Saturday, August 31, 2019

State Of The PIF

We are just passing the year and a half mark here at the blog, and I thought it was as good of a time as any to check in with some thoughts on our progress. When John and I started Play It Forward I'd say we had about five goals we were aiming to hit.

1. Update weekly. I'm a firm believer in scheduled content. I tend to slowly forget about podcasts, blogs, video creators, etc that update sporadically. I'm glad to say this hasn't been a problem. Since March of 2018 every Tuesday a new match has been played forward. We've updated from different states, different countries, heck I was working on the blog on a deserted island in the Outer Banks of NC a month ago. We certainly have not had any issues getting content up regularly!

2. Have fun. Plain and simple, if we didn't have fun sharing these matches with each other, maintaining the blog and social media accounts, leaving each other voicemails complaining about how hard it is to find a great under the radar Ultimo Dragon match, and so on, this would have been a short lived project. A good example is the Facebook account. It started to feel like a chore after a while (like most things on Facebook) so we largely phased it out. Otherwise, we've been having a blasty blast.

3. Discover great wresting. This ties right into #2, but we've already watched so much great wrestling in our lives I was curious just how much we'd be able to dig up for PIF. Would we be diving into our own collections and uploading matches? Would we reach dead ends with obscure wrestlers? In the long run the research element of PIF might be the most fun part. It can be challenging, but most weeks there's an overwhelming amount of options to pick from. We've only dipped into our personal stashes a few times. The vast majority of the time we're exposing each other to wrestling that's totally new to us, and we've already found plenty of great matches that will stick with us for a long long time. With plenty more to come!

4. Network and build an audience. Number 4 and 5 are where we still need to improve. Since shifting our social media focus to Instagram we feel like we're starting to join a larger community of equally nerdy fans who are open to what we're doing and are sharing great content themselves. In terms of promoting the blog on message boards, Reddit, or possibly eventually Twitter, there's lots of room to grow. If you have any suggestions, want to partner up to co-promote something, please don't hesitate to shoot us an e-mail at or leave a comment! In general it seems like there are so many pro wrestling fans out there right now but there's also a million different outlets they're digesting content through. Hitting a significant portion of fans is no easy task.

5. Monetize. This is where we have totally failed. And it's important to stress that this is very intentionally last on the list. But I personally hoped that through AdSense we'd generate a little income to make the investment of time all that much easier to justify. Well AdSense banned us with no explanation, as it seems they are prone to do, and the other ad companies we've used (PopAds and Infolinks) have largely been spam bullshit. For the time being we're going ad-free and instead we've added a PayPal donation button to the top right hand side of the main page of the blog. We're looking into other options long term like Ezoic but our traffic is a long way off from qualifying. I could see some small amount of merch down the line but it would probably also be a long ways off given our current audience. Once again, if you have suggestions, don't hesitate to hit us up.

We're having a great time and see endless potential for future Mason Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions. If you feel like throwing us a buck but don't see the donation button, it's probably because it only shows up on the desktop version of the site ( We certainly don't expect much, but John and I are blue-collar family men who love pizza and beer, and won't turn down some cash to buy said pizza and beer to fuel our late night wrestling viewing sessions. Like the one pictured below from just two weeks back.


aka the FanCam Connection

 1,200 miles were worth it just to mark out over Demolition VS Mil Mascaras/Tito Santana

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A Civil War Becoming Of Ungovernable Atoms

Rush VS La Sombra - CMLL 11/13/2015

JJZ: I'm familiar with Rush but still haven't watched a ton of his matches so I got excited when I saw this one. Right off the bat I'm not a fan of the commentary being a lot louder than the in ring action and crowd. Some FMW shit right here. There's also an odd clip but I ain't gonna hold it against the match. The meat of this match is the final fall, which to me was a true game of one upmanship. Both these boys were laying it in and taking risk after risk. Side note, I did not realize that La Sombra wrestled in Mexico without his mask. I always thought he took it off when he came to WWE. Side side note, If Vince ever gets his hands on Rush I'd bet he'd put him in a Tarzan gimmick. The pacing of the final fall feels like a puro match to me. Really enjoyed this match baby. Hope you do also.

CJD: I big timed you last week and you came and big timed me right back! Los Ingobernables founding members collide here as La Sombra takes on his stablemate days before it's announced he'll be leaving for WWE. If Rush were to ever follow suit and start a savages stable with Barbaro Cavernario and Cameron Grimes that would definitely be a shut up and take my money kind of situation. One-upmanship is a great way to describe this match, some of those moments right before the final fall are priceless. There was plenty of great action but I appreciated the amount of personality the match had even more so. These two make great partners and great enemies.

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, August 20, 2019

If I Wore A Mask

Mistico VS La Sombra VS Volador Jr VS Felino - CMLL Relevos Suicidas Mascara Contra Mascara 3/19/2010

CJD: This right here, this is a big time match. We have two singles feuds, one between Volador Jr and Mistico, and one between Felino and La Sombra (Andrade Almas), coming together in a gimmick match that I've never seen outside of lucha. As a tag it's called parejas suicidas, where the losing team has to face each other in a singles match immediately following the tag with either their mask or their hair on the line. Here it's a four way singles elimination match, but where the first two wrestlers to take a fall have to face each other in a singles mask VS mask match. With me so far? Good!

Not to spoil too much, but this basically unfolds as a three act play. Act 1, the rudos (Mistico & Felino) team up against the technicos in what feels much more like a Texas Tornado tag. Act 2, where we have a 3 way on our hands to see which two wrestlers are safe from putting their mask on the line. And Act 3, the main course. I enjoyed the first portion of the match the best, there's a great chaotic flow to it that I found really beautiful. Felino is a personal favorite of mine, he's the kind of wrestler that can make the most out of a few minutes here and there in a trios, so it's great to see him with such high stakes on the line. Mistico does a fine job working heel but he's definitely a natural babyface. Luckily this match is more about the action than it is about the morality play, and there's plenty of drama involved given the stipulation. I'm loving this trip down lucha libre lane. Thanks Tarzan Goto!

JJZ: You typed a lot of words there baby cakes. I'm excited for this match. Love me some big time shit. Gives me all the feels. Did Mistico always use the bells in the beginning of his entrance? My son is watching this with me and he is NOT a fan of the intro music. Starting fast, I like it! Question Chris, would Arena Mexico be one of your top five venues you would want to watch wrestling in? Your breakdown of the match is spot on man. Honestly I'm not happy about the first elimination, I would have loved to watch it keep going at that point. The psychology of Mexican wrestling is always a little hard for me to figure out. Not in a negative way at all but I can never predict what is gonna happen. That being said this is so much fun to watch with so many "oh shit!" moments. You can't take you eyes off it for a second. Once again the crowd is on fire. Like a soccer crowd. That powerbomb on the ramp hurt my insides. And the finishing stretch was edge of your seat kinda shit man. Good stuff baby.

CJD: I didn't notice Mistico's music, but my guess is it's different as a rudo than it was as a technico. I would say yes to your Arena Mexico question, experiencing the history and the culture live would be amazing. Glad you enjoyed it so much! I was really into this one.

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, August 13, 2019

People Call Me Rude

Mistico VS Ultimo Guerrero - CMLL 2/25/2005

JJZ: So I've seen these two wrestle in tag matches the past couple years and the hate that came through was great, so seeing them wrestle singles in 2005 made a ton of sense. This match was a lot of fun with a few surprises that I didn't expect. I always enjoyed Mistico but Guerrero is a wrestler that I've been really digging lately. He is a natural rudo that bakes up some nice potatoes. Mistico seems like the perfect fiery baby face for anyone at this time. Boiling crowd, and I'll say the ref gave a great performance as well.

CJD: Mistico was white hot around this time period. I don't know the numbers but the impression I got was he was drawing at an elite level as a babyface in a historic sense. It seemed like he would be a huge star for years to come, and a few great matches backed that idea up. There were three in particular that stood out, VS Averno, Perro Aguayo Jr, and this one. I think the Averno match was the best Mistico showcase, VS Perrito was the most complete match, but this one, this I'd call the most fantastical. These two have a chemistry that feels earth shaking. This is the stuff that makes a great babyface and a great heel, the type of stuff all aspiring wrestlers should watch. It's hardly by the numbers though, as you said there are some real twists and turns. It kept me on my toes even having seen it before. What a match!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #61-70

If you had to divide our classes of MDTSOCWWKD Champions up by weight #61-70 were quite the class of heavyweights. Bookended by two Japanese heavyweights who couldn't be more polar opposites, we ventured into an epic run of eight all-time great American heavyweights as the meat of this roast beef sandwich of pro wrestling goodness.

61. Mitsuharu Misawa
62. Stan Hansen
We kick things off with the two wrestlers that come from both ends of the spectrum. Misawa started off a junior heavyweight and Hansen has had some clashes that venture into the land of super heavyweights. And yet they have had some all time classic matches against each other as well!

63. Terry Funk
Funk is in a class entirely of his own. We featured a pair of very fun tags from the Funker, but I hope we get into some of his singles matches somehow, someday.

64. Sting
65. "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Great rivals, two of the faces of NWA/WCW, two men that just scream "pro wrestling."

66. Kerry Von Erich

67. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
68. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
And then we have three names that remind me of flipping through pro wrestling magazines in awe as I was waiting to get my hair cut at Vince & Santo's Barber Shop in South Philly as a kid in the late '80s.

69. Cactus Jack

I feel like Mick Foley has become such a divisive character after his career ended that it's easy to forget what an all-time great wrestler he was. Hopefully these matches with Steamboat and Goto were a nice reminder.

70. Tarzan Goto

Well, that was unexpected.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Strange Bedfellows

Negro Casas/El Hijo Del Santo (c) VS Ultimo Guerrero/Rey Bucanero - CMLL Tag Team Championship 5/31/2002

CJD: I've been looking forward to the chance to crown the second ever Mason Dixon Tri-State Outercontinental WWKD Tag Team Champions. I was hoping the unlikely Mega Powers of bitter rivals Santo and Casas could step up to the plate, and boy did they ever. Up against one of the most prolific tag teams in lucha history, this match has a little bit of everything. Gorgeous hold for hold wrestling, jaw dropping highspots, stiff shots, bad camera work, abundant lucha replays, emotion, joy, dread, perseverance, respect. I think you'll understand why I almost didn't play this one forward by the end, but when all was said and done I had to share it. All hail the PIF MDTOWWKD Campeonatos de Parejas Increidbles!

JJZ: Well well well, I knew we'd get to lucha libre at some point but didn't expect Tarzan Goto to be our ferryman. No shame in saying I'm extremely green to Mexican wrestling so PIF will be a nice way to broaden my horizons. I'm familiar with all the wrestlers in this match though and have seen a fair amount of Ultimo Guerrero. Slower start than I'd think but with the rudos controlling early it makes sense. Fuego culo multitud. The energy between the two teams really radiates. There are several things I've never or can't remember seeing before. And that finish, holy fuck. How bad did that hurt? Also another great spot totally got overshadowed in the process. Super fun times of a match baby cakes.