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Secret Santo in July


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@moribund

Jerry Lawler in a barbwire ropes match (but also with regular ring ropes??) against Dutch Mantell, in suuuuper potato quality, from the Mid-South Coliseum! It shouldn't be too bad for you, since even if they did any "gruesome" spots with the barbwire... you can hardly see it anyway! I wish a better version of this match existed, honestly.

And yeah, my knowledge of Memphis/Lawler is limited, like yours, but I've seen this match before and I liked it - if not only for the fact that Lawler is in a fuckin' barbwire match. I don't like Dirty Dutch in current times, but I'll be goddamned if he wasn't great back then (from my very limited viewing - also he just looks skeevy as shit).

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:10 AM, Spontaneous said:

I'm into crazy, stiff brawls. I haven't seen a lot of FMW, ECW, WWC or UWFi. I have IWTV again recently so anything from there you recommend is appreciated. I also would prefer a shorter match if possible.

I think this match is a nice counterpart to the one you gave me. Almost minimalist compared to what you might expect from an Onita FMW match. Stiff as hell. I think it's less than 15 minutes bell to bell, as well. 

Atsushi Onita vs. Tarzan Goto No DQ Match  FMW 2/26/91

 

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@twiztor

Monday Night War era match but a pretty rare HH one.

It's also a really fun match and maybe the best Malenko vs Guerrero one because Eddy was completely unleashed in his heel persona as opposed to what we would get in ECW.

 

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Thanks @Casey, and no worries about the violence content in that one: It's only when we get to light tubes/guys carving each other up with gardening equipment/etc. that I start to back away from the violent graps.

This is probably on the downside of NOAH's peak, but I have always had a soft spot for Akira Taue and his bizarre, grumpy, awkward grace:

Edited to add: The match itself is just a hair over 20 minutes of the 35 in the video.

Edited by moribund
Added more info.
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@MorgantiAs I recall, you said you were just a dude looking to be entertained. OK, I think you should be sufficiently entertained by this:

This is a little gem of a TV match, and that's largely because these two guys understand their gimmicks entirely. Gilbertti is such a goofy dipshit loudmouth IRL that he is MADE for being...a goofy dipshit loudmouth in a leisure suit. He makes the Disco Inferno gimmick, which honestly I think would have failed as a lower-card comedy gimmick had literally anyone else portrayed it, a top-ten lower-card joke gimmick all-time IMO. 

Bonus: It's short and the best of the action is post-match!

 

Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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11 hours ago, moribund said:

Thanks @Casey, and no worries about the violence content in that one: It's only when we get to light tubes/guys carving each other up with gardening equipment/etc. that I start to back away from the violent graps.

This is probably on the downside of NOAH's peak, but I have always had a soft spot for Akira Taue and his bizarre, grumpy, awkward grace:

Edited to add: The match itself is just a hair over 20 minutes of the 35 in the video.

Damn, I was going to give you a Megumi Kudo FMW match, but I wasn't sure if you were okay with people falling into barbwire boards and stuff (there was nothing super gross - I just love Kudo, she was the first joshi wrestler I discovered on those old Tokyo Pop VHS tapes of FMW).

Anyway! I hope everyone doesn't mind my play-by-play style with some thoughts/opinions thrown in. If anyone reads my reviews, that is. On to it...

Spoiler

I love ring introductions in Japan when they include streamers. That's good shit, pal. Jun Akiyama on commentary - he was one of my favorites to watch when I was in middle school/starting high school and discovering puroresu.

Akira's body type reminds me so much of Giant Baba, holy shit. I know who Akira Taue is, vaguely, but I'm absolutely blanking on who Takeshi Rikio is. Nasty looking big boot from Akira and then he DIVES TO THE OUTSIDE??? I wasn't expecting that, holy shit. Everything about Taue so far just screams "I'm from the 80s" and that's why that dive is so wild. Everything after the dive is just resthold stuff, which we established from the pick @Matt D gave me last week I'm just not a fan of. Of course, as soon as I type this, Taue does some kind of weird looking chokeslam, and now he's ripping up the mats on the outside of the ring. But Rikio powerbombs Taue onto the padded part (and that powerbomb looked gnarly - not super explosive or powerful looking, but like what it'd look like if you did it in an actual fight). Just droppin' Taue on his fuckin' back, I like it. A headscissors choke back inside the ring, and I gotta say - this match has not gone like how I thought it would. I see early/mid 2000s NOAH, and I'm thinking Misawa or Akiyama doing dangerous or stiff stuff, and this... is not that, at all. Not a BAD thing, just different. Classic back and forth slaps with Rikio getting the better of Taue. NASTY looking lariat, and apparently Taue is bleeding from the nose (the slaps? the lariat?). German suplex and a jumping single leg kick from Taue, and can he look any more awkward? Is this what watching a Giant Baba match is like? Running boots into the corner, even worse looking. Top rope chokeslam, and I feel like that's one of those spots that people today (and back then?) would complain that someone kicked out of. I'll give Taue this, though - that powerbomb looked pretty good, but his backdrop suplex was countered into a splash and Rikio with another good lookin' lariat. And another one! Did not expect the big thicc boi Rikio to do a top rope diving crossbody. These two are just clocking each other with lariats, powerbombs and chokeslams like crazy. Cool/weird looking high-angle chokeslam/suplex type move from Rikio, I dug the hell out of that. A really weak looking kick from Taue into an octopus hold (with bonus point of the elbow into the ribs!). Taue does that weird chokeslam/suplex thing I mentioned before - they're obviously trading finishers or whatever. Hahaha, Rikio just slaps the piss out of Taue and he falls off the ramp - but he slams Rikio down to the floor after some slaps of his own. I thought this match was about to end off a simple fucking suplex the way the crowd popped for it, but nah, it's that chokeslam.

What's the deal with Taue? Was he always this awkward looking in the ring? The crowd LOVES him, obviously, but Takeshi Rikio looks like a real stud and it didn't seem like he got to show off a lot since he was in there with a grandpa. Unlike the match I got from @Curt McGirt, Taue is not a murder grandpa, he's just... a grandpa.

Is Rikio matches worth looking up, or is this as good as it gets for him match-wise? I'm not sold at all on Taue, I'm sorry. That's probably heresy in the puroresu community, because I know he's one of the Four Pillars - but I MUCH rather watch Misawa, Kobashi or (especially) Kawada than another Taue match.

But... this was still entertaining. Exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to get when I signed up for this project. Honestly, anyone else who draws me in future rounds - just give me some good puroresu, if you can. Somehow, even though I don't like Taue, and I feel like Rikio didn't get to show off his full potential in this (maybe I'm wrong) I still really enjoyed this somehow. Maybe I'm just a huge mark for puroresu from when I was a teenager or something, who knows.

Good pick, @moribund

 

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14 hours ago, Zimbra said:

Great Sasuke/Shiryu/Tiger Mask IV vs Super Delfin/Gran Naniwa/Taka Michinoku

 

I think this is the first Michinoku Pro match I’ve seen, could be wrong. Lots of neat matwork and exchanges on display, mixed in with suitably eye-catching dives. My MVPs here are TM4 and Michinoku who ramp things up considerably with stiff strikes and inject a real sense of urgency (including a really crisp belly to belly on Sasuke by Michinoku who follows up with a nice bump over the top rope).

Ultimately I came out of this wanting to see a TM4 v Michinoku singles match, and also to see if Jushin Liger mixed it up with TM4 or Michinoku at any point. Cheers @Zimbra

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On 7/17/2021 at 10:58 PM, Spontaneous said:

@Gordberg

Tomoaki Honma vs Jun Kasai from BJW 3/26/2000. It's not too violent by BJW standards and most importantly sub 15 minutes. Enjoy!

This was really good, and not at all what I expected. 

The Honma vs Yamakawa matches were important in my development as a pro wrestling fan. When I moved back to Canada (from the Czech Republic) in 2003, I got right into buying and trading tapes and DVDs in an effort to catch up on all the great stuff I'd missed while living in Europe. Those state-of-the-art death matches (and also Toryumon, and some other stuff) were things I got into that gave me a feeling like "not everyone has seen this" and they gave me footage to show and to trade with friends who had footage from the territory days and/or the Monday Night Wars and so on.

The Honma vs Yamazaki series was sold to me as "these guys bring psychology into death match style" which from my current perspective seems totally insane given that Atsushi Onita is an absolute master of pro wrestling psychology. What it seems to me that Honma is doing is bringing state-of-the-late-90s-and-early-2000s speed and athleticism and perhaps also fancy-dan suplexes and top rope moves and so on into the death match style... which is significant. 

This specific match is cool in part because it's Honma who was (one of) the absolute top guy(s) in that style for a time and he's at his peak here and he's facing Jun Kasai who was (arguably?) next in line to be (one of) the absolute top guy(s) in that style, and who is a young lion on the rise here. It's a compact, niche take on a Hogan/Warrior, Bock/Hennig, Jumbo/Misawa kind of confrontation.

The psychology therefore isn't so much good guy vs bad guy. It's top guy vs young buck (as it were), and they work that style really well and it pays off beautifully. Honma is mean and confident, Kasai shows a lot of fire. Exactly what you'd hope for.

They work a large percentage of the match perfectly straight with lots of fast and tight chain wrestling and they are both really good at it. Here's something I'm thinking about now: If Honma and Kasai had just stuck to straight pro wrestling, would we be discussing their work now, in 2021, or would they be largely forgotten or overlooked these days? 

It also feels like - and I believe it was - one of those Japanese tournament matches where you know that anything can happen.

It's interesting to see Kasai before he became a walking mass of scar tissue. It's interesting to see Honma young and spry (and very loud, and not overly tanned, and with black hair...)

For fans of the old ultraviolence, there is a sickening chair shot in this one, a barbed-wire bat comes into play, and Kasia is wearing a very crimson mask indeed by the time this one gets going. Near the end, a splash of blood hits the camera lens. Through 2021 eyes, the violent spots feel more impactful because we aren't being overwhelmed by a never-ending onslaught of them.

For fans of stiffness and bumping I recommend at least watching the finishing sequence of this one. In particular, there's a series of three moves that bring this match to a close that are not too far removed from peak All Japan in terms of intensity. 

As I said, those relatively well-known Honma vs Yamakawa death matches were important to me 15 or 16 years ago, but "2021 me" probably likes this match more. I appreciate how the blood and violence add to the story of the match rather than being the entire purpose of it. 

Edited by Gordberg
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@Matt D

i am a bit intimidated, as the amount of wrestling you are familiar with far eclipses my own. You seem to have a wide knowledge of Japan, but i didn't see your name on a cursory glance through the Lucha folder. I stumbled on this match a couple weeks back while researching Andrade el Idolo (his AEW debut was the first time i've seen him) and quite enjoyed it, so hopefully you do too.

Volador Jr. vs La Sombra, Mask vs. Mask, CMLL 9/13/13 

 

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35 minutes ago, twiztor said:

well it looks like i could not have picked a worse match. sorry, mate. alternatively,  i cannot wait to see what you have to say.

That’s the spirit. No regrets allowed in Secret Santo.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, twiztor said:

@Matt D

Volador Jr. vs La Sombra, Mask vs. Mask, CMLL 9/13/13 

 

Ok, so I am much more mellow about this than I was five years ago. Some of that is because I don't have to read people laud Volador every week like I did back then. I've got more distance from all of it. I miss CMLL. I miss lucha in a setting like that. I miss a crowd like that. That said, I don't feel in the least that I'm wrong about these guys and Volador especially.

Obviously, they left it all out there. Ten year old me would have loved this. There are so many moves and innovative spots and they're all hit well. They throw themselves into the bumps so well. Some of the offensive, like Sombra's clotheslines (a missed one leading into the end of the primera so it matters as much as anything does in this), look very good, as did the finish, for instance, and they turned it up in certain ways for the setting. I've never seen the double moonsault spot look as good as when Sombra won the segunda with it. Some things, like Sombra's mid-air twist off the ropes before hitting a headscissors was just spectacular. I thought beginning with the stage dive was a novel bit of structuring that worked for the match and set a tone.

But they just miss the mark on so much of what makes an apuestas match work. They completely misunderstood what that once-a-year crowd wanted to see. I mean, some of that isn't their fault, because that crowd wanted to see Atlantis vs Ultimo Guerrero, but there was a reason for that. They were for Volador and against Sombra and past Volador clapping on the ground a few times and Sombra showing just a little more aggression once or twice, that wasn't in the match at all. The stakes were about athleticism and not hate and that works far better for a title match than a mask one. Add in the lopsided time of the falls and the sheer number of moves, with everything in the tercera (which went 15 minutes+ to the primera and segunda going, what? Two or three each), and I mean everything, being something that could have been a match ender and it's obvious how much this match could have benefited from a few minutes of Sombra just beating the crap out of Volador in there. The fans would have eaten it up and it would have made all of Volador's big offense in the tercera mean all the more because of it. There wasn't a sense of escalation in the tercera either. What's the hierarchy of any of the moves in this? Why is a poison rana less deadly than a top rope rana? A spanish fly vs a canadian destroyer? Part of that was because just about everything was hit. They would have been well served by going for things earlier in the match and it not working out. For guys so used to each other and so imaginative, the match needed about 20% more counters and feints, which would have been another good way to extend the first two falls. They were never going to fully embrace the struggle they needed because half of what they had to do needed to be collaborative and for the other half, they were going to rush through it to get to the actual spot, but counters and feints were thing within their wheelhouse that would have helped.

Just going to drop an example of that rushing here because I don't want to pepper it into my last paragraph: At one point, Sombra gets one of the only submissions in the whole match on Volador in a gory special type hanging stretch. Usually there's some drama to this, some drama and getting it on, some drama in getting out of it. Then, eventually, the person can sit out of it and they can go from there. Sombra immediately gets it, no problem. Volador is starting to sit out of it before it even registers with the fans, and then they move into the end point, Sombra dropping him into a waistlock for a German. Now, I know what you'll say here, that I just complained about feints and counters and this was there, so maybe i was wrong and even the feints and counters would have been infuriating, but I would have rather seen them on signature offense that came later, not something that was just done to set up a cipher of a spot. If Sombra DID lock in that hold later, then this would have mattered more.

I will say this: Volador is a lot less annoying with his mask on, so if I was going to spend 25 minutes with him, I'm glad I didn't have to see his face. Ok, going too far on this. Look, I'm glad to have watched this because tastes and opinions change and I'd be curious if mine did, but in the end, mine didn't, I'm just less angry about it all, even Meltzer going 4.5* on this. Seriously, though, what's the point of working this hard for such little effect and drama? They could have done one-third the work, taken one-third the bumps, had one-third the "action", and it all could have meant three times more if they knew how to tap into the once-in-a-lifetime sort of emotion of an anniversary apuestas match in Arena Mexico. Here's one difference between me now and five years ago: now I still think they could have had "their match" with a lot of their trappings, and while I probably still wouldn't have liked it a ton relative to what they could have done instead with something not "their match," it could have still been much better with a different layout, more meaning, more purpose, more anticipation and proper build and payoff. They could have remixed what they did and what they wanted to do for greater effect. If they did that, it would have been a better main event and a better match, even if maybe not a better mask match.

edit: Here's my only edit. I want to add: "Wrestling can be so much better than this." Just that.

Edited by Matt D
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@Matt D

Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, 6/28/97 WCW Saturday Nitro

pretty sure i've seen this before, as at this event Jericho beats Syxx to win the Cruiserweight Title. I think i even got this from a tape trader way back when. That said, i have no recollection of this match. Sidenote: IIRC this was one of those WCW "Pay-Per-Listens" where the audio was broadcast over the internet. There are obviously cameramen at ringside. This would be the perfect kind of stuff that WWE Network/Hidden Gems was made for. What a waste.

Eddie is his usual awesome self. good action, excellent selling, and even better playing to the crowd. Dean holds up his part well. But i'm not telling you anything you didn't know as soon as you saw the participants here. The crowd is mildly into it early, but they are HOT by the end. When Malenko calls for and locks in the Texas Cloverleaf, the pop is huge. Eddie escapes that, but Dean makes him pay with a Tombstone Piledriver, but then goes outside his comfort zone and attempts a Frog Splash. Eddie gets the knees up with a powerbomb, brainbuster, and a Frog Splash of his own. Then HE tries to get cute with a Cloverleaf of his own. Dean counters with a rollup, but Eddie eventually steals a pin with his feet on the ropes.

I don't really have too much to say about this match, because i wasn't really able to give it my full attention. Handhelds that are all jumpy like this make my head spin, so i have to tune in and out. That being said, anytime i get to see more Monday Night Wars-era wrestling is a good time!

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@SirSmellingtonofCascadia

Sabu vs Disco

Way back when, someone once described ROH era Homicide as a hardcore brawler in a technical promotion who eventually developed the technical skills to hang with the 'house' and Tommy Dreamer as the reverse, a Technical guy in a hardcore brawling promotion who developed the skills to be just as hardcore.

Disco is a WWF new generation type gimmic in a transitional WCW.  He was great in the crusierweight divison as the flashy overly gimmicky version of what Dean Malenko eventually becomes.

Sabu is someone who could work in literally any promotion with as a hardcore high flyer.

The stage is set for these two to hook them up on an early nitro!

Disco's theme still slaps hard.

Sabu is all business Dsco is dancin... Sabu dives for the feet a few times and then slaps Disco before hittin a springboard back elbow..then a springboard dropkick and his pose point for a 2 count

Sabu with a hair mare and a beal before more dancin then a clothesline! and his disco point pose. Some chokin on the ropes workin on the count and commentary is putting both dudes over.  Mongo on commentary makes me happy.

Disco misses a splash, and pays for it with a springboard flip leg drop for 3 for Sabu!

Sabu isn't done, Easy E Eric B calls Sabu Nuts

Sabu jumps over the ropes and hits a seated senton that looks more like Disco powerbombs him.

Disco is up first and worried about his hair, Sabu sprints down the isle with a table!

Sabu hits a great lookin jab to set up Disco on said table...
then jumps and the table does not fucking Break.

Sabu gets heated and tosses furniture around and we go to commercial!

I love Sabu.  He is the right kind of batshit crazy that wrestlin needs.  

@Gordberg
Danshoku Dino & Yoshihiko vs the Golden Lovers

DDT is very much a Morganti wrestling promotion, much like Chikara, they bring the wacky but back it up with great in ring performers who go ALL the way in on the gimmic and the internal univere logic

Dino and hte Doll are out first.  The champs come out second, and kenny is in trunks not the long pants, as this is pre NJPW pre bullet club pre best romance angle ever.

Dino looked a lot slimmer back then.  We get some hand shakes from Ibushi but a slap from Yoshihiko to Omega!

Dino and Ibushi start things off... Dino offers the hand again and suckers Ibushi in for a kiss and a pin attempt!  Then like many a persoin would like to... goes for Ibushi's hog and tries to tag in Yoshihiko before Ibushi breaks and tags Omega.

Side headlock and we are Dino is feeling out and getting into the heads of but would prefer the pants of his opponents.

Yoshihikoi is legal and Kenny looks shook...but calms himself and goes for the handshake... Yoshihiko kicks away the hand... Crossbody for 2 and Omega stomps aways and gets a back breaker but is countered into an arm drag...

Ibushi stops the Yoshihiko dive attempt and gets booed!

The Lovers are now the biggest heels in the business.

Ibushi with a figure 4 on Yoshihiko, but its reversed!  Kenny comes in to reverse the reversal and we get a rope break...
Ibushi with a very intimate chin lock on Yoshihiko and then a big back suplex that Ibushi takes right on his neck because he doesn't love his neck like he loves Kenny..
Dino breaks up a pinfall after some awesome striking from Ibushi and now we ge a cartwheel splash from Yoshihiko after a running dick tap from Dino.

The challengers are in control and i have a big grin on my face watching. 
Double dropkicks sends Yoshihiko into the fuckiunbg bleachers (the doll handler fucking yeets Yoshihiko like a damned frisbee)

Dino is in peril!

Side note, Omega's green and yellow scheme is kinda jarring after watching Modern Omega in the blacks and silvers...

Disrespect from Omega to Yoshihiko on the outside as he beats on Dino.  Some nice chops and some dick based offense generate a warm tag from Yoshihiko...including sweet chin music then the doll handler gets kicked in the face... then a sweethigh speed prawn hold thingy for 2...
Dino is once again in peril and hes literally working for 2 people and you love it because its serious buisiness while being completely wacky...

Yoshihiko saves Dino from a lovers double splash off the top...

Then hits a sweet ass Space Flying Tiger high angle double moonsault to the Omega on the floor and you are sad because that move isn't in fire pro..

Omega goes for the Stop sign enziguri but gets hit with the kiss of submission!

Then the kiss of death!  Ibuishi from off frame hits a sweet ass missle drop kick but gets caught (catching Yoshihiko) with a cross body
We get double count and Yoshihiko gets up at 9!

Kenny breaks out the video game throws... first we get the Final Atomic Buster! then the Tekken Giant Swing...
The giant swing has busted open Yoshihiko and we have a handicap match.

So many things Kenny does to add "panache" to things look silly at a glance but speak to his kinda 'Video Game character' gimmick... like his little run in place before hitting the ropes. Its things like that that differentiate him from so many other people

Dino is in peril and the Lovers are workin him pretty good.. Omega dropkicks the knee, tags in Ibushi and Ibushi with an Ankle lock...
Lights out... Undertakers Dead Man Walkin theme hits!
Yoshihiko returns like Terry fuck Funk all bandaged up but riding a fucking tricycle and wrestling fans you pop like the road warriors are comin.
The lovers look a little worried as Yoshihiko enters...Double Chokeslam to the lovers 
Anticipation builds and Yoshihiko with the heat seeking missle dive!

Dick piledriver gets 2!~
Assised Yoshihiko Destroyer! Dick driver attempt 2... Ibushi with the save! Omega with the pinfall while still stuck head to junk...but only for 2..

Yoshihiko and Ibushi exchange strikes!  Omega breaks up the gentlemens fight...Powerbomb to Yoshihiko! Omega goes for the hadoken but hits Ibushi!

Hadoken Germen Suplex pin broken up by Yoshihiko but a double Hadoken takes him out.  Dragon Suplex from Ibushi to Dino only gets a long 2 count.

Yoshihiko gets pile driven into Dino's dick... and then a double 450 gets the win for the Lovers!

This match was pure sugar and all 3 humans (and the doll handler) in the match deserve all the flowers for making a compelling match with a blow up doll work... even if some of the things can take a wrestling purist out of it.  They work so hard.

I love the Golden Lovers

Post match we get a Dino promo Yoshihiko has lost an arm..

Show of sportsmanship... then Yoshihiko is bleeding out! then the Italian 4 Horsemen show up and it looks like they are challenging the Lovers or scolding Dino or... I dunno somethin.

Its very angry sounding and my japanese is 20 years rusty (i failed it first year in college twice)
Kenny speaks... the Yoshihiko was killed!! Assassinated by the Italian 4 Horsemen!  Revenge has been promised and Kenny's music plays as we get a sad double hadoken of Yoshihiko guts into the crowd.


 

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On 7/17/2021 at 12:49 PM, Curt McGirt said:

@Super Ape: Blind spots/preferences? 

Go bonkers. I have IWTV, Peacock, YouTube, and Jumbo Tsuruta's son as a mutual follower on Twitter.

Maybe something international and more than 20 years old preferably.

You?

Edited by Super Ape
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Same deal, long as it's Youtube, Dailymotion, or Schneider comps. Since you have Peacock, you wanna watch the Pat Patterson vs. Bob Backlund cage match from MSG, 9/24/79? There's a shitty file online of it but if you have the 'cock then you might as well do that. Just feel like having somebody watch that. If not, I'll give you something else. 

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Kenta Kobashi vs. KENTA 

The Kentas COLLIDE!

Yes, I've seen both of these men before numerous times, and I am fine with them, generally. 

This is basically what you'd expect from both guys. They stiff each other and KENTA is quite cocky. I can enjoy stiff work, but in the context of, like, a hatred-filled brawl where I have the backstory of how the hatred has built up over months or years of feuding. This is an out of context match (for me, from this perspective), where they stand there and hit and kick each other for real. There are needless head-drops, gloried over by slow-motion replay. KENTA being a cocky little shit who needs to be shown respect by the old lion comes through, so I think there's something of a clear reason for the hatred even just watching this match as a one-off. Maybe what I'm missing is escalation? They go right to stiffness and head drops. Like three minutes in, KENTA hits a rana on the apron to the floor. 

This is a chance to ruminate on what I like about pro wrestling, which is that whatever I'm watching in the ring needs to feel like it springs from something. This match is not necessarily bad! I have not enough information to really get the backstory, being someone who is not knowledgeable about NOAH. And I can't deny that KENTA comes off like a guy who needs the smirk slapped off of his face. But I do think, as I get older, I get farther away from being able to enjoy matches out of context. That's not to say that I can't do it - I am enjoying the Portland set, for example. I'll watch random WCW C-Show matches and enjoy them. But I think that I now require for a match like this, where the wrestlers are acting like there are clear stakes and the violence level is raised, a clear reason to accept or even enjoy the heightened violence. Otherwise, it's just a little too hard for me to get past two guys killing themselves.

I think that for wrestlers whose work I am fairly knowledgeable of, I can get past that a bit - I can watch Terry Funk do something violent out of context more easily because I have seen enough of Funk's work across three, four decades to sort of get him. I wouldn't say that I have that breadth of knowledge about either KENTA or Kobashi, though. 

But that is a ME problem because these two work like they don't like each other. Kobashi's comebacks are timed correctly, at the point when the viewer wants badly for him to get one back on KENTA for acting like a shithead. There is a later slap-fest that makes sense in the spot that it happens. This is absolutely a very good match by objective standards, or as objective as any set of standards can get. 

It's just that not only do I need you to activate my suspension of disbelief, I need you to active my suspension of realization that these guys are giving each other brain damage.

Anyway, these two work well together and are excellent strikers. KENTA does a great job from being super-cocky to start, lots of lazy pins and taunting, to frustrated late in the game when he can't put Kobashi away. It's really a shame that he did nothing in WWE because he absolutely has star power. He's got great facial expressions and is a fine athlete. 

Eventually, KENTA's frustration leads to a silly mistake that leads him right into a lariat and then a Burning Hammer for three. Good match, but I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as I should have. Kobashi was pulling a mid-'90s Randy Savage taking an ass-beating and then popping up for the win after hanging on for dear life most of the match. It's an effective approach! I'm not mad about watching this match, either! As always, this helps me to calibrate what I like and don't like about pro wrestling and how that has changed over the decades. 

 

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On 7/17/2021 at 7:32 AM, Casey said:

@moribund

Jerry Lawler in a barbwire ropes match (but also with regular ring ropes??) against Dutch Mantell, in suuuuper potato quality, from the Mid-South Coliseum! It shouldn't be too bad for you, since even if they did any "gruesome" spots with the barbwire... you can hardly see it anyway! I wish a better version of this match existed, honestly.

And yeah, my knowledge of Memphis/Lawler is limited, like yours, but I've seen this match before and I liked it - if not only for the fact that Lawler is in a fuckin' barbwire match. I don't like Dirty Dutch in current times, but I'll be goddamned if he wasn't great back then (from my very limited viewing - also he just looks skeevy as shit).

Thanks @Casey I think I've settled into pro/con for my reactions, but haven't yet gotten over my propensity to let the match sit for a week before I write it up. You are dead on about the video quality: The Starch-o-Rama Vision makes me feel like I'm sitting in the rafters and wearing reading glasses that have vaseline on the lenses. But no matter, we press on...

Pros:

Lance Russell on the call once again. I am starting to wonder if Memphis style is truly up my alley the more I see of it but you know what? I'm going to keep watching it with no problem because my lack of exposure to it has also limited my intake of Lance Russell and that needs to be fixed. Once again this is the culmination of a long program and Lance gets me everything I need to know about the whys and hows of the match within the first few minutes. After that he's just pure gold on the mic, though I think I need to look up one of his calls on a match where Lawler is a heel: Lance does have a bit of a homer-ish bias toward Lawler here, but even that fits in with the whole Memphis vibe as I currently understand it.

I really like the unusual barbed wire set up here. It more or less fulfills the same function as a cage would in the meta-context of the match: Keep the wrestlers in the ring, add an element of danger, and be a useful tool for violence. I've never seen a setup like this before, so the uniqueness of it is kind of neat.

Dutch Mantell seems a high quality nasty brute, one whose work I am also mostly unfamiliar with (again owing to my lack of Memphis viewing). Based on this match I think I am going to look up him squashing jobbers, it seems like that would be a good time. Also for the second time running I think Lawler's opponent has better punches than Jerry, at least in this footage.

Cons:

The match has been clipped, or rather footage lost (I suspect due to tape degeneration given the overall quality of the video), and we're missing about five or six minutes of the match which includes at least two transitions.

The ending fell flat for me once again but for a different reason this time: They go through roughly twenty minutes of violence and torture, end up exhausted, knock their heads together, Lawler ends up bouncing off the ropes and falling on Mantell, 1-2-3, oh look, he's champ again. Maybe they were trying to keep the program going or something, but after what felt like the lead up to the culmination of a story this 'got the title essentially on a fluke' was pretty unsatisfying to me.

Lawler's more cartoony antics make me wonder if Hogan lifted a bunch of Lawler's act for The Hulkster character. If there is speculation around this I've never read it (or don't remember doing so). I'm pretty firmly landing at @SirSmellingtonofCascadia's position on The King: I think I'll be rooting for the heels against Lawler going forward.

Overall I liked this match a bit less than the last one, but do still think folks should at least give it a try: Call it a tepid thumbs-up. No shade on @Casey here at all, as I am pretty willingly engaging with material I would have passed by entirely if not for my partner's good faith efforts. Also, I will check out Megumi Kudo on my own time.

 

 

 

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Week 4! Also known as the last week I check for dupes heavily.

@Spontaneous
@Super Ape
 

@Morganti
@Curt McGirt

 

@twiztor
@Casey
 

@moribund
@Zimbra

@Gordberg

Matt D
 

@SirSmellingtonofCascadia
@Jimbo_Tsuruta

 

Gordi, I always look forward to when I'm paired with you. I had a match in mind for you (The Chad Collyer/Brian Danielson under hoods in France working 80s stooging heels) but Collyer made it private so that's out. Let me think about this a bit and get back to you.

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