Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lucha Underground 6/22/16 Review

Things begin with a video showing that the Gift of the Gods Title was recently cashed in. We also see Famous B/Mascarita Sagrada footage and hype for Black Lotus vs. Dragon Azteca Jr.

Dario Cueto is with someone in his office that he puts over like crazy. He says that this guy is from the jaguar tribe. We've never seen him before. He talks about six people competing to win aztec medallions tonight, but he gives this guy, introduced as Night Claw, a medallion and he will make his debut in the Gift of the Gods Title match at Ultima Lucha Dos. He also says that the jaguar tribe was the first of the original tribes to be taken out by the gods.

Gift of the Gods Aztec Medallion Match: Daga def. Mascarita Sagrada w/ Famous B and Brenda in 2:08
I love the pairing of Mascarita and Famous B. Hell, I love everything Famous B does. Daga was a bit confused on what to do with his opponent. Kobra Moon was watching from somewhere atop the Temple. Sagrada came close with a big rana on Daga. Daga came back and wrapped into a submission to win a medallion. It was weird to see because Daga turned Mascarita away from the referee as he was tapping out.

Famous B and Brenda enter to check on Mascarita. From out of nowhere, Famous B superkicks Mascarita and starts yelling at Brenda. Famous B says that Mascarita embarrassed him. He then proceeds to beat Mascarita with his shoe.

More from Dario, who speaks with Dragon Azteca Jr. Dario tells him that Black Lotus believes his dad killed her parents, which is why she protects Matanza. Dario tells him about the Lotus/Azteca match made for Ultima Lucha Dos and wants him to get his vengeance in front of the world.

Gift of the Gods Aztec Medallion Match: Killshot, Marty Martinez and Siniestro de la Muerta def. Cortez Castro, Joey Ryan and Mr. Cisco in 8:03
The winning team would all earn a medallion and spots in the Gift of the Gods Championship match at Ultima Lucha Dos. Marty and Killshot have beefing so of course Dario puts them together. Marty gave Killshot back his dog tags as a show of good faith before the bell. Ryan kind of called the shots for his team, which is great if you follow the behind the scenes segments and know that Ryan and Castro are undercover cops working with Cisco, a criminal. This was the usual fun you'd expect from everyone involved, and included an awesome spot from Killshot where he stepped on Cortez's chest to launch into a moonsault onto everyone else outside. Marty and Killshot ended up working well together as Marty curb stomped Cisco before Killshot finished him off. Marty took back the dog tags though. ***

Gift of the Gods Aztec Medallion Match: Mariposa and Sexy Star def. Ivelisse and Taya in 9:48
Like the last match, the winning team get medallions. Both duos dislike their partners, making for more strange bedfellows. A lot of good interactions here. Sexy and Taya did well together but when we got Mariposa against Ivelisse, things were great. I'd love to see them have a legit singles match at some point. Things got a bit ugly down the line as Mariposa shoved Sexy Star after an argument. Ivelisse and Sexy have some really good back and forth though Taya runs in and accidentally takes out Ivelisse. She didn't seem too upset about it and it opened the door for Mariposa to hit the air raid crash on Ivelisse and then throw Sexy onto her for the win. Another really fun match that advanced angles. It's the Lucha Underground staple. ***1/4

For the first time ever, Prince Puma came out and addressed the Temple. He talked about what his plans were for Ultima Lucha Dos and said there was only one match he wanted. He was told by Konnan that he could be the next Rey Mysterio, but he wants to find out if he's better. This brought out Mysterio, who talked about being a pioneer. He respects Puma but he's still a prince and Rey is a king. He accepted the challenge for Ultima Lucha Dos.

Overall: 7/10. Another solid episode from Lucha Underground. The Famous B stuff was highly entertaining and I get to see Daga at Ultima Lucha. The two tag matches were both good and continued storylines at the same time. Add in the final segment, which set up a major match and you've got a winning formula.

If you do want to check out Lucha Underground, which you absolutely should, and don't get El Rey Network (like me), you can sign up for the streaming service Fubo.TV. It's a great way to support the company and channel while streaming the show online. You can sign up and get Lucha Underground right here with!

G1 Climax 23 Day Six Review

G1 Climax 23 Day Six
August 7th, 2013 | Sendai, Japan

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty, with only four nights remaining in the tournament.

Block B
Kota Ibushi (6) vs. Shelton X Benjamin (4)

If this was Shelton in 2005, it would be very interested. As it stands, I’m still somewhat intrigued. I have to point out that the ring sounds weird here. Ibushi tries a dive outside but Shelton stops him and then proceeds to toss him from guardrail to ring apron. Why don’t more people try that? Due to that, Shelton has the advantage, playing the monster. Shelton pulls up Ibushi from a pin. I get that he’s trying to play the dick monster heel somewhat, but that’s just stupid in such an important tournament. Obviously, it opens the door for Ibushi to start firing off shots. Ibushi snaps off a rana and then nails a moonsault to the outside. Inside, Ibushi gains momentum but runs into a huge superkick for a very close near fall. Benjamin gets another with a German before Ibushi goes into his offense. He hits a backflip kick and standing shooting star press, but his Shelton gets knees up on the moonsault. Ibushi goes to springboard in, but gets caught with a midair Paydirt.

Winner: Shelton X Benjamin (6) in 10:20
On the higher side of openers so far in the tournament. Both guys worked hard and played their roles well. Shelton was doing very good heel work, while Ibushi came off as a great resilient babyface who made a key mistake with a high risk move. I do think it could have been crisper in some points though. ***½

Block B
Karl Anderson (6) vs. Toru Yano (2)

Karl Anderson beats Yano to the punch with a pre-match attack. He puts on Yano’s jacket and steals his taunt. I feel like they would do the same stuff a year later if I remember correctly. The fight spills way out into the crowd and involves some chairs. Yano just beats the countout at 19. Someone has to get counted out soon so we can actually buy into one of these teases. In the ring, Anderson takes control. He’s done his homework and avoids the usual Yano tricks for the most part. That is, until Yano slingshots him into an exposed buckle. Then, from out of nowhere, Yano is Yano, scoring the upset with a rollup, following a low blow of course.

Winner: Toru Yano (4) in 7:24
Honestly, this was probably the best Yano match of the tournament so far. It looked like he and Anderson just went out and had some fun, so it made for a good showing. Enjoyable stuff. **¾

Block A
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (4) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (4)

The match they’d go on to have the following year was actually pretty fantastic. It’s hard hitting from the start, which is just what I want from these two. Smith is the strong of the two men, showcasing that, but it’s Ishii with the first major move. He then lays into Smith with chops and strikes. Smith looks for a superplex, but Ishii wiggles free and scores on a powerbomb. A bit of Smith’s own medicine. Smith eats a lariat and powers up, though he still ends up being taken down. Still, Smith starts hitting offense and scores two on a second rope suplex. I try not to call the second rope ones superplexes. Ishii avoids the powerbomb at first, but Smith is resilient and ends up nailing it. Ishii surprises many by kicking out. Ishii seems to get more popular by the show. They move back up with Ishii hitting the second rope suplex for two this time. It may have been more of a Brainbuster but it was hard to tell. Smith comes back with a tiger suplex for two. He blocks a kick, hits a lariat for two and then puts Ishii down with a running powerbomb.

Winner: Davey Boy Smith Jr. (6) in 11:17
Not quite on the level of their G1 24 match. Still, this was really good stuff. Both guys hit each other hard, drew the fans in with some close near falls near the end and just had strong efforts from both men. ***½

Block B
Minoru Suzuki (4) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (6)

Takahashi has his ladies again and even cuts a pre-match promo. After losing two straight, I guess he has to do something to get his mojo back. Suzuki shuts him up with a boot, making me love him even more. Since there was no fighting out of the ring in the last match, we get back to it here. Takahashi takes over and throws Suzuki around a bit. Once inside, Takahashi is a complete idiot because he slaps and disrespects Suzuki. Of course it turns out badly for him. Suzuki proceeds to kick his ass in and around the ring. Eventually, they trade blows in the center of the ring. Takahashi rakes the eyes to win out but Suzuki catches him with the sleeper. Yujiro breaks free and picks up some near falls, including one on a moonsault. Yujiro again slips free of the sleeper but Suzuki manages to fully lock it in shortly after. The Gotch style piledriver scores for the 1-2-3.

Winner: Minoru Suzuki (6) in 10:31
Once again, I can’t really get into Takahashi. Suzuki was tremendous in this, coming off as one bad son of a bitch like he’s well known for. He made this worth watching. **¾

Block A
Lance Archer (4) vs. Togi Makabe (4)

As has become the norm in his matches, Archer instantly establishes his size/power upper hand. Of course there is the obligatory brawling on the outside. Archer is in complete control for the first few minutes. Makabe starts to rally but it’s tough as he still has to withstand shots from the much larger Archer. Archer gets two on a big lariat and then misses a moonsault. They trade big boots and lariats before Archer looks for his finisher. Makabe slips out but is too hurt to capitalize, just hitting the mat. He ducks a lariat and nails an impressive German for two. They move things to the top where Makabe hits the spider German. He follows with the King Kong Knee Drop and gets the win.

Winner: Togi Makabe (6) in 9:07
Considering this was two tough guys hammering away on each other, I feel like I should have liked it more than I did. It wasn’t bad by any means mind you. Something just didn’t click the way I hoped it would. A decent hard hitting affair. **½

Block B
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4) vs. Tetsuya Naito (6)

You’ve got one of the wily veterans of the tournament and a younger, more athletic favorite. It worked pretty well when Naito met Nagata. Early back and forth with nothing of real interest going on. Tenzan has the early advantage, but one miss allows the much quicker Naito to score with a dropkick. The fans chant for Naito, which he seems to appreciate. Despite this, Tenzan again gets in control, reeling off a bunch of offense in a row. None of it is really looking like something that would beat Naito. Naito begins a comeback and sets Tenzan up top. Tenzan headbutts him to the mat and follows with a diving headbutt for two. Tenzan clubs away until Naito scores on an enziguri. Surprisingly, he misses the Stardust Press so Tenzan slaps on the Anaconda Vise. Naito turns it over into a pinning combination that gets two. He fires off some weak looking slaps but runs into a lariat. Tenzan puts the Vice back on but Naito won’t quit. He ends up climbing to the top and winning via moonsault.

Winner: Hiroyoshi Tenzan (6) in 12:20
Like the previous bout, something just didn’t work for me here. Tenzan dominated for the most part and Naito kind of looked like a chump. Strange match that never meshed well. **½

Block A
Prince Devitt (6) vs. Satoshi Kojima (6)

Guess how this one starts? A few minutes in and Devitt goads Kojima outside, where he follows Fale and allows Devitt to get a cheap shot in. You would think somebody would have caught on to this strategy by now. Devitt pulls a Yano, exposing the turnbuckle and sending Kojima into it. He continues with heel work until Kojima fires up. He lays into Devitt with chops but Devitt is back on the offensive for a bit. He goes up and nails the diving double foot stomp to the back of Kojima’s head for two. That would have ended the match in NXT for the most part. Like a dick, Devitt wants to try Kojima’s lariat but it’s blocked. Kojima scores on a cutter only for Fale to eventually pull the referee out of the ring. Fale distracts Kojima so Devitt whacks him with a chair. Kojima no sells and lays him out. Fale comes in and hits the Samoan drop. Diving double foot stomp onto the chair but that isn’t enough. That move hasn’t worked at all. Bloody Sunday however, does the trick.

Winner: Prince Devitt (8) in 9:02
At this point, it’s the same old story with Devitt matches. There is a lot of potential in them, but they get marred by a bunch of interference. It works to get more heat but doesn’t make for the best matches. ***

Block A
Katsuyori Shibata (6) vs. Kazuchika Okada (4)

This is a matchup that I’ve wanted to see for a long time but never have. Right from the bell, Shibata proceeds to beat the stuffing out of Okada with vicious strikes. It’s like he knows that he’s a man and Okada’s just a boy. Okada comes back with some of his own shots though they’re not on the level of Shibata. They take things outside, where Shibata just continues the assault. Some of the kicks he lays in just look like Okada won’t be able to breathe after. Okada beats the count back in and Shibata just MURDERS him with kicks. After some kicks to the leg, Shibata locks in a figure four. Okada gets out and starts going into his typical offense. Okada does the Rainmaker pose and just gets slapped. They trade shots and again it’s clear that Okada is out of his depth. Shibata gets in more offense and applies a Boston crab. Okada screams like it’s the most painful submission he’s ever been in. He survives though and nails his signature dropkick, followed by the Tombstone. Rainmaker connects and Okada wins.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada (6) in 9:13
I really loved the first two-thirds of this match. Shibata looks like a beast and annihilates the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. I was not a fan of Okada just hitting a few moves at the end to win. I get that Shibata got a bit cocky and it cost him; it seemed cheap though. Still, everything up to the ending was fantastic. ****

Block B
Shinsuke Nakamura (6) vs. Yuji Nagata (6)

They feel each out other, working the mat for a bit. In a completely unsurprising move, the fight goes outside where Nakamura sends Nagata into the guardrail. Back inside, Nakamura is in full control. Nagata starts coming back with some loud kicks, finishing with a big boot. An exploder earns him two. Both men trade offense now, with neither gaining a clear advantage. They go into an exchange of forearm shots. It seems like Nagata is the one hitting harder. He ducks a kick only to eat another one. Nakamura hits a backstabber and suplex before calling for the Boma Ye. Nagata is ready, greeting him with a spinning heel kick and Brainbuster for two. He goes into the armbar, complete with theatrics, but Nakamura reaches the ropes. Nakamura eats a German, rolls up and nails Boma Ye. He’s too hurt to cover, so they start trading blows until Nakamura hits another running knee. He charges unto a great belly to belly, but is up with two more Boma Ye’s. Nagata kicks out. One more Boma Ye is finally enough.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura (8) in 13:55
This match follows a similar theme to most of the rest of this tournament. It isn’t great. However, it happens to be good and a really solid match. Both guys worked hard and had good chemistry. ***½

Block A
Hirooki Goto (8) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4)

It’s still weird seeing the losing record by Tanahashi’s name. Like the last match, this starts with a feeling out process. Both guys are trying to gain the advantage without making a crucial mistake. It is Goto that gets the first string of offense going, on the outside with a lariat and some work on the guardrail itself. Goto is working at a pretty methodical pace. It’s giving me slight heel vibes. Tanahashi ends up sending Goto outside and hits HIGH FLY FLOW out there. Once inside though, Goto it back at it with a corner heel kick. After an exchange of shots, Tanahashi connects with slingblade and both men are down. Straight jacket suplex from Tanahashi gets two. He misses High Fly Flow and Goto hits a big lariat to the back of the head. Goto thinks he has it with a neckbreaker but Tanahashi kicks out. He tries Shouten Kai but Tanahashi blocks. He tries to fight only for Goto to headbutt him in the shoulder, which Tanahashi sells beautifully. Tanahashi blocks it again and goes up top. Goto stops him up there, Tanahashi turns it into a sunset flip bomb for two. He holds on, following with the Styles Clash before going up and hitting High Fly Flow to win.

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi (6) in 15:30
Another strong, solid match in this tournament. Tanahashi and Goto have both been pretty consistent and it continued here. They did a good job of countering each other and delivering a good match. ***½

Overall: 7/10. Honestly, there has yet to be a bad show in this tournament. Most of it hasn’t been blow away great, but there were a lot of solid matches on this card. The best thing was watching Shibata murder Okada. The entire card, top to bottom was pretty good and entertaining, but I don’t think there’s anything that I would classify as an absolute must see.

Block A Standings
Hirooki Goto 8 points
Prince Devitt 8 points
Satoshi Kojima 6 points
Hiroshi Tanahashi 6 points
Togi Makabe 6 points
Kazuchika Okada 6 points
Katsuyori Shibata 6 points
Davey Boy Smith Jr. 6 points
Lance Archer 4 points
Tomohiro Ishii 4 points

Block B Standings
Shinsuke Nakamura 8 points
Yuji Nagata 6 points
Shelton X Benjamin 6 points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 6 points
Minoru Suzuki 6 points
Yujiro Takahashi 6 points
Kota Ibushi 6 points
Tetsuya Naito 6 points
Karl Anderson 6 points
Toru Yano 4 points