Title: 2012: Lists and Stuff
ScToTeE - March 29, 2012 01:06 AM (GMT)
MOTY Top 15
1. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE 4/29)
2. Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 3/2)
3. El Hijo del Santo / Villano IV vs. El Hijo del Solitario / Angel Blanco Jr. (TXT 2/25)
4. Sami Callihan vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 4/13)
5. Sami Callihan vs. Finlay (WXW 3/2)
6. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (WWE 4/29)
7. La Sombra vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 2/20)
8. Jon Davis vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 5/11)
9. Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 1/27)
10. Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox (CZW 4/14)
11. Fuego / Valiente vs. Arkángel de la Muerte / Virus (CMLL 2/21)
12. TAJIRI vs. Finlay (SMASH 2/19)
13. Chico Che vs. Black Terry (IWRG 1/22)
14. Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox (EVOLVE 5/11)
15. Sami Callihan vs. Rich Swann (CZW 1/14)
WOTY Top 10
1. Sami Callihan
2. Negro Casas
4. Blue Panther
5. Daniel Bryan
6. El Hijo del Santo
7. Black Terry
8. Mark Henry
9. Villano IV
10. John Cena
US Top 5
1. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE 4/29)
2. Sami Callihan vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 4/13)
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (WWE 4/29)
4. Jon Davis vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 5/11)
5. Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox (CZW 4/14)
Mexico Top 5
1. Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 3/2)
2. El Hijo del Santo / Villano IV vs. El Hijo del Solitario / Angel Blanco Jr. (TXT 2/25)
3. La Sombra vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 2/20)
4. Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (1/27)
5. Fuego / Valiente vs. Arkángel de la Muerte / Virus (CMLL 2/21)
Japan Top 5
1. TAJIRI vs. Finlay (SMASH 2/19)
2. Daisuke Sekimoto / Yuji Okabayashi vs. Akebono / Ryuto Hama (AJPW 1/3)
3. Sami Callihan vs. Yoshihito Sasaki (BJW 3/26)
4. Kana vs. Syuri (SMASH 2/19)
Other Top 5
1. Finlay vs. Sami Callihan (WXW 3/2)
ScToTeE - March 29, 2012 01:40 AM (GMT)
Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE 1/4/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QDF9pX2Vq0
Mark Henry comes across like such a badass here. Telling a fan he'll "beat the braces offa him" if he doesn't sit down and shut up, punking out Michael Cole and Josh Matthews several times during commentary ("what ya'll jumpin' for?"). Entertaining dialogue from the big guy. This was an extremely fun match which struck a good balance between making Show look superhuman and allowing Bryan flashes of competency. Bryan bumped and reacted well to Show's offense. People have already mentioned his facial expressions, plus he really threw around his body to ramp up the impact of Show's cut-offs and moves. Really dug the 'strength' spots too, like Show swatting a charging Daniel Bryan away whilst still on one knee. And, of course, the 'Guillotine-power-out-into-Label-Lock-counter-into-power-out' sequence. The spear cut-off was cool too. Just like his contributions to commentary, I thought Henry's presence in the match was enjoyable - bellowing at both guys to get back into the ring - and fed into a fun finish that left everyone looking great and ramped up Bryan's douche-y, obnoxious heel persona in the process. "Get outta my face boy or I'll beat ya brains out!"
ScToTeE - March 29, 2012 02:38 AM (GMT)
Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE 1/10/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4PzOuL4mp8&feature=related
I prefer 1/4/12 but this had a bunch of cool moments to separate it from its predecessor. This was again filled with fun bumping and selling from Bryan, as Show would continuously swat away the annoying bug. I liked the point where Show absorbed a bunch of kicks to his chest before catching Bryan's leg and dismissing him with one shove. And that mid-air spear cut-off spot ruled. So, like last time, Show is made too look like an absolute beast. Bryan persistently and desperately using the chair, only to repeatedly be shutdown by Show, was an entertaining approach to Bryan's comeback flashes without necessarily resorting to high-risk hope spots. The angle ending the match was excellently executed, with the camera and timing of the collison being spot on to not telegraph the moment nor ruin the ambiguity over whether AJ deliberately sacrificed herself or not. Plus, she really threw her body backwards to sell the impact. These guys match-up well. More please.
ScToTeE - March 29, 2012 06:40 AM (GMT)
Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk (WWE 1/30/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjkmXRvKabA
The even assortment of offense was a given with this being a WHC v. WWE Champion match on RAW, but Bryan and Punk worked an extremely fun back-and-forth contest. Bryan was great with his kicks and his small attack on Punk's arm was blessed with nice detail. Punk, consequently, sold the arm consistently afterwards (from switching arms when executing his trademark bulldog to momentarily shaking and clutching his arm mid-offense sequence) and a bunch of his own kicks came off nicely as well. A neat, spontaneous encounter that did a lot to entertain without needing to unleashing their full arsenal on each other. They also did well to make it seem like there's not much between them. Jericho's run-in also aided the furthering story of Bryan scoring lucky victories over big names via unsavoury means and not being overall disappointed by it. All up, very good television match.
ScToTeE - March 31, 2012 11:34 PM (GMT)
Chico Che vs. Black Terry (IWRG 1/22/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLcwpepEeZg...730FUAAAAAAABAA
Well, it's no surprise that I loved this. I'm a big fan of both wrestlers and this is the type of match I like to see them work. Lots of blood, lots of mean strikes, a little drama with the rudo official and some memorable images courtesy of BTJr's camera-work. The moment after the dive outside was fantastic: a close-up of both guys unintentionally leaning on each other, both massacred foreheads propped up against the other, as they suck in air recovering from Che's dive. At another point, BTJr pans across the canvas and you see PUDDLES of blood everywhere. That guy has this insane habit of capturing awesome imagery in his handhelds. Terry was incredible in every respect, from selling to execution. Even his dropkicks looked jarring. I thought Che's wandering around worked well to convey a semi-conscious state during Terry's control segment. He had a great glazed look as he waddled through the crowd. The finishing stretch ruled, as someone else said the consecutive turnbuckle back-crackers subtly emphasised Che's size advantage whilst also looking very cool.
ScToTeE - April 1, 2012 01:04 AM (GMT)
Black Terry vs. Chico Che (IWRG 1/29/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB73knPKgys...EpQi26tV8FjjDaYhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auP2e3FhfMo&feature=relmfuhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50uC5i2Rk6c&feature=relmfu
More of the same violent goodness, but with enough new stuff to make this one stick out on its own accord. The seconds felt like a real presence in the match, rather than pointless ringside scenery, with Che's working overtime to help maintain the rudo control segment (including giving Che the upperhand before Terry had even reached the ring). Terry was excellent whilst being beat down, with small things like clinging to Che's leg to stop him kicking in the corner and the weak sleeper hold attempt conveying nice desperation. I liked Che's use of the chair in the second fall, just roughly throwing it at Terry with force. Terry's spear cut-off spot was very cool but the follow-up one was embarassingly weak. The headbutt exchange in the corner was fucking sick. It had me flashing back to that FUTEN tag where Hashi and Ikeda gave each other brain damage. Of course, it wasn't as
brutal as that but anything that has me reflecting upon FUTEN, and not in a "I wish this was more like that" sense, is a damn good thing. The referee bump was poorly executed, which was unfortunate, but the clusterfuck scramble and drama it allowed for was fun.
ScToTeE - April 2, 2012 06:05 AM (GMT)
Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 1/27/12) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dq-hd2RzF4...c9bFUAAAAAAACAQ
I was having a pretty shit day until I watched this. In fact, I can actually pinpoint the moment where my day transitioned from 'crap' to 'awesome': Panther catching a wild kick from Negro Casas, twisting it into an ankle lock and BITING down on Casas' toes. Who the FUCK thinks to do that?! This is a ten minute sprint that had the rush, the stiffness and the amount of cool shit that you'd think only wrestlers half the age of those involved would hope to pull off. Panther catching Casas off the apron and driving him back first into the post was a great switch. Pulling Casas back BY HIS HAIR over Panther's knees was another fantastic little detail from the man in blue, emphasising the hate and hinting at where the feud will go. The reversal into the STF, and Casas' detail in trying to stop Panther from reaching the ropes, also ruled. He pulls at Panther's hair, grabs and yanks back his outstretched hand, the dislike just permeates everything these two do to each other. Casas' control segment where he rotates through four or five different holds that punish Panther's arms was great fun, made especially so due to Casas' intense mannerisms and execution. I dug the arm bar over the top rope particularly. The chop war segue into duel leg-locks finish was a superb way to end this too. The emphatic low blow afterwards being the exclamation point. Holy fuck did this rule or what?! If this is a taste of what is to come, then we could have an easy MOTDC on our hands here.
ScToTeE - April 4, 2012 11:44 PM (GMT)
Daga / Flamita / Eterno vs. Trauma 1 / Trauma 2 / Sadico (UWE 1/14/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgPOyjwiF8c
I'm on the side that liked the Eterno/T2 matwork. They found a bunch of unique holds to torture each other in and the gentleman-ly aspect to it provided a nice build to the more aggro stuff to come. Everything involving T1 and Daga ruled. I loved how they were striking each other during holds and a lot of their offense was executed with impact, adding to the heightened tensions. Man, did this match make the gap between T1 and T2 seem small, even when it comes to matwork. I remember a time when people would insist that T2 was easily the superior worker. Flamito injected some nice, flashier offense into the mix - although his sections with Sadico were obviously the weakest aspect to the match. Thought the finish was pretty damn good too. Either T1 worked magic to make Daga look good or he's somebody to keep an eye out for.
ScToTeE - April 5, 2012 01:47 AM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. Rich Swann (CZW 1/14/12)
Callihan delivers the stiffness you'd expect from him. The part where he chops Swann over the barricade was great, specifically because a fan caught Swann's knee or foot in the face on the way over. The dive spot and the various bombs also come off superbly. Swann appeared to be reigned in to Callihan's formula, with his flashy offense being structured more as hope and/or cut-off spots. He had a bunch of sick spots too - never seen him wrestle before - especially the spinning headscissors DDT thing and the corkscrew dive to ringside. He didn't totally blow off the injured knee selling, even during longer stretches of offense, as he'd be selling it right before and right after executing a move. That led in nicely to the finish with a super slick counter of a turnbuckle move into Callihan's submission finisher.2 Cold Scorpio vs. Vordell Walker (PWE 1/28/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=playe...e&v=9qvK1jlu_Tw
Scorp's still looking good these days. This'll earn him a ballot placement for sure. As Dylan said, his splash and moonsault come across as legit KO shots. Meanwhile he ate a cool bump from a belly-to-belly into the turnbuckle. I agree with Phil on those Muay Thai knees from both wrestlers. Never quite seen them performed so well before. 2 Cold's punch combo during his little hulk-up sequence was great too. Refreshing, due to how they approached this match and just how well 2 Cold seems to have aged.
ScToTeE - April 6, 2012 03:24 AM (GMT)
Fit Finlay vs. Mal Sanders (LDN 2/23/12)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0TucJ4D5T4
Another goodie from Finlay's tour. It's not high-end, like the Callihan and TAJIRI matches, but it's certainly remains a heap of fun. Sanders cheats and stalls throughout, and exploits his loose respect for the rules to work over Finlay's hand. It was simple stuff, but it had detail and Finlay's selling made it engrossing. This goes on for three rounds, until Finlay catches Sanders off-guard with a flash roll-up. I wasn't hugely into that but Sanders soon evens the score by taking advantage of the weakened hand, so that paid off all the action up til that point. Following that, both guys take to brawling. I didn't think that was as engaging as the hand work, but it was modest entertainment regardless. Sanders maintains the cheating and stalling, establishing control segments for Finlay to rebound against. I liked the ending, which tied into the Irishman's veteran savvy. This isn't blow away great, but whenever Finlay's involved the match is almost always worth watching. Finlay/Sanders isn't the exception.Sami Callihan vs. DJ Hyde (CZW 2/11/12)http://vimeo.com/38833138
Callihan's quickly establishing himself as my favourite wrestler to watch in the US, outside of the WWE. Just an ugly, stiff motherfucker who seems to avoid the stylistic trappings that consume most of his opponents on the indy circuit. This match was different to the one with Swann, in that Callihan is now the one working most of the comeback sequences and hope spots. Hyde isn't as interesting as Swann on offense, but then again Swann would probably have been dogshit in the dominant role, but he makes up for that by being willing to rough up Callihan. Plenty of crashes into venue scenery here, and Sami is just as brutal with the strikes as you'd expect/hope. I enjoyed the moments involving the barricade, especially when Callihan recklessly threw his whole body weight into a charge. Then, immediately following that, when he threw himself into the barricade, missing Hyde, and sends himself reeling over into the crowd. Not one to hold himself back. Hyde may not do corkscrew dives or headscissor DDTs, but I thought he was solid to very good during his control segments. The cut-off spots in the ring were great, as was Callihan's stumble about selling. I didn't mind the interference as it worked nicely into heat surrounding Hyde's dominant stretches and its inevitable backfire added to Callihan's eventually successful fightback.
ScToTeE - April 8, 2012 11:46 AM (GMT)
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE 2/21/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK8YxXrxRWI
A more drawn out encounter to their sprint from the month previous. I don't think this is better but it's worth discussing as it certainly adds to each wrestler's ballot case. Punk's selling is just as good, maybe better, here. Bryan was great again, throwing stiff kicks and his offense targeting Punk's arm brought nerdish satisfaction. He also bumped well - liked the drop out to ringside from a back suplex - and that charging dropkick to the corner looked superb. The good thing about the match's structure is they ditched the work even pattern that would normally be expected in a Champion v. Champion contest, instead working a strong control segment featuring Bryan's limb work before the restart nonsense. It lost steam during that drama, but regained it in an entertaining finishing stretch. Convenient ending though.
ScToTeE - April 9, 2012 12:41 PM (GMT)
TAJIRI vs. Finlay (SMASH 2/19/12) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xowlq3_ta...lay-smash_sport
Whenever someone like Finlay is involved in a match, there are usually about a dozen or so small details that tend to stick out when reflecting back on it. For this match here, it's Finlay eating a fierce flurry of kicks before sweeping TAJIRI's legs in a drop toehold. As he securely wraps the Japanese Buzzsaw up in a modified STF Finlay rubs his thigh where most of the kicks landed, trying to regain feeling. I get nerdish thrills from minute shit like that. I was pleasantly surprised with how great the opening grappling and mat-work was. Plenty of struggle. I didn't realise TAJIRI could bring it with such tight and tensely competitive grappling. Finlay, of course, ruled it during those exchanges as well. Eventually, Finlay dominates whilst managing to avoid these hopeful flashes from TAJIRI digging into his signature arsenal. And, fuck me, Finlay's counter to the tarantula was awesome. Yanking him away from the ropes by the hair and then heabutting him repeatedly in the back of the skull to down him? So goddamn badass. I wish the crowd was more alive during Finlay's dominant stretches but when TAJIRI finally strings some offense together they improve. Like Dylan and Mike said, Dave sold those kicks magnificently. That, along with the aforementioned grappling/matwork, makes me lament the fact Finlay didn't stop in at BattlArts for a showdown with Ishikawa. The finish with TAJIRI's desperate struggle to escape the piledriver was excellent. Not quite as great as the match with Callihan last year, but this is a high-end entry into Finlay's post-WWE sojourn through wrestling's dingier corners.
ScToTeE - April 10, 2012 07:24 AM (GMT)
Virus vs. Loco Max (CMLL 2/7/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1CNnaGJqAw...597FUAAAAAAAAAA
Ten minutes of Panther and Casas obliterates this, but it's still a fun match. Those arm-drags had some nice velocity to them. Virus returning the favour, and then some, when ramming Loco's head into the turnbuckle was a great moment. The outside sequence with Virus having his legs swept on the apron was cool and a nice transition into Loco's control segment. Max makes a decent under-handed heel (stalling to gain the upper hand, maintaining a hold for longer after a break or fall, ripping at Virus' mask, and naturally the low blow finish) and I liked Virus being under-handed back (punches, biting).
ScToTeE - April 10, 2012 07:50 AM (GMT)
Eléctrico, Fantasy, Último Dragoncito vs Demus 3:16, Pequeño Olímpico, Pierrothito (CMLL 2/14/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HheSWYWobC0
Very entertaining trios match. The rudo stretch was really fun, with some great-looking triple and double teams. Basically all of Demus and Pierrothito's exchanges were enjoyable and that technico simultaneous triple dive ruled.
ScToTeE - April 11, 2012 03:38 AM (GMT)
La Sombra vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 2/20/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkdqOi8GYAY...nel_video_title
Fucking loved this! My new front-runner for MOTY. These two work a basic narrative of youthful athleticism and energy versus veteran smarts, but it's executed in a memorable fashion. Sombra repeatedly runs rings around Casas and wins most of the physical exchanges. Casas is on the ropes early, unable to to chop down Sombra or stay a step ahead of his quick offense. In fact, Casas loses the first fall in precisely this manner: he rolls away from Sombra's springboard but his opponent is sharp and athletic enough to land and swiftly perform a standing moonsault to catch Casas out. The second fall - as others have said, great compared to most second falls - witnesses this continuing theme until Casas can finally create some distance but dashing up the aisle to avoid a dive. He then manages to catch Sombra off-guard with a quick sequence of offense to pull back even with the falls. The execution and detail in the roll-up/cradle pin was great, as not only was it quick enough to be a convincing 'surprise' pinfall but you could see Casas holding down Sombra's arm near the ropes to prevent a ropebreak grab. The final fall ruled: Casas persists with cagey vet tactics to gain momentary advantages (yanking on Sombra's mask to stop his rope-running; pretending to ask the referee to move Sombra away from the corner, distracting his opponent enough to get a shot in; feigning a chop and quickly resorting to kicks and knees instead). Sombra regains control quickly each time but it's enough to kill off momentum and stave off Casas' defeat. The caught apron dive into a powerbomb into the post returns and it's just as great cut-off here as in the Casas/Panther sprint. That fucking roll-up into a dead-weight German suplex fucking kicked ass. Casas taking a leaf out of Ki's book with that turnbuckle double-stomp was a pleasant surprise. The finish was perfect as once again Casas catches Sombra by surprise with a kick from the ground to halt a springboard cross-body, enough to allow Casas to fold him up in a great looking pin for the victory. Plus it was a nice inversion of how the first fall went down. Again, the detail in the pin was awesome, as Negro Casas holds down both one leg and Sombra's freer hand to stop a shoulder lift or kick out. A few more showings like this and I'll find it difficult not to vote Casas as the best worker in the world for 2012.
ScToTeE - April 11, 2012 10:00 AM (GMT)
Fuego / Valiente vs. Arkángel de la Muerte / Virus (CMLL 2/21/12)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xp4s84_vi...5-02-2012_sport
Besides the admittedly sluggish opening exchanges between Arkangel and Fuego, this was superb. As soon as Virus and Valiente entered the ring this does not stop being excellent. Masterful chain-/mat-wrestling between those two, slick but without looking cooperative. The 'struggle' was in the persistent countering, as each hold looked painful. Valiente's armdrag/armbar combination to finish the first fall was fucking cool. I dug the consecutive monkey flip spots, including Valiente's follow-up leap through the top and middle ropes to cut-off Arkangel's scrambling retreat, making him fall on his ass like a good stooge-y rudo should. The rudo beatdown stretch was very fun, with some great double-teams like hanging Fuego over the rope as Virus dropkicks his head, sending him flying back into the ring. Those submissions to finish the second fall also looked very good. Fuego delivered a nice tope in the final fall and Valiente's modified codebreaker thing had some awesome impact, so it was a convincing conclusive spot. Really, everyone shone at some point in this. Valiente, in particular, put in a fantastic showing.
ScToTeE - April 11, 2012 02:33 PM (GMT)
El Hijo del Santo / Villano IV vs. El Hijo del Solitario / Angel Blanco Jr. (TXT 2/25/12) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4AGdO4cGcAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3CMLI9JPb8&feature=relmfuhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnDoLbiDgu8&feature=relmfu
Bloody hell! February was an awesome month for lucha. And that's ignoring the fact that it's bookended by two Panther/Casas matches. I have to echo KillSteve on this one as "Mother.Of.Fuck." certainly sprung to mind when watching it. It gets off to an electric start with the double tope and then Santo's diving headbutt. The perfect beginning, as the excitement filters into contagious anticipation for their comeback as the rudos take over. It helps that Solitario and Blanco are absolutely vicious in their prolonged, bloody beatdown of the technicos. They do simple, dastardly rudo stuff like ripping masks, biting open wounds and dishing out nasty chair shots but the crowd (and myself) are already in a frenzy from the crazy opening moments and that just makes them (me) yearn for their comeuppance even more. The image of Villano stumbling around at ringside, mask torn and bloody, following a brutal chair shot that left it hanging round his neck is not something I'll forget anytime soon. The eventual revenge stretch was awesome as Santo and Villano made the rudos feel everything they suffered through - so more torn masks, more spilt blood and more VICIOUS chair shots. Brain cells died on 2/25/12 ... lots of them. And, of course, the bonus of the technicos being in control is a few more dives added to the mix. The action evens out a little as it degenerates into messy brawling, before Santo and Villano look to be on the verge of winning. But then Santo accidentally collects Villano with a senton and, not realising his mistake, he takes off to perform his classic tope through the corner ... only to be blasted midair by a chair. A magnificent conclusion to the match. I believe my sentiments in the moment were: "holy fuck". The post-match brawling was excellent as well. It was during that where I noticed both Santo and Blanco's grey and white mask, respectively, had almost completely turned to deep red. Words cannot describe ...
ScToTeE - April 12, 2012 05:48 AM (GMT)
Negro Navarro / Trauma I / Trauma II vs. Pirata Morgan / Pirata Morgan Jr. / El Hijo del Pirata Morgan (TXT 2/25/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv4Z_Bgu1FY&feature=relmfu
Super fun trios match. T1 and Navarro brought some great-looking submissions and there are a bunch of cool double-/triple-teams (particularly the spike DDT and double codebreaker spots). I would have liked to see some more pay-off for the Morgan/Navarro teases and a better conclusion, but there's enough here to add to several guys' ballot cases. More importantly, no one seemed to drag it down.
ScToTeE - April 13, 2012 01:39 AM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. Yoshihito Sasaki (BJW 3/26/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL-occq0cSg
I think this falls in-between the two nominated CZW Callihan matches. The chop battles did get a little excessive, although they were hitting each other hard and Sami in particular sold them well. That turnbuckle chop botch was hilariously bad. Besides that, this was very good. Neither Callihan nor Sasaki takes it easy on each other, there's a bunch of cool cut-off spots and some great bumps along the way. Sami hits a sweet tope and takes a nasty driver thing on the apron's edge. I thought the finishing stretch was excellent, with Callihan taking a heap of mean-looking offense before succumbing finally to some brutal lariats.
ScToTeE - April 13, 2012 02:26 AM (GMT)
Kana vs. Syuri (SMASH 2/19/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF7kGW8MVrY&feature=relmfu
Great striker v. matworker dynamic. Syuri threw some nasty kicks in this, some to Kana's face. I loved how the latter was still holding her forehead moments after the first shots. For her part, Kana delivered a convincing portrayal as the dominant wrestler here, with slickly executed counters and holds. She also gives some mean return shots to Syuri. Liked how Syuri seemed worn down enough from being contained on the mat for Kana to be competitive in the stand-up parts towards the end. Her more glancing strikes added to that fatigued impression too. But, in the end, she landed enough strong blows to Kana to stop her assault and leave enough room to hit the killing shot for herself. Appreciated the lack of overblown bombs-throwing as well. Very good match.
ScToTeE - April 16, 2012 02:45 AM (GMT)
Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas (CMLL 3/2/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PYrSPm52_g&feature=related
I'm in two minds as to which is better: this or the TXT tag. Both are tremendous and for very different reasons. The TXT tag was all about the violence, the blood and the compelling yet simple offense. Panther/Casas, on the other hand, was less a brawl than it was a masterful display of struggle, selling and detail. Both churned out a heap of memorable moments and will likely turn out to be strong MOTDCs. Anyway, I can decide which is slightly better later.
The first two falls were cleverly worked. We have some back-and-forth brawling, with some nice shots thrown in, until Panther catches Casas by surprise with a flash armbar takedown to end the opening fall. That effectively turns the match from a fight into a heated mat-work showcase. Panther continues to assault the arm until Casas creates some distance. I liked how he attacked Panther's leg, immediately dropkicked it and floated smoothly into a cradle pin - taking advantage of the weakness he just exposed to conclude the second fall. Superb detail. But it's the tercera caida where this turns into something magnificent. Casas wrecks Panther's injured leg further. There's this incredible moment where Panther is limping about the ring, struggling to stand up after the damage that has been done to him, plus Casas is just lying against the ropes with a broad, gloating smile across his face. Shit just got real. I know I said the TXT tag was more of a brawl than this, but that's not to suggest the tension between these two dissipated. This is hair v. hair after all, and Casas and Panther hate each other. Panther's expressive selling during the aforementioned moment and following really made this feel "big time". That bled into some fantastic displays of struggle from both men, establishing how important not losing is. Some superb, malicious attention to detail is paid in each's holds. They also start striking and slapping each other whenever possible, rather than when standing up. Casas' snap arm-wrench across the top rope felt like another tonal shift in the match, intensifying everything, and leading into a sick tope from Panther. The finish is something that won't bother me if it gives us another instalment.
ScToTeE - April 25, 2012 04:13 AM (GMT)
Mark Henry vs. CM Punk (WWE 4/2/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJhWloUmuJQ
Almost caught up with 2012's wrestling. So far this is the best match I have seen from the WWE and probably the US as a whole. Punk sells the lingering back injuries from 'Mania superbly, whilst Henry is absolutely tremendous on offense and in selling Punk's hope spots. As someone else said, probably Dylan, he achieves a marvelous balance between making Punk's shots look like they have an effect without nuking his own 'behemoth' mystique. The result is fucking great moments like Punk's strike flurry that eventually downed Henry with a high kick. I also really appreciated the first time Punk downs Henry, by blasting him repeatedly and desperately with elbows before being able to DDT him. These two do an excellent job in building up anticipation for Punk's offense, with the myriad of cut-off spots leaving us guessing as to when we'll finally see Punk's comeback. Henry's Vader Bomb bump ruled as well. I thought a lot of Punk's kicks had good impact and the Savage elbow drop was a high point. Great finish too, for both how it ended things without harming either character and how it was performed. The two running knees were fantastically executed, leaving it believable that Henry would be significantly rattled by them to not be able to break a ringside count.
ScToTeE - April 25, 2012 05:17 AM (GMT)
Hunico vs. Tyson Kidd (WWE 4/3/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01tY-BdbCQg
Fun, although people shouldn't go in expecting something on the level of Masters/McIntyre. They work some enjoyable chain (liked Kidd lifting himself out of the pin) and aerial exchanges until Hunico cuts Tyson off by ramming his shoulder into the ringpost. Kidd's selling from then on was quite good, even when it wasn't being directly attacked anymore. This match actually escalates into some satisfying spots towards the end. Hunico's leap through the ropes only to be blasted with a running kick was damn great. I loved how he threw himself off his feet to sell the impact and surprise. I also thought Hunico countering Kidd's turnbuckle DDT into a sorta Fisherman's suplex was really cool. What I like to see from Superstars, simple match with consistent selling and a few surprises. Both guys came away from this looking good.
ScToTeE - April 25, 2012 06:30 AM (GMT)
El Hijo del Santo / Villano IV vs. El Hijo del Solitario / Angel Blanco Jr. (TXT 3/23/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rjAvntG44w
To be honest, I was left a little disappointed by this follow-up. In parts it came across as a re-run of the previous match minus the high points, the magnificent finish and the awesome 'big time' feel to it. That said, it's not a 'bad' match and some guys shine more than others. I'm becoming a fan of Solitario's rudo work. I have only seen sporadic appearances of him thus far but he has a great underhanded and seedy vibe about him. His beatdown of Villano IV was the stronger part of the first fall. The strikes looked good, he introduced the board as a weapon which kept things interesting (albeit not as engaging as the chair being used in the first match) and he was a dick to a kid at ringside. Blanco, on the other hand, was throwing some of the weakest and shittiest punches I have ever seen in a pro-wrestling match. Some of them barely looked like they even connected with Santo, yet alone hurt. End of the primera caida wasn't all that compelling either. Santo does a sick blade job here, leaving not only his mask drenched in blood but it also coats most of his chest. Santo and Villano go through a similar revenge stretch to the original, which culminates in a great Santo tope that sends Blanco careening into the first few rows. Still, not as thrilling as their first encounter. Final fall really didn't offer anything satisfying and concluded in very underwhelming fashion. Regardless three out of four guys put in good performances, so people should go ahead and check this out.
ScToTeE - April 25, 2012 07:22 AM (GMT)
Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton (WWE 4/12/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0mOAAcc4WE
Damn good showing from Henry. He tosses, slams and squashes Orton around the place. Orton only gets these small openings created by Henry himself (by heading to ringside, by introducing a weapon) and they are cut-off quickly. Henry breaking the kendo stick across his thigh was quite the badass thing to do. The finish was cool with Orton having to try several times to topple the fucking beast and, even then, it doesn't last long. But then the chair that Henry brought into the match hurts him and it's enough of a surprise to nail the RKO for the snap victory. I haven't seen their pay-per-view matches from last year yet, but it was awesome watching Henry dominate an ace to such an extent.
ScToTeE - April 25, 2012 07:58 AM (GMT)
CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (WWE 4/16/12)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIJtDhmcg-w&feature=relmfu
A step beneath their 4/2/12 match but still damn good. It could have done with a more defined Henry-flattens-Punk segment but I did enjoy Punk thinking outside the box, and early, to take it to the big man. The suicide dive helped establish that theme and the barricade bulldog was unexpected and well-executed. Henry catching Punk and fucking throwing him into the barricade was awesome. I liked how, even though CM Punk had Henry more on the backfoot this time round, there was still a good sense of Henry's weight (like when Punk tried to heave him in the ring and, at another point, Punk made simply rolling Henry over as requiring effort). I didn't mind the finish, it did take advantage of the No DQ stip and helped preserve Henry's aura, but I do agree that it took a little long to perform.
ScToTeE - April 27, 2012 09:56 AM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. Alex Colon (CZW 4/14/12)
Great, violent sprint. The most impressive thing was they crammed an absurd amount of spots in, including some really crazy ones, without it actually 'seeming' absurd. Colon crashing into the barricade was nutty, and Callihan repeatedly slamming him into the fat ringside attendant was both funny and nasty. The apron edge spots looked excellent too. In-ring, it felt more like a montage of symbolic spots (spurred by the commentary saying they were significant from past matches) which was a little jarring with how the match started but it didn't ruin the experience. It more came across as a silly attempt to make the encounter seem epic when these two absolutely wailing on each other had already achieved that. Still, it involved Colon blasting Callihan in the face with kicks and Sami responded in kind so I can't fucking complain much, aye? Second best sprint of the year.
Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox (CZW 4/14/12)
Jesus Christ! AR Fox should be DEAD. Absolutely fantastic beginning to this as Fox launches into Callihan mid-entrance and then fucking NUKES himself with a dive that should've left a crater in the front row. I have seen broken necks happen from lesser shit. Nothing is more PRO-WRESTLING than a bleeding ear being torn to shreds and that's what we get after Fox's self-annihilation. Callihan keeps the assault on the re-opened injury simple, throwing straightforward and brutal shots to the ear that he appears to execute with such malice. The moment where he had Fox pinned face down on the canvas, raining down blows and ripping at the earlobe, was fucking great. Seriously, mangle an ear and I'll mark out. Fox was perfect selling the injury throughout, even during his comebacks which he also paced just right to not tank Callihan's offense. Fox brings the flashy excitement, Callihan dishes out the pain and punishment. The finish was excellent with the three lariats then the Stretch Muffler/Modified Crab combo. This is on a whole new level to Callihan/Swann and I think I still have that in my Top #10.
ScToTeE - April 27, 2012 02:15 PM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 4/13)
And, of course, this was tremendous. Brilliant beginning as Callihan antagonises Finlay until he catches a nasty headbutt that floors him instantly, splitting his forehead open. The greatness of this is that it cements the direction of the match from there on, as Callihan is forced to mount small but ferocious comebacks against a dominant and methodical Finlay. On that latter point, I thought Finlay was superb at dictating the pace here. He was slow and deliberate, but vicious and shaped things up enough to remain engaging. Plus there wasn't too much time spent in-between temporary Callihan interjections so it really felt like a tough motherfucker managing to contain an equally tough, more frenzied motherfucker. Y'know, like he was trying to stiffle the Tasmanian Devil or something. When attacking Sami's leg, he also did a fantastic job at working offense but maintaining that impactful, 'ground and pound' tone through those slams against the ropes and the ruthless use of the post. From start to finish, this was always a brutish war. I know I'm sort of on a Callihan high at the moment, but again he was magnificent in this. He did a stellar job selling Finlay's offense like he's rattled but with plenty of venomous energy desperate to be unleashed. He gets big shots in, usually to create an opening, but it's never long before he's back on the defensive - all because of that damn headbutt. His dive was noteworthy as he really fired himself into Finlay, who flew backwards awkwardly as a result. I didn't mind the Celtic Cross and Tombstone near-fall stretch as they were paced well to not be totally absurd, and it made sense for Finlay to start going for the kill seeing as he had been dominant throughout the match. The double knockdowns were cool, as Callihan was barely keeping Finlay at bay and fought furiously to stave off defeat. Then that fucking counter, paying off Finlay's leg-work in the process, catches him by surprise. Awesome finish, awesome match, awesome wrestlers. Can someone please, please, please make the wXw matches available?!
ScToTeE - May 1, 2012 12:47 AM (GMT)
Finlay vs. Sami Callihan (WXW 3/2)
Great match, but I think the two EVOLVE matches are on another level. Still this is totally worth seeing and stands on its own two feet. The start was pretty fucking wild as Callihan blasts Finlay on the bell with two ferocious running boots. That essentially sets the tone as this is another hard-hitting brawl, added to by the low rent pub setting. Thought their sojourns into the crowd were fun and Finlay tossing Callihan onto WXW fans will never get old. Again, Sami's selling was excellent in striking even between being fatigued and frenzied. Finlay once more looked like he was trying to muscle a mental patient into a straight jacket. Sami was also very good at consistently selling the leg-work during his small bursts of offense later on. May this great series continue.
ScToTeE - May 1, 2012 02:46 AM (GMT)
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (WWE 4/29)
Fuck! This isn't MOTN?! I fucking adored Bryan's intensity, relentlessly pursuing his lost gold and making Sheamus dig to the fucking deepest of depths to survive his assault. Everything about this was excellent: the impact, the selling, the pacing, the finishes and that goddamn crowd. I know it's a smarky crowd but they totally contributed to this. There's that awesome moment at the start of the third fall when Sheamus is struggling to get to his feet, clinging to his dead arm, and Bryan is standing tall at the opposite side directing the crowd's thundrous chants. Those few seconds basically sum up why this match ruled. The atmosphere, Bryan looking like a god schooling Sheamus and the big man's surprisingly accomplished selling. Really that last point cannot be ignored. Sheamus put in one hell of a great selling performance here, portraying fatigue and his useless arm near perfectly, which gave this incredible impression of him barely hanging on against this ruthless challenge from Bryan. It permeated key points of the match too: the desperate as anything Brogue Kick at the start of the final fall, the traded kicks and gut shots exchange where Sheamus was turning his back to protect his shoulder from Bryan's strikes only to get belted in the face for his efforts, the stumbling about as he tried to string together stuff towards the end. Also dug his attempts to escape Bryan's holds targeting the limb earlier by clawing Daniel's face. Plenty of meaty strikes, smart finishes to each fall, Sheamus catching Bryan out with a Texas Cloverleaf was neat, plenty of satisfying cut-offs. Bryan has been sitting pretty in my Top Ten since the year's beginning based on impressive showings in TV matches but has been gradually sliding down the ladder as other guys get MOTYCs next to their name. This will give him some legitimate staying power now. But has Sheamus had a better showing in his career? Great match. Felt like an absolute war. Champion walks away looking like he put down one hellacious challenge.
ScToTeE - May 1, 2012 09:51 AM (GMT)
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE 4/29)
WOW. That certainly was NOT the kind of match I was expecting going in. Unreal. Beginning was nutty and I was left in awe from then on. I mean, this was basically a vicious, extended squash of the ace until the last minute or so. Thought the stoppages added superbly to the whole ordeal, as Cena is fucked up from the opening and is in incredible dire straits. Those elbows that split him open were malicious. Lesnar looked killer with those knees too. Cena desperately attempting the AA after the second stoppage was great as was Lesnar cutting it off with two Germans. Lesnar shoulder-blocking Cena's diving shoulder was another cool cut-off. I loved the use of the Kimura armbar to torture Cena and his subsequent selling felt on par with his best work in 2007. Dug the turnbuckle-and-chain moment and Lesnar lifting Charles Robinson off the ground, with one hand, by the belt had me laughing. Brock takes a fucking crazy bump over the rope that probably had Vince and co. shitting themselves for a few seconds until he fucking gets up and starts laughing about it. The finish was set up excellently and Brock blades for it. Man, a totally leftfield spectacle which made Lesnar look beastly despite the defeat. Cena's promo afterwards was interesting too. I watched this twice in a row and was sucked in both times. Again, unreal ...
ScToTeE - May 14, 2012 09:54 AM (GMT)
Jon Davis vs. Finlay (EVOLVE 5/11)
Rough. Impactful. Detailed. In other words, Finlay working a Finlay-ish match. Davis was impressive keeping with Finlay in such a match. I haven't seen him work before, and he wasn't perfect (forgets about selling the limp once he hits that second rope moonsault - but it's not like he's rope-running at a billion miles per hour or anything), but he didn't appear out of his depth either. Loved how this evolved from simple ground n' pound to dual limb-work. Dave sold his arm magnificently and, for the most part, Davis returned the favour for the leg. Had a bunch of neat, organic-y moments sprinkled throughout like Finlay slamming Davis into the mat as he hung from the turnbuckle. His unusual execution of the Scorpion Deathlock was really cool too. Phil's not wrong about Davis' spinebuster either, damn that was excellent. This'll be a match I'll re-watch continuously throughout the year and find new details each time to single out as awesome. EVOLVE will have a regular customer if they keep booking Finlay. A match with Low Ki would be interesting.
ScToTeE - May 20, 2012 07:58 AM (GMT)
Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox (EVOLVE 5/11)