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Top 5: Matches Of The Week (Ending 11/26)

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WWE NXT Johnny Gargano Pete Dunne UK Championship

Welcome to another installment of the Top 5 Matches of the Week. Last week, we had a much closer vote than I was anticipating. NXT: Takeover War Games Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream barely edged out the actual War Games match. If people didn’t already have enough reason to watch NXT, that should just add to the bullet points.

The holiday weekend put a crunch on my free time, so I wasn’t able to watch as much as I’d like, but this should be a fair assessment of things.

5. Dragon Gate: Memorial Gate in Sendai: Open the Owari Gate Championship Match: Ryo Saito vs “Hollywood” Stalker Ichikawa

This is Jim Cornette’s least favorite concept in the world. That’s because Owari is the Japanese word for Comedy, so there is an entire belt and division built around pure comedy spots. Hell the winner of the match doesn’t matter, because the end is voted upon by the audience. So the champion is the person with the most audience approval.

This match was wonderfully ridiculous, and had most comedy spots that even the Western fan are used to. The ref gets involved, there’s obvious cooperation for comedic effect and even moments when the two competitors applaud or show support for the other’s efforts.

Ryo Saito ends up going over with a very goofy bunny hop, dead fish belly flop/splash after an assist by the referee. He even wins the audience approval, so even though Ichikawa is an Enzo level wrestler, he is the most decorated Owari Gate champion, so you’d have to figure this is seen as an upset of sorts.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but most of the DDT Pro Wrestling clips see some viral fame, so this falls right in line with that kind of thing. It’s not good wrestling, but it’s great entertainment if you can remove the “old school” precepts of a worked fight.

Ranking: Silver I

4. Dragon Gate: Memorial Gate in Sendai:  Ben-K vs Susumu Yokosuka

In a rather inconsequential mid card match, this one really sticks out. The entire card was multi-man matches except this, and the comedy match we previously covered.

This was what you would expect from a Japanese style match. It starts off slow and deliberate, but ends with a lot of very stiff and very big moves. Ben-K went for his finisher Ben-K Bomb a few times, but just couldn’t pull it off. After a nice strong style spot, Yokosuka hits a high impact sliding lariat for the win out of no where.

At just under 15 minutes, match wasn’t terribly long, but it felt like it built nicely and there was no one wasted movement. For people that don’t like multi-man matches much, this was a bright spot and shows that Ben-K is a star of the future for Dragon Gate.

Ranking: Gold IV

3. New Japan: World Tag League Day 8: Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay vs Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi

Well this doesn’t bode well for the Tag League, when the main event isn’t a tag league match…and blew all of them out of the water this day.

This match is to help build the tension for the respective Tokyo Dome matches at Wrestle Kingdom 12, and as long as you’re partially aware of the storyline, this match definitely moved things along nicely. Naito openly mocked Okada, and disrespected Ospreay and his manager Gedo. As for the story between Hiromu and Will, it was a lot of both of them posturing to try and prove they were the elite junior heavyweight.

Every wrestler got most of their moves in, and each wrestler had multiple counter moves, establishing all four as top guys in the two divisions. We see the match end with Hiromu and Naito dumping Okada to the outside, Hiromu distracts Ospreay and Naito hits a beautiful running Destino. He then does one more Destino for good measure while Hiromu keeps Okada away and Naito picks up the pinfall.

While this is well below the level we’ll see at Wrestle Kingdom, the match was still good and very entertaining. As a harbinger of things to come, this is a beautiful warning sign.

Ranking: Gold III

2. Raw: Intercontinental Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs The Miz

The whole segment leading up to this was fantastic. Regins being the one to comment about the crowd’s Miz flavored chant as well as Roman acting dejected that he might not be a Shield member with a championship and Seth points out ever so positively “look, Miz has one”.

Even though the build wasn’t traditional, the crowd was white hot for both wrestlers. If the rumors are true where Miz will be off TV soon to go film The Marine 6, he’s gonna have to come back as a face or at least tweener with how over he’s been the last few months. But the real story is Houston loves Roman Reigns, and it really helped to make the match more enjoyable. People will be hard pressed to hate on the match when the work was solid and the crowd was popping off for both guys.

Reigns going over is nice since a lot of people complained he never worked his way up and was just gifted the WWE Title because of his bloodline. Roman has been doing better character work this year and as long as he remembers to bring the Intercontinental Belt with him, this reign could be something nice. I’m looking forward to Champion vs Champion at WrestleMania 34, ala WrestleMania VI.

Gold: III

1. NXT: UK Championship Match: Pete Dunne vs Johnny Gargano

Neither of these two put on a terrible match, but the question really arises with Gargano’s direction. Are they just trying to build him up as the typical underdog face to get the fans to sympathize with him?

Well that question gives away the finish, but the match was still very well worked. The match psychology was nice where it got over the fact that Dunne is a heel (with the biting the fingers spot) and Gargano, even though his a babyface, he’s not above taking legal advantage of a situation (when he realized Dunne’s mouthpiece was out and super kicked him in the jaw).

Dunne looks like a vulnerable, but resilient champion who will find a way to win. He got clever to Gargano’s stuff and cut him off to hit his Bitter End finisher. It wasn’t as good as Dunne’s matches with Tyler Bate, but in this weird week, it was good enough to top the rankings.

Ranking: Gold II

Hopefully this is a list that most people can find something to enjoy, and aside from the Dragon Gate matches, the rest are pretty easy to find. My choice for match of the week goes to Roman Reigns vs The Miz for the IC Title, hot crowd with the belt on the line and good work, hard for me to overlook it. Plus it made Roman Reigns are WWE Grand Slam champion…so it’s even more historic, in a sense.

The rest of The Chairshot personalities get to weight in on these matches, so let’s see what happens. We might get another super close vote like last week.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Becky, Ronda, or Charlotte: Who Should Win?

Ok, we assume the match. But who wins?

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Ronda Rousey Becky Lynch Charlotte Flair

There’s a historic women’s main event coming to WrestleMania, and it’s time to start considering who comes out on top.

We’re now one week closer to WrestleMania, and while we’re still not officially in the know about who’s going to be in the big match I think it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re going to end up with a triple threat between Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair.  So the real question is: who wins?  Is there a case for anyone other than Becky winning or is it Becky or Bust?  I thought I’d take a look at it now.

Becky Lynch

Why:  It’s the easy, feel good, no brainer call.  There hasn’t been a feel good ending since WrestleMania 30 (32 was supposed to be one, but the whining crybabies in the crowd couldn’t stand to see the Prince of Darkness Roman Reigns win in the main event ruined that one).  Becky winning won’t piss many people off in the building and would make a lot of people happy.  After last year’s frustrating finish and the sad one from a year earlier, just do the simple thing and don’t try to get too clever or outsmart yourself, Vince.

Why Not:  What comes next?  Becky chasing the champion > Becky as champion, we’ve already seen that.  Assuming Ronda takes a break after WrestleMania, then unless Charlotte comes to RAW with her then she’s going to be in the position of having to work as champion against a roster of opponents that either don’t appear to be on her level or could outshine her in a one on one setting, and that could make things difficult after the post-Mania glow starts to fade (I talked about this more here).  Us as fans don’t have to worry about that but when you’re booking things, you do.  Her character is going to hit a crossroads soon after and if they feel that the long term investment with her at the top will not pay off then taking the hit now and moving forward may be what they want to do.

Ronda Rousey

Why:  First up if she is going to take a break right afterwards then there is no why.  She’s gotta drop the tile.  But if she isn’t then you gotta look at the headlines.  The biggest mainstream coverage afterwards would come with her winning.  ‘MMA Champion conquers WWE at WrestleMania’ will get a lot more play then anything about her losing.  To the casual observers, people who don’t watch at all, or people who only pay attention on a surface level she’s the name that draws the attention and there’s more momentum to be gained with them by still having her on top than taking a loss.  For them, once she loses the story is over and it’s time to find something else to do so better to have something to keep their attention.  As well as the women have performed the driving force behind the interest in their side has been Ronda being there and you want to keep that going as long as you can.

Why not:  Your hardcore audience has talked themselves into believing that Ronda losing is a foregone conclusion.  If it doesn’t happen a lot of them are going to be pissed.  That’s pretty much it.  If she’s not taking a break then it’s perfectly logical for her to win and keep the title.

Charlotte Flair

Why not:  I’m flipping things around here on purpose.  Charlotte winning neither pays off the heroes journey story Becky is on or maximizes media coverage like Ronda winning could.  To the people who have fallen hard for Becky, this would literally be the evil prevailing and would feed the narrative of Vince giving Charlotte everything because of her last name (and that is beyond tired by the way).  It would be a crushing blow and might make some of them want to quit entirely.  The only people who would be happy are the Charlotte fans like myself, and there would be a deluge of dirty diaper podcasts going on and on about the old man losing it again.  Wrestling twitter would be ablaze about it, too.  And in a world where a lot of fans take out their anger with a finish not by booing the heel but ranting about Vince, it really may not be worth the headache no matter what you planned.

Why:  She’s the safest bet long term.  Ronda is not going to be around 10 more years and there’s no real certainty to how long Becky’s run can maintain it’s momentum win or lose.  Charlotte may never be as popular with hardcore fans as Becky is now but she is the best performer on the Women’s side and projects greatness in a way that is always going to draw attention and make her matches feel like a big deal.  We know that she can perform at a high and compelling level as champion, which matters. And we’ve seen she can maintain some level of interest even without the full weight of the machine behind her like Becky is getting now.  In two years Ronda may be gone for good and Becky cooled off, but Charlotte will probably be where she is now.  If they think that taking this heel thing up a notch and really riding with it is the way to go then they may want to go with it now instead of waiting a few months to put a title back on her anyway.  Also, the backlash may not be as big as wrestling twitter would have you believe.  If the plan was always for her to win, and they have a map going forward with it after the show then my own fan bias notwithstanding I think they should stick with the plan.

So what’s the Final Verdict?

Man, I don’t know.  On the one hand there is the emotional payoff with Becky and then on the other hand there are what may be the better structural decisions with either long term with Charlotte or short term with Ronda.  My preference as a fan is for Charlotte, my gut says just give the loudest voices what they want with Becky, and what little business acumen I have says go with Ronda assuming she’s not going for a break.  Decisions, decisions…….

Aw screw it.  Ronda’s going on a break, Charlotte’s the best woman on the roster, she’s been having kick ass matches for the past year, she’s put Becky over a million times and has been as much a part of her rise as Becky herself.  It’s about time excellence got properly rewarded and pushed like it should be.  Enough with the damn underdogs, you don’t really like them as much as you think anyway.  Give her the dam victory, she’s earned it.  Suck it, haters.

And next year, we do the same for the Big Dog!!


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

Comics & Wrestling: More In Common Than You Thought?

Do comics and wrestling have more in common than we think?

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WWE Wrestling Comics John Cena Super Man

Guest column from Chad Aaron shows the relation between comics and wrestling–even more than you think?

I was in a waiting room not too long ago and happened to be wearing a wrestling t-shirt, featuring The Shield. An older woman asked me if those were comic book characters on my shirt, and not being in the mood for a discussion at the time, I simply told her yes. As I sat and waited. I started thinking about it. Wrestlers are very much like live-action comic book characters. There is a lot of crossover between the respective fanbases. Here are some examples.

NOTE: The following are generalizations. I’m not a comic book reader, so coming at me with “Well, so-and-so does/doesn’t do this thing you said” misses the entire point of this discussion.

Wrestlers Have A Superpower: Their Finisher

Comic book heroes and villains generally have a defined superpower, some multiple ones. Most wrestles have a finishing move, something they do better than anyone else. Top stars may have more than one. Superman can fly and has x-ray vision. The Undertaker is known for the Tombstone & Last Ride, among others.

Most Wrestlers Have An Alter Ego: Them In Real Life

Most wrestlers use a different name than they have in real life. Same thing in the comic book universe(s) And then they will change names as situations and stories evolve. Dick Grayson was Robin, then Nightwing. Steve Austin was Stunning before he was Stone Cold, and his given last name is actually Williams.

Wrestlers, Like Superheroes, Have A Backstory

Most superheroes and villains have a detailed backstory that makes them who they are. Most wrestlers who stay with a company for any significant length of time will have their own collection of stories, this team, that heel/face turn, this title chase, etc…

Superheroes And Wrestlers Both Tend To Form Groups

There are alliances and groups formed for varying reasons. The nWo, DX, Four Horsemen, even The New Day. Comics have X-Men, Avengers, Justice League, Suicide Squad, among many others.

Hero/Villian Alignment Changes

You will see wrestlers turn heel/face, and heroes who become villains. This happens more often in Wrestling but is not unheard of in comic books.

Storylines Involve Real Life Situations

Storylines go beyond fighting crimes and/or fighting in the ring. Both deal with relationships, love, broken trust, enemies-becoming-allies, you name it. Family dynamics make up a significant portion of stories in each universe.

Someone Real Is Putting This On

Comic books will have a variety of writers and artists handling them, each with their own take and spin on the character. Wrestling has a never-ending series of bookers and creative teams and match agents and producers, all of whom have varying ideas what a wrestler will do or say.

Both Have Large Companies And Independents

Comics are dominated by a couple of large companies and a myriad of smaller ones. Wrestling has had a similar dynamic since the mid-80’s. In both realms, the various companies often have similar characters and occasionally, ones with the same names.

Comics And Wrestling Each Have The Most Passionate Fanbase

And the fanbases of each are very, very passionate. When a wrestler does something out of character, the reaction is swift and immediate. When a movie strays from the comic cannon, the reaction is equally heated.

Of course, there have been a few examples of crossover between the two. Stephen Amell, the actor behind the Green Arrow, has wrestled a number of matches with several companies, including a WWE Pay-per-view. Rey Mysterio Jr. and Finn Balor (as Prince Devitt) have been known to incorporate superhero designs into their wrestling attire.

 


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