So a surprise to no one, Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada IV at Dominion, won the vote last week.
Now, guess what, just like I said, last week was all New Japan, this week is all WWE. Granted, yes I had a very busy week so I wasn’t able to watch much, but that doesn’t change the fact that these matches were all pretty solid and only one or two might’ve moved around if I did watch my normal amount.
So now WWE had a solid weekend between NXT and main roster, so let’s see how this all shakes out.
5. WWE Money in the Bank Women’s Ladder Match
Hoo-Hoo-Hulla-Baloo! People get dumped left and right, Becky kicks a ladder into Charlotte’s face, but gets caught by Ember Moon before the ladder gets in the ring. Ember than rams Natty into the steps. Sasha stops a Drop Toehold into the ladder, but Ember hits a nice Springboard Crossbody, sending Sasha crashing into the ladder. Ember keeps a lot of early momentum until Lana hits an X Factor on Ember, into the corner of the ladder. Natty comes in, nearly gets the ladder dropped on her, takes out Lana, drops Naomi on the ladder, split first and dropkicks her out of the ring. Charlotte comes in, hits an Exploder Suplex on Natalya and goes for the ladder, but Becky shows up to stop her.
Tug of War with the ladder, Naomi jumps off the ladder onto Natty, then kicks the ladder into both Becky and Charlotte. Bliss tries to pull the ladder out, but Naomi hits a Plancha to get rid of Bliss, and then a Blockbuster from the apron to the floor, as the action pauses.
Naomi dropkicks the ladder into Becky Lynch, as Ember and her then square off. Naomi goes to try and Monkey Flip Ember into the ladder, but Ember flips out, and then Hip Tosses Naomi into the ladder. Sasha enters, stacks Ember and Lana on top of a ladder propped in the corner and hits double knees, on the stacked up opponents. Charlotte cuts off Sasha before she can climb the ladder. After a brief trash talk spot, they both try to run up the same side of the ladder, goofy spot, which turns into them knocking each other off, then Charlotte hits a Neckbreaker on Sasha for the advantage.
Sasha counters a Razor’s Edge by landing on the ladder, Natty pulls off Charlotte, Becky shakes Sasha down as she falls into Natty, Bliss pulls down Becky, Banks pulls off Bliss, as they then both slowly climb. Becky takes Alexa off, and the strikes on the ladder start. Lana sets up a taller ladder as Bliss keeps attacking Lynch. Six women on two ladders, let’s see how this ends. Natty Slingshot Powerbomb on Sasha into the ladder and knock the ladder over. Charlotte Powerbombs Ember into a Ladder leaning in the corner. Charlotte takes out Lana, and then goes after Bliss, but Bliss hits a Code Red on Charlotte.
Bliss and Lana are the only two up right now. Bliss is the best wrestler standing at the moment, go figure. Lana kicks the taste out of Alexa’s mouth and then locks in the Accolade. Naomi springboards onto the ladder, Naomi has the briefcase, but can’t take it down, as Becky Lynch takes Naomi down. Becky has a shot, but Charlotte sprints up the ladder. Small stare down, and then Bliss topples the ladder. Charlotte takes out Alexa with a spear, Sasha hits a Backstabber on Charlotte, Naomi rams Sasha’s head into the ladder, Lana pulls Naomi off face first. Natty Electric Chair Drops Lana, Ember Superkicks Natty off, Charlotte Spears Ember into the ladder. Becky Becks-sploders Charlotte and readjusts the ladder.
Becky had it, but Alexa tips the ladder and Becky goes crashing. Little Miss Bliss, is Ms. Money in the Bank. The match was a little clunky, but still quite entertaining.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Rating: *** 3/4
4. NXT Takeover Chicago II: Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream
It needs to be mentioned that Velveteen comes out in a Hulk Hogan styled attire, going as far as doing the signature Hogan poses.
They size each other up for a little, collar and elbow tie up and then Dream breaks with Hulk Hogan theatrics. Lots of early chain/mat wrestling. See a Side Headlock, a few cradle style early pin attempts, but nothing really impactful. Dream had a slightly botched tilt-a-whirl headscissor that Ricochet flips out of. They run the ropes a little, and Ricochet hits his signature Power Ranger pose for a stare down.
Now the match speeds up a little, slap from Dream, Handspring Headscissors from Ricochet, into a Dropkick. When Ricochet goes for a springboard move, Dream hits the ropes and Ricochet goes crashing to the floor. Now we see Dream methodically picking apart Ricochet. Rude Awakening, for the 2 count. Ricochet tries to get something going, but Velveteen just pushes him through the ropes to the outside, and Dream hits a Rope Assisted Senton.
They go back inside, Dream had control early but Ricochet slowly starts mounting a comeback. Nothing Ricochet does lands hard enough, until a big Rolling Dropkick, followed by back to back dives onto Dream. Tiger Feint in the corner by Ricochet, Springboard European Uppercut, for the near fall.
Cat and mouse game from Ricochet, positioned for his 630 Senton, saw Dream coming, jumped down, went to set up for a Spanish Fly, but Velveteen hits a big Avalanche Death Valley Driver for 2. After a little jockeying for position, Dream hits a big Vertical Suplex from the Apron to the floor. Surpringsly both men seem exhausted but make it back in the ring at 9. Now we get the slow rising strike attempt, but Dream finds a surprise Cartwheel Death Valley Driver for 2.
Uppercuts from dream, forearms from Ricochet, turns into a Northern Lights Suplex, Superkick from Dream, Pump Kick from Ricochet. Dream hits a Swinging Reverse DDT for only 2 and both men just lay on the mat for a few moments. Dream slowly gets up talking massive crap, telling Ricochet he belongs in a bingo hall. Ricochet hits the Cartwheel Death Valley Driver for emphasis, goes to the top for Dream’s Purple Rainmaker Elbow…but a near fall again. Velveteen goes halfway across the mat, but Ricochet hits a Shooting Star Press from Detroit.
The anything you can do game continues, Dream tries the Purple Rainmaker from across the mat, but Ricochet moves. Lands his 630 Senton on Velveteen for the 1-2-3. Very very solid match, had a few hiccups, but entertaining match.
Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton
3. NXT Takeover Tag Team Titles: Undisputed Era vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Early on we get a lot of headlocks and grapple exchanges. As O’Reilly and Burch get tagged in, the rough and tumble Lorcan and Burch manage to get the upperhand. After a small powder to the outside, O’Reilly manages to get a little bit of momentum going, while making space to get Roderick Strong back in the match, Big Wrecking Ball Dropkick from Strong, finally gives the Undisputed Era their first advantage of the match.
Kyle gets tagged in and immediately goes for a Kneebar, and tags back out to keep ontop of Burch. Some quick tags and cutting off the ring, leads Burch to absorb a lot of punishment. Armbars, and a big Dropkick from Roddy for a near fall. Strong hits his forearms/back elbow combination, but misses the follow up into the corner. Strong gets to O’Reilly first, but a big headbutt from Burch, lays everyone out for a moment.
Strong and Lorcan come in, and Oney is on fire. Clotheslines, uppercuts, chops and a messy but effective Top con Hilo. Half and Half suplex into a running uppercut on Strong, for 2. Oney takes on both men, and hits a big Double Blockbuster. Tagging in Burch they do a combination move for a near fall thanks to Kyle’s interference.
Lorcan goes to the top, but O’Reilly sends him bouncing off the apron and Undisputed Era slowly get the advantage back. Burch fights through a nasty Armbar from O’Reilly for a pretty important submission break. Era go for a few tandem moves, to no avail. Lorcan comes back, hits another big Double Blockbuster on the outside. Lorcan and Burch hit a Doomsday Device and Cole interferes to stop the pinfall.
After Cole gets kicked to the back, O’Reilly nearly picks up the win with a Guillotine Choke. Big double submission spot from Lorcan and Burch, looks like Undisputed Era will tap, but Kyle manages to counter his hold to break up the Half Crab on Strong. Both teams go to either side, say bring it and start throwing hands. O’Relly dispatches Burch with a knee strike, then they gang up on Lorcan and land a few big strikes, followed by Total Elimination. Undisputed Era retain the titles.
Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Elimination
Rating: **** 1/4
WWE MITB Intercontinental Title: Elias vs Seth Rollins (c)
Rating: *** 3/4
Raw Fatal 4 Way: Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor vs Bobby Roode
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE MITB Men’s Ladder Match
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE MITB: Roman Reigns vs Jinder Mahal
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT Takeover NXT Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Nikki Cross
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE MITB SmackDown Women’s Match: Asuka vs Carmella (c)
NXT Takeover NXT Championship: Aleister Black (c) vs Lars Sullivan
2. WWE Money in the Bank WWE Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles (c)
Styles takes an early advantage, landing a nice crisp Dropkick for the first attempted 10 count. Nakamura stays on the receiving end of a lot of offense,
including a very quick Phenomenal Forearm to the outside. Nakamura has already been down 4 times, triggering the referee to start a count. Finally, Shinsuke drives Styles into the barricade and snaps off a suplex for his first advantage. Nakamura drapes Styles across the apron and hits a Running Knee and then jumps off the stairs as he lands a Curbstomp style maneuver before rolling AJ back into the ring.
Nakamura big brother’s Styles a bit, kicking him in the head, followed by numerous Round Kicks to the chest and abdomen. Keeping Styles in the corner, he chokes him
with his foot, than finally goes for the Vibration Kick, but Styles fights through. Nakamura lands a Feint Kick when AJ starts getting something going, but gets up by
5. Shinsuke drapes AJ across the turnbuckle, and Nakamura drives his knee into the mid section. AJ tries to walk away from Shinsuke, as they trade punches and then
Nakamura wedges Styles’ face into the steps and gives him the Vibration Kick.
Going from that spot, Nakamura throws AJ into over the barricade and they start brawling in the crowd. AJ finally gets in a few kicks of his own, sends Nakamura
back over the barricade. AJ jumps on the barricade, and Shinsuke kicks the legs out from under him, but AJ is back up by 7. Styles continues to be on the receiving end of the small insulting taps to the head. Reverse Powerslam attempt, countered by an Enzuigiri. Dropkick mid air from AJ, sending both men down, to get up by 7.
Phenomenal Blitz catches Nakamura, and then Styles does that Wheelbarrow Faceplant move for a count of 6. Shinsuke goes for the low blow, Styles dodged, Shinsuke
caught his foot and then lands the Reverse Powerslam. Knishasa attempt number one, gets met by a forearm from Styles. Both men down, but Nakamura is up by 7, Styles lands an Ushigoroshi. Count gets up to 8, as Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm, but an Enzuigiri sends AJ falling to the outside.
We may see our first announce table spot. Nakamura cleans on off, drops Styles onto it and then clears the top off of all of them. Runs across all announce tables and
lands the Kinshasa. Styles rolls off the table at 9, so Nakamura drives his face into the ring post. Shinsuke goes to get out a table before the crowd chants for it, for a change.
Shinsuke kicks Styles in the knee and Styles goes face first into the table legs before it’s correctly set up. Table is set up, AJ is propped on the top turnbuckle, Styles slips through and tries to Powerbomb him, Nakamura fights out, table gets knocked over and Shinsuke drops AJ on the edge of the table.
He then leans the table in the corner, and throws AJ styles through it. Table breaks clean and Styles lays there, but manages to get up by 9 to Nakamura’s astonishment.Knee lift, Axe Kick, but Nakamura misses the Draping Knee and his knee goes into the exposed turnbuckle. Styles works on Shinsuke’s injured knee, and they both slowly get back up. Styles keeps stomping on Nakamura’s knee, but eventually stops so the ref can count. Shinsuke gets up by 6, and goes for the Calf Crusher. Nakamura visibly taps out, but that doesn’t matter in this type of match.
Shinsuke gets back at 8, as AJ keeps methodically kicking at the left leg. So the tables turned, as Shinsuke was the methodical predator early, but now AJ is just
trying to cripple Nakamura. Even going to get a chair and ramming it into the knee, then multiple Chairshots. The pleading of Nakamura goes unanswered, but it was all bait for a perfectly placed Low Blow, Styles is up by 9. Shinsuke with a desperation Kinsasha on a damaged knee, but back up at 9 again. Styles refuses to stay down.
Nakamura goes for Landslide on the table, Styles pushes him off and hits a Phenomenal Forearm, followed by a Styles Clash from the stairs to the floor,
Nakamura is up at 9. “Come on” from Nakamura, and Styles just kicks him in the balls. Goes back into the ring, and lands a Phenomenal Forearm through the table. Match had a few hiccups, but told a good story, had callbacks from the entire feud, both men looked very resilient. Styles wanted it, just a little bit more.
Winner: AJ Styles via Phenomenal Forearm
Rating: **** 1/2
1. NXT Takeover Chicago II: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa
Both come out swinging symbolic crutches, but a big Cannonball Senton and dump over the announce table, gives Gargano the early advantage.Ciampa tried to rip up a Gargano poster, but their was a secret Stop Sign within it, so Gargano keeps the advantage.
After a small moment of no action, Ciampa goes for the Stop Sign, but Gargano flies off the second row of seating and hits Ciampa with a Flying Crossbody.Johnny goes under the ring for weapons, but that gives Ciampa the opening he needs to get in his first few glimpses of offense. Ciampa hits 3 German Suplexes in a row, but Gargano counters the fourth into a German of his own, followed up by a Suicide dive.
Gargano drives Ciampa into the ring steps and goes looking under the ring again. Ciampa hits a knee strike while Gargano is distracted and strats throwing him around the outside. Ciampa goes fishing under the ring, and pulls out a chair. Hits him once, drapes it around his neck and drive him into the ring steps. So far, Gargano has been doing whatever he could think of, but Ciampa is focusing on Johnny’s neck.
After a few more weapon strikes, Ciampa takes off his shirt and pulls back on Gargano’s neck in the middle of the ring. As he goes off to look for handcuffs, Johnny gets a small reprieve and manages to turn it around on Ciampa. As we then see Gargano take it to another level and he starts whipping Ciampa with his belt. Punctuated with a trash can over Ciampa’s head, and a big Superkick from Gargano.
Ciampa counters a Lawn Dart into the corner, lands Project Ciampa and a running knee strike with a trash can lid for 2. Intense spot on the apron where it looks like Gargano is going to counter Ciampa’s momentum, but Ciampa fights through the elbow strikes from Johnny and lands a Gravy Train on the steel steps, rolls him back in for only 2.
Tommaso gets bolt cutters out and removes the canvas to expose the hard wooden boards beneath the ring. After exposing the one corner, Ciampa props him on the top turnbuckle, bites him, tries to go for an Avalanche Gravy Train, Gargano slides out, attempts a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, but Ciampa blocks. We see the Cheeky Nando Kick, and then a slow but emphatic exchange of strikes between the two.
Both men keep countering the other’s weapon shot attempts, there was a double head shot with a trash can lid and crutch, but Ciampa manages to barely kick out. Johnny follows Ciampa to the outside with a Plancha, but Ciampa catches him with another trash can lid. Gargano moves out of the way of a knee strike and then goes after Ciampa’s surgically repaired knee. Chairshots, punches, stomping, and when it looks like Gargano has some momentum, Ciampa kicks him into the trash can in the corner.
Ciampa rains down elbows on the back of Gargano’s head. Johnny can barely pull himself up, and eats a knee strike and then a crutch to the back of the neck. Positioning and weapons are a big callback through this feud, the body language is very reminiscent of the last time they were in Chicago. They walk up the ramp the same way as last Chicago, and reenact the betrayal spot.
Ciampa climbs equipment to put Gargano through a table, even takes off Johnny’s wedding ring, but after spitting on it, and throwing that away, Gargano hits Ciampa with a Gravy Train through a wooden table from on top of the equipment. After this spot there’s a kind of long stretcher moment, as we watch Gargano slowly decide he needs to punish Ciampa more.
He locks in the Garga-NO-Escape, but the Ref is laid out. Agents try to break it up, but Gargano lays them out and handcuffs Ciampa and hits more Superkicks than the Young Bucks have all year. More agents come in to try and pull back Gargano, the ref finally gets to the ring, to help Ciampa out of the cuffs. Gargano walks up the ring steps and Ciampa catches him with a Draping DDT on the exposed wood, for the 1-2-3.
Gargano’s emotions got the best of him, and cost him the match.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa via Draping DDT
Rating: **** 3/4
Oddly enough, the top two matches aren’t traditional matches. Street Fights and Last Man Standing, add for interesting wrinkles. When it comes down to which match I choose out of the week, I’ll pick, Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles. The best match of the series, it was punctuated so emphatically with the finish, that the feud should be over. Whereas, Gargano and Ciampa didn’t have their best match and this feels like we need at least one more. So with the culmination of one storyline, and the continuation of another…I’ll take the finished story.
Remember to let your opinion be heard, comment, email, retweet or send a carrier pigeon.
Always Use Your Head.
Chris’s Extreme Rules Grades And Analysis
Chris weighs in on WWE Extreme Rules!
Chris weighs in on WWE Extreme Rules!
With so many questions, where to begin? Will Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch shut up Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans once and for all? Is The Beast in the Bank going to attempt a cash-in? Let’s find out!
- Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese: Cruiserweight Championship–B
- Finn Balor(c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura–B+
- The Undertaker/Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon/Drew McIntyre: No Holds Barred Match–A
- The Revival (c) vs. The Usos: Raw Tag Team Championships–B
- Aleister Black vs. Cesaro–A+
- Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross 2-On-1 Handicap Match: SmackDown Women’s Championship–C
- Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley: Last Man Standing Match–A++
- Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E) vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) Triple-Threat-Match: SmackDown Tag Team Championships–B+
- Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles: United States Championship–A-
- Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler–C
- Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe: WWE Championship–B
- Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin/Lacey Evans Winners-Take-All Mixed Tag Team Match: Universal and Raw Women’s Championship–A+
We kick off the pay-per-view with Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship.
This was a good match, with both competitors able to capitalize on opportunities. It started off slow but, when the action picked up they gelled perfectly. Nakamura allowed his dangerous side on display as he landed a sliding snap German suplex to Balor from the ropes. The finish came after a Coup de Grace landed but nobody was home. Two Kinshasa’s later and we have a new Intercontinental Champion.
I was shocked by the title change after no build-up for their clash, but I’ve been saying for months; that Balor needs to drop the Intercontinental Championship so he can move back up to the main event title scene, where he’s truly belonged in since returning from injury in 2017.
Will the ruthless and more dangerous Drew Gulak retain his Cruiserweight Championship or will The Premier Athlete Tony Nese regain the title he didn’t “technically” lose? Gulak blasts Nese right after the bell. Lots of great back and forth action here. Gulak lands a ferocious lariat off the ring apron! Nese catches him and hits a German suplex into the turnbuckle.
Nese lands a jaw-dropping Moonsault on Gulak hanging off the ropes. Nese back in hits a beautiful 450 splash…long two-count. A Sunset Flip pinning combination, Nese wants the Sunset Flip Driver…nope… Gulak gets a Powerbomb for another long two-count. Gulak hits the Cyclone Crash for the 1-2-3 still Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak. Wow…What a match…Nese and Gulak had impeccable chemistry, and I can’t wait to see more clashes! Gulak truly has evolved into this vicious and dangerous character.
Here we go folks, we’re going live! No Holds Barred opens the show. Taker/Reigns vs. Shane-O Mac/McIntrye
This match definitely delivered, I feel the number one question going into this was what shape is The Deadman in following the disastrous Goldberg vs. Taker match at Super ShowDown? The young studs Reigns and McIntrye carried the contest very well. Of course, Elias would come out here and stack the deck against Taker. Unfortunately for Shane-O Mac and gang, the numbers weren’t enough to prevail. Two Chokeslams and a perfectly-timed Spear followed by a Devastating Tombstone Piledriver the win was academic.
Raw Tag Team Championships are the line. Will the Top Guys and The Usos take the tag team division to a whole new level? The action starts off red-hot as Jey and Dawson start things off. Dawson slows the pace down and terrific old-school wrestling by Dawson and Wilder. A fantastic sequence happened as Jey finally made the tag to Jimmy but the official’s back was turned. So Dawson and Wilder pound away at him in the corner, while Dawson plays dead with a hilarious facial expression. Jimmy lands a stunning corkscrew splash on both Dawson and Wilder. The Revival retain the titles after a magnificent Shatter Machine!
Hell Yes, It’s time for Aleister Black’s first singles match against Cesaro! Will he make The Swiss Cyborg Fade to Black? Black Mass right out of the gate, Cesaro blocks as both competitors traded kicks and punches. Cesaro plays mind games using Black’s own cross-legged pose. The Swiss Cyborg lands a jaw-dropping slingshot uppercut off the ropes for a long two-count.
Black attempts the Double-Stomp from the top-rope but, gets caught and Cesaro lifts him up and hits an uppercut in mid-air. Black locks Cesaro’s injured leg into submission, and the crafty Swiss Cyborg turns it into a Sharpshooter. The finish comes after a back-and-forth sequence of uppercuts and stiff kicks…Black Mass for the win and a hell of a match! I would not mind seeing a best of 7 series between them.
2-on-1 Handicap Match is up next. Will the odds be too much for Bayley to retain her SmackDown Women’s Championship? Will we see the long-awaited return of The Boss Sasha Banks? Nikki Cross and Bayley start the match. Bayley is holding her own against both opponents. Bliss gets the blind tag and Bayley fights Cross outside. After she gets on the apron, Bliss drives her headfirst into the steel steps.
Cross and Bliss are exhibiting stellar teamwork with quick tags and keeping the champ down. Bayley locks in a knee lock and a headlock submission on both of her challengers. The finish came when Twisted Bliss was blocked by knees, Cross gets the tag and a hard knee… Bayley’s Flying Elbow Drop 1-2-3. I’m a bit surprised that Bliss and Cross worked so well together, that said the resilience of Bayley was on point!
Last Man Standing Match…How the hell are The Monster Among Men and The Almighty Bobby Lashley going to top what they did three weeks ago? This is going to be a horror-flick themed wake of destruction. Lashley tries to hit Strowman on the ropes but gets chunked outside. Bell rings as Strowman hits back-to-back shoulder tackles in the corner. The Monster is running and bulldozes through Lashley…Second time…nope SPEAR!
Holy Shit! This match had everything that you could have wanted from two behemoths. The action went everywhere from inside the main lobby of the Wells Fargo arena, back to ringside as Strowman bulldozes through his foe like a bull. Lashley picks him up and slams The Monster through the barricade. The Monster Among Men Powerslammed Lashley through an open area down below, through some tables. While the official made it to the eight-count Strowman punched through the surrounding and was declared the Last Man Standing! A very fitting brawl for the old ECW arena! Please let these two beasts tear each other apart again!
Up next is the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championship Triple-Threat-Match. Can The Planet’s Champions overcome the odds and keep their titles? Or will Woods and E become Six-time Champs? Or will the hungry newcomers Heavy Machinery Compactor their way to the titles? Woods and Bryan start things off. After a headlock both Bryan and Woods, they use their speed and agility to dodge and leap over each other, Woods drills Bryan with a hard right. Tucker is in now and he flips over Woods! Rowan gets the tag and just plows through him to send him outside.
Woods is in, Rowan is throwing him around like a sack of laundry. Otis tags in and plows through Bryan in the corner and it’s Caterpillar time! Otis lifts E up for an impressive hanging Suplex and Tucker hits a cross-body splash at the same time! Tucker hits a massive cross-body splash on top of competitors outside! Trash Compactor to both Woods and E back-to-back…two-counts.
Bryan sneaks a tag while several competitors execute a Superplex into Powerbomb in the corner. E hits the Superplex on Rowan and, Bryan lands the diving headbutt. He locks in the Lebell Lock on E; while he’s trying for a rope break Bryan magnificently holds his leg and an arm to prevent it. Bryan gets caught mid-air after his signature moonsault flip in the corner… Midnight Hour for the 1-2-3.
I thought to myself, I feel bad for whatever match follows the last man standing. I was wrong this was an incredible match. Heavy Machinery went toe-to-toe with the powerhouses, Bryan uses the masterfully clever tactics to put on a hell of a performance. I was surprised by the title change here, but I think E and Woods vs. Heavy Machinery for the titles at SummerSlam would be a terrific match!
While New Day is in a backstage interview holding all the gold, Paul Heyman grabs a mic. He enters HIS ARENA as Mr. Extreme. Once again he gives an Oscar-worthy promo hyping Brock Lesnar cashing-in tonight. Is he telling the truth or is he Paul Heyman?
United States Championship is on now. Before the bell rings Gallows and Anderson attack Ricochet. Ricochet lands a beautiful running shooting star press on Styles off the apron. The Phenomenal One is putting on a clinic here as his brothers cheer him on. Every time Ricochet starts to mount a comeback Styles just knocks him right back down.
Here we go now as The One and Only runs up Styles and hits a step-up enzuigiri. Ricochet flies and takes out Gallows and Anderson. From a northern lights maneuver, Ricochet deadlifts Styles into a Suplex for a two-count. Ricochet attempts a slingshot DDT but gets suplexed into the turnbuckle. The One and Only countered a Styles Clash into a hurricanrana pin and almost got the victory. Anderson breaks up a pinfall after Ricochet hits another stunning shooting star press. Gallows and Anderson distract the champ and Styles hits the Super-Styles-Clash for the 1-2-3 and the new United States Champion!
What a Phenomenal match (Pun Intended) Styles and Ricochet put on an amazing match. Tons and tons of reversals and counters, they showed off what has been held back on the past week’s Raw. I can’t Freaking wait to see Styles/Ricochet II at SummerSlam hopefully.
Up next is a match that wasn’t even on the card when I made my predictions Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler. Following Owens’s pipebomb promo this past Tuesday and, a parking lot brawl. The bell rings and Ziggler slaps him in the face, Owens hits a Stunner…1-2-3. Round 2 of the KO Pipebomb; as he grabs the mic and stands by his comments from Tuesday and once again proclaims how disgusting it is for Shane McMahon to call himself The Best in the World! Owens as the antihero to the authority is AMAZING!
WWE Championship time now…Will Kofi survive Joe and remain WWE Champion, or will Joe put his ass to sleep? Was Heyman telling the truth earlier, when he said his client would cash-in tonight? Joe and Kofi are trash-talking each other in the intro, this is going to be the biggest test for Kofi to date. Joe eats a dropkick in the corner, he drills Kofi with a lariat! The Destroyer is dominating the champion, taking his ass to school.
Kofi mounts a comeback with some dropkicks but, Joe just cuts it off. Joe grabs Kofi’s fingers and smashed them on the steel steps, for retribution for flipping him off a few weeks ago. Here we go… Flying cross-body and a splash off the top rope. Joe hits a monstrous powerslam and Powerbomb into the STF. The champion barely makes it to the rope. Kofi hits an SOS out of nowhere for a long two-count. Coquina Clutch is locked in, Kofi tries to leap through via the ropes, Joe just drops him and hits a senton splash. A Trouble in Paradise and the 1-2-3 Kofi survives! No Lesnar yet!
I have to admit, while Joe appeared completely ruthless this match didn’t seem to kick into second gear. Kofi and Joe had good chemistry, but the contest ended before they had the opportunity to steal the show. I would love to see a round two with a better build-up.
It’s Winners-Take-All Mixed Tag Team Time! I’m pleasantly surprised that the WWE and the Universal Championship match was booked back-to-back! Can The New Power Couple keep the top Gold intact, or will we see new Champions crowned?
The Man and The Sassy Southern Belle are starting off. Lynch just tosses Evans outside, followed by a throw into the ring. Corbin and Rollins get the tag. Rollins drills Philadelphia’s Favorite Son and Corbin grabs a kendo stick. Dual kendo shots on the heels. Amazing in-ring chemistry between the lovebirds. This is the second “We Want Lesnar” chant from both the WWE and this contest. Corbin drops Rollins with a DDT on the steel chair for a long two-count.
Here comes The Man who grabs a steel chair and heads towards Evans, Bexploder onto the steel chairs! Lynch goes up top but Corbin moves Evans out of the way, Rollins hits the flying knee. He throws Corbin a chair and Lynch hits a Van Maninator paying homage to RVD! Rollins gets the tag but, Corbin is laid out on the outside. The Architect has a plan. Rollins and Lynch…Get the Tables! Corbin and Evans take control and, our having kendo stick practice on Rollins. They hit dueling chokeslams for both getting almost a victory.
Lynch and Rollins go up top, The Man lands a leg drop through Evans and the table…Rollins hits a jaw-dropping frog splash crashing into the table. Corbin hits an End of Days on Becky Lynch! Rollins lost his freaking mind and unloads on Corbin…followed by three CURB STOMPS 1-2-3 Rollins and Lynch retain…But wait here comes The Beast in the Bank! Rollins is traveling to Suplex City as Mike Rome announces the cash-in. The bell rings and The F5 and a New Universal Champion!
What’s mind-boggling here is why was the WWE Universe clamoring for Lesnar to win the championship, after complaining and bitching about him hogging the spotlight not even three months ago? Yes there was shock value, let’s hope and pray that this is only for a short period of time… perhaps until SummerSlam?
Chris’s Pay-Per-View Grade–A
The Intercontinental Championship, Cruiserweight Championship, and the No Holds Barred Match started the night off red-hot! In my opinion; the Last Man Standing, the United States Championship and both the WWE Championship/Winners-Take-All Match were the best matches on the card!
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?
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!
- 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
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)
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