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Secret Santo Holiday Season 2020


Matt D
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Rules are simple:

  1. Random draw sets up pairings.
  2. Research/Talk to your partner. It might help if everyone puts up a quick blurb on their gaps. Some of this probably exists on the first pages of the old thread.
  3. Pick a match for your partner. This is the big thing. Do it ASAP, even if you don't have time to watch a match for some crazy real life reason. Don't leave your partner hanging. If you think you're going to be off the board for a week, drop out for that week, etc.
  4. Watch the match your partner picked for you.
  5. Write a review. Doesn't have to be War and Peace.
  6. Repeat every Sunday. Current plan is to go through December and stop there but if we have momentum, we'll push through January.

Pairings for week 1:

El Gran Gordi
AxB

moribund
Six String Orchestra

NikoBaltimore
Octopus

Morganti > Matt D > Curt McGirt

@Morganti, We had an odd number, but I don't care. You're in. We'll have SM jump on next week to even us out. So You give to me. I give to Curt. Curt gives to you.

My blind spots are most things in the last few years, 80s-90s NJPW that don't have Fujiwara, most Joshi, I don't know. Don't give me a Gargano-Scripted-By-Michaels match or Omega/Okada. I'm up for just about anything else.

Curt, have you seen this Necro Butcher vs Monsta Mack match that we did on NFF last week?

 

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Here you go @Six String Orchestra, a bit of All Japan tag action:

 

As for me I have broad and shallow knowledge, as befits someone who has lurked around here for 12+ years. Since I haven't been active doing write ups just about anything is fair game as far as I'm concerned though like you I'd rather stay away from WWE (specifically modern stuff). I'm pretty strictly Youtube/DailyMotion for consumption. The only thing I really don't care for are death matches (some blood in a cage match is one thing, but light tubes etc. just aren't my bag).

Let me know if you would like more specific guidance.

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@moribund, that match looks awesome, I'll have to watch that later tonight. I was just finally getting around to watching more AJPW tags from era too!

For you I submit another AJPW tag, but from now recent times. https://dai.ly/x5wr99z

Jake Lee/Naoya Nomura vs Zeus/The Bodyguard from 2017. I wanted to find a more recent tag but alas this is most i can find.

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What I have seen little of and think I'd enjoy: Argentinian, French, and German wrestling, Mexican minis, SWS/WAR. FMW, Toryumon, DDT, pre-Starrcade territories stuff, anything 70s or earlier.

Wrestlers I like a lot but haven't been watching recently: Bryan Danielson, Dick Togo, Kikutaro, Terry Funk, Bret Hart, El Felino, Johnny Saint, Kantaro Hoshino, Andre, Terry Gordy, Alexander Otsuka, Aja Kong, Jaguar Yokota...

What I always enjoy: Comedy matches. Big Kaiju battles. Brawling. Matches that tell a story.

What I would prefer you not give me: Self-conscious epic please give us five stars type of modern matches. Anything over 25 minutes unless there is a darned good reason why. 

What I have been watching recently: Mostly keeping up with current NJPW and AEW, in order to stay in the conversation with my friends who also watch that. I'd prefer to get something different, participating here. Pre-AEW stuff from current AEW guys could be fun, though.

Youtube and Dailymotion please.

 

Thanks!

 

AxB: This is not very WoS, but it is a match that seemingly resurfaced after the Ugandan Headhunter passed away that was a huge positive surprise to me. 

 

 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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Gap blurb! Off the top of my head, a small list of the many things I know little about.

- 80’s Southernish territories

- I need to see more Buddy Rose, I feel

- UK past and present 

- Osaka Pro could be fun

- NJPW or AJPW since the pandemic started

- Neat death matches

But honestly, just recommend me something you really enjoy that you think I might dig. 

——

@NikoBaltimore! It’s fitting that we got each other again, as we did for the first week the last go around. I gave you a modern lucha then, so I’ll do that again:

Soberano jr vs Titan from the 87th Anniversario.

Edited by Octopus
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22 hours ago, Octopus said:

Gap blurb! Off the top of my head, a small list of the many things I know little about.

- 80’s Southernish territories

- I need to see more Buddy Rose, I feel

- UK past and present 

- Osaka Pro could be fun

- NJPW or AJPW since the pandemic started

- Neat death matches

But honestly, just recommend me something you really enjoy that you think I might dig. 

——

@NikoBaltimore! It’s fitting that we got each other again, as we did for the first week the last go around. I gave you a modern lucha then, so I’ll do that again:

Soberano jr vs Titan from the 87th Anniversario.

So this is from Portland but how about Rose vs Piper? 

 

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1 hour ago, AxB said:

FMW!

Megumi Kudo vs Shinobu Kandori, 14th March 1997. Don't be fooled by the video being 39 minutes, the match is only 20-odd. 

This is a very very good pro wrestling match. Probably a contender for "Best Barbed Wire Match of All Time."

- It's really well paced. There is a lot of struggle, teasing, stalling before we get to the barbed wire spots. Once the violence starts, though, it just keeps building and escalating without ever getting totally out of control.

- They strike a really good balance between the barbed wire stuff and straight up pro wrestling. 

- To me, it feels like those two points combined lead to the barbed wire spots having a lot more meaning. Like, every time the barbed wire comes into play it means something.

- Kandori is dressed in black slacks and a black dress shirt with a Trump-length blue necktie. Kudo is wearing white and pink spandex. With the lovely "this tape was watched more than a few times before being digitized" picture quality it kind of looks like Bobby Heenan in there against Velvet McIntyre from certain angles. Kandori looks a lot bigger than Kudo, and she has that true superstar aura, so Kudo naturally comes across as more sympathetic.

- However, Megumi Kudo is "the Queen of the Death Matches" so once she finally takes over on offense, it makes sense. She has that Foley/Funk/Mox quality where "she's in her element here" and it makes sense that she can get the advantage over one of the world's greatest wrestlers in this particular environment.

- It would not surprise me at all to learn that Mox and Kingston watched this match while preparing for/laying out their I Quit match at Full Gear. There is at least one moment of very clear influence. Also, IMHO, Kandori vs Kudo is an even better match than Mox vs King.

- The barbed wire looks nasty.

- Two cool spots that really stand out: Kudo trapped in a submission reaches out instinctively for the ropes, then realizes that she's about to grab a strand of barbed wire. Kudo's dive over the barbed wire to the outside.

- It takes a ton of offense to put Shinobu Kandori away, which makes perfect sense. All of it looks violent and dangerous and none of it looks cooperative. 

- These two really come across like they do not like one another at all and the whole match is them really trying to inflict pain and damage... so the show of respect at the end has real meaning as well.

Thanks for this one, AxB!!

 

 

 

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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Necro Butcher vs. Monsta Mack

From some undisclosed time, from some undisclosed place, for "East Coast Pro Wrestling" with about 30 people watching tops. Monsta (or Steve as the file lets us know) is wearing a singlet under jean shorts and a Marines shirt. Necro has boots on for this one. And they do what you'd expect from a Necro match, they beat each other the fuck up. At one point one of the guys in the crowd asks "Is this Knockout Rules?" and somebody says "No, they changed it" but it ends up in a knockout anyway after Necro invites Mack to do the bar-fight thing where they sit in chairs in the ring and hit each other, Mack looks like he headbutts him right in the bridge of his nose but somehow busts open his forehead, and Necro does a very convincing knockout for the pinfall. If he isn't knocked out then that's the best sell I've seen in awhile because he even wakes up with that "where am I?" reaction where you're pushing away at people trying to regain your footing and asks if he won and is told he did so he just stumbles off into the night. Mack also has some nasty slams to Necro on the concrete outside. This is handheld so the violence is super up-close and there's no turning away from how hard they hit, at one point you think it's turned into a shoot because Necro gets mad after he gets a couple of chairs recklessly thrown in his face and rushes Mack. A mean little potato-fest that would have a nice place on a Schneider comp.

Edited by Curt McGirt
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5 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Something else I wanted to ask, somebody on here said that Necro is pretty much a Nazi now, are there some Tweets or something that proves this? I'd like to know if the man is or if this is just some bullshit some random person wrote. 

Yeesh, I hadn't looked into that, but apparently he's gone off the deep end on facebook this last year as he goes through kidney failure and what not.

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Spoiler

 

I have never seen an Inoki match.
I don't know any of these people, there names will be reflected accordingly

This a 10 man tag.
The crowd is hot.

One thing I like is that you can tell there is some sort of beef with the two teams.

The not Inoki team really wants to beat up Inoki.

The Ref is trying hard to get the ring clear so we can lock up, fails and a drop kick and german to start things!

Then the cluberrin, Inoki on the outside givin advice.
Next pairing starts and we get some HEAT! chokes and stomps!

Not a lot of one man gets beat up, but still you get your heat and a sense that both sides are angry at each other.

Not a lot of knee pads btw.

Masked Man tags in with the stompy and a suplex and a pin attempt!
Masked man however does not dive into the arm bar.  Masked man's mask reminds me of Evil Uno.

Some headbutts and this is the longest pairing before a tag to baby blue trunks who dumbly pushes masked man into the wrong neighborhood

Baby Blue gets bullied into making a tag to red trunks who sets up an offense chain before blue pants does a diving knee

Inoki is in!
Then tags out, i am gonna say hes the heel, even if hes not, coz that was some bitch behavior.

Masked man hits a back elbow and a boston crab on blue pants!
Random black trunked man from Inoki's team comes in and breaks that shit up so the only guy with knee pads and kick pads comes in and does a beautiful bridging german and some angry ass kicks and a mean body slam to set up what looked like a flying knee drop that was more boot point than knee.

Now some hard slaps from two dudes who have white socks on under their black boots.

Lots of frequent tags on both sides.

Red Trunks is in and hits a second rope body slam then gets toe kicked a bunch before just bullying his dance partner, then red trunks gets doubled up in the wrong part of town daddeh~!

Scorpion attempt #2! but Red trunks got the ropes, then we get  a tag and a leg lariat that looks like it was half ass dodged no sold.

Inoki is in again against Kickpads guy crowd goes a lil louder!

Inoki is totally wrestling how I would expect a bitchy chicken shit heel to wrestle.

This dude has a knee sleeve on, and red trunks goes for the single leg on the targeted knee!
Thigh Slap face kick gets punished with another single leg
Red trunks escapes a headlock by just throwing a dude
Dude retaliates with a back brain kick, then a burly man in white boots hits a nice lariat

Masked man attacks blue pants and gets dropkicked and suplexed into a cover!

Lots of struggles to push dudes into corners, either their own or the enemies.

Stomps and slaps and a body slam and an Inoki knee drop lookin like the biggest chinned seth rollins over here.. now Inoki got the octopus on Masked Man.
Masked man gets the ropes, then gets back brain kicked by Inoki and wrapped up again!
Masked Man tags in knee wrap guy and Inoki tags in white tube socks guy.

Kick Pads guy has UWF on his kick pads.
delayed Pile driver!
Slaps!
Dodge that slap and bar that Arm!
Hip toss in the corner followed by a diving stomp and this is the second longest pairing.

Nice escape with a kinda leg scisors monkey flip thing and then some more work to the injured knee of lightning bolt man.

White Boots comes in and hits some shots but gets his arm barred too.
I feel like master of 1004 holds chris jericho watched just this match for his arm bars

Crowd is coming alive a bit, not super hot, but warmin up.  like that late morning before the scorching rays of summer streak across the sands of the beach.

White boots hits one good punch and finally gets back inside the ring, blue pants gets tagged and then gets kicked by UWF man
UWF Man demands Inoki, and gets it, they have some nice exchanges
BOTH OUT OVER THE TOP ROPE!

Blue trunks and tube sock man are in and the pace quickens!
Blue trunks tags in HIS white socks man, and i think this is a bull shit ass touch the floor and get eliminated match which explains how we lost inoki and UWF man, then we have a bull shit pin where dude was in the ropes

Burly White booted man demands sacrifice!
Blue pants and blue trunks offer them selves up!
Lariat to Blue Trunks and hes out.

Blue Pants gets some fatherly advice from Inoki and the crowd is now alive again, more alive than I have been in my whole entire life.. and then not.

Diving fist and body slam and scorpin locked in!

Crowd chanting for blue pants I am assuming as he is takin an ass whoppin
Burly man comes in and puts blue pants in another scorpion!
Ropes achieved and i want blue pants to get somethin, and he does, an enziguri and the corner punches 
(more wrestlers should do corner punches)
Blue pants with the hand spring elbow and then a moon sault is dodged and blue pants loses his head to a lariat and burlyu man is like fuck that, tube sock man is back in.
Inoki is talkin shit
Blue pants trys some offence and outside is breakin down before Blue Pants loses it all for his team

If I knew who 9 out of 10 of the participants were I would of enjoyed it more, as it was, it was a fast paced 20 minute match.

 

My stream of conscious thoughts!

Edited by Morganti
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17 hours ago, Morganti said:

Matt, how you feel about LuFisto vs Faye Jackson?

 

Definitely something I wouldn't have watched on my own which is the name of the game. Jackson is a product of the ROH dojo (and Homicide) if I'm not mistaken. I have a good working knowledge of Lufisto without actually having seen many matches in the last five years are so. This had some moments of the two of them getting in each other's way. Some frustrating bits of execution stemmed from that, like one of the worst DDT's I've ever seen. Some of the strikes were good and played into their natural physicality but others seemed more wind-up than payoff. That said, there was a lot to like. I think, at this point, Jackson had a lot of promise and I hope she grew into that promise over the last two years. I like how she didn't necessarily go from spot to spot but interspersed a lot of engaged body language and crowd interaction. When she hit a move, it meant something to her, and if it means something to her, it means something to the crowd. Some of her stuff looked especially good, like her side-slam onto her own leg (making it a bit of a backbreaker), or her legdrop. My favorite bit of this was when she grabbed at Lufisto's gear from behind, stopping a bit of rope-running. I like anything which feels like it's not just part of a rote spot but somehow more organic and that was. There was some loose arm focus that led into the finish throughout the match, Lufisto whacking it against the post early on, a submission attempt mid match, and the finish, but none of it really came together to mean anything. The oneupsmanship with the corner charges/flips that led more directly into the finish was better. Lufisto grounded this, moving Jackson around the ring well for the most part, though like I said, not everything fully came together. I'd be curious to see where Jackson is now, but I also think she probably wouldn't be well-served by empty arena matches.

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1. I should have supplied a chart for who is who in the New Japan match. 

Spoiler

Inoki = everyone knows Inoki, at least I hope so. The one with the chin.

Fujiwara = oldest looking guy with crew cut that is almost bald down the middle, shooter boots (they stop right above the ankle), mustache

Hoshino = really short dude, baby blue trunks

Sakaguchi = really tall dude, red trunks

Mutoh = long dark blue trunks, long white boots

 

Maeda = UWF Boots/kickpads

Choshu = long hair, white boots

Super Strong Machine = masked with one shoulder singlet

Fujinami = older looking, also wearing shooter boots w/tube socks

Kimura = has pad on one shin. Don't ask me why I never figured it out

2. After watching the sit-in-chair-and-strike segment of the Mack/Necro match you kinda just have to laugh at the one from Moxley/Omega yesterday.

 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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Hey, @OctopusHere's the match review.

I have seen very little of Soberano, Jr when I had CMLL on Comcast.  I liked some of his moves but never really paid much attention to what he could actually.  As for Titan I did see him when he was in ROH and once or twice in CMLL.  But it's been quite a while.  So I consider myself in the "Not too familiar" camp with either.  But I am curious to see what this match brings.

First thing that sticks out  is unless you're actually looking for people in the crowd the horns/crowd noise through the speakers aren't that far off from what I remember.  It's at least much better than WWE's canned noise.  The only dead giveaway there's a pandemic is the ref with the mask on.  So as far as presentation during these times it could be a whole lot worse.  And I  can tell that this will go a bit as while I'm used to them flying around a lot they started off nice and slow before gradually ramping up.

All I can tell so far is it's for a title and it seems Titan is the rudo in this.  Which works as he's very skilled but just can't help but be a dick.  And Soberano is good at trying to overcome Titan's nefarious methods which complements the deliberate  yet engaging style they're doing.

Overall I liked the match.  I can't say it made me want to get back into lucha but when it's something meaningful done well it's nice to check out once in awhile.  Thanks for this.

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@Six String Orchestra provided me with this All Japan tag from 2017:

 

I wasn't familiar with any of the participants going in, though did recognize the names Zeus and Jake Lee. Ended up watching it three times before writing about it, and weirdly enough I feel like I'm in three minds about it (if that's even a thing): I think there is a bunch of back story that might inform the match, it felt very much like a car with square wheels, and I ended up liking it more than maybe it deserved given its warts.

Given some of the interactions, especially a couple of "I'm taking this opportunity to blast the non-legal opponent on the ring apron" spots, I wonder if everyone was building on either previous singles action or failed title challenges. There might have been more story culminating here than I have to work with. I didn't do any research, though I might later.

Let's get those warts (at least as I perceive them) out of the way... 

I did not care at all for the first two strike exchanges, and blame them for the feeling of disjunction that stuck with me for a lot of the match. They just didn't come across as a replacement for something like an old-fashioned test of strength at the start or some submission reversals mid-match. I kind of wish that workers would come up with something new for that 'tension-building-contest' building block for matches because unless its done by folks like Suzuki, grumpy Nagata, or Ishii with the right opponent its just not grabbing me these days.

Some of the timing seemed to be off, though some of that might have been the lingering effect of watching guys stand there waiting to receive chops early on - I think it made me hyper-sensitive to what may have been otherwise ignorable pauses. The match just didn't flow all that well for me, hence the square-wheeled car analogy.

Lastly I got a really strong Bill Kazmaier vibes off The Bodyguard. I'm afraid my initial perception of him was heavily colored by the shortcomings of someone that I observed decades before he even got in the ring, and I feel a little bad about that.

All of that being said I'm glad that I got to watch this, as even though there are nits (of varying sizes) to pick I ended up enjoying it. They got the crowd into it the match a good number of times which I first noticed when Nomura takes liberties during a very early rope break. For all that I didn't like the first two strike exchanges there was a third one that lead to the finishing stretch that I thought was really good - mostly because it was better timed and didn't have that 'stand there waiting' quality that afflicted the others.

Lastly, and I was really surprised by how much I liked this spot in my final viewing, Jake Lee did what I thought was a great bit of delayed, dramatic selling in the closing stretch: Early in the match Lee gets one of his legs savaged - which is sold to varying degrees throughout the match, from 'over-' to 'no-.' With Nomura and The Bodyguard the legal men Lee enters the ring to remove Zeus from the equation. Lee almost reflexively uses a couple of beautiful knee lifts at the end of the sequence to put Zeus down... then makes it immediately obvious that this was a mistake and that while he was successful he's aggravated the damage to his own leg, and while Zeus has been neutralized Lee has done so at the cost of his own further effectiveness.

It was a little thing that made me wish there were more things like it throughout the match, but rather than making me sour on the match for the lost opportunity it fit blinders to my head about other shortcomings. So that was neat.

Thumbs up from me. Not everything is going to be an all-timer, and this was (im)perfectly acceptable pro wrestling. I will definitely be checking out more modern All Japan.

Thanks!

(here endeth my very first wrestling review on DVDVR, I feel like a giddy schoolgirl)

Edited by moribund
Removed a bunch of errant carriage returns at the end - oops.
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