Oh ya, I have an article to write! Even though I wasn’t personally invested in the Super Bowl, the game ending up being great. Who woulda thunk that the Eagles would pull off the upset?
Anyway, not the point, it’s a wrestling article! Last week’s match of the week went to…Andrade Almas vs Johnny Gargano, to no one’s surprise. Now since more of this week was in February, this is the official start of the February pool. So that means this week will be two votes, Match of January, and Match of the Week.
Wrestle Kingdom 12: Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega
NXT: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs Roderick Strong & Aleister Black
NWA: Tim Storm vs Jocephus
NXT Takeover: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Johnny Gargano
The January pool has 2 obvious favorites, so it should be interesting which way it goes. So with that, let’s see what leads off February:
5. Impact: Moose & Johnny Impact vs EC3 & Alberto El Patron
Billed as an All-Star Tag Match, it’s the fabled main event faces vs main event heels for a feud filler match.
The match was filled with all four competitors’ signature moves, a lot of well paced, hard hitting action. My highlight of the match is the fact that Johnny hit his Starship Pain perfectly, FINALLY, he only hits it well about 20% of the time, but this was perfect…and it wasn’t the finish.
Good brawling, good spots and Moose gets the pinfall on Del Rio after a surprise discus lariat. So you can only assume that there will be some multi-man match (I haven’t read spoilers) since Drake no longer has the Heavyweight Title, so that means all participants in this match are available for an opportunity.
Rating: *** 1/4 (Gold IV)
4. AJPW Yokohama Twilight Blues Special Triple Crown Championship Match: Joe Doering (c) vs Kai
Doering’s title reign has been weird from a western perspective. He’s the big gaijin, who returned from a battle with cancer and built his way back up the ladder. But everyone he’s faced aren’t exactly top teir talent, since they’ve been enveloped in Tag storylines.
However, even with my less than glowing introduction, everyone Doering has faced, puts in good work. Kai had many good flurries even though he was at a large size disadvantage. There were a couple times it looked like he had a shot, and that’s beautiful story telling. If you can ever make people buy into a lower card guy, upsetting the champion, that’s what wrestling is about.
Doering wins on his second attempt for his spinning powerbomb, and then we see his next challenger. Kento Miyahara, the young Ace, looking to get his belt back. This match, will be a sight to behold. Regardless of who wins, a competitive match will do wonders for the main event scene.
Rating: *** 1/2 (Gold III)
3. Raw: Asuka vs Sasha Banks
One of the most meme’d/gif’d matches of the last few years, and for all the wrong reasons.
Yes, even I brought up that Sasha needs to stop doing suicide dives before she kills herself, since this isn’t the first time she’s messed one up. Now, even with the botch, it still worked well and since Sasha didn’t get seriously injured it added to the brutality of the match.
What we got was a top teir match, be it male or female, both women put on a clinic. This match can build a good Sasha story of turning heel since we saw a glimmer at Royal Rumble. If she starts cutting a few corners, she could see it as the edge needed to break Asuka’s streak.
Anyone who says they wasted a WrestleMania match, doesn’t realize that this match adds to a story, builds more heat between the two and will make a more engaging spectacle…whenver it happens.
Rating: **** (Platinum V)
Smackdown: Kofi Kingston vs Rusev vs Jinder Mahal vs Zack Ryder
Rating: *** (Gold V)
Raw Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz (c) vs Roman Reigns
Rating: *** (Gold V)
ROH: Matt Taven vs Cody
Rating: ** 3/4 (Silver I)
2. NXT UK Title Number 1 Contender Match: Roderick Strong vs Tyler Bate
Both men are well known for quality matches, so this had a lot of hype leading in.
This was more of a chess match than a fight. Strong found a few interesting ways to catch Bate in back breakers, while Bate was trying to figure out ways to get his stuff in. That, could’ve been the difference between the two also. Bate stuck to his usual moveset, while Strong had a little more desperation in the way he was executing his gameplan.
His relentless focus on Bate’s back (he is the Messiah of the back breaker, so yeah) played into things where it gave Strong the opening to his The End of Heartache and become the new number one contender for Pete Dunne’s UK Championship.
Rating: **** (Platinum V)
1. AJPW Yokohama Twilight Blues Special World Tag Team Championship Match: Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama (c) vs Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu
You’ve got a rematch of the semi-final from the last World’s Strongest Tag League, as well as my highly rated match of the tournament ( the more things change, the more they stay the same).
This is one of those matches that’s hard to summarize and best to watch. Everyone takes a few minutes to feel each other out, Yoshitatsu goes out of his way to demand Suwama square up with him. Speaking of him, since September, Yoshi has really tried to fix his broken image. He constantly tries to challenge the top talent, and it’s finally paying off. Even though Miyahara picked up the win with his Shutdown Suplex Hold, Yoshi held his own.
So not only are Miyahara and Yoshitatsu the new Tag Team champions, Miyahara is challenging for the Triple Crown and Yoshitatsu it finally starting to look like he belongs. All in all I’d call that a successful night.
Rating: **** 1/4 (Platinum IV)
This is another one of those weeks where I’m pretty sure there is an overall favorite match. So due to that fact, I’m going to place my vote for, Violence Giant vs Miyahara and Yoshitatsu @ AJPW Twilight Blues Special, best match of the week, and NXT will get plenty of support from everyone else. As for the month, I’ll go with Almas vs Gargano, as the match of January.
So remember, reply to the article on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail me at Andrewbalaz@thechairshot.com with votes, opinions, general disdain, it’s all good. Until next time, try not to get trampled by “celebrating” Eagles fans.
Stone Cold Fever: Is Kevin Owens the Next Big Thing in WWE?
Is this rendition of KO Mania real?
Kevin Owens is quickly becoming the hottest Superstar in WWE. The former Universal champion is embarking on a war with Shane McMahon and while that war is only just beginning, KO is already reaping the benefits.
Owens is getting over and there’s no denying that. Many fans believe that this is just the beginning of something epic for KO and it’s hard to argue that point. But as with everything in WWE, Owens’ future depends on his booking and how much the company truly wants to invest in him. So will Kevin Owens be the next big thing in WWE?
It’s as if WWE suddenly flipped a switch and activated this new KO. The man that so many felt was on his way to superstardom in the company has always been just on the verge of greatness, but he always seemed to fall just short. It’s been through no fault of his own however as Owens has consistently always delivered, both in the ring and on the mic.
But despite how much he’s accomplished, there always seems to be an asterisk by his name. The same is true of other potential main event stars as well, like Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman. All three men have excelled on the worldwide stage but for whatever reason, none of the three have truly achieved legendary status in WWE.
While the men involved may not be too concerned with such positioning, the fans have been all too consumed with it. In their minds, the time for these talents and many more, is now. Why wait, when the business is experiencing such a resurgence in popularity? The time to strike seems to be now, so why not move ahead and make a massive impact with guys that can handle the pressure?
Perhaps that is exactly what the WWE faithful are seeing right now with Kevin Owens. Owens is capable of rising to the occasion and he’s done it many times before. Maybe there’s no better time for him to prove what he can do and maybe the company finally recognizes that.
But nearly every time fans depend on “maybe,” they wind up disappointed. WWE has not always been the most reliable company when it comes to doing right by hardworking talents, especially those who deserve a shot at the next level. Owens has been counted among those talents for far too long and now he’s getting a chance to finally step up.
The good news is that so far, it’s working. The live crowds are loving what he’s doing and no one can do it quite like he can. The comparisons to Stone Cold Steve Austin are coming like never before and KO, as well as WWE, obviously see that. The fact that Owens uses the Stunner as much as he does is proof that the entire angle is a tip of the cap to The Texas Rattlesnake.
It’s not that Owens needs to use anyone else’s finisher, just as he doesn’t need to mimic anyone else’s gimmick. KO can succeed based on his own merit and everyone knows that. But he’s saluting Austin and in doing so, reminding a legion of fans why they fell in love with WWE in the first place. There is no way to really revive The Attitude Era, but that’s not the point.
Kevin Owens is bringing back a taste of the past and making it relevant to his cause, as well as to the company’s current climate. The Stunner is as much of an anti-authority move as the middle finger, both of which keep Stone Cold on the minds of fans who love him for what he did in the business.
So is WWE truly headed for a new era of relevancy in the industry? Vince McMahon’s company has always been at the forefront of the business and for many fans, they’ve been the only game in town for a very long time. But with the rise of New Japan, Ring of Honor, as well as various promotions around the world, the wrestling world is becoming a much bigger place.
Of course much of the focus on the business right now is due to the birth and evolution of AEW. Cody Rhodes’ fledgling company is making waves and turning heads, just as everyone knew it would. But AEW has also captured WWE’s attention, despite any belief to the contrary. If Owens’ new run is a result of WWE going against the grain and trying something familiar, yet new, then that’s definitely a good thing.
But the bad news is that this is still WWE, which can change plans at a moment’s notice. Things can fluctuate at any time and when they do, an entire storyline can either twist in a different direction, or end altogether. Could this happen with KO versus Shane McMahon?
Much of what happens from here depends on just how long WWE can keep the fans invested in this angle. The live crowds are connected and the same is true of the audience at home. Everyone seems truly intent on following this story and they’re all rooting for Kevin Owens to keep rising higher on the card. If KO continues to get hot and if the company really gets behind him, then the entire landscape of WWE could change.
Kevin Owens is not the next Stone Cold Steve Austin and he surely does not want to be. KO has fought his entire career to be the best he can be and this new storyline is just the latest avenue for him to rise up. Maybe it will only go up from here and maybe Kevin Owens will finally realize his potential in the company that desperately needs the next big thing.
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?
Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.
Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?
- Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
- Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
- Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
- Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
- A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2
Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.
There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.
Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.
BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.
Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.
Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.
EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.
We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.
Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.
Overall Score: 7/10
Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.
Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
- KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)