A look at the Three Stars Of The Night for this week’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw.
In hockey, a game’s “three stars” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own three-stars-of-the-night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
The Third Star:
When Constable Corbin was introduced, I really fought it. Like, I felt like I was being entertained, but I had to push as far away from it as I could. But now he has a new haircut, he has his Aesop Mitchell going on, and he’s…fun?
Candice LeRae Needs To Turn Heel At NXT Takeover: Chicago
The Second Star:
Jinder delivered a great promo–one that felt natural and off the cuff. He hyped up Sunil Singh to make him believe he could take ROMAN, took the beating from the face in Roman Reigns, then went on the attack right after. That’s what a heel does, and Jinder is the heel we need.
Seth Rollins, Elias, Curt Hawkins, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre.
And now…a distinction usually reserved for the top performer of the night…the first star!
The First Star:
But the guy keeps delivering on a near week-to-week basis. He delivered a show-stealing moment with his frog splash off of the ladder through the announce table with Braun Strowman to put over the excitement of a Money In The Bank Ladder Match. Then he continues to elevate Braun later in the match, leading to the latter’s eventual win.
Kevin Owens carries any segment he’s in on Raw, and that also shows in his opening interview. He’s on a different level when he speaks, something few can match. When many stars flounder making the transition from NXT to main-roster TV, Kevin Owens has flourished since Day One.
Who are your three stars of the night? Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom, and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.
That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.
- Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
- Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
- Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
- Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
- Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
- Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – ***
- IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
- NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****
We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.
Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.
Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.
Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.
Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.
This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.
We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches. Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.
Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.
Beyond The Mat: That Time My Two Favorite Shows Met And It Wasn’t Awful
Tiffany MC checks in on Beyond The Mat, where The Miz guest stars on Supernatural!
Sometime Friday afternoon, it was announced that ‘Supernatural’ the longest running show in CW history, would be ending its unprecedented run after its upcoming FIFTEENTH season. For those of you who don’t know what ‘Supernatural’ is about: Supernatural is a show about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who travel around the country hunting supernatural creatures in a 1967 Chevy Impala. It doesn’t sound like much but this show has outlasted several better known CW shows, like ‘Smallville’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and its spinoff, ‘The Original’, it even outlasted its original parent network, the WB Network. Dubbed, ‘The Little Show That Could’, Supernatural went from being a perennial part of the Cancellation Bubble Crowd, to a staple and institution of television, that other sci-fi genre shows looked to for inspiration on how to last on TV.
On top of that, the show became infamous for its dedicated fanbase, dubbed ‘The SPN Family’ or just ‘The Family’ and that fanbase became famous in its own right through the acts of charity they and the show’s cast and crew participated in, from the WSHES scavenger hunt, to helping raise awareness of mental health and social issues.
What does that have to do with wrestling? Well, on the surface, nothing, except for one thing: Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin. Miz actually guest-starred on Supernatural during the eleventh season in an episode called ‘Beyond the Mat’, playing a struggling professional wrestler who has a chance to make it to the big time, in exchange for his soul. Miz didn’t take the offer and paid for it with his life.
When I first heard about this episode and who would be in it, I was extremely nervous and skeptical. Most wrestling fans know how non-fans view wrestling and wrestling fans: A bunch of uneducated morons spending good money to watch a fake sport with fake athletes. I was honestly afraid that this was what was going to happen in ‘Beyond the Mat’. To my immense relief, that didn’t happen. Wrestling and wrestlers were shown in an extremely respectful way, showing how hard they worked to try and make it in the indies. They did poke fun at wrestling fans a little, but no more than what wrestling fans do.
The episode itself wasn’t much to write home about, just a typical Monster of the Week type of one off, and many non-wrestling fans panned it, but those of us who love professional wrestling enjoyed it, including watching Jensen Ackles trying to do the Ric Flair strut and fall out of the ring trying to get through the ring ropes, which has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Miz himself did a pretty good job in the episode, but I can’t say I was overwhelmingly wowed by his performance, but I would guess that he had some input in the portrayal of wrestling and why the moves actually looked good.
There will never be another show like ‘Supernatural’ in terms of longevity, storytelling, fan interaction, and outreach beyond the show, but it also has shown its ability to showcase a different form of storytelling in a respectful way, even the kind that most people scoff at.