Sunday, January 31, 2010

3XW Clobberpalooza Classic II - September 18, 2009

3XW Clobberpalooza Classic II - September 18, 2009

3XW is nifty little indy that has an awesome amount of stuff online that you can peruse. They're a different style than some of the other indies you've seen. Most of them out there are bastardized strong style kickpad wrestling, or dudes falling off of ladders for five bucks. These folks offer a more family oriented fare and try to put more emphasis on stories in the ring. I've seen a couple of matches, one of which I reviewed not too long ago. Anyway, I have a complete show from them, so I can get a better idea of how they put on a complete package as opposed to seeing the matches they cherry pick for the interwebs. I don't think they'll disappoint, but....who knows.

Triple Threat Match
"Torturous" Tony Sly vs. "Delicious" Devin Carter vs. Rory Fox


This was supposed to be a singles match, but it was turned into a three way with the introduction of 3XW's new acquisition: Rory Fox. It takes a while for this one to get smooth. I don't think 3-ways are particularly these guys strong suits, at least beginning a 3-way. They don't do too much of the double teaming early on to create a a one-on-one scenario, so instead you get one guy going, "Nah, you guys go ahead and beat each other up while I watch." It's kind of funny, but they don't make a big deal of it, which is unfortunate. Once everybody gets involved it gets a little better. There is one point near the tail end where Tony Sly and Devin Carter "trade punches". Devin Carter's punches are him flicking his wrist at Tony's stomach, kind of like when you "sack tap" a friend. You know what I'm talking about right. Anyway, not so great with the punchin'. Rory nails a great surprise cross body on Devin that gets him practically in the face and wins. Rory kind of cracks me up He kind of looks like a smaller Lex Luger but goofy. But goofy on purpose. Not goofy on accident. You know. Like Lex Luger.

The Gentleman's Club (Mark Sterling & Gage Octane)
w/Todd Countryman
vs.
Horndogs (Maddog Mcdowell & Krotch)


God I've seen more of Krotch than I would like recently. I can't stand names like Krotch, and his pelvis thrusts. But I'll be damned if that guy isn't goofy over. I recently watched him in an AAW match, and they ate it up. Hell, he might be more over in 3XW. It's ridiculous. And now upon further look, I'm starting to notice that he's really good at his job. Sure he does the goofy stuff like hump your shoulder when he's working over your arm, but that's to get the crowd on his side before he takes a great beating. And that's where he shines. Krotch gets beat up real good. And when he's trying to make a comeback he starts poppin' that pelvis, and the crowd loves it. It's not my kind of deal but, whatever, the audience loves it. So what do I know. Nothin'.

Sterling is a pretty solid. I can see why they paired him up with the much more outgoing Octane, but for whatever reason the pair doesn't work for me. Sterling looks and works like a solid professional and he seems like a guy that should be just working on his own and making a name for himself.

The match is pretty good. It's nothing to spectacular, but they work a good formula and get great responses from the crowd. I think I probably would have liked this better live.

3XW Cruiserweight Championship
Casanova vs. "Rockstar" Jimmy Rockwell (c)

So the story here is Jimmy Rockwell is about to tie Casanova's reign of 15 months IF he can win this match...against the record holder himself. Casanova is pretty interesting. He's certainly nothing like what you'd expect by that name or weight class. He kind of looks like a short Rick Steiner, and he puts his hands behind his head like he's going to do a hip swivel but he just sways from side to side, like an old man. Cracks me up.

There seems to be a little mis-communication early on when they're running the ropes, but they don't fall apart, they slow it down a hair to get back on point and put their foot back on the accelerator.

Once it slows down, Casanova keeps everything interesting with his offense. It's not a bunch of crazy moves, but what he does do, he does well. My only complaint would be that when he does have a guy in a side headlock or a body scissors, he doesn't make it look very strenuous. It's kind of like he's just laying on him. There's nothing dynamic about it. It looks fine, but if he were to maybe ramp up the intensity just a hair, he'd be someone I'd look forward to checking out.

I honestly can't remember much about Jimmy Rockwell. He didn't seem nearly as engaging as Krotch(help me). I'm not saying he needs to start shaking his balls to get me interested, but I don't feel like I know anything about him from watching this match. He's not a jobber, because he held the title for 14 months, but he didn't feel like a star.

3XW Tag Team Championship
Shiek Abdul Bashir & Arya Daivari
vs.
High Flyers (Mike Sydal & "Unbreakable" Zach Thompson(c)


You know Abdul Bashir from TNA, he also was Muhammed Hassan's lil' buddy Daivari in the WWE. He's goofy jacked up. I mean, a monster. Can't even put his arms down, big.
This is a quicker paced match than any of the others so far. Sydal and Zach Thompson like to move. I would have to say that between the two, Thompson seems like he knows where he's going more than Sydal does.
Really, in my opinion, the guy with the most upside in this match is Arya Daivari. At least from an in-ring perspective. I don't know if he's got the talkin' skills that his brother does, but he moves well, and just has a cleaner offense than most of the people that's been on the show so far. Abdul Bashir has reached that point where his frame is starting to hinder his movement. His punches are coming around very well, and he's just starting to look a little sluggish. Kind of like when Triple H came back from that first quad tear.

Pretty nifty match though, everyone works hard and the crowd is certainly down for it.

Sexy & Smooth (AJ Smooth & "Canadian Sex Icon" Ryan Slade)
vs.
"Right Price" Aaron Masterson & "Laotian Sensation" Ricky Kwong

I actually reviewed this match by itself a while back, becuse it's up on the YouTubes. My opinion hasn't changed much from that. I can say that having watched the rest of the show and gotten an idea of the roster, I'd be interested in a High Flyers/Sexy&Smooth tag match. Oh and Aaron Masterson is awesome.

3XW Heavyweight Championship
Al Snow vs. "Rebel" Jeremy Wyatt (c)


Well, here's the good news. Al Snow is still in very good shape. The bad news is that he stalls with Head FOREVER. And it's not like he does a bunch of different stuff. He acts like he's going to bring it in, the ref says, "Uh, duh, no." and Al Snow says, okay...and then tries to come in anyway. Repeat. Repeat. It's funny at first and it's totally in line with what you'd expect. But for a second you think it's not going to end. That any minute now, the match will end because Al Snow keeps wanting to bring in Head.

Once the wrestling starts, Al brings it though. I don't know if Wyatt mucked up or what, but Al looks like nails some Vader looking hooks on the guy. I'd also suggest that every single guy that used a punch in his match grab Al Snow and ask him how he throws his. It's not the greatest punch in the world, but it looks HEAD and shoulders above anyone else on the 3XW's roster. And maybe their punches look okay from the crowd, but when that camera is up in there, it gets exposed big time. Al's punch is solid, has a good snap, and plays well for the camera and for the people in the back. Did I say, Al clubs the shit out of Jeremy Wyatt, because he does, and looks angry.

Wyatt is Da Champ, and I think he holds that position because he's really good at being hated. His in-ring stuff is hit or miss. Outside the ring, he carries himself like a star, inside the ring, not as well. Snow bounces around for him and tries to make him look like a dangerous guy, but I didn't buy it so much. He didn't seem more cunning or more vicious to have so much control. It kind of felt more like Snow was giving it to him then he was taking it.

It's not an awful match once it gets going though. We've seen much worse. The finish is a little weak for me, but I won't ruin it for you because I think you should at least check it out for yourself.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
3XW puts on a pretty good show. Their production values are pretty good for a small indy. They got a couple of cameras, one is around the ringside and the other is up high and wide. I think some of the shots kind of expose weaker looking offense, but maybe that's a good thing to motivate some of the guys to get better. They got a couple of guys that are pretty damn solid and some guys that just need a little something extra to make this a great indy to keep up with. It kind of reminds me of the old USWA tv show in terms of in-ring product. It's not as good, of course, because those guys were legends, but it's not a crappy imitation either. It'll be interesting to see how much better these guys will get, because they seem to have the right idea.

If you want to learn more about 3XW and go to their website: HERE They got cheap DVDs (in price, not quality) and some videos of whole matches to entice you into buying those DVDs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

DRAGON GATE USA: FEARLESS 1/23/2010

GETTING TO CONGRESS THEATRE
On the walk over to the Congress, I went over the matches and the back story to them with my wife. We'd been hyping this show all week by watching Dragon Gate shows including the last year's Kobe show where Doi wrestled CIMA. Dragon Gate USA would be her second live wrestling experience, her first being WWE Judgment Day last year. Of course Indy wrestling is a different beast altogether, and I was really interested in how she'd react to that kind of atmosphere. As we get closer to the venue she says: “We should Have gotten streamers.” Awesome.

We got to the Congress Theatre a little after six, in time to catch the bonus matches. There weren't any wrestlers signing before the show this time, but your usually gimmickry was abound. Including a local mask shop that had a huge array of Lucha masks. There was some pretty cool items including some nifty Rey Mysterio Jr. masks, like that jet black one or the one with the devil horns.

Inside the arena, I find out that they had changed the section names and that Section A is the one opposite the hard camera as opposed to the section to the left of the entrance way like last time.. Our seats were third row dead center of the ring. Pretty cool. Not long after we sat down the bonus matches began.

BONUS MATCH #1
6 Man Elimination:
KYLE O'REILLY, ARIK CANNON, JOHNNY GARGANO, LINCE DORADO, BRAD ALLEN, AND JOHNNY MOXLEY


Kyle O'Reilly seemed to have quite a few fans. I had no idea who he was. Actually the only guys I knew from this were Cannon, Gargano, and Lince. The minute Lince showed up, some guy near by yelled “I HATE YOU LINCE.” I didn't believe him. Johnny Moxley was eliminated first because Brian Kendrick ran into the ring and started beating up whoever Mox was fighting at the time. It was kind of weird, which will be the theme of anything Kendrick related throughout the night.

I honestly can't remember anything about Brad Allen other than his name is Brad Allen. It's unfortunate since his name is so generic that is sticks with you. I would have to say Arik Cannon was the best guy in this. Which I still can't believe how fun he is in the ring. I wasn't a big fan of Kyle O'Reilly “Kickin' Machine” act. I just wasn't into it. He had a couple of nifty spots like multi-rolling double underhook suplexes. Lince was flippin his ass off and was pretty damn solid. His spot of the night came when he went for a Lionsault and Gargano came in and drop kicked him in the stomach in mid-air. By the way, I need more Johnny Gargano in my life. No joke. I like that guy and think he could totally work in any company. Scrunchy and all.

The final two were O'Reilly and Cannon, and their stuff together was pretty cool and I'd like to see them go at it again in a singles. O'Reily picked up the win which disappointed me, but it was still a fun match.

BONUS MATCH #2
AAW HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
SILAS YOUNG © vs. HALLOWICKED


My wife liked Hallowicked's costume. That was about it for this match. Silas has some nifty offense, but I felt like this match could have in the middle of the last match and it would have mattered just the same. If that makes any sense. Though a highlight was my wife jumping in on a “Hall-o-wicked Clap Clap clapclapclap” chant.


It was also during this match that my wife and I really began to notice this guy sitting near us that had taken it upon himself to yell out the name of every damn move that every wrestler did. I'm not kidding. “Oh man, SIDE KICK.” “back drop SUPLEX.” “WHAT?! BRAINBUSTER?!” Everything. “Stomps to the gut”. "Oh a punch to the mush." Everything.

BONUS MATCH #3
JOHNNY MOXLEY VS. DARRIN CORBIN

This match started and there was no ref for about two minutes. There was a small “Where's the ref chant.” Bryce came out and looked about as confused as us. Why Johnny Moxley was wrestling another match after just losing in one earlier was never answered. Still, I thought he was kind of fun. Moxley biting Corbin in the face was pretty damn cool.


45 MINUTES OF WAITING.

So after that, we have 45 minutes to stand around. This is kind of the downside to Bonus Matches. You get to see them, but then you have to muck around for a while. Last time they had Dragon Gate guys signing stuff, but this time there wasn't anyone. I checked out the DG table though and they had some action figures. I was pretty close to buying the BxB Hulk action figure, but I couldn't justify $20 price tag. Satoshi Oji was behind the promo pics table and said that the DG guys would be out after the show.

I asked my wife what she thought of the show so far and she said it needed more Japanese guys, too many Americans. I love it when my wife acts like she's more Japanese than I am.


THE PPV...ALMOST.... BEGINS

We thought the show was about to start but out came. Brian Kendrick and Johnny Moxley again. The idea here was that Moxley wanted to fight Tommy Dreamer. Kendrick said that it wasn't worth it because Dreamer sold his soul ten years ago when he became office. Then they left. It was kind of weird because we thought the show had started so we thought that meant Tommy would respond, but he didn't. Then the announcer says we have another Dark Match and then the show would begin.


TJP vs. GRAN AKUMA

This was pretty good. I had no idea who TJP was at all. He was okay, by Akuma was bringing some goods. Akuma is kind of like Cannon in that I don't see him as a star, but I'd love to have them on my roster because they do so well with pretty much anyone. TJP won with this leg hold that I know is on Fire Pro Wrestling Returns......Ahhh Fire Pro calls it the Herando Lock III. So if you have the game, go to Moveset editor and look up that move name - it's at the legs when your opponent is face up. Even the commentator we has sitting next to us didn't know what to call it. “Awwww man....a Texas Clover Leaf Variation?!?!?” Anyway, he put this move on twice, I think,and it's cool how he locks it on, but it looks like poop when fully applied. It's more of a cool mid-match surprise but not as a match-ender. I was disappointed when Akuma tapped to it.


AAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDD THE SHOW STARTS.


PPV MATCH 1:
CIMA and SUPER CRAZY vs. “LIGHTNING” MIKE QUACKENBUSH AND JIGSAW.

Before the match I made the decision that I was only going to root for one team. I was going to try and stick to this throughout the night. Cheer one person, not both. So I picked CIMA and Super Crazy.
I'm really glad I did too, because Super Crazy was freaking awesome. He couldn't be stopped, my friends. He'd maybe gained some weight over the years and was wrestling with a shirt on, but that didn't stop him from being damn awesome. He was playing with the crowd and just having a a good old time. I remember that some folks in our section were chanting for Quack and he wagged his fingers at them and told them to chant for him instead. They of course did, right quick. This may be the most fun anyone had all night. My personally highlight was Super Crazy taking a pair of Thunderstix from a fan and deciding to beat down Jigsaw with them. Bryce tried to get involved and Crazy went Crazy on him.

It wasn't all fun and games. The in ring action was pretty tight. CIMA went coast-to-coast and had a nasty double stomp on Jigsaw who was locked up Crazy's Surfboard hold. Jigsaw, may go down as an unsung hero in this match. That guy was working tough for both guys and was just an all-star trooper in
the ring.

MATCH #2
JIMMY JACOBS VS. BRIAN KENDRICK

Kendrick came out again before the match and had a talk with Jacobs. He said that they were similar people in that they both look at wrestling as an art and themselves as artists. That they both wrestle emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But Kendrick is different because he also wrestles psychologically. So he made a phone call and learned everything about Jimmy Jacobs. And the person he called was here tonight: LACEY.

This of course was pretty shocking, and it was also kind of better than the match. I was pretty disinterested, and the match seemed kind of off. Like a random top-rope suplex in the middle of it. I don't know, maybe it was just me, but top-rope suplexes seem like a big deal and this one kind of just showed up about half-way though a short match. If anything I'd say I was kind of dsappointed with Jimmy Jacobs in all this. He didn't seem that interesting, but maybe he was trying to sell the fact that Lacey was in his head....or something. Anyway. Lacey popped in the ring and made out with Jimmy which lead to Kendrick picking up the win.

After the match Moxley came down to celebrate. Jimmy Jacobs grabbed the mic and said that Kendrick may have Lacey, but Kendrick's wife was good enough for him last night. Good stuff. Kendrick came and yelled “I could kill you RIGHT NOW!” Which was funny. He then grabbed Lacey and was going to plant one on her, but Moxley clotheslined her. This apparently made a lot of people happy as they started chanting “That Was Awesome”. Lame. For two guys that were doing great heel work, they kind of threw it away by beating up on some one that apparently the fans hated more, which was also apparently a woman. Not a big fan of wrestlers getting cheered for beating up a woman. Especially if they're supposed to be bad guys.

TOMMY DREAMER IS HERE
Thankfully, a guy who's gotten cheers for the same stuff came in: TOMMY DREAMER. I Was pretty excited since I love me some Tommy Dreamer. At least 10 years ago I loved me some Tommy Dreamer. Moxley took him down early and started biting his face. He stood up and yelled “Tastes like loser!” this Moxley guy is growing on me as some one I could hate. Tommy came back and proceeded to beat his ass threw the crowd. One fan helf up his chair and Tommy threw Mox into it. Good times.
The segment ended with dreamer hitting a big DDT and doing the ECW pose. Several “ECW” chants and “Thank you Dreamer” chants. Dreamer is still fun to watch.

MATCH #3
FIP WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
MASAAKI MOCHIZUKI © vs. DAVEY RICHARDS

I decided to cheer Mochizuki for this one. Lots of pro-Davey chants so I felt kind of alone. But I stayed diligent. I liked this match okay, but some of it felt like a rehash of his match with Shingo last time they were in town. The only difference was Mochizuki's offense. His kicks were sick nasty. Davey got beat-up for a lot of this with Mochi working the leg. This was spurred on by Davey missing a kick on the apron and hitting the ring post instead. I thought Mochi's work on the leg was pretty good, and set up his ankle lock quite nicely. Richards did his ridiculous flip from the ring over the barrier into the crowd. Luckily I was prepared for it because I had seen the last match he had at the Congress. He almost took out the guy in front of me though. It was pretty insane to see Davey Richards flying through the air and flipping right at you. For a second there I didn't think he was going toget up because he laid there pretty still.

The finishing stretch wasn't that hot. Davey kept doing that Kimura after every kick out and Mochizuki kept making it to the ropes. It just lost it's shock value after the 4th time. Thankfully he switched it up and went for the arm bar, and when that didn't work he licked on a triangle choke for the tap out.

The match felt a little, like a Davey crazy formula match, but Mochizuki made it a little fresher.

INTERMISSION
Pizza is SIX DOLLARS at the Congress. A can of soda is THREE DOLLARS at the Congress. I wanted to tell people to just walk out and grab a cheaper slice from Luck Vito's next door, but, who would listen?

MATCH #4
THREE WAY ELIMINATION TAG MATCH
SPEED MUSCLE VS. THE YOUNG BUCKS VS. YAMATO AND SHINGO

This was tons of fun. There was some cat behind us who had some solid vitriol for The Bucks. I still don't know which one was which. And it was made even more confusing by this guy yelling “Max” and “Jeremy”. This guy was also kind of dumb. He'd yell “Which one's Matt and Which one's Jeff?” but then follow it up with “Well, I guess the blonde one is Jeff...” Like he just argued himself. If you're going to make a comment like that, don't debate yourself out loud. What's the point? He was so annoying that I couldn't boo them like I wanted to. I didn't want to be associated with him.

There was a “Doi” chant and a “Yoshino” chant and Yamato turned around, looked the guy in the eyes, put his fingers to his lips and said “Shut Up.” three times. Great. They did a couple of fun Dragon Gate comedy spots, like the multi-man suplex. Another one was A giant chain of guys wrapping their legs around eachother's head. The last guys to join in were Yamato and Shingo. So Yamato locked on and Shingo was confused because he didn't want to apply the hold to his parnter. So he got the idea to go to the other end and lock on a Scorpion Deathlock, which turned over the five other guys. It was a pretty impressive sight.

I also want to say, that I hadn't seen Shingo's look leading up to the show but that guy is starting to look like Toshiro Mifune with wooly hair. Which is kind of badass to me. Toshiro Mifune as a wrestler is a dream for me.....ahhhhhh.

Anyways, lot of fun spot and The Bucks went out first, which is fine by me. They got in just about all their moves that they needed to do before finally getting pinned.

Once they were gone it almost felt like the DG guys kicked up a notch and moved even faster. Everybody was tight here. I'd say a big highlight was Doi elbowing the ever lovin' piss out of Shingo. There were a lot of forearm strike through out the night and some of them looked weak as hell (see: Kyle O'Reilly), but these guys laid it in pretty damn good.

The finish was a little bit of a shocker as I didn't think it would end that way.

MAIN EVENT
OPEN THE FREEDOM GATE TITLE MATCH
BxB HULK © VS. DRAGON KID

Kid came out with CIMA for some support. BxB Hulk came out with some dancers and did his dance routine. It was amazing. I can't explain my love BxB Hulk, and I don't feel the need to. But I will say that any man who comes to an American Indy show and does his Dance Routine with a straight face and doesn't wrestle like a pretty boy heel, should be applauded for his bravery. My wife loved it too, but said they needed to loose the girls. They had no clue what they were doing.

This match was pretty damn good. Apparently, according to CIMA's MySpace page, this is the very first singles match ever, between the two. They worked pretty well together, I should say. They worked some good holds early on, and there were many pro-Hulk chants. Just a good crisp junior style match. Hulk's kicks were surprisingly sick. DK's spring board hurricanrana is still nasty to watch. BxB Hulk almost pulled a Yoshino spiked his head off of it. The absolute nastiest blow of the match and possible the night came right before the end when Hulk kicked a kneeling Dragon Kid in the head. Lots of guys had been pulling that kind of move all night. But this one looked like Hulk forced his foot through DK's head and pushed him back with it. It was nasty as hell. Great match and a good way to end the show.

AFTERMATH:
Davey Richards, Gran Akuma, and Yamato, stormed the ring and beat up the two competitors, much to everyone's chagrin. I love that Davey Richards has had two DGUSA shows in Chicago where everyone starts off cheering him and ends with people booing him. Shingo came out and feigned like he was not okay with this kind of stuff, but instead leveled Kid with a clothesline. Then Quack and Arik Cannon and probably some other people came down to even things out. Quack went straight for Yamato and beat the crap out of him. Then CIMA came down WITH A BROOM and cleared the joint hitting pretty much every person around him. It was amazing. I defy anyone who doesn't like CIMA to watch him live and not love him. That man has converted me to the Church of CIMA. I can't explain it. He's just so genuine and nice. Once he cleared the ring he spoke to everyone about how he's going to Arizona for the big Wrestlemania weekend and he's bringing his “Best Partner” GAMMA. Big Gamma chant here. And he said, I just have one question to ask, “CAN WE COME BACK TO CHICAGO?” and he did it over and over. A lot of his speech he had to read from a paper. His English was a little rough at first, but once people quieted down it became easier to understand. Just a real fun time.

POSTSHOW STUFF:
So everyone but DK and BxB Hulk came out for autographs, which is understandable. Unfortunately for me, I want theres the most since I didn't get them last time around. I did grab CIMA's though. Funny story: this fan handed him a SHINGO promo picture. CIMA signed it and said “I'm CIMA, This: SHINGO. But hey, it's okay this time.” Great stuff. Another fan said he needed tobring all the Warrior 5 over to Arizona. CIMA said....”Don Fuji?....maybe....Stalker Ichikawa?” It was pretty funny stuff. My wife actually went down the line with her ticket and got everyone to sign it. So that's pretty awesome.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
Pretty good show. It didn't have that same electricity that Bryan Danielson's farewell tour had, but that's too be expected. I think there were several fans that were new to Dragon's Gate and weren't like the other Internet Fans who keep up with the company. I think those fans walked away very happy, and enjoyed the new experience. I certainly loved the show, and while some of it was a little weak, I'd say that anytime any of the Dragon's Gate guys were in there, you were getting your money's worth. The DG guys are an awesome classy bunch, and they can have my money anytime.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WCCW: INTERNATIONAL STAR WARS 06/17/1983

So I'm trying to get into some WCCW because it seems like a rad place to be in the early 80's. This show, held on June 17, 1983, was called International Star Wars because they brought in some dudes from Mexico and Japan. Sadly, for this ESPN cut, they took out some really rad match-ups. Some of the matches left out were Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Ted Dibiase and Giant Baba vs. King Kong Bundy. With those matches taken out, the show doesn't seem very "International". I didn't know about those matches before I picked it up though. The reason I got it is because of the Main Event, which features Bruiser Brody and Kerry Von Erich vs. The Freebirds. Brody and Kerry sounds like the strangest duo to me, and them wrestling in front of 21,000 Texans at the Reunion Arena sounds like a gay old time.

Let's get it on:

1. SIX MAN TAG-TEAM MATCH
Jose Lothario, "Gentleman" Chris Adams, Chavo Guerrero
vs
Fishman, "Wild" Bill Irwin, The Mongol (Gene Lewis) w/ General Skandor Akbar


Man, Chris Adams had some girls screaming for him during introductions. I gotta say though, I thought it was going to be stupid, but Fishman is awesome. He's got a great physique and bumps around for everyone. He's so badass that after he whips you the ropes, he punches you in the stomach. Dropkicks and back body drops are for sissies - I'm with Fishman's Stomach Punch. Bill Irwin takes a good licking from Lothario. You know, what I miss? I miss a guy balling his fist up when he's got a bad guy all opened up and looking at the crowd for that approval. Jose does that to Irwin, and I don't know what their beef is, but it totally got me excited to see him punch Irwin in the face. The finish got a little mucked up, sadly. Chavo hit a flying cross body off a blind tag to pick up the three count, but before we could see it, Fishman or Bill Irwin must have kicked the camera on their way to break up the pin. Either way, it was a fun little starter. Chavo diving and rolling out of the ring like a Mexican Ninja after he picked up the win, could be the best part. You know, outside of Fishman.


2. FOR THE VACANT TEXAS HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
David Von Erich
vs
"Gorgeous" Jim Garvin w/ Sunshine


I love seeing Von Erich's in Texas. The people go crazy for those guys. And if those girls are storming the ring for David, it'll probably get down right X-Rated when Kerry comes out. There's something kind of gawky about David, but he's no slouch.
Garvin and David work really well together and they manage to do a spot I've never seen before. Garvin locks up David in a hammer lock and rolls him on a back for a pin with the hammer lock still on. Since he's on his shoulders the ref was going to count him down for a pin, but David stays alive by doing some neck bridges. It's really simple, and some one should probably ape it. Seems choice for a William Regal/Bryan Danielson match.

It felt like everything kind of died down towards the end, but Garvin won suddenly off a pin while Sunshine held David's leg's from the outside. The crowd was not happy. Back from commercial break and an announcer says that since everyone saw the cheating but the ref, they've all decided to hold the belt up AGAIN. Apparently this is the fourth time this has happened(UNPRECEDENTED), and I wonder how sick the crowd is of that. I'm still intrigued and I definitely want to know how it was finally settled.

3. HAIR-vs-HAIR MATCH
Iceman King Parsons
vs
Buddy Roberts (of The Fabulous Freebirds)


Apparently Buddy Roberts has a secret cream that will take the hair right off your head. You know, like Nair, but made in some dudes kitchen. I think some one said Michael Hayes' cousin was a chemist, which I'm thinking is only part true, if you know what I'm saying.

The match is pretty much Buddy Roberts getting bumped around while Parsons wags his finger and does that rubber knee dance. Despite Parsons basically running rough-shod all over him, Buddy gets the pin with a roll-up and handful of tights. Parsons tells the ref of the shenanigans and the ref is all "Hey man, did you cheat?" Buddy says no and goes to beat up on Parsons. This fails because Roberts has yet to prove he is any match for da Ice Man. Then Parsons pulls out the hair cream and lathers up Buddy's hair. Strange. I thought the loser would lose his hair. Michael Hayes comes down to save his buddy and takes a few chops for stopping by. Then they cover Buddy's head up with a shirt and run away. SHENANIGANS.

Side note: The more I think about it, the more I want a stipulation match where the heel loses but cuts the face's hair or removes the face's mask anyways. You could do that but once in a decade, but it could actually work in pissin lot of people off.

4. 3-vs-1 HANDICAP ELIMINATION MATCH
Armand Hussein ("African Heavyweight Champion" whatever that means), Mike Bond, Tora Yatsu (Yoshiaki Yatsu/All Japan Pro-Wrestling)
vs
Kamala The Ugandan Giant w/ handler Friday+manager General Skandor Akbar


"Bowling Shoe Ugly" as J.R. would say. The rules are Kamala has to pin all three to win. "The odds are stacked," I say. Yatsu gets pinned in front of the other guys and no one breaks it up. They just let him lose. Some handicap this is turning out to be. And then Armand Hussein just leaves with Yatsu. That's what I'd probably do, too. This leaves Mike Bond to get bulldozed and pinned. Kamala wins, despite only pinning two. Whatever. Things pick up when Brody storms the ring to pick a fight. Crowd goes wild. Hell, I even got excited for it.

It was an ugly match, but I guess it was all just to set up Brody coming out as "the one guy who could maybe stop Kamala."

5. N.W.A. WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
{1 fall 60 min. time limit}
"Handsome" Harley Race (CHAMPION)
vs
Kevin Von Erich (CHALLENGER)
SPECIAL STIPULATIONS:
-being thrown over-the-top rope is legal in this bout!
-if Race is disqualified, he will lose his belt!


People are excited for Kevin, but you can kind of feel that it's not as big a deal as it would have been had Ric Flair. The two had been feuding and building this up for a while and then suddenly Harley Race won the belt the week before this show. So instead of bringing in Ric without the belt they bring in the champ. Harley complains that the stipulations were for Flair, not him, but it falls on def ears.

Five minutes in and Kevin, who has already had three close pinfalls, goes for THE CLAW. I love his set-up for it. He just does a snapmare and puts it on the guy after he hits the match. It's kind of basic, but it gave The Claw this cool, "come from anywhere", feel. The match gets a lot cooler when Harley starts working on Kevin's left shoulder. After some punches and knees, you'd think he broke the damn thing. The limb work takes a weird turn, when Kevin comes up with the crazy idea to create a sling for his damaged arm by.... STUFFING HIS HAND DOWN HIS TIGHTS.

I have no idea where the hell he got that idea, but it probably should have stayed behind the curtain. If the commentator hadn't said that's what he was trying to do, I would have had no idea what he was doing, other than cupping his junk. I'm sure people in the audience were just as perplexed as I. Watching Kevin fight back with his hand on his bratwurst has to be seen, for any true wrestling fan.

All that aside, Kevin is tremendous at selling his arm. You'd think he'd been shot. David even comes down to tell him to just give it up. Harley of course sees an opening and kicks David back. This makes David lose his cool and storm the ring to beat up Harley, costing his brother the match. Thanks, bro. Of course, while Kevin is in a corner nursing his wounds, David talks down to a prone Race and says "It's my turn now!" Christ, what a d-bag, David is, and for some reason he doesn't turn heel in all this. Everyone acts like it's totally okay that he just cost his brother a title match and then said, "me next", despite the fact that he can't even officially put away Jimmy Garvin.

There was some cool work, in this match, and until the screwy finish it could have possibly been the best match on the card. Kevin is pretty solid. He sells really well, and his little comebacks looks pretty good as well. He's got a tight as hell dropkick. I really wish that this had a neater finish than David mucking everything up, as it kills the match.

6. THE MAIN EVENT
N.W.A. AMERICAN TAG-TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS (CHAMPIONS)
(Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy)
vs
(CHALLENGERS)
Bruiser Brody and "The Modern-Day Warrior" Kerry Von Erich


Michael Hayes drops an amazing pre-taped promo on everyone before the match. It's intense as hell and just plain badass. It's got that weird 70's druggy paranoia thing going for it. I wonder if it's on YouTube?

Kerry Von Erich and Bruiser Brody enter the ring to the Star Wars Theme. Oddly enough, for that duo, it fits. Before the match starts, Hayes cuts another promo on Parsons and challenges him to a Lights Out Match, and if he loses, Ice Man can cut his hair. It kind of undercuts the EPIC match we're about to watch, and I can't really understand why it needed to be said right then.

Of course the match itself is nothing near epic. It's five minutes. Pretty weak stuff. And the finish was botched up because I'm sure Kerry forgot what the finish was. It essentially goes like this, Hayes whips Kerry to the ropes and drops down. Kerry doesn't rebound he just walks over and picks up Hayes and says, "Hey brother what the hell do I do after you drop down?" So Hayes tells him and whips him to the ropes again. Hayes drops down and Kerry steps over him and leaps into the arms of Brody. Brody then tosses him onto a now standing Hayes and Kerry picks up the three. New champs. Lame match.

OVERALL:
The main event was the one I really wanted to see because it was the bizarre team of Bruiser Brody and Kerry Von Erich. That sucked. The rest of it was okay wrestling. I can't think of any match that really struck me as a solid "go find this now" match. Nearly every finsih was kind of messed up, even simple handicap matches like Kamala's. It all seemed like they were building to the next show but everything that was happening tonight didn't matter. Like when Hayes challenged Parsons right before the bell rings to starts his tag title match. Some of it kind of worked, like the Garvin and David angle. But then that gets undercut by David challenging Harley for the title later. I would like to see how some of this shook out, though. But despite that, this show does not get a recommendation from me. I would like to see some of the matches they took out though.
___________________________________________
On Deck:
Next week I'm going to Dragon Gate USA, so expect a report on that. This time I'm taking my wife with me, which should be really fun. I've also finally got my hands on this year's Tokyo Dome show, and a copy of a 3XW show that has Al Snow in the main event. So I got stuff to talk about.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

RAW vs. Impact: The Show Down

So this could be the biggest night of the year from a free wrestling standpoint. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are taking over TNA and Bret Hart is coming to RAW for the first time in 12 years. And they're all going head to head.

First lets look at RAW

RAW, THE GOOD:

Bret Hart book ending the show:
Opening with Bret and Shawn, which is one of the most surreal things I've seen since Bischoff, Heyman, and Vince were in the ring at the same time. It's bigger than that. The Montreal Screwjob is a huge milestone in my wrestling life. Bret was my hands down favorite wrestler in the world in 1997 and the Montreal Incident happened on my birthday. I never believed I'd see him inside the ring owned by Vince, let alone confronting Shawn on live TV. Him reconciling with Shawn was nice and they said some great things about each other. I don't know if this meant that much to the current WWE audience, but I don't really care. It meant something to me. The Vince stuff was pretty nice as they really are introducing Bret to a whole new audience as a very big deal. I don't know how good a program this can be if Bret is so limited in what he can do, but it's still pretty engaging TV.

Wrestling:
They actually had more wrestling than I expected. RAW usually isn't the home of long matches but we got a pretty good DX/Jerishow match, and a very strong Kofi/Orton match. Two good matches plus some un-offensive matches, sounds like a good free TV show to me.

RAW,THE BAD:

Funny People:
I don't like it when they try to be funny. Because they aren't.

Bret and what else:
I want to see how Bret retaliates to the nut-shot heard 'round the world. But what else is there to see? The Women's tournament isn't intriguing because I don't know or care about any of those women. Orton is officially done with Kofi, but I'm not really interested in his relationship with Rhodes and Dibiase. Legacy just hasn't struck me as a solid group or stable. Sheamus is kind of growing on me, but as a mid-card attraction who is running over people, not a World Champion. So what else is there to care about. Not much.

Now onto TNA

TNA, THE GOOD

The Main Event:
AJ Styles over Kurt Angle on the most viewed Impact ever, is absolutely the right decision and they worked well together. The match felt like it repeated itself a little too much near the end, but other than that, they provided something that were not going to see on RAW.

Bobby Lashley's Wife:
I love this gimmick. Bobby can be really unlikeable if he's played as a Bob Sapp Beast that is a special attraction that only wrestles on the big shows in between fights. Sometimes killing a guy, sometimes jobbing to a big name. And god his wife is a better talker than just about any one else on the show.

Women's Tag Match:

TNA should really debate scrapping the men all together.

TNA, THE BAD

Clutter:
It was cluttered before and now there's even more people, and not just wrestlers like Orlando Jordan, Jeff Hardy, and Shannon Moore, but non-wrestling characters. When Hogan came in, he should have cut the roster, and I'm hoping that he does make some cuts soon.

The Audience:
I hate the Impact Zone. Those crowds aren't "marks" or "smarks" they're "johns". And they don't care what you do as long as you fellate them through out the show. These people chanted an Anti-hogan chant a couple of PPVs ago. Hogan shows up and says "You so good, me love you long time," and they cheer and applaud. They interview these people about what they want, and they all say, I don't want to be treated like a kid, which is a dig at Vince and his PG-Product. But this program is for adults who never grew up. There's strip-poker in the back! OHHH boobies! I love not being treated like a kid. Grow the hell up.

Too Much to List:
I could go on and on about the production values and the weird Live gaffes vs. the pre-tapes stuff, but you've heard it all before. But really, this is the same show as the week before but with some bigger names and that's the problem. They had two good matches and a couple of clunkers. Which makes it pretty good from an average Impact wrestling view. Usually it's all clunkers and one god women's match. But even then, the wrestling felt rushed and some of it you couldn't follow what was going on because of the jumping around. The Wolfe vs. Pope match is a great example of how many ridiculous cuts they throw into a match. I had to turn away because it was hurting my eyes.

RAW vs. TNA: A Winner?
No there's no winner. RAW is still RAW, but with one interesting storyline, despite having several interesting wrestlers. TNA is still fooling themselves and running programs about old wrestlers vs. young wrestlers and people "earning their spot" Next weeks episode will be interesting to see if any of the people they got to tune in will tune in on Thursdays. Despite them not once mentioning that their regular time is Thursdays. 1/4/2010 in American Wrestling was pretty much a let down.

Hopefully it was better in Japan, which I'll be looking at next.