Well after last week was the “Worst Raw Ever” and this week was “Awful But Still An Improvement”, SmackDown has to be the high point of the main roster…right? Let’s find out what Bobby has to say about it.
With a red hot, well luke warm Raw, our “B for Better” brand had a Good Show last week. Can they keep the trend going and dominate like always? Or will we all have a “blue” night from an Ugly show? Not a chance. This is SmackDown.
Opening Segment with GM Paige
Hyping another first for WWE. We have Asuka, Charlotte, and “The Man” Becky Lynch all together. All look ready to kick some ass in the first Women’s Championship TLC Match. Again Becky Lynch is so over right now. The crowd just adores her every move. She is doing so well on the mic, beaming with confidence that seemed to be missing before. Charlotte slayed as always, and Asuka came in perfectly solidifying her role in this match. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville looked great as well. Mandy is a natural on the mic, and has gotten comfortable in the ring. Sonya Deville, definitely got a bump up from her brief interaction against Asuka a week ago in the Battle Royal. I would love to see a lot more of both of them, as they add something Good to the show. It was a decent Segway to the opening match which will most likely be Good.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs. Charlotte and Asuka
Charlotte and Asuka were on fire this whole match. The swagger was running wild. The pace was sharp and everything clicked. Sonya Deville and Asuka have tremendous potential for an epic feud. Sonya Deville is so talented I want to see more of her as much as possible. WWE really needs to tap into some of their supporting cast but that is a known fact. We had a lot of Good action in this match. After a mixup at ringside, Charlotte kicked Asuka in the face only for Asuka to retailiate leading to a roll up and victory by Sonya Deville. Deville and Rose Win!
Triple Threat Match: Xavier Woods vs. Cesaro vs. Jey Uso
No surprise to anyone we have some fantastic talent in this match. They are also very comfortable with one another, and it showed. We had a ton of action, lots of high flying, and entertaining spots. These guys are a major part of the flavor on their respective teams. Woods and Cesaro are non-stop. After some unbelievable spots, and intense back and forth, everything going smoothly. This is the type of talent that needs to be seen every week, as it is just to Good to waste! We had an insane group of kicks and false finishes before Jey Uso superkicks Cesaro for the victory. This was a Good time and even better match.
Carmella and R-Truth interrupt the former IC Champion and Movie star with a Dance Interruption, making for a random and funny moment. This is an interesting segment, having such a heated rival like World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. They have a lot of heat and history, but now as a heel, it will add a bit of uncertainty. Daniel Bryan as a psychopathic jerk is just perfect. He is such an interesting heel all around. Being so over and really not doing anything hate worthy, he has transitioned into his new role smoothly. I especially love that he is looking down on the fans and borderline snobbish. The Miz interrupting his environmental rant, is wonderful, two heels playing off each other. Daniel Bryan getting booed, The Miz getting Yes Chants! Plain Insanity! Enters AJ Styles, making the crowd pop. Unfortunately, he was outdone by The Miz, ending his heat early. Decent promo, still not Bad.
AJ Styles vs. The Miz
Everyone seems excited for this match. It is a good match-up of characters, skill levels and overall heat. AJ Styles came out with pure aggression, making this look very personal. We saw some Good action throughout, seeing both men trying to break each other down. Working the body, and giving the fans a textbook match. It wasn’t perfect, but we had some good, solid wrestling. The Miz has earned his legacy and place as a serious contender. SmackDown is heavy on the commercial breaks, and during the Main Event of the Night, it gets old. AJ Styles may be the Best Ever. He really brings it, tonight was no different. Predictably as Daniel Bryan was at commentary, he got involved long enough for the Miz to regain control and attack the “Phenomenal One” leading to a 2-Count from a devastating “Skull Crushing Finale.” Daniel Bryan got involved again, but got kicked in the head by AJ leading to a roll up into a Calf Crusher for the Win! Although victorious Styles got destroyed by Daniel Bryan after the match. Bryan viciously beat the hell out of him, stomping his face repeatedly. The crowd was irate. As said before, this mean streak fits Daniel Bryan so well. He is so edgy and angry. “Fickle!” The wild craze he portrays is believable. When that happens, it’s magic.
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
I love this feud. Two veterans that bring it on every time at their highest potential levels. This was a Good and safe match, as the two men kept things familiar and comfortable. That’s not to say it wasn’t physical and exhausting. These guys go! Even in the rest spots, these guys know what they are doing. Then we had some miscues. We had a few issues that cannot go unnoticed including a scary high spot where Hardy almost landed on Randy Orton’s head. But they gained their composure, however just when it looked like it was over, Samoa Joe ruined this match by interrupting it on the big screen, causing a distraction followed by a disgusting RKO! Randy Orton Wins! The ending and miscues were just Bad. Samoa Joe made it even worse by giving us a cheesy lecture. This simply pushed this match, as a whole in a Bad direction.
THE UGLY- N/A
- Good – 5
- Bad – 1
- Ugly – 0
Overall: SmackDown Wins! Another solid, Good Show!
SmackDown is just a Good show. This so called “B” show is superior in every single way. Raw has this awesome, untouchable history, and a soft spot in many’s heart from the Monday Night War days, but SmackDown has the Goods! See you later this week for my Pre-TLC article. Please comment, like and share.
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling YouTube Ratings & Analysis (3/22/2019)
Andrew tales a look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT! How did it match up after disappointing Twitch views?
A look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT!
As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for wrestling. 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 you’ve become accustomed to this with WWE product, let’s continue the Impact YouTube! Here is this week’s IMPACT YouTube Report, compiled approximately 48 hours after IMPACT went off the air:
- The VIOLENT Debut of a New Member of oVe! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 353k
- Top 5 Must-See Moments from IMPACT Wrestling for Mar 22, 2019 | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 99k
- Johnny & Taya Explain Their Despicable Betrayal of Brian Cage | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 93k
- Scarlett Bordeaux vs Glenn Gilbertti NEXT WEEK on IMPACT Wrestling: Against All Odds! – 50k
- Gail Kim Interrupted by a VICIOUS Brawl Between LAX & Lucha Bros! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 47k
Well…last week and this week have surprised me. Not only for what ranked first, but by how much. I didn’t realize Sawyer Fulton had that much of a following, or again, the tag line is enticing with Debut and Violent. But either way, Sami and oVe have been a solid proven commodity for generating buzz and attention, so I suppose after the initial shock of how many people clicked it, it makes some sense. But damn, 3 times as many views as second place. Wow.
The Top 5 truncated highlight reel comes in second. These always seem to do fairly well, and good for them? Not much to extrapolate from people enjoying abridged versions of things. Ask Team Four Star or Little Kuriboh, abridged things are great.
For as monotone as he is, and how much the IWC reaction is basically what he was complaining about in his promo, he still keeps pulling good numbers. Johnny does cut a better promo as a heel, but he’s still hard to sit through. But hey, it’s bringing eyeballs, so that’s something.
Scarlett and Glenn promo video gets a little love. Scarlett is one of the hottest things in wrestling currently and Glenn does have a degree of celebrity, as well as being great in his role. Even though the only thing that makes sense is Scarlett winning next week, Glenn has been a great addition to the show this past month.
Gail Gail Gail, well now. Gail is one of the best female wrestlers ever, and LAX/Lucha Bros decided to brawl all in the same video. There’s so much to peak a little interest that it makes complete sense why it made the Top 5. Lucha Bros are on fire currently, LAX is always a draw and Gail is Gail, so I’m a little surprised this wasn’t higher.
- 2.1.2019 – 311,000
- 2.8.2019 – 293,000
- 2.15.2019 – 396,000
- 2.22.2019 – 368,000
- 3.1.2019 – 354,000
- 3.8.2019 – 439,000
- 3.15.2019 – 616,000
- 3.22.2019 – 642,000
Again we see a jump in numbers. Since the show did it’s lowest Twitch views of the year, I guess it makes sense that more people would be going to YouTube to try and catch up since there is no legal VOD service unless you DVR/On Demand the show from Pursuit…but you’d need Pursuit in the first place.
So with all that, the number could’ve been higher since the NCAA tournament was in full swing, thus distracting some potential viewers. All in all, this is nice to see interest in Impact, though it waned, didn’t go away completely…and seems to be bouncing back a little. With such a limited TV reach and hit or miss Twitch numbers, any amount of increased interest is a positive step.
As is tradition, the number 1 video:
Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.
That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.
- Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
- Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
- Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
- Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
- Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
- Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – ***
- IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
- NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****
We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.
Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.
Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.
Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.
Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.
This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.
We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches. Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.
Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.