2018 Popcorn Matches

So this is a new concept I’d like to explore. Often there are matches I’d love to recognize in some form on this blog but don’t have much to say about, maybe 20, 30 words, a couple of sentences, maybe even less. It’s sort of not worth the bandwidth to make individual pages for each of those reviews unless it’s more of a joke review but I’d still like to draw attention to them for one reason or another, so here’s a compromise. These “popcorn reviews” are short little reviews of matches that have a good chance of ending up on my MOTY list or are interesting in some form or are exceptional in a particular way but don’t warrant one of the more fleshed-out reviews I like to do these days. As I find more of these throughout the year I’ll update the list, so be sure to check back every once in a while.

[last updated: 07/21/2018]


Fuerza Guerrera vs Demus 3:16

IAP

02/04/2018

Centro Civico Nueva Aragon, Ecatepec, Mexico

Watch

(reviewed 06/24/2018) You never want to see a 64 year old man get hurt unless he’s, like, a war criminal or something. Fuerza Guerrera’s been in some wars over the years but I don’t think he fits the bill. All the same he takes his lumps against one of the best bloody brawl-oriented luchadors going today and they both manage to avoid life-altering damage despite what they do here, so I consider that a victory.


Ricochet vs Fabian Aichner

NXT

taped 04/11/2018, aired 04/18/2018

Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida, United States

(reviewed 06/14/2018) You know, I really, really, really like a good standing shooting star press. They’re not as hard to pull off as the top rope variation, of course, but I feel like they’re more enjoyable. They have a snap to them, a fluid fullness that’s so inexplicably satisfying. It’s like watching a machine shave off metal in an industrial line. You know the kind. Like from the Twin Peaks intro.

Anywho Ricochet hits a great standing shooting star press here, along with many other delightful moves. Very fun spotfest.


Cam Carter vs Billy Buck

ACTION Wrestling

04/27/2018

Roger Spencer Community Center, Tyrone, Georgia, United States

(reviewed 07/20/2018) Straightforward match with a young highflyer taking on a larger veteran with cronies on the floor. On top of some great 450s Carter uses this transition into a rana that I’ve never seen before and is probably worth watching this show to see all by itself.


The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, & Roderick Strong) vs Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, & Pete Dunne

NXT

taped 05/09/2018, aired 05/16/2018

Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida, United States

(reviewed 06/15/2018) Quite a spicy little six man tag here. I’ve talked before about how Roddy’s recent heel turn has been a breath of fresh air and I’ve discussed Oney’s intense appeal at length over the last year, so it’s no surprise that when you put both those men in a tight tag match it makes for a fun time. Everyone’s on their best behavior here as 11 minutes spread between six men leaves little room for error. Sometimes they get a little too cute for their own good with the car crash spotfest action, but it’s never in service of emotional drama or an appeal for San Jose snowflakes so it doesn’t turn me off all that much.


Ricochet & The Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan

Handicap Match

NXT

taped 05/09/2018, aired 05/23/2018

Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida, United States

(reviewed 06/15/2018) Man this sort of ruled. Very simple match wherein two flashy guys who are feuding with each other try to coexist long enough to take out a rampaging monster that has interrupted their conflict. It’s nothing special on its own but the format helps to rein in some of the worst habits of Ricochet, Dream, and NXT in general while also supplying tons of Sullivan’s great offense and selling as well as the best elements of his two opponents. In no way surprising but a hell of a TV main event on a show about bigger and better things.


Ricochet vs Chris Dijak

NXT

taped 05/09/2018, aired 05/30/2018

Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida, United States

(reviewed 06/15/2018) In a sport that is constantly focusing more and more on moments that don’t really mean anything, I’m usually not one for matches that are clearly designed around a handful of GIFable spots, as fun as they might be. What really pisses me off about this one, though, is a commentator referring to one of the wrestlers as a “walking meme”. Do better, guys.


Jonathan Gresham vs Joey Janela

Super Indy 17 Semi-Finals

IWC Super Indy 17

06/09/2018

Court Time Sports Center, Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, United States

(reviewed 07/16/2018) Some great selling from the Octopus and an awesome superplex set this one apart. Worth watching if you’re checking out the show for one of the more hyped matches.


Bad Bones vs Josh Briggs

EVOLVE 106

06/23/2018

Saint Finbar Catholic Church, Queens, New York, United States

(reviewed 06/24/2018) Mechanically fine but emotionally vacant, in that Bones’ best stuff happens with a beloved babyface and Briggs’ developing monster shtick doesn’t pair well with that. Hopefully Briggs gets to find his much-needed attitude before someone big snatches him up and fails to instill in him what he needs to succeed.


Jon Davis vs Jarek 1:20

EVOLVE 106

06/23/2018

Saint Finbar Catholic Church, Queens, New York, United States

(reviewed 06/24/2018) A big smashmouth veteran beating the tar out of a meme magician. What more could you want?


DJ Z vs AR Fox

EVOLVE 106

06/23/2018

Saint Finbar Catholic Church, Queens, New York, United States

(reviewed 06/24/2018) There was definitely a time in which I’d be endlessly impressed by a match like this, in which two flippy dudes hit every wacky move you could think of as various members of Brockhampton look on from ringside. I mean shit, I used to think that Jody Fleisch vs Jonny Storm from BOTB II was the greatest match ever. Thankfully I’m no longer 14. If some part of you still is, you might like this.


Eddie Osbourne (c) vs Darby Allin

ECCW Canadian Championship

ECCW Ballroom Brawl X

07/21/2018

Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

(reviewed 07/24/2018) Big dude who looks like the long-lost third member of Da Hit Squad batters Darby Allin in a midcard title hardcore match with plenty of the usual from the skinny young man. Priscilla Kelly gets in on the action too and it all culminates with a big table bump and my favorite move in wrestling, the fire thunder driver. What else could you ask for?


Nicole Matthews (c) vs Cat Power

ECCW Women’s Championship

ECCW Ballroom Brawl X

07/21/2018

Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

(reviewed 07/24/2018) Sometimes I like it when things are self-evident. It’s comforting when you see an actor walk onto the stage and you know from jump street that they’re the shithead who’ll try to stab the mayor in Act III. They just have that twinkle in their eye. That’s what this match is like. Cat Power’s this uber-intense, intimidating-looking but ultimately virtuous person whereas Matthews is the self-assured, jovial, capable veteran who won’t shy away from outright cheating to retain her title. Toss those two clear-cut characters together in a match and let ‘em whirl. It might not have the cleanest execution, the most believable acting, but sometimes it’s nice to have something that doesn’t throw curve balls at you.

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