Friday, January 29, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Let's go to Pittsburgh baby cakes. Now Lee was brand new to me with your match and PB is also brand new to me in my match. This is a classic big man vs smaller man psychology. Strength and size vs speed and agility. Smooth uses his size to make Moriarty work for every inch. I loved the simplicity of the match in that Smooth made everything look so devastatingly painful. But he was only using body slams punches and bear hugs. Lee's selling is above his pay grade in this match. His selling of a single punch made me think this was over. Now this match does has some rough edges. Mostly by Smooth ironically enough. You can see his potential though. In a few years I think he will be a big name on the indys. Between both his matches Lee has majorly impressed me. Really look forward to watching him more often.

CJD: This was a fascinating watch. Moriarty a little younger than PB but a little more experienced. Both guys from western PA originally which I wasn't aware of. Indy wrestling months before the pandemic in front of such an indy venue and crowd. You're right that this is a simple match but there's something captivating about it. I've watched a good amount of Smooth in AIW and I've always liked him even if he still has room to improve. I had no idea he was a former 2nd round pick of the Golden State Warriors, I wonder why WWE hasn't swooped him up. I have to assume that's just not what he's looking for? He'll get a better pro wrestling education with matches like this than he will in NXT, that's for certain. Another aspect of this match that's simple but fundamentally sound and really adds to it is the commentary. We've been watching lots and lots of indy wrestling for Forever Forward Fridays, lots of which we never share with each other for one reason or another. And man have I listened to some bad indy commentary lately. These guys aren't trying to get their jokes or personalities over. Everything they say makes the two men in the ring look better and elevates to competition in this tournament overall. And finally I really liked seeing Lee in the driver's seat a bit more this week after the young lion performance against the Filthy Father last week. The way this match was laid out was very organic. Nothing felt cooperative or extraneous. I appreciated what both guys brought to the table and what they didn't do as much as what they did. Now my big question is can I find a Smooth match to come back at you with that doesn't go to the AIW well yet again??

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I Went From Wreckage To World Class

CJD:  Double titles on the line here so high stakes. Unlike your match the Dragon Gate duo are the invaders but this is Korouken and they love them some underdogs. The main thing that held my interest in this match is that it's stiffer than the hot dog bun you forgot in the back of the fridge last summer. For this style of wrestling at least. Jado & Gedo join the illustrious company of the Usos and Santo/Casas as tag team MDTSOCWWKD Champions. Which is ironic because I've never loved them as a team. But I do respect the career they've had and this is a noteworthy night in that career. Fundamental tag team goodness right here. I wish there was a rematch.

JJZ: Jado and Gedo looking yoked as fuck in this match. Love that both titles are on the line because I feel like that really doesn't mean one way or the other for who is going to win. You know I love me some Don Fuji. I really miss watching him and this match hit the spot for that. I forgot so many of his moves. When I was watching Dragon Gate on the regular his style always brought such a nice change of pace that the show needed. Mochizuki has some the best kicks in wrestling and it makes so much sense that he had a hand in training Nakajima. I feel like you can see the influence while you're watching this match. I'll agree with you about Jado and Gedo, I was never over the moon about them but you can't agrue the success and how over they were. The crowd in this match really built fantastically. They got louder with every big move in the second half of the match. Basic but good psychology that built to well executed highspots is always a winner in my book. Nice pick baby cakes.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Forever Forward Friday

CJD: I really wanted to play you a Doom Patrol match back as I love that tag team and I love that team name. But when I found a Southern indy focusing on shootstyle I'd never heard of with Lee Moriarty, a name I keep meaning to check out, well I had to watch this. And it didn't disappoint. John sometimes I get a little bitter that so many weird subcultures I was into when nobody cared eventually blew up. So when you see a UWFI promotion out of Kentucky heavily featured on IWTV, what is your reaction? You know I love BattlArts but I might not have even given UWF a real chance without you playing me those choice cuts over the years. I think they do a great job of capturing that spirit here, and I can see a lot of that potential in Moriarty that makes his name come up so often these days. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one.

JJZ: I literally reread your comments four times over because I was in shock. A UWFI rules match that took place in the US during the pandemic. So first off, this promotion is officially on my must-watch list now. Second, Lee Moriarty is living rent-free in my mind after watching this. This match was fantastic. I only wish it was longer. Really nice pop spots and great transitions. The finish was very UWFI that would've made Maeda and Anjo very proud. For 2020 "shoot fighting" I think this was extremely well done. But I'm gonna put my devil's advocate hat on here and give a couple critiques, based on 1980s style UWFI. The pace was a little fast and both guys should've worked harder for things. Shit was given a little too easily imo. Now that is not a complaint by any means because I know it is not 1987. I'm just saying. Thank you for this match.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I Called Him Yoshinibu Kanemura For Years

JJZ: Every time a NOAH match from the this era is in front of me I assume I've seen it. But I'm pretty damn sure I've never seen this before. I've always love the NJPW VS NOAH stuff. The crowd is always extra energized and you can feel the heat through the screen. The bloodshed in this match is the vein of the story. It's a basic storyline line played to perfection. The heels slowed the match down and drained the babyfaces' will. While the home team brought spirit and excitement with everything they did. The comeback from Kanemaru was edge of your seat viewing. Jedo and Gado really made me hate them. I honestly wanted Suzuki to spike the fuck out of either one of them. I really liked the finishing stretch and hope you do as well.

CJD: This match took place 4 months after Misawa died and in some ways the shadow of that tragedy feels more important to the match than anything else that happens in it. I guess that's how NOAH was in general for a long time afterward, but something about this match with the combo of Suzuki and Kanemaru, a dream team of their junior division, Kotaro one of Misawa's top students, going up against the evil invading heat machines in a bloody proving ground type match. This felt like a catharsis for the crowd in a time they badly needed any sort of diversion. And I think Gedo and Jado milked every last drop out of that situation. To the point that watching it now and expecting something more in the vein of the early 2000s NJPW VS NOAH feud, I did feel like this was a little too deliberate. But for the crowd that night, on a tour called Misawa Always In Our Hearts, it was probably just right. Suzuki was a great hot tag here bringing that fire. Kanemaru probably loved the chance to play face in peril after watching Kikuchi make an art out of it for years and years on the apron. And man did he get some color. I bit on a few nearfalls too, this match definitely took me on a ride. It didn't blow me away but not every match needs to. Fun watch.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Forever Forward Friday

JJZ: I liked everything about this match. The venue of course. The build to get Dickinson and Kingston into the ring together. Homicide getting that veteran shine. And Jaka played the wildcard. I didn't know what to expect from him but thought he played his role well and added to the match. And those fucking neck chops by Eddie, my god. Does Chris owe him money? Now I'm watching this match in my perfect situation. I'm smoking a cigar and drinking a Founders Breakfast Stout. So I'm popping like a mark for everything. This might be a weird thing to say but good indy wrestling is better than great big league wrestling any day of the week. The crowd doesn't care about the production or the video packages. They just want the effort. They just want that 10 hour shift of work that leaves you with a pain in you back and a thirst for a cold beer. I hope you enjoy this Engineer.

CJD: So at first glance I thought this was EVOLVE because that's where I became familiar with Doom Patrol. But it's Beyond which is even better yet. Let me tell you something JT Fury, I watched this match sober as a bird doing some dishes while my daughter was napping. And I was marking out every bit as hard as you were if not harder! This match frigging ruled. The spirit of outlaw territory wrestling very much alive in the modern indies. Four bad men that while it's very obvious love their craft and speak our language of pro wrestling passion, also still perform in a way that I believe 100% that if I met any of them at a bar or a party I'd have to make sure I didn't say anything to piss them off. These guys remind me of the type of athlete that you hate when they play against your team but love if they ever sign with you. Rough and tumble, so much trash talk, so much action to back it up. I love the dynamic between the vets and Doom Patrol. The hierarchy, the efficiency, the tag team psychology. I love this match. Great find!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

El Diablo Is To Blame

CJD: You've got me feeling those mid 2000s puro feels right now. It seems to me that by the end of the decade Japanese wrestling settled into a landscape that is largely still the same today, but what a ride it was from 2000-2006. These 6 men put in some serious work in that era and this cast of characters plus a classic NOAH 6 man undercard match plus hot interpromotional action and this is about as 2006 as a match can be. We were watching so much NOAH in this time period that either one of us may have seen this match. But I checked my notes and I don't think I ever played it for you at least. And it didn't jog any memories and there's a headbutt that I certainly won't ever forget after watching this time. Not 2021 approved, that's for sure. This is the Murakami I'm used to. This is the type of Otani and Akiyama performance that has both perpetually fighting for spots in my all-time top 10. This is Hashi fighting from under like only he could. This is my kind of pro wrestling through and through and I have a sneaking suspicion it's in your wheelhouse as well.

JJZ: Man, this was the golden era of NOAH. When was the last time you got excited to watch a puro six man? I tried really hard to watch all the NOAH and NJPW six man matches that should have been good over the past few years and they always fell flat with a tempered crowd. But this ain't that. This is heat and anger and toughness and stiffness. Six wrestlers all wanting to put on a bust ass match that no one would be able to follow. This match was full of ass clinching spots and strikes that left me saying "that's gotta hurt!" to myself. I don't know if this was the main event of the show [editor's note - it wasn't] but it should have been. Super fun stuff.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Forever Forward Friday

CJD: I know FFFridays have been AIW Fridays quite often, right from the very first one in fact, and I swear I try not to lean on them too too hard. But I can't help the fact that they've been one of the best indies going for years and years and they have a lot of great free content up. And you put up a thumbnail of Eddie Kingston VS Candice and you've got a real Shut Up And Take The Fractional Pennies Of This Mouse Click situation. This match is exactly what you want from these two, with scumbag Eddie and that prick the Duke building so much sympathy on top of a wonderful babyface performance. Candice makes such great comebacks and they build the big spots in this one so nicely. This match was proof that the Card Is Going To Change but I can't imagine anyone in the crowd was disappointed by what they got. Even with missing out on Alex Shelley I still would have been ecstatic to be surprised by this match live.

JJZ: Fun way to start a match with a local favorite VS a true natural heel. Candice has always been such a natural plucky underdog babyface. IMO it's almost impossible to not root for her. Add in Kingston's scumbagy heelish tactics and you got a classic match formula. I know we've been featuring a lot of AIW as of late and for good reason. I'd love to have a local promotion like this. Being from Phila I get a lot of great wrestling but we haven't had a local indy like this in a long time. I miss having a promotion to call my own that's for damn sure and I'd love to say Absolute Intense Wrestling was mine.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Blue Are The Feelings That Live Inside Me

Yuji Nagata/Kazunari Murakami VS Minoru Suzuki/Yoshihiro Takayama - Big Mouth Loud Illusion 7 8/20/2006

JJZ: First I want to say that I watched this match with my son. Also JJZ. I asked him to give me a quick review of the match for the blog.

JJZito: I'd give this match an 8 outta 10. (For reference he would give Daniel Bryan VS Kofi Kingston from WM 10/10).
I liked their wrestling skills.

JJZ: I knew what I wanted from this match going in and I got it. Super stiff. True heat from the rivalry these guys have had for years with each other. A hot crowd that wanted to watch these four hit each other harder and harder. The elbows between Suzuki and Nagata were worth the price of admission alone. I'd assumed you may have seen this before going in but I was just in the mood for this. I hope it's new to you and that you enjoy it as much as I did.

CJD: This is the last match in Big Mouth Loud history and I think I skipped this show back when because I was disappointed to see them sputter out so quickly. I really liked what BML was trying to do and wanted them to succeed, but like so many upstart Japanese promotions it was a great idea with lackluster execution. It seems like Nagata was playing off an angle a promotion had done previously with a masked Blue Justice character that actually ended up being Gran Naniwa. Would love to see that. No swerve this time and like you said you can sense the competitive rivalry and fun these guys are having squaring off from beginning to end. Loved loved loved Kohei Wada throwing shade at Takayama. Also one of the cooler shining wizard set ups I've ever seen and Nagata firing Murakami up was choice. This is the most reserved I've ever seen Kaz, you told me on the phone that el Hijo de JJZ said he still looked demonic here, but I'm used to him at 11 at all times. Maybe the promotion closing shop had him a bit more reserved. Either way this was a lot of fun and took me back to a feeling in Japanese wrestling where things were very transitional and full of potential.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Forever Forward Friday

Laredo Kid VS Candice LeRae VS Cloudy VS Louis Lyndon - Absolute Intense Wrestling 4/8/2016

JJZ: Alright! So this Louis Lyndon match hunt was one for the books. I literally couldn't even find any on Daily Motion. I did find this fun spotfest though. I can imagine being in the crowd for this match and popping for every highspot. I'd think this would've been second on the card which would be perfect to get the crowd hot. Candice was the star of the match which is a big reason I played it forward. Louis adds nice touches while the other guys play good bases to get them over. Hope you enjoy baby cakes!

CJD: Laredo Kid's first match in AIW is a cool little piece of history. He made a huge impression and opened up this match like a kid with a too tight backpack in a moshpit. Cloudy was such a sleazy dickhead, he definitely got heat with me for one of them spots. You can absolutely see here why AIW depends heavily on Lyndon as he helps so much with the structure and pace. And Candice is the heart, driving the story of a very substantial 4 corner 10 minute spotfest. This was exactly what it should have been and is a good reminder to me not to skip random AIW undercard multiwrestler matches!