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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/8/2018

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Now this week was interesting. It starts off with a pretty lame RAW and no one had a lot of expectations for the G1 Special in San Francisco. So you’d expect a down week, right?

Before we get into this week, let’s handle the results of last week’s vote and reveal the June Pool for Chairshot MOTY. Last week’s winner, by a very slim margin, ROH BITW Tag Team Championship Match: Young Bucks vs The Briscoes (c). Which rounds out June, so not let’s look at that.

June Pool

205 Live Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs Cedric Alexander
NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega
WWE Money in the Bank WWE Championship Last Man Standing: AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura 
205 Live: Buddy Murphy vs Hideo Itami vs Mustafa Ali
ROH BITW Tag Team Title Match: The Briscoes vs The Young Bucks

 

To be perfectly honest, this is a difficult pool. Many people might default to Omega vs Okada IV because of the Meltzer rating or what have you, but none of the matches on this list are hands down inferior. Since I didn’t think Meltzer’s 7 star orgasm was that fantastic (it was still damn good, just not scale breaking), I’m giving my vote to, AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura.

So let’s get to this week’s matches, and yes, still doing the overview since life and chores get in the way. Being an adult kinda sucks…but anyway…TO THE LIST!

 

5. Dragon Gate Rainbow Gate Open the Triangle Gate Championship: Natural Vibes (Genki Horiguchi, Kzy & Susumu Yokosuka) (c) vs Don Fujii, K-ness & Ryo Saito

Now admittedly my interest in Dragon Gate waned a bit after a fairly awful King of Gate tournament. But my general confusion on how this match happened and the main event of the show, intrigued me enough to turn it on.  So the usual goofy Ryo Saito, is apparently going under a new transformation where he is a “rookie” again. Due to his change, he and Don Fuji managed to get a tag team win over Genki and Susumu, so it set the stage nicely for them to have a claim to the Triangle Belts.

This match started off the way most 6 man tags do, where each person got a few minutes, tagged out, rotated for a while and then finally the match started to pick up. I was curious why Ryo was going for so many Backslides, and apparently it’s because that was his new “finishing maneuver”. That at least explained the crowd reaction and why the pinfall break ups seemed so intense.

However, Ryo, Don and K-Ness aren’t really a legitimate stable, and Natural Vibes are still rather new and building steam. So it’s not really surprising that Kzy finds a way to win the match, but it was a fun match. Numerous near falls, multiple finishers and seeing Ryo Saito playing a more serious character again is, well…different. After being rejected as a main event player, he’s become a beloved comedy guy.

All in all, this match was really solid and seemed to be more a conduit for Ryo Saito’s new character and evolution.

Winner: Kzy via Skayde Schoolboy

Rating: *** 3/4

 

4. 205 Live NoDQ Match: Mustafa Ali vs Buddy Murphy

This is like the 5th matchup between these guys in 7 or 8 weeks. They have yet to put on a bad match, but running it back too often is starting to wear on my desire to watch.

When we get down to the match, it works the same way most of them have. Murphy establishes his dominance since he’s bigger and stronger, but Ali finds a small opening and the match gets a little closer. I’m not sure how I feel about the crowd chanting “we want tables” and then when they didn’t get what they wanted we got a “no more steps” chant, so it was just a small annoyance about the crowds trying to get themselves over.

Funnily enough, there was one attempted announce table spot with the Spanish Fly onto it, and then the finish utilized the steps nicely. Ali had a superplex spot where he used the steps for extra height and then hit his Popping Tornado DDT off of the steps for a rather surprising victory. Now I may be wrong, but I feel like this evens up their overall record at 2-2-1, so we might get another match, hopefully much later.

Really good match, but aside from the use of the steps towards the end, it wasn’t super different from what we’ve already seen from them.

Winner: Ali via Popup Tornado DDT

Rating: ****

 

3. NJPW G1 Special IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Cody vs Kenny Omega (c)

This match had a lot to follow up during the show, but it was the most well known storyline, probably in all of wrestling. Will Cody pull off the massive upset and ruin Omega’s victory parade over Okada, or does Omega get his win back over Cody while solidifying his leadership of Bullet Club?

Honestly, this match was just a lot of spots. It could be interpreted that both men were willing to “go to their limits” to take leadership for Bullet Club, but it just felt like too much. The first table spot was set up poorly, where Cody looked like he was gently tossed and ready to take a nap. Then we had a bunch of Brandi interjecting herself, the Bucks pleading with both guys to just squash things, but more stuff came out.

Chairs, Ladders, another table, all came out to try and end the match. Cody with a Superplex off the ladder back into the ring, Kenny Powerbombed Cody towards the outside table, but came up a little short. Cody hits a Crossroads after a ref bump for a near fall, but then Kenny hits multiple V-Triggers and finally finishes it with a One Winged Angel.

A few slow spots in the match, overkill on spots and general hiccups stopped this from being the best match of the show, but it definitely told a great story and showed Cody’s workrate ability a little more than previous matches.

Also the entire match got overshadowed more by the Tongan Firing Squad angle, as well as what looks like Cody and Kenny burying the hatchet. So lots of fun moving pieces, the match set things in motion…but just fell short.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW G1 Special IWGP Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Young Bucks (c) vs EVIL & SANADA
Winner: Bucks via Meltzer Driver
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Special: Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay vs Tetsuya Naito & Bushi
Winner:  Ospreay via Stormbreaker
Rating: *** 1/2
Impact: Rich Swann vs Fenix
Winner: Fenix via Fenix Driver
Rating: *** 1/2

 

2. NJPW G1 Special IWGP US Championship Match: Jay White (c) vs Juice Robinson

This was honestly surprising. Jay White has a tendency to be put in a bad spot before a Bullet Club main event and after a big match right before his, so he tends to get overlooked.

What started out as a mostly basic match, that was gimmicked because Juice was unable to use his left hand in fear of getting disqualified because of the cast on it, really blew up after one big spot. Jay White, throws Juice into the guardrail in front of the announce table and knocks over Jim Ross, which prompts Josh Barnett to get up and stalk down Jay White as the heel back peddles for a decent chunk of time.

You may be wondering how random extra people helps, but holy hell it added another layer of intensity to the match. Jay was getting booed more furiously (and the crowd already liked Juice’s Flamboyant Colonial Pirate outfit), which just dialed everything up to 11. Then on top of that, Jay tries to beat Juice in a cheap way with a low blow while Red Shoes is cowering in the corner.

However, thanks to Red Shoes apprehension to turn around, it gave Juice the ‘turn around is fair play’ moment and he clocked Jay White with his illegal left hand. Surprisingly that only got a 2 count, and it came down to Juice with a cute Rollup, and the pinfall victory. So he wins with the called shot, that he’s made a joke about all month.

The first United States born wrestler to hold the US Championship, but the match really helped to define Jay White’s character and maybe set up something cool between Josh Barnett and Jay White.

Winner; Juice Robinson via Rollup

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. NJPW G1 Special IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Dragon Lee

The insanity in this match, just, wow. Dragon Lee and Hiromu go all the way back to Mexico, but Dragon Lee started the match before Hiromu even got into the ring.

We saw a match that was expected from both of them. Fast paced, hard strikes and general disregard for their health. Nothing I say can really do this match justice since they started at 100 mph and never slowed down.

Plus now we’re all aware of the infamous Phoenix Plex/Steenilizer spot, which caused Hiromu to possibly suffer a broken neck.

This spot was part of what took away from the match for me, since some of the moves were just risky for the sake of being risky and not overly necessary. Hopefully the injury isn’t too serious and we see Hiromu back shortly, even though comparisons will be drawn to the infamous Shibata Headbutt and how he walked away but then collapsed.

A wonderful match, might’ve even been better without the cringe worthy moments. Thoughts and Prayers with Hiromu.

Winner: Takahashi via Time Bomb

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Now even with the news that broke Sunday about Hiromu, that doesn’t take away from how beautiful the match was and I already wasn’t a fan of some of the riskier moves or obvious botch, of course. So with all that said, Hiromu vs Dragon Lee, stole the show, let’s just make sure we get more matches from these guys instead of crazy spots for the present.

Everyone likes to pick on WWE’s “safe” style, but there’s a big difference between people tearing an ACL (it happens in non contact situations, ask Teddy Bridgewater) and getting dropped on your neck cause the move looks cool. Use Your Goddamn Head.


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Opinion

WWE Has Too Much Talent

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WWE in the past four years has been signing talents from all over the world and from every promotion that has amazing talent in an effort to steal those talents and to prevent this promotions to make any good quality wrestling. NJPW and ROH have been the biggest targets on talent that WWE takes from, names like Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Adam Cole, and just name a few have been signed to the WWE machine but the biggest problem WWE has is that what to do with all that talent.

Starting in NXT has been proven to be the best way to start your journey in WWE and the biggest example of this was Mike Kanellis, who started on the main roster instead of NXT and after just a few months of his debut he was relegated to low card position in WWE.But starting in NXT does not guarantee success in WWE, because like I mention before WWE and all it’s brands currently have to much talent and wrestlers like Balor,Roode, and others are lost in the shuffle and not to mention that Balor and Roode had very good runs in NXT.

Despite WWE having a full roster, they are looking to sign ore talent and their biggest targets are Kenny Omega, Cody and The Young Bucks In a desperate way to stop NJPW’s plans to expand into the american market and stop the rise of the independent scene it currently has by the success this men have right now. Also, another factor WWE would like to try to sign this amazing wrestler in the case of The Young Bucks is to boost the profile of the WWE tag division that in it’s current state is really bad.

Despite all this good wresters WWE has in its roster right now, the booking has become dreadful and some of the worst wrestling right now and maybe wrestlers like Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode and others should consider jumping ship to another promotion that could book there talent in a better way.


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Levin’s SmackDown Live Review

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You figured the aftermath of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view would be “must-see” television on SmackDown Live. With Jeff Hardy demanding a rematch for the United States Title with Shinsuke Nakamura and a potential confrontation with Randy Orton, the show was very much something I was looking forward to.

Let’s not forget WWE still had to wade through the waters of A.J. Styles’ win over Rusev. Would the company continue to book this feud moving forward? There was Carmella and her stooge James Ellsworth and the Asuka “situation.” Would the Empress of Tomorrow exact her revenge?

And if that wasn’t enough, Daniel Bryan has officially signed his new deal with WWE, which means he could be booked as a contender for Styles’ WWE Title. Where did The Miz fit in all of this, while he was busy playing softball during the MLB All-Star festivities and missed the show on Sunday night?

I waited anxiously for answers. Was I satisfied with the results? No exactly. Here are a few thoughts about SmackDown Live.

A.J. Styles vs. Cien Almas

The two superstars meet for the first time in WWE and does well for himself. The two crossed paths in Japan, renewing an old rivalry. The former NXT star has shown in recent weeks he could be part of the blue brand’s title picture. Almas was able to answer the WWE champion’s arsenal.

If WWE is going to push Almas toward the main event picture, this was the showcase he needed. Almas may have submitted to the calf crusher, but this is a feud I would love to see moving forward.

It also remains to be seen when WWE may book Styles to finally drop the company title.

The Demise of Rusev Day?

More like the beginning of the end of the relationship between Rusev and Aiden English. After watching the exchange between English and Lana, discussing how bad Rusev’s sidekick felt about costing him the WWE Title at Extreme Rules, I hope this does not lead to a confrontation between both performers.

This would be a huge blow to Rusev’s chance to remain in the main event picture. It may also put an end to the “Rusev Day” phenomenon.

Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose

While I am huge fan of Lynch, maybe even a slight crush on the Irish lass, the continual weekly bouts with Lynch and Sonya Deville have to stop. There is no movement in the women’s division. If anything, moving Sasha Banks to Tuesday nights might be the best thing for this division while Charlotte Flair is still out of action.

I will say this, the match between the two women may have been the best we have seen, with Rose showing she can hold her own with a former women’s champion. But still, “Make this stop!”

Now, Lynch sets her sights on Carmella and the SmackDown Women’s Title.

Paige and Carmella

I love Paige. Leave it to the SmackDown Live general manager to stir the pot. Lynch gets her shot at Carmella in a non-title match. If she beats the champion, she gets another match at SummerSlam. It makes you wonder what the heck the company is doing with Asuka.

Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger

Seriously! Dillinger is a classic example of moving to the main roster too soon. Joe should be part of the main event picture. You have to wonder when that might happen as WWE has yet to fully push the wild Samoan.

If Joe is not used effectively, where he deserves a chance to face Styles (see a theme here?) but his health and a crowded title picture may screw him out of a match.

The Miz Eulogizes Team Hell No!

The best part of Tuesday nights is the appearance of the “A-Lister.” Offering a eulogy for the demise of Daniel Bryan and Kane, who suffered a broken ankle in the loss to the Bludgeon Brothers was class Miz.

Oh, and congratulations on winning the MVP of the celebrity softball game on Monday night. Sorry, back to the moment at hand. We even got an N’Sync reference which was classic.

The Miz remains the class of Tuesday nights.

After proclaiming Bryan’s career is dead, you know what happens next. The setup for SummerSlam has begun.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Kofi Kingston vs. Eric Young

There was a time when Eric Young was one of the best in the business and one of the more underrated wrestlers. Now, he is the leader of Sanity. I’m not sure if I like this faction, but they are growing on me.

Kofi Kingston could be part of the main event picture, but he is mired in the current situation with The New Day. I’m still waiting for WWE to dissolve this trio and give Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods their own angles. The match between Kingston and Young could be a solid mid card feud, but that won’t happen.

A wheel barrow neck breaker gives Young the win.

Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (for the United States Title)

In the opening segment, Hardy said he was BROKEN because he did not have the United States Title around his waist and invoked his return title match clause. It was a good match, but not great.

Hardy takes the fight to the champion immediately. But this match slows down as expected. Nakamura continues to play the role of villain well, getting heat from the fans in attendance (who were mostly quiet until the Bryan-Miz segment). I’m curious what this match would be like if Hardy was healthy.

He admitted he has been banged up for some time prior to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

Insert Randy Orton. The Viper beats the hell out Hardy until he defends himself. Ultimately, Orton stakes his claim as the top heel on Tuesday nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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WWE Possibly Doing an All Women PPV? Yes, Please!

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So, rumor’s been going around that WWE’s planning to do a PPV strictly for the Women’s Divisions of RAW and SmackDown and all I can say is: FINALLY! WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR TICKETS?!

Ever since the start of the Women’s Revolution, it’s become more and more obvious that the women need a show of their own because as the Women’s Divisions grow on the Main Roster, there’s less and less room for them on the PPVs and TV and it’s a problem that’s not going to get better with time.

A major promotion doing an all women PPV isn’t new. TNA has done them before for their Women’s Division, however, WWE has never before invested the time in exploring such a thing, or had a big enough Women’s Roster to do it with, now they have both.

Why? Well, the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Divisions have a lot of talent, but are still seriously outnumbered by the men’s roster and so don’t get as much TV time as they should and when they do get TV time, if they aren’t involved in the title situation, they’re usually in a multi-person tag match.

So, what are WWE’s options here?

1. A Regular PPV. They could just take an already existing PPV like Unforgiven or No Mercy and just have an all-female card. Problem is making it feel special instead of WWE just copping out.

2. A Brand New PPV. This is the one I like the best, instead of resurrecting an old PPV: Give the women a PPV of their own that is named for them. The name I’ve been kicking around today is ‘WWE: Revolution’ and having the poster be of the two Women’s Division rosters.

3. A Network Special. This is the one I can honestly see WWE doing in the spirit of the UK Tournament or the Greatest Royal Rumble. One idea that a lot of fans seem to like is ‘Queen of the Ring’, which would, of course be an all women’s version of King of the Ring.

One issue I can see arising from doing an all women PPV is having enough matches to fill a three hour PPV/Special slot plus the Kickoff Show. There’s about twenty women between RAW and Smackdown, now that sounds like a lot, but WWE had a card of about 35 people divided up into twelve matches, including the Kickoff Show, and there was still a lot of talking to make the time stretch and that was with seven title matches. So how would they fill in the gaps for the Women’s Division when each division only has one title belt to compete for?

1. Include NXT. The NXT Women’s Division is looking really good right now and a good case could be made to include the NXT Women in an all women WWE PPV/Special.

2. Include some legends. If WWE were to do something like they did with the Women’s Royal Rumble and bring back some past Women’s Division stars and Legends and set up some dream matches it would not only generate a lot of interest in the show but definitely fill the roster up.

3. Have Title Tournaments. This would really only work if WWE was planning on introducing secondary and tag titles to the Women’s Divisions. The finals for those matches would be great additions to a Women’s PPV.

4. Include the Mae Young Classic. I doubt very seriously that this will happen, but it would be a great addition if this PPV goes off to maybe have the Mae Young Classic final match on the card.

Again, it’s only rumored that WWE’s considering a Women’s Division PPV, but I think it’s an idea whose time has come and is long overdue. Since 2015, the revamped Women’s Division has shown that they are more than capable of carrying a card, never mind a PPV on their own and it’s time they were given the chance to prove it.


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