Saturday 20 July 2013

What I Watched This Week: 15 - 20 July

Not a full week of wrestling watching this week as I won't be around tomorrow at all. I figured I might as well post this today, that way I won't need to change the name of the column to 'What I Watched Last Week'. 

Speaking of this week I didn't watch a whole lot. Between Money in the Bank and a good match-filled Raw on Monday I wasn't up for watching anything but bits and pieces. My week included watching another MOTY candidate from NJPW, taking a rare glimpse of watching a match from TNA, and finally getting around to watching a bit (well, one match) of the Smackdowns 6's stuff from 2002, which I never really appreciated back then. 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson - NJPW The Beginning (2013)
One of the many great things about Hiroshi Tanahashi is that he can play a great underdog wrestler when he wants to be. His build and stature isn't too far off John Cena's, yet when he plays the underdog character it can look so much more believable. This match against Karl Anderson showcases that excellently. 

Tanahashi starts off by focusing on the leg of Karl Anderson, which sets the tone for the pacing of the match for the rest of it. Anderson controls a large part of the match, but the weakness in his leg is still there and the crowd get firmly behind Hiroshi whenever he goes back at it. 

Anderson instead focuses on the neck of Tanahashi and uses his great strength to his advantage. Throughout the match we see a lot of cool spots highlighting on the neck of Hiroshi, as he softens him up for his finisher. 

Besides the excellent psychology from both men, the action is also very entertaining. We see stiff shots, big moves and some high flying action as well. Both guys find the right balance between the crowd pleasing spots and the story developing psychology. 

It does go a bit overkill in the latter stages of the bout, with Hiroshi taking almost too much punishment on his neck, but one positive from that is that the crowd get behind every move and nearfall, which makes for some pretty exciting stuff. A definite must-watch if you want to see what Tanahashi is all about. 9/10

Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell - TNA Impact 11/7/13
After their highly rated match at Slammiversary last month it was once again time for both ladies to try and step it up a notch. I'm not a TNA follower myself, having stopped watching it shortly after the "Monday Night Wars" started in 2010, but this match was one I felt I needed to see. Ladder matches are very hard to get right, and I'm normally one to be quite critical on them, so going into this match I wasn't that optimistic. In the end, I had every right to be as well. 

The match wasn't that bad of course. I give both women a lot of credit for putting on a very physical match on a night which I'm sure was pretty big for the Women's division going forward, but honestly, I still felt it could have been better. 

In many ways it felt like both Kim and Terrell were trying to hard to wrestle a match neither woman are quite able to do. Their reliance on trying innovative spots hurt the structure of the match a lot, and also made things look a bit awkward as well. 

The selling of the leg injury from Terrell was also fairly hit and miss, as you'd see her struggle immense to climb up the ladder yet find no problem jumping off the top of it and getting up off the mat shortly afterwards. Maybe I'm being a bit too critical here, but for me it just didn't work. 

The match still had its moments, and it was a gutsy performance from both women, but overall it still wasn't half as good as people are making out. 5/10

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle - WWE Unforgiven 2002
Hard to think that I didn't start with the best match from the Smackdown 6's reign of top quality wrestling in 2002, because I don't think any match can beat this. 

That match was only given something like 13 minutes, but I guess that was all that was needed, as both guys put on a an absolute wrestling clinic. The chain wrestling was fantastic as Benoit and Angle leveraged for an advantage early on, while the pacing complimented the action tremendously. At no point did the match slow down that much, yet the precision and execution of all their holds, take-downs and moves were top notch. 

We also saw a god story of each man looking to apply their finishing submission moves. This made for some good calculating action and a finishing sequence which any many fantastic reversals. My match of the year for 2002. 9/10

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