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Member Since 20 Jun 2011
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Topics I've Started

Rey Mysterio vs. "Mr. 450" Hammett (WWC La Hora de la Verdad, 2/27/16)

12 January 2018 - 02:54 PM

Tim Evans picked this match for me as part of the Secret Santo project. I haven't really seen any post-WWE Rey, nor have I seen any non-80s Puerto Rico, so this should be interesting. I'm guessing this match won't feature any pig blood. I did some research beforehand, and it seems that Hammett is the WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion going in, but the match is non-title.


We start out with some basic lucha-infused matwork and a fair amount of stalling and playing to the crowd. Interestingly, the crowd is solidly behind Rey. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, but I thought that the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry might come into play. I guess not. Anyway, Hammett gets caught in the ropes while attempting to do a 619. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but it fit with the story of the match. He then takes control by cutting off a Rey 619 attempt with a superkick. I liked how he would throw punches in plain view of the referee and insist that they were palm strikes when the ref admonished him to open up his fists. Rey made a comeback with a drop toehold into the ring steps and hit his slip 'n slide tope, which I always enjoy. After some more back-and-forth, Hammett missed a 450 and Rey hit the 619 and diving splash for the win. After the match, the two hug it out and Rey cuts a promo in Spanish putting over his opponent (I think).


Fun match. To a large extent, it felt like a fall-out-of-bed Rey as touring special attraction match. He didn't take any huge bumps or perform any crazy spots, and the story of the match was simple and straightforward. Still, the work was crisp and clean (one botched moonsault spot aside) and the two had good chemistry together. I'd like to see them in a longer match.

Keiichi Yamada vs. Masaharu Funaki (NJPW Year End in Kokugikan, 12/27/87)

06 January 2018 - 09:31 PM

Here we have a matchup of two guys who would go on to bigger and better things. Yamada would go on to become Jushin Liger while Funaki would change his first name to Masakatsu and become a pioneer of MMA in Pancrase. At this point, however, they're just a couple of young lions toiling away in prelims. This is a pretty basic match built around a contrast of styles-Funaki wants to establish separation so he can throw his kicks while Yamada would prefer to stay on the mat. The biggest highspot for most of the match is Yamada powering out of a triangle choke. There is some questionable no-selling toward the end. Yamada goes for the shooting star press but gets tossed off the top rope like Ric Flair. He then pops right back up so Funaki can dropkick him out of the ring and hit him with a tope. Yamada wins with that double leg clutch hold that I'm sure has an actual name.


Given the huge angle that was planned for the main event (this is the show where a debuting Big Van Vader would beat Antonio Inoki in three minutes, causing a riot that would lead to New Japan being banned from Sumo Hall), these two clearly weren't setting out to steal the show, and they didn't. To be honest, given the trend toward maximalism in modern wrestling, I found the lack of ambition rather refreshing. They stuck to the basics and executed well without overstaying their welcome, so there's nothing to complain about. This isn't a substantial addition to either man's legacy, but it's nothing to be ashamed of either.

Shawn Michaels vs. AJ Styles

20 November 2017 - 03:35 PM

It's been a while since we've had a good comparison thread, and it recently occurred to me that these two guys track each other pretty closely in terms of in-ring style, career length, and popular/critical acclaim. A year ago, I would've picked Shawn without a second thought, but now I'm inclined to give AJ the nod. His 2014 to whenever it ends is shaping up to be one of the all-time great runs by a US worker. It certainly smokes any comparable stretch of Shawn's career. Part of that is having better opponents, but he's also been able to produce quality matches with guys I normally have little use for like Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. I still think that Shawn's very best matches are better than AJ's best, but the gap isn't large enough to overcome the sheer volume of high-end Styles output. Thoughts?

Takeshi Morishima vs. Daisuke Ikeda (NOAH Navigation With Breeze 6/1/04)

30 October 2017 - 07:31 PM

I'll be honest. I had never even heard of this match, let alone seen it pimped as anything special, until I saw this post. I'm not even slightly a fan of actual shoot-style, but I do generally enjoy guys with shooter gimmicks in pro-style matches, so I figured this was worth a look.


This match is for the WLW (Harley Race's promotion) Heavyweight Championship. Let me begin by saying how much I love Morishima's Inside the Heat Beats theme, largely because it's so incongruous for someone who's supposed to be a monster/power wrestler. It sounds like it could be Sakura's theme in a Street Fighter game. Then again, Morishima does look like a giant schoolgirl, so maybe it it is appropriate. Anyway, the match. I've been on a NOAH kick recently, and Morishima's lariats might be my favorite thing in wrestling right now. He dominates the opening minutes other than an Ikeda kneebar that would come into play later. There's a funny moment when Ikeda tries to block a backdrop by grabbing the referee, so Morishima just smashes both of them into the turnbuckle. This leads to a visual pinfall off an Amaze Impact. The action spills to the outside, and Morishima grabs a chair and obliterates Ikeda with a JBL to Eddie Guerrero-level shot to the head that I'm surprised didn't bust him open hardway. Morishima then tries to backdrop Ikeda off the apron through a table. It's kind of interesting to see Morishima work a brawling style rather than monster style, more Stan Hansen than Vader. Ikeda blocks it by going after the knee he worked over earlier (psychology!) and turns the tables with a Death Valley Driver through the table. Ikeda starts throwing punches in a desperate attempt to keep the big man down and gets the win with a series of kicks to the head.


Super match.This is almost certainly Ikeda's best NOAH match and quite possibly his best match overall, at least for my tastes. It's a shame he never got a big run with a major promotion. With his grasp of pro-style psychology and flair for the dramatic, I think he could've gotten over.

The earliest great match

10 October 2017 - 09:41 PM

I'm curious as to everyone's pick as to the earliest all-time great match that transcends eras. Speaking personally, the earliest match I'd unequivocally go to bat for is Giant Baba vs. Billy Robinson on 7/24/76. There are a few 60s and 70s matches I'd like to re-explore, though.