The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.
WrestleZone recently spoke with Calvin Tankman, who has been making a name for himself on a national level after a breakout performance at GCW’s The Wrld On 2 in Indianapolis last month. Tankman’s size deceives most fans, as he’s a heavyweight but can move just as well as a smaller wrestler. He cited his match against MJF at Bizarro Lucha’s debut event, Hatching The Egg, as one where people started to realize that he was a better wrestler than they gave credit for.
“I’ve had some good ones. Out of personal matches I’ve had, I’d say one is against MJF at the first Bizarro Lucha show. That was one where people started to realize that I could really go.”
Tankman praised a 2006 match between Samoa Joe and Necro Butcher as one that stands out from a fan’s perspective, noting that it’s one that fun to show viewers that might be new to the independent scene. In addition, Tankman cited the 2006 GHC Championship match between Minoru Suzuki and Jun Akiyama as a must-see, nothing it’s just a great story in the ring and fun to study.
“I’m going to say one match that always sticks out to me is—and I’m also a huge Samoa Joe fan—one is Joe and Necro Butcher because it’s ridiculous and I love to show it to people that haven’t seen that style of wrestling or people that haven’t paid attention to indie wrestling. I love seeing their faces when they see that match.
“One of my favorites—Minoru Suzuki and Jun Akiyama. They were both in white and [he] hung him over the top rope and choked him with the sleeper and left him on the floor. That’s definitely one that I watch just because the storytelling and everything behind it is just something that I just love. Me and my friends will get together every once in a while and watch.”
Calvin Tankman said that while he’s hard-pressed to pick a single match by Vader since there are so many, he does want to have the same effect on professional wrestling that both he and Bam Bam Bigelow had in changing the perception of what super heavyweights could do.
“I’ve said this before but I want to be revolutionary. I want to have the same effect that Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow had on wrestling. You didn’t see big guys doing athletic things because it felt like it was unnecessary but they did it, and they did it well within the confines of what they did as a professional wrestler and made it effective. That’s what I’m trying to get. I’m trying to take that, what they’ve done, and take that to the next level and be that next definition of super heavyweight.
“I hate that the super heavyweight term is just made for a big guy that sits there and just slaps people—yeah, I’m going to slap you and hit you in the mouth, but there’s so many other things that I can do and be lethal at. If there’s anything that the UFC has taught a lot of people it’s that heavyweights are just as athletic as that size as these little guys. They might be a little slower but they are just as athletic, throwing head kicks, the same techniques these little guys are. Today, the only thing stopping these big guys is they don’t feel like they can. I’m one of those guys where if I really want to do it, I’m going to keep doing it until I perfect it.”
We added some free-to-watch recommendations to the list and selected a good mix of bouts from Calvin Tankman’s career as well as the Samoa Joe vs. Necro Butcher match and the GHC Championship match.
Vader vs. Ron Simmons (WCW Championship)
WCW Main Event — August 2, 1992
Samoa Joe vs. Necro Butcher
IWA Mid-South Something To Prove — June 11, 2005
Minoru Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama (GHC Championship)
Pro Wrestling NOAH Navigate For Evolution — March 5, 2006
Calvin Tankman vs. MJF
Bizarro Lucha Hatching The Egg — October 14, 2018
Calvin Tankman vs. Myron Reed
AWR Welcome To The Asylum — October 27, 2019
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