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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 3/17/2019

We have continuing tournaments and an ROH PPV this week. How much was Andrew able to see? What made the Top 5 Matches? Do you agree?

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We have continuing tournaments and an ROH PPV this week. How much was Andrew able to see? What made the Top 5 Matches?

Alright, it’s a holiday and it’s late, so this is gonna be a short and sweet intro. Last week, Fastlane 4-Way: Samoa Joe vs R-Truth vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio, beat out all of the New Japan matches.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to keep a tie for 5th since this week is heavily dominated by Japanese wrestling, especially with the addition of Pro Wrestling NOAH doing a free stream on their YouTube Channel.

So don’t say I never did nothing for you. Now onto the list!

 

5 (t). ROH 17: Rush vs Bandido

In a good move by ROH this followed a musical interlude after the World Championship match went a full 60 minute Broadway. This allowed for new commentary members (there was a rotating door with Colt in the New Japan Cup) and Dalton Castle added the flavor for this match.

What we got here was a damn good lucha libre match. Rush continues to exude Tranquilo and the Los Ingobernables way of life, and Bandido is a little more high energy. Bandido hit a Double Springboard 450 Splash on a hanging Rush for a near fall. Rush attempted the Bull Horns a few times, and when he finally landed them, it was over for Bandido. Dalton Castle challenged Rush to a match at MSG afterwards.

It was a solid match, but it’s been a long weekend so my recap is lacking.

Winner: Rush via Bull Horns

Rating: ****

 

5 (t). NJPW:  Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr

From My 2nd Round Analysis:
Going into this match Kota has a 2-1 record against Sabre, even though Sabre’s lone win came in last year’s New Japan Cup. This match was a nice back and forth that showed off Sabre’s technical prowess and Ibushi’s short temper. The ending sequence was a lot of counters and transitional moves, so it was quite intense.

Winner: Sabre Jr via Orienteering with Napalm Death

Rating: ****

 

4. NXT: Ricochet & Aleister Black vs DIY

From DeMarco’s Analysis:
DIY wearing matching tights, and having a new Titan Tron video is such a great touch. Ciampa clutching Goldie while looking at Gargano, who “knows what he’s doing” is a level if deep subtlety that you just don’t see anymore. That’s Ole Anderson level shit.

I do need to point out that this is typical for WWE tag teams, meeting the requirements of Patrick O’Dowd’s Vicious Cycle Of WWE Tag Team Booking.

It wasn’t that long ago in WWE where this would have been the obvious TV main event two weeks before Takeover Phoenix. Ricochet looking at Aleister Black as to make sure it’s okay that he’s sitting next to him in the ring? Another great touch. Tommaso Ciampa applies the best chinlock in WWE today. Yes, this is a real thing. Randy Orton would be proud. Actually, Ciampa has stolen a good bit of his act from Randy Orton. Don’t @ me.

Gargano gets hurt, and Ciampa has to go it alone. This, of course, is a throwback to Takeover: Chicago, when Ciampa got hurt…and we all know what happened there! (Ciampa turned on Gargano.) It’s coming. It took two finishers after a 2-on-1 advantage to pin the NXT Champion. That’s how it should be. Black Flash wins, and they’ll face The Forgotten Sons in the finals. If you know anything about WWE booking, you know this ends up. #SaveTagTeamWrestling

The post-match developments with Gargano and Ciampa were nothing short of brilliant. I am not mad that Ciampa ended up hurt, at least in terms of the storyline. I’d give the show ending segment five stars, easy. A small detail is Ciampa tossing the NXT Championship–something he’s obsessed with–aside for it, showing that he has one obsession bigger than Goldie. Gargano’s smile when he stopped Ciampa’s turn–brilliant.  The whole thing–brilliant.

Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton

Rating: ****

 

3. NJPW:  Hirooki Goto vs SANADA

From My 1st Round Analysis:
They did a great job at showcasing how even SANADA and Goto really were. Both had amazing flurries of offense and counters for one another’s signature moves. I really enjoyed the fan survey in the middle of the ring to start with, to see who was more favored.  Fans seemed to sway a little towards SANADA, but both got really good reactions.

Winner: SANADA via Moonsault

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

NJPW: Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi
Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
Rating: ****
ROH17: Las Vegas Street Fight ROH Tag Team Titles: PCO & Brody King vs The Briscoes (c)
Winner: PCO via PCO-sault
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW: Satoshi Kojima vs Minoru Suzuki
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW: Kazuchika Okada vs Mikey Nicolls
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Drew Gulak
Winner: Nese via Submission Counter Pin
Rating: *** 3/4
205 Live: Cedric Alexander vs Oney Lorcan
Winner: Alexander via Lumbar Check
Rating: *** 3/4
NOAH Hakata Star Lane Memorial: Naomichi Marufuji vs Yoshinari Ogawa
Winner: Marufuji via Rolling Cradle
Rating: *** 3/4
ROH 17: ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal (c) vs Matt Taven
Winner: TIME LIMIT DRAW
Rating: *** 1/2
NJPW: Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer
Winner: Ospreay via Stormbreaker
Rating: *** 1/2
IMPACT: Number 1 Contender Match: Tessa Blanchard vs Jordynne Grace
Winner: Grace via Grace Driver
Rating: *** 1/4
NOAH Hakata Star Lame Memorial: Kotaro Suzuki & YO-HEY vs Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka
Winner: Hi69 via Stuka Splash
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Seth Rollins vs Shelton Benjamin
Winner: Rollins via Stomp
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi
Winner: Tanahashi via Dragon Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose vs Drew McIntyre
Winner: McIntyre via Claymore
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SmackDown Live: Aleister Black & Ricochet & The Hardy Boyz vs The Bar & Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
Winner: No Contest
Rating: ***
NXT: Forgotten Sons vs Moustache Mountain
Winner: Forgotten Sons via Reverse DDT/Stomp Combo
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW: SANADA vs Minoru Suzuki

From My 2nd Round Analysis:
This match has a good bit of history from All Japan and crossover issues between Suzuki and SANADA’s mentor Keiji Mutoh (Great Muta). Going into this match SANADA only had 1 win over Suzuki out of 6 singles meetings. Suzuki dominated a good portion of this match, and just brutalized SANADA. However, SANADA showed great resiliency and the unrelenting drive to beat Suzuki. There was a good exchange of submissions in the middle of the ring with Suzuki finding Knee Twists and an Indian Deathlock to try and break Skull End, but SANADA wouldn’t give up. Suzuki basically gassed himself out, and one more Moonsault attempt was the end of Suzuki.

Winner: SANADA via Moonsault

Rating: **** 1/4

 

1. NOAH Hakata Star Lane Memorial: Go Shiozaki vs Takashi Sugiura

Given that the Hakata Star Lane show was special since it was the last show in Star Lanes because the building will be closed down permanently after renovations were decided to be too costly. So this show was free on YouTube but more of a house show. A few not normal match ups like Ogawa vs Marufuji, and the champion was in a tag match with his grumpy senpai. This match was special since it’s more of a throwback match with two well known stalwart names of NOAH.

Go and Sugiura always put on classic hard hitting matches. Shiozaki’s chops can be heard around the world and Sugiura’s generally irritated countenance makes for a scary collision. This match definitely delivered for the fact there was nothing on the line beyond bragging rights. Since it’s free, it’s best to just follow the link at the top and watch it yourself. It’s just brutal, hell I think Go was momentarily knocked out during the match, but finished the match.

Winner: Sugiura via Avalanche Olympic Slam

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Thoughts:

It’s too late to think, I think sleep wins. Yup – Yup – Yup, that’s ducky.

Okay, I’m a little sleep deprived. So I’m gonna go with my order this week. NOAH has been putting on really solid shows last few years, new management, new logo and layout, but you put in two veterans and you get classic NOAH. The colors may change, but the ass kicking stays the same.

Use Your Head! Cause I will and place it on a pillow now. Good Night.


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Cook’s Top 5: Royal Rumble Diesel Pushes

The Royal Rumble is right around the corner, and someone’s Diesel Push might be on the way! Steve Cook looks back at the Top 5, including Diesel himself!

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Shayna Baszler WWE Royal Rumble 2020

The Royal Rumble is right around the corner, and someone’s Diesel Push might be on the way! Steve Cook looks back at the Top 5 such pushes, including the man himself, Diesel!

You guys might have heard about this. The Royal Rumble is coming up on January 31! Thirty men & thirty women will compete in battle royals to determine who will get a title shot at WrestleMania. The winners will certainly receive a boost in attention and esteem, but there are other ways to stand out in a Rumble match.

One way: Eliminate a bunch of people!

It’s known by us geeks as the Diesel push. One individual, typically a large one, runs over the competition in a short amount of time and helps get rid of some of the deadwood in the ring. An important part of any Royal Rumble.

Here are the top 5 recipients of the Diesel Push! (There are six listed)

5. Great Khali (2007)

Khali always got things done in short order. This is why it doesn’t surprise me that 7 eliminations in 3:45 is the craziest stat in Royal Rumble history. The man knew what his job was, and he didn’t waste any time. He was also self-aware enough to know that his stamina wasn’t the best, he had a good number at 28, so if he threw everybody out as quickly as possible, he had a pretty good chance.

The downfall in Khali’s strategy? Undertaker was number 30. Tough break, kid. It probably looked really good to Khali when Miz pre-teaming with John Morrison came out at 29, and hopefully 30 would be somebody in that same category, but nah, it was Undertaker.

4. CM Punk (2011)

We all know that CM Punk’s push in WWE became bigger during 2011. We don’t know if that was originally intended or not, but things seemed to be picking up for him at the Rumble. At the time, Punk had taken control of The Nexus from Wade Barrett, so he had plenty of backup to support him during matches like thus one. Which he needed, since he drew #1. Fortunately, many of his Nexus minions also drew low numbers, so he was able to last thirty-five minutes and eliminate seven people.

The difference between this & most Diesel pushes: Punk was already a bit of a star at this point. He became a bigger one later in the year. The Rumble probably didn’t have much to do with it, but it didn’t hurt either.

3. Shayna Baszler & Bianca Belair (2020)

The 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble saw a pair of dominant women. Shayna Baszler was rewarded a little earlier. She got a Raw Women’s Championship match against Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. The less said other than that sentence, the better.

Bianca Belair eliminated the same number of women that Baszler did, which was eight if you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone. It took some time, but as I write this here & now, Belair is finally getting to show her skills on main roster TV. Completely outclassed Bayley on an obstacle course, proving to be a superior athlete. Doesn’t always translate to pro wrestling, but I won’t deny Bianca’s athletic ability.

Two Diesel pushes in one match is a bit much, but I see what they were going for here.

2. Roman Reigns (2014)

The Shield had been picking up momentum throughout 2013, and it seemed like they were on the verge of big things. Maybe a face turn, maybe the group splitting up, probably both because that’s usually what happens when members of a group start getting over. The 2014 Royal Rumble provided a good opportunity to make the Shield members into stars on their own. Seth Rollins entered second & lasted over forty-eight minutes. Dean Ambrose had a solid showing at over thirty-three minutes.

However, it was the Big Dog that stood out from the pack. Roman Reigns entered fifteenth and was the last person eliminated by the winner, Batista. Prior to that, he set a Royal Rumble record, eliminating twelve people. Including Rollins & Ambrose! The record lasted until the Greatest Royal Rumble match, where Braun Strowman eliminated thirteen people. There were fifty people in that match though, so it wasn’t quite as dominant.

Reigns’ performance was somewhat overshadowed by the lack of Daniel Bryan and the match ending up being CM Punk’s last, but it was still an important part of his push to the main event.

1. Diesel (1994)

It’s a tough call between the original recipient of the Diesel Push and the Big Dog. Why do we go with Diesel? For me, it’s where both men started from. Reigns was already seen as a viable future star in the eyes of many fans. We tend to forget it now since the fans turned on Reigns once he got the push, but the man got over pretty well with the smart fans as a Shield member, even with the other two members having more indy cred. You could tell Roman was going places.

Diesel? Well, he was tall and had good hair. He was barely even a wrestler though! Diesel came into the WWF as Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard, and spent most of his time prior to the 1994 Rumble backing up the Boy Toy. To be honest, most of us that had seen Diesel’s run in WCW as Vinnie Vegas were happier to see him in the bodyguard role than as a wrestler. He wasn’t seen as a future main eventer or world champion or anything like that, until the Rumble match.

After the Diesel push, Kevin Nash was ready to shine.


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Rob: Has Pro Wrestling Become Too Soft?

The Undertaker took the online wrestling community by storm with his comments on the current product, and Rob offers some perspective!

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The Undertaker WWE WrestleMania Boneyard Match

The Undertaker took the online wrestling community by storm with his comments on the current product, and Rob offers some perspective!

So……the Undertaker had some things to say about how the kids today just aren’t doing it the way they did back in his day, and that it’s hurting the product.  In short he said it was harder to watch now because it was soft, and the guys weren’t real enough men – they spend too much time trying to look good and do things like play video games instead of packing heat.  Uhh………yeah………ok, Mr Callaway.

Now look, we can talk about the ring work – I for one think that there are way too many matches that look more like a gymnastics floor routine than what’s supposed to be a fight, from the indies all the way up to the WWE.  If he wants to stick to that than I think he’s worth listening to.  But that’s not what he focused on.  No, he spoke about how guys used to carry guns and knives in their bags, and that guys ‘handled stuff’ back in the day, and weren’t so occupied with grooming or playing video games with each other.  And that the changed behavior over the last few years has made the overall wrestling product harder to enjoy.  Help me out here but I don’t see how playing video games with each other and paying more attention to how you look, smell, etc makes for a worse wrestling product.  The ring action, sure.  The promos, which I didn’t see mentioned in the quotes I saw, sure.  Whether or not you do your hair…..really?  Does he not remember the many male wrestlers of days gone by who were sold to women fans as good looking men they’d want to go home with?  The Von Erich boys, the Rock on Roll Express, Ravishing Rick Rude, the Fantastics, Magnum TA?  Does he not remember commentary damn near yelling out loud ‘HEY LADIES, AREN”T THESE DUDES HOT?’ when those guys and many others were in the ring?  Does he not remember guys like ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin, who was a proverbial man’s man but also had his valet (his real life wife Precious) spraying his hair while he was cutting promos?

But I got another question:

What kind of locker room does he think should exist? 

One where guys are dropping dead before the age of 50 or are concussed into oblivion?  Or one where they can work longer and not look pathetic if they so chose, or move on early if they want?

One where guys like Darren Young and Jake Atlas have to stay in the closet or where they can be out and accepted, where a guy like Randy Orton with his own checkered history will come up to them and say ‘if anyone gives you any crap, let me know?’

One where guys mostly keep each other out of trouble by doing things like……playing video games together or one where they’re out closing down the bar every night, getting into it with the police, etc.?

One where the men engage in all kinds of trifling behavior towards the women on the roster or one where they get along well enough for there to be genuine friendships where people look out for each other and even form some lasting romantic relationships?

And lastly in regards to guys carrying knives and guns instead of video games, do you want a locker room where guys work things out in a more civilized manner or one like where Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death?

Now he’s not the only one who says this kind of stuff.  A lot of guys from his generation have offered similar sentiments and there are a lot of podcasters who pine for the days when things felt more real and what not.  Well if we’re gonna keep it 100 a lot of those gave off more gravitas and sounded more real because they were legit living hard, messed up lives.  Drug problems.  Alcoholism.  Multiple marriages and divorces.  Bad relationships with their children.  Broken homes and childhoods that they were still traumatized over.  Failed careers in other professions.  I don’t know about you but I think it’s a plus that more of the guys seem to be living and working in such a way that they’re able to avoid those things.  I’ll take hearing Kofi and Xavier talk about their kids on the New Day Pod than a bunch of stories about how they were out boozing and cheating on their spouses in between shows.  The latter can be romanticized by guys who tell good stories and all, but the reality is a lot more grim (for good reference take a look at the ESPN documentary on Ric Flair).

And this goes beyond pro wrestling.  A lot of those old guys in our lives who say the same kind of things have suffered the same fates as their counterparts in the wrestling business.  It’s not healthy, full stop.  Just because you can’t relate with the guys who aren’t living and playing like you did 10, 20 years ago doesn’t mean that they’re doing it wrong.  As for the guys being ‘too pretty’ now…..it’s a lot easier to get opportunities to do things outside of wrestling if you look good, are well groomed, etc.  Acting gigs, TV gigs, magazine covers….you think Xavier Woods would have gotten a hosting job on the relaunched G4 network if he looked and groomed himself like Abdullah the Butcher?  Do you honestly think New Day would be more popular if they looked and acted more like what you consider to be real men?  I don’t see it.  And in an entertainment industry where women have to look damn near perfect just to get an interview I don’t think that men choosing to look as good as they possibly can is a negative.  And let’s not pretend that any of New Day can’t put their ring work alongside any guys from any era.  The video games, the gear colors and everything else don’t mean a damn thing as far as their abilities go.

Look man, time stops for no one.  Things change, and in this case I think they’ve changed for the better.  That he can’t see a trail several miles long of broken families, broken bodies, and premature death behind the ‘right way’ that he speaks of is kinda sad.


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