Friday, May 20, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I don't know who the fuck Mark Hitchcock is fyi. But I do know this match will certainly give you a bunch of options for what to play next! What I find interesting is that if Oku was our Twosde Champion I would've went immediately to his match with Ospreay that has been getting amazing reviews which I haven't seen yet. BUT it ain't Twosde. It's Friday homie and we know what Fridays are all about here at PIF! Full disclosure while watching this I'm feeling my drink and smoking a fat ass stick so I wanted a junkfood match to pop me out of my seat. If you were in the supermarket you would find this match between the Herr's Cheese Curls and the Takis! If this jawn was a beer it be a Lager. Tastes great and goes down smooth at the end of a long work day. Enjoy my beautiful friend!

CJD: I love that review! I'm also coincidentally having a beer after a 10 hour graveyard as I watch this and this was indeed a smooth ride. Alexander and especially Taurus bring a great power dynamic to a car crash match and all the flippy doos get their shit in nicely. Good structure, good pace, there's not a lot to comment on but I really dug it. Normally I wouldn't want to share a bootleg upload like this but I know you had limited options with Oku and honestly as a Wrestlecon memorial show (I can't find who Mark Hitchcock is either) that had more high profile matches like Bandido/Speedball and the Briscoes/Rottweilers, I don't think giving them a little extra publicity with this great appetizer of a match is a bad thing at all. I'm guessing it'll get taken down sooner than later so watch while you can! I got a kick of Cary Silkin on commentary. Man does he get down with some Ace Austin. I get it, I almost played Ace forward previously, and this match is packed with talent and delivers on a lot of cool interactions and pairings. Good shit and I honestly would love to go with any of the other 5 guys next! Thinking, thinking...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Kick It!

CJD: Will this derail our Shootstyle Sidequest? Or will it just bring us back closer to the vein? This is much more of a pro style match although there's some good grappling especially between Hase and Takano. This match is kind of an example of Ikeda not having the same special "something" in other settings but I still think the sums of its parts is pretty damn good. In the late 90s I thought Shiga was a super rookie and in retrospect watching him now it's amazing injuries didn't derail his career sooner. The effort is there in spades but he always looks like he's on the brink of a strong breeze ripping him in half. The main thing I'm curious about is how you feel about Hiroshi's performance? I always think of you as a Hase Hater although I don't know if that's fair. But I loved him in this brief AJPW run and thought this match was a great example of his versatility. This isn't where I imagined going with Ikeda at all but this is exactly the kind of match I was in the mood to watch to see Ikeda try to adapt to other settings.

JJZ: Man!! That transition Hase did to get a rear naked choke was amazing. I'm going to always remember the way he got that hold. I rewatched it four times. Anyway! Really good match baby. I wasn't sure if this was gonna be more focused on shoot style or more traditional wrestling. But I think they mixed the bag up really well. Loved the crowd and how much the top blew off that place when the slapping started. I was hoping they would've went back to the sharpshooter stuff because I was loving how much Hase was working to get that bitch on. Nice one CJD! 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Speedball is a 2x MDTSOCWWKD Champion and now our Forever Forward Champion (meaning this is our 6th match we've featured of his) and you and I are no strangers to his work in general. That said, I think between your match and this match I've seen more depth to Bailey's game than I ever knew he had previously. I went into this totally cold, a "let's see what this is all about" situation. As such my expectations were low and some criticisms I'd have with this otherwise were easier to look past. I left this match curious to see more from Oku but with a whole new level of respect for Bailey. This isn't on the level of Nigel holding Tyler Black's hand to a MOTYC back in ROH, but honestly it's not that far off. And it definitely gave off shades of that match. Life's been hectic lately and it's been hard to find time and motivation to watch wrestling. So this was a gamble to devote the time to and I don't regret it at all. In fact this was a treat. Curious to hear if you agree??

JJZ: I'm pretty sure this is my first Oku match too. Can't be certain if I've seen him in a random tag at some point or not. REGARDLESS! For a first impression this is crazy town. So much great leg work. Love the mindset of these wrestlers to not just have a spotfest. With that said, this had some amazing spots. I do think this is the kind of match that would win over our friends in an all night marathon viewing of wrestling. Just saying. Bailey also really showed a lot of depth I've never seen from him before. Not shitting on the karate kid. Fucking love me some Bailey. Great pick man!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Sho Can Go

JJZ: I knew right away I was going more shoot style Funaki. He really impressed me in his last match. So Ikeda, man I keep feeling like we've shared him recently but looking back we have not. He's another one that I know the name but I'm not sure of his stature in Japan. I'm wondering if we talked about him in regards to you other wreslting side project. So after watching two Funaki matches I've fully come to the conclusion that he ain't nuttin to fuck wit. Jesus baby, you can tell this motherfucker is the real deal. His transition game is legitimate. Now it's obvious that Ikeda is the vet in this match. I wouldn't say he is taking liberties but he is kinda laying into his shit. I do believe that Funaki looks great in his reversals and offensive holds. And I fucking loved the finish.

CJD: Ikeda was probably on your mind because I was talking to you off the record about how intertwined his career is with Ishikawa, but how Ishikawa is pretty much a slam dunk for my Greatest Wrestler Ever top 100 ballot as he translates to a lot of different settings. Meanwhile Ikeda's typically only great in shootstyle but man is he great at it. I honestly don't know if he'll make my ballot but I do know I loved this match! These guys didn't give each other an inch. The dueling limb work was awesome right through the end, just enough focus for a match like this but still with an organic fight feel. And you've gotta love mid 90s BattlARTS ambiance (what was the audio picking up in the background?? Ring springs squeaking mixed with a nearby concert?). Something I've really valued over the years with our friendship and our good buddy and occasional guest reviewer PB is I can always rely on both of your extensive BJJ  training to get feedback on if a match like this holds up to some scrutiny beyond a pro wrestling lens. So it's good to know that Funaki, who I never watched do this style until these past two weeks, looks as good to you as he does to me. He was always the least of Kaentai DX to me, perfectly fine as the 5th man, but now I kind of wish he had kept running with Ishikawa's crew instead. Speaking of PB, I reached out to see if he wanted to join us on our Shootstyle Sidequest this week! What do you say Phil, does Ikeda make your top 100 greatest wrestlers? Does Smackdown's #1 Announcer have what it takes to tap out JBL if he pooped in his bag?? Also what did you think of this match.

PB: Top 100? Not quite, but I see the argument. His 2005 match against Yuki Ishikawa from Futen would be enough to justify the consideration as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, I think we could all agree that FunakiSmackdownNumberOne was never in the conversation. That being said, he more than carries his share of the heavy lifting here (pun semi-intended). You can tell from the first takedown that FSN1 has a formidable grappling background despite it's infrequent application at the height of his stateside popularity. The disparity in skill between the two is primarily in the striking, but this actually serves to magnify Sho's prowess on the ground to the point where I was convinced that he had a legitimate (albeit small) shot of winning if he could nullify Ikeda's kicks. That reminds me, without spoiling the ending I can confidently say that the first two syllables of the winner's theme music is the most apropos compliment to the finish of a match that I've seen/heard in recent memory.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Malenko By Any Other Name

Carl Greco VS Shoichi Funaki - PWFG 5/12/1993

CJD: We're getting into the weeds with this Shootstyle Sidequest. The Greco options that don't have Ishikawa in them were really limited so I had to start combing through some uploads of entire PWFG shows like this one to see what caught my eye. I try to avoid sharing stuff like this because I don't want people to have to click around but it's the first match on the show 6 minutes in and you can see more of Kane warming up for his match later with Fujiwara (!) as an added bonus. This is the earliest match I've seen from Greco or Funaki and while this honestly pales in comparison to your match last week, for the opener of a fairly low key shootstyle show I thought this did a very nice job. The opening feeling out is organic and exciting. I did think it was a little dry in the middle stretch but both guys did a very good job fighting for ring position and stressing the importance of trying to finish things out of the reach of rope breaks. Which kind of plays off of your match even though it's 15 years in the future! The finish capped it off as a "yes, I'll play that forward" moment. This doesn't go big but it does get the crowd warmed up and ready and makes both young fighters look full of potential. And I'm not going to lie, I'm just grinning thinking about the transition the past month and half going from WALTER, to Ishikawa, to Kane, back to Ishikawa, to Greco, to Smackdown's #1 Announcer. Where are we taking this wild ride next??

JJZ: The joy that this match brings me just seeing the opening is something that only Play it Forward can do. How in the hell did we get here (thanks for that little recap). How great is this Chris! Funaki really impressed me in this one. He can go. This match is extremely well done on a  technical level. The reversals from hold to hold were so smooth. Both guys did an excellent job on the fundamentals of grappling that made the match feel so authentic. I do wish they had a limit on rope breaks though. I found myself at times thinking, "try a kimura! Go for a knee bar!" and the guys actually went for it. Loved that little touch. Great finish. I could've watched this for another 30 minutes!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Bringing a little gaga for the proud papa! Right off the bat I'm going to say this probably over stayed its welcome by a few minutes. But the thought of this match being on the blog at the same time as the shoot stuff we've been sharing made me laugh to myself. This bad boy gets weird. I'm totally unfamiliar with Club Tropicana but Sexsea and Aiden have this gimmick down. Total pros. I'd love to see them wrestle against Colt and Yone. Veda was really good in this, better than I expected. Bailey (who fucking killed it in this match) could've really covered up any warts with his insane highflying but everyone delivered on what they were trying to sell in this one. The production of the intros was excellent and the crowd was hot from the jump. Hope you enjoy.

CJD: This promotion definitely has some slick production. I was just talking about how indie wrestlers have so many hats to wear any given night and improv comedian is one they don't typically get many reps with unless it's their gimmick. As such I was also impressed with Bird Law in this, they did get some laughs out of me even if the overall timing of some jokes was off. This was a big old mixed bag with some stuff I liked ("no you put him down!"), some I could have done without (that HBK/Flair joke was a miss for me in particular), and a couple of great spots to keep things moving. It's a messy but fun end result that gives me some interesting options for next week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MDTSOCWWKD Tuesday Favorites

As advertised here are our picks for our Top 5 favorite Tuesday posts from March 2021-March 2022! There are some absolute bangers mixed in here (so much so that we had three of the same picks!!), while our Friday Top 5 had one hell of an eclectic range of matches. Which is pretty on-brand for PIF but you never know when Tuesdays will go down a rabbit hole of Kane shootstyle exploits! We always keep them guessing.



Katsuhiko Nakajima (c) VS Go Shiozaki - NOAH GHC Heavyweight Championship 1/1/2022

Yoshihiro Takayama (c) VS Satoshi Kojima - AJPW Triple Crown Championship 9/26/2009

KENTA VS Eddie Edwards - NOAH 11/25/2007

Orange Cassidy (c) VS Joey Janela - ICW IWTV Championship 5/18/2019

Can-Am Express VS Toshiaki Kawada/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - AJPW 8/27/1992