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Matt D

Member Since 15 Jul 2008
Online Last Active Today, 11:44 AM

Topics I've Started

Masanobu Fuchi vs. Shinichi Nakano (AJPW 4/16/1989)

26 January 2018 - 07:10 AM

I've seen a bit of Fuchi in Memphis and some of his work in the mix of larger tag matches into the 90s, but I hadn't seen anything of his Junior stuff before this. According to Jetlag, Nakano was a Fujinami trained outsider that tanked his career by leaving with Tenryu in 90. This was one of many shifts of the title in 89. In the first seven months, it changed hands seven times, which seems wonky for me for an AJPW title but the tag belts changed hands five times in 89 so it's not that strange, I guess. 


This was absolutely a Fuchi showcase, but one that helped to elevate Nakano as well (it better have, since he was winning it), solely through the fact that he survived, didn't give up, and found strength in his desperation. Unfortunately, they put the belt on Momota four days later, but what are you going to do? It actually leads me to wonder if it was the intent or not.


Fuchi had such control here. Some of that played out obviously in the narrative. There was early matwork with Fuchi manipulating Nakano however he wanted. At one point ,Nakano locked in a deep headlock (which is really the most basic move in the world, potentially gutsy, but basic), and Fuchi didn't just shrug him off, but was able to get a leg, shift it this way or that, and then toss him against the ropes. Even this was more to foreshadow and set up when he used the leg to escape a move later. The illusion of believing that a wrestler is one or two moves ahead is hard. That's why we don't see it more even though it's not a massive intellectual leap when you think about storytelling, but Fuchi had me absolutely believing it. He shifted an escape attempt into another hold, floating over, snatching up a limb, jockeying, very often making a pointed and deliberate attempt to show the crowd he was doing something (like using his foot to break hands apart so he could lock in a hold) and making futile Nakano's every action. Mastery is really the only word for it.


Nakano tried to get the first strikes in since he wasn't getting anywhere matching holds (and this is after Fuchi had given him a supportive clap on the shoulder after a rope break too). All it did was make Fuchi grind down a bit more the second he got a limb back though. Here he was making sure to press his knee in for leverage, or just cut into Nakano's personal space as he had a hold on. Again, mastery, little things you don't often see.


Whenever Nakano got in a shot or a hold, it was obviously through desperation. Both wrestlers locked in double wristlocks in the match, but Fuchi's was so deliberate and Nakano's was far more grasping, straining. Fuchi wouldn't just allow himself to get whipped. Everything Nakano did ended up looking earned, often by the skin of his teeth, which, I think, helped the fans get behind him all the more when he kept fighting. Occasionally his athleticism would win through and he'd be able to hit a suplex or even a small flurry, but Fuchi had so many visceral and believable ways to cut him off, whether it was taking a limb or reversing a whip, or just having him walk directly into a straight punch to the face. Towards the end, he was bullying Nakano more and more, including just bum's rushing him right out of the ring. It meant that when the finish did hit, with Nakano desperately leaping across the ring with a shot to the back of the head to prevent a probably overconfident Fuchi from escaping a waistlock and hitting a hail mary German, the crowd popped hard with appreciation.


It's a shame that he went and lost the belt four days later. Ah well. Now I need to go out of my way to see a lot more of these Fuchi title matches.




Proposal for 2018: Match Review Trades

27 December 2017 - 09:40 PM

Here's a thought I had while going through the Holiday Appreciation thread and dealing with one too many work secret santas:


My time is pretty limited right now between a relatively new baby, the other kids, and work. I don't have enough time to seriously follow Raw/Smackdown/etc. right now, let alone that and CMLL and indies and whatever else. I will again at some point (curated at least) but not now. I also don't have time to post things on Segunda Caida and, much to my dismay, I didn't have time to cruise through 1980s NJPW handhelds or other such things. 


I do have time to watch a match or two a week though, but it's hard to manage that. I know myself though; it's a lot easier to do it if it's part of a project or what not. If there's just a little bit of obligation. 


So I came up with this. Someone suggests a match to me. I suggest a match to them. We both write it up. Then someone else, so on and so forth. It could be something wildly outside my normal viewing (though probably not something that people would think I'd absolutely hate). Maybe nothing longer than 30 mins and it has to be something that can be viewed relatively easily (youtube, dm, certain yearbooks, certain archives, etc.). And it's not just me. Other people could pair up and keep pairing up. And this could be something we do in 2018. I'm sure there are matches people want El-P or Microstatistics or Marty or CapitalTTruth or whoever to watch. People could put out an open request to want to watch something and someone else could chime in and both people post a match review of their respective matches in the MDA. 


If everyone thinks it's a terrible idea, nevermind, or even if people just want to do it with me and no one else is interested. Hell, if no one's interested in the reciprocal part of it all, I'd probably just take suggestions from people one at a time to write them up as I can. But I thought it could be a fun social thing.

Blackjack Mulligan vs Big John Studd 1/5/79?, JCP, Lights Out Match

02 November 2017 - 06:57 AM

I'm not convinced on this date (clawmaster's stuff says this was in Richmond with the opposite result). 


This is JIP after the introductions. We get a King of the Mountain control segment, a Mulligan comeback that goes to the outside, Studd taking back over after ref intervention with a cheapshot elbow, a heel control segment in the ring which culminates with a Studd bearhug,Mulligan doing what he does best by teasing the claw, that moment just being a quick second to free himself, and a cross body for the pin. Post match Studd gets his heat back with a beatdown and the prelim guys come out so he'll leave.


The crowd's amazing. There are two clear moments of comeback here, the first when Mulligan fights his way back into the ring (mainly by being stubborn and absorbing damage) and gets in a jab to Studd's stomach. The crowd comes unglued. You see this teenager in the background leap up and down, arms flailing. When Mulligan starts to get some revenge on Studd on the outside after this, the kids all run around to get a better view. The second is obviously the slow build to the claw (eyerake in this case) out of the bearhug and it's perfect, with Mulligan teasing it and teasing it and teasing it before holding his fist up in the air, stopping time and letting the crowd know that all of their cheering was about to pay off. 


I am literally the only person in the world who finds Studd fascinating as a wrestler, but I do. When he's in there against another big man, I swear that he goes out of his way to work small to draw heat. You want to see him go toe to toe with his opponent but he delays that gratification by stalling (which I bet he did at the start of the match here, which we don't have) or by working a King of the Mountain section with very little contact. When he took back over after the ref intervened, it was with the world's tinest, sneakiest back elbow jab. After that he worked bigger, with the clubbering and choking, and he was there on the post match too, but he was excellent at being huge but making it feel like his opportunities were not earned, like he wasn't playing fair or acting like a giant should. That dissonance made the fans want to see him get his comeuppance and I think is very, very interesting. 


Mulligan's act was so good and the fans bought it completely. I think a babyface could get the claw over today because it'd be so different. It's so easy to tease, so easy to cut off, so easy to build, so easy to pay off. 


So this is ultimately nothing special, but it really does show how (and to a degree why) Mulligan was so over and is just another tiny piece in the (totally meaningless, I admit) case of Studd being more than he ever got credit for.

Gino Hernandez in Houston article

11 October 2017 - 06:29 PM

A few months ago, I put together a textual analysis of the uncovered Gino Hernandez footage on NWAonDemand for Mark Coale's publication. I just had Mark post it on the website now that we're a few months down the line and with the official transfer of the NWA.


The formatting's just a bit off at the end, but it's more than readable I think.


Here it is if anyone's interested:




The Stupid Ganso Bomb Argument

19 June 2017 - 08:46 AM

I'm sorry everyone:


32 Second Mark:




I was just looking for Nick Kozak footage. I swear. (The finish of that match looks awesome by the way)


This is something else, but it's got such a cool finish too: http://media.gettyim...deo-id594666469