Random Match Roundup #16

              Hello everyone and welcome to Random Match Roundup #16. This is the post where I review 5 random matches from anytime, anywhere. This is an interesting one, so without further ado, lets begin!                                                                                      

tomohiro-ishii-vs-chris-hero

Chris Hero vs. Tomohiro Ishii – RPW Global Wars UK 2016 Night 1

            This is, quite frankly, a dream match for me between two of my favorite wrestlers, and as soon as I found out about it I knew I needed to see it. Going in, I would have been content with a nice, little 4* dream match where neither guy puts in a ton of effort, but atmosphere and excitement make it memorable. In contrast, I got this. To say this was great would be an understatement. Everything here, from story to performances to action, was completely flawless. I am honestly at a loss for words. To start, Hero used his size frequently to stay in control over Ishii, while Ishii does his specialty, fighting from underneath. This is established in the first spot of the match, where Hero mocks Ishii’s size, shrugs off Ishii’s elbows, and decks him with one of his own. The first minute or so was one of the best minutes in wrestling ever. Then, with the story in mind, both guys play up the contrast, with Hero on top and Ishii making comebacks. Much of the first half consisted of Ishii attempting a brainbuster, but Hero countering. The story concluded when Ishii finally hit the move and then the action was more even. While the story was still in play, with the size disparity a huge factor, the first brainbuster shifted the match to be more back and forth. Also, I would be remiss if I don’t note how great Hero is at playing to a crowd. He had them in the palm of his hand and his actions drew sympathy for the face, Ishii. He is so underrated in the sense that Hero is, in my opinion, one of the best crowd workers of all time. Then, down the stretch, the action was as stiff and wonderful as anyone could imagine, with fighting spirit and great nearfalls. While the story still was in play, the focus was the awesome action and the will to win from Ishii. To describe more would be a disservice to the match, as I can’t do it justice. Just know, I loved it with all my heart. This is an easy MOTYC and one of my favorite matches ever. I loved this so much.

Rating: ****¾

kenoh-vs-hajima-ohara

Kenoh vs. Hajime Ohara – NOAH Destiny 2015

            I think that the crisp, impactful execution of all the moves in this match may take the focus away from the rock solid story that provided the match’s foundation. Now, the first noticeable thing in this match was how every move is executed. From the first sequence, it was crisp, impactful, and quite frankly beautiful. Honestly, you will have trouble finding a better match based on the pure execution of moves than this one here. Both Ohara and Kenoh pulled out the A game here, not fearing both high impact moves, while also executing the moves with the finesse necessary in truly great wrestling. While some matches suffer from beautiful transitions and set ups to moves only leading to an anticlimactic impact, in this match, every strike was stiff to the point where Ohara had a cut on his shoulder and every grapple was impactful enough to be believable. However, under the beautiful, if superficial exterior, was a heel face divide based in subtle body part work that draws the crowd in. Ohara was very subtle as the heel, being a tad cocky and taking control by working Kenoh’s back. Kenoh’s back would be the story of this match, as Ohara used it as an opening and as a way to set up his finisher, while Kenoh would fight through the pain with high impact offense. Kenoh sold the back rather well, even though the selling deteriorated a bit as the match progressed. Even with this flaw, though, the fact that he sold his back as consistently as he did makes the back work feel purposeful. On top of this story, they also sold the exhaustion of such an impactful, fast paced style. They never went more than a few minutes of the balls to the wall action without taking a breath, which emphasizes the impact of the moves here and further compliments the back work. Overall, both the great execution of move and psychology compliment each other and form one of the more underrated matches of 2015.

Rating: ***¾

sami-callihan-vs-danny-havoc

Sami Callihan vs. Danny Havoc – Cage of Death – CZW Cage of Death 11

            I cannot even properly describe this. This was a brutal spectacle based solely in the insane damage these men inflicted on their bodies. It is completely one-dimensional, with no structure or story; it was just two men doing things that will haunt their bodies for years. While the match started decently, with some hate filled brawling, the only semblance of a story soon derailed as they hit a big move into a web of barbed wire. Throughout the match, the only story was whether the big spot would be reversed and whether the guys in the match would kick out. Even the kickouts became an afterthought, though, as a nearfall from a side slam through a pane of glass and falling ten feet through a table got a quick two count. There was no selling or attempt at suspense. It was merely a crazy, scary fall that lost its impact immediately. Also, the structure of the match was virtually non-existent, as spots just happened with very little in the way of tying them together. The lack of structure and the lack of suspense of such brutal moves made an attempt at storytelling, where both guys hit the other’s finisher, forgettable. That is also due to the lack of any buildup, where Sami took a headlock driver, immediately no sold, and then, without hesitation, hit a DVD on Havoc. With this lack of any real story or structure, the moves had no purpose, and while they made me cringe, they did not hold any weight or create any suspense. Insane drops or brutal falls never created an ounce of doubt that the match was ending, and, even though the finish was excessively brutal and the most violent thing in the match, it still felt anticlimactic somehow. Now, as for the violence itself, it was sick. I try not to criticize wrestlers for the bumps they take, and these men can do this if they want, but it was just ill advised and angering. The unprotected chair shots with nothing held back, the fact that the broken panes of glass forced them to bump or be dragged in glass for the majority of the match, and the crazy drops that could kill or injure them all had no purpose. Sure, they were cool if you’re into it, but there was no semblance of investment or suspense beyond whether they will die or not. The violence is as brutal as anyone could want, but the fact that they took such punishment for such a poorly put together match is somewhat infuriating. I appreciate their effort, and I assume it will be popular with deathmatch fans that want violence, but for a wrestling fan that needs a match to have some purpose, this match was not good.

Rating: *

ric-flair-vs-mick-foley

Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley – I Quit Match – WWE Summerslam 2006

            This match has a few tropes I complain about, but the execution of this match was so good that those clichés have become positives. While this match did have a little bit of setting up spots instead of natural brawling, the hatred here was so palpable and the action here was so real that I believed almost every second of this match. This match felt like an actual brawl, with pure hatred and loathing between the two men involved. Since before the bell, the hatred was sold with facials, the action itself, and these two on the mic. When asking the other if they wanted to quit, each man used their words wisely to sell the hatred. It was never just “Do you want to quit?”; there was always something extra like, “You quit! I’ll kill you, you son of a bitch!” Those littler things sold this match, and make the spot set up believable. The spots were never just set up to be set up; it was always with purpose, the purpose to punish. Also, the spots were all very simple, so no excessive set up was needed. That means the focus was on the action and story, not on the wrestlers’ construction skills. Also, the spots they did set up were brutal, charged with emotion, and fit the match so well. There was never a crazy side slam through a pane of glass, down into the ring, through a barbed wire table on fire. The spots were simple and had impact. Ric Flair being slammed into thumbtacks was surreal and had more impact than most hardcore spots ever. This proves spots in a story, even a simple story, hold more weight than spots just for spots. Overall, the action was fittingly brutal, the story was fully flushed out and the match felt like a real fight. Slap on a better finish and this match would be a classic.

Rating: ****¼

osiris-vs-beaner-andrews

Osiris vs. Beaner Andrews – ESW End Games 2015

            Okay, so first, a little rationale as to why this match and matches like this are here in Random Match Roundup. I try to avoid putting backyard wrestling in here, as I don’t think its fair to compare untrained wrestlers to trained wrestlers, but I think there is a difference with ESW at least. Really, the big thing for me here is that there is an actual ring in an actual venue. So even though none of these guys are professionally trained, the fact that an actual venue is holding the event means it counts for RMR. Even though it clams to be backyard wrestling, I think its clear that it is pretty much a very small indie with untrained wrestlers at this point. Or maybe that’s just me. Also, I just thought this would be a fun match to review.

As for the match, I’m as surprised as I assume you are when I say this match was actually pretty decent. Shockingly, I’m not saying this on some scaled system where I give them more leeway or anything; this match was really solid. Obviously a match with two guys who have very limited formal training won’t be the smoothest affair, but the action in general was fun to watch. They tried ambitious stuff and, even though it wasn’t picture perfect, they never botched to the point where it didn’t look okay. Also, there was some good pacing in this match, which I did not expect. The match started off with nice chain wrestling before progressing to the weapons and big moves, which adds a lot, especially taking into account the expectations here. To build on this, the character of Osiris was magnetic, just being so awesome to watch. He has a natural charisma and is good at being a heel. He played heel well here, being the first to take a shortcut with weaponry and using the ref to gain control multiple times. It was nothing incredible and some of the ref spots were a bit dumb, but overall it was pretty good. Now, by no means is this match a classic or anything. However, even with action that is fairly sloppy looking, they pulled together a rock solid match worth a watch just for the shocking fact it is actually enjoyable.

Rating: **¼

So that was the Random Match Roundup #16! I’m very happy you took the time to check this review out. The secret series is taking a long time to do, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I’m excited to unveil it. Check out new updates and such here, and check out some of my other writings at freeprowrestling.com. If you want to contact me, check here. Otherwise, like, comment, share, or do whatever else you want to do. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

-Terrance Smith

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