January 2, 2015

Current Watch List:

  • Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori vs. Kenso & Mitsuya Nagai (All Japan Pro Wrestling)

  • Joe Doering & Suwama vs. Go Shiozaki & Kento Miyahara (AJPW)
  • Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Kohei Sato (Big Japan Wrestling)

  • Negro Casas vs. Mascara Dorada for the CMLL Middleweight Championship (CMLL)

  • Corey Crews © vs. Ali Shabazz for the NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight Championship (NWA-SAW)

  • Drew Haskins © vs. Michael Steele for the NWA Southern Television Championship (NWA-SAW)

  • Jake Crist (c) vs. Chris Hero for the Rockstar Pro championship (Rockstar Pro)

  • Naoya Nomura vs. Yuma Aoyagi (AJPW)

Matches Watched:

Corey Crews © vs. Ali Shabazz
United States & Canada
NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight

Not good – Crews tripped over his own feet most of the match and to compound that, he was on offense for a majority of the bout.  Despite being the champ, the announcers downplayed Crews and put over Shabazz which made the title change rather obvious.  Shabazz has potential from an athletic standpoint but wasn’t anything special in this match.

Drew Haskins © vs. Michael Steele
United States & Canada
NWA Southern Television

I have liked Drew Haskins in what I have watched of him.  He is a good stooging heel.  The first few minutes of this match where he is stalling and engaging in long distance trash talking is highly entertaining.  Steele is a warm body big man (well, not that big but at least comparably so) for Haskins to play off of.  Once the match gets a point where Haskins takes control (and continuing later on when Steele makes his comeback), it falls off.  Haskins didn’t do much and it didn’t appear as if Steele had much to offer.

Mascara Dorada vs. Negro Casas
CMLL World Middleweight Championship – Decision Match

Negro Casas had an excellent first month of 2014.  He had four major singles matches (versus Titan, Volador Jr., Blue Panther & Atlantis) that ranged from play (Atlantis) to very good (Titan) plus some strong performances in trios.  Between this match and the Maximo match from the 11th, Casas is off to a strong start to 2015 as well.  Might be time to start calling him “Mr. January (or on second thought, maybe not . . .).

This match is not as good as the Maximo match but is nonetheless another fine performance by Casas.  The pace is quick and you at around 10 – 12 minutes, this would probably classify as a sprint.  Casas controls the pace nicely, allowing Dorada’s impressive high flying to take center stage.  For his part, Casas eats Dorada’s offense well and does his usual old-man heel schtick to good effect.  They tease La Magistral attempts throughout which ties the entire thing together.  Dorada hit his great straight tope which is right up there with Maximo’s in terms of best current topes.

While the Maximo match was more akin to an exception WCW TV match, this felt like more like a very good one.  That’s hardly a complaint, more of a credit to how much I thoroughly enjoyed Casas/Maximo.  This is the kind of easy TV match that every wrestling promotion wishes they could have on their weekly TV.

Jake Crist (c) vs. Chris Hero
United States & Canada
Rockstar Pro
Rockstar Pro championship

I’ve really tried to like it, but Chris Hero’s knockout gimmick just doesn’t work for me.  It is not that it is a bad idea nor is it that he doesn’t have good strikes.  It’s actually the opposite in that he has very good looking strikes that should finish a match or at least all be saved for later in the match, rather than used throughout the match as regular moves.  If you are working a knockout artist gimmick, you need to knock people out.  He landed some really great strikes against Crist, including an elbow that Christ took this great “falling tree” like back bump on.  It looked like it knocked him out.  It should have been the finish or at least one of the final near falls.  Instead it was a mid-match spot.  The match went on for a while longer and they could never quite top that spot.  They realized they needed to up the ante somehow, so we got head dropping and pop ups from said head dropping instead which just made things worst.

Hero’s opening mat work was great as usual and he’s got the tools to be the best guy on the indies now, I just don’t think he structures his matches in the right way to get the most out of the knockout artist gimmick.  Crist isn’t very good.  It is bewildering that in 2015, both members of Irish Airborne are wrestling for singles titles (Dave Crist face BLK Jeez for the CZW title in the sem-main) on the same show.  Crist took some nice bumps, but that was about it.


Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Kohei Sato
Big Japan Wrestling

With these four, you know you are going to get a slugfest of some sorts but a slugfest can manifest itself in different ways.  They could have done a big no selling, strike exchange heavy match.  The match could could have been worked at a slower, stiffer pace.  They could have worked a fast paced sprint of hard hits and big moves.  You knew it was going to be slugfest, but what that ultimately meant was a little more up in the air.

They ended up going the fast paced route.  It worked really well for the first four or five minutes, I thought.  Nobody necessarily wants to see any of these four sell as part of a long isolation period.  Tags were quick.  There were a lot of big lariats thrown.  The strikes were okay, but it was not the ultra snug, borderline brutal match it could have been had they chose to go in another direction.  There was some lax selling but you know you are getting that going in.  The match was timed out decently.  I wouldn’t say it peaked right at the finish or anything but it didn’t way overstay its welcome or anything.  They got the crowd into it, especially down the stretch.

Where the match really faulted was that it was a little too high impact and fast paced, to the point that it just felt like “a lot of stuff”.  I just finished watching the match a few minutes ago and very little of it is still sticking with me.  There have been matches recently that have had a lot more overall moves, but they were so tightly packed here that it just felt like a lot to digest.  I enjoyed it because the match was definitely never boring, but it is not something I’ll probably watch again.

Naoya Nomura vs. Yuma Aoyagi
All Japan Pro Wrestling

The natural inclination is to compare this match putting two AJPW rookies (Nomura still has less than one year of experience and Aoyagi is a more or less brand new) to the current crop of New Japan young lions, but that is not necessarily a a fair comparison give that Komatsu and Tanaka dwarf these two in terms of experience.  The more interesting analysis is how these two work their match relative to how a stand New Japan young lion match goes.

The one, obvious difference is that Aoyagi and Nomura do a lot more in their match than you would generally see from two NJPW young lions at a similar experience level.  There were a pair of forearm exchanges.  Granted, it was forearms to the chest and not head but it still seems like an odd spot for guys that are supposed to be mastering the basics.  The short match ended with a full crab – half and full crabs are your main New Japan young lions moves – but everything leading up was a step up from I’d expect from two rookies.  Hard to judge the match itself but I question emphasizing forearm, no sell exchanges in matches between two guys with less than a year experience between them.

Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori (c) vs. Kenso & Mitsuya Nagai
All Japan Pro Wrestling
All Asia Tag Team Championship

Akiyama and Omori did not have much to work with here.  Kenso’s shtick as always come across as “trying too hard” to me.  The brawling portion of the match was generic and they didn’t do much in the ring either.  No heat for the match, even in Korakuen.  Omori and Akiyama were fine but both have had much better performances in the past year.

Joe Doering & Suwama vs. Go Shiozaki & Kento Miyahara
All Japan Pro Wrestling

Seeing as how this was the final build to the next day’s Triple Crown title match, Doering and Go had shockingly little interaction.  They interacted, but not in any meaningful way to build to the title match.  Miyahara also was the best wrestler in the match which certainly wouldn’t help anyone get excited for the big match the following day.  Work was wise, this was fine, but the layout was odd for a prelude match.  Okay.


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