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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/6/2019

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Continuing how we did it last year. Top 5 Matches will feed Match of the Year monthly pools. Let’s see what made it to kick off the new year!

So our first full year of doing voting like this happened, and I’m fairly happy with the result. Our pool was a little different, and I’m pretty sure our Match of the Year was unique for 2018.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However with there being so many early year events, in the interest of fairness, I included a few more ties in the Top 5 than will be normal moving forward. So between the 7 matches in the Top 5 and the Honorable Mentions, this could be a solid sign of a healthy year to come for wrestling.

Let’s get to the match list!

 

5.  Impact Wrestling Homecoming Impact Tag Team Title: LAX (c) vs Lucha Bros

From My Homecoming Notes:

Well now, LAX and Lucha Bros start off at a blistering pace and never really slow down. Some of the transitions were faster than the other partner were ready for though. Most notably when Pentagon and Fenix hit their Double Footstomp/Fear Factor tandem and Ortiz doesn’t quite push Fenix into the pin to break it up, so Santana has to kick out. But the match was fast, a lot of crisp moves, but very much a spot fest. Also the awkward use of tags and the fact that camera caught Pentagon just kinda standing on the outside watching the finish instead of even trying to get in the ring. So yeah…very fun, the crowd loved it, but plenty of noticeable issues

Winner: LAX via Tandem Inverted Suplex

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4 (tie). AJPW New Year Wars Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Joe Doering & Dylan James vs Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa

The only match that doesn’t have a coverage link ( YET! Mathew should be working on that soon). But this is also the only match that felt like there was a real challenge for the champions. New Year Wars are fun shows to get the year going with most of the titles up for grabs, but the challengers were really fairly weak to begin the year. All Japan has a tendency to hit weird lulls the last few years.

But regardless of the commentary on their booking, this match was exactly what you would expect from these four. Doering and James are known as The Bombers, and Suwama and Ishikawa are Violent Giants. So lots of power moves, haymakers and just heavy hitting moments made for a fun match. After both teams got reasonable near falls, James is left in the ring with Ishikawa, and he starts lighting him up with knee strikes, before finishing the match with the seldom used, but always effective Giant’s Slam.

After retaining Okabayashi and Daisuke Sekimoto come out to challenge. This promises to be another hard hitting, top contender match up.

Winner: Ishikawa via Giant’s Slam

Rating: **** 1/2

4 (tie). NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Junior Heavyweight: Kushida (c) vs Taiji Ishimori

From My Wrestle Kingdom Notes:

Goofy entrance by Kushida with a kid coming out dressed as him and Taguchi playing Doc Brown to make him to correct size. And the match was tremendous. A little bit of everything, Ishimori showcases his prowess as he unseats the Ace of the Junior Division. This is the first must watch of the night. Damn good match.

Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross

Rating: **** 1/2

 

4 (tie). NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13: Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White

From Chris Platt’s Notes:

  • Okada has been living his best life since losing the heavyweight title
  • He seems to be having a lot more fun wrestling
  • New Japan has strapped the rocket to Jay White’s back and he’s delivered
  • He’s delivered more than I thought he could and is heading towards being a legit main eventer
  • Jay White is the correct moniker…only thing more fitting is Jay Casper
  • Okada’s so damn good in the ring
  • Wow. Don Callis quoting Lex Luger
  • He made up for it by calling Gedo a human wood tick. Classic
  • I do like that NJPW makes wins and loses count. There’s something to that
  • Okada throws a pretty legit flying elbow
  • Excellent heel work by Jay White in this bout
  • The crowd is into it for really the first time this evening
  • That’s a testament to both Okada being the man and Jay White’s heel persona
  • Good match with Jay White picking up the win.
  • Honestly thought this one could have used a little more time
  • It appears New Japan is basically using the Tanahashi story for Okada

Winner: White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. NOAH Navigation for the Future GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Kenoh

From My Navigation for the Future Notes:

Kenoh and Kiyomiya have had an interesting rivalry. It definitely comes off as brotherly where there’s elements of jealousy and Kenoh thinking he has Kiyomiya’s best interest in mind by taking the title off of him. This match definitely had the personal undercurrent where both men were trying to prove a point to one another. Kiyomiya pulled out a few more stops than usual and Kenoh seemed to be taken by surprise on multiple occasions.  Some could compare this to the old AJPW feud between Toshiaki Kawada and Mitsuharu Misawa. Which is fitting since Kenoh likes to kick and Kiyomiya is a walking homage to Misawa. The crowd was a little split at times, but no one sounded upset about Kaito’s victory.  Kotoge and Kitamiya coming out to challenge at the end is interesting, but given Kaito’s age either of them could be an intriguing match.

Winner: Kiyomiya via Tiger Suplex Hold

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • AJPW New Year Wars Triple Crown Championship: Kento Miyahara (c) vs Kai
  • Rating: **** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown #1 Contender 5 Way for WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe vs Randy Orton vs Mustafa Ali
  • Rating: ****
  • Impact Wrestling Homecoming Impact World Championship: Brian Cage vs Johnny Impact (c)
  • Rating: ****
  • AJPW New Year Wars Junior Heavyweight Championship: Yusuke Okada vs Koji Iwamoto (c)
  • Rating: ****
  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 NEVER Openweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Will Ospreay
  • Rating: ****
  • Impact Wrestling Homecoming Knockouts Championship: Tessa Blanchard (c) vs Taya Valkyrie
  • Rating: *** 3/4
  • NOAH Navigation for the Future GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi (c) vs Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima
  • Rating: *** 3/4
  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Titles Triple Threat: Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs EVIL & SANADA vs The Young Bucks
  • Rating: *** 3/4
  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr
  • Rating: *** 1/2
  • NOAH Navigation for the Future: HAYATA, Tadasuke & Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki, YO-HEY & Yoshinari Ogawa
  • Rating: *** 1/2
  • Impact Wrestling Homecoming: Willie Mack vs Sami Callihan
  • Rating: *** 1/2
  • NJPW New Year’s Dash NEVER 6 Man Title: Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe
  • Rating: *** 1/2
  • AJPW New Year Wars All Asia Tag Team Championship: Yuma Aoyagi & Naoya Nomura (c) vs Takao Omori & Black Menso-re
  • Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 NEVER 6 Man #1 Contender Gauntlet
  • Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP US Title: Juice Robinson vs Cody w/Brandi Rhodes (c)
  • Rating: *** 1/4
  • Impact Wrestling Homecoming Falls Count Anywhere: Eddie Edwards vs Moose
  • Rating: *** 1/4
  • NJPW New Year’s Dash: YOSHI-HASHI, Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Gedo
  • Rating: *** 1/4
  • WWE SmackDown: John Cena & Becky Lynch vs Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega
  • Rating: ***
  • NOAH Navigation for the Future: Hitoshi Kumano & Hajime Ohara vs Junta Miyawaki & Seiya Morohashi
  • Rating: ***
  • AJPW New Year Wars Gaora TV Title: Tajiri (c) vs Minoru Fujita
  • Rating: ***

 

 

2. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 Intercontinental Championship No DQ Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Chris Jericho (c)

From My Wrestle Kingdom Notes:

Naito started off with more urgency and the match had much better chemistry than their first meeting, and that was still damn good. we saw numerous call backs, big false finishes and near falls. Naito even got to delve into his love of Baseball a little bit with a few kendo stick spots. But still, great match, told a great story and these two work well together. Now does this set up an entire night of title changes, or is this building a false expectation for the surprising Omega retain?

Winner: Naito via Destino

Rating: **** 3/4

 

1. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

From Chris Platt’s Notes:

  • Now we have our main event with Omega defending his World Heavyweight Title vs Tanahashi
  • New Japan has done an excellent job of telling the Tanahshi road to redemption story
  • The outcome of this match will tell us quite a bit about the immediate future of pro wrestling
  • Apparently, Omega killed an eagle on his way to the ring
  • Wonder how the lack of his ‘partner’ at ringside will affect Kenny
  • There’s a definite big fight feel that’s coming through the tv
  • Is Kenny the best big match wrestler in the game?
  • I’d really like to see Omega wrestle Ricochet or AJ Styles
  • I’d like to see Tanhashi versus Cena or Pentagon Jr
  • Omega playing the good cocky heel
  • Callus having a good night on the stick
  • Tanahashi’s chest looks like hamburger meat
  • Red Shoes!
  • Kenny tweaked his knee
  • Tanahashi tweaked Kenny’s knee
  • That cloverleaf gotta hurt in real life
  • Styles Clash!
  • Damn! That sounds like it hurt
  • Which one goes through the table?
  • Welp. Asked and answered
  • Oh shit! I don’t know how you fake some of this stuff
  • Here we go with the dick check….but they’ve earned it
  • They been wrestling for a minute now
  • I hate to agreed with Ballz and Meltzer but this is a damn good match
  • Hell of a reverse of the one winged angel
  • The crowd is bananas
  • Omega kicked out of 2 consecutive frog splashes
  • DRAGON SUPLEX OFF THE TOPPPPPP!
  • And the crowd goes wild!
  • Tanahashi picks up the win
  • Which pretty much means Kenny’s going to All Elite
  • Overall the show started off strong, lagged in the middle, but pick up steam in the last 2 matches
  • Omega/Tanahashi did the damn thing. Match of the night, and set the bar high for the rest of the year

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: ******

 

Thoughts:

Alright, so even though I opened up many more ties just to give respect to many of the great matches this week, come on…is there a question? I mean Omega/Tanahashi even got Chris Platt to agree with me. So now he may vote something else to spite me, but Omega vs Tanahashi captured the hearts and imaginations of most watching. Omega was trying to prove that his vision was better than Tanahashi’s tradition, and Tanahashi was trying to cap off his redemption storyline.

For as over as Kenny is, Tanahashi is beloved in Japan. So even if the Omega fans are more vocal, don’t think that Tanhashi somehow doesn’t have support. Great pacing, great psychology, just a great week of wrestling.

If you didn’t like our Match of the Year pool last year, then make sure you vote on Twitter, Facebook, where ever you see this article. Always Use Your Head!


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