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Power Ranking the Men’s Royal Rumble Entrants

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It’s January, and for wrestling fans, that means one thing: it’s Royal Rumble season! Kevin Carroll ranks all the entrants we’re aware of at the moment.

Yes, there’s a lot of other stuff to get excited about in wrestling at the moment, and yes the Rumble is still a few weeks away. But I’ve decided to get in the spirit of the event, and power rank EVERY superstar who’s declared for the Rumble’s chances to win, from worst to best. This week, I’ll be breaking down the men’s Rumble, while dedicating next week to the women’s side of things.

At the time of this writing, 20 gentlemen have declared their entry into this year’s Royal Rumble contest. Considering the number of surprise entries and legends that will make up a good chunk of the remaining field, it’s a safe bet to assume that 20 superstars is roughly all we’ll know before the Rumble event itself.

So without further ado, let’s get to it:

20. Jinder Mahal

Remember when Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion for much of the summer of 2017? Me either! No shot for the Modern Day Maharaja to punch his ticket to WrestleMania, I’m afraid.

19. R-Truth

Truth gets the slight edge over Mahal because of his guaranteed #30 entry, which would technically give him the best odds to win if wrestling weren’t fake. Unfortunately for Truth, this is the case, which means that the co-winner of the Mixed Match Challenge will most likely NOT be the last man left in the ring when it’s all said and done.

Could you imagine that pop though? Gives me chills to think about. Sorry, Truth!

18. Apollo Crews

The last of this tier of talent that I like to think of as the “no-shots” is Apollo Crews, who we last saw picking up a victory in mixed tag action on Monday Night RAW. As it wasn’t even him picking up the pinfall, I think it’s safe to assume that Crews will have a relatively short night in Phoenix, which is a shame because he’s a bundle of talent that needs to break out sometime in the year 2019 if he’s to have any chance in WWE at all.

17. Elias

Look, I love Elias as much as the next guy, I’m a card-carrying member of the Walk With Elias fan club, but could you really see him winning the Rumble? I think somewhere down the line we could see Elias elevated to the title picture, but without much momentum to speak of right now, this year won’t be the year.

16-14: Big E, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston

As much as I enjoy the New Day as a stable, that designation really hurts their chances to make any sort of waves in the Rumble match, beyond Kofi’s usual death-defying save spot, which seems to get better every year. What’s he going to do to top standing on pancakes last year? What props will he use? That’s about as good as it’s going to get for the New Day in this year’s Rumble.

13. Baron Corbin

If the WWE wishes to set Phoenix on literal fire with a riot that no police force can contain, than sure, you could look at Baron Corbin as a legit threat to win the Royal Rumble. But do we think that Vince McMahon and company really want to send the fans home that mad? I can’t see it happening, especially as the idea of a Corbin-Strowman or Corbin-Lesnar WrestleMania main event isn’t exactly appetizing.

12. John Cena

The only free agent on this list, but that tag doesn’t really matter when, by winning the match, you could essentially put yourself on whichever show you see fit. Anyway, you know Cena’s a contender in kayfabe, as a two-time Rumble winner and 16-time world champ. They’re going to build him up as potentially the favorite to win the thing, but you and I know that’s not the case.

The man just isn’t as committed to WWE as he once was, and even though I fully expect him to win world title No. 17 someday, the Rumble is supposed to make a star. They haven’t always adhered to that logic, but I expect them to this year. Another star that will be made? Whoever dumps Cena over the top rope.

11. Randy Orton

He gets the slight nod over Cena because he’s full-time and still being presented as a threat over on SmackDown, but the same logic behind Cena not winning applies to Randy Orton.

He’s already won the match twice, and there’s prestige and expectation that will come with that, but Orton hasn’t really sniffed the world title scene since dropping the belt to Jinder Mahal two years ago, and no one’s exactly clamoring for him to get back into the picture.

Look for him to start a feud off of whoever eliminates him from the match, probably carrying through WrestleMania. It seems like a good way to get someone over.

10. Bobby Lashley

Vince loves heat, but I don’t think he loves it enough to let Bobby Lashley leave Phoenix as the winner of the Royal Rumble. It would be one hell of a troll job though, you gotta admit. I don’t think they have any plans for Lashley beyond this mini-feud he seems to have going with Seth Rollins, and I think he’ll have a quiet Rumble night.

9. Samoa Joe

I’ll be the first to point out that the Samoan Submission Machine should be way, waaaaaay higher up on this list. But what has he done to really enforce that notion? He’s been on the wrong end of so many feuds and matches, and he has yet to capture his first title in the WWE since coming up from NXT, where he was a force to be reckoned with. He’ll be U.S. Champ soon, and maybe WWE champ this year, but not via the Rumble.

8. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose is going to hold onto that Intercontinental strap for a little while, I have a feeling, which almost disqualifies him from having a chance in the Royal Rumble match. But as an upper-midcard guy, you just never know what they might do with him, and I legitimately think he has more of a chance than the other fellas that have appeared on this list so far.

7. Jeff Hardy

I think at some point, we’re going to see Jeff Hardy get one last run with the WWE Championship. Why not start that now? He’s got momentum, he’s got experience, he’s a very real threat.

6. Rey Mysterio

I know, I know, he should be in the same boat as Cena and Orton. But naaaaaaah, I’m a Mysterio guy for life and I believe he presents a legit threat to the rest of the field. He’s been nothing but brilliant since returning to SmackDown, and who wouldn’t want to see Bryan-Mysterio, or maybe even Mysterio-Lesnar? I know I would.

5. Andrade “Cien” Almas

By virtue of a massive pinfall win over Rey Mysterio in tag team action on this week’s SmackDown, I’ve got to give him the edge to win the Rumble over Mysterio, even though his heel alignment doesn’t really play out well with two heel world champions at the moment. But if AJ Styles were to win the WWE Title from Bryan at the Rumble, a Styles-Almas match would be a nice callback to some of Andrade’s an early SmackDown work, and would be a heck of a match, to boot.

4. Mustafa Ali

It’s not too early to put the rocket on Ali’s back and shoot him to the top of the card. He’s already pinned the WWE champ Daniel Bryan once in tag team action, so clearly he’s going to be in the title picture sooner rather than later. Why not get him started with the biggest win of his career?

3. Finn Balor

Balor vs. Lesnar. The Demon vs. The Beast. BOOK IT.

The word is that Finn Balor is set for a big year, and if that’s the case, than a Rumble win would be the perfect way to start off a massive 2019 for him. And if you don’t want him to face Lesnar, than moving him to SmackDown and having him square off with Daniel Bryan would be just as good, if not better.

2. Seth Rollins

My personal pick to win the Rumble, I think Rollins-Lesnar is the best possible match we could have at WrestleMania (it won’t be closing the show, that honor should and will belong to the women, but more on that next week). Rollins is also someone you could move to SmackDown and feud with Bryan if that was the route WWE chose to go.

1. Drew McIntyre

He’s gotta be the favorite, right? The Scottish Psychopath has been on an absolute tear ever since reemerging on Monday Night Raw. He’s destroyed Kurt Angle, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor, and just about everyone in his path. Next up? Brock Lesnar.

Book it.


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 7/14/2019

HOLY WRESTLING WEEKEND BATMAN! With everything that went on, what did I see and what made the Top 5?

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HOLY WRESTLING WEEKEND BATMAN! With everything that went on, what did I see and what made the Top 5?

Well let’s not mess around too much since we’ve got a lot to break down. Our June match of the month was a two horse race, but one did end up winning without any controversy.

Updated Match of the Year Pool:

  • January – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • February – NXT Halftime Heat: Ricochet, Aleister Black & Velveteen Dream vs Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
  • March – Stardom: Wonder of Stardom Title Match: Jungle Kyona vs Momo Watanabe (c)
  • April – WrestleMania 35: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan (c)
  • May – AEW Double or Nothing: Cody Rhodes vs Dustin Rhodes
  • June – NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals Day: BOSJ 26 Finals: Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay

So there we go. The BOSJ Finals that blew away many that saw it, still resonated well with voters. So we have our first iteration of the same company getting a second match, but still none of the wrestlers yet.

Now what won last week, as the first match of July? Impact Wrestling Slammiversary: Impact World Championship: Brian Cage (c) vs Michael Elgin, took the first match slot of July.

Since we had so many shows this weekend, there was a draw, so we’ve got 6 matches this week in the interest of fairness.

 

5t. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: SANADA vs Will Ospreay

From My Analysis:
Well now, this went back and forth quite a bit. SANADA proved his athleticism, Ospreay proved that he can hang with heavyweights and it was close the whole time. The only really awful spot was Ospreay slipping out of the Paradise Lock. There’s a gimmick there, and we don’t need the allure of it to be cheapened for a dumb flip spot. Aside from that worthless moment, the match was really wrestled well and SANADA had a few attempts at victory. SANADA’s constant desire to use the Moonsault still proves to be his downfall. He really needs a new move.

Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker

Rating: ****

 

5t. AEW Fight for the Fallen: The Brotherhood (Cody & Dustin Rhodes) vs The Young Bucks

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
The Bucks have Dustin alone and they know it. Fans rally up behind Dustin as he throws hands on both Bucks! He gives jab after jab, and pumps it up like daddy did! Dirty birds for Matt, bionic backhands for Nick! But then a SUPERKICK in return! Shining Wizard to Macho Elbow! Cover, TWO!! Fans duel again as Matt grits his teeth. Matt runs at Dustin in the corner but gets a kick. Dustin hops on for a DESTROYER! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally and Dustin still feels it. Dustin tags Cody in and he sends Nick’s kick into Matt. Then Cody SUPERKICKS Nick, grabs Matt, but Nick SUPERKICKS Cody back! The Bucks think, and as Cody stands again, they give him DOUBLE SUPERKICKS to the back! Cover, but Dustin breaks it!

The Rhodes regroup, as do the Bucks. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” as the Rhodes both stand together. The Bucks rush them, to steal the uppercuts! But then they get SUPERKICKS from the Rhodes! To give them back! Stolen Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO!! Cody survives his own move, but the Bucks are not done. Nick FLIES onto Dustin, then coordinates with Matt. Matt gut wrenches, Nick springboards, MELTZER DRIVER! Cover, the Young Bucks win!

Winner: Bucks via Meltzer Driver

Rating: ****

 

4. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jeff Cobb

From My Analysis:
HOSS FIGHT! Big boys do big boy things and it was great. Chop exchanges, suplexes and both men putting the other through hell. Each favored their backs at different points, which made sense with all the punishment and suplexes both we dolling out. This definitely felt like it could go either way and that’s always a great vibe. Cobb never hit Tour of the Islands, so it was well protected.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Spike Brainbuster

Rating: ****

 

3. WWE Extreme Rules: United States Championship: AJ Styles vs Ricochet (c)

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Styles goes to suplex but Ricochet counters with a swinging neckbreaker! But Styles still lifts Ricochet for a brain buster! Cover, TWO!! Both men are down again but fans know “This is Awesome!” Styles slowly gets up and drags Ricochet over to a corner. Styles hauls Ricochet up top but Ricochet fights back. They brawl and Styles rocks Ricochet. Styles climbs up to join Ricochet but Ricochet fights back again. Ricochet slaps Styles off the top and adjusts position. But Styles is right back up, only to get a hotshot from Ricochet! Ricochet climbs back up, springboard shooting star! Cover, but Styles has a foot under the rope! Anderson points it out and the count is off!

Ricochet can’t believe how close he was, but he vows to wrap it up. He drags Styles to a drop zone, climbs up top, but Anderson runs over. Ricochet leaps over him and BOOTS Anderson down! But this distraction allows Gallows to trip Ricochet! Ricochet is stuck on the corner and Styles takes advantage, with an IMPLODING STYLES CLASH! Cover, Styles wins!

Winner: Styles via Avalanche Styles Clash

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: KENTA via Go 2 Sleep
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Extreme Rules: SmackDown Tag Team Titles: The New Day vs Heavy Machinery vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan (c)
Winner: New Day via Midnight Hour
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Juice Robinson vs Shingo Takagi
Winner: Juice via Pulp Friction
Rating: *** 3/4
AEW Fight for the Fallen: CIMA vs Kenny Omega
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Extreme Rules: Raw Tag Team Titles: The Revival (c) vs The Usos
Winner: Revival via Shatter Machine
Rating: *** 1/2
AEW Fight for the Fallen: SCU vs Lucha Brothers
Winner: Lucha Bros via Spike Fear Factor
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: EVIL vs Kota Ibushi
Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Extreme Rules: Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
Winner: Undertaker via Tombstone
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Extreme Rules: Intercontinental Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor:
Winner: Nakamura via Kinshasa
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Extreme Rules: Aleister Black vs Cesaro
Winner: Black via Black Mass
Rating: *** 1/4
AEW Fight for the Fallen: Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin & Joey Janela vs MJF, Shawn Spears & Sammy Guevara
Winner: Spears via Death Valley Driver
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Extreme Rules: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Samoa Joe
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs Lance Archer
Winner: Archer via EBD Claw Hold
Rating: ***
WWE Raw: 2 out of 3 Falls: The Miz & The Usos vs The Revival & Elias
Winner: Miz & Usos 2-1
Rating: ***
AEW Fight for the Fallen: Kip Sabian vs Hangman Page
Winner: Page via Deadeye
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Jon Moxley vs Taichi
Winner: Moxley via Deathrider
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: Kiera Hogan vs Jordynne Grace vs Madison Rayne
Winner: Grace via Grace Driver
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDown: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor
Winner: Shinsuke via Kinshasa
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Sabre via Cross Arm Breaker
Rating: ***
WWE Extreme Rules: Extreme Rules Winners Take All Raw Women’s & Universal Championships Match: Becky Lynch (c) & Seth Rollins (c) vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 3: Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr

From My Analysis:
Okada has the amazing ability to wrestler his opponent’s style of match. Sabre stretched him and tried to break him, but Okada fended off every attempt. We saw numerous counters, submissions and great wrestling. Okada’s Rolling Rainmaker to set up the traditional Rainmaker is always a fun transition. Awesome match.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night 2: Block B: Jay White vs Hirooki Goto

From My Analysis:
Jay White hasn’t taken Goto seriously, like the better portion of New Japan fans. White put on some great heel work, from his interactions with Gedo, to being a step ahead with a beaming shit eating grin the whole time. Goto showed the heart and resolve that he used to be well known for. Most people who became fans over the last 4 years or so, know Goto as a good hand but to never accomplish anything really. This could finally be a return to the form he had a while ago when he was considered on equal footing with Nakamura and Tanahashi. Damn great effort from both wrestlers.

Winner: Goto via GTR

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Well even though I missed the Evolve show because of having plans on Saturday, I think I caught enough of the quality shows. The Rhodes’ story is something I’ve been finding entertaining, but watching Jay White’s character evolve is great too. So my vote will go to Jay White vs Hirooki Goto.

Goto showing a possible resurgence and White continuing to grow are all great things so early in this G1 Climax tournament.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.43 ~ 14TH JULY 2019

Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

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Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

CURRENT TOUR RECAP
After a long break in which it was thought that due to the silence coming from the roster, they had all gone on a short summer break, NOAH returned on the 12th July to hold a show in Tokorozawa.

In Global Junior Tag League, YO-HEY defeated Junta Miyawaki (although he did praise him afterwards in a rambling promo), and Chris Ridgeway defeated fellow STINGER, Kotaro Suzuki by making him tap.

Minoru Tanaka vs Daisuke Harada for Global Junior League, was the main event of the evening, and what a match it was. They pulled everything out of every drawer they had, Tanaka worked on Harada’s knee, while Harada worked on the neck. The match went to a thirty minute draw, and both spoke afterwards about it. Minoru Tanaka says that he won today, and he will win the league. He also mentioned that he wants to see more junior matches main event shows.

Daisuke Harada said that he would not let “that stranger” win, and he would challenge for the belt again, whether the fans liked it or not.

Takashi Sugiura and Hajime Ohara took on Masao Inoue and Kinya Okada, and there was the usual amusing Inoue\Sugiura interplay. Earlier in the evening, joining in with Marufuji not remembering Kenoh’s name, and vice versa, Takashi Sugiura joined in, but changed it so that he couldn’t remember Masao Inoue’s name. Inoue is a sufferer of gout, and naturally Sugiura targeted his foot by keeping him in the ankle lock after Kinya Okada had tapped, and then when his arms were lifted in victory, he continued stamping on Inoue’s foot.

Speaking of Marufuji and Kenoh, Kenoh (when the team of Marufuji, Yoshinari Ogawa, Hiroshi Yamato and Keisuke Ishii took on Kongoh), timed it just right when Marufuji bounced into the ring, landed and turned so that he was there waiting for him, and they both got in each others face. Inamura was chopped to ribbons.

As Go Shiozaki was still absent (he will return to the ring on the 15th), Katsuhiko Nakajima came to the ring carrying both of the tag belts. As he said at the match signing which took place on the 13th June, he was preparing more for the GHC Heavyweight than the singles, and so he started the match off against Kaito Kiyomiya. However, it wasn’t Nakajima who took the win, but Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex on Hi69.

EVENT RECAPS

Tokorozawa City Gymnasium, Sub Arena (12th July 2019)
Post match promos – 12th July 2019

Current Global Junior League Scores (as of July 14th 2019)

BLOCK A

Minoru Tanaka 5
Daisuke Harada 3
Yoshinari Ogawa 2
Tadasuke 2
YO-HEY 2
Junta Miyawaki 0

BLOCK B

HAYATA 4
Chris Ridgeway 4
Hajime Ohara 2
Hitoshi Kumano 2
Kotaro Suzuki 0
Hi69 0

NEWS

“THE COMPANY DOG”

In keeping in the theme of using pets on merchandise (a silhouette of one of Hitoshi Kumano’s little French Bulldog appeared on the back of one of his t-shirts, and Akitoshi Saito had a cat t-shirt) continued when NOAH put the head of Takashi Sugiura’s beloved Shiba Inu on a t-shirt, complete with dog tags which read “company dog”. Naturally, this was a shot at Kongoh (in specific Kenoh, as he is the only one who speaks), who are currently feuding with The Sugiura Army, and the use of the phrase “Company dog” (i.e. someone who does his masters bidding unquestionably, comes goes, fetches, wags tail etc).

The t-shirt will be released on the 15th July at Korakuen Hall, with mail order to follow (a white version is also available).

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI’S COMIC STRIP
Naomichi Marufuji has started illustrating a comic for “Weekly Pro”. The comic is a condensed version of his autobiography, “Heir To The Ark”, and starts off with his childhood growing up in Saitama with three older brothers, and wrestling with them which inspired his love of the sport. The comic starts off with two of his brothers arguing about who they are going to be, then they tell little Marufuji that they feel sorry for him, as being the youngest and the smallest, he is going to get it from them (which he did in reality), and Marufuji fighting back by saying that Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is strong.

You can find an ongoing translation on my blog.

TAKAYAMANIA

The main event for TAKAYAMANIA EMPIRE 2 will be Hideki Suzuki and Minoru Suzuki vs Naomichi Marufuji and Masato Tanaka. Event will be held on Monday, August 26 2019 at Korakuen Hall.

Broadcast most likely will be through ABEMA (a Japanese PPV subscription channel, only available to those in Japan).

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS
~ HAYATA’S garden has produced Daikon. YO-HEY celebrated by putting it in his mouth.
~ NOAH held a joint fan birthday party for Kaito Kiyomiya and Junta Miyawaki. Miyawaki turned 22 in June, with Kiyomiya turning 23 this month.
~ Naomichi Marufuji says he has a new gown for Korakuen Hall on the 15th June
~ YO-HEY made a summer vacation to see his family in rural Yabu. One of his young nieces asked him if he was married to HAYATA.

BROADCASTS
NOAH’s big Kawasaki Kultz event (and the GHC Heavyweight title, plus the final night of Global Junior League 2019) will air on the 2nd August on G+ at 12.30am JST

NOAH will be broadcast live on Sunday 4th August at 11.30am JST on G+

GIF OF THE WEEK

LINKS
GHC Heavyweight tag & single championship signing

Picture credit: Noah GHC, PKDK, YO-HEY
GIF credit: Noah GHC


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