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.
Chris King: One More Spear and Jackhammer for Goldberg?
After his WWE Super ShowDown with The Undertaker wasn’t well received, is there room for Goldberg to have more “proper sendoff” to end his career?
By now you’ve heard the troubling news that during Goldberg and The Undertaker’s first-ever-match something went terribly awry; Goldberg smashed his head square into the ring-post, instantly he began bleeding profusely and was knocked out. What followed was extremely hard to watch; several signature maneuvers were horribly botched, and I was 100% concerned for both superstars’s health and well-being. This is not what we hoped would occur, and this should not be the last image of Goldberg that we witness in WWE.
There was speculation that Undertaker was furious at Goldberg for his performance that appeared absurd to me; how could Undertaker a locker room leader held in such high respect get into a screaming match backstage? On top of that there was also rumblings about Vince McMahon the CEO of WWE, was fuming, and had to break things up between the legends. He apparently told both superstars they were finished wrestling careers were over.
Thankfully the rumors were quickly refuted by not only WWE officials who were in Saudi Arabia, and TalkSport’s Alex McCarthy, and Mike Johnson on PWINSIDER.
Goldberg has admitted he was knocked out during his match with Undertaker at #WWESSD and that is why the final minutes were what they were.
Undertaker was angry with how the match went, but reports suggesting things got heated backstage with Goldberg aren't true, I'm told.
— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) June 8, 2019
Mike Johnson confirmed that after chatting with WWE officials he can confirm that after the bout Goldberg was too weak to muster up the energy to engage in a heated altercation.
Johnson said: “I have not heard one person with any legitimacy claim this as being true. In fact, when I asked about that rumor, it was quickly shot down by those who were actually in Saudi Arabia, so I tend to think that story is 100% fiction.”
Goldberg the WCW veteran was last seen in the squared circle on the Post-Mania-Raw, twenty-four hours after dropping the Universal championship to Brock Lesnar. The WWE Universe gave him a standing ovation for his love for the business throughout his illustrious twenty-year pro wrestling career.
Goldberg has battled some of the biggest wrestlers in WWE; The Rock was his first feud after his arrival in 2003 at the Backlash pay per view, followed by his almost year-long rivalry with HHH and “Evolution” where he won the World Heavyweight championship. He finished his initial run in the company in 2004 in a “Battle of Behemoths” with Lesnar. In 2019, there are many new powerhouses since he left the company in 2004. Below I will be listing the 5 Potential Opponents for his final match in WWE.
5 Best-Suited Opponents For The Final Goldberg Match
5. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar toppled Goldberg for-the-first-time in his WWE career at WrestleMania 33; after a humiliating loss at 2016 Survivor Series, in a “Shocking” one minute and twenty-seven seconds. This was Goldberg’s first official match in WWE in twelve years; the two powerhouses have had a total of three encounters, they have manifested a buzz that surpassed all the other matches on the pay per view card. Despite the fact that Goldberg and Lesnar faced in each other only two years ago, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that Goldberg won’t come back for retribution. While this contest in the past has not been well-received by the WWE Universe, there’s still a sliver of a chance these Titans’ will go to war one final time.
With Lesnar as “The Beast in the Bank” his adversary could once again cost him the Universal or WWE Championship cash-in; reminiscent to 2004 No Way Out pay per view where Eddie Guerrero was challenging Lesnar for his WWE championship, and Goldberg (who had been given a front row ticket by Raw commissioner Stone Cold Steve Austin). He would then deliver a “Devastating” spear to cost Lesnar his championship, which led to their first clash at WrestleMania XX. Goldberg could cost Lesnar his opportunity and the two competitors could then revisit this hard-hitting personal rivalry.
4. Bobby Lashley
It’s still surreal to me that these two powerhouses have never crossed paths in both of their WWE tenures. Bobby Lashley returned to WWE after making an “Impact” (Pun intended) on the Raw after Mania 34. Despite being the fan-favorite to dethrone Lesnar at 2018 SummerSlam, Lashley was upset by Roman Reigns who eventually captured the Universal Championship. Goldberg vs. Lashley will still be a “Big Money” match that will put butts in seats and sell out arenas. This the kind of “once in a lifetime” physical confrontation contrary to Rock/Cena at WrestleMania 28 that people from all over the world would tune in to watch. The WWE Network could see a “massive” increase in subscriptions, and the weeks leading up to their collision we would most certainly be a pull-apart brawl and someone could likely to be taken to jail.
3. Goldberg vs. Lars Sullivan
“The Freak” Lars Sullivan has been leaving a pile of bodies on his path of destruction since his arrival on Monday nights. Currently, he’s annihilating the Lucha House Party, but after he’s finished bullying smaller wrestlers “,” Sullivan is going to be hungry for “Real” competition. Enter Goldberg. This wouldn’t do much for the WCW titan but it sure would be a “Huge” rub for the recent draftee. Sullivan was penciled into battle John Cena at WrestleMania 35 “,” but due to health reasons, it never happened. This victory over a legend of this caliber could catapult “The Freak” to the top of the food-chain in WWE.
2. Braun Strowman
To say “The Monster Among Men” has been mistreated would only be the tip of the iceberg. Strowman was the “Hottest” wrestler in 2017 with his horror-themed assaults on Roman Reigns. Unfortunately for Strowman, his name wasn’t “Roman Reigns” and despite his best efforts he never captured the Universal Championship.
Strowman was on a path of destruction until he went toe-to-toe with Universal champion Lesnar at 2017 No Mercy; in what should have been his coronation as the next champion, Strowman was crushed within a matter of minutes. Last year at WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia he was heavily-favored to walk out with the vacated Universal championship; and instead WWE thought it was wise to start a lengthy program with Baron Corbin (who clocked Strowman in the back of the head with the title), and Lesnar dropped “The Monster Among Men” with 5 F5’s to start a second title-reign with the Universal championship. To say Strowman deserves a “Monumental” win would be a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT!
1. Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns
The announcement of this match is enough buzz to sell-out WrestleMania 36. “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns has done it all in his short eight-year career, some accomplishments other wrestlers only dream to achieve. He defeated the seemingly-unbeatable Undertaker in his second loss in decades. Reigns is a Grand-slam champion, a three-time WWE Champion and former Universal Champion. Ever since the two crossed paths on the road to WrestleMania 33; and delivered a double-spear to Strowman on January 12, 2017, I believe this dream match has been quietly penciled in. Now that there may be “One More Match” for Goldberg before he calls it quits, this is the only true contest!
Rob: Let’s Talk About Shane McMahon
He’s the Best In The World!
Shane McMahon is a hot topic among WWE fans, and Rob is here to chime in on the rumors that Shane could become WWE Champion in 2019.
Yeah, it’s time to talk about the Best in the World Shane McMahon. Shane has become a real thorn in the side of many on wrestling twitter and not in the way that Vince intended. A lot of you guys don’t like the amount of TV time he gets (even I’ll admit that this week was a bit much), don’t like that he got a win over Roman Reigns at Super Showdown (I don’t either but so long as things play out the right way in the end I’m willing to see it as a needed piece of a bigger story), and really got nuts when the NEWZ sites starting ‘reporting’ rumors that he may become WWE World Champion down the line. Some of you guys are even threatening that you’re done if it happens, and I believe you this time. And this all makes me wonder if certain aspects of wrestling storytelling are just not viable in 2019 anymore. Because this is the kind of thing that would have been a layup for mega heat back in the day but now seems to only result in scorn towards the bookers, or in this case Vince, from a lot of you guys for even considering it.
Now I can’t tell you guys what to like or not like, but there are a lot of times when I see the takes being thrown around on Twitter and wonder if I’m watching the same TV show that you guys are. I also wonder, often out loud and in this space, just what it is some of you guys want. Because I see people complain about emotional investment but from my earliest days as a fan one of the quickest ways to get emotional investment was to do something that would make people angry. But it seems like in 2019 way too many people on Wrestling Twitter don’t ever want to get angry, and take that as a crime committed by Vince McMahon and not a storytelling piece. And I don’t know how you rectify that.
Who knew this would lead us to “The Best In The World,” Shane McMahon???
By my estimation, someone like Shane McMahon getting the title is perfect for the ‘You Deserve It’ era, because he obviously doesn’t deserve it. And to win it dirty off of someone like Kofi Kingston who toiled for 11 years to just get a chance to win it should be a heat magnet. But instead all I see is that it’s bad booking, that it’s a sign that Vince hates the fans and needs to go, etc. So again I have to ask just what is it that some of you guys are looking for? Heels are part of wrestling, and heels have to prevail sometimes. A lot of you guys won’t boo Kevin Owens no matter low he stoops in turning on or assaulting people. And one of the few guys who gets booed from the crowd because the people there don’t like him, Baron Corbin, gets ripped every day by ‘smart’ fans for being a bad choice to even put on television.
Maybe I’m out of date here but for me part of having heels is that at least every now and then something has to happen that you don’t want. The people you root for have to lose, the people who should be champion have to be denied, somebody has to do something that you find to be beyond the pale, etc. And it can’t just happen when you expect it or are ready for it, it has to happen at a time when you aren’t ready for it to get the maximum effect so that you’ll get angry enough at the perpetrators to want to see them get their comeuppance. But it seems that getting mad at the characters is a bridge too far on Wrestling Twitter, that the point of a heel is to get shout outs on Twitter for ‘good heel work’, and that anything or anyone that you find truly loathsome is now grounds to change the channel. Thus the constant ‘Corbin has go away heat’ takes on Twitter. Where I’m from Go Away Heat meant ‘can somebody please come out and get this guy outta here? and not ‘why is he on my TV, what else is on?’
I mentioned before that we’re in the ‘You Deserve It’ era, and what I mean by that is that a lot of ‘smart’ fans are judging what they watch based who’s in it and whether or not they ‘deserve’ to be there. And deserving it is almost entirely based on their personal career journey or perceived skill level. Workrate guys and gals deserve it, as do those who went down some long, grueling road to get there. Even if they’re playing a heel some of us cheer them based on how good they are in the ring or what they had to go through to get there, while on the flip side anyone who doesn’t meet our technical standards or didn’t suffer enough should be relegated to supporting roles or just removed from our television altogether. The fastest way to get someone booed now it seems is for ‘smart’ fans to find out that they didn’t have to struggle hard enough (by their measures) to get a big spot. Hell, we just had a WrestleMania main event where the winner’s whole elevation came despite acting like a heel because the personal career story of the woman behind the character was deemed more important than the actions of her character on screen.
So now back to Shane. If you can’t get some people to boo heels over sneak attacks, cheating to win (don’t get me started on the whole ‘heels are fine but they shouldn’t cheat too much’ takes I’ve seen…..smh), etc. and the thing some fans get most consistently upset about is whether or not the ‘most deserving’ people are in the right places, then putting someone in the highest position who absolutely does not deserve it seems like an inevitable choice. I’m not telling you that you’re not a real fan if you don’t like it, but I am telling you that there is some very sound logic behind it if they go that route. And all the arguments against it – that Shane is not a full time wrestler, that he’s the boss’s son, etc – seem to me like just more reason to go ahead and do it.
Anyhow……until next week, everyone.