Sunday, February 24, 2019

Jimbo's Quarterly Rasslin Round-Up (Q4 2018 Edition!)

Are you ready for a whirlwind recap of the best, the worst and the most random pro wrestling matches of the last three months? Hold on to your Hulkamania t-shirts, folks — it's time to rumble.

By: Jimbo X

It's truly another golden age for the pro rasslin,' and with so many promotions out there puttin' on so many matches on a nigh daily basis, it can get a little confusing differentiating the cream from the crap. Thus, we here at The Internet Is In America has decided to help many a brother out by publishing our own quarterly, DVDVR-inspired rundown of random matches from across the full spectrum of professional wrestling, be it the bigs like the WWE and New Japan or the indies established and developing in the U.S., Japan and Mexico.

Throughout the year we're going to review eight matches in-depth from every month across four quarterly installments. In case you missed it, you can find the compendiums for quarter one (Jan-March), quarter two (April-June) and quarter three (July-September) right here and here and here. As far as the match selections are concerned, we'll be taking a good, long gander at all sorts of bouts, including the critically praised, snowflake showered New Japan super main events, the best the WWE has to offer, CMLL and AAA's marquee offerings, whatever the fuck All Japan, NOAH and the rest of the Nippon B-leaguers are up to and the most noteworthy (and bizarre) indie outings from the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada and wherever they hell else the masses have a penchant for men in their underwear pretending to kill one another for five dollars a ticket.

(Oh, and a reminder — unlike that weeb jabroni Dave Meltzer, we here at The Internet Is In America actually has a scientific rubric to explain our star ratings, which you can evaluate anytime you want right here.)

But enough jibber-jabber ... let's head down to the ring and get this shit started proper, why don't we?

Raise your hand if you thought in the year 2018, fat ass La Parka dressed up like Lord Zedd versus Jean Pierre LaFitte wouldn't just be a thing, but one of the best fuckin' bouts of the calendar year.


October 04, 2018
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Takashi Sugiura (NOAH Global Junior League 2018 Day 10)

For all the fellatin' the Internet does on New Japan, people tend to sleep on NOAH, which has actually been pretty ballin' all year long — yes, even if they ARE fighting in arenas of, like, 500 people. Nakajima comes in rocking this curly ass mop on his head, while Takashi comes out looking stoic as a motherfucker. I mean his face is totally fuckin' emotionless and it's actually kinda scary. Nakajima taunts Takashi by laying flat on his back to start the match. God, he looks like such a smug little cocksucker — he's playing the heel role perfectly. Takashi tries to get a cheap elbow in on the (otherwise) clean break and Nakajima launches his foe into the ringpost. Then he punts him fucking hard in the sternum and we all LOL. Then Nakajima grabs a chair and fucking EXPLODES it over Takashi's noggin. I mean the entire thing shatters into a billion pieces on contact and it's just plain fantastic. Now he's choking Takashi with it because he's a no good sonofabitch with poor sportsmanship, that's why. Back in the ring and Nakajima savages the champ with elbow strikes galore. Then he starts choking him with his boot and he does it all cocky-like, too. And because this is NOAH we're talking about, both guys have to kick each other in the face hard for a bit before Takashi finally lands his first major offensive move of the match, a spear that almost knocks Nakajima out of his boot laces. Takashi goes for a superplex, but Nakajima rakes his eyes and counters it into a powerbomb. Takashi slaps the taste of of Nakajima's mouth and then he puts him in the tree of woe. KNEE TO THE SOLAR PLEXUS TIME, MOTHER FUCKER. And THAT allows Takashi to land the stalling superplex. Of course, Nakajima gets right back up and the two take turns kicking each other's lungs and Nakajima finally puts Takashi down with a kick that probably would've sailed 50 yards through the uprights, easy. Then the two go Super-Saiyan and exchange GHASTLY release German suplexes before putting each other flat on their backs with simultaneous boots to the snout. Now Takashi is going for an ankle lock, but Nakajima quickly finds the ropes. Takashi ultimately grabs Nakajima and plants him on the canvas with a BRUTAL German suplex, and he follows it up with some THICK elbows smashes in the corner, culminating with a HARD knee to the face. Alas, Nakajima kicks out. Nakajima grabs the ref so Takashi can't suplex him again and when the official's back is turned he rakes Takashi's eyes and wacks him upside the head with a two-by-four conveniently left in the corner, presumably by Hacksaw Jim Duggan. And then Takashi turns Nakajima inside out with a lariat out of nowhere and an Olympic Slam that ACTUALLY looked painful for once. Nakajima, however, kicks out at two. Nakajima lands a Frankensteiner and drops Takashi with a super kick that looks, well, really super, I guess. Nakajima continues to kick the shit out of Takashi in the corner. He Germans the champ and kicks him a billion more times and Takashi just kind of lays there holding his titties for a while. Nakajima puts one boot on Takashi's chest for a cocky pin but takes his foot off before the ref can register the three-count. Cold-blooooded. Nakajima lands a brainbuster, but Takashi kicks out. Nakajima slaps Takashi a hundred times like E. Honda and the champ collapses. Then he mounts him and smacks him with a deluge of forearm smashes. Takashi gets his second wind and locks in an ankle lock right in the middle of the fucking ring. Huh, both of his signature moves are culled from Kurt Angle ... how about that. Anyhoo, Nakajima lasts about a minute, and then he fucking taps.

My Score: **** 1/2

The Verdict: Nakajima may have put in the single best individual performance I've seen of ANY wrestler this year in this match. He just comes off as a piece of shit so well that it totally transcends the language barrier — he's like a reverse Charlie Chaplin, really. Anyway, this was a fuckin' great match, one of those hard-hitting "less-is-more" power-fests that NOAH excels at. This was just a hard-hitting, visceral as fuck bout from bell to bell, and it was booked almost perfectly. Traditional heel vs. face matches are a dying breed in this day and age, and there's no denying this is one of the best examples of the old standard to take place in any ring, anywhere in the world, in 2018. DEFINITELY go out of your way to see this one, kids.

October 04, 2018
L.A. Park vs. PCO (MLW Fury Road)

It's a match-up between two men who made absolutely *im-fucking-possible* comebacks and are now putting on the best bouts of their careers in their 50s. Seriously, who would've thought La Parka vs. Jean-Pierre LaFitte would've been something hardcore wrestling fans would be EXCITED about in the year 2018? Anyway, La Parka is rocking a snazzy red uniform so he kinda' looks like Lord Zedd from Power Rangers while PCO looks like one of those digital actors from Mortal Kombat — but he could also kick your ass, too, and you know it. Also, I am definitely digging La Parka's valet, but then again, I'm a sucker for any broad that wears really dark red lipstick like that. This match wastes NO time at all getting awesome, as La Park runs into PCO belly first, starts hooting and hollering and calls his foe "a motherfucker" in the Spanish language several times. Then they exchange slaps and chops before PCO drops Parka with a chokeslam. Then the motherfucker hits Parka with a MOONSAULT HEADBUTT. You do know this asshole is 50, right? He follows that up with a suicide dive to the outside, and the announcer calls it a "daredevil dive" because he doesn't want to make light of people with mental health issues. Fucking millennials, man. We've got some more outside brawling with Parka getting his noggin scrambled on the ringpost and the ringside ramp. PCO stomps on Parka in the corner and then Parka does the Fargo Strut and takes PCO down with the single fattest clothesline you'll ever see in your life. Then La Parka headbutts his opponent FUCKING HARD and dropkicks him on the back of the head. Now it's time for Parka to break out the suicide dive, and yep, it looks goddamn beautiful. Now La Parka has a steel chair. Take a wild guess what he does with it, I bet you'll never figure it out. Parka hits a really slow and fat snapmare and then he grabs a camera cable and starts whipping PCO like an unruly stepchild. That's our cue for Parka to whip his belt out and play make-believe slave-owner. Parka whiffs on a dropkick in the corner and PCO capitalizes with a powerbomb and a running knee to the jaw. "It's like they can't hurt each other," Tony S. comments. And then, in one of the sickest spots of the year, PCO goes for a cannonball splash off the top and fucking CRACKS his spine on the edge of the apron. That was just nasty. Then L.A. Park says "Hey, I don't want to be the only guy seriously injured in this bout," so he goes uptop and hits a flying headbutt to the outside, complete with his skull bouncing off the concrete like a basketball. Both men make their way back into the ring, and Park hits a spear out of nowhere for the fairly sudden pinfall.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Fun, fun, fun stuff. Of course, it was way shorter than it should've been, but obviously they're saving these two guys for a much longer feature presentation down the road. Sorta' like that one Brock Lesnar/Bill Goldberg WM match that DOESN'T suck, this thing is just a masterclass in minimalism, and more proof that beefy, methodical as fuck 'rasslin still has a place in this, the era of the soyboy spotfester. If anybody can find a better 10-minute long match this year, I'll kiss you square on the lips ... no homo.

October 05, 2018
L.A. Park vs. Pentagon Jr. (MLW Fusion)

This is a Mexican Massacre Match, so you KNOW it's going to be goddamn madness from bell to bell. L.A. Park is accompanied to the ring by this one fine looking Latina bitch who isn't Zelina Vega, but she's close enough. Tony Schiavone is doing commentary and L.A. Park starts playing a steel chair like an air guitar just like it was an episode of WCW Thunder from 1998. Pentagon Jr. is cornered by Konnan and he's got a metal trash can with him. Less than five seconds in and La Parka has ALREADY skulled Pentagon with an aluminum trash receptacle. Now L.A. Park is ripping at Pentagon's mask. Time for Pentagon to eat chair. Park throws Pentagon into a buffet table. Now he's carrying it back to the ring. Park breaks a dust pan over Pentagon's head, now he's choking him with a chain from the lighting rig. Park takes his belt off and now it's time to blister Pentagon's backside. And his face, because Park SERIOUSLY don't give a fuck about his opponent's safety. Pentagon, at the seven minute mark of the bout, finally gets some offense in; a hurricanrana, followed by a diving moonsault that puts Park THROUGH that ringside table we all forgot about. Then he fucking WAFFLES Park with a chair and tosses a plastic garbage can at him. Pentagon grabs that broken dustpan thing and clobbers Park over the neck with it. Now he has Park's belt and he's beating the shit out of him with it. Pentagon goes for a double stomp but he misses L.A. Park by a mile but he sells it anyway. Park eats garbage can again and Pentagon calls his valet a whore en Espanol. Park does the Fargo Strut and clotheslines Pentagon. Just a two-count. Pentagon hits a diving double stomp in the corner, but Park kicks out. Park hits a powerslam and a fat Senton splash. Pentagon kicks out. Park with a diving tope to the outside, and Pentagon damn near flies into the fifth row. Park with a short-armed clothesline back in the ring. I'm not sure, but I think he just called Pentagon a "faggot" in his native language. Park hits a Nightmare on Helms Street variation, but Pentagon kicks out at two. Pentagon its a series of Sling Blades and he socks a garbage can over Park's head. He El Kabongs him with the afore-mentioned dust pab. Pentagon mocks Park with the Fargo Strut, and Park retaliates by spearing that Mexican nigga' halfway to Tijuana. Parka retrieves another table. Pentagon hits a lungblower and Tony S. wonders if they'll try to impale each other on the table legs. Pentagon conks L.A. Park with a metal garbage can several times while he's straddled on the top rope and Park spears him THROUGH the table mid-air. Fuck, I am loving all of this. Pentagon throws a fireball at Park, but he mostly hits the referee. Park kicks Pentagon in the balls he quickly scoops Pentagon up for the cheap 1,2,3.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Goddamn, was that a blast. It doesn't quite reach the lofty levels of inspired lucha mayhem that some of La Parka's matches from earlier this year attained, but this is still an absolute hoot and a half to experience. This is one of those rare "dream matches" that actually lives up to the hype — definitely give it a gander if you like your 'rasslin crude, rude, violent and, uh, without the letter "W," I guess. You know, because Spanish doesn't have that letter in there alphabet, for whatever reason.

October 08, 2018
Kazuki Hashimoto vs. Tatsuhiko Yoshino (BJW Sapporo 2 Days - Tag 2)

This is for the Big Japan Junior Heavyweight title, if you were wondering. And nope, I have no idea who either of these people are, so don't even bother asking. So Yoshino is this really skinny dude who comes out to emo music and Hashimoto is this equally skinny dude who comes out to slightly better music. So yeah, I guess that's the one we're supposed to be rooting for. LOL, it takes like a full two minutes to get all of the streamers out of the ring. I know Japanese crowds are none for being quiet, but this crowd is so silent it's literally spooky. Basic collar and elbow tie-up to begin, with Yoshino giving Hashimoto a clean break. Hashimoto gets a couple of pussy slaps rattled off and Yoshino works a standing arm wrench. He transitions to a floatover headlock, but Hashimoto escapes and we get a standstill. They trade a million billion counters, culminating with Yoshino whiffing on a high kick, and there's another standstill. Hashimoto connects on a LOUD running knee to the face and then he wipes out Yoshino with a flying skinny man splash to the outside. Now we get ourselves some Japaheeno crowd-fightin', which really isn't all that enthralling when the crowd just kinda sits there and doesn't say nothing. Ok, so Hashimoto is the slightly bigger of the two. Yoshino connects on a DDT and he clubs Hashimoto with a couple of elbows. Hashimoto kicks out of the neckbreaker, so that means Yoshino has to lock him in a neck crank for a minute solid. Yoshino with another neckbreaker and, yep, Hashimoto kicks out of that one, too. Hashimoto with a running boot and Yoshino counters with a clothesline. Then Hashimoto suplexes Yoshino and he connects with several running knees into the corner. Pretty basic stuff, really. Hashimoto with a bulldog and another neck crank. Looks like he's going for a rear naked choke. Yoshino makes it to the ropes so Hashimoto's gotta' break the hold. Time for Yoshino to take a dive to the outside. Well, at least THAT got something out of that crowd. Now they're scuffling on the rampway. Yoshino hits Hashimoto with one of those over-the-shoulder neckbreaker thingies and Hashimoto just barely beats the 20-count. Yoshino hits him with a dropkick off the top rope as soon as he re-enters the ring and locks in a crossface. Hashimoto tries to roll out of it and he eventually counters with a Death Valley Driver variation. Yoshino kicks out. Hashimoto wrenches Yoshino on the top rope and he lands the superplex ... which Yoshino no sells. Then the two go buck wild hitting each other with kicks and Death Valley Drivers and there's this moment where both men are splayed out on the canvas and they're both winded throwing slaps at each other and Hashimoto takes off his elbow pad and Yoshino superkicks him but then Hashimoto hits him with a clothesline and ANOTHER DVDer then Yoshino connects on a bridging German suplex and a running knee but Hashimoto still kicks out of it. Yoshino with another German suplex and another running knee. He goes up top, but he misses on the Swanton. Hashimoto hits a brainbuster but Yosino kicks out. Hashimoto with a series of head kicks, but Yoshino don't sell that, either. Then Hashimoto hits one MORE Death Valley Driver, only this time he makes sure to hold onto his opponent's ball sack so this time around it's good enough for a three-count.

My Score: ***

The Verdict: A pretty generic Japaheeno indie junior heavyweight match, but admittedly, it did get pretty awesome towards the end. Still,  these guys are the definition of vanilla (err, mochi, I guess?) — these two niggas need a discernible gimmick about as bad as R. Kelly needs a good defense attorney.

October 14, 2018
Austin Aries vs. Johnny Impact (Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory)

You might remember Johnny Impact better as Johnny Morrison from ECW 2.0. He has pretty much the same gimmick here, except now he's calling himself the "Mayor of Slam Town," which is easily the dumbest nickname I've heard ... in the last five minutes, at least. Anyway, this is the main event of the single biggest TNA (I mean, IMPACT WRESTLING) show of the year, so it better be good. Considering the show is emanating from an arena that seats about 500 people, yeah, I'd say we're off to a good start. Aries is accompanied to the ring by Moose, who somehow turned into a Muslim Urkel, and this one guy that kinda' looks like Low-Ki, but isn't Low-Ki. Fuck, these TNA marks are so behind the times they STILL do that whole "One-fall!" echo thing like it's actually clever. Oh goddamn, there's actually a disco ball on the ceiling. PLEASE let this thing devolve into a dance-off at some point. By the way, Impact's valet is a fat version of Alexa Bliss. Aries goes for a guillotine early, and he gets it. Johnny escapes and kicks Aries right in his kidneys. This is like watching an off-brand AJ Styles action figure fight an off-brand CM Punk action figure. Impact tries to push Aries out of the ring and he ultimately traps Austin in a headlock. Nothing says "yep, this is TNA" like hearing an announcer tell an anecdote about their world champion getting legit injured trying to do parkour. Impact clotheslines Aries over the top rope and he hits him with a plancha, but since there's like 10 inches between the ring and the guardrail, it's a very tepid looking tope. Impact whips Aries into the ringside barrier and the camera misses it, but there is this cool moment where Impact does a split legged moonsault with one leg straddling the ring and one leg straddling the guardrail. Aries with a flying axe handle off the top rope to the outside. Aries with stiff-ish kicks to the back and Impact slugs Austin good and starts stompin' him in the corner. Aries with knee drops and stomps galore. Impact's valet tells Aries "fuck you, bitch" and Austin punches on Johnny some more. Austin literally SLAPS Johnny off the top rope and he tries to hit Johnny with a diving tope and Impact smacks him with an elbow. Impact goes for a corkscrew press but Austin kicks out at two. Aries locks in the Last Chancery, but he loses his grip. Impact with a buncha' knees to the stomach and he hits Austin with a dropkick off the ropes. Both men are splayed out on the canvas now. Cue the requisite slapfight. Impact puts Aries on the top rope and Austin piefaces him off the top. He follows suit with a flying hurricanrana but Johnny catches him with a boot in the corner. Impact goes for a moonsault but can't stick it. Aries uses the rope for an inverted neckbreaker and he goes up top again. Impact punches him repeatedly and tries to go for the Spanish Fly. Yep, he lands it, but Aries kicks out at two. Mmm, I do like those chubby tit-tays on Impact's valet, though. Impact goes up top again. He goes for this tumbleweed looking splash and Aries just rolls out of the way. They kick the shit out of each other on the apron and then Aries hits a Death Valley Driver on the edge of the ring. Austin goes up top yet again and lands the 450. Of course, Impact kicks out. Aries with more elbows in the corner and Impact drops him with a superkick. Impact lands "Starship Pain" but Aries holds onto the ropes to break up the pin attempt. Aries lands a Roaring Elbow, a running dropkick and a slick brainbuster, but Impact gets HIS foot on the rope to break up the pin. Impact goes for a backslide, but Aries reverse it into a Last Chancery in the middle of the ring. Of course, Impact makes it to the ropes. Time for another slap fight. LOL, Aries just wiped out Impact's bitch on a missed plancha. Austin goes for a schoolboy, but Impact kicks out of that. Impact lands a brainbuster, the Starship Pain and yep, that's good enough to get the W. But what's really fucked up is that as soon as the three count is registered, Aries gets right back up, yells at a dude in the balcony and walks back to the locker room gingerly as a motherfucker. Well, that was weird as hell.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: A pretty good bout with an especially well-done ending — that post-match no-selling weirdness aside. Aries is definitely a solid in-ring worker, and Impact is probably a lot better than most people want to give him credit for, and as solid as this was, I still think the two have potential to put on a better match. So yeah, this is kinda' like watching the Styles/Nakamura matches from the WWE — objectively, it's good, but you just KNOW these motherfuckers are sandbagging on us big time.

October 21, 2018
Zeus vs. Kento Miyahara (AJPW Raising An Army Memorial Series)

The GHC title is on the line in this one. While All Japan these days is just a pale shadow of its greatness in the 1990s, when it comes time for "big event" matches, the company's STILL able to bring the goods, even IF they're wrestling in crowds of less than one thousand people. Despite the small budget and even smaller crowd, the atmosphere for this thing is just off the charts ... you can just FEEL the magnitude and gravity of the matchup from the get-go. Also, that gradient purple-fading-into-blue lighting is just synthwave as fuck and I love it. Basic collar and elbow tie-up to begin, with Zeus giving Kento a clean break off the ropes. Zeus lands some hard chops, then Kento hits him with a stalling German suplex and then Zeus clotheslines him out of the ring. Zeus works an arm wrench and a headlock, then he slaps Kento's titties and this makes Zeus mad so he chops Kento like a motherfucker but then Kento lands a drop toe hold and dropkicks that motherfucker for being such a prick. Now it's time for some outside brawling, complete with plenty of headbutts, baby. Now they're fighting up the rampway. I dig how the entrance way is all foggy, so it makes the area to the left and right of the ramp look like a bottomless pit out of Mortal Kombat or something. Kento spikes Zeus with a DDT and headbutts him back to the ring. But not before throwing him into the ringside guardrail a couple of times, just for good measure. Then Zeus gets pissed and starts throwing Kento into the guardrail barriers  and whatnot and suplexing him on the (padded) concrete floor. Now Zeus is trying to crush Kento's windpipe using the top rope. Such a simple visual, but it just plain works. Zeus with a scoop slam and a sleeperhold. Kento gets a rope break and Zeus hits a flying tackle off the ropes. Back to the sleeper hold. Now it's time for Zeus to chop Kento's nipples 900 times, and then he pushes the ref and the official sticks his ass in Zeus' face so he'll stop punching Kento with a closed fist. Kento with a series of dropkicks and a northern lights suplex variation, but Zeus kicks out. Kento tries to spear Zeus, but Zeus leapfrogs out of the way and Kento kabongs himself on the ringpost. Zeus tries to chokeslam Kento off the apron a couple of times, but since he can't land it he says "fuck it" and decides to hit Kento with one of those over-the-shoulder-neckbreaker-thingies ON the apron's edge and yep, it does indeed look hurty as fuck. Then Zeus says "look at me, I'm everybody in New Japan!" and he does a flying body splash to the outside, and it actually looks kinda' dangerous because he's all beefy and shit. Then he hits Kento with a stalling superplex, but of course Miyahara kicks out. Now the two are going buckwild with clotheslines, knees and chops. Kento hits a brainbuster, but he's too drained to make a pinfall attempt. Kento hits Zeus with a running knee to the back of the head, a release German and a flying knee to the face — but the champ kicks out. Zeus locks in a bear hug and converts it into a fucking BOSS looking belly to back suplex. He dropkicks Miyahara into the turnbuckle like a pinball and there's the chokeslam. Kento kicks out at two. Zeus whiffs on a top rope splash so Kento knees him in the back of the head and connects on a stalling German. Zeus, of course, kicks out. Zeus with a dropkick and a lariat, but Kento kicks out. Miyahara with another jumping knee, and this one puts Zeus flat on his back. Both men take a while to get back to their feet and when they do Kento fucking unloads on Zeus with a barrage of forearms and stomps. This makes Zeus quite angry and he starts pounding Kento down with chops and elbows, to the point it looks like he's trying to smash Miyahara's spine into hamburger meat. Kento lands a knee to the face but Zeus kicks out at 2.99998. Kento finally manages to lock up Zeus' arms so he can hit him with that trap stalling German suplex, but much to Miyahara's surprise, Zeus kicks out. He goes for another one but Zeus says "fuck that shit" and hits him with back to back lariats instead. Miyahara, though kicks out — and he kicks out of the follow-up Jackhammer, too. Man, somewhere Bill Goldberg must be LIVID. Kento goes for a roll-up, but Zeus kicks out. He lands another knee to the face and Zeus responds with another lariat. Kento with more running knees to the face and he tries for the stalling German again and THIS time he scores the ace AND that long-desired GHC title.

My Score: **** 1/2

The Verdict: Another fuckin' great old-school puro championship bout that actually FELT like one of the great heavyweight contests of the '90s. It took it's time and it felt grueling as fuck and you just KNEW that at any moment, all it took was one big move to change the course of everything. These two guys gave us what is probably the closest we’re going to get to true “Kings Road” style Puro in the year 2018 — and for that, they should be commended, if not potentially fellated.

October 30, 2018
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH Global League 2018 Day 1)

It's the ultimate battle of old-school Kings Road dickheads with awesomely stupid haircuts, and I — for one — am excited. Both guys uncharacteristically taking their sweet time getting the action started here, complete with Nakajima rolling to the outside for a totally needless breather. So yeah, we're about three minutes into this bitch and these two men haven't even touched each other yet. Maru breaks up the monotony with a leg trip, and then, THE ASS KICKING, IT IS ON. Nakajima does what a Nakajima does and kicks Marufuji hard as fuck and Marufuji responds by saying "No, FUCK YOU" and kneeing Nakajima's skull so hard you could probably hear the patella connecting with noggin from three blocks away. So Nakajima takes his sweet time re-entering the ring and when he does Maru just grabs him and piledrives him on the edge of the apron. COOOOOOLD-BLOOODED. Now Maru takes a nap in the corner while Nakajima tries to keep his brain from leaking out of his ears on the outside and Maru says "LOL, J/K", grabs that sumbitch and starts slinging him back and forth against the guardrails like a pinball with a Sideshow Bob haircut. Then Maru drags him into the 10th row and just fucking LEAVES him there, presumably under the assumption that it's too far for Nakajima to make it back to the ring before the 20 count. But Maru says "nah, fuck that" AGAIN, rolls outside, conks Nakajima's head on the turnbuckle post (and then the swinging guardrail gate) before tossing his carcass back in the ring so he can facelock that Japanese nigga'. Maru hits a flying elbow in the corner and lariats him. And there's the superkick. Nakajima holds onto the rope so that breaks up the pin attempt. Nakajima kicks Maru in the head and Maru responds with a knee to the skull and then Nakajima fucking rocks Maru with a superkick in the corner. This is the shittiest Maru/Nakajima match ever and it's STILL awesome. Nakajima with a dragon screw leg whip and a fuckton of kicks. Nakajima lands a back-body suplex and Maru superkicks Nakajima and drops his ass with a knee to the face. Maru hits Nakajima with a knee to the back of the head that looks 100 times stiffer than any of Kenny Omega's V-Triggers and we have a great reversal-reversal-whiff spot that ends with Nakajima landing a lucky superkick and a running punt to the noggin. That allows Nakajima to land a BROOTAL brainbuster and, yep, that's all she wrote, folks and fellas.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Like I said, this is probably the weakest bout these two men have had against one another and it's still fucking tremendous. This match is pretty much the last vestige of the old "Four Pillars" style of 'rasslin from the 1990s, that exquisite sort of "power minimalism" that you just don't see anywhere else in the world. It's far from the best representative of such a style, but shit, was it fun while it lasted — if you've got 15 minutes to spare, you could do WAY worse for yourself than digging this 'un up on the Ru.Tubes.

October 30, 2018
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Smackdown)

The man who epitomized TNA in 2005 taking on the man who epitomized ROH in 2005 duking it out in a WWE ring in the year 2018. So anyway, those whole thing was set up because Bryan didn't want to go to the PPV in Saudi Arabia. Just a footnote, for historical purposes. Hey, did you notice how Bryan's trunks and boots are Seattle Seahawks' colors? Also, he's so pale that it literally HURTS to look at his blindingly mayonnaise-hued body. Anyway, we've got AJ taking a suicide dive early, and it looks like he hurt his knee. Now AJ is working on Daniel's knee, twisting it and making it look all hurty and shit. And there's the kicks to the back now. Then Daniel fucks his knee up on a plancha. Which means AJ is gonna' be working that bitch something wicked. Daniel trying for an armbar. AJ counters with a knee breaker and stomps galore in the corner. AJ with another kneebreaker ... don't you kids just love the return of in-ring psychology. Now Daniel's landing a buncha' European uppercuts and AJ says "fuck that" and slams Daniel knee-first into the ring post. Now Daniel is kicking AJ while Styles has a leglock applied. Styles with a knee to the face, but Daniel reverses the inverted DDT with a headlock and patellas in bunches. Now Daniel is the one breaking out a fazillion kicks. AJ with a dropkick as Daniel tries to land the running knee. AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Daniel sticks him on the top rope. But Styles shifts his body weight on the super back-body drop attempt. We return from commercial break and Daniel has the Yes Lock locked in. Daniel makes it to the ropes. AJ suplexes Daniel over the top rope and he sells his injured knee like a motherfucker. AJ grabs Daniel and slams him knee first on the announce table, then Daniel tosses AJ head first into the metal steps. Daniel lands the running dropkick in the corner. And hell, why not another one? Daniel goes for a top rope hurricanrana and AJ threatens a SUPER Styles Clash, but Daniel manages to reverse it again to land the top rope Frankensteiner after all. Daniel with a knee to the skull and several kicks to the face, then AJ dragon screws Daniel. AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm and Daniel counters it into a straight armbar. He's going for the Yes Lock once more. Now he's working a triangle. AJ gets to his feet and lands a fucking STYLES CLASH. Time for the Calf Crusher, you little vegan bitch. AND BRYAN TAPS OUT.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: That was a damn good little free-on-TV match right there. It had just enough early WCW ring psychology and just enough pseudo-submission style wrestling to make it feel adequately old school AND contemporary. Granted, both men have had way better matches this year, but this was a still a solid bout all the way around, commercial breaks or not. Plus, watching Samoa Joe run in post-match and choke the fuck out of everybody made it even better. Fuck, what WOULDN'T be better if it ended with Samoa Joe choking out niggas at the end, anyway?

Sigh ... why didn't Shane Carwin or Mark Hunt think of doing that in the Octagon?


November 03, 2018
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki (NJPW Power Struggle 2018)

Minoru's ugly ass wastes no time at all before hitting Ishii with a running boot to the face, which Ishii, naturally, no sells. Ishii unloads with a barrage of elbows in the corner, then Minoru returns the favor. They take turns whiffing on Shining Wizards as the crowd shows 'em their appreciation. Time for another standing elbow exchange. Minoru tries to go for an armbar while he's on the ropes, but no dice. Ishii with more knees in the corner, and Minoru just kinda absorbs them and looks all angry and stuff. Ishii lands some shitty looking chops and Minoru starts rattling off these strangely precise high kicks to his opponent's sternum. Then he just sits there in the middle of the ring, looking like a cracked out monkey with cornrows. Now Minoru's working some high angle knee strikes from side control. Yeah, this match does have a weird 2002-era Pride FC vibe to it, don't it? Suzuki punches Ishii in the pancreas and he tumbles over in pain. Minoru playfully kicks his downed opponent, then Ishii gets back up and starts chopping that Japanese nigga' like a muthafuka. By the way, New Japan is about 20 times more enjoyable with the native language commentary, in case you were wondering. Minoru fuckin' POPS Ishii with a hard jab and Ishii winds up a haymaker in riposte. Now Ishii is stormin' back with elbow strikes. I hope you like your wrestling slow, old and methodical, 'cause this shit is moving along at a snail's pace. Now it's time for a rapid fire forearm exchange. It looks like Ishii just passed out underneath the bottom rope, so I take it that means Suzuki won that round? Minoru connects on a running boot to the face, but Ishii kicks out. Minoru with a snapmare and another running kick, but all that did was make Ishii SUPER PISSED. He lariats Suzuki in the corner and sets him up for a superplex. Nevermind, he gets super-bombed instead — an easy upgrade, if you ask me. Suzuki goes for a sleeperhold, but Ishii escapes. Eventually, Suzuki takes Ishii down with yet another running boot and that's our cue for another slap-a-thon. We get a couple of reversals, and Ishii hits Suzuki with a stalling suplex only for Suzuki to pop right back up and hit Ishii with a dropkick. Suzuki goes for a rear naked choke. He gets bored doing that, apparently, and goes for a Gotch piledriver instead. But Ishii, of course, escapes, only to get dropped again with a short-arm clothesline. Minoru rattles off a few more forearm shots and goes for another Gotch piledriver, only for Ishii to flip Suzuki over his bag like a sack of flour and hit him with a REVERSE piledriver that's easily one of the dopest looking pro 'rasslin moves you'll ever see. Shit, that REALLY needs to be this Japanigga's finisher right there. Suzuki stumbles back to his feet almost immediately, though, and that means it's time for him to eat LARIATO. Still, Minou kicks out. Ishii drops him with a headbutt and running, diving elbow to the face. Yep, just a two-count there, too. Time for MORE slaps, ya'll. Suzuki locks in another rear naked choke and Ishii hits an enzuigiri and a lariat. Two of them, actually. Ishii lands the stalling brainbuster and, you KNOW that shit's gonna' end it right there.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Man, I just enjoyed the shit out of all that retardedness right there. Granted, the match started off WAY too slow, but in a way that actually made the crescendo towards the end all the more enjoyable. It’s pretty hard to ever root against two old workhorses like Ishii and Suzuki just whalin’ on each other for 20 minutes, and while both competitors have had far better potato-thons in their respective careers, this is still very satisfying material.

November 03, 2018
Chris Jericho vs. EVIL (NJPW Power Struggle 2018)

Jericho comes out wearing a cheap-ass looking Kabuki mask, while EVIL, as always, looks like a slightly fatter and substantially more Japanese RVD. EVIL jumps him at the bell and slangs that Canada-nigga into the turnbuckle. Jericho flees to the outside and we've got some ARENA BRAWLING, ya'll. An aside, but I really like how all of the New Japan cameramen are numbered. It makes it WAY easier to tell them apart, if you ask me — in fact, we should probably do that for ALL Japanese people, the more I think about it. Anyway, EVIL hits Jericho with a snap suplex on the show floor and he grabs one of those skinny-ass anorexic Japanese buffet tables. Jericho back body drops EVIL on an attempted powerbomb through the furniture and launches EVIL sternum first into the guardrail. Jericho grabs a camera and yells something at it before handing it back to its rightful owner, then he starts choking EVIL with his T-shirt and tosses his ass over the guardrail. Jericho with a DDT on the New Japan announce table, but it don't break. Now THAT is a testament to Japanese craftsmanship right there. Jericho grabs a New Japan banner and blows his nose with it. Then he calls Kevin Kelly a "stupid bastard," which is just his opinion but let's face it, it's probably factually accurate. Jericho with a flying crossbody, but EVIL kicks out at two. EVIL finally starts to get some offense in, but Jericho ends the putsch with an enzuigiri. Jericho with a not-that-super kick followed by an old school Lionsault. EVIL kicks out, so Jericho kicks EVIL some more. Jericho tosses EVIL off the top rope and connects on a flying back elbow. EVIL kicks out at two. EVIL lands a super kick and a couple of forearm shots, and he finally drops Jericho over the top rope with a clothesline. EVIL pinballs Jericho into the metal guardrail and he pulls out a steel chair. Actually, it looks more like it's made out of aluminum, but still, it probably hurt like hell when EVIL put one over Jericho's head and then slapped it off with ANOTHER piece of furniture. Hey, if nothing else, at least it made a cool THWACK sound. EVIL with a fisherman brainbuster, but Jericho kicks out. EVIL goes for a low dropkick and Jericho looks to counter it with the Liontamer. EVIL escapes and he threatens to suplex Jericho off the mat THROUGH the ringside table. Jericho counters out, though, but EVIL just grabs him again so he can STO that muthafuka through da' wood. A small contingent of fans start a "This is Awesome" chant, because if there's one thing Japanese youth need to be more of, it's fuckin' autistic. EVIL drags Jericho back into the ring and lands a senton off the top rope. Just a two. Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho, but EVIL slowly makes his way to a rope break. EVIL with a lariat, but Jericho kicks out at two. He loads up for another clothesline, but Jericho catches him with a back elbow. He whiffs on the Lionsault and EVIL hits Darkness Falls on the rebound. Jericho, naturally, kicks out. Jericho only gets a two-count on a cheap pin attempt, then they take each other out with stereo clotheslines. Both men get vertical again and EVIL unloads with forearms. Jericho lands the Codebreaker outta' nowhere, but EVIL kicks out. Jericho goes up top again and EVIL lands the STO as a reversal on the body splash. Jericho, you guessed it, kicks out. EVIL lands another lariat and goes for Darkness Falls again, then Jericho spins around a couple of times like a dreidel and THERE'S the Liontamer right there in the middle of the ring. EVIL tries to make it to the ropes, but he can't take it no more and TAPS THE FUCK OUT.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: An entertaining match, albeit a fairly formulaic one. Ultimately, this felt like a really watered down remake of Jericho’s match against Naito, only with a wrestler whose in-ring style is even more incompatible with his own sports-entertainmenty heelwork. That said, the ending stretch is pretty solid, and I will never not mark for the Liontamer, even if Jericho is some 50-year-old dad-bodded schlub that dresses like a school shooter.

November 08, 2018
Go Shiozaki vs. Kazusada Higuchi (NOAH Global League 2018 Day 2)

Go is the only Japanese person in history to successfully rock the Eddie Guerrero faded-trop pseudo-mullet, so props for that. Amazingly, he only has the second-worst haircut in this match, since Higuchi is rocking a greasy, slick-backed samurai bun. Just plain ick. So Higuchi takes Go off his feet early with a shoulder block and then he slaps his titty HARD. They roll to the outside and Higuchi just goddamn THUMPS Shiozaki with a knife-edge chop. Then Go tosses Higuchi over the guardrail and we've got ourselves some crowd brawling, complete with Higuchi dropping Go face first on the support structure for the Pro Wrestling Noah electronics equipment ... which, yeah, is basically just one dude with a Macbook and a whole shit ton of cables. Even better, Go almost knocks over this one dude's can of Yoohoo and that makes me chortle. Back in the ring and Higuchi squeezes Go's head, like, hard. Now it's time for 'em to exchange chops like it was, uh, a pork swap meet? Eh, that'll have to do. Higuchi levels Go with another shoulder charge, but the pin attempt is only good for a two. They keep doing suplex reversals until Go flips over and hits Higuchi with a dropkick. Higuchi hits Go with the shittiest big boot of all time and Go goes into full-autism slap mode. He follows suit with a stalling brainbuster, but Higushi kicks out. Holy shit, both of these men's sternums are bright purple from the choppage. Higuchi lands a fucking PHAT power slam and they kind of roll around on the mat aimlessly for a bit. Higuchi with a huge-ass Rock Bottom/choke slam combo, but Go kicks out at two. Higuchi goes up top and Go headbutts him in the small intestine. Go tries to dropkick Higuchi as he goes for an axe handle smash, but both men totally blow their spots and the whole thing looks like shit and they should feel bad about it. OK, time for more chops because why the fuck not, really? Man, this stuff is getting painful to watch. Eventually, Higuchi gets the best of that exchange and lands a release German suplex. He shoulder charges Go into the corner again and hits a nice-looking sitout powerbomb variation, but it only nets him a two-count. Higuchi sets Go up for a powerbomb, but Go escapes and rocks him with a short-arm lariat. Shiozaki lands the Go Flasher, but Higuchi kicks out. Higuchi gets back up and yep, it's time to chop some more. Go hits Higuchi with a running lariat off the ropes, and yeah, that's all she wrote, fellas.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Fun and visceral as fuck, but a little too short (and formulaic) to really be considered a bout worth going out of your way to experience. There’s no denying these two have pretty good in-ring chemistry together, though — these two definitely have the capacity for a truly great outing a year or two down the line.

November 08, 20118
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kenoh (NOAH Global League 2018 Day 2)

Kenoh is like an off-brand Okada, while Marufuji is still motherfuckin' Marufuji, ya'll. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin, and Maru casually rolls out of the ring on Kenoh's spin-kick clean break fake-out. Back in the ring and Kenoh gets chopped like a motherfucker. Then Fuji does those guy looking head kicks with the tip of his boot and Kenoh finally drops him with a karate kick to the sternum off the ropes. On the outside Fui slings Kenoh into the guardrail over and over, at one point slamming the steel swinging gate door on his noggin. Fuji hits Kenoh with a suplex on the edge of the ring (while Naomichi is still standing on the show floor, it must be specified) and then he locks in a facelock before transitioning to a leg-scissors-assisted armbar. Kenoh makes it to the ropes, but Fuji don't give a shit and keeps stomping him. Fuji locks in a modified neck crank and Kenoh struggles to get to the ropes. He does and Fuji starts peppering him with chops as soon as he's vertical again. Fuji kicks Kenoh's leg out from under him on a Shining Wizard attempt. Then he does a cartwheel and Kenoh kicks him anyway, like "LOL, don't be gay." Then he drop kicks him on the back of the head, but it's only good enough for a two-count. Now Kenoh is working a ankle lock, but Fuji escapes and clobbers him with a clothesline. Kenoh's back to his feet and Fuji keeps popping him with chops and forearms. Now Kenoh's getting some kicking offense in and Fuji shakes his titty muscles at him as a rejoinder. More chops, more kicks. They keep dodging each other's kicks and Kenoh finally connects to put his foe flat on his back. Fuji with another superkick and Kenoh crumbles like the Venezuelan economy. Fuji knees Kenoh in the back of the head and it looks BRUTAL as fuck but Kenoh still kicks out. Fuji looks for a brainbuster but Kenoh counters it into a front-facelock suplex of his own. Kenoh lands a snap dragon suplex, but Fuji kicks out at two. Kenoh climbs the top rope but misses on the double stomp. Fuji escapes another German suplex attempt and knees Kenoh right in the fucking face and then HE KILLS HIM DEAD with another patella strike to the orbital. Of course, this being pro rasslin and all, Kenoh kicks out of the attempted murder and proceeds to super dragon suplex Fuji off the top rope. Kenoh goes for another ankle lock attempt and knees Fuji right in his Gary Oldman from The Fifth Element haircut having face and THEN he lands the double stomp off the top rope. Fuji, naturally, kicks out, so Kenoh has to go up top again for a fucking GRAND tumbleweed leg drop off the top, and yep, that's what gives us our finish.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: An entertaining little match, but it felt like it ended way too early. Still, it’s a match in which Marufuji gets about as much latitude as any promotion will give him to be self-referential meta-asshole Marufuji(™), and really, who could ever complain about that?

November 11, 2018
Hideki Suzuki vs. Daisuke Sekimoto (BJW Ryogokutan 2018)

Oh fuck, you just KNOW this one is going to be hard-hitting as a motherfucker. Also, I love how for two grisly looking manly motherfuckers, I love how both of their entrance themes sound like something off a 1970s game show. Like, I'm pretty sure Suzuki comes out to an instrumental version of the theme from The Love Boat, actually. Also, Sekimoto kinda' looks like Mac from It's Always Sunny, and that makes me chortle. We get some very solid mat wrestling to begin, and oh shit, do both these guys look alike, right down to having the same-colored trunks and knee pads. Suzuki locks in a hammerlock and converts it into an inverted arm wrench. Sekimoto counters with a headscissors, which is especially effective because Sekimoto looks like the kind of guys whose testicles really, really stink. So Sekimoto tries to crush Suzuki's head like a walnut with his knees and he converts it into a kneebar and Sekimoto escapes. Suzuki works another head wrench and Sekimoto ripostes with a body slam — only Suzuki holds ON to the head wrench on the follow-through and maintains the submission attempt. Well, that was cool looking. Sekimoto tries to bodyslam his way out of the hold once more and yep, Suzuki doesn't let go of the head wrench there, either. Sekimoto works a full nelson, then a standard half-hammerlock. Now Suzuki's trying to snapmare his way out of the hold, but Sekimoto ain't letting go of the lock. Suzuki with a cartwheel, of all things, leading to a single leg takedown. Suzuki with a closed-fist punch on the ropes and then it's time for a classical test of strength. Man, this is so old-school and masculine and awesome. Sekimoto locks in a headlock and he makes it look like a fucking insta-kill death move. Suzuki gets out of it with a fat but painful looking sidewalk slam-into-a-backbreaker variation. Now Suzuki is working the most painful looking abdominal stretch you've ever seen in your life. Somebody send that closeted homosexual Zack Sabre a link to this match — THIS is how you do pseudo-shoot style submission wrestling right. Sekimoto hits the world's fattest enzuigiri and follows it up with the world's fattest German suplex. Suzuki kicks out at two. Man, these motherfuckers make moves as basic as an inverted atomic drop look like attempted murder. Suzuki with a back-body drop. Sekimoto kicks out, and then locks Suzuki in the dreaded octopus hold. Suzuki manages to make it to the ropes and he takes Sekimoto off his feet with a dropkick. Suzuki hits Sekimoto with a goddamn HEINOUS spike piledriver/Steiner Screwdriver permutation, but because Sekimoto literally counts as two men, he kicks out. Suzuki lands his GHASTLY half-nelson suplex slam and Sekimoto lands right on his neck. Of course, Sekimoto doesn't know how to die like a mortal so he kicks out of that, too. Sekimoto with headbutts galore and another stalling German suplex ... and I'll be damned if that ISN'T what scores him the pinfall.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Just a great, methodical, expertly paced match from start to finish. Strong, all-around performances like this are just further evidence that Sekimoto might possibly lay claim to being the best overall rassler on the planet, and Suzuki is slowly but surely turning each and everyone of us into a believer. It’s a shame so much quality, non-New Japan stuff outta’ Nippon such as this gets seen by so few casuals … this is just throwback ‘90s stiffness par excellence that any and all PWG fanboys oughta’ be forced to screen at gunpoint to see how the form should REALLY be done.

November 17, 2018
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream (NXT TakeOver WarGames II)

Dream comes out wearing an NWO-Hogan-inspired ensemble while Nigel McGuinness and Mauro make thinly-veiled references to the Hulkster. Hey, Ciampa has theme music now and it's fucking terrible. LOL at Mauro saying his entrance is all about "not subscribing to society's norms" like that fuckin' means anything. LOL, also, at the referee being buffer than both wrestlers. Mauro says Velveteen is as popular in L.A. as Lebron James, which yeah, might be true. Dream works a headlock and we get some pseudo-amateur wrestling going on and then he bitch slaps Ciampa. Tommaso punches him and yanks his headband off, which is something I hear really irritates the African-Americans. Dream rolls to the outside for a breather and tries to steal the championship belt. Back in the ring and Dream hits a scoop body slam. He does a Rick Rude-esque hip gyration before landing a dropkick and an axe handle smash off the top rope. And that allows him to get his headband back. Dream with another big boot and he goes for the Atomic Leg Drop, only for Tommaso to roll out of the way. Eventually, Tomasso just spikes Dream off the top rope and hits him with a swinging neckbreaker on the arena floor. Mauro says something about making "more noise than a BTS concert," which has to be the worst analogy I've ever heard in a pro wrestling context. Back in the ring, Ciampa hits Dream with a running knee, which must've really hurt 'cause he's wearing a metal knee brace and all. Dream with a hangman's neckbreaker sending Dream to the arena floor once more. Ciampa hits Dream with another running knee, except this time Dream doesn't act like he gets knocked out, for some reason. Ciampa tries to lock in a rear chinlock and Dream drools all over the canvas and it's just gross as shit. "Go to sleep, Dream, night, night," Ciampa says. He breaks the hold and hits Dream with a couple of knees and Dream lands a neckbreaker of his own. Fuck, this match has more neckbreakers in it than the average Kenny Omega match has V-Triggers. Dream is slapping Tommaso like a bitch again and he goes for his twisting DDT, but he can't land it. Dream hits the big boot and the VELVETEEN LEG DROP THRICE. Then he hits Ciampa with a spinebuster, but Tommaso kicks out at two. Dream with a pescado to the outside and he rolls Ciampa back in the ring. Ciampa begs for mercy and tosses Dream out of the ring. Dream slams Tommaso's knee on the edge of the mat and locks in the old Bret Hart ringpost figure four submission. Of course, it don't count 'cause it's illegal, but that don't prevent Dream from locking in a more traditional figure four in the middle of the ring. Tommaso rolls over and, by pro wrestling logic, reverses the pressure, but Dream reverses it and Ciampa eventually makes it to the ropes. Dream suplexes Ciampa over the top rope and the both go sailing to the outside. The fans chant "holy shit," because apparently modern fans are REALLY easy to impress. Tommaso goes for the Fairy Tale Ending but Ciampa rolls him up but the ref sees him holding on the tights so he gets admonished, leaving Dream with ample time to superkick that white nigga' and hit him with a rolling Death Valley Driver. Alas, Ciampa kicks out. Ciampa elbows Dream in the back of the head and catches him with a knee to the sternum as Dream flies off the top rope. Ciampa lands "Project Ciampa," but Dream kicks out of that, too. Ciampa rolls to the outside and grabs his belt. The ref takes it away from him and Dream goes for a roll-up. No dice. Dream hits the twisting DDT on the gold belt and there's this great moment where the referee doesn't know if he should make the count but then he realizes "oh, wait, he's black, too," so he starts counting, only for Ciampa to kick out at two. Dream goes up top for the Purple Rainmaker, but Ciampa boots him to the outside and hits him with a draping DDT. Dream kicks out, and Mauro says — and this is a direct quote — "holy bleep." Fuck, the TV-PG era needs to end NOW. Well, that, or Mauro's bipolar ass needs to be fired — I'd be happy with either, really. Ciampa limps to the outside and starts peeling the foam padding off the show floor. Ciampa goes for the draping DDT, but Dream pushes the champ over the announce table. The fans chant "mama, mia," because fuck these fans, really. Ciampa takes a swing at "a fan" (wink, wink) in the crowd and Dream hits him with the rolling Death Valley Driver and the Purple Rainmaker, but Tommaso kicks out AGAIN. Dream goes for another elbow drop, but this time, Ciampa rolls out of the way and Dream royally fucks his elbow up on the show floor. And there's the draping DDT on the metal partition in-between the two rings. And yep, that gives us our three-count, kids.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Now *this* is sports-entertainment style, character-driven wrestling done RIGHT for  change. Even better, unlike a lot of NXT main events, this one actually took its time to build, and the final 10 minutes were just a hoot and a half. Very rarely do you see two styles so divergent gel so well in the ring; how both of these guys haven’t been promoted to the main roster by now is just bambloozing to me.

November 18, 2018
Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Survivor Series 2018)

Well, you know the story here. Bryan is only, I don't know, 150 pounds smaller than Brock, and honestly, I'm a sucker for these kinds of David vs. Goliath type matches. Daniel tries to take out Brock's knees early, but Lesnar keeps him at a distance. Daniel jogs around the ring for awhile and then Brock chases him back in. Lesnar has this look in his eyes like "do you really want me to squish this dingleberry right now?" and it is GREAT. Brock drops Daniel with a single clubbing blow and then he release Germans that white nigga' halfway to heaven. Brock drags Daniel's carcass back to the middle of the ring and does a mocking "Suplex City" chant and the fans actually DO start chanting it as Brock release Germans Bryan again. Also, Brock's teeth still look like giant Fig Newtons, and that's really, really gross. Brock with a belly-to-back release suplex and Daniel goes a good three-quarters across the ring. "I can do this all night long" Brock tells Bryan. Hell, why not one more belly-to-back plex, just for the hell of it? Lesnar kicks Daniel out of the ring and Brock showboats with the belt in the ring. Lesnar rolls outside, tosses Daniel headfirst into the barricade and Bryan rolls to the other side of the ring, and Brock throws Daniel into the OTHER barrier. Brock locks in a bearhug, and the best part is how he scooped up Daniel like he weighed 20 pounds. Then he slams his ass down like a sack of flour and we all chortle. We're about nine minutes in and Daniel has yet to hit a single offensive move. This is just a goddamn mauling and it's beautiful. Brock goes for another bearhug and yet another belly-to-back suplex. This one guy in the crowd goes "Oh my gawd!" and then Brock does an imitation of him and it sounds just like him and it's hilarious. Brock says "goodnight everybody, F-5s Bryan, goes for a pin, and then yanks him up at two just so he can beat the fuck out of him some more. Bryan FINALLY boots Lesnar in the eye while he's standing over him and Brock sells it like he just got pepper-sprayed. Lesnar goes for an F-5, but he knocks down the ref and Daniel lands on his feet. With the official out of commission, Daniel hits Brock in the balls and lands an opportunistic running knee to the face and Brock kicks out right at 2.99999. LOL at Lesnar holding his testicles in agony. Now Daniel is leg kicking the fuck out of Brock while the fans chant "Yes!" every time Daniel connects. Now Bryan is stomping on Brock like a flaming bag of dookie and it is most excellent. Daniel goes for another flying knee, but he misses yet still manages to send Brock sailing over the top rope. Bryan shoves Brock face first into the ring post and then hits him with a running knee off the apron. Daniel goes for a suicide dive, and Brock grabs Daniel in midair and slams him spine-first into the same post Daniel just slammed Brock into. Brock slams Daniel into the post again then he grabs the steel steps. He runs into the ringpost when Daniel narrowly rolls out of the way. And there's Bryan with another running knee off the apron. The two briefly exchange kicks and Daniel lands another running knee. Brock kicks out at two. Daniel chop blocks Lesnar's knee and then he starts slamming Brock's ankle on the ring post. Daniel goes up top and he lands the missile dropkick. Bryan hits Brock with two more missile dropkicks in the corner, and on the third one Brock catches him and puts him in the F-5 position ... only for his legs to give out and allow Daniel to hook in the Yes Lock in the middle of the fucking ring. Brock feigns tapping, and then he finally shakes Bryan off. Daniel goes for a triangle but since this is pro 'rasslin, he has to be careful that Brock doesn't pin him during the submission. And just like that, Brock says "fuck this shit," scoops Daniel up and F-5s that motherfucker for the 1,2,3.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: Now that was a TREMENDOUS match right there. Like I was saying earlier, I'm a sucker for these kinds of "smaller dude who has no fucking chance of winning trying desperately to do whatever he can to not die" bouts, and while I've seen better using the templates — the Styles/Lesnar bout from the last Survivor Series immediately springs to mind — this was nonetheless an engrossing and entertaining match. I loved the minimalism of it all, with both competitors spamming their most effective moves over and over again, like it was a pseudo-MMA bout where ANY strike could be the decisive one of the bout. Some may argue that the beatdown went on a tad too long (and admittedly, it probably did) but the execution here was just about flawless. It may not be a legit contender for best match of 2018, but it sure as hell was one of the most riveting to watch live, I tell you damn what.

November 25, 2018
Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (NOAH Global League Final 2018)

Kiyomiya is NOAH's homegrown "Great Jap Hope" and Nakajima, of course, is arguably the greatest heel in all of Puro, complete with the finest Jew-fro of any 'rassler out there. LOL at Takashi Sugiura doing commentary and looking pissed as fuck having to watch a Nakajima match. Nakajima strikes early with an opportunistic punt to the patella. Give that motherfucker some credit, he's one of the few wrestlers out there who can make leg kicks look legitimately dangerous. Huh, it just dawned on me: Nakajima looks WAY too much like Chris Cornell for it to be a coincidence. Anyway, Kaito gets sick of Nakajima's bullshit and hits him with a running senton off the apron. He tosses his carcass back into the ring and Nakajima kicks out. Nakajima with a snapmare and a kick to the spine that sounds like a shotgun blast. Fuck, those are just BRUTAL-sounding. Women in the front row are wincing and covering their eyes in horror as Nakajima kicks the fuck out of Kaito's back and it is just sublime. Back in the ring and Nakajima continues to boot Kaito's sternum like a bag of burning doo-doo. Kaito finally hits a flying elbow off the ropes to put Nakajima on the defensive. Kaito lands a missile dropkick off the top rope buy Nakajima kicks out. Kaito lands a funky looking inverted DDT but Nakajima kicks out of that, too. Kaito hits a sweet flipping springboard body press, but of course, Nakajima kicks out. Nakajima hits a dropkick to the knee and punts Kaito right in the fucking face. Holy shit, you HAVE to hear the next kicking sequence from Nakajima — it's just one sickening, wet thud after another. Kaito goes for a small package but he only gets a two. Kaito with a dropkick and a modified chicken wing submission. Nakajima struggles, but eventually he makes it to the ropes. And then he drops Kaito with another BRUTAL as fuck punt. I  love how Nakajima's mouthguard looks like a can of long cut Skoal wintergreen. Kaito hits a dropkick and a release German suplex. Nakajima scrambles and Kaito hits him with another dropkick to the back of the head. Kaito lands another German, but Nakajima kicks out. He gives Nakajima a wedgie trying to set up the Tiger Suplex, and yep he lands it ... and surprisingly enough, it's indeed enough to get him the pinfall.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Another great Nakajima performance right here. I can’t say this match and this match alone sells me on Kiyomiya 100 percent, though — the dude has the potential to be great down the line, but in my humblest of opinions, it’s way premature for NOAH to pull the trigger on him as *their guy.* I mean, not that it’s objectively any worse than New Japan trying to push Jay White as the face of their company, or anything like that ...

Damn ... that's gotta' hurt almost as much as getting legit KTFO by Eduard fuckin' Folayang!


December 02, 2018
Blue Demon Jr. and Killer Kross vs. Dr. Wagner, Jr and Psycho Clown (AAA Guerra De Titanes)

Killer Kross comes out to music that sounds a lot like Rammstein and he has this hot AF blonde bombshell manager and he literally looks like a Nazi experiment. Blue Demon, Jr., of course, is a very fat Mexican who comes out the Red Hot Chili Peppers ... not exactly the kind of sort you'd expect to associate with skinhead assassins, but what the hell ever. The de-masked Dr. Wagner comes out to "Bad Medicine" as always, and he's also rocking a plastic crown and pimp coat, which if you ask me, is a substantial upgrade from his old in-ring attire. And Psycho Clown is ... well, basically, Doink the Clown, except he's the top face in all of Mexican wrestling, proving once and for all that Mexican culture is a full 30 years behind the rest of civilization. Also, this guy's theme music is the LEAST pro-wrestling sounding entrance theme I've ever heard in my life, and there's really no arguing against it, either. Kross immediately starts stomping Psycho Clown, while Blue Demon and Dr. Wagner brawl up their aisle. Time for some split-screen madness. Kross levels Psycho Clown with a clothesline and blue Demon kicks and slaps Wagner on the outside. Holy shit, I want to do things to Kross' valet's vagina, if you catch my drift. Kross launches Psycho Clown face first into the metal ramp and then he gets his Aryan manager bitch to chop him a few times for good measure. Wagner with back-to-back dragon screw leg whips on Demon and Kross, and then he goes for a Figure Four, only for Kross' nazi manager to distract him long enough for Blue Demon to kick him off his tag team partner. Then they double team Psycho Clown, only for Demon to accidentally pop Kross on that old "Imma hold this nigga up with his arms tied up so you punch him, I'm sure he won't duck or anything like that" spot. All of a sudden, "Back in Black" starts playing and ... some guy ... comes down and stops the valet from interfering in the match. Wait ... that's fucking VAMPIRO and he's fat as fuck now. So Wagner and Psycho hit stereo planchas to the outside and Wagner hits Kross with a DDT and Clown drops Demon with a chair shot and Wagner starts trying to yank Demon's mask off and Kross eats a train of clotheslines in the corner and Wagner lands an Ace Crusher off the top rope and Demon eats a double gorilla press slam and Kross suplexes the FUCK outta Psycho Clown and Demon hits Wagner with a tiger driver but the ref won't make the three-count, for some reason. Then they put both their palms on Wagner's chest and the ref makes a fast three count. And, uh, that's the match? Yeah, it is, apparently.

My Score: ** 1/4

The Verdict: I could cut this match a little more slack if it WASN'T the main event of a company's biggest show of the year, but since it is, I've got to take this fucker to task. This thing was super sloppy, and the brawling segments didn’t too much to arouse the raging furies of what is normally one of the most molten audiences on the planet. All the stuff with Vampiro just slowed things down to a crawl, and that weird-ass non-finish-that-was-a-finish-after-all was perplexingly lame, even for a lucha libre promotion that’s pretty much synonymous with shit endings. Rest assured, you can safely keep this one out of your “to-watch” queue, dear readers.

December 09, 2018
Shinya Aoki vs. Konosuke Takeshita (DDT D-King Grand Prix)

Oh man, they are literally wrestling in some shitty warehouse somewhere with grey crap all over the walls. Wasn't Aoki just 10 years ago selling out the Tokyo Dome and stuff? Man, talk about a fall from grace. Lucky for us, though, he's still wearing the goofy skinny-jeans long pants. So Takeshita tries to spin wrestle him for awhile and it all looks remarkably homosexual and then Shinya looks like he's trying for an armbar but Takeshita rolls him over. Takeshite grapevines the leg and Aoki holds on for dear life. Takeshia has the abdominal stretch locked in, but Aoki rolls out of it. Aoki goes for an opportunistic heel hook, but Takeshita manages to make it to the ropes. Aoki pulls guard and Takeshita gets caught in an triangle for like, half a second. Now Takeshite is working a headscissors lock. He gives Aoki the world's lowest piledriver and threatens to German suplex his ass. Aoki gets to the ropes, though. Takeshita sends Aoki reeling with an open hand slap and then Aoki hits him with a flying armbar. Takeshita makes it to the ropes. Aoki looks for another armbar but Takeshita grounds him with a half nelson and a funky pin attempt. Time for a test of strength, culminating with Aoki locking in another triangle. Takeshite breaks free and counters with a Boston Crab, which is something I'd LOVE to fucking see happen in a real MMA fight. Aoki, of course, gets to the ropes and breaks the hold. Aoki hits Takeshita with a forearm strike and he locks in a standing guillotine. Takeshita has 10 seconds to get back up after seemingly being choked unconscious. He's back up at 8 and then Aoki starts kicking the shit out of him. Here comes Takeshita with a ton of chops. Aoki goes for a standing guillotine and Takeshita ripostes by ROCK BOTTOMING THE FUCK OUT OF THAT MOTHERFUCKER and German suplexing his ass HARD for the three-count.

My Score: ** 3/4

The Verdict: It was too short to be anything substantial, but it was fun stuff, especially the ending when Takeshita went full retard and hit Aoki with the fucking BOSSEST shoot Rock Bottom in pro wrestling history. I’m not really sure how I feel about “NOT MMA BUT PRO WRESTLER SHINYA AOKI,” but his form isn’t too bad — and yeah, I’d much rather see him engage in this tomfoolery than getting his ass sand-blasted by Ben Askren in less than a minute in real fights.

December 13, 2018
LA Park vs. Sami Callihan (MLW Fusion #41)

This is a falls count anywhere match. LA Park has a fucking tremendous opening video package featuring a whole bunch of kids celebrating Day of the Dead, and it looks like a really great shitty horror movie from the early 1990s. Meanwhile, Callihan has a garbage can of plunder with him — LA Park, wearing a regal gold costume, prays to the flag of Mexico while Callihan waits for just the right moment to strike. We get a shoving and slapping match to begin, and Callihan pulls open his vest so Park can give him his best chop. Holy shit, he already has broken blood vessels on his chest. This is fucking gruesome and I love it. Now Park is literally shaking his dick at him. They exchange turnbuckle avalanches and Park drops Sami with a short-arm clothesline. Park grabs a chair (and this one is metal, theater type chair, not one of the folding variety) and Park clobbers him good with a trash can lid. This leads to Park hitting Callihan with a SICK tope on the outside, followed up with the obligatory LA PARKA ASS WHUPPIN with a belt. Park goes for another plancha but this time Callihan is waiting for him and he goddamn WAFFLES Park with a metal garbage can. And there's the metal cookie sheet to the noggin. Park absorbs a couple of shots from a traffic cone and Callihan grabs his opponent's belt and starts playing live-action Roots. Callihan conks Park with a beer can and then Park flips him over a guardrail ... and here comes Park with the metal garbage can to REALLY make him regret his decisions in life. Park sets the can up on the guardrail and suplexes Callihan on it. Park starts tossing chairs in the ring and clobbers Callihan one more time for good measure. Park goes for the first pin attempt of the match, but Callihan kicks out at two. Now they're fighting their way through the exit and this one dude tries to get a "MLW" chant started but it never catches on. The cameraman follows Park, Callihan and the ref through the back, and they start 'rasslin outside the building. Callihan throws a parking cone at Park and Park hits Callihan with ... uh, a handful of ice ... conveniently just laying there ... in Miami? The brawl back into the arena and Park headbutts Callihan fuckin' hard. Sami kicks out. The ref apparently blew his knee out and is writhing in pain as Park hits Callihan with a powerslam. He tries to make the three count but he's in so much pain he can't register the third hand slap on the mat. Park, a little perturbed, hits the ref with a cookie sheet and Callihan goes for a cheap roll-up ... just a two-count. Callihan sets four chairs up in the corner and sets Park up for a powerbomb ... only for Park to spear his ass on an Irish whip reversal THROUGH the chairs for the decisive three count.

My Score: **** 1/4

The Verdict: That was ABSURDLY fun, and just a hair shy of being a legitimately great hardcore brawl. I honestly didn’t expect these guys’ styles to mesh as well as they did, and there were just so many great spots and sequences throughout the match. It’s far from being the best showing from LA Park this year, but it very well could be the best thing Callihan did in 2018. If Paul Heyman’s ECW was still around today, I’m almost certain *this* is what it’s house show main events would resemble. And yes, that is a compliment, actually.

December 14, 2018
LA Park vs. Gringo Loco (MLW Fusion #38)

Gringo Loco is this fat Wigger from Chicago and LA Park is GODDAMN FUCKING LA PARK. Also, I know I've said this before, but I'd like to do things with my penis to his fine-ass Latina manager ... some sexual things, if you catch my drift. So LA PARK is wearing his snazzy gold and black uniform and they take turns showboating in the corner and they hug each other before the match. Of course, LA PARK ends the good sportsmanship by popping that fat honky right in the face and tossing his lard ass to show floor below. Time for some crowd brawling, ya'll. Park hits Gringo over the head with a fan's sign and keeps shoot punching Loco right in his fat Caucasoid face. Loco does a whole buncha flips and Park is like "IDGAF" and just clotheslines the shit outta him. Park takes his belt off and starts smacking Gringo with it good. Park launches Gringo into the steel guardrail, right in front of this really fat dude in a Bullet Club shirt. Park grabs two chairs out of the crowd and powerbombs Gringo's fat ass on them. And those aren't steel chairs, those are hard ass metal, welded theater chairs, so you just know that had to hurt like a motherfucker. Park grabs two beers from a fan at ringside and starts shaking a Mexican flag at the audience, who start chanting "USA" when he starts shaking his 57-year-old balls out them. Park crashes and burns on a rolling senton into the corner and Gringo hits a springboard middle rope cutter (TM, Tony Schiavone) but it's only good enough for a two-count. Gringo lands a flipping suicide dive to the outside, and it's one of the fattest awesome things you'll ever see in your life. Gringo with a sliding dropkick to send Park into the guardrail. Now he's slapping Park's titties on the outside, and we officially have ourselves some brawling on the Titantron deck. Which, yeah, is just two lighting rigs in front of a four foot screen with a projected JPEG on it. Gringo climbs at least eight feet in the air to land a flying dive on Park below. Back in the ring and Gringo goes up top for a corkscrew plancha, and of course Park just rolls out of the way. Park peppers Gringo with punches in the corner and the ref holds La Park down so Gringo can splash him off the top rope. Naturally, Park rolls out of the way so the guy in zebra stripes gets splattered. While Gringo's checking on the ref, LA Park takes the opportunity to spear his foe out of his shoes, thus facilitating the three count. Even better? In the post-bout antics, Park pantomimes masturbating on the audience, and it's glorious.

My Score: *** 1/2

The Verdict: Definitely an overachieving match on all fronts. While LA Park was clearly phoning it in for most of the match, Gringo Loco just plain BROUGHT IT here, and although this guy might only have the ability to do five or six moves, he certainly made the maximum effort imaginable considering his minute talents. There’s obviously some things that detracted from the match (the piss poor ending among them), but on the whole? This was a damned fun little TV match that was VASTLY better than it probably had any right to be.

December 16, 2018
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

It's the embodiment of TNA circa 2005 versus the embodiment of ROH in 2005 in a WWE ring in the year 2018. Wait, didn't I already use that opening already? Well, like I give a fuck. Bryan frustrates Styles early by bailing to the outside over and over. Eventually Styles get sick of his bullshit and catches him in the corner and starts chopping the fuck out of him. AJ with shoulder shunts in the corner and a snapmare. Styles plays possum and hits Bryan with a dropkick and a clotheslines that has Daniel reeling to the outside. AJ goes for a forearm smash and Daniel kicks him right in the ribs. Then he launches him into the ringside barricade, which you really can't call a guardrail, technically. Now Daniel is being strategic as a motherfucker with his kicks to the spleen and knees to the breadbasket. Daniel locks in an Indian lock and knees AJ in the ribs over and over and they actually look halfway decent. Now Daniel's working a bow and arrow submission. AJ gets the ropes. Now Daniel is chopping the shit out of AJ and rocking him with European uppercuts. I have no idea who these two announcers are, but they suck. Styles gets his second wind and starts hitting Daniel with open hand strikes. Daniel with a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle and more knees. Both these guys look like the lead singers in shitty indie rock bands. And right on cue, Styles turns Daniel inside out with a clothesline outta' nowhere. Fuck, this crowd is deader than Elvis. Styles drops Daniel with another clothesline, but he kicks out at two. Daniel tries to beg Styles for mercy and AJ hits that fireman's carry neckbreaker thing. Bryan kicks out at two. AJ goes for a reverse DDT and Bryan counters with knees and a funky looking suplex. Now Daniel is breaking out the "Yes kicks," except now the fans chant "No" when he does it because he's a bad guy now, for some reason. Styles hits an enzuigiri and now both men are splayed out on the canvas. AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Daniel grabs his leg on the way down. Still, AJ manages to counter with a dragon screw leg whip, and now he's slinging Daniel's left leg on the turnbuckle post over and over. And hey, there's Styles with a chop block, for good measure. Daniel ripostes with an enzuigiri and Bryan keeps stomping him in the corner. Daniel goes for a hurricanrana off the top rope and, of course, Styles counters it into a Styles Clash, which Daniel escapes from. Cue Styles locking in the half crab on the fly. Now Daniel is looking for the Yes Lock. He's got it. Both men exchange near falls and Styles ultimately drops Daniel with the Pele kick. Now they're trading forearms and Styles drops Daniel with a dropkick. AJ looks like he's going for the springboard 450. He lands it, but Daniel kicks out at two. What, why the fuck is KAY sponsoring a pro wrestling PPV? Shouldn't this thing have a manlier advertiser, like Slim Jims or something? Styles locks in the Calf Crusher outta' nowhere, but Daniel manages to rolls his way out of the ring. They brawl on the outside for awhile and Styles uses the barricade to hit the Phenomenal Forearm. He rolls Daniel back into the ring and goes for another Phenomenal Forearm. He misses, Daniel whiffs on a flying knee and outta goddamn nowhere Daniel locks in a roll-up for the flash pinfall.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Another rock-solid, mat-intensive clinic from two of the most reliable performers on the planet. As good as it was — and yes, it was indeed very good — I still think they had some better matches throughout 2018. As a wholly unnecessary addendum to their rivalry, though I’ve got few complaints … this is just good old fashioned indie-gone-mainstream ROH-style wannabe technical wrestling, and you already know whether or not that’s your cup of tea (or, in my case, Mountain Dew Code Red) without me having to tell you.

December 25, 2018
Masashi Takeda vs. Jun Kasai (FREEDOMS/Jun Kasai Produce Blood X'Mas 2018)

Is there a better way to celebrate the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ than by watching two old ass Japanese dudes slam each other into sharp objects over and over again? I think not, and neither should anybody else, for that matter. I don't even know how to describe Takeda's ring get-up, but rest assured, it is ... unorthodox. Man, the FREEDOMS championship belt looks ghetto as fuck. Not that you don't already know this, but both of these men's bodies look like chainsawed beef jerky. So we've got this board set up in the corner covered with ... I don't even know what the fuck. But whatever it is, it's sharp and pokey. The board in the adjacent corner has what looks like nails sticking out of it, and there's more sharp stuff protruding out of the turnbuckles in the other two turnbuckles. We get a buncha headlock takedowns and reversals to begin and Takeda starts fishing for light tubes. Looks like we've got dueling fluorescents on our hands, boys. Takeda spears Kasai onto the broken light tube fragments and now the nigga has a pair of scissors and stapler. He staples a poster to Kasai's head and DDTS him on the broken tubes for a two count. Kasai responds by STAPLING THE POSTER TO TAKEDA'S BOTTOM LIP FOR REAL. Takeda is juicing from the forehead and the back now. Then Takeda spears Kasai through one of the boards with sharp thingies on it and Jun does the "Platoon" movie poster pose and Takeda breaks another light bulb over his foe's head. Takeda puts the blade-board on Kasai's back, and then he thwacks it with a chair. Kasai is juicing worse from his forehead than Takeda is now. Takeda clubs Kasai with a pair of scissors and now he's digging into his forehead. Oh hell, Kasai is already it about an 8 on the Muta Scale ... this get turn into murder trial evidence at any minute, kids. Takeda rocks Kasai with another chair shot and then he lines up four sitting aides in the middle of the ring. Hey, what's he plan on doing with that conveniently placed sheet of glass right over there in the corner? Fittingly enough, Takeda uses a GERMAN suplex to create another night of broken glass, but Kasai no sells it because he's at least partially retarded. Takeda unwisely goes up top and Kasai follows suit so he can super piledrive him on a board of yellow darts (needles? forks?) below. But that spot really don't make much sense, because it's actually Kasai's ass that absorbs the bulk of the impact. Kasai lands a lariat-o  and a tiger driver, but that ain't enough to put Takeda down and out. Kasai grabs a whole bunch of wooden sticks and shoves 'em in Takeda's back and basically One Wing Angels that motherfucker on the remnants of about 50 broken light tubes. Naturally, Takeda kicks out at two. Kasai sets up a ladder in the corner and arranges four steel chairs in the middle of the ring. Hey, what do you know, there's another glass plate just hanging out in the corner. What are the odds. Kasai puts on his goggles, climbs the ladder, and Takeda ... just rolls out of the way. Now they are fighting on top of the ladder and Takeda takes the unfortunate tumble through the translucent material. Kasai hits his patented frog splash, but Takeda no sells it and hits Kasai with back to back rolling suplexes. Then he back body drops Jun onto the pastel yellow forks of death, but Kasai kicks out at two. Takeda slips on some broken light tubes, but he manages to stick the dragon suplex ... with the light tubes crunching into the back of his foe's neck on the follow-through. Both of these guys look like extras from "Hellraiser" at this point. Takeda pours the furniture tacks out in the middle of the ring and Kasai goes for a piggyback ride. Takeda lands two sidewalk slam variations on the furniture tacks, but Kasai — despite having lost three or four gallons so far in this match — still kicks out. Kasai with a piledriver on the pile of light tube dust, which is about three or four inches deep now. Oh shit, Kasai has a fucking meat cleaver. They trade knuckle sandwiches and jumping knees and Takeda no sells the lariat. Kasai goes for another tiger driver, but yep, Takeda kicks out of that, too. The neon plastic forks re-enter the fray, Kasai lands one more tiger driver and THAT'S what ends the bloodshed once and for all, folks.

My Score: ****

The Verdict: Yeah, most of these Big Japan gimmick-strewn bloodbath bouts are pretty generic and underwhelming, but I’ll give these two Asiatic psychopaths some credit; when it comes to pure D retarded rasslin’ mayhem, from bell-to-bell this was one of the dandiest scumfuck trainwrecks of the calendar year. At this point neither Kasai or Takeda have that much left in their tanks, but it’s apparent they had no intentions of phoning it in this evening. Of course, such tomfoolery is not for all tastes, but from my vantage point, this is easily one of the best no-redeemable-qualities-whatsoever gorno puke-fests of the year. Definitely check it out if you have penchant for the scummiest pro rasslin imaginable, or simply want to see for yourself why dropping two atomic bombs on Japan clearly wasn’t enough.

December 30, 2018
Masaya Takahashi, Takayuki Ueki and Toshiyuki Sakuda vs. Ryuichi Sekine, Ryuji Ito and Yuko Miyamoto (BJW TV)

This thing is billed as a "Yokohama Shopping Street Six Man Tag Team Title Table Crash Death Match," so yeah, the odds of at least one wrestler being paralyzed for life in this one has to be hovering around 90-95 percent. Outside of Ito, I have no idea who any of these motherfuckers are, so apologies if my play-by-play here isn't 100 percent accurate (as it normally is.) All six of these guys look like character actors from different off-broadway plays. Well, this shit right here is just pure bedlam right from the bell, with Ito caning a mother fucker like three seconds into the bout. Now everybody else is rasslin' through the crowds and yeah, there sure are a lot of empty seats in the arena. Now we have a tug of war spot over a table, complete with the defending champs LITERALLY getting pushed outside of the building. Miyamoto hits moonsault off a ledge like five foot off the ground and then he tells his comrades to set up another table below him. He's basically a Sabu cosplayer, right down to the parachute pants. Meanwhile, the champs just stole the table, so of course, the faces gotta' go retrieve it back in the ring. By the way, don't even ask me what the rules are for this thing, because I can't even. There's ANOTHER tug of war table spot, and this great segment where one of the heels slams the leg on Ito's fingers and makes him drop it. Now THAT is in-ring psychology, kids. That one green-haired guy (Ueki, I think?) does a moonsault flip to the outside and here comes Ito with the cane to dispense some JAPANESE JUSTICE on these mugs. Now Ito is using the table as a battering ram on multiple motherfuckers. Then he tries to Death Valley Driver one of the motherfuckers through the table, but one of the other motherfuckers pulls the table out from under him before he lands it. Then Ito LITERALLY turns the table on the other team, as he yanks out the furniture before one of his partners gets suplexed through it. That leaves us with Miyamoto and Ueki duking it out, but Miyamoto likewise has the table pulled out from under him on a top rope hurricanrana. Sakuda drops the table on top of Miyamoto, but it don't break, so the match continues. Ito gets drop toe, uh, held? But again, the table don't break. Then the champs grab Ito and Sekine and basically just bullrush them through the table for the victory. It's hard to explain, but basically, it was three guys powerbombing two guys SIDEWAYS through the furniture for the win. Yeah, I know, that doesn't make any sense, but when does it EVER in indie-league wrestling, anyway?

My Score: ** 1/2

The Verdict: A ho-hum match, but there were some pretty creative spots, I'll give them that. I mean, they've been doing tables matches for what, 30 years now, and this was the first I've ever seen that had the "yanking the furniture out from underneath your opponent" gimmick in it. Yeah, it's kinda' goofy and simplistic, but it actually does heighten the drama (err, sports-entertainment) of it all a little bit. Not to say the match was anywhere close to being great though — aye, unless you REALLY have a hard-on for Ryuji Ito, there’s no real reason to check this one out. (Oh, and if you DO actually have a hard-on for Ryuji Ito? For fuck’s sake, go see a psychiatrist about that, why don’t you.)

December 30, 2018
Daichi Hashimoto, Daisuke Sekimoto and Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Kohei Sato, Ryota Hama and Yasufumi Nakano (BJW TV)

This shit is just a fucking dream meme mach, and the prospects of watching Daisuke Sekimoto and Ryota Hama beat the shit out of each other is too much for me to resist. Kohei Sato comes out trying REAL hard to look like Kenta Kobashi and Sekimoto comes out looking like a badass motherfucker, because he is one. AND WE FUCKING BEGIN WITH HAMA AND SEKIMOTO, FUCK YES. They have a collar and elbow tie-up and Sekimoto is legit scared of suffocating in Hama's flab and that makes me LOL. Now they're running into each other and fat is flying EVERYWHERE. Fuck I want this to be the main event at WrestleMania so bad. Hama drops Sekimoto with a fat charge (it's like a shoulder charge, but with his fat) and then HE STEPS ON SEKIMOTO IN THE CORNER. Nakano gets tagged in and the only thing really notable about him is that he has a haircut like Hitler, if Hitler had a half skullet. Anyhoo, Sekimoto body slams him and tags in Hideyoshi but Hideyoshi wants Sato, because he points at him and stuff. And also, clobbers him off the ropes, for no discernible reason whatsoever. Sato is tagged in and Hideyoshi gets stomped in the corner. Now those Japaniggas be tradin' chops and forearm shots and shit. Hashimoto gets tagged in and if you don't know him he's basically what would happen if Hiroshi Tanahashi was a Nasty Boy. Nakano gets tagged back in we get some body slams and elbow strikes and Hama gets tagged back in and he ASS HUMPS Hashimoto half to death in the corner. And yep, there's the stink face. Hashimoto lands a series of dropkicks, but nothing that can take Hama off his big fat feet. AND THERE'S THE WORLD'S FATTEST BARREL ROLL, I FUCKING LOVE THAT MOVE. Nakano is tagged back in and Hashimoto makes him eat an enzuigiri. Here comes Sekimoto. Time for some motherfuckers to get BODY SLAMMED, BAY BEE. Also, I like how this one announcer kinda' sounds like the Japanese version of Charlie on "It's Always Sunny." Sekimoto chops Nakano good in the corner and Sato gets the tag. Sekimoto with a backbreaker and a Boston Crab. I love how he's screaming and slobbering like he's really insane while doing it. That's a really nice touch. Alas, Sato makes it to the ropes and breaks the hold. Sato goes for a triangle out of fucking nowhere and Sekimoto counters with a POWER BOMB. Hideyoshi is tagged in and he slaps Sato silly. Hideyoshi with a flying shoulder tackle and Hashimoto kicks him in the corner and Hideyoshi lands a stalling brainbuster for a two-count. Sato ripostes with a headbutt and Nakano is tagged back in. Hideyoshi eats back to back clothesline and a fat-man splash off the top rope. But he kicks out at two. Nakano hits an inverted DDT, but Hideyoshi kicks out. Hashimoto is tagged back in and he lands a DDT on Nakano. Just a two-count. Hashimoto with several kicks to the sternum and Nakano fires back with a ton of forearm smashes but Hashimoto won't sell them. Hashimoto finally drops him with a punt to the kidneys, but then Nakano drops him with a clothesline and a modified Michinoku Driver. This match is WAY better than it has any right to be. SEKIMOTO AND HAMA GET TAGGED BACK IN. Sekimoto with a top rope dropkick and a running lariat, but HAMA doesn't go down. Sekimoto with chops with Hama on the rope and HAMA just fucking FALLS ON HIM for a two-count. Goddamn, I love this. AND THERE'S THE FAT SPLASH OFF THE ROPES TO GIVE HAMA THE OFFICIAL THREE COUNT, YOU MOTHERFUCKERS.

My Score: *** 3/4

The Verdict: Man, that was just straight up fun as fuck, a damn near perfect 20-minute TV match that did a great job setting up like three or four different major subplots. All I can say is that Big Japan would be plum goofy to not milk the Sekimoto/Hama drama for all it’s worth — indeed, if they play their cards right, it really could be one of the biggest money-makers in the Japanese indies in 2019. And no, I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment … that much.

"Let's Go Rock and Roll"
"Remember your dreams are your only schemes so keep on pushing" - The Rev. Curtis Mayfield


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