Saturday, 28 April 2012

El Dandy v Negro Casas (CMLL, 7/3/92)

Pretty much a master-class. Two of the absolute elite tier level guys in wrestling history wrestling maybe my favourite kind of pro-wrestling match (lucha title match)...I've seen it about 6 times over the last few years, and I always find something else to love about it every time. The first caida is about as good a fall as you'll ever see in lucha. It goes about 15 minutes, and roughly 12 are entirely filled with matwork. There's a moment where they both roll out to the floor and trade a couple slaps, but they quickly roll back in and take it right back down to the mat -- this is about who's the better wrestler, first and foremost. I don't even think they hit the ropes once in the first 10 minutes. The wishbone spot is the kind of thing people who don't really like or struggle to 'get into' lucha will maybe be turned off by, but other than that I don't think anybody could watch this and think the matwork is "cooperative" or that the holds are came by too easily (which is the criticism of lucha matwork one tends to read the most). Things like Casas reversing a Fujiwara armbar by turning it into a seated abdominal stretch look pretty spectacular to begin with, but it's the struggle that puts it all over the top. Dandy tries to hook Casas in a tapatia, but Casas is having none of  it and won't give up his arms. Dandy tries to take another route and go for a camel clutch, but again Casas gives him nothing. When Dandy eventually hooks it in proper, it feels like a victory all of its own. They're having to fight for everything, and Casas is especially great at making it seem that way. Dandy doesn't put a foot wrong, but Casas looks like the best wrestler in the entire world here. He comes out in the second fall and goes straight for the jugular. My favourite moment of the match might be the low blow he sneaks in when the ref' isn't looking. The entire match is more or less wrestled clean, but Casas is who he's in his nature. The fact it came out of nowhere after he'd been behaving himself up to that point made it seem even more like a dick move. And the slow-mo replay...that shit was NASTY. When Dandy makes his comeback and drops Casas with that extra bit of force, it really feels like a big "Alright, fuck THIS shit" moment. Third caida really brings it home like you'd want. If you want to nitpick there's a couple transitions that might be a bit dodgy, but other than that it's right on the money. Dandy coming out the gate the same way Casas did in the second fall (right down the to the running dropkick) was a great payback spot of sorts, but Casas' sell of the fatigue was out of this world. There's points where it looks like he'd rather lay down and die than keep fighting, but his pride wouldn't let him. The way he struggles to get out of the majistral...that motherfucker is a fighter right 'til the end. Just an incredible match. If I tried to come up with an all-time top ten, this would probably be there.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tweakers, Kings and LUMPIES!

More stuff from the latest Schneider Comp.

Jerry Lawler v Tommy Rich (Georgia, 10/2/88)

So this is the match where Rich comes out to the ring with his new manager/second called Mr. Donnie. There was a thread on PWO a while back about the scummiest looking wrestlers in pro-wrestling history. Mr. Donnie wins. Just the seediest, scummiest looking bastard I think I've ever seen in wrestling. He genuinely looks like a biker crack dealer that's zonked on his own product. He basically sits at ringside and does nothing until the last minute of the match, but his presence is enough to make you worry about Lawler's safety. The guy must weight 90 pounds soaking wet, and he doesn't really look threatening in the Haku/Mark Henry pro-wrestling sense, but there's no question he'd jump you and bite your nose off. Actual match is pretty damn great. They work a slow burner early with both guys sneaking in punches when they can. Lawler throws a few absolute corkers during the first few exchanges, including one that looked like it broke Tommy's jaw. Tommy eventually takes over and works the hidden object/choking shtick, and this was some cool hidden object/choking shtick. Great spot where Rich hits one big bulldog and then tries for another, but the second time Lawler throws him off and Rich goes flying into the cameraman standing in the corner. Completely wipes him out and almost destroys the camera. Lawler's comeback is one of the best "drop the strap" spots I think I've ever seen. Tommy tries to punch him on the floor, but Lawler ducks it and Tommy cracks the ring post. He walks away clutching his hand, so Lawler drops the strap and runs all the way around the ring to spin him around and fucking paste him with an AWESOME right hand. Lawler rolls out a big string of offence down the stretch, but Rich is always too close to the ropes and keeps managing to escape. Lawler goes to put him away with the diving fist drop, but Tommy moves and pulls a chain (or something...his back was to the camera so it was hard to tell) out of his trunks. He pops him with it and makes the cover, and as Lawler puts his foot on the bottom rope Mr. Donnie jumps up and pushes it off. So Tommy Rich just won the world title thanks to his meth dealer...and it almost starts a riot. Seriously, the crowd surround the ring and cops are trying to push them back while the promoter gets in there and Rich just starts swinging punches at everyone. It was like a lucha crowd after a title or apuestas match, except they're not throwing money in the ring; instead, they're ready to tear the place up if this shit doesn't get sorted. This ruled. Rich feels like a guy that deserves a career retrospective done on him yesterday.

Takashi Ishikawa v Ashura Hara (WAR, 7/14/92)

This was from the WAR debut show, and it's as surly and lumpy as you'd expect. I wrote about their '93 match on here a while back -- that match was fucking great, and this feels like it's right at the same level. So many meaty hits and parts where two tubby ex-sumo guys thump the shit out of each other. They sort of blow a spot where it looks like Ishikawa is supposed to duck a lariat and dump Hara out the ring, but Ishikawa recovers by just fucking MOWING Hara down with his own lariat and knocking him out to the floor the hard way. Hara practically lands on his head. It was the WAR way. Final few minutes are so great. Ishikawa is stomping and punting Hara in the spine and kidneys, and Hara is having trouble even standing up. He hits a suplex and it takes more out of himself than Ishikawa. Ishikawa gets up first and kicks field goals. Eventually the ref' throws it out, but Ishikawa deals more damage post-match and takes a swing at whoever tries to stop him. I love WAR. There was one goofy bit where Ishikawa no-sold a superplex, but other than that this was exactly what I wanted out of an Ishikawa/Hara match. The wrestle and the romance, motherfucker.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bullets 'n' Straps 'n' Shit (Stuff from Schneider Comp #26)

Tommy Rich v The Bullet (Georgia, 9/88)

Rich is in 100% stooge mode here, begging off, stalling, flying around the place for everything. The ref' checks him at the start and finds a chain hidden in his trunks, and that leads to a cool bit later on where he gets knocked to the outside and finds tape or wire or something beside the ring. He doesn't have a chain anymore, but he's found a new toy to play with. Ref' is kind of crummy and doesn't really do anything about it whenever Tommy uses it, so it doesn't get the sort of heat it should, but it was a cool touch either way. Rich also takes a fucking NASTY posting, straight into it with no hands up for protection. Naturally he hits a gusher and bleeds all over the shop. Bullet is fine and everything here - he holds up his end and plays off Tommy well enough - but I thought this was mostly a Tommy Rich show. It's a tragedy there's no video footage of that cage match with Sawyer (which is something I tend to think after every Tommy Rich match I watch).

Steve Austin v William Regal (Strap Match) (WWF Smackdown!, 11/29/01)

Totally badass violent sprint. Austin was the best wrestler in the world in 2001, and when this - a match I couldn't remember ever seeing or hearing about before - started being pimped I got super excited. Match goes about ten minutes, and they leather each other up and down the whole time. So it's basically just what I was hoping for. There's one crazy table bump (Austin takes a backdrop on the announce table and almost lands on one of the monitors, which probably would've punctured his kidney), but other than that they don't mess around with any fancy shit. It's all about the whipping and face punching. There's one bit where they're both returning to the ring area after knocking lumps out each other in the crowd, and as Austin is stepping over the barricade Regal punches him right in the neck. It was pretty a low key moment in amongst all the other craziness, but it was a little bit of trademark Regal brutality that you come to expect in a Regal match. Have these two had any other matches together? This was like something you'd find on the Texas set along with all of those short Von Erichs/Freebirds ass-stompings, and if they did anything else in the same mold then I owe it to myself to check it out.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Still Watchin' Tajiri

Tajiri v Psicosis (ECW TV, 8/19/00)

Well this was fucking awesome. I'm a guy that can't stomach indy stand-off "we're equal"/parity spots, but the stand-offs at the start of this actively ruled. They work some bossy lucha sequences early, and there's a bit where Tajiri counters a wheelbarrow German suplex with an armdrag, which would've been a pretty hard spot to pull off clean, but it looked absolutely perfect. Then they sort of tease a roll up exchange, which is another spot I'm well and truly fed up with, but Tajiri puts a twist on it by just dropping down and headbutting Psicosis right in the dick. Watching this Tajiri stuff lately, I'm getting the sense he's a guy that has a TON of shit he can roll out to keep otherwise rubbish stock spots interesting. I'm convinced he's also one of the best "low blow" guys in history, because I've watched a good deal of Tajiri footage over the last few weeks and he has a million different ways to hit someone in the balls. There's the headbutt out of the pinning combo, he ties Psicosis up in a tree of woe and stomps him in the nads, and he counters a flying bodyscissors by front kicking him right in the plums, which looked like it had to totally SUCK. Second half of the match kind of teetered into my turn/your turn territory at points, but Psicosis almost kills himself with a motherfucking insane tope, Tajiri throws amazing kicks, and there's generally enough good shit to keep things rolling nicely. Tajiri's kick flurry at the end looked outrageous. The spinning back kick...God that shit was nasty. Great match.

Tajiri & Mikey Whipwreck v Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke (ECW, 8/25/00)

Pretty much all I could want in a sub-10 minute tag. This was so much fun. Hammerstein crowd is MOLTEN and love Tajiri long time. Early exchanges between Tajiri and Guido rock as usual, and Tajiri continues to make stand-off spots not annoying. I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm a mark for the guy, but I hate indy stand-offs and whenever Tajiri does them they don't seem to bother me at all. Maybe it's because they don't feel forced or like they're being rolled out just for the pop...whatever, I'm not complaining about not being annoyed by stuff that usually annoys me. Mamaluke bumps around wildly and will fearlessly get kicked RIGHT in the fucking face. Seriously, there's one spinning back kick from Tajiri that I must've replayed at least 20 times. Looked ridiculous. Mamaluke takes that and then does a sort of Ted DiBiase bump where he flips over on his neck really fast, and yeah, you can kind of see why doing that shit for 10 years landed DiBiase with a wasted neck. Tajiri and Mikey also give him a double dropkick that must've hurt like a total motherfucker. I'm surprised his brains didn't squirt out his nose. Still, Tony gets his payback later when he breaks up the Tarantula by punting Tajiri in the head so hard it looked like it broke his skull. Mikey playing FIP for a spell adds the southern-ness, and I'm a happy camper. Tajiri really looks like one of the absolute best wrestlers in the world at this point.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Best Time Yet, Still 7.0. Rey's Swift Flow Made the Cameramen's Clothes Blow

Rey Mysterio v Tajiri (Smackdown!, 9/4/03)

I have no idea how, but these guys do an indy stand-off spot in the first minute of this and it never annoyed me one bit. Didn't look or feel cheesy at all. I'm stumped. That alone makes this worthwhile, but everything else ruled it as well, which is a pretty fucking great kind of bonus. Really, this was a super nifty sub-10 minute TV match. Rey hits an absolute corker of a plancha that looked totally Santo-esque. Story of the match seems to be "Rey flies around like a bumble bee and is borderline ungroundable. Tajiri rifles him with kicks and tries to ground him, anyway." It's a cool story -- Rey is a great bumble bee and Tajiri is great at rifling kicks. Great transition spot where Rey goes for a springboard and Tajiri just breaks his chin with a kick. Wasn't like that spot where Shelton Benjamin springboards all the way across the ring and Shawn Michaels hits the superkick. Tajiri was standing pretty close to Rey and wings the kick upwards just as Rey leaps onto the ropes. He basically did the splits standing up so he could connect. It ruled. Tajiri works the arm for most of this and it always remains a theme. Rey isn't in-your-face about it with the selling, but he'll grab it from time to time and never drops it completely (he sells it after the plancha, for example). Tajiri's kicks are pretty much all directed at the arm and shoulder, he busts out this cool rolling armbar thing down the stretch, and they tease doing something big off the top towards the end when Tajiri grabs Rey's arm and Rey has to fight him off. Cool finish and post-match turn as well. And did I mention they work an indy stand-off spot that WASN'T shitty? Because yeah, they did that.

Rey Mysterio v Tajiri (Smackdown!, 9/25/03)

This probably doesn't have as much "cool shit" as the first match, but it's structured better and the clear heel/face dynamic helps it. First match was super nifty; this is super...super. Feels like a more complete match, I guess. The early exchanges all look nice and slick. These guys are speedy, and their sequences reflect that. Then Tajiri takes over by catching Rey coming off the top by drilling him in the ribs with a kick, and the body of the match is made up of Tajiri working the midsection. There's a great bodyscissors spot in the middle where Tajiri looks like he's trying to squeeze the life out of Rey and keeps trying to force his shoulders to the mat, then they start chopping and slapping each other really hard while the hold is still applied. So Tajiri is great at working a bodyscissors and Mysterio is great at being IN a bodyscissors -- that's yet another thing these guys do well. Pretty trite to say Tajiri has great kicks, since I've already said it in every match of his I've talked about, but still, Tajiri has great kicks. Punts Rey right in the liver at one point and it sounded like a shotgun blast (Rey sells it like one, too). Finish is GREAT. Early in the match there's a bit where Tajiri is gearing up to spit the green mist, but Rey spots it and kicks him in the face so hard that it knocks the mist out of his mouth before he can spit it. Tajiri's game plan goes down the shitter. What can he do without the GREEN MIST? Down the stretch Tajiri winds up KOing the ref' with an accidental kick, so the new ref' comes in and tries to juggle calling the match and checking on the first ref' to see if he's still alive and shit. For the finish, Rey finally manages to hit the springboard hurricanrana (which won him the first match), but the current ref' is distracted by ref' number one, so Tajiri spits RED mist up at Rey to break the pin. Rey's blinded so Tajiri kills him dead with the Buzzsaw Kick. Tajiri countering the counter to the green mist by spitting a different colour of mist is really awesome for no reason at all. This match is really awesome for plenty of reasons (mist included).

Rey Project

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Tajiri Puts the 'Tajiri' in 'Hardcore'

Tajiri v Steve Corino (ECW Hardcore Heaven, 5/14/00)

I didn't think this was on the level of the Tajiri/Crazy Mexican Death Match or the Tajiri/Crazy/Guido triple threat that I talked about at the weekend, but it was still pretty fucking choice. Corino cuts a promo before the match telling Tajiri he'll forgive him (Tajiri's turned babyface on Corino and The Network) if he clears the rocks out of his Jap brain. Calls him a slant-eyed bastard. Tajiri grins and interrupts him by roundhouse kicking him in the ear. Both guys were great in this. Tajiri might be a babyface now, but he's still a psychopath. Only now, instead of brutalising babyfaces, he brutalises shitheads. He does the spot where he kicks the edge of a table into his opponent's face again, and Corino already being split open huge made it seem even nuttier. Oh and the brainbuster on the ramp that led to the blade job in the first place looked fucking NASTY. Corino bleeds a whole lot. His blonde hair is blood-red by the end and he leaves puddles of blood everywhere. At one point he's in a tree of woe position for about 30 seconds, and when he moves away there's a giant blood stain where his head was. Final couple minutes were awesome. Tajiri has Corino in an octopus stretch in the middle of the ring, so Jack Victory comes in and we're ready for the shenanigans to REALLY start, but as Victory hits the ropes and goes to break up the octopus, Tajiri mists him out of nowhere. I wasn't expecting it at all and it looked great. Then Tajiri just goes apeshit and fucking mauls Corino with a flurry of kicks and punches. MAULS him. Corino's head winds up resting on the table, so Tajiri blasts him with one final kick, lays him across the table and crushes his lungs with a top rope double stomp through it (the table breaks into a hundred pieces and it looked AWESOME). Any less cunty a heel and you could see such a vicious Tajiri ass stomping almost making you feel sorry for them. Luckily, Corino's a pretty great grade A cunt. So you think, "Yeah, that douchebag totally deserved that."

Sunday, 15 April 2012

So April is TAJIRI Month!

Tajiri v Super Crazy (Mexican Death Match) (ECW on TNN 1/15/00)

Yeah, this was bad ass. Tajiri is on a totally different level here. Fucking ruled it. Spits on people, mocks Crazy in genuinely funny ways, throws amazing looking kicks, the whole nine. Total psycho. He does this thing where he tries to slide a chair across a table and belt Crazy in the mouth with it. Think skimming a stone across a river. Well, Crazy ducks and the chair flies into the crowd and almost decapitates some poor motherfucker. Crazy probably comes back from the early beating a bit too easily -- he seems more "fresh" than he really should. Still, that's the only thing I'd point to as a "complaint," because everything else he did was nutty and hit pretty much perfectly. Moonsault off the bleachers through the table was an awesome spot. Tarantula spot was also fucking awesome. I honestly didn't see it coming despite the fact you can usually tell when it's on its way. I mean, I don't even mind the fact it's generally a contrived spot, but it's way cool when it pops up in a totally surprising fashion with a nifty set up like this. Favourite spot of the match might've been Tajiri grabbing a pair of pliers and sticking them in Crazy's mouth like he's trying to yank his teeth out. That was fucking AWESOME. Don't remember anybody ever doing that before. It's a great twist on the "stab opponent in the forehead with foreign object" bit. Final sequence with the mist and powerbomb through the table looked great and super-impactful. They set up tables, so you know there's some table spot coming, but they managed to pull if off in a way that still came off as a quick thinking reversal of sorts. You know SOMETHING is coming, just not when, then when it does you're not left thinking you saw it a mile off. Ridiculously enjoyable match, and maybe my US MOTY.

Tajiri v Little Guido (ECW on TNN, 3/24/00)

Well fuck my face. For a six/seven minute TV match, this was fantastic. I've watched this three times in the last two days and I honestly couldn't ask for anything more. Some awesome spots in this. Tajiri is just out of this world great again and wings brutal looking kicks. He dropkicks Guido in the stones to counter a leapfrog in the first 20 seconds and YOU are instantly hooked. He props Guido in the corner in a tree of woe position and sits a chair in front of his face, and I expected him to do the baseball slide dropkick spot, but instead he just stomps the chair straight in his face. It looked nasty as all fuck. Hell, Tajiri MISSING chair shots even looks nuts. He doesn't swing the chair, he just recklessly launches the thing across the ring and you can buy it taking Guido's head off had it connected. Loved the table spot here, too. Sal interferes and Tajiri winds up on the table. Guido gets up on Sal's shoulders, but Tajiri pops up, stands on the table and mists Sal in the face, and as Guido falls off his shoulders Tajiri hits a face buster on the edge of the table. Then he gives him a suplex/brainbuster across it and it the table doesn't break. Guido landed like it dislocated every disc in his spine. Pretty sure I need to watch every single thing Tajiri ever did in ECW.

Tajiri v Super Crazy v Little Guido (ECW on TNN, 4/8/00)

Man, this ruled as well (and it happened on my birthday!). I don't want to take anything away from Crazy and Guido, because those guys killed it here, but this feels like a Tajiri show. And you want every second of it. He's a complete maniac in this, hurling insane kicks, killing dudes with all sorts of nasty shit, stabbing folks with a crowbar, etc...generally coming across as an unfuckwithable little psychopath. Brutal spot where he sets Guido up on the apron and dropkicks the edge of a table right into his face. He stands tall in the middle of the ring with all this carnage around him - that he's caused - and the crowd just totally lose it for him. Great fucking moment. I don't really like triple threats since it usually requires one guy to sit at the side for a while doing nothing, but Sal's interference in this helped offset that. Plus he's involved in one of the best spots of the match. He stands on the apron holding a chair so Guido can whip him into it, but as Tajiri hits the ropes he does the handspring elbow, dropkicking the chair into Sal's face on the handspring part, and Sal takes a big fatty bump through the table on the floor. Hell of a finish as well. Really, this was great. Wouldn't put it on the level of the Tajiri/Crazy Mexican Death Match, but I don't think it's terribly far behind it.

Tajiri. I love that crazy little motherfucker.