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Andrew’s NXT Takeover: Phoenix 2019 Ratings & Notes

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Andrew brings us ratings and overall thoughts on the first NXT Takeover of the new year!

Well the IWC tends to mark the Takeovers as the real must see events during these big WWE PPV weekends. Do we get another banger of a show that sets the bar too high for Royal Rumble, or does this show come down to Earth a little?

With many proven talents, this card could be fire. The only thing that sticks out is the Matt Riddle and Kassius Ohno match. Hopefully that’s not too much of a down moment on the show.

Ratings:

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Undisputed Era (c) vs War Raiders: Raiders win via Fallout @16:55 – **** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
  • Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno: Riddle wins via Repeated Elbows, TKO @9:15 – ** 1/2
  • NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Ricochet (c): Gargano wins via Slingshot DDT @23:35 – **** 1/2TITLE CHANGE!!
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Bianca Belair: Baszler retains via Kirifuda Clutch @16:25 – **
  • NXT Championship: Aleister Black vs Tommaso Ciampa (c): Ciampa retains via Fairy Tale Ending @26:30 – **** 1/4

 

Review Notes:

  • War Raiders come out with Viking war horns, dark lightning and soldiers as the crowd starts to bustle before eventually appearing and going into their normal theme. With such a big entrance, I’m not surprised they won, hell I picked them in the staff picks. But this match was tremendous. Era started off quick and basically had this match feeling like a Tornado/Lucha match with the amount of times all four men were involved in the action. Hansen kicked out of the High/Low tandem finish, Raiders pulled out most of their moves though. Thor’s Hammer, Rowe’s Powerbomb/Bodyslam combo, Hansen’s Back Handspring Double Elbow, just a lot of good stuff. The matched flowed well, Raiders showed resiliency and Undisputed Era stuck to the gameplan of trying to just use speed and double team maneuvers to get an upper-hand. Just damn damn good.
  • This match was a little better than expected. Ohno was 0-4 on Takeovers and 0-2 against Riddle, so he had something to prove, and did pull out a lot of stops. Stepping on toes, biting toes, general underhanded tactics still weren’t enough. If anything it just pissed off Riddle more, so he hits a close range Knee Strike and starts raining down elbow strikes until Ohno taps out. Also I have to mention, Nigel had a great V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes reference when he was talking about the first meeting between these two and said something to the effect of “Remember, Remember, that night in December”.
  • Velveteen Dream shows up in a limo with two women and a hat, in similar fashion to The Godfather. Gotta love Dream’s propensity to make references.
  • Well now, great match. A few awkward moments here and there, but all in all, both Gargano and Ricochet put on a hell of a show. Ricochet’s movie stunt Wall Run Backflip off the post onto Gargano was impressive. The way he just shrugged off distance or difficulty of jumping over the turnbuckles and post to dive onto Gargano, just all great. Gargano exposes the cement as a callback to his Ciampa feud, but doesn’t go through with it right away. Then, he’s pushed to the brink, shoved Ricochet into the post whilst on the apron, as a callback to his match against Andrade, and eventually hits a Brainbuster on the exposed floor. Impressive match, but one big takeaway is that Ricochet really needs to tone down the excessive flips, especially since that’s mostly why he lost and when he got caught by Johnny, plus the misses felt obvious, so they didn’t add anything to the match.
  • I had more than a few issues with the Baszler/Belair match. Baszler did not go after the “injured” shoulder nearly enough, and if she’s such a submission specialist, she should know how to go after an injury. The finishing sequence was sloppy, the roll in the ref bump, and Belair doing the 450 Splash that missed everything except Shayna’s foot, just the whole thing fell apart in the last couple minutes. Bad camera angles on the Kirifuda Clutch hurt the believability too. Could”ve been a decent match, but sloppiness hurt the match and it would’ve been nice to see some logic from a former MMA fighter instead of just going to her Kirifuda Clutch twice.
  • This was a damn good match. Ciampa worked over the plant leg heavily to try and take away the Black Mass. Seth Rollins could learn some things from Aleister Black, since he actually sold a busted up leg well and for the entire match. Two nice wrinkles I picked up were Mauro’s commentary about Tommaso calling himself Tommy Sports Entertainment, and asking if Aleister will end…Tommy, yes Tommy End, we get it. The second wrinkle was hearing Nigel call his own move when Ciampa hit a Rope Hung Cutter onto the apron, but Nigel called it Tower of London. Also, Ciampa had a beautiful transition from a roll up, into a Draping DDT and then a Fairy Tale Ending, but that wasn’t the finish. So what hurt this match to me were two things, another ‘exposing the concrete’ spot shortly after Gargano did the same thing and too damn many false finishes. When Black hit Black Mass, it made sense for Ciampa to be able to roll to his side, since it took time for Black to crawl over to Ciampa. But 4 Fairy Tale Endings? Really? And the fourth one coming after Aleister almost pulled off a miracle Black Mass, but his leg gave out and it just looked awkward. The finish to this match really took it down a peg, but it’s still damn good.

 

Overall Score: 7.25/10

So this wasn’t a bad show, but the order of the card was a little weird and it definitely under performed compared to what we’re lead to expect from Takeovers. Though we see Gargano win his first singles’ title, War Raiders unseat Undisputed Era and Bianca’s undefeated streak was broken…this didn’t feel as fantastic as most usually do. I guess we can be thankful Takeover wasn’t so outstanding, cause now even the smarkiest of fans can’t completely discredit Royal Rumble tomorrow.

The show was still perfectly fine. As I listed off, some things did happen that make this show worth watching, but maybe we just expect too much from NXT. I guess we’ll see if Brooklyn V picks it back up, or maybe NXT might be cooling off a little.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Greg DeMarco: Box Office Brock Lesnar And The New WWE

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Brock Lesnar WWE Money In The Bank

After a hard-hitting WWE Money In The Bank, Greg DeMarco offers perspective on Brock Lesnar winning the Money In The Bank briefcase and the obvious shift in the WWE product & presentation.

I know you read that headline and wondered what in the hell I was smoking. Brock Lesnar leaves Hartford with the Money In The Bank briefcase, and I’m calling it a new WWE? I have to be insane, right? Well, that perspective is 100% wrong. (I mean…I may be insane–but not for that reason!) WWE Money In The Bank was shock and awe from start to finish, and you have every reason to be excited. The reactions I am seeing prove that the online community doesn’t want to enjoy WWE. Hopefully, for me, some mainstream fans will read this article too!

Box Office Brock Lesnar

I know what you’re thinking…same ol’ sh*t, right? I can’t say I agree. On the technicality side, Brock Lesnar has never held the Money In The Bank briefcase, so it’s wrong there. But I get it, you’re tired of seeing Brock on top. The truth of it is, he’s Box Office. And WWE needs box office.

What is “Box Office,” exactly? It’s the ability to get fans to spend money, which is how WWE makes money. Brock Lesnar sells the WWE product–to fans, to viewers, to advertisers, and to networks. Wrestling Twitter is a vocal minority, and appeasing them got WWE nowhere with WrestleMania 35, or as I was calling it for the months leading up to it, “HappyMania.” Brock is back, and I think it’s fantastic.

Disagree with me? Great, but the sold out crowd in Hartford blew the roof off the joint when his music hit, so they obviously agree. Brock will likely cash-in in advance, proclaiming his championship opportunity for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7. Then we get to give the briefcases a rest, as we continue to shuffle the rosters up and use fun words like Wild Card (bitches…yeehaw!).

One prevailing thought I have seen is that the other seven guys in the match busted their asses for no payoff. I can’t agree with that either–their payoff is a paycheck. They’re businessmen. Those who complain about how they are booked don’t get the business. And as All Elite Wrestling is proving, they don’t take too kindly to people complaining about booking, either.

A New WWE?

I know a lot of people don’t see it, because they’re too worried about booking. But the WWE product shifted tonight. And as dangerous as it is, I hope it sticks.

The product got way more physical at WWE Money In The Bank–way more physical. It started with the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match, which in reality doesn’t need a gender specific distinction. Money In The Bank describes both ladder matches tonight, as both delivered in both brutality and story. Everyone put their bodies through hell during those matches, and they deserve to be praised.

But it didn’t end there:

  • Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe…brutality.
  • Shane McMahon vs. The Miz…brutality.
  • Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari…brutality.
  • The entire segment with the Women’s Championships…brutality.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Elias…brutality.
  • Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles…brutality.
  • Lars Sullivan and The Lucha House Party…brutality.
  • Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens…say it with me…brutality.

Sense a theme, here? WWE provided a more physical product, and did things that make sense. Yes, there were botches that everyone wants to blame on the refs. In each instance, it appeared to me that the talent messed up, and the commentators covered by blaming the officiating. And that makes sense to me. You didn’t think they were going to blame the wrestlers, did you?

It’s really funny that this comes after AEW reveals that they’ll present a more realistic, athletic oriented product after the onset of their TV deal. It’s probably the single bad move they’ve made (okay, maybe second to the whole PAC/Page ordeal), announcing their plans to the world and giving WWE a heads up on what’s coming so they can beat AEW to it.

Seriously, it’s like they went “Here’s our formula!” without even realizing WWE had a high profile PPV to air 6-days before Double Or Nothing. C’mon guys… #UseYourHead.

At the end, it looks WWE is going back to what works for them: giving the fans what they need, and not what they want. Imagine going to the doctor and misdiagnosing yourself. Would you rather the doctor provides you with what you want and now what you need? You’d sue that doctor for malpractice! It’s getting to be that same way with WWE. Prescribe to us what we need, Vince. Even if we don’t like the taste when it goes down, it’s for the best in the end.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/19/2019

Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

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Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!

Last week was an interesting week since it wasn’t a normal Top 5 and we had two Sami Callihan matches. When it came down to it though, IMPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack, won the vote for the week. I’m always a happy when less popular matches or companies get a fair shake in the rundown.

Either way, let’s see exactly how much New Japan shows up and if anything from Money in the Bank was worth a watch!

 

5. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH

Taguchi has been having a crisis of character so to speak. He’s become more of a comedy wrestler who’s history doesn’t really inject respect or fear into his opponents. YOH is up and coming, and was trained by Taguchi in the New Japan Dojo. So YOH is trying to establish himself beyond the tag realm and Taguchi is trying to refind himself.

We saw an interesting match. Taguchi showed a little of both worlds from comedy to more of his extensive moveset. YOH was a walking reference to older wrestlers; he even mastered the Paradise Lock apparently. Taguchi picks up the win with the variation of the Dodon that he used to remove Prince Devitt from New Japan. Very good match.

Winner: Taguchi via Dodon’s Throne

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero

This was a little similar to the earlier Taguchi match. Rocky had something to prove. CHAOS members, and Rocky is perceived as being past his prime, but he wanted to prove he can still hang. It’s been 3 years since his last BOSJ, how does the most decorated Junior Tag wrestler fair against the Aerial Assassin?

We got a great match. Rocky had numerous hope spots, hit the Forever Lariats, his half of Strong Zero and reversed the Stormbreaker first attempt into a legit Huricanrana. Ospreay turned out too be just a little too big, a little too athletic and a Shooting Star Press followed by a Stormbreaker ends this great match. Very good.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbringer

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann

From My Analysis:
So damn this main event went 2 commercial breaks, but it was really solid. Swann wouldn’t stay down and even had great hope spots. A Super Frankensteiner countering the Avalanche Powerbomb, Lethal Injection, 450, but Elgin kicked out. Swann tried a top rope Phoenix Splash, and missed. Elgin hits Splash Mountain, and Rich kicks out. Elgin rolls to the outside, catches Rich and repeatedly Powerbombs him into the post. Kid Ref tries to get the match back in the ring, Elgin pushes Kid Ref and Powerbombs Swann again for posterity. Kid Ref calls for the DQ and then runs for his life. This was a great match, the “non-finish” is rather annoying coming out of a roughly 25 minute match. But love him or hate him, Elgin can wrestle.

Winner: Swann via DQ

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 3: Dragon Lee vs SHO
Winner: Dragon Lee via Desnucadora
Rating: ****
WWE MiTB: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor vs Ricochet vs Andrade vs Randy Orton vs Ali vs Brock Lesnar
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: Dragon Lee vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE MitB: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Ligero vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Devlin via Snap Saito Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
Winner: Eagles via Ron Miller Special
Rating: ***
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Finn Balor vs Andrade vs Ali
Winner: Andrade via Hammerlock DDT
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Winner: Phantsmo via Greetings from Chasewood Park
Rating: ***
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Ligero
Winner: Nese via Running Kneese
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: Fall Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Zayn via Claymore
Rating: ***
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Ren Narita vs Robbie Eagles
Winner: Eagles via Turbo Backpack
Rating: ***
WWE MitB: The Usos vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan
Winner: Usos via Double Uce
Rating: ***

 

2. WWE MitB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Now it’s Rollins who has to come up with something else to put Styles away. Fans rally up as Rollins stands. Rollins still has the tried and true, “Burn It Down!” He mule kicks then runs, but Styles dodges to roll Rollins to a Calf Crusher! Rollins endures but Styles cranks back hard! Rollins rolls it back and kicks Styles away! His leg is free but it is hurting! Styles crawls away but Rollins pursues. Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Cover, TWO!! Rollins escapes with one good leg! Styles gets back up and waits for Rollins. Rollins stands and SUPERKICKS Styles down! Both men are down again, but fans rally and duel again. Styles and Rollins crawl for each other to start throwing hands! Rollins hits, Styles hits, repeat. Rollins CHOPS but Styles punches again.

Fans duel, Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz, but Rollins dodges to enziguri! And dodges the Pele! Mule kick! Curb Stomp countered! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives THE Styles Clash?! No one can believe it, but the fans are loving it! Styles grits his teeth as Rollins starts sitting up. Styles goes to the apron, takes aim and springboards. Phenomenal misses! Revolution Knee hits! And then, SUPERKICK! Styles is on his face, but Rollins gets back up! CURB STOMP!! Rollins put so much into that, he has to crawl to a cover! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins via The Stomp

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: SHO vs Shingo Takagi

This match has had a great build all year. SHO is the power of Roppongi 3k, and throughout the LIJ and Roppongi feud for the Junior Tag Titles, we always saw SHO try to go at Shingo. Shingo called him out a little and this is a great rivalry. SHO has something to prove, but Shingo doesn’t want to be upstaged by someone who was a Young Boy only a few years ago.

We saw the story unfold beautifully. Shingo dominated early, until SHO fired up and showed he wasn’t just going to roll over. As the match progressed SHO started to anticipate Shingo’s moves and stay a step ahead. Both men hit all of their signature moves, and neither wanted to really budge. This was just so well done, and more of a heavyweight style because they are both bigger Juniors. Shingo edged out SHO by hitting Last of the Dragons after numerous Pumping Bombers. But damn this was great.

Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragons

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Shingo and SHO, there is no other answer. This has been a feud that started at the end of last year and persisted through the entire year so far. Long term booking is always fun, and when both men put on a great story telling match, it’s even better. Plus there’s no guarantee it’s over since SHO still has to surpass Shingo to feel completed.

Don’t sleep on Ospreay and Romero though, that was a great match, just didn’t quite match up to SHO and Shingo.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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