Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Riot In The Streets

Heidi Lovelace VS Seleziya Sparx - A1 Wrestling 5/10/2015

CJD: Bad commentary goes as hand in hand with indy wrestling as bleachers, flat beer, and lukewarm hotdogs. And wanting to further explore her pre-PC days, all of the Lovelace matches I had in the que to play forward were indy to say the least. I had no idea just how scummy Heidi's roots were but I was so close to playing matches with her VS Ian Rotten, matches where you can see the locker room entrance where fans are awkwardly walking out from the bathroom, stuff that totally makes sense why Ruby Riot is such a well rounded product when you see her VFW Hall roots. This match is more polished than that, but dear god is the commentary atrocious. If you can get past it, this is the type of indy wrestling that paved the way for where women's pro wrestling is now in the US. But pretty please, turn down the volume... maybe even watch this one on mute?

JJZ: Oh I'm definitely listening to the commentary.

Well... starting off strong with calling her LOVELESS. Indy wrestling has a charm to it that I love so much. I'm not familiar with Sparx but Heidi is definitely the senior worker in the ring. LOVELACE is controlling the body of the match with Sparx firing up after the shine. The ladies do a great trading elbows spot that leads to a killer snake eyes into a big boot. Killer finish that would of made Gladiator proud. Soild match Chris. The commentary was really bad but the ladies totally over shadowed it.

Editor's note: Well chalk one up for the A1 commentators... it turns out it is pronounced "Loveless" after all!! Our bad!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Princess And The Pauper

Kimber Lee (c) VS Heidi Lovelace - CHIKARA Grand Championship 3/19/2016

JJZ: So I actually tried to avoid playing this match because I thought it was low hanging fruit. But then I figured that would be ignorant to what these ladies did to get to this point and to what they did in the ring. If you had to list the top true Indy promotions in the states Chikara would have to be on that list, so the fact that two women are wrestling for they top title can't be ignored or under appreciated. Their banter during the match adds such a nice story in the ring. There is no real heel in this match but Heidi comes out super aggressive and stiff setting the tone of the match. Lee has no problem taking the future Ruby Riot to suplex kingdom. Both wrestlers dig down deep during this match leaving the other to wonder what they need to do to walk out as champion. I'm a little embarrassed I haven't watched more of these two since they were clearly built to wrestle each other.

CJD: This match is an emotional roller coaster. Quack's vision for pro wrestling isn't for everyone but give him credit where it's due, he has a vision that is uniquely his, and he's been executing it for decades with limited resources and talent. As you said, a true indy through and through. And give these ladies even more credit, as they delivered a main event title match that nobody in that crowd could go home unhappy with, and a match that was a few years ahead of its time for the US. Suplex Kingdom felt like a bit of overkill to me but once again Quack pulls a page out of his creative playbook to keep the focus on the importance of the match rather than the moves being executed. I loved the personal edge Heidi brought to the table and her selling was top notch. Post match tugged on my heart strings. Heck of a match JJZ!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Crazy Like AR Fox

AR Fox VS Kimber Lee - Beyond Wrestling 3/23/2014

CJD: If you're like me you were wondering when and how we'd get here. I'm not a fan of intergender wrestling. But I understand that we're in an era, on the US indies especially, where it's accepted and to an extent necessary. And I don't want PIF to exclusively be a boy's club, so I've been keeping my eye out for chances to cross this bridge. This seemed like as any. This was such a great heel performance from Fox, who is nothing if not unpredictable and captivating. Lee hung right in there and delivered on an equally high level as a babyface who you couldn't help but root to kick this living shit out of her opponent. There are some rough moments in this one, some pro wrestling at its finest booking choices, and man does that ref eat shit! But at the end of the day I dare you not to enjoy this ride. Beyond Wrestling delivers once again.

JJZ: Finally we are here! I've tried several times to break into women's wrestling and couldn't find anything of note. This is why Beyond is one of the best indies in the states. I always loved the secret show idea with the intimate venue. Really wish I knew if there was any backstory going into this match. Fox is playing such a good shit heel. Lee is pulling so much sympathy from the little crowd. I believe there is another first in PIF history in this match which caught me a little off guard in a good way. You got a little bit of indy sloppy joe but then they make up for it with a stiff drink on the side. You defiantly charted some new ground here baby cakes. Really excited to explore the roads we have found ourselves in front of.

CJD: Chickenshit all the way. I've said it before but I really love when we get to see two sides of the coin for a wrestler from week to week. Fox was so effective as a face last week but even better here as a heel for my money.

JJZ: And they did such a good job of building up to the point when Lee loses it. One hell of a receipt for all those kicks to the face.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tell Your Children Not To Do What I Have Done

Jimmy Rave (c) VS AR Fox - AWE GWC Championship 2/21/2016

JJZ: Some newerish Rave. Going pretty indy for this one with the single cam action. Heard a new chant during this match that I got a kick out of. I'm 50/50 on Fox. He brings a wild man's approach to his matches that I do enjoy but I'm still not sure how he has never broken his neck. I think Rave is supposed to be the heel in the match but the crowd is going crazy for everything. Styles clash here or should I say Rave clash. Fox is trying to jump off of everything while Jimmy is grounding and grinding every chance he can. I'm digging this standing room only venue. This is a chant happy crowd biting on everything. I think both guys look great in this match, going all out for the fans, and I thought the ending was smart and fit the flow.

CJD: You mentioned the flow of this match and that's the main thing that stands out to me. This was just smooth. They put their foot on the gas when they needed to, but more importantly let things breathe to get the most out of everything. Rave looks like he's been skipping more than just leg days but he still makes this match look easy, and it isn't by the numbers by any means. He's also been wrestling in Georgia for the better part of two decades so this crowd is probably going to give him more leeway than most. He makes a great foil for Fox here who brings all his best qualities to the table. This is as indy as indy gets but it's also simply good fundamental pro wrestling.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Straight Edge Friend Total Scumbag In Every Other Way Possible

CM Punk VS Jimmy Rave - ROH Steel Cage Match 5/14/2005

CJD: So as we allude to on here every now and then John, you and I have been getting together to hang out and watch pro wrestling for two decades and counting. And in the early days we played anything and everything, but circa 2004 we both started keeping books of matches to play for each other and our friends. Well this match comes from my big book which I just added the 782nd match to last week. This is match number 49 for all you stat geeks out there. And while I'll never get to play it for you and the gang in person, I'm more than happy to share it on PIF instead (and finally cross it off!).

I think this bookends last week nicely, going from a match that's all about building to a payoff, to a match that is as classic of a way to end a feud as you can get. I loved this Punk/Rave feud at the time even though I wasn't a huge fan of either guy. Rave grew into a great heel in the Embassy and say what you will about Punk, he's the type of personality you want to watch even if you don't like him. This match is a wild ride and didn't disappoint revisting it all these years later. And if you ever wanted a reminder of just how shitty Gabe was on commentary, well, here you go!

JJZ: This is fantastic Chris. I so remembering talking about this match with you and feel like I'm sitting in my old apartment at 2AM after a Wawa run. Loving that my match was a build to a cage match and your match actually is one. This crowd is lit to the tits. Jimmy Rave, at one time I hated him then came to love him. He does not suck and has talent no matter what people shout during his matches. I'm feeling the slow, taking his revenge build to start this match. The way the feud built to this match was done so well from what I remember. I know I was driven insane by Rave's chicken shit tactics during their matches and it continued in this one. Punk could of hid that cut job a little better. The Crown Jewel really brought his A game though, playing his role to perfection with Punk doing what Punk always does best in story telling. This match is seriously the anti-WWE cage match with all the blood and choking. Jade Chung bumping her ass off! This match is truly one of the best Punk matches I've ever seen and a lot of credit needs to go to Rave. You pulled an Ace outta your deck for this one CJD.

(title credit to The Hard Times)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Dead Man's Party

Undertaker VS CM Punk - WWE 9/25/2009

JJZ: As a person I think CM Punk is a jerkoff. As a wrestler he always brings psychology and story telling to his matches. He is also probably the best talker of the most recent generation. I only ever remember seeing the Mania match between these two before this and I think they work really well together. Punk trying to chop Taker down and keep him down to eliminate the size and power difference is basic but done so well. Even though Punk still needs to learn how to throw a kick the strike exchanges in the match are solid and I love love love the battle on the top rope. The finish of the match put this over the top for me. Very nice story building television match.

CJD: I don't remember these two feuding so many years before their famous Wrestlemania match. This makes me want to watch the Hell In A Cell match that follows. I remember people saying in podcasts and such that Undertaker never had a problem selling for smaller guys as long as you stay on him, and Punk did that in this match. This was definitely one that was more about building to a payoff than it was about the match itself but that's pro wrestling 101. Also if we ever pick a match between two wrestlers you think are shitty people who are both wearing the same color tights I'm pretty sure your brain will implode!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Market Crash

Undertaker VS JBL - WWE No DQ Match 6/16/2005

CJD: One of the best feuds from JBL's awesome run on Smackdown from around this time was against the Undertaker. They worked each other quite a bit so I figured I could dig up a match I either missed or didn't remember that well. This fit the bill and is a great example of one of the things I loved so much about this feud, which was how huge of a threat JBL made the Undertaker feel like. No doubt Taker is one of the best big men ever but I think JBL is the real star of this hoss match. Although I did mark out for Taker taking a page from an old rival's playbook (I think you'll catch what I'm laying down).

JJZ: I know JBL is a big dude but seeing him next to Taker puts it into perspective. Five years ago I would have said Taker is really good but not all time. Since then I've come to realize his greatness. His effort to make every match the best that it can be needs to mirrored by every wrestler. The amount of Smackdown matches that have been played on PIF so far is unexpected but not surprising. Totally a hoss battle Chris, super physical and stiff by WWE standards. BUT I gotta disagree with you. Mean Mark needs to get top bill. JBL was a stud in this match but Taker did things and took things that made me say goddammit! I totally picked up what you were throwing by the way. A big man's knees are his biggest weakness and to take that bump popped me huge. Also fucking fantastic falsies. Beautiful match CJD.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

He's Sick Of All These People Talking Out Their Heads

Batista (c) VS JBL - WWE World Heavyweight Championship Bull Rope Match 9/9/2005

JJZ: JBL and bull rope matches seems like a no-brainer. Seeing Big Dave in '05 compared to now is crazy, he had so much more mass. As a person I feel like JBL is a piece of crap. From what I've read just a bad person. But as a wrestler he has my attention. Such a great heel. The back and forth is well done with great heat and energy. But to be honest these guys do very little in this match and are able to accomplish so much. And god damn I always forget how good JBL's lariat is. I liked the finish but what I liked more was Big Dave trying to work safe and it actually ending worse for JBL.

CJD: Ooof that shot! I don't know if the color was hardway or not based on where it hit him, but that made me cringe. You mentioned Mr H last week, and (not so) coincidentally I feel like from 2004-2005 he and I watched almost every episode of Smackdown together. That's a total exaggeration but this era is something I'll always hold dear to my heart. Particularly the Eddie/JBL and Eddie/Rey feuds. That said, I have absolutely no memory of this match! Maybe I just wasn't sold on Batista yet, and he was a bit clunky at times here. But overall this was a blast. If you want to break down the psychology pay close attention to how many times they attempt to touch the corners, what they accomplish each time they do, and how many times they repeat an attempt for the same purpose. This is the first pro wrestling match I've watched in over two weeks since getting back from my honeymoon and it did not disappoint.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #21-30

For nine straight Champions PIF had a pretty coherent, if increasingly more obscure, narrative to our completely made-up and inconsequential title. And then there was Sabu.

21. Daniel Bryan / Bryan Danielson
22. Kaval / Low Ki
What is there to say about these two. I remember when you had to defend whether or not they were believable pro wrestlers or if they were "playing wrestler." In their own unique way, I think both have proven since they are pro wrestlers through and through regardless of size and stature. These two men refuse to play by anyone else's rules, and while they couldn't be more different, they changed the face of pro wrestling together in VFW Halls and National Guard Armories.

23. Drew Galloway

24. Will Ospreay
25. Marty Scurll
I don't want to get ahead of ourselves here... but if you want to talk about two undersized indy pro wrestlers who could change the face of the industry, well let's just wait and see.

26. Flip Gordon
27. Martin Stone
28. Jon Davis
These are three names that I doubt John or myself could have predicted with a thousand guesses would have been among our first 50 Champs. Welcome to the wonderful world of indy wrestling my friends.

29. Arik Cannon
While I'm ecstatic svelte, real gear owning, PBR sponsored Arik Cannon is having lots of success in 2018... fuck do I miss pasty, pudgy, stuffed into pleather, Kool-Aid Man Arik Cannon.

30. Sabu
One of these things is not like the others.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Nobody Gets Higher

Rob Van Dam/Booker T (c) VS Ric Flair/Batista - WWE Tag Team Championship 3/22/2004

CJD: This match might seem like it's out of left field, especially when you give me a wrestler we spent a huge portion of our teenage years watching, but I think it's a pretty Chris Pick. Good tag team wrestling, clear hierarchy, everyone plays their role well, and definitely a "huh, never knew about that one" or "huh, totally forgot that happened" kind of match. I didn't appreciate the Flair/Batista team anywhere near enough at the time, it's such an effective use of both guys at that point in their career. RVD & Booker are a fun team that I'm a little surprised they didn't get more life out of. Also when you're picking the next MDTSOCWWKD champ, keep in mind a few weeks ago we were transitioning from Martin Stone to Jon Davis.

JJZ: Outta left field is an understatement my friend. At one point in my life I literally would have said I hate Dave Batista. But after a little help from our mutual friend Mr. H I have learned to appreciate him for his better qualities. Those were on display in this match, good psychology, pacing, and old school power wrestling. Flair is Flair which means tons of flavor to this match. The teaming of these two are such a compliment to each other and kinda make for a perfect team. Experience, youth, energy, psychology, power, technical ability. And across the ring! Had no clue this ever happened! Fun ass team. Booker T is someone I really need to focus on a little more. I know his WCW run but not so much WWE. Good stuff babycakes. Curious where this road will lead me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Matter Of Respect


Sabu VS Rob Van Dam - AJPW 3/3/2001

JJZ: Revisiting my favorite childhood feud for this one!!!!! This match took place about 6 weeks after ECW folded and you tell right way Sabu is nursing a leg injury. It still is such a surprise to me that AJPW booked RVD and Sabu. They do not fit the AJPW mold what so ever. With that said it was so much fun watching these two maniacs turn the kingdom of the four pillars of heaven into a bingo hall from Phila for 15 mins. They clipped about 2 mins out of this match but it doesn't even matter. I could watch them work all day. These two always brought a great combo of madness and grace to there matches that the crowd responded to well. I liked the ending and I'm So excited for you to watch this match baby cakes!

CJD: Wow. What an oddity of a match. This felt to me like they approached it as if the Shiek told them to get in the ring and give him 15 minutes, no bullshit. I think a lot of that has to do with performing in front of the Japanese crowd. But this was so focused while still capturing the feel of controlled chaos that made their feud and tag team work so well. I'm still just blown away I never knew this existed!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Anarchist VS The Nihilist

Arik Cannon VS Sabu - Heavy On Wrestling 3/23/2013

CJD: Cannon does so much, so so much, to make this match as good as it is. And this isn't just a nostalgia fest, this is legitimately a really good match, way better than I expected. I would have loved to dive into Cannon's underrated feud with Hero instead but I'm almost more excited to watch a great Sabu performance from 2013. So what is it about Arik Cannon? He almost reminds me of Matt Borne, where you look at him and you don't see much. Then you see him in a wrestling ring and it looks like there's nowhere else in the world he belongs. He's the type of guy that just makes things click and just like Borne his career probably won't get the attention it deserves. But in the long run what's more punk rock than that?

JJZ: He came down to his ECW music!!! Fuck man. Legit happiness when I saw this match. With Sabu's age I'm shocked this made the cut. This has such an ECW feel! Cannon would of fit perfectly. Could have slid right in with Balls and Axl. Sabu's chair throwing is insane. So much could go wrong. Missed spot by Cannon when he threw the chair and after it hit Sabu it unfolded and was set up to sit down. I would of took a seat. Super enjoyable match man. And I'm telling you right now!! I'm picking an ECW match for my Sabu match!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The First Rule Of Dark City Fight Club

Jon Davis VS Arik Cannon - Dragon Gate USA 9/9/2011

JJZ: The quality ain't great but I thought "the best right hand in professional wrestling" needed a title run.  The way I feel about Cannon is the way you feel about Eddie Edwards. And since I always considered Arik one of your guys I thought it was fitting to pick him. Similar story with your match of hometown guy VS the heel. Jon again does a great job of pulling sympathy for the crowd while Arik does the little things well to gain heat. I'm not sure were this fell on the card but I think it would of been a great opener. Everything was hit crisp and tight. Hope Pinky Sanchez is okay after that bump!

CJD: No wasted motion is an expression that gets overused in pro wrestling. I saw Davis waste some motion here and there. But really there wasn't much of it in this match. It flew by but didn't feel short by any means and every minute meant something. Cannon is so underrated, he's definitely a CJD guy. I'll talk about him more next week when he technically gets the strap but suffice to say I'm happy to deep dive into his matchography. While we're at it the Dirty Ugly Fucks were a really great little stable that never really went anywhere. And as for Davis, he might be our least likely champ yet, but I really dug his two straight up babyface ass kicker performances. In an era where everyone wants to fly or be a mat general I'll still gladly take a brute strength bad ass. And the VQ, while rough at first glance, didn't even register with me by the end. But we did come from the VHS tape trading generation after all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Simmering Up Some Stone Soup

Jon Davis (c) VS Martin Stone - USWA Elite Championship 6/25/2016

CJD: We've both watched an ungodly amount of indy wrestling in our lives. Well this is as indy wrestling as it gets. The venue, the crowd, the pace, the psychology, the hometown babyface champ that the fans cheer for on a first name basis. It has some warts which come with the style but on a whole I think this is a really quality performance from both guys. It also plays to the strength of your last match showing the heel side of Flip Gordon, with an excellent heel performance from Stone this week. Davis can be hit or miss so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with for him next week. I feel like I've given you a few curveballs lately!

JJZ: Loving this super indy feel right off the top. You described it perfectly. Strong baby/heel psychology in beginning. He's probably done it before but I totally popped for Stone's kip up. Davis is a solid seller and is really good at getting sympathy from the small crowd. Shout out to the women who non-stop tell Jon to come on. Fantastic, relentless limb work by Stone, great story telling, and I liked the ending stretch. It's sad to say but I was pleasantly surprised the modern indy crowd was into a match like this. These days it's usually go go go from the bell. I like that pace as well but it's nice to see a small crowd that's invested in a more methodical match. Good shit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Flip Forever

Martin Stone VS Flip Gordon - Beyond Wrestling 1/27/2018

JJZ: Why the hell don't wrestlers these days care about wearing the same colors?! You'd never see Flair and Dusty both rocking black trunks with white trim. In spite of this ignorance this is a very good match. And with Scurll in the rear view he might want to watch this match to see how to work a finger. Just saying. Very nice flyer vs technician psychology in this match. Crowd is okay but Wrestle Factory crowds aren't always over the top.

I know I didn't do you any favors by picking a Martin Stone match Chris but ever since he changed his gimmick around the time of the UK tourney I've been a big fan and this match shined a bright light on both these wrestlers.

CJD: First of all, I'm almost positive I've watched a Flair VS Terry Taylor match where they're both wearing identical Kelly green trunks. Might have been VS Kerry Von Erich, but either way. I think you need to get over this fixation or you may not ever be able to enjoy pro wrestling again. Just saying.

Stone is one of those guys that I never seek out when I see him on paper but he adds a ton to any card he's on. It was really interesting to see Gordon work heel, using a lot of the same exact spots from last week, but getting legit heat with them. This was fun undercard wrestling 101, the type of match that keeps the pace of a show moving right along while still delivering something substantial and satisfying. I left the match wanting to watch more of both guys, and I'll do just that with Stone next week!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

You Either Die A Party Marty, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain

Marty Scurll VS Flip Gordon - ROH 01/06/2018

CJD: When searching for a Scurll match for this week I wanted it to check a few boxes. Not an epic, not against someone he was extremely familiar with, where the Villain looks great without having to do a ton, and makes his opponent look great in the process. I honestly have never seen a Scurll performance that fits that description, but in this one he knocked it out of the park. I'm starting to think he's grown a lot this year between these two matches. I'm going to have to start giving him a fair shake again. Oh and hey I watched a Flip Gordon match for the first time in the process.

JJZ: The cagey vet versus the energetic green horn. This was a nice titty for tatty match. Watching Flip trying to get the huge victory in his young career was the story unfolding the whole time. I think him going so fast with everything worked really well to showcase it. The crowd was white hot and was buying into everything. The super kicks were so fucking stiff!!! But for the love of god ROH please stop main event wrestlers from wearing the same color trucks!

CJD: You had two guys in purple in your last match there buddy!

JJZ: Haha. This has been a ROH problem since we were going to shows. That's why I didn't call out the wrestlers.

Editor's note: This match has been taken down since we originally shared it. We'll check back periodically to see if we can find a new link. We apologize for the inconvenience!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gonna Fly Now


Will Ospreay (c) VS Marty Scurll - NJPW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship 4/1/2018

JJZ: This was a no brainer for me. In my top three matches of the year. Ospreay is one of the best in the wrestling world right now, he has evolved into a complete wrestler that tells you a story that you never want to end. Now Marty, I'm 50/50 on the Villain. He can be great or he overstays his welcome. But that isn't the case in this match at all. This match is a present for you Chris. I hope you enjoy it.

CJD: I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. There's a lot about this match I loved. But as was the case with previous Ospreay/Scurll matches I've seen, I think they took things too far. This match told a complete story, reached a logical conclusion. Then it kept going for a few more minutes and it made so much of what they worked so hard to build feel less important. Make no mistake that for almost a half hour these are the best babyface Will Ospreay and maestro Marty Scrull performances I've ever seen. I feel similarly on the Villain, I often think he's a great entrance and cool character on paper who doesn't translate in the ring. That wasn't the case here, he was methodical, nasty, everything he did in the ring had purpose. Ospreay's selling and sometimes inadvertent continuous punishment to his neck was reminiscent of an action movie like Die Hard or Shoot 'Em Up. It just kept getting more ridiculous but it worked. But by the end I wanted a little less. I know you don't feel the same, but that's my honest opinion.

JJZ: I knew the only way I could get you to watch this match was to force it on you. I couldn't disagree with you more about the end stretch. I think they nailed it with this match. These two always went too far. Sometimes so far I didn't even want to watch the finish. But when the finish happened in this match I was like "Yes! They got it perfect this time."

CJD: In order to continue this conversation I'm going to have to touch on some vague spoilers, so if our readers don't want to know how this match ends, then proceed no further until you WATCH THE MATCH...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Stiff Shot Of Scotch

Drew Galloway (c) VS Will Ospreay - WCPW World Title 6/3/2017

CJD: Alright Alright! I'll see your Drew Galloway against smaller GIF machine indy star in a suit and raise you a Drew Galloway VS smaller GIF machine indy star in (half) a suit! Normally I think we both try to bring variety with the same wrestler week to week but this time the matches are fairly similar, right down to some silliness that I could do without in both. But once again when this one is good, it's damn good. Dare I say great. Between another stop along the way of Galloway's monster indy run and the story of Ospreay maturing and starting to become the complete package in the past two years, I think this one is well worth getting as many eyes on as possible.

JJZ: Third time I've watched this match and I'm really happy to watch it again. I always liked Ospreay but when I watched this match for the first time last year it made me go YES! That's what I'm talking about! His heel work is excellent and his placement of his highspots are spot on. They really showcase the size and strength difference well in this match. Drew comes out looking like a monster and Will comes across like a little shit you'd love to slap. The crowd was pretty good but I remembered them being hotter for some reason. The finishing stretch was done really well, I bit and thought both guys had the match won on several falsies. Well done Chris.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Looney Low Ki, OG, Been Banging From The Jump

Low Ki VS Drew Galloway - House Of Glory 8/19/2016

JJZ: Alright alright. So this match really piqued my interest when I saw it. Drew had a great Indy run before he went back to WWE and he looked like a million bucks in this match. Not gonna lie, not a big fan of this suit thing Ki does but the SOB can still bring the heat. I wasn't familiar with this fed even though it looks like they draw and bring in top talent. This match starts fast and keeps the pace until the end. Good back and forth with a ton of "OHHH" moments makes for a match I got to play forward to you my friend.

CJD: I don't know a ton about House Of Glory either but from what I do know my first thought was "there's going to be some sort of horseshit in this match." I wasn't wrong, but man did they pack some awesome stuff in as well. I agree that unless your name is Irwin R Schyster you shouldn't wear a tie in the ring, but this was one of the first times I didn't mind the get up on Ki... until the end. At its best moments Galloway was working like Akira Taue when he was overmatched by a smaller faster opponent, right down to the "fuck you" release vertical suplex. For an impromptu match this really delivered. Nice find.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #11-20

Another ten champs up, another ten champs down, a couple of firsts here at PIF, a couple of interesting stories week to week, let's get into it!

11. Takashi Sugiura
We started with one of the most successful modern transitions in Japan between junior to heavyweight, and highlighted matches from both eras of his career. Which really set the tone for the next six champs.

12. Shinsuke Nakamura
13. Katsuyori Shibata
14. Yoshihiro Takayama
What a monster run of Japanese heavyweights! I wouldn't want to meet these three in a dark alley.

15. Hayabusa
16. the Great Sasuke
17. Ultimo Dragon
Which is somehow topped by an even more epic run of Japanese juniors! Make sure you don't miss the match that transitioned between the two weight classes beautifully between Hayabusa/Shinzaki and Takayama/Omori.

18. Alex Shelley
19. Claudio Castagnoli
These two have a special place in our hearts, and it was an especially strange coincidence that Shelley got the strap (something we usually plan weeks in advance) the week he announced his retirement.

Also of note in the match where Shelley became champ, Jushin Thunder Liger became the first ever wrestler at PIF to appear in multiple matches but not hold the MDTSOCWWKD Championship.

20. The Usos
And then we closed things out with another first, our first ever tag champs! Play It Forward, where the rules are made up but everything matters!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Long Way From The Super 8

Kaval VS Bryan Danielson - FCW 7/2/2010

CJD: How many times have we watched these two go at it? And still there are matches out there between them that I had no idea existed, such as this one. This is exactly what you'd expect from a FCW debut of Danielson VS Ki and with that expectation I thoroughly enjoyed it. At times it reminded me of their Final Battle 2004 match, but obviously with a more satisfying finish.

JJZ: Bryan has had so many great feuds with so many great wrestlers. The Low Ki feud probably seems unimportant to most people, but it was the feud that made me fall in love with both wrestlers. Watching them wrestle during the early 2000s was the medicine I needed to heal the pain of ECW folding in 2001. It gave me hope back then because they weren't another ECW rip off and this match felt so much like a match from that era. This match is short but tells a nice story and the commentators did a good job of talking about their history. Good stuff Chris.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

We Work Hard In The Paint, We Play Hard In The Paint

Tag Team Turmoil WWE Smackdown 2/12/2015

JJZ: So this is match is all about story telling and feud progressing. The Usos part of this match is the best wrestling during the gauntlet but the main vein of this ride is the back and forth of Reigns and Bryan. This is just two weeks before your pick and it's a fantastic build to the singles match at Fastlane. Roman shows great struggle while working his cousins and I love his facials in the corner. I'll never argue his in ring ability but wish he was allowed to play this character more and not the Big Dog shit. Bryan's heelish aggressive work with the Usos is excellent and the Usos are such good faces. Chris I'm really hoping you give the King his crown in your next pick.

CJD: Even when WWE does their best at telling stories, they typically aren't as story driven and focused as this match is. We discussed a little the logistics of whether a gauntlet counts as one giant match or not and my answer is almost always YES! Because of the way WWE television is produced though this felt fragmented to the point where I'd understand picking it apart match by match. But the overriding story is what carried everything so I'd still consider it a long, ongoing match. And what a match it was! This will warrant a lot of rewatches over the years. It's a little slow starting and the ending was a bit predictable but that portion between Bryan/Reigns and the Usos was classic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Most Money Making Man, Man


The Usos (c) VS Cesaro/Tyson Kidd - WWE Tag Team Championship 2/22/2015

CJD: Claudio has had so many really good eras of his career but they often get cut off or aren't fully realized. His team with Kidd was definitely one of them, but they still had some excellent matches. We both watched this PPV but I remembered almost nothing of this match and was glad to rewatch it. It has so many little touches that are easy to miss out on and I know you're a man who appreciates attention to detail.

JJZ: This was another great era of Cesaro's career. It's interesting that he's been part of three very successful and very different tag teams. Haven't watched the face paint Usos in a while. I really hope they are a career long team. Good basic tag team psychology to start, with the heels cutting the ring off and working a body part on Jimmy. I know I watched this PPV when it happened but didn't remember this match at all. Really fun watch with a some good spots along the way. Sadly though I do remember this was the last run of Tyson Kidd before his terrible injury. I became a big fan of Kidd from this tag team and his work in NXT. Love that Claudio still does the Sharpshooter in honor of his friend.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Goodnight Sweet Prince

Alex Shelley (c) VS Claudio Castagnoli - UWA Hardcore Lightweight Championship 2/17/2006

JJZ: These two. These two beautiful humans arefuckingincredible. I expected so much from this match and of course got so much more. With just reading who is in the match you know the quality you're going to get. Watching people wrestle with the same passion on a small Indy show like this as they do on a huge dome or stadium show is what makes these two special. Not special talents or just wrestlers but special people because they treated that crowd to one hell of a match and that's why as a wrestling fan I love these two.

CJD: You caught me totally off guard with this one! When I saw the link I thought for certain this was a match I own on DVD between these two from a few months previous. Instead you exposed me to a match between two guys I absolutely love that I without a doubt never would have seen otherwise. That's what PIF is all about. There were moments in this match of pure beauty and I'd expect no less. Claudio wrestling for a lightweight championship when he's bigger than most modern heavyweights is amusing to say the least. They cut a great pace early, made the title feel big, had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands at the end, and sent it home with a really solid finish. Also I'm way into this entrance music from Shelley! And I'm way into this vault of UWA Hardcore matches we tapped into these past two weeks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

There's A New Generation Coming And We Really Gotta Stand Up To Them

Jushin Thunder Liger/Ultimo Dragon VS Motor City Machine Guns - UWA Hardcore 5/26/2007

CJD: I had a few matches in mind for my pick and this was absolutely not one of them. It was a total curiosity while searching for other stuff and I'm so glad made time for it. It's deceptively good, on the surface it might seem to merely be fan service to two legends coming in from overseas. If you dig deeper though it's really fundamentally sound tag wrestling. If you were to put this in front of a modern NJPW crowd it would gets tons of attention as opposed to something I never knew existed that has a few hundred views.

JJZ: This was a fun match. Pretty basic psychology but the crowd was super into it which made even the smallest things seem huge. Shelley and Sabin played the heel role well and the crowd ate up the hot tag. I couldn't tell the time frame of the match because the video quality was poor but Ultimo and Liger seem ageless anyway so it doesn't really matter. I'm like 50/50 on Sabin. He didn't do anything to blow me away this match but he did provide a strong base for the two vets. Shelley as always impressed me with the smallest things. He never disappoints with his attention to details. I'll have some happy hunting for the new champ.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

They Don't Just Call Him The Good Sasuke

the Great Sasuke VS Ultimo Dragon - J-Crown Finals 5/8/1996

JJZ: To my surprise finding a Great Sasuke match from 2000-2010s that I wanted to play forward was really hard. So I got to the point where I said screw it I'm picking something that I just feel like watching. I picked a match against my favorite junior of all time in possibly the greatest year in wrestling history. I'm sure we've seen this match before probably many times over. It's an amazing match. A match that should be studied by the juniors of today. The match is part of a tourney so the pace is slightly different than a normal title defense. I loved the finish and could watch these matches all day.

CJD: Last week I talked about how I'm sure one of us had that Hayabusa/Sasuke match on a VHS comp buried somewhere. Well this week I absolutely know I have this match on a Best of Ultimo Dragon tape in storage. Ultimo was my brother's favorite wrestler and we watched that thing beginning to end so many times over that we started to rank Ultimo's gear in each match from favorite to least favorite (this one fared pretty well).

Needless to say I was really curious to see what I'd think with fresh eyes. Play It Forward is a perpetual motion machine of pro wrestling positivity so I'm going to get the negative out of the way quickly. I didn't like the execution of the finish. And I disagree that it's a match that should be studied by young wrestlers today. I think they needed to slow down, do a little less, and sell a little more in the second half to make everything they were doing count as much as it should. It would have been the difference between a very good match and a great match in my opinion.

But make no mistake that what we have here is very good. I liked the pace for a tournament final, it felt like both guys needed to press the advantage early and often to put the other away quickly. I liked the matwork this era so often gets criticized for. I liked the story of Ultimo largely having Sasuke's number, and Sasuke needing to take every risk imaginable to even the playing field. And I loved two moments from Sasuke in particular, his sell draped over the guard rail, and the look of total "well, fuck me" every inch of his body communicated as he went for that one dive off his back foot from the top to the outside. That might not have required much in the way of showmanship but it was still awesome.

I want to keep this blog largely spoiler free, so I'll giver readers the option to go forward with the answer to the next question... what exactly did you like about the finish?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Best. Entrance Song. Ever.


Hayabusa VS Great Sasuke - FMW 12/11/1996

CJD: There's no way we both haven't seen this match before and own it on some terrible VQ Aerial Assault or Best of '96 VHS tape buried in a closet somewhere. That said, I remember nothing about this match or that it even happened. High flyer VS high flyer is actually a very difficult dynamic to pull off, in the majority of the great junior singles matches and feuds one wrestler acts as more of a base. Here both guys get their chances to fly and everything is done masterfully.

JJZ: So this match is a greatest hits of both wrestlers imo. Every move I wanted them to do they did. The slow build of the match with the high risk highspots is the exact way I remember these 90s matches playing out. Love it. What I didn't love was once again having to sit through the most uninterested announcing ever. I always hated that about FMW, they would put out announcers that sometimes would kill the match for me. This match was strong enough to overcome it though. Now I get to choose a Sasuke match. Man do I have options open here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Takayamamania Runnin' Wild On PIF

Hayabusa/Jinsei Shinzaki (c) VS Yoshihiro Takayama/Takao Omori - AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship 6/4/1999

JJZ: After recently watching Hayabusa in one of the greatest deathmatches of all time with you Chris, it's eye opening to see Hayabusa's depth as a wrestler. This is a classic All Japan style tag match built brick by brick. Omori is catching my eye and I'm realizing I need to seek his matches out more. Takayama with the dark locks is interesting. I just have a set image of him in my head. Shinzaki is such a solid worker which brings a great base to this match. I'd love to really dive into Hayabusa's and Shinzaki's AJPW run. I've seen stuff here and there but never went all in on it. After all these years of watching 90s AJPW it feels like this vault will never end.

CJD: You know I've been on a tag team wrestling binge lately and this match is such good fundamental tag wrestling. I don't think Shinzaki & Hayabusa's run in AJPW was extensive but they were a welcome breath of fresh air when they were booked.  I loved the way both teams worked this match, great cut offs and counters and tandem offense. Late 90s was definitely when the halcyon days of AJPW were waning but the fact that a match like this happened under the radar just goes to show the decade that promotion had will probably never be touched by anyone else.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Big Mouth VS Big Man


Katsuyori Shibata VS Yoshihiro Takayama - NJPW 8/15/2003

CJD: You think your match was short? Try this on for size! I know it's difficult to watch either of these two lay it in given the state they're in currently (especially Takayama). But I think this is a great example of them working safe but still capturing that unpredictable feeling of violence they both are so good at. They also tell a complete story in such a short period of time. In a lot of ways they are extremely similar wrestlers despite the age and size difference and I really enjoyed watching them work each other.

JJZ: So yeah, Takayama loves getting punched in the face. This match was everything I thought it would be with the stiffness. I was surprised how much offense Takayama let Shibata get in, he basically controlled the pace of the match. I'm always curious if matches like these have any planning to them. Either way it comes across like a real fight. Also I could watch the Everest German all day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

King Of Short Style

Shinsuke Nakamura VS Katsuyori Shibata - NJPW 7/4/2004

JJZ: I picked this match to change it up a little. Shorter match with a ton of heat and a great crowd. When the match started I thought it was gonna go one way then it took a right turn and never looked back. This seemed to be a feud building match and if so they put my ass in the seat because I'll be searching for more of their matches.

CJD: I liked how this didn't follow a linear path. It reminded me of a modern NJPW interpretation of Abdullah or Shiek matches, but organic and interesting unlike Togi Makabe matches. Sometimes it's good to break up the narrative people expect to get them to pay a little more attention. I also like how we put the belt on Nakamura and played two matches from before he hit his peak. Nakamura had it from early on, he just didn't put it all together until later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jungle Sugi

Takashi Sugiura/Go Shiozaki VS Shinsuke Nakamura/Milano Collection AT - NOAH 3/1/2009

CJD: With how high profile of a match this is and how unusual big interpromotional matches between NJPW and NOAH are I have to think you've seen this one before. You may have even played it for me. Either way, if I've seen it before, I remembered nothing about it, and god damn did it deliver on absolutely everything I could want out of a match like this. This is also the era of Sugiura where you got me to turn the corner on him so it's a fitting choice for me. This has great character work and big moments, good surly violent Japanese heavyweight wrestling, and a heaping spoonful of honest to god heat. My kinda match.

JJZ: So happy you picked this. I can't believe I never saw it before. Seeing NOAH in '09 packing them in is great. I look at Sugiura and Go and can't believe they weren't able to keep attendance up. I know a lot more goes into NOAH's struggles than that but I always thought they had the talent to overcome. Nakamura in shorts feels like a totally different wrestler. Slaps and chokes and punches and stiffness mixed in with solid tag team wrestling. I forgot how stiff Go's chops were. MCAT plays his role well, the split drop down with Go eating shit made me lol. Solid falsies and a great finish made this match.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #1-10

A PIF update on a day other than Tuesday?! That's right, we wanted to give you a quick recap of the first ten MDTSOCWWKD Champions as we move past the infancy of our blog's launch!

1. Zack Sabre Jr
A fitting choice for the inaugural Champion, among the best of his generation and an ultimate storyteller in the ring.

2. Yoshinari Ogawa
Just like when he won the GHC title, Ogawa as the second ever Champ is proof that anything can happen here at PIF.

3. Jun Akiyama
4. Daisuke Sekimoto
Two absolute favorites around these parts. No surprises here.

5. Shane Haste / Thorne
A bit of a long shot but his matches did not disappoint whatsoever. Go back and rewatch the Sekimoto match if you have time to kill.

6. Roderick Strong
7. Eddie Edwards
8. Timothy Thatcher
9. Jonathan Gresham
It's crazy looking at these four all in a row how you are basically seeing a progression of indy wrestling from 2004 to right now. We definitely went down an indy rabbit hole for a little while there.

10. Ikuto Hidaka
Until Hidaka, like the knight in shining armor he is, brought us into the next chapter of PIF history.

That's a lot of ground covered and we're just getting started folks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nobody Likes Minoru Fujita

Yoshinobu Kanemaru/Takashi Sugiura (c) VS Ikuto Hidaka/Minoru Fujita - NOAH GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship 3/5/2006

JJZ: This match is a journey. It has it all. Highs, lows, great technical wrestling, sloppy wrestling, Southern style tag wrestling and Japanese junior fast paced wrestling. I don't like Fujita. At all. But the other three wrestlers made up for it. This was in the heyday of NOAH and I was so glad to see a packed house with four wrestlers working their asses off.

CJD: I watched this way back but was spoiled by the state of puro at the time and kinda glanced over it. I took it for granted especially with so much good tag wrestling happening in the NOAH juniors division. And as you mentioned, Fujita is the drizzling shits, so it was always easy to gloss over his matches, even when tagging with Hidaka. Going back and looking at it through fresh eyes gave me a new appreciation for it. Hidaka is such a great dance partner for Kanemaru & Sugiura. The structure they put together made you feel like your went on a journey and just like my Hidaka match for you, the finish totally surprised me in the best way possible. This is the first time you've given me a tag match and I can't wait to see who I'm going to go with between Kanemaru and Sugiura!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ikuto Matata


Ikuto Hidaka VS Jonathan Gresham - Zero1 Tenkaichi Finals 9/17/2012

CJD: You played right into my trap! When I mentioned Sekimoto was on the short list of guys I wanted to put the title on early you had to know Hidaka was right up there as well. I'm sure you were unaware of Gresham's time in Zero1 as was the rest of the internet apparently based on the video & audio quality of this upload. But we're from the VHS tape trading generation where anything we don't have to watch through a layer of tracking snow and with the volume at 100 (I feel like TVs didn't even go to 100 back then) is gravy to us. With Gresham's amateur background and Hidaka's love of catch wrestling, this is as tricked out with chain wrestling and wacky pinning counters as you'd hope for. I actually don't love when it gets to more traditional juniors action later on but when I found this one I knew unless it was a total disappointment it'd be my pick for the week. And it's definitely not a disappointment.

JJZ: If I could sum up this match in one word it would be smooth. Even with the video quality being poor everything they did looked seamless. I haven't watched a lot of Hidaka recently so this was a treat. Jon looked great in this match. I wasn't aware he was this skilled in 2012. The finish caught me off guard in the best possible way. The Zero1 crowd was okay even though there wasn't a lot of asses in seats for this show. Hidaka is a true legend in my eyes. I know he won't get a lot of talk like this but whenever I get to watch a match of his it just makes me happy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ruthless Aggresham

Timothy Thatcher VS Jonathan Gresham - Beyond Wrestling 8/31/2014

JJZ: This match is from 2014 when Gresham was just starting to develop his rep as an elite technician. I wanted to play a match with Thatcher that showcased his strengths. In this match his mat wrestling is excellent and the psychology is on point. A lot of times in indy wrestling the wrestlers ignore a size or strength difference but in this match it is a feature. Beyond Wrestling at this point is at the level of PWG anymore with the quality of matches they produce.

CJD: Back to back Beyond! I agree that they have become one of the must watch indy promotions in the past few years so that makes me happy. I've actually seen more matches from Gresham as Hieracon in CHIKARA than I have as himself so this was interesting to me. At 5'4" he has to be super aware of how hard he has to work to make his work look believable and to his credit he absolutely does in this match. He plays up what a small target he is, how he has to build momentum to do things that are relatively simple for anyone bigger than him, and that if he tried to fight Thatcher toe to toe it simply wouldn't work. The finish was one of those refreshing moments where when it happens you think "there's actually no way out of that" and then there legitimately isn't. Great performances from both guys in this one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Good Day To Die Hard

Eddie Edwards VS Timothy Thatcher - Beyond Wrestling 9/26/2015

CJD: So I alluded to not loving everything about Edwards and one of my problems with him for a long while is he didn't always look like he knew who Eddie Edwards was in the ring. Jack of all trades master of none and all that. I will say that the more recent matches of his I've seen he's gotten much better at developing what makes him die so hard. And here he's up against someone in Thatcher that has as clearly defined presence in the ring as you can imagine. The result is a match that is laser focused in the strategy both guys implement. The way they move, the way they sell, the way they execute, this is a beautiful piece of pro wrestling right here.

JJZ: This was the first match of the night for these two in a 4 way Round Robin including Drew Gulak and Biff Busick. I think Eddie does a great job of keeping up with Tim on the mat considering the way they had to pace the match since they would be wrestling 2 more times that night. I love the Indy feel from this match. Fans around the ring in this awkward room with no commentary and you can see the merch tables in the background. The sweat shooting off the wrestlers with every strike that shows the heat in that place is probably off the charts. The psychology and finish of the match was perfect for a RR imo. I am a Thatcher fan but I'm not over the moon for him so picking the next MDTSOWWKDC will hopefully take me over the big cheese.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

For A Few Seconds, This Place Was Armageddon

Roderick Strong (c) VS Eddie Edwards - ROH World Championship 3/19/2011

JJZ: This match. I've drug my feet watching this match for no reason at all and I regret it. Wow. This is a classic ROH title match. Great build with great falsies and a great story told. I've always had a soft spot for Eddie. His Art of Wrestling really made me keep an eye out for him plus he was trained by Killer Kowalski and in the NOAH dojo. Double tough imo. This title run of Roddy's is under appreciated. He did some great heel work and worked some great matches.

CJD: It's crazy that Strong has been wrestling a decade at this point but he still looks like such a baby compared to now. I love heel Strong and "...the Other American Wolf!" with that shit eating grin of his is such a great way to start this one off. This match would have been a blast to see live. I know you're a big ol' softy for Edwards, I can take or leave him and there's some stuff he does here that I don't love. But this is the sort of match that by the end has won me over enough that I'm not going to bother nitpicking. It was a fun ride and damn was that one hell of a finishing stretch. And finally, the Mason-Dixon Tri-State Outercontinental WWKD Championship is around the waist of a god fearing red blooded American!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Shane By Any Other Name


Shane Thorne VS Roderick Strong - NXT 11/02/2016

CJD: My immediate reaction to picking a match from Shane was that I had no idea where I was going. It only took a day until I realized exactly where I wanted to take you. You've seen this one before I'm sure, but I want to occasionally feature matches that warrant a second look and this is a great example. I know you'd expect me to go tag after giving me a singles match from a tag wrestler, but ha ha! I fooled you! Instead I'm taking your tag wrestler in a singles tournament and giving you a singles match in a tag tournament! This was great creative yet simple booking and everyone involved played their parts perfectly. I think it flew under the radar a bit and I also don't want to stay so so focused on Japan even though I know we both tend to lean that way.

JJZ: Love the concept of both Haste matches being in tourneys. I have seen this match before but remember little about it. Sure as hell didn't remember Shane's drop kick! Jesus! Roddy's backbreakers! Christ! These two put on a show man. Big fan of SH selling also. Loved the finish. The booking made the best out of a bad situation and made both guys looks good. Excited for my Roddy pick!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Strongest Of BJs

Daisuke Sekimoto VS Shane Haste - NOAH Global League 11/10/2013

JJZ: This was a the hardest decision I had to make so far. When I first watched this match I liked it but didn't think it would be my pick. But then the match stayed with me for a few days before I decided to go with it. The crowd was interesting in this match since Haste was the homer and Sekimoto was the invader. Really fun watch.

CJD: Being a tag wrestler in a singles tournament is always difficult but Haste/Thorne pulled it off well here. I can see why you didn't think you were going to go with this because the finish is less than stellar and that's such a big part of what makes a lasting impression about a match. But everything else about this was spot on. If Sekimoto pulled any punches against the vets in my last match he certainly didn't here against the young gaijin. When we came up with the concept for PIF I had five or so guys in mind that I really wanted to put the title on early and Seximoto is one of them. And we're only scratching the surface of his very prolific career here! I didn't think it was that likely you'd go with Ito or Omori from my previous match but I'm so so happy you went with one half of Strong BJ instead.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blue Thunder Goes Grey


Jun Akiyama/Takao Omori (c) VS Daisuke Sekimoto/Ryuji Ito - AJPW World Tag Team Championship 10/21/2017

CJD: I went down a bit of a rabbit hole deciding which direction to go with Akyiama as the third MDTSOWWKD Champion. You gave me a match in his "prime" which is a debatable term with a pro wrestler that never faltered through three decades of greatness. I wanted to high lite either super rookie or super vet Akiyama instead and there's a wealth of material either way. I ended up picking this match for a few reasons... Burning Wild, the team of Akiyama and Omori, had a great run around this time. Sekimoto is as you well know a personal favorite and almost an adopted AJPW native at this point. BUT, this is the most "invader" tag he could challenge with teaming with Ryuji Ito, who as much as I hate to admit it, is a deathmatch legend. So we have two homegrown talents from a deathmatch focused company, one who is the best pure pro wrestling heavyweight they have ever produced, the other who was the Ace of the deathmatch division at a time when they badly needed to rebuild after CZW almost destroyed them. They are going up against two of the senior most puroresu heavyweights still wrestling at this time and two absolute traditionalists. This has some rough moments because, if we're going to be honest, Omori and Ito are not great pro wrestlers. But it's fun, it plays on knowing hierarchy and character which are themes I want to focus on, and it's a great example of super veteran Akiyama. My apologies if Russian Youtube splices some ads in!

JJZ: I can honestly say I never thought I'd see Ito and Akiyama share a ring together. This is the most recent Akiyama match I've seen and he can still go. Watching the former Triple Crown Champion trade blows with Sekimoto was awesome. Ito and Omori had smaller roles in this match but did them very well. Loved the atomic drop. You could tell Sekimoto was pulling his blows a little bit which makes sense to show respect to the vets. Good stuff overall.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

All Hail The Rat King

Jun Akiyama VS Yoshinari Ogawa - AJPW 9/11/1998

JJZ: Really hope you never seen this, loved this match. I know there are only 4 pillars of heaven but these 2 would be the 5th and 6th imo. And I ain't even an Ogawa fan. Super fun match here, Akiyama edges out Ogawa in every category but Ogawa combats that by cutting corners and playing a little dirty. Very surprising that the crowd was behind Ogawa in this match but it made for a great dynamic.

CJD: Ogawa is hilarious in that he's so far off from what we want from the King's Road style but he's so so good at what he does. We hated him when we were younger but we definitely can appreciate what he was going for these days. I loved this, especially that it's from a time when finishing stretches were a little simpler for a match like this. Straight forward and a total blast. When we started planning this project I don't think either of us with a 100 guesses would have predicted Rat Boy as our second champ!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sabre The Flavor

Jushin Thunder Liger/Tiger Mask IV (c) VS Yoshinari Ogawa/Zack Sabre Jr - NOAH GHC Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championship 12/7/2013

CJD: Nine times out of ten if you put two roads in front of me I'll take the road less traveled. This was the tenth fork in the road for me. I watched a lot of Eagles matches, all of which I liked, but none accomplished what this match did. This is basic, Southern influenced Japanese tag team pro wrestling goodness, and a complete departure from the last ZSJ match. John since you're Captain Noah you may have already seen this one, but on the off chance you haven't then I hope you enjoy it.

JJZ: Really liked this match. The biggest thing that stuck out to me is the fact that Liger/TM IV/Ogawa have all been wrestling as long or longer than ZSJ has been alive at the time of this match and Zack got so much offense in. The respect he was given by two legends says a lot and you can tell he felt little to no pressure in this title match. Ogawa who I am not normally a big fan of did his role of vet tag partner pretty perfect. Loved the end also. Excited to select the next champion!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Crowning The Inaugural Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champion

Zack Sabre Jr VS Robbie Eagles - WSW International Assault 11/19/2017

JJZ: So my idea was to basically put you in front of two roads so you can decide how to start our journey. A major road with a lot of exits or the smaller road that would take a longer to get back to the highway with. The major road is ZSJ, enough said there. He is wrestling Robbie Eagles, Eagles is from Australia and has been tearing it up. You are probably familiar with him since I believe he has worked Evolve in the past. Enjoy my friend.

CJD: My first comment to John was that this is exactly in the spirit of what I was hoping this project would be. This match is less is more and in a lot of ways reminds me of the types of matches that made us fall in love with the indy scene so hard circa 2003-2005. I actually had never seen Eagles before and I dig what he's laying down. His meat is white, his offense is tight. Pro wrestling thrives on hierarchy and ZSJ knows how to carry himself here. So now it's up to me to decide who gets the belt. Tried and true or into the great unknown? We'll find out in a week's time...

Mission Statement

Play It Forward is a passion project of two best friends, CJD & JJZ, who share an undying love of pro wrestling. As of 2018 these two grown men live over 600 miles apart.

The purpose of the project is to keep them engaged with a constant flow of matches one can expose the other to on a weekly basis, with a short dialogue they can share with the world and keep archived thanks to the wonders of the world wide web.

One man picks a match to play to set the project in motion. A week later the other picks a match to share in return which features one of the wrestlers involved in the previous match. A week later the other picks a match to share in return which features one of the wrestlers involved in the previous match who WAS NOT involved in the match shared two weeks prior. Thus the pendulum swings ad infinitum.

There will be bells and whistles, Championships and records and stats and awards. Such is usually the case when these two manchildren meld their minds and get the creative juices flowing.

But at its heart, Play It Forward is a perpetual motion machine of pro wrestling positivity. Won't you join the motion in our pro wrestling ocean?