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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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Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (5/22/19)

Prince Pretty is back on NXT!

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WWE NXT Tyler Breeze Velveteen Dream

Tiffany’s Takes dives into this week’s edition of WWE NXT as the black and yellow continues their built to Takeover XXV!

As we head into TakeOver XXV, what is the state of WWE NXT this week?

NXT Championship: I love when a babyface drops some hard facts. I also love that I’m apparently better at math than Adam Cole. Gargano pointing out that Cole’s talking point about winning the first fall was nonsense was so fun. I do like that we’re getting Part II at Take Over XXV, but I was surprised that Gargano didn’t insist that UE be banned from ringside.

The tag team match between Gargano/Riddle vs UE was fabulous! It seems that all is back on track between Strong and Cole, at least for now, but it remains to be seen how it’ll be after TakeOver.

North American Championship: This segment was really interesting. Tyler Breeze never really got any traction on the Main Roster, so moving him back to NXT makes sense. I think the match between him and Dream will be an interesting one, but I don’t see Dream dropping the title.

Women’s Division: Candice LeRae seems to finally be back on track after months of being Gargano’s perpetually worried and vengeful wife. Her match with the Lone Star Loca, Reina Gonzalez was so good! WWE certainly seemed impressed with Gonazalez after the Mae Young Classic, so it was nice to see her get some screen time. Going by Baszler’s actions after the match, it appears that Ms. LeRae is on track for a title shot, thank God.

Remind me to never piss off Io Shirai.  The Genius of the Skies definitely seems to be tapping into her hardcore side because the sight of her wielding that Kendo stick AND using it scared the shit out of me. It’s pretty clear that the reckoning between Shirai and Shayna Baszler is going to happen at TakeOver.

Well, it is officially official, Mia Yim and Bianca Belair will meet again NEXT week and settle the score. I really want Yim to win this because her booking has been weird considering her talent.


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NXT Tag Team Championship: Another announcement was made officially official – Viking Raiders are no longer NXT Tag Team Champions, but because the Street Profits didn’t get an ACTUAL pinfall, the titles are now vacant. I love that Regal has made it a ladder match between the only four tag teams in NXT right now: Forgotten Sons, Street Profits, Burch and Lorcan, and Undisputed Era. I have a feeling Forgotten Sons will win, but we’ll see.

Sean Maluta vs Mansoor: This was a good, if random match. Sean Maluta has been back to WWE several times since the Cruiserweight Classic, but he never seems to stick around for very long. Mansoor seems to be someone WWE is very high on considering he’s racked up several victories over the last few months. The match was okay, but since it was two jobbers going at it, it was hard to get into. I was more excited about Maluta than Mansoor.

Overall Thoughts: So, how was NXT US this week? It was really good. They’re really kicking the build to TakeOver XXV into high gear without making it seem really rushed, especially in situations where substitutes are being made (Dream vs Breeze).

Even though it LOOKS like all is well in Undisputed Era, the fact that all of them have matches next Saturday makes me wonder if that’s when the final breakdown will happen, especially with Strong taking on Riddle. I’m very excited by the change in Io Shirai, I think Baszler’s going to learn the hard way to never underestimate someone’s willingness to fight.

That’s it for Tiffany’s WWE NXT Takes. Be back on Monday for RAW!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s WWE Raw and SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (5/20 + 5/21/2019)

Coming out of Money in the Bank, how do the WWE main roster shows stack up?

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Coming out of Money in the Bank, how do the WWE main roster shows stack up?

We’ve got a Beast in the Bank and a new title being debuted on Raw.

So generally speaking this could be interesting. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Let’s get to the shows!

 

Raw Ratings:

  • Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman: Strowman wins via Running Powerslam – N/A
  • Cesaro vs Ricochet: Cesaro wins via Gotch Neutralizer – ** ½
  • The Usos vs The Revival: Revival wins via Dirty Roll-Up – *** ¼
  • Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs The IIconics & Lacey Evans: Becky wins via Guillotine Leg Drop – **
  • WWE 24/7 Championship Scramble: Titus O’Neil wins – * ½
  • WWE 24/7 Championship: Robert Roode vs Titus O’Neil (c): Roode wins via Roll-Up – N/A
  • Drew McIntyre vs The Miz: McIntyre wins via Claymore – ** ½
  • WWE 24/7 Championship: Robert Roode (c) vs R-Truth: Truth wins via Roll-Up – N/A
  • NoDQ  Tag Match: Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin: Kingston wins via Trouble in Paradise – ** ¼

 

 

Analysis:

Brock and Heyman come out to kick things off. Brock seems to be loving the hate, using the briefcase like a boombox. Heyman doesn’t say anything interesting beyond the fact that he made it clear that Brock isn’t sure which belt he wants yet. But Brock seems to be tickled, and I was amused.

Foley takes a Uber to the arena! We all know he didn’t pay for that one, Foley is notoriously cheap.

Wait, so Sami and Braun are going to have a match? Even though Braun didn’t hang Sami up, and we can kinda figure it was Brock, or someone trying to help Brock. We need to see Sami get smashed? I mean, the crowd seemed to like it, even though Braun is bland and his involvement against Sami is just dumb. But it is what it is.

Wh-Why do we need to hear Lars Sullivan talk? So, generic cornball question from Charles is interrupted by…the god damn Lucha House Party. Okay well that’s a half point off of the score. Oh god, they’re giving them a modicum of offense too. Sheesh…no one cares about any of these four. Stupid Lucha morons.

Ricochet and Cesaro time! Oh okay, start with a commercial, hey the match starts to pick up, and then we go to that crappy picture in picture commercial break during what might’ve been a Sasuke Special from Ricochet. Well, talk about taking a match that could’ve been match of the night, and butchering it with poorly timed breaks.

So Styles and Corbin will clash eventually? Well…ugh.

So Shane is claiming he’s done with The Miz and moving onto Reigns. But now Shane has Drew Mcintyre in his arsenal as well as Elias. While I don’t mind this whole thing from a pro wrestling perspective, I’d really prefer McIntyre to stand on his own for a singles push soon. Playing the lackey really isn’t a great look, even though yes, it’s well positioned in the story.

This was a solid match between the two best tag teams in WWE. The fact that The Revival went over because of heel tactics is even better. So with the Usos’ being jerks and The Revival taking a few short cuts, we might get to see a few good matches out of this. I don’t need a whole year like New Day and The Usos basically had, but a few months of solid matches would be great.

Firefly Fun House introduces another verse to the theme song and a 90s style introduction clip, and then distorted into a creepy video with depressed kids and Let Him In, written on faces and shirts. Not the quality I’ve been expecting, but not awful.

Alexa comes out for Moment of Bliss with Nikki Cross in tow. Alexa is seemingly getting nasty with Nikki and she’s just acting like a loyal puppy who wants to make Alexa happy. Granted, I still see this as a bigger game, but that’s not the point Becky Lynch comes out for the interview and IIconics and Lacey Evans interrupt. A few decent lines were thrown around, Becky challenges all 3. Nikki immediately stepping up to fight with Becky was cute and perfectly simple with the “I’ll be your partner”. Also the way the heels try to dismiss it since they’re one short and Becky just shrugs at Alexa and says “She’ll do”. Plus the whole just stand there and look pretty, let the man do the work – that’s just a fantastic line, and Alexa plays along bringing her coffee. If Alexa really is hurt, this was a genius way to get them all over in a match. Alexa being disinterested sipping her coffee and just occasionally rooting on her team was perfect. This was such a perfect moment with a decent match attached.

Okay so the new title is effectively the PG Hardcore DDT Heavymetal Weight 24/7 and Free Tank of Gas championship! Foley has a scramble match and we see a few people we rarely see, including Eric Young doing his best Crash Holly impression. Titus World Slide wins the scramble, so he’s the inaugural champion, only to be rolled up at the top of the ramp by Robert Roode after like 65 seconds of being champion. Then the Scooby Doo chase begins!

Miz puts up a solid fight being out numbered and outclassed by McIntyre. So Shane just being a manipulative prick is great. Working his way on the Mr. McMahon 2.0 persona is entertaining and again, Roman and Miz being on the same page and working together as a positive thing…are just unexpected.

Joe makes a convincing point that the referee screwed up. I guess we’ll see how this goes.

Oh R-Truth has a car ready for Robert Roode, and funnily enough, a referee also. One Roll-Up later and the perfect Saturday Morning Cartoons on the brain mofo has the 24/7 belt. Three total champions in like 60 minutes. This is gonna be gold. I’m waiting for a Bayley Buddy to pin the champion.

So even though the tag match was turned into a NoDQ match, Bobby and Baron still kind of suck. Solid match all in all, but it’s very reminiscent of when Baron was GM and he’d just add stipulations and still fail more often than not.

 

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Really solid episode of Raw. Decent wrestling, storylines were moved along well enough, 24/7 title could be fun and damn did that whole Moment of Bliss thing play out like a damn beauty. So I would give the show a 7, but Lucha House Party being on the show and getting in offense is a half point off.

Firefly Fun House was a little disappointing and just there, so neither added nor subtracted to the Steiner Math.

 

SmackDown Live Ratings:

  • Andrade vs Ali: Ali wins via Inside Cradle – *** ¼
  • Carmella vs Mandy Rose: No Contest – *
  • Kofi Kingston vs Sami Zayn: Kofi wins via Trouble in Paradise – ** ½
  • Becky Lynch & Bayley vs Lacey Evans & Charlotte Flair: Bayley wins via Roll-Up – **
  • Elias vs Roman Reigns: Reigns wins via Spear – ***

 

Analysis:

So Elias apologizes to Shane and uses the fact he put all his energy into the performance, for why he lost. It’s a decent excuse. Oh we’re getting a rematch tonight. Gotta love Shane trying to set up anything and everything to soften up Roman for Jam in the Sand III.

Okay so the fake out reveal for Big E was funny and then the side comments about Becky’s mom were also amusing. Kofi trying to end the digressions by saying he needs to be serious since he’s champion was an amusing jab at people saying he’s a comedy act. KO and Sami interrupt, as Sami talks, the New Day take a jab at KO losing and Owens just walks off. Sami makes a challenge to stand up for him and his buddy. Ok, I don’t expect Sami to win, but it should be a decent match.

Carmella and a bunch of others are looking for R-Truth, but Carmella is his friend, trying to help him out. So we get Truth in a blonde wig and Carmella needing to give him a makeover.

So we get a great match for people who like good wrestling. Andrade and Ali seem to work well together and it was just fun to watch. Ali getting the win is interesting, cause that makes you wonder if he positioned himself as next in line for the Intercontinental Championship, or maybe it becomes a Triple Threat. This result could have interesting ramifications.

Mandy Rose and Carmella have beef that came from the MiTB Ladder match, and we get a non-finish when the undercard mob comes out to get R-Truth since he came out to second Carmella. I’m a little annoyed at the non-finish, but Carmella and R-Truth are amusing.

Kofi and Sami was shorter than I’d like, and also didn’t do much to help Sami, but I guess if they’re moving away from KO and Sami until after the Saudi show, it was fine. Plus the Dolph Ziggler attack needed time, so the shorter match was necessary I suppose.

Roman walks in and Elias is looming above him singing his song – and it was actually pretty neat. I like the way the scene was framed, and definitely came off as Elias trying to play mind games.

This women’s tag wasn’t really set up in as entertaining of a way as the 6 woman tag from Monday. This is just Champs versus people they just beat. The match was fine and Bayley getting the pinfall after Becky got ganged up on a little bit was fine.

Oh Jinder and the B-Team catch Truth, but he manages to get away.

The ring work may not have been fantastic, but the story beats were entertaining. Shane trying everything to screw Roman over the same way he’s screwed with Miz, but failing this time, added a wrinkle. Shane looked concerned for a change, until Drew McIntyre showed up to tip the scales. Shane going from concerned to “yup this was all part of the plan, yup”, is a fun moment.

 

Overall Score: 6/10

Even though I didn’t mind the show, it was really nothing overly special. A few beats were rehashed from Money in the Bank and Monday, so this falls into the same rut that SmackDown has hit lately. Instead of feeling like two shows, SmackDown just extends certain stories and feels like only half of the show is dedicated to new/unique stories.

So not a bad show, but in no way was it a must watch.

 


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