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Thread: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

  1. #101
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    New Japan uploaded every Jan 4th dating back to 1992. With only a few exceptions, every match is featured so you get the good, the bad and the ugly albeit segmented into matches.

    Super Warriors In Tokyo Dome 1992
    Black Cat defeated Hiroyoshi Yamamoto in 10:28

    The first ever January 4th Tokyo Dome match saw lucha libre veteran Black Cat take on relative newcomer Hiroyoshi Yamamoto. Who is this dweeb? Why it's none other than future IWGP Champion and future WCW Thunder alumni Hiroyoshi Tenzan! Holy shit, he looks completely unrecognisable here as a scrawny young buck. The match opens with Yamamoto in control, working over the bigger wrestler with a series of submissions. Eventually Black Cat fires back and nails the rookie with all the usual spots - sentons, clotheslines, back body drops the like. Yamamoto survives, tries to regain control but Cat over-powers the rookie, nailing him with a top rope senton before putting him away with him away with a move that escapes me...let's just call it a powerbomb.

    It was a solid opener, with both guys establishing a nice contrast. The only other point I'd like to make is that the video on NJPW World went about six minutes, so either NJPW were sneaky with their cuts or the 10:28 time is total kayfabe.

    Skipping further along...

    Tony Halme defeated Scott Norton in 8:41

    It was at this point I realised I'd never be able to pass a wrestling quiz set by Baker. Who is Tony Halme? If you had have asked me earlier, I would have assumed he was some generic amateur wrestler/martial artist who didn't go onto do anything in the US but I'd be wrong. Dead wrong, as Halme is of course Baker's 13th favourite wrestler Ludvig Borga. The match itself was your atypical hoss fight with Norton in control for large stages of the match. It was a good call, because the crowd loved Norton and would pop big anytime he knocked the big Finnish wrestler off his feet. Towards the end of the match, Norton signals that he's going to go up top much to the delight of the Tokyo faithful. As he tries to line Halme up, Halme recognises the threat and crotches Norton on the ropes much to the crowd's amusement. Halme then milatary press' Norton off the top turnbuckle, climbs the ropes and hits Norton with a flying clothesline for the pinfall victory.

    Both men would continuing wrestling together for much of 1992, both as opponents and as partners resulting in them capturing the IWGP World Tag Belts together in November of 1992. Halme was well looked after in NJPW, scoring wins against former IWGP Champion Big Van Vader as well as future stars Shinya Hashimoto & Kensuke Sasaki. Halme would eventually sign with the WWF in 1993 where he'd begin working in July 93 as an anti-American hoss. The highlight of his tenure was breaking Tatanka's undefeated streak on the September 29th edition of Superstars before he'd eventually go down to the All Americans as one part of the Foreign Fanatics at Survivor Series 1993.

    Borga would later injure his ankle before the 1994 Royal Rumble, shelving major plans before leaving the company altogether. While his run was only short-lived in the WWF, he did manage to work a couple of House Show circuits with top star Lex Luger. Not one to miss an opportunity, Luger would adopt Borga's finisher for his own, using it to capture the WCW Heavyweight Championship from Hollywood Hogan in one of the biggest bouts in Nitro history.

  2. #102
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    New Japan World Tag League 2016
    12/5/16
    Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI versus Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn


    The World Tag League by and large is an out-dated concept, but the inclusion of oddities like Billy Gunn makes it worth checking out. I was never a big fan of Gunn in the WWE, he was the epitome of the 'Looks Like Tarzan, Wrestles Like Jane' and just didn't have the personality to match it with the stars of the promotion. However I was always keen to watch him in a different environment and I'm sort of sad that Gunn never got a chance to play the big strong guy in Japan. Even at 53 he still has the size and the crowd bought into his interactions and popped whenever he'd cuss out his opponents. Sometimes you watch a match and you know it isn't a classic but you just see the workers having a good time and can't help but enjoy yourself. In this case, Gunn seems to relish being in the ring with a world-class star like Okada and Kazuchika appreciates a veteran who worked during one of the most successful eras in Pro Wrestling history.

    Chaos gets the win, Gunn eyes down Okada, the two exchange words until Gunn slowly backs off.

  3. #103
    It's all in the reflexes Baker's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I reviewed a Borga/Norton (dream match!) bout in the old Match Review thread. Iirc, it was disappointing. Want to say it took place in Europe with Japanese commentary.

  4. #104
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    With all the praise and hype for the Okada/Omega WK11 match, I was inspired to return to this match (one that I think is one of the very best ever) and see if it held up for me.

    AJPW New Year Giant Series (1/20/97)
    AJPW TRIPLE CROWN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
    Kenta Kobashi [Champion] vs. Mitsuharu Misawa


    Background
    Misawa has been The Ace of All Japan for the previous 4 years or so. He was also the senior tag partner of Kobashi and they have been the most successful tag team of the previous few years, holding the Tag Titles on numerous occasions and winning two RWTLs. In 1996, Misawa took on Akiyama as his new partner, as Kobashi started to break out on his own. Kobashi is in his first Triple Crown reign and has held it since 7/24/96. While Kobashi has been the champion for 6 months, Misawa is still The Man and Kobashi has never pinned him, but he beat the man who beat him. So can he establish himself as the top dog in this battle of former partners? Misawa is known for being stoic and his ability to absorb huge amounts of punishment before coming back to win. While Kobashi is fiery and expressive and known for his never say die attitude.



    Match
    Collar-and-elbow into a clean rope break. These men are still friends and the respect is there. We then get a stiff strike exchange with both men looking to make an impact early. Following a dropkick, Misawa sees the chance to land the first big blow and baseball slides Kobashi outside before hitting a tremendous elbow suicida. He back suplexes Kobashi back in and hits a senton back splash. He then quickly goes for an early Tiger Driver. Misawa is not taking his former partner lightly and is going all-out for a quick win here.

    Kobashi realises that was too close and forward rolls to avoid a Misawa attack and ends up hitting a DDT to create some separation. Kobashi is on top now and trying to assert his dominance, working over the midsection. Misawa twice tries to turn the momentum with an elbow, but Kobashi manages to shake it off and stay in charge. This gives Kobashi a timely reminder that Misawa can always be only an elbow away from regaining the advantage.

    The midsection work isn't doing too much damage and seems to be more Kobashi trying to control Misawa after his explosive start. A third elbow manages to finally stop the momentum and we now have Misawa in the ascendancy. We get a submission battle and Misawa escape that was also in the famous 6/8/90 Jumbo/Misawa match. Will we see a famous victory for Kobashi like we did that night for Misawa? Short chop/elbow battle and the elbow wins out with Kobashi collapsing. Misawa with a top rope elbow and frog splash for 2 and Kobashi is looking in trouble, as Misawa locks in the facelock. Kobashi gets to the ropes. We get a strike battle with Kobashi firing up and trying to shake off the elbows but to no avail.

    But when Misawa tries a flying elbow from the apron, he ends up elbowing the rail, hurting his arm. As Misawa gingerly tries to return to the ring, Kobashi spots a chance and hits a brutal lariat sending Misawa backwards off the apron and into the rail. Kobashi covers and Misawa is barely able to shift himself to under the rope to break the pin. He is hurt and the next time he tries an elbow, the damage is obvious. Kobashi begins to work it over, using the rail and the ring. Misawa desperately avoids a cross arm breaker. Misawa tries to fire back with an elbow, but it is hurt and a half-nelson suplex allows Kobashi to lock in the cross arm breaker. In a nice spot, Misawa gets back dropped on his head, but pops up trying to fight through, only to get arm-dragged and the cross arm breaker reapplied. That's what you get for trying to do delayed selling, Mitsuharu!

    Misawa gets dumped on his head again and Kobashi feels victory could be near. He goes for a Lariat, but Misawa elbows the arm. Misawa did more damage to his own arm, but Kobashi’s arm is now seriously hurt as well. Kobashi bails to the floor, where he is met by a spinning, flying Misawa, trying to capitalise on this chance to regain the initiative. Misawa goes for a Tiger Driver, but his arm gives out. Kobashi goes for a Lariat but its blocked and he gets dumped on his head for his troubles. We get some nice subtle selling from Misawa as we can see his fingers shaking slightly as he is testing his arm before he hits a Tiger Driver but is too busy nursing the arm to pin, although the over-excited ref still starts to count. Misawa goes up and attempts a dropkick (it was pretty much the classic coming off the top with the big fat nothing to feed a spot, but he does do flat back bump missile dropkicks so it sort of works) but Kobashi catches him on the way down with a Lariat, doing more damage to his arm. As you’d expect, Kobashi’s selling is theatrical and expressive, Misawa’s stoic and understated, but both are doing a great job of selling their arm damage.

    We get a Kobashi powerbomb, the move that Kawada used to put Misawa away on 6/9/95 and 12/6/96, but it has never worked in a singles and it does not here. Kobashi hits the Orange Crush, one of his big finishers and can’t believe that Misawa kicked out. He attempts a second pin and is just gutted at the lack of a pin. Another Lariat attempt is blocked by Misawa, doing damage to both men’s arms. Kobashi knows he needs to do something huge to stop this guy. Moves off the apron have been the start of the end for Misawa before, so he goes for a Powerbomb off the apron. But Misawa counters into a hurricanrana, sending the champion to the floor. Kobashi’s risk did not pay off but Misawa’s arm is still taking away his effectiveness. He barely pulls off a German and it takes him longer to recover from his own elbows with his arm limp at his side. Misawa tries for one spinning elbow too many and eats a Lariat. Both men weakening their arms by the second while attempting to win.

    They are exhausted due to such a mammoth battle, they aren't running about at full pelt - they are staggering, struggling to stand, selling the battle. We are now at the point where Misawa blocks out the pain of the arm and is going to show Kobashi why he is still The Ace. He dumps Kobashi on his head with a Tiger Suplex and then again with his super death kill move the Tiger Driver '91 and Kobashi kicks out. It is over, but Kobashi's instinct won't let him quit. He is basically on autopilot with his face down on the mat but attempts a couple of weak lariats from his knees before collapsing on his face again. On the third lariat attempt, Misawa hooks the arm and dumps him on his head again with a Dragon Suplex. A glassy-eyed Kobashi, possibly still on instinct more than anything, gets up one last time to stand like a man and face his end. Fittingly, he is downed by Misawa's Elbow, the exclamation point to show that Kobashi may have the guts and bravery but he isn't yet better or tougher than his former mentor.

    Conclusion
    There is just such a fantastic story, progression and escalation to this match.

    1. Misawa is here to take back his title and prove he still is The Man and takes it hard to Kobashi from the off.
    2. Kobashi tries to control Misawa with some midsection work but isn't able to maintain it for too long.
    3. Misawa regains the advantage and is in charge, showing Kobashi who is boss, until he makes a mistake and hurts his elbow.
    4. Kobashi works over the arm extensively, including using some big headdrops to assist him in the arm work and it looks like the end is nigh for Misawa
    5. Misawa's desperation elbow to block a Kobashi lariat damages Kobashi's arm and Misawa is now on top.
    6. Misawa makes another mistake by going upstairs, giving Kobashi his chance and he hits one of his super finishers but Misawa survives. So he knows he needs something more.
    7. That something more is a powerbomb off the apron, which gets reversed into a rana and there is basically no coming back from an apron spot in All Japan. Kobashi is in critical territory now after another big momentum shift.
    8. Misawa blocks out the pain from the arm and shows Kobashi why he's still King. Kobashi will never quit and needs to be put down, surviving more than he should. This "block out the pain of the damaged arm to put your opponent down with it to show you are The Ace" finish is so effective that it was stolen by Liger and Ohtani for their New Japan juniors classic just 20 days after this on 2/9/97.

    A lot of what can leave me cold about some modern wrestling is that the counter sequences can come across too transparently as people clearly not trying to hit each other and going through their coordinated routine. We don't get that here. There is a sense of struggle and fight to proceedings and it feels like both men have been in a war towards the end. One of the very, very, very elite matches in pro wrestling history from those I've seen. Big fight feel, hot crowd, storytelling, psychology, offence, selling, significant transitions, and a great finish befitting both their characters.
    *****

  5. #105
    Senior Member Pinkman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I've yet to watch Omega/Okada as I'm still working my way through WK so can't give an opinion on that match being the GOAT match but yeah, that Misawa/Kobashi match was the best match I've ever seen. What I love about their matches is the level of story, psychology and throwbacks that's been built up throughout years of working tags and singles matches against each other and no matter what Kobashi does up to this point, he just can't find a way to beat Misawa and he's forced up his game every match just to try and beat the ace.

  6. #106
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto (RINGS 6/24/99)
    Tamura says no to the handshake and yes to a slap to Yama's face. The crowd pops big for that. They know these men don't like each other and it is ON. From what I can tell, you can win by KO, by getting to 5 points first or leading in points by the end of the time limit.

    We open with incredible matwork, showing speed, athleticism and technique on a level above pretty much anything else you will see. They are fighting, struggling and earning what they get. Yama gets in the mount and hits a few disrespectful little feather taps on Tamura, as if to goad him. Note that mounted strikes are illegal here and only open hand strikes allowed when standing.

    We get a great fight over Yama's rear choke before Tamura goes back to the kneebar he had been trying for in the early-going. Yama could go to the ropes for the break but wants to one-up his opponent and counter, which he eventually does and gets himself into the mount again. He hits some more disrespectful little taps, with a little more force this time, and Tamura responds this time with some reserved strikes of his own and it is actually he who cleverly goads Yama into working himself up and starting to nail some full on body punches. For that, Yama gets yellow carded and Tamura takes a one-point lead, as Yama has a slight look of exasperation at himself.

    After more grappling, Tamura gets in the mount and hits some firmish strikes of his own, but not enough to get carded. Tamura then almost gets a cross armbreaker cinched in, but Yama avoids it and manages to return to his rear choke and unlike Yama earlier, Tamura scarpers to the ropes. Was he not confident of escape as Yama was really getting it locked in? Was it because he was a point up and could afford it? Maybe a bit of both. The rope break gives a point to Yama and we are at 1-1.

    We now get a stand-up fight and when Yama is tripped, Tamura does not go down to the mat to attempt to capitalise. He lets him get back up. Things are heating up and he wants to duke it out. Tamura gets the better of this before they end up back down on the mat and Tamura is back trying to get the armbreaker with Yama desperate to avoid it. The crowd being hot and them knowing what moves to react big to is adding to it all. Yama escapes and throws some grounded bodyshots in frustration, before Tamura gets the armbreaker but they roll into the ropes. Tamura gets the point here to go 2-1 up, whether for Yama's punches or more likely the rope-break. It seems like the ref is willing to let the strikes go now, given the animosity.

    We get a standing battle again, with both men showing great intensity as this match has been building and building. Tamura again gets the better of this and when he hooks Yama's leg from a kick attempt, he locks in the kneebar he was going for in the early stages but Yama counters and locks in a guillotine. Tamura expertly escapes into a mount but starts dishing more strikes out in anger, before Yama locks in a kneebar of his own and hits some punches too. Tamura goes for the rope break and we are tied again at 2-2 with only 3 and a half minutes left of the time limit.

    Another standing exchange as both men look rightfully exhausted. This has been non-stop. This is like two boxers in the 12th, trying to slug it out, but having to use each other and the ropes to help them stay up in between throwing shots. Yama lands a slap that rocks Tamura and follows up with a charging kick and another palm strike to down him. We could be in for an upset. Tamura manages to get to his feet at 8 to avoid the KO loss, but the knockdown has scored Yama two points for a 4-2 lead with 90 seconds left.

    Tamura can't have that and fires up and lands a couple of huge head kicks, palm strikes and another head kick to fell Yama, who makes it back up perhaps a tad quickly. We are now at 4-4 with less than a minute to go. They trade some blows and when Yama tries to take it to the mat to see out the time, Tamura is having none of it, staying on his feet. He wants to scrap this out and the ref obviously wants to see that too as he tells Yama to get back to his feet.

    Tamura lands some nice body kicks but then he, knowing time is coming into its last few seconds, goes for a desperation submission with another kneebar attempt but the 20-minute time runs out. Yama puts his arms in the air in celebration as this has to be considered almost like a victory for him. The judges seem to confirm the opinion of a draw, given the time limit expired with both men having the same number of points.
    ****¾

    From what I've seen, this is 1999 MOTY, the best shoot style match and one of the very best matches overall. Phenomenal athleticism and matwork, great storytelling with the intensity building and leading to a fantastically dramatic closing stretch.

    @ShinobiMusashi, if you haven't seen this, you need to get on it: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xp...-24-1999_sport

  7. #107
    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Always love your shoot wrestling reviews @Strobe, in fact they are one of the reasons why I got interested in this style. I actually dug through the original Match Review Thread here recently to find your Ken Shamrock PWFG match reviews, damn good stuff, Shamrock vs Sano is excellent. I did a quick search and this match between Tamura vs Yamamoto is credited on the official database as a legit MMA fight by the Sherdog fight finder(the record keepers for MMA records from the early days), even on Tamura's MMA record on his Wiki page. There are hundreds of fights like this that were worked shoot style pro wrestling matches, I'm fucking tickled pink by that. I'm like fucking Marsha Clark when it comes to the "MMA is pro wrestling" case, the physical evidence is there, it's GUILTY AS CHARGED! Everybody else all like Johnny Cochran, if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit!

    I've got the first 2 years of Rings on DVD, all of the 1991-1992 shows, very interesting shit. Got to love how big of an influence a worked pro wrestling fed had on the shaping of MMA into what it is. I heard that they were in talks to buy the Rings library for the UFC Fight Pass. They already uploaded a ton of Pancrase and Shooto lately. I actually just watched the Vale Tudo Japan '94 show hosted by Sayama/Shooto, this was like the first UFC style event they had in Japan with Rickson Gracie debuting Gracie Jujitsu, pretty influential event that kinda shaped where all the shoot style pro wrestling feds would go in the mid 90's. I believe after Rickson won that tournament was when Takada started challenging him to come to UWFI(he had made offers before for a worked fight in UWFI but Rickson turned them down). So I'm fascinated by Japanese MMA and shoot style pro wrestling promotions that shaped it, Rings, UWFI, Shooto, Pancrase, Pride, K-1, pretty much all if it all of it has direct roots in UWF, which is the most interesting thing to me.

    I know of Yamamoto because he fought in the second Vale Tudo Japan tournament in 1995, he got choked out faces of death style by Rickson Gracie but he lasted so long I read that he got over from it and had a reputation similar to that of Kimo after pushing Royce in UFC III. They actually made a documentary about Rickson called "Choke" that I've had on VHS for a long time, it's centered on Rickson and some of the other fighters in that Vale Tudo Japan 95 tournament, they show Yamamoto a lot in that doc in his training and preparation for that tournament, they show him talking to his mom and dad and how worried they were about him before the show, it was pretty good doc, I think it may be on Youtube. Edit: here it is:



    That was a damn fun match, loved the slap to the face, those grappling sequences early on were fucking awesome. I enjoyed it a lot but I feel like I've seen better shoot style matches and I'd still have to put some of the RVD/Lynn matches over it for 99 MOTY. Very good stuff though, I got to start working on my Rings collection again.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 01-09-2017 at 11:25 PM.

  8. #108
    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Choke is mandatory viewing, and is what put me in the Cult of Rickson Gracie. I despised the Gracies before that. Rickson was like cool Gracie brother that nobody in the family wanted to make angry because they knew he could destroy all of them, so he just had this cool zen aura. He was also quite possibly the baddest man on the planet, but we never really got to find out.


  9. #109
    It's all in the reflexes Baker's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pete View Post
    Not one to miss an opportunity, Luger would adopt Borga's finisher for his own, using it to capture the WCW Heavyweight Championship from Hollywood Hogan in one of the biggest bouts in Nitro history.
    Hate to be That Guy but Luger was using the Torture Rack in NWA/WCW long before Borga came along. He may have even used in WWF before Borga's tv debut but don't hold me to that.

    Nice career synopsis on Borga though.

    That Vader/Borga match was enjoyable. I popped for the upset finish. There's also a good Borga/Chono match from NJPW featuring some primo Chono selling and an even better Chono 'stache.

  10. #110
    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I'm actually watching it for the first time in a very long time now, kind of with a whole new context knowing what I know about Japanese wrestling. That's Kron Gracie there the young kid in the beginning, Kron looked good again at the New Years Rizin show beating Tatsuya Kawajiri, a former big time Shooto star. I believe the older boy is Rickson's son that died around the time they were in talks for the Sakuraba fight, Rickson never fought again after losing his boy.

    It's actually not Yamamoto they spotlight in that documentary but Koichiro Kimura, I'm sure I spelled his first name wrong but I recognize that name. I'm pretty sure he was wrestling in UWFI or Rings, he's training with the Shooto guys there in that training footage. Yamamoto does get choked out faces of death style by Rickson in the first round of that tourny though.

    The World Vale Tudo Japan '94 show was actually really good, some higher level technique than the UFC shows up to that point(I believe just UFC I and II, maybe III). That show just had such a huge influence on Japan and instantly made the Gracie's big time names over there. Once the Japanese fans seen what real fighting looked like it was like a big game changer for Pancrase, UWFI, and Rings I think.

    Pretty interesting cast of fighters in that World Vale Tudo Japan '95 tourny, including none other than the Sgt. Craig "The Pitbull" Pitman from WCW, Gerrard Gordeau from UFC 1(also fought Maeda in the main event of a huge record breaking Tokyo Dome show in UWF in like 89). Yuki Nakai ended up being a fucking great grappling coach, he was one of the main guys out of Sayama's Shooto system that they built, he was the one that trained Shinya Aoki, one of the best grapplers in MMA history. Nakai also worked with Enson Inoue(Shooto heavyweight champion at one point) who trained with Sakuraba before his fight with Royce, Sakuraba credits his training with Enson for his win over Royce.

    Man what a great doc, haven't seen this in ages.

  11. #111
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    @Baker it seemed like I was giving Borga too much credit. However I was on such a roll and for whatever reason I couldn't recall Luger ever using a Torture Rack regularly that I bought into what I read.

    Great reviews @Strobe. One thing I noticed about all these AJPW matches is that they rely a lot on their past history. While it ultimately creates a more intricate story, I wonder if it's fair to compare it to a match between two guys who have only started working one another? It seems like there would be pros and cons in both instances (that's without watching Misawa/Kobashi).

    In the lead up to the Rumble, I think it'd be fun to watch some classic matches. Anybody have some recommendations outside of Cactus/HHH, Jericho/Benoit & Angle/Benoit?

    Please no HHH/HBK please.

  12. #112
    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Bret and Owen vs The Quebecers, Rumble 94!

  13. #113
    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Rockers vs. Orient Express (1991)

    Bret vs. Diesel (1995)


  14. #114
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Vince vs Ric (02)

    That shizzle was epic, but out of context may not have stood the test of time. Dunno. Ain't seen it in years. Still, it was Vince McMahon vs Ric fucking Flair... Whoooo! Damn it!
    PW Nerdery's Most Underrated Poster Of 2015

  15. #115
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Bret and Owen Hart vs The Quebecers

    First off credit to Daily Motion. You often hear about how great YouTube is for wrestling, but Daily Motion usually has everything I need on the website.

    This match was right up my alley, @ShinobiMusashi. Lots of action, story-driven and a red-hot crowd that's into everything. It helps two that you have two really good units with contrasting styles it makes the match so smooth and easy to follow. Outside of Bret's selling of his knee which was world-class, the highlight here was the decision to showcase Owen. This maybe the most shine Owen had up to this point and it rationalised his temper-tantrum after the match.

    I know it was inconsistent, but I dug the finish. Bret could barely walk so the referee making a gut-call felt more authentic than just having one of them pull the tights or whatever cheap finish you could imagine.

    Vince McMahon vs Ric Flair

    Wow @KashDinero this is the best McMahon performance I've seen. Usually he just bumps and flails around the arena, so it was refreshing to see him in control and bust Flair open. Lots of neat character moments like McMahon 'borrowing' a camera to make sure Flair's kids in the front row take a good picture of him beating up their father. That's what this match is, a shlocky B-movie fight scene and they don't hold back. They built the match all around Flair's comeback which of course is ignited through a low blow and Flair proceeds to put Vince through all the embarrassment he'd suffered in the ten minutes prior.

    Both Flair/Vince were good in their roles, but I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge JR/King on commentary. Around 2003-04 they settle into a comfort zone that makes the bulk of their commentary forgettable but this match was right up their alley and they knocked it out of the park with King being Vince's sycophant and JR remembering all of Flair's past accomplishments. Their performance was a key component of the match and no other team would have done that match justice.
    @Kilgore, I'll hop to those.

    Keep the recommendations coming, I'm looking for a good mid-card championship or another enjoyable gimmick bout.

  16. #116
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Yeah, it's kinda all coming back to me now. Vince and Ric were at perfect stages in their lives for that match to work for the best. Vince was full on Vince for that one.

    How's about Jericho vs Benoit in a ladder match (01) if you can stomach it. Rey vs Edge and Jeff vs Randy (both 08 I think) were pretty fun outings.

    Edit: Oh, yeah, Daily Motion could actually be better than YouTube for wrestling matches. At the very least it's a perfect accompaniment to YT. Between the two sites a hell of a lot of matches are available, WWE and Indy/Puro both.
    PW Nerdery's Most Underrated Poster Of 2015

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    Senior Member Pinkman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Cena vs Umaga from the 07 Rumble was phenomenal.


    Steiner vs HHH was great, I hear

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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pete View Post
    Bret and Owen Hart vs The Quebecers

    First off credit to Daily Motion. You often hear about how great YouTube is for wrestling, but Daily Motion usually has everything I need on the website.

    This match was right up my alley, @ShinobiMusashi. Lots of action, story-driven and a red-hot crowd that's into everything. It helps two that you have two really good units with contrasting styles it makes the match so smooth and easy to follow. Outside of Bret's selling of his knee which was world-class, the highlight here was the decision to showcase Owen. This maybe the most shine Owen had up to this point and it rationalised his temper-tantrum after the match.

    I know it was inconsistent, but I dug the finish. Bret could barely walk so the referee making a gut-call felt more authentic than just having one of them pull the tights or whatever cheap finish you could imagine.
    I love this story so damn much, the way it fed off of what happened at Survivor Series the way Owen was eliminated, the way they burried the hatchet over the holidays and came together with big bro helping little bro finally win a title at the Rumble, for it to unfold like this, to me it is hands down one of the best stories WWE ever told something that reminds me of just how beautiful of a thing pro wrestling really is/can be. Bret limping out to that Rumble match later that night is one of the most iconic images in wrestling history for me personally. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

    I remember that Flair vs Vince match now, I remember getting a kick out of that. Also REALLY liked Cena vs Umaga last time I seen it.

    Watching Choke last night I can't help but wonder how Rickson Gracie would have done in some of the 90's Rumbles.

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    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pete View Post
    Bret and Owen Hart vs The Quebecers

    First off credit to Daily Motion. You often hear about how great YouTube is for wrestling, but Daily Motion usually has everything I need on the website.
    Daily Motion was the MVP of Steve Austin Month. I found fucking Shotgun Saturday Nights.

    Harts vs Quebecers was pretty damn good. Owen kicking Bret's "leg out from his leg" was such a little shit thing to do. 1994 Rumble was pretty inspired booking. You had that match, with a couple moving parts to get Owen over as a heel, the (insane) Yoko-Taker match, with a goddamned resurrection, and then a Rumble finish with co-winners. They were trying out some new stuff that night, that's for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    I rewatched some Choke last night, before College Football made me cut it short.

    Rickson and Helio rolling together in the beginning had such a tenderness about it.

    Todd Hays, fighting to fund his bobsled dream, is not something you'll ever hear again. Hays would actually go on to win a silver medal.

    Is this the smoothest pass of all time?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bjvz...outu.be&t=5572


  20. #120
    It's all in the reflexes Baker's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Daily Motion has been superior to Youtube when it comes to wrestling since I started posting here.

    Lots of good stuff being recommended. I have always been a huge proponent of Harts/Quebecers. Flair/Vince was tons of fun and probably one I haven't pimped enough over the years. Curious to get Pete's takes on the other recommended matches.

  21. #121
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    It is pretty amazing that Vince went from a non-wrestler that posed zero threat to Austin in 1999 to a non-wrestler that, through his jacked physique and more importantly his character, people bought into having competitive street fights with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. It was old Flair and old Hogan sure, but Vince deserves huge credit for that as a performer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Pete
    One thing I noticed about all these AJPW matches is that they rely a lot on their past history. While it ultimately creates a more intricate story, I wonder if it's fair to compare it to a match between two guys who have only started working one another? It seems like there would be pros and cons in both instances (that's without watching Misawa/Kobashi).
    I wouldn't say they rely on past history. Plenty of people have watched these matches cold and loved them. The history and storytelling over years is what takes them completely over the top, but the top All Japan matches are incredibly action-packed with stiff shots, huge bombs and amazing finishing stretches.

    But I think I know what you are getting at and it creates a good discussion point. It is unfair to compare a match like Misawa/Kobashi with Okada/Omega on one level. They haven't had the chance for such history to build. But if people, like Meltzer himself, are calling the latter a best match ever contender then it is fair game to compare them. And like my review pointed out, even something like the significance of the transitions is superior and that doesn't really require knowing what the characters are like or their history against each other.

    The history does play a role for me though in terms of how far a match can be pushed. When a story has been built up for years or a history goes back a long way, it feels more appropriate for things to be "epic". For example, I think the Misawa/Kobashi 3/1/03 match goes a little too excessive with the headdrops and the popups in the middle section, but if ever there was a match that should've been big and perhaps deserved some leeway for going a bit too far, that was it. These two were first tag partners as far back as 1990. Kobashi was a third then a second behind Misawa the Ace. Kobashi branches away from Misawa in 1996 and manages his first singles win over him in 1997 (in Champion Carnival) but can never beat him in their big title matches. It is looking like Kobashi is about to surpass Misawa, beating him in the 2000 Carnival, and after Misawa and almost all the rest of AJ leave to form NOAH, it is looking like Kobashi is ready to become the Ace at last. But his knees are fucked and he is out for 18 months, before returning in mid-2002 and we build to this huge match. So you've got this as the culmination of Kobashi's return from career-threatening injuries, but also the culmination of his entire career, the first half spent as Misawa's pal and the other half spent trying to usurp him. And Misawa is looking old, weary, but if you want his throne, in his promotion no less, you will need to take it from him. That is a story where I can more easily accept excess than in a lot of the matches today where wrestlers are using some of the tropes when they and the story haven't really earned them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi
    I'd still have to put some of the RVD/Lynn matches over it for 99 MOTY. Very good stuff though, I got to start working on my Rings collection again.
    I, one day, hope to love something in this world as much as you guys love RVD.

    -------------------------------------------

    I watched the Owens/Rollins Hell in a Cell match and thought it was actively bad. I actually was surprised with the first few seconds as I was thinking maybe they were going to have the match they should (considering commentary was pushing it as a personal affair), with Owens immediately going for a weapon like a cowardly heel and Rollins coming after him with fists and headbutts. But then immediately Rollins was just running the ropes, doing a slingblade and a springboard frontflip neckbreaker. Because that shows hate.

    Then you've got the fact that the story coming in was that Rollins had a bad back, due to an apron powerbomb on the previous RAW, and the commentators kept pointing this out. Yet Rollins, despite having it worked over for a good stretch of the match, basically no-sold it. I think I saw him semi reach for it twice. Maybe. He botched picking up Owens for a powerbomb, which he shouldn't have been able to do with his back and the commentary tried to cover and say it was due to it, but then he kayfabe deadlifted him to powerbomb him through two tables. Just awful. I don't care that Rollins is athletic and can do a cool lawn dart bump into the cell. He isn't what I look for in a pro wrestler.

    They just chucked in a delayed sell exchange as well of course to get the "This is Awesome" chant and the crowd obliged. Jericho got involved and it basically became a handicap match and Seth took chairs to the back, which was a foolish move from Owens because Rollins' back is clearly superhuman. I had a quick check of the MOTN thread for this PPV and it seemed people really liked this as well.

  22. #122
    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strobe View Post
    I, one day, hope to love something in this world as much as you guys love RVD.
    Just think, he's probably not even in my top 5 of favorites! I can't put anything over RVD vs Jerry Lynn in 99 except for maybe Lance Storm vs Jerry Lynn from Anarchy Rulz 99, those are easily hands down MOTY for 99 for me, I don't understand the lack of love for the RVD vs Lynn matches but I don't think I really want to. Seriously though if I'm rebooking ECW 1999 I'm doing an ECW vs Rings angle with RVD vs Tamura!

    Strobe did you ever hear about them considering making Tamura Tiger Mask IV? I read this in the Pride secret files book from Japan, they had it all set up, new mask designed for him to fight in Pride, new cartoon in production, toys, coloring books, etc, then I get sketchy on what happened but it all fell through for some reason, they fed Tamura to Bob Sapp instead! Gotta love Pride.

  23. #123
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    The Midnight Rockers vs Orient Express

    Unfortunately there wasn't any full length replays, the best I could find was their match from some UK Rampage set. I could acquire the entire show and watch it then but that can wait till later. So I had to settle for a grainy music video of the match that made the match look like a ***** classic. What really stood out to me were the tag team routines they put together where you had both Shawn and Tanaka ducking and weaving the oncoming Kato only for Tanaka to slip up. At times it felt like I was watching all those awesome slapstick bits from Rush Hour (aka the best parts of those movies). Then I watched a WWE.com clip from the finish and I loved the little roll through finish with Jannetty being catapulted into a subdued Tanaka - Jannetty was such a silky smooth competitor it's a shame he couldn't get with the times.

    I'll need to check this out, the only concern I have is that it could send me on a Midnight Rockers deep dive.

    Diesel vs Bret Hart

    After watching through Survivor Series '95 and being informed that it was their best match of the series, I never bothered with their earlier bouts. Just the idea of sitting down and watching through two different 20 minute matches with a DQ finish sounded so passable to me, especially when Diesel was involved. For years I'd been informed that Nash was an awful worker who only had a handful of moves so why waste time watching him when I could be subjecting myself to the real artists like Dirty White Boy, Brian Lee & 90s Buddy Landel.

    Never the less, Diesel/Bret was a smart match that did a good job of protecting both guys while giving the fans a show. Since getting Diesel over as a babyface was the number one priority, Bret assumes the heel role of the match chopping the big man down with some simple but effective leg-work. I enjoyed the fact that Bret saved a lot of his best offence for later in the match, focusing instead to lock in the figure four as long as possible and following up with a shoulder tackle through the ropes. From there it escalated, whenever the two were on the outside, Diesel would take over and would use his size and strength to hold the advantage, just as Bret was building sympathy, Bret would go low and would resort to more devious tactics. The DQ shenanigans from Shawn and Owen would normally take away from a match like this, but since it added to the drama of the match and allowed both men to remain babyfaces in an organic way I thought it was the best finish they could have come up with.

    Going in, I thought I was going to get a plodding match similar to Bret/Taker from the 1996 Royal Rumble. Instead what I got was a match that was on the same level as the 1995 Survivor Series classic where both guys worked well together. Bret looked as impressive as I've ever seen on offence, while Nash checked his ego at the door and sold so well that the fans had no other choice but to side with Big Daddy Cool.

    A neat surprise that would give any WWE Championship match I've seen this past year a run for it's money. In fact only the Styles/Reigns, Styles/Ambrose and Ambrose/HHH matches come close.

  24. #124
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strobe
    But I think I know what you are getting at and it creates a good discussion point. It is unfair to compare a match like Misawa/Kobashi with Okada/Omega on one level. They haven't had the chance for such history to build. But if people, like Meltzer himself, are calling the latter a best match ever contender then it is fair game to compare them. And like my review pointed out, even something like the significance of the transitions is superior and that doesn't really require knowing what the characters are like or their history against each other.
    I agree, it was just a factor I recently thought of. It doesn't have any bearing on the Okada/Omega rating, which I believe was a result of the Tanahashi/Naito match. Since Okada/Omega was considered the better of the two, and Naito/Tanahashi was already an instant classic, then Okada/Omega is a ****** match.

    While I wasn't as fond of the match, I'm glad it's generated some buzz. If a YouTube content creator was smart enough, now would be a great time to release a career retrospective of Tanahashi, Naito, Okada and Omega. With all the available footage and information out there, it would be easy to break down their careers, their characters and their approach to wrestling.

  25. #125
    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    CWF Mid-Atlantic
    Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship: Title vs Career
    No DQ, No Time Limit, No Holds Barred
    Roy Wilkins (c) vs Trevor Lee

    This match was bigged up in the 2016 MOTY thread. It lasts over 100 minutes, and as you can see above, the stakes are huge. The commentators do a great job in explaining the circumstances. Title vs Career is a bit misleading. If Lee loses, he can never wrestle in CWF Mid-Atlantic or that venue again, but he is welcome to wrestle elsewhere. And the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship is one of the very few major titles Lee has not won. The No Holds Barred stipulation actually has some meaning here, as it allows for piledrivers, a move that is banned in standard CWF rules. Wilkins' illegal use of the move has helped him defend his belt on a couple of occasions, and the piledriver is a crucial factor to this match.

    The technical wrestling is outstanding, and you certainly need two great technicians to pull off a match of this length. However the action wasn't fully engaging. I started losing patience at around the 20-30 minute mark but stuck with it (even though I was getting bored) because the match was a big deal and both wrestlers did a good job of getting across a big match feeling. I'm a pretty impatient wrestling fan, so the fact that it took that long for me to start zoning out is a testament to the technical ability of both guys, but Lee in particular since he was on offense most of the time. Brawling outside the ring became commonplace after around 40 minutes, and I was tapping the right arrow key through most of this. Brawling bores me almost all the time, especially so in a match of this length.

    One thing that really impressed me is the transitions. The first big transition was Wilkins, who had been dominated up to that point, catching Lee with a hip toss into the turnbuckle. Lee fell to the outside and sold for at least a minute, if not two, while Wilkins recuperated. A great spot that was treated like a big deal and advances the match. It's a shame that today you seemingly need an hour+ match to make spots like that matter. Nowadays a spot like that is brushed off pretty quickly so the wrestlers can get all their other shit in.

    At the one hour mark a gang of heels come down to beat up Lee after he scores a string of heavy offense on Wilkins. I was wondering how they would resolve this beatdown. I assumed a bunch of babyfaces would come out to chase them away, but Lee ends up taking them all out by himself. I mean, it was executed about as well as it could have been, but it was still pretty hard to believe that a guy who is exhausted from wrestling for an hour, and gang stomped by four guys for about three minutes, is able to take them all out. I actually liked that the interferers came back to do more damage 15-20 minutes later. Guys who run in a match, get hit by one move by the babyface and then disappear for the rest of the match (where do they even go?) is a trope that's always bugged me, so it's nice to see it subverted. On the second intereference a bunch of babyfaces did come out to save Lee. The interference segments brought a necessary spike in the action between the justifiably slow one on one phases; they definitely did more good than harm. Another nice touch was that the referee made absolutely no effort to stop things like this from happening. When you see interference or weapon use in WWE No DQ matches, often the referee tries to stop it. Why? It's perfectly valid within the rules of the match. In this kind of match, the referee is there to designate the fall, and nothing else.

    The closing stretch, by which I mean the last 15-20 minutes, was hit and miss. The first portion of this saw a lot of weapon use, but they spent more time setting up spots than actually fighting. Then they went into the actual home stretch, which was a mixture of big moves and weapons. It was still very slowly-paced, since both wrestlers were selling exhaustion, but it built up to a nice crescendo. Trevor Lee wins the title and saves his "career" after a curb stomp onto a chair, a piledriver, and the STF for the submission victory.

    By that point I was more happy than the match was over than for any other reason. In fact, I'll go even further as to say that Trevor Lee did nothing to get me invested in him as a character, so I didn't give a flying fuck that he won. He sold the magnitude of the match well with his facial expressions during his entrance, but once the action started he was devoid of personality and gave me absolutely no reason to care for him. Wilkins was only a little better in the personality department. I have no desire to see either wrestler again.

    My review sounds very negative, but it's always easier to talk about the bad stuff, and my specific criticisms are directed towards maybe 30% of this very long match. The match was wonderfully-structured, mechanically both wrestlers were pretty much flawless, with great, consistent selling and logical transitions. I can't think of a single near fall that wasn't excellently planned/executed. As a whole, though, the mostly stellar action did not fully justify the ultra-excessive match length. There were several lull moments as I described above. But the fact that I stuck through the whole match and enjoyed/didn't skip at least 80% of it is a large credit to the ability of Trevor Lee, Roy Wilkins, and everybody else involved.

    Difficult to assign a star rating. If I was going on pure personal enjoyment, it would be ***1/2 at most, but I feel the need to award extra snowflakes because of the fact that it was a (mostly) compelling match of extraordinary length and the workrate was top notch. The final verdict: ****

    People have been bigging up the commentary. I thought it was above average but nothing outstanding. As mentioned, they did an excellent job explaining the match and a bit of the backstory, but the play-by-play wasn't anything special and later in the match I found that I was phasing out what they were saying. Except when one of the guys got excited and started screaming in this painful, airy high-pitched voice. Hard to listen to.

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