Here we Go NXT once again and this time a HUGE NXT Takeover, on WrestleMania Weekend! This week is nothing different, a lot of potential of a Good report. Let the Good times roll!
#1 Contenders Match- Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair
This match was legit! Bianca Belair is a star, Io Shirai is phenomenal. We had fireworks this week here. Belair used her power and beat down the smaller foe, but not without a ton of offense by Shirai as well. We had a ton of back and forth, and a ton of action. This really was a strong showing by both respected athletes. Shayna Baszler who was at the Announce Table, had enough getting heated with the Announce Team and attacked Io Shirai. Io Shirai Wins by DQ but Baszler without hesitation attacked Belair as well, knocking her out. Kairi Sane ran in for the save but was wasted by Baszler. Io Shirai again tried to fight back but again was down and out by Baszler. The Champ made her statement and by far is the most dominant female in Professional Wrestling. Fatal 4-Way at NXT Takeover for the strap, it’s on now! That will be sick! Takeover is going to be amazing.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic (Semi-Finals)- Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. DIY
“This is Awesome.” If you have ever seen these guys work before, you already know, this was insane. DIY was on point, Gargano just a freakishly Good talent. Black and Ricochet shined and absolutely killed it! These two teams are not only two of the best in NXT but two of the best in the business. Although Black and Ricochet are different they work well, and DIY are naturals together. DIY got the edge after a rocky start, as Black and Ricochet had a successful opening drive. Back and forth these guys can’t help but try to outdo each other. Every single move is awesome and strong. Every single time they go full steam. DIY kept getting the edge but just as easily the tide turned. NXT is at their best in these type of matches. It could have gone to either team but Gargano seemed to have tweaked his knee leaving the NXT Champ on his own against Black and Ricochet. Ricochet and Ciampa just went off on each other, the buildup and heart were there the entire match. Just like Magic, “Black Mass” followed by a “630” on Ciampa for the WIN! This was AMAZING! Such a sick match! This is NXT! Don’t ever stop! DIY worked so hard and came up short but such a fantastic treat for the wrestling world! It looked like DIY was back to being boys again as Ciampa was helping is partner walk but in true Ciampa fashion went for the heel turn, but it was Gargano playing possum. Gargano got his revenge and 1 up’d his heated rival by not only tricking him but being one step ahead. This was Gold!
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic- Forgotten Sons (Cutler and Blake w/ Ryker) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate)
Tyler Bate spent a decent amount of time early on both killing it and getting beat down by the larger Forgotten Sons team. Bate was very impressive and showed he has some Good stuff. Seven finally got the much anticipated tag and went off on his opponents, however was overpowered after some impressive offense. There was a lot of “wrestling” here surprisingly as it would have been thought that we would have had a brawl. Bate got the hot tag after Seven was beaten down. Bate and Seven do some very unique things and sometimes over the top fantastic moves. This match however was odd with a lot of Bad moments. We may have a rare feat as the Bad column finally got some company. Forgotten Sons got the Win! Onto the Finals.
UGLY- No getting a Bad was shocking and traumatic enough! Think of the children!
Ugly- NO! Get out!
GOOD! What? Did we have a Bad on NXT, why yes we did! It wasn’t Main Roster Bad but it wasn’t Good for sure. It certainly did not meet NXT standards. Especially when you consider the epic Tag Match that was spotlighted in the Main Event this week. That match was everything. NXT is the Best!
Closer and closer WrestleMania and Takeover Await! Every week, matters from here out and only time will tell if it was all worth it! WrestleMania here we come! See you soon!
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.
Steve Cook’s Top 5: Concerns About AEW
Any concerns about AEW as we head into the weekend?
Steve Cook is ready for AEW, and you should be too. But are there looming concerns?
I’ll admit it. I’m pretty excited about All Elite Wrestling. It’s really good to see AEW ready for their first event.
The idea of having another bonafide major wrestling promotion in the United States is pretty exciting to me. The Elite guys are all pretty cool in my book. They’ve gotten some interesting talent to sign with AEW. There will be a wrestling show on TNT again!
Lots to get excited about. But I wouldn’t be a responsible journalist if I didn’t write about some of the things that concern me. Nobody’s perfect & everybody makes mistakes. AEW isn’t going to be a 100% perfect promotions. Here are my top 5 concerns…
5. The Khan Family Track Record
There’s no doubt that the Khan Family has a track record when it comes to making money. Shad Khan made billions & billions of dollars off of car bumpers. You have to respect that. What you don’t have to respect is his track record when it comes to sporting/entertainment ventures.
Take the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since he purchased the Jags in 2012, Jacksonville has mustered one winning season out of seven. They’ve lost eleven or more games during each of the other six seasons, resulting in a overall record of 32-80. That’s, like, the opposite of good.
Then there’s Fulham F.C., an English soccer club that had played twelve straight seasons in the Premier League when Khan bought it in July 2013. It took one season of Khan’s ownership to get Fulham relegated to the Championship. They finished near the bottom of that two straight seasons before finally getting things turned around. Their return to the PL in 2018-19 lasted one pitiful season.
All I’m saying is that the Khans aren’t known for presenting products that make their fans happy.
4. The Announce Team
Yes, I know. “He’s Jim Fucking Ross!” Indeed. JR hasn’t been a quality announcer since…good Lord…that Triple H/Undertaker match at WrestleMania 27? Maybe I missed something since then, but I don’t see anybody touting his Mae Young Classic or New Japan work. The guy’s a little past his prime, it’s not his fault, but trotting him out there in 2019 is a little iffy to me.
Then there’s Excalibur. Excalibur has been one of the most beloved announcers for years now due to his work with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. It’s great he’s getting a shot from something that should be a major promotion, and I expect he’ll do well. But you know that people are going to look at him and say “Why the hell is the announcer guy wearing a mask?”. People hate it when this gets pointed out, but it’s going to be an issue.
Alex Marvez hasn’t announced before. He’s a great writer & reporter so I wish him the best.
3. Reliability of Talent
We all know about PAC being pulled out of Double or Nothing last week, but another AEW talent pulled out of a show over the weekend without bothering to tell anybody first. Absolute Intense Wrestling out of Cleveland was scheduled to have Fenix join them for an event on Saturday night. The only problem? Fenix never showed up! Maybe the dude had a good reason, it looks like he nearly kills himself nearly once every match he wrestles and there might be an injury there, but he could have at least called the promoter or sent a DM or e-mail or something.
WWE can get away with card changes more. For one thing, they rarely announce cards in advance, and for another thing they have a deep roster of people at pretty much the same level. What happens if Fenix and/or Pentagon Jr. don’t show up in Las Vegas for Double or Nothing? Who are the Young Bucks going to wrestle that wouldn’t be seen as a major step down from the Lucha Bros?
2. Amount of WWE Mentions
On the surface, a wrestling show with stuff making fun of WWE sounds a little fun, right? It’s always so edgy to take shots at the other guys & poke a little fun at their weaknesses. Last week’s Being the Elite opened with the Young Bucks & Peter Avalon re-enacting recent interactions between Luke Harper & the WWE front office. Dave Meltzer & the YouTube comment section thought it was the most hilarious thing ever.
Me? I lived through late-period WCW. I’ve relived some of it over the past couple of years for podcasting purposes, and it’s all so cringey. The WWF’s name got mentioned more times than WCW’s did on some of those shows. I’m not saying you should never ever mention your competition, but it doesn’t need to happen every segment of every show. WWE is a big part of Cody & Dustin’s history, so I don’t mind mentioning them there. Their match is the only one on the Double or Nothing card that also took place in WWE.
So who else needs to bring them up?
1. Work or Shoot?
The cancellation of the Adam Page/PAC Double or Nothing match mere days before the show is disconcerting on a couple of levels. There are a number of theories surrounding why it happened, none of which make AEW look good. Some say that Pac didn’t want to do the job because he’s a Dragon Gate champion. That’s been debunked by other people who said Pac was winning, which makes the reason of “creative differences” more confusing.
Others say that it may be a visa issue. I tend to doubt this one because why wouldn’t AEW just come out and say so? New Japan came out and told fans in North Carolina that they had visa issues, and the fans’ response was “Fuck Trump”. Why not let them do that?
We’re getting “creative differences” as the excuse. We talked about late-period WCW a minute ago, and this also reminds me of late-period WCW, where the work/shoot line was blurred in completely the wrong way. Goldberg would refuse to take a finish & walk out of a match. Multiple people laying down for other people at various points. AEW really doesn’t need to be going down this road.
And if the whole thing’s a work? How many PPV buys is “Adam Page vs. Mystery Opponent” going to add? How much will the shock & awe of a Pac appearance add to the show? And do we really need “creative differences” to become part of the wrestling lexicon more than it already is?
Let’s hope it doesn’t. Let’s also hope that the first TNT show doesn’t start with all of the Executive Vice Presidents bickering among themselves.