Tuesday, February 28, 2023

He Can Go

JJZ: I fucking love this match Chris. I watched this one 6 years ago and enjoyed the piss out of it then too. This is the title defense after your Shelton match. Now this is a lumberjack match and the big story is because Go still doesn't have the trust of the lockerroom his LJs are some young boys and midcarders. It was expected it'd have interference but I think they did a wonderful job not letting it affect the integrity of the finish. Better crowd than most NOAH shows at this time. Fantastic spots, stiff dickheads, and I think everything was paced perfectly. Enjoy baby cakes.

CJD: There's so much I want to say about this match that I kept putting it off. Stiff dickheads. Man that perfectly sums up this feud. These two have a problem self editing but when they capture lightning in a bottle it's beautiful. And this was one of those times! I loved this stipulation even if it wasn't the style of lumberjack match I prefer (I like when it's every man for himself on the outside). It kept the psychology focused and I agree completely that it built to a very satisfying finish. When we started PIF this is what I  dreamt of. You dropping NOAH knowledge on me. Digging into matches we might not ever get to share with each other because time is fleeting. The great stuff that happens in the not great eras that takes perseverance to dig up. Putting in the work as fans! I love this match and I love you.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

Arik Royal VS Donnie Janela - ACTION Wrestling 12/6/2019

JJZ: Dude, I needed a match like this right now. A nice little short story. Gaga and everything was hit nicely. So is Donnie Joey's brother? Cousin maybe? I dunno but I enjoyed him man. I got a kick out of the blindfold spot. Not ever seeing DJ before I had no clue what to expect so even though it was a short match I felt like it played longer because everything was fresh to order. I think Royal's matches we played were a great snapshot of his ability with them being so different. Both these guys are going to be on my radar going forward in my professional wrestling viewing career!

CJD: Kung Fu Donnie Janela. Huh. I don't know what to make of that one, not going to lie. Born in Alaska, apparently he is Joey's cousin, also wrestles as Prime Time (as the back tattoo would indicate). I was hoping he was doing purely tribute gimmicks, the British wrestler Kung Fu, Joey, Brian Lee. The 3 faces of Donnie. Apparently not the case, but there's still time! This match was fun and I continue to be impressed with Arik Royal. ACTION seems like a promotion I'd be stoked to have in my hometown. Donnie Janela, the verdict is out for me. Let's see where next week takes me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Ain't No Stoppin Him, NOW

CJD: I can't say I ever dreamed of Shelton in a half hour GHC Title match. Definitely not playing to his strengths. And I know there's a very good chance you've already seen this match. But I was in the mood for Shelton in NOAH and of the matches I had available to me this one definitely raised my eyebrows. There's good and bad to this match. Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Terrible crowd as was typical in this period. Video gets choppy or out of sync a few times. And there's just a little bit of a rough feel to how they build to and deliver a lot of big spots. I wouldn't say these guys have great chemistry. But, Benjamin looks surprisingly comfortable in this setting, and is a very game challenger for an all-time great Champion. Go is a kind of divisive figure, I think the people that are hard on him can't get past the sometimes iffy execution and the blatant Kobashi emulation. For me his selling, his supreme effort, and his general charisma outweigh those criticisms. This match has all that on display. And I guess that's the good news. Is that for any negatives you'd expect, this match has all the positives you want to. Hard hitting, hard work, big bumps, nice twists and turns. This is the NOAH Ace defending against the invading heel through and through. It won't go down as one of the greats but for an interesting footnote in both guys' careers I thought they did a damn fine job.

JJZ: Chris my beautiful friend. You are so far in my wheelhouse with this match I'm going to have to ask you to please take your shoes off and have a seat. I have seen this match before and remember liking it a lot. Shelton really had some good matches in NOAH. One with Nakajima that I even played for our mutual wrestling friends. I did play the match that Go won the title for this defense against Sugiura for you before and this was his first defense of that championship run. One thing I really liked about this era of Go was that he wasn't quite the Ace at this time. He was in a proving his loyalty to NOAH phase being that he just returned from AJPW. When Sugiura turned on Marufuji a few months back Maru turned down Go's help and refused to shake his hand. I loved NOAH in 2016 and matches like this are a big reason. This played way better than I remembered. Shelton hit a lot of big "oh shit!" spots. The knee in the corner, that German and that table spot.  Go worked from under excellently. Really nice crowd popping spots with explosive energy. Now the crowd wasn't the best but it was better than a lot of NOAH crowds during this time. I enjoyed the fuck out of this one baby cakes. And I already know what I'm playing next!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

Fred Yehi VS Arik Royal - ACTION Wrestling Falls Count Anywhere 3/22/2019

CJD: From a very heel Yehi performance to straight up 10 punches in the corner babyface Savageweight here. And guess what? He's great at both! We haven't had a match like this on PIF in a while, and I know any time you and I have to fit a longer match into our week it's a big ask. I think this match is worth it. Mainly because, for a big feud blowoff ($2500 bounty on Yehi's head! That's like 2 months rent!!), straight up broad stroaks good VS evil in a high school gym in front of a couple hundred people (maybe) and watched by about the same amount of people online... man did these guys go out there and do the damn thing. This hit all the big notes you want, with lots of sneaky big bumps mixed in, and smaller moments that popped me too. Totally ignorant of Royal but instantly a fan. This was no DQ and also falls count anywhere. I just saw they had a bunch of matches up online and picked this one at random. Maybe it's their best, maybe they've had way better. Either way it was a fun ride that left me impressed and I definitely am giving it an extra bump. On this kind of platform they could have done half the match with three big spots and called it a night. And maybe there's something to be said for that, but on this given show I dug the hard work they put in and left wanting more. And talk about as indie as it gets on a Friday!

JJZ: So I'm drinking a lager and smoking a cigar. I have off tomorrow so when I saw this match was 28+ minutes I was like YES!  Then I read your comments and laughed because if I was going to try to squeeze this in between picking up my kids from school it couldn't have happened. Before I get into the meat of the match shoutout to dollar store Drew Gulak with the run in. So I got major ECW fan cam vibes from this match fyi. Tommy Dreamer VS Raven feels during the crowd work. This is definitely the most different Yehi match I've ever seen. So much of a brawler style when I'm use to him being so technical. Da fuck, where those announcers come from?! For what this match was trying to be it really hit man. A fantastic back and forth battle. Excellent pick CJD!

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Heat Is Here

Stevie Richards VS Shelton Benjamin - WWE Heat 10/11/2004

JJZ: So my mindset finding a Stevie Richards match was simple: ECW. That mindset changed after one search. Man there is little to nothing available from ECW for Stevie up for streaming. This lead me down a pretty interesting journey to this match. Right off the bat, this ain't winning no match of the night awards. What I enjoyed about this match and all the matches I've watched from Stevie is his fundamentals. He has such a great base to his matches. I'd say this match is a great example of that and made him and Shelton look great. Told a complete story in seven minutes and had the crowd hooked. Well done boys.

CJD: Love me some Sunday night HEAT. You weren't kidding about how they hooked the UK crowd in this one! It's amazing to me that even with a very respectable career Shelton Benjamin was never a bigger star. His promo skills have never been great but I'd love to see him in the UWF with Percy Pringle managing him as the top babyface chasing a heel Champ. Something like that. Anyway. This match was good! I know Stevie was in Right To Censor but I don't remember watching a ton of him as a straight up heel like this. Dare I say I like him better in this role than as a babyface. Just personal preference. This match isn't one to pick apart but for 7 minutes of really competent pro wrestling with cringeworthy mid 2000s commentary you won't find much better!