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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/28/18

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Okay so I’m actually surprised with the results of last week. Since our Chairman Mr. DeMarco has opened up the Match of the Week Voting to you all, the lovely fans/readers…we had an upset. Tim Storm vs Jocephus NWA Empty Arena Match, won last week’s vote. You all make me so proud, give yourselves a round of applause.

But last week, is last week…and this week is insane. We have usual TV, Impact Genesis, 2 NJPW The New Beginning events, NXT Takeover and Royal Rumble. My head may explode, but this was definitely a fun overall week, and you will see a good number of Honorable Mentions for a change. So let’s get to this monster of a list.

5. 205 Live: Mustafa Ali vs Cedric Alexander

Yes everyone, last week there was an NWA match, and this week 205 Live finally cracks the Top 5. Enzo’s release looks like it inspired the whole roster to put that extra little bit in.

So two friends face off to see who deserves a shot at the vacant title. This match was reminiscent of the CWC matches that excited so much of the fan base. Finally allowing them take some of the kid gloves off and do high impact moves at a fast pace, appealed to everyone, even the live crowd.

A bunch of big innovative counters end up in Cedric catching Mustafa, and landing his Lumbar Check for a clean pinfall. Only real complaint is that Cedric’s facial expressions didn’t exude “determined no matter what”, it was more frustrated and willing to take whatever route necessary. But that nit pick aside, it actually made me watch 205 Live, so I’ll add that as the last positive for this match.

Rating: *** 1/2 (Gold II)

4. NJPW The New Beginning Sapporo: IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Match: The Young Bucks (c) vs Roppongi 3k

Now if you listen to any Podcasts I’ve been on, or seen some previous articles, I’m not a fan of The Bucks. But, I will always give props to any match regardless of my feelings about the participants.

This match was more methodical than their Wrestle Kingdom match, and I gained a new respect for Matt Jackson, because he sold like he was auditioning for an Oscar. Storytelling was great, the callbacks to the match a month ago worked well, and I don’t think I can gush more about this match. Roppongi showed the exuberance of youth and the Bucks were throwing a lot at them, but due to Matt’s back injury that reduced the overall effectiveness of their offense.

Roppongi 3k ends up winning when Yoh scores a nice roll up. So there’s still room to continue the feud, but both teams did a lot to cement themselves as the top of most tag divisions anywhere.

Rating: **** (Platinum V)

3. NJPW The New Beginning Sapporo: IWGP US Title Match: Kenny Omega (c) vs Jay White

Jay White joined Chaos purposely to help destroy The Bullet Club. He failed against Tanahashi, so can he prove himself against the IWC’s favorite child?

Omega treated this match similarly to the Juice Robinson match, where he “big brother’d” the younger wrestler for a while in the early goings. After a small flurry by White, Omega took control of the match. Big V-Trigger knee strikes, cross legged fisherman’s neck breaker, a Kotaro Crusher, but still White kicked out. Especially cool when White lifts only his shoulder to avoid a pinfall, I don’t think that’s ever been done before. Omega gets a little perturbed, but never looses confidence he’ll pull out the victory.

His confidence gets the best of him, cause even a visibly exhausted Jay White, slips out of the One Winged Angel and hits a Blade Runner in a very smooth transition.

So yes most know that Adam Page came down to challenge Jay White, Omega kinda ruined the moment, Cody took offense…and…may have kicked him out of Bullet Club. But to the world’s delight, Kota Ibushi slides in to save his former partner from the beat down, and after a tense moment, they embrace and imply that the Golden Lovers are back.

Rating: **** 1/2 (Platinum III)

Honorable Mention with explanation:

NXT Takeover Philly: Extreme Rules Match: Aleister Black vs Adam Cole

Now many may have had this rated higher, but my problem with it comes from a lot of spots were off and looked bad. A few being: Why would Black lean down into the chair when on the top rope? Why would Adam Cole land on his feet next to the announce table and then decide it was a good time to sit down and take a double foot stomp? Maybe the chemistry was off with these two, but this one barely missed Top 5, and on paper it was expected to be amazing.

As for the match, it starts off slow with a lot of points to get their personalities over and not a lot of action. Black refuses to use weapons early, Cole tries to take advantage of that, but gets punked out many times before catching Black on an errant Asai Moonsault. From there we finally get around to weapons being used, and it was mostly back and forth. The extended periods of time acquiescing to the crowd for tables and setting up the future spot didn’t do much for a match that started a little slow to begin with.

But hell, the pay offs of all the big spots got the crowd to pop, so I guess that’s something. Black wins when Cole decides to not cover him and try to go for a CHAIRSHOT, and gets caught by the Black Mass.

The match saw reDragon interfere and then SaNitY interfered to even the odds. So at least it extended the story between SaNitY and The Undisputed Era, but aside from that, it was kinda there.

Rating: *** 1/2 (Gold III)

2. NJPW New Beginning at Sapporo: IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Minoru Suzuki

First thing to notice is Suzuki’s hair started growing back, so he’s got the Devil Fruit design, just not long enough for that ponytail thing. After that, we’ve got the story of Tanahashi having mounting injuries and Suzuki being a sadistic submission specialist.

Before the match starts, Red Shoes tells Suzuki-Gun to leave and Minoru is again on his own. But the match begins as you’d expect, Suzuki focusing on the injured limbs and Tanahashi trying to fight through the pain and keep Suzuki away. This match was hard hitting, methodical and surprisingly only went out of the ring once. Cyrus enjoyed Suzuki’s use of CHAIRSHOTS on Tanahashi before bringing the match back in the ring.

Tanahashi showed amazing resilience in this match, coming as far as to sequence his Slingblade, into his first standing High Fly Flow, but not the finishing High Fly Flow. He hits his bad knee when he landed the first one, and that was the opening Minoru needed. Now, this wasn’t just normal taking advantage of an opening. Suzuki chained knee bars, heel hooks, figure four leg locks, everything and anything to keep tearing at that bad knee.

Suzuki even went as far as to hit his Gotch Piledriver…but refuse to pin the champion, in favor of tearing his knee apart more. The scene was hard to watch, some people use submissions as a rest hold, but Suzuki uses it like a professional torture artist. Tanahashi stayed every defiant and wouldn’t submit, but when Suzuki reapplies the kneebar in the middle of the ring and Tanhashi can’t make it to the ropes, red shoes makes the executive decision and stops the match.

So Minoru Suzuki is your NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and Tanahashi finally has a good storyline reason to take a few month off. It also gives Tanahashi the easy return story of “I never lost the match, the ref stopped it”. I’m looking forward to how the Intercontinental scene looks with a new champion.

Rating: ***** (Diamond V)

Honorable Mentions:

NXT: Number 1 Contender Match: Johnny Gargano vs Velveteen Dream

Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)

Raw 25: Intercontinental Championship Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs The Miz

Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)

Royal Rumble: WWE Championship 2v1 Handicap Match: AJ Styles (c) vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)

Impact Genesis: Knockouts Championship Match: Laurel Van Ness (c) vs Allie

Rating: *** (Gold V)

ROH: War Machine vs Coast 2 Coast

Rating: *** (Gold V)

1. NXT Takeover Philly: NXT Championship Match: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas (c) vs Johnny Gargano

Underdog Gargano in the biggest underdog city not named Cleveland. This match was electric from the entrances, and the lead in was tremendous also.

No brief summation of this match could do it justice. What I will say, is both men kept the pace fairly quick even when they were supposed to be exhausted or dazed. This match structure was similar to that of Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada and delivered in a similar fashion.

As many guessed, Candace Larae got involved to neutralize Zelina Vega, eventually (which is why it comes in a shade under what Omega/Okada was in my book). But the way the match finished up was brutal. Almas kept focusing on Johnny’s head and the penultimate move, was a running double knee on the apron into the ring post, leaving Gargano looking like he forgot how to smell color. The champ retaining in a long, fast paced, hard fought match does a lot to help reaffirm that he’s no longer the uninspired enhancement talent he was, about eight months ago.

Yes yes yes, I kept watching and saw the Ciampa attack at the end. Which is very smart, because it puts some distance between the two (similar to how New Japan does it), instead of milking it dry. It should go without saying, but this is the best match I’ve ever seen under a WWE umbrella. Major kudos to Andrade Almas and Johnny Gargano for locking up Match of the Year before February.

Rating: ***** 3/4 (Diamond IV)

This was a crazy week, lots of quality in every show, but come on…I’m picking Almas vs Gargano as my match of the week. If you thought I was picking anything else, you’re drunk go home. I’ll call you an Uber – be safe friends.

To make your opinion heard in this vote, comment on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail Andrewbalaz@thechairshot.com.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Mustafa Ali Should Be Thankful For KofiMania

Steve Cook reminds us that Kofi’s current angle is due to Mustafa Ali’s injury. Which, may have turned out beneficial for…Mustafa?

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Mustafa Ali

Steve Cook reminds us that Kofi’s current angle is due to Mustafa Ali’s injury. Which, may have turned out beneficial for…Mustafa?

When I first heard it, I didn’t believe it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to demean the ability of Mustafa Ali. In his limited time under WWE’s umbrella of entertainment, he’s amazed crowds with unbelievable moves. He’s also shown the ability to be likable, much to the amazement of some that believe that people of his descent can’t be supported by the WWE Universe.

Ali is a remarkable story. He was sixteen years old when he had his first match in February 2003. Mustafa worked graveyard shifts as a police officer while pursuing his wrestling dream, along with having a family.

He has a good head on his shoulders & a very promising future.

WWE is high on Ali, as they have every right to be. So high, in fact, that the word around the campfire was that Ali was slated to challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Those plans were put on hold just before the Elimination Chamber, when Ali suffered an injury that forced him out of the Chamber match for the WWE Championship. Ali still might have been in line for a title shot, as there was still plenty of time before WrestleMania when he was scheduled to come back.

But a funny thing happened, Kofi Kingston was tapped to take his place, and the fans in Houston went absolutely crazy for him. We’ve been watching Kofi on WWE television for eleven years now. We saw him break into WWECW as a fresh-faced, happy-go-lucky Jamaican kid. Upon his arrival on Raw (and later SmackDown), he became a regular in the Intercontinental & United States championship scene, depending which show he was on. He also became a tag team specialist, winning tag team championships with CM Punk, Evan Bourne & R-Truth.

Then The New Day happened, and it took Kofi’s popularity to a whole other level. Kofi, Xavier Woods & Big E have become one of the most successful trios in wrestling history. The only downside? It put Kofi’s singles career on ice. There were no more quests for secondary titles in hopes of breaking into the main event scene as a legitimate contender for a top championship. Kofi, Big E & Xavier had their role. Pump up the crowds, make money off merchandise & be happy.

You can make a lot of money doing that. But eventually you develop a taste for something more.

Honestly, it seems more like Big E & Xavier developed that taste for Kofi. They’ve been speaking up for him ever since this thing started at Elimination Chamber. Back at Money in the Bank when New Day was granted a slot in the match, they insisted that Kofi take it. It makes sense. New Day has achieved so much on the tag team side of things that the only thing left for them to do is reach the top of the mountain. One of them obtaining a top singles championship will be like all of them doing so.

Kofi got Mustafa’s slot at Elimination Chamber, and the fans bit on it hard. Here was a guy they had been watching for years busting his butt and doing whatever he was asked to do at the best of his ability. To the Houston fans, Kofi more than deserved to be there. He deserved to be WWE Champion. It seems like most of the WWE Universe is falling in line with the idea. Kofi’s being thrown obstacles left & right now, and even people that should know better are really buying into the idea that WWE doesn’t want Kofi Kingston in the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania.

It’s an incredible thing. Kofi’s lucky to have gotten this opportunity. Do you know who’s even more lucky that Kofi got this opportunity?

Mustafa Ali.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Ali’s been wrestling longer than Kingston. He’s more than paid his dues to get to WWE. He’s defied the odds his entire career. Ali is an amazing story that is really difficult to root against. However, if he got pushed right into a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania after a couple of months on SmackDown, people would root against him. Specifically, the fans that attend WrestleMania would root against him.

Mustafa has paid his dues. But we didn’t get to see it. We’ve seen Kofi Kingston paying dues for over a decade now. Not to sell Mustafa’s experiences short, but we weren’t at the indy shows watching him work. We weren’t on the graveyard shift with him. Kofi Kingston has been right in front of us for eleven years, proving that he deserves to be at the top of WWE just as much as anybody else does. It’s easier for us to identify with Kofi.

Had Ali been placed into the WrestleMania match with Daniel Bryan, the same thing would have happened that happened at Fastlane in Cleveland. He would have gotten booed, he would have had a nice performance and that would have been it. Bryan would have moved on to the next thing in time for the next PPV while Mustafa Ali would be looking for his next goal.

He deserves better, and he’ll get better.

We need to see Mustafa Ali work his way up. It’s not his fault that most of us don’t watch 205 Live, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t. We need to see him against the best of WWE, busting his ass and proving he belongs with the best in the business every single night.

It’ll take longer to get there. The reward will be much better. Once Mustafa Ali reaches the top of WWE, there will be no doubt that he deserves it. He won’t be somebody getting a push because of his life story, or because there was nobody else around at the time. He’ll be a superstar that the WWE Universe has grown to love & respect.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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NXT Minus 6…The Triangle of Truculence!

Bradley’s 6 step power point project runs down the latest episode of NXT! 

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Bradley’s 6 step power point project runs down the latest episode of NXT! 

This week, we’ve got horror movies, silent movie stars and another MOTY candidate.

6. HHH took Goldie from Tommaso Ciampa?!?!?! You do not put your hands on another man’s wife! Call me crazy, but that should be the Takeover main event when Ciampa does return.

Image result for hhh tommaso ciampa

5. The Forgotten Sons are looking to cement their legacy? That should be the first, last and only time we hear “Forgotten Sons” and “legacy” in the same sentence…unless one of them is referencing the 1978 cult horror classic “The Legacy” starring the Who’s Roger Daltrey. I’m sure you’ve all seen it.

Image result for legacy movie roger daltrey

4. Triangle of truculence. Yes, Mauro Ranallo actually used the phrase “triangle of truculence.” One more reason NXT is black & gold standard: you can watch wrestling AND study for the ACT at the same time. Someone should create Mauro Ranallo’s Word of the Day app.

Image result for dictionary truculent

3. Let’s brainstorm. How can we get around the fact that the Sky Pirates really don’t give good interviews in English? A manager? Subtitles? Give them a kooky gimmick where they are always shown in black & white and made to look like the stars in a silent movie? The upside is it will keep them in NXT longer. The downside is they might not get the opportunities they otherwise deserve.

Image result for sky pirates nxt

2. I’m going to air 2 very tiny grievances. They could have sacrificed about 5 minutes of interviews & sketches to give the main event more ring time. Also, there were really only 2 possible winners of the match. That being said…

Image result for nxt fatal 5 way

1. Another week, another MOTY contender. 4.8 stars to the fatal 5 way. Everyone involved looked absolutely fantastic. The action was great. The near falls were exciting. The winner won in a way that made sense. It gave us a Takeover main event that should be all kinds of special. I’m actually planning on watching Takeover: New York twice in the same amount of time it would take me to watch WrestleMania once.

Image result for nxt fatal 5 way

That’s right…I said it!


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