Friday, February 26, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I not exactly sure what IT is but Shane Strickland has IT. Fuck man. That entrance on paper isn't anything special but when you see him coming to the ring it is attention grabbing. And Ophidian really carried himself like a champion in the match. And this match was a main event to a T. Slower start with a build to the highspots. Both wrestlers got to highlight their skills. The crowd was super into the face and hated the heel. I really liked the finish because isn't a typical indie finish and built to keep the local talent at the forefront. I don't recall seeing too much of this promotion but I like that they focus on their own talent.

CJD: We've never talked about this before, but 9 times out of 10 when you play a match forward to me I watch it before I read your comments. You know me and you know how I want to go into everything with as few preconceived notions as possible. And after watching this match my first comment was going to be how these guys carried themselves like absolute stars in this one. So it made me laugh that your main takeaway was how Swerve has that It Factor. There's no doubt, I think he could get over anywhere with any presentation, but in this era coming out to Chaka Khan he was magic. He demands your attention. And really even playing heel with a significant size difference Ophidian is no slouch here either. He feels like the Champ with a capitol C, like that belt is his and it means something. I've wanted to check out Demand Lucha for a while but I think this is my first exposure. Great atmosphere, great presentation, great match. I get what you're saying about the booking and I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. I will say I thought they reached the peak of this one and went a good bit longer. But it didn't really frustrate me as the match had such great energy and the stakes felt high. If anyone is on the fence on this match because it's on the longer side but it interests you on paper I'd say make time for it. I thought it was something special.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Brotherhood's Our Rule We Cannot Bend

CJD: I feel like I've seen a different match between these two on the indies before, and maybe even played it for you and the gang. Still having seen them work together before this felt very fresh. It had a wide variety to what they did similar to your Dijak match, but the ground they covered was very different. Lee is a different kind of heel and Biff is such a fundamentally sound babyface. He's the type of talent you can put in any situation and he'll make it work for him. Which isn't to take anything away from the grimey individual across the ring from Cameron NC. I started this match, got interrupted, and was so excited to finish it I watched it on my phone during my lunch break. It might honestly be the first time I've ever watched a match on my phone. That's the power of Biff Busick!

JJZ: To paint a picture here, it's 10:34PM on a Wednesday night. Both of my kids are asleep and my beautiful wife is sleeping on my chest. I'm drinking a lager and typing this with my left hand. Also I fucking love me some Biff Busick. Also imma big fan of Trevor "Robin Hood" Lee. This match was a three course meal cooked by a 5-star chef. Jesus. Strong start with a balanced middle and a strong finish. Not you typical Biff Busick match imo. I know they worked aroud the building but still a little more of a slower pace than I'm used to with BB. Lee looked like he was wise beyond his years in this one. In fact both guys looked liked stars baby. I enjoyed the finish and could not see it coming at all. That other match between the two might be something I need to seek out ASAP.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Forever Forward Champions #21-30

The identity of our Friday posts kept evolving through these 10 Champs. It's been fascinating for us to watch this concept start to grow up and explore different areas, regions, styles, and talent than we had imagined. And the great thing is I still don't think we've even scratched the surface of where Forever Forever Fridays will take us in the future!

21. Jonathan Gresham
We had an epic run of 20 Fridays dominated by women before Gresham won the battle of the sexes for the time being. His match with Karen Q to bridge the gap was a wonderful technical display. As a double crown champion here at PIF he's come a long way since we featured his matches with Hidaka and Thatcher back when.

22. Lio Rush
23. Mustafa Ali
24. ACH

I love FFFridays. The goal is above all else to give talent that is less represented more promotion. That said, from Gresham to this power trio, this is definitely as high profile as we get on Fridays. However we stayed focused on the indies throughout, with great matches to boot, and it lead us to...

25. Louis Lyndon
Is there a more underrated indy stalwart than the captain of the ship?

26. Candice LeRae
27. Eddie Kingston
These two had such a great match against each other that wasn't even scheduled for the card it was on. A reminder that the card is always going to change.

28. Chris Dickinson
29. Lee Moriarty

30. PB Smooth
Slowly but surely working our way back to less established talent. The Filthy Father fits the Forever Forward mold in his outlaw indy wrestling spirit, and his tag match in Beyond against Kingston and Homicide is among my favorites we've ever featured. Moriarty and PB have been such a blast to watch and keep us focused on discovering new wrestling. Fridays have become a bit of a Western Pennsylvania deep dive of late and I couldn't be happier about it.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

Lee Moriarty VS Ophidian The Cobra - Ryse Pro Wrestling 5/10/2019

CJD: Man my journey to crown Lee Moriarty our first 2x Forever Forward Champion was not a brief one. Which is not a complaint, I got a much more well rounded opinion on him as a wrestler, and I really like all the facets of his game. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer this version of the Apex of Combat, when he's going hold for hold with someone who is good, giving, and game on the mat. I was bummed reading up on Ophidian that he retired last year after CHIKARA shut down due to feeling his relationship with wrestling was unhealthy. Hopefully he can look back on his career with a little pride still, he was always a bright spot on every CHIKARA show he was on. And it's really cool here to see him outside of that setting. We're going to have to start cutting Ryse royalty checks with all these matches we've featured from them on Fridays lately. Well we would if we ever saw a dime from this blog. I've really enjoyed their promotion and I dig everything about this match. It's maybe a little too cooperative at times but I'm okay with it. There's so many slick sequences, twists and turns, and such a fun finishing stretch that I'm willing to see a glimpse of how the sausage is made here and there.

JJZ: If I had to describe this match in one word it would be impressive. Super bummed to hear Ophidian retired. This was an extremely memorable match for him. He was smooth as silk at times. Lee as always looked like he was wrestling above his pay grade for his experience level. If I was live for this match I know I'd be talking about this match a lot on the car ride home. It might not have been the ace of the night since it didn't have a ton of big falsies and super duper highspots BUT dammit if it didn't have instant replay in my head. Ryse has been such a treat and a promotion that is locked on my radar at this point. Very nice pick homie!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Feast Your Eyes


JJZ: So Dijack is a wrestler that had to grow on me. And the seed started to crack when I watched a match of his from Beyond Wrestling against one of my favorites Biff Busick. I fucking LOVED that match. So when I had to play a Dijak match forward I right away looked to see if those two had any other matches. I came across this and man oh man did I enjoy this too. This match is very different than the other one I watched from them. That was just heat from bell to bell. This match was more of a three course meal. More traditional style wrestling match. Nice feel out to start, building to the highspots and a good closing stretch. I couldn't figure out who would get their hand raised in the end. But my favorite part of the match is the ambiance. A small ring that is too close to the floor in an obscure gym somewhere with around 100 people in attendance. Overhead lighting that was way too bright. Interaction between the wrestlers and the crowd. It was so independent wrestling and I so loved every single second of it.

CJD: Dijak was a slow grower for me too and I still think there's untapped potential there. But he did improve tremendously since those first Keith Lee matches I saw him in back when and judging from this match and the other one you mentioned Biff brings out the absolute best in him. This match was awesome. I didn't know Dijak could grapple like that, the early hold for hold stuff was really quality. Then some of the holy shit moments, like the dives and getting shit canned (is shit canned one word or two?) were all that much more impressive in that intimate setting. These two have that magic physical chemistry that makes for great rivalries. The comments mention they've had at least one more match, and I'm definitely adding that to my To Watch list. What a finish too, I loved seeing the fans react. This was a treat, great find man. I love when wrestlers help build the psychology of the match in the small moments. There were parts of this match in between lock ups that told you everything you needed to know about who the wrestlers are and what their strategy is. Nice little touches that put an already great match over the top.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Misawa Dick Togo Santo Tri-State OuterContinental WWKD Champions #131-140

Keeping up with our recent division of labor of late, JJZ is here to recap 10 weeks of wrestlers we featured on Tuesdays, while I'll take you down 10 weeks of Forever Forward Friday Champions soon enough. These posts have gotten a little more spread out but as long as we have them here as a reference so we can remember what the hell we're talking about come our annual Head Droppies awards in March, then it's all gravy. This run of 10 Tuessay Titans was one of my personal favorites we've had. Let's let John take you through them...

131. Jeff Cobb
132. Will Hobbs

Starting off with a couple of power houses right here. Hobbs was new to both of us while Cobb is like an old friend. All of these matches showcased multiple levels of their talents.

133. Sam Adonis
Bringing in some old school dirty cheap heat with Sam. Real change of pace for the blog.

134. Blue Panther
135. Atlantis
136. El Hijo Del Santo
Three legends in a row. This was a fun run through Lucha Libre history. Both of us openly admit that Mexican wrestling isn't in our strong suit. Not that we don't like our friends from the south but it took us a little longer to appreciate lucha as fans. So chances to watch historically significant great matches like these are special. Also Santo becomes the first person to hold the singles and tag MDTSOCWWKD straps! Congrats me amigo!

137. Rey Mysterio Jr (x2)
Arguably the most successful Mexican wrestler in the history of the sport. Loved that both his matches focused in on Lucha Libre while his previous MDTSOCWWKD title run focused in on his American wrestling

138. La Parka
139. Sabu (x2)
140. 2 Cold Scorpio
Now I know that La Parka and Sabu's match was in MLW but goddammit that was an ECW style match if I've even seen one. So it is super fitting we closed out this round of Champs with ECW guys since ECW had such a huge part in bringing so many Mexican wrestlers to Americans eyes. Really fun list to revisit. Tip of the cap to Sabu for also becoming a two time MDTSOCWWKD Champion!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I know we aren't that far removed from featuring my new favorite wrestler Lee Moriarty but this match was too much fun not to play forward. The Mane Event look like a million bucks man. At times it looks like adults wrestling children. The size difference is pretty ridiculous but these four men really make it work with the build and the story in this match. I bet money that the Mane event will be on weekl TV at some point in the not-so-distant future. Loving Lee doing the gaga in this match. Adding another layer to his thick ass skillz. We've been able to watch some less is more matches recently that I've been in love with. Add the fact it's on recent independent shows has been such a breath of fresh air. All four wrestlers delivered in this match and I'm hoping you dig it brother.

CJD: I love the Mane Event as our first ever Forever Forward Tag Team Champions. And I love getting back to "Skinny Dipping In A Sea Of Lee" Moriarty so quickly. But I can't say I loved Moriarty Vice as a team. I'm good with goofy pro wrestling, but these guys together had me actively rooting for the heels to beat their asses. The Mane Event continue to impress me with their timing and chemistry. I am amazed they've stayed such a well kept secret. I definitely wouldn't take your bet, they'll be on TV in no time. This match was solid, I could imagine it in the #2 spot on a card or right before something big to break up the action. I wasn't over the moon on it but it served its purpose nicely and finished strong.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

You Down With TJP?

Dominik Dijakovic VS TJP - WWE When World's Collide 1/26/2019

CJD: I was really excited about this tournament when it happened. It seemed like a great concept and exactly the sort of content having multiple brands with distinctly different styles and your own personal streaming Network would lend itself to. Instead it was presented and executed with all the importance of a pickup basketball game. But this match at least was closer to what I was hoping for. I don't remember if I even watched it at the time but I thought it delivered on this watch. Dijak has constantly gotten better throughout his career which is a quality I highly value. TJP refuses to let himself get eaten up as the former first Cruiserweight Champion even though I think he can see the writing on the wall for his WWE run at this point. I liked the chemistry, the transitions, the little moments of this match. How they took a barely present convention crowd and drew them in whether they were planning on watching or not. And with the quiet brightly lit venue I think both guys really laid it in too. Mix all that up and I was happy to revisit a tournament I didn't expect to ever spend anymore energy on.

JJZ: Now this is how you book a 10 minute match between two guys with such a staggering size difference. Both wrestlers got such a shine from this match. Dijak looked like a true monster totally dominating TJP at every turn. While Perkins used his speed and agility to pepper in offense when he could. Smart and simply psychology by TJP to try to chop the big man down. The end stretch was really well done and I think both guys came out looking better than when they went in. I mean come on. It's hard to have a 10 minute match that tells a complete story like this one did.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays


CJD: I've never seen PB in a plunder-filled match so I was curious to give this a go. But I still wasn't optimistic with four relatively unknown guys in a TLC setting. Well there's egg on my face because these guys baked me up a layer cake of delicious destruction. Totally different style match than last week but once again I love how much they get out of a relatively simple structure, and I love how big the commentators make everything feel. Literally big, they highlight the size of the wrestlers constantly, and rightfully so. IWC is a promotion that's been around forever that I've always meant to check out more from. For two Philly boys it seems like we've really slept on the indy wrestling scene on the other side of the Keystone State. Hopefully FFFridays help us change that. And I hope all the wrestlers in this match get back on their feet after the pandemic because I want to see more of all four of them.

JJZ: Well well well. Got a little joined in progress action. An indy TLC match has an even more dangerous feel to it because you know the quality of the weapons are not the same as in WWE. Not saying that WWE TLC matches aren't dangerous. This was a really fun spotfest that made me want to watch the feud leading up to this match. All four wrestlers came out of this match looking better for it. The spots were hard to watch and it made you really feel for the talent in this match. Like you said the commentators did a great job and made this feel like a Wrestlemania moment for everyone involved. You know all four guys limped out of bed the next day very sore but very proud of what they did in that ring.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Pockets So Big They Sumo

Human Tornado VS TJ Perkins VS Bino Gambino VS Don Fuji - PWG 5/20/2007

JJZ: So I watched this right after watching Wrestle Kingdom and I was so in the mood for a junk foodie independent wrestling match. Like craving one. So when I came upon this I was like, oh fuck yeah. This hit everything I wanted to see. Don Fuji played his role great. Hitting all his big stuff while letting the younger indy guys still shine. Human Tornado came in like a wrecking ball with a lot of his own stuff. TJ worked as the young guy going a little too stiff trying to prove something but hey! It looked good. Gino Bambino Dan Marino added some fuck shit also. I liked it. Wrestling good! PWG good! Don Fuji good!

CJD: Man, I watched so much PWG in this era, random 4 ways were such a staple of indy wrestling at the time, and this match still came so far out of left field for me. Absolutely the last thing I expected you to play forward in the best way possible. This is one of those 4 ways that took four guys that almost certainly had nothing in particular going on for that show (a tag tournament) and put them all in a situation to shine. But we've both watched plenty of matches like this where it's still totally forgettable and treated more like a night off. Well this was good fun but it was still a night at the office for these four and they absolutely punched that clock. I liked that they didn't revert to the format of two heels teaming up against two faces for the majority of the match. There were moments of that but overall this was, as you love to say, a junk food match that played the part to perfection. The type of match that perfectly breaks up the pace of a show or of a marathon session of watching wrestling. Or of a blog that's shared a match or two a week for years and years and hundreds of matches!