Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Stampede Is Coming, Mastadon Infantry

Big Van Vader VS Scott Norton - NJPW 9/23/1991

CJD: I was really in the mood with Vader to see something different. I went on a journey like the PIF days of old, watching matches VS Ospreay, Gary Albright, and tagging with Hansen VS Misawa/Ogawa. All three good matches for what they were, I'd struggle to even say this match is firmly better than any of them (well maybe better than the tag). But it is different and that's what I was feeling. Scott Norton is insanely strong. He was never great at pro wrestling but I do still enjoy watching his work. I hate the way NJ World cuts away at the end but beggars can't be choosers with free internet uploads. I could have done with a few less lariats and straps coming down and up but for a hoss fight of the highest order I think this delivered. What says you??

JJZ: That fucking "Oh shit!" belly to back suplex was sick! Made me say JESUS CHRIST very loudly. Well what a hoss boss battle this was. Beefy meat slapping at its finest my southern brother. I mean this with no insult but this was exactly what I thought it would be. Just two thick jawns banging into eachother to see who would fold first. Not gonna lie. I'm jealous you found this match and not me. When I first got New Japan World I went on a Scott Norton tour and was disappointed with the views if you're picking up what I'm laying down. Loved this and love you. Excited to watch more Flash!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

I Love To Swing The Lariat

JJZ: I don't have any memory of seeing this match. I'm a little nervous that your response is that you've shown me this before. This was interesting. Definitely not their wildness we're used to from these two. I loved the psychology. Baby bull working that head lock and Stan the man like a pit bull on a bone with that hand. I fucking loved the count out tease. In the 80s we got so used to that in Japan that I just assumed it was the finish in this one. Really curious about this show on a whole since it was in Vegas. Hope it's new to you my friend.

CJD: I haven't shown you this match before but it is #774 in my binder full of matches to play for you and the gang, and now I can cross it off! AWA actually ran Vegas regularly from '85-'90, it was the main taping location for their ESPN television. The crowds were notoriously bad and this is one of the earlier "borrrinngg" chants I can remember hearing. That said, this match was pretty awesome. I love seeing the differences in how Hansen handles two totally different young stud challengers with very different skillsets. Vader is nowhere near where Hennig was last week but that makes Hansen's performance in this one all that much more impressive. I will say White's selling was better than I remembered and he really held his own for how green he was. I love Lord James Blears claiming he was a first round draft pick (the Rams took him in the 3rd which is still damn impressive). Also major points for a great 80s finish (including the countout tease), that's always a pleasant surprise. Great pick!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: You know me JJZ, and you know I'll take substance over style if I have to choose. But when I saw these two in a very recent match I thought to myself "I don't care if this match is good or not. I want to watch it." These are two of the most spectacular wrestlers going today and I wouldn't say either is lacking in substance by any means. I just expected this to be a fireworks explosion. Now there are a few jaw dropping moments. And this is some indy 5000 presentation. The commentary, the ref, the post match celebration. This one is uniquely indy wrestling. But at the end of the day this is just a damn good match above all else. I would love to watch these two go at it again. I really enjoyed how important the momentum shifts felt (just about the only worthwhile observation the commentators made). And I thought the finish came at the right time, no overkill but very satisfying. I know we've already featured a lot of Laredo Kid on FFFridays but it's the perfect place to give a great young wrestler like him his flowers.

JJZ: Excited for this one baybay. Feel like the commentators undersold Bandido a little bit. Bandido is a top indy name these days. I've been in the mood for a high flying spectacle. Interesting crowd set up with the chairs. This is a perfect junk food match. The kinda match you'd love to watch with four friends at 1 in the morning. You couldn't blink for a second in this one. Laredo Kid performed better than I expected. I'm not trying to be negative on him but he never super impressed. But in this one he over delivered. Bandido did what Bandido does. Fun jawn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Nobody's Perfect, But You're Perfect For Me

CJD: To paraphrase Bryan Danielson. There's a time to wrestle, and there's a time to fight. This was fight time and these two guys knew it. This match has a bit of a reputation as one of the under the radar greats in AWA history and rightfully so. If I'm making a top 10 of Hennig's career this is on there because it's such an interesting side of him. The bumping and selling are still huge but much more understated by his standards. He's great at sticking and moving and making you think he's got a chance against "Tough Cookie" Stan Hansen. And the most impressive thing about this match might be Hansen's performance as the dominant but vulnerable Champion. Pro wrestling is a hobby that I'll keep coming back to because it's always there to give me a glimpse into something fantastical and larger than life when my mind needs it most. I'd seen this match before but that's how I felt watching it again today and hopefully you do too.

JJZ: The energy from the jump is off the charts. It was a fucking fist fight to say the least baby. Curt Henning could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. Jesus he makes everything look so painful. Wild. This match in one word is wild. I felt like it could've ended with any fall. Let's talk about the fact that these two didn't take a second to rest at all. It was bedlam in a squared circle. The only negative was the they were both wearing black trunks. Crazy fun ass ride that I could watch over again right now my beautiful long haired friend.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

JJZ: Fucking dream match my guy. Great clash of styles in this one baby cakes. Shelley was always great at selling the mouth. Such a little thing but so smart. In my opinion Chris. Shelley had a great game plan with working on the leg to slow down the flippy dippy. He really was out smarting Bandido in the beginning of the match. Bandido had some amazing explosive offense in the second half of the match that had me on the edge of my seat. The back and forth was insane. Really couldn't tell what was gonna happen. Loved this one.

CJD: Unpredictable is a great way to describe this match. Like I legitimately couldn't tell if Bandido was hurt after that dragon screw and I don't want to know. What I do know is they worked the match masterfully from that point on to make you believe anything could happen. The early portion was beautiful, poetry in motion even by Shelley's standards. Bandido really hung in there and brought a great energy as the challenger. The fans bought him to pull off the upset and if this was the opener (did I hear that right?) this must have been one hell of a show live. Also great job on the commentary, Veda Scott in particular was making points literally as I was thinking them. I'm sad to say goodbye to Alex after 4 tremendous matches. It's safe to say there's never too much Shelley for this belly!

Friday, November 4, 2022

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Alright we've only done this once before but fuck it. Let's hold up our imaginary title and go with the same guys back to back. If these two had 10 matches online I'd watch all 10 of them. This one had the hammer down a bit more, a bit less consistent with the selling. And we know the finish if we were listening to the commentary to our previous match. But these two are so masterful that they still had me guessing the finish late. Miguel had fire in this one that I think surpassed his great performance in your match. And I liked seeing the similarities and differences between how they worked the different settings. I hope this isn't the last time I've seen these two wrestle.

JJZ: I'm a huge fan of Tom Phillips fyi. Very excited you picked this match. I love when we finish a sentence that the other person started. Goddammit Alex Shelley is so fucking smooth. And Trey is so raw and fresh. It really makes for a perfect match up. When you watch Shelley wrestle you can see his layers of experience. It's like visual scar tissue in his movements. Miguel has such freedom and energy in his offense. Kind of a perfect paring. The thing that is great about both of these matches is that they aren't over the top like most matches these days. They kept you on the edge of your seat but didn't overstay their welcome.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Green Onions

JJZ: Alright so let's start with the obvious Chris. That finish was disappointing. My first thought was fucking shit. I can't play this forward now. But the match stayed with me on a whole. I kept thinking to myself, man for the end of his career Hennig can fucking go. And Book looked like he the was right there at his feet. The potential was radiating off of him. This match was a showcase of what will become and what made someone great. I honestly don't know if either ever reached their full potential but I loved both of these careers.

CJD: I would say these are two of the  prime examples of never hit their ceiling in wrestling history. I bet some would disagree on Booker T, that if anything he overachieved. I think watching him in this time period though and you can see ACE written all over him and he only briefly got to hit that level. Listen to how he's got that crowd in the palm of his hand. These are two guys who understood the broad strokes of American heavyweight wrestling so well while bringing an explosive athletic style. They're similar in a lot of ways when you think about it, great characters yet largely forgettable promos (outside of King Bookah). And they worked together exceptionally well in this match! I get why this match stuck with you because I'm a sucker for this style when it's done well. This is Sting, Dustin Rhodes, Steve Austin, Barry Windham, etc. Good mechanics, great fire, compelling face/heel dynamic. I'll forgive the crap finish. This match was a hum dinger!