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  1. I was at the CWC live for this match and thought this was a blast. I'm not super high on El Legado del Fantasma, but I thought they were really good here and this is easily their best match so far as they were taking a nasty beating from Thatcher and Ciampa and then working stiffly when on offense instead of doing their usual Jr. heavyweight routines. Ciampa hit Raúl with a nasty running elbow in the corner and his nose just exploded which I recall going nuts for as it landed flush. Surprised it didn't KO him. There were some odd stoppages to check on Raúl, but luckily those were during commercial breaks so this could continue flowing. The only things I found kind of lame here were the double ankle lock spot and the GYV interference with the weak double team ring apron face plant.
  2. This was more of a brawl and much better than the Fight Pit from last year with Riddle which featured the hokey flying teeth spot. I also felt this was a notch above their match from TakeOver last year which I also dug. Not a mind blowing brawl or MOTYC or anything, but both guys worked really snug and threw some heat behind their strikes. That slingshot on the rail on the top of the cage looked pretty nasty. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but Ciampa’s running knee looks much better than Kenny Omega’s V-Trigger which he usually just flys by his opponent while slapping his thigh really hard. Dug the use of the cage as well with both guys flinging each other into it and using it as leverage to escape holds. The finishing cage assisted stretch muffler was great.
  3. Ringkampf had a great weekend w/ great matches against the legendary teams of The Briscoes & Rottweilers - and it all culminated here. Going against Jurn Simmons & David Starr, a man who WALTER had been developing quite the rivalry against. This was just a big time tournament finals epic w/ a bunch of big moves, great team work by both teams & just like you would expect a big tournament final to have, this did have quite a few of those sweet nearfalls, but I think they earned all of them by how great the meat of the match was & how the suspense & drama built & built. Reminded me of a classic 90's All Japan tag in that regard. It's comfortably, imo, the 2nd best tag match of 2017 behind LDRS vs. Best Friends from PWG. ****3/4
  4. 4 guys who can go doing their thing for 24 minutes in a garage. Obviously getting to see Ishikawa in a lengthy match in 2019 is great, but the main reason I liked this is that everyone was pretty vicious. Ishikawa clogged Thatcher in the jaw during their first exchange, no real friendy grappling, lots of punches are thrown on the ground, Ringkampf would work over their opponents with nasty stomps and knees etc. Walter seems to understand how to not get stale as he hitting these Tenryu punts and busted out an awesome uranage. I haven't seen Irie in a while but his matwork was fun and he had these cool swinging Vader Hammers. Ishikawa was pretty much the star of the show always doing something interesting and not only grappling it out but also acting really smart. For example, he would get mount and work over Walters kidneys with glee only to get raddled by that big bear paw like austrian hand. This didn't build to something great but the action was very good throughout and there were a few highlights and smooth Ishikawa submissions to keep you happy.
  5. Well shocker, this was good. I've been a wXw sceptic forever, but gotta give it up for them flying in an old japanese guy almost no one has heard of and let him completely outwork their boy and everyone else on the show. I've never been blown away by Thatchers grappling and he didn't do anything great here either, but that may have been the story of the match. Basically Ishikawa outclasses Thatcher the whole way through, making up great counters and doing cool shit I've never seen him do before. Thatcher has to resort to potatoeing Ishikawa and he doesn't hold back. Some BattlARTS worthy smacks here. This doesn't reach the higher pantheon of Ishikawa singles match but that is a pretty high bar and for Ishikawa taking on an unfamiliar guy who looks so much bigger that it's seemingly not the best matchup and have a match this good is really impressive.
  6. I've watched extremely little pro wrestling in the year of 2018. Probably less than any other year in wrestling history where there's footage. Rediscovering SWS undercard and Wrestle Yume Factory matches was just more exciting I guess. I know recently most of my writing has been musing about defunct japanese wrestling promotions and handheld matches and whining about how miserable wrestling these days is so I decided to try and bring something to the table and accentuate both the positives and the negatives. In this thread I'm gonna try to catch up with all the pimped MOTYCs and workers, watch some in-between stuff and try to form a complete picture of what's wrong and right. In the end (when I get bored) I'd like to have, like, 20 or so matches that I like, so hopefully that's achievable. Feel free to drop in your thoughts and recommendations 2018 MOTY List (ongoing): 1. Darby Allin vs. WALTER, EVOLVE 6/23 2. Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Meiko Satomura, Sendai Girls 11/17 3. Slim J vs. Corey Hollis (Anarchy Wrestling 7/28/2018) 4. Teddy Hart vs. Harry Smith (WOW 8/11/2018) 5. Slim J vs. Corey Hollis (Anarchy Wrestling 5/12/2018) 6. Tajiri vs. TAKA Michinoku (K-Dojo 4/22/2018) 7. WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher (wXw 11/17) 8. Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (wXw 7/22/2018) 9. Tom Lawlor & Simon Grimm vs. King Khash & Mike Santiago (Prestige 10/12/2018) 10. Tom Lawlor vs. CW Anderson (BLP 8/18/2018) 11. Negro Casas vs. Aramis (Lucha Memes 3/11/2018)
  7. This will be a shorter version of the daily match reviews I do for older wrestling. The matches I enjoy the most will get a longer look and a more detailed match review on this date next year. The storytelling here was awesome. Much of it was built on technical precision. Anthony Henry wasn't as skilled as Timothy Thatcher in the story that they were telling, so he tried to make up for it with as much aggression as he could muster. We saw it at the beginning of the match when he charged at Thatcher and went for an early victory, and we saw it again when he finally found a way to deal with Thatcher's ability to counter just about anything from just about any position. In the early stages, Henry's anklelock was noticeably loose compared to Thatcher's, but that was by design. Henry's dragon screw leg whip being countered by Thatcher's cross armbreaker, only for that to be countered by an anklelock from Henry, was the best part of the match. It seems like most of the time, this dynamic isn't really paid off. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi never beat Jumbo Tsuruta. Ricky Morton never took the title from Ric Flair. Rey Mysterio I guess beat Kevin Nash on a fluke once, but Nash got the last laugh. This time, it did. That makes this not only something cool, but also something special. ****
  8. A very good FIP segment w/ Thatcher to start things off; Thatcher sells it tremendously (no surprise there) & the work by Bros was good - especially by Riddle who's offense came off as super violent. Loved it. WALTER's hot tag was great, he came in & chopped the crap out of Cobb & Riddle. Now that lead to a FIP segment w/ Cobb & that was outstanding! Cobb sold his ass off & Ringkampf's work over him was terrific - they brutalized Cobb in such compelling fashion. Once Cobb finally got to make the hot tag to Riddle, Riddle came in with a house of fire~! & beat the crap out of Thatcher & WALTER for a while - that was until Ringkampf cut off his hot tag in amazing, strategic fashion. The finishing stretch sees them dominate Riddle for a while until Cobb sneaks back in after he had been resting for a while - The Chosen Bros deliver a couple of amazingly brutal looking double team moves to finish off an outstanding tag match. The selling of Cobb, the brutal offense of WALTER, Thatcher & Riddle, the fire of Riddle & the teamwork of Ringkampf make for an amazing package of tag team wrestling. ****1/4
  9. For the most part, this felt like a total BJJ exhibition bout. And I loved every second of it. Some very nice storytelling with Garrini completely owning Thatcher on the mat, which lead to him getting too cocky & making fun of Thatcher's Ringkampf pose, which then lead to Thatcher going mental on him w/ those strikes & that beautiful Butterfly Suplex. Wonderful match. ****
  10. Looking at this match on paper, I knew there was way NO WAY this wouldn't bang. And it sure banged HARD. Phenomenal FIP segments w/ Daisuke & Thatcher, the chop exchanges between WALTER & Daisuke were brutal + Sawa hasn't lost a step since the last time I saw, which was his previous EVOLVE appearance vs. Danielson. Excellent match. ****
  11. This was a top-3 most awaited match up of the whole weekend for me & oh boy did it deliver. Thatcher tried to do what Thatcher usually tries to do - ground his opponent, which you'd imagine would work especially well in a match up w/ a stipulation like this, but Gage answered to that with that MDK MOTHERFUCKER STREET FIGHT YEAH style, BITING his way out of Thatcher's submissions & taking things to outside. What a wonderful styles clash. A religious experience, if you will. ****
  12. One of the best intergender singles matches I've ever seen, maybe even THE best one, because nothing else comes to my mind that has been on this level. Thatcher was amazing in this; he had wrestled Nick Gage, Daisuke Sekimoto & Munenori Sawa just few hours before, and now here, around 3 AM he still had this one to go vs. Toni Storm. He was grumpy as hell, beating & stretching the shit out of her. The match was 99% dominated by Thatcher, just as it should've been. Toni sold Thatcher's brutal work over her very well & I liked the desperation she showcased through her comeback attempts & great facial expressions. The finish was very well done too, really the best way you could put Toni over Thatcher. Great stuff. ****
  13. A very "standard" tag match in structure, but it's so well executed. Starts off with a big shine for Team Ringkampf - WALTER & Thatcher completely own RISE there by beating the crap out of them, in particular Da Mack. Eventually Da Mack & Bad Bones get an opening though, which leads to a FIP segment with Thatcher. I've said it at least a million times while writing about Ringkampf's tag matches, but I'll say it again; Thatcher is the best FIP in the business. It's an absolute pleasure watching him sell his ass off, he could make anyone look good. Da Mack's offense isn't exactly very good looking, but damn, Thatcher's selling made it look like million bucks. At this point, RISE is firmly on control, Thatcher tries to fight back, and just when he is about to get the hot tag to WALTER, Bad Bones goes & sweeps WALTER from the apron. That pisses the big lad off & he comes to the ring to chop the shit out of RISE. That leads to the ref telling WALTER to get out of the ring, because he wasn't the legal man, which now gives Bad Bones an opening to take him out while Da Mack takes care of Thatcher in the ring & gets his team the W. Wonderful match. Thatcher & WALTER are the best duo on the planet. ****
  14. Absolute Andy cheats all the way through this one, going against the "the mat is sacred" Thatcher. Such a great, fun dynamic. It created for some nice drama & they told the story of it perfectly. Great match. ****1/4
  15. A brutal masterpiece between the two members of the best tag team in wrestling right now. Great feeling out process to start things off; the mat work & the way they battled over the control felt so natural & looked pretty gritty, which I obviously loved. Quickly after it's the WALTER show; he just mauls the shit out of Thatcher - I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again: Thatcher is quite possibly the best FIP in the biz, so of course it was a joy watching him sell his ass off for the brutal beatdown he received. He eventually gets the control by doing the classic "chopper-chops-the-ringpost" -bit, and after that it's Thatcher on the attack, super focused targeting that chopping hand of WALTER's. WALTER sells great & Thatcher rules on the attack - loved how the dynamic flipped from WALTER being the absolute grizzly bear just MAULING Thatcher to then being hurt & fighting like it shows; the hunter became the hunted, so to say. The last third of the match is more 50/50, with them fighting with a great sense of urgency - the way it escalates to the eventual finish is amazing. Ringkampf lads delivering a true classic against each other. Bless. Die Matte ist Heilig. ****3/4
  16. We start things off with some really fun grappling back & forth between Thatcher & Garrini. It's good stuff, and I really liked the smile Thatcher flashed after they get up from the mat; it said "wow, this kid is pretty good". Then we get Ringkampf doing some awesome work over Hot Sauce, which eventually leads to a Thatcher FIP segment. Thatcher is one of the best FIP's in the world right now; watching him sell his ass off is always a joy. Williams & Garrini did some fantastic work over him. WALTER's hot tag was superb - he beat them up with those vicious chops, big boots & threw them around with his brutal suplexes. Fantastic stuff. From then on, the match kicks into it's finishing gear & it's really great w/ great sense of urgency to it. All around, just a really great match. ****
  17. This was such a fantastic match. They told a great story w/ Ringkampf - who were absolutely tremendous in this - being one step ahead of Andy, Al-Ani & Simmons. Dieter Jr, Thatcher & WALTER just dominated them w/ their amazing team work - they worked the heat on them in such compelling fashion. Loved it. Eventually it was Absolute Andy in the ring - then Ringkampf decides to start targeting his knee, and my god, it was so fantastic. Andy sold it like a boss all the way till the end, and the work WALTER, Dieter Jr & Thatcher did to that knee was great. The super hot finishing stretch capped off this fantastic classic 6-Man Tag. ****1/2
  18. It's Ringkampf vs. The Rottweilers. Homicide & Low Ki vs. Thatcher & WALTER. 2017 is wild. This was such a great match - loved how it was structured. At first we get Ringkampf pretty much dominating The Rottweilers in the ring, but once Homicide & Ki take things to outside the ring, a full blown tag brawl comes about & The Rottweilers get back into things. Lovely stuff. Loved seeing Homicide hit some of his classic signature moves, made me pop big time, Low Ki was as explosive as ever - he's so great & of course Team Ringkampf, Thatcher & WALTER, once again proved why they are 2 of the best wrestlers in the world & one of the best tag teams on the planet. Great match. ****
  19. One of those matches where everything from the entrances to the finish seem to go perfect. The introductions, the crowd (seriously the loudest I've EVER heard EVOLVE crowd be) & the masterful in ring work of two of the best in the world in Thatcher & ZSJ. Absolutely loved how Thatcher finally fully embraced the dark side w/ his cocky antics & amazing facial expressions. A perfect performance by the man. The mat work, the sense of urgency, the drama, the strikes - everything about this just worked. Hats off to both guys. ****3/4
  20. Amazing, just as I expected it to be. Started off with Thatcher & WALTER completely owning Bate & Seven - they got to do work over them for a pretty lengthy amount of time & it was amazing. Both of them are really great on the offense. It was only after Seven did a low blow on Thatcher that BSS got some real offense in - they did really good work over Thatcher and Thatcher, as usual, was excellent with his selling. I've said it before & I'll say it again - he might just be the best seller in the business right now. WALTER was an awesome hot tag as well. The finishing stretch was also really hot & a great way to cap off a classic tag match. ****1/2
  21. This was fantastic. Thatcher was brilliant chopping down Dijak w/ his focused attack on his arm - Dijak sold that super well & his comeback flurries were really great. ****
  22. Thatcher comes out & he is not impressed with the wacky antics of the promotion, he is just all business here. Once the bell rings he tries to go for a big boot right away only for Makabe to duck it & then give him a big punch to the face for a nearfall. Great start. Thatcher is a little stunned after that so Makabe has the control for a short amount of time, but yeah, short amount of time because Thatcher gets the control quickly. And he starts working the crap out of the young local hero. He is brilliant at that, and every time Makabe escapes his submissions or kicks out from his suplex's, his reactions are priceless. Thatcher is without a doubt the best in the world when it comes to selling stuff w/ facial expressions. Daniel Makabe is pushed as a submission specialist, a great technical wrestler so he does lock Thatcher a few times to some nice submissions, but well, Thatcher is one of the best technical wrestlers in the world so he gets out of them pretty quickly. Also gotta mention that Makabe's selling was absolutely perfect - he sold all of Thatcher's offense like death. One of my favorite moments of the match was when Makabe started to slap Thatcher, Thatcher answers to that with slaps of his own, a lariat to the back of the head & then a big German Suplex - which leads to one of the commentators saying "Ladies & Gentlemen, Timothy f'n Thatcher". Great stuff. The commentators overall did an OUTSTANDING job bringing emotion to this as well as the crowd - oh the crowd was absolutely perfect for this match. They were 110% behind their local technician & the boos & screams every time when Thatcher got him locked in some nasty submission were tremendous. Loved Makabe's big comeback once Thatcher had him in the corner & he turned things around - that running dropkick to the corner was beautiful. That was followed by a great looking suplex, which then lead to CATTLE MUTILATION, which I am always happy to see. That once again was a wrong move by Makabe though, as Thatcher got out of it right away. He then tried to follow it with an Octopus Hold, but Thatcher got out of that in no time as well. Another fantastic moment was when Thatcher locked in his signature armbar, which caused the crowd to roar in fear of Makabe tapping & even the commentator screaming "PLEASE DON'T TAP DANIEL!" - then the finish, that absolutely ruled. Thatcher is stunned again after Makabe had escaped his Fujiwara Armbar which lead to them trading 1 nearfall each w/ roll ups, that set Thatcher up in a bad position as he was sitting in the middle of the ring, which lead to Makabe elbowing him, headbutting him on his BACK & then putting him on his finish which is called the Makabe Lock, which is basically like Cattle Mutilation but with the victim of it sitting instead of being down. It was beautiful. Thatcher has no choice but to tap. He did it. The promotion's local young star, Daniel Makabe just beat one of the top indy stars - and not only that, he made him TAP OUT. What a brilliantly crafted story. Thatcher was perfect as the cocky big star invader just beating the crap out of the youngster while not giving shits about the promotion's wacky signature shtick & Daniel Makabe was also absolutely perfect as the local hero underdog going against the bigger, more experienced Thatcher. Also as I mentioned earlier, the commentary & the crowd were also perfect and they added a ton to the match. The post-match was beautiful with Thatcher putting over Makabe - “This scarf says ‘die matte ist hellig’, which in German means ‘this mat is sacred’. And if there is someone here in 3-2-1 BATTLE! that believes this mat is sacred, it is Daniel Makabe." - that brought Makabe to tears. Absolutely beautiful stuff. Pro Wrestling folks. It's the best. ****3/4
  23. If you enjoy watching Thatcher on the offense, you'll love this. It's all about the returning Thatcher taking the youngster, Austin Theory, to school by dominating him w/ his terrific submissions & strikes. Theory also makes some awesome comebacks which Thatcher sells perfectly. Great match. ****
  24. Starts off with some awesome mat work, love watching these 2 go at it - eventually Thatcher gains the advantage, and we get a super awesome control segment w/ him working over Riddle. Thatcher on the offense was a thing of beauty, loved watching him lay those knees in & lock those submissions. Riddle is really good working from under - he gets some awesome hope spots in including almost hitting Thatcher with the Bro To Sleep only for Thatcher to counter it into a Fujiwara Armbar. LOVE IT. If there's a better opening match on any card this year, I'd be surprised. ****1/2
  25. Was super excited when they announced this match up & it managed to deliver just like I had hoped it would. Ringkampf quickly established dominance over BSS - they worked over them for a pretty lengthy amount of time before BSS got back into things. When they did get back into things, we got an outstanding FIP segment w/ Thatcher - Thatcher might legitimately be the best salesman in wrestling today. His facial expressions & physical selling are on point. ADJ's eventual hot tag was great; the heels did what they had been doing the entire match for Ringkampf - they bumped their ass off for him/them. They were really great in their role. The finishing stretch was them going balls-to-the-walls, which was enjoyable, my favorite part about that was Thatcher catching Bate into a Fujiwara Armbar outside the ring. Fantastic match. Everybody played their roles super well - ADJ was the stoic technician working over BSS, WALTER chopped people around, Thatcher sold his ass off & the BSS trio played the close-to-defeat vulnerable heel group. ****1/2