Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wrestling Match of the Day

I've been watching some wrestling on youtube lately because I've been working on creating a playlist for one of my friends who needs to be exposed to not WWE wrestling. One of the matches I watched today was fucking awesome and I wanted to talk about it, so this could be a thing I'm doing more often on this blog. The match I'm going to talk about is KENTA vs. Naomichi Marafuji from NOAH (10-20-2006) and you can watch it at the link below. Afterward I'm going to give some of my thoughts so you should watch the match first if you don't want stuff spoiled.

KENTA vs. Marafuji

The combination of KENTA and Marafuji as a tag team is what got me into Japanese wrestling to start with and their matches against each other are awesome as well. It's always a little weird to watch some Puro after a break from it because of how different the style is from American wrestling, either the WWE style or Indy wrestling. The basics are similar, but the nuances are different in the styles and allow wrestlers to do stuff different and the displays of fighting spirit are always cool to see in puro matches and this match is no exception.

This was one of the later matches between the two and they tease a couple of moves that they'd done before, and just trademark moves in general that are countered because of how well the two wrestlers know each other and it is cool to watch. They do a spot on the apron where KENTA teases a German suplex to the outside, but Marafuji holds the ropes to counter. It's a spot I've seen in lots of matches, but I don't think I've ever seen it succeed. If anybody can show me when a German suplex has been hit from that setup I'd like to see it. Of course after a bunch of teases for apron spots at that segment they finally hit a move which is KENTA delivering a picture perfect falcon arrow from the apron to the floor and it sounds and looks brutal, and Marafuji sells it like a boss. The follow up springboard double stomp was pretty sweet as well.

That was a jump forward in time, but it was a nice slow build up between the two with submissions and nice counters and escapes between the two. Marafuji demonstrates how not to perform an asai moonsault at one point where he manages to knee KENTA in the face, busting him open, and draping himself chest first over the guardrail. It looked bad all around, but worked well in the match, and KENTA's bloody face looked intense. The presence of the elevated walkway to the ring is awesome, and they use it in the match. First with KENTA countering a shiranui by throwing Marafuji over the ropes and kind of onto the walkway and the ground which looked brutal. The two get on there and tease some suplexes before KENTA germans Marafuji off, but he kind of lands on his feet and nails a nice superkick.

The pace really picks up from this point and KENTA gets to demonstrate his love of kicking people really hard. They exchange finishers and near falls for a bit and then we get the display of fighting spirit which features a backdrop driver and german suplex for each man, before KENTA flips over on a German and delivers a spinning lariat that staggers Marafuji enough to allow him to deliver a superkick that puts both men down. The end sees Marafuji take control of the match and hit all of his trademark moves that KENTA kicks out of until he hits a cross leg fisherman michinoku driver. That's a complicated description for the move, but it looks good and is an awesome finish. Definitely a match worth checking out as are all of the KENTA vs. Marafuji matches.

Monday, May 14, 2012

RoH Border Wars

I watched Ring of Honors latest IPPV this weekend, and I worked Saturday and only caught the main event live, which was probably for the best as I missed the technical difficulties that apparently beset the show, but that does mean I get Best in the World 2012 free so that's pretty cool. So I thought I'd give some thoughts on the card and how everything played out.

Rhino vs. Eddie Edwards
A good match to start the show off. Both of these guys were crisp and hit some nice moves. The shenanigans in the ending sucked, and the presence of so many people willing to cheat in RoH makes me sad. It really takes away from what made RoH special. Still these two men did a good job to start the show.

All Night Express & TJ Perkins vs. Young Bucks & Mike Mondo
The match on the card that fulfills the spotfest need, and it does it in a good way. All six of these guys deliver in the ring and it's a fun match. All tag matches kind of bother me when they break down and everybody hits finishers and tries for pins when they're not the legal man, but it was a good match.

Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa
This match began with some brawling on the outside of the ring which I think the match would have been better off without, but once it got into the ring it was a good match. The end with Lethal hitting ten backbreakers in the Lethal Combination before finishing it off was awesome. I'm not quite sure why they ended Ciampa's undefeated streak here, with it not really going anywhere, but I'm pretty sure it was Lethal's return that kind of ruined plans for that streak. Maybe they'll make this go somewhere good for Ciampa, but it probably means leaving the Embassy, which is the cheating heel faction I want to stay in RoH. Although they should lose some of the hanger-ons and get some wrestlers in the faction. A good match between these two.

Mike Bennett vs. Lance Storm
Storm looked awesome in this match and I was a fan of this match although Bennett is pretty vanilla heel, but this was one of the better matches I've seen him in. Storm was impressive with a leap to the top rope belying his age, and he also borrowed from his former tag partner, Jericho, and hit a nice codebreaker before getting the win. I haven't seen a lot of Bennett matches, but what I have seen hasn't impressed me.

Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole
I've yet to see Elgin vs. Richards, and if everybody telling me how awesome the match is didn't convince me this match did. Cole looked good in this match as well, but Elgin was phenomenal and did some awesome stuff. This was my favorite match on the card. The best spot perhaps ever. Was Cole standing on the apron and Elgin stood on the second rope, lifted him up into a superplex falcon arrow. So good. I definitely need to make it a priority to find more Elgin matches.

Roderick Strong vs. Fit Finlay
This was a solid match, but I don't think there is a real reason to bring Finlay in to RoH. He's a perfectly fine wrestler, but nothing more than that. It also seemed to limit the amount of ridiculous backbreakers Strong got to do which made me sad although he did deliver some brutal sounding chops.

WGTT vs. The Briscoes
A solid brawl between these two teams, but RoH's production staff is not good at knowing where to be at the right time. Both table spots in the match were good, but I don't think a brawl like this really played into the strengths of both teams. The Briscoes do it, but WGTT are a little more tame in their weapon filled brawling, and the ending was not to my liking. I can see how it works, but again it's more bullshit that RoH shouldn't have. I'm guessing this is going to build to a Ladder War and I do love the idea of Shelton Benjamin and ladders.

Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards
I really liked this match and everything was built up to well, although they did a few too many trading forearms spots for my liking in the middle and near the end of the match. There were some excellent false finishes and Richards hitting the DR Driver was the best. Steen delivered brutal looking powerbombs onto the ring apron in this match. I like the exposed turnbuckle coming into play since it gives Cornette a reason to say Steen didn't win fairly, without being truly illegal.

Overall it was a good show. Not great, but good and I don't regret ordering it at all, mostly because the problems didn't effect me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Women's MMA (Invicta FC)

Saturday I watched a stream from Invicta FC which had a whole MMA card of Women's fights. And to tell the truth it was as good as any other MMA card you are going to see. The only downside I can see to the women's division in MMA is that they don't have a real heavyweight division which generally means you're not going to get the kind of fighters with more regular knockout power.

The Kaitlin Young vs. Leslie Smith fight was probably the best fight I've seen all year. Those two went toe to toe throwing huge strikes and neither went down. It was one of the few draws that seemed legit to me and a rematch between the two fighters should be awesome. I think it was important for them to have a fight like this on the card because nobody is going to look at this fight and say it was good for a women's fight. It's just a good goddamn fight and you can tell that they are putting everything they have into it, and neither one is backing down.

The card had some boring fights, but most MMA cards have a couple of those anyway, and a lot of the problems with the card probably come from the lack of exposure that women's MMA has and the difficulty in judging the talent when they don't fight regularly and don't get to fight at just one weight class because finding fights was difficult before. Hopefully the existence of Invicta Fighting Championships starts to change that and becomes a regular thing, especially if they keep streaming shows for free which is awesome.

Hopefully the impressive numbers the show did make the UFC realize their is a market for women's MMA and start promoting fights and what would be even more helpful for the division do a TUF for it. Hopefully Invicta gets to keep putting up shows and giving the women of MMA a place to perform.