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Everything posted by Gordlow

  1. It has never happened and it never will happen, but I wish someone would come at me with "How can you like pro wrestling? It's all the same!" The sheer variety of wrestling footage out there is just baffling. It's amazing to me that stuff like Titanes en el ring exists, and that it was hugely popular in it day, and that footage is freely available online. How lucky are we, to live in a time when we can all enjoy this? Very much looking forward to this review.
  2. I'm almost always up for checking out more wrestling... but in all sincerity your pick worked out really well for me. It's fun to try and analyse a match that blows my socks off, to try and figure out what was so great about it; and it can be even more fun to tee off on a truly terrible train wreck of a match. What I rarely do is take a long look at a "one and a half to two star" type of "just OK" match and try to figure out why I didn't either really dislike it or really like it. I honestly had a lot of fun with your pick. Also, @Matt D maybe it would be fun to, in another five weeks or so (if we get that far - and it seems like we really might) to have us each assign a "so bad it's good" or "really bad, but in an interesting way" match. Raja Lion or Big Daddy or Renegade in Japan or late-days WCW type of stuff. It would be fun to read everyone having a go at some WrestleCrap level matches.
  3. I don't know, man. Maybe you're mis-remembering? Like, maybe it was a different match from their feud or maybe a different casket match? Because this was not good. And... I myself have liked a lot of matches that were technically not good, but this was not good in a way where I can't really see anybody liking this match or even particularly remembering this match. Although, the ending managed to be both creative and utterly disappointing so I guess I could see that being memorable. The problem from my perspective was that the match was almost entirely worked without any hint of intensity or hatred. I'd figure that this kind of gimmick match (casket match, buried alive match, ambulance match, last man standing match...) should be the end-point of a long and violent feud. I'd figure that a casket match should be worked like this: You have to beat your opponent down so badly that they can't stop you from putting them in a casket and closing the lid. JR even explains it as such on commentary. This match just isn't worked that way. They go through the motions of setting up three big spots leading to the clever but dissatisfying conclusion, but almost everything seems perfunctory and mandatory. All that being said, this was not a terrible match or even a particularly bad match. It effectively tells a nice little story and the big spots, perfunctory as they may be, are still visually quite impressive because these are two genuinely massive men executing them. This match is, almost aggressively, just kind of OK. It starts out well, establishing that Show is afraid of the casket and giving us a couple of minutes of very good clubbering action. That got my hopes up. But, they transition into laboriously setting up the announce tables for Big Spot #1: Taker legdrops Show through an announce table. Honest question, not being snarky: Can anybody remember if these spots still felt exciting back in 2008? These days, it really feels like something they have to do once per PPV. Another case of looking at things through 2020 eyes, perhaps? There is some weird editing when Taker hits Show with the monitors during the set-up. Fairly or not (probably not), thinking about that took me out of the match. Then they get back in the ring to set up Big Spot #2: Show counters Old School into a suplex. There is no struggle over this at all. Taker works Show's arm a bit, sets up for old school, and starts to climb the ropes. Show punches him once in the gut, and Taker kind of doubles over and gets suplexed. Visually impressive, but emotionally unremarkable. Show rolls Taker into the casket but he's afraid to touch it and he wants the refs to close the lid... which they refuse to do. This is a nice bit, which allows both of the big men to catch their breath. Certainly, part of the problem with this match is that both men were completely gassed out by the five-minute mark. Show looks physically like he's in not-too-bad shape here, but he never really recovers and spends the last two thirds of the match visibly gasping for air. Show is generally a good actor in-ring, but his exhaustion keeps him from making angry or scared facial expressions and really limits his body language and that hurts this match a lot. Taker, on the other hand, seems to get his second wind while lying in the casket (which also makes perfect sense for his character), and he comes out all fired up and knocks Show around a bit. The opening fisticuffs and this short but nice segment have me convinced that these two could absolutely work an exciting straightforward brawl. Unfortunately, though, we have to go into the set-up for big spot #3: Show slowly, slowly, slowly climbs to the second rope in the corner and waits there until Taker comes over to choke slam him off the second rope. This sets up the second big casket spot, with Show fighting to keep Taker from closing the lid. Taker, obviously, is not scared to touch the casket. That's some nice, character-based story-telling. They end up back in the ring, where Show lethargically choke-slams Taker. Then he goes outside, knocks over the casket, and retreats up the entrance ramp. Taker does the sit up, then causes a wall of flame to erupt, blocking Show's escape. The druids come out, and leave an absolutely enormous casket on the stage. Taker and Show brawl around the ramp and the stage and tease a 4th big spot, but instead Show tips the big casket up on one end so it's standing vertically. That could have been an impressive "feat of strength" spot, and indeed it is commentated as such... but once again Show is too gassed out to use his face and body to sell that in any way at all. He whips Taker into the upright casket and tries to do so a second time... but Taker reverses the whip and sends Show into the casket, only this time the lid is open so Show runs inside the upright casket which falls over and the force of that shuts the lid. Match over. Ca you see what I mean when I call the ending creative but disappointing? I'm sure these two have a much better kaiju-style match in them. To be honest, it was a lot of fun to review a not-so-good match. (I mean this un-ironically): Thanks Niko!
  4. Blind spots remain the same, but I also wouldn't mind a kaiju-style match. I'm open to pretty much anything. It's an atypical Khan match, in that he's basically playing face in peril to a heel Andre. As my man Elliott put it, he's like the world's weirdest Ricky Morton in this one.
  5. @NikoBaltimore: More kaiju-style matches, you say? I hear you. I hear you.
  6. I find it far more amusing than annoying. I like that AEW chooses to exist in something approximating the real world rather than trying to create their own separate universe. It used to drive me up the wall in the 1980s when the WWF refused to acknowledge what wrestlers had done before arriving in New York. I'm absolutely fine with AEW openly acknowledging it and having some fun with it.
  7. Oh well. I stand corrected. People who are into body part psychology will find no joy here. Still, as you say, the match is worth watching if you know where to find it. If memory serves, there is a very bad-ass spot where Murakami licks Nagata's blood off his forearm. Would it be fair to say that anyone be who is into Inoki-ism will find much to tickle their fancy? Perhaps that goes without saying.
  8. Man, I love to hate on the E, but this seems like a truly classy move on their part, making all of this stuff available at this time. Good on them!
  9. I was referring to how Nagata's arm work led to Murakami being unable to keep his last-desperate-chance sleeper applied. It's been a good while since I've seen that match but I can still remember being impressed by that particular bit of story-telling.
  10. Les Kellett vs Leon Arras So I am watching this match, and it's driving me nuts: I am sure that this is the first time I have ever seen this match, but I could swear that I know Leon Arras from somewhere. Maybe from when I went to Scotland years and years ago with my family and watched wrestling on TV with my cousins? No... I don't think so. Is it just the Yorkshire accent? No... it's definitely this particular accent, and this particular big balding head. Finally, I paused the match and did a quick YouTube search. Holy S**t! Leon Arras is the chess-playing guy who told the joke in the pub scene in American Werewolf in London: Not only that, he was also Mr. Sugden in Ken Loach's Kes!! What a great character, and what a truly great movie! Arras (or, actually, Brian Glover) was also Mr. Rottweiler in Bottom and the voice of the Tetley Tea ads... What's that? Oh, yeah. The match: The fans love Kellett and despise Arras here. The first three rounds are pretty reminiscent of the Flair vs Lesnar match that OctopusCinema also posted for me to watch, in that Kellett seems to be getting crowd sympathy for being a beloved veteran who is working against a much larger man while also working as "the dirtiest player in the game" who knows "every trick in the book" and isn't above pulling all of them out to gain the upper hand against his larger opponent. For the first two and a half rounds, Arras generally plays fair but he often taunts both Kellett and the crowd. Arras seems to be the King of Catch-Phrase Wrestling Comedy. In particular, he just hammers on "Ow 'bout that, then?" every time he does anything remotely impressive, and it is very interesting to see how the crowd's reaction to that phrase changes over the course of the match. The dynamic here seems to be that Arras is a little bit of a show-off but the crafty Kellett keeps coming out on top. Arras sneers that Kellett will never get the best of him, then Kellett immediately gets the best of him... and the crowd pops. Arras traps Kellett in a facelock, but Kellett pulls his arm down and yells, "He's choking me!"... and the crowd cracks up. Arras yells "Let's see how strong you are, Kelly Boy!" and Kellett immediately wins the test of strength... and the crowd pops. Can you guess what happens when Arras yells "You'll never make a monkey out of me," and can you guess how the crowd reacts? The fans are great here, just eating it up and reacting with joy every time Kellet outsmarts the bigger man. It comes as a shock, then, when the tables are turned and Arras outsmarts Kellett to win the first fall. The crowd don't like that at all. There are some pretty great comedy spots in this one, including an all-time classic revolving around Kellett causing Arras to bite his own tongue, and the single best best "measure him up and kick him in the back" spot in wrestling history (late in the match). They do a call-back to the "hit your opponent but sell like he hit you" spot that worked so well for Kellett against Johnny South... but this time referee Max Ward is wise to it and it's Kellett that gets the public warning. I marked out for that. Kellett catches Arras in a very cool variation of the Figure Four, but the bigger man escapes. Kellett also does the Nigel/Moxley rebound spot in this match, but it doesn't lead to a pinfall here. Instead, Arras starts to genuinely heel it up, using the bandage on his elbow to rake Kellett's eyes again and again in an ever-escalating British version of the classic "hide the foreign object from the ref" trope. A badly worn-down Kellett does a little bit of Drunken Master-style bobbing and weaving that got a huge laugh out of me. Arras knocks Kellett out of the ring, and in a very cool spot several members of the audience lift him back in. There is another wonderful inversion and subversion of the "turn about is fair play" trope in this match (following the above-mentioned kick to the back) that earns the equalizing fall for Kellett. We then get a more classic-style "turn about is fair play" spot after Kellett snatches the bandage from Arras' arm. Arras subsequently loses his cool and in a finish that is somewhat reminiscent of the final fall of the Johnny South match, Kellett once again takes advantage of an enraged and charging bull of an opponent to steal the winning pinfall. So that's the third Les Kellett match I have seen, and it's the third one that has kept me utterly entertained from bell to bell. Honestly, if the next person who draws my name decides to give me Kellett vs Bobby Barnes, Mel Stuart, or Steve Haggerty I won't mind at all. Though, a nice old-fashioned hoss fight might make an enjoyable change of pace, too.
  11. One of the best professional wrestlers of all time, and also a genuinely kind, generous, and warm-hearted person. Deserves all the praise and accolades that he gets.
  12. You are not wrong, but I think that the argument is that a War Games type of match has traditionally been used to blow off a massive feud where things are so out of control and there is so much hatred that there is no other way to resolve things... and I can see that point as well. For me personally, I am just so happy to see a classic Rhodesian closed-cage War Games type of match that I don't think that AEW could possibly get me more hyped up by building to it more organically. Just give me some Blood and Guts! Hopefully the next time they run one, down the road, they will give it more of a full-on old school build.
  13. I don't think that I, personally, would vote it over either Danielson vs Low Ki match... but I remember Yuji Nagata vs Kazunari Murakami being pretty great. I think that people who mark out for "body part psychology" might particularly enjoy that one.
  14. @The Natural I was there live in Edmonton for the Foley vs Orton Death Match, but I don't think I have ever seen that promo before. It's got me retroactively pumped up to have been there.
  15. @The Man Known as Dan : You said that you were "(c)urrently in a seeming unending march to try to expand (your) knowledge on older wrestling" So... how about: The Patera vs Backlund Texas Death Match! It's from 1980 so it still has that '70s type structure where they start out at a deliberate pace and ramp up quite slowly, but once they get going... Oooooh baby! In my mind it ranks right up there with the Sarge vs Patterson Alley Fight and the Sarge vs Sheiky Boot Camp Match as one of the truly great old-school WWF brawls. I'm looking forward to reading your take on it.
  16. @NikoBaltimore I have always found Rikidozan to be fascinating. He was never a particularly "good worker" in terms of technique or whatever, but he never needed to be. My understanding is that it was Fred Blassie and some of his cronies who had the genius idea of profiting from the national post-WWII mood in Japan by having American wrestlers come over and work as heels and mow down Japanese opponents and create a national hero by pushing one guy who could stand up to the Americans. For whatever reason, they chose a Korean sumo wrestler to play that role. As much as he wasn't Mr. Move-set, Rikidozan was awesome at working the crowds. I think a very fair comparison would be Hulkamania era Hogan. Hogan needed little more than a bodyslam, big boot, and a legdrop... Rikidozan basically had chops and a hip toss... but the audience at the time just loved to see them climb back from adversity, time and time again, and triumph against the foreign heel. David Lee Roth, of all people, has an amazing take on Rikidozan: @Matt D I just love watching Andre bump in that match! To me, Teranishi was the Morton or Kikuchi of his day. He just excelled at making other wrestlers look great. Hence the nickname. Really enjoyed your write-up of that match. Hopefully a few other people might be moved to watch it.
  17. That's certainly possible Les Kellett vs Johnny South This is my second Les Kellett match. The first was Les Kellett vs Johnny Czeslaw, which I think Jetlag recommended to me in a discussion about comedy matches. I loved that one and came away thinking that I needed to see more Les Kellett. But then, in researching Kellett matches, I came across a quote from ohtani's jacket (another guy whose opinions I respect) where he said something along the lines of "if you've seen one Les Kellett match, you've pretty much seen them all." So, it's taken me this long to get to number two. Certainly, there were similarities between the Czeslaw and South matches. In both, Kellett gets huge reactions from the crowd out of the timing of his slightly-delayed reactions and comical body language and facial expressions. In both, Kent Walton's dulcet tones and relaxed amusement give an air of class to the action in the ring and make the comedy seem that much more genteel and sophisticated. In both, Kellett gets a lot of mileage from his interactions with the referee. In fact, the interactions in the South match reminded me of the chemistry and timing that Ebessan has with Yukinori Matsui. I have to assume that backing up the comedy with nasty-looking stiff strikes and bursts of smooth technical wrestling was Kellett's trademark. There were some pretty significant differences between the South and the Czeslaw matches, though. The main thing is that South is quite a bit bigger than Kellett and so the comedy bits have a clear purpose here: Kellett is trying to goad the bigger man into losing his cool and making a mistake. Some of the best spots involve little more than Kellett adjusting his posture to make South look foolish when he goes to lock up. Those spots got legit out loud laughs from me. There are several points during the first couple of rounds where South sneaks in an illegal punch when the ref can't see it. That is paid off magnificently later in the match when Kellett cheap shots South with a closed fist, but immediately sells it as though he has been punched. The ref is completely fooled, and even goes so far as to give South a public warning when Kellett pulls the trick a second time. I get the sense that it's possible that Eddie and Chavo, and also the Florida Brothers, got some ideas from watching Kellett work this match! Nigel McGuinness and Jon Moxlex may have also been inspired by watching the finish to this match. There's a certain move that both guys use that Kellett does beautifully here. Kellett was truly ahead of his time.
  18. Summer Rae and Fandango vs Emma and Santino This was absolutely charming. A genuine happy surprise. This is from an era when I was watching close to zero WWE. I still followed along halfheartedly by reading recaps and lurking on discussion boards. (I was mostly hoping to read that they'd done something good with Bryan Danielson so that I could seek that out and watch it). This was around the time that my beloved Osaka Pro was staring to peter out, and I can remember reading about Emma becoming one of the most popular wrestlers on NXT by adopting a "clumsy dancer" gimmick and kind of hoping that stuff like that would at least keep the spirit of Osaka Pro alive... but I also remember having so little faith in WWE that I couldn't even be bothered to check it out for myself. So I went into watching this with only the vaguest of notions about who these wrestlers were. And the pre-match and the entrances, did a pretty much perfect job of laying it all out for me. Fandango and Summer Rae dance each other to the ring. They are absolutely gorgeous, and they move with utmost grace and in perfect sync. Oh, how I loathe them, Then Emma comes out, doing that awkward dance I'd read about, and she is just adorable. And they announce her partner, and the fans blow the roof off of the place. They are so happy to see Santino! In perfect juxtaposition with the grace and timing of Fandango and Summer Rae, Emma and Santino cannot sync up their entrances at all, at first, and then when they finally do hit their stride it is just ridiculous enough to be cute. They even struggle (charmingly) to get into the ring, and by the time the match has started I am all the way into seeing these two lovable goofs taking it to their beautiful and arrogant opponents. I love when there is synergy between a wrestler's look, gimmick, and style. Consider Rick Rude. The too-handsome face with the lush mullet and mustache, the unrealistically ripped abs, the arrogant body language, the hip-swivel taunt... He looked like a guy who would make you look bad in front of your girlfriend just for laughs... and he absolutely acted that way and wrestled that way, as well. Everything worked together. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts. This match is a modern master-class in that type of thinking. Fandango is sexy enough and moves well enough to justify his arrogance... but he is also just goofy and over-the-top enough that it doesn't seem impossible that Santino could get the upper hand on him. Santino looks like enough of a regular awkward guy to serve as an audience surrogate, but he looks just muscular and fit enough that it is somewhat believable to see him competing in a pro wrestling ring. Summer Rae and Emma are both beautiful fit blondes... but Emma is just goofy and charming enough to seem approachable and likable. Summer Rae carries herself as the exact opposite of approachable and likable. And right from the beginning... from before the beginning, right from the introductions, everything they do is based around the juxtaposition of these easily-understandable characters. Fandango smoothly ascends to the top turnbuckle to taunt the crowd. Santino almost falls over. and so on. It's lovely. I had a big grin on my face the whole time watching this. Another thing I love in pro wrestling is when something patently absurd is treated with such po-faced seriousness that they are able to get the crowd to totally suspend their disbelief. (examples: The Heart Punch, The Undertaker, Hurricane Helms, Mr. Socko) and obviously The Cobra takes its inspiration from the last of those. And while damn near everything in this match is played for laughs, The Cobra is treated as an important thing and a real threat throughout. That also works to get laughs, but it simultaneously sets up the finish, which pops the crowd and brings them to their feet. They did a fine job avoiding any of the potential unpleasantness that comes with a mixed tag match. Summer Rae hit Santino with a couple of nice sneak attacks, but there was no "turn about is fair play" payback spot or anything that might have taken the fun out of things for me. I kind of have the feeling that if they ran this match today we'd be expected to cheer for Fandango and Summer for being so beautiful and talented, and to boo Santino and Emma for being less than perfect and cool. (I get this feeling because of reading about things like face Lacey and heel Bayley). I feel like WWE have possibly lost the thread there. The "Revenge of the Nerds" dynamic of this match was really enjoyable. It's very nice to see the weirdos come out on top once in a while.
  19. Awesome! Also hilarious: My second choice for you, if I couldn't find footage of the IWE match, was going to be Les Kellett vs Johnny Czeslaw!
  20. Nice on, Super Ape! Thank you, Matt! I've got a pretty sweet one for you. In honour of the French Catch project introducing so many people to the great Franz van Buyten, here he is in a 1972 IWE Japan match, tagging with Andre the Giant and Ali Bey the not-at-all-a-giant vs Rusher Kimura and Thunder Sugiyama and (one of my all-time personal favourite wrestlers) Isamu "The Carpenter" Teranishi. I sincerely think it's one of the most entertaining matches of all time. I'm sure you've seen it before (I think you mentioned it in one of your segunda caida French Catch write-ups), hopefully you'll enjoy the re-watch.
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