Short work weeks, and long weekends make for a nice way to recharge. Let’s see what matches Andrew managed to fit into his holiday schedule for the Top 5 this week.
Well folks in the States had Thanksgiving this past week, and the shows kinda proved it. Some generally uninspired or at the very least, average shows just kinda made the whole week feel like a food coma. Thankfully I enjoy Japanese wrestling and they don’t need no stinkin turkey, so what I watched of those shows still satiated my need for good wrestling.
Slowly getting to the end of the year, we added one more match to the November pool. Unsurprisingly, NXT Takeover dominated the votes but, Tommaso Ciampa vs Velveteen Dream, edged out the other matches.
Now let’s see what made the Top 5 this week.
5. MLW Heavyweight Championship Match: Shane Strickland vs Low Ki (c)
After dealing with Sami Callihan’s Death Machines for WarGames and general dismay the last few months, Shane finally gets his rematch. There’s the report that came out a little while ago that Strickland is being targeted by WWE, so this makes sense to get out of the way now.
It takes a little bit of time to get the match started since Salina de la Renta and Martinez are skulking about outside of the ring. The match was very much a game of cat and mouse. Shane tried to string some offense together, but Low Ki used ring positioning and rolling outside to his advantage.
Shane does manage to catch Low Ki when he was on the top rope and he falls forward headbutting the referee and knocking him out. Strickland jumps on the opportunity, lays out Low Ki, hits the Swerve Stomp, but there’s no ref. Shane looks towards the back, and a replacement ref eventually comes out, counts to 2 and then Low Ki kicks out. Martinez hops up to the apron to distract the referee, and Low Ki grabs Shane by the hair, ragdolls him a bit, pulls out some hair and cradles him for the pinfall victory.
The match wasn’t really what you’d expect, but this new thread of Low Ki trying to maim opponents before pinning them is unique.
Winner: Low Ki via Referee Distraction
Rating: *** 1/4
4. NXT UK: Toni Storm vs Jinny
Whether it’s the Lightning from Down Under or the Fierce Fashionista, The Mosh Pit Kid, Rhea Ripley, waits for the winner in the finals. How will the finals of this historic tournament take form after tonight?
The bell rings and fans sing for Storm. Toni and Jinny tie up and go around and around the ring. Jinny puts Toni in the corner, but backs off at 4. They circle again and tie up. Fans still sing for Toni as she and Jinny go around again. Jinny arm-drags but Toni holds on. They break as fans chant “Aussie Aussie Aussie! OI OI OI!” Toni and Jinny tie up again, and Toni gets a waistlock. Jinny resists as Toni lifts. Jinny breaks free to get a wristlock. She brings Toni down, but Toni gets up. Fans rally as Toni gets a headlock and takeover. Jinny endures the wrenching and rolls Toni over. TWO as Toni lets go. Toni goes after the facelock, but Jinny works her way out of that, back to a wristlock. Toni spins, bridges, rolls and reverses! Jinny endures as Toni wrenches more.
Jinny spins and throws a big forearm. Toni is rocked, and Jinny brings her in for a headlock. Toni powers out and things speed up, Toni boots Jinny down! Cover, TWO! Toni goes after the legs, for a deathlock STF! Fans chant for Jinny to tap but Jinny endures. Jinny works against the hold but Toni wrenches back hard. Jinny comes close, but grabs Toni’s hair. Toni wrenches Jinny more, but Jinny crawls for ropes. Toni rocks back and forth, but Jinny gets the ropebreak. The ref counts and Toni lets Jinny go, but with stomps! Toni stomps Jinny to a corner, then drags her up for big EuroUppers. Fans fire up with Toni as she runs in, but Jinny boots her away! Jinny gets Toni with the Japanese arm-drag, into buckles! Cover, TWO! Toni gets to the corner, but Jinny stomps a fashionable mudhole into her.
Fans rally up but Jinny keeps on Toni with a double chop. Jinny stomps another mudhole into Toni in another corner. She stops at 4, but whips Toni corner to corner. Toni falls short and face first. Jinny is on her with more stomps, then drags Toni up. Snap suplex and float over, TWO! Jinny grows frustrated, but she puts Toni in an armlock with chinbar. Jinny thrashes Toni around as fans rally up. Toni gets up but Jinny throws her down by her hair. Cover, ONE! Jinny seethes as she clubs away on Toni’s back. “This is MY NXT!” Jinny goes back to the armlock and chinbar, but fans rally up again. Toni fights her way back up, and arm-drags Jinny off! Jinny fires off strikes, but Jinny chops! Toni headbutts, they both go down!
Fans fire up and chant for “NXT! NXT!” Then fans rally up as the two stir. Jinny is on Toni with a forearm. Toni throws a forearm back. Jinny hits, Toni hits. They brawl to their feet, back and forth. Toni gets the edge, then blocks Jinny’s kick, for a trapped-leg German! Jinny crawls to a corner and Toni fires up. Toni runs in, big hip attack! Then Perfect Plex! Cover, TWO!! Jinny survives but Toni isn’t stopping. Toni climbs up, but Jinny stops her with a high roundhouse! Jinny climbs but Toni headbutts her away. Jinny hits back, then climbs up. Toni forearms Jinny and sends her down with another headbutt. But Jinny dropkicks Toni’s legs out, then hits a draping facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Toni survives and Jinny is at a loss for words.
Jinny rains down rights on Toni, then drags her up. Jinny slaps Toni, then reels her out, but Toni dodges and underhooks. But Storm Zero is denied by Jinny’s rolling ax kick! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Jinny is furious, and she stomps away on Toni. Fans sing for Toni as Jinny runs in. Toni goes up and over, gets Jinny with the German! Then STORM ZERO! Cover, Toni wins!!
Winner: Storm via Storm Zero
Rating: *** 1/4
3. NOAH Global League: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Masa Kitamiya
Well this match decided who wins Block A. If Nakajima could beat his former teammate, he’d win, or if he loses, Naomichi Marufuji wins Block A. These two are also the last two challengers for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, so that adds something to prove.
Nakajima tries to play head games early with Kitamiya, but he eventually gets sick of his shit and just goes after him. Nakajima kept his patented grin on his face for most of this match. Bobbing and weaving with some well placed kicks and trying to stay away from the power of Kitamiya.
Right when the match looks like Nakajima’s to win, he lights up Kitamiya, goes to the corner for a big Penalty Kick, but gets hit with a huge Spear from Kitamiya. Kitamiya tries the Jailhouse Lock, but Nakajima manages to get the ropes. Kitamiya hits a few chops blocks and tries for a Saito Suplex, but Nakajima counters out of that.
As he still nurses his knees, Nakajima tries to put together some offense, but gets caught, grounded and stuck in the Jailhouse Lock one more time, and that’s all it took. The cocky Nakajima was knocked out by the tag partner he thought he was better than.
Winner: Kitamiya via Jailhouse Lock
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Real World Tag League: Takao Omori & Manabu Soya vs Jake Lee & Ryoji Sai
Winner: Omori via Axe Bomber
Rating: *** 1/4
NOAH Global League: Mitsuya Nagai vs Kenoh
Winner: Nagai via Nagai Lock
Rating: *** 1/4
Impact: Eli Drake’s Gravy Train Turkey Trot: Eli Drake, Glen Gilbertti, Katarina, Jake Crist & Rohit Raju vs Fallah Bah, KM, Alisha Edwards, Kikutaro & Dezmond Xavier
Winner: Fallah Bah via Bonzai Drop on Gilbertti (Disco has to wear the Turkey Suit)
205 Live: Gran Metalik vs TJP
Winner: Metalik via Sunset Flip Pin
NXT UK: Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
Winner: Ripley via Rip Tide
2. DDT Pro Special 2018 KO-D Openweight Title Match: Daisuke Sasaki (c) vs Masahiro Takanashi
Well this is one of those situations where I was just looking for something and found this. I’m not overly familiar with DDT, but I figured I’d give it a watch.
Sufficed to say, it was a good thing to randomly watch this. DDT is known as the comedy place where Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega wrestled a blow up doll, but this match was pretty damn solid.
Takanashi has some interesting technical transitions for a Rings of Saturn submission, as well as, a few other interesting moves. He also seems to be a big fan of the Code Red, trying it from the apron, the top ropes and the normal style in the middle of the ring a few times before finally hitting one for a near fall.
Daisuke’s moveset is amusingly reminiscent of WWE wrestlers. Elbow Drop Macho Man Style, Pedigree and a Crossface all were busted out at some point, but to no avail. After Takanashi hit a Satellite Crossface, Daisuke worked through it and then hits a Huricanrana (an actual one, not a Frankensteiner) for the pinfall victory.
Much better than what I expected. A few transitions and spots were clunky, so they tried them again instead of moving away, so that dropped it down a little rating wise for me. But it was still enjoyable.
Winner: Sasaki via Huricanrana
Rating: *** 3/4
1. AJPW Real World Tag League: Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu vs Jun Akiyama & Daisuke Sekimoto
Well YoshiKen finally got a win on the show before this, which hopefully turns around their early run of bad luck. Akiyama and Sekimoto haven’t wrestled as many matches as everyone, but have looked very good so far.
The fun part of this match, was the fact it looked like Uncle Jun was shooting a bit on Yoshitatsu. We have to keep in mind, Akiyama was trained in Baba’s All Japan and was a protege of the Four Pillars of Heaven, so he’s cut from a different cloth. A lot of stiff strikes, no selling, walking through moves and just lighting Yoshitatsu up, made the tone of the match shift.
Both teams pulled off their tandem moves, the Codebreaker/German Suplex from YoshiKen got a near fall. But the best spot is Sekimoto grabbing Akiyama while he’s trying the Exploder Suplex someone, German Suplexing Akiyama to help “assist” the Exploder. I don’t know if they have a name for it, but it definitely feels like the “I’m Helping” Tandem Suplex.
Kento tries his best to drag the team back, laying out Jun with a Blackout knee strike, but Yoshitatsu can’t make a tag and Sekimoto sends them both spilling to the outside. Jun hits the Wristclutch Exploder to give a heavily favored team their third loss. In a tournament where each team gets 10 matches, 3 losses isn’t a death knell, but it doesn’t leave much wiggle room.
Winner: Akiyama via Wristclutch Exploder
Rating: **** 1/4
We had a somewhat uneventful week, but hey it was a holiday, so I’m okay with it. However, the AJPW Real World Tag League Match, that is one of the best matches of the tournament so far. So I wouldn’t feel right to pick anything else over that one.
Should be interesting to see how people vote, since a lot of what’s on the Top 5 isn’t exactly heavily followed.
Greg DeMarco’s YouTube Performance Report: WWE Raw (4/22/19)
You shouldn’t be surprised at the video that topped Raw on YouTube this week.
A look at the YouTube performance for the April 22nd edition of WWE RAW!
As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for WWE. Most people will point to television ratings like they did during the Monday Night Wars in the late 1990’s, however that can be skewed with so many various means of watching today that do not include cable television. As such, YouTube has joined social media as a metric as important to WWE as television ratings (if not more).
As you’ve become accustomed to, here is this week’s RAW YouTube Report, compiled Wednesday morning, for the 4/22/19 edition of WWE Raw:
- Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House – 2 million views
- Seth Rollins’ challengers emerge – 1.58m views
- AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin – 904k views
- The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin – 815k views
- AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe – 775k views
- Becky Lynch & Lacey Evans promo – 450k views
- Robert Roode vs. Ricochet – 440k views
- Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox – 395k views
- Naomi vs. Billie Kay – 332k views
- Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro – 325k views
- The Revival and The Usos Backstage – 292k views
- Sami Zayn runs down the WWE Universe – 282k views
- The Viking Raiders decimate The Lucha House Party – 225k views
- Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins discuss The Viking Raiders – 126k views
Ratings analysis appears after the ad – buy a shirt!
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Greg DeMarco’s WWE Raw YouTube Ratings Analysis
It should be no surprise that Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse comes in at #1 for the week, surpassing 2 million views. We are in the post-Easter week, so numbers are down overall (only 2 videos over 1 million views), but this one definitely has people talking. It’s also the #18 trend on all of YouTube.
Seth Rollins also topped a 1.5 million, as we had the show opening multi-man promo scheme designed to set up the matches for later. The set-up and those matches were the major focus on Raw on YouTube this week, ranking #2-#5 in terms of views.
Becky Lynch didn’t deliver this week, as she might be suffering from a bit of overexposure. The Raw women’s division continues to rebuild, making me wonder why they broke up The Riott Squad. The division occupied spots #6, #8, and #9, and cumulatively they barely broke a million views. But let’s be honest, the less people that see Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox, the better.
Also bad news for the tag team division, as they occupied 3 of the four bottom videos.
My favorite video…the Robert Roode pornstache!
What did the YouTube results for this week tell you?
Andrew’s WWE Raw and SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (4/22 + 4/23/2019)
More changes after the Shakeup! It’s like we get an extended draft before the NFL Draft! How did WWE’s main roster shows pan out?
More changes after the Shakeup! It’s like we get an extended draft before the NFL Draft! How did WWE’s main roster shows pan out?
Shortly before Raw went live, there were reports of some Superstars being moved again even though the Shakeup was last week. We also heard some rumblings that our favorite Experience was getting a different name.
So were we happy with the shows? Were they just a mess? Let’s find out!
- Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio vs AJ Styles: Styles wins via Styles Clash – *** ¼
- Billie Kay vs Naomi: Naomi wins via Roll-Up – N/A
- The Miz vs Baron Corbin vs Drew McIntyre: Corbin wins via Claymore – *** ½
- Cesaro vs Cedric Alexander: Cesaro wins via Swiss Death Uppercut – ***
- Alicia Fox vs Becky Lynch: Lynch wins via DisArm-Her – * ½
- Ricochet vs Robert Roode: Roode wins via Glorious DDT – ** ½
- AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin: Styles wins via Phenomenal Forearm – *** ¼
So this opening segment was generally worthless. Triple H was added to the proceedings purely because…well…he can be? Seth is a travesty on the microphone and the others march out like we weren’t just told there was going to be 2 Triple Threats. So it was just messy. Unless this is the first hint towards Seth rejoining with Hunter, this dynamic was almost as worthless as the word salad they threw at ass.
Our first Triple Threat is the work rate match. There’s really no story here aside from both Rey and AJ have had issues with Samoa Joe, but it wasn’t conveyed in the match well. Joe’s Avalanche Double Mountain Bomb was a spot, but really just took too long to set up and looked too cooperative. This match is fine, but I doubt it stopped anyone who still flips through channels at 8:30 est looking for something to watch.
Now I love the IIconics, and I know the corny/cringe worthy promos are part of their gimmick…but can we stop? The crowd didn’t react to anything and came off forced and trying waaaay too hard, like Mauro Ranallo’s pop culture references. Billie got made a fool of in this match, and then the promo the IIconics had in the back was much better than their walking down the ramp crap. Do more of the backstage dynamic and less of the really bad comedy.
Most people might right off this second Triple Threat, but hey, this was the better pro wrestling match. We saw an easy to follow storyline for people who have watched somewhat recently, we saw progression when Baron took cheap shots on McIntyre and Miz was a wonderful babyface in peril. I really enjoyed everything about this, including Corbin taking advantage of McIntyre laying out Miz with the Claymore, dumping Drew to the outside and stealing the pinfall. Great story telling.
Sami Sami Sami. I have to admit, I like this concept of running down the IWC and it seems like he genuinely enjoys cutting the promos, or his a great actor. I’m still not 100% on board with this, since it can fall apart at any moment given WWE’s track record. But for now, it’s fun, it’s smarmy and I like it.
Ahh now here we get a paradox. Both Cesaro and Cedric are making their official post Shakeup returns/debuts, so someone has to lose. This was a nice match in the regard that it proved Cedric can go toe to toe with someone the pedigree of Cesaro. Cedric will need time adjusting to the size difference since he was one of the bigger Cruiserweights, now he’s a little below average. As long as this is an actual building block and not just a throw away match, this could go somewhere for Cedric. OH! Cesaro picked up the win! Weird…right?
Usos backstage, Jey takes a small jab at Jimmy and then start going through the tag team roster. The Revival show up to try and check the Uce Troop, but the brothers pretend to fall asleep and just clown The Revival. It was good stuff and that should be a great match whenever it happens.
Oh God no! Lucha House Party against the Viking Exp…wait…Viking Raiders? So will Asuka and Kairi be known as the Steeler Buccaneers? Anyway, we all know my rule, if the Lucha House Party are on I drop the show score a half point. Oh-WAIT! The Vikings destroy all three, the match doesn’t begin and they just beat the hell out of the Mexican Masked Geeks? I retract my statement about dropping a half point. Hell this might raise it. Though I’m not a fan of Thor’s Hammer being renamed The Viking Experience, but I guess Vince just wanted it in there somewhere.
Lacey is wonderful. I love the character, I love her look…just…ahh. Okay that’s bad English, especially when written out, but did you expect me to talk about the match? At this point I’m not sure if Alicia is a bad wrestler or if she’s just told to go be a spazz on purpose. However Lacey getting in two Woman’s Rights, was nice. Again…Lacey Evans.
Ricochet fights his dad! Erm, I mean Robert Roode. I really do like him going back to the full name. It sounds more like an adult since, what 40 year old man is known as Bobby? The match was okay, but honestly you have a theme song with a porn stache facing a superball with no personality. So…don’t expect anyone to care, but Robert gets a win!
It’s been a pretty okay show so far, but since Corbin closes out the show, it’s gonna end with a wet fart right?
WAIT- FIREFLY FUN HOUSE?
This is…pure genius! I loved every second of this demented dark comedic children’s show. I want Bo Dallas to show up as a Mailman or Curtis Axel as a Cowboy (Cowboy Curtis reference). I literally can’t stop snickering from how random, but beautiful this vignette was. Just…I think a tear is coming to my eye.
MORE STORYTELLING IN THE RING!! YAY! Styles tweaked something in his Triple Threat and it effects how he throws his offense. Corbin tries to take every advantage possible, but Styles’ resolve is proving troublesome. Styles tries for a Styles Clash, but can’t do it, Corbin looks like he’s going to win, but AJ Styles is Phenomenal after all. Fights through everything and hits the Forearm for the surprise pinfall. I say surprise mainly because it’s a pretty big angle, fairly quick. But with MITB and then Saudi Arabia, Styles could always be slated for both of them. That carries immensely more star power than anything involving Corbin.
Overall Score: 8/10
Great show! Extra points for Lucha House Party destruction, Firefly Fun House being fantastic, not knowing if Alicia Fox does that on purpose and…Corbin, being involved in the best story matches of the night.
The show started off questionably, but yeah I can’t be mad. I was entertained for most of the show and even the down points were partially expected, so it didn’t leave the lingering taste of disappointment in my mouth. It’s gonna be hard for SmackDown to top Raw!
What did I just say? I blame Bray.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Andrade vs Finn Balor: Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** ¼
- Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce: Kairi wins via Insane Elbow – N/A
- Charlotte Flair vs Bayley: Flair wins via Spear – ** ½
- Kofi Kingston vs Shinsuke Nakamura: Kofi wins via DQ – ** ¾
Shane opens up the show to address Reigns and the actions against Vince last week. He takes the obviously hypocritical stance of “who puts hands on someone’s father”, and it gets a decent reaction of boos from the crowd. Roman comes out to a good pop, confronts Shane, doesn’t speak and just throws the mic down. THIS is the Roman most people love. No talking, just ass beatings.
To Shane’s credit, he squares up, but Elias blind sides Roman and the two on one begins. Elias coming out of two weeks where he was in the same segments with John Cena and The Undertaker, now he’s chosen by Vince and positioned with Roman and Shane…this is all great for Elias. I don’t exactly know where the whole thing plays out to, but starting with a Money in the Bank match, Elias could have a bit of a rocket.
Big O, Xavier and Kofi in the back, have an entertaining mini-interview. This is a very fun grouping.
So WWE validates Andrade and Zelina coming back to SmackDown Live with the fact that Finn ran after he lost to Andrade. So Andrade wasn’t going to let him off the hook. I don’t hate it, it makes enough sense. And much like last week, the match is good, but the problem is they already had Zelina cost Andrade this match. I’m not sure why they would do that unless they’re moving towards breaking them up soon. Andrade is talking more, but he still very definitely needs a manager. Maybe they will position the couples together, that could be the direction. But Zelina and Andrade are so good as a duo, I’d like to see them accomplish something on main roster before splitting apart.
So Paige’s ex-stablemates are jealous of her new friends. So even though Kairi got a very one sided win over Peyton, we may be seeing Fire & Desire face the Pirates of Tomorrow. Could be a fun first feud for Asuka and Kairi to work on some team synergy. Plus Fire & Desire have issues with Asuka as well as Paige, so it all makes enough sense.
Aleister Black saying nothing. But he said it ominously. The last person to speak hollow words now has a Fun House. Just…be mindful.
Jinder Mahal is moved to SmackDown! Chad Gable comes down for a match, but Lar Sullivan wipes him out, goes after Jinder, but plays Fling the Singh instead! Surprisingly, R-Truth’s music hits and he tries to stand up to Lars, but Lars eats him for lunch. I still don’t care, but they’re trying.
Charlotte starts complaining even though she knew the rules to the previous Winner Take All match. Becky says she wants new challengers and puts over a few women in the back. Bayley comes out to much better reception than last week. She thanks Becky for noticing her, and then when Charlotte tries to dismiss her, Bayley snaps back and shows some attitude.
This match was like a lot of Charlotte’s matches, sloppy at different points. Also, Bayley needs to stop the attempted sliding kick through the bottom turnbuckle. It looks awful. Leave those moves to Sami Zayn. Charlotte misses a Moonsault and falls on Bayley, and it’s just weird. I get they haven’t locked up in a while, but there were numerous moments this was a little rough. Sadly, Charlotte wins even though no one wants it. But it could be for the same reason that AJ won on Raw. Saudi Arabia could be driving a few stop gap angles before we get back to normal PPV pacing.
FIREFLY FUN HOUSE!
Dammit, it’s a rerun. Still made me snicker, and I like the fact they’re capitalizing on the viral aspect by showing anyone who may just watch SmackDown or somehow missed it Monday and on the entire internet.
Kofi and Nakamura, I wait with baited breath that we see a small glimmer of 2015 Nakamura and not the last couple years. Honestly, Shinsuke did seem a little more like his old self. Stiff kicks, animated head games, big brothering Kofi with some antagonistic kicks, all classic Shinsuke. Rusev interferes for the DQ, but that’s not the catch!
Kevin and Xavier were on the pancake desk doing alternate commentary, and they were actually pretty good together. But after only 1 week Big O turned into the Big Uh-Oh. Owens turns on Kofi, beats him down a beat and lays his claim to the being the next contender.
We all knew babyface Kevin Owens had a short shelf life. Right?
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Really good show! Very consistent show. Nothing was painfully offensive, but there were no really big highs like on Raw. Plus the fact that Firefly Fun House was a rerun, I have to rank this lower than Raw just because we literally saw a segment yesterday.
Main roster shows pulled off some good stuff. Yes, since we’re all jaded and cynical, I’m fully aware this could all tail spin and explode in no time flat. But for now, I’m taking what’s presented at face value, and it’s all solid entertainment and pretty decent in-ring work too boot.
Good job WWE!
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