Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SUPERBRAWL VIII, half hearted review.

Upon a request for some good Booker T matches, I was told to check out his work on SuperBrawl VIII. I checked out the card and decided to watch the whole damn thing. I'll say right now I was not a WCW fan. I didn't watch a lot of it, as I've been firmly a part of McMahon Church nearly my whole life. Anything else was practically heresy to watch.
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WCW SuperBrawl VIII
February 22, 1998
The Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA
Gate: 12,620

TELEVISION TITLE MATCH
Booker T vs. Rick Martel
There are really two things I remember about the little WCW I watched. One was Booker T's work with the TV title, facing guys like Martel and Benoit. The other was Chris Jericho vs. Anybody. This match was hella good. The back story was Booker and Saturn were supposed to face off for the title but Martel won it. So now Booker is getting a rematch with the winner facing Perry Saturn later in the SAME NIGHT. Doesn't favor the champion which is kind of lame but makes for an exciting scenario. They get a lot of time and it's a really really great build. The audiences is definitely down with the whole affair and make it a much better experience. Honestly Rick Martel is probably one of the best dance partners Booker could ever have and seemed like they could have had so many more matches better than this.

Apparently Martel ripped his MCL in this match and they called an audible for Booker to win. Sadly this would be the beginning of the end for Martel as he'd come back from this only to be injured again with Stevie Ray, and then retiring. Still a damn classy match that should be checked out by anyone.

TELEVISION TITLE MATCH
Booker T vs. Perry Saturn
Perry comes in and immediately locks in the Rings of Saturn which is a favorite sub of mine. The match hasn't started yet officially so the ref tells him to break the hold. The match starts after that and Booker gets it taken to him for a while. There's something really weird about Perry Saturn. He just has a bizarre arsenal. Big power throws and weird dives, like the spring board splash off the middle rope to a prone Booker T. And oddly it got little reaction. Neither did the Lionsault style moonsault he did to a standing Booker. Just randomly doing moves. Booker gets it handed to him for a long time and the crowd seemed to be less into it as it went on. Booker some how nails a spin kick for the win and retains his newly won title. Not as good as the first match, but not awful really. Just not memorable.

Disco Inferno vs. La Parka
Not good at all. La Parka made fun of Disco a lot. The finish came after the ref got thumbed in the eye. Parka brought in a chair and set Disco in it. He went up top to do something but Disco got up. By this time the ref was fine and just allowed the chair to sit there despite seeing Disco sitting in a chair. Disco tossed La Parka from top rope onto the sitting chair and then finished him with the Chart Buster. The ref of course removed the chair before counting. Lame.

Bill Goldberg vs. Brad Armstrong
Goldberg beat up Armstrong real good.

MASK VS. TITLE
Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
Nifty little match but certainly not one of early Jericho's best. They both work well together and I really wish Juvi's last run with the WWE worked out, as a reprise of them could have done well much like Jericho and Rey's recent feud. One of the big shockers of the match was Juvi's 450 didn't put Jericho away as he was able to grab the bottom rope. I like little details like that, as it shows that the moves doesn't always translate into a win since the opponent is position so close in order for it to hit. Tenay was selling loss of a mask as practically instant death to a wrestler's career. Worth checking out as for the historical nature, but it's not really near the best of either guy. And they'd have a much better match at Road Wild in August of the same year.

The British Bulldog vs. Mongo McMichael.
Not as bad as you'd think it would be. Bulldog looked very out of it, as was probably the case. At one point he put on an awful Sharpshooter as a shot out to his buddy Bret coming to the company. Mongo eventually was put into an armbar. He didn't actually give up or tap out, the ref just called it. WEIRD. He even got up and said he didn't give up. The announcers acknowledged it too. Could have been a story development in reference to Hart coming from the WWE post Montreal, but it feels doubtful as no one seemed committed to it as storyline.

UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit.
This is the first time I've watched Benoit since the tragedy I think. It's weird. The match is pretty good as Benoit brought a great game plan. Sometimes I'm able to watch it as just another match, but anytime the camera closes up on Benoit's face I come back to reality. Page ain't down with selling the arm that Benoit spends nearly the whole time working on but just acts generally worn out. The Diamond Cutter spot was nice and Benoit sold it like Tyson just had a free shot at him. Page retains in a good match, if you can sit through it.

NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
Lex Luger vs. Macho Man Randy Savage.
Not very good at all. I couldn't tell you what the point of it all was but neither guy looked really interested in being there. Luger especially. Lex got Macho up for the rack and Elizabeth interfered. Then the NWO came down annnnnnnd attacked both guys. Hogan came down called the troops off, while Luger locked on another Rack for the win. Then they all walked away.

WORLD TAG TITLE MATCH
The Steiners vs. The Outsiders
They kind of telegraphed the turn of Scott especially Bobby Heenan. Scott had a good look of concern that could have been taken as focus on his tough opponents. But Heenan was like, "Hey, did you see that Scott didn't talk to Dibiase....HMMMMM....I wonder...." Heenan is just too damned smart I guess. Anyway Scott turned on Rick and the Outsiders finish him off for the win.

WORLD TITLE MATCH
Sting vs. Hulk Hogan
Pretty fun match actually with a weird flaw. Charlie Robinson admonished Hogan for holding onto the ropes while Sting had him in the Deathlock, which was the stupidest thing ever. He actually kicked his hand away and said, "You gotta let go." He said nothing to Sting for holding onto the ropes. Hogan acted like Charlie Robinson's kick hurt his hand and while Robinson was checking on him Sting just splashed both of them in the corner. I mean Hogan didn't even have to pull the guy in. So Sting looked like a dick. Robinson is out so this brings out Nick Patrick who may or may not be in the NWO's pocket. We quickly realize the answer is "NOT" as he played it down the middle much to the chagrin of Hogan, who said, "But it's me...HOLLYWOOD." Loved that. Eventually Nick Patrick got bumped and the NWO came down but were fended off by Stinger. Macho came down to and nailed Hogan with a spray can and left it there. Sting made the cover and Patrick counted him down. Sting then picked up the spray can, and Patrick lifted the hand holding it in victory. I've seen matches reversed with less evidence than this. Anyway, Sting became the champ and spray painted WCW on Hogan's belly. GO HOME!

Despite the really bum over booking that protected Hogan, who needs ZERO protection, even at this point in his career. Still it was fun to watch. Hogan is a great heel and Sting's come backs were rocking the joint.

OVERALL SHOW: Booker/Martel was the best match. The rest of the card can be hit or miss. And if you look at it you can probably tell where the misses are. HINT: Disco Inferno.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2 New REVIEWS

I have two BRAND SPANKIN' NEW reviews posted over the amazing Puroresu Central. One is for a ZeroOne show that aired early this year and the other is for IGF GENOME9 which was but a few weeks ago. Sadly the Genome 9 show didn't provide me with any cool footage to share like the Jon Andersen toss or Takayama breaking out a U Can't C Me. But it was still a bizarre train wreck. The ZeroOne show was fun and featured a HELLACIOUS top rope dropkick in the SUN match, that I highly suggest looking at. Those broads were tough as nails. Anyway, check out Puroresu Central, Kevin has an amazing site that is an amazing resource for knowing who is is who in puroresu.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

DRAGON GATE USA: OPEN THE UNTOUCHABLE GATE

Getting There:
So I'm an actor and it just so happens that I had a matinee that usually would end at 4:30. Somehow we were able to shave 7 minutes off the performance without really sacrificing anything. It actually felt really long, but I think that's because I wanted to be at the Congress Theater. Also, in some kind of crazy fate, the theater I was performing at was just a hop skip and a jump away, so with my wife sitting out side with the car ready to go, I was able to get to the venue in time to just see JR and Jerry Lawler from a distance. Sometimes it's just cool to look. They didn't have too many folks at their table, but I was running late and a lot of folks were in their seats already awaiting the FRAY! I ran over to the Dragon Gate table and got Naruki Doi's autograph on a sexy little 8x10. He's a pretty warm guy and was all smiles. I passed up Ryo Saito and Genki Horiguchi, because my plan was to only spend 20 bucks, and ten of that was going to Bryan Danielson at intermission. So instead of the Twin Gate champs I got SHINGO's autograph and he was looking pretty intense. Pretty shocked to see he had shaved off his awesome hair. Despite seeing the pic online earlier.

I refrained from yelling "SOONER SEASON IS OVAH...OW OW MY ARM!" at Jim Ross and went to my seat, which was awesome because a) it was close and b) the seat next to it would remain empty. YES.

FRAY!

Johnny Gargano vs. Flip Kendrick vs. Hallowicked vs. Arik Cannon vs. Shima Xion vs. The Great Malaki vs. Sheik Mustafa Ali vs. Louis Lyndon

Canon and Hallowicked started things off. Arik Cannon was rocking some chops early on that were getting people into him. Really popping them off. He's not the best looking cat by a long shot but he was pretty impressive in terms of keeping up with guys who looked to be so much better shape. He was good base, but he didn't just stand around and let people flip around, dude was moving pretty good too.

Shima Xion was pretty forgettable to me. He did a ridiculous jump to the outside that looked like 630? This kid a row ahead of me went "SHIMA SHIMA" to try and get it going and when he notcied no body else was getting into it he went ."No one cares." Which was pretty honest. I mean it was an a amazing jump but he didn't stand out doing anything else. Of course he did get eliminated pretty soon after wards.

Sheik Mustafa Ali was okay. He was getting immediate heat just for being not-American. Cracked people up when before he did a jump off the top rope he yelled "JIHAD!" Funny.

Louis Lyndon may be my new favorite thing in the world. He's a black dude with a Kung Fu gimmick. His facial stuff was too funny and he was really solid. Just a really entertaining guy.

The Great Malaki is apparently apart of some dark arts cult stable. He's a got a cool broad and sinister little dude in a suit. He was memorable because before he came in THEY SET HIS HANDS ON FIRE. He then made his way down the aisle and into the ring with FLAMING HANDS. Great stuff. Don't remember him doing much else though.

Flip Kendrick was not particularly good. He did a whole bunch of flips and was trying to do some flips to counter something Hallowicked was doing but then H'wicked stopped doing anything and just stared at him while Flip flipped himself to the ground. H'wicked then just reached down and grabbed him to beat on him so more.

Johnny Gargano was getting heat just for having a scrunchy in his hair. Whatever works. He and Hallowicked were last and had a fun finishing stretch. Garagano wins and comes out looking pretty good. I'll have to go to a AAW show when I get a chance.
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PPV Started and we opened with:
Masato Yoshino vs. Dragon Kid
I'm pretty pro Yoshino and I was lucky to be around some others were also pro Yoshino. Dragon Kid seemed to be over with more of the crowd. This match was pretty great. They moved pretty fast as usual without a lot of down time. Anytime DG guys get into singles I get a little worried, but they were working with maybe fifteen minutes which would probably be the sweet spot for these two. As the match went on more people started getting behind Yoshino. Especially after Kid attacked him as he was stepping through the ropes. People started booing and Kid was like, "No, no, it's okay." Hilarious.
DK's Deja-Vu is pretty damn rad to see live, and has some nasty, nasty slaps. Dragon Kid picked up a surprise win with his Crucifix roll-up. I thought for sure Yoshino would get his win back. After the match was over Kid once again offered his hand and Yoshino blew him off. There wasn't much here that I hadn't already seen them do, but even with them not busting out some of their sicker stuff, it ended up being my 2nd favorite match of the night

Gran Akuma and YAMATO vs. Mike Quakenbush and Jigsaw.
The story hear is the CHIKARA/Dragon Gate rivalry with Akuma deciding to side with Yamato despite being a CHIKARA guy. Quack being opposite YAMATO is grand. YAMATO was just a total dick the whole time being smarmy and sleazy. Akuma looked okay, him and YAMATO seemed a little off in their double team efforts. Jigsaw basically got beat on a lot, having his leg worked on pretty hard. Quack got the hot tag and towards the end Jigsaw tried to get Akuma up for a Doomsday device of some sort but his legs gave way and he just held him up on his knees. It actually worked out just fine, and if it wasn't on purpose, it worked in the context of the match, since his leg was in rough shape. Quackenbush also had some pretty funny comedy defense like squatting down on YAMATO's rear foot as YAMATO tried to irish whip and then just shaking his head.
Quakenbush gets the win hitting some kind crazy piledriver. It's like the same one that broke Austin's neck, but before he drops he grabbed Akuma's legs and bent them behind his(Akuma's) back. I was watching it from the side and it looked like Akuma's head was way out. I hope he's alright because I watched him lay there and go "Oh my god" and try to move his left arm. It looked legit but who knows, maybe he had me fooled.

Young Bucks Promo
The Bucks came out to some fanfare. They said that they demanded Genki and Saito to put up the titles in their match later tonight. Apparently it's non-title. Then we heard "Well, well, well, Did somebody say....JIMMY JACOBS." And Jimmy Jacobs showed upto some cheers, but immediately afterwards was booed because everyone remembered it was Jimmy Jacobs. He basically tried to recruit The Bucks to his new squad which right now features Sheik Mustafa Ali. He said he could make them into stars. Bucks told him no and they brawled. Genki and Ryo came in to work over the challengers too. Was wondering if Jacobs would get involved since he's also apart of AAW shows. Still not a fan of The Young Bucks.

Bryan Danielson vs. Naruki Doi

I actually didn't like this as much as I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty damn cool, and Danielson is amazing to watch. He just does a lot of little things that I wonder if they'll be there when he moves to the WWE. Certainly a fierce guy who did some amazing arm work, that may be worth the price of the DVD alone. I mean he was doing things that looked unreal to Doi's arm. Doi was a solid trooper and carried his end of the match. Dude took some pretty hard shots and dished out a couple too. There was one that the people around me werel pretty sure knocked one of Danielson's teeth out. Doi didn't do much selling of the arm, which set this back for me. I have limits and this one just went past it by a little bit.

After the match Danielson gave some thanks and said that he wanted to be replaced as the Best in the World, by another indy wrestler, since he thinks he won't be able to be that guy anymore. Which was interesting to hear. He also said he believes that the new man to take up the mantle will be Davey Richards. Plenty of cheers, a few boos. Then we all sing Final Countdown to him. Bryan walked around the ring and shook hands with everyone. There was a kid in the front row and it was cool to see some one who looks so crazy in the ring become instantly funny and warm around the kids. Class guy. I'm so glad I got to see him live in this type of setting.
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INTERMISSION
So no, I didn't get Bryan Danielson's autograph. That line was crazy. Actually I had gotten in the line early on, and thought it was the wrong line because I couldn't see where it lead to. So I went around and realized I was indeed in the right line. So when I got back the line had doubled. Which sucks, but whatever, YAMATO, Yoshino, and Dragon Kid were signing pics so I got YAMATO and Yoshino autographs too. Totally a fair trade I say. Before the show picked up again some dude started to yell "CENA SUCKS". Some people chanted with him, I was confused.
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CIMA vs. Brian Kendrick

So at one point Kendrick gets his head tucked under the middle turnbuckle and his arms wrapped around the middle ropes. CIMA then starts spanking that ass and starts to act like he is about to sodomize Kendrick. Hilarious. Some folks in the crowd were just plain confused, but I found it pretty funny. The match actually felt a lot like WWE kind of pacing and style. Spanky did an amazing bump for CIMA's backcracker. Kendrick did a complete back flip off of CIMA's knees instead of just taking it flat backed. Coolest bump for that move I've ever seen. CIMA eventually just dropped the hell out of Kendrick and nailed him with a gorgeous METEORA. Love that move. Overall it was pretty solid though a little underhwleming. CIMA is crazy energetic though and made me forget that he was one of my least favorite guys in Dragon Gate last year.

SHINGO vs. Davey Richards
First things first. Davey Richards is goofy ripped. I don't seem to recall him looking that jacked before but I don't watch a lot of his stuff. I mean it was like looking at Benoit or Dynamite Kid. Little dude with what just looked like mounds of mucsles stuffed into his skin. Shingo was rocking a new hair cut which made me sad. Thanks to Bryan Danielson everyone was pretty pro Davey and chanting stuff like "NEXT BEST IN THE WORLD" which is a mouthful.

So yeah, this match was amazing. Amazing. Certainly the match of the night. Will probably get some MOTY talk once it becomes more readily available. I mean these dudes were dropping some bombs. At one point Davey wrapped Shingo's arm around the guardrail directly in front of this little girl, who I was two rows behind. The dad was like, "maybe we should scoot you back." Davey then ran and kicked Shingo's arm and broke the top bar of the guardrail. The daughter was all grins. She'll remember that stuff. Davey busted out another nasty dive when he did a front flip into the crowd. I thought he nailed his neck on the guardrail but all was okay. It was so cool watching Shingo pull the guardrail as a sign for, if there's anyone behind this, you may want to move. Everyone just looked at eachother and was like "Oh crap, and scrambled to make room for Air Davey. Dude was certainly trying to earn that title of Best in the World.

Eventually after some amazing amazing work and plenty of nearfalls, he hit the SSP and when Shingo kicked out, Davey locked him in the Kimura for the tap out. Great stuff. Great ending as Davey had been busting on the arm the whole time. Shingo was the man, and I was sad to see him lose. At one point during the match we made I contact and I was like "C'mon man, let's go," and it felt like he saw it. Kind a neat. Anyways, great match, and will certainly sell this disc.

After the match Davey, showed some respect to Shingo, and then thanked the audience, except for one "dickhead", and he pointed at that one joker that was doing the CENA SUCKS chants earlier. HILARIOUS. He then called for Bryan to come back out and talk to him face to face. Danielson came out and Davey said thanks for the kind words, and that he really wanted to show him how much he appreciated - KICK TO THE FACE. SURPRISE!!!! Davey heels it up on AmDrag and tells us that he doesn't need his endorsement and that he would become the first Open the Freedom Gate Champion....BEST IN THE WORLD. Great stuff. After wards, those same fools that were chanting "Next Best in the World" started chanting "You Still Suck."


MAIN EVENT
Non-title match
The Young Bucks vs. Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito(Open the Twin Gate Champions)

I don't know The Young Bucks names. No joke. there's a blonde one and a brunette.
Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito were freaking amazing heels. I mean they were just spitting and telling people to shut up. It was great. Genki cleared out a couple of rows of seas right next to me and suplexed the Blonde Buck onto the chairs. Me and a couple of guys cheered for him, and when we did he acted like he was going to beat us up. GREAT.
The three cats in front of me were shouting and booing Genki and Ryo. So they started feeding us some attention. At one point I started yelling some Japanese stuff I've been picking up at Ryo and he looked at me and started yelling right back. So we were all yelling at him and then he looked me in the eyes and spit at me. AMAZING.
The Bucks started takining turns doing double axe handles smashes to Genki's arm and then eventually grabbed Genki's pony-tail and started doing double axe handles from the middle rope on that. Funny stuff. Despite all the unique and atheltic double teams and dives, I wasn't too impressed with The Bucks. Felt like a lot of really good flash, but not enough substance. The Blonde One ended up super kicking the ref, which looked pretty nasty. They hit their 450/Moonsault combo but no one was able to count. Genki rolled in and nailed the Brunnette with BLUE MIST!!! Ryo hit him with one of his finishes and the ref was awake enough to count to three. Fun Match. Next time I will get Genki Horiguchi's autograph and tell him he is my new number one.
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So as I'm leaving some of those people in the first two rows left their THUNDERSTIX, so I got me a pair for free. I then helped a cat to to the Blue Line as I walked home and we talked about how goofy ripped Richards was. My wife was up I told her all the awesome details and we played TRIBUNE which I won. It was like a weird version of Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day" video.