Friday, July 3, 2015

Texas Championship Wrestling, 1990(?)

I've been lax in updating this wrestleblog, mostly because I've been sick for a while.  In fact, I've got surgery scheduled this week and, if I die on the table, I would like this review of Texas Championship Wrestling to be my legacy.

Like every other wrestling dork, I read Gary Hart's book (recommended) and became curious about some of the smaller promotions that he mentioned.  As a shot in the dark, I checked YouTube for video of the promotion that he personally ran, Texas Championship Wrestling.  And there it was!  Magic everywhere in this bitch!

Even before any wrestling happens, this thing wins my heart with its creative, last-of-the-80s graphics.  And guess who's on commentary, Bill Mercer of World Class renown!  The memories are flooding back.

Steve Austin & California Stud vs. Matt Borne & Iceman King Parsons
California Stud is Rod Price, who would go on to ECW as part of the Baldies.  Steve Austin would also go on to ECW and baldness.  Even at this baby stage of his career, Austin is the highlight of this match.  He's so energetic, hurling himself across the ring, stumbling a few steps to really drive home the intensity of shoulderblocks.  At one point, he gets a little too enthusiastic and almost flies out of the ring when he should have dived into an armbar.  He scoots back into it, but that's okay.  The match wasn't any great shakes, Austin bombast aside, and ends in a draw finish.  This is followed by a fracas, which sets up a rematch down the line.  Good planning, good thinking.

That is wrestling clap clap clap clap clap!  Watching this made me mourn for the smarkification of the devoted wrestling fan.  The crowd in these videos is as fun to watch as the matches!  Sometimes, more fun, such as...

Cowboy Terry vs. Terry Garvin
The referee looks like the grandpa from Troll II, but I'm afraid that's all the good you can say for this match.  Only lovers of lazy armwork will delight in this, as Cowboy Terry and Garvin Terry sit around in holds for lengthy stretches.  This is especially jarring because it follows Steve Austin's fireballing in the last match.  But maybe it's better this way—at one point, they try to do an elbow drop and Cowboy Terry blows it, so it's back to armbars and chinlocks.  "Get mad!" a sad fan at ringside demands.  But the only one who gets mad is the viewer who watches this.

Terry Garvin does an interview and sounds like Channing the butler from Pink Flamingos.

Then there's another interview, one with the Dragon Master, and oh my fucking god

Believe me when I tell you that this minute or so makes the entire video worth watching.

I guess this was a midway stop between WCW and WAR for Kendo Nagasaki.  But at least he got to have a pretty fun encounter in Texas:

Dragon Master vs. Terry Gordy
Texas Championship Wrestling signed all the Terrys it could and sometimes it really worked out.  Dragon Master looks way less menacing without the fright wig, but is pretty savvy at the wrestling.  Lots of mat work in this, of which I approve, and Gordy's leg becomes a big target throughout the match.  This isn't because they're keeping it simple or in danger of going off the rails, like the prior match.  This is basically wrestling as storytelling, wrestling as it should be.  Give Gordy tons of credit for knowing exactly how long to languish in pain before popping up and brawling and exciting the crowd.  The match also has a really clever finish which is foreshadowed well and leads easily to a rematch, much like the tag match earlier.  The only knock I'd have against this is that Dragon Master is prone to being stonefaced while he's doing mat work, to the point that the announcers actually mention it.  Gordy compensates with lots of grimaces and grunting, but it still takes you out of the moment when you're looking at a guy who seems bored to tears by the leglock he's applying.  Otherwise, super fun and worth seeing!

And, thanks to Internet, you can watch it now:

Saturday, May 23, 2015


There are a million paths to wrestling, such as the $9.99 one that leads to a network.  Or the one that leads to merchandise tables, where you can shake the hands of sweaty wrestlers if you buy a DVD or a picture.  But you can find a ton of stuff from smaller promotions on YouTube for free (opportunity costs don't count) and so I did.  Like so:

This is Booker T's promotion and the production values alone make it stand out a little more.  The computer graphics and pro hardware all aim to impress.  We begin with a recap of champion Mysterious Q fighting a Yokozuna-esque person whose name I could not parse.  As not-Yoko is about to drop the death blow, the announcer shrieks, "You've gotta come back next week to find out!"  And now we find out: Yoko walks away and Q is still the champion.  There's a brief mention of Harlem Heat versus The Heavenly Bodies, which sounds absolutely crazy.  And then we go into promos, as Abel Andrew Jackson says many things, most of which failed to connect with me.  I did enjoy the inclusion of "intentious" and also was happy that ROW is pronounced "row".  Hopefully, Booker T will bring in Wade Barrett to fight the entire roster and they will name it ROW versus Wade.  

The Rockstar vs. Rob Barnes
The second match in a series of five.  The Rockstar looks like a Dingo Warrior cosplayer, but Rob Barnes is from the land of dingoes.  He carries a flag and has a kangaroo on his tights to really drive the point home.  "He's not gonna waste any time in there," the announcer states as Barnes stands there idly and watches his opponent.  This was not so great.  Most of it was basic and there were times when they were blatantly halting so the other guy could catch up.  I did dig Rockstar catching Barnes on the ropes with a punch, but the match ended almost immediately after that, so no points for sticking the landing.

Alex Reigns vs. Shawn Hendrix (w/Legion)
Shawn Hendrix and crew have the most laudable entrance I've seen lately—five guys jump up on the apron sequentially.  It's effective without getting into OCD gymnastics as sometimes happens (in NXT).  This starts off appealingly physical and heated with a lot of brawling in the corners, followed by a nice standing dropkick from Hendrix.  They go outside to fight, but re-enter the ring to trade near-finishes and Reigns tries to beautifully murder Hendrix with a sweet dropkick of his own.  Reigns pretty much +1's the Go 2 Sleep with a weird variation that would make this worth seeing even if it weren't generally good.  But it is generally good!  Lots of fun.

Promo time.  The new Heavenly Bodies have New York accents?  They threaten Harlem Heat to
build up the big match.  "Dese belts are stayin' in Jersey, my friend!"  This is not what I expected.  A second promo follows, as Rob Barnes is salty about losing earlier.  "He put his hand in my crotch!" has been said by oh so many Australians throughout history.  He's consoled by a bearded man with visibly erect nipples who mostly stands there mutely throughout the entire scene.  This is another weird wrestling trope.  The bearded guy looks like a saturnine version of Mark from The Room!  Be careful, Rob Barnes, he will sleep with your future wife!!!

THEN!!!  There is a third promo, which would ordinarily get on my nerves.  But this is a promo for GUSTAVO MENDOZA!!!  Which will mean nothing to you because you didn't grow up watching the UWF in the 80s.  Hence, you did not see Gustavo Mendoza come to ringside in a splendid jacket with NUCLEAR WEAPONS written on the back, only to die at the hands of Steve Williams or Savannah Jack and others.  I really don't think this is the same dude, but bless ROW for using this name.  Apparently, they've also used a guy named Chris Adams before, so maybe Booker T grew up loving the same territories that I did?

Abel Andrew Jackson vs. Mysterious Q
Your main event!  Jackson is "assistant general manager to the general manager" and that makes me want to murder myself, but at least the announcers mock how preposterous it is.  The ref's hipster mustache is distracting.  There's a pin exchange to begin, but things settle down into a likeable middle section, with Q going for as many pins as possible and Jackson displaying as many pained faces as he can.  Jackson didn't do much for me as a talker, but it's easy to see his physical charisma in a match.  I also like how mean and basic his offense is, such as ramming a guy's head into a mat repeatedly.  There are some rough patches, as when Q sorta stumbles into Jackson while trying to attack and Jackson must take the wheel to save things.  A mixture of dodgy stuff and ace stuff, but overall worthwhile.

Another wrestler-owned promotion, Bellatrix is Saraya Knight's all-lady company based in Norwich, England.  You might have heard about Saraya lately from her appearance on Colt Cabana's podcast.  She's also wrestled stateside in Shimmer and a few other places.  The hosts of Bellatrix this time are Saraya's family, husband "Rowdy" Ricky and son Zak.  They work on a very Tim & Eric-esque virtual reality stage, of which I could not approve harder.

Destiny vs. Penelope
This fight appears to occur in a very classy banquet hall or something.  There are portraits hung everywhere, so occasionally you get an art gallery sort of feeling.  But the grimy production shears off any pretentious edge.  This is actually what I mean when I say stuff like, "Darkthrone wrestling"—it looks murky and raw.  Not like Lucha Underground, which, while great, spends tons of money to achieve that 70s grindhouse look.  Anyway!  Destiny is pretty angsty for a portly person.  She shouts a lot, punctuating every blow and thump with more yelling.  And she's mostly in charge during this match, as hometown heroine Penelope spends much of the time getting smacked around.  The first single-leg crab of the night happens here and offers a good representation of Destiny's olde-tymey heel tactics, as she repeatedly grabs the ropes for leverage.  This eventually leads to the referee issuing cards.  When he's had enough, he finally shows everyone a red card and that means Destiny loses, despite dominating the match.  Oh, England!

Chanel vs. Lady Lory
The production values get jarringly better here.   The prim ring announcer asks everyone to "be
upstanding for the national anthem", which I guess everyone expects to be a song about America beating England up or a song of German grunting or something?  Because she then says, "the British national anthem!" and Lady Lory gets mad about it.  But at least she gets to beat the hell out of Chanel for practically this entire match.  It seems like a possible mistake to have two one-sided squashy affairs in a row, but this is what happens.  Lory voraciously targets Chanel's knee, leading inexorably to the second crab of the show.  SINGLE LEG BOSTON CRAB CITY, BITCH.  They tease another disqualification ending before a surprise shift in momentum and shocking finale.  This was really one-sided until the abrupt ending.  A rematch might be interesting, though.

Sammi Baynz vs. Liberty
Sammi Baynz has the most xtreme 90s name I've ever heard.  There's a nice fierce collar and elbow
to begin.  And then there's a hair whip reversal, which was a first for me!  This opening threatens greatness, but things get shaky as the match progresses.  There's a lot of back and forth in terms of control, and some exciting moments—my fave was probably the blocked tope, which drew an all-little girl chant of "This is awesome!" (aww-some).  In general, though, I don't feel like this clicked as tightly as I would've liked and never really capitalized on the intensity presaged by the early moments.  Again, I'd be down to watch a rematch, though.

Bellatrix on Facebook (with insane people's comments)           Bellatrix Season One

Sunday, May 10, 2015

SHINE 26 4/3/2015

The WWNLive stream on my computer is too pixelated to be usable, so no screens this time.  I think I've seen one SHINE event before and, if memory serves, it came off like SHIMMER's less ambitious kid sister.  Let's see if that nebulous memory is accurate.

Shazza McKenzie vs. Miss Rachel
Miss Rachel wears a greyscale Union Jack, redolent of tears and social discomfort.  Shazza McKenzie is Australian.  They unfortunately don't mock one another's accent to kick things off and instead indulge in some pushdowns that are a little too speedily executed to be believed.  Rachel looks better when she's throwing clubbing blows and tossing Shazza into corners.  Meanwhile, the wrestling announcers annoy the fuck out of me by saying "nonplussed" when they really mean "calm or unexcited".  Note to Jim Ross, Lenny Leonard, and the rest of you people, "nonplussed" means "surprised"!  Look it up!  You can look it up while this match is happening, because there's not much that you'll miss.  If SHINE 26 were a date, this match would be the "parking the car" part of it or "deciding which socks to wear".

Andrea vs. Nikki Storm
Nikki Storm declares herself a "sexy monkey" and "the white chocolate cheesecake of sports entertainment."  Unbelievably, Storm keeps that level of high quality going once the match begins!  She displays a lot of energy and is really credible on offense, considering she's wrestling a giantess in Andrea.  Andrea outguns Storm with power moves, but there are periodic Nikki Storm comebacks, so it's not a rehash of the one-sided opening match.  Andrea looks like someone put Cheerleader Melissa and a dieting Bull Nakano into Dr. Brundle's telepods.  Outside interference leads to someone mopping the canvas with her head and this seemed more like a storyline-centered outing than an attempt at a great wrestling match.  Still, both ladies were fun and bless Nikki Storm for showing the effects of her beating while stumbling to the back.

Tessa Blanchard vs. Evie
Tessa Blanchard brings a guy named Tommy Thomas to ring-announce her and he berates the regular lady ring announcer for being a "makeshift hussy in a dress."  Cut SHINE a break, they could probably not afford a genuine hussy in a pantsuit.  Again, we see the effects of people using terms without looking them up in the dictionary first.  I'm not a wrestler, so I can't determine how green Tessa Blanchard is (you can check other wrestling expert sites for that).  But I think she's already got a good handle on being a good bad girl.  She uses basic, logical offense and is quick to slide out of the ring and throw a fit when things don't go her way.  It's impossible to dislike her when you see her race into a turnbuckle with cero miedo while Evie leapfrogs her attacks.  I like some of Evie's stuff here, like snapping her own leg into a prone Blanchard.  But there are other times where she makes bad decisions, like a too-distant top rope attack that basically leads to her scraping Blanchard's calf.  This had its rougher moments, but wasn't unenjoyable.  Tessa Blanchard wins my heart by walking out quivering while Tommy Thomas wraps her in a jacket. 

Marti Belle & Jayme Jamison vs. Solo Darling & Crazy Mary Dobson (w/Daffney)
I fear that Solo Darling is going to prove that my rule of movies also applies to wrestlers.  It's a great name, so let's see how much she disappoints me.  She's apparently like a furry or a blonde white woman version of Jun Kasai, I guess?  And don't get me started on Crazy Mary Dobson.  My complaint is pretty much the same as WWE's "crazy" women.  They never act crazy or do anything crazy.  If Crazy Mary Dobson said, "Jews started all the wars!" or "Jet fuel cain't melt steel beams!", I would kind of get it.  But she basically just wears a hockey mask and then wrestles like a normal wrestler.  Maybe she is crazy because James Dobson is her dad.  I liked Jayme Jamison dishing out some punishment, as her strikes looked really good, but then Solo Darling enters and her strikes look like she is poking people in random places.  The rule holds true.  There appears to be some genuine confusion about the ending as Dobson hits a crossbody pin while she's not legal and everyone is NONPLUSSED.  So Darling just does a rollup and they call it a day.  Later, Andrea molests a squealing Daffney as the other baddies set the table with Solo Darling.  A fan then says something about "Sweet tits".  God damn America.

Madison Eagles vs. La Rosa Negra
MADISON EAGLES!  I am almost as absurdly excited once La Rosa Negra enters the arena, as she does this ridiculous prolonged stripper entrance complete with lots of twerking.  Madison Eagles covers her own eyes and the ring announcer's eyes!  MODESTY!!  Eagles is a villain here and fails to mutilate Rosa with a fork, then gets tope-d.  The fast and furious pace will continue throughout the match, which is executed very sagely, with Eagles overpowering Rosa, who must rely on guile and quickness for her brief triumphs.  Even the slowdown sections of this are winners, as Eagles really wrenches on a chinlock and Rosa contributes with excellently anguished facial expressions.  Even when Rosa is on offense, she doesn't fail to show how worn out she is and I am pleased.  Madison Eagles is great, La Rosa Negra looks good, and this is your first good match of the night.

Saraya Knight & Su Yung vs. Leva & Jessicka Havok
Crazy Su Yung acts crazy and Saraya has pretty smashing corpsepaint.  Leva is famous for cosplaying and comes out dressed as a middle-aged suburban dad with a shirt from the 80s band The Misfits.  Saraya and Leva start off, and Saraya takes advantage of the no-DQ stip and kicks Leva right in the vag.  Don't worry, though, it doesn't hurt AT ALL, as Leva proposes a test of strength not a minute later.  Sigh, Leva Bates.  There's some brawling, some on the outside.  Havok tries for a tope, but catches her feet on the ropes.  Thankfully, no one seems to be hurt and Havok immediately compensates by locking Su Yung in a standing stretch muffler.  The action spills to the balcony and soon it's raining women, as both Su Yung and Leva end up taking falls.  Iffy selling aside, the match was moving along pretty crisply until outside interference lead to an unsatisfying end.  Su Yung's aggrieved face after winning=winning.

Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa vs. Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee
Does this match have the first collar and elbow of the night??  Surely it can't be true, but I don't want to rewind and check, so let's move on.  This was an enjoyable match that I think could have been stronger if it were shorter.  They had time to do comedy sequences: a headscissors marathon that mostly didn't work and an airplane spin marathon that only worked when Skater said (I think), "I don't like this very much!"  They had time to do two back-to-back prolonged beatdown sections, with Cherry first being Queen of Getting Beaten Up and then Nakagawa stealing her crown.  The best parts were the closing moments, when everything got more heated and physical and zany chains were cast aside for tooth-rattling brawling.  The non-finish and post-match arguing points to a rematch, even though Nakagawa is retiring soon, so maybe it happened at SHIMMER?  Or something?  As for this, fine enough, but could've been very good with some trimming.

Allysin Kay vs. Kay Lee Ray
Allysin Kay has a porcupine bra to protect her from Bill Cosby.  She also leads a group called Valkyrie and makes a sign for it with an extended pinkie, like how rich British people drink tea.  When Allysin Kay says, "She should be dead by now!", it's easily the best part of the match, so that should tell you everything.  This felt like it never got going.

Santana vs. Mia Yim
Santana is the NWA Women's champion, Mia is the SHINE champion.  The winner of this one gets both.  This did a better job at exploiting the lengthy, epic title match feel than the tag match did.  I liked how deliberate the pacing in the early stages was and how both ladies really expressed how hard they were fighting to get out of submission holds.  You could point to parts of this and say, "Oh, it's AJW karaoke night" with the "Give up!" screeches and such.  And, yeah, at times it's like a Frankenstein's monster made of Japanese wrestling clips.  But then you see how they exploit an earlier match's non-finish and tease the same thing here, only to change course splendidly.  Smart as fuck!  I've never seen Santana and I've never liked Mia Yim, so it probably says something that I walked away impressed by this and will probably watch it again.

Friday, April 24, 2015

HOODSLAM Femmed Out: Drag Me to Hell 2/6/2015

Hoodslam has a new subscription YouTube channel (right here).  $1.99/month is the key that opens the door to full shows, of which there are currently three.  Drag Me to Hell entails wrestlers dressed up as typical examples of the opposite sex for whatever reason.  Once, someone asked me if drag queens were a type of clown.  Let's see if that question get answered tonight.

THE Brian Kendrick vs. Juiced Lee
Juiced is not gender-bent, but Kendrick is wearing a crisp summer dress.  He also wears universal admiration by pulling down the straps of the dress when the fight gets serious.  Juiced Lee is apparently a villain now and I think it might work in his favor.   He still cannot resist the siren song of the ropes and slips on an attempted springboard.  There's a major WTF moment when Lee springboards into a facelock, spins around, and hits a brain buster.  Stop springboarding!  That is not the finish, btw.  Not so into this one.

Sonya Blade vs. James C vs. Jesus Kruze vs. Bratt Manuel vs. Mia Wallace vs. Brattney Wonder
This is the "Mike Awesome Tribute Suicide Six-Way Clusterfuck Challenge".  James C is out to speak and still stalls like a fucking god-king.  He confirms my suspicions that drag queens hadn't been invented in the 1920s and says, "I could drink a gallon and I wouldn't go home with you nasty slags, see?"  So Brittney Wonder cosplays as Bat Manuel and vice versa.  Jesus Kruze further muddies the sexuality waters by tossing tampons at the crowd.  Kruze is a weird fit for all this psychedelic BS, as he's mostly a Homicide-style street brawler.  It is revealing that I spend a lot of time talking about stuff that happens before Hoodslam matches, but not much about the matches themselves.  I really dug Brittney Wonder and James C as usual.  Jesus Kruze/Brittney Wonder would be delightful to see.  There's a fun moment in which Mia Wallace has an overdose and Joe Brody stabs her with a pen, which Doc Atrocity then says was "an adrenaline pen"!   They redid a lot of the stuff from the first match, such as springboards and top rope droppy moves with the victim prone, yet hanging onto the ropes and then slightly rising up.  So fuck off, first match, you're yesterday's news.  This was lots of fast-paced fun.  
Juiced Lee vs. Bratt Manuel
Wonder wins and, in doing so, wins a shot at the Golden Gig.  Gig holder Juiced Lee comes out to immediately grant her the shot.  I feel like I rip on Lee, so let's be clear that his dazed swinging after a move here is pretty glorious.  Overall, though, this was not so exciting and also very short.

Waterboy Bobby Burgerhands & Cheerleader Missy Hyasshit vs. The Stoner Brothers
An impromptu match based on tardiness in which Bobby & Missy will win the Stoners' letter jackets if they win.  If you are named Bobby Burgerhands, you are already a winner.  Fans of women being destroyed will dig this, as Missy gets splattered all around the town before making the hot tag.  At that point, the match goes into a causal loop and Burgerhands gets annihilated.  There's a section in the middle that contains single-leg Boston Crabs.  But then we get a double-team Boston Crab, which Anthony Butabi hilariously calls "a double single Boston Crab!"  I lololed.  Butabi cannot stop winning, as he also dishes the classic line "This match is for jackets!"  This had rough edges and was pretty basic, but it's hard not to be impressed by how well the structure of the match told the story.  The crowd really got behind Team Cheerburger in a way that promotions more serious than Hoodslam can't pull off these days.

The Queens of the Roxbury vs. Xena & Hercules vs. Bat Shelly & Storm vs. Poison & Cammy
Scorpion is dressed as Cammy and I'll have nightmares forever about it.  Hercules wears Uggs.  A titty-chop exchange between a Butabi and Storm leads to a "This is wrestling!" chant.  Bless!  Antonia Butabi/Scorpion-Cammy hot lesbian action, by crowd request.  If there's a Satan, he made this match.  This was ugly and not really a wrestling match, but it sure was something.  

Fucking Obese Nerdy Gamer vs. Sheik (Link dressed as Zelda dressed as Sheik)
I'm not a nerd, so I don't even know who Sheik is.  2+ hours of Hoodslam is a lot of Hoodslam and my attention is starting to falter.  At one point, Sheik pulls out a treasure chest in which he finds iron boots.  The boot motif elevates this match into a fun little outing.  Pretty dire otherwise.

Drugz Bunny vs. Pissed Off Nerdy Gamer vs. Charlie Chaplin vs. Sage Sin Supreme vs. THE Brian Kendrick vs. Cereal Girl vs. Doc Atrocity vs. Virgil Flynn III
Winner gets a shot at the Golden Gig at Entertania.  PONG is a pretty eloquent orator.  Hoodslam has really good speakers and should send its wrestlers out to address college graduations and staff training days.  "I've never lost to a video game character and that's a fucking shoot!" might be the greatest thing I've ever heard in wrestling.  The Charlie Chaplin invisible wrestler thing is not an inexhaustible well of entertainment, but both PONG and the debuting Sage Sin Supreme do as well as they can with it.  Would dig seeing Sage in a real match, hope that she comes back.  Doc Atrocity earns his spot in the Hoodslam hall of fame by using GLOW-esque mind control/telekinetic powers during the match.  But it's all about Drugz Bunny's return to the ring, as he gets a hero's welcome and ends up winning this okay match.  BUT then Juiced Lee shows up and mists Drugz.  BUT THEN James C shows up and cashes in his Dixie Carter Memorial championship opportunity on Juiced Lee, winning the Golden Gig, leading to James C vs. Drugz Bunny at Entertania!  The post-match was fucking rad.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

SENDAI GIRLS 3/11/2015

Michiko Miyagi vs. Meiko Tanaka
Let's see if opening joshi matches are still underwhelming?  Yep, they are.  An awkward dance-y/stroke-y collar & elbow is at least followed by a tight wristlock.  Miyagi impresses a bit with her pained facial expressions and AJW tribute-night rope attacks.  But there are way too many your-turn/my-turn sequences.  Dropkick swap!  Forearm swap!  Plus this match is more evidence that our era will be known as the era of following people when they hit the ropes and hitting them with moves unexpectedly.  Appropriately enough, the match ends with a rasslin' basic, the crab, of which we will see lots more to come.

Aiger & KAORU vs. Saruka Hirota & Alex Lee
They're apparently (hilariously) muting the copyright-infringing entrance music, so you get these stretches of weird silence.  Aiger has a Japanese-ghost gimmick (like Kwaidan, you know), so it would have been epic as hell if she alone entered to absolute silence.  This is my first time seeing her and my hopes are sky high.  KAORU looks to have had a rough wrestling life and is pretty grizzled here.  Comedy shenanigans bid us welcome to this match, which quickly spills out into the crowd.  Aiger and Hirota are keeping it wacky with their jocular antics, but there's a weird bout of KAORU/Lee straight wrestling amidst all of this.  I'm pretty cool to the comedy here, but I did dig Hirota's waving to the crowd while she rope-walked.  At one point, KAORU, who Hirota is wristlocking, applauds her for her balance achievements.  RIP in peace, kayfabe.  As a match, this felt like some weird lost GLOW tag that was ginned up at the last minute.  Or maybe like the wrestling version of Tommy Wiseau's "The Neighbors"?  This was strange and not enjoyable despite trying oh-so-hard to please, but it was still trainwreck interesting, I guess???

Michiko Miyagi & Ray vs. Sareee & Hikaru Shida

Michiko is picking up extra shifts at her wrestling job.  I wanted so much for Sareee to have a Bollywood gimmick, but nooo.  Her mother was apparently stabbed in the act of naming her child.  The opening is hot as hell, as Miyagi tries to steal a quick pin and Sareee forearms her to death for it.  Shida tags in and immediately reminds me of the LCO with her blatant enjoyment of dishing out punishment to opponents.  She also reminds me of Rikishi because she uses a lot of butt moves to hurt people.  And she uses a Boston crab, presumably as a callback to Miyagi's last match.  There's a strange long period in which Miyagi's in the ring, but never dominated for any great length of time.  Still, Ray comes in like a house of fire after the tag, as the tag gods demand.  Sareee might be my fave lady in this match, especially when she goes dropkick crazy, including dropkicking an opponent who's prone on the mat.  This was very good at times, but had some draggy spots and the aforementioned weird structural stuff.

Kyoko Kimura vs. Meiko Satomura

Lawl, what's the deal with the pot leaf over Kimura's boob?  Isn't that like begging for prison in Japan?  This announces its greatness right at the start, as we get intense matwork followed by Satomura's breathtakingly smooth head and arm work.  Kyoko Kimura also came to impress, as she blocks a snap mare!  This is a night of firsts.  Kimura nails a foot stomp and follows up with a stomach claw.  I am so pleased about this and I wish that wrestling would have more nerve holds and claws.  The attack on Satomura's tummy continues for a good long while, until Meiko regains the momentum with a flurry that includes a swank springboard dropkick.  This world is unjust in lots of ways, but Meiko Satomura being unknown to any wrestling fan is uniquely unjust.  Sometimes match reviews talk about cool moves and this certainly had its memorable moments (armbreaker reversal into a sleeper is my pick), but I think the overall package came together really well.  Some parts of the match might be considered boring and lots of it was a little too self-consciously epic, but I absolutely loved a lot of it and would love to see a rematch.
Hooray for disembowlements!

DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko vs. Kairi Hojo & Nanae Tanahashi
If you're not into Kairi Hojo, you can leave the blog.  This reminded me of a lower-quality AJW tag main event.  The bad girls are bad, the good girls are good, fast opening, then it slows down.  Hojo might not be an all-time great technician, but she should have her own wing in the Wrestling Charisma Hall of Fame.  Also, her Supergirl punch is better than Reigns and her elbows are far better than Punk.  She's also good at selling and proves it by wobbling around like a drunken zombie.

This probably went a bit longer than necessary, but I guess that's what you expect from a main event.  Hojo & Tanahashi were fun and Chisako & Sachiko were fine, although I would have liked a little more aggression and cheating and perhaps fewer fancy spots.  The action proceeded at a frantic pace, but it was kind of hard to care by the later stages.  I dunno, it was fine, just fine, but I wish it would have swapped places with the previous match.  Because this wasn't on the same level as Kimura/Satomura.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

CHIKARA Out on a Limb 3/7/2015

Portions of this event are part of Chikara's Challenge of the Immortals, which you can research right here.  But the opening contest is not and is instead a four corners elimination tag team affair starring

Jervis Cottonbelly & Princess Kimber Lee vs. Fire Ant & Worker Ant vs. Jakob Hammermeier & Pinkie Sanchez vs. Flex Rumblecrunch & Jaka

This is pretty pixelated for HD, but I'll assume Chikara is still working out the kinks of their in-house production.  Also, if you like commentary that sounds like it was recorded in a well, this is the show for you.  We are all delighted to see Sidney Bakabella right at the start, as he says, "You can tell it's a Crockett town because they have the ramp!"  I like Kimber Lee's waltzy entrance theme.  And I like Kimber Lee, but perhaps a little less since the whole Chris Dickinson thing.  I watch wrestling to be entertained; if I wanted xxtreme edgy violence, I would just sit at home and Google Isis videos.  But none of that impacts the Chikara universe, so let's move on.  Pinkie Sanchez is pretty grand in the early stages, doing the BDK arm thing while headlocking Fire Ant.  We go from there to the first of many Flex-murdering-KimberLee segments, which makes me uncomfortable in a stomach-churny way.  Thankfully, it mostly leads to Jervis saving the day, then running away in a manic panic.  Pinkie has Pazuzu on his knee pad; guess this is some new wrestling clique.  A fork is introduced into the fracas, but it's not used in a CZW way, so you don't have to send your kids out of the room.  This is a very rib-centric affair with both fork stabbings and tickling.  There's a brief Fire Ant/Jaka confrontation that makes me want a singles match betwixt the two.  This was pretty fun until the alligator clutch scores the first surprise win of the night.  

Argus vs. Hallowicked

This is a "magic move" match, in which every attendee gets a prize if the magic move is successfully used.  It's a kneedrop in this case and the whole concept is a pretty easy way to get fans to pay close attention to a match and stay engaged.  I'm very unsure of new evil Santa-colored Hallowicked who talks about roleplaying games or something.    Argus is a Wrestle Factory trainee and relative rookie, so this had some bumpy spots, as one might expect.  Those aside, there are some weird decisions made, such as Argus kicking out of Go to Sleepy Hollow and it being treated like no big thing.  Overall, this was okay.

Frightmare & Silver Ant vs. Icarus & Mr. Touchdown

The first match in the aforementioned Challenge of the Immortals was a solid affair.  Icarus seems way too smarmy to still be a technico, but the match was mostly about wrestling moreso than storyline.  And the wrestling was good, no matter who was in the ring!  Despite my trepidation about evil Hallowicked, I think Frightmare is going to benefit tremendously from his turn to darkness.  The dude is excellent at skulking and displaying viciousness (love those clubbing forearms to the back!).  Icarus/Frightmare would be a singles match I'd pay to see, based on this.  The pace of this was frenetic and it included lariats galore and no curtain-pulling business.  So, yes, you should see it!

Trevor Lee vs. Chuck Taylor

Lee follows Taylor for a bit, staring at his ass, which seems really weird until you figure out that he's probably reading the KENTUCKY GENTLEMAN logo imprinted there.  Super-fun momentum swapping happens until Lee gets forcibly flopped onto the ring apron.  After that, it's the Chuck Taylor show for a good long while, but Lee returns fire with strikes and punches.  This match has the move that will make this show notable, a 360-degree crossbody collision straight out of crazyland.  I've seen Trevor Lee before and wasn't incredibly impressed, but he and Taylor were on fire here.  Parts of this were holy-cow good and I'd love to see a rematch at some point.

Mr. Azerbaijan, The Proletariat Boar of Moldova, Juan Francisco de Coronado, & Prakash Sabar vs. Kodoma, Obariyon, Oleg the Usurper, & Ultramantis Black

I am weary from typing out the names of the contestants.  This is another COTI match.  Oleg was drafted onto Mantis's team despite being in the employ of king of managers Sidney Bakabella.  Bakabella's mistreatment of Oleg is the big story here, Oleg being sort of a barbarian blend of Daniel Bryan and Virgil.  But Oleg might be more popular than either as he receives a hero's welcome from the crowd.  Everyone in this match does their part, but the Oleg party overshadows all the fine dropkicks and ocean cyclone suplexes that might otherwise grab the spotlight.  Still, God bless Mr. Azerbaijan for his careless side slams.  And God bless Quack and Chikarason for talking about how video of eastern European wrestling "isn't allowed to be released to us" in North America.  And also God bless Obariyon for chopping Azerbaijan right after he pulls down the straps, convincing him to immediately pull them right back up.  But it all falls before the "TAG IN OLEG" chant, which actually works out well until Bakabella hits the ring screaming about a contract and provides enough distraction for Oleg to lose.  Another shock ending!  Good times!

Kevin Condron vs. Dasher Hatfield

Dasher tells a beautiful story about breaking an old lady's hip before the match.  Condron is announced as "forging a destiny all his own", which should be a familiar phrase to longtime Chikarans.  My fave moment of the match is probably going to be the fan walking disgustedly away from Dasher!  "I don't have a wrench on me!" swears the seed-planting Kevin Condron, who wore his most villainous shoes tonight.   
It's impossible to not hate someone with gold winged shoes.  Much of this involved stalling and Memphis-style BS such as is rarely seen in Chikara.  Condron constantly feigned mistreatment by Hatfield, reminiscent of the glory days of "lie, cheat, steal"-era Eddie Guerrero.  Condron was allegedly very sick here and threw up a few times (thankfully, not shown).  Kudos to the dude for going on there and doing his best, although that maybe explains a lot of the stalling and the chase scene through the crowd of people in obscure Iron Maiden shirts. 

You can always tell when girlfriends get dragged to things against their will.  This was not especially special for whatever reason, but I believe in Kevin Condron and I'm sure that Condron vs. Oleg will be a dream match some day.

Amasis & Ophidian vs. Blaster McMassive & Max Smashmaster

Two out of three falls for the tag straps, brother.  Bakabella complains about his missing fork in very hilarious fashion: "My Devastation Corporation will beat up every single person in this room until I get my heirloom back!"  Fast and furious start with the Portal using their speed to overcome the girth and power of DevCorp.  Smashmaster's woozy facial expressions are pretty great.  Parts of this first fall seemed a little off to me, but all is forgiven by the second fall, as DevCorp target Amasis's back and Ophidian's arm respectively. Blaster McMassive's lariat being called Lariat Tubman is pretty much the apex of comedy, so you can totally quit now, Lena Dunham.  The third fall goes off the chain as all combatants are rekt by falls onto concrete or multi-man fireman's carry slams.  Max Smashmaster is strong enough to save whole orphanages from fires, if he weren't a monster.  You can tell how great this match gets by the legit shocked reaction from the crowd at the near falls.  

So shut up, Undertaker's streak!  I really dug this match after some iffy spots in the first caida.  I'm a huge DevCorp booster and the latter two falls really show why they're two of the best big men around today.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

CHIKARA National Pro Wrestling Day 2/8/2015

Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Fire Ant
Juan Francisco is maybe the best staller in modern pro wrestling.   His entrance is so prolonged that a timer appears on the screen as the fans in attendance scowl about it.  His entrance is longer than all diva matches since 2008 combined.  What an artist!  This show is my first look at Chikara's new in-house production, as they've moved away from using Smart Mark Video to tape, edit, and the like.  It's pretty impressive.  The editing is not too hyper, they shoot from interesting angles, and they now splice in elements ex post facto, like the timer or the subtitles during de Coronado's pre-match promo.

To the match.  Enjoyably basic headlock stuff to start, then Juan F. de C. avoids a Fire Ant plancha with a girly shriek.  De Coronado proceeds to bury himself in various fan laps, which doesn't save him from Fire Ant chops.  Juan eventually gains the advantage with some swank whips and back-centered attacks.  All's fair until some spinny thing gets messed up, then they recover with a leg sweep.  I like de Coronado staying on the back with the German suplex and whips into the buckle.  

Missile Assault Ant makes his presence felt by tripping up Fire Ant, allowing Juan to hit a slow and steady German suplex and gain the victory.  I guess we'll be seeing even more Colony versus Colony Xtreme Force in Chikara this season.  Decent enough opener.  I would like to see more de Coronado delaying in the ring, like maybe stomping on opponents until they get into just the right position for a chinlock.  I think he's one of the more fun "nu-Chikara" dudes, so I'm glad he's doing stuff with wrestlers who are not Ashley Remington.

The Bloc Party vs. The Osirian Portal
Amasis's WARRIORS-inspired Osirians shirt wins everything, cancel WrestleMania and the 2016 election.  This opens with dollops of comedy about which I wish to not speak.  As for the wrestling, the Boar mauls Ophidian in front of some children and Ophidian stays out there for a good long while, leaving Amasis to handle the majority of the match.  I wasn't crazy about most of this, but it was fine enough and had import to the future of Chikara's tag titles.  

Max Smashmaster vs. Shynron
I was a big fan of the old portly Max Smashmaster, but this new svelte one is okay, too.  Please don't be a terrible clash of styles, match.  And my pleas are not granted as we open with Shynron awkwardly evading Smashmaster charges.  Max gets dropkicked and lies there prone for a while as Shynron flips onto him.  Man.  At one point, they go outside and Shynron blatantly taps Max on the back to let him know that a flippy move is coming.  Yikes, might want to pick a different angle when you're editing stuff together, brah.  Things I liked here: Max doing power moves and energetically scrabbling for pins.  Things I didn't like: ungainly interactions just to get in hard-to-do cool moves (that means you, aborted spinning headscissors thing from the outside).  This was not the kind of big guy vs. small guy match I tend to like, it felt more like a tit-for-tat trading session than a match that told a story.  The story should always be little guy gets squashed and loses or barely survives, IMHO.

Drew Gulak vs. Ashley Remington 
Gulak wins the match by coming out to "Rainbow in the Dark".  I'm not confident that the Ashley Remington character has a lengthy life ahead.  It's fun, but I think there might have to be additions or alterations to the act pretty soon.  Anywayz, I really dug the emphasis on wrestling in this match.  Gulak does tons of submission-y business, which Remington escapes mostly through the use of elbows and punches.  "Nice guy brawler" Ashley Remington could definitely give the character some longevity.  Remington does the whole "break on one" thing, but then revisits it later in the match, when he backs off after Gulak falls to the apron.  Remington quickly realizes his mistake and goes back on the attack.  A++ great work, Ashley Remington!! :)  Everything until the very end was solid as heck.  I wasn't crazy about the finishing moments, but what can you do?  Lots of fun otherwise.

Los Ice Creams vs. Old Fashioned
I can be tolerant of wrestling comedy when it's done well.  Los Ice Creams delight and mortify young fans en route to the ring.  If Old Fashioned win the match, Los Ice Creams agree to join them in performing a scene from Shakespeare as a tribute to Princess KimberLee.  In America, we generally think it's silly to have things like princesses and rightfully so, but... 

Wow, ah-ooga, and yow.  This match was easy and breezy with lots of fun moments.  All four boy wrestlers are very adept at tickling ribs in the ring, but my fave part of the match might have been Bryce Remsburg's frantic arm waving.  In a shocking shock, Old Fashioned do indeed win the match and we get more acceptable comedy during the Shakespearean scene.  It's apparently a very abridged version of Romeo and Juliet, but you academics will be pleased by how well Jervis Cottonbelly has memorized the "Soft, what light" line.  But he is immediately upstaged by El Hijo del Ice Cream, who says, "This is the pinnacle of my wrestling career". 

Blaster McMassive vs. Mr. Touchdown
I feel more confident about this one than the Shrynon/Max match.  And my confidence is repaid, as Touchdown gets shoved and tossed all around the ring by the hulking McMassive.  Touchdown gains the advantage by inches, only by going for desperation moves like sleeper-style headlocks while on McMassive's back.  It's really heated and thoroughly fun until Max Smashmaster and Dasher Hatfield get involved to bring things to an abrupt end.  It sets up the main event, but I would have liked to have seen more of this!  

Princess KimberLee vs. Jenny Rose
Jenny Rose wins the match by being announced as "J-Ro".  I hope that there is some serious GIGLI influence in this contest.  They administer the poison early on with some waistlock trading, ending in both ladies falling to the mat as if the Earth was just hit by an asteroid.  But then things get tasty with some fetching armwork.  J-Ro cannot stop winning this match, as she does the AJW kick to the gut and rush to the ropes.  Takako Inoue is smiling down from heaven!  This is probably the first time a ref has ever said, "What do you say, Princess?"  But I hope that it becomes a thing for all wrestlers in submissions, not just KimberLee.  KimberLee is excellent at displaying pain or intensity through her facial expressions.  And things do get intense, as the women trade forearms and the crowd is way into it!  As with the last match, this is a bit too abbreviated and seemed to stop short just as it's reaching idyll.  But I do love KimberLee's alligator clutch.  It really stands out, in an era of finishing moves and submissions, to have a pin that's inescapable.  Very cool.

Flying Francis vs. N_R_G
Both guys in Flying Francis are named Francis.  N_R_G is comprised of Race Jackson, who is very peppy, and Hype Rockwell, who is sleepy, since he has to do all the driving.  Again, not sure that these characters have legs that will stride for years, but they're fun in small doses.  Flying Francis are very good at the bad-guy basics, like stalling and double teams.  God bless this match for showing Flying Francis attempting the same move twice and getting punished for it!   

This was pretty fun, aside from the terrible story on commentary about Koko B. Ware practicing dropkicks on horses' heads.  But there's still hope that a horse will kill and eat him, so perhaps justice will still be served.  Both teams are fun in the ring and Francis especially is pretty fabu in executing stuff.  The Lethal Injection is a move that severely tests my nerves, but one of the Francises does it as well as it could be done here.  Hype Rockwell has a cool move of his own, a swinging backbreaker that wins my heart and the match.  Dear Chikara, I'd like to see more of these teams, pls.

22 person tag match
It would be farcical to try to document the action of such a tussle, so let's cover the highlights.  Old faves Shane Storm and Shane Hawke make their Chikara returns here.  The match starts off structured like a cibernetico, but dissolves into chaos after the world's longest chain of chinlocks stretches from the ring through the building.  Chikara's current staff deliver some highlights: Mr. Azerbaijan's side slams and suplexes will never be not funny, and Oleg the Usurper's confused blinking after Shane Storm falls on him is a moment of the year.  But it's not all turmoil and blinking, as the narrative of Chikara is advanced in this match.  KimberLee is cornered by the Devastation Corporation.  They refuse to be a star and take out their jealousy on women's wrestling on her.  But Los Ice Creams come to her rescue!  Everybody loves Princess KimberLee!!  Meanwhile, UltraMantis Black makes an Overkill reference on commentary!  Excitement abounds, ironbound!  This was scads of fun and drew a warm reception from the crowd.