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Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Opinions (10/7/2018)

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Joe Lucha Libre Report

To start off, as of starting to write this, I was just at the MLW TV Tapings in New York, where I will discuss all things lucha libre, so if you do not want spoilers scroll past this first section.

MLW

After the first match on the show Konnan had come out to cut a promo saying that Pentagon and Fenix weren’t here, basically because Salina de la Renta had them deported by ICE. Which is what she said when she came out. It got thunderous boos. Ricky Martinez was there and was stepping to Konnan but Konnan had a surprise for him. The debuting Puma King! They worked a fun match which Puma King ended up winning. Puma King has been having a lot of fun since leaving CMLL. The next luchador related match was El Hijo De LA Park vs Sammy Guevara. Guevara is AAA’s light heavyweight champion. It was a fun excited match that the crowd was really in to. Hijo de LA Park won it. Just a side note, Teddy Hart hit a doomsday device canadian destroyer on Marko Stunt. I believe Marko Stunt is dead.

Next on the ledger was Daga vs Low Ki for the MLW world heavyweight championship. This was an incredibly stiff match. The chops were so loud you could almost feel it yourself. The finish was Low Ki “ripping” Daga’s ear in half and then hitting his double stomp to the back of the head for the win. And in the main event of the show we saw PCO vs LA Park. The combined age of these men are over 100 years old. These men put on a show. Aside from the six man tag team match between Davey Boy Smith Jr, Teddy Hart, and Brian Pillman Jr against Rich Swann, ACH, and Marko Stunt. Park and PCO exchanged dives and spots that men their age had no business taking. Park ended up winning and kept talking on the mic after. The crowd threw money in the ring after and he thanked everyone for their dirty money. He thanked everyone for the opportunity and challenged Pentagon and Fenix for their tag titles in Chicago. That match is scheduled for November.

It was a really great show. MLW is super fun.

I have no seen Impact this week, but I know AAA’s La Parka was on and Puma King as well.

CMLL

Puebla

Park and his son had a match with Rush and Cavernario. It was a super fun match, but in my opinion the six match last week had more heat with the crowd. There were a lot more anticipation with the crowd every time Park and Rush squared off one on one. This week Park and his son won. There was no promo afterwards, however. The show quickly went off the air. Park headlined the Puebla show on Monday. I’ve yet to get to these shows because I’ve been super sick. I might be a little late on everything this week.

Friday Show

This show saw Los Guerrero’s finally beating the Kaos Klan for the trios title. After the match it was proposed that they do a 6 man tag match where all the hair and masks are on the line. So the losing team would need to shave or unmask. I have to assume this is set up for the Kaos Klan to lose since two members of Los Guerrero’s have masks. Masks usually beat hair percentage wise. I believe the percentage is 90 percent of the time the mask wins. They promoted the Grand Prix next week which will be on Honor Club.

AAA

I don’t wanna make it seem like I’m being lazy but pretty much nothing important happened at this show except for Blue Demon Jr returning. They advertised Dr. Wagner Jr being there for the main event as he was billed even though he wasn’t there. AAA has a tendency to do shady promoting. Very WWE like in that sense. So there’s a story here though, Dr. Wagner Jr wants to work an angle with his son, as in against his son. But Konnan felt that Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr wasn’t ready for the spot just yet. This apparently pissed off Dr. Wagner Jr and he claimed he was leaving AAA for good. Now he probably isn’t going to, since he’s still booked for the show on October 28th in a hair vs hair match. Clearly Wagner will win that match so it’ll be funny to see if he doesn’t show up for a match he’s supposed to win. Anyway, the main thing on this show saw Blue Demon turning on Psycho Clown who was his partner in the tag match. So he comes back to a huge reaction and he’s already a heel.

AAA hasn’t announced when it’s next card will be. The closest show they’re promoting is October 19th with the headline being Psycho Clown and Dr Wagner vs Hijo de Dr. Wagner and Electro Shock. I can’t imagine that’s the only show in between now and the big show. Usually AAA just randomly springs on the next show like four days before it happens.

Here and There

I don’t know if I have any news to report on. I’d recommend watching LA Park vs Pentagon on MLW TV which is Friday at 8 or Youtube at 6:05 on Saturday. CMLL is going to have it’s Grand Prix which is happening as I’m writing this on Friday. It’ll be on Honor Club and on demand.


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Opinion

WWE Week in Review: October 7-13, 2018

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Another week of WWE mayhem is in the books! On RAW, the stress of the ongoing feud between the Shield and the Dogs of War starts to show, the Bellas make an unexpected power play, three Hall of Famers return to RAW in some very unexpected ways, the feud between Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens gets ugly, and the AoP’s path of destruction continues. Also, the Qualifiers for the WWE World Cup kick off with a big surprise.

On SmackDown, Miz tries to stir the pot between Styles and Bryan with limited success, Charlotte learns that trying to stack the deck can bite you in the ass, English reveals more footage, but Lana gets the last laugh, a BIG star returns with hopes of entering the WWE World Cup, and we learn about Nakamura’s new challenger.

On 205, Lio Rush’s open challenge bring in two unexpected players, Cedric Alexander’s bid to bounce back from his shocking loss at Super Show-Down hits a stumbling block, and the Party of Gulak addresses the Brian Kendrick situation.

On NXT, Nikki Cross is dying to tell someone all her secrets, Keith Lee and Kona Reeves take their war of words to the ring, and Adam Cole, Ricochet, and Pete Dunne face off for the North American Championship in match that has to be seen to be believed.

So how did WWE do? Let’s find out!

RAW

 

The Shield vs Dogs of War: The months long feud between the Shield and the Dogs of War has tested all six men and it showed this week for both sides.

After their disappointing loss to the Shield on Saturday, Dolph tried to rally the troops, but was shut down by a fed up Strowman who called Ziggler a weak link and reminds Ziggler and McIntyre that their job is to make sure that Strowman wins the Universal Championship and they put down the Shield.

The Shield/Pack rematch was every bit as chaotic as it was on Saturday, but this time, the Pack managed to get a win over the Shield McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to a distracted Ambrose for the win. The Pack celebrated, but even though Reigns and Rollins were disappointed, Ambrose was NOT happy. Without a word to anyone, he left the ringside area, and his confused and upset brothers.

Kayla Braxton caught up with Ambrose after the show as he was trying to leave the arena and his only comment was that he didn’t get it and that maybe he didn’t fit in anywhere anymore.

RAW Women’s Division: Ronda Rousey and the Bellas teamed up again to take on the Riott Squad in a rematch from Saturday. Liv Morgan was determined to get her some of Brie Bella and stiff shotted Brie square in the face, to the shock of everyone, including the other members of the Riott Squad. Rousey and the Bellas won the match, but Rousey learned one off the reasons why the Bellas dominated the Women’s Division for so long: They will turn on anyone to get what they want. Both women turned on Rousey with Nikki hitting her from behind. Rousey tried to fight back but she was quickly overwhelmed.

Ember Moon and Nia Jax faced off in a one-on-one match. Nia was pretty dominate, but both women were nearly counted out due to fighting outside the ring. Ember made it in time, but Nia accidentally hit the LED board and was counted out, giving Ember the win. Thankfully, Nia was a good sport and didn’t flatten her new friend in frustration.

The build for two highly anticipated matches for Evolution started on Monday and then took a big swerve. The Queen of Queens, Trish Stratus, returned to RAW and addressed Alexa Bliss’ blatant, and easily fact-checked, lie about her that Bliss told last week. Referring to Bliss as a ‘brat’, Stratus decides to enlighten Bliss with a Moment of Stratusfaction.

Before she could get started, Bliss and Trish’s old nemesis, Mickie James, made their arrival. Bliss was less than impressed with Trish and vice versa. After trading some pretty petty insults, Mickie steps in, reminding Trish that nothing good ever happens when the two of them are in Chicago. Trish turns her attention to Mickie, warning her former rival to ‘protect’ little Miss Bliss and also warn her about what happens when you cross the Queen of Queens, you get a Hall of Fame level ass-kicking.

As always, Mickie is unperturbed by Trish’s threats, suggesting that instead of two one-on-one matches, they have a tag match, but who could be Trish’s partner? Where oh where could Trish find a suitable partner? Well, a suitable partner presented itself in the form of fellow Hall of Famer, and Trish’s long-time best friend, and on-screen rival, Lita!

The Queen of Extreme joins Trish and the four women start throwing fists before Bliss bails out. Mickie wasn’t so lucky, she took a patented Chick Kick from Trish before Bliss could save her from a patented Lita-sault. The Hall of Fame besties hold the ring, but it could be a very different story at Evolution.

RAW Tag Team Division: Authors of Pain’s reign of terror continued on Monday. After Bobby Roode and Chad Gable got one over on the Ascension, they were unceremoniously attacked by AoP, who beat both men down before hitting them with the Super Collider.

Kevin Owens vs Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush: After the loss on Saturday to Lashley and Cena, Kevin Owens was looking for some payback. Lashley was accompanied by his hype man, Lio Rush, who talked on the mic, the ENTIRE time. Unfortunately, Owens’ obsession with Rush would cost him dearly as Lashley picked up the win after a fairly dominate performance. At Rush’s prodding, Lashley dished out more punishment to the helpless Owens.

Brothers of Destruction vs DX: On Saturday, Triple H finally defeated the Undertaker with some help from Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, Taker and Kane weren’t in the mood to be good sports and attacked the former members of DX after having a moment with them.

DX kicked off the show and neither man was in a good mood. Triple H compared defeating Undertaker to climbing the biggest, nastiest mountain in the world and that they should be celebrating, instead they got hit by an avalanche.

Both men talk about respect and what it means and it seemed that neither man has any respect for Taker or Kane. HBK implied that he’d stayed at home because of his respect for Taker and that he’d given his word to Taker about retiring. Respect that no longer exists.

Are You Ready, Deadman Inc? Because at Crown Jewel, DX is looking for payback.

John Cena: It appears that John Cena had so much fun doing very little at Super Show-Down, he’s going to be at Crown Jewel.

Crown Jewel: There is going to be a tournament to determine who will compete in the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel.

Match 1 – Global Battle Royal: Apparently, Corbin isn’t taking this world cup thing seriously because he assembled a motley crew of jobbers in international costumes to battle for a spot, though the guy in the luchador mask seemed to be the most over. Corbin decided to join them and won to no great surprise. Or did he? There was someone who hadn’t been eliminated: The Gold Conquistador, who showed some impressive moves, including what LOOKED like an Olympic Slam. Hmm.

It turns out that Corbin got ribbed when El Conquistador de Oro was revealed to be none other than the REAL GM of RAW, Kurt Angle. Welcome back, Kurt! Oh, it’s DAMN true!

Mixed Match Challenge: Balor and Bayley faced off against Mahal and Alicia Fox, who have been having some issues lately, issues that Sunil Singh keeps getting blamed for.

The match was surprisingly good, with Balor and Bayley getting in some unique offense. Team B&B would get the win and the woes of Team Mahalicia continue on.

 

SmackDown Live

 

WWE Championship: At Super Show-Down, AJ Styles finally vanquished Samoa Joe, ending the months of mental torture he and his family had endured at Joe’s hands. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan finally got one over on Miz and it was a doozy. He not only beat his long-time rival and tormentor, but he won a #1 Contendership in the process, setting up a dream WWE Championship match for Crown Jewel.

A very petulant Miz hosted MizTV with guests AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Apparently, General Manager Paige had read him the riot act before the show and he promised to be professional.

Miz’s professionalism took form in belittling and insulting both of his guests and trying to stir up trouble, which failed for the most part since Styles and Bryan are familiar with each other and have a lot of respect for each other, which made the interview pretty boring.

Miz’s self-induced woes continued when his attempts to stir the pot result in Styles and Bryan picking on him, including Bryan commenting that punching Miz is a lot of fun. That was the last straw and Miz has a full-blown meltdown in the ring. The footage shows that he got his shoulder up at Super Show-Down but Paige refused to give him a rematch. Miz is angry that for all his (tainted) wins, Bryan gets one win and is the #1 Contender.

Maybe you shouldn’t have blatantly cheated to win your entire career, and insulted the General Manager every chance you got, Miz. Just a thought.

Anyway, Miz berates both Bryan and Styles, blaming the fact that the WWE Championship is usually in the mid-cards on Styles, rather than, say VINCE, who actually controls what matches go on when. Miz says he doesn’t care who wins at Crown Jewel, but he also has a surprise for Styles. Styles has a match against the man who Miz helped beat Daniel Bryan last week, Shelton Benjamin.

Styles vs Benjamin was fabulous, and Miz and Bryan were on commentary, Miz taking potshots while Bryan admired Styles’ ability. Styles would get the pinfall after a Phenomenal Forearm. Miz looks like he was weaned on a dill pickle the size of a sequoia, but Bryan is elated.

WWE United States Championship: Nakamura wasn’t in action tonight, but it was revealed that he will be participating the WWE World Cup Qualifier next week on SmackDown 1000 and his opponent will be…Rey Mysterio!

SmackDown Women’s Division: Becky Lynch showed on Saturday that she was willing to do anything to retain her SmackDown Women’s Championship, deliberately getting herself disqualified by using the belt on Charlotte Flair. Since Charlotte won by default, she was given another rematch with the added stipulation that if Becky got disqualified, she would be stripped of the title, thus giving it back to Charlotte.

Unfortunately, when Charlotte demanded that stipulation, she failed to consider that if BOTH of them were disqualified, she wouldn’t get the belt back. The reason that little oversight is important is because that’s exactly what happened. After an amazing and brutal match, both women were counted out, Becky was disqualified, but because Charlotte was also disqualified, Becky could not be stripped of the title. Enraged at again being denied the belt she felt rightly belonged to her, Charlotte charged at her former best friend, spearing her through the LED boards, badly cutting herself.

However, Charlotte will get one more chance. General Manager Paige announced that at Evolution, Charlotte and Becky will face off in a Last Woman Standing Match, the first in WWE history.

WWE World Cup: Not to be outdone by RAW, SmackDown did two qualifying matches for the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel.

  1. Match 1 – Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe: Samoa Joe was looking for redemption after tapping out to AJ Styles at Super Show-Down, as was Jeff Hardy, who has been less visible since his epic bellyflop at Hell in a Cell.

This match was rough but very good. Unfortunately, Jeff Hardy would have to settle for a less than stellar victory when Joe’s still damaged leg decided to give up before Joe was ready, forcing the ref to rule in Jeff’s favor.

  1. Match 2 – Randy Orton vs Big Show: Wellllll, Big Show is back and was looking to put his big name in the WWE World Cup, but he would have to beat the borderline psychopathic Randy Orton to do it. Big Show dominated the match, but Orton was nothing if not wily and was able to pick up the win after Big Show’s temper lead him straight into an RKO, giving Orton the pinfall.

Rusev vs Aiden English: Anyone actually believing that Aiden English had anything really damning on Lana or that Lana was a dumb blond were both greatly disappointed on Tuesday. Aiden English has spent weeks claiming that something had happened between him and Lana in Milwaukee and seemed to have delivered the goods, showing Lana seeming to come on to him, confirming the accusations. Or did it? Nothing on the footage shown last week showed anything truly untoward, but people have dirty, suspicious minds.

This week, to silence the skeptics, English showed more of the footage, which seemed equally damning, at least at first. Lana asks English to show how much he loves Rusev, and tells him how much she appreciates his help after English praises Rusev to the moon and back. The video cuts out just as the action looks ready to start. English tells Indy that he’ll only show the rest if Rusev comes out.

A very angry Rusev comes out and, instead of rolling the rest of the video, English lays out his case, demanding that Rusev ditch Lana and reform the original Team Rusev Day with English.

Lana comes and to ‘reason’ with Rusev, but it seems like Rusev’s mind is made up, but Lana has some tricks up her non-existent sleeves. She asks that the rest of the footage be shown, which English denies since SmackDown is a family show.

Wait. What? Why would English suddenly shy away from showing his hand and if he’s got a full house? Could it be that his ace in the hole is actually the joker? Lana reveals that she hacked English’s phone, his password was ‘I <3 Rusev’, and has the FULL footage of what happened that night in Milwaukee. Turns out that the only person coming on to anyone was Rusev coming onto Lana, and she turned him down. Now English looks like an idiot and makes the situation worse by telling Lana that the offer stands. That’s enough for Rusev, who chases down English and beats the hell out of him before English escapes.

205

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy was still in Melbourne, celebrating his victory, and spending time with his family.

Lio Rush Open Challenge: Lio Rush has been on quite a roll recently, he’s undefeated on 205 Live and he’s managing Bobby Lashley to great success on RAW. So now, he wants to share his greatness with other on the 205 roster because it’s Rush Hour. The first person to step up is Lucha House Party’s Lince Dorado. Rush is intrigued and like the ‘Lucha lucha’ and isn’t even put out when Dorado corrects him.

This match was incredible. Rush and Dorado really tore the house down with plenty of back and forth. Lio mocked ‘the kitty cat’, even tries to take his mask off, but quickly learned that you don’t piss off a lynx (which is what ‘lince’ translates to).

Just when it seemed that Dorado was going to be the one to finally hang a loss on the man of the hour, a figure appeared on the ramp, and it was Maria Kanellis, who has been out for a year due to her pregnancy and a wrist injury. Why Maria is here becomes very obvious when Mike Kanellis appears out of nowhere and shoves Dorado off the top turnbuckle, actually giving Rush his first defeat, albeit by technicality.

Cedric Alexander vs Tony Nese: If Cedric Alexander was feeling any regrets about his loss at Super Show-Down, he wasn’t owning up to them, at least to long time friend, Mustafa Ali, who expressed concern that Alexander was taking Nese’s bait too soon after the loss to Murphy. Cedric brushed off the concerns, saying that he’ll do what he does best, win and steal the show. And he’ll make sure Murphy got the message in Australia, so he’ll be prepared when Alexander invokes his rematch clause.

Alexander vs Nese was a very good match, but it seems like both men were feeling the effects of their grueling matches last week (yes, I know that Nese/Gargano happened about a month ago, but let’s stay in kayfabe, hmm?).

Nese took great pleasure in mocking Alexander and proving what a great athlete he was, which irritated Alexander greatly. Despite a valiant effort by both men, who beat each other from pillar to post, Nese would finally pick the win with a 450 splash. Maybe Ali was right to be concerned about Alexander’s state of mind.

Party of Gulak vs Brian Kendrick: Last week, Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher turned on fellow Party member, Brian Kendrick, after Gallagher lost a match, despite Gulak’s best efforts. This week, Gulak and Gallagher offered up an explanation for their actions, stating that their partnership was based on being dirty, rotten, scoundrels, but Kendrick had changed. To them, Kendrick had grown sentimental and soft and that is unacceptable. Gulak and Gallagher claimed to deeply regret what had happened, but Gulak says that it should’ve happened sooner and that next week, they’ll take care of Akira Tozawa, who Gallagher lost to, in their unending bid to ‘Create a better 205’ by taking all the fun out of it.

Mustafa Ali vs Hideo Itami: We found out that the next encounter between Hideo Itami and Mustafa Ali will take place on October 24th and it will be a Falls Count Anywhere match.

 

NXT

 

NXT Championship: If the NXT Universe has their way, Tommaso Ciampa might have an unexpected challenger for the NXT Championship: Nikki Cross! How’d that happen? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

Ciampa kicked off NXT and he’s got new entrance music as opposed to the silence from before. Ciampa likes it because it quiets the sheep. He then addresses Velveteen Dream, who has been making noises about Ciampa being involved with what happened to Black. As far as Ciampa’s concerned, Dream just wants attention, but he should be careful because bad things happen when you get the Blackheart’s attention.

Dream comes out and takes exception to Ciampa’s comments. He firmly believes that Ciampa had everything to do with what happened to Aleister Black. Furthermore, he believes that the NXT Championship deserves better than to be around the waist of an angry, bald, little man like Ciampa.

Ciampa is amused by Dream saying that what Dream wants is the main event and the spotlight, attention, which is why he’s making accusations about what happened to Black, which Ciampa doesn’t think Dream believes. He thinks that the reason Dream is making accusations instead of being straight forward is because Dream doesn’t think he’s tough enough to take Ciampa on.

Into this testosterone fest careens the Twisted Sister of NXT, Nikki Cross. The crowd is ecstatic and demands a triple threat between Ciampa, Dream, and Cross. Nikki, for her part, doesn’t have much to add to the conversation except to say that she knows what they did to both Ciampa and Dream.

To add some more strangeness to this whole situation, it seems that Nikki is a belt whisperer. The NXT Championship belt is talking to her and telling her all Ciampa’s secrets. Maybe the NXT Championship has found someone it likes more than Tomasso Ciampa.

NXT North American Championship: After the shenanigans of two weeks ago, General Manager Regal gave Pete Dunne a second chance at becoming a dual champion by booking the Adam Cole/Ricochet rematch for the North American Championship as a triple threat.

The match started off with Dunne and Ricochet ganging up on Cole before turning their attention to each other.

This match was amazing and more than lived up to the hype. Only problem is that with the announcement of NXT UK debuting soon, it kind of killed any tension for the match, at least for me. It also stinks because Dunne/Ricochet feuding for the title is definitely a money feud.

Despite amazing efforts by Cole and Dunne, Ricochet would retain his championship after hitting a 450 splash on Dunne. Amazing effort by all three men!

NXT Women’s Division: Shayna Baszler gave us an update on her training to get ready for Evolution. She still refuses to admit that Kairi Sane beat her because she was the better woman. No, it’s because Baszler had a misstep and Sane got lucky. At Evolution, however, Baszler vows to fix that mistake and get her title back. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Shayna.

As for Kairi Sane, she is super excited to be apart of Evolution and says that Shayna can train all she wants because everyone knows that Sane will beat her again, just like at TakeOver.

Aleister Black Mystery: Ever since Nikki Cross finally disclosed that she knows who attacked Aleister Black back in August, she’s been bursting to tell someone, which is good because General Manager Regal is eager to hear what Nikki Cross knows since his investigation can’t move forward until Nikki tells him what she saw.

However, it seems that Nikki might have more secrets to tell than just who attacked Black, or we might have a swerve on our hands. Kassius Ohno confronted Regal about his demand to be put in a better spot on NXT or get his hand on the next shiny new toy of Regal’s. Regal ignores the bait, only stating that Ohno has been cleared of suspicion, until Nikki Cross comes up saying only that she ‘knows’ what Ohno did.

Keith Lee vs Kona Reeves: After a testy war of words last week, the Unlimited Keith Lee met Kona Reeves in one-on-one action this week. Unlike most of Lee’s matches, this wasn’t a squash. Reeves got in some pretty good offense, but it wasn’t enough to stop someone with no limits. Lee handily put Reeves away with a powerslam for the three.

Tiffany’s Takeaways

 

RAW: I hate to be the fly in the ointment, but Taker and Kane have a right to be mad at Hunter and HBK. Hunter changed the rules so HBK could help him win instead of winning on his own.

I’m ‘eh’ on DX returning right now, but if I get Shield vs DX, I’ll be much happier.  Or just give me HBK vs Seth Rollins for the IC title and I’ll be happy.

The double turn of Lashley, Rush, and Owens was interesting, but what I wanted someone to do with that mic to Rush is still illegal in some states.

Liv Morgan beating the s**t out of Brie is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Even the Riott Squad couldn’t believe it.

Bellas turning on Rousey wasn’t a total surprise, but it was still fun.

Welcome back, Kurt Angle.

I’m not sure what to make of a potential babyface!Kevin Owens. His personality doesn’t seem suited to that role.

I’m guess that the decision to make Alexa/Trish and Mickie/Lita into a tag match was to protect both sides since Alexa has been inactive due to injury and Trish and Lita haven’t wrestled a real match in a VERY long time.

Given that Sasha Banks is being advertised for house shows right before Evolution, I’ve got a theory that she’s going to insert herself in the Bliss/James vs Stratus/Lita match.

Ember Moon beating Nia was unexpected but done in a way that protects Nia, which is good.

Dean Ambrose walking away after the Shield lost is interesting, but WWE’s not going to pull the trigger on that one JUST yet.

SmackDown: I think that spear through the LED boards wasn’t thought through very well, but it didn’t hurt a great match. Charlotte getting another rematch feeds into the narrative of her being an entitled brat who can’t stand that she’s not champion not that Becky is a heel.

I’m over Miz and Bryan, I’m all for Bryan/AJ and Miz going to do another movie.

I love Lana being the one to expose the fact that English was scamming everyone and why he was doing it.

Stoked for Rey Mysterio to be at SmackDown 1000.

Welcome back, Big Show!

205: I’m not a fan of Mike Kanellis or Maria, or at least their gimmick, but putting Kanellis on 205 means that he’ll get a lot more exposure than he was getting on RAW or SmackDown.

I heard some griping about the RAW storylines that involve Maverick and Rush not being included, but to me, it makes sense to only talk about them. AoP and Lashley have no reason to be on 205, so why have them on?

I cannot wait for the Last Man Standing match between Ali and Itami!

NXT: Have I mentioned that I love Nikki Cross and that she’s my favorite part of NXT?

The segment between Ciampa, Dream, and Nikki Cross was hilarious.

Shayna Baszler’s refusal to accept that Kairi Sane was better than her is very heelish.

The Triple Threat North American Championship more than lived up to the hype.

The NXT crowd is a little annoying.

Mae Young Classic: I love Michael Cole’s enthusiasm for the Mae Young Classic.

Is it wrong to say that I got Zeuxius and Io Shirai mixed up because they were both wearing masks at the start?

Shirai/Zeuxius was amazing, I wish they could’ve both advanced.

The fact that Deonna Purrazzo wasn’t signed to WWE sooner is a crying shame.

Watching Tegan Nox in this tournament is hard because she’s so good.

I hope Kaitlyn sticks around after her defeat this week. Maybe go through NXT again to work out the kinks or just go to the main roster.

Tiff’s Tantrums

Kudos to Paige for calling out Alberto Del Rio’s nasty comments this week on ‘Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia’.

The build to Evolution got kicked into high gear tonight, can we please can the narrative that WWE is doing nothing to build this?

Can we stop pretending that Nikki Bella isn’t a legit talented athlete who was an integral part of the Women’s Revolution that WWE Evolution is celebrating? Her being on Total Divas and Total Bellas doesn’t negate the fact that she’s a great athlete. By the standards people are trying to set, Trish Stratus and Lita shouldn’t be part of this show either.

I’m SO over the constant griping about Saudi Arabia and how WWE should cancel the event. It’s not that simple. WWE has a contract with Saudi Arabia, and breaking the terms of that contract could be a lot more difficult than just saying ‘We’re not coming’.

I understand that a lot of the naysayers have genuine concerns about what’s going on and I share them, but to think that WWE can just cancel a big event at the drop of a hat is nonsense, as is the fact that people are more concerned about WWE doing business with Saudi Arabia than they are with Donald Trump and the US Government doing the same thing. An entertainment business should not be held to more accountability than the government.

Someone on Twitter actually implied that WWE made up Sasha’s health issue, rumored to be another back problem, because Sasha got a tattoo, played with puppies, and basically lived her life. Really? She was injured, not dead, and she’s been off all social media for several weeks, presumably to focus on her recovery from whatever was going on.

That’s it for the WWE Week in Review! Next week, we’ll be discussing NXT UK, which is going to start on Wednesday! Have a great week and be good to each other.


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Should New Japan’s Next UK Show Be At Wembley Arena?

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After watching an incredibly successful and entertaining PROGRESS Wrestling Wembley Arena show that drew a reported 4,750 fans. I’d like to discuss the viability of New Japan running that same arena next year, on the back of a successful Strong Style Evolved UK tour earlier this year.  

Strong Style Evolved UK Success

Let’s start with the success of the Strong Style Evolved UK tour. New Japan ran two shows earlier this year in the UK. One at the Planet Ice Arena in Milton Keynes drawing 2,500 fans and another at the Altrincham Ice Dome drawing 3,000. Both were reported as sell outs on the day. What’s interesting about the success of these shows is that only a third of New Japan’s roster was available. They had CEOxNJPW, ROH Best in the World and this Strong Style Evolved UK tour all at the same time. This meant that the UK tour was largely headlined by Suzuki-Gun (Minori Suzuki, ZSJ, Taichi etc.) and CHAOS (Okada, Ishii, Jay White, Ospreay etc.) talent. Only Kazuchika Okada out of New Japan’s ‘big four’ was present as Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito and Hiroshi Tanahashi were at the other shows. An easy conclusion to reach would be that New Japan were able to draw 4,500+ fans with a third of their roster, surely if they brought their whole roster, they could have increased success? I think there is definitely some truth to that, however it’s worth mentioning that the majority of the tickets sold were prior to any talent announcements. So, many of those buying tickets (myself included as I attended the Manchester show) did so because it was the first New Japan tour of the UK, opposed to it being to do with any announced talent or match card. That being said, as someone who attended one of the shows and kept my eye on the social media feedback of the show/s. I didn’t see many complaints at all, it all seemed to be very positive. Especially at the shows, the feedback on the VODs is a different matter entirely. I think this is an important point that fans who bought their tickets weren’t disappointed with the lack of certain stars not being on the card. It speaks volumes to the depth of the New Japan roster and how great the partnership with RPW has been, which leads me to a great segue onto my next point of discussion.

SSE UK in Manchester night 2. Shared on Twitter by Andy Quildan, founder & promoter of RPW.

Partnership with Rev Pro

In my opinion Revolution Pro Wrestling’s partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling has proven to be a great success so far for both parties. I really can’t praise RPW enough for how they’ve provided some absolute dream matches between the New Japan wrestlers and the indie talent not just from the UK, but from all around the world. They’ve also played a massive part in growing the New Japan brand in the UK. Whether that be through the frequent booking of talents such as Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii or the sale of merch (be it at their shows or online). The consistent booking of New Japan wrestlers by RPW for their big shows has been such an important ingredient in allowing those outside of New Japan’s ‘big four’ to become draws in the UK.  it’s why despite having Okada on the SSE UK tour facing off against Zack Sabre Jr, Suzuki vs Ishii was the main event for their highest attended show competing for the RPW British Heavyweight Championship respectively. Another important factor of this relationship is how RPW helped produce the Strong Style Evolved UK shows, this includes handling the stage setup, arenas and the recording of the overall event. Which brings us onto the last point of discussion. What’s next?

Zack Gibson vs Yuji Nagata at Global Wars 2017. An example of the kind of unique matches RPW puts together.

Wembley Arena or UK Tour?

I think the first thing we have to ask is, could New Japan run Wembley Arena? As referenced earlier, PROGRESS Wrestling ran the arena and drew 4,750 fans. New Japan drew 4,500 fans across two shows in the UK. Could they draw more than that if they brought their whole roster over to the UK for a big show? It is my belief that they could. What I think they would need to do is confirm who is attending the show ahead of ticket sales, I think that would definitely create a lot of hype around this show.

The biggest question I think that should be asked is, should they? Should they run Wembley Arena or should they do another tour of the UK, only perhaps add a few more dates? Personally, it was very nice being able to attend the Manchester show and not have to travel down to London (the typical place for big RPW shows) for once. Another thing worth thinking about is, I have some friends that are in different parts of the UK, let’s say Wales or Scotland. They couldn’t make the shows in Milton Keynes or Manchester, so they definitely wouldn’t be able to make a Wembley Arena show in London. Perhaps there is more value in running more shows across the UK as part of a tour, opposed to running one big show? I think it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. If they did a tour, more fans across the UK could attend shows closer to their home, they could run similar sized venues as they did for the SSE UK tour. The negative side of this is having to put match cards together for each event, which leads to opinions on who is getting the better show. We experienced this for the SSE UK tour where a lot of fans enjoyed the Milton Keynes show, but felt as though the Manchester one was definitely the better card with big singles matches. This is something New Japan and Rev Pro would have to be careful about. However, it does mean that more people up and down the country will have a chance to see New Japan live in person, that’s never a bad thing!

So, should they run Wembley Arena instead? In my opinion I think they should. The positives for me of running this show are that the UK will get a proper super show featuring all the New Japan talent under one roof. That’s something we just haven’t had yet. I also think they have a great opportunity to do some incredible numbers attendance-wise. I look at TNA’s record attendance and it was at Wembley Arena with 8,000+. Granted, the promotion was on UK TV via Challenge, but us Brits love pro wrestling. We’ve demonstrated our hunger for the New Japan product with two sold out shows and I do believe people would travel for one big show especially if it meant being a part of something special. There’s also a chance that New Japan could get some mainstream UK attention in the press if the show looks like it is going to be a success. I know PROGRESS Wrestling’s recent show got a lot of coverage online from sources that don’t usually bother with pro wrestling outside of WWE, this includes Sky Sports, Mirror, SportsBible and Daily Star to name but a few.

A Wembley Arena show could help New Japan keep their momentum going as a white hot promotion alongside their MSG sellout.   

All in all, I’d argue running a Wembley Arena show could have a greater impact on New Japan’s reach as a product. It would also help keep their forward momentum of an ever-growing promotion alongside the MSG show Stateside. I can honestly say doing either would be a positive thing, but I believe there to be more potential value in having one big show. Whatever happens next year, I’m looking forward to attending and being entertained by the New Japan stars as per usual!

 

What are your thoughts? Do you have a preference? If you’re in the UK, would you prefer a New Japan closer to you or one big show that brings fans from all over the country together? Let us know via social media or in the comments section!    


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Opinion

Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 10/14/2018

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Well in a weekend of cray matches, crazy football games and overall crazy entertainment, this isn’t a very WWE friendly list.

Before we get to the Top 5 Matches, we need to go over the two votes we had last week. Firstly, our September winner:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA
  • March – Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April NXT Takeover NOLA: Andrade Almas vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash: Seth Rollins vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

It’s not the kind of match the IWC usually goes crazy for, but this proves that good story telling and emotional investment still leave an impression on people. As for last week, that’s more par for the IWC course. WWE Super Show-Down Cruiserweight Title Match: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Buddy Murphy, got most of the votes last week.

Now that we see what the MOTY pool is shaping up to be, let’s see what else joins the Cruiserweight match.

 

5. NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega (c) vs Cody vs Kota Ibushi

Only the third IWGP Heavyweight Triple Threat, and I suppose it doesn’t have a high bar to live up to. The first was effectively a match just to make Brock Lesnar look like a beast in 2005. The second was at ROH War of the Worlds in 2014, and…well…we don’t speak of that. So yeah, low bar, so if they all have a mediocre match, it’ll still be the best Triple Threat in the history of the IWGP Championship.

To be succinct, Omega was right in his post match promo. It was a little bit of a Cody match, Ibushi match and Omega match…but that also made the pacing a little awkward. It was mostly a formulaic WWE style of Triple Threat where one person gets dumped out and two focus on each other for a few minutes and then, switch.

It had some flashy spots, like Cody going through the announce table. Also a nice subtle statement from Cody during the match was interesting, when he said, “I’m your friend too! Help me too!”. Omega’s bias was an interesting underlying theme in the match.

As a match, it was pretty good, it felt weird given it was in New Japan and Ibushi sold more frustration and emotional struggle than Kenny once again. The fact Kenny doesn’t think twice about landing moves on Ibushi and then tries to put him over in the post match promo, just makes this whole relationship feel like Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m not going into moves, but the match is fine, if you aren’t a puro purist, you’ll probably be okay with it. But the match wasn’t a classic that will last more than the next couple months in most memories.

Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel (on Ibushi)

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4. Impact Bound For Glory Knockout’s Title Match: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs Taya Valkyrie

There’s not really much else to lead into this then: They both are alpha females, they kick ass…so let’s see who wins this.

Hard hitting from both and they had pretty solid chemistry together. We saw from both women they can wrestle any style needed, while staying resilient and imposing.

Tessa hits the Buzzsaw DDT, but Taya manages to kick out to Tessa’s surprise. Taya then rocks Tessa pretty hard, so Tessa tries to powder out and grabs the ring skirt. When Taya drags her back in, Tessa drags the skirt with her and the ref goes to readjust the ring. Taya hits Road to Valhalla during the distracted referee moment, and him being out of position allows Tessa enough time to kick out.

We see Tessa get to the top rope and leaps about halfway across the ring to hit Taya with Magnum. Finally picking up the pinfall and retaining her championship.

Yes I gave a very abridged edition, but that’s mainly because you should watch this. Many writers, reviewers and casual fans shit on women’s wrestling, but these two women are special. We’ve seen them both go up against men and more than hold their own, and they prove that when they have time, they know how to put on solid matches.

Winner: Tessa via Magnum

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. Impact Bound for Glory World Heavyweight Championship Match: Austin Aries (c) vs Johnny Impact

Well this match certainly got personal all of a sudden. Aries basically calling out the hypocrisy of ‘short jokes’ still being acceptable when other genetic short comings, difference or handicaps are seen as taboo, got blown way out of proportion. Yes he worded his stance in a harsh way, but that also proved exactly what he meant. So ya, worked shoots, shoot Tweets and TMZ made this an interesting build.

The match started off like a shoot. Both men were posturing and attacking like they were trying to expose the other instead of work a match. If that was intentional, very good, cause I know the group of people I was watching with couldn’t tell where the truth and lie blurred.

Either way we had a lot of jawing back and forth between the Hennigans and Aries, and we even got both men to grab the ropes after each one’s finishers. So obviously they were working together enough, and I’d be lying if it didn’t add a nice layer to the match. Hell there was even an early spot where they were on a narrow side, outside of the ring, Aries charged and Johnny jumped up balancing on the barricade and apron perfectly and then hitting a moonsault/flip kick…something like that, shut up it looked cool.

Aries plays the jaded heel up until the end, even doing a dive to the outside straight on to Taya. Johnny goes right after Aries instead of checking on Taya, lands a brainbuster for rub ins and then one more Starship Pain, for the pinfall.

Nearly immediately after the bell, Aries gets up, effectively no sells the finish, curses at Don Callis and walks up the ramp flipping off the crowd. He could be heated that he was painted as the bad guy when logically his stance made sense. So I’m more interested to see the ramifications or if this is just another case of Aries’ ego showing him the door.

Damn good match, finish makes future episodes or news releases from Impact a little more interesting.

Winner: Impact via Starship Pain

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match: Kushida vs Marty Scurll
Winner: Kushida via Back to the Future
Rating: ****
Impact Bound for Glory Concrete Jungle Death Match: OGz vs LAX
Winner: LAX via Street Sweeper
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Bound For Glory: Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs Matt Sydal & Ethan Page
Winner: Swann via Middle Rope Phoenix Splash
Rating: *** 3/4
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Shuji Kondo (c) vs Hikaru Sato
Winner: Kondo via King Kong Lariat
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Bound For Glory: oVe vs Fenix, Pentagon & Brian Cage
Winner: oVe via 14 Superkicks (pinning Cage)
Rating: *** 3/4
NOAH Global Junior League Final Day Finale: YO-HEY vs Kotaro Suzuki
Winner: Suzuki via Requiem
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series All Asia Tag Title Match: Takao Omori & Black Menso-re vs Yuma Aoyagi & Naoya Nomura (c)
Winner: Nomura via Maximum
Rating: *** 1/2
ROH Glory by Honor ROH World Title Match: Jay Lethal (c) vs Silas Young
Winner: Lethal via Lethal Injection
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW King of Pro Wrestling IWGP Jr Tag Team Title Match: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask
Winner: Despy via Pinche Loco
Rating: *** 1/4
ROH Glory by Honor 6 Man Tag Title: Young Bucks (c) & Cody vs SoCal Uncensored
Winner: Cody via Crossroads
Rating: *** 1/4
Raw: The Shield vs Dogs of War
Winner: McIntyre via Claymore
Rating: ***
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series: Jake Lee vs Yusuke Okada
Winner: Jake via High Angle Back Body Drop
Rating: ***
AJPW Raising an Army Memorial Series: Dylan James & Kotaro Suzuki vs Koji Iwamoto & Ryoji Sai
Winner: James via Chokeslam
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW King of Pro Wrestling G1 Briefcase Rights Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White

We know the lead in to this. Jay beat Tanahashi during the G1, and because of that, he is granted a shot at claiming the briefcase for himself.  We’ve seen White become even more of a heel, getting Gedo to turn on Okada and splinter off from Chaos. So will the Ace stay ahead of the young heel Switchblade, or has Switchblade matured enough to overtake the Ace?

Another Tanahashi classic where pacing is important. Unlike his time seconding Okada, Gedo got involved on numerous occasions during the match. Tanahashi took him out at one point which gave White multiple openings. The match is well wrestled and got across both characters. Tanahashi trying to preserve wrestling in his image and complete his comeback tour. Jay playing the foil of the heel that will do literally anything to win.

After two High Fly Flows, Gedo pulls Red Shoes out of the ring. Jay low blows Tanahashi, but Tanahashi returns the favor at some point. Jay introduced the chair, Tanahashi tried to slam Jay on it and then hit one more High Fly Flow, but hits all chair. Jay hits Tanahashi with the chair and then has Gedo go revive Red Shoes.

Just as we think Jay White is going to win with Blade Runner, after soo much cheating, Tanahashi counters it into a Small Package, and picks up the pinfall victory.

Fallout after the match is noteworthy since Gedo and White beat down Tanahashi, Okada comes out to make the save. Jado tries to calm down Okada and then the Bullet Club OGs show up, surround the ring and effectively jump Okada. White joins in and it turns out Gedo, Jado and Jay White are all part of the Firing Squad version of the Bullet Club now.

So it’s very much like nWo Wolfpack and Hollywood now, but hey, people like it, so why the hell not?

Winner: Tanahashi via Small Package

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. NOAH Global Junior League Final Day GHC Heavyweight Championship Match: Takashi Sugiura (c) vs Katsuhiko Nakajima

Sugiura has had the best reign of any world champion in 2018. His defenses have all been different and bring out different feelings and layers in not only his opponents but also the crowd. Nakajima had Sugiura’s number last time he was champion in 2016, and he’s only gotten better. So will the shameless old man hold on, or do we see the cocky Nakajima take it again?

This match was unlike any other match Sugiura’s had all year, and I can’t even think of a similar one in quite a while. Nakajima outright dominated this match. He played coy, aloof and just straight arrogant. Every time Sugiura tried to hit him, he’d dodge and strike back. This was the classic story of egotistical youngster trying to make the old dog look bad, because he’s faster, better, etc.

Sugiura got in a small flurry when he was able to land a Spear off a misdirection move. But then Nakajima established himself as just being five steps ahead. Katsuhiko is known as the Genius of the Kick, and he light up Sugiura. Standing Round Kicks, a flurry of Thrust Kicks to the chest and head in the corner, Soccer Ball kicks to his chest, punting Sugiura’s head so well I’m pretty sure Randy Orton blushed somewhere. Nakajima put on a clinic, but Sugiura was mostly resilient.

I say mostly, because there was a moment after the second or third punt to the head, that Sugiura appeared knocked out. Nakajima puts his foot on his chest for the cocky cover, 1-2, and then he lifts his foot off and grins. Nakajima wanted to continue to embarrass the old man, instead of just win the match and be done with it. This would ultimately prove to be his downfall.

Nakajima got progressively more lazy with his kicks. The man has great form, but he was sacrificing torque just to be cute. Sugiura kicks out of the Vertical Spike and eventually puts a little offense together but Nakajima kicks out of the Olympic Slam. One of those lazy kicks finally bites the arrogant genius in the ass, and Sugiura locks in an Ankle Lock. After pulling back into the center of the ring twice, he grapevines the leg, and Nakajima is forced to tap out.

A well wrestled match, with gorgeous character work and ring psychology make this match special. Definitely worth watching for anyone with a half hour to kill.

Winner: Sugiura via Ankle Hold

Rating: *****

 

Thoughts:

As I usually mention when something obscure takes the top spot, I don’t expect it to win the vote, but it deserves the attention. Also just to throw this out there, Glory by Honor was a pretty awful show. Looked like the venue was at least one third empty, the matches were uninspired and the things that even made Honor Mention are well below average level for the participants. Couple that with Bound for Glory being a solid show mixing good wrestling with solid sports entertainment, it’s just a bad look for ROH.

Anyway! Back to the Top 5, my vote will go for the match that topped the list. I gushed a little in the description, because it’s so many professional wrestling tool utilized beautifully. Tessa vs Taya would be my second choice, but that’s not how this works.

So either way, hopefully you saw a couple of these. Make your opinion heard and let us know which one you think is the best of the 5. And remember, Always Use Your Head.


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