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Member Since 20 Jun 2011
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MAO, Kazumi Kikuta, Dinosaur Takuma, & Kotaro Yoshino vs. Sanshiro Takagi, Ryuji It...

01 May 2018 - 11:23 PM

HeadCheese picked this match from the DDT/BJW New Year's Eve show for the Secret Santo project. A couple of pre-match notes. First, Takuma and Yoshino are a tag team known as the Dino Stones. Takuma has a dinosaur tail on his singlet and Yoshino comes to the ring wearing a Fred Flintstone tunic. They also come armed with prehistoric weaponry, Takuma with a bone and Yoshino with a club. Second, Togo is accompanied by a diminutive fellow with a Hitler mustache.
We begin by Takagi demanding that the referee check Yoshino's afro for international objects. The first few minutes are fairly nondescript until Takagi and Takuma square off, leading to the greatest spot in wrestling history. Takagi attacks Takuma by BITING HIS TAIL. And Takuma SELLS IT. The action then spills to the outside, where Team Taka uses Dino Stones' bone and club as weapons. Most of the rest of the match consists of an extended spot involving MAO in the corner and pretty much everyone on the show running into him, including his teammates, Togo's mini-Hitler, and all the wrestlers in the previous matches. I only recognize Ryota Hama and Colt Cabana, but two of the others are dressed as Ryu and Zangief, the latter of whom actually does a spinning clothesline. Even the referee and a cameraman get into the act. It's like a Family Guy joke that starts out as amusing but gets beaten into the ground until it's no longer funny but then comes back around to being funny when they keep going. After all that, MAO actually pins Taka with a schoolboy a second before the ball drops. Happy New Year, Taka.
As my writeup indicates, this was just a silly comedy match. But what comedy it was. Seeing Taka smiling and goofing around is quite a change of pace after watching him in Suzuki-gun.

Southern Rockers vs. Scotty the Body & Top Gun (Portland, 7/8/89)

20 April 2018 - 09:26 PM

This Secret Santo pick from Tim Evans pits the future Raven and the former Cuban Assassin up against one of the lesser rock-and-roll pretty boy tag teams of the 80s. Scotty is managed by Jonathan Boyd, who is accompanied by a snake. The Rockers have a valet of their own, but she literally does nothing in this match. In fact, she's barely even visible due to her placement in the corner opposite the hard camera. It's actually Scotty who makes this match. Between him begging to be tagged in when things appear under control only to immediately tag out at the first sign of trouble, interfering behind the referee's back, and dancing like a Chippendale, he does a pretty fantastic job of being an obnoxious little shit you want to see get his comeuppance. The FIP crawling between the heel's legs to make the hot tag is a spot I always mark out for, and Steve Doll has an impressive snap suplex. Unfortunately, the ending is pure Wrestlecrap. After Doll gets thrown to the outside, Scott Peterson goes to check on him and is accosted by Boyd. He runs into the ringpost while fleeing in terror from the snake, allowing Boyd to roll him in the ring to be pinned. If something like that had happened in WCW or TNA, we'd still be talking about it today.


In all, this was kind of depressing to watch. The in-ring action is nothing special other than a handful of nifty spots, and the derivative and dated presentation elements give this the feel of a promotion hopelessly behind the times.

Fit Finlay vs. El Samurai (NJPW 4/23/92)

20 April 2018 - 09:02 PM

This was Matt D's Secret Santo pick. The Youtube link lists the date as 5/23, but that can't be right since this is a TOSJ match and the very famous Liger/Samurai final takes place on 4/30. Anyway, there's nothing too fancy here, just straightforward smashmouth wrestling. From Finlay, we get snug headlocks, stiff elbows, and some incongruous flying offense. From Samurai, we get some leg work (that Finlay completely blows off) and surprisingly decent punches. My favorite Finlay spot is the one where he lifts his opponent up by the hair (or mask in this case) and slams him sternum-first into the apron. There were audible gasps from the audience when he busted it out here. The end comes when Finlay misses a splash from the top rope and Samurai gets the pin with a Japanese leg roll clutch. This wasn't a barnburner by any means, but it is an interesting look at Finlay pretty much on autopilot.

Don Nakaya Nielsen vs. Keiichi Yamada (NJPW Super Fight Series, 5/8/88)

30 March 2018 - 03:12 PM

Let me begin by saying that I'm not certain of the proper spelling of Nielsen's last name. I've seen it spelled both Nielsen and Neilsen. His Japanese Wikipedia page has it as Nielsen, so I'll go with that.


This is a Different Style Fight fought under a series of three-minute rounds. Nielsen has the size and reach advantage, and any clean hit from him is a potential knockout blow. But Yamada has the edge on the mat, even more so because of Nielsen's boxing gloves. Nielsen gets a few knockout teases, but for the most part, the first three rounds consist of Yamada taking him down virtually at will and forcing him to make the ropes. If this match were scored under a UWF/RINGS-style point system, Yamada would have won sometime in the middle of the third round. A clearly frustrated Nielsen cheap-shots Yamada toward the end of the third, leading to a pull-apart after the bell. The crowd senses that things are about to pick up, and sure enough, Yamada scores a half crab at the beginning of the fourth. But then Nielsen kicks Yamada's leg out of his leg and follows it up with a roundhouse kick to the head, and it's only a matter of time before the referee calls the match off.


Fascinating match overall. I'm guessing the goal was to put over pro wrestling as the strongest fighting style while still respecting the differences in size and stardom between the two. In that, they succeeded with flying colors. They took perhaps a bit too long to set the table, but once they got going, it was incredibly riveting stuff. Good pick from shodate.

Amazing Red/SAT vs. Brian XL/Divine Storm (CZW Take One, 6/8/01)

25 March 2018 - 04:42 PM

CZW has never been on my radar screen as something worth checking out, but Jetlag picked this match for me as part of the Secret Santo project. From a presentation standpoint, pretty much everything about this screams "poor man's ECW." Even the play-by-play guy is a dollar store version of Joey Styles. I will say that the venue is appropriately seedy. There's a chain-link fence in the background that makes it seem like they're competing in the Andore cage fight level in Final Fight.


The match itself can be broken up into three sections. The opening minutes consist of lucha-esque exchanges where the goal is flashy oneupmanship rather than seriously working for a pin or submission. From there, we get a couple minutes of SAT working over XL and Storm. Even Fuchi would have cringed at some of the triple-team offense they busted out. The combination surfboard/springboard double foot stomp looked especially brutal. About seven minutes in, any semblance of psychology is thrown out the window and the match becomes a deluge of flips, dives, and head drops with a few chair shots thrown in. You as the viewer barely have time to catch your breath, let alone process what's happening. This is pretty much the epitome of Michael Bay wrestling. Deep and nuanced storytelling this is not, but I can't help but be impressed by their willingness to go all out. If you're going to have a spotfest, have a spotfest.