Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Got A Average Of Being Excellent, The Median Just Dope

Eddie Guerrero (c) VS Tajiri - WWE US Championship Match 7/31/2003

CJD: We're sticking with the short and sweet theme this week. It's refreshing after featuring some big, violent, plunder-filled matches recently. As with most Eddie matches, there's so much to love here. One of the qualities that made him an all-timer was that he was much more than the sum of his parts. There's great character, there's great action, things that surprise you, things that play out exactly how you're hoping. I didn't want to stop watching him wrestle and pick a match, but as soon as I saw how this one started, and that it was given a chance to shine, I knew it was going to win out in the end. But man do I hope we double back this trail on our journey. When it comes to Ruthless Aggression these guys might not be the names you first associate with it. But this Smackdown crew was absolutely the reason WWE was still worth watching in this time period.

JJZ: Hot start with Eddie getting a taste of his own medicine. Loving all these refs with the early 2000s blonde highlights. Tajiri had some great matches in WWE. Well, again Eddie shows why he is among the greatest. A complete story with flawless psychology, a call back to the beginning of the match, and a great finish. All under 10 minutes. Jesus. And Tajiri adds great high spots and excellent strikes that made me believe he could win the match beating Eddie at his own game. Loved this match. No matter if anyone is in the seats I wish Smackdown would produce this kind of stuff today.

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, March 24, 2020

And You're Like A 90s Jesus, And You Revel In Your Psicosis

Eddie Guerrero VS Psicosis - WCW Nitro 8/07/1996

JJZ: You always hear wrestlers today talk about how the WCW cruiserweight division made them want to become a wrestler. And when you hear that so much it becomes white noise and people can forget just how incredible these guys were. This match is under ten minutes and is PERFECT for what it was trying to and supposed to do. Psychology, drama, high spots, limb work, falsies. It really shows what you can accomplish in such a short amount of time. One thing I miss about WCW is the interesting venues. The malls, the outdoor shows. Wish WWE would do that once in a while.

CJD: Hell I wish AEW would do it (once we are living in a post COVID-19 world). They have those serious WCW vibes anyway, embrace it completely. You nailed it, this match took us on a ride in a short amount of time. You played forward another TV match not too long ago that I thought did a similarly great job, Steamboat VS Cactus Jack.  WCW would go on to be the butt end of so many jokes but as a kid growing up on this style of TV pro wrestling, these were the types of matches that shaped my fandom. The personality of WWF captured my imagination but the action of WCW was what I always went back to. In a perfect world they would be combined, and Psicosis would have had a run where he was a literal monster brujo that drove his opponents insane with his terrifying black magic, undefeated in the division for months before an unlikely babyface got a career defining win over him in a match like this. I can always dream. Even without the pomp and circumstance this had me smiling the whole way through, Zybyszko's best Bobby Heenan was pretty good for once, and there's not much you need to analyze here. Just watch the match. This caliber of pro wrestling in such an easily digestible package is chicken soup for the soul and we could all use a serving right now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Beef Most Distinctive

Nick Gage VS Pagano VS Psicosis VS Joe Lider - EMW DeathMatch 7/12/2019

CJD: Well this isn't where I expected to take you next. Especially after just playing a wild 4 way gimmick match for my last pick. But an important lesson in life is sometimes you have to play the hand you're dealt. My favorite part of this match is how well Psicosis and Gage work together. Psicosis/Rey was the feud that introduced me to the concept of what a great touring match is in the '90s, and here in 2019 he's pulling Gage's GCW shirt over his head like it's a hockey fight and smashing him through lighttubes. If we were watching wrestling all night long (as we have many times before) this would be the match I'd put on while we ordered mediocre Chinese food or while it was about to arrive. It doesn't need your undivided attention by any means but it's still a wild ride.

JJZ: I couldn't have predicted this in 100 guesses. My first thought is, is Pagano PCO? Is it just me or does he look a lot like him? Loving this dollar store barbedwire and how it keeps getting stuck on the wrestlers. The fan cam aspect to a death match makes it feel so much more grimeier (I know I spelled that wrong) than they already are. I like to call these matches junk food matches and yes it would be perfect for some 2AM Chinese food and a few beers. Gage and Psicosis are the stars of the match but Pagano and Lider keep adding holy shit moments. Is Pagano PCO? Seriously the camera isn't helping figure this out. This match was fantastic. Fun easy watch, with jaw dropping spots.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #91-100

A little late getting this MDTSOWWKD Champion recap up than normal, but it was such a wild ride to our 100th Champ that it took some time to recover from all the celebrating! And in the meantime the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but that won't stop PIF from keeping the pro wrestling positivity perpetually moving!

91. Tommy End
No Black Masks to be seen in these two matches. Instead we ventured into End's prolific tag work and one hell of an AAW title match over in the UK!

92. Sami Callihan
Always polarizing, the Death Machine had a pair of matches I really enjoyed here at PIF, showing his range as a performer.

93. Darby Allin
Allin is a hot name in pro wrestling these days and rightfully so. He's certainly among my favorite MDTSOWWKD Champions we've ever had on the blog, as I couldn't take my eyes off his two matches we featured here.

94. Ace Romero
95. "The Bulldozer" Matt Tremont
Who would have thought that Tremont would start with a deathmatch VS Romero, but then transition away into a run of more typical indy matches VS Bailey??

96. "Speedball" Mike Bailey
97. Matt Riddle
These two had a match that got a lot of eyes on the the blog and had a lot of people talking. I didn't love it, John did, and when all was said and done the important thing is it was a match well worth watching!

98. Chris Hero
The GOAT? Certainly one of the greatest. A personal favorite of both me and JJZ and what a pair of wildly different matches to back his greatness up VS Riddle and VS Necro.

99. Necro Butcher
100. Jun Kasai
I'm more than happy with how we closed out our first 100 Champions and 100+ matches here at PIF. We certainly cover a lot more than just deathmatches, but we've featured our fair share of greats in that regard as well, and these are two of the greatest to lace up a pair of deathmatch boots for certain. Or to regularly take them back off  in the case of Necro.

Man, when you line them up like that, what a run of 10 imaginary Champs that was! And what a run of matches! Thank god for pro wrestling in these troubled times.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

And Justice For All

Nick Gage (c) VS Matthew Justice - AIW Absolute Championship 3/23/2018

JJZ: So as soon as I saw a Nick Gage match I said "Yup!" If someone asked me to describe this match knowing nothing about AIW I'd say it's the most ECW match I've seen in years. Gage is a mad man that I would be very afraid to meet in a dark alley. Justice has a goddamn death wish. The stuff he takes in this match makes me feel a little bad that I get entertainment out of it. He can give it back as good as he gets but in this match I wouldn't be surprised if he had to take a trip to the hopbital after it was over. These two could have an insane long term feud if they haven't already. Heyman could've put some asses in seats with these boys. The home stretch got a little sloppy joe but the best sandwhiches are a little messy.

CJD: Ooof! What a fight. This definitely would have made a young CJD yell out in a drunken stupor "they need to go to the hopbital!!" It's been said before but AIW is the only promotion that actually captures a little of that ECW magic. I would credit it to them always being inspired by ECW but never exactly trying to emulate it. Gage is a great example. They booked him as a tough as nails fighting Champion instead of just a deathmatch guy, which is a stroke of Heyman genius like you said. That sort unexpected depth is exactly what made ECW special, but when people try to recreate it most of the time they just focus on the violence. This match had that too, and had it in spades. Something I loved about Necro/Kasai that I forgot to mention is what a lost art good crowd brawling is. Most use it as filler, but in that match and this one it actually drives the story and feels warranted. The intensity of the collar & elbows on the outside set the tone for this one right off the bat and they never took their foot off the gas.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Burning Bridges Is So 1999

Matthew Justice VS Stockade VS Demarcus Kane VS G-Raver - Blackcraft Wrestling Ladder Match 8/24/2018

CJD: You were on the fence about the match you played forward last week but I really enjoyed it. I hope that's the case this week with my match for you. There's a lot here I like, there's a lot here I don't. This is the opening match of the first Blackcraft show, and I don't think it'll come as a big surprise that they apparently closed the promotion three shows later. I'd hate to have been the second match that followed this up. On the positive side, Matthew Justice is an absolute lunatic in this match, Demarcus Kane is a revelation (apparently a decade+ vet who wrestles under Napalm Bomb normally?), and our boy G-Raver dare I say steals the show. Last week against Kasai I thought he brought some cool spots but lacked in some other areas. Here he's the complete package, and really stands out in a crowded busy match. I also liked seeing what he brought to the table in a less deathmatch focused environment. Very curious to hear your thoughts on this one!

JJZ: That's a lot of names. Loving this pick CJD. I'm familiar with Justice and G-Raver but Stockade and Kane are brand new to me. Correct me if I'm wrong baby, but isn't this our first ladder match featured on PIF? Loving this venue considering the promotion is Blackcraft. You can definitely tell the seniors from the freshmen in this match but that creates an exciting dynamic. Some long "FUCKKKKKKK" moments early. You didn't mention Stockade but I really liked his role in this match. I think all four guys brought different ingredients that worked well together. Booking this match to open the show is a terrible idea though, this was a main event you can't follow this for fucks sake what is happening match. Super entertaining. Hope no one got seriously hurt.

CJD: I liked some of what Stockade brought to the table. On a whole though I thought he spent too much time setting up spots or rushing into them. But he played his role in the match well. This one really stuck with me. As an opener it made no sense whatsoever but I was thoroughly entertained. I'm glad you were too!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Second Annual Head Droppies

At the end of the month Play It Forward turns 2 years old! We've crowned our 100th imaginary Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champion, which means it's time for our second annual Head Droppies awards. You may remember from last March that the Head Droppies are a chance for us to look back and the last year of matches we've shared with each other and reflect on some highs and lows. Talk a little inside baseball, share a laugh, a tear or two, a drink, and get ready for another wild year of the matches every Tuesday!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you the second annual, highly prestigious, most coveted awards of all weekly pro wrestling match sharing blogs with imaginary Championships like a couple of 10 year olds fantasy booking in a spiral notebook... here are your 2020 HEAD DROPPIES!!

...the Punk Monkey Award (Favorite Match Played Forward To You)
CJD: Koji Kanemoto VS Kota Ibushi - NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 5/30/2009
This was a match that I had penciled in to watch for years and just needed to make time for. John forced me to do so and god damn am I glad he did. This was everything I wanted and expected and then some, while still taking a less is more approach overall.

JJZ: Tarzan Goto (c) VS Cactus Jack - IWA Japan World Heavyweight Championship 5/10/1995
It was a literal shock how good this was. Honestly it might be my favorite match we've had on the blog.

-Honorable Mentions:
Chris Hero VS Necro Butcher - IWAMS British Rounds Match 1/21/2006 (CJD)
Ric Flair VS Kerry Von Erich - World Class NWA World Championship Cage Match 12/25/1982 (JJZ)

...the Intergender Lightweight-Who's-A-Heavyweight DeathMatch Award (Most Hidden Gem Played Forward)
JJZ: Kotaro Suzuki/Yoshinari Ogawa VS Dick Togo/Yasu Urano - NOAH Jr Heavyweight Tag League 10/15/2010
Loved this match. I've watched so much NOAH and this match was never on my radar. PIF has made me a fan of Ogawa. And as always, Dick Togo for life homie!

CJD: El Hijo Del Santo/Atsushi Onita/Tarzan Goto VS Negro Casas/Horace Boulder/Tim Patterson - FMW 5/16/1992
If I had to rate this match it wouldn't be especially high, but for pure entertainment value it stuck with me as much as any we've shared here. I'm just so happy it exists. Pro wrestling is so beautifully bizarre.

-Honorable Mention:
Christopher Daniels (c) VS Samoa Joe - TNA X Division Championship Match 4/13/2006 (CJD)

...the Eerie Dragon Award (Most Difficult Quest Playing A Match Forward)
CJD: Necro Butcher
There are certainly plenty of great Necro matches available for free online that I could have shared. But I feel like anyone who has a passing interest in Necro has seen these already, and if they haven't, then they need to immediately (VS Joe, VS Ki, VS Klein). I wanted to dig deeper, and in the process discovered a dream match I never knew existed. And it required some serious digging to finally find a version that would stay up to share with everyone but it was well worth the effort.

JJZ: Super Smash Bros.
It blew my mind how hard this was. I rewatched their match with Sumerian Death Squad several times before playing it forward. Honestly it was the first time I got frustrated searching for a match.

...the Animal Rat Award (Most Surprising MDTSOWWKD Champion)
JJZ: Tarzan Goto
I never would have ever picked a Tarzan Goto match to watch to play forward. I was shocked how much I fell in love with his matches here.

CJD: Danny Dominion
I had no idea who Danny Dominion was before John played him forward to me. Clearly he's an important footnote in pro wrestling history and it was fascinating diving into some of his career for two weeks.

...the Stone Phoenix Award (Greatest MDTSOCWWKD Champion #51-100)
CJD: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
Last year I let the numbers factor in to my choice for this award pretty heavily, but the unfortunate truth is traffic was down most of 2019 for PIF. We had some solid draws, but it was like bringing in a decent house during the New Generation era. Nobody set the world on fire. So instead I'll go with a Mason Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental Champion who was a real revelation to me. A wrestler who I went in with an established "eh" opinion of and came out realizing I need to reassess that opinion. Valentine's matches were an unexpected treat for me and I'm glad to admit I was wrong about the Hammer.

JJZ: Satoshi Kojima
He wrestled two of the greatest of all time in his matches with Liger and Misawa. He shined just as bright as those diamonds. Another wrestler I've come grown to appreciate more as I've gotten older. 'Jima brought some Ace quality matches to the blog.

-Honorable Mentions:
Darby Allin (CJD)

Greg Valentine stole my heart. (JJZ)

And that's all for the second annual Head Droppies. Thanks for joining us folks, check back next March to see who grabs those brass rings here at PIF in our next 50 matches!