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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I'm going to dig into wXw's 2010 16 carat Gold Tournament but, am only a few matches in. This is what I've got so far from Day #1: Ares vs Matt Jackson: Fun 8 minute match with a bit of comedy from Ares. Munenori Sawa vs Paul Tracey: I'm not familiar with Tracey. Sawa looked good and Tracey was OK. 7 minutes and better than the first bout. Yuji Okabayashi vs Martin Stone: Best match so far. Very good to see grappling here in this setting. Simple but, effective stuff. Stone gets the upset with a DDT. Recommended first round match. So, another project of mine is to take a look at 2010's AJPW. I'm going to try and cover it chronologically but, I've got to go back and rewatch a few things since I've lost my one notebook. Anyhow... SUWAMA, Masakatsu Funaki & Takao Omori vs Seiya Sanada, Taiyo Kea & Manabu Soya (09/25/11 AJPW): This is exactly the exciting, hard hitting match that I hoped it would be. It never treads into parody of former AJPW or NOAH territory with unneeded strike battles or meaningless machismo. The characters play their part during the 20 minutes of action. Highly recommended match. Koji Kanemoto vs KAI - Jr. Tournament Finals (09/25/11 AJPW): Holy crap! This was awesome They really beat the crap out of each other. KAI is a guy that I've seen a couple times and liked. I'd not yet say, "Hey gotta search out me some KAI footy!" but, he is one to watch. Koji worked on the leg here, setting up for his Ankle Hold. KAI did very well in selling the leg damage (even though he did do some flying moves). I felt he sold it enough within the narrative: He's young and he's going to work with the moves that got him to the finals. Koji was punk as fuck and the A+ worker that he can be- especially as the tough vet. The match featured loads of stiff strikes, variety and smarts. Both guys were battered by the end. It was a true contest for something important and a classic match in the Jr. tradition. Kaz Hiyashi & KENSO vs Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto - RWTL (11/26/11 AJPW): KENSO is another guy that I've come to watch for. He's kinda a heel and uses his belt to choke guys. I like this kind of guy in the 2010's. He's got some moves but, is much more of a character than a world class athlete. I'm kinda tired of guys that are young athletes but, rely upon a gimmick rather than their abilities. They work a parody gimmick but, have no idea how their work matches up to their character. So, they do a bunch moves that their character would/should not do. KENSO is a guy where he's got a charisma about him without being a cartoon character with a 100 moves. Anyways, this match was one long finishing run at 11 minutes. Very exciting rush match. Minoru & Koji are cocky jerks taunting KENSO until he has to smack the taste outta their mouths. At this run time, I highly recommend watching this. Its just good stuff. Takao Omori & Manabu Soya vs Seiya Sanada & KAI - RWTL (11/26/11 AJPW): Here's that KAI fella again! Omori & Soya have teamed up here as Wild Hearts. The thing is Sanada & Soya were tag partners just a few months ago. Not sure who wanted the split but, they square off right at the bell. Seiya goes for speed and shocks Soya. KAI's in there and they go for the double team. These two young guns look dynamic as all get out! Oh shit! They are fighting in the stands now. Old man Omori's out there choking Sanada with a child's parasol! Hahahaha! Back on inside the ring and KAI's trying Soya but, come on dude! Manabu is a freaking caveman...and not the Fred Flintstone type either. Omori gets in there and wisely slows things down with KAI. The K man eventually finds an opening to get Seiya, the fire plug, going. Omori's had enough and puts big Soy sauce in there. Hey, deadlift suplex a motherfucker, Soya! This is a real back and forth match. Omori's trying to Axe Guillotine Driver KAI off the top now. Great! erase his head from existence! Just tons of double team destruction but, surprisingly never goes into bonkers territory. Both teams were very impressive. This was a great match. Crazy enough, that was not the main event of the night! I'll get to that next week
  4. G. Badger

    The 2010's: wXw 2010

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

    The 2010's: wXw 2010 & 2011

    Finally got back to the 2010 16 Carat Gold Tournament: 2010 16 Carat Gold Show: Day #2 Big Van Walter vs Munenori Sawa: 10:30 run time. David and Goliath match here. It was fun but, nothing too deep or engaging but, good for the opening match. A little disappointing though. Erick Stevens vs KAGETORA: 8:30 match. Whoa!! This was quick energetic and really good. Lively as all hell. Stevens brings a star prescence that this venue demands. Otherwise the show feels smaller than it is. He & KAGETORA had some very nice sequences. Recommended match right here! Plus a bonus from 2011 that's free on wXw's YouTube channel: Zack Sabre Jr. vs Dick Togo (11/24/11 wXw 11th Anniv. Show): This kicked maximum butt! It was near perfect to me. Togo & Sabre scrambling on the mat- in & out of holds, pulling pinning combinations out, fighting for pro moves, and stiff as the day is long. Man, 30 seconds of a little more work and this would have been an all time classic. This was a classic match nonetheless. I could see people not digging this but, screw it if folks aren't digging this then, we're looking at this all different.
  6. G. Badger

    The 2010's: wXw 2010

    Missed yesterday's post. I'm running out of suitable material for some of the odds and ends of days like Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Or I get distracted trying to find stuff for those days and miss the mark on my projects like today's wXw 2010 16 Carat tournament post. I came through today though! Before my laptop ran out of batteries Martin Stone vs Chris Hero (Day #2 tournament match): This was really evenly matched and probably one of the better tournament matches thus far. Starts out with both men trying for hammerlocks or wristlocks and then, the gates to stiff strike city are opened. Chops, elbows (from Hero, duh), and euro's & haymakers from Stone. Reversals & fake outs are the hallmark of 2010 wrestling and those were here but, not to the extent that they felt contrived. Stone is a fellow I'd like to see more of. 2010 Hero has been pretty darn good. This was 15 minutes of great stuff. I'd say around the 4 star range. Started watching Absolute Andy vs Steve Douglas No DQ & Falls Count Anywhere title match. My battery started dying but, this is what I've got written in my notebook: Starts up on the balcony, a trip through the restroom, up on some tables, Andy takes a tumble down the steps. This is a lot of fun so far! ECW or Attitude era brawl. Hope to watch the rest later and report it here
  7. G. Badger

    The 2010's: wXw 2010

    It took me a damn while but, here we are. The conclusion to 2010 16 Carat Gold Day 2. Main event: Steven Douglas vs Absolute Andy: I started out liking this match but, I'll cut to the chase. This was the worst match that I have seen in a long time. The main detraction was being so fucking long. I can handle a little bit of bad...I watched Baba & Rusher vs Kimala & Abby from '89 the other day for instance. That was relatively brief and knew what it was as a match. This thing...holy shit. It was amateurish and a poorly executed self conscious epic. I don't know who gave them over 15 minutes and the main event slot...considering how good the rest of the night was. I could sorta excuse their execution issues (Andy mostly) if the NO DQ stuff was a bit more brutal. Make this a deathmatch or something! Instead we got the same old tired chair stuff and sheets of particle board for tables!? I couldn't fucking watch anymore. If they would have cut the B.S. down to 15 minutes this would have been a fun match but, this was an overlong turd. I wish I would have known ahead of time and saved myself the trouble. Ah well, I guess that's why we take chance and watch these things. I will add insult to injury and say if this is the standard of most wXw matches then, this is not my type of wrestling company. The fact that this was a world title fight doesn't give me much confidence in wXw. The shows thus far have been above average but, most have been non roster match ups. The DVD set has been worth the purchase price. I'm just really surprised that they would put on something this "local armory/VFW hall Indy" when you've got Chris Hero & Martin Stone putting on a great match right before.
  8. Man, it has taken me a long damn time to get through this set. That's on me and not the quality of the wrestling. I've been distracted by the WWE network stuff and YouTube. I've clearly got the attention span of a 3 year old At this point, I don't know what's tournament and non tournament. Also if I skip something it's because I skipped the match intentionally. I'm just trying to get finished...It's like I'm trying for my 16 Carat GED at this point! Big Van Walter vs Erick Stevens: Tournament match. I've been buying Stevens as a baby face with a chance all tournament long so, I was not disappointed here. His comeback on Walter was fierce. Elbows, chops, slaps, and clotheslines to the Austrian's face. The arc of the narrative should have had Erick go over but, it wasn't to be. Highly Recommended match. Stevens had an awesome showing over all 3 nights. Oberhausen Terror Corps vs Up In Smoke: Again, OTC has a bitchin' name. Here they're looking to kill Cheech & Cloudy...who have a terrible tag name. Its not as bad as Special K but, are the spiritual successors to the thin highspot oriented drug referencing Indy group. Anyhow, Cloudy gets assaulted by the zee Germans. The Smokers' teamwork gives them a fighting chance and makes this a very, very fun match. Ares vs Chris Hero: Tournament match. Anything with Hero or Walter in them is a tournament match since they're in the finals. Those are the only fights that I know are part of the tourney. Anyhow, rather than rewrite my summary of this match, I'll say that I fast forward-ed the 2nd half of this. These two have history and probably thought a 22 minute match was a good idea. Fans probably loved it but, this went on too long and Ares just doesn't do it for me this far along in the brackets. Hero has been so-so thus far. The Martin Stone match was great though. Claudio Castagnoli vs Paul Tracey vs KAGETORA vs Tommy End: This was fun! Good action, exciting and just what was needed. 16 minutes but, sad we didn't get to see Claudio vs KAGETORA in singles competition. Strong BJW vs Switchblade Conspiracy: wXw Tag belts on the line. They kept it simple and worked their story well. BJW are strong & tough but, if Sami and Moxley could last the punishment and isolate an opponent then, MAYBE they could beat the Japanese team. 20 minutes was perfect timing here...its a highly recommended or perhaps great match. The tag team bouts haven't disappointed all super-show. This is the end of Day # 3, disc #2. I'm going to get the final disc up and do a run down off all three days since it took me forever to get these watched and the reviews are all over the blog. We're looking at ZSJ vs Sawa, Nick vs Matt Jackson, Hero vs Walter for the final installment. Addendum: Watched Johnny Kidd vs Terry Frazier as it was listed in the Match Discussion Archives and figured I was missing something. It is a definite change of pace from the entire rest of the card, I'll say that. It goes to 5 rounds, Frazier jaw jacks with the crowd like Larry Z, they do a traditional British match. It was fun but, I would recommend watching it separate from the other matches. It takes you outta the right mind set. Otherwise, well done entertaining stuff but, nothing more.
  9. Booyah! 2010 16 Carat Gold Tournament is a wrap! Let's jump in to the matches for Day 3, Disc # 3 'cause this entry is gonna be a doozy. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Munenori Sawa: Light Heavyweight strap on the line. A bit of a letdown to get started with. I suppose they were going for a shoot style-ish match but, it came across as winging it. It was fun but, not particularly memorable. Diez minutos. Matt Jackson vs Nick Jackson - Battle of the Bucks: I have never heard of this happening elsewhere but, second to last match on the final night seems like a fine place to try it out! No worries though. Its 16 minutes of crazy Jackson action...heh you like what I did there? I'm a goofy ass, sorry. This is a great match and one of the best of all 3 nights. The reason it was great was because they didn't have to worry about tournament booking. They could essentially do a PWG match or more fairly a Young Bucks match. Its a quarter hour of moves and counter moves and totally delivers when it needs to. Chris Hero vs Big Van Walter - Tournament Final: 21 minutes and the match of the weekend. It seems like they saved up all weekend (?) to have a match that told a story. Or at least, a story I could get behind. Hero is looking his best ever, he's got his KO Kid persona in full swing but, Walter is this young, tank who's rolling over his opponents. Hero is the first to show weakness as he injured his hand/arm from hitting Walter in the head. Walter composes himself and methodically clobbers Hero. We're rooting for the golden locked grappler now. It was all fighting spirit chops but, now he's got a Austrian gorilla pummeling him. Of course, it ebbs and flows but, does so in a believable and logical manner. That cannot be said for many of the shows matches...and that's OK. But this is the Finals so, we better see something smart and genuinely dramatic. And we do! It's a near classic match to me. Maybe like ****1/4+ or ****1/2. It was different and not one of those move heavy, oh-shit type of matches. It was closer to something Tenryu vs Jumbo so it's weird trying to measure it against the Bucks match that happened previously. Great finish, great post match...what a final match! Well done wXw!! So now, I want to do a recap or summary since all of my other blog posts are all over the place. This match list is from Highspots. DAY ONE - FIRST ROUND MATCHES Ares vs. Matt Jackson Munenori Sawa vs. Paul Tracey *Martin Stone vs. Yuji Okabayashi- Recommended! Claudio Castagnoli vs. Johnny Kidd KAGETORA vs. Nick Jackson vs Tommy End *Erick Stevens vs. Adam Polak - Recommended! *The Switchblade Conspiracy vs. Up In Smoke -Highly recommended!! *Big Van Walter vs. Daisuke Sekimoto - Highly recommended!! Chris Hero vs. Bad Bones DAY TWO Quarter Final Match: Big Van Walter vs. Munenori Sawa *Quarter Final Match: KAGETORA vs. Erick Stevens - Recommended! *The Young Bucks vs. Up In Smoke vs. The Crimson City Saga - Recommended! *Winner faces Switchblade Conspiracy - Highly recommended!! Paul Tracey vs. Johnny Kidd *Strong BJ vs. Oberhausen Terror Corps - Highly recommended to Great!!! *Quarter Final Match: Ares vs. Claudio Castagnoli - Recommended! *Quarter Final Match: Chris Hero vs. Martin Stone - Great!!! WXW World Heavyweight Title Match - Falls Count Anywhere: Steve Douglas © vs. Absolute Andy - ~Avoid~ (As a rule, the tag matches kick ass. They delivered every outing. Going through this I realized I left off two reviews from Day #2 The Young Bucks vs. Up In Smoke vs. The Crimson City Saga. Crimson City is ZSJ and Tommy End. The Bucks win and face Switchblade Conspiracy in a 10 minute Highly recommended match.) DAY THREE *Semi-Final Match: Big Van Walter w/Terry Frazier vs. Erick Stevens - Highly Recommended!! Oberhausen Terror Corps vs. Up In Smoke Semi-Final Match: Ares vs. Chris Hero Johnny Kidd vs. Terry Frazier Claudio Castagnoli vs. KAGETORA vs. Paul Tracey vs. Tommy End *WXW World Tag Team Title Match: The Switchblade Conspiracy © vs. Strong BJ - Great!!! Zack Sabre, Jr. © vs. Munenori Sawa *Nick Jackson vs. Matt Jackson- Great!!! *2010 Finals Match: Chris Hero vs. Big Van Walter w/Terry Frazier - Classic!!!! Overall, its a great DVD set. Its not a purposeful "cream your jeans PWG BOLA" stuff circa now. Its more like 2010 PWG. Its spaced out yet, it's Indy in terms of structure and pacing for the most part. The highlighted matches are obviously better and each night is booked with longevity and endurance in mind. I like this much better. Impressions: Good: Erick Stevens, KAGETORA, Young Bucks and the tag matches in general, and Hero vs Stone & Walter. Bad: Tommy End, Ares, doing traditional British matches in this setting, the camera angles and black Glad bag canvas take some getting used to. Ugly: Absolute Andy vs Steven Douglas Meh: Claudio, Sawa Um what else? These are DVD+R so if you're interested in buying from Highspots or wherever, triple check your DVD or computer. This might be downloaded on there too, I guess. This was a really international show and totally worth a purchase especially if there's a sale. It'd be a good weekend viewing...or 5 fucking months in my case Click the wXw tags to get back my older posts if you've not read those. I've got the 2011 Tournament as well! So, that's on the horizon. In the meantime, I should have Masato Tanaka in the 2010's in a couple days. Fantasy booking moment: Tanaka vs Walter
  10. John Klinger is a German dude nicknamed Bad Bones and he looks like he could be a perfect replacement for either Karl Anderson or Luke Gallows. Ilja Dragunov is one of the craziest dudes in wrestling. Not sure he's reached Darby Allin's level of craziness yet, but he's definitely reaching it. He attempts a tope here and gets caught with a chair shot and he bleeds buckets going forward. Once he's bleeding, Klinger just goes nuts and wipes blood all over the floor and his chest. The match then gets a bit one sided and Klinger beats him up from pillar to post with some brutal looking knees and stomps to the face. Ilja gets some hope spots in, but Klinger cuts him off twice before Ilja gets a brief run before he runs with a headbutt first into a chair and then the beating continues. The finish was brutal as Klinger dropped Ilja with a nasty Omega Driver. Brutal stuff and at some points I felt it was a bit much. ***1/2
  11. For those of you who don't know: AMBITION is a pseudo-shootstyle tournament wXw runs once a year. This was very good for what it was; WALTER clubbers Cobb, Cobb throws an absolutely hellish suplex and finishes with a nasty neck crank. The problem was that it went 2 minutes. Seriously, screw wXw for that shitty booking because this could have been great. Still, that Cobb suplex has to be seen.
  12. Chris Hero and Homicide go 40 minutes in a seedy german nightclub. This was actually quite good when they stuck to matwork and basic stuff. They understood how to make their holds meaningful, and Homicide punishing Hero with stomps, kneedrops, headbutts etc. was pretty damn good. However, some of the reversal sequences they tried came across as sloppy and Hero may have oversold as he was acting dead for much of the 2nd and 3rd fall which reflected poorly on Homicide.
  13. For those of you who don't know: AMBITION is a pseudo-shootstyle tournament wXw runs once a year. This was excellent. Grappling Riddle using his legit ability is so much better than PWG style flopping around Matt Riddle. One could argue that this was a little your-turn-my-turn-ish, but fuck that. This was some real wrestling and I won't say no to that. Riddle as a highly athletic, flexible modern MMA freak vs. the carniness of Thatcher with his nasty facelocks and toeholds was great. They are smart enough to stay on the mat and deliver the focussed, high end grappling you want from a shootstyle main event. Also really liked how they built a really great, edge-of-your-seat-type finishing run while sticking to their strengths and keeping it groundbased. Riddle desperately contorting his body to avoid Thatcher's wristlock and making an awesome comeback using his ground knees is easily the highlight of his career so far. The only problem with the match was that the actual finish looked like crap, but everything up to it was fine fine wrestling.
  14. For those of you who don't know: AMBITION is a pseudo-shootstyle tournament wXw runs once per year. This was surprisingly good. Al-Ani is a talented german guy who can go on the mat, and Thatcher meant business. Al-Ani didn't do anything brilliant, but he could put up a fight against Thatcher, which was enough. Thatcher did all these neat little tricks and nasty holds. Twisting at the ankles, a nasty rolling clutch and a really painful looking grovit that he finished Al-Ani off with. This stayed on the mat and that was the right thing to do.