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Official Chairshot Ratings & Review: NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka

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Welcome to the faction wars edition of The New Beginning! Osaka has had a nice lead in, with Chaos and LIJ establishing themselves as the top factions, but also fighting over who is number one. Neither of these two groups like each other, except Hiromu and Ospreay, they are the most cordial and adorable enemies outside of an anime. This event is headlined with Okada vs. Sanada, and there is no Bullet Club in sight.

The Osaka crowd tends to lean heavily towards LIJ, so has the booking gone towards making the fans happy? Will we see a split decision with the IWGP Heavyweight Title as the tie breaker, ala, WWE? Can Sanada beat Okada? It’s questions like these, that make this show an important watch. So with all that said, it’s time to see how it all shook out.

Yuji Nagata vs Katsuya Kitamura

Kitamura’s sixth match, of his best of seven series. Even though he’s 0-5 so far, the point isn’t to win, the point is to prove where he’s at in his ability before an excursion or staying on main roster.

The match itself contained a lot of stiff strikes and saw Kitamura being a little more reserved, and slowly started to strategize more and build confidence as the match went on. Sadly for Katsuya, he falls again and can’t seem to overcome any of the legends or mid carders he’s been faced up against.

Good opening match, and definitely showed a progression in Kitamura’s approach after only a few matches.

Rating: ** 3/4 (Silver I)

 

Roppongi 3k vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Well this was a great match to set up a future title shot. Roppongi 3k has put on some athletically impressive matches with the Young Bucks, but Suzuki-Gun doesn’t care about impressive moves.

Kanemaru and Desperado take numerous short cuts, and the fact that they softened up Sho’s back, so he wasn’t 100% played into the match. We saw the ending come with Kanemaru putting Sho in a Boston Crab and Desperado going crazy with CHAIRSHOTS since the ref wasn’t watching him. If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying and Kanemaru and Desperado more than likely just got themselves a shot at the Junior Tag belts.

Decent enough match, but more of a story telling match. A few spots seemed mistimed, but nothing glaringly terrible, just kinda there.

Rating: ** 1/2 (Silver II)

 

Ryusuke Taguchi, Kushida, Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe vs TAKA, Taichi, Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki

Well as is the usual with Suzuki-Gun and most 8+ man matches, it begins with a big mess of a fight. Most of these men have stories with each other and they pair off as is expected.

Numerous weapons and heel tactics ensue, but eventually Makabe and Suzuki meet back up in the ring and we get some actual wrestling. The Intercontinental match that they’re going to have will definitely be something to watch. You can see both men dislike each other and it shows in the strong style moments and body language.

Makabe gets the pinfall victory for his team on TAKA while staring down Suzuki to send a message. There was a small promo directly after the match, but you’re going to have to find a translation since my Japanese isn’t that good. The match progressed storylines decently, but as a match itself it was…passable?

Rating: ** 1/4 (Silver IV)

 

Henare, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Jay White

A few story threads in this one, mainly with Finlay / White and Henare trying to cut his teeth on Ishii. But this was another one of the usual decent multi-man tags, but nothing to write home about.

Finlay showed a little more aggression than usual, Jay took some punishment for a while, but it all ended up in a way to make a point. Jay hits the Blade Runner, cuts Henare open and then instead of pinning him, crucifixes the arms and lays in elbows until the referee stops the match.

*Biggest news so far after the match* Rey Mysterio shows up via video package and challenges Jushin Thunder Liger for Long Beach.

Rating: ** 1/2 (Silver II)

 

Gedo vs Bushi

So the story of the match was simply a grudge match where Gedo has taken every opportunity to unmask Bushi in the last two shows leading up to this. Bushi brought out hedge clippers as a way to say “You keep taking my masks, I’ll take your beard”.

But it was due to the set up, that the match was just weird. The wrestling was just a lead in to trying to get to a spot for Gedo to untie the mask. The most note worthy spot was Gedo took the loose strings of the mask and tied Bushi to the ropes so he couldn’t get a hold of Gedo until a Young Lion brought the hedge clippers to cut him out (the spot took too damn long to set up though, Gedo needs to learn how to tie shoes better).

Since Bushi was playing the face in the match, it made sense for him to finally get vengeance. Bushi connects with the MX and wins via pinfall.

Rating: ** 1/2 (Silver II)

 

Yoshi-Hashi vs Tetsuya Naito

Yoshi-Hashi came out like a house on fire and attacked Naito during his ring entrance and stayed aggressive the entire match.

Even though the disparity in their resumes was even being mentioned by the English Commentary team, Yoshi made the match very close. There were numerous times when he had a believable chance to win the match, especially when Naito was stuck in the Butterfly Lock for over a minute. The match really was better than I think anyone anticipated.

However, logic paid off and Naito wins after back to back Destinos. The talking point comes from the fact that Taichi attacked Naito as he was exiting up the ramp and literally just dragged him away. I figure the Chris Jericho confrontation was coming soon, but Taichi is an unexpected wrinkle. Maybe they face each other at the Anniversary show March 6th?

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

 

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi

The opening video package…holy hell, watch it, it’s hilarious. It has a cat narrate that Hiromu has the mind of a cat but Ospreay has the agility of a cat.

As for the match, I mean, Hiromu is amazing and Ospreay adds a lot of sizzle to his matches. Neither wrestler kept an edge for very long and Hiromu tried to focus on Ospreay’s neck. A bunch of big and flashy moves, though the match wasn’t without a few odd spots and a little repetition towards the end. Hiromu countering Ospreay’s move into a Canadian Destroyer was an impressive highlight.

Still though, not a fan of that Beheading move, looks really corny. Damn good match, and easily the best of the night thus far, but not quite a classic.

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

 

NEVER Openweight Title Match: Hirooki Goto vs EVIL

The beginning of this match was a little odd. EVIL wraps a chair around Goto’s head and drives him into the ring post, and Red Shoes refuses to count (Japanese refs are instructed to avoid DQs and use their discretion). So there was about 30 seconds of Goto laid out on the floor, and the energy of the match came down to a halt.

With that said, both of these men are fantastic wrestlers, so a few stiff strikes and trading lariats back and forth woke everyone back up. We saw a lot of big moves, EVIL trying to use chairs repeatedly, but Goto stayed resilient. It was thanks to his resilience that we got to our ending sequence.

Both men reversed the other’s finishing move 2 or 3 times, before Goto finally hits the GTR on EVIL for the pinfall victory. Good match, what you basically expect from a Goto match though. This match ties Chaos and LIJ at 2 wins a piece. So it all comes down to the final match, on which faction wins the battle and has the Heavyweight champion.

Rating: *** 3/4

 

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA

The final faction match and also the final heavyweight standing between Okada and a clean sweep on LIJ.

Sanada maintained his usual persona for the early goings of the match, cold, seemingly disinterested and his usual too cool for school body language. It was as soon as Okada started kicking Sanada in the head mockingly, the crowd booed him loudly. The crowd was pro LIJ all night, but at that point Okada had the crowd hating him, and Sanada capitalized with a nice sequence ending in a dive to the outside that made the whole building erupt in cheers.

The expressions on Cold Skull were starting to show surprise and desperation when he found 2 innovative ways to apply the Skull End. First out of an Asai Moonsault from the corner, and then he basically did a Destino, but instead of a DDT, stopped at the end for the Dragon Sleeper and dropped down into Skull End. Even with how impressive Sanada looked, he was doomed as soon as the desperation took him over.

He cut the Skull End short and went for a Moonsault, in which he jammed his knee and got a 2 count. With no other idea what to do, he tried another moonsault, which Okada countered. This lead to the ending sequence where Sanada countered at least 3 Rainmaker attempts before he got caught by the Jumping Tombstone and then a Rainmaker finally connects for the pinfall victory. Also gives Chaos the 3-2 victory in the faction war.

Tremendous match, anyone who was unaware of Sanada’s potential…this was his coming out party.

Rating: ***** (Diamond V)

 

Well this show was what most people expect from a Japanese show. A decent undercard, with title matches that deliver in bringing home a strong ending. There are two more pieces of news after Okada’s match. Firstly, he challenged Will Ospreay for the March 6th Anniversary show. Second piece of business was he expressed an interest in participating in the New Japan Cup.

In the following press conference, Ospreay accepted the challenge; it will most likely be a “special” match where neither belt is on the line since there’s a history of New Japan doing that for the Anniversary show. So has Okada finally transcended booking so far that he’s going to find every opportunity to locate new opponents?

10 championship defenses, 600 days and counting, who in the bloody hell is going to beat Okada?


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 Monday Night RAW (4/22/2019)

Tiffany offers her real-time takes on WWE Raw, including AJ emerging as #1 contender and Bray Wyatt…emerging…

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WWE Raw Seth Rollins The Miz

Tiffany takes a look back at WWE Raw in the first (official) edition of Tiffany’s takes!

At Greg DeMarco’s suggestion, we’re trying something new, so let’s see how it goes starting with Monday’s edition of WWE Raw!

WWE Universal Championship

The Seth Rollins Era of RAW kicked off with two HUGE triple threats to determine just who would be the first challenger for Seth Rollins’ Universal title. I LOVED the interaction between Triple H and Rollins, it felt KIND of like the old Authority, but they were on more equal terms. Everyone coming out to run their mouths was funny considering that, except for Styles, Rollins had faced and beat all of them either one on one or as part of the Shield.

The first Triple Threat was AMAZING and could’ve easily been the main event. Styles vs Mysterio lived up to the Dream Match hype, so poor Joe felt like a third wheel, and the final sequence was amazing.

After that, the second triple threat was pretty much a ‘meh’ for me. Corbin stealing the win from McIntyre wasn’t surprising and would probably lead to a feud if one of them was a face. Other than that, it was just blah.

I’m honestly surprised that Styles won tonight. Styles vs Rollins is a Big Four level match and I don’t see why it’s being put on a B-PPV, especially Money in the Bank, but we’ll see but it should be a great match.

Naomi vs Billie Kay

I’m not sure what to make of this match. The IIconics running their mouths took longer than the actual match. That said, I’m glad that the Women’s Tag Titles aren’t exclusive to SmackDown after all, but since Naomi doesn’t have a partner, I don’t see what the point was.


Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
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Bray Wyatt’s Promos

Well, we’ve finally gotten an answer to who was behind the creepy puppet promos and it was resident creep Bray Wyatt. This was just super fucking creepy and the fact that they were spoofing PBS children’s programming was just…ugh. This is another ‘wait and see’ but honestly, I’d burn the tape and forget that promo ever happened.

Sami Zayn

With Owens being a babyface now, apparently Zayn feels he needs to be an extra obnoxious heel and nothing is more obnoxious than forcing people to sit through your vacation photos. That said, this new gimmick seems to be a clapback about all the ‘Unhappy Wrestler’ reports that the dirt sheets are so fond of reporting. The most intriguing part of the segment was the staredown between Cedric Alexander and Zayn because that’s a match I’d love to see.

Cedric Alexander vs Cesaro

Well, either the Bar is no more or Sheamus will be joining Cesaro on RAW as soon as he’s back from injury. Either way, we got a FANTASTIC match between Cesaro and Cedric Alexander. I’m very disappointed that Alexander lost, but he definitely showed that he can hang with the vets.

The Usos and The Revival

Jimmy and Jey didn’t have a match this week, but we got another tease of a feud with the Revival along with a bangingly funny promo that managed to be a little self-deprecating, but still fun.

Viking Raiders vs Lucha House Party

What’s Viking for ‘squash’? Seriously, that was a brutal as hell non-match (bell never rang). Sadly, the crowd was either worn out from all the good matches thus far, or they had no idea what to make of the Viking Raiders, which is a more interesting name than ‘Viking Experience’.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins

Talk about success going to your head! Ryder and Hawkins have only won two matches as a re-formed team, but the way they talk, you’d think they’ve been hugely successful and relevant for the ten years they’ve been in WWE, or Ryder has, anyway. I honestly want Viking Experience to squash the hell out of them because they are annoying me.

Becky Lynch vs Alicia Fox

So the Becky Lynch vs Lacey Evans feud has barely started and I’m already over it. I don’t like Lacey Evans and don’t like what she claims to represent. I’m also confused as to why Alicia Fox, who supposedly went AWOL after showing up to a house show drunk in an incident that cost Arn Anderson his job, was give a match against the RAW Women’s Champion on her first night back. I’m glad that Becky won, but WWE is risking making her look bad by letting Evans get the jump on her with that horrible finisher of hers. Hopefully, this will end at Money in the Bank.

Robert Roode vs Ricochet

With Aleister Black sadly gone to Smackdown, Ricochet was left on his own on RAW against Robert Roode and his porn-stache. The match was really good, and I’m glad to see Roode regain his edge, but I just couldn’t get into it and I’m mad Ricochet lost, but I don’t think it’ll hurt him long term, but we’ll have to see.

Overall Thoughts

The Rollins Era kicked off with a bang and did a pretty good job of delivering on the potential of the Shakeup with the two Triple Threats. I’m not really sure giving us Styles vs Rollins so soon is a great idea, but it’ll definitely be a huge match.

I think Rollins will be fine as THE Man on RAW, even without the Shield, he’s come a long way from where he was in 2015 and it shows in his confidence in speaking to Triple H. Gone is the whiny, over-confident, eager-to-please, Seth Rollins of 2015. 2019 Seth has hit rock bottom and found his way back to the top with the help and support of the fans and his Shield brothers and became a better person for it. He doesn’t NEED Triple H’s approval anymore and that made their interaction much more interesting.

Click in tomorrow for SmackDown coverage and Use your head!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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WWE Week in Review April 15-April 21, 2019, Non-Shake Up Edition

Aside from all the Superstar Shakeup action, what happened on the non-main roster WWE shows? Tiffany breaks it down!

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Aside from all the Superstar Shakeup action, what happened on the non-main roster WWE shows? Tiffany breaks it down!

205 Live

Gran Metalik vs Ariya Daivari vs Mike Kanellis vs Akira Tozawa: I have no idea why this match happened since it wasn’t an official #1 Contender’s match, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great match and Daivari winning it was a HUGE surprise to me, and I can’t wait to see if he can back up his mouth.

The fact that Mike Kanellis had the match won and it was stolen by Daivari revives my hope that Mike Kanellis will be turning babyface, especially since Cedric Alexander has been drafted to RAW. I think Kanellis has what it takes to be a great underdog babyface, he just needs the right opportunity to do it and 205 being without its other TOP babyface is the perfect opening.

Oney Lorcan vs Cedric Alexander: One thing I hated about this match is that the feud leading up to it wasn’t given more time. This could’ve been a blockbuster non-title feud if WWE had left Cedric on 205 Live, where he belongs.

All that said, it was a fantastic match and it gave Cedric the send off from the fans that he deserved, I just wish it hadn’t happened because I think the cruiserweight guys are going to get lost on RAW and SmackDown, which is what 205 was supposed to keep from happening.

NXT UK

Gallus vs Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza: This week’s shows were done at WrestleMania AXXESS, which is why 205 Live’s own Humberto Carrillo got to team up with his sometime partner, Raul Mendoza, to take on Gallus in a fantastic match that actually went better than expected, in my opinion. Matches with wildly different styles can be a slow going trainwreck, but this was a wonderful match to watch and drives home that Gallus aren’t just big blowhards, they’re also great athletes. I was a little disappointed that Carrillo and Mendoza lost, but it’s clear that NXT UK has big plans for Gallus, which I’m thrilled to see unfold.

Kassius Ohno: As someone who HATES it when people mispronounce things, I applaud Ohno for his pronunciation correction. Other than that, I wasn’t impressed by the promo. Ohno’s playing the role of arrogant heel very well, especially discounting Ligero because someone who has a crazy schedule can’t possibly put on a quality match every night, is just silly for an indie guy to say. Guess we’ll see what the Leeds Luchador has to say.

Dunne vs Walter: I think I’ve been pretty clear about the fact that I’m a big Jordan Devlin fan, so I was thrilled with his promo on Dunne vs WALTER. I’m still hopeful that he’ll get another title shot, whoever has the title.

Dave Mastiff vs Kona Reeves: This was an odd one because Kona Reeves hasn’t exactly been a NXT mainstay since his debut and his job this week seemed to be becoming Dave Mastiff’s dinner. To give the Keanu Reeves wannabe his due, he did try to compete, but the Black Country Bomber was a little too big for him. Mastiff winning wasn’t a shock, but it needs to lead to something bigger sooner or later.

That said, I’m intrigued by the possible Mastiff/Wolfgang feud being teased. A brawl between two huge men, who can move like cruiserweights sounds like a lot of fun.

Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster: So, the challenge has been accepted and we’ll get The Flying Welshmen vs Moustache Mountain next week!

Rhea Ripley vs Kacy Cantanzaro: This should’ve been a great rematch from the Mae Young Classic, instead Kacy got squashed like a bug by Ripley, who seems to have a bigger chip on her shoulder than normal. At least Kacy has a…friend, of sorts, in Piper Niven, who scared Ripley off.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams: Did that just happen?! Did I just watch Jordan and Williams, the most unlikely to succeed tag team get a win, even on a technicality, over the NXT UK Tag Champs? Did that just happen?! It did and it was FANTASTIC! I’ve become a big fan of Jordan and Williams, and while they didn’t get a pinfall victory over the champs, the fact that GYV took the loss rather than be pinned is enough for me! Go Lucky Bad Boys!

NXT

Velveteen Dream vs Buddy Murphy: I think I’ve said before that I’m not a Velveteen Dream fan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s talented and he definitely showed it against Buddy Murphy. I was a little puzzled by Murphy going back to NXT and I still am, but it was a great match by both guys and that’s really all that matters.

Street Profits vs War Raiders (or whatever they’re called): This is another ‘What’s going on here’ moments because the Street Profits haven’t been on NXT all that much, but they’re getting a title shot next week. I guess the Undisputed Era is going to have to wait for another go.

Johnny Gargano vs Undisupted Era: At least Gargano got the hero’s welcome he deserved as NXT Champion. I do like Cole’s whining that Gargano got lucky, completely ignoring the fact that he and Gargano knew that they would have to beat the other man twice to win, it was funny, as was Gargano’s pointing out that Cole was being an idiot for the same reason. It’s nice to have a smart face that can rile up the heel once in a while.

I also liked that we got more signs of unrest in UE with Gargano and Regal stirring the pot. I’m stoked for Gargano vs Strong, especially to watch Cole seethe.

Dominik Dijakovic vs Aaron Frye: There’s not much to say about this since Dijakovic hit one move and it was done. The promo was much more interesting given that Dijakovic has Velveteen Dream in his sights.

Aliyah and Vanessa Borne: I love these two because they’re so obnoxious, but not in the annoying way the IIconics are and I loved their excuses for Aliyah’s loss last week. I can’t wait for next week’s tag team match since it seems like Candice LeRae seems to finally be being treated as more than Gargano’s perpetually worried wife.

Shayna Baszler vs Kairi Sane: This was such a good match and allows Sane to be written out of NXT to got to SmackDown, while maintaining Baszler as a heel. It also paves the way for Baszler vs Shirai by having Shirai by having Shirai save her friend, even if it meant Sane lost any more chances at the title. It was the perfect way to end the Baszler/Sane feud while creating a new feud, so no complaints.

Shield’s Last Ride

After six and a half years, two reunions, two betrayal, and twenty-three cumulative championship reigns, the Shield has come to the end of the road…at least for now. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are heading to different shows, while Dean Ambrose has chosen to walk away from WWE and find a new path. In honor of the moment, WWE chose to air Ambrose’s last WWE match and let the WWE Universe say goodbye to one of the greatest factions in the history of Professional Wrestling.

Advanced Warning: If you haven’t figured out that I’m a huge Shield and Dean Ambrose fan, I’m not sure where you’ve been, but I will be a blubbering mess and this might not be very coherent, but I will not apologize for that.

Elias: Gotta love Elias’ never say die attitude towards performing. He managed to throw PLENTY of shade at the Shield and everyone else. Him being a primadonna to Balor about the interruption was fun and we found out Balor can wrestle in a leather jacket, but he still needs a more supportive jock strap. Balor getting the win wasn’t a surprise but it was a really great, if odd match due to some spots.

Riott Squad vs Bayley and Ember Moon: God, I’m going to miss the Riott Squad together! Why did WWE have to split them up?! Them ‘singing’ with Elias was hilarious! The match against Ember and Bayley was great, but I missed what Liv did to get expelled from the match, and costing her team the win. Still, great match and we get to see a great potential team in Bayley and Ember.

Shield Promo: For old time’s sake, we got a vintage Shield promo. It doesn’t matter what they said, because it was just nice to get that promo.

The Shield vs Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, and Baron Corbin: Well, it’s come down to this. After six and a half years, the Shield rode into battle together one more time.

To be honest, this match was too hard to watch. The Shield renewed my active interest in WWE, rather than just half-heartedly watching it when I remembered or not at all. Dean Ambrose has been my hero since I laid eyes on him because he wasn’t what I expected a WWE Superstar to look or sound like. I was intrigued and then I fell in love, in a platonic, non-creepy, sense, with him. My online friends will attest to my cheering, ranting, raving, and screaming for Dean when it looked like he was getting gypped by WWE. That renewed interest lead me to becoming a writer about wrestling, something I never thought anyone would ask me to do. The idea that the man that reactivated my interest and love in wrestling is leaving, even if it’s just for now, has been hard to take and accept.

That said, it was a great match, with everyone hitting their best moves. The fact that it was about the Shield as team, rather than Ambrose, which lead him to letting Seth get the pin and making the final speech about Roman, Seth, and the Shield, rather than himself, makes me respect Jonathan Good all that much more.

I wish Dean all the best, he’s come a long way from his days of nearly bleeding to death for $20 and it looks like he’ll have a great future ahead of himself, whatever happens, but I fervently hope that I will see him again in a WWE ring. Thanks for the memories, Dean, and ALWAYS believe in the Shield!

 


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