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Secret Santo Holiday Season 2020


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7 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Incidentally I also found this out about Alexander Otsuka

...okay...

Yeah. I love Otoko Sakari. Dressed as him for Halloween once. I wrote about it here and elsewhere. If I can find a good video of that character in action, someone will get it as their match to review.

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I would also love to see any of that footage. If I had to put wrestlers on a scale of "Serious" to "Comical" I would put Otsuka strongly on the former side, but knowing that he did a gimmick that far on the opposite side is Generalissimo Takada level comedy. 

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2 hours ago, Matt D said:

Nick,

Here's your Xmas gift. I went to the biggest Flair expert and/or archivist I knew and asked him what the best example of 80 Flair (full match) version we had and pulled this together. As best as I could tell, it wasn't online, so here it is on my burner account. No rush on getting to it. It's in front of the same crowd, just a few months later. I haven't seen it before, so I'll catch it sometime soon too.

 

Ah, that's the stuff. Thank you very much. Since I actually got my gifts wrapped with three days to spare I can spend more time on watching this and Smelly's picks. 

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On 12/21/2020 at 8:06 AM, moribund said:

@Morganti Full pomp and circumstance on display for Genichiro Tenryu's Triple Crown defense against Terry Gordy. Someone is going to get hit real hard...

 

 

That was a hard night at the office. 

EDIT: BTW who was the guy that got powerbombed at the very beginning, and what was that all about? 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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1 hour ago, Curt McGirt said:

That was a hard night at the office. 

EDIT: BTW who was the guy that got powerbombed at the very beginning, and what was that all about? 

Could it be Todd Champion? Apparently they teamed together at least a few times on that tour. 

 

Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace were working AJPW at that time as well.

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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@Smelly McUgly So obviously I've seen a ton of Regal and adore him immensely.  Robbie is somebody I always heard about but never actually saw.  So this will be a fun one to see.

Oh, for fuck's sake, the other team's called The Road Warriors?  And Nature Boy Steve Regal?  I know he's poked fun at that name on Twitter but that's still funny to see.  I also got a kick out of the announcer saying "With the unfortunate task of being in the middle" when announcing the ref.  And I got a chuckle out of the way he said "And let's hear it for the losers!"

As for the match the little of WoS I've seen was more of the cheeky back-and-forth wrestling with all kinds of neat counter moves.  So I don't know if it's the era of WoS or what it was but I didn't think they would have a team like RW.  But Golden Boys are a rather fun babyface team who the crowd just loves getting into.  I haven't seen babyface Regal aside from when he first started WCW (and periods of that in WWE but that was different)  So it was nice to see that and Brookside was cool to see but I would need to see more of his stuff.

I see what you're saying about the match not being much.  But I do appreciate the pick and enjoyed it anyway.  I have a lot of blind spots so I'm hoping that at some point I can dive further into WoS.

Edited by NikoBaltimore
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I liked it because I enjoyed a) the heel double team moves, b) the official warning and the crowd going nutty over it, c) and the finish. It's a disjointed little match, but you can see that Regal and Brookside are going to be excellent someday. 

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Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid

I would guess that everyone in this thread has seen this match before, so I won't talk too much about the action in PBP form. I do want to use this match to opine on why Bret Hart is my personal G.O.A.T. even moreso than Bryan or Breaks or Regal or anyone else, all valid criticism aside. A number of the reasons why are crystallized in this match:

  • His ability to work different roles in matches: He works a face-vs-face match where he's the stronger vet so smartly. He slightly underestimates Kid early, then starts to assert himself after an initial flurry from the Kid in a way that makes sense. He works as a bully in the segment before the false finish, but not as an overtly heelish bully; rather, he's on some "Welcome to the league, kid" shit, and even when Kid is on top later on in the match, it feels like Jordan's Bulls just before a 14-2 run that overturns a three-point deficit late in the fourth or like modern Bayern pulling out the goal to edge ahead in the ninetieth minute - it feels inevitable in a very legit sports way. 
  • Everything feels like a struggle, like an athlete who is actually trying to win and who is being affected, or who is doing his best to affect his opponent, with each wrestling move. Just little things go so far, like his bodily selling of an arm wrench that collapses him to the mat or how he really puts a bit extra into a corner whip that's meant to knock the opponent's wind out rather than to merely set them up for a corner charge or top-rope move.
  • His late-match sequences are elite in big matches like this one. Yeah, they're centered around 5MOD, but that ignores that he finished matches in so many different ways and that he would use the audience's expectations about 5MOD to subvert said expectations.

In reference to that last point, I must say that this match, though, is built around Kid throwing bomb after bomb as the audience wonders if Kid will hit a bomb that wins before Bret almost inevitably counters him. The twist there is that Kid's got Hitman so flustered with all those bombs that Bret actually risks it all from the top rope himself at one point in an uncharacteristic move - that Kid shook the impeccable, wily vet late and almost got him to make a match-losing error means a whole hell of a lot even if Kid ultimately didn't win. It's the key to both guys coming out of this match looking great. 

All of this aggregates to the Hitman's ability to make pro wrestling feel real, which is something that is lost, or at least it's lost in me here in 2020. As a kid, I'd lose myself in Bret's matches thinking out the necessary (kayfabe) strategy as the match happened for both him and his opponent - and wouldn't you know, I did it again as I watched this match as I got on Kid for taking too long and letting Bret recover as he went to the top rope, exhausted, for his final whiff that turned into a Sharpshooter. 

I haven't done justice to Kid, though. Waltman's an excellent performer in his own right, and he's another guy with fantastic body language and great selling. He sells exhaustion and half-conscious loopiness so well in this match in particular. His offense looks great (I think Waltman's one of the most aesthetically pleasing guys to watch, actually) and really this match should have done more for him as a fighting babyface than it ended up doing in retrospect.

This is a good match and another great piece of evidence for just how great Bret was, but more than that, Bret's work is a reminder that actually, yes, I do still love pro wrestling. 

On another note, someone in this thread or maybe the monthly thread was saying that all WWF aces were actually dicks and included Bret, but I'd have to disagree. It's what made his sanity slippage in 1997 as the American fans cheered Austin over him so effective. Even in this match, he points out that Kid had his foot on the ropes and gets the match re-started, but while the Hitman could bend the rules just like anyone else when things got desperate, he was pretty honorable. Owen turning on him definitely read as Owen being the jealous one, and Neidhart and Bulldog coming at him also felt like they were the haters that this dude was so successful. It's not like Bret forgot to check in on Owen's injuries for months or like he dumped Sid out of the Rumble from outside the ring after being fairly eliminated. 

He was the one ace whose run as a good guy actually holds up on repeat watch. 

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1 hour ago, Smelly McUgly said:

On another note, someone in this thread or maybe the monthly thread was saying that all WWF aces were actually dicks and included Bret, but I'd have to disagree. It's what made his sanity slippage in 1997 as the American fans cheered Austin over him so effective. Even in this match, he points out that Kid had his foot on the ropes and gets the match re-started, but while the Hitman could bend the rules just like anyone else when things got desperate, he was pretty honorable. Owen turning on him definitely read as Owen being the jealous one, and Neidhart and Bulldog coming at him also felt like they were the haters that this dude was so successful. It's not like Bret forgot to check in on Owen's injuries for months or like he dumped Sid out of the Rumble from outside the ring after being fairly eliminated. 

He was the one ace whose run as a good guy actually holds up on repeat watch. 

Yeah, that was me. Bret is the one case where his dickishness was more implied than overt, but in his book he even said he was worried that his whole family turning evil on him made him look like he was a bad person. And Bret's "He was playing possum the whole time" version of the Superman comeback was by far the least egregious version, but it was still a "Comeback time! No more selling for me!" spot.

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So, the Abby/Takada match took place in Tokyo Pro Wrestling, Takashi Ishikawa's post-SWS promotion in '96. Here's the card

Spoiler

(08.10.1996) TPW - TV-Show @ Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan

TWA Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi Final: Kenichi Yamamoto defeats Shinobu Tamura by TKO (7:59)

TWA Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi Final: Gekko defeats Shocker (13:20)

Bloody Phoenix & Cooga defeat Alda Moreno & Esther Moreno

Astro Rey Jr., Masanobu Kurisu, Shigeo Okumura & Takeru defeat Billy Black, Kishin Kawabata, Mike Anthony & The Natural

Yoshihiro Takayama defeats Daikokubo Benkei

2 Cold Scorpio defeats Sabu (17:11)

First Tiger Mask vs. The Great Kabuki - No Contest (11:03)

TWA Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Final Match (vakant): Kenichi Yamamoto vs. Masao Orihara - Time Limit Draw

TWA Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Final Match (vakant): Masao Orihara defeats Kenichi Yamamoto (0:55) - TITLE CHANGE !!!

Nobuhiko Takada defeats Abdullah The Butcher (8:15)

Yoji Anjo defeats Takashi Ishikawa (7:59)

I had to look it up myself and only know because another Youtube file listed that in the comments. Matter of fact I didn't even know TPW existed.

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On 12/21/2020 at 1:57 PM, Morganti said:

Heel getting their comeuppance? 

Have a blast from the past in the cage!

or if thats not to your taste (for any reason)

Some goofy shit from Santa

Liked them both @Morganti.

I am a sucker for ridiculous feats of strength, so if I were handing out stars Castagnoli/Lee would get 3.5 of them automatically just for Claudio's absurd press-slam of Lee into the cage. Great clubbering and meanness (though short of sadism) from Lee, excellent babyface fire and comebacks from Claudio. Really appreciate Claudio's choice at the end to go for the decisive victory instead of the the victory by escape.

The Osaka Pro match just goes to show that people only THINK they hate mimes. What they actually hate are first year drama students in turtlenecks pretending they are stuck in a box as they try to get through their first movement assignment while also discovering sex, drugs, and pretention. What Ebessan, Kuishinbo Kamen, AND the ref (acting the crucial role of hapless straight man getting caught up in madness) put on was a master class of mime, clowning, and satire... and I didn't need to understand a word of Japanese to follow along. Neither did my wife, since I felt compelled to interrupt her costume drama to show it to her. I'm sure we missed some subtleties due to the language barrier, but not enough to keep us from being thoroughly entertained.

Edited by moribund
Damn. Just read about Brodie's passing. Not going to delete, but didn't realize he was gone as I was writing this up.
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Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat: AJPW 82

 

This was fun. I feel the first thing that should be commented on is how beautiful both these men’s hair was. Strikingly 80’s.

Steamboat had this contest on lock for the early going. Applying side headlocks to wear down Flair and with every long earned escape was able to Monkey Flip Ric back down. Even with these “rest holds” that people like to call them, you could still see the physical creativity of constantly ringing and pulling back on the head and bursts of athleticism of phenomenally high jumps by both men. When given the opportunity, Ric will Punch Or shoulder check Ricky’s gut, but Steamboat keeps his momentum.

We are lead to the second act which is the strike offs. Flair sells Steamboat’s chops by flipping backwards or on multiple occasions rolling over the ropes. The only word I could recognize from the commentators was “Pinball” and that describes it well. Ric’s able to get his chops in, but this is still Steamboat’s match.

It isn’t until the third act where we see Flair get his lead. After a bit of back and forth, Flair smashes Steamboat’s knee into the post. This gives Flair his opportunity to start throwing around and slamming Steamboat. It ultimately is short lived and Ricky is able to turn things back around with crossbodies. At one moment Rocky Johnson attempts a running body splash, but Flair gets his knees up. Back and forth. The ending is creative where Flair reverses a crossbody into a hooked pin for the win.

I recommend this to any fan of either performers. I always seem to enjoy Flair in Japan. The psychology of this match was that Steamboat was stronger and faster but Flair was a smart fighter. Dirty in that he used the corner to even things up, but that wasn’t enough to equalize Steamboat. It wasn’t until Steamboat kept going to the same well that Flair was able to turn things around. Whether it was the repeated headlocks in the early game or the body splashes/cross body offense so soon after each other in the end game that Flair would turn it around. I believe that’s the ancient story of the Mongoose vs the Cobra. The Mongoose will strike and claw quickly and repeatedly. Trying to tire and knock out its opponent. Where the Cobra is wise and will bob it’s head until the right moment to strike its venom. Power vs Wisdom. 

 

Buddy Rose vs Adrian Adonis: 2 out of 3 falls

 

Buddy Rose just has to exist and I can’t keep my eyes off of him. Swinging his robe to be a prick. How he backs out of the ring to escape confrontation. How his body folds when he gets punched. Everything he does is perfect to me. His whole essence is asshole will get his comeuppance, but you gotta tune in next week. Such great pro wrestling. The more I see of him and his matches or antics the more I want to include him in my personal all time favorites.

I won’t do a play by play for this one. I just really enjoyed it and need to devour more of this rivalry and more Buddy in general. The double stomps to the midsection and following it up with a stomach claw. A CLAW TO THE STOMACH. Adonis sold it like it was the worst pain in his life and Rose was wildly swinging his head and yelling.

Ends in a DQ of course it does. I actually like that. I now want to see a higher stipulation and for Adonis to kill Rose.

 

Thanks to @Six String Orchestra And @Curt McGirt. @El Gran Gordi, because of last time’s typo mixup I changed out one wrestlers name for another again. See if you can find it!

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Nick is out this week.

Everyone's feeling the tragedy but here at DVDVR we push on and look out for one another and give each other matches. We're hitting the zone where it's tougher to avoid doubles. This week is ok, but next week will be trickier.

moribund
Matt D

Octopus
El Gran Gordi

Six String Orchestra
Curt McGirt

AxB > Smelly McUgly > Morganti
 

So AxB gives to Smelly McUgly
Smelly McUgly gives to Morganti
Morganti gives to AxB

moribund, I'll figure out something for you later. 

Remember, give asap even if you can't watch immediately. 

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Hello, @Morganti. I would guess that you've seen this if you've watched '80s U.S. promotions extensively, but if you haven't, I hope that you'll like this. I saw it YEARS ago on a tape, maybe? Anyway, I saw it again a year ago or so and it's some wild shit. The Midnights are the G.O.A.T. tag team (at least, any of the combinations with Bobby Eaton in them are G.O.A.T.) in my humble opinion, but what makes this is the crowd being legitimately on edge. 

The Midnight Express vs. Magnum T.A. and Mr. Wrestling II

 

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@moribund, thanks for the picks. I will watch and write-up one or both (I haven't seen the Bock one for a bit but I remember it being fairly short).

This is one of the best gateway CMLL trios matches that I've ever found.

A Beatdown (ambush) > Comeback > Reset-Pairings structure. With some of the biggest stars and a Atlantis (rudo) vs Mistico (tecnico) feud/pairing. You figure out this match and you'll be able to watch almost any Guerreros trios match of the last twenty years (and there are a lot and most of them range from harmless to enjoyable to great depending on the year). You're building to the comeback moment at the 9 minute mark or so, which is where the momentum/mandate of heaven shifts and then again to the final Mistico/Atlantis pairing at the end of the tercera (with the dives to clear the ring for them).

 

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@Octopus 

You disgusting tentacled freak, you really confused me with that Ricky/Rocky switch! 

Nonetheless, I wanna give you something really fun. You said that pandemic-era New Japan is a blind spot, so I wanted to give you by far my favourite match from this year's G1... But in searching for it, I stumbled across this: The same two tough bastards duking it out in Rev Pro! And you also listed British wrestling as a blind spot. So, please wrap your 8 slimy appendages around this one!

 

Note: I haven't actually watched this one yet, but I'm pretty confident that any time these two fight it's gonna be worth watching.

Edit: This is most likely their second match in Rev Pro, from October 2018. 

I also searched for a match that had Steamboat, Rocky, and Blackwell in it, but I came up empty.

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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