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Top 5: Matches of the Week Ending 4/29/18

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Last week’s match to receive the most votes, is actually a first since we’ve been doing this article. It really says something, that people who normally have no love for Impact, still recognized that Redemption was something special. Winner of our vote last week, Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Austin Aries vs Pentagon Jr vs Fenix @ Redemption.

This week we have the two Block deciding days for All Japan, as well as the Road to Wrestling Dontaku shows. Some familiar names still managed to squeak in to the Top 5 though. Let’s see what we’ve got to work with this week.

 

5. ROH Bound by Honor Tag Team Titles: The Briscoes (c) vs Motor City Machine Guns


Well the Briscoes are the most decorated tag team in ROH, and after winning the titles last month, this is the Guns rematch.

The match starts off with Sabin saying that he knows this match can go either way, but if the Guns fall short, that may be the end of the team. Crowd reaction was strongly in support of the MCMG and didn’t like Sabin’s declaration. From that point forward, we had a really solid match, that you would expect from two veteran teams that know each other a bit.

Shelley gets beat up for a good portion of the match, and Sabin gets the hot tag. The momentum is shifting nicely to the Guns, but then we have a sequence where both teams go back and forth stopping the tandem finishers. Made in Detroit got blocked, as well as a Doomsday Device.

As we hit the ending sequence it was a little odd with Mark holding Alex Shelley at bay, even when Sabin started to fight back a little. But eventually Jay lands the Jaydriller on Sabin, while Mark has Alex stuck in a submission.

So this could be the beginning of the end for the Motor City Machine Guns.

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4. WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Kalisto


Kalisto benefited from being the last one to enter the Gauntlet Match on 205 Live, to get the win, to qualify for this title shot.

This was one of those matches, that recently reminds you that Kalisto doesn’t suck (except maybe on the mic). Cena and Hunter got the crowd going in a very deliberately paced match, and this revved up the energy quite a bit. Numerous fun high spots, including a Seated Springboard Spanish Fly from the corner.

The finish was surprising, because it was a beautifully countered Salida del Sol into a Lumbar Check. So Cedric barely retained his title, and Kalisto continues to put on fairly high level matches.

Rating: ****

 

3. AJPW Champion Carnival: Shingo Takagi vs Shuji Ishikawa


Shingo was looking at winning this match, to have a chance at the Finals. Whereas, Shuji was looking at this match, purely to play spoiler.

They stepped on the gas immediately and never really slowed down. Big lariat exchanges, a few spots on the outside, and even a big Tope con Hilo from Shingo, showed how much both men wanted this match.

It was the definition of Strong Style, with many forearm exchange spots, big power moves and both men kicking out of the other’s signature moves. Two Thunder/Fire Bombs and a Splash Mountain couldn’t put down Shingo, and conversely, three Pumping Bombers coupled with a Last Falconry didn’t get the job done against Shuji either.

Now there were a couple sloppy spots, or spots that took a little too long to set up, but that’s purely nitpicking. There wasn’t decades of history in this match like with Akiyama vs Marufuji, but for a tournament match it was entertaining as hell. Ishikawa eventually pulls out the win after a Kamigoye knee strike and Giant Slam.

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Minoru Suzuki (c)
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble WWE Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles (c)
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble: Triple H vs John Cena
Rating: *** 1/4
ROH Bound by Honor: Cody vs Punishment Martinez
Rating: ** 3/4

 

2. NJPW IWGP United States Title: David Finlay vs Jay White (c)


The two Young Lions that came up together, teamed together and have a long standing rivalry.

When everyone saw Finlay challenge Jay White, no one was excited. Finlay has accomplished nothing in his time since graduating from being a Young Lion, while White went on excursion and found a lot of success in ROH followed by two immediate title shots once he returned. This definitely added a layer to the match, where Finlay had a lot to prove, and it showed.

This match was fast paced, hard hitting and showed an aggressive side to Finlay that hasn’t really been seen. During the spots when White was in control, he mocked Finlay, saying he was still a Young Boy and not in his league. But every time he did that, seemed to just fire up Finlay more and more.

Finlay threw everything except the kitchen sink at Jay White, but he wouldn’t stay down. When it looks like we might see an upset, White counters into the Blade Runner, and gets a very hard fought victory. White even acknowledges that Finlay stepped up in his post match promo, but he’s still not in his league. Their personal record is 10-1, with White only losing once, back when they were Young Lions, about 3 or 4 years ago.

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. AJPW Champion Carnival: Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama


WOW! This is history everyone. Marufuji beat Akiyama for his first GHC Championship over in NOAH, which also made him the first person to gather all the GHC titles. Akiyama was a protege of Mistuhara Misawa, as well as one of the bigger names that left NOAH after Misawa’s death. So this not only decides who wins B Block, it’s All Japan vs NOAH, a battle for Misawa.

Akiyama pulls a couple quick tricks early to establish his veteran cunning, but one of the more poignant moments early is Marufuji delivering chops to Akiyama against the ropes. Marufuji grit his teeth and had this look in his eye of betrayal and anger, and Akiyama’s body language was very accepting, almost like he felt he deserved it. We then get a quick exchange of Akiyama no selling Kawada kicks, getting fired up and flinging out Marufuji. Naomichi however takes a page out of Akiyama’s book, and as soon as Jun goes chasing, Marufuji slides back in, to catch him with a big drop kick on the way back into the ring.

One of Akiyama’s nicknames is Sterness, judging from the fact his expression rarely changes, but it’s always stern looking. Akiyama manages to get the advantage next time they go to the outside, catching Marufuji with a knee after an attempted plancha. A big apron draping knee drop and spiking DDT, gives Akiyama a little breathing room while Marufuji stands on his head (literally).

We get nice exchanges, including Akiyama countering one Shiranui and when Marufuji finally lands one, it’s too close to the ropes so Akiyama grabs the bottom rope. Marufuji then goes for a Fisherman Flowsion which is an homage to Misawa’s Emerald Flowsion, but Akiyama counters it and begins to get a second wind.

It’s at this point the stubbornness and urgency picks up. Akiyama trying a flurry of knees and exploder suplexes, just for Marufuji to kick out. Then we have Maurfuji go into his own flurry of knee strikes and kicks, just for Akiyama to kick out. So in a very telling moment, Marufuji goes to the corner, pulls down the leg of his pants to expose a tapped up and battered knee, just to hit Akiyama with one last Ko-Oh. Finally, a pinfall happens, and the crowd, who was electric the entire time, roared in support of Marufuji.

It’s worth noting that whatever bad blood may have still lingered, seemed to leave with Marufuji and Akiyama sharing an understanding knuckle touch, before the battered warrior was helped to the back. Marufuji moves on to the Finals, after what could’ve been Akiyama’s last Carnival match, and there’s no more fitting way in my opinion.

Rating: *****

 

Now this comes as no surprise but I will be voting for, Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama. It’s not based purely on rating, and it’s not a Japanese bias. It’s because the match carried more weight than just two guys trying to win a tournament. For anyone who doesn’t know, read Hisame’s article (here).

I always appreciate when something seemingly as trivial as professional wrestling, has historical meaning and can evoke such strong emotion.

As per usual, comment, complain, agree or set the world afire, just make your opinion known.


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 205 Live (6/18/19)

As WWE rolls into their Tacoma Stomping Grounds, the purple brand needs to establish a challenger for WWE 205 Live leader Tony Nese.

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WWE 205 Live Ariya Daivara Oney Lorcan

As WWE rolls into their Tacoma Stomping Grounds, the purple brand needs to establish a challenger for WWE 205 Live leader Tony Nese.

After last week’s shocking Fatal Four Way, who will be this week’s #1 Contender for the WWE 205 Live brand’s Cruiserweight Championship?

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: What? What happened to the deciding match being tonight? That is a total cop out by Maverick and WWE to not have Gulak vs Tozawa to decide who faces Nese at Stomping Grounds. Tozawa earned his spot and Nese wants to face him, why does Gulak have to be shoehorned in for no good reason?

Brian Kendrick vs Russ Taylor: Okay, the start of that segment was fun with Kendrick exposing Dar as being at 205.  The match against Russ Taylor, who had more guts than brains was fun, but I’m more intrigued by Kendrick vs Dar.

Drake Maverick vs the Kanellises: So 205 Live GM Drake Maverick was apparently AWOL after stealing the 24/7 Title from R-Truth, but it was clear from the promo between the Kanellils’  and Gallagher that Maverick has got bigger problems than winning the 24/7 Championship.

Jack Gallagher vs Chad Gable: I’m glad Gallagher doesn’t seem the worse for wear after that nasty spot last week. I do want the rematch. I’m also intrigued by Kanellis picking a fight with Gallagher over the match, especially now that they’ve re-signed with WWE. Next week looks like fun.

I’m also very intrigued by Kanellis wanting to bring more respect to 205 and himself since WWE doesn’t seem to have any interest in it. I agree but I’m more curious where this is going to go, especially given the feud brewing with Kanellis and Maverick.

Ariya Daivari vs Oney Lorcan: This was a really great main event. Daivari and Lorcan do no have pretty wrestling styles, but it worked for them and really showed the different styles in the 205 locker room. It’s not all flips and kicks, these guys can brawl too. I was disappointed in the DQ finish, but it protects both guys and keeps this feud going, so that’s fine.

Singh Brothers vs Lucha House Party: They did it!!! By hook or crook, the Singh Brothers FINALLY got a win!!! I was literally jumping up and down over this! I’m really sorry about poor Penelope, but the Singhs getting a win was such a great moment.

Overall Comments: How was 205’s go home show? It was okay. I was REALLY disappointed that WWE copped out on having Gulak and Tozawa have a deciding match. Tozawa really earned the spot, Gulak won a single match but he’s in the main event scene after being gone for months? Really?

The whole thing with the Kanellis’ is really peaking my interest. Now that they’ve re-signed with WWE, I’m hoping that they’ll get more screen time because they have the potential to really take 205 in a new direction, especially by feuding with Maverick.

I’m so excited that the Singhs finally won! They have been so undervalued due to being Mahal’s lackeys that I was afraid they were about to be future endeavored. Since the win was tainted, it will probably continue the feud with LHP, but that’s okay, the Singhs proved they can win, they just need to do it more often.

I loved the main event! Daivari vs Lorcan was really good and it shows the real depth of the 205 roster.

That’s it for Tiffany’s 205 Takes! Tune in tomorrow for the NXTs!


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Tiffany’s Takes: WWE SmackDown Live (6/18/19)

Tiffany’s Takes digs into WWE Smackdown as the company finishes up in SoCal en route to WWE Stomping Grounds this Sunday!

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WWE SMackdown Seth Rollins Kofi Kingston

Tiffany’s Takes digs into WWE Smackdown as the company finishes up in SoCal en route to WWE Stomping Grounds this Sunday! Can they deliver despite the ticket woes?

As things come together for Stomping Grounds, how is the SmackDown Card looking?

WWE Championship: Is it too late to cancel Ziggler’s pity party and put someone else in this feud? Seriously, Ziggler’s ‘Poor me, WWE didn’t give me a shot, even though I was sitting at home on my ass and not at work.’ is getting OLD.

I did enjoy the match between Woods and Ziggler, but I’m over this whole feud. Can we get back to Kofi vs Owens or something?

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Okay, so Andrade is feuding with Crews now, but where’s Balor?

SmackDown Women’s Division: Have I told anyone how much I’ve loved the shift in Bayley’s character since she teamed with Sasha Banks? I have, haven’t I? Well, I do love it and I love Bayley treating Alexa Bliss with the same pettiness Alexa has been using for years. I also loved Bayley trying to get through to Nikki, but I think this is something Nikki will learn the hard way.

I love the idea of Carmella and Ember Moon uniting over their mutual loathing of Fire and Desire. Let’s have that team up, please.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: When I heard Heavy Machinery vs B-Team, my first thought was ‘That was a fast audition’ (B-Team were auditioning to be the guest refs for Corbin vs Rollins for some odd reason, but also ‘Did they just pick teams out a hat?’. That said, I’m glad Heavy Machinery are getting a title shot at Stomping Grounds, but I’m not sure they’ll win right now.

The match wasn’t great, but it didn’t suck as bad as I had feared. I still don’t think HM are walking away with the belts just yet, though.

Women’s Tag Team Championship: I really want the IIconics to have a long title reign, but it’s looking like that won’t happen since Kabuki Warriors are back on TV.

The match was good, exept for the part where the locker room cleared out to chase Truth and Miz was left on his own. Guess he forgot about the 24/7 thing.

24/7 Championship: What was Benjamin and co trying to do with the belt? Were they thinking that they could just take the belt while Truth was busy and that could count as a pinfall? That was weird, but very funny. Thank god for competent refs.

I’m glad that Maverick finally got a win, Carmella disguise or not, but I have a feeling Truth will be appearing on 205 tonight.

Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon: Why does Miz continue to be part of this feud? He’s gotten beaten three times by Shane. Let’s move on. That said, the return of Awesome Truth was fun, even if Truth really didn’t want to.

Wild Card: I’m still enjoying Seth destroying every potential guest ref that pokes his head out, it’s like a really painful looking game of whack a mole. Also, I wonder if Seth got his chair on Matt Hardy and Shelton Benjamin, or were the B-Team just unlucky?

The tag team 2-0ut-of-3 Falls match was good, but it was definitely rushed to squeeze into the roughly 15 minutes they had left, which hurt it, but it was a good match.

Overall Comments:  So, how was SmackDown’s go home show? It was okay. It wasn’t as good as RAW, but it did a good job of building SmackDown’s card.

I’m still enjoying Seth’s rampage, but I’m growing very worried about who the guest ref will end up being, especially with Heyman around. I don’t think Corbin would be stupid enough to tap Lesnar, since Lesnar could screw everything up by cashing in, but it’s still worrying.

I’m a little confused as to why Roman, who is supposed to be on SmackDown, wild card or not, has only been appearing on RAW for his feud with Shane and Miz, who is supposed to be on RAW keeps appearing on SmackDown to continue his own feud with Shane.

Glad Maverick is finally 24/7 champ, but R-Truth is still the greatest.

That’s it for Tiffany’s SmackDown Takes! Stay tuned for 205 Live!


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