Title: Scott's 2011 Lists
Description: Scratching that OCD itch...
ScToTeE - January 27, 2011 01:54 AM (GMT)
Overall Top 10:
WWE Top 10:
01) Chris Masters vs. Drew McIntyre - WWE 05.12.2011
02) Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena - WWE 07.25.2011
03) The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler - WWE 02.20.2011
04) John Cena vs. CM Punk - WWE 01.17.2011
05) CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio - WWE 09.03.2011
06) Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry - WWE 04.29.2011
07) Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz - WWE 02.14.2011
08) Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus - WWE 05.03.2011
Other US Top 10:
01) Finlay vs. Sami Callihan - EVOLVE 07.26.2011
02) Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico - PWG 01.29.2011
03) Jerry Lawler / Dr. Tim Linder vs. Bill Dundee / Dr. Brian McCarver - Fundraiser for Prevention of Child Abuse Center 03.04.2011
04) Finlay vs. Kevin Steen - PWG 08.20.2011
05) Vordell Walker vs. Damian Wayne (Falls Count Anywhere) - GOUGE 06.25.2011
06) Trevor Murdock vs. Derek Stone (Last Man Standing) - Metro Pro 01.08.2011
07) Jerry Lawler / Brian Christopher vs. Bill Dundee / Jaime Dundee - CCW 03.02.2011
08) Low-Ki vs. Necro Butcher - IWA:EC - 07.12.2011
09) Low-Ki vs. Sami Callihan - JAPW 03.26.2011
Japan Top 10:
01) Yuki Ishikawa / Hideki Suzuki vs. Daisuke Ikeda / Super Tiger II - BattlArts 02.27.2011
02) Dick Togo vs. Antonio Honda - DDT 01.30.2011
03) Yoshihiro Takayama vs. KENTA - NOAH 01.15.2011
04) Yoshihiro Takayama / Takuma Sano vs. Go Shiozaki / Shuhei Tanaguchi - NOAH 03.05.2011
05) Jun Akiyama vs. Taiyo Kea - AJPW 04.08.2011
06) Ikuto Hidaka vs. Takafumi Ito - Z1-MAX 03.06.2011
07) Jun Akiyama vs. Yutaka Yoshi - NOAH 03.05.2011
08) Yuki Ishikawa / Munenori Sawa vs. Alexander Otsuka / Hideki Suzuki - BattlArts 01.23.2011
09) Togi Makabe vs. Masato Tanaka - NJPW 01.04.2011
10) Takashi Sugiura vs. Trevor Murdoch - NOAH 03.21.2011
Mexico Top 10:
01) Black Terry / Negro Navarro vs. Angel Mortal / El Apache – IWRG 01.09.2011
02) Black Terry / Negro Navarro vs. Angel Mortal / El Apache – IWRG 01.16.2011
03) Doctor Cerebro vs. Comando Negro - IWRG 01.30.2011
04) Negro Casas vs. Blue Panther - CMLL 04.24.2011
05) Satanico / Solar I v. Blue Panther / Negro Navarro - CMLL 03.05.2011
06) Ángel Azteca Jr. / Ángel de Oro / Ángel de Plata vs. Cancerbero / Raziel / Virus - CMLL 02.04.2011
07) Demus 3:16 / Virus / Stuka Jr / Fuego / Ángel de Plata / Dr. X / Puma King /
Rey Cometa / Hijo del Signo / Durango Kid / Hombre Bala Jr / Dragon Lee (Cibernetico) - CMLL 02.08.2011
08) Negro Navarro / Doctor Cerebro / Multifacetico vs. Mazada / Comando Negra / El Apache – IWRG 01.23.2011
09) Doctor Cerebro / Trauma I / Trauma II vs. Virus / Puma Kid / Tiger Kid - CMLL 03.05.2011
10) Virus vs. Demus 3:16 (Hair, Loser Returns to Mini Division) - CMLL 03.11.2011
Europe Top 10:
01) James Mason / Nathan Cruz vs. Dean Allmark / Carl Cool - ASW 08.10.2011
02) Dean Allmark vs. James Mason - ASW 08.03.2011
03) James Mason vs. Dean Allmark - ASW 07.27.2011
04) James Mason vs. Dean Allmark (Lumberjack) - ASW 08.31.2011
05) James Mason vs. Dick Togo - ASW 08.02.2011
06) James Mason vs. Dean Allmark - ASW 02.06.2011
ScToTeE - February 1, 2011 12:55 PM (GMT)
I'm not going to vote on any more matches in the nominees threads until I've filled up my Mexico, Japan and United States lists. This is so I can better gauge what quality it takes to be considered a MOTYC in 2011 in each respective region. This'll probably lead to some weird inclusions initially but, in theory, the lists will become tougher to break into as the year progresses. I hope. In any case, the nominees threads will survive without me.
Black Terry vs. Solar vs. Negro Navarro vs. Villano IV vs. Rey Mendoza Jr vs. Ultraman vs. El Dandy vs. Fuerza Guerrera - ??? 01.29.2011 (#10: OVERALL; #06 MEXICO)
This is a strange concept for a tournament but I like how it promises/teases a variety of match-ups without being a chaotic multi-man race. The strongest 'matches' were the ones involving Navarro. The expected Solar pairing delivered the usual high quality maestros battle whilst the accompanying Terry / Villano matwork was solid as well. It's a shame Terry and Solar went so early though. I want to see Solar wrestle someone other than Navarro, not that I'm sick of those pairings but I want to see what he can do with someone else, and this tournament teased that without following up on it. The brawling in the next two falls made me miss Terry as well, although it was still fun brawling. The clipping didn't help it. Glad to see Dandy emerge out of the wilderness and his contributions were enjoyable. The final Navarro / Villano showdown capped the thing off nicely. I appreciated the return to mat-wrestling as it bookended the tournament in a neat manner.
So, yeah, a fun concept and a fun 'match' that delivered but not on everything that I hoped it would.
ScToTeE - February 2, 2011 03:44 AM (GMT)
Trauma I / Trauma II vs. Faby Apache / Mary Apache - DTU 01.29.2011 (#11 OVERALL; #07 MEXICO)
If violence on little people wasn't enough this morning, I follow that up with violence on women this afternoon. A humble performance by Los Traumas which makes what would seem ludicrous on paper work surprisingly well in reality. Trauma I established them immediately as a threat through his selling of pain and desperation during the opening mat-wrestling. I thought the matwork with both pairings was accomplished as it had force, selling and detail. The brawling was good too, with both teams not really holding back, and I can agree with the junior-style structural comparison Jetlag mentions in the nominees thread. Perhaps it was worked a bit too evenly, considering how much of a bruiser Trauma I is, but it doesn't bother me excessively. I'll take any kind of respectable women's wrestling these days. Trauma I did have the shoulder bandages on, which wasn't targeted, but from the lucha matches I've seen where a pre-existing injury is attacked such a strategy is communicated as 'cheap' and 'under-handed' and generally leads to heated, bloody brawling so I don't think that would've fit here.
Doctor Cerebro vs. Comando Negro - IWRG 01.30.2011 (#03 OVERALL; #03 MEXICO)
A superb, motivated showing by Doctor Cerebro who took a game Comando Negro to a great lucha singles match. The mat-wrestling was excellent, some of the best I've seen since I started regularly watching lucha in 2010, which contained a bunch of interesting holds and detailed struggle. Moments like Cerebro needing his side slapped several times before his arms came free so Negro could stretch them back or when Cerebro kept shoving Negro's reaching hands away so he can execute another hold dismiss the 'your turn, my turn' co-operative impression that sometimes envelops these matches. It also makes the match seem hard fought and worth something. I also dug Cerebro driving his elbow into Negro's neck at the very beginning of the segunda caida. Everything built to a very good final fall that featured an impressive dive by Cerebro and one of the better surprise upset victories I've seen.
ScToTeE - February 3, 2011 07:26 AM (GMT)
John Morrison vs. Sheamus vs. John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. R-Truth vs. Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Orton (Battle Royal) - WWE 01.31.2011 (#15 OVERALL; #05 UNITED STATES)
Good fun. Morrison's escapes were entertaining, the Orton/Punk drama was decent whilst it lasted, Cena helping Lawler win was both enjoyable and surprising. Then there's what the match promises. I might be biased because I really want to see Lawler / Miz now and hopefully a decent-sized 'Mania match for the King but this was fun enough to linger on the lists for now. Michael Cole's forced heel routine is more grating than his previous outraged face routine.
ScToTeE - February 23, 2011 02:44 AM (GMT)
Togi Makabe vs. Masato Tanaka - NJPW 01.04.2011 (#12 OVERALL; #01 JAPAN)
I'm not huge on either wrestler but this match was admittedly pretty good. Tanaka was effective as the dick-ish heel attacking the injury and being vocal about it. The match was positioned around the table spots, as others said in the nominees thread, which ties into the back-story behind this feud. It built up nicely for the first spot which sees Tanaka put Makabe through again (in reference to how he injured Makabe previously, I believe). Then we witness a second table being set up before action moves away. Usually that annoys me as it compromises any teased finishes between the spot set-up and spot delivery (because you know the match isn't over until that table is used). That wasn't too bad here though as they didn't really go for near-falls. The spot itself was also neatly tied into the story, this time signifying Makabe's vengeance. Tanaka had a small no-sell moment but it was minimal and certainly more acceptable than other matches I've seen him in.
ScToTeE - February 23, 2011 09:30 AM (GMT)
Yoshihiro Takayama vs. KENTA - NOAH 01.15.2011 (#04 OVERALL; #01 JAPAN)
I really need to see some pre-stroke Takayama. Dude's a stiff bastard and I love it. This had all kinds of great Takayama violence: the knees (particularly the GTS counter), the head-butt, kicks and forearms. Add to that his being an ugly fucker and what we have is a guy whose not afraid to dish out brutality or to be on its receiving end. KENTA gets in some mean shots but this was all about the old dog bringing the pain. Takayama telling the referee to fuck off and count KENTA, instead of checking his gash, was awesome. So was the punch exchange. KENTA is not a guy I go out of my way to watch but I can enjoy him being Takayama's punching bag. I liked KENTA's double stomp spots.
ScToTeE - February 24, 2011 12:02 AM (GMT)
Ángel Azteca Jr. / Ángel de Oro / Ángel de Plata vs. Cancerbero / Raziel / Virus - CMLL 02.04.2011 (#04 OVERALL; #04 MEXICO)
Thoughts posted in 'CMLL Nominees' thread.
ScToTeE - February 25, 2011 01:25 AM (GMT)
Demus 3:16 / Virus / Stuka Jr / Fuego / Ángel de Plata / Dr. X / Puma King /
Rey Cometa / Hijo del Signo / Durango Kid / Hombre Bala Jr / Dragon Lee, Cibernetico - CMLL 02.08.2011 (#05 OVERALL; #05 MEXICO)
I really appreciate how this match is structured. It starts off with the quick interchange of pairings, each performing small sequences of chain-wrestling and armdrags capped by a few teased spots. It does well to build anticipation for what is to come. This first act reaches the Stuka Jr / Virus pairing which introduces striking into the match and culminates in the first athletic spot. Consequently the performance's tone shifts as the other pairings begin doing the same. I enjoy how these aerial spots are spaced out with doses of quick action in-between as it creates a nice ebb-and-flow to the stunt showcase. Peaks and troughs. Demus had a fun moment where he just breaks into brawling, then continues flailing about on the mat. The corkscrew leap over the top rope was cool as was Stuka's springboard moonsault that cemented the tonal shift. Although we don't get to see the collision, the luchador who ran up the turnbuckle only to tumble awkwardly over the camera out of frame was actually satisfying. It looked like he murdered himself with it but, yeah, I think it added to the match. Kinda dickish of me to praise that, I know.
Once a few eliminations fall the third act is reached. More bombs-throwing and submissions are used, leading to more falls. The sequences become longer as less wrestlers are left standing. The drama surrounding the Stuka Jr / Virus / Demus 3:16 finish was neat and does a great job in building excitement for the Demus v. Virus luchas de apuestas match. The small strike exchange at the end was a tantalising glimpse of their future. Can't wait.
ScToTeE - February 27, 2011 12:52 AM (GMT)
Negro Navarro / Trauma I / Trauma II vs. Pirata Morgan / Pirata Morgan Jr. / Barba Roja - IWRG 02.20.2011
(#16 OVERALL; #10 MEXICO)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JrNCzOG6MYhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWr9S3PLW8Ehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9l1_aZLw8g
The first fall was more about building towards the eventual breakdown and teasing a Navarro/Morgan showdown than it was anything else. Pirata Morgan would keep taking cheap shots and interfering from the apron which makes Navarro a cranky, protective father. The match threatens to degenerate a few times as Navarro would keep confronting Morgan on his side of the ring. Trauma II / Barba Roja matwork wasn't anything special, with Roja using simple holds without much effect. I preferred the Trauma I / Morgan Jr. mat-exchanges as there was more force applied with I's holds. Morgan and Navarro enter the ring and, just as we expect to see the showdown that has been teased thus far, Los Piratas ambushes Navarro's team with Roja cutting off Navarro's chance at Morgan.
We return from a commerical break and the Piratas are still triple-teaming Navarro's team. And apparently a referee has turned rudo as well. Navarro's reactions to that guy are actually pretty fun. The match has transitioned into brawling. Pirata Morgan misses Navarro with a charge into the corner and this opens the match up for a momentum shift. Los Traumas had some pretty cool double-teams in this fall. I particularly liked the one that had Trauma I boot Morgan Jr. in the face. Trauma II leaping over the ropes to stamp on an out-stretched Roja was neat too.
Final fall was fun with some unusual interactions, like Morgan Jr. and Roja accidentally yanking each other's mask off. And when Morgan Jr and Trauma I take turns to mistakingly hit their respective fathers. Trauma I finished things with off with a nice DDT thing. He tries the same thing on Morgan but it doesn't come off right so he follows it up with a punt to the skull. I can get behind that. Where the match falls down though is not paying off the Morgan/Navarro teasing with an actual showdown. They take pot-shots at each other and that drama is the spine of the match's story but it never culminates into anything. As such this isn't a high-end trios but it provided enough fun to make my list for now. Navarro's provided great expressiveness throughout and it was good to see some brawling out of him. His strikes may not have the satsifying harshness of a Terry overhand chop but they didn't look too bad in their own right. I like his rigid punches.
ScToTeE - February 27, 2011 10:45 AM (GMT)
John Cena vs. CM Punk - WWE 02.14.2011
(#14 OVERALL; #05 UNITED STATES)
I liked 01.17 better but this was still good stuff. Punk largely controlled offense again with Cena being limited to short bursts (except his trademark comeback sequence). Punk had some nice cut-off spots and I enjoyed how Cena's short bursts were sometimes centred around power-out/struggle spots. The heel overcoming the stipulation to win was a neat way to end things. These two have fun matches together. Hopefully the series continues.Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz - WWE 02.14.2011
(#04 OVERALL; #01 UNITED STATES)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfVOuzRN92Y
Daniel Bryan was awesome in this! His kicks were deliciously stiff, he ate an insane neckbreaker to the apron's edge and the running knee on the outside followed by the missile dropkick in the ring was an exhilarating comeback surge. The Miz performed his side of things well with solid offense, good facial expressions and bumping to complement Bryan's fiery sequences. Most fun I've had watching WWE in 2011.
ScToTeE - March 3, 2011 12:15 PM (GMT)
Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Edge, Elimination Chamber - WWE 02.21.2011 (#09 OVERALL; #03 UNITED STATES)
Mysterio ruled this match once again but this time it wasn't a one-man job. Once McIntyre got involved this went from 'fun' to 'really, really fun'. He brought some reckless offense that shoved the match into a new gear. The Mysterio and Barrett pod spots were great. He looked like he really threw them through the structure, complete with absent concern for their safety, as opposed to carrying them into the pod, make a little bang and then dropping them. Big Show was a lot of fun too. I dug the spot where he trapped Barrett's arm in the chain wall so he could chop away. Sometimes I think I enjoy chops too much.
Mysterio as the 'glue' was awesome as expected, eating offense and bumping like a suicidal midget. I liked how he started using head-butts too. That final ten minutes spent with Edge was shockingly good. They'd sell for a little while, gradually getting to their feet, building anticipation for a potential finish, hit a short, swift sequence and cap it with a two count. Then they'd go through that slow building process again. It accrued nice suspense (Mysterio had proven he could work a good match with Del Rio so it was buyable that he might win this) and all the fatigue selling made it believable that these two started the match and have been through hell to reach this point. I don't think they went overboard with the near-falls either.
ScToTeE - March 3, 2011 01:50 PM (GMT)
Jerry Lawler vs. The Miz - WWE 02.21.2011 (#01 OVERALL; #01 UNITED STATES)
Sure, I was invested in this match too. We all love Lawler. What I really missed, though, was Lawler's fire-up sequence. I was really hoping that'd turn up. He'd tense up, look around wildly and clench his fist whilst the opponent threw ineffective punches. Then he's yank the shoulder strap down and UNLEASH with those brilliant swinging haymakers, with the opponent bumping and flailing about marvellously. Nothing draws me into the excitement of a match better than Lawler's version of the comeback sequence. So, yeah, kind of disappointed that that didn't turn up in this. I think Miz would've done well in the 'punching bag' role too.
That said: I was totally engrossed. It had some truly excellent dramatic moments like Alex Riley wreaking havoc leading up to his eventual explusion, Cole ranting and despairing which built towards Lawler tossing Miz into him (such an amusing spot no matter how many times we see it!) and Lawler's various close falls. The 'Mania sign spot was particularly awesome. Whilst I may be disappointed that THE Lawler comeback sequence didn't appear I did dig the teased piledrivers, the various fist drops and the Lawler punches we DID see. This was still a match featuring the King. Those awkward dropkicks and crossbody were fun shit too. They did enough here to make Lawler look like a potential victor, whilst the ending itself was satisfying in a buzz-kill sort of way. Cole's celebration, as others have said, was a thing of beauty.
I'm not sure how highly I rate this yet. I think it's MOTY so far but there are cases for the four or five matches right beneath it. I will re-watch them all closer to the year's end. I don't think Lawler/Miz is unbeatable.
ScToTeE - March 4, 2011 06:46 AM (GMT)
John Cena vs. R-Truth vs. CM Punk vs. King Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. John Morrison, Elimination Chamber - WWE 02.21.2011 (#19 OVERALL; #09 UNITED STATES)
This chamber match was all Morrison and Punk. R-Truth added nothing. Cena, Orton and Sheamus, whilst not 'bad', were unremarkable. But Morrison's parkour schtick really thrived in this environment leading to some fun moments. His selling of the knee injury was great too. He is starting to win me over as a wrestler although I'd like to see him deliver in more standard singles matches before I'm convinced. Punk flourished in his role-playing. He had great facial expressions throughout. There seemed to be some nasty cuts on his legs towards the end too which is the closest to blood we were going to get in this. The lack of a dramatic end between Punk and Cena hurt this and everything pre-Punk's second coming wasn't even on the level of the pre-McIntyre stuff in the SD chamber. An 'okay' chamber sprinkled with some really good stuff from Punk and Morrison. Enough to linger for now.
ScToTeE - March 10, 2011 12:34 PM (GMT)
Christian vs. Brodus Clay - WWE 03.07.2011 (#26 OVERALL; #11 UNITED STATES)
MOTYC, this is not. It's a short television match but one I still enjoyed a lot. And with room still on my US Top 15 ... I figure why not?
The four minutes or so we get serves as a fine microcosm of what makes Christian such a great worker. His accomplished selling effectively complemented Clay's focused attack on the recently healed pectoral muscle. Christian sold a single punch to the area as though it may have re-caused the tear. This swept into a neat armbar sequence where Clay clearly was clawing at the muscle whilst Christian conveyed good desperation - Christian's previous selling made it believable that this basic hold was punishing. Plus Clay seemed to pull back to the point where his victim returned to his feet. Then we get an intelligently laid out comeback sequence where a) Christian is forced to use two missile dropkicks to topple the behemoth (emphasising his size) and b) Clay does most of the running for Christian to preventing the no-selling of injury and fatigue. I thought Brodus Clay was pretty good in his role: his elbow drops were like tumbling boulders, he hit a cool battering ram headbutt and altogether was convincing as a malicious fat guy trying to re-injure his smaller opponent.
This wasn't as good as, say, Christian/Jackson from Royal Rumble 2010 but it exhibits similar signs of what made that match work well. I'm actually tempted to place this above the RAW Rumble and RAW Elimination Chamber but, ultimately, I think their peaks trump this.
ScToTeE - March 11, 2011 06:34 AM (GMT)
Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli - ROH 01.15.2011 (#27 OVERALL; #12 UNITED STATES)
Solid stuff. There's a story about Daniels' age contained in this and so he largely stays grounded. Showcasing athleticism, as a result, doesn't really take over the match. They ditch the usual chain-wrestling as well with Claudio starting out over-powering Daniels and taunting him about it. So, two indy-style conventions that usually disengage me are avoided. I liked Claudio's subtle right arm selling that stems out of Daniels' control segment ... even if Claudio does forget about it towards the uppercut-y conclusion. It's present for most of the match and isn't over-stated so it's buyable that the pain worn off a little as they moved on. Like Christian above Daniels lets Claudio do most of the work during his comeback sequence, either by running himself or whipping Daniels into the ropes, which helped generate an upturn in pacing without compromising selling. Probably a little bit long in length and the drama surrounding the ending wasn't compelling ... but I can make do with 'decent' from ROH. Even if it didn't blow me away, I'm glad I gave it a chance.
ScToTeE - March 11, 2011 07:27 AM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. Alex Colon - CZW 02.12.2011 (#16 OVERALL; #07 UNITED STATES)
Callihan gave a very good individual performance. The stiff offense and bumping, not to mention the blood, really aided his nutjob portrayal. I liked how he really threw himself into the faceplant to the middle turnbuckle. Callihan somehow split his arm open chopping Colon against the fence and by the end of it he had started to bleed from the forehead too. Just a cool, nutty image to complement his characterisation. Colon's side of things was weaker but I don't think it hurt the match. The finishing stretch was great with Colon clearly being beaten, but remaining stubbornly defiant, so Callihan just destroys him more. I like that type of ending. Colon's selling during it was good.
ScToTeE - March 12, 2011 10:53 AM (GMT)
Chris Masters vs. Tyler Reks - WWE 03.10.2011 (#22 OVERALL; #11 UNITED STATES)
Fun heavyweight slugfest. Masters is great at conveying emotion and that complements his comebacks here. He increases the tempo of the match but maintains an impression of fatigue, thus avoiding no-selling. It's an aspect to his game that I think he does much better than John Cena and sometimes even Rey Mysterio. This had a good layout which saw Masters perform sporadic little bursts as Reks dominated. These bursts were cut-off nicely at two points: first being the ring-post shot that Masters sold excellently and second was right before the finish where Masters really seemed to faceplant the canvas. I loved the counter from the Burning Hammer to the Masterlock, especially the hint of struggle.
Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe - ROH 01.15.2011 (#28 OVERALL; #13 UNITED STATES)
Honestly this was losing my attention until the blade job. The chain-wrestling had some good moments of struggle but everything else wasn't working for me. But then Jay blades and what follows becomes much more interesting. It's not on the same level as Guerrero/JBL in terms of a blade job that elevates the match to new heights (that match was awesome pre-blading anyway) but it certainly picks up. I liked how Strong repeatedly rammed Briscoe's skull into the barricade right beforehand too. From then on Jay's selling is about 85% good, which largely makes the match. He conveyed weakness well in his movements in-between moves and time spent being beaten down. When it came to executing moves I felt he was a bit too fluid considering his condition. But I've seen much worse selling in this kind of environment and I'm pleased that he didn't spend prolonged stints running around. The end had a few too many near-falls but, again, I've seen worse. Another ROH match I'm glad I didn't ignore.
ScToTeE - March 13, 2011 12:07 PM (GMT)
Jerry Lawler / Dr. Tim Linder vs. Bill Dundee / Dr. Brian McCarver - Fundraiser for Prevention of Child Abuse Center 03.04.2011 (#17 OVERALL; #08 UNITED STATES)
I had a load of fun watching this. And although, as you'd expect, the Lawler/Dundee stuff was great, it was the actions of their untrained tag partners that had me smiling. The heel doctor was really enthusiastic in his role and it's a great thing to see. He was choking Lawler, working cheat tactics with Dundee, went through the 'hide the chain' routine, was taunting the face team and crowd etc. He even bumped nicely for the other doctor's shove like a stooge heel should. It's a shame we don't know who he is. The interactions with Lawler were highly enjoyable, he'd dash away and sneak up behind the King numerous times, and it led to a very good pay-off with Lawler hitting a piledriver on him. The face doctor wasn't as much a presence in the match, but his moments were good too and the doctor showdown was actually pretty decent. It may not be 1983 anymore but Dundee still works the heel schtick with ease. I could watch him deck faces, manipulate referees and antagonise crowds for another ten years yet. Crowd dug this and so did I.
Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre - WWE 03.11.2011 (#19 OVERALL; #10 UNITED STATES)
Exactly what you should expect from a small television match that combines McIntyre's vicious offense with Mysterio's ragdoll bumping/selling. Drew starts us off with a mean big boot and not soon after we get a nice backbreaker. McIntyre has an enjoyable recklessness in his body language when on offense and we get an example here where he carelessly drops Mysterio onto the mat after the backbreaker. Everything at ringside ruled, as McIntyre faceplants the apron's edge before returning the favour to Mysterio with a cool side-slam to the same part of the ring. For what was a short match, this had a lot of satisfying action and a few memorable spots as well.
ScToTeE - March 15, 2011 12:14 PM (GMT)
Doctor Cerebro / Trauma I / Trauma II vs. Virus / Puma Kid / Tiger Kid - CMLL 03.05.2011 (#13 OVERALL; #07 MEXICO)
Pretty much delivered everything I want from a lucha trios. There was some slick chain-wrestling and nice holds. It's refreshing to watch that stuff appear like two wrestlers trying to hurt each other after all the Tiger Mask I've seen lately. Team CMLL performed some really fun and impactful triple-teams during the segunda caida. That fall was capped off brilliantly by Los Traumas deploying simultaneous spinning figure-four locks. Doctor Cerebro and Virus gave a small, cool dose of striking and bombs. Trauma I punted someone in the head. The miscommunication spots that befell Los Traumas were amusing and led to both being taken out by a nice dive, which set the end up superbly. I can't really ask for more.
ScToTeE - March 16, 2011 08:25 AM (GMT)
Solar I / Ultraman vs. Black Terry / Negro Navarro - Coliseo Coacalco 03.13.2011 (#16 OVERALL; #08 MEXICO)
Solar/Navarro bookended this match and it was great as usual. But what I was most pleased to see was Solar work with Black Terry for a little bit. These exchanges were pretty good in their own right - fun holds with force - and has me hoping more between them is to come. Was I imagining some kind of competition between Terry and Navarro there? It looked like BT was saying "hey man, look at how easily I'm breaking down your precious rival". Or maybe that was all in my head... I think this was the first time I have seen Solar work with somone other than Navarro. I'm glad his qualities aren't an illusion. Ultraman managed to blend in nicely with the superior workers around him. A good maestros tag.
ScToTeE - March 16, 2011 11:01 AM (GMT)
Satanico / Solar I v. Blue Panther / Negro Navarro - CMLL 03.05.2011 (#06 OVERALL; #04 MEXICO)
Man, if Solar/Ultraman vs Terry/Navarro was a good maestros tag then this was a great maestros tag. Primera caida started off with Satanico and Panther facing off. They stuck with simple stuff mostly but had good detail and struggle. Navarro and Solar performed the bulk of the first fall which never really deviated from their usual pattern. First a battle of armdrags, then holds followed by traded throws. These two have this routine ingrained to such a depth that I believe they could work it perfectly whilst blindfolded. This familiarity also translates nicely into their execution, as each hold and throw are deployed fluidly but with excellent force as well. They never look like they're phoning it in, regardless of how many times they wrestle, and everything looks crisp and punishing. I wasn't too thrilled about having both pairings end with double pins, as it felt too neat a finish, but it's a minor criticism.
The pairings rotate for the segunda caida, so we get to see a decent amount of every possible combination. The matwork builds upon the foundations of the first fall, with more struggle imbued into the smooth grappling. This second fall also featured more running and even some aerial action from Solar. Navarro found an awesome way to twist up Satanico's leg to force the submission. Meanwhile Solar's rolling arm-lock that began with him on top of Navarro's shoulders was even cooler. Again, wasn't too happy with the drawn conclusion but with such fine mat-wrestling (and remarkable eliminations setting up the Solar/Panther finish) on display it's hard to bitch too much. Superb match.
ScToTeE - March 21, 2011 10:22 AM (GMT)
Daniel Bryan vs. King Sheamus - WWE 03.14.2011
Bryan's dive followed up by the missile dropkick is a pretty great flurry sequence. It has worked as an awesome comeback surge in the past and here we get it as part of an upbeat opening. Bryan using it so early also built Sheamus up as an unusual 'threat'. The Irishman has grown into a decent bruiser over the year gone past with his offense acquiring good impact. In particular his clobbering blows. Bryan's stiff kicks remain a highlight in his performances. The match ended on a good note with a nice cut-off spot that was satisfying despite its predictability. Not a great match by any means but one people might want to check out.
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio (Steel Cage) - WWE 03.18.2011
For a cage match that we only see just under ten minutes of, this was fun stuff. Despite the length this had enough 'cage spots' that made the stipulation seem worth it. I liked all the basic cage wall collisons, as Del Rio was rough when shoving Christian into it. Plus at one point Christian charged at Del Rio only to miss and he really bolted straight into the wall. Del Rio looked a bit hesitant when climbing but besides that I think he did well in this environment. He was aggressive on offense, had a nice turnbuckle enziguiri and played his role as the dominant heel competently. But, then again, these days it's harder to have a bad match with Christian than it is a good match. The real question: is Del Rio good enough to make a Wrestlemania main-event against Edge watchable?
Virus vs. Demus 3:16 (Hair, Loser Returns to Mini Division) - CMLL 03.11.2011 (#17 OVERALL; #09 MEXICO)
It's very hard not to consider this a disappointment. This had even greater stakes than the usual hair vs. hair stipulation and yet we don't get the hate-filled brawling or blood. But to dismiss it on those grounds would be unfair because, as others have said, this was a really enjoyable spotfest. The moves that finished off the first two falls were cool, Virus was working some really peculiar submissions effectively, there was a great athletic sequence at ringside during the final fall, Demus did a nice missile tope from the ramp to the ring and at one point Virus dropkicked Demus, dangling upside down on the ropes, with Demus selling it by whipping himself back into the ring with velocity. A lot of entertaining action packed into the match. Demus had a few satisfying nearfalls, especially the one where he re-uses the move that won him the first fall. Both wrestlers gave great performances. Perhaps more disappointing than the match not being the epic I had imagined is the fact that we aren't likely to see another match between the two.
ScToTeE - April 10, 2011 01:56 AM (GMT)
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio - WWE 04.03.2011 (#19 OVERALL; #10 UNITED STATES)
Cool match with a fun story. Rhodes did well dominating offense, his stalling super-plex and the Alabama Slam sequence were standout spots. I also liked his springboard kick. I thought this had some great near-falls, first with the 619 to Cody's exposed face and then Mysterio's revenge run with the mask on. Between how the story of the two braces were integrated into the match and Cody's characterisation, this felt like an allusion to Mid-South.
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton - WWE 04.03.2011 (#10 OVERALL; #04 UNITED STATES)
Easily MOTN. I don't see how Orton's selling was bad, as others have said. He sold the injury throughout the match: when it was being assaulted, when Orton executed a move and he even limped during his obligatory face surge. If that's bad selling then I don't know what you'd call Cena's. It also made up for Orton's shitty, shitty strikes. Punk is WWE's best heel act and here he was great. He conveys intensity and psychosis, but it's more subtle than the crap you'd see from Edge. I dug his taunts. His attack on Orton's knee was largely why this match was so enjoyable, as he found some really fun ways to work the joint. From kicking the steel steps into Orton's knee, to doing some kind of jawbreaker to it, standing on it whilst Orton was hanging upside down on the turnbuckle, the Figure Four ringpost spot, the Indian deathlock where Punk repeatedly pounded the injury mid-hold whilst Orton scrambled to escape. Then there was the cool kick counter to the RKO and I liked how Punk floated into the Anaconda Vice after sweeping Orton's legs from under him. The finish ruled: Orton collapses attempting the punt, thus validating Punk's attack throughout the match and nodding towards the match's build, Punk conveys relief and cockyness at having dodged that bullet; Orton attempts a final, desperate, RKO only for Punk to escape that too; again, Punk is relieved and even more confident; all that builds superbly to the conclusive spot where Punk does a springboard aerial move that gets him caught in another RKO for the loss. Great match.
ScToTeE - April 15, 2011 10:00 AM (GMT)
Jerry Lawler / Brian Christopher vs. Bill Dundee / Jamie Dundee - 03.02.2011 (#18 OVERALL; #10 UNITED STATES)
Jamie Dundee makes a great southern-style heel in this. He stooges, taunts, pretends to leave, makes his old man wrestle Christopher so he can do star jumps at ringside, does the whole hidden weapon trick. Plus he looks good on offense - he doesn't deserve that surname if he can't throw a fake punch! I don't care if it's 2011, Lawler/Dundee still is a bag 'o fun. I loved Lawler getting the hot tag, pausing before he collides with Dundee, drops the strap and then it's old fella PUUUUUUUUNCHES. Finish was a little weird with grandpa Dutch Mantell strolling to the ring to make the count but whatever. As Dylan said: "This is part punches, part schtick, all Southern." And that translates to all fun in my books.
This and the fundraiser tag deserve to be higher on my lists. I need to re-watch everything above them first though.
ScToTeE - April 18, 2011 11:43 AM (GMT)
Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre - WWE 04.15.2011
(#13 UNITED STATES)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyLnJFrQXY
Here's another neat match between these two. What Mysterio (bumping, fast-paced offense) and McIntyre (impactful offense) bring to the table mixes well and it feels like a great match between the two isn't far off. McIntyre controls most of the contest, creating a deliberate pace, with the majority of Mysterio's comebacks emerging from mistakes or counters. That connects the match up with what Booker and Cole discuss concerning McIntyre's need to focus on his opponent. Drew had some nice cut-off spots too, specifically throwing Mysterio into the barricade and the clothesline whilst on his knees, and his clubbing blows came off well. Another part of Drew's contributions that I liked was how he'd set himself up for some of Rey's offense. For Rey's turnbuckle leg drop, where McIntyre was positioned on the second rope, Drew was groggily trying to pull himself up to the top rope as Mysterio collided with him. And for the finish Drew fell into place for the turnbuckle splash a split second before Rey hit it, with Rey leaping just as Drew began falling, making it feel like a narrow window of opportunity to nail the move for the victory. It's a cool addition of detail that helps occlude how rigid and inorganic those sequences can be. This was longer than 03.11 and, as such, I like 04.15 slightly better.
ScToTeE - April 21, 2011 04:12 AM (GMT)
Time to tackle some Japanese stuff . . . Yoshihiro Takayama / Takuma Sano vs. Go Shiozaki / Shuhei Tanaguchi - NOAH 03.05.2011
Yeah, despite having the atmosphere of a library, I thought this was a really, really solid tag. Tanaguchi was impressive. Shiozaki was working this with a finger injury, and so you know that'll be exploited, which left Tanaguchi as the guy introducing bursts of faster-paced action. And he really excelled at that, throwing some meaty forearms and tossing around both opponents. Like KillSteve said, Tanaguchi throwing Takayama about was really cool. After Shiozaki's beatdown segment concludes, Tanaguchi was performing some extremely nice looking slams and throws that looked like they required a lot of effort to do. Y'know, the "sense of weight and effort" I like to sing praise for.
Shiozaki is a guy I don't remember liking but here he has good, consistent selling. Important considering how integral his finger injury is to the story. I enjoyed how it took exploiting that injury for Takayama and Sano to finally gain control and it's how they kept regaining control from there on. After that Go was holding his hand awkwardly by his side, maintaining his selling until the match's end. Takayama's the old warhorse we love, his knees and forearms are still brutal. He also took quite a few impact moves. I also liked the ending where Tanaguchi was stuck in the ring with Takayama and Sano, but it took a few bombs to finally put him away. A good put over. I need to re-watch Takayama/KENTA but this might be better. There was only one instance of a no-sold suplex but it was very
short-lived and could almost be missed entirely.Ikuto Hidaka vs. Takafumi Ito - Z1-MAX 03.06.2011
This is definitely a weird marriage of junior-style and shoot-style. 'Weird' because oddly enough it worked for me. There's the highly competitive struggle in the grappling and the stiff strikes that you'd expect from BattlArts or FUTEN. But there's also a bit of rope-running and acrobatics thrown in there (in small doses). But those are usually cut-off pretty quickly or are hit/sold well enough to not completely break the seams between them and the shoot-style elements. Ito made the dropkicks looked painful, for example. Speaking of Ito, I really liked his stretch of selling as Hidaka assaulted his leg. He kept it stretched out and awkwardly rigid whilst he desperately flailed some punches from the ground up, feebly trying to keep Ikuto at bay. The match had a kick-a-thon finish with Hidaka blasting Ito twice in the head for an emphatic victory. Good stuff. Even with the pro-style influences I probably would take this over most of BattlArts' singles matches last year. Props to Jetlag for braving Z1 to bring this match to my attention.
ScToTeE - April 21, 2011 03:20 PM (GMT)
Takashi Sugiura vs. Trevor Murdoch - NOAH 03.21.2011
After a prolonged gestation period they amp up the viciousness for the final ten minutes or so. Murdoch's punches were great. Sugiura's running knee to the corner and subsequent forearm flurry were great. Besides that this wasn't terribly engrossing. The novelty of seeing Murdoch perform was fun but, goddamn, that crowd sucks the life out of this. I described the NOAH tag above as having a library atmosphere . . . this was like wrestling in outer space. That doesn't combine well with the slow pace these two work or the fact that Murdoch really isn't buyable as a challenger for the title. Sugiura's selling was tolerable-to-good, strange considering I thought he was of the crappy fighting spirit heavyweight ilk. I liked how they laid this match out, with Murdoch dominating whilst Sugiura bounces back a few times, and as such it's a technically fine performance. But it's one that fails to capture my excitement and, as such, is not a strong placer on my list. As soon as it falls out of my Top 15 it's getting a 'no' vote in the nominees thread. That is . . . if
it falls off my list . . .
ScToTeE - April 22, 2011 04:58 AM (GMT)
I just re-watched Takayama/KENTA and it's actually a little better than I remember. Still Japanese MOTY for now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiioooECFRE
(Just collecting YT links for when I'll need them inevitably later on.)
ScToTeE - April 30, 2011 02:23 PM (GMT)
Jun Akiyama vs. Taiyo Kea - AJPW 04.08.2011
A steadily paced thirty minute heavyweight bout that had consistently good fatigue selling, no crappy fire-up sequences and smartly timed transitions that prevent the match from dragging. Both filled their control segments with interesting bombs too. I particularly dug Akiyama's barricade spots. The opening chain-wrestling had enough subtle selling to ditch the impression of being thrown in to kill time and never looked like ballet. Akiyama 'gets' these titan clashes and Kea followed his lead well. Jun Akiyama vs. Yutaka Yoshi - NOAH 03.05.2011
Look at Yutaka waddle happily to the ring. He reminds me of Nintendo's Kirby character. This was a really fun match. Yoshi squishes Akiyama with various splashes - the one on the outside ruled - and his bulk repels Akiyama's initial comebacks. Akiyama runs around a bit too freshly at one point, but it's coupled with good expressions of urgency and the subsequent submission hold he slaps on has some great primal screaming. He's desperate for that hold to put down this big, bloated, pudgy, pink THING. I think this should've ended with the turnbuckle Exploder, as that was really impressive, but it didn't go on for too much longer anyway. Fun.
ScToTeE - April 30, 2011 03:12 PM (GMT)
Dick Togo vs. Antonio Honda - DDT 01.30.2011 (#03 JAPAN)
Togo's selling was superb. He has his left arm picked apart in the beginning - wish the injury was caused by a deadlier move but that's a minor quibble - and he sells it consistently thereafter. It prevents him from hitting the Pedigree to begin with, he's either shaking it to regain feeling or it's hanging rigidly by his side etc. Honda controls until he tanks his own dive, leaving him cut open, which Togo attacks. He doesn't really use the left arm so that avoids any no-selling during his control segment. I liked Honda's 'spaghetti legs' selling here and his fire-up sequence wasn't too annoying. Once he nails the uppercut he flops down, exhausted, also preventing any no-selling. Togo's arm injury re-appears when it forces him to loosen the Crossface but we soon see him overcome it to nail a Pedigree. However, he misses the follow-up Senton. It's when he does hit that one-two sequence that he finally topples Honda.
ScToTeE - May 1, 2011 12:33 AM (GMT)
Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry - WWE 04.29.2011
(#06 UNITED STATES)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9rr40WiUN4
Oh man, this ruled. I loved their television series back in 2006 and nothing has changed. Henry anchors himself to the middle of the ring and swats the pesky fly that's trying to topple him over. Mysterio bumped well for the big guy, and his small comeback sequences were a heap of fun. Henry's tumble over the steel steps was excellent. Shame about the ending but, eh, we still get a great WWS so I'm not too bothered. Here's hoping this means that 2011 will see Henry in a more prominent role.
ScToTeE - May 1, 2011 02:04 AM (GMT)
Yuki Ishikawa / Munenori Sawa vs. Alexander Otsuka / Hideki Suzuki - BattlArts 01.23.2011 (#07 JAPAN)
Like Mike said, this was light-hearted and fun. I enjoyed the quick tag strategy, where one would hold the opponent in place and tag out, allowing the partner to lock on a hold before letting go. Otsuka brought some lovely throws. Ishikawa sold superbly especially when Suzuki drove an elbow in his gut. Sawa wasn't annoying. Otsuka whipped out a headscissors which, absurdly, didn't jar with the rest of the match. For once I liked the ropebreak B-Rule stipulation as there was a little drama over when and when not to use the break, plus it played into the ending. This isn't high-end but I enjoyed it.
Hijo del Parties - May 1, 2011 08:30 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (ScToTeE @ Apr 21 2011, 11:20 AM)|
| Takashi Sugiura vs. Trevor Murdoch - NOAH 03.21.2011 (#05 JAPAN)|
After a prolonged gestation period they amp up the viciousness for the final ten minutes or so. Murdoch's punches were great. Sugiura's running knee to the corner and subsequent forearm flurry were great. Besides that this wasn't terribly engrossing. The novelty of seeing Murdoch perform was fun but, goddamn, that crowd sucks the life out of this. I described the NOAH tag above as having a library atmosphere . . . this was like wrestling in outer space. That doesn't combine well with the slow pace these two work or the fact that Murdoch really isn't buyable as a challenger for the title. Sugiura's selling was tolerable-to-good, strange considering I thought he was of the crappy fighting spirit heavyweight ilk. I liked how they laid this match out, with Murdoch dominating whilst Sugiura bounces back a few times, and as such it's a technically fine performance. But it's one that fails to capture my excitement and, as such, is not a strong placer on my list. As soon as it falls out of my Top 15 it's getting a 'no' vote in the nominees thread. That is . . . if it falls off my list . . .
Yeah the finish of this was definitely better than the rest. I like Murdoch and wanted this to work, but the dude is a definite Harley Race trainee when it comes to using killed-by-death finishers casually. Dude drops a pedigree and a Canadian Destroyer in short succession halfway through the match. The highlights of this were his cross bodyblock off the top and their punch-off at the end.
ScToTeE - May 1, 2011 01:38 PM (GMT)
Yuki Ishikawa / Hideki Suzuki vs. Daisuke Ikeda / Super Tiger II - BattlArts 02.27.2011 (#01 JAPAN - NEW JAPAN MOTY)
Ikeda and Ishikawa brought some great beef to this. They beat the fuck out of each other and continued fighting after the match, leaving me VERY excited for a future encounter. This is the most violent I've seen Ishikawa in a while. It's a beautiful thing. The heated Ikeda/Ishikawa exchanges were enough to make me dig this match but, honestly, I thought Suzuki and ST2 more than carried their end too. In fact, this is the most enjoyable I've seen ST2. His kicks had very good impact and the ones he missed were of the flashier, complex variety. Really, in this environment he should expect to miss those more often than not. And he still connected with a few, with nice impact. Suzuki was hitting hard too, particularly in the great finishing stretch with Ikeda, and he had a bunch of cool throws. It's as though the return of Ikeda has brought a sudden increase in violence to BattlArts. I didn't mind the '70s flavoured mat-holds from Suzuki nor the hints of junior-style chain-wrestling in the beginning from ST2. They melded a little better with the style than, say, the shit Tiger Shark was pulling in the match with Yamamoto. Not as good as the best three or four FUTEN matches from 2010 but a damn sight better than anything BattlArts produced last year.
Do people think I'm over-rating this (other than Jetlag)? Would anyone else take it over Takayama/KENTA? I'm not sure if it's better or if it's just because it's fresh on my mind . . .
ScToTeE - May 8, 2011 07:30 AM (GMT)
Negro Casas vs. Blue Panther - CMLL 04.24.2011
Two legends of lucha do battle. First fall is all brawling, as Casas ambushes Panther at the entranceway. After beating on him for a while Casas becomes too cocky and is caught off guard by a flash Fujiwara armbar. Second fall witnesses Panther pick apart Casas' now hurt arm but he himself is caught off guard by a sudden cradle pin. I dug the spot that saw Panther trap the arm in a chair so he could chop away at a defenseless Casas. Final fall is all reversals, submission holds and finishers. I liked how Panther would bite his way into escaping some holds, which kept alive the beef between them. Between that and Casas spitting in Panther's face to escape another hold, this match felt like two duelling veterans expert at bending the rules. The rolling surfboard sequence RULED. But again Casas gets arrogant, and thus complacent, allowing Panther to exploit the injured arm for victory.
This could be the new #1 for Mexico. But the three matches I have above it have survived a few extra viewings so we'll see how I react to this later on.
ScToTeE - May 15, 2011 08:48 AM (GMT)
Chris Masters vs. Drew McIntyre - WWE 05.12.2011 (#04 UNITED STATES)
Fuck this ruled. It's simple maths. Masters' masterful (hyuck hyuck) limb and fatigue selling plus McIntyre's impactful offense and interestingly-attack-a-limb schtick equals a superb match from Superstars. Add to that the fact that Masters was even better than usual in this match. I don't care if he gets a push or is left filling up fifteen minutes on RAW, SD or Superstars . . . So long as the guy keeps appearing on my television, I'm happy.
ScToTeE - August 19, 2011 02:30 AM (GMT)
Added to Other US:Low-Ki vs. Sami Callihan - JAPW 03.26.2011http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viIu2213s_o...player_embedded
This had a mostly even distribution of offense but, rather than go for EPIC, these two instead go for STIFF. I like it that way. It had cool violence: Ki nails a great running dropkick to Sami at ringside, there are brutal chops and kicks galore and Ki delivers an awesome KO slap at one point. The selling was good here, which is usually what ruins evenly-structured indy contests for me, and I thought both were entertaining when in control. Commentators were annoying and I could've done without the run-in but those are small grievances. Fun match. It's staying power really depends on how much other indy stuff I get ahold of.
ScToTeE - August 19, 2011 11:03 AM (GMT)
Added (#1 Overall, #1 Other US):
Finlay vs. Sami Callihan - EVOLVE 07.26.2011
ScToTeE - August 19, 2011 11:57 AM (GMT)
Added:Vordell Walker vs. Damian Wayne (Falls Count Anywhere) - GOUGE 06.25.2011http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXBoUupnMTQ
Fun match. One of the more obscure venues I've seen. Wayne getting sent through the ropes via a belly-to-belly was pretty cool. Entertaining bumps up on that wooden platform too. Decent wrestling can happen anywhere. This gave me the urge to check out what local promotions do the rounds here.
ScToTeE - August 22, 2011 02:48 AM (GMT)
Added (Overall #2; Other US #2):
Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico - PWG 01.29.2011