Tuesday, May 26, 2020

They Call Me Mr Dynamite

Davey Boy Smith/Dynamite Kid VS Genichiro Tenryu/Jumbo Tsuruta - AJPW RWTL 7/12/1985

CJD: One of the aspects of 80s wrestling I find most fascinating is All Japan and New Japan sniping talent from each other. And still to this day there's a quality to watching the British Bulldogs in AJPW that makes me think "did this really happen??" But they fit in seamlessly and this match is a great example. Both teams cut off the ring nicely and both teams wrestle to their strengths. I feel like we've been bringing that fire back and forth with our match selections and this might be a bit more of a refreshing mint to cool the palette. But I'm all about those ebbs and flows and while this isn't a MOTY kind of encounter, it is a dream match that I was very satisfied with. And am still kind of amazed even happened in the first place.

JJZ: So I'm gonna start this with a question that I know I could just look up but I'll act like it's the 80s where that wasn't possible. Did Dynamite Kid hurt his back in AJPW or NJPW? Davey Boy really has had a crazy career. Having successful runs in 80s WWF, AJPW and NJPW. Then early 90s WWF and WCW. Then again in late 90s WWF. Dude has been around. Definitely have a classic build starting out here. Gotta point out real quick that this match gets extra points for being in my favorite AJPW ring. Love the red and blue split. Very nice tag match. Told a good story and everyone came out looking strong. I like the finish because honestly I didn't see it coming in the RWTL. Also love the connection between the two matches from Dynamite against a top NJPW star last week to Dynamite against top AJPW stars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Transform From Koi Into A Beast, Dragon

Tatsumi Fujinami (c) VS Dynamite Kid - Stampede Wrestling WWF Junior Heavyweight Title 8/17/1979

JJZ: I've never been one to pretend to know more than I actually do, and late 70s early 80s wrestling is an area I'm not super knowledgeable in. So from my perspective this match is way ahead of it's time. A big reason I picked it besides it being very good is I'm eager to hear your thoughts. I do know that Dynamite was a trendsetter in the world of wrestling so that isn't much of a surprise to me. But what is a surprise is Fujinami in this match. If I had to describe him to someone it wouldn't be like this. So again CJD your point of view is something I'm excited for. Great back and forth in this match with a pumped crowd. The pops for little things really got me in this one. The quickness matched with the aggressiveness made for a captivating watch.

CJD: Trading voicemails back and forth leading up to finally making time for this match, I could hear a level of excitement in your voice that I knew meant you found something special. So first off big thanks to Nik Bali for the upload and an entire treasure trove of Stampede and AJPW goodness to explore. And yes, I think no matter what your familiarity of wrestling from this era, this is indeed a special kind of match. It immediately transports you to a moment in time. Fujinami's jacket! Dynamite's mop of hair! That crowd! This match rules. They are so hot for Fujinami and Dynamite is such a sly grimey heel. I wonder how he projects a believable grumpy bastard so effectively. Huh. Fujinami was definitely a bit of a different beast as a junior heavyweight but that babyface fire that we saw VS Vader is still very much his strong suit here. There's so much that stuck with me about this match that it's hard to recap. But I'll close my thoughts out with this. Consider when you watch this, that every bit of the psychology is built around beating the other man, and beating him badly. This is such an exciting, workrate focused match, which I think is what you're getting at John with how ahead of it's time it was. But they didn't lay this out to impress the crowd with the depths of their talent as performers, they executed this match to impress with their skill as competitors. They just happened while doing so to deliver a gangbusters spectacle of a performance. There's a lot to be learned in this one! And a lot to enjoy as fans.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Mason-Dixon Tri-state Outercontinental WWKD Champions #101-110

What crazy times we're all living through. Play It Forward started almost as a form of social distancing, to fill the gaping hole left by CJD and JJZ no longer getting to join each other in person for monthly wrestling viewing late night hang outs. As such it feels all that much more rewarding to us during times like these to keep that perpetual motion machine of pro wrestling positivity going, to maintain some semblance of normalcy that was already intended to help nurture a lifelong friendship turned long distance. And with all that in mind, this run of epic matches and imaginary champions was especially therapeutic for us the past few months!!

101. G-Raver
102. Matthew Justice
Not sure if these two are about the same age but they definitely are peers in terms of experience. And they're two of the best at what they do going right now. I was really happy to feature them back to back.

103. Nick Gage
How do you bridge the gap between two of the top current indy talents to an epic run of 90s greats? The motherfucking king, MDK all day, Nick FUCKING Gage, that's how!!

104. Psicosis
105. Eddie Guerrero
106. Tajiri
107. Rey Mysterio Jr
This is a dream Survivor Series team right here. We got into such a run of perfect TV matches with this group of all-timers, that it's easy to forget to the road that paved the way in was a Mexican DeathMatch where Psicosis and Gage bashed lighttubes over each other. And as always it's worth repeating, Eddie Guerrero is such a joy to watch perform. 

108. Dean Malenko
Is there a more fun wrestler to play as in video games? Dean is such a bad ass. I've seen some criticism over the years that he was more the product of working a technical gimmick that protected him rather than being a great technician himself. Bullshit. Give me a random Malenko match any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

109. Steven Regal
110. Arn Anderson
Two of the rare technicians that can match Malenko mechanically. And boy do they match up beautifully against each other. Two great minds, two great performers, two great coaches, two greats, period.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Make The Masses A Mastadon Path


Tatsumi Fujinami (c) VS Big Van Vader - NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Championship 6/26/1988

CJD: I have a Vader/Fujinami match I want to play for your from the '90s when we can hang out again in person someday, but this will do nicely to set the table until then. This match requires a bit of an intro itself, as it's a rematch from a month prior where Fujinami won the vacant IWGP title. Vader ran roughshod and got disqualified for slamming the ref. Fujinami is going into his first defense with something to prove after winning the championship in a less than definitive manner. This has that classic Vader VS athletic, fiery, whitemeat, not too big not too small but juuust right babyface vibe that works so well. You gave me so many great options to pick from with your last match that it was hard to decide which direction to go in. This might not be the most dynamic response but I was thoroughly satisfied watching it. Curious to hear your thoughts.

JJZ: Why in the holy hell haven't you shown this to me back on one of those nights we stay up way too late watching wrestling?! This was fantastic. Right off the bat I must say that I know Vader has a bad rap for being stiffer than a teenage boy on prom night, but damn he bumped his ass off these last two matches. That crossbody that took both guys over the top was crazy. I think this match was worked in a way that made both wrestlers look better afterwards. Vader was such a monster while Fujinami kept the pass and worked to his strengths, selling for Vader so his offense looks even more devastating. Great pick.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

Ric Flair/Arn Anderson VS Big Van Vader/"Stunning" Steve Austin - WCW 11/13/1993

JJZ: The amount of great matches from WCW Saturday night seems endless. Now this match was billed as Flair and Sid vs Vader and Austin. Vader attacks Sid before the match starts and hurts him to the point that he can no longer compete in the match! Flair says he's hardcore he'll take them both on! But former friend apparently AA comes to join the fight! Now seeing all of this I had a zillion questions. I guess I always thought Flair and Arn were in the Horsemen when they were in WCW. Never knew Sid had a feud with Vader. Also never realized AA was a babyface at any point during the early 90s. All of that being said. This match was straight fire. Killer crowd, great heat between the four wrestlers, good tag team psychology and four men beating the shit out of each other! I had to check twice to make sure this was a WCW Saturday Night and not a Clash of Champions. This is one hell of a TV main event. And according to the commentators this is Arn's second match of the night. The MDTSOCWWKD champion was pulling double duty that night!

CJD: What a match! There's so much going on that I had to drop watching it twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. After finally giving it my undivided attention I loved it, but would have loved it even more if WCW hadn't given it away for free as an afterthought. But what else do we expect? This is where the big boys play and these are some big boys. Arn must have been having flashbacks to staying on the Road Warriors to get them to sell. By the same token, Flair really made Austin work for everything in this match and it added great realism. This match would be a great pick in wrestling school on a day where you're learning how to throw back elbows and take gnarly bumps over the ropes to the outside. The non-finish knocks this down a peg and it definitely went to the Well of Vader Corner Punches among other spots  one too many times. However we did get one of the all time great Flair post to post spots, straight out of a ROH match. Someone steal that superplex sequence!

Oh yeah, and Arn was great! That spinebuster! This was such a blast, thanks for sharing baby.