Justice Pain vs El Generico
New Alhambra Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
(reviewed 05/19/2019) This is definitely a bad match but I think it has a real strong appeal. Primarily I think it’s an example of Generico’s skills as a babyface, maybe the first great example of how he’s able to hook people into a match more than they’d be otherwise.
First things first, Justice Pain is a weird guy. He’s more athletic and creative than all but a handful of homegrown CZW guys of this or any earlier era and that suits him well, to some degree. He’s not as speedy and agile as the likes of Mondo, Blade, and Cash nor is he as physical and insane as his brother, Nate, and Wifebeater, but in operating in this middle ground where he’s taking elements of both styles he’s occasionally real entertaining. I only say occasionally because he’s maybe the biggest wimp CZW’s ever booked, a guy who shies away from anything approaching snug offense or big bumps. Despite presenting himself as this big muscular ass-kicker he can’t back that shit up at all, relying on guys to either bump their asses off for him or beat the snot out of him to make for a good match.
This match is a little of both, more the former than the latter. Pain dominates a good 80% of this thing and the results are all over the place. Sometimes he slams and kicks at Generico in great ways and other times he literally falls over trying to do a powerbomb.
Always a mixed bag with this guy. Generico dutifully bumps hard for him and since he’s beginning to come into his own as an all-timer babyface, it ain’t bad. Between Pain’s horribly inconsistent offense and an interminable pace at least partially meant to bury the Canadian, it’s only through Generico’s performance that this match is any good. And it is good, kind of! If you’re familiar with such terminology this is very much a Hoot of the Year contender, dare I say of the decade. Every once in a while Pain will just murder Generico with something and once Generico gets his brief comeback that’s tons of fun too. Of note he connects with his DDT through the corner for maybe the first time, along with some good chair shots and this yakuza kick:
Throughout this shine Pain can never decide whether or not he wants to cut the guy off and Generico sure isn’t at a point in his career where he feels comfortable stuffing a guy doing that to him, so there’s tons of awkwardness even in the best moments. But those best moments sure do rule, appropriately culminating with the finish:
Awesome spot. That second angle in particular is burned into my memory, being one of many clips included in a music video that brought me to CZW early in my wrestling fandom. (For real, you should watch that MV, I still think it’s fantastic.) Pain puts Generico over on the mic afterward, which flies in the face of what he was doing throughout the match and where a lot of old guard CZW sentiment is at around this time, but it’s perfectly in line with how this crowd feels. Generico isn’t a nobody by any means, having been part of the CZW midcard for over a year now on top of making waves down in PWG, but these people aren’t especially hot for him at the start of this match and are losing their shit for his comeback by the end. That ain’t nothing.
…but I don’t think that tells the whole story. Pain/Generico might not waste time going through the motions like Shawn/Taker does but its pacing is so much worse and its execution is often laughably bad. They might do some insane spots but so do Shawn and Taker, who I might note are a hell of a lot older in 2009 than these dudes were in 2006. As fun as this CZW match is, there’s a lot the WWE match has going for it.
Where these two matches differ (and where these comparisons often end up) is in what they make me feel. I was drawn to both these matches when I was younger (or matches like them, as I didn’t get to see Shawn/Taker in full until around 2011 due to where I was in life) and they’re a big part of why I became a fan of guys like El Generico and Shawn Michaels, as well places like CZW. Today I’m clearly not much of a fan of Shawn/Taker but while I recognize that this Pain/Generico match is bad in a bunch of ways, it still manages to delight me. The difference is minuscule at best but in sort-of-holding up over the 10+ years I think I’ve gotta give the nod to Pain/Generico.
VERDICT: Slightly, almost imperceptibly better than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25