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Teflon Turtle

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  1. Agreed on Fletcher/Goto. There were one or two little missteps in the first portion of the match, but by the second half they'd hit their stride and were just going ham. I quite liked Ospreay/Davis from today's show, as well. I know there was some recent clamoring online about Aussie Open not having a contract anywhere, and it has felt like those two are taking the opportunity to make a statement here (as if somehow Aussie Open vs. FTR in an NJPW ring wasn't enough...). I may have missed some things here or there, but based on his interactions with the crowd and post-match comments, Ospreay seems to be heading in a full-blown face direction after starting off in UE as a heel. I know the whole faction was in tweener territory for a bit, but the shift seems to be happening. Oh - I'm a few days late on this match, but I think the Tanahashi/Okada vs. Umino/Narita tag match from the 3/11 show is worth watching, too. It's interesting they went with something like that so quickly. Black shorts, "sick and tired of your shit" Okada has been super-fun to watch, and there was plenty of utter disdain for the next generation in this one.
  2. I'm going to put myself out here a bit to say that there is some fun to be had on the NJPW/CMLL Fantasticamania shows. I'll try to avoid getting too much in to "navel-gazing" territory, but I've got to admit that one of my more significant shames as a longtime wrestling fan is that I've had difficulty getting in to the rules and structure of lucha libre matches - even sometimes the overall style itself despite the fact that I recognize the immense talent and athleticism of many luchadors throughout wrestling history. The Fantasticamania tour gives me a window in to something I'm unfamiliar with and broaden my horizons a bit, as a result. The differences are apparent on these shows, as the contrasting styles make themselves known and it's clear that you're getting wrestlers who don't work with each other very often. However, it gives a chance for some wrestlers who don't always get a lot of love to show that they're pretty much unflappable in there - I'm thinking of people like Kanemaru. The shows themselves are about two hours, and are pretty light-hearted. I don't think anybody is concerned with putting on epics, and the NJPW guys get a chance to let their hair down a bit and do something different. Like BOSJ shows, there typically aren't ringside barriers between the crowd and the ring. The crowds themselves are really coming alive for these shows, which has been a pleasure to see after so much silence for the past three years. And, the fans have been able to interact with some of the wrestlers in ways they usually can't. All of this combined with the fact that some of the shows have taken place in venues that NJPW doesn't always run really makes it feel pretty fresh and unique.
  3. Amazing. Every second of it. That quick shot of Chono got me. There's so much history packed in to that video overall, but even in that one moment.
  4. Acrostics > Ariel Helwani. Or something. Tombstone Piledriver Tiger Suplex European Uppercut Unprettier F5 Rainmaker Leg drop Tope Suicida One-Winged Angel Last Ride Neckbreaker Everest-Style German Suplex
  5. Looks like it's official, Roiland is out. I'm having trouble with links and such, but the Rick & Morty Twitter account has confirmed it. The reports are that work on S7 of the show is continuing and any character Roiland voiced will be re-cast. (Edit...we'll see if this link to an article containing the tweet works...) https://www.avclub.com/adult-swim-justin-roiland-will-re-cast-rick-and-morty-1850026866
  6. You can count me amongst those whose pro-wrestling fandom trajectory was greatly altered by Muta. I was too young for his NWA run - missed it by a couple of years. There were probably other Japanese wresters I saw first. Kaientai in WWF, likely Liger in WCW and definitely Ultimo Dragon, maybe even Tajiri and Ikuto Hidaka in ECW. All of those wrestlers combined led me to want to research puroresu. So on to the internet I went. But...I saw images of Muta and some of his elaborate NJPW entrance attires along with maybe some short video clips, and that sealed it for me. Muta was the wrestler that flipped the switch between "I think Japanese pro-wrestling might be of interest" to "I NEED to see this in motion and find out what it's all about." I'm pretty sure the first puroresu VHS order I ever put in was for two Great Muta comps, a "Best of Ultimo Dragon in Mexico/Japan" comp, and a Misawa/Kawada rivalry history tape. I've been hooked ever since.
  7. I am mildly disappointed that the Takeshita/MJF portion of that segment did not end with Don Callis appearing onstage with an offer to foot the bill for the fine MJF mentioned...and then with Takeshita knocking MJF flat. I understand why it didn't happen that way, but it would've been a fun way to advance the scouting storyline they're doing. I say this as someone who felt relatively early that Ricky Starks was primed to be a top guy in AEW, but I think his stuff has been uneven since the face turn. Some of that is down to what he's being booked in. But, one show has some great mic work from him against MJF, then another show later...lukewarm. He's not the sole reason his segment on this episode wasn't great, but the hot/cold aspect of what's he's been up to is of some concern. He seemed more comfortable when he was on the heel side of things.
  8. I have not gotten a chance to watch the entire WK show yet...I'm not sure what the timeline is for spoilers but I'll put my initial thoughts in the spoiler box just in case there are others who are in the same position I'm in and didn't take the day off to watch the show: Okay. Maybe I'll post more once I watch the rest of the card and New Year Dash.
  9. Couldn't agree more. Something that has really bugged me about the general sentiment online (I'm not limiting myself to DVDVR forum, here) that NJPW was just flat throughout the pandemic was that people like ZSJ, and especially Shingo and El Desperado weren't getting the credit they deserved for the work they were doing in what was and has continued to be a restrictive environment. I also contend that Suzuki himself has been awesome for years, and despite the fact that he's sort of in a "play the hits" phase as others here have written, he's no less entertaining and also maintained a high standard during the pandemic all things considered. Subtitles are a blessing; the guy is still a great promo and worker overall. One of the things I like about NJPW and many within it is how elegantly the kayfabe lines get blurred. The curtain is not yanked so far back to a postmodern extent (second edit: ...maybe Yano excluded), but "real life" is still acknowledged in small ways. The promos after the great Suzuki-gun final match kind of reflect that, I think. Some went further than others - ZSJ and Archer's portions when they spoke in-ring can very well be read as having been entirely out of character - but I don't think anybody went so far as to kill the kayfabe of the moment entirely, and by the end Suzuki himself goes back in to heel mode to wrap everything up. I feel like Suzuki himself may be a master of that balance, by the way. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but one of my favorite things about the "Kaze ni Nare" chant during his entrance is that you can sort of see those lines blur a little each time. Minoru Suzuki the wrestler/character expects the fans to chant because he is the "king of pro wrestling" and he deserves that respect. But, I think you can also kind of see a glimmer each time that the "real" Suzuki appreciates hearing that chant, face/heel dynamics be damned. (EDIT: I think he also showed that at the end of that kickass singles match he had with Liger during Liger's retirement run where he knelt and bowed after winning. Suzuki's character will eventually grudgingly show respect to others, but that was also quite real.) Anyway, having rambled on...I think the evolution and growth of many within the Suzuki-gun stable has been evident, and though I'm sad to see the faction go, I'm hoping it opens up some more opportunities for those wrestlers to keep growing and do different things. I suspect the fact that the New Year's Dash card isn't going to be announced at all may be due in part to the dissolution of the faction so the next steps can be a "surprise" that starts at that show.
  10. I'd probably have to think harder about this because what I came up with feels like I'm missing something. First attempt anyway...North American bracket is Side A, Japanese bracket is side B. Mostly dream matches that I want to see or matches that the wrestlers involved have stated that they want to have, at least on Side A: Side A: Bret Hart vs. Kurt Angle. So they can get that dream match they've both talked about. Bret wins. Kenny Omega vs. AJ Styles. I know they wanted to do this at a Wrestlemania. This ain't it, but I'm holding the book! But, hypocritically: they can figure it out amongst themselves who wins. To them, I don't know that the match is about that anyway as opposed to the overall performance. Bret wins the bracket. Side B: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenta Kobashi. Kobashi takes it. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada (I'm pretty sure this happened. I don't care, I want to see it again with both guys in their top form.) Tanahashi wins. Tana squeaks by Kobashi to win the bracket. Final: Bret vs. Tana. Couldn't care less who wins, just want to see it.
  11. I watched it back: when Matt was in midair he had his hands over his chest and not in the Punk "go to sleep" position by the side of his head (which...I don't know I'd want any part of my body off-center when backflipping off a tall object either). When he landed, he sat down cross-legged (that's when I started thinking Punk) and closed his eyes as if in prayer. I jokingly had the same thought as The Green Meanie: "the moonsault itself is technically not a Punk reference; they're booing the nice Michinoku Pro-loving Christian boys!" But, maybe a prod at Punk's "Second City Saints?" Right after, Nick was aping some Randy Savage mannerisms, which I assumed was poking fun at Punk's top rope elbow. That, or the crowd was booing everything the Elite were doing at that point without even stopping to analyze if it made sense to do so and Nick was just clowning around.
  12. Boy, those Chicago fans are going to feel like assholes when they find out the only thing Matt Jackson was trying to do with that praying moonsault was pay homage to Jinsei Shinzaki. Buncha quick-to-judge ingrates. Kidding aside, I have no idea what The Elite was trying to do with all of those CM Punk and fight references. Are they building towards something, just being jerks, taking heat where they can get it/making the most of the fact that they will likely never be cheered in Chicago again and therefore don't have to be on their best behavior...? No matter what it was, I was entertained. Speaking of entertainment: I am totally fine with analyzing pro-wrestling to the extent that we do here. It's possible to enjoy this artform on a lot of different levels. But - if we accept that pro-wrestling is supposed to be a form of entertainment and are OK with consuming it on that simple level sometimes, then I don't know if anyone has entertained me more this year than Orange Cassidy has. Building a match based around playing keep away with a dumb hat is something I can't recall seeing in thirty years of fandom, and if I have seen it, it wasn't done in a more humorous and enjoyable way than it was done by OC, Hager, and the rest of the wrestlers at ringside in this match. One man's opinion on some of the postmodern wrestlers like Cassidy we've seen in recent times: in order to subvert the tropes of pro-wrestling, one must first understand those tropes. Orange Cassidy has a character, wrestles to it, and sells the beating he's taking quite well. These are all more traditional aspects of pro-wrestling; he simultaneously sticks by them and creatively bends some of the "rules" to make entertaining matches. He's not just screwing around in there. It's a joy to watch. To refer back to my post about Full Gear: I am glad that Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter's reigns are both going to be recognized as official title runs. They both earned it. While the tweet about Thunder Rosa above is a bit much, I do think it's a shame that this couldn't have been ironed out before the PPV. Making that announcement at Full Gear itself would've added more stakes to the match, when instead Jamie Hayter was announced as a new interim champion and then had that retconned mere days later. I admit to some curiosity as to why this agreement between AEW and Rosa couldn't have been reached even a week sooner.
  13. Most of my wrestling love comes from puroresu. So, when I saw Kingston/Akiyama and the aftermath, there was pretty much nothing that was going to top that for me. Eddie showing genuine emotion from the pre-match promo all the way through the moment he left the ring afterwards was something to witness. I'm happy he got to have that experience. I did not follow Kingston on the indies but I can see why he generates passionate reactions among some of the posters here. I'm all for a Kingston world-title run after this match. That said, there were some other nice little puroresu tributes I'll combine and ramble about for a second. I really liked Orange Cassidy using the PK after his match with Shibata. OC's growth as a wrestler and character in AEW is one of my favorite long-term things the promotion has done so far, and OC himself has been note-perfect in a lot of big matches this year. Since Shibata requested that match specifically, having OC take that move as a tribute makes sense to me. I also liked Mox throwing up Muto's "pro-wres love" hand gestures when he used the figure 4. I have mixed emotions about the women's interim title match. By the time Hayter and Storm were in the ring, there was a significant "big match feel" going, but I'd say that none of that was thanks to AEW. 100% of that credit goes to the wrestlers themselves. I do not have a dog in the fight with respect to some of the controversies that have followed Thunder Rosa around. So, nothing against her by writing this, but: Storm/Hayter should absolutely have been a decision match for the "real" championship. Both Hayter and Storm have been tearing it up lately, and both have earned the right to a legitimate championship run. The "interim" tag coming or going is meaningless; the story upon Rosa's return is the exact same regardless. She never lost the championship in the ring - it doesn't matter if she's facing an "interim" champion or the person who won the belt after Rosa was stripped of it. My next statement is no doubt influenced by the fact that I think this should've been a match for the "real" championship: the match didn't need the interference. Storm and Hayter were having a killer match until then, and Hayter winning via interference only takes away from the organic reactions she has been getting lately. It has been mentioned (by Tony Khan himself, I think) that the stance is that AEW fans can and should cheer for who they want. Yet sometimes, it still seems like AEW tries to swim against that tide a bit.
  14. So in this promo, one of the things Hangman said is (paraphrasing) that being a champion is not just about what happens when the cameras are on, but what happens when the red light goes off. Whether Hangman "went in to business for himself" with the worker's rights comment, by responding the way he did (even if the press conference was a bit worked), Punk eventually proved Hangman right if you ask me. And maybe a bit more contentious, but Hangman wound up eventually being pretty much right about protecting AEW from Punk, too - in character or not, it wound up being prophetic.
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