Friday, November 27, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Jonathan Gresham VS Karen Q - Beyond Wrestling VS WWR 4/5/2018

CJD: Ton of respect to Karen Q for hanging hold for hold with Gresham here. She might not be quite on his level but she didn't look out of place at all and the Octopus was really digging deep into his bag of tricks having a smaller (?) opponent for once. This crowd is pretty dead, I'm not sure if this is a WWN supershow preshow or something, but the commentators do a great job elevating the action and the talent regardless. I could have watched these two go at it twice as long but I really enjoyed what they packed into this one.

JJZ: This is one interesting match. Tiny ass crowd, intergender, probably enjoyed must by people who just love wrestling. Great hold for hold wrestling. The only thing I didn't like about the match was that it was only 10 minutes. And to be honest it only felt like 5. I could have watched this all day. I felt like Jon was very giving in this match. A lot of intergender matches just forcus the strength and size difference but not this match. They felt very equal. The finishing minutes were excellent and really had me guessing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

With This Mask Like Rey Mysterio, Hear Both Sides Full Stereo

Eddie Guerrero/Lizmark/Rey Misterio Jr VS Heavy Metal/La Parka/Psicosis - AAA 2/21/1993

CJD: This match is the reason PIF is the gift that keeps giving. When I get a match in my inbox from you it brightens up my day, but when I research a match to play forward it also pushes me to dig deeper in certain areas than I would normally. This is one of those times, I watched some good Rey that I'd be happy to share, but I've been really digging older lucha lately and I decided to go in that direction instead. I mentioned last week that I avoided lucha in the 90s. It's not that I didn't try, Rey/Psicosis was one of my favorite feuds. So I bought a three volume Best of AAA tape set because it only stood to reason that if they were having these great matches in ECW, in WAR, in WCW, well then the original stuff in Mexico was going to blow my mind. And I kept reading about how revolutionary AAA was around the time. And man I tried. This match might have even been on one of those tapes. And if so, when there had seemingly been 5 arbitrary falls with no rhyme or reason by the time the 3rd fall started, with two refs who barely can make a 3 count, and hardly any dives, I probably would have thrown my hands up in disgust, popped it out, and switched over to some quality wrestling like a Matsunaga VS Great Kojika poison blowfish deathmatch.

But now it's 2020! And I understand that a captain dropping a fall trumps all 3 team members needing to go down. I understand that yes, 95% of the time when one team member drops a fall, they all coincidentally happen to. I understand these refs are probably former technicos and rudos and showing them respect as part of the performance is part of the culture. I understand that high flying is the highlight, not the rule. And I understand not to overthink lucha so damn much, not to question, just to enjoy and go along for the ride.

And yet still, I'm not going to lie, this match had me saying "what the fuck?!" up until the last possible second, but in the best way possible. This match has stories within stories. It has hijinks galore. It has jaw dropping spots. It has stuff that will frustrate you. It has stuff that will make you laugh. It was a revelation I'm so glad years of match sharing brought me to this week. I wasn't ready for 90s AAA in my parents' basement as a teenager. But damnit I'm ready for it now with my daughter napping on my chest as a grown ass man. Well maybe not three VHS' worth. And now that he's on my mind, I wonder how I can lead us back to some Great Kojika matches soon...

JJZ: Man, this match was much more vicious than I thought it would be. I was definitely expecting a car crash but this was a seven car pile up that shut down 95. I will echo some thoughts of your review. More than a few times I thought what the fuck is going on. But in between my head scratching these holy shit moments keep taking place. I know I could rewatch this match right now and catch serval new things I didn't pick up on last time. The agression between Lizmark and LA Park jumped off the screen. Eddie and Rey's smoothness shined through even during the confusing parts of this match. Heavy Metal and Psicosis were nice bases that played their roles perfectly. With all of this talent in the ring you couldn't take your eyes off the screen for a second. Matches like these are made to be rewatched over and over again.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Deonna Purrazzo VS Karen Q - ROH No Disqualification 11/18/2017

JJZ: I'm excited for more Karen Q. I didn't want to do another Ring of Honor match, BUT! I watched another match with these two women before this and I really enjoyed it, just a bit too short. So when I saw a No DQ match I got excited to see what they could do in this setting. Both wrestlers have great fundamentals so getting to see their aggressive side showcased a new depth. Like with your Deonna/Klein match I would've loved to see the build up to this. Both are wreslting with anger and hate. I believe they want to hurt each other. We have watched a lot of women's independent wrestling on Forever Forward Fridays and these women you can tell are the cream of the crop. Both are very polished and experienced. Came out of this liking both more than I went in.

CJD: It's hard not to compare this match to the Klein match last week, both brawls, Karen turning on her training partner Deonna was part of the Klein feud, both in ROH. So I'll say the thing I prefer about the Klein match, that it feels more unpredictable, more like a fight, actually isn't necessarily a negative here. Because the thing I like best about this match is that it builds in a really deliberate, satisfying way, with a climax of great falsies. And I know you love a great falsie. Side note, there was a great obscure punk split when we were younger between the NJ band el Secondhand and the Virginia band the Falsies, and decades later I've wondered if that band name was a wrestling reference. ANYWAY, Karen Q really stayed on Deonna still entire match and I'm glad we cycled back to her after the limited roll she had in the tag match we featured weeks back. She's still pretty new to me and I like what we've watched. Now to go watch more of her. And to go see if I can find that split online anywhere!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

When The Saints Go Over There

El Hijo del Santo VS Rey Misterio Jr - Promo Azteca (Tijuana) 2/21/1997

JJZ: The timing of this match is what drew me to it. Rey is white hot in America while Santo is still at the top of his game in Mexico. The fan cam quality was such a nice touch that you know I personally love. The last fall of this match is what made it for me. Spectacular selling by Rey and a ruthless hunt for the kill by Santo made for great theater. The final stretch had me yelling at my TV. Hope you enjoy it just as much baby cakes.

CJD: My first thought is "how the hell have I never heard of this match?" But I guess it did place in the Death Valley Driver Best of the 90s polls, which I used to reference like gospel. I think I actually had a copy printed out for certain promotions. But lucha would have been an area I neglected back then and maybe now I need to use the Wayback Machine to print some additional material to reference. This lived up to the huge dream match potential for me but reading reviews it seems the early stalling took this down a few pegs for many fans. I didn't mind it, it did have me chomping at the bit by the time they got going which suits a clash this big. Some of those transitions were utterly beautiful. It must have been nice for Rey to wrestle someone else so masterful at launching himself to the moon on a backbody drop for a change. Santo becomes our first MDTSOCWWKD double crown Champion, holding both our imaginary tag and singles version of the title, which is suiting since we recently renamed it partially after him. He's such a mythical almost outlaw figure in wrestling history, with the biggest boots to fill imaginable, and still blazed a trail so distinctly his own. I love watching him and I loved the way he matched up with Rey Rey here. Also listening in on a casual conversation between Konnan and Bob Barnett was beyond surreal. Awesome stuff.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Kelly Klein VS Deonna Purrazzo - ROH 5/13/2018

CJD: I love how we focus on the indies on Fridays. And I love discovering new wrestlers. But this was too bust-ass of a match to pass up on. These two have a long standing rivalry in ROH and it really feels like they were made for each other. And this is a great example of how to add another entry into a feud and keep it fresh when you've had a bunch of matches already. This TV match feels big start to finish and if we had to take a detour into Sinclair broadcasting territory, I'm glad it was exploring these Klein matches.

JJZ: Love having the independent legend Colt Cabana on color for this match. I didn't read your comments before I started it so Deonna running in so hot made me sit up straight in my seat. Didn't expect that fiery start. Without knowing anything going in you can sense the hate between these two. This is a well done back and forth grudge match. I saw both wrestlers shine with offense and selling. Klein has such a heel feel about her. She came into the match with such a "I don't give a fuck about you" attitude while Deonna had such a Deonna's Gonna Kill You attitude. I think this match warranted a dive back through their past matches baby cakes. Nice pick.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

We've Got To Raise Atlantis

Atlantis VS El Hijo Del Santo - CMLL 11/5/2005

CJD: I wanted to explore part of our current MDTSOCWWKD Champion's long and storied career that I wasn't familiar  with this week. And while I wasn't expecting it to be one of his rare stretches as a rudo, I'm glad that's where I ended up. Because damn what a rudo he was! These are two HoFers creating beautiful music together and they are playing the hits while they're at it. This is a tournament finals with one fall to a finish which gives it an urgency similar to Atlantis starting the match down a fall did for your pick last week. I watched a bunch of Atlantis matches this week and many would have been fine choices. But this was the only no-brainer.

JJZ: Well this is starting off pretty interesting. Women kissing kids, little people being thrown onto big people. Love that it is just one fall. This bout has fantasic energy from the start. The dual mask ripping might be a first for me personally. I really don't recall seeing it before. You could feel how much Santo wanted to defeat Atlantis in this. It had a chaotic start but really settled into a heated tit for tat match. I loved the finish so much, I popped so hard. Great pick baby.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Misawa Dick Togo Santo Tri-State OuterContinental WWKD Champions #121-130

Mason Dixon no more! JJZ is here to take us through our first recap since rebranding the MDTSOCWWKD Championship. If Dolly Parton can take the Dixie out of her Stampede then the least we can do is take the Mason Dixon out of our OuterContinental Championship. Besides, remember John's wise words we should always live by... Dick Togo for life, homie!

121. Hulk Hogan
Kicking off things with arguably the biggest wrestling star of all time. Both matches showed another level to Hogan that many thought he didn't have.

122. Genichiro Tenryu
Jumping over to the land of the rising sun  for one of the most traveled puro stars of all time. His two featured matches are at two totally different points of his career and highlight all the traits that made him great.

123. KENTA (x2)
124. Ricky Marvin (x2)
125. Katsuhiko Nakajima (x2)

All three top junior weights of all time. All three in large part from NOAH. All three two time MDTSOCWWKD champions. This would make for one hell of a round Robin tournament.

126. Kazusada Higuchi
Kazusada was a fresh young face to interject in the middle of these wrestling notables. Both matches really shined a light on him.

127. "Speedball" Mike Bailey (x2)
128. Zack Sabre Jr (x2)

Two times the fun with these double bubbles over here. These matches would definitely be on anyone's Best Of DVD. Top indy talent showing why they earned the spots they are in.

129. A-Kid
His title run was aces. Some might even say five stars. A-Kid kicked in the door with his ZSJ match to get all the eyes on him. I love finding them hidden gem matches but sometimes the matches staring you in the face are the best choice.

130. Ricochet
The king, the prince, the one and only. Whatever you want to call him Ricochet had two matches in our title run that showcased how dynamic he can be.

Looking back on this list it's crazy to see how we could jump from one of the most successful of all time all the way to one of the greatest indy wrestlers of all time. Featuring 6 different nationalities in 4 different countries.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Forever Forward Friday

Solo Darling VS Kelly Klein - ROH 1/15/2016

JJZ: Solo Darling is a great wrestling name. Since I first read it, it's been stuck in my head. I really enjoyed this match because all the gimmick work by Solo. This match was a lot earlier than her other match you played forward. I enjoyed seeing her growth as a wrestler between the two. Kelly plays a nice heel to Darling's spunky baby face roll. I've only seen a few of Klein's matches but have enjoyed her. Looking forward to what you play back to me.

CJD: So this will shock you on a Forever Forward Friday. But I've never seen Kelly Klein before! And I left this match really impressed. She knows how to carry herself with presence and has a great understanding of how her character translates into who she is in the ring. I've never seen this character from Solo before and I much prefer who she evolved into, but this was fun. A great example of how to get over a promotion's top talent while still making a big impression. I'm surprised she didn't become a Women of Honor mainstay. Almost as much as I'm surprised how much I enjoyed BJ Whitmer on commentary here. Fun watch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Don't Play To Win, I Play To Show, Yeah I'm The Maestro

Blue Panther VS Atlantis - CMLL Copa Victoria Finals 5/12/1997

JJZ: Atlantis is a luchador I got familiar with over the last couple of years from NJPW's Fantasica Mania. He actually teamed up with his son Atlantis Jr. Blue Panther seems to have an endless list of matches available so I definitely watched a few before deciding to play this one forward. I feel like most of the lucha stuff I watch has so much heat and venom behind the match that my interest was peaked most from what I can tell is just a technico VS technico hold for hold move for move match. Very nice back and forth. I couldn't tell which way it was going which I loved. Hope you enjoy.

CJD: We definitely have a maestros throwdown here, focusing on the artistry of lucha more than the spectacle. It's the finals of a tournament where Blue Panther has a one fall advantage. He only needs to win one fall to to take it which factors heavily into the way Atlantis wrestles this. He has counters for counters, always pressing, refusing to stay on his back. There are so many little things about this match, like the most convincing lucha leg sweeps I've ever seen, and one of the strangest sells on a DDT. Overall really beautiful technical wrestling that I wish I had a better appreciation for decades back when I first tried to get into lucha. But am so happy to dive into now. This is one I'll come back to again for certain. Nice pick!