4CR Grab Bag 3:Return of the King(of Memphis)

Welcome back to another edition of the 4CR Grab Bag. Don’t know what it is? Well it is a just a bunch of random wrestling I’ve found on the internet that looked interesting and then decided to write about. Not a whole lot more to it.  So go ahead, read what I had to say, watch the matches, and tell me what YOU thought by tweet or comment. You can find my twitter handle at the bottom of 4CR GRAB BAG 3: RETURN OF THE KING(Of Memphis)

Alex Shelley vs. Amazing Red vs. Jeremy Buck( TNA 5/27/10)

Look here, we’ve got three junior cats doing a short junior thing.  Still funny to think that TNA had Nick and Matt Jackson yet had no idea what to do with them.  I’m gonna refer to Jeremy Buck as Nick Jackson and you’re gonna like it!This is a fun match but the more pushed man in this one,Shelley, certainly looked like he was treating this like the “Webmatch” it was billed as. On the other hand Red and Nick felt like making this an enjoyable popcorn sorta match, keeping the pace going and not doing too much cute stuff like a double single leg crab. Red gets in his spinny-dive-thingy which is always nice.  Nick looks like if he ever wanted to have a singles career, DON’T DO IT, he could make a real go of it. He moves stupidly fluid while making others look good. Once again, TNA how did you screw this one up? Red I’m enjoying more and more as a flippy dude. There were two instances where men ate strikes awesomely. The first was Red hitting a spinning wheel kick on Alex Shelley who was up top. Shelley slouches down to the apron like he just got hit in the face with a baseball.  Second beauty was Red going for the Yoshi-Tonic on Jackson and Shelley superkicks the piss out of him, no I don’t know how much piss was superkicked out of him. Fun match that fills up five minutes or so.

Necro Butcher vs. RVD vs. Kendo Kashin(IGF 8/15/08)

This may be the perfect Grab Bag match. I have no idea who Kendo Kashin is, Necro Butcher is one of the best brawlers in the past 10 years ,also deathmatch superstar, and Rob Van Dam is, well, Rob Van Dam. This is an elimination match and mixes all three wrestlers together for a funner competition than expected.  I want to state that this is an elimination match because this is one of those matches where the competitors didn’t seem to know it was elimination either so color me surprised when after the first fall this kept going.  Really this was funner than expected still.  I mean within the first minute Necro takes down the ref with a single leg. Speaking of Necro, I’m a fan, the man working a non-deathmatch, really a non-brawling match, and just looking like this crazy drunk hillbilly that likes to punch skinny people in the face is GREAT!Of course he’s the guy who brings a belt into the ring and delivers the WEAKEST of hits on Kendo so Kendo just breaks the belt on Necro’s face so he can BLEED DAT BLOOD! Him dragging a guardrail to beat Kendo with was just super duper. That guardrail beating set up one of the better dives in a multiman match I’ve seen where RVD looks like he’s coming out of nowhere. This match actually had a few really cool “unexpected” multiman spots like RVD dropkicking Necro who was trying provide a platform for that thing the Hardy Boyz did into the corner. Another would be RVD dropkicking a piece of railing that Necro was moving so he could hit his leg lariat on Kendo who was hanging over another piece of railing. Did I forget to mention this match featured a three man TOWER OF DOOM?! Cause it happened. After Necro got eliminated this got a whole lot less interesting and a whole lot more confusing. Like I had no idea what was going on.

Paul London vs. Nunzio(WWE 11/22/03)

Thank you Velocity for having existing. Without you I doubt I’d have as many fun cruiserweight matches to dig into. Mr.Paul London is possibly my favorite flippy guy ever. Very little of it has to do with his aerial arsenal but the way he is willing to kill himself to sell a move will always make me giddy.  Nunzio may be one of the more underrated wrestlers being able to bring a fun technical side to a match that not too many cruiserweights could do for as long as he has done in his career. I mean I saw him have a nice scrappy grappling match with Niles Young in 2013 for Pete’s sake.  Here we open with Nunzio’s matwork section with London being able to do the chain wrestling thing. Match was probably as much about the men outside the ring as it was the men inside with Brian Kendrick there for London and Johnny Stamboli for Nunzio. Kendrick was supposed to be a giant hothead constantly distracting the ref so Johnny could interfere for Nunzio. It was like a normal babyface giving the heels an opening but amped up in a good way.  It was borderline annoying with how often in happened but honestly I didn’t hate it. Kinda dug how Kendrick was the one to get his retaliation in with a sweet dive on Stamboli in exchange for his partner getting NAILED by a sick kick from the corner. I would have to go back and watch more Nunzio matches to see what he was ending matches with during the time but I was surprised that’s how it ended but in a good way. Looked brutal and seemed fitting.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Scott Hall(NJPW 11/9/01)

GOODNESS! Absolutely floored that this was a match. The current biggest name in puro against a man who was part of one of the most influential stables, for better or worse, in pro wrestling history.  I have no idea when Scott Hall starts getting pudgy but it isn’t by this part though his face looks like it is going down hill. Weird seeing such a young Tanahashi getting mauled with Hall’s biggest hits. Also fell in love with Hall cutting a promo mid-match to call out Keiji Mutoh after Tanahashi’s death.  And Hall’s face when he gets schoolboy’d is PERFECTION!

John Morrison vs. Finlay(WWE 2008)

Finlay is so good. Works so smart and so violently.I like to imagine in some alternative universe Finlay is a revolutionary painter with primitive strokes and even though his work has a limited market when it sells it sells big. People don’t tend to like Morrison for his wacky offense even though the more and more I’ve seen of Morrison, his offense can really look more brutal than given credit for. Perfect example would be when he swings into the ring and hits the nasty dropkick to knock Finlay to the floor. Looks fancy yet stiff as a board. Sadly while the first half of this short encounter was rather awesome with Finlay being Finlay and beating up on Morrison and Morrison adding a little extra to his offense, the later half left a lot to be desired. Comprised of headlocks, filler offense, and a terribly botched finish was saddening with all the cool stuff they managed to fit in the first half like Finlay pulling the apron between Morrison’s legs on a plancha and then pummeling him. Only thing that was different was Morrison hitting a neckbreaker after Finlay forced him to work for it making it seem sweller. Well done Finlay. Too bad he got a littler overzealous at the end by going through the ropes when swatting at the end which made it impossible for Morrison to make the sneaky roll-up look very sneaky.

Jerry Lawler vs. The Miz TLC MATCH(WWE 11/29/10)

Now I’m not saying giving The Miz his best match is a big accomplishment but on Lawler’s 60th birthday may have the best match in The Miz’s career. It is really between this and another Lawler match from the 2011 Eliminiation Chamber.  Maybe I’ll do that match next Grab Bag. WHO KNOWS?! Lawler knows how to get the most out of a little and that goes for action and opponents. This is on full display against somebody that I don’t ever believe has been confused for Ric Flair, remember that time…nope nevermind.  This match reminds me Miz was WWE champion…okay then. Loved that they setup this match with all the elements on the outside propped and ready so there wasn’t a table being propped and having to keep wondering when it would come into play. Instead when the table spots happened they were more incidental and came off as bigger surprises.

Now that we’ve gotten all the stuff that really doesn’t have much to do with the innards of the match let’s get to that part. Let’s start off with the good Miz did and that was taking a couple big bumps. The bump he takes off a Lawler backdrop looks as nutty as can be. His other real big bump is the table bump that Lawler sledgehammers The Miz off the top turnbuckle to the table on the floor. Okay now that I’ve given The Miz his due I can go on to the other awesome stuff. There was an incredible Face/Heel dynamic in this match. Jerry Lawler is going for a title he has never managed to hold on his 60th birthday. On the other side of the ring is a cocky young champion that has a big Alex Riley as his “apprentice” and even a commentating partner of Lawler, Michael Cole, in his corner. There is so much to hat about The Miz here and so much to LOVE about Lawler that every punch Lawler lands seems like a victory for good and every punch The Miz lands seems like the world is getting a little darker.  The moment where Lawler looks fully in control after the ladder backdrop and Riley knocking Lawler to the ground seems so dastardly. When Lawler punches Riley off the apron through a table, a product of the setup, forced a grin on my face over three years after this match took place. In the end when Lawler was climbing the ladder looking like he may actually pull this off, granted it obviously wasn’t going to happen but suspend disbelief and stuff, Cole comes into play. I love this sort of over the top sort of drama elements.  Some of my favorite stuff in lucha from 2013 was a product of these “drama” elements. Cole is the long time partner of Lawler and he stops him from achieving a huge career achievement because he is so blinded by his love of The Miz(as a wrestler jerks). That is such a deep, DEEP betrayal that Lawler punching Cole right in the kisser, a real beauty of a punch, felt so gratifying. This was really great storytelling stuff and a good actual match built around crowd popping spots and overbooking. Another drop in the bucket for The King in his amazing career.

PS: Having watched the EC 2011 match again I’m totally going to look at it for a Grab Bag cause it is so totally different.

Thanks for reading. Once again feel free to give me feedback, what you thought of the matches and any matches you’d like to see pop up here. 

Sam DiMascio



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