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Matt D

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Everything posted by Matt D

  1. There was definitely a jumping on point with Danielson/Cole/Punk arriving, and during that period, or shortly thereafter, you had Hangman away for the birth of his child, Omega leaving for a very long time, and one of the Jackson's down for months with an injury. Then you had Brawl Out and a month or so without the Elite. So the period from mid 2021-October 2022 was a time where a lot of people could get into AEW without having a ton of Elite in their life. I know that's how it worked for me. I doubt I would have gotten so into things otherwise.
  2. Which meant he knocked him down. By definition, he knocked him down, which meant the subsequent angle with Duggan about how Yoko had never been knocked down was absolutely ridiculous.
  3. I don't think I have a ton to say, not really. Let's talk about some wrestlers. Pillars: You come into 89 thinking that Takano might have a higher upside than any of them. I came out of the year thinking Kikuchi was my favorite guy in the Super Generation Army. That's probably a me thing. He works the most like a traditional selling babyface and that appeals to me because it really goes against the company style. None of them are exactly what you expect them to be in the back half of 1990. They're all developing. Misawa takes on a ton of responsibility immediately and manages it well enough. He gets a lot of mileage out of the magic forearm. The crowd buzzes whenever he's in there with Jumbo. Kawada was the biggest victim of the Hansen/Tenryu team and floundered a bit from mid 89-mid 90. He's still secondary to Misawa by the end of the year but likely higher on the hierarchy than Fuchi or Inoue and able to do honest damage to anyone in the company. Kobashi is off with Ace a lot of the time, kind of doing his own thing. He doesn't fit into the templates quite as well. I've said he seems a little like a NJPW guy in the midst of AJPW and I stick to that. He's creative in the way the others aren't, and that will probably be good for the next couple of years, right until it isn't. And then there's Taue. it was pretty brutal watching Taue develop at a snail's pace but as we got into the tag league stuff (and a little before it) he started to wake up and assert himself. Some of it was the budding rivalry with Kawada who he could push around but also would get mauled by, but a lot of it was .... The Hosses: Because it was the American monsters who ruled the back half of 1990, not Jumbo, not Misawa. Doc. Gordy. Hansen. Spivey. Abby (well, North American), Kamala II. These weren't sympathetic technical figures like the Funks. They were absolute beasts, Doc and Gordy coming out to Kiss, Hansen realizing that the world was starting to catch up with him but putting his head down and charging despite that (and even Land of Giants who were fumbling about riding the wave). In the end, it it was the Doc/Gordy/Hansen trio who captured the titles. They brought this bruising style that makes the late 2010s super heavyweight video game finisher spamming WWE scene seem lame in comparison. It's just war after war. Doc especially is a force of nature, unpolished, earnest, given, with just freak strength and intensity at times. Jumbo and Friends: The crowds tend to be more split than you'd expect at times, sometimes pushing for the underdogs against Jumbo and co, but often respecting them and getting behind them and certainly getting behind them against foreigners (thus the Taue turn, so Jumbo would have a partner). I find Fuchi to be so versatile, able to go from comedy matches to technical junior hevyweight title bouts to big six mans, playing any role imaginable. Inoue carries himself like someone to be respected and can have a believable comeback against anyone from Kikuchi to Hansen. We lost Kabuki early but some of the pairings we have with him before he left were fun. Like wise "Babyface" Fuyuki. I could have used another month of him. In the end, it's a little striking how few people Jumbo has to team with relative to years past. You get to missing Yatsu for instance. And that's coming from someone who is as high on Inoue as anyone and plenty high on Fuchi (but everyone's high on Fuchi). As for Grumpy Jumbo, it's not all that different than Gladiator Jumbo I'd been seeing before, especially because he's valiantly up against those hosses quite often. He sure loves violence by this time, the ultimate victory of Choshu. Others: Johnny Smith brought a different energy to the bulldogs which was enjoyable. Dynamite was in a literal land of giants relative to years' past and couldn't eat up guys nearly as much. I never like the Fantastics around this time because they're up against smaller guys and DO eat them up. Ace was increasingly good at seeming credible and leaning into his size even if it he was a bit of a dork but I find a lot of the All-Asia tags to be formless and annoying. He was earning his spot and portraying himself the right way though. You wouldn't want Abby in a long match but he brought a ton to the table. Kimala was still working on asserting himself. Spivey was more than credible for his role but you almost always wanted someone else. Deaton was fine. Slater was fine. You'd still rather have Hansen or Terry. Eigen was a shitheel in the comedy matches and a little hero against monsters. Okuma was stoic and credible except for when he wasn't supposed to be in a comedy match. Rusher could do one thing but he did it extremely well. We didn't get a ton of Momota or Teranishi or Ogawa, not enough to really comment on. We just got a bit of them but it was special to see the Funks dropped into this world that missed them so fondly. I wish we had more Malenkos. Bam Bam and Davey Boy really didn't make a mark for their small runs. Scotty the Body did though! Slinger did ok too. Baba and Andre: They remained legendary and so good at doing what they did. Everyone treated them with such respect and they brought such gravitas to serious matches and mirth to comedy matches. The world rotated around them but they shined warmth as only celestial bodies could. Even immobile they were more valuable then almost any other wrestler and were savvy enough to know exactly what to do when, even if it was hard. Overall, it was a very strange half year and the stuff I expected (the Pillars coming into their own, Grumpy Jumbo) was actually overshadowed by the monsters running amuck.
  4. Partly due to me not knowing what they do with Mercedes Martinez, I think they should introduce ROH Women's Tag belts. They have endless time to fill. They have a fairly big roster. Athena shouldn't lose anytime soon. You have.. Mercedes Martinez Willow Nightengale Diamante Miranda Alize Lady Frost Renegade Twins Skye Blue Kiera Hogan Trish Adora Ashley D'Ambiose With a secondary group including Madi Wrenkowski Steph De Lander Vert Vixen Dream Girl Ellie Danielle Kamella There are a bunch of interesting potential pairings in there. Martinez/Diamante seem natural, but why not team Kiera Hogan and Diamante since they're real life partners and have an built-in contrast. Likewise, Willow/Mercedes would be a good contrast, or Willow/Frost. Skye's said she wanted to team with Hogan at some point too since they both have the blue thing going, etc.
  5. I really don't like Page in ring and I don't like his general philosophies on pro wrestling matches, but I also would rather he stay in AEW than go to WWE. I wish no ill-will onto Page and a lot of people care about him and his journey, and I just can't see a WWE that Vince will be driving until he dies as a healthy place for an anxious millennial anything.
  6. I don't think there's a Plan B. I'm not even convinced Plan A is all that solid, despite what I said above. Plan A+++ is Elite vs Punk feud but that involves everyone adulting. Goldberg vs Wardlow might be a good one-show solution, for instance but they need something more sustainable. I think, if it's clear Punk is not going to work out by Wednesday, my solution would be to have Danielson declare his intentions to challenge for the TNT title on the first Collision episode and then to defend it each and every week against all comers. Then the people for those shows would at least know they'd be getting a Danielson title match each week even if the specifics are up in the air.
  7. When they announced Mox vs Omega in a cage that moved seats in Detroit. There’s little sign Anarchy in the Arena is doing the same. Punk, in and of himself, isn’t the solution but I think heel Punk with a hot mic and guys like Kingston, Starks, Cole, and the Acclaimed as babyfaces to protect the company might work.
  8. RUSH might be the single best part of AEW.
  9. I don't believe they wasted this cast on the freaking Skrull show.
  10. Let's see if I can finish strong. Gates vs Dalton vs a boy was the tag match with heavy heat (lots of tags on this show!). I have absolutely no idea how Toa and Kaun didn't absolutely crack up as Dalton was berating them during the handshake at the start. The comeback was fun. I'm not too sure where they're going on the finish, but it's not like Dalton wasn't protected. I like when they do the Open the Gates finisher slamming one guy on the other. Just saying. Not much to say about the Workhorsemen/Taylor squash. I liked Drake's sentons here as he sort of soared past the guy and landed on a skid. I remember Midnight Heat having a good showing during the PNW shows so good on them to get a trip to Universal. Ending felt weirdly abrupt as it Taylor just asserted himself. I'd love to see these guys against the Embassy but I doubt they'll do heel vs heel like that, even if Workhorsemen could certainly be tweeners. Great to see Martinez back. Hits hard, very emotive, good layouts, etc. Just a great wrestler. D'amboise does well when she's playing to her strengths and flexibility but she really needs to hit harder when in there against someone like Martiniez. Main was good. Nice bit of variety now and again. And the build was definitely there, especially with Dante's injury. Obviously this would have been better with Dante. In fact, after the Maria bump I'm kind of sad that they didn't escalate things even further, even if they went away from it until Dante came back. I would have put the Kingdom over here and then had Dante and Darius get the big win in the future, but we'll see where it goes from here. Bennett was the glue. For instance, when the table didn't break and they had to do a suplex, you have to imagine that was Bennett calling the spot and Andretti not missing a beat. Andretti looked fine in general but Darius shined more with offense. I liked the dives being a hope spot, really, which would normally bug me but wrestling isn't one size fits all (I don't think that even if you might think I think that!) It's situational and based on the story and the match and the moment. Here, it made sense given the carnage that they'd get some distance and get some hope off dives but then get cut off until the proton pack spot. It wouldn't work in a lot of matches but it worked here. Some really brutal bumps through chairs. Good main event and hipefully they keep referencing it as time goes on so it's jnot just forgotten next month.
  11. 12/7/90: Williams/Gordy vs Hansen/Spivey: This was the finals of the RWTL. Basically, the winner was going to win this. I'm pretty sure that if it was a 30 minute draw, Hansen/Spivey would win the tournament. This was also for the tag title that went vacant when Kabuki left suddenly (oops). It's hugely striking and really a testament to the strategy after the talent bleed that the last four guys were all Americans. There was a giant American flag being waved in the crowd. The fans were into it. These guys were absolutely not the Funks. They was the other part of the strategy on top. While they were building up the pillars, it was hossing holding up the promotion. Spivey wasn't quite as big or quite as forceful but he was still pretty damn big. I'd argue that he almost had a pointy way of attacking while everyone else charged through, but that might have been his weirdo mullet? There were definite beats here back and forth. There was a sense of hierarchy. It took both Williams and Doc to really hurt Hansen but Spivey could get overwhelmed by either Williams or Doc after holding his own for a while. That sort of thing. At one point, they took out Hansen long enough to damage Spivey's leg and had an advantage on him for a bit. While Hansen had a tendency to run through errant or missed shots and just keeping charging forward, they did keep him down for a bit. Everything was earned. Even if one side would get an opening or a tag, they would still have to fight their way back. Nothing was given. That's how they filled thirty minutes. Everything took extra effort. The key turning point was Hansen slumping in the corner and Gordy charging over him to the floor. Spivey got in a table shot after that and they had the advantage as they lumbered towards a finish. As this was Hansen and Spivey and MVC and not ... let's say Kobashi, the kickouts were all pretty measured down the stretch. If someone hit a DDT (Spivey Spike) or Power Bomb or lariat that should have ended the match, the partner broke it up. Something lesser might have been a kick out. There was also a thing that if Hansen hit a big move (spike piledriver) but Spivey was the legal man and went for the pin, the fans knew that probably wouldn't end it. These fans were very smart and conditioned to when finishes could really occur, the length of time between a tag in the stretch or if someone was knocked off the apron or out of the ring or if Hansen was tagged back in after they thought it was going to be his last appearance in the ring. It's the same instincts as fans who knew when to look towards the back while watching a 98 Nitro, but more savvy, more enthuastic, less jaded, less annoying. The finish was at the very last second with Hansen having to double pump on a lariat as Doc reversed a Spivey whip and therefore not getting all of it. When he went again, Doc got him up, just barely for a power slam and the pin happened right as the bell rang. The ref called it for MVC (maybe because Gordy and Spivey were errantly in his way and slowed down his second count and they won the match and the trophies and the check and the titles. Post match they did an interview with a translator in the ring and all Gordy said was "It's great to be alive and #1 in Japan" and the fans ate it all up. That brings me to the end of 1989. I think I'm supposed to go until something big happens in April but I'll still do some mid-journey notes over the next few days summing certain things up. Match is below for anyone curious.
  12. I beat the water temple with a guide. It was like putting together an IKEA cabinet. It was the right choice.
  13. Multiple posts. We have nothing but time.
  14. They announced Shibata vs Coughlin (Pure title) for Wednesday's show but not sure if it's going to be on Dynamite or Rampage or even taped before/after the show for ROH TV.
  15. Here we go. Gringo Loco vs Rey Fenix was a series of amazing spots. To their credit, the fans weren't chanting Fight Forever or ROH, but were pretty soundly behind Fenix. With Cesaro, there was a sense that Fenix could do the impossible. With Gringo Loco, he was doing the incredibly well trained and honed. Everything was polished and professional. They would do massive bumps with huge lead-ups and then barely sell them, so that wasn't great. It was exciting and impressive and not the sort of thing I feel like I ever need to see again. That's just me though. Madi vs Willow made me sad for the loss of Dark. I guess Caprice and Ian won the war by default. I liked Madi's first burst of offense here but didn't quite buy her second after Willow just crushed her on the comeback. There shouldn't have been anything left after the spinebuster. The doctor bomb looked particularly good here. Iron Savages' call and repeat stuff might actually get over. Maybe. I was about to say that Bronson fit the gimmick better than Boulder but then Boulder did the hip swivel and I rescind that point. Avalon's splash is beautiful. I'd never seen the press up spot out of a pin done quite like that and it was fun. Having a really vocal hype man on the outside is different from anything else in AEW (Alex is ineffectual). I don't know. This might get over? It's a good idea to have Carter/Clayton work with Daniels/Sydal. Get the reps in. The bit where Carter rocket launched Sydal off the top right into Clayton's power slam was a quietly great spot. Carter has upside but it's going to be so hard for him to break out. He feels like a guy who could be HOOK's rival for a decade if he just develops right. We really need a Frost vignette or an Alize promo or something. Give them a couple of minutes to help get over. Frost's cartwheel transition move is great but needs to be worked into the moment a little bit better. I'm glad Frost is there as she's one of the new pickups that makes this reboot feel fresh. I love the SAP Masters of the Universe theme but Angelico's chill theme is so good too. They had to switch up the tag formats given all the tags on the show and this kept Eli out until it was time for the comeback/finishing stretch. I wanted to see a little more of Angelico working holds but I always do and it doesn't always serve the match. One thing I liked about the last couple of matches is that on a hierarchy standpoint, it really could have gone either way. Hey, I feel like last time we saw Sabre, he didn't have the fun Undertones style TMDK theme. Now he does. That's another band I probably would have never learned about without the board and DEAN, by the way. We carry on. Having this right after the Angelico match is another reason not to have Angelico show off too much. Keep it varied. This is more important. Sabre is very good at shifting gears when one thing doesn't work. I loved his little press up repositioning of Fox; other than Sabre, no one really ever does that but Fujiwara (and usually against Super Tiger). Fox drops selling when he's getting his stuff in too much. Part of the problem is that his stuff involves a lot of rolling and twisting, etc. It wasn't super egregious here but it's always relative to the limbwork and Sabre's limbwork was good, so.... Post-match was fun if not smooth. I wonder if the Joe vs Zack endgame is at Forbidden Door or the next ROH PPV. I'll hit the rest of the show later. These guys are long!
  16. I think there's room to spin out Takeshita/Partner vs Claudio/Yuta at Forbidden Door too.
  17. Let’s all enjoy our five minutes of wholesome, interesting likely good news until the next thing happens.
  18. Except for this time it was the network that wanted it.
  19. Full road report when you have time.
  20. Bix has been so thoroughly, dogmatically anti-Punk publicly that I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't killing two birds with one stone, but yes, that is accurate.
  21. They need some Forbidden Door matches quickly.
  22. The point I was trying to make is that it's a different sort of self-destructive behavior to be messily feuding in public with Alvarez and Bix than with Stephen Woltz/Adam Page and Matt and Nick Massie/Jackson. And it just made for a very weird and uncomfortable couple of hours yesterday that was different than what we'd been used to up til now (though we were on the road after Meltzer's message board post a month or two ago) and it's hard to place "just how bad it is" relatively. Probably better than a locker room right but ...
  23. Bix is an entity unto himself. There was a point where I'd humorously call PWO something of an Observer Watchdog Thinktank but that stopped being true by 2013 or so and it became more of a retro podcast farm and engine for GWE 2016. Now it's most useful for the repository of specific match reviews.
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