Thursday, 28 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #10

Mitsuharu Misawa v Jun Akiyama (All Japan, 2/27/00)

This was pretty tremendous, and might be the best singles match of Akiyama's career. He winds up on the back foot early and eats a few teeth-loosening elbows, and Misawa pretty much reminds everybody that he's The Man and won't be beaten by the ex-partner who he had to bail out of a hundred shitkickings at the hands of Kawada and Taue. But then Misawa charges him on the floor and Akiyama hits a drop toe hold, and Misawa goes flying into the railing with a bump that looked like it could've either broken his trachea or lopped his head off. Akiyama more or less works on top for the rest of the match, and he's just awesome as the student that's determined to beat the teacher. All of the neck work is great. The most recent Akiyama match I watched was from 2010 or some shit, but he looked like a killer in that match working dudes over and taking apart body parts. He's ten years younger in this and isn't working as grizzled vet, but the neck work is just as good. Misawa is about as surly as I've ever seen him here. He regains control briefly in the middle of the match by backing Akiyama into the corner and fucking drilling him with a back elbow, then he kind of climbs the ropes and hits a dropkick right to his face. He also hits a kneedrop that even Stan Hansen would cringe at (and it busts Akiyama's nose open), and all of his forearm smashes look extra brutal. When Akiyama takes over again, it really feels like he's out here to prove a point. Misawa has been in deep shit before, but Akiyama's watched all those tapes where Kawada and Kobashi and Taue had him where they wanted him only to wind up losing, and he isn't about to make the same mistakes. Whole finishing run is terrific. Some of Misawa's selling is just off the charts great. He pops up from one Exploder and tries to hit a running elbow, but Akiyama catches him and hits another Exploder. He tries to pop up from that as well, but he gets halfway vertical before falling back in a heap. I have no interest in watching dudes get all FIGHTING SPIRIT and screaming and roaring and popping up from getting suplexed on their neck, but Misawa is a guy (one of the only guys) that can make that spot work, like it was a total surge of adrenaline and nothing more. He also sells a tombstone like it gave him nerve damage. Finish feels like a fucking finish, and this was just a Hell of a match.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #9

Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi v Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi (All Japan, 1/7/94)

Kind of "low key" if you're comparing this to other All Japan tags of the era, in that it's missing the big finishing run and doesn't really escalate the way lots of Misawa v Kawada tags do, but for "low key," this was pretty great. Kobashi eats a nasty backdrop (right on his neck) early on and has to basically lie on the floor for the next ten minutes trying to recover, so from there Kawada and Fuchi focus entirely on Misawa. Kobashi will manage to climb back up onto the apron from time to time, but then Fuchi or Kawada will kick him in the face and he'll be back on the floor again. When he eventually does manage to get back into it, he's still groggy and can't really string anything together, so before long he's being worked over inside the ring. Still, Misawa is Misawa, and you know it's only going to be a matter of time before he puts a stop to an opponent's momentum. Great bit where he decides he's had enough of Kawada's shit and just boots him in the knee (which is even better if you know the history of Kawada's knee injuries). Kobashi hangs tough down the stretch and even gets the win for his team, but you get the sense the heat for the nearfalls on him would've been better if anybody actually bought Fuchi being able to pin him at this point. Match kind of feels like an appetiser for what's to come in the rest of the year, but it's a good appetiser.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #8

Daisuke Ikeda & Takahiro Oba v Makoto Hashi & Kengo Mashimo (FUTEN, 10/24/10)

This shit right here. You know you're watching FUTEN when the pre-match fun and games has someone getting kicked directly in the throat. Then the bell rings and ohhhhhh fuck is this just an absolute slaughterhouse of a wrestling match. So many moments of truly harrowing violence. So many. There were times where someone would be on their hands and knees trying to get up, and Ikeda would be hovering around and I'd be thinking "oh Christ he's gonna punt him in the face" and then BAM he punts him in the face. Ikeda v Hashi is really the story here. I mean, everybody is bringing the violence and hurling crazy shots, but it's Ikeda and Hashi that take it to another level entirely. They get pretty chippy with each other early, with Ikeda coming in to break up Hashi submissions by kicking him in the neck really really really hard. When they first wind up squaring off Ikeda starts throwing headbutts, but you won't beat Hashi in a headbutt contest and Hashi just murders him with headbutts. Disgusting headbutts. You've never seen anything like this. No, really, I'm telling you. Ikeda keeps coming back and trying to win at this game, but he loses every time. He's just too stubborn to give a fuck. Last ten minutes are everything you expect and more out of a big time FUTEN stretch run. Hashi assumes the Ishikawa role and so he and Ikeda proceed to beat the absolute living fucking dogshit out of each other. The heabutts come into play again, and there's a few gruesome close-up camera shots of a half-dead Ikeda's opened up forehead. Hashi's head was probably split as well, but I couldn't tell for sure whether it was his own blood or Ikeda's. Ikeda tries to tag out, but Oba slaps him and tells him to get back in there and fight. "This is YOUR house, motherfucker!" And so Ikeda gets back in there and fights. And fights, and fights, and fights. Won't stay down no matter how often his brains get rattled. He won't win a headbutt battle, but he'll kick your liver through your ribcage. And if you thought the headbutts were nasty, wait until you see the kicks. The final kick...there are no words. This shit right here.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Boozehound Watching Something Random #7

Negro Casas v El Hijo del Santo (UWA, 1/5/92)

Man, this fucking rocked. I never even knew it was clipped up, either. I just assumed they went out and had a compact sub-20 minute match, but apparently the whole thing went 45 minutes (I'm assuming the full version doesn't exist, because if it did I imagine Goodhelmet would've comp'd that shit already). Either way, what we get is great. All of the matwork ruled; they got real niggly and you could see both guys getting pissier as things progressed. It all kind of comes to the boil when they start slapping each other across the face, and Casas does this amazing stagger back sell of a slap that lands him on his rump. His whole "okay, we're cool now, can we go back to grappling again?" bit afterwards was Casas being Casas. Of course, when he gets his chance to take a return shot, he takes a fucking return shot. I'm not entirely sure what the actual finish was since we get no sound (double count out, maybe), but fuck me does El Hijo del Santo have a great tope. Both guys crashing into and over the barricade looked pretty damn nasty as well. Santo/Casas might just be the best match-up in wrestling history, and this is another great instalment. If only we had it in full...

Friday, 22 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #6

Steven Regal v Psicosis (Nitro, 12/16/96)

Aside from Bischoff and DiBiase sucking a fat one on commentary (they're truly awful, never shutting up about Hogan and Piper and the nWo), this was aaawesome and definitely one of the best Nitro matches I've ever seen. Regal was fucking kingsized in this. His arm work at the start looked as nasty as you want Steven Regal arm work to look (Psicosis sells it like a boss during his comeback as well), he gives Psicosis a ton of offence (watching a truckload of Regal in WCW footage a couple years ago I thought he tended to smother some opponents a bit, but there was none of that going on here), and his selling when he takes back over is pretty much perfect. Psicosis hits a crazy guillotine legdrop where he basically lands with his entire body weight on Regal's face, and Regal spends the rest of the match looking like he's trying to shift his jaw back into place (that might not actually have been him selling). He stumbles around like he's been completely battered, and my favourite part of the whole match might be him selling his own hand when he cracks Psicosis with a few brutal looking palm strikes. Crowd totally ruled here, too. They're just all over Regal and everything Psicosis does gets a big reaction. They absolutely lose it when he hits his plancha, and DiBiase even stops rabbiting on about whatever for a second to point out that a Psicosis plancha looks fucking badass. When Regal takes back over he's even surlier than before, and reels off a killer punch combo in the corner down the stretch. The counter to the hurricanrana leading to the finish bounced Psicosis' head off the mat like a basketball, and god damn if that wasn't the hurtiest looking Regal Stretch you've ever seen. This is what you want in a TV match.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #5

Shinsuke Nakamura v Kazushi Sakuraba (New Japan, 1/4/13)

I've been so out of the loop with Japanese wrestling that I didn't even realise until a couple weeks ago that Sakuraba was actually back wrestling. Didn't realise until a few days ago that he'd been back since Spetember last year. And Shibata's back as well? Sheeeeit. Obliviousness aside, this was badass. Think it only goes about 12 minutes, so it's compact and doesn't have a bunch of fluff, and everything they do in the time they get looks great. Some of the strikes in this were fucking nuts. Nakamura shoots in for a takedown and Sakuraba just decapitates him with a knee. Nakamura is a guy that would always take a knee in the face like a trooper, but this was repulsive. Sakuraba doing a jumping double stomp on Nakamura's FACE was filthy as well, and Nakamura's return knees - one to the back of Sakuraba's head, which was almost Ikeda/Ono level crazy, one from a standing position while Sakuraba was flat on the mat, and the running knee at the end - all looked appropriately brutal in return. Sakuraba looked lethal on the ground as well. They didn't really do any matwork, but Sakuraba would just relentlessly go after kimuras and chokes. There's one bit where Nakamura blocks a German suplex, so Sakuraba just climbs over him and rolls into a cross-armbreaker. Wasn't just a one man show, though; Nakamura really brought it, too. He was a bit goofy early on with his shtick, but it was a good kind of goofy. Didn't feel totally out of place or anything. Then when shit got real he was great at playing the guy who's outmatched by the shooter, but won't stop coming forward and will always be down to scrap. Last few minutes are pretty much off the charts great. In terms of "pro-wrestler v shooter" matches I didn't think this was touching Cena/Lesnar, but that's a really high bar...and I didn't think it was a huge way off, either. I probably won't watch more than ten matches from this year (if that), but I'd be shocked if I watched a hundred and found ten that I like more.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #4

Jeff Jarrett & Jerry Lawler v The Moondogs (Concession Stand Brawl) (USWA, 1/17/92)

Well this was just wild and out of control and awesome and everything you want in a Memphis concession stand brawl. There's plunder constantly being thrown into view from off camera, and everybody is recklessly chucking everything they can pick up, from garbage cans to bottles to brooms to broken vending machines. By the end it looks like a hurricane tore through the building. Lawler hurls a broom like a javelin and it would've nailed Moondog Spot's head to the wall if it was six inches lower. He throws a can of coke straight at Spike's face from about a foot away, tries to drown him in a sink, and then launches a glass at his head from even closer range than the coke can. Spike moves at the last second and the glass shatters everywhere, and it looked like Lawler might've had his hand cut open by a piece of it. And while we're at it, Jarrett ends up with a few nasty looking cuts on his back and shoulder. Moondogs wind up with nasty looking cuts on their forehead, naturally. In amongst all the blood and piss and carnage there's this one bit of Lawler selling where a Moondog cracks him with a punch, and he pulls this amazing cross-eyed face like his molar just got knocked out. I love these kind of out of control bar fights, and this was one of the crazier ones I've seen. Great stuff.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #3

123 Kid & Bob Holly v Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka (WWF Royal Rumble, 1/22/95)

This was real good. I had pretty much no recollection of it (other than the post-match with Bam Bam and LT) and probably hadn't seen it in about ten years, but the Bam Bam/Kid match from Action Zone a couple weeks before it had me psyched to see what they'd do together in this. Probably isn't a surprise, but they were the stars of this and everything they did ruled. There's one bit where Bigelow catches Kid running off the ropes and flings him about 12 feet in the air, and as Kid come back down he takes Bam Bam over with a hurricanrana (and lands all awkward on his own neck). Kid will always wing really nasty and reckless looking kicks, and Bam Bam took every one of them square in the snout. Tatanka was sort of crowbar-y in this, lighting Holly up with chops that had to suck being on the receiving end of (bit of a role reversal for Holly, I guess), clubbing Kid in the side of the head with a brutal looking overhand chop thing, and at one point he elbow drops Holly right in the cheekbone. Holly's stint as FIP was nifty as well -- the crowd were pretty rubbish and barely chirped the whole match, but if you stuck this exact match in the Greensboro Coliseum the crowd would be rocking like it was Morton in there (well...okay, maybe not Morton. Gibson, maybe). His bump over the top rope that leads to him being worked over is also right up there with any nutso 'guy hits ropes really fast and flies over the top as someone on the floor pulls the top rope down' bump you'll see. I actually dig the finish as well, and at least the pop for that is what you'd want. As far as matches with two beefy guys chucking around two smaller guys go, this wasn't quite fucking with Rockers v Powers of Pain or Faces of Fear v Eddy & Jericho, but it's probably one of the top 10 WWF matches of the year.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #2

Dick Murdoch v Antonio Inoki (New Japan, 6/19/86)

I'll be straight with you; I watched this when I woke up this morning and my head is kind of pickled because I think I was/am still drunk as shit, so I'm probably forgetting some stuff about this. What I'm not forgetting is that this match fucking ruled. I loved Murdoch's arm work here, and Inoki sold it like a boss. It never really had a true payoff in the end, but Inoki never let you forget that his arm had been twisted and pulled at, constantly shaking it and stretching it out. Murdoch would go back to it a bunch as well, and everything he was busting out looked super nasty. There were a few armbars in particular that bent the arm in all sorts of weird angles, and at one point Murdoch just kneedrops him right in the armpit. The punches in this were fucking awesome as well. Inoki tries to kick Murdoch in the stomach, so Dick catches the leg and just cracks him square in the nose with a straight right. I'm talking "might be the best worked punch I've ever seen" levels. There's a bit where Murdoch has Inoki on the mat and Inoki shoots him this amazing "fuck you" look and starts jabbing him in the face with his free hand, so Murdoch jabs him back and tries to rip out his eyeballs. I also don't think I could ever get tired of watching Dick Murdoch stumble around the place all jelly-legged. He gets hurled into the ring post and his sell of it is just out of this world, falling into the barricade all reckless and dead on his feet. There's one enziguri sell that is goofy as fuck, but if I have to watch someone take daft flip bumps off of enziguris, I want Dick Murdoch be that guy. Ref' fucks up the finish and the crowd get a bit confused at the end, but whatever, this was killer and I wasn't smoking crack when I ranked this #12 on the New Japan set way back when.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Boozehound Watches Something Random #1

So there isn't really any kind of wrestling (style, promotion, era, whatever) that I'm latching onto right now and just kind of want to randomly pick out a disc from the six million I have here and watch something from it. So for the next while I'm gonna do that.

Terry Funk v Tommy Rich (ECW, 2/1/97)

Crowd HATES Rich. HATES him. Seriously, this is as much visceral hatred as I've ever seen from an ECW crowd. He's a heel, acts like a heel, and gets rabid, honest to goodness heel heat for it. He points to some black guy in the crowd and tells him to come down and shine his shoes, then he leans against the ropes and spits a huge gob of phlegm behind him into the crowd. Funk comes out to 'Desperado' and this match is already 6 stars. Crowd start a massive "YOU FAT FUCK" chant at Rich so Tommy runs into the crowd and picks a fight with some skinny dude. Funk runs after him, spins him around and punches him in the head, and Tommy is cut open approximately 15 seconds after the bell rings. Awesome. Match is basically split into two halves. First half is Funk in control, then the second half is Rich in control after he takes over with a great punch flurry. There's really only two actual momentum shifts in the entire match; the first being the transition to Rich on offence, the second being the transition right at the end before the finish. They both throw punches and hit each other with chairs. Whoever is working from the bottom stumbles around and bleeds like a drunk old man starting fights outside Ibrox. When Rich is in control he looks like a genuine psychopath with the face covered in blood and the hair all mussed and the spitting everywhere. Honestly, this was like the absolute best possible version of a crazy old man fight on youtube. Post-match Funk boots Rich in the stones and runs around the ring while 'Desperado' plays again. These guys are the greatest.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Idiot Wind, Blowing Every Time You Move Your Mouth, Blowing Down the Backroads Headin' to Mid-South

The Fantastics v Dr. Death & Jake Roberts (4/14/85)

Man, Roberts was such an awesome scumbag in this. Right at the start he's slinking around the ring on his knees as the Fantastics go around ringside kissing fans, and it looks like he kind of intimates that he's going to skullfuck Tommy Rogers. He's a guy that always adds a bunch of great little touches to his matches, and his taunting of Rogers throughout the whole match (especially when Fulton is in playing FIP) rules. And on that note, this is about as good as I've ever seen Bobby Fulton look as a face in peril. I usually come down with a dose of the sadface whenever I'm watching a Fantastics match and Tommy Rogers ends up on apron duty, because Tommy Rogers is a fucking amazing FIP and "playing Tommy Rogers" should totally be as prominent a phrase in smark lingo as "playing Ricky Morton," but Fulton nailed it here. Nifty hope spots (there's one bit where he's trying to get to the corner and Jake keeps pulling him back by the trunks, and the women in the crowd triple the decibel level when they see Bobby Fulton's bare ass), always trying to fight back (but not excessively so to the point where the heels can't really string anything together long enough to get the heat right up there, which is something Fulton would do from time to time), and bumping around like you want out of someone playing Tommy Rogers (this needs to be a thing). Doc is more pinbally than steamrollery here, but he'll still pick a guy up and chuck him around, so I can't complain. Finish is boss. Rogers comes in off the hot tag and shit gets crazy, and as the ref' is trying to get Fulton out of the ring Rogers rolls up Doc, so Jake sneaks in fucking kills him with the DDT. Rogers kind of spasms after it like it broke his neck and spine and sternum. This was badass.

Mid-South Project

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Well He'd Been Hearing Too Many Voices and Feelin' a Little Off-Track, Like There was Something Big Pressing Down on His Back, So He Called up His Friends and They Said, 'Come on Out to Mid-South, it's a Place Where a Man Can Really Feel His Success'

Ric Flair v Terry Taylor (4/28/85)

Well this was fucking great. Before watching this today, I don't think I'd watched a Flair match in about a year. I was just really burned out on him, and after my 467th time watching him and Ricky Steamboat wrestle, I knew it was time to take a break from him. I mean, that's not so much a criticism of Ric Flair. You're only going to be able to watch something so often before you start to get sick of it. I think I got sick of Flair because I'd seen so much of him. I didn't want to watch him wrestle Steamboat or Luger or Kerry Von Erich, because I'd seen it all a bunch of times, and most importantly I'd seen it all fairly recently. I wanted to watch guys I hadn't seen six million matches of. I wanted to watch Koko Ware and Buzz Sawyer and Yoji Anjoh. So I put Flair to the side and watched those guys. A year later...well, I don't really want to go back and watch the Flair/Steamboat matches again just yet. A year isn't THAT long. But if you give me some "fresh" Flair, I don't think I'll have any problem watching a bunch of it. I've seen all the Flair matches on this set, but that was like 5 years ago or some shit, so that kind of counts as "fresh," right? And it's not like I've seen 800 Ric Flair v Terry Taylor matches, anyway. This starts out with Flair offering a handshake and playing by the rules. He's a good sport, Flair. Just gets a bad rap. It's all pretty basic stuff in the first third, but it's a Flair match so you know he'll always keep it moving in one way or another. You can just see him getting more and more wound up at Taylor being in control, telling the ref' to break things the very second Flair reaches the ropes and rolling out to take a breather. He catches Terry coming off the ropes by chucking him to the floor, and as he's holding the ropes open for him to get back in he just drops the nice guy bullshit and starts putting the boots to him. I love it when Flair just goes at someone like a wild animal, choking them, stomping them, chopping them to shreds, etc. There's a great moment where he has Terry in an armbar and Taylor starts punching his way out of it. He has Flair backed up in the corner, but as he goes to throw one more big shot Karl Fergie grabs his arm to stop him short and Flair just kicks him right in the dick. This is also about as well-protected as I've seen the figure-four as a Flair finisher (I actually don't think Flair in general was ever handled as well as he was with Watts). Flair doesn't really go after Terry's leg until the last few minutes, but Taylor fights like a trooper to keep him from putting it on. Then Taylor winds up getting the leg tangled up in the ropes and Flair starts stomping him in the kneecap. Taylor manages to reel off a desperation atomic drop, but he uses the bum leg and does as much damage to himself. Flair sees it and pounces, and Fergie has no choice but to stop the match. It's a great finish, and one of the only Flair matches that I remember where it's the figure-four that ends it. I honestly wasn't sure how much I was going to like this. I know I liked it a lot when I first saw it, but at that point I hadn't been sick of Flair for a while. It totally held up, though (and gives me confidence that the other Flair matches on the set that I liked a few years ago will hold up, too), and Flair going from good sport at the beginning to begging off, cheating asshole at the end reminded me why I thought so highly of him for years. This is fucking with the Reed/Neidhart v TA/II cage match as the best thing I've re-watched so far, and I'm stoked for the other two matches in the series (I might even get to them this year!).

Mid-South Project

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Sun Keeps Shinin' and the Mid-South Wind Keeps Pickin' Up Speed, Gonna Forget About Myself For a While, Go Out and See What Others Need

Ted DiBiase v Hacksaw Duggan (No DQ) (3/8/85)

Well fuck me. Is this one of the best sun-ten minute matches ever? I think it is, you know. Really, this has pretty much everything I want in an 8 minute brawl -- molten crowd heat, great selling, GREAT punches, multiple Ted DiBiase fist drops, buckets of blood; the whole nine. Duggan was really incredible here. He bleeds like a motherfucker, stumbles around with a kind of Terry Funk-ish goofiness (and I mean that in the best way possible), and his timing on everything is more or less perfect. When he makes his comeback (which is a really great slow burner) the crowd just go completely fucking ballistic, like Slaughter blasting Sheik with the loaded boot levels of wild. The ref' bump that leads to the finish is a bit daft, but other than that I loved this. Wasn't as chaotic as their street fight where they're smashing each other with belt buckles and shit, and that match rules as well, but I liked this even more. Whenever I finish this re-watch project ("when", "if", whatever), I could see this landing in my top 10 (I have no recollection of where I had it the first time around).

Mid-South Project