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8-Match Tag: WWE Network Evidence That Looks Can Be Deceiving

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WWE Tazz

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to 8-Match Tag. I’m Sean. You’re not. This little house party jointly thrown by the Comer Codex and The Chairshot is your sensible portion of themed prime cuts from the WWE Network’s finest reserves, an eight-course meal conceived to introduce new wrestling initiates to the finest facets of the squared circle and satisfy a seasoned fan’s refined palate.

Professional wrestling is a visually nuanced storytelling medium. Despite some leeway for creative malleability with ideal pieces in place, such as a daring booker and the right performers to deliver a match’s narrative, there’s a certain inherent logic to pushing some workers based on their appearances. That being said, many observers could and would readily argue that Vince McMahon’s sweaty McBoner for any Big McLargeHuge that strolled past Titan Tower in the 1980s gave way to ingrained physique prejudices responsible for several generations of fans looking at certain individuals through some unfortunately strict blinders. Sometimes, the right man or woman in the right place at the right time chiseled at cracks they uniquely created in that aesthetic glass ceiling until it shattered. In other instances, the Cult of McMahonism dismissively waved off brilliant in-ring artists whose forms didn’t evoke daydreams of Superstar Billy Graham, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior or “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

I present to you, the jury, these eight gifted performers whose bodies of work would give any skeptic grounds to question everything they have ever accepted about kinesiology, agility, strength and the core definition of “fitness.”

As (almost) always, in no particular order and paired individually with an essential-viewing recommendation from WWE Network itself…

1. TAZZ/TAZ

Pete Senercia stands an unremarkable 5 feet 9 inches tall. That distinctly average stature gives him an insignificant height advantage over his trainer, WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz, but it left him awkwardly dwarfed by the vast majority of his wrestling peers. You would have enjoyed ample company if you wrote him off as being built too similarly to a fire hydrant for anyone to take the Brooklyn-born brawler remotely seriously as a plausible champion. In turn, he would have made you eat your words and love every bite.

In his prime, Taz was a tenacious 250-pound pit bull with a legitimate judo black belt, an Empire State Heavyweight Championship won as a young amateur wrestler and the jaw-dropping strength to hang with the likes of Chris Benoit, Sabu, Rob Van Dam and more among ECW’s stiffest, most physically gruelling performers. Every single night, he earned his nickname’s absolute believability as “the Human Suplex Machine,” often chucking men standing a full ahead above him halfway across the ring. What he lacked in inches, he made up in psychology and explosive power.

WHAT TO WATCH: TAZ vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW – ECW LIVING DANGEROUSLY, MARCH 1, 1998

(NOTE: For the record, Bigelow himself was an astonishing super-heavyweight whose 390-pound body could twirl effortlessly through flawless cartwheels and a gorgeous moonsault.)

2. CESARO

Yes, Cesaro. Hear me out.

When you picture John Cena, Big E and Mark Henry, you appropriately invoke an understandable description of men with bodies sculpted to bear the burden of Atlas himself upon their own shoulders. Every lean, outsized muscle ripples beneath tightly stretched skin, every inch of which might as well be tattooed with their personal-best bench presses and curl routines. Cesaro stands an impressive 6 feet 5 inches and weighs in at a sizable 232 pounds himself, but if forming an impression based purely on his physique’s definition, your average onlooker might never remotely dream that his functional athleticism could easily rival the lifting capacity of all three men listed above.

The key word? Functional. Cesaro himself has stated he doesn’t place a great deal of stock in how much dead weight he can press, row or squat. Not only has he twirled the mammoth Great Khali’s 7-feet-1-inch body suspended in the air for around 30 consecutive seconds without scarcely straining himself and scoop-slammed all 400 pounds of The Big Show over the top rope, but the Swiss Superman routinely dives through the ropes with the smooth trajectory of Sin Cara or Kalisto and has even developed an admirable take on Rey Mysterio’s 619. This bastion of perfect muscular efficiency possesses an unparalleled mastery of every fiber and nerve that pairs phenomenally with a genius wrestling IQ.

WHAT TO WATCH: 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS, CESARO vs. SAMI ZAYN – SAMI ZAYN: NEVER BE THE SAME (WWE NETWORK COLLECTIONS)

3. KASSIUS OHNO

Paired once upon a time with Cesaro (then wrestling under his given name, Claudio Castagnoli) as one-half of the Kings of Wrestling, WWE.com recently featured the knockout artist once known as Chris Hero in an eye-opening featurette memorable for stating exactly what I myself am only recently rising to appreciate: Ohno’s uncanny muscle memory allows him to continue nipping up, executing immaculate front flips, diving on a run into the ring through the bottom two ropes and executing other feats capable of making body-obsessed fans want to meekly apologize for even quietly thinking his 280-pound, fairly soft body has no place inside an NXT or WWE ring.
Rumors circulated after Ohno’s release from his initial NXT run in 2013 that he had run afoul of WWE brass by refusing to address criticism of his appearance. Just exactly what measure of truth that chatter held remains up for debate, but to be fair, he indeed was not quite the svelte young man who had first made his bones in Chikara, Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling and elsewhere around the world years prior. It didn’t help that Ohno has always favored wearing his hair long and pairing it with a full face of scruff. Also, he did continue to put on weight after leaving.

Remarkably, he somehow did so without sacrificing an iota of nimble maneuverability. His cyclone kick is a thing of beauty. He gets air and velocity beneath a running senton that would make Bray Wyatt and Samoa Joe proud. Let the record show, you sometimes never know just what a man can do between the ropes until the bell rings.

WHAT TO WATCH: NO DISQUALIFICATIONS, KASSIUS OHNO vs. HIDEO ITAMI – NXT, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017

4. SAMOA JOE

Is he same prodigy who tore through a 21-month ROH World Championship reign followed by a 17-month undefeated streak in TNA? No. Samoa Joe is older, arguably heavier and barely a stitch less athletically remarkable than he was more than 10 years ago. He also happens to be a more seasoned in-ring storyteller.

Can you imagine standing outside the ring and trying to steel yourself for moment a 280-pound slab of beef rockets through the top and middle ropes in your direction? At 38 years old, Joe can still nail that exact spot every single time. That’s hardly all there is to him though. There’s the slick step-up enziguri. Throw in the unfathomable rate at which he covers ground across the ring. Don’t ever doubt that he can still go for 30 minutes or more on any given night. Finally, never underestimate his own judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling pedigree.

He might not, as the late Dusty Rhodes once said of himself, “look like the athlete of the day is supposed to look.” He doesn’t need to, either. The man is flexible, fast and superbly conditioned by years of boxing, martial arts and wrestling tutelage. The Samoan Submission Machine defies every last notion of what a fine-tuned physical punishment machine should resemble. After all, the man has been stretching and wearing out leaner men since I was in college.

WHAT TO WATCH: NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH, FINN BALOR © vs. SAMOA JOE – NXT TAKEOVER: DALLAS, APRIL 1, 2016

5. BIG BOSS MAN

The late Ray Traylor has never and might never receive the appreciation his surprising versatility merits. That reality followed him his entire career.

Jim Cornette once told a story of the day Traylor arrived to work under Rhodes’ booking in Jim Crockett Promotions. Fresh from his earliest training, Rhodes paired the 300-pound-plus man soon to be known as Big Bubba Rogers with Tully Blanchard, a technical maestro who stood only 5 feet 10 inches and weighed a modest 200 pounds. For a finish, the 6-foot-6 Traylor insisted on taking Blanchard’s slingshot vertical suplex finisher. Cornette and Rhodes doubted the giant, stocky former prison guard’s ability to play his part in pulling the move off…right up until he actually did it.

Think about it: that wasn’t even his final form. Shortly after a 1990 face turn in the World Wrestling Federation, the Big Boss Man would drop a boatload of weight and develop the ability to zip under the bottom rope like Shawn Michaels, throw a gorgeous standing crescent kick, bump like Curt Hennig and throw punches like a heavyweight prospect. He was a physical marvel from the beginning who never stopped learning and became leaner, meaner and more mobile, agile and hostile than even the American Dream and Cornette would have likely supposed he could have.

WHAT TO WATCH: BIG BOSS MAN vs. THE BARBARIAN – WWF ROYAL RUMBLE 1991, JANUARY 19, 1991

(NOTE: OK, I can’t help but fudge my format a bit. Alternately, I would also throw in his Wrestlemania VII Intercontinental Championship match with Hennig or his SummerSlam 1991 feud-ending Jailhouse Match with The Mountie. I tend to favor the Barbarian match for this list mostly because it displays just how effectively Traylor could bump and sell and make anyone look like a million bucks, but all three are fine examples of everything fun he brought to the table.)

6. KEVIN OWENS

The Prizefighter once earned an unsavory reputation early in his career for a stubborn refusal to work himself into the kind of presentable trim that would allow him to work without a shirt. Cornette has often cited that exact obstinate state of mind as a driving reason he wanted Owens gone from ROH as soon as possible.

I’m a Cult of Cornette disciple through and through, but even then, that perception has never struck me as anything less than baffling hypocrisy from a man once wowed by the aforementioned Traylor’s own spryness. Granted, Owens has worked himself into greatly improved condition since arriving first in NXT and then WWE, but he was jaw-droppingly fast and smooth in the air even then. From his cannonball splash and masterful swanton to a rarely deployed top-rope moonsault after executing a jumping 180-degree turn, Owens’ 266 pounds don’t do justice to just how primed his body is for the ring.

Here’s what really gets me, though. It isn’t merely the acrobatics. You simply don’t look at a raw-boned fellow like KO and expect his endurance. From one match to the next, he rarely needs a prolonged “rest” spot or comes across as blown-up or sloppy. He hits a high, steady gear from the start and just never takes his foot off the gas. In any given era, he would be a walking, talking sack of money.

WHAT TO WATCH: KEVIN OWENS vs. JOHN CENA – WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER, MAY 31, 2015

7. BROCK LESNAR (RUTHLESS AGGRESSION ERA)

No. Nope. No way.

Yes, the South Dakota-born Beast Incarnate is every ounce as strong as you would expect from gawking at him. Let it surprise no one that, in only his second UFC bout, he caved in Heath Herring’s eye socket and quite literally chased the Texas Crazy Horse right out of the sport. Prior to that, this is the man who repeatedly ragdolled The Big Show from one corner of the ring to the other with a symphony of suplexes. We get it. He is a comic-book monster come to life.

However, nothing and no one built of hate, steel, hellfire and muscle in such massive quantities as Lesnar can actually jump flat-footed from the arena floor to the ring apron, vault over the top rope and land a Shooting-Star Press off the top rope. You know, that aerial move made famous by cruiserweight star Billy Kidman? Cruiserweight, as in, “weighs under 205 pounds?”

Human beings just don’t work that way, right?

Right?

WHAT TO WATCH: WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH, KURT ANGLE © vs. BROCK LESNAR – WRESTLEMANIA XIX, MARCH 30, 2003

(NOTE: Yes, I know he missed the Shooting-Star Press and could have damn near broken his absolutely everything. Two things: one, go ahead and marvel at the fact he finished the damn match and needed scarcely any time off after to heal; and two, verified accounts have him hitting that move consistently while training in OVW.)

8. THE UNDERTAKER

As if I would have chosen anybody else.

I can sum this up with a then-ongoing debate I once carried on with my good friend Jeremy many years ago. Watching TNA at one point, he marveled at Sonjay Dutt’s version of The Undertaker’s rope-walk. Wrench the arm. Walk up to the top turnbuckle. Walk along the top rope to the center and jump down with a fist drop on an opponent’s shoulder.

“He does that even better than The Undertaker,” Jeremy suggested.

“No, he really doesn’t,” I retorted.

“What makes you say that?”

“Let me ask you something, Jeremy: is Sonjay Dutt nearly 7 feet tall and around 300 pounds?”

“Good point.”

More than that, The Undertaker could flatout go. Even when he reached the mileage point of being able to break out his running vault over the top rope only at WrestleMania, you never truly appreciated his freakish endurance until you saw him paired with someone who, on paper, should have run circles around him. His staggering wind comes into greater context when one theorizes that he picked up more than a nifty late-career finisher from his many years as an ardent MMA and boxing fan. The Dead Man may have very well been a pioneer of wrestlers training like legitimate combat-sport athletes. I wonder if years worth of colleagues were simply scared to try and tell him, “You know bodies your size aren’t meant to do MOST of what you do, right?”

WHAT TO WATCH: WWE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH, KURT ANGLE © vs. UNDERTAKER – WWE NO WAY OUT, FEBRUARY 19, 2006


We’re going home, kids. Thank you all for joining me once again. If you have love, hate or respectful disagreements to share, drop me a line on Twitter @comercodex any time. Dig what you read and want to know what else I get up to when I’m not spilling my guts about the Sport of Kings here? I’m on Twitch nearly every evening from 6 p.m. CT at Twitch.tv/comercodex playing all manner of PS4 games to rush through my backlog.

I’m Sean. You’re not. Never dull your colors for someone else’s canvas. Time to tag out.

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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/18/18

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In what turned out to be a very close vote last week, our all Japanese All Star Top 5, finally cleared up when the dust settled. The Top 3 matches had people split most of the week, but Kazuchika Okada vs Sanada @ New Beginning: Osaka, came out the same way I listed it last week, on top.

That being said, this was one of those in between weeks. No major events, but surprisingly the quality of the matches are comparable to PPV level. Let’s take a look at what made the cut.

 

5. NXT: UK Championship Match: Pete Dunne (c) vs Roderick Strong

Now some may be surprised this is only fifth, but it didn’t flow as well as the other matches on this list, the crowd seemed unconscious and the lack of real storyline heat, took away from this match a little.

That being said, neither of these guys put on a “bad” match, so this was nearly a given to make the cut. We saw both men get in most of their stuff. Pete Dunne took a page out of Marty Scurll’s book and worked Strong’s hand to make it harder for him to do many of his moves. So thanks to the injury and Dunne’s brawler style, Strong couldn’t keep up and Dunne retained.

A couple sequences seemed a little stalled, but all in all this match was solid. Odd that it kicked off the NXT episode, but it’s also apt that it kicks off this list.

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

 

4. Raw: Roman Reigns vs Sheamus

This one I had to rewatch since I got distracted mid match(phone calls suck), but at the behest of our beloved Commissioner PC Tunney, I gave it the good ole college try.

A solid hard hitting brawl between two guys with some history from years back, and the tag match the previous week. Cesaro’s interference was minimal, and it was a good showing for Sheamus. Given the fact he’s been in the tag division for the past year, it’s always interesting to see how they’ll present the pieces in singles combat.

Lots of big moves, a superman punch to counter a Brogue Kick (which looked nice) and commentary saying Sheamus tried a Frankensteiner just as a way for Roman to do his sit out powerbomb. Great match that ends with Roman going over, but again he puts on a damn solid match. Those pitch forks are gonna have to aim at someone else soon, cause Roman is progressing much faster than Cena did.

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

 

3. Smackdown Live: Dolph Ziggler vs Sami Zayn

Well alright, the premise for setting this match up was convoluted…but we got a damn good match out of it.

We all know Zayn and Ziggler can go in the ring, but this was an odd combination of two men who are often overlooked and “buried”, who put on a clinic. Even though the outcome of both impromptu matches was so obvious Helen Keller could see it, this one was fun. Ziggler hit most of his signature moves, and the finish with him countering the Helluva Kick with a Super Kick, was nicely timed and the crowd seemed to appreciate it all.

I doubt this will play into any kind of long push for Ziggler, but I’m just glad we got a match worth watching on Smackdown.

Rating: *** 3/4 (Gold I)

 

Honorable Mention:

Impact: X Division Championship Match: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs El Hijo de Fantasma
Rating: *** (Gold V)

NWA: World Heavyweight Championship Match: Nick Aldis (c) vs James Ellsworth
Rating: ** (Silver V)

 

2. 205 Live: Drew Gulak vs Tony Nese

Well…damn, just damn.

This was the first match this week that surprised me a lot. Tony Nese hasn’t really been lighting it up and Drew Gulak is just the Power Point creating, perfect speller of the ‘Zo Train. So sufficed to say, I forgot these two could wrestle.

Nese held his own and performed some impressive moves, but Gulak was the star. He tapped into some dark technical monster side of his character. He was grinning while getting hit, I really thought Minoru Suzuki possessed him at some point. Also, the fact that he grabbed and posed with the vacant title was such a beautiful heel move.

Evil Gulak may have just became my favorite wrestler on the 205 roster.

Rating: **** (Platinum V)

 

1. Impact: World Heavyweight Championship Match: Austin Aries (c) vs Eli Drake

Now even though this is week 3 of the new Cyrus regime, it’s been hard to see much of a difference. Yes I know they need to tie up the existing stories, but the in-ring product has still been mediocre at best, until now.

During a previous installment I think I mentioned how Eli Drake’s moveset has been ever expanding, and this match held true to that. Eli is more of a brawler, and Aries is a high flying technical specimen. However, Eli kept up wonderfully and this match was back and forth for the most part.

Eli would counter and catch Aries mid move, and Aries would get frustrated at Eli’s resiliency. Chris Adonis proved mostly useless, except to take a Suicide Dive, so that’s probably the path to why he leaves Impact (when things are officially on Twitter it’s basically general knowledge). The match did a great job at protecting the Gravy Train since Eli never hit it, and Aries was visibly frustrated at many points.

So even though Aries retained, Drake should’ve cemented himself as a main event player to management. He pulled off a top rope moonsault and jumped to the top turnbuckle and suplexed Aries down, in one fell swoop. These aren’t part of a usual Eli Drake match, so it should be fun to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve.

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

 

This vote is actually hard for me. Now I’m a big fan of Eli Drake, and he worked his ass off, but Drew Gulak really showed a new side and captured my attention. Argh…okay, since I have to pick, I will vote for, Drew Gulak vs Tony Nese. Not easy for me, but Evil Gulak could be something special.

So vote, scream, cry, dance, ridicule me, whatever you want to do. Interact on Facebook and Twitter, or yell at me personally at, andrewbalaz@thechairshot.com. Until next week.

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Top 5: Animals in Wrestling

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Brandi Rhodes Top 5 Wrestling Animals

Professional wrestling is often referred to as a circus. It’s a wide-ranging presentation of different acts designed to appeal to children of all ages. Wrestlers have spoken in cizarny language to each other for most of the art form’s existence.

Every good circus needs animals.

Bury the Bullet Club Bear is just the latest involvement of animals (or people dressed like animals) in the history of our great sport. For many years, animals have been used to accentuate human performers. There was even a time when animals wrestled humans in special attraction matches. Here are Wrestling’s Top 5 Animals.

5. Frankie

A macaw, Frankie served as Koko B. Ware’s mascot from Koko’s entrance into the World Wrestling Federation in 1986 until his tragic death in a fire in 2001. Frankie drove home Koko’s “Birdman” persona & entrance music.

The only problem I had with Frankie was that he didn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of Koko’s opponents. The 1980s WWF often ran angles where heels were afraid of babyface animals. Frankie really couldn’t pull that off.

4. C.P. Munk

CHIKARA has seen several wrestlers in animal costumes appear in their ring, but none inspired the reaction of C.P. Munk. Munk’s inspiration, C.M. Punk, actually appeared in the main event of the first CHIKARA main event. For whatever reason, he & CHIKARA’s management had a falling out and that marked Punk’s only appearance for the promotion.

August 13, 2005 marked the debut of C.P. Munk, a giant chipmunk with Punk’s mannerisms, wrestling attire & entrance music (sped up, of course). He appeared a couple of more times in October before disappearing. Munk’s return happened at CHIKARA’s Tag World Grand Prix 2006, where he teamed with Colt Cabunny.

We found out that Necro Butcher was the man behind the C.P. Munk persona. It made perfect sense, Necro’s typical character certainly wasn’t family-friendly & he needed a way to get into CHIKARA.

3. Matilda

The British Bulldogs are still remembered as one of wrestling’s greatest tag teams. Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid certainly wrestled with the tenacity of bulldogs, but in the 1980s WWF you needed a little bit more than that to establish your persona. Enter Matilda. The bulldog showed up towards the end of the Bulldogs’ tag team championship reign, and offered at least the same level of managerial expertise as their previous manager: Captain Lou Albano.

The highlight of Matilda’s wrestling involvement happened when Bobby Heenan & the Islanders dognapped her. Fortunately, Vince McMahon hadn’t yet considered the idea of having a wrestler feed another wrestler their own dog for dinner.

2. Terrible Ted

Animals

The wrestling bear was a tremendously popular attraction throughout the 1950s & 60s. Live gates would go up across the nation when a bear was advertised. The most famous of the wrestling bears was Terrible Ted.

Ted wasn’t a bad worker from what I’ve seen. I imagine it had to be difficult from a mental standpoint for a human wrestler to get in there with him. Even if the bear looks like he’s working, you never really know for sure. Of course, wrestlers don’t need to worry about getting booked against bears now due to animal cruelty laws, liability laws & things like that. Daniel Bryan wanted to wrestle a bear at a recent WrestleMania, but there was no way he or a bear was getting cleared to compete in a WWE ring.

1. Damien

Jake Roberts had been known as “The Snake” ever since he started out in wrestling. It made sense on two levels: it rhymed with Jake’s first name & it described his personality in & out of the ring. It only made sense to make it a key part of his persona when he arrived in the WWF.

There’s definitely a fear factor when it comes to snakes. People are taught in Sunday School that they’re evil. Jake used Damien as well as any wrestler has ever used a side character. Damien crawling on Jake’s downed opponents was always a creepy moment that further established Jake as a sinister force. Even when he was a good guy, there was always something dangerous about Jake & Damien.

Damien was constantly involved in angles. Ted DiBiase kidnapped him. Earthquake sat on him. He was the only thing that Andre the Giant was afraid of. There was never a more important animal in the history of pro wrestling.

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Power Rankings: New Japan Pro Wrestling

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Well coming off the big New Beginning shows, there were some interesting events. Taichi kidnaps Naito, Sanada showed the world that he’s a the real deal, Kitamura shows a great ability to learn and adapt, as well as, Yoshi-Hashi…well…not stinking up the joint.

Given the fact there’s so much to chew on, it makes sense to try and Power Rank the current landscape of New Japan Professional Wrestling.

5. Tetsuya Naito

The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, the leading merchandise mover in Japan and forever the Stardust Genius. Accolades aside, he’s been in a weird spot since losing his IWGP Championship shot at Wrestle Kingdom 12. He got jumped by Jericho, he got pushed around by Yoshi-Hashi and now Taichi is trying to make a statement with him. Not really sure why he’s being saddled with the lower card guys of 2 other factions, and freelance Jericho is looming over his head. So with no real direction but, himself and LIJ are still the most over thing in NJPW, he deserves mention in the Top 5.

 

4. Will Ospreay

ELEVATED, EL-ELEVATED – oh, ya his theme song is catchy, shut up. Aside from a catchy theme, he’s one of the premiere atheltes on the indie scene as well as New Japan. So given the fact that he’s been towards the top of the Junior Division for the last 3 years, and a 2 time Champion in the last six months, it’s hard to ignore him. The fans love him, Okada hand picked him for Chaos, and even hand picks him again for the Anniversary Show to reignite the tradition of the Junior Champion versus the Heavyweight Champion.

Starting off big, this proves to be a big year for Ospreay.

 

3. Minoru Suzuki

The Sadistic Surgeon, he literally tortured Hiroshi Tanahashi to the point where Red Shoes couldn’t take anymore and took pity on the stubborn former Ace. Now he’s the Intercontinental Champion after losing the NEVER to Hirooki Goto last month in a brutal match. He feels disrespected by the press, but the fans still love to hate him. Screaming Kaze Ni Nare at the right time, is still an arena wide tradition, and you can’t help but eat up his brutal technical style.

Suzuki-Gun Ichiban.

 

2. Golden Lovers

Well this one is a gimme. It’s the reunion every new western fan wanted and even many Japanese fans were clamoring for this. Kenny Omega’s possible split from the Bullet Club, time to go full Babyface with Kota Ibushi. Not only Bi-lingual…these guys will be a great story to keep fans engaged through the New Japan Cup and the usually smaller show of Wrestling Dontaku.

We know what they can both do, and now it’s just a matter of seeing where they go. Some great matches can be had, but until we get confirmation on the Bullet Club, speculation is abound.

 

1. Kazuchika Okada

What can I really say? He’s a 5 star machine, even more so than Omega. He’s booked to be super human, looks like a million bucks, has a global footprint larger than most expected and still remains mostly humble on promos. Also New Japan’s parent company Bushi Road has been using his boyish smile and look to help sell their products like Buddy Card Fight.

Even if your sick of him being champion, his matches are always put together in a way to make you believe the other wrestler has a legit chance, until Okada’s resilience shines through. So unlike other “Pushed down our throat” talent, Okada remains humble to fans, looks fairly human, just has a more impressive reserve tank than most.

He will continue to rain money down on New Japan, even after Omega’s eventually exit to WWE.

 

Well there we have it, Power Rankings for New Japan. Due to injuries, Hiroshi Tanahashi isn’t on this list and due to being relatively new, Jay White hasn’t quite captured the hearts and attention of people to believe he’s a top talent.

Could there be a lot of changes amidst how the Anniversary Show, New Japan Cup, Strong Style Evolved and Wrestling Dontaku shake out? Of course! Makabe challenging for the Intercontinental Title, Jericho’s eventual involvement and the next opponent for Okada could shift things. But until them, tranquilo and Bullet Club is fine, they’re fine.

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