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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/29/2018

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Okay, so we’re gonna have two more weeks of G1 dominance, and at this point, it’s inevitable. As you can see from this week, the Honorable Mentions have a nice mixture, including a match from World Of Sports’ return to TV. For a first episode, it showcased a few wrinkles, villains and babyfaces to get behind, while giving us at least one top quality match.

Last week’s voting was fairly competitive, but the number 1 match actually ran away with the vote by the final tally. So that means, G1 Climax 28 Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii,  is moving into the July pool. Also this will be the final  week in the July voting pool, but at least we have a non-New Japan match that might take this week.

Without further ado, let’s just see what matches made the Top 5 this week.

5. NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kenny Omega vs SANADA

From My G1 Coverage:

These two men met up last year, and Omega moved passed him without much challenge. This year SANADA is in a position to not only help himself, but help his LIJ leader Tetsuya Naito, if he can put a blemish on Omega’s record.

Well SANADA was the overall favorite and played babyface in the match. Early on he knocks Omega to the outside, and Omega moves out of the way anticipating a Tope, but SANADA catches himself and holds the ropes open for Omega. Kenny never takes his eyes off SANADA, but SANADA allows him to get in. The crowd cheers, SANADA claps for good sportsmanship and as he tries to get in, Kenny dropkicks his knee.

That ends up playing a big part in the match, since many of Omega’s strikes aim for the injured knee, where a lot of SANADA’s offense needs his legs. Eventually we see Omega slip up and SANADA puts a few moments together, fighting through the pain to land a few dropkicks and a Plancha to the outside. At this point it seems a little more even, but a big highlight spot is when SANADA gets shot into the corner, does the Flair/Misawa up and over, then attempts a Springboard Dropkick only to get caught into a Powerbomb. I think Omega did something similar in one of his Okada matches, but the spot is still cool.

From  there we see both men trading strikes, playing to the crowd and trying to get small advantages. SANADA is only ever really able to get Skull End once, but let’s go to attempt his Moonsault, but misses that. SANADA however has kind of turned into a greatest hits of AJPW with his moveset. Mutoh Moonsault, Misawa up and over with the ropes and even pulling off a few Tiger Suplexes.

Even though we did see a lot more from SANADA this year, the match went the way most predicted. Omega and SANADA jocky for position, counter a few moves, until Omega gets him mostly set for the One Winged Angel, and good night SANADA. Omega moves to a perfect 10 points, and SANADA is still positioned okay with 6, but someone has to figure out how to slow down the champion.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel

Rating: **** 1/4

4. NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA

From Mathew’s G1 Coverage

Surprised this is the main event, but I am very glad this is the case, since I don’t think the two have faced each other before. Adding a special aspect to this match, despite it happening in the G1 Climax. Both of them have two victories and one loss and a victory for either one of these men would give them a bigger advantage since neither of them has fought Kenny yet and they could be the ones to knock Omega down a peg. Who’s gonna get the win? Either way, we’re gonna have something special in this dream match between two.

SANADA really is something special and the more I watch him more frequently in these types of matches, the more I slowly start to consider him my favorites in 2018 overall and not just in New Japan. It was pretty much exactly how I expected it to turn out with while having a great match, still leaving out enough to let us know that they could definitely fight again pretty soon and I’m sure they’ll blow us away the next time their paths cross. Majority of the match was fairly even with the chain wrestling, the reversals, and the attempts of hitting their big moves onto each other but some of the spots however would come out a tiny bit sloppy, but not enough to take it away from the match at all. SANADA goes to the outside where Ibushi attempts a Baseball Slide for SANADA to duck it and drag him outside also and eventually Ibushi jumps to the ropes to land an Asai Moonsault. Ibushi now pulling the big spots with the Last Ride only for SANADA to kick out at two and SANADA kept on weakening Ibushi with the Skull End a few times to try and get him down for the Moonsault and Ibushi rolls out of the way before it would connect. Ibushi looks to finish it with the Kamigoye Knee and SANADA ducks the knee to get him into the Skull End one more time and even gets him knocked out long enough to drag him to the corner for the Diving Moonsault as SANADA gets the win. I felt like SANADA winning the the Skull End here would’ve been a more impactful finish, but I will take this and glad to see SANADA getting the victory over Ibushi, but I would love to see them fight again and soon.

Winner: SANADA via Moonsault

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii

From My G1 Coverage:

Both men are in the middle of the block, and have a little bit of history. Ishii has been the MVP of the tournament so far, but we all know what Ibushi is capable of. So let’s see how this one plays out.

Girl damn. The start off driving into each other with Shoulder Tackles, and then we see a flurry of counters and misses that end in the good ole fashioned stare down. From there we go to Ishii being in control as he keeps baiting Ibushi to hit him harder, hit him for real, and just keeps sending Kota backwards with Forearm Strikes. The first few minutes were almost as brutal as the Ishii vs Goto match.

The Kota takes it into the crowd and does one of his signature second story/balcony Moonsaults onto Ishii as the crowd was in full throat with the Yes chant. From there Ibushi seems to almost channel his inner Shinsuke Nakamura. When they get back in, Ibushi starts with short kicks and slaps to Ishii’s head to insult him into squaring up. That goes on a few times, and both men trade ‘big brother’ kind of moments.

Kota hits his Last Ride Powerbomb while falling backwards a little so he just sits out, for a near fall. His first KamiGoye attempt is countered, as Ishii hits his own. Then when Ishii tries the Vertical Drop Brainbuster, Ibushi counters it with one of his own.

After both men steal a finisher, then we go back to strikes. Headbutts from Ishii rock Kota. Ibushi’s kicks glaze over Tomohiro’s eyes. The punishment was on full display as Kota hits a Sliding Knee for only a 1 count. At that point there’s a few more strikes until Ibushi grabs Ishii’s wrist, kicks him in the top of his head, which sends him down to his knees, and Ibushi takes the opening to land KamiGoye.

This match will be towards the top of most people’s lists in the G1. We’ve still got 9 more nights if you include the Finals, but this was tremendous.

Winner: Ibushi via KamiGoye Knee Strike

Rating: **** 3/4

Honorable Mentions

WOS:  Davey Boy Smith Jr vs Will Ospreay
Winner: Davey via Avalanche Powerslam
Rating: ****
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kazuchika Okada vs YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: ****
Impact X Division Championship Match: Brian Cage (c) vs Matt Sydal
Winner: Cage via Drill Claw
Rating: ****
Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods: El Dragon Azteca Jr vs King Cuerno vs Dezmond X
Winner: El Dragon Azteca Jr via Super Victory Roll
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Minoru Suzuki vs Michael Elgin
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Sabre via Fujiwara Armbar
Rating: *** 3/4
Raw: Roman Reigns vs Bobby Lashley
Winner: Reigns via Spear
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW G1 Climax 28: EVIL vs Hangman Page
Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil
Rating: *** 1/4
Impact: Petey Williams vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Juice Robinson vs Toru Yano
Winner: Juice via Pulp Friction
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship Match: Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (c) vs Yuma Aoyagi & Naoya Nomura
Winner: Aoyagi via Rockstar Buster
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Tama Tonga vs Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 1/4
AJPW All Asia Heavyweight Championship Match: Bodyguard vs Ryoji Sai (c)
Winner: Bodyguard via The Bounce
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Tama Tonga vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Sabre via DQ
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Togi Makabe vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
Rating: ***

 

2. AJPW Summer Action Series Triple Crown Championship Match: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Zeus

Zeus has been on the rise for about a year now. After a decent showing in the 2017 Champion Carnival with a win over Joe Doering, he was granted a title shot during the January 2nd New Years Wars show, but fell short. From there we see Zeus slowly move away from being a tag team wrestler, especially off the heels of the 2018 Champion Carnival where he had an opportunity to win B Block, but fell short there also. Miyahara is seen as the new Ace of All Japan. Young, extremely charismatic, over with every crowd and very adept in the ring. After going back and forth in tag matches, Zeus was positioned well enough to grant him this opportunity. Does 6 more months of seasoning, give him what he needs?

So what we get here is a match with two men who are very familiar with the other. The early action is slow and methodical, where both trade back and forth until Miyahara takes it to the outside.  Kento decided to play heel, since this final show of the Summer Action Series, was in Zeus’ hometown of Osaka. So we see Kento using the barricades, working at Zeus’ legs and turning up the aggression. Even going as far to do a signature spot of his where he pulls his opponents head against the ring post and doesn’t relent even after the referee gives the 5 count. This time, referee Kyohei Wada was pulling on Miyahara’s hair and yelling at him, all while he continued to pull on Zeus’ head. This made for a small comedic wrinkle with Wada admonishing him like an angry father, but the match went on.

Kento maintained the advantage in a lot of this match. As soon as Zeus started to build some momentum with Lariats and power moves, they go out to the apron, where Kento snaps off a big Vertical Suplex, which may have given Zeus a stinger since he was favoring his left arm and wiggling his fingers, causing the referee to come out and double check on a couple occasions. Zeus is about to beat the 10 ten count (it’s at 7) but he loses grip of the ropes and falls back to the floor.

Wada is about to count 10 but Zeus is mostly on the apron, and Kyohei uses his discretion to stop his count. But it was here that we basically got a different match. Kento flies into the corner to connect with a Blackout, only to piss off Zeus and have him storm out of the corner with a massive lariat. Both men trade signatures for a while here. A few more Blackouts (V-Trigger Knees) and a German Suplex Hold from Kento, while Zeus connects with a Chokeslam and even a Jackhammer, but Kento kicks out.

I’ve never seen someone kick out of the Jackhammer, or it happens so rarely it felt new to me. So the suspense builds nicely as Miyahara keeps trying to land his Shutdown Suplex, but Zeus is a former bodybuilder, so trying to keep his arms down is asking a lot. After each failed attempt, both men trade strikes until it looks like Miyahara finally has it. But midway throw Kento’s arch for the bridge, Zeus breaks out and sends the Ace spinning with a lariat. One more Jackhammer, and we have it, a New Triple Crown Champion!

Winner: Zeus via Jackhammer

Rating: **** 3/4

 

1. NXT Championship Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs Aleister Black (c)

After feeling he’s dispatched Johnny Gargano, Ciampa decided to focus his attentions on the NXT champion. Neither one of them having a lot of back story together, made a lot of sense to give us a couple weeks of Ciampa stirring the pot and then we get a TV title defense.

The frustration was obvious in Aleister’s aggression, moments of chiding Tommaso and even things he said throughout the match. Early on it’s very back and forth, we see more mat wrestling than one might expect and not a lot of strikes. The early going showcased Ciampa’s mind games mainly, especially when he stops short as Black attempts a Deep Arm Drag but misses completely, giving Ciampa a pin attempt for 2.

Eventually Aleister turns the tide and Ciampa is on the back foot for a bit. It spills to the outside and Black continues to throw Ciampa around and land some big Round Kicks, as they slide back in Ciampa jumps on the champion quickly to try and build back his position in the match. But the educated feet of Black get the best of Ciampa again, so when Ciampa gets knocked off the apron, it looks like Black will go for a dive, but Ciampa moves, Aleister does his Asai Moonsault into a meditative sitting position and waves at a now annoyed Tommaso Ciampa.

After heading back into the ring, Ciampa finds a small opening to push Black over the top rope in mid Moonsault. This grants the opportunity for Ciampa to throw him into the barricade, apron and then the stairs. Ciampa returns the mind games but sitting on the stairs cross legged and waving. It’s at this point the intensity of the match picks up and it becomes a very back and forth effort. Ciampa has a small advantage, then a timely kick or suplex grants Aleister the opening he needs.

Out of desperation we see Ciampa uses a crutch from under the ring while the ref isn’t paying attention but only gets a 2 count. Then Ciampa goes to the outside and pulls up the protective mat, which prompts the referee to come out and scold him. So when Ciampa heads back in the ring, Black charges him and accidentally kicks the referee off of the apron, immediately after landing Black Mass, but with no one to count.

Black goes to try and revive the ref, when he returns to the ring and lifts Ciampa, Tommaso drives his thumb into Black’s eye. Taking the moment he goes to get the NXT Championship to use it as a weapon, but Johnny Gargano tries to get involved. Superkicks Ciampa and in the process of grabbing the belt away, he loses his balance and strikes Aleister with the belt.

Ciampa throws out Gargano, the ref slowly makes it back into the ring and Ciampa nails a Double Underhook Piledriver for the victory.

Most of the callbacks in this match were callbacks to his matches with Gargano, so it made sense for him to get involved. This is most likely heading towards a Triple Threat, but for now, we have one of the best heels in the business walking away with the gold.

Winner: Ciampa via Double Underhook Piledriver

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Well, this is one of those week’s I go with the dark horse match. Zeus has been one of my favorites since I got back into All Japan last year, so seeing the payoff in a high quality match, and his way of walking around the entire stage area to personally shake hands and hug each fan, was something special. Yes yes, Ciampa being the devious evil villain is a good story, but it’s also an outcome most of us knew was happening since WWE spoiled it themselves.

So for shear impact it had on me, and a little smidgen of bias, I’m going with, AJPW Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara vs Zeus, just because.


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Opinion

WWE Week in Review: February 11-17, 2019

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review! 

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review!

RAW

Becky Lynch vs The McMahons:  Since this was an episode long story, I’m just going to include it all here. This was pretty much Austin vs McMahon with less swearing and middle fingers. I think everyone knew that the whole apology thing was BS before they finished saying it, but seeing Becky mull her options was interesting.

That said, I’m NOT happy about Charlotte Flair being shoehorned into this. She’s excess baggage in a match that doesn’t need her. Becky Lynch was the talk of sports, not just wrestling, SPORTS, last year, not Charlotte Flair. All WWE had to do was not screw up Rousey vs Lynch and they screwed it up MASSIVELY. Hopefully, this will get fixed before April.

Boss Hug Connection vs Riott Squad vs Nia and Tamina was a go-home match with stakes attached: the loser will be the first entry in the Elimination Chamber, meaning that they’ll have to stay in the longest of the six teams involved.

It was a really good match, Liv Morgan showed herself to be very scrappy, taking on Nia Jax who outsized her in every respect. Normally, I would say that Boss Hug Connection losing means that they’ll win at Elimination Chamber, but I really think WWE’s going to build Nia and Tamina as an unstoppable team for WrestleMania.

Elias/Lucha House Party was a weird segment considering all the commercial breaks and cut aways. It makes me wonder if there were some technical problems that they were trying to work out. Add in the absolute randomness of LHP coming out and it not being for a match. It was just a weird segment and I’m not sure what the point was.

Drew McIntyre vs Finn Balor/Six Man Tag went WAY too long and was BORING on top of it. I sort of got the McIntyre/Balor thing because McIntyre is allied with Lashley, but the whole run-in and thing with Angle and Strowman and the six man was just…UGH!

Speaking of Angle, this is really hard for me to say but, he needs to retire. I get that he wants to give back and get the young guys over, but it was pretty obvious that the Wrestling Machine can’t go the way he used to and it was really sad to watch.

Kevin Owens: I’m not a Kevin Owens fan, so his segment didn’t do much for me, personally, but I’m glad he’s recovered from his surgeries.

Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riott was a match straight out of NXT, where they actually did have a rivalry when Nikki first debuted with SaniTy and it was really great. I was a little disappointed that Nikki lost, but Riott needs the momentum for her match at Elimination Chamber, so her winning didn’t hurt my feelings and she and Nikki looked great.

Seth Rollins’ segment alone and with Heyman was really good. It’s still not clear that Seth will be able to beat Lesnar on his own, but he made it clear that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to do so. I loved Rollins saying what a lot of people have felt about Brock Lesnar and his Universal Title runs.

Rumor is that Dean Ambrose changed the script of his segment with Rollins and what he said was more in character for Ambrose than whatever Vince had in mind. It also teases possible way for Rollins to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Dean Ambrose vs EC3 was an okay match, but the important thing is that Ambrose won the match, even with a roll up, giving 3 a taste of his own medicine. Even though the crowd was DEAD after a very lackluster show, Ambrose got quite a pop when he won, so hopefully face!Dean will stick around for awhile longer.

Revival vs Rood/Gable: Last week, I voiced my frustration over the booking of the Revival and how they should’ve been tag champions by now and it FINALLY happened. After months of screwy, and sometimes downright STUPID, losses, the Revival are the RAW Tag Team Champions after a fantastic match with Roode and Gable.

Thoughts: This was a BORING RAW. The cuts and segments were all over the place. It was like they couldn’t figure out the show sequence and were just winging it.

SmackDown

Pedro Morales: Pedro was before my time, but in his day, he was a great babyface champion and took the title off of Ivan Koloff after Ivan’s shocking victory over Bruno Sammartino after Sammartino had held the title for seven years. He was also a two time Intercontinental Champion and holds the record for most days as Intercontinental Champion. Rest in Peace, Pedro.

Charlotte Flair: I’ve been pretty vocal about not being happy about Charlotte being shoe-horned into the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania, and I still feel that way. I don’t care if Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey was always the plan, plans can change and there’s no reason why Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey needs to be a Triple Threat when every other member of the Four Horsewomen got a one on one with Rousey. However, Charlotte did a good job of embracing the hate that she’s getting, but it’s clear that WWE’s really angered the fans with this decision and will have to tread carefully or they’re going to turn the fans completely against the show in general.

Mustafa Ali being out of the Elimination Chamber match SUCKS! However, I’m hoping the concussion won’t keep him out for too long.

Triple Threat Tag Match was a good bookend for the tag match on RAW, but why in the world were the IIconics not involved? They could’ve just done commentary or something. That said, it was nice to see Naomi finally get some revenge on Mandy Rose and get a pinfall win on her. Also, Naomi/Carmella has turned into my favorite SmackDown tag team for the Women’s Division.

McMiz TV was about what I expected it to be: cringey and over the top, but it was a good segment and I loved the Usos standing tall while casting doubts on McMiz’s chances on Sunday.

Elimination Chamber Gauntlet Match was amazing for one reason: Kofi Kingston. Kofi has been a staple of WWE TV for over a decade and it was nice to see him really get a chance to shine away from New Day. I could be wrong, but I believe Kofi set a record by lasting an hour in the match. After he was finally eliminated, the match was a lot less interesting, and Randy Orton’s sneaky win wasn’t a surprise when I realized that there was five minutes left and Kofi was still in. Do I think Kofi will be champion off of this? No, not really, because he’s been performing like this for a decade and it’s never gotten him closer than the Intercontinental Championship, and he hasn’t held that in years, but we’ll see on Sunday.

Thoughts: A solid show overshadowed by the Gauntlet Match, but got everything in place for the two big matches on Sunday. My biggest issue with SmackDown was that the Gauntlet match was really the only exciting match and that stopped after Kingston was eliminated. Other than that, the show was forgettable. Hopefully that will change next week.

205 Live

Lucha House Party are always fun to watch in the ring, but I’ve never thought of them as compelling promo guys, but their in ring promo on Tuesday was pretty good.

Lince Dorado vs Jack Gallagher was a really good match, and it was nice to see Gallagher in action since WWE hasn’t seemed to know what to do with him and Gulak if they’re not feuding with Kendrick and Tozawa. Gulak’s gimmick still bothers me because he reminds me too much of RL politicians, but it makes it easy to hate him. Gallagher getting a win was a surprise, but it wasn’t an unwelcome one and it looks like it’s going to be LHP vs Party of Gulak for now.

Humberto Carrillo’s interview was really interesting. I’m still not a fan of the whole Gulak thing of showing a POC the ‘proper’ way to do something they’re obviously good at or saying that their style is lack, but Carrillo is a great wrestler and it makes for an interesting first feud for him.

Ariya Daivari’s promo was interesting. He basically bashed everyone he’s been attached to without naming names. I think he’ll make a great #1 Contender but I don’t see WWE doing a Heel vs Heel storyline for the Cruiserweight Championship just yet.

Mike and Maria’s promo was much in the same vein as Daivari’s: Been working for x number of years and not gotten the recognition they deserved and is better than the people he lost to. I do like the whole ‘Not the losses but the process’ thing, but I think WWE still doesn’t know what to do with them and that really needs to change. Kanellis would be a great babyface challenger for Murphy.

Tony Nese vs Noam Dar was a fantastic main event for 205, which is par for the course for them. This started as a small feud, but it’s definitely the most interesting feud right now. I was a little disappointed that Dar lost, but if that means this feud continues, I’m all for it.

The only problem with 205 doing No DQ matches is having to work around SmackDown and/or dealing with a crowd that might be worn out from two hours of main roster wrestling.

Murphy vs Tozawa Contract Signing went about as well as any contract signing in WWE could be expected. There was a lot of trash talk and vows of victory. I was surprised that blows weren’t exchanged though, it’s almost become a staple of contract signings that someone gets beat up.

Thoughts: A pretty good episode of 205, but not a wowzer. It had goo matches, but nothing really jaw-dropping. Nese vs Dar was fantastic, but the crowd wasn’t into it after SmackDown, which is a real problem.

NXT UK

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley’s promo was really fantastic. I’ve been a little disappointed that Toni hasn’t defended her title since winning it off of Ripley when Ripley defended the title almost ever week or so. WWE kept things simple by having Ripley use the usual heel excuse of dumb luck to explain the face’s victory, but Ripley stating outright that she hates Storm because of everyone comparing her to Storm was interesting as you seldom have a heel stating that they HATE the face for whatever reason. I loved the fight between the two and am really looking forward to the rematch.

Jordan Devlin vs Noam Dar was every bit as great as I thought it would be. Devlin’s done a great job of building his brand as a loud-mouthed heel, but there’s no denying that he’s super talented. Dar is extremely underrated, in my opinion. I was a little surprised that Devlin lost but having the loss be due to Travis Banks protected Devlin and got that feud back on track. Plus, it gave Dar a win he really needed.

Jinny vs Mia Yim: I believe I said last week that I don’t get Jinny and this week’s match solidified that feeling. I. Don’t. Get. It! There is nothing interesting about Jinny. She’s got an average look, average promo skills, and average in-ring ability, there’s really nothing about her that explains why she should’ve beaten Mia Yim, who is better than her in every respect as far as the ring goes.

That said, the match was good, but I’m not thrilled with Mia Yim getting beaten by someone she should’ve wiped the mat with.

Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang was a FABULOUS match! Wolfgang gets overlooked a lot since he joined Gallus, but it’s not often that you see a big guy that can move like he can. I found it odd that Walter, who is apparently being pushed to face Dunne didn’t get involved, but it was a great match and Pete Dunne looks unstoppable, so that’s all that matters.

NXT

Shane Thorne vs Dominik Dijakovic was exactly what I expected from any match with Dijakovic: Rough and tumble. It was a good match, but I can’t say I’m overwhelmingly impressed with Dijakovic since he almost never has a match longer than five minutes.

Undisputed Era’s promo was really good. Usually a faction losing all their belts is a sign that a split is coming, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with Undisputed Era, at least not right now.

Sky Pirates and Bianca Belair’s Promo was really good and established that Belair isn’t a face now, though her assertion that she’s still undefeated is kind of stupid.

Street Profits vs Humberto Carrillo and Stacy Ervin Jr would’ve been a good, if random, match if WWE had just let them wrestle instead of adding Ohno and Lee for no real reason and then having European Alliance and the War Raiders run in at the end. It just made the segment feel very disorganized.

Aliyah vs Taynara Conti: I’ve been saying for awhile that NXT needs to do something with Aliyah. She’s a great talent and is a great heel, but she tends to get overlooked. That said, I was shocked when she got Conti, a LEGIT blackbelt in Judo, to tap out to the Total Aliyanation, which isn’t the most elegant or impressive thing I’ve ever seen but it definitely did the job.

I HATED the Horsewomen running in on a match that didn’t concern them just to prove how ‘bad’ they were, especially since Aliyah, Borne, and Conti are tweeners/heels. Just a stupid ending to a really good match.

Ricochet vs Adam Cole was AMAZING, as I expected it to be.  I really can’t think of much more to say than that. I wasn’t surprised by Ricochet’s win or the Undisputed Era standing tall. I was surprised by Aleister Black’s run-in, but I’m not against it. It at least gives Ricochet an ally against the UE.

Elimination Chamber

Men’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: The men’s Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship was the main event, and not a deserving main event, in my opinion. I think the Women’s Tag Championship should’ve main evented.

The match was okay. Elimination Chamber matches can be a little hit or miss and this was a hit. Styles being eliminated was a surprise because I really thought it would be down to him and Bryan. Kofi Kingston’s performance was AMAZING and it was a damn shame that WWE chickened out of giving the crowd a truly shocking moment on the Road to WrestleMania, but Bryan retained, just like I though he would.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: I have to admit that I was very unhappy about this match being starting match because it definitely had a lot more interest than the Men’s Chamber match.

Overall, this was a really good match, but it was ROUGH, as is usual for a Chamber match. Riott Squad were my favorites coming out of the box, but I still rooted for Boss-Hug Connection. I was SHOCKED when Boss-Hug won it, my money was on Samoan Dynasty or even the IIconics.

Intercontinental Championship: I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really care about this match. I like Balor, but Lashley bores me rigid and I don’t really care about Rush other than to say he’s annoying.

The match was okay, but I wasn’t into it. However, I am THRILLED that Balor won and FINALLY has a title after being on the main roster almost two years and with only a one day reign as Universal Champion to his name. The end of the Lashley/Rush feud was an unexpected bonus, but I’m not sure what they’re going to do with Lashley without Rush because Lashley has the personality of a dry mop.

RAW Women’s Championship: Not gonna lie, I skipped Charlotte’s promo because I’d rather have my eardrums ruptured than listen to her and because my wifi kind of stinks, I was a little behind. I LOVED that Ronda ditched her usual shorts because watching her tug at them drove me nuts.

I feel bad for Ruby Riott that that pitifully short match was all she got just so WWE can build a match we’ve already seen and nobody wants to see again. Thank God, Becky showed up to save us all. Watching her beat the living hell out of Charlotte AND Rousey was very satisfying, but the use of Riott was utter BS.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: This was a really good, very physical match. I’m a huge fan of Tozawa and I was very impressed with his, and Murphy’s, performance. I was not surprised that Murphy won, but I was disappointed. Murphy’s a good champion, but it’s time for someone else to hold the belt.

Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin: The neverending, feud between Corbin and Strowman got another airing as the two took each other on in a No DQ match. The match was every bit as bad as I expected it to be and worse, and my expectations were LOW. I can’t say the end was a shock, but I was hoping that this feud would end and it’s not. Mocking the Shield? Not cool and I hope Dean stays in WWE long enough for the Shield to beat all of them up.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: First and foremost, congrats to Miz and Maryse on their second child!

I’m going to admit that I haven’t been feeling this whole Miz/Shane thing and I still don’t since Shane has never been the best wrestler in the world and Miz gets on my last nerve.

The match against the Usos was as good as can be expected. I was shocked, given what happened with Jimmy Uso last week, that WWE would put the belts on the Usos, but I’m very happy about it. It looked like McMiz would steal it from the Usos, but Shane’s bravado got the better of him.

Thoughts

This was another okay week for WWE, I can’t say it’s one of the best ones they’ve had on the road to WrestleMania. Every show had its solid points, but WWE was definitely playing it safe, which is understandable since the company’s biggest PPV is coming up.

Elimination Chamber was okay, it was definitely a B-PPV, but there were enough nice surprises to keep it from being a total snoozer. Now we have Fastlane in three weeks and WWE’s going to really have to ramp up the build to get people into WrestleMania.


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

Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/17/2019

With New Beginning Osaka to start the week, and Elimination Chamber to end, what makes Andrew’s cut for Top 5 matches?

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With New Beginning Osaka to start the week, and Elimination Chamber to end, what makes Andrew’s cut for Top 5 matches?

So this was an eventful week. Osaka, Uncaged and Elimination Chamber all happened, and hell, even SmackDown and Raw put on 1 match each that was worth noticing. Given everything to process, and how there was a bit of good stuff to pick from for everything…this is one of those times where I have a tie.

But before we reveal the tie, we need to reveal the winner last week! It wasn’t a difficult vote since slower weeks when I go hunting, tends to mean the random matches don’t get adequate love. With that said, yes, Matt Riddle vs Drew Gulak, ran away with the votes.

So let’s get to this week, and one mini surprise on the list!

 

5 (t). WWE Raw: Raw Tag Team Title Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs The Revival

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Raw returns once again, and Gable slams Dawson down to catapult him into buckles! Fans rally up, hot tags to Dash and Roode! Roode rallies on The Revival, and gives Dash a big back drop! Dawson runs into a urenage! Dash runs into a gourd buster onto Dawson! Roode fires up as he tackles them both in the corner! Roode hops up and aims at Dash, but Dash gets clear. He clotheslines Dawson instead, then gives Dash a GLORIOUS Spinebuster! Cover, TWO! Roode is shocked but The Revival still lives. Dash crawls away but Roode winds it up. GLORIOUS but Dawson saves Dash from the DDT! Dash rolls Roode, TWO! Tag and Dash bucks Roode off. Gory Special, BULLDOG! Cover, TWO!! Roode lives and The Revival can’t believe it!

Dawson tags Dash and they double whip. Roode sunset flips, Gable crossbodies! Cover, TWO! Dash runs into boots and Roode tags to Gable. Gable hops up, but dash scoops. Roode slips out, Gable moonsaults but misses. Gable waistlocks Dash while Roode climbs, GLORIOUS Blockbuster and German Suplex combo! Cover, but Dawson breaks it just in time! Fans realize “This is Awesome!” as all four men catch their breath. Roode runs at Dawson but Dawson tosses him out. Gable hits Dawson with a rolling kick, then wheelbarrows Dash to a victory roll! TWO and Dash gets to the apron. Dash shoulders back then climbs up, but Gable leaps up to join him! They fight, Dawson tags. Dash sunset flips and Dawson climbs, Doomsday Device! Cover, but Roode pushes Dash into it! All four men are down and fans are loving it!

Fans again declare “This is Awesome!” as the teams regroup. The Revival stand up first and drag Gable up. They double suplex but Roode saves Gable. Roode ducks their clotheslines and shoves Dash into Dawson. Roode then tosses Dawson out and Gable climbs up. Dawson DDT’s Roode! Gable leaps for a sunset flip with jackknife bridge! TWO!! Dash tags in even as Gable atomic drops Dawson. Gable is ready with haymakers, then whips Dawson. Dawson reverses, but Gable leaps, INTO SHATTER MACHINE!! Cover, The Revival win!!

Winner: Revival via Shatter Machine

Rating: ****

5(t). WWE Elimination Chamber: Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber: The IIconics vs Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs Tamina & Nia Jax vs Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs Carmella & Naomi

WWE Elimination Chamber Women's Tag Team Championship Match

From My Review:
Well the beginning of this chamber match started off pretty awful actually. But once the rest of the teams got involved, the match actually got better. Riott Squad performed really well, IIconics had a nice tandem pin to eliminate Naomi and Nia took the Big Show bump of crashing through a pod. Honestly a little surprised they put the belts on Sasha & Bayley right away. With Sasha’s injury and faces chasing belts usually being an easier way to write a Mania angle, they instead took the easy route and just put the belts on the fan favorites right away. Surprised not because it doesn’t make sense, surprised because WWE usually takes detours and goes around the block a few times before eventually ending up where it should’ve been. But yea, bad first couple minutes, but turned into a damn good match.

Winner: Banks & Bayley via Modified Bank Statement

Rating: ****

 

4. RevPro High Stakes: Will Ospreay vs PAC

The NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay, faces the Open the Dream Gate Champion PAC. In a match that’s been dubbed a dream match by many, let’s see how this 30 minutes match plays out.

Ospreay starts off the first few minutes by flipping out of PAC’s moves, as a way to frustrate the Bastard. Eventually they go into the usual Indy exchange of kip ups, duck unders and stuff that makes the crowd cheer. Early on Ospreay gets busted up either from PAC’s Apron Thrust Kick, Moonsault or stomping on his face. The bleeding stopped fairly quickly, so it didn’t turn the match into a mess at least.

After the slower build up of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’, the match started to become a hard striking affair. PAC hit some stiff shots and a real Hurricanrana (you don’t see the actual move often anymore). Eventually Ospreay gets an advantage and PAC is prone in the Hidden Blade (unprotected Elbow that got so much hype when it concussed Ibushi), but CCK interfere in the match. Jonathan Gresham and Chris Brooks beat on Ospreay a little and go to grab a belt to hit him with, but grab the Dream Gate title. Big no-no.

PAC sees this and steps on the strap before Brooks can pick it up and basically shows some pride in the match. He kicks away the belt, then he and Ospreay take out CCK ending in stereo Planchas, with both men sliding back into the ring never taking their eyes off one another. Aussie Open comes out to take CCK away, and then we hit a portion of the match that made me groan.

Ospreay literally starts hitting reference moves. Rainmaker, Scurll style finger break, Benadryller and then a Shooting Star Press, and to no one’s surprise, PAC kicks out. Stormbreaker attempt number one, but PAC tries to counter with a Frankensteiner, Ospreay stops him and hits the Styles Clash, for another near fall. Uughh…

The finish sees the 1 minute call happen, Ospreay tries another Stormbreaker, PAC flips off the shoulder and low blows Ospreay in front of the ref. PAC then tells the ref to ring the bell, the ref decides not to and he wants a finish. PAC hurries to the top rope for Black Arrow, but then hears the final 10 second count down. So he just stands on the top rope and counts along with the crowd, flipping the bird for 1 of course.

So what was framed as Ospreay’s match to win at 2 different points (3 if you count the fact it should’ve been DQ), PAC forces the Draw. Ospreay and fans ask for 5 more minutes, but PAC just walks off. Good match, hopefully leading to something because the lack of a distinct finish, low blow and interference took away from a match that could’ve been a classic.

Still worth the watch though.

Winner: TIME LIMIT DRAW

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. SmackDown Live: Elimination Chamber Guantlet Match: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan vs Jefft Hardy vs Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Randy Orton

From My Review:
Now comes the gauntlet and the New Day reveal of who they’re picking as the fill in for Mustafa. Kofi and Daniel Bryan start things off, and this alone was a solid match. Now it did great things by showing Daniel is vulnerable without help. New Day got banished, Rowan did as well, and in his scrambling to try and win quickly, Bryan gets caught by a Trouble in Paradise, Kofi gets the pinfall. Jeff Hardy comes out and immediately tries to throw some of his bigger signature moves on an already weakened opponent. Hardy misses a lot, and then gets caught in the S.O.S. Now with Joe coming out at 3, most of us probably saw this going the same way as Rollins from last year, and here’s where the plucky workhorse loses, but nay! Kofi manages to reverse the Sleeper Hold into a pin. Joe being the angry man he is, sinks in the Coquina Clutch after the loss, so AJ has to break it up. Now AJ does what Cena didn’t do well last year. Trying to play the whole ” You don’t need to continue, you’re hurt, just stop” angle. AJ showed real concern cause he helped him back into the ring and seemed sincere. Kofi got fired up and what we saw wasn’t bad at all. Kofi versus AJ could definitely be a good number 1 contender match, maybe at Fastlane or Mania. AJ catches Kofi with the Calf Crusher, and awaits Randy Orton. As the crowd gives Kofi the standing ovation, Randy flies in from off camera and hits and RKO out of nowhere for the 1-2-3, right at 10 eastern. Perfect punctuation. Yes a couple spots here or there were a little sloppy, but generally speaking this was a great match. Maybe even better than last year’s Raw gauntlet.

Winner: Orton via RKO

Rating: **** 1/4

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Ryusuke Taguchi
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: ****
WWE Elimination Chamber: Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs Akira Tozawa
Winner: Murphy via Murphy’s Law
Rating: ****
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Knockout’s Championship Street Fight: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (c)
Winner: Taya via Double Footstomp through Table
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT UK: Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang
Winner: Dunne via Cross Armbreaker
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW New Beginning in Osaka: Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Elimination 4v4: Team Impact (Fallah Bahh, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake & Eddie Edwards) vs Team AAA (Puma King, Psycho Clown, Hijo del Vikingo & Aerostar)
Winner: Team Triple A 4-3
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT UK: Noam Dar vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Dar via Cradle
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Jr Battle of Glory: Atsushi Aoki vs Black Menso-re
Winner: Aoki via Cloverleaf
Rating: *** 1/2
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Fatal 4 Way Impact World Championship: Killer Kross vs Moose vs Johnny Impact (c) vs Brian Cage
Winner: Johnny via Starship Pain
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT UK: Jinny vs Mia Yim
Winner: Jinny via Dirty Pin
Rating: ***

2. NJPW New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

From Mathew’s Article:
This match was mostly about one thing and that was the evolution of Jay White and his character in New Japan over the past year and everything he’s been doing since this new persona has been unveiled to the world. Jay’s character has evolved with how his mindset works, how he speaks, the mind games, and the following he has gained when he was the new leader of Bullet Club. Tanahashi, despite having a classic with Kenny Omega recently, he’s still injured and body is still busted and you can see that with how he moves in the ring and when Jay attacked his knee recently, he found a target point to use throughout the match. The best part about this was that the interference with Gedo was very minimal and I’m glad that was the case since that would’ve been overkill if he did it constantly, even Tanahashi would attack Gedo a few times when he just had enough of his shit.

Gedo would be used as a distraction once again to give Jay enough time to try and hit Tanahashi with the chair but would move out of the way as he accidentally hits Gedo with the chair. Tanahashi was able to get High Fly Flow in but onto Jay’s back and wasn’t enough to put him away and as he went for the second one, Jay would roll out of the way. Whenever Tanahashi would try to hit a big move in the match, Jay would use the ropes to hold himself up so that Tanahashi wouldn’t get a chance to hit a Slingblade. This was a smart move as he would do it a few times and whenever Tanahashi had him away from the ropes to try and hit it, Jay would fall to his knees to buy himself a little bit of time. Jay would attack the knee a little bit more but Tanahashi would finally get a chance to get some Dragon Screws in before applying the Lucky Cloverleaf to try and make JAy tap out but Jay had the ropes just in time. Jay caught Tanahashi to try and go for the Blade Runner but Tanahashi turned it into a Slingblade and would hit another one to put Jay down. Tanahashi is up on the ropes once again as he would attempt another High Fly Flow but Jay caught him in midair to hit the Blade Runner and he connects this time for the pinfall and we have a new champion!

I’m actually speechless as to seeing Jay White win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship here since I expected Tanahashi to at least have a few successful defenses under his belt before dropping it at the G1 Supercard or Dominion, but it looks like they backed themselves up into a corner with Jay White since he had a ton of momentum leading to this match that losing here would hurt him slightly. Jay White has been wrestling for six years and has been with New Japan for about four of them and he has now defeated the ace to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It looks like New Japan has a new star made to fill the void of Kenny Omega, which Jay did beat early in 2018 along with Kazuchika Okada, and now Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay is the new star and we’re indeed in the Cutthroat era.

Winner: White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1.  WWE Elimination Chamber: WWE Championship Elimination Chamber: Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy vs Daniel Bryan (c)

WWE Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Kofi dropkicks Orton! Kofi drags Styles up, but Styles gets him with the STO backbreaker, just like the Gauntlet match! Styles drags Kofi up as fans rally. Styles whips Kofi to a corner, then runs in, only for Kofi to put him outside. Kofi turns around into Styles’ forearm, then Styles springboards, into an RKO!! Cover, Orton ELIMINATES Styles! Orton grins as he watches Styles be helped out of the Chamber. But Kofi rolls Orton! TWO, Trouble in Paradise misses. Kofi kicks Orton back, then climbs up, only for Orton to trip him up. Orton drags Kofi out from the top rope, for a SUPER draping DDT! Fans duel as Orton hears the voices in his head. Orton stalks Kofi but catches Bryan in a powerslam! Orton goes back to Kofi but Kofi denies the RKO! TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Cover, Kofi ELIMINATES Orton!

Kofi is one of the final two with Daniel Bryan! Houston is thunderous for how close Kofi is to achieving a dream! Kofi and Bryan are in opposite corners, and Kofi fires himself up. Bryan and Kofi stand up stare down. They approach, and start throwing hands! Bryan kicks so Kofi kicks, and repeat! They go back and forth, but Kofi eggs Bryan’s kicks on! Bryan kicks and Kofi kicks! Trouble In Paradise misses, Bryan dropkicks the legs out! Bryan dares Kofi to sit up, and starts giving him No Kick! He kicks again and again, but Kofi ducks the buzzsaw! SOS!! Cover, TWO!! Kofi was so close yet so far from finally being world champion! Houston is at a fever pitch as Kofi and Bryan reset.

Kofi runs in but misses in the corner! Fans rally up as Bryan takes his time looming over Kofi. Bryan throws angry haymakers, saying Kofi doesn’t deserve to be here. Bryan gives Kofi more kicks, then runs corner to corner, for a big dropkick! And then another! And a third! A fourth! Kofi jumps out and double stomps out Bryan! Cover, TWO!! Houston is right there with Kofi on how close he was again. Kofi wills himself to his feet and to a corner. He aims at Bryan as he stands. Kofi runs but Bryan bails out. Kofi goes after Bryan and throws him into chains! He does it again and again and again! Kofi only picks up speed as he rams Bryan into steel! He drags Bryan up, bulldog but Bryan sends Kofi into the pod!

Bryan drags Kofi into the ring, and waits for Kofi to stand. Fans are not giving up on Kofi, but Bryan is taking am. Bryan runs at Kofi, KNEE PLUS! Cover, TWO!? Kofi survives and shocks Bryan! But Houston is eating this up! Bryan grows angry, and grabs Kofi’s arms. Bryan stomps away on Kofi’s face! And again and again and again! Cover, TWO! Bryan wants another shot, Kofi stands, TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Cover, TWO to a cradle! TWO, and Kofi kicks Bryan. Bryan catches Kofi’s arm into a form of the Labell Lock! But he also rakes the eyes and nose! This isn’t illegal in the Chamber! Kofi reaches and gets the ropebreak! Bryan lets go out of exhaustion. Bryan sits up and drags Kofi around. Houston declares “This is Awesome!”

Bryan climbs up top but Kofi kicks him down! Kofi climbs up and throws hands. Bryan climbs to the pod but Kofi pursues. Kofi clubs Bryan down then headbutts him against the Plexiglas. Kofi throws Bryan into it as fans chant “Yes! Yes!” He drags Bryan up, but Bryan resists. Kofi throws body shots but Bryan continues to block the risky suplex. Bryan fights and now he bounces Kofi against the Plexiglas! Bryan decides to use Kofi’s idea, but now Kofi resists! Kofi fights back and clubs Bryan down. Bryan slips down to the post but Kofi again pursues. Kofi boots Bryan again and again and sends him all the way down! Kofi stands, leaps, but FLOPS! Bryan aims from the corner, KNEE PLUS!! Cover, Bryan wins!

Winner: Bryan via Knee Plus

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Well the top matches of this week were all very close. I’m torn on quite a few of these matches. Revival finally getting the monkey off their back and winning the belts, Bayley & Sasha being the inaugural ‘modern era’ or however they’re spinning it Women’s Tag Champions, Jay White doing something no one has ever done, that being beating Tanahashi on a first defense. Since admittedly Pac/Ospreay was disappointing on surface level since there was no clean finish, I guess we know what my pick is.

Men’s Elimination Chamber match is my vote! Started off slow, had spots that tried too hard and just looked dumb, but that’s nit picking. Kofi’s story was fantastic, once a few people got eliminated the match really started to take shape. Plus the entire Kofi/Bryan portion was almost a match within itself. Just so many nice layers, and even though Kofi didn’t win, I think he won over many people that weren’t really fans of his prior.


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