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!