Monday, July 30, 2012

DRAGON GATE USA ENTER THE DRAGON 7/29/2012 LIVE EVENT REPORT

I'm going to warn you right now. I'm really distracted and my brain is alllllll over the place. So if things go off the rails during this, I'm sorry. I ran out of ginseng.


DARK MATCH ONE
DEREK RYZE & CHARADE CHAMPLOO vs. SEBASTIAN SUAVE & CECIL NIX
Some say this match was started by Dr. Keith Lipinski saying "Ding Ding" into a microphone, but I don't believe them. It sounded too much like a real bell. These fellas were apart of the tryouts from earlier in the day and earned themselves a tag match. Charade Champloo may be among the most ridiculous names I've ever heard, but hey, now I'll never forget it. Especially after reading this from his website bio:

A true Otaku at heart, Charade has been viewed as somewhat of a hardcore video game, anime, and Japanese culture addict.  He claims that he recieved extensive training among the best  in Japan, although most doubt the legitimacy of such training (and rightfully so!) Nevertheless, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that has seen Charade wrestle a match and still dares to call him out.
 Wacky. The work in this was okay, but the crowd was a little dead because they were just walking in and trying to find their seats. I honestly don't remember much about it other than a guy winning by kicking another dude in the face, a move I was going to see in nearly EVERY match for the rest of the night.


DARK MATCH  TWO
MR. 450 vs. "LONESOME" JAY BRADLEY
This was interesting because it showed me how little crowd overlap there was between DGUSA and Resistance Pro. These guys didn't get much reaction coming in, but I think they made a good impression. They certainly had a good lay out for a match, with 450 trying to out run the big bruiser. I love how Bradley works over a guy. Really liked it when he kept reverse whipping 450 back into the same corner over and over. It's just something you don't see, and I think that's what made Jay stand out more as the show went on, he didn't seem prototypical indy. The finish was really cool, with 450 going for the 450 splash and Bradley evading it. 450 landed on his feet and before he knew what happened, Lonesome Jay was taking his head off with his "Boomstick" Lariat. Fun match, I hope they get more out of it.


JAKE MANNING vs. MASADA
Chuck Taylor and Jake Manning came out to teach us how to make a camp fire, but before they could teach us the key lesson, Masada interrupted. This felt really stiff and nasty. Masada looked like he was in a mood to kill the "Man-Scout" and he did. Some nasty clothesline and a brutal cradle suplex and this one was over. Fun and brief, just like I like my sandwiches.

ZERO GRAVITY vs. THE SCENE
The Scene look like the douchiest douches to ever douche, and that works for me. Because wrestling need people who look like that. Zero Gravity are little flippy dudes, but they're fun little flippy dudes. This felt a little too choreographed and it ran just a tad long, but it had it's fun moments. But much like the earlier tryout's tag, I started to get the feeling that some of these moves they're pulling off aren't that special, because I saw the "new guys" doing it earlier. Scene won with a Convoluted DDT German Suplex thing-y. I'm sure that's what they call it.

SHANE HOLLISTER vs. SAMURAY DEL SOL
Samuray is obviously an athletic dude, and can do some fun stuff in the ring. His front flip rebound off the top and middle ropes was nuts. But for all his spots this match just didn't add up. For example, he went crazy kicking Hollister a dozen times on the ropes, and Hollister responded by no selling it and just pulling Del Sol to the mat by his mask. His kicks must suck, wouldn't you think? Then later he did the headstand on the top rope, and Hollister brutally kicked him in the face. It looked awesome, but Samuray just followed it up with a move. That kind of stuff drives me a little crazy. I'm all for fun and crazy spots, but they if you blow away the reality of a wrestling match to fit them in then you aren't doing it right.

SUPER SMASH BROS. vs. ARIK CANNON & PINKIE SANCHEZ
This was a lot of fun. Stupefied was selling his leg amazingly well, that I seriously believed he was hurt. And maybe he was, I don't know, but it was awesome all the same. These guys worked really well together and fit in some good sequences mixed in with some comedy, like Player Uno asking for a beer from Arik Cannon while Cannon has Stupefied locked up like a pretzel.

Awkward moment of the night goes to Pinkie Sanchez telling the referee to "Get up outta my face, nigga!" while the ref was trying separate him from his opponent in the corner. Arik Cannon was shaking his head saying, "You're gonna catch some shit for that one Pinkie."

Made me think of this comedy bit from Donald Glover:


Watch it. What? You came here to read about DGUSA? Fine. Jeez.

The finishing stretch in this match was pretty fun with lots of fun believable near falls. This was maybe the first match that had me fired up and ready to get involved.

POST MATCH STUFF
After the match, Player Uno got on the mic and challenged whoever would win the tag titles in the main event. Then the Scene came out and almost said something, but Arik Cannon took the mic away and called them all kinds of unmentionable names. Words like "hand" and "job" and "blow" and "job" again were uttered. The kid behind me couldn't stop laughing.

Then Ricochet came out and told every one "No".

Then he left.

Then Chuck Taylor came out with a Swamp Monster

Then everyone else not named "Chuck Taylor" or "Swamp Monster" left.

Then the Swamp Monster transformed in Johnny Gargano.

I QUIT MATCH
JOHNNY GARGANO vs. CHUCK TAYLOR
Wowzers did they do some crazy stuff. Some of it was just straight brutal. I usually only like Chuck Taylor in CHIKARA, where his act fits in better. He doesn't really work for me in more serious match-ups because he often seems too jokey and it kind of makes things feel extra phoney. That stuff works when you've got Player Uno and Arik Cannon mucking around in a match, but this match didn't feel like it was supposed to have that same kind of vibe. And while he did do some of that in this match, I have to give him props for doing some pretty wild shit. Including maybe the best use of thumbtacks ever. Gargano, having pretty much snapped, stuffed a handful of tacks into Chuck's mouth and then basically kicked them out of his face. It looked nuts.

Chuck also reminded me how fucking gross the fans can be when he got a face pop for accidentally kicking a ring girl in the face. It gave me another contrast to Resistance Pro shows, where there's a lot more women in the audience, and not as many dudes who may or may not date rape you.

JUST KIDDING.

They'd only stare at you from across the room and mumble about how you're only ** 1/2 because you don't have big enough bazooms and don't do enough moovez on the dance floor? Same criticism I gave my wife before she punched me in the nuggets. Happily married ever since....Where was I?

Gargano was also really good in this match. He just looked angry and incredibly focused, the way a guy in a blood feud match like this should probably carry himself. He also fit in another spot I'd never seen before. They bridged a guardrail section between the crowd's guardrail and the ring apron. Eventually Gargano got back dropped from the ring on to it, but the bars gave away and Johnny went THROUGH it. Way cooler than breaking a steel wooden ladder in a Money in the Bank match, you know?

The finish saw Gargano basically strangling Chuck with barbed wire until he said "I Quit." Really fun match, but even with all the amazing spots and brutality, I just couldn't warm up to it like others did.

JON DAVIS vs. YAMATO
I really liked this match, but the crowd was kind of mixed. I loved the early stuff with Davis over-powering Yamato and I liked Yamato's arm work in the middle portion of the match. Yamato is just the best smarmy creep and he was a fun contrast to the hard hitting no-nonsense Davis. This went the right length, did go into overkill, and told a clean simple story. It felt much more up my alley than anything else on the show up until this point. After a fun finishing stretch Davis finally overpowered Yamato and crushed him with crazy torture rack powerbomb thing-y.

After the match Davis got on the mic and said, that while he respected Gargano, he didn't want Gargano's title, he wanted EVOLVE to create a title for him to fight for.

This is one of those problems with DGUSA/EVOLVE combo. Davis saying he doesn't care about Garagno's belt, he wants one that doesn't exist for a "different" company either makes Gargano's belt seem less, or it makes this new made up belt seem less. This relationship between the two companies just seems incredibly muddied. Is it like a Smackdown/RAW brand deal? Do wins in DGUSA convert to wins in EVOLVE? I don't know. It's just not clear to me, but maybe that's because I don't follow the two very well.

EL GENERICO vs. AKIRA TOZAWA w/ CHRISTINA VON EERIE
This match was probably the best match, but holy hell did this ref drive me up the wall. I was enraged. Von Eerie kept interfering and the ref wouldn't throw her out. At one point she headbutted Generico in front of the ref's face. The poor officiating was kind of a theme throughout the whole night. People around me were complaining about it all night. Hell at one point Von Eerie interrupted the match with a chair and the ref just wagged his finger at her. BULLSHIT



MARK IT ZERO.

Anyway, regardless of that, Generico and Tozawa put together a really cool match, that had a good build and some awesome nearfalls. The crowd being consistently hot for it, also kicked it up a few notches. Generico is one of my favorite wrestlers in the world right now. He's just operating on some next level shit. He's a brilliant face and understands how to gain sympathy and work up a crowd. If you're an wrestler and you're going to be a face, you should be studying Generico matches. I'm not saying copy his schtick. I'm saying look at the motivations behind the stuff he does and when he does it. He's the indy Ricky Steamboat.

There was some wonky no-selling near the end that took it down a notch, but overall I'd say this was my favorite match of the night and you should probably go check it out, pronto. DO IT.

OPEN THE UNITED GATE TITLE MATCH
RICH SWAN & RICOCHET vs. AR FOXX & CIMA
This one blew the crowd up by the time it was over. One complaint I have with the style, is that by the time Ricochet is busting out flips and spins in the main event, I'm kind of unimpressed. Not to say that what he does isn't amazing. But on a show where Zero Gravity, Samuray Del Sol and the guys in the tryout match are busting out standing SSP's and the like, by the time it's Ricochet's turn, I'm just going, "Ohhh more of that stuff from before."

Still for a spotfest, I had a lot of fun seeing what they'd think of next. AR Foxx's Springboard Inverted Front Flip to the outside is so simple on paper, but so crazy to see live. And the finishing stretch was like the last action sequence in a Michael Bay film come to life.


I think AR Foxx is one of the best guys on the indies right now. He was great at selling a beat down while Rich and Rico were in control. CIMA was great at making the match more about them than himself, which I totally respect. It felt like he was really trying to help get AR Foxx over as a big deal, and I think by the night's end it worked.

The finish came off a crazy version of the C4, where Fox doesn't stand on the top rope, he runs and catches the guy off the top and rebounds backwards kind of like RVD's split legged moonsault, but with a guy attached to him. If that makes any sense. It looked awesome and actually looked like it made more sense than a regular C4 where they're both standing.

After the match CIMA proclaimed Foxx the new best high flyer, a kind of call back to that one time in Chicago where CIMA said the same thing about his then partner Ricochet.. Ricochet didn't like this and told Foxx he'd never be better than him, so Foxx challenged him at EVOLVE to prove it. That should be fun.

OVERALL SHOW
I really enjoyed myself. I'm kind of nitpicky about too many wrestlers doing too many of the same moves on the same show, so that turned me off, but it's kind of to be expected for these types of shows. When you let guys do whatever they want but they all kind of want to do the same thing, it makes some of the action less special. And by the end, I was kind of burnt out on kicks to face when a guy is on his knees, or corkscrew whirrly-doos.

Also, I'm a sucker for heel/face interactions, and I find that a lot of fans at this show didn't really care about any of that. I think it kind of hurt the Jon Davis/Yamato match, where Yamato was working heel, but the more vocal fans cheered him. They can boo/cheer whoever they want, but it kind of messes with how the match works, you know?

Best match was probably Generico/Tozawa. I think Yamato/John Davis was a personal favorite, but the crowd being so into the main event made it a little more enjoyable. Definetly try and scope out the last four matches though. You'll like at least one of them I'm sure.

AND ONE MORE THING
A friend of mine was brutally attacked in her home. He nearly beat her to death with a hammer and left her for dead. Thankfully she survived and is now on the hard road to recovery. She's an incredible artist, a great chef, and an all around kick ass person. Sadly she's not rich and a fundraiser is underway to help get her money to pay off the debt she will incur during her rehabilitation. Please, if you've got a couple of bucks go here

http://www.gofundme.com/AshleyPruneau

and throw some good will her way. Thanks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

RESISTANCE PRO: FAIR WARNING 07/27/12 LIVE SHOW REPORT

That's right I went back.


BONUS MATCH NUMBER THE FIRST
KENNEDY KENDRICK vs. MARVELOUS MATT NICKS
This is the first time I'd ever seen Kendrick. He's got what looks like Detroit Lions on his tights so I automatically hate him with a fiery vengeance. I don't care if he actually is from Calgary....

....

....

Alberta, Canada. My Lion hatred is strong, and you'll get no support from me. Matt Nicks looked good here. He got to show off some nice bumping and showed some decent fire on his comebacks. Kendrick won with something or another, I missed it because the group in front of me were sitting in the wrong seats and when they stood up they took up as much of my sight line as they possibly could. It was a move though. I know that much.


BONUS MATCH 2: BONUS HARDER
RYAN "SKIDMARKS" HOWE vs. CHRIS CASTRO
Poor Ryan Howe. He's got a fun rocker gimmick, and him coming out and shredding his guitar was a serious highlight for me and the crowd enjoyed it, I think. But once that bell rang he became Skidmarks and couldn't get much out of the crowd. It's not like he's bad. People just couldn't care for him. It probably hurts that he was working face against Chris Castro who's a home town guy. At two different points in the match, Howe tried to bait the crowd into "clapping it up" by slamming his leg on the mat while he was getting worked over, but no one did. Twice. It's going to take him a lot of work to get over his Tough Enough stint.

Castro looked better in this than in last month's effort with Matt Nicks. Yeah, he does some Samoa Joe-lite stuff, but it's not really a bad thing, just an easy comparison. He also seems like the kind of guy who's genuinely excited to be in the ring and that kind of excitement translates to the crowd. It's too bad he lost to Howe but hopefully he gets to keep coming back.


RAVEN TALKING
So they kick off the show with Raven, Harry Smith, and Lou D'Angeli addressing the crowd. Raven felt the need to explain to the crowd that he was suspended for his actions at Small Deadly Space(read about it: HERE) and that he's... I dunno... he just said a bunch of stuff about himself, okay? Lou got on the mic and talked some smack about Jay Bradley being a generic wrestler and ripped on Chicago some more. Harry continued be a smarmy dick, and I love it. The only bad side is that Raven throws the balance of the act off. Smith and Lou E. worked GREAT together at the last show, and the rhythm gets thrown off with Raven in the mix.

They then brought out KYLE who was that kid who got beat up in the Harry Smith tutorial last month and then helped him out at the end of the show. Kyle is now a wrestler and they want to see how he's progressed under the tutelage of the great Harry Smith.

KYLE vs. MR. 450
Raven actually started doing commentary over the house mic during this, but thankfully stopped. This was a really good match. Kyle is small but he's really good in the ring and him and 450 worked really well together. It's a little weird that Kyle was a jabroni fan last month and now he can beat up Mr. 450 for the bulk of a match. It either means Mr. 450 is a weak dude, Harry Smith is an amazing trainer, or Kyle is a Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar level natural.

Eric St. Vaughn, who's D'Arcy Dixon's man toy was at ring side and he had a big fan club in my section and they chanted his initials for a good chunk of the match. Kudos to him for turning around and getting them to chant for 450 instead. Classy, says I.

450 made a big comeback and decimated Kyle with his namesake splash. Afterwards he and St. Vaughn kind of celebrated together, so I guess they're working the kinks out in their awkward relationship. No D'arcy Dixon though, which bummed me out. She's been genuinely entertaining in the past.

NO DQ WOMENS TAG MATCH
NIKKI ST. JOHN & JESSI BELLE vs. THE MATRIX TAYLOR MADE & SERENITY
Nikki looked utterly perplexed as to why she was with Jessi. And I had no idea why Serenity was with Taylor Made. I thought they hated each other. In my brain I made up this story that they were holding a one match Lethal Lottery between the four of them and the winner would get free training lessons with Harry Smith so they could get better like Kyle.

The teams broke down midway through the match, and since it was NO DQ that meant they could just beat each other up with a chairs. None of them looked comfortable swinging a chair at all. Nikki St. John, who was probably the best looking wrestler of the bunch,  had to swing it just looked awkward. She looked a lot more formidable last month when she was beating up Taylor with the Kendo stick. Not a good match at all, and I truly don't know why it existed. Nikki looked good when she was wrestling, and I'm hoping they're building her back up to face Melanie, but the chair stuff made everyone look bad.

ASHTON VUTTON vs. JOHN SKYLER
These guys were actually tag partners in the tag tournament and I wonder if anyone remembered that. They lost to Lince Dorado and Samuray Del Sol back in March. Those were the days when I spelled Skyler's name with an "a". It's not that it matters really, but it would have been cool to have a little history played up.

They were actually having a solid match until Rinaldo Piven, Lawyer Man Ponzo and Jesse Corgan interrupted. Corgan came out throwing money in the air and they just waltzed in the ring and start cutting a promo. Yeah, in the middle of the match. They said that if anyone touched Jesse, they were going to be sued for hate crimes. Then Skyler got in the ring and said, "Um, hey, are we still having a match?" And Ashton Vutton, who you may remember was managed by Piven at the last show, answered by blind siding him from behind. Skyler tried to make a comeback but was distracted by Jesse and eventually succumbed to a well-applied Dragon Sleeper.

I really wish the Jesse/Piven stuff could have happened before the match, and not during it. It really mucked up the flow of what was developing into a good bout.


AND THEN THINGS GOT MESSY
After the match, Jesse and Ponzo left, but Piven got on the mic to talk some more. He started to address Billy through the camera, but Jocephus Brody came out and grabbed him by the throat. Then the Sheik came out and started talking some shit to Piven. Basically Brody and Skiek are together and Sheik doesn't like Piven anymore. Piven's face while being choked by Brody was PRICELESS. He was red turning purple by the time they finally kicked him out of the ring. This should have just been the end. But it wasn't.

I told my friend Justin about the angle and this was his reaction.
Brody then got on the mic and said he wanted to welcome out their "first disciple, Da Cobra". And you could tell when Brody said this that this was going to be stupid. It was all over his face. Then Da Cobra came out with a goth-y wine glass that may or may not have been purchased from Spencer's Gifts. Da Cobra then got in the ring, got on his knees and offered the glass up to Sheik and Brody. They drank from it. Cobra drank from it. Then they beat the crap out of the Cobra. You could hear the bodies bouncing off the rock face as the crowd went over a cliff and died.


THE SHEIK & JOCEPHUS BRODY vs. DA COBRA & SOME GUY
Then as they're beating up Da Cobra, another guy comes out, who has the words Ruff Crossing on his tights and saves them. Then they have a tag match Brody and Sheik win. No one knows who the guy with the Ruff Crossing tights was or what he had to do with any of this, just a good Samaritan I suppose. Nor do we know what the hell was going on with Da Cobra and his disciple status with Brody and Sheik. Match wasn't bad, but everything surrounding it was so stupid that it was hard to get into it when everyone is looking to the person next to them going, "What the fuck happened here?"

The team of Sheik and Brody sounds awesome though. They get angry and smack each other and then beat people up. It's perfect. I don't know what that other bullshit was, and based on their faces I don't think the wrestlers did either. I feel bad for them because I think everyone liked the pairing and Brody and Sheik played off of each other perfectly, but I guess someone felt they needed more gimmicky shit. VINTAGE RESISTANCE~!

JOHN MORRISON vs. "THE EGO" ROBERT ANTHONY
This was a perfect storm. First it followed the previous debacle, so people were ready for something not stupid. I mean the atmosphere was maybe the closest thing to "electric" in the short history of R-Pro. Robert Anthony came out first and got a great reaction. Then Morrison came out and got an even bigger one with everyone standing. Then when Morrison's music went off, it's like everything clicked and the crowd looked back at Robert Anthony and said, "THAT'S OUR GUY." And the "Ego" chant became bigger than the Morrison reaction. It just felt organic and special.

I've got nitpicks about the match, like some of the spots being set up in awkward ways and dragging here or there. but none of it matters. It was a very good match made AWESOME by the crowd's response, kind of like Cena/Punk from Money In the Bank. The celebration for Robert Anthony applying a headlock was akin to your favorite team scoring a goal in the World Cup. And the finishing stretch was fun and creative with some great counters. My favorite part may be Morrison jumping out of Robert Anthony's surfboard finisher and hitting him with a knee to the face.

Morrison eventually won, but no one cares. The story was these guys kicking ass and Robert Anthony cementing himself as the most over guy in the company. No body has it going on like this guy does. He hasn't had a bad performance yet, and he should be getting booked EVERYWHERE.

I want a rematch. For two guys that have never wrestled each other, they clicked really well in spots, but I think they can tighten it up and do better than this. Start the rematch petition, I'll sign it. I think John Morrison vs. Robert Anthony II would kick all kinds of ass.

MELANIE CRUISE vs. THUNDERKITTY
Wrong time, ladies. These two worked well together but everyone was still buzzing about the last match and just couldn't focus in on it. The kid behind me could though. He was great. He kept yelling stuff like "NO ONE LIKES YOU MELANIE" or "DON'T YELL AT THE REFEREE MELANIE." Brilliant. Cruise won when she escaped Thunderkitty's sleeper and hit a Ron Simmons style spine buster. I hope to get a rematch of this two, because they were just in an impossible spot to have a good reaction from the crowd.


RESISTANCE PRO HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
HARRY SMITH (c) vs. JAY BRADLEY
I don't think anyone agrees with me, but I dug the ring work in this one more than in the JoMo/Ego match. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. I just love watching Harry Smith wrestle. He moves really clean and he makes his submission work look legit. The crowd was still coming down from the big match from before and I thought Smith did a great job of getting the crowd into his match through some heel tactics like stalling.

I think my favorite section of the match was when Harry started working Bradley's arm, to nullify the lariat. It just looked nasty and Bradley sold it really well. This lead to him going for a lariat, Harry kicking the arm down, and Bradley just coming back with a flying LEG LARIAT. I love stuff like that.

Bradley almost got to hit his Boomstick Lariat, but KYLE came in and took the bullet for Harry instead. He got MURDERED. Then there was some distraction from Lou D'Angeli that lead to Bradley getting a boot the nuts. Harry then finished him off with a sit out power bomb. Kind of a flat finish, but understandable.

After the match Raven and Lou E. got on the mic to talk about their guy some more. Then Raven DDT'd Kyle, before they all stood with their arms out ECW style. Poor Kyle. Then they celebrated with Champagne. Harry Smith giving himself Champagne showers after title wins could be one of the funnest bits in wrestling if they play it up more. I think he's great heel champion, and the eventual Robert Anthony/Harry Smith match(HAS TO HAPPEN) is going to be OFF THE CHARTS.

OVERALL SHOW THOUGHTS
Broken record time: Good wrestling, stupid angles. You've heard this before. The flow of the under card was a mess until Morrison and Ego came out to save the day. And it's not like these guys couldn't just have good matches. Brody, Sheik, Skyler, Vutton, 450, EVEN KYLE, all put in solid work, but they're just put in bad spots. I don't think they know what to do with half of them, like 450 and John Skyler, and the other half they give stupid stuff to do that the wrestlers can barely execute with a straight face.

But, there was plenty of stuff you should check out. Definitely watch Morrison/Anthony and Bradley/Smith. Also track down the Kyle/450 match, which is a solid opener style match. I'd recommend Vutton/Skyler, but it gets all kinds of muddled up from the angle, so go search for them on youtube and see if you can find something else, because you should be checking them out regardless.

OH AND WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION:
A friend of mine was brutally attacked in her home. He nearly beat her to death with a hammer and left her for dead. Thankfully she survived and is now on the hard road to recovery. She's an incredible artist, a great chef, and an all around kick ass person. Sadly she's not rich and a fundraiser is underway to help get her money to pay off the debt she will incur during her rehabilitation. Please, if you've got a couple of bucks go here

http://www.gofundme.com/AshleyPruneau

and throw some good will her way. Thanks.

Monday, July 9, 2012

TNA DESTINATION X 2012 PPV REVIEW

2ND CHANCE 4-WAY(Winner gets in the X-Tournament)
RUBIX vs. MASON ANDREWS vs. LARS ONLY vs. DAKOTA DARSOW
You could tell talent found talent, because Mason and Rubix, who are head and shoulders and torso above Darsow and Lars stayed paired up for most of the match. Rubix again makes the most of his time, whether it's selling the other guys' stuff, or making his spots look important(the dive to the outside, the coast to coast drop kick) Rubix firmly established himself as a crowd favorite tonight. It's too bad he lost, but I don't think any of these guys are winning later, and Mason Andrews, who's decent, could use the win a little more. It's clear the Rubix is going to be around more after tonight.
RUBIX ALL UP IN THIS

X-TOURNAMENT MATCH
MASON ANDREWS vs. KID KASH
Kash was a tremendous prick in this match. Just a great heel performance. This kind of exposed a weakness in Mason Andrews, as I don't feel like he was good enough to reach the crowd with his selling and gain sympathy. It's insanely hard, and it's not like he was terrible, but it's something he should study. It could have made this match a lot better than it was, and the match was still pretty good. The finishing run was really well done, and the flukey roll up was a good call. I'm kind of bummed Kid Kash won't be in involved with the title, since he did such a great job, but, hey, TNA is giving people some chances and you can't criticize them for that.


X-TOURNAMENT MATCH
DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. KENNY KING
Something about this didn't click for me and I think it's Kenny King. I don't know what that guy is. He seems like he has a fun personality and he's certainly athletic, but his moveset feels like a bunch of stuff. Sure, he can do lots of stuff, but like a LOT of wrestlers he doesn't use his moveset to tell a story or create a character. Douglas Williams' style isn't just a bunch of technical stuff. It's specific to him and makes him look unique. The last half of the match felt really disjointed and the finish fell flat, even though the fan favorite won.

SONJAY DUTT vs. RASHAD CAMERON
Boy did I check out of this match. There was some neat sequences, but they just kind of went back and forth and nothing seemed to mean anything over the course of the match. No real build, just one gear until it was over. Skip this.

JESSE SORENSEN'S ROAD TO RECOVERY
They showed a nice video of Jesse Sorensen and how his rehab is going. Zema Ion legit broke Jesse's neck on PPV back in February(the last TNA PPV I watched, I think) and it looks like Jesse will be able to wrestle again. Sorensen came out and delivered a nice little speech about coming back and thanked the fans. Then he went into promo mode, calling out Zema Ion and wishing him luck in the Ultimate X match, because Jesee would love to come back and take the belt off of him. Zema then came out for the start of his tourney match, mocking Jesse's broken neck.

I kind of like them using this as a way to build a future program between the two. I'm assuming Jesse is going to be okay to go, and if he wants to come back and use his broken neck as a storyline, more power to him.

X-TOURNAMENT MATCH
ZEMA ION vs. FLIP CASSANOVA
This was okay. I like Zema because he took his time, didn't worry about fitting in a bunch of stuff, and focused on getting heat. Flip had a better match here than on Impact, and a big part of that is because Zema dictated the pacing. Nothing really special, but it did feature a little more story and substance than some of the last couple of matches despite having less time.

Joe realizes mid-match he forgot to DVR True Blood
BFG SERIES MATCH
SAMOA JOE vs. KURT ANGLE
I was hoping for something different, with both guys being so focused on getting 10 points via submission, but it felt too familiar to their usual formula with them doing trading their signature moves and then trading finishers until one of them didn't win. I rarely felt like they were setting up a submission, and the submissions that were in the match felt kind of tacked in. I did like the finish, with Angle passing out and believing that because he didn't tap out, that Earl shouldn't have called the match. But we all know Kurt's just crazy and Joe whipped his ass. Kind of felt like a "greatest hits" match than its own story.

LAST MAN STANDING MATCH
AJ STYLES vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS
I wasn't looking forward to this at all, but I found it quite enjoyable. It started a little too cutesy for a blood feud, but once Christopher Daniels took over with the brawling the match picked up in a big way. It became less about cooperative dance type wrestling and more about beating the shit out of some one. The stuff on the stage was all well done, including that ridiculous moonsault DDT thing AJ does. That just looked brutal as hell. The finish worked really well, though Kaz's interference leaves the question of, "Why didn't he just come out earlier if there's no rules to keep him out?" The only other down side, was the commentary which didn't have much of any real emotion. I don't even care for these two guys and I found myself getting more and more emotionally invested as they fought, while Tenay and Borash kind of like "oh man, that was something."  They really brought it down a notch. Despite that it's maybe one of my favorite singles match either guy has been apart off, certainly for AJ Styles.

ULTIMATE X TITLE MATCH
KENNY KING vs. MASON ANDREWS vs. SONJAY DUTT vs. ZEMA ION
It was pretty repetitive with guys springboarding to knock other guys off the cables. Poor Sonjay jacked his arm up on a running SSP, and took off to get it checked out. The three remaining guys did well at moving on without looking confused, I can imagine there was some on the fly retooling, and they handled it seamlessly. The finish was a little lackluster, but I like the overall outcome. I really like Zema Ion as a character, and he's easily one of the easiest guys to hate on the roster.

TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
AUSTIN ARIES vs. BOBBY ROODE
Fuck. Yes.
First the match was really well done. Roode had a sound strategy of keeping the smaller and faster Aries on the ground. Roode worked the torso by imposing his weight advantage on Aries, keeping Austin out of breath. But that wasn't enough, and like any good babyface does, Austin Aries overcame the odds. All the cheap shots and the dirty tactics and horribly executed Crossfaces and he prevailed.

I can't remember the last time I actually got excited at the outcome of a TNA match. Usually I watch with morbid curiosity, like one would a Faces of Death VHS. But no, I'm incredibly happy for Austin Aries winning the title. He's a ridiculously hard worker, who has proven himself an invaluable asset wherever he's competed. It wasn't long ago that Aries was denied a spot on Tough Enough and was wondering what the hell was the point. TNA gave him another spot and he never looked back. Austin Aries has busted his ass over the last year and has proven that he is a real star. And TNA got it right and rewarded his effort.

OVERALL SHOW:
Hit or miss on some of the action, but you should totally watch the Austin Aries match and the AJ/Daniels match. Those are the best ones on the show. Also, if you feel froggy check out the opening four way and the Kid Kash match. Good stuff. Everything else is skipable.

I'd also say that if you've been down on TNA in the past, and trust me, I have shit all over this company for YEARS, now is the time to start watching. They're doing so much right in terms of booking, and they're giving new guys opportunities to succeed. They've got multiple stories going on, and most of them don't suck. Sure the AJ/Daniels regnany addict lady is a little ridiculous, but Daniels is so committed to it that it almost works. At least they paid it off with some good wrestling, anyway.

And now one of the best wrestlers in the country is their World Heavyweight Champion. If that's not a reason to watch TNA right now, I don't know what is.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

TNA IMPACT 7:5:2012 REVIEW

BULLY RAY AND HIS BIG BIG HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT
Bully made a big deal about his joining the Twitter-verse and sent out his first tweet LIVE ON IMPACT. This changes everything. The Joseph Park came out and they did a good job of referring to their past while hyping their future match next week. The crowd is crazy hot for Joseph Park. Not many folks on the roster are getting this kind of response. Bully throws in his monkey wrench by saying he has a restraining order against Park's brother Abyss, so ol' Joe gonna have to get it done alone this time. Fun and relatively quick segment. I can't think of many reasons why a talking segment should go longer than this, which was about 7 minutes.

This was then followed up by Austin Aries and Hogan having a ridiculous awkward conversation. Hogan starts it off by gesturing to Aries' X-Division title and saying, "I need you to hand this belt over. Now. Later tonight. End of the show. Whenever you want." And it just got worse from there.


TV TITLE MATCH
CRIMSON vs. DEVON
Crimson was pretty bad in this. He's a big guy, but doesn't have a lot of presence. And his offense looked a little weak. Devon was fine, I guess, but he's not a particularly engaging champion.

After the match Madison Rayne revealed her crush to be Earl Hebner and gave him a big smooch. Even Hebner rolled his eyes afterwards. Oh well, at least it doesn't take up a lot of time.

CHRIS SABIN SHOULD DO SOMETHING ELSE
Sabin, who tore his ACL, again, gives a dry promo about how he might be considering retirement. Robert Roode comes out and gives a nice promo about how Sabin is just another example of the problems with the X-Division mentality. He mentions Jesse Sorenson and how they've ruined their bodies for little reward. He then brings it around to Austin Aries who he will make an example of at the PPV. He then kicks Sabin's leg out from under his leg(I wrote that on purpose folks) and beats on him until Aries makes the save. Really great idea for building the match and building the division before their PPV. The stakes are getting a little higher for this show, with Aries wanting to prove X-Division guys can be World Champions and the X-Division guys getting to showcase their style or wrestling...without crippling themselves, hopefully.

DAKOTA DARSOW vs. FLIP CASSANOVA(aka Flip Kendrick)
Not such a good match. Flip was trying to fit all his shit in but was moving at half speed like a practice, and Darso looked awkward. Both guys seemed a little unsure, and clunky in their execution. This felt kind of consistent with what I've seen of Flip on the indies, as he usually only looks good in multi-mans where he doesn't have to carry any type of structure.

GAIL KIM & MADISON RAYNE vs. TESSMACHER & TARA
Tara and Gail Kim looked like the only two who were wrestlers. Besides technical execution they just seemed like the only two comfortable in their bodies. It really just illustrates the gulf between female talent in American wrestling.


AJ STYLES TALKS TO DANIELS AND KAZ
The whole baby thing wasn't followed up very well, instead they kind of went into go home promo mode about why people should watch their match this Sunday. Out of the three, Daniels seemed like the only one, truly comfortable on the mic.

KENNY KING vs. LARS ONLY
That stupid bandana. Say you're in a fight and someone puts you in a headlock and your bandana comes off. Are you going to worry about it and try to hold it on? No. Say you're the guy putting on the headlock and your opponent's bandana comes off, are you going to worry about it and kick it out of the ring? No. That's what the ref is for. To clear the ring of debris. Lars is pretty bad beyond that. Goofy selling and weak offense. After the first bit I thought I was going to hate this, but about half way through Kenny King seemed to just take over and make everything feel right. That was kind of cool, actually. It felt like he went, "Hey, I need to make this count." and he didn't just fit his shit in, but tried to make the match work from a technical aspect. I appreciate that.

After the match, Kenny runs into Austin Aries and they explain pleasantries. Really cool moment there, that automatically put Kenny on people's radar as someone worth paying attention too - more so than his match.

JEFF HARDY vs. JAMES STORM
This wasn't very good at all. Half the match is James Storm looking tired and watching Jeff Hardy try to get up. And I couldn't really fathom what they were so exhausted for, they hadn't really done anything. And with Hardy's offense looking so limp it made even less sense. I actually liked the finish as Storm continually waiting for Jeff to get up bit him in the ass, because Jeff was ready to strike like a cobra and hit his Twist of Fate. Other than that, this was a clunker of no real substance.

H² (A² +R²)/X
So Hogan called out Aries to relinquish the belt and got Roode. Roode gave another promo this time saying that Austin Aries' destruction would be on Hogan's hand. Aries came in and gave a couple options, with the one that involved him taking his shirt off being the winner. Some decent talking that didn't go on forever, and Aries seriously looked like he belonged in that ring as a main event guy. I so want him to win at Destination X.

OVERALL SHOW
Wrestling content was weak. And it's not like they didn't try to give us something. The competitors just didn't come through. The storylines were handled pretty well overall. Another strong point for TNA is the way they break up the talking segments. They keep them relatively short and spread out over decent sized TV matches. WWE tend to open with 20 minutes of talking. the last few weeks TNA has kept nearly every segment under 7 minutes. And they get their point across very quickly. They may not have many great talkers(Aries, Roode, Bully, Joe Park, are the tops) but no matter what they get in and get the hell out so we can keep moving. Their backstage segments are edited well, and they pop in and out at the right time. TNA has worked on keeping this faster pace in the past and it just felt too frenetic. Now they've learned how to break things up in order to keep things moving but not to the point that you can't keep up.


And even though this show wasn't particularly good, TNA didn't feature segments and stories that interest me and make me want to watch more. Hell they even do a good job at building to future segments. In the WWE Joseph Parka vs. Bully Ray would have been announced when the show started, but here they've built interest for the TV rematch by giving it two weeks and hyping it.

So yeah, it's not a great show, but they seem to have figured a lot of stuff out to keep my attention, so they get props for that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

PRO WRESTLING NOAH 1:15:2012 SHOW REVIEW

HIROSHI YAMATO & SHUJI KONDO vs. RICKY MARVIN & NAOMICHI MARUFUJI
Ricky Marvin was so frustrating in this match. He's absurdly athletic and does some amazing looking stuff in this match, but it's all put together without much logic. Drove me nuts. And I hate it when he hit this amazing double knee drop and then gets up and just tells Shuji to get up so he can super kick him. Marufuji, sort of did something similar, but you never see him tell the other guy to get up, you just see him waiting. It felt more natural. But Marvin, he's gotta stop everything and remind me that this is cooperative, and that his opponent needs to hurry up and get up so he can do the next spot. Annoying.

Marufuji was really good in this and the All-Japan guys were great. Loved the interactions between the three of them. If someone like Aoki was in the Ricky Marvin spot this would have been gangbusters.

GENBA HIRAYANAGI vs. TAIJI ISHIMORI
Quick and breezy match, that didn't overstay it's welcome. Genba didn't do much once it got rolling but hang with Taiji while he jumped around. Nothing mind blowing, but it was very simple and well execute with Ishimori doing some of his trademark offense.

YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs. LANCELOT BRAVADO
Another quick match, but this didn't flow as well as the last one. The middle section just got really muddled with Kanemaru being a little all over the place. Bravado moved pretty well and did some neat stuff. He's kind of goofy but entertaining, by being competitive and not relying on schtick.

KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA & SATOSHI KAJIWARA & vs. ATSUSHI AOKI & KOTARO SUZUKI
Atsushi Aoki is the manliest junior in the world, I think. His stuff with Nakajima was really awesome, with him targeting the knee as much as he could. This is one of those matches where you felt like Aoki and Suzuki had a much better strategy going in. Aoki works the knee and then tags in the faster Suzuki to further wear out Nakajima. The finish worked just really well, as they isolated the weak link, Kajiwara knowing that Nak would have a hard time saving him. Nicely laid out match with some really good exchanges from everyone. Solid match, worth checking out.


AKITOSHI SAITO & JUN AKIYAMA vs.  KENSUKE SASAKI & NAOKI SANO
A little ho-hum. If you like Akiyama and Sasaki knocking eachother around, you get a little bit of that, but nothing as heated as past encounters. Sano and Saito worked well together early on, but the finish, which featured them, wasn't really that engaging and ended rather flatly. I really like the team of Akiyama/Saito, but this was match was a little "through the motions" for everyone. Oh well.

MUHAMMED YONE vs. TAKASHI SUGIURA
Pretty listless in the beginning which is pretty much my standard description of anything Yone has been involved in for years and years. It started to get cooking in the last five minutes, when Yone started to get a little cocky, but too little too late, I say. Some good stuff here and there, but not worth checking out unless you're a huge fan of either guy.

GO SHIOZAKI & SHUHEI TANIGUCHI vs. TAKESHI MORISHIMA & KENTA KOBASHI
Kobashi is still a bundle of fun. His personality is so bright and shiny. It's still kind of sad to see him take bumps or run. He actually bumps around a lot in this, and while they aren't nasty or anything, you can feel it. Same with the running. He gets whipped to the corner near the end, and every step felt painful.

Go Shiozaki is a mixed bag with me. Sometimes he looks awesome and sometimes he looks...I don't know... perplexed? Like he's unsure of what he's doing? I can't explain it. And he'll go back and forth within a match. One minute he'll look like a hot young ace chop battling with THE MASTER, and the next minute he'll spin around and look confused as to which hand he should use. Weird. And for a match that's supposed to build to the upcoming title match, Morishima looked like the only one between the two with some real fire.

OVERALL SHOW:
Nothing special. Lots of mixed bag matches and guys kind of sleepwalking through their stuff. Nearly everything felt predictable, down to who was going to get pinned in the tag matches. They've got much better stuff out there, so don't worry about this one.