Friday, October 29, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: So this is a shotgun of a match. Comes at you fast and doesn't slow down. Very much a who's the baddest motherfucker in the room kinda match. I don't know if hoss is used in women's wreslting but this is a hoss battle in every way. Just two big beefy broads laying into each other. Ain't nuthin' text book about this one. Great television match. Hope you like it.

CJD: I've been lamenting how I don't have the time to watch full events or even TV shows anymore and how I miss those undercard, feud building kinda matches. So this one really scratched that itch for me right now. I think these are two really talented women. This isn't the easiest type of match to pull off and they do a great job of it here. WWE loves booking these kind of feuds of "who can say they're the baddest" without a clear way out for the loser, but these two kept their aura working with each other without doing anything cheap to do so. This was a real palate cleanser as we finally close the book on our most epic 6 month Joshi Journey... at least for now!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Early Bird Gets The Worm

CJD: I don't think this match would make a top 10 for either guy. But man I'm just digging some straight forward, fundamentally sound wrestling right now, and this hits all the right notes. I'm a Rod Strong mark and I still think I underrate the guy when I see under the radar goodness like this that I know his career is chock full of. From the moment he went into the crowd to stir shit up you could feel that he was going to take the wheel and make young Will's job real simple. This is the kind of match that if you never saw either guy, even if you were only the most casual of fans, the work they did would communicate everything you needed. In some ways it reminds me of matches we dug into in our early days here at PIF, which is fitting because Roddy was one of the earliest MDTSOCWWKD Champions!

JJZ: Baby boy of a wrestler. Billy Ospreay looking like he skipped 7th period to make it to the show on time. Watching the rawness of him in this match knowing that he reached his potential makes it even more entertaining to me. Shitty little boots Roderick Strong is hands down my favorite version. Now this match really embodies both the guys strengths at the time of this match. Strong is just mean bringing some serious heel heat while Will counters with his explosive high flying wildness. Just a really good match overall. Loved loved loved the fuck you power bomb Rod gave Will. Loved the finish. Lotta goodness in this one.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Let's be honest about a few things here. This crowd is there to witness Aja Kong live more than they are to see a great Aja Kong match. And I'm picking this match to play forward to you as much because it's the perfect end to our Joshi Journey that started back in April with the match that happened right before this one on this very show, Meiko Satomura VS Kay Lee Ray. Now whether or not this will be the end of our epic 2021 journey, you will have to decide! Because Viper had a pretty storied career in Japan as well as far as I understand.

Now I will say, this match is really solid despite Aja's limitations. Piper/Viper approaches it with all the respect in the world and makes Kong look fantastic. They get a lot out of not doing too much, which is key to aging gracefully as a performer. In some ways this match reminded me of a match we played forward years back, Sabu VS Arik Cannon, and similarly to when I finished watching that one, I was really satisfied by what these two excellent pro wrestlers did in the ring. Regardless of nostalgia or the respect being paid, I thought this was a good match. Night and day from the madness you brought to me last week, and certainly a far cry from prime Aja Kong. But sometimes something simple and satisfying is all you need.

JJZ: So when I got halfway through this match I'm thinking to myself, how the hell am I not going to sound negative with my comments about this one. Then about the 8 minute mark, these women, fueled by a white hot crowd, really hit their stride. This wasn't groundbreaking or anything. It was just moves being executed well and the crowd popping like crazy for it. You are dead ass right. These people were there to see Aja Kong and they wanted her to know it. These tribute style matches usually underdeliver for me because you're hoping for a glimmer of what the elder wrestler use to be. But like this crowd I was very happy to see Aja's hits and Niven did a really good job selling for them. Nice pick mi amigo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

This Is Heavy

JJZ: So before watching this match I watched the quarterfinals match between Kushida and ZSJ. I was so excited for that and thought it would be a lock for me to Play Forward. As soon as I saw it I was like "YES." Then I watched it and was like "naw." It really underdelivered in my opinion. So, I saw this and you know how much I love Ospreay, and I couldn't recall really seeing a big time Ospreay vs Kushida match before. This was the finals of the same tournament and I really enjoyed this one. These two complimented each other nicely. This was a pretty textbook build of a match. Nice technical work in the beginning. Back and forth middle and an exciting home stretch. Loved the finish. I've seen a few matches from this tournament now and really think it would be something to invest time in.

CJD: I have seen one of the big time Ospreay/KUSHIDA matches in NJPW and it was very good. And this was on a similar level! These guys do have nice chemistry. This particular match felt like more of Ospreay's brainchild and as such there were a few moments I thought he was trying to get a bit more melodramatic than it needed. BUT, at the same time, this crowd felt like they'd been through a lot, and maybe they needed a lot to hook them back in. They were definitely fully invested by the finish and what a finish it was. And for any criticisms I might have, they never lost me in the slightest, and this was a highly satisfying match beginning to end. 64 man tournament! God damn. One of the fantasy wrestling feds I used to be a part of back in the *Prodigy days did one of those but we kayfabed a bunch of early rounds like it was the IC Title in Rio de Janeiro. I have to assume WCPW actually held every one of these matches, and my hat's off to them and the talent for that.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Not gonna lie. I'm playing this forward mostly because I'm dying to hear your thoughts. One word can not describe this match so I'll use the following. Violent, crazy, annoying, stiff, heated, long, jaw-dropping. I mean there were times I was like what the fuck is happening why isn't this over. Then I was like holy shit. I could watch this all day! I think at least 7 times I said that should've been the finish, but then I loved the actual finish. I dunno man. Shit was crazy as fuck.

CJD: Well that was the damndest match I've seen in a while. I know LCO were built up as a monster team and they had to be to go to war with a mega power duo like Kong and Inoue like this. I will say I felt like Kong was kind of approaching this match with kids gloves for how personal and nasty it felt for the first half. Babyface Aja is not my favorite Aja. But then she busts out that fire extinguisher (which the commentators sell wonderfully!) and from that point on she's got her special up as our old friend Tommy B would say. I agree completely that this match felt like it hit its peak a few times over and kept going and going, but somehow it always got its heat back. And the actual finish was fucking beautiful. This was something else, at some point you're either just along for the ride or you're not. And I definitely was!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Dog's Jarmies

CJD: It's going to be hard for me to put my thoughts about this match into words. There's a lot of really great work here. KUSHIDA brings some of what I like best out of Gargano, his mean streak, his World Of Sport influence (without straight up stealing spots). They definitely got too cute for my tastes at times but the good stuff here had too much wow factor for me to skip sharing it with you. I've been wanting to catch up on some of KUSHIDA's work in NXT and even though I have no idea why he's dressed for a street fight, even though this is sterile piped-in audio pandemic production value hell, I still enjoyed seeing him do his thing with a very game opponent. I'm curious how you'll feel about this one.

JJZ: Well alright, I was very excited to sink my teeth into this. I miss watching Kushida first of all and I haven't watched very much if any NXT in the year 2021 so I'm very very hype on this. NXT really really made Johnny a better all around wrestler. He looks so polished in this match. Just smooth and confident. Now, I haven't watched a Kushida match in forever. I mean, I forgot his moveset. I was popping like a little kid on Christmas for his stuff. The arm work alone was a teachable moment for the young guys in the back. Pair that with John John's selling and your getting your money's worth with this match alone. Finishing sequence was so well done. I was pulling for Kushida the whole way. I got very invested in this one.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: I tried to trace back where our Joshi Journey began and how long we've been on and off with it but it's had such a long winding road with so many twists and turns I couldn't pin it down. Suffice to say it's been the majority of 2021 and it's not exactly how I envisioned Forever Forward Fridays when I came up with the concept. There have been weeks when I really wanted to get back to the indies and to take a break from shrill screams and bridging out of pins. But there have been so many weeks where I've fallen in love with matches I might not have ever seen otherwise. And boy is this one of them! This is such an exciting, quintessentially pro wrestling dynamic. Colorful explosive babyface against world class badass. One wants to create separation and blow the match open, one wants to close in, lock in a hold like a bear trap, and squeeze the life out of the other. Sometimes I feel like 90s joshi gets overrated, then we find a match like this and I realize I still don't rate it highly enough.

JJZ: What the fuck. I should've played this last Saturday for the gang. This match was excellent. Had me saying "Oh shit!" a bunch. The loved the wildness of it and then you'd see some ridiculously wonderful submission that looked so fucking painful. I don't know if I can say they built to the finish because the energy level was at a ten from the start. BUT, I loved the home stretch of this one. The finish was perfect and I didn't see it coming. Very nice pick!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dedicated To All Those With Big Egos

JJZ: So I can't remember which one but I saw a lot of highlights from this match on a documentary one time and I always wanted to watch the whole match. So here. we. go.

My first thoughts as I start the match is that I can't remember the last time I watched Gargano. I wasn't big on him before NXT to be honest. I'm sure there is a lot out there I'd probably be into. Now I do like Page a lot. I think he is underrated. He has above average mic work and I always enjoyed his offense. This match is a really well worked indy bout that has a nice build to the home stretch. I loved the Play It Forward veterans with the run ins. I also enjoyed the local indy storylines playing out in the match. Crowd was hot and Johnny is AIW royalty so I got a kick out of him watching him in his element.

CJD: I'll see your indifference to Gargano and raise you one better. I'm hot and cold on both of these guys! Which is ironic since I set you up with a Page match. But the North really blew me away as a team in that one. Still this match is an AIW booking masterpiece with some surprise appearances from underrated talents you alluded to that I was very happy to see. I think Page works better as a face and Gargano better as a heel... funny how that works out. I didn't love this match but it's a piece of Absolution history and there was plenty I enjoyed about it despite any criticisms. I think the biggest compliment I can give both wrestlers is that I felt like things weren't coming naturally that night in that boiling hot Turner's Hall and they both showed young veteran poise to push the match to something memorable and good by the end. I just needed sunglasses for all the daylight I was seeing on some of those punches!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started this match. I was looking for Bull matches and when I saw this I was like, WHAT. I never recalled seeing a chain match from Japan before. I fucking love Nakano but I'm still pretty green on Kandori. The best word to describe this contest is violent. I mean Chris, this is brutal. These ladies go at each other with bad intentions. If I didn't know any better I'd think this was a legit fight. It slightly reminds me of Valentine VS Piper in that there ain't too many holds or even moves. If I was in my twenties with no kids I'd rewatch this a few times. Hope you enjoy.

CJD: It was so cool seeing Bull go from a baby monster to a legit Ace last week to this week. Her realizing her full potential right before our eyes. I have this match, I think on a Schneider comp, and I've watched it a few times before. I'm more than happy to rewatch it again as even if you include the very different Touch The Corners strap matches, I still think you can count on one hand how many great matches of this style stip ever happened. And this is one of them. These are two masterful big match wrestlers having, as you said, a grizzly violent straight up fight. The momentum shifts are abrupt, the pace is deliberate, and the blood perfectly accents the hatred. This match never drags but it never changes gears, and I like that about it. So many little great moments outside the action too, the ref getting smacked with the chain, the fight to throw in the towel. This match really has it all and I would say is mandatory viewing for anyone with a passing interest in joshi or anyone that just loves a brutal gimmick match done to perfection.