Top 5 Matches brought to you by Andrew! Do you agree with his list? Have you seen everything on the list?
Weeks come and go, but the Top Matches must always be known! It’s always fun when we get a monthly vote, because that means we’re one step closer to that fun Match of the Year voting! So, January’s big money winner came down to the wire. Only a couple votes separated first and second, but, Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi @ WK13, has won January!
As for the first week of February, it was a Velveteen runaway. Granted, Halftime Heat won the vote, but no match got a vote, unless it involved Velveteen Dream.
So this week may be obscure for some, but with the big New Japan title match happening on Monday, and some less than inspired WWE TV, All Japan was a beacon in the night with the Junior Battle of Glory tournament.
But no worries everyone, odds are that you saw at least two of these matches. So you’re gonna be alright for another week.
5. AJPW Junior Battle of Glory: Koji Iwamoto vs Kotaro Suzuki
Kotaro Suzuki has to be seen as a ringer here. A disciple of Misawa, recently lost the GHC Junior Championship after winning NOAH’s Junior Tournament. Iwamoto on the other hand had a small hiccup where he lost his belt to Shuji Kondo, and then won it back. Now the division is slowly resetting and we’re gonna see how the challengers stack up. Suzuki is a big ask on the first night, let’s see who wins.
This was a hard hitting match, with only a few minor hiccups. Suzuki is great to watch in the ring and Iwamoto stepped up a bit. Iwamoto hit numerous STO variations, but never his Koko no Geijutsu. Suzuki on the other hand pulled out a few of his signature moves. Tiger Feint, Endless Waltz, Blue Destiny…but the thing that hurt the overall was the finish. Blue Destiny is a Gory Neckbreaker (think Victoria’s Widow’s Peak). Suzuki hits it, Iwamoto kicks out. Kotaro laces Iwamoto’s arm like a La Magistral cradle, but sits through and hits one elbow strike, which he calls Javelin, and that’s the pin. It’s just awkward, yes the elbow strike is technically ‘open’ or ‘unprotected’ but it makes Blue Destiny look weak, when that had proper build for a finish.
Just another match that suffered from one too many false finishes, but it was still solid and gives Suzuki a claim to the Junior Title regardless of how he finishes in the tournament.
Winner: Suzuki via Javelin
Rating: *** 3/4
4. IMPACT! Impact Tag Team Championship: LAX (c) vs Lucha Bros
They had a lot to follow after their Homecoming match, but this wasn’t bad. It starts quick again, and this match had the same issue the last one did, where it felt too fast. Moves weren’t hitting flush, double clutching or waiting too long to take a spot hurt the match a little. Both tag teams kicked out of the respective finishers, so no one looks bad. Lucha Bros have to hit a second Spike Feat Factor, as Fenix lays out Ortiz with a tope. Konnan makes them shake hands, but there’s still a little heat.
Winner: Lucah Bros via Spike Fear Factor
Rating: *** 3/4
3. AJPW Excite Series All Asia Tag Team Championships: Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi (c) vs Ryuichi Kawakami & Kazumi Kikuta
Kikuta and Kawakami are from Big Japan. It appears that Big Japan is trying to take both tag titles out of All Japan, since Violent Giants lost a few weeks ago to Sekimoto and Okabayashi. Will Big Japan take the All Asia titles as well?
This is probably my favorite match of Nomura and Aoyagi’s since they won the titles from Yuji Nagata and Jun Akiyama. Kawakami kept egging on a strike exchange, and Kikuta brought a more Tae Kwan Do style about his offense. After a brawl on the outside for a while, the action in the ring was crisp and good. Great strike excahnges, near falls and the finish was surprising enough for a rematch to not be out of the question. Aoyagi broke up Kawakami’s offense with a Jumping Knee, but Kikuta took him out, and then ate a spear from Nomura for only a 2. Nomura seeing the opportunity, counters a kick from Kikuta and hits Maximum (Death Valley Driver), for the 3 count.
Also a nice spot with a bag of powder to try and blind the babyface champions reminded me of “Mr. Fuji’s Racist Salt”. So that’s always nice when I can pop myself for no real reason and because of Edge and Christian shenanigans.
Winner: Nomura via Maximum
AJPW Junior Battle of Glory: Kotaro Suzuki vs Tajiri
Winner: Tajiri via Cradle (after Mist)
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Road to New Beginning Osaka: Shingo Taka & Tetsuya Naito vs Taka Michinoku & Taichi
Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragon
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW Road to New Beginning Osaka: BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL vs Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
Winner: LIJ via Magic Killer
Rating: *** 1/4
IMPACT! Sami Callihan vs Puma King
Winner: Callihan via Piledriver
Rating: *** 1/4
AJPW Junior Battle of Glory: Atsushi Murayama vs Koji Iwamoto
Winner: Iwamoto via Koko no Geijutsu
Rating: *** 1/4
IMPACT! Rohit Raju vs Trey
Winner: Trey via Meteora
NXT: Io Shirai, Kairi Sane & Bianca Belair vs Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
Winner: Io via Moonsault
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Mustafa Ali
Winner: Orton via RKO
IMPACT! Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs Dave & Jake Crist
Winner: Swann via 450 Splash
2. NXT: Drew Gulak vs Matt Riddle
There are so many 205 Live stars that I would LOVE to see get a true NXT run. Drew Gulak is one. This match with Matt Riddle–a legit clinic–makes that desire even stronger. I don’t know what’s in the plans for the WrestleMania Friday Takeover, but the rematch of this should be.
Winner: Riddle via Bromission
1. AJPW Junior Battle of Glory: Atsushi Aoki vs Seiki Yoshioka
Seiki is currently from Wrestle-1 wrestling in the Strong Hearts stable with a few Junior title reigns under his belt. Aoki is essentially the face of All Japan’s Junior division. So a first night pairing with these two, should be explosive.
This match lived up to the build. Yoshioka worked Aoki over with numerous stiff strikes, and kept him reeling for most of the match. He got in Aoki’s face at numerous points in the match, including a strike exchange on the turnbuckles. Aoki got the best of the exchange, and rode the momentum to a victory there. And Avalanche Slam after the Sunset Flip Powerbomb was blocked, Yoshioka fired up, Aoki lands a Lariat and Jumping Piledriver, both for near falls. Then finally needs his finisher, Assault Point (Wristclutch Belly to Back Suplex Hold) to pick up the hard fought win.
Winner: Aoki via Assault Point
Now this is a hard week. The Top 5 are all basically equal, however the Impact match isn’t their best match up, so I guess on principle I can eliminate that one. But regardless of my enjoyment of the Junior Battle of Glory tournament so far, I also really love technical wrestling. So my vote goes to Riddle vs Gulak, but the All Japan tournament has really started off strong.
Well give this week a vote and Always Use Your Head!
Kevin: “Firefly Fun House” Bray Wyatt Is The Best Bray Wyatt
“He must differentiate himself from the old Bray Wyatt in some capacity, or else the character will be doomed to fail.” Do you agree?
Bray Wyatt is back in WWE in a whole new way, and Kevin is on board to see this continue over the old obsessive Bray Wyatt.
There’s a familiar sinister force permeating the walls of the WWE. Bray Wyatt is back, and this time around he’s a…children’s TV show host? Yeah, you’ve read that correctly. Bray Wyatt’s newest gimmick is that of the host of the “Firefly Fun House,” featuring a doll, a buzzard, and the man himself.
After weeks of creepy vignettes showing the buzzard and the doll, we finally got a taste of Bray Wyatt in his new role on Monday night. Wyatt introduced us to his new friends, atoned for years of being a bad man, and symbolically ended his former demonic self with a chainsaw.
All that is a lot to take in. It was wacky, it was bizarre, and it was downright goofy. And BRILLIANT.
I ate this segment up, and took to Twitter to pronounce its brilliance immediately after I finished watching it. I know it took the majority of people a couple re-watches to come around on it, but I was on board with this version of Bray Wyatt from the jump.
There’s something delightfully creepy about Bray Wyatt the children’s show host. He straddles that line between playing it straight and going off the rails perfectly, and while you know that something isn’t right, the character is still drastically different than “The Eater of Worlds.”
Let’s face it, Wyatt was in desperate need of a fresh look and character, and boy, did he get it. Before disappearing from WWE television last year, Wyatt had been treading deep water being stuck with Matt Hardy, and frankly, he had been in trouble dating back to the WrestleMania 33 loss of his WWE Championship to Randy Orton in a subpar showing.
That was back in 2017. Now, in the year 2019, we’re finally getting to see something new out of Wyatt, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Now, the question remains: where will he go? We’ve just had a Superstar Shake-Up, what seemed like an appropriate time to sort out Wyatt’s return, but that ship has sailed.
Is the host of the Firefly Fun House headed back to RAW, where he was before disappearing? Or is a return to Smackdown in order for Wyatt, where he ascended to the ranks of world champion back in 2017?
It’s difficult, because we still don’t really know what Wyatt is supposed to be. Is he still a bad guy,or is he some kind of demented wannabe hero? I think a character like this would thrive on RAW, but if Wyatt’s still going to be performing as a heel, then he might do better on Smackdown, a show that needs another heel or two.
Personally, I don’t see Wyatt as a heel in this character. He’s more psychopath than ever before, but I still don’t see him as a bad guy, but rather as a crazed man trying to make amends for his past wrongdoings. He could instantly become the most interesting character on WWE TV, and in my mind, he’s already there with one segment. Imagine how hot he’ll be with a few more vignettes?
But the thing that intrigues me most is what he’s going to look like in the ring? Is he going to wrestle in his khaki slacks and his Mr. Rogers sweater? Is he still going to use the End of Days as his finisher? What new wrinkles is he going to add to his entrance, to his moveset, to his overall character?
HE MUST differentiate himself from the old Bray Wyatt in some capacity, or else the character will be doomed to fail. People had gotten tired of the same old shtick for five years, and were yearning for something different.
Well, now different is here. But it will all be for naught if Wyatt still acts the same and wrestles the same, we need to see some change desperately. I expect to see more of this new, nutjob Bray Wyatt on RAW next week, and I can’t wait for it. This could be a real game-changer.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (4/24/19)
NXT was loaded with action this week–how did it land for you?
Tiffany takes her Takes to Full Sail University and WWE NXT today, featuring Johnny Gargano vs Roderick Strong and more!
So, time for OG NXT and Johnny Gargano will face Roderick Strong, but will Undisputed Era stand together or will a jealous Cole wreak havoc?
Johnny Gargano vs Roderick Strong/Undisputed Era
I think we all figured when Gargano chose Roderick Strong as his UE opponent that Cole wasn’t going to be happy, and we’ve all seen definite signs of dissent in the Undisputed Era ranks, but I was honestly surprised by how this match ended. Cole vs Riddle promises to be great. I can’t stand Matt Riddle, but him pointing out that Cole was jealous was perfect.
Gargano vs Strong was every bit as great as it promised. Strong’s a great athlete and letting him show that off in this match was a great move. Having Cole accidentally cost Strong the match and having Riddle come in to help Gargano was the perfect amount of chaos to end the match while protecting everyone involved.
I don’t know what next week will hold for Undisputed Era, but Strong basically telling UE to f**k off after the loss isn’t a good tiding.
Jaxson Ryker vs Humberto Carrillo
I have a question: Is Jaxson Ryker the only competitor in Forgotten Sons? Seriously, when is the last time Blake and Cutler had matches? Don’t get me wrong, Ryker is a great, albeit psychopathic, competitor, but I’m a little tired of him being the only member of Forgotten Sons competing.
The match with Carrillo was fantastic, even if Carrillo had a little trouble getting started. The Double Countout was a smart move to protect both guys, but I loved thorough line of having Oney Lorcan, now on 205 Live with Humberto Carrillo, and Danny Burch come to Carrillo’s rescue and keep Forgotten Sons from completely destroying him. This should be a fun feud.
Aliyah and Vanessa Borne vs Candice LeRae and Kacy Catanzaro
So it seems like Candice LeRae is being groomed to take the belt off of Shayna Baszler if this match was anything to go by. I love Aliyah and Vanessa Borne, but I was disappointed by this match because it became clear very quickly that the whole point of the match was to make Candice look stronger when she got a pretty easy pin on Vanessa Borne. It’s nothing against Candice, but I hated seeing Borne Bougie getting sacrificed like that.
Women’s Division vs Shayna Baszler
I’m not sure what WWE is thinking, but if you want to keep Shayna Baszler looking like a badass, DON’T have her constantly getting cheap shots on anyone she deems a threat, whether they are or not. She doesn’t look like an unstoppable badass, she looks like a punk, which is a disservice to her. Plus having Shafir and Duke being her lackeys hurts them too.
I APPLAUDED Mia Yim’s promo, especially her calling out Biance Belair’s constant insistence that she was still undefeated, even though she’s lost to Baszler twice, for the nonsense that it is. I’m totally behind Yim getting another shot at Baszler, especially since Belair didn’t have to earn her second chance while Yim hasn’t gotten another one.
William Regal had a hell of a career but, in my opinion, he’s at his best as an authority figure and I’m glad he’s loosened up from his days as the strait-laced Commissioner of WWF in 2001. I love Ohno demanding his…right to try out the shiny new NXT toys and I have a feeling he’ll regret demanding a shot at KUSHIDA, which is probably why Regal gave it to him. Sounds fun.
Street Profits vs War/Viking Raiders/Experience
I’m still puzzled as to why Street Profits got a shot at the NXT Tag Champions, whatever they’re called this week, but the match was fantastic. Dawkins and Ford did the smart thing by getting the jump on Rowe/Erik and Hanson/Ivar (I honestly am not sure which Viking name goes with whom, I’m just guessing), but it was for naught because the Nordic dudes got themselves together and absolutely thrashed the Profits, but the Profits definitely proved that they belong in the Tag Title picture.
Great episode of NXT! Much like NXT UK, the matches and segments all had a purpose and were pretty good.
The disintegration of Undisputed Era seems to be moving much faster than the first ending of the Shield and I’m a little confused as to why. Undisputed Era hasn’t been called up to RAW or SmackDown, so I’m not sure why there seems to be a rush on breaking them up. Granted, having Cole ‘accidentally’ costing Strong the match and his clear jealousy of Strong getting the first shot at Gargano could be leading to Strong breaking off and feuding with Cole, but it’s not clear where Fish and O’Reilly will end up in this.
Well, that is it for Tiffany’s Takes for this week! Next week, we’ll be looking Week 2 out of the 2019 Superstar Shake Up and see how RAW and SmackDown will deal with the fallout of this week!
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