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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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Stone Cold Fever: Is Kevin Owens the Next Big Thing in WWE?

Is this rendition of KO Mania real?

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Kevin Owens WWE Raw Three Stars of the Night

Kevin Owens is quickly becoming the hottest Superstar in WWE. The former Universal champion is embarking on a war with Shane McMahon and while that war is only just beginning, KO is already reaping the benefits.

Owens is getting over and there’s no denying that. Many fans believe that this is just the beginning of something epic for KO and it’s hard to argue that point. But as with everything in WWE, Owens’ future depends on his booking and how much the company truly wants to invest in him. So will Kevin Owens be the next big thing in WWE?

It’s as if WWE suddenly flipped a switch and activated this new KO. The man that so many felt was on his way to superstardom in the company has always been just on the verge of greatness, but he always seemed to fall just short. It’s been through no fault of his own however as Owens has consistently always delivered, both in the ring and on the mic.

But despite how much he’s accomplished, there always seems to be an asterisk by his name. The same is true of other potential main event stars as well, like Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman. All three men have excelled on the worldwide stage but for whatever reason, none of the three have truly achieved legendary status in WWE.

While the men involved may not be too concerned with such positioning, the fans have been all too consumed with it. In their minds, the time for these talents and many more, is now. Why wait, when the business is experiencing such a resurgence in popularity? The time to strike seems to be now, so why not move ahead and make a massive impact with guys that can handle the pressure?

Perhaps that is exactly what the WWE faithful are seeing right now with Kevin Owens. Owens is capable of rising to the occasion and he’s done it many times before. Maybe there’s no better time for him to prove what he can do and maybe the company finally recognizes that. 

But nearly every time fans depend on “maybe,” they wind up disappointed. WWE has not always been the most reliable company when it comes to doing right by hardworking talents, especially those who deserve a shot at the next level. Owens has been counted among those talents for far too long and now he’s getting a chance to finally step up. 

The good news is that so far, it’s working. The live crowds are loving what he’s doing and no one can do it quite like he can. The comparisons to Stone Cold Steve Austin are coming like never before and KO, as well as WWE, obviously see that. The fact that Owens uses the Stunner as much as he does is proof that the entire angle is a tip of the cap to The Texas Rattlesnake.

It’s not that Owens needs to use anyone else’s finisher, just as he doesn’t need to mimic anyone else’s gimmick. KO can succeed based on his own merit and everyone knows that. But he’s saluting Austin and in doing so, reminding a legion of fans why they fell in love with WWE in the first place. There is no way to really revive The Attitude Era, but that’s not the point.

Kevin Owens is bringing back a taste of the past and making it relevant to his cause, as well as to the company’s current climate. The Stunner is as much of an anti-authority move as the middle finger, both of which keep Stone Cold on the minds of fans who love him for what he did in the business. 

So is WWE truly headed for a new era of relevancy in the industry? Vince McMahon’s company has always been at the forefront of the business and for many fans, they’ve been the only game in town for a very long time. But with the rise of New Japan, Ring of Honor, as well as various promotions around the world, the wrestling world is becoming a much bigger place. 

Of course much of the focus on the business right now is due to the birth and evolution of AEW. Cody Rhodes’ fledgling company is making waves and turning heads, just as everyone knew it would. But AEW has also captured WWE’s attention, despite any belief to the contrary. If Owens’ new run is a result of WWE going against the grain and trying something familiar, yet new, then that’s definitely a good thing.

But the bad news is that this is still WWE, which can change plans at a moment’s notice. Things can fluctuate at any time and when they do, an entire storyline can either twist in a different direction, or end altogether. Could this happen with KO versus Shane McMahon?

Much of what happens from here depends on just how long WWE can keep the fans invested in this angle. The live crowds are connected and the same is true of the audience at home. Everyone seems truly intent on following this story and they’re all rooting for Kevin Owens to keep rising higher on the card. If KO continues to get hot and if the company really gets behind him, then the entire landscape of WWE could change.

Kevin Owens is not the next Stone Cold Steve Austin and he surely does not want to be. KO has fought his entire career to be the best he can be and this new storyline is just the latest avenue for him to rise up. Maybe it will only go up from here and maybe Kevin Owens will finally realize his potential in the company that desperately needs the next big thing.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block

KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

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KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?

Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.

Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?

Ratings:

  • Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
  • Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
  • Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
  • Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
  • A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
  • A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2

 

 

Analysis:

Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.

There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.

Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.

BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.

Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.

Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.

EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.

We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.

Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.

Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.

 

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)

 


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