Hiroshi Tanahashi v Zack Sabre Jr. (New Japan, 3/21/18)
Yeah, this was alright. It was long as fuck but they never really lost me at any point. I mean, it had a few ropey forearm exchanges and the striking generally wasn't amazing, but this is 2018 and it is what it is. I've only seen Sabre a few times, but his tricky submissions are usually pretty fun and more than that he'll just dig his fist or elbow into a body part to manipulate joints. Tanahashi going to the headlock early on to keep from being tied in knots was decent stuff, even if he doesn't exactly have a Finlay level headlock. The armwork from Sabre was cool and whether it was intentional or just another case of Tanahashi having crummy forearms, the shots thrown with the bad arm coming off as lame as they did actually worked. The progression from the armwork into the legwork was organic enough as well. Tanahashi's dragon screws were the best part of this. The first one felt like it was out of desperation, then the one where Sabre was already on the mat was maybe my favourite spot of the match. They brought it up again later as Sabre was dickishly kicking him in the arm, sort of daring him to grab the leg and try another dragon screw, then when he did Sabre just lunged on him and dragged him into a triangle. It also came up towards the end when Sabre reversed it again into a cradle, and from that point it felt like Tanahashi absolutely couldn't go back to it because Sabre had it so well scouted. Finish itself was pretty great. Long New Japan main events aren't my bag, but I liked this fine.
Satanico v Hechicero (Lucha Memes, 2/5/18)
I have no clue how Satanico does it. He's nearly sixty now but he honestly doesn't move much differently than he did twenty years ago. It's sort of staggering. Sometimes when the legends are in there with the younger guys (and bare in mind Satanico is pretty much a pensioner) you can tell the latter need to slow it down a little, maybe work at three quarter speed. They have to scale it back a bit, or sell for stuff they maybe wouldn't sell for if it was a peer. You never really get that with Satanico. There were no elements of Hechicero having to sell for old man Baba's ropey chops or pare his own performance back so ninety year old Rusher Kimura wouldn't be killed. It's not a knock on Baba or Kimura, it's something you expect. They're wrestlers, of course they're going to be broken down and losing a step by the time they're sixty. And yet with Satanico you hardly see it. When he launched Hechicero face first into the post and flung him into the seats and then smacked him with one of those seats it didn't look like the younger guy giving the legend a little extra. It didn't look like Hechicero paying homage. It looked like Satanico, one of the best to ever do it, still being the biggest badass on the block. And I have no clue how he does it.