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(Also Not March Madness): SECRET SANTO March 2020


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The scary thing about the idea that "wrestling has a cost" re: Breaks is that WoS style is pretty fucking safe, relatively speaking. If that will do your brain in enough to turn off the parts of it that keep you acting as part of the civilized world, I can't even imagine about the other shit I watch. 

@gordi, I'm going to say congrats on going back to work the only way I know how in this thread: With a review!

Owen Hart vs. Johnny Smith

I did a Stampede watch through a couple of years back, but I didn't see a ton of late Stampede, so I don't know if I've seen this. 

This is basically the Owen Hart show - that is the second time in like three weeks that I've typed that sentence, I think - as Owen shows his athleticism off and sells pretty well for Smith's dull offense. The crowd is definitely behind him, and the fiery babyface role suits him well. There's little Smith offense for a large chunk of the match, and most of Smith's offense comes off a nasty Owen bump over the top rope. Owen hits the Tombstone out of a reversal successfully (yay!) before the match ends on a DQ in his favor due to interference. This is a good "Owen was always going to be a great pro wrestler" match that you can use as evidence of said future greatness.

Meanwhile, MINUS FIVE STARS for Bob Brown on commentary. I enjoy Ed Whalen, typically, but Brown turns him into Michael Cole by sparking annoying, bickering, shrill back-and-forth between the two. 

I always wonder how much of my belief that Owen is on the short list of "best guys never to win the WWE Championship that absolutely should have" is due to nostalgia/the way in which he died, but no,  seeing Owen in a few matches in the last month has actually only increased my belief that he's on that list. Even a two-week reign in December of 1997 before dropping the belt back to Shawn Michaels at IYH: D-X would have been something. 

Edited by Smelly McUgly
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I imagine Ed was super burnt out by this point in time. He had already had all the fights over Stampede violence at this point where he left over the Bad News incident and came back. In fact Stampede closed in December that year. 

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8 hours ago, Morganti said:

 

First choice, because I really like both participants, and really enjoyed the match. 

Sorry it's late, but I've had some technological difficulties.  With that said, I have a pretty boss new laptop to write these reviews on.  

I love this match, and for my money it may have the best dive of all time.  

 

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Japanese Commentary.

Hand shake, then Taka attacks
Taka with the step up floor to top rope moonsault to the floor on Delphin.

Taka with the stomps, puttin on the half crab and then more stomps a so so rib breaker into a stretch of some sort
Lots of grounding in the early moments and a Funaki sighting!

Delphin tries to take over, and gets a front face lock for his trouble before getting out with the wristlock, Tak takes back over, then gets an arm drag and walks aroudn the ring to catch him breath

The crowd likes Delphin.

Taka comes back in with more wear down submissions, then Delphin reverses, 
Disrepsect Kick to the back from Delphin and Taka answers with even more disrespect and dick offense.

Delphin gets Dropkicked to the floor, Taka with a dickish dive fake out while Delphin works an 18 count on the floor before gettin back into the ring with some lucharesu sequences...
Delphin with the dive start as Taka walks away and milks the floor count to 18 to collect himself again

Shin Drop on the face followed by a chin lock then a body slam into a half crab and Delphin is in control

Taka hasn't really aged if you look at thius match and something from the now.
Delphin with some dick head boot grinds.

Taka with a suplex, then a german attempt that gets blocked so he grabs the leg in a bar of sorts.

Taka workin that leg, delphin siddles to the ropes to force the break then lays outside to work the feeling back into his leg, then comes back in, and gets kicked in the leg and put right back into that hold.  Ref should of counted Delphin's shoulders down though

Delphin gets the rope break again, but this time taka picks him up for the shinbreaker into the figure 4 Woooo!

Slap fight that Taka Wins, that leads to the second Spaceman step up dive of the match!
Floor to ropes to ropes then plancha.  Taka was innovative as fuck.

Taka in control, but goes to the well a bit to much with the big springboards and gets tossed outside, then jumped on.
Both dudes down ref countin at super speed
They fight to get back in the ring. Delphin with a suplex pin for 2 then a body slam, cross body, 2 count.

Stalling Brain BUSTER!!!!! slow cover and no leg hook means only 2
They work into a tornado DDT from Delphin who is callin for the finish but gets caught in a a few roll ups for 2 and the crowd is wakin up

Flying Knee off the top to the back of Delphin's head.
Michinoku driver countered and a bridging german for 2
then a botch of sorts leads to Delphin dropped dome first

They redo the spot and Delphin's rana gets two, then reversed for 2
Taka with the springboard dropkick for 2
Michinoku Driver gets 2 and Taka is in denial
Delphin counters driver attempt with a tornado reverse ddt
German Suplex rolled through into Tiger Suplex wins it for Delphin.

Nice match.  Can see the roots of so many modern styles in it. I liked it

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I am leaning towards the transition to El Hijo del Secret Santo: Match Club this upcoming weekend. We're losing Gordi and it feels like a good time to transition maybe.

I think the way I'd like to do it is two people pick matches every week. We'd get a list set up with an order on who's interested to pick matches for everyone. And everyone takes as much of the week as they want to watch and review those two matches matches. The idea is that whoever gets in first on the reviews can set the tone. People could then either start fresh and give their own take on a match or write reviews that become more of a dialogue. Or really could just comment on people's reviews and the things they agree and disagree with if they fall in towards the end of the week? It means anyone on the board could review a match or get on the list to select one for everyone to talk about, with far less obligation than now.

What do people think? 

If people think this won't work, we can totally run the initial idea for Secret Santo into the ground. I think we've got a good 4-5 weeks before we'd be completely sick of each other. 

Edited by Matt D
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The book club style approach suits me pretty well.  I dont' mind doing deep dives, but I totally love making people look at the silly stuff i watch to enjoy life in these times.

I am hopping Effy vs Faye Jackson hits youtube so we can watch that collectively 🙂

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4 hours ago, Morganti said:

I am hopping Effy vs Faye Jackson hits youtube so we can watch that collectively 🙂

I'm guessing everyone who doesn't have IWTV won't have used their five days free offer yet...

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@morganti

 

Orange Cassidy vs. Kylie Rae

I don’t think I’ve ever watched either of these two wrestle, so this is going to be interesting.  I’ve seen Orange Cassidy on AEW, but he’s always kind of just standing there or slowly kicking someone in the shins. 

OK, I’m not going to be able to do a play by play, so I’m going to comment on certain segments that caught my eye.  First, the handshake sequence works, because it’s just a goofier version of one of the goofiest wrestling tropes.  Orange Cassidy just putting his hands in his pockets is perfect.

The thumb wrestling was also a play on the absurd test of strength spots.  This is the kind of satire that really works for me.  I took a sociology class in college, and the book described a sense of humor as an appreciation of the absurd.  This is the type of match that doesn’t work if you don’t acknowledge and appreciate just how absurd wrestling can be even without the jokes.

Another thing that makes this match work is that both of these wrestlers are playing goofy characters, but they are both good enough in the ring that it has credibility.  Honestly, I don’t know if Orange Cassidy would be on national television every week with a different character, but after watching this I do know that he’d be able to hang in the ring well enough to be on national television every week.  There is a certain smoothness to everything he does, even when he’s not trying to be smooth.  Kylie Rae plays her part well too, her sit out powerbomb looked incredibly good.  I’m kind of surprised that she hasn’t been scooped up by the WWE.  She seems like the kind of woman they should want.  She’s attractive (Let’s face it this is their number 1 criteria.  Even their monster, who can’t stop hurting her opponents, is a former model.), can play a character, and her ring work more than kept up when this match really got going.  One of the things I look for when I watch a wrestler for the first time is how often they look like they have no idea where they are supposed to be.  There are a few sequences in this match that completely fall apart if their timing or positioning is even a little bit off.  Just think how often you watch someone like Alexa Bliss or Lacey Evans and they look like they have no idea what to do next.

Once again, this project put me in the position to watch a match that I would have never watched under any other circumstances and once again, I thoroughly enjoyed the match I was given.  I’m not nearly as big of a wrestling fan as I used to be.  I used to watch everything, but I can’t even remember the last show I watched that wasn’t part of some sort of social event.  This project has shown me that even though I’m not actively engaged with the current product, my appreciation for pro wrestling hasn’t gone away.  I really enjoyed watching randomly selected matches and it kind of makes me want to jump into my abandoned project where I watch and review every match Meltzer rated four stars and above.

Edited by supremebve
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On 5/24/2020 at 6:50 PM, Matt D said:

There are so many and they are so great, but this was an excellent technical, mostly clean match that got heated when it ought to have. The match starts around the 8 minute mark.

 

So the second match on the video? The first one is jipped, so we get six-ish minutes of it, but when the ring announcer tells us who won he says trente minute which is thirty minutes. It looked to have been pretty good. Nobody reverses a Monkey Flip into a Back Body Drop any more... mostly because you hardly ever see Monkey Flips, and when you do they're always out of the corner and thrown for distance, not in the middle of the ring and thrown for height. If you see what I mean. Anyway, onto the main event: Gilbert LeDuc vs Warnia de Zarzecki. Zarzecki is a Polish name, whilst the other bloke could be anglicised to Duke Gilbert, so possibly he's doing an Aristocrat gimmick. Zarzecki is Le Champion du Monde, so this is a World Title match, cool. Zarzecki is 92 kilos, so 202 lbs, which would make him a Heavyweight by 1950s standards, probably. LeDuc is 1 kilo lighter.

The Gong goes bong, and we are underway. Handshake to start, and both men circle each other, but it's not the slow, wary circle you're used to in big matches. They're springing around like lighter weight boxers do. Armdrag exchanges out of the early lockups, into finger interlace armdrags from the knucklelock setup. Overhead wristlock on the mat, fight to the feet and a flying headscissors used not as an impact move, but to as a way into a grounded headscissors on the mat. OK, it seems like De Zarzecki is a headscissors specialist, as he goes from a knucklelock straight into a cross-legged vertical headscissors, and uses a breakdancing headspin to take the guy down twice. But third try is not the charm, as instead he prises the feet apart to free himself, only to promptly eat an upkick to the jaw when De Zarzecki slaps his own knee. LeDuc gets back in control by hooking an over/under armbar (you know how the standard US wrestling armbar you trap the forearm over your shoulder and reach over the upper arm to push down? This is the opposite way. He's trapped the forearm under his armpit and is reaching under the upper arm to pull up). De Zarzecki armdrags out, but LeDuc hangs on and continues the momentum to also Armdrag De Zarzecki. Frustration spot for De Zarzecki, as he is controlled on the mat by LeDuc's armbar, every time he fights to his feet he is immediately armdragged back to the mat, and whenever he tries to reverse and armdrag himself out, LeDuc hits the continuation armdrag to stay in control. So he leaps into a flying headscissor attempt, trying to use his most effective technique, only to be shrugged off and dropped into the grounded armbar all over again.

I love it when you're watching a match featuring two guys you don't know, and within the first five minutes of the action both men have established exactly who they are, what they're good at, and how they're going to win. So hopefully they continue these logical progressions of control sections and give us a full headscissors vs armbars story all the way to the end. Finally he gets his arm free with an upkick to the jaw, so there's another continuing thread. And we reset on our feet.

Armbar out of the lockup, reversed into a flying headscissors. LeDuc headstands to try and get out, but his attempted headspin escape is blocked, as the commentator refers to la Tete du LeDuc (Duke's head) as the bodypart De Zarzecki is targetting. After more failed escape attempts LeDuc eventually frees his head by opening the scissors hold, and then forms the rarely seem not-reverse Indian Deathlock out of it. De Zarzecki decides he really doesn't want his legs worked on, so he face slaps his opponent to force the break.

Double knucklelock backwards roll into a cranking double wristlock, switch to a hammerlock, turn into a back body drop to escape. Single leg takedown into a bent leg kneebar - think of a half crab set-up, only without turning them over. Repeated kneeslap upkicks (meaning he puts his foot on the face, then slaps his own knee to straighten the leg; Not like he's kicking and slapping his thigh to make it sound like his boot is full of firecrackers) to the face to try and get free. So many upkicks that the fans start cheering for the toughness of LeDuc, getting kicked in the head over and over again and not releasing the hold. But he does eventually shift into what I'm calling a short knee scissors. Like a short Arm scissors, but to the leg, see? And he starts throwing chops to the chest, and nobody says Woo because time travel doesn't exist. De Zarzecki can't force an escape from the kneelock, so he shifts his body to put LeDuc's shoulders down, and gets a two count, but the kickout resets them back in the knee scissors where they started. Pinfall out of the kneebar was the finish of Thatcher vs Riddle 1 on NXT two weeks ago, and here it's a nothing nearfall more than sixty years ago. 

Break and reset, and De Zarzecki sells his leg while the ref checks LeDuc's head. Lockup and De Zarzecki answers LeDuc's change of approach with one of his own, hitting a couple of armdrags and applying the old double foot armstretcher (like a Cross Armbreaker, but with the feet on the shoulder/neck and the armpit, and the whole arm stretched the length of the opponent's legs). Commentator says De Zarzecki is targetting Le Main Droit, which is the Right Hand. They do a few of the 'fight out of the hold, then fall straight back into it' spots which are a real hallmark of this style, then LeDuc  does a backward roll into a no hands headstand and headspins his way out of it like he was in a Run DMC video or something. De Zarzecki with a headlock takeover and a snap mare,  but it's getting testy out there. Both men showing signs of frustration and irritation. Standing hammerlock (applied from the front with both hands, forming almost a bear hug type of hold) into a hiptoss, and LeDuc is slow to rise, getting the first ten count of the match for his troubles. But he's up at trois (three). More throws from De Zarzecki, more ten counts from the ref, Le Champion trying to wear out his challenger. LeDuc eventually taking a count of huit (eight) before rising, and he steps up the aggression level with a series of European uppercuts. De Zarzecki responds, and we get out first strike exchange of the contest, ending when LeDuc falls to the mat and takes another count (he initiated the strike exchange, but eventually lost it. Long term damage from the earlier targeting of his head? Probably). 

Double knucklelock tie up, and LeDuc pulls guard and applies a bodyscissors out of it. He cranks on it too, pain showing on the face of De Zarzecki. The Champion trying to reverse it into a pinning predicament, but every time the ref counts two, LeDuc re-squeezes the hold and the Champ collapses out of his elevated position, unable to escape the rib crushing hold. He ups the pace of his escape attempts, but LeDuc is right there with him, slamming De Zarzecki back to the mat instantly. After being trapped in the bodyscissors for quite some time, the Champ is able to feed his arms inside the hold and slide down inside it, winding up in a headscissors that he easily squirms out of. LeDuc races into the ropes and charges De Zarzecki, who evades him with a leapfrog, then drops down to all fours, LeDuc hitting the opposite ropes chest-first and tripping backwards over his opponent. Zarzecki leaps into a pin attempt, but is instead trapped in another bodyscissors. That was a very sudden and very unexpected quickening of pace. 

De Zarzecki decides that this is one of those moments where you let the world know you aren't fucking around, so he stands in the bodyscissors, pulls LeDuc up so he's reverse piggybacking him (piggyfronting?) and blasts a forearm smash into his jaw. LeDuc drops like a stone. Sept count. More strikes, more knockdowns and more counts, but LeDuc shows he's not here to play as he hammers home a series of European Uppercuts and manages to drop the Champion for a count of cinq. Irish whip, back body drop. More forearms from LeDuc, and a final headbutt to seal the strike flurry. Count of seis this time. LeDuc with the whip to the ropes, De Zarzecki with a running headbutt like he was Atsushi Onita! LeDuc knocked to the mat, but he does a kip up, but De Zarzecki flies into a Canadian Destroy... no, it's a Sunset Flip, never mind. That gets two. In 2020 they would have done a Destroyer there. 

De Zarzecki with an armdrag out of the lockup, and he drops a leg on the arm and stays in position to work a kind of half arm scissors - like he's got the arm trapped around his right leg, but his left leg is off to the side as a point of balance rather than added to the hold. He's really cranking the wrist in this position. Another hiptoss out of the front Hammerlock position, then De Zarzecki takes LeDuc to the mat and applies a short arm scissors... to the right arm this time. I guess he wants to weaken both upper extremities. LeDuc trying to roll the Champion into a pinning position from the hold, but he can't seem to get the shoulders down. So instead he does the always impressive Backlund power clean, raising his opponent to sit atop his shoulder. But he doesn't walk him to the corner like Backlund would (or hit an Electric Chair Drop like you'd think would be a good idea), so De Zarzecki is able to perform a flying armscissors roll and put him back on the mat. De Zarzecki working the hold for all it's worth, locking his hands and wrenching his body back to the mat to tear up the elbow joint as severely as possible. LeDuc with the Power Clean again, and it looks like he was trying to slam De Zarzecki backwards this time, but the champion shifts his weight and rolls down with the flying armscissors again. LeDuc finds enough daylight in the hold to free his arm and secure a kneeling Indian Deathlock, but his attempts to throw forearm smashes seem to be hurting his damaged arm more than they hurt the Champion's face. So he throws headbutts instead. More forearms from LeDuc, but then De Zarzecki decides he's had enough of this shit and fires back with forearms of his own, loosening the leglock and dropping LeDuc once both men are standing. Head Crusher on the knee by De Zarzecki! LeDuc is reeling and seems exhausted, this might just be a matter of rime now.

Or maybe not, as the challenger bursts into life with a series of forearms, then locks on a Full Nelson. De Zarzecki trying to fight free but LeDuc is tenacious, hanging on and going with the champion when he tries to roll clear. De Zarzecki eventually able to free himself and reverse the hold, but LeDuc dropping out from under the lock and reverse Monkey Flipping the champion from the mat. 

Reset standing, De Zarzecki applying a top wristlock. Down to the mat and back up again. LeDuc able to overpower the Champion and take him down with the hold. Work back up, De Zarzecki struggling for control, but again LeDuc showing his strength and driving the Champion down. LeDuc cranking on the mat, De Zarzecki rolling with the pressure and spinning into a Hammerlock on the challenger. LeDuc elbowing his way out of that and blasting forearms, but De Zarzecki slamming him with a standing Headlock takeover (as in, he stays standing while doing the headlock takeover; It's an impactful slam move, not a look at how much I'm in control move). Forearms and headbutts from LeDuc knock the Champion down for a five count. He rises, but is hooked in an armbar, LeDuc taking him down with a flying Wakigatame takedown (AKA the Divorce court, because that move doesn't just separate the shoulder, it divorces it). Hammerlock on the mat by LeDuc. De Zarzecki reaches up and back to grab a three quarter Nelson and hit a Snapmare takeover, LeDuc hanging on to the hammerlock through a series of rolling snapmares. The champ trying to leverage his way out of the hold by locking his hands, but LeDuc able to follow his hips wherever he turns, so instead he blasts a back elbow to escape the hold instead.

We begin again. De Zarzecki with a go behind into a waistlock takedown, from where he applies an inverted Stranglehold Gamma. Like a stepover headscissors where the one leg goes from under one armpit, behind the neck, then under the other armpit, forming a pretty mean neck crank. LeDuc trying to roll it into a pin (they really like turning other people's holds into pin attempts in this style) but De Zarzecki going into a headstand instead and spinning into a headscissor-type takedown while maintaining the hold. They actually land in the ropes on this one, but the ref doesn't call for the break so I guess rope breaks weren't a thing yet. Would explain why we haven't seen anyone even attempt to get the ropes for an escape so far. De Zarzecki grabbing his own boot to crank the necklock harder, but LeDuc turning towards his opponent to try and alleviate the pressure. Able to stack the shoulders for a two count, but the kickout puts him back on the mat, and some quick bunnykicks rock LeDuc's head. De Zarzecki able to get LeDuc fully facedown on the canvas, and he rocks the hold back and forth, raking his opponent's face across the mat. Big legdrop/axe kick to the back of the head to re-pressurise the hold, which the commentator finds hilarious. LeDuc able to get some verticality and prise the leg off of his neck, which leaves him with a standing double foot hold. Naturally he turns this over into a Boston Crab to surprisingly little reaction, so maybe this hold wasn't considered a big deal yet. Well, he's only in it for a second before he's able to reverse it into a cradle, and they go into a short pinfall reversal sequence like the Guerrero vs Malenko matches would popularise many decades later. 

De Zarzecki getting relentless with the throws now. Headlock takeover for seven. Bodyslam for eight. Hiptoss for six. Headlock for six. Bodyslam for four. LeDuc appears to be gaining strength from taking this punishment. Then they go into an adrenalin rush sequence of rapid strike exchanges and throws, LeDuc snapmaring the Champion repeatedly. We're thirty minutes in and this is the fastest they've moved all night, racing into the ropes and rebounding with heavy shots. De Zarzecki runs into a big knee and is dropped to the mat, LeDuc flying with a big splash but hitting nothing but canvas, they blasts forearms into one another's jaws, then LeDuc races into the ropes and flies out with an attempted Spear, but gets caught and dropped with a Powerbomb for a count of three!

So this was a really good match. Obviously a massive stylistic departure from anything you'd see in modern wrestling, both in terms of the pace and the style - even though a lot of the moves were the same moves you'd see today, the execution of them really wasn't. And there wasn't really any attention paid to long term selling of earlier damage per se. But there was a clear escalation going on there, they did show increasing fatigue and an increasing level of desperation and struggle as the match went on. If a currently active pro wrestle watched this match, they'd probably see a few things they could steal and use, that most fans would think were brand new innovations.

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I'm not going to say that they're all exactly like that, as this was on the high end, but I wouldn't say it's at all abnormal. I generally take shorthand notes as I watch to keep track of the plot and notable things, because these matches generally have so much. 1957 was an amazing year in France that I'm sad we're finishing this week. Almost every match is absolutely worth watching, even the few that are just ok (And they are a big minority) because you learn something or see something novel in every match. Thanks for giving it such a deep look.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok guys, I think Match Club didn't quite get far because a lot of people's appetite for wrestling faded with the events of the last few weeks, understandably. We had a good run in general, making it four months in one form or another, which is quite a long time. Let's retire this for now though. We'll see how people feel in a few months and anyway, this is more of a holiday thing in the first place. 

In the meantime, however, if anyone needs a match at any point and they're not satisfied by the other initiatives on the board right now (wrestling machine, bloodbath, clubbering) or if they have some specific request, either in general or something specific ("hey, I want to get into lucha." "hey, what are the best matches to watch for wrestler X"), just chime in here.

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  • 4 months later...

Hey, we're heading into more lockdown and the holiday season (and you know, more lockdown). Are people up for another round for December and maybe January?

I figure we need 8 people at a minimum with 10 preferable. Any takers?

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Ok, we've got 7. One more would be nice, but for a limited engagement this is a-ok. Plan is to roll on Sunday and do the usual Sunday-Saturday week. I'll make a new thread go over the meager rules ("at least give your partner a match" again) then. If anyone wants to jump on board in the meantime, do so.

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5 hours ago, Octopus said:

Yo @NikoBaltimore, @Morganti, @supremebve, @Goodear, @Smelly McUgly, you guys free for this? Off the top of my head I remembered enjoying your write ups when we did this last. Things are crazy so no worries if you can’t. Just didn’t want y’all to miss out.

Thanks, dude. I'm cool with reviewing but compared to others wasn't too happy with some of the ones I picked. I'll need to see how things shake out but if possible I'll give it a go. 

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16 hours ago, NikoBaltimore said:

Thanks, dude. I'm cool with reviewing but compared to others wasn't too happy with some of the ones I picked. I'll need to see how things shake out but if possible I'll give it a go. 

Went back to check some of the ones you picked and your first two were a Mid South Dog Collar Match I’ve never seen and Drew Gulak vs Daniel Bryan which was phenomenal. Nah, your picks were great!

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