WELCOME TO THE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER VIDEO REVIEW #77!
HEY! This is a big one, so print it out and read it on the beach or something. I got Friday off for the Fourth but I spent five hours of it watching Hikari Fukuoka's Moonsault Stomp on a poor unsuspecting LLPW gal in super slow-mo, so Friday was shot to hell, but- anyway- here's a special added Death Valley Driver as we jump back on the every other week bandwagon next week again! WOO-HOO! Pogo Pete loaned Rev the NEO JAPAN LADIES (tape) and I wandered into the Land of A MILLION TAPES FROM LOREFICE AND HESHAM! Including the SWANK Benoit vs Dr Wagner mini-Clash and cool ass JWP! (READ QUEBRADA! IT KICKS YOUR ASS WITH ANALYSIS AND STUFF!) The SWANKEST OF THE SWANK, Glenn, sent the Encore Champ Forums including the Ancient Michinoku Pro I babble about. Phil the Ripper- who has the inexplicable vendetta against the perfectly fine Tom Zenk - found metric tons of the dying days of World Class. Schneider kicked in with the review of the divine OMEGA (TIM!) and his scathing contribution to a new section I'm especially excited about because I'm guessing I'll be getting the most new ones torn. ALLRIGHT! But first, let's see where that Rev Ray is coming from....
!@!@!@!@!@!@ NEO-JAPAN LADIES
PRO-WRESTLING "First Kiss" COMMERCIAL
(by REVEREND RAY!)
Some press conference stuff starts the tape. They do the usual "people appearing on the card show up in ring together." Kyoko Inoue takes the mic and cries for joy. She hasn't been this happy since the Tokyo Sizzler opened an all-you-can-eat Sundae bar. Afterwards, Mita and Shimoda do some mic work, they have a pair of tagbelts with them.
Opening match is a 3 way match where 1 set of wrestlers start and then the winner faces the odd person out.
Saya Endo vs. Yuka Shiina:
Yuka offers a handshake, but Saya, being All Around Minky Hellcat Bad Girls Mita And Shimoda's Flunky turns her back on her and Yuka attacks her at the bell. This match is just sort of...there. Stuff happens, Yuka puts Endo in a figure four, Endo tries to bite her foot to get a break. She does it again and Yuka bites her in the head as she does it. Endo hits the top rope leg drop, but pulls her up at 2 and pays for it by getting pinned with a hurricarana.
Tanny Mouse vs. Yuka:
Tanny runs in, knocks Yuka to the floor and hits a plancha which has her landing mostly on the apron. Tanny must be the Japanese women's equivalent of the Missing Link as she does a lot of headbutts. Shouldn't that make her Tanny Goat or something? Shiina wins with a top rope clothesline. Highlight of the matches, Yuka's outfit. And that's all I have to say about that.
Chaparita ASARI vs. Yoshiko Tamura:
ASARI has a cool ring jacket with horns on it and stuff. She opens up with a backflip and hits a Sasuke handspring body press in ring early. Tamura hits some weird ass step over toe hold throw that I'm not sure how or why it works. ASARI gets Tamura in a Reverse Indian Deathlock and Tamura fights to the ropes, but as she gets close, ASARI tangles up each of her arms to prevent her from rope breaking. We did not get the ultra cool TAKA "Bite the ropes" break though. ASARI hits one of her handspring double mule kicks which connected but didn't look super stiff and Tamura blocked the second by kicking her in the ass as she flipped in. Tamura works on her knee a bit. Then drops her twice with two top rope missile drop kicks. ASARI hits a spinning headscissor out of a corner for a 2 which is reversed into a sunset flip. Tamura hits a running stone cold chart busting Wise Cracking Acid dropping Diamond Crusher. Her second is reversed into a La Majistral type move. ASARI tries to go up top, but Tamura catches her with another Stone Cold chart bustin'..... ah.... you know off the second rope. ASARI knocks her to the floor, hits a nice plancha to the floor, lets Tamura roll in and hits a top rope drop kick. Northern Lights suplex gets her a two. ASARI goes up top, plays to the crowd and gets Germaned off the second rope. ASARI uses a Jason Knight level of stiffness :-p elbow to break out of a back suplex attempt, but gets caught in a Northern Lights Suplex. She also gets hit with a Northern Lights Superplex. Tamura goes up top, ASARI hits her with a 'Rana that looked like it killed her good. ASARI hits the SkyTwister which has her landing on her hip on Tamura's knees. It looked totally out of control.
Misae Genki vs. Kyoko Inoue:
Hey, it's Ryuma Go giving out flowers! He's the LAAAAAADIES Man because of the way he kicked Alien butt at the big Gong Tokyo Dome show in '95. You know, I recently saw footage of Kyoko from that double hair match with Bull Nakano against Bison and Aja and Kyoko looks like she's eaten some of the AJW girls who couldn't make the cut. They start with a collar and elbow for a bit where Genki pushes Kyoko to the ropes and slaps her in the face. They do it again and Kyoko overpowers her to the ropes, but Genki slaps her on the break again, leading to Kyoko going wobbie on her. Kyoko goes for a suplex, Genki fights it and hits one of her own and a back suplex. The crowd's really into it as Genki is matching power with Kyoko. Genki keeps up the heat, but Kyoko "New Japan Heavyweights" up on her and drops her with a a lariat. She does her reverse Indian Deathlock where the crowd claps and she shakes her hips. And man, there's a lot of hips to shake. Kyoko goes for a Romero chinlock but Genki does her best to power out of it, but finally Kyoko gets her in it and stretches her in a number of ways. Kyoko gets back dropped to the apron and knocked to the floor which leads to a Genki pescado. Genki tries to lift Kyoko up for an Electric Chair Suplex twice, once Kyoko escaps, once she kicks out from the corner and then finally Genki hits it. Genki hits a chokeslam on Kyoko. She goes for it again, they do a few reversals which ends in Genki hitting it as Kyoko tries to do her springboard back elbow. Eventually, Kyoko gets in control with lariats and puts Genki away with a powerbomb. This was a good psychology match and it was really a vehicle to get Genki over. Genki was able to match power with Kyoko and throw her around and it was pretty easy on Inoue who has 2 more matches ahead of her this night.
Los Cachorras Orientales (Mita & Shimoda)
vs. Tanny Mouse/ Kyoko Inoue:
You know, I really liked Mita and Shimoda the first time I saw them. I mean, their probably the hottest monster heel team in women's wrestling, they've got his and hers steel chairs, they've got Mima's tiny pants... but there's one major flaw. Their garbage style suffers from "Uninspired Flair" Syndrome. Stick with me and see what I mean.
- The Piledriver on the table is to the Cachorras as the Flair Flip is to Flair.
- The "accidentally peg my partner in the head with a chair" spot is to the Cachorras as is the Flair flop to Flair.
- The Railing Ride is to the Cachorras as the get press slammed off the top rope is to Flair.
- The double ducked chair throw is to the Cachorras as the manditory beg off after being press slammed is to Flair.
I REALLY want worship Mita and Shimoda. I mean, the attitude, the tiny pants, the spinefusing finishers, did I mention the tiny pants, the fact that Shimoda took an Itoh double stomp from the top of a cage, Tiny pa...*Slaps self*. However, their matches just don't seem to vary that much. Come on ladies, mix it up a bit. It's one thing to have a bunch of moves you usually do, it's another to do them, some of which are "mistakes" every match.
Pre-match Mita and Shimoda offer a handshake, Kyoko wants none of it, but Tanny takes it and proceeds to get beat on. They go crowd brawling and in a good decision, they have two cameras follow the action in split screen. To their credit, Mita and Shimoda did vary the railing ride by doing it up in the top of the bleachers. Neo Ladies hires the AAA camera men so we totally miss the piledriver on the table. Kyoko hits a cool DDT off the second rope Tanny comes in goes headbutt crazy and then gives the most obvious blade job to her self since Sandman gigged himself in Konnan's farewell match in ECW. Tanny is real annoying and Mita and Shimoda don't kill her dead enough for it either. Mita ends up breaking the metal "his" chair on Kyoko's head. Mita hits a bad DVD on Kyoko and Shimoda puts Tanny away with a bad Death Lake Driver.
Post match, there's some mic work which leads to....
Mita/Shimoda/Endo vs. Kyoko/ASARI/Tamura:
The Cachorras did the Kaientai DX surfer boy pose on Kyoko and flip off the ref and Kyoko's corner. Funny spot here Kyoko is reaching for the ropes, Endo pushes the ropes to her so she can grab them and then stands on her hands. ASARI hits two of her handspring double mule kicks which look better and then they get all dickish on Endo with ASARI putting her in a Camel Clutch and Kyoko and Tamura stick their feet in Endo's face. The Cachorras return the favor later on ASARI later. We end up with another Breaking Down In Tokyo segment, but this time we don't get split screen. They do a spot where Mita goes for the DVD, Tamura drop kicks her leg, Kyoko goes for the Niagra Driver, Shimoda chairs her, Mita goes for the DVD, ASARI jumps on Kyoko's back so she can't get kicked up. The Cachorras do their train wreck segment. Mita and Shimoda hit sort of a Double Super Niagra Driver on Kyoko, ASARI makes the save. Shimoda ties her up and Mita hits a DVD for 2. She goes for another but Kyoko release Germans her. Mita gives Kyoko the DVD on a chair, kicks her up and gives her one more and the baddies win! Sort of spotty, but it had it's moments.
$%$%$%$%$ JWP TV 12/13/97 (taped
(by DEAN RASMUSSEN)
Sugar Sato/Reiko Amano/Chikayo Nagashima vs Mayumi
HEYYY! JWP takes a cue from GAEA and has the KAORU Realistic Handicap Match From Hell Concept apply to the Divine Mayumi Ozaki. The crapheads at WCW should do one of these REAL handicap matches when they finally get around to realizing that the Giant doesn't draw flies and sucks in the ring- I can see it now! Super Calo, Damien and Ciclope get some chairs and beat the holy shit out of the lumbering lummox until he retires and gets a job installing cable TV somewhere. Luckily for us, everybody in THIS HERE match in JWP is so good you want everybody to win. But Sugar- the OTHER future of Pro Wrestling-Sato, Chikayo Nagashima, and Reiko Amano make it look all realistic, because if there are more than one of you against ANYBODY, you all should win. Of course, the fact that OZ's underlings beat the living hell out of her with chairs from the get go really covers all the bases. They win convincingly. OZ shrugs, knowing that one-on-one she will beat ANYONE into the ground and laugh as they bleed.
Cooga/Commando Boirshoi vs Kyoko Ichiki/Cutie
HEY! Ichiki got her teeth fixed since last we've seen her- in GAEA when she retired a couple of years back. I'm guessing the large top rope powerslam by the Amazingly Good In A Lucha-via-AJW Way But Whose Gimmick Is Just Totally Ridiculous- Commander Boirshoi didn't help Ichiki's bad back any because the powerslam was all big and hurty looking as she crashed to the mat. Cooga is a mountain better in this than in the last wad of wrestling I saw her botching in J'd, but I'm guessing that Cutie was keeping her moving and the Orthodontically enhanced Ichiki was never afraid to take a big bump to make the less than stellar Cooga look better. Boirshoi is really good. She proved to me in that Fukuoka match a while back that she is not afraid to fearlessly take a Flashbacks To Hotta At Dreamslam Level Total Ass (and rib)-Stomping. Plus she's got the moves that vary from mid-grade lucha to a sensible powergame for such a slight lass and she's hitting everything the way it should be hit- fast and hard. I've lost my hang up about it because she's just too good in the ring, but for her own sake, she needs to lose that clown nose.
Tomoko Kozumi/Jado vs Tomoko Miyaguchi/Gedo:
JWP wasn't afraid to pull out all the bizarro gimmick matches on this tape. Luckily, this was pretty good because Kozumi is totally ALL THAT (I say WELL NOW! So THAT's what happened to Shimoda's tiny pants. WOO-HOO! Golly. Those pants are so tiny, Brad Armstrong would wear them.) and Miyaguchi is good and Gedo and Jado let the little ladies go at it for enough time for it to be a good little match. Gedo makes sure this doesn't resemble the whimsical Michinoku Pro mixed matches of yore by being quite the Ike to Kozumi's Tina as he isn't afraid to batter the young hottie in quite the manner reminiscent of a drunken, sweatpants-clad guest star on COPS. Kozumi gets her revenge by Rochambeauing the fat little weird guy right in the store. Gedo and Jado have been hovering around J'd and JWP a lot the last couple of months for whatever reason. I guess Kozumi and Shiratori are just better looking than Samson Fuyuki. Okay, I wouldn't be guessing. I mean he has those scars and that gut and stuff...
Devil Masami vs Sakura Hirota:
I usually hate Devil Masami matches these days. She's kinda like Roddy Piper- should have retired a long time ago and I didn't like'em all that much when he was in his prime. The problem is that she can't retire because all of her fellow elder stateswomen are still having viable careers and she doesn't want to appear to be a slackass or something. The problem with Masami is that she doesn't have the amazing workrate and arsenal of suplexes that Jaguar Yokota has. She can't beat people's asses like Lioness Asuka can. She can't feign shootstyle and have decent stiffer matches like Chigusa has, so there we have it. All Devil has now is her lame SuperHeel Masami gimmick, which means to we the veiwing public, "Hey, I'm not going to do anything cool and Well! What do you know! I'm not gonna sell anything either." Scrappy but heavily unspectacular Chigusa protegee Hirota does lotsa Cross-Armbreakers on Masami's bad arm so Masami went ahead and SOLD those. Hirota does about eight Uracans and Devil doesn't sell a one. I'm assuming that- since this was on a JWP card- Mayumi Ozaki kicked her right in the fucking teeth in the lockerroom after this match for diminishing the effectiveness of her finisher. Hey a scrappy, underachieving, seventh best youngster in the promotion GAEA chick against a no-selling, no working senior citizen. Hey! I got one thing to say. This wasn't good.
Dynamite Kansai/Kanako Motoya vs Shinobu Kandori/Mizuki
Ahh! The LLPW invasion. I'm assuming it all hinged on Kandori and Kansai feuding since the best wrestler in JWP (and the best Women's Wrestler in the World) Hikari Fukuoka had to settle for stomping the holy fuck out of LLPW second stringer Yasha Kurenai. This was pretty great for the simple reason that Kandori sold for Motoya whom I figured would get totally disregarded in such a meat-grinder of a match, especially considering that Motoya was pretty much using a lot of AJW style lucha moves in this otherwise shoothold/powermove bonanza, with the exception of one kneebar that she got on Endo. Speaking of which, Endo fearlessly took three FAT ASS Kansai punts to the face that would have had Toshiaki Kawada crying like a pansy. When they were in, Kansai and Kandori stayed on the mat mostly- as Kandori went all shootstyle on Dynamite, working over her arm at length and switching to her sleeper hold every now and then to break things up. Kansai does get one HUGE Dave Jennings 62 yarder off on Kandori's face though- which is a good sign- for someone with as serious health problems as Kansai has, she's still not afraid to work stiff as all living hell. It was a good match for all the stiffness employed and such, but Kandori was the glue of the match as she brought in Motoya to the match and established her as a threat to actually hurt or at least hinder Kandori, which was key. This is the most pro-style I've seen Kandori work in a while and she was damn good at it. Of Kandori's contemporaries who were the REALLY stiff workers- whom I would group Aja Kong, Yumiko Hotta, and Dynamite Kansai- I always grouped it as Aja as the best worker, the fourth stiffest of the bunch and third most legit badass; Yumiko Hotta the third best worker, WAYY stiffest of the bunch, and first most badass; Kansai the second best worker, second stiffest of the bunch and third most legit badass; and Kandori as the fourth stiffest, fourth best working and second most legit badass. The weird thing is that I think I overlook Kandori for a couple of reasons- the style she works only interests me if it's stiff enough to make it look realistic and Kandori is basically all mat wrestler- so where's the fireworks? There's no big suplexes or kicks and she isn't fast as shit like the guys who make Pancrase fun to watch, so I gloss over her matches on the LLPW tapes unless she's going at with someone I know is gonna bring the pain. And even then, you get the Hotta AJW title match where its good but it's not THAT good. Maybe I should watch more of her pro style matches, because that may be where her hidden strength is. I dunno. This is really good.
Hikari Fukuoka vs Yasha Kurenai:
Hello Yasha! So Long, Ribs. The INSANELY BEAUTIFUL Hikari Fukuoka is the RIC FLAIR OF JAPANESE WOMEN'S WRESTLING. Glenn, the King of all that is, sends me lots of LLPW and between he and Mike Lorefice's wads of tapes, I've got loads of LLPW and Kurenai has never impressed me a whole bunch. She's part of Matsumoto-esque weapons weilding clan of LLPW and that's all you get out of her- you know: That, A few toprope high impact moves, and Japan's goofiest submission hold. And that's all she can offer up in this match. But that's all Fukuoka needs. She takes the lame offence of Kurenai and sets up EVERY move to look it's absolute best, so this becomes a really good match, as opposed to what I was thinking it was gonna be: LLPW chump with too much make-up and bad zubas sweatpants waiting around for Hikari to cave in her chest cavity in the most hellish way imaginable- WHICH HIKARI actually DOES later, but Fukuoka makes it look GREAT as we await the sound of snapping ribs and writhing pain. The pivotal point of the match is that Yasha has this pole that she uses to beat on Fukuoka and this constitutes 70 percent her offensive transitions and yet Hikari makes it much less lame than it sounds since she takes enough shots to make her title reign look threatened for good parts of this match- which is what the great ones do in these situations. Eventually, Hikari's hideous, sadistic toying ritual that she puts all of her "opponents" through runs its natural course,
as she hits her Liger Bomb and Moonsault- (which Yasha foolishly kicks out of); she hits her toprope dropkick- (that, yes, Yasha foolishly kicks out of); she hits her toprope somersault super-SWANK double dropkick to the head- (that Yasha foolishly kicks out of); BUT... As with every match of her title reign, somewhere in the process of being ritualistically dissected by Fukuoka, the victim garners one last-gasp shot at offense. This time, Yasha gets access to her trusty pole and staves off the fury of Fukuoka for a short while, but in the end, it's as it should be as Hikari gets a WHOLE LOT OF AIR under her Motherfuckingly Awesome Moonsault Stomp and just KILLS the living bejeezus out of Kurenai. I mean, IT IS NASTY. BUDROE, YOU WANT ALLLLLLLLLLLL THIS.
#$#$#$#$#$ OMEGA HANDHELD- 5/8/98
(by PHIL SCHNEIDER)
Wolverine vs. Black Skull:
Wolverine is Matt Hardy: one half of the best tag team in America- the Hardy Boys- and a real great wrestler. Black Skull is a pretty green wrestler with a neat homemade mask and ugly pants who isn't afraid to bust out the spectacular high spot. The beginning rocked with the Skull hitting an insane tope-con-hilo and a rolling top rope rana. They get kind of lost in the middle but have a super hot ending with Skull hitting a great shooting star press, and trying his rana again which Wolverine turned into a powerbomb, and then a Northern Lights Suplex for the win. Skull is pretty spectacular but still a ways away from putting on a complete match though. Pretty good opener.
Otto Schwanz vs. Venom:
We harshed on Otto pretty bad, after seeing his awful match against Rambunctious Bobby Barnette in Sanford. Otto even e-mailed me claiming he was a lot better then he showed. Well he still ain't 1985 era Stan Hansen, but him and Venom did put on a pretty okay Heavyweight match. Both guys sold like mothafuckas especially Venom, who also took a couple of big bumps. The offense wasn't spectacular although Venom hit a choice powerbomb. I honestly think Venom is one of the top ten heavyweights in the U.S. and I have no idea why he is not headlining PPV's right now. Otto doesn't suck nearly as much as I thought he did.
Serial Thrillaz vs. Death and Destruction:
Serial Thrillaz are YAIAUESOAWBHHG (Yet another in an unending stream of annoying white boy hip-hop gimmicks) while Death and Destruction are a super old-school 70's redneck asskicker team (they give off kind of a Buzz Sayer/ Dick Slater/ Gene Anderson/ Jack Brisco vibe). This was the best match on the card, as these guys run a technically great American tag match (Face in peril, hot tag, heel double teaming, you know it and love it) with a sprinkling of big time high spots by Kid Vicious, including a plancha from the stars. Vicious was Ricky Morton and Roger Anderson wasn't afraid to break out every 70's suplex in Dory Funk Jr.'s arsenal. Great ending as Vicious hits the insane superfly splash from Mike Mavericks shoulders as Maverick sits on the tope rope. Great, great match, all four of these guys are the real deal.
Kid Dynamo vs. Willow the Whisp:
Kid Dynamo is the greatest 14 year old professional wrestler this side of Cicloncito Ramirez and Willow is a champion in my favorite Japanese indy Battlearts (which is a shootstyle fed which makes the garbagey flyer Willow being a champ so freaking weird) and is rumored to have an alter ego in OMEGA. These guys are brothers and they do a bunch of real complicated spots that you can tell they have really worked on. The best is a knuckle lock into a powerbomb which Dynamo reverses into a sunset flip bomb (it looks tres cool; trust me) and a Dynamo springboard headscissors which Whisp makes look great. Willow took a bunch of big bumps including two Psicosis front first slides to the floor, and an insane sequence where Dynamo bodypresses him off the ring apron and he falls straight back onto the floor from the ring apron with Dynamo on top of him. Dynamo followed that up with an Asai stumblesault which almost killed the youngster dead before he could even go to his junior prom. The middle of this match got real stupid with the ref ripping his shirt off , and a big valet catfight. But it was pretty top drawer until that, these two are both great and will only get greater and I can't wait to see their matches in two years.
Surge vs. Cham Pain:
Surge is the best all around worker in OMEGA and Cham Pain is my single favorite Indy wrestler, so it really pains me to report that this match kind of sucked. They spent the body of this sucker doing every stupid ECW chair stunt, including the single most improbable Van Damninator in the history of that dumb move, as Pain throws Surge the chair and he places it in front of his face so Pain can drop kick him. There were some high points as Surge does the Shawn Micheals jump of the ring apron into the ring barrier bump and Pain hits a corkscrew plancha into the middle of the audience. The end was kind of cool in a Memphis Power Pro Wrestling kind of way, as Pain's valet accidentally threw powder into his eyes, so he blindly DDT'ed her and covered her and Surge hit his top rope quebrada on both of them. Not horrible but way worse then this match should have been, both guys are good enough wrestlers to wrestle a great wrestling match, without all that chair crap. Leave that to no-talent loads like D-Von Dudley. Biggest disappointment of 1998 so far.
$%$%$% WORLD CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP
WRESTLING TV (5/89-9/89)
(by PHIL THE RIPPER)
I'm realizing now that WCCW, in some respects, was what ECW is or at least tried to be early on. It was very angle-driven with a lot of gimmick matches (two-man thunderdomes, country whipping match, bullropes) or matches with goofy stipulations (winner can't get fired, loser has to have sex with everyone seated in the front row, and if you remember the crowds at the Sportatorium, that was a whole lotta loving.) Plus, people were not afraid to bleed buckets and take chair shots right to the noggin. It ruled. To understand this tape is to also understand WCCW at this time. And this time is the very end of WCCW right before it became the USWA. That means Eric Embry along with Percy Pringle are feuding with Devastation Incorporated led by General Scandar Akbar. Embry and Akbar are not afraid to blather on for long periods of time. Tojo Yamamoto appears and says "World Class President" a lot. Phil Hickerson pretends he's Japanese and there is Zodiac/Gary Young, the only man identifiable by his chest hair. And all the matches are called by Marc Lowrence who I really dig and obviously had a deal in his contract that allotted him $500 every time he said "Kerry Von Erich - Modern Day Warrior". There were other random matches and that is what follows.
Mils Mascaras/Eric Embry vs. Zodiac/Buddy Roberts:
Hey look, it's Mils Mascaras. He's really out of place. He still ruled and carried this match. Mascaras does a whole lotta stuff that no one has seen, right down to goofy lucha submissions, that no one submits to but are still goofy. And you know what, the Texans loved it. Every damn second. True they are right next to Mexico but this is 1989. They appreciate good wrestling. Not like everyone else who chants "BORING" during a Eddy Gurrerro-Rey Misterio Jr. match. Texas rules. Anyway, Miscaras get the pin and the crowd pops like monkeys. Oh, for all those keeping track, I'm guessing Roberts was drunk.
Al Perez vs. Cactus Jack Manson:
In an Alanis Morrisette ironic sorta way, the tamest that Cactus was in his career was when he was using the surname of Manson. He still was crazier than most though. Against Perez, Cactus does a crazy bump for no reason (big surprise) as he flips over the turnbuckle, crashes through a chair and smacks his head on the wooden Sportatorium floor. He does the same thing later, sans chair. Meanwhile, you have Perez, the best of the Black Scorpions, who most people don't even remember. I think he was in the WWF for one match from MSG and that was it.
Kerry and Kevin Von Erich vs. Iceman King Parsons/Brickhouse
Parsons and Brown are known as the Blackbirds and they rule. This match is a loser leaves town match so you guess who is not leaving. It's still freaky watching Kevin. Is it because his insistence of wrestling in bare feet or is it because he is still alive? Then there is Kerry. Man, the more you watch his matches, the creepier it gets. He just wanders around, spins in circles for no reason, falls down for no reason, is really sloppy and loose for long periods of time. Maybe it's just me but the warning signs were all there. Getting back to the match, the end comes when Harold Harris (You know. The heel ref who joined Devastation Inc and is now seconding the Blackbirds) jumps in the ring and gets pinned. So, Harris has to leave and the announcers and Von Erichs think that Parsons and Brown should leave too. Hey, it's goofy. It's unresolved. It's WCCW.
Chris Adams vs. Gary Young:
I will admit that I really wasn't watching this match. Hell, why do I need to watch the pigeon-toed goof Young in the ring. That was until Adams hits a super sweet extra-spiffy superkick that knocks Young to the floor. Then Adams hits an Old-School tope. I mean, really Old-School but, hey, it works. It needs to be seen to be believed.
Taurus Bulba vs. Kerry Von Erich:
Wanna freak out the Sportatorium crowd? How about having their hero lose cleanly to his own hold and then bleed a bunch and get strechered out. That is exactly what happens when Bulba slaps the claw on Von Erich. He wouldn't release it for like 5 minutes. Somehow, Kerry blades and starts gushing. The EMT's come. People cry. I remember reading an article about this match in PWI and it did leave the crowd eerily quiet. I mean we're talking RFK Stadium quiet when L.T. snapped Theisman's leg. Cool.
#$#$#$#$#$#$# MICHINOKU PRO CHAMP
(by DEAN RASMUSSEN)
The Great Sasuke/ Tarzan Goto vs. Mr Pogo/ Some
Well, this wasn't very good. Sasuke does some neato stuff but the majority of this is Big King Suckass Mr Pogo stabbing Sasuke in the back with a stick for TEN MINUTES. As horrible as you can imagine. Much worse than you can imagine when you realize that this is before Sasuke even had his first skull fracture and was a thoroughly insane highspotmeister in ANY other kind of match. Pogo was the worst. The main fun part is trying to figure out which anonymous W*ING/FMW guy is helping Pogo out. It's Hiroshi Ono or a young Koji Nakagawa maybe. I await the person to write and say, "No, ya lummox! It's Hido before he started dying his hair." Ah... fun...
SATO vs Super Delfin:
Hey! I've seen a blue-screen version of this but NOW I've seen what it actually LOOKED like! WOO-HOO! This is SATO (who later became a fella know as Dick MuthaFuckin TOGO) versus Super Delfin- mascara contra mascara! And it's pretty great. These two became A LOT better in the following two years, but this is closer to the roots of the beauty that makes Dick Togo so great- very lucha with a lot more lucha than puroresu, as opposed to the closer balance they achieved a year later and then the puroresu-heavy matches that dominated the league before they broke up the teams and decided to go the WWF and WCW and get knee surgery and everything. The major difference one notices about this time frame of Michinoku Pro is that a technico SATO isn't nearly as good as a rudo Dick Togo and the Super Delfin was really annoying when he didn't have Dick Togo beating the living hell out of him. But I digress... This is all highflying and stuff, with the quite portly SATO hitting a tope con hilo as SWANK as his late, lamented kick ass mask. His Phat Ass Senton wasn't as Phat and he doesn't have the verve and abandon that will mark his later matches. Delfin was using every lucha trick he learned in UWA to bring the Lucha Libre goodness as he hits a bunch of nifty armdrags and flying headscissors to set up the highspots. The puroresu ending kicks in though- as Delfin kicks out of all these awesome SATO powerslams and assorted Frankensteiners. SATO opts against the Delfin Clutch- Japan's Greatest Contribution to the Preposterous Lucha Submissions Sweepstakes- and succumbs to what would be a middle part of a Malenko roll-ups series. I loved that this was the most heat generated at that point of the promotion as Michinoku Pro was still all whimsical and shit (despite the numerous forays into the hoary, unwhimsical world of FMW that pepper MP's existence then and now) especially compared to when MP later went so full-blown Mid-South in its hard angles and hard wrestling mentality. This is quite a good souvenir of a lost time- a short time in the infancy of the wild world of Michinoku Pro when goofiness and fun was more prevalent than really great wrestling but it made it all right. Get this after you get all the other stuff that will get you so addicted to Michinoku Pro that you will HAVE to have this. Not a good primer compared to the other REALLY REALLY great MP stuff available out in the world of wrestling tapedom, but a good ninth or tenth Michinoku Pro acquisition if you start jonesing for the complete collection because of the historical significance and what have you.
>>>>WELCOME TO THE WHISKEY-BENT AND HELLBOUND
CUT-OUT BIN!! WHOMP ASS!!<<<<
Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Norio Honaga (NJTV on Samurai 11/22/97): (byDean)
I never really searched out much Norio Honaga. I loved him in the 97 leg of the Kanemoto's Redneck Ass-Kickers Association vs Liger's Redneck Ass-Kickers Association feud as it headed into Honaga's shining moment in the fued as he assumed the role of a Japanese Arn Anderson in the Nagoya Dome ten-man when Kanemoto and Ohtani joined Kaientai Deluxe and Honaga and El Samurai and Honaga teamed with Seikigun (sans Sasuke) for the WAY too
early swansong of that absolutely brilliant crossover feud. Here, he and Dr. Wagner- who, at this time, was just beginning to reach the form that would make him capable to produce the awesome year he is having so far this year- go at it like too jaded old freaks and it's great. This match is super neato in a WCW Worldwide kinda way- totally inconsequential and really little but they work it really well and there are some good moments. Honaga makes fun of the goofy in-ring roll around a ring into a pose that all luchdores do when they are showing off. After that they do a big bunch of very Lucha Libre matwork with each reversing a leglock into an Indian Deathlock. Wagner turns rudo by the end as he and Honaga start beating the crud out of each other, with Honaga doing his Old School Headstomper thing to good effect as it causes Wagner to bust him up in response. SilverKing's big brother hits his tres grand Wagner Driver 97 and gets the win.
Scott Steiner/Brian Lee vs. Phil Hickerson/Catcus
Jack (CWA 10/88) (by the Ripper)
Wow, everyone is so small .... well everyone except Hickerson who is still a big fat load. And what is even more pathetic is that he gets even fatter as P.Y. Chu'I. There are just so many ways that you can use the words Scott Steiner and roided out freak in the same sentence, so I'm leaving that alone. This match is from the CWA and was really weird and well... er.... weird. Supposedly this was close to being Lee and Steiner's debut match, or at least on CWA TV or at least in Lance Russell's mind since he kept saying it. The four basically trade armbars and headlocks for a few minutes. Then Jack nails Lee with Downtown Bruno's (he's here too) belt or something and the heels get the win. This is were the fun begins. We get back from commercial and a second fall has just randomly started. So now the action picks up a little as Steiner and Lee get in as much offense as they can and get several near falls. And then we run out of time and the bell rings and we are told that Hickerson and Jack win one fall to none. I'm still confused. Hey, but at least I got to see a pre-exploded Steiner.
Yumiko Hotta/ Komiko Maekawa vs. Shinobu Kandori/Mizuki
Endo (LLPW LIVE BATTLE 97- 8/15/97):
This has been a good week for Shinobu Kandori as she graced my VCR. LOREFICE! sent me this baby and Hotta and Maekawa brings the Motherfucking stiffness in spades as they beat the living hell out of the unfortunate Mizuki Endo ("Hey, Mizuki. I REALLY dig your wrestling style! I want you to be my partner for these tag matches where we set up the big singles match. All you gotta do is make Kansai and Hotta look REALLY tough! This is your big break because we got confidence in you to look credible in these matches so we can take you to the next step." "Uh, thanks for the big break, Shinobu. Boy I'm bettin' she's gonna kick me right in the face, isn't she." "Oh GOD YES! It's HOTTA, for God's sake! Take it from me, she kicks REALLY hard! And she taught that Maekawa gal to kick real hard too! It's gonna be a really great, really stiff match like we want here in LLPW. But yeah, Hotta will kick your head off your shoulders like Tiger Woods teeing up at Augusta." "Yeah, it sounds like this is really... gonna broaden my horizons... of my wrestling career... it's gonna be... great.") This is really great. Hotta and Maekawa pummel Endo to the brink of death and Kandori and Hotta are a lot better here than in the title defense that happens a half a year later. Endo is spunky and Maekawa finally looks like the ass-kicker they were trying to make her out to be. Kandori is once again a unifying factor in a match that I've seen her in. Kandori as a good worker. Hmmmm...
Terry Taylor vs. Rip Rogers (NWA 1/90) (by The
It's the veteran from Seymour, Indiana. The self-proclaimed "Marathon Man". The best of the noisy wrestlers. And it's the underrated and now best booker in American wrestling. Rogers is the former, Taylor is the latter for all of you still trying to figure it out. (And if you don't know the difference between former and latter, then I'm no journalism maj....er... Aw crap.) There was this inexplicable period of time that every match that Rogers wrestled was great. He had two against Brian Pillman, one against Ric Flair and this match. Taylor and Rogers really click as they work really smoothly, sell whole bunch for each other and bump even more. Rogers does an axe handle from the top rope to the floor. Rogers hits a DDT they way someone should - quick and face crushing. There is my favorite Rogers move, the airplane spin that leaves him dizzier than his opponent. End comes when Taylor hits a super-stiff five-arm for the win.
Chris Benoit vs Dr. Wagner, Jr. (NJTV on Samurai
11/29/97) (by Dean)
This was really cool for a match seven minutes long. Benoit has this mega flashback to when he was feuding with Villano III back in 93 and he goes full-blown lucha in this baby for a minute there. Wildo Pegasusooooo does the Juventud Guerrera/Jerry Lynn SWANK flying head scissors. Benoit sells a whole bunch- including a modified Black Warrior Pendulum Of Fun Multitwist Counter-Balance Armbar- which has to be the goofiest move that has ever threatened our boy Benoit. Benoit eventually beats him with a headbutt, but you can tell Benoit's heart isn't in it. That's my problem with Benoit in Japan PostHorsemen- he's a heavyweight powerhouse; a psychotic suplex machine that beats the holy fudge out of people in the USA. In Japan he wrestles like El Samurai (and Dr Wagner) would be an actual threat to him. If NJ had anyway of pushing him the same way as they do in the US, he would have Kensuke Sasaki being a threat to him, and he wouldn't be in these matches that show up on these Samurai TV undercard shows. Benoit in Japan is spent, I'm coming to realize. Benoit without ever getting a belt in the US against Booker T is a thousand times more fun than Benoit the Guy who couldn't get out of being the eternal NJ Junior Heavyweight also-ran. But of the match at hand, Benoit is one of the all-time great workers, so this is really good. Plus Dr Wagner wears the BUMPIN' black mask.
And finally, let's throw the lid on this time's
Cutout Bin with some closing wisdom from Arn Anderson, as selected by the
Ripper from the Mountain of NWA/CWA/WCCW tape he came across.
"People have been telling me what I couldn't do all my life. A lotta people call me an overachiever, Zenk. They say you're not big enough. You don't have a body like Tom Zenk's. You shouldn't have got what you got in this life. Well, my friend, you look in these eyes and I looked in yours and I've seen that same fire and I feel I've seen that same hunger; that will to achieve when everybody thinks you can't. So remember one thing, Greek God. This might be a grandstand play for you or a way to get beautiful women. But, by God, that's how I make my living and I'm better than everybody else. A couple of broke knuckles, a few stitches makes no difference when you're a world class athlete; when you're a world champion, you suck it up and go. Now you wanna be somebody? You wanna elevate yourself? Next week, my friend, make your grandstand play right on this show. I don't think you're man enough to jump on me. Bottom Line."
Occasionally among good hearted people differences do arise. Now we here at the Death Valley Driver Review have four writers working hard to give you the best in incisive wrestling commentary and criticism that we can muster between all women and the whiskey (or something), there will be inevitable disagreements over the quality of certain matches. Starting this issue we will provide a forum for a reviewer to take umbrage with his colleagues assessments of certain matches.
@@@@@ (Schneider takes issue with) Dean Rasmussen's
review of the main event of All Japan's May 1st Tokyo Dome Show:
Dean's review of this match was pretty much overwhelmingly positive: "This does supply the psychology, the stiffness, and the Misawa and Kawada required to make this work in the context of a comparison to the body of work THESE TWO have assembled over the span of their braincrushingly beautiful careers." Parts of this I agree with, Misawa v. Kawada is like Flair v. Steamboat or Beniot v. Liger, they are so perfectly in sync with each other that the match is almost guaranteed to be match of the year quality, however- in contrast to those feuds- Kawada was 0-For Life versus Misawa (except for the cheap three way win), and this match was pretty much assuredly his first win. Also this match was their first foray into the Tokyo Dome, and was the largest crowd in All Japan's history. With all that going for it, they go out their and lay a (in the context of Misawa v. Kawada) big turd in the ring. Every one knew that Misawa was real busted up, so the psychology of the match was that his injuries were allowing Kawada to dominate. So the match was basically a 35 minute Kawada squash; there was no point in the match where it looked like Misawa had a legitimate chance to win. It might as well have Toshiaki Kawada vs. Evan Courageous for all the legitimate offense Misawa got in. Now Dean made the argument that Misawa's injuries kept him from getting off more offensive moves, however he wasn't too injured to have Kawada kick him square in the face a dozens times, of smash him right on his dislocated kneecap. I really don't think executing more offenses would have been impossible in his physical shape. While Misawa's injuries keeping him from putting up much of a fight is sound psychology, it does not make for a particularly compelling match. If you want Misawa and Kawada at their best, check their 1994 match or their 1997 match, as for this one no matter what Dean says you don't "wanna see ALLL this."
(RASMUSSEN rebutted with "Yeah ya do", taking a break from watching 8 hours of WAR commercial tapes...)
######## (Rasmussen takes humbrage with) Phil
Schneider's reveiw of Rie Tamada vs Reggie Bennett on the ARSION "Virgin"
I don't understand what Schneider's issue was with Reggie Bennett in this match, because after watching it, I was thinking that Reggie Bennett was really good in it as she was able to sell Rie Tamada's neato lucha-into-shootstyle moves as well as someone half her size- and it's more impressive because Bennett had to sell all these lucha roll-ups that turned into Cross-armbreakers and all these head-scissor variations into kneebars and weirdo shit like that. The fact that Reggie- who did wear an all leather outfit that must have taken a herd of cattle to make- didn't hinder the match and the fact that she wasn't afraid to be really agile for such a young lady of such Ruebenesque proportions makes me give this mad fat props.Phil says, "Imagine if Kendo Ka Shin wrestled Mighty Wilbur, you would have an approximation of this match." I say, "Imagine Rey Misterio Jr wrestling Steven Regal." It was the same thing. A much larger wrestler selling the highflying of a much smaller wrestler to quite effectively create a competitive looking match out of something that would usually not look competitive. The fact that Bennett didn't settle for a basic Devil Masami style crappy squash makes this match a-okay in my book. Phil says, "I dug Tamada's new style and I would like to see it against someone less porcine
and immobile than Refrigerator Reggie." I say that the Fridge is definately and obviously "porcine" but as for the "immobile" section, I say "HA!"
(SCHNEIDER rebutted with the pithy: "It is true
that Reggie Bennett has not shown such agility since she vaulted over a
dozen people to get the last piece of fried chicken at the ARSION debut
BBQ," in between hanging up his vast collection of Hercules Ayala posters.)
For the young and exciting Reverend Ray, the young and exciting Ripper, the young and exciting Phil Schneider, this is you cool ass pal, Rasmussen saying "Good on ya!"
"On the back of a winged horse- against a sky
of pearly grey- love is leaflike- you and me , baby."
- The Minutemen, the World's Greatest Band.