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From The Vault – 4

I decided to take a break from KENTA & Marufuji this week, but I did watch a ton of other random stuff. First up is an episode of Raw from right before No Mercy 2001. We’re deep into the invasion angle and RVD is the most over babyface on the roster. The show was built around a tag match which would be Stone Cold and a partner vs. Kurt Angle and a partner. Austin had the Alliance vote as to who his partner would be and he rigged it so that RVD wouldn’t win. I had forgotten how funny he was as the leader of these jabroni’s.

The tag match ended up being excellent. Undertaker was Angle’s partner and worked harder than I remember him working back in 2001. Austin was the best guy in the match. The other main matches were The Rock against RVD and Jericho against Rhyno. These were both really good as well. RVD and Rock had excellent chemistry, it’s a shame they never got to work more. In fact this may have been their only ever singles match.

Some other notes from the show:

– Edge was OVER like a mofo. Christian had just turned on him and he was breaking out big as a singles star.

– Heyman was sooooo good on commentary. Man it made me miss him a ton.

– Kidman and Taz had a HIDEOUS match with no heat whatsoever. Also Kidman used a finisher ten times worse than the Playmaker and I didn’t think such a thing was possible.

– Trish stripped. It was a good time….. duh.

– Kurt Angle, a big believer in the idea that tag teams need matching gear, decided to sport a bandana and sunglasses coming down to the ring with Taker. An American flag bandana no less. It ruled.

The other thing I’ve been watching a lot of is the 2004 G-1 Climax tournament. This is largely considered one of the better G-1’s and I had never seen it so I decided to check it out since it’s officially G-1 Season (I’ll have a column on the 2008 edition very soon).

Every match I’ve watched so far has been good at the least and very great at the best. The pick of the bunch was probably Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. They tore it down, wrestling a match that was a combination of old school New Japan “Strong Style” and more modern techniques. Shibata got, what was at the time, a huge win for him. In case you’re wondering, yes this is the same Shibata who you saw get beat up on the Dream show last week.

The next best watch was probably Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Kensuke Sasaki. This was famous as it was Takayama’s last match before a two year absence due to a brain injury. He collapsed post match and was taken to hospital. The match itself was really amazing. The crowd were insane for it and the final few minutes were really dramatic.

I’ve seen other matches involving the likes of Osamu Nishimura, Koji Kanemoto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yutaka Yoshie and Yugi Nagata. Kanemoto in particular has looked very impressive in the role of the underdog junior.

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