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Wrestling Watching

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World's Worst Man

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Starting to watch a lot of wrestling again, and I whipped up a couple of reviews.

 

Chigusa Nagayo vs. Devil Masami (8/22/85)

 

This was pro-wrestling in its purest form. It wasn't about good vs. evil or trying to avoid or hit a specific move. It was about two competitors trying to win a wrestling match. And both Chigusa and Devil really, really wanted to win. Everything was fought for, nothing was given. Every early mat-hold was contested. Chigusa got the short end of the stick early on, but she never stopped trying to fight her way out of Devil's holds. And why wouldn't she, the holds hurt right? They sure looked like it, as both girls did a phenomenal job putting over the damage of the early mat-work, with excellent facials and clear body language. In some matches, the early mat-work seems to be given a passing thought. Not here, where it seemed like life or death from the very start.

 

The struggle and competitiveness extended itself to the rest of the match. Suplexes and slams were fought for and against. It makes sense, but it also made for great timing, which is something missing from a lot of matches today. It makes such a large difference when the wrestlers fight for moves instead of just hitting them right away. It builds anticipation for the move and makes them that much more important. Maybe the best example of this was Chigusa's late match cross-armed german suplex. Chigusa slowly hooked it in while Devil frantically tried to struggle out of it, to no avail. When the move was hit, it made for an excellent near fall, one that the crowd bought into as the finish. Most all of the big moves in this match were timed and fought for well, which added to the drama, and put the moves over to the audience.

 

While the main reasons this match was so great are covered above, there were a few other things that stand out, good and bad. Devil's absolutely devastating punches for one. These were some big league knocks Chigusa was taking, I can't remember the last women's match I'd seen with such great punches. The selling was just fantastic, most notably the late match selling which put over how much sheer energy each girl had used up. This was one of the big reasons the match came off as epic as it did. On the negative side, I wasn't crazy about the late match structure and transitioning, as it seemed like a few of the transitions came at perplexing moments. For example, a couple times it seemed like Chigusa or Devil would get hit with a move for a near fall, and then almost right after, transition into control without any reversal or comeback made. It didn't happen often, but was just a small annoyance late in the match.

 

Finally, the double KO finish made sense, because the match had really been quite even. Devil got the better of it early, Chigusa eventually fought back to somewhat equal footing, and they each took their fair share of bombs late in the match. Some things might have been done to add a little more drama to the finish, because I don't feel it got over as well as it could have, but it was definitely the right finish for the match.

 

I really liked this match. The "competitive" style of pro-wrestling is absolutely my favourite style. I'll take two wrestlers going at it in a rough, hard-fought wrestling match over a more theatrical approach any day. This match was basically that, and in that context, was performed almost as well as I could expect. ****1/2

 

Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson (6/3/06)

 

This was the Homicide show, as he really stole the spotlight in the match. Early portions were fairly pedestrian, until they go out to the floor and brawl around a bit, while Danielson starts going to town on Homicide's shoulder. Homicide really shines in his role as the face, as his selling of the arm is top notch and natural (unlike some other ROH workers whose selling is rather unnatural). Things eventually build to both men missing moves from the top, which really made things interesting for the last few minutes, as it was back and forth after that. Danielson is working his heel schtick pretty good, even in the later portions of the match. For example when both guys are slugging each other and really getting the crowd going, Danielson goes for the eyes as he's losing the striking match, which got a great reaction due to the timing.

 

Unfortunately, Danielson's timing on some of his late match moves isn't strong, as he blows off some previous offense and goes through a dragon suplex like nothing, without bothering to milk it for heat or dramatic effect. Best near-fall of the match was Homicide's frog splash, which he hit after fighting off a Danielson superplex attempt. A good example of getting a hot near-fall out of a counter. Finish wasn't great, mostly because the Danielson elbows didn't look particularly effective, and a ref stoppage should really warrant some nasty looking punishment. The booking of it was fine, because it kept Homicide strong, it just wasn't performed well. The match was still rather good, and makes me look forward to their rematch. ***1/2

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