Matches We Loved 2012: Part I

mwl3

Another year of DDS, and another year of great wrestling that we enjoyed and shared with you. This begins our second annual recap of all the things we loved in pro wrestling. This time joining DDS staff are our friends Thomas Holzerman from The Wrestling Blog, Jamie from Dramatic DDT, T.J. Hawke from Free Pro Wrestling,  Ciara Reid of Angry Marks, Jae of iheartDG, Alyssa, Alex, Benjamin, and Senor Lariato.

By Leslie, Greg, Chris C., Chris J., Sonny, Aoikougei, Sarah (and her brother), Steph, and Martin. Photo courtesy Pro AC.

Empress: Ayako Hamada vs. Aja Kong

Bull Nakano Produce “Empress” – January 8th, 2012

[iframe src=”http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xpwxvh” width=”922″ height=”615″]

Leslie: This started off as light-hearted fair between teacher and student until both teacher and student realized they’d spent over a decade trying to kill each other and Bull Nakano’s retirement is no reason to stop trying. Individually, Aja Kong and Ayako Hamada are nearly incapable of putting on a bad match. Together, they guarantee greatness.

REINA: Hailey Hatred vs. Ayumi Kurihara

REINA 24 – January 15th, 2012

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLXEGUg0JCQ

Leslie: “I had a real good six months and then a really bad couple of weeks,” Hailey Hatred said about her slide from 6 crown champ to 2 crown champ in late 2011/early 2012. This match was her trying to stem the tide by taking Ayumi Kurihara‘s CMLL women’s title. I thought she had done it when, fairly early on, she dropped and pinned Ayumi with a monstrous lariat. However, this was lucha rules, which meant 2 out of 3 falls, which meant the real match was just beginning.

ACW: Portia Perez vs. Robert Evans

Guilty By Association 6 – January 15th, 2012

love27

Leslie: Going into 2010’s Guilty By Association 5, Portia Perez and Robert Evans ruled ACW. Portia was the reigning Queen of Queens and American Joshi Champion. Evans was the ACW Heavyweight champion The evil, hot pink sporting Canadians seemed unstoppable together. However, Portia lost her title in a savage dog collar match to Lady Poison, and Evans lost his title in quit match where Matthew Palmer threatened to set him on fire. Then, things really got bad. Love tore them apart. Where Evans saw a potential relationship with Portia, Portia just saw some dead weight she needed to get rid of to reach the next level in her career. She broke the news to Robert by breaking his jaw with a Superkick. This situation would not really be settled, though, until a full year after their separation.

Portia has spent the year telling everyone who will listen that she’s the best in the world. Evans spent the year showing everyone who will watch that he deserves consideration as well. The added emotion of their personal issue aside, these two former ACW Heavyweight Champions were guaranteed to put on a fantastic match.

What started out as a love story ended as an unforgettable Pro Wrestling match. One would think Evans and Portia could have worked out their differences with a phone call or perhaps a friendly dinner, but having an epic match seemed to suit them better. Where romance is dead wrestling lives.

ACW: MASADA vs. Matthew Palmer

Guilty By Association 6 – January 15th, 2012

love24

Leslie: For nearly two years the minotauran beast known as MASADA ruled the labyrinthian dungeon of ACW’s hardcore division. Numerous national and international challengers entered his lair to capture the mythical ACW Hardcore Championship; MASADA devoured them all. Then came Matthew Palmer. His multi-season campaign against the monster saw Palmer mimic, taunt, attack, and damage the nigh invulnerable beast. Palmer had his setbacks though: in his first direct confrontation with MASADA, Palmer was powerbombed so viciously that he spit blood. That aside, it was clear that each skirmish damaged a plate of MASADA’s armor. When it was time for Palmer to strike the killing blow he challenged MASADA to the most dangerous, all-or-nothing, either-thou-or-I-or-both-must-go confrontation in wrestling: a Scaffold match.

There aren’t words in English to describe how nauseous the cobbled mass of plywood and steel were when it was known that things of flesh and bone and sweat and blood would be decided upon it. Given the proximity of the structure to the fan seating area, this fear was sustained by more than just empathy for the combatants. A scaffold is a place where epic tragedies are performed and men are hanged; fans at ACW had to be prepared to watch both, and unwillingly take part.

Palmer tried to put everyone at ease with a bit of humor. He began the match by immediately climbing the scaffold. He casually sat on a chair, inviting MASADA to join him. Angered, MASADA tossed a chair at Palmer, which he caught in mid-air and used to prop his feet up. This was the final moment of levity that night. MASADA made his way up and both men began a terrifying brawl with chairs, then their hands, then actual pieces of the scaffold that they ripped off while still standing on it. Minutes later Palmer was hanging from the side of the structure being smashed by that same equipment. Then MASADA was bleeding. Then Palmer was having spikes shoved into his head. Then Palmer was bleeding. Then he was having spikes shoved into his face and mouth and he was bleeding more and idly wondering how it all went so wrong.

The match was absurdly dragged into the ring, but MASADA continued his all-out assault. Palmer showed signs off life, but not enough to convince anyone. He was a dead man. MASADA called on fans to build a grave of chairs in the ring, where he’d bury Palmer once and for all. With a powerbomb. From the scaffold. Palmer somehow gained another advantage and foolishly used it to climb to what everyone thought was his death. Fans, staff, wrestlers on the balcony, everyone, begged Palmer not to do it. He looked back and said, “But I have to.” The unkillable death match god followed. MASADA set Palmer up for his ultimate doom, but a desperate counter from Palmer sent the beast flying to the bed of steel laid out in the ring!

There was only one thing for left for Palmer to do. He took off his boots and removed the khaki cargo shorts he had worn for most of the year as a “tribute” to MASADA. Underneath were a brand new pair of glittering red tights. Then, finally, two years of dominance met it’s bloody and beautiful death as The Centerfold frog splashed from the scaffolding onto MASADA and earned final victory over his nemesis. The J. Geils band acted as the chorus and sung praise of Palmer as he stood on top of the scaffold. And, for at least that night, he stood on top of the wrestling world knowing that he did something few dared and none could.

SMASH: Kana vs. Tomoka Nakagawa

We Are SMASH – January 19th, 2012

[iframe src=”http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xudhl5″ width=”922″ height=”615″]

Leslie: It was late 2011 when Tomoka Nakagawa finally won her first singles title and was finally recognized as the top level Joshi she’s been for years. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Kana, a woman with a well documented taste for revenge and ripping people apart with her bare hands. Even more unfortunate for Nakagawa, 2012 was the year Kana started directly channeling Volk Han and his Inescapable Sambo Combo Submissions of Death.

Forgive both wrestlers for the four minutes inexplicably cut from the broadcast of the match. The eight minutes we get here still offer some extremely beautiful pro wrestling.

Beyond Wrestling: Brian Fury vs. Mikaze vs. Mercedes KV vs. Nick Fahrenheit

Off The Grid – February 17th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUXfTdZajwM

Leslie: This is the shortest match on the list, but nevertheless a must watch. The innovation of Fahrenheit and Mikaze, the aggressiveness of Mercedes KV, and the sheer power of Fury made all seven minutes incredibly entertaining. Beyond’s lives on the bleeding edge when it comes to putting a national spotlight on wrestlers for the first time. This match opened a lot of eyes to the level of talent in that exists outside of the usual venues in the Northeast.

SMASH: Kana vs. Syuri

Final SMASH – February 19th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF7kGW8MVrY

Leslie: More Kana, yes, but this fight was all about Syuri and her attempt to prove she was, on a real level, a match for her rival and mentor. Kana didn’t make it easy. This was easily the most brutal bout in their long and violent history. Syuri was just barely able to survive, and managed to leave SMASH, in tears, as its final women’s champion. Emotional. Good. Watch it.

CHIKARA: Eddie Kingston vs. Vin Gerard

Caught in the Spider’s Den – February 26th, 2012

love21

Sarah: Well, I may be biased with this one as I’m a “Bundy” as Vin Gerard likes to say, and because of this Career vs Title match, I got to see Vin Gerard take on Pro Bowler Jason Belmonte. Well, sort of. The build up to this match was long-running, which, of course really set the tone for the actual match when Eddie Kingston finally backfisted Vin out of the company. I loved this match because it was just so different to the others, and it really solidified Kingston as the World Champion, and showed just how dominant he was. Kingston can do no wrong, such an amazing brawler, and underrated. Although, it was only ten minutes, it was fun and entertaining and I got to see Vin Gerard get into the Bowling world after, which was fantastic from my point of view!

Photo Courtesy Zia Davis

NJPW: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito

40th Anniversary Show – March 4th, 2012

[iframe src=”http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xp80wc” width=”922″ height=”615″]

Jamie: Before this match, I hated Kazuchika Okada. All that I saw of him previously in the US, including his lone CHIKARA bout which was nothing but terrible. I thought him winning the IWGP Title was the absolute worst decision New Japan had made in years. Then I saw this match and, boy, was I proven wrong. This match made Okada a star in my eyes (I didn’t see him vs. Tanahashi until later), and made me believe that he is the next big thing for New Japan. Tatsuya Naito was also fantastic here and showed that he too can be a top main-eventer for New Japan some day.

Chris J:

NCW:FF – Cheerleader Melissa vs. Hailey Hatred

Femmes Fatales VIII – March 10th, 2012

love26

Leslie: Hailey Hatred and Cheerleader Melissa had skirmishes earlier in their careers, but that was before they become two of the world’s best. Voted one of the top matches in Montreal in 2012, this dark and unyielding masterpiece went the full 30 minute time limit, plus a 5 minute overtime. Every second was total Joshi war, the kind NCW: Femmes Fatales main events are known for. Here’s hoping the rematch is soon, and that it happens in Tokyo so that I can see it.

SHIMMER: Athena vs. Mercedes Martinez

Volume 45 – March 17th, 2012

love29

Thomas: Two wrestlers who hated each other stepped in the ring and brawled out of it. They took out aggression on each other like they owed each other money. Mercedes Martinez didn’t choke Athena with her t-shirt; she conveyed feeling disrespected through forced asphyxiation. Athena didn’t just give Martinez the O-Face off the apron; she was saying “Hussy, you best recognize I belong with you at the top of this mountain.” The noise was that the story was Athena getting elevated, like it was a passive thing. She earned it through hate, sweat, and head drops. That was the best baptism by fire in a wrestling ring that I’ve seen in awhile.

SHIMMER: Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada vs Ray and Leon

SHIMMER 47 – March 17th, 2012

love28

Sarah: I really don’t think this match needs explaining for why I loved it. Joshi is amazing and Hamada is one of the best wrestlers in the world. Period. It was just so fluid and you couldn’t take your eyes away from it when you were watching, I was in awe when and if you haven’t watched it, you should now, right this minute! Tag team wrestling at its finest, no doubt one of the best matches in SHIMMER history.

Leslie: The best match in SHIMMER history, period, bar none (Okay, maybe Kana vs. Hamada is better but I didn’t see it due to my ongoing contract dispute with the SHIMMER Office). It’s rare to get this quality of match at the average show in Japan, but take four top Joshi far away from the hierarchy, expectations, and politics of modern Japanese wrestling and magic will happen. A tremendous, must see match.

SHIMMER: Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara vs. Queens of Winning vs. The Canadian NINJAs vs. Re-Generation X

SHIMMER 48 – March 18th, 2012

love23

Steph: I refer to this match as a platonic wrestling orgasm. Three great teams and one held together by hope and gum vying for the most prestigious pairs title in all of North American XX chromosome-dom. While many would refer to the Volume 47 match between Ayumi and Hamada as the best tag of the weekend, the elimination element made feel as though I was watching the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals of a grand tournament all at once.

Martin: This is what I like to call a two part match, one part a lot of fun, the other part dramatic, heartbreaking, uplifting and joyous all rolled into one. It started as your usual fun SHIMMER four way elimination, with great action and rare combos going at it… and then it got ramped up after Re-X and KuriMada‘s eliminations.

One team and a “semi-functioning unit” remained. Courtney Rush was left alone with the Queen of Wrestling Sara Del Rey, who was anything but by her side, and the greatest team in SHIMMER history opposing her. Death Rey wanted it all over with, and was prepared to lay down for the Canadian Ninjas to be done with this “Queens of Winning” silliness once and for all, but Rush would have none of it. Of course Portia and Nicole had to spit a gift horse in the mouth, and Del Rey ran wild on them, giving the Eagles Club hope… until she decided to lay out Courtney as well and walk out. Match over, surely? The Ninjas were two time champs… except not for another four months, as Rush somehow managed to roll Portia Perez up for the shock pin, and the fans erupted  The most dysfunctional tag team in SHIMMER history were the champions. Sadly this would only play out for one more show, up in Canada, where Death Rey would leave Rush in the lurch one last team, leaving the Ninjas to make history before heading for some coaching job in Tampa. But for that one sweet moment in March, when a Winnipegger’s dream came true.

STARDOM: Meiko Satomura vs Nanae Takahashi

STARDOM the Highest 2012 – March 20, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrtQHHYM7hY

Ciara: With Bull Nakano observing the match from ringside and Kyohei Wada as the special referee, it set the importance for this match to a higher level. Not only was Nanae Takahashi‘s World of Stardom Championship on the line, but her first reign as champion, the first and only World of Stardom Champion was in jeopardy. These two brought out the best in each other in this match. Both refused to let the other get the upper hand and the match became more intense by the minute. From beginning to end, this match had my full attention and if your not familiar with STARDOM this definitely needs to be on your list to watch.

Aoikougei: Nanae fought many impressive matches this year, against Meiko Satomura, Hiroyo, and Alpha Female. Her match with Satomura was the best. The immense pride of both veterans collided head-on!

After each gave all they had, Nanae won by a slight margin. I cannot fully express with words the quality of this match.

BJW: Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yoshihito Sasaki

Strong Climb Tournament Final – March 26th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1gw2FkvK2g

Leslie: Yoshito Sasaki’s massive, welted, puffed up chest, the unflinching glare in Daisuke Sekimoto’s red, battered left eye: The opening stare down alone made this one of the best matches of the year. The former partners met in the finals of the Strong Climb tournament and added another unbelievable battle to BJW’s, “We’re more than just deathmatches,” pile.

Neither man was at 100% coming in, and the loser left a dazed, stumbling mess after fighting through multiple knockout shots. It was classic Puroresu from a classically subversive company. BJW’s future is bright, if still a bit bloody, with matches like these complimenting their ultraviolent offerings.

Note: You don’t deserve to wear one of Thomas Holzerman’s , “I Came For the Hoss Fight” T-Shirts if you don’t love this one.

AIW: Hailey Hatred vs. John Thorne

Straight Outta Compton – April 6th, 2012

love10

Leslie: The Hailey Hatred/John Thorne feud produced several fantastic, and violent, bouts in 2008/2009. AIW fans were lucky enough to see it briefly unspool the barbed wire once again for a fast-paced, bloody slasher of a match. These two always bring out the worst in each other. It was for the best when Hatred showed up as Thorne’s mystery opponent to remind him that no matter how long she spends in Japan, she’ll still remember how to hurt him. Badly. He returned the sentiment in kind.

Photo Courtesy Wayne Palmer

AIW: ACH vs. AR Fox

Straight Outta Compton – April 6th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e9HoD3SOVA

Thomas: The biggest caveat of doing any Iron Man match is having guys having to rest as to not expend their energy before the time runs out. Yeah, there was none of that here. Well, if there was, it was cleverly disguised, especially towards the end when ACH spent a good portion of time trying to cling to his 2-1 lead by running out the clock. Much like with anything ACH has done in 2012, it was so innovative, even if it was simple. While it’s easy to say that ACH lapped the field, when someone is able to keep up with him, it’s worth noticing. AR Fox was an equal to ACH here, and this very well may be the reason why it’s my potential match of the year.

AIW: Allysin Kay vs. Mia Yim

Girl’s Night Out 6 – April 15th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6DZby4ov70

Ciara: Do not kick people in the face. Do not kick a girl that fancies a machete in the face. I feel redundant for picking this match, since this light tube swinging, broom handling rivalry had everyone talking. For fans, the collision of Allysin Kay and Mia Yim is a mouth-watering prospect in thought, but no one thought it would come about the way it did. Back at “Girls Night Out 5,” Allysin Kay’s nose exploded like a faucet after a kick from Mia Yim. When Girls Night 6 rolled around, everyone knew what was at stake, not only was the vacant AIW Women’s Championship on the line, but so was pride and sanity. The early goings in the match started with both women trying to gain advantage on the other. It would later break down when both women are standing in the ring with a bat in hand daring each other to swing. Instead of taking each other’s head off with a bat, they went back into fighting once again. Being that this was a Fans Bring the Weapons Match, neither woman needed the weapons as there was so much hatred between the two that weapons wouldnt do it justice. I’m not a fan of hardcore wrestling, but this match worked for me. They were able to not only demonstrate their unlawful dislike for each and set the stage for importance of the AIW Women’s Championship. The moment when Allysin Kay pulled out the machete and threatened to stab Mia Yim had me contemplating if I was about to witness murder on my screen. This match was it for me and it led to a continuation of their feud.

Leslie: The match was pure insanity. Kay came out wearing a pink Hannibal Lecter mask she started rocking after having her nose crushed by Yim. Yim came out twirling two light tubes and wearing a DDS “We Will Save Pro Wrestling” T-shirt.  The ring was surrounded with weapons that fans brought: aluminum bats, steel rods, brooms, tire irons, a garden hose, and a plastic AK-47 assault rifle (which proved to be the most dangerous of all). Kay needed revenge. Yim needed a title. They slapped the shit out of each other kicked the shit out of each other then beat the shit out of each other then tried cut each other open. Kay failed with a stab of her machete. Yim succeeded  with a brutal light tube smash across Allysin’s back. It felt exactly like a main event, one that could have headlined any show in the country.

AAW: Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young

Point of No Return – April 21st, 2012

love20

Chris: In the inaugural installment of Dirty Dirty Sheets love, I mentioned Michael Elgin started to shine in 2011 and probably would continue to do so in 2012. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I was right. This match was one of the highlights of Elgin’s year as he did battle with AAW champion Silas Young. Two of AAW’s best clashed through a 60 minute time limit draw, each holding one fall. This was the longest match I’ve seen live and in person and it was incredible. Young and Elgin helped raise the bar for the promotion with this one and it’s a must see for this year.

Greg: Perhaps the best 60 minute match I’ve ever seen. Perfect pacing to keep the crowd into it for the entire time, with the match having a little bit of everything. And boy was I pissed when the 60 minute time limit ended, robbing Elgin out of the title, for a few more months.

Photo Courtesy Shannon

CHIKARA: El Generico vs. Sara Del Rey

Hot off the Griddle – April 28th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPf7eA_rv4o

Greg: If I may quote The Wrestling Blog’s Thomas Holzerman from when this match was announced: Chikara Wins. Fatality. I had a blast at the Ring of Honor/CHIKARA Synergy event, and this match was by far the #1 highlight of the day. Two of the Best in the World, showing why they are, appropriately in the main event.

Ice Ribbon: Kana vs. Hikaru Shida

Golden Ribbon 2012 – May 5, 2012

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q25Oi5P3fRw

Ciara: It was the “World Famous” Kana versus the ICEx60 Champion Hikaru Shida for the very first time. Shida and Kana have crossed each other’s paths in tag team matches but never in a one-on-one capacity. Exchanging kicks, slaps and submissions, it became hard for myself to choose a winner. Though Kana got the win in this non-title match, a rematch between these two needs to happen…tomorrow.

CZW: Danny Havoc vs. Drew Gulak

Proving Grounds 2012 – May 12, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHMI0uyq-1E

Alyssa: Despite the fact that death match wrestling doesn’t have a strong – or even wholly positive – reputation in US professional wrestling, the element of the no ropes/barbed wire was a necessity for the end of this year long feud between two former best friends. Drew Gulak chose to take on Danny Havoc in an attempt to beat him at his own game. The match began with photographic flashbacks of Drew Gulak and Danny Havoc training together, before ultimately choosing to go their separate ways in the sport of professional wrestling. Gulak, who embodies all of the technical, mat-based style and Havoc, who represents what it truly means to “wear the scar” amongst an orchestra of glass, tacks, and weaponry, tried to prove to each other the worth of their wrestling beliefs. The match showcased a beautiful blend of both men’s skills, wrapped up in emotions running on high. A slow, technical build became littered with desperation, and both men then went mad attempting anything to secure a victory. Though there is bloodshed, it doesn’t overshadow the story or either man’s character and what each of them stands for. And while in the Combat Zone, it appears as though violence will always reign no matter what anyone has to say otherwise, both men were able to walk away proving their abilities to themselves, each other, and the fans.

Dragon Gate: Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino, PAC vs. Kenichiro Arai, K-ness, Super Shisa

GATE OF MAXIMUM 2012 – June 7th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUWL4cwxj50

Jae: The story here was pretty simple. The WORLD-1 International trio were the reigning champions, and represented the current scene at the top of Dragon Gate. On the other side were 3 veterans who united under the Windows banner. Why Windows? In Japan when an employee grows old and is no longer considered a useful member of the workforce they are generally relocated to a seat by the window, where they wait out the clock on their career. The Windows trio came to reclaim their old office. K-ness and Arai are two of my longtime favourites so this match held a special place for me. At its best, wrestling has you forgetting about all the analytic bullshit and cheering for the guys you love to win their match. This one did.

Photo courtesy Marvin Cespedes

NJPW: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Dominion – June 16th, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0sxcMpI_Ww

Aoikougei: Everyone expected Tanahashi to win the first time that met, but Okada somehow became IWGP champ in a very good match! When Okada lost the title back to Tanahashi in June, it was an even better match.

Okada’s gameplan is simple. This is his charm.

Chris J:

ACW: Rachel Summerlyn vs. Jazz

American Joshi Queen of Queens Tournament – June 24th, 2012

love25
Leslie: You know a match is special match when a counter into a Texas Cloverleaf gets a “Holy Shit” chant. The awesome displays of technical wrestling early on eventually gave way to the brutality both these women are known for. Jazz’s resurgence and Rachel’s ascension were probably the two best things to happen in wrestling in 2012, and they came together in one special night in San Antonio. Add this to the list of classics brought to us by the Queen of Queens Tournament.

ACW: Athena vs. Jessicka Havok

American Joshi Queens of Queens Tournament – June 24th, 2012

love22

Martin: The Wrestling Goddess Athena had gotten past Su Yung and Christina von Eerie. The Zombie Killer Jessicka Havok survived Lady Poison, and picked on Rachel Summerlyn’s bones. As a result, we got a collision of epic proportions that everyone, bar an outgoing bitter New York area promoter, was anticipating. And despite having each gone through two grueling matches, they brought a holy war to each other, that the ring in Hooligans could barely contain.

Call them Sabu or La Parka, these two were the Chairmen. No fan was safe from their battle. And then a rare thing happened. Athena hit her patented O-Face top rope Stunner on Havok… and Havok kicked out. This was a different beast than the Wrestling Goddess was used to. It would take something more to put her away. Why not go back to the chairs? After another battle outside, Athena had J-Hav stunned around a set up chair, went to the apron, and delivered an O-Face that sent Havok stomach-first across the top of the chair. No way even a Zombie Killer could get her wind back after that, as Athena rolled her back in the ring and pinned her to claim the Queen of Queens trophy she barely missed out on the year before. Even so, this was still a victory of sorts for Havok, as in one night, she fit right into the world of Anarchy like a glove, and made her glorious return, this time to the Mohawk in Austin, in December.

CZW: Sami Callihan vs. Drake Younger

New Heights 2012 – July 14th, 2012

love7

Alex: Sami Callihan and Drake Younger’s feud in CZW culminated in not only the best match of CZW’s fantastic calendar year, but possibly 2012’s match of the year. A sixty minute iron man that never dragged and never got boring, showing the hatred between the two men as they brutalized each other. In the crowd, we were behind them the entire way, cheering as Callihan and Younger made their way across the Flyer’s Skate Zone. Callihan’s cruelty met Younger’s resilience, particularly in the end stretch, where Younger fought to keep himself from tapping to Callihan’s stretch muffler until the last moment. The end was one of the most suspenseful I’ve seen all year.

Younger’s renaissance, Callihan’s rising star, and the personal nature of the feud made a near perfect storm for this match. Sami Callihan and Drake Younger put on a classic, and if there’s one match you see this year, make it this one.

Photo courtesy Lyle C. Williams

PWG: Super Smash Brothers vs. Young Bucks vs. Future Shock

Threemendous III – July 21st, 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8IcMlK4Lig

Martin: ROH likes to do Ladder Wars now and then. PWG do Ladder Deaths. Some may dismiss this match as using weapons for the sake of using weapons, but it all had meaning and flowed together perfectly.

Buried inside this match was a key story: The Young Bucks, still bitter from having lost their titles to Player Uno and Stupefied, took out referee Rick Knox with a ladder on purpose, feeling that he had played a role in them losing the titles. The brutality and sheer carnage continued, as tables and chairs were brought into the fold, with Adam Cole giving Uno a brainbuster through a chair, Kyle O’Reilly superkicking Nick Jackson through a table, and the Super Smash Brothers somehow wedging Cole between a ladder, which he couldn’t get out of. And then the payoff. As the Bucks were about to take their titles back, Rick Knox returned, all bandaged up from bleeding a gusher due to the Bucks’ prior attack. Knox then pushes the Bucks off the ladder and out of the ring, and as the Super Smash Brothers attempt to dive onto them, Knox cuts them off… and dives himself onto them. Someone book Knox vs. Remsburg, please. With the Bucks refereed to death, Adam Cole stuck in a ladder and Kyle O’Reilly somehow killed to death somewhere else, Uno and Stupefied climbed the ladder and retained their belts in one of the craziest and frenzied battlefields ever.

AIW: Allysin Kay vs Mia Yim

Girl’s Night Out 7 – August 4th, 2012

love3

Benjamin: “Blessing in disguise” is a term often thrown around, but the origin of this feud is the embodiment of it. At Girl’s Night Out 5 when Mia Yim broke Allysin Kay’s nose into a bloody mess, one assumes that AK47 was not pleased about the situation. She certainly didn’t think it was the moment that would propel her career forward another level.

After Kay’s win at GNO6, the scores were evened and this match would be the pay-off for what had turned into one of the most compelling and passionate feuds in wrestling.

I don’t know if the DVD of this match necessarily demonstrates the uneasy feeling of seeing AIW management, Johnny Gargano et al, nervously standing at the apron as Allysin and Mia struggled dangerously on top of the cage, but the image will certainly stick in my mind as something I was lucky see unfold live.

And that’s the first half. Part II coming very soon.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: