Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
January 30, 2016 (Airdate: March 1, 2016)
Wembley Arena (London)
Describing the pacing of this match without making it sound like ridiculous hyperbole from someone who dislikes Angle, TNA or both is near impossible. So I won’t even try to dress it up.
The match starts with as token of an attempt at a feeling out process as there could be. Angle and Roode locked up, did a “we know each other well!” standoff, and then moved on. That opening took less than a minute. The next minute was basically the entire body of the match. They did some mid-range offense and a little over two minutes in, collided with a clothesline for a double knockout spot. Just to make it clear – they did a double KO spot to lead into the finish roughly 30% of the way into the match. The final six minutes of this eight and a half minute match was the standard Kurt Angle finishing stretch. Roode and Angle reversed each other’s submission finishes, countered each other’s non-submission finishes, and kicked out of a signature move or two. It was your typical Angle ending that he became so fond of and reliant upon after his feud(s) with Benoit.
It has been a while since I have seen Angle roll out his hyper-finishing sequence. He wrestled sparingly in 2015 (TNA ran sparingly in 2015) and it wasn’t like I caught every one of his matches even then. His sprint finishes are a nice treat every now and then (you get a stomach ache having to watch them every week) so I kind of liked the ending portion of the match. The thing is, the rest of the match was so ridiculously compressed that it was almost laughable. They literally dedicated more than two-thirds of a sub-nine minute match to the finishing run. Due to that, I am not sure it even felt like a full match; more like a semi-entertaining segment. I know Angle’s matches have traditionally been more finishing run heavy than the norm but this felt extreme to me.
If you are yearning – or like me, haven’t seen a match of his in a while – to see Angle do the same finisher trading stretch run he has been using for a decade and a half now, then you are in luck. Otherwise, it is just a bizarrely structured match with tired action.
Black Terry & Solar vs. Negro Casas & Blue Panther
February 28, 2016
While not a bad match, this was certainly a disappointing one. Things peaked with the first pairing (Solar and Blue Panther). Although not anywhere near the level of the first fall in their hyped 1994 AAA singles match, they worked a really fun and rather lengthy quick paced opening that felt a lot fresher and smoother than current Solar/Navarro sequences. Terry and Casas matched up which the fans were hyped for – really big reaction when they both entered the match – but their actual interaction was probably the most disappointing part of the match. Casas held onto a long sleeper hold not too long after they first locked up. The move felt out of place, did not lead anywhere interesting, and went onto long. In a vacuum Terry’s traditional back breaker escape was neat but fell flat in this setting. Those two eventually slugged it out but even that was rather mundane (perhaps a closer view of the ring would have helped with that).
The Solar/Casas exchanges were better than the Solar/Terry ones but both have done better recently. We only briefly saw Terry and Panther hook up, after their recently scheduled Toryumon Mexico match was canceled due to Panther no-showing (Solar subbed for Panther and had a decent match with Terry). In a rarity for him, Solar had a full on slip up when he stumbled while coming off the top turnbuckle and awkwardly tumbled to the mat. Of course if you are going to misstep like that it helps to have a ring of full of professionals all around you. Panther covered nicely with a quick inside cradle. My favorite move of the match was a flashy hair biel from Solar to Casas. I am not sure if that was their intent but the move looked good nonetheless.
When old guys have a subpar match it is tempting to blame the quality on their ages and talk about how they are getting old. Besides for Solar’s rope slip, there weren’t any notable senior moments from the four. They just didn’t click and have the kind of match they could have. They mainly stayed off of the mat which may have been a mistake but only because what they did standing was relatively lackluster. The match did not miss because Casas was slow or Panther couldn’t bump; it missed because the lay out and execution just were just on that level they are usually are with these four.
Latigo vs. Leo
January 16, 2016
Gimnasio Hercules (Mexico City, Mexico)
Jay Lethal (c) vs. Michael Elgin for the ROH World championship
New Japan Pro Wrestling
January 4, 2016
Kazuki Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto & Toshiyuki Sakuda vs. Atsushi Maruyama, Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Kazumi Kikuta
Big Japan Wrestling
January 4, 2016
Shin-Kiba 1st RING
Daichi Hashimoto might be in the need of some career counseling.
Daichi’s decision back in 2011 to begin his pro wrestling career in the promotion is father founded (ZERO1) not only made sense from a legacy standpoint but was also a fine from a career development point of view. ZERO1 was low profile enough but with enough veteran workers that it made sense as the home base for an inexperience wrestler who was going to have a lot of expectations placed on him. From an outsider’s perspective at least, Daichi’s career appeared to be heading down a fine path through the end of 2012 as he gained some experience wrestling on some NOAH tours and was scheduled to debut in New Japan by teaming with Keiji Mutoh at the Tokyo Dome. New Japan has always seemed like his ultimate destination – particularly if he is as interested in upholding his father’s legacy as he appears to be – and that would have gotten his foot in the door. Instead an injury caused him to pull out of the show. Another injury in 2014 again altered Daichi’s career path. While sidelined, Daichi’s ZERO1 contract expired and he decided not to renew. Continue reading
Posted in 2016, Japan, Other
Tagged **, 2016, Atsushi Maruyama, Big Japan, Daichi Hashimoto, Kazuki Hashimoto, Kazumi Kikuta, Tatsuhiko Yoshino, Toshiyuki Sakuda