Tuesday, July 30, 2019

He's The Tarzan Of LA


El Hijo Del Santo/Atsushi Onita/Tarzan Goto VS Negro Casas/Horace Boulder/Tim Patterson - FMW 5/16/1992

JJZ: Well, I can honestly say I didn't expect to be here but this is what Play It Forward is all about. This is an FMW show in Los Angeles. It's pretty much a fun FMW brawl with a heavy lucha influence and rules. The Casas/Santo interactions are seriously heated and you can feel the crowd through the broadcast when they touch. Because of the journey it took for me to get this match, I can say without question, it's one of my favorite matches I've shared with you.

CJD: I knew Goto would give you some trouble for a match to play forward but I never imagined you'd end up here! This on paper is everything that's awesome about pro wrestling. Hulk Hogan's nephew, two Japanese deathmatch legends, two Mexican legends... and Tim Patterson. A Japanese promotion running in LA broadcasting to a Latino audience. What is there not to love? The match is not surprisingly a little disjointed at times but Onita brings great charisma and energy, and as you mentioned Santo and Casas are pure magic every time they touch. I loved the big looping chairshots that Onita and Boulder were swinging. I have no idea where this match is going to take me next week but I can't wait to find out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Wanted: Alive & Walking Unassisted

Tarzan Goto (c) VS Cactus Jack - IWA Japan World Heavyweight Championship 5/10/1995

CJD: I had an idea of where I wanted to go for my next match to play forward but I didn't expect such a gem to fall into my lap. Now this might be a great example of "one man's trash is another man's treasure." I remember the last time I played a Tarzan Goto match for you and our greater Philadelphia area pro wrestling peers, the room gave me the collective stink eye. Goto was no super worker but I do think he's under rated in the annals of pro wrestling history. Onita wasn't going to start a deathmatch revolution on his own, he needed the likes of Pogo and Goto to play off of. You mentioned Foley's mind boggling bumps and make no mistake you'll be boggled again a few times during this match. This isn't perfect by any means but it's a great example of the wild fun that was mid '90s deathmatch wrestling. And I'd be lying if part of me isn't getting sick pleasure in forcing you to pick a Goto match to play back.

JJZ: Well I in no way, ever ever thought you'd play a Tarzan Goto match this week. I was thinking maybe some ECW or early '90s WCW. But honestly this is probably better because I tend to forget how much Cactus worked in Japan and just how violent he was. Now you already stated that I am no fan of Mr Goto but he works very well with Mick in this match. It would be easy to say that Cactus made him look good since that is one of Foley's best qualities as a wrestler but Goto bumps his ass off and the crowd is white hot for him. Watching this match makes me think about wrestling fans today that complain about safety and would love their opinion about this match. No doubt Foley is the star here, he takes bumps that I feel in the pit of my stomach. It really is mind blowing that he isn't in a wheelchair. You pulled and Ace out of your ass with this one baby cakes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

He Can Karate

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat VS Cactus Jack - WCW Worldwide 2/22/1992

JJZ: So going into this I'm wondering if you have shown this to me before one night when we were watching wrestling. But I can't recall anything from it. Paul E doing color is a nice surprise plus adds to the theme since Mean Gene was on color in your last match. Mick takes bumps that boggle my mind sometimes. His screaming is off the charts here. Cactus as a hired gun to soften up the Dragon is simply great booking. Loved the '90s finish. Makes me want to dive head first into the Steamboat/Rick Rude feud. Enjoy baby cakes!

CJD: This one is new to me and for what we got god damn was it good. I wish there was a Cactus/Steamboat feud we could dive into because these two matched up perfectly. I mentioned last week how I forgot how karate focused mid '80s WWF Steamboat was, well I also had definitely blocked the dreaded Ninja sidekick from my memory too. You're right in that everything about that finish was so '90s. This was a great compliment to last week's match, as it featured Steamboat selling a beatdown as only he can. Pair that with the beautifully simple booking and this is as economically executed as any 8 minutes of pro wrestling television you'll ever find.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Waiting For The Hammer To Fall

Greg Valentine (c) VS Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat - WWF Intercontinental Championship 6/21/1985

CJD: For the past two weeks I've been talking about the strengths of Kerry Von Erich as a babyface. Well I'm going to follow him up with possibly the greatest babyface ever in Ricky Steamboat. I've seen a little bit of Steamboat in WWF from this era, namely some of the Muraco feud, but I had forgotten just how much he was focused on the martial arts aspect of his gimmick. It seems like he ate up Valentine a little more as a result, or maybe because this was early on in his run in NY this was treated as more of a showcase match. Either way make no mistake, Valentine does a fantastic job of keeping his heat while making Steamer look like a million bucks. Jimmy Hart brings the perfect balance of vocal interference without overwhelming the match, and add in a rare appearance from Mean Gene on commentary and this was a forward playing match for certain.

JJZ: And we got Gorilla on commentary! Look at that belt! I'm liking it Chris. I don't recall Mean Gene doing color ever so I was excited when I read that. Tights and all, they were trying to make a Bruce Lee Jr back then with Ricky. Greg's selling is superb and is making Steamboat's strikes look like a million bucks. Nobody works the gut these days, we need more midsection work. These two are doing a great job of it in this match. It's all about working the hand anymore. I totally forgot that Valentine called himself "The Master of the Figure Four." They have said Karate at least 20 times, I can picture Vince screaming in the headset KARATE KARATE KARATE! Really good match. I liked the finish, especially that the commentators were questioning it. Good shit.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Catch The Spirit, Catch The Spit

Kerry Von Erich (c) VS Greg Valentine - St Louis Wrestling NWA Missouri State Championship 2/11/1983

JJZ: I know nothing about the build to this match. I considered looking into it but watching an American match with Japanese commentary cold was really interesting and made for a unique viewing experience. The crowd is insane and love love love Kerry. Valentine or "Valentime" (as I used to say as a kid) is a personal favorite of mine. If I has to describe him to someone who's never seen him, I'd say imagine Arn Anderson doing his best Ric Flair. He's a mean SOB with lead in his hands who meshes really well with Kerry. Really liked this match. Hope you do also baby.

CJD: I didn't like this match, John. I loved this match! I actually had the opposite childhood experience with Valentime, I think for exactly the reason you described. He's kind of caught between two different characters and his in-ring style lends itself to slower paced matches. As a kid I didn't appreciate this and even as an adult he's not always my favorite to watch, but man do I love when he pairs up against an animated babyface like Kerry. This was so physical and nasty with a logical build. Both guys complimented each other perfectly and now I want to research the entire lineage of the Missouri State Title. This is the type of match that Mike from Virtual Pros would claim is impossible to appreciate with our 2019 poisoned minds. I'd argue matches like this are the antidote from the over-stimulation epidemic we all suffer from.