We made it through WrestleMania weekend, and now we have a sort of normal week. However, since I’m doing coverage for the All Japan Champion Carnival, those matches will be more prevalent than an average list.
Before we get to the AJPW dominated Top 5, let’s assess the month of March and last week’s votes. Month of March match that got added to the yearly pool:
January – Gargano vs Almas
February – Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA
March – Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
That gives us a little variety already in the early goings of the year. As for last week it was close, I had to consult a tiebreaker. So the match that won the tie breaker, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs Aleister Black @ Takeover NOLA. This may be a little controversial, but opinion is subjective, and obviously no one match ran away with a consensus number 1.
Let’s get to this week’s Top 5.
5. Impact Demon’s Dance: Rosemary vs Taya Valkyrie
Rosemary and Taya have had a feud dating back to AAA, while bleeding into Impact starting last year when Taya debuted.
So Demon’s Dance is just another name for Raven’s Rules…or basically, extreme rules. They went outside early, and Taya kept trying to callback to her initial statement to Rosemary with Road to Valhalla on the entrance ramp. For Rosemary’s sake, she blocked it a few times and forced Taya to change her direction.
A solid wrestling match ensued, a bunch of chairs got introduced and…well there was an awkward spot. After Taya hits a double knee to a chair on Rosemary’s face, while she’s laying in the corner, Taya then decides to place a chair between her legs and…well…split the uprights? I can honestly say, I’ve never seen that in a women’s match.
Following that Rosemary got the momentum back, introduced a table and was setting up for something. Taya nearly circumvents the table, but Rosemary powers through Taya’s offense, eventually they both battle on the top rope, and Rosemary drives Taya through the table, for the victory.
Solid hard hitting match between two women with a lot of history.
Rating: *** 1/2
4. 205 Live: Kalisto vs Akira Tozawa
Continuing the Lucha House Party versus the Japanese guys storyline, we see these two get paired into a match.
Surprisingly, this drop down to 205 Live, seems to have given Kalisto validity and a venue to look like a legit threat. This match went back and forth nicely, with not many sloppy spots. Tozawa and Kalisto played their parts of two former champions who are trying to reestablish themselves.
After a multitude of dives from Tozawa, he tried to set up for his Senton, but was countered by Kalisto. After a good exchange between the two, Kalisto hits Salida Del Sol, and gains the pinfall victory.
Rating: *** 3/4
3. AJPW Champion Carnival: Jun Akiyama vs KAI
Still looking to establish himself in All Japan, KAI comes into this match behind the eight ball, against a legend.
Given the types of matches Jun has put on lately, this really floored me. He seemed more determined to hurt KAI. Took a big spill into the guardrail and in general, pulled off moves with much more velocity than I’m accustomed to seeing him do.
They traded multiple pinfalls , changed the pace a few times and made both men look fantastic. Akiyama still proves himself to be the crafty veteran with the way he wins. At the point this match happened, it was the highest rated B Block match, thus far.
AJPW Champion Carnival: Jun Akiyama vs Yukata Yoshie
Rating: *** 1/2
Smackdown: Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles
Rating: *** (would be higher if it didn’t get cut short)
2. AJPW Champion Carnival: Jun Akiyama vs Suwama
Two guys towards the top of the standings, this will either give Jun more space, or help Suwama come back from an early loss.
Now this is where my lack of historical knowledge hurt me. Suwama and Akiyama went at it, like two men who hate each other. Suwama threw the guard rail at Akiyama, they both threw chairs and this was all after about 40 seconds of them just hitting each other over the ropes.
So I’m not sure where this grudge started, but the hatred was palpable. Hell, even at the end of the match it was obvious when referee Wada calls for the stoppage and Suwama doesn’t release right away and continues trying to inflict damage.
Rating: **** 1/4
1. AJPW Champion Carnival: Shingo Takagi vs Yuji Hino
Shingo is a highly decorated wrestler billed out of Dragon Gate (even though news broke recently about him leaving), and Hino is on a hell of a run.
Both of these guys were undefeated moving into the match, and it had a feeling like a finals match. A lot of hard and heavy strikes, big power moves and just impressive resilience from both men. It should be noted that with how close this match was, Shingo is about 30 pounds lighter, and still managed to lift him for power moves.
In a feat that isn’t often done, Hino kicks out of a Pumping Bomber and Last Falconry, so that left Shingo trying to find an answer. But sadly for Shingo, the size and power of Hino took the advantage, and on the second attempt hits the Fucking Bomb (literally the name of his move) for the pinfall.
Rating: **** 1/2
If anyone wants to complain about a Japan bias, think about it like this. Champion Carnival is a tournament like the G1, the quality of the matches will be hard to top, with basic television programming. With all that said, Jun Akiyama has been working well beyond what I expected from him, but Shingo has had onl 3 matches so far, and 2 have been the best matches of the tournament.
So be that as it may, Shingo Takagi vs Yuji Hino @ AJPW Champion Carnival, is my choice of match of the week. Agree or not, leave your choices and comments. Use your head for more than a hat rack and make your opinion known.
King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE
Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.
Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.
I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.
While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.
Randy Orton’s Return to WWE
On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.
‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.
The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.
The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!
This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt
So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.
Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.
As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.
Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.
Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.
Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends
We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.
Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.
After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.
Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)
In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.
Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)
Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)
Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.
Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.
The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…
Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble
I absolutely hate it.
This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…
Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.
I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.
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