As the year comes to a close, rewinding a bit to go over favorite matches seems par for the course. Let’s see which matches just barely missed Mathew’s Top 25 cut!
Hello everyone, I would first like to say that I hope everyone had an amazing holiday. Secondly, the year has come to a close as starting tomorrow, I will be writing my Top 25 Matches of 2018 where we will see which matches were my personal favorites of the year.
This article though will be for the honorable mentions that while they were amazing matches, they just didn’t make the cut and I thought I would give them some love here at least and you should at least check them out. I separated them from the company for the majority of them while the rest will be listed under as other.
So I hope you enjoy and look forward to the real list starting tomorrow!
- Men’s Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 1/28/18)
- Women’s Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 1/28/18)
- AJ Styles vs. John Cena (SmackDown Live 2/27/18)
- Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander (205 Live 1/23/18)
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev (Fastlane 3/11/18)
- Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton (Fastlane 3/11/18)
- Lars Sullivan vs. EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet vs. Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain (NXT Takeover: NOLA 4/7/18)
- Andrade Cien Almas vs. Aleister Black (NXT Takeover: NOLA 4/7/18)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Takeover: NOLA 4/7/18)
- The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor (WrestleMania 34 4/8/18)
- Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (WrestleMania 34 4/8/18)
- Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon (WrestleMania 34 4/8/18)
- Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor (Raw 4/30/18)
- Seth Rollins vs. The Miz (Backlash 5/6/18)
- AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown Live 5/15/18)
- Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy (205 Live 5/29/18)
- Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live 6/19/18)
- Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami (205 Live 7/10/18)
- Undisputed Era vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch (NXT Takeover: Chicago 6/16/18)
- Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet (NXT Takeover: Chicago 6/16/18)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Takeover: Chicago (6/16/18)
- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (UK Championship Tournament Day 1 6/25/18)
- Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey (Money in the Bank 6/17/18)
- Meiko Satomura vs. Mercedes Martinez (MYC 10/3/18)
- Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura (MYC 10/24/18)
- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV 8/18/18)
- Adam Cole vs. Ricochet (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV 8/18/18)
- Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV 8/18/18)
- Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz (SummerSlam 8/19/18)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream, (NXT 8/23/18)
- Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy (Hell in a Cell 9/16/18)
- AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (Hell in a Cell 9/16/18)
- Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne (NXT 9/19/18)
- AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (Super Show-Down 10/6/18)
- Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy (Super Show-Down 10/6/18)
- Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali (205 Live 10/23/18)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black (NXT Takeover: WarGames 11/17/18)
- Undisputed Era vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne, & War Raiders (NXT Takeover: WarGames 11/17/18)
- Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey (Survivor Series 11/18/18)
- Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Survivor Series 11/18/18)
- Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar (Survivor Series 11/18/18)
- Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (TLC 12/16/18)
- Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles (TLC 12/16/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho (Wrestle Kingdom 12 1/4/18)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito (Wrestle Kingdom 12 1/4/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Jay White (New Beginning in Sapporo 1/28/18)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki (New Beginning in Sapporo 1/27/18)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA (New Beginning in Osaka 2/10/18)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Juice Robinson (New Japan Cup 3/16/18)
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan Cup 3/21/18)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (Sakura Genesis 4/1/18)
- Golden Lovers vs. Young Bucks (Strong Style Evolved 3/25/18)
- KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay (Wrestling Dontaku 5/4/18)
- Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi (Dominion 6/9/18)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho (Dominion 6/9/18)
- Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 7/14/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax 7/15/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax 7/19/18)
- Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 7/21/18)
- Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 7/26/18)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 8/4/18)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. SANADA (G1 Climax 8/11/18)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 7/28/18)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 8/10/18)
- Golden Lovers vs. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii (Fighting Spirit Unleashed 9/30/18)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (Destruction in Kobe 9/23/18)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (King of Pro Wrestling 10/8/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi (King of Pro Wrestling 10/8/18)
- Chris Jericho vs. EVIL (Power Struggle
- Golden Lovers vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay (Road to Tokyo Dome 12/15/18)
- Joe Doering vs. Zeus (New Year Wars 1/2/18)
- Violent Giants vs. Yoshiken (Yokohama Twilight Blues 2/3/18)
- Koji Iwamoto vs. Josh Bodon (Dream Power Series 3/25/18)
- Yoshitatsu vs. Suwama (Champions Carnival 4/22/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs. Shingo Takagi (Champions Carnival 4/7/18)
- Shingo Takagi vs. Yuji Hino (Champions Carnival 4/15/18)
- Zeus vs. Naomichi Marufuji (Champions Carnival 4/20/18)
- Jun Akiyama vs. Naomichi Marufuji (Champions Carnival 4/25/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs Yuji Hino (Champions Carnival 4/29/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs. Naomichi Marufuji (Super Power Series 5/24/18)
- Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata vs. NEXTREAM (Dynamite Series 6/12/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs. Dylan James (Dynamite Series 6/12/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus (Summer Action Series 7/29/18)
- Zeus vs. Naoya Nomura (Oudou Tournament 9/17/18)
- Koji Iwamoto vs. Shuji Kondo (Oudou Tournament 9/22/18)
- Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee (Oudou Tournament 9/22/18)
- Kengo Mashimo vs. Zeus (Oudou Tournament 9/24/18)
- Yuji Hino vs. Kento Miyahara (Oudou Tournament 9/24/18)
- Kengo Mashimo vs. Kento Miyahara (Oudou Tournament 9/24/180
- Violent Giants vs. The Bomber (Real World Tag League 12/11/18)
- Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Kzy (Kotoka Road to Final 2/7/18)
- Ryo Saito vs. Shingo Takagi (Kotoka Road to Final 3/6/18)
- Dragon Kid vs. Yosuke Santa Maria (Dead or Alive 5/6/18)
- YAMATO vs. Kzy (King of Gate 5/8/18)
- Naruki Doi vs. YAMATO (King of Gate 6/1/18)
- Ben-K & Big R Shimizu vs. BxB Hulk & YAMATO (Kobe Pro Wrestling Festival 7/22/18)
- BxB Hulk & YAMATO vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker (Dangerous Gate 9/28/18)
- Masato Yoshino vs. Naruki Doi (Dangerous Gate 9/28/18)
- Masato Yoshino vs. Ben-K (Gate of Destiny 11/4/18)
- Ben-K, Big R Shimizu & PAC vs. BxB Hulk, Flamita & YAMATO vs. Genki Horiguchi, Kzy & Susumu Yokosuka vs. Jason Lee, Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi (Gate of Evolution 11/6/18)
- Masato Yoshino vs. PAC (Fantastic Gate 12/4/18)
- Kenoh vs. Takashi Sugiura (Great Voyage in Yokohama 3/11/18)
- Takashi Sugiura vs. Naomichi Marufuji (Navigation with Breeze 5/29/18)
- Takashi Sugiura vs. Kenoh (Navigation with Emerald Spirits 6/26/18)
- Akitoshi Saito & Naomichi Marufuji defeat Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya (Junior Heavyweight Tag League 7/28/18)
- Takashi Sugiura & Daisuke Harada vs Atsushi Aoki & Jun Akiyama (Flight 9/1/18)
- Naomichi Marufuji vs. Hideo Itami (Flight 9/1/18)
- Daisuke Harada vs. Kotaro Suzuki (Global League 10/30/18)
- Kenoh vs. Naomichi Marufuji (Global League 11/8/18)
- Kaito Kiyomiya vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Global League 11/25/18)
- Kotaro Suzuki vs. Daisuke Harada (Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol. 2 12/16/18)
- Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi (Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol. 2 12/16/18)
- Takashi Sugiura vs. Kaito Kiyomiya (Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol. 2 12/16/18)
- Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura (Queen’s Fes 2/18/18)
- Io Shirai & Tam Nakano vs. Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire (Dream Slam in Nagoya 4/1/18)
- Toni Storm vs. Mayu Iwatani (Dream Slam in Nagoya 4/1/18)
- Kagetsu vs. Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani (Stardom Rebirth 4/15/18)
- Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani (Cinderella Tournament)
- Io Shirai vs. Kagetsu (Golden Week Stars 5/5/18)
- Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe (Gold Star 5/23/18)
- Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani vs. Kagetsu & Hazuki (Goddesses of Destiny 6/19/18)
- Momo Watanabe vs. Hazuki (Bright Summer 7/16/18)
- Starlight Kid vs. AZM (Queen’s Fes in Sapporo 6/3/18)
- Jungle Kyona vs. Utami Hayashishita (Stardom x Stardom 8/12/18)
- Kagetsu vs. Mayu Iwatami (Stardom x Stardom 8/12/18)
- Konami vs. Kagetsu (5 Star Grand Prix 8/18/18)
- Tam Nakano vs. Jungle Kyona (5 Star Grand Prix 8/26/18)
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Utami Hayashishita (5 Star Grand Prix 9/24/18)
- Kagetsu vs. Momo Watanabe (Grand Champion Carnival 9/30/18)
- Momo Watanabe vs. Mayu Iwatani (True Fight 10/23/18)
- Nick Aldis vs. Cody (All In 9/1/18)
- Kagetsu & Hazuki vs. Chihiro Mashimoto & DASH Chisako (Sendai Girls 11/16/18)
- Pete Dunne vs. Ilja Dragunov (Progress Chapter 76: Hello Wembley! 9/30/18)
- Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Bandido (PWG: Battle of Los Angeles 9/16/18)
- Ilja Dragunov vs. Shingo Takagi (PWG: Battle of Los Angeles 9/15/18)
- Shotaro Ashino vs. Manabu Soya (Wrestle-1 Trans Magic 3/14/18)
- Manabu Soya vs. Shotaro Ashino (Wrestle-1 Love in Yokohama 9/2/18)
- Shotaro Ashino vs. Koji Doi (Wrestle-1 Grand Prix Finals 7/18/18)
- WALTER vs. Will Ospreay (OTT 4 Year Anniversary 10/13/18)
- WALTER vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (Progress Chapter 79: Pumpkin Spice Progress 10/28/18)
- Bandido, Flamita & Rey Horus vs. CIMA, Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz (PWG: Battle of Los Angeles 9/15/18)
- CIMA vs. Konosuke Takeshita (DDT: Ryogoku Peter Pan Fall Festival 10/21/18)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Keith Lee (RPW: Epic Encounter 5/11/18)
- Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay (ROH Death Before Dishonor 9/28/18)
- Kenny Omega vs. Cody (ROH Supercard of Honor XII 4/7/18)
- Cody vs. Nick Aldia (NWA 70th Anniversary 10/21/18)
- Tessa Blanchard vs. Mercedes Martinez (RISE 10: Insanity 10/19/18)
- Austin Aries vs. Johnny Impact (Impact Bound for Glory 10/14/18)
- Austin Aries vs. Pentagon vs. Rey Fenix (Impact Redemption 4/22/18)
- Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage (Impact Slammiversary 7/22/18)
- Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr. (Impact Slammiversary 7/22/18)
- Will Ospreay vs. Matt Riddle (OTT ScrapperMania IV 5/12/18)
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle (Evolve 102 4/5/18)
- Jordan Devlin vs. Will Ospreay (Progress Chapter 72: Got Got Need 6/24/18)
- Arisa Nakajima vs. Rina Yamashita (SEAdLINNNG d-Higher 10/3/18)
- Nanae Takahashi vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto ( SEAdLINNNG d-Higher 10/3/18)
- Arisa Nakajima vs. Nanae Takahashi (SEAdLINNNG Go! Beyond! 11/3/18)
- Mika Iwata vs. Hana Kimura (Sendai Girls 4/19/18)
- Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Cassandra Miyagi (Sendai Girls 10/14/18)
- Masashi Takeda vs. Jun Kasai (FREEDOM Tokyo Death Carnival 8/28/18)
- Hideki Suzuki vs. Daisuke Sekimoto (BJW Ryogokutan 2018 11/11/18)
- Hideyoshi Kamitani & Takuya Nomura vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya (Riki Chosu Power Hall 7/10/18)
- Bobby Gunns vs. Ilja Dragunov (wXw World Tag Team League 6/10/18)
- Meiko Satomura vs. Io Shirai vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto (Fortune Dream V 6/11/18)
- Matt Riddle vs. Shane Strickland (Evolve 108 8/4/18)
- Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham (ROH TV 9/8/18)
- Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi vs. HARASHIMA & Naomichi Marufuji (DDT Judgement 3/25/18)
Any of these companies you might not be familiar with, take these matches as a good starting point. Even though they didn’t make my Top 25, doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable and well wrestled. If any of these were some of your favorites of 2018, keep your eyes open for my Top 25. That way you can see what I thought was maybe a little better.
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.
It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!
5. Samoa Joe
A gentle reminder that Samoa Joe is one of the greatest talkers in the game pic.twitter.com/p4TZeZIAV7
— Kenny Majid – A Kenny For Your Thoughts Podcast (@akfytwrestling) April 15, 2021
I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.
Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.
In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!
4. Kris Statlander
— All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) April 15, 2021
AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.
Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.
Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.
Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.
3. Tay Conti
Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.
Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.
This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.
2. Bianca Belair
We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.
You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.
Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.
Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.
1. Darby Allin
Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.
The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.
What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.
NXT Minus 6: About that Cole-O’Reilly match…
It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong?
It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong?
6. I was jacked to 11 for Adam Cole versus Kyle O’Reilly. I was ready to give it a Tokyo Dome 6 stars. MOTY before the bell rang. A masterwork of storytelling. I correctly predicted it would be an unsanctioned match. Then the action started, and it quickly became “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
5. After the first few acts of violence, it was apparent that the problem with the match would be the stipulation. The last NXT unsanctioned match was Johnny Gargano versus Tommaso Ciampa in 2018. That was 3 short years ago, but things move quickly in today’s world. There is very little chance an unsanctioned match can deliver the level of violence it promises as long as NXT is on the PG-13 Peacock.
4. Fans are losing their minds over all the content Peacock is leaving on the cutting floor. A lot of it was offensive and would never work today, but that’s not the point. The fact is there’s only so much violence Peacock’s parent company NBC will tolerate from wrestling. Take the chain, for example. Other than the clothesline, it was practically useless. O’Reilly tried to make it work, but it fell flat. In an unsanctioned match, 20 feet of heavy duty chain should be all you need to decimate another human being.
3. Maybe I’m a victim of my own wrestling memory. An unsanctioned match in Memphis in the 80’s would have been a bloodbath. Someone would have been hung over the top rope with the chain around his neck. Whipped across the back. Hog tied. Someone would have wrapped it around their fist for a few stiff shots to their opponent’s forehead. But that goes back to my original point. None of that would fly today even if NXT was only on the WWE network.
2. I’ll go so far as to say the only violent-promising stipulation that interests me is Falls Count Anywhere. There is zero drama in wrestlers pulling chairs from under the ring. The chance to use the naturally occurring environment as a weapon still holds a world of suspense. Someone is going through windows, walls, off the stage, over the guardrail, stuffed in a locker. Honestly, I’m tired of people getting hit in the stomach with folding chairs. Of all the ways to hit someone with a folding chair, that’s the least practical.
1. I’m sorry to say Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole didn’t deliver what I expected. Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe I don’t need over-the-top violence to entertain me. Maybe I don’t need wrestling to keep pushing the envelope. Five of my top 6 matches of 2021 are straight up wrestling matches. Maybe all I need is two (or three or four) strong characters and a good story. Damn, I sound old.
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It was the Takeover match that held the most promise. Where did it go wrong?