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Found 32 results

  1. I wanted to give my opinion on the big topic of the new year: All Elite Wrestling. I'm not in the know in terms of facts and figures concerning the owners or the talent its centered around. I don't know what their income is or what they're worth or any of that financial stuff. Similarly, I don't have any scoop on which wrestlers or other performers are going to sign with the company. It doesn't seem worthwhile to post any of my opinions or suggestions in the AEW topic on the main forum. This is more about my take on the whole thing rather than news or debate. It feels that everyone is really excited about all of this because it's a pretty big shake up. Three pretty big wrestlers who worked for ROH and NJPW have branched out on their own and are getting even bigger friends (Omega & Jericho) to join them in their new company. Along with them are some more prominent Indy wrestlers as well a couple more friends from Japan (CIMA and I'm guessing Ibushi (who's Independent) will work with them). Oh how exciting!! It certainly is a bit of a shake up since everyone who's never listened to a shoot interview from the Bucks or Omega thought that they'd go to the WWE. Or at least that's what the YouTube channels wanted us to think. That seriously would have been a creative blunder on their parts so, it's neat to see them go it on their own. But, I don't know what people are expecting. That is to say, I don't know IF, from a match quality standpoint, they are expecting anything different than what PWG has been doing for about a decade. And I don't know if they are expecting angles, stables, arcs, and feuds either. At Jump, I have a couple rhetorical questions: OK you've tentatively got Kenny Omega, the #1 wrestler that everybody wants. But who are they going to have him go up against? Who's out there on the market that he could work a engaging program with? Is Penta and/or Fenix available? And for how long? Cody has more competition on his level but, is this really interesting anyone? What about the Bucks? They can work with anyone but, the problem is that they've already worked with EVERYONE. It seems to me they have one genuine superstar and then A-B level talent in Cody & the Bucks. Jericho is there but, for how long and in what capacity? Now ponder for a moment - what if WWE/NXT didn't buy Ricochet, Adam Cole, reDRagon, Roddy Strong, Keith Lee, and Walter like the 2nd coming of Eric Bischoff in WCW...then this AEW thing would have some teeth, no? It'd really have some fangs if they could get guys to jump ship from the 'E to AEW. Supposedly there's talk of the Revival going over? That might be something... what's Kevin Steen, Devitt, KENTA and the rest of the 205 Live Roster doing nowadays? PAC is a start, right? Truth be told, this really has similarities to old Japanese groups like UWF and SWS especially. I know AJPW at the turn of the 90's better than what happened in UWF but, I'll get back to them. SWS had a big money investor get a bunch of top talent from AJPW and a couple from NJPW to start a company. Tenryu and Yatsu were big F-ing deals in 89-90 AJ. You've got your #1 heel/rival to Jumbo (Omega to Okada) and then Jumbo's tag team partner leaving. In NJPW terms, perhaps its like an Ishii or Goto leaving. Then, Nakano & Takano who were the face "junior" tag team against Kawada/Fuyuki's Footloose. Even Fuyuki left too! They got Naoki Sano from NJPW. Cody, Young Bucks, PAC and Adam Page sounds similar to me. Then you had older guys like Ishikawa & Great Kabuki and other guys who were past their prime at the time like George Takano & Kendo Nagasaki. I won't say Jericho here but, CIMA seems like a decent fit (since read that Daniels, Kaz & Scorpio Sky are on board and I think they are applicable here). Then, you had up and coming juniors like Asai (Ultimo Dragon to be), Masao Orihara, Katayama et al. This sounds like your Joey Janela and other independent guys and girls. Of course the big difference, SWS had the support of the WWF and their stars from the get-go. It wouldn't last BUT, it helped them get a foothold. With AEW, they've burned some big bridges on BOTH sides of the world with this move. Now we come back to the UWF. The company had to fold within a couple years due to differences between Maeda & Sayama as well as the larger financial problems. SWS folded too but, WAR came out of that. We know how NJ worked with Tenryu and his company throughout the 90's and 2000's. Omega is Tenryu level here. So, NJPW has historically been forgiving if they can make money so that doesn't cut things off for them completely. So if the Elite boys are smart, they will try and be like WAR from the get go. They can do this by not going into business to directly compete with the big dogs AND by not focusing on the money. Seriously speaking, I see this as means to put on monthly shows that are PWG like dream cards but in much larger venues. Dream shows once a month, internet based everything (probably no DVDs or Blu-ray), and tee shirts. I could see them touring as well but, a relaxed schedule like ROH. The indy guys and girls make up most of the card and the "Elite" do 6 man matches to lead into the BIG shows. YouTube free matches/shows or streamed service TV shows of these matches is very likely to keep costs down. Perhaps if they book angles or story arcs, a studio show like TNA Asylum/Impact Zone could be there instead or if a TV deal is there. Honestly, I look at this AEW as a vanity project. They probably do too. I don't think they're looking to get richer but, just do WHAT they like-WHEN they like and pay the bills. I can certainly admire them for that. Now who knows what that means for the Adam Pages, Joey Janelas, and the younger folks of the company? The bleeding heart fans, like myself, are excited at the prospect of the performers receiving unbiased wages and health care. I think that those hopes are quickly being dashed against the rocks from what I've seen though. I do think it'll be more PWG-wrestler owned & operated than NJ, ROH, or WWE. So, beyond that, what does AEW hold for us fans? What can they offer us that's new & exciting? Are they going to fall back upon the allure of the Dream Match OR do wrestling with good stories and good booking? Honestly, I think AEW is taking the PWG mentality and product to a national (international?) level. Its not that it'll be anything new BUT, it will be more accessible and more visible than the insular PWG. I'd love to see genuine drama in wrestling and perhaps Jericho will be called upon to book (which would be the very best use of him). They have the resources to do it so, it is a possibility. And finally the larger implications of this company and it's possible success: If it's around for a few years, I wouldn't be surprised if they take ROH's spot as NJPW's US partner promotion. And like SWS/AJPW it may create a situation in NJPW, where they decide to elevate some guys and create a whole new generation of stars for the 2020's. Yeah, it is exciting. Guess we just have to wait and see... Thanks for reading!
  2. So just a couple days ago after watching that tag I looked up Fujiwaras matches in SWS and how did this fly under my radar? This was really good and an excellent example of how to work a quasi-shootstyle match in a big stadium. Ishinriki has looked good in matches I've seen him in, but he completely blew me away here. Pretty unique structure with Fujiwara not being very dominant at all as Ishinriki constantly pushed him. It makes sense for a sumo guy to have a strong standing game to prevent getting thrown as shown here. The sumo rushes ruled obviously as did Fujiwaras sudden kick combos. This is a rare match where Fujiwara gets frustrated throughout. Ishinriki landing PRIDE stomps on the ground made me wish more juniors would try to set up a flying move like that. Classic finish. This had great heat, nasty strikes throughout and a couple big moments.
  3. Fun as hell little undercard trios centered around Nakano and Fuyuki hating eachothers guts. They are immediately at eachothers throat and trading beatings, Nakano asks Fuyuki to tag in etc. This is broken up by some weird and wonderful Sano/Ishikawa workrate interactions with Ishikawa hitting an awesome tubby old man plancha. However it's back to hatred and soon Nakano has punched a beeding wound into Fuyukis forehead. Then we get Kabuki punching and kicking a bloody Fuyuki in the face (as it should be). Fuyuki is quite the good sympathetic babyface here, doing his high pitched yelling etc. The finishing run is really fun too with Takahi Ishikawa being fired up, Kabuki hitting superkicks. Finally Nakano goes to town on Fuyuki with the chair. These two probably faced eachother at a Pioneer Senshi houseshow or something and we only got a taste here, but it really elevated what could have been a throwaway undercard tag.
  4. Well executed fast paced multiman matched. Just the right mix of character work and bomb throwing. Loved the highly unpredictable opening exchanges. Loved Haku, who is both a menacing beast and really agile, Nakano is a good underdog trying to topple Tenryu here, and the Tenryu/Ishikawa/Hara team is a murderers row of charismatic bulldozers. Not much extended selling or great transitions but enough tubby guys cracking eachother hard to keep you entertained.
  5. Tubby japanese guys slap the shit out of eachother for 20 minutes. Love this because it's a really good example of how to build a lengthy match around a handful of strikes. Nakano and Kitahara are not over at all due to the SWS midcard being almost meaningless, but they give their all taking on these tanks and get the everliving crap kicked out of them. Hara & Tenryu deserve some credit for selling a good deal for these middleweights while outgunning them completely. Lots of neat spots and there are some good examples on how to make basic strikes interesting by SELLING. See: Tenryu getting caught in the ear by an enzuigiri or selling Nakanos corner dropkick. Hara is also really good at taking kicks to various body parts and refusing to bump. By the end Kitahara and Nakano are basically beaten half to death. There is one great sequence where Nakano is giving everything he has hitting several dropkicks and enzuigiris only to be forced to tag back in and run on empty. Tenryu just powerbombing him is an example of no selling that works because it was done in context of the match with a set up and purpose. Kitaharas leg selling was also cool and added some direction. This is a rare match where one side never comes close to winning but still ends up being great in my book.
  6. SWS style tag with Fujiwara thrown in the mix. So you have tubby juniors exchanging brutal spin kicks and lariats at a fast pace and Fujiwara throwing in some lightning fast counters and hitting the mat. The 3 young guys are really good and Fujiwaras presence adds just what this kind of undercard match needs. Ishinriki is a former sumo who works like a junior and junior who used to be a sumo is much better than junior who used to be a gymnast. He hits some big dive and also nice palm rushes and lariats. Kitahara and Nakano look good hitting the mat with Fujiwara. Highlights include Fujiwara hitting a huge Bas Rutten style body punch for a near KO aswell as trading some brutal battering ram headbutts with Nakano. Fujiwara fits really well with these energetic dudes. Apparently this match got **** from Meltzer proving he had some taste at one point. It has a few big moves and nearfalls too.
  7. G. Badger

    SWS: October 1991

    Yoshinari Asai vs Bestia Salvaje (SWS 10/29/91): This was all kinds of fun and excitement but, with enough drama to keep me guessing the outcome. The speed and high flying technique was excellent and wasn't marred by a dozen false finishes. Reminded me of Rey vs Psicosis WAR J-Cup '95. Very high recommendation! King Haku vs Takashi Ishikawa (SWS 10/30/91) This is perhaps the best Ishikawa match that I've seen. Great knee work and Haku sells it like it's legit. That's what happens when you get scoop slammed on a guard rail where your knee is the only thing that makes contact. You sell it because it hurts! But really the beauty of this match is how they beat the shit out of each other. Straight kicks to the face, headbutts that you can hear, smacks to the ear, and Ishikawa's best lariats. I mean he's got to blast him because it is Haku and he is a Tongan terminator. I watched this on a whim and I am so glad that I did. Both guys really put it all out there for a short match, no title and no fanfare. Plus, its got a few nice 'oh shit!' surprises. This is pro wrestling for pro wrestling's sake. If you like Tenryu, WAR, 90s Indy puro, check out this little gem.
  8. G. Badger

    SWS & Tenryu in the 2000's

    Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Tatsumi Kitahara & Shinichi Nakano (02/14/92 SWS): Tenryu looks jacked here. This was good but, a little one sided for me. Tenryu & Hara really beat the shit outta Nakano (AJPW payback?). This just got a little too samey for me to be really good. Kenta Kobashi & Junji Izumida vs Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka (12/04/05 NOAH):I'd consider this an overlooked gem especially for 2005 Noah. So much hard chopping machismo fighting spirit stuff came from 2005 Mr. Kobashi that you wouldn't think he was capable of anything else. ...and you wouldn't be totally wrong but! his mini feud with Tenryu in 05-06 showed us that Chopbashi was capable of garnering different emotions from fans/viewers other than, "Chop him dammit! Chop him Kobashi!!" and "Oh he's dead..." This is like a WAR match because you got Tenryu, Koshinaka, and Jun Izumida (not sure if he was in W-A-R but, he's built for it) and this was wrestled in this style. So, no head drops, apron moves, moves at all per say...this is all punches, chops (come on its Tenryu-Kobashi) and laid out so well that's it probably the most fun yet serious Noah match Kobashi had outside of his defense vs Ogawa in '03. Ass chops, Tenryu throwing shit, Izumida eating potatoes like its Thanksgiving, Koshinaka still ruling in '05, brawling after the bell...and Kobashi chopping people dead. Great match
  9. This past summer I took the time to learn about the SWS promotion in Japan. I also branched out from the non Tenryu matches of WAR. I was pleasantly surprised. I'd like to go back and revisit those two companies here in my blog. Plus, see what good old Tenryu was doing in the 2000's as a freelancer. Here are some oldies but goodies: Ashura Hara, Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs. King Haku, Shinichi Nakano & Yoshiaki Yatsu (08/05/91 SWS): Fast paced and stiff as a starched shirt. Very reminiscent of the 6 mans in AJPW late 80s & '90 just with most punches to the face. Highly recommended. Naoki Sano & Samson Fuyuki vs Tatsumi Kitahara & Tito Santana in Super World Sports also from 08/05/91. Joined 5 minutes in, I believe...this is an all-action bout. Everyone was working fast and with a purpose. Kitahara brought the stiffness with his blue and pink tights, Fuyuki was still fast, there were some sick piledrivers and, Sano & Tito were going non stop. The finishing segment was great with guys all over the place including a Sano tope that apparently erased Tito from this plane of existence. Highly recommended for fans of quick action tags. WAR-FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF REVOLUTION show from 6/17/93. Haven't watched the Hash vs Tenryu match yet and opted for the less herald matches. (Still haven't!) Hase vs Fuyuki is a great one which has some buzz but, I took a chance on Masashi Aoyagi vs Takashi Ishikawa and wow! Grumpy dudes beating each other up for 5 minutes, I'm game! So also checked out Koki Kitahara vs Masahiro Chono which was more like a mid 80s strong style match. More evenly fought despite Chono being in there, I dug it. Plus the Jr match of the card, Ultimo Dragon vs Norio Honaga. First Honaga match for me but, was impressed. He kept the craziness in check so when Dragon busted out the fancy shit it was meaningful and impressive... Still I thought Honaga's running neck breaker drops were the best move in the match. Looked like he decapitated Mr. Asai. Highly recommended show and I haven't even seen the big Tenryu match yet. Its been a pleasant surprise. On paper, every one of the above matches had the potential to be a massive time vacuum but, were great in their own way. Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya (06/30/01 AJPW): A very stiff yet frenetically paced match. I'm not sure that worked in these guys' favor...there never was too much of a simmering hate period. It was more warming up, face punch, lukewarm action, boiling potatoes, finish. The issue is that it lacked an internal story of note. This was made worse by having poor pacing. I feel like T., F. & K. wanted to take it back to 89-90 and have a fast paced action match with a straight forward story and scrub the Kings Road escalation of violence style. Or in simple terms, make it more WAR and less NOAH. It just didn't come off right. Moves weren't sold as they should be, drama wasn't built, and this was really counter to their objective. It was too simple...here we'll run around and hit each other. It seemed like they were trying for a updated classic approach but, it needed refinement. (Akiyama led AJ [2013-2015] may be this style that K. & T. were going for here and in their other bouts around this time). Nevertheless, it was pretty good and the stiff as a board shots were very respectable...for 15 minutes, its a good watch.
  10. G. Badger

    Spotlight: Naoki Sano in SWS

    Naoki Sano is one of those guys I'll always make an effort to check out if a match comes my way. His feud with Liger was one of the first puro arcs that I watched so, in a way he helped shaped my early opinions and preferences. OK whatever but, here I am with a new batch of unseen (to me) Sano whilst exploring proto-Wrestle and Romance...SWS. Two I'd recommend straight up are Sano vs fellow Indy journeyman Masao Orihara and vs Rick Martel. The Orihara match is bananas with the dives and fast paced offense...for the most part...there is a submission section in the middle. Sano goes for broke and destroys Masao at the end though. Snaps his rear suplexes so hard Ori's toes touch the mat. The Martel match is the shorter of the 2 that I found online. I believe its 8/9/91 and is roughly 5 minutes of pedal to the metal 80s technical junior offense. I loved it, it was short and to the point and put over the power of a technical pinning predicament. Naoki Sano & Samson Fuyuki vs Tatsumi Kitahara & Tito Santana in Super World Sports from 8/5/91. Joined 5 minutes in, I believe...this is an all-action bout. Everyone was working fast and with a purpose. Kitahara brought the stiffness with his blue and pink tights, Fuyuki was still fast, there were some sick piledrivers and, Sano & Tito were going non stop. The finishing segment was great with guys all over the place including a Sano tope that apparently erased Tito from this plane of existence. Highly recommended for fans of quick action tags. WAR (OK SWS) is about the hate, and guys taking punches to the mush, etc. so I wanted to get one of those type of matches with our man of the hour in there. And here we have the beaut that is Fuyuki, Ishikawa & Kitahara vs Sano, Shinichi Nakano & The Great MFing Kabuki. Sano brings the junior offense, Kabuki keeps drilling jaws with his punches, Ishikawa hits lariats and a hell of a plancha but, its all about Fuyuki and Nakano trying to beat the shit out of each other. Watch out for Nakano's pinning piledriver. Rabid pace, blood... wanna watch this again right now
  11. G. Badger

    SWS: Akira Katayama

    Akira Katayama was one of my favorite little discoveries from SWS but, sadly found out the he was paralyzed from a dive sometime in 1992. These are two matches found online. Akira Katayama vs Kenichi Oya SWS from 9/17/91 and man, this was some good stuff! For whatever reason I thought Oya was gonna be some skinny crew cut rookie but, nope. He's a solid man with a beard and shit...perhaps rockin' a surfer gimmick?? I guess it was '91 so those orange and neon yellow trunks were pretty standard... I think I had swim trunks like those actually so, perhaps that's why I'm thinking surfer...I digress. Two relatively unknown wrestlers, mid carding a short lived promotion putting on a solid meat & potatoes, steak & eggs match...all under the watchful eyes of papa Tenryu. This is fun Kitahara vs Akira Katayama from 10/29/91 and my goodness that was Kawada, Aja Kong level stiff. Lariats, kicks to the face, head spikes :S Katayama was wearing tiger print trunks and maybe Kitahara is a vegan and took offense...I have no clue. It was a very good match as Akira was fired up too and focused on taking out Kita's legs with some nice submission holds. At around 11 minutes this was compact, physical, and engaging stuff for something never on my radar.
  12. This is a UWF showcase on a SWS card and not particularly one I thought was great. A lot of the matwork just seemed there and they didn't seem to do much to advance it and it just felt transitional. Funaki does put on a great job at constantly nailing Sano with palm strikes and he also demonstrates great head movement avoiding Sano's palm strikes which were the highlights for me. Aside from that, I thought this was rather forgettable.
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