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Matt D

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Matt D last won the day on September 27

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  1. That women's segment was definitely "like watching Smackdown or something."
  2. 1990 SWS is next. People should read @KinchStalker's work on it over at PWO: https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/forum/1542-super-world-sports/ It was a big help to me. As best as I can tell, a money mark got involved because his kid loved wrestling (and thus AEW was born! No, wait). Why am I doing this? 1. I do really want to follow Tenryu basically... for the rest of his career. I don't see why not. I have every reason to think he's one of the top five wrestlers ever and I'm in a pretty unique position that I have this incredible foundation with him. 2. There are only around 20 1990 matches on tape. Why not do this before I go back to AJPW? The problem is that I'll be picking up wtih some guys chronologically after my last AJPW match with them, but it's not a huge deal or anything. So let's go. This event was called: SWS Echizen Fighting Party Beginning Charity Preview Event 9/29/90: Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa vs Yoshiaki Yatsu/Isao Takagi: 32 years ago tomorrow. Ishikawa came out of retirement for this. At first glance, SWS pulls away part of the last vestiges of civility that AJPW still clung on to and just leaned into the revolutionary violence. What I learned in AJPW, both about wrestlers and the styles, helps though! This starts with Yatsu demolishing Tenyru with a row of chairs on the outside and opening him up. They take him back into the ring and beat on him. Takagi and Yatsu were both injured earlier in the year. Takagi doesn't have quite the same aura and size I remember? Yatsu on the other hand feels a bit more wild somehow, like he'd stopped pretending to hang out with Jumbo. Tenryu's able to fire back against Takagi, even power bombing him (which feels very early in the match) but Yatsu cuts him off. Eventually, Takagi headabutts him right into Ishikawa and the tag but this is a style of momentum and a hot tag has to be hotter than this. The numbers game take out Ishikawa (and Yatsu hits him with this cool fisherman's gutwrench thing), but in time Tenryu recovers and they're able to take over on Takagi. Ishikawa splits his face open with a knee drop off the top and hits a calf branding and some gnarly kicks too. He also has a cool fall forward lariat. Not a ton of rust on him. The announcer is super energetic and works English phrases that barely relate in sometimes, like about the temperature. If you told me he was the money mark's kid, I'd believe you. Yatsu eventually has enough and tackles them out to the floor and smashes more people with chairs but Tenryu and Ishikawa hold the advantage back in the ring and Tenryu casually kicks Takagi in the face in the corner until he can barely make the count and then some more until he can't. That finish was somehow both anticlimactic and 100% awesome Tenryu. A whole new world. 9/29/90: Naoki Sano vs George Takano: This was the finals of a one night tournament. Sano beat Kitahara and then Fuyuki. Takano beat Tsurumi and Shunji Takano, so they were obviously positioning George over Shunji here, which is interesting. George had come along since 86. He felt more confident in himself here. Sano was off the series with Liger. They have that one great bloody match? You know the one I mean, right. I'm not super familiar with him past that. Given the guys on the roster, this seems like a slightly dubious final, but it's what they were going with and the guys worked really hard. They were throwing bombs but then they were selling huge, so it was all balanced and warranted and meaningful. We get about ten minutes of this so no feeling out process or early matwork but the nearfalls were good. Takano had a size advantage but Sano was skilled and quicker, and really both advantages were slight. Takano went over and he'll be programmed with Tenryu next.
  3. See, Sting and Muta are a rare Force dyad and….
  4. Not everyone can have a dinosaur head.
  5. They pretty much shoot on either JR or Jericho's commentary every week. The more subtle one was Taz goofing about on how he was a color guy doing play by play and stepping all over Excalibur and how that seems to happen to Excalibur at other times. They mention him by name later as Excalibur called Comoroto's finish an Alabama Slam and Taz took offense to that and wanted it called a Concrete Crash or whatever and Excalibur said he'd been calling it a Waterwheel Drop but JR got on his case for it and then they had a good laugh about how JR wasn't watching and wouldn't be watching so they could call it whatever. The best one was after the first Mox vs Punk match when Taz started going on about lockups for a minute or so.
  6. Nothing says "Important business meeting" like Mox with a fanny pack in 2022:
  7. I'm as big a fan of Deeb as anyone here but she's had two title programs in 2022, vs Rosa and vs Martinez, both at PPVs. She was also shifted into this last big 4-way. On top of that, she had the very long series with Shida in a company where no one gets a long series with anyone. It's good that they're blowing off her being a contender here before moving on to the next thing as it should be a really good match, but I don't think she needs a third complete program this calendar year or that it's a good thing for the title honestly. If they really wanted to push her that way, they could have her stand up to Jade and be a tweener and give her a new and unique sort of challenge to overcome, as that's not a title she's challenged for. Past Rosa/Britt, she's probably been featured more than any other female in 2022 though.
  8. UWF Quintet: Maeda: He was the total package in 86. Size, skill, striking, star power. The fans popped whenever he'd enter the ring a tag match. They went absolutely nuts whenever he was suddenly paired with Inoki. He really beat the crap out of guys with the kicks, the throws. The Spin Wheel Kick was probably the move of the year, either that or Kimura's Inazuma leg lariat. He especially crushed guys in the corner. It's funny as it's sort of a "pro wrestling" type move for him to do, an extra rotation, extra flare, but that was the thing. He had flare and showmanship. He didn't always take the path of least resistance to get where he was going. The Andre match was an issue but it was compelling. It was also an outlier. Yes, he struggled sometimes with a guy like Kerry Von Erich who wasn't sure what he was doing, but he worked with people like Snuka and a Murdoch who had his butt out to the crowd to have the best match possible. Fujiwara: The best of the UWF guys. Probably the best wrestler I saw in 86 NJPW. He's transcendent, playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers. People are painting within the lines and he's just doing these realistic reactions that completely defy the style without breaking the matches. I'd say that it's problematic in the same way that 2010s Brock is problematic in that he was apparently playing by a different set of rules, but it wasn't him breaking narrative structures like Brock was. It was him being more of a character and more human and reacting more and not just being a stoic or impassioned machine that could be 2-3 different things. He was like a human in a world of robots. Some of the robots were programmed really well but none of them were human like he was. And unlike Brock, he managed that by enhancing everything around him and drawing out passion from those around him instead of making everything around him seem worse. He was Prometheus stealing fire from the gods. Kido: Endlessly competent. Technically sound. He'd jam anyone that tried anything with him. You had to work hard at it but if you did, he'd let you take over. If he was in a match, you knew it'd be good. But I'm also going to write half the words on him than anyone else, basically. Takada: I was surprised that Takada was so low down the hierarchy but he was treated as a junior. He was most interesting when in there in the 5x5s or in tags against people above him like Fujinami. He'd scrap and kick and had a throw or two and made things hard on people. When he was stuck in the legacy juniors style it got kind of painful at times. It's almost impossible to have a compelling match in that style though you can have a hundred disconnected compelling moments. That he was able to have one or two long matches with Koshinaka that WERE good is really a testament to them. Yamazaki: He fell off the map fairly early due to footage but the couple of times we had him against someone for a long period of time he was scrappy and worked hard and fought from underneath well. I know he stays a player into the next few years. The Junior Style in general/Koshinaka in specific: I hated the Rocco/Cobra infused stuff at the beginning of the year. So much noise. So little resonance. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Rocco was the worst for it but it was a relief when Cobra left the division too. We got one or two really mat-based matches more in the AJPW juniors style that were neat. We needed more Kosugi. Koshinaka is a guy who was fiery and game who was super punchable, who the crowd would get behind, and who was almost entirely dependent on his opponent. In those Cobra matches, he was terrible. In tags against better UWF guys, he was good. As the year went on, he had sort of a baptism of fire, but I tended to more dread him than look forward to him when I saw him on a card. Yamada was clearly the guy already in 86. It was like how when I looked at 89 AJPW, Takano was a better Taue than Taue. Yamada was already a better junior than most of the guys in the division, able to combine all of the elements and have matches with more substance and weight to them. I'm excited to see his development. Other NJPW guys: Sakaguchi in some ways felt like Inoki's fake Baba buddy, but that really isn't fair to him and his stature and role. He was great fighting out of a corner when pressed and really was a combo of size and technique, but unless he was pressed, he wasn't always the most compelling even if he was always credible. If you beat him in a match or an exchange, it mattered. Ueda turned early in the year and was interesting hanging with the UWF guys as he had skill, but could always turn it up to that crazy notch when he needed to. Pogo and Nagasaki were fine. Nagasaki eats up guys you wouldn't expect him to but you almost don't mind because you watch this stuff and you're sometimes hungry for a strong heel who can wrestle like one. They control/cut off the ring well. Nagasaki has some pretty strong bombs for the era. Pogo is really game and creates some of the motion that Nagasaki doesn't. I wouldn't want to watch them every night but it's nice to see them against a number of different pairings. For Wakamatsu guys, I'd sure as hell rather see them than Madd Maxx and Super Maxx. Muto was a breath of fresh air but his work wasn't together yet and sometimes lacked focus. He moved differently than everyone else and seemed to be moving in a divergent path than the gritty UWF influx. George Takano, after taking off the mask, was really just there. He was less irritating when he wasn't a junior but he didn't do much to stand out as a heavyweight given who he had to try to make an impact next to. We didn't seen enough Hoshino, but I loved his attitude in what we did see of him. He always felt like he belonged and like he had a chip on his shoulder. Foreigners: More of a mixed bag than AJPW maybe. Andre was obviously a highlight. I loved him on the apron with Wakamatsu's whip just going nuts on people. Tons of presence even if no single match stood out. A very fun guy in tags. Brody came in for two matches and was Brody though I didn't want to stab my eyes out during the hour long match at least. The jerk bumps and doesn't sell and doesn't sell while in holds but then sells when he's out of them. The worst. Kevin Von Erich was the jock Texan played to the full logical conclusion, a bastard heel who thought he was in a real fight instead of wrestling. It played well in this setting. Kerry couldn't adapt nearly as well. It's a crime we had so many minutes of Brody and so few of Duggan. This was (past the Team Canada stuff) the latest bit of heel work in his career, these Japan tours, right? And he had that wonderful crazy energy that Brody wished he had. We just didn't get enough of it. Masked Superstar was competent but not compelling. Murdoch was competent and compelling and by far felt like the best foreigner in 1986. Klaus Wallas looked awesome in a battle royal and we should track down more of his stuff. I think Regal talked him up a bit on his podcast. The less said about the Maxxes the better. We didn't get enough Cuban Assassin to register and barely enough Chris Adams though his personality came through. The Jackal was competent enough but I never need to see him again. Konga the Barbarian had the cool offense but didn't understand how to work big enough yet and took too much. Snuka could do one thing but he did it well at least. The Maeda match is fascinating but I was never looking forward to seeing him. Samu was far more game. And there's no point in mentioning some of the other guys who just had a match or two. Past Murdoch, the real MVP of the foreigners/heels was Wakamatsu, who was Jimmy Hart in Memphis, down to the megaphone, having to cycle these often goofball foreigners into threats with continuity and heat. At least he got his big tag match with Andre, Ueda, and Inoki.
  9. Got a lot of ground to cover today so I'll make this very quick. Full agreement on Fuego's kip up into a Northern Lights. That was good stuff. JVSK wiping the sweat off Ari post match popped the announcers and was a good "spot." Taz going on about the geography of Queens was the highlight of the show probably. I wanted to see Ruffin do some more cool stuff but he fought from underneath well. Angelico vs Conley was pretty complete. They took TWO shots at JR at separate times during the show. Comoroto wrestling with the lollipop in his craw and not missing a beat was a thing. I thought Dante brought out all of Henry's worst tendencies because he could take all of his convoluted stuff clean. I liked the arm cutoffs though.
  10. The X-movies have no meaningful canon that makes any sense anyway. People shouldn’t be overthinking this.
  11. When they really should have been figuring out the Doinks.
  12. Putting the women back on Elevation, huh?
  13. Remember that Elevation is the first thing that's filmed! So you have this super hot NYC crowd ready to see two shows and Kip is the first guy out and he's playing right to them. Of course they're going to go up for it.
  14. Since you guys haven't had enough of me today, here's my write up of Danielson vs Mox:
  15. I'm harsh on Cole, and I'll be harsh here, but let me spell it out. He has an undeniable connection with the live crowds. They want to sing along to his music. They want to do the "Bay-Bay" thing. He talks about how it's ok that they're doing that early because then he can work hard in the match to get them behind his opponent. In my estimation, that doesn't actually happen. So long as that doesn't happen, it's a problem. People have argued that his look isn't consummate to his offense and it hinders suspension of disbelief in the shared narrative that is held for most of the rest of the company (it's worse with the Bucks, sure, but let's not re-litigate that!). There's a potential of a wrestler getting heat this way to a degree, of being scrawnier than his opponent but cheating or being just good enough to hang instead of getting his comeuppance. But why not lean into it and have him work from underneath as a babyface which would be a more natural and would work towards reality as opposed to forcing a bending of it? Right now it's 80% forcing a strength into a weakness and creating friction and maybe 20% leaning into the disparity/dissonance as a strength. Bumping's great to make monster babyfaces look strong but it's probably better in a babyface who has to work from underneath. He puts himself out there as a human being as much as any wrestler today and that makes him naturally hard to boo. It makes the act of booing him a performative act for most of the fans. It means that they have to go the extra mile and play along more than with most wrestlers. They do it with MJF because we all know he's a guy doing a gimmick but he also carries that gimmick over to his social media which makes it easier than the super nice guy who streams all the time and obviously deeply cares about the fans and everyone else. Again, it's just another thing that makes it a little harder or a little more performance for the fans. you can sort of avoid it with most wrestlers. It's harder with Cole. If he's so likable that he's the only guy both the Elite and Punk will say very nice things about, lean into that. He's been a heel between the two promotions for years now, with the same act. It's stale. They've already run him for two matches up top after being on top in NXT forever. With Fish gone and O'Reilly hurt, he's down his team anyway. I don't think he works at all as a heel right now, but he definitely doesn't work as a heel without a goon squad and there are too many goon squads around anyway. Make him a face who alienated all of his friends and has to fight against all odds in the eyes of the fans.
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