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Everything posted by Beech27

  1. I want to keep Wrestlemania 30, since I was actually there. And of course, I'd change my mind a dozen times over a dozen days. But: Misawa vs Tsuruta 6/8/90 I already feel I've made a mistake not picking one of the six-man tags that led to this, or came out of it. Those were, of course, great matches with great crowds. But this too is a great match with a great crowd--"great" doesn't do them justice--and it is unique in seeming historical while it happens. The second Spartan X kicks in and the crowd erupts in MI-SA-WA it seems like they know, and they know because they've decided to manifest their want in the universe. (And if the story of Baba changing the finish because of how over Misawa seemed day-of is true, then they basically did.) I mean, I can't know that the people there felt that way, but it feels like it in hindsight. And if I could know, and be a part of it, and not guess--and maybe stick around in Tokyo and catch some tags, but I'd pay for them in order not to violate the rules of this thread--then I think I'd have to do that. Hashimoto vs Takada 4/29/96 This is, I think, the peak of Dome-stuffing King of Sports era New Japan. When Hash lands his first flush leg kick, and Takada looks just the slightest bit worried, and Hash nods "yeah, you should be" without really nodding at all, and the crowd just erupts... I feel like most great Dome matches would actually be more fun to watch anywhere else. But these guys fill it with their broad-strokes macho "legitimacy", which of course they were not, though of course it doesn't matter. Pro wrestling is believing in the fight and fighters you're watching, even though you know better, until you don't actually know better. Hokuto vs Satomura 4/29/01 I need a Hokuto match on this list. This is, of course, not her best--though it is great. I think it functions as a kind of companion piece to my first choice, though. That felt like a beginning--this, an ending. Not just for Hokuto's career, but for Joshi as a significant mainstream strand of wrestling in Japan. There are a million factors and timeline complexities, and so it's too simplistic--even flat out wrong--to say this match marks a clear change in direction. But wrestling is also about making symbolic realities real. And so there's a kind of present-tense nostalgia for a thing not yet entirely past, that seems worth presence.
  2. There are external factors too, such as the rise of the original UWF and Maeda's accompanying outspokenness about the comparative "legitimacy" of his form of pro wrestling.
  3. Just seems like such a pointless exercise, considering the Mutoh shine is long gone, the valuable roster pieces mostly have landed in AJPW or NOAH already, and neither Zero-1 nor Big Japan have closed.
  4. Rollerball Rocco vs Kung Fu To be honest, I bounced right off this match a couple times, and just went to do something else. Which I have not done with many matches that were far worse. It's just that this... I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. But something about the weather suddenly being brutally hot reminded me of a day during summer vacation and my Grandma's house. She had cable, and didn't much care what I used it on, whereas my parents did not, and were relatively strict about violent entertainment. I sat there in the air conditioning with a bowl of cereal and watched a worked martial arts fighting show--probably WMAC Masters based on Googling, but I can't remember. Anyway, it seemed at the time to be the coolest thing anyone could ever see. This was a lot like that. If I had stumbled on this match at my Grandma's house during summer vacation while eating Raisin Bran--she didn't ever have kid's cereal, but that was fine--I would have had no interest in seeing wrestling that looked any other way. And the kids in the room seemed to agree. Even watching it as my present-tense self, the athleticism and execution is obviously impressive, and they're pretty creative deploying those strengths. Rocco gets his hand karate chopped, and then headbutted. That's pretty great. And it doesn't matter and he wins anyway after a low blow, but that's fine. I'm still not sure what to do with this now, but if it was funnel cake and I was 8, walking around the fair grounds, I'd eat it, love it, and maybe even remember it.
  5. I've always wondered if Jumbo accidentally spiking Tenryu on a powerbomb--knocking him out--to emphatically end the first Triple Crown defense influenced Baba's thinking regarding the stylistic drift towards head-drops and violent, decisive finishes based off of them. (Video begins at the finish.) Also, the famous 6/9/95 tag happened 25 years ago today. Whatever the style was called, that was as good as it--or any other, I think--could be.
  6. Wrestle-2 confirmed, I guess. (Why, though?)
  7. New Japan is back on June 15, without fans at first, mostly to run the New Japan Cup. There are lots of juniors and some old folks, so we at least get some unique matches. (Okada vs Gedo in round one is pretty funny, for instance.) The finals will be in Osaka Hall, with 1/3 capacity, and the winner will challenge Naito for both belts the following day with the same seating arrangement.
  8. Will Ospreay is looks like he's taking Daisuke Sekimoto's prescriptions, says he's 227 lbs now, and that his Aerial Assassin days are probably past. (Though he'll still do some flips.)
  9. An anonymous listener wrote in to tell the story of Omega attending a 2005 camp hosted by Harley Race/Pro Wrestling NOAH. It goes that Omega messed up a warm-up leapfrog spot and accidentally headbutted his partner. Because of this and a general feeling he was working too fast and messy, he was shunted into the beginner section of the camp, which meant he wasn't going to get to work matches, which meant there was no way NOAH was going to bring him over. Race did book him in one match for his WLW promotion while Omega was there, after which he was given a developmental deal by WWE. The listener writes that Johnny Ace--who was there to offer one developmental deal and say hi to Kenta Kobashi--was more impressed with Omega than anyone else was, because he saw something in his personality. Overall it basically corroborates what Omega has said, but of course argues that he was sloppy/reckless, whereas Omega says he wasn't, and they just missed on him. He believes Harley was biased towards his own students, and criticized/sidelined him so one of them would get an offer instead.
  10. Quack vs ZSJ I have to admit that, given the two participants and the intro given, I wasn't expecting to like this much. It's not that I dislike either wrestler, so much as I worried this match would bring out the tendency I like least in each: namely, an indulgence in exhibition-style grappling that doesn't look the least bit combative. Of course, they do precisely that; but I found my ready criticism disarmed for the most part. Fancy grapples for their own sake are "bad" insofar as the story of a given match is usually that the involved parties are having an athletic contest and trying to win. So, holds-as-filigree detracts from that narrative. But when the story is that they're having a quasi-friendly (start to the) match, that kind of work suddenly makes sense. And it makes yet more sense in a tournament setting, when both men ought to have one eye on winning, and the other on having enough left to fight again soon. They keep going that way until they don't. Sabre gets grumpy, lays in some strikes, and things pick up. The work here is good, clean, and quickly decisive. This was cleverly done, and a fun example of story and work complimenting.
  11. I’m not sure anyone could have balanced the role of unimpeachable ace/bully with selectively-timed bumping/stooging as well as Jumbo did during this period.
  12. Juice is awesome. He’s just undercut by the fact that his best skill is coming up just short, and then cutting a soul-baring promo about it. That’s incredibly valuable, but might put his ceiling lower than it otherwise could be in New Japan.
  13. Some do for sure. Now, when draws and DQs are much more rare, tournaments are the most likely place to see them. It’s the standard way to eliminate favorites without having them lose a ton. You are right to note that clean finishes were more common as relates to the par of the time than the modern context.
  14. That's a really good point. It's not just surprising that Jumbo gets the clean fall; it's surprising that anyone does. This is amplified by the fact that Mil's rushing of and brawling with Baba is exactly what you'd expect to precede a total breakdown and DQ. So you get to quickly cycle through emotions, going from "ok, they've given us enough of a match, and now they'll avoid a real finish" to "wait, he could actually win this" to "wow, he did win it!"
  15. Chris Brookes vs Gene Munny I had a good time with this. I've never seen Munny before, but he projects the... well, let's say he projects inappropriate charisma appropriately well, and combines it with credible offense when things get serious. Brookes, I know quite a bit better. He spent the last year wrestling in DDT--his manager here has his DDT stable's shirt on--and at the time of this match, had just decided to move to Japan in order to wrestle there full-time. So that, I think, explains his insistence on being billed as an appropriately big deal--while still sneaking in a quick jab at NXT UK. I've seen Brookes work tighter than this--and I've been told he's done good work in more classically catch adjacent promotions--but he's clearly game, even if his execution isn't at its best. I think it's also easy enough to see this as a very DDT match, combining comedy, a little crowd brawling, props, while ultimately being structured around modern indie "strong style". Mostly, all of that worked for me. Brookes is the cocky, traveling heel, who nonetheless resorts to cheating. Munny is the everyman babyface (at least in this match) who proves more capable, and more resilient in the final reckoning. I thought both men tried a couple bits of offense they weren't quite up to executing--though with Munny, that almost fits his character--and Brookes got very leg-slappy with kicks and knees that clearly didn't connect. I also would have preferred a delayed cover on Munny's final kick out--but since Brookes is "leaving the territory", as it were, I can easily see the other side of things. On the whole I found it hit the beats it wanted to: I grinned a few times, and the finishing stretch had some clever in-match call-backs, and an ending that the work built to.
  16. I'd like to jump in. Dos Caras & Mil Mascaras vs Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta I'm glad the entrances and pre-match pageantry were included--and not just because the spectacle was great to see--but because the crowd is so stoked on who is there and what is happening that you can't help but be present with them. You're easily able to watch the match that happens, and push context--all you know or think about the famous names involved--to the periphery. It helps you to see the story that's told, and to engage without excessive metatextual elements. In this case, I think the match is really easy to follow. Jumbo is big (hence... you know) and strong, and technically capable, but he gets consistently outclassed by Dos and Mil's quickness and technical ability. He's still able to get some offense in, but it's fleeting for the most part. It's not until Baba gets involved that the Japanese team are able to control the match--and even then, it doesn't last long. This isn't just due to Jumbo's youth, though--they also decline a couple opportunities at a double team, which the luchadores accept. This turns out to be crucial. There are a series of quick tags, and Jumbo is knocked down by a double team dropkick, and then a succession of flying cross chops. He's still able to get a shoulder up, though. And I want to point out here, his leg isn't hooked on these attempts. Jumbo is, however, finally about to be pinned after a double team leading to a top-rope crossbody--but Baba breaks it up. This feels absolutely earned, since the luchadores gained the advantage with double team offense, which Baba refused earlier. Mil still isn't happy about it though, and he rushes in. He and Baba brawl in the corner, while Dos goes for another crossbody in the corner--only Jumbo moves, and Dos hits his head on the post. Given a slight opening, Jumbo hits a quick body press, emphatically hooks the leg, and manages to force a pinfall. The takeaway, then, is that Jumbo--who spent the match being big and strong, but a step behind--finds a way to meld his strength with perfect technique when given a moment's advantage. That is, he's not just young and talented, he learns on the fly. This match is a great showcase for him, and you absolutely want to see the trajectory his career takes. And, if I allow myself some perspective, I can't help but be reminded of Misawa's first pin on Jumbo, years later.
  17. If by talking about generational differences we're talking about contrasting a worked fight with a grand operatic combat narrative, I'm (perhaps oddly) interested in Yuji Nagata as a somewhat awkward transitional figure. There might not be a worse marriage of the two styles than the white-eyes armbar, held for ages, with no mind at all given to the idea that a joint simply can't fighting spirit through something like that. And of course we have his famous headkick KO, which became a pro wrestling spot shortly thereafter when he wrestled Josh Barnett. I think his matches against an ascendant Tanahashi and as a heel in NOAH are great examples of him mixing things successfully, though, and I have to say I'm very fond of his work on balance. (But then, my favorites are always the guys who couldn't quite be the guy.) Suzuki is interesting for a ton of reasons, but one small thing that comes to mind is how prominent he's made the Gotch-style piledriver as a finish. If Showa style is a fight, then anything can end it at any time. And of course, he used to wrestle more like that. I've just re-watched his GHC challenge against Kobashi, and he hits the piledriver as a pretty nothing mid-match spot. Now, he builds his finishing stretches around escalating towards it. If Heisei style has hallmarks, surely one must be that matches really only end in finishers, and end-match drama is primarily built around countering them, or kicking out.
  18. Psychological abuse is evil; fans disliking an entertainment product is not. That should be clear, and let’s not conflate the two for the sake of a weird message board crusade. It’s intellectually dishonest at the best of times, and gross at this time specifically. This is brutally sad, and I hope everyone who cares for her are able to get the support they need. This is a tough, isolated world right now, with people unable to lean on a shoulder or get a hug in many cases. And sure, questions need to be asked about fandom culture writ large, and answers given. Maybe joshi needs to model itself less on idol culture (especially when so many featured wrestlers are so young); maybe twitter needs to empower users without blue checks to block abuse better. A lot of things need to improve. I don’t know half of them, I’m sure. But people can—and should—be better. Hopefully that manifests towards Hana’s loved ones.
  19. It would, if that was your original claim. It wasn't. You said: You said nothing about the WWE HoF--leaving open valid interpretations that you were using the common colloquialism, or perhaps referring to any HoF that actually has a public ballot--and didn't caveat the statement with conditionals such as "likely". (I'll admit that this seems pedantic, but I'm bored at work, and this is a message board--all we have are words that we take too seriously.)
  20. Is this it? https://www.cagematch.net//?id=1&nr=56467&page=2 Ricky Marvin & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Takuma Sano, at Differ Ariake, the NOAH & Geinin News Network Pro-Wrestling Expo.
  21. Random question, having watched quite a few older matches recently in which it obviously does not occur: When did the post- main-event promo become an entrenched thing, and who started it?
  22. It took place across the street from Wrestle Kingdom on 1/4, but did anyone seem to notice Shiozaki taking the GHC from Kiyomiya? I hadn’t watched it until now. It’s a big main event with the things you expect both guys to bring, and it’s NOAH, so there’s a completely unnecessary (very stiff looking) headbutt and some welts and heavy leather in general. I think it was a little more interesting than that might imply, though. Shiozaki comes out wearing ornate green gear, and this seems to me something of a prodigal son angle—he failed as the ace in his youth, left the company, had returned and found himself with Nakajima, and now at 37 is finally ready to (at least try to be) that guy. Only now there’s a new kid in the way, so they have to fight. Kiyomiya, for his part, brings more than I’m used to seeing from him. He’s mechanically quite good, and athletic, and when he’s getting beat up the crowd yells his name—that’s all established. But he seems a little resentful that Go just wants to take his spot... and steal his pants color. So he tries to rip his arm off. That, and Go’s comeback from it, was really well done. Sell too much, and using it later looks silly; sell too little, and you build no tension. He got it right; it hurts, but he can—and does—fight through it. Things escalate from there, of course, and there are some big moves and convincing enough near-falls. I was taken out briefly by one of the worst moves I’ve seen in ages: Shiozaki lifts Kiyomiya for a powerbomb... and then just lets him sit there. Like a delayed suplex, only not, because your opponent has their hands free and isn’t disoriented. They could hit you, or just look around like an idiot. Kiyomiya is obliged to do the latter. That said, the real finishing run is quite good. I tend to prefer matches where I can say “this guy won because he did X, the other guy lost because he did Y” to those where one guy just kicks out of finishers, and other guy doesn’t. If I’m looking for something, I’ll say Shiozaki recovered enough right-arm utility to win the striking war, and had enough even to dig and hit the Misawa-fan with a massive rolling elbow while being the Kobashi guy. And, as strike-filled counter-exchanging bombing runs go, this was viscerally very satisfying. Shiozaki won, and then got the belt from Kobashi, and declared that he is NOAH. So maybe the Kobashi pupil wearing green and doing a big elbow spot but also lariats and chops and a moonsault is not subtext, even, just text. Anyway, I liked this a lot. It probably won’t turn you on either guy if you dislike them and NOAH remains problematically fixated on its golden era; but I think it’s as good as either guy has looked—either in years, or ever, depending. And frankly, Kiyomiya seemed far more over after the loss than before; he got more cheers for his effort than the winner. Ultimately, for NOAH, anything that gets that right has worked.
  23. Orthodox Muta is a fantastic gimmick. Just tell me he wouldn't look great coming out in these vestments.
  24. Joe Posnanski wrote about Minnie Minoso today, whose HOF case rests in part on time (unjustly) missed, and his status as a barrier breaker. (So, the below list does not and is not meant to do him justice.) Still, removed from that context, I found it interesting: Arbitrary minimums: -- 7,000 PAs; -- 20 Wins Above Average (WAA); and -- 125 OPS+. Ordered by most WAA: (with WAA & WAR rounded to nearest whole number) Rank) Player ... WAA ... WAR ... OPS+ 1) Barry Bonds ... 124 ... 163 ... 182 2) Bobby Grich ... 44 ... 71 ... 125 3) Reggie Smith ... 38 ... 65 ... 137 4) Mark McGwire ... 37 ... 62 ... 163 5) Manny Ramirez ... 36 ... 69 ... 154 6) Jim Edmonds ... 35 ... 60 ... 132 7) Todd Helton ... 33 ... 62 ... 133 8 - Dick Allen ... 33 ... 59 ... 156 9) Dwight Evans ... 33 ... 67 ... 127 10) Keith Hernandez ... 32 ... 60 ... 128 11) Bobby Bonds ... 32 ... 58 ... 129 12) Sherry Magee ... 31 ... 59 ... 137 13) Rafael Palmeiro ... 30 ... 72 ... 132 14) Will Clark ... 29 ... 57 ... 137 15) Bob Johnson ... 29 ... 55 ... 139 16) Jim Wynn ... 29 ... 56 ... 129 17) Lance Berkman ... 28 ... 52 ... 144 18) Bobby Abreu ... 28 ... 60 ... 128 19) Sammy Sosa ... 28 ... 59 ... 128 20) Brian Giles ... 27 ... 51 ... 136 21) John Olerud ... 27 ... 58 ... 129 22) Minnie Minoso ... 27 ... 50 ... 130 23) Joe Torre ... 27 ... 58 ... 129 24) Gary Sheffield ... 26 ... 61 ... 140 25) Norm Cash ... 26 ... 52 ... 139 26) Jack Clark ... 26 ... 53 ... 137 27) Fred Lynn ... 24 ... 50 ... 129 28) Ellis Burks ... 23 ... 50 ... 126 29) Larry Doyle ... 22 ... 45 ... 125 30) Rocky Colavito ... 21 ... 45 ... 132 I was very surprised that Fred McGriff didn't make the cut. His career WAA is 19.8, and so just slightly too low. Interesting too, I think, is how high Edmonds ranks, as well as Keith Hernandez. (I know we've talked about him already, but this is another chance for me to point out that he was a very, very good hitter, in addition to being so good defensively that MLB instituted a rule change.) Abreu is going to be interesting to track. Sort of a poor man's Larry Walker, very good at everything but lacking traditional counting totals, will be more popular among the analytics set. (Of course he's right next door to Brian Giles, who was unceremoniously dropped with zero votes. It almost feels like there needs to be a "he was really, really good, but no one should vote for him just to spare him the indignity of getting no votes" vote.)
  25. And one more Rikio post, because I was really curious where he's ended up, and how he's doing: I found this interview here, from 2019, in which he talks with Kaito Kiyomiya about expectations, being champion, etc. There is a lot of the boilerplate you'd expect about how you just have to do your best and fight hard, and the translation is not clear in general. Still, some interesting bits, like, "for me it was really difficult to see that I was trying different things in wrestling. Because there is no right answer, it would be easier if I would decide on one, but the answer is different every time. Was it good because the customer was pleased, or was it good because I was convinced? That is a completely different issue. So, you have to keep wrestling while watching the reaction of the customer, make your opponent shine, and I think that is a champion. It is a happy time...but I wonder if it is a fun one. When you debut, your seniors influence you, and that part is the leading of the match, as a champion, you are in that position, and I think in that respect it is a happy time." Anyway, he owns and runs a ramen restaurant in Niigita, and generally seems very healthy and happy. He went to NOAH's show in Osaka last year, signed some pictures with Kobashi, and introduced the main event. There. Now I feel better.
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