Friday, January 28, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Best Friends VS Santana & Ortiz - AEW Parking Lot Brawl 9/10/2020

JJZ: First of all. I'm so sorry about these ads. I try to avoid Dailymotion for this reason but I always wanted to hear your thoughts on this match. Short backstory for you CJD. Santana and Ortiz busted up Trent's mom's minivan weeks back and this was the blow off. Loved this feud and loved this match. The parking lot brawl was a great idea during the no fans era of Covid because it felt like a normal feud ending match even without a live audience. I always love a good PLB because I actually think it's a hard match to pull off. It gets boring just throwing your opponent into cars. I believe these four guys really did some innovative stuff here. Following the feud I enjoyed the finish. Towards the end of the match I thought to myself that I'd love to know how much money the damage to the cars cost??

CJD: This is one of the only pandemic matches that was made better due to the situation. Other matches and promotions got creative, or had an unique atmosphere, but this is a stipulation that's essentially a cinematic match before that was a concept. So you can tell a light went off for everyone involved and they were determined to take this opportunity to have a match in a vacuum at a time when everyone else was working with a handicap, and deliver something in that vacuum that would stand the test of time as an all-time classic. And they delivered. Everyone in this is great but god damn does Santana look like a star. The heels act like heels. The babyfaces are infinitely likable even though these are some damn cool heels. The pace for this style of brawl is perfect. The spots are vicious. Tony Khan says this was all one take and I believe it because it just feels authentic. The commentary is among the best I've heard from this team. This match is magic and one of the brightest spots in one of the darkest eras imaginable.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Who Is NOAH??

JJZ: I still fucking hate that Nakajima changed his music. I truly loved his last song. Also didn't know this was Go's big return from surgery. I know this is a little off topic but I got a question for you. With NOAH and NJPW working together again who would you want to wrestle Okada? Personally I'd kill for Nakajima to work him. They have the whole angle with Kensuke built in already. Back to the match. So from watching recent NOAH and recent NJPW I feel like NOAH has had a better crowd through the pandemic. I understand they are both under the same restrictions but the NOAH crowd has had far better energy imo. More than any fans I know me and you have this special attraction to NOAH. I remember the first NOAH match I've ever seen was when you showed me Misawa vs Kobashi when Kobashi won the GHC title. I've been in love ever since. That green apron held a special meaning. Sharing NOAH matches with you means more than any promotion to me. So let's talk about Nak's kicks. I mean does anyone even come close at this point? I think not. The sound better than when my karate teacher is laying into the heavy bag. Fucking damage is being done. Loved the ramp spots. Some 2000s NOAH call backs. This match was a master class in a striking based match. Just two men going shot for shot to see who is tougher. The spots are hit well and timely to accent the aggression in the match. It did not overstay its welcome and had me on a couple falsies. Great selling by both guys. And personally I like this one more than their other recent jawn.

CJD: So first of all, thank you for working behind the scenes with me to get to this match. I was dying to see it. Their 2020 jawn was one of my favorites of the year and on first watch I agree that this might have been even better. I also agree that NOAH crowds are really committed to their product despite the pandemic restrictions. It's the only current Japanese wrestling I get excited to watch. As for the match. There's just something about the way these two match up that works so well. I'm honestly kind of sick of "shot for shot" wrestling as you called it, at least when it's lacking in selling, emotion, and drama. This match wasn't lacking in any of these areas. The story of AXIZ torn apart still adds so much but even without that layer just Go's return after his historic title reign, coming back for his title, drives the story of this match so much. Shiozaki wrestles like he has a new lease on life. Nakajima wrestles like he trained to prepare for whatever Go would throw at him. Like you said the build is pitch perfect and the selling makes everything feel so high stakes by the end. I loved the actual finish and the symbolism of it. I also loved your comments about our bond watching mid 2000s NOAH together! That's something I appreciate that NOAH retains to this day, that feeling handed down from Baba's booking that hooked us, that wins against the top guys matter so much. When you saw Baba, Jumbo, and then eventually Misawa, Kobashi take a L, even in a tag setting, you knew you were seeing something special. That's how I feel about how they've built Go at this point, and that's why I wanted to see this match spoiler-free. I didn't expect him to win the title back, but I definitely wasn't ruling it out, because I know his losses at this point matter. This match delivered on the expectations of that standard of booking that we've fallen in love with over the decades. As well as those holy shit moments that came along with those early emerald green ring classics.

Oh and to answer your question, I'd book Okada VS Kaito!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Fight Or Flight VS EYFBO - C4 5/27/2016

CJD: I'll start right off by saying I liked your Fight or Flight match better. But this match is trying to accomplish something different and it's interesting to see how a young Santana & Ortiz work differently against the local babyfaces than SSB did. This match has more gaga, a few iffy moments, but some that really popped me too. I haven't seen a lot of their EYFBO days and I enjoyed watching this side of them as a tag team. I was also surprised that FoF looked much more comfortable here even though this match takes place earlier in the same year your SSB match did. I watched a bit more of Vaughn Vertigo (what a name) and Gabriel Fuerza than just these two matches and while they didn't knock my socks off they are a capable tag team for this kind of popcorn match.

JJZ:  I'll tell you what my friend. I really enjoyed this. This was such an indy show opener style of match. I got such a kick out of the backyard overly ambitious spots. I can totally picture the guys talking about them driving over to the VFW. This was the definition of a junk food match. I didn't even know that Santana and Ortiz use to go by that name before. EFYTOBQRST or whatever it was. I think you can really see the potential in all four these young pups. FoF is so raw still but Santana/Ortiz really match their wildness. Good shit.

CJD: EYFBO- Entertain Your Fucking Balls Off if I'm not mistaken.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ace In The Hole

CJD: To pull back the curtain a bit, I told you I was thinking about playing this one forward to you, and you told me you've played it for me before IRL. But you said bring it on because you remember loving the match. I always want to zag when it's time to zig though, so I went and watched a few Tanahashi matches VS Goto. And those matches basically were trying to accomplish what this match did, but didn't do anywhere near as good of a job of it. So I went back to my original plan and holy shit- how did I forget that moonsault?!? The fact Tanahashi is able to finish the match after that is incredibly tough (or incredibly stupid with 2022 eyes) and he really goes the extra mile to make Go look like a star here. When you played this match for our gang the room was very much split, half not sold on Tanahashi, half not sold on Go. I'm hardcore, I'll take them both! I don't think Shiozaki had put it all together as he tried to become a top guy at this point but he had great fire and both wrestlers lived in the moment to take this crowd on a ride. Even with some rough edges it was fun to refresh my memory with this one.

JJZ: I'm really glad you went with this one. At the time I didn't appreciate Tanahashi like I do now. So this is like watching with a different set of eyes. I also really like that both our Tanahashi matches aren't from NJPW. I did watch the match these  two had in NJPW and I think this one is a lot better. The moonsault really knocked Tana into a fog. He probably shouldn't have finished the match but major respect for him doing so. I loved the build to the chops and the crowd's pop proved they did a nice job of executing. Also love when Go hits a great Go Flasher!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Do That VOODOO-MURDERS That You Do So Well

Satoshi Kojima VS Hiroshi Tanahashi - AJPW Champion Carnival 4/9/2008

JJZ: Man. When I hear Champion Carnival I think of Kawada, Misawa, Kobashi, Stan Hansen, Akiyama. I think All Japan Pro Wrestling. So when I saw this match and saw that it had two NJPW stars (even though Kojima had moved on to AJPW) it really caught my attention. This match is so story driven in more ways than one. You got the arm work that factored in till the very end. You had the fact that Tanahashi was the natural heel as the invading wrestler BUT Kojima was the company heel so you had a bunch of dirty deeds going on. Also Tanahashi in a way was one of Kojima's replacements so to speak in NJPW as a top guy and he was coming into Kojima's new home to take over that shit also. But Kojima said I don't think so and sacrificed his own arm, like a gentleman, for the greater good of the company. Wild ass match, hope you get a kick out of this like I did.

CJD: Wow, I totally missed that Kojima was in Voodoo Murders at some point?? I was confused by this because I have seen a bit of Tana in this CC and I remember him being a spectacular invading prick. So I was thrown off when this was all heel VS heel, at times with a little "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" with the crowd picking sides back and forth, but I totally dug what they were laying down and was along for the ride by the end. And so was that crowd because they were red fucking hot for that finish. I think this match had the most low blows of any Japanese match I've ever seen. I'd argue that even though Kojima had some success in NJPW that due to his Triple Crown legacy and rivalries with Tenryu and Kawada he's seen as much more of an AJPW guy. But I get what you're saying that there's different layers to the dynamic between these two here. I really need to watch everything on tape from this Champion Carnival because it seems like it was a rip roaring good time. Loved watching Kojima work heel and yet another gem in the all-timer career Tanahashi has to his name.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

Super Smash Bros VS Fight Or Flight - Queen Street Entertainment 10/22/2016

JJZ: Alright baby cakes. This match is from 2016 in a Canadian indy. And we got two true indy vets in Stu and Uno versus two true green ass puppies in Vaughn Vertigo and Gabriel Fuerza. All captured in a single hard cam. During the match you can see the potential of F or F with the movesets and transitions. But they still need time to smooth out the clunkiness of it. I'd love to see a more recent match to know if they were able to round out those edges. Super Smash Bros made for great opportunities. They just know how to work a match with younger talent. Slowing shit down when they needed to. Really making statement moves during the match. And most importantly making Fight or Flight shine in this one.

CJD: First of all, what the hell is up with High Voltage playing but no Leonardo Spanky to be seen?!? For shame. Your comments about this match were spot on. SSB were so in the zone in this at times I almost couldn't see the strings of how they were making Fight or Flight look so good. By the end though it did become a bit obvious that they were holding things together but this match was way better than I was expecting regardless. I liked how at times you could see Uno or Stu playing with their food and it typically would come back to haunt them when they did. This is one of those matches that would never have even made tape 20 years ago and now we can get a glimpse of something that would only live on in that small crowd's memories. I have to imagine this stole the show and all 4 of these guys were ecstatic when they made their way to the back. Really good effort all around and I'm glad you went with this pick!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Destructive Power

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

CJD: Here's two of our boys, PIF favorites, having a banger Triple Crown title match that I was totally unaware of previously. Granted I'm pretty ignorant of this time period of AJPW but man, this match was some meat slapping of the finest order with a heavy dollop of fighting spirit on top. Takayama is such a beast here, and Kojima gives an absolutely epic babyface performance. I want to say more but I'd rather let this match take you on the journey it took me on.

JJZ: What the fuck Chris. Your comments totally under sold this SOB. Wow. I mean, this was fantastic. Play It Forward has really turned Kojima into a must-see for me. You said it man. An epic performance. And Takayama is always able to have these glorious beef slapping hoss battles that I could watch all good god damn day. Two things that I took away from this were the finger lace back elbow trading and the greatest kitchen sink I've ever seen. So many holy fuck moments. That dragon suplex and the finishing spot had me with my jaw open. Well done hun.

CJD: Dude, I fucking loved this match. It delivered exactly what you wanted which I feel like is something both of these guys excel at. Not complicated but it didn't need to be. If I undersold it it was because I was worried it hit me just right and I was too high on it on first watch. I'm glad you felt similarly. I did read a lot of comments that the Suwama match that sets it up is better, but that takes nothing away from how much this match bangs. And I'll gladly keep an eye out for another great Takayama war I need to seek out!!