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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 2/17/2019

With New Beginning Osaka to start the week, and Elimination Chamber to end, what makes Andrew’s cut for Top 5 matches?

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With New Beginning Osaka to start the week, and Elimination Chamber to end, what makes Andrew’s cut for Top 5 matches?

So this was an eventful week. Osaka, Uncaged and Elimination Chamber all happened, and hell, even SmackDown and Raw put on 1 match each that was worth noticing. Given everything to process, and how there was a bit of good stuff to pick from for everything…this is one of those times where I have a tie.

But before we reveal the tie, we need to reveal the winner last week! It wasn’t a difficult vote since slower weeks when I go hunting, tends to mean the random matches don’t get adequate love. With that said, yes, Matt Riddle vs Drew Gulak, ran away with the votes.

So let’s get to this week, and one mini surprise on the list!

 

5 (t). WWE Raw: Raw Tag Team Title Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs The Revival

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Raw returns once again, and Gable slams Dawson down to catapult him into buckles! Fans rally up, hot tags to Dash and Roode! Roode rallies on The Revival, and gives Dash a big back drop! Dawson runs into a urenage! Dash runs into a gourd buster onto Dawson! Roode fires up as he tackles them both in the corner! Roode hops up and aims at Dash, but Dash gets clear. He clotheslines Dawson instead, then gives Dash a GLORIOUS Spinebuster! Cover, TWO! Roode is shocked but The Revival still lives. Dash crawls away but Roode winds it up. GLORIOUS but Dawson saves Dash from the DDT! Dash rolls Roode, TWO! Tag and Dash bucks Roode off. Gory Special, BULLDOG! Cover, TWO!! Roode lives and The Revival can’t believe it!

Dawson tags Dash and they double whip. Roode sunset flips, Gable crossbodies! Cover, TWO! Dash runs into boots and Roode tags to Gable. Gable hops up, but dash scoops. Roode slips out, Gable moonsaults but misses. Gable waistlocks Dash while Roode climbs, GLORIOUS Blockbuster and German Suplex combo! Cover, but Dawson breaks it just in time! Fans realize “This is Awesome!” as all four men catch their breath. Roode runs at Dawson but Dawson tosses him out. Gable hits Dawson with a rolling kick, then wheelbarrows Dash to a victory roll! TWO and Dash gets to the apron. Dash shoulders back then climbs up, but Gable leaps up to join him! They fight, Dawson tags. Dash sunset flips and Dawson climbs, Doomsday Device! Cover, but Roode pushes Dash into it! All four men are down and fans are loving it!

Fans again declare “This is Awesome!” as the teams regroup. The Revival stand up first and drag Gable up. They double suplex but Roode saves Gable. Roode ducks their clotheslines and shoves Dash into Dawson. Roode then tosses Dawson out and Gable climbs up. Dawson DDT’s Roode! Gable leaps for a sunset flip with jackknife bridge! TWO!! Dash tags in even as Gable atomic drops Dawson. Gable is ready with haymakers, then whips Dawson. Dawson reverses, but Gable leaps, INTO SHATTER MACHINE!! Cover, The Revival win!!

Winner: Revival via Shatter Machine

Rating: ****

5(t). WWE Elimination Chamber: Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber: The IIconics vs Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs Tamina & Nia Jax vs Bayley & Sasha Banks vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs Carmella & Naomi

WWE Elimination Chamber Women's Tag Team Championship Match

From My Review:
Well the beginning of this chamber match started off pretty awful actually. But once the rest of the teams got involved, the match actually got better. Riott Squad performed really well, IIconics had a nice tandem pin to eliminate Naomi and Nia took the Big Show bump of crashing through a pod. Honestly a little surprised they put the belts on Sasha & Bayley right away. With Sasha’s injury and faces chasing belts usually being an easier way to write a Mania angle, they instead took the easy route and just put the belts on the fan favorites right away. Surprised not because it doesn’t make sense, surprised because WWE usually takes detours and goes around the block a few times before eventually ending up where it should’ve been. But yea, bad first couple minutes, but turned into a damn good match.

Winner: Banks & Bayley via Modified Bank Statement

Rating: ****

 

4. RevPro High Stakes: Will Ospreay vs PAC

The NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay, faces the Open the Dream Gate Champion PAC. In a match that’s been dubbed a dream match by many, let’s see how this 30 minutes match plays out.

Ospreay starts off the first few minutes by flipping out of PAC’s moves, as a way to frustrate the Bastard. Eventually they go into the usual Indy exchange of kip ups, duck unders and stuff that makes the crowd cheer. Early on Ospreay gets busted up either from PAC’s Apron Thrust Kick, Moonsault or stomping on his face. The bleeding stopped fairly quickly, so it didn’t turn the match into a mess at least.

After the slower build up of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’, the match started to become a hard striking affair. PAC hit some stiff shots and a real Hurricanrana (you don’t see the actual move often anymore). Eventually Ospreay gets an advantage and PAC is prone in the Hidden Blade (unprotected Elbow that got so much hype when it concussed Ibushi), but CCK interfere in the match. Jonathan Gresham and Chris Brooks beat on Ospreay a little and go to grab a belt to hit him with, but grab the Dream Gate title. Big no-no.

PAC sees this and steps on the strap before Brooks can pick it up and basically shows some pride in the match. He kicks away the belt, then he and Ospreay take out CCK ending in stereo Planchas, with both men sliding back into the ring never taking their eyes off one another. Aussie Open comes out to take CCK away, and then we hit a portion of the match that made me groan.

Ospreay literally starts hitting reference moves. Rainmaker, Scurll style finger break, Benadryller and then a Shooting Star Press, and to no one’s surprise, PAC kicks out. Stormbreaker attempt number one, but PAC tries to counter with a Frankensteiner, Ospreay stops him and hits the Styles Clash, for another near fall. Uughh…

The finish sees the 1 minute call happen, Ospreay tries another Stormbreaker, PAC flips off the shoulder and low blows Ospreay in front of the ref. PAC then tells the ref to ring the bell, the ref decides not to and he wants a finish. PAC hurries to the top rope for Black Arrow, but then hears the final 10 second count down. So he just stands on the top rope and counts along with the crowd, flipping the bird for 1 of course.

So what was framed as Ospreay’s match to win at 2 different points (3 if you count the fact it should’ve been DQ), PAC forces the Draw. Ospreay and fans ask for 5 more minutes, but PAC just walks off. Good match, hopefully leading to something because the lack of a distinct finish, low blow and interference took away from a match that could’ve been a classic.

Still worth the watch though.

Winner: TIME LIMIT DRAW

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. SmackDown Live: Elimination Chamber Guantlet Match: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan vs Jefft Hardy vs Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Randy Orton

From My Review:
Now comes the gauntlet and the New Day reveal of who they’re picking as the fill in for Mustafa. Kofi and Daniel Bryan start things off, and this alone was a solid match. Now it did great things by showing Daniel is vulnerable without help. New Day got banished, Rowan did as well, and in his scrambling to try and win quickly, Bryan gets caught by a Trouble in Paradise, Kofi gets the pinfall. Jeff Hardy comes out and immediately tries to throw some of his bigger signature moves on an already weakened opponent. Hardy misses a lot, and then gets caught in the S.O.S. Now with Joe coming out at 3, most of us probably saw this going the same way as Rollins from last year, and here’s where the plucky workhorse loses, but nay! Kofi manages to reverse the Sleeper Hold into a pin. Joe being the angry man he is, sinks in the Coquina Clutch after the loss, so AJ has to break it up. Now AJ does what Cena didn’t do well last year. Trying to play the whole ” You don’t need to continue, you’re hurt, just stop” angle. AJ showed real concern cause he helped him back into the ring and seemed sincere. Kofi got fired up and what we saw wasn’t bad at all. Kofi versus AJ could definitely be a good number 1 contender match, maybe at Fastlane or Mania. AJ catches Kofi with the Calf Crusher, and awaits Randy Orton. As the crowd gives Kofi the standing ovation, Randy flies in from off camera and hits and RKO out of nowhere for the 1-2-3, right at 10 eastern. Perfect punctuation. Yes a couple spots here or there were a little sloppy, but generally speaking this was a great match. Maybe even better than last year’s Raw gauntlet.

Winner: Orton via RKO

Rating: **** 1/4

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Ryusuke Taguchi
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: ****
WWE Elimination Chamber: Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs Akira Tozawa
Winner: Murphy via Murphy’s Law
Rating: ****
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Knockout’s Championship Street Fight: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (c)
Winner: Taya via Double Footstomp through Table
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT UK: Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang
Winner: Dunne via Cross Armbreaker
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW New Beginning in Osaka: Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Elimination 4v4: Team Impact (Fallah Bahh, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake & Eddie Edwards) vs Team AAA (Puma King, Psycho Clown, Hijo del Vikingo & Aerostar)
Winner: Team Triple A 4-3
Rating: *** 3/4
NXT UK: Noam Dar vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Dar via Cradle
Rating: *** 1/2
AJPW Jr Battle of Glory: Atsushi Aoki vs Black Menso-re
Winner: Aoki via Cloverleaf
Rating: *** 1/2
Impact Wrestling Uncaged: Fatal 4 Way Impact World Championship: Killer Kross vs Moose vs Johnny Impact (c) vs Brian Cage
Winner: Johnny via Starship Pain
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT UK: Jinny vs Mia Yim
Winner: Jinny via Dirty Pin
Rating: ***

2. NJPW New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

From Mathew’s Article:
This match was mostly about one thing and that was the evolution of Jay White and his character in New Japan over the past year and everything he’s been doing since this new persona has been unveiled to the world. Jay’s character has evolved with how his mindset works, how he speaks, the mind games, and the following he has gained when he was the new leader of Bullet Club. Tanahashi, despite having a classic with Kenny Omega recently, he’s still injured and body is still busted and you can see that with how he moves in the ring and when Jay attacked his knee recently, he found a target point to use throughout the match. The best part about this was that the interference with Gedo was very minimal and I’m glad that was the case since that would’ve been overkill if he did it constantly, even Tanahashi would attack Gedo a few times when he just had enough of his shit.

Gedo would be used as a distraction once again to give Jay enough time to try and hit Tanahashi with the chair but would move out of the way as he accidentally hits Gedo with the chair. Tanahashi was able to get High Fly Flow in but onto Jay’s back and wasn’t enough to put him away and as he went for the second one, Jay would roll out of the way. Whenever Tanahashi would try to hit a big move in the match, Jay would use the ropes to hold himself up so that Tanahashi wouldn’t get a chance to hit a Slingblade. This was a smart move as he would do it a few times and whenever Tanahashi had him away from the ropes to try and hit it, Jay would fall to his knees to buy himself a little bit of time. Jay would attack the knee a little bit more but Tanahashi would finally get a chance to get some Dragon Screws in before applying the Lucky Cloverleaf to try and make JAy tap out but Jay had the ropes just in time. Jay caught Tanahashi to try and go for the Blade Runner but Tanahashi turned it into a Slingblade and would hit another one to put Jay down. Tanahashi is up on the ropes once again as he would attempt another High Fly Flow but Jay caught him in midair to hit the Blade Runner and he connects this time for the pinfall and we have a new champion!

I’m actually speechless as to seeing Jay White win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship here since I expected Tanahashi to at least have a few successful defenses under his belt before dropping it at the G1 Supercard or Dominion, but it looks like they backed themselves up into a corner with Jay White since he had a ton of momentum leading to this match that losing here would hurt him slightly. Jay White has been wrestling for six years and has been with New Japan for about four of them and he has now defeated the ace to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It looks like New Japan has a new star made to fill the void of Kenny Omega, which Jay did beat early in 2018 along with Kazuchika Okada, and now Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay is the new star and we’re indeed in the Cutthroat era.

Winner: White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1.  WWE Elimination Chamber: WWE Championship Elimination Chamber: Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy vs Daniel Bryan (c)

WWE Elimination Chamber WWE Championship Match

Snippet From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Kofi dropkicks Orton! Kofi drags Styles up, but Styles gets him with the STO backbreaker, just like the Gauntlet match! Styles drags Kofi up as fans rally. Styles whips Kofi to a corner, then runs in, only for Kofi to put him outside. Kofi turns around into Styles’ forearm, then Styles springboards, into an RKO!! Cover, Orton ELIMINATES Styles! Orton grins as he watches Styles be helped out of the Chamber. But Kofi rolls Orton! TWO, Trouble in Paradise misses. Kofi kicks Orton back, then climbs up, only for Orton to trip him up. Orton drags Kofi out from the top rope, for a SUPER draping DDT! Fans duel as Orton hears the voices in his head. Orton stalks Kofi but catches Bryan in a powerslam! Orton goes back to Kofi but Kofi denies the RKO! TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Cover, Kofi ELIMINATES Orton!

Kofi is one of the final two with Daniel Bryan! Houston is thunderous for how close Kofi is to achieving a dream! Kofi and Bryan are in opposite corners, and Kofi fires himself up. Bryan and Kofi stand up stare down. They approach, and start throwing hands! Bryan kicks so Kofi kicks, and repeat! They go back and forth, but Kofi eggs Bryan’s kicks on! Bryan kicks and Kofi kicks! Trouble In Paradise misses, Bryan dropkicks the legs out! Bryan dares Kofi to sit up, and starts giving him No Kick! He kicks again and again, but Kofi ducks the buzzsaw! SOS!! Cover, TWO!! Kofi was so close yet so far from finally being world champion! Houston is at a fever pitch as Kofi and Bryan reset.

Kofi runs in but misses in the corner! Fans rally up as Bryan takes his time looming over Kofi. Bryan throws angry haymakers, saying Kofi doesn’t deserve to be here. Bryan gives Kofi more kicks, then runs corner to corner, for a big dropkick! And then another! And a third! A fourth! Kofi jumps out and double stomps out Bryan! Cover, TWO!! Houston is right there with Kofi on how close he was again. Kofi wills himself to his feet and to a corner. He aims at Bryan as he stands. Kofi runs but Bryan bails out. Kofi goes after Bryan and throws him into chains! He does it again and again and again! Kofi only picks up speed as he rams Bryan into steel! He drags Bryan up, bulldog but Bryan sends Kofi into the pod!

Bryan drags Kofi into the ring, and waits for Kofi to stand. Fans are not giving up on Kofi, but Bryan is taking am. Bryan runs at Kofi, KNEE PLUS! Cover, TWO!? Kofi survives and shocks Bryan! But Houston is eating this up! Bryan grows angry, and grabs Kofi’s arms. Bryan stomps away on Kofi’s face! And again and again and again! Cover, TWO! Bryan wants another shot, Kofi stands, TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Cover, TWO to a cradle! TWO, and Kofi kicks Bryan. Bryan catches Kofi’s arm into a form of the Labell Lock! But he also rakes the eyes and nose! This isn’t illegal in the Chamber! Kofi reaches and gets the ropebreak! Bryan lets go out of exhaustion. Bryan sits up and drags Kofi around. Houston declares “This is Awesome!”

Bryan climbs up top but Kofi kicks him down! Kofi climbs up and throws hands. Bryan climbs to the pod but Kofi pursues. Kofi clubs Bryan down then headbutts him against the Plexiglas. Kofi throws Bryan into it as fans chant “Yes! Yes!” He drags Bryan up, but Bryan resists. Kofi throws body shots but Bryan continues to block the risky suplex. Bryan fights and now he bounces Kofi against the Plexiglas! Bryan decides to use Kofi’s idea, but now Kofi resists! Kofi fights back and clubs Bryan down. Bryan slips down to the post but Kofi again pursues. Kofi boots Bryan again and again and sends him all the way down! Kofi stands, leaps, but FLOPS! Bryan aims from the corner, KNEE PLUS!! Cover, Bryan wins!

Winner: Bryan via Knee Plus

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

Well the top matches of this week were all very close. I’m torn on quite a few of these matches. Revival finally getting the monkey off their back and winning the belts, Bayley & Sasha being the inaugural ‘modern era’ or however they’re spinning it Women’s Tag Champions, Jay White doing something no one has ever done, that being beating Tanahashi on a first defense. Since admittedly Pac/Ospreay was disappointing on surface level since there was no clean finish, I guess we know what my pick is.

Men’s Elimination Chamber match is my vote! Started off slow, had spots that tried too hard and just looked dumb, but that’s nit picking. Kofi’s story was fantastic, once a few people got eliminated the match really started to take shape. Plus the entire Kofi/Bryan portion was almost a match within itself. Just so many nice layers, and even though Kofi didn’t win, I think he won over many people that weren’t really fans of his prior.


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

Steve Cook’s Top 5 Pro Wrestling Tournaments

Wrestling’s best tournaments?

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WWE Survivor Series Deadly Game Tournament

The NCAA Tournament is in full swing, and Steve Cook is inspired to take a look back at wrestling’s tournaments!

Who doesn’t love a good tournament? This is the time of year where we all become obsessed with brackets. March Madness is in full bloom, and we’re all keeping track of who beat who and who’s playing next. We all know that pro wrestling lends itself well to a tournament format… Do I need to go any further? Probably not. Here are the Top 5 Pro Wrestling Tournaments of all time.

5. Ultraviolent Tournament of Death II

I know some people are not going to be happy with this pick. Thing is, I don’t feel a list of American wrestling tournaments would be complete without a selection from the deathmatch genre. It was the bread & butter for many indy companies back in the day, and I’m sure there’s still something of an audience for it now.

I’ll admit it. There was a period of time where I was into guys getting hit with light tubes & thrown into barbed wire and fun stuff like that. I’m over it now, so I can’t tell you if any of the tournaments over the past ten years have blown the stuff from the 2000s out of the water. What I can tell you is which deathmatch tournament was most memorable to me. The second TOD made “Sick” Nick Mondo a CZW legend. Dude got thrown off a building by Zandig! Mondo beat JC Bailey in a Light Tubes & Ladders match, Zandig in a 2 out of 3 fall Light Tube Log Cabins match, and Ian Rotten in a Barbed Wire ropes, 200 Light Tubes match.

Mondo became a star that night. Unfortunately it was his last night in the business, as injuries suffered during the evening made him think twice about the whole wrestling thing. Hey, at least give him credit for being smart enough to get out.

4. 2008 Battle of Los Angeles

Low-Ki

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s strength over the years has been staying in their lane. Sometimes people would like to see the company get bigger, but they’ve spent most of their existence working around other promotions’ rules. As long PWG they remained DVD-only, companies that had TV & PPV with not many other dates on the schedule were happy to let some of their guys get a payday out west.

Since 2005, PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament has featured pretty much anybody that ever made any kind of name on the indy wrestling circuit. Winners include the likes of Kenny Omega, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Ricochet, and Sami Zayn’s mentor El Generico (RIP). The best one I’ve seen, the 2008 edition was won by none other than Low Ki. It was when he wasn’t jobbing to anybody, so the result was kind of obvious.

It was still a fun show with a ridiculously stacked roster. Ki, Nigel McGuinness, Bryan Danielson & Chris Hero made up the final four. Danielson had matches with Hero, T.J. Perkins & Davey Richards. Hero also had a Necro Butcher Rules match with Necro Butcher. The finals featured Ki & Hero working with only one rope…and having a pretty darn good match.

3. 1993 King of the Ring

Bret Hart

Every so often, fans clamor for the return of King of the Ring to WWE programming. It’s like they forget King Sheamus, King Barrett and the other weak noblemen to rule over WWE’s kingdom. The event definitely had its ups & downs, but it certainly got off to a good start in Dayton, Ohio.

Let’s be honest, any show in 1993 that had Bret Hart wrestling three times was bound to be a good one. He went through Razor Ramon in the first round in a solid starter. Mr. Perfect awaited in the semi-finals, and the two men had a classic match like they always had with each other. Then Bret took on Bam Bam Bigelow in the finals, and overcame the odds against a bigger man that had the semi-finals off thanks to a Lex Luger/Tatanka draw.

Bret’s goal on this evening was to prove that he was the best wrestler in the WWF, even if he had been taken out of the championship picture at the moment. He did just that, and put the KOTR tournament on the map in the process. Owen Hart following in Bret’s footsteps and winning the next year meant so much because people remembered that performance.

2. 1987 Crockett Cup

Going back to the days of Jim Crockett Sr., the Mid-Atlantic territory was always a tag team-heavy promotion. Fans in the Carolinas, Virginia & surrounding areas loved that style of wrestling. The tradition continued after Jim Sr’s death, and when it was decided that a major show was needed between Starrcade & the Great American Bash tour, the idea of the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament was hatched. The Crockett Cup featured most of the best tag teams in the world coming together for a twenty-four team tournament where the winners would split $1,000,000 & get a trophy.

Jim Crockett Promotions held three of these events from 1986-88. The first edition in the Superdome didn’t draw much of a house, but Baltimore came out in full support in 1987. A who’s who of tag teams from the Road Warriors to the Midnight Express & the Mulkeys were there, but at the end of the night it was the Super Powers, Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff beating the Horsemen team of Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger to take the prize.

Even bigger than all that…Magnum T.A. made his first appearance in a wrestling arena since his car accident the previous year. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and not a doubt that his friends Dusty & Nikita would win the main event.

1. The Deadly Game

Survivor Series 1998 is one of those shows that people either really love or really hate. Workrate fans really hate it, as there wasn’t a classic match to be found on the card. Fans that are more into characters & story really love it. To me, this night was Vince Russo’s highpoint as a wrestling writer.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had lost the WWF Championship in September, getting pinned by both Kane & Undertaker. Austin refereed a match between Kane & Undertaker in October, where he knocked them both out & made the match a no-decision. Vince McMahon came up with the idea of a tournament after that, and his primary objective was to keep Austin from winning it. It became known as the Deadly Game…I’m still not sure why, but it gave us one of the best PPV theme songs of all time.

Mankind was thought to be Vince’s favorite, while The Rock was seen as the next worst option for Vince other than Stone Cold. After a night of seemingly never-ending twists & turns, including Austin getting screwed yet again by a McMahon (Shane this time), Rock & Mankind met in the finals. And wouldn’t you know it, a year after Survivor Series 1997, which Jim Ross kept dreading a reprise of all night with Mankind winning at the behest of Mr. McMahon, it turned out that Rock was the man locking in the Sharpshooter while Vince yelled to ring the damn bell.

Fourteen year old me couldn’t have enjoyed the show more, even if Rock was my third choice behind Austin & Mankind. Yeah, this time period was tough for me as far as favorite wrestlers feuding went.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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New Japan Cup Fallout : Will It Really Be Okada’s Revenge at G1 Supercard ?

The New Japan Cup has come to an end, with Kazuchika Okada winning the tournament. Will Okada prevail and cut the Switchblade’s new era short ?

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Your winner of the 2019 New Japan Cup : The Rainmaker, Kazuchika Okada.

The New Japan Cup has now come to an end, with Kazuchika Okada winning the tournament for the second time in his career. The Rainmaker will look to get his revenge over Jay White in MSG, which is exactly the subject of today’s article. Will Okada prevail and cut the Switchblade’s new era short ? Let’s dive into the matter at hand !

If there is one thing I learned watching New Japan Pro Wrestling, it is to NEVER neglect any possibility. Such a statement has never felt more true since Jay White came back to New Japan at Power Struggle in 2017. Since then, White has kept being the ultimate trump card. First by defeating Kenny Omega for the IWGP US Heavyweight championship. Then, he defeated both Okada and Tanahashi in the G1 Climax, took over Bullet Club, and went on to repeat his G1 upsets over Okada and Tanahashi, at Wrestle Kingdom and New Beginning, claiming the IWGP Heavyweight championship from Tanahashi in Osaka.

What New Japan called the “Switchblade shock” in reference to Okada’s “Rainmaker shock” from 2012 is now real, and with Okada marching to MSG with the purpose of finally vanquishing his nemesis, I have to wonder if Okada will actually do it, because if there is one thing I am actually sure of, it is that the outcome of the match between the Rainmaker and the Switchblade is as uncertain as it could be. Sounds paradoxical ? I will explain.

Here’s the thing. While the possibility of the rest of this year gravitating around Okada and White fighting over the Heavyweight championship is not something to rule out, I find it hard to imagine that other people will not be involved. I can think of Tetsuya Naito or Kota Ibushi, depending on the result of their soon to come IWGP Intercontinental championship match. I believe this match will help shape up the new direction following the Okada vs White encounter. I have already touched on Kota Ibushi in a previous article, explaining why I could see him take the Intercontinental championship away from Naito, so let’s follow that logic. This would leave the leader of L.I.J empty handed in every sense of the term…or does it ? While Naito won’t be able to reach his goal of becoming a dual champion, it is doubtful that he will stop looking to take back the Heavyweight championship, the first chance he gets.

This is actually important to consider in the eventual result of Okada vs White and especially what will happen going forward. Naito being the biggest star in New Japan to not hold a championship while haven’t taking part in any Heavyweight championship matches since Wrestle Kingdom 12, and with Dominion slowly coming up, we have to think of who would challenge for the Heavyweight championship in Osaka-Jo Hall this year.

With that in mind, we are left with two options. Assuming whoever leaves MSG as Heavyweight champion keeps the title until Dominion, which seems likely, will New Japan add another chapter to one of the most storied rivalries of the last decade, or will we see the continuation of New Japan’s new era in a more explicit way, with a never seen before IWGP Heavyweight championship to main event the second biggest New Japan show of the year ? Of course, this is only based off assumptions. Who knows, depending on the circumstances of this upcoming Okada vs White III, we could be up for a fourth encounter even sooner than expected.

To cap off with this opinion piece, let’s actually give an answer to the initial question. I do not believe G1 Supercard will be marked by the Rainmaker’s revenge over the Switchblade. Let me ask you one question : Do you fully expect Jay White to lose the Heavyweight championship without any defenses, considering the faith New Japan seems to have in him ?

You guessed my stance, I think that feels unlikely. Not impossible, remember what I said about never putting any possibility aside, but unlikely. We could even witness a surprise in Madison Square Garden, but it won’t be Jay White retaining the championship, if that does happen.

Let me add that, as a nod to another previous article concerning Bullet Club dominating G1 Supercard, the best way to dominate the event, in terms of results and talk created afterwards, would probably be include Jay White winning. After all, White would be 3-0 against Okada, which says something considering how highly regarded of a wrestler the Rainmaker is.

This is how I now conclude this article. What did you think of the New Japan Cup ? What are your thoughts going forward ? Do you breathe with the Switchblade or will Okada make it rain all over Madison Square Garden ?

 


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