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Found 17 results

  1. Very good match, but not quite great. Sabre capitalizes on small mistakes from Claudio, going after his opponent's arms. The match is laid out to highlight Claudio's freakish feats of strength, and it's successful in that regard. ZSJ locked in a submission while Claudio was in the ropes, and they both spilled to the outside. Claudio casually walked up the steps while carrying Zack and dumped him back into the ring with a gnarly powerbomb. Crucially, Claudio's selling was also on-point. When Castagnoli finally lands the Giant Swing, his arm gives out on the fifth rotation and ZSJ hones in on it some more. They could've tightened things up in the final stretch, but as a whole, this was quality stuff.
  2. We get bodywork, with ZSJ targeting the neck of Shingo. The early mat work is petty and uncooperative. Things get a bit counter-heavy briefly, but every time Takagi goes for something flashy, he gets punished for it. On the outside, ZSJ delivers some nasty uppercuts to the throat of Shingo. Back inside, Zack grounds Shingo with submissions. Shingo’s selling, as always, is phenomenal. ZSJ switches things up and works over the arm to neutralize Shingo’s power advantage. Takagi goes for a Sliding Lariat but again pays for it as he gets twisted in knots. The mean-spirited Sabre shines in these control segments where he can viciously work over his opponent’s bad wheels. He’s cocky, dismissive, and a great foil for Takagi. Shingo lands a Superplex, but the damage to his neck and arm means he can’t capitalize. The counter sequences here, as with most New Japan matches, got a bit too dancey for my liking. That said, Takagi and Sabre Jr. are far from the worst offenders of this quirk of the house style, and the counters were saved for the closing stretch where they had more impact. It all circles back around to Shingo’s injuries, though. Shingo fights like mad to get out of a Rear Naked Choke, taking ZSJ to the top rope to try to break the hold, but Zack won’t relent, and Takagi taps out. I don’t think the match quite reaches the highs of their encounter from last year’s G1 Climax, but this was still quite good.
  3. I rolled my eyes when this point was mentioned in a certain match review years ago, but I'll steal it here-to me, this really felt like a real pro wrestler taking on a phony. Negro Navarro is a lucha maestro-he's changed with the times and has constantly updated his offence, but the way he'd done it and performed has stayed true to that lineage and tradition. Zack Sabre Jr. is a total hybrid. You can see he is someone fascinated with pro wrestling and wants to rip everything he likes and create this all encompassing stlyle and whatnot, but as a result his matches don't really have a specific flair, particularly outside of a context that is "indy wrestler having matches indy crowds think are great". And Sabre looking "bad" isn't something I came in expecting to think, since I've always liked him as a worker, but him working against Negro Navarro in this environment really hammered that at me over and over again. Some of it was a 60 year old man looking like he was in much better shape than Sabre. Some of it were Sabre's ridiculous facial expressions and silly vocal selling that I don't pay heed to much when he usually wrestles, which suddenly started really standing out when Navarro was just selling like people usually do in these types of matches. And some of it was that Sabre would hit Navarro with weak European Uppercuts to the chest while the fantastic impact of Navarro's chops and chest slaps made them essentially look like he was shooting a laser at Sabre. For what it was, this was very well done-I'm not sure a one off attraction match could reach the heights of a title match, but if it could this isn't one I could point to. A very fun exhibition of holds I'd recommend everyone who likes the style to seek out, but not something that's going to leave a lasting impression on me. ***1/2
  4. I have been meaning to watch this tournament for awhile now. I bought this along with the 2010 tournament so, this has been a long time coming. The box art of the DVD set features all of the participants in this year's event. It is pretty damn stacked even compared to the previous year. We have stars from ROH, Big Japan, NOAH, Independent US talent as well as European wrestlers. This 16 Carat Gold event may be the most diverse and globally representative tournament assembled in recent memory. Enough fluff! Let's get to the wrestling! Kyle O'Reilly vs Karsten Beck vs Marty Scurll vs Axeman: This 4 man match will determine who will be an alternate for the tournament. Nice to have some incentive for the guys...they surely fought like they meant it. Axeman was a nice surprise. He and Kyle have a similar style. Fast paced fun opening match. Yoshihito Sasaki vs Carnage: Sasaki is a guy who's name I've seen here and there the past decade but, never knew how he flew under my radar. I mean, I have Fire Pro Returns and don't recall seeing him. Ha! I was wrong. He's listed under the Zero-1 promotion as a low ranking wrestler. That was 2004 in Japan and in 2011 he's made his way in the world. And I have to say, damn! I was missing out. He's got a no nonsense hard hitting style that I appreciate.His opponent Carnage does as well. I remember him from 2010's shows. Very good match here and a proper way to start the tourney. Two matches in and this feels better than 2010. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Colt Cabana: Is Colt NWA champ here!? This was funny at times but, took too long to really go anywhere. This was a popcorn match to me. You'll be OK fast forwarding to the last five minutes or skipping altogether. Much like the other World of Sport style matches (not that this was exactly but, it had that feel and style) of 2010, this feels out of place next to 2010 puro style bouts. Adam Cole vs Mark Haskins: Both dudes have come a long way from here. This was a very scatterbrained Indy wrestling match. Stuff was done with little rhyme or reason. Unlike the ZSJ/Cabana match, this was relatively short and an OK watch. Go Shiozaki vs Johnny Moss: Thank goodness they got the show back on track. Fans started out pretty much behind Moss but, Go won them over with his hard hitting never say quit attitude...kinda like how Rocky won over the Russian crowd in Rocky IV. This was a very good match and the ending portion was that stuff you want from NOAH's top dog. This was another very good pairing. Big Van Walter vs Rico Bushido: Never heard of Bushido but, he reminds me of how I imagine Ricky Reyes fought and looked like in the Rottweiler days of ROH. That's probably all wrong but, I'm cool with that assumption. He was all martial art kicks and Walter put him down after a few power moves. Short and unoffensive match. I have nothing against so-so matches but, at least make them short like this match. Davey Richards vs Jon Ryan: Ryan has no chance in hell beating Davey...just by the looks of him. But to Davey's credit he gave a lot to J.R. He got some heel moves in and was able to fight Richards and be a credible opponent. So, don't let his cheesy ring gear and physique fool you! I really thought an upset might happen. Another very good match. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End: This was an intense, fast, hate filled match. These guys were wXw regulars and this must have had some back story to it. You don't need to know it though. These dudes were aiming to maul each other. Tommy End is much improved since 2010 and Sami has gotten even better. The best bout so far! Great match with a fantastically aggressive submission finish. Yes! Kotaro Suzuki vs El Generico: This is a pretty high profile match for 2011. It's like an unofficial Best of the Super Jrs. match. It had lots of good action that kept the excitement and drama going. Who would win? Generico is a mega star in indy wrestling and Kotaro is GHC Jr. champ...every nearfall felt like the one that would do it. They both have so many tricks in the bag so, the end was always in doubt. Great match. As good or better than the previous bout for sure. A sweet way to end day one!! Wait...that wasn't the main event? Daisuke Sekimoto vs Bad Bones (wXw Hvywt. Championship match): This is like the cherry on top of a sundae. It starts of slow but, gets action packed as the match progresses. The last few minutes made a big difference as this was scratching at great match territory. Reminded me of the Hayabusa/Tanaka era FMW matches. Very good match overall...like ***3/4 territory. Then we get a very enjoyable post match with Bones and Johnny Moss comes out to challenge Daisuke. Very psyched to see Night 2! This was a heck of night of wrestling. This was much better than I remember the 2010 Night #1 being. Each match that I enjoyed delivered the excitement and entertainment that I was hoping for. Not one wrestler in those matches dogged it and in many cases they went above and beyond to have the best match they could. If they can keep it up then, this might be one helluva ride. Thank you for reading!
  5. I have clearly been on a Ring of Honor kick lately. Having a grip of clearance DVDs will do that to a fellow! Young Bucks vs reDRagon (05/17/14 - War of the Worlds 2014): These two teams work very well together and here is another damn fine example. MMA'er Tom Lawlor (Filthy to you!) is seconding Fish & O'Reilly. He adds credibility to the DRagons and plays a really fun role especially early on. The Bucks are their usual selves and never slow down more than they have to. It works very well here because the match has a real sense of urgency from the get-go. It may be a shorter match but, it completely works in their favor. The Hammerstein crowd was sedate but, even they into got into it at the end. A quintessential ROH tag match and a near classic tag title bout. Shoot, O'Reilly's combo at the end was worth the time and money alone...die Bucks die! ;P Its crazy to realize that Fish & O'Reilly are in NXT and the Bucks are doing AEW. Despite losing the talent, they will push on. That's something Jay Lethal made a point of to Sam Roberts in an interview. I thought that was a great point. Case in point, ROH episode #382 from 01/11/19. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tracey Williams: 12 minutes of stiff hitting and snug grappling. There was only one or two throws/drops the entire match. There was a Death Valley Driver that would make Etsuko Mita proud. I could say that it probably didn't belong in the middle of the match but, this was more like a BattlARTS match than your standard bout. It was a move of desperation rather than going for a 'finisher.' Speaking of a finish, this one really felt great especially with the in ring story. It was all toe hold and arms in this heated, fast, physical bout. A great match! Briscoe Brothers vs So Cal Uncensored (Kaz & Scorpio Sky): Here we have a rematch from Final Battle and this was awesome. I would expect no less from these two veteran teams. I think I like Scorpio the best with Kaz at this point because he throws a little bit of 'believability' in there with his jumping knee strikes. Anyhow, this match really had everything including a fun ref bump with Tod Sinclair. I can't believe that we essentially got a PPV/Big show match on free TV. Cheers dudes! Great match. There was also a fair women's tag match but, I just wasn't feeling it especially since I did not care of the teams (watched Klein vs Rose Street fight at Honor Reigns Supreme instead). But other than that, this was an awesome show! Now, I believe that the entirety of SCU is heading to AEW but, hey it is all good. It's not like it's been the first time and I'm sure they'll be welcomed back if the time comes. Dem Boys remain along with Taven's Kingdom, Dalton Castle, and it would be fantastic to see Zack & Williams in a regular capacity mix it up with them, Jeff Cobb, Marty, Lethal et al. They could put on some really great feuds as well as elevate other guys like Silas Young & Gresham who I think ROH wants to get behind in a big way. And that doesn't even begin to tackle the new talent they've signed like PCO, Bandido, Lee and the like. Very excited to see what ROH does in 2019. It seems most people like to shit on it nowadays but, I think it's a really fun company. Sure it doesn't look like it did in 2014 or even 2018 but, history shows that it may be for the best! Thanks for your time!!!
  6. 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.
  7. This was whatever. Opening was pretty boring with them doing uninteresting takes on basic holds, I've seen enough arm wingers for a lifetime, nothing Chris Hero does with them makes me want to see more. Commentary compared Tommy End to a K1 kickboxer, I don't remember ever seeing Peter Aerts do sound effect kicks. The sequence with End and Sabre Jr. avoiding each other's kicks was more eye-rolling than any of the recently debated flip GIFs and the one man Magic Killer was the type of embarrassing indy nonsense I'd expect out of Davey Richards. The Sabre in peril portion wasn't particularly interesting and all the striking quickly got repetitive. They kicked it up a notch for the finish with their puro cosplay strike exchanges but then the match just went on and on and on. I'm not really familiar with how Evolve matches are structured so it is not a good sign they couldn't get me to bite on any of the nearfalls. The idea of Tommy End, this great faux kickboxer doing Moonsaults could be explained as an Otsuka-tribute but it was much closer to a very bad Koji Kanemoto tribute. I don't really have anything nice to say about this match. It wasn't very interesting to me sorry (I did pop for the D'Lo Brown namedrop on commentary). Chris Hero has a nice Piledriver I guess. **
  8. Pretty great performance by Sabre and a not so great one by Ospreay. I've tried to but I just can't like to guy. He'll drop selling in order to move on to the next MOVE all the time, the selling he actually does doesn't look convincing and doesn't last long enough and his shit just isn't impressive. It doesn't look good. He's good at jumping around but not good at incorporating his leaping ability into creating good pro wrestling sequences and moves. Chad compared him to a young AJ Styles in his article-I couldn't disagree more. I think young AJ Styles actually had a really good basic sense of pro wrestlng, certainly a million times better one than Ospreay. I'm sure Ospreay would be better if he watched a bunch of Ohtani tapes and went to work southern indies for three years. Half of his offence just looks ridiculously bad and the other half I've seen done better by any number of CMLL guys. I imagine people would be losing their shit for Triton if he was british, signed by New Japan and looked good in a suit. Anyway. Onto Sabre and how he made this match good. He totally carried Ospreay on the mat (hardly surprising). Sabre is so much better than the catch point guys it's ridiculous, a Gulak or Tracy Williams may use a forearm during a hold to remain in control but they do it without any purpose and it doesn't add to the match like it does in a Finlay or Regal one. Sabre will also do something similar like step on Ospreay's hand for a transition, and will both give the move meaning by doing so and milk it out more. Furthermore he has so many escapes that he can basically have Ospreay slap on a wirstlock and work a whole segment AROUND Ospreay. He may not be at that Billy Robinson level where he's reversing all his own submissions and making it seem like Jumbo knows how to work but he did do the next best thing in making the narrative of the match fit him releasing Ospreay from holds. He busted out some really neat suplex counters to Ospreay's flips as well. ***1/2
  9. I'd like to see Riddle's strenghts used in the manner a Battlarts-esque style would use them, or see him work as a shootish base in matches that would be worked like New Japan vs UWFi, but since that just isn't going to happen since most Evolve guys aren't good or creative enough for that I'll gladly take him vs. a charismatic showman like Zack Sabre Jr. This was more Sabre's match than Riddle's, Sabre did a great job of selling the threat of Riddle's submissions and I like the way Riddle countered Sabre's flashy submissions with simple and logical counters many wrestlers don't even see are there for the taking due to bubble they're used of thinking in. This may sound like a weird comparison but the way Riddle executes Suplexes reminds me of Buzz Sawyer, he'd also jump and hit moves with the same intensity Riddle does. This was worked in a similar vein to a lucha title match and I enjoyed it a lot. ***1/2
  10. I have to say I was was surprised by how much I disliked the first Sabre Jr./Callihan tag, I was more expecting Evolve matches to be good but a bit dry and not kind of shit like that one was. This was a much better and more interesting match, I liked that they utilized the format of tag matches to do cool stuff like Sabre pushing TJP back into the ring after his fake dive and Gulak pushing Callihan off the top rope when had TJP in the "ten punches" position. The most interesting thing in the match by far were Zack Sabre Jr.'s flashy matwork sequences. Callihan and TJP didn't do much memorable and Gulak seems like someone whose ideas about pro wrestling are much closer to great wrestling than the wrestling he actually does, it's cool he does Finlay spots but becoming a great wrestler isn't that easy. I wish Sabre would drop his elaborate Kimura set-up. The double submission spots seem to always get a pop but much like in puro from where they ripped it don't seem to ever finish matches. ***
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