitely would appeal to the ECW fans without being overly gory like perhaps the Necro/Pondo matches with the Briscoes were...No one is getting staple gunned for instance. Its more family friendly lets say. That being said, it was good grudge match with Delirious breaking away from Prazak and was good in both that story and execution. Davey Richards vs Erick Stevens: FIP Heritage title match...Great match! This was fought like it could have been the main event of the show. Tons of stiff strikes, very great arm work by Davey as he actually has an arm submission with the Double Wrist 14:59 lock. Stevens sold it throughout the match without over-selling it.Really good finish and a great encounter...Stevens is really coming into his own now. YRR vs Black Market & Heartbreak Express: This was the show's main event but, these are mainly mid card guys but "locals" so they do get the top slot from time to time. Here we have an Bunkhouse Brawl...its a street fight with a bunch of chaos in the audience for 85% of the match. A couple guys bled, good action and stuff going on most of the time. A very good match and a good send off for the live crowd. It wasn't a good match in the truest sense but, with 8 guys and SoCal Val all over the place it was very entertaining. Again, if you're an ECW fan (I say that a lot) but, if you can appreciate the whole being greater than the sum its the parts then, you would like this type of match. Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong: My main event and the 2nd from the top is for the FIP title. This is a near classic bout with lots of hard hits from both guys. This was a match that really escalated into a high octane ROH level match and is one of Roddy's best defenses that I've seen. His second best singles match next to the Jack Evans one from 2006. Tyler was really game to have an FIP classic and I think it really was. They didn't empty the tank like Evans vs Roddy and that's probably what stops me from putting it up there but, man Tyler was hungry at this time and Roddy was more than happy to go toe to toe. Overall, probably one of the best shows (cherry picking matches of course) that I have. All of the above matches are worthwhile but the Stevens/Davey and Roddy/Tyler matches are excellent and just what you would want or expect. No shenanigans or cutesy playing to the crowd. They came to wrestle. The same goes for the other 3 matches I watched. If there's one show to pick up from Highspots for $5 if you're on the fence, I would go with this one. If you want to spend $15 to get 3, get this, New Years Classic 2007 and Strong vs Evans. A fourth would probably be In Full Force 2007. FIP seems to really be the true sister promotion in terms of style and match quality to ROH in 2007. If you're fans of these guys, you won't be disappointed. Thanks for reading! Oh I actually remembered to include the promo video! See below:
  13. Back once again for Full Impact Fridays. This week we're looking at In Full Force - 2007. Without further ado, let's go! Seth Delay vs Hallowicked - A fun opener and a good showing for both guys. Lotsa kids in the audience tonight. Shingo vs Jigsaw - This was a really good match with lots of action and great heel work from Shingo & Prazak. Gotta love fans who chant U-S-A to a Japanese guy in 2007. One meat head adult was getting up in Shingo's face but, Takagi worked him. Good for him, I probably would have punched the guy. This was a little off-putting but, it didn't detract from the match. ***3/4 stuff they, really didn't hold anything back with the time given. It reminded me of a PWG show where an undercard match was trying to steal the show. Black Market vs Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Loser Leaves Town) - I ended up skipping this. There is a period of Castagnoli that comes across as really cheesy and this fell into that category. Sean Waltman vs Chasyn Rance - Skipped this. I'm just not interested in spending time on this. The Briscoes vs Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo - First Pondo match and I was impressed. I dug the heck outta this match since I'm an old ECW fan. Lotsa brawling around the venue and hardcore stuff...they went overboard and it probably was too violent for the kids and old folks but, this was a great indy hardcore match. Fans of the Briscoes should like this a bunch! Erick Stevens vs Gran Akuma - Another all action match much like Shingo & Jigsaw. Stevens really is coming into his own and Akuma is a sure thing for good wrestling. These two really put on an offense heavy match and it went over big with the crowd. I'd probably put it at ***3/4 as well. Colt Cabana vs Larry Sweeney - This is a good comedy match but, I don't know if I would have put it right before the main event...I dunno maybe to break up the action. Larry Sweeney had his butt out...I'm thinking he did that on the previous show too. Ha! Still with all the kids there...not sure if that was a wise choice. Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (2 out of 3 Falls) - I noticed the crowd wasn't a full for the main event. I'm not sure why - the violent tag match, Larry Sweeney's butt, or perhaps the show was going on long? Kids have always been apart of FIP and I think many indy shows especially at this time. That all being said this was another very good match but, it wasn't great. I felt Davey was playing to the crowd too much (not intense enough, playing to the kids) and there wasn't a great build to the finish. Fall 3 came just a sudden as 1 & 2. Now they had a "I Quit" match the night before so, perhaps this is weaker because of that. I feel that they didn't really know how to structure this match for 3 falls OR perhaps just said 'screw it' and just aimed for 'very good' instead of 'great.' Again there were lots of kids and it looks like people had left. Why kill yourself with stiff chops & kicks, backbreakers, dives etc. when basic well timed wrestling along will do the trick too. I watched the match twice in a row just to check. It is a very good match it just doesn't deliver in a Roddy vs Davey type of way. I kinda felt this way of their Fallout 2006 match actually. Overall, this was a really good show where everything I watched was entertaining. I wouldn't say there was one MUST-SEE match but, there were 4 very good matches that really make this worth your $5 especially if you are a fan of some of the wrestlers. So no harm in tacking this on to an order and having a good time. Thanks for reading and stay safe!
  14. Do not confuse this with the original New Year's Classic from 2005. That had James Gibson vs Homicide as the main event. This has old school GeNext vs Shingo & Rave. With that cleared up, let's go! (I know its Thursday and not Friday but, I got it done early!) Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Fun opener with nice moves from both dudes. Unique finish too! Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Skipped The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - Wish I would have skipped this. I want to see more of Heartbreak Express since they are a big part of the promotion but, most of the DVDs I own have them in shitty matches. Its not that Xion or Pelle are shitty. This is basically a squash. Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - The show really starts to pick up here. Sal has gone heel and joined the YRR..Young Rich and Ready to Go. I thought that the last "R" was for ruthless. Maybe they changed it. Anyway, this was fun match and hope to see more of Akuma. Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Black Market are suited for Japanese indies like Zero-One. Madison too...Rance is a dime a dozen. All in all this was all kinds of chaotic fun and was a very good simple grudge match. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - So, the mic audio is not great on FIP since they are recording the ambient noise and not the mics (the commentary is most likely done in post-production). That being said the banter between Jacobs and the late Larry Sweeney is gold! A very good match with nice selling from Jacobs and priceless comedy spots. Very much like CM Punk and Homicide were doing in '05. Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - I had high hopes for this but, both guys need someone with more experience to keep things interesting. There was a sleeper hold section that just didn't need to be there especially when Albright was brought in to hurt Stevens for the next night's show. Either set up an injury angle and use a submission hold or just beat the crap outta each other. They were just using it to talk and go through spots though. It was good but, it could have been better. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - Somewhere along the way Jack joined Dave Prazak Associates, which is DP Associates *wink wink get it? D.P ** They make poor tongue in cheek jokes too...like 16 year old boys. Lame. Anyhow, Jack quit the club tonight and Dave isn't happy. That is the background but, who cares right? This IS the bananas all action 2006-07 ROH/Dragon Gate style tag match that you want. All four guys were working DG & ROH at the time so, you do not get the watered down version here. They went ahead and did it here in front of 50 people. If you're a fan of these guys, the style, etc. then spend the cash and check it out. Also this may be one of the last times Roddy & Jack teamed up. Classic match and blew the roof off the joint. You could say this is a one match show but, for $5 that's not a problem. You get the Jacobs/Sweeney and Black Market/YRR matches as bonuses. This was a very, very fun & easy DVD to watch so, for $5 this is a no brainer. Thanks for reading! Edit: I forgot to add the trailer from the FIP YouTube channel
  15. G. Badger

    Best Match Watched - 2020

    Welcome to my Best Match Watched of 2020 celebration! We've got big stars appearing and a number of musical performances lined up tonight! Let's get this party started! Oh wait, never mind all of that...let's just get onto the Big List of my favorite stuff of that I've watched this year. In chronological order: Pre 1970's: Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked. 1970s & 80s: Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tiger Mask vs Black Tiger (05/26/82) Tiger Mask vs Bret Hart (07/30/82) Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: American Dragon vs Low-Ki vs Christopher Daniels - Era of Honor Begins (2002) American Dragon vs Christopher Daniels - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Daniels vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles - Road to the Title (2002) American Dragon vs AJ Styles - All Star Extravaganza (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe Final Battle (2002) Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans FIP Strong vs Evans (2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff. 2010 to present: Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same) El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly " Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan " Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. " Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico " Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll " Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter " KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - All Together (2011) Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams ROH Pure Title tournament (2020) Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays. -THE BEST of the BEST!- Pre 1970's...well I only watched a few pre 1970's matches and well Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) was the best of the bunch. The rest of my picks are going to be a little more difficult so, I think I'll do a top 3 or top 5 for the others. Then...just maybe will I actually able to narrow it down. 1970s & 80s: Clearly I was all about NJPW in the 80's although I did dip my toe in AJPW a couple times later in the year. They had some good 6 man matches (British Bulldogs w. Kobashi), I didn't see anything that could touch NJPW. Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81) Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88) 1990s & 2000s: And now we enter the Ring of Honor K-hole I was lost in for awhile. Hey, I'm glad I took that journey. I was pretty ignorant of Year One ROH and got me excited to keep watching their current stuff. Plus is encouraged me to check out the sister company FIP which I've been digging. Also, I have made some purchases that have fill in some gaps in my DVD collection. I hope to be hitting up a couple of those for 2021. So, my list boils down to these: American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002) Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe (2002) - Perhaps a controversial pick against the Era of Honor Begins but, I think this has the action along with the story lines Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006) 2010 to present: There's a good chunk from the wXw 2011 tournament here but, what can I say? It was a great show. Perhaps similar to the Ted Petty Invitational 2004. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011) El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011) The runners up: Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) - a long technical match with beautiful chain wrestling - counters, escapes, reversals, and counter reversals...distinct from his matches with Baby Face, Hamada, Blackman but, still was athletic and exciting as we've come to expect. KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) - Felt like a late 1990's AJPW Four Corners tag classic Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan - I think this match best encapsulates the awesome hard hitting style that both guys showed all 3 days. I didn't rate it as a classic at the time but, both guys have stuck in my mind all year. Here's my top 3 and I'm just going by my gut: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) - This was timeless stuff to me. A heavenly dream battle...great grappling, wonderfully engaging storytelling, and a real sense of rivalry. Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) - I got an out of body feeling when watching this match that was very similar to the first time I saw Kobashi vs Misawa's matches from 1997. Maybe it was the mild hype that lower my expectations but, this blew my mind. Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw 2011) - As hard as Sasaki & Sami were in the tourney, these two went beyond that. Davey really only does one thing but, when he's in there with the right person it can be awesome. It has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes all with an aggressive pace. Best Wrestler: Fujinami was killing it in '88. Tiger Mask given the right opponent was working magic. Sami, Yoshihito Sasaki, and El Generico were on fire during the wXw tourney in 2011. But I'm going to give it to American Dragon Bryan Danielson specifically for his work in 2002 in ROH. A natural baby face to Daniels' gimmick and Ki's natual demeanor, Dragon is relatable in addition to being a fantastic in ring worker. He has a grip of classic matches but, also elevates his tournament matches into something you want to see as well. Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki was pretty much unknown to me other than a character in Fire Pro Returns but, he's a guy I want to be on the look out for in the future. Seeing as I got a 4 disc Best of BJW in 2006 set, the future might be pretty soon! But, I think the best surprise of this year was Full Impact Pro being pretty great wrestling. I watched their Unstoppable 2007 DVD a few years ago and for the first time a few years before that and it didn't "wow" me. I think my expectations were too high or something. As I watched it again, I saw stuff that I don't think I appreciated in the past. From that I've seen some really great stuff including Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans which is a lost "ROH" classic to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to FIP Fridays! Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more including FIP. Duh right? But I'm also swinging back to FMW and specifically 1998 which may be their very best year. I've already watched a handful of matches (although I'm not including them on this year's list) and I am NOT disappointed. Thank you so much for reading this year! Its been a really crappy 365 days but, I hope I was able to give you a little bit of fun and inspiration. Let's hope for a better new year! Stay safe and keep watching wrestling!
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