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Thread: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

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    Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Every month I will be going back in time and looking at that month in a previous year across the wrestling world. April's year is going back to 2007.

    Quite a lot to cover here - 2 WWE PPVs, all of the major indy promotions ran shows, and a fair bit of puro. There are a few matches that from memory stand out as MOTYCs for the year, so I am looking forward to revisiting as much as I can.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ze9u3s7EDQ

    PWG All Star Weekend V: Night 1 (7/4)

    Rocky Romero vs Roderick Strong

    This was quite good, especially the first half, but also suffered from classic PWG-ism. They started pretty hot and brought it, and both guys are stiff enough that the strike exchanges were pretty enjoyable. My opinion of Roddy through the 2000s was that he was a guy with a good physical skillset but not great at laying out a match, but he did a lot to make me eat my words here. His control section on Rocky was full of nasty spots and kept things moving – backbreaker on the apron, gorilla press into the barricades, a bow and arrow around the ring-post, even tying him in knots around the ropes to set up a running boot. Rocky kept trying to come back and there was a good amount of struggle and stiffness here, and they did a good job with the flash submission teases. It’s just a shame they went 20 minutes rather than 10, the longer this went the more they lost the momentum. This was the second match on a Supercard, no need for this guys to go as long as they did. The best match on this show but even then it should have gone shorter.

    Human Tornado vs Claudio Castagnoli

    Man, there’s not way Tornado would get away with his abusive boyfriend gimmick these days, even if it was a super heel schtick. This opens with him berating Candice LeRae before flooring her with a slap and threatening to beat the shit out of her if she screws up another match for him. Straight off the bat, Claudio chases Tornado around the ring until Tornado grabs Candice as a human shield, then throws her face first into the ring post. Jeez. I know Candice is a professional and was a consenting adult and athlete in all of this, so personally have no issue with it, but Disco Inferno bursting out in laughter on commentary was really awful. This routine is meant to get over Tornado as a piece of shit, not make you laugh. Claudio gets to beat up Tornado with some big uppercuts and the giant swing early, but it’s all a bit happy-go-lucky rather than something heated. He does hit a great looking head-scissors off the top which would have been impressive even for a guy half his size. Tornado’s heat stuff is all pretty low rent, cheap shots, rest holds and using Candice as a weapon or distraction. I was a fan of the Tornado/Hero/Candice program on the whole but this was a bit of a dud.

    Kikutaro vs Matt Classic (Colt Cabana)

    Matt Classic was Cabana’s short-lived masked wrestler gimmick he used in Wrestling Society X. This was two great comedy workers doing a full on shlock-fest. Kikuato won’t be for everyone, a lot of his routine with him going at the referee definitely breaks the ‘rules’ of wrestling, but I thought he was quite funny. Cabana really nails the old school heel, Mr Wrestling send-up with his gimmick. I thought all his posing with his “barrel” chest, duck-walking and old school offence like the palm thrusts, iron claw and bearhug were all pretty great. I really enjoyed this, it gave you me what I want from these two guys and was a good palette cleanser after the Tornado stuff.

    Kevin Steen vs Jack Evans

    This had too much Kevin Steen: Stand Up comedian for my taste, especially straight after an actual comedy match. Nice contrast of style here between Evans’s flying and Steen’s bombs and stiffness, though it never came together as anything interesting or clever. Steen’s chops, powerbombs and fatboy sentons I dig, his tedious crowd-pandering bullshit I don’t. Really makes it feel like he’s out there for yucks rather than a serious match. Evan’s basic offence like kicks and elbows look kinda crummy, but his crazy flippy, twisty spots and flying is all still quite spectacular to watch even 15 years later. I guess there is a point where it is subject to diminishing returns as a springboard 630 should get a bigger reaction than it does, but that’s a minor take. Steen kills Evans dead with a nasty Steenalizer for the decisive finish leading into a title match on Night 2. Match was solid if forgettable.

    Kaz Hayashi vs Alex Shelley

    Vanilla indy workrate ‘dream match’. They start with the same choreographed chain wrestling sequence you see in a hundred other Alex Shelley matches and it doesn’t get any more interesting or surprising from there. Bland, directionless predictable wrestling. Matches like this are a trope I don’t miss from the 2000s indy scene.

    Low Ki vs Davey Richards

    This was when Richards was mediocre, but before he was awful. I remember digging a match these two had in one of the TPIs, but they had no chemistry together here and it was much more of a Richards match than a Ki match. Very lacking in direction and almost everything felt like filler. They hit hard enough the few fleeting strike exchanges were decent, but a solid 90% of this was boring and tediously long. Seeing Ki spend most of the match selling for Davey Richards is like watching Mike Tyson getting out-boxed by Logan Paul, no wants to see it and they won’t buy it if they do.

    El Generico vs PAC

    This was a rematch from the bout these 2 had on the previous ASW, which was the match that really put PAC on the map. I’m a low voter on that match, but will at least cede some of the spots were bonkers. This time round they go much longer and what they do isn’t nearly as spectacular or memorable. The entire match felt like filler until the final few big spots at the end. They didn’t go as crazy or overboard as the first match, but instead it’s mostly just really boring. The difference between Jack Evans and PAC is really clear- Evans feels like a guy with a clearly defined persona and style which contrasts with his opponents, PAC is a super bland guy without much to offer outside big highspots. I can see the appeal of their first match, but this was forgettable.



    EDIT - I will update this opening post with my recommend viewing for the month as we go.

    RECOMMENDED VIEWING:

    - Morishima/Yone vs Akiyama/Rikio
    - Strong vs Romero
    - Cabana/Talwar vs Kikutaro/Disco
    - Ki vs Joe
    - Tanahashi vs Nagata
    - Cena vs Michaels, RAW
    Last edited by King Steventon; 04-09-2021 at 06:08 AM.
    Talk about the best matches of the year here:

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  2. #2

    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Looking back at my old review of the show, you made the right choice avoiding the two matches you didn't watch.

    Thinking over the Tornado angle, what's most uncomfortable about it is how often you could notice fans supporting Tornado when he'd attack Candice. I suppose that's one of the problems of utilizing such a charismatic worker like Tornado in such a role though. As problematic as the angle was, I was used to help get Candice involved in actually wrestling, something that PWG hadn't had on a regular basis prior. The good outweighs the bad, even if it looks awful now.

    I remember Romero/Strong being a match that Capone used to shill pretty hard. It's for good reason though as it showed how much better Strong could be in PWG than in ROH. Any time I see a wrestler utilize the ring in a variety of ways to inflict pain, I think back to this match. One of the better PWG matches of 2007.

    PAC's early PWG matches are just crazy spotfests. I do find myself appreciating them some in terms of how he got himself over in PWG just by delivering a couple of big spotfests. He went from being a mostly unknown to now being able to be involved in dream matches just six months after debuting in PWG in late 2006. Not sure why he failed to have the same impact in ROH later in 2007.

    Low-Ki's original run in PWG prior to being signed by the WWE was so damn good. I was a much bigger fan of Davey than you, obviously, but I would say that Ki's 2008 matches against Chris Hero and El Generico were the highlights of Ki's PWG career. I do like the fact that when Ki left the WWE, his second "Debut" match in PWG was against Davey again.

    I was never too high on Kaz in WCW, so I was pretty impressed when I saw his PWG matches. Shame he didn't show up in Cali more. His match with Alex Shelley wasn't as good as it could have been due to Shelley's sketchy selling though.
    ---

    I really miss this era of PWG though. Before they gave up on storylines and just became the #1 super indie and instead embraced being "ROH-Lite" with SoCal talent and a revolving door of bigger stars from other companies producing a bunch of quality lesser talked about matches. A handful of talent like Chris Hero showed what value they could have in a company if their main companies would actually allow them to be of use. However, after the recession, you can't fault PWG for doing whatever they had to do to try and get by.

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Yeah the Tornado stuff could age badly, too many neckbeard edgelords attending indy shows. I would have to imagine if the same program was ran in 2021 it'd get much more of the desired effect, though PWG as a promotion were guilty of treating it lightly with their commentary at times. I'd still hold it up as a success that showed an inter-gender program could work and deliver good wrestling a story-line on the whole.
    Talk about the best matches of the year here:

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    NOAH 1/4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4waY1MVnkcA

    KENTA/Saito/Ota vs Danielson/Legend/DiBiase Jr.

    Lots to enjoy here. Ota is a fired up young lion who had a lot of potential and he brings it. Danielson tortures him and busts his nose up hard-way. KENTA vs Danielson is always good. The beefy heavyweights bring the clobbering. Ted Jr is still a rookie at this point and mostly does tribute spots to his father, but is a fun addition. I know nothing of Joe Legend outside this one tour but he’s apparently a 20 year vet – he feels like a good worker someone should have picked up. Ota is the big focus here, getting to look real good and survive some big bombs down the finish without things going overboard. Nothing that would make my top 100 Bryan Danielson matches, but good fun and exactly what I want from my puro mid-card.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go5kYEVyRbk

    Morishima/Yone vs Akiyama/Rikio

    The ceiling for big title matches at Korakuen Hall is incredibly high, and while I don’t think this will stand as even the best match either team had together, I did really enjoy it. This is the sort of NOAH tag that isn’t rocket science, it’s just beefy heavyweights throwing down and clobbering each other, but the effort, action and crowd heat makes it good. I am always down for Morishima vs Rikio as super-heavy ex-partners going at it, and there’s no shortage of ill will here, going at it from the start. Even the usually mediocre Yone steps up quite handily and is really motivated here. There’s some flab in the middle, just like some of the competitors, but there’s plenty of good heavyweight action at the front and back end to give this a recommendation. While it never becomes anything truly great, I will always pop for a Doomsday Device, and I enjoyed both Morishima/Yone’s wheelkick variation and Rikio countering it later by swatting Yone in mid-air. We get a final stretch between Yone and Rikio, the two lesser guys here, but they still deliver a hit finish with some big nearfalls. I had zero memory of this one coming into it, but it was a pleasant surprise, and would definitely stand out in modern puro. I am really looking forward to revisiting the Akiyama/Rikio vs Takayama/Sugs tag later in the month, and this was a great way to whet my appetite.
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Joe Legend was very briefly Just Joe in early 2000's WWE, think he popped up in TNA too. Also one of the "trainers" in the acclaimed ITV reality show Celebrity Wrestling

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Legend had one of the weirdest WWE runs I can think of. He mostly popped up on HEAT around 2000, stirring shit backstage, and when asked who he was he'd answer "Joe...just Joe". Whenever anyone would imply that they knew who he was, he'd quickly shush them and reiterate that he's "Just Joe". I think he ended up wrestling a few times, but that was essentially it. It was weird as fuck.

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    I did saw Legend one, two times here in Europe where he wrestled a lot. Always thought he's a very decent Wrestler.

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    DDT 1/4

    Ibushi/Toba vs Sawa/Yoshikawa

    Fun stiff-fest. More of a quasi-shoot-style/BattlARTs match with hardly any wrestling moves or rope running, just guys standing and banging. Toba is a fake MMA guy with giant boxing gloves, which always looks ridiculous, but he at least threw a lot of hard shots. I was a big fan of Yuta Yoshikawa and thought he was one of the most exciting young wrestlers in Japan around this time (shame he retired so early), and has the fire and heart you want from a young lion in this. Ibushi has some nice exchanges with both him and Sawa, really smacking the piss out of each other and it ends with him killing Yoshikawa with some stiff straight punches to the face. In and out in under 10 minutes, good undercard match.

    Marufuji/Dino vs KUDO/Muscle Sakai

    Dino’s creepy gay rapist gimmick has to be one of the worst things in wrestling. There were 2 comedy threads here – Marufuji as the literal straight man to Dino’s routine, and Sakai sending up the ‘inter-promotional dream match’ trope by trying and failing to step up to Marufuji. The latter was amusing enough. I did laugh at a couple of moments with Dino being infatuated with Marufuji and Marufuji being repulsed by him, but once we start getting into the inevitable dick-grabbing spots and shoving guys heads into his pants, I am out. I could maybe see some of the earlier gags here playing well in the States if done with nuance, but subtlety isn’t Dino’s bag. Marufuji was a good sport at least.
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Dino isn't for everyone. I can certainly see why people despise the gimmick. I could probably do without the humping myself. The best part of his gimmick is when he's against women and he has no clue what to do against them.

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Daily Motion
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    John Cena vs Shawn Michaels, RAW 23/4

    This is what I had to say about this match years ago:

    The opening minutes are really a great piece of continuity. At Wrestlemania, Michaels was cocky and arrogant, but lost - here his confidence is lacking and Cena is instantly going for the move that finished him at Wrestlemania, the STFU. Cena taunts him telling him he almost had him again and Michaels looks frustrated rather than cocky or arrogant. This is pushed when Michaels tries to "out-wrestle" Cena only for Cena to get the better of him.

    This is really the match that dispelled all the "all Cena does is get beat down and make comeback" talk as he controls most of the match, keeping Michaels contained and cutting off all of his comeback attempts. Cena is actually really good at this, stuff like Michaels getting out of a headlock only for Cena to take his head off with a clothesline then instantly go back to the headlock show this. This really is the Cena Show, his selling of Michaels's chops and strikes is also great.

    First half of the match is fairly slow-paced but all about building the tension between the two, I dug the pacing atleast. After a while they get going and both men take some big bumps and they do a boo/yay segment which gets a good reaction. Michaels takes over halfway through after posting Cena and works over his injured arm/shoulder. They do a great job of teasing and building to the finishers too. Then we have a part where Cena posts Michaels and works over his back, which is also really well done with stuff like struggling over a suplex and a bearhug spot. Hell, this is simply too much good stuff in the match to name it all. Great finish to boot, just an all round great match, will make my top 50 with room to spare.
    Revisiting this again now, it absolutely holds up. There isn’t a lot more to add to these thoughts, other than the second half also really is great too. They avoid the pitfalls of divulging into endless 2.9!!! finisher kick-outs and keep things unpredictable. I will always appreciate a face vs face match with animosity between the two, and Cena getting increasingly more frustrated and at one point charging Michaels over the announce table and pummelling the crap out of him was good stuff. This has to be one of the very best matches of both guy’s careers, with Cena especially being world class here. Just a tremendous performance and match. To go almost an hour on free TV and have it be this good (smokes any long New Japan title match) is a triumph and one of both men’s finest hours.


    Abdullah Kobayashi vs Ryuji Ito, BJW 30/4 – Light-tubes Deathmatch

    I was a fan of 2000s Big Japan and their brand of deathmatches, and while this isn’t one of the best, it was still reasonably solid. These were 2 of the top guys in the fed and it’s a Korakeun main event, so there’s a good atmosphere. Of course the big spots here are all appropriately violent – a back suplex from the bleachers through tables, a bunch of spots and bumps with light tubes and a pot of kenzan. The Kenzan stuff in particular was nasty despite it not being a visually spectacular weapon, but I was also pleasantly surprised how not crappy the non-Deathmatch parts were and Abby has enough charisma to get you invested beyond the gross spots. Towards the end Ito hits his Dragon Splash onto Abby with tubes and Abby rolls him through into a pin for a big nearfall, a spot which has been done plenty and always feels like no-selling but here it genuinely looked like Ito’s momentum carried him over. Decent match, though I’d imagine a highlight reel would be better viewing than the full thing.
    Talk about the best matches of the year here:

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    NJPW 13/4

    Minoru Tanaka vs Taguchi

    This was alright. For the last 20 years the New Japan juniors scene has been home to some of the most vanilla, milqetoast wrestling going, basically ever since the Liger and Kanemoto era. This would have fit that mould if it hadn’t been for Tanaka bringing some story and focus to this. He comes in with a bandaged shoulder, a big bullseye on him, and in retort targets Taguchi’s arm himself throughout this. This leads to a semi-interesting dual arm-work story. I’d be lying if I said anything of the stuff around the arms was particularly creative or smart, but it at least gave the match a focus rather than 20 minutes of them just Doing Stuff. There were some good submission nearfalls and it did sort of play into the finish – Tanaka goes for an armbar, Taguchi blocks, and Tanaka counters that into a pin – but it was also forgotten about when they went into the Big Moves section of the match. Taguchi is the poster boy for bland, limp-dick juniors wrestling, but he at least showed a small scintilla of fire and had some nice suplexes. Better than the majority of New Japan juniors matches, but still nothing worth going out of your way for.

    Daily Motion
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    Tanahashi vs Nagata

    This is widely regarded as a career match for both guys, and one of the best IWGP title matches of the decade. For context: this was Nagata’s first title shot in 4 years after his first reign ended in 2003. Him and Tanahashi had a history and had matched up a few times over those years, with Nagata having Tanahashi’s number. This was around the start of the ‘Tanahashi works a guys leg’ formula which he’d stick to pretty much until the present, but in 2007 was still fresh rather than something he could do in his sleep.

    Giving this a revisit, I’d be fascinated to know what modern NJ fans make of it. It’s much slower and has less spots and ‘super-human’ wow factor than the usual Okada/Naito/Ibushi/Ospready type matches. It’s much of a traditionally paced big match – slow build ratcheting up the tension and drama until the ‘story’ section in the middle then a comeback for the finish. I think what makes this match exciting is Nagata’s performance, he feels like a guy who has his confidence and fire back for the first time in years and steps up in a way he’d fleetingly done over the several years prior. He rips into Tanahashi with his kicks, is always fighting his way for a comeback when working from beneath, and feels like a guy carrying momentum on his side. It’s not a flawless performance – the demon arm-bar continues to be one on the most unintentionally silly spots ever, and his selling is a *little* spot-y, though generally I thought he did a good job pushing the leg damage with how he was constantly slapping his leg to get the feeling back into it and not able to hit a brainbuster because he couldn’t base on it. Like a lot of Tanahashi matches this is probably best taken as a sum rather than it’s parts, and there’s enough decent strike exchanges and big suplexes for this to deliver a heavyweight main event; and that coupled with the Nagata story creates a great match. I wouldn’t want to stack this up against the best NOAH stuff of the decade at all, but as far as New Japan is concerned this holds up as one of their best matches of the 2000s.
    Talk about the best matches of the year here:

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    SEM 4/4

    Kotaro Suzuki vs Genba Hirayanagi

    Ota, Yoshikawa and now Genba. That’s 3 awesome Japanese rookies who retired very early in their careers. Genba was the hier apparent to SUWA, trading usual juniors workrate action for uber-rudo heel-dom. He packs a lot of tricks and bullshit into this 6 minute match before he gets a rise of Suzuki who chokes him out. A badass Kotaro Suzuki is not, but Genba had it coming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZIH3KMi6ss

    Marufuji/Aoki vs Danielson/Ishimori

    Of all the promising young talent in Japan I’ve mentioned in this thread, Aoki was the best. He had a ton of potential and was a gifted technician on the mat. Danielson clearly revels in the chance to work with him here and they have a bunch of neat exchanges. The Marufuji vs Ishimori stuff was fine, but SEM was NOAH’s equivalent of Velocity and that’s what we get. Nothing worth going out of your way for, but Danielson vs Aoki is a good pairing.

    Daily Motion
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    James Storm vs Chris Harris, TNA Sacrifice – Texas Deathmatch

    The biggest problem with this match was the stipulation. Generally speaking I am on board with Last Man Standing rules, but a pinfall and then a ten count is too much. Not only does it hurt the suspense of the nearfalls, it also eats up the amount of match time doing it. That aside, these guys really busted their asses and delivered on a big grudge match. I remembered many of the spots from this match but had forgotten Harris’s dive off the top into the crowd area, which was quite wild for a guy his size. Both guys bleed a bunch, especially Storm who spouts a total pisser after catching the metal underside of a table. By the end of this he looked like someone had dunked his head in red paint there was so much plasma. The stipulation kind of lended itself to a spot > rest > spot > rest formula, but the spots were all good and there was still enough good brawling, hate, blood and violence for me to still think this was a great match in spite of it’s flaws. Part of me is still a bit sad they broke AMW up, but this was a great conclusion to them as a team and a really satisfying pay-off.
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  13. #13

    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    That TNA match is from May, not April. The TNA PPV you want to check out is Lockdown instead.

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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Good spot. Man, I need to start double checking the dates on these shows.
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Turns out Nagata/Tanahashi is on NJ World Steve. Just finished it and thought it was a great match and just hammered home how far removed they are from what I want them to be in 2021. I can't say there were many big surprises here, both men wrestled how I imagined them to, although I'd say Nagata seemed to take more of a lead on things and Tanahashi came to life for the standard comeback. He was fantastic in the match I thought. I think there's a couple Nagata matches from the 2010s I prefer to this, but when you add in the emotion and the moment of him winning the title, I can see how this is thought of as his career match

    Thanks for the rec, great to check out a highly thought of match from two guys I've been a big fan of but never seen before.
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    Re: Wrestling Retrospectives - April 2007

    Glad you enjoyed it. I think I'd have the Kawada/Fuchi tag solidly as Nagata's best match, but then this, the NJ Cup Finals vs Bernard and the Dome match with Takayama would all be next in his best matches. You have probably seen more of his 2010s work than me though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf7CDTcCFfs

    PWG All Star Weekend V: Night 2 (8/4)

    Joey Ryan vs Kevin Steen – No DQ

    Fun brawl. Steen jumps Joey at the bell and they get straight to it. Decent scrapping into the crowd with a lot of hate, and Steen eats a couple nasty bumps onto the steel barricade. We get some interference with Karl Anderson and Ronin, which felt very unnecessary, especially for the opening match on the card, but then I’d also question the wisdom of opening the show with this match in the first place. Some hurt-y stuff with chairs and a chain, and Steen kills Ryan for a decisive finish with a Package Piledriver through the chairs. Good match, though I guess it lacked something to kick it to the next level, making it somewhat forgettable.

    Colt Cabana/Topgun Talwar vs Kikutaro/Disco Machine

    When I first saw this years ago, I thought it was one of the funniest matches I think I’d ever seen. Years later, I wasn’t THAT into it, but I did enjoy this for what it was. There was no attempt at a ‘proper’ match here, just gag after gag after gag. So Col Legend TARO was the ref for some reason and the butt of a lot of the jokes (literally, he gets a lot of butts to the face) and I marked for him firing up and throwing his shirt off at the end after taking so much. Talwar wrestles in a flesh coloured bodysuit and thong and does a bunch of Ultimate Warrior parody stuff, sort of like a more palatable Danshoku Dino. Even Disco, who I usually think sucks, got one good bit in with him playing dead after missing a dive then rolling up TARO over and over. These types of matches which are constant shenanigans are always going to push the boundary of what is business exposing in a match, but most of this stayed on the right side of it. My choice gag was Talwar and Kikutaro getting lost in translation after the latter broke up a pin. “You kicked TARO!”, “Yes, I am Kikutaro”. As far as comedy matches go, this was a thumbs up, and a more fitting send-off for Colt before his flop of a WWE run than his ROH exit.

    Alex Shelley vs Claudio Castagnoli

    This started off well enough with some nice hold for hold stuff, but it kinda of fell of a cliff early thanks to an unfortunate moment. Shelley takes Claudio to the floor and hits a bunch of dives on him, but on the last one massively overshoots and lands hard. When Claudio can’t catch you, you’ve gone too far. Shelley looked visibly rocked from the spill and was moving very sluggishly for a little while after. Claudio took charge and ran through a lot of his signature spots safely while Shelley recovered, and they started to get back into a groove towards the end, but then the finish was pretty bleh. Shelley kicks out of the Ricola Bomb, which got zero reaction as this was an average mid-card match and didn’t call for a finisher being survived at all. He made a brief fired up comeback before getting put away with an uppercut. Really strange way to go about the finish, either Shelley fucked up by kicking out of a finish he shouldn’t have, or they just misread the room and tried do a dramatic comeback moment that flopped.

    Roderick Strong/Jack Evans vs Scott Lost/Chris Bosh

    This was largely awful. The PWG originals are dirt bad low-rent heels, especially Bosh, but that was one-upped by Jack Evans at his botch-iest. He blew a bunch of spots here, and after the second or third fuck-up the heels looked like they had just given up and stopped giving a shit. Strong brought things back on track for the spotty final run, but the first 2/3 of this were rough as arseholes. To top off the turd sandwich, we get a DQ finish with the return of the Davey/Super Dragon team who beat up both teams, lay out a bunch of non-wrestlers at ringside then have Davey cut some garbage promo. A returning heel team which sucked returns to challenge the current heel champions who also suck, this whole deal was a steaming pile of toxic waste.

    El Generico vs Human Tornado

    This was better than both men’s matches from the previous night. We get the same stuff with Tornado using Candice as a shield, but he is a lot more aggressive in laying a beating on Generico in the early going. Generico is happy to get thrown around all over the place and take some big spills so the front end of the match was quite hot. Once Generico made his comeback it lost some steam, though he did hit some nice stuff including his great asai moonsault. They get some big drama in the finishing run, though it’s all built around Candice – first she interferes to give Tornado a couple big counters, then she gets dragged into the line of fire for a yakuza kick, which also leads to be a big Tornado nearfall. I could see this stuff not playing well nowadays, but the whole Tornado character and push was built around this stuff, so it worked for me as the big dramatic beats of a title match. Generico gets a decisive win, but Tornado didn’t lose much face in the process, they could and did still get a lot of mileage out of his act. Didn’t rock my world but this was a solid effort.

    Low Ki vs Samoa Joe (linked)

    Any time these two faced off it was something worth going out of your way for, and even if this wasn’t quite at the top end of the spectrum for them, it was still pretty rad and easily the best match on the show. While their ROH match was a balls out stiff-fest, this had more grappling and submission attempts, but still – when they threw down, the exchanges were top tier. They absolutely blast the shit out of each other, so much so that even in 480p you can see the perspiration fly off of them when getting laced with these hard chops and kicks. At one point Joe hits Ki with such a hard ole kick he breaks a spoke on the metal barricade. That you can have these two work so evenly and it be completely believable despite the 100lb weight difference is a testament to how to well they match up. A whole bunch of punishment, though there were a few instances where it started to get repetitive before they’d mix it up. Both guys get to survive each other’s finishers before Ki takes a rare clean loss, which is made even more surprising by this being his debut weekend in the promotion. Ki vs Joe was like a US indy Hashimoto vs Tenryu, two elite badasses who would beat the ever-loving crap out of each other, and it’s only a shame we didn’t get more of it while they were both in their prime.
    Talk about the best matches of the year here:

    WWE | AEW | New Japan | Other

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