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Chris Jericho Versus Kenny Omega: Is There more to This Story?

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With rumors circulating for well over a year about Kenny Omega joining the ranks of the WWE, and after a couple of weeks of back-and-forth jabs being thrown via Twitter, it was revealed that the fans will get a dream match for the ages on January 4th, 2018. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega will face each other at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 in the Tokyo Dome for Omega’s IWGP United States Championship. There are many things floating around the web surrounding this crème de la crème match, but the question that begs for an answer: is there more going on here? This reveal of this match leaves folks like me wondering what truly is happening. Maybe looking into the years leading up to this match will help us answer some of the questions for ourselves. Analyzing the interactions that both NJPW and WWE have had with other companies can help us gain some perspective on their respective business models. And yes, I am bringing up business because a match of this caliber is best for both businesses in my opinion. But first, let us take a look at the tale of the tape.

Despite Jericho stating multiple times over the years that he would only wrestle for WWE, it is obvious now that such is not the case. We have already witnessed an attempted invasion of RAW in Ontario, CA by the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega’s running buddies in The Elite, who also call New Japan home. This “invasion” that saw the Bullet Club show up in front of the Citizens Business Bank Arena led to former creative writer and longtime indie wrestling star Jimmy Jacobs, to be terminated for taking a selfie. It seemed innocent enough at first, but the photo taken with Cody Rhodes, Adam “Hangman” Page, and Marty Scurll led directly to the ousting of Jacobs from the ranks of WWE.

We are now aware that the Young Bucks will be one of the headlining acts at Jericho’s Rock N Roll Wrestling Rager at Sea. When the short Twitter war between Jericho and Omega began, speculation abounded that they were building to a match that would take place on this cruise ship event that Jericho happens to funding himself. Instead, as seen in the video above, the ante was upped significantly and it has become Alpha vs. Omega at the Tokyo Dome. The Young Bucks call Ring of Honor and New Japan their respective North American and Japanese homes.

Signing The Bucks to wrestle on his cruise is what most likely what set Jericho on this path of working with other promotions, especially NJPW, which ran a pair of events in the U.S. on July 1st and 2nd and just announced that they will return on March 25th. The July events sold out faster than a bullet from a gun and you can expect the same when tickets are announced for a venue almost double the size in March.

Courtesy of jerichocruiseship.com

One of the rumors that I want to address here is Chris Jericho’s contract status. Jericho is NOT presently under contract with WWE. So, this match should be no indication of a feud with the company that was his bread and butter, mainstay for 18 years. One important thing to remember here is that if Jericho competes at WrestleMania in 2018, and I believe he will, the self-proclaimed “Greatest of All-Time” would be only the third wrestler in history to wrestle at both WWE’s and NJPW’s marquee events. The first to do this was AJ Styles in 2016, followed by Cody Rhodes who participated at WrestleMania in 2016 and Wrestle Kingdom in 2017. I would also like to reiterate that Jericho, in doing this match, is returning to NJPW at its most explosive period in many, many years.

So, what’s the big deal about Kenny Omega? I have been asked by many of my personal friends why I subscribe to more than just the monopolized WWE product of the states. My answer is this: I remember the days of territories and how they fed the true talent to the major promotions. I remember, as a kid, getting the opportunity to see dream matches across promotions. This is what this match as well as WWE’s acquisition of Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows is all about to me. Omega himself mentioned in his promo regarding Jericho’s challenge that he himself always felt that he would bring NJPW to the world stage. I honestly believe that he will. I also want to give those of you who may not follow as hardcore as I do some insight on who this man, The End, The Omega is.

Kenny Omega is such an avid gamer that he took his ring name and his dubbed his finishing move based on the Final Fantasy video game series. Omega pays homage to the Omega Weapon as well as Sephiroth with his One-Winged Angel. The video game appearances in the squared circle continue as, especially in his earlier years, he would often execute a Street Fighter style Hadouken as part of his repertoire. He has actually competed against Xavier Woods at the World Series of Gaming and frequently uploads gaming clips to his YouTube channel. But there is much more to this NJPW superstar.

For starters, he is straight edge just like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. He was the first non-Japanese wrestler to win the G1 Climax, New Japan’s weeks long round robin tournament. Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan are the only two other foreigners to win New Japan’s biggest tournament (in 1982 and 1983 respectively), but those wins were long before it became the massive event it is today. No matter how you look at it, that’s some incredible company to be rubbing shoulders with. Since 2012, winning the G1 Climax is essentially the equivalent to the Royal Rumble as the winner goes on to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom, NJPW’s analogue of WrestleMania.

Speaking of Wrestle Kingdom, at the 11th edition, Kenny and Kazuchika Okada, who was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion then and will continue his reign until at least Wrestle Kingdom 12, were awarded a 6-star match according to wrestling’s premier journalist Dave Meltzer. In what feels like another lifetime altogether, Omega actually wrestled a blow up doll and a little girl in the past, when he called the DDT promotion his home in Japan. Omega himself admitted on Talk is Jericho, that the latter was one of his favorite matches of all time. Yes, you caught that right, Omega already has, at the very least, and amicable relationship with Chris Jericho, which makes their Twitter battle seem even less like a “shoot” in retrospect.

Believe it or not, Omega was part of WWE developmental at one time, wrestling in Deep South Wrestling from October 2005 until August 2006. He stated that he left the company due to the cliquish nature of WWE and its backstage politics, citing Bill DeMott, Jody Hamilton and Bob Holly specifically as difficult to work with. According to Kenny, there were fellow developmental superstars whom became friendly with DeMott outside of work and became DeMott’s buddies. When calls came down from WWE for recommendations of who to move up, Kenny stated DeMott would refer his friends, regardless of their level of ability in the ring or out. This left a sour taste in Omega’s mouth as he briefly considered leaving professional wrestling and pursued a career in MMA, but it lasted for less than a month. It was a farewell match for AJ Styles in the PCW promotion, which Omega considered to be a temporary return, that he credits with falling head over heels in love with the sport he had almost left behind and he has never looked back.

Bill DeMott inside WWE Performance Center.

The announcement of the match between Omega and Jericho has blown open the thoughts in my brain of a subject that I have been considering for approximately two years. The globalization of WWE through the acquisition of smaller promotions throughout the world. In essence, going back to what made wrestling admirable, entertaining, and most of all able to create a sense of competitiveness between regions and promotions. Different cultures and values are what make the promotions of America, Mexico, and Japan so different. But you can even compare many aspects of Combat Zone Wrestling to the WWE product and you feel like you are watching a completely foreign product.

I am basing my thought process on the idea that the return of a system reminiscent of the old territories may be on the horizon. There have been rumors of mergers between companies, in recent memory there was even a rumor that WWE was considering buying Ring of Honor. It turned out to be a discussion about content that never materialized, but it was something that people legitimately believed was possible based on the climate of wrestling today.

It is no shock that the globalization of the WWE brand is at an all time high. We have witnessed growth in the U.K. and India. This is supported by the recently minted United Kingdom Championship with a speculated 5th brand via the WWE Network. We also see this with the WWE Championship ending up on the shoulder of Jinder Mahal in what is, in my opinion, a purely political championship reign. It has included two trips back to the nation of his descent, one oh which resulted in the signing of two Indian women to WWE developmental contracts .

With this level of expansion already taking place it could possibly be in NJPW’s best interest to be “with” the WWE or suffer the possible collapse of the promotions all together. It is no secret that Vince always gets what he wants, one way or another. The benefits of such an alliance are already being seen in the various independent companies such as Evolve, ICW and Progress, all of which have formed working relationships as part of the WWE coalition. Not only do they receive recognition from the industry’s top brand, but also likely some financial assistance and the occasional promotional crossover matches.

In early 2014, Ring of Honor and New Japan announced a working relationship that continues to this day. In August 2015 it was announced that New Japan stalwart and Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger would appear at WWE’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event. ROH was running an event using New Japan talent the same night as the NXT show, right in the same borough, hosting a Field of Honor event in the Brooklyn Cyclones’ baseball stadium.

Details of the transaction that led to the Liger vs. Tyler Breeze match were hush hush. Paul “HHH” Levesque actually denied trying to interfere in the NJPW/ROH relationship, but included an important phrase while making said denial: “I will do what’s best for business even if it interferes with another business model, because I have to worry about my own business model.” This comment came only a few days after it was announced that Liger would be present at Takeover. To note, ROH had announced New Japan talent for their Brooklyn show months before any of this took place, but we have no idea when negotiations began for the Liger appearance.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger enters Barclays Center.

This marked the first time that WWE worked with any promotion from Japan in many years. Was this the beginning of the joining of the two mega promotions from two sides of the globe? According to reports, ROH was completely unaware of the booking and in my opinion this is even low by wrestling standards. A legitimate double cross! It should be noted that at the time, as he often is, Liger was under a contract that allowed him to take bookings anywhere but, it should also be noted that NJPW was actively promoting his upcoming appearance in NXT. There was speculation that this booking was partially related to ROH putting out an action figure of Kevin Owens as his ROH persona Kevin Steen, clearly as a way to capitalize on his recent debut on WWE television. Only the Authority knows the answer to this question as I am sure this was discussed behind closed doors and not many were privy to the information, and surely there was much more to it than that.

It has already been confirmed, as I stated above, that WWE had talks with Ring of Honor about their tape library. Other rumors include a possible bid for WWE to buy out Impact Wrestling. Between that rumor and the speculation at the time that WWE was looking to buy ROH, not just some content, that their goal was to shut down both promotions and use their tape libraries as an addition to the WWE Network. That is an unsubstantiated claim at best.

With the recent invasion of the Young Bucks, the acquisitions of various wrestlers such Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Neville, Seth Rollins and countless others from the independent wrestling scene, I feel that this would be suicide for WWE, which has grown so large that they need the smaller promotions to feed the roster of today. It’s especially important with NXT essentially serving as a third brand behind RAW and SmackDown, not just as a stepping stone between the indies and big stage of the main roster. Is it possible that WWE showing their ability to bully a company like Ring of Honor was a play at trying to get New Japan to play ball with them instead of the promotion that is effectively the second largest wrestling operation in North America? Maybe NJPW and ROH were already thinking about working with WWE since Vince and company were already raiding talent left and right from everywhere imaginable, including them, who are ostensibly the second and third biggest wrestling companies in the world.

In December of 2016, President of Bushiroad (parent company of NJPW) Takaaki Kidani spoke about this exact possible partnership, at least with WWE in the future. He was not opposed to the idea of joining forces. He openly stated, “You are either with WWE or against them.” Kidani acknowledges WWE’s next generation star shortage and realizes that they have the financial ability to milk from any single promotion that they see fit. Kidani wants to use this as his angle into a WWE cooperative. In 2016 alone, NJPW saw the loss of Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. If NJPW is this open about their relationship and continues their already strong relationship with ROH, couldn’t all three in essence become key players in a globalized, territorial, wrestling dream come true? It would be especially exciting for those of us old enough to remember the days of grainy footage of the NWA, WCCW, and AWA.

Are these becoming one?

This move would carry the weight of decades of irony. It is so similar, if this is the plan, to what Vince McMahon himself destroyed, with the final realization of his dream coming with the fall of WCW, the final competitor he had left after the territory system was disbanded piece-by-piece.

In a nutshell, WWE would be going away from the McMahon model of monopolization and instead liquidating back into a system of smaller areas that would all be part of a much bigger whole entity. The main difference here is that this would be global instead of limited to North America. This, if true, could go a long way in eliminating the monotony of dry storylines and limited character development that pervades today’s WWE product. For this to be successful, each territory would have to be guided by an affiliated promoter or booker but not directly governed by WWE and their creative process. This would allow WWE to not only secure TV time for their own newly integrated territories, but they could also put an even bigger emphasis on social media and the internet as a whole, which is how most smaller promotions disseminate their products anyway.

I think this would offer a reset button to the entire professional wrestling industry worldwide. A much needed change, in my opinion. And in the words of Randy Savage, “The cream always rises to the top!”


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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New Japan Cup Fallout : Will It Really Be Okada’s Revenge at G1 Supercard ?

The New Japan Cup has come to an end, with Kazuchika Okada winning the tournament. Will Okada prevail and cut the Switchblade’s new era short ?

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Your winner of the 2019 New Japan Cup : The Rainmaker, Kazuchika Okada.

The New Japan Cup has now come to an end, with Kazuchika Okada winning the tournament for the second time in his career. The Rainmaker will look to get his revenge over Jay White in MSG, which is exactly the subject of today’s article. Will Okada prevail and cut the Switchblade’s new era short ? Let’s dive into the matter at hand !

If there is one thing I learned watching New Japan Pro Wrestling, it is to NEVER neglect any possibility. Such a statement has never felt more true since Jay White came back to New Japan at Power Struggle in 2017. Since then, White has kept being the ultimate trump card. First by defeating Kenny Omega for the IWGP US Heavyweight championship. Then, he defeated both Okada and Tanahashi in the G1 Climax, took over Bullet Club, and went on to repeat his G1 upsets over Okada and Tanahashi, at Wrestle Kingdom and New Beginning, claiming the IWGP Heavyweight championship from Tanahashi in Osaka.

What New Japan called the “Switchblade shock” in reference to Okada’s “Rainmaker shock” from 2012 is now real, and with Okada marching to MSG with the purpose of finally vanquishing his nemesis, I have to wonder if Okada will actually do it, because if there is one thing I am actually sure of, it is that the outcome of the match between the Rainmaker and the Switchblade is as uncertain as it could be. Sounds paradoxical ? I will explain.

Here’s the thing. While the possibility of the rest of this year gravitating around Okada and White fighting over the Heavyweight championship is not something to rule out, I find it hard to imagine that other people will not be involved. I can think of Tetsuya Naito or Kota Ibushi, depending on the result of their soon to come IWGP Intercontinental championship match. I believe this match will help shape up the new direction following the Okada vs White encounter. I have already touched on Kota Ibushi in a previous article, explaining why I could see him take the Intercontinental championship away from Naito, so let’s follow that logic. This would leave the leader of L.I.J empty handed in every sense of the term…or does it ? While Naito won’t be able to reach his goal of becoming a dual champion, it is doubtful that he will stop looking to take back the Heavyweight championship, the first chance he gets.

This is actually important to consider in the eventual result of Okada vs White and especially what will happen going forward. Naito being the biggest star in New Japan to not hold a championship while haven’t taking part in any Heavyweight championship matches since Wrestle Kingdom 12, and with Dominion slowly coming up, we have to think of who would challenge for the Heavyweight championship in Osaka-Jo Hall this year.

With that in mind, we are left with two options. Assuming whoever leaves MSG as Heavyweight champion keeps the title until Dominion, which seems likely, will New Japan add another chapter to one of the most storied rivalries of the last decade, or will we see the continuation of New Japan’s new era in a more explicit way, with a never seen before IWGP Heavyweight championship to main event the second biggest New Japan show of the year ? Of course, this is only based off assumptions. Who knows, depending on the circumstances of this upcoming Okada vs White III, we could be up for a fourth encounter even sooner than expected.

To cap off with this opinion piece, let’s actually give an answer to the initial question. I do not believe G1 Supercard will be marked by the Rainmaker’s revenge over the Switchblade. Let me ask you one question : Do you fully expect Jay White to lose the Heavyweight championship without any defenses, considering the faith New Japan seems to have in him ?

You guessed my stance, I think that feels unlikely. Not impossible, remember what I said about never putting any possibility aside, but unlikely. We could even witness a surprise in Madison Square Garden, but it won’t be Jay White retaining the championship, if that does happen.

Let me add that, as a nod to another previous article concerning Bullet Club dominating G1 Supercard, the best way to dominate the event, in terms of results and talk created afterwards, would probably be include Jay White winning. After all, White would be 3-0 against Okada, which says something considering how highly regarded of a wrestler the Rainmaker is.

This is how I now conclude this article. What did you think of the New Japan Cup ? What are your thoughts going forward ? Do you breathe with the Switchblade or will Okada make it rain all over Madison Square Garden ?

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 3/24/2019

The tournaments continue, so there’s still a bunch to go through. What does Andrew sift through to sculpt the Top 5 Matches this week?

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The tournaments continue, so there’s still a bunch to go through. What does Andrew sift through to sculpt the Top 5 Matches this week?

Another jam packed week, but let’s assess last week first. New Japan Cup: Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi, got the win in a very close three way race.

So far in March we’ve had 3 winners from 3 different companies, and this is one of those nice week’s where the Top 5 is comprised of 5 different shows.

No one brand was hands down superior this week, and that’s always nice to see. Let’s see what the Top 5 is!

 

5. 205 Live: Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
The ring count begins and passes 5 before either man sits up. Alexander and Nese crawl at 8, and jump in at 9.5! Both Nese and Alexander glare at each other. Nese vows he’s going to Mania, but Alexander says “Over my dead body.” The brawl is on as both men throw more haymakers! Nese staggers but comes back, but so does Alexander. Alexander gest an edge but Nese gives him one big left! Nese runs but into Alexander’s uppercut! Alexander runs, Nese goes Matrix, but both men block kicks. They both go for superkicks but they get caught on each other. They break free and Nese back kicks, knee lifts and sweeps. But Alexander jumps it to SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO! Both men are down but Indy is fired up!

Alexander and Nese stir and stand in corners. Alexander goes to Nese to chop, and put Nese on the top rope. He climbs up to join Nese, but Nese hops down to enziguri Alexander down! Alexander flounders to the floor but Nese builds speed to FLY! Direct hit from Premier Athlete to Soul of 205! Nese puts Alexander in then climbs up top, 450 splash hits! Cover, TWO!! Alexander still lives and Nese is in disbelief! Nese glares at Alexander in the corner as he staggers over. Nese sits Alexander up, but Alexander keeps Nese from running. Alexander shakes his head but Nese stomps away! THe ref backs Nese off, but Nese brings the knee pad down. Nese goes side to side, but into a SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!!

But Alexander doesn’t stop, LUMBAR CHECK!! Cover, TWO!? Nese survives a Lumbar Check?! Even Indy can’t believe that one! But they do know “This is Awesome!” Alexander gets to a corner as he tries to understand what he’s seeing. Nese stirs while Alexander brings his knee pads down. Alexander drags Nese up and wants another, but Nese victory rolls! TWO and Alexander has it, TWO! Nese knees Alexander to the corner! Then side to side, PREMIER KNEE! Cover, Nese wins!!!

Winner: Nese via Running Kneese

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4. SmackDown Live Gauntlet: Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan

From My Analysis:
Kofi and Sheamus would’ve been a damn solid match alone, let alone kicking off the gauntlet. The sight gag of more and more faces crowding around the TV to watch was actually cool. The gauntlet played out really well, Rowan purposely getting DQ’d to inflict more damage with weapons made perfect sense as well. Just really really great stuff. Kofi beat the original 5 and then Vince continues to screw Kofi by adding Daniel Bryan at the end. So it’s all good story telling, a really good gauntlet and generally just great way to cap off the show. It was a gut punch to people rooting for Kofi, but also another wrinkle to overcome with a few more weeks til Mania.

Winner: Daniel Bryan via Knee Plus

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. NXT #1 Contender Match: Matt Riddle vs Ricochet vs Adam Cole vs Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Ricochet staggers up and goes after Riddle. He puts the Bro in the drop zone then climbs up. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” as Cole intercepts Ricochet. Cole climbs up to join Ricochet, but Ricochet resists. Dream adds on, climbing up to join them. They brawl and Aleister staggers over. Riddle follows, and they’re all on the second rope! It’s a Double Russian Leg Sweep SUPERPLEX! All five men are down again and fans know “This is Awesome!” The referee checks on everyone in turn and they’re all okay to continue. Fans build to a rally as the five slowly stir. Cole, Riddle and Ricochet bail out while Dream meets Aleister. Dream and Aleister trade haymakers on their knees. Aleister fires off hand after hand but Dream powers him to a corner. Aleister boots Dream away then hops up, Meteora!

Dream’s up but gets a roundhouse and a German! But Riddle sentons the bridge! Riddle drags Aleister up in a deadlift Fisherman Buster! Cradle, but Cole breaks it! Cole drags Riddle up but Riddle fires off fast hands! Riddle misses, gets a SUPERKICK, and Last Ride brainbuster! Cover, but Ricochet breaks it! Ricochet drags Cole up but Cole breaks free. Ricochet fakes Cole out for a boot and an ax kick! He keeps going, fireman’s carry but Cole rakes eyes! SUPERKICK to the front, SUPERKICK to the back! Cole brings the knee pad down but misses the Last Shot Wizard to get a Reverse-Rrana! Cole rolls all the way out and Ricochet can’t believe it. But Ricochet also sees a prime target, and FLIES with the Sasuke Special! Ricochet wipes Cole out but hurries to get back up.

Dream returns to the ring but so does Riddle. The would-be North American Championship showdown happens as Riddle throws chops. Riddle swings up and around Dream’s clothesline to powerbomb, but Dream slips out! Dream wants but Riddle denies the Sidewinder, to wring Dream out for a Bro Trigger! Riddle reels Dream into the BroMission! Dream flails but Cole yanks the ref out! No Disqualifications, but plenty of consequences as Riddle BOOTS Cole! Riddle turns around into BLACK MASS! Aleister turns around into Dream Valley Driver! Dream hurries to the top rope, but Ricochet’s right up for a SUPER STEINER onto Aleister and Cole! Ricochet hurries up for his own, SHOOTING STAR onto Riddle! Cover, but LAST SHOT!! Cole covers, Cole wins!!

Winner: Cole via Last Shot

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
New Japan Cup: Tomohiro Ishii vs YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
Rating: ****
New Japan Cup: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: ****
AJPW: World Junior Heavyweight Title: Kotaro Suzuki vs Koji Iwamoto (c)
Winner: Iwamoto via Koko no Geijutsu
Rating: *** 3/4
New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre
Winner: McIntyre via Claymore
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: X Division Championship Match: Sami Callihan vs Rich Swann (c)
Winner: Swann via Cradle
Rating: *** 1/2
New Japan Cup: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: Tanahashi via Leg Clutch
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW: Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takag
Winner: Shingo via Pumping Bomber
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW: IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens
Winner: Juice via Pulp Friction
Rating: ***
NJPW: Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay
Winner: Taichi via Gedo Clutch
Rating: ***
NJPW: Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: ***

 

2. AJPW Dream Power Series: World Tag Team Championship Match: Strong BJ (c) vs Violence Giant

From Mathew’s Review:
Shuji and Daisuke would be the ones to start off our match here with an incredible display of power as the two were unable to budge and they would tag in their respective partners. Suwama and Yuji were both also very hard-hitting as they would now fight outside of the ring as these two teams are making it personal. Strong BJ has been doing great work during this rivalry with the Violence Giant and they would even give Suwama a big beatdown but the former ace would even try his best to fight them off, even when he was on the corner and would kick Yuji to show his fighting spirit. Suwama would hit a Dropkick to save himself for a little bit and would tag in Shuji for the hot tag and Shuji does indeed come in hot with his Lariats, knees, anything he can throw along with the kitchen sink.

Yuji would brawl with Shuji to deliver some chops while Shuji would give him a couple of forearms and a headbutt to try and daze him but Yuji is pumped up and slams him down with a few Lariats. Once Yuji would hit another Lariat to Shuji, he would kick out at one that time around before getting hit with another one with a two count. What’s it gonna take to take Shuji down for good? Yuji would get to the top rope to hit the Splash and it looks like this could be it but Suwama would break the pinfall to save his partner. Strong BJ would have them up for the Torture Racks but they would get down for Suwama to hit a Back Suplex while Shuji hits a Dragon Suplex. Shuji is alone with Yuji again and would hit another Dragon Suplex and a Running Knee to get him out for another two count, he was so close! Shuji would pick Yuji up real quick for the Fire Thunder and goes for the pin as Daisuke breaks the pinfall this time around as Suwama would get Daisuke out of the ring. Shuji knew what he had to do to try and end it as he hits the Giants Slam and pins Yuji to win back the titles! Hell of a match and definitely topped their previous encounter at BJW. I would love to see Violence Giant get a fair and dominating run with this reign, can’t wait to see where this goes now.

Winner: Ishikawa via Giant Slam

Rating: *****

 

 

1. NJPW New Japan Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA

From My Analysis:
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

Rating: *****

 

Thoughts:

Well I’m in a quandary this week. We have two 5 snowflake matches and they were both tremendous in different ways. Strong BJ vs Violence Giant was just a hard hitting, King’s Road, stiff match of big guys doing the best big guy stuff along with great story telling and selling. SANADA and Okada was more relatable for many, but the level of storytelling in that match was so damn great, along with a great wrestling match.

I kinda want to abstain from voting, but that’s a cop out. So I’ll vote for Strong BJ vs Violence Giant. Not only was it on par with Okada versus SANADA, but it did so as a tag team match. It’s harder to have a high quality tag match since it’s four people as opposed to two and you have to hope everyone stays on the same page. And boy did they!

This should be interesting to see who wins the week, since I’d say it would be the favorite to win the month. Well, Always Use Your Head, and join in with the fun and let your vote be heard!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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