Andrew goes through a bunch of shows and promotions to find the Top 5 matches of the week. Let’s see where it all landed!
With 205 Live, NXT and New Japan holding tournaments…plus Fastlane, sheesh, that’s a lot to wade through. To square up last week though, we did get a surprise, but that’s probably because it set the IWC on fire last week. Stardom: Momo Watanabe vs Jungle Kyona, won the first week of March vote! Since we had our February vote as well, let’s look at the 2019 MOTY Pool so far:
- January – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
- February – NXT Halftime Heat: Ricochet, Aleister Black & Velveteen Dream vs Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
I don’t think many can argue the validity and quality of Halftime Heat, so these are two matches that will stand the test of time.
Now let’s get to this busy ass week…
5. NXT: DIY vs Undisputed Era
Ciampa stalks O’Reilly, waistlocks, but O’Reilly fights back. Ciampa clubs O’Reilly then lifts, but O’Reilly rolls. O’Reilly wants the leg but Ciampa powers O’REilly up for a deadlift German suplex! Ciampa hits another! Fish saves O’Reilly but Gargano swing kicks Fish down! Gargano hits Fish with a blockbuster! Ciampa torture racks, Blue Thunder Bomb on O’Reilly! Cover, TWO!! Gargano climbs up and tags in, DIY double whips. O’Reilly boots Ciampa down but Gargano hits him abck. O’Reilly puts Gargano on the apron but Gargano mule kicks Fish away! Gargano slingshot spears, but into a guillotine!! O’Reilly cranks back but Gargano flails and reaches. Gargano powers up, Ciampa hits O’Reilly with the Psycho Knee! Jackknife bridge from Gargano, TWO!!
O’Reilly and Gargano slowly stand and start brawling! They throw forearms back and forth, but O’Reilly knees. Ax, but enziguri! The Smash comes back around, but Gargano comes back with a roaring elbow! O’Reilly rebounds a la the Lunatic, but into a SUPERKICK! O’Reilly still rebounds, DOUBLE clotheslines take them both out! The fans are thunderous for “NXT! NXT!” Gargano and O’Reilly crawl for their corners, tags to Fish and Ciampa! Fish kicks and runs, but into Ciampa’s boot. Ciampa hurries to drag Fish up but has to counter punch him first. Fish swings but Ciampa gets to the apron. Ciampa wants to German but Fish holds on for dear life. Fish walks into an elbow but stops Ciampa on the top rope. Fish climbs to join him, but Ciampa fights back. Ciampa shoves Fish down, but here comes O’Reilly. Gargano intercepts but gets put into barriers.
O’Reilly anchors Ciampa and Fish roundhouses him. Tag and Fish climbs. Fish SUPER FALCON ARROWS Ciampa, O’Reilly drops a flying knee! Cover, TWO!! Into the armbar! Ciampa keeps his grip, but Fish hits a diving headbutt! O’Reilly pulls the arm and even a leg, but Gargano barrels through Fish to break it up! All four men are down but the fans fire up. Gargano throws Fish out but O’Reilly throws him out. O’Reilly pursues Ciampa, apron knee sends Ciampa into chairs! O’Reilly puts Ciampa back in, but gets caught in the draping DDT! Gargano tags, slingshot DDT! Cover, TWO!? O’Reilly survives but DIY keeps going. Tag to Ciampa, and Ciampa boots Fish out. DIY takes aim from opposite ends, Meet Me in the Middle!! Cover, DIY wins!!
Winner: DIY via Meeting in the Middle
Rating: **** 1/4
4. NJPW: New Japan Cup: Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin
Another wrestler returning from injury is Michael Elgin. Most of his efforts against Okada are usually stand out matches, and this isn’t any different. Both men also prove their familiarity by stealing moves. Okada does a Buckle Bomb and Elgin Bomb, where Elgin pulls off the Rainmaker. Still unable to overcome the current Ace of New Japan, Elgin falls to a flush Rainmaker. Very good match.
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
3. Fastlane: US Championship 4-Way: Samoa Joe (c) vs Rey Mysterio vs Andrade vs R-Truth
Joe drags Mysterio up and throws heavy knees. Carmella and Zelina are both worried as Joe jabs away on Truth. Joe headbutts Truth down then drags him back up. Joe and Truth brawl while Zelina coaches Almas back up. Truth runs but into the sleeper hold! But Mysterio dropkicks Joe onto ropes! Mysterio dials it up but misses! Joe grabs Mysterio for a scoop, but Mysterio tornado DDT’s out of it! Cover, TWO! Mysterio puts Joe in a drop zone then climbs up top. Almas trips Mysterio up and boots Truth back down. Almas CHOPS Mysterio then climbs up to join him. El Idolo references Latino Heat, but Mysterio resists the superpelx. Truth adds on and Electric Chairs Almas. Mysterio SUPER STEINERS Almas off him!
Truth throws Mysterio out and covers Almas, but Mysterio breaks it with a slingshot leg drop! Mysterio covers Truth but Joe breaks it! Joe tosses Mysterio out and stalks Truth. Joe hits the back elbow to PELE! Mysterio springboards but into Joe’s arms! But Almas springboards to dropkick them down! Almas fires up and targets Mysterio. He drags Mysterio up, facelock and Uno Amigo! Dos Amigos! Fans boo as Almas goes for Tres, but Mysterio cradles! TWO, and Almas knees Mysterio low. Almas powerbomb lifts into the Gory Special! Truth dropkicks Almas down! Carmella rallies the fans as Truth covers Almas, TWO! Truth covers Mysterio, Ropebreak! Truth goes back to Almas and drags him up. He throws haymakers, then splashes Mysterio in the corner. Truth comes back but is put on the apron. Joe trips Truth off! Almas triangle corkscrew crossbodies Joe!
Mysterio climbs up top and leaps for a SUPER Huricanrana on Almas! All four men are down and Zelina is shocked, but fans are loving this. Truth drags Mysterio up to throw into the barriers and then into the ring. Truth dodges Zelina’s headscissors, but not her SUPERKICK! Carmella marches over and tackles Zelina! It’s a cat fight, and both Almas and Truth break them up. Joe urenages Mysterio! Cover, but Truth and Almas just break it! Truth throws hands on Joe, but Almas hits La Sombra on Mysterio! Cover, but Truth breaks that. Truth runs at Joe for a corner splash. Then he tells Almas to hit his move? CIEN KNEES for Joe! And then the shoulder tackles of Cena! Spinebuster for Joe, spin-out bomb for Almas!
Truth says “You Can’t See Me!” Five Knuckle Shuffle hits Joe! Almas runs back in but he gets the kick, to Scissor Kick! Cover, but Joe back sentons! Truth kicks Joe but misses the scissors. Joe sends Truth to the post, but Mysterio puts Joe on the ropes! Dial it up, 619!! Drop the Dime! But Joe dodges, and gets the Coquina Clutch!! Mysterio fades out, Joe wins!
Winner: Joe via Coquina Clutch
Rating: **** 1/4
Fastlane: The Shield vs Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley & Drew McIntyre
Winner: Shield via Cerberus
NXT: Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
Winner:: Black via Black Mass
Anniversary Show IWGP Junior Championship: Jushin Thunder Liger vs Taiji Ishimori (c)
Winner: Ishimori via Crossface
NJPW: New Japan Cup: EVIL vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: ZSJ via Grounded Octopus Hold
Fastlane: WWE Championship Triple Threat: Daniel Bryan (c) vs Kevin Owens vs Mustafa Ali
Winner: Bryan via Knee Plus
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW: New Japan Cup: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shota Umino
Winner: Tanahashi via Texas Cloverleaf
Rating: *** 3/4
205 Live: Cedric Alexander vs Akira Tozawa
Winner: Alexander via Lumbar Check
Rating: *** 3/4
SmackDown Live: United States Championship Fatal 4 Way: R-Truth (c) vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe
Winner: Joe via Coquina Clutch
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: Dez & Wentz vs Lucha Bros
Winner: Lucha Bros via Pentagon Driver/Superkick
Rating: *** 1/2
Fastlane: Raw Tag Team Triple Threat: The Revival (c) vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs Aleister Black & Ricochet
Winner: Revival via Shatter Machine
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW: New Japan Cup: Juice Robinson vs Chase Owens
Winner: Owens via Package Piledriver
Rating: *** 1/2
MLW: Ace Austin vs DJ Z
Winner: Austin via The Fold
Rating: *** 1/2
205 Live: Humberto Carrillo vs Oney Lorcan
Winner: Lorcan via Half & Half Suplex
Rating: *** 1/2
Fastlane: SmackDown Tag Team Title Match: The Usos (c) vs Shane McMahon & The Miz
Winner: Usos via Inside Cradle
Rating: *** 1/4
NXT: Forgotten Sons vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Winner: Sons via Powerbomb + Stomp
Rating: *** 1/4
Fastlane: Xavier Woods & Big E vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
Winner: Woods via Up Up Down Down
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW: New Japan Cup: YOSHI-HASHI vs Manabu Nakanishi
Winner: Yoshi via Butterfly Lock
Rating: *** 1/4
WOW: Siren the Voodoo Doll & Holidead vs Princess Aussie & Azteca
Winner: Siren via Downward Spiral
IMPACT: DARK WAR: Allie, Su Yung & Undead Maid of Honor vs Kiera Hogan, Jordynne Grace & Rosemary
Winner: Rosemary via Spear
NXT: Moustache Mountain vs Street Profits
Winner: MM via Burning Hammer/Double Stomp
NJPW: New Japan Cup: Bad Luck Fale vs Will Ospreay
Winner: Ospreay via Hurricanrana
2. NJPW: New Japan Cup: Yuji Nagata vs Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii is always good for an old school Strong Style match. Nagata also proved that even at 50, the man can still put on a hell of a match. Ishii busted Nagata’s mouth open in the earlier parts of the match, but this was extremely good. The match remained close and even though most had to assume Ishii was going to win, Nagata made him earn it.
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Spike Brainbuster
Rating: **** 1/2
1. NJPW: New Japan Cup: Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito
Kota and Naito…well damn. We all had this penciled as the match of Round 1, and it really held up. A few twists on moves (like the Combinación Cabrón on the apron). Words won’t really do it justice. There was a ton of strikes, nice near falls for both wrestlers and that finish…Ibushi basically doing a Tiger Driver ’91 into the Bombaye was just sick. Damn impressive match.
Winner: Ibushi via Kamigoye
Rating: **** 3/4
Well we’ve got a lot of New Japan, yes, but Fastlane and NXT TV both made it on to the Top 5. So it’s not a clean sweep in any way shape or form. So when it comes to my pick I’m going to go with how I ranked them.
Ibushi vs Naito was a tremendous match, Match of the Year quality and really turned the tournament on it’s head for some fans. Everything is pretty close this week, but Ibushi is one of the best workers in the business right now, so it’s hard to vote against him.
Elisa: Women Are Headlining WWE WrestleMania, And Will Deliver
The women are headlining, will they deliver?
Elisa Maria shares in the joy that women are headlining WrestleMania, and why the women will deliver.
Even though wrestling fans kind of heard the rumors a few months ago, it became reality today when WWE announced that the main event of WrestleMania will be the triple threat match between Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch. For me as a fan growing up, I would have never thought this would be even remotely possible. It was a long time coming but this women’s evolution, these group of women deserve it. They fought and proved that women can wrestle with the men, put on a show just like the men but have been doing it better than all the main roster combined. On a personal note, I am even more excited that I will be there to witness this spectacle. It’s exciting!
There have been many things that have influenced me to open up my blog, but I must say a good chunk of it has been watching the whole women’s revolution develop and flourish to become such a necessity that even ratings depend on it. If we were to look at this from the outside, WWE has survived the past year due to what the women on the roster has brought to the table not necessary the men. The chances and risks that these women have taken, it is unbelievable. They are taking chair shots, kendo stick shots, elimination chambers, and iron man matches, I mean – what haven’t they done? Even their promos are way more interesting than what they men have put out there in recent months. One name to prove this is – Becky Lynch. She is just constantly dominating the promo and “talking shit” game that it reminds me of legends such as the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin during the attitude era, where “talking shit” was at it’s finest. In the past, where it was damn near impossible to believe that a woman in wrestling can take the same force of a chair shot straight to her back like a male wrestler can – these group of women are doing it like nothing and I am proud.
Can these three extremely talented and gifted women put on a show worthy of a main event to close out this year’s WrestleMania in the biggest city of them all, New York? Hell yeah they can! Let me explain why…
Let’s get the stats going shall we. Ronda Rousey, the current WWE Raw women’s champion, joined WWE in January 2018 after a groundbreaking career in the UFC, where she was the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion. Not only was Rousey the first women’s champion in UFC history, she also main-evented two of the top 10 UFC pay-per-view events (by buy rate) in that company’s history. Next, Charlotte Flair, a seven-time WWE women’s champion, and Lynch, a two-time SmackDown women’s champion, helped foster dramatic changes in the WWE’s women’s division over the past six years. As part of a group that called itself the “Four Horsewomen” — a callback to Flair’s father, Ric Flair, and his rotating quartet of industry-defining compatriots in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s -Charlotte Flair and Lynch, along with Bayley and Sasha Banks, promoted a more physical style of performance.
The Four Horsewomen reshaped and built up NXT, WWE’s training ground for upcoming superstars that has become a global brand of its own, through a series of “TakeOver” specials that redefined the style of women’s wrestling on display in WWE. At WrestleMania 32, the women’s championship belt was created to replace the existing Divas championship belt that was a huge symbolism for the direction of women’s wrestling in the company.
If that is not proof enough that these women can outright perform, then re-watch last year’s first women’s pay per view Evolution and Survivor Series. For the Evolution pay per view, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, considered as a brutal, violent and nearly perfect match performance. It was a memorable feud between two of WWE’s most important members of its current “women’s revolution,” former best friends Lynch and Flair took things to an entirely new level. The duo set new standards in terms of high spots, physicality and outright carnage for a main roster women’s match in what is undoubtedly in the conversation for best WWE match of 2018, regardless of gender.
Survivor Series saw Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair in another grade A+ match that had a great heel turn and one of the most brutal post-match beat downs I have ever seen. Flair looked like a woman possessed as she unleashed on Rousey, pummeling her with weapons and assaulting her on a level unlike anything she has ever experienced before. In the process, she set in motion the storyline in which Rousey, Flair and Lynch would clash in the biggest show in wrestling’s history.
What Can We Expect During The Main Event At WrestleMania in MetLife Stadium?
I’ll tell you what I expect: I expect that these three amazing women will go all out to not only entertain the fans but to show that women’s wrestling is the REAL DEAL on the same stage and in the same building last occupied by The Rock and John Cena–think about that! This match will be a match to remember and probably in contention to be the match of the year for 2019. Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, you have to admit this is intriguing and exciting. Non- wrestling fans will probably tune into WrestleMania just to view this match and I would not blame them. I personally am appreciative of what all women in the WWE roster has brought to the table and for all women of sports. This could be the main event to rival all main events. In short, I am proud to be a woman, in a generation where we have Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Until then Fans, farewell.
Follow Elisa Maria:
Chairshot Classics: The Streak Part 13 – Riding Into The Sunset (2017-2018)
The end of The Deadman’s run at WrestleMania…?
Tiffany takes a look back at The Undertaker competing at the last two WrestleMania events, against Roman Reigns and John Cena.
As 2017 dawned, it became clear to many WWE fans that the Undertaker’s 30 year ride in the WWE seemed to be coming to a close. The Deadman was visibly slowing down, but his drive to remain the Big Dog in the Yard was as strong as ever. However, there were new and older dogs in the Deadman’s yard now and they each wanted to stake their own claims on the Yard…and the WrestleMania Streak.
Roman Reigns, the controversial Guy of WWE, staked his claim when he eliminated the Undertaker at the 2017 Royal Rumble and refused to back down, even spearing the dreaded Deadman, vowing to be only the second man in history to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
In 2018, John Cena, the long-time face of WWE, found himself on the Road to WrestleMania without an opponent after failing to capture the WWE Championship from AJ Styles. Determined to NOT miss the Show of Shows, he set his sights on getting the match that had always eluded him: The Streak.
WrestleMania 33 – Battle of the Big Dogs
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This battle for the yard started at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Taker and Reigns were entered when Reigns eliminated the Deadman, mouthing to the stunned Phenom that ‘It’s my yard now’. That seemed to be the end of until Taker attacked Roman a month later. The stage was set for a National Geographic level fight to see who would run the yard, Undertaker or Roman Reigns.
As a special surprise, this match was called by Good Ol’ JR! Jim Ross hadn’t been part of WrestleMania for a few years and it’s great to see him back, especially since he’d just lost his beloved wife, Jan, a few weeks before. Ross got such a huge pop, you almost couldn’t hear Jojo’s announcing. JR was greeted by Cole and JBL with hugs and a good wishes from the the crowd.
Reigns came out to a LOUD chorus of boos, but didn’t seem that concerned about it. He punched the ground and flames shot down the ramp and ignited the fireworks set up for him. It was announced that the match would be No Holds Barred. Reigns was the picture of cool confidence, seemingly unaffected by the huge match or the reaction of the crowd. However, as his music ends and we wait, the nerves began to set in.
The Deadman Cometh. There’s been a little dispute about where Taker appeared from in his entrance, but it LOOKED to me like he rose from about halfway down the ramp, but didn’t really matter, the entrance was still all the Undertaker in his creepy glory. Reigns had his ‘Oh shit, here he comes moment’ but was still stoic in the ring. It was time to decide who really owns this yard.
I’m going to be honest, this was the hardest match of the Streak for me, as a life-long Taker fan, to watch. WWE had been able to really disguise how limited Taker was becoming in the last couple of WrestleMania matches, especially the one with Shane, but there was no hiding it in this match. Taker could barely move, none of his signature moves, outside of a few moves were in this match. This was a fight, pure and simple. It was a fight straight out of a National Geographic documentary about lions fighting for dominance.
Roman Reigns took a LOT of heat from smarks about his performance, but watching it back after two years’ time, it’s clear that Roman was doing everything he possibly could to hide Taker’s limited ability, but there’s only so much you can do with a 52 year old man who needs a hip replacement.
Roman really got into this match after he speared Taker through the Spanish announce table. After Taker sat up, Reigns got MAD and just beat the shit out of Taker. Taker would turn it around with a Last Ride, but Reigns kicked out.
One of the things the smarks most complained about was a botched spot where Reigns tried to Tombstone the Undertaker, the ultimate act of disrespect that has been performed by almost every major rival of Taker’s since Kane in 1998. However, watching that spot back a few times, I think I’ve figured out what went wrong: Reigns was exhausted and had taken quite a beating from Taker and couldn’t quite get a grip on Taker and Taker couldn’t help him as much as he normally would have.
Towards the end, Reigns begged Taker to stay down, but the old lion refused, forcing Reigns to beat Taker into submission with a steel chair and countless Superman Punches before finishing the match with a spear and becoming only the second man in WWE history to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns vacated the ring, and the significance of what had just happened began to hit the audience. Undertaker was seemingly done. It took several minutes, but Taker got to his feet and put on his coat and hat, then slowly took them off, folding his coat and leaving it in the middle of the ring, along with his iconic hat and his gloves. The crowd chanted ‘Thank you, Taker’ as the Deadman made what seemed to be his final walk away from a WWE ring, pausing to kiss his wife, Michelle McCool, and taking one last look at the crowd that he’d entertained for nearly thirty years before disappearing in a wave of smoke.
Rating: 8/10 This match wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but it told a great story.
Hightlight: Taker sitting up. Reigns begging Taker to stay down. Taker’s final farewell.
WrestleMania 34 – Be Careful What You Wish For
The Undertaker vs. John Cena
As the Road to WrestleMania 34 got underway, John Cena, the once untouchable face of WWE found himself sitting on the sidelines after failing to capture the WWE title from rival AJ Styles. Determined to not miss WrestleMania, Cena set his eyes on the one WrestleMania opponent that had always eluded him: The Undertaker. When Taker seemed deaf to Cena’s pleading, the leader of Cenation resorted to taunting Taker like a petulant child who wasn’t getting his way.
Finally frustrated that he didn’t seem to be getting his way, Cena ‘bought’ a ticket to WrestleMania and sat in the audience, oohing and awing over the superstars of WWE pulling out all the stops. As Charlotte vs Asuka was finishing, one of the WWE refs approached and told Cena something and Cena went into the back. Mr. Cena was about to learn why it is always wise to be careful what you wish for, especially when dealing with the Undertaker.
Cena comes back to the ring later in the show, and unlike most people in the Streak, Cena seemed extremely excited by the prospect of facing the Undertaker. Then another ref comes and says something like Taker’s NOT there or he changed his mind. Poor Cena is dejected, but the crowd isn’t giving up. As Cena leaves, the lights go out.
The Deadman Cometh. Wait, that’s Elias. The crowd is FURIOUS over the trick, but Elias doesn’t care, claiming that he’s better than the person everyone wanted to see. The crowd gets even angrier and I can’t repeats some of what they seemed to be saying. Enraged, Cena leaves while Elias mocks him in song. Finally sick of this, Cena beat Elias like he owed him money. Kudos to the kid smack talking Elias.
The crowd won’t give up, even when Cena’s music hits again. Frustrated, Cena prepares to take his leave, but then…the music stops and it takes Cena a moment to realize it and now…
The Deadman FINALLY Cometh. A spotlight hits the ring, revealing the folded hat and coat Taker left in the ring the year before and lightning strikes and the items are gone. It finally, FINALLY hits Cena just what he’s getting himself into and it’s too late to change his mind.
Out of the gates of Hell comes the Undertaker. Back to the arena where the Streak ended four years before. Cena’s ‘Oh Shit!’ hits and it is time.
For all the anticipation, the years of waiting, and having to sit through Elias, this match was kind of an ‘eh’. It was the shortest match of the Streak and I can’t say it was a shining moment for either man. To give Cena his due, he sold the return of Undertaker like he should have. He LEGIT looked scared out of his wits to FINALLY be getting this match.
As if to exorcise the previous loss in New Orleans, and pay Cena back for his remarks, Taker dominated the match from the start. Taker did hit most of the greatest hits of his arsenal, almost like he’d never had a bad hip, including Old School. Still, this wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, sadly. Though Cena tripping and falling when Taker sat up was hilarious. One tombstone later, and it was over. The dream match finally happened, but it could’ve been so much more.
Rating: 6/10 This match could’ve been so much more if it had happened a few years earlier, but it was an okay match for what it was.
Highlight: Elias getting cussed out by the crowd. Taker’s entrance. Cena falling on his ass when Taker sat up.
Post-Script: As of 10pm, March 25, 2019, while I’m writing this final part to the Streak rewatch, Undertaker has not been scheduled for a match of any kind at WrestleMania. As of now, the match against Cena was the final match of the Streak and the Deadman walked off with his head held high. Thanks for the memories, Taker.
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