Well this is certainly an odd weekend. Not exactly a ton of stand out stuff from the usual companies, but a lot of the usual suspects. Pro Wrestling NOAH has been putting on some of the best wrestling all year, and currently has their round robin tournament going on, and Northeast Wrestling had an event with some familiar names.
But before we get to this week, let’s not ignore the two votes we just finished. Let’s look at the MOTY pool since it’s nearly complete.
- January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Alma(c)
- February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
- March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
- April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
- May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
- June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) 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)
- October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
So the Evolution match left a big enough impression on our voters to make it the only women’s match currently in the pool. As for last week, another WWE match won the vote, SmackDown WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Daniel Bryan.
Now let’s see what kind of variety we have in the list this week.
5. SmackDown: The New Day vs The Usos
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E didn’t win back the tag team titles, but they have a chance to lead their brand into battle! However, so do Jimmy & Jey, as the winning team of this match will be captains of the Survivor Series team! But don’t get confused, it’s for the WWE Tag Team Division match.
The teams sort out and the New Day goes with Kofi and Big E. Woods tosses pancakes as Kofi starts with Jey. Jey and Kofi circle and tie up. Jey gets a headlock but Kofi powers out, only for Jey to run him over. Things speed up and Kofi jumps, but Jey catches him! Jey back suplexes but Kofi slips out to dropkick! Jey is out, Jimmy runs in but is sent out. Big E tags in, Kofi bounces as Woods plays the trombone. Kofi fakes out Jey, and Woods adds some “laughter”. Big E runs Jey over! The New Day has control while we go picture in picture.
Big E drags Jey up and in, cover, TWO! E tags in Kofi, and they work together for a leap frog senton! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps on Jey with an arm wrench and armlock. Woods flings more flapjacks to the fans while Jey endures. Jey gets up but New Day brings him around for a whip. Jey reverses but Kofi goes up, only for Jey to kick his legs out! Kofi goes down and Jey tags in Jimmy. The Usos stomp Kofi, then Jey brings Kofi up. Jimmy uppercuts, then chops Kofi in the corner! Tag to Jey, and Jimmy feeds Kofi to a lariat. Cover, TWO! Jey drags Kofi away, tag to Jimmy. Jimmy runs as Jey holds Kofi down, leaping headbutt! Cover, TWO! Jimmy wraps Kofi in a chinlock, but fans rally for Kofi.
Kofi gets up and fights back, but Jimmy keeps him from the corner. Jimmy whips Kofi into the Uso corner and Kofi hits buckles hard. Tag to Jey, and the Usos stomp a mudhole into Kofi. Jey backs his brother off for the hesitation dropkick! Kofi gasps and rolls to an open corner, but Jey is right on him. Jey whips Kofi corner to corner hard and Kofi hits buckle then the mat. We return to single picture as Jey takes aim from across the way. “Uce! O!” Jey runs into Kofi’s double stomps! Fans rally up while The Bar watch from backstage. Hot tags to Jimmy and Big E! Jimmy runs into Big E’s overhead belly2belly suplex! Then another, then another! Fans fire up and Big E swivels the hips. Big E runs, but into an uppercut! Jimmy runs in, but into the urenag-E! Cover, TWO!
Big E has the fans rally up with the “New! Day Rocks!” clap. He scoops Jimmy but Jey tags in. The Usos double kick Big E away, Jey climbs up, Uso Splash onto knees! Big E scoops, Big Ending! Cover, but Jimmy breaks it just in time! Fans duel as Big E gets up. He keeps his eyes on Jey as he rolls to the apron. Jey stands, Big E runs and Kofi tags in. Jey dodges the DIVE and Big E hits the floor! But Big E gets up to barrel Jimmy into barriers!! Then he goes after Jey, to scoop him and run! Jey slips off to send Big E into the timekeeper’s area! The Usos regroup but Kofi climbs up high, SUPER TRUST FALL!! Woods checks on his team, and gets them going. Kofi puts Jey in, covers, TWO! Somehow Jey lives, and this match continues.
Fans rally up as Kofi brings Jey around. Jey breaks free but runs into SOS! Cover, TWO!! Both men are down but so are their partners. Jey hits Kofi to a corner but Kofi boots him away. Kofi quickly goes up and leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO!! The New Day are frustrated but still in control as we go to break.
SmackDown returns as Kofi goes after Jey at the ropes. He kicks and punches away, then drags Jey up for a whip. Jey reverses but Kofi holds ropes, so Jey runs in. Kofi dumps him out, but Jimmy tags in! Jey hits Kofi, and then the Usos double suplex Kofi! Kofi fights his way out, Big E SPEARS Jey!! They both go down and Kofi hits Jimmy with Trouble in Paradise! Kofi drags Jimmy in for a cover, TWO!? How?! Kofi gets back up and brings Jimmy up. He headbutts Jimmy to a corner, then CHOPS. Kofi hoists Jimmy up top and climbs up to join him. Kofi wants the superplex, but Jimmy resists. Jimmy fights back, and headbutts Kofi down. Jimmy adjusts, but Kofi comes back, SUPER STEINER– Blocked into a powerbomb!!
Both men are down but Manchester is fired up. Woods tries to coach Kofi up as Jimmy climbs. Uso Splash! Cover, Usos win!
Winner: Usos via Uso Splash
Rating: *** 3/4
4. Stardom Goddesses of Stardom Tag League: Hazuki & Kagetsu vs Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora
Well our little Oedo Tai monsters refer to Kyona and Natsuko as the Short and Dumpy Piggies. So they seem more amused that the current tag champs are pigs, as opposed to concerned about a loss. Will the Oedo Tai shenanigans prevail, or will they eat their words?
This match had a little bit of everything. Early on Hazuki is in a submission and Kagetsu blatantly uses their toy mallet to wack Natsuko and then hand Hazuki her folded fan to beat Natsuko with. Another spot is a twist on Kagetsu’s usual water spot, but this time she dumps most of the bottle on Natusko’s head and spits the rest at Kyona.
That’s when it gets a little interesting, cause both Kyona and Natsuko just start wailing away on the extra members no selling some moves and just looking generally annoyed. After these dumb spots we get to some actual forward motion when Kyona flings Hazuki into a row of chairs, then Kagetsu to follow up before they both drag them back into the ring.
Surprisingly a lot of this match is Kyona and Natsuko in charge of the match. Hazuki even eats the big JAN Splash from the top rope, for a near fall. Oedo Tai never really gets a good handle on the match. Kagetsu lands a few suplexes, Hazuki hits a Codebreaker, but just as things look bleak, Hazuki hits her La Magistral cradle, the Hazukistral for a rather surprising win.
This match had a little bit of everything for most people, but still suffers from a little more of the goofy aspects of Japanese wrestling. Obviously a solid match, especially since there are a few elements for many to enjoy, but not really a stand out match for Joshi.
Winner: Hazuki via Hazukistral
Rating: *** 3/4
3. N.E.W. Redemption: Pentagon Jr vs Darby Allin
Not even gonna pretend here, I don’t know what a Darby Allin is really. So I couldn’t even begin to invent a lead in, so let’s just get to the match.
Pentagon does his usual “Cero Miedo” in the person’s face and Darby tries to take his arm. A quick back and forth leads to a Suicide Dive to the floor and Allin takes control on the outside until he goes to the top rope, Pentagon catches him and suplexes him right on the apron. Pentagon lights him up in and then back out of the ring with chops. Goes for his chops against the post. Misses the third one as usual, so Darby takes advantage, hits combination ear clapping strikes, a headbutt to the stomach and then a Code Red for a two count.
A strike exchange leads to Pentagon getting annoyed and threatening the ref, Darby tries to take advantage of the distraction but Penta hits the Hanging Double Footstomp in the corner for a near fall.
Allin puts together some interesting offense with a Stunner out of being over Pentagon’s should, his Coffin Drop Trust Fall, but Pentagon won’t be outdone, so he hits the Mexican Destroyer on the apron. The Destroyer was leading to the end, Darby tries to fight back, Pentagon breaks the arm and then hits a Fear Factor in the middle of the ring for the pinfall victory.
Now since I said I didn’t know Allin, I’m not unhappy with what I saw. His offense is a little unorthodox at times, and nothing was overly unique, but everything he did, he did well. So I might have to find more of his stuff.
Winner: Penta via Fear Factor
Rating: **** 1/4
NOAH Global League: Go Shiozaki vs Kazusada Higuchi
Winner: Go via Burning Lariat
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Toni Storm vs Dakota Kai
Winner: Storm via Neckbreaker
Rating: *** 1/4
NOAH Global League: Takashi Sugiura vs Kaito Kiyomiya
Winner: Kiyomiya via Counter Cradle Pin
Rating: *** 1/4
205 Live: Buddy Murphy vs Mark Andrew
Winner: Murphy via Murphy’s Law
Rating: *** 1/4
SmackDown: Rey Mysterio vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Winner: Mysterio via 619/Droppin the Dime
N.E.W. Redemption: Rob Van Dam vs Jack Swagger
Winner: RVD via 5 Star Frog Splash
NXT: Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan
Winner: Sullivan via Freak Accident
2. N.E.W. Redemption: Kenny Omega vs Fenix
Fenix shows that he’s a little faster than Omega early on. A few quick strikes and a diving Suicide Senton gives Fenix an early advantage. He takes Omega towards the ramp and goes for an Old School variation where he walks the guardrail, jumps off for a Frankensteiner, but Omega catches him and Powerbombs him onto the ramp.
Then we get a long period of Omega dominating. It should be noted, that during this period of dominance, Omega utilized a Camel Clutch and Triangle Cross Armbreaker, and submissions aren’t really what he’s known for. He lands a Kotaro Crusher, throws Fenix around outside, Fenix tries to fight back a little but the opening doesn’t happen until Omega throws him into the ropes and Fenix hits a Handspring Headbutt, followed up by a Springboard Headbutt and then a Rolling Cutter for the near fall. After this point we finally start seeing more of both of their styles.
Fenix hits a Fire/Thunder Driver for 2 and goes to the apron. The two exchange moves, before Omega gets the best of the exchange and Suplexes them both through the ringside table. Omega attempts the One Winged Angel numerous times, with Fenix either rapid fire punching Omega in the head, or even hitting the Reverse Frankensteiner, to counter the move.
After a plethora of near falls and crazy moves, Fenix goes for a Triangle Springboard Corckscrew Headbutt, but Omega hits him with a mid air V-Trigger. Fenix can’t fight out of the concussion, Omega hits the One Winged Angel, and gets the pinfall victory.
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: **** 1/2
1. NOAH Global League: Naomichi Marufuji vs Kenoh
Kenoh is never one to withhold his opinion, since he is openly brash and fluent in cursing. This is important to know that Kenoh feels that Marufuji is still an obstacle he needs to get over. Besides the Super New Generation versus Old Guard storyline that’s been going on, there is really no love loss between these two. Will Kenoh’s shrieking pay off, or will NOAH’s Genius out smart the younger wrestler?
The match started off at a slower pace with both men trying to play a few mind games. We see a nice exchange with Marufuji using Kawada Kicks and Kenoh, who’s known for his kicking ability, screaming something and hitting back with Low Round Kicks to Marufuji’s hamstring. The match spills to the outside, where Marufuji takes the advantage and uses the guardrail masterfully. Driving Kenoh chest first into the rail four times before seating him next to the gate and then slamming it against his shoulder blade.
Kenoh wrestled from underneath for a long period, but he never lost the defiant sneer. Marufuji’s demeanor became increasingly more stern, almost like he was trying to prove a point to Kenoh. But the familiarity these two have really started to show in full when Marufuji countered a kick attempt simply by kicking Kenoh’s plant leg out from under him. Then we got the following beautiful exchange:
— Hisame (冰雨Pro-Wrestling Noah in English) (@Hi5ame) November 11, 2018
After this we saw both of them basically try to kill each other. Marufuji catches Kenoh right under the chin with the Ko-Oh, and looks like he might have dropped the young brash foul mouthed kohai. But Kenoh took a page out of Kenny Omega’s book where he hit a Snap Dragon Suplex out of nowhere, and even pulled off the Release Avalanche Dragon Suplex, which left Marufuji dazed. A penalty kick and Double Footstomp couldn’t put Marufuji away, so Kenoh digs into the play book and hits a Rolling Diving Stomp. Marufuji looks like his organs just exploded as Kenoh pins him for the win and 2 points.
Winner: Kenoh via Rolling Diving Stomp
Rating: **** 3/4
Kenoh versus Marufuji exudes psychology without even needing to know the history or language. Their body language explains what the match means to them, and the moves were crisp, stiff and all made sense. Even if the overall grades weren’t too far off, Omega versus Fenix was more of a spot fest that went too long, and Marufuji versus Kenoh was an actual wrestling match that told a story.
So there we go, yeah yeah, Japan bias whatever. Watch both matches and decide for yourself. No matter which you like better, all you have to do is, Always Use Your Head.