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New Japan: Power Rankings (11/10/17)

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New Japan Logo

New Japan is still a big mystery to a lot of fans, since many only started following it this year. It makes a little bit of sense to do a pre-Wrestle Kingdom Power Ranking, just because NJPW is very good at having Wrestle Kingdom be the end of the year’s storylines instead of just an excuse to drag things out. New Year’s Dash will start to shake things up immediately, so the start of 2018 will be interesting.

5. Hiromu Takahashi w/ Daryl

One of the few wrestlers who’s character and stuffed best friend translate to the Western crowd without needing to be involved in the title scene all the time. He’s got a great look, great in-ring ability, got a stuffed cat so over that when the internet thought he was dead, we collectively had vigils and even ROH wrote an apology for him not being at future shows.

Plus, thanks to his hockey outfit at Power Struggle, he was able to insert himself into the Fatal 4 Way at Wrestle Kingdom 12 for the Junior Heavyweight Championship. So it should be nice to see if he can get Mr. Belt back.

4. Hiroshi Tanahashi

The Ace of the last decade, went from having a down year to now one of the most overlooked years. His trilogy with Tetsuya Naito is arguably a more solid all around feud than Omega vs Okada, but, because of the hype around Kenny and Kazuchika and how over the top the first two were, that trilogy was gonna be the “feud of the year” since June…just because fans already had it in their heads.

Now at Power Struggle, Tanahashi and Ibushi had to follow up the Chris Jericho news, so people were more like “It was a great match…BUT JERICHO”.

It’s hard to really believe that he’s been seeing such great success this year, at his age, and after tearing his bicep (which is still torn) . So if he can get placed on the card to not get overshadowed by perception, then people may get an idea of his character and his ability to work.

3. Kenny Omega

Some may argue that he should be higher, but the two people ahead of him, had his number this year. Even though he got his win on Okada, it was still a weakened Okada and the match was still close.

Kenny benefits heavily from the “cool factor” and the fact that he speaks Japanese and English fluently, so there’s no language barrier disconnect with fans.

The big news for him going into Wrestle Kingdom is the Jericho match, but win, lose or draw — it won’t effect his status in New Japan. Bullet Club, The Elite and him alone are still so over, that as long as he comes back to the company in 2018, he will still be billed as a Top 3 guy.

2. Tetsuya Naito

The challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, and the best character in New Japan. He’s had the most intriguing storylines of 2017, the best trilogy and won the G1 beating the man who kept him out of the finals last year (Kenny Omega).

Everyone believes it’s a lock that Naito wins at Wrestle Kingdom as the payoff to his storyline from 4 years ago of his last failed briefcase challenge that got down voted to Semi-Main Event. However, if the Chris Jericho angle doesn’t prove it, New Japan is always full of surprises.

2018 could be a new era with Naito, but until he overcomes Okada, he’s got to be second.

1. Kazuchika Okada

*drops mic and explains nothing cause it’s not necessary*

What? You need reasons? PWI #1, master of the Match of the Year, carries lower card wrestlers to a “5 Star” match, got the biggest pop of G1 Special in California Day One, and he’s now the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion (single reign).

He elevates most wrestlers he’s paired again, elevates anime that he makes cameos in (World Trigger), and he has the look of a champion…you really can’t look at the man and not think he’s a main eventer.

After winning his 2 year feuds with Tanahashi and Styles, it cemented him as the new Ace, and until he retires or if he just severely falls apart, he will be a legend within 5 years. He’s already highly regarded by Eastern and Western fans, so he doesn’t have many more heights to climb to.


Does this really come as a surprise to anyone that follows New Japan? Probably not, the 5th place could be Kushida (his wrestling is phenomenal but his character didn’t make as huge of an impact as Hiromu and Daryl), but the top 4 have been the top guys for about 2 years now…so all the surprise faces may become meh faces. After Wrestle Kingdom 12 we can see where the New Year’s Dash takes us new story wise and we may get a little movement in the top guys.

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The Good, Bad and Ugly: SmackDown Live 12.11.18

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Does the TLC Go Home of SmackDown continue to build excitement, or does it go the way of Raw and help us all get to sleep earlier? Bobby let’s us know how things are shaping up.

 

With Tables, Ladders and Chairs coming up this weekend, we had a semi-sweet Monday Night Raw.  The actual in ring action looked decent.  SmackDown is always looking bright, and tonight shouldn’t disappoint.  What surprises are ahead on the Pre-TLC SmackDown?

The Good

Opening Promo w/ Daniel Bryan to Non-Title Match (WWE Champion) Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali

Daniel Bryan is solidifying his heel persona by continuing his onslaught on the general public and acting as wrestling’s Smokey the Bear.  Shaming his once devoted fans, causing everyone to react in some way.  Daniel Bryan continues to pile on that his old self is now dead, and all of the fans are idiots.  Cheap pops and heat continued on.  Until luckily it was interrupted by Ali.  Mustafa Ali is a great talent.  He didn’t do much of the talking here.  He mostly fell victim to Daniel Bryan spewing his agenda.  Ali went on to ask Daniel Bryan what’s up with his new attitude, only to be disrespected with a slap to the face.  We saw a little action which gave us a taste of what is to come.  Daniel Bryan looked sharp.  His strikes were well done and was full of energy.  This evil, snapped gimmick is working well for him.  He wore down Ali,working the knee.  Old school, clean wrestling.  Ali had minimal offense but stuck to his high spots.  Even with the multiple interruptions and heavy commercials, this was a Good match.  After some incredible feats, Ali misses an inverted 450.  Daniel Bryan went on to tear Ali apart, making him tap to the “Heel Hook.” Daniel Bryan Wins, a hot opening match. After the match, overkill set in, with Daniel Bryan viciously attacking Mustafa Ali up the ramp.  This wasn’t needed but acted as a callous to Daniel Bryan’s changeover to a heel. 

Randy Orton Promo

Orton wielding a chair went about showing off his previous torture of Rey Mysterio, questioning why anyone would want to have a chair match with a guy like him.  Just as he was about finished, Rey Mysterio attacked him out of nowhere, hitting Orton with a chair and a 619, causing Randy Orton to flee.  Not a bad promo.  Short and effective. 

Rusev and Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe and Shisuke Nakamura

Rusev being involved is Good for business.  These four are some of the best in the business.  Rusev has the abilities to carry the WWE as the Heavyweight Champion. Much like a Bobby Roode, he has had moments of being overlooked, however that can change at any moment like we saw on Raw.  Pairing Shinsuke and Rusev is genius and a guaranteed winner.  WWE just has to let them work and it will be fantastic.  After being interrupted by an untimely dance off from Carmella and R-Truth, Shinsuke Nakamura brutally attacked Jeff Hardy from behind.  Samoa Joe continued the assault on Hardy.  This wasn’t brilliant considering the talent here, but it was entertaining enough.  As the crowd showed everyone, Rusev when finally given the opportunity, delivered and looked Good in there.  He is a great talent all around.  After a devastating kick to the face, Rusev covers Nakamura for the Victory! 

Asuka vs. Charlotte

Going into this, how could it be Bad?  It really can’t right?  First thing, it is a great Main Event, also,having Becky Lynch come out after the contenders were already in the ring was also great.  Charlotte looked completely flawless and confident.  This was very physical.  Asuka not to be outdone did some outstanding work.  Asuka kept after “The Queen” working her arms and beating her down. Charlotte and Asuka went back and forth most of the match.  Charlotte finally trapped Asuka into a “Figure 4” but getting reversed.  The two went back and forth fighting every second. This match was action packed.  Asuka repeatedly kicked Charlotte in the face, until Charlotte hits a spear.  After landing on her feet from a blocked moonsault, Charlotte then kicked out of a roll up from a countered “Figure 4”.  Asuka hit the “Asuka Lock” that was countered sending Charlotte and Asuka to the floor. Charlotte then when psycho, Getting Disqualified for using her Kendo Stick.  Before Charlotte could go too far, Becky Lynch got her back, only to get attacked by Asuka.  Asuka went crazy with the Kendo Stick staking her claim of dominance.  Asuka Win!    

THE BAD:  N/A

THE UGLY

New Day Rap Battle:  Usos vs. The Bar

This style of promo has potential.  It can be really Ugly or really Good.  Depending how much cheese is involved vs.actual humor.  The New Day came out looking dapper and ready for the festivities. They are always ready to party.  The Bar had their Run DMC track suits and Flavor Flav clocks for decor.  That’s where it ended with a cheese filled “Ice Ice Baby” to remedy their horrendous rap abilities.  The Uso’s surprisingly were also not great at this.  This was a completely ridiculous,worthless segment.  Chalk this up as Ugly. 

Miz Promo (Shane McMahon and Miz vs. The Vegas Boys

Begging is just ridiculously over the top, especially in the current SmackDown setting.  It’s cheap.  The Miz and Shane are both Good typically on the mic.  This was a smooth promo,however out of the blue Miz calls out a ref for a tag match.  This match was horrible.  Shane had more botches than I have ever seen.  This was absolutely Ugly all around.  Shane ended the debauchery by submission for the victory. 

Tally

Good:  4

Bad:  0

Ugly:  2

Final Results:  Good(ish)

Although the Good outweighed the Ugly on this one, we had some pretty Ugly moments.  More than I have seen on SmackDown in sometime.  This wasn’t their strongest show among the past few weeks, but it worked. The highlight of the night was the Main Event!  TLC is Sunday and I would say thanks to SmackDown, we are ready to roll! 

 

How did you feel about this past SmackDown? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Can a Queen of the Ring Event Work in Today’s WWE?

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Sasha Banks WWE Queen Of The Ring

Rumors are swirling about WWE bringing back a throwback event for the next all-women’s PPV.  A Queen of the Ring tournament sounds like a good idea as a focal point for the PPV considering the ever-evolving Women’s Evolution.

Many fans remember the King of the Ring, which was considered one of the big five PPVs for WWE back in the 1990s.  King of the Ring had its ups and downs, but it was mostly known for the birth of Austin 3:16.  The iconic moment still stands the test of time twenty two years later, however others such as Owen Hart, Triple H, and Edge certainly benefited from the once-prestigious tournament.

After Brock Lesnar’s win in 2002, King of the Ring slowly began to fade out.  The last tournament was in 2015,where Bad News Barrett would later become King Barrett to celebrate the win.  Before that was the infamous King Sheamus, who won the one prior back in 2010.

The allure and beneficial factor of King of the Ring definitely dissipated by the time it was brought back.  King of the Ring used to be a big deal, meaning that the winner was definitely en route to a huge push or a WWE Championship opportunity down the road.  The accolade was something that a few men could add to their list of accomplishments.

So let’s fast forward to now with these Queen of the Ring ideas.  Could this really work in today’s WWE that is struggling to create lasting moments and new stars?

It depends on the commitment factor for the company; and that lies on the success and reception of the event if it did happen.  There is certainly use for it, as the tournament can be used to elevate talent such as Ruby Riott, Peyton Royce, or Sasha Banks.  On the flip side, it wouldn’t be no surprise if someone such as Alexa Bliss or Mandy Rose could take the win to garner extra heat for their respective character.  That would certainly work, as Bliss is an example of someone who is very much over and the company seems to be completely behind her.

Consistency also matters, in which it is crucial to make the Queen of the Ring idea work.  That goes hand in hand with the storytelling aspect that the company has been struggling with for some time now.  Gaps in logic with missed opportunities have done more harm than good, and with Evolution’s success, it wouldn’t be fair to the women if Queen of the Ring was one and done thanks to those poor factors.

Queen of the Ring is a great idea that could certainly help the Women’s Division.  Having the tournament at the Women’s PPV would create interest for fans that want something to look forward to.  There is no doubt that the talent would shine during the Queen of the Ring – even the potential for possible Match of the Year candidates is high at an event such as this. 

WWE has all of the tools to make this a success if at all possible this is true.  Overall, it would be beneficial for the Women’s Division, and it will help the Evolution become full circle –something that the Division is meant to be.


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

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