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Rah

Member Since 01 Oct 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:10 AM
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Topics I've Started

Vader vs Ricky Steamboat (29/05/1993 WCW)

17 March 2018 - 02:58 AM

Pretty nice TV iteration of a title match. Steamboat has a helluva mountain to climb, here, if he has any hope of winning as not only is he against Vader but Harley Race is at ringside getting up to all sorts of shenanigans, as well - from mugging Steamboat to straight strangling him while Vader has the ref tied up and distracted.

 

I think for how good Steamboat is at rallying the fans behind him, the fans seemed mostly subdued for this, but his hope spots were well timed for me. This was a foregone conclusion but I kept hoping Steamboat would build enough of a comeback to topple Vader. Vader seemed quite content on not putting on much of a showing, though, which dragged this below my expectations. May 1993 was a helluva time for Vader with an all-time squash performance in UWFI against Nakano but I guess he was taking it easy here. Pity, as this was structurally sound enough to be more than just a "cool find" match.


Negro Casas vs El Hijo Del Santo (EMLL 01/12/1995)

02 March 2018 - 09:31 AM

Truth be told, I've not been as sold on this pairing's matches as others. I loved the build up, the chaotic brawls and blood spilled as their trios team mates looked on perplexed. It felt visceral, it felt hate-filled, it felt real. But, when it came to the highly lauded '87 match and the '97 match I've not quite seen them as all time affairs. Great matches, sure, but not quite to the level the general praise reaches.

This match, though, resonates with me in some way. I felt more intrigued and more hooked than I did their '87 match - perhaps because it is so different to the Santo/Casas violence I've been accustomed to. For 30 minutes two pros go out and have a clinic of a wrestling match, matching each other hold for hold. Each man has a body part, a knee or an arm, and they stick to their strategies throughout.

I can see argument that nothing here was as complex as say a Navarro or Dandy hold but they more than flair it up with their charisma and agility. It's the little touches that also puts more credit to their GOAT candidacy. Santo would find new ways to wrinkle Casas up or front roll/flip his own boy around to cinch a hold in further or create even more pain. Casas, too, would lie his entire body weight over Santo to ensure escape looked difficult or nigh impossible.

Honestly, I'd go to bat that this is a lost classic. Perhaps not quite in the 5-star affair line but it definitely needs more play within Lucha circles. Every hold is fought hard for and doesn't come easy. Moreover. the match builds to a great climactic finish that incorporates a hot nearfall leading to the victor's exclamation point that they truly were the best that day. Great, great match.


Cesaro vs Sheamus (22/05/2014 WWE Dublin Live Event)

16 February 2018 - 08:25 AM

Full disclosure, I must be the biggest Cesaro fan on the planet - and I'm quite close in terms of Sheamus so you'd think this pairing would excite me but it's never really produced the classics I'd have hoped. Some of that is booking and time constraints (Payback 2014) but a lot seemed to be that they didn't much click. Which is fine, as they make a great tag team. But this match...oh, boy, this match!

 

This was smart pro-wrestling. I don't wish to sound reaching, but if this had happened on a recorded show, it might be right up there with some of the best TV stuff of the year. In a world where dreams are answered, this would be a 12 minute bomb-throwing sprint. However, we're left with a lengthy shine, enhanced by some terrific Cesaro stalling, that leads into a great Cesaro beatdown and grand finishing stretch. Why would I complain? If there's any reason as to why these two are the cream of WWE's crop, it's in how they layered this match, ensuring a simple powerslam nearfall erupted the crowd into a frenzy. You even hear an older women scream out "oh my god" at one point and it's just fantastic. I know it's one of Sheamus' signature moves, but it's still a powerslam. A lot of guys hit impressive high spots to crickets.

What also works in their favour is that their signature spots have a logical progression into each other. The Brogue Kick/German suplex and Neutraliser/White Noise are so fluidly countered to and from. Of course that's what would play into their finish, then. Props to Sheamus on taking the first German suplex to the back of his skull. It added enough difference to how he played it off, when they did a recall in the finishing spot, that you could buy the fact he had learnt his lesson and rolled through with the power in order to make the running comeback. Like I said, smart pro-wrestling. I wish the camera was closer in, so we could see and, most importantly, hear the nasty strikes and uppercuts that littered this match, but finally seeing the uncut version of this more than makes up for it.


Dan Severn vs Tarzan Goto (IWA 20/08/1995)

15 January 2018 - 12:35 PM

"Shoot. It's a shoot. These guys are shooting. A shoot, bro. If you think for one second that this is some sort of work, you’re out of your mind. TOTAL SHOOT"

 

GAHD. STOP. The announcing probably soured me on this far more than the work deserved but it was nauseating at times to hear that term used so liberally. Honestly, it isn't something that makes you actually think something isn't going to plan, in wrestling it has the complete inverse effect. When Goto got busted open and went to bottle Dan I thought things were legit going south. They brawled into the crowd and roughed each other up like they were actually in the King of the Deathmatch tourney itself. I started to question whether that knee to Goto's head was a bit stiff and he took umbrage to it or not. Then it came, like a roar amidst the silence, IT'S A SHOOOOOOOOOT and it all became crystal clear this was all in the book.

 

It's a pity, as their brawl was the highlight of their entire match. The opening was fine enough albeit sluggish heavyweight action backended with a decent nearfall finishing run. Nothing spectacular but it had its purpose. But, man, those few minutes of violence were great. If anyone else is on the Severn kick with Segunda Caida, then those few minutes are required viewing.

 

But, don't forget, it's a shoot.


Mike Bailey vs Matt Riddle (07/10/2017)

11 January 2018 - 12:08 AM

I'll admit it was Mike that piqued my interest when this was proposed to me by Grimmas, as we share names, but Riddle by-far astounded me with his performance here. Was Regal watching backstage that he put his working boots on?

 

Look, I think he can come off as comical and doesn't put much weight behind his offence but, my god, did he decimate Mike here. I lost count of how many times I grabbed my head in wincing shock at the blows Riddle was landing on Mike. The running elbows were nasty, the knees to the jaw were killer and he damn near crippled the Canadian with his suplexes. Hell, at one point Riddle dumps Bailey on his noggin and, as both men lie motionless, the commentator responds "this is what these men live and breathe for...competition!" - mate, I really don't think Mike's gonna keep breathing if he takes any more of those.

 

I enjoyed the growth in narrative, from Mike hanging with (or, even, out-kicking) Matt to him being the plucky babyface working from underneath. It added a layer to the match that this definitely needed to give the spots context and meaning (a context I don't think the early Canadian Destroyers et al had). Not to sing praises just for one camp, I do believe Mike has some great kicks of his own - even if his standing repeated kicks look more like high knees out of a Beach Body exercise programme. Riddle would let Bailey have just enough of a hope section before cutting him off, again, with something beautiful. Moreover, he enhanced Bailey's come-backs with some great personality. I'm a sucker for cocksure trash-talking in my wrestling, so I smirked at the Callihan middle-finger spot that lead to Riddle eating a huuuuge kick.

 

However, I don't think this match was without some glaring flaws. As alluded to earlier, I found the traded (!!) Canadian Destroyers a bit comically induced rather than serious efforts to put their opponent away. It felt like an idea spawned from the belief of "what spot will pop the crowd?" rather than "how can we pop the crowd and engage them?" if that difference is at all clear. Equally, I thought Riddle's selling was almost non-existent at points, and that's sadly a thing he has against him. He pops up far too eagerly after big moves for me, and he is too overtly obvious in setting up his opponent's moves. It's quite backyarder, at points and it takes me out of the match. Which is a pity as this had some truly great ideas and presentations. The 450-Triangle Choke false-finish was great and logically set-up. They lost me, however, with Mike's Frankensteiner and double-stomp following simply because Riddle made it appear far too choreographed. Though I'm probably the old man yelling at clouds as this spawned a "fight forever~!" chant.

 

All in all, a really fun match between someone I really hope gets to WWE (as he has the tools to be great with the right mentoring) and a wrestler with my namesake. I'm really glad I made time for this and I appreciate Grimmas recommending it to me!