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Beech27

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Beech27 last won the day on August 10 2018

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About Beech27

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    Reigning Knight of Georgia
  • Birthday 05/17/1988

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  1. Chris Brookes vs Gene Munny I had a good time with this. I've never seen Munny before, but he projects the... well, let's say he projects inappropriate charisma appropriately well, and combines it with credible offense when things get serious. Brookes, I know quite a bit better. He spent the last year wrestling in DDT--his manager here has his DDT stable's shirt on--and at the time of this match, had just decided to move to Japan in order to wrestle there full-time. So that, I think, explains his insistence on being billed as an appropriately big deal--while still sneaking in a quick jab at NXT UK. I've seen Brookes work tighter than this--and I've been told he's done good work in more classically catch adjacent promotions--but he's clearly game, even if his execution isn't at its best. I think it's also easy enough to see this as a very DDT match, combining comedy, a little crowd brawling, props, while ultimately being structured around modern indie "strong style". Mostly, all of that worked for me. Brookes is the cocky, traveling heel, who nonetheless resorts to cheating. Munny is the everyman babyface (at least in this match) who proves more capable, and more resilient in the final reckoning. I thought both men tried a couple bits of offense they weren't quite up to executing--though with Munny, that almost fits his character--and Brookes got very leg-slappy with kicks and knees that clearly didn't connect. I also would have preferred a delayed cover on Munny's final kick out--but since Brookes is "leaving the territory", as it were, I can easily see the other side of things. On the whole I found it hit the beats it wanted to: I grinned a few times, and the finishing stretch had some clever in-match call-backs, and an ending that the work built to.
  2. I'd like to jump in. Dos Caras & Mil Mascaras vs Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta I'm glad the entrances and pre-match pageantry were included--and not just because the spectacle was great to see--but because the crowd is so stoked on who is there and what is happening that you can't help but be present with them. You're easily able to watch the match that happens, and push context--all you know or think about the famous names involved--to the periphery. It helps you to see the story that's told, and to engage without excessive metatextual elements. In this case, I think the match is really easy to follow. Jumbo is big (hence... you know) and strong, and technically capable, but he gets consistently outclassed by Dos and Mil's quickness and technical ability. He's still able to get some offense in, but it's fleeting for the most part. It's not until Baba gets involved that the Japanese team are able to control the match--and even then, it doesn't last long. This isn't just due to Jumbo's youth, though--they also decline a couple opportunities at a double team, which the luchadores accept. This turns out to be crucial. There are a series of quick tags, and Jumbo is knocked down by a double team dropkick, and then a succession of flying cross chops. He's still able to get a shoulder up, though. And I want to point out here, his leg isn't hooked on these attempts. Jumbo is, however, finally about to be pinned after a double team leading to a top-rope crossbody--but Baba breaks it up. This feels absolutely earned, since the luchadores gained the advantage with double team offense, which Baba refused earlier. Mil still isn't happy about it though, and he rushes in. He and Baba brawl in the corner, while Dos goes for another crossbody in the corner--only Jumbo moves, and Dos hits his head on the post. Given a slight opening, Jumbo hits a quick body press, emphatically hooks the leg, and manages to force a pinfall. The takeaway, then, is that Jumbo--who spent the match being big and strong, but a step behind--finds a way to meld his strength with perfect technique when given a moment's advantage. That is, he's not just young and talented, he learns on the fly. This match is a great showcase for him, and you absolutely want to see the trajectory his career takes. And, if I allow myself some perspective, I can't help but be reminded of Misawa's first pin on Jumbo, years later.
  3. If by talking about generational differences we're talking about contrasting a worked fight with a grand operatic combat narrative, I'm (perhaps oddly) interested in Yuji Nagata as a somewhat awkward transitional figure. There might not be a worse marriage of the two styles than the white-eyes armbar, held for ages, with no mind at all given to the idea that a joint simply can't fighting spirit through something like that. And of course we have his famous headkick KO, which became a pro wrestling spot shortly thereafter when he wrestled Josh Barnett. I think his matches against an ascendant Tanahashi and as a heel in NOAH are great examples of him mixing things successfully, though, and I have to say I'm very fond of his work on balance. (But then, my favorites are always the guys who couldn't quite be the guy.) Suzuki is interesting for a ton of reasons, but one small thing that comes to mind is how prominent he's made the Gotch-style piledriver as a finish. If Showa style is a fight, then anything can end it at any time. And of course, he used to wrestle more like that. I've just re-watched his GHC challenge against Kobashi, and he hits the piledriver as a pretty nothing mid-match spot. Now, he builds his finishing stretches around escalating towards it. If Heisei style has hallmarks, surely one must be that matches really only end in finishers, and end-match drama is primarily built around countering them, or kicking out.
  4. Psychological abuse is evil; fans disliking an entertainment product is not. That should be clear, and let’s not conflate the two for the sake of a weird message board crusade. It’s intellectually dishonest at the best of times, and gross at this time specifically. This is brutally sad, and I hope everyone who cares for her are able to get the support they need. This is a tough, isolated world right now, with people unable to lean on a shoulder or get a hug in many cases. And sure, questions need to be asked about fandom culture writ large, and answers given. Maybe joshi needs to model itself less on idol culture (especially when so many featured wrestlers are so young); maybe twitter needs to empower users without blue checks to block abuse better. A lot of things need to improve. I don’t know half of them, I’m sure. But people can—and should—be better. Hopefully that manifests towards Hana’s loved ones.
  5. It would, if that was your original claim. It wasn't. You said: You said nothing about the WWE HoF--leaving open valid interpretations that you were using the common colloquialism, or perhaps referring to any HoF that actually has a public ballot--and didn't caveat the statement with conditionals such as "likely". (I'll admit that this seems pedantic, but I'm bored at work, and this is a message board--all we have are words that we take too seriously.)
  6. Is this it? https://www.cagematch.net//?id=1&nr=56467&page=2 Ricky Marvin & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Takuma Sano, at Differ Ariake, the NOAH & Geinin News Network Pro-Wrestling Expo.
  7. Random question, having watched quite a few older matches recently in which it obviously does not occur: When did the post- main-event promo become an entrenched thing, and who started it?
  8. It took place across the street from Wrestle Kingdom on 1/4, but did anyone seem to notice Shiozaki taking the GHC from Kiyomiya? I hadn’t watched it until now. It’s a big main event with the things you expect both guys to bring, and it’s NOAH, so there’s a completely unnecessary (very stiff looking) headbutt and some welts and heavy leather in general. I think it was a little more interesting than that might imply, though. Shiozaki comes out wearing ornate green gear, and this seems to me something of a prodigal son angle—he failed as the ace in his youth, left the company, had returned and found himself with Nakajima, and now at 37 is finally ready to (at least try to be) that guy. Only now there’s a new kid in the way, so they have to fight. Kiyomiya, for his part, brings more than I’m used to seeing from him. He’s mechanically quite good, and athletic, and when he’s getting beat up the crowd yells his name—that’s all established. But he seems a little resentful that Go just wants to take his spot... and steal his pants color. So he tries to rip his arm off. That, and Go’s comeback from it, was really well done. Sell too much, and using it later looks silly; sell too little, and you build no tension. He got it right; it hurts, but he can—and does—fight through it. Things escalate from there, of course, and there are some big moves and convincing enough near-falls. I was taken out briefly by one of the worst moves I’ve seen in ages: Shiozaki lifts Kiyomiya for a powerbomb... and then just lets him sit there. Like a delayed suplex, only not, because your opponent has their hands free and isn’t disoriented. They could hit you, or just look around like an idiot. Kiyomiya is obliged to do the latter. That said, the real finishing run is quite good. I tend to prefer matches where I can say “this guy won because he did X, the other guy lost because he did Y” to those where one guy just kicks out of finishers, and other guy doesn’t. If I’m looking for something, I’ll say Shiozaki recovered enough right-arm utility to win the striking war, and had enough even to dig and hit the Misawa-fan with a massive rolling elbow while being the Kobashi guy. And, as strike-filled counter-exchanging bombing runs go, this was viscerally very satisfying. Shiozaki won, and then got the belt from Kobashi, and declared that he is NOAH. So maybe the Kobashi pupil wearing green and doing a big elbow spot but also lariats and chops and a moonsault is not subtext, even, just text. Anyway, I liked this a lot. It probably won’t turn you on either guy if you dislike them and NOAH remains problematically fixated on its golden era; but I think it’s as good as either guy has looked—either in years, or ever, depending. And frankly, Kiyomiya seemed far more over after the loss than before; he got more cheers for his effort than the winner. Ultimately, for NOAH, anything that gets that right has worked.
  9. Orthodox Muta is a fantastic gimmick. Just tell me he wouldn't look great coming out in these vestments.
  10. Joe Posnanski wrote about Minnie Minoso today, whose HOF case rests in part on time (unjustly) missed, and his status as a barrier breaker. (So, the below list does not and is not meant to do him justice.) Still, removed from that context, I found it interesting: Arbitrary minimums: -- 7,000 PAs; -- 20 Wins Above Average (WAA); and -- 125 OPS+. Ordered by most WAA: (with WAA & WAR rounded to nearest whole number) Rank) Player ... WAA ... WAR ... OPS+ 1) Barry Bonds ... 124 ... 163 ... 182 2) Bobby Grich ... 44 ... 71 ... 125 3) Reggie Smith ... 38 ... 65 ... 137 4) Mark McGwire ... 37 ... 62 ... 163 5) Manny Ramirez ... 36 ... 69 ... 154 6) Jim Edmonds ... 35 ... 60 ... 132 7) Todd Helton ... 33 ... 62 ... 133 8 - Dick Allen ... 33 ... 59 ... 156 9) Dwight Evans ... 33 ... 67 ... 127 10) Keith Hernandez ... 32 ... 60 ... 128 11) Bobby Bonds ... 32 ... 58 ... 129 12) Sherry Magee ... 31 ... 59 ... 137 13) Rafael Palmeiro ... 30 ... 72 ... 132 14) Will Clark ... 29 ... 57 ... 137 15) Bob Johnson ... 29 ... 55 ... 139 16) Jim Wynn ... 29 ... 56 ... 129 17) Lance Berkman ... 28 ... 52 ... 144 18) Bobby Abreu ... 28 ... 60 ... 128 19) Sammy Sosa ... 28 ... 59 ... 128 20) Brian Giles ... 27 ... 51 ... 136 21) John Olerud ... 27 ... 58 ... 129 22) Minnie Minoso ... 27 ... 50 ... 130 23) Joe Torre ... 27 ... 58 ... 129 24) Gary Sheffield ... 26 ... 61 ... 140 25) Norm Cash ... 26 ... 52 ... 139 26) Jack Clark ... 26 ... 53 ... 137 27) Fred Lynn ... 24 ... 50 ... 129 28) Ellis Burks ... 23 ... 50 ... 126 29) Larry Doyle ... 22 ... 45 ... 125 30) Rocky Colavito ... 21 ... 45 ... 132 I was very surprised that Fred McGriff didn't make the cut. His career WAA is 19.8, and so just slightly too low. Interesting too, I think, is how high Edmonds ranks, as well as Keith Hernandez. (I know we've talked about him already, but this is another chance for me to point out that he was a very, very good hitter, in addition to being so good defensively that MLB instituted a rule change.) Abreu is going to be interesting to track. Sort of a poor man's Larry Walker, very good at everything but lacking traditional counting totals, will be more popular among the analytics set. (Of course he's right next door to Brian Giles, who was unceremoniously dropped with zero votes. It almost feels like there needs to be a "he was really, really good, but no one should vote for him just to spare him the indignity of getting no votes" vote.)
  11. And one more Rikio post, because I was really curious where he's ended up, and how he's doing: I found this interview here, from 2019, in which he talks with Kaito Kiyomiya about expectations, being champion, etc. There is a lot of the boilerplate you'd expect about how you just have to do your best and fight hard, and the translation is not clear in general. Still, some interesting bits, like, "for me it was really difficult to see that I was trying different things in wrestling. Because there is no right answer, it would be easier if I would decide on one, but the answer is different every time. Was it good because the customer was pleased, or was it good because I was convinced? That is a completely different issue. So, you have to keep wrestling while watching the reaction of the customer, make your opponent shine, and I think that is a champion. It is a happy time...but I wonder if it is a fun one. When you debut, your seniors influence you, and that part is the leading of the match, as a champion, you are in that position, and I think in that respect it is a happy time." Anyway, he owns and runs a ramen restaurant in Niigita, and generally seems very healthy and happy. He went to NOAH's show in Osaka last year, signed some pictures with Kobashi, and introduced the main event. There. Now I feel better.
  12. And the win was awesome too. Even better, actually--especially after watching the first challenge, since so much of this match serves to demonstrate that Rikio has improved, and Kobashi simply cannot at this stage of his career. Rikio dominates early, and then hits the ramp powerbomb he couldn't last time, because this time he softens Kobashi up on the ring-post first. He tries to do it again, but Kobashi eventually fights it off. Only he can't really do anything but roll into the ring and try to recover--the damage is done. Still, he knows what works, and he'll chop Rikio's neck and drop him on his head. Even submissions are creatively applied to this end, as when Kobashi posts Rikio on his head during a super high-angle Boston crab. Of course this time, it's not enough. Rikio doesn't bother with knee work; he debuted the Musou to beat Kobashi in a previous tag, and so he can now wrestle to win rather than avoid defeat. So, he just hammer's Kobashi's back, staying on top of the damage begun with the ramp powerbomb. That does mean Kobashi is allowed to be more mobile during the closing stretch, and they really lean into that, trading charging shoulders and lariats--this is a beefy finishing run. Still, it's not without some sizzle, as Kobashi--knees feeling ok--goes for a moonsault... and hits it. But Rikio kicks out. The crowd, at this point, has completely gotten behind the challenger. I have to confess, I didn't remember this. But it's pretty clear they want him to do it. And after a monster lariat, and two Musou's, he does. The crowd rushes the rails, Rikio is beside himself, tears streaming, and Kobashi looks... relieved, honestly. If I didn't know anything else, and just watched this, I'd think the title change worked. Sure, Rikio's a little soft, a little balding, and doesn't have the charisma Kobashi does. But, I mean, who does? Kobashi is Superman and Clark Kent at once. I'll forever think Akiyama should have won his Tokyo Dome challenge; only I now think that perhaps he ought to have done so, not to make himself a bigger star, but because only he was already a big enough one to take the burden. We like to talk about "making stars" in wrestling, but of course we know it isn't that easy. Maybe Rikio never had it; maybe no younger wrestler on NOAH's roster did, at the time. Maybe if you could time travel a younger Okada, he could have turned the burden of ending Kobashi's reign into his own legendary origin story; or maybe not. Maybe wrestling tastes had just shifted, and NOAH needed to juice up Marafuji and/or KENTA to be their Tanahashi. But you can't just make a Tanahashi; only Tanahashi is Tanahashi. And of course, only Kobashi was Kobashi. He did have his peers, though, one of whom would take the title from a floundering Rikio. And it's hard not to love that; the crowd reacts to Taue winning with appropriately mid-90's level ecstasy. And Kobashi also had his understudies, one of whom--Go Shiozaki--is presently the GHC champion. It's his 4th reign, tying Takashi Sugiura's record. He defeated Kaito Kiyomiya to win the title, whose whole thing is that he likes Misawa, and wears green. There's not anything revelatory in noticing that, of course. NOAH's "what if?" scenarios have been well speculated on, in addition to their (perhaps over-) reliance on their founding mythmakers.
  13. Non sequitur: I watched Takeshi Rikio's first GHC challenge. I should probably say "re-watched", because there is no way I'd have missed it at the time. And yet I didn't remember ever watching this match, and nothing during it triggered an "aha" moment of recognition. Anyway, it was really good. Maybe great, and it wasn't all Kobashi. Rikio is bigger, certainly faster, and just bullies the old champ, then targets the knee. He loses, ultimately, because Kobashi is Kobashi, but also because he makes a couple mistakes, and doesn't yet have a big match killshot. Kobashi is more focused on the neck, and is hyper-efficient in his attacks. They do the chop exchanges you'd expect--and one grisly headbutt sequence you probably wouldn't--but it's pretty remarkable how little fat there is on this.The finish comes just a hair after 25 minutes, and everything mattered and led logically to the next stage, from beginning to end. I certainly don't recall this match being well-received at the time. Dave gave it ***3/4, and Cagematch has it at 7.27. So, fine. One review says: "Physically Rikio is a stylistic problem for, at this point, Kobashi's immobility." This--if I may argue with someone writing in 2016, who will never read this--I think is almost precisely wrong. Kobashi, lacking mobility, had become something of a tank: he'll trade his artillery with yours, and trust that he'll come out on top. Only now, he's up against someone bigger, faster, who hits harder. And to make matters worse, his knee is too shot to run the ropes for a lariat, or even think about a moonsault. So, he has to be smart. Counter the biggest moves, when he can. Drop Rikio on his head, then chop his neck, then drop him more. Then clobber him with short-range lariats. It works, but only just. You're left thinking Rikio could have won, if he'd have known how to navigate those deeper waters better. (Of course, he would win, and he would not become a major draw or viable company-leading ace. And then--and this is what makes watching this era of NOAH a little tough--he would retire relatively young from neck injuries.)
  14. Beech27

    Best Baseball Books

    Well, I’ll take Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract. There are win shares and rankings; and when I was younger and didn’t have ready access to any statistical filter I wanted online, I loved these. But I think the most important parts, actually, are the essays on each decade, and the accompanying boxes. Baseball is great because we count everything, but also because the ephemera counts. The Soul of Baseball, by Joe Posnanski: This is saccharine, but Posnanski can make me nostalgic for things I’ve never known. And anyway, this is mostly a Buck O’Neil book. See also: Posnanski’s Best 100 Players list on the Athletic. It’s not a book, but it’s longer than Moby Dick. Cooperstown Casebook, by Jay Jaffe: The classic argument, litigated well. Be warned he’s a strident “math guy”, so there’s not much leeway for an “eye test” player with 40 career WAR, generally. Smart Baseball, by Keith Law: Basically an intro to analytics. For us English majors, it pulls back the curtain nicely. The Arm, by Jeff Passan: Pitchers are the most valuable commodity in sports, and also among the most fragile. Why? And does it need to be this way? A Perfect Game, by David Bentley Hart: This is an incredibly long essay by a religious scholar/Christian philosopher in an explicitly religious journal. But it’s the best metaphysics essay you’re ever going to read about baseball, and that’s not nothing. I also need to mention Rany Jazayerli’s multi-platform writing on the Royals. That’s not five things and they’re not all books, but here we are.
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