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Matt D

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Everything posted by Matt D

  1. He’d be so much better as a face.
  2. Do you want do get a lecture from Tony about contract tampering?
  3. 12/11/86: Maeda/Kido vs Masked Superstar/Murdoch: I'm a huge Bill Eadie fan, but what works as Demolition Ax in a certain environment may not work quite the same as Masked Superstar in another. He was credible. Everything he did made sense. Given his size and skill, you'd buy him standing up out of Kido's Fujiwara armbar given some effort and time. When he did an arm trap slam, it looked painful. What I can really say here, however, is that he was a means to the end that was Dick Murdoch. Murdoch was electric in all of these matches and Superstar simply wasn't. That's ok. He was credible in getting his knee up on Maeda's corner spin wheel kick or dodging a second so that Murdoch could come in and do his thing. This had some heat on Kido but again, the hot tag was wasted. Just a kick out and a roll to the corner and the fans went up for Maeda anyway because they always did but it could have been so much more. It always could have been so much more. Murdoch and Eadie obviously knew that so it's not like they weren't doing exactly what they were supposed to, but it's still a waste. It's a waste of wrestling energy. Still, this was good and it was as good a way to end the year as any. So, now we've come to the end of the year. To my knowledge, I've watched every NJPW match from 1986 that we have that's made tape, whether it was full or just a clip or even a handheld. I've watched a good chunk of matches leading up to it and a solid span of bonus matches, primarily from the 80s but with some other historical ones to give me a broader sense of some of the key players. For anyone daunted, I took seven months to do it. I watched a few matches every other night while doing other things. I had some big gaps due to injury or vacation or other things. I learned a lot. I can speak intelligently on just about anyone I've come across, at least for this year. I gave myself the foundation I need to get into the musketeers and Liger more thoroughly when the time comes. I can reach back to older Inoki in an informed way. I suggest this. Find a blindspot and dig in. You don't have to watch the whole year, but it might be fun to follow one wrestler for a while. For me, an added value is that NJPW is so difficult to find and watch right now. They've made their history almost impossible to view and that makes it almost feel like I'm reading forbidden tomes or things that anyone coming up now (and I'm not, obviously, as I'm a kid of the turn of the century DVDVR, but one that never really dabbled until 2010 or so) can't even watch in gif form. Let me sum up a few things over the next couple of days. Inoki: Inoki's as good a place to start as any. Watching Inoki helped me rethink how I look at an "ace." I'm not sure I ever gave it too much thought. Hogan's an Ace. Misawa's an Ace. Hijo del Santo's probably an Ace. Cena. Reigns. Flair. Bruno. Douglas or Taz? Sting? 94 Bret? I always joked that Christian was the best WWE one (And ECW one!) but what I learned from watching Inoki is that you ought to expect an ace to excel at maximizing moments. It took me by surprise a bit because the implicit storytelling inherent in AJPW matches don't often allow for it. In a lot of ways, NJPW matches follow a similar bent, guys pressing up against each other with what passes as accepted reality as opposed to overt, explicit storytelling with build and payoff and obviously (but again accepted and normative) storytelling. The difference with Inoki is that he's excellent at dropping in a single pivotal moment of that blatant artifice in the midst of the implicit narrative. It's the use of red in an otherwise black and white movie, a lone firework to cap off an orchestra's performance. In fact, the biggest problem with the hour long Brody match was that he wasn't able to insert that well enough in so long a match when the setting and opponent should have been the ultimate opponent for him to do it with. In the Spinks match, on the other hand, it was absolutely there (even if Spinks didn't go up for the suplex in the end like he was supposed to). Where he excelled was against the Murdochs and Andres of the world, or even guys like Sakaguchi. Against random foreigners and monsters like the Maxxes. Against Maeda or Kido, he stumbled because he tried to keep up with them as a point of pride and he simply couldn't. He did far better when he leaned into his strengths and his strengths were only 2/3rds legit, but made all the stronger by that 1/3rd of beloved bullshit. Against a Fujiwara, it worked because Fujiwara was good enough to transcend being a shooter. I'm glad for the time I spent with him. I see right through him, but I'm still glad for the looking. Fujinami and Kimura: They started the year tied together. They ended the year tied together in a different way. There was a difference in hierarchy but it was more minor than major. Fujinami was the excellence of execution. By this point, he felt established as a star, as the #2 guy, as a threat, as someone for people to throw themselves against to prove themselves. I didn't love his clothesline. It wasn't a killer lariat in 1986, but it represented a KO blow and he treated it as such. When he faced Maeda, he had to wrestle a perfect match to stay in it, but there was no one I'd rather count on in a kayfabe level and an execution level to wrestle a perfect match than Fujinami. There were moments where he just bristled up and stopped selling and decided it was time to fight back. It wasn't a hulk up in any meaningful sense. It wasn't Jumbo getting pissed off. It was just him jutting his chin and finding something within himself and it was totally believable. I loved the way he bounced off the ropes or how he'd come into the ring after a tag. But I still feel like I need to see more before passing judgement. Kimura developed through the year, but I don't think it was a development that was needed against the Inokis and Sakaguchis of the world. It was against the UWF guys, where he went from getting overwhelmed, to finding the fire to fight back, to actually being able to go with them on the mat. By the end of the year, I'd put more of a wager on him than Inoki to hang with someone like Takada or Kido. The fans believed in him, maybe not that he'd put someone away, but that he'd make it damn hard for them to put him away without a fight and that he'd very likely fight them to a stalemate. I'm excited for what's to come with him in 87. More over the next few days on UWF guys, maybe some juniors, foreigners, etc. Thanks for following along for those who are reading.
  4. I hope Jericho goes through ROH champions, including RUSH in Canada.
  5. It's not. It's because they've introduced new characters and 3/4 possibilities for other characters that are outside of the text where, weirdly, House of the Dragon instead of raising mysteries, is answering the potential questions within the actual text (things that were kept vague or up to interpretation as it's written as a history) one after the next and revealing a bunch of stuff no one really cares about that was introduced in Game of Thrones (like the fire in Harenhall). Knowing everything that happens in the Second Age doesn't help you all that much here because it doesn't tell you which character is Sauron or who the Wizard guy is or who the King without a Kingdom will turn out to be, etc.
  6. I'm impressed they've managed to put some intrigue and mysteries in a show where they should be none. It's something House of the Dragon is completely lacking.
  7. Yeah. I want the guy to get better and have a good life. It just sort of messed up the upper midcard a bit for he and Cole to be there on top of everyone else.
  8. All problems really stem from having hired Cole and O’Reilly, of course.
  9. We engaged with this battle royal in very different ways.
  10. They're also doing some agent work now on the side!
  11. My "best possible scenario" shifts all the time as we get new info. First, it was Punk doing business with Omega/Bucks. Then it was Punk just putting over young guys after he comes back until he's done. Then it was just the Elite leaving AS WELL as Punk. Now it's Punk coming back in November for a promo in Chicago where he apologies, admits that he dishonored himself and the company and the fans and pledges that he's going to restore his honor by getting better, coming back as strong as he can, and saving ROH from Jericho. This is now my new "best possible scenario." It's extremely unlikely.
  12. This is from an indiewire article but it covers it.
  13. I'm getting dangerously close to the end of the year here. I am going to take a quick look at January 87 just to make sure that I really, really want to jump off NJPW for a while. I'm not sure what sort of match would make me linger another month. There's a world where I go right up until Choshu comes back in June 87 but I don't think so. I'll look after I write these up. 12/10/86: Koshinaka (c) vs Yamazaki: This was long. No, it was ok. Koshinaka does think about how his matches start. We saw that with the escalating slaps with Takada, for instance. Here he hits two butt bumps (is there a respectable Japanese name for that?) but gets caught on the third for a German. That's the start. Then there's a slap, a caught kick, etc. Koshinaka is also a guy who learned as the year went on and the same things wouldn't work on him moving forward. Hierarchy said that Yamazaki spent the whole match fighting from underneath as Koshinaka locked in submissions (mostly on the leg but headscissors too) that weren't really sold in the grand scheme of things. He'd get a moment where he had breathing space or could get a shot in but Shiro would drag him back down. He did fight pretty valiantly. At a little before the twenty minute mark, he started to make some inroads and the last few minutes were pretty exciting. This could have lost five minutes though. BONUS MATCHES: 11/25/86: Fuji Yamada vs Rocky Moran and 12/27/86: Fuji Yamada vs John Wilkie: I'm in a weird place where I'm really just at the start of the careers of Liger, Muta, and Hash. As I move forward, so long as I don't blow my leg out, I can really watch them develop. I have to decide just how much I want to do that. It was little harm to see what Yamada was up to in England though. The first match was fairly short and entirely a showcase. Moran took his stuff well, stooged for him well, missed a dive, caught him well on one. Yamada was billed as the second coming of Sammy Lee, did a lot of frankensteiners (more than he did in Japan), wowed the announcer more with his forward roll or his handspring or whatever than with the moonsault. Moran match was similar but in rounds and Moran took more of it with cheating chokes that the ref couldn't see. Except for he could so he chalked up two public warnings very quickly before Yamada took over. He was using a straight pile driver instead of the tombstone for some reason. Another moonsault ended it. Fans were into his stuff overall.
  14. This is kind of my concern with Starks’ neck.
  15. Made it through. Wasn't spoiled. It's 8:12 on a Friday morning. The 10 year old is up watching Doctor Who. I did make her eggos. The 4 year old turned 5 today. There are cakes upstairs that look like Bluey that my wife spent hours and hours on over the last few days. She's still asleep. We're doing ok here. Sting/Darby vs HOB was wild. Julia went full Sherri, down to the bumps. Hopefully she's ok. I've been spending a lot of time with 86 Muto so it was charming to see 2022 Muta. Sting laughing isn't a well they should go to every day but once and a while we can get Joker Sting. It makes this stand out against some of the other no DQ stuff we've seen out of him. Matthews was amazing eating that Dragon Screw. I really liked the hanging spot with King too. Bronson/Hook vs 2.0 was good for what it was. Bronson had some size and he was on the apron for most of it but past getting knocked off once when he was hyping up the crowd, there was no sense that 2.0 were better than him in any way. It was nice to hear Taz on commentary for it as I think he wasn't for Parker singles match. This was good in letting us see Hook sell a bit and 2.0 make quick tags and cut off the ring. The double redrum got a huge pop so you can't really fault any of it. If having Bronson there creates even a handful of fans for AEW and makes the people in the building feel like they saw something special, then it worked. War-Joe vs Nese/Woods: Woods screwing around was good. Wardlow's suplexes looked good. Hopefully his leg is ok because Joe finishing off Nese on his own felt weird. Joe just moving out of the way never, ever gets old. Jungle Boy vs Fenix: Urgh, let me say this. My favorite parts of the match were in the two commercial breaks, so DEAN has that to look forward to. I liked some of the holds and the escapes and the pressure being on in the first and I wasn't sold on the strike exchange in the second, until the fans started to really get behind it. Then it had me too. Overall, giving the one cold match on the show so much time felt like a bit of a booking error, but AEW is about wrestling for wrestling's sake sometimes. I'm glad Christian's still a part of things despite the injury. This is where we needed more of a Luchasaurus explanation though. Kingston vs Sammy: Loved it. So smart on how it started. Very smart on how it ended. He should have torn through Lynn too. That's all. I thought the transitions were good, that Sammy being in control when he was felt believable. Forget suspending Kingston. Force him to be a ref like Ronnie Garvin and have him ref all of Sammy and Jericho's matches. That's the angle! Jade vs Diamante: Hopefully Jade was just selling. The strength spot was impressive. Jade comes along with specific spots and exchanges, but the overall timing remains off. She doesn't know how much to let things breathe. It's not her fault. I'm glad Trina smiled at the end because she was a total cipher out there before that. Battle Royal was a very, very good Battle Royal. I loved the chaos outside during the break. Lots of great little character moments throughout. Almost every elimination had something interesting or compelling underlying it. They snuck in all sorts of things, whether it be Danhausen cursing people or the Best Friends hug or the payoff to the Hardy/Private Party stuff or Moriarty going after Garcia, or bits with the Boys and Singh. Mox is probably one of the only guys on the roster who can get a good match out of Page because he'll eat up all of his bullshit. I don't think he was nearly as over against Rush as he would have been two months ago though, so doing it in Cincinnati is probably a big mistake. I think that crowd is going to eat him alive? Hobbs vs Starks was a hell of a thing and it was good to see the crowd go up for Starks on the comeback. Some of those bumps were nuts. I loved Starks kissing hands and high fiving early. That was such a him thing and he should lean into that if he can marry it with intensity. This was really good at snatching hope away at every point right until the end. If the neck thing is still a huge part of Starks' matches two years down the line, he's done. That has to get cycled off at some point for people to really get behind him. It can be a (true) crutch for him to use to help structure his matches for a while, but not forever. Great stuff overall. I wish they'd announced more for next week. I want something like Danielson/Claudio vs Jericho/Garcia pretty soon. Someone should book that.
  16. He could be some sort of desert junk trader in Mandalorian season 7.
  17. I understand that Khan should have paid Orange Cassidy extra to string along Johnny Ace for months completely in character.
  18. It feels a little silly to write up how I'm looking forward to these when there are spoilers out there (even if I haven't been spoiled) but we'll do it quickly. 25 Man Grand Slam Battle Royale for the #1 Contendership To The AEW Championship * I like Battle Royals! Lots of guys get to interact with one another. I'm glad Archer's back doing some stuff. Hopefully Rush is a dick to everyone and does something that completely defies logic. I feel bad for Alex Reynolds. FOR THE TBS CHAMPIONSHIP - Jade Cargill (c) vs. Diamante Presumably this will be a mauling. I think Diamante's looked fine for the most part on Dark/Elevation but she doesn't seem like she's on a hot streak or anything. I liked this more when I thought it'd lead to a Martinez match. NO DQ MATCH - Sting / Darby Allin vs. Buddy Matthews / Brody King We all know what to expect here. I will say that I'm looking forward to Matthews specifically interacting with these guys. LIGHTS OUT MATCH - Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ricky Starks There needs to be something special here, something memorable. They honestly need Starks to get to the next level somehow. More so than ever. And I want him to get there. Eddie Kingston vs. Sammy Guevara Kind of weird situation as this was where all the legit heat was a few weeks ago. And hey, now they're doing business. I'd make this the main event? It's definitely what everyone's looking forward to the most. Eddie should try to kill him. Sammy should use his anger and sneak away and get quick, high impact stuff in. Eddie should eat it until Sammy makes a mistake. More violence should ensue. I really want him to use the rosary beads as a weapon. We shall see. Ray Fenix vs. Jungle Boy Good, spotty fun. I'm less annoyed by this pairing than other potential pairings, I guess? Wardlow / Samoa Joe vs. Tony Nese / Josh Woods Most interested in how Joe and Wardlow interact, what sort of tandem offense they do, lingering on the tags, etc. Action Bronson / Hook vs. Jericho Appreciation Society (Menard / Parker) There have been articles about Bronson in the last week. I have not read them. I still don't know who he is in any real sense. I'm sure 2.0 will make this very entertaining though. All Wrestling* is so much better than All Elite Wrestling *with hangman in battle royal purgatory.
  19. 12/10/86: Pogo/Nagasaki vs Muto/Takano: I've tried to express previously just how different Muto was, even if he wasn't fully developed yet. He had this flowing way of moving and hitting his stuff and bumping that was unlike anything in NJPW in 86. The UWF guys didn't move like that. Inoki/Sakaguchi/Kimura/Fujinami/Hoshino didn't move like that. Juniors like Cobra/Takano and Koshinaka didn't. Even a big bumping foreigner like Rocco didn't. In a year that was all about grinding matwork and big kicks, Muto was something entirely different. I don't think he was as credible but he was explosive and his stuff was more beautiful to watch. If he wasn't taken seriously by the rest of the roster, he'd look like a joke. As he was, the fans were on board. This was a lot of Pogo/Nagasaki control and eating guys up. Again, I don't want it every night or every week but in a promotion that doesn't have a lot of "heel control", it's nice to see now and again. They had a crazy spike pile driver. Fun NJPW thing from this period. Outside the ring you can use foreign objects but if you bring them into the ring and use them, that's a DQ. This was ok. Takano didn't stand out. Muto had a real problem putting people away with the moonsault in tag matches. I've skipped a 26 minute Koshinaka vs Yamazaki match for now. I'll go back to it. 12/11/86: Inoki/Fujiwara vs Maeda/Kido: This was awesome. It didn't make the 80s set? Odd. A lot of Maeda beating the crap out of Inoki. A lot of Fujiwara working the mat tight with Kido and Maeda. The crowd was super buzzy whenever Maeda and Inoki were in there together as it was fairly rare for 86. At one point, he tore apart Inoki's leg and he had to hop back to the corner to tag Fujiwara. The Fujiwara/Kido sections were so grindy. My favorite bit was Fujiwara rushing in with some nasty shots in the corner and Kido just blocking a punch and tossing him off like he was Jumbo or Samoa Joe. Some great shots in the corner from Kido too. This might have been his best match in 86 that we have on tape. Finish had Inoki having to really work to get stuff in but he finally got the Octopus with Fujiwara blocking Maeda. He was super excited to win as you can imagine.
  20. He can alternatively make him play for the Jags.
  21. Guys, I heard the best Monsoon call today: “Hillbilly’s biggest problem in this match is making mistakes.” Then he goes... “That’s Hillbilly’s big fault. That’s been his big fault in his career: Making mistakes.”
  22. It took some walking through the streets of DC looking down at my phone and dodging traffic but I made it through the show. Full disclosure, I watched the first two matches last night live (so that means PiP), got spoiled on the third and fourth, and then was not spoiled on the title match. I watched that first this morning on the bus, caught the women's match and avoided traffic walking through the PAC/OC one. Overall great crowd. At times, I'm not sure they were mic'd as well as they might have been. More specifics later. EDIT: apparently this could be a US vs intl feed thing. I noticed it this morning more than last night, but others have mentioned it. Claudio vs Jericho was pretty clever. Both guys had incredible entrances. Claudio, even in loss, is living an amazing life. Jericho took a beating. They should have probably made the Silkin thing more of an extended transition instead of going back and forth so much? I need to go back to the int'l stream to see what Jericho was up to cupping his ear during the break. I thought the caught foot on the first low blow attempt was brilliant, especially since they went back to the low blow later. I'm not sure the ref distraction worked perfectly but no one's going to remember that, just the low blow and the win. Jericho being delusional moving forward thinking he really is the world's best ROH wrestler and having to contrast with Garcia is going to be some great storytelling. Tag match wasn't as good as the PPV and I thought the last few minutes were pretty rough but who cares right? The crowd loved it. I loved the crowd. I love that the Acclaimed won and got their moment. The most important thing moving forward is that they be all over TV and either defending or doing raps or whatever. Make them fighting champions even if they're underdogs. As for the match itself, it was a bit like what I wanted, with Lee feeling more prominent. They should have covered on the Mic Drop spot and said that Swerve (who was RIGHT there on the outside) caused Max to fall. It put just a little doubt into the finish but then everything happened too quickly with the ref not distracted enough at the end. I don't think you needed Billy hitting anything. Him just being imposing and causing a distraction would have been enough. Great moment and right call, though. No question. PAC vs OC I did go through pretty quickly. I also only saw bits and pieces of the Revolution match, but enough that I have the big spots and the narrative down, I think. The idea here is that OC will get you on move #1, and he did here, but PAC knew him so well that he pushed forward past it and had something in his pocket again and again. It's like seeing a new pitcher for the second time. You start to get his number. The problem for PAC here though was that as things developed, you never knew if OC was going to play it straight or play it crooked, whether he'd pass or run, and if you choose wrong, then he'd get you, and as the match went on, he got PAC a lot, with those contorted DDT sells. So even though PAC knew HOW to counter OC, he didn't necessarily know WHEN to counter him, and because of that he escalated things with the hammer. How good was Deeb in the women's match? Believably having Storm and Athena down. All the stuff on the apron. The double half crab slapping bits. Storm was a little bit of an afterthought there, more due to the layout than anything she did. Athena took some wonderful bumps and had the ill-conceived strength spot at the end. Britt had some shenanigans with Rebel and the blood (and she made her career on pulling it together and looking into the camera when she's hurting). There have been 3-4 Claudio pops in the last few months that make me so happy for the guy. I feel the same way for Saraya. I don't know if she should be wrestling. I don't know her deal. I do have some sense of how much all of this matters to her and I can empathize about losing your dream and your birthright and whatever else so young. That crowd erupted for her, and whatever comes next, she'll always have that. Main was very good stuff though with terrible, terrible production. I got the sense it didn't just hurt the home viewing but the viewing in the arena as the screen was so focused on MJF which meant a lot of the small, intricate close-up bits that they were doing and that they were trained for were just lost. There's no way you'd catch some of those things in the back of the arena and they made the match. I wouldn't call it Dunn cuts. Some of it was that Danielson and Moxley were ALWAYS doing something interesting so there was no real right time to jump to a wide cut. Something was always going to get lost. If AEW ever gets a streaming service, I hope they release an alternate all-close up version of this match. I doubt they would, but we were robbed of at least some of the experience. The match was Danielson out Moxley-ing Moxley, never giving him a breath, never letting up. The arm may have been a means to an end and he dropped it later on. I would have liked a moment where Moxley started to reverse the arm stuff or anticipate it and thereby forced Danielson to go a different direction, but we never really got that which I saw. It would have set up the finish where Danielson went back to the arm on the ramp and paid for it in a huge way. One of the joys of wrestling and of watching guys who watch tape and care about wrestling wrestle is when they build on what came before. Moxley coming up with basically the world's first reversal for Bret's sleeper reversal was a beautiful finish. I dig the Death Rider personally and the one on the ramp felt nasty, and the rolling back into the ring by Danielson was a wonderful sell. I have no idea where they go next with Claudio and Danielson but the great part is that there are no wrong answers. Hopefully we get some fresh match ups now though. Part of me hopes that they have the JAS try to go after the rest of the ROH titles and we get 2.0 vs FTR and Hager and Sammy trying their luck with Joe. Anyway, no spoilers for me yet on Rampage. I don't know if I'll make it to Saturday morning, but we'll see. Good show, good crowd. Wish the production hadn't sucked on the main.
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