Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Is The Great Zebra White With Black Stripes Or Is It Black With White?

CJD: We've been talking music while reviewing our matches lately. First albums, demos, quoting lyrics. Well I'm going to roll with it. Your previous Shiga match was like an EP that introduces an exciting new sound for the band. This Shiga match is like the album that follows up that EP and delivers on all that promise and then some. You talked a lot in your review of your match about how things felt fresh. I agree completely and 1999/2000 AJPW desperately needed that fresh coat of paint. And even though everyone here was still in the Burning stable and these teams were just having a little competitive rivalry, you could feel that there was much, much more on the line. I've always had a soft spot for Shiga and Mossman (the future Taiyo Kea), and it's because sometimes you'll stumble onto awesome matches like this from both. This match is made by the hierarchy that Kobashi and Akiyama bring, and their performances are phenomenal. But dare I say our MDTSOCWWKD Champion of the week, Kentaro MFing Shiga, is the star of this show!

JJZ: Wow. This match. I can't believe we are stilling finding these wonderful gems 24 years after the fact. The energy between Akiyama and Kobashi was vibrating off the screen. But the shing star of this match was SHI fucking GA. The way he was demanding to start. And then when Jun wouldn't start the match with him, he just picked his spot and took him out. Well Godamn son, go and take it then. This is why I will always say this is the greatest wrestling ever. And this is what Japan nowadays is missing. At the end of the day this is two vets, a green horn and a guy would I'm not sure his level of Pro but I'd guess it about fourth or fifth year, just putting in work. If the same top guys worked a tag with a mix of experience like this today in NJPW, they'd definitely treat it as a rest match. I hope all that made sense. Also all four guys told a complete story that anyone could understand in any language. Also, that finish was sick!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Forever Forward Fridays

Kenny King VS "Speedball" Mike Bailey -  IMPACT! Wrestling Pit Fight 1/19/2023

CJD: I spent a little extra time on K-I-N-G Kiiiiiinnngggg this week, watching him in tiny indies in big singles, on undercard tags in the veteran roll, trying to find that hidden gem. I'm a fan of Kenny, he has an it factor that makes me want to watch at least, even if he rarely shows up on a lot of end of year type lists. Well instead of going under the radar I settled on his 5th highest rated on Cagematch. And it's really because everyone should see this match. Once again, it probably won't make a lot of all-time match lists or what have you. But damn is this a fun piece of pro wrestling with a fresh presentation in a promotion that is hard to remember to check in on occasionally. Well here's your reminder. This match brought the best out of both Speedball and King, and I'm a little disappointed I couldn't find any of the build to it. I'd gladly have sat down to that as well. Very curious to hear your thoughts on this with decades of martial arts training, I don't know if it's scratching that BattlARTS/Bloodsport itch, but at the end of the day I thought the fun factor ruled above all.

JJZ: Jesus Chris. That this was such a joy to watch. Imma Tarentino it and just say the finish was fantastic. I literally said fuck out loud when he hit that. King and Bailey did a wonderful job using what they had as an offense. The spots off the apron were done perfectly. I didn't get any Battlearts feels but I did get some heat coming through my screen. Also Kenny and Mike's martial arts skills really shined at points. I would've loved a video package about the back story. Good shit homie.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

No Excuses, No Fear

JJZ: So I picked this match because of a bunch of things I believe are new to me. I don't remember Kobashi ever wearing that face gear before. I can't recall ever watching Shiga before. (I'm totally anticipating you telling me that I have) The length of the was shocking to me since it was a 90s AJPW match. I have seen Omori and Takayama team a few times though. I really found this match unique to the AJPW that I have become accustomed to. The dog on a bone mentality that Omori and Takayama had on Kobashi's nose was awesome. Usually they work that stuff but they were treating it like a real fight and going for Kenta's injury right away. Shiga added a lot of fun to the match with his hot tag. Swig of green tea for those slaps. Dude wasn't pulling shit. I think I made the right call here homie. Enjoy.

CJD: You HAVE watched a Shiga match or two before, but with a career that had a few stall outs, that was cut short by injury, I can totally understand forgetting about him. To quote one of my favorite Mountain Goats songs, "sometimes you get some heat, sometimes it follows you around." The heat was following Team No Fear into and out of the building in this one! I loved the dynamic going after Kobashi's nose brought. And Shiga as the outclassed sidekick, doing anything and everything to help his mentor, was note perfect. He really had me believing on his big comeback there. This was about everything I want in 10 minutes of pro wrestling, right up to and including the finish. You made the right call indeed my friend.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Man I miss Brodie Lee. Really loved this dynamic of Delirous and Brodie. You get a taste of both sides of crazy. Kenny King and Rhett were always a good tag team. Seeing the beginning matches of a tag team is kinda like listening to the first album of a band. You get some good things, you can tell they are reaching for a few things, but you can see the potential. Good back and forth and a solid build to a hot tag. Nothing overly fancy just a solid match.

CJD: I was really impressed with the chemistry of both teams in this one. Like you said this was basic, but it still accomplished a lot. It built the Delirious/Rhett feud first and foremost. It established the soon to be All-Night Express as an emerging team. And it kept Brodie looking very protected while showing flashes that King could hang on his level. I liked the seeds they were planting here, and for a match that didn't try to do a ton, it was still very efficient in what they did. Even more than an early album I'd say this was a demo tape with a ton of potential. But great comparison!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

It's Taue Or The Highway

CJD: I was really in the mood for some NOAH Taue this week. I love how the big guy did a little of everything in his career there, but there's something about that early NOAH shit that has an element of excitement that is special. Part of that is Omori, who can be inconsistent, but is always a firecracker. Part of it is Takayama on commentary. Part of it that LIVE broadcast graphic and the Halo ad on the ring!! But this match scratched my NOAH Taue itch big time. Straight to the point, everything you want it to be. Clearly a step down from your classic Williams match but there was no way I was topping that gem. Also can you believe this is the first time in all these years Taue has held our imaginary MDTSOCWWKD Championship?? For shame!

JJZ: I watched this match two days ago, and when I was about to write my review my daughter spilled her water. Spoke too soon I guess CJD. My very first thought about this match was how goddamn impressive it is that Taue can kick above his head. I've been doing Karate for years and I can only kick around someone's waist. Taue looks like he struggles walking to the ring and then BAM! Boot to Omori's dome. I feel like Taue came out of this match looking super dominant. I was surprised that Omori was so giving in this match. I'm assuming with this being the infancy of Pro Wrestling NOAH they wanted to make sure the pillars were cemented in. I still think Omori looked decent in this match though. I didn't come away thinking he lost anything, but felt like he helped establish Taue's power in NOAH.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Let's give World Famous CB his flowers. I remember this match getting some buzz, and I doubt I'll ever get around to watching it otherwise. Obviously super notable in Cheeseburger's career and I'm loving the Coldest Brother right now so let's dive in! There's one main point that I know you're going to make. This match obviously deserved a crowd. Especially the last few minutes and post match. But at least this teacher and student had the chance to have this platform and do something special with it. As a match this is good, although I think actually a little shorter than it should be. As a moment this is great. Delirious made some great contributions to pro wrestling, I'm glad he had a student like Cheeseburger along the way to carry his torch.

JJZ: Oh man. Pandemic match. It's been a while since I watched a match with no crowd and I will say, I didn't mind it at all. I guess when it's not the only option it's not that bad. This was just a really excellent short story. The simple but effective storyline of trainer trainee mixed with the gimmick match was executed perfectly. Despite the terrible color guys I was totally locked in on this match. Cheeseburger's emotions really came through the screen and I liked that Delirious was that over the top super energetic Wildman. It gave the match so much more meaning. Loved the movesets and the focus on psychology. Good shit babycakes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Blessed Be The Doctor, Blessed Be The Nurse

JJZ: So. Chris. In my opinion this is an ace of a match. These two wrestlers busted so much ass. A true 50/50 match. Now. It's so hard to find matc5h in this era that I haven't seen before. In my heart I feel like I have never seen a singles match between Williams and Taue. Pretty much a hoss battle but very aggressive. AJPW during this time is just special Chris. We both know it without saying it. The fact that Dr. Death and Akira have a match of this quality that I have zero memory of blows my mind. Thank god for 90s AJPW.

CJD: 1996 Champions Carnival finals and I have to agree with you JJZ, I'm pretty sure neither one of us had ever seen this match. How is that possible?? I'm glad though, because this gave me those feelings some of the first All Japan we ever watched in the 90s gave me on grainy VHS tapes all over again. This was magic. From the opening moments to the ground shaking eruption of a finishing stretch. Both men gave an all-time performance. Any sloppiness is totally understandable with what an all out war this was. I knew Doc had major wins over Misawa and Kawada at this point so I knew this was a huge opportunity for Taue. Which is awesome after seeing him as an emerging star a few years earlier in our last match! What I didn't know was this was Doc's return after issues with drugs and depression that Giant Baba helped him through. Reading up a bit more, Doc called Baba a father figure in his life. I know he was to many, but for a gaijin like Williams and the significance his career in Japan had, that's pretty fucking cool. This match was Aces indeed my friend. Very nicely done.