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The Book Club: Rebooking The G1 Climax

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Welcome to The Book Club! This is where I try to take current talent, storylines, and events and book them to their maximum potential.  To get a better understanding, you can read through last week’s installment on Roman Reigns.  This week we’re taking a look at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 28 which just concluded on Sunday.  For an in-depth breakdown of every night of G1 action, check out the coverage of The Chairshot’s Andrew Balaz and Mathew Sarpraicone. If you watched and followed along for the past month you’re probably thinking that there isn’t really anything that needs to be improved on.  And I agree.  New Japan has a knack for consistently providing the best product in the world.  With that being said, instead of wiping the G1 clean and stating how it should have been booked, I’m going to give a few proposals on how it could have been booked.  Whether these proposals are better than what actually happened are completely up to you.

Proposal #1: The Path of Kota Ibushi

In the first booking article I wrote back in May, I stated how I hoped Kota Ibushi would win the G1.  My feelings remained the same up until the start of the tournament.  If you’re reading this then you probably know that he lost in the finals.  My big goal would have been to save the Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega match for the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13.  Keeping Hiroshi Tanahashi in the finals is fine with me but I probably would have booked Ibushi to win.  In order to preserve the match against Kenny and still have Ibushi win the finals, I would keep everything the same except move Ibushi to the A Block and Tanahashi to the B Block.  If you watched the final night of the B Block then you heard the commentary team mention how the venue was above capacity just because of the Omega-Ibushi main event event.  Imagine if you could channel that type of demand for a match and pair it with a 5 month build to the Tokyo Dome.

Proposal #2: Kenny Omega Loses His First Match

We saw Taiji Ishimori defeat Will Ospreay in the first night of the Best of the Super Juniors.  This was shortly after Ishimori was revealed as the new Bone Soldier of the Bullet Club.  I thought we would see something similar since Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa turned on the rest of the Bullet Club right before the G1.  The win wouldn’t have been without outside interference, of course.  Tama did win his first match but didn’t beat Kenny and didn’t finish with a great record.  I was a little disappointed because I thought this would be the start of a big push for him.  I understand that Tama and Bad Luck Fale cared more about their impact than scoring points but I think their top priority should have been to ruin Kenny’s tournament hopes.  Regardless, Kenny Omega starting the tournament 6-0 as the company’s new champion was still a strong choice.

Proposal #3: Same B Block, Different Outcomes

This proposal works as an alternative to the last one.  Kenny Omega won his first six matches but lost his last three.  That worked just fine but I would have had his final three opponents be Zack Sabre Jr., Tama Tonga, then Kota Ibushi.  News broke last month that Kenny had been wrestling with a fractured heel.  With this news public, the heel would have been the perfect target for Zack Sabre Jr.  He could have targeted it with submissions throughout the match which would eventually lead to a referee stoppage.  This would then give Tama Tonga a path to cleanly defeat a hobbled Omega.  They could have a rematch for the belt later when Omega is healthy and able to retain.  That leaves us with the Ibushi v Omega match.  I mentioned wanting to preserve that encounter.  I would accomplish that with a draw via an assault from the Firing Squad.  The assault would need to be long and violent enough to warrant a draw like the one in San Francisco.  The points would also need to be in a situation like in the A Block to where Ibushi only needs a draw in the final match to win the block.  Even though it makes sense, I ultimately decided against this idea because calling off that main event would basically be robbing the capacity crowd of their money.  That’s why I preferred the option of moving Ibushi to the A Block so his bout with Omega could wait for Wrestle Kingdom.

Proposal #4: Chris Jericho

I didn’t mind Jericho not being part of the G1.  He has a ridiculous schedule and his mystique within NJPW remains in tact.  However, it would have been nice to see him make an appearance on the final night to target his next opponent.  Kazuchika Okada and Jay White have the perfect characters at the moment to match Jericho’s insanity.  There’s already a story going on between Okada and White for control of CHAOS.  Maybe the Intercontinental Championship could alternate between the three of them until the score can be settled between two of them at Wrestle Kingdom.

Proposal #5: The Kick Out

Kevin Kelly addressed it during their match.  Kota Ibushi is the only person on record to kick out of Kenny Omega’s One-Winged Angel back in DDT.  Now that they’ve grown much closer since then, Kota should remain as the only person to do it.  The reasoning could be that perhaps Kenny doesn’t want to hurt him or that only Kota knows the intricacies of Kenny’s moveset like no other.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if it ending up happening in their match last week.  If they meet again on a big stage, Kota Ibushi kicking out toward the end of an arduous match would be beautiful.

Proposal #6: Juice in the A Block

Chris Jericho’s absence from the G1 means the second biggest belt in the company was left out of the blocks.  The B Block had three champions and the A Block didn’t have any.  I thought that was a bit of a peculiar decision.  Those that defeat champions during the G1 usually get rematches for the title later on.  That means the A Block competitors didn’t have any consolation belts to chase on their journey.  Since Juice Robinson lost many matches due to his injured hand, he may have been better served as the only champion in the A Block.  They tried to create the narrative that he has a long line of opponents waiting for title shots after the G1 but Kenny Omega and Hirooki Goto are bigger names that suffered losses to similar people.  So it would make more sense for guys like ZSJ and Ibushi to chase Goto instead.  In fact, Tomohiro Ishii has already hinted at a rematch for Kenny Omega’s heavyweight strap.  If Juice was the lone champion in the A Block, it truly would have felt like him versus the world.  He’s a bright babyface on the rise and just won his first championship.  Successful defenses against everyone in the A Block would have been a fun thing to get behind in the coming months.

 


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WWE NXT 2021 Year in Review: Best Matches Of The Year

Bradley Jay takes a look back at 2021 for NXT as he ranks the best matches of the year!

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Bradley Jay takes a look back at 2021 for NXT as he ranks the best matches of the year!

Better late than never. Here are the best NXT matches of 2021.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ilja Dragunov versus Rampage Brown versus Joe Coffey 4.5 stars
  • Swerve Scott versus Leon Ruff, NXT TV, 5-4-21, 4.6 stars
  • KUSHIDA versus Johnny Gargano, NXT Vengeance Day, 4.6 stars
  • Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa versus GYV, NXT TV, June 17, 4.7 stars
  • Subculture versus Eddie Dennis & Primate, NXT UK TV, 1-11, 4.7 stars
  • A-Kid versus Nathan Frazer versus Rampage Brown, tv 09-24 4.7 stars

Ilja Dragunov on his win over WALTER at WWE NXT TakeOver 36

7. WALTER versus Ilja Dragunov, Takeover 36, 4.7 stars

When you are talking about the best match of the year, you have to split some hairs. Yes, this match was brutal and lived up to the hype, but the end left a sour taste in my mouth. Dragunov is standing tall, belt held high, with his foot on a prone WALTER’s chest. WALTER has been too good for too long to deserve this kind of disrespect. Dragunov had a million reasons to celebrate his victory, and that gesture was forced and unnecessary. Great means great from start to finish.  

WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa -- NXT UK Championship Match: photos | WWE

6. WALTER versus Tommaso Ciampa Takeover, Stand & Deliver,  4.7 stars

I gave Ciampa a 1% chance of winning. Despite the lack of drama, these two told a masterful story with near flawless execution. Something about WALTER brings out the best in whoever he faces. He did it with Tyler Bate and Ilja Dragunov. He did it with Ciampa. This was easily his best performance since his return from neck surgery. People say he’s a brawler, while guys like Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong are known for their gas tank. Ciampa showed he can run with the best of them. He earned the respect of Imperium and my #1 Star of the Night.

WWE Women 🎊🍾 — Kay Lee Ray(c) vs Meiko Satomura for the NXT UK...

5. KLR versus Meiko Satomura, NXT UK TV, 3-4-21, 4.8 stars

Kay Lee Ray versus Meiko Satomura was brilliant. Near flawless. Oh how these two deserved a live crowd. I was worried because the build was rushed and forced. Silly me. After 25 years of bumps, Satomura is still quick as a blink. I can only imagine what she looked like in her prime. I’ll be honest. The post-match show of respect from KLR was so genuine, I shed a tear.

WWE NXT UK Crowns New Women's Champion In Meiko Satomura

4. KLR versus Meiko Satomura II, NXT UK TV, 6-9-21, 4.8 stars

How would they top their first MOTY contender match-up? By delivering another MOTY candidate. I would have liked to see Satomura with more rage & anger throughout. And it would have been better if I watched on mute instead of enduring Nigel McGuiness’s incessant yapping. Satomura’s post-match reaction was priceless. She’s been wrestling for two decades and still looked like she just won her first title. If you tell me either is the best women’s wrestler in the world, I will not argue with you. 

MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans -- Men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: photos | WWE

3. Grizzled Young Veterans versus MSK, Vengeance Day, 4.8 stars

It’s my favorite cliche in all of wrestling: the tag team match will steal the show at Takeover. I wanted to see MSK deliver in a longer match. Wow. I got what I asked for. I loved the end when Nash Carter flipped the switch from goofy skater boi to a guy who can get angry and kick some ass. As for Wes Lee? Shades of Ricochet! And I’m already looking forward to GYV in the finals of next year’s Dusty Cup Classic. 

Something Wicked This Way Comes - NXT's "New Year's Evil" Review (06/01/21) - STEELCHAIR Wrestling Magazine | Covering WWE, AEW, NJPW, ROH, IMPACT and more

2. Rhea Ripley versus Raquel Gonzalez, New Year’s Evil, 01-06, 4.9 stars

First, one tiny grievance. I was hoping for more with the finger tattoos. Someone should have tried to tear a digit off. That would have sealed the deal and made this 5 stars. Despite that missed opportunity, I loved this match. Both women looked like absolute destroyers. I’m sorry to see this rivalry end. Any other night, including Takeover, this would have been MOTN by a miracle mile. Wednesday night was not any other night… 

Kyle O'Reilly Addresses Hospital Reports Following NXT New Year's Evil 2021 Main Event Against Finn Balor | EWrestling

1. Finn Balor versus Kyle O’Reilly, New Year’s Evil, 01-06, 4.9 stars

Call me bitter, petty, a mark. If O’Reilly had won this would have been 5 stars, maybe more. There are few wrestlers in NXT more universally loved and appreciated than O’Reilly. Everyone wanted to see him win. I was certain we were getting his Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30 moment. I felt O’Reilly’s anguish when he lost. Heartbreaking. As it is, we got what could be the 2021 MOTY, and it’s the first week of January! It will be a very good year watching everyone else try to top this.

The year didn’t end as strong as it started, but let’s be thankful for what we had. Thanks for reading, and always remember: Good things happen when you let wrestlers wrestle.  


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POD is WAR & Peacemaker: Episodes 1-3 Review

DC needs some love too! It’s not just all about Marvel! So POD is WAR, decides to cover some Peace-maker. John Cena, 80s hair metal, dumb jokes…is there anything more on brand?

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Well since the Bandwagon Nerds are buried in other shows, the tumultuous triple triad decided this show’s title just goes too well with our show name. So as a cheap excuse for a literary reference, and to spread the good word of hair metal and John Cena, POD is WAR will be reviewing Peacemaker!

  • Show: Peacemaker
  • Streaming Service: HBO Max
  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: Critics – 94% / Audience – 85%

WAR & Peacemaker Review: Episodes 1-3

Andrew: It was the best of shows…it was the worst of shows. What? Have you heard the podcast? If you expect serious this is the wrong article and definitely the wrong series to be watching.

The show picks up after the events of The Suicide Squad with Peacemaker (John Cena) being told he can leave the hospital and immediately conferring with a janitor whom he smoked a little weed with during his rehab. A comedic back and forth about being trustworthy and if Peacemaker is really a Superhero and not a racist Super Villain sparks up (a pretty consistent theme through the first few episodes as well) as Peacemaker decides he’ll leave but he has to be careful.

So he first heads to what I’m assuming was his place, an American flag painted trailer. We get a small hint at his crime fighting buddy Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) who left him a ton of messages because his dad (Robert Patrick) never shut off the cell service. Just as Peacemaker thinks he’ll have normal situations to take care of, he’s ambushed by a group of people claiming to be a detachment from A.R.G.U.S. and are employing his help on Project Butterfly. Peacemaker realize that since Amanda Waller is involved, he’s not gonna be able to get out of this; even though they won’t explain what the hell Project Butterfly is.

With the main story catalyst established, we then meet his father, in an unassuming house with an upside down American Flag waving in the front yard. Fast forwarding a little through the setup, his dad is a racist hard ass but also a tech genius and has created a pocket dimension in a closet to store all of Peacemaker’s helmets. So an awkward attempt at Peacemaker trying to reconnect with his dad, leads us to the best eagle in a streaming show…Eagley; obviously Peacemaker’s side kick and best friend.

The rest of the first episode is a lot of Peacemaker trying to live a somewhat normal life and drop the Super Villain implications. After going home with a hair metal groupie looking chick at a bar, he clumsily leaves the file on Butterflies and potential targets on the bed they just had sex on. Turns out, she’s a Butterfly. So John Cena in his tighty whities is fighting this woman straight out of 1985 with Quireboys playing in the background. Peacemaker manages to get to his car (A Ford Comet with the American Flag painted on it) to get to a helmet that blows the attacking woman to literal pieces.

From there we find out that basically everyone in this squad is straight out of F Troop. The tech guy switches registration but uses Peacemaker’s dad cause he was “stressed”, the conversations tend to just be awkward and it comes down to Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) needing to tranquilize a good portion of police officers to get Peacemaker out of that exploded body situation.

Vigilante’s actual introduction is amusing and we go through a buddy montage of shooting things and playing with grenades. Which is beneficial because when it comes down to their first Butterfly target, Peacemaker chokes because he doesn’t have a reason to kill them and two targets are children. Thankfully, Vigilante is a psychopath and takes out three targets before their meta-human bodyguard Judomaster breaks up the sniper’s nest. After a funny torture scene (I know what I said), we bumble our way into Judomaster getting hit by a truck to be captured and Peacemaker manages to take out the target. During all of this we see that Peacemaker’s father does get arrested for the situation with the 80s looking woman, and when he enters prison, he immediately intimidates a black inmate with many of the white inmates reacting to his return. The episode ends with the Aryan Nation bowing and calling him the White Dragon.

So while Peacemaker is having a crisis of character since he doesn’t feel he’s a bad person, his father is a racist Nazi Super Villain. Fun times right? Reminds me of my childhood – not the point though! Since they batched the first 3 and the rest will be one episode a week, this definitely leaves enough to be intriguing. Sophomoric Deadpool style humor, with Cena’s ignorant deadpan delivery of a lot of it, is pretty great so far. I personally need to see things evolve a little to really chalk this up as a great series, but the first 3 episodes had enough things to keep me intrigued. Also…the opening is…unskippable. It’s a work of art.

Andrew’s Rating: 4.1/5

PC Tunney: Due to an unfortunate golfing accident he is only a floating head with the ability to speak and not write. Dragon Speech technology has not reached the Tunney Mansion yet. For his thoughts tune in to the show!

PC Tunney’s Rating: 4.5/5


AJ Balaz: Okay, I’m not going to lie, wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was from the start but the intro instantly had me sold from the start with the near cringe worthy, stone face dancing as Wig Wam’s ‘Do You Wanna Taste It Plays’ to give us the joy that we are about to have in this series. The first episode give us a recap of what happened in the last Suicide Squad movie with Project Starfish and what is going on for Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker. He is tapped to do more work for the ragtag group of people who were against Amanda Waller in The Suicide Squad and are now Black Ops for a new Project that is going on, Project Butterfly. Of course being the jock like imbecile that they portray Peacemaker, they don’t tell him what it is and rightfully so… he’s kind of an imbecile. We are introduced to his father, who has a past we will get to later and his partner-in-crime, his best friend, Eagley. In the meantime, the ragtag group mentioned before has a file for Peacemaker involving the Project and the only thing Peacemaker is thinking of is… who he’s going to have sex with now that he is a “free man”. Striking out to one of the group mates, he finds a stereotypical 80’s punk rock girl and goes with that. Peacemaker, does the deed and we learn that the easy strange is actually a butterfly. After Cena sings one of the softest songs in the history of songs, he gets destroyed in the fight but after jumping out of a window, grabbing his helmet from his 1968 Ford Comet in American Flag print, he uses a sonic blast to kill the Butterfly, everything in about a 5 mile radius and we get Love Bomb Baby by Tigertailz as the outro to make light of the mood.

Following that, we get the group trying to get Peacemaker out. I haven’t mentioned the other main character of this story yet in, Leota who has been added to the group along with Peacemaker for this Black Ops mission. It’s unclear, very sketchy as to why she is in the group but she is an absolute delight and deterrent from the super serious thought process of the rest of the group. This is where more of the comedic side comes in where Peacemaker is running up the stairs to grab things from the butterfly’s room once Harcourt is telling him to stay put they are coming and he is confused as to how and asks if they can see him doing “other things” (It’s very dude bro, locker room humor. You’ll be desensitized from it very quickly. It’s few and far between). Peacemaker runs from any potential problem, the tech guy of the group changes things over that is slightly… going to make more problems after. They group escapes normally and the problem that they did was switch the records of Car Title and fingerprints from Peacemaker’s name to his father’s. At the end, we see that Peacemaker’s father that is now in jail, is a Supervillain, neo Nazi that has the name of “White Dragon”.

The third episode starts with the group going to get rid of the politician that was in the folder from episode one and Peacemaker’s sidekick comes into the fold, Vigilante. He’s more of the friend that tries to impress the group more and after Peacemaker’s rifle doesn’t have a ‘Dove of Peace’ to make him feel better of killing people, Vigilante has to step in to do the job. Peacemaker freezes up until the bodyguard of the politician attacks them, Judomaster, and kidnap Vigilante and Peacemaker. After the group tries to get in the house to save them, Judomaster is incapacitated, Peacemaker manages to break free, kill the politician and a Butterfly leaves the body, trying to escape. “Oh… Project Butterfly.”

AJ’s Rating: 4.3/5

 

POD is WAR Consensus Rating on Peacemaker Episodes 1-3:  4.3/5


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