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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/27/2018

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So anyone that may have been upset with the lack of WWE product in the Top 5 last week, should be happier.

Also, thanks to holiday barb-e-ques and other personal engagements, I wasn’t able to catch up with everything this weekend. But we still have nice variety, that I’m pretty comfortable with. Last week was a close vote, but, Will Ospreay vs Taiji Ishimori BOSJ 25, managed to pull out the win.

This will be the last vote for the May pool, so let’s see what we can add to monthly vote next week.

 

5. MLW Fusion MLW Heavyweight Championship: Shane Strickland (c) vs Pentagon Jr

Holy Christ, Salina has a Mariachi band enter the ring before Shane’s entrance to play the Mexican national anthem.The crowd looks a combination of amused and confused…but it’s definitely unique.

There’s a couple nice spots i the match I’ll go over since it was actually a fairly long match for TV. Pentagon ties Swerve up with the camera cables on the apron, hitting a variety of knife edge and Kobashi style chops. The referee is giving both men a lot of leeway throughout the match, so it’s nice to see the implication that it will end in the ring.

A big Mexican Destroyer on the apron is what we’re greeted with after the second commercial break and the match starts to pick up there. Swerve kicks out of a Pentagon Driver and Feat Factor, but the back half of the match was mostly dominated by Pentagon. Out of frustration, Salina gives Pentagon a chair and it seems like the referee will let it play. It looked like Pentagon was going for a Superplex into the opened chair, but Swerve blocked him and knocked Pentagon down.

They tease the spot that ended their Wrestle Circus match of a Swerve Stomp onto a seated Pentagon, but Pentagon counters it with a Powerbomb. Salina’s usual stoicism finally breaks and she jumps on the apron after Strickland kicks out again. This leads to the “Oops” moment for heels, and Pentagon hits Salina with the Red Mist when Shane moves out of the way, giving Strickland the opening to steal a win.

Rating: *** 1/2

 

4. SmackDown Live: Jeff Hardy vs Daniel Bryan

A first time ever match, that for TV and even a middle of the card PPV match, was pretty damn good.

The one commercial break didn’t hurt too much, the Tree of Woe spot into the Whisper in the Wind was a nice sequence. Hell, the ending was really good also and even protects Jeff Hardy to a degree. He’s been nursing an leg issue for weeks, so the idea of Daniel Bryan winning by Knee Bar submission plays into the established injury.

Next SmackDown we’re going to be getting a Samoa Joe vs Daniel Bryan match…which should be good, but since it’s a TV match, who knows if it will be quality or used to move along a storyline.

Rating: *** 1/2

 

3. NXT Handicap Match: Ricochet & Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan

Lars interfering in Ricochet and Dream’s match last week, allowed for this to come to fruition and make sense.

Now it’s hard to make a handicap match believable since it usually sways one way or the other, but this was actually really well done. Ricochet and Dream showed a lot of cohesion by utilizing numerous quick tags, impact moves and speed attacks against the muscle bound freak.

Lars however showed amazing resilience by kicking out and maintaining enough power late in the match to throw both men off of him.

The swerve in the match came from Velveteen Dream tagging in, but Ricochet immediately tagging back in to hit a Springboard 450. This annoyed Dream, so he hit Ricochet with his Cartwheel Death Valley Driver and left him for shark food.

Sullivan stares down Dream a little, but hit’s the Freak Accident on Ricochet and picks up the win, whilst keeping the wheels of this feud moving nicely.

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 25: Sho vs Chris Sabin
Rating *** 1/4
NXT: Lacey Evans vs Kairi Sane
Rating: *** 1/4
Raw: Elias vs Bobby Roode
Rating: ***
Dragon Gate King of Gate: Masato Yoshino vs Kagetora
Rating: ** 1/2

 

2. NJPW BOSJ 25: El Desperado vs Hiromu Takahashi

Now Despy and Hiromu have a little bit of heat from the last few months being involved in the Junior Tag scene, and Hiromu came out angry.

Hiromu jumped on him quickly and started tearing at Despy’s mask. Desperado eventually got some space and the match became a very hard hitting back and forth. Hiromu being a fan favorite helped to keep the crowd invested the entire time also.

Desperado teased a few of his finishers, even kicked out of a Time Bomb. After Hiromu got out of an El Es Claro, he went to try for one more Time Bomb, but got caught in Pinche Loco. And surprisingly, Despy picks up the win over everyone’s favorite psycho, Hiromu.

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. AJPW Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji

The rematch that Marufuji didn’t really want, but who’s gonna so no to a title shot? All of this was predicated on the fact Marufuji won the Champion Carnival, so that grants him an opportunity. Just makes it spicier that he won the Carnival by beating the champion, so we got ourselves more layers.

To be honest, the match felt very similar to their Carnival outing. However, the passion that we saw in the Carnival as NOAH vs AJPW and a sense of betrayal, was replaced more with anger and general pride.

Miyahara was embarrassed he lost the Carnival and thus making AJPW look inferior to NOAH. So he came out angry, took the match to the outside and used the ring and the barricade to an early advantage. Marufuji applied some veteran cunning catch Miyahara with a crescent kick around the ring post and then pulling him into it.

After that, we saw many of the same spots from last month. Marufuji hit a springboard shotgun kick as opposed to the curb stomp, but it had the same appeal, the apron piledriver was utilized and even the dueling knee strikes.

We did see distinct growth from Kento since he seemed to know to expect certain moves, whereas Marufuji was kind of going to the old reliable stuff. Kento kicks out of Ko-Oh, two Shiranuis and then Marufuji teases a Flowsion, but Kento gets away.

At that point, Kento punished Marufuji with numerous knee strikes and then eventually pulls out the win with his Shutdown German Suplex Hold. Not quite as good as the Carnival Final, but still very good and a possible excuse to have a rubber match. Maybe Champion vs Champion if Marufuji can get the GHC off of Takashi Sugiura?

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Mainly since I know they can put on better matches, I can’t follow my ratings for who I vote for. Honestly, NXT Handicap Match: Lars Sullivan vs Ricochet & Velveteen Dream, impressed me the most because of how hard it is to make handicap matches believable.

So see, I do vote for non-Japanese matches. Now keep calm, and let us know what you think and which match would be your Match of the Week.

Always 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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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 4 B Block

Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

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Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

Sapporo is a fun city for the main event, with a lot of general history.

Will Ospreay having a neck injury means he’s not working the undercard tonight.

Those are probably the two points that matter the most. So I guess let’s get to the show!

Ratings:

  • Jyushin Thunder Liger & Kota Ibushi vs Yota Tsuji & Shota Umino: Ibushi wins via Half Boston Crab @8:20 – **
  • Toa Henare, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA: BUSHI wins via MX @7:20 – ** 1/2
  • Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Lance Archer vs KENTA, Clark Connors, Karl Fredricks & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @11:30 – ***
  • Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI: Okada wins via Rainmaker @8:45 – ** 1/4
  • Block B: Shingo Takagi vs Toru Yano: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @6:15 – ** 3/4
  • Block B: Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto: Juice wins via Pulp Friction @12:20 – *** 1/2
  • Block B: Jon Moxley vs Jeff Cobb: Moxley wins via Draping Deathrider @8:55 – *** 1/4
  • Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @19:15 – **** 1/2
  • Block B: Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito: Taichi wins via Last Ride @21:00 – *** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Liger and Ibushi take on Young Lions because Will Ospreay is nursing an injury. So this was unexpected, but who’s gonna argue with some Liger? Bare bones basic Young Lion match, but Liger and Ibushi kept the interest high.

EVIL and SANADA are facing one another on Thursday, but they were on the same team tonight. Part of this story was BUSHI remaining to look strong since the end of the BOSJ, while EVIL and SANADA had the tension building up. Instead of the LIJ fist bump after the win, EVIL tries to cheap shot SANADA, SANADA counters and then they have a stand off.

This Suzuki-Gun match was beautiful. It was just a gang fight, with each member of Suzuki-Gun taking someone off and Lance Archer even joined commentary at some point. House show quality match was a good way to describe this, but it was still fun and got across the point for future matches and just great character work.

It might be a little mean to say, but YOSHI-HASHI is in this match, so who cares? Chase Owens does prove why he’s the glue that holds Bullet Club together. He’s a great tag team player and this year he’s looked a lot better than he has in the past. So we’ve got an alright match, Okada wasn’t gonna eat a pin, but I guess they wanted to protect YOSHI a little, so Chase ate the Rainmaker.

Shingo proved he watched the Naito match by trying to get Yano to take off his shirt. Anyone who saw Shingo in Dragon Gate knows he’s got some comedy chops being a former…wait…the current, Open the Owarai Gate champion (Owarai means comedy). Shirt, wrist tape and turnbuckle shenanigans ensue, but the right person won. Shingo gets on the board and doesn’t suffer the shame of getting bamboozled.

This tends to be an issue with Goto and Juice a lot of the time. By this, I mean boredom. Goto and Juice have bumped heads a few times and they both try very hard, but they aren’t exciting together. Juice being a quirky but not overly animated just means you get a snarky line and one move that may be entertaining (usually Left Hand of God) and then the action stalls. So both did good work, it was a tough match, but it wasn’t really anything crazy. Solid enough match though.

Moxley focused on Cobb’s left shoulder, so the story was to take out Cobb’s power and try to figure out how to end the match. We saw another solid match, and Moxley gets across more of his character. He does borderline heel tactics and then apologizes to the referee. So this brawling, unstable babyface is an old school gimmick in Japan, but not often seen in New Japan. It’s nice to watch, and Moxley taking advantage of Cobb’s positioning to hit the Draping Dirty Deathriding Paradigm DDT.

Jay White starts off against two of the heavier hitters from Chaos, his former stable. After taking Goto lightly, Ishii comes into this match after a big win over Jeff Cobb. White came into the match less relaxed, but still playing up his smarmy character. Ishii laid into Jay the whole match, where Jay tried to outsmart the Stone Pitbull, but Jay isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. A great match with well placed false finishes and a lot of tension. Fantastic back and forth, plus Ishii picking up the win is something special.

There were so many story threads going on here. Sapporo is the place of their Intercontinental Championship match earlier in the year where Taichi had Takashi Iizuka interfere. Iizuka left the Iron Fingers for Taichi, but he hasn’t used them in the 6 months he’s had them. This was a great struggle of wrestlers who were once rivals, but Naito has since eclipsed Taichi. Hell, Taichi even hit a Ganso Bomb, shades of his mentor Toshiaki Kawada. References, call backs and a solid match from a story telling perspective.  Work rate might not have been fantastic, but that’s the beauty of professional wrestling being more than the moves in the ring. Plus part of the fun of Taichi matches is watch Miho Abe react, since she’s such a lovely devoted valet.

Overall Score: 6.75/10

A lot of this show was driven by the stories and the historical threads between participants, opposed to the in-ring action. I appreciate the mixture of angles that New Japan shows attack with. Many newer fans just know NJPW for great hard hitting work rate, but the beauty of puroresu in general is how deep the stories go.

Sometimes the wrestlers reference things from their mentors/trainers, sometimes it’s just a story line from the isolationist politics that each puro company has dabbled with or sometimes it goes all the way back to when someone was a Young Boy in a dojo. The layers are there for those who wish to know, so part of the fun in nights like this, are what personally floats your boat.

The show was the weakest so far, but there were plenty of satisfying moments outside of ring work.

B Block Standings:

  • Tomohiro Ishii – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Jon Moxley – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Juice Robinson – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Toru Yano – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Hirooki Goto – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Shingo Takagi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Taichi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Jay White – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Jeff Cobb – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Tetsuya Naito – 0-2 (0 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/14/2019

HOLY WRESTLING WEEKEND BATMAN! With everything that went on, what did I see and what made the Top 5?

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HOLY WRESTLING WEEKEND BATMAN! With everything that went on, what did I see and what made the Top 5?

Well let’s not mess around too much since we’ve got a lot to break down. Our June match of the month was a two horse race, but one did end up winning without any controversy.

Updated Match of the Year Pool:

  • January – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February – NXT Halftime Heat: Ricochet, Aleister Black & Velveteen Dream vs Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
  • March – Stardom: Wonder of Stardom Title Match: Jungle Kyona vs Momo Watanabe (c)
  • April – WrestleMania 35: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan (c)
  • May – AEW Double or Nothing: Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes
  • June – NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals Day: BOSJ 26 Finals: Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay

So there we go. The BOSJ Finals that blew away many that saw it, still resonated well with voters. So we have our first iteration of the same company getting a second match, but still none of the wrestlers yet.

Now what won last week, as the first match of July? Impact Wrestling Slammiversary: Impact World Championship: Brian Cage (c) vs Michael Elgin, took the first match slot of July.

Since we had so many shows this weekend, there was a draw, so we’ve got 6 matches this week in the interest of fairness.

 

5t. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: SANADA vs Will Ospreay

From My Analysis:
Well now, this went back and forth quite a bit. SANADA proved his athleticism, Ospreay proved that he can hang with heavyweights and it was close the whole time. The only really awful spot was Ospreay slipping out of the Paradise Lock. There’s a gimmick there, and we don’t need the allure of it to be cheapened for a dumb flip spot. Aside from that worthless moment, the match was really wrestled well and SANADA had a few attempts at victory. SANADA’s constant desire to use the Moonsault still proves to be his downfall. He really needs a new move.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

Rating: ****

 

5t. AEW Fight for the Fallen: The Brotherhood (Cody & Dustin Rhodes) vs The Young Bucks

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
The Bucks have Dustin alone and they know it. Fans rally up behind Dustin as he throws hands on both Bucks! He gives jab after jab, and pumps it up like daddy did! Dirty birds for Matt, bionic backhands for Nick! But then a SUPERKICK in return! Shining Wizard to Macho Elbow! Cover, TWO!! Fans duel again as Matt grits his teeth. Matt runs at Dustin in the corner but gets a kick. Dustin hops on for a DESTROYER! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally and Dustin still feels it. Dustin tags Cody in and he sends Nick’s kick into Matt. Then Cody SUPERKICKS Nick, grabs Matt, but Nick SUPERKICKS Cody back! The Bucks think, and as Cody stands again, they give him DOUBLE SUPERKICKS to the back! Cover, but Dustin breaks it!

The Rhodes regroup, as do the Bucks. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” as the Rhodes both stand together. The Bucks rush them, to steal the uppercuts! But then they get SUPERKICKS from the Rhodes! To give them back! Stolen Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO!! Cody survives his own move, but the Bucks are not done. Nick FLIES onto Dustin, then coordinates with Matt. Matt gut wrenches, Nick springboards, MELTZER DRIVER! Cover, the Young Bucks win!

Winner: Bucks via Meltzer Driver

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jeff Cobb

From My Analysis:
HOSS FIGHT! Big boys do big boy things and it was great. Chop exchanges, suplexes and both men putting the other through hell. Each favored their backs at different points, which made sense with all the punishment and suplexes both we dolling out. This definitely felt like it could go either way and that’s always a great vibe. Cobb never hit Tour of the Islands, so it was well protected.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Spike Brainbuster

Rating: ****

 

3. WWE Extreme Rules: United States Championship: AJ Styles vs Ricochet (c)

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Styles goes to suplex but Ricochet counters with a swinging neckbreaker! But Styles still lifts Ricochet for a brain buster! Cover, TWO!! Both men are down again but fans know “This is Awesome!” Styles slowly gets up and drags Ricochet over to a corner. Styles hauls Ricochet up top but Ricochet fights back. They brawl and Styles rocks Ricochet. Styles climbs up to join Ricochet but Ricochet fights back again. Ricochet slaps Styles off the top and adjusts position. But Styles is right back up, only to get a hotshot from Ricochet! Ricochet climbs back up, springboard shooting star! Cover, but Styles has a foot under the rope! Anderson points it out and the count is off!

Ricochet can’t believe how close he was, but he vows to wrap it up. He drags Styles to a drop zone, climbs up top, but Anderson runs over. Ricochet leaps over him and BOOTS Anderson down! But this distraction allows Gallows to trip Ricochet! Ricochet is stuck on the corner and Styles takes advantage, with an IMPLODING STYLES CLASH! Cover, Styles wins!

Winner: Styles via Avalanche Styles Clash

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: KENTA via Go 2 Sleep
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Extreme Rules: SmackDown Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs Heavy Machinery vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan (c)
Winner: New Day via Midnight Hour
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Juice Robinson vs Shingo Takagi
Winner: Juice via Pulp Friction
Rating: *** 3/4
AEW Fight for the Fallen: CIMA vs Kenny Omega
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Extreme Rules: Raw Tag Team Titles: The Revival (c) vs The Usos
Winner: Revival via Shatter Machine
Rating: *** 1/2
AEW Fight for the Fallen: SCU vs Lucha Brothers
Winner: Lucha Bros via Spike Fear Factor
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: EVIL vs Kota Ibushi
Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Extreme Rules: Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
Winner: Undertaker via Tombstone
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Extreme Rules: Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor:
Winner: Nakamura via Kinshasa
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Extreme Rules: Aleister Black vs Cesaro
Winner: Black via Black Mass
Rating: *** 1/4
AEW Fight for the Fallen: Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin & Joey Janela vs MJF, Shawn Spears & Sammy Guevara
Winner: Spears via Death Valley Driver
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Extreme Rules: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Samoa Joe
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs Lance Archer
Winner: Archer via EBD Claw Hold
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: 2 out of 3 Falls: The Miz & The Usos vs The Revival & Elias
Winner: Miz & Usos 2-1
Rating: ***
AEW Fight for the Fallen: Kip Sabian vs Hangman Page
Winner: Page via Deadeye
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Jon Moxley vs Taichi
Winner: Moxley via Deathrider
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Kiera Hogan vs Jordynne Grace vs Madison Rayne
Winner: Grace via Grace Driver
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDown: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor
Winner: Shinsuke via Kinshasa
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Sabre via Cross Arm Breaker
Rating: ***
WWE Extreme Rules: Extreme Rules Winners Take All Raw Women’s & Universal Championships Match: Becky Lynch (c) & Seth Rollins (c) vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr

From My Analysis:
Okada has the amazing ability to wrestler his opponent’s style of match. Sabre stretched him and tried to break him, but Okada fended off every attempt. We saw numerous counters, submissions and great wrestling. Okada’s Rolling Rainmaker to set up the traditional Rainmaker is always a fun transition. Awesome match.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Jay White vs Hirooki Goto

From My Analysis:
Jay White hasn’t taken Goto seriously, like the better portion of New Japan fans. White put on some great heel work, from his interactions with Gedo, to being a step ahead with a beaming shit eating grin the whole time. Goto showed the heart and resolve that he used to be well known for. Most people who became fans over the last 4 years or so, know Goto as a good hand but to never accomplish anything really. This could finally be a return to the form he had a while ago when he was considered on equal footing with Nakamura and Tanahashi. Damn great effort from both wrestlers.

Winner: Goto via GTR

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Well even though I missed the Evolve show because of having plans on Saturday, I think I caught enough of the quality shows. The Rhodes’ story is something I’ve been finding entertaining, but watching Jay White’s character evolve is great too. So my vote will go to Jay White vs Hirooki Goto.

Goto showing a possible resurgence and White continuing to grow are all great things so early in this G1 Climax tournament.


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