Tuesday, March 30, 2021

I'm A B-Boy, Standing In My B-Boy Stance

B-Boy VS Super Dragon - JCW Jersey J Cup Finals 6/27/2004

JJZ: Look at that head of hair on Bryce!!!! Well this isn't the match I originally planned on playing but this match fucking delivered. Finals of a one day tournament where both guys had to wrestle 3 times before this match. That's a long day at the office for sure. The slow start and build was expected but jesus when it got going it was at top speed. This match was just brutally stiff at times. A good amount of head drops but nothing over the top imo. I could see someone saying the finishing stretch was a little overkill considering it was the fourth match for both guys but I think about it like the the last second in a championship game and both wrestlers dug down as deep as possible to get the win. Hope you get them 2004 feels watching this like I did.

CJD: If someone asked me "should I watch this match?" My response would be do you love early to mid 2000s indie wrestling and all it entails? Because holy shit is that this match start to finish. These guys wrestle like they need to share their love for Japanese pro wrestling so badly it hurts. Like they're going to burst if they don't tell you about the 4 Pillars of Heaven or how the Great Muta actually had a much more prolific career just as Keiji Mutoh. Luckily I do love this era of indie wrestling and I really enjoyed the journey this took me on. The mat wrestling was better than most would probably expect, if fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of the match. This is a J Cup after all. The stiffness was obscene as you said, we just assumed in this time period that if two wrestlers weren't beating the shit out of each other then they weren't giving a great effort. But even by that standard these two wrestled this match like fans would analyze it decades later. Well here we are. Finishing run definitely went to excess at points but it was also kind of the story the match was telling. And the finish itself was certainly memorable and fitting. There's a lot here you could criticize but there's also a lot that's great. I'll fully admit I'm giving it a pass on some stuff. After stepping away from the hobby for a while I owe too much of my super fandom to the abuse guys like Super Dragon and B Boy put themselves through in this time period that sucked me back in. But I'm also glad that this style is no longer the norm for a lot of reasons. That won't stop me from enjoying the shit out of this match though.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Misawa Dick Togo Santo Tri-State OuterContinental WWKD Champions #141-150

150 MDTSOCWWKD Champions down, which means Play It Forward is 3 years old! As usual with our Tuesday recaps JJZ is here to take you through this historic run of our imaginary title holders. And then soon after we'll be bringing you our third annual Head Droppies to take a look back at our third year in depth. But for now, let's take a look at these 10 weeks of pro wrestling goodness!

141. Dean Malenko (x2)
Deano Macheano kicking things off for these 10 champs! I always love when we show someone working in such different settings like we did with the man of 1,000 holds!

142. Yuji Nagata
143. Kazunari Murakami

144. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

145. Jado/Gedo

Taking a flight over to tag team heaven with these next four title holders! All tag  matches and also all against invading companies. Totally not planned but very welcomed! Curious if we've done this before and if we've gone longer?

146. Don Fuji
Probably the most surprising match of the champs considering who was in it and where the match took place. Some PWG 4 way goodness thanks to the upload from the one and only Human Tornado himself.

147. TJ Perkins
148. Donovan Dijak

149. Biff Busick

I like these three because we show the levels of pro wreslting, how you start in the small halls and VFWs as you work your way up to the bigger promotions. Just a nice time travel.

150. Trevor Lee
Lee had some real indy dream matches here. All the wrestlers in his matches are considered top guys from their home promotions and were top talents when they traveled to other promotions. A real who's who of 2010s independent wrestling.

We really showed some great tag wrestling here baby cakes. Maybe the most in a 10 champ span. Either way I loved what we shared with each other and Don Fuji is a true gem. Love that man!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays


Rickey Shane Page VS Heidi Lovelace - 05/2015

JJZ: So I was torn between two matches to play forward here. A good 17 minute match and a good 7 minute match. So I thought to myself what is more impressive? And it's the 7 minutes. Plus we haven't featured a short match in a little bit. Also I always appreciate the grainy VHS quality. It's a shotgun style match that makes both wrestlers look experienced. For a short match it has pretty solid psychology. I gotta say that both these Rickey Shane Page matches were very different than I expected. I got a whole new appreciation for him honestly. He is way more versatile than I realized. Just one of the reasons I love swapping matches with you.

CJD: Holy early DSL internet video quality, Batman! This match did indeed get in, hit all the right notes, and get out before anyone could think twice about it. I couldn't agree more that versatile is the exact word I'd use to describe RSP and two weeks ago it definitely wouldn't have been what came to mind. Both wrestlers mastered how to deliver a great intergender match which isn't something I'm always sold on, and wasn't as common in 2015. I'd gladly watch these two go at it again, I bet they could have another match the very next day just as good and totally different. And trying to hunt down the date and promotion on this one (with no luck) it did seem like they worked each other quite a bit. I'm glad you went short and sweet with your pick babycakes. Even if you didn't fulfill your promise to take me to the EXTREME with Shane Page! Hopefully another time, I gained a new appreciation for him with these two matches.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Everybody Owes, Everybody Pays

Tyler Bateman VS B-Boy - Santino Bros Wrestling #1 Contedership 11/14/2015

CJD: Before Brody King was the yang to Tyler Bateman's yin it was B-Boy of all people. I've learned a lot about Bateman the past few weeks, the Oklahoma native who relocated to Southern California and after two decades in wrestling finally got some breaks and eventually a ROH contract. Even going back to his earlier stuff he was never bad in anything I watched, but he definitely took a long while to put together the complete package he is now. And as someone who's in his late 30s and still growing professionally, who has also moved around for his career, I think that makes perfect sense and I respect him for continuing that grind and steady growth for so many years. Even here in 2015 you can see he's already got a firm grasp on his British influence, on his character work, on little touches that would become big on the indies that he's clearly been incorporating for a while. And this is an indie match through and through, these Santino Bros matches would fit in great on our Fridays. It's also been fun learning more about this school/promotion that I was totally ignorant of a few weeks ago.

So as for the match! B-Boy is a surprisingly great fit as a bitter rival to Bateman. I've always had a soft spot for B-Boy, he's very much a product of his times for better or worse, but you know you'll always get a great effort and at least something worth watching. Watching a few matches from these two I definitely got the sense they learned a lot from each other, although with what opposites they seem to be on paper I wonder if that chemistry was instant or if the respect had to be earned over time? Either way I really liked the energy these two brought against each other and can see why they had such a long running rivalry.

JJZ: In the 2000s the West coast was the redheaded stepchild for independent wrestling imo but B-Boy was someone that would always grab my attention. Bateman's pirate tights made me chuckle for some reason. So this match was 180 degrees from what I thought it would be. And it's really good. Very tight, stiff, smart limb work. If you didn't let me know they had a long history I still would've thought it with the story they told in the ring. I really enjoyed the spots they built to. The seated elbows followed by both wrestlers walking back into the ring was great. The strength of the match is that it was such a 50/50 bout so I couldn't figure out the finish. Which made me really love how they wrapped it up. Great find man.

CJD: Yeah, that finish sealed it with a kiss for me. What a beaut. If you told me 3 years ago "we need to start a blog so that one day you're forced to watch a Tyler Bateman VS B-Boy match in an armory in front of 50 friends and family" I'd have thought this project went off the rails. I'm not writing this to add to the post or anything, I just think it's funny. But yeah I really really dug this. Glad you did too.

JJZ: Lol. You should add it. Because it's so fucking true.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

Sugar Dunkerton VS Rickey Shane Page - Freelance 7/21/2017

CJD: Rickey Shane Page isn't exactly the poster boy for Forever Forward Fridays, but he is an indie guy through and through and he raises the profile of everywhere he works. So in that sense I'm glad I gave this match a chance because it did have some real stakes to it. Interpromotional stuff is always fun but the extra layer of RSP also being a Freelance guy while Suge D is the flavor of the month gave it a nice extra layer. This match had some of Sugar's comedy mixed in with some great physicality and overall psychology. Compared to some of the matches we've featured lately this isn't going to blow your mind but for an undercard match you might not twice at on paper this really delivered. I dug digging into Dunkerton this week, I'm glad to have an excuse to watch more of his stuff.

JJZ: I did not expect this match to be on my television after I kicked Suge D over to you last week. I'm excited to see were this match goes. Crazy seeing Suge grabbing a random fan's Gatorade and taking a swig in hindsight right now. I've been a big fan of these cross shows with CZW and Freelance. A lot of good matches off them. I'm pretty certain we played Rush VS Ali off one of them no? Crowd was really into this, making the match feel pretty important. I've seen a good amount from RSP and I am a fan, I haven't seen him in this role to much. I'm familiar with more of his hardcore stuff. Definitely never seen him working in the jokes. The gaga was nice. Subtle, it didn't overpower anything. I like us featuring Suge working two totally different styles in his matches. I didn't know he had these levels until watching him over the past few weeks. With that being said, I'm sure I'll be trying to take us to the extreme next week!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

God Forgives, Brody Doesn't

Tyler Bateman (c) VS Brody King - Santino Bros Wrestling Championship 30 Minute Ironman Match 8/18/2017

JJZ: So as far as I can remember I haven't seen anything from Santino Bros Wrestling before. They are a California promotion and school. Now I've always been a Brody fan but Tyler Bateman has never really moved the needle for me. Not saying I dislike him but I've never seen a match of his that totally sold me on him. I remember hearing that these two had some great matches so I was excited to pop this on. I'm a way bigger fan of the 30 minute iron man over the 60. It's wrestled with more urgency and this match had a slow start but picked up very quicky. Honestly this did not feel like 30 minutes at all. I really liked the booking of the falls. One fall I don't believe I've ever seen before or the psychology of why it mattered at the timing of the fall. Everything was hit clean and looked tight. The only negative I can see is someone talking about the end but honestly I liked it too. Makes me wish I was following the storyline going in. I hope you enjoy but now this will probably open some more conversation.

CJD: This match had a lot to it, even for a half hour ironman. I personally like the full hour if it's a big show main event once in a blue moon, but also prefer the half hour in most every other circumstance. One thing I don't like in a half hour ironman is when they only have a fall or two... what was the point of the stip? This match clearly doesn't have that problem. Some of the falls were really interesting, like you said. The live commentary over the PA is always weird to me, I give these guys lots of credit in this intimate venue for not letting the wisecracks and crowd banter throw them off too much. I loved the personal feel of the rivalry between these two. The mind games from Bateman, the little bits of dialogue back and forth, the physicality that implied a familiarity. Some of the mirror spots and such didn't look perfect but more often than not when something wasn't executed cleanly they played it to get over the constant struggle. Bateman really impressed me here and I'm blown away to see he's 40 and has been wrestling for 20 years. No wonder he feels like a veteran matador masterfully corralling a baby bull at points in this match. I really enjoyed watching this, although I felt it had some issues with the pace being too stop and go, maybe taking that criticism I have of some half hour ironman matches to the extreme. And I'll be honest, I didn't care for the overall finish at all. So I'm going to pull out the spoiler tag in this post and ask you this. Which fall did you think was so unique and what did you like about the overall finish? I'll close out the spoiler free comments with this. After nearly 200 matches shared here at PIF this one still stood out to me and in a good way. Great little big piece of pro wrestling here.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays


JJZ: I almost never search out British rules/style matches for some reason but whenever I stumble across them I'm a sucker. Man did I enjoy this. Coming off of Lockhart's last match this was a 180 in style. And as for Suger Dunkerton jesus christ. I didn't know he had this in him! I'm really only familiar with him from Beyond so this was such a welcome treat. I probably never would've seen this if it wasn't for PIF, so man do I fucking love me some PIF!!! This had me hooked baby cakes. I realized towards the end of the match that these guys never end climbed the ropes. These Pure shows from PWX seem terrific. Really gonna keep my eye out for them. What I most enjoyed about this was the back and forth. It was a true 50/50 match that I couldn't take my eyes off. A lot of new stuff I've never seen and some old stuff with a new twist. Enjoy sweetheart!

CJD: This color guy always rides a razor thin edge between effective heel color commentator and obnoxious mark trying to get himself over. Unfortunately in this match he firmly fell into the latter category and refused to give the action any room to breathe. Which is unfortunate because this match was rich with interesting transitions and interactions. A lot of the time American indie wrestlers doing World of Sport stuff can feel contrived or lifeless. That wasn't the case here and like you said that's because they brought their own twist to things. Lockhart and Suge D had great chemistry and the crowd was really engaged by this deliberate but exciting match. Dunkerton has been a joy to watch his entire career but I can't say I've seen a ton of him in this more veteran role and he did a masterful job of it. This was a FFFriday treat if there ever was one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

I Hope This Night Will Last Forever


CJD: This match is like the champion of a kingdom defending it against an invading beast he's not sure he can slay but he doesn't dare show any fear. You know I've been excited to share with you some of Swerve's run as Ace of DEFY. Well if this isn't the match I wanted to play you most, it's number 2 with a bullet. I really can't say enough about Strickland's time In DEFY. There aren't many Aces in wrestling history that made me watch every second after every match to see what sort of promo they'd cut or punctuation mark they'd close the show with. That's that Onita level shit. And for my money, that was Swerve in DEFY. On first watch I thought this match was fantastic but outstayed its welcome by the slimmest margin. On second watch I'm not so sure. I'd go so far as to say this might be a little more of a JJZ match than a CJD match. Either way I loved it the first time around and it only got better with age. This is a war where the damage only builds and builds. We've been crashing hard at Swerve's House lately and I'm a little sad it'll be time to pack our bags and go. But what a stay it's been.

JJZ: Man do I enjoy watching Defy. The production quality is so well done for an independent promotion. I literally know nothing about this match going in but the feel is so intense that I know this is huge. Commentators can say that a match is the biggest of all time but it don't mean shit if the feeling of the match isn't jumping through the screen. This match had all of that and more. The crowd was vibrating. The heat between Brody and Shane was steaming. In that moment in time that was the biggest match in the world. It is what wreslting fans want to watch and what wrestlers want to create in that ring. Brody King and Shane Strickland for the Defy title was a special match. The story was excellent. The execution was excellent. Everything was excellent. I'm embarrassed to admit the first time I tried to watch this I feel asleep. It had nothing to do with the match and everything to do with working too many hours and not getting the proper amount of sleep. On second watch you better believe my eyes were wide open. Thank you for playing this forward to me. Thank you Swerve for these four great matches we've shared.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: When we came up with the concept for Forever Forward Fridays Darius Lockhart was one of the top names I wanted to feature. I never would have guessed Ophidian the Cobra would be the gateway to lead us down that road but here we are. This match was brought to my attention by the incomparable _sasukespecial_ on Instagram a while ago and I really liked it on first watch. Well I don't know what it was between now and then but this time around I didn't like it. I loved it! I feel like we've been playing forward some really high level stuff lately and even with that in mind this match fogged my glasses up even more than my mask already did. Young Darius just won his title earlier the day of this match and Shane is once again the outside talent coming to face the local star, only unlike against Ophidian he's the subtle heel this time around. There's so much depth to how he works one compared to the other. He doesn't add any tired sneaky tactics, he just modifies his character and his work ever so slightly, and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Lockhart does so much right in this match that I don't even want to talk about him, I want him to be a revelation to you if you haven't seen him before. And I don't know if you'll recall but PWX is a promotion I've been talking up for a while. I played you and the guys a match or two but nothing compared to this. This is a statement kind of match. Stick around for a few minutes after it's done too. These guys say so much with a few facial expressions and a few gestures. I don't like to hype my choices up too much when I send them over to you so I hope this match didn't just catch me on the perfect day and fall flat for you. But man am I glad FFFridays lead me to revisit this.

JJZ: These announcers need to shut the fuck up so I can fully enjoy Swerve's entrance. I started watching this match on my phone and quickly realized I need to watch this on a bigger screen. Knowing that Lockhart won the title earlier in the show and he gave this kinda performance on his second match is career making. Strickland coming into your promotion and you standing your ground was such  simple but excellent storytelling telling in a short amount of time. Fantastic indy booking. I really liked the 50/50 in ring work because it gave Lockhart credibility and also showed that Strickland doesn't have a big ego despite being the much bigger talent coming in. The match itself is very good. Everything is hit crisp and looks strong. The crowd is super hot and feeling every emotion. This is a great match baby. Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

To The Moon

Young Bucks VS Trevor Lee/Shane Strickland - International Wrestling Federation 1/23/2015

 JJZ: I heard somewhere that you should never cross the streams but screw that noise. Let's fuck around and find out. Dream tag match here. Young Strickland, hot ass Lee, prime Bucks. How do I not play this forward. I've been watching a ton of wrestling this week but haven't really seen a car crash match and knew this would scratch that itch. We're talking go go go here baby. Dragon Gate style timing with a crowd that was eating it up with a spoon! I enjoyed watching this match very much. You can see Strickland's potential shine. Lee lived up to his building hype. And the Bucks did what only the Young Bucks can do. I feel like timing is everything in life and I needed this match at 11:30PM on a Friday night.

CJD:  Car crash, Dragon Gate style tag is exactly how I'd describe this match. The Young Bucks in this era could do this in their sleep and there were moments in the first half of this that it did feel a little cut and paste. But by the end I was hooked on this one just like the crowd was. And could you imagine seeing something like this live in your tiny local indie at the time with two relative unknowns like Lee and Strickland putting on this kind of performance? That's a match that would stick with you for the rest of your life. This was a cool little footnote in the career of all 4 men and definitely not what I expected to get back when I played you a Trevor Lee match forward. Now do I swerve the streams next Tuesday or do the Bucks become the first ever 2x MDTSOCWWKD Tag Team Champions?? Let's fuck around and find out indeed.