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Top 5 Revisited: Non-WWE Stories of 2018

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2018 ALL IN Crowd Golden Age Wrestling

Heading into 2018, I thought it would be a good idea to take a guess at what the top wrestling stories of the year would be. As we’re at the end of 2018, I figure now is a good time to take a look back & see if I was right, wrong or in the middle.

Today, we look at my Top 5 Non-WWE Stories of 2018, originally published on December 12 of 2017, see if they actually were stories or not.

5. Lucha Underground Season 4

“We were unsure about the future of Lucha Underground. Would there be a Season 4? Last month we finally found out that the answer was “yes” & tapings would start “sometime soon”. February is the current rumor.

Lucha Underground started off really hot, but the buzz has died down over the last couple of seasons. There were plenty of high points in Season 3, but the length of time between taping & airing gave the show a lame duck kind of feel that had been lacking in previous seasons. Also, folks like Prince Puma & Rey Mysterio leaving don’t exactly help the buzz factor. We’ll see what rabbits LU can pull out of their hats for a Season 4 expected to come in somewhere half as long as Season 3. We’ll also see how long it takes to air the finished product, and if that saps the buzz out of the show.”

What Happened: Season 4 aired in full on the El Rey Network from June to November. The buzz, as I suspected, wasn’t there. With all sorts of LU talent appearing in Impact Wrestling, and guys like Fenix & Pentagon wrestling all over the world for any company that will have them, the promotion/TV show doesn’t have the wrestling hook going for it. Even their far out & wacky ideas aren’t quite as far out & wacky as they used to be. The Hardys have done some stuff on WWE & Impact comparable to Lucha Underground at its craziest. Impact has done some really weird stuff, including having Scarlett Bordeaux teleport & Eddie Kingston try to kill a kid with a car. Both are the kinds of things you would expect to see on an LU episode.

Lucha Underground’s effect on pro wrestling will outlive its existence, which of course is in question for 2019.

4. Aro Lucha: Southern Style Lucha Libre?

Aro Lucha

“It was only a matter of time before Konnan found another lucha libre company to work with after he lost the AAA political battles. He carries a lot of influence with certain people & always finds a way to rise to the top somewhere. Enter Aro Lucha, a startup lucha company based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Ron & Don Harris, longtime wrestlers & former TNA financial backers, are among the co-founders, Konnan is the head writer & Vince Russo is a script consultant. Which, given Vince’s past with luchadores, seems like an interesting choice.

The pilot tapings, held at the former TNA Asylum in Nashville, featured many recognizable names. Rey Mysterio, Johnny Mundo/Impact, Hurricane Helms, James Storm, MVP & Pentagon Jr./Dark/Penta 0M among many others. Heck, my old friend Rebecca Hardy was on the show, I should ask her what’s going on with these folks. Probably not.

The taping was received well by the crowd, which was larger than Aro Lucha was expecting. Will this early success lead to more?’

What Happened: For most of 2018, not much. It seemed like the major players here moved on to other things. Konnan has been all over Impact & MLW, while Rey Mysterio worked everywhere before eventually returning to WWE. I think Konnan’s also back with AAA, but it’s always tough to tell who has the power there.

We’d forgotten about Aro Lucha until they had some commercials air during recent episodes of Impact. This was confusing. It said Aro Lucha was coming in 2019, which many took to mean that an Aro Lucha TV show was coming to Pop. Which would have made sense, but that’s not the case. The commercials were provided by Impact Wrestling, not Pop. Does Aro Lucha have a deal with Anthem? Was it a favor to Konnan?

I have no idea. All I know for sure is that Aro Lucha had little to no effect on 2018.

3. The NWA Rebuild

“William Corgan & David Lagana have a twenty-year plan for the return of the National Wrestling Alliance into the hearts & minds of all wrestling fans. This plan will likely face some bumps in the road, but they’ve already shown some gains early on in their stewardship of the company.

Tim Storm was a name that nobody except people that looked up the NWA Championship on Wikipedia knew. He’s 52 years old & has wrestled for a long time…but not all that much outside of the Texas independent scene. Once Corgan purchased the NWA, he & Lagana began the work of building Tim Storm into a champion that people outside of Texas cared about. They got him into new environments & gave him a forum to express himself. The Ten Pounds of Gold YouTube series followed Storm to Los Angeles, Nashville, his high school & finally Philadelphia, where his title reign came to an end at the hands of Nick Aldis…managed by Memphis wrestling legend Austin Idol?
We’ll see where the NWA goes in 2018, but the rise of Tim Storm in the latter months of 2017 has to be considered a good sign of things to come.”

What Happened: The NWA threw itself behind Nick Aldis in 2018, trying to use his Crusade across continents defending the Worlds Championship to make it a big deal once again. Undoubtedly, the highlight was seeing the championship defended at All In, and won by the son of a former NWA Champion. Cody’s reign was short and they’ve gone right back to Nick Aldis. The NWA doesn’t mind getting the rub from Cody & the Elite, but they’re not going to cede control to them. Former NWA promoters have made that mistake in the past, so it seems like Corgan & Lagana have learned that lesson.

It’s a twenty-year plan. They’re not at the top of the mountain yet, but they are further along than they were a year ago.

2. Dalton Castle: Ring of Honor Champion

Dalton Castle ROH Final Battle

“Since his arrival in 2015, the Party Peacock has established himself as the most charismatic wrestler to set foot in Ring of Honor since anybody can remember. Back when ROH started in 2002, an androgynous character like Dalton likely would have been booed out of the building by wrestling fans conditioned to dislike anybody that didn’t come off like a real man, brother. Times have changed, and Castle’s antics were tremendously popular from the start. His Freddy Mercuryesque persona was fresher than anything else ROH was doing that wasn’t borrowed from New Japan Pro Wrestling.

The ROH World Championship has recently been dominated by wrestlers better known outside the company. Jay Lethal & Christopher Daniels got their start in ROH, but made their names in TNA. Cody brought name value from his time in WWE, along with his famous family that he can’t mention but everybody knows about. Dalton Castle is something that Ring of Honor can call their own. He’s very much in the tradition of Gorgeous George, “Exotic” Adrian Street & Goldust. Those men were big draws in their time, but their companies never made them the focal point.

Dalton Castle is now the focal point of Ring of Honor, outside whoever might be in from New Japan, of course. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to his new role, and what it might mean for the future of major singles championships. Can a character like Dalton Castle work as a top babyface? We’re about to find out.”

What Happened: Like most ROH World Championship reigns, Castle’s didn’t live up to the promise. It had nothing to do with his persona & everything to do with injuries. Several matches had to be cancelled during Castle’s reign due to nagging injuries, which also had the effect of making him less capable in the ring than normal. Fans that were wanting Castle to be champion were happy to see his title reign come to an end, if for no other reason than he could get some rest.

Even if Dalton hadn’t been injured, one had the feeling that he would still be second fiddle to Bullet Club/Elite shenanigans. That’s something ROH will need to address in 2019, when they won’t be able to focus their shows around the likes of Cody & the Young Bucks.

Honorable Mention: The Continued Saga of Impact Wrestling

IMPACT Wrestling Results & Report

“You know that Impact Wrestling is going to have more ups & downs than the coaching career of Marvin Lewis in 2018. It’s like that every single year with this company. Wrestlers will come & go. New creative forces will come in, then depart. New ownership might show up. New TV deals might be made. The show could change networks and/or time slots.

You never really know what’s going to happen next with Impact Wrestling…you just know that it’s going to be unexpected, and the company isn’t going to die. It’s always interesting to watch from the sidelines.”

What Happened: More crazy ups & downs! The ownership stayed the same, and creative mainly stayed the same, but wrestlers came & went as they usually do. The timeslot moved two hours later into Thursday night, and later in the year it was announced that Impact will be moving to the Pursuit Channel in 2019. Friday night at 10 PM if you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone.

Which you are if you’re watching Impact Wrestling at 10 PM on a Friday night.

Honorable Mention: Cody Rhodes & The Young Bucks going “All-In”

“Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks are set on a course to present their own wrestling show, currently dubbed “All In” and are planning to draw 10,000 fans to an arena in North America. This started out as a Dave Meltzer pseudo-challenge, but it’s turned into it’s own little circus with rumors of names from CM Punk to Daniel Bryan and New Japan to Ring Of Honor. Going to be a very interesting one, for sure.”

What Happened: All In drew over 10,000 fans to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan weren’t there, but there was more than a little bit of New Japan & Ring of Honor influence. All Elite Wrestling will debut in 2019 & will be the top non-WWE story without question.

1. New Japan’s American Future

NJPW New Japan Logo

“It’s no secret that New Japan Pro Wrestling is targeting the North American marketplace. Bringing in Chris Jericho for Wrestle Kingdom 12 is a sure-fire way to get attention over here. Bullet Club merchandise has taken over Hot Topic, & you almost see as many of their t-shirts at WWE events as anybody else’s these days. Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks & Cody Rhodes are proving that you don’t need WWE to make big money in this market.

Mark Cuban, whose AXS TV network carries NJPW programming, says that New Japan isn’t true competition to WWE due to the language barrier. I don’t think anybody that isn’t a hardcore puroresu fan will sit here and tell you that NJPW World is going to get more subscribers than WWE Network. However, New Japan continues to gain more American interest with each Bullet Club t-shirt sale & each Tweet on social media. Jericho may not be back in New Japan after January 4, but his presence will bring new eyeballs that might return even if he’s gone.

Whether New Japan is “competitive” with WWE or not, they want their piece of American pie.”

What Happened: New Japan ran several shows on the West Coast in 2018. They opened a dojo in Los Angeles. Chris Jericho worked a number of shows for the company as its Intercontinental Champion. More is planned for 2019, including a co-promoted event with Ring of Honor in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. New Japan is playing this thing slowly, which is the right move.

It’ll be interesting to see what the exit of the Elite does to New Japan’s standing in America. One’s tempted to think it could be a major setback. Then again, New Japan saw WWE sign away AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson a couple of years ago, and that didn’t seem to hurt too much. Granted, Styles especially would be a great talent for New Japan to have at its disposal right now. Either way, New Japan doesn’t seem to have problems creating stars that appeal to their fanbase. Barring WWE signing every single person on the roster, I don’t see talent being an issue anytime soon.

Later this week, we look at what I thought would be the top 5 WWE stories!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Tiffany’s Takes: WWE Raw (6/17/19)

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WWE RAW The IIconics

Tiffany’s Takes kicks off the week with look at WWE Raw that featured Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan and The New Day in a 2-Out-Of-3-Falls Match!

It’s the go-home show for Stomping Grounds! How will WWE Raw make a case for fans to tune in?

Universal Championship: Seth Rollins might a babyface, but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid to get nasty. I LOVED this nasty side of the BeastSlayer and the warning about what will happen to anyone who sides with Corbin over him. THIS is a Universal Champion I can definitely get behind.

I love it when a face makes good on a threat. I lost count on how many prospective refs Seth destroyed, but he definitely got his point across to Corbin and his cronies: Do NOT piss off Seth Rollins.

I enjoyed the six man tag, though an actual, conscious ref was not as fun as EC3 playing Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s (look it up on Wikipedia if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I had a rant all done about how dumb it was to have Rowan interfere and ruin Rollins vs Bryan, but it wasn’t needed. That was a great match, can we have more of those, please?

United States Championship:  If Elias wasn’t such a slimeball and mediocre singer, I’d almost feel bad for him after he got beat up by every person involved in the Fatal Five Way #1 Contender’s Match for the United States Championship, including two guys he used to be allied with.

The match was actually better than I’d expected, though I did somewhat appreciate the story building of Lashley helping to get Strowman eliminated as payback for Strowman eliminating him. My one big gripe is that this match didn’t go for very long, but I am THRILLED that Ricochet won and will get a shot on Sunday!

RAW Women’s Division: Have I ever mentioned that I’m over this Becky Lynch/Lacey Evans feud? I have? Good, because I wasn’t sure I’ve mentioned how boring I’m finding Becky’s ongoing problems with Emmie Slattery (Evans). I did appreciate them bringing up that Evans is a former Marine because I hate that they’ve taken someone who is a legit badass and can be such a great example for girls and turned her into a pinup who espouses sexist nonsense that has no place in modern America. HOPEFULLY, Scarlett (Lynch) will finally triumph over Emmie and move on to someone else.

Thank you, God, they made the IIconics look like competent champs! Their title run has been build on them looking stupid and it’s hurt them so badly. Even with a tainted win, it was a win over serious opponents, which they needed. Again, I loved edgy Bayley, but I hate that she’s playing into Alexa’s plan to steal the title. Hopefully, someone gets to Nikki and makes her see sense before something really goes wrong.

Raw Tag Team Division: After an absence of several weeks, Viking Raiders finally returned to RAW for some pillaging, and had to deal with the Greenjerks watching their match, for some reason, and that was about the most interesting thing about that match, since I don’t think we got the names of the poor guys they squashed.

I liked the Revival proving that there is no honor among thieves when they stole money from Drew McIntyre. I appreciated WWE trying to enhance McIntyre’s heel creds by having him attack Heath Slater, but it just felt forced.

I know Good Brothers are leaving in the fall, but I LOVED the reunion between them and Styles. Oh, what could’ve been if Vince had pulled his head out of his ass. That said, it looks like Styles’ words got to them so this last run might be pretty good. I did enjoy the tag match between them and the Usos, but it wasn’t long enough for me, plus Good Brothers looked ridiculous.

24/7 Championship: I’ll give Truth and Carmella their dues for trying to be clever with those disguises. They would’ve gotten away with it if not for the camera crew.

Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon: If Shane and Drew haven’t gotten the message about pissing off Roman Reigns, I’m pretty sure they learned it tonight after Roman beat the hell out of Shane, to everyone’s delight, including mine.

Firefly Fun House: NOPE. Just…NOPE! He still gets points for the literature nod, but that’s it. I draw the line at maggots, but at least the rabbit was okay. Also: The world is ROUND, you inbred!

Overall Comments: So, how was RAW tonight? That was actually the best go-home show they’ve had in awhile. Every story got built and we got some great matches. Whoever was booking tonight should get a raise.

There’s been some discussion about Seth’s conduct, but it makes sense when you realize that he’s on his own. Ambrose is gone and Roman is dealing with his own issues. Seth’s got no one to watch his back and Lesnar is lurking around, so he’s getting paranoid and sick of everyone’s BS.

I’m ready for Alexa to get her ass kicked on Sunday and I hope Nikki Cross comes to her senses soon. I’m thrilled that the IIconics are finally being treated like legit performers and not just jokes.

Rollins vs Bryan didn’t disappoint, but the fact that we still don’t have a guest ref is cause for concern.

That’s it for Tiffany’s Takes! Tune in tomorrow for SmackDown and 205!


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Andrew’s Top Matches: Week Ending 6/16/2019

A jam packed week of matches displays a few of the more infrequent companies. Who made the Top 5?

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A jam packed week of matches displays a few of the more infrequent companies. Who made the Top 5?

Two big New Japan shows had them dominate last week. Funnily enough, one match dominated by amassing nearly 5 times as many votes as second place. The winner of last week’s Japanese filled Top 5, NJPW BOSJ 26 Finals: Shingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay.

For anyone who was upset about the domination last week, well this is the week for you. We’ve got some WWE products, a little flavor from Mexico, and of course some matches from Japan.

Let’s get down to business!

 

5. NXT UK: Imperium (WALTER, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) vs British Strong Style ( Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Barthel throws Dunne out while Walter throws Seven. Walter stomps Dunne down while Barthel has Bate. Aichner tags in but Bate fights back. Bate boots but Barthel deflects that to ropes. Aichner gives Bate a draping backstabber! Barthel climbs to add double stomps! Aichner covers, TWO!! Bate survives and Glasgow loves it! Aichner is furious but he keeps focus on Bate. Tag to Barthel and they trash talk Bate in their respective languages. But Bate fires off with fast hands! Aichner kicks low and whips Bate, but Bate rebounds for DOUBLE LARIATS! Bate crawls but Walter intercepts, only to get the rolling kick! Hot tag to Seven!

Dunne tags in off Seven, Seven gives Barthel the Seven Stars Lariat! Seven DIVES onto Aichner while Dunne tags Bate. Dunne pump handles, Bitter End on Barthel! Bate climbs, for the corkscrew senton! Walter returns and barrels through Dunne to BOOT Bate! Dunne dropkicks Walter then slingshots out, only to miss. Walter runs at Dunne but Dunne sends him into steel steps! But then Walter back suplexes Dunne onto barriers! Wait, who is that coming down the ramp? He wears a hood and familiar mask… In the ring, Seven CHOPS Aichner. Aichner shoves Seven into the ref! Seven clotheslines Aichner and himself out of the ring! The mystery man enters the ring and targets Bate! It’s ALEXANDER WOLFE!! The German Ax Man POWERBOMBS Bate! Glasgow boos but Wolfe grins. Barthel covers while Walter gets the ref in. Imperium wins!!

Winner: Imperium via Sit-Out Powerbomb

Rating: ****

 

4. AAA Verano de Escalando 2019: AAA Tag Team Championship: Lucha Brothers vs The Young Bucks (c)

From Joe’s AAA Coverage:
Lucha Bros jump the Bucks. Matt Jackson does 3 northern lights suplexes to Fenix then does one to Fenix and Pentagon at the same time. Matt does a baseball slide and then Nick does a dive over him. Matt unties Pentagon’s mask and then beats him up in the crowd. Back in the ring they hit double super kicks. Pentagon hits sling blades on both Bucks. Fenix does a double cutter. They roll out and Fenix hits a huge dive and goes flying into the crowd while Pentagon hits Matt with the Pentagon driver. Matt hits a Canadian destroyer then a spear and Fenix breaks it up. Lucha bros go for super kicks but the Bucks reverse it into sharptshooters. Lucha bros break out and a ton of super kicks get hit. Nick hits a frog splash on Fenix and Penta runs up his back and hits a Canadian destroyer on Matt. Fenix then hits a stomp on the apron on Nick. Pentagon hits the package piledriver on Matt. He kicks out. Then Fenix and Pentagon do the combo package piledriver. Nick pulls the ref out. Nick does an asai moonsault to the ref and Fenix. Matt pulls off Pentagon’s mask and kicks him in the groin and then they hit a Meltzer driver. Fenix pulls the ref out now. Fenix kicks Matt in the groin and then hits a cutter for a two. A new ref is out here now. They do the combo package piledriver again and Fenix hits a middle rope splash on Nick. Penta pins Matt. Pentagon pins Matt Jackson with a package piledriver combo.

Winner: Lucha Bros via Spike Fear Factor

Rating: ****

 

3. 205 Live: #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way: Drew Gulak vs Humberto Carrillo vs Akira Tozawa vs Oney Lorcan

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Sacramento fires up behind Lorcan, but Ariya Daivari runs out to SMACK Lorcan with a chair!! The Persian Lion is a sore loser from his loss last week. The referee can’t disqualify anyone but he does get Daivari to leave. That doesn’t matter to Daivari, the damage has been done, and he laughs all the way to the back. This leaves Carrillo and Gulak in the ring. Gulak goes to throw Carrillo but Carrillo throws him out first. Carrillo turns around to get Tozawa’s mule kick. Tozawa swings, misses, slides under and hits the rolling roundhouse! Nese is still watching as Tozawa climbs up top! Fans fire up but Carrillo kicks Tozawa down! Carrillo climbs but Gulak returns to shove him off! Carrillo hits barriers!

Gulak has Tozawa, but Tozawa fights back! They brawl up top and Tozawa clubs away. Fans “AH! AH!” along with him, but Gulak just headbutts Tozawa to stop him. Gulak adjusts, for the SUPERPLEX! But both men cradle the other!! Three count, but who wins!?

Winner: Tozawa & Gulak via Simultaneous Pin

Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

NOAH Misawa Memorial 6.9.2019: Naomichi Marufuji vs Go Shiozaki
Winner: Shiozaki via Gowan Lariat
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT: Submission Match: Drew Gulak vs Kushida
Winner: Kushida via Hoverboard Lock
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Kizuna Road: IWGP Jr Tag Team Titles: Roppongi 3k (c) vs El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori
Winner: ELP via CR2
Rating: *** 1/2
205 Live: Chad Gable vs Jack Gallagher
Winner: Gable via Countout
Rating: *** 1/2
AAA Verano de Escalando 2019: Tessa Blanchard & Daga vs Taya Valkyrie & Laredo Kid
Winner: Laredo Kid via Laredo Fly
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Kizuna Road: LIJ vs Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask IV, Jyushi Thunder Liger & Shota Umino
Winner: Shingo via Pumping Bomber
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Willie Mack
Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Kizuna Road: DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii, Tomoaki Honma & Ren Narita
Winner: Taichi via Superkick
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Bobby Lashley, Samoa Joe & Cesaro vs Ricochet, The Miz & Braun Strowman
Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Winner: Burch via Distracted Roll-Up
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Kizuna Road: Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Toa Henare
Winner: Archer via Claw
Rating: ***
IMPACT: Jordynne Grace vs Madison Rayne
Winner: Rayne via CrossRayne
Rating: ***

 

 

2. Stardom Shining Destiny: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Tam Nakano vs Arisa Hoshiki (c)

The backstory is interesting for the match. Arisa returned to Stardom about 6 months ago and has been part of the STARS faction, the same faction as Tam. Tam is an awkward girl who just wants to prove herself. Io pushed her before she left (see the Exploding Baseball Bat Match), Mayu saved her from humiliation when she was kicked out of Oedo Tai. So Arisa joining STARS and becoming quite friendly with Mayu, never sat well with Tam. Then during this years draft, Arisa was taken before Tam. This is their chance to express their feelings through a fight, since words don’t seem to be doing the job.

Tam came out with a stoic and distant look in her eyes, while Arisa was her typical upbeat self. It almost looked like Tam was distracted by her own determination to prove herself. Arisa smiles as she hits you, she’s having fun, she enjoys the sport. This was notable since Tam was straight faced through the first half of the match. Once it spilled to the outside and Tam his a German Suplex on the apron, the tone shifted.

Tam was smiling through the ropes down on Arisa, but not chiding, like she started having fun. The two had a big exchange of strikes and smiles, before Arisa started to harden a little. Tam knew to dodge the Brazilian Kick, but everything else was a great back and forth. Arisa and Tam trade running Knee Strikes, top rope attempts and Arisa tries to submit Tam, but she gets out of it.

We see the fight come to an end after the second time Arisa caught Tam with the Brazilian Kick. They have a moment after the match where Tam tells her that she’s not allowed to lose that belt to anyone besides her, or she’ll boil her. They even posed with their STARS faction, embracing with the Wonder of Stardom belt between them…and Starlight Kid keeping Tam standing.

This was a hard fought match, with a unique story that you’d see in anime but not often in professional wrestling. The concept of, words weren’t enough, so maybe they could communicate better in the ring. It’s quite poetic if you think about it.

Winner: Hoshiki via Brazilian Kick

Rating: **** 1/4

 

 

1. NOAH Misawa Memorial 6.9.2019: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs Takashi Suigiura

Now as we all know from Hisame’s Newsletters, the June 9th show wasn’t televised until June 13th, hence why it qualifies for this week’s matches. Sugiura has been a great mentor to the young champion Kiyomiya. But since their tag team dissolved, Sugiura has taken to tough love. Earning his opportunity by pinning the champion a few weeks ago, Sugiura looks to become a 5 time GHC Heavyweight Champion.

Kaito came out with a lot of energy. He was trading with The Killing Machine, and holding his own, even trying to focus the left arm to take away some of his power, but the champion took a beating for a while. Kaito managed to fight out of everything Sugiura threw at him. Front Neck Lock, Olympic Slam and even a Guillotine with Body Scissors.

Kiyomiya eventually found an opening when Sugiura went for the Avalanche Olympic Slam, but Kaito turned it into an Avalanche Reverse DDT. Being Misawa’s Memorial show, Kaito hit a few Emerald Flowsions and it was only appropriate that Sugiura pulled out the ole Misawa Rolling Elbow, to rock the young champion and give hope that the old vet would pick up the win. But in a feat of beautiful camera work and great resolve from Kiyomiya, he pulls off the Tiger Suplex Hold, right in front of the portrait banner of Misawa. Almost as if Misawa gave the match his blessing.

Brutal match that proved the young champion has guts and could easily be a Match of the Year candidate.

Winner: Kiyomiya via Tiger Suplex Hold

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

A lot of good stuff this week! AAA managed to make an appearance outside of TripleMania, NOAH saved some great matches for the memorial shows and 205 Live looks to be almost back on track.

However, my vote will go to, Wonder of Stardom: Arisa Hoshiki (c) vs Tam Nakano. Though it wasn’t the highest rated match, I really enjoyed the story and how it told the story throughout the match and even the promo afterwards. Arisa has cemented her return and her position as a prominent player. Tam felt like she got better overnight last year during the 5 Star Grand Prix and she continues to prove she’s figured it out. If she can manage to stay healthy (she has a history of missing a few shows here or there with little nagging injuries), she might finally get a singles title.


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