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Opinion

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!


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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