Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Close Our Eyes To The Octopus Ride

Jonathan Gresham VS Matt Tremont - Beyond Wrestling 11/28/2015

CJD: I mentioned I don't want my #GWE26 viewing to dominate PIF and of course it's all we've talked about since here or when you and I have chatted wrestling. Well here's another modern (although retired... for now) wrestler who I nominated, definitely a bit of a dream match for me, in what seems like the opener (crazy to think about between these two), in Gresham's second match in a row we've featured VS a deathmatch wrestler. And you know what? If this match isn't as good as the Takeda classic, it's damn close. Like that match both guys try to play in the other's wheelhouse. Unlike that match this has more of a traditional structure and build but man these two are really two of the best of their generation. They make this one count. I love the momentum shifts. I even love Doom Patrol on commentary cracking wise. And I especially love the finishing sequence. This is a match that takes two completely different talents you're high on, throws them together on a whim, and leaves you on an even higher note. Still not sure if either guy will make my top 100 all-time by 2026, but I feel more optimistic about their cases after this one.

JJZ: Going into this match I had an idea of what it would look like. And I was totally wrong. Not in a bad way though. The easy road psychology would've been a 70/30 match in favor of Tremont using his size and strength for the advantage while Gresham uses his speed and submission abilities to grab quick holds so he can level the field. What we got was a 50/50 match that I couldn't see where it was going. I couldn't predict much of anything and I found myself on the edge of my seat to see what was next. I totally agree that the finishing sequence was fantasic. Great pick sweet cheeks.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays


JJZ: So I knew right away what I wanted to watch when you played a Jumping Bomb Angels match forward to me. I immediately remembered a few of their matches in WWF when I was a kid with the Glamour Girls. And man those matches were crazy a real nice change of pace. For the time that this took place it was great to see what they were doing. Really jaw dropping imo. The moves were so stiff and different. The energy was non-stop. Like four kids on a sugar rush. Watching this I loved how influential I knew this feud was. It was like watching a historic documentary. Just so amazing to see four women setting standards and they didn't even know it. I'd tell anyone trying to get into the business to give this feud a once over. I wasn't crazy about the finish but I wasn't surprised. Side note I got a real kick out of the way the Glamour Girl went for their pins.

CJD: Yeah those pinfall attempts were straight out of a NES wrestling game. This match reminded me so much of when I started getting into 80s wrestling tape trading and for every amazing find like Jumbo/Kerry there were so many "what the fuck??" matches that I was looking for glimpses of greatness in overall match structures and styles I was still desperately trying to wrap my head around. I'd imagine what something that sounded great on paper like a best of Steamboat VS Muraco feud must have been like, then get the VHS in and found out the reality was very different. Part of that was being a child of the 80s and romanticizing the glimpses of memories I had watching back then. But part of it was just having to relearn the psychology, the crowd expectations, and the schedule and lifestyle wrestlers had back then. Now this match is not a total WTF watch, it's a quality match for certain. But there's definitely moments that took me back to those early tapes that left me dumbfounded. The main thing this match has is a great energy as you said. What a fun feud in wrestling history and what a shame that Moolah sabotaged the finish to this match and their supposed upcoming Wrestlemania match as a result. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say the history of women's wrestling in the US may have been different otherwise. The last thoughts I'll close with are that the Glamour Girls gave me serious Beatdown Biddies vibes from GLOW. And damn did that entrance song slap!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Crazy Insane Kid, Or Insane Crazy Kid


JJZ: I know I've seen this match before, I don't know if you have though. Either way it is 100 percent worth a second watch. To put it simply, this match is wonderful. Technical, stiff, raw, aggressive, brilliant. Takeda impressed me so much with what he did. And on the flip side Johnny G impressed me with his striking. This is a 10 minute masterpiece. If I was there live for this I don't know what could've topped it because it was so much more than I thought it was gonna be. And I had high expectations, especially the second time around. Curious if either of these wrestlers will make your greatest wrestler project you're currently doing?

CJD: I have seen this before, I was there the night our good buddy Shaun "the Jawn" played us this gem! But make no mistake, I'll gladly rewatch this match any day of the week. It was one of my favorites of 2019 and you know that was a year loaded with wrestling I enjoyed. In fact, this very show was so stacked that one of the only matches that topped it for me happened later that night! And it wasn't the main event which most people had as match of the night!! It's funny to me that for a Bloodsport event the commentators are totally ignorant of Takeda's 11-4-1 MMA record and just want to play up his deathmatch background. I get pushing the styles clash but come on. I actually did nominate Gresham for #GWE26 but whether or not he gets my vote really depends on his next few years. Takeda I'd be surprised but if I can find more matches like this one then maybe! I think he's a very good, not great deathmatch wrestler, but I love him in matches where he brings that unpredictable edge to a different setting. As for this match you nailed everything great about it. So many wonderful transitions I totally forgot about. I love how it escalated. I love the finish. I love this match!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays


CJD: I watched this match a few months ago and decided to revisit it this week to see if I wanted to play it forward. You know I'm on the 5 year quest that is Greatest Wrestler Ever which I'm going to try to not let bleed over into our blog too too much, but is bound to overlap at times. And our current Joshi Journey on fridays has been great for that as I've gotten to watch two or more matches from some serious contenders who I need more exposure to. And this match is one I'm going to bring back to you because holy shit, talk about trailblazing. These women were tearing shit up in 1984, setting a pace for high impact tag team wrestling that would make current indy wrestlers jealous. At a glance this might look like a sprint, and on first watch I thought it was more of one. But there's too much substance and too strong fundamentals to consider it anything other than an all-time great tag by my standards on second watch. We've featured a lot of tag team wrestling on Tuesdays and Fridays lately but I hope this still stands out from the pack for you. I know it's a match that really stuck with me.

JJZ: This might be the most a match you've shared feels like our old days of watching wreslting together. Old, grainy, I have no clue who some of the talent is. But most importantly, I'm excited. I don't know why but the start of this gave me a flashback to the movie Body Slam with Piper and Tonga Tom. Anyway, this was a fucking blast. Non stop action with spots I wouldn't expect to see in 1984. The pace for that time was also a very nice surprise. My wrestling viewing has been down so much as of late that Play It Forward has been my central vein. Matches like this always raise my heartrate and remind me why I love this sport. Now let's talk about the finish. Jesus. I made sure I had my 1984 Wrestling Mind on and when I saw this I was shocked. I was expecting the typical 80s AJPW/NJPW double countout. I don't care about the spoiler because fuck it, that was awesome. Can't wait to kick something back after that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

B Faultless Junky's Runnin' Dry


CJD: I was looking for something pretty different from your match to play forward. But unless I was going with a Kodaka singles match the material just wasn't there online. And I tried with Kodaka but you know I'm not a big fan, while I do like Tsukamoto. So here we have another undercard deathmatch. Well at least this time it's the semi main. And we have another team who are the clear favorites (B Faultless Junky's... how about that for your random Japanese team names) and two much less known guys giving them everything they've got. And you've got a simple gimmick in a barbed wire board match rarely done well these days. So very similar to your match despite my best efforts. But also like your match I think this way overdelivers. I'm also obviously giving you a path with a ton of options out with Takeda if you don't want to have to dig through the gutters like we've been doing a bit lately on Tuesdays. I'd probably take that road out if I were you in all honesty but you do you baby.

JJZ: I'll tell you what, the time on the match said 11 minutes but they made it feel like a 20 minute war. Love love love that this was just a barbed wire boards match. Not that that isn't insane but sometimes it nice to just focus on one crazy ass thing not seventeen. The last quarter of the match was really something. Edge of your seat material. I really enjoyed this one. Curious where it will lead me. Tsukamoto impressed me a lot in his matches last week and here. He definitely has that BJW toughness in him. I know both his matches were in the same vein but I think it was a little bit of a coming out party for him in my eyes.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

Crush Gals VS Akira Hokuto/Devil Masami - GAEA 05/14/2000

JJZ: The madness that is this match is hard to put into words. My wrestling viewing has been down recently and matches like this make me want to go down a squared circle wormhole for the rest of the day. Wild, stiff, a little sloppy (nothing wrong with that) are all ways I'd describe the match. Many times I said "Jesus!" out loud. Also saw a few things I've never seen before. The crowd was great and made the tension in the arena come through the screen! The non stop action made for a what the fuck is gonna happen next viewing experience. I couldn't see how this was gonna go home so for me the finish was perfect. I'm super curious if you've seen this before. If not hope you enjoy as much as I did.

CJD: You sent me this match the same week you sent me a deathmatch to watch and I definitely didn't expect this to be the wilder of the two matches. But boy was it ever. The Crush Gals have recently reunited for the first time in years and are main eventing GAEA's 5th Anniversary show in front of 9,000 fans. To answer your question no I haven't seen this before as early 2000s joshi is definitely a blind spot for me but right off the bat that says a ton about the historical significance all 4 of these women have in Japanese pro wrestling. This match is so all over the place I don't even know what to say about it. There were times I was kind of over it, but then it would hook me back in. By the end it's just too damn entertaining. I feel like there's an American influence on this match, like a big RAW main event or even ECW, but then with all the joshi legacy and storytelling that these women bring. It wrapped up like the ending of a blockbuster action movie. This one really took me on a ride!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On The Mic I Score, Just Like The Yankee Two Kenju

Yuko Miyamoto/Isami Kodaka VS Takumi Tsukamoto/Toshiyuki Sakuda - Big Japan 5/13/2017

JJZ: Well this looks insane. Let's see how far they take it with this match. Isami will always just look way too skinny to be a death match wrestler to me. Everything must hurt so much more!! Tsukamoto and Sakuda don't like familiar. I haven't watched a ton of newer Big Japan though. Man, I really got a kick out of this match. It had some ridiculous stuff but then a few spots snuck in that made me laugh. We've watched some sick ass shit together so I know this won't be anything shocking to you but I think you'll get what I was going for with this one. Miyamoto really shows he is a men among boys at time. I'd love to grab a best of the decade from him at some point in the future. By the end of the match everyone did things that impressed me and I'm really excited to see what you'll be throwing back at me next week.

CJD: Ha, I was actually thinking Kodaka looked like he's put on some muscle finally at this point, and against Sakuda who's especially tiny for once I thought Isami was a legitimate threat in this match. You know I love Big Japan but there's one thing about BJW that usually comes up short and that's undercard deathmatches. (At least I'm assuming this is an undercard match, I'm not positive I have the date right on this one.) They often are there just for the sake of it, more of the snuff film aspect of deathmatches that I think critics of the genre assume they're all generally like. When deathmatches are great they have huge drama but on an undercard match it's hard to create those stakes and most BJW shows don't even try. Even worse then guys will overcompensate by doing the sickest shit imaginable to themselves in a spot nobody remembers or cares about. This match strikes a good balance with both of those issues, by not trying to do too much, and building with a nice steady pace that actually gets you invested by the end. Yankee Two Kenju are the clear favorites and control the pace but the young guns more than hold their own and make me buy that they might pull off the upset. Miyamoto does look like the best guy in the match but nobody looks bad here. It reminds me of a Kobashi/Taue VS Vader/Akiyama match I watched recently I was telling you about, where it looked can't-miss on paper but nobody looked better for it. This looked like nothing but made me look forward to the next match I watch from everyone in it. Which for some of them will be next week!
And jesus, that one bump Yuko took!!!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

Mayumi Ozaki VS Akira Hokuto - JWP Thunder Battle Queen in Yokohama II 11/18/1993

CJD: John last week you talked about those matches that you are on the fence about for the first half but hook you for the second half. Well this was a different type of hot and cold match for me, Act 1 I was all in, Act 2 not so much, Act 3 brought things home nicely enough that I still enjoyed the ride overall. Watching more Ozaki she has a ton of charisma, even in a field of GOAT joshi wrestlers in her generation, but she definitely suffers from some of the tendencies I don't love about the style. Hokuto is one of those GOAT peers though and especially excels in big match settings so she helps reign in some moments of this one that go off the rails a bit. Phil talked about the traditional joshi narrative last week and what I like most about this match is how it's a heated interpromotional match like we've seen the Dangerous Queen in many times over but it's not pandemonium from start to finish like we often would expect. The nasty competitive edge is there but this is more of a pot that's simmering forever but you can never tell when it's going to boil over. So it skirts the line of that traditional joshi psychology but I think still presents something pretty different. And there are some little moments that I won't spoil but really drive home what great personalities both of these women are. And man I really loved those first 8 minutes or so. Very curious what you think about this one!

JJZ: Now this is the wild ass Joshi I was first used to. Quick, stiff, a little sloppy (not knocking it) with random technical work. Love it! Also love the foot biting spot again!!! This match has a charm to it I can't really put into words. To me it's just joshi and I Iove the ride it takes me on. There is beauty in the madness that this match brings. The rapidness of it really confuses me to the point that I can't not watch every single second. The anything you can do I can do better back and forth leaves you wondering what the fuck is next. Great crowd btw. Both ladies sell very well and make me say by the end what is it gonna take to finish one of them off??

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Bad Kana Follows You Around

CJD: I'm not going to lie, I'm a Yuko Miyamoto mark and would've played this match forward even if it was just to see what you played back. But lucky for both of us this match is actually really damn good. Kana has to work for every little bit she gets in this match and Yuko definitely does not ease up due to the intergender aspect. Watching these two Asuka matches back to back from earlier in her career I'm immediately impressed by how good she was at just plain wrestling. Her transitions into and out of holds puts a lot of other wrestlers to shame. The other thing I'm struck by is how she refuses to let a match drag. She brings energy into moments that hook you back in before your attention can even start to wander. Add in the charm of that weird tiny venue that looks like an early level boss fight in a NES game, and Ultraman Robin presenting the prestigious SGP Global Jr Heavyweight Championship, and this match was an easy choice.

JJZ: I feel like I've seen wrestling in this venue before. Any help on that CJD? I love that Miyamoto is respecting Kana at the start with his "You do belong in the ring with me" attitude. It's very inspiring to think that Kana who became Asuka has reached such great heights in the biggest wrestling company in the world. This match is the opposite of junk food. It's an art house feature. Nothing was wasted and the crowd was buzzing at times. No commentary added to the drama while the camera work really made the match feel epic. It definitely wasn't 50/50 but I never felt like Kana was getting dominated. Everything was executed well and stiff. I liked the finish and thought both wrestlers came out of this match looking great.

CJD: I THINK it's the venue BattlArts ran later on. Not positive though. Love it either way!