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Opinion

Writing the Book: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13

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Welcome to “Writing the Book.” This is where I attempt to book entire wrestling pay-per-views in an interesting yet logical matter. This week we have NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13!

Wrestle Kingdom might just be my favorite event of the year. The guaranteed match quality, production, and storytelling are just what the average wrestling fan desires. Feuds culminate on the grand stage of the Tokyo Dome and new rivalries are born the very next day at New Year’s Dash.

The very recent announcement of All Elite Wrestling essentially decided several matches for me. The entirety of The Elite is competing on Friday. That would mean January 4th and 5th could be the last time we see Cody, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and Marty Scurll compete in a New Japan Pro Wrestling ring for quite some time.

Pre-Show

Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe & Toru Yano) and Ryusuke Taguchi v. Yuji Nagata, David Finlay and Jeff Cobb v. Hirooki Goto, Beretta, and Chuckie T v. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Smith Jr. v. Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi, and Marty Scurll – #1 Contender Gauntlet Match to determine challengers for NEVER Openweight 6-man Titles

Winners: Suzuki, Archer, & Smith Jr.

The Suzuki-gun trio are the most seasoned guys in this crop. The Most Violent Players just reunited, Beretta and Chuckie are having problems, and Page and Scurll are likely on the way out. This one feels like a no-brainer. They’re the most complete team in terms of size, strength, chemistry, and credibility. Also, a Suzuki-gun trio has never held the Openweight tag belts which is pretty ridiculous. Let’s fix that.

Main Card

Kota Ibushi (c) v. Will Ospreay – NEVER Openweight Championship

Winner: Kota Ibushi

I want him to hold the belt for a little while. This is Ibushi’s first ever singles championship in New Japan Pro Wrestling which is even harder to believe than the stat I mentioned in the previous match.

Ospreay’s injury is still fairly recent so I’d like him to rest a little after WK then go back to rattling off a few more great feuds in the Junior division during the Spring. After the insanity that is sure to ensue here, he will have reserved himself a spot in the Openweight scene from here on out.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado (c) v. Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh) v. BUSHI and Shingo Takagi – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships 

Winners: Roppongi 3K

I struggled with this one for a little bit. I could make a case for awarding each team with a big win. The tiebreaker was the fact that I’m not booking CHAOS to have a particularly special night (oops, spoilers) so I needed to give this one to them. It helps that R3K are one of most talented teams in the world.

Tomohiro Ishii (c) v. Zack Sabre Jr. – British Heavyweight Championship

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.

Remember how I said CHAOS isn’t going to have a good night? That starts here. Well, it actually started back on the pre-show. Ishii has held the belt twice since ZSJ last held it so now feels like the right time to get it back. Plus, I have other plans for Ishii to start the new year.

For the finish of the match, I want Zack to win by referee stoppage rather than submission. It’ll keep Ishii looking strong and Zack like a true sadist. Stable-leader, Minoru Suzuki won the Intercontinental Championship from Tanahashi a year ago the same way. That’ll be my dash of storytelling sprinkled onto the match.

Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) v. EVIL and SANADA v. The Young Bucks -IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Winners: G.O.D.

I’m trying to make Bullet Club look strong throughout this event. They were the sole focus of multiple storylines in 2018 and I have even more ideas for them going forward. This will likely be The Bucks’ last NJPW appearance for awhile. I’d have them swoop in when victory seems near for LIJ. That will give Evil and Sanada a gripe to get their proper tag title opportunity in the near future.

Cody (c) v. Juice Robinson – IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

Winner: Juice

If Cody is going to run All Elite Wrestling, he can’t be holding a belt for one of the other top promotions in the world.

KUSHIDA (c) v. Taiji Ishimori – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

Winner: Ishimori

My run of Bullet Club wins continues. Taiji Ishimori is a young talent with massive potential that debuted in the earlier part of last year. After Yujiro, Scurll, and Chase Owens split off into The Elite he became the sole junior of the Bullet Club. He already has a classic with Hiromu Takahashi in his first year so let’s see what he can do with a singles title run. Ishimori holding it until Hiromu’s return would be ideal.

Kazuchika Okada v. Jay White

Winner: Jay White

For weeks I had Okada booked as the clear winner. But something about it just didn’t sit right with me. Jay has been booked as this young new leader of the Bullet Club. His potential climbs every time he’s on screen. Since Jay has consistently gotten the better of Okada, I felt more justified in giving Okada the win. But now, I just can’t do it.

Giving Okada the win would halt all the momentum NJPW has been trying to build for White. It would be similar to John Cena toppling The Nexus. Wade Barrett never got back to the top of the mountain. Okada is already there and can’t be pushed off. However, I want Bullet Club to meddle in this match as much as possible. Give Jay even more heat and Okada a reason to lose.

Chris Jericho (c) v. Tetsuya Naito – IWGP Intercontinental Championship

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

As much as I love Chris Jericho, he should have never won the IC Title. It’s the second biggest prize in the company and has been nonexistent on NJPW programming. Naito will do much more with it.

Kenny Omega (c) v. Hiroshi Tanahashi – IWGP Heavyweight Championship

Winner: Tanahashi

This was another last-second flip-flop on my part. Omega was booked as my winner for awhile until I sat down in front of the card. The main focus of this match is supposed to be the clash of ideologies. Tanahashi is the tried and true hero of New Japan whose style has provided him repeated and sustained success. Kenny Omega is a gaijin who is 7 months into his first reign as heavyweight champion. Omega made comments in the past about the Japanese roster being complacent and not working as hard as the outsiders. Tanahashi took exception to this, of course. After a grueling G1 Climax, Tanahashi emerged as the winner after defeating Kenny’s golden lover.

January 4th is where Tanahashi takes back his kingdom. Kenny Omega’s ultimate downfall in the match will be his reckless style and cockiness. Although the two have been wrestling for an equal amount of time, Tanahashi is still seven years Omega’s elder. Omega will dictate the pace of the match and hold the upper hand for most of it. The problem is that Tanahashi will continue to reverse and kick out of everything Omega throws at him. That will eventually lead to Kenny attempting more and more dangerous moves (Phoenix Splash, dives to the outside, missed V-Triggers onto a hard surface, etc.). Omega’s moves will eventually miss multiple times in a row which will lead to injuries, and then defeat.

Main Stories Going Forward

Wrestle Kingdom is traditionally followed by New Year’s Dash the following night. That is where the seeds for the next feuds are planted. Now that Tanahashi is champion, there will be an unbearable nuisance named Jay White as confident as ever. New Year’s Dash will close with The Bullet Club attacking Tanahashi and Jay White declaring himself as the next challenger for the heavyweight belt. Remember that Jay White returned to NJPW last year specifically to challenge Tanahashi. Now he has a year of growth behind him.

After the Bullet Club attack, the Golden Lovers will come in to make the save. This sets up a Tanahashi/Golden Lovers vs. Bullet Club feud. Omega wants to do the right thing but wants to preserve Tanahashi for their rematch at the same time. Omega also hasn’t forgotten that Jay White took his US Title at the start of 2018.

That leaves Okada and CHAOS in a bit of a funk. In the middle of New Year’s Dash, the entirety of CHAOS will meet with Okada in the ring and have a discussion. They’ll talk about his decline in performance after he lost his championship. He started playing with balloons then continued to lose to Jay White and co. That’s when they decide to undergo trials for a new leader of the Chaos Faction.

The trials will allow each member of Chaos to have a singles match with Okada in order to determine the new leader of the stable. Chuckie T, Beretta, Yano, Ospreay, Ishii, then Goto. It will be a story that lasts for several months but will result in Okada toppling each member. By the end, Chaos will be more unified with the new Rainmaker ready to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship once again.

Next time on Writing the Book: I attempt to book both Royal Rumble matches!


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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