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Andrew’s WWE Fastlane 2019 Star Ratings & Analysis

Andrew drops in some ratings and analysis for Fastlane! How do we get to WrestleMania from here?

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Andrew drops in some ratings and analysis for Fastlane! How do we get to WrestleMania from here?

Fastlane hasn’t really rattled the imagination on many. It definitely has that nearly house show feeling of the endings are a little obvious, let’s just get through it and onto Mania.

It would be nice if the show impressed, but WWE has a tendency to make the Internet crowd…pessimistic, at best. So I guess we should see where this lands?

Let’s go!

 

Ratings:

  • KICKOFF: Xavier Woods & Big E vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev: Woods wins via Up Up Down Down @13:20 – *** 1/4
  • SmackDown Tag Team Title Match: The Usos (c) vs Shane McMahon & The Miz: Usos retain via Inside Cradle @14:10 – *** 1/4
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship: Mandy Rose vs Asuka (c): Asuka retains via Crescent Kick @6:40 – ** 1/2
  • Handicap Match: The Bar vs Kofi Kingston: The Bar win via White Noise @5:15 – -* (yup that’s negative)
  • Raw Tag Team Triple Threat: The Revival (c) vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs Aleister Black & Ricochet: Revival retain via Shatter Machine @10:50 – *** 1/2
  • United States Championship Fatal 4-Way: Andrade vs R-Truth vs Samoa Joe (c) vs Rey Mysterio: Joe retains via Coquina Clutch @10:50 – **** 1/4
  • WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles: Sasha Banks & Bayley (c) vs Nia Jax & Tamina: Bayley retains via Hurricanrana @7:05 – *
  • WWE Championship Triple Threat: Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kevin Owens vs Mustafa Ali: Bryan retains via Knee Plus @18:45 – *** 3/4
  • Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch: Becky wins via DQ @8:45 – *
  • The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre: The Shield win via Cerberus @24:50- ****

 

Analysis:

A surprisingly long and competitive match given the fact that Rusev and Shinsuke haven’t been positioned very well. Decent enough match, but I don’t think anyone is surprised or particularly cares. The most interesting thing to come from this was the McMahon’s wanted to see Kofi right before the match.

Miz came out in Browns colors and a Cleveland is Awesome shirt, he was insanely babyfaced. The match told a great story and had a bunch of nice moments including Miz doing more top rope moves since his dad preferred high fliers. Shane had a great Coast to Coast interception on the Uce Splash. Miz went to the top to try and win with a Frog Splash, but knees up and an Inside Cradle stopped that. BUT WAIT-THERE’S MORE! Shane turns heel with the rest of his family and lays into Miz hard, including a Triangle Choke right in front of Miz’s father.  It’s an odd time in wrestling when Miz is a believable babyface and that cemented it with the hometown love and the style of beat down. Great stuff, perfect professional wrestling match and aftermath.

This was a decent match, granted nothing spectacular but the swerve at the end with Sonya lifting up the apron to grab a kendo stick, but Mandy slipped on the ring skirt and got caught by a Crescent Kick from Asuka.

So Vinny Mac tells Kofi the Championship match will be a Triple Threat and tells Kofi to go out to the ring. He figures it’s for the WWE Championship, but he gets screwed again and thrown into a Handicap match against the Bar. This just lasted too long. I get the screw Kofi angle, but this was unnecessarily long. The crowd even started chanting boring. I hope we don’t get 3 weeks of misdirection crap. So now the question is, will the beat up Kofi still be involved in the WWE Championship match tonight, or is this just leading down a Vince rabbit hole?

Elias is apparently playing the breaks between matches just to be on the show? A few snarky remarks about previous matches. He’s like exposition no one asked for…AND I LIKE ELIAS.

Raw Triple Threat went mostly as assumed. Spotty and Roode & Gable were thrown in to eat the pin. Car crash moment when Ricochet tried to Frakensteiner Scott Dawson into everyone else on the outside, and Dawson’s foot got caught…so it just looked rough. But the match was fine, just really nothing more than a good match.

Even though it was only announced earlier in the day, this 4 Way was better than the match on SmackDown. Little wrinkles with Carmella, Zelina, Andrade and R-Truth. They kept the heat with Rey and Andrade around, but also proved they have good chemistry working together, even if inadvertently. Joe retaining is fine and came about well. Oh, R-Truth made more John Cena references, so this match was just a treat for people who’ve been watching weekly.

Sloppy match. Numerous screwed up spots and stumbles. Just overall hard to sit through. Oh Nia and Tamina go after Beth Phoenix, Nattie tries to make a save, so I guess we’re gonna get that match. Cause that’s what people have been asking for…yup…

Well it did end up being a Triple Threat, but the third wasn’t Kofi, it was…Mustafa Ali? Oh for Christ’s sake. The crowd started with the “We Want Kofi” chants and took a while for them to engage in the match. It was alright enough, but I honestly checked out of it. A few cool spots but Ali was added to eat the pin, even Helen Keller could see that. So the suspension of disbelief was fractured, the story was awkward when both Owens and Bryan were telling Ali he didn’t deserve the spot, but Owens worked with him occasionally. So yea..bad psychology, but decent enough ring work. The finish was different as well, so that was cool, but not as good as it could’ve been without the shenanigans.

This wasn’t so much a match as a means to an end. Charlotte got cocky and was playing around with Becky the entire match. Then when she’s about to put her away with the Figure 8, Ronda shows up and hits Becky so Charlotte loses by DQ. It all makes sense, and now we get the Triple Threat we expected for WrestleMania.

Elias interlude again…these are really stupid. But at least he hasn’t been interrupted all night. Lacey Evans makes her usual appearance. Renee has a good line for Lacey of “She can knock you out and butter your biscuits”. Corey is confused, but it was funny.

OH! Randy Orton RKOs Elias out of nowhere (but he already said good night so it doesn’t count as being interrupted), but AJ is also there to hit Orton with a Phenomenal Forearm. So I guess this finalizes the Randy vs AJ for Mania angle. People need to stop hiding under the ring though, sheesh.

It started off simple enough, but at some point it breaks down intelligently. Corbin’s team try to split the members of the Shield up. The issue came from having to jump around from in the crowd back to the ring. But hey, as the Swan Song for The Shield, this was a hell of a spectacle. The story went well enough, they hit all the right beats, the crowd was invested and you could tell Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins were enjoying it. Nice moment, Shield winning was never really in question, but it was a fun way to send the Shield home.

 

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Good show. Aside from the impromptu Handicap match and the awful Women’s Tag, this was a good show. It told the stories it needed to, things were moved along to the WrestleMania angles and the in-ring action wasn’t bad at all. Fastlane goes in the books as a solid last stop before the big show!

Admittedly it did feel a little overbooked at times, especially with all the match tweaks and inventing a match. But that’s neither here nor there since the show and competitors made it work, more or less.  Shane turning made complete sense, granted I’m not sure where we go with Roman and the Women’s Tag Titles. IIconics made some noise during the Pre-show, but I’d still prefer the Trish and Lita match. So that gives us reasons to tune in this coming week.

 

 


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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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 3/24/2019

The tournaments continue, so there’s still a bunch to go through. What does Andrew sift through to sculpt the Top 5 Matches this week?

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The tournaments continue, so there’s still a bunch to go through. What does Andrew sift through to sculpt the Top 5 Matches this week?

Another jam packed week, but let’s assess last week first. New Japan Cup: Zack Sabre Jr vs Kota Ibushi, got the win in a very close three way race.

So far in March we’ve had 3 winners from 3 different companies, and this is one of those nice week’s where the Top 5 is comprised of 5 different shows.

No one brand was hands down superior this week, and that’s always nice to see. Let’s see what the Top 5 is!

 

5. 205 Live: Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
The ring count begins and passes 5 before either man sits up. Alexander and Nese crawl at 8, and jump in at 9.5! Both Nese and Alexander glare at each other. Nese vows he’s going to Mania, but Alexander says “Over my dead body.” The brawl is on as both men throw more haymakers! Nese staggers but comes back, but so does Alexander. Alexander gest an edge but Nese gives him one big left! Nese runs but into Alexander’s uppercut! Alexander runs, Nese goes Matrix, but both men block kicks. They both go for superkicks but they get caught on each other. They break free and Nese back kicks, knee lifts and sweeps. But Alexander jumps it to SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO! Both men are down but Indy is fired up!

Alexander and Nese stir and stand in corners. Alexander goes to Nese to chop, and put Nese on the top rope. He climbs up to join Nese, but Nese hops down to enziguri Alexander down! Alexander flounders to the floor but Nese builds speed to FLY! Direct hit from Premier Athlete to Soul of 205! Nese puts Alexander in then climbs up top, 450 splash hits! Cover, TWO!! Alexander still lives and Nese is in disbelief! Nese glares at Alexander in the corner as he staggers over. Nese sits Alexander up, but Alexander keeps Nese from running. Alexander shakes his head but Nese stomps away! THe ref backs Nese off, but Nese brings the knee pad down. Nese goes side to side, but into a SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!!

But Alexander doesn’t stop, LUMBAR CHECK!! Cover, TWO!? Nese survives a Lumbar Check?! Even Indy can’t believe that one! But they do know “This is Awesome!” Alexander gets to a corner as he tries to understand what he’s seeing. Nese stirs while Alexander brings his knee pads down. Alexander drags Nese up and wants another, but Nese victory rolls! TWO and Alexander has it, TWO! Nese knees Alexander to the corner! Then side to side, PREMIER KNEE! Cover, Nese wins!!!

Winner: Nese via Running Kneese

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4. SmackDown Live Gauntlet: Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan

From My Analysis:
Kofi and Sheamus would’ve been a damn solid match alone, let alone kicking off the gauntlet. The sight gag of more and more faces crowding around the TV to watch was actually cool. The gauntlet played out really well, Rowan purposely getting DQ’d to inflict more damage with weapons made perfect sense as well. Just really really great stuff. Kofi beat the original 5 and then Vince continues to screw Kofi by adding Daniel Bryan at the end. So it’s all good story telling, a really good gauntlet and generally just great way to cap off the show. It was a gut punch to people rooting for Kofi, but also another wrinkle to overcome with a few more weeks til Mania.

Winner: Daniel Bryan via Knee Plus

Rating: **** 1/4

 

3. NXT #1 Contender Match: Matt Riddle vs Ricochet vs Adam Cole vs Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream

Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Ricochet staggers up and goes after Riddle. He puts the Bro in the drop zone then climbs up. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” as Cole intercepts Ricochet. Cole climbs up to join Ricochet, but Ricochet resists. Dream adds on, climbing up to join them. They brawl and Aleister staggers over. Riddle follows, and they’re all on the second rope! It’s a Double Russian Leg Sweep SUPERPLEX! All five men are down again and fans know “This is Awesome!” The referee checks on everyone in turn and they’re all okay to continue. Fans build to a rally as the five slowly stir. Cole, Riddle and Ricochet bail out while Dream meets Aleister. Dream and Aleister trade haymakers on their knees. Aleister fires off hand after hand but Dream powers him to a corner. Aleister boots Dream away then hops up, Meteora!

Dream’s up but gets a roundhouse and a German! But Riddle sentons the bridge! Riddle drags Aleister up in a deadlift Fisherman Buster! Cradle, but Cole breaks it! Cole drags Riddle up but Riddle fires off fast hands! Riddle misses, gets a SUPERKICK, and Last Ride brainbuster! Cover, but Ricochet breaks it! Ricochet drags Cole up but Cole breaks free. Ricochet fakes Cole out for a boot and an ax kick! He keeps going, fireman’s carry but Cole rakes eyes! SUPERKICK to the front, SUPERKICK to the back! Cole brings the knee pad down but misses the Last Shot Wizard to get a Reverse-Rrana! Cole rolls all the way out and Ricochet can’t believe it. But Ricochet also sees a prime target, and FLIES with the Sasuke Special! Ricochet wipes Cole out but hurries to get back up.

Dream returns to the ring but so does Riddle. The would-be North American Championship showdown happens as Riddle throws chops. Riddle swings up and around Dream’s clothesline to powerbomb, but Dream slips out! Dream wants but Riddle denies the Sidewinder, to wring Dream out for a Bro Trigger! Riddle reels Dream into the BroMission! Dream flails but Cole yanks the ref out! No Disqualifications, but plenty of consequences as Riddle BOOTS Cole! Riddle turns around into BLACK MASS! Aleister turns around into Dream Valley Driver! Dream hurries to the top rope, but Ricochet’s right up for a SUPER STEINER onto Aleister and Cole! Ricochet hurries up for his own, SHOOTING STAR onto Riddle! Cover, but LAST SHOT!! Cole covers, Cole wins!!

Winner: Cole via Last Shot

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
New Japan Cup: Tomohiro Ishii vs YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
Rating: ****
New Japan Cup: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: SANADA via Skull End
Rating: ****
AJPW: World Junior Heavyweight Title: Kotaro Suzuki vs Koji Iwamoto (c)
Winner: Iwamoto via Koko no Geijutsu
Rating: *** 3/4
New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Drew McIntyre
Winner: McIntyre via Claymore
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: X Division Championship Match: Sami Callihan vs Rich Swann (c)
Winner: Swann via Cradle
Rating: *** 1/2
New Japan Cup: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: Tanahashi via Leg Clutch
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW: Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takag
Winner: Shingo via Pumping Bomber
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW: IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens
Winner: Juice via Pulp Friction
Rating: ***
NJPW: Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay
Winner: Taichi via Gedo Clutch
Rating: ***
NJPW: Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: ***

 

2. AJPW Dream Power Series: World Tag Team Championship Match: Strong BJ (c) vs Violence Giant

From Mathew’s Review:
Shuji and Daisuke would be the ones to start off our match here with an incredible display of power as the two were unable to budge and they would tag in their respective partners. Suwama and Yuji were both also very hard-hitting as they would now fight outside of the ring as these two teams are making it personal. Strong BJ has been doing great work during this rivalry with the Violence Giant and they would even give Suwama a big beatdown but the former ace would even try his best to fight them off, even when he was on the corner and would kick Yuji to show his fighting spirit. Suwama would hit a Dropkick to save himself for a little bit and would tag in Shuji for the hot tag and Shuji does indeed come in hot with his Lariats, knees, anything he can throw along with the kitchen sink.

Yuji would brawl with Shuji to deliver some chops while Shuji would give him a couple of forearms and a headbutt to try and daze him but Yuji is pumped up and slams him down with a few Lariats. Once Yuji would hit another Lariat to Shuji, he would kick out at one that time around before getting hit with another one with a two count. What’s it gonna take to take Shuji down for good? Yuji would get to the top rope to hit the Splash and it looks like this could be it but Suwama would break the pinfall to save his partner. Strong BJ would have them up for the Torture Racks but they would get down for Suwama to hit a Back Suplex while Shuji hits a Dragon Suplex. Shuji is alone with Yuji again and would hit another Dragon Suplex and a Running Knee to get him out for another two count, he was so close! Shuji would pick Yuji up real quick for the Fire Thunder and goes for the pin as Daisuke breaks the pinfall this time around as Suwama would get Daisuke out of the ring. Shuji knew what he had to do to try and end it as he hits the Giants Slam and pins Yuji to win back the titles! Hell of a match and definitely topped their previous encounter at BJW. I would love to see Violence Giant get a fair and dominating run with this reign, can’t wait to see where this goes now.

Winner: Ishikawa via Giant Slam

Rating: *****

 

 

1. NJPW New Japan Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA

From My Analysis:
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

Rating: *****

 

Thoughts:

Well I’m in a quandary this week. We have two 5 snowflake matches and they were both tremendous in different ways. Strong BJ vs Violence Giant was just a hard hitting, King’s Road, stiff match of big guys doing the best big guy stuff along with great story telling and selling. SANADA and Okada was more relatable for many, but the level of storytelling in that match was so damn great, along with a great wrestling match.

I kinda want to abstain from voting, but that’s a cop out. So I’ll vote for Strong BJ vs Violence Giant. Not only was it on par with Okada versus SANADA, but it did so as a tag team match. It’s harder to have a high quality tag match since it’s four people as opposed to two and you have to hope everyone stays on the same page. And boy did they!

This should be interesting to see who wins the week, since I’d say it would be the favorite to win the month. Well, Always Use Your Head, and join in with the fun and let your vote be heard!


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