Sunday, 17 February 2013

Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler, Main Event 2/13

This was just a really, really fun match. It started off pretty ordinary, like something you'd see them work on a house show, but once Del Rio took that wicked shoulder bump into the post this became something worth highlighting. As you'd expect from this match, both guys took some really wild bumps that you wouldn't necassarily expect for a B-Show. Del Rio getting launched over the top and planted face first on to the steps and the huge reverse superplex were both spectacular. But there was some meat on the bones of the match too, and I thought Dolph did a really good job when in control. Entertaining offence and great timing on the cut-offs. Del Rio has transitioned into a face role almost shoickingly well - his mannerisms, body language, and the emotion he shows leaves you wondering why he was ever a heel in the first place. The crowd were hot, and Del Rio brought them to boiling point. Ricardo was also wonderful as always, loved the spot with him tossing a bucket ineffectually at Big E., and him drumming on the apron in anticipation for the superkick.

I haven't paid much attention to Main Event, but with matches like this it could quickly fill the void left by Superstars' descent into mediocrity. No angle or nonsense to ruin things, just two talented workers having an awesome match together and having a blast doing it.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

So with Ditch's big Best Of Japan 2000s vote in the final stage, I will also be re-watching and reviewing some of the biggest and best matches from the decade in Japan here as well. We start with a match I had as my MOTY for 2000, a probably lock for a Top 10 finish. These may be longer and more in-depth than my usual reviews, largely because context is often important in understanding why some of these matches are so great, but also because, hey, I like talking about stuff I enjoy.

Mitsuharu Misawa vs Jun Akiyama, All Japan 2/27/00

Context is important. At this point in time, Akiyama was coming into his own and establishing himself as a serious main event threat, no longer just a secondary wrestler. Misawa meanwhile had dropped the title to both Kawada and Kobashi over the couple years beforehand, he was no longer seen as unbeatable. Going from stablemates, to tag team partners, to rivals, the young lion had grown up and was ready to overcome the old lion.

The opening exchange with both men dodging each other's attacks before Misawa gets the advantage with a big dive on the overly-zealous Akiyama is so great and totally King's Road. Playing off both men's familiarity with each other and their respective personalities - Misawa, keeping a cool head as ever; Akiyama, fired up and letting his emotions get the best of him. Misawa controls the early portion of the match but it isn't long until Akiyama finds an opening to give him a signficant advantage. One drop toe-hold throat-first into the guard rail and the complexion of the match totally changes. Akiyama targets the now-hurt neck of Misawa and absolutely goes to town on it. Unlike a bunch of legwork, this is a strategy that could (and would) pay dividends due to Akiyama's Exploder finisher. Akiyama exploits the weakness and really lays on the attack, with offence ranging from piledrivers to the floor, funky neck cranks and an ungodly Exploder onto the apron.

Misawa valiently tries to mount comebacks but, every time, Akiyama cuts him off with more attacks to the neck. This strategy allows Akiyama to believably control most of the match and gain enough momentum where the idea of him winning doesn't seem absurd like it may have done in years gone by. When Misawa does attempt comebacks, his offence is explosive and he continues to sell the damage to the neck. There is one great instance where he briefly gets a reprise, and goes straight for the Facelock of Doom in attempt to neutralize Akiyama. Moments later, Akiyama dropkicks him off the top rope to floor and goes back to the neck crushing.

Akiyama's strategy builds to truly epic final minutes as he throws bomb after bomb at Misawa, all doing more damage to the bad neck. At this point, there is an undeniable sense that Akiyama is drawing closer to the win. In true Misawa fashion, the green one manages to catch his second wind and the tide turns. Misawa matches are often structured this way, with him getting demolished for most of the match then catching a second wind, and gaining enough momentum to become near-unstoppable. And, just as it seems this is the case here, with Misawa inching closer and closer to victory himself, it's Akiyama who gets a second wind of his own and shuts Misawa down in an instant. The final minute of the match may be the most defining of Akiyama's career - he gets to his feet, still with plenty left in the tank despite having weathered Misawa's comeback, and proceeds to once again drop Misawa with bomb after bomb until the Wrist-Clutch Exploder seals the deal in decisive fashion.

A truly phenomenal match, and for my money, Akiyama's defining moment as a singles wrestler. This is almost certainly the best "student overcomes his teacher" match ever. Misawa was also incredible in his performance, selling huge for Akiyama and absolutely dying for the big spots. Combine this with a crowd that was electric for all the key moments, and the historical significance of the outcome, I can't see this falling outside of the Top 5 for me. I still have a couple matches from the year that could change this opinion, but after re-watching, this still stands firmly as my MOTY for 2000 and the best singles match of Akiyama's career.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Royal Rumble 2013

Alberto Del Rio vs The Big Show (Last Man Standing)

Another really, really good match between these two. At this point I think the Last Man Standing is probably the WWE's best gimmick match - most of them are really good to great, and I can only think of one off my head that was outright bad (HHH vs Michaels). This had more of Show continuing one of the best runs of his career, just playing the monster like a boss. Some crazy feats of strength (deadlifting Del Rio up to the platform) as well as some athletically impressive stuff for a 400lb 40 year old. How many guys that age and shape can take a rana that cleanly? Del Rio's offence was much sharper than usual, though I could still live without seeing a hundred superkicks a match. Of course, this wouldn't be a hardcore Del Rio match without atleast one totally nutty, wreckless bump, and boy did that Chokeslam off the stage through the table look nasty. I loved JBL selling the nearfall like fuck as well. "WE GOT US A FIGHT". Ricardo was brilliant as usual in his role, and I liked how the armwork paid off with a twist on the Cena vs Batista finish.

Team Hell No vs Rhodes Scholars

This was totally average, plain Jane, run of the mill, whatever. No different to a match these guys would have had on TV with no build. Bryan got to work FIP, but the heel's heat section was pretty dry. There was the awkwardly botch neckbreaker between Sandow and Kane. Not bad, but passable to say the least.

Royal Rumble

I'm hesitant to call this the best Rumble in recent years, as it's a pretty empty compliment, but this was strong at points. Ziggler was always going to be the marathon man, but Jericho as number two was a well done surprise that brought the sort of in-match fued that makes Rumbles worthwhile. There was some fun schtick early on, with the likes of Santino and the much improved Titus O'Neil, and a good mix of heavy hitters and mid-carders through the middle stage of the match. Lost my shit for Goldust as a surprise entrant, and again, him and Cody going at it added that extra flavour that makes Rumbles fun. Kofi's annual gymnastic spot was again probably the most entertaining thing he'll do this year, even if the timing of it totally killed Bo's entrance. Speaking of Bo, the stuff with Barrett was interesting, but he totally failed to leave any sort of impression. He did nothing memorable offencively, this was not a Maven moment.

I was hoping for Lesnar or Taker as a surprise entrant, but even without that the match felt like it lost some momentum towards the end. Cara and Khali as late entrants were poor choices. Also on the downside, no one wrestler really stood out as giving a great performance here. People played their roles, but no one really stole the show. Cena winning wasn't a bad decision, but it felt very underwhelming as he should have had more offence/struggle in before eliminating Ryback.

Bump of the match goes to Drew Mac's flipping exit to the floor.

CM Punk vs The Rock

Straight off the bat this had a 'Big Fight' feel and some of the most heat for a WWE match in a long, long time. Heyman was awesome with his little cheapshots and expressions early on, and I liked how this was much more focused that Rock vs Cena. Playing off the Sheild attack and Punk's leg injury allowed them to build the body of the match around bodypart work, even if it never lead to much other than a Sharpshooter nearfall. Punk's big dive off the top was cool, as were some of the counters they busted out. The table botch was horribly awkward, but the Rock Bottom on the floor actually looked much more painful, which saved it somewhat. All of over-booking with the lights out and Rock going through the table, and Vince re-starting it was what it was. Rock's heroic speach came off a little corny, but the crowd were red hot for it, so it was fine. My only problem with the finish was that Rock really needed some more offence or struggle in before just Spinebuster > People's Elbow for the finish. It felt too easy for him to come back from all that with so little. Overall it was a good match, just not the classic it looked on paper.

Good show all round. Predictable, safe booking, but logical at the same time. Show and Del Rio continie to rule it on the Smackdown side of things, and Rock vs Cena II should atleast be better than the first match.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler, RAW 1/15 (Steel Cage Match)

This wasn't awful, but it was a pretty bog standard WWE cage match, and that's not something to get excited about. It was also easily the weakest match these two have had together. Like most WWE cage matches, most of it was just a tired contest to see who could run away from their opponent the quickest. There were some small highlights, such as Dolph's outstanding counter to the STF into the Sleeper, and the spot with Cena carrying him on his back up to the second rope before falling backwards, but that was about it. Oh, and the HUGE DDT of course. As much as Ziggler looked great here (stiff offence, good timing), this was also everything everyone hates about Cena. Not just the tired-to-the-point-of-parody comeback sequences, but the absolutely atrocious finish. What a steaming pile that was. WWE seem to be going out of their way to make it clear that even though Dolph got one win over Cena and can be competitive with him, Cena can still beat him and his whole posse with one hand tied behind his back.

AJ is also just awful at this point, a complete waste who takes all of the wrestler's heat and makes herself the focus. Get the fuck out.

Monday, 14 January 2013

CM Punk vs Ryback, RAW 1/7/13 (TLC Match)

This was a fun match without ever really being anything outstanding. Ryback's unstoppable terminator gimmick is fun, and it's easy to see why he is so over when he lets the audience decide which inanimate object he suplexes his opponent onto (whilest hoisting them up in the air). I also liked him going nuts and smashing Punk with the announce table lid. Punk attacking Ryback's leg served as a smart way for him to have some sustained offence. Ryback didn't sell it much at all, but I guess it could be argued that's part of the gimmick. Punk missing the chair stomp and tweaking his knee was a great piece of selling and a smart transition. Ryback did look somewhat limited here, as apart from the table charge, he didn't even come close to taking a bump. Punk made up for that with some disgusting bumps on the ladder and the out-of-nowhere dumping from the bulldog counter. The interference finish was what it was, but I doubt anyone is complaining about it.

Also, Heyman is still as great as ever in a managerial role. His yells of excitement and despair are hysterical.

 The Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio, Smackdown 1/11/13 (Last Man Standing Match)

 This was pretty great and the best thing of 2013 so far. All of the big spots were really simple, but really clever (why wouldn't you press slam a guy through a table 2 minutes in if you could?). I wasn't sure of Del Rio as a face, but he won me over big and made the win feel really emotional. He isn't a particularly stiff worker, but his style of brawling is so scrappy and he is always willing to throw himself around and take a boatload of punishment. Big Show was great as the unstoppable monster as he always is, the guy just GETS IT. He will take 10 shots and only stagger, but can put his opponent down with one blow. That's how you present yourself as a monster. This was particularly great for the finish where Del Rio just rammed him repeatedly with the steel steps. Lots of big spots - the table press slam, the dropkick through the table, the barricade-collapsing charge, and a really clever nearfall with Del Rio breaking the count by landing on his feet as he rolled to the floor. Just like Show's title win from Sheamus, I was ready to complain that it was the wrong move, but the match won me over. Del Rio earned the title by proxy of surviving such a colossal ass-kicking, and I'm excited to see where both guys go from here.
So, over year later, I'm giving this thing a shot again. Due to the constraints of real life, I won't be writing nearly as much as I did last time around. I will probably keep this focused on WWE/US wrestling, with maybe the odd puro or lucha match here and there that I think is especially worth drawing attention to. Let's see how long this lasts.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sami Callihan vs Brodie Lee, EVOLVE 8

Holy stiffness Batman! This was exactly the war you want these two guys to have. Right at the bell Sami rips Brodie's shirt off to lay in the chops and Brodie responds with an almighty pimp-hand. The chops both guys gave out were ungodly. They also played up the big vs small story well, with moments like Sami struggling to hit suplexes on the big man and your "cutting the big tree down" spot. Sami was intense as always, taking the straps down at one point and spitting on his hands to give a chop a little bit more muster. Brodie takes some huge bumps for a guy his size, includng missing a big boot in the corner and flying out of the ring. This was followed by Sami hitting a big dive that destroyed the railing behind them. Brodie repeatedly dumping Sami on the apron was mean. Finish was great with Sami hitting a stiff-as-a-motherfuck diving forearm and then the Stretch Muffler with kicks to the head. Just a war of a match.

Go Shiozaki vs Takeshi Morishima, NOAH 6/11

This was another depressing reminder of how uninteresting NOAH has become. Morishima was pretty solid I guess, and threw his weight around effectively. I dug his various butt attacks and him countering a suplerplex by just falling on top of Shiozaki. But still this was just a long, boring, plodding generic heavyweight match. Yawn.

Munenori Sawa vs Ikuto Hidaka, Zero-ONE 11/9

This was Sawa's retirement match, and it really was what you would expect that to be. I guess I can't hate on it too much becuase it was a nice send-off and a crowd-pleaser, but as a match it was entirely predictable. Sawa gets to run through his spots, play to crowd and generally feel good about himself. Their strikes were pretty tame, and it was just so long and aimless (like most puro juniors matches). Hidaka got a few ankle lock nearfalls in which were tediously long and had zero chance of winning the match. Plenty of annoying Sawa gymnastics, goofy faces and no-selling, and Hidaka pretty much waiting for Sawa to hit him with Shining Wizards was irritating. Atleast the KO finish looked pretty sick and the right guy won.

Mark Henry vs Daniel Bryan, WWE Smackdown 11/29 (Steel Cage)

Another great TV match between these two, and their best yet. Not only did this feel like a huge match, but both guys came out looking fucking legit. Henry was superb in this, managing to murder Bryan in brutal ways early on (slingshot into the cage?), but then selling his ass off and giving him enough offence that Bryan looked like he took him to the level. A heel working an injury angle can be hit and miss, but thanks to the booking it was used as a chink in Henry's armour for Bryan to expoit. As the match went on, Henry was reduced to just running into Bryan with clotheslines to cut him off (and they looked brutal thanks to both guys). The sequences with the Lebell lock countered then countered again into the Ankle lock was crazy and a HUGE nearfall for Bryan that looked as close to finishing Henry as anyone has come since he won the belt. Final minutes were way dramatic and the finish was epic. Henry came out looking like he had just been given hell, and Bryan looked legit for giving him such a harsh storm to weather. Also, Henry yelling "Happy New Year" at Bryan as he beat the crud out of him was hilarious.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Survivor Series

Dolph Ziggler vs John Morrison

Really good mid-card match, kind of like what they would have in a Superstars main event spot. Morrison continues to look infinitely better than he did this time last year, hitting all his flashy athletic stuff really fluidly, and Ziggler is currently on a hot streak of quality matches. Plenty of cool spots and counters, exchanges that kept you guessing, and they did a really great job of getting the most out of their moveset for hot nearfalls (the Sleeper, the Fame-asser, the running knee, etc).

Randy Orton/Sheamus/Kofi Kingston/Mason Ryan/Sin Cara vs Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes/Jack Swagger/Dolph Ziggler/Hunico (Elimination)

WWE usually has no idea how to book these kind of big elimination tag matches, and whilest this one actually did have some solid booking going on, it was still a pretty drab affair. Cara injuring himself early obviously fucked up their plans and caused them to change it up, which didn't help. Way too much Mason Ryan, too much Kofi and too much Hunico. Not that I have much against Hunico (other than his lack of ring attire), but he's clearly the weakest worker on the heel side. Sheamus getting DQ'd was probably the cheapest way of protecting him, but atleast the finish was smartly booked with Wade and Cody both getting to look like a big deal without Orton losing face.

Mark Henry vs The Big Show

This was really dissapointing. I wouldn't go far enough to say it sucked, because they did enough right, but it was easily both men's worst match of the year. It was laid out pretty well, and the count-out nearfall playing off Summerslam was pretty smart, but the action was dull, and the crowd shitting all over it made it worse. That said, I will never hate a match that sees The Big Show doing a goddamn top rope elbow drop. Merciful Mother Of Fuck, that was one of the most insane things I have ever seen in wrestling.

Alberto Del Rio vs CM Punk

This was a good match, but I'd be lying if I said I was really into it. Despite the shitty build, I was still excited as it's two of the better workers in the company, but I thought this should have been much better. Took a long time to really get out of first gear, and the duelling arm-work (which kept the match interesting most of the way) didn't really go anywhere or get sold in a meaningful until the very end. Del Rio's best attributes as a worker (charisma, taking wicked bumps) weren't really shown, and I kinda hated the finish with Punk catching him in the Vice mere seconds after having his arm almost ripped out it's socket.

The Rock/John Cena vs Awesome Truth

First, let's talk about The Rock. He looked great, hadn't lost a beat. It'll be different working a singles match, but still. Those armdrags were SNAPPY, he took bumps, his charisma and presence is un-matched and he even busted out a freakin' Magistral Cradle. As a match this bombed, but literally had zero chance of ever being good. The "feuding partners" deal pretty much never makes a good match, especially when the WWE seemed to put so much effort into making it clear the heels had no chance of winning. Cena worked hard bumping and selling for them, but Awesome Truth just aren't a good in-ring team, which made most of the match a massive chore with everyone just waiting for The Rock. While this didn't make me any more excited about the WM28 main event, it did make me wish for Rock to return as a full or part-time roster member. Really it is a collosal waste that this might be one of the only two Rock matches we get, and only further highlights the stupidity and conservative nature of the WWE. Bah.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Low Ki vs Frankie Arion, CTWE 9/24

Pretty fun superstar vs local indy hero match. Ki is a big enough star at this point that him stepping into a small time promotion like this feels like a big moment for them, and Arion was pretty game. Arion doesn't do anything that will wow you or leave a lasting impression, but he was better than your average scrub and executed all his stuff well. Still, this was pretty much all Low Ki. He was really vicious early on when working Arion over, including some sick headbutts to the back of the neck and dumping him hard on the floor, and when it came time for Frankie's big comeback run, Ki put his offence over huge. One or two spots were slightly goofed and looked really over co-operative, but still a fun match of this kind and a great look at Ki in this role.

Suwama vs Jun Akiyama, All Japan 10/23

This was a good match, but definitely not the MOTYC it is being lauded at on some boards. The match on it's own is fine, but it's the emotion and outcome that puts it over the top and will probably lead to it being overated. 2/3 of the way in I was pretty on the fence about it and was wondering if when people call matches like this "King's Road" they actually understand what that means or wether they think it just means "suplexes off the apron", but the final third or so was pretty great and saved it. Akiyama's selling of the back, facial expressions, etc. were all pretty great, but that is what I have come to expect from a talent of his calibre. There was one uber-lame no-sell suplex exchange, which felt very forced and out-of-place. "This is a big NOAH/AJ title match, we have to do atleast one suplex fighting spirit spot" even if it was just as Suwama began regaining control of the match. Suwama in control is pretty dry and uninteresting, but atleast he tries to mix it up by busting out stuff like dives and an enziguri(!?). Anyway yeah, fine match that became great in the final section. Plenty of struggle and focus on transitions there, and I actually thought the kickout at 1>fire-up spot (which I usually cringe at) worked really well here as far as making Suwama look legit in the "ace" role and making the mountain Akiyama had to climb even bigger. Then there was THAT headbutt! Then a cradle nearfall!? Yeah. Good match though far from flawless or a MOTYC.

Drew McIntyre vs John Morrison, WWE Superstars 11/3

Pretty great little superstars main event and a nice reminder that these guys are still there and tearing it up. Morrison's flashy athletic shit was used pretty well throughout and his big spots (the flip off the stairs, the twisting hilo over the ring post) were impressive. Drew Mac is still Drew Mac and beat the tar out of him, and sold his ass off to make Morrison's offence look great. Really liked Drew suckering Morrison in to smash him into the ring frame, and the way they set-up the finish was really well done.

Mark Henry vs Daniel Bryan, WWE Smackdown 11/4

Well this was an awesome TV main event. Not necassarily something that will stand out at the end of the year, but a perfectly booked match between two of the best talents going that did an effective job making both of them look good whilest also building to the next PPV. After weeks of being almost non-existent job fodder, Henry made Bryan look great. When he was murdering him, he was really fucking murdering him, but he also gave him just enough offence to look like he could have pulled out the upset. The crowd pretty much exploded for Bryan's big comeback attempt, and the finish and everything after was good shit too.

William Regal vs Dean Ambrose, FCW 11/6

I remember the first time I ever saw Jon Moxley, it was a short squash against some masked doofus in CZW and thought "this guy looks like an indy William Regal with the way he is beating up this dork". Fast forward a couple years and this match happened. And it was GREAT. Regal cuts a promo early in the show making this feel like it is important for him as well as Ambrose, and that is how the match played out, with Regal seemingly more motivated than usual. He was just so good in this match, coming up with really unique clever ways to torture Ambrose, like tying his arm in the turnbuckle. And Ambrose's heelish one-armed comeback was fucking great too, just as him talking shit to Regal whilest being strangled with his own arm was. Really cut a fine balance between acting like an unlikable young prick, and a tough SOB you couldn't help but respect. I could have done with one final Ambrose comeback attempt before the finish, but he survived enough that when it was all said and done, he looked like the toughest motherfucker in FCW, and Regal looked like a killer. Great match.

William Regal vs Daniel Bryan, WWE Superstars 11/10

Two awesome Regal matches in the space of a week, yes that is what we need. With this being in the UK, Regal was really over, and Bryan worked almost in a heelish manner (refusing to break clean, taking cheapshots, etc). I wasn't expecting it and it made the match even more interesting. There was some slick chain wrestling to start with Regal looking absurdly quick and nimble for a 43 year old, and when they started laying it in the blows were stiff as fuck. At one point it looked like Bryan almost kicked Regal's head into the third row. As well as the student vs teacher story going on, Bryan targetted Regal's leg in a number of nifty ways. It didn't really lead to anything, especially when Bryan's finisher is an arm submission, but whatever, this was good. Also: Real Man's Man!

Mark Henry vs Daniel Bryan, WWE Smackdown 11/11

Much shorter than their first match, and not a main event so it felt less important. Still, it accomplished the same stuff the first match did (making both guys look strong), and what they did get time to do was good. Bryan managing to get the Lebell Lock in on Henry felt like a big moment, and Henry countering by straight-up deadlifting him into a slam was nuts.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Akira Tozawa vs Dingo, ACW "Guilty By Association"

Kinda borderline-ish, but I liked it enough. Both guys hit all their offence really well and lay in a really stiff beating on each other. Tozawa looked like he was pretty much making full contact with those bicycle kicks to the face. Dingo posts his hand and Tozawa works his arm a bit, including smashing it with chairs. Dingo makes a comeback after cutting off a dive attempt with a sick chairshot to the face, and goes to work on Tozawa. I was a fan of him in IWA:MS, so I am glad he Terry Funk'd his retirement. At one point he started kneeing Tozawa in the temple in an almost Regal-ish manner. Finishing run was good, I really liked Dingo's counter into a choke, and the crowd was pretty much going nuts throughout.

MASADA vs Jimmy Jacobs, ACW "Guilty By Association" (Hardcore)

This was solid, but a little underwhelming and couldn't top the match before it. A few minutes into the match both guys go the floor and fill the ring with chairs. The whole "ring of chairs" deal has created some great matches and moments before, but here I think it kind of restricted them later on. The brawling was all pretty good, and Jacobs spiking MASADA in the head was really horrifying, but without feeling like a gross-out exhibition. Jacobs took a number of wicked bumps, including an electric chair drop across chairs which he sold like it broke his tailbone. Jacobs also did a good job holding together the end run with a couple swank guilletine choke counters. The finish saw MASADA counter the Contra Code into a tombstone. Also as an aside that has no bearing on the match - the ACW commentators are god-awful.

Big Van Walter vs Finlay, wXw "Surprise"

Not an epic, but another good match from the Finlay Indy Run. They played up the big vs small story well, with Finlay having to work to knock Walter off his feet, where Walter just floored him constantly with ease. Both guys hit hard with Walter wailing on Finlay for most of the match. Finlay sells the back work like you would expect Finay to, I especially liked him not being able to hit the Celtic Cross because of it. The finish was not one I was expecting, with both guys brawling on the floor and Walter getting DQ'd for killing Finlay with a chair, but it came off feeling pretty organic and violent. This is just screaming for a re-match.

Jigsaw vs Obariyon, Chikara "Small But Mighty"

Pretty fun opening match. Very compact with a hot crowd, and worked at a good pace with a fair number of cool spots. Obariyon managed to counter a brainbuster into a lungblower and not have it looked totally contrived, and also hit an impressive deadlift slam on Jig (not that Jig is big, but Obariyon is also small-ish). Watching this I got the impression the Obariyon and Kodama may be two of the best scrubs Chikara have brought up in a while. They don't do stupid comedy or lame puro-nerd fanboy spots and actually execute their stuff pretty cripsly as well as having gimmicks that aren't goofy. Hopefully they continue to improve.

Eddie Kingston vs Kobald, Chikara "Small But Mighty"

Short match that was essentially a glorified handicap match with one of the other Batiri dudes helping beat down Kingston 2-on-1 for most of the match. Not particularly gripping, but Kingston can make that atleast half-way entertaining just through his charisma and stiffness when wailing on the masked goons. Both backfists looked nasty, but I hope Kingston starts branching out of Chikara again soon.