November 25, 2015

November 22, 2015

Poncho's A Survivor

Well, well, well. I almost forgot. Here it is.

Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio Quarterfinal
Well, this is a wrestling match. Would you put money on it?

Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens Quarterfinal Match
Well, hopefully this is fun. Who doesn't want to see Ambrose's flying push. Does he turn? So much intrigue.

Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze
Tyler's big ppv debut. He's seemed ultra prepared for this. Hope his booking stays strong or he'll be Fandango adjace.

Charlotte vs Paige for the Divas Championship
Well, the end of RAW sure caused some kerfuffle. WWE sent out press releases and what not. When I watched it I went "oooooh,"  and it just reminded me of the Attitude Era. I thought it was funny when JR said he didn't like it when he's all about personal issues. Anyway, the segment came out of nowhere, but it was pretty exciting.

The Brothers Of Destruction vs The Wyatt Family
This is fun. Also a reminder that I've been watching WWE for basically 25 years. Maybe that's why I'm forgiving of the product.

Five on Five Traditional Survivor Series Match
New Day Rocks? Hopefully.

Tournament Final
Well, I hope we leave with a heel champion. Believe That.

So weed apparently makes the Attitude Era more enjoyable? I've been marathoning Marvel's Jessica Jones and it's really good. Enjoy the show guys. We'll have a new WWE Champ by the end of the day.

November 08, 2015

SCN: M/ACL&P Struggle part 1: EVIL Rising

Greetings all EVILdoers,

It's November, the orange leaves have mostly dropped, and it's getting rainy here in Oregon. A good time to hunker down a little bit, wrap up with a blanket and a cup of warm tea, sidle up to a loved one (or the guy who just moved in), and chuck another wrestling log onto the fire of life.

Actually, this is just an excuse to write about King of Darkness EVIL. But I'll work up to that. And Rusty, since you will likely have no idea what I'm talking about, please refer to this graphic illustration:

First thing's first, which is that wins and losses are about to matter in WWEland, as a tournament for the WWEWHW Chompyunchiaw will soon be underway. I don't even know who's in it, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens. We've been speculating up a storm, we've got some hopes and some fears... As Poncho postulated, my main fear is that Cena or Reigns win the finals clean. Personally, my main hope is that the tournament will include every member of the roster, making Survivor Series a grueling 5 to 6 hour wrestlethon. Actually, my hope is that DBD returns. Maybe WWE is keeping him on the shelf/off TV for some stupid corporate reason, and maybe they're just keeping him in their back pocket. An ace in the hole. We'll see. And that wouldn't be the best use for him anyway. Oh, it's tonight isn't it? This post may need to be written in 2 parts. I'm only half-way through New Japan's Power Struggle, which was going to be my primary focus.

It seemed like the first half of the event featured 80% of the performers. Two four-on-fours, a three-on-three, a regular tag match, and one singles match. Not much to say about the big multi-mans, they were all fun in their own ways, though fairly low-stakes. A few title matches are teased/set up for the next event or Wrestle Kingdom (or is Wrestle Kingdom the next one?) Chase Owens joins Omega's BC sect, I like them both even if they don't mesh with the rest of BC. I thought Owens deserved an opportunity after his performance in the Super Jrs in June. Everyone was good in that Bullet Club/reDRagon & Time Splitters match, though there wasn't much opportunity for anyone to shine through as an individual. Oh, and Poncho, if you change your handle to Tampico Johnson, I'm going to call you Tampon John. So, yeah, that's awesome.

Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) and Ricochet versus Rappongi Vice (featuring Trent Baretta) was easily the highlight of the first half of Power Struggle (see how I make this relatable, Rusty?). It's greatness wasn't just because of the spots, the length of match, or the plethora of kick-outs. What I liked most about this match was the pacing of the back-and-forths. It was really clever how the "upper hand" passed back and forth so quickly, and the way the momentum built was way more complex than a typical match, and especially more than a typical juinior tag match. Sydal and Ricochet really brought the best out of RPG, who usually employ more comedy, and a lighter style.

***EDIT: I just fact-checked the below story, and I was totally wrong about one or two details, but I don't intend to correct them. Feel free to "dog" me in the comments.

And that brings us to my Main Event (which was NOT the main event), Hirooki Goto versus King of Darkness, EVIL. This was so gleefully bad. Where to begin? I suppose the beginning...
The young man Takaaki Watanabe debuted to American audiences in 2014 for the ROH/NJPW shows. He was billed as a New Japan guy, despite being still-in-training, and not a regular part of their roster. He stayed in the US, and continued his training with ROH. Over the next year, he made sporadic TV appearances, but didn't get much attention until the ROH/NJPW shows came back around this year. With a few solid performances at those shows, he got over with the ROH faithful, and was booked for more shows and TV spots, including a run at Jay Lethal's Television Championship. This would be Watanabe's final publicized performance under that moniker.

On the other side of the globe, Tetsuya Naito is shocking Japan, having completely shed his good guy, crowd-pleasing persona. Long slow entrances dressed in black, neglecting to tag in, assaulting referees and cameramen, and a bent toward inflicting damage over winning matches are the calling cards which have gained him massive notoriety in a relatively short time. He's officially a member of a heel stable in a Mexican promotion, but has been the only member to appear in New Japan thusfar. For his most recent match, against heated rival Katsuyori Shibata, it seemed a pair of Naitos had appeared to do battle. Cloaked in identical silver skull masks and all-black suits, their approach to the ring was disorienting and intimidating. Naito eventually unmasked and began the match while his second stood motionless. So motionless, in fact, that he didn't budge even while the action between Naito and Shibata spilled out of the ring and raged around him. Only in the 11th hour of the match did the second spring to motion, interfering with the match to deliver some (not so) vicious kicks to Shibata. The interloper then unmasks, revealing... Watanabe.

The stage is set. November 5 2015, NJPW Power Struggle. Hirooki Goto is on the far side of an Intercontinental reign, and looking to balance his recent loss with a tick in the Win column, as well as avenge the assault visited on his BFF Shibata. His opponent, King of Darkness EVIL, is looking to make a statement in his first singles match in New Japan. The music hits. A somber tone envelops the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Now appears EVIL, here to wrestle. A hooded robe hides his face in shadow, and the aluminum scythe he's carrying lets everyone know: he's here for business... and his business is Death. Yeah, he came out looking like a sophomore LARPer, but that was just the beginning. The next layer revealed a RVD-style singlet, black, with an inscrutable black design on the front and back, and purple flames up the sides. Enigmatically emblazoned on his rear end are four Western language characters: C B J 2.  The mystery deepens.

A side-note: Since he was in ROH, EVIL (then Watanabe) has sported a Rollins-esque half black/half bleached head of hair, worn in a ponytail high on the crown of his head. I thought it looked fine, even sorta cool with his gear from that time, as it matched his green/gold theme. Now, in black and purple and black and black, the bleached half looks out of place. Wickedly and treacherously out of place.
All this exposition and the match hasn't even started yet. Oh, and lest I forget EVIL's eyeliner, it is arranged in smudged black triangles under each eye, like a mime might apply without access to a mirror. Okay, now the match. Well, second thought, no, I can't do a play by play of the match like I've done with his wardrobe, that would be ridiculous. Suffice to say, the performance was shabby at best. The crowd booed him a little as a heel in the beginning, more when he pulled a folding chair from under the ring after one minute, then more as his technically unsharpened ringwork became transparent, and more again as he rolled his head back and made mean eyes unconvincingly. Watanabe went to ROH for a year and somehow came back a Sports-Entertainer. They cheered Goto on, but the crowd only picked up when the dastardly but outstanding Naito ran in to save his protégé from a 3 count, Shibata close behind to even the odds.

Even though this was categorically bad, I had fun watching it.  The inception of King of Darkness EVIL is no more the fault of its executor as the fellas who put it on paper.  And regardless of the badness of his first outing, it did serve to build a story and keep Naito busy. 

That's all I've got for now. Part 2 will wait until I've seen Survivor Series and the rest of Power Struggle. Until then, I remain Quarter Marshall.  Good night.

**EDIT: Nevermind, I'm an idiot.  Survivor Series is weeks away.  Part 2 coming soon.

November 06, 2015

Power Struggle 2015 Preview

So one match from the "Road To Power Struggle" got a high score from Dave Meltzer. So sad that nothing is getting uploaded. But alas, here is a preview.

David Finlay, Jay White, Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Máscara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi and Tiger Mask
What a mouth full. So the question as always will be does one of the young boys break the glass ceiling. Doubt it. Prediction: Taguchi pins White

Captain New Japan, Juice Robinson and Togi Makabe vs. Bullet Club (Cody Hall, Doc Gallows and Tama Tonga)
Weird matchup. By the way, when The Poncho Man gimmick runs it's course....I think I'll be Tampico Johnson.

EVIL vs Hirooki Goto
HA! Evil. He gets the big debut win right? Against a guy who got marginally good for a few months and then went back to sucking. EVIL. HA

Alex Shelley, Bobby Fish, Kushida and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)
Chase Owens is officially Bullet Club? I wasn't into The Cleaner....but this is basically Scott Norton. It's done. Put a fork in it. Tharpe will be next. Sparkly BizCliz jackets.

Matt Sydal and Ricochet vs Roppongi Vice
Flippy Dude Heaven is what I shall dub them. This should be fun. I started back up on PWG from 2007 with my new roomier and we've been enjoying the talents of Rocky Romero.

Bullet Club (A.J. Styles and Bad Luck Fale) vs.Chaos (Toru Yano and Yoshi-Hashi)
I'm trained to expect AJ to be followed by the Young Bucks lately. I'm so confused. AJ has been my MVP lately. Let's hope he continues to be and the merry prankster doesn't sneak one.....even though that might actually be awesome.

Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs.Tomoaki Honma
Over under how many kick outs? 10? Wouldn't it be awesome if Honma won!? How could he defend something when he always loses? How loud would you squeal?

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata vs.Kazuchika Okada and Kazushi Sakuraba
So I read that Sakuraba is fighting a real fight soon. I laugh knowing I thought he was hilarious the first time I saw him...and now I know he's a badass and the most unassuming member of CHAOS....even more than Yoshi-Hashi.

Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Karl Anderson
When I started watching NJPW The Machine Gun was all over the main this is kinda exciting to see his name come up again....even if it seems like he has no chance. My roommate hasn't seen NJPW yet but loves Karl Anderson due to a match he had against Colt Cabana in PWG which was hilarious. He shoots the ceiling and finally Colt....who promptly has a beautiful death scene.

My house is weird now. Somebody to watch wrestling with is bizarre. I think we've watched 16 hours in 2 sittings. Excited for Survivor Series. Will be nice to see how much they hate us or not. Poor Seth. That lack of coffee......