Some of that wrestling stuff. I don't know.

There's been a complete reevaluation of my top 20, according to me putting matches that were just fun a little too high, plus a complete turnaround on Miyamoto/Sasaki. I blame sleep deprivation.

Also, I've decided that I'm going to divide the top 20 of puro by college semester, so I can have a better way to associate what was good when. So that's New Year's to June 5th, June 5th to whenever fall starts (schedule isn't out), and fall to end of the year.

#1 -- Yuji Nagata Vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, 4/13, NJPW

A lot of people are saying things about this match a lot more eloquently, and in a lot more detail than I am, so I'm just going to sum up what I think. This match is what you would expect 2007 NJPW to look like if you were in the year 2001, when Nagata was king, and the rookie class had a ton of promise. I don't think anyone expected the rookie to have the gold and Nagata to have to fight his hardest for it against him. In a sense, this whole match somes off as a combination of Nagata/Mutoh from the 2001 G1 Finals, and Cena/RVD from ONS2. Tanahashi is Cena and Mutoh: The immaculate babyface that the men hate, only with a hold centric style that's outsmarted many and brought him to the top. He's in a hostile environment against Nagata, so he's absolutely ready to throw out all the stops. Nagata is RVD and, well, Nagata. A favorite combatant who's always had a sort of grassroots support base, but has been slacking off until a fire is lit under him. It's been far, far too long since he's held meaningful singles gold, and it seems like the whole world is pulling for Nagata. And Tanahashi says "damnit, if this is my last defense, I'm going to go out kicking, screaming, and antagonizing, and when I win, I'll be holding my gut laughing." Tanahashi goes above and beyond the call of duty in this match,  throwing out everything he can to ground and hurt Nagata, first in anger at the crowd it seems, then as the match wears on, in complete desperation. Nagata won't fall, though, even to some of Tanahashi's strongest weapons. Tanahashi throws the hardest strikes I've ever seen him throw, just to keep up, but Tanahashi's hardest isn't as good as Nagata's hardest. Nagata channels the entire kick-submission-suplex style in the end, with a sickening roundhouse kick, and huge backdrops. And, like both the G1 Final and the ONS2 match, the right man wins.

~2007 Spring Semester~

1. Yuji Nagata Vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, 04/13, NJPW

2. Yuko Miyamoto Vs. Takashi Sasaki, 03/14, BJPW

3. Shinjiro Otani & Takao Omori Vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Kohei Sato, 02/18, Z1MAX

4. Ryouji Sai Vs. Mammoth Sasaki, 02/18, Z1MAX

5. Meiko Satomura Vs. Mayumi Ozaki, 02/12, LLPW

6. Takeshi Rikio & Jun Akiyama Vs. Mohammed Yone & Takeshi Morishima, 04/01, NOAH

7. Daisuke Sekimoto Vs. Kengo Mashimo, 03/22, Wakamusha

8. Yoshihiro Takayama, Hirotaka Yokoi, & Kohei Sato Vs. Takao Omori, Shinjiro Otani, & Kazunari Murakami, 01/19, Z1MAX

9. SUWA, Yoshihiro Takayama, & Minoru Suzuki Vs. Takeshi Rikio, KENTA, & Naomichi Marufuji, 01/21, NOAH

10. Jun Akiyama Vs. Go Shiosaki, 01/21, NOAH

11. Doug Williams Vs. Yoshinari Ogawa, 03/04, NOAH

12. Osamu Namiguchi Vs. Atsushi Aoki, 03/08, Z1MAX

13. Shinsuke Nakamura Vs. Toshiaki Kawada, 01/04, NJPW

14. Keiji Muto Vs. Toru Owashi, 03/27, AJPW

15. Tiger Mask, Koji Kanemoto, Wataru Inoue, Kaz Hayashi, & TAKA Michinoku Vs.  Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo, & "brother" YASSHI, 01/04, NJPW

16. Tamon Honda, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, & Go Shiosaki Vs. Masao Inoue, Kishin Kawabata, & Atsushi Aoki, 03/04, NOAH

17. Fuuka Vs. HIROKA, 1/14, JD

18. Bison Smith, Chris Hero, & Bobby Fish Vs. Takeshi Rikio, Akitoshi Saito, & Ricky Marvin, 03/04, NOAH

19. Jun Akiyama Vs. Mohammed Yone, 03/04, NOAH

20. KAZMA, Daichi Kakimoto, KAGETORA, & Soldier Vs. Akira Raijin, Super Dolphin, Munenori Sawa, & Takeshi Minnamino, 3/22, Wakamusha


On the Highway of I WRITE LOTS ABOUT 2007 ALBUMS

(blogspot's method of doing pictures is completely stupid. That being said, let's continue.)

The Shins - "Wincing The Night Away"

Blah blah Garden State blah. There. Moving on.

The Shins are a pretty decent embodiment of what modern alt rock is. The soft tonality, the vulnurable singer, the David Bowie tributes. Typical SubPop artist fare, in a way. The Shins have a more natural approach to their songwriting, and if you're into that kind of thing, that's fine. For me, though, the album went in one ear and right out the other without me noticing it. I've tried multiple listens, in various states of sensory deprivation, and I just can't do it. It sounds like a soundtrack to a movie, and not an album. I am probably alone in this feeling, but hey, my blog, eat it. Moving on!

Fu Manchu - We Must Obey

Holy shit! There's new Fu Manchu and no one told me! As a lover of stoner rock, this is nothing but good news. Well, at first, that was the case. This sure sounds like Fu Manchu, but I don't remember them being this angry. Well, they are. Maybe it's just general frustration at the world or geopolitics or something, but this is the angriest Fu Manchu album ever. There's none of the levity that you expect from Fu Manchu, so it comes of as much more of a Kyuss album in slow motion than a Fu Manchu album. I like Kyuss alright, but I like Fu Manchu a great deal, and this really isn't a Fu Manchu album. However, at the same time, it is a good metal album, and it leaps between thrash with pounding anthemic songs like "Between The Lines," but it's lacking in any breaks. I guess that's good for metal, but it just continues to show that this isn't really much of a Fu Manchu album. If you liked "Evil Eye" a lot, you would like this album. Me, I was always more of a "Laserbl'ast!" and "Trackside Hoax" guy, so this doesn't do much for me.

Maximo Park - "Our Earthly Pleasures"

Holy shit! There's new Maximo Park and no one told me! Wait, this didn't work out. Maximo Park is a great, GREAT modern britpop band, with a surprising traditional element to their music, that comes together and really sets them apart from most rock bands, with straight forward lyrics, and a usually strong, relentless beat that borders on infectious. "A Certain Trigger" was a great album, not just a great debut album, and I still listen to it all the time. So, new Maximo Park. Awesome. The cheesy lyrics and uplifting powerchords start the album, so I am immediately psyched. After listening, this is totally new Maximo Park. "Our Velocity" is a great summary of what makes Maximo Park so damned awesome, combining synthesizer melody and pop-punk power chords, with blunt lyrics that are almost unintelligble at times, thanks to the British accent. Like "A Certain Trigger", the album is an unexpected surprise, only because it's a solid followup that had almost no press, so I had no idea it was coming out. Pick this up if you're looking for good modern britpop. It is out there, and it's Maximo Park.

- The Good, The Bad, & The Queen

Speaking of Britpop, how about that Damon Albarn guy? He's alright. Makes some good stuff sometimes. Didn't really like "Demon Days", but that was more because I was protesting the criminal lack of Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, than it being a bad album. The singles were all good, although "Feel Good Inc." was way overplayed. Hey, that Danger Mouse guy, he's cool too. I didn't listen to Gnarls Barkley until this year, and actually, Gnarls Barkley is the reason I'm reviewing albums all year instead of just at the end, because I felt REALLY bad about not having that on there after listening to it. And some guy from the Clash, too. I dunno. It's all piano powered for the most part. Really, I can do nothing besides suggest you listen to "History Song" to see if you'll like it. It's pretty much what the whole album is. If you don't like the one song, I really doubt you'll like the album. Overall, though, it's just middling. It's nothing completely mindblowing. It's even a little overbearing at times, and a lot of the songs don't have drums, which is weird considering their drummer is Tony Allen. Whatever. I guess I don't like it because it's supposed to be a commentary on living in England nowadays, and I don't have that context.

1. Arcade Fire - "Neon Bible"
2. Ted Leo & The Pharmecists - "Living With The Living"
3. Clutch - "From Beale St. To Oblivion"
4. Maximo Park - "Our Earthly Pleasures"
5. LCD Soundsystem - "Sound of Silver"
6. Fu Manchu - "We Must Obey"
7. The Good, The Bad, & The Queen
8. The Shins - "Wincing The Night Away"

Next time on the road...
-Air. Air is good for breathing. Air is also good listening. Weird, huh?
-Bloc Party. Well, sort of.
-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, plus openly asking what the hell is wrong with some people.
-Trent Reznor masturbating. I hear he's all muscly now. Can only imagine the kind of pud pulling involved.




Poetry. Uh-huh.

You write to vent. Sometimes it sucks. We'll see.

A Mantra

Words pour

And music drips

Refine the latter

And get drunk on it

Watch the former flow

And let it crash when it's ready

Bee Among Flowers

How many hover here?

Must be millions

Drones and subjects

Engaged in one task

They don't bother to look

And see what they're doing

And so things go.

How gorgeous is this?

Bright pink in our brown world

How did I never notice this?

And why does no one else see?

It's not an accident. It's all around us!

They must choose to ignore it.

How dare they!

Collect pollen, and return it to the hive

Living fake little lives

For honey they will never have.

Well, I say damn the honey!

Damn the hive, and damn the queen!

Instinctual no more!

I will not return!

And so things go.

I have seen the life of a drone

And I detest it so very much

Dancing for others to see

And to take what I've found

Well I shall dance for myself

Dance for my life

And not for my harvest

In will be frozen one day,

But I will freeze as one

Not as many

And so things go.

The Human Experience, part 1

Girls and boys

Plumage flushing

Playing little games

As they practice revolting

Girls and boys

Looking good, and feeling bad

Hiding out and getting burned

Because they only learned "no"

Look me in the eye if you can

I say it's not so bad to burn

With so many men,

you'd expect more manhood

With so many women,

you'd expect less girls

There's so many people

But so few humans

Any person is a galaxy

But there's interstellar silence

Girls and boys

Wait for the stars to burn out

We'll see who talks then

When there's only each other for light



That is a really lame title.

--Ayako Hamada Vs. Yoshiko Tamura, 2/18, NEO

Ayako Hamada gets my blood going, so I'm already into the match. This is for some crazy NWA title. I've seen approximately one Tamura match, I think, so this'll be a pretty new experience. The mat exchange ends with Tamura right in Hamada's face, which I approve of. Then, there are jump cuts. Tamura  has some really stupid moves, like this corner knee thing,  This match is cut to hell., and not to mention a little clunky. on both parts. The exchanges feel a mite forced at times. This seems to be more conflicting styles than any other factor going wrong, but maybe it's just an off night for both of them. It happens. Ayako's slaps look terrible for some reason. Hamada's facials are still golden, though, and the look of shock like  terror at the kick out from the Michinoku Driver thing are great. The spin kick dodges look way contrived, as does Tamura's elbow flurry. Yawn at this match.

--Akitoshi Saito, KENTA, & Ippei Ota Vs. Joe Legend, Bryan Danielson, & Ted DiBiase Jr., 4/01, NOAH

The NOAH turnaround never ceases to amaze.  I loves me some Saito, Danielson is cool. Joe is cool. DiBiase Jr. is already a star from reaction, which is boggling. As long as there is minimal KENTA, there is hope for this match. Ota and Danielson start, so this should be fun. Ota is really loud. The crowd is freaky into Danielson, especially after he kills him with a European Uppercut. The reaction KENTA gets for tagging in to go with Danielson leads me to believe they should have done the singles match in in Korakuen. DiBiase Jr in, and the people are way into him. His fistdrops are awesome. KENTA doing the fist drop is un awesome. Saito in, and we are moments away from Legend/Saito. Saito speeds things up, by shoving Dibiase in the corner and yelling at him. We have the tag, we have a shoving match, and the crowd is utterly psyched for it. There's a shoulderblock battle, and Joe has the crowd eating out of his hand. Ota and Danielson back in, and Danielson's stretching of poor Ota is great. DiBiase in,  and he's not much of a brawler. He does have the moves he does really crisp, though. I wonder if the other Dibiase kid is the brawler.Legend in, and he breaks Ota's nose with a gourdbuster. Joe and Danielson both go after the nose like jerks, And there ain't nothin' like Danielson being a jerk. Ota makes it to the corner, and Sato is in to wreck some fools. Instead, Danielson takes him down, which is weird. KENTA runs interference, and his interaction in this match has been kept very limited, so it's going pretty good. Saito pops one of Danielson's vertebrae with a lariat. DiBiase Jr in with Saito now, and he's still got the wrestling.  His elbows are on and off. Million Dollar Dream! Legsweep! And then a Cobra Camel Clutch thing.  KENTA in with DiBiase, and KENTA hits hard. Woohoo.  DiBiase with the nice powerslam. Joe back in, and he gets the crowd up for a clubbing blow to the back. Holy crap, Joe is over. Ota tags in for revenge on Joe, and it is sweet. Ota tries for the airplane spin so hard, but Joe is a large man, so it takes a while. I'm wanting Danielson to come in and do one on Ota, but KENTA hates me, so he runs interference, along with Saito. Ota's Diving Neckbreaker is way over. Ota's Lariats just get Joe to wake up, and then it's Joe's turn to lariat, but it doesn't take. Joe does this weird reverse waterwheel thing, and it's totally great. DiBiase's corner charging lariat looks like hell. Complete Shot is still lame. This match is alright. Minimum KENTA, maximum Ota and Joe. Ted didn't do anything to really wow me, but the nostalgia factor of the moveset is nice. I just don't think it's enough. Danielson and Joe put Ota over. Joe tries to shake Saito's hand, but he's Akitoshi Saito, so the only shaking is the forearm shiver. Saito storms off to end the video. I guess it's an alright match? Ted and KENTA may as well not have been there. This match probably would have been a whole lot smoother if they weren't, as Ted is alright but unremarkable, and KENTA should be be elsewhere, as he's not really a good face at all, and there ain't no heel teams with young lions on them.

#9--Jun Akiyama & Takeshi Rikio Vs. Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone, 4/01

Akiyama and Rikio is just as random as Morishima and Yone. Morishima has an awesome backdrop t-shirt. Rikio and Morishima are face to face, and I am eager about this match already. Akiyama and Yone were great in a fast little sprint, and I can only hope that it will translate better in a title match environment, but we'll see. I don't mind Rikio or Morishima, so I'm excited for all prospects of this match. Rikio and Morishima start off, and the Wild II collision has the crowd way pumped. Morishima's ready to spit fire, then Akiyama and Yone tag in, and it's shades of the sprint. Yone takes it right to Akiyama, and looks like a million bucks. Akiyama is invincible on the floor though, and Yone forgets. Yone gets up brinning, threatening to bring a chair to the ring, and this crowd is on fire. Yone tries wrestling this time, but only as long as it takes to get Morishima back in the ring. Morishima's neck wrench is nowhere near as cool as Yone's. Yone back in, and they light each other up. Yone's like a superhero for some reason. Akiyama catches a kick and trips, and in comes Rikio. And after knocking Yone down, Rikio goes right for Morishima, repeating what Akiyama did to Yone, even as far as to knock him over the same guardrail. Morishima loses his patience,  and charges Rikio instead of breaking a pin on Yone, and Rikio is left laying on the entrance.  Sandwich Lariat takes down Akiyama, and now Yone takes Akiyama outside to try and lay him out. The Yone cheers are everywhere for some reason. Long running knee attack thing on Yone, and now Rikio has had enough. Yone gets a hold of Rikio, and Morishima lariats, leaving them both laying. Yone brins Akiyama back to the ring for some reason. This would have been a great count out spot. Yone and Morishima team on Akiyama, and really well. There's some fifteen minutes left in the match, but it feels like we're coming into the finishing stretch just from how fast everything's moving. Morishima takes a whoopin' from Rikio as he chokes the life out of Akiyama. Yone and Akiyama back in, and Yone continues to be mega over. Hot tag for Rikio that actually works! Rikio is a house of fire, taking it to both men, but soon, Yone's crazy face kicks cut him off.  I wish Morishima wouldn't stick his tongue out so much. It only works for MiSuzu. Morishima's big boot to the corner is crazy. Rikio takes one from Suguira's playbook, with the rush to the corner and the waterwheel. Akiyama tags in, and gets hell of such revenge on Morishima. Yone runs on Rikio, and Morishima throws out a superplex thanks to Yone's help. The crowd is crazy for the Doomsday Wheelkick, but Rikio breaks it up. Akiyama fights the backdrop, and Rikio gets loose again, long enough to stop backdropping. Akiyama crawls for and gets the tag, And now we have gassed out fat man brawling, for some reason. Morishima looks way tired, and so does Rikio, but Rikio still brings the crazy slaps. Yone's still sprinting, and that's probably why. Yone is that over avtive kid who would do everything on the playground every thirty minutes, just going around and around and around .Yone puts the muscle buster on Rikio, and that's damn amazing. Akiyama gets the barest pin save I've about ever seen. Morishima herniates a little trying to lift Rikio for the Doomsday, and it's for naught anyways, as Rikio catches Yone with a mid air lariat, which is way cool. Yone is still moving, though, even as Akiyama and Rikio team up on him. Morishima makes the save after a slap/knee/lariat sequence. Rilkio's Slap Lariat thing is still cool, and I guess that's as close as we'll get to the thing. Rikio catches the running corner knee from Yone, and THERE's the Slap Lariat. Yone is taking a manly fucking beating from Akiyama and Rikio, catching a knee from Akiyama while he was on hishands and knees, a powerbomb, and a running lariat from Rikio. The Muso signal goes up, the crowdd goes up, Yone goes down, and there are your new heros. If you ever wanted to see a twenty five minute sprint, here you go. Rikio and Morishima tried really hard to keep up, as did Akiyama, but Yone was the star of this match, as he has been with every Yone/Morishima match. This isn't match of the year or anything, but it's perfectly alright for a title match. Morishima storms the hell off while Rikio raises Yone to his feet, the crowd cheering wildly for him, confirming my suspicions of him being the man who got the most from this match.  Yone and Morishima seem to be pretty much over as a team. Morishima is now pretty much established as a glory hog in NOAH, so it'll be interesting to see where this goes. Rikio is completely out of breath post match, and it's endearing in a weird sort of way. Akiyama calls out Takayama, even shocking the interviewer guy.  Rikio sounds vaguely like Marlon Brandau.  Thank you speeches, pictures taken, trophies, all that good stuff. It's a weird match, but it worked because there's no way that it should have been a long drawn out thing, given Akiyama/Yone a month back, and Rikio and Morishima's on off relationship. Rikio and Yone came off as megastars the whole time. Over all, I can only really call it fun, but fun is good enough. Certainly a better title change match than the one for the IWGP in March.


Puro in the Twenty-Ought-Savage


#13--Fuuka/HIROKA, 1/14, JD

Fuuka is cute, HIROKA isn't happy, this is Joshi. Who knows what got into HIROKA, because she's a beast on offense in this, being almost too cruel. Fuuka has some real weight behind her kicks, which is way deceptive, and actually a little scary. If there's a real storyline behind this match, I've missed it because I don't follow JD. I don't even know who the other girl in the little interference spot it. I know that HIROKA's way tough to stay in a heel hook as long as she does. HIROKA's just a big bully, and when Fuuka's antagonizing her, it's totally great. It's not Joshi without the obscene stomach kicking, and this match is full of really great ones from both of them. This match seemed to really fly by, for some reason, and the finish was flat, for me, but that's probably more because I don't think I've ever seen HIROKA before. This match was a good introduction, though.

#2--Ryouji Sai/Mammoth Sasaki, 2/18, Z1MAX

Mammoth Sasaki does batting practice with a chair, and Z1MAX continues to warm my heart with ridiculous video packages. I go back and forth on liking Sai. Mammoth Sasaki is wearing a shirt with the Red Skull on it, and that is viciously awesome. Sai's theme is depressing, because it starts as "Lust for Life", then goes into crappy Offspring. Sai has a British flag on one side of his tights, because he's a punk, or...something. The mat wrestling bits are great because it's a strubble for positioning, and then they start elbowing each other. Mammoth Sasaki is golden with how he's selling, and Ryouji Sai has himself on his kneepads and his tights, now that I get a close look. That totally makes sense for him. Sai gets all up Sasaki's business, and it's generally a bad idea, as Sasaki is apt to commit assault if properly motivated. Sasaki cold throws a table at Sai, and I love this match already. Sasaki is totally an awesome brawler, and Sai is willing to get horribly abused, so it all works out. I think back to what DEAN said about Mammoth Sasaki being all 70s style on the last JVsTW, and it's totally right. I have no idea why weapons are being allowed, but at the same time, I wouldn't tell Mammoth "no" either. Sai throws out a great corner Shining Wizard to make his comeback, and Sai has decided he's going to sell today, so the match will work. Sasaki lariats Sai in the knee to counter a kick. This match is awesome. None of the chair stuff is contrived, amazingly. It becomes patently obvious that KENTA loves Ryouji Sai, because Sai just totally did the double stomp spot that he did against Morishima, but with less strange screaming. With Sasaki being proto-Morishima, and Sai apparently being KENTA's muse, this match is the best Morishima/KENTA match possible, but even without taking shots at that match, this match is still way awesome. It's not an earth shattering epic or anything, but it is a total blast, and way more fun than anything I've seen this year so far.

#1--Meiko Satomura Vs. Mayumi Ozaki, 2/12, LLPW

To take care of the whole problem I had with the Fuuka/HIROKA match, LLPW is nice enough to put on a big video package to tell me why I need to care about this match. Sadly, I barely understand it. I think this is the finals of a tournament of some kind, but I am not at all sure. The crowd attendance is a little sad, but it gives the entrances a weird kind of aura it wouldn't have if there were people screaming. I am a pretty big Ozaki fan, and have been since the Ozaki/Kansai Vs. Yamada/Toyota 2/3 Falls, so this will be more than alright. Satomura isn't anything to sneeze at either. Ozaki has a manager, and a chain, so this is already old school awesomeness. The chain is a dog collar, and holy hell, this is great. Ozaki has always been great at tormenting and mocking her opponents, and this match is no different. The manager gets all kinds of involved, and there's weapon shenanigans that go unpunished, but I don't care, because this thing is fantastic. The manager is made of gold and pro wrestling, and is totally making this match. Male managers in Joshi is totally a great idea, and this guy is great at it. He looks like Yoji Anjoh. If anyone is a big LLPW person, I would be greatful if I could get a name. Satomura sells everything  perfect, and her come backs are great. The two of them do throw out some really weird moves, like Satomura's F-5. The Shining Axe Kick is still way gross. When the ring girls run interference for Satomura, I am marking out like a little bitch. There's a pretty gross botch thanks to one of the ring girls trying to get out of the way, but Satomura recovers flawlessly, and good fucking god, this thing is amazing. The manager is a woman hating ass, and Satomura makes the save for the ring girls at the end of the match. Ozaki, with righteous fury over losing the match, uses the collar and drags the manager to the back, slapping him all the way. And then there's a backstage segment about it, where the two of them fight like some couple. Ozaki bypasses the press set, and Satomura seems a little emotional. This match is a damn blast, and is a real throwback affair.

#3--Shinjiro Otani & Takao Omori Vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Kohei Sato, 2/18

AWESOME. Kazunari Murakami and Hirotaka Yokoi made the last match not so great, so by all means, this should be fucking incredible. The video package is a Z1MAX video package, so it's automatically great. The match has the subtitle of "Head On Collision", and it is. They pair off just like they ought to, Otani and Sato beating ass on one side, Omori and Takayama on the other, with Omori/Otani rushing just like in the six man. Omori is spitting fire as he drags Takayama around by his beautiful hair, and it is great. Then Takayama starts punching him. There is way too much wrestling going on in this match, so Takayama puts a stop to it by kneeling on Omori's face and windpipe while also trying to set an armbar. I want to see Takayama/Omori, and I still need to see the tag title match, whenever that makes it's way out. Takayama is Takayama, and it's hate filled Takayama. Once he gets his fill, Sato is in to seemingly prove himself to Takayama, and he's as vicious as ever wit all kinds of choking going on. The crowd is totally for Omori, and Otani is on that hyphy or something. He gets in, and slaps the shit out of Sato, and I believe S Road, damnit. Otani and Sato are great together, and Sato/Takayama still have really odd chemistry. Otani is in full on 80s facial/selling mode, which is fucking rad. The crowd is bananas for Otani, and so am I. And then Omori randomly kicks Sato in the damn face, and I love this match so much. Omori breaks a chair over Takayama's skull, because he's damn heartless, like he's saying "bitch, you ain't never had a concussion till you came in my business." Takayama is busted way open, and Omori is just ruthless, crossfacing the cut then putting a camel clutch on the cut. Otani does exactly the same, and I totally did not expect this. Omori refuses to let Talayama come back, so he runs interference. Takayama is a house of fire on both of them, and within the last five minutes of watching, Omori/Otani went from old school faces to a surly as fuck rudo team. Yet, they're getting all kinds of cheered for it. The sandwich Axe Bomber/Enzui is great, and Omori is  great at conveying just how damn livid he is by punching Takayama in his disgured face after the Axe Guillotine Driver. Sato comes in and is a house of fire, getting them the hell off of Takayama, but Omori and Otani soon get the advantage. Takayama totally loses it, grabbing the table that Sasaki used earlier in the match, and cold throws it at Otani, who is the lucky recipient of a damn beating, capitalized by him taking one of the heavy, unforgiving barricades and braining both of them with it. Takayama is bleeding a gusher. This match is fucking awesome, if random. I was totally expecting Takayama as incader, not Takayama as victim. Takayama's revenge is goddamn glorious, and this match is somehow even better with the DQ finish. They have to pull Takayama off Omori, and not even his partners can to id. Takayama flipping off the cheering Z1MAX fans is also great. Sato and Yokoi have to pull Takayama to the back, as Omori is lifted like dead weight from the ring. Holy shit. This match is obscene, and totally makes me want to see an Omori/Takayama bloodbath singles match.

#12--Jun Akiyama Vs. Go Shoisaki, 1/27, NOAH

Akiyama is at his absolute best as either insane coach (Hashi) or thuggish doorkeeper, and Go is a great plucky babyface. We don't get Go's entrence in th vid, and we barely get Akiyama's, as Go jumps him before the bell. Go is on fire, but that comes to an end after Akiyama throws up a jumping knee as Go does his flying shoulder tackle. Akiyama slows things down, going after Go's arm. And lord, does he ever go after the arm. twisting it way unnaturally, and making Go pay for his insolence like only he car. Jun stand like a wall in the face of Go's offense, since Go's right handed and Akiyama worked on the right. Akiyama is relentless on the arm, and you feel bad for Go, but I guess he had it coming. Akiyama must love hazing, as all his best matches come off as trials by fire, especially with Go and Hashi. The Budokan wants Go to take Jun's head off with Lariats, and by god, he does. Go is still the best underdog face in NOAH, and he's more than happy to bust his ass for a good match. Akiyama is great at getting control back, grabbing an armbar instead of kicking out of the moonsault, and continuing to antagonize Go. Seeing Kikuchi scream at Go to get the ropes is also awesome, even if you have to be paying attention for it. Akiyama's control is greeted with silence, but Shiosaki's crawling is met with awe and cheering. When he kicks at one after the backdrops, the place wakes up, and Akiyama throwing out the Shining Wizard is great. When Go kicks from the Exploder, the place goes up. Watching Go try as hard as he can to chop Akiyama is great. I was really pulling for Go to lay it, but his arm just hurt too bad. But, there were two chops before the end hit, and they were total gold, despite how bad Go's arm was. Therre is athletic tape all over Go's busterd arm, and the look on Go's face from losing is a little moving. He looks deflated, and as he comes to, he looks madder and madder. The video ends with him pounding the mat and screaming. This is a good little rookie vs. champion match, and Go is still the best thing NOAH has in it's future.

#18--KAZMA, Daichi Kakimoto, KAGETORA, & Soldier Vs. Akira Raijin, Super Dolphin, Munenori Sawa, & Takeshi Minnamino, 3/22, Wakamusha

Like, don't know, don't like, don't know, don't like, like, indisposed, there is no way that's Minnamino. Match starts with rudos jumping faces. I don't pay attention for a little, and look back up when it's Kakimoto and Sawa getting into it. There's a great little roll up trade, and then KAGETORA and Super Dolphin get tagged in. KAZMA and KAGETORA work great together as a team, with KAZMA bringing the bloat and KAGETORA with the gloat. I have never seen Soldier before ever, and he ain't exactly impressing. Then it's more Kakimoto. I do love the discus lariat. Apparently Sawa and Kakimoto hate each other, or something, as Sawa runs in to stop Kakimoto from doing offense. This match s a nice little sprint. KAZMA is still a great heel, so the look on his face as he blocks a Raijin headbut brings me joy. Minnamino looks like Todo from those Art of Fighting Games, if he had a buzz cut. Soldier is a little basic. Reminds me a lot of Kuroda. Raijin kills the Lungblower, just because of how unnatural he looks doing it. Sawa's Shining Wizard is still awesome. Soldier does a Styles Clash. What? KAGETORA is still KAGETORA, and that's cool if you like KAGETORA, although Dolphin is more than happy to go up for his weird unnatural offense. Black Mamba or whatever you call the Low Ki Shining Wizard miss is still really lame, even if it is Super Dolphin doing it. Just when I'm thinking this match needs more KAZMA, here comes Kazma and Todo Minnamino. Holy crap, they're both antsy, apparently, as they're laying in crazy hard. Minnamino is totally great with the fake karate gimmick. And now pointless big moves to get everyone in for the ending sprint of the match. KAZMA waits for all of the other guys to finish jacking off, and then goes back to business, smashing Minnamino, and ending it. Unremarkable, but KAZMA is still cool, so this match is cool.

Exit 4 on The Road to I WRITE LOTS ABOUT 2007 ALBUMS

Clutch - "From Beale St. To Oblivion"

For those who know Clutch, It's more Clutch.

For those who don't know Clutch, I feel sorry for you. We'll start from the top.

Nowadays, rock and roll is greatly ironic. Bands write trite little songs to amuse themselves and make money. Sincerity in rock and roll is really, really hard to find, especially in the case of authentic rock and roll. Indie rock is encountering it's own renaissance, which we briefly talked about last week. As far as real rock bands go, the field is dominated by assholes like Wolfmother, who think rock and roll is a big ol' joke, and they're going to go ahead and cash in.

And then we have Clutch.

Clutch is America's last real rock band. Under the influence, writing about gibberish, then playing their music loud and strong. There's no snooty elitism in their music, and there's no real grace to any of it. At the same time, it's anything but clumsy. It's just filthy and straight forward. And best of all, there's just about one new Clutch album a year. Clutch's latest album, "From Beale Street To Oblivion" is the follow up to 2005's immaculate (and my personal record of the year choice) "Robot Hive/Exodus." The album changed the entire Clutch sound with the addition of a full time piano player, adding the accenting that one could argue the music needed. It gave the whole album a throwback feel, as Neil Fallon's surrealist lyrics and the hazy guitars filled the landscape. To me, and many others, there wasn't a bad song on there. It's a hard act to follow, and they come close. With a combination of blues structure ("The Devil & Me", "White's Ferry") and occasional surrealism ("When Vegans Attack", "Opossum Minster"), the highlight is the two songs in the middle of the CD, "Electric Worry" & "One Eye Doctor." "Electric Worry" starts out slow, and low key, but very steadily builds into chaotic reprise before sinking back down again, telling a strong story of heartbreak, and the revenge of doing better. Then, very suddenly, it segues into "One Eye Doctor," a 1:23 burst of usual Clutch insanity, lifted from the "Jam Room" album, a compilation of outtakes, almost as if it was a wink to those who've been investing in all these Clutch albums.

Next Exit:

(picture later)

The Shins - "Wincing The Night Away"