Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Regeneration X

CJD: I love how many Tuesday epics we've had lately. But let's go back to Kiyomiya's early years and let's pay tribute to an unsung great who's career unfortunately ended far too soon. I hope above all else Harada is able to retire with a decent quality of life, but I will miss him as the anchor of a very inconsistent and constantly changing NOAH juniors division. He single handedly elevated everyone around him for years and years and while I know you appreciate the work he did JJZ, I wish more did. Maybe now he'll get those flowers! This match doesn't reinvent the wheel but it does feature Kaito paying those dues while showing flashes of the main eventer he is today. Enjoy my emerald amigo!

JJZ: This is brand spanking new to me baby cakes. I probably chose to skip it back then because NOAH young boy matches were always underwhelming. Well fuck was I wrong. This was truly a great match for what they were trying to do. It also helps that it hits me in all the feels right now with Harada having to sadly retire so young. It did everything you want a match like this to do. You could see all the potential in Kiyomiya while still seeing Harada shine bright like a diamond. I think Harada is vastly under appreciated in professional wrestling. He was as consistent as any junior over the past decade. No matter what was going on with NOAH you knew Harada would always give you your money's worth. I'm literally excited as hell to find a Harada match to play forward to you. One more thing on Kiyomiya, I know we both got to watch his recent match against Okada together, and I got young boy Okada vibes from him watching this one!

CJD: Totally agree on the young lion Okada vibes.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

Effy (c) VS Leva Bates - FEST Wrestling Championship 3/31/2018

JJZ: I love the little backstory we got coming in to this one.  A lot of mind games for this match. Loving all the stuff Leva is doing to get into Eff'ys head. The size difference is real so Bates playing psychological warfare to even the playing field is smart. This was so much fun imo. A lot of great spots. Really thought the game of shadow Leva played on Effy was genius. Honestly this match had so many little touches that made it special. But it also had some sick fucking spots. The chair spots were insane baby. I've seen a lot of Effy so I knew how good he was with the extras in a match. But Leva over delivered in so many parts to this. Really impressed with her in this one.  Hope you enjoy baby cakes.

CJD: Effy brought a star power to this match that impressed me big time. If I had to sum this match up in one word it would be enjoyable. It was a rollercoaster and not every little bump along the ride will be for everyone but when all was said and done this was a fun package. An experience if you will. You know I'm not the biggest on intergender matches but I know there's one in particular that just grabbed a bunch of headlines so this is fitting right now. I've almost played Leva forward for you on Fridays many times over so I'm glad to dig into her a little more. Effy isn't exactly new to me but I left these two matches with a new appreciation for him. He explodes off the screen and makes everything he touches more interesting. Oh and $2 PBR?? Probably not anymore in 2023 but sign me up!!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: Special Request Jones over here! We had this match sent over to us and to say I'm flattered to be asked to review wrestlers performing at this level is an understatement. This is indie wrestling 101 here, kids having a great time, awesome oddball venue, lackluster commentary, colorful personalities, a couple of big spots, a self contained story but also connecting to a larger one if you follow the promotion. I was really impressed with CSJ who I was totally unfamiliar with. His dynamic with his manager Enoch (always a fan of more managers!) as his hired gun helped make him look strong even as a very effective heel in the match. Fuego is obviously an exciting wrestler who's easy to root for but I thought Jamal held this together at times and helped with a lot of the connective tissue that made the match work so well. Really satisfying finish. This match could hold its own on any of our Friday features and I'm really glad it got sent our way as a special feature.

JJZ: I was totally expecting a splashy junk food match but this was so much more. It felt like I was watching WCW Saturday Night. The psychology in the ring matched with the trouble making manager that keeps butting his nose in the action. The match had a solid structure and build to a back and forth homestretch. Both Fuego and CSJ really had some nice moves and some fantastic spots in the second half of the match. Jamal stood out as a unique talent on the indies these days. Would love to watch more of these guys soon!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

KONGOH Are Forever

JJZ: I feel like playing this match forward just seems like a no brainer. We've watched the growth of these two wrestlers and I think this match really showed how far they both have come. This is their most recent GCH title match from NOAH's New Year's Day show. When I saw it was only twenty one minutes I couldn't believe it. I don't think I've watched a Global Honor Crown heavyweight title match in years! Kenoh and Kiyomiya didn't hold anything back and really made every minute of this match count. They followed some GHC title staples but were economic with their time. I saw a couple new moves from both guys that popped me. Also saw a big old slice of pepperoni that I choose to ignore. Hope you enjoy baby cakes.

CJD: I am love love loving this NOAH voyage we are on currently. Something I appreciated about this match is it gave me deja vu to Kenoh's great rivalry with the man we just featured, Sugiura, and the way that generational shift helped bring NOAH back from a dark period after Misawa's death (even if it had some bright spots).  Kaito and Kenoh have a very different dynamic than that feud between former tag partners. But like all the great NOAH rivalries there's something unique about these two, this veteran/emerging Ace feud has a chemistry that gets me particularly excited for their matches. I'd love a Kenoh/Kiyomiya DVD comp if anyone is willing to take the commission!! I could immediately tell this match had an extra edge to it so I read up on the backstory. They had a big chip on their shoulders on this platform taking the semi main event spot behind Muta/Marufuji. Kenoh in particular ran his mouth as Kenoh does. And these guys wrestled a statement match that both fits the great legacy of GHC Heavyweight Title matches but also lays a new path for the next generation. After Go delivered so many epics in his historic pandemic reign (great callback nearfall here speaking of which!) I was over the moon with how straight to the point this was just like you were. I'll forgive a sloppy slice of pepperoni pizza when the rest of the pie is this well done any day of the week. And speaking of toppings. Kaito, that hair is WILD!

Friday, March 10, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

CJD: We've been doing Forever Forward Fridays for almost 3 years now. And for that entire length of time I've wanted to work in an Effy match. Never did I ever guess "Kung Fu" Donnie Janela would drop the keys in my lap to rev that engine. But here we are! And a little side of Suge D?? Sign me up! I've never seen anyone on the heel side of this trios throwdown but I was impressed with the chemistry the teams had despite the very oddball nature of this match. Could have asked for a better crowd and hardcam but for southern indie wrestling shot in a bar, beggars can't be choosers. This match would play great on TV and you can tell was building on a lot of what they were doing locally in the promotion between Donnie and the Champ. Derek Neal? I think. I liked this match, the sum of the parts even more than the individual components, but I might be biased because it's the first match I've watched in over a week after getting stranded in Houston flying back from Mexico for a funeral. And if that's the case, then that's exactly what a gaga pro wrestling match is there for!

JJZ: So this was a totally unexpected match you play forward to me. Not in a bad way at all. I assumed I'd be getting back an indie gaga bar room show. But I was pleasantly surprised with this six man tag. I always love when we can showcase a wrestler excelling in different types of matches. This was a story based face VS heel working from under match. With some innovative spots. I've never seen that spot before where Suge blocked the turnbuckle for Donnie. Great little spot there. I was really left guessing the finish til the three count which I love since wrestling can be a little too predictable sometime. This is the first match of many that I'll watch this week while I am on vacation. Nice pick baby.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

He's A Killing Machine, Isn't He?

CJD: I put this on seeing the upload was a few months ago eager to watch a vocal Japanese crowd. And obviously the names had me excited. I was disappointed when a few minutes in I realized it was from early last year. But the chemistry between these two teams immediately jumped off the screen, and we've talked before about how NOAH weathered the storm (see what I did there) of the pandemic better than a lot of companies. At least in terms of the quality of wrestling and the reactions they got from the muted crowds. This match would have been better in a different setting for sure, but I'm really glad I stuck with it. Hideki is obviously a bit of a square peg in the round NOAH holes, in Zero1 and other promotions he was often left to do his own thing and people would adapt. Here he's very much adapting to the classic GHC tag title format. Instead of totally changing his style or approach, his style informs how the format is structured and everyone benefits from it. The peaks and valleys are a little different because of it and there isn't quite that exclamation point cherry on top finish that would get this on MOTY lists. But this match did everything I wanted and a little more. I'm still getting adjusted to English commentary for NOAH but I thought these guys did a really nice job adding context and especially sounding hooked on the nearfalls. I need to start getting caught up on NOAH!

JJZ: My heart is so happy when we're in a NOAH run on Play It Forward. Judging pandemic wrestling has become a lot easier but for the good matches it always feels like an active crowd would put this over the top. This match was such an easy watch. It could've been 60 minutes and I don't think I would've noticed. The smoothness but still stiffness was almost soothing. I know that might sound weird but I did get kinda an ASMR feeling from it. In my wrestling heart NOAH has the softest spot. I will always root for this company to get back to the highest level of professional wrestling that it once was. I really wish it was easier to watch but what can I do. So I will just enjoy matches like these whenever I get the opportunity. I loved the Kongoh chemistry. Sugiura doesn't age and Suzuki always impresses me with his catch wrestling. Fine, fine match baby cakes.