What I'm Watching: Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi

Misawa vs Kobashi: Just as fun as Misawa vs Kawada, but for entirely different reasons. 

Part of the fun of being a wrestling fan, at least for me, is watching EVERYTHING. Some stuff you watch once or twice and then get tired of except for something really transcendent (shoot-style fits this for me, with the transcendency exception being Volk Han.) And then, there is some stuff that you can watch again and again with no hesitancy whatsoever. The 4 Corners of Heaven era of All Japan is one of these eras for me. Kawada, Kobashi, Misawa, Taue. Those 4 names, and the endless iteration of matches they produced, are some of the best and most fun heavyweight matches I have ever seen. 

And quite frankly, while everyone talks about the Misawa-Kawada rivalry and how important it was, there is one I enjoy just as much, because it has a slightly different aesthetic to it. Misawa vs Kawada is largely a battle of two stoics, and while that is fun, it can get tiresome (the exception of course being 6-3-94, which is as perfect a match as anything that has happened anywhere.) Kobashi is a lot of things, but a stoic is not one of them. He bursts free with energy, excitement, and charisma. And with Misawa vs Kobashi, you get someone who seems to have no emotion versus someone who defines all of his successes on it. It's a fascinating counterpoint. What I am watching now is their best match together, a match so good that Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Shinjiro Ohtani patterned their own classic of February 9th, 1997 after it. 

This is one of the matches that young wrestlers should be watching, and studying. Don't just watch the MOVEZ~!, although those are plentiful. Watch how the crowd cares. You can make that work, people in wrestling school. Just try a little harder. 


Why I'm happy for Darren Young

Darren Young: Sexuality be damned, he's an excellent heel.
With Summerslam a few days away, noted bottom-of-the-barrel "journalism" site TMZ decided that they would ambush a pro wrestler to see if they could get them to make some silly statement to run on their equally silly website. Instead, Darren Young did something cool. Darren Young came out of the closet.

Now, to be honest, there have been gay wrestlers before. Kanyon was gay, as was Pat Patterson. (Side Note: If you really want to put the lie to the "gay guys can't be tough" meme, show someone Pat Patterson vs Sgt. Slaughter from MSG. That was a war.) This is the first time we're doing it in a more forgiving climate. I, for one, can't wait to see how the WWE handles this. My hope? Nothing changes. Darren Young is still a jerk and a giant heel you want to see punched in the face all the time. My fear? They turn him into some caricature of the worst homosexual stereotypes just to make their jockish male audience smile and laugh.


My Personal White Whale: Revisiting The Best Way To Build A Light Heavyweight Division In The WWE

When i wrote this blogpost, I left it as it was. Namely, an idea for something cool that I thought you could do in the WWE if given enough time and inclination. But as I think about it more,  I realize that if I want a chance for younger fans to be dazzled by pro wrestling beyond what the 'E gives them I have to really sit down and try to make this work for both promotions. Because, if it's done right, what the WCW cruiserweight division meant to so many, and what Michinoku Pro and Dragon Gate mean to so many now, these two divisions can mean now if they're done right. That last sentence, though, is the important part. Because, for both the large company in Stamford, there are lots of things that need to be explained, and fixed, about the way that the juniors have been viewed during all of the previous times that they have tried this.

Now I know that this is my white whale, and i accept it. I am, if nothing else, a man who loves wrestling big and small, past and present, and I'd like very much to see something I know could work done the right way.


Begging Me To Listen: Jim Cornette's Problems With Vocabulary, And Why He's Out Of Ring Of Honor Because Of It

A Man Out Of His Element. 

I've been to about 16 states, Canada 3 times, England once, and Italy once. I haven't traveled all over the world but I've been to enough places to fully understand the small differences in language from one place to another. And frankly there are all manners of speech, everything from management seminars to love poems. But there's always one problem: WHat happens when the other person you're talking to never hears what you're saying in the way that you want them to hear it? What do you do then?


The New Japan Juniors 1990-1999 Pt. 1: Jushin "Thunder" Liger

If you're going to write a multi-part tribute to the finest era of junior heavyweight wrestling that has existed anywhere in the world, which was 1990-to-2000 in New Japan, there really isn't a better place for anyone to start than with the man who was, and still remains this in some ways now, the personification of what the junior heavyweight ace is supposed to be. We're starting with the king, the gold standard, the guy who is to junior heavyweight wrestling what the 4 Corners of Heaven are to heavyweight wrestling: Jushin "Thunder" Liger.

Now to be fair, the title up there and the first paragraph might very well give you a very real expectation that somehow the junior heavyweight division of New Japan just sort of went into thin air in 2000. It didn't. Right now, Prince Devitt is doing some good work as is matinee-idol in training Kota Ibushi and a lot of other people. But when I, and the people who love this era, talk about the New Japan Juniors we mean the Liger, Kanemoto, El Samurai, Pegasus Kid, Shinjiro Ohtani, and Great Sasuke era. That's the era everyone means, and that's the era I'm talking about here.


Bad Mood Championship Wrestling.


In 2014, a new wrestling promotion is going to appear out of the mind of the guy who ran Arena Door Bus Trips, and is currently running Taking Back Queens. I hope to have a role in this promotion in some way, even if it's something as simple as just providing them with free publicity here on the Majesty of Wrestling. Watch this space.


What I'm watching: Mike Quackenbush vs Johnny Saint

I admit this freely. I am a huge junkie for top-notch technical wrestling. But here's the problem: So much of what people understand as top-notch technical wrestling really isn't. It's not just knowing a billion million holds. It's knowing how to apply them. It's being slick and artistic without having it look forced, and making your trademarks look like you were smart to get your opponent in that position rather than you and your opponent both were playing off of the same script. This is harder than it seems. And two of the masters of this style are perhaps best known as partners, but I'm watching one of their matches when they were as opponents. The only trouble with this is that I can't find this match, and I'm not about to send you off to torrent it. I like the people at Chikara too much for that. So what I would suggest is google Mike Quackenbush vs Johnny Saint and then buy the match. It's worth it. It really is. To whet your appetite, here is a video of Johnny Saint doing what he does followed by a video of Mike Quackenbush doing what he does.