THE ORDER OF THE BLUE WOLF PRESENTS

DIET BUTCHERS REUNITE !!!! We're all about the OLD SKOOL with O'Connor v Rogers, Mil vs Tsuruta & more !!!!! Mailman slaps 128 people reviewing Inoki !!!!! Double Dose of ECW !!! The lovely ladies of ARSION !!!! Gracie & Yoshida run a clinic !!!! It's indy time with OMEGA !!! OCESA Ruleta De La Muerte II - Thank God it ain't GWAS !!!! A tale of monsters and satanic sport entertainment - Osaka Puroresu !!!

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SAMBO TRAINER VIDEO REVIEW NUMBER III
Featuring Diet Butchers Video Review
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DIET BUTCHERS REUNITE !!!

About time you'd say. Diet Butchers finally reunite; after countless deadlines and corrections, the clubhouse underground rassleen club is back and we, THE ORDER OF THE BLUE WOLF (it's getting catchy, i tells ya), welcome aboard the Butchers. We bring you the gigantic issue number three, and this time we've got every style covered: US Big three, US indies, Old School US wrestling, Lucha Libre, Mixed Martial Arts, Old School Puroresu, Big Two Puroresu, Japan indies and obviously..JOSHI~. Now sit down, get you a cold one, let the girlfriend/wife go shopping and lock the dog with handcuffs (you can do vice-versa, if your dog is weird like that). Enjoy the ride.....

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Millennium Fighting Arts: Inoki Bombaye PPV [@Scott Mailman@]

Due to a malicious Campus computer, Scott's wonderful review has been post-poned. Check back here early next week (should be up on wednesday) for INOKI BOMBAYE ! And....really, this is not an excuse to get more hits, i swear ;)
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Buddy Rogers v. Pat O’Connor
Chicago, 6/30/1961 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship [@Dan MG Herman@]

Fred Kohler, promoter out of Chicago, put together a weekly TV show that is responsible for a large chunk of the footage from the 50’s and 60’s that has made it down to today. This was still during the time when TV was used to advertise the house shows, where the real matches were and the real money was made. For whatever reason, though, Kohler decided to give this match away for free on TV, and the world of wrestling owes him thanks for it.

In the one corner we have Buddy Rogers, the original Nature boy. What he lacks in technical skill he more than makes up for in arrogance and showmanship. In the other corner, Pat O’Connor, the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and a New Zealander; a high drawing champ for his time and a real wrestler’s wrestler. Rogers gets booed soundly as the ring announcer goes through introductions, and O’Connor gets a rousing ovation. There are some people who cheer the opposite direction, but they are in the minority. This will be, according to the ring announcer, the match of the century, as the proud technician champ faces off against the loudmouthed, brash and showy upstart.

The match starts and they circle each other for a few seconds. O’Connor moves first, trying for a single leg, but Rogers dodges the shoot and they go to a collar and elbow instead. Rogers backs into the ropes and waits for the break, where he gets a cheap shot in and boos from the audience. Rogers struts around the ring slightly and then insists to the ref that it was an open-handed strike.

They lock up again and this time O’Connor gets backed into the ropes. He waits for the break and Rogers starts to back away before O’Connor returns the favor from earlier as the crowd supports the turnabout as fair play.

The lock up a third time and this time Rogers gets an overhead wristlock, but O’Connor fights back. The crowd explodes, but Rogers grabs O’Connor’s hair and yanks him down to the mat. This first advantage is short lived, as O’Connor kips up, still in the lock and they go back to the stalemate. Once again O’Connor starts to get the upper hand, but Rogers yanks him down by the hair once more. The ref sees it this time and breaks the hold. In this first exchange we see the basics, the champion’s technical skill is superior, but the heel cheats.

The lock up again and this time O’Connor gets the overhead wristlock and just yanks Rogers down with it. Rogers makes it back up to his feet and tosses O’Connor into the ropes, but O’Connor knocks him down with a shoulderblock followed by and arm-drag which O’Connor follows through into a spinning-arm-bar. The crowd is screaming support for O’Connor as he cinches on this painful looking hold tighter and tighter. Rogers inches towards the ropes, but O’Connor drags him back to the center of the ring. O’Connor manages to get some near-falls with this lock, so Rogers sits up to avoid the pin, but you can tell by the look on his face that it puts more pressure on the arm and he needs to get out soon. O’Connor gives the arm a few yanks and Rogers reaches out for the ropes, but has no chance of making it. O’Connor gives the arm another cinch, but Rogers takes this as an opportunity, standing up with the momentum and breaking the hold with punches.

O’Connor bounces off the ropes and hits another shoulderblock, but when he tries to follow up he gets bodyslammed. This is no problem for the champ, though, as he gets up and gives one back followed by another arm drag and another arm bar. The camera pulls in nice and tight as the ref checks Rogers’ shoulders, O’Connor watches the ref and Rogers grimaces in pain and does his best to keep his hands clasped to relieve some pressure. Rogers sits up and the camera gets a good shot of O’Connor as even he is struggling to keep the hold.

Rogers punches his way out and gets hit with another shoulderblock. He stops any follow up this time with a solid punch that knocks O’Connor to the ground. Rogers, looking for a quick fall, goes for the figure four, but O’Connor slaps him off in short order to the great delight of the audience. O’Connor decides to go for the quick kill himself and tries a piledriver with no luck.

They lock up again, only this time Rogers yanks at O’Connor’s hair from the clinch, using O’Connor’s body to block the ref. Rogers then yanks O’Connor down by his trunks and grabs a chinlock, but O’Connor powers out of it and lays in some punches in the corner before tossing Rogers by his head.

Rogers struggles to his feet and gets knocked clear across the ring with a shoulderblock. O’Connor picks up steam and charges into the corner, but Rogers gets his boot up. O’Connor falls to the mat and Rogers drops on top of him, hooking his leg to take the first fall in 8:30. Rogers looks dazed but happy as he walks to his corner, while O’Connor looks upset. Rogers’ supporters cheer him while most of the crowd is in stunned silence, wondering how a cheat like Rogers could get a fall on a technician like that. O’Connor is the better wrestler, but by cheating and luck, Rogers just might slip by.

Between falls we get a brief interview with the Fabulous Kangaroos and their manager. The manager picks Rogers to win the match with little thought. The Kangaroos are more hesitant, and decide to support O’Connor since they all come from the same area, despite being heels.

They circle again to start the second fall and Rogers goes for an eye-gouge as soon as O’Connor tries to lock up. He holds up an open hand to argue with the ref and the crowd. A second lockup is attempted and Rogers breaks this one with a shot to the head. He doesn’t want to be in a position where he might lose his now significant advantage.

The third attempt at a lock up is successful, but it is in the corner, so O’Connor has to break it. As he backs away he cocks a punch and the crowd shouts encouragement, but O’Connor hesitates and looks around. He just backs away. He doesn’t want to win that way. This match is no longer just about keeping the belt but proving that he is better than Rogers in more ways than one.

Rogers manages a hammerlock and uses a choke to get O’Connor to the ground. O’Connor gets up, but Rogers takes him down again by his hair. O’Connor fights up again and grabs Rogers’ head to alleviate some pressure. He manages to back Rogers into the ropes, but Rogers uses them to drive O’Connor back down once more. Rogers goes through every dirty trick in the book short of biting and low blows to keep the hold.

O’Connor cocks a punch to get out, but decides against it once again. He hits a single-leg takedown instead and turns it into a clean and virtuous standing toehold and Rogers writhes in pain. Rogers has nowhere to go, but he manages to kick O’Connor to break the hold, but O’Connor kips up and hits another single-leg putting Rogers right back in the same place as before. The crowd explodes for this display of pure wrestling prowess from the champ.

O’Connor leans in too close, though, allowing Rogers to bounce him off. A brief exchange sees Rogers nearly mount a comeback, but O’Connor takes him down again this time into a sitting toehold. The crowd’s volume picks up again, but Rogers manages to get a chinlock to reverse and maneuver out of the hold. He almost gets a pin, but O’Connor quickly bridges out of it and grabs a headlock. This time he doesn’t hesitate to smack Rogers in the hold.

Rogers stumbles to his knees in the corner and begs off. O’Connor gives two more strikes instead of mercy. He tosses Rogers with an arm drag and Rogers starts to run the ropes, but O’Connor gets a waist lock. They bounce off the ropes and roll through as O’Connor turns it into a reverse cradle to even the falls in 6 minutes. The crowd explodes to their feet as O’Connor jumps in celebration. He may be the champ, but he still was worried, and now things are even.

At the start of the third fall O’Connor charges in, noticeably more aggressive. Rogers tries to counter this with mind games, responding to it by strutting around the ring. They lock up briefly and criss-cross the ropes. Rogers almost runs right into a fist, but he stops shorts and struts again, drawing the crowd’s ire.

They lock up again. Rogers backs O’Connor into the ropes and nails him with a punch to the gut and a knee to the head before backing up and being scolded by the ref. They lock up again, but O’Connor sees the cheap shot coming and blocks it before nailing Rogers with a punch.

They run the ropes again; they collide and both men hit the mat. The crowd is screaming. O’Connor makes it up first and attempts another piledriver, but Rogers has just enough wherewithal to dump the two of them through the ropes and stop it.

They make it back into the ring and O’Connor tosses Rogers by his head and then hoists him up for an impressive slam. Rogers pleads from the floor, but O’Connor does it again. He goes for a cover, but Rogers gets his foot on the ropes.

O’Connor paces as Rogers tries to make it to his feet. He knew he should’ve had the match there. As soon as Rogers is up, O’Connor smacks him. Rogers begs off again, but O’Connor won’t hear it. He tosses Rogers across the ring and hits him with a third big slam. He goes for the pin again, but Rogers gets his foot on the ropes.

O’Connor is visibly frustrated and the crowd cries out for blood when Rogers rolls to his knees and pleads for mercy. Another headlock and punch by O’Connor who follows it up with a right cross and Rogers just crumbles to the mat. The crowd is at a frenzied pitch. Rogers makes it to his feet, but you can tell that the turnbuckles are bearing more weight than he is.

O’Connor pounces Rogers, headlock and punch and then O’Connor tosses Rogers’ head into the turnbuckle. He does it again. He picks up Rogers’ carcass and runs him across the ring slamming him face first into the opposite turnbuckle as the crowd has now surpassed any previous peak. They came here to see the Nature Boy get his, and O’Connor is giving it to him.

Rogers lay prone for a few seconds as the ref makes sure he’s okay, he stumbles to his feet only to get tossed into the turnbuckle headfirst. O’Connor paces back and forth, eager for the kill. He grabs Rogers who gives O’Connor a feeble punch to the ribs. O’Connor laughs it off and staggers Rogers with a punch to the head. Rogers tries another punch, so O’Connor gives him three to show him how it’s done. Rogers collapses on the third. O’Connor dives on top of Rogers, but Rogers gets his foot on the ropes. It takes him nearly the entire three count to do it, but he does. Meanwhile, the crowd has gone up another fifty decibels.

Rogers once again needs the ropes to stand up and O’Connor tosses him one more time. Rogers stands, and its seems more like the momentum brought him to his feet. He doesn’t stand long as O’Connor hits him with a dropkick to the head. If I said the crowd exploded before, I was wrong as the crowd now hits an explosion of unparalleled noise. Rogers falls into the ropes and bounces off as O’Connor goes for ONE MORE DROPKICK!

Only something goes wrong. Rogers collapses before O’Connor connects and O’Connor hits the ropes instead. Suddenly the crowd quiets and time slows to a crushing halt. O’Connor clutches at his ribs on the mat. Rogers feebly crawls toward him and each pull takes all the energy he can muster. O’Connor rolls, still clutching his ribs, but Rogers inches ever closer. Closer and closer, rolling and crawling. Finally, after a very long forty seconds Rogers pulls himself on top of O’Connor for the pin, for the belt and for history.

The crowd screams out its disapproval of this turn of events and local cops surround the ring. Rogers holds himself up by the ropes and medics check on O’Connor as the ring announcer gives the time of the final fall as seven minutes and declared Rogers the winner and new champion. The crowd is not happy. Kohler hands Rogers the belt and congratulates him. The crowd continues to protest so Rogers gives them one last bit of advice, “To a nicer guy, it couldn’t happen.”

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All Japan Classics on Samurai Tv 4/98 (#47) [@Bill Barnwell@]

When my messiah Jeff Lynch sends me his tapelist every other month, it's not the Toryumon that I go look at. I skip past the joshi, and the Michinoku Pro, and the All Japan and New Japan TV, and I don't even bother to look at the shoot or lucha. I head right to the oldest stuff that Jeff lists monthly: AJPW Classics. This particular block of AJPW Classics is from Feburary and the summer of 1982, and I'm personally happy because this is the first mention of 1982 in a while that doesn't involve an F-List of
some sort. Now...ONTO WRESTLING!

RICKY STEAMBOAT VS. RIC FLAIR (NWA World Title Match, 6/4/82)
WHY YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MATCH: Because it is Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair in 1982. It's not as if you aren't aware that any match involving these two isn't licensed to be great. Oh, and the match is incredibly stiff, as they just beat each other down with chops throughout the match (I know, chops in a Steamboat-Flair match? Tell me about it.)
INTERESTING NOTES: Steamboat looks quite roided out here. Not as bad as, say, Eddy, but he's unusually thick this evening. Kawada and Misawa are the young boys, having a conversation while Kawada holds the ring ropes open for Steamboat. Misawa looks like he could be Steamboat's pre-pubescent younger brother here.
ON STEAMBOAT'S STYLE: What makes Steamboat so great is that, although he doesn't have a huge array of moves, everything he does is done perfectly. There's no fuck-ups, there's no awkwardness, he's an absolute wrestling machine. It's this hallmark of great workers, especially the ones who don't bust out 312 different neck-breaking suplexes or have to do ridiculous shoulder-breaking highspots. Steamboat probably has the most fluid-looking headlock takeover I've ever seen, and it lets him do a lot more in a match than, say, Kennichiro Arai's 450 splash lets him do.
FLAIR BUMP COUNT: Bumps to the floor off a Steamboat chop: 2; Flair Flips: 1.
PSYCHOLOGY: Surprisingly weak for a Flair/Steamboat match, but I suppose that this was towards the early part of their feud, and they were still evolving as workers (but isn't that an fact of life). The main psychology of the match is that Steamboat can dominate Flair with the headlock, but Flair can use elbows and knees to take the advantage. The second portion of the match is Flair going to school on Steamboat, which is good and all, but Steamboat doesn't sell it and it has nothing to do with the match's ending, which is rather odd.
BIZARRO WORLD: Steamboat does the most ridiculous Onryo impression ever as he stops a Flair kneedrop by grabbing Flair's knee halfway down (just like Onryo stops the ref's hand from counting to 3) and then locking on a figure-four.
FINALITY: Flair wins by rolling through a flying bodypress by Steamboat, and the actual reversal is probably the smoothest I've ever seen that particular counter done. The match is certainly not the best Flair/Steamboat match you'll ever see, but by God, it's certainly better than any match I've seen involving two American wrestlers in six months or so.

RIC FLAIR VS. JUMBO TSURUTA (NWA World Title Match, 6/8/82)
WHY YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MATCH: And then four days later, Flair vs. Jumbo Tsuruta falls out of the sky. This was quite the AJPW summer tour. Well, it beats Sabu and Damien 666. Oh, yeah, the match. The match is great because Jumbo works the U.S Pro Style as well as anyone, and against Flair, well, it's quite good.
FASHION: Jumbo has the world's most dapper tracksuit, as usual. It's not as awesome as the Revolution "WE ALL WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD" jackets, but it's real close. Real, real close. Flair has the usual sky blue robe of dominance.
YOUNG BOY REPORT: Normally, I couldn't care about who the ringside attendants are, but it's cool to see the future stars of puroresu just languishing on the outside of the ring. I mentioned Misawa and Kawada before-waitaminute, that looks like Kintaro Kanemura outside the ring! That's bizarre. Stuart, resident chat garbage mark, says that he would have been 12 at the time, so I guess not. Maybe it's just a clean-shaven post-KFC Kobashi.
JUMBO'S OFFENSE: Jumbo doesn't have the hugest offensive moveset, but the moves he has rock. The jumping knee is pretty much as great as you can get with such a simple move (and CIMA's ode to it is awesome too). And for such a big guy, he has an awesome vertical, with an crazy sunset flip. He's not working as stiff as he does during the surly Jumbo period of the early 90's, but he's stiff now too. And, of course, the best part of this entire match and the thing you need to see is Jumbo getting insane and dragging a Missile Kick out of his moveset in 1982. 1982! Jumbo is Sayama! You need this tape just for that alone. And then after that, he hits an enzuigiri on Flair climbing onto the apron and takes the bump to the floor with Flair (ala Cactus Clothesline). The only problem is that Jumbo tries to be as graceful as Steamboat was in the previous match, and if only out of a sheer lack of physical capability due to his size, Jumbo can't and the match quality on the mat suffers a bit because of it. However, the end of the match and the nearfalls are much hotter.
THE FIGURE FOUR = SWEET LOVIN': The figure-four leglock reminds me of a stand-up comedian's sketch about sex and the weird faces people make. Flair puts it on Jumbo, and Jumbo looks like Thom Yorke on Saturday Night Life spasming across the stage selling the hold. Then he reverses it, and Flair reminds me of Ryan Stiles having an Party Quirks orgasm.
FLAIR BUMP COUNT: Bumps to the floor off Jumbo jumping knee: 2; Flair Flips: 2; Successful Flair Flips: 1.
FINALITY: Jumbo hits a German Suplex, but Flair uses the turnbuckle to gain a higher vertical base and get his shoulders down along with Jumbo's, to cause the double-pin, letting Flair retain the title. Awesome match, and you need to see if it only for the Jumbo Missile Kick and Enzuigiri Suicida.

GIANT BABA VS. TERRY GORDY (Georgia, 2/28/82)
WHY YOU DON'T NEED TO SEE THIS MATCH: It's neither AJPW nor Classic. Baba's coolness is his sheer overness in Japan, not his heeldom in the U.S. South.
BIZARRO HEAT: Baba (who was announced as 300+ pounds) gets major heat for being the Japanese heel...and he goes to shake Gordy's hand after the ring announcements. Of course, badass babyface Gordy doesn't shake, so Baba has to..take him to the mat.
UM...: Well, sort of. They go to the mat and Baba lays there in a headlock. And Gordy...lays there. And they stand up and trade abdominal stretches for about five minutes.
THEN...: They brawl a bit.
FINALITY: Gordy whips Baba into the ropes...and Baba gets the big boot up and pins Gordy. That was...not good.

TERRY FUNK/DICK SLATER VS. JERRY LAWLER/DON DIAMOND (St. Petersburg, 2/21/82)
WHY YOU MAY POSSIBLY NEED TO SEE THIS MATCH: Because Terry Funk wrestles eight minutes for four people.
WHICH ONE DOESN'T BELONG?: Now, I may be no wrestling historian, but I have heard of most wrestlers, especially those who wrestle on AJPW Classics. Then Don Diamond comes out of left field. I'm pretty sure it's not the same Don Diamond who played Sgt. Gonzalez on Zorro, considering he'd be 50 or so for this match, but you never know. So I asked BostonIdol - certainly someone who has more knowledge about this than I do. No dice. This scares me. Because Don Diamond isn't any good. He throws the most ridiculous, business-exposing windup punch ever; worse than Saturn or Van Dam. He makes the Rock look like Terry Funk - and speaking of Terry Funk...
TERRY FUNK, OFFENSIVE MACHINE: When I think of Terry Funk, I think mellifluous selling and one of the best worked punches in the business. When I think of Jerry Lawler, I think Andy Kaufman and piledriver. What I don't normally compare them to is Misterio-Psicosis and Guerrero-Malenko. But sure enough, they bust out a spot that both these guys would do on a regular basis in their matches in the 90's: Funk is by the ropes, and Lawler's got him by the legs. So Funk crawls up the ropes, and uses his arms to hold onto the top rope, and then uses his legs to push Lawler up over the top rope and to the floor. Awesome. Funk also is hitting
everything as if he's 23, killing Lawler with lefts and a absolutely destructive butterfly suplex.
FINALITY: This match is decent, but it's very quick, as Lawler plays FIP for about six minutes, he makes the hot tag to Diamond, Diamond throws some whirly punches, and then Funk cuts off his comeback and Funk and Slater annihiliate Diamond with their finisher - a Demolition Decapitation, but instead of dropping a weak leg, Slater destroys Diamond with a kneedrop off the 2nd rope for the easy pinfall.

MIL MASCARAS VS. JUMBO TSURUTA (UN Title Match, 7/30/82)
WHY YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO SEE THIS MATCH: I bought this tape from Lynch hoping that the first two matches were very good to great and that this match would be a great WAR main event match. And, well, it didn't work out that way, because they run a SHOOT ANGLE and it's much better than the one Choshu and Hash ran last month. It's even better because...well...below.
MATWORK: This is better than I expected because Mascaras wrestles less like himself and more like Dos Caras, busting out with the Flying-On-The-Ground-Japanese-No-Theatre hold and then segueing into the extended double knucklelock sequence, which is pretty fucking awesome considering it's not Guerrero/Malenko or Billington/Sayama. They then segue that into a pretty blah submission sequence which is featuring dueling abdominal stretches on the marquee, and I can FF through that.
IT'S A SHOOT, BRUTHA: After Tsuruta gets to the ropes off a Mascaras abdominal stretch, Mascaras slaps Tsuruta in the chest. Tsuruta responds by bitchslapping Mascaras in the face, and this isn't BATBAT, so I wasn't expecting that. Mascaras responds, and then they're slapping the absolute bejesus out of one another, and Mascaras throws Tsuruta to the floor, posts him, and punches Tsuruta once and Tsuruta goes down...
MUTA? TRY TSURUTA SCALE: And when he gets up...Tsuruta has etched a statue in his forehead, and within in a minute he's drenched in his own blood. So what does he do? He plays the rudo and starts ripping at Mascaras's mask and rips about a quarter of the mask off.  At this, Kyohei Wada finally calls for the bell, declaring "excessive violence", and the crowd is going insane for the whole thing, with young boys jumping in between them to try and prevent them from going at it. Jumbo, in an awesome spot, pretends to calm down, and the young boys let their guard down, and when they do, Jumbo charges Mascaras.
E-C-DUB: Mascaras and Tsuruta suddenly start pointing with an open hand towards the crowd, and it seems like they're asking for five more minutes. Kyohei Gordon agrees, and Tsuruta and Mascaras lock up. Mascaras throws Tsuruta to the floor, and PELTS him with this ridiculous unprotected chairshot to the back of the head that was more hardcore than any Balls Mahoney shot you'll ever see. I think Tsuruta's brain stem shriveled up. This is fucking awesome.
FINALITY: Back in the ring, and Tsuruta physically forces Mascaras to take a backdrop holduh for 2. They do a bunch more hot two-counts off rollups and flying chops, and then it's a draw, and they both trade slaps as the bell rings post-match.  This is fucking great because it's 1982 and Mascaras has never really done anything of importance in his life past 1975 that I'd heard of and to see this makes me want to hunt down a lot more Mil Mascaras if only to find that this is the highlight of the last 20 years of his career.

WHY YOU NEED THIS TAPE BADLY: Because it has the awesome, awesome, awesome Mascaras-Tsuruta angle that apparently no one ever talks about because no one's ever seen it or was as impressed and marking out as much as I was, and the two Flair matches were both really good too.
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Osaka Puroresu Wrestling Digest Vol. 5 Comm. Tape [@Ryan Faulconer@]

Throughout the history of the television spin off there have definitely been more misses than hits.  Three’s A Crowd didn’t contain the group dynamic that made Three’s A Company a hit.  There was no more Jack scheming to date two women in one night.  There were no more roommates to ruin Jack’s perfect romantic evening.    With Jack in an actual relationship there was no need to carry on the charade that they had with their landlords; Mr. Ferley and the Ropers, to convince them that Jack was gay in order for him to share an apartment with two single women.  Other spin-offs such as Taxi (which gave birth to Cheers), Cheers (which spawned Frasier),  Facts of Life (from Different Strokes),  A Different World (from the Cosby Show),  Amen (from 227), Family Matters (which was MUCH better than its predecessor Perfect Strangers), went on to have minimal to moderate to major success.  The key being that the characters that came out of the spin-offs like Urkel, the enchanting Whitley, the doofus Dwayne Wayne and Natalie and the Gang, weren’t just a continuation of the show they spun off from but were in fact a whole new idea  and cast of characters that used the flow-over talent (the Winslows,  Denise Huxtable and Mrs. Garrett) to create that new set of stars that would differentiate them from the Three’s a Crowd, Saved By the Bell: The College Years, Vince Russo’s WCW and Joanie Loves Chotchie.  While I don’t remember much about Joanie Loves Chotchie, like Three’s a Crowd, this Happy Days’ spin-off took the lamest part of a popular show and made it the focal point for an entire program (see also: Russo, Vince 1999-2000 WCW).  The formula for success clearly leans toward the former rather than the latter as John Ritter has never quite recovered from Three’s a Crowd and Vince Russo is stocking copies of the Ready to Rumble DVD back in the old neighborhood.

In early 1999 Super Delfin (plus Dick Togo, Masato Yakushiji, Naohiro Hoshikawa, Masaru Seno and Yoshito Sugamoto) split from The Great Sasuke and Michinoku Pro to form what was likely Delfin’s vision of what his style of wrestling should be and Osaka Pro was born.  Other causes for the split probably had something to do with receiving $30 a night while Sasuke wore fancy new suits each week in the TV studio and Nisemono Gundum had four valets for a usually three person group.  Artistic integrity and financial woes aside people familiar with the Michinoku Pro formula probably saw reruns of Just the Ten of Us dancing in their heads and all the problems it had with trying to follow in the footsteps of Growing Pains, as Delfin would be hard-pressed to make it on his own.  In the first year that Delfin spent away from Sasuke and Co. he would not only provide a worthy spin-off but also provide a spin-off that, much like Cheers did to Taxi, could eventually surpass its predecessor, in Michinoku Pro, and provide a style of lucharesu for the new millennium.  Unfortunately just as Osaka Pro was receiving critical acclaim from Dave Meltzer half the roster left and now the talent pool is roughly half as deep as before.  Now the company is down to Delfin, Tsubasa, Sugamoto, Super Demekin, a blue googley eyed monster, a clown, a….whatever-Ebessan-is, Black Buffalo,  Daio QUALLT (the former Masaru Seno) and a very bright, yet very green star of the future in Takehiro Murahama.  This show that I’m looking at though is from a period when better times were had for this upstart group.  A time when the Legion of Violence, better known as the LOV was fresh-faced and Satan worshipping  The former Dragon Winger had already spent time as Zagaraus and Toritos, was currently some kind of purple-bug-thing and had not yet donned the blue mask and googley eyes of the Mandoras. Even Ebessan had yet to incorporate the poo fingers into his moveset as the devastating weapon that it was to become. So lets go back in time, to a period roughly eighteen months ago in October 1999 for, quite possibly, the greatest spin off in the history of spinning, Osaka Pro Wrestling Digest Vol. 5….

The show begins with, LAST WEEK on a very special Osaka Pro, the recently turned (and turned SATANIC) Masaru Seno was running amuck over the good guys of Osaka Pro as the new L.O.V. version of Kane known as Daio QUALLT!  Seno might just be the greatest Kane knock-off in wrestling (or Kane might be the worst wrestler to influence the Daio QUALLT gimmick).  Clips are shown of QUALLT chokeslamming and pinning Delfin-ally and all around adequate high-flyer Tsubasa with the requisite stretcher job by Tsubasa to put the new monster of Osaka over.  Delfin and Masato Yakushiji then hit the ring to confront QUALLT and Big Dick 296 (the LOV manager, who resembles a shorter Japanese version of Buh Buh Ray Dudley).  Delfin tries to lay down the law as the L.O.V. scowls from ringside.  The spritely Yakushiji then takes the mic and appears to challenge the much larger and much more SATANIC Quallt to a David and Goliath match up of not-quite-Biblical-proportions.  Delfin expresses some concern though as his little friend Yakushiji makes Rey Mysterio Jr. look like Ron Reis.  Yakushiji is not hearing any of it though as he tells Delfin that its not the size of the dog in the fight but size of the fight in the dog.  He assures Delfin that his RVD-like-offense will lead him to victory against his much larger opponent and Delfin reluctantly supports his man.

Next up is a minute long clip of a six man featuring LOV members Dick Togo, Black Buffalo and Daio QUALLT vs Super Delfin, Masato Yakushiji and Naohiro Hoshikawa.  The action shown looks to be fast and crisp although its more of a Michinoku Pro 1994 level of goodness than the 1996 level of greatness they would reach with Sasuke.  Lots of rope running as Yakushiji is featured in this match as a way to further push him as a viable threat to Quallt.  The finish comes as Yakushiji pins Buffalo with a quick roll-up. While it didn’t look like there were any Yakushiji/QUALLT exchanges he did manage to best one of the LOV members, Black Buffalo.  With that he proves to both his teammates (in storyline) and the fans that the quicker Yakushiji is capable of beating a LOV member although it wasn’t the man he has an issue with.  Masato gets on the mic post-match and tells Daio QUALLT that , and I’m just guessing here “I beat your little friend with the beard on his mask and I can probably beat anyone else in LOV, INCLUDING YOU!!!!”

Immediately following that is another minute long series of clips of a six man featuring the same two teams except that Yoshito Sugamoto has replaced Hoshikawa on the technico side.  In the hilight reel we see a short exchange between Yakushiji/QUALLT which focuses on Yakushiji using his speed to knock   QUALLT to the outside and hit a tope suicida.  The non-Yakushiji/QUALLT segments show a Delfin plancha,  Dick Togo Tiger-Driver-91ing a pedigree on Sugamoto followed by a diving senton bomb onto a lifeless Sugamoto for a near-fall which is broken up by a Delfin save.  Yakushiji hits a surprise missile dropkick and another quick roll-up on a LOV member, this time being Dick Togo.   Yakushiji gets on the mic and, in his best Goldberg-to-Japanese translation says “Daio QUALLT, YOU’RE NEXT!!!”.  This victory further proves that Yakushiji can get the job done when called upon and defeat LOV.  The only member of LOV left for him to beat is Daio QUALLT (we’ll just pretend that poor Policem-en doesn’t exist), which sets up their singles match very nicely.

In a soliloquy-like segment entinted “Talking Seno”Quallt” Memories”, Yakushiji takes us down the home stretch to pushing a properly executed angle which leads to a blow-off match.  In this five minute plus segment Yakushiji takes us back in time as clips are shown of what looks like a tag match with pre-Quallt Masaru Seno and Super Delfin vs Yakushiji and Naohiro Hoshikawa.  In the clips Seno clearly manhandles Masato with Yakushiji getting in zero offense in this “friendly” match that was probably from early-mid 1999.  Yakushiji appears to get choked up a bit as another set of clips are shown of Seno vs Dick Togo.  Togo defeats Seno in the clips but Seno wins Togo’s respect in losing when Togo pulls Seno up and gives him a respectful handshake and hug.  Yakushiji MAY have played the “Seno, you couldn’t beat them so you chose the coward’s way out and joined them” or he may have just lamented over the loss of his friend to the darkside which is Dick Togo and his LOV.  The clips are concluded with the occult-like metamporhisis of Seno by LOV members when they paint his face after a six man that happened on the August 29, 1999 Samurai TV episode of Osaka Pro.  Seno comes out under a hood to show that he has changed into Daio QUALLT and he proceeds to dismantle Yoshito Sugamoto in clips to end the segment.

The LAST setup for the big match happens in the form of another short clip from a six man between the two teams of Buffalo/Quallt/Togo and Delfin/Yakushiji/Sugamto.  The match result itself isn’t as important as the post-match angle.  After Togo puts Sugamoto away with the Diving Senton Yakushiji and Quallt start to brawl with Yakushiji surprisingly getting the better of the exchange.  It isn’t long however before Yakushiji is overwhelmed by the LOV as they tie him up in the ropes in the same position that they had Seno as they “transformed” him into Daio Quallt. LOV looks to be “recruiting” Yakushiji the same way that they “recruited” the former-Masaru Seno.  A mysterious hooded figure comes out with a chalice full of blood or cranberry juice or whatever these groups use in their pseudo-satanic rituals.  With Yakushiji tied in the ropes Quallt takes the chalice and turns his back to celebrate.  With Quallt’s back turned Yakushiji some how breaks free of the ropes and spin kicks the cup out of Quallt’s hand, taking the big man down and out of the ring in the process.  Some last minute words are exchanged between LOV on the outside of the ring and Yakushiji, who is joined by Super Delfin in-ring.  Yakushiji probably said something along the lines of “You got my friend Seno to join your group but you couldn’t get me.  Now I’m going to have to beat some sense into my good friend Seno”.

With that there is a short promo cut by Big Dick 296 and Daio Quallt in the lockerroom where they probably say something along the lines of “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! You got away this time but we’ll see how you do in Osaka on the 9th!”

Masato Yakushiji vs Daio QUALLT
It should probably be noted that the onscreen graphics and arena setup are not unlike a mini-RAW would look like in 1998.  In the left hand corner of the screen is a caption reading “LOV ATTITUDE” and in the bottom right hand corner is another that reads “LOV in the RAW” showing that while Delfin has a great knack for building programs he has no taste in set design.  That ZANY Delfin, what are we going to do with you?

The match itself is….nothing special.  Its your standard Test vs Crash Holly match in a non-hardcore settling.  Yakushiji controls at the beginning with his speed, hitting a spinning heel kick then a tope suicida to Quallt on the outside.  Its all downhill for Masato (and the match really) as they proceed to CLIP this match they’ve spent the first chunk of the tape hyping through clips and interviews.  They don’t just clip it once but TWICE!  What is shown of the rest of the match is Quallt totally dominating with a snake eyes, power bomb, a beautiful 360 powerslam, nasty release German suplex and diving lariat.  The crowd was really into Yakushiji’s few near falls though which shows that they did a good job building towards this match.  They clumsily go through the elaborate pinfall reversal that Malenko-Guerrero do so well and Tori-Sable do so poorly.  Yakushiji gets one more spinning heel kick in before Quallt hits a torture rack bomb followed by his chokeslam for the win.  The graphic at the bottom of the screen didn’t give a final match time.  5:17 aired and it was clipped twice which is so very disappointing after they spent all this energy setting up the match    After the match Quallt threatens more punishment on Yakushiji and the rest of LOV begin the rudo beatdown until Super Delfin and Naohiro Hoshikawa make the save.  Words are exchanged between LOV, on the ramp and Delfin and Hoshikawa, in the ring.  Delfin is looking for revenge it seems.  This was so very disappointing after the great set up job they did for it.  It would make a “what worked” column and earn a full point on the Jakked/Metal/Worldwide scale but they didn’t air enough of it to warrant a proper * rating.  The match was good-ish but didn’t really allow either guy to show much in the stuff they showed.

A backstage angle is shown with the caption of “Justice: Delfin, Conditions from LOV”, as it appears a referee (Kenori Matsui) is handing the members of LOV some documents to sign.  My guess is that it’s a contract for Delfin to fight Quallt since that is the last match listed on the matchlist.  Judging by the next match on the list, which is Delfin vs Policem-en, they negotiated to have a LOV member soften Delfin up before the big match with Quallt. Delfin is then given the papers to sign and reluctantly does so after a long backstage promo.   I guess Yakushiji/Quallt was the sidebar to a Delfin/Quallt program which actually does make a lot of sense but doesn’t explain why they’d clip a match between two capable workers down to Jakked length.

Big Dick 296 comes out to the ring and does a little back and forth with the audience that sounded like a take off on Scott Hall’s “N.W.O. survey time”.  The crowd sounds like they indeed came to see to the L..O..V.  296 finishes aping silly WCW catchphrases by doing what sounded like “LOV is in the (audience shouts) HOUSE!”.  All four members of LOV are introduced and the five of them stand in mid-ring cracking jokes for the next five minutes.  It sounded like the fans ate it up with a spoon so I guess there is no harm in it but if these guys weren’t such good workers and the promotion wasn’t so much fun I’d hold it against them.

Policem-en VS Super Delfin
Delfin comes out and taunts Policem-en into charging out and attacking while his music is still playing.  I really like Policem-en and I think Delfin is underrated so I was really looking forward to this match.  Unfortunately Delfin hits two running palm strikes and the Osaka Stunner and the match is over in 37 seconds just like that.  WAAAAAAAY too short to rate although I thought this match had more potential than the Quallt/Yakushiji match did .  Oh well…

Legion of Violence (Dick Togo/Black Buffalo/Policem-en/Daio QUALLT) VS JUSITCE (Super Delfin/ Masato Yakushiji/Naohiro Hoshikawa/Yoshito Sugamoto)
Like a big schmuck Delfin attacks all four LOV members before the bell and before any of his teammates are even there to back him up.  LOV gets the advantage until Yakushiji, Hoshikawa and Sugamoto arrive to
even the odds.  LOV get a near fall with a triple-team top-rope powerbomb but Sugamoto makes the save.  About ten seconds later Delfin hits the palm strike on Buffalo for the pin at 1:19.  Who booked this crap?  This is my favorite promotion and I really have no problem with the odd one-minute match but this show so far is pretty lackluster in the wrestling department.  The next match on the tape is an elimination match so I guess they were trying to get across that LOV are impotent in one on one situations with Delfin which is basically what the last two matches were.  It’s a similar build to the Yakushiji storyline at the beginning of the tape by substituting Yakushiji for Delfin.

ELIMINATION MATCH: Legion of Violence (Dick Togo/Black Buffalo/Daio QUALLT/Policem-en) VS Justice (Super Delfin/Naohiro Hoshikawa/Yoshito Sugamoto/Tsubasa)
This match is just chaos as the eight guys brawl all over the building including into the souvenir area.  The first elimination comes at only 29 seconds in as Togo and Buffalo double-team Yakushiji and Togo splatters him with the Diving Senton for the quick elimination.  Buffalo and QUALLT double-team Tsubasa and nearly pin him ten seconds later after a Buffalo backdrop suplex but Delfin makes the save.  One power bomb and chokeslam later by QUALLT though eliminates Tsubasa at 1:26???  I didn’t know Delfin was such a caffeine addict.  This MUST be clipped but the editing appears seamless.  A mere 45 seconds after THAT elimination is shown,  a Super Delfin DDT on Policem-en’s own briefcase gives us the third elimination of the match at 2:11 by my math.  Lynch’s list says this is hilights but why oh why would they only show clips of what has come to be a lucharesu promotion specialty?  I guess I should just blame Vince Russo and move on.  A series of near falls commences as Black Buffalo tries to eliminate Sugamto and set a land-speed record for the Japanese eight-man elimination match.  Buffalo gets a series of two counts  on Sugamoto off a rebound clothesline,  a rock bottom-like cousin-of-the-uranage, and a NASTY piledriver, with Delfin breaking up the last two count with a save.  Buffalo and Delfin fight out to ringside which allows QUALLT to isolate Sugamoto and finish him off with a power bomb/chokeslam combination for the fourth elimination, a mere 53 seconds after the last.  I didn’t know crash TV had infected lucharesu as well.  The three remaining LOV members set Delfin up for a triple-team superbomb but he hits a desperation double DDT on Quallt and Togo.  He then whiffs on a palm strike that somehow knocks Black Buffalo off the turnbuckles and makes him easy prey for a Delfin German Suplex Hardening!!!!  For the pin at 3:39.  Delfin tries valiantly to fight off Quallt and Togo…and does for about a minute battling back from a release German Suplex, a tombstone piledriver and a diving headbutt by Quallt.  Delfin even manages to kick out of Togo’s Diving Senton but all it takes is one more chokeslam by Quallt and at a whopping 5:16 the elimination match is over and LOV celebrate.  I don’t know if I can rate this match either as I’m unsure of whether or not this was the actual entire match or not.  What was shown was good, if brief.** if it really was unedited.  The finish does serve to build heat for the Delfin/Quallt match at the end of the tape though.  The fact that it took a double-team by Togo and Quallt to put away Delfin also protects him from looking weak and allows him to maintain some semblance of credibility even though he was clearly pinned in the middle of the ring.  So while they may borrow the set design and match structure of crash TV they stay waaaaaaay clear of the overbooking which you have to like.

From here on the matches are of a reasonable length so I’ll be abandoning the play-by-play any semblance of play-by-play.

Secret Game (Royal Rumble) w/The Monkey Magic, Oriental, Yoshito Sugamto, Super Delfin, Monster Somethingorother, Masato Yakushiji, Policem-en, Naohiro Hoshikawa, Azteca, Dick Togo Daio Quallt, Tsubasa, Black Buffalo, Super Demekin, Ebessan, Kuishinbo Kamen
This is your traditional WWF-style Royal Rumble with two men starting (Monster Somethingorother and The Monkey Magic) with a new man entering at unspecified intervals (Super Delfin is the third man).  Monster and Monkey have a nice exchange and Monkey Magic shows that he is more than just a comedy worker as he does some Yakushiji-like moves better than Yakushiji usually would.  This match actually gets a good amount of time (about 24 minutes).  The typical battle royale shenanigans ensues as eliminations are teased and new participants enter to their mostly cheesy 80s metal themes.  The ring never really gets overcrowded and the crowd stays hot throughout the entire match.  Some of my favorite sections were Kuishinbo Kamen’s HUGE pop (well, as huge as a room full of 50 people can pop anyway).  Kamen enters a house o’fire and after armdragging everyone in the ring the wrestlers all do the lucha libre comedy jump, which I’m always a sucker for.  Ebessan and Dick Togo exchange blows which leads to one of my all-time favorite mark-out moments as Ebessan HULKS UP and shakes his fists no-selling Dick Togo’s chops.  You have to see Mr. Fu-Manchu and Elephant ears feel the power of the tens of Ebessaniacs in attendance running through his body as he takes all Dick Togo can dish out and asks for more!!!  That scene is worth a *.  The match gets down to Black Buffalo and Super Demekin (of all people).  Demekin holds his own for a while but Buffalo gets the win after a dueling slaps’ sequence between the two on the ring apron and a Buffalo-shoulderblock knocks Demekin to the floor.  This was, without a doubt, my second favorite battle royale ever.  The Michinoku Pro Fukemon Battle Royale of 1999 is still my fave but that’s due mainly to the Relay Shonens’ involvement.  This match is all fun and at 24:01 it has enough time to include a bit of that wrestling stuff as well. ** but your mileage may vary.

Legion of Violence (Dick Togo/Black Buffalo/Policem-en) vs Kuishinbo Kamen/Super Demekin/ The Monkey Magic
This is a fun little squash in the mold of Crazy MAX vs SAITO/MAKOTO/Stoker Ichikawa from the Sept. 99 Toryumon block.  Again Monkey Magic shows that he’s more than just a humper of legs as he breaks out the elaborate lucha armdrags and hits a silky smooth springboard somersault plancha to the outside.  I might be the only person that thinks this but before half the Osaka Pro roster split in late 2000, Monkey Magic was wrestling just as well, if not better than Masato Yakushiji was in a similar role.  It probably has a little to do with Monkey Magic working with Dick Togo to make his fandangled lucha moves look so good.  It seems like the match played up on a continuation of the Delfin/QUALLT program as Demekin steps in to take on LOV for the good of the cause.  Demekin isn’t Dragon Kid-flash but he hits some very nice springboard dropkicks in this match.  LOV focused on Demekin for a large section of the match isolating him from the rest of his teammates with rudo brawling and double-teaming in the LOV corner of the ring.  Demekin makes a small comeback but its soon cut off as the three LOV members do a triple DDT on the three technicos and Buffalo pins Demekin following a running lariat at 12:13 by my watch.  A fun little match that also pushed the Delfin/QUALLT feud by having QUALLT’s stable mates concentrating on Delfin’s junior. More Michinoku Pro 1994 than 1996 but 1994 Michinoku Pro isn’t anything to sneeze at…unless its Yone Genjin, who not only makes matches that you can sneeze at but will also turn your stomach and induce projectile vomiting at the suck that he infests those six mans with,**1/2.

Big Dick 296 and LOV cut a promo backstage but all the setting up for the QUALLT/Delfin match has already been done so I can’t imagine what they’d possibly have to say.  LOV in the RAW indeed.

Super Delfin vs Daio QUALLT
This match has been set up over the last two hours of this tape quite nicely. Now its time for Delfin to settle the score and avenge his friends’ defeats.  The match is the best possible Kane vs HHH match as QUALLT’s “big man” offense drags down the work of the usually close-to-stellar Delfin and turns it from a junior style match to a Kane vs Benoit style clash as QUALLT is quite the Big Fuji of LOV and is not all that great in singles.  They are given a lot of time to work with and the ending is full of hot near falls but QUALLT’s gimmicky offense cuts the legs out from any hot stretches happening.  Delfin finally puts away the “big man” (big compared to Delfin that is) and hits the Osaka Stunner (inverted-DDT-turned-into-a-stunner variation) at 21:12 and Delfin has avenged his friends and saved Osaka Pro from LOV for the time being.**1/2

Overall:This is by no means the greatest Osaka Pro show available but I wanted to do these things in order so that the storylines would have some context.  Still, a fun two and a half hours with nothing being bad although nothing was all that great either.  The three matches that ended the tape delivered though as best they could. The Ebessan vs Dick Togo sequence in the Secret Game match and the work in the six man squash which focused on the undercard technicos for once against the strongest rudos, IMO, really make the tape worthwhile.
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Royler Gracie vs. Baret Yoshida (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 3/1/00)[@Thomas Hackett@]

-from: THE ABU DHABI COMBAT CLUB PRESENTS: 2000 SUBMISSION WRESTLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
 64.9 KG AND UNDER TOURNAMENT (March 1, 2000): Elimination Round

For those who don’t know: Abu Dhabi (the short title) is the greatest submission wrestling event of the year. To qualify: for those who prefer choking and joint locking their opponents while wearing trunks rather than traditional judo or jiu-jitsu kimonos, Abu Dhabi offers the greatest array of grappling talent in the world.  Don’t get confused though: while this event features many of the greatest MMA fighters in the world, Abu Dhabi is not MMA as you’re probably accustomed to. There are NO STRIKES permitted here. For many of the great fighters who come to Abu Dhabi, this is their natural habitat-and this is where their genius really shines.

And why Abu Dhabi, of all places? Why not Rio or New York? Simple-the guy running the show and footing the bill is the Prince, His Excellency Sheik Tahnoon Ben Zayed.  Seems the prince took a trip to San Diego a few years back to study finance and became an aficionado of MMA in general and jiu-jitsu in particular.  So he brought (read “bought”) the best teaching money can buy and set up Abu Dhabi Combat Club, featuring such standouts as Naimark favorite Ricardo Morais.  But that’s not all-he set up the finest tourney for submission fighting in the world to be held in his backyard, featuring the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters, submission fighters (including Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den), and submission-savvy wrestlers like Mark Kerr.

Rules are available in greater detail at the Abu Dhabi web site (adcombat.com). In short, you can win by submission, points, or referee’s decision. Points are awarded for takedowns, passing the guard, sweeps, achieving the mount position, getting back mount with hooks, and getting the knee on stomach position.  You lose a point for falling to the guard from a standing position.  Big time note: there is NO scoring for the first five minutes of a match: you either get the submission or not.  After that, points decide. If it’s a tie after OT, the ref decides the winner. You can wear a gi, but no one does, as it’s widely seen as disadvantageous.

Abu Dhabi tapes offer good camera work, and the sound and picture are great. But for the newcomer, they suffer for a lack of commentary or any on-screen graphic for the scoring involved. (Actually, with some of the God-awful commentary I’ve heard in MMA, judo, and amateur wrestling, a lack of commentary might be a good thing.)  On the plus side: someone plays drums now and again and keeps the crowd chanting and clapping along.  But the deal here is simple: by watching Abu Dhabi you can see grapplers using their skills in (more or less) their natural habitat, and not using the miscegenation of styles they bring to vale tudo. Enough chatter, here’s the match.

Royler Gracie (5’8”, 145 lbs.) vs. Baret Yoshida (5’6”, 138 lbs.)

Royler Gracie is the legend here, having finished every opponent via submssion in the 1999 Abu Dhabi tournament, and the winner of every accolade available to the weight class in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You know the program; he’s the M.F. man. Yoshida is a young gun from Egan Inoue’s Grappling Unlimited school in Hawaii. Known as “The Finisher”, he’s a MMA.com favorite for his aggressive grappling skills and active guard, and is currently the fourth ranked fighter in his weight class in Shooto.

Yoshida wears the same black trunks Enson Inoue used to wear (well, a few sizes smaller, but you get the idea) and has a light brown buzz cut.  Royler, slightly larger, wears black trunks and a white Abu Dhabi Combat Club T-shirt.  Both guys are positively “sudden” in their quickness. Yoshida jumps to guard right away (no points, remember?), and Royler aggressively looks to pass, locking the youngster’s legs up and pulling around.  Yoshida wriggles around on the mat and is immediately looking to isolate Gracie’s arm. Right at Gracie clears his head around Yoshida’s legs, with his body sure to follow into side mount, Yoshida traps Royler’s right wrist and spins him into an arm bar. Royler is able to duck out and escape, and Yoshida repositions him into closed guard.

Gracie gets to his feet with his waist still locked by Yoshida’s legs.  He hunches over the youngster, hands at the throat. This is a safe tactic as long as the top man (Gracie) controls how much space is between him and the bottom man (Yoshida).  This is not such an example.  Yoshida slithers on the mat to create space and pivots his legs up while locking Gracie’s arm, and PRESTO! We have a beautiful arm bar from the guard and the upset of the year on the way!  Yoshida locks the arm in and begins hyper-extending the elbow joint as Gracie falls back.  The crowd gasps as the returning champion looks to be defeated by an unknown!

Yoshida rolls to his stomach, Gracie’s arm bent perhaps 45 degrees the wrong way, and Gracie calmly steps a leg over Yoshida’s back and -- OKAY THIS IS INHUMAN -- he slips out of the hold. (?) Dear God. Well, remember that discussion we had about the Sakuraba fight?  About whether or not Royler’s arm was safe when the controversial stoppage occurred? I think we have our answer.

Back to the match. Yoshida again repositions his guard, showing amazing flexibility in his own right. This time he doesn’t get to close the guard though, as Gracie isolates Yoshida’s leg with one arm while driving his knee down on the other.  Yoshida somehow escapes getting his guard passed. Gracie reaches to tuck both of Baret’s legs under his arms, and jumps to his feet, locking Baret up nicely. He pushes forward, leaning with all of his strength into Baret’s neck and shoulders. This is called “stacking”, and when done right, it hurts like hell.  Yoshida keeps his guard intact, though.

Gracie, unable to clear the youngster’s legs, this time tucks one of Yoshida’s legs under his arm and falls back for an Achilles lock.  To succeed with this hold, you need to isolate (scissor) the leg you’re attacking with both of your own legs while using your arms to manipulate the Achilles.  Royler gets frustrated by Baret’s wriggling limb and almost gets countered as Yoshida works a leg around Royler’s and tries a heel hook.  Gracie immediately releases his hold and rolls backward to slip Yoshida’s hold.  On his butt now, Gracie maintains a top position on a prone Yoshida.

Gracie again looks for the guard pass by driving a knee to Yoshida’s thigh and hooking the other leg. This time he gets around the Hawaiian’s leg and advances to half guard.  Here’s the man at work: Yoshida just slightly overcompensates trying to reapply his guard and Gracie spins to the ground the OPPOSITE way he was rotating before, seeming to lock in side mount over Yoshida right at the five minute mark. Will he get points though? It’s too close for me to call. Seconds later Yoshida repositions to a full closed guard.

Gracie goes for the same Achilles lock he tried before, and this time Yoshida springs off his back as Gracie falls back for the hold, following his momentum and landing on top as he wriggles his leg free.  Gracie quickly reverses the position with an elevator and back on top, falls back for an ankle lock near the corner of the mat. The drums are going and the place is electric as Yoshida does the same escape, and this time keeps the top position in the scramble!  With Royler on the mat, Yoshida rises to his feet and boldly tries to spin around the legend to take his back.  He almost gets it as they fall out of bounds.

The two are brought back to the center and put back in the position they were in as they went out of bounds. Yoshida is on Gracie’s back with one hook in (this means Yoshida is behind him and has one leg secured into Gracie’s body and is trying to wrap the other around him. Getting the back with both hooks in is jiu-jitsu’s most dominant position; securing it scores four points, and it usually leads to a rear choke). Egan Inoue yells to him: “you’ve got to do something, Baret!” With two hooks in, Baret would undoubtedly win on points, as Royler’s only possible points were the guard pass, which score two.  Royler is able to pull his head away and pivot his hips out of Yoshida’s legs, and Yoshida again puts him in closed guard.  The technique here is amazing.

Royler keeps attacking Yoshida’s guard as time expires-but how’s this one going to go? I’m thinking Royler by virtue of the guard pass, but he might not have gotten it in time.  Do we have a zero-zero draw, so the guy with the most submission attempts wins?  Hmmm… I lost count of those… or are we even there too, and headed to overtime?

The familiar voice of Bruce Buffer announces the winner: “Royler Gracie!”  The competitors hug and Gracie moves on to the next round.  The official score was Gracie: two, Yoshida: zero, so I guess he won on the guard pass.  Regardless, a star is born in Yoshida, who will be one to look for as the 2001 edition of Abu Dhabi starts in April.

Bottom line: Yes, I wrote ALL THAT about one match-because ALL THAT is what happened.  The misconception about submission wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu being boring is partly due to a lack of knowledge in the sport.  Two well-matched competitors bring as much excitement as any other MMA event, as long as you understand the tactics being employed. When they’re as skilled and talented as these two, look out for another classic.  Next time: Joao Roque brings his awesome array of talent and the friendship bracelet he shares with Lee Casebolt to challenge Royler in the finals for the ’99 Abu Dhabi tournament! Or maybe something else.  Drop me a line (t_hackett12@onebox.com) for any ideas, suggestions, or commentary.

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ECW Big Ass Extreme Bash [@Paul Miller@]

March 8th New York

Sandman starts off the tape by working the crowd into a frenzied state by canning three nameless jobbers to loud ECW chants.

Sudden Cut

Joey Styles is in the ring and introduces Shane Douglas. The late Brian Pillman is at ringside with his trademark half-grown in beard jumping around, drawing the attention away from the interview. Douglas tells the audience that he will not waste his time with Pillman because he isn't on his level. Douglas is unable to contain his emotions so he decides to confront Pillman face to face. The debate between the two grows heated and when Douglas goes to punch Pillman, Pillman pulls a mother holding a little child in the way.
Douglas grows incensed and ECW security comes down to separates Douglas and Pillman from getting at each other.

Sudden Cut

Cactus Jack spike piledrives Chris Jericho. The Fabulous Ones (Stevie Richards & Blue Meanie) are at ringside cheering Cactus Jack on. Chris Jericho uses the german suplex with the bridge to get the pin.

Sudden Cut

Mikey Whipwreck escapes the T-Bone Tazplex and rolls Taz up for a near fall. Mikey Whipwreck goes up to the top rope and misses a crossbody. Taz prays on the fallen Mikey and nails him with a head and arm Tazplex. Taz then locks on the Tazmission which causes Mikey to submit easily. Bam Bam Bigelow comes in to break up the submission and catches Bill Alfonso in the ring. Taz clips Bam Bam Bigelow's knee as he attempted to press slam Bill Alfonso. He locks on the Tazmission on Bigelow as Alfonso repeatedly blows his whistle. Help tries to come to the ring to save Bigelow but Alfonso swats them away easily with a chair.

Sudden Cut

Superplex and a Headhunter Elbow by the Headhunters. Bubba Ray Dudley rolls up Headhunter B. Bubba Ray is thrown to the outside. Moonsault by Headhunter A until Big Dick Dudley comes down to make the save. Damian Kane & Headhunters make an open challenge which is accepted promptly by the Gangstas. Brawling ensues as the crowd pummels the ring with garbage. Mustafa does a cross body into a Head Hunter on the floor. New Jack nails a Headhunter with a chair shot. Headhunter B nails New Jack with a cane shot.

Sudden Cut

Clips of Juventud Guerrera and Rey Misterio Jr doing what they do best.

Sudden Cut

Raven pounds Sandman with repeated chair shots which knocks the bottom of the plastic chair off. Raven covers and only gets a one count. Sandman begins to kick and wildly swing his cane. He nails Raven with a DDT and promptly is rolled out. Sandman goes out after him with a chair and nails him in the aisle way. Missy Hyatte is behind him cheering his attack on Raven on. They fight to the back and through the curtain. Cactus Jack nails Sandman with a chair shot and carries Raven back to ringside. Cactus Jack gives a bang bang to the camera. Raven covers Sandman but is only able to procure the two count. Sandman nails Raven with a DDT on the chair which he repeats a second time. Kimona comes into the ring and jumps on the Sandman. Missy Hyatte comes in and there is a cat fight. Hack Myers comes in to separate the two. Raven has Sandman covered in the ring. Douglas comes in and nails Richards. He nails Raven with a chair shot and puts Sandman over Raven. Blue Meanie comes in with a chair and nails Sandman and puts Raven on top of Sandman. Douglas rams Richards and Ravens together. Richards falls onto Blue Meanie's crotch and Douglas holds his head down in a simulated felacio spot. They all exit to the back. Sandman stands over Raven with his cane. Sandman goes to the outside leaving Raven in the ring. He brings back a guardrail. Raven nails Sandman with a cane. Raven limps over to the ropes and props the guardrail on the rope. Sandman reverses Raven and sends him into the guardrail. Sandman attempts to vertical suplex Raven onto the guardrail but is blocked. Raven nails a DDT on the guardrail and promptly covers him to get the three.

March 9th - ECW Arena

New Jack Promo

ECW has such cheap equipment. The interview was barely audible. A woman comes in from the crowd and attempts to have her way with New Jack. New Jack proceeds to use the f word half a dozen times as the crowd chants his name. Damian Kane offers to manage the Gangstas and promises to get them World Tag Title shot. New Jack says he doesn't trust managers ever since his encounter with Jim Cornette.

JT Smith comes out to the Rocky Theme. His gimmick at this point is that he blows spots left and right. Before the match he goes to the outside and messes around with Hat Guy and his friends. Thankfully his partner tonight is someone who will compensate for his ability, Axl Rotten.

Sudden Cut

JT Smith nails Axl Rotten with a moonsault which is slightly off. Axl escapes at the two count. JT Shit chant breaks out. JT Smith misses a spinning DDT from the second rope. Crowd groans very loudly. JT Smith nails the powerbomb. Axl Rotten kicks out at the two and a half count. Axl Rotten whipped into the corner. Axl Rotten nails him with a boot. Axl Rotten nails him with a clothesline out of the corner. JT begs off. He nails JT Smith with a headbutt to the groin. JT Smith puts his feet on the ropes to gain leverage to get the three count.

Bad Crew start off working Damian Kane. Ubas flies off the top with a crossbody. Ubas is thrown out of the ring. They proceed to work over Damian Kane. Fans are chanting Sandman already. Pillman comes in with an Eagle football player and they cleanse the jobbers from the ring. Oh My God chants usher Joey Styles to the ring. Pillman proceeds to hug Joey Styles and tell him that he loves him.  Shane Douglas who is standing on top of the stage interrupts Pillman. Dave Scherer's visage is present in the background. Douglas says he is going to come down to ringside and kick his ass. Boatswain & Brian Pillman exit stage left. ECW refs come in to calm down Douglas. Douglas starts loud ECW chants. Douglas looks so young here in comparison to how he looks today. A Pillman is a Pussy chant erupts.

Sudden Cut

The ECW World Tag Champions come out with the titles. They are in their LOD like garb. Highway to Hell blasts and the "Buh Buh" chants start. Lou comes out holding a "The Dudley Clique" sign.  The Eliminators begin to grow impatient in the ring as Bubba bonds with the crowd. Big Dick comes in and cleans house on the Eliminators. Bubba's partner tonight is Hack Myers. Saturn does a reverse victory roll on Bubba. Saturn jumps on top of Bubba. Hack Myers nailed with Double Elimination. The Eliminators retain.

Sudden Cut

Chris Jericho and Taz are in the ring. Taz looks completely different here with hair spiked. Taz and Jericho tie up and Taz powers him away. A series of go behinds and Taz takes Jericho down with a Fujiwara armbar. Jericho grabs the ropes and the ref forces the break. The two men circle again. Jericho puts on the overhand wristlock and Taz bridges back. Lionheart chant starts by the crowd. Taz gets advice from Fonzie. Side headlock by Taz. Jericho powers him forward into the ropes. Taz shoves Jericho down. Jericho reverses the waistlock and nails Taz with a German Suplex. Jericho nails a springboard dropkick on Taz. Taz falls to the floor. Jericho does a springboard crossbody onto Taz on the floor. Jericho suplexes Taz in. Jericho goes to the top rope and nails the splash on Taz. Jericho nails the belly to back suplex. Jericho nails the Lionsault. Taz nails Jericho with the Northern Lights Tazplex.
Jericho goes to the top rope. Taz nails him from behind and crotches him. The superplex by Taz is unsuccessful. Taz nails Jericho with a T-Bone Tazplex and drops him right on his neck. Ref tries to call off the match. Jericho wants to continue. Jericho punches away. Taz nails him with a German Suplex. Taz slaps on a Tazmission. The ref calls for the bell. Taz won't let go. The ref reverses the decision and awards the match to Jericho after the cameras go off. Damian Stone comes in to try to save Jericho but to no avail. The Eliminators come in to save Jericho. Pillman comes in. Taz breaks the hold. Taz nails Damian Stone with a belly to back suplex. Pillman slides out of the ring and points to his head. Douglas comes out and chases Pillman. Pillman jumps into the crowd into the hands of the Eagles Defensive player and heads for the exist. Douglas and Taz are both in the ring. They stare each other
down. Tazz leaves. Douglas and a host of others tend to Jericho.

Sudden Cut

Best Two Out Of Three Falls - Rey Misterio Jr vs.. Juventud Guerrera

Bell rings. Rey Jr. offers his hand. Juventud spits in it. Rey Misterio Jr. spits in Juventud's face. They circle. Waistlock takedown by Rey Jr. Rey Jr. grapevines the legs and put Juventud into a surfboard. Guerrera escapes and puts on a leg lock on Rey Misterio Jr. Misterio rolls out and puts on a chinlock deathlock submission. Juventud gets near the ropes and the ref forces Rey to break the hold. Both men back up to their feet. Rey Jr. goes for a kick to the midsection but Juventud counters with a suplex. Rey Jr. puts Juventud on the top rope. Hurricanrana from the top by Rey Jr. Boot to the midsection by Juventud Jr. Sunset flip by Rey Jr. Two Count. Both men back up. They lockup. Juventud powers Rey Jr. down to his knees. Rey Jr. tries to roll through. It doesn't work. Monkey flip by Rey Jr. The hold is finally broken. Rey Jr. goes off the ropes. Tilt a Whirl counter. 2 count. Kick and a chop by Juventud. Really stiff chops by Juventud. Spinning headscissors by Rey Jr to send him outside. Rey Jr. teases jumping over the
top rope into the tv section of the crowd. He goes over the top rope and mule kicks Juventud against the barrier. Rey Jr. slingshots his body onto Juventud and his Juventud's back goes right into the barricade. Both men are down on the floor. Rey Jr. is the first to get up. Very loud ECW chants. Both men are now up. Rey Jr. catches up to Juventud who is walking away. Rey Jr. rolls Juventud Guerrera back into the ring. Rey Jr. climbs back onto the ring apron and proceeds to jump onto the top rope. Juventud catches him from behind and puts him on his shoulders. Rey Jr. reverses and brings Juventud down in a sunset flip. Rey Jr. gets a two count. Rey Jr. is the first up. Juventud blocks the suplex and successfully delivers a vertical suplex of his own on Rey. He drags Misterio away from the ropes and attempts a pinfall. Another two count. Juventud whips Rey Jr. off the ropes but Rey Jr. reverses. Juventud baseball slides between Rey Jr's legs and nails Rey Jr. as he turns around with a spinning kick. Juventud bounces off the ropes and Rey Jr. backbody drops him over the top rope onto the apron. Juventud slingshots himself back in with a somersault dropkick. Juventud makes a slashing motion to call for his finisher. He puts Rey Misterio Jr. into a full nelson and delivers a nasty looking suplex. Juventud wins the first fall.

The bell rings for the second fall. Rey Misterio Jr. outside taking a breather. He finally comes in and the action starts fast and furious. He charges Juventud with a knee lift and applies a headlock. Juventud whips him off the ropes and jumps over Juventud. Rey Jr. takes Juventud down with a shoulderblock. Both men go down but immediately kip up. Rey Misterio Jr. takes down Juventud with a hurricanrana. Rey Jr. plays to the crowd as Juventud lays on the mat. He finally goes for the cover but all he gets is a two count. Juventud finally gets up and stares down Rey Jr. Rey Jr. grabs the arm of Juventud and puts him in the corner. Rey Jr launches an assault of stiff chops on the chest of Juventud. He whips him out of the corner but it is reversed and Rey Jr. crashes into the opposite turnbuckle. Juventud flies in with a body attack but Rey Misterio Jr. moves out of the way at the last minute. Juventud rolls out of the ring for a breather. The ref gets into the bath between Rey Jr. and Juventud Guerrera but Juventud moves up so that Rey Jr. can deliver the hurricanrana which takes Guerrera from the apron to the floor. Both men are down. Very loud ECW chants. Rey Jr. slides back into the ring. The ref bends over and yells at Juventud to get back into the ring. Rey Jr. bounces off the ropes and uses the refs back for leverage to somersault onto Juventud on the floor. Both men get back into the ring. Rey Jr. has control of the match. He nails Juventud with a powerbomb which almost evens the contest at one fall a piece. Rey Jr. bounces off the ropes and moonsaults
onto Juventud. Juventud nails Rey Jr. with a clothesline. He starts a series of stiff swift kicks to Rey Jr.'s chest. Juventud goes to nail Rey Jr. with a crossbody but it is blocked by a dropkick. Both men are back up. Rey Jr. makes a slashing motion and picks up Juventud for a powerbomb. The contest is all tied up at one fall a piece.

Rey Misterio Jr. stands in the corner resting up. Juventud walks around on the outside. The bell rings and Juventud comes into the ring and dropkicks Rey Misterio Jr. Juventud places Rey Jr. on the top rope. He dropkicks him and he falls off the top rope and onto the floor. Juventud Guerrera bounces off and dropkicks Rey Jr. through the ropes. Juventud goes to the outside. He throws him over the steel barricade. Asai Moonsault onto Rey Jr. in the crowd. He throws Rey Jr. into the ring. Juventud nails Rey Jr. with a springboard spin kick that earns him a two count. Juventud goes the ropes again and misses the springboard somersault legdrop. Rey Jr. picks Juventud off the mat and puts him on the top rope. Juventud pushes him down. Juventud jumps off the top for a hurricanrana but Rey Jr. catches him in a powerbomb. Rey Jr. nails the Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge. No pinfall attempt.
Rey Jr. misses the springboard moonsault. Juventud nails him with a kick in the midsection and nails him with a fallway press slam. Juventud gets a two count. Juventud whips Rey Jr. off the ropes but he reserves it. Rey Jr. nails Juventud with a spinkick. Rey Misterio Jr. bounces off the ropes and attempts a baseball slide but falls short. Juventud and Rey Jr. brawl on the outside. Rey Jr. nails Juventud with a chair shot. Rey Jr. takes off into the crowd with a Springboard Sommersault Plancha. They brawl all the way to the outside to the parking lot. Juventud powerbombs Rey Jr. onto a car. Rey Jr. kicks Juventud to keep him away. Rey Jr. jumps off the car with a hurricanrana. They head back into the build and towards the ring. A much thinner Joel Gertner gets out of the way. Rey Misterio Jr. throws a chair into Juventud's face which gets caught on his head. ECW Arena erupts into loud table chants. Both men enter the ring. Juventud catapults Rey Jr. into the corner. Juventud teases Splash Mountain from the top but Jr. counters with a hurricanrana which wins him the third and deciding fall. After he wins the fall, he takes Juventud Guerrera to the outside and powerbombs him through a table.

Sudden Cut

Foley enters the ring for the last time in ECW Arena. Mikey Whipwreck is wearing a neckbrace. The Ring Announcer introduces Cactus Jack for the final time and the fans build steadily into a loud Cactus chant. Cactus Jack grabs the mic and says that while Mikey will be able to tell his grand kids that he faced Cactus Jack in his last match, he won't be able to say that he won. Both men circle. They tie up. Mikey is powered into the corner. Foley works over Whipwreck with a series of kicks and punches. Mikey is rammed hard into the turnbuckle. Foley continues to punch away at Mikey. Cactus Jack bang bangs to the crowd and drives the knee into Mikey's face. Cactus throws Mikey out to the floor. He grabs a chair and goes after Mikey. He misses the chair shot three times. Cactus Jack nails Whipwreck with a forearm to the face. He rams Mikey into the guardrail. He kicks away. He throws Mikey back into the ring. He picks up Mikey and whips him off the ropes. Mikey launches a series of punches followed by a dropkick. Mikey takes Foley to the outside with the Cactus clothesline. He whips Cactus' skull into the guardrail. He nails Cactus with a belly to back suplex on the floor. Mikey rolls Cactus back in. Side Russian Legsweep onto the chair by Mikey. Mikey tries to take Foley over with a Whippersnapper but was dumped on the table. Cactus tries to belly to back suplex Mikey Whipwreck into the table but it doesn't break. Cactus Jack climbs to the second rope and drops the elbow on Mikey on the floor.  Cactus grabs a crutch and charges Mikey. Mikey kicks Cactus when he is holding the chair and Mikey dumps him into the audience. He pounds away with fists to the head and then whips him into the guardrail. Mikey rolls back into the ring. He climbs to the top rope and nails Cactus with a bodypress. Cactus Jack takes Mikey over the guardrail with a clothesline. Cactus Jack delivers another belly to back suplex onto the concrete floor. He stomps away on Mikey who is pressed against the guardrail. Cactus Jack goes for a Mandible Claw on Mikey. Mikey fights it off and takes a spike piledriver from Cactus. Cactus gets the two count. He rips the neckbrace off of Mikey. He nails him with the DDT but somehow Mikey kicks out yet again. Cactus drapes Mikey's head over the bottom rope and drops the leg from the apron. He nails Mikey with an elbow while he is still under the bottom rope from the outside. Cactus Jack attempts a piledriver from the outside but he fights it off. Cactus delivers a hangman neckbreaker. Cactus launches himself backwards with an elbow but
misses Mikey. Both men back on the inside. Mikey pounds away at Foley with sickening chair shots. After five shots, Cactus goes down. He gets up again and Mikey nails him again. Mikey goes for a cover but he only gets a two count. Mikey nails him with yet another chair shot. Cactus Jack rolls to the outside. He has an album in his hand as he makes his way through the crowd. Mikey nails Cactus with a spike suplex. Mikey Whipwreck climbs onto the stage. He flies off with a double axe handle and Cactus goes down. Whipwreck brings Cactus back to the ring. Mikey climbs to the top rope but is caught with a forearm shiver when he flies off. Cactus grabs the chair and nails Mikey with a shot to the back. He hits him twice more and then piledrives him onto the chair.
Cactus Jack wins the match and the crowd applauds. The crowd noise builds and builds until a very deafening Cactus Jack chant erupts. Cactus Jack crawls to Mikey. He picks him up and raises his hand. He gives Mikey a hug as New York, New York begins to play. Cactus Jack grabs the mic and says his final farewell to the fans.

Foley is joined by Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie as he struts out of ECW  Arena for the final time.

Sudden Cut

The Bruise Brothers take on the Pitbulls in a match with was thankfully very, very, clipped. The Bruise Brothers are considerably more heavy in this match than in their current WCW run and visibly jiggle even though they are wearing oversized T-shirts. They do a great deal of brawling in the stands before they return to the ring and Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, Tommy Dreamer and Francine make run ins. The match ends in a non-contest.

Sudden Cut

Sabu takes on Big Titan. Sabu dives for the legs of Big Titan and misses. He tries again and he is successful. Titan powers him into the corner. Titan misses the splash into the corner.

Sudden Cut

Titan tries to slingshot himself onto Sabu and the table breaks. Titan fights his way onto the apron and goes to the top. Sabu takes him down with a Frankensteiner. Titan catches Sabu off the ropes and dumps him with a sideslam. Titan messes up a move which results in him being DDTed. Fans start to chant "Don't Comeback." Sabu nails the Arabian Facebuster for the win.

Sudden Cut

Richards urges Raven who is on crutches not to wrestle because his foot has a case of gout. Douglas takes the mic and says no way in hell and nails him with the mic. One legged Raven DDTs Douglas. He whips Douglas into the guardrail. Raven uses the ring to support himself to get around at ringside. He whips into the guardrail yet again. Raven nails Douglas with a DDT onto a chair on the concrete floor. Raven limps back into the ring and urges the ref to count. Douglas tries to comeback in and Raven nails Douglas with a knee at the eight count to keep him out of the ring. Douglas tries again and he gets nailed with a forearm shiver and falls from the apron into the guardrail. Raven extends his arms in the ring. Raven tries to suplex Douglas back in. Neither is successful. Douglas dumps Raven on the ropes and he falls to the outside. Douglas nails a Jericho like Springboard onto Richards, Meanie and
Raven. Raven and Douglas are back in the ring. Douglas grabs a chair and nails Raven. Kimona comes in and jumps on Douglas' back. He proceeds to punish her for her interference. Kimona likes it and Douglas kisses Kimona. He pushes her down and Raven comes in and crotches Douglas. Raven hobbles over to Douglas in the corner. He whips Douglas into the other corner. He
comes in with the chair but Douglas pushes the ref in the way who gets nailed with the chair. The Meanie comes in and misses a moonsault. Shane Douglas begins nailing everyone with belly to belly suplexes. The Harris Brothers come in and give Douglas the double boot. Raven only gets a two count. Raven whips Douglas into the corner. Douglas kicks the chair into Raven's face. Douglas puts Raven in a bear hug and dumps him face first onto the top turnbuckle. Douglas sets up a chair in the middle of the ring and dumps Raven on. Douglas bounces off the ropes and clotheslines Raven off the chair. Douglas tries to shove Raven into the chair into the corner but Raven reverses it. Raven nails Douglas with a DDT on the chair. Douglas clotheslines Raven and Richards out of the ring. Raven waves to people in the back and the Bruise Brothers come out and drag Douglas into the corner. They repeatedly crotch Douglas until Dreamer comes down and makes the save. The Bruise Brothers work over Dreamer and his separated shoulder. The Bruise Brothers attempt to crotch Tommy but Sandman comes down to make the save. He cleans house with his Singapore cane to a pop. Douglas comes back into the ring and drops a knee on Raven's injured foot. Sandman and Raven show Douglas mercy.

Sudden Cut

Three Way Dance: Sandman & Too Cold Scorpio vs. Headhunters vs. Gangstas

The Headhunters enter the ring and Scorpio and Sandman begin canning away. One of the Headhunters steals Sandman's cane and begins beating him with it. Scorpio goes up to for a splash that Sandman follows up with a leg drop. Scorpio begins canning away on Damian Kane who comes into the ring to help his men. Missy Hyatte and Lady Alexander get into a catfight. A Headhunter scoop slams Scorpio and nails him with a Moonsault. The other Headhunter slams Sandman and goes to the top and nails Sandman with a splash. The Headhunters can away at Scorpio and Sandman until the Gangstas run in and go to work on the Headhunters. Mustafa nails the Headhunter with repeated kneelifts while New Jack tries to bust one of the Headhunters open. Mustafa puts a Headhunter through the timekeeper's table. Sandman flies over the top rope with a crossbody onto New Jack. One of the Headhunters throws New Jack on the outside. New Jack and Scorpio brawl. Scorpio and New Jack brawl in the ring. Scorpio takes New Jack over the top with a monkey flip maneuver. Mustafa throws a Headhunter into the first row. Scorpio goes up to top and flies onto Mustafa into the crowd. New Jack flies off the apron and nails Scorpio with an elbow. Sandman nails New Jack with a clothesline. Mustafa and
Sandman brawl on the outside. Sandman goes after Damian Kane with a chair. New Jack gives a headbutt to Scorpio in the ring. Sandman throws Mustafa over the guardrail into the audience. The Headhunters take turns nailing New Jack with part of a table and a chair. Sandman clotheslines Mustafa in the ring and then goes up and over the top rope on a Headhunter. New Jack nails Sandman with a chair shot. New Jack nails Sandman with a boot to the face. Headhunter goes to the top. He misses the legdrop on Scorpio. New Jack nails Sandman with a clothesline. Scorpio goes up top. He nails the Scorpio splash to eliminate the Headhunters. The Headhunters work over Scorpio on their way out until Sandman comes in and canes them out of the ring. A Headhunter slams
Scorpio and goes to the second rope and nails the splash on Scorpio. A Headhunter works over Sandman in the aisle way with his own cane. The Gangstas are along in the ring with Scorpio. Mustafa nails Scorpio with a powerslam that helps him get a two count. New Jack nails Scorpio with the Singapore cane. New Jack picks Scorpio up for a vertical suplex and Mustafa nails Scorpio with a dropkick. New Jack nails Scorpio with an elbow. The Gangstas taunt Scorpio. New Jack nails Scorpio with a hotshot. New Jack does it again. Mustafa drops an elbow and gets a two count. New Jack goes to the top rope. New Jack flies off and nails Scorpio with a Splash for the win.

Overall: To me, this tape is worth getting for the historical value. As a former ECW regular, the crowds for Foley's sendoff was amazingly intense live and one of the magical moments that made ECW Arena different than any other wrestling venue on the planet. Wrestling wise, unfortunately there was only one solid match and that was Juventud vs. Rey Jr., which was listed tenth on DVDVR's ECW's Top Twenty Matches of the 1990s. Being a lucha libre fan, I can't fairly rate this match, but this is one of the matches that I watch when I want to see great lucha libre. Being there live was one of the most rewarding wrestling experiences that I have had in the twenty years that I have been a wrestling fan.

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OMEGA Reunion Show 2000 [@KandD@]

OMEGA displayed some of the best indy wrestling you could find in the US during its short history. This was the "reunion" or "restart" show if you will. I thought that after we've all seen the roadtrip reports from the DVD Playaz and Co., it would be interesting to offer my puroresu elitist opinion. The thing is, watching something live is totally different than just sitting home watching a hand held of it while drinking a cold one, or even worse in my situation, watching this at work while the phone rings every 5 minutes and there are people in and out of the gym constantly looking at the screen saying "that shit ain't real, right ? It's all fake. HAHAHAH. Phony". IT IS different, but here's what i thought:

We are in Southern Paaaaaaahns (that would be Pines) North Carolina, at the National Guard Armory. The entrance is a Big yellow Omega and we see two big fellas waiting outside (SECURITY). The people are ready and so am i.

The show opens with an announcement from OMEGA commish Thomas Simpson, then Cham Pain, the champ, comes out to cut a promo. He basically tells that he doesn't feel right holding the title without having defended it for so long, so he wants to hold a mini tournament to crown a #1 contender, who would later face him for the title. Steve Corino is out with the ECW strap and cuts a nice promo about him destroying OMEGA back when he and his friends came there a couple of years ago (NWA 2000 ? I'm not the expert ;) ). Cham Pain gives a shot to Corino for the belt, in what would become a title vs title match. Pretty Good start and nice promos.

Damian Drake vs. Tanner Martin
These two seem to be rookies, and they sure as hell looked good for their level of experience. Match started with the collar and elbow and down for the headlock. Nice bridges and transition; it's pretty obvious that these guys practiced the match a lot, and this might be one of the first matches they had. The execution is pretty good, it doesn't look "solid" or "convincing" but more like they tried this a thousand times and that's what it comes out, but the overall feeling is this is a very watchable rookie match. The good thing about this match is Damian popped Tanner STRAIGHT IN THE FACE, which is always good. Tanner avoids a powerbomb, gets to his feet and dropkicks Damian. A (probably) nice Rydeen Bomb is missed by the cameras, but they landed right so i guess it was well executed. They both trade stiff chops (Whooooo !). Damian gets the 3 at 6:10 with a really nice full nelson into stunner move. If this was their debut match, hats off to the trainer. It's always nice to see rookies learn the basics before the highspots. This match looked a bit "coordinated", but still you could see the guys were working pretty well. Nice surprise opener. *1/2

Dewey Cheatum vs. Black Skull
We continue the night with crappy gimmick #1. Dewey is from "somewhere else, anywhere else other than Southern Pines. NC". He's a fairly small little fella who's trying to be the heel. He comes out and cuts a promo ("Nice Gay Shirt" from the crowd) that wasn't as bad as i expected, but still cheap heat boulevard. Black Skull is what i hate about US indy wrestling: a lot of guys can do a shooting star press to the outside on their opponent laying on a table but can't work a basic match and don't know the fundamentals. Apparently, this is a return match for the injured Black Skull (shoulder ?), so we'll get Black Skull sans highspots. Oh boy. Match starts with decent armdrags and a Black Skull Quebrada for 2. Cheatum with the top rope bulldog for another 2 count. Dewey seems decent executing his moves (a nice Top Rope Ace Crusher, not before he called the spot: "ready?". ACK), but can't connect the moves together, just a good move here, a good move there. Black Skull's punches were awful, not Sid Vicious level but CLOSE. This match wasn't horrible in execution but was very dull, and Black Skull really sucked. What a surprise. Dewey has to work on his transition (duh) and maybe he'll become a decent wrestler, if he can overcome his lack of height with ring skills. Finish at 8:40 with Dewey doing a decent rendition of the flatliner on Black Skull. 1/2*

3 way dance: Mike Gunner vs. Scab vs. Lazz~
Mike Gunner comes out and says his opponent didn't show up, so he demands a new one, Scab comes out and they begin arguing. There's no ref too (whoo !), so Lexy Fife joins the fun (she's well known in OMEGA). She puts on the ref shirt out there in bra and pants ! (choker moment of the night i guess, if she was actually attractive, but some people mark out for Stephanie, so what the hell) to please the fans who came to the Armory to see The "PUPPIES" !!! Aww shit. She says she's a referee only for 3 way dances (that makes sense), so they need a third opponent. Britney Spears' "You Drive Me Crazy" (or whatever the hell the title is, don't expect me to find out) hits and out comes him, LAZZ~. This is a really great gimmick. Basically he's dressed like your usual teeny bopper 16 years old girl, with tight pants, one of those shirts tied behind the back, face paint and dueling pony tails. He shakes his rear end a lot and acts like a..well, girl. He's great. The crowd reacts, positively; a Britney Spears gimmick and the crowd loves it. I *heart* North Carolina. Lazarus is working the NWA indy circuit, and you can see him on Wildside and Worldwide i think, one of the reasons i'll get tv tapes (the other is Sam Greco kicking people in the face K-1 style) of those shows. He's a fairly decent worker, but takes great bumps. Mike Gunner has a good body but doesn't seem to be a good worker, he sure couldn't show it in this match though. Scab looks like your "part time" US indy worker with "i am cool" Scab t-shirt and headbangers skirt. Kids these days....
This is basically what in Japan would be a comedy match, only they didn't focus on Lazz's awesome gimmick that much and tried to work a basic straight match. The result wasn't horrible, but still nothing to write home about. Lazz with a nice somersault plancha onto the two opponents outside, some crappy 3 way exchanges back in the ring, then for the "ECW moment of the show", Scab pops Lexy straight in the face, then Lazz wins with the (Britney) Spear at 8:00. Lazz has major league potential, too bad GLAAD or whatever their name is would bitch or it would be stopped because we've all got to be politically correct and can never take a joke as basically, well, a joke. Lazz could be over as a mutha kind of everywhere, be it as a heel (majority of the country) or as a face (NC RULES !). Match was bad, but Lazz is a keeper. I can't wait for my NCW Wildside tapes. 1/4*

Tim Cheek vs. High Octane
Tim Cheek has sort of a Zombie gimmick, and he kinds of reminds me of Ron Perlman's mini me, High Octane is lame gimmick #3 of the night, with a random mask and normal jacket. Anyway, we start with sorta decent matwork, but then Cheek botches a leap frog (!) and we go back down to the mat for the headlock. They go outside the ring, but whomever taped this didn't want us to see (THANK YOU). "Somebody use a chair, please" from the crowd, and i agree, this was slooooow and baaaad. A backdrop suplex turned into a cross body block for the W at 5:40 for High Octane. Cheek goes back hearing a chorus of (well deserved) boos and probably is still crying from the embarrassment. I suggest next time, to have this gimmick: "I can do armdrags and leap frogs and i know the word transition !". That's a gimmick ! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ? -*

Rick Michaels vs. A.J. Styles
Both coming from the NWA Wildside/Wordwide territory. Rick Michaels is pretty "famous", as far as indies go. I've seen him in quite a bunch of matches and even touring the amazingly sleazy british TWC tournament. He seems to be a "Hugh Morrus" kind of worker, people who most of the times work hard but just don't have it, unless a miracle happens and they get carried by a good worker. He's not as bad as Morrus i think, tho. I was expecting a nice match, since AJ is one of the coolest workers over on Wildside and was just signed by WCW in an effort to decrease depression among the cruiserweights in WCW ("Yang, Kaz, no Steiner squashes anymore, we've brought Modest, Daniels, Air Paris and AJ for that. Now you go job to The Wall in 3 minutes"). He's a good worker, looks a bit like Jamie Knoble but sounds overall a bit better. Hopefully he'll get a chance (yeah, hopefully i'll win the lottery). The match starts really cool with good exchanges, shows that these two worked together quite a bit. Nice series of drop toe holds from AJ, then we come to the "loose ass ropes bump of the night": AJ lands scary on his neck doing a Psicosis bump to the turnbuckle and the match pretty much goes to hell from this point on. AJ misses the same spot twice and looks a bit out there, but it's pretty understandable after the bump he took. He kind of comes back with a nice Top Rope Guillottine Legdrop so after all he didn't hurt himself that much. Sport Entertainment overbooking starts as the ref gets distracted by manager Al Getz and Rick clocks AJ with the belt for the pin at 7:30. It's really unfortunate that AJ took that bump, or the match would have been just fine. 3/4*

INTERMISSION
Mother of 14 years old guy calls in saying her son was "tired and couldn't study well". IT's a gym, people get tired, she called twice already and said the same thing. I get mad and want to kill something or somebody, this MIGHT affect the rest of my review, thank you.

P.A is dead so i think some sort of OMEGA tribute got ruined. York, Matthews, Helms and Moore and other peeps brawl a bit before they get separated and we finally hit the show's Part 2: "We can wrestle, hopefully".

CW Anderson vs Lodi
It's Scott Hudson in a singlet ! YAY. CW rules, he's old school et all, like a real Anderson, Lodi seems a bit bigger than in his WCW days but i bet he still blows quite the conglomerate of human feces. Lodi gets a chair and a BIG POP from the crowd, as he performs the dreaded drop toe hold on the chair Raven made famous (did he ? I don't really know). CW is all good and stuff in this match as he's stiff enough and busts out the matwork. Full Nelson bomb by Lodi for 2, CW catches him in a spinebuster for the pin in a mere 5:34. Really short matches tonight. CW is a good worker, Lodi still sucks, that's all you need to know. *1/2

Christian York/Joey Matthews vs. Shannon Moore & "The Future", SHANE HELMS~~~
Shane Helms is just fucking great, if given the chance, i'm positive he could become the new Shawn Michaels (i'd do without the ego stroking whining primadonna that HBK is, but work-wise it would be cool, ain't it ?). He's better than the Hardyz, Shannon is a bit overrated and i don't like him that much, but still a solid worker. York & Matthews have good bodies and had some good matches in ECW, don't really know if they'll ever get really good matches in the big two, but they're at least at Edge level for now (annoyingly overrated-yet solid-us jr. style worker). I expected this match to be good, and it was, but not as good as i wanted it to be. ECDub chant at the beginning, and 2 Count starts with the nice Fireman's carry-swinging neckbreaker combo i'm liking more every day.Weird enough, the 3 count little dance they do gets CHEERS, from the ladies at least (i *heart* North Carolina, part 2). Rocker Dropper by Moore for 2, then a nice backslide/Top Rope Guillottine legdrop combo by 2 Count. York with the phat senton on Moore, but the camera work was a bit messy. Chokeslam into sitdown powerbomb followed by a nice sort-of-exploder/fisherman buster variation (the hell with it, it looked cool and hurty, m'kay ?). York goes for a neckbreaker but Helms turns it into his Nightmare on Helms street. Shane is in for most of the match so i'm digging it a lot. Hot tag and York/Moore are in, Double Powerbomb on Moore for 2. York is just about to get pinned, but the manager (still Al Getz ? I couldn't see that well) pulls him off in WWF fashion. JUST WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR (Fuck you Vince & Vince), SPORT ENTERTAINMENT. Getz comes in, we get a ref bump and the usual manager-lowblows-his-guys-by mistake shit. I'm kind of pissed off now because i had a nice match going and all of a sudden i get this S.E. crap. We get another Fireman's Carry-Swinging Neckbreaker combo but Getz calls in Scab and Gunner and we get a NO CONTEST at 12:14. Ok, this just about what i hate about US wrestling right now. You have a fine wrestling match, then for no reason, i repeat, NO REASON, you get this little bullshit angle going. I don't think anybody in the crowd enjoyed this ending, and it didn't mean anything. Bah. It was a good little match until the ending shit. 2 Count and York/Matthews hug after the match (Y & M turned on Getz), and we're done. FUCK SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT (actually i could fit in a "fuck you, too" to who booked this match). **1/4

ECW World Title vs. OMEGA Title: Steve Corino vs. Cham Pain
This match was hyped as hell, as the "best ECW title defense ever", so i bought the hype and got this tape just to check this match (Lesson #1: NEVER believe the hype). The match starts with high workrate, the crowd is hot, hot, hot ! This looks like a Mid Atlantic 80-ish match: a hot young babyface trying to impress the crowd, a cocky heel with his tactics, a very hot crowd who's there to see GOOD WRESTLING, and not some trailer park trash hoochie shake her ass in front of 12 years old zombies on National Television. This was a old school match, not so flashy, no useless highspots, just solid psychology, punches in the face (how can you not like it ?) and great intensity. US indies need these matches to be different, to be interesting. Most of the indies today just try to copy the WWF with lame gimmicks and sport entertainment filled matches or be "hardcore" like CZW and change actual wrestling with sick bumps done by people who can't do an armdrags or were removed from a backyard wrestling fed because momma had to use it to wash the pick up truck. The first part of the match was all about what i love in US Pro style wrestling. Corino teases a chair shot but instead sits on it and chokes Helms with a front chancery lock. Really creative and innovative. Cham Pain is selling better than most workers in the big two, and we get the Flair walk by Corino. Nice rollup by CP for 2. Corino puts CP in a sleeper, Cham Pain still selling really well, then they just start punching each other in the face and i love it. Heat is great, it's like i'm not watching a hand held of a show in Southern Pines, NC, instead this is 82 and i'm watching Mid Atlantic wrestling. This is wrestling, fuck the WWF, WCW, fuck The Rock, Kevin Nash and co., this is what i want to see. Cham Pain goes for a neckbreaker but Corino reverses it into a nice northern lights suplex for 2. They go outside and Corino sets up a table, i begin to think "i know where this is going", and i'm not that surprised actually. Corino sets up two tables, side by side, close enough to the ring post. Back in the ring, Corino gets Cham Pain up in a fireman's carry that bumps the ref (oh my). Cham Pain DDTs Corino but just at 2.99, CW pulls the ref out of the ring, then pops him in the face (ouch !) and goes in the ring. Corino holds Cham Pain but he ducks and CW hits Steve with a great superkick. This S.E. shit really pissed me off. I hate every form of sport entertainment during matches, i probably only tolerate the GAEA & Jd' little interferences because i know the backstory but i still don't like 'em that much. They build to a big finish, and the setting up the table in mid match meant something at least, unlike most of ECW, WWF and WCW matches were it's totally random or the hideous "D-Von, get the table" spots that now are the build of a Dudley Boys match (scary, uh, the psychology of the match is to get the opponent ready for the Wazzup thing and to get the table. Fans are THAT smart). They climb the Top rope, i expect a normal top rope superplex by Corino, but i see they aren't exactly going for that, i now recall the table. The table now means something, as Corino pushes Cham Pain, he does a flip in mid air and lands flat on his back on the table. Holy shit. Cham Pain is dragged to the ring and Corino gets the pinfall. The crowd was stunned. One thing i have to say is, the spot looked terribly contrived, with Corino barely pushing Cham Pain and him doing a totally NOT believable twist in mid air (that was to avoid landing on his head, i guess). It kind of looked like Foley bumping at No Way Out's HIAC, more Foley jumping by himself than Triple H sending him crashing. Really dangerous spot tho, big props to Cham Pain. The problem i have with hardcore matches and garbage brawls usually is these kind of spots don't mean anything, there's no build toward it, they just stab each other and plunge to death on some stack of tables to get a few "Holy shit" chants (it seems that nowadays, Holy shit is the only thing a green worker wants to hear). This was totally different, they built to the table spot, and i have to say this, it was the ONLY table spot/Garbage spot of the show. This is how you do it. Good old school match, they kind of ruined it for me with the Sport Entertainment crap and the contrived bump i didn't need to see, but it still was a good match.**3/4

Overall: One thing comes out of this show: Corino and Cham Pain are ready for the major leagues. Corino really has the old school work in him, working basic but paying attention to how the crowd reacts, focusing on psychology more than dangerous bumps. Cham Pain sells great, the execution is good, promos pretty good and punches you in the face which is a plus. They both deserve a job in the big two (and by job i mean contract, not being squashed by "the lashsest ashm in seh woshsl" Scott Steiner) . This show was interesting, some strange gimmicks, some crappy wrestling, some good little matches and the lovely NC feeling that you get attending/watching these shows. Plus there's Lazz, and you know you want to see it. This is something OMEGA fans will probably want to get, because it's a reunion and it has kind of historical value. For US indy fans, the main event is worth the tape. For puroresu elitist assholes like me, i think the main event is on Phil Schneider's comp 13 (i might be wrong tho) so get that and skip the crappy undercard, anyway try to get the main event because it's different and good. I can understand why the Roadtrip folkses had fun, because this looked like a fun show to attend, but watching it on tv is different. Most of the show is overbooked, but get this for the main event if you want. I'm out. LAZZZZZ~
*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°*°
ECW Fan Cam: 8/25/00 New York, NY [@Wes Hatch@]
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT

FIRST ROUND:

EZ Money/Julio Dinero w/ Chris Hammrick & Electra vs. Christian York/Joey Matthews
For those of you who haven't watched ECW within the past few months, or like myself, have watched it sporadically, EZ Money, who has worked seemingly every Southern Indy around as Skyfire, is now in ECW with a stripper gimmick.  And what stipper would be complete w/out his own personal whore.. ENTER: Electra.  Chris Hammrick's gimmick is that of a sleazy southern gentlemen.  Dinero aka Julio Sanchez/Fantastico has finally hit somewhat of a bigtime after working every WCW/WWF syndie show for the last four years.  Their opponents, York/Matthews, are of OMEGA fame, and have worked Maryland for the last few years.  They had WCW developmental deals, but WCW let them go, surely to keep Jerry Flynn or Ray Lloyd a little longer, and they have now found a home for the time being, in ECW.  Money/Dinero & crew come out to Jackyl's "Down on Me" which is certainly fitting.  York and Matthews look all of 13, and their hair is in dreadlocks.  "Look maw, we're rave kids.  HHHHHUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH."  Money/Dinero jump them before the bell, and go on offense.  York/Matthews regain momentum hitting the Future Shock (a double hiptoss into a double powerbomb).  To the outside goes Dinero.  York out with him now and charges. Dinero backdrops him, but York's momentum srpings him off the ring ropes, and he lands a spinning head scissors.  Matthews then connects on a flying body press from the top which draws the big "E-C-W" chant from the NY fans.  Matthews/Dinero in and Dinero whips Matthews into the ropes, and as he does so Joey goes straight through hitting a tope to the floor on EZ Money.  EZ/Dinero regain control as EZ hits the Money Clip (His flip clothesline thingy).  A nice spot follows as Dinero/Money land a double hip toss, grab the legs of Matthews, and fling him backward with a double wheelbarrow suplex.  After an STO by Dinero and missed moonsault, the hot tag to York, who knocks EZ money out of the ring.  York hits an atomic drop into a sit-down crotch buster type thing.  BOTCHED Spot as Matthews attempts a ranna but Dinero didnt go with him, and instead hits a very botched ddt which brings the infamous "You F'd Up" chant.  At the same time, York followed from the opposite buckle with an elbow.  Hammrick interfers with a sweet top rope legdrop (Confederate Currency)  on York, and Dinero/Money take it.  Pretty good match until the f'd up finish.  Winners: EZ Money/Julio Dinero

Danny Doring/Roadkill vs. Da Baldies
For two years now I've heard that Tony DeVito was a tremendous worker just waiting to breakout.  Well, I'm still waiting.  Da Baldies did not do much of anything ( Not that I'm complaining).  A double flap jack was the extent of their offense. Double clothesline from the top by Roadkill, a Bareback by Doring, and the Buggy Bang (God, I feel like Styles now) puts and end to an otherwise nothing two minute match.  Winners: Doring/Roadkill.

Simon Diamond/Swinger w/ CW Anderson vs. Nova/Chris Chetti
We've said just about everything there is to say, and then some about NOVA, so for the purpose of not developing carpel tunnel syndrome, I'll refrain from any negative comments towards the man's philosophy on creativity.   Chetti's knee injury really killed any momentum he had, and now he's sporting the Bob Holly dye job, while still needing to drop another 20-25 lbs.  Simon and Swinger are quickly becoming one of my favorite tag teams in ECW.  They are not flashy, but to me, are very solid, and work well togeather.  Nova and Chetti are in control of the match from the get go.  Nova with a pescado to the floor on Simon.  Back in now are Simon & Nova.  Nova attempts a tornado DDT, only to be countered into a nice Nothern Lights suplex for 2.  Tag into Swinger.  Simon picks up Nova for a sidewalk slam, at the same time, Swinger comes from behind to land an inverted DDT.  Swinger with an Olympic Slam on Nova.  Hot tag to Chetti, lands his double jump spring board leg lariat.  Few near falls by Simon/Swinger.  Nova with the Last Rites (Biting my tounge) on Simon for 2.  A nifty sequence at the end where Simon and Swinger are going to whip Nova/Chetti into one another.  Nova counters, as does Chetti.  Simon picks up Nova and Nova escapes an attempted Samoan drop, while on the other side of the ring, Chetti reverses the irish whip from Swinger, only to miss a kick attempt on Swinger, another on Simon, and inadvertantly hits Nova with a kick.  After the fact, Simon/Swinger connect with the Problem Solver and 1-2-3 Swinger/Simon win, and I mark out.  I liked this match, mainly for the fact that I thought NOVA/Chetti were going to win the whole tournament, and are out in the first round!  NOVA took most of the offense from the heels, so he didnt have a chance to suck that much.  Winners:  Simon Diamond/Swinger

Mikey Whipwreck/Yoshihiro Tajiri w/ The Sinister Minister vs. The F.B.I w/ Big Sal
Good lord, Tony Mamaluke looks like he just got finished filming Survivor. The man is skin and bones.  Someone buy him a steak, or two, or three!  Aside from that, you just know he is all hyped up to DIE in this match from Tajiri kicks.  Guido is awesome.  Maybe the most underated wrestler in ECW.  Mikey has returned to form over the past few months, and he and Tajiri make an awesome tag team.  Tajiri on the way down grabbed a sign saying "Tajiri is God."  Who am I to disagree?  But then again, ya know, those foreigners, they'll NEVER get over in the United States.  EAT ME VINCE RUSSO.  One more note of interest. I found this from an old Observer.  Dave talking about Tajiri coming to ECW:  "Tajiri is a very good technical worker, but really small (like 5-3) and doesn't have a lot of charisma or crowd interaction."  Who woulda thunk it?  Tajiri and Guido start out trading reversals in a cool sequence.  Guido locks a juji-gatame on, and tags Mamaluke.  Mamaluke with a Nothern Lights suplex for 2.  Tajiri takes his head off with a kick (Concussion # 1), which Mamaluke sells like DEATH.  I cringe everytime I watch this.  Tajiri then gives him yet another SICK kick (Concussion # 2) to the head for good measure.  Mamluke is flopping around the ring, looking like the fish at the end of that one Faith No More Video.  I am really betting he wishes he were back in WCW selling getting spaghetti dumped on his head at this point. Mikey in with a slingshot elbow.  Then, Tajiri and Mikey hit and awesome combo on the poor Tony Mamluke.    They both pick him up, and slam him right on the back of his head (Concussion # 3).  Then, they roll him over, whip him in, and throw him up so he lands, stomach first, right on their knees.  Then after that they both land double feet to both sides of his head (Concussion # 4).  Standing ovation from the crowd.  Tajiri abuses Mamaluke with yet another kick right to his head (Concussion # 5).  Finally, the FBI gains the advantage.  Nice spot of a russian leg sweep, powerbomb combo from the second rope.  Mamaluke with a tornado ddt with an extra twist at the end.  Guido and Mikey trade finisher counters, and Mikey hits the Whipper Snapper.   Tajiri back in, and JESUS CHRIST, another kick to Mamaluke's head (Concussion # 6).  Handsrping elbow, and the tarantula.  Finally, by the everloving grace of GOD, the match ends with Mikey hitting the Whippernsapper from the top on who else?  Mamaluke.  After that, Tajiri plants two more boots in his mug (Concussion # 7) for the pin.  This match is the mother freaking gbomb.  I like this better then their match where the FBI win the straps, because there wasn't any plunder.  Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.  Clean up on isle 5, we have the remains of Tony Mamaluke: EVERYWHERE.  Winners:  Mikey Whipwreck/Yoshihiro Tajiri

TNN OPENING:  Corino/Billy Corgan come out, Loue E comes out, Justin comes out and takes them out.. you get the idea.

Rhino/Justin Credible w/ Francine vs. The Sandman/Chilly Willy
The one match I really wasn't looking forward to seeing, thankfully lasted all of two minutes.  Willy, who has Joey Styles so elequently puts is "Everybody's homeboy" gets Piledriven right at the start, and is taken out.  Rhino gores the Sandman through a table, and piledrives him, and the heels win.  Winners: Rhino/Justin Credible

Rob Van Dam/Kid Kash w/ Bill Alfonso vs. Jerry Lynn/Tommy Dreamer
Paul is trying to give Kash the rub by putting him with RVD for the tournament.  10 mins of intros and finally the match begins.  Tons of counter sequences start it off.  First with Kash and Dreamer.  Tommy tried, but it just didn't really click.  Then, counter sequence #2 is with RVD/Lynn.  THEN, counter sequence # 3 is Kash and Lynn.  Finally, some symbolence of control is gained by Lynn and Dreamer.  Sidewalk slam by Lynn, combined with a second rope Elbow from Dreamer.  Kash fights back with a moonsault for 2.  RVD back in with a pair of leg lariats for Lynn and Dreamer.  RVD then with his new press slam, into a backflip splash spot on Lynn.  RVD picks up Kash like he's going to give him an atomic drop, but instead flips him backward onto Lynn, and follows that with another backflip splash.  Lynn attempts a Tornado DDT and in a nice sequence, RVD spins round attempts a Northern Lights suplex, Lynn counters, and goes for an inverted ddt, only to see RVD snap maire him over, Lynn ducks a kick and hits a German on RVD for another 2.  RVD perched on the top turnbuckle, suplexes Kash onto Lynn, and in succession, connects with a 180 split-legged moonsault.  Kash screws up an attempted summersault plancha to the floor, but RVD follows up with one of his own.  Kash again screws up his double jump rana.  Tommy-kazie on Kash for 2.  RVD with his leaping sidekick on Dreamer.  RVD and Lynn back in.  Van Daminator on Lynn.  5 star frog splash on Dreamer.  Sets up for the Van Terminator only to have it broken up by Justin Credible.  Dreamer piledrives RVD, and Lynn cradle piledrives RVD to get the deuce.  A pretty good match.  Much better than I expected, and for some reason I expected it to be really bad.  Winners: Jerry Lynn/Tommy Dreamer

ROUND 2

Mikey Whipwreck/Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. EZ Money/Julio Dinero
Oh boy, I have a feeling this is going to really rock.  Mikey and Julio start it out, and Mikey hits a spinning headscissors and a rana in succession.  Tag in to Tajiri and a tag into EZ Money.  Tajiri locks EZ in a submission I have never seen before so I do not know what to call it?  EZ retaliates with a wicked variation of a surfboard.    Tajiri takes Money's head off with a sidekick.  Electra hops on the apron, Tajiri acts like he's going to grab her breasts (LOL) only to be jumped by EZ.  Money and Dinero with a combo of a spinebuster/inverted DDT for 2.    Dinero with a swinging neckbreaker.  Tag back in to EZ Money.  Tajiri attempts the tarantula on EZ only to have EZ conuter it and drop Tajiri right on his neck.  Hot tags into Whipwreck and Dinero.  Whippersnapper on EZ.  Dinero tied to the tree of woe, and Tajiri with the baseball slide to the face.  Rolls Dinero off and Mikey hits a diving clothesline from the top.  Hammrick tries to interfere only to be Muta'd.  Hammrick on the apron outside the ropes, Mikey bumps him and Hammrick attempts suicide by front flipping to the concrete floor making a sickening THUD.  Mikey and Tajiri hit their leg lock, rolling slam, and connect on a double brainbuster on Dinero to get the win.   Really good match.  Mikey & Tajiri advance to the finals. Winners:  Mikey and Tajiri

Danny Doring/Roadkill vs. Simon Diamond/Swinger
I'm deathly afraid of this match because I'm assuming it will be longer than Doring and Roadkill's previous match.  Therefore, that means I'm going to have to call all their spots by their ridiculous names that Lord Alfred Styles has given them.  All four men brawl early on.  Doring with an elbow from the second rope.  Heels to the outside.  Doring vaults off Roadkill and hits a pescado to the floor.  Heat attack clothesline from DDD/Roadkill.  Heels regain the advantage.  Swinger with his cobra-clutch/Russian legsweep.  Double flatliner by Swinger/Simon.  Simon with 2 rolling suplexes and a gordbuster.  Doring regains the advantage with a double bareback (GOD, leave me evil spirt of Joey Styles!).  Hot tag to Roadkill, hits the sideslam (I refuse to call it the dirt-road slam.. err, wait.. ah crap)  Double clothesline from the top by kill.  Doring hits a top rope legdrop, Roadkill is going for a splash from the top, only to be pushed off by Swinger to the floor through a table.  CW comes in and Diamond/CW hit the problem solver.  Swinger covers for the 3 count.  Not a bad match, but nothing special.  Winners:  Swinger and Simon.

Jerry Lynn/Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible/Rhino
I'm not looking forward to this in the least.  Lets just hope it surprises me.  All for men brawl all over the building at the start, and through most of the match.  We follow these 4 all around the Hammerstein Ballroom while I mash the fast forward button.  Finally back in the ring.  Lynn hits a tornado ddt.  Francine decides to make her presence known, hopefully by having a square meal, but instead she is spanked by Jerry.  A piledriver attempt on Francine is broken up by Rhino, who procedes to piledrive Dreamer through the ringside table.  UGH!!!!!!!!!!  Spike Dudley in now.. WHY ME?  He gives the Acid Drop to Rhino, and to my delight Justin hits him with That's Incredible.  Justin and Jerry trade counters to their piledrivers, and finally Jerry hits the cradle piledriver for the win.  The match was too short (due to the fact that Dreamer is all banged up, and had to work the main event) to be considered bad, but at the sametime, not good.  Winners: Jerry Lynn/Tommy Dreamer

Bilvis Wesley vs. Balls Mahoney
YAWN.  Bilvis does his lame schtick. Balls comes out, chairs Bilvis, chairs the Prodigy, and nut cracker sweet's the girl.  Big pop for the abuse of the girl. I fast forward through it all.  I didn't care about Wild Bill, I didn't care about Beautiful Billy Wiles, and I sure as hell do not care about Bilvis Wesley.   Thank GOD for fast forward.

Joey opens up for HCTV, Cyrus comes down and says something, Joey runs him off.  Time killer.

FINALS, FINALLY!:
Jerry Lynn/Tommy Dreamer vs. Simon Diamond/Swinger vs. Mikey Whipwreck/Yoshihiro Tajiri
Lynn, Simon & Tajiri start off.  Tajiri attempts the handspring elbow, only to be caught by Lynn who goes for a german suplex, but Tajiri flips over.  Tajiri rana's Lynn.  Lynn with a spinning headscissors on Simon, all 3 stand off.    Dreamer, Swinger & Mikey enter.  They do the "cute" 3 person headlock spot which I guess is a gimme for 3 way dances.  All men start to brawl around the ring.  Swinger pairs off with Mikey, Tajiri with Dreamer & Simon with Lynn.   A big cluster f ensues for a while, and finally we have everyone back in the ring.  The faces tie the heels to the tree o woe, and do a double baseball slide to the face with chairs spot.  Tajiri locks the tarantula on Lynn, and on the opposite side of the ring, Dreamer locks the grand-daddy long leg on Mikey.  I didn't know what to call it?  It sure didn't look like a tarantula :-).  Anyways, Swinger and Simon regian composure and baseball slide Tajiri and Dreamer in the face as their apply their spider holds of doom.  Lynn and Mikey hit stereo tornado DDT's on the heels.  Mikey goes for a whippersnapper only for Dreamer to counter it into a DDT.  CW breaks up the 3 count and wacks Dreamer in the head with a chair.  Simon/Swinger hit the problem slover, and Dreamer/Lynn are eliminated.  Swinger hits the Swing thing on Mikey.  The locker room has emptied.   Swinger/Simon hit a botched double flatliner on Mikey.  Swinger purches Tajiri on his soulders.  Simon goes for the Doomsday device, but is Muta'd by Tajiri.  Whipwreck gives Simon the top rope Whippersnapper and gets the 1-2-3!  The locker room hoists Tajiri/Mikey on the shoulders as they are the new ECW tag team champs.. only to lose the belts the very next night.  Pretty good main event tops of a very entertaining card.

Overall: Like I said above, this was one of the best ECW shows in years.  I really had my doubts about this tournament on paper, but the good matches were good, some matches were surprisingly good, and the bad ones were atleast short.

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OCESA's Ruleta De La Muerte II - July 18, 1999 [@Alfredo Esparza@]

Torneo Cibernetico: Satanico, Zumbido, Valentin Mayo, Virus, & Rencor Latino
beat Starman, Astro Rey Jr., Oriental, Tigre Blanco, & Mr. Aguila.
- Oriental and Rencor Latino start things off with a couple of armdrags and takedowns.  They go out and Astro Rey Jr. is in with the smaller Virus.  Virus, yet another great luchador who sports a mullet, but I think that underneath most masked wrestlers there is a mullet! They also do some nice armdrags and takedowns and tag out to Starman and Zumbido (Rey De Mullet!).  More matwork by both.  They run the ropes with Zumbido catching Starman with a reverse head scissors followed by Starman quickly getting up and hitting the ropes and landing a sweet looking huracanrana.  They go one more time and this time Starman headscissors Zumbido to the outside and follows with a tope suicida! ENOOOOOORRRRMEEEEE TOPE!!! We get a replay, while Valentin Mayo and Tigre Blanco get in the ring.  Tigre Blanco monkey flips Mayo and follows with a headscissors.  Mayo lands outside and Tigre Blanco does a flip off the ropes and into a flying headscissors.  Mayo gets up dazed, but Satanico goes in against Mr. Aguila.  Satanico beats the crap out of Mr. Aguila for a few seconds. Mr. Aguila wishes he was on JAKKED! They go out and Rencor Latino and Oriental come in.  Quick chops by Rencor and he screams to the fans a few times. Fast-paced action.  Oriental hits him with a swinging armdrag, followed by a flying headscissors that sends Rencor to the outside.  This is lucha baby...Oriental goes to the top rope and jumps off the top rope and lands a huracanrana on Rencor Latino who crashes to the floor next to the "Corona Extra" portion of the crowd! ENOOORRRRRMMMMEEEE!. Astro Rey Jr. and Virus exchange some great spots and this match is about to get a little crazy.  First off, Astro Rey Jr. does a reverse monkey flip off Virus. Then he grabs Virus by the mullet and proceeds to mop the mat with his face and Virus slides all the way to the outside. Starman somersaults in to against Mayo. Mexican Armdrag by the masked Mexican. Mayo misses the corner and gets monkey flipped by Starman.  Virus in against Starman. Virus climbs the top rope and so does Starman.  Virus drops him and tries a high cross body block, but Starman reverses for a slam.  Quick count, but Virus escapes.  Powerbomb by Starman, but Virus reaches the ropes.  Virus gets thrown to the ropes, but he pulls out a reverse Huracanrana a la Rey Misterio Jr. and Dragon Kid and pins Starman. Starman, first man eliminated.
Zumbido and Mr. Aguila come in, but Zumbido slides to the outside.  Mayo comes in and briefly gains control on Aguila.  Mr. Aguila slams Mayo to the mat and climbs the top rope.  He lands a shooting star press on Mayo for the pin.  Sayonara Mayo! Tigre Blanco and Rencor Latino in.  Quick exchange and they counter tons of moves.  Rencor Latino gets the pin with the side piledriver (Emerald Erosion or Dreamer's move...who cares! Rencor Latino Invented this F'N move!!!!).  Satanico and Astro Rey Jr. in and Astro Rey Jr. hits a quebradora and tries to get an armdrag, except Satanico (the veteran rudo that he is) turns it and backslides him for the pin.  Adios Astro Rey Jr.! Zumbido and Oriental in...Aahhhhhh My Fingers!!!  Faster-paced match with Zumbido doing his Otani "clean my boots with your face" spot in the corner.  Oriental gets thrown to the outside.  Mr. Aguila and Rencor Latino in, but Rencor misses a corner spot and lands on the outside.  Somersault Plancha by Mr. Aguila!!! Both men are out.  They couldn't come back in.
Virus is now in with Oriental.  Oriental hits Virus with a dropkick. Picks him up in the corner. Lifts him to the top rope and decides he wants to attempt something, except Virus reverses it.  Oriental is held in what looks to be an attempted top rope piledriver, but he breaks free. Virus hits him with a dropkick and goes for a pin, but Oriental kicks out.  Virus follows with a Michinoku Driver, but Oriental kicks out.  Oriental catches Virus with a huracanrana and a quick pin, but Virus breaks free. A few more exchanges, but Oriental catches Virus with a Dragon Suplex for the pin. Satanico and Zumbido run in and attack Oriental to decide what team wins.  They do a combination STF and leglock submission hold.  This leaves Zumbido and Satanico to decide the winner, but both rudos decide that the team won.  6 million stars!

Apollo Dantes, Mascara Ano 2000, Cien Caras, & Scorpio Jr. beat Negro Casas,
Super Astro, Emilio Charles Jr., & Brazo de Plata.
- Cien Caras and Mascara Ano Dos Mil in this match could only mean one thing...I NEED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE!!!  First of all, I don't understand the rules of this match, but guess what, I'm not the only one as the announcing team of Arturo Rivera and Leobardo Magadan don't know either. Starts with brawling...HO HUM!  First fall goes to the rudos as they pin everyone.  I had no idea they had to pin everyone, but for some reason the announcers decide this is the match to come up with their stand up comedy routines.  Brawling...Brawling...Continued brawling...Tecnicos take over! More brawling as Charles throws Cien right at the fans. Super Porky decides its time for some comedy.   Quadruple bronco buster by Super Porky, but Negro Casas has to take away Porky's crowd pop.  Porky top rope plancha on the rudos!  Second fall goes to the tecnicos. Third fall begins with Scorpio Jr. and Negro Casas posing.  Super Astro brings the fun and does his tope to the outside on one of Los Dinamitas! Casas goes for La Casita, but Scorpio Jr. breaks free.  Funny spot were Dantes and Porky come in and pin their own partners and quickly switch.  Dantes slaps Porky in the face, but Super Porky tells him to stop because it hurts.  Dantes does the Hogan-esque slam on Super Porky and gets the win for his team.  Not as bad as you'd think. Better than what they do on Galavision. =)

Leobardo Magadan goes over to interview the victorious Apolo Dantes, but Pierroth Jr. comes over and breaks a bottle on his head.  Los Boricuas go after Dantes.  Pierroth Jr. cuts a promo, but Rivera just doesn't shut up.

Intermission with girls dancing and some guy painted different colors does some artistic crap on these ropes.  No idea why they decided to do this.

Ruleta De La Muerte Tournament - Starts off as a battle royal to decide teams and match-ups. Members of last team battle out in a mask vs. mask match.

Battle Royal Highlights - It's pretty different to any battle royal I've seen from the U.S. or Japan.   It's more of a mix of a battle royal and torneo cibernetico.  The great thing about it is that you get tons of cool high flying spots, wacky submission holds, and El Hijo Del Santo wins this portion of the Ruleta with a camel clutch.

First Round:

Villano III & El Hijo del Santo beat Shocker & Rey Bucanero.
- Shocker and Rey Bucanero quickly attack El Hijo Del Santo and Villano III. Shocker quickly rips at Santo's mask.  Shocker ties up El Hijo Del Santo onto the top rope in a tree of woe and ram Villano III at him once, but the second time V-III reverses the momentum and throws Bucanero at him. Santo hits with a dropkick.  Villano III dominates both rudos by tossing them around.  Crowd boos Shocker and Rey Bucanero. El Hijo Del Santo confuses Shocker and Rey Bucanero and tosses both to the outside.  He then follows them with a tope, but Shocker sees him coming and moves. However, Rey Bucanero gets hit by Santo. Villano III quickly grabs Shocker and throws him off the top rope.  He applies the "Swastika" (Abdominal stretch along with grabbing your opponent's foot for more leverage).  Both Villano III and El Hijo Del Santo shake hands as they leave.

Mr. Niebla & Tinieblas, Jr. beat La Parka & Fishman.
- Close-up shot of one of the ring girls rear-ends...Arturo Rivera comment, "Mmm..."  Fishman and Tinieblas Jr. start off. They do a good job while in there. La Parka and Mr. Niebla come in and provide the comedy, but bring in the flashy lucha action we love so much...La Parka does his bump off Mr. Niebla.  Niebla monkey flips off La Parka and does an armdrag off the ropes.   Tinieblas Jr. comes in and hits a plancha on Fishman. Niebla and La Parka go back to the ring, but Mr. Niebla attempts to climb the top rope. He gets caught by La Parka, however Tineiblas Jr. makes the save.  Fishman and La Parka toss Tinieblas Jr. to the outside. They forget about Mr. Niebla, who catches both with a dropkick. Fishman and La Parka double team both Mr. Niebla and Tinieblas Jr. They post Tinieblas Jr. on the outside and that leaves Mr. Niebla against them for a moment.  Niebla gets near pinfalls on La Parka, but Fishman saves.  La Parka gets pinned after getting hit by a top rope headbutt by Mr. Niebla.  Fishman was earlier tossed out by Tinieblas Jr. and never made it back to the ring.

Fuerza Guerrera & Tinieblas, Sr. beat Atlantis & Violencia.
- Atlantis & Fuerza start the match with some good mat work combined with some counter wrestling.  Good start. Fuerza kisses Alushe and pats him on the head, showing that he's NICE!   Tinieblas Sr. sends Violencia crashing to the floor and Alushe follows with a plancha off the ring onto Violencia.  Alushe es RUDO!  Atlantis catches Fuerza in a quebradora and follows with an
attempted Atlantida that is broken up by evil Alushe! Atlantis looks at him in shock, but Fuerza surprises him and gets him in "la de a caballo" (Camel Clutch).  Tinieblas Sr. catches Violencia in a funky lucha submission hold and Alushe climbs the ropes and does his Banzai Bomb on Violencia for the win.  Quick match.

Mascara Sagrada & Ultimo Guerrero beat Olimpico & Blue Panther.
- Olimpico and Blue Panther shake hands.  Blue Panther starts off with Ultimo Guerrero in a battle of kick ass rudos.  Phenomenal matwork with these two with great wrestling. Blue Panther gets thrown to the outside.  Mascara Sagrada gets involved and does a tope to the outside onto Blue Panther. Olimpico and Ultimo Guerrero go at it and go to the outside as well.  Blue Panther returns to the ring, but Sagrada follows with a top rope dropkick.  Sagrada gets thrown to the outside...Blue Panther does a top rope plancha!  Olimpico and Ultimo Guerrero exchange some chops.  Great pin attempt by Olimpico, who catches Ultimo in mid-air and turns, what looks to be an attempt at a DDT into a small package.  Ultimo Guerrero does his inverted top rope Superplex and pins Olimpico...Blue Panther comes in and goes for EL NUDO~!!! However, Ultimo breaks out as soon as possible.  Sagrada comes in and catches Blue Panther in a German suplex and Ultimo Guerrero hooks Blue Panther's legs for the win.

Quarterfinals:

La Parka & Fishman beat Shocker & Rey Bucanero.
- Shocker & Rey Bucanero start off quickly by attacking La Parka and Fishman.  Shocker & Rey Bucanero apply "La Estrella" on Fishman and La Parka and continue to dominate until all four hit each other and fall to the mat.  La Parka and Shocker brawl outside.
Fishman is double-teamed by the rare rudo team in this tournament. Fishman goes out and Shocker begins to mock La Parka.
Fishman and Rey Bucanero knock each other down, so La Parka and Shocker both come in and pin their opponents leaving only each other to decide the match.   Shocker powerbombs La Parka a few times, but gets a little cocky on the last powerbomb attempt and La Parka turns it into a huracanrana for the win.

Atlantis & Violencia beat Olimpico & Blue Panther.
- Olimpico surprises Violencia with a dropkick that sends him crashing to the floor.  Blue Panther follows that with a tope suicida onto Violencia.  He then throws Violencia over the guardrail and runs back in to help Olimpico rip away at the mask of Atlantis.  Blue Panther then runs back outside and throws Violencia on top of a guardrail and into the fans.  He grabs a chair and throws it on top of Violencia.  Atlantis regains the advantage on Olimpico, but Blue Panther returns and takes care of Atlantis.  Olimpico holds onto Atlantis, so that Blue Panther could hit him with a forearm smash, but Atlantis moves.  Atlantis takes Blue Panther to the outside and they brawl all over.  Atlantis throws Blue Panther on a table and proceeds to choke him out with his boot.  Violencia and Olimpico go at it in the crowd. Everyone returns to the ring and Atlantis tries to pin Blue Panther.  Blue Panther tries to pin Atlantis, but Violencia sunset flips over Blue Panther for a pin attempt.  Tons of nearfalls in this match. Violencia climbs the top rope, but Blue Panther moves out of the way.  Splash!  Violencia gets back up near the ropes and Blue Panther runs at him and clotheslines him over the top rope, except the momentum carries him over as well.  Olimpico and Atlantis follow with topes onto both to the outside.  Atlantis and Olimpico return and Atlantis catches Olimpico in the "Atlantida" for the win.  Atlantis quickly goes back outside and rolls his partner, Violencia, back into the ring.  Blue Panther doesn't return, so Atlantis and Violencia get the win.  Real Good Match!!!

Semi-Finals:

Olimpico & Blue Panther beat Shocker & Rey Bucanero.
- Shocker and Rey Bucanero run-in and attack Blue Panther and Olimpico.  Shocker whacks Blue Panther with two chairs and they brawl all over the outside.  Olimpico bleeds the gusher in this and his white mask is all red.  Shocker and Rey Bucanero begin to rip away at Blue Panther's mask, but they tie him up with the laces of his mask. This allows them to take a small advantage over Olimpico.  Referee tells Shocker to untie the laces, which he does, but he continues to rip away at the mask.  Rey Bucanero gets thrown into the crowd. He knocks out a couple of people in the first 3 rows.  Crazy! Olimpico and Blue Panther gain control of the match.  Wild brawl throughout!   Shocker and Blue Panther go at it in the crowd.  Olimpico and Rey Bucanero continue in the ring.  Blue Panther and Olimpico combine for a Doomsday Plancha on Rey Bucanero, but Shocker makes the save. Bucanero pins Olimpico with a combination Death Valley Driver and Michinoku Driver.  Blue Panther is quickly double-teamed by Shocker and Rey Bucanero, however they screw up and Rey Bucanero gets hit by Shocker and he's sent crashing to the outside. Shocker wants to piledrive Blue Panther, but the referee won't allow him.  While Shocker is distracted, Blue Panther quickly goes for his armbar submission hold and eliminates Shocker from the match. Rey Bucanero goes for a pin on Blue Panther as we miss whatever happened before that due to the replay.  They go back and forth with near falls.  Rey Bucanero fouls Blue Panther as the referee was distracted by Shocker.  As Rey Bucanero powerbombs Blue Panther and goes for the pin, the referee is distracted by Olimpico.  Shocker is upset, so he gets back on the ring apron and argues with the referee.  Olimpico takes this opportunity to DDT Rey Bucanero and roll Blue Panther on top of Rey Bucanero.  The referee turns around and counts the pin.   Solid match!

Grand Finale:

Shocker beat Rey Bucanero via submission in a "mask vs. mask" match.
- Shocker and Rey Bucanero face off with Shocker shoving Bucanero's face.  Bucanero attacks and quickly tosses Shocker to the outside.  He follows it up with a corkscrew plancha to the outside right on Shocker!  Rey Bucanero continues to attack Shocker tossing him back into the ring and goes for a pinfall.  Crowd heat drops slightly for a few minutes since both guys are rudos (heels).   Rey Bucanero applies a double underhook Michinoku Driver-type of a move (Tarzan Boy's Finisher), but Shocker doesn't give up.
Shocker gets thrown to one corner and quickly recovers with the big boot to the face of Bucanero.  He follows up with a bulldog.  However, Shocker poses   on the second rope and Rey Bucanero grabs him and delivers a powerbomb.  Shocker breaks free, but Rey Bucanero follows with a Steiner Driver...UH HUH!  Just kidding, DVD. Bucanero climbs the ropes, but Shocker quickly recovers and shoves him to the outside.  He then hits a tope onto Rey Bucanero on the outside.  They both return, but this time Shocker goes with a suplex turned brainbuster.  Quick pin attempt, but Rey B. kicks out.  They both go to the outside with Shocker tossing Rey Bucanero into the crowd.  He throws a chair right at Rey Bucanero...O-C-E-S-A!!! O-C-E-S-A!!! They both return and Shocker goes for a moonsault and another pin attempt, but Rey Bucanero kicks out.  Shocker waste some time, so Rey Bucanero gets to rest. Shocker flapjacks Bucanero onto the mat and applies the STF on Bucanero.  Bucanero struggles to reach the ropes.  Bucanero breaks free and they both hit each other with clotheslines, knocking each other down. Each man exchanges near pinfalls.  Shocker tries for another flapjack, except Bucanero reaches the ropes and applies a tarantula on Shocker.  Bucanero thinks Shocker gave up, but the ref tells him Shocker didn't.  Shocker takes the opportunity to attack and gets Rey Bucanero in a Death Valley Driver.  Shocker celebrates, but referee tells him he didn't win.  Rey Bucanero recovers and attempts a clothesline, except Shocker grabs Rey's arm and puts him in a Tarantula for the submission victory.

Shocker cuts a great promo talking about how great he is and how he's better looking than everyone.  The evolution of Shocker was just beginning.

Rey Bucanero unmasks and his name is...He cuts a promo and funniest thing on this is Shocker going over as Rey Bucanero talks and tells him to stop crying. His name is Arturo Ortiz, but you should know that if you saw WWF SuperAstros.=)

OVERALL: AWESOME SHOW! Opening match was fast paced and what you'd expect from a torneo cibernetico.  The tournament was solid.  Blue Panther rules in this as he takes it to the air, which is very rare for him.  You can't go wrong with this show since it has tons of Shocker, Rey Bucanero, Blue Panther and Olimpico.  The only match that I would consider below average was the match involving Los Dinamitas, Casas, etc., but that match actually picked up after the first fall and was pretty good.

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Hyper Visual Fighting ARSION SKY Tournament 2000 [@KandD@]

It's time for the SKY Tournament ! Last year's tourney was won by Chapparita ASARI, upsetting Mari Apache, who beat Ayako Hamada in the semifinal. The final wasn't anything special but finally showed some improvement for Mari, who wasn't any good in '98 and just picked up her work in the second half of 99. The whole show (or, should i say commercial tape) was nothing you should drool over (wrestling-wise at least ;). This year the tourney had some interesting matches and the really really good Sumie Sakai from the lovely Jd' promotion (Jd' reviews in later STVRs !! YEAAAH !). Sky is generally a more "lucha" oriented tournament, or at least it involves more high flying. That was the initial idea, but now that Arsion switched from shootstyle/submission hybrid to a normal workrate promotion it doesn't make that much difference.

7/16 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Aja Kong/Mariko Yoshida vs. Las Cachorras Orientales: Mima Shimoda/Etsuko Mita
This looked like the usual fun LCO style brawl, all wild and crazy with good crowd heat and tons of spots. Mima took a walk with Yoshida on Korauken Hall's cheap seats and threw her crashing on the door after a long run. Back in the ring, Mita follows with a Death Valley Bomb on Yoshida for 2. LCO try a double move, involving Mita's fireman's carry on Yoshida and Mima going up top, but Mariko escapes at the last second and Mima falls face first on the mat. Yoshida with the Air Raid Crush on Mita for 2, then a great punch STRAIGHT IN THE FACE on Mita again for 2, then Big Aja comes in with two brainbusters on poor Etsuko who's now pretty much dead and kills her with 4 urakens. Suddenly the bell rings, it's a 20 minutes draw. Aja is all pissed and keeps pounding on Mita and even urakens Shimoda. This looked wild and was probably very good. 3:35 shown

We follow with the usual interviews, with Aja and Mariko. LCO come down the stairs and Mima starts slapping Aja, probably upset for what happened at the end of the match. Aja obliges and slaps Mima and they keep having fun like that. The cool thing is they do all this with a smile on their face. You gotta love it. Aja leaves and screams something at Shimoda that pisses her off so they go at it again, as we fade to black....

SKY II Tournament Preliminary Round: Ai Fujita vs. Linda Starr
Ai is cuuuuuute ;). We start with a nice lucha sequence of armdrags and such, and Ai escapes one doing a cartwheel, followed by a nice flying headscissors. We go outside the ring and Ai does a Quebradora on Linda, on the floor. Fujita with a great tope that sends Linda crashing on the third row or something (.8 Black Warrior ;). Linda misses a senton and Ai posts her with consecutive release german suplexes (first one right on her head) and a picture perfect Firebird Splash for the win at 5:01. This wasn't probably that good because they only showed highspots and not even one transition from a move to another (maybe there weren't any ;). 1:41 shown

SKY II Tournament Round 1: Mari Apache vs. Chapparita ASARI
We start with lightning fast armdrags from both luchadorettes, with the added fun of ASARI's "screaming" (consisting pretty much of something like this: "Baka..yara...Bakayara, Bakayara, Kono Yara, Bakayara, Baaaka..yaaaaara. All nice things to say). ASARI follows with her Handspring Kangaroo kick. Several nearfalls follow with a nice sorta-like-STF hold by Mari and a nice spinkick, all for 2. Mari continues to bust out the cool submissions, with La Tapatia, then tries to apply the Gori Especial (!!!) but ASARI climbs back up and rolls into a pinfall attempt for 2 (Bakayara...). ASARI is out, and Mari does an awesome, AWESOME somersault plancha (eat yer heart out Rob Van Sucks). Mari with the senton atomico, then tries to powerbomb ASARI, but "you can't powerbomb ASARI" and Mari meets mat. Chapparita with the top rope hurracanrana that sends Mari out of the ring, then another nice rana from the apron.
The Skytwister Press misses (duh), followed by a sitdown powerbomb by Mari who then tries to go for a michinoku driver but ASARI falling down reverses it into a rollup, awesome looking. Mari decapitates ASARI with a vicious clothesline for 2, then follows with an Acid Drop (Trent, not Spike Dudley) for the win at 9:36. Very good spotfest. 6:39 shown **1/2

SKY II Tournament Round 1: AKINO vs. Fabi Apache
We continue with the hyper talented AKINO and the other Apache sister (not as good as Mari, but improved a lot and at a good enough level now) in this Round 1 match. We start with a top rope hurracanrana by AKINO for 2, followed by an awesome springboard plancha to the outside. Fabi with a decent rollover DDT (.90 Rocky Maivia), then AKINO decides to cut the crap and puts her in the Boston Crab. Fabi escapes and scores a nearfall with the turnbuckle rollup. For some reason AKINO botches a slingshot dropkick, and Fabi is fast to hit a facebuster then a top rope armdrag that sends AKINO outside the ring. Apache with a nice twisting plancha, then back in the ring goes for a double underhook suplex turned into a rollup by AKINO for 2, another great rollup off a suplex from AKINO for the win at 5:21. Nice little spotfest, again. 3:25 shown

SKY II Tournament Round 1: Kamen Tenshin Rosetta vs. Ai Fujita
Good thing about this match is they start punching (or should i say "elbowing") each other in the face. Ai busts out the lightning fast La Majistral for 2. Rosetta wins with a crappy variation of the STF in 4:24. Ai looked good, Rosetta didn't really do anything special here. I want to know why they jobbed Ai to her, as well. Can't really rate, since it was shorter than 5 minutes. Wasn't anything you'll want to see again after the first time.

SKY II Tournament Round 1: Ayako Hamada vs. Sumie Sakai (Jd')
It's Sumie Sakai ! Part of the current coolest stable in wrestling  (ID4, the 4 horsewomen) and one of the Fab 4 of the most underrated promotion on earth, Jd'. You know this match will rule because Ayako starts playing with the hair 1 second in. Eh. We start somewhat like the old Arsion style, submission based. Ayako goes for an akiresuken, then they get up and trade stiff chops. Sumie goes for the pin, Ayako kicks out and Sakai grabs the leg and applies the udehishigigyakujujigatame. Ayako misses a quebrada but hits Sumie with a nice spinkick on the face for 2. Sumie backdrop drivers Ayako twice, the second time bridging it for 2, then they struggle for a german suplex then Ayako falls down kicking Sakai, à la Kawada. Asai moonsault by Ayako then back in the ring a quebrada for 2. Sakai reverses a powerbomb into a rollup for 2, but eventually falls prey to La Ayakita at 8:03. They didn't do anything difficult but the execution was good. 6:40 shown **1/2

SKY II Tournament Semi-Final: AKINO vs. Mari Apache
This looked really fun on paper: Mari is one of the most improved workers in puroresu (be it men's or joshi), AKINO is just awesome.
It did rock, even in the Nitro-ized tourney format we got. Mari busts out the really cool rolling Tapatia (i'm sure there's a strange name for it ending in "ina"). Mari goes for a quebradora but AKINO, in an awesome spot turns it into a rollup, Mari kicks out at 2 and AKINO grabs the arm and puts on the udehishigigyakujujigatame. This sequence just rocked. Wait, it's not over, AKINO sells the boston crab like a champ, then we start the highspot crazy section of the match, twisting Asai moonsault from Mari, AKINO with the springboard plancha, then an awesome spot. AKINO runs to the turnbuckle, leap frogs Mari, lands with her feet on the top turnbuckle, comes back and goes for a hurracanrana on Mari but she grabs her and turns it into a powerbomb. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Mari tries her version of the Acid Drop but AKINO counters with the roll up for 2. AKINO wins with a great slingshot dragonrana at 8:06. This was pretty fucking great. They could have shown it all, or hell, let this go 20 f'n minutes, why not ;). AKINO is fucking great, Mari is a good little worker (tho "little" might not fit Mari properly ;). 5:35 shown

Ayako Hamada vs. Kamen Tenshin Rosetta (Wrestle Yume Factory)
This was like an extended squash. Rosetta had a nice submission sequence at the start were she kept focusing on the legs and turning Ayako's submission holds. Other than that, it was all Ayako. Hamada wins with the Ayakonoclasm followed by La Ayakita at 6:03. Kind of good, but pretty much a squash. 4:43 shown *1/2

Re:DRAGs vs VIP: Rie Tamada/Lynk/GAMI vs. Michiko Ohmukai/Yumi Fukawa/Bionic J
Oh my god ! It's...Bionic J..with a nice dress. Ewwwww (stop drooling, Ryan). Anyway, this is the WAR between the good looking gals of VIP and the funny bastards of Re:Drags or however they pronounce it today. The funniest thing coming out of this match is Rie locking Fukawa in the abdominal stretch, then the rest of Re:Drag form something like a chain with their hands, helping Rie with the stretch, the thing is, the line continues with the crowd, and it's a long one ! (Promoters take note, under the "crowd interaction" section). GAMI goes for a pump handle slam but Yummy Yumi turns it into a udehishigigyakujujigatame. A top rope facebuster kills Omukai for the win at 4:42. This...didn't look that good. GAMI is great, Fukawa (sic :( ) is awesome and Ohmukai is good, but Lynx isn't good anymore and Rie kind of sucks. Match looked just there. Won't rate this.

PIKO comes in and apparently joins Re:Drags. Now, PIKO is JWP's Commando Boilshoi. The Damn Clown. You'd think if you leave your soon-to-be-closing federation (or freelancing anyway), you either bring the gimmick that made you "famous" with you or restart with a normal gimmick with no mask, uh ? No sir, once a clown, always a clown. The thing that gets me is she's a good worker, and now she'll probably be stuck in a comedy role. Baaaaaaaaaaah (Can't wait for the other one, PIKA *rolls eyes*)

SKY II Tournament FINAL: Ayako Hamada vs. AKINO
Oh this will rock. Former team partners collide. Ayako/AKINO was one of the best tag teams in joshi, but somebody (hmmmmm) decided to break 'em up in case they'd get too over and draw some money. This starts like the good old Arsion (well, "old", early...)
with submissions. I miss the early Arsion, because it was different. Think like hot gals in tiny pants wrestling a style like BattlArts. Nothing better than that. Then Arsion became just another workrate joshi promotion with a few lucha nuances and the few remaining flagbearers of the Arsion style (Yoshida, Fukawa and maybe AKINO, well, Ohmukai for the kicks). Hey at least they've still got the hot gals in tiny pants. Ayako tries first the Indian Death Lock and then the sasorigatame, but both times AKINO blocks the leg so she can't turn and apply the move. Crowd laughs. Ayako pushes it and finally locks AKINO in the Sasorigatame, which she sells like a champ as usual. Ayako turns that into a bow and arrow lock. We continue with the submissions with AKINO's akiresuken and boston crab, then Ayako brings the stiffness with a backdrop drivaah on AKINO's poor neck.AKINO with a nice tope con hilo and then back in the ring a slingshot suplex for 2. Ayako with the Asai Moonsault then the Ayakonoclasm for 2. AKINO turns Ayako's spiral bomb into a rollup for 2. AKINO repeats the leap frog-hurracanrana sequence she did with Mari, only this time it's successful, then Ayako takes the expected win with a shotei and the Ayakonoclasm at 10:55. Nice match, didn't seem like a "big final", but these two work well together. Ayako lacks something, it's hard to figure out, but you take Meiko Satomura, The Bloody, Momoe Nakanishi, Chikayo Nagashima and Yuko Kosugi (all relatively young and ready-for-a-push girls) and put them with Ayako, she ends up at the last place as far as "total package" goes. She lacks some intangibles needed to get over. She lacks a bit of intensity and i have sort of a "showing down my throat" feeling. It's not like she's bad, because she's a pretty good worker, the athleticism is there, but she's not what she's made to be. She will be over i think, but there's something that bugs me about her. 7:57 shown **1/2

Ayako wins the Sky tournament. AKINO is announced as MVP, the best move is her slingshot dragonrana against Mari Apache. Ayako thanks all her opponents for wrestling her, announces she will team with Sumie Sakai in the TWINSTAR OF ARSION tourney and wrestle a match in Jd' and almost breaks down crying, then challenges Aja Kong. Nice scene

As you could read, all these matches except the final were pretty short and all lucha spotfest with some added extras. The selling wasn't top notch but when you have to do everything in 7 minutes and the bulk of the moves are topes and rollups selling a bit less is accepted, at least by me. They wouldn't look good if those were 20 minutes matches, but i can deal with Ayako getting up after a backdrop suplex when the clock signs 2:10. It's believable after all ;). Mari and AKINO looked the best.

The commercial tape continues with the STARTIST tour, the important transitional match with Aja v Ayako for the Queen of Arsion title and the Survival match between VIP and Re:Drags. All the preliminar matches are heavily clipped so i'm just gonna list the most important spots.

8/8 Akita Honjo Shimin  Taiikukan

Mari Apache vs. Ayako Hamada
Ayako with The Ayakonoclasm 0:49 shown

8/18 Tokyo Korauken Hall STARTIST
THE FIRST STARTIST: Linda Starr vs. Reina Takase
Reina is one of the new Arsion rookies. This year's crop seems to be good, with Reina as the new Fukawa going all submission and stuff, Yamagata who i haven't seen yet personally and the tall and cute Miyuki Ryo who aligned recently with Aja Kong in the new Arsion worked shoot angle. Linda goes for a brainbuster, Reina turns it into a rollup. Reina with the armdrag into udehishigigyakujujigatame, then Linda follows with the giant swing and a senton for the win at 8:10. Long enough to show Reina's improvement as a rookie. 1:45 shown

THE SECOND STARTIST: Mari & Fabi Apache vs. AKINO/Ai Fujita
Nice "double team" themed match. Starts with double dropkick (Rock & Roll Express live !), double slingshot armdrag by Mari then the Apaches go for a powerbomb but both their opponents turn them into ranas for 2. The Apaches show they watch that shit on J Sky called WWF Raw as they bust out the Stunner and a good rendition of the 3 D (Dudleys Deliver DUDs ?). Mari with a top rope armdrag on Ai plus a sitdown powerbomb for 2. Ai misses her Firebird Splash but lands on her feet and German Suplexes Mari for 2.
Double Neck Crusher on Ai and the following splash by Mari for 3 at 12:56. What was shown was pretty cool. 2:50 shown

THE THIRD STARTIST: Mariko Yoshida vs. Chapparita ASARI
The match starts lucha oriented and filled with ASARI's lovely catchphrases: "Baaaka yara, Koooono Yara, Bakayara !". ASARI with the nice slingshot dropkick and flying headscissors, then all of a sudden Yoshida takes down ASARI and applies a headscissors choke, ASARI taps out at 10:05. Whatever. Must have sucked or Tobita came out of the crowd nude so they had to edit it to 2 minutes. 1:45 shown

Re:DRAGs vs. VIP: Mita/Shimoda/Ohmukai/Bionic J vs. GAMI/Lynx/Rie Tamada/PIKO (Survival Match)
This is a survival match, meaning that they start with one member of each team, and depending who wins the fall the match continues with the following opponent until one faction is..well, defeated.
GAMI vs. Etsuko Mita: GAMI locks Mita in the Camel Clutch and PIKO comes in, runs the ropes and instead of kicking Mita in the face like TAKA or Kaz, she does little "funny" stomps on her. Go back and read what i said about PIKO/Commando Boilshoi, come back here and tell me i didn't warn ya. Baaaaaaaaaaaah. Mita goes for the Death Valley Bomb but GAMI falls down and turns it into a pinfall attempt. Mita turns a DDT into rollup for 3 at 2:45
Etsuko Mita vs Lynx: poor Candy. She was so good. Back injuries do that (oh well, she's still cuuuute as hell ;) This was weird, Lynx goes for a rollup, Mita kicks out, then goes over her or something and pins her at 5:51. WTF ? Weird
Etsuko Mita vs. RIE Tamada: Rie avoids the Death Valley Bomb and german suplexes Mita for 2, then gets the pinfall at 2:38 with a top rope superplex
RIE Tamada vs. Bionic J: Same line for the abdominal stretch we've seen before. Gets old after a while. RIE turns Bionic's nodowa otoshi into a crucifix for 2. Bionic gets the win with the Snow Bomb at 4:46
Bionic J vs. PIKO: Whooo ! What i was waiting for ! Actually PIKO looks good in this and wins with the akiresuken at 2:11
PIKO vs. Michiko Ohmukai: Ohmukai with two uranages and the B3 Bomb at 6:45. VIP wins the match.
Sorry sir, this ain't JWP v AJW, hell, even 2000 AJW v JWP. There's really nothing to see here. 8:21 shown

They show highlights leading to the Aja v Ayako matches. The two Aja v Ayako matches preceding this, and what is still today the best match in Arsion (televised) history, the awesome Ayako/AKINO v LCO at Carnival Arsion 99. Ayako's .99 Muta level made it even more dramatic, anyway, let's go to the reason you want this tape.

8/18 Tokyo Korauken Hall STARTIST
THE FINAL STARTIST: Aja Kong vs. Ayako Hamada
This match is fascinating for a lot of reasons. You won't fully appreciate this if you don't know the backstory or are even a bit in the knowledge about joshi puroresu. People are bitching at Aja or whomever books Arsion for their booking. They say they don't put any challenger over enough to challenge Aja for the title so that's why Arsion doesn't draw. That could be true, but could be the other way around. Hell, Jd' had good booking for years, they never really drew that much anyway. Good booking doesn't always mean a financial return. Some people don't understand how different the fans are in Japan, too. Seniority is another thing there. The backstory of this match is basically Aja being the monster we all know, the "unstoppable monster", at least for Arsion, who won't put over anybody (yet she's done more jobs in 2000 than i can ever recall), instead Ayako is Arsion's "last chance" of success. They showed good clips from the past matches, making this look like a poor man's Kawada-Misawa feud, where one day finally Ayako will be successful and claim the victory from Aja. This is like a David v Goliath battle (obviously David wins there and Ayako here doesn't, but the kind of story they're trying to tell is that, after all crowd doesn't know who's winning ;). People say Aja doesn't sell, but that's all her aura is for. She's a monster, the Arsion workers are young and up and coming stars. This match starts slow, with submissions and a test of strength. Ayako tries to maintain her position, Aja mounts on her likes she wanted to say "i can crush you when i want". Crowd "ooohs" already. Very stiff low kicks from Aja, Ayako keeps fighting and seems screaming something like "come on, hit me". Aja punches Ayako in the face, stiff as hell, then again, twice. Three times. She's still fighting. Aja with a vicious seated piledriver (think more like a sit down Ganso Bomb) that looked really nasty. Ayako keeps trying to find a way to knock down the monster, to no avail (oh yes, this is "no selling", but you'll understand why Aja is a master of psychology later. She's Goliath, she won't sell because she's the monster, and Ayako's offense isn't enough to knock her down). Aja keeps destroying Ayako with consecutive lariats for 2, Ayako keeps fighting. Aja seems to be enraged, she wants to end it right now. Ayako increases stiffness and power moves, as she manages to german suplex Aja, and after an instant to sell the blow, she gets up (ain't enough, she's a monster, she's Goliath). All of a sudden, dragon screw by Ayako, surprises Aja and she "magically" starts to sell. How come, now Aja sells. could it be because after the repeated blows even her "monster" body is giving up ? Could it be...that strange word psy-cho-lo-gy ? Who knows. Ayako sends Aja crashing outside avoiding a clothesline, follows with an Asai moonsault. Aja is definitely losing steam. Ayako backdrop suplexes Aja and follows with a quebrada for 2. At this point she gets brave and tries the Ayakonoclasm, but Aja catches her in a sleeper, and this might be the move that killed any hope Ayako could have had in the eyes of the fans (they'd think, she's not ready yet to win). The ref asks Aja to stop the hold. Ayako is down to the mat, exhausted. Aja misses a splash, an Ayakita attempt from Ayako is countered into a sorta powerbomb. Ayako struggles to put Aja on the top turnbuckle, punches her in the face, a shotei and another. This time she tries the massive Ayakonoclasm, but feels it couldn't be enough, and follows with another shotei. AYAKONOCLASM, crowd pops, it's only a 2 tho. Ayako is not ready yet. Aja punches her in the face and knocks her down with the brainbuster. She screams to Ayako to get up and fight. Aja with the uraken but Ayako blocks it and kicks Aja in the face. Aja with another uraken that takes down Ayako. 1-2 ! KICKOUT ! Aja takes off her gloves and it's time to go sleep, as another uraken kills Ayako for the 3 count at 13:56. Folks, this is called a transitional match. This showed to the crowd "Ayako will beat Aja, and it could be very soon. She's not ready yet and she'll keep fighting" Aja acted like a monster for a good portion of the match, then a move turned the tide and Ayako really had a chance to win. This helps: 1) get the crowd more into the match 2) make the crowd pop more when Ayako will finally win, because realistically Aja is a big obstacle for everybody, and while she should sell more, losing to someone who's not "a big deal" yet like Ayako (the huge push came a bit later, well, this was part of it) wouldn't be that good for business. Aja is doing this with Meiko Satomura too, and hopefully she will do the job to Meiko to end that awesome feud. Sadly Ayako doesn't have the talent nor is the "total package" (here we go again) like Satomura, but Arsion is finally pushing her seriously, and Aja did the job months after this tourney, to close to feud and give her a big win over a huge star like Aja. Fascinating match, stiff as hell, good psychology. People will call it an extended squash, that Aja didn't sell in this match, but they might lose the subliminal story told in this match. David v Goliath. I liked it, what the hell. ***1/4

Overall: you should pick up every Arsion show except the Complete Arsion ones (too much clippage) anyway, because Arsion is great. This isn't the best one, even for 2000, but it's a fun little tape with a very good main event. If you're a big joshi fan, pick this up, if not (why not ? ;), take a look at the main event, you should like it. Sayonara
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The North/South Connection: Dick Murdoch/Adrian Adonis vs. Jack/Gerry Brisco, WWF @ Madison Square Garden 12/28/84 [@CactusBix@]

 One fall, 30 minute time limit, for Adonis & Murdoch's World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Titles.  The Briscos had entered the WWF after Vince McMahon bought out their stock in Georgia Championship Wrestling, and Vince gave them a little push along with the sweet sweet Benjamins, baby.  Jack and Gerry had a non-title match with the N/S Connection and since it was a non-title match in the '80s, the Briscos won to set up this match.
 The Briscos are pimped by the king of all matwork fans, Gorilla Monsoon, during the intros.  He notes their use of the Figure Four and Fireman's Carry, specifically.  The MSG fans are buzzing, familiar with the reputation of the Briscos from magazines and the like.  They know they're going see something special, but they're not quite sure what exactly it is.
 The bell rings.  Jack and Murdoch lock up, but Dickie quickly backs into the ropes to break.  Collar and elbow again, this time into the corner for a break.  They break, with Brisco going into a fighting stance, ready to punch, while Murdoch, knowing he's trapped, puts his hands up to block before pulling the ref in between them while yelling at him to bring them to the middle of the ring.  3rd collar and elbow is controlled by Murdoch, who pushes Jack into the corner and starts HAMMERING him with his trademark big strikes.  Dick attempts an Irish Whip to the opposite corner, which is reversed by Brisco.  Jack hits a perfect hiptoss on the bounceback, jumps to Murdoch's legs, grabbing the elevated limb and starting the Figure Four, but Cap'n Redneck blocks the final step of the hold, and gets to the ropes.  He thinks he's safe, but is then pounded on by Gerry in the corner before easily escaping and tagging in Adonis.
 Adrian gleefully hops in the ring and starts rapidly circling Jack.  C&E is quickly won by Adonis, who starts twisting at Brisco's arm.  Adonis doesn't control him enough, and Gerry gets tagged in by his quick-thinking brother.  Brisco and Adonis exchange hammerlocks, but when Brisco gets control of the hold, he takes a sharp elbow from Adrian, who immediately hits the ropes.  Gerry drops down twice, and armdrags Adrian off the third bounce.  He works the armbar slowly, occasionally pounding on Adonis's shoulder.  Adonis gets to his feet and sends Gerry to the ropes.  When Brisco attempts a shoulderblock, Adonis tries countering with a kneelift and they both go down.  Gerry tries going back to the armbar, but Murdoch reaches through the ropes and pulls him off his partner.  Adrian sees his opportunity, and tags out to Murdoch.
 The Connection starts MAULING Gerry to such a degree that Jack comes in to break it up.  The ref sends the illegal men out and the match continues normally.  Murdoch leans Gerry over the ropes and punches him straight in the jaw.  He tries an amateur-style waistlock suplex, but Gerry sits out and armdrags him.  He works the hold briefly before tagging in Jack, who elbows the extended arm and twists Dick into an armbar.  Dick gets to his feet and elbows Jack in the face few times, before getting trapped in the Fireman's Carry and armbarred again.  Murdoch gets to his feet, pushes Brisco to the ropes, and pastes him with some punches.  He whips Jack into the ropes, but his elbow gets ducked.  He turns around, and meets Jack's left hand.  He tries to maintain his equilibrium, but falls down.  When he finally gets back up, Jack armdrags him.  Brisco works the armbar properly, looking to get as much leverage as possible by going to a back mount.  He tags in Gerry, who applies the hammerlock/inverted half-nelson combo.  Murdoch slithers out and elbows Brisco twice before sending him to the ropes.  Gerry ducks an elbow, leapfrogs Dick, and hits a big left to send him out of the ring.
 Murdoch takes some time to rest and regain his faculties on the floor, and then NAILS Gerry with a metal case and tags in Adonis, who executes a perfect backbreaker for a 2-count.  Running powerslam (the Davey Boy version) gets another 2-count.  He starts working the leg, with a kneedrop to the inner thigh and an attempted spinning toehold.  I say "attempted" because Brisco kicked him off to the corner.  Gerry applies the Figure Four, but they're near the champs' corner and Adonis tags Murdoch in.  Kneedrops and elbows get a 2-count.  They trade some AWESOME punches, and Brisco gets the advantage before hitting a dropkick.  He goes for the Figure Four again, but Adrian runs in and breaks it up.  Jack keeps working the leg, twisting at the calf and ankle for a minute or so before Murdoch pulls his hair and cradles him to break the hold.  Dick tries to tag out to Adrian, but Jack holds him off and applies a leg scissors.  Murdoch rolls the hold sideways and kicks Brisco to break it before finally tagging Adonis.  Adrian hits the ropes, but takes a drop toehold and gets tied up in a leg grapevine.  Jack tags in Gerry who reapplies the same hold to Adonis.  He escapes, and hits an elbowdrop for a 1-count.  Murdoch tags in, and they hit the backbreaker/kneedrop combo for another 2-count.  Swinging neckreaker gets another 2-count for Dick.  Gerry starts kicking at the bad leg, but Murdoch punches him and rakes his eyes.  Murdoch hits his ace, the Brainbuster, but Gerry rolls one of his shoulders up.
 Murdoch stalls briefly, not knowing what to do after the Brainbuster didn't work.  He takes Gerry to the corner and violently slams the back of his head into the turnbuckle.  Dick climbs the ropes, and hits another one of his big moves, the driving knee to the neck.  1, 2, Gerry somehow gets his shoulder up again.  Adonis tags in and hits a top-rope elbowdrop, but Jack breaks up the pin.  Gerry sees an opening, and tags in Jack.  The former NWA World Champion hits a flurry of punches an applies Adonis's future finisher, the sleeperhold, on him.  Adrian is able to wander to the corner and tag Dick in, but Cap'n Redneck gets caught in the grips of Jack's sleeprhold.  Murdoch's fading FAST, but Adonis comes in and breaks the hold.  Brisco rams Murdoch's face into the mat twice for a pair of 2-counts.  Sunset flip by Jack gets 2 again.  Gerry tags in and hits a beautiful Oklahoma roll, but lands in the champions' corner so Adonis breaks it up.  Brisco pounds Murdoch with a succession of sharp left hands, but Adonis breaks that up.  Jack comes in to hold off Adrian, so Gerry applies the sleeper to Murdoch.  Adonis fights to his feet and nails Gerry with a double axehandle to save his partner.  Murdoch picks up Brisco for a slam, but collapses and gets a 2-count against him.  Dick gets up and goes to the wrong corner, where Jack works him over.  He breaks when the ref requests that he do so, leaving Murdoch open for Gerry's bridging waistlock cradle.  It gets a 2-count and the crowd gets hotter.  He maintains the hold, shoves Murdoch into Adonis to set up the rolling reverse cradle for a 1-count.  All 4 men move to the floor where they brawl, using chairs, phones, and some TV equipment.  The ref stops the match at the 25 minute, 54 second mark, leading to a very loud, and truthful, "bullshit" chant.  The fight moves back to the ring, where the Briscos apply figure fours as the ref's decision is announced.  It's a no-contest.
 This is a match vaguely similar to Benoit vs. Regal from the 2000 Pillman Memorial Show.  They went out there and wrestled.  That was all they did.  It was believable, it was intense, and the crowd loved it.   Sadly, Jack Brisco decided that he was fed up with the wrestling business and this was his last match.  You know what happened to everyone else.
 Thank God for videotape.
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Battle Station BattlArts BATTLE MANIA 9/20/00 Young Generation Battle 2000[@KandD@]

The august BattlArts show i reviewed in the last STVR (HERE), rocked, and you all should rush to the post office and send some of your hard earned benjamins Senor Lynch's way. This one looked possibly better on paper. The finals of the YGB, a potential great Tanaka vs. Hidaka match and more.

Taped 9/7 Tokyo Korauken Hall
We open with an Ishikawa interview presenting the semifinalists (Nagai, Otsuka, Yone and Usuda). The Nagai pick is not surprising, as he's getting a big push, the Otsuka pick is pretty obvious like Yone's continued push with the reason probably being that he's getting the most "name recognition" of the Bat Bat workers except Otsuka due to him working All Japan last year. Usuda's pick is encouraging, it seems that a big push is ahead for the hard kicking motherfucker, and i'm all cool and happy with it.

Takeshi Ono/Ryuji Hijikata vs. Alvin Ken/Junji.com
Surprise Surprise ! It's Alvin Ken once again. This is the other rookie BattlArts is trying to push (Hijikata is not a rookie, not at all, he was working BattlArts even in 98 i believe, but they never really pushed him). I'd love to see a singles between Ryuji and Alvin just to see where Alvin is in his development. I'll go out on a limb and predict this, Ryuji will become one hell of a worker in about 2 1/2 - 3 years. Alvin and Ken start the match with some cool lucha matwork sequences, and Ken follows with a half crab for the rope break. Ono tags in and turns an irish whip into a sleeper hold, then does the same bow and arrow lock around the ropes he did last month. We're out of the ring as Ono puts Alvin on a chair and kicks him in the face as he falls over. Back in the ring, Takeshi hits some cool kicks on Ken for a knockdown. A little psychology starts in the match as Ono tries to work Hijikata's leg, Ken overcomes a double team spearing both his opponents and can tag in Junji. Mr. DotCom takes down Ryuji with a quite crappy samoan drop, then twists his elbow because he likes to do it. Junji keeps working Ono's leg, and Takeshi turns an udehishigigyakujujigatame attempt into a standing choke hold. Hijikata misses a mongolian chop from the top rope and gets speared by Ken (he likes to spear people !) Junji first tries to put Ryuji in the sasorigatame, but he reaches the ropes, then performs another pretty crappy top rope samoan drop and locks the sasorigatame back in. Hijikata is selling all this really well, Ono breaks the old and german suplexes Junji right on his head. Hijikata hits an uranage and follows with the full nelson choke, then a really good fisherman buster. Ono avoids two straight Ken spears, he kicks him in the face and after hitting the spinning falcon arrow puts Ken in some sort of Rings of Saturn variation for the tap out at 16:35. This was like those joshi rookie style matches, most of the moves were basic, but the execution was good. They even tried to insert some sort of psychology. The match was probably too long to amount to anything really good, but it was a good effort from all four. Ken shows promise, and Hijikata keeps getting better. Ono is becoming once again a fun little worker instead of the crappy Tonpachi Machineguns dickhead. **

Footage from a press conference airs, Tanaka speaks along with Ishikawa and after that all the BattlArts roster enter the room. Following this we see Ishikawa and Yone playing with some kids, and suddenly Usuda breaks in, smiles to one kid, kicks him hard in the face and puts him in a Leglock. OK, that didn't happen, but you never know....

Minoru Tanaka vs. Ikuto Hidaka
There you go, once again Tanaka shows why he was the best wrestler/worker/performer whatever you call these awards last year. He had good matches in all styles: he had an AWESOME match with Sano in BattlArts, really good matches in New Japan including the one with Kanemoto and the tag match in July Meltzer pimped so much (it wasn't THAT great, but still a really good match). He's basically carrying the NJ jr. division, and hopefully if Choshu drops the crackpipe, this year we'll see him pushed a bit. He can mix shootstyle, lucha and NJ Jrs style well and carry almost everybody to good matches. Young punk Hidaka is getting really great because now he's trying to pick up the striking that will be needed to elevate him in the future. Feeling out process with some attempts at an udehishigigyakujujigatame by Tanaka but it's obviously too early. Minoru goes for a spinkick, but Hidaka avoids, and Tanaka, LANDS ON HIS FEET, like nothing happened. This was a "holy shit" move in the same way Honma's backflip off the board against Yamakawa was, just a wrestling move that you don't usually "pop" for looking graceful and perfectly executed. Hidaka goes for a spinkick, Tanaka leap frogs and tries for a kick himself but Ikuto turns it into a dragon screw. We're talking basic moves, but the execution is so great it makes you enjoy every bit of it. The Dragon screw is quickly turned in a figure 4 (whooooooooooo !!!!) that Tanaka sells like he'd been shot. Hidaka attempts a tornado DDT but Tanaka gets back on his feet and tries a german suplex, Hidaka back flips off that and lands on his feet, then dropkicks Tanaka low in his legs. Tanaka goes for the enzuigiri but Hidaka avoids it, then, while Hidaka is STILL holding his leg, he kicks him with the left leg coming back. An awesome spinkick to the face gets Hidaka down till 9, he gets up slowly, Tanaka goes for a kick but Hidaka blocks it and powerbombs Tanaka. Tanaka with a great kick once again to Ikuto's face, while he's stunned he turns into a Minoru special in lightning fast motion. Hidaka gets the ropes, but Tanaka still Savate kicks Hidaka and hits a release German Suplex. Hidaka slowly gets up, and Minoru follows with another vicious kick to the face. Obviously Tanaka is going for the KO as he keeps kicking the hell out of Hidaka, until he gets his 3rd kick in a row turned into a dragon screw. Hidaka keeps weakening the leg so his Shawn Capture will be much more effective, so the psychology of the match is really good. Finally Hidaka can lock the Shawn Capture, Tanaka sells it like a Champ but can reach the ropes. We end this beatiful match with Tanaka following a Northern Lights Suplex into the udehishigigyakujujigatame for the tap out win at 10:50. This was really GREAT. The only letdown was that it was a bit short, this is potential 4 stars if you let these fellas go 20 minutes. It seems that lately a lot of good matches in BattlArts have been ruined (relatively) by the shortness, this is like Ishikawa vs. Usuda in July's BattlArts, as in "this was great but could have been sooooo much better with more time". ***1/4. Tanaka gets the mic and talks about New Japan. Minoru officially left the promotion in November to work full time for Shin Nihon.
This is a HUGE blow for BattlArts, not only because Tanaka is a well known worker, but because he was basically the "icing on the cake" of every BattlArts show, i mean, even if there were good to great matches on the rest of the shows, he ALWAYS delivered either the best match of the card or the runner up. I don't know if he'll have the opportunity to wrestle great matches in New Japan, the potential is there, but Choshu's suckass booking of the Jrs is getting ridiculous, let's just hope he won't ask Tanaka to "bulk up" so he can job to Super J in 4 minutes in the opener. After Ikeda, BattlArts loses Tanaka. They are becoming quite the ECW to New Japan's WCW in this case. Obviously Ishikawa and probably Otsuka will stick with the company, i hope Malenko and Usuda will get pushed a lot next year because they're becoming a joy to watch. All in all Bat Bat has still a great roster but this "improve in Bat Bat, move to New Japan" trend is sucking.

Naoyuki Taira/Kazunari Murakami vs. Yuki Ishikawa/Carl Malenko
Murakami beats the bell and attacks Ishikawa, then Yuki german suplexes him to even the odds. The following work on the mat looks more like something coming out of PRIDE rather than classic carny matwork. Everybody is trying to get in the mount position and trying to choke the opponent out, thus resulting into a continue choke-reversal-choke-reversal routine. Taira breaks the trend with a few great spinkicks, then shows no flaws on the mat and puts Malenko into a rear naked choke. Malenko tags in Yuki and Taira keeps charging with hard kicks but Yuki turns one into an achille's hold. Kazunari, being the dick that he is, tricks Yuki into getting close to the ropes, than kicks him right in the face sending him out of the ring. Yuki gets back up on the apron and they keep punching each other in the face until Ishikawa hits Murakami with an armbreaker using the ropes. The match follows as Malenko keeps trying to choke out Murakami but Taira interferes and kicks Carl to break the hold. Taira continues with great kicks, but eventually Malenko gets him down and puts on the crossface, Murakami comes out to interfere but Yuki does the same, while they have a staredown in the ring, Taira taps out at 16:46. This was pretty different even by BattlArts standards, as it was strict shootstyle submission work, no carny matwork, only Taira really tried the striking and made it an important part of his offense. I guess PRIDE and MMA fans in general would appreciate this, and a long time BattlArts fan won't have a problem with it, but if you're watching this for the first time it's not flashy at all, and you might be "bored". Execution was good, it was slow paced, but they didn't fuck up anything. Weird to have a strict shootstyle match, but hey ! I liked it. **1/2 Taira keeps being protected, so maybe he's not at the level of one Nagai yet as far as pro-style psychology goes, because most of the matches i've seen him in (i have yet to see his match in Michinoku Pro) involved strict prostyle matwork or just shootstyle like this one. He's definitely one to look out for, since his kicking is great and works really well on the mat, i wonder if he'll eventually pick up the rest. We'll see. Interesting match. After the bell, Murakami and Ishikawa keep brawling, probably to set up future business. A Kazu-Yuki match would be intriguing, just for the stiffness.

It's time to hit the highlight reel for the YGB 2k, pretty much the same highlights of last month, with some clippage of the august show in it. Nagai looks helluva cool in here, and there's a really nifty house-ish background music, so i don't hit the FF.

Young Generation Battle 2000 Semifinal: Mitsuya Nagai vs. Katsumi Usuda
Ah, the stiffness. Nagai welcomes Usuda to his world with 3-4 great kicks to the head that knock him out for 7. They go to the mat and Nagai begins working the arm like in his match with Nagai, showing that he's picking up pro-style psychology pretty well already. The first half of the match is fine matwork to basically work toward each other's goal (Usuda's arm for Nagai and Nagai's leg for Usuda). They reverse each other's holds as we move in the second half, where Nagai and Usuda begin using kick to weaken even more the legs, followed by Nagai with his two AMAZINGLY brutal punches to the face plus a spinkick. Nagai goes for his powerbomb but Usuda gets his arm coming down and locks the triangle choke, then it's Usuda's turn for great kicks as he keeps Nagai down till 9. Nagai slowly gets up but is too exausted to stand, so he falls down again until 9. Mitsuya puts the finishing touches with a deadly release german suplex with Usuda landing on his neck then a powerbomb followed by a rear naked choke for the win at 13:39. This was a really good match, well worked. It was built like an UWFi match with a first half based of matwork then the kicking inserted later, the ending got really good. I'll say it again, Nagai is really getting good. **3/4

Young Generation Battle 2000 Semifinal: Mohammed Yone vs. Alexander Otsuka
Basic matwork to start, then Yone tries with a pretty shitty kick and Otsuka kind of oversells it. Yone locks Otsuka in his FACELOCK OF DOOM ! Arghhhh. A top rope legdrop stuns Otsuka for 6, then Yone turns a Pump Handle Slam into a leglock. HERE is where Mr. Otsuka decides to start driving the bus, to hell with it afro man ! I'm the BOSS ! He kills Yone with a release german suplex on his neck, a tombstone and then a fricking great vertical suplex into a tombstone piledriver. Kinda like the move Steiner used to do, only Alex lands on his knees instead of a sitdown position. This looked really, really nasty for Yone. If that isn't enough, he follows with a cobra clutch suplex (OUCH). Yone must be dead by now. Otsuka continues to try the Dragon suplex, but Yone stops him, puts him on the top rope and goes for his Argentine Backbreaker. Otsuka gets up and guess what, dragon suplexs Yone right on his neck. That hurts,  in fact, buh bye Yone, KO at 12:06. Yone is really starting to piss me off. He's doing absolutely nothing to help a match, when he tries matwork he just throws a leglock there and then uses his ridiculous facelock, he doesn't strike that good in stand up. He's got a few good moves, but lately he's been carried to matches that should have been better. This was totally Otsuka, who's the king for being so stiff. Good match, but Yone S.U.C.K.S. **1/4

Young Generation Battle 2000 FINAL: Mitsuya Nagai vs. Alexander Otsuka
I figured out this could be a cool match: Otsuka has no problem doing a more shootstyle oriented match with no flashy lucha spots or even too much Us pro style nuances. This was another shootstyle heavy match, with each other working submissions in the early stages. Nagai misses a kick and Otsuka welcomes him to a world of pain with his release german suplex on the neck. Nagai goes for the powerbomb, but Otsuka lands on his feet and tries to punch him. No such luck as Nagai is ready to spinkick him in the face. Mitsuya keeps working Otsuka's midsection with kicks, then hits an awesome, lightning fast..hell, EVEN FASTER, one-two combo kicks (one to the midsection, the following one to the head) that knock out Otsuka. Otsuka sells like a champ and gets up, Mitsuya tries his own version of the Minoru Special but Otsuka smartly turns it into a leglock..and....Nagai...taps out..at 10:50. WHAT IN THE HELL ? A 10 minutes final ? Grrrrrrrrrrr. Maybe Yuki took one painkiller too many for his leg. This was a really cool match that ended too soon and in a crappy kind of way. I felt cheated. It wasn't that the match was THAT short, only that they paced this match like it was going longer, picking up the work like at the 7 minutes mark after a lenghty matwork part. Maybe it's their fault, maybe it was booked that way. Otsuka looked kind of tired, but hey, this was still a good match. **1/2

Overall:So we come to an end, the 2000 YGB is history. Certainly this show was good as always, but i felt kind of disappointed, maybe because Ishikawa didn't really work anything more than his first match on the tourney (and Ishikawa 100% would mean at least semifinal and probably Usuda off, and i know for sure Ishikawa would work better with either Yone or Nagai). There was a distinct lack of Ikeda like in every BattlArts post may if we compare this tournament with the one in 99. The 2001 tourney looks promising, if they use Malenko a bit better, continue to push Nagai, try to see if Taira can work a good pro-style match and keep the Usuda push, it should be good. The company is in a tough position, but they're developing new and cool workers (Nagai is turning into a somewhat stiffer version of Usuda two years ago, so it could be his year this one; Hidaka is getting great, there's Hijikata improving every day..who knows). About this show, it's not Bat Bat's best one, if you're a huge Bat Bat fan like me get this one, even if you aren't i suggest you do because there's a really great Tanaka vs. Hidaka match and as usual nothing blows. you PROBABLY want this one. Sayonara

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Rogers v. O’Connor Part II:
Why it just might be the Match of the Century [@Dan MG Herman@]

Originally I was going to do this match with one big write-up and discuss this as part of the match. I decided against it, since this could have detracted from the match itself. The match is a truly great match and there’s a reason it’s in the virtual cannon. Psychology, heat, pacing, it’s all there, telling a truly great story within the match. Anyone who would claim that the old style of wrestling doesn’t hold up to today’s standards needs to watch this match and shut up.

This match is important for another reason, as it marks a pivotal moment in the history of wrestling, the first time the belt was given to a showman and not a wrestler.

Now, in the past people who weren’t skilled wrestlers did have the belt, as early as 1929 with Gus Sonnenberg. However, the champ always had to appear to be a legitimate wrestler. Gorgeous George, despite being a top draw, never got the belt himself, as it was understood that he was too much of a showman to carry it since it would detract from the legitimacy of the belt.

All that went out the window in 1961 when they put the belt on Rogers. While Rogers wasn’t untalented in the ring, he was always known more for his showmanship than his wrestling. NWA decided to forgo worries about wrestling legitimacy and gave the belt to someone who would be a good attention-getter. While Pat O’Connor was drawing plenty of money, Rogers was a better-suited champion for the TV age. O’Connor’s more subtle body language and expression worked well in person, when the audience would obviously be focused on the match itself, but to the TV audience, with the distractions of home (or neighbor’s house) Rogers’ wild gestures and struts were what was needed to keep them riveted. Rogers was also a good speaker, and could really improve that element of the show. With the belt on Rogers the transition to the TV age, from wrestling being wrestling to wrestling being a show was in some ways complete.

While Rogers dropped the belt to Lou Thesz (who was much more a worker than a showman, though not devoid of showmanship) in 1963 it wasn’t the end of the experiment. Thesz always had a say in whom he would drop the belt to and the previous three times he had the National Wrestling Alliance belt he dropped it to people who were wrestlers (Bill Longson, Whipper Billy Watson and Dick Hutton). When Thesz dropped the belt this time it was to Gene Kiniski, who was more of a showman, and it was also the end of Thesz’s affiliation with the NWA.

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon Sr. took Rogers shortly after his loss to Thesz and split away from the NWA, making Rogers his champion to lend his belt legitimacy. The rest is history.

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IN THE NEXT STVR - NJ PPV 12/14 !!!!! BattlArts (like you thought you wouldn't get the monthly fix) !!! Zenjo has the 2000 MOTY right there and sticks it in the ass of everybody who says they suck !! Greco kicks people in the face while Lazz shakes his booty, it's NWA Wildside !!!!! More goodness from Mr. Old School !!! KINGDOM !!!!! More MMA goodness ! Mr. Osaka Puroresu, Faulconer-san will impress you once more with satanic sport entertainment !!!!!

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