Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Best Friends, Stiffer Enemies


Stan Hansen/Dan Spivey (c) VS Mitsuharu Misawa/Toshiaki Kawada - AJPW Tag Team Championship 7/6/1991

CJD: This match is bonkers. You have three of the best wrestlers in the world at the time doing what they do best... and Dan Spivey. It's very fitting that Misawa is the first of the Four Pillars to hold the Mason Dixon Tri-State Outercontinental WWKD Championship. Will his former best friend turned bitter rival be the next in line?? Contemplate that question while you go on the journey this match will take you on. You once mentioned how AJPW is a vault of greatness that never ends. This is a perfect example, a match I would never look twice at normally, but I was very happy I made time for.

JJZ: You know me so you know how excited I would be for this. The way Hansen comes in and cleans house right away, followed by Kawada throwing the belts at him is such a tone setter. Nothing gets me as excited while watching wrestling as 90s AJPW. The story in this match is Kawada and Hansen trying to kill each other. The hate they are wrestling with I feel through the screen. Bonkers is a fantastic word for this match. It's a ride that I hope never ends but we both know it will. Shout out to my son Joey for watching this match with me and learning all about the 4 pillars and "The Lariat" Stan Hansen!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #51-60

As Play It Forward enters its second year we've been kicking things off with a diverse lineup of MDTSOCWWKD Champions indeed. Over the course of Champs #51-60 we featured wrestlers born in a total of five different countries and talent that spans multiple generations. Let's take a look at all the elite talent that held the big gold imaginary belt through the end of March up until now!

51. Kaito Kiyomiya
52. Naomichi Marufuji
Past and future Kings of NOAH. Kiyomiya is among the youngest Champs we've had at PIF although I believe "Hot Fire" Myron Reed still holds that record.

53. Prince Devitt
54. Dave Mastiff
A nice contingent of EuroChamps. While contemplating young Champions I was shocked to learn that Mastiff is in fact 34 years old. He might be a Bastard but he's a Babyfaced Bastard!

55. Kevin Steen
56. Super Dragon

57. Mike Quackenbush
You like indy wrestling? We like indy wrestling. The series of matches featured over the course of these 3-4 weeks were some of the most interesting and fun to watch for me thus far in PIF's history.

58. Tiger Mask IV

59. Jushin Thunder Liger
You like 90s junior heavyweights? We like 90s junior heavyweights... still having great matches in the 2000s!

60. Satoshi Kojima

I'd be hard pressed to name 100 PIF Champs better than him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Koji Outta Nowhere


Satoshi Kojima VS Mitsuharu Misawa - AJPW 7/18/2004

JJZ: Always heard about Misawa returning to AJPW for the first of two times but never went out of my way to watch since it was against Kojima, so when I saw this match I thought it was perfect. I must say, with the video quality of our last three matches, I feel like it's 3AM and we're in your parents' basement, which I'm loving. This show is in Ryogoku Hall, a venue I wish promotions ran at more these days. Something about the seating I just love. This match is worked like a Triple Crown title match even though Kawada had to defend the belts following it. There are big bumps, great falsies, and a fantastic botch. It's wild to hear the crowd cheering for Kojima over Misawa at an AJPW show. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did Chris.

CJD: Honestly, I didn't even know this match ever happened or that Misawa even went back to AJPW at all. This match feels like his penance for leaving. No part of him looks like he wants to be there, he's clearly banged up even by Misawa standards in this era, and he still makes Kojima look like a million bucks. This VQ is absolutely making me feel like I'm eating a slice of delicious room temperature greasy Celebre's stromboli in that tiny South Philly basement. The reaction of the crowd for Misawa and Kohei Wada shaking hands got me some sort of emotional. I gave Kojima a lot of shit in this era but really if had self edited just a little bit he would have been the perfect ace to help AJPW through the difficult times to come. This was a fascinating watch on a few different levels.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

You've Been Thunderstruck


Jushin Thunder Liger VS Satoshi Kojima - NJPW G1 Climax 8/8/2001

CJD: Funny story. Back on the ROH message boards in the mid 2000s, which was about as much of an internet cesspool as you could get without diving into the dark web, I remember a post where someone wanted Gabe to bring Kojima back in. I said it would be a waste of money and there were 100 better wrestlers in Japan at the time I'd rather see instead. I got called out to list them, so I did. People really took umbrage to Billy Ken Kid in particular.

Fast forward to 2019, you know I get down with Koji these days, and that I've especially been on a kick of his matches lately. Something to keep in mind going into this was this was a time period when juniors entering the G1 was seen a huge challenge. Liger always makes for extremely entertaining junior/heavyweight matches, and after more matches featured here on PIF than any other wrestler we STILL haven't touched the prime of his career. But something tells me this isn't the last we've seen of him. Enjoy this one baby, dare I say it's right up your alley.

JJZ: Liger working with heavyweights is so good. I'm enjoying his gear in this match. Kojima I'm hit or miss on, but lately, like you I've enjoyed him. The design of Kojima's tights keep tricking me, and I think he has his straps down. Which I know is a big no-no for CJD. This crowd is hot for Liger to get this win. Kojima using his size and weight to slow the match down and wear down Liger is basic nice psychology. They're building up to Liger's comeback perfectly and it does not disappoint. This home stretch is awesome. Not sure why but just like the crowd I popped big for that sleeper. Totally didn't see it coming. Damn Chris. You found an Ace of a match my friend.

Also would love if you can find that list. I 100% remember you doing that. And at the time I agreed with you about Billy Ken Kid.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Cat Power

Jushin Thunder Liger VS Tiger Mask IV - NJPW BOSJ Semifinals 6/17/2006

JJZ: Fuck it. In the past four days I've watched a ton of amazing masked wrestlers and this match can stand with any of them. Liger's been played here more than any other wrestler, but I want to watch this match right here right now and it's about damn time the King gets his crown. Without question in my opinion Liger is top 10, maybe MAYBE top 5 all-time. After watching this match TMIV might be the perfect opponent for Liger to end his career against at the Tokyo Dome in 2020. This match has it all. Picks up when it needs to, slows down when it needs to. Technically sound, great highspots, and stiffness. Also Liger is very vocal. Enjoy it my southern bell.

CJD: I loved the subplot of Liger's slow burn to his first title run here at PIF. The crazy thing is we've featured three of his matches and we still haven't even sniffed his prime. Maybe next week...? Either way, this was a blast. I was worried I'd already seen it but luckily I'm thinking of a different match between these two from around the same time period. Liger was an absolute beast in this one, I can't argue your placement of him among the GOATs in the slightest. I hadn't even considered who will retire him, there are so many great options, I'd hate to have to make that call. Great pick JJZ.