Saturday, March 21, 2015

Random Match Reviews - Edition #2

Kenta Kobashi vs. Takao Omari - All Japan Pro Wrestling - Champion Carnival Finals - 4/15/2000
I watched this match on a Best of 2000's set I got from which features a ton of Japanese and Indy classics from the 2000's. The first disc has several Kobashi bouts from All Japan which is something I've really enjoyed. This match with Omori was no different. Things get going and one thing I noticed right off the bat is that Takao is almost the same size as Kobashi. This made for a pretty epic visual when these two began trading chops. It was clear that the striking was Kobashi's strong suit though because Takao began targeting his leg/knee by slamming it into the ring post. The bout headed to the outside where Takao slammed Kobashi leg first over the railing onto a table which began to collapse under him, but didn't fully break. The next ten minutes saw Takao Omori continue to work over the leg of Kobashi with a variety of submissions, most notably a figure four and a sharpshooter. Kobashi came back however and we got an epic closing sequence. The two began trading strikes only for Kobashi to lock Omori in a sleeper which led to a vicious sleeper suplex. Speaking of suplexes, we saw alot of them here. From half & halfs to saito suplexes to Omori somehow hitting two dragon suplexes on Kobashi. In the end, Kobashi would finally finish off Omori by powerbombing him into the turnbuckles and turning him inside out with a lariat. Omori somehow kicked out of the buckle bomb however the lariat exchange didn't end in his favor as he was defeated. One last thing I'd like to mention here was how awesome the crowd was. They were so into the match that every nearfall felt like it truly meant something, they definitely added to this match. Phenomenal match from All Japan.

Match rating - ****1/2

Triple H vs. Chris Jericho - Last Man Standing Match - WWE: Fully Loaded 2000

Recently I've been trying to catch up on past WWE stuff that I've missed and considering I was only four when this match originally took place, I figured I'd give it a look. I've heard alot about this match so I'm pretty stoked heading into it. I've seen bits and pieces of the Jericho/HHH feud which involved Stephanie so I've got somewhat of an idea about what led to this encounter. Y2J starts off with the upperhand by nailing Hunter with right hands, but soon The Game would take control in a big way by ripping the tape off the injured ribs of Jericho. Triple H began working the ribs of Jericho with a combination of strikes and submissions. This match started off way differently than I thought as they spent almost 10 minutes focusing on the story of Jericho's injured ribs. It set up for the perfect babyface comeback when Jericho wouldn't stay down for the ten count so HHH brought in a chair which backfired as Y2J got his hands on it and nailed HHH in the head thus busting him open. This began the brutal part of the match as Triple H bled profusely. After some Walls of Jericho attempts that couldn't keep Triple H down, the fight went outside where Triple H ended up back drop suplexing Jericho off the barricade through the announce table. Insane spot that ends in an extremly well executed match. This wasn't the most entertaining Last Man Standing Match in the world as there was alot of time spent on failed 10 counts in the early going. However, it was so well executed that I can't take away from it. They told a great story and I liked how they put everything together with the flurry from Jericho, followed by the rib work from HHH which led to a huge babyface comeback from Y2J which led to the final brutal and bloody 8 or 9 minutes. Amazing match that is worth seeking out if you've never seen it.

Match rating - ****1/2

JC Bailey vs. Nate Webb - Barbed Wire TLC Match for the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship - April Bloodshowers - 4/18/03
The variety of stuff on the Best of 2000's set I got from Highspots continues to blow me away. Here we have one of the best deathmatches from the early 2000's as JC Bailey & Nate Webb battled in a TLC match also involving barbed wire and light tubes over the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship. I don't consider myself a deathmatch guy by any means however I do enjoy a good hardcore match every now and then and that's exactly what this was. It started off with some solid wrestling, but we soon saw the tables come into play. JC bodyslammed Nate off the top rope through a barbed wire covered table and soon after, Nate returned the favor by hitting a hurricanrana on JC off the top turnbuckle through a light tube covered table on the outside of the ring. They also came up with some innovative chair spots that saw them both go for a running cross body off their respective chairs and collide in the middle of the ring which resulted in a stalemate. Another cool moment came when JC dove out of the ring OVER two barbed wire covered tables onto Nate in the crowd. This match was crazy enough as it was however they were nowhere near done as they climbed up to what Dave Prazak called "The Spider's Nest" which is an area above the arena floor where they do commentary. They got up there and JC hit a michinoku driver on Nate Webb off of it to the floor through two barbed wire covered tables - INSANITY!

Match rating - ****

B-Boy vs. Jigsaw vs. Ricochet vs. Brandon Thomascelli - CZW: Best of the Best 7
First things first, Ricochet's hair here was something else! I've been watching alot of mid 2000's IWA MS & CZW stuff lately and it's crazy seeing how much Ricochet has changed since then. Not only in appearance, but as a wrestler as well. He was still awesome to watch at this time though and he proved so by tearing the house down in the opening minutes of this 4 way elimination match. He used his speed to take control of the match however he would end up being the first guy eliminated after he went for a shooting star press and landed on his feet only to recieve a stiff knee/kick to the face from Thomascelli - that was a mark out moment! I should have figured Ricochet would be out first since he was getting all his shit in early, but he was so entertaining in those opening moments that I didn't have time to think! None the less, the match continued with Thomascelli & Jigsaw in the ring. B-Boy is still out from taking a swinging DDT on the outside from Ricochet. Thomascelli continues cleaning house after Ricochet's elimination however he was unable to avoid recieveing the Jigatonic from Jigsaw thus we saw him get eliminated. B-Boy is still barely up to his feet at this point, Jigsaw stands over him, and ROLL UP OUT OF NOWHERE! 1..2.. JIG KICKS OUT! B-Boy was playing possum! He throws Jig in the corner and delivers the second facewash of the evening. This was the start of a high impact closing sequence that saw several big, cringeworthy manuevers that resulted in close falls. In the end, it would be a death valley driver off the top rope from B-Boy to Jigsaw that would earn the New Age Punisher the victory. This was a super fun match that is definitely worth going back and taking a look at. I doubt we will ever see any of these men in the ring together again so that makes this even more cool to look back on. Although B-Boy & Ricochet are in Lucha Underground together so there's a chance they may face off sometime in the future, but regardless, if any of these men faced off today, it would likely be a very different match up seeing as this was eight years ago. Enough "if's" and "buts", this was a great junior heavyweight style bout. I recommend.

Match rating - ***1/2

Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk vs. Ricochet & Naruki Doi - Dragon Gate - 7/21/13
OH. MY. GOD. Where do I even begin with this match? I probably should have given myself time to calm down before writing this review, but I'm so hyped after watching this bout that I have to discuss it write away. Phew. Let's TRY to start from the beginning. Tozawa & Hulk were the heels here and they established that early on by bringing in chairs behind the referees back and using them in various ways on Ricochet & Doi. Most notably, suplexing Doi onto them and placing them on Ricochet and hitting a 450 splash type manuever. Tozawa also displayed his fun side here though as he mocked Ricochet's repeated back hand springs by doing a cheap imitation of them on his own. It's stuff like that which transcends language barriers and is what makes Tozawa someone I firmly believe could be a star in a company like WWE one day. He's just so fucking great. The fun, games, and sly tactics would be short lived though as Ricochet got the hot tag after about 10 minutes of domination by Tozawa & Hulk. This is where things got INSANE. The action throughout the whole match, even during the heat periods and stuff, was highly entertaining and most times, fast paced. However, these guys kicked things into a completely different gear for the final 10-12 minutes. I'm talking the highest gear. Actually, no, they broke the fucking gear shifter, this was NUTS! I've seen some incredible Dragon Gate six man's and just six man's in general that were crazy, but these was honestly one of the best I've ever seen. It wasn't just big moves and nearfalls that we've seen dozens of times before, it was innovative and jaw dropping moves with insanely close near falls. Not to mention Ricochet putting in one of the best performances I've ever seen from him - which is saying something considering how many amazing matches he's had in recent years. His exchanges with Bxb Hulk and Tozawa here were possibly my favorite part of this match. Particulary the one with Tozawa which was so astounding, I can't even begin to describe it. Therefore, I'll do play by play for a second - The two trade shots in the center of the ring, Ricochet goes for the ropes, but is met by an elbow from Tozawa. Tozawa hits the ropes and recieves a knee to the gut. Ricochet hits the ropes and gets a back kick to the gut from Tozawa, enziguri attempt from Tozawa, Ricochet ducks, Tozawa falls to the mat, Ricochet goes to grab him, Tozawa slides UNDER HIM, comes up from behind, stalling german suplex attempt - RICOCHET LANDS ON HIS FEET! Clothesline attempt from Tozawa, Ricochet ducks & slides through and goes for a spinning enzigure of his own, Tozawa ducks and FINALLY HITS THE STALLING GERMAN SUPLEX! JEEZUS! That perfectly describe how epic this match was. Exchanges like that which will blow you away. This has to be a dark horse candidate for tag team match of the year in 2013. Simply outstanding.

Match rating - ****3/4

The Young Bucks vs. The Super Smash Bros - SMASH Wrestling: Super Showdown II
This is a match that hasn't taken place nearly two years since both of these teams tore Southern California a new one in PWG with their classic series of matches. For that reason, there's alot of hype headed into this one for me. One thing I have to note right off the bat is how insanely good Player Dos looked here. He was awesome in PWG, but dude he looks to have gotten even better since. From the insane pop up hurricanrana out of nowhere early on to him getting the hot tag and going crazy, just an impressive performance from him here all around. Speaking of that hot tag, I think it's a good place to start. The Bucks used sly tactics to isolate Player Uno for awhile after the opening stages of the match. It didn't last forever though because Uno was able to make the tag to Dos after some miscommunication between Nick & Matt. Dos came in like a house of fire and hit an amazing flip over the top rope to the outside. This was the start of just a wild sequence that resulted in several stalemates in which all four men fell to the mat. You had a swinging DDT to the outside, a superkick party, a DDT on the ring apron that spiked Nick's head into the edge of the canvas. On top of that, SSB managed to hit one of my personal favorites, a move I aptly call the "get over here!" plus their finisher, FATALITY! They cover Matt for 1..2.. NICK PULLS THE REF OUT OF THE RING. Dos goes to retaliate immediately with a dive and NAILS THE REF AND THEY GO FLYING INTO THE CROWD. The Bucks take this opportunity to isolate Uno once again by tying him up in the ropes and delivering multiple superkicks to him. Dos is back up again though. Superkick attempt from The Bucks, Dos ducks and goes for his signature inverted double pay lay kick and HE GETS CAUGHT WITH TWO SUPERKICKS! JEEZ! In the end, it would take the tandem tombstone piledriver AND more bang for your buck to put SSB away. This was just an awesome match. I'm sure you wouldn't expect any different if you've ever seen either one of these teams and rightfully so because it ruled. If you've heard alot about The Bucks or the Smash Bros and want to check them out, this would be a great match to look at. In fact, it's on YouTube for free so I'd recommend giving it a watch.

Match rating - ****

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @EthanPWT & @ThePWTruth!

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