The Conversion Progress Featuring ESPN Columnist Jemele Hill

It's amazing the things you think about doing when you have a bunch of free time.

One of those things you think about doing is bothering all of your friends on Twitter to watch some wrestling matches, and tell you what they think of them. But that wasn't enough. Rather, I wanted them to watch stuff that wasn't from the WWE. I'm doing this in the same way that Dirty Dirty Sheets is trying to show people good wrestling anywhere that you can find it is just as valuable and important to get the enjoyment you should out of this watching hours upon hours of corporate wrestling where the template for what you see is made in cement. And after some internal debate about who I could convince I went to the one person I know would try this and enjoy it. ESPN columnist Jemele Hill.

It's not that she's written some really acclaimed articles (although she has). It's not that she's been on First Take, the Sports Reporters, Rome is Burning, and Around The Horn (although she has). Truthfully, this is because when she's on twitter I always got the sense that she was open-minded, a sense that was proven right when she agreed to do this.

A pair of quick ground rules because this, Hashimoto willing, is not going to be the last time that I do this:
1: I burned these videos from my own collections before they were give to Ms. Hill. If you want to see everything she saw, go on youtube or find a tape trading site. I'll link the best at the bottom of this post. Ok? Good.

2: I'll be adding my own comments on these matches below Jemele's. Her comments, then, will be in blue to differentiate.

Manami Toyota vs Toshiyo Yamada:

Jemele: I swear I'd wear that pink unitard to a party. In fact, I'm already planning to wear it for Halloween.

When I watched wrestling on a regular basis, female wrestlers didn't wrestle this hard. They were mostly there to be male eye candy and if they executed a few moves, fine. By my unofficial estimation, there were 67 flying drop kicks in this fight. Maybe 12 body slams. I thought I witnessed something that looked very similar to the Iron Sheik's Figure Four. He did that, right? Still, lots of classic wrestling moves in this match, which I appreciated. What was that move where she wrapped her leg around her waist and then bent both of her arms backward? Or the one where Pink Unitard had her leg bent from here to Kansas City? Pink Unitard emptied the whole playbook, I'll give her that. I thought she'd lost the match at first, and then all of a sudden, she was being given a trophy, a certificate, a wreath and a belt. Surprisingly, no key to the city. I was totally confused. And how can you not love any wrestling match that ends with both opponents essentially barfing in a bucket? I'm fairly certain both of these women have severe bone damage and probably won't be able to sit upright for the next 30 years. 

Heckuva match, though.
Okori: The thing about this match that I remember from when I watched it was the tremendous pace and intesity. At no point, when I watched it, did it look like they were blatantly trying for a rest. I' m sure they got rests in there somewhere, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out where they did it. Also, if this is your introduction to Joshi Puroresu as it quite clearly was for Jemele, I want to send you on a mission. Go to my friend Ditch (link: Ditch's Wrestling Page). 
Find all of the Joshi that you can. You'll be amazed by what you see. 

Fit Finlay vs Lord Steven Regal

Lord Steven Regal vs Fit Finlay by GratienHetu

Lord Steven Regal vs. Fit Finlay

Do we really know if this guy was a lord? I love that he came out dressed like Paul Revere. And was that Dusty Rhodes helping to call the match? Dusty was my guy back in the day. Best lisp-having, country-sounding wrestler in history. But I like how both of these guys set the tone for the match early. The Belfast Bruiser slapped the mess out of Lord Regal's little minion, otherwise known as the dude that was dumb enough to complete the Revolutionary War costume with a white wig. Anyway, the Belfast Bruiser was brutal, and I mean that in a complimentary way. He kicked Lord Regal in the back. Slapped him a bunch of times. Yanked down on his arm. He was truly punishing this guy. I suppose that's why they call him Bruiser, right? But after awhile, I didn't find this match as exciting as the one between Toyota and Yamada. It was more physical, yes. But a lot slower. The pace was, OK, let's watch this guy elbow this guy in the face. OK, now, let's watch Lord Regal retaliate with a clothesline. How about an elbow? The match started to lag. I think I prefer the high-flying action over the slow, leisurely brutality of an eye poke. Does that make me a communist? Is that too "chick-ish?" Arguably one of the high points of the match was when Dusty -- or at least I presume it was him -- tried to pronounce Glueteus Maximus. He sounded like Daffy Duck. My final verdict
: I needed a little more finesse.

Okori: The thing that happened with a lot of the Finlay-Regal matches is that they were slow, not sprints in the same way that Toyota and Yamada were, because stylistically that wasn't what they could do (or even should do). Rather, this was a hate-filled brawl filtered through a combination of two masters of british-style wrestling and decades upon decades of a feud between the irish and the English. Without even trying, it's high concept. 

And that's the end of our story. This conversion process isn't done however. By all means tweet me or post something in the comments about who you want to see do this next. 

Also, one last thing before we go.  I mentioned earlier that I was going to link to some legit tape-trading sites, because I don't want you to see this as an excuse to go patrolling around the vast world wide web looking for stuff to illegally download. 

For Japanese puroresu: try www.ivpvideos.com
Another good option is highspots.com and quite frankly, just search on the internet for tape selling sites & you should be able to find what you're looking for without too much work. 

Thank you very much for your listening.  

1 comment:

"Rump Roast" Cabal said...

Enjoyable read. You might want to consider Michelle Beadle from ESPN. Although she wouldn't need to be converted, I suspect her writeup would be very entertaining. She has some podcasts on ESPN where she talks about WWE.

Looking forward to future installments.