Friday, September 30, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Shocker (c) VS Dr Wagner Jr - CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship 3/26/2002

JJZ: So, I'm not super familiar with Shocker. I know the name and recognize the face but couldn't tell you specifically what matches I've seen him in. Hell he may have been on some PIF jawns at some point. Figured this was a good time to mindfully check him out. Dr Wags I do know more of but wouldn't mind exploring him more. This was a very different match than I expected man. I Ioved the back and forth chess match for the first fall. Jr attacking the weak point like a dog on a bone after the rest period was fantastic. The crowd is white fucking hot throughout this one. Camera work for this match is some slop for real though. I'm always impressed how luchadors bump. For example Wagner takes a bump to the outside from a big boot but through the middle and bottom rope. And it was so smooth! Good match with good psychology. Enjoy my guy.

CJD: Shocker popped up on a ton of comps when I first started watching lucha and he never stood out to me much one way or another. I remember him having a random run in TNA. And not much else. Regardless, this match ruled! Beautiful simplicity. Each fall made perfect sense, the mat work was tight, the big moments popped big time. I loved how little separation there was during the hold for hold. The body language from both guys selling the big beats. The main word I'd use to describe this match was satisfying. Great find and a real blasty blast of a FFFriday trip to Mexico City!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Oh When This Kid Hits Alabama Jam

JJZ: Right off the bat I wasn't happy with the finish of this match. But that is literally the only thing wrong with this. I know the finish is a big part of a match but this one told such a great story and had so much aggressiveness to it I had to share this with you. Thinking back on it a heel vs heel match kinda works with this ending but I dunno. Maybe I'm just trying to talk myself into the ending because I loved the journey so much. Getting to watch so much Eaton while finding this match I can confidently say he knows when to get a spot in to pop the crowd and how to throw a punch. Man does he got some hands. Not sure if you knew this about me Chris but I'm kinda a fan of Mr. Anderson. Arn did what Arn does in this match. I had a blast watching this one baby, hope you do to.

CJD: Ha Ha Barry Windham, domestic violence is funny! I guess he was a heel and all was fair game in the name of getting heat back then. Credit to Tony for playing it straight. He really sounded like he enjoyed calling this match. Handshake to start was unexpected. Was this heel vs heel? It felt like Eaton was getting a face push which I don't remember at all. But he definitely worked this one like a blue eye. It was a different facet for him than I'm used to and I was happy to see it. Arn was terrific here. Great back and forth action and besides the finish really good stuff all around.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Smoking On A Yacht, Call Me Ricky Steamboat

CJD: This "first time ever on TBS" match is a rematch of their match on TBS the month before on Saturday Night. And part of a bigger feud between Steamer, Dustin, Windham and the Dangerous Alliance. This one starts off hot and heavy as Eaton has been sneak attacking the faces with belts, chairs, etc. So Steamboat returns the favor. I can be critical of heel in peril but given where they're at in the feud an playing to the strengths of both guys, I think it works well for the early portion here. Bobby Eaton is someone who I've seen plenty of but still don't know if I really have a well rounded opinion on. Like I feel much more confident telling you how I feel about Dennis Condrey (good) or Stan Lane (bad) than if I put Bobby on the same pedestal a lot of people do.i honestly thought he was pretty weak in the previous match I watched leading up to this. But here he might have outworked Ricky, and this is peak Ricky Steamboat stuff right here. Also, wow Miss Hyatt. Wow.

JJZ: Wow is right Missy. Jesus Christ. Anyway. This was a fantastic TV match my guy. Let's talk selling. This match had it in spades. Ricky's wobbling after those lines. Bobby hiding those closed fist punches is  a lost art my friend. And one more thing. Why don't more people do a head scissors like Steamboat? We agree how good Ricky is but I think singles Bobby Eaton is very underrated. He never really took off the way he should have imo. Bobby was always such a great TV wrestler. He always made the most of his minutes and told a complete story in limited time.

CJD: That style headscissors, which coincidentally the RnR Express used against Eaton to great affect, is by far my favorite lost move in professional wrestling. Kids in training, bring that sucker back!!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Play It Forward, the only thing than can get me to watch a Kendo Kashin match. I'm not going to lie, after Silver King totally shit cans Dragon Soldier B I actually enjoyed his antics for the remainder of the match. We're straying from our FFF theme a bit here but of all my El Samurai options this felt like the most in the spirit of diversity and representation. I love the connection between Japanese and Mexican wrestling. Two cultures that couldn't be more different but meld beautifully when you put on a pair of tights. I've seen Sammy tag as the 1B to someone like Liger a good amount, or as the vet to an up and comer partner, but I haven't seen a lot of him as The Guy in his team. I thought he was great, the glue that kept this match from almost going off the rails more than once. It's not quite a trainwreck but it's not exactly a four star affair, but either way I thought this was fun as hell. And Dr Wagner Jr screams "motherfucker!!" at one point so there's that.

JJZ: This has Best of (insert junior weight wrestler name here) VHS tape match written all over it. Man this was a fantastic tag team match. A little clunkie at times but so many "Oh shit!" spots. The pacing of the match was super 90s Japanese junior heavyweights. Slow back and forth build to an all out sprint in the end. I thought everyone killed it in this match. Sometimes you can find yourself saying so and so was fine. But not in this one. Everyone brought the A game. Fun shit my guy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Tiger In Your Tank

Ricky Steamboat (c) VS Tiger Mask II - AJPW NWA World Heavyweight Championship 3/8/1989 

JJZ: I have no fucking memory of ever seeing this before. But if you watch this and go JJZ, I played this his for you in 2007 after we drove to Edison NJ for an ROH show I wouldn't be shocked. This is a little stiffer than I expected. Ricky and Misawa are really laying it in.  I honestly can't remember the Dragon wrestling in Japan that much so this was a welcome surprise. The crowd was white fucking hot. I mean popping for everything.  Great finshing stretch imo. Hope this is new to you!

CJD: This one is new to me and a real curiosity indeed. Misawa got an NWA Title shot?? Hot damn. Steamboat is another guy who doesn't have a great reputation for his stuff translating in Japan, like DiBiase last week, but this match made me interested to see him in this kind of role over there more. There was a good amount of working holds but they meant something and built a good pace. There's something about Ricky that is a little like Terry Funk, where some of his mannerisms or ideas are a bit too goofy, but the sum of the parts is such a great pro wrestler that you just roll with it. Or at least I do. I really love how much he'll extend his entire body on certain bumps or spots. There's a controlled grace to his body language. I will say he had one pretty bad no sell, but no selling piledrivers in Japan is a thing to do so I guess let's just forget about that one. Also the match was really heating up at that point and the crowd wanted them to keep the pedal down. Misawa as TMII was interesting. I honestly think he was better in the gimmick than a lot of people realize. He wasn't a natural under a mask but there's something about the no nonsense way he approaches a cartoonish gimmick that built his credibility beautifully. Like I used to buy the narrative that the fans knew who he was, knew how talented he was, and were just dying to see him take it off and show what he could really do. And yeah that's all probably true but it's matches like these last two that built his lore. Where you can feel the crowd investing in him more and more. I really liked looking at this portion of his career a little closer baby! Now where to go with the Dragon next week?

Friday, September 9, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I'm pretty sure this match was filmed by the same guy who filmed that IWA triple threat match! Being honest Black Tiger Eddie is probably my least watched Eddie. Not on purpose or anything. I just never found myself going out of my way to watch his BT stuff. Which is fucking stupid now thinking back on it. This match was so interesting with the fan cam and this crowd was really different for a 90s Japanese crowd. I've always had a soft spot for El Samurai for some reason. I feel like I always rooted for him to be better than he was. Don't get me wrong he has had some great matches but I don't think he was ever able to work his way to the A team. This was a really good match. Great spots and a finish I never saw coming baybay!!!

CJD: Fun fact, this match happened the same day as Wrestlemania X. Man, I love 90s Japanese juniors matches, even if they can be a little aimless at times. But what I hate is that everyone has these slap ass entrance songs that if you're lucky enough to even have them on the tape, the wrestlers run light speed to the ring so you only hear like 12 seconds of the jam!! These guys could learn a thing or two from CM Punk. Or the Colony in CHIKARA. or IWAMS Chris Hero. This was a great find, and many thanks to Matt D from Segunda Caida for uploading it. It was a little stop and start, but it had a good sense of struggle to make up for the lack of rhythm. And plenty of awesome little moments and touches. I know what you mean about El Samurai but the fact he probably smoked a few too many packs and stayed up a little too late with the boys on the back of the bus helped set him apart too. He just had a vibe about him that made him engaging compared to the other juniors at the time. And Black Tiger Eddie is a treat, like with Misawa Tiger Mask it was never the most natural fit, but there's some real goodness to be found there. Case in point!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: So I guess this fits the Forever Forward Friday mantra of celebrating indie wrestling. And obviously Eddie being Latino, and Colt being Jewish. But really I just wanted to watch this match. Part of me thought maybe I had years back, I've seen a bit of Eddie's indie work on this little tune up run. But watching it now I think this is new to me and many thanks to Colt for uploading it. What a piece of wrestling history in Dayton Ohio in front of 56 fans!! These guys absolutely went for it, even in a 3 way where it would be easy to phone it in a bit. Eddie's chemistry with these young stallions is remarkable. The raw youthful energy and determination Punk and Colt had was infectious. Prazak raising hell, an obligatory 5 minutes of Ian Rotten speeches at the end, this has everything you want or expect. And a blast of a triple threat match while we're at it!

JJZ: So I'm pretty sure this was played for us before but after watching it I can't remember any of it so maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I'll say that I thought this match was solid. There were some really nicely timed spots that were executed smoothly. But it had some awkward spots too that felt a little clunky. For 56 people the crowd was great in my opinion. Even with Eddie being there they were so behind Colt. With Eddie being in the match it would've been easy to forget about Colt but I felt like that never happened. The finishing stretch was my favorite part of this match. I couldn't remember who won so I really was popping for them falsies.

CJD: So we figured out after the fact why we both thought we'd seen this one before. We were thinking of the also very good IWAMS 3 way between Eddie, Punk, and Rey! So enjoy this vaguely familiar match that was totally new to both of us even though we weren't sure as we watched lol.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Slingshot Blanchas Forever

CJD: Well I bet this isn't where you thought our holiday in the UK would branch off to next! Here we have four great talents who maybe wouldn't get a lot of hype in this setting. Roberts and DiBiase both have a reputation of being fairly boring in Japan. Misawa as TMII is rarely celebrated, and Kabuki I feel like only gets credit for his historical significance rather than his work. Well I thought the gaijin made a very solid team here and Ted was particularly cooking. Man he was huge for a guy you rarely think about his size. Misawa did an excellent job heating this match up when it needed it. And I have such a soft spot for Kabuki. I legitimately think he's very underrated, he's not going to pump out 4 star matches, but I'm always so happy to watch him work. This match is mostly a fun novelty but I really have no complaints for what we got. There are some brutal bumps snuck in there and a couple of nice spots. I really liked watching these 4 together even though I'd never have imagined watching these particular pairings.

JJZ: I did not expect this. Two thing I think you nailed. DiBiase always surprises me with his height when I see him. I'm always like "damn he's big." Also very low key big bumps in this one. I love when a guy takes a bump like the slingshot blancha (I'm sure this is spelled wrong but fuck it) to the outside when Tiger Mask II just flat backed it. So sick. This was an above average tag match for this promotion and time frame. Peter is really fucking good. I know I said this before but I didn't even know how much he influenced some of my favorite wrestlers until now.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: So I understand that going back to Colt so soon is weird BUT! If I had to list a top 10 most influential over the past decade, Colt would be on the list. The Young Bucks are on record saying that Colt taught them how to make money on the merchant side. I'm team Colt on the Punk vs Colt debate. So honestly, I was disappointed that you weren't crazy about my Swoggle vs Colt match. This isn't anything over the top. Just a fun comedy match that I hope beings a smile to your face. Both guys really work in this one. Enjoy my friend.

CJD: I'm so intrigued by Shockwave the Robot. Was it the same wrestler over the years? Are there multiple Shockwaves?? What was the end goal with such a gimmick, especially in the era they started when the indies were nowhere near as fleshed out? Did they ever hold a title anywhere?? Fascinating. The way the robot switches to normal wrestler mode in this match is a fun wrinkle. This was very entertaining. Colt was a bit prickish at times but it really worked well. I thought the obvious move for the spot after the match was to use an AED but it's probably wishful thinking that an indie in 2013 would have one ringside. But I digress, I liked this match. I wouldn't buy a Best of Shockwave the Robot or anything but I did thoroughly enjoy this sampling of their work... if this is the same robot as last week and not a totally different model, that is!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Your Favorite Wrestler's Favorite Wrestler

JJZ: So I specifically searched out a Pete Roberts match because I remember Regal talking about him in podcasts. I tried to let his matches come to me organically but I've been waiting for years and I figured this is a great time against a great opponent. A little joined in progress action ain't hurting nobody. This match is much more aggressive than the previous British matches we've been watching. Rudge looks like he would be a down and dirty wrestler and proves it this match. I know Roberts worked in Japan a lot so I assumed he was a little less fancy than the other workers we've been watching. But I didn't expect this. This has shades of UWF. I can really see that Regal took a lot from Pete. I really enjoyed this contest man. I can see so much that Bryan, Hero and Claudio took a lot from these two guys too.

CJD: I've honestly never seen a Pete Roberts match where his reputation matches his ability. Until now! This wasn't exactly Foreman VS Lyle but it was two beefy heavyweights throwing technically sound bombs. I loved it. British heavyweight wrestling can mean so many things but I think it's safe to say this is when it's at its finest. And man everything Terry Rudge does is glorious. He might be the most logical wrestler I've ever seen. I've never been so happy for a little JIP action my friend!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Swoggle VS Shockwave the Robot - Beyond Wrestling 9/16/2018

CJD: Now I know what you're thinking John. But don't worry, Shockwave the Robot has had surprisingly prolific career, debuting in 1998, wrestling across the east coast, making it all the way over Japan, and even competing in the 2011 Super 8. So I think you'll have options for your next match. This match is as silly as wrestling gets, I could easily see it being a hard no for some fans. It does have the secret sauce of Bryce Remsburg who could sell sand in the desert. And I was in the mood for a match that got in, hit its spots and got out such as this. I'm not going to lie, part of me wonders if Swoggle dreams of having 40 minute King's Road style layered epics as he falls asleep at night. But if you're going to wrestle a murderous robot in the hot sun you've got to play the hand you're dealt!

JJZ: Loved the Colt crossover in this one. Would that be considered an easter egg? Swoggle and Shockwave kill it in this match. But Bryce is the star. Even his selling was the best in the match. Imo just like the last match this would have been a great match to see live. Who ever Shockwave is, he or she does a fucking great job. Totally believe they were a robot. That street fest looked awesome. I only remember seeing one show outside and it was a blast. Loved this man!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Marty! You've Gotta Come Back With Me!

CJD: So we went from the latest Marty Jones match I've seen in 1987 to the earliest I've seen in 1976. Unless you want to throw some of your Back To The Future time traveling Marties theories out there since you apparently thought Jones was a bright eyed babe last week. And I feel like this match has been in my future waiting for me, either possibly because of Regal specifically mentioning it on podcasts (which the 40k views would indicate), or because I'm watching a lot of these types of guys for research in my quest to find the 100 Greatest Wrestlers Ever. Either way, I kind of knew a match like this was in the horizon this week. And I wasn't really in the mood for a long for form epic like this. It took a few tries. But man did this match win me over whether I wanted it to or not. It's maybe the finest piece of escalation within the rounds system I've ever seen. So physical, so technical, and so captivating. We've talked about how important weight classes are in Britain, and with almost a 2 stone difference (2 stone John!!) this really feels like something special by the end. Enjoy baby! Just make sure you have some time to sink your teeth into this one.

JJZ: Oldest I've ever seen Marty Jones fyi. I don't know why but I keep thinking that I heard before that Rudge worked under a hood before. Different name of course. I'll agree with you that this match took me several start and stops to finish it. Parenthood interruptions, I know you know the struggle. The boston crab work was fantastic baby. One time I had to pause it and when I restarted it I went back to the start of the crab spot. I was getting major feels that this was gonna end like the Bate VS A-Kid match I played for you recently. Hmm, I think it's safe to say at this point, I've become pretty obsessed with British wrestling. This run we have been on has been probably my favorite we've ever done. All these matches have over delivered imo. Even the Big D!!!!! I ain't getting off this train yet my beautiful southern bell.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Colt Cabana VS Swoggle - Zelo Pro 10/25/2018

JJZ: Colt Cabana has wrestled everyone. So my choices for this were endless. I scrolled through a lot of stuff and when I saw this Swoggle match I thought, well I don't think CJD would expect to ever watch this. The match is a silly back and forth with a lot of "OHH!" moments. I think it played good on camera but this would've been a joy to be live for. I totally popped when Swoggle came out for under the ring. Didn't see that coming at all. Hope this bout makes you smile like it did for me. For the people who think Funny don't make money I think you're wrong and I think matches like these add so much to full cards.

CJD: I do think funny can equal money, to an extent. I was really curious about this match on paper, which I'm sure is why you picked it with all those options. And Swoggle in a very unique way does fit our Forever Forward Friday theme. And I liked some of this match and laughed a few times. I didn't love this one overall though. Colt strikes me as someone who feels natural when he's actually improvising, but when he tries to sell something he has planned as off the cuff ("it's so far from it!") it comes off forced. That's probably confusing to read and I may be way off but it's the main thing I felt about this match. It felt too much like a badly written sketch and not enough like a funny wrestling match. All of that said, I have a soft spot for Swoggle because of AIW, and I did enjoy some of the exchanges. I'm kind of glad you sent this one over even if it wasn't my jam.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Sammy Guevara VS Colt Cabana - Wrestle Circus 12/17/2016

CJD: Getting back to the indy focus of FFFridays. Although I did enjoy our roadside detour into Auto Luchas. I'll admit I didn't like Sammy the first few times I saw him. His charisma and bumping were undeniable but I thought he particularly suffered from a lack of guys on the indies at the time to learn and grow under. Well I know people have a variety of opinions on him in the ring but I do think Colt Cabana is a good learning tree to sit under and I thought both guys came out of this looking better for it. Funny at times but not a Colt comedy routine match, with Sammy showing personality but also playing a good straight man at times. Mostly this match gives you that living breathing indy atmosphere that's hard to capture on camera and man it makes me want to get out to a show.

JJZ: Baby boy this match was a joy! Getting to watch Colt really use his experience to school Sammy was a lot of fun. And then Sammy's athleticism to get his shit in made for one hell of a match man. You know I am a mark for Colt. Everything he has done for the independent wresting scene is incredible. I'm always rooting for him and in this match it was so easy to get his back. Sammy plays such a great little piece of shit. So when Colt shows him up I get a real kick out of it. I was highly entertained by this one mate.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

I Go And Get The Big Daddy

JJZ: I picked this match simply for the God damn ambiance. That ring! That venue! The weasel! Also within the first few secondS I liked how much energy the Big D had. This is the youngest Marty Jones match I can remember seeing also. So this match is pretty similar to your's but I did think Big Daddy had more spunk In this one. I watch a good amount of Big Daddy and I will say he has his routine and he sticks to it. Can't blame him. He was wildy successful. The heels were good in this one. Nothing over the top but they played good dickheads. Jones did a solid job. I didn't think he showed the potential of what he did become because it was so different. He got good heat on him and went to Daddy O for the pop. Entertaining 11 minutes.

CJD: This match was a lot of fun for what it was. It's funny that you say this is the youngest you've seen Marty Jones because I'm pretty sure it's the oldest I've seen him. He was the glue of this match for certain and the main reason it was as watchable as it was. I have no idea what the deal with the Samurai was. It reminds me of PY Chu Hi in Texas. Did anyone think these big fat hairy old white guys were actually Asian?? I guess before the internet anything was possible. I also get a kick out of this match because Big Daddy supposedly really disliked kids in real life. What a slice of British wrestling history right here! Very sad what would happen to Kirk shortly after this match but he was still an excellent heel as you said right up until the end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

And They Call Him Mr Wonderful

CJD: I know what you're thinking John. But listen to this crowd. Watch the masterful heel performances from Cyanide Sid and Mr Wonderful Bobby Barnes (what's Paula going to have to say about that??). Watch Danny Boy Collins play his super rookie role so well. And watch Big Daddy... be Big Daddy. I honestly think I've seen one Big Daddy match previously, but this is exactly how everyone describes every Daddy match. It's predictable, it's simple, but man the crowd LOVES it. And I'm not going to lie, I popped a few times too. Barnes and Cooper are so good milking that heat for all it's worth. This is the epitome of a match we'd never have imagined playing forward 4 years ago. And you might not be as charmed by it as I was tonight. But this caught me at the right time and was too ridiculous not share with you.

JJZ: Well, this was a match I did not expect to be reviewing. Ever. This is my first Big Daddy match and your right this is everything I heard it would be. Regal talked about being in Collins' position before and how it was a good spot but he couldn't grow in it. Big Daddy had Hulk Hogan love going on for him. After the match I thought about when Colt Cabana had Truth Martini on his podcast and they both joked about not bumping in their match together. Big Daddy didn't bump once of even get punched or kicked. But yet the match had great energy. Danny, Bobby and Sid did a great job of making 11 minutes a complete story. I came out of this liking Collins, Barnes and Cooper a lot and I'm on the hunt for a more competitive Big Daddy match!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Flat In The Affect

JJZ: Cigar, check. Lager, check. Finally having time to watch this match, check. I have no clue who Bobby Barnes is. But this motherfucker is smooth as silk. And if I could describe this match in one word it would be smooth. My beautiful wife who is sitting next to me me says this match feels flat in the affect. She isn't sure if the crowd is in amazement or numb to it. Just wanted to add her outsider's opinion. This match has a lot of reversals to reversals in it which leads me to believe this isn't the first time Jon and Bobby have danced in the squared circle. Love how after the first fall the aggressiveness picked up. The Bad Boy wasn't playing around in the later rounds, really trying to out tough Cortez. Really enjoyed this one baby. Hope you do also.

CJD: The original Bad Boy! Joey, eat your heart out! I also am totally ignorant of Bobby Barnes but I am instantly a fan. He is like a great character actor out of a Scorcese movie. He looks highly annoyed to have to actually wrestle, unathletic, full of himself, and dangerous all at the same time. After watching a good bit of Cortez these two weeks I'll admit, I really don't like his body contortion reversals and one upsmanship very much. However his natural babyface instincts are great otherwise, he has an uncanny knack for slow selling that builds over the course of the match. He's also great at switching momentum when you least expect it. This match was a lot of fun, it had slow chunks that I didn't love but they built meaningfully to a very satisfying conclusion. I'll agree with AZ in that I don't think this crowd is riveted but I do think they're along for the ride by the end. Now where is Quadruple B going to take me next??

Friday, July 15, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Get your popcorn ready CJD! This is one action packed contest and if you blink you're gonna miss something. I'm super familiar with all three of these gentlemen so when I saw this I said out loud, here we fucking go. This match really showed that all three are at the top of the high flying game. Puma was such a nice add to bring a little something unique to the floppy dips. The control that the wrestlers have in their aerial attack is really impressive. They make it seem effortless. This would be a prefect match to throw on to impress a non wrestling fan.

CJD: I'm not super familiar with Puma King or Myzteziz Jr, and after these two weeks of matches I'm going to keep an eye on our current FFF Champion for certain. We throw a lot of lesser known high flyers up on the blog and some stick with me more than others. Myzteziz Jr isn't the most polished but he has something about when he pops spots off perfectly that has a wow factor a lot of other high flyers are missing. I enjoyed how different this 3 way was than last week's even though they're both quick car crash style matches. Sammy's very American antics brought a different energy that was a lot of fun. He's very good at positioning everyone in busy matches like this. I didn't love the selfie spot. But I'll admit that my thought immediately was "if he can post a reel or a story while the match is still going that's super fucking impressive." I don't think he did but that has to be a spot that's happened in a match before, right? Next thing you know wrestlers will be on Zooms in the middle of matches. Has anyone ever recorded a podcast while they wrestled?? I need to get on the phone with Conrad Thompson ASAP.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: So my options with Parka Negra were limited. I feel like we say this a lot when backed into a corner but I really don't think it was his fault. He's probably the best person in this match for example. We started this AAA FFF rabbit hole with Auto Luchas and I doubt this is where it ends, but bring on more Auto Luchas!! This was paced well for a 3 way, had a few spots that popped me, and didn't do anything too dumb. That was about the best I could hope for this week. You know I'm not big on star ratings but this is **3/4 territory for me but the type of **3/4 you throw on a comp for the novelty of it.

JJZ: I had to stop and start this three times. Trying to watch a ten minute match while having family duties sometimes isn't as easy as you'd think. But the good thing is I got to rewatch that ridiculous Sasake Special into an insane moonsault like 10 times. So good. This match reminded me so much of an ECW THREE WAY DANCE!!!! A little sloppy, no real psychology, brutal spots and super fucking fun. This was just a fun junk food match that needs not to be over analyzed. It was enjoyable. Don't overthink anything about this one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

No Cracks, No Breaks

CJD: The tough thing about following that absolutely classic Grey/Breaks match was coming back with something that was different enough and not a total drop off in quality. I think this checks both boxes. Jon Cortez is one of the great classic British wrestlers that I'm far too ignorant of. Let's do something about that! I watched an earlier match between these two also which was yet another great Breaks heel performance, but this one was a bit more satisfying and special to me. Such a grinding, nasty match, with a methodical build and excellent timing with the falls. I hate the post match booking although everyone executes it in a way that's still entertaining. Joint Promotions gonna Joint Promote I suppose. I do believe Steve Grey is the greatest babyface in British wrestling history but man if this is a taste of what Cortez is capable of he might be a contender. This doesn't have the fireworks of the last two weeks of British matches we've featured but I love that about it. Three wonderful light heavyweight matches of a very specific style with three totally different approaches. These are some of the all-time greats indeed!

JJZ: I'll tell you what. Im'ma whoretez for Cortez my guy. This match was delightful. I was also excited to see that the ref for this one was our dear friend Mr H's favorite official. Dude. I loved the finish and the aftermath. Jimbo could not get that pinfall without some underhanded tactics. But I Ioved the announcer getting involved at the end. But for the body of the match (and what a body am I right?!?) this was such a entertaining story. Move for move spot for spot. This was beautiful. I'd highly recommend this to anyone. I can't remember seeing Cortez before but I'm so excited to burn through a few more of his matches. Jim Breaks is a top level heel. Was he the top heel in British wrestling at one time? And if he wasn't he should have been. Love it all baby.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Grey Area

JJZ: Every one of these matches I always assume you've seen before. I know I'm probably wrong so I need to just play forward what I want to watch. I'm a fan of Jim Breaks so I figured let's check this out. The finish is the only thing I wasn't crazy about but it didn't matter because the rest of this match was incredible. The arm work by Breaks was surgical. The falls in this match, I loved. Grey's fall in particular was so smart and believable. Coming off a face/face match and being able to see the difference in psychology Grey used for this match was wonderful. Dying to hear you thoughts on this bad boy.

CJD: I have NOT seen this before! The greatest face in British wrestling history VS the greatest heel with a shot at Johnny Saint's title on the line. Man this was terrific. I loved the added wrinkle of Grey going for the Breaks Special early and often, as opposed to later day wrestling where stealing your opponent's finisher became something for a late match nearfall pop. You could feel the animosity build and build in this one. The finish is the only knock against it but is typical for the time period. What a two match showing for our current MDTSOCWWKD Champion Steve Grey. And while I don't seek out Jim Breaks as much after the awful way his life has concluded, I know he's the hub for so many wrestler's greatest matches and rivalries, so I am looking forward to see what great stuff he opens the door to next.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: This match says 12 minutes but in my opinion it played like a 20 minute TV main event. Lucha Libre announcers could make the worst match feel like the match of the year. I felt like this one was a really fun junkfood match. Just what I wanted to watch after your Saint VS Grey match. A lot less technical and a lot more highspots. Those missile suicide dives are fucking crazy man. No pull-up what so ever. This had a great back and forth for the home stretch. I felt like it could have gone either way. I'm really loving the difference between Tuesdays and Fridays right now. Curious were we are going next.

CJD: I kept checking the run time of this match in disbelief. They didn't go balls to the wall with spots or anything, but I agree completely that it felt like 20 minutes of television main event title match pro wrestling. "WOW!!" Great babyface highlight match for Fantasma, who I'd only really seen work heel up until a few weeks ago. He's a hell of a talent. La Parka Negra I'm totally ignorant of and he certainly doesn't have the physical charisma of LA Park but he does play a good foil to the red hot babyface here. I'm curious to learn more about him leading into next week. This was good fun man, not a lot to say but no complaints. Great way to spend 12 minutes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Well Ya Wanna Catch A Saint

CJD: Well if this match had been on my first ever Johnny Saint comp I'd have been in absolute heaven. This great generation of light heavyweights had lots of these fast paced, super athletic types of bouts. You'd get a different energy with a Rocco or a Breaks in there but a lot of the spots were very similar. Even if you've seen a bunch of this kind of match I still think this was something special. The way these guys are both able to improvise and adjust so flawlessly even within intricate sequences is mind blowing. And I think the psychology was sound too, with Saint trying to use leverage and grind the faster more explosive Grey, but still dancing with him step by step when the time was right. And even with a finish you could see coming a mile away they still had me biting and second guessing what would happen next. "How can there be a loser??" indeed, Kent Walton.

JJZ: This was an insane match buddy. The mastery Johnny and Steve display during this bout is ridiculous. The smoothness left you just saying to yourself, "In what world can they flow from move to move like this??" Flawless. I'm sure I've seen one fall British matches from this era before but I got excited when the ring announcer laid out the rules. Also, was it just me or did that ring give you Rocky 1 feels? I'm also pretty sure I've seen Bryan, Hero, Quackenbush and/or Claudio do almost all those moves before. It's amazing to think that those guys really helped bring this style back to life. I don't think I could ever get bored watching these matches.

CJD: It's funny you say that, because I've heard Regal say before that the highly technical British lightweight style evolved out of necessity due to them basically wrestling in tiny boxing rings. So big or physical bumps were few and far between. And I always love that about this style, how flat back bumps are treated like a big deal, and could believably knock the wind out for a 10 count. Glad you loved this one as much as I did!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Modern AAA reminds me of how I felt when I first started watching lucha. In other words, I have no idea what the hell is going on half the time. I watched a good bit of this feud to finally arrive at this match and I still can't really tell you who all the bit players are except for Fantasma's family and Vampiro for whatever reason. And this match isn't exactly great but after investing a ton of time into watching Texano Jr matches the past week I was happy to finally land on something I felt very comfortable recommending to you. There's a lot of gaga before, during, and after this match, but it is mask VS hair after all. The execution isn't always great but the face/heel character work from both guys is very good. There are some great moments, a good bit of blood, and Santos Escobar is someone I've really enjoyed in NXT so I'm curious to see what you come back with. I know we're getting into some strange territory as far as our Friday themes go here but I'm sure we'll find our way back to something more on brand eventually. In the meantime enjoy a lot of noise makers and overdubbed stock music my friend!

JJZ: Fuck man. This was like watching Telenovela. I didn't know what they were saying but when the wrestlers started coming down the ramp in my mind it was, No I'm the father! Not even sure if that makes sense but I got a kick out of all the bells in this one. I think you undersold this a little. I enjoyed the slower build mixed in with the more brutal offense. I didn't read your review or even the match description before starting so that was a nice little twist at the end for me. The leaping elbow over the table that the one dude hit on the other dude was a Bluechew stiff ass shot if I ever saw one. Shot out to Bluechew. Use promo code Playitforward for 20 percent off. J/K fun match my beautiful friend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Your Kiss Is On My List

JJZ:  I've watched several Fit Finlay matches that weren't bad but I was left disappointed. Matches against Jackie Turpin, Doink the Clown and Eddie Guerrero. All of them very different but each ended with me saying to myself I can play forward something better than this. After watching Johnny versus Fit I said, I can't wait to play this forward. Listen baby. This was pure entertainment. Saint and Finaly really play their roles to a level that needs to be studied. Fit and Paula have a tremendous little soap opera going on between rounds that actually had me laughing to myself. Johnny is so good man. I really never know what he is gonna do. Really hope you enjoy this one.

CJD: Man, that collection of Finlay matches you watched sounds like a trip. That's fun research even if you didn't unearth anything amazing. This match was actually one of the first Saint matches I ever saw, on a comp of his I got to better educate myself on 80s British wrestling. I was disappointed with this match at the time but I think it was because I didn't understand what a big deal catchweight matches were in the territory and what a disadvantage it was seen as. I also hadn't seen a lot of Finlay's more dastardly heel work and was hoping for more of the Bellfast Bruiser. Watching it again decades later I actually much prefer this version of Finlay's heel schtick to begging off, crossing his heart Dave Finlay. Princess Paula is fantastic here. This match accomplishes a lot without doing too too much. It endears Saint to the fans even more (when the one older woman helps pick him up is such classic British wrestling), it gets some of Finlay's offense over huge, and it really builds anticipation for what happens next for both guys. They didn't run a lot of angles or story driven feuds but this does leave you with a sense of "what now??" Really effective pro wrestling that I was just not quite ready for when I first watched. But I just might have some technical wizardry more along the lines of what I was expecting up the sleeve of my robe for you next week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

More Schumann Than Schumann

CJD: I wasn't sure which way to go with all the options you laid out for me with that Hase tag. I started watching some Finlay tags, some good stuff, but they didn't feel like they covered any new ground after your dream match. Then I stumbled upon this bad boy. And I'll gladly hold up the MDTSOCWWKD Championship for a week and let you decide who's the better man between these two meat slappers. Because make no mistake this is clubberin' of the highest order. I've been impressed with Schumann in the past but I've never seen this level of babyface performance from him before. This was a match that I put on with no expectations and proceeded to go through all the Vince meme facial expressions while Stacey Kiebler danced on his desk. Also no matter how hard I tried I can't seem to nail down the date.

JJZ: Love love love that Vince/Kiebler visual. This was a tremendous match my friend. So entertaining to watch. Franz Schumann is a goddamn beast man. That over the top dive totally took me by surprise. Wish Fit sold it a little better but that doesn't take anything away from it. I enjoyed the working from under psychology for Franz. Finlay is such a fucking dick in the ring that is was a perfect idea to work the match this was. I loved the home stretch and the finish totally caught me off guard. The feel and venues for these last couple matches were so fucking cool. It made watching the matches so much more enjoyable.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Lucha Libre is fun man. These announcers are great. It's almost better I don't know what they are saying. The way the sound is and the energy from the announcers, it being a drive in show doesn't even matter! Great back and forth in this one, just a fun match honestly. The ambiance of this one is off the charts. This would be a fantastic 2AM match to share with you. A ton of sick ass dives through out the match. With it being Lucha Libre it's not stiff or anything but they definitely keep it snugg the whole match. Didn't love the finish but the rest of the match makes this something I want to share.

CJD: First of all I want to make it clear I really enjoyed watching this. Second of all, I can't believe I didn't realize this in the match VS Laredo Kid. Octagon Jr is not very good! He is carried by an excellent flyer in the previous match (even after jacking up his teeth) and a very good base here but man, there is not a lot of connective tissue between his big spots. Texano though really impressed me, reminding me very much of his dad who I always liked tagging with Silver King. Texano brings character to this match, he brings structure, and he drags Octagon Jr to something fun (as you said) despite the fact that Dollar General Sasuke Jr looks like he's there for a dance recital. That he didn't practice for. I'm excited to see where this takes me next and I'm glad to watch it even if I had some criticisms.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Laredo Kid (c) VS Octagon Jr - AAA Cruiserweight Championship 10/4/2020

CJD: When AIW introduced me to Laredo Kid I thought it was cool they were giving him a platform. I now realize years later they were getting access to a world class talent before everyone else had caught on. This match is a war of attrition, you can tell there are some injuries and some spots that don't go quite right, but these two young tough high flying bastards aren't going to let it slow them down. Also this is one fall for the record. This match had the potential to go off the rails or become a mindless spotfest but I think they delivered something highly satisfying. What do you think JJZ?? I would skip the clip package before the match that gives away everything that's going to happen. Odd choice from the production team. Auto Luchas!!

JJZ: Not gonna lie. I like the drive in wrestling show concept. Pretty fucking cool. I think about some of the shows we drove to and how fun they would've been if it was a drive in. Not saying it wasn't a blast but I just thought this was inventive. As for the match. It was awful. J/k. Super fun spotfest here. To continue my honesty, I choose to review this match over the other match you have waiting for me because I'm more in a junk food kinda match mood. And this totally delivered. Side note, I'm assuming it's 22 degrees celsius. Which means it 71.6 degrees fahrenheit. Great wrestling weather. The x and o's of this one are simple. Great spots. Unique atmosphere. Fun falsies and a good finish. Good match you rudo son of a bitch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Two Hearts

Fit Finlay/Franz Schumann VS Hiroshi Hase/Jushin Liger - NJPW 2/14/1991

JJZ: First off, I'm drunk. So this will be a fun review. This was such a unique match to watch. Is it the greatest match ever? No. But it's a fun little jawn to drink a lager to. This match has a lot of little one off spots that really pop. Getting to watch Liger and Finlay wrestle each other is a dream come true in my opinion. I think about what you would expect me to play back to you and I don't think you'd think about this match ever. And that's what I love about this story in our lives that we have created. This is a good match with solid psychology that I don't think we'd ever have seen if it wasn't for Play It Forward.

CJD: I wouldn't expect you to play this match back but boy howdy am I glad you did! This is the stuff that PIF is made of and man did I enjoy the heck out of it. Pro wrestling nirvana right here. So many different things coming together in a fairly straightforward, WCW Saturday Night style tag match, that doesn't overachieve but does everything you want it to. All 4 wrestlers shine at various points, both teams have good chemistry, and Liger throws in a surprise top rope elbow drop which is of course a thing of beauty. What a pair of tag matches for our MDTSOCWWKD Champion of the week Hiroshi Hase! And did you know he's a former Olympian?? I sure didn't until now! I really loved this match for its simple but extremely sound fundamentals, great execution, and once in a lifetime feel.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: I don't know who the fuck Mark Hitchcock is fyi. But I do know this match will certainly give you a bunch of options for what to play next! What I find interesting is that if Oku was our Twosde Champion I would've went immediately to his match with Ospreay that has been getting amazing reviews which I haven't seen yet. BUT it ain't Twosde. It's Friday homie and we know what Fridays are all about here at PIF! Full disclosure while watching this I'm feeling my drink and smoking a fat ass stick so I wanted a junkfood match to pop me out of my seat. If you were in the supermarket you would find this match between the Herr's Cheese Curls and the Takis! If this jawn was a beer it be a Lager. Tastes great and goes down smooth at the end of a long work day. Enjoy my beautiful friend!

CJD: I love that review! I'm also coincidentally having a beer after a 10 hour graveyard as I watch this and this was indeed a smooth ride. Alexander and especially Taurus bring a great power dynamic to a car crash match and all the flippy doos get their shit in nicely. Good structure, good pace, there's not a lot to comment on but I really dug it. Normally I wouldn't want to share a bootleg upload like this but I know you had limited options with Oku and honestly as a Wrestlecon memorial show (I can't find who Mark Hitchcock is either) that had more high profile matches like Bandido/Speedball and the Briscoes/Rottweilers, I don't think giving them a little extra publicity with this great appetizer of a match is a bad thing at all. I'm guessing it'll get taken down sooner than later so watch while you can! I got a kick of Cary Silkin on commentary. Man does he get down with some Ace Austin. I get it, I almost played Ace forward previously, and this match is packed with talent and delivers on a lot of cool interactions and pairings. Good shit and I honestly would love to go with any of the other 5 guys next! Thinking, thinking...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Kick It!

CJD: Will this derail our Shootstyle Sidequest? Or will it just bring us back closer to the vein? This is much more of a pro style match although there's some good grappling especially between Hase and Takano. This match is kind of an example of Ikeda not having the same special "something" in other settings but I still think the sums of its parts is pretty damn good. In the late 90s I thought Shiga was a super rookie and in retrospect watching him now it's amazing injuries didn't derail his career sooner. The effort is there in spades but he always looks like he's on the brink of a strong breeze ripping him in half. The main thing I'm curious about is how you feel about Hiroshi's performance? I always think of you as a Hase Hater although I don't know if that's fair. But I loved him in this brief AJPW run and thought this match was a great example of his versatility. This isn't where I imagined going with Ikeda at all but this is exactly the kind of match I was in the mood to watch to see Ikeda try to adapt to other settings.

JJZ: Man!! That transition Hase did to get a rear naked choke was amazing. I'm going to always remember the way he got that hold. I rewatched it four times. Anyway! Really good match baby. I wasn't sure if this was gonna be more focused on shoot style or more traditional wrestling. But I think they mixed the bag up really well. Loved the crowd and how much the top blew off that place when the slapping started. I was hoping they would've went back to the sharpshooter stuff because I was loving how much Hase was working to get that bitch on. Nice one CJD! 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Speedball is a 2x MDTSOCWWKD Champion and now our Forever Forward Champion (meaning this is our 6th match we've featured of his) and you and I are no strangers to his work in general. That said, I think between your match and this match I've seen more depth to Bailey's game than I ever knew he had previously. I went into this totally cold, a "let's see what this is all about" situation. As such my expectations were low and some criticisms I'd have with this otherwise were easier to look past. I left this match curious to see more from Oku but with a whole new level of respect for Bailey. This isn't on the level of Nigel holding Tyler Black's hand to a MOTYC back in ROH, but honestly it's not that far off. And it definitely gave off shades of that match. Life's been hectic lately and it's been hard to find time and motivation to watch wrestling. So this was a gamble to devote the time to and I don't regret it at all. In fact this was a treat. Curious to hear if you agree??

JJZ: I'm pretty sure this is my first Oku match too. Can't be certain if I've seen him in a random tag at some point or not. REGARDLESS! For a first impression this is crazy town. So much great leg work. Love the mindset of these wrestlers to not just have a spotfest. With that said, this had some amazing spots. I do think this is the kind of match that would win over our friends in an all night marathon viewing of wrestling. Just saying. Bailey also really showed a lot of depth I've never seen from him before. Not shitting on the karate kid. Fucking love me some Bailey. Great pick man!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Sho Can Go

JJZ: I knew right away I was going more shoot style Funaki. He really impressed me in his last match. So Ikeda, man I keep feeling like we've shared him recently but looking back we have not. He's another one that I know the name but I'm not sure of his stature in Japan. I'm wondering if we talked about him in regards to you other wreslting side project. So after watching two Funaki matches I've fully come to the conclusion that he ain't nuttin to fuck wit. Jesus baby, you can tell this motherfucker is the real deal. His transition game is legitimate. Now it's obvious that Ikeda is the vet in this match. I wouldn't say he is taking liberties but he is kinda laying into his shit. I do believe that Funaki looks great in his reversals and offensive holds. And I fucking loved the finish.

CJD: Ikeda was probably on your mind because I was talking to you off the record about how intertwined his career is with Ishikawa, but how Ishikawa is pretty much a slam dunk for my Greatest Wrestler Ever top 100 ballot as he translates to a lot of different settings. Meanwhile Ikeda's typically only great in shootstyle but man is he great at it. I honestly don't know if he'll make my ballot but I do know I loved this match! These guys didn't give each other an inch. The dueling limb work was awesome right through the end, just enough focus for a match like this but still with an organic fight feel. And you've gotta love mid 90s BattlARTS ambiance (what was the audio picking up in the background?? Ring springs squeaking mixed with a nearby concert?). Something I've really valued over the years with our friendship and our good buddy and occasional guest reviewer PB is I can always rely on both of your extensive BJJ  training to get feedback on if a match like this holds up to some scrutiny beyond a pro wrestling lens. So it's good to know that Funaki, who I never watched do this style until these past two weeks, looks as good to you as he does to me. He was always the least of Kaentai DX to me, perfectly fine as the 5th man, but now I kind of wish he had kept running with Ishikawa's crew instead. Speaking of PB, I reached out to see if he wanted to join us on our Shootstyle Sidequest this week! What do you say Phil, does Ikeda make your top 100 greatest wrestlers? Does Smackdown's #1 Announcer have what it takes to tap out JBL if he pooped in his bag?? Also what did you think of this match.

PB: Top 100? Not quite, but I see the argument. His 2005 match against Yuki Ishikawa from Futen would be enough to justify the consideration as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, I think we could all agree that FunakiSmackdownNumberOne was never in the conversation. That being said, he more than carries his share of the heavy lifting here (pun semi-intended). You can tell from the first takedown that FSN1 has a formidable grappling background despite it's infrequent application at the height of his stateside popularity. The disparity in skill between the two is primarily in the striking, but this actually serves to magnify Sho's prowess on the ground to the point where I was convinced that he had a legitimate (albeit small) shot of winning if he could nullify Ikeda's kicks. That reminds me, without spoiling the ending I can confidently say that the first two syllables of the winner's theme music is the most apropos compliment to the finish of a match that I've seen/heard in recent memory.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Malenko By Any Other Name

Carl Greco VS Shoichi Funaki - PWFG 5/12/1993

CJD: We're getting into the weeds with this Shootstyle Sidequest. The Greco options that don't have Ishikawa in them were really limited so I had to start combing through some uploads of entire PWFG shows like this one to see what caught my eye. I try to avoid sharing stuff like this because I don't want people to have to click around but it's the first match on the show 6 minutes in and you can see more of Kane warming up for his match later with Fujiwara (!) as an added bonus. This is the earliest match I've seen from Greco or Funaki and while this honestly pales in comparison to your match last week, for the opener of a fairly low key shootstyle show I thought this did a very nice job. The opening feeling out is organic and exciting. I did think it was a little dry in the middle stretch but both guys did a very good job fighting for ring position and stressing the importance of trying to finish things out of the reach of rope breaks. Which kind of plays off of your match even though it's 15 years in the future! The finish capped it off as a "yes, I'll play that forward" moment. This doesn't go big but it does get the crowd warmed up and ready and makes both young fighters look full of potential. And I'm not going to lie, I'm just grinning thinking about the transition the past month and half going from WALTER, to Ishikawa, to Kane, back to Ishikawa, to Greco, to Smackdown's #1 Announcer. Where are we taking this wild ride next??

JJZ: The joy that this match brings me just seeing the opening is something that only Play it Forward can do. How in the hell did we get here (thanks for that little recap). How great is this Chris! Funaki really impressed me in this one. He can go. This match is extremely well done on a  technical level. The reversals from hold to hold were so smooth. Both guys did an excellent job on the fundamentals of grappling that made the match feel so authentic. I do wish they had a limit on rope breaks though. I found myself at times thinking, "try a kimura! Go for a knee bar!" and the guys actually went for it. Loved that little touch. Great finish. I could've watched this for another 30 minutes!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Bringing a little gaga for the proud papa! Right off the bat I'm going to say this probably over stayed its welcome by a few minutes. But the thought of this match being on the blog at the same time as the shoot stuff we've been sharing made me laugh to myself. This bad boy gets weird. I'm totally unfamiliar with Club Tropicana but Sexsea and Aiden have this gimmick down. Total pros. I'd love to see them wrestle against Colt and Yone. Veda was really good in this, better than I expected. Bailey (who fucking killed it in this match) could've really covered up any warts with his insane highflying but everyone delivered on what they were trying to sell in this one. The production of the intros was excellent and the crowd was hot from the jump. Hope you enjoy.

CJD: This promotion definitely has some slick production. I was just talking about how indie wrestlers have so many hats to wear any given night and improv comedian is one they don't typically get many reps with unless it's their gimmick. As such I was also impressed with Bird Law in this, they did get some laughs out of me even if the overall timing of some jokes was off. This was a big old mixed bag with some stuff I liked ("no you put him down!"), some I could have done without (that HBK/Flair joke was a miss for me in particular), and a couple of great spots to keep things moving. It's a messy but fun end result that gives me some interesting options for next week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MDTSOCWWKD Tuesday Favorites

As advertised here are our picks for our Top 5 favorite Tuesday posts from March 2021-March 2022! There are some absolute bangers mixed in here (so much so that we had three of the same picks!!), while our Friday Top 5 had one hell of an eclectic range of matches. Which is pretty on-brand for PIF but you never know when Tuesdays will go down a rabbit hole of Kane shootstyle exploits! We always keep them guessing.



Katsuhiko Nakajima (c) VS Go Shiozaki - NOAH GHC Heavyweight Championship 1/1/2022

Yoshihiro Takayama (c) VS Satoshi Kojima - AJPW Triple Crown Championship 9/26/2009

KENTA VS Eddie Edwards - NOAH 11/25/2007

Orange Cassidy (c) VS Joey Janela - ICW IWTV Championship 5/18/2019

Can-Am Express VS Toshiaki Kawada/Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - AJPW 8/27/1992

Friday, April 22, 2022

Forever Forward Friday Favorites

Hey all you PIFamaniacs, if you've been reading for a few years you'll notice we're not going to do our annual Head Droppies. Just not feeling it this year. Maybe they'll be back next April? We'll see! In the meantime, we decided to look back at the last year of posts with a simple Top 5 PIF Picks from both myself and JJZ for Tuesdays and Fridays. So here are our Top Five FFFFavorites from March 2021-March 2022! We'll check in on Tuesday with our MDTSOCWWKD Top 5.



Team PAWG VS Chuck Taylor/Orange Cassidy - Beyond 9/24/2017

Aja Kong/Kyoko Inoue VS LCO - AJW 8/9/1997

Lioness Asuka VS Bull Nakano - AJW 5/14/1989

Jaguar Yokota VS Lioness Asuka - JD' 4/14/1996

Wendi Richter VS Princess Victoria - Houston Wrestling 2/10/1984

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

While Everyone's Lost, The Battle Is Won

Yuki Ishikawa VS Carl Greco - BattleARTS 6/1/2008

JJZ: Let's talk shoot fighting! This was a grappling match to the fullest! Great transitions and unexpected switches. And they maximized the rope breaks in this one! I was so I'm the mood for a match like this. The matches Ishikawa had with Jacobs were great but this really gets into the shit I'm talking about with this style of wrestling. I don't recall seeing Greco before because my Battlearts viewing is sadly so limited but I'm gonna keep him on my radar for damn sure. So this is the fourth Ishikawa match we've shared now and it's crazy to think we've covered three different decades. We really are showcasing a great snapshot into his long career.

CJD: You are so in my wheelhouse with this one I'm going to have to start calling you Johnny Cartwheelhouse!! Carl Greco aka Carl Malenko is the adopted brother of Dean and Joe and is one of the unsung pioneers of shoot style. He has a rivalry with Ishikawa going back to the early 90s. One of our favorite Instagram accounts master_of_senton coincidentally just made a post highlighting another match of his days after you sent me this. He made the point that Greco was the first person to ever go the distance against a young Wanderlei Silva, and while his MMA record won't turn any heads, that's certainly proof that he's a legitimate bad ass. I watched this match back around when it happened but haven't seen it since, and it plays even better now than I remembered. This did happen in an absolute resurgence of BattlARTS where they were having banger after banger so it got lost in the shuffle a bit for me. Looking back now, this is one of the finest examples of grappling I've ever seen. Seriously elite level shit. One review I read mentioned no strikes are thrown and while I didn't notice that it does sound right. I have to imagine I've seen the big twist before the finishing stretch in another match previously but I can't remember for certain and it gave me literal goosebumps. These are two masters of their craft and like you said we highlighted what an all-time great Yuki Ishikawa is over the course of four very different matches that don't even scratch the surface of his greatest hits. Although this match certainly deserves to be in the conversation.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Solo Darling VS Penelope Ford VS Veda Scott VS Ashley Vox - Beyond Wrestling 5/1/2019

CJD: Going from a very substantial match last week to a very junk food match this week. But I will say, we've discussed before if the talent wasn't on this level in the mid 2000s for women compared to now, or if they just didn't have the right platform. Well I think it's more the latter than the former but the talent in this match for a random 4 way is pretty damn impressive. Especially considering none of these four ladies are really big names even now. We've seen a lot of random 4 ways and for me this one was particularly creative and made great use of its time. And Solo just has that It Factor that you can't quite put your finger on, especially coming from the kind of Candy Crush gimmick she started with to where she is now. The sum is much greater than the individual parts and I'm really glad we've gotten more familiar with her work over the span of her two FFF Championships. Curious where you'll go next with all these options!

JJZ: Junk food match to the fullest. They even had some pizza. I'm familiar with each woman in this match so picking who to play forward will depend on who impresses me the most in the 4 corner classic my North Carolina friend! This was a fun one. Reminded me of early 2000 Ring Of Honor four corner survivals. I feel like all the ladies came across fantasic and everyone's timing was good. Nice highspots with a simple but effective finish! Nice shit baby boy.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Travis Huckabee VS Solo Darling - CHIKARA 12/8/2018

JJZ: I went into this more curious than excited. Especially with a match taking place during a heated feud. I think both wrestlers played their roles excellently. Darling's face work really pulled the crowd on her side. She came across very angry but you could sympathize with her because she was still trying to mend the relationship with Travis. Huckabee on the other hand came across so scumbaggy. So callous and unredeemable. The workrate in this one was top notch. Loved the limb work and they even had a few spots that really made me wince. The story was fantastic and the wrestling was above what I expected. Good shit from these two.

CJD: Beautiful write up on this one. I loved how everything in this match was done with such purpose. I wonder what percent of your average wrestler's career is matches like this with such layered story and emotion built into it? And how much more difficult it is to deliver a match like this than a random undercard first time encounter. Or maybe the added drama makes it easier than starting cold? This is the stuff that fascinates me about being a pro wrestler, especially on the indies. You're the master of your own destiny and there are a million wildly different scenarios and jobs you'll have to do along the way. For Huckabee for example going all the way from a ref to a partner betrayed feud blowoff like this. And when the stars align like this it all comes together and on this show with this opportunity these two knocked it out of the park. Super memorable and exciting match that both should look back at with pride.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

That's Gotta Be Kane?!

CJD: So I used to avoid going straight back to a rematch because it's technically against our rules with our imaginary titles and what can and can't be played forward. And 4 years in I think it's become pretty obvious we just do whatever we want at this point. You were going to watch this match anyway. I wanted to watch this match. I didn't want to watch Kane doing Kane things. But I did want to watch Yuki Ishikawa doing Yuki Ishikawa things. So let's do this! Looking into it a bit more I think this is the match that most people have seen when they reference these two wrestling. And this is also pretty darn good. But I wouldn't have liked it anywhere near as much without the previous match. Ishikawa clearly comes back in with a strategy and is making a statement early with his slick transitions and attempts to cut the big man down. They play up Kane's lack of experience with the style a little more and make his moments of skill seem a bit more shocking. Basically everything is done with more purpose in this match and as a result it's a little more engaging but also a little less organic. I like the first match better but I like Ishikawa's performance in this one more. By the end I'm just amazed at what great chemistry these two had! And begrudgingly glad you got me to sit down to two Kane matches!

JJZ: While watching this one I was thinking that big Kane fans would be watching this and saying "God, this is awful." While I'm thinking "God, Kane is awful... but this is pretty good!!" I love that you played this back. So entertaining. I was legit hooked on everything they did. I'm telling you man lower expectations really set this up and between both matches they knocked it out of the park. I do wish Glenn used his strength advantage more because when he did it was impressive. I'll agree that the first match made this one more enjoyable. Loved the finish. So happy I can say that I saw multiple good Kane matches!

Friday, April 1, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: We've featured a lot of shorter matches on FFFridays so I try to avoid anything this abrupt but man this had too much going for it to skip over. Travis Huckabee was someone I was making sure I was watching back when I had a Chikaratopia subscription and I'd say is one of the more underrated guys (or girls) going today. Masha looks great returning from an extended tour of Japan. Limitless has an awesome little studio presentation of this very recent match and the sum of the parts of this 7 or 8 minutes is so much more than you'd expect from the runtime and scrolling past a thumbnail.

JJZ: It's hard to get a good feel for a wrestler during a 7 minute match but you know me! I super appreciate wrestlers that can produce a quailty short match. We did get good idea of what Masha Slamovich is these past 2 weeks. We saw her work heel and babyface and boy was she able to control the crowd. Nice match baby cakes!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

This Battle Chose Us

JJZ: So you sure know why I picked this one. Holy fuck. Never knew Kane did shoot style wrestling before. Let me tell you, I was so entertained by this it isn't even funny. Everything Glenn did I popped for. IMO he did better fucking good. And you what?? They had a rematch two weeks later! I'm going to watch that also! CJD you are the one who really introduced me to this form of professional wreslting and you know how much I love it. I went into this not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. It's not Takeda vs Maeda but it pretty goddamn good. And for Kane, that's saying a lot! Dude knows more than I thought he would. I wonder if Bryan Danielson knows he worked these matches?

CJD: It's funny you would say I introduced you to shootstyle because back at that time I really only dug BattlArts and more pro wrestling based shoot stuff. I loved Ishikawa but Otsuka was my guy for example. And I would say your passion for digging into UWF is what convinced me to finally open the door to really straight up simulating shoot style, which I'd always kind of wrote off as trying to portray itself as being above wrestling. Needless to say I was being close minded and in the end we both win because we both had our horizons broadened.

I knew these two wrestled but I never got around to checking out what sort of freakshow it was and Holy Shit! This was so much better than I expected. Pretty better fucking good!! The best Kane singles match I've seen by such a wide margin. How is he legitimately intimidating here and so toothless as The Devil's Favorite Demon or whatever the hell they call him?? This built logically, a battle of technique VS size and power, although like you said Kane had a surprising amount of technique. There was a real tension and progression to the way it played out and I even loved Fujiwara's little role as trainer after the match. This was a treat and man I didn't think I'd be saying that about a Kane match any time soon.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Well, after going through the effort of watching and sending you the wrong match I wanted to just watch something fun instead. So when you see these ladies at the beach I thought what's more fun than that?!?! This was an interesting one to say the least. I don't even know what Bortchsed (probably spelled that wrong) is. The surroundings were the story of this one. At first I was thinking that wrestling in sand while being wet would be totally annoying but I remembered backyard wrestling in mud and snow and it wasn't during but it was after that sucked. In the moment it was actually quite fun so I hope Allie and Masha enjoyed the uniqueness of what they were doing. What I can say about the match itself was that it was pretty tight and I really liked the finish. I like that they didn't over do it with spots. They didn't need to. The keep it simple stupid method sold this match perfectly.

CJD: This match definitely had to suck after the fact but in the moment it looked like a blast. At least rolling around in the ocean dropping bombs back and forth did. I've watched the sickest deathmatches imaginable but there were still moments of this that had me cringing because of cold water or oily outdoor borscht tubs. Which is fun because they built these spots with purpose to make the audience care and that's good pro wrestling even if you're building to something this silly. I've heard a lot about Masha but this is the first match I've seen of her's and it's a hell of an introduction. I did think Allie stole the show though and she just wins me over more and more with each match I see from her. You hit me with this type of match at just the right time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Big Daddy W

Ringkampf VS Yuki Ishikawa/Shigehiro Irie - wXw Inner Circle 3/7/2019

CJD: So you know this match was a journey for me to arrive at in more ways than one. I think part of the problem was that the Dunne match set the bar so high that every WALTER singles match I watched felt like a big step down. And I will say that WALTER recycled a lot of similar spots for a while there, although I think he's been less guilty of that in recent years. But I wasn't trying to play forward back to back WWE matches so I ended up here with something completely different and really enjoyable. This match is much more focused on building to the Thatcher/Ishikawa match the next night (which is fantastic and I have pegged to play for you in person someday) but WALTER and Irie are excellent second fiddles to keep things fresh and rotate pairings. And Ringkampf are an excellent somewhat underrated tag team for what big presences these two have as singles wrestlers. At its core this is just fundamental, physical, straight-forward grappling and striking. But done so well and between two teams I never imagined would meet up and in such a unique and intimate setting. Enjoy baby, I couldn't believe how many twists and turns it took me to get here.

JJZ: Was that Saves the Day in the beginning of this video? First off love this venue. Plop a ring down in the middle of a warehouse and stuff in the fans. Bam! You got me. Man. This was great baby, I was so happy to see a match were Walter wasn't just dominating most of the time. He never plays second fiddle normally. And of course he did an excellent job of it. Thatcher and Ishikawa really had some heat in this one. Super stiff and tight. But most importantly I loved that there was no wasted moves or movement. Everything was earned and used to gain or maintain advantage. Just felt like a real fight start to finish. Can't wait for my hunting after this one.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: I watched an older match between these two which had a lot of potential, so I was excited for this rematch. I thought it built on the positives of their chemistry nicely. These two have a fun babyface dynamic that allows for a bit more of a hold for hold back and forth than you see in a lot of women's matches on the indies. It works really well here and when they have the opportunity for a big moment they usually deliver. Not the smoothest match we've ever played forward but I loved the repeated attempts for the Shazz-mission and the general pace. I'm sure these two have had lots of matches against each other and it makes sense why, they're great opponents.

JJZ: This match was good. I'd imagine 2nd or 3rd on the card. The playfulness in the beginning set a nice tone for how the match would play out. Not the smoothest  bout but I liked the idea they were going for. I was surprised when they had a spot on the outside with no mats but Allie took the bump perfectly. I liked the falsies and the home stretch came in at the right time. Limitless man. I think they might be our most shared promotion in PIF history.

CJD: This is actually the second match we shared off this very show too, with Statlander/Vox in the main event!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

When The Bitter End Arrives

JJZ: As soon as I saw Pete Dunne was in our last match I thought about his NXT title matches with Walter. So I said fuck it and typed this in the YouTube search. I loved their first title match but I remembered liking this one even more. One of the better hand spots chopping the post because I didn't see it coming. Also loved how it was brought back later in the match and not for Dunne to take control at that moment. Really interesting hand work, that drop kick to the hand popped me. Walter players the monster role better than anyone going. The fear he has built with just a single chop is masterful. On rewatch I think their first title match was better but this is still great. Do you know if they had a third?

CJD: I feel like they had to have another rematch since but I don't know of one. Immediate rematches after a dominant babyface title run are so hard to pull off well. You almost always either make the new Champ look too weak or taint the legacy of the previous Champ's reign. This match avoids both pratfalls although the finish flirts with the former. Still the match itself is so damn good the finish is just fine in the grand scheme of things. I'd agree the Takeover match is classic and this is just short but I give them both a ton of credit mixing things up and delivering such a difficult type of match. This was a great, great TV main event, and portrayed perfectly in a great stretch of NXT UK programming. WALTER walked the line perfectly of making it look like he needed to survive Dunne to retain, but doing so in a way that still made him look dominant. I was happy to rewatch this one and I'd recommend anyone else who's seen it previously to make time to do the same. It has so many fun twists and turns.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Kimber Lee VS Shazza McKenzie - RISE 7/7/2018

JJZ: So I watched a 30 minute no DQ match with Kimber Lee before this. At the start I thought I hit the lottery. I knew I was going with it. 10 minutes in I was like it's really good. 20 minutes in I thought to myself, I like it. 30 minutes in I thought, I don't like it. After going through such a disappointment I wanted just a good basic jawn with solid storytelling. So here we are. I don't recall seeing Shazza McKenzie before. She was good. Shazza knew how to work the crowd and get over a full story in 10 minutes. Kimber Lee is such a pro. Her polish shines no matter what the stage. The finish put me over for this one. Enjoy baby.

CJD: I can relate to that journey with the half hour match so much. So frustrating when you love the foundation of what they've built. But this match was good! I did think Kimber played it a little too big for how small of a match it was. I love how emotive she is normally but I didn't think this match needed it quite so much. That said, she did everything she could to make you leave this thinking Shazza was every bit as good as her. And McKenzie to her credit was right there every step of the way. As you said this was a very complete 10 minute match that felt like it'd slot perfectly into an hour block of TV. Good pick even if it was an alternate.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Go Back Home

CJD: I'll be honest, I watched this match despite of Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn, not because of them. But I know you like a good 4 way and the idea of Trent Seven as defending Champion in a chaotic situation like this appealed to me. Well let me tell you something brother, Renfrew and Gunn might have been my favorite part of this match! I think I've heard their names here and there but I don't believe I've ever seen either and they were awesome. This took the 4 way with faces on one side and heels on the other, with already built-in alliances, and turned it on its head with a match that kept me guessing. It was pretty "cute" at times but it did it extremely well. Some of these sequences would have made Insane Dragon and Amazing Red proud. I really enjoyed this match, it was more than junk food, but not quite a full meal, either way I was extremely satisfied after I left the table. Fast casual pro wrestling??

JJZ: Junk food is the perfect way to describe this bad boy. Hard hitting, funny, smart. But most of all entertaining. I loved the tag team mind games they had take place in this one. They did a good job of not doing anything obvious I thought and had some surprising interactions with their partners. The crowd was really up for this match and hard great energy straight through. The finish was well executed and I wasn't familiar with Gunn or Renfrew so when the match started I thought Necro Butcher was in the ring. Nice pick baby boy.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Back Next Week

Hey all you PIFfies, one of the CJD household's pets started this week off in the hospital. She's home and doing much better now but combine that with the fact that I'm wrapping up a month of 3rd shift and this week became a lost cause for the blog. We'll be back Tuesday with a wild ass 4 way and get right back into the swing of things. Have a good weekend and give your furry ones an extra pet for me!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: I've watched a lot of LuFisto matches for PIF at this point. But I've yet to see a bad one. The dynamic here is so different than last week's as Kimber Lee clearly has LuFisto's respect but still has so much to earn. I loved how big they made this match feel, how hard Kimber Lee had to work for what she got, how they took a generic crowd brawl and made it organic and awesome, and how they brought things home. LuFisto just carries herself like everything matters, she projects such a big presence. And Lee was right there with her standing her ground and then some.

JJZ: So before we started Play It Forward I didn't even know who LuFisto was. Now I think I can confidently say she is a top 20 all time women's wrestler. She has such spectacular fundamentals. She does the little things so well. And getting to see her work with such a baby faced Kimber Lee was such a treat. I'm a big fan of the Princess also and I'm pretty sure this is the earliest match I've seen of her. The dynamic between the two played out great and they both didn't hold back at all. Kimber proving herself to the old Lioness. The vet showing the younger wrestler how it's done. Just good shit. Loved the finish, totally believable.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Suzuki Goon

JJZ: I really like Trent Seven. Especially his selling. Zack Sabre Jr is easy but also hard to play forward. Easy because he has wrestled every one ever but hard because he is so damn good that I don't want it to seem like I'm just sharing the first thing I watched. So this was the second match I watched! The first was a Tyler Bate match, and while it was good it wasn't great and maybe over-stayed its welcome. Then I went over to Trent. This match had some really special things in it. First Trent's selling. Tremendous. I was really marking out on the selling of his own offense. A lot of the time he made it feel like he was just throwing shit out last minute hoping it lands. And Fucking Zack. I swear he really just makes shit up as he goes. I was falling for the falsies and loved the home stretch. Enjoy my boy.

CJD: One thing I love is watching great wrestlers wrestle in front of different types of audiences and seeing how they adjust. This match accomplished that big time compared to what I'm used to from these guys. It was super cheeky at times, a little touch and go at other times, and then it landed exactly where it needed to. I agree completety that it felt like they called a good amount on the fly which I loved. The announcers cracked me up by how knowledgable they tried to sound on the submissions. "He's got a Crippler Crossface combined with a Michinoku Driver combined with a La Magistral!!!" This was a really good match that didn't take itself too seriosly but still delivered big time for the crowd it was in front of. Nice find baby, and I'm glad you didn't go with the first match you stumbled across.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

LuFisto VS Jordynne Grace - Beyond Wrestling 5/29/2016

JJZ: So I think this is the first time we are playing a match forward of a tag team working each other. This was an old lion vs young lion style match. LuFisto really controlled this one for most of it. Grace's selling was way better than I've seen from her before but to be honest this might be the first time I've seen her working from under this much. Really solid psychology trying to work on Grace's core. Some innovative transitions and some really stiff strikes. I popped a few times with LuFisto's aggressiveness. I feel like this was a giving Jordynne the business kinda match. Making her earn her stripes so to speak. The home stretch was was a lot of fun and the finish caught me off guard.

CJD: I expected this match to be good. I didn't expect it to be great. But I'd say it pretty comfortably was by the end. I also think this is the first significant partner VS partner match we've featured which is interesting because which one of these ladies is technically our imaginary FFFriday Champion right now?? Is the belt held up?? Anyway, they weren't teaming yet at this point I don't think but knowing Grace so clearly earned LuFisto's respect in matches like this one makes me appreciate their team that much more. I loved how engaged in the moment both ladies were, how much they were feeding off each other. The grimey hold for hold stuff combined with the chippy shots gave this the feel of early 2000s IWAMS or something generally from a different era. That's an aspect of LuFisto's style that I really enjoy. Her being such a student of the game and paving the way for the likes of Jordynne gave the young lion aspect of this that much more gravity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Supernova Goes Pop

CJD: This match brought a smile to my face because it brought me back to PIF's roots almost 4 years ago. After developing this idea for a long time we kicked things off with a series of matches that I still think define our mission statement here, one of which was a ZSJ/Ogawa tag. So why not revisit this underrated tandem?? And how about a workman's team if I ever saw one in 2015 mohawk Yone and "finding himself" puffy pants Nakajima?? This match had me guessing after talking about booking with a real sense of hierarchy, because everyone here has a clear place on their team, and all these guys were typically booked with purpose. Still this match feels a little thrown together, like something to round out an undercard, yet it still builds to a really nice finish. You get the sense these teams could run a rematch for the tag titles in a high profile match and knock it out of the park. For what this was I would have loved 5 more minutes but what we got still left me very satisfied and felt very on-brand for PIF.

JJZ: I would put Zack Sabre Jr and Ogawa as one of my favorite tag teams over the past ten years. Their feuds with Tiger Mask IV/Jushin Liger and Kotage/Harada are low key some of the best junior tag matches in recent memory. This match is wonderful Chris. Just good solid wrestling. Yone is great for this match. He doesn't bring it down at all. Just adds baby. Chubby Nakajima was so much fun. This was before he fully joined NOAH and they still used him in odd spots. I don't know if you remember but I showed you a singles match between Zack and Naks right around this timeframe. Anyway. Good shit baby cakes. It was such a fun watch, I just enjoyed what was on the screen for 17 minutes.