Friday, July 31, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Marti Belle VS Dani Jordyn - Brii Combination Wrestling Queen of the North 2 1/31/2020

JJZ: Alright! So I watched a lot of matches to get to this one that I'm playing forward to you. So I've gotten to see Marti work both face and heel. And I got to say I think she is better as a face. She has great fire and is really good at getting sympathy from the crowd. This is my first time seeing Dani Jordyn and I was impressed. She had some good shitty heel tactics and did some nice trash talking during the match. This match isn't the longest but it's another from a tournament so I can forgive that. The announcers do a great job of giving the back story to both women and puts them on my radar even more. Also this is another promotion I wasn't familiar with so I'm extra excited share this with you.

CJD: Is this the first match from 2020 we've shared on PIF? If so, that's very much in the spirit of Forever Forward Fridays and I'm glad to see something this recent. This is the sort of match that if I was there live wouldn't stick with me a ton, but would leave me thinking I need to see more from both ladies. Solid work that plays to both their strengths. I agree completely that Marti has that natural babyface quality that you can't teach. Dani Jordyn looked equally comfortable pissing everyone off and her bootleg List of Jericho gimmick is a smart little piece of business. I'm curious to dig into more of her work next week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

You Are, As We Say In Latin, An Orndorkus Malorkus

Hulk Hogan (c) VS Paul Orndorff - WWF Championship 7/7/1984

JJZ: I believe when I was a kid I liked the idea of Hulk Hogan. Larger than life hero that can overcome all odds. I remember renting WrestleMania 7 from West Coast Video to watch Hogan VS Sgt Slaughter. I came out of that show loving Savage VS Warrior and being bored to tears by the main event. This is the total opposite of that Hogan match. The crowd is hot as fuck and this is one of the most vicious Hulk matches I've ever seen. Now it ain't Joe VS Necro but for a 80s WWF match it's pretty snug. It's not your normal Hogan match at all. And Paul plays a great goddamn heel. The crowd is foaming at the mouth to see Hulk rip his head off. Hope you enjoy CJD. I know Orndorff never won the title but in this match I honestly believed he could have. His "I'm going fuck you up" attitude really made me feel like he was equal to the Immortal Hulk Hogan.

CJD: By 1984 standards that chairshot was no joke! The more we get into this mid 80s WWF time period the more I'm realizing how little I've seen. I've always read about how limited the "New York" style was. While that may be true you can see them start to put the formula together that is going to create a cash generating monster and a lot of that is boiling things down to their most basic elements. If that's your strategy a big 3 of Hogan, Piper, and Orndorff is about as perfect as you can get. They all work best in broad strokes, although with Orndorff I'm realizing he does a lot of little things better than I ever gave him credit for. You mentioned his attitude and he is great here at not just projecting that to the back row but also in fighting and clawing his way back into this match no matter how much Hulk tries to eat him up. Hogan brings the heat too, that running elbow was a beaut. As a brawl I liked the Piper match better, but as a Hogan title defense this was a fun ride. And "I believe when I was a kid I liked the idea of Hulk Hogan" is one of my favorite sentences you've ever written.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Marti Belle VS Mia Yim - NWL KC 4/15/2017

CJD: I had one of those weeks where I watched this match, really liked it but had a few issues, watched a bunch more good Yim stuff, but in the end came back to the beginning. So here's what I didn't like about this match. Glancing at the run time, I expected a good bit more than what we got, and I did indeed think they had more story left to tell. And the match is introduced by a male talent in character and is followed up by an angle with male talent that's as long as the match. But this is the first women's match this promotion ever ran, so give them some credit, it's a hell of a way to kick the division off. I didn't even mind the introduction bit because it quickly established a strong face/heel dynamic, and I enjoyed the ring announcer's (who looks like he just did a children's magic show) hammy reactions to the local heel. I want to watch more of this promotion just to see that guy give pep talks to the crowd in between matches. And the strong babyface performance from Marti Belle paired with Mia's cool as a cucumber nasty heel work setting the pace was exactly what kept me invested in this. I love performances where you can tell there's something to prove, a chip on the shoulder, and it was palpable here with every stiff shot and every go for broke bump. I watched a lot of Yim this week and our second Forever Forward Champion would be a top prospect for me if I was drafting a women's division. I especially appreciate how after watching her in opening matches, title shots, comedy matches, and Monster's Ball matches, she thrives in such a variety of situations. That's not an easy quality to come by.

JJZ: First of all, wanna be Joel Gertner getting kicked out of the ring was a great way to start the match. Wrestling at its core is good versus evil. And that's what this match was. Now I'll agree it felt very rushed. They really could have slowed this down at times but the energy these women brought was serious. I felt like both of these ladies knew the importance of the match being the first women's match in the promotion. So I'll grant them that and chalk it up to extreme focus on winning a historic opportunity. It was fast paced and the moves had pop. I enjoyed it very much but did want more. Excited to see more from Marti and keep this moving forward.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

For Everybody

Roddy Piper VS Paul Orndorff - WWF 7/27/1985

CJD: I play forward matches to you that often leave you wanting more. Well this match left me wanting more. I almost didn't go with it, but it stuck with me for a few reasons. One, yet another great Spectrum crowd (although I don't know who this local jabronie they have on color is). Two, as a pure heated brawl, it's damn good for what it is. And three, the Stone/Valentine/Goto/Kojima Effect. Orndorff is a guy I've never really given a fair chance. We're all about looking at someone you have a preconceived notion about with fresh eyes and I can't wait to see what you come back with from his career. I love what bad asses both of these guys feel like here, total seeds of the double turn that would come for both soon after. What says you, did they get a lot out of a little, or is this pier 6 brawl a lot of very little??

JJZ: Love the music in the beginning. Jesus this starts out hotter than the 2020 heatwave. Is it weird I'm surprised that Paul is the face? Hot Rod is a natural heel but I always view him as a face for some reason. Gotta show some love for Mr. 1derfuls tights. You weren't kidding, this crowd is rocking. I'd love to see the rematch to this. They really were building to one hell of a blow off. I think this is what is missing from modern wrestling, matches with this much heat where the sole purpose is to build to a bigger match. In WWE I mean. I honestly have never seen Orndorff this aggressive. That's saying something. It really opened my eyes to him. I've been burning through WCW Saturday Nights recently and just watched a match between him and 2 Cold Scorpio that I really enjoyed because of Paul's technical work. I didn't know he had that in him either. It's funny how you can not really notice someone then all of a sudden they turn the corner for you. For Piper this is really up his alley. That man is pure heat. Very nice pick CJD.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Faye Jackson VS Mia Yim - NOVA Pro Commonwealth Cup 9/6/2018


Either wrestler would have been a great champion to start with but Faye impressed me just a little bit more. The commentators do a good job painting the importance of this match for both women. Loved Mia's entrance music. Jackson's stalling bodyslam stood out to me simply because no one does that move anymore. At least that I see. Letting the blood rush to the head before slamming them to the mat, it's basic but smart. Nice psychology being executed with Faye using her size to punish Yim while Mia uses her experience to gain back the advantage. Great leg work by Mia to even out the size difference. Great first round match imo. I would love to watch the rest of this tournament.

CJD: Great opening tournament match indeed! I haven't watched NXT in a while but I got sick of how often they'd mention Yim used to be a highflyer but an injury forced her to change her style. It was rarely relevant when they'd bring it up, but here it certainly seemed like it was the foundation of this mentor VS mentee battle. Mia wanted to try out her new bag of tricks and Faye was fighting for her teacher's respect. The commentators also did a good job playing up the strengths of both women. I loved seeing Faye tap into another level with some of those suplexes. And yeah the entrances, the tiny but vocal crowd, the tournament format, this was indy wrestling through and through, in the most endearing way possible. This was fun territory to explore that we might not have ever gotten eyes on otherwise. I feel like Forever Forward Fridays will have us playing in those waters pretty often, which I'm excited for. And Faye has been the perfect place to cast off from. I hope we only see her star shine brighter and brighter once live wrestling is a thing again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hip To Be Square

Roddy Piper/Rick Martel (c) VS Kiwi Sheepherders - Portland NWA Pacific Northwest Wrestling Tag Team Championship 5/3/1980

JJZ: I really really tried to play forward an Islanders match since I wasn't super familiar with the tag team. The match pool was just so shallow I couldn't dive in no matter how hard I tried. But I found this. The video quality is shit and even cuts out for a few seconds. I've only seen a few things from Portland but always enjoy it. This is a 2/3 falls or TV time remaining match for the tag titles. The story telling in this match makes it really stand out to me. Playing on things later in the match from earlier in the match. Using the match format to preserve themselves for the later falls. I really popped when the ref didn't see the Sheepherders tag only for the babies to capitalize off it. I don't really remember seeing that in the 80s. I would love to dive into this feud more.

CJD: Early 80s Portland is a territory I just vibe with every time I watch it and this match is no different. The heels start out underneath and stay there for a large chunk of the match which is a format I've mentioned before is hard to do well. They do it well here. Piper being the bad friend influencing the clean-cut good kid Ricky Martel is awesome. Is Piper the first real anti-hero in pro wrestling? This felt like a chippy hockey game between division rivals where the ref knows to throw the rule book out at times, the best you can do is try to contain it. This story of the feud boiling over to the point where the faces are trying every tactic they can to to beat the dastardly Rose Army makes for a compelling psychology each fall. You weren't able to find an Islanders match but you found another beautiful illustration of the art of a heated feud, and in particular a tag team feud at that. Every minute of this, including everything post-match, makes me want to tune in to watch more of these teams against each other. Simply put, I loved this match!

One thing that bummed me out though was that we missed a Martel dropkick when the video cut out, which is always a thing of beauty. But thankfully he made up for it later in the match, including a psycho bump that caught me totally by surprise. I brought that one back multiple times.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Crowning The Inaugural Forever Forward Champion

Faye Jackson VS Sienna - Absolute Intense Wrestling 3/11/2018

CJD: When we started talking about rolling out a new imaginary title in the PIF format to give less represented wrestlers a platform, this was the first match that came to mind to share. You know I love me some AIW. I purchased this show and I'd be lying if I said this was a match I had my eye on. But one of the reasons I love AIW is if you give every match a chance you'll rarely be disappointed. Case in point I think this was my favorite match on the show. Faye Jackson's gimmick is basically that of a creeper, so this is not a match devoid of sexuality, which wrestling probably never will be. What it also is is a very physical, well paced, heated match with a fun out of control vibe. It's good pro wrestling, with two ladies I wasn't too familiar with, in a promotion I gladly pay money to support. Minus an unfunny dick joke on color commentary to kick things off, this is exactly the type of match I want to play forward to you right now.

JJZ: This was a really fun ride. I wasn't familiar with either of these ladies so this was all new to me. Great crowd for AIW, I'm assuming it was a 'Mania weekend? I think they played up to the size difference great with smart psychology throughout the match. The outside action evened the playing field for Sienna, and a little gaga was a nice surprise. The crowd was really into this match. I would love to know if there was some history between them because the audience was really invested if not. The ending stretch was great, I bit on all the falsies. I couldn't pick the winner at all. I even let out a couple of "ooooo"s. Great pick to start things off baby cakes!

CJD: Rubber City Con, right idea. A lot of random big name talent was on this show- Bob Orton, Gertner, Booker T. Sienna also wrestles as Allysin Kay, and Faye is as much of an AIW local as any female wrestler. Her recent episode of The Card Is Going To Change was a great listen. It's also worth noting this match opened up the main show which was a big spot to put these two in and I thought they totally crushed it. I'm glad you agree!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Change Of Pace

To say 2020 is a year that's changed the way we look at the world is an understatement. And even before #SpeakingOut took off there were times when I questioned Play It Forward's direction, if we should be doing more to act as a platform for less represented talent. At times John and I discussed flat out taking a break, because we're both struggling as fans to know how to proceed right now. Here's what I do know deep down though. Proceeding with business as usual won't help. And being open and honest can't hurt.

My mom passed away very unexpectedly June 21st. We found out right after I got off the phone with my dad celebrating my first Father's Day. My life has been a whirlwind since then. John is my best friend and I've leaned on him heavily. Wrestling is my favorite hobby but I was already questioning my fandom before losing my mom. I've watched exactly 4 matches since June 21st. And while it hasn't been a priority in my life, the hobby has still brought me some joy in hard times.

Here's where this brings me. I don't want to take a break. I don't want to blow up PIF. I love what we've built, even if we've featured matches from some wrestlers I'm not planning on revisiting any time soon, if at all. But I want to do more to promote wrestlers who are too vast of a minority in this flawed, but hopefully not lost industry. We'll keep the Mason-Dixon Tristate Outercontinental What Would Kobashi Do? Championship but we'll introduce a new "title" focusing on women, people of color, exoticos, anyone who previously would have been a "change of pace." Let's just make that the pace, and instead roll out the MDTSOCWWKD matches biweekly or once a month. We'll work out the details in time.

This is just our small way of saying we want to work to be better fans. It's a work in progress. Come along for the ride, and hopefully 100 matches from now we can feel a tiny shred more proud of this embarrassing hobby of ours.


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