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Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Evolution (10/28/18)

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Toni Storm WWE Evolution

A look at the Three Stars Of The Night for the first all-female PPV put out by WWE, Evolution!

WWE Evolution is “in the books,” and for me it will be remembered as a show that greatly exceeded my expectations, and is currently my pick for WWE pay-per-view event of the year for 2018. Picking three standout performers is one tall order, and I will cheat on that today, but Three Stars is what this show was all about.

The Third Star:
Nikki Bella

I know she’s not the most popular performer in the world, and one of the least popular on this show. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE HER. She (and her sister) played her role to perfection. That role was to be the heel foil for Ronda Rousey, and Nikki Bella did that and more.

What’s the “and more?” Well, she gave Ronda Rousey her best match since joining the roster, which is no small task. Nikki Bella delivered in a big way, deserving of the main event spotlight. I don’t know if she’ll ever get the appreciation she deserves from most fans, but she’s getting it from me.

The Second Star:
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair (tie)

The match that everyone wanted to see go on last (c’mon, there’s no way this historic show was going off air with the ring and ringside areas full of plunder), Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch delivered a spectacle deserving of the largest stage possible. Becky is doing the bet work of her career, and Charlotte is right there with her.

Who knows if this is the end of their feud, but to me it seems apparent that Charlotte is headed to a showdown with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. If this was the end, it sure was a fitting one.

Honorable Mentions:
Umm…everyone? if I must choose:

  • The IIconics for playing their roles to perfections
  • Alexa Bliss for standing out in a match with three legends
  • Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler for delivering their best match to date
  • Everyone involved for delivering one of the best WWE battle royals seen in quite some time
  • Stephanie McMahon for not hogging the spotlight at all

And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!

The First Star:
Toni Storm and Io Shirai (tie)

The desire to win and take the next step in your career is what this match was all about.

And that was all the material Toni Storm and Io Shirai needed to deliver in this match. Both performed at the top of their game, delivering what I felt was the best worked match of the night. This was all winnig the field of 32 and taking hold of the opportunities that trophy has to offer. On this stage, Toni Storm and Io Shirai became WWE-level stars. Both deserve every bit of success that is surely coming their way.


Who are your Three Stars of WWE Monday Night Raw? Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom, and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


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NXT Minus 6: About that Cole-O’Reilly match…

It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong? 

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It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong? 

Exclusive: Kyle O'Reilly is ready to renew his career-long rivalry with Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver

6. I was jacked to 11 for Adam Cole versus Kyle O’Reilly. I was ready to give it a Tokyo Dome 6 stars. MOTY before the bell rang. A masterwork of storytelling. I correctly predicted it would be an unsanctioned match. Then the action started, and it quickly became “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”

NXT TakeOver: New Orleans | WWE

5. After the first few acts of violence, it was apparent that the problem with the match would be the stipulation. The last NXT unsanctioned match was Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa in 2018. That was 3 short years ago, but things move quickly in today’s world. There is very little chance an unsanctioned match can deliver the level of violence it promises as long as NXT is on the PG-13 Peacock.

The Most Brutal Spots from Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly's Insane Unsanctioned Match at NXT Takeover - EssentiallySports

4. Fans are losing their minds over all the content Peacock is leaving on the cutting floor. A lot of it was offensive and would never work today, but that’s not the point. The fact is there’s only so much violence Peacock’s parent company NBC will tolerate from wrestling. Take the chain, for example. Other than the clothesline, it was practically useless. O’Reilly tried to make it work, but it fell flat. In an unsanctioned match, 20 feet of heavy duty chain should be all you need to decimate another human being.

The B Word: Did Pro Wrestling's Blood Dry Up? | Ring the Damn Bell

3. Maybe I’m a victim of my own wrestling memory. An unsanctioned match in Memphis in the 80’s would have been a bloodbath. Someone would have been hung over the top rope with the chain around his neck. Whipped across the back. Hog tied. Someone would have wrapped it around their fist for a few stiff shots to their opponent’s forehead. But that goes back to my original point. None of that would fly today even if NXT was only on the WWE network.

5 Hilarious moments from this week's WWE programming

2. I’ll go so far as to say the only violent-promising stipulation that interests me is Falls Count Anywhere. There is zero drama in wrestlers pulling chairs from under the ring. The chance to use the naturally occurring environment as a weapon still holds a world of suspense. Someone is going through windows, walls, off the stage, over the guardrail, stuffed in a locker. Honestly, I’m tired of people getting hit in the stomach with folding chairs. Of all the ways to hit someone with a folding chair, that’s the least practical. 

WWE Announces Multiple Injuries At NXT New Year's Evil - WrestlingRumors.net

1. I’m sorry to say Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole didn’t deliver what I expected. Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe I don’t need over-the-top violence to entertain me. Maybe I don’t need wrestling to keep pushing the envelope. Five of my top 6 matches of 2021 are straight up wrestling matches. Maybe all I need is two (or three or four) strong characters and a good story. Damn, I sound old. 


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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 4/11/2021

WrestleMania week is back in the usual form with a whole lot of wrestling, and not a lot of sleep. The article was delayed a little to allow for me to try and watch as much as I could given other coverages and plans I had. See what you think about the Top 5!

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WrestleMania week is back in the usual form with a whole lot of wrestling, and not a lot of sleep. The article was delayed a little to allow for me to try and watch as much as I could given other coverages and plans I had. See what you think about the Top 5!

Firstly, we have to assess which match won March, and what our current Match of the Year Pool looks like!

MOTY Pool:

  • January: NJPW New Beginning Nagoya: NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February: NXT Vengeance Day: North American Championship: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Kushida
  • March: NJC 3.21.21: NJC Finals: Will Ospreay vs Shingo Takagi

Shingo managed to stack the deck a little bit, and he pulled off having one of his matches win March! So we’re starting off with 2021 Year of the Dragon, and with another Ospreay match on the horizon, well – let’s hope that this week’s Top 5 blows some doors off!

The winning match from last week was AEW’s retirement tussle, AEW Dynamite: Christian Cage vs Frankie Kazarian, which might get lost in the wash this month, but we’ll see!

Now we get to the Top 5!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa
    Rating: **** 3/4
  2. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 2: Unsanctioned Match: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly
    Rating: **** 1/2
  3. WrestleMania 37: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
    Rating: **** 1/4
  4. WrestleMania 37: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks (c)
    Rating: **** 1/4
  5. AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Jake Lee vs Suwama
    Rating: ****
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 2: NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs Karrion Kross
    Rating: ****
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs Daniel Bryan vs Edge
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Mystery Partner Triple Threat Tag Match: Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs TJP & Fallah Bahh vs Josh Alexander & Petey Williams
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT Tag Team Championships: MSK vs Grizzled Young Vets vs Legado del Fantasma
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Zeus vs Suwama
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs Drew McIntyre
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • IMPACT!: Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack & Rich Swann vs Good Brothers & Kenny Omega w/Don Callis
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Shinjiro Otani vs Kento Miyahara
    Rating: *** 3/4
  • Bloodsport 6: Josh Barnett vs Jon Moxley
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.10: Shuj Ishikawa vs Zeus
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Hardcore Wars: Team Dreamer (Tommy Dreamer, Eddie Edwards, Rich Swann & Willie Mack) vs Team VBD (Eric Young, Rhino, Joe Doering & Deaner)
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino
    Rating: *** 1/2
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE United States Championship: Sheamus vs Riddle (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Title vs Career: Knockouts Championship: Jazz vs Deonna Purrazzo (c)
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Yuma Aoyagi vs Shinjiro Otani
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WrestleMania 37: Bad Bunny & Damien Priest vs Miz & John Morrison
    Rating: *** 1/4
  • WrestleMania 37: Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs Raquel Gonzalez
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 1: Pete Dunne vs KUSHIDA
    Rating: ***
  • IMPACT!: Matt Cardona vs Jake Something
    Rating: ***
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.11: Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Doc Gallows w/Karl Anderson vs Black Taurus w/Rosemary & Crazzy Steve
    Rating: ***
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs Rhea Ripley
    Rating: ***
  • AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Suwama vs Kohei Sato
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Number 1 Contender: Knockouts Hardcore Gauntlet: Rosemary vs Tenille Dashwood vs Jordynne Grace vs Alisha Edwards vs Havok vs Su-Yung
    Rating: ***
  • NXT TakeOver Stand & Deliver Night 2: NXT Crusierweight Championship Unification: Santos Escobar vs Jordan Devlin
    Rating: ***
  • Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice: Crate American Bash: Johnny Swinger vs Matt Cardona
    Rating: ***
  • WrestleMania 37: WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos vs New Day (c)
    Rating: ***

3t. AJPW Champion Carnival 4.9: Zeus vs Kento Miyahara

From My Coverage:

Zeus and Kento have had great wars. There was a point a few years ago where Kento was Zeus’ hurdle, but after beating him for the Tag titles, he then gathered momentum. Zeus has beaten Kento for the Triple Crown before, has beaten him in the Carnival, and this has been one of the best rivalries of the last few years in current AJPW. Kento is of course the current generation Ace, and everyone knows that; but given Zeus’ track record and Kento’s stagnation the last year since losing the Triple Crown to Suwama, we could get something interesting.

The match starts with their usual sarcastic respect to one another during breaks and outside the ring moments. Given that they’ve had 2 5 Snowflake classics in the last 3 years, this had a lot to live up to. But at no point did it feel like retreading, since they are both in different positions comparatively, this felt like a whole new book, not an additional chapter. Zeus landed a lot of power spots while Kento combated everything with his Knees.

Kento’s usual attack of Blackouts from different angles rocked Zeus pretty hard. Zeus ate a few, grabbed a Chokeslam and they both landed for a rest spot. Zeus drives Kento into a corner, goes for an Outside-In Brainbuster and starts trying to end things. Kento goes for the Shutdown Suplex, Zeus fires out, a few big Lariats and a Jackhammer from Zeus…AND ZEUS WINS!

Winner: Zeus via Jackhammer

 

3t. WrestleMania 37: SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks (c)

From AJ’s Review:

Bianca catches some of Sasha’s high speed offense and does powerbomb pinfalls as Sasha kicks out of the first two, reversing the third with an X-Factor and taking control back with a Tornado DDt for another near fall. Banks now goes to the top for a Frog Splash. Sasha gets her anger and ruthlessness to wrap Bianca’s hair around her opponent into a Bank Statement and somehow, Bianca powers through and gets to the ropes before Sasha starts stopping on Bianca’s face after the break. Banks keeps going with the trash talking but Bianca shoves her into the corner post with some Shoulder Tackles and sets her up for a Superplex. Sasha fights her off and attempts a cartwheel kick before Sasha grabs the feet into a Tree of Woe position to land a Meteora. Sasha misses the first one, goes to a knee strike from the Tree as Bianca sits up so Sasha lands knees first into the turnbuckle and eats a 450 Splash for a near fall. Sasha tries to get control again after but gets whipped in the midsection with Bianca’s hair and after a fight to swing around, Bianca grabs Sasha up and lands the Kiss Of Death to win her first Women’s Championship in WWE.

Winner: Belair via KOD

 

3t. WrestleMania 37: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins

From Greg’s Consciousness:

  • This truly is the biggest match in Cesaro’s career–but it’s also one that would further cement Rollins as a Hall Of Famer.
  • I’ve been picking Cesaro here as I can imagine Rollins wants to make him in this one match.
  • Also, surprised that we haven’t seen everyone wearing white tonight, as we typically see a lot of at WrestleMania. It’s a welcomed change, I did all the black gear.
  • Nice to see that the Big Swing is a part of the match’s storytelling.
  • Corkscrew Splash! Seemed less effective that way–but more impressive.
  • Fans REALLY want to see Cesaro get the win, and I am with them.
  • Stomp into European Uppercut + 23 Rotation Big Swing + Neutralizer = CESARO WINS

Winner: Cesaro via Gotch Neutralizer

 

2. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 2: Unsanctioned Match: Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Kyle grits his teeth, gets a chair, turns it upside-down, and gathers up the chain. What is Kyle creating in his mind? Kyle brings the chain to the corner, piles it on, and then gets the chair. Kyle puts that chair around Cole’s leg, and then heads for the corner. Kyle flounders his way up the corner, but Cole gets up and uses that chair to SMACK Kyle off the top! Kyle falls to the mat, Cole gets sits the chair upside-down, and drags Kyle up. Cole puts Kyle in the ropes in the corner, gets around the corner and climbs up. Cole says he is always going to be better than Kyle! But Kyle LOW BLOWS Cole!! Payback for a moment ago, and Kyle gathers the chains again!

Kyle wraps his leg up in the steel, locks it in, and aims at Cole! Cole is on the chair, STEEL GUILLOTINE KNEE!!! Cover, KYLE WINS!!

Winner: Kyle O’Reilly via Steel Guillotine Knee

 

1. NXT Stand & Deliver Night 1: NXT UK Championship: Walter (c) vs Tommaso Ciampa

From AJ’s Review:

Ciampa not letting this momentum going to waste as he attempts a Fairy Tale Ending but gets coutner into a pin from Walter. Ciampa kicks out and actually lands the Fairy Tale Ending for another two count. Ciampa keeps going with the rapid offense but gets caught into a Sleeper Hold. Tommaso breaks it by manipulating Walter’s weakened hand and breaks out of the hold only to get a German Suplex and a heavy Lariat that Stan Hanson would love for a two. Walter tries to get strength back into his hand and goes for a powerbomb but Ciampa now counters it, biting Walter’s hand and putting him into a Fujiwara Armbar, pulling the fingers back of the champion until Walter goes to the ropes to break it. Walter LOOKS WEAK as Tommaso tries to go for Widow’s Bell but Walter backs up to break the attempt from the apron. More fighting continues on the apron as they get to the top rope. Ciampa finally gets an advantage as he uses and Air Raid Crash from the top rope for another near fall.

Both men begin to get up and start a chopping contest until Walter decides to use his weight advantage to get an upperhand, pinning Ciampa down in a knuckle lock but his hand gives out, breaking it. Walter going to any length to win and stomps on Ciampa head, going for back to back powerbombs to take Ciampa down only for another two count and frustration rising. Walter grabs Tommaso for another Sleeper but make sit a Sleeper Suplex and to make sure the match is sealed, he hits one last Chop to retain his United Kingdom Championship.

Winner: Walter via Chop

 

Thoughts:

Well damn, we had a lot of damn good to great matches this week. Some stuff I missed since I had some fill in coverage I needed to do, but it was nice to see Mania week back in old form. Do I agree with my rankings on the fact that Walter vs Ciampa should win the weeek? Yes I do. But arguments can be made for nearly any of the Top matches.

So this should be an interesting fight to see what ends up winning the week.


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